The Project Gutenberg eBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 370, August 1846

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 370, August 1846

Author: Various

Release date: March 31, 2011 [eBook #35731]
Most recently updated: January 7, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Brendan OConnor, Jonathan Ingram and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Library of Early Journals.)



No. CCCLXX. AUGUST, 1846. Vol. LX.





The Army,129
My College Friends. No. IV. Charles Russell, the Gentleman Commoner. Chapter I.,145
The Romantic Drama,161
The Minstrel's Curse. From Uhland,177
The Mine, the Forest, and the Cordillera,179
"Moriamur pro Rege Nostro,"194
Mesmeric Mountebanks,223
Cookery and Civilisation,238
The Late and the Present Ministry,249





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




[Pg 129]


No. CCCLXX. AUGUST, 1846. Vol. LX.




When we glance back at the bright page of British military history, so thickly strewn with triumphs, so rarely checkered by a reverse, it seems paradoxical to assert that the English are not a military nation. Such, nevertheless, is the case. Our victories have been the result of no especial fitness for the profession of arms, but of dauntless spirit and cool stubborn courage, characterising the inhabitants of the narrow island that breeds very valiant children. Mere bravery, however heroic, does not of itself constitute an aptitude for the soldier's trade. Other qualities are needful—qualities conspicuous in many European nations, but less manifest in the Englishman. Naturally military nations are those of France, the Highlands of Scotland, Poland, and Switzerland—every one of them affording good specimens of the stuff peculiarly fitted for the manufacture of soldiers. They all possess a martial bent, a taste for the military career, submitting willingly to its hardships and privations, and are endowed with a faculty of acquiring the management of offensive weapons, with which for the most part they become acquainted early in life. A system of national conscription, like that established in many continental countries, is the readiest and surest means of giving a military tone to the character of a people, and of increasing the civil importance and respectability of an army. But without proceeding to so extreme a measure, other ways may be devised of producing, as far as is desirable, similar results.

We appeal to all intelligent observers, and especially to military men, whom travel or residence upon the Continent have qualified to judge, whether in any of the great European states the soldier has hitherto obtained so little of the public attention and solicitude as in England? Whether in any country he is so completely detached from the population, enjoying so little sympathy, in all respects so uncared for and unheeded by the masses, and, we are sorry to say it, often so despised and looked down upon, even by those classes whence he is taken? Let war call him to the field, and for a moment he forces attention: his valour is extolled, his fortitude admired, his sufferings are pitied. But when peace, bought by his bravery and blood, is concluded, what ensues? Houses of Parliament thank and commend him, towns illuminate in honour of his deeds, pensions and peerages are showered upon his chiefs, perhaps some brief indulgence[Pg 130] is accorded to himself; but it is a nine days' wonder, and those elapsed, no living creature, save barrack masters, inspecting officers, and Horse-guards authorities, gives him another thought, or wastes a moment upon the consideration of what might render him a happier and a better man. Like a well-tried sabre that has done its work and for the present may lie idle, he is shelved in the barrack room, to be occasionally glanced at with pride and satisfaction. Hilt and scabbard are, it is true, kept carefully polished—drill and discipline are maintained; but insufficient pains are taken to ascertain whether rust corrodes the blade, whether the trusty servant, whose achievements have been so glorious and advantageous, does not wear out his life in discouragement and despondency. But this state of things, we hope and believe, is about to change. We rejoice to see a daily increasing disposition on the part of English legislators and of the English nation, to investigate and amend the condition of their gallant defenders. If war is justly considered the natural state of an army,[2] peace, on the other hand, is the best time to moot and discuss measures likely to raise its character and increase its efficiency.

We do not fear to be accused of advocating change for its own sake, or what is vulgarly nicknamed Reform, in any of the institutions of this country, whether civil or military. But we rejoice at the appearance of books calculated to direct attention, we will not say to the abuses of the army, but to its possible improvement. And we know no class of men better qualified to write such books than army surgeons, whose occupations, when attached to regiments, bring them of necessity into more frequent contact with a greater variety of men, and to a more intimate acquaintance with the soldier's real character and feelings, than the duties of field or company officers in our service either exact or permit.

"To obviate the reproaches I may encounter for presuming to write upon subjects altogether military, I may be allowed to state, that during a quarter of a century that I served with the armies of the country, I officiated as surgeon of three different regiments in different parts of the world. I embarked nine times from the shores of Britain with armaments on foreign expeditions, and out of twenty-four years' actual service, (for the year of the peace of Amiens has to be deducted,) I spent seventeen years, or parts of them, in other climates, passing through every grade of medical rank, in every variety of service, even to the sister service of the navy."—Dr. Fergusson. Preface.

These are the men, or we greatly err, to write books about the army. They may not be conversant with tactics in the field, although even of those, unless they wilfully shut both eyes and ears, they can hardly avoid acquiring some knowledge. But on other matters connected with soldiers and armies, they must be competent to speak, and should be listened to as authorities. We look upon Dr Fergusson's testimony, and upon the information—the result of his vast experience—which he gives us in concise form and plain language, as most valuable; although some of the changes he suggests have been accomplished, wholly or partially, since his book was written. Mr Marshall's opportunities of personal observation have, we suspect, been less extensive; but to atone for such deficiency, he has been a diligent reader, and he places before us a host of military authorities, references and statistical tables. The value of his authorities may, perhaps, here and there be questioned; and he sometimes gives, in the form of extracts, statements unauthenticated by a name, but of which he does not himself seem to accept the responsibility. Nevertheless, his book has merit, and is not unlikely to accomplish both the objects proposed by its author,—namely, "to supply some information respecting the constitution, laws, and usages of the army, and to excite attention to the means which may meliorate the condition of soldiers, and exalt their moral and intellectual character."

These are three measures whose adoption would, we fully believe, elevate[Pg 131] the character of the British soldier, increase his self-respect and willingness to serve, and, consequently, his efficiency in the field and good conduct in quarters. They will not be thought the worse of, we are sure, because they would assimilate the organization of our army to that of certain foreign services. The day is gone by when prejudice prevented Englishmen from adopting improvements, merely because they were based upon foreign example. The measures referred to, and whose adoption we would strenuously urge, are—first, the enlistment of soldiers for limited periods only; secondly, the total abolition of corporal punishment; thirdly, the increase of rewards, and especially a gradual and cautious augmentation of the number of commissions given to non-commissioned officers. Be it understood that we recommend these changes collectively, and not separately. They hinge upon each other, particularly the two last; and if one of them be refused, the others may require modification.

By the British constitution, no man may sell himself to unlimited servitude. On what grounds, then, is the practice of enlistment for life to be justified; and can it be justified upon any, even upon those of expediency? Ought not the thoughtless and the destitute—for under these heads the majority of recruits must at present be ranked—rather to be protected against themselves, and preserved, as far as may be, from the consequences of non-reflection and of want? Such is assuredly the duty of a just and paternal government. Very different is the practice of this country under the present system! Influenced by a boyish caprice, or driven by necessity, an inexperienced lad takes the shilling and mounts the cockade. After a while he gets weary of the service; perhaps he sees opportunities, if once more a civilian, of making his way in the world. But weary though he be, or eagerly as he may desire to strip off the uniform assumed hastily, or by compulsion of circumstances, no perspective of release encourages him to patient endurance. No hope of emancipation, so long as his health holds good, or his services are found useful, smiles to him in the distance. After twenty-one years he may obtain his discharge, as a favour, but without pension. After twenty-five years, if discharged at his own request, he gets sixpence a-day! Truly a cheering prospect and great encouragement, to be liberated in the decline of life, any trade that he had learned as a boy forgotten, and with sixpence a-day as sole reward for having fought the battles and mounted the guards of his country during a quarter of a century! What are the frequent results of so gloomy a perspective? Despondency, desertion, drunkenness, and even suicide.

The British army, its strength considered, and in comparison with the armies of other countries, is, undeniably, a very expensive establishment, and the necessity of economy has been urged as an argument in favour of unlimited enlistment. The evidence both of Dr Fergusson and of Mr Marshall goes far to prove that one more fallacious was never advanced. Innumerable are the artifices resorted to by soldiers, under the present system, in the hope of obtaining their discharge—artifices sometimes successful, frequently entailing expense on the government, and at times almost impairing the efficiency of an army. Speaking of the last war, Dr Fergusson says,—"Artificial ulcers of the legs were all but universal amongst young recruits, and spurious ophthalmia was organised in conspiracy so complicated and extended, that at one time it threatened seriously to affect the general efficiency of the forces, and was in every respect so alarming that the then military authorities durst not expose its naked features to the world. These are the results, and ever will be the results, whilst human nature is constituted as it is, of service for life." That unlimited service is the chief cause of desertion may be proved beyond a doubt, if there be any value in the statistics of armies as given by Mr Marshall. In the year 1839, the mean strength of the French army was three hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred and seventy-eight men; the number condemned for desertion was six hundred and six. Eight hundred and eighty-one conscripts were punished for failing to join their corps. In the same year, in[Pg 132] our army, of which the strength was less than one third of the French—under one hundred thousand men—the deserters punished amounted to two thousand one hundred and ten, or nearly one-fifth of the number of recruits annually raised. Where must we seek the cause of so monstrous a disparity? Chiefly in the difference of the term of service. The English soldier is by far the best paid and rationed; most of his comforts are more cared for than those of the Frenchman; but the latter takes his service kindly, because he knows that in six or seven years (the period varies a little according to the arm served in) he will be free to return to civil life, whilst still at an age to begin the world on his own account. The following extract from the Military Miscellany illustrates and confirms our present argument, that unlimited enlistment is no saving to the country.

"I have no adequate materials to enable me to state the mean duration of service of men who enlist for the army; but I am disposed to conjecture that it is not much, if at all, above ten years. It has, I believe, been ascertained, that the average length of service performed by men now on the permanent pension list, is about fifteen or sixteen years. Upon these grounds I conclude that enlistment for life, as a means of obtaining an average length of service of more than from ten to twelve years, is a fallacy; and consequently, I submit whether it would not be an advisable measure to abolish enlistment for an unlimited period, and to adopt a regulation whereby a soldier might have the option of being discharged after a certain length of service, say ten years."

In estimating the average duration of service at ten to twelve years, Mr Marshall has, we conjecture, taken into consideration the men discharged under fifteen years' service, before which time they would not be entitled to a pension. To the ten years' enlistment proposed by him, we should prefer the term of seven years, fixed by Mr Wyndham's bill, passed in 1806, but rendered nugatory in 1808, by a clause in Lord Castlereagh's Military bill, which made it optional to enlist for life, adding the temptation of a higher bounty. The latter bait, aided by the thoughtlessness of recruits, and by the cajolery of recruiting sergeants, caused the engagement to be almost invariably for life. And since then, Horse-guards' orders have been issued, forbidding recruiting officers to accept men for limited service. According to Mr Wyndham's plan, the seven years' engagement was to be prolonged indefinitely in war time. We should not object to the latter arrangement, which is necessary for the safety of the country. Nor is it when actively engaged in the field that soldiers are likely to repine at length of service, but in the tedium of a garrison, when no change, or prospect of one, no opportunity of distinction, or chance of promotion, relieves the monotony of a military existence.

There is one advantage of short enlistments that has been overlooked both by Dr Fergusson and by Mr Marshall, but which nevertheless is, in our opinion, an important one. It is the increased military character that it would give to the nation, the greater number of men whom it would familiarize with the use of arms, and render competent to use them effectually at a moment's notice. We believe that short enlistments, and the other improvements already referred to, and which we shall presently speak of at greater length, would produce, in this thickly peopled kingdom, a regular annual supply of recruits, a large proportion of them of a very superior class to those who now offer. On the other hand, the army, instead of being thinned by desertions, transportations, and feigned diseases, would each year give up from its ranks a number of young and able-bodied men, who, whilst entering upon the occupations of civil life, would in a great measure retain their soldierly qualities, and be ready, in case of an emergency, to stand forward successfully in defence of their homes and families. We have long been accustomed to look upon this country as guaranteed from invasion by her wooden walls. Noble as the bulwark is, there is no dissembling the fact, that its efficiency has been greatly impaired by the progress of steam, rendering it extremely difficult, in case of a war, effectually to guard our long line of coast. And[Pg 133] although Europe seems now as disinclined for war as a long experience of the blessings of peace can render her, this happy state cannot, in the nature of things, last for ever. Let us suppose a general war, and a large body of French troops thrown upon our shores in a night, whilst our armies were absent on the battle fields of the Continent, or of America. The supposition is startling, but cannot be viewed as absurd; many looked upon its realization as certain when circumstances were far less favourable to it than they would now be. How far would volunteers and militiamen, hastily raised, unaccustomed to services in the field, and many of whom had never fired a ball-cartridge in their lives,[3] be able to cope, with any chance of success, with fifty thousand French soldiers? And admitting that they did successfully contend, and that superior numbers and steadfast courage—although these, without good drill and discipline, are of little avail against a veteran army—eventually gained the day, how much more effective would they be, and how much loss of life and injury to the country might be avoided, did their ranks contain a fair proportion of men trained to arms, and able to instruct and encourage their comrades? But these are subjects so suggestive as to afford themes for volumes, where they might be better discussed than in the scanty pages of a review. We can only afford to glance at them, and to throw out hints for others to improve upon.

The liability to the lash, inflicted, until very recently, even for the least disgraceful offences, has long been thrown in the teeth of the British soldier by his foreign brethren in arms. That infamous punishment has been utterly disapproved and eloquently argued against by military men of high rank and great abilities, whose enlightened minds and long experience taught them to condemn it. The feeling of the nation is strongly against it, the armies of other countries are seen to flourish and improve without it, and yet it is still maintained, although gradually sinking into disuse, and, we hope and believe, drawing near to its abolition. Unnecessarily cruel as a punishment, ineffectual as an example to repress crime, and stamping the indelible brand of infamy on men the soul of whose profession should be a feeling of honour, why is it so lovingly and tenaciously clung to? "The service would go[Pg 134] to the devil—could not be carried on without it—no soldiering without flogging," is the reply of a section of officers—the minority, we assuredly believe. "No one can doubt," says Dr Fergusson, "that for infamous crimes there ought to be infamous punishments, and to them let the lash be restricted." Be it so, but then devise some plan by which the soldier, whose offence is so disgraceful as to need the most humiliating of chastisements, shall be thenceforward excluded from the army. When he leaves the hospital, let his discharge be handed to him. "A fine plan, indeed!" it will be said. "Men will incur a flogging every day to get out of the service." Doubtless they will, so long as service is unlimited. And this is one reason why short enlistments and abolition of corporal punishment should go together. Against desertion, transportation has hitherto been found an ineffectual remedy. If men were enlisted for seven years only, it would cease to be so. Few would then be sufficiently perverse to risk five or seven years' transportation in order to get rid of what remained of their period of service. To flog for drunkenness, however frequent the relapse, is an absurdity, for it usually drives the culprit to habits of increased intemperance, that he may forget the disgraceful punishment he has suffered. In war time, when in the field before the enemy, discipline should assume its most Spartan and inflexible aspect. The deserter, the mutineer, the confirmed marauder, to the provost-marshal and cord. For minor offences, there would be no difficulty in finding appropriate punishments; such as fines, imprisonment in irons, extra guards and pickets, fatigue-duty, and the like. No military offenders should be punished by the cat. It is in direct opposition to the spirit by which armies should be governed: a spirit of honour and self-respect.

"The incorrigible deserter," says Dr Fergusson, "may be safely committed to penal service in the West Indies or the coast of Africa; and should the pseudo-philanthropists interfere with the cant of false humanity, let them be told that the best and bravest of our troops have too often been sent there, as to posts of honour and duty, from which they are hereafter to be saved by the substitution of the criminal and the worthless. The other nations of the Continent, who have not these outlets, conduct the discipline of their armies without flogging; and why should not we? They, it may be said, cultivate the point of honour. And does not the germ of pride and honour reside as well, and better, in the breast of the British soldier, distinguished, as he has ever been, for fidelity to his colours, obedience to his commanders, pride in his corps, and attachment to its very name?"

Mr Marshall's history of punishments in the army is rather to be termed curious than useful. Agreeable it certainly cannot be considered, except by those persons, if such there be, who luxuriate in Fox's Book of Martyrs, or gloat over the annals of the Spanish Inquisition. It shows human ingenuity taxed to the utmost to invent new tortures for the soldier. The last adhered to, and, it may safely be said, the worst devised, is the lash; and we need look back but a very little way to find its infliction carried to a frightful extent. A thousand lashes used to be no unusual award; and it sometimes happened (frequently, Mr Marshall asserts, but this other information induces us to doubt) that a man who had been unable, with safety to his life, to receive the whole of the punishment at one time, was brought out again, as soon as his back was skinned over, to take the rest. At one time there was no limit to the number of lashes that a general court-martial might award. Mr Marshall says, that at Amboyna, in the year 1813 or 1814, he knew three men to be condemned to fifteen hundred lashes each. The whole punishment was inflicted. At Dinapore, on the 12th September 1825, a man was sentenced to nineteen hundred lashes, which sentence the commander-in-chief commuted to twelve hundred. Such sentences, however, were in direct contradiction to the general order of the 30th January 1807, by which "his Majesty was graciously pleased to express his opinion, that no sentence for corporal punishment should exceed one [Pg 135]thousand lashes." In 1812, when the powers of a regimental court-martial had been limited to the infliction of three hundred lashes, "many old officers believed, and did not hesitate to say, that such limitation would destroy the discipline of the army."—(Marshall, p. 185.) We cannot put the same faith that Mr Marshall appears to do in the outrageous narratives of some of his authorities. It is impossible, for instance, to swallow such a tale as we find at page 267 of the Military Miscellany, of seventy men of one battalion being flogged on the line of march in one day. This, however, is only given as an on dit. Equally incredible is the story quoted from the book of a certain Sergeant Teesdale, of ten to twenty-five men being flogged daily for six weeks for coming dirty on parade; and another, which Mr Marshall tells, of seventeen thousand lashes being for some time the monthly allowance of a regiment in India—the said regiment being, we are informed, treated very little worse than its neighbours. The articles of war, as they stand at the present day, restrict the award of corporal punishment, by a general court-martial, to two hundred lashes; by a district court-martial, to one hundred and fifty; and by a regimental court, to one hundred.

We would put the question to any military man—even to the strongest advocate of flogging—what is the usual effect of corporal punishment on the soldier? Does it make or mar him, improve his character and correct his vices, or render him more reckless and abandoned than before? The conscientious answer would be, we are persuaded, that seldom is a good soldier made of a flogged man. "There is not an instance in a thousand," says Dr Jackson, "where severe punishment (flogging is here referred to) has made a soldier what he ought to be; there are thousands where it has rendered those who were forgetful and careless, rather than vicious, insensible to honour, and abandoned to crime." But then the example is supposed, erroneously, as we believe, to be of good operation. We cannot admit that, to justify the practice of marking a man's shoulders with the ineffaceable stripes of disgrace.

In speaking of corporal punishment, we have considered only its moral effect, and have not touched on the unnecessary and unequal amount of pain it occasions. Much might be said upon this head. "My first objection to flogging," says Sir Charles Napier, in his treatise "On Military Law," published in 1837, "is, that it is torture,"—using the word, no doubt, in the sense of inhumanity, and meaning that more pain than is necessary is inflicted. Sir Charles's second objection is, that it is torture of a very unequal infliction—varying, of course, according to the strength of the drummers or others employed, to the rigour of the drum-major superintending their exertions, and to other circumstances. Mr Marshall tells us that different men suffer in very different degrees from punishment of like severity. Tall slender men, of a sanguine temperament, feel a flogging more severely than short, thickset ones; and instances have been known of soldiers succumbing under a sixth part of the punishment which others have borne and rapidly recovered from. The presence of a surgeon is in many cases no guarantee against a fatal result. "It is impossible to say what may be the effect of corporal infliction with more certainty than to predict the consequences of a surgical operation."—(Military Miscellany, p. 224.) "No medical officer can answer either for the immediate or ultimate consequences of this species of corporal punishment. Inflammation of the back, or general fever, may occur after a very moderate infliction, and may terminate fatally, notwithstanding the greatest diligence and attention on the part of a well-informed and conscientious surgeon."—(Ibid. p. 276.) Besides the reasons against corporal punishment above stated, Sir Charles Napier advances and supports by argument six others equally cogent. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, although he introduced into his army the species of flogging known as the gantlope or gauntlet, rarely had recourse to it, being persuaded that "such a disgrace cast a damp upon the soldier's vivacity, and did not well[Pg 136] agree with the notions which a high spirit ought to entertain of honour." "Il ne faut point," says Kirckhoff, a medical officer in the army of the king of the Netherlands, quoted by Mr Marshall, "soumettre le soldat fautif à des punitions avilissantes. A quoi bon les coups de bâton qu'on donne trop légèrement au soldat, si ce n'est pour l'abrutir, et pour déshonorer le noble état du defenseur de la patrie? Ce genre de punition déshonorant ne devrait être réservé qu'aux lâches et aux traîtres; et dès qu'une fois un militaire l'aurait subi, il faudrait l'exclure à jamais d'un ordre auquel les destins d'une nation sont confiés; d'un ordre qui a pour base le courage, l'honneur, et toutes les vertus généreuses."

It is singular that whilst such remarkable ingenuity has been exhibited in devising punishments for the soldier, so very little should have been displayed in the invention of rewards. Of these latter, the most legitimate and desirable are pensions and promotion. We would add a third—a military order of merit to be bestowed upon men distinguishing themselves by acts of gallantry, or by steady good conduct. Decorations of this kind—we are convinced of it by our observations on various foreign services—act as a strong incentive to the soldier. There exists in this country a prejudice against their adoption, principally because we are accustomed to see such rewards heaped without discrimination, and with a profusion that renders them worthless, upon the soldiers of foreign nations. There seems a natural tendency to the abuse of such institutions, and Napoleon might well shudder were he to rise from his grave and see his "Star of the Brave" dangling from the buttonhole of half the pamphleteers and national guardsmen of the French capital. In other countries the lavish profusion with which stars, crosses, riband-ends, and rosettes are bestowed, is enough to raise a suspicion of collusion between the royal donors and the jewellers and haberdashers of their dominions. But even when largely distributed, we believe them to act as a spur to the soldier. If there is a fear of England's becoming what we find so ridiculous in others, a country where the non-decorated amongst military men are the exception, let great caution be used in the bestowal of such honours. We now refer to an order of merit for the soldiers only. With officers we have at present nothing to do; although we shall be found upon occasion equally ready and willing to support their just claims. But they can plead their own cause, if not effectually, at least perseveringly, as the recent numerous letters in newspapers, and articles in military periodicals, claiming a decoration for Peninsular services, sufficiently prove. Such a decoration was certainly nobly deserved, but, if conceded at all, it should be given quickly, or its existence, it is to be feared, will be very brief. Our present business, however, is with the soldier—the humble private, the deserving non-commissioned officer.

It is not unnatural that when tardy reflection comes to the thoughtless lad who has sold himself to unlimited military bondage, he should be anxious to know what provision is made for him when age or disease shall cause his services to be dispensed with. Inquiry or reference informs him, that should he be discharged after fourteen and under twenty-one years service, so far disabled as to be unable to work—this is a condition—he may be awarded the magnificent sum of from sixpence to eightpence a-day! Discharged under twenty-one years' service, as disabled for the army only, he may get a temporary pension of sixpence a-day for a period varying from one month to five years. Discharged by indulgence after twenty-five years, he may receive sixpence a-day. We have already remarked on the little heed taken by civilians in this country of the treatment and ordinances of the army. These statements will probably be new to most of our non-military readers, many of whom, we doubt not, entertain an absurd notion, that when a man has served his country well and faithfully during twenty-five years, or is dismissed, as unable to work, after fourteen years' servitude, he invariably finds a snug berth ready for him at Chelsea, or at least has a pension[Pg 137] awarded to him tolerably adequate to supply him with the bare necessaries of life, and to keep him from begging or crossing-sweeping. As to the savings of soldiers out of their pay, facilitated though they now are by the establishment of savings' banks in the army, they can be but exceedingly small. A soldier's pay varies from thirteen to fifteen pence, according to the time he has served. Deduct from this the cost of his clothing, only a portion of which is supplied to him free of charge, and sixpence a-day for his rations of bread and meat, and what remains will frequently not exceed threepence a-day for tobacco, vegetables, coffee, and other small necessaries. The great difference between the pay, rations, and pensions of soldiers and sailors, is not generally known. Besides receiving rations far more abundant and varied, an able seaman gets thirty-four shillings per month of twenty-eight days, more than double the pay of a soldier under seven years' service. Seamen have a claim of right to be discharged after twenty-one years' service with a pension of one shilling to fourteen pence a-day. And, besides this, it must be remembered that a sailor may enlist for a short time, and at its expiration, or at any time that he is discharged, employment is open to him in the merchant service. But what is the soldier to do when dismissed from the army at forty years of age or upwards? "A very small number of men," says Mr Marshall, "are fit after forty years of age for the arduous duties of the service." Surely it may be claimed for our brave fellows that a more liberal system of pensioning be adopted. We do not lose sight of the necessity of economy in these days of heavy taxation; and before deciding on a plan, the matter should be well sifted and considered. But we have already expressed our conviction that limited service would of itself in various ways produce a pecuniary saving to the government. Adequate pensions would have other beneficial results. Mr Marshall throws out suggestions for a new scale of pensions, and declares his opinion, that no man who has served twenty-one years should receive a smaller allowance than a shilling a-day.

"The more striking," he proceeds to say, "the honourable example of an old soldier enjoying his pension, the more likely is it to contribute to spread a military feeling in the neighbourhood. But to repay the retired soldier by a pension inadequate to his sustenance, must have the effect of consigning him to the workhouse, and of sinking him and the army in the estimation of the working class of the population; destroying all military feeling, and, whilst the soldier is serving, weakening those important aids to discipline—the cheerfulness and satisfaction which the prospect of a pension, after a definite period, inspires."

We now come to a branch of our subject encompassed with peculiar difficulties, and that will be met with many objections; the present system of disposing of commissions in the army is too convenient and agreeable to a large and influential class of the community for it to be otherwise. The most important part of the proposed scheme of rewards is the bestowing of commissions upon sergeants. We are aware that, in the present constitution of the army, much may be urged against such a plan being carried out beyond an exceedingly limited extent. But most of the objections would, we think, be removed by the adoption and consequences of limited service, and by the extinction of corporal punishment. Others would disappear before a greater attention to the education of the soldier, and before some slight reductions in what are now erroneously considered the necessary expenses of officers.

Constituted and regulated as the British army now is, the immediate consequences of enlistment to the young peasant or artisan of previous respectability is a total breach with his family. However good his previous character, the single fact of his entering what ought to be an honourable profession, excludes him from the society and good opinion of his nearest friends. Former associates shun and look coldly upon him, his female relatives are ashamed to be seen walking with him, often the door of his father's cottage or workshop is shut on his approach. The community in general, there is no dissembling[Pg 138] the fact, look upon soldiers as a degraded class, and upon the recruit as a man consigned to evil company, to idleness and the alehouse, and perhaps to the ignominy of the lash. To brand an innocent man as criminal is the way to render him so. Avoided and despised, the young soldier, to whom bad example is not wanting, speedily comes to deserve the disreputable character which the mere assumption of a red coat has caused to be fixed upon him. So long as military service stands thus low in the opinion of the people, the army will have to recruit its ranks from the profligate and the utterly destitute, and the supply of respectable volunteers will be as limited as heretofore. At present, most young men of a better class whom a temporary impulse, or a predilection for the service, has induced to enlist, strain every nerve, when they awake to their real position, to raise funds for their discharge. In this their friends often aid them; and we have known instances of incredible sacrifices being made by the poor to snatch a son or brother from what they looked upon as the jaws of destruction. And thus is it that a large proportion of the respectable recruits are bought out after a brief period of service.

Assuming limitation of service and the abolition of corporal punishment to have been conceded, the next thing demanding attention would be the education of the soldier. This has hitherto been sadly neglected, strangely so at a period and in a country where education of the people is so strongly and generally advocated. The schoolmaster is abroad, we are told—we should be glad to hear of his visiting the barrack-room. To no class of the population would a good plain education be more valuable than to the soldier, as a means of filling up his abundant leisure, of improving his moral condition, and preserving him from drunkenness and vice. How extraordinary that its advantages should so long have been overlooked, even by those to whom they ought to have been the most palpable. "Of two hundred and fourteen officers," Mr Marshall writes, "who returned answers to the following query, addressed to them by the General Commanding in Chief, in 1834, only two or three recommended intellectual, moral, or religious cultivation as a means of preventing crime:—'Are you enabled to suggest any means of restraining, or eradicating the propensity to drunkenness, so prevalent among the soldiery, and confessedly the parent of the majority of military crimes?' A great variety of penal enactments were recommended, but no one suggested the school master's drill but Sir George Arthur and the late Colonel Oglander. The colonel's words are:—'The only effectual corrective of this, as of every other vice, is a sound and rational sense of religion. This is the only true foundation of moral discipline. The establishment of libraries, and the system of adult schools, would be useful in this view.'" To prevent crime is surely better than to punish it. Vast pains are taken with the merely military education of the soldier. A recruit is carefully drilled into the perpendicular, taught to handle his musket, mount his guards, clean his accoutrements—converted, in short, into an excellent automaton—and then he is dismissed as perfect, and left to lounge away, as best he may, his numerous hours of daily leisure. He has perhaps never been taught to read and write, or may possess those accomplishments but imperfectly. What more natural than to encourage, and, if necessary, to compel him to acquire them, together with such other useful scholarship as it may be desirable for him to possess? Education would be especially valuable under a system of limited service. The soldier, leaving the army when still a young man, would be better fitted than before he entered it, for any trade or occupation he might adopt. And when the lower classes found that military service was made a medium for the communication of knowledge, and that their sons, after seven years passed under the colours, were better able to get through the world advantageously and creditably than when they enlisted, the present strong prejudice against a soldier's life would rapidly become weakened, and finally disappear. The army would then be looked upon by poor men with large families as no[Pg 139] undesirable resource for temporarily providing for one or two of their sons.

It is certainly not creditable to this country, that in France, Prussia, Holland, and even in Russia—that land of the serf and the Cossack—greater pains are taken with the education of the soldier than in free and enlightened England. It has become customary to compare our navy with that of France, and when we are found to have a carronade or a cock-boat less than our friends across the water, a shout of indignation is forthwith set up by vigilant journalists and nervous naval officers. We heartily wish that it were equally usual to contrast our army with that of the French—not in respect of numbers, but of the attention paid to the education and moral discipline of the men. Every French regiment has two schools, a higher and a lower one. In the latter are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic; in the former, geography, book-keeping, the elements of geometry and fortification, and other things equally useful. The schools are managed by lieutenants, aided by non-commissioned officers; and sergeants recommended for commissions are required to pass an examination in the branches of knowledge there taught. It is well known that in the French service, as in most others, excepting the English, a proportion of the commissions is set aside for the sergeants. In the Prussian service there is a school in each battalion, superintended by a captain and three lieutenants, who receive additional pay for alternately taking a share in the instruction of the soldiers. "Non-commissioned officers," Mr Marshall informs us, "who wish to become officers, first undergo an examination in geography, history, simple mathematics, and the French and German languages. At the end of another year they are again examined in the same branches of knowledge, and also in algebra, military drawing, and fortification. If they pass this second examination, they become officers."

How many of the young men, who, by virtue of interest or money, enter the British army as ensigns and cornets, would be found willing to devote even a small portion of their time to the instruction of the soldier? Very few, we fear. By the majority, the idea would be scouted as a bore, and as quite inconsistent with their dignity. Extra pay, however acceptable to the comparatively needy Prussian lieutenant, might be expected to prove an insufficient inducement in a service where it is frequently difficult to find a subaltern to accept the duties of adjutant. None can entertain a higher respect than we do for the gallant spirit and many excellent qualities of the present race of British officers; but we confess a wish that they would view their profession in a more serious light. Young men entering the army seemingly imagine, that the sole object of their so doing is to wear a well-made uniform, and dine at a pleasant mess; and that, once dismissed to their duty by the adjutant, they may fairly discard all idea of self-instruction and improvement. But war is an art, and therefore its principles can be acquired but by study. Our young officers too often neglect not only their military studies, but their mental improvement in other respects; forgetting that the most valuable part of a man's education is not that acquired at a public school before the age of eighteen, but that which he bestows upon himself after that age. The former is the foundation; the latter the fabric to be raised upon it. We have known instances of smart subs deft upon parade, brilliants in the ball-room, perfect models of a pretty soldier from plume to boot-heel, so supremely ignorant of the common business of life as to be unable to write a letter without a severe effort, or to draw a bill upon their agents when no one was at hand to instruct them in its form. It was but the other day that an officer related to us, that, being detached on an outpost in one of our colonies, he found himself in company with two brother subalterns, both most anxious to make a call upon their father's strong-box, but totally ignorant how to effect the same. Their spirit was very willing, but their pen lamentably weak; their exchequer was exhausted, and in their mind's-eye the paternal coffers stood [Pg 140]invitingly open; but nevertheless they sat helpless, ruefully contemplating oblong slips of blank paper, until our friend, whose experience as a man of business was somewhat greater, extricated them from their painful dilemma, by drawing up the necessary document at thirty days' sight. In this particular view, want of skill as a "pen and ink man" would probably not be regretted by those most interested in their sons; and doubtless many governors would exclaim, as fervently as Lord Douglas in Marmion,

"Thanks to St Bothan, son of mine
Could never pen a written line!"

Seriously speaking, a graver and more studious tone is wanted in our service. It is found in the military services of other countries. German and French officers take their calling far more au sérieux than do ours. They find abundant time for pleasure, but also for solitude and reading, and for attention to the improvement of the soldier. Dressing, dining, and cigars, and beating the pavements of a garrison town with his boot-heels, ought not to fill up the whole time of a subaltern officer. That in this country they usually do so, will be admitted by all who have had opportunities of observing young English officers in peace time. We could bring hosts of witnesses in support of our assertion, but will content ourselves with one whose competency to judge in such matters will not be disputed. The following passages are from Major-General Sir George Arthur's "General Observations upon Military Discipline, and the Intellectual and Moral Improvement of both Officers and Soldiers."

"I have said that education is essential, as well as moral character, and so it is. Look into the habits of the officers of almost every regiment in His Majesty's service—how are they formed? Do men study at all after they get commissions? Very far from it; unless an officer is employed in the field, his days are passed in mental idleness—his ordinary duties are carried on instinctively—there is no intellectual exertion. To discuss fluently upon women, play, horses, and wine, is, with some excellent exceptions, the ordinary range of mess conversation. In these matters lie the education of young officers, generally speaking, after entering the service."

"If the officers were not seen so habitually walking in the streets in every garrison town, the soldiers would be less frequently found in public-houses."

The influence of example is great, especially when exercised by those whom we are taught to look up to and respect. A change in the habits of officers will go far to produce one in those of their men. French officers, of whom we are sure that no British officer who has met them, either in the field or in quarters, will speak without respect, feel a pride and a pleasure in the instruction of the soldier, and take pains to induce him to improve his mind, holding out as an incentive the prospect of promotion. And such interest and solicitude produce, amongst other good effects, an affectionate feeling on the part of the soldier towards his superiors, which, far from interfering with discipline, makes him perform his duties, often onerous and painful, with increased zeal and good-will. For the want of this kindly sympathy between different ranks, and of the moral instruction which, by elevating their character, would go far to produce it, our soldiers are converted into mere machines, unable even to think, often forbidden so to do. We are convinced that attention to the education of the soldier, introduced simultaneously with short enlistments and abolition of flogging, would speedily create in the army of this country a body of non-commissioned officers, who, when promoted, would disgrace no mess-table in the service. With the prospect of the epaulet before them, they would strive to improve themselves, and to become fit society for the men of higher breeding and education with whom they hoped one day to be called upon to associate. For, if it be painful and unpleasant to a body of gentlemen to have a coarse and ill-mannered man thrust upon them, it is certainly not less so to the intruder, if he possess one spark of feeling, to find himself shunned[Pg 141] and looked coldly upon by his new associates. The total abolition of corporal punishment is, we consider, a necessary preliminary to promotion from the ranks on an extensive scale. We were told four years ago, in the House of Commons, during a debate on the Mutiny bill, that there were then in the British army four colonels who were flogged men. Many will remember the story related in a recent military publication, of the old field-officer who, one day at the mess-table, or amongst a party of his comrades, declared himself in favour of corporal punishment, on the ground that he himself had never been worth a rush till he had taken his cool three hundred. During a long war, abounding in opportunities of distinction, and at a time when the lash was the universal punishment for nearly every offence, it is not surprising that here and there a flogged man got his commission. But, in our opinion, not only the circumstance of having been flogged, but the mere liability to so degrading an infliction, might plausibly be urged as an argument against promotion from the ranks. Let the lash, then, at once and totally disappear; replace torture by instruction, hold out judicious rewards instead of disgraceful punishment, appeal to the sense of honour of the man, instead of to the sense of pain of the brute; and, repudiating the harsh traditions of less enlightened days, lay it down as an axiom, that the British soldier can and will fight at least as well under a mild and generous system, as when the bloody thongs of the cat are suspended in terrorem over him.

The physical as well as moral training of the soldier should receive attention, as a means both of filling up his time, thereby keeping him from the alehouse, and of increasing his efficiency in the field. At present the marching qualities of our armies are very far inferior to their fighting ones. In the latter, they are surpassed by none—in the former, equal to few. And yet how important is it that troops should be able to perform long and rapid marches! The fate of a campaign, the destruction of an enemy's army, may, and often does depend upon a forced march. At that work there is scarcely an army in Europe worth the naming, but would beat us, at least at the commencement of a war, and until our soldiers had got their marching legs—a thing not done in a day, or without great loss and inconvenience by straggling. Foot-sore men are almost as great a nuisance and encumbrance to infantry, as sore-backed horses to dragoons. Our soldiers are better fed than those of most other countries, and to keep them in hard and serviceable condition they require more exercise than they get. French soldiers are encouraged to practice athletic exercises and games; running, quoit-playing, and fencing, the latter especially, are their constant pastimes. Most of them are expert swordsmen, no valueless accomplishment even to the man whose usual weapons are musket and bayonet, but one that in our infantry regiments is frequently neglected even by those whose only arm is the sword, namely, the officers. Surely the man who carries a sword should know how to use it in the most effectual manner. Let old officers say on whose side the advantage usually was in the sword duels that occurred when Paris was occupied by the Allies, and when the French officers, maddened by their reverses, sought opportunities of picking quarrels with their conquerors. The adjutant of a British foot regiment informed us, that on one occasion, not very long ago, at a review of his corps by an officer of high rank, the latter, after applauding the performances of the regiment, expressed a wish to see the officers do the sword exercise. In obedience to orders, the adjutant called the officers to the front. "I suppose, gentlemen," said he, "that few of you know much about the sword exercise." His assumption was not contradicted. "Probably, your best plan will be to watch the sergeant-major and myself." And accordingly adjutant and sergeant-major placed themselves in front of each flank, and the officers, looking to them as fuglemen, went through their exercise with great delicacy and tolerable correctness, to the perfect satisfaction of the inspecting general, who probably was not disposed to be very captious. But we are digressing from the subject of the soldier's [Pg 142]occupations. In France, let a military work be required—a wall, road, or fortification—and the soldiers slip into their working dresses, and labour at it with a good will produced by additional pay. Thus were the forts and vast wall now surrounding Paris run up in wonderfully short time by the exertions of the soldiery. In all German garrison towns, we believe—certainly in all that we have visited—is found an Exercitiums Platz, a field or plot of ground with bars, poles, and other gymnastic contrivances, reserved for the troops, who are frequently to be seen there, amusing themselves, and improving their strength and activity of body. We are aware of nothing of this kind in our service, beyond a rare game at cricket, got up by the good-nature of officers. As Dr Fergusson truly says, "of all European troops, our own appear to be the most helpless and listless in their quarters. Whilst the soldiers of other nations employ their leisure hours in fencing, gymnastics, and other exercises of strength, ours are lounging idle, or muddled, awaiting the hour of their unvaried meal, or the drum being beat for the daily parades." This might easily be altered. It needs but to be thought of, which hitherto it appears not to have been. No men are naturally more adapted and prone to manly exercises than the English. Give the soldier the opportunity, and he will gladly avail himself of it.

Before closing this paper, a word or two on the equipment and dress of the army will not be out of place. We are glad to find the opinions we have long entertained on those subjects confirmed by a pithy and pointed chapter in Dr Fergusson's book. The externals of the army have of late been much discussed, and have undergone certain changes, scarcely deserving the name of improvements. In regulating such matters, three objects should be kept in view, and their pursuit never departed from; lightness on the march, protection from the weather, ease of movement. The attainment of these should be sought by every means; even by the sacrifice, if necessary, of what pleases the eye. The most heavily laden, the British soldier is in many respects the most inconveniently equipped, of all European men-at-arms. The covering of his head, the material and colour of his belts, the very form of the foot-soldier's overalls, cut large over the shoe, as if on purpose to become dirty and draggled on the march, seem selected with a view to occasion him as much uncomfort and trouble as possible. Time was, when the soldier was compelled to powder his hair and wear a queue and tight knee breeches, like a dancing master or a French marquis of the ancien régime. For the sweeping away of such absurdities, which must have been especially convenient and agreeable in a bivouac; we may thank the Duke of York; but much as has been done, there is much more to do. And first as regards the unnecessarily heavy belts, the cumbersome and misplaced cartridge-box. Than the latter it would be difficult to devise any thing more inconvenient, as all who have seen British infantry in the field will admit. The soldier has to make a rapid advance, to pursue a flying enemy, to scud across fields, leap ditches or jump down banks when out skirmishing. At every spring or jump, bang goes the lumbering cartridge-box against his posteriors, until he is fain to use his hand to steady it, thereby of course greatly impeding his progress, the swiftness and ease of running depending in great measure on one arm, at least, being at liberty. And then the belts, what an unnecessary mass of leather is there, all bedaubed with the fictitious purity of chalk and water. When will the soldier cease to depend for cleanliness upon pipe-clay, justly styled by Dr Fergusson "as absurd and unwholesome a nuisance as ever was invented." Had the object been to give the utmost possible trouble to the infantry-man, no better means could have been devised than inflicting on him the belts at present used, of all others the most easily sullied and troublesome to clean. Let a black patent leather belt and rifleman's cartridge-box be adopted as the regulation for the whole of the British service. Light to carry, convenient in form, and easy to clean, it is the perfection of infantry equipment.

There has recently been a great talk about hats, and various shocking[Pg 143] bad ones have been proposed as a substitute for the old top-heavy shako. Without entering upon a subject that has already caused so much controversy, we would point attention to the light shako worn by the French troops in Algeria. Low, and slightly tapering in form, with a broad peak projecting horizontally, so as to shade the eyes without embarrassing the vision, which peaks that droop overmuch are apt to do, its circumference is of cloth, its crown of thick leather painted white. The general effect is good, conveying an idea of lightness and convenience, both of which this head-dress certainly possesses; and it appears to us that a hint might be taken from it, at any rate, for our troops in India, and other hot climates. As to fur caps a yard high, and similar nonsensical exhibitions, we can only say that the sooner they are done away with, the better for the credit of those who have it in their power to abolish such gross absurdities. With regard to coats, "I advance no pretensions," says Dr Fergusson, "to fancy or taste in military dress, but I ought to know what constitutes cover and protection to the human frame, and amongst these the swallow-tailed coat of the infantry, pared away as it is to an absurdity, holds no place. If health and protection were the object, the coat should be of round cut, to cover the thighs as low as the knees, with body of sufficient depth to support the unprotected flanks and abdomen of the wearer." In the French service, frock-coats have of late been universally adopted. We should prefer a tailed coat of greater amplitude of skirt and depth of body than the one in present use; for it is certain, and will be acknowledged by all who have performed marches and pedestrian excursions, that the skirts of a frock-coat flapping against the front of the thighs, more or less impede motion and add to fatigue.

Although the form of a soldier's dress is important, for it may make a considerable difference in his health and comfort, its colour and ornamental details are a very secondary consideration. It were absurd to doubt that a British soldier would fight equally well, whatever the tint of the cloth that covered his stalwart arm and stout heart. Strip him to-morrow of his scarlet, and he will do his devoir as nobly in the white jacket of the Austrian grenadier or the brown one of the Portuguese cazador. Such matters, it will be said, may be left to army tailors and pet colonels of fancy regiments, in conclave assembled. Nevertheless it is a subject that should not entirely be passed over. Soldiers are apt to look with disgust and contempt upon equipments that are tawdry and unserviceable, or that give them unnecessary trouble. They should be gravely, soberly, and usefully clad, in the garb that may be found most comfortable and durable in the field, not in that which most flatters the eye on a Hounslow or Hyde Park parade. Dr Fergusson is amusing enough upon the subject of hussar pelisses and such-like foreign fooleries.

"The first time I ever saw a hussar, or hulan, was at Ghent, in Flanders, then an Austrian town; and when I beheld a richly decorated pelisse waving, empty sleeves and all, from his shoulder, I never doubted that the poor man must have been recently shot through the arm; a glance, however, upon a tightly braided sleeve underneath, made it still more unaccountable; and why he should not have had an additional pair of richly ornamental breeches dangling at his waist, as well as a jacket from his shoulders, has, I confess, puzzled me from that time to the present; it being the first rule of health to keep the upper portion of the body as cool, and the lower as warm as possible."

The doctor further disapproves of scarlet as a colour for uniform, because "a man clothed in scarlet exhibits the dress of a mountebank rather than of a British warrior going forth to fight the battles of his country," and also "because it is the worst adapted for any hard work of all the colours, as it immediately becomes shabby and tarnished on being exposed to the weather; and a single wet night in the bivouac spoils it completely." Here we must differ from the doctor. The chief advantage of scarlet, we have always considered, and we believe the same opinion to[Pg 144] be generally held by military men, is that it looks well longer, gets white and shabby later, than a darker colour. The preparation of the cloth and mode of dyeing, may, however, have been improved since Dr Fergusson's period of service. With regard to the colour, there is a popular prejudice in its favour, associating it as most persons do, from childhood upwards, with ideas of glory and victory. Had our uniform been yellow for the same period that it has been red, we should have attached those ideas to the former colour; but that would be no reason for continuing to dress soldiers like canary birds. Apart from association, scarlet is unmilitary, first, because it is tawdry; and, secondly, as rendering the soldier, when isolated, an easier mark than a less glaring colour. We doubt also, if it would harmonize well with the black belts, which we desire to see adopted; and on these various accounts we must give our vote in favour of the sober blue of the Prussians, assuredly no un-British colour, and one already in use for many of our cavalry regiments. The Portuguese troops, as they are now uniformed, or were, when last we saw them, offer no bad model in this respect. Blue coats and dark grey trousers are the colours of their line regiments, and these we should like to see adopted in our service, preserving always the green for the rifles, who ought to be ten times as numerous as they are, as we shall discover whenever we come to a brush with the Yankees, or with our old and gallant opponent, Monsieur Nong-tong-paw. One would have thought that the picking off of our officers at New Orleans, and on other occasions, and the stinging practice of French tirailleurs during the last war, would have taught our military rulers a lesson in this respect; but the contrary seems the case, and on we go at the old jog-trot, heavy men, heavy equipments, and slow march, whilst seven-eighths of the French army are practically light infantry, and it is only the other day that they raised ten new regiments of sharpshooters, the Chasseurs de Vincennes, or some such name, little light active riflemen, trained to leap and to march for leagues at double quick, and who would scamper round a ten acre field whilst a heavy British grenadier went through his facings. The cool steadiness and indomitable pluck of our fellows has hitherto carried the day, and will doubtless do it again when the time comes, but it would be done with greater ease and less loss if we could condescend to fight our enemy rather more with his own weapons. Fas est ab hoste doceri, is a maxim oftener quoted than acted upon. But to return to uniforms. The scarlet might be reserved for the guards—it has always been a guardsman's colour—the blue given to the line, the green kept for the rifles; black belts on rifle plan for all. And above all, if it can be done without too great annoyance to tailors, amateur and professional, deliver us from braided pelisses, bearskin caps, crimson pantaloons, and all such costly and unserviceable fopperies. Spend money on the well-being of the soldier, rather than on the smartness of his uniform; cut down frippery, and increase comfort. Attend less to the glitter of externals, and more to that moral and intellectual cultivation, which will convert men now treated as machines, into reasoning and reasonable creatures, and valuable members of society.



[Pg 145]


Charles Russell, the Gentleman-commoner.

Chap. I.

"Have you any idea who that fresh gentleman-commoner is?" said I to Savile, who was sitting next to me at dinner, one day soon after the beginning of term. We had not usually in the college above three or four of that privileged class, so that any addition to their table attracted more attention than the arrival of the vulgar herd of freshmen to fill up the vacancies at our own. Unless one of them had choked himself with his mutton, or taken some equally decided mode of making himself an object of public interest, scarcely any man of "old standing" would have even inquired his name.

"Is he one of our men?" said Savile, as he scrutinized the party in question. "I thought he had been a stranger dining with some of them. Murray, you know the history of every man who comes up, I believe—who is he?"

"His name is Russell," replied the authority referred to; "Charles Wynderbie Russell; his father's a banker in the city: Russell and Smith, you know, —— Street."

"Ay, I dare say," said Savile; "one of your rich tradesmen; they always come up as gentlemen-commoners, to show that they have lots of money: it makes me wonder how any man of decent family ever condescends to put on a silk gown." Savile was the younger son of a poor baronet, thirteenth in descent, and affected considerable contempt for any other kind of distinction.

"Oh!" continued Murray, "this man is by no means of a bad family: his father comes of one of the oldest houses in Dorsetshire, and his mother, you know, is one of the Wynderbies of Wynderbie Court—a niece of Lord De Staveley's."

"I know!" said Savile; "nay, I never heard of Wynderbie Court in my life; but I dare say you know, which is quite sufficient. Really, Murray, you might make a good speculation by publishing a genealogical list of the undergraduate members of the university—birth, parentage, family connexions, governors' present incomes, probable expectations, &c., &c. It would sell capitally among the tradesmen—they'd know exactly when it was safe to give credit. You could call it A Guide to Duns."

"Or a History of the Un-landed Gentry," suggested I.

"Well, he is a very gentleman-like looking fellow, that Mr Russell, banker or not," said Savile, as the unconscious subject of our conversation left the hall; "I wonder who knows him?"

The same question might have been asked a week—a month after this conversation, without eliciting any very satisfactory answer. With the exception of Murray's genealogical information—the correctness of which was never doubted for a moment, though how or where he obtained this and similar pieces of history, was a point on which he kept up an amusing mystery—Russell was a man of whom no one appeared to know any thing at all. The other gentlemen-commoners had, I believe, all called upon him, as a matter of courtesy to one of their own limited mess; but in almost every case it had merely amounted to an exchange of cards. He was either out of his rooms, or "sporting oak;" and "Mr C. W. Russell," on a bit of pasteboard, had invariably appeared in the note-box of the party for whom the honour was intended, on their return from their afternoon's walk or ride. Invitations to two or three wine-parties had followed, and been civilly declined. It was at one of these meetings that he again became the subject of conversation. We were a large party, at a man of the name of Tichborne's rooms, when some one mentioned having met "the Hermit," as they called him, taking a solitary walk about three miles out of Oxford the day before.

[Pg 146]"Oh, you mean Russell," said Tichborne: "well, I was going to tell you, I called on him again this morning, and found him in his rooms. In fact, I almost followed him in after lecture; for I confess I had some little curiosity to find out what he was made of."

"And did you find out?"—"What sort of a fellow is he?" asked half-a-dozen voices at once; for, to say the truth, the curiosity which Tichborne had just confessed had been pretty generally felt, even among those who usually affected a dignified disregard of all matters concerning the nature and habits of freshmen.

"I sat with him for about twenty minutes; indeed, I should have staid longer, for I rather liked the lad; but he seemed anxious to get rid of me. I can't make him out at all, though. I wanted him to come here to-night, but he positively would not, though he didn't pretend to have any other engagement: he said he never, or seldom, drank wine."

"Not drink wine!" interrupted Savile. "I always said he was some low fellow!"

"I have known some low fellows drink their skins full of wine, though; especially at other men's expense," said Tichborne, who was evidently not pleased with the remark; "and Russell is not a low fellow by any means."

"Well, well," replied Savile, whose good-humour was imperturbable—"if you say so, there's an end of it: all I mean to say is, I can't conceive any man not drinking wine, unless for the simple reason that he prefers brandy and water, and that I do call low. However, you'll excuse my helping myself to another glass of this particularly good claret, Tichborne, though it is at your expense: indeed, the only use of you gentlemen-commoners, that I am aware of, is to give us a taste of the senior common-room wine now and then. They do manage to get it good there, certainly. I wish they would give out a few dozens as prizes at collections; it would do us a great deal more good than a Russia-leather book with the college arms on it. I don't know that I shouldn't take to reading in that case."

"Drink a dozen of it, old fellow, if you can," said Tichborne. "But really I am sorry we couldn't get Russell here this evening; I think he would be rather an acquisition, if he could be drawn out. As to his not drinking wine, that's a matter of taste; and he is not very likely to corrupt the good old principles of the college on that point. But he must please himself."

"What does he do with himself?" said one of the party—"read?"

"Why, he didn't talk about reading, as most of our literary freshmen do, which might perhaps lead one to suppose he really was something of a scholar; still, I doubt if he is what you call a reading man; I know he belongs to the Thucydides lecture, and I have never seen him there but once."

"Ah!" said Savile, with a sigh, "that's another privilege of yours I had forgotten, which is rather enviable; you can cut lectures when you like, without getting a thundering imposition. Where does this man Russell live?"

"He has taken those large rooms that Sykes used to have, and fitted up so capitally; they were vacant, you remember, the last two terms; I had some thought of moving into them myself, but they were confoundedly expensive, and I didn't think it worth while. They cost Sykes I don't know how much, in painting and papering, and are full of all sorts of couches, and easy chairs, and so forth. And this man seems to have got two or three good paintings into them; and, altogether, they are now the best rooms in college, by far."

"Does he mean to hunt?" asked another.

"No, I fancy not," replied our host: "though he spoke as if he knew something about it; but he said he had no horses in Oxford."

"Nor any where else, I'll be bound; he's a precious slow coach, you may depend upon it." And with this decisive remark, Mr Russell and his affairs were dismissed for the time.

A year passed away, and still, at the end of that time—(a long time it seemed in those days)—Russell was as much a stranger in college as ever. He had begun to be regarded as a rather mysterious person. Hardly[Pg 147] two men in the college agreed in their estimate of his character. Some said he was a natural son—the acknowledged heir to a large fortune, but too proud to mix in society, under the consciousness of a dishonoured birth. But this suspicion was indignantly refuted by Murray, as much on behalf of his own genealogical accuracy, as for Russell's legitimacy,—he was undoubtedly the true and lawful son and heir of Mr Russell the banker, of —— Street. Others said he was poor; but his father was reputed to be the most wealthy partner in a wealthy firm, and was known to have a considerable estate in the west of England. There were not wanting those who said he was "eccentric,"—in the largest sense of the term. Yet his manners and conduct, as far as they came within notice, were correct, regular, and gentlemanly beyond criticism. There was nothing about him which could fairly incur the minor charge of being odd. He dressed well, though very plainly; would converse freely enough, upon any subject, with the few men who, from sitting at the same table, or attending the same lectures, had formed a doubtful sort of acquaintance with him; and always showed great good sense, a considerable knowledge of the world, and a courtesy, and at the same time perfect dignity of manner, which effectually prevented any attempt to penetrate, by jest or direct question, the reserve in which he had chosen to inclose himself. All invitations he steadily refused; even to the extent of sending an excuse to the dean's and tutors' breakfast parties, to their ineffable disgust. Whether he read hard, or not, was equally a secret. He was regular in his attendance at chapel, and particularly attentive to the service; a fact which by no means tended to lower him in men's estimation, though in those days more remarkable than, happily, it would be now. At lectures, indeed, he was not equally exemplary, either as to attendance or behaviour; he was often absent when asked a question, and not always accurate when he replied; and occasionally declined translating a passage which came to his turn, on the ground of not having read it. Yet his scholarship, if not always strictly accurate, had a degree of elegance which betokened both talent and reading; and his taste was evidently naturally good, and classical literature a subject of interest to him. Altogether, it rather piqued the vanity of those who saw most of him, that he would give them no opportunity of seeing more; and many affected to sneer at him, as a "muff," who would have been exceedingly flattered by his personal acquaintance. Only one associate did Charles Russell appear to have in the university; and this was a little greenish-haired man in a scholar's gown, a perfect contrast to himself in appearance, whose name or college no man knew, though some professed to recognise him as a Bible-clerk of one of the smallest and most obscure of the halls.

Attempts were made to pump out of his scout some information as to how Russell passed his time: for, with the exception of a daily walk, sometimes with the companion above mentioned, but much oftener alone, and his having been seen once or twice in a skiff on the river, he appeared rarely to quit his own rooms. Scouts are usually pretty communicative of all they know—and sometimes a great deal more—about the affairs of their many masters; and they are not inclined in general to hold a very high opinion of those among "their gentlemen" who, like Russell, are behind-hand in the matter of wine and supper parties—their own perquisites suffering thereby. But Job Allen was a scout of a thousand. His honesty and integrity made him quite the "rara avis" of his class—i.e., a white swan amongst a flock of black ones. Though really, since I have left the university, and been condemned to house-keeping, and have seen the peculation and perquisite-hunting existing pretty nearly in the same proportion amongst ordinary servants—and the higher you go in society the worse it seems to be—without a tittle of the activity and cleverness displayed by a good college scout, who provides supper and etceteras for an extemporary party of twenty or so at an hour's notice, without starting a difficulty or giving vent to a grumble, or neglecting any one of his other multifarious duties, (further than [Pg 148]perhaps borrowing for the service of the said supper, some hard-reading freshman's whole stock of knives, and leaving him to spread his nocturnal bread and butter with his fingers;) since I have been led to compare this with the fuss and fidget caused in a "well-regulated family" among one's own lazy vagabonds by having an extra horse to clean, or by a couple of friends arriving unexpectedly to dinner, when they all stare at you as if you were expecting impossibilities, I have nearly come to the conclusion that college servants, like hedgehogs, are a grossly calumniated race of animals—wrongfully accused of getting their living by picking and stealing, whereas they are in fact rather more honest than the average of their neighbours. It is to be hoped that, like the hedgehogs, they enjoy a compensation in having too thick skins to be over-sensitive. At all events, Job Allen was an honest fellow. He had been known to expostulate with some of his more reckless masters upon the absurdities of their goings-on; and had more than once had a commons of bread flung at his head, when taking the opportunity of symptoms of repentance, in an evident disrelish for breakfast, to hint at the slow but inevitable approach of "degree-day." Cold chickens from the evening's supper-party had made a miraculous reappearance at next morning's lunch or breakfast; half-consumed bottles of port seemed, under his auspices, to lead charmed lives. No wonder, then, there was very little information about the private affairs of Russell to be got out of Job Allen. He had but a very poor talent for gossip, and none at all for invention. "Mr Russell's a very nice, quiet sort of gentleman, sir, and keeps his-self pretty much to his-self." This was Job's account of him; and, to curious enquirers, it was provoking both for its meagreness and its truth. "Who's his friend in the rusty gown, Job?" "I thinks, sir, his name's Smith." "Is Mr Russell going up for a class, Job?" "I can't say indeed, sir." "Does he read hard?" "Not over-hard I think, sir." "Does he sit up late, Job?" "Not over-late, sir." If there was any thing to tell, it was evident Job would neither commit himself nor his master.

Russell's conduct was certainly uncommon. If he had been the son of a poor man, dependent for his future livelihood on his own exertions, eking out the scanty allowance ill-spared by his friends by the help of a scholarship or exhibition, and avoiding society as leading to necessary expense, his position would have been understood, and even, in spite of the prejudices of youthful extravagance, commended. Or if he had been a hard-reading man from choice—or a stupid man—or a "saint"—no one would have troubled themselves about him or his proceedings. But Russell was a gentleman-commoner, and a man who had evidently seen something of the world; a rich man, and apparently by no means of the character fitted for a recluse. He had dined once with the principal, and the two or three men who had met him there were considerably surprised at the easy gracefulness of his manners, and his information upon many points usually beyond the range of undergraduates: at his own table, too, he never affected any reserve, although, perhaps from a consciousness of having virtually declined any intimacy with his companions, he seldom originated any conversation. It might have been assumed, indeed, that he despised the society into which he was thrown, but that his bearing, so far from being haughty or even cold, was occasionally marked by apparent dejection. There was also, at times, a breaking out as it were of the natural spirits of youth, checked almost abruptly; and once or twice he had betrayed an interest in, and a knowledge of, field-sports and ordinary amusements, which for the moment made his hearers fancy, as Tichborne said, that he was "coming out." But if, as at first often happened, such conversations led to a proposal for a gallop with the harriers, or a ride the next afternoon, or a match at billiards, or even an invitation to a quiet breakfast party—the refusal, though always courteous—and sometimes it was fancied unwilling—was always decided. And living day by day within reach of that close companionship which similarity of age, pursuits, and tastes, strengthened by daily intercourse, was cementing around him,[Pg 149] Charles Russell, in his twentieth year, in a position to choose his own society, and qualified to shine in it, seemed to have deliberately adopted the life of a recluse.

There were some, indeed, who accounted for his behaviour on the ground of stinginess; and it was an opinion somewhat strengthened by one or two trifling facts. When the subscription-list for the College boat was handed to him, he put his name down for the minimum of one guinea, though Charley White, our secretary, with the happy union of impudence and "soft sawder" for which he was remarkable, delicately drew his attention to the fact, that no other gentleman-commoner had given less than five. Still it was not very intelligible that a man who wished to save his pocket, should choose to pay double fees for the privilege of wearing a velvet cap and silk gown, and rent the most expensive set of rooms in the college.

It happened that I returned one night somewhat late from a friend's rooms out of college, and had the satisfaction to find that my scout, in an unusually careful mood, had shut my outer "oak," which had a spring lock, of which I never by any chance carried the key. It was too late to send for the rascal to open it, and I was just planning the possibility of effecting an entrance at the window by means of the porter's ladder, when the light in Russell's room caught my eye, and I remembered that, in the days of their former occupant, our keys used to correspond, very much to our mutual convenience. It was no very great intrusion, even towards one in the morning, to ask a man to lend you his door-key, when the alternative seemed to be spending the night in the quadrangle: so I walked up his staircase, knocked, was admitted, and stated my business with all proper apologies. The key was produced most graciously, and down I went again—unluckily two steps at a time. My foot slipped, and one grand rattle brought me to the bottom: not head first, but feet first, which possibly is not quite so dangerous, but any gentleman who has tried it will agree with me that it is sufficiently unpleasant. I was dreadfully shaken; and when I tried to get up, found it no easy matter. Russell, I suppose, heard the fall, for he was by my side by the time I had collected my ideas. I felt as if I had skinned myself at slight intervals all down one side; but the worst of it was a sprained ankle. How we got up-stairs again I have no recollection; but when a glass of brandy had brought me to a little, I found myself in an easy-chair, with my foot on a stool, shivering and shaking like a wet puppy. I staid there a fortnight, (not in the chair, reader, but in the rooms;) and so it was I became intimately acquainted with Charles Russell. His kindness and attention to me were excessive; I wished of course to be moved to my own rooms at once, but he would not hear of it; and as I found every wriggle and twist which I gave quite sufficiently painful, I acceded to my surgeon's advice to remain where I was.

It was not a very pleasant mode of introduction for either party. Very few men's acquaintance is worth the pains of bumping all the way downstairs and spraining an ankle for: and for a gentleman who voluntarily confines himself to his own apartment and avoids society, to have another party chummed in upon him perforce, day and night, sitting in an armchair, with a suppressed groan occasionally, and an abominable smell of hartshorn—is, to say the least of it, not the happiest mode of hinting to him the evils of solitude. Whether it was that the one of us, compelled thus against his will to play the host, was anxious to show he was no churl by nature, and the other, feeling himself necessarily in a great degree an intruder and a bore, put forth more zealously any redeeming social qualities he might possess; be this as it might, within that fortnight Russell and I became sincere friends.

I found him, as I had expected, a most agreeable and gentlemanlike companion, clever and well informed, and with a higher and more settled tone of principles than is common to his age and position. But strongly contrasted with his usually cheerful manner, were sudden intervals of abstraction approaching to gloominess.[Pg 150] In him, it was evidently not the result of caprice, far less of any thing approaching to affectation. I watched him closely, partly from interest, partly because I had little else to do, and became convinced that there was some latent cause of grief or anxiety at work. Once in particular, after the receipt of some letters, (they were always opened hurriedly, and apparently with a painful interest,) he was so visibly discomposed and depressed in spirits, that I ventured to express a hope that they had contained no distressing intelligence. Russell seemed embarrassed at having betrayed any unusual emotion, and answered in the negative; adding, that "he knew he was subject to the blues occasionally"—and I felt I could say no more. But I suppose I did not look convinced; for catching my eyes fixed on him soon afterwards, he shook my hand and said, "Something has vexed me—I cannot tell you what; but I won't think about it again now."

One evening, towards the close of my imprisonment, after a long and pleasant talk over our usual sober wind-up of a cup of coffee, some recent publication, tasteful, but rather expensive, was mentioned, which Russell expressed a wish to see. I put the natural question, to a man in his position who could appreciate the book, and to whom a few pounds were no consideration—why did he not order it? He coloured slightly, and after a moment's hesitation hurriedly replied, "Because I cannot afford it." I felt a little awkwardness as to what to say next; for the style of every thing round me betrayed a lavish disregard of expense, and yet the remark did not at all bear the tone of a jest. Probably Russell understood what was passing in my mind; for presently, without looking at me, he went on: "Yes, you may well think it a pitiful economy to grudge five guineas for a book like that, and indulge one's-self in such pompous mummery as we have here;" and he pushed down with his foot a massive and beautiful silver coffee-pot, engraved with half-a-dozen quarterings of arms, which, in spite of a remonstrance from me, had been blackening before the fire to keep its contents warm. "Never mind it," he continued, as I in vain put out my hand to save it from falling—"it won't be damaged; it will fetch just as much per ounce; and I really cannot afford to buy an inferior article." Russell's behaviour up to this moment had been rational enough, but at the moment a suspicion crossed my mind that "eccentricity," as applied to his case, might possibly, as in some other cases, be merely an euphonism for something worse. However, I picked up the coffee-pot, and said nothing. "You must think me very strange, Hawthorne; I quite forgot myself at the moment; but if you choose to be trusted with a secret, which will be no secret long, I will tell you what will perhaps surprise you with regard to my own position, though I really have no right to trouble you with my confidences." I disclaimed any wish to assume the right of inquiring into private matters, but at the same time expressed, as I sincerely felt, an interest in what was evidently a weight on my companion's mind. "Well, to say the truth," continued Russell, "I think it will be a relief to me to tell you how I stand. I know that I have often felt of late that I am acting a daily lie here, to all the men about me; passing, doubtless, for a rich man, when in truth, for aught I know, I and all my family are beggars at this moment." He stopped, walked to the window, and returned. "I am surrounded here by luxuries which have little right within a college's walls; I occupy a distinctive position which you and others are supposed not to be able to afford. I never can mix with any of you, without, as it were, carrying with me every where the superscription written—'This is a rich man.' And yet, with all this outward show, I may be a debtor to your charity for my bread to-morrow. You are astonished, Hawthorne; of course you are. I am not thus playing the hypocrite willingly, believe me. Had I only my own comfort, and my own feelings to consult, I would take my name off the college books to-morrow. How I bear the life I lead, I scarcely know."

"But tell me," said I, "as you have told me so much, what is the secret of all this?"

[Pg 151]"I will; I was going to explain. My only motive for concealment, my only reason for even wishing you to keep my counsel, is, because the character and prospects of others are concerned. My father, as I dare say you know, is pretty well known as the head of the firm of Russell and Smith: he passes for a rich man, of course; he was a rich man, I believe, once; and I, his only son and heir—brought up as I was to look upon money as a plaything—I was sent to college of course as a gentleman-commoner. I knew nothing, as a lad, of my father's affairs: there were fools enough to tell me he was rich, and that I had nothing to do but to spend his money—and I did spend it—ay, too much of it—yet not so much, perhaps, as I might. Not since I came here, Hawthorne; oh no!—not since I found out that it was neither his nor mine to spend—I have not been so bad as that, thank God. And if ever man could atone, by suffering, for the thoughtlessness and extravagance of early days, I have wellnigh paid my penalty in full already. I told you, I entered here as a gentleman-commoner; my father came down to Oxford with me, chose my rooms, sent down this furniture and these paintings from town—thank Heaven, I knew not what they cost—ordered a couple of hunters and a groom for me—those I stopped from coming down—and, in fact, made every preparation for me to commence my career with credit as to heir-apparent to a large fortune. Some suspicions that all was not right had crossed my mind before: certain conversations between my father and cold-looking men of business, not meant for my ear, and very imperfectly understood—for it appeared to be my father's object to keep me totally ignorant of all the mysteries of banking—an increasing tendency on his part to grumble over petty expenses which implied ready payment, with an ostentatious profusion in show and entertainments—many slight circumstances put together had given me a sort of vague alarm at times, which I shook off, as often as it recurred, like a disagreeable dream. A week after I entered college, a letter from my only sister opened my eyes to the truth. What I had feared was a temporary embarrassment—a disagreeable necessity for retrenchment, or, at the worst, a stoppage of payment, and a respectable bankruptcy, which would injure no one but the creditors. What she spoke of, was absolute ruin, poverty, and, what was worse, disgrace. It came upon me very suddenly—but I bore it. I am not going to enter into particulars about family matters to you, Hawthorne—you would not wish it, I know; let me only say, my sister Mary is an angel, and my father a weak-minded man—I will hope, not intentionally a dishonest one. But I have learnt enough to know that there are embarrassments from which he can never extricate himself with honour, and that every month, every week, that he persists in maintaining a useless struggle will only add misery to misery in the end. How long it may go on no one can say—but the end must come. My own first impulse was, of course, to leave this place at once, and so, at all events, to avoid additional expenses: but my father would not hear of it. I went to him, told him what I knew, though not how I had heard it, and drew from him a sort of confession that he had made some unfortunate speculations. But 'only let us keep up appearances'—those were his words—a little while, and all would be right again, he assured me. I made no pretence of believing him; but, Hawthorne, when he offered to go on his knees to me—and I his only son—and promised to retrench in every possible method that would not betray his motives, if I would but remain at college to take my degree—'to keep up appearances'—what could I do?"

"Plainly," said I, "you did right: I do not see that you had any alternative. Nor have you any right to throw away your future prospects. Your father's unfortunate embarrassments are no disgrace to you."

"So said my sister. I knew her advice must be right, and I consented to remain here. You know I lead no life of self-indulgence; and the necessary expenses, even as a gentleman-commoner, are less than you would suppose, unless you had tried matters as closely as I have."

"And with our talents," said I.

[Pg 152]"My talents! I am conscious of but one talent at present: the faculty of feeling acutely the miserable position into which I have been forced. No, if you mean that I am to gain any sort of distinction by hard reading, it is simply what I cannot do. Depend upon it, Hawthorne, a man must have a mind tolerably at ease to put forth any mental exertion to good purpose. If this crash were once over, and I were reduced to my proper level in society—which will, I suppose, be pretty nearly that of a pauper—then I think I could work for my bread either with head or hands: but in this wretchedly false position, here I sit bitterly, day after day, with books open before me perhaps, but with no heart to read, and no memory but for one thing. You know my secret now, Hawthorne, and it has been truly a relief to me to unburden my mind to some one here. I am very much alone, indeed; and it is not at all my nature to be solitary: if you will come and see me sometimes, now that you know all, it will be a real kindness. It is no great pleasure, I assure you," he continued, smiling, "to be called odd, and selfish, and stingy, by those of one's own age, as I feel I must be called; but it is much better than to lead the life I might lead—spending money which is not mine, and accustoming myself to luxuries, when I may soon have to depend on charity even for necessaries. For my own comfort, it might be better, as I said before, that the crisis came at once: still, if I remain here until I am qualified for some profession, by which I may one day be able to support my sister—that is the hope I feed on—why, then, this sort of existence may be endured."

Russell had at least no reason to complain of having disclosed his mind to a careless listener. I was moved almost to tears at his story: but, stronger than all other feelings, was admiration of his principles and character. I felt that some of us had almost done him irreverence in venturing to discuss him so lightly as we had often done. How little we know the heart of others, and how readily we prate about "seeing through" a man, when in truth what we see is but a surface, and the image conveyed to our mind from it but the reflection of ourselves!

My intimacy with Russell, so strangely commenced, had thus rapidly and unexpectedly taken the character of that close connexion which exists between those who have one secret and engrossing interest confined to themselves alone. We were now more constantly together, perhaps, than any two men in college: and many were the jokes I had to endure in consequence. Very few of my old companions had ventured to carry their attentions to me, while laid up in Russell's rooms, beyond an occasional call at the door to know how I was going on; and when I got back to my old quarters, and had refused one or two invitations on the plea of having Russell coming to spend a quiet evening with me, their astonishment and disgust were expressed pretty unequivocally, and they affected to call us the exclusives. However, Russell was a man who, if he made few friends, gave no excuse for enemies: and, in time, my intimacy with him, and occasional withdrawals from general society in consequence, came to be regarded as a pardonable weakness—unaccountable, but past all help—a subject on which the would-be wisest of my friends shook their heads, and said nothing.

I think this new connexion was of advantage to both parties. To myself it certainly was. I date the small gleams of good sense and sobermindedness which broke in upon my character at that critical period of life, solely from my intercourse with Charles Russell. He, on the other hand, had suffered greatly from the want of that sympathy and support which the strongest mind at times stands as much in need of as the weakest, and which in his peculiar position could only be purchased by an unreserved confidence. From any premeditated explanation he would have shrunk; nor would he ever, as he himself confessed, have made the avowal he did to me, except it had escaped him by a momentary impulse. But, having made it, he seemed a happier man. His reading, which before had been desultory and interrupted, was now taken up in earnest: and idly inclined as I was myself, I became,[Pg 153] with the pseudo sort of generosity not uncommon at that age, so much more anxious for his future success than my own, that, in order to encourage him, I used to go to his rooms to read with him, and we had many a hard morning's work together.

We were very seldom interrupted by visitors: almost the only one was that unknown and unprepossessing friend of Russell's who has been mentioned before—his own contradictory in almost every respect. Very uncouth and dirty-looking he was, and stuttered terribly—rather, it seemed, from diffidence than from any natural defect. He showed some surprise on the first two or three occasions in which he encountered me, and made an immediate attempt to back out of the room again: and though Russell invariably recalled him, and showed an evident anxiety to treat him with every consideration, he never appeared at his ease for a moment, and made his escape as soon as possible. Russell always fixed a time for seeing him again—usually the next day: and there was evidently some object in these interviews, into which, as it was no concern of mine, I never enquired particularly, as I had already been intrusted with a confidence rather unusual as the result of a few weeks' acquaintance; and on the subject of his friend—"poor Smith," as he called him—Russell did not seem disposed to be communicative.

Time wore on, and brought round the Christmas vacation. I thought it due to myself, as all young men do, to get up to town for a week or two if possible; and being lucky enough to have an old aunt occupying a very dark house much too large for her, and who, being rather a prosy personage, a little deaf, and very opinionated, and therefore not a special object of attraction to her relations, (her property was merely a life-interest,) was very glad to get any one to come and see her—I determined to pay a visit, in which the score of obligations would be pretty equally balanced on both sides. On the one hand, the tête-à-tête dinners with the old lady, and her constant catechising about Oxford, were a decided bore to me; while it required some forbearance on her part to endure an inmate who constantly rushed into the drawing-room without wiping his boots, who had no taste for old china, and against whom the dear dog Petto had an unaccountable but decided antipathy. (Poor dog! I fear he was ungrateful: I used to devil spunge biscuit, internally, for him after dinner, kept a snuff-box more for his use than my own, and prolonged his life, I feel confident, at least twelve months from apoplexy, by pulling hairs out of his tail with a tweezer whenever he went to sleep.) On the other hand, my aunt had good wine, and I used to praise it; which was agreeable to both parties. She got me pleasant invitations, and was enabled herself to make her appearance in society with a live nephew in her suite, who in her eyes (I confess, reader, old aunts are partial) was a very eligible young man. So my visit, on the whole, was mutually agreeable and advantageous. I had my mornings to myself, gratifying the dowager occasionally by a drive with her in the afternoon; and we had sufficient engagements for our evenings to make each other's sole society rather an unusual infliction. It is astonishing how much such an arrangement tends to keep people the best friends in the world.

I had attended my respectable relation one evening (or rather she had attended me, for I believe she went more for my sake than her own) to a large evening party, which was a ball in every thing but the name. Nearly all in the rooms were strangers to me; but I had plenty of introductions, and the night wore on pleasantly enough. I saw a dozen pretty faces I had never seen before, and was scarcely likely to see again—the proportion of ugly ones I forbear to mention—and was prepared to bear the meeting and the parting with equal philosophy, when the sight of a very familiar face brought different scenes to my mind. Standing within half-a-dozen steps of me, and in close conversation with a lady, of whom I could see little besides a cluster of dark curls, was Ormiston, one of our college tutors, and one of the most universally popular men in Oxford. It would be wrong to say I was surprised to see him there or any where else, for his roll of acquaintance was most extensive, embracing all ranks and degrees; but I was very glad to[Pg 154] see him, and made an almost involuntary dart forward in his direction. He saw me, smiled, and put out his hand, but did not seem inclined to enter into any conversation. I was turning away, when a sudden movement gave me a full view of the face of the lady to whom he had been talking. It was a countenance of that pale, clear, intellectual beauty, with a shade of sadness about the mouth, which one so seldom sees but in a picture, but which, when seen, haunts the imagination and the memory rather than excites passionate admiration. The eyes met mine, and, quite by accident, for the thoughts were evidently pre-occupied, retained for some moments the same fixed gaze with which I almost as unconsciously was regarding them. There was something in the features which seemed not altogether unknown to me; and I was beginning to speculate on the possibility of any small heroine of my boyish admiration having shot up into such sweet womanhood—such changes soon occur—when the eyes became conscious, and the head was rapidly turned away. I lost her a moment afterwards in the crowd, and although I watched the whole of the time we remained, with an interest that amused myself, I could not see her again. She must have left the party early.

So strong became the impression on my mind that it was a face I had known before, and so fruitless and tantalizing were my efforts to give it "a local habitation and a name"—that I determined at last to question my aunt upon the subject, though quite aware of the imputation that would follow. The worst of it was, I had so few tangible marks and tokens by which to identify my interesting unknown. However, at breakfast next morning, I opened ground at once, in answer to my hostess's remark that the rooms had been very full.

"Yes, they were: I wanted very much, my dear aunt, to have asked you the names of all the people; but you really were so much engaged, I had no opportunity."

"Ah! if you had come and sat by me, I could have told you all about them; but there were some very odd people there, too."

"There was one rather interesting-looking girl I did not see dancing much—tallish, with pearl earrings."

"Where was she sitting? how was she dressed?"

I had only seen her standing—I never noticed—I hardly think I could have seen—even the colour of her dress.

"Not know how she was dressed? My dear Frank, how strange!"

"All young ladies dress alike now, aunt; there's really not much distinction: they seemed all black and white to me."

"Certainly the balls don't look half so gay as they used to do: a little colour gives cheerfulness, I think." (The good old lady herself had worn crimson satin and a suite of chrysolites—if her theory were correct, she was enough to have spread a glow over the whole company.) "But let me see;—tall, with pearls, you say; dark hair and eyes?"


"You must mean Lucy Fielding."

"Nonsense, my dear Ma'am—I beg a thousand pardons; but I was introduced to Miss Fielding, and danced with her—she squints."

"My dear Frank, don't say such a thing!—she will have half the Strathinnis property when she comes of age. But let me see again. Had she a white rose in her hair?"

"She had, I think; or something like it."

"It might have been Lord Dunham's youngest daughter, who is just come out—she was there for an hour or so."

"No, no, aunt: I know her by sight too—a pale gawky thing, with an arm and hand like a prize-fighter's—oh no!"

"Upon my word, my dear nephew, you young men give yourselves abominable airs: call her a very fine young woman, and I've no doubt she will marry well, though she hasn't much fortune. Was it Miss Cassilis, then?—white tulle over satin, looped with roses, with gold sprigs"——

"And freckles to match: why, she's as old as"——; I felt myself on dangerous ground, and filled up the hiatus, I fear not very happily, by looking full at my aunt.

"Not so very old, indeed, my dear: she refused a very good offer last season: she cannot possibly be above"—

"Oh! spare the particulars, pray,[Pg 155] my dear Ma'am; but you could not have seen the girl I mean: I don't think she staid after supper: I looked every where for her to ask who she was, but she must have been gone."

"Really! I wish I could help you," said my aunt with a very insinuating smile.

"Oh," said I, "what made me anxious to know who she was at the time, was simply that I saw her talking to an old friend of mine, whom you know something of, I believe; did you not meet Mr Ormiston somewhere last winter?"

"Mr Ormiston! oh, I saw him there last night! and now I know who you mean; it must have been Mary Russell, of course; she did wear pearls, and plain white muslin."

"Russell! what Russells are they?"

"Russell the banker's daughter; I suppose nobody knows how many thousands she'll have; but she is a very odd girl. Mr Ormiston is rather committed in that quarter, I fancy. Ah, he's a very gentlemanly man, certainly, and an old friend of the family; but that match would never do. Why, he must be ten years older than she is, in the first place, and hasn't a penny that I know of except his fellowship. No, no; she refused Sir John Maynard last winter, with a clear twelve thousand a-year; and angry enough her papa was about that, every body says, though he never contradicts her; but she never will venture upon such a silly thing as a match with Mr Ormiston."

"Won't she?" said I mechanically, not having had time to collect my thoughts exactly.

"To be sure she won't," replied my aunt rather sharply. It certainly struck me that Mary Russell, from what her brother had told me, was a person very likely to show some little disregard of any conventional notions of what was, or what was not desirable in the matter of matrimony; but at the same time I inclined to agree with my aunt, that it was not very probable she would become Mrs Ormiston; indeed, I doubted any very serious intentions on his part. Fellows of colleges are usually somewhat lavish of admiration and attentions; but, as many young ladies know, very difficult to bring to book. Ormiston was certainly not a man to be influenced by the fortune which the banker's daughter might reasonably be credited with; if any thing made the matter seem serious, it was that his opinion of the sex in general—as thrown out in an occasional hint or sarcasm—seemed to border on a supercilious contempt.

I did not meet Miss Russell again during my short stay in town; but two or three days after this conversation, in turning the corner of the street, I came suddenly upon Ormiston. I used to flatter myself with being rather a favourite of his—not from any conscious merit on my part, unless that, during the year of his deanship, when summoned before him for any small atrocities, and called to account for them, I never took up his time or my own by any of the usual somewhat questionable excuses, but awaited my fate, whether "imposition" or reprimand, in silence; a plan which, with him, answered very well, and saved occasionally some straining of conscience on one side, and credulity on the other. I tried it with his successor, who decided that I was contumacious, because, the first time I was absent from chapel, in reply to his interrogations I answered nothing, and upon his persevering, told him that I had been at a very late supper-party the night before. I think, then, I was rather a favourite of Ormiston's. To say that he was a favourite of mine would be saying very little; for there could have been scarcely a man in college, of any degree of respectability, who would not have been ready to say the same. No man had a higher regard for the due maintenance of discipline, or his own dignity, and the reputation of the college; yet nowhere among the seniors could the undergraduate find a more judicious or a kinder friend. He had the art of mixing with them occasionally with all the unreservedness of an equal, without for a moment endangering the respect due to his position. There was no man you could ask a favour of—even if it infringed a little upon the strictness of college regulations—so readily as Ormiston; and no one appeared to retain more thoroughly some of his boyish tastes and recollections. He subscribed his five guineas to the boat, even after a majority of the[Pg 156] fellows had induced our good old Principal, whose annual appearance at the river-side to cheer her at the races had seemed almost a part of his office, to promulgate a decree to the purport that boat-racing was immoral, and that no man engaged therein should find favour in the sight of the authorities. Yet, at the same time, Ormiston could give grave advice when needed; and give it in such a manner, that the most thoughtless among us received it as from a friend. And whenever he did administer a few words of pointed rebuke—and he did not spare it when any really discreditable conduct came under his notice—they fell the more heavily upon the delinquent, because the public sympathy was sure to be on the side of the judge. The art of governing young men is a difficult one, no doubt; but it is surprising that so few take any pains to acquire it. There were very few Ormistons, in my time, in the high places in Oxford.

On that morning, however, Ormiston met me with evident embarrassment, if not with coolness. He started when he first saw me, and, had there been a chance of doing so with decency, looked as if he would have pretended not to recognise me. But we were too near for that, and our eyes met at once. I was really very glad to see him, and not at all inclined to be content with the short "How d'ye do?" so unlike his usual cordial greetings, with which he was endeavouring to hurry on; and there was a little curiosity afloat among my other feelings. So I fairly stopped him with a few of the usual inquiries, as to how long he had been in town, &c., and then plunged at once into the affair of the ball at which we had last met. He interrupted me at once.

"By the way," said he, "have you heard of poor Russell's business?"

I actually shuddered, for I scarcely knew what was to follow. As composedly as I could, I simply said, "No."

"His father is ruined, they say—absolutely ruined. I suppose that is no secret by this time, at all events. He cannot possibly pay even a shilling in the pound."

"I'm very sorry indeed to hear it," was all I could say.

"But do you know, Hawthorne," continued Ormiston, taking my arm with something like his old manner, and no longer showing any anxiety to cut short our interview, "I am afraid this is not the worst of it. There is a report in the city this morning, I was told, that Mr Russell's character is implicated by some rather unbusinesslike transactions. I believe you are a friend of poor Russell's, and for that reason I mention it to you in confidence. He may not be aware of it; but the rumour is, that his father dare not show himself again here: that he has left England I know to be a fact."

"And his daughter? Miss Russell?" I asked involuntarily—"his children, I mean—where are they?"

I thought Ormiston's colour heightened; but he was not a man to show much visible emotion. "Charles Russell and his sister are still in London," he replied; "I have just seen them. They know their father has left for the Continent; I hope they do not know all the reasons. I am very sincerely sorry for young Russell; it will be a heavy blow to him, and I fear he will find his circumstances bitterly changed. Of course he will have to leave Oxford."

"I suppose so," said I; "no one can feel more for him than I do. It was well, perhaps, that this did not happen in term time."

"It spared him some mortification, certainly. You will see him, perhaps, before you leave town; he will take it kind. And if you have any influence with him—(he will be inclined to listen, perhaps just now, to you more than to me—being more of his own age, he will give you credit for entering into his feelings)—do try and dissuade him from forming any wild schemes, to which he seems rather inclined. He has some kind friends, no doubt; and remember, if there is any thing in which I can be of use to him, he shall have my aid—even to the half of my kingdom—that is, my tutorship."

And with a smile and tone which seemed a mixture of jest and earnest, Mr Ormiston wished me good-morning. He was to leave for Oxford that night.

Of Russell's address in town I was up to this moment ignorant, but resolved to find it out, and see him[Pg 157] before my return to the University. The next morning, however, a note arrived from him, containing a simple request that I would call. I found him at the place from which he wrote—one of those dull quiet streets that lead out of the Strand—in very humble lodgings; his father's private establishment having been given up, it appeared, immediately. The moment we met, I saw at once, as I expected, that the blow which, to Ormiston, had naturally seemed so terrible a one—no less than the loss, to a young man, of the wealth, rank, and prospects in life to which he had been taught to look forward—had been, in fact, to Russell a merciful relief. The failure of that long-celebrated and trusted house, which was causing in the public mind, according to the papers, so much "consternation" and "excitement," was to him a consummation long foreseen, and scarcely dreaded. It was only the shadow of wealth and happiness which he had lost now; its substance had vanished long since. And the conscious hollowness and hypocrisy, as he called it, of his late position, had been a far more bitter trial to a mind like his, than any which could result from its exposure. He was one to hail with joy any change which brought him back to truth and reality, no matter how rude and sudden the revulsion.

He met me with a smile; a really honest, almost a light-hearted smile. "It is come at last, Hawthorne; perhaps it would be wrong, or I feel as if I could say, thank God. There is but one point which touches me at all; what do they say about my father?" I told him—fortunately, my acquaintance lying but little among men of business, I could tell him so honestly—that I had not heard a syllable breathed to his discredit.

"Well, well; but they will, soon. Oh! Hawthorne; the utter misery, the curse that money-making brings with it! That joining house to house, and field to field, how it corrupts all the better part of a man's nature! I vow to you, I believe my father would have been an honest man if he had but been a poor one! If he had never had any thing to do with interest tables, and had but spent his capital, instead of trying to double and redouble it! One thing I have to thank him for; that he never would suffer me to imbibe any taste for business; he knew the evil and the pollution money-handling brings with it—I am sure he did; he encouraged me, I fear, in extravagance; but I bless him that he never encouraged me in covetousness."

He grew a little calmer by degrees, and we sat down and took counsel as to his future plans. He was not, of course, without friends, and had already had many offers of assistance for himself and his sister; but his heart appeared, for the present, firmly bent upon independence. Much to my surprise, he decided on returning at once to Oxford, and reading for his degree. His sister had some little property settled upon her—some hundred and fifty pounds a-year; and this she had insisted on devoting to this purpose.

"I love her too well," said Russell, "to refuse her: and trifling as this sum is,—I remember the time when I should have thought it little to keep me in gloves and handkerchiefs,—yet, with management, it will be more than I shall spend in Oxford. Of course, I play the gentleman-commoner no longer; I shall descend to the plain stuff gown."

"You'll go to a hall, of course?" said I; for I concluded he would at least avoid the mortification of so palpable a confession of reduced circumstances as this degradation of rank in his old College would be.

"I can see no occasion for it; that is, if they will allow me to change; I have done nothing to be ashamed of, and shall be much happier than I was before. I only strike my false colours; and you know they were never carried willingly."

I did not attempt to dissuade him, and soon after rose to take my leave.

"I cannot ask my sister to see you now," he said, as we shook hands: "she is not equal to it. But some other time, I hope"——

"At any other time, I shall be most proud of the introduction. By the way, have you seen Ormiston? He met me this morning, and sent some kind messages, to offer any service in his power."

"He did, did he?"

[Pg 158]"Yes; and, depend upon it, he will do all he can for you in college; you don't know him very well, I think; but I am sure he takes an interest in you now, at all events," I continued, "and no man is a more sincere and zealous friend."

"I beg your pardon, Hawthorne, but I fancy I do know Mr Ormiston very well."

"Oh! I remember, there seemed some coolness between you, because you never would accept his invitations. Ormiston thought you were too proud to dine with him; and then his pride, which he has his share of, took fire. But that misunderstanding must be all over now."

"My dear Hawthorne, I believe Mr Ormiston and I understand each other perfectly. Good-morning; I am sorry to seem abrupt, but I have a host of things, not the most agreeable, to attend to."

It seemed quite evident that there was some little prejudice on Russell's part against Ormiston. Possibly he did not like his attentions to his sister. But that was no business of mine, and I knew the other too well to doubt his earnest wish to aid and encourage a man of Russell's high principles, and in his unfortunate position. None of us always know our best friends.

The step which Russell had resolved on taking was, of course, an unusual one. Even the college authorities strongly advised him to remove his name to the books of one of the halls, where he would enter comparatively as a stranger, and where his altered position would not entail so many painful feelings. Every facility was offered him of doing so at one of them where a relative of our Principal's was the head, and even a saving in expense might thus be effected. But this evident kindness and consideration on their part, only confirmed him in the resolution of remaining where he was. He met their representations with the graceful reply, that he had an attachment to the college which did not depend upon the rank he held in it, and that he trusted he should not be turned out of two homes at once. Even the heart of the splenetic little vice-principal was moved by this genuine tribute to the venerable walls, which to him, as his mistress's girdle to the poet, encircled all he loved, or hoped, or cared for; and had the date been some century earlier—in those remarkable times when a certain fellow was said to have owed his election into that body to a wondrous knack he had at compounding sherry-posset—it is probable Charles Russell would have stepped into a fellowship by special license at once.

He had harder work before him, however, and he set stoutly to it. He got permission to lodge out of college—a privilege quite unusual, and apparently without any sufficient object in his case. A day or two after his return, he begged me to go with him to see the rooms he had taken: and I was surprised to find that although small, and not in a good part of the town, they were furnished in a style by no means, I thought, in accordance with the strict economy I knew him to be practising in every other respect. They contained, on a small scale, all the appointments of a lady's drawing-room. It was soon explained. His sister was coming to live with him. "We are but two, now," said Russell in explanation, "and though poor Mary has been offered what might have been a comfortable home elsewhere, which perhaps would have been more prudent, we both thought why should we be separated? As to these little things you see, they are nearly all hers: we offered them to the creditors, but even the lawyers would not touch them: and here Mary and I shall live. Very strange, you think, for her to be here in Oxford with no one to take care of her but me; but she does not mind that, and we shall be together. However, Hawthorne, we shall keep a dragon: there is an old housekeeper who would not be turned off, and she comes down with Mary, and may pass for her aunt, if that's all; so don't, pray, be shocked at us."

And so the old housekeeper did come down, and Mary with her; and under such guardianship, a brother and an old servant, was that fair girl installed within the perilous precincts of the University of Oxford; perilous in more senses than one, as many a speculative and disappointed mamma can testify, whose daughters, brought[Pg 159] to market at the annual "show" at commemoration, have left uncaught those dons of dignity, and heirs-apparent of property, whom they ought to have caught, and caught those well-dressed and good-looking, but undesirable young men, whom they ought not to have caught. Mary Russell, however, was in little peril herself, and, as little as she could help it, an occasion of peril to others. Seldom did she move out from her humble abode, except for an early morning walk with her brother, or sometimes leaning on the arm of her old domestic, so plainly dressed that you might have mistaken her for her daughter, and wondered how those intensely expressive features, and queen-like graces, should have been bestowed by nature on one so humble. Many a thoughtful student, pacing slowly the parks or Christchurch meadow after early chapel, book in hand, cheating himself into the vain idea that he was taking a healthful walk, and roused by the flutter of approaching female dress, and unwillingly looking up to avoid the possible and unwelcome collision with a smirking nurse-maid and an unresisting baby—has met those eyes, and spoilt his reading for the morning; or has paused in the running tour of Headington hill, or Magdalen walk, by which he was endeavouring to cram his whole allotted animal exercise for the day into an hour, as that sweet vision crossed his path, and wondered in his heart by what happy tie of relationship, or still dearer claim, his fellow-undergraduate had secured to himself so lovely a companion; and has tried in vain, over his solitary breakfast, to rid himself of the heterodox notion which would still creep in upon his thoughts, that in the world there might be, after all, things better worth living and working for, prizes more valuable—and perhaps not harder to win—than a first class, and living personations of the beautiful which Aristotle had unaccountably left out. Forgive me, dear reader, if I seem to be somewhat sentimental: I am not, and I honestly believe I never was, in love with Mary Russell; I am not—I fear I never was or shall be—much of a reading man or an early riser; but I will confess, it would have been a great inducement to me to adopt such habits, if I could have ensured such pleasant company in my morning walks.

To the general world of Oxford, for a long time, I have no doubt the very existence of such a jewel within it was unknown; for at the hours when liberated tutors and idle undergraduates are wont to walk abroad, Mary was sitting, hid within a little ambush of geraniums, either busy at her work, or helping—as she loved to fancy she helped him—her brother at his studies. Few men, I believe, ever worked harder than Russell did in his last year. With the exception of the occasional early walk, and the necessary attendance at chapel and lecture, he read hard nearly the whole day; and I always attributed the fact of his being able to do so with comparatively little effort, and no injury to his health, to his having such a sweet face always present, to turn his eyes upon, when wearied with a page of Greek, and such a kind voice always ready to speak or to be silent.

It was not for want of access to any other society that Mary Russell spent her time so constantly with her brother. The Principal, with his usual kindheartedness, had insisted—a thing he seldom did—upon his lady making her acquaintance; and though Mrs Meredith, who plumed herself much upon her dignity, had made some show of resistance at first to calling upon a young lady who was living in lodgings by herself in one of the most out-of-the-way streets in Oxford, yet, after her first interview with Miss Russell, so much did her sweetness of manner win upon Mrs Principal's fancy—or perhaps it will be doing that lady but justice to say, so much did her more than orphan unprotectedness and changed fortunes soften the woman's heart that beat beneath that formidable exterior of silk and ceremony, that before the first ten minutes of what had been intended as a very condescending and very formal call, were over, she had been offered a seat in Mrs Meredith's official pew in St Mary's; the pattern of a mysterious bag, which that good lady carried every where about with her, it was believed for no other purpose; and an airing the next day behind the[Pg 160] fat old greys, which their affectionate coachman—in commemoration of his master's having purchased them at the time he held that dignity—always called by the name of the "Vice-Chancellors." Possibly an absurd incident, which Mary related with great glee to her brother and myself, had helped to thaw the ice in which "our governess" usually encased herself. When the little girl belonging to the lodgings opened the door to these dignified visitors, upon being informed that Miss Russell was at home, the Principal gave the name simply as "Dr and Mrs Meredith:" which, not appearing to his more pompous half at all calculated to convey a due impression of the honour conveyed by the visit, she corrected him, and in a tone quite audible—as indeed every word of the conversation had been—up the half-dozen steep stairs which led to the little drawing-room, gave out "the Master of —— and lady, if you please." The word "master" was quite within the comprehension of the little domestic, and dropping an additional courtesy of respect to an office which reminded her of her catechism and the Sunday school, she selected the appropriate feminine from her own vocabulary, and threw open the door with "the master and mistress of —— if you please, Miss." Dr Meredith laughed, as he entered, so heartily, that even Mary could not help smiling, and the "mistress," seeing the odds against her, smiled too. An acquaintance begun in such good humour, could hardly assume a very formal character; and, in fact, had Mary Russell not resolutely declined all society, Mrs Meredith would have felt rather a pleasure in patronising her. But both her straitened means and the painful circumstances of her position—her father already spoken of almost as a criminal—led her to court strict retirement; while she clung with redoubled affection to her brother. He, on his part, seemed to have improved in health and spirits since his change of fortunes; the apparent haughtiness and coldness with which many had charged him before, had quite vanished; he showed no embarrassment, far less any consciousness of degradation, in his conversation with any of his old messmates at the gentlemen-commoners' table; and though his communication with the college was but comparatively slight, nearly all his time being spent in his lodgings, he was becoming quite a popular character.

Meanwhile, a change of a different kind seemed to be coming over Ormiston. It was remarked, even by those not much given to observation, that his lectures, which were once considered endurable, even by idle men, from his happy talent of remark and illustration, were fast becoming as dull and uninteresting as the common run of all such business. Moreover, he had been in the habit of giving, occasionally, capital dinners, invitations to which were sent out frequently and widely among the young men of his own college: these ceased almost entirely; or, when they occurred, had but the shadow of their former joyousness. Even some of the fellows were known to have remarked that Ormiston was much altered lately; some said he was engaged to be married, a misfortune which would account for any imaginable eccentricities; but one of the best of the college livings falling vacant about the time, and, on its refusal by the two senior fellows, coming within Ormiston's acceptance, and being passed by him, tended very much to do away with any suspicion of that kind.

Between him and Russell there was an evident coolness, though noticed by few men but myself; yet Ormiston always spoke most kindly of him, while on Russell's part there seemed to be a feeling almost approaching to bitterness, ill concealed, whenever Ormiston became the subject of conversation. I pressed him once or twice upon the subject, but he always affected to misunderstand me, or laughed off any sarcastic remark he might have made, as meaning nothing; so that at last the name was seldom mentioned between us, and almost the only point on which we differed seemed to be our estimation of Ormiston.



[Pg 161]


Macaulay says, that the object of the drama is the painting of the human heart; and, as that is portrayed by the events of a whole life, he concludes that it is by poets representing in a short space a long series of actions, that the end of dramatic composition is most likely to be attained. "The mixture," says he, "of tragedy and comedy, and the length and extent of the action, which the French consider as defects, is the chief cause of the excellence of our older dramatists. The former is necessary to render the drama a just representation of the world, in which the laughers and the weepers are perpetually jostling each other, in which every event has its serious and ludicrous side. The latter enables us to form an intimate acquaintance with characters, with which we could not possibly become familiar during the few hours to which the unities restrict the poet. In this respect the works of Shakspeare in particular are miracles of art. In a piece which may be read aloud in three hours, we see a character gradually unfold all its recesses to us. We see it change with the change of circumstances. The petulant youth rises into the politic and warlike sovereign. The profuse and courteous philanthropist sours at length into a hater and scorner of his kind. The tyrant is altered by the chastening of affliction into a pensive moralist. The veteran general, distinguished by coolness, sagacity, and self-command, sinks under a conflict between love strong as death, and jealousy cruel as the grave. The brave and loyal subject passes step by step to the excesses of human depravity. We trace his progress step by step, from the first dawnings of unlawful ambition, to the cynical melancholy of his impenitent remorse. Yet in these pieces there are no unnatural transitions. Nothing is omitted; nothing is crowded. Great as are the changes, narrow as is the compass within which they are exhibited, they shock us as little as the gradual alterations of those familiar faces which we see every evening and morning. The magical skill of the poet resembles that of the dervise in the Spectator, who condensed all the events of seven years into the single moment during which the king held his head under water."[4]

In this admirable passage, the principle on which the Romantic Drama rests, is clearly and manfully stated; and it is on the possibility of effecting the object which is here so well described, that the whole question between it and the Greek unities depends. As we have decidedly embraced the opposite opinion, and regard, after much consideration, the adherence to the variety and license of the romantic drama as the main cause of the present degraded condition of our national theatre, we have prefaced our observations with a defence of the romantic drama by one of its ablest advocates, and shall now state the reasons which appear to us conclusive in favour of a very different view.

The drama is part of the great effort of mankind for the representation of human character, passion, and event. Other sister arts—History, the Historical Romance, the Epic poem—also aim in some degree, by different methods, at the same object; and it is by considering their different principles, and necessary limitations, that the real rules of the drama will best be understood.

History, as all the world knows, embraces the widest range of human events. Confined to no time, restricted to no locality, it professes, in a comparatively short space, to portray the most extensive and important of human transactions. Centuries, even thousands of years, are sometimes, by its greatest masters,[Pg 162] embraced within its mighty arms. The majestic series of Roman victories may occupy the genius of one writer: the fifteen centuries of its decline and fall be spanned by the powers of another. The vast annals of Mahommetan conquest, the long sway of the Papal dominion, present yet untrodden fields to future historical effort.[5] But it is this very greatness and magnitude of his subject which presents the chief difficulty with which the historian has to contend. With the exception of a very few instances, such lengthened annals are necessarily occupied by a vast variety of characters, actions, states, and events, having little or no connexion with each other, scarce any common object of union, and no thread by which the interest of the reader is to be kept up throughout. Hence it is that works of history are so generally complained of as dull: that, though they are more numerous than any other class of literary compositions, the numbers of those generally read is so extremely small. Enter any public library, you will see hundreds of historical works reposing in respectable dignity on the shelves. How many of them are generally studied, or have taken hold by common consent on the minds of men? Not ten. Romance numbers its readers by hundreds, Poetry by fifties, where History can with difficulty muster one. This amazing difference is not owing to any deficiency of ability turned to the subject, or interest in the materials of which it is formed. It can never be supposed that men will be indifferent to the annals of their own fame, or that the groundwork of all human invention—real event—can be wanting in the means of moving the heart. It is the extraordinary difficulty of this branch of composition, owing to its magnitude and complication, which is the sole cause of the difference.

The Historical Romance is founded on history, but it differs from it in the most essential particulars, and is relieved from the principal difficulties with which the annalist of actual occurrences has to contend. It selects a particular period out of past time, and introduces the characters and events most remarkable for their interest, or the deep impress they have left on the minds of men. This is an immense advantage; for it relieves the writer from the great difficulty with which the general historian has to contend, and which, in ninety-nine cases out of an hundred, proves fatal to his success. Unity in the midst of confusion is given to his subject. Room is afforded for graphic painting, space for forcible delineations of character. It becomes possible to awaken interest by following out the steps of individual adventure. Though the name of historical romance is not to be found in antiquity, the thing itself was far from being unknown. Its most charming Histories are little other than Historical Romance; at least, they possess its charm, because they exhibit its unity. The Cyropædia of Xenophon, the Lives of Plutarch, many of the heart-stirring Legends of Livy, of the profound Sketches of the Emperors in Tacitus, are in truth historical romances under the name of histories or biography. The lives of eminent men owe their chief charm to the unity of the subject, and the possibility of strongly exciting the feelings, by strictly adhering to the delineation of individual achievement. So great is the weight of the load—crushing to the historian—which is thus taken from the biographer or writer of historical romance, that second-rate genius can effect triumphs in that department, to which the very highest mind alone is equal in general historical composition. No one would think of comparing the intellect of Plutarch with that of Tacitus; but, nevertheless, the Lives of the former will always prove more generally attractive than the annals of the latter. Boswell's mind was immeasurably inferior to that of Hume; but for one reader of his History of England, will be found ten of the Life of Johnson. Sir Walter Scott's Life of Napoleon proves that he was not altogether qualified to take a place among[Pg 163] the great English historians; but, to the end of the world, Richard Cœur-de-Lion, Queen Mary, and Elizabeth, will stand forth from his canvass more clearly than either from the rhetoric of Hume, or the eloquence of Robertson.

The Epic Poem confines within still narrower limits the narration of human events. As it borrows the language and is clothed with the colours of poetry, so it is capable of rousing the feelings more powerfully than either biography or romance, and, when crowned with success, attains a fame, and takes a hold of the hearts of men, to which nothing in prose composition can be compared. Elevation of thought, fervour of language, powerful delineation of character, are its essential qualities. But all these would prove unavailing if the one thing needful, unity of subject, were awanting. It is that which is its essential quality, for that alone lets in all the others. All the great Epic Poems which have appeared in the world are not only devoted to one interest, but are generally restricted in point of space and time within limits not materially wider than those of the Greek drama. The Iliad not only relates exclusively the latter stages of the siege of Troy, but the whole period of its action is forty-eight days—of its absorbing interest, (the time from the storming of the Greek lines by Hector to his death by the heaven-defended Achilles,) thirty-six hours. The Paradise Lost adheres strictly to unity both of subject and time: the previous battles of the angels is the subject of narrative by the angel Raphael; but the time that elapses from the convocation of the devils in Pandemonium to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise is only three days. The Jerusalem Delivered has the one absorbing interest arising from the efforts of the Christians for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre; and its time is limited to a few weeks. Virgil was so enamoured of his great predecessor that he endeavoured to imitate, in one poem, both his great works. The Æneid is an Iliad and Odyssey in one. But every one must feel that it is on the episode with Dido that the interest of the poem really rests; and that all the magic of his exquisite pencil can scarcely sustain the interest after the pious Æneas has taken his departure from the shores of Carthage. The Lusiad of Camoens, necessarily, from its subject, embraced wider limits; but the one interest of the poem is as single and sustained as that of the discovery of the new world by Columbus. If any of these writers had professed in rhyme to give a history of a wider or more protracted subject, the interest would have been so much diffused as to be lost. The confusion of ideas and incidents so painfully felt by all the readers of Orlando Furioso, and which the boundless fancy of Ariosto was unable to prevent, proves that epic poetry has its limits, and that they are narrower than either history or romance.

What epic poetry is to romance or biography, the Drama is to epic poetry. As the former selects from the romance of history its most interesting and momentous events, and makes them the subject of brilliant description, of impassioned rhetoric, so the latter chooses from the former its most heart-stirring episodes, and brings them in actual dialogue and representation before the mind of the spectator. Immense is the effect of this concentration—still more marvellous that of the personation with which it is attended. Imagination assumes the actual form of beings; conception is realised. The airy visions of the past are clothed in flesh and blood. The marvels of acting, scenery, and stage effect, come to add to the pathos of incident, to multiply tenfold the charms of poetry. It is impossible to conceive intellectual enjoyment carried beyond the point it attained, when the magic of Shakspeare's thought and language was enhanced by the power of Siddons or Kemble's acting, or is personified by the witchery of Helen Faucit's conceptions. But for the full effect of this combination, it is indispensable that the principles of dramatic composition be duly observed, and the stage kept within its due limits, more contracted in point of time and place than either romance or epic poetry. Within those bounds it is omnipotent, and produces an impression to which, while it lasts, none of the sister arts[Pg 164] can pretend. Beyond them it never fails to break down, and not only ceases to interest, but often becomes to the last degree wearisome and exhausting. It is not difficult to see to what this general failure of the drama, when it outstrips its proper bounds, is owing. It arises from the impossibility of awakening interest without attending to unity of emotion; of keeping alive attention without continuity of incident; of making the story intelligible without simplicity of action.

Dramatic authors, actors, and actresses, how gifted soever in other respects, are the worst possible judges on this subject. They are so familiar with the story, from having composed the piece themselves, or made it the subject of frequent repetition or rehearsal, that they can form no conception of the difficulty which nine tenths of the audience, to whom the piece is entirely strange, experience in understanding the plot, or acquiring any interest in the incidents or development of the piece. It may safely be affirmed, that a vast majority of the spectators of the dramas now habitually represented, with the exception of a few of Shakspeare's, which have become as household words on the English stage, never understand any thing of the story till the end of the third act, and are only beginning to take an interest in the piece when the curtain falls. Dramatic authors and performers would do well to ponder on this observation; they may rely upon it that it furnishes the key to the present degraded state of the English drama.

It is not obtuseness on the part of the audience which occasions this. So complicated is the story, so lengthened the succession of events, in most of our modern theatrical pieces, that the most acute understanding, fortified by the most extensive practice, requiring alertness of intellect, will long be at fault in comprehending them. We have seen many a barrister famed for cross-examination unable to comprehend, till the piece was half over, the drift of Sheridan Knowles's dramas. Is it surprising, when this is the case, that the vast majority of the audience complain of weariness during the representation, and that the managers of theatres, sensible of this difficulty, are fain to eke out the proper interest of the drama by the meretricious aids of scenery, and dancing, and decorations?

What is constantly complained of by all classes at the theatre is, that it is so tiresome; that the back is broken by sitting without a support; that they cannot comprehend the story; that they do not understand what it is all about; and that the performance is infinitely too long. This last observation is, undoubtedly, frequently well founded: no where is the truth of old Hesiod's maxim, that a half is often greater than the whole, more frequently exemplified than in dramatic representations. But still the fact of the complaint being so universally made, and equally by all classes, is very remarkable, and pregnant with instruction, as to the limits of the drama and the causes of the decline of its popularity so painfully conspicuous in the British empire. No one complains of his back being broken for want of support at a trial for murder; on the contrary, all classes, and especially the lowest, will sit at such heart-stirring scenes, without feeling fatigue, for ten, twelve, sometimes eighteen hours consecutively. Nor can it be affirmed that this is because the interest is real; that the life of a human being is at stake. Every day's experience proves that fiction, when properly managed, is more interesting than reality. The vast multitude of novels which yearly issue from the press, the eagerness with which they are sought after by all classes, the extraordinary extent of their circulation, sufficiently prove this. No one complains that the best romances of Sir Walter Scott or Bulwer are too long; on the contrary, they are generally felt to be too short; and those who are loudest in their declamations against the intolerable fatigue of the theatre, will sit for days together with their feet at the fire, devouring even an indifferent novel.

The general complaint now made in Great Britain against the tedium of theatrical representations was unknown in other ages and countries. The passion of the Greeks for their national theatre is well known, and the matchless perfection of their great[Pg 165] dramatists proves to what a degree it is capable of rousing the human mind. The French, prior to the Revolution, were passionately fond of the drama, which was then entirely founded on the Greek model. The decline complained of in the Parisian theatre has been contemporary with the introduction of the Romantic school. In Italy, it is, with the opera, the chief, almost the sole public amusement. There is not a city with forty thousand inhabitants in the classic peninsula that has not a theatre and opera, superior to any thing to be met with in the British islands out of London. The theatre is in high favour in Germany and Russia. Complaints, indeed, are frequently made, that the drama is declining on the Continent, and the present state of the lesser Parisian theatres certainly affords no indication that, in departing from the old land-marks and bringing romance on the stage, they have either preserved its purity or extended its influence. But the decline of the theatre is far greater and more remarkable in England than in any of the continental states. It has, indeed, gone so far as to induce a serious apprehension among many well-informed persons, that it will cease to exist, and the country of Shakspeare and Garrick, of Kemble and Siddons, be left altogether without a theatre at which the legitimate drama is represented. Such a result in a country overflowing, in its great cities and metropolis at least, with riches, and with a population passionately desirous of every species of enjoyment, is very remarkable, and deserving of the most serious consideration. It may well make us pause in our career, and consider whether the course we have been pursuing has, or has not, been likely to lead to perfection and success in this noble and important branch of composition.

We have stated what are the limits of the drama, and what part is assigned to it in the general effort of the human mind to portray events, or paint the human heart. Macaulay has explained, in the passage already quoted, what the Romantic drama proposes to do, and the reason why, in his estimation, it is more likely to attain its end than the more closely fettered theatre of the Greeks. The whole question comes to be, which of the two systems is best adapted to attain the undoubted end of all dramatic composition, the painting of the human heart? If he is right in the views he has so well expressed, it is very singular how it has happened, that in a country which, for the last three centuries, has constantly adhered to these ideas, and worked out the Romantic drama with extraordinary zeal and vigour, dramatic representations should have been constantly declining, so as at length to be threatened with total extinction. This becomes the more remarkable, when it is recollected, that in other countries, inferior in wealth, genius, and energy to Great Britain, but where the old system had been adhered to, it continued to flourish in undiminished vigour, and that decay in them has uniformly been coexistent with the entry on the stage of Romantic representation. Racine, Corneille, Voltaire in France, and Metastasio and Alfieri in Italy, Schiller and Goethe in Germany, have nobly upheld the legitimate drama in their respective countries. Still more extraordinary is it, if these views be the correct ones, that while, by the marvels of one heaven-born genius, the Romantic drama was in the days of Queen Elizabeth raised to the very highest perfection in this country, it has since continually languished, and cannot from his day number one name destined for immortality among its votaries.

It is said in answer to this obvious objection to the Romantic drama, founded on its fate in all the countries where it has been established, that it shares in this respect only in the common destiny of mankind in creating works of imagination; that the period of great and original conception is the first only—that Homer was succeeded by Virgil, Æschylus by Euripides, Dante by Tasso, Shakspeare by Pope, and that the age of genius in all countries is followed by that of criticism.[6] There can be no doubt that this[Pg 166] observation is in many respects well founded; but it affords no solution of the causes of the present degraded condition of our national drama, nor does it explain the course it has taken in this country. We have made a progress, but it has not been from originality to taste, but from genius to folly. The age of Æschylus has not with us been succeeded by that of Sophocles and Euripides, but by that of melodrama and spectacle. We have not advanced from the wildness of conception to the graces of criticism, but from the rudeness of some barbaric imagination, to the cravings of corrupted fancy. The age of Garrick has been with us succeeded, not by that of Roscius, but by that of Cerito; the melodrama of the Crusaders, the dancing of Carlotta Grisi, have banished tragedy from the boards trod by Kemble and Siddons. The modern dramas which have been published, and in part appeared on the stage, have in no respect been distinguished by more legitimate taste, or a stricter adherence to rule, than those of Ford and Massinger, of Beaumont and Fletcher, of Jonson and Shakspeare. They have discarded, indeed, the indecency which forms so serious a blot on our older dramatists, but, in other respects, they have faithfully followed out their principles. The drama still, as in earlier days, professes to exhibit in a few hours a representation of the principal events of a lifetime. Time and place are set at nought, as they were by the bard of Avon, and not unfrequently the last act opens at the distance of years, or hundreds of miles from the first. We need only mention two of the ablest and most popular of our modern dramas—The Lady of Lyons, by Bulwer, and the best of Sheridan Knowles' theatrical pieces, for a confirmation of these observations. But no one will pretend that the dramatic works of these writers, excellent in many respects as they are, can be set off against the master-pieces of the Greek or French drama which succeeded the days of Æschylus and Corneille.

Again it is said, and very commonly too, as an explanation of the extraordinary failure of dramatic genius since the days of Queen Elizabeth in this country, that originality and greatness can be reached only once in the lifetime of a nation; that we have had our Shakspeare as Greece had its Homer, and that we should be content; and that it is the necessary effect of superlative excellence in the outset, to extinguish rivalry and induce mediocrity in the end. The observation is plausible, and it has been so frequently made, that it has passed with many into a sort of axiom. But when tried by the only test of truth in human affairs—that of experience—it entirely fails. Past history affords no countenance to the idea, that early greatness extinguishes subsequent emulation, or that superlative genius in one department is fatal to subsequent perfection in it. On the contrary, it creates it. It is by the collision of one great mind with another, that the greatest achievements of the human mind have been effected—often the chain continues from one age and nation to another; but it is never snapped asunder.

These considerations are fitted to cast a serious doubt on the question, how far the true principles of the drama are those which have been embraced by the English school, and may lead us to consider whether the acknowledged inferiority of our tragic writers, since the time of Shakspeare, is not in reality to be ascribed to his transcendent genius having led them astray from the true principles of the art. It will be considered in the sequel, to what cause his acknowledged success has been owing, and whether his finest dramas, those which chiefly retain their popularity, are not in reality constructed on the Grecian model. But, in the mean time, let it be considered what in reality the drama can do, and what limits are imposed upon it, not by the arbitrary rules of critics, but by the lasting nature of things.

The drama is restricted by the well known limits of human patience to a representation of three hours. Experience has every where proved that the greatest genius, both in the poet and performer, cannot keep alive interest, or avert weariness, beyond that period. The spectators sit still in their places the whole time. Whatever changes of scene, or external objects[Pg 167] to look at are introduced, the audience itself is motionless. It is to persons thus situated, and within this time, that theatrical representations are addressed. They expect, and with reason, to be amused and interested in comedy, moved and melted in tragedy. It is for this they go to the theatre, for this they pay their money. Writers and actors are equally aware that this is the case. Then what course do the Greek and the Romantic school respectively follow to attain this object?

Both in some respects follow the same course, or rather both make use, for the main part, of the same materials. It is universally acknowledged, that it is essential to the success of the drama, in all its branches, that the plot be interesting, the characters forcible, the ideas natural, the attention constantly kept up. In tragedy, by far its noblest department, it is indispensable, in addition, that the feelings should be vehemently excited in the spectators, and the human heart laid bare, by the most violent passions, in the characters on the stage. Aristotle expressly says, that it is the delineation of passions which is the object of tragedy. In order to achieve this object, all are agreed, that some permanent characters must be selected, generally from those known to history, to whom striking and tragic events have occurred; and it is in the delineation of the passions which those events excite, and the interest they awaken in the breast of the spectators, that the art of the writer consists. So far both parties are agreed; but they differ widely in the methods which they respectively take to attain this object.

The Romantic dramatist, overstepping the bounds of time and place, professes in three hours to portray the principal events of years—it may be of a whole lifetime. He selects the prominent events of his hero's or heroine's career, the salient angles, as it were, of human existence, and brings them forward in different scenes of his brief representation. Years often intervene between the commencement of his piece and its termination; the spectator is transported hundreds, it may be thousands of miles by a mere mechanical sleight of hand in the scene-shifter, or between the acts. The drama constructed on these principles does not represent a short period, into which the crisis, as it were, of a whole lifetime is concentrated, but it gives sketches of the whole life itself, from the commencement of its eventful period to its termination. The poet chooses the most exciting scenes out of the three volumes of the historical novel, and brings these scenes on the stage in a few hours. As the drama, constructed on this principle, professes to portray the changes of real life, so it admits, it is thought, of that intermixture of the serious and the comic, which the actual world exhibits; and willingly transports the spectator from the most highly wrought scenes of passion, the deepest accents of woe, to the burlesque of extravagant characters, or the picture of vulgar life. This is deemed admissible, because it is natural; and certainly no one can have gone from the drawing-room, or the library, to the stage-coach or the steam-boat, without seeing that it exhibits at least a true picture of the varied phantasmagoria which existence presents.

The Greek dramatists, and their successors in modern Europe, proceed upon an entirely different principle. Having made their selection of the characters and the events on which their piece is to be constructed, they pitch upon that period in their progress in which matters were brought to a crisis, and, for good or for evil, their destiny was accomplished. Having done this, they portray the minutest incidents of that brief period with the utmost care, and exert all their strength on the graphic painting on which every artist knows the awakening of interest is almost entirely dependent. The previous history of the principal personages is described in dialogue at the commencement of the piece, so as to make the spectators aware both of the great lives of the characters which are brought before them, and of the antecedent events which had brought matters to their present crisis. Having carried them to this point, the crisis itself is portrayed at full length, and with all the power and pathos of which the artist is capable. The poet does not pretend to narrate the campaign from its commencement to[Pg 168] its termination: he begins his piece with the commencement of the last battle, and exerts all his strength on painting the decisive charge. He does not give the voyage from its commencement to its termination, with its long periods of monotonous weariness; he confines himself to the brief and terrible scene of the ship-wreck. As the crisis and catastrophe of life is thus alone represented, and every thing depends on the interest excited by its development, so nothing is admitted which can disturb the unity of the emotion, or interrupt the flow of the sympathy which it is the great object of the piece from first to last to awaken.

If it were possible to create the same interest, or delineate character and passion as completely, by brief and consequently imperfect sketches of a whole lifetime, as it is by a minute and glowing representation of its most eventful period, much might be advanced with justice in favour of the Romantic school of the drama. Our objection is, that this is impossible; and that the failure of the English theatre, since the time of Shakspeare, is entirely to be ascribed to this impossibility. And the impossibility is owing to the length of time which it requires, by narrative or representation, to kindle that warm and glowing image, or awaken those ardent feelings in the mind of another, upon which the emotion of taste and the success of all the Fine Arts depend.

In the arts which address themselves to the eye, and through it to the heart, it is possible to produce a very strong impression almost instantaneously. A beautiful woman has only to be seen to be admired; a charming landscape bursts upon the sight with immediate and almost magical force. The impression produced by the finest objects in Europe,—the sun setting on the Jungfrawhorn, the interior of St Peter's, the fall of Schaffhausen, the view on the Acropolis of Athens, Constantinople from the Seraglio point, the Bay of Naples, for example,—is such, that though seen only for a few minutes, it may almost be said seconds, an impression is made, a picture is painted, on the mind's retina, which can never be effaced. Painting, as it imitates external nature, so it shares in the rapidity and, in the hands of great masters, durability of its impressions. Sculpture and architecture have the same advantage. Yet even in these arts, the productions of which require only to be seen to be admired, it is well known that the impression, strong as it is at first, is, with all persons of a cultivated mind, greatly increased by repeated inspections. The common observation, that a fine painting or statue grows upon you the oftener you see it, and that "Time but the impression deeper wears," sufficiently proves that it is not at once, even in those arts which speak at once to the eye, that the soul of the artist is transferred to that of the spectator.

But the case is entirely different with those arts—such as history, romance, epic poetry, or the drama—which do not at once produce a visible object to the mind, but give descriptions or dialogues by which the reader or spectator is required to form a mental object or awaken a mental interest of his own creation, though from the materials furnished, and under the guidance of the genius of the artist. It is not instantaneously that this can be done: on the contrary, it is by very slow degrees and many successive efforts that the inward picture is created in the mind, the absorbing interest awakened in the heart, which gives the pleasure or rouses the sympathy which is the object of the writer to communicate. A very little reflection will be sufficient to show that this observation is well founded, in all the arts of narrative or description. And nothing, we apprehend, can be clearer than that the Romantic Drama has failed because it professes, within limits and by means which render the attempt hopeless, to excite this interest.

Notwithstanding the well-known and proverbial dulness of history, there are many historical works which do succeed in awakening a durable and sometimes absorbing interest in the mind of the reader. Probably few works professedly addressed to the imagination have awakened in many breasts so deep and lasting an interest as the narrative of Livy, the biography of Tacitus, the pictured[Pg 169] page of Gibbon. Such works are almost always complained of as dull at first: but the interest gradually waxes warmer as the narrative proceeds; the feelings become roused on one side, or in favour of one hero or another, in the great drama of the world; and not unfrequently in the end the most attractive works of imagination are laid aside for the annals of real events. But how is it that this interest is awakened? By the study of months, sometimes of years: by an interest produced by the reading of a whole winter by the fireside. Let any man try, in a narrative of long continued historical events, to excite a deep interest in a space which can be read in three hours, and the powers of Tacitus or Gibbon would at once fail in the attempt. It is quite possible in that brief period to awaken the deepest interest in a single or closely connected series of events, as a battle, a siege, a revolt, a ship-wreck: but wholly impossible to do so with incidents scattered over a long course of years.

The interest so generally felt in epic poetry and romance is excited in the same way, though in a much shorter period. As the colours of these species of composition are more brilliant, the feelings more chastened, the events more select, the characters more prominent, the catastrophe more rapidly brought about, than in real life, so the artist has the means, in a much shorter period, of awakening the interest upon the growth of which the success of his work is chiefly dependent. But nevertheless, even there, it is by comparatively slow degrees, and by reading for a very considerable period, that the interest is created. It is wholly impossible to produce it, or make the story or the characters intelligible, in a few hours. Every scholar recollects the delight with which his mind grew, as it were, under the fire of Homer's conceptions, his taste matured under the charm of Virgil's feelings: but no one will pretend that the intense delight he felt could be awakened, if he had read extracts from their most brilliant passages in a few hours; this pleasure was the feast, this interest the growth, of weeks and months. No reader of Tasso, Milton, or Klopstock, for the first time, would think he could acquire an interest in the Jerusalem Delivered, the Paradise Lost, or the Messiah, between tea and supper. Many of their finest passages might be read in that brief space, and their beauty as pieces of poetry fully appreciated; but it would be wholly impossible in so short a time to awaken an interest in the whole story, or the fate of the principal characters.—Nevertheless it would be quite possible, in that period to excite the deepest sympathy with some of their most striking events or episodes taken singly; as the parting of Hector and Andromache, or the death of the Trojan hero, in the Iliad; the love of Dido for Æneas, or the catastrophe of Nisus and Euryalus, in the Æneid; the death of Clorinda, or the flight of Erminia, in the Jerusalem Delivered. The reason is, that it is possible in a short space to point a single catastrophe with such force and minuteness as to excite the warmest sympathy, but wholly impossible to effect that object within such limits, with a long series of consecutive events.

Again, look at the historical romance or the common novel. No one needs to be told how deep and universal is the interest which the masterpieces in that department awaken. Whatever may be said to the decline of the public taste for the drama, most certainly there is no symptom of any abatement in the general interest awakened by works of fiction; but that interest is of comparatively slow growth. It would be impossible to produce it in a few hours. It is excited by the reading of three evenings by the fireside. No one would deem it possible to awaken the interest, or make the characters intelligible, in three hours.

It is true that to the aid of six or eight chapters culled out of three volumes, the Romantic dramatist brings the auxiliaries of acting, scenery, and stage effect; but that adds little to the power of exciting deep sympathy or powerful emotion. Such feelings cannot be awakened without minute painting, and continuity of action, and they are excluded by the very nature of the Romantic drama. That species of composition proposes to give a picture of the[Pg 170] principal events of a long period, as the peristrephic panorama does of the chief scenes of a great space, as the whole course of the Rhine or the Danube. Every one knows how inferior the interest it excites is to those in which the whole skill of the artist and outlay of the proprietor have been exerted on a single picture, as the original round one of Barker and Burford. The art of panoramic painting has signally receded, since the moving panorama has been substituted for the fixed one. A series of galloping lithographic sketches of Italy, however highly coloured or skilfully drawn, will never paint that lovely peninsula like a single sunset of Claude in the bay of Naples. Claude himself could not do so in his varied sketches, graphic and masterly as they are. The Romantic drama is the Liber Veritatis; the Greek drama is the finished Claude in the Doria Palace, or the National Gallery. Few persons will hesitate to say which excites the strongest admiration, which they would rather possess.

Performers on the stage are very naturally led to form an erroneous opinion on this subject. Many of the most captivating qualities they possess are seen at once. Physical beauty, elegance of manner, a noble air, a majestic carriage, a lovely figure, a bewitching smile, produce their effect instantaneously. No one needs to be told how quickly and powerfully they speak to the heart, how warmly they kindle the imagination. But that admiration is personal to the artist; it does not extend to the piece, nor can it overcome its imperfections. It gives pleasure often of the very highest kind; but it is a pleasure very different from the true interest of dramatic representation, and cannot be relied on to sustain the interest of an audience for a long period. It is where these powers of the performer are exerted on a drama constructed on its true principles, that the full delight of the theatre is felt. No talents in the performer can sustain a faulty piece. We cannot sit three hours merely to admire the most beautiful and gifted actress that ever trod the boards. Mental sympathy, the rousing of the feelings, is required, and that is mainly the work of the poet.

We are the more confirmed in the opinion that these are the true principles of dramatic composition, from observing how generally they are applicable to the historical novel; how clearly they are illustrated by the decided verdict of public opinion pronounced on the works of the most popular writers in that species of composition. The two novels of Sir Walter Scott that are most admired, are Ivanhoe and The Bride of Lammermoor. Well, these romances have the interest concentrated within the narrowest limits. The Bride of Lammermoor is a Greek drama in prose. It has its simplicity of story, unity of emotion, and terrible concluding catastrophe. Lucia di Lammermoor, performed with signal success in every opera of Europe, is a proof how easily it was dramatised. It is the only one of Sir Walter's novels that, out of Scotland, where local feelings warp the judgment, has been durably successful on the stage. The principal events in Ivanhoe are contracted within three days; the characters which interest are only two or three in number. Look at Cooper. The great secret of his success is the minuteness and fidelity of his painting, and the graphic power with which heart-stirring events occurring within a very short period are painted. In the most admired of all his novels, The Deerslayer, the whole scene is laid on the borders of a single lake, and the interest arises from the adventures of two girls on its watery bosom. Events in The Pathfinder, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Prairie, are nearly as concentrated in point of time and characters, though, as the story depends in each on the adventures of a party on a journey, a considerable transference of place is of course introduced. The Promessi Sposi of Manzoni has acquired a European reputation, and every reader of it knows how entirely its interest is dependent on the unity of interest and extraordinary fidelity and skill with which, within narrow limits, the characters, events, and still life, are portrayed. It is the same in history.[Pg 171] The success of Alison's History of Europe has been mainly owing to the fortunate unity of the subject, and the dramatic character of the events which, within the space of twenty years, were thus crowded into the theatre of human affairs.

In those romances again, and they are many, in which great latitude in the unities has been taken, it is very rarely that the skill of the artist has succeeded in preventing a painful break in the interest, or cessation in the sympathy, where any considerable transposition of place or overleaping of time occurs. It is very frequent in James's novels to see this done; but we believe he never yet had a reader in whom it did not excite a feeling of regret. When a chapter begins—"We must now transport the reader to a distant part of the country"—or "Many years after the events detailed in the last chapter had occurred, two persons met in an hostelry on the side of a forest," &c., we may rely upon it that, not only is the scene changed, but the interest, for the time at least, is lost. The pictures formed in the mind, the interest awakened in the events, the admiration felt for the characters, are alike at an end. The chain of sympathy is broken with the rupture of the continuity of events. The reader's mind sets out as it were on a new track, in which the sails must be spread, and the oars worked afresh. Everything must be done over again; fresh pictures conjured up in the mind, new interests awakened in the breast from the last starting-point. But it is seldom that such new interests can supply the want of those which have been lost, or that, where such a system is adopted, even a sustained sympathy can be maintained throughout. We do not say that the first love is exclusive of any other; but only that the interest is not to be transferred from one to the other, until a considerable time has elapsed, and no small pains have been taken. Several such dislocations of place, or violations of time, will prove fatal to a novel, though written with the utmost ability, and managed in other respects with the most consummate skill. Every reader of Mr James's romances, which in many respects possess high merits, must be sensible of the truth of this observation; and all the richness of colouring, and fidelity in drawing, in Sir L. Bulwer's splendid historical romance of Rienzi, cannot take away the painful impression produced by the long interval which elapses between the commencement of the story, where the characters first appear, its middle, where the real interest is developed, and its termination, where the catastrophe occurs.

In the historical romance, however, such diffusion of the events over a long period, though extremely difficult to be managed in consistence with the preservation of interest in the story, is adverse to no principle; because it is the very object of that species of mingled truth and fiction to narrate a lengthened course of events as they affected the history of individual men; and the only unity to which the author is restricted by the principles of his art is the unity of interest. But the curious thing is, that in the Romantic drama this difficulty is voluntarily undertaken when no necessity exists for its introduction; nay, when the principles of the art, as evinced in the works of its greatest masters, forbid its adoption. What would the historian give to be able to dwell only on the brilliant episodes of his period—to be permitted to throw aside the long intervening years of monotony or prose, and dwell only on those where the poetry of existence is brought forth? On what scenes does the romance writer dwell with transport—where does he paint with force and minuteness but in those incidents, generally few and far between in his volumes, which form the fit subject of dramatic composition? The stage alone is relieved from the necessity of portraying the prosaic adjunct to poetic interest; the dramatist only is permitted to select the decisive crisis—the burning incident of life—and present it with all the additions of poetry, music, scenery, and personation. Strange that, when thus relieved of the fetters which so grievously restrain the other species of human narrative, he should voluntarily choose to wear them; that when at liberty to soar on the eagle's wing, he should gratuitously assume the camel's load.

[Pg 172]In truth, the adoption of the Romantic style in theatrical composition, and the tenacity with which, despite centuries of failure, it is still adhered to by dramatic poets, is mainly to be ascribed to a secret sense of inability to work up the simpler old drama of Greece with the requisite force and effect. Men distrust their own powers in awaking a continued interest for hours from one incident, or the portraying of a single catastrophe. They are fain to borrow the adventitious aid to be derived, as they think, from frequent changes of time and place. They rail at the drama of Athens, as many modern artists do at the paintings of Claude Lorraine, because they feel themselves unable to imitate them. They crowd their canvass with objects, from a secret sense of inability to finish any one with perfect force and fidelity. In that way they flatter themselves that the defects of their composition will be less strongly felt, and the audience will experience something like the enjoyment of foreign travelling without any great trouble on the part of their conductor, on the brilliant succession of pictures which is presented to their intellectual vision. They forget only one thing, but it generally proves fatal to their whole undertaking. Foreign travelling is delightful; but it is only so when sufficient time is allowed to see the objects properly, and take in the impression. Without this, it is little more than a grievous fatigue, relieved by one or two splendid but fleeting pictures painted on the mind. The drama being limited to a three hours' representation, must portray the events of years, if it attempts it, at railway speed. Thence it is, that no greater pleasure is in general felt from its representations than from seeing the tops of villages or the steeples of churches fleeting past when travelling fifty miles an hour on the Great Western. If we would really enjoy nature, we must stop short and sketch one of them, and then we shall feel pleasure indeed.

It is a most grievous but unavoidable consequence of this original departure, as we deem it, from right principle in dramatic composition, that it leads by a natural and almost unavoidable transition to all the extravagances and meritricious aids, the presence of which has so long been felt as the chief disgrace of the British stage. As long as the unities of time and place are adhered to, the poet has no resource but in the forces of character, the pathos of incident, the beauty of language. If he does not succeed in these he is lost. But the moment that he feels himself at liberty to change the scene or time at pleasure, there is no end to the assistance which he will seek to derive from such adventitious support, how foreign soever to the real interest and true principles of his art. Frequent changes of scene, gorgeous pictures of buildings or scenery, brilliant exhibitions of stage effect, processions, battles, storming of castles, the clang of trumpets, the clashing of swords, the discharge of fire-arms, are all resorted to in order to save the trouble of thought, or conceal mediocrity of conception. It may be that such exhibitions are very attractive, that they draw full houses of children, or of men and women with the minds of children—no small portion of the human race. But no one will assert that they are the drama, any more than that name belonged to the exhibitions of lions or cameleopards in the Roman amphitheatre. But the Romantic drama, by the unbounded latitude in point of time, place, and incident, which it permits, opens the door to all these substitutes for genius which the great drama, by excluding them, kept carefully closed. Therefore it is that the corruption of taste has been much more rapid and irremediable in the countries by which it has been adopted, than in those in which the old landmarks were adhered to; and that in the latter the taste for extravagance in the public, and the degradation in the character of dramatic composition, has always been contemporary with the introduction of the Romantic style on the theatre.

To see to what the Romantic style leads, we have only to look at the dramatic pieces founded on the favourite works of fiction which have recently appeared in England and France. Dramas in both countries have been formed on the stories of the most popular novels of Scott,[Pg 173] Bulwer, Victor Hugo, Janin, and Eugene Sue. What success have they had? What sort of things are they? We pass over the horrors, the indecency, adulterous incest, and murders of the modern French drama, founded on the romances of three popular and imaginative novelists, and come to the dramas founded on our own great romance writers, against whom no such charges can be brought, and the original plots of which have been constructed with the utmost talent by the greatest master of prose fiction the world ever saw. What has been the fate of the dramas of Ivanhoe, The Antiquary, Guy Mannering, Rob Roy, or Sir Walter's other popular novels? With the exception of the lowest class of Scotch audiences, who roar on the representations of Dandie Dinmont, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, or the like, it may safely be affirmed that they have every where proved entire failures. The talent of a popular actress may for a time keep some of them up, as Miss Cushman has recently done with Meg Merrilies both in the London and provincial theatres; but left to themselves, they have every where sunk to the ground. The reason is evident. The story is so complicated, and leaps so from one thing to another, from a desire to skim over the whole novel, that except to those who have the original by heart, it is absolutely unintelligible.

It is said that the sketch of a whole lifetime, or of many years, is essential to the true development of character, which it is the great end of the drama to exhibit, because it is by the varied events of so long a period that we are made acquainted with it in real life. Here again we join issue with our opponents, and do most confidently maintain that the Greek drama, which professes to paint the heart by the paroxysms of passion it undergoes in the crisis of its fate, is much more likely to do it faithfully and effectually than the Romantic, which portrays the events of a whole lifetime. When it is said the object of the drama is to paint the human heart, a distinction must be made. The heart may become known by ordinary life or moments of crisis, by custom or passion. The novelist, who portrays a whole life, may delineate it in the first way; but the dramatic poet, who is limited to a representation of three hours, must of necessity embrace the latter. But if the delineation of the heart by its expressions or sufferings in moments of passion, when it is laid bare by the vehemence of emotions, be the end in view, it must at once be evident that it is much more likely to be attained by vividly and minutely painting a single decisive crisis, with the acts and feelings to which it gives rise, than by presenting comparatively hurried and imperfect sketches of previous events, when the current of life ran comparatively smoothly. Every one knows how much the character of the French church and nobility rose during the sufferings of the Revolution; with truth was the instrument of their execution called the "holy guillotine," from the virtues previously unheard of which it brought to light. Could any dramatic sketch of their previous lives paint the inmost heart of these victims so well as one faithful portrait of their conduct in the supreme hour? Could the mingled greatness and meanness of Napoleon's character be so well portrayed, by a sketch of his life and impressive scenes from Lodi to St Helena, as by a graphic delineation of his conduct in the decisive crisis at Waterloo?

It sounds well, no doubt, to say, as Macaulay does, that the Romantic drama exhibits all the plans of a man's life, from the ardour of generous youth to the coolness of experienced age. This may be done in history or romance; but it is impossible within the limits of a single representation. It is quite enough if, in so short a space, the stage can represent one momentous crisis with adequate power, and really paint the heart as laid bare by its occurrence. He who knows how difficult it is to do that in a single instance, will feel that the effect can only be weakened by repeated draughts upon the sympathy of the audience, from the effect of different events in the same piece. The attempt to do so scarcely ever fails to weaken the effect of the whole piece, by distracting the interest and confusing the idea of the spectators. If it succeeds, the result, like the[Pg 174] repeated demands which Matthews made on our risible faculties, in general is to produce an effect directly the reverse of what was intended. The comedian, by trying too often to make us laugh, made us in the end more ready to cry; the tragedian, by trying too often to make us cry, succeeds generally only in making us laugh.

But what, then, it is said, is to be made of Shakspeare, and how is his transcendent and universally acknowledged greatness, while setting the unities at defiance, to be reconciled with those principles? We accept the challenge; we take the case of the Earl of Avon, with his deathless fame, and maintain that his dramatic excellence not only affords no impeachment of what has now been advanced, but furnishes its most decisive confirmation.

When it is commonly said that Shakspeare sets the unities at defiance, and assumed that his success has been owing to his disregarding them, the fact is not correctly stated, and the inference is not logically drawn. It is a mistake to say that the unities are always disregarded by the great English tragedian. In many of his most popular pieces, they are maintained nearly as strictly as they were by Sophocles; and we are aware of not one of his dramas which is still represented with undiminished effect on the stage, in which the principle of the unities may not distinctly be recognised, and the long-continued success is not to be traced to their observation.

The Greeks, as every scholar knows, took great latitude with time in their representations. The interval between one act and another, often even the time occupied by the chaunting of the chorus, frequently was made to cover a very considerable period, during which battles were fought, a duel or a conspiracy broke forth, an execution took place, and the most momentous events of the piece off the stage occurred. In place, it is true, they were strictly limited; the scene never changed, and all the incidents were introduced by bringing successive persons upon it. In this respect, it may be admitted, they carried their strictness too far. Probably it arose from the pieces being represented, for the most part, in the open air, under circumstances when the illusion produced by a change of scene, such as we witness at our theatres, was difficult, if not impossible, from the audience being, for the most part, above the actors, and the stage having no top. But to whatever cause it may have been owing, we hold the adherence to unity of place an unnecessary and prejudicial strictness in the Greek theatre. But a very slight deviation from it alone seems admissible; and the unity of action or emotion seems to be the very essence of this species of composition.

The true principle appears to be, that the place should not change to a greater extent than the spectators can conceive the actors to have gone over without inconvenience within the time embraced in the representation. This time often extended with the Greeks to a half of, or even a whole day, and there seems nothing adverse to principle in such extension. Changes of scene, therefore, from one room in a palace to another; from one part of a town to another; or even from town to a chateau, garden, forest, or other place in its near vicinity, appear to be perfectly admissible, without any violation of true dramatic principle. The popular opera of the "Black Domino," to which the charming singing and acting of Madame Thillon have recently given such celebrity at the Haymarket, may be considered in this respect as a model of the unities taken in a reasonable sense. The time which elapses in the piece is a single night; the subject is the adventures which befel the heroine during that period; the scene changes, but only to the places in the same town to which she went during its continuance. There seems nothing inconsistent with the production of unity of interest in such a latitude. And with this inconsiderable expansion of the old Greek unities, it will be found that Shakspeare's greatest plays, and those which experience has found to be best adapted for the stage, have been constructed on the true principles.

Take for example, Romeo and Juliet, and As you Like it; perhaps the tragedy and comedy of his [Pg 175]composition which have most completely kept their hold of the stage. The unities are nearly as closely observed in both as in any drama of Sophocles. With the exception of a slight alteration of place and scene, every thing is concentrated. The interest and emotion, which is the great point, is maintained one and indivisible. With the exception of Romeo's banishment to Mantua, and the scene with the druggist there, which, after all, is but an episode, and took the hero only two hours' drive from Verona, the place is confined to different scenes in that town. The festive hall where the lovers first meet—the exquisite meeting on the balcony—Father Ambrose's cell—the room where Juliet coaxes the nurse—the garden where she parts from Romeo, when

"Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain's top—"

the terrible scene where Juliet contemplates wakening in the tomb amidst her ancestors' bones—the mausoleum itself, where the catastrophe occurs, are all in the same town. The time supposed to elapse does not exceed twenty-four hours; not more than in the Electra or Iphigenia in Aulis of Euripides. The interest, dependent entirely on the ardent love of Juliet, is as much undivided as in the Antigone of Sophocles. And yet we are told Shakspeare succeeded by disregarding the unities.

Again, in As you Like it, the same observation holds true. Whoever recollects the scenes of that delightful drama, must be sensible that it is, with the single exception of the scenes of the wrestlers in the first act, nothing but a Greek drama on the English stage. Menander or Aristophanes would have made one of the characters recount that scene, which is merely introductory, and introduced Rosalind and her companions for the first time in the Forest of Arden, where the real interest of the piece commences. A slight change of scene, indeed, occurs from one part of the forest to another, but it is so inconsiderable as in no degree to interfere with the unity of effect. The single interest awakened by Rosalind's secret love and playful archness of manner is kept up undivided throughout. So also in The Tempest, the unities in all the scenes which excite sympathy are as completely preserved as ever they were on the Greek stage; and the angelic innocence of Miranda stands forth in as striking and undivided relief as the devotion of Antigone to sisterly affection, or the self-immolation of Iphigenia to patriotic duty. We are well aware there are characters of a very different kind in that drama; but the interest is concentrated on those in which the unity is preserved. Look at Othello. In what play of Euripides is singleness of interest more completely preserved than in that noble tragedy? The haughty bearing, conscious pride, but ardent love of the Moor; the deep love of Desdemona, nourished, as we so often see in real life, by qualities in her the very reverse; the gradual growth of jealousy from her innocent sportiveness of manner, and the diabolical machinations of Iago; her murder, in a fit of jealousy, by her despairing husband, and his self-sacrifice when the veil was drawn from his eyes,—are all brought forward, if not with the literal strictness of the Greek drama, at least with as much regard to unity of time, place, and action, as is required by its principles.

We are well aware that there are many other dramas, and those, perhaps, not less popular, of Shakspeare, in which unity of time and place is entirely set at defiance, and in which the piece ends at the distance of hundreds of miles, sometimes after the lapse of years, from the point whence it commenced. Macbeth, Julius Cæsar, Richard III., Henry V., Hamlet, and many others, are examples of this deviation from former principle, and it is to the universal admiration which they excite that the national partiality for the Romantic drama is to be ascribed. But in all these instances it will be found—and the observation is a most material one—that the real interest is nearly as much centralised as it was in the Greek stage, and that it is on the extraordinary fascination which a few scenes, or the incidents grouped round a single event, possess, that the success of the piece depends. The historical tragedies read well,[Pg 176] just as a historical romance does, and from the same cause, that they are looked on, not as dramas, but as brilliant passages of history. But this has proved unable to support them on the theatre. One by one they have gradually dropped away from the stage. Some are occasionally revived, from time to time, in order to display the power of a particular actor or actress, but never with any lasting success. Those plays of Shakspeare which alone retain their hold of the theatre, are either those, such as Romeo and Juliet, or As you Like it, in which the unities are substantially observed, or in which the resplendent brilliancy of a few characters or scenes, within very narrow limits, fixes the attention of the audience so completely as to render comparatively harmless, because unfelt, the distraction produced by the intermixture of farce in the subordinate persons, or the violations of time and place in the structure of the piece. But it is not to every man that the pencil of the Bard of Avon,

"Dipp'd in the orient hues of heaven,"

is given; and the subsequent failure of the Romantic drama, in this and every other country, is mainly to be ascribed to succeeding writers not having possessed his power of fixing, by the splendid colours of genius, the attention of the spectators on a particular part of the piece. Shakspeare disregards the unities in form; but his burning imagination restores their operations in substance.

Take for example the most popular of the really Romantic dramas, Macbeth and Hamlet. No one need be told how the unities are violated in the first of these pieces: that it begins on a heath in Morayshire, where the witches appear to the victorious Thane; that the murder of the King takes place in the Castle of Inverness; that the usurper is slain by Macduff in front of Dunsinnane Castle near the Tay. But none can either have read the play, or seen it acted, without feeling that the real interest lies in the events which occurred, and the ambitious feelings which were awakened in Macbeth and his wife, when temptation was put in their way within their own halls. Sophocles would have laid the scene there, and made one of the characters narrate in the outset the appearance of the witches on the heath, and brought Macduff to the gates of Macbeth's castle shortly after the murder of Duncan to avenge his death. Shakspeare has not done this; but he has painted the scenes in the interior of the castle, before and after the murder, with such force and effect, that the mind is as much riveted by them, as if no previous or subsequent deviation from the unities had been introduced. Hamlet begins in a strain of unparalleled interest; had the last four acts proceeded in the same sublime style as the first, and the filial duty devolved by the ghost on his son of avenging his murder been discharged as rapidly as it should have been, and as the feelings of the audience lead them to desire, it would have been perhaps the most powerful tragedy in the world. Had Shakspeare proceeded on the principles of the Greek drama, he would have done this, and produced a drama as universally admired as the Agamemnon of Æschylus. But every one feels that the interest is weakened and wellnigh lost as the play proceeds; new characters are introduced, the burlesque succeeds the sublime, the original design is forgotten; and when the spectre appears a second time "to whet your almost blunted purpose," his appearance is felt to be as necessary to revive the decaying interest of the piece, as to resuscitate the all but forgotten fervour of the Prince of Denmark.

We feel that we have committed high treason in the estimation of a large part of our readers, by contesting the justice of the principles on which Shakspeare proceeded in the construction of many of his dramas; and we know that the opinions advanced are adverse to those of many, whose genius and professional success entitle their judgment on this subject to the very highest respect. But yet the weight of authority, if that is to be appealed to, is decidedly in favour of the principles of the Greek being the true ones of the drama. From the days of Aristotle to those of Addison, the greatest critics have concurred in this opinion; and he is a bold innovater on this subject who sets at nought the precepts of Horace[Pg 177] and Quintilian, forgets the example of Sophocles and Schiller, of Euripides and Alfieri, of Corneille and Metastasio, and disregards the decided judgment of Pope[7] and Byron. The opinion of the latter poet was peculiarly strong in favour of the unities, and was repeatedly expressed in his correspondence preserved in Moore's Life; although his own noble dramas, being avowedly constructed with no view to representation, but as a vehicle for powerful declamation or impassioned poetry, often exhibit, especially in Manfred, the most glaring violations of them. Johnson confessed that the weight of authority in favour of the Greek rules was so great, that it required no small courage to attempt even to withstand it. But it is not by authority that this, or any other question of taste, is to be decided. The true test of the correctness of opinion on such matters is to be found in experience, and the inward feelings of persons of cultivated minds and enlarged observation. And in the preceding remarks we have only extended to the drama, principles familiar to artists in every other department of human imagination, and generally admitted in them, at least, to be correct; and appealed, we trust not in vain, to the experience gained, and the lessons learned, by those who have cultivated the sister arts in those times with the greatest success.




From Uhland. By A. Lodge.

A castle of the olden time, o'er subject regions wide,
Throned on its rocky height afar looked forth in feudal pride;
And fragrant gardens decked the plain, where lakes, with crystal sheen,
Mirrored the pleasant sylvan glades and lawns of living green.

Here dwelt, of jealous fears the prey, in pomp of moody state,
A King, by realms and cities fair, and conquest's laurels great;
His glance bespoke the tyrant soul to pity ne'er subdued;
His words were chains and torments—his characters were blood!

Once to these lordly towers at eve approached a tuneful pair,
Of reverend silvery tresses one, and one with golden hair;
The old man on a palfrey sate—his harp, the Minstrel's pride,
He bore—his comrade, young and blithe, tripped lightly at his side.

Thus to the youth the old man spoke—"My son, it boots to-day,
To try our deepest melodies, our most impassioned lay;
With cunning'st art essay the notes of blended joy and pain;
Perchance this royal heart may own the magic of the strain."

Soon in the pillared regal hall, amid the courtly throng
[Pg 178]Of belted knights and beauteous dames, they range the sons of song:—
The King, in fearful majesty, recalled the meteor's blaze;
His spouse, with beaming loveliness, the moonlight's gentle rays.

The old man swept the chords—and quick, responsive to the tone,
Through all the train each heart confessed the spell of power unknown;
And when a clear angelic voice chimed in with youthful fire,
'Twas like the unseen minstrelsy of some ethereal quire!

They sang of Love's delightful spring—of the old golden time;
Of knightly leal, and maiden's truth, and chivalry sublime;
Of each high thought that stirs the soul informed with heavenly flame;
Of man's exalted destinies—of freedom, worth, and fame!

They paused:—in rapt attention hushed, the crowd had clustered near;
The courtier smoothed the lip of scorn, the warrior dropped a tear;
The Queen, with trembling extasy, took from her breast a rose;
And see! at the young Minstrel's feet the guerdon flower she throws.

"Ha!" shrieked the King—"my lieges first, with your detested lays,
Ye have seduced—and now my Queen their witchery betrays;
Die, tuneful minion!"—at the youth he hurled the gleaming sword,
And from the fount of golden strains the crimson tide was poured.

While scared, as by the lightning's flash, all stood in mute dismay,
The boy on his loved master's breast had breathed his soul away:—
The old man round the bleeding form his mantle wrapped with speed;
Raised the dear victim in his arms, and bound him on his steed.

The portals passed, he stood awhile, and gazed with tearful eyes—
And grasped his harp—the master harp—of thousand harps the prize:
Then frantic on a column's base he dashed the useless lyre,
And thus the curse of Poesy spoke with a prophet's fire!

"Woe! Woe! proud towers—dire House of blood! thy guilty courts among,
Ne'er may the chords of harmony be waked—the voice of song;
The tread of silent slaves alone shall echo mid the gloom,
Till Ruin waits, and hovering fiends of vengeance shriek thy doom!

"Woe! Woe! ye blooming gardens fair—decked in the pride of May,
Behold this flower untimely cropped—look—and no more be gay!
The sight should wither every leaf—make all your fountains dry,
And bid the bright enchantment round in wasteful horror lie!

"And thou, fell Tyrant, curst for aye of all the tuneful train—
May blighted bays, and bitter scorn, mock thy inglorious reign!
Perish thy hated name with thee—from songs and annals fade—
Thy race—thy power—thy very crimes—lost in oblivion's shade!"

The aged Bard has spoken—and Heaven has heard the prayer;
The haughty towers are crumbling low—no regal dome is there!
A single column soars on high, to tell of splendours past—
And see! 'tis cracked—it nods the head—this hour may be it's last!

Where once the fairy garden smiled, a mournful desert lies—
No rills refresh the barren sand—no graceful stems arise—
From storied page, and legend strain, this King has vanished long;
His race is dead—his power forgot:—such is the might of song!



[Pg 179]


The silver mines of Potosi, the virgin forests, and mighty cordilleras of South America, are words familiar and full of interest to European ears. Countless riches, prodigious vegetable luxuriance, stupendous grandeur, are the associations they suggest. With these should be coupled ideas of cruelty, desolation, and disease, of human suffering and degradation pushed to their utmost limit, of opportunities neglected, and advantages misused. Not a bar of silver, or a healing drug, or an Alpaca fleece, shipped from Peruvian ports to supply another hemisphere with luxuries and comforts, but is the price of an incalculable amount of misery, and even of blood—the blood of a race once noble and powerful, now wretched and depraved by the agency of those whose duty and in whose power it was to civilize and improve them. The corrupt policy of Spanish rulers, the baneful example of Spanish colonists and their descendants, have gone far towards the depopulation and utter ruin of the richest of South American countries. How imprudent and suicidal has been the course adopted, will presently be made apparent. Those who desire evidence in support of our assertion, need but follow Dr Tschudi, as we now propose doing, into the mining, mountainous, and forest districts of Peru.

Difficult and dangerous as a journey through the maritime provinces of Peru undeniably is, it is mere railroad travelling when compared with an expedition into the interior of the country. In the former case, the land is level, and the sun, the sand, and the highwayman, are the only perils to be encountered or evaded. But a ramble in the mountains is a succession of hairbreadth escapes, a deliberate confronting of constantly recurring dangers, to which even the natives unwillingly expose themselves, and frequently fall victims. The avalanches, precipices, gaping ravines, slippery glaciers, and violent storms common to all Alpine regions, are here complicated by other risks peculiar to the South American mountains. Heavy rains, lasting for weeks together, falls of snow that in a few moments obliterate all trace of a path, treacherous swamps, strange and loathsome maladies, and even blindness, combine to deter the traveller from his dangerous undertaking. All these did Dr Tschudi brave, and from them all, after the endurance of great hardship and suffering, he was fortunate enough to escape.

At a very short distance from Lima, the traveller, proceeding eastward, gets a foretaste of the difficulties and inconveniences in reserve for him. Whilst riding, through the vale of Surco, or through some other of the valleys leading from the coast to the mountains, he perceives a fountain by the road side, and pauses to refresh his tired mule. Scarcely is his intention manifest, when he is startled by a cry from his guide, or from a passing Indian—"Cuidado! Es agua de verruga!" In these valleys reigns a terrible disease called the verrugas, attributed by the natives to the water of certain springs, and for which all Dr Tschudi's investigations were insufficient to discover another cause. Fever, pains in the bones, and loss of blood from cutaneous eruptions, are the leading symptoms of this malady, which is frequently of long duration, and sometimes terminates fatally. It seizes the Indians and lighter castes in preference to the white men and negroes, and no specific has yet been discovered for its cure. Mules and horses are also subject to its attacks. In no country, it would appear from Dr Tschudi's evidence, are there so many strange and unaccountable maladies as in Peru. Nearly every valley has its peculiar disease, extending over a district of a few square miles, and unknown beyond its limits. To most of them it has hitherto been impossible[Pg 180] to assign a cause. Their origin must probably be sought in certain vegetable influences, or in those of the vast variety of minerals which the soil of Peru contains.

In the mountains, the shoeing of mules and horses is frequently a matter of much difficulty; and it is advisable for the traveller to acquire the art, and furnish himself with needful implements, before leaving the more civilized part of the country. Farriers are only to be found in the large Indian villages, and it is common to ride fifty or sixty leagues without meeting with one. In the village of San Geronimo de Surco, the innkeeper is the only blacksmith, and Dr Tschudi, whose horse had cast a shoe, was compelled to pay half a gold ounce (upwards of thirty shillings) to have it replaced. This was one half less than the sum at first demanded by the exorbitant son of Vulcan, who doubtless remembered the old Spanish proverb, "for a nail is lost a shoe, for a shoe the horse, for the horse the horseman."[9] The doctor took the hint, and some lessons in shoeing, which afterwards stood him in good stead. It is a common practice in Peru, on the sandy coast, and where the roads permit it, to ride a horse or mule unshod for the first four or five days of a journey. Then shoes are put on the fore feet, and a few days later on the hinder ones. This is thought to give new strength to the animals, and to enable them to hold out longer. On the mountain tracks, the wear and tear of iron must be prodigious, as may be judged from the following description of three leagues of road between Viso and San Mateo, by no means the worst bit met with by our traveller.

"The valley frequently becomes a mere narrow split in the mountains, enclosed between walls of rock a thousand feet high. These enormous precipices are either perpendicular, or their summits incline inwards, forming a vast arch; along their base, washed by the foaming waters of the river, or higher up, along their side, winds the narrow and dangerous path. In some places they recede a little from the perpendicular, and their abrupt slopes are sprinkled with stones and fragments of rock, which every now and then, loosened by rain, detach themselves and roll down into the valley. The path is heaped with these fragments, which give way under the tread of the heavily laden mules, and afford them scanty foothold. From time to time, enormous blocks thunder down the precipice, and bury themselves in the waters beneath. I associate a painful recollection with the road from Viso to San Mateo. It was there that a mass of stone struck one of my mules, and precipitated it into the river. My most important instruments and travelling necessaries, a portion of my collections and papers, and—an irreparable loss—a diary carefully and conscientiously kept during a period of fourteen months, became the prey of the waters. Two days later the mule was washed ashore; but its load was irrecoverably lost. Each year numerous beasts of burden, and many travellers, perish upon this dangerous road. Cavalry on the march are particularly apt to suffer, and often a slip of the horse's foot, or a hasty movement of the rider, suffices to consign both to the yawning chasm by their side. At the inn at Viso I met an officer, who had just come from the mountains, bringing his two sons with him. He had taken the youngest before him; the other, a boy of ten years of age, rode upon the mule's crupper. Half a league from Viso, a large stone came plunging down from the mountain, struck the eldest lad, and dashed him into the stream."

Although frequently ill-treated by the Creoles, and especially by the officers, the Indians in most parts of Peru show ready hospitality and good-will to the solitary traveller. Those in the neighborhood of San Mateo are an exception; they are distrustful, rough, and disobliging. When a traveller enters the village, he is instantly waited upon by the alcalde and regidores, who demand his passport. Has he none, he risks ill-treatment, and being[Pg 181] put upon a jackass and carried off to the nearest prefect. Luckily the ignorance of the village authorities renders them easy to deal with; it is rare that they can read. On one occasion, when Dr Tschudi's passport was demanded, the only printed paper in his pocket was an old playbill, that of the last opera he had attended before his departure from Lima, and which he had taken with him as wadding for his gun. He handed it to the Indian regidor, who gravely unfolded it, stared hard at the words Lucia di Lammermoor, and returned it with the remark, that the passport was perfectly in order.

Any thing more wretched in their accommodations than the tambos or village inns, can scarcely be imagined. So bad are they, that the traveller is sometimes driven to pass the night in the snow rather than accept of their shelter, and at the same time submit to the nuisances with which they abound. One of these villanous hostelries, in which Dr Tschudi several times attempted to sleep, is described by him with a minuteness that will rather startle the squeamish amongst his readers. Vermin every where, on the floor and walls, in the clothes of the Indian hag officiating as hostess, even in the caldron in which a vile mixture of potatoe water and Spanish pepper is prepared for supper. For sole bed there is the damp earth, upon which hosts, children, and travellers stretch themselves. Each person is accommodated with a sheepskin, and over the whole company is spread an enormous woollen blanket. But woe to the inexperienced traveller who avails himself of the coverings thus bountifully furnished, swarming as they are with inhabitants from whose assaults escape is impossible. Even if he creeps into a corner, and makes himself a bed with his saddle-cloths, he is not secure. Add to these comforts a stifling smoke, and other nauseous exhalations, and the gambols of innumerable guinea-pigs, common as mice in many parts of Peru, who caper the night through over the faces and bodies of the sleepers, and the picture of a South American mountain inn will be as complete as it is uninviting. But these annoyances, great though they be, are very trifles compared to the more serious evils awaiting the traveller in the higher regions of the Cordilleras. At about 12,600 feet above the level of the sea, the effects of the rarefaction of the atmosphere begin to be sensibly and painfully felt. The natives, unacquainted with the real cause of the malady thus occasioned, and which by them is called puna, by the Spanish Creoles veta or mareo, attribute it to the exhalations of metals, especially of antimony. Horses, not bred in the mountains, suffer greatly from the veta, and frequently fall down helpless. The arrieros adopt various cruel means for their revival, such as cutting off their ears and tail, and slitting up their nostrils, the latter being probably the only useful remedy, as it allows the animal to inhale a large volume of air. To preserve them from the veta, chopped garlic is put into their nostrils. With human beings, this state of the atmosphere causes the blood to gush from the eyes, nose, and lips, and occasions faintings, blood-spittings, vomitings, and other unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. The sensation somewhat resembles that of sea-sickness, whence the Spanish name of mareo. The malady, in its most violent form, sometimes causes death from excessive loss of blood. Of this, Dr Tschudi saw instances. Much depends on the general health and constitution of the persons attacked. The action of the veta is very capricious. Some persons do not experience it on a first visit to the mountains, but suffer on subsequent ones. Another singular circumstance is, that it is much more violent in some places than in others of a greater altitude. This affords ground for a supposition, that other causes, besides the diminished pressure of the atmosphere, concur to occasion it. These as yet remain unknown. The districts in which the veta is felt with the greatest intensity, are for the most part very metallic, and this has given rise to the Indian theory of its cause.

Another terrible scourge to the traveller in the Cordilleras is the surumpe, a violent inflammation of the eye, brought on by the sudden reflection of the sun from the snow. In those mountains the eyes are kept[Pg 182] continually in an irritated state by the rarefied air and cutting winds, and are consequently unusually susceptible. Often the heavens become suddenly overcast, and in a few minutes the yellowish-green waste is one sheet of snow. Then out bursts the sun with overpowering splendour, a sharp burning pain is instantly felt in the eyes, and speedily increases to an unbearable extent. The eyes become red, the lids swell and bleed. So violent is the agony as to cause despair and delirium. Dr Tschudi compares it to the sensation occasioned by rubbing Spanish pepper or gunpowder into the eyes. Chronic inflammation, even total blindness, is the frequent consequence of the surumpe in its most intense form. In the Cordilleras it is no unusual thing to find Indians sitting by the wayside, shrieking from pain, and unable to continue their journey. The Creoles, when they visit the mountains, protect themselves with green spectacles and veils.

During five months of the year, from November till March, storms are of almost daily occurrence in the Cordilleras. They commence with remarkable punctuality between two and three in the afternoon, and continue till five or half-past; later than this, or in the night, a storm was never known to occur. They are accompanied by falls of snow, which last till after midnight. The morning sun dispels the cold mist that hangs about the mountain peaks, and in a few hours the snow is melted. "On the raging ocean," says Dr Tschudi, "and in the dark depths of the aboriginal forests, I have witnessed terrific storms, whose horrors were increased by surrounding gloom and imminent danger, but never did I feel anxiety and alarm as in Antaichahua, (a district of the Cordilleras celebrated for storms.) For hours together flash followed flash in uninterrupted succession, painting blood-red cataracts upon the naked precipices; the thunder crashed, the zigzag lightning ran along the ground, leaving long furrows in the scorched grass. The atmosphere quivered with the continuous roll of thunder, repeated a thousand-fold by the mountain echoes. The traveller, overtaken by these terrific tempests, leaves his trembling horse, and seeks shelter and refuge beneath some impending rock."

The hanging bridges and huaros are not to be forgotten in enumerating the perils of Peruvian travelling. The former are composed of four thick ropes of cow-hide, connected by a weft of cords of the same material, and overlaid with branches, straw, and agair roots. The ropes are fastened to posts on either side of the river; a couple of cords, two or three feet higher than the bridge, serve for balustrades; and over this unsteady causeway, which swings like a hammock, the traveller has to pass, leading his reluctant mule. The passage of rivers by huaros is much worse, and altogether a most unpleasant operation. It can be effected only where the banks are high and precipitous. A single strong rope extends from one shore to the other, with a wooden machine, in form of a yoke, slung upon it. To this yoke the traveller is tied, and is then drawn over by means of a second cord. In case of the main rope breaking, the passenger by the yoke is inevitably drowned. When rivers are traversed in this manner, the mules and horses are driven into the water, and compelled to swim across.

But a further detail of the dangers and difficulties of travel in Peru would leave us little space to enumerate its interesting results. Supposing the reader, therefore, to have safely accomplished his journey through the solitary ravines, and over the chilly summits of the Cordilleras, we transport him at once to the Cerro de Pasco, famed for the wealth of its silver mines. In a region of snow and ice, at an elevation of 13,673 feet above the sea, he suddenly comes in sight of a large and populous city, built in a hollow, and surrounded on all sides by lakes and swamps. On the margin of eternal snows, in the wildest district of Peru, and in defiance of the asperities of climate, Mammon has assembled a host of worshippers to dig and delve in the richest of his storehouses.

Some two hundred and fifteen years ago, according to the legend, a small pampa that lies south-east from Lake Lauricocha, the mother of the mighty river Amazon, an[Pg 183] Indian, Hauri Capcha by name, tended his master's sheep. Having wandered one day to an unusual distance from his hut, he sought shelter from the cold under a rock, and lighted a large fire. The following morning he saw to his astonishment that the stone beneath the ashes had melted and become pure silver. He joyfully informed his employer, a Spaniard of the name of Ugarte, of this singular circumstance. Ugarte hastened to the place, and found that his shepherd had lit upon a vein of silver ore of extraordinary richness, of which he at once took possession, and worked it with great success. This same mine is still worked, and is known as la Descubridora, the discoverer. Presently a number of persons came from the village of Pasco, two leagues distant, and sought and discovered new veins. The great richness of the ore and the increase of employment soon drew crowds to the place—some to work, others to supply the miners with the necessaries of life; and thus, in a very brief time, there sprung up a town of eighteen thousand inhabitants.

The ground whereon Cerro de Pasco is built is a perfect network of silver veins, to get at which the earth has been opened in every direction. Many of the inhabitants work the mines in their own cellars; but this, of course, is on a small scale, and there are not more than five hundred openings meriting, by reason of their depth and importance, the name of shafts. All, however, whether deep or shallow, are worked in a very senseless, disorderly, and imprudent manner—the sole object of their owners being to obtain, at the least possible expense, and in the shortest possible time, the utmost amount of ore. Nobody ever thinks of arching or walling the interior of the excavations, and consequently the shafts and galleries frequently fall in, burying under their ruins the unfortunate Indian miners. Not a year passes without terrible catastrophes of this kind. In the mine of Matagente, (literally, Kill-people,) now entirely destroyed, three hundred labourers lost their lives by accident. For incurring these terrible risks, and for a species of labour of all others the most painful and wearisome, the Indians are wretchedly paid, and their scanty earnings are diminished by the iniquitous truck system which is in full operation in the mines as well as in the plantations of Peru. The miner who, at the week's end, has a dollar to receive, esteems himself fortunate, and forthwith proceeds to spend it in brandy. The mining Indians are the most depraved and degraded of their race. When a mine is in boya, as it is called, that is to say, at periods when it yields uncommonly rich metal, more labourers are required, and temporarily taken on. When this occurs in several mines at one time, the population of Cerro de Pasco sometimes doubles and trebles itself. During the boyas, the miners are paid by a small share in the daily produce of their labours. They sometimes succeed in improving their shares by stealing the ore, but this is very difficult, so narrowly are they searched when they leave the mine. One man told Dr Tschudi how he had managed to appropriate the richest piece of ore he ever saw. He tied it on his back, and pretended to be so desperately ill, that the corporal allowed him to leave the mine. Wrapped in his poncho, he was carried past the inspectors by two confederates, and the treasure was put in safety. Formerly when a mine yielded polvorilla, a black ore in the form of powder, but of great richness, the miners stripped themselves naked, wetted their whole body, and then rolled in this silver dust, which stuck to them. Released from the mine they washed off the crust, and sold it for several dollars. This device, however, was detected, and, for several years past, the departing miners are compelled to strip for inspection.

Like the extraction of the ore, the purification of the silver from the dross is conducted in the rudest and most primitive manner. The consequence is an immense consumption of quicksilver. On each mark of silver, worth in Lima eight and a-half dollars, or about thirty shillings, it is estimated that half a pound of quicksilver is expended. The quicksilver comes chiefly from Spain—very little from Idria—in iron jars containing[Pg 184] seventy-five pounds weight. The price of one of these jars varies from sixty to one hundred dollars, but is sometimes as high as one hundred and forty dollars. Both the amalgamation and separation of the metals are so badly managed, as to occasion a terrible amount of mercurial disease amongst the Indians employed in the process. From the refining-houses the silver is, or ought to be, sent to Callana, the government melting-house, there to be cast into bars of a hundred pounds weight, each of which is stamped and charged with imposts to the amount of about forty-four dollars. But a vast deal of the metal is smuggled to the coast and shipped for Europe without ever visiting the Callana. Hence it is scarcely possible to estimate the quantity annually produced. The amount registered is from two to three hundred thousand marks—rarely over the latter sum.

Residence in the Cerro de Pasco is highly disagreeable. The climate is execrable; cold and stormy, with heavy rains and violent falls of snow. Nothing less than the auri sacra fames could have induced such a congregation of human beings, from all nations and corners of the globe, in so inhospitable a latitude. The new-comer with difficulty accustoms himself to the severity of the weather, and to the perpetual hammering going on under his feet, and at night under his very bed, for the mines are worked without cessation. Luckily earthquakes are rare in that region. A heavy shock would bury the whole town in the bosom of the earth.

Silver being the only produce of the soil, living is very dear in the Cerro. All the necessaries of life have to be brought from a great distance; and this, combined with the greediness of the vendors, and the abundance of money, causes enormous prices to be demanded and obtained. House-rent is exorbitantly high; the keep of a horse often costs, owing to the want of forage, from two to three dollars a-day. Here, as at Lima, the coffee and eating-houses are kept by Italians, principally Genoese. The population of the town is the most motley imaginable; scarcely a country in the world but has its representatives. Of the upper classes the darling vice is gambling, carried to an almost unparalleled extent. From earliest morning cards and dice are in full activity: the mine proprietor leaves his counting-house and silver carts, the trader abandons his shop, to indulge for a couple of hours in his favourite amusement; and, when the evening comes, play is universal in all the best houses of the town. The mayordomos, or superintendents of the mines, sit down to the gaming-table at nightfall, and only leave it when at daybreak the bell summons them to the shaft. Often do they gamble away their share in a boya long before signs of one are apparent. Amongst the Indians, drunkenness is the chief failing. When primed by spirits, they become quarrelsome; and scarcely a Sunday or holiday passes without savage fights between the workmen of different mines. Severe wounds, and even deaths, are the consequences of these encounters, in which the authorities never dream of interfering. When, owing to the richness of a boya, the Indian finds himself possessed of an unusual number of dollars, he squanders then in the most ridiculous manner, like a drunken sailor with a year's pay in his pocket. Dr Tschudi saw one fellow buy a Spanish cloak for ninety-two dollars. Draping it round him, he proceeded to the next town, got drunk, rolled himself in the gutter, and then threw away the cloak because it was torn and dirty. A watchmaker told the doctor that once an Indian came to him to buy a gold watch. He handed him one, with the remark that the price was twelve gold ounces, (two hundred and four dollars,) and that it would probably be too dear for him. The Indian took the watch, paid for it, and then dashing it upon the ground, walked away, saying that the thing was no use to him.

Besides the mines of Cerro de Pasco, Dr Tschudi gives us details of many others situate in various parts of Peru. The Salcedo mine, in the province of Puno, is celebrated for the tragical end of its discoverer. Don José Salcedo, a poor Spaniard, was in love with an Indian girl, whose mother promised to show him a silver[Pg 185] vein of uncommon richness if he would marry her daughter. He did so, and worked the vein with great success. After a time the fame of his wealth roused the envy of the Conde de Lemos, then viceroy of Peru. By his generosity and benevolence Salcedo had made himself very popular with the Indians, and this served the viceroy as a pretext to accuse him of high treason, on the ground of his stirring up the population against the Spanish government. Salcedo was imprisoned, and sentenced to death. Whilst in his dungeon he besought Count Lemos to send the papers relating to his trial to the supreme tribunal at Madrid, and to allow him to make an appeal to the king's mercy. If this request were granted, he promised to pay a daily tribute of a bar of silver, from the time of the ship's sailing from Callao to that of its return. In those days the voyage from Callao to Spain and back occupied from twelve to sixteen months. This may give an idea of the wealth of Salcedo and his mine. The viceroy refused the condition, hung up Salcedo, (in May 1669,) and set out for the mines. But his injustice and cruelty were doomed to disappointment. Whilst Salcedo prepared for death, his mother-in-law and her friends and relations betook themselves to the mine, destroyed the works, filled it with water, and closed the entrance so skilfully that it was impossible to discover it. They then dispersed in various directions, and neither promises nor tortures could induce those who were afterwards captured, to reveal the position of the mine. To this day it remains undiscovered.

Another example of the exceeding richness of Peruvian mines is to be found in that of San José, in the department of Huancavelica. Its owner asked the viceroy Castro, whose friend he was, to stand godfather to his first child. The viceroy was prevented from going himself, but sent his wife as a proxy. To do her honour, the proprietor of San José caused a triple row of silver bars to be placed along the whole of the distance, and it was no short one, between his house and the church. Over this costly causeway the vice-queen Castro accompanied the child to its baptism. On her departure her magnificent Amphitryon made her a present of the silver road as a mark of gratitude for the honour she had done him. Since then, the mines and the province have borne the name of Castrovireyna. Most of the former are now no longer worked. In the richest of them, owing to the careless mode of mining, one hundred and twenty-two workmen were buried alive at one time. Since then, no Indian can be prevailed upon to enter it.

The Indians have not been slow to discover how little advantage they derive from the mining system, procuring them, as it does, small pay for severe labour. Hence, although acquainted for centuries past with innumerable rich veins of ore, the knowledge of which has been handed down from father to son, they obstinately persist in keeping them secret. All endeavours to shake this determination have hitherto been fruitless; even the rarely failing argument of brandy in these cases loses its power. The existence of the treasures has been ascertained beyond a doubt; but there is not a shadow of hope that the stubborn reserved Indian will ever reveal their locality to the greedy Creole and detested Metis. Numerous and romantic are the tales told of this determined concealment, and of the prudence and watchfulness of the Indians. "In the great village of Huancayo," says Dr Tschudi, "there lived, a few years ago, two brothers, José and Pedro Iriarte, who ranked amongst the most influential of Peruvian miners. They knew that in the neighbouring hills veins of almost virgin silver existed, and, with a view to their discovery, they dispatched a young man to a village near which they suspected them to be situate. The emissary took up his dwelling in the hut of a shepherd, with whose daughter, after a few months' residence, he established an intrigue. At last the young girl promised to show him a rich mine. On a certain day, when she drove her sheep to the pasture, he was to follow her at a distance, and to dig the spot where she should let her cloak fall. This he did, and after very brief labour found a cavity in the earth disclosing ore of uncommon richness. Whilst breaking out[Pg 186] the metal, he was joined by the girl's father, who declared himself delighted at the discovery, and offered to help him. After some hours' labour they paused to rest, and the old Indian handed his companion a gourd of chicha, (a fermented drink,) of which the latter thankfully drank. Soon, however, the young man felt himself ill, and knew that he was poisoned. Taking his wallet full of ore, he hastened to the village, mounted his horse, and rode to Huancayo, where he informed Iriarte of what had occurred, described the position of the mine, and died the same night. Immediate and careful researches were of no avail. The Indian and his family had disappeared, the mine had been filled up, and was never discovered."

A Franciscan monk, also resident in Huancayo, a confirmed gambler, and consequently often embarrassed for money, had gained, by his kindness, the affections of the Indians, who constantly brought him small presents of cheese and poultry. One day when he had lost heavily, he confided his difficulties to an Indian, his particular gossip. The latter promised to help him, and the next evening brought him a large sack full of the richest silver ore. The same was repeated several times; but the monk, not satisfied, did not cease to importune his friend to show him the place whence he took the treasure. The Indian at last agreed to do so. In the night-time he came, with two companions, to the dwelling of the Franciscan, blindfolded him, put him on his shoulders, and carried him, alternately with his comrades, a distance of some leagues into the mountains. Here the monk was set down, and found himself in a small shallow shaft, where his eyes were dazzled by the beauty of the silver. When he had gazed at it long enough, and loaded himself with the ore, he was carried back as he had been brought. On his way he unfastened his chaplet, and from time to time let a grain drop, trusting by this means to trace out the mine. He had been but a few hours in bed when he was disturbed by the entrance of his guide. "Father," said the Indian, quietly, "you have lost your rosary." And he presented him with a handful of the beads.

This mania for concealment is not universal amongst the Peruvians, who, it must be remembered, originally sprang from various tribes, united by the Incas into one nation. Great differences of character and manners are still to be found amongst them, some showing themselves as frank and friendly towards the white men as others are mistrustful and inimical. The principal mines that are or have been worked, were pointed out to the Spaniards by the natives. Generally, however, the latter look upon seekers of mines with suspicion, and they still relate with horror and disgust, how Huari Capcha, the discoverer of the mines of Cerro de Pasco, was thrown by Ugarte into a gloomy dungeon, where he pined away his life. Dr Tschudi could not ascertain the authenticity of this tale, but he often heard it told by the Indians, who gave it as a reason for concealing any new mines they might discover.

At the pass of Antarangra, 15,600 feet above the level of the sea, Dr Tschudi found two small lakes, scarcely thirty paces asunder. One of these is the source of the river San Mateo, which flows westward, passes Lima under the name of the Rimac, and discharges itself into the Pacific Ocean; the other sends its waters through a number of small mountain lakes to the river Pachachaca, a diminutive tributary of the mighty Amazon. The worthy doctor confesses that he could not resist the temptation to disturb the order of nature, by transporting a jug-full of the water intended for the Atlantic, into the lake communicating with the Pacific. Of a more serious cast were his reflections on the mighty power that had raised these tremendous mountains, on whose summits sea-shells and other marine substances testify to the fact of the ocean having once rolled over their materials.

Between the Cordilleras and the Andes, 12,000 feet above the sea, lie the vast tracts of desolate tableland known as the Puna, a Peruvian word equivalent to the Spanish despoblado. These plains extend through the whole length of Peru from N.W.[Pg 187] to S.E., a distance of 350 Spanish miles, continue through Bolivia, and run out eastward into the territory of the Argentine republic. Their sole inhabitants are a few shepherds, who live with their families in wretched huts, and tend large flocks of sheep, oxen, alpacas, and llamas, to which the yellow and meagre grasses of the Puna yield a scanty nourishment. The district is swept by the cold winds from the Cordilleras, the climate is most inhospitable, unintermitting snow and storm during four months of the year. A remarkable effect of the Puna wind is the rapid drying of dead bodies. A few days suffice to convert a dead mule into a perfect mummy, the very entrails free from corruption. Here and there the dry and piercingly cold wind, which causes extreme suffering to the traveller's eyes and skin, changes its temperature, or, it were better said, is crossed by a current of warm air, sometimes only two or three paces, at others several hundred feet, in breadth. These warm streams run in a parallel direction to each other, and Dr Tschudi deposes to having passed through five or six in the space of two leagues. He noticed them particularly in the months of August and September, and, according to his observations, their usual direction was that of the Cordillera, namely, from S.S.W. to N.N.E. He once travelled for several leagues in one of these currents, the width of which did not exceed seven-and-twenty paces. Its temperature was eleven degrees of Reaumur higher than the adjacent atmosphere. The existence of these warm streams is in some cases permanent, for the muleteers will frequently tell beforehand where they are to be met with. The causes of such singular phenomena, says Dr Tschudi, are well deserving the closest investigation of the meteorologist.

The numerous deep valleys, of greater or less extent, which intersect the Puna, are known as the Sierra, and their inhabitants as Serranos, although that term is also applied by the dwellers on the coast of Peru to all natives of the interior. Here the climate is temperate, not unlike that of the central countries of Europe; towns and villages are numerous, and the fruitful soil brings forth abundantly, watered by the sweat of the laborious Indians. The people are hospitable in the extreme, and the stranger is welcome in their dwellings so long as he chooses to abide there. They appear, however, to be as yet very far removed from civilisation. Their favourite diversions, cock and bull fighting, are carried on in the most barbarous manner. Their chief vice is an extreme addiction to brandy, and even the better classes get up evening parties for the express purpose of indulging in the fiery liquor. The ladies as well as the men consume it in large quantities, and Dr Tschudi estimates the average consumption at one of these jaranas, or drinking bouts, to amount to nearly a bottle per man or woman. At a ball given in 1839, in one of the principal towns of the Sierra, to the Chilian general Bulnes—now president of Chili—the brandy flowed so abundantly, that when morning came many of the dancers, both male and female, lay dead drunk upon the floor. The sole extenuation of such disgusting excesses is the want of education of those who commit them, and the force of habit, which prevents them from seeing any thing disgraceful in intoxication. It is only in society that the Serrano gets drunk. In everyday life, when jaranas are not going on, he is a sober man.

The dramatic representations of scenes in the life of Christ, introduced by the Spanish monks who accompanied Pizarro, with a view to the easier conversion of the Aborigines, have long been discontinued in the larger Peruvian cities. But in the Sierra they are still kept up, and all the efforts of enlightened priests to suppress them, have been frustrated by the tenacity and threats of the Indians. Dr Tschudi gives an extraordinary description of the celebration of Good Friday. "From early dawn," he says, "the church is crammed with Indians, who pass the morning in fasting and prayer. At two in the afternoon a large image of the Saviour is brought out of the sacristy and laid down near the altar, which is veiled. No sooner does this occur than the whole[Pg 188] congregation rush forward and strive to touch the wounds with scraps of cotton, and then ensues a screaming, crowding, and fighting, only to be equalled by the uproar at an ill conducted fair, until the priests at last succeed in restoring order. The figure of the Saviour is now attached to the cross with three very large silver nails, and a rich silver crown is placed upon its head; on either side are the crosses of the two thieves. The Indians gaze their fill and leave the church, but return thither at eight in the evening. The edifice is then brilliantly illuminated, and at the foot of the cross stand, wrapped in white robes, four priests, the santos varones or holy men, whose office it is to take down the body of the Saviour. A short distance off, upon a stage or scaffolding, stands the Virgin Mary, in deep mourning, and with a white cloth round her head. In a long discourse a priest explains the scene to the congregation, and at the close of his sermon, turning to the santos varones, he says—'Ye holy men, mount the ladders of the cross, and bring down the body of the dead Saviour!' Two of the priests ascend with hammers, and the preacher continues—'Thou, holy man on the right side of the Saviour, strike the first blow upon the nail in the hand, and take it out!' The hammer falls, and the sound of the blow is the signal for the cry of Misericordia! Misericordia! repeated by thousands of voices in tones of anguish so heart-rending, as to produce a strangely painful impression upon the hearer. The nail is handed to a priest at the foot of the cross, to be taken to the Virgin Mary, still standing upon her scaffold. To her the preacher now addressed himself with the words—'Thou, afflicted mother, approach and receive the nail that pierced the right hand of thy blessed son!' And as the priest draws near to the image of the Virgin, the latter, moved by a secret mechanism, advances to meet him, receives the nail in both hands, places it in a silver bowl, dries its eyes, and returns to its place. These movements are repeated when the two other nails and the crown are brought down. The whole scene has for accompaniment the unintermitting howling and sobbing of the Indians, which redouble at each stroke of the hammer, and reaches its apogee when the body is delivered to the Virgin, who then again begins to weep violently. The image of Christ is laid in a coffin adorned with flowers, and is carried by torchlight through every street of the town. Whilst the procession makes its circuit, the Indians erect twelve arches of flowers in front of the church door, placing between each two of them a carpet of the like materials, the simplest and most beautiful that it is possible to see. Each carpet is manufactured by two Indians, neither of whom seems to trouble himself about the proceedings of his comrade; but yet, with incredible rapidity and a wonderful harmony of operation, the most tasteful designs grow under their hands in rich variety of colours. Arabesques, landscapes, and animals appear as if by magic. It was highly interesting to me to observe in Tarma, upon one of these carpets, an exact representation of the Austrian double eagle, as the Indians had seen it on the quicksilver jars from Idria. When the procession returns, the Virgin Mary is carried back into the church through the arches of flowers."

The traveller in the Sierras of Peru frequently encounters plantations of a shrub about six feet high, bearing bright green leaves, white flowers, and scarlet berries. This is the celebrated coca tree, the comforter and friend of the Peruvian Indian under all hardships and evil usage. Deprive the Turk of coffee and pipe, the Chinese of opium, the sailor and soldier of grog and tobacco, and no one of them will be so miserable as the Indian bereft of his coca. Without it he cannot exist; it is more essential to him than meat or drink, for it enables him to dispense with both. With his quid of dried coca leaves in his mouth, he forgets all calamities; his rags, his poverty, the cruelties of his taskmaster. One meal a-day suffices him, but thrice at least he must suspend his labour to chew his coca. Even the greedy Creoles have been compelled to give in to this imperious necessity, and to allow their labourers a quarter or half an hour's respite three times in[Pg 189] the day. In mines and plantations, wherever Indians work, this is the universal practice. Although continued as a barbarous custom by the whites, some few of the latter are inveterately addicted to coca chewing, which they generally, however, practise clandestinely. The effect of this plant upon the human system is very similar to that of certain narcotics, administered in small doses. Taken in excessive quantities it is highly injurious; used in moderation, Dr Tschudi inclines to think it not only harmless, but positively salutary. The longevity of the Indians, and their power of enduring great fatigue, and performing the hardest work upon a very scant allowance of food, are certainly in favour of this belief. The doctor met with men of 120 and 130 years old, and he assures us that such are by no means exceedingly rare in Peru.[10] Some of these men had chewed coca leaves from their boyhood upwards.

Allowing their daily ration to be no more than one ounce, the consumption, in their lifetime, would amount to the prodigious quantity of twenty-seven hundred pounds weight. Yet they were in perfect health. The coca is considered by the Indians to be an antidote to the veta, and Dr Tschudi confirms this by his own experience. Previously to his hunting excursions in the upper regions of the Puna, he used to drink a strong decoction of coca leaves, and found it strengthening and a preservative from the effects of the rarefied atmosphere. So convinced is he of its salubrious properties, that he recommends its adoption in European navies, or at least a trial of its effects during a Polar or some other distant expedition. One of the chief causes of Indian hatred to the Spaniards is to be traced in the attempted suppression by the latter of the use of coca, during the earlier period of their domination in Peru, their sole reason being their contempt for Indian customs, and wish to destroy the nationality of the people. Royal decrees were fulminated against coca chewing, and priests and governors united to abolish it. After a time, the owners of mines and plantations discovered its utility, in giving strength and courage to their Indian vassals; books were written in its defence, and anti-coca legislation speedily became obsolete. Since then, several learned and reverend writers, Jesuits and others, have suggested its introduction into Europe, as a substitute for tea and coffee, to which they hold it far superior. There can be little doubt that—like as tobacco is considered to preserve armies from mutiny and disaffection—the soothing properties of coca have saved Peru from many bloody outbreaks of the Indian population. But even this potent and much-loved drug has at times been insufficient to restrain the deadly hatred cherished by the Peruvians towards their white oppressors.

The Leyes de las Indias, or code for the government of the Spanish colonies, although in some instances severe and arbitrary, were mild and paternal compared with their administration by the viceroys and other officials. Amongst them were two enactments, the Mita and the Repartimiento, intended by their propounders to civilize and improve the Indians, but fearfully abused in practice. By the Mita, the Peruvians were compelled to work in the mines and plantations. Every Spaniard who possessed one of these, received from the corregidor a certain number of Indians, to each of whom he paid daily wages, and for each of them an annual contribution of eight dollars to the State. This plan, if fairly and conscientiously carried out, might[Pg 190] have been made a means of reclaiming the Indians from barbarity and idleness. But the truck system, unlimited and excessive time of labour, and other abuses, caused it to produce the precisely opposite effect to that proposed by the framers of the law. One-third only of the stipulated wage was given in money, the remainder in European manufactures, charged at exorbitant prices; and the Indians, unable to purchase the bare necessaries of life, were compelled to incur debts with their employers—debts that they could never pay off, and which rendered them slaves for their whole lives. The field labourers were made to toil from three in the morning till an hour after sundown; even the Sunday was no day of rest for these unfortunate helots. Such increasing and painful exertions annually swept away thousands of Indians. Various writers estimate at nine millions the number of those killed by labour and accident in the mines, during the last three centuries. Dr Tschudi does not think this an exaggeration, and calculates that three millions more have been sacrificed in the plantations, especially in the coca fields of the backwoods.

The Repartimiento was the distribution of European wares and luxuries by the provincial authorities. Under this law, intended for the convenience of the people, and to supply them with clothes and other necessaries at fair prices, every corregidor became a sort of shopkeeper, caused all manner of merchandise to be sent to him from the capital, and compelled the Indian to buy. The prices affixed to the articles were absurdly exorbitant; a needle cost a real, a worthless knife or a pound of iron a dollar, an ell of printed calico two or three dollars. Lace, silk stockings, and false jewellery, were forced upon the richer class. After a short delay, the money was demanded; those who could not pay had their goods seized, and were sold as slaves to the mines or plantations. Not only useless objects—razors, for instance, for the beardless Indians—but things positively injurious and inconvenient, were thrust upon the unwilling purchasers. It will scarcely be believed that a corregidor, to whom a commercial friend had sent a consignment of spectacles, issued an edict, compelling all Indians, under penalty of a heavy fine, to wear glasses at certain public festivals.

Against the abominable system of which the above abuses formed but a part, it was to be expected that sooner or later the Indians would revolt. For two centuries they submitted to it with wonderful patience and long-suffering. At last, a man was found to hoist the bloody flag of insurrection and revenge.

Juan Santos, surnamed the Apostate, was an Indian from Huamanga, and claimed descent from Atahualpa, the last of the Incas, whom Pizarro hung. In the year 1741, having killed a Spaniard of noble birth in a quarrel, he fled to the woods, and there brooded over the oppression to which his countrymen were subjected. At that time, the zealous Spanish missionaries had made great progress in the conversion of the Indios bravos, a savage and cannibal tribe, amongst whom they fearlessly ventured, undeterred by the murder of many who had preceded them. Against these priests Santos instigated an outbreak. He first addressed himself to the tribe of the Campas, declared himself a descendant of the mighty Peruvian kings, and asserted that he possessed supernatural power, that he knew all their thoughts, and had the portrait of each of them in his heart. Then calling the Indians to him one by one, he lifted his upper garment, and allowed them to look in a mirror fastened upon his breast. The savages, astonished at the reflection of their faces, conceived a great veneration for Santos, and implicitly obeyed him. He at once led them to a general attack upon the priests, their property, and religion. By bold and sudden assaults, several Spanish fortified posts were taken, and the garrisons murdered. At the fort of Quimiri, the Indians put the muskets of the slain soldiers in a heap, set fire to them, and danced round the blazing pile. But the surprise of the place had been so well managed, that the Spaniards had had no time to fire even one volley, and their muskets were still loaded. Heated by the flames, they exploded, and spread destruction amongst the[Pg 191] dancing savages. Churches and mission-houses were destroyed, villages burnt, plantations laid waste; the priests were tied to the images of saints, and thrown into the rivers. In a few weeks, the missionary districts of middle Peru were utterly ravaged, and terror reigned in the land. The Spaniards feared a revolt of the Sierra Indians; strong measures were taken, forts built along the frontier, and the bravos driven back to their own territory. What became of Santos is not exactly known. Some affirm that he united several savage tribes in a confederacy, and ruled over them till his death. In the monastery of Ocopa, Dr Tschudi found an old manuscript, in which was the following note:—"The monster and apostate Juan Santos Atahualpa, after his diabolical destruction of our missions, suffered terribly from the wrath of God. He met the fate of Herod, and was eaten alive by worms."

Although of short duration, the insurrection headed by Santos was weighty in its consequences. It showed the Indians their strength, and was followed by repeated revolts, especially in Southern Peru. For want of an able leader they all proved fruitless, until Tupac Amaru, cacique of Tungasuca, put himself at the head of a matured and well-organized revolution. A valid pretext for this was afforded by the corregidor of Tinta, Don Antonio Ariaga, who in one year, 1780, made repartimientos to the amount of three hundred and forty thousand dollars, and exacted the money for the useless wares with cruel severity. Tupac Amaru assembled the Indians, seized the corregidor, and hung him. This was the signal for a general uprising in the whole of Southern Peru, and a bloody war ensued. In April 1781, Tupac Amaru, his wife, and several of the rebel chiefs, were made prisoners by a detachment of Spanish cavalry. They were tried at Cuzco, found guilty, and condemned to death. The unfortunate cacique was compelled to witness the execution of his wife, two sons, his brother-in-law, Antonio Bastidas, and of other relations and friends. He then had his tongue cut out, and was torn by four horses. His body was burned, his head and limbs were stuck upon poles in different towns of the disturbed districts. In Huancayo, Dr Tschudi met with an old Creole, who, when a lad of sixteen, had witnessed the barbarous execution of the cacique of Tangasuca. He described him as a tall handsome man, with a quick piercing eye, and serious resolute countenance. He beheld the death of his family with great emotion, but submitted without a murmur to his own horrible fate. He was not long unavenged. His brother, his remaining son Andres, and a daring Indian chief named Nicacatari, carried on the war with increased vigour and ferocity, and at the head of a numerous force threw themselves before the large fortified town of Sorrata, whither the Spaniards from the surrounding country, trusting to the strength of the place, had fled for safety. When Andres Tupac Amaru saw that with his Indians, armed only with knives, clubs, and slings, he had no chance against the powerful artillery of his foe, he caused the streams from the neighbouring mountains to be conducted to the town, and surrounded it with water The earthen fortifications were soon undermined, and when they gave way the place was taken by assault. With the exception of eighty-seven priests and monks, the whole of the besieged, twenty-two thousand in number, were cruelly slaughtered. From Sorrata the Indian army moved westwards, and was victorious in several actions with the Spanish troops. Gold, however, accomplished what the sword had failed to do. Seduced by bribes and promises, an Indian follower of Andres guided a party of Spanish soldiers to the council house of the rebels. The chiefs were all taken and put to death. Deprived of its leaders, the Indian army broke up and dispersed. Innumerable executions followed, and the war was estimated to have cost from first to last nearly a hundred thousand lives. Its only beneficial result to the Indians was the abolition of repartimientos.

During the revolution that lost Peru to Spain, the Indians took part with the patriots, who deluded them with promises of a monarchy, and of placing a descendant of the Incas on the throne. Not clearly understanding[Pg 192] the causes of the war, the Indians frequently turned their arms against their own allies, and killed all white men who fell into their power. Many provinces were entirely deserted by the Creoles and Metises, in consequence of the furious animosity of the coloured race. In Jauja, the Indians swore they would not leave so much as a white dog or fowl alive, and they even scratched the white paint from the walls of the houses. When General Valdos and his cavalry crossed the river of Jauja and attacked the Indians, the latter scorned to save themselves by flight, but threw themselves upon the lances with cries of "Mata me, Godo![11] Kill me!" Two thousand remained upon the field, the Spaniards not ceasing to kill till their arms were too tired to strike.

Dr Tschudi inclines to believe that sooner or later the Indians will throw off the yoke of the effeminate and cowardly Creoles, and establish a government of their own. Whether such a government will be able or allowed to maintain itself, it is difficult to say; although, as the doctor observes, why should it not, at least, as well as a negro republic in an Archipelago peopled by the most civilized nations of Europe? Since the separation of Peru from Spain, the Indians have made great progress in many respects; they have been admitted into the army, have become familiar with fire-arms and military manœuvres, and have learned the manufacture of gunpowder, materials for which their mountains abundantly afford. Their hatred of the whites is bitter as ever, their feeling of nationality very strong—their attachment to the memory of their Incas, and to their old form of government, undiminished. In spite of long oppression, they still possess pride and self-reliance. Besides the government forced upon them by the Creoles, they preserve and obey their old laws. Let a leader like Tupac Amaru appear amongst them, and there is every probability of an Indian revolution, very different in its results to any that has yet occurred.

Most Robinson Crusoe-like in its interest is the long chapter wherein Dr Tschudi details his forest adventures, and we regret that we must be very summary in our notice of it. With extraordinary courage and perseverance the doctor and a German friend made their way to the heart of the backwoods, built themselves a log-hut, and, despising the numerous dangers by which they were environed, abode there for months, collecting zoological specimens. Of the perils that beset them, Dr Tschudi's unvarnished narrative of the daily sights and nocturnal sounds that assailed their startled senses in those wild regions, gives a lively idea. Indian cannibals, ferocious beasts, reptiles whose bite is instant death, venomous insects, and even vampires, compose the pleasant population of this district, into which these stout-hearted Europeans fearlessly ventured. Of the beasts of prey the ounce is the most dangerous; and so fierce and numerous has its breed become in certain districts of Peru, as to compel the Indians to abandon their villages. We are told of one hamlet, in the ravine of Mayunmarca, that has been desolate for a century past on this account. The ounces used annually to decimate its inhabitants. More perilous even than these animals, to the wanderer in the forest, are the innumerable serpents that lurk beneath the accumulation of dead leaves bestrewing the ground. The most deadly is a small viper about ten inches long, the only species of the viper family as yet discovered in South America. The virulence of its venom kills the strongest man in the space of two or three minutes. The Indians, when bitten by it, do not dream of seeking an antidote, but at once lie down to die. Bats are exceedingly plentiful, and very large, some measuring nearly two feet across the extended wings. The blood-sucker or vampire (phyllostoma) finds its way in search of food into stables and houses. The smooth-haired domestic animals are especially liable to its attacks. With wings half open it places itself upon their backs, and rubs with its snout till the small sharp teeth break the outer skin.[Pg 193] Then it draws in its wings, stretches itself out, and sucks the blood, making the while a gentle movement with its body, not unlike the undulations of a busy leech. The fanning motion of the wings described by some writers was never observed by Dr Tschudi. Although these vampires only imbibe a few ounces of blood, the subsequent hæmorrhage is very great, and full-grown mules sometimes die of the exhaustion caused by their repeated attacks. One of the doctor's beasts was only saved from such a fate by being rubbed every five or six days with turpentine and other strong-smelling drugs, which kept off the vampires. It has often been disputed whether these disgusting animals attack human beings. Our traveller deposes to their doing so, and cites an instance witnessed by himself. A bat (Ph. erythromos, Tsch.) fixed upon the nose of an Indian who lay drunk in the court of a plantation, and sucked his blood till it was unable to fly away. Violent inflammation and swelling of the Indian's head were the consequences of the trifling wound inflicted.

We must here make mention of the carbunculo, a fabulous animal, whose existence obtains credit in most parts of Peru. Wherever he went, Dr Tschudi heard stories of this creature, and met persons who asserted that they had seen it. It is reported to be of the size of a fox, with long black hair, and only to appear at night, when it glides slowly through the bushes or amongst the rocks. When pursued, a valve or trap-door opens in its forehead, and an extraordinarily brilliant object—believed by the natives to be a precious stone—becomes visible, dispelling the darkness and dazzling the pursuer. Then the forehead closes, and the creature disappears. According to other accounts, it emerges from its lurking-place with carbuncle displayed, and only conceals it when attacked. This strange superstition is not of Spanish origin, but of older date than Pizarro's invasion. Of course it has never been possible to catch or kill a specimen of this remarkable species, although the Spaniards have used every effort to get hold of such a creature; and in the viceroy's instructions to the missionaries, the carbunculo was set down in the very first rank of desiderata. Dr Tschudi vainly endeavoured to discover, with some degree of certainty, what animal had served as a pretext for the fable.

After a four years residence in Peru, and when preparing for a journey that was to include an investigation of all the provinces, and to last for several years, Dr Tschudi was seized in the Cordilleras with a nervous fever, which brought him to the brink of the grave. Upon his recovery, he found that long repose, both of mind and body, was essential to the complete restoration of his health. Such repose he could not be certain of granting himself if he remained in Peru, and he therefore resolved to seek it upon the ocean. He took ship, and reached Europe at the commencement of 1843, after an absence of five years. He greatly regrets not having visited every part of Peru, especially the historical city of Cuzco, and the forests of Urubamba. But his harvest of knowledge has been so rich and abundant, that he should not, we think, begrudge the remnant of the crop to the gleaners who may come after him.



[Pg 194]



Chapter I.

"Our coming
Is not for salutation: we have business."
Ben. Jonson.

On the 9th of September 1741, shortly after the hour of nightfall, a silvery mist hung over the broad stream of the Danube, and the environs of the city of Presburg—at that time considered the capital of Hungary—and shrouded the earth with its grey veil; although the heavens above were bright and clear, and the stars shone cheerily and proudly, as if no earthly influence could damp or dull them. Before the St Michael's gate, which opens on the side of the town the most remote from the Danube, and on to the road leading into the interior of the country, and towards the first low ridge of the Carpathians which skirts Presburg to the north, sat a traveller on horseback—his ample cloak wrapped carefully about his person, as much, it would seem, to screen him from observation, as from the first freshness of the commencing autumn season, and his broad three-cornered and gold-laced hat pulled down upon his brow.

He had ridden, at the brisk pace, across the stone bridge which leads over a dry moat to the old gateway, and had suddenly checked his horse on finding the gate closed before him.

"Corpo di Bacco!" he exclaimed aloud, in a tone of intense vexation. "The gate is shut for the night—I feared as much."

"What's to be done!" he continued to murmur to himself, after a pause. "To wake the guardian of the gate, and demand an entrance, would be to excite attention, and subject myself, perhaps, to questionings. No, no! That, above all, must be avoided. And yet, see him I must to-night. Time presses. Should the devil, who has served me so well as yet, desert me now, and take flight, the coward! before a few inches of deal board, and a few pounds of hammered iron! Bolts and bars! Bagatelles! Fortunately the old fox has taken up his earth near the gate. If I calculate aright, the hinder windows of his lodging must look out upon the moat; and I will try whether I cannot come to speech of him."

"Fortuna, jade! Thou art propitious still, if yonder rays be those from the old ivy-owl's watch-lamp!" muttered the traveller once more to himself, as he looked towards a light, which apparently struggled to send its gleams through the thick haze, from a low window of one of the houses overhanging the dry moat, to the left of the gateway. "At all events, I'll even risk the venture; and if, after all, I am out in my reckoning, and should stumble either upon an amorous dame awaiting her adored, or a mad student seeking the philosopher's stone—should I appear as a spirit of love from above, or a spirit of darkness from below—Cospetto! I'll play my part to the life, and find an entrance to this cursed town, spite of locked gates and barred posterns! The Virgin be praised! I am no schoolboy at my first adventure."

"Allons, Briccone!" he cried, applying the spur to his jaded horse, which stood reeking thickly, in the misty air, from the effects of a long and rapid journey. "You must seek other quarters for the night, old boy!"

The animal snorted, as its head was turned once more from the gateway, and moved unwillingly, as if endeavouring to resist the seeming attempt to undertake any further excursion that night: but the way was not long which it was destined to travel. Among the clay-built houses which formed the suburb, the traveller speedily discovered the projecting whisp of hay, announcing that the hovel, from the doorway of which it was suspended, offered accommodation, such as it was, for man and beast. Summoning from the interior a sleepy lad, in a dirty Hungarian costume, of full shirt-sleeves and broad[Pg 195] trowsers, which once had been white, and confiding Briccone to his care, he returned to the gateway of the town.

When he again stood upon the gateway bridge, the first care of the stranger was to stoop, and collect a quantity of small pebbles in the hollow of his left hand. Provided with this ammunition, he approached as near as he could towards the spot whence the light he had before remarked proceeded.

"A curse upon this rotten mist!" he muttered. "I can see nothing. Around and about is a fog from the devil's own caldron, as if it were cooked on purpose to blind me; whilst the stars are twinkling above, as if they squinted down upon my confusion, and laughed me to scorn. However, at all ventures, have at my mark!"

With these words, he flung pebble after pebble in the direction of the light. Several of the missiles were heard to rattle against the walls of the house; and a few others rendered a clearer ringing sound, as if they had struck upon glass. After a short space of time, the light disappeared almost entirely; and a window was heard to open. The traveller raised another pebble in his hand, with a smile upon his face, as if inclined to take a last random shot at the head which had probably replaced the light at the open window; but he checked his humour with a short low laugh, and coughed to attract attention. The cough was immediately re-echoed in a hoarse and hollow voice.

"That should be the old raven's croak," said the stranger to himself.

"Bandini!" he cried, in a low but distinct tone, through his hollowed hands.

"Hush!" rejoined the voice from the window. "Not so loud! Is it you?"

"Diavolo!" replied the traveller, approaching closer to the wall of the town, and speaking as low as possible. "Who should it be, man? But the gate is closed; and I have no mind to expose myself to the investigations of the gatekeeper's lantern, and all the cross-examination and tittle-tattle that may follow."

"I waited for you with impatience," pursued his interlocutor; "and when the gate closed for the night, placed my lamp at the window as a beacon."

"All right!" replied the other. "But what's to be done now, man?"

"Can you climb?" continued the hoarse voice.

"Like a cat or a Spanish lover," was the reply. "Perhaps I have no little in me of the first; at all events I have often tried the trade of the latter."

"Descend into the moat from the end of the bridge," pursued the personage at the window. "The passage is easy. I will provide for your ascent."

Following these short instructions, the stranger returned over the bridge; and catching from stem to stem of the few stunted trees that grew upon the precipitous sides of the descent, he clambered, without much difficulty, to the bottom of the steep. As he crossed the reedy and moist soil of the moat, the noise of a falling object directed his steps towards a part of the wall where a ladder of cords awaited him. Profiting by this aid, and grasping, where he could, the projecting stones of the rude masonry which formed the lower part of the house, the stranger mounted with ready agility to the level of a window.

"You have not chosen your quarters upon the town-wall for nothing, I am inclined to suppose, Master Bandini," he said, as he found himself in face of a dark form at the opening to which he had arrived.

"All things have their uses," was the laconic reply, uttered with a hoarse laugh.

In a few moments the stranger had squeezed his person adroitly through the low window, and stood in the interior of the room.

The apartment into which he had been thus clandestinely introduced, was faintly lighted by the single lamp which had served as a beacon; and the rays of this lamp, as they fell upon the dark walls, half revealed, in fantastic indistinctness, a variety of miscellaneous objects. Ranged upon shelves on either side of the entrance door, stood a quantity of jars and phials of different shapes, mixed with glass vessels, containing strange serpents and lizards, and human half-born deformities, preserved in spirits—all the[Pg 196] materia medica, either for use or show, necessary for the establishment of a druggist-physician of the day. On the opposite side of the room, beneath the hard and slovenly pallet which served as bed, might be half seen, from under the covering, two or three chests, the iron clasps and fastenings of which, with their immense padlocks, seemed to tell a tale of well-stored treasures of moneys or papers, and of other avocations than those of doctoring and leeching. Above the bed hung the crucifix, that necessary appendage to the dwelling of a good and pious Catholic; but, whether by accident or design, the form of the Divine sufferer on the cross was now turned against the wall. A table in the middle of the room was covered with old books and papers; and before the chair, from which the inmate of the apartment had probably risen when surprised by the signals of his visitor, was a large volume, which he now precipitately closed, but not, however, without being remarked by the stranger, who smiled a significant smile upon observing this hasty movement.

But, if the aspect of the apartment was strange, stranger still was that of its occupier. He was a little man, at an advanced period of life, whose spare and shrivelled form might be fancied ill-calculated to support the large head which surmounted it. Was the head, however, ill-proportioned to the body, still more out of proportion were the large black projecting eyebrows, the huge eagle nose, and the swelled hanging under-lip, to the general contour of the head. His thick black hair was closely shorn to his skull, as if to develop more clearly these interesting features; and if powder had been bestowed upon it, in obedience to the fashion of the better classes of the day, it had been bestowed so sparingly, or had assumed a colour so closely assimilated to that of dust and dirt, as to escape the discovery of all eyes but those of a very closely investigating naturalist. No less doubtful was the colour of the long cravat tied loosely about his neck. His upper person was inclosed in a huge black widely pocketed coat and lappet waistcoat, both many ells too wide for his shrunken form; whilst his nether man disported at ease in a pair of black pantaloons and high boots, which seemed to incase the proportions of a skeleton. From the sleeves of the wide coat hung a pair of long dirty begrimed hands, which, without a doubt, belonged rightfully to the owner of the aforesaid skeleton shanks.

Far different was the appearance of his visitor. He was a tall well-formed man, between thirty and forty years of age. His dress, which he displayed as he threw aside his cloak, cut in the cumbrous fashion of the day, was that of a man of pretensions to a certain rank; and his coiffure, with its necessary appendage of pigtail, might be seen, in spite of his hasty journey, to have been arranged with care, and powdered. Although his person was prepossessing, there was, however, a certain dash of the roué in his appearance, and a look of design and cunning in his dark eyes, long fine-drawn nose, and thin lipless mouth, which would speedily have removed the first more agreeable impression of an observer.

"All's well that ends well!" said the stranger, as he removed his hat and cloak. "It is perhaps better, after all, that I should make my entry thus. I have ridden hard, Master Bandini, and Briccone carried me well; but the road was longer than I had surmised, and I had a matter or two to dispose of on my way."

"Better late than never, noble cavaliere!" replied the man addressed as Bandini.

"Hush! no names, man, until I be assured that we have no listeners here," said the cavaliere.

Without replying, the old man removed the shutters from a window, forming a thorough light to that by which the stranger had entered, and looked out into the winding steep descent which forms the first street of the city of Presburg from St Michael's gate. It was faintly lighted by a lantern, but empty of all passengers.

"How now, man!" said the stranger impatiently.

"Why! if it must be said," replied the old man, closing the shutter and[Pg 197] returning; "I have a lodger here, in my apartment. But he is still without; nor will he yet return."

"A lodger!" exclaimed the other, in an angry tone—"and at such a moment! How could you be so incautious, Bandini? This is one of your miserly tricks: you would expose your best friends for a few miserable kreutzers more or less."

"Live and let live, is my maxim," answered Bandini with a growl.

The stranger shrugged his shoulders with vexation.

"And who is this lodger, man?" he cried.

"Only a poor Hungarian country noble," replied Bandini in a more cajoling tone. "A youth! a very youth! a poor unsuspecting youth! He has come, like all the other nobles of the land, great and small, to obey the call of her they call their King, to attend this Diet summoned at Presburg; and he occupies my other rooms with his servant—a rustic!—a mere rustic!—a rude untutored rustic!"

"It was ill done, Bandini," continued the stranger, with still evident marks of discontent. "A lodger in the house, when you must know that I need privacy! It was ill done, I tell you."

The old man only muttered something between his teeth by way of a reply.

"Have a care, man," resumed his visitor, "how you juggle with me in this matter. You are richly paid by my employers for the support you give me, and the concealment your house affords; but should evil befall us—be it through your treachery or your imprudence, it matters not—per Jovem, the evil shall fall a hundred-fold upon your own head. I swear it to you; and you know I am a man to keep my word."

"Jehovah! here's a turmoil about the mere miserable lodging of a poor youth!" growled the old man doggedly, although the rapid passing of a long skeleton finger over the tip of his huge nose betrayed a certain degree of nervous agitation.

"Master Bandini," interrupted the stranger, unheeding him, "I have a word to speak with you—and one that nearly concerns yourself, Master Bandini—before we proceed further in business."

"Look ye!" he pursued, in a more indifferent tone, throwing himself down on to a chair, and crossing his legs composedly, but fixing the man called Bandini at the same time with his keen eye. "Look ye, friend druggist, physician, usurer, miser, secret agent, spy—or whatever other name you bear in designation, avocation, character, or creed"—and he laid a slight emphasis on the word—"there are no friends so sure as those who are convinced we know then thoroughly—a right understanding is sympathy, amico mio, and sympathy is bond and union."

The old man looked through his beetling brows at his visitor without any evidence of trouble; but he ceased irritating the tip of his nose only to twitch more nervously at the sleeves of his coat, as if to give himself an air of composure and dignity by adjusting them, as a modern fop might do by pulling up his shirt-collar.

"Think you I have forgotten," continued the stranger with a slight sneer, "that when we first met in Italy—no matter upon what business, or to what intent—Master Bandini bore the name of Israeli, and that, when forced to leave that country—persecuted, as he himself would say, for some little matter of flagrant usury, and mayhap also of a drug or two that lulled some rich old uncle to a sleep from which he woke not, and made a spendthrift debtor his heir—he returned to the land of his birth, I will not say of his fathers, and, for reasons good, under another name and a foreign guise, thinking that the name of Israel, spite of its adopted termination, smacked somewhat too notoriously of his origin, his Jewish origin, Master Bandini?"

The Jew druggist tossed his heavy head with an expression that, however ill assured, was meant to say, "Well! and what then?"

"Think you I know not that, fearing the prejudices against his race might injure the gains of his various trades, perhaps also that the name he bore might recal reminiscences better forgotten for ever, he assumed a Christian appellation, passed for an honest[Pg 198] Christian man—honest, humph!" added the stranger with a sniggering laugh—"and infringed the severe laws of Hungary, which compel all of his tribe to dwell within one prescribed street in each city, and wear one distinctive dress—laws that, if called into execution, would bring him contumely, imprisonment, ruin—ay ruin, Master Israeli—humph, I forgot—Bandini? Think you I have no eyes to see yon cross ostentatiously displayed to Christian visitors, now turned against the wall, with the contempt of one of your accursed race—a deed in itself a crime to merit mortal punishment?"

The Jew stole a glance at the cross, and was evidently moved.

"Think you I divine not," pursued his visitor, hastily snatching from the table the heavy book closed upon his entrance, and flinging it open upon his knees, "that this jargon of the devil is your Hebrew book of worship, in which Master Bandini seeks for rules of conduct for the further welfare of his soul—if so be he have one—in the persecution and torture of Christian men—a pretty religion, cospetto!—or may be, practises sorcery?" And the stranger laughed ironically at his own suggestion. "Think you I know not all this, Master Bandini?"

"And if the Cavaliere Caracalli knows me, what have I to fear from him?" said the Jew sullenly, with a look of defiance.

"Ha! that would seem a threat!" answered the cavaliere haughtily. "Once more, have a care, man, how you deal with me! What you have to fear I will tell you, Master Bandini, rogue—all that your worst fears can contemplate, should I have reason to believe you a traitor." And, at these words, he sprang up from his chair, and confronted the old man, with an evident desire to intimidate him by his movement.

The Jew druggist did not flinch; but he answered with less of defiance.

"I am no traitor—no traitor to you; and, though you know me, why should I not serve you still? Why should we not be friends?"

"Friends! you and I!" said the cavaliere with scorn. "But no matter! This affair of the lodger looks ill, I tell you."

"Times are bad—times are bad, noble cavaliere," stammered the Jew, in a whining and apologetic tone. "Our contract stipulated not that I should not strive to earn an honest livelihood where I could."

"And who prevents you, man," said the cavaliere, with a sneer, "from earning what you please to term an honest livelihood, as far as it interfere not with my interests? But this imprudence"——

"Heavy losses! heavy losses!" continued the old man, interrupting him, to pursue his apology. "I have had heavy and serious losses, which I must strive to cover by what scanty means are left me—to say naught of drugs unpaid, and services to the rich ill recompensed and scouted. I am a needy man. I am, indeed, a needy man." The cavaliere shrugged his shoulders. "Ah! You feel not that, noble sir. But the God of my fathers knows that it is true. Was there not the Illok affair, in which the poor money-lender was cheated of his honest earnings? Did not the Count Csaki leave the country, a bankrupt, and cause me all but utter ruin? And, worse than all, did not the Baron Bartori, after he had made over to me his estates, in return for moneys lent him in his need, die with the intent and purpose, as one would say, to defraud me of my just dues? and did not his son, without whose signature to destroy the entail, I cannot obtain possession of my rights—the God of Israel's curse be on the Philistine laws of this unjust country!—disappear, no one knows whither? He is an honest youth, and a just, they say, who would not deprive a poor needy man of his own: but he may be dead—he may be dead, without giving his precious sign-manual; and I should be a ruined man—a ruined man—alas! alas!"

The cavaliere had borne impatiently the lamentations thus uttered as apologies for his love of gain by the Jew money-lender: and he now broke in upon them with disgust.

"A truce to all this comedy of woe, man! If you be shorn of a lock or two of your ill-gotten golden fleece, we well know that it is still a full and warm one. Come, come—no more of this!" he pursued, as the Jew continued to squeeze alternately[Pg 199] the skeleton fingers of each hand, as though he pretended to be wringing them in despair. "We must to business; and since the mischief has been done—and, mark me! it must be remedied forthwith, and this boy driven from the house—see that the coast be clear!"

"He is from home, I tell you," was Bandini's reply; and he was continuing to murmur, with sunken head, the words, "Heavy losses! heavy losses! Why did he die? And were aught to happen to his son, as is likely in these troublesome times, I were ruined—utterly ruined. Oh! heavy losses!"—when an angry exclamation and an imperative gesture from his visitor, repeated the order to look that they were alone and undisturbed.

The old man lighted a small hand-lamp at that which stood upon the table, undrew the bolts that fastened the door, and left the room with sullen look and step. He was gone for a very brief space of time; but this short interval was employed by the stranger in turning over, with rapid hand and scrutinizing eye, the papers which lay upon the table. He shook his head with a sneer of indifference, as if he had found nothing worthy of his attention, and had scarcely time to resume his seat with an air of unconcern, when the Jew returned, and, eyeing him narrowly, advanced into the room with that haste of suspicion and fear, which induced even the usurer to forget his usual precautions of bolts and bars.

"There is no one in the house but ourselves," he said, with still sulky air.

"Then seat yourself, man, and open to me your wallet of sayings and doings; and let's see what scraps of information you may have gleaned. It should be crammed full, ere this. Seat yourself, I say, and clear that gloomy brow of yours," said the cavaliere with a laugh. "What has passed since I last saw you?"

"The city is already thronged with the nobility of Hungary, convoked by this woman, who still asserts her rights over them, in the hope that they may aid her in her troubles;" commenced the Jew, seating himself, in obedience to his visitor's command. "Jehovah! what a stir they make! What moneys do they lavish upon foolish pomp! What spendthrift profusion do they display! It curdles the very blood of a poor thrifty man within him, to witness such insensate prodigality. But they must rue their folly. They will need moneys; they will seek to obtain moneys of the poor druggist. Ah!" And the usurer rubbed his hands with satisfaction; but then, seeing the gestures of impatience displayed by his companion, he proceeded: "But there is much discontent, I hear, among them; and, where she has not enemies, she has lukewarm friends. They will no longer, they say, be governed by a weak woman, who can so ill wield the reins of power, and who has already staked and lost all the other inheritance of her father"——

"Unjustly herited—unjustly held. Forget not that, Master Bandini!" interrupted the Italian.

"Unjustly—well, well! I am no legist to understand these things," pursued the Jew; "only a poor thrifty physician"——

"And usurer," again broke in his companion.

Bandini smiled a sour smile, and continued:

"Call me usurer, if you will. I see no scorn in the term; and I have turned my money-lending to account in this matter. Yes! and in your service; although you but now called me traitor. Have I not refused moneys to those who offered me good securities and values, and at my own loss—at my own loss, cavaliere—because I would not deal with those who would hazard their all in a war to aid this woman in her desperate need? And although my friend Zachariah has lent them sums of precious metal, has it not been upon such great interest, and at such peril to themselves, that they cannot risk so dangerous a venture as the espousing her cause, and upon their written engagement also—and this as by my advice, mark me, noble cavaliere!—that they should not take up arms? Have I not done this to serve you?—at my own loss, I say; and can you call me traitor now?"

"So far all goes well," said the Italian, unheeding the importance[Pg 200] attached by the Jew to the supposed services rendered. "Maria Theresa will be foiled in her last attempt at opposition to her enemy's force, by seeking succours from her so-called faithful Hungarians. Success, also, has crowned my efforts in my expedition throughout the land, Master Bandini," he pursued, raising himself from his listless posture, with a look of animation and triumph. "The seeds of discord and discontent have every where been sown. I have visited these proud eagles, the Hungarian nobles, in their country-nests; and I have employed all means to turn them from listening to the appeal of their fugitive queen. To the worldly-wise, I have urged the ruin of war to their already troubled and impoverished country,—to the lovers of their fatherland, the independence of Hungary, and freedom from the House of Austria, if they will seize this opportunity to shake off its yoke, instead of again cringing to its call,—to the man, the weakness of submitting to a woman's sway,—to the needy and the grasping, I have promised, and even already lavished, the bribes of France, Spain, and Sardinia, to induce them to refuse their aid,—to the ambitious, place, rank, orders, courtly favour from my powerful employers, should they espouse their cause. I have studied men's characters, and read men's minds, to turn them to my will; and although I have met with opposition, endangered my life indeed, and risked my safety from ill-will, yet I have so strewn my grain, that, when Maria Theresa shall appear upon the field, she shall reap tares where she hoped to gather wheat. The cause is lost, I tell you!"

The Jew rubbed his hands with an air of satisfaction, which seemed to show that the profits to be divided from his association in the political manœuvres of his visitor were to be proportionate to the success of these hazardous schemes, and that visions of golden reward already floated before his eyes.

"And the opening of the Diet is still fixed for the 11th?" inquired the Italian, after a pause, in which he had allowed his unwonted enthusiasm to cool down to a bearing of indifference, which was more his nature.

"Yes—the day following the morrow," answered Bandini.

"Has she already made her appearance in the city?" again asked his visitor.

"It is supposed that she is not yet here. There has been no solemn entry; but she must be here every hour," was the reply.

"In that morrow we have as yet time for much," said the cavaliere. "I must pursue my measures here with caution. My great scheme, of which more, perhaps, hereafter, may be tried at any issue; and woe betide Maria Theresa, if"—

As he uttered these words, the Italian was startled and interrupted by the abrupt opening of the door of the apartment. The Jew turned round with surprise, whilst his companion, checking the first involuntary movement, which induced him to look in the same direction, buried himself in his chair, so as to conceal himself as much as possible from the intruder.

The person who entered was a tall old man, whose erect figure and firm step proved how little time had weighed upon his natural vigour. His features were bold and rude, although not deficient in that species of manly beauty which an expression of confidence and energy bestows, and were fully displayed by the disposal of his grizzled hair, which, torn back from his forehead, and plastered over his head with an evident profusion of grease, descended on to his back in a long braided tail. His dress was of that description known in other parts of Europe as the hussar uniform, which was worn by certain of the domestics belonging to the Hungarian nobility. The yellow braid profusely bestowed across the breast of his jacket, and upon the pockets and sides of his tight blue pantaloons, was of a colour that showed what good service his attire had already seen. In his brawny hands he held his shako, as he advanced into the room, with more of rudeness than of deference in his manner.

"Is it you, Master Farkas?" said the Jew, rising to meet him. "I did not hear you enter."

"I opened the street door below with the pass-key you gave us," replied the man; whilst, at these words,[Pg 201] the cavaliere stamped his foot in anger.

"You made but little noise," resumed Bandini suspiciously.

"I suppose you were too much engaged to hear us; for I see you have a visitor," said the old man, fixing his eyes upon the form whose back was turned to him, and advancing familiarly further into the room.

But the Jew intercepted him.

"What do you want here, Master Farkas?"

"Teremtette!" said the fellow roughly. "Would you have my lord up to bed in the dark, like a rat or a gipsy thief? I want a light."

"I will attend your master forthwith," said the Jew, taking up the hand-lamp, and hastening to the door.

"My master, ugh! My lord, if it please or please not your worship," growled Farkas, preceding the landlord out of the apartment.

When the Jew returned, his visitor confronted him with angry looks.

"See to what you expose me, fellow, by your villanous meanness!" exclaimed the cavaliere. "And, not content with harbouring vagabonds in your house, that, for aught I know, may be spies upon us, you furnish them with pass-keys, to surprise us when they will—to ear-wig at the doors, hear our discourse, betray our secrets. How now, fellow, what have you to answer?"

"I tell you that they are most innocent and unsuspecting rustics, both," stammered the Jew—"both master and man. There can be no danger."

"No danger!" continued the angry cavaliere. "No danger, fellow! Cospetto! this very circumstance may be my ruin! That voice, too, was not unknown to me. I have heard it somewhere, although I know not where. It sounded to me as the reminiscence of some past evil—a raven's croak, announcing still more ill to come. Santa Vergine! If we are lost, I will have your life, with my own hand;" and he half drew his sword from the scabbard.

Bandini drew back sulkily, with further protestations, deprecations, and endeavours to mollify his visitor: but it was long before the cavaliere could be appeased. Once he left the room and listened in the passage, and at the young Hungarian's door. Then he descended to the street entrance, and examined the lock: and only when convinced that the other inhabitants of the house were still, and had probably retired to rest, did he come back. When he returned to the Jew's room, his brow was still knitted angrily; but, after drawing a bolt across the door, he sat down with less of agitation.

More unfriendly words again passed between the confederates; but, after a time, the Italian spy and the Jew money-lender were again conversing, in lowered tones, upon the schemes of the former.


Chapter II

"Underneath the grove of sycamore,
That westward rooteth from the city's side—
So early walking did I see your son:
Towards him I made; but he was ware of me
And stole into a covert of the wood."—
"Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her—
O teach me how I should forget to think."—Shakspeare.

"Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch!"—Idem.

On the following afternoon, the sun shone brightly; and the whole atmosphere, in spite of the slight haze which faintly silvered the distant hills, was imbued with that exhilarating freshness and lightness, which sheds a poetic charm of animation, vividness, and—did it not appear a paradox—it might be added, youth also, over an Hungarian autumn, unknown in other European countries.

The streets of Presburg were thronged by the crowds whom the approaching opening of the Diet, convoked by Maria Theresa, had attracted to that city; and highly picturesque and varied was the scene composed by the multifarious parties, pushing and thrusting along, or gathered in groups and knots, discussing the momentous events of those troubled times, between the rows of[Pg 202] antique houses, which bestow upon Presburg the aspect rather of an old town of the German Empire, than of less civilized Hungary.

In the middle space pranced upon their richly caparisoned steeds, glittering with the hanging trappings of that semi-oriental taste which, although somewhat modified, still forms a striking characteristic of the country, several of the Hungarian magnates, already attired in the national costumes—the richly embroidered attila, or long frock-coat, loaded with ornament—the furred cloak, clasped with glittering jewels to the shoulder—the high flat cap of fur or velvet, displaying an egret of rare feathers, which dashed upwards from the diamond broach—the tight gold-braided pantaloons—the tasselled boots—their powdered hair alone displaying, in some instances, their submission to the fashion of the day in other countries. Thronging among them were many of the lesser nobles, either on horseback or on foot, all dressed in the same characteristic style, with less of richness and embroidery, according to their lesser ranks or lesser means—each dress cut, and fashioned, and braided, according to the taste or whim of the wearer. Now and then rumbled along a cumbrous gilded and fantastically painted coach, swinging heavily between its monstrous gilded wheels, and sometimes adorned upon the four corners of its broad projecting roof with clumps of feathers, not unlike an ancient tester-bed—the coachman in richly-laced Hungarian livery, or in the silver-buttoned vest, hanging white sleeves, and broad white trowsers of the peasant; but of finer stuff, gayer embroidery, and richer fringe to the trowsers' edge, than the humbler of his class, as befitted the elevation to which he had been raised—the six horses, loaded with studded sparkling harness, and hanging strips of metal-behung leather, which streamed down the flanks and shoulders. Within them sat alone the proud dames of the Hungarian magnates, in even costlier dress than was the wont of that period of costly and cumbrous attire—their powdered heads adorned with the bejewelled caps of the national costume; for in those days a man, who really deemed himself a man, disdained to show himself the lazy tenant of these moving houses; and more especially the Hungarian, who considered the name of horseman as synonymous with that of man, and himself as born to be "a tamer of horses." Amidst these heavier vehicles, the light wooden carts of the peasant-noble, ignorant of all attempt at springs, of all harness but the rudest cords, endeavoured in vain to advance rapidly, in obedience to the impatience of the small, meagre, but impetuous horses of Tartar race which were lightly attached to them.

Among the crowded pedestrians was the scene still more checkered with kaleidescope variety. Here the embroidered pantaloons, the braided dolmans, and the feathered bonnets, were mingled with the long-fringed, full white trowsers, the large hanging shirt-sleeves, the broad-brimmed upturned hats—from beneath which streamed long black shaggy mane-like locks, over dark swarthy countenances, adorned with immense hanging moustaches—and the huge sheepskin cloaks, decorated on the exterior with fancifully embroidered flowers, and patches of bright cloth; the jaunty, dancing, bold, easy air of the Hungarians, all booted and spurred even to the very children, contrasting with the slouched gait of the Sclavonians, with their curiously sandled feet—the Croat, still attired like the Dacian of old, thronging along with the demi-brigand of the southern provinces, whose savage bandit aspect would have struck terror in the streets of any more civilized land—the purple talas, and long flowing beard of the followers of the Greek Pope, sweeping against the dark robe of the bald monk from the neighbouring convent—the smoother, finer gown of the richer Catholic priest brushing past the white uniform of the Austrian grenadier, with his conical headpiece, and long powdered pigtail.

Amidst the hum of the many voices, the salutations of friends, the laughter of some of the squeezing throng, the oaths of others, the cries of the coachmen and the shouts of the horsemen to those who obstructed the streets, arose, nevertheless, one unwearied and endless sound—the sound of ringing[Pg 203] metal—from the rattling of the universal spurs, and the clashing of the many sabres.

But if the scene was varied, more varied still were the emotions of the crowd—among those, at least, who were more deeply interested in the result of the event which had called together a great part of the nation within the walls of the city of Presburg; according as their party feelings or private interests led them to desire that resistance should be shown to the appeal made by her whom the Hungarians styled their "King," to her faithful subjects of Hungary, for succour under her distresses; or as their enthusiasm or attachment to the House of Austria induced them to wish that every assistance should be bestowed to enable her to restore her fallen fortunes.

The situation of Maria Theresa was indeed desperate. Her right to the countries inherited by her from her father Charles VI., emperor of Germany, were contested by almost all the other states of Europe. Her friends and allies were few; and those few seemed to have deserted her at this critical juncture. And yet with what confidence, with what a well-assured prospect of a glorious reign, had she mounted the throne secured to her!

As early as the year 1713, the Emperor Charles VI. had issued, in his privy council, a solemn ordinance, by which the female succession was secured throughout his states, in case of the failure of male issue—an ordinance well known in history, under the name of the "Pragmatic Sanction." It was published throughout the Austrian states as inviolable law, was made known to all the European courts, and by degrees guaranteed by all, forming the ground and basis of all their treaties and alliances with the House of Austria, and was moreover confirmed by oath by the princes allied to the family by their intermarriage with Austrian princesses. It was this ordinance, which only afterwards came into effect upon the death of the Archduke Leopold, the only son of Charles VI., that secured the right of succession to his daughter Maria Theresa, who at his decease, which occurred in October 1740, and closed the male succession of the House of Hapsburg, succeeded him, with the title of Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, in these and all the other Austrian States, including, Milan, Parma, Placentia, and the Netherlands. All these lands gave in their oath of adherence.

In spite of the triple right, however, which gave the States of Austria to Maria Theresa—the right of nature, the law of the Pragmatic sanction, and the sureties given by all the European states—several powers shortly afterwards rose to contest her heritage. The Elector of Bavaria laid claim to the succession, in virtue of a will of the Emperor Ferdinand the First, dated in the year 1543; Augustus of Poland, in virtue of the earlier rights of his wife, Maria Josepha, daughter of the Emperor Joseph, the elder brother of Charles the Sixth. The King of Spain, Philip the Fifth, went back as far as the rights of the wife of Philip the Second, a daughter of the Emperor Maximilian the Second, from whom he was descended in the female line. The King of Sardinia, Charles Emmanuel, laid claim to the duchy of Milan; and Louis the Fifteenth of France supported the Elector of Bavaria and the King of Spain. All Europe was quickly in flames upon the subject of the succession. Not only princes, but many private individuals, took an eager and active part in the quarrel. But the war, at last, broke out from an unexpected quarter. Frederic the Second of Prussia now laid claim to four duchies in Silesia, in spite of the renunciations of these lands frequently made by his predecessors in favour of the House of Austria, and suddenly, in December 1740, invaded the country, which, being almost entirely undefended, was soon completely overrun by the Prussian army. Maria Theresa, in spite of the alliance offered her by the King of Prussia against her other enemies, in case Silesia should be yielded up to him, stoutly and valiantly refused all compromise, declared herself noways disposed to dismember, in the least degree, the States left her by her father, and bade defiance to Frederic. Her enemies now took this opportunity to attack her. Bavaria declared war, and was[Pg 204] supported by France, Spain, Savoy, and Saxony. In spite of the opposition of Cardinal Fleury, the French minister, who was favourable to the cause of the young Queen, Louis the Fifteenth placed under the command of Marshal Count de Belle-Isle, a large French army, which crossed the Rhine in August 1741; whilst the Chevalier de Belle-Isle was sent from court to court in Germany, to rouse the powers against Maria Theresa; and numerous spies and agents were dispatched, in every direction, to undermine the last support she might have to hope for from her few remaining allies. Linz quickly fell into the hands of the enemy, who approached upon Vienna. Utter ruin lay before the persecuted Queen, who was obliged to leave her capital, and seek refuge in Hungary. And under these circumstances it was, that she had convoked at Presburg the Diet of the four orders of the kingdom, the opening of which now caused the city to throng with crowds of Hungarians from all quarters of the country.

Among the mass of persons that thus swarmed in the main street of Presburg, like ants upon the chief passage to the anthill, in seeming confusion in which each individual atom has, nevertheless, its own purpose and design, was a young man, whose striking personal appearance continually attracted attention among those who crossed his path, and caused many a head to turn and gaze after him, even in that favoured land where beauty of the most romantic kind is common among all classes. He was a youth of scarcely more than twenty years, as might be seen by the fresh bloom upon his cheek, and the first down of dark moustaches which faintly painted his upper-lip. His figure was slim, but yet his carriage had all the bold ease of Hungarian youth; his features were regularly and beautifully fashioned, although not of that extreme symmetry which mars expression by its coldness; his dark-grey eyes, shaded by long black lashes, which bestowed on them an Oriental cast, wore a look of hardihood and languor combined, which spoke of a romantic temperament; and his dark-brown hair, unconcealed by the fashion of the times, streamed free and unfettered on to his neck and temples. He was attired in a sombre dress, which well became his figure and poetic look. His braided attila and pantaloons were of black cloth slightly relieved with velvet of the same colour upon the cuffs and collar; and a black velvet Hungarian cap, surmounted by a plume of black eaglet's feathers, sat boldly upon his head. The silver-mounted belt and chains of his sabre were the only ornaments that glittered on his dress.

Whatever the purpose of the seemingly capricious wanderings of the young man, as he thrust obstinately and somewhat rudely through the crowds which opposed his progress, he was not to be diverted from it by the objurgations of some of those whom he thus elbowed on his passage, or the commendatory remarks of others, who noticed his good mien. His eye roved perpetually to every window at which a female form appeared; and, upon the approach of each coach that passed, he pushed boldly forward, to obtain as near a view as possible of its fair inmates. But he evidently sought some one particular form, which he found not in his unwearying scrutiny; for, as often as some fresh female face had been narrowly examined, followed sometimes with a moment's doubt, and then abandoned, he gently shook his head, with knitted brow, and an expression of disappointment, and, falling back, uttered an impatient sigh.

At a short distance from the youth followed a tall old man, in the hussar dress of an Hungarian domestic, who, in turn, pushed sturdily after him, never losing him entirely from his sight, and utterly heedless of the exclamations of those thrust aside, who, however they might spare their angry comments to the handsome young noble, bestowed them with double wrath upon his rude attendant. The look of the old man was one of discontent, as he thus pursued the capricious movements of the youth; and he gave vent to a continued string of muttered rough Hungarian oaths, whilst he pushed on, and muttered such phrases as, "he is distraught—he is utterly distraught with this silly boyish fancy!"

At length, as the dusk of approaching[Pg 205] evening began slowly to fall upon the streets, as the crowd gradually lessened, as no more carriages rumbled heavily along the causeway, and as no more faces appeared at the windows, the young man paused in his hurried walk, uttered a still deeper sigh of disappointment, and leaning himself wearily against a doorway, sank his head downwards, and seemed lost in painful meditation.

His old attendant approached him, and after a time, seeing that his presence was unnoticed, and that the gloomy reverie of the young man continued, he addressed him in a tone in which rude familiarity and respect were strangely combined—

"Is my lord's young blood so hot, then, that he seeks to cool it by taking up his night-quarters under this airy gateway?" But seeing that the young man heeded him not, he muttered an inpatient "Teremtette!" between his teeth, and then, plucking at his master's dress, he continued—

"Have you no orders to give me, Master Otmar?"

"None, Farkas. No, leave me!" was the only reply vouchsafed.

"Look you, Master Otmar," pursued his attendant—"You are observed here—you are an object of attention, perhaps of mockery, to the passers-by."

"What mean you, Farkas?" cried the young man, in a tone of displeasure.

"Nay! if my lord is angry, I have no more to say," replied Farkas, drawing back.

"Perhaps you are right," said the young man, with a sigh; "although your words were rude." And without further comment, he removed himself from his reclining position, and walked away with hurried steps.

The old domestic followed rapidly, and, as they approached the St Michael's gate, evidently expected that his young master would enter his lodging close by; but, seeing that he still walked on, Farkas paused for a moment, and murmured the words, "He bade me leave him. But he is utterly distraught. He knows not what he says; he has forgotten his command ere now; and who knows what may happen to the poor foolish boy!" And having thus reassured his conscience upon his act of disobedience, he pursued the young man's footsteps at a respectful distance, through the gateway, over the bridge, and along the suburb.

Beyond lay a more open road, skirted by gardens, and enlivened here and there by summer pavilions, belonging to some of the wealthier nobles; and, at about a quarter of a mile from the town, stood, to the left of the wanderers, a stately palace, built in the heavy but ornamented style of the commencement of the same century, and backed by gardens, that stretched out behind it to the foot of that richly wooded and romantic ridge of low mountains which gives so peculiar a charm to the environs of the fine old city of Presburg.

Passing through a side entrance of the court of this palace, which served as a summer residence to the Archbishop Primate of Hungary—at that period the Prince Immeric Esterhazy—and entering the gardens beyond, which the liberality of the wealthy primate opened to public recreation, but which were now empty, the young noble sauntered on, lost in meditation, through statues of heathen divinities, which seemed ill in accordance with the abode of a Christian bishop; and tritoned fountains, and stiff parterres, and huge incommodious stone benches; until, reaching an alley of shady planes and clustering chestnut-trees, he flung himself listlessly down on the mossy bench of a shell and pebble-studded niche. The glow of the last rays of the setting sun faintly penetrated the entrance of the avenue, adding a still richer colour to the rich green shades of the trees, as yet untouched by the influence of autumn; while, in the distant opening of the dark vista, framed, as it were, by the circling trees, appeared a hazy landscape of calm vine-covered hills, dotted with white cottages. It was a spot peculiarly adapted to meditation and repose, the solitude of which was enhanced, rather than disturbed, by its sole occupant—a misanthropic stork, that with its wings folded on its back, like a sulky old gentleman with his arms behind him, placed slowly and deliberately one foot before the other, as it stepped on in lonely thoughtfulness.

[Pg 206]For a time the young man sat lost in reflection; and it was not until he at length raised his head to gaze upon a scene congenial to his feelings, that he became aware of the form of old Farkas, standing erect against a tree, like a sentry in his box, at no great distance from him.

"This is a persecution to which I cannot submit," he murmured to himself; and then rising, and calling angrily to his attendant, he cried,

"Did I not bid you leave me, Farkas?"

"Leave you, my lord?" said the attendant, advancing with an air of surprise.

"Yes, leave me. Do you hear now?"

"My duty"—continued the old man, in an expostulatory tone.

"Is to obey me."

"My attachment"——

"Becomes importunate," broke in his master, "if my footsteps are to be thus dogged, and my solitude to be disturbed, fellow."

Farkas tossed his head, with a sigh, that perhaps might be more appropriately termed a grunt, and moved a few steps backwards; but then, as if unable to obey, he again lingered and returned.

"Master Otmar," he said, "call me rude, unmannered, disobedient. Bid me leave you—yes, leave you for ever, if you will. But, out it must, teremtette! in spite of all. I cannot see you thus, and quit you, without a word—you, your father's son. You, Master Otmar, whose heels I was the first to spur, whom I first set on horseback to gallop alone over the Puszta, whom I first taught a good round Hungarian oath. I could not do it, were I to know it were the last word I spoke."

"Speak then! What have you to say?" cried Otmar, in a tone of vexed impatience; but then, as he saw the eyes of the old man fixed in such mournful earnestness and solicitude upon him, he seemed to repent his harshness, and stretched out his hand, which his attendant took and kissed with reverence, according to the custom of the country.

"Speak!" he said more mildly; "I know you love me, although sometimes you show your love after a strange rude fashion, Farkas!"

"Are you a man, Master Otmar," began the old attendant, bluntly, "that you should be thus cast down because you have seen a pretty face that smiled upon you?" The young man showed evident marks of impatience at these words; but Farkas had seized his advantage, and continued, "Is a chitfaced woman's glance, seen only once, to break a man's bold spirit thus? You are in love, you will tell me. That's a boy's answer to all; but"—

"Peace, foolish man! what do you know of love?" said Otmar, impatiently.

"Foolish!" echoed the old man, with a toss of the head, as if he were for a moment inclined to argue which were the more foolish, he or his master. "Be that as it may. Perhaps I understand little of this love, at least now. But I remember the time I understood it better; and, teremtette! that was another sort of thing. When I was in love, I danced and sprang, and drank and swore, and flung up my cap on to the very horns of the young moon! There was some spirit in love then! But you have saved a fair lady from danger, as her unruly devils of horses were about to plunge her travelling coach from the bank into the broad stream of the Danube, and you are as cast down about it as if you had caused her death, instead of saving her from destruction. Eb adta! it is for her to whine and pine, and lament that she sees the bright eyes of her handsome deliverer no more; not for you, boy!"

"And with how sweet a smile! with what a dignity and grace! with what a look of angel brightness, did she hold out her hand to thank me!" muttered the young man to himself, as he again sank down upon the bank.

"Be a man, Master Otmar!" pursued Farkas, with more animation and earnestness. "Call back again your energy and spirit! Where is the bold young fellow, now, who challenged that cursed outlandish rascal, who not long since strove to tamper with his loyalty, and throw doubts upon the rights of our King—God bless her!—and pricked him, too, right[Pg 207] through the sword-arm, and did it well, right well?"

"And would again, Farkas!" said Otmar, raising his head proudly.

"Although, to be sure, you would not allow me to cudgel him soundly, and beat his treacherous brains out afterwards," continued the man, with a grim smile; "but, no matter for that, he had half his deserts, and shall have the other half one of these days. An honest man pays his just debts."

"Leave the villain to his fate!" cried the young man with a look of scorn.

"That's right!" pursued his attendant. "Now, you are yourself again. Look you, Master Otmar! I cannot bear to see you thus unhappy and cast down, and all for the look of a bright eye. It goes nigh to break my heart, I tell you." And the old man's voice began to falter with emotion.

"But I am not unhappy," said Otmar, smiling; "I am happy, very happy. Let that re-assure you, Farkas. You tell me, be a man. Can I be a man, and not indulge grave thoughts in these times of strife and trouble?"

The old man shook his head.

"You love me, Farkas," continued the young noble. "Let, then, the assurance that I am far from unhappy suffice you. Now leave me, in all earnest. I shortly will return home—Home!" he murmured to himself, "have I a home now?"

The old attendant still lingered; but, as his master stretched forth his hand, he again kissed it reverently, and, turning up the alley, disappeared from sight.

"No! I am not unhappy," muttered Otmar, when he found himself alone. "Why should I not be happy, when she smiled upon me so sweetly? But should I not see her again? Oh no! Fate cannot be so cruel. And who was he that sat by her side, and took her hand in his, as she again entered the coach? Her husband—her lover, perhaps. I will not believe it. Her brother, may be. No! I am not unhappy. I should be happy that I can place between myself and the dark realities of life a bright barrier of fancy, of poetry, of love—like unto those glorious painted windows in the old cathedral, which spread out, between the inclemencies of the atmosphere without, and the mysteries of the calm sanctuary within, the thousand glories of a thousand colours, a radiant curtain of purple, and crimson, and gold, in such wise that the passing cloud, with all its variations of shade, only develops fresh treasures of harmony and beauty; and if a ray of sun bursts forth—oh then!—it might almost seem as if, in those dazzling showers of light and radiance, a whole celestial choir of angels descended upon the altar! Thrice happy should I be, that, on the sanctuary of my heart, shines such a ray of light! Yes, in the midst of the darkness of my life," pursued the young man to himself, still following up the same images of his poetic fancy, "my thoughts should be as the thousand particles of dust that may be seen to turn, and whirl, and gambol in the golden shaft of light which streams through a peephole into a darkened prison! No, I should not be—I am not unhappy!" And yet Otmar sighed, as he bent his head again to the earth.

From this poetic reverie he was roused, however, by the noise of footsteps; and, as he lifted up his head, he saw that the entrance to the alley was darkened by the forms of three persons who were advancing towards him. That which immediately attracted his attention, and caused him to spring up from his seat as if struck by an electric shock which darted through his heart, was a young female, whose features and expression, as she approached nearer, might be seen, spite of the gathering darkness, to be of singular beauty. She was attired in a dark brocaded dress, the long and slim waist of which was set off by a small hoop, in accordance with the custom of the times; a thick veil, or rather Spanish mantilla, of similar stuff was fastened into the top of her powdered edifice of hair, and covered her neck and shoulders; and from beneath its folds protruded a small hand, the fingers of which rested gently upon the arm of a young man. This second personage was dressed in all the rich extravagance of the French fashion of the day—his long lappeted coat, hanging waistcoat, and breeches,[Pg 208] all laced and spangled, and behung with knots of ribands—his three-cornered hat flung under the arm which did not serve as support to the lady—and an embroidered handkerchief, the perfumes of which scented the air even at a distance, ostentatiously flourished in his hand; and if Otmar's heart beat involuntarily at first sight of the female, it was twinged with an equally involuntary pang of painful emotion as his eye wandered to her companion. The group was completed by an aged man, in the plain costume of a Catholic ecclesiastic of the day, to whom the lady turned her head to address some remark, as he lingered somewhat behind the other personages.

The first instinctive movement of Otmar's heart had not deceived him. As the lady approached still nearer, the lingering doubt gave way to full conviction. It was she—she of whom he had dreamt so fondly-she whom he had sought all day so eagerly among the crowds that thronged the city streets! And now that she stood before him, his knees trembled, whilst his feet seemed to be rooted to the ground, and his tongue to cleave to the roof of his mouth. Had she passed him unnoticed where he stood, he could not have moved to claim a look, or framed a word to address her. But, as she drew closer to him, she checked her steps with a slight exclamation of surprise, almost of alarm, at the sight of the half-concealed stranger in the dusk. Her companion moved forward hastily, and, dropping her arm, advanced his hand to his sword; but, before he could say a word, she had in turn come forward.

"Forbear, my friend!" she said; and then, advancing to Otmar, she continued, "I am not deceived. It is my noble rescuer. I have sought you, sir, in vain, to tender you my thanks for your good services, if my poor thanks, indeed, can be a recompense for service so beyond all price."

"Madam, I did but the duty of a gentleman," stammered Otmar; "and for you, who would not——?"

"I owe you, indeed, more than thanks can pay," interrupted the young female. "You left us so hastily, after accomplishing that deed of courage at the risk of your own life, that I had no time to learn who was my bold deliverer from peril. In the confusion and trouble of the moment, I allowed you to depart; and, believe me, my heart has not ceased to reproach me since for a seeming want of gratitude, that, the Saints of Heaven know, was far from it."

"Oh! I am repaid, fully repaid, fair lady, by these words," interrupted the eager youth in his turn.

"But I may still repair my error," resumed the lady. "Alas! I have little to bestow," she continued, with a sigh, "save empty words of gratitude. But the time may come. Let me know, at least, the name of him who has done me such essential service."

"It were unworthy of your ears, fair lady," stammered Otmar timidly

"Again, I reclaim the favour of your name, sir," said the young female. "You are noble; your mien proclaims it, did not the sabre by your side attest it." And her eyes seemed to rest with satisfaction upon the figure of the handsome youth. "You have more—you have the true nobility of heart. You will not refuse your name to a lady who demands it."

Otmar was about to speak, when the noise of several persons advancing into the alley with rapid steps, caused the heads of all parties to turn in that direction. A troop of five or six men, with drawn swords, and black masks upon their faces, rushed violently upon them.

"Seize her! It is she!" cried a tall man, who appeared the leader of the party, as he darted forward.

A violent scream issued from the mouth of the female—exclamations of alarm, and shouts of rescue from those of her companions. Otmar instinctively drew his sabre with cry of rage, and the next moment all was skirmish and confusion.

"Ruffian!" exclaimed the young Hungarian, attacking the taller mask, who had now seized with rude grasp the hand of the female, and causing him, by the violence of the onset, to let go his hold.

"Ha! he once more! God's curse on him!" cried the leader, parrying the attack as best he might, whilst he endeavoured to regain possession of the lady.

[Pg 209]"Let her not escape! let her not escape!" he shouted again to his followers, finding himself hardly pressed upon. "I will dispatch this fellow, on whom I reckoned not." And he, in his turn, attacked Otmar with fury.

Even in the midst of the skirmish, the young man could not resist seeking the lady with his eye; and he could dimly perceive, in the darkness and confusion, that she had taken refuge with the ecclesiastic, whilst her companion was making desperate efforts with his French small-sword, to keep at bay the other assailants. But his unwary solicitude had wellnigh cost him his life. A plunge of his adversary's sword passed through his attila, and slightly grazed his side. The next moment his own sabre descended on to the shoulder of the man with whom he was engaged, with sufficient effect, although the blow was evaded, to disable him for the moment, and cause him to stagger back.

Profiting by this circumstance, Otmar rushed upon the other ravishers, and came up at the very instant when, overpowered by numbers, the companion of the lady had lost all power of any longer protecting her retreat, and preventing their object of seizing on her. Attacking then with fury, and dealing several severe wounds, he succeeded in turning their attention chiefly to himself.

Thus desperately engaged in a most unequal combat, he heard the step and voice of his first antagonist from behind. A dagger already gleamed over his head, when suddenly a heavy blow resounded, and his assailant staggered and fell to the ground. In a few moments more he had contrived to disperse the other ruffians, who, wounded and alarmed, now took to flight. When he turned, he found his old Farkas standing over the prostrate body of his first foe.

"I could not leave my lord," cried the old domestic, brandishing a stout stick: which he had snatched up. "And, teremtette! I was right, whatever you may say. But I have done for one of the rascals, eb adta! and just at the right nick too!"

"Leave him an follow me, Farkas!" cried the young man. "They may still again assail her." And he hurried up the avenue, followed by the old man who grunted with unwillingness at leaving the prize of his strong arm.

When they reached the open space beyond the alley, no one was visible in the dark. The lady and her companions had disappeared. Lights, however, were moving, in the archbishop's palace; and, at the same moment, a troop of servants, torches in hand, was seen to issue from the lower part of the building, attracted, probably, by the noise of the tumult.

"Where can she be? Again lost to me! Lost, perhaps, for ever!" exclaimed Otmar.

"Shall we not secure the fellow I knocked down?" said Farkas insinuatingly, with no small spice of pride at the thoughts of the capture. "He may be yet alive."

"You are right," replied his master. "He was the leader of this troop of bravoes. He may be compelled to divulge the mystery of this deed; and I knew that voice, methinks, although as yet my recollections are confused."

With these words he hurried back into the avenue. But when master and man had reached the spot where the body had lain, it was no longer visible. Marks of blood and of trampling feet, two broken swords and a ragged hat, were the only evidences that remained of the late combat.

"Gone!" cried Otmar.

"The other ruffians have returned and carried him off, eb adta!" exclaimed Farkas, with intense vexation.

"Let us follow on their traces!" said the young noble. "See here! This way through the thicket! There are marks of broken boughs." And pushing his way through the bushes, he entered the dark wood, followed by his attendant.

A moment afterwards the avenue was illuminated by the torches of the domestics from the archbishop's palace.

 [Pg 210]

Chapter III.

"Spirit of men,
Thou heart of our great enterprise, how much
I love these voices in thee!"
Ben. Jonson.
"Love is ambitious, and loves majesty."

Upon an imposing hill, which rises from the Danube's banks, and frowns over the city of Presburg, still stand the extensive ruins of a fine old castle, which was destroyed by fire at the commencement of the present century, but which, at this period of history, was generally occupied as a residence by the rulers of Hungary, when they paid a royal visit to their Hungarian capital; and in the large hall of state in this immense building it was, that the Diet of the four orders of the kingdom, convoked by Maria Theresa, had assembled on the eleventh of September—the morning following that evening so eventful to Otmar and his young love.

At the upper end of this large apartment, a throne had been arranged for the young Queen. In the spaces between the old portraits of the heads of the House of Hapsburg, which adorned the walls, were now displayed Hungarian banners. On either side of the throne, awaiting the arrival of Maria Theresa, were several of her German ministers and household; and, as it was well known that those immediately about her person had protested energetically against her appeal to her Hungarian subjects, these German servants of the Queen were regarded with no looks of good-will or sympathy by those who filled the hall.

Upon the first step of the throne, and apart from those who surrounded it, stood, on the right, the Count John Pallfy, the Palatin or Viceroy of the kingdom, his handsome martial countenance, with that semi-oriental disdain of all expression of emotion in the physiognomy, betraying none of those anxious feelings which were natural as to the result of a crisis so important; on the left, Count Louis Batthyani, the Reichskanzler or Chancellor. Immediately below the throne were ranged, on one side, the bishops and prelates of the kingdom, to the number of sixty-seven, in their rich ecclesiastical attire; on the other, the numerous magnates of the realm, the princes, counts, and barons, to the amount of seven hundred and eighty, glittering in all the marvellous pomp and splendour of the Hungarian costume, and reaching in proud array far beyond the middle of the hall—the lower part of which was thronged by a crowd of the lesser nobles, and the deputies from the provinces, and from the royal free-towns of Hungary. Brilliant and dazzling was the scene composed of this living mass, with its thousand fantastic and bejewelled dresses; and wonderful to look at the many fine energetic countenances of all ages of which it was composed.

Among the nobles, towards the middle of the hall, stood Otmar, his handsome face still pale from the excitement of the previous evening, and a night passed in sleeplessness. It was in vain that he had sought to find the trace of the ruffians who had made so strange an attempt to seize upon the person of the mysterious object of his affections: and only late in the night had he returned to his lodging, and striven to calm the anxiety of his mind in a useless attempt at repose upon his couch. His brain whirled with the confusion of his thoughts. All the past was involved in mystery and conjecture. Who was the beautiful female, to whom he had so quickly given all the first emotions and energies of his young heart? Should he ever again behold her who had thus twice crossed his path, to disappear as suddenly from before his eyes? Had she escaped the hands of her ravishers? What had become of her? And who, again—he demanded with a pang of bitter jealousy—was that[Pg 211] young man who had twice been her companion, and whom she had styled her friend? Thus agonized with a thousand doubts and apprehensions, he could scarcely command his senses to gaze upon the scene around, or to reflect upon the important purpose which had called him, with the other Hungarian nobles, to that hall. The troubles of his life, his doubtful fate, his dreary position in the world, were all forgotten in the absorbing thoughts connected with her he loved: all minor anxieties—such as his dismissal that morning, as he left the house, from his poor lodging by his old landlord, in a manner which, had he been able to think on other matters, might have appeared to him as heartless as inconsistent—found no room in his tormented mind. The noise of the trumpets, announcing the entry of the Queen; the opening of the door, to the right of the throne, through which she passed; the murmur, and partial confusion, which attended her ascending the steps, and placing herself in presence of that crowded assembly, scarcely roused him from his reverie.

But when he raised his eyes, he scarcely could credit their own evidence. There she stood on high before him! The crown of St Stephen of Hungary was on her lofty brow: the royal mantle covered her shoulders: the bejewelled cimiter of the Hungarian kings was at her side. In her arms she held a baby of about six months of age; in her left hand she clasped that of a little girl. She was there in all her dazzling splendour of royal beauty. And it was she!—she to whom his heart was given—she whom he had dared to love!

For a moment the whole scene whirled before the eyes of Otmar: he staggered as one struck by lightning: his pale cheek grew paler still: he felt as if he were falling to the earth. How he found a tongue to speak, he himself could not have told. But, with faltering voice, he turned to an old Hungarian magnate by his side, and stammered—

"Is it possible? Is that—she—our King—is that?"

"Who should it be, domine illustrissime?" answered the person thus addressed, with the Latin courtesy of the country. "Who should it be, friend?"

Again Otmar found force to falter forth—

"And he, who has given her his hand to mount the throne—he who now stands behind her, glittering in all the rich fancifulness of that outlandish dress—who is he?"

"Humph!" replied the old Hungarian, in no very amiable tone of voice. "That is her favourite German minister, the young Prince Kaunitz—a silly fop! She might have better and less compromising servants about her person, methinks. As you seem a stranger, domine," he pursued, unheeding Otmar's agitation, "you may like to know that the old ecclesiastic, who has taken the other place behind her, is our Archbishop Primate, the Prince Emmeric Esterhazy, at whose summer palace she took up her residence, incognita, on first arriving here."

"Kaunitz! her favourite minister, and she called him 'my friend!'" muttered the young man, trembling with emotion.

"Yes! and they do say," continued his informant lightly, "that now her husband, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, is absent with the remains of her discomfited army, she and the young prince"—and he whispered in Otmar's ear.

A pang of the bitterest feeling passed through the young noble's heart. But that pang, by its very revulsion, gave him fresh energy.

"Calumny!" he exclaimed, angrily, to his companion, whom he doubted not to be one of those disaffected to the cause of the persecuted Queen. "Calumny!" But his voice was drowned in the loud murmur which arose on all sides calling for silence.

Maria Theresa had risen from the throne, upon which she had seated herself on her first entrance to calm her feelings; and she gazed, with evident emotion, and with faltering purpose, upon the vast crowd before her. No doubt that she saw a stern discouraging frown upon many a brow: no doubt that she knew how deeply the seeds of discontent and disaffection had been sown among her subjects—how great a majority was[Pg 212] unfavourable to her cause: and she trembled and faltered for a moment.

But the beauty, the dignity, and grace of the young Queen had already worked their spell upon the susceptible natures of the Hungarians, who, stern as they may be, are easily led away by enthusiastic impulses. A flattering murmur of applause ran through the assembly.

Encouraged by this movement of sympathy, which her quickly sensitive woman's heart felt rather than perceived, Maria Theresa lifted her head more boldly, and advancing one step forward, with her little daughter clinging to her dress, held forward in her arms the baby boy, whose destinies afterwards fixed him on the imperial throne of Germany as Joseph the Second.

All set speeches, all forms were forgotten by her in the trouble of the moment.

"Hungarians!" she said, with quivering voice, in Latin,—"deserted by my friends, persecuted by my enemies, attacked and oppressed by my nearest relations, my only refuge, in my utmost need, is in your fidelity, courage, and support. To you alone, with God, can I any longer look for safety. To your loyalty alone can I confide the welfare of the son and daughter of your kings. At your feet I lay my children. I come to you for succour. Will you grant it me?"

Her voice trembled. She could not proceed. A pause ensued.

"Vitam et sanguinem!" responded a voice.

It was that of Otmar, who had listened, with beating heart, to the accents of his adored Queen; whilst the blood had gradually risen into his pale cheeks, and now flushed his animated countenance with colour.

"Vitam et sanguinem!" was shouted by almost every voice in the assembly, as it caught up the cry.

"Moriamur pro Rege Nostro!" again cried Otmar, drawing forth his sabre.

"Moriamur pro Rege Nostro!" was re-echoed by a thousand mouths, as a thousand sabres were waved on high, and flashed upon the air.

The enthusiastic feeling had been communicated as an electric shock throughout the crowd. Spite of party feelings, party purpose, stern resolves, it had proved irresistible. Before the Hungarian nobles was a woman—a beautiful female in distress—and she their Queen! The burst of loyal fervour was spontaneous, uncontrollable.

The bosom of Maria Theresa heaved with emotion at the sound of this wild cry. For a moment she struggled with her feelings, strove to be a queen: but her woman's nature gave way; and, sinking back on her throne, she burst into tears.

The sight of this outbreak of emotion spoke again to each Hungarian heart; and, with still wilder and louder shouts of frenzied enthusiasm, the cry of "Moriamur pro Rege Nostro!" rang again through the hall of the Castle of Presburg, until the old walls trembled to their base. Tears sprang from many of the sternest eyes, and rolled down many a withered cheek. But they were tears of pity, admiration, and fury.

All rancour, discontent, political difference, purpose of treachery, had been forgotten. The cause of Maria Theresa had been won!

Long it was before the tumult of the many voices ceased, or the flashing sabres were restored to their scabbards. And when at length the murmur in the hall was somewhat stilled, the aged archbishop advanced to the side of Maria Theresa, who, with her eyes streaming with tears, stood up at once. He attempted to speak in the name of the Hungarian nation in answer to her appeal. But the old man's voice failed him; and only in broken accents, which scarcely could be heard beyond the throne, could he utter a few words of fervent devotion, and pray God to bless her.

In his turn also, the Palatin, Count Pallfy, stepped forward and spoke of supplies and men. But his voice, also, was drowned in the enthusiastic shouts which promised to the persecuted Queen the succour of the very life's blood of her faithful Hungarians, and the aid of their fortunes to the last florin. It could scarcely at last be heard, as the official declaration was made of the opening of the Diet[Pg 213] and of the sittings to be held, at which the necessary measures to be taken to be debated.

Then again rose the shouts, as Maria Theresa attempted to thank her faithful subjects. She could no longer speak; but she waved her hand to them, with a graceful gesture, and a look of gratitude which betrayed the depth of her feelings. Otmar's heart again beat tumultuously. He closed his eyes, as if to shut out from his very heart the dangerous sight of her who held over it so powerful a fascination. When he again looked up, she had descended from the throne. She was gone.

Overpowered by the various conflicting feelings which had so powerfully assailed him in the last short hour, the young noble followed instinctively the crowd as it streamed out of the great hall; and it was only when he found himself in a large ante-room, somewhat severed from the general mass, that he stopped and threw himself down upon a bench near a doorway, to collect his confused and scattered thoughts. He remained for a time lost in a reverie, from which he was aroused by a tap upon his shoulder.

Before him stood a boy, in a military dress, whose mien bore all the boldness and pertness of a page.

"Servus, domine!" said the youth, with an impudent air.

"What want you with me?" asked Otmar sharply. "I do not know you, sir. This is some mistake."

"It is none at all, if I read right your person," answered the boy pertly, mustering Otmar from top to toe. "Are you not he who was last night in the primate's garden? The description answers that of him I was bid to seek."

"I was in the primate's garden last night, of a truth," said the young noble: "but"——

"Then follow me," continued the boy, with a nod of the head.


"Where a lady calls you," laughed the page, with an impudent swagger. "A young fellow of our age and blood needs no other bidding, methinks."

"What lady?" once more asked Otmar. But the boy only winked him to follow, as a reply; and turning into a side-door, beckoned to him once more; and then, seeing that the summons was obeyed, proceeded on, through several passages and corridors, until, reaching a door, he pushed it open. Within stood a female; and Otmar's heart, which had beat high with vague expectations of what he himself scarce dared to divine, was suddenly chilled, when he saw before him an elderly lady, altogether unknown to him. But as she came forward to ask the boy whether it was the person he was charged to seek, he became aware that it was not she into whose presence he was to be introduced. The lady, in turn, signed to him to follow; and after tapping gently upon an inner-door, and waiting for a reply, opened it, and bade him enter.

The apartment into which the young noble had been thus ushered, seemed to have been hastily fitted up with such resources of a lady's chamber as the cumbrous and incommodious fashion of the day offered. At the upper end, in a large high-backed chair, sat a female figure, behind whom a tirewoman appeared in waiting.

Those hopes and expectations which, once or twice, Otmar had permitted to float over his mind, as he had followed the page through the passages of the castle, and had then dismissed from it as fantastic and improbable, and yet again, in spite of his better reasonings, indulged, were now confirmed, and still, to his dazzled sight, appeared impossible.

It was indeed Maria Theresa who sat before him.

The mantle had been disengaged from the shoulders, the cimeter ungirded from her side, and the crown removed from her head: but she still wore the rich dark dress, incrusted with gems, that proclaimed her royalty, but which she needed not to stamp her "every inch" a queen. Her hair had been, apparently, loosened by the removal of the diadem from her brow; and powdered as it was, it fell in luxuriant ringlets over her neck and shoulders. The glow of her recent emotion still remained upon her face, and added to the natural grace of her beauty: and her[Pg 214] lustrous dark-grey eyes were still moist with her late tears.

No wonder that Otmar stood before her, doubly dazzled with her beauty as a woman, and her majesty as a queen—bewildered that she, whom he had presumed to love, and for whom, in spite of himself, his heart yet beat wildly, should be his sovereign, and that he should stand thus in her presence.

"Ah! is it you, sir—you, doubly my rescuer from evil!" said Maria Theresa, rising from her chair, and advancing a few steps towards him. "Welcome, to accept your Monarch's inmost thanks!" And she stretched out her hand, which, although totally unpractised in the etiquette of courts, Otmar, by an instinctive impulse, knelt down to kiss.

"Rise, sir!" she continued. "Were my gratitude alone to speak, it were for me, your Queen, to kneel and kiss the hand that a second time has, through God's providence, been the instrument of my deliverance from peril."

Otmar rose from his knees, a deep blush overspreading his handsome countenance. The young Queen seemed to gaze upon him for a moment with satisfaction; and then, waving her hand to her female attendant to retire, she again addressed him.

"What can I do to serve you, sir?" she said—"you, who have thus twice served me at the peril of your life. I am but a poor and a powerless Queen," she continued, with a faint smile: "but a grateful heart may still find means to recompense"——

"To live and die in your majesty's defence, is all your poor servant, who has but done his duty to his Queen, although unknowingly, has to desire," was the young noble's reply.

"Nay, sir, we have too many obligations towards you," said the Queen, "to allow ourselves to be quit thus. Can I do naught to serve you in return?" she pursued, with a less dignified and more familiar tone. "You must not allow so great a weight of thanks to lie upon my heart. Take pity on me!"

Otmar could with difficulty find words to speak. The tumult of his feelings almost overpowered him, as he began to forget the queen in the beautiful and loved woman before him. But he struggled with the impetuous dictates of his heart.

"Madam!" he said, commanding himself, "I am a poor noble, left alone in this wide world, almost without a friend, since my poor father's death, which left me with involved fortunes, and without a prospect for the future; and I was careless of life, until—until I had seen—your majesty," he continued with emotion, whilst the blush upon the cheek of the young Queen showed her perception that the homage paid was as much to the woman as the monarch. "And now my only wish, as I have said, is to die in your service and defence."

"Die! God forbid!" said Maria Theresa, with a woman's ready tear starting to her eye. "Live, sir! and, if you will, to fight in our cause. Enter the army. Rank shall be granted you. Your advancement shall be cared for. Live to be again the friend and champion of the poor persecuted Queen, who needs friends indeed, when all are set against her."

"Say not so, madam," interrupted Otmar, with fervour. "Have we not, one and all, sworn to give our life and life's blood in your cause?"

"Yes," said the Queen, her tears now fully flowing, at the recollection of the late scene of wild enthusiasm. "I have found friends among my faithful, and my true—my gallant, noble Hungarians. Think you I did not mark you, sir—you, who were the first to shout, 'For Maria Theresa we will die!' Think you that my heart did not feel that you were, perhaps, a third time, my friend in need? But I have enemies still. Calumny, I am aware, miscolours my simplest actions. My very feelings may be misinterpreted, my very tears, at this moment, in your presence, misconstrued. Who can know what is the worth of friends better than those who suffer from such odious attacks of enemies as I have suffered?" And Maria Theresa clasped her hands before her eyes.

Otmar once more sank down at her feet deeply affected.

"But I must away with this weakness!" said the Queen, struggling to[Pg 215] recover from her agitation, and dashing away her tears with her fingers.

As she saw Otmar kneeling before her, his fine features fixed upon her with the liveliest expression of pity and admiration, his handsome figure bent to do homage to her loveliness and worth, her woman's feelings had the mastery of her feelings as a queen, and, smiling upon him with a smile, which shone all the more brightly through her tears—that smile, with the power and fascination of which none knew better how to fetter hearts than Maria Theresa—she hastily detached from her shoulders a string of diamonds, and passed them over the young man's neck.

"This is no recompense, to reward your services with matters of sordid value, sir," she said. "This is no gift to enable you to retrieve, however slightly, your fallen fortunes. This is the chain of honour which I bestow upon my champion and knight; for such you shall be in the eyes of the world. Here, in Maria Theresa's chamber, you are to her the deliverer and friend."

"Madam! my life, my heart, and soul are yours!" stammered the young man, no longer able to control his feelings, under circumstances which made him forget for a moment that distance which the sovereign herself seemed to have overleapt.

Again Maria Theresa blushed slightly. In spite of her strong understanding, her virtue, and her worth, she was not above those feelings of coquetry which, joined to her admiration of beauty, often, especially at an after period of her life, gave handle to the many unjust calumnies of her traducers.

"Rise once more, my noble knight!" said the young Queen, with another smile; "for we have dubbed you such. We will attach you to our especial service, since such is your desire, and find a place for you in our suite; although it be but badly paid in our state of disastrous fortune. But I know you heed not that. I see it in that look, that would reproach me for such a thought. You shall remain with us until you join our army," she added with a sigh, "to fight in our cause."

"This honour, madam"—stammered Otmar, rising.

"Is not without its perils and its pains, good youth," continued Maria Theresa. "You will have to combat envy, jealousy, ill-will within; for such is the life of courts. Alas! I know it but too well. Without, you may have often wearisome and dangerous services."

"None can be felt as such when it is you—your Majesty I serve," said the young man with enthusiasm.

"I will—I do believe you, sir," replied the Queen. "I have said it once, and I repeat it. Yours is the true nobility of heart. Ah! were they all so—they who serve me and call themselves my friends! But enough of this! Let your first service be to direct the search of our agents to the discovery of the disguised enemies who made that bold attempt last night to secure my person during my evening stroll—my poor moments of liberty! Ah! France, I recognise there your treacherous designs! You did not know who were your adversaries?"

"Madam," answered the young man, "I should recognise again the voice of him who was my principal assailant; and who, if I mistake not, has already crossed his sword with mine. But I know him not."

"I would not punish when I can forgive," said Maria Theresa, with a sigh. "But the discovery of these complotters on my liberty, perhaps my life, is necessary for the safety of my realm."

"If my zeal avail aught," said Otmar warmly, "their life shall pay their treachery."

"No bloodshed, no bloodshed, as you love me, good youth!" said the Queen, shuddering. "Blood enough is shed upon the battle-field for me and mine. And who knows how far such blood should lie upon the conscience of a miserable queen?—how far the Almighty will write it to her dread account at the last great day of reckoning?" And, with that nobility of feeling peculiar to Maria Theresa, she sank her head downwards in gloomy thought. For a time she thus remained, as if forgetful of the presence of the young noble; at length[Pg 216] she again raised her head, cleared away the gloom upon her features with a faint smile, and once more extending her hand, said—"Now leave us, sir, but to return shortly hither. Already they may cry scandal that I should have talked to one of such good mien so long. But go not," she continued, as Otmar moved towards the door, "until I have told you how my heart was pained, that the search of those who sought to discover you, after the skirmish of last evening, was useless—how anxiously I prayed, in the darkness of the night, that no ill might have befallen my young, champion—how my very soul was gratified to see him in the crowd before me, to know that he was safe! You must not think your Queen heartless and ungrateful, sir. Now, go!"

With a wave of the hand, Maria Theresa dismissed from her presence the young noble, who staggered from the chamber in a tempest of tumultuous emotions.



Chapter IV.

"Stand back, thou manifest conspirator:
Thou that contrivedst to murder!"
"Farewell, my lord! Good wishes, praise, and prayers,
Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.
Farewell, sweet madam!"

In a small room on the first floor of the old house occupied by the Jew druggist, sat Otmar once more, on the evening of the important day which had decided the fortunes of Maria Theresa. He had returned to the temporary home from which he had been so inhospitably driven, in order to direct the removal of his scanty baggage, and the few relics that reminded him of happier times, and the brighter days of his childhood, and which, during the day, his old attendant had collected together.

The room was wainscoted with blackened oak, the sombre shades of which were unrelieved by any ornament; and at a table, near the heavy casement-window, a part of which was open, rather to admit the fading light of day into the dark apartment than the autumn air of the chill evening, sat the young noble, tracing slowly the lines of a letter, which he seemed to compose with difficulty, and not without many a hesitation and many a heavy sigh.

Upon a packed portmanteau, in the middle of the room, sat Farkas, puffing from a short pipe small clouds of smoke, which issued in regular but uneasy jerks from beneath his thick overhanging moustache. From time to time he nodded his head impatiently, with a sideward movement, and murmured between his teeth, without interrupting his employment, words that accompanied his intermittent puffs, like the distant rumbling which follows the smoke of the cannon on the far-off battle-field.

"Teremtette!" he muttered angrily. "I shall not be easy until I am quit of this den of the old hyena, who has turned my lord out of doors like a gipsy beggar-boy—and why? The foul fiend only knows. I should like to wring the old ruffian's neck for him, like a carrion-crow, eb adta!"

At length the young noble threw down his pen.

"It is done!" he exclaimed with a sigh. "I have written to the old advocate at Buda to send me the papers I require. I must not think on my own fortunes. My father's honour must be saved; and my own beggary shall be signed before I leave this country."

"Too honest by half to such rascals as those villanous cheating money-lenders, whoever they may be, eb adta!" muttered Farkas again unheard, with a vexed shrug of the shoulders.

"Is all prepared?" said Otmar, turning to his attendant.

"There is nothing but what I can take upon my own shoulders," answered the old man with a sigh;[Pg 217] "and they are broad enough to bear twice the weight." And rising from his temporary seat, he jerked it on to his back. Then seizing up another small valise in his hand, he stood ready for departure.

"Enter the first inn, and there await my orders, whether they have room to lodge us or no; as is not probable in the confusion of the town," said Otmar. "I trust that I may yet find us other and better quarters for another night; and we can seek a home for once under nature's roof, without much detriment to our bones."

"What his lord can bear, can old Farkas also," was the attendant's sturdy answer, and he left the room.

"Farewell then," said Otmar, gazing around him. "Farewell, my poor chamber, the depositary of so many hopes and aspirations, regrets, sad thoughts, and air-built castles. Visions, bright visions of beauty and of love, have illumined thy dark walls; and they, too, have flown—flown before a stern reality, which proclaimed them folly, madness—ay, madness! They are gone for ever! But shall they not be followed by dreams of glory, of renown, of smiles from her beaming eyes to thank her champion—her friend? Yes—me, too, she has called her friend. Farewell, then, my poor chamber! Thou hast witnessed little but my wretchedness, and yet I regret thee; for her spirit—hers—the beautiful, the bright, the unknown—still hovers around thee. Fare-thee-well!"

Otmar prepared to depart; but he was still lingering to send around him a last look upon those bare walls which he had thus apostrophized, when hasty steps were heard to mount the stair, and Farkas abruptly re-entered the room.

"Quick, quick!" cried the old man. "I saw him coming up the street—him, you know—that outlandish rascal, whom you fought by the inn on the roadside, because he would have spoken ill of our Queen—God preserve her!—the same who, if your doubts prove true, was the villain who tore that cursed slip in your attila last night—the foul fiend confound him, eb adta! I thought I had a stronger arm—old fool that I was! Quick, quick!" And seizing Otmar's arm, he dragged him to the open window.

"It is he!" exclaimed the young noble, looking out; "the same tall form and insolent gait. Ah! he is entering the house. Hark! he is mounting the stair. God be praised, he falls into my very hands!"

In truth, footsteps were evidently ascending the staircase. Otmar and his old attendant paused to listen with palpitating interest. The next moment the door of the Jew's apartment, on the other side of the passage, was heard to open, and a voice to exclaim, "Hello! old fox, where have you hid yourself? Out of your hole, I say! I have to speak with you." Then the door closed, and all was still.

"It is the same voice!" exclaimed Otmar again. "It is he who made that foul attempt upon her liberty. Villain!" And half-drawing his sabre, he rushed towards the door of the room.

"Down with him! down with the rascal, teremtette!" cried Farkas, following his master in excitement.

"No, no!" said Otmar, checking his own first impulse, and catching the old man's arm. "He is a traitor and a spy! It is not for me to punish; it is for the country's laws. She bids me seek to discover him. Providence has thrown him into my hands, and enabled me to obey her behest. She would condemn me were I to take vengeance into my own hands."

"What!" cried Farkas, violently. "My lord has his enemy face to face, and hesitates to defy him to the death!"

"Peace, old man!" exclaimed Otmar; "you know not what you say. Ah! I see it all now," he continued. "He is the agent of her enemies, and is in collusion with our doctor landlord. It is here their villainous schemes are hatched."

"True! It was he—it must have been he," said Farkas in his turn, "who sat with the rascally old thief, when I entered his room the night before the last."

"Hear me, Farkas," continued the young noble. "I must away to the castle. Maria Theresa may still be[Pg 218] there. All shall be revealed. Watch you, at some distance, in the street, that he leave not the house or escape us."

"Better split the cowardly villain's skull at once, teremtette!" cried the old man once more, indignantly.

"Peace, I say!" said Otmar. "Follow me, and stealthily." And with these words he left the room, followed down the stairs by his grumbling attendant, who still muttered many an angry "teremtette!" between his lips, unable to comprehend the hesitation of his young master, when so good an opportunity was before him of taking revenge upon "such a villainous scoundrel" as the spy.

Scarcely had they quitted the apartment, when an angle of the wainscoting, forming the door of a partially concealed closet, opened; and the form of the Jew money-lender—pale, trembling, and with haggard eyes—staggered into the room.

"Jehovah! We are lost—irretreviably lost!" he exclaimed with a choked husky voice. "Cavaliere! Cavaliere!" and he hastened, as fast as his trembling limbs would carry him, to the door. But, in spite of his agony and his alarm, his usual habits of caution, and perhaps of self-appropriation also, did not forsake him, and with the words, "That paper the young fellow wrote may tell us more!" he turned back, shuffled to the table, snatched up the letter, which Otmar had forgotten in his hurry, and then gained his room, where, seated, with gloomy and discontented brow, the Italian spy waited him.

"Diavolo! Where have you been hiding, Bandini? I need your aid," exclaimed the cavaliere, as he entered. "All is ruined, if still stronger measures be not taken. My grand expedition of last night, which might have secured all at a blow, has utterly failed, through the interference of a rash young fool, who has twice crossed my path to baffle me. I myself am wounded,"—and he pointed to a bandage, partly concealed by a scarf thrown over his shoulder—"still confused, from a blow dealt upon my head by some meddling ruffian. The curses of hell blight their arms, one and all! Those traitors, too, the Hungarians, have broken every promise, to shout Vivat! to that woman; because she shed before them a few maudlin tears. Weak fools! weak fools! and that they call enthusiasm! They promise her supplies of men and money. My schemes are ruined—my services all naught—your hopes of reward utterly gone, Master Bandini—utterly gone, do you hear?—if some great coup-de-main be not yet tried. There! look not so pale and frightened, man, with that ugly wo-begone face of yours. There are yet means that may be used."

"But we are lost—lost!" stammered the Jew, shaking in every limb, and struggling in vain to speak.

"Lost! Not yet!" replied the Italian scornfully "whilst I have yet a head to scheme, and a bold heart to execute."

"We are lost, I tell you. All is discovered. We are betrayed!" cried the Jew. "That young fellow—in yonder room—alas! he knows all. We must fly—conceal ourselves."

"How now, man?" exclaimed the cavaliere, in his turn springing up in alarm.

"I had driven him from the house, at your desire," stammered Bandini, panting for breath; "but he returned to seek his baggage. They had both been absent, master and man; and I had thought to look after my own poor goods and chattels in the room"—

"Or to that which you could lay your hands upon, old thief—I know you. But proceed! What means this tale?" said the spy.

"Jehovah knows you speak not true!" continued the Jew. "But they came back suddenly and unawares. I feared they might think evil of me, if they found me there; and I concealed myself in the closet. I heard all!"

"All!—all what? Speak, man!" exclaimed the Italian furiously.

"He is the same—the same of whom you spoke just now," pursued the old man, trembling. "He who wounded you last night. He recognised you as you entered. He knows all. He is gone up to the castle to betray us. Oh! I am a lost man—a lost man!" and the Jew wrung his hands bitterly.

[Pg 219]"Betrayed!" cried the spy—"gone, to the castle! Ten thousand devils drag him down to hell! Which way did he go? What did you hear? Speak, man!—speak, I tell you." And he shook the old man violently by the collar.

"He will probably mount to it by the shorter ascent, along the Jews' street," gasped forth Bandini with difficulty.

"And is there no quicker way?" exclaimed the Italian hurriedly.

"By the lane opposite," stammered the Jew breathlessly. "Turn to the left—mount the crooked street—you will find yourself opposite to the garden, behind my old friend Zachariah's house. On passing through it, you are at the upper end of the Jews' street, and near the castle plain."

"There is no time to be lost!" cried the spy, flinging his hat upon his head. "My pistols are primed and loaded," he continued, feeling in an inner pocket of his coat. "I shall be there before him. He must die. The same passage will favour my escape. Ah! it is you rascal of a Jew, villainous miser, who are the cause of all! Dearly shall you repay me this!" And seizing the old money-lender by the throat, he nearly throttled him, and, when he was almost black in the face, flung him with violence into a corner of the room.

As the Italian disappeared, the old man raised himself, with difficulty, from the ground.

"And such is the poor Jew's reward," he muttered, "from these Christian dogs, for all his losses, and his sacrifices, and his perils! What is to be done? If he kill the youth, I have still to fear his wrath. If he come not in time, we are undone. Every way is danger. Shall I myself turn informer? It is late—very late in the day—but yet it may be tried. Can I glean nothing from this paper that may sound like fresh and genuine information? What have we here?" he continued, rapidly scanning parts of Otmar's letter with his eye, and murmuring its contents to himself. "'I leave the country'—'But my father's honour must be covered'—'Send the papers ceding the estates'—'I am resolved to sign, although it be my utter ruin'—The name?—'Otmar, Baron Bartori.'—Merciful Jehovah!" burst forth the Jew. "It is he! It is my young man—and I knew it not—he, whose sign-manual is to convey to me the estates, in return for my poor moneys lent: and, if he sign not, the heritage goes to the next male heir; and I am frustrated of my dues. But he will be killed—die without signing. I am a ruined man—a ruined man!" And the money-lender clasped his hands in despair. "No, no—he must not die. Caracalli! Caracalli! touch him not! touch him not! He must not die, ere I have his precious sign-manual. Save him! save him! Jehovah! what shall I do? Caracalli! Caracalli!" And thus madly shouting after the Italian, the Jew rushed from his room in a frenzy of despair.

In addition to the great and winding carriage-road which leads up to the summit of the hill on which stands the castle of Presburg, there is a shorter passage to it, by a narrow tortuous street, lined with old falling houses, and paved at intervals with terrace-like stone steps to aid the steep ascent. To this street, in former times, the Israelites residing in the city were restricted as a dwelling-place, incurring heavy fine and imprisonment by daring, either openly or under a feigned name, to infringe this severe rule: and even at the present day, although this restriction has been removed, it is almost entirely occupied, either from habit or from choice, by petty and most doubtful traders of the same persuasion, and is still known under the name of the Jews' Quarter. The upper end of this steep and winding lane is terminated, between high walls, by a large old gateway, opening into the castle plain. And under this gateway it was, that the Italian spy awaited his victim. He had contrived to evade the vigilance of Farkas, by darting up a lane immediately fronting the St Michael's gate, and now, having ascertained, by a few hasty words interchanged with the Jew Zachariah, that no one answering the description of the young noble had been seen to pass, he felt assured, that, by his haste in pursuing the shorter cut from behind, he had gained an advance upon him.

The night was fast closing in, and[Pg 220] the Italian felt himself secure from observation in the dark recess in which he lurked behind the gate. Aware that by a deed of assassinating alone he could save himself from the consequences of a revelation which not only ruined all his schemes, but placed his life at stake, he grasped a pistol in his hand, and waited firmly, with calmness which showed his long acquaintance with deeds of hazard and of crime.

He had stood some time, counting with impatience the moments, until he began to fear that the young noble had taken the longer road, when at last the sound of footsteps struck upon his ear. Looking out from the corner of the gateway in which he had concealed himself, he could plainly see, at some little distance, the form of a man, resembling that of his expected victim, mounting the stone steps of the lane between the row of walls; and he drew back, cocked his pistol, and prepared to fire at him as he passed. Presently hastier footsteps—those of a running man—sounded nearer. Had he been perceived? Was his purpose divined? Was his victim about to rush upon him? These thoughts had scarcely time to pass rapidly through his brain, when a dark form hurried round the angle of the gateway. The Italian's hand was on the lock. He fired.

A terrific cry, and then a groan, followed the explosion. A body fell. The Italian bent forward. At his feet lay the form of his associate, the miserable Jew.

"Kill him not—the sign-manual"—were the only last words that faintly met the ear of the assassin, before the blood rushed up in torrents into the mouth of the unhappy man, and choked his voice for ever.

Before the spy had a moment's time to recover from his surprise at the unexpected deed he had done, another cry of "Murder! murder!" was shouted close beside him, by a man who had run up. A strong hand grasped his arm. It was that of his intended victim.

"Assassin!" cried Otmar. "Ah! it is again he! God's will be done!"

"Mille diavoli! Have at thee yet!" exclaimed the Italian, struggling to disengage himself with a strong effort, and staggering back.

Succeeding in the attempt, he drew his sword. The weapons of the two men were immediately crossed. Both fought with desperation. Already a wound on Otmar's arm had rather excited his energies than disabled him, when a crowd was seen approaching rapidly from the direction of the castle. Some persons detached themselves from it, and ran forward, attracted by the previous cry of "murder," and the clash of arms. The cavaliere felt that he was lost, if he made not a fearful effort to disengage himself at once from his antagonist, and made a violent lunge at Otmar. The active young noble swerved aside. The sword passed him unscathed, and the next moment his sabre descended on to the Italian's head. With a fearful curse, the spy staggered, reeled backward, and fell to the ground.

When the persons from the castle hurried up, they found the young noble standing by his prostrate foe, and leaning upon his sabre—his cheek already pale from the loss of the blood which streamed from his wound. Before, in the confusion, much explanation could be asked or given, others of the approaching party had come up: at an order issued, a sedan chair, borne by eight men, was set down under the gateway; a female form issued from it, and, in spite of the opposition of those about her, Maria Theresa advanced through the crowd.

"What has happened? Who disturbs the peace?" she exclaimed, coming forward with that courage she evinced on all emergencies.

"Retire, I beseech you, to your chair, madam, and allow yourself to be carried on," said the young Prince Kaunitz, who formed one of the suite. "This is no sight for a woman, and a queen." And he interposed his person between his sovereign and the bodies of the Italian and the Jew.

"Permit me, prince," said Maria Theresa, waving him aside; for she had now caught sight of the pale face of Otmar, brightly illumined by the lighted torches which some of her attendants bore to light her on her way, upon her evening transit from the castle to the primate's summer palace.

[Pg 221]"You, my young champion, here!" she cried, with tones of evident anxiety, stepping forward. "What has happened? In God's name, what is this? You are not hurt, sir?"

"Only a scratch, so please your majesty," replied Otmar; "and happy and proud I am that I should have gained it in your service."

"Tell me what has passed? How do I find you here? Who is this man?" continued the young Queen, glancing slightly at the form of the prostrate Italian.

"It is the same villain who has already dared to lay his hand upon the sacred person of your majesty," said the young noble proudly. "Chance led me to his discovery. I was hurrying to seek my Queen, to obey her orders. The wretch—I know not how—was beforehand with me. He would have waylaid me, as I must suppose. Another, who passed me at the moment, was his victim. I attacked him; and there he lies. I know no more."

"And who is that poor man?" said Maria Theresa, pointing to the body of the Jew.

Some of her attendants raised up the corpse.

"I recognise him," said Otmar. "He was the accomplice of that fellow. God's justice has fallen on him by the hand of his own confederate. But how, is still to me a mystery."

"The other still lives," exclaimed the voices of some, who had now lifted up the form of the Italian.

"Let him be conveyed to the castle," commanded the Queen. "Every inquiry shall be instituted in this affair. Let justice take its course upon the spy and traitor."

The Italian was conveyed away.

"But you are hurt, noble youth. Your cheek grows paler still," cried Maria Theresa. "Help there! Bring water! quick! He may be dying."

"It is nothing!" said Otmar, with sinking voice and failing senses. "A little faintness! I shall be better soon. A smile from you will repay all!"

His head whirled, and he fell back into the arms of the bystanders.

In spite of the alarm of the young Queen, a deep blush overspread her countenance at these last words.

"Ah! should it be so!" she murmured to herself; and, after casting a long look upon the form of the handsome youth before her, she bent her head to the earth.

Water was quickly brought from a neighbouring house. In spite of the increasing crowd attracted to the spot, Maria Theresa disdained not to bathe with her own hands the temples of the fainting man. Snatching a perfumed handkerchief from the hand of Kaunitz, she bound it tightly on the young noble's arm. In a short time, he once more opened his eyes. Water was given him to drink; and he again was able to stand, weakly, on his feet.

"You—my Queen. You have deigned—to look upon your poor subject-to tend him"—he stammered faintly, as his eyes fell upon the lovely face before him. "You—the noble—the beautiful—the beloved"—

"Hush! hush, sir," interposed the young Queen hurriedly. "You must not speak now. Your brain wanders. You shall be conveyed to the castle, and tended there. As soon as you are fully recovered, a post is ready for you with the army. You must leave us forthwith. Be brave, be gallant, be noble, as you have ever shown yourself; and, perhaps, hereafter"—

She checked herself; with a sigh, and turned away her face.

"Yes—away from here! I must away," said Otmar. "The army, the battle-field, glory, renown, must be my only thoughts." And, sinking his head on his heart, he murmured lowly—

"Moriamur pro Rege Nostro."




It is well known in history, that the rising of the Hungarian saved the falling fortunes of Maria Theresa. The enthusiasm of this sensitive and energetic people, once awakened, knew no bounds. All the country nobles, with their followers, took up arms. Croatia alone supplied twelve [Pg 222]thousand men. Immense sums of money, to support the army, were offered by the clergy; and, out of the most distant provinces, sprang up, as the soldiers sown by the teeth of Cadmus from the earth, those countless savage hordes, who under the name of Pandours carried terror into every part of Europe. From the moment of the "insurrection," as it is called, of the Hungarian nobility, the aspect of affairs began to change. The Elector of Bavaria, who, to the grief of Maria Theresa, had received the imperial crown of Germany, so long in the possession of the House of Hapsburg, chiefly by the influence of French intrigues, under the name of Charles the Seventh, was driven from his States. England and Holland were won over to the cause of the persecuted Queen; and both, especially the former, lent her large sums. The whole British nation was interested in her favour. The English nobility, instigated by the Duchess of Marlborough, offered her a subscription collected to the amount of a hundred thousand pounds; but this sum Maria Theresa nobly refused, accepting nothing that was not granted to her by the nation in Parliament assembled. By the valour of Hungarian arms, the French were at length driven out of Bohemia; and what still more contributed to the peace shortly after obtained from a great portion of the Queen's enemies, was the result of the bloody field of Hanau, which turned out entirely to the advantage of Maria Theresa and her noble allies, and at which half of the noblesse of France was either killed or wounded.

It was shortly after this great battle, in which so many bold spirits fell on either side, that a catafalk was erected at the upper end of the middle aisle belonging to the glorious Gothic Church of St Stephen's in Vienna. The service for the dead had been performed with pomp. The priests had retired from the aisle. But still, upon the steps, covered with black cloth, and illumined from above by many wax-lights, knelt two personages. The one was a female, dressed in deep mourning, who appeared to be praying fervently. A group of attendants, both male and female, in the attire of the court mourning of the day, stood at a little distance from her. The other was an old man, in a well-worn hussar dress, who had thrown himself forward on to the upper step, upon another side of the catafalk, and had buried his face in his hands. At length the female rose, gave a last look at that dark mass, which concealed a coffin, and, within, a corpse; and then, drawing her veil over her face, moved slowly towards a side-door, followed by her attendants, with a respect paid only to a royal personage. A crowd of beggars surrounded the door, where an Imperial carriage waited; and distributing the contents of a heavy purse among them, the lady said, with broken voice,

"Pray for the soul of Otmar, Baron Bartori, who died in battle for his Queen."



[Pg 223]


In an age of utilitarian philosophy and materialism, we are proud to stand forth as the champion of he Invisible World. Maga and Magic are words which we cannot dissociate from one another, either in sound or in affection. The first was the mistress of our youth—our literary mother—our guide and instructress in the paths of Toryism, good-fellowship, and honour. Fain would we hope that, in maturer years, we have rendered back to the eldest-born of Buchanan some portion of the deep debt of gratitude which from our childhood upwards we have incurred. We have ever striven to comport ourselves in sublunary matters as beseemeth one who has sat at the feet of Christopher, imbibed the ethical lore of a Tickler, and received the sublimest of peptic precepts and dietetic instruction from the matchless lips of an Odoherty. Her creed is ours, and no other—the bold, the true, and the unwavering—and when we die, bewept, as we trust we shall be by many a youth and maiden of the next generation, we shall ask no better epitaph for our monument than that selected by poor John Keats, though with the alteration of a single word—"Here lieth one whose name is writ in Maga."

Magic, however—not Maga—is the theme of our present article; nor do we scruple at the very outset to proclaim ourselves a devout and fervent believer in almost every known kind of diablerie, necromancy, and witchcraft. We are aware that in the present day such confessions are very rare, and that when made by some reluctant follower of the occult faith, they are always accompanied with pusillanimous qualifications, and weak excuses for adherence to opinions which, in one shape or another, pervade the population of Christendom, and pass for current truth throughout the extensive realm of Heathenesse. So much the better. We like a fair field and no auxiliaries; and we are here to do battle for the memory and fair fame of Michael Scott, Doctor Faustus, and the renowned Cornelius Agrippa.

Sooth to say, we were born and bred long before Peter Parley had superseded the Fairy Tales, and poisoned the budding faculties of the infancy of these realms with his confounded philosophical nonsense, and his endless editions of Copernicus made Easy. Our nurserymaid, a hizzie from the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, was a confirmed and noted believer in dreams, omens, tatie-bogles, and sundry other kinds of apparitions. Her mother was, we believe, the most noted spaewife of the district; and it was popularly understood that she had escaped at least three times, in semblance of an enormous hare, from the pursuit of the Laird of Lockhart's grews. Such at least was the explanation which Lizzy Lindsay gave, before being admitted as an inmate of our household, of the malignant persecution which doomed her for three consecutive Sundays to a rather isolated, but prominent seat in the Kirk of Dolphington Parish: nor did our worthy Lady-mother see any reason to doubt the accuracy of the statement. For was it not most natural that the daughter—however comely—and Lizzy was as strapping a lass as ever danced at a kirn—of a woman who had the evil reputation of divining surreptitious fortunes by means of the sediment of a tea-cup—of prophesying future sweethearts in exchange for hoarded sixpences—and of milking dry her neighbours' cows by aid of cantrips and an enchanted hair rope—was it not most natural, we say, that the daughter of the witch should have been looked upon with a suspicious eye by the minister, who used annually to preach four sermons in vituperation of Her of Endor, and by the Elders, whose forefathers had turned out doggedly for the Covenant, and among whom still circulated strange and fantastic tales of bodily apparitions of the Evil One to the fugitives in the muir and the wilderness—of hideous shapes, which [Pg 224]disturbed the gathered conventicle by the sides of the lonely burn—of spells, which made the buff-coats of their adversaries impenetrable as adamant to leaden bullet or the sweep of the Cameronian steel?

Upon these testimonials, and a strong affidavit from Lizzy, that in every other earthly matter she was innocent of the slightest peccadillo, the Lily of Lanark was installed as mistress and governante of the Nursery. We were then in the days of teething, and sorely tormented with our gums, which neither for knob of poker, nor handle of kitchen-fork—the ancient Caledonian corals—would surrender their budding ornaments. We believe, therefore, that Lizzy Lindsay erred not materially from the path of truth when she signalized us as "the maist fractious bairn that ever broke a woman's heart." Night and day did we yell, with Satanic energy, from the excruciating molar pain, and little sympathy did our tears awaken in our pillow, as we lay in fevered anguish on the exuberant bosom of our guardian. Fortunately for us, in these days Daffy's Elixir was a thing unknown, else no doubt we should have received an early introduction to dram-drinking by means of the soft carminative. The fertile genius of Lizzy suggested a better spell for allaying our infant sorrows. Whenever we indulged in a more than ordinary implacable fit of screeching, she threatened us with the apparition of "the Boo-man," a hideous spectre which was then supposed to perambulate the nurseries in the shape of Napoleon-Bonaparte. In a very short while, no Saracen child ever became dumber when threatened by its mother with a visit from the Melech-Ric, than we did at the proposed coming of the dark and sanguinary phantom. For many years afterwards we believed as sincerely in the existence of this anthropophagus as in our own; and very nearly became a Bauldy for life, from having been surprised on one occasion, whilst surreptitiously investigating the contents of a jampot, by the descent of a climbing-boy into the nursery, and the terrors of his telegraphic boo! As we grew up, our nascent intellect received still more supernatural services from the legendary lore of Lizzy. She taught us the occult and mysterious meaning of those singular soot-flakes which wave upon the ribs of a remarkably ill-pokered fire—the dark significance which may be drawn from the spluttering and cabbaging of a candle—and the misfortunes sure to follow the mismanagement of the sacred salt. Often, too, her talk was of the boding death-watch—the owl which flapped its wings at the window of the dying—and the White Dove that flitted noiselessly from the room at the fearful, and then to us incomprehensible moment of dissolution. As Hallowe'en approached, she told us of the mystic hempseed, of the figure which stalled behind the enterprising navigator of the stacks, and that awful detention of the worsted clue, which has made the heart of many a rustic maiden leap hurriedly towards her throat, when in the dead of night, and beneath the influence of a waning moon, she has dared to pry into the secrets of futurity, and, lover-seeking, has dropped the ball into the chasm of the deserted kiln.

Such being the groundwork of our mystic education, it is little wonder that we turned our novel knowledge of the alphabet to account, by pouncing with intense eagerness upon every work of supernatural fiction upon which we possibly could lay our hands. We speak not now of Jack the Giant-killer, of the aspiring hero of the Beanstalk, or the appropriator of the Seven-leagued boots. These were well enough in their way; but not, in our diseased opinion, sufficiently practical. We liked the fairies better. For many a day we indulged in the hope that we might yet become possessed of a pot of that miraculous unguent, which, when applied to the eye, has the virtue of disclosing the whole secrets of the Invisible World. We looked with a kind of holy awe upon the emerald rings of the greensward, and would have given worlds to be present at the hour when the sloping side of the mountain is opened, and from a great ball, all sparkling with a thousand prismatic stalactites, ride forth, to the sound of flute and recorder, the squadrons of the Elfin Chivalry. Well do we remember the thrill of horror which pervaded our being when we first read[Pg 225] of the Great Spectre of Glenmore, the Headless Fiend that haunts the black solitudes of the Rothemurchus Forest, whom to see is madness, and to meet is inexorable death! Much did we acquire in these days of the natural history of Wraiths and Corpse-candles-of Phantom Funerals encountered on their way to the kirkyard by some belated peasant, who, marveling at the strange array at such an hour, turns aside to let the grim procession pass, and beholds the visionary mourners—his own friends—sweep past, without sound of footfall or glance of recognition, bearing upon their shoulders a melancholy burden, wherein, he knows, is stretched the wan Eidolon of himself! No wonder that he takes to his bed that night, nor leaves it until the final journey.

Not for worlds would we have left the Grange house, which was then our summer residence, after nightfall, and, skirting the hill by the old deserted burial-ground, venture down the little glen, gloomy with the shade of hazels—cross the burn by the bridge above the Caldron pool—and finally gaze upon the loch all tranquil in the glory of the stars! Not all the fish that ever struggled on a night-line-and there were prime two-pounders, and no end of eels, in the loch—would have tempted us to so terrible a journey. For just below the bridge, where the rocks shot down precipitously into the black water, and the big patches of foam went slowly swirling round—there, we say, in some hideous den, heaven knows how deep, lurked the hateful Water-Kelpy, whose yell might be heard, during a spate, above the roar of the thundering stream, and who, if he did not lure and drown the cat-witted tailor of the district, was, to say the least of it, the most maligned and slandered individual of his race. Even in broad day we never liked that place. It had a mischievous and uncanny look; nor could you ever entirely divest yourself of the idea that there was something at the bottom of the pool. Bad as was the burn, the loch was a great deal worse. For here, at no very remote period, the fiend had emerged from its depths in the shape of a black steed, gentle and mild-eyed to look upon, and pacing up to three children, not ten minutes before dismissed from the thraldom of the dominie, had mutely but irresistibly volunteered the accommodation of an extempore ride. And so, stepping on with his burden across the gowans—which never grew more, and never will grow, where the infernal hoof was planted—the demon horse arrived at the margin of the loch where the bank is broken and the water deep, and with a neigh of triumph bounded in, not from that day to this were the bodies of the victims found. Moreover, yonder at the stunted thorn-trees is the spot where poor Mary Walker drowned herself and her innocent and unchristened bairn; and they say that, at midnight when all is quiet, you will hear the wailing of a female voice, as if the spirit of the murdered infant were bewailing its lost estate; and that a white figure may be seen wringing its hands in agony, as it flits backwards and forwards along the range of the solitary loch. Therefore, though the black beetle is an irresistible bait, we never threw a fly at night on the surface of the Haunted Tarn.

Penny Encyclopædias, although Lord Brougham had advanced considerably towards manhood, were not then the fashion. Information for the people was not yet collected into hebdomadal tracts; and those who coveted the fruit of the tree of knowledge were left to pursue their horticultural researches at their own free will. In the days of which we write, the two leading weekly serials were the "Tales of Terror" and "The Terrific Register," to both of which we regularly subscribed. To our present taste—somewhat, we hope, improved since then—the latter seems a vulgar publication. It was neither more nor less than a rifacciamento of the most heinous and exaggerated murders, by steel, fire, and poison, which could be culled from the records of ancient and modern villany. It was, in short, the quintessence of the Newgate Calendar, powerful enough to corrupt a nation; as a proof of which—we mention it with regret—the servant lad who ten years ago purloined it from our library, has since been transported for life. We even dare to back it, for pernicious results, against the moral influence which has been since exercised by the[Pg 226] authors of Oliver Twist and Jack Sheppard, to both of whom the penal colonies have incurred a debt of lasting gratitude. It is true that, in point of sentiment, these gentlemen have the advantage of the Editor of The Terrific Register, but he beats them hollow in the broad delinquency of his facts. But in the Tales of Terror we possessed a real supernatural treasure. Every horrible legend of demon, ghost, goule, gnome, salamandrine, and fire-king, which the corrupted taste of Germany had hatched, was contained in this precious repository. It was illustrated also, as we well remember, by woodcuts of the most appalling description, which used to haunt us in our sleep long after we had stolen to our bed at half-past eleven punctually, in order that we might be drenched in slumber before the chiming of the midnight hour—at which signal, according to the demonologists, the gates of Hades are opened wide, and the defunct usurer returns to mourn and gibber above the hiding-place of his buried gold.

Gradually, however, we waxed more bold; and by dint of constant study familiarized ourselves so much with the subject, that we not only ceased to fear, but absolutely longed for a personal acquaintance with an apparition. The History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, which shortly afterwards fell into our hands, inspired us with the ambition of becoming a practical magician, and we thirsted for a knowledge of the Cabala. We had already done a little business in the way of turnip lanterns, the favourite necromantic implements of the ingenuous Scottish youth—hideous in the whiteness of their vegetable teeth, and not unappalling when dexterously placed upon the edge of the kirk-yard wall. Electric shocks conveyed by means of the door-handles, phosphoric writings on the wall, and the mystery of spontaneous bells, were our next chemical amusements; nor did we desist from this branch of practice until we had received a most sound castigation, at the recollection of which our bones still ache, from a crusty old tutor whose couch we had strewn, not with roses, but with chopped horse-hair.

We are old enough to recollect the first representation of Der Freischutz, and it is an era in our dramatic reminiscences. Previously to that, we had seen a Vampire appear upon the boards of the Edinburgh stage, and after an extravagant consumption of victims throughout the course of three acts, fall thunder-smitten by an indigo bolt through a deep and yawning trap-door. But Zamiel, as then represented by Mr Lynch, completely distanced the Blood-sucker. With feelings of intensest awe, we beheld the mysterious preparations in the Wolf's Glen—the circle of skull and bone—the magic ring of light blue that flickered round it—the brazier with the two kneeling figures beside it—the owl on the blasted tree, which opened its eyes and flapped its wings with true demoniacal perseverance—and the awful shapes that appeared at the casting of every bullet! But when, as the last of them was thrown from the mould, a crash of thunder pealed along the stage, and lurid lightnings glared from either wing—when the cataract was converted into blood, and the ferocious form of Lynch stood forth as the Infernal Hunter, discharging, after the manner of such beings, two rifles at once—our enthusiasm utterly overcame us; we gave vent to an exulting cheer, and were conducted from the boxes in a state of temporary insanity.

We pass over our classical studies. We were no great dab at Virgil, but we relished Apuleius exceedingly, and considerably petrified the Rector, by giving up, as the subject of our private reading, "Wierus de Prœstigiis Demonum." Our favourite philosopher was Sir Kenelm Digby, whose notions upon sympathy and antipathy we thought remarkably rational; so much so, that up to the present time, we recognise no other treatment for a cut finger than a submersion of the bloody rag in vitriol and water, and a careful unction of the knife. We lost our degree in medicine by citing as a case in point the wonderful cure of Telephus by the application of oxide of iron, which we held to be no specific at all, except as obtained from the spear of Achilles. This dogma, coupled with our obstinate adherence to the occult doctrines of Van Helmont, the only medical writer whose works we ever perused with the slightest[Pg 227] satisfaction, was too much for the bigoted examinators. We were recommended to go abroad and study homœopathy. We did so, and we swear by Hahnemann.

It is now some years since we received our first inkling of mesmeric revelation. Since then, we have read almost every work which has appeared upon the subject; and we scruple not to say that we are a profound believer in all of its varied mysteries. In it we recognise a natural explanation of all our earlier studies; and we hail with sincere delight the progress of a science which reconciles us to magic without the necessity of interposing a diabolic agency. The miracles of Apollonius of Tyana, as related by Philostratus, become very commonplace performances when viewed by the light of mesmerism. The veriest bungler who ever practised the passes can explain to you the nature of that secret intelligence which enabled the clair-voyant philosopher, then at Ephesus, to communicate the murder of Domitian to his friends at the moment it took place at Rome. Second-sight has ceased to be a marvel: the preternatural powers, long supposed to be confined to Skye, Uist, and Benbecula, are now demonstrated to be universal, and are exhibited on the platform by scores of urchins picked up at random from the gutter. Even the Arabian Nights have become probable. Any perambulating mesmeriser can show you scores of strapping, fellows, reduced by a single wave of his hand to the unhappy condition of the young Prince whose lower extremities were stone. Comus was nothing more than a common Professor of the science; and Hermotimus a silly blockhead, who could not wake himself from his trance in time to prevent his wife from consigning him to the funeral pile.

The practical utility of the science is no less prodigious. Is it nothing, think you, if you have suffered a compound fracture of the leg, so bad that amputation is indispensable, to be relieved from all the horrors of the operation, from the sickening sight of the basins, the bandages, and the saw—to feel yourself sinking into a delicious slumber at the wave of the surgeon's hand, and to wake up ten minutes afterwards an unsuffering uniped, and as fresh as the Marquis of Anglesea? Is it nothing, when that back-grinder of yours gives you such intolerable agony that the very maid-servants in the attics cannot sleep o'nights because of your unmitigated roaring—is it nothing to avoid the terrible necessity of a conscious Tusculan disputation with Nasmith or Spence—to settle down for a few moments into a state of unconsciousness, and to revive with your masticators in such a condition as to defy the resistance of a navy biscuit? Or, if you are a stingy person and repugnant to postage, do you think it is no advantage to get gratis information about your friends in India through the medium of your eldest son, who, though apparently sitting like a senseless booby in your armchair, is at this moment invisibly present in the mess-room at Hyderabad, and will express, if you ask him, his wonder at the extreme voracity with which Uncle David devours his curry? Why, in that boy you possess an inestimable treasure! You may send him to Paris at a moment's notice for a state of the French funds—he will be at St Petersburg and back again in the twinkling of an eye—and if our own sight is failing, you have nothing to do but to clap the last number of the Magazine below him, and he will straightway regale your heart with the contents of the leading article.

There is a great deal of romance about Mesmerism. We have nowhere read a more touching story than that of the two consumptive sisters who were thrown into the Magic trance about the end of autumn, who lay folded in each other's arms—pale lilies—throughout the whole of the dreary winter, and awoke to life and renovated health in the joyous month of May, when the leaves were green, the flowers in bud, and the lambkins frolicking on the meadow! Read you ever any thing in novels so touching and pathetic as this? Nor is the case once recounted to us by a friend of our own, a noted mesmerizer, one whit less marvellous. In the ardent prosecution of his art, he had cast his glamour upon a fair Parisian damsel of the name of[Pg 228] Leontine—we believe she was a laundress—and daily held conference with the dormant Delphic girl. On one occasion he left her, wrapt in the profoundest sleep, in his chamber, and proceeded to perambulate the Boulevards on his own secular affairs. On returning, he found poor Leontine suffused in tears; deep and stifling sobs disturbed her utterance, nor was it until the charmer had soothed her with a few additional passes, that she could falter out the tender reproach—"Why did you not bring me some bonbons on the shop where you eat those three ice-creams?" Our friend had not walked alone through Paris. The spirit of the loving Leontine was invisibly clinging to his arm.

Now, although we make it an invariable rule to believe every thing which we read or hear, we were not a little desirous to behold with our own eyes an exhibition of these marvellous phenomena. But somehow or other, whilst the papers told us of Mesmeric miracles performed in every other part of the world, Edinburgh remained without a prophet. Either the Thessalian influence had not extended so far, or the Scottish frame was unsusceptible to the subtle fluid of the conjuror. One or two rumours reached us of young ladies who had become spellbound; but on inquiring more minutely into the circumstances, we found that there was an officer in each case, and we therefore were inclined to think that the symptoms might be naturally accounted for. There was, however, no want of curiosity on the part of the public. The new science had made a great noise in the world, and was the theme of conversation at every tea-table. Various attempts at mesmerization were made, but without success. We ourselves tried it; but after looking steadfastly for about twenty minutes into a pair of laughing blue eyes, we were compelled to own that the power was not in us, and that all the fascination had been exercised on the other side. Nobody had succeeded, if we except a little cousin of ours—rather addicted to fibbing—who averred that she had thrown a cockatoo into a deep and mysterious slumber.

Great, therefore, was our joy, and great was the public excitement, when at length a genuine professor of the art vouchsafed to favour us with a visit. He was one of those intelligent and patriotic men who go lecturing from town to town, inspired thereto by no other consideration than an ardour for the cause of science. The number of them is absolutely amazing. Throughout the whole winter, which is popularly called the lecturing season, the dead walls of every large city in the empire are covered with placards, announcing that Mr Tomlinson will have the honour of delivering six lectures upon Syria, or that Mr. Whackingham, the famous Timbuctoo traveller, will describe the interior of Africa. They are even clannish in their subjects. The Joneses are generally in pay of the League, and hold forth upon the iniquity of the Corn-duties. The Smiths, with laudable impartiality, are divided between slavery and liberation, and lecture pro or con, as the humour or opportunity may serve. The Macgillicuddies support the Seceding interest, and deliver facers in the teeth of all establishments whatsoever. The Robinsons are phrenological, the Browns chemical, and the Bletheringtons are great on the subject of universal education for the people. To each and all of these interesting courses you may obtain admittance for the expenditure of a trifling sum, and imbibe, in exchange for your shilling or half-crown, a considerable allowance of strong and full-flavoured information. Always ardent in the cause of science, we never, if we can help it, miss one of these seducing soirees: and we invariably find, that whatever may have been the heterodoxy of our former opinion, we become a convert through the powerful arguments of these peripatetic apostles of science.

Our new Xavier belonged to what is called the mesmerico-phrenological school. He was a man of bumps as well as passes—a disciple alike of German Spurzheim and of English Elliotson. His placard was a modest one. It set forth, as usual; the disinterested nature of his journey, which was to expound to the intelligent citizens of Edinburgh a few of the great truths of mesmerism, illustrated by a series of experiments. He studiously[Pg 229] disclaimed all connexion with preternatural art, and ventured to assure every visitor, that, so far as he was concerned, no advantage should be taken of their attendance at his Seance in any future stage of their existence. This distinct pledge removed from our minds any little scruple which we otherwise might have felt. We became convinced that the lecturer was far too much of a gentleman to take advantage of our weakness, and report us to the Powers of Evil; and accordingly, on the appointed night, after a bottle or so of fortifying port, we took our way to the exhibition-room, where Isis was at last to be revealed to our adoring eyes.

We selected and paid for a front seat, and located ourselves in the neighbourhood of a very smart bonnet, which had mesmerically attracted our eye. Around us were several faces well known in the northern metropolis, some of them wearing an expression of dull credulity, and others with a sneer of marked derision on the lip. On looking at the platform, we were not altogether surprised at the earliness of the latter demonstration. There was no apparatus there beyond a few chairs; but around a sort of semicircular screen were suspended a series of the most singular portraits we ever had the fortune to behold. One head was graced with a mouth big enough to contain a haggis, and a coronal of erected hair like a hearth-brush surmounting it left no doubt in our mind that it was intended for a representation of Terror. It was enough, as a young Indian officer afterwards remarked, to have made a Chimpanzee miscarry. Joy was the exact portraiture of a person undergoing the punishment of death by means of tickling. We should not like to have met Benevolence in a dark lane: he looked confoundedly like a fellow who would have eased you of your last copper, and knocked you down into the bargain. As for Amativeness, he seemed to us the perfect incarnation of hydrophobia. In fact, out of some two dozen passions, the only presentable personage was Self-esteem, a prettyish red-haired girl, with an expression of fun about the eyes.

In a short time the lecturer made his appearance. To do him justice, he did not look at all like a conjuror, nor did he use any of those becoming accessories which threw an air of picturesque dignity around the wizard of the middle ages. We could not say of him as of Lord Gifford,

"His shoes were mark'd with cross and spell,
Upon his breast pentacle;
His zone, of virgin parchment thin,
Or, as some tell, of dead-man's skin,
Bore many a planetary sign,
Combust, and retrograde, and trine."

On the contrary, he was simply attired in a black coat and tweed terminations; and his attendant imps consisted of half a dozen young gentlemen, who might possibly, by dint of active exertion, have been made cleaner, and whose free-and-easy manner, as they scrambled towards their chairs, elicited some hilarious expressions from the more distant portion of the audience.

The introductory portion of the lecture appeared to us a fair specimen of Birmingham rhetoric. There was a great deal in it about mysterious agencies, invisible fluids, connexion of mind and matter, outer and inner man, and suchlike phrases, all of which sounded very deep and unintelligible—so much so indeed, that we suspected certain passages of it to have been culled with little alteration from the emporium of Sartor Resartus. Meanwhile the satellites upon the platform amused themselves by grimacing at each other, and exchanging a series of telegraphic gestures, which proved that they were all deep adepts in the art of masonry as practised by the youth of the Lawnmarket. The exposition might have lasted about a quarter of an hour, when sundry shufflings of the feet gave a hint to the lecturer that he had better stop discoursing, and proceed incontinently to experiment. He therefore turned to the imps, who straightway desisted from mowing, and remained mute and motionless before the eye of the mighty master. Seizing one of them by the hands, the operator looked steadfastly in his face. A dull film seemed to gather over the orbs of the gaping urchin—his jaw fell—his toes quivered—a few spasmodic jerks of the elbows showed that his whole frame was becoming[Pg 230] Leyden, jar of animal electricity—his arms dropped fecklessly down—few waves across the forehead, and the Lazarillo of Dunedin was transported to the Invisible World!

Muttered exclamations—for the sanctity of the scene was too great to admit of ruffing—were now heard throughout the room. "Did you ever?"—"By Jove, there's a go!"—"Lord save us! but that's fearsome!"—"I say, Bob, d'ye no see him winking?" and other similar ejaculations caught our ear. Presently the operator abandoned his first victim, and advanced towards another, with the look of a rattlesnake, who, having bolted one rabbit, is determined to exterminate the warren. The second gutter-blood succumbed. His resistance to the mesmeric agency was even weaker than the other's: and, indeed, to judge from the rapidity of his execution, the marvellous fluid was now pouring in cataracts from the magic fingers of the adept. In a very few seconds the whole of the lads were as fast asleep as dormice.

Leaving them in their chairs, like so many slumbering Cupids, the lecturer next proceeded to favour us with a dissertation upon the functions of the brain. Cries of "Get on!"—"Gar them speak!"—"We ken a' aboot it!" assured him at once of the temper and the acquired information of the Modem Athenians; so, turning round once more, he pitched upon Lazarillo as a subject. So far as our memory will serve us, the following is a fair report of the colloquy.

"Are you asleep, my little boy?"

"I should think sae!"

"Do you feel comfortable?"

"No that ill. What was ye speering for?"

"Ha! a cautious boy! You observe, ladies and gentlemen, how remarkably the natural character is developed during the operation of the mesmeric trance. An English boy, I assure you, would have given me a very different reply. Let us now proceed to another test. You see, I take him by the hand, and at the same time introduce this piece of lump sugar into my own mouth. Remark how instantaneously the muscles of his face are affected. My little fellow, what is that you are eating?"


"Where did you get them?"

"What's yeer bizziness?"

"Well, well—we must not irritate him. Let us now change the experiment—how do you like this?"

"Fich!—proots!—Ye nastie fellie, if ye pit saut in ma mooth, I'll hit ye a duff in the muns!"

"How! I do not understand you!"

"A dad in the haffits."

Here a benevolent gentleman, with a bald head and spectacles, was kind enough to act as interpreter, and explained to the scientific Anglican the meaning of the minatory term.

"Ha! our young friend is becoming a little restive. We must alter his frame of mind. Observe, ladies and gentlemen, I shall now touch the organ of Benevolence."

With an alacrity which utterly dumbfoundered us, the young hope of the Crosscauseway now sprung to his feet. His hands were precipitately plunged into the inmost recesses of his corduroys.

"Puir man! puir man!" he exclaimed with a deep expression of sympathy, "ye're looking far frae weel! Ay, ay! a wife and saxteen weans at hame, and you just oot o' the hospital!—Hech-how! but this is a weary warld. Hae—it's no muckle I can gie ye, but tak it a'—tak it a'!"

So saying, he drew forth from his pockets a miscellaneous handful of slate-pencil, twine, stucco-bowls, and, if we mistake not, gib—a condiment much prized by the rising generation of the metropolis—all of which he deposited, as from a cornucopia, at the feet of the delighted lecturer.

A loud hum of admiration arose from the back-benches. Charity is a popular virtue, as you may learn at the theatre, from the tumultuous applause of the gallery whenever the hero of the melodrama chucks a purse at the head of some unfortunate starveling. Two old ladies in our neighbourhood began to whimper; and one of them publicly expressed her intention of rewarding with half-a-crown the good intentions of the munificent Lazarillo, so soon as the lecture was over. This seemed to inspire him with a fresh accession of[Pg 231] benevolence; for, the organ being still excited, he made another desperate attempt, and this time fished up a brass button.

"Let us now," said the magician, "excite the counter organ of Secretiveness; and, in order to give this experiment its full effect, I shall also irritate the kindred organs of Acquisitiveness and Caution."

To our great disgust, Lazarillo instantly threw off the character of Howard, and appeared in that of David Haggart. He was evidently mentally prowling with an associate in the vicinity of a stall bedecked with tempting viands, irresistible to the inner Adam of the boy.

"I say, Tam! did ye ever see sic speldrings? Eh, man—but they'd be grand chowin! What'n rock!—and thae bonnie red-cheekit aipples! Whisht-ye, man—bide back in the close-head, or auld Kirsty will see ye! Na—she's no lookin' now. Gang ye ahint her, and cry oot that ye see a mad dowg, and I'll make a spang at the stall! That's yeer sort! I've gotten a hantle o' them. Stick them into ma pouches for fear they tumble oot, and we'll rin doon to the King's Park and hide them at the auld dyke!"

"This boy," said the operator, "evidently imagines himself to be engaged in an act of larceny. Such is the wonderful power of mesmerism, and such and so varied is the peculiar idiosyncrasy of the human frame. What we call man is a shell of virtue and of vice. In the same brain are contained the virtues of an Aristides, and the coarse malignity of a Nero. I could now, ladies and gentlemen, very easily procure from this lad the restitution of his imaginary spoils, by simply exciting the organ of Justice, which at once would prompt him to a full and candid confession. But I shall prefer to develop the experiment, by slightly awakening the powerful functions of Terror, an organ which we dare not trifle with, as the consequences are sometimes calamitous. I think, however, from the peculiar construction of this boy's head, that we may safely make the attempt. Mark the transition."

The hair of Lazarillo bristled.

"Gosh, Tam! are ye sure naebody seed us! Wha's that wi' the white breeks comin' down the close? Rin, man, rin—as sure's death it's the poliss! O Lord! what will become o' ma puir mither gin they grup me! O man—let's in! let's in! The door's fast steekit—Mercy—mercy—mercy—! Tak' yeer knuckles oot o' ma neck, and I'll gie ye the hale o' them back. It wasna me, it was Tam that did it! Ye're no gaun to tak us up to the office for sic a thing as that?—O dear me—dear me—dear me!" and the voice of Lazarillo died away in almost inarticulate moaning.

This scene had so affected the nerves of our fair neighbour in the bonnet, that, out of common civility, we felt ourselves compelled to offer a little consolation. In the mean time, the stern operator continued to aggravate the terrors of poor Lazarillo, whose cup of agony was full even to the brim, and who now fancied himself in the dock, tried, and found guilty, and awaiting with fear and tribulation the tremendous sentence of the law.

"O, ma lord, will ye no hae mercy on us? As true as I'm stannin' here, it's the first time I ever stealt ony thing. O whaur's mither? Is that her greeting outside? O, ma lord, what are ye puttin' on that black hat for? Ye daurna hang us surely for a wheen wizzened speldrings!—O dear—O dear! Is there naebody will say a word for me? O mercy—mercy! Wae's me—wae's me! To be hangit by the neck till I'm deid, and me no fifteen year auld!"

"We shall now," said the operator, "conduct our young friend to the scaffold"—

"Stop, sir!" cried the benevolent gentleman in the spectacles—"I insist that we shall have no more of this. Are you aware, sir, that you are answerable for the intellects of that unhappy boy? Who knows but that the cruel excitement he has already undergone may have had the effect of rendering him a maniac for life? I protest against any further exhibition of this nature, which is absolutely harrowing to my own feelings and to those of all around me. What if the boy should die?"

"Let alane Jimsy!" cried a voice from the back row. "I ken him fine; he'll dee nane."

[Pg 232]"I shall have much pleasure, sir," said the mesmerist, with a polite bow, "in complying with your humane suggestion. At the same time, let me assure you that your apprehensions are without foundation. Never, I trust, in my hands, shall science be perverted from its legitimate object, or the glorious truths I am permitted to display, minister in the slightest degree to the wretchedness of any one individual of the great human family. I shall now awaken this boy from his trance, when you will find him wholly unconscious of every thing which has taken place."

Accordingly, he drew forth his bandana, flapped it a few times before the eyes of Lazarillo, and then breathed lightly on his forehead. The boy yawned, rubbed his eyes, stretched his limbs, sneezed, and then rose up.

"How do you feel?" asked the operator.

"A wee stiff—that's a.'"

"Would you like a glass of water?"

"I'd rather hae yill."

"Do you recollect what you have been doing?"

"I've been sleeping, I think."

"Nothing more?"

"Naething. What else should I hae been doing? I say—I want to gang hame."

"Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we may dismiss this boy."

Lazarillo, however, did not show any immediate hurry to depart. He lingered for a while near that edge of the platform where the two aged ladies were seated, as though some faint vaticination of the advent of half-a-crown still haunted his bewildered faculties. But the profligacy of his latter conduct had effaced all memory of the liberality with which he first dispensed his earthly treasures. His unhallowed propensity for speldrings had exhibited itself in too glaring colours, and each lady, while she thought of the pilfered Kirsty, clutched her reticule with a firmer grasp, as though she deemed that the contents thereof were not altogether safe in the vicinity of the marvellous boy. At length, finding that delay was fruitless, Lazarillo, alias Jimsy, went his way.

The phrenological organs of the remaining lads were now subjected to similar experiments. These were, we freely admit, remarkably interesting. One youth, being called upon to give a specimen of his imitative powers, took off our friend Frederick Lloyd of the Theatre-Royal to the life; whilst another treated us to a very fair personification of Edmund Glover. Some youths in the back gallery began to whistle and scream, and the sounds were regularly caught up and transmitted by the slumbering mimics. A learned Pundit, who sate on the same bench with ourselves, favoured them with a German sentence, which did certainly appear to us to be repeated with some slight difference of accent. A Highland divinity student went the length of asserting that the reply was conveyed in Gaelic, which, if true, must be allowed to throw some light upon the knotty subject of the origin of languages. Is it possible that, in the mesmeric trance, the mind in some cases rejects as artificial fabric all the educated conventionality of tongues, and resumes unconsciously the original and genuine dialect of the world? We have a great mind, at some future moment of leisure, to indite an article on the subject, and vindicate, in all its antiquity, the speech of Ossian and of Adam.

We shall pass over several of the same class of experiments, such as the display of Adoration, which struck us as bordering very closely upon the limits of profanity. In justice to the operator, we ought to mention that they were all remarkably successful. We admired the dexterity with which two lads, under the savage influence of combativeness, punched and squared at each other; we were pleased with the musical talents of another boy, who varied the words, airs, and style of his singing as the fingers of the mesmerist wandered around the several protuberances of his cranium. In fact, we saw before us a human organ of sound, played upon with as much ease as a mere pianoforte. After such exhibitions as these, it was impossible to remain a sceptic.

A grand chorus by the patients, of "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," under the influence of some bump corresponding to Patriotism, terminated this portion of the evening's [Pg 233]entertainments. But all was not yet over. The lecturer informed us that he would now exhibit the power of mesmerism over the body, apart from the enchainment of the mental faculties—that is, that he would produce paralysis in the limbs of a thinking and a sentient being. We are ashamed to say that a cry of "Gammon!" arose from different parts of the hall.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said the undaunted sorcerer, "some incredulous persons seem to doubt my power. You shall see it with your own eyes. I shall now proceed to waken these boys, and submit them to the new experiment."

In the twinkling of a handkerchief they were awake and lively, and beyond a slight complaint from the pugilists of pain in the region of the abdomen, and a very reasonable demand on the part of the musician for lozenges, they did not seem at all the worse in consequence of their recent exercise. One of them was now desired to stretch out his arm. He did so. A few passes were made along it, and he remained in the attitude of a fakeer.

"That lad's arm," said he of the mysterious art, "is now as fixed as marble. He cannot take it down. Can you, O'Shaughnessy?"

"The divil a bit!" replied the Hibernian, a stout and brawny villain of some two and twenty.

"Would any gentleman like to try it?" inquired the operator.

"It's myself has no manner of objections at all!" exclaimed a stalwart medical student, springing upon the platform, amidst a shout of general exultation. "Hould yerself tight, Pat, my boy; for, by the powers, I'll twist ye like an ounce of pig-tail!"

"Tear and owns!"—replied O'Shaughnessy, looking somewhat dismayed, for the volunteer was about as stout a Connaughter as it ever was our fortune to behold. "Tear and owns! it isn't after breaking my arm you'd be at? Och wirra! Would ye take a dirty advantage of a decent lad, and him as stiff as a poker?"

"I protest against this exhibition!" said the benevolent gentleman, in whom we now recognised a Vice-President of the Fogie Club. "The shoulder of the man may be dislocated—or there may be a fracture of the ulna—or some other horrid catastrophe may happen, and we shall all be prosecuted for murder!"

"And am I not here to set the bone!" demanded the student indignantly "Give us a hould of ye, Pat, and stand firm on your pins, for I'll work ye like a pump-handle."

So saying, he closed with O'Shaughnessy. But that wary individual, whilst he abandoned his arm to the student, evidently considered himself under no obligation to forego the use of his legs. He spun round and round like a teetotum, and stooped whenever an attempt was made to draw him down, but still the arm remained extended.

"You see, ladies and gentlemen!" said the operator, after the scuffle was over—"You see how the power of the mesmeric fluid operates above the exertion of physical force. This amazingly powerful young gentleman has totally failed to move the arm one inch from its place."

"I'd move it fast enough, if he'd only stand still," replied the student. "I'll tell you what. I look upon the whole thing as egregious humbug. There's my own arm out, and I defy either you or Pat to bring it down!"

"Excuse me, sir," replied the mesmerist with dignity—"We do not meet here to practise feats of strength, but to discuss a scientific question. I appeal to this intelligent individual, who has taken so distinguished a part in the interesting proceedings of this evening, whether I am in any way bound to accept such a challenge."

"Certainly not—certainly not!" said the Vice-President, delighted with this appeal to his understanding.

"You hear the remark of the gentleman, sir," said the mesmerist. "May I now beg you will retire, and permit me to go on with the experiments?"

"Take it all your own way, then," replied the student, reluctantly retiring from the platform; "but as sure's I am out of purgatory, that lad's arm was no more fixed than your tongue!"

This slight episode over, the work went on accordingly. Paralysis flourished in all its shapes. One lad was spellbound to the floor, and could not[Pg 234] move a yard from the spot, though encouraged to do so by an offer of twenty pounds from the liberal and daring artist. What effect the superadded security of the Vice-President might have had upon the patient's powers of locomotion, we really cannot say. Another, as he assured us, was utterly deprived of sight by a few cross passes of the operator—a third was charmed into dumbness—whilst a fourth declared his readiness to be converted into a pin-cushion; but was, at the intreaty of some ladies and our benevolent acquaintance, exempted from that metamorphosis, and merely endured, without murmuring, a few nips from the fingers of the lecturer.

This closed the séance. We moved a vote of thanks to the Mesmerist for his gratifying exertions, and then retired to our Club to meditate upon the subject over a comfortable board of pandores. A few days afterwards, we met our friend the young Indian officer in Prince's Street.

"I say, old fellow," quoth the Jemadar, "that was a confounded take-in the other night."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, that magnetizing nonsense. Not a soul of then was asleep after all."

"Do you wish me to disbelieve the evidence of my own senses?"

"You may believe whatever you like; I only wish you had been with us last Tuesday at a meeting we held in the Café. If you've got any tin about you, and don't mind standing an ice or so at Mrs Stewart's, I'll tell you all about it."

Our desire for truth overcame our habitual parsimony. We led the way into the back saloon, and at a moderate expenditure became possessed of the following particulars:—

"You see," said the Jemadar, sipping his cherry bounce, "there were a lot of clever fellows sitting near me the other night, and I made out from what they said that they were by no means satisfied with the whole proceeding. Now, as I have seen a thing or two in India, where, by Jove, a native will make a mango-tree grow out of a flowerpot before your eyes, and bear fruit enough in a few months to keep a large family for a year in pickles—and as I knew all about snake-charming, the singeing of tiger's whiskers, and so forth, I thought I might be of some use to the scientific birds; so, when the meeting broke up, I proposed an adjournment and a tumbler. I looked about for you, but you seemed more agreeably occupied."

"You never were in a greater mistake in your life."

"Well—that's all one; but I thought so. They were quite agreeable, and we passed a very pleasant evening. There were two or three young advocates who went the pace in regular style, a fair sprinkling of medicos, and that Irish student who handled the humbug on the platform; and who, let me tell you, is little short of a perfect trump. We reviewed the whole experiments, quite impartially, over a moderate allowance of alcohol, and were unanimously of opinion that it was necessary, for the interests of science, to examine into the matter more closely. One of the company undertook to procure the attendance of some of those lads whom you saw upon the platform; and another, who believes in mesmerism, but scouts the idea of phrenology, was acquainted with a creditable magnetizer, who, he said, would be sure to attend. We fixed our meeting for the second evening afterwards, and then adjourned.

"When the appointed hour came, we mustered to the number of about thirty. Some scientific fellows about town had got wind of the thing, and wished to be present: to this we made no manner of objection, as it was not a hole-and-corner meeting. Of course, we took care that the lecturer should know nothing about it—indeed, he had left Edinburgh, for the purpose, I suppose, of enlightening the gallant Glaswegians; so that we had nothing to fear on the ground of secret influence. Well, sir, we elected a President, who gave his vote in favour of the postponement of beer until all the experiments were over, and had in the raggamuffins, who at their own request were each accompanied by a friend. They did not look quite easy on finding themselves introduced to such an assemblage, but native brass prevailed—they were in for it, and they durst not recede.

"After a pretty tight examination[Pg 235] by the President as to their former experiences and sensations, which of course resulted in nothing, one of the lads—the fellow who became blind—consented to be mesmerised by his brother. The latter, a very sheepish-looking sort of journeyman, went awkwardly through the usual flummery of passes, and then ensued this dialogue.

"'Hoo are ye, Jock?'"

"'Man, I'm blind!'"

"'Can ye see naething?'"

"'Naething ava. It's jist a' blackness afore me. Gudesake, dinna keep us lang this way—it's positeevely fearsome.'"

"'Gentlemen,' said the brother, 'I hope you'll no be ower lang wi' oor Jock. Puir fallow! he's no jist a' thegether right in the nerves, and a wee thing is eneuch to upset him. Dinna handle him roughly, sir!' he continued, as one of our party commenced turning up his sleeves preparatory to an ocular demonstration; 'ye manna pit your hand upon him—it's enough to destroy the haill mesmereesin' influence, and he'll gang into a fit. Nane but the operawtor should touch him. Gin ye want to look into his een, I'se haud up the lids myself.'

"He did so; and sure enough he disclosed a couple of unmeaning grey gooseberry orbs which stared perseveringly upon vacancy. A medical gentleman approached a candle towards them without any visible effect. The urchin was perfect in his calling. He did not even shrink at the rapid approach of a finger.

"I was convinced in my own mind," continued the Jemadar, "that this was a piece of absolute humbug. The anxiety of the brother to keep every person at a distance was quite palpable, so I had recourse to stratagem to get him out of the way. We pretended to give the boy a momentary respite, and a proffered pot of porter proved a bait too tempting to the Argus of the blind. In short, we got him out of the room, and then resumed our examination of Jock, who still pled, like another Homer, to absolute want of vision.

"'This is really very extraordinary, gentlemen,' said I, assuming the airs of a lecturer, but getting carefully in the rear of patient. 'I am now perfectly convinced that this boy is, by some inexplicable means, deprived of the functions of sight. You observe that when I advance the finger of my right hand towards his right eye—so—there is not the slightest shrinking or palpable contraction of the iris. It is the same when I approach the left eye—thus. If any gentleman doubts the success of the experiment, I shall again make it on the right eye.'

"But this time, instead of probing the dexter orbit, for which he was prepared, I made a rapid pass at the other. The effect was instantaneous. A spasmodic twitch of the eyelid betrayed the acuteness of Jock's ocular perception.

"'He winks, by the soul of Lord Monboddo!' cried one of my legal acquaintances. 'I saw it perfectly plainly!'

"'Ye're leein'!' retorted Jock, whose pease-soup complexion suddenly became flushed with crimson—"'Ye're leein'! I winkit nane. It was a flea. Did ye no see that I winkit nane when ye pit the lancet forrard?'

"'Oh! my fine fellow!' replied the Advocate, a youth who had evidently picked up a wrinkle or two at circuit, 'you've fairly put your foot into it this time. Not a living soul has said a single word about a lancet, and how could you know that this gentleman held in his hand unless you positively saw it?'

"This was a floorer, but Jock would not abandon his point.

"'Ye dinna ken what mesmereesin' is,' he exclaimed. 'It's a shame for a wheen muckle chaps like you to be trying yer cantrips that way on a laddie like me. It's no fair, and I'll no stand it ony langer. Whaur's my brither? Let me gang, I say—I'm no weel ava'!' and straightway the miraculous boy girded up his loins, and flew swiftly from the apartment.

"Pat O'Shaughnessy was next brought forward to exhibit once more his unparalleled feat of rigidity. Confident in the strength of his brawny arm, the young Milesian evinced no scruples. The magnetist who had attended, at our request—a pleasant gentlemanly person—made the usual passes along the arm, and O'Shaughnessy stood out in the attitude of the Pythian Apollo.

[Pg 236]"I tried to bend his arm at the elbow, but sure enough I could not do it. The fellow had the muscles of a rhinosceros, and defied my utmost efforts. The magnetizer now began to exhibit another phenomenon. He made a few passes downwards, and the arm gradually fell, as if there were some undefinable attraction in the hand of the operator. He then reversed the motion, and the arm slowly ascended. Being quite convinced that in this case there was no collusion, I said a few words to the operator, who then took his post behind the giant carcase of the navigator. A friend of the latter, who was detected dodging in front of him, was politely conducted to the door, and in this way the experiment was tried.

"'Now sir,' said I, 'will you have the kindness to attract his arm upwards? I am curious to see if the mesmeric principle applies equally to all the muscles.'

"'Faix!' volunteered O'Shaughnessy, 'it does that, and no mistake. Ye might make me hould up my fist on the other side of an oak door!'

"I am sorry for the honour of Tipperary. The operator, as had been privately agreed on, commenced the downward passes, when, to our extreme delight, the arm of O'Shaughnessy rose directly upwards, until his fist pointed to the zenith!

"'Beautiful!—admirable!—miraculous!' shouted half a dozen voices.

"'Now, sir, will you try if you can take it down?'

"'The magnetiser made efforts which, if successful, would have enabled O'Shaughnessy to count the number of his own dorsal vertebræ. He didn't seem, however, to have any such passion for osteology. The arm gradually declined, and at last reposed passively by his side. A general cheer proclaimed the success of the experiment.

"'Mr Chairman,' said one gentleman, 'I move that it be recorded as the opinion of this meeting, that the late exhibitions of mesmerism, as exhibited in this city, were neither more nor less than a tissue of unmitigated humbug!'

"'After what we have seen this evening,' said another, 'I do not feel the slightest hesitation in seconding that motion.'

"'And I move,' said a third, 'that in case that motion should be carried, we do incontinently proceed to supper.'

"So far as I recollect, there was not a dissentient voice in the room to either proposition.

"'Axing yer pardon,' said O'Shaughnessy, advancing to the chairman, 'it's five shillings I was promised for time and trouble, and expinces in attending this mating. Perhaps yer honour will allow a thrifle over and above to my friend Teddy yonder, who came to see that I wasn't bothered all at onst?'

"'You are an impudent scoundrel, sir,' said the chairman, 'and deserve to be kicked down stairs. However, a promise is a promise. There is your money, and let us never see your face again.'

"'Och, long life to yese all!' said the undaunted O'Shaughnessy, 'but its mismirism is a beautiful science! Divil a barrow have I wheeled this last month on the North British Railway, and it isn't soon that I'll be after doing it again. Teddy, ye sowl! let's be off to the ould place, and dhrink good luck to the gintlemin in a noggin.'

"Such," concluded the Jemadar, "was the result of our meeting; and I can tell you that you lost a rich treat by not hearing of it in time."

"I don't want to be disenchanted," said we. "Nothing that you have said can shake my firm belief in mesmerism in all its stages. I allow that the science, like every thing else, is liable to abuse, but that does not affect my faith in the slightest degree. Have you ever read Chauncey Hare Townshend's book? Why, my dear fellow, he has magnetized a female patient, through mere volition alone, at the other end of the town; and I have not the remotest doubt that it is quite possible to exercise the same powers between Edinburgh and Madras. What a beautiful thought it is that two lovers, separated by land and ocean, may yet exercise a sweet influence over each other—that at a certain hour, a balmy slumber, stealing over their frames, apprises them[Pg 237] that their souls are about to meet in undisturbed and tranquil union! That in a few moments, perhaps, far, far above the galaxy"—

"Oh, confound the galaxy!" interrupted the prosaic Jemadar. "If you're going on in that style, I shall be off at once. I have no idea of any communication quicker than the electric telegraph; and as for your sympathies, and that sort of rubbish, any body may believe them that likes. I suppose, too, you believe in clair-voyance?"

"Most assuredly," we replied. "The case of Miss M'Avoy of Liverpool—of Prince Hohenlohe, and many others"——

"Are all very wonderful, I daresay; but I should like to see the thing with my own eyes. A friend of mine told me, no later than yesterday, that he had been present at a meeting, held in a professional gentleman's house, for the purpose of testing the powers of a lad said to be clair-voyant, who was exhibited by one of those itinerant lecturers. In addition to the usual bandages, of which there was much suspicion, a mask, previously prepared, was put upon the face, so that all deception was impossible. In this state, the boy, though professedly in the mesmeric sleep, could see nothing. He fingered the cards—fumbled with the books—but could read no more than my poodle-dog. In fact, the whole thing was considered by every one present not only a failure, but a rank and palpable sham; and until I have some better evidence in support of these modern miracles, I shall take the liberty of denouncing the system as one of most impudent imposture."

"But, my dear fellow, recollect the number of persons of rank and station—the highly intellectual and cultivated minds which have formed a directly opposite opinion. What say you to Van Helmont? What say you to Michael Scott,

'A wizard of such dreaded fame,
That when in Salamanca's cave,
Him listed his magic wand to wave,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame?'

What say you to the sympathetic secrets still known to be preserved in the monastery of Mount Carmel? What say you"—

"I say," replied the Jemadar, "that you are beginning to talk most infernal nonsense, and that I must be off, as I have an engagement at three to play a match at billiards. In the meantime, you'll oblige me by settling with Mrs Stewart for the ices."



[Pg 238]


It is only after passing through an ordeal cruelly insidious, tolerably severe, and rather protracted, that we feel conscientiously entitled to assert our ability to dine every day of every week at the Reform Club, without jeopardy to those immutable principles which are incorruptible by Whigs and indestructible by Rats. A sneer, perhaps, is curling with "beautiful disdain" the lips of some Conservative Achilles. Let us nip his complacent sense of invulnerability in the bud. To eat and to err are equally attributes of humanity. Looking at ourselves in the mirror of honest criticism, we behold features as unchangeable as sublunary vicissitudes will allow.

"Time writes no wrinkles on our azure brow."

Witness it! ye many years of wondrous alternation—of lurid tempest and sunny calm—of disastrous rout and triumphant procession—of shouting pæan and wailing dirge—witness the imperturbable tenor of our way! Attest it, thou goodly array of the tomes of Maga, laden and sparkling, now as ever, with wisdom and wit, science and fancy!—attest the unwavering fidelity of our career! All this is very true; but the secret annals of the good can never be free from temptations, and never are in reality unblotted by peccadilloes. The fury of the demagogue has been our laughing-stock—the versatility of trimming politicians, our scorn. We have crouched before none of the powers which have been, or be; neither have we been carried off our feet by the whirlwinds of popular passion. Yet it is difficult to resist a good dinner. The victories of Miltiades robbed Themistocles of sleep. The triumphs of Soyer are apt to affect us, "with a difference," after the same fashion.

There was, we remember, a spirit of surly independence within us on visiting, for the first time, the "high capital" of Whiggery, where the Tail at present

"New rubb'd with balm, expatiate and confer
Their State affairs."

To admire any thing was not our mood:

"The ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately heighth; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement."

And as these lines suggested themselves, we recollected who the first Whig is said to have been, and whose architectural glories Milton was recording. We never yet heard a Radical disparage a peer of the realm without being convinced, that deep in the pocket, next his heart, lay an incautious hospitable invitation from the noble lord, to which a precipitate answer in the affirmative had already been dispatched. Analogously, in the magnificent edifice, whose tesselated floor we were treading gingerly, it seemed to us that we surveyed an unmistakable monument of an innate predilection for the splendours and comforts, the pomp and the abandon, of a "proud aristocracy." This was before dinner, and we were hungry. To tell all that happened to us for some hours afterwards, would, in fact, force us to transfer to our pages more than half of the volume which is prompting these observations. Suffice it to say, that when we again stood on Pall-Mall, a bland philanthropy of sentiment, embracing all races, and classes, and sects of men, permeated our bosom. Whence came the mellowing influence, seeing that we had been, as our custom is, very innocent of wine? Nor could it be the seductive eloquence of the company. We had indeed been roundly vituperated in argument by the Liberator. Oh yes! but we had been fed by the Regenerator.

To us, then, on these things much meditating—so Cicero and[Pg 239] Brougham love to write—many of the speculations in which we had indulged, and of the principles which we had advocated, were obviously not quite in harmony with the views long inculcated by us on a docile public. Suddenly the truth flashed across and illuminated the perplexity of our ponderings. We were aware that, early in the evening, a much milder censure than usual upon some factious Liberal manœuvre had passed our lips. This took place just about the fourth spoonful of soup. The spells were already in operation under the shape of "potage à la Marcus Hill." There is a fascination even in the name of this "delicious soup"—such is the epithet of Soyer—which our readers will better understand in the sequel. Again, it was impossible to deny that we had hazarded several equivocal observations in reference to the Palmerstonian policy in Syria. But it was equally true that such inadvertencies slipped from us while laboriously engaged in determining a delicate competition between "John Dorée à l'Orléannaise" and "saumon à la Beyrout." A transient compliment to the influence at elections of the famous Duchess of Devonshire was little liable to objection, we imagined, during a playful examination of a few "aiguillettes de volaille à la jolie fille." More questionable, it must be admitted, were certain assertions regarding the Five Points, enunciated hastily over a "neck of mutton à la Charte." No fault, however, had we to find with the cutting facetiousness with which we had garnished "cotelettes d'Agneau à la réforme en surprise aux Champignons." The title of this dish was so ludicrously applicable to the consternation of the remnants of the Melbourne ministry—the cutlets of lamb—in finding themselves outrun in the race by mushroom free-traders, that our pleasantry thereanent was irresistible. It was difficult, at the same time, to justify the expression of an opinion, infinitely too favourable to Peel's commercial policy, yielding to the allurements of a "turban des cailles à la financière." And, on the whole, we smarted beneath a consciousness that all our conversation had been perceptibly flavoured by "filets de bécasses à la Talleyrand."

The result of these reflections was, simply, an alarming conviction of the tremendous influence exercised by Soyer throughout all the workings of the British constitution. The causes of the success of the League begin to dawn upon us, while our gravest suspicions are confirmed by the appearance, at this peculiar crisis, of the "Gastronomic Regenerator." What patriotism can withstand a superabundance of untaxed food, cooked according to the tuition of Soyer? How can public virtue keep its ground against such a rush of the raw material, covered by such a "batterie de cuisine?" Cobden and Soyer, in alliance, have given a new turn, and terribly literal power, to the fable of Menenius Agrippa.

"There was a time when all the body's members
Rebell'd against the belly."

Such times are gone. The belly now has it all its own way, while

"The kingly-crownèd head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,"

are conjunctly and severally cuffed, or bunged up, or broken, or stifled, unless they are perpetually ministering to the service of the great cormorant corporation. It is mighty well to talk of the dissolution of the League. The testament of Cæsar, commented on by Mark Antony, was eventually more fatal to the liberties of Rome, than the irrepressible ambition which originally urged the arch-traitor across the Rubicon. The "Gastronomic Regenerator," in the hands of every housewife in the country, is merely to convert the most invincible portion of the community into a perpetual militia of free-traders. All cooks proverbially encourage an enormous consumption of victuals. The study of Soyer will infallibly transform three-fourths of the empire into cooks. Consequently, the demand for every variety of sustenance, by an immense majority of the nation, will be exorbitant and perennial. No syllogism can be more unassailable. We venture also to affirm that the judgment of posterity will be rigidly true in apportioning the endurance of fame which the conflicting merits of our[Pg 240] great benefactors may deserve. It is far from unlikely that the glories of a Peel may be disregarded, forgotten, and unsung, when the trophies of a Soyer, still odorous, and unctuous, and fresh, shall be in every body's mouth.

The "Gastronomic Regenerator" has not assumed his imposing title without a full appreciation of the dignity of his office and the elevation of his mission. The brief and graceful "dialogue culinaire" between Lord M. H. and himself, illustrates the grand doctrines that man is a cooking animal, and that the progress of cooking is the progress of civilisation. There is something prodigiously sublime in the words of the noble interlocutor, when he declares, "Read history, and you see that in every age, and among all nations, the good which has been done, and sometimes the evil, has been always preceded or followed by a copious dinner." This language, we presume, must be considered on the great scale, as applicable to the most solemn and momentous occurrences in the history of governments and countries. Not that we can exclude it from individual biography. Benevolence we have always regarded as a good sauce, and have often observed it to be an excellent dessert. The man who tucks his napkin under his chin immediately after conferring a benefit on a fellow-creature, invariably manifests marvellous capabilities for digestion; and, on the other hand, the man who has dined to his own entire satisfaction, if solicited in the nick of time, will frequently evince an open-handed generosity, to which his more matutine emotions would have been strangers. But—to reverse the picture—any interruption to the near prospect of a "copious dinner" is at all times inimical to charity; while repletion, we know, occasionally reveals such unamiable dispositions as could not have been detected by the most jealous scrutiny at an earlier period of the day. Nations are but hives of individuals. We understand, therefore, the noble lord to mean, that all the history of all the thousand races of the globe concurrently teaches us that every great event, social or political, domestic or foreign, involving their national weal or woe, has been harbingered or commemorated by a "copious dinner." Many familiar instances of this profound truth—some of very recent date—crowd into our recollection. But we cannot help suspecting a deeper meaning to be inherent in the enunciation of this "great fact." Copious dinners are, as it strikes us, here covertly represented as the means of effecting the most extensive ameliorations. To dine is insinuated to be the first step on the highway to improvement. In the consequences which flow from dining copiously, what is beneficial is evidently stated to preponderate over what is hurtful, the qualifying "sometimes" being only attached to the latter. In this respect, dinners seem to differ from men, that the evil is more frequently "interred with their bones," while the "good they do lives after them." This is, assuredly, ringing a dinner-bell incessantly to the whole universe. We have ourselves, not half an hour ago, paid our quota for participating within the last week in congratulatory festivities to two eminent public characters. The overwhelming recurrence, in truth, of these entertainments, drains us annually of a handsome income; and reading, as we do daily in the newspapers, how every grocer, on changing his shop round the corner, and every professor of dancing, on being driven by the surges of the Utilitarian system up another flight of stairs, must, to felicitate or soothe him, receive the tribute or consolation of a banquet and demonstration, we hold up our hands in amazement at the opulence and deglutition of Scotland.

What shall become of us, driven further onwards still, by the impetus of the Gastronomic Regenerator, we dare not foretell. The whole year may be a circle of public feasts; and our institutions gradually, although with no small velocity, relapse into the common table of Sparta. But never, whispers Soyer, into the black broth of Lycurgus. And so he ensnares us into the recognition of another fundamental principle, that the simplicity of Laconian fare night be admirably appropriate for infant republics and penniless helots, but can afford no subsistence to an overgrown empire, and the possessors of the wealth[Pg 241] of the world! Thus cookery marks, dates, and authenticates the refinement of mankind. The savage cuts his warm slice from the haunches of the living animal, and swallows it reeking from the kitchen of nature. The civilized European, revolting from the dreadful repast, burns, and boils, and stews, and roasts his food into an external configuration, colour, and substance, as different from its original condition as the mummy of Cheops differs from the Cheops who watched, with an imperial dilatation of his brow, the aspiring immortality of the pyramids. Both, in acting so differently, are the slaves and the types of the circumstances of their position. The functions in the frames of both are the same; but these functions curiously follow the discipline of the social situation which directs and regulates their development. The economy of the kitchen is only a counterpart, in its simplicity or complication, its rudeness or luxury, of the economy of the state. The subjects of patriarchs and despots may eat uncooked horses with relish and nourishment. The denizens of a political system whose every motion is regulated by an intricate machinery, in which the teeth of all the myriad wheels in motion are indented with inextricable multiplicity of confusion into each other, perish under any nurture which is not as intricate, complex, artificial, and confused. What a noble and comprehensive science is this Gastronomy!

"Are you not also," says the philosophic Soyer, in the same interesting dialogue, "of opinion with me, my lord, that nothing better disposes the mind of man to amity in thought and deed, than a dinner which has been knowingly selected, and artistically served?" The answer is most pregnant. "It is my thinking so," replies Lord M. H., "which has always made me say that a good cook is as useful as a wise minister." Behold to what an altitude we are carried! The loaves and fishes in the hands of the Whigs, and Soyer at the Reform Club to dress them! Let us banish melancholy, and drive away dull care. The bellicose propensities of a foreign secretary are happily innocuous. The rumours of war pass by us like the idle wind which we regard not. Protocols and treaties, notes and representations, are henceforth disowned by diplomacy. The figure of Britannia with a stew-pan for her helmet, and a spit for a spear, leaning in statuesque repose on a folio copy of the Gastronomic Regenerator,

"Surveys mankind from China to Peru;"

and with an unruffled ocean at her feet, and a cloudless sky overhead, smiles on the countless millions of the children of earth, chatting fraternally together at the round table of universal peace. Bright will be the morning of the day which sees the impress of such an image on our currency. Of course, it will be understood that we are entirely of the same mind, abstractly, as M. Soyer and Lord M. H. The maître de cuisine appears to us unquestionably to be one of the most important functionaries belonging to an embassy. Peace or war, which it is scarcely necessary to interpret as the happiness or the misery of two great countries, may depend upon a headache. Now, if it were possible, in any case, to trace the bilious uneasiness which may have perverted pacific intentions into hostile designs, to the unskilful or careless performance of his momentous duties by the cook-legate, no punishment could too cruelly expiate such a blunder. We should be inclined to propose that the brother artist who most adroitly put the delinquent to torture, should be his successor, holding office under a similar tenure. It may be matter of controversy, however, at once whether such a system would work well, and whether it is agreeable to the prevalence of those kindly feelings which it is the object of M. Soyer, and every other good cook or wise statesman, to promulgate throughout the human family. The publication of the Gastronomic Regenerator inspires us with better hopes. The tyro of the dripping-pan will be no more entitled to screen himself behind his imperfect science or neglected education, than the unlettered criminal to plead his ignorance of the alphabet as a justification of his ignorance of the statute law,[Pg 242] whose enactments send him to Botany Bay. The rudiments and the mysteries—the elementary axioms and most recondite problems—of his lofty vocation are unrolled before him in legible and intelligible characters. The skill which is the offspring of practice, must be attained by his opportunities and his industry. And if

"Fame is the spur which the clear spirit doth raise,"

it might, we trust, satiate the most ravenous appetite which ever gnawed the bowels even of a cook, not merely to secure the tranquillity of the universe, but to save his native land the expense of armies and fleets, and turn the currents of gold absorbed by taxation, into the more congenial channel of gastronomical enterprise. The majestic and far-spreading oak springs out of the humble acorn. In future ages, the acute historian will demonstrate how the "copious dinner" which cemented the bonds of eternal alliance between vast and consolidated empires, whose people were clothed in purple and fine linen, lived in habitations decorated with every tasteful and gorgeous variety which caprice could suggest and affluence procure, and mingled the physical indolence of Sybaris with the intellectual activity of Athens, was but the ripe fruit legitimately matured from the simple bud of the calumet of peace, which sealed a hollow truce among the roving and puny lands of the naked, cityless, and untutored Indian. So, once more, the perfectibility of cookery indicates the perfectibility of society.

The gallantry of Soyer is as conspicuous as his historical and political philosophy. He would not profusely "scatter plenty o'er a smiling land" solely for the gratification of his own sex. The sun shines on woman as on man; and when the sun will not shine, a woman's eye supplies all the light we need. The sagacious "Regenerator" refuses to restrict to the lordly moiety of mankind a monopoly of his beams, feeling that, when the pressure of mortal necessity sinks his head, fairer hands than those of the statesman or the warrior, the ecclesiastic or the lawyer, are likely to be the conservators of his reputation. "Allow me," he remarks, "to suggest to your lordship, that a meeting for practical gastronomical purposes, where there are no ladies, is in my eyes a garden without flowers, a sea without waves, an experimental squadron without sails."

"Without the smile from partial beauty won,
Say what were man?—a world without a sun!"

The harrowing picture of desolation, from the pen of M. Soyer, may be equalled, but cannot be surpassed, by a line here and there in Byron's "Darkness." The sentiment, at the same time, sounds oddly, as it issues from the penetralia of a multitudinous club. Our notion has hitherto been, that a club was an invention of which a principal object was to prove that female society was far from being indispensable to man, and that all the joys of domesticity might be tasted in a state of single-blessedness beyond the precincts of home for a small annual payment. A thorough-going club-man would very soon drive a coach and four through the Regenerator's polite eloquence. For instance, a garden without flowers has so much the more room for the growth of celery, asparagus, artichokes, and the like. There could not possibly be a greater convenience than the evaporation or disappearance of the waters of the ocean; because we should then have railways every where, and no nausea. Sails, likewise, are not requisite now-a-days for ships; on the contrary, steam-vessels are so evidently superior, that the sail-maker may as well shut up his shop. The flowers of a garden are an incumbrance—the waves of the sea are an impediment—the sails of a ship are a superfluity. Garden, sea, and ship would be better wanting flowers, waves, and sails. On the same principles a club is preferable to a family fire-side, and the lot of a bachelor to the fate of a Benedict. M. Soyer, speaking ex cathedrâ from the kitchen of the Reform Club, would find it no easy matter to parry the cogency of this reasoning. He forgets, apparently, that he bares his breast to a most formidable attack. What right have MEN to be Cooks? What hypocrisy it is[Pg 243] to regret that women cannot eat those dinners which women alone are entitled, according to the laws of nature and the usages of Britain, to dress! Be just before you affect to be generous! Surrender the place, and the privileges, and the immunities, which are the heritage and birthright of the petticoat! Hercules with a distaff was bad enough; but here, in the vagaries and metamorphoses of heathen mythology, do you read of Hercules with a dishclout? What would the moon say, should the sun insist on blazing away all night as well as all day? Your comparisons are full of poetry and humbug. A kitchen without a female cook—it is like a flowerless garden, a waveless sea, a sail-less ship. A kitchen with a male cook—is a monster which natural history rejects, and good feeling abhors. The rights of women are scarcely best vindicated by him who usurps the most precious of them. There will be time to complain of their absence from the scene, when, by a proper self-ostracism, you leave free for them the stage which it becomes them to occupy. These are knotty matters, M. Soyer, for digestion. With so pretty a quarrel we shall not interfere, having a wholesome respect for an Amazonian enemy who can stand fire like salamanders. To be candid, we are puzzled by the sprightliness of our own fancy, and do not very distinctly comprehend how we have managed to involve the Regenerator, whose thoughts were bent on the pale and slim sylphs of the boudoir, in a squabble with the rubicund and rotund vestals who watch the inextinguishable flames of The Great Hearth.

This marvellous dialogue, from which we have taken with our finger and thumb a tit-bit here and there, might be the text for inexhaustible annotation. It occupies no more than two pages; but, as Gibbon has said of Tacitus, "they are the pages of Soyer." Every topic within the range of human knowledge is touched, by direct exposition or collateral allusion. The metaphysician and the theologian, the physiologist and the moralist, are all challenged to investigate its dogmas, which, let us forewarn them, are so curtly, positively, and oracularly propounded, as, if orthodox, to need no commentary; and if heterodox, to demand accumulated mountains of controversy to overwhelm them. For he, we believe, can hardly be deemed a mean opponent, unworthy of a foeman's steel-pen, who has at his fingers' ends "Mullets à la Montesquieu," "Fillets of Haddock à la St Paul," "Saddle of Mutton à la Mirabeau," "Ribs of Beef à la Bolingbroke," "Pounding Soufflé à la Mephistopheles," "Woodcock à la Staël," and "Filets de Bœuf farcis à la Dr Johnson."

The constitution of English cookery is precisely similar to the constitution of the English language. Both were prophetically sketched by Herodotus in his description of the army of Xerxes, which gathered its numbers, and strength, and beauty, from "all the quarters in the shipman's card." That imperishable mass of noble words—that glorious tongue in which Soyer has prudently written the "Gastronomic Regenerator," is in itself an unequalled specimen of felicitous cookery. The dishes which furnished the most recherché dinner Soyer ever dressed, the "Diner Lucullusian à la Sampayo," being resolved into the chaos whence they arose in faultless proportions and resistless grace, would not disclose elements and ingredients more heterogenous, remote, and altered from their primal nature, than those which go to the composition of the few sentences in which he tells us of this resuscitation of the cæna of Petronius. A thousand years and a thousand accidents, the deepest erudition and the keenest ingenuity, the most delicate wit and most outrageous folly, have been co-operating in the manufacture of the extraordinary vocabulary which has enabled the Regenerator himself to concoct the following unparalleled receipt for


"Procure, if possible, the antique Vase of the Roman Capitol; the Cup of Hebe; the Strength of Hercules; and the Power of Jupiter;"

"Then proceed as follows:—"

"Have ready the chaste Vase (on the glittering rim of which three doves are resting in peace), and in it deposit[Pg 244] a Smile from the Duchess of Sutherland, from which Terrestrial Déesse it will be most graceful; then add a Lesson from the Duchess of Northumberland; the Happy Remembrance of Lady Byron; an Invitation from the Marchioness of Exeter; a Walk in the Fairy Palace of the Duchess of Buckingham; an Honour of the Marchioness of Douro; a Sketch from Lady Westmoreland; Lady Chesterfield's Conversation; the Deportment of the Marchioness of Aylesbury; the Affability of Lady Marcus Hill; some Romances of Mrs Norton; a Mite of Gold from Miss Coutts; a Royal Dress from the Duchess of Buccleuch; a Reception from the Duchess of Leinster; a Fragment of the Works of Lady Blessington; a Ministerial Secret from Lady Peel; a Gift from the Duchess of Bedford; an Interview with Madame de Bunsen; a Diplomatic Reminiscence from the Marchioness of Clanricarde; an Autocratic Thought from the Baroness Brunow; a Reflection from Lady John Russell; an amiable Word from Lady Wilton; the Protection of the Countess de St Aulaire; a Seraphic Strain from Lady Essex; a poetical gift of the Baroness de la Calabrala; a Welcome from Lady Alice Peel; the Sylph-like form of the Marchioness of Abercorn; a Soirée of the Duchess of Beaufort; a Reverence of the Viscountess Jocelyn; and the Good-will of Lady Palmerston.

"Season with the Piquante Observation of the Marchioness of Londonderry; the Stately Mein of the Countess of Jersey; the Trésor of the Baroness Rothschild; the Noble Devotion of Lady Sale; the Knowledge of the Fine Arts of the Marchioness of Lansdowne; the Charity of the Lady De Grey; a Criticism from the Viscountess of Melville;—with a Musical Accompaniment from the whole; and Portraits of all these Ladies taken from the Book of Celebrated Beauties.

"Amalgamate scientifically; and should you find this Appareil (which is without a parallel) does not mix well, do not regard the expense for the completion of a dish worthy of the Gods!

"Endeavour to procure, no matter at what price, a Virtuous Maxim from the Book of Education of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent; a Kiss from the Infant Princess Alice; an Innocent Trick of the Princess-Royal; a Benevolent Visit from the Duchess of Gloucester; a Maternal Sentiment of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge; a Compliment from the Princess Augusta de Mecklenbourg; the future Hopes of the Young Princess Mary;—

"And the Munificence of Her Majesty Queen Adelaide.

"Cover the Vase with the Reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty, and let it simmer for half a century, or more, if possible, over a Fire of Immortal Roses.

"Then uncover, with the greatest care and precision, this Mysterious Vase; garnish the top with the Aurora of a Spring Morning; several Rays of the Sun of France; the Serenity of an Italian Sky; and the Universal Appreciation of the Peace of Europe.

"Add a few Beams of the Aurora Borealis; sprinkle over with the Virgin Snow of Mont Blanc; glaze with an Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, cause the Star of the Shepherd to dart over it; and remove, as quickly as possible, this chef-d'œuvre of the nineteenth century from the Volcanic District.

"Then fill Hebe's Enchanted Cup with a religious Balm, and with it surround this mighty Cream of Immortality;

"Terminate with the Silvery light of the Pale Queen of Night, without disturbing a Ray of the Brilliancy of the brightest Queen of the Day."

Half a century hence, when the simmering over the roseate fire is silent, may we, with M. Soyer, be present to gaze on the happy consummation of the conceptions of his transcendant imagination!

The Regenerator is too conversant with universal history not to know that his book, in crossing the Tweed northwards, approaches a people more familiar with its fundamental principles than any other inhabitants of these Fortunate Isles. England, for any thing we care, may deserve the opprobrious title of perfidious Albion. Scotland—("Stands Scotland where it did?")—was ever the firm friend of France. Ages ago, when our southern cousins were incessantly fighting, we were constantly dining, with the French. Our royal and noblest families were mingled by the dearest ties with the purest and proudest blood of the adopted land of Mary. For centuries uninterruptedly was maintained an interchange of every[Pg 245] gentle courtesy, and every friendly succour; and when the broadsword was not needed to gleam in the front ranks of Gallic chivalry, the dirk never failed to emit the first flash in the onslaughts of Gallic hospitality. The Soyers of those times—dim precursors of the Regenerator—did not disdain to alight on our hungry shores, and leave monuments of their beneficence, which are grateful to this hour in the nostrils and to the palate of prince and peasant. Nay, we shrewdly conjecture that some time-honoured secrets still dwell with us, of which the memory has long since perished in their birth-place. Boastful we may not suffer ourselves to be. But if M. Soyer ever heard of, or dressed or tasted precisely as we have dressed and tasted, what is known to us and a very limited circle of acquaintances as "Lamb-toasty," we shall start instantly from the penultimate habitation of Ultima Thule, commonly known as John O'Groat's House, expressly to test his veracity, and gratify our voracity. Perhaps he may think it would not be too polite in us to transmit him the receipt. Not for a wilderness of Regenerators! Could we unfold to him the awful legend in connexion with it, of which we are almost the exclusive depositaries, the cap so lightly lying on his brow would be projected upwards to the roof by the instantaneous starting of his hair. The Last Minstrel himself, to whom it was narrated, shook his head when he heard it, and was never known to allude to it again; in reference to which circumstance, all that the bitterest malice could insinuate was, that if the story had been worth remembering, he was not likely to have forgotten it. "One December midnight, a shriek"—is probably as far as we can now venture to proceed. There are some descendants of the parties, whose feelings, even after the lapse of five hundred years, which is but as yesterday in a Highlander's genealogy, we are bound to respect. In other five hundred years, we shall, with more safety to ourselves, let them "sup full of horrors."

The Gastronomic Regenerator reminds us of no book so much as the Despatches of Arthur Duke of Wellington. The orders of Soyer emanate from a man with a clear, cool, determined mind—possessing a complete mastery of his weapons and materials, and prompt to make them available for meeting every contingency—singularly fertile in conceiving, and fortunate without a check in executing, sudden, rapid, and difficult combinations—overlooking nothing with his eagle eye, and, by the powerful felicity of his resources, making the most of every thing—matchless in his "Hors-d'Œuvres"—unassailable in his "Removes"—impregnable in his "Pièces de resistance"—and unconquerable with his "Flanks." His directions are lucid, precise, brief, and unmistakeable. There is not a word in them superfluous—or off the matter immediately on hand—or not directly to the point. They are not the dreams of a visionary theorist and enthusiast, but the hard, solid, real results of the vast experience of a tried veteran, who has personally superintended or executed all the operations of which he writes. It may be matter of dispute whether Wellington or Soyer acquired their knowledge in the face of the hotter fire. They are both great Chiefs—whose mental and intellectual faculties have a wonderful similarity—and whose sayings and doings are characterised by an astonishing resemblance in nerve, perspicuity, vigour, and success. In one respect M. Soyer has an advantage over his illustrious contemporary. His Despatches are addressed to an army which as far outnumbers any force every commanded or handled by the Hero of Waterloo, as the stars in the blue empyrean exceed the gas-lamps of London—an army which, instead of diminishing under any circumstances, evinces a tendency, we fear, of steadily swelling its ranks year by year, and day by day—a standing army, which the strong hand of the most jealous republicanism cannot suppress, and which the realization of the bright chimera of universal peace will fail to disband. Before many months are gone, thousands and tens of thousands will be marching and countermarching, cutting and skewering, broiling and freezing, in blind obedience to the commands of[Pg 246] the Regenerator. "Peace hath her victories no less than those of war." But it is not to be forgotten that if the sword of Wellington had not restored and confirmed the tranquillity of the world, the carving-knife of Soyer might not have been so bright.

The confidence of Soyer in his own handiwork is not the arrogant presumption of vanity, but the calm self-reliance of genius. There is a deal of good sense in the paragraph which we now quote:—

"Although I am entirely satisfied with the composition, distribution, and arrangement of my book, should some few little mistakes be discovered they will be the more excusable under those circumstances, as in many instances I was unable to devote that tedious time required for correction; and although I have taken all possible care to prescribe, by weight and measure, the exact quantity of ingredients used in the following receipts for the seasoning and preparing of all kinds of comestibles, I must observe that the ingredients are not all either of the same size or quality; for instance, some eggs are much larger than others, some pepper stronger, salt salter, and even some sugar sweeter. In vegetables, again, there is a considerable difference in point of size and quality; fruit is subject to the same variation, and, in fact all description of food is subject to a similar fluctuation. I am far, however, from taking these disproportions for excuses, but feel satisfied, if the medium of the specified ingredients be used, and the receipts in other respects closely followed, nothing can hinder success."

It seems a childish remark to make, that all salts do not coincide in their saltness, nor sugars in their sweetness. The principle, however, which the observation contains within it, is any thing but childish. It implies, that, supposing the accuracy of a Soyer to be nearly infallible, the faith in his instructions must never be so implicit as to supersede the testimony of one's own senses, and the admonitions of one's own judgment. It is with the most poignant recollections that we acknowledge the justice of the Regenerator's caution on this head. We once, with a friend who shared our martyrdom, tried to make onion soup in exact conformity with what was set down in an Oracle of Cookery, which a foul mischance had placed across our path. With unerring but inflecting fidelity, we filled, and mixed, and stirred, and watched, the fatal caldron. The result was to the eye inexpressibly alarming. A thick oily fluid, repulsive in colour, but infinitely more so in smell, fell with a flabby, heavy, lazy stream, into the soup-plate. Having swallowed, with a Laocoonic contortion of countenance, two or three mouthfuls, our individual eyes wandered stealthily towards our neighbour. Evidently we were fellow-sufferers; but pride, which has occasioned so many lamentable catastrophes, made us both dumb and obdurate in our agony. Slowly and sadly, at lengthened intervals, the spoon, with its abominable freight, continued to make silent voyages from the platters to our lips. How long we made fools of ourselves it is not necessary to calculate. Suddenly, by a simultaneous impulse, the two windows of the room favoured the headlong exit of two wretches whose accumulated grievances were heavier than they could endure. Hours rolled away, while the beautiful face of Winandermere looked as ugly as Styx, as we writhed along its banks, more miserably moaning than the hopeless beggar who sighed for the propitiatory obolus to Charon. And from that irrevocable hour we have abandoned onions to the heroines of tragedy. Fools, in spite of all warning, are taught by such a process as that to which we submitted. Wise men, take a hint.

"Nature, says I to myself"—Soyer is speaking—"compels us to dine more or less once a-day." The average which oscillates between the "more" and the "less," it requires considerable dexterity to catch. Having read six hundred pages and fourteen hundred receipts, the question is, where are we to begin? Our helplessness is confessed. Is it possible the Regenerator is, after all, more tantalizing than the Barmecide? No—here is the very aid we desiderate. Our readers shall judge of a

 [Pg 247]



  1 Soup.
French Pot au Feu.

1 Fish.
3 Slices of Salmon en matelote.

2 Removes.
Braised Fowls with spring vegetables.
Leg of Mutton basted with devil's tears.

2 Entrees.
Lamb Cutlets with asparagus, peas.
Salmi of Plovers with mushrooms.

2 Roasts.
2 Ducklings.
4 Pigeons barded with vine leaves.

4 Entremets.
Orange Jelly.
Omelette, with fine herbs.
Green peas.
Gooseberry Tart with cream.

1 Remove.
Iced Cake with fruits.


"Nothing but light wine is drunk at the first course, but at the second my guests are at liberty to drink wines of any other description, intercepting them with several hors-d'œuvres, which are small dishes of French pickled olives and sardines, thin slices of Bologna sausage, fillets of anchovies, ciboulettes, or very small green onions, radishes, &c.; also a plain dressed salade à la Français, (for which see end of the entrées, Kitchen at Home), fromage de brie Neufchatel, or even Windsor cheese, when it can be procured. The coffee and dessert I usually leave to the good taste and economy of my menagere."

We shall be exceedingly curious to hear how many hundred parties of eight persons, upon reading this bill of fare in our pages, will, without loss of time, congregate in order to do it substantial honour. Such clattering of brass and brandishing of steel may strike a new government as symptomatical or preparatory of a popular rising. We may therefore reassure them with the information, that those who sit down with M. Soyer, will have little thought of rising for a long time afterwards.

We have introduced the Gastronomic Regenerator to public notice in that strain which its external appearance, its title, its scheme and its contents, demand and justify. But we must not, even good-humouredly, mislead those for whose use its publication is principally intended. To all intents and purposes M. Soyer's work is strictly and most intelligibly practical. It is as full of matter as an egg is full of meat; and the household which would travel through its multitudinous lessons must be as full of meat as the Regenerator is full of matter. The humblest, as well as the wealthiest kitchen economy, is considered and instructed; nor will the three hundred receipts at the conclusion of the volume, which are more peculiarly applicable to the "Kitchen at Home," be, probably the portion of the book least agreeable and valuable to the general community. For example,[Pg 248] just before shaking hands with him, let us listen to M. Soyer, beginning admirably to discourse

Of the Choosing and Roasting of Plain Joints.

"Here I must claim all the attention of my readers. Many of the profession will, I have no doubt, be surprised that I should dwell upon a subject, which appears of so little importance, saying that, from the plain cook to the most professed, all know how to roast or boil a piece of meat; but there I must beg their pardon. I will instance myself, for, previously to my forming any intention of writing the present work, I had not devoted the time necessary to become professionally acquainted with it, always depending upon my roasting cook, who had constant practice, myself only having the knowledge of whether or not properly done. I have since not only studied it closely, but have made in many respects improvements upon the old system, and many discoveries in that branch which I am sure is the most beneficial to all classes of society, (remembering, as I have before stated, that three parts of the animal food of this country is served either plain-roasted or boiled) My first study was the fire, which I soon perceived as too deep, consumed too much coal, and required poking every half hour, thus sending dust and dirt all over the joints, which were immediately basted to wash it off; seeing plainly this inconvenience, I immediately remedied it by inventing my new roasting fire-place, by which means I saved two hundred-weight of coals per day, besides the advantage of never requiring to be poked, being narrow and perpendicular; the fire is lighted with the greatest facility, and the front of the fire being placed a foot back in the chimney-piece, throws the heat of the fire direct upon the meat, and not out at the sides, as many persons know, from the old roasting ranges. I have many times placed ladies or gentlemen, visiting the club, within two feet of the fire when six large joints have been roasting, and they have been in perfect ignorance that it was near them, until, upon opening the wing of the screen by surprise, they have appeared quite terrified to think they were so near such an immense furnace. My next idea was to discontinue basting, perhaps a bold attempt to change and upset at once the custom of almost all nations and ages, but being so confident of its evil effects and tediousness, I at once did away with it, and derived the greatest benefit (for explanation, see remarks at the commencement of the roasts in the Kitchen of the Wealthy,) for the quality of meat in England is, I may say, superior to any other nation; its moist soil producing fine grass almost all the year round, which is the best food for every description of cattle; whilst in some countries not so favoured by nature they are obliged to have recourse to artificial food, which fattens the animals but decreases the flavour of the meat: and, again, we, must take into consideration the care and attention paid by the farmers and graziers to improve the stock of those unfortunate benefactors of the human family."

How full of milky kindness is his language, still breathing the spirit of that predominant idea—the tranquillisation of the universe by "Copious Dinners!" He has given up "basting" with success. Men may as well give up basting one another. Nobody will envy the Regenerator the bloodless fillets worthily encircling his forehead, should the aspirations of his benevolent soul in his lifetime assume any tangible shape. But if a more distant futurity is destined to witness the lofty triumph, he may yet depart in the confidence of its occurrence. The most precious fruits ripen the most slowly. The sun itself does not burst at once into meridian splendour. Gradually breaks the morning; and the mellow light glides noiselessly along, tinging mountain, forest, and city spire, till a stealthy possession seems to be taken of the whole upper surface of creation, and the mighty monarch at last uprises on a world prepared to expect, to hail, and to reverence his perfect and unclouded majesty.



[Pg 249]


Our sentiments with regard to the change of policy on the part of Sir Robert Peel and his coadjutors, were early, and we hope forcibly, expressed. We advocated then, as ever, the principle of protection to native industry and agriculture, not as a class-benefit, but on far deeper and more important considerations. We deprecated the rash experiment of departing from a system under which we had flourished so long—of yielding to the clamours of a grasping and interested faction, whose object in raising the cry of cheap bread, was less the welfare of the working man, than the depression of his wages, and a corresponding additional profit to themselves. The decline of agricultural prosperity—inevitable if the anticipations of the free traders should be fulfilled—seems to us an evil of the greatest possible magnitude, and the more dangerous because the operation must be necessarily slow. And in particular, we protested against the introduction of free-trade measures, at a period when their consideration was not called for by the pressure of any exigency, when the demand for labour was almost without parallel, and before the merits of the sliding-scale of duty, introduced by Sir Robert Peel himself in the present Parliament, had been sufficiently tested or observed. Those who make extravagant boast of the soundness and sagacity of their leader cannot deny, that the facts upon which he based his plan of financial reform, were in reality not facts, but fallacies. The political Churchill enunciated his Prophecy of Famine, not hesitatingly nor doubtfully, but in the broadest and the strongest language. Month after month glided away, and still the famine came not; until men, marvelling at the unaccountable delay, looked for it as the ignorant do for the coming of a predicted eclipse, and were informed by the great astrologer of the day that it was put off for an indefinite period! Now, when another and a more beautiful harvest is just beginning, we find that in reality the prophecy was a mere delusion; that there were no grounds whatever to justify any such anticipation, and that the pseudo-famine was a mere stalking-horse, erected for the purpose of concealing the stealthy advance of free-trade.

If this measure of free-trade was in itself right and proper, it required no such paltry accessories and stage tricks to make it palatable to the nation at large. Nay, we go further, and say, that under no circumstances ought the distress of a single year to be assigned as a sufficient reason for a great fiscal change which must derange the whole internal economy and foreign relations of the country, and which must be permanent in its effects. There is, and can be, no such thing as a permanent provision for exigencies. Were it so, the art of government might be reduced to principles as unerring in their operation as the tables of an assurance company—every evil would be provided for before it occurred, and fluctuations become as unknown among us as the recurrence of an earthquake. A famine, had it really occurred, would have been no apology for a total repeal of the corn-laws, though it might have been a good reason for their suspension. As, however, no famine took place, we take the prophecy at its proper value, and dismiss it at once to the limbo of popular delusions; at the same time, we trust that future historians, when they write this chapter of our chronicles, will not altogether overlook the nature of the foundation upon which this change has been placed.

It requires no great penetration to discover how the repeal of the corn-laws has been carried. The leaders of a powerful party who for ten years misgoverned the country, were naturally desirous, after an exile of half that period, to retaste the sweets of office—and were urged thereunto, not only by their own appetites, but by the clamour of a ravenous crew behind them, who cared nothing for principle. While in power, they had remained most dogmatically opposed to the repeal of the corn-laws. Lord Melbourne denounced the idea as maniacal—he was [Pg 250]supported in that view by almost every one of his colleagues; nor was it until they found themselves upon the eve of ejectment, that any new light ever dawned upon the minds of the steadfast myrmidons of Whiggery. The election of 1841, which turned them out of office made matters worse instead of better. They now saw no prospect of a restoration to power, unless they could adopt some blatant cry similar to that which formerly brought them in. Such a cry was rather difficult to be found. Their ignorance of finance, their mismanagement abroad, their gross bungling of almost every measure which they touched, had made them so unpopular that the nation at large regarded their return to office much as a sufferer from nightmare contemplates the arrival of his nocturnal visitant. Undeterred by scruple or by conscience, they would with the greatest readiness have handed over the national churches to the tender mercies of the Dissenters, if such a measure could have facilitated their recall to the pleasant Goshen of Downing Street. It was not however, either advisable or necessary to carry matters quite so far. Midway between them and revolution lay the corn-law question once despised but now very valuable as a workable engine. The original advocates of abolition were not prime favourites with the Whigs. The leaders of that party have always been painfully and even ludicrously particular abut their associates. Liberal in appearance they yet bind themselves together with a thin belt of aristocratic prejudice and though insatiable in their lust for public applause, they obstinately refuse to strengthen their coterie by any more popular addition. They found the corn-law question in the hands of Messrs Cobden, Bright and Wilson—men of the people—who by their own untiring energy and the efforts of the subsidiary League, had brought the question prominently forward, and were fighting independent of party, a sort of guerilla battle in support of their favourite principle. Our regard for these gentlemen is not of the highest order, but we should do them great injustice if we did not bear testimony to the zeal and perseverance they have exhibited throughout. These are qualities which may be displayed alike in a good and in an evil cause; and yet earnestness of purpose is at all times a high attribute of manhood, and enforces the respect of an enemy. With the constitution of the League we have at present nothing to do. The organization and existence of such a body, for the purposes of avowed agitation, was a fact thoroughly within the cognisance of ministers—it was checked, and is now triumphant, and may therefore prove the precursor of greater democratic movements.

The question of the corn-laws was, however, emphatically theirs. A body of men, consisting almost entirely of master manufacturers, had conceived the project of getting rid of a law which interfered materially, according to their views, with the profit and interests of their class. Their arguments were specious, their enthusiasm in the cause unbounded. They spared no exertions, grudged no expense, to obtain converts; they set up gratuitous newspapers, hired orators, held meetings, established bazars—in short erected such a complicated machine of agitation as had never before entered into the minds of democrats to conceive. With all this however, their success, save for political accident, was doubtful. The leaders of the League were not popular even with their own workmen. Some of the simpler rules of political economy are tolerably well known among the operative classes, and of these none is better understood than the relationship betwixt the prices of labour and of food. Cheap bread, if accompanied at the same time by a reduction of wages, was at best but a questionable blessing; nor were these doubts at all dispelled by the determined resistance of the master manufacturers to every scheme proposed for shortening the hours of labour, and ameliorating the social as well as the moral condition of the poor. All that the taskmaster cared for was the completion of the daily tale. The truck system—that most infamous species of cruel and tyrannical robbery—gave sad testimony of the extent, as well as the meanness, of the avarice which could wring profit even[Pg 251] from the most degraded source, and which absolutely sought to establish, here, within the heart of Britain, a slavery as complete and more odious than that which is the disgrace of the American republic. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at if the great mass of the working population regarded the proceedings of the Anti-Corn-law League with apathy and indifference. For, be it remarked, that the original Leaguers were by no means thorough-paced free-traders. Their motive was to deal most summarily with every restriction which stood in the way of their business, both as regarded export and import, and the establishment of a lower rate of wages. For such purposes they were ready to sacrifice every interest in the commonwealth except their own; but they showed no symptoms whatever of anxiety to discard restriction wherever it was felt to be advantageous to themselves. They were, in fact, the aspiring monopolists of the country. In their disordered imagination, the future position of Britain was to be that of one mighty workshop, from which the whole world was to be supplied—a commonalty of cotton, calico, and iron, with a Birmingham and Manchester aristocracy.

Such was the position of the League at the moment when the Whigs, eager for a gathering-cry, came forward as auxiliaries; and yet we have some doubt as to the propriety of that latter term. They did not come as helpers—as men who, devoted in singleness of heart to the welfare of their country, were anxious to assist in the promotion of a measure which the sagacity of others had discovered—but claiming a sort of divine right of opposition, similar to that which the lion exercises when the jackal has run down the prey. Accordingly, upon the corn-laws did the magnanimous Whig lion place its paw, and wheeze out a note of defiance against all interlopers whatsoever. Henceforward that question was to be a Whig one. English agriculture was not to receive its death from the ignoble hands of Cobden and Co.

Such was the move of the Whigs in the month of November last. A paltrier one, in every sense of the word, was never yet attempted nor did the simultaneous conversion of the whole party, with scarcely more than one or two honourable exceptions, present a very creditable specimen of the integrity of her Majesty's Opposition. They had become convinced—why or wherefore was not stated—that "the time had now arrived" for a total repeal of the corn-laws, and there was an end of the matter. They were prepared to vote for it in Parliament—to go to the country with it as their rallying-cry—to adopt it, in short, as their readiest stepping-stone into office. The old champions of repeal—the Leaguers—might go about their business. The conduct of the question was now transferred into the same hands which had become imbecile and paralysed in 1841, but which had since been renovated and invigorated by a wholesome course of five years' banishment from office.

It is somewhat remarkable, but rather instructive, that the Whigs do not seem to have contemplated any other financial alteration beyond the repeal of the corn-laws. Of an equitable adjustment of clashing interests, they appear to have had no idea. It is quite true that they had been of old well accustomed to a deep defalcation of the public revenue, and the probability of the recurrence of that fact, may have been viewed by them as a mere bagatelle. From vague and general protestations of economy, we can form no proper estimate of the real nature of their plans. Economy, or that paltry system of paring, which passes with the Whigs for such, is, after all, a political virtue of minor import. What we require from every administration is the adoption of such measures only as shall tend to promote the general wealth and prosperity of the country; and, in consequence, render more easy the payment of the national burdens. Any fiscal change which affects the revenue, must, as a matter of course, affect some particular class of the community. A certain yearly sum has to be made up—no matter how—and every million which is remitted from one source of the revenue must be supplied by another. It is this necessity which renders the administration[Pg 252] of our finances so difficult. Great Britain, when she obtained her place in the foremost rank of nations, had to pay a fancy price for that supremacy. Our system of taxation is not the growth of a few years, but of a large tract of time, embracing periods of enormous expenditure and of intense excitement. It is of the most complex and artificial nature; for the reservoir of the state is filled from a thousand separate sources, and not one of these can be cut off without occasioning a greater drain upon the rest.

In such a state of things, it is quite natural that each particular interest should be desirous to shift the burden from itself. This may not be right nor proper, but it is natural; and the desire is greatly fostered by the frequent changes which have of late been made in the financial department, and by the alteration and adjustment of duties. The attack of the League upon the agriculturists is a specimen of this, though upon the largest scale; and the Whigs were quite ready to have lent it their support, without any further consideration. That they were really and sincerely converts to the new doctrine, we do not believe—but, if so, it is little creditable to their understanding. The repeal of the corn-laws, as a solitary and isolated measure, is, we maintain, an act of gross injustice and impolicy—as part of a great financial reform, or rather remodelment of our whole system, it may bear a different character. The Whigs, however, in adopting it, gave no promise of an altered system. The creed and articles of the League were ready made, and sufficient for them, nor did they think it necessary to enlarge the sphere of their financial relief; and so, towards the end of last year, they presented themselves in the quality of aspirants for office.

It is to us matter of great and lasting regret, that this move was not met by Sir Robert Peel and his cabinet with a front of determined resistance. Whatever may be the opinions of the late premier, of Lords Aberdeen and Lincoln, or any other members of that cabinet, on the abstract advantages of free-trade, we still hold that they were bound, in justice to the great body of gentlemen whose suffrages in the House of Commons had carried them into power, to have pursued a very different course. It is in vain for them to take shelter under their privileges or their duties as ministers of the crown. Their official dignity by no means relieved them from the pledges, direct or implied, in virtue of which alone they were elevated to that position. The understanding of the country at large was broad and clear upon the point, that the agricultural interest should not suffer from the acts of the late administration; and it was their duty, as well as their true interest, to have kept that confidence inviolate.

The financial plans of Sir Robert Peel have not yet been fully expounded. Over-caution has always been his characteristic and his misfortune. It is beyond dispute, that, in point of tact and business talent, he has no superior; but he either does not possess, or will not exhibit, that frankness which is necessary to make a leader not only respected but beloved; and hence it is that he has again alienated from himself the confidence of a large proportion of his followers. Enough, however, has transpired to convince us that his scheme is of a much more comprehensive nature than any which has been yet submitted. Various acts of his administration have shown a strong tendency towards free-trade. The establishment of the property and income tax, though apparently laid on to retrieve the country from the effects of Whig mismanagement, seemed to us at the time very ominous of a coming fiscal change. It organized a machinery by means of which direct taxation, however graduated, became the simplest method of raising the revenue; and the revision of the tariff was doubtless another step in the same direction.

If on these foundations it was intended to rear a perfect system of free-trade—by which we understand an abolition of all restrictions and protections, of all duties and customs on exports and on imports—and the substitution, for revenue purposes, of direct taxation, we think that the country may fairly complain of having been kept most lamentably in the dark. It is a great—nay, a gigantic[Pg 253] plan—one which certainly would simplify or remove many of the intricacies of government,—it might possibly put an end, as is most desirable, to all clashing interests at home, and might open up abroad a new and greater field to the operations of British industry. All these are possible, nay, probable results—at the same time we are quite justified in saying, that if so wide and important a change was really contemplated, it was somewhat hazardous, and surely unprecedentedly bold, to keep it all the time concealed from public observation, and to give a different gloss and colour to the measures devised for its advancement. In reality, a more momentous question than this does not exist. The fortunes of every man in this country are more or less bound up with it,—it is one of the deepest import to our colonies, and calculated to affect the whole range of our commercial relations. We say further, that such a measure is not one which ought to be considered in detail—that is, brought about by the gradual abolition of different imposts without reference to the general end—but that, if entertained, it ought to be proclaimed at once, and carried into effect so soon as the nation has been enabled to pronounce an opinion upon it.

Our surmises are, of course, conjectural; for hitherto Sir Robert Peel has chosen to wear the mask of mystery, and has enunciated nothing clearly, beyond a single statement, to the effect that the late bills for the regulations of corn and the customs formed only a part of a larger measure. It is to this reserve that Sir Robert owes his defeat; and we cannot but deeply regret that he should have thought fit to persevere in it at so serious a cost as the dismemberment of his party. We have a strong and rooted objection to this kind of piecemeal legislation. It is, we think, foreign to the genius of this country, which requires the existence between the minister and his supporters of a certain degree of confidence and reciprocity which in this case has certainly not been accorded to the latter. The premier of Britain is not, and cannot be, independent of the people. It is their confidence and opinion which does practically make or mar him; and in the House of Commons, no measure whatever ought to be proposed by a minister without a full and candid admission of its real object, an exposition of its tendencies, and, at least, an honest opinion of its results.

There were, we think two courses open to Sir Robert Peel and his cabinet, either of which might have been adopted, after the issue of the Russell manifesto, with perfect consistency. The first of these, and the manlier one, was a steady adherence, during the existence of the present Parliament, to the established commercial regulations. They had already done quite enough to free them from any charge of bigotry—they had modified the corn-duties, with the consent even of the agricultural body, who were induced to yield to that change on the ground that thereby a permanent settlement of the question would be effected, and a baneful agitation discontinued. It is quite true that neither of these results followed. The settlement was not held to be permanent; and the agitation, as is always the case after partial concession, was rather increased than diminished. This, however, was a cogent reason why the ministry should not have proceeded further. Under their guidance, and at their persuasion, the agriculturists had already made a large concession, and that easiness of temper on their part ought not to have been seized on as a ground for further innovation. Within the walls of Parliament the Conservative party possessed a large majority; without, if we except the manifestations of the League, there was no popular cry whatever against the operation of the sliding-scale. Even with the prospect of a bad winter—an auxiliary circumstance not unlooked for by the Whigs—Lord John Russell and his colleagues would have had no chance whatever of unseating their political rivals, supported as these were by the votes of the country party. Had distress absolutely occurred, the means of remedying the more immediate pressure of the evil were in the hands of ministers, who, moreover, would have been cordially assisted by every one in any scheme calculated to ward away famine from the door of the [Pg 254]industrious and the poor. In short, there was no political necessity for any such precipitate change.

Far better, therefore, would it have been for the late ministry had they remained uninfluenced by the interested conversion of the Whigs. By doing so they would have saved both character and consistency, without impairing in the least degree the strength of her Majesty's government—an excuse which the experience of a few mouths has shown to be utterly fallacious. How, indeed, could it be otherwise? Was it conceivable that a change of policy upon a point on which an immense majority of the supporters were distinctly pledged, could add to the permanent strength of the ministry?—was no allowance to be made for irritated feelings, for broken ties, for inevitable desertion on the part of those who believe themselves to be wantonly betrayed? The Duke of Wellington surrendered his own private opinion in order that her Majesty's government might be carried on! A sentiment which might have been applauded to the echo in ancient times but which, it must be confessed by all, is wholly inapplicable to the notions of the century in which we live. The result has proved it. Her Majesty's government was indeed able by joining with the Whig-Radical faction, or rather by adopting their game to carry the corn-bill by the most incongruous majority ever counted out in the lobby of St Stephens, but at their very next step the day of reckoning arrived. Indeed the presages of their coming fall was so apparent, that the Irish coercion bill—the measure which more than any other if we may believe the tissue of bloody and disgusting facts upon which its introduction was founded demanded attention and despatch—was put off from day to day, lest a hostile division upon it should oust the ministry before the corn-bill could be carried through the House of Lords and receive the royal assent. Had Sir Robert Peel and his supporters been wedded from their infancy upwards to free-trade opinions—had these been the golden dreams of their political life-principles which they had adhered to, and sworn by, through many a long year of adversity and opposition—they could not have manifested a more unseemly haste in seizing upon the favourable moment, and paralysing all the efforts of the agricultural party, at a time when their own official existence was fast drawing to its close. Public opinion, as we are now told from a very high source, ought always to guide a minister in the formation of his measures, irrespective of the considerations of party. The axiom is indeed a true one, but true only when followed out according to the letter of the constitution. Public opinion is to be gathered neither from the voice, however loudly expressed, of a clamant faction like the League—nor from the sentiments enunciated by a changeable press, which shifts oftener, according to the flow of its own proper interests, than the quicksands of the deceitful Solway—nor even from the votes of renegades, who promised one thing upon the hustings and promoted the reverse in Parliament—but from the sentiments of the electors of the country, from their votes and their understanding, which have not been appealed to since 1841, when deliberately and unmistakeably they pronounced in favour of protection.

This brings us to the alternative course, which, without any peril of honesty or of honour, was open to the late ministry. We mean, a clear and unreserved declaration of their future policy, and an appeal to the country for its support. If Sir Robert Peel was convinced in his own mind that the principles of protection which he had hitherto advocated were in themselves objectionable—that the time had arrived for a great experiment whereby the whole taxation of the realm should be remodelled, and the many smaller sources of revenue abolished, in order to make way for a broader and a simpler system—if, furthermore, he believed that the continuance even of such agitation as prevailed upon the subject of the corn-laws, was likely to become more serious and more hurtful to the general interest by the factious declaration of the Whigs—then, he had it in his power at once to test the opinion of the country, by offering to the crown the alternative of his resignation or a dissolution of Parliament; and upon [Pg 255]obtaining the latter, to have put forth, in unambiguous language, a statement of the policy which he intended thereafter to pursue, so that the constituencies of the empire might fairly have chosen between adherence to the ancient, or adoption of the novel plan. We can admit of no excuse such as the stoppage of private business, or any other similar impediment. These are reasons which, if just, might apply to every dissolution of Parliament short of the statutory term; nor can they in the present instance be brought forward, since the late government were by their own confession seriously perplexed by the amount of railway and other bills which this session have been crowded before Parliament, and had sought, without discovering, some method which might check at an early stage the flood of untoward speculation. In such a crisis as this, private interests ought to have been as nothing in comparison with the public good. If the choice lay between free-trade in its widest sense, and protection, it was but common justice that the country should have had the opportunity of making its selection. In no other way can public opinion be gathered. At last general election the country declared for protection—ministers since then have manœuvred that protection away. We were told that certain compensations were to be given; but, alas! the ministry is no more, and compensation has perished with it. The old balance has been disturbed, and the task of adjusting a new one—if that indeed be contemplated—is now left to weak and incompetent hands.

Most heartily, therefore, do we regret that these great changes, which have free-trade for their ultimate object, were commenced in the present Parliament. Sir Robert Peel cannot but have foreseen—indeed he acknowledged it—that the corn-bill could not be carried without a complete disorganization of the Conservative party. In his eyes this may seem a small matter, but we view it very differently. It has shaken, and that to a great degree, the confidence which the people of the country were proud to place in the declarations and sincerity of the government. It has generated a belief, now very common, that the plain course of open and manly dealing has been abandoned for a system of finesse; and that for the last few months—it may be longer—the leaders of the two great political parties have been playing a match at chess, with less regard to the safety of the instruments they were using, than to the exhibition of their own adroitness. Perhaps no minister of this country ever owed more to party than Sir Robert Peel; and yet, without the excuse of strong necessity, he has not only abandoned that party, but placed it in a false position. The majority of the Conservatives were sent to Parliament under clear and distinct pledges, which honour forbade them to violate. This of the corn-laws was so far from being a discretionary question, that the continuance or discontinuance of agricultural protection was the great theme of the hustings at last general election, and their opinions upon that point became the touchstone on which the merits of the respective candidates were tried. It is worse than vain to talk of Parliamentary freedom, and the right of honourable members to act irrespective of the opinion of their constituents. They are neither more nor less than the embodied representatives of that opinion; and no man of uprightness or honour—we say it deliberately—ought to retain his seat in the House of Commons after the confidence of his supporters is withdrawn. It is neither fair nor honourable to taunt members with having been too free and liberal with their pledges before they knew the policy of their leaders. All men do not possess that happy ambiguity of phrase which can bear a double construction, and convey one meaning to the ear of the listener, whilst another served for the purposes of future explanation. It is not pleasant to believe that we are moving in an atmosphere of perpetual deceit. It is not wholesome to be forced to construe sentences against their obvious and open meaning, or to suspect every public speaker of wrapping up equivoques in his statement. At the last general election there was no misunderstanding. The Conservative candidates believed that their leaders were resolved to uphold protection;[Pg 256] the people believed so likewise, and in consequence they gave them a majority. Situated as the protectionists were, they had no alternative but to act in accordance with their first professions, and to maintain their trust inviolate.

We have no pleasure in referring to that tedious and protracted debate. Yet this much we are bound to say, that the country party, under circumstances of unparalleled discouragement, abandoned, nay, opposed by their former chiefs, and deprived of the benefit which they undoubtedly would have received from the great talents and untiring energy of Lord Stanley—a champion too soon removed from the Lower House—did nevertheless acquit themselves manfully and well, and have earned the respect of all who, whatever may be their opinions, place a proper value upon consistency. It was perhaps inevitable that in such a contest there should have been a display of some asperity. We cannot blame those who, believing themselves to have been betrayed, gave vent to their indignation in language less measured than becomes the dignity of the British senate: nor, had these displays been confined to the single question then at issue, should we have alluded even remotely to the subject. But whilst our sympathies are decidedly with the vanquished party—whilst we deplore as strongly as they can the departure of the ministers from their earlier policy at such a time and in such a manner—we cannot join with the more violent of the protectionists in their virulent denunciations of Sir Robert Peel, and we demur as to the policy of their vote upon the Irish coercion bill, which vote was the immediate instrument of recalling the Whigs to power.

Sir Robert Peel has told us that he is contented to be judged by posterity. He is so far wise in his appeal. The opinions of contemporaries are comparatively worthless on a matter like this, and very few of us are really able to form an unprejudiced opinion. But, unless we are greatly mistaken, he does not contemplate the possibility of appearing before that tribunal in his present posture and condition. There is much yet to come upon which he must depend, not only for a posthumous verdict, but for that which we hope he may yet receive, an honourable acquittal from those who are at present alienated from his side. As the foe to agricultural protection, he can look but for sorry praise—as the financial reformer of the whole national system, he may, though at heavy risk, become a public benefactor. Every thing depends upon the future. He has chosen to play a very close and cautious game. His is a style of legislation not palatable to the nation; for he has taken upon himself too boldly the functions and responsibilities of a dictator—he has aspired to govern the freest country of the world without the aid of party—and he has demanded a larger and more implicit confidence, even whilst withholding explanation, than any minister has ever yet exacted from the representatives of the people. The risk, however, is his. But clearly, in our opinion, it was not the policy of the protectionists, after the corn-bill was carried and past control, to take a nominal revenge upon their former leader, and eject him from office by a vote inconsistent with their previous professions. By doing so, they have relieved him of the necessity which must soon have become imperative, of announcing the full nature of his scheme of financial reform; they have contributed to an interregnum, possibly of some endurance, from which we do not augur much advantage to the public welfare; and, finally, they have in some degree relinquished the credit and the strength of their position. From the moment the corn-bill was carried, they should have resolved themselves into a corps of observation. Their numbers were formidable enough to have controlled either party; and in all future measures, whenever explanation was required, they were in a condition to have enforced it.

The step, however, has been taken, and it is of course irremediable. All that remains for them and for us is to watch the progress of events during the remainder of the present Parliament—a period which, so far as we can judge from recent disclosures, is likely to pass over without any very marked attempts at innovation. The[Pg 257] Whigs are at present too happy in the resumption of office, to be actually dangerous. They are, or they profess to be, in high good-humour. They have thrown aside for a time the besom of Radical reform, and are now extending in place of it the olive-branch of peace to each different section of their antagonists. We look, however, a little below the surface, and we think that we can discover two very cogent reasons for this state of singular placidity. In the first place, the Whigs are in a minority in the House of Commons. Their political walk cannot extend a yard beyond the limits of Sir Robert's sufferance; and as the boundary line, like the Oregon, has not been clearly laid down, they will be most cautious to avoid transgression. In the second place, they are, as is well known, most miserably divided in opinion among themselves. There is no kind of coherency in the councils of the present cabinet. They cannot approach any single great question without the imminent risk of internal discord; and it is only so long as they can remain quiescent that any show of cordiality can be maintained among them. Accordingly, when we look to Lord John Russell's manifestoes, we are quite delighted with their imbecility. As a matter of course, he has put forward, in the first rank of his declarations, the usual vague rhetoric about the social improvement of the people, which is to be effected by the same means which the Whigs have always used towards that desirable end—viz. by doing nothing. Then there is the subject of education, which we must own opens up a vast field for the exertions of government, if they will only seriously undertake it. This, however, cannot be done without the establishment of a new department in the state, which ought to have been created long ago—we mean a board, with a Minister of public instruction at its head; but we hardly expect that Lord John Russell will vigorously proceed to its formation. Then come what are called sanatory measures, by which we understand an improved system of sewerage, and a larger supply of water to the inhabitants of the towns. On this point, we understand, the whole of the cabinet are united, and we certainly rejoice to hear it. It is certainly the first time in our experience, that a ministry has founded its claims to public support on the ground of a promised superintendence of drains and water-carts. Upon this topic, one of the members for Edinburgh was extremely eloquent the other day upon the hustings. We hope sincerely that he is in earnest, and that, for the credit of Whig legislation, since we cannot obtain it from the municipality, our citizens may occasionally be indulged with the sight of a sprinkled street in summer, and that some means will be adopted for irrigating the closes, which at present do stand most sorely in need of the sanatory services of the scavenger. This point, then, of sewerage we freely concede to the Whigs. Let them grapple with it manfully, annihilate all the water-companies in the realm, and give us an unlimited supply of the pure fresh element without restriction or assessment. They cannot be employed more harmlessly—nay, more usefully, than in such a task. Let them also look to the points of adequate endowment for hospitals, and the institution of public baths and washing-houses, and for once in their lives they shall promote measures of real importance and benefit to the poor.

But, unfortunately, sewerage and its concomitants form but a small part of the considerations connected with the government of this country. A ministry may ask some popularity, but it can hardly found a claim for permanency on the fact of its attention to drains. In the first place, Lord John Russell and his colleagues have serious difficulties before them in the state of the public revenue. The late fiscal changes cannot but have the effect of causing a most serious defalcation, which must be immediately and summarily supplied. It will not do to attribute this defalcation to the acts of the late government, since the Whigs were not only the cordial supporters of these measures, but were ready to have taken the initiative. They are as much answerable as Sir Robert Peel, if, at the end of the present year, the accounts of Exchequer shall exhibit a large deficiency, which cannot, consistently with their own policy, be remedied by any new [Pg 258]indirect taxation. The moment that free-trade is adopted as a broad principle, there can be no going back upon former steps. There is no resource left except a direct appeal to the purse, which may, indeed, be made by an additional income-tax, if the country are of a temper to submit to it. But we apprehend that a good deal of negotiation will be necessary before any such measure can be carried. The agriculturists are not in a mood to submit to any further burdens. The eyes of the productive classes are by this time a little opened to the effects of foreign importation, and their trade has been already much crippled by the influx of manufactured articles from abroad. Above all, a strong conviction is felt, both in England and in Scotland, of the gross injustice of the system which throws the whole burden of the direct taxation upon the inhabitants of these two countries, whilst Ireland is entirely free. It is a system which admits of no excuse, and which cannot continue long. The immunities which Ireland already enjoyed were any thing but reasons for exempting her from the operation of income-tax. It is not a question of relative poverty, for the scale is so adjusted that no man is taxed except according to his possession; and it does seem utterly inexplicable, and highly unjust to the Scotsman who pays his regular assessments, and a per centage besides upon his income of £150, that the Irishman, in similar circumstances, should be exempt from either charge. It was this feeling, we believe, more than any other, which rendered the increased grant to Maynooth college obnoxious to the greater part of the British nation; and which, setting aside all other considerations, would at once seal the fate of any ministry that might be rash enough to propose the endowment of the Romish clergy out of the consolidated fund. An increased direct taxation, therefore, would, under present circumstances, be a most dangerous experiment for the Whigs; and yet, if they do not attempt it, how are they to make good the almost certain deficiency of the revenue?

Probably that point may be postponed for future consideration. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof, and the sugar-duties are more immediately pressing. Whether the West Indian proprietors are to receive the coup-de-grâce during the present year, or whether they are to be allowed a further respite, seems at the present a matter of absolute uncertainty. It is, however, merely a question of time. Free-trade cares not for the colonies; and, indeed, whilst the work of protective abolition is going on so rapidly both at home and abroad, no isolated interest has reason to expect that it will be exempted from the common rule. Ireland, it seems, is to have an extension of the franchise; and with respect to her social grievances, Lord John Russell is hopeful that his ministry will be enabled "to afford, not a complete and immediate remedy, but some remedy—some kind of improvement; so that some kind of hope may be entertained that, SOME TEN OR TWELVE YEARS HENCE, the country will, by the measures we undertake, be in a far better state with respect to the frightful destitution and misery which now prevail in that country." Here is a precious enunciation of principles and grammar!—A complete remedy for the Irish social grievances is avowedly out of the power of the most intrepid of Whig politicians—a confession of which we presume Mr O'Connell will not be slow to avail himself. But then he expects—or, to use his own phraseology thinks—"it is most likely to be in our power to afford" some remedy, some kind of improvement, the nature of which is still in embryo, but which shall be so matured that some kind of hope may be entertained, that in some ten or twelve years hence the country may be in a far better state with regard to the destitution which now prevails in the country! Was there ever, we ask, in the whole history of oracles, any thing more utterly devoid of meaning, more thoroughly and helplessly vague, than the above declaration? Why, the whole hopes of the noble scion of the house of Russell are filtered away to nothing before he has achieved the limits of his sentence. There are four or five different stages of trust through which we decline to follow him, being perfectly convinced that the hope of his being likely to introduce any such[Pg 259] measure, is quite as improbable as the implied hope conveyed a little further on, to the effect that he and his party may be allowed to remain for some ten or twelve years in office, until these exceedingly musty ideas all have resolved themselves into a tangible form.

In the mean time it is some gratification to know that the Churches are to be spared for the present. Not that Lord John Russell has any abstract love for these institutions—for he has no objection to Romish endowment out of the funds of the Irish Protestant Church—but then he is quite aware that any such move on his part would lead to his instant and ignominious expulsion from power. Earl Grey is of a different opinion; but the construction of the present cabinet is such, that it admits of every possible diversity of opinion, and was, in fact, so planned by the new premier, that the lion and the lamb might lie down together, and Radical Ward be installed in peace by the side of Conservative Lord Lincoln and of Sidney Herbert, about a year ago the pride of the protectionists!

There is something painfully ludicrous in Lord John's exposition of the theories of cabinet construction. It was, as he experienced last winter, quite impossible to bring the chiefs of his party to any thing like a common understanding. The revelations of Mr Macaulay to his correspondent in Edinburgh, gave any thing but a flattering picture of the unity which then pervaded the councils of Chesham Place. It is gratifying to know, that individuals who at that time expressed so exalted an opinion of the intellects and temper of each other, should have met and consented to act together in a spirit of mutual forgiveness. And we are now asked to receive from the lips of Lord John this profound political axiom, that it is not at all necessary that members of the same cabinet should agree in their individual opinions. We have all heard of cabinets breaking up through their own internal dissensions. Such a disruption, in the eyes of Lord John, was an act of egregious folly. What was to have prevented each man from voting according to his own opinions? On urgent questions, he admits, they should maintain some show of unanimity; but, with all respect for such an authority, we think he is unnecessarily scrupulous. Why quarrel or dissolve upon any single point? Let every man vote according to his own mind—let every question be considered an open one—and we shall answer for the stability of the ministry. In fact, Lord John Russell has at last discovered the political elixir vitæ. No disunion can break up his administration, because disunion is the very principle upon which it has been formed. He has sought support from all classes of men. He is so far from disapproving of Conservative doctrines, that he absolutely has solicited three members of the late government to hold office under him. He asks no recantation of their former opinions, and binds them down to no pledges for the future. Their associates, it is true, are to be men of liberal opinions, some of them verging upon Chartism, and others avowed ecclesiastical destructionists; but that need not deter them from accepting and retaining office. We once knew a worthy Highland chief—a more hospitable being never breathed—who towards the conclusion of his third bottle, invariably lapsed into an affectionate polemical mood, and with tears in his eyes used to put this question to his friends—"Why can't a man be a Christian and a good fellow at the same time?" This is just the theory of Lord John Russell. He can see no objection to diversity of opinions, so long as the whole body of the cabinet are agreed upon one essential point—that of holding fast by office; and surrendering it upon no account whatever.

Accordingly, when we look narrowly into his manifesto, we find that he has chalked out for himself a course which makes this singular coalition by no means absolutely impossible. He will do nothing, if he can help it, which may give offence to any body. The cabinet are to have an easy task of it. They have nothing to do but to sit still with uplifted oars, and allow the vessel of the state to drift quietly along with the stream. We fear,[Pg 260] however, that the Whig Palinurus has not taken into account the existence of such things as shoals and sand-banks. Let him provide what crew he pleases, the keel, unless we are sadly mistaken, will erelong be grating upon some submerged impediment; and then he will have a fair opportunity of testing the discipline of his motley band. Neither sewerage nor education can well be expected to last for ever. Enormous interests are at present placed in his charge; and these, handled and deranged as they have been of late, will not admit of idling or inattention. There can be no dawdling with these as with the Irish social measures. They will not stand the postponement of some ten or twelve years; nor will Lombard Street permit a second derangement of the financial affairs of the nation. In the manufacturing districts, the workmen are demanding the relief of a controlling factory bill, and on that point the cabinet is divided. The railway system requires particular attention, less for the sake of remedying past ministerial neglect, than of regulating future proceedings. The affairs of the colonies may erelong require the superintendence of a calm, temperate, and experienced head; and, finally, there is the question of revenue and the inchoate system of free-trade. There is quite enough work ready to the hand of the present ministry, if they only choose to undertake it. The country party, we believe, will form an effective and a watchful opposition, and will prove the best safeguard against any rash or uncalled-for experiments. Situated as they now are, they have no other functions to perform; and we would earnestly entreat of them, during the period which must elapse between the present time and the next general election, to bury, in so far as may be, all animosity for the past; and to reflect seriously in what manner the changes, which are now inevitable, may be best carried out for the benefit of the nation at large. The artificial fabric which has been reared during many years of conquest and successful industry, has now been deprived of its equipoise, and is fast becoming a ruin We thought, and we still think, that it may be difficult to find a better; but the work of demolition has already commenced, and we must do what we can to assist in the construction of another. At all events, we are entitled to insist upon working rigidly by plan. Let us know what we are about to do, before we bind our hands to any partial and one-sided measure; and, above all things, let us take care that the poorer classes of our fellow-subjects shall not suffer privation or want of employment during the adjusting and development of the new commercial theories. A little time will show their actual value. Long before the invention of the Irish social remedies, we shall be enabled to judge how far the free-trade policy of England is likely to be reciprocated abroad—we shall learn too, by the sure index of the balance-sheet, whether these changes are operating towards our loss or our gain; and we shall also have some opportunity of testing the efficiency of the present administration. Let us, at all events, be prepared for future action; and since we cannot altogether dismiss from our minds the political history of the last few months, let us make it a useful lesson. It may be instructive for future statesmen to learn how the most powerful party in this age and country has been broken up and severed, not by any act of their own, but by the change of policy of their leader. It may also teach then the value of candour and of open dealing—virtues of such universal application, that we cannot yield to doctrines which would exclude then even from the councils of a cabinet.


Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.




[1] Notes and Recollections of a Professional Life. By the late Wm. Fergusson, M.D., Inspector-General of Military Hospitals. Longmans: 1846.

The Military Miscellany. By Henry Marshall, F.R.S.E., Deputy Inspector-General of Army Hospitals. Murray: 1846.

[2] Sir Charles Napier.

[3] "The author, soon after his last return from the West Indies, at the close of the year 1817, was induced, from the then troubled state of the country, to join the ranks of a volunteer corps in Scotland, which was drilled and instructed by experienced men in all manner of ways, with the exception of the one thing needful—the firing ball—for during the whole time he remained with them, nearly two years, that was never thought of; and this was the case generally with the whole volunteer force of Great Britain, as well as the militia, at least in the early part of the war. Future wars must and will recur, and volunteer corps will again be formed; but if they be unused to the full-charged musket, however much their first appearance may impose, they will be found, when brought into action, of as much use as so many Chinese. Let them not suppose that until they have attained this skill, which it is in the power of every man to do, they are qualified to fight the battles of their country. * * * * In their present state, supposing two such bodies to get into collision, it would indeed be matter of wonder to think how they could contrive to kill one another without the aid of the cannon and other adjuncts. If they carried broomsticks on their shoulders, instead of muskets, they would no doubt make a sturdy fight of it; but with fire-arms which they had never been taught to use, the battle would resemble those of the Italian republics in the middle ages, when mailed knights fought the livelong day without mortal casualty."—Dr Fergusson, p. 42.

Is ball practice sufficiently attended to in our army generally? We are inclined to doubt it. "We are economical people," says Dr Ferguson in another place, "famed for straining at gnats and swallowing camels, and the expense of ball cartridge is ever brought up in bar of the soldier being in the constant habit of firing it." We should also like to see some of our muskets replaced by rifles, an arm in which we have ever been deficient.

[4] Macaulay's Miscellaneous Essays. Article Dryden.

[5] Ranke's History of the Popes is a most valuable addition to historical knowledge; but no one will assign it a place beside Livy or Gibbon.

[6] Macaulay's Essays. Article Dryden.


"Those rules of old discover'd, not devised,
As Nature still, but Nature methodised:
Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd
By the same laws which first herself ordain'd.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress, and when indulge our flights:
Just precepts thus from great examples given,
She drew from them what they derived from heaven."
Essay on Criticism.

[8] Peru. Reiseskizzen aus den Jahren, 1838-1842. Von J. J. Von Tschudi. Volume the second.

[9] "Por un clavo se pierde una herradura, por una herradura un cavallo, por un cavallo un caballero."

[10] Stevenson, in his work on South America, refers to the extraordinary longevity of the Peruvian Indians. In the church register at Barranca, he found recorded the deaths of eleven persons in the course of seven years, whose joint ages made up 1207 years, giving an average of 110 years per man. Dr Tschudi mentions an Indian in Jauja, still living in 1839, and who was born, if the register and the priest's word might be believed, in the year 1697. Since the age of eleven years he had made a moderate daily use of coca. However old, few Indians lose their teeth or hair.

[11] Godo, goth, the nickname given by Peruvian Indians to the Spaniards.

[12] The Gastronomic Regenerator; a Simplified and entirely New System of Cookery, &c. By Monsieur A. Soyer, of the Reform Club. London; 1846.