The Project Gutenberg eBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. XI.—April, 1851—Vol. II

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. XI.—April, 1851—Vol. II

Author: Various

Release date: December 7, 2012 [eBook #41576]

Language: English

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Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Pg 577]



No. XI.—APRIL, 1851— Vol. II.

llustration: Washington Irving llustration: Signature

Washington Irving

[From a Daguerreotype by Plumbe.]

There is a freshness about the fame and the character of Mr. Irving, no less than about his writings, which enables us to contemplate them with unabated delight. Few men are so identified personally with their literary productions, or have combined with admiration of their genius such a cordial, home-like welcome in the purest affections of their readers. We never become weary with the repetition of his familiar name; no caprice of fashion tempts us to enthrone a new idol in place of the ancient favorite; and even intellectual jealousies shrink back before the soft brilliancy of his reputation. In the present Number of our Magazine, we give our readers a portrait of the cherished author, with a sketch of his sunny residence, which we are sure will be a grateful memorial of one, to whom our countrymen owe such an accumulated fund of exquisite enjoyments and delicious recollections. We will not let the occasion pass without a few words of recognition, though conscious of no wish to indulge in criticisms which at this late day might appear superfluous.

The position of Mr. Irving in American literature is no less peculiar than it is enviable. With the exception of Mr. Paulding, none of our eminent living authors have been so long before the public. He commenced his career as a writer almost with the commencement of the [Pg 578] present century. The first indications of his rich vein of humor and invention that appeared through the press, were contained in the Jonathan Oldstyle Letters, published in the Morning Chronicle in 1802, when he was in the twentieth year of his age. His health at this time having become seriously impaired, he spent a few years in European travel, and soon after his return in 1806, he wrote the sparkling papers in Salmagundi, which at once decided his position as a shrewd observer of society, a pointed and vigorous satirist, a graphic delineator of manners, and a quaint moral teacher, whose joyous humor graciously attempered the bitterness of his wit. It was not, however, till the appearance of Knickerbocker, that his unique powers, in this respect, were displayed in all their vernal bloom, giving the promise of future golden harvests, which has since been more than redeemed in the richness and beauty of the varied productions of his genius.

The lapse of years has brought no cloud over the early brightness of Mr. Irving's fame. He has sustained his reputation with an elastic vigor that shows the soundness of its elements. At the dawn of American letters, he was acknowledged to possess those enchantments of style, that betray the hand of a master. His rare genius captivated all hearts. His name was identified by our citizens with the racy chronicles of their Dutch ancestors, and soon became associated with local recollections and family traditions. Born in a quarter of the town, whose original features have passed away before the encroachments of business, he has witnessed the growth of his fame with the growth of the city. The memory of Diedrich Knickerbocker is now immortalized at the corners of the streets, and in our most crowded thoroughfares. Even the dusty haunts of Mammon are refreshed with the emblems of a man of genius who once trod their pavements.

With his successive publications, a new phase of Mr. Irving's intellectual character was displayed to the public, but with no decrease of the admiration, which from the first had stamped him as a universal favorite. The Sketch Book, Bracebridge Hall, and Tales of a Traveler revealed a magic felicity of description, with a pathetic tenderness of sentiment, that gave a still more mellow beauty to his composition; while his elaborate historical work, The Life of Columbus, established his reputation for unrivaled skill in sustaining the continuous interest of a narrative, and in grouping its details with admirable picturesque effect. His later productions, illustrative of Indian life, and his still more recent works on the history of Mahomet and the biography of Goldsmith, are marked with the characteristic traits of the author, proving that his right hand has lost none of its cunning, nor his tongue aught of its mellifluous sweetness.

It is highly creditable to the tastes of the present generation, that Mr. Irving retains, to such a remarkable degree, his wonted ascendency. Other authors of acknowledged eminence have arisen in various departments of literature, since he won his earlier laurels, and many of them since he has ceased to be a young man, but they have not enticed the more youthful class of readers from the allegiance which was paid to him by their fathers. The monarch that knew not Joseph has not yet ascended the throne. Indeed many of the most true-hearted admirers of Mr. Irving were not born until long after the Sketch Book had made his name a household word among the tasteful readers of English literature. This enduring popularity could not spring from any accidental causes. It must proceed from those qualities in the author, which are the pledge of a permanent fame. If a foretaste of literary immortality is desirable on earth, we may congratulate Mr. Irving on the possession of one of its most significant symbols, in the unfading brilliancy of his reputation for little less than half a century.

We have already alluded to the use made by Mr. Irving of the historical legends of our country. Nor is this his only claim on the American heart. He is peculiarly a national writer. He has sought his inspirations from the woods and streams, the lakes and prairies of his native land. No poet has been more successful in throwing the spell of romance around our familiar scenery. Under his creative pen the lordly heights of the Hudson have become classic ground. The beings of his weird fancy have peopled their forest dells, and obtained a "local habitation" as permanent as the river and the mountains. His love of country is a genial passion, inspired by the reminiscences of his youth, and quickened by the studies of his manhood. He is proud of his birthright in a land of freedom. His protracted residence abroad has never seduced him from the ardor of his first attachment to the American soil. His favorite writings are pervaded with this spirit. Yet he betrays none of the prejudices of national pride. His patriotism is free from all tincture of bigotry. He scorns the narrowness of exclusive partialities. With genuine cosmopolitan tastes, he gathers up all that is precious and beautiful in the traditions, or manners, or institutions of other lands, finding materials for his gorgeous pictures in the ancestral glories of English castles, and the splendid ruins of the Alhambra, as well as in the quaint legends of Manhattan, and the adventures of trapper life in the Far West. This singular universality has given him the freedom of the whole literary world. As he every where finds himself at home, his fame is not the monopoly of any nation. He has his circle of admirers around the hearth-stones of every cultivated people. Even the English, who are slow to recognize a melody in their own language when spoken by a transatlantic tongue, have vied with his countrymen in rendering homage to his genius. His evident mastery, even in those departments of composition which have been the favorite sphere of the most popular English writers, has softened the [Pg 579] asperity of criticism, and won a genial admiration from the worshipers of Addison, Goldsmith, and Mackenzie. In this respect Mr. Irving stands alone among American writers. Cherished with a glow of affectionate enthusiasm by his own countrymen, he has secured a no less beautiful fame among myriads of readers, with whom his sole intellectual tie is the spontaneous attraction of his genius.

His universality is displayed with equal strength in the influence which he exerts over all classes of minds. He has never been raised to a factitious eminence by the applauses of a clique. His fame is as natural and as healthy as his character, owing none of its lustre to the gloss of flattery, or the glare of fashion. His themes have been taken, to a great extent from common life. He has derived the coloring of his pictures from the universal sentiments of humanity. He is equally free from cold, prosaic, common-place hardness of feeling and from sickly and mawkish effeminacy. He loves to deal with matters of fact, but always surrounds them with the light of his radiant imagination. He exalts and glorifies the actual, without losing it in the clouds of a vaporous ideal. Refined and fastidious in feeling, he retains his sympathy with the most homely realities of life, chuckles over the luscious comforts of a Dutch ménage, and professes no philosophical indifference to the savor of smoking venison in an Indian lodge. With the curious felicity of his style, he uses no strange and far-fetched words. Its charm depends on the beauty of its combinations, not on the rarity of its language. He employs terms that are in the mouths of the people, but weaves them up into those expressive and picturesque forms that never cease to haunt the memory of the reader. Accordingly, he is cherished with equal delight by persons of every variety of culture. His fascinating volumes always formed a part of the traveling equipage of one of the most celebrated New-England judges, and they may be found with no less certainty among the household goods of the emigrant, and the resources for a rainy day on the frugal shelves of the Yankee farmer. They still detain the old man from his pillow, and the schoolboy from his studies. Under their potent charm, the merchant forgets his Wall-street engagements; the preacher lingers over their seductive sentences till the Sunday becomes an astonishment; the statesman is beguiled into oblivion of the salvation of his country; and the advocate is absorbed in the fortunes of some "roystering varlet," till his own forlorn client loses all chance of recovering his character.

The writings of Mr. Irving are no less distinguished by the truthfulness and purity of their moral tone, than by their delightful humor, and their apt delineations of nature and society. It is small praise to say that he never panders to a vicious sentiment, that he makes no appeal to a morbid imagination, and has written nothing to encourage a false and effeminate view of life. His merits, in this respect, are of a positive character. No one can be familiar with his productions, without receiving a kindly and generous influence. His goodness of heart communicates a benignant contagion to his readers. His mild and beautiful charity, his spirit of wise tolerance, the considerateness and candor of his judgments, the placable gentleness of his temper, and the just appreciation of the infinite varieties of character and life are adapted to mitigate the harshness of the cynic, and even to quell the wild furies of the bigot. His sharpest satire never degenerates into personal abuse. It seems the efflorescence of a rich nature, susceptible to every shade of the ludicrous, rather than the overflow of a poisonous fountain, spreading blight and mildew in its course. If he laughs at the follies of the world, it is not that he has any less love for the good souls who commit them, but that with his exuberant good-nature he has no heart to use a more destructive weapon than his lambent irony. With his fine moral influence, he never affects the sternness of a reformer. He is utterly free from all didactic pedantry. We know nothing that he has written with a view to ethical effect. He reveals his own nature in the sweet flow of his delicate musings, and if he does good it is with delightful unconsciousness. He would blush to find that he had been useful when he aimed only to give pleasure, or rather to relieve his own mind of its "thick coming fancies."

In describing the position of Mr. Irving in the field of American literature, we have incidentally touched upon the characteristics of his genius, to which he is indebted for his high and enviable fame. We need not expand our rapid sketch into a labored analysis. Indeed every just criticism of his writings would only repeat the verdict that has so often been pronounced by the universal voice.

Nor is it exclusively as a writer that Mr. Irving has won such a distinguished place in the admiration of his countrymen. While proud of his successes in the walks of literature, they have regarded his personal character with affectionate delight, and lavished the heartfelt sympathies on the man which are never paid to the mere author. The purity of this offering is the more transparent, as Mr. Irving has never courted the favor of the public, nor been placed in those relations with his fellow-men, that are usually the conditions of general popularity. He has wisely kept himself apart from the excitements of the day; with decided political opinions, he has abstained from every thing like partisanship; no one has been able to count on his advocacy of any special interests; and with his singular fluency and grace of expression in written composition, he has never affected the arts of popular oratory. His habits have been those of the well-educated gentleman—neither cherishing the retirement of the secluded student, nor seeking a prominence in public affairs—throwing a charm over the social circles which he frequented by the brilliancy of his intellect, [Pg 580] the amenity of his manners, and the ease of his colloquial intercourse—but never surrounded by the prestige of factitious distinction by which so many inferior men obtain an ephemeral notoriety. His appointment as Minister to Spain has been his sole official honor; and this was rather a tribute to his literary eminence than the reward of political services. On his return from Europe in 1832, after an absence of nearly twenty years, he was received with a spontaneous welcome by his fellow-citizens, such as has been seldom enjoyed by the most successful claimants of popular favor; and from that time to the present, no one has shown a more undisputed title to the character of the favorite son of Manhattan. In his beautiful retreat at Sunnyside, "as quiet and sheltered a nook as the heart of man could desire in which to take refuge from the cares and troubles of this world," he listens to the echoes of his fame, cheered by the benedictions of troops of friends, and enjoying the autumn maturity of life with no mists of envy and bitterness to cloud the purple splendors of his declining sun.

It is understood that Mr. Irving is now engaged in completing the Life of Washington, a work of which he commenced the preparation before his residence in Europe as Minister to the Spanish Court. We are informed that it will probably be given to the public in the course of another season. It can not fail to prove a volume of national and household interest. The revered features of the Immortal Patriot will assume a still more benignant aspect, under the affectionate and skillful touches of the congenial Artist. With his unrivaled power of individualization, his practiced ability in historical composition, and his acute sense of the moral perspective in character, he will present the illustrious subject of his biography in a manner to increase our admiration of his virtues, and to inspire a fresh enthusiasm for the wise and beneficent principles of which his life was the sublime embodiment. There is a beautiful propriety in the still more intimate connection of the name of Washington Irving with that of the Father of his Country. It is meet that the most permanent and precious memorial of the First Chief of the American Republic should be presented by the Patriarch of American Letters. It would be a fitting close of his bright career before the public—the melodious swan-song of his historic Muse.



[Pg 581]

William Cullen Bryant. Signature.

William Cullen Bryant.

The birthplace of Mr. Bryant, in a secluded and romantic spot among the mountains of western Massachusetts, seems to have been selected by Nature as a fit residence for the early unfolding of high poetic genius. Situated on the forest elevations above the beautiful valley of the Connecticut in the old county of Hampshire, surrounded by a rare combination of scenery, in which are impressively blended the wild and rugged with the soft and graceful, adorned in summer with the splendors of a rapid and luxuriant vegetation, in winter exposed to the fiercest storms from the northwest which bury the roads and almost the houses in gigantic snow-drifts, inhabited by a hardy and primitive population which exhibit the peculiar traits of New England character in their most salient form, the little town of Cummington has the distinction of giving birth to the greatest American poet.

It was here that he was first inspired with a sense of the glory and mystery of Nature—first learned to "hold communion with her visible forms," and to lend his ear to her "various language"—first awoke to the consciousness of the "vision and the faculty divine," which he has since displayed in such manifold forms of poetic creation. It was under the shadow of his "native hills"—

"Broad, round, and green, that in the summer sky
With garniture of waving grass and grain,
Orchards, and beechen forests basking lie,
While deep the sunless glens are scooped between
Where brawl o'er shallow beds the streams unseen"—

in the "groves which were God's first temples," where the "sacred influences"

"From the stilly twilight of the place,
And from the gray old trunks, that high in heaven
Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound
Of the invisible breath, that swayed at once
All their green tops, stole over him"—

that the spirit of the boy-poet was touched with the mystic harmonies of the universe, and received those impressions of melancholy grandeur from natural objects, which pervade the most characteristic productions of his genius.

Mr. Bryant's vocation for poetry was marked at a very early age. The history of literature scarcely affords an example of such a precocious, and, at the same time, such a healthy development. His first efforts betray no symptoms of a forced, hot-bed culture, but seem the spontaneous growth of a prolific imagination. They are free from the spasmodic forces which indicate a morbid action of the intellect, and flow in the polished, graceful, self-sustaining tranquillity, which is usually the crowning attainment of a large and felicitous experience. Among his earliest productions were several translations [Pg 582] from different Latin poets, some of which, made at ten years of age, were deemed so successful, as to induce his friends to publish them in the newspaper of a neighboring town. These were followed by a regular satirical poem, entitled "The Embargo," written during the heated political controversies concerning the policy of Mr. Jefferson, many of whose most strenuous opponents resided at Northampton (at that time the centre of political and social influence to a wide surrounding country), and from the contagion of whose intelligence and zeal, the susceptible mind of the young poet could not be expected to escape. This was published in Boston, in 1808, before the author had completed his fourteenth year. Its merits were at once acknowledged; it was noticed in the principal literary review of that day; it was read with an eagerness in proportion to the warmth of party spirit; and, indeed, so strong was the impression which it made on the most competent judges, that nothing but the explicit assertions of the friends of the writer could convince them of its genuineness. It seemed, in all respects, too mature and finished a performance to have proceeded from such a juvenile pen. This point, however, was soon decided, and if any remaining doubts lingered in their minds, they might have been removed by the production of "Thanatopsis," which was written about four years after, when the author was in the beginning of his nineteenth year.

This remarkable poem was not published until 1816, when it appeared in the North American Review, then under the charge of Mr. Dana, who has himself since attained to such a signal eminence among the poets and essayists of America, and between whom and Mr. Bryant a singular unity of intellectual tastes laid the foundation for a cordial friendship, which has been maintained with a warmth and constancy in the highest degree honorable to the character of both parties. Meanwhile, Mr. Bryant had established himself in the profession of the law, in the beautiful village of Great Barrington, exchanging the mountain wildness of his native region, for the diversified and singularly lovely scenery of the Housatonic Valley, where he composed the lines "To Green Elver," "Inscription for an entrance to a Wood," "To a Waterfowl," and several of his other smaller poems, which have since hardly been surpassed by himself, and certainly not by any other American writer.

The "Thanatopsis," viewed without reference to the age at which it was produced, is one of the most precious gems of didactic verse in the whole compass of English poetry, but when considered as the composition of a youth of eighteen, it partakes of the character of the marvelous. It is, however, unjust to its rich and solemn beauty to contemplate it in the light of a prodigy. Nor are we often tempted to revert to the singularity of its origin, when we yield our minds to the influence of its grand and impressive images. It seems like one of those majestic products of nature, to which we assign no date, and which suggest no emotion but that of admiration at their glorious harmony.

The objection has been made to the "Thanatopsis," that its consolations in view of death are not drawn directly from the doctrines of religion, and that it in fact makes no express allusion to the Divine Providence, nor to the immortality of the soul. These ideas are so associated in most minds with the subject matter of the poem, that their omission causes a painful sense of incongruity. But the writer was not composing a homily, nor a theological treatise. His imagination was absorbed with the soothing influences of nature under the anticipation of the "last bitter hour." In order to make the contrast more forcible, the poem opens with a cold and dreary picture of the common destiny. Earth claims the body which she has nourished; man is doomed to renounce his individual being and mingle with the elements; kindred with the sluggish clod, his mould is pierced by the roots of the spreading oak. The sun shall no more see him in his daily course, nor shall any traces of his image remain on earth or ocean.

But the universality of this fate relieves the desolation of the prospect. Nature imparts a solace to her favorite child, glides into his darker musings with mild and healing sympathy, and gently counsels him not to look with dread on the mysterious realm, which is the final goal of humanity. No one retires alone to his eternal resting-place. No couch more magnificent could be desired than the mighty sepulchre in which kings and patriarchs have laid down to their last repose. Every thing grand and lovely in nature contributes to the decoration of the great tomb of man. The dead are every where. The sun, the planets, the infinite host of heaven, have shone on the abodes of death through the lapse of ages. The living, who now witness the departure of their companions without heed, will share their destiny. With these kindly admonitions, Nature speaks to the spirit when it shudders at the thought of the stern agony and the narrow house.

The stately movement of the versification, the accumulated grandeur of the imagery, the vein of tender and solemn pathos, and the spirit of cheerful trust at the close, which mark this extraordinary poem, render it more effective, in an ethical point of view, than volumes of exhortation; while, regarded as a work of art, the unity of purpose with which its leading thought is presented under a variety of aspects, gives it a completeness and symmetry which remove the force of the objection to which we have alluded.

In a similar style of majestic thought is the "Forest Hymn," from which we can not refrain from quoting an inimitable passage, descriptive of the alternation between Life and Death in the Universe, which seems to us to open the heart of the mystery with a truthfulness of insight that has found expression in language of unsurpassable energy. [Pg 583]

"My heart is awed within me, when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on
In silence, round me—the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finish'd, yet renew'd
Forever. Written on thy works, I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo! all grow old and die—but see, again,
How on the faltering footsteps of decay
Youth presses—ever gay and beautiful youth,
In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly that their ancestors
Moulder beneath them. O, there is not lost
One of earth's charms: upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies,
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle hate
Of his arch-enemy, Death—yea, seats himself
Upon the tyrant's throne—the sepulchre,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end."

The soft and exquisite beauty of the lines entitled "To a Waterfowl" is appreciated by every reader of taste. They belong to that rare class of poems which, once read, haunt the imagination with a perpetual charm. A more natural expression of true religious feeling than that contained in the closing stanzas, is nowhere to be met with.

"Thou 'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallow'd up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

"He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright."



But we have no space to dwell upon the attractive details of Mr. Bryant's poetry, though it would be a grateful task to pass in review the familiar productions, of which we can weary as little as of the natural landscape. It needs no profound analysis to state their most general characteristics. Bryant's descriptions of nature are no less remarkable for their minute accuracy than for the richness and delicacy of their suggestions in the sphere of sentiment. No one can ever be tempted to accuse him of obtaining his knowledge of nature at second hand. He paints nothing which he has not seen. His images are derived from actual experience. Hence they have the vernal freshness of an orchard in bloom. He is no less familiar with the cheerful tune of brooks in flowery June than with the voices and footfalls of the thronged city. He has watched the maize-leaf and the maple-bough growing greener under the fierce sun of midsummer; the mountain wind has breathed its coolness on his brow; he has gazed at the dark figure of the wild-bird painted on the crimson sky; and listened to the sound of dropping nuts as they broke the solemn stillness of autumn woods. The scenes of nature which he [Pg 584] has loved and wooed have rewarded him with their beautiful revelations in the moral world. Her dim symbolism has become transparent to the anointed eye of the reverent bard, and initiated him into the mysteries which give a new significance to the material creation.

It is true that the staple of his poetry is reflection, rather than passion, reminding us of the chaste severity of sculpture, and not appealing to the fancy by any sensuous or voluptuous arts of coloring. But a deep sentiment underlies the expression; and he touches the springs of emotion with a powerful hand, though he never ceases to be master of his own feelings. The apparent coldness of which some have complained, may be ascribed to the frigidity of the reader, with more truth than to the apathy of the writer. With its highly intellectual character, the poetry of Mr. Bryant is adapted to win a more profound and lasting admiration than if it were merely the creation of a productive fancy. It may gain a more limited circle of readers (although its universal popularity sets aside this supposition), but they who have once enjoyed its substantial reality will place it on the same shelf with Milton and Wordsworth, with a "sober certainty" that they will always find it instinct with a fresh and genuine vitality.

The influence of this poetry is of a pure and ennobling character; never ministering to false or unhealthy sensibility, it refreshes the better feelings of our nature; inspiring a tranquil confidence in the on-goings of the Universe, with whose most beautiful manifestations we are brought into such intimate communion. Its most pensive tones, which murmur such sweet, sad music, never lull the soul in the repose of despair, but inspire it with a cheerful hope in the issues of the future. The "inexorable Past" shall yet yield the treasures which are hidden in its mysterious depths, and every thing good and fair be renewed in "the glory and the beauty of its prime."

"All shall come back, each tie
Of pure affection shall be knit again;
Alone shall Evil die,
And Sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign."

As a prose writer, Mr. Bryant is distinguished for signal excellencies both of thought and expression, evincing a remarkable skill in various departments of composition, from the ephemeral political essay to the high-wrought fictitious tale, and graphic recollections of foreign travel. The superior brightness of his poetic fame can alone prevent him from being known to posterity as a vigorous and graceful master of prose, surpassed by few writers of the present day.


In the early months of last year the Great Exhibition had become as nearly a "fixed fact" as any thing in the future can be. The place where and the building in which it was to be held, then became matters for grave consideration. The first point, fortunately, presented little difficulty, the south side of Hyde-park, between Kensington-road and Rotten-row, having been early selected as the locality.

The construction of the edifice, however, presented difficulties not so easily surmounted. The Building Committee, comprising some of the leading architects and engineers of the kingdom, among whom are Mr. Barry, the architect of the new Houses of Parliament, and Mr. Stephenson, the constructor of the Britannia Tubular Bridge, advertised for plans to be presented for the building. When the committee met, they found no want of designs; their table was loaded with them, to the number of 240. Their first task was to select those which were positively worthless, and throw them aside. By this process the number for consideration was reduced to about sixty; and from these the committee proceeded to concoct a design, which pleased nobody—themselves least of all. However, the plan, such as it was, was decided upon, and advertisements were issued for tenders for its construction. This was the signal for a fierce onslaught upon the proceedings of the committee. For the erection of a building which was to be used for only a few months, more materials were to be thrown into one of the main lungs of the metropolis, than were contained in the eternal pyramids of Egypt. Moreover, could the requisite number of miles of brickwork be constructed within the few weeks of time allotted? and was it not impossible that this should, in so short a time, become sufficiently consolidated to sustain the weight of the immense iron dome which, according to the design of the committee, was to rest upon it?

The committee, fortunately, were not compelled to answer these and a multitude of similar puzzling interrogatories which were poured in upon them. Relief was coming to them from an unexpected quarter: whence, we must go back a little to explain.

On New Year's Day, of the year 1839, Sir Robert Schomburgk, the botanist, was proceeding in a native boat up the River Berbice, in Demerara. In a sheltered reach of the stream, he discovered resting upon the still waters an aquatic plant, a species of lily, but of a gigantic size, and of a shape hitherto unknown. Seeds of this plant, to which was given the name of "Victoria Regia," were transmitted to England, and were ultimately committed to the charge of Joseph Paxton, the horticulturist at Chatsworth, the magnificent seat of the Duke of Devonshire. The plant produced from these seeds became the occasion, and in certain respects the model, for the Crystal Palace.

Every means was adopted to place the plant in its accustomed circumstances. A tropical soil was formed for it of burned loam and peat; Newcastle coal was substituted for a meridian sun, to produce an artificial South America under an English heaven; by means of a wheel a ripple like that of its native river, was communicated to the waters of the tank upon which [Pg 585] [Pg 586] its broad leaves reposed. Amid such enticements the lily could not do otherwise than flourish; and in a month it had outgrown its habitation. The problem was therefore set before its foster-father to provide for it, within a few weeks, a new home. This was not altogether a new task for Mr. Paxton, who had already devoted much attention to the erection of green-houses; and within the required space of time, he had completed this house for the "Victoria Regia," and therein, in the sense in which the acorn includes the oak, that of the Crystal Palace.



While Mr. Paxton was planning an abode for this Brobdignagian lily, the Building Committee of the Exhibition were poring wearily over the 240 plans lying upon their table. They had rejected the 180 worthless ones, and from the remainder had concocted, as we have said, with much cogitation and little satisfaction, their own design. Such as it was, however, it was determined that it should be executed—if possible.

This brings us down to the middle, or to be precise, to the 18th of June, on which day Mr. Paxton was sitting as chairman on a railway committee. He had previously made himself acquainted with the case laid before them, and was not therefore under the necessity of now devoting his attention to it. He took advantage of this leisure moment to work out a design for the Exhibition Building, which he had conceived some days previously. In ten days thereafter elevations, sections, working plans and specifications, were completed from this draft, and the whole was submitted to the inspection of competent and influential persons, by whom it was unanimously announced to be practicable, and the only practicable scheme presented.

This design was then laid before the contractors, Messrs. Fox and Henderson, who at once determined to submit a tender for the construction of a building in accordance with it. In a single week, they had calculated the amount and cost of every pound of iron, every pane of glass, every foot of wood, and every hour of labor which would be required, and were prepared with a tender and specifications for the construction of the edifice. But here arose a difficulty. The committee had advertised only for proposals for carrying out their own design; but, fortunately, they had invited the suggestion on the part of contractors, of any improvements upon it; and so Mr. Paxton's plan was presented simply as an "improvement" upon that of the committee, with which it had not a single feature in common. This, with certain modifications, was adopted, and the result is the Crystal Palace—itself the greatest wonder which the Exhibition will present—the exterior of which is represented in our accompanying Illustration.

The building consists of three series of elevations of the respective heights of 64, 44, and 24 feet, intersected at the centre by a transept of 72 feet in width, having a semicircular roof rising to the height of 108 feet in the centre. It extends in length 1851 feet from north to south, more than one-third of a mile, with a breadth of 456 feet upon the ground; covering 18 superficial acres, nearly double the extent of our own Washington-square; and exceeding by more than one half the dimensions of the Park or the Battery. The whole rests upon cast-iron pillars, united by bolts and nuts, fixed to flanges turned perfectly true, so that if the socket be placed level, the columns and connecting-pieces must stand upright; and, in point of fact, not a crooked line is discoverable in the combination of such an immense number of pieces. For the support of the columns, holes are dug in the ground, in which is placed a bed of concrete, and upon this rest iron sockets of from three to four feet in length, according to the level of the ground, to which the columns are firmly attached by bolts and nuts. At the top, each column is attached by a girder to its opposite column, both longitudinally and transversely, so that the whole eighteen acres of pillars is securely framed together.

The roofs, of which there are five, one to each of the elevations, are constructed on the "ridge and furrow" principle, and glazed with sheets of glass of 49 inches in length. The construction will be at once understood by imagining a series of parallel rows of the letter V (thus, \/\/\/), extending in uninterrupted lines the whole length of the building. The apex of each ridge is formed by a wooden sash-bar with notches upon each side for holding the laths in which are fitted the edges of the glass. The bottom bar, or rafter, is hollowed at the top so as to form a gutter to carry off the water, which passes through transverse gutters into the iron columns, which are hollow, thus serving as water-pipes; in the base of the columns horizontal pipes are inserted, which convey the accumulated water into the sewers. The exhalations, from so large an extent of surface, from the plants, and from the breath of the innumerable visitors, rising and condensed against the glass, would descend from a flat roof in the form of a perpetual mist, but it is found that from glass pitched at a particular angle the moisture does not fall, but glides down its surface. The bottom bars are therefore grooved on the inside, thus forming interior gutters, by which the moisture also finds its way down the interior of the columns, through the drainage pipes, into the sewers. These grooved rafters, of which the total length is 205 miles, are formed by machinery, at a single operation.

The lower tier of the building is boarded, the walls of the upper portion being composed, like the roof, of glass. Ventilation is provided for by the basement portion being walled with iron plates, placed at an angle of 45 degrees, known as luffer-boarding, which admits the air freely, while it excludes the rain. A similar provision is made at the top of each tier of the building. These are so constructed that they can be closed at pleasure. In order to subdue the intense [Pg 587] light in a building having such an extent of glass surface, the whole roof and the south side will be covered with canvas, which will also preclude the possibility of injury from hail, as well as render the edifice much cooler.

In the construction of the building care has been taken to give to each part the stiffest and strongest form possible in a given quantity of material. The columns are hollow, and the girders which unite them are trellis-formed. The utmost weight which any girder will ever be likely to sustain is seven and a half tons; and not one is used until after having been tested to the extent of 15 tons; while the breaking weight is calculated at 30 tons. At first sight, there would seem to be danger that a building presenting so great a surface to the action of the wind, would be liable to be blown down. But from the manner in which the columns are framed together they can not be overthrown except by breaking them. Experiments show that in order to break the 1060 columns on the ground floor, a force of 6360 tons must be exerted, at a height of 24 feet. The greatest force of the wind ever known is computed at 22 pounds to the superficial foot; assuming a possible force of 28 pounds, and suppose a hurricane of that momentum to strike at once the whole side of the building, the total force would be less than 1500 tons—not one-fourth of the capacity of the building to sustain, independent of the bracings, which add materially to its strength. So that, if any reliance at all can be placed upon theoretical engineering, there can be no doubt as to the safety of the building.

Entering at the main east or west entrance, we find ourselves in a nave 64 feet in height, 72 in breadth, and extending without interruption the whole length of the building, one-third of a mile. Parallel with this, but interrupted by the transept in the centre, are a series of side aisles of 48 and 24 feet in breadth, with a height of 44 and 24 feet. Over the centre of the nave swells the semicircular roof of the transept, overarching the stately trees beneath—a Brobdignagian green-house with ancient elms instead of geraniums and rose-bushes. The whole area of the ground floor is 772,784 square feet; and that of the galleries 217,100; making in all within a fraction of one million square feet; to which may be added 500,000 feet of hanging-space, available for the display of the products of human heads and hands.

There are three refreshment rooms, one in the transept, and one near each end, around the trees which were left standing, where ices and pastry for the wealthy, and bread-and-butter and cheese for the poorer are to be furnished. No wine, spirits, or fermented liquors are to be sold; only tea, coffee, and unfermented drinks; pure water is to be furnished gratis to all comers by the lessees of the refreshment rooms.

In respect to the decoration of the interior, a keen controversy has been waged. The fact of iron being the material of construction renders it necessary that it should be painted to preserve it from the action of the atmosphere. On the one hand, it is said that the fact that the structure is metallic should be indicated by the decoration, otherwise the whole will have no more appearance of stability than an arbor of wicker-work. Those who take this view recommend that the interior should be bronzed. On the other hand, those to whom the decoration is intrusted affirm that the object of using color is to increase the effect of light and shade. If the whole were of one uniform dead color the effect of the innumerable parts of which the building is composed, all falling in similar lines, one before the other, would be precisely that of a plane surface; the extended lines of pillars presenting the aspect of a continuous wall. In order to bring out the distinctive features of the building various colors must be used; and experiments show that a combination of the primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, is most pleasant to the eye. The best means for using these is to place blue, which retreats, upon the concave surfaces, yellow, which advances, upon the convex ones, reserving red for plane surfaces. But as when these colors come in contact each becomes tinged with the complementary color of the other—the blue with green, the red with orange—a line of white is interposed between them. Applying these principles, the shafts of the columns are to be yellow, the concave portions of their capitals blue, the under side of the girders red, and their vertical surfaces white.

Among all the wonders of the Crystal Palace nothing is more wonderful than its cheapness, and the rapidity of its construction. Possession of the site was obtained on the 30th of July; in a period of only 145 working-days the building was to all intents and purposes completed. As to cheapness it costs less per cubic foot than an ordinary barn. If used only for the Exhibition, and at its close returned to the contractors, the cost will be nine-sixteenths of a penny a foot; or, if permanently purchased, it will be one penny and one-twelfth. Thus: The solid contents are 33,000,000 cubic feet; the price if returned is £79,800, if retained £150,000. This simple fact, that a building of glass and iron, covering eighteen acres, affording room for nine miles of tables, should have been completed in less than five months from the day when the contract was entered into, at a cost less than that of the humblest hovel, opens a new era in the science of building.

As to the final destination of the Crystal Palace, it is the wish of the designer that it should be converted into a permanent winter-garden with drives and promenades. Leaving ample space for plants, there would be two miles of walks in the galleries, and the same amount for walks upon the ground floor; in summer the removal of the upright glass would give the whole the appearance of a continuous walk or garden. [Pg 588]



Sir John Franklin, in command of the "Erebus" and "Terror," having on board one hundred and thirty-eight souls, set sail from England on the 19th of May, 1845, in search of a northwest passage. On the 26th of July, sixty-eight days afterward, they were seen by a passing whaler moored to an iceberg near the centre of Baffin's Bay; since which time no intelligence of their fate has been received. No special anxiety was entertained respecting them until the beginning of 1848, for the commander had intimated that the voyage would probably continue for three years, and that they might be the first to announce their own return. But as month after month passed away without bringing any tidings, an anxious and painful sympathy sprung up in the public mind, and the British Government determined that searches for the missing vessels should be made in three different quarters by three separate expeditions fitted out for that purpose.

One quarter, however, that region known as Boothia, where there was a probability of success, was beyond the scope of these expeditions, and Lady Franklin determined to organize an expedition to explore that region. For this purpose she appropriated all the means under her control; and a subscription was opened to supply the deficiency. The "Prince Albert," a ketch of less than ninety tons burden, measuring in length about seventy-two feet, and seventeen in breadth, was purchased for the expedition. She was taken to Aberdeen to be fitted up; a double planking was put upon her, by way of pea-jacket to fit her for her arctic voyage, and a crew of fourteen canny Scotchmen, secured by the promise of double pay. Captain Forsyth, of the Royal Navy, proffered his gratuitous services as commander. Attached to the expedition, having special charge of the stores and scientific instruments, with the express understanding that he should head one of the exploring parties to be sent out from Regent's Inlet, was Mr. W. Parker Snow, from whose Journal we propose to draw up some account of the pleasures of sailing through the ice.

Mr. Snow seems to have been precisely the man for such an undertaking. He left America at three days' notice to join any expedition which might be sent out by Lady Franklin. With an active, hopeful temperament, never so happy as in a gale of wind, if it was only blowing the right way, he rushed to the embrace of the Arctic Snows with as much alacrity as though they were kinsmen as well as namesakes. He had, moreover, a happy faculty of turning his hand to every thing, and no disposition to hide his talent in a napkin. A physician had been engaged for the vessel; but when, two days before sailing, the disciple of Esculapius saw the diminutive craft, he declined to proceed:—Mr. Snow volunteered to perform his duties; he had read a little medicine at odd [Pg 589] hours; and by the aid of Rees's Guide, and Smee's Broadsheet, his practice was uniformly successful—either in spite of, or on account of, his informal professional training. The sailors, as might be expected from their Scotch blood, were desirous of having religious worship on board:—Mr. Snow offered his services as chaplain, reading and expounding the Scriptures, and offering up prayer.

On the 6th of June, 1850, the Prince Albert set sail from Aberdeen; a fortnight brought them within two hundred miles of the shores of Greenland. Then came, for a week, a succession of heavy gales, which drove them back upon their course; so that in six days their progress was not more than a dozen miles. The 1st of July, however, found them off Cape Farewell. Some idea of the multifarious occupations of the many-officed Mr. Snow, at a time when his proper duties had not commenced, may be gathered from his description of


"At half-past six I used to turn out; and, warm or cold, wet or dry, take an immediate ablution in the pure and natural element. For half an hour I would then walk on deck, fair or foul; and, a little before eight, examine the men's forecastle; see to their condition, and whether any of them were sick; and if so, give them medicine. At eight bells, I would then take the chronometrical time for Captain Forsyth, while he observed the altitude of the sun, to get our longitude. Latterly I used, by his desire, to take a set of sights also myself, taking the time from a common watch, and comparing it afterward with the chronometer. The chronometers were then wound up by me, and the thermometer, barometer, &c., registered. At eight o'clock the two mates went to breakfast; the captain and I getting ours soon after them. During the forenoon I had to attend to the stores, provisions, &c.; write my accounts, journals, and other papers; and at noon worked up the ship's reckoning, the observations, and wrote the ship's log, examining our present position and future course. The mates had their dinner at noon: the captain and I at three P.M.; after which, a stroll for an hour or so on deck was taken by both of us. Tea came round at six, and at eight P.M. I used to try the temperature of the air on deck, and of the sea. After that, we would read together in the stern cabin. At ten, we would take our hot grog; and, generally about eleven, when free from rough weather or the neighborhood of ice, turn in for the night. Very little candle was required below at night, as there was seldom more than an hour or two's darkness during any part of our voyage, until we were returning. It was not long after this date, moreover, that we had continued daylight through the whole twenty-four hours."

The principal obstruction and danger in arctic navigation arises from the ice; fields of which often occur of twenty or thirty miles in diameter, and ten or fifteen feet in thickness. From these crystal plains rise sometimes isolated, sometimes in groups, elevations of thirty or more feet in height, called hummocks. Dr. Scoresby once saw a field so free from hummocks and fissures that a coach might have traversed it for leagues in a straight direction, without obstruction. In May or June these fields begin to drift along in solemn procession to the southwestward, in which direction they hold their steady course, whether in calm or in spite of adverse winds. When these floating continents emerge from the drift ice which had hitherto protected them, they are shattered and broken up by the long, deep swell of the ocean. A ground-swell, hardly perceptible in the open sea, will break up a field in a few hours. These fields sometimes acquire a rotary motion, which gives their circumference a velocity of several miles an hour, producing a tremendous shock when one impinges upon another. "A body of more than ten thousand millions of tons in weight," says Dr. Scoresby, "meeting with resistance when in motion, produces consequences scarcely possible to conceive. The strongest ship is but an insignificant impediment between two fields in motion."—Mr. Snow gives the following account of


"We had come so quickly and unexpectedly upon this "stream" (not having seen it, owing to the thick weather, until close aboard of it), that promptitude of decision and movement was absolutely necessary. It was one of those moments when the seaman comes forward, and by boldly acting, either in the one way or the other, shows what he is made of. In the present case the question instantly arose as to whether the vessel should at once run through the ice now before her, or wait until clearer and milder weather came. The mate, as ice-master, was asked by the captain which, in his opinion, was best. He advised heaving to, to windward of it, and waiting. The second mate was then asked; and he, without knowing the other's opinion, strongly urged the necessity of running through at once. Captain Forsyth, using his own judgment, very wisely decided upon the latter, and accordingly run the ship on. And a pretty sight, too, it was, as the "Prince Albert" under easy and working sail, in a moment or two more entered the intricate channels that were presented to her between numerous bergs and pieces of ice, rough and smooth, large and small, new and old, dark and white. It was hazy weather, snowing and raining at the time; and all hands having been summoned on deck, were wrapped in their oil-skin dresses and waterproof overcoats. Standing on the topsail-yard was the second mate conning the ship; half-way up the weather rigging clung the captain, watching and directing as necessary; while aft, on the raised counter near the wheel, stood the chief mate telling the helmsman how to steer. This being the first ice in any large and continuous quantity that we had met, I looked at it with some curiosity. The moment we had entered within the outer edge of the stream the water became as smooth as a common [Pg 590] pond on shore; and it was positively a pretty sight to see that little vessel dodging in and out and threading her way among the numerous pieces of ice that beset her proper and direct course. The ice itself presented a most beautiful appearance both in color and form, being variegated in every direction. We were soon in the very thick of it; and before five minutes had elapsed from our first taking it we could see no apparent means of either going on or retracing our steps. But it was well managed, and after about an hour's turning hither and thither, this way and that way, straight and crooked, we got fairly through, and found clear water beyond.

"Throughout the night the wind blew a complete hurricane, and the short high sea was perfectly furious; lashing about in all directions with the madness of a maelström, and with a violence that, apparently, nothing could resist. Heavy squalls, with sharp sleet and snowstorms from the southward, added to the fearful tempest that was raging. It was impossible to see three miles ahead, the weather being so thick. Occasionally an iceberg would dart out through the mist, heaving its huge body up and down in frightful motion, now advancing, next receding, and again approaching with any thing but pleasant proximity. Our little vessel, however, as usual, stood it well. Could we have divested ourselves of the reality of the scene, it might have been likened to a fancy picture, in which some strange and curious dance was being represented between the sea, the ice, and the ship; the latter, by the aid of the former, gallantly lifting herself to, and then declining from the other. But it was too real; and the greater danger of the land being possibly near, was too strongly impressed upon our minds, to allow any visionary feeling to possess us at the time. It was the worst and most dangerous night we had yet had, and hardly a man on board rested quietly below until the height of it was past."

Soon after this a boat's crew was sent ashore for water, where in a lonely spot they discovered the grave of an European, with an inscription on a rude wooden tablet at its head, stating that "John Huntley of Shetland, was buried there in August, 1847." The sailors replaced the board which had blown down; and left the solitary grave, with the humble tribute of a wish for the repose of the poor fellow's soul. A few days later while on shore, Mr. Snow was spectator of the


"I was speedily awakened to reality by a sudden noise like the cracking of some mighty edifice of stone, or the bursting of several pieces of ordnance. Ere the sound of that noise had vibrated on the air, a succession of reports like the continued discharge of a heavy fire of musketry, interspersed with the occasional roar of cannon, followed quickly upon one another, for the space of perhaps two minutes; when, suddenly, my eye was arrested by the oscillation of a moderate-sized iceberg not far beneath my feet, in a line away from the hill I was upon; and the next moment it tottered, and with a sidelong inclination, cut its way into the bosom of the sea upon which it had before been reclining. Roar upon roar pealed in echoes from the mountain heights on every side: the wild seabird arose with fluttering wings and rapid flight as it proceeded to a quarter where its quiet would be less disturbed: the heretofore peaceful water presented the appearance of a troubled ocean after a fierce gale of wind; and, amid the varied sounds now heard, human voices from the boat came rising up on high in honest English—strangely striking on the ear—hailing to know if I had seen the 'turn,' and also whether I wanted them to join me. But an instant had not passed before the mighty mass of snow and ice which had so suddenly overturned, again presented itself above the water. This time, however, it bore a different shape. The conical and rotten surface that had been uppermost, when I had first noticed it, was gone, and a smooth, table-like plane, from which streamed numerous cascades and jets d'eau, was now visible. The former had sunk some hundred feet below, when the 'berg,' reversing itself, had been overturned by its extreme upper weight, and thus brought the bottom of it high above the level of the sea."

Northward, and still northward: thicker and more continuous grew the ice-plains, while ever and anon a sound like the discharge of heavy artillery booming along the lonely seas, announced that one iceberg after another had burst amid this freezing arctic midsummer. They now found that they were approaching the great Pack, where their labors were properly to begin. Due preparations were made, by laying in order ice-anchors, claws, and axes, getting tow-ropes, warps, and tracking-belts in order for instant use, and


"The 'Crow's Nest' is a light cask, or any similar object, appointed for the look-out man aloft to shelter himself in, and is in large ships generally at the topmast head. In smaller vessels, however, it is necessary to have it as high up as possible, in order to give from it a greater scope of vision than could be attained lower down. Consequently, in the Prince Albert it was close to the 'fore-truck,' that is, completely at the mast-head. In our case, it was a long, narrow, but light cask, having at the lower part of it a trap, acting like a valve, whereby any one could enter; and was open at the upper part. In length it was about four feet, so that a person on the look-out had no part of himself exposed to the weather but his head and shoulders. In the interior of it was a small seat, slung to the hinder part of the cask, and a spyglass, well secured. To reach this, a rope ladder was affixed to the bottom of it, as seen in the engraving. This is called the 'Jacob's Ladder,' and the boatswain may be observed attaching the lower parts of it to the foremast-head. [Pg 591] Upon the top-gallant yard are two men, busy in securing the cask to the mast, while the second mate is inside trying its strength, and giving directions concerning it. The 'Crow's Nest' is a favorite place with many whaling captains, who are rarely out of it for days when among the ice. I was very frequently in it myself, fair weather or foul—from six to a dozen times a day—both for personal gratification, and for the purpose of looking out. It was a favorite spot with me at midnight, when the atmosphere was clear, and the whole beauty of arctic scenery was exposed to view. It was all fresh to me: I enjoyed it; and had enough to do, admiring the enormous masses of ice we were passing, the white-topped mountains in the distance, and the strange aspect of every thing around me. It seemed, as we slowly threaded our way through the bergs, that we were about approaching some great battle-field, in which we were to be actively engaged; and that we were now, cautiously, passing through the various outposts of the mighty encampment; at other times I could almost fancy we were about to enter secretly, by the suburbs, some of those vast and wonderful cities whose magnificent ruins throw into utter insignificance all the grandeur of succeeding ages. Silently, and apparently without motion, did we glide along, amidst dark hazy weather, rain, and enough wind to fill the sails and steady them, but no more."

Northward yet, and ever northward:—More frequent and massive grew the icebergs among which the little "Prince Albert" threaded its way; while far and near, to the east and north and west the eye met nothing but a uniform dazzling whiteness shot up from the glittering ice-peaks. Now and then a bear was seen, sitting a grim sentinel, by some seal-hole, from which his prey was soon "expected out." As they advanced the ice closed in around them, until at last they were fairly



"We were fairly 'in the ice:' but ice of which most readers have no idea. The water frozen in our ponds and lakes at home is but as a mere thin pane of glass in comparison to that which now came upon us. Fancy before you miles and miles of a tabular icy rock eight feet or more, solid, thick throughout, unbroken, or only by a single rent here and there, not sufficient to separate the piece itself. Conceive this icy rock to be in many parts of a perfectly even surface, but in others covered with what might well be conceived as the ruins of a mighty city suddenly destroyed by an earthquake, and the remains jumbled together in one confused mass. Let there be also huge blocks of most fantastic form scattered about upon this tabular surface, and in some places rising in towering height, and in one apparently connected chain, far, far beyond the sight. Take these in your view, and you will have some faint idea of what was the kind of ice presented to my eye as I gazed upon it from aloft. We had at last come to the part most dreaded by the daring and adventurous whalers. Melville's Bay, often called, from its fearful character, the 'Devil's Nip,' was opening to my view, and stretching away far to the northward out of sight. But neither bay nor aught else, except by knowledge of its position, could I discover. Every where was ice; and the wonder to me was, how we were to get [Pg 592] on at all through such an apparently insurmountable barrier.

"Our position now was becoming more and more confined as to sailing room. The channel in which we had hitherto been quietly gliding, narrowed till little better than the breadth of the ship. At 4h 30m P.M. we could get no further, a barrier of 'hummocky' ice intervening right across our passage between us and some open water, visible not above seventy yards from us. Speedily the channel through which we had come began to close, and after trying in vain to force our way through the obstruction, we found ourselves at six o'clock completely beset. The Devil's Thumb, which was now plainly visible, at this time bore S.E. (compass) about thirty miles. Other land was also seen topping over enormous glaciers, which were most wonderful to look at, and used to entrance my gaze for hours. At six o'clock our actual labors in the ice commenced. It was beginning to press upon us rather hard; and from the appearance of that which blocked our way, it was evident there had been a heavy squeeze here, and we were afraid of getting fixed in another. Accordingly every effort was made to remove the obstacle which impeded our passage. We first began to try and heave the ship through by attaching strong warps to ice anchors, which latter being fastened in the solid floe, enabled a heavy strain to be put in force. The windlass was then set to work, but to no purpose, as we hardly gained a fathom. We next tried what heaving out the pieces that were in our way would do, but this proved of no avail. The saws were then set to work to cut off some angular projections that inconveniently pressed against our side; and while this was being done, I sprung on to the hummocky pieces and examined the difficulty. The obstacle, however, was not removed; and at two in the morning a crack in the large floe to the westward of us was observed to be gradually enlarging. In less than half an hour the water appeared in larger quantities astern, and a 'lane' was opened, by a circuitous route, into the clear space ahead of us, whither we wanted to go. All hands were called to the ship, and the vessel's head turned round to the southward, any further attempt to get through the channel we had been working at being given up. Sail was made to a light breeze, and some delicate manœuvring had to be accomplished in getting the ship round and in among some heavy ice, toward the passage we wished to enter.

"When I went on deck the next morning about eight, I found the weather very thick, with heavy rain. Our position seemed to me but little improved from that of the past night, for numerous 'bergs' of every size and shape appeared to obstruct our path. A fresh breeze was blowing from the S.E., and our ship was bounding nimbly to it in water as smooth as a mill-pond. But no sooner did she get to the end of her course one way, than she had to retrace her steps and try it another. We seemed completely hemmed in on every side by heavy packed ice, rough uneven hummocks, or a complete fleet of enormous bergs. Like a frightened hare did the poor thing seem to fly, here, there, and every where, vainly striving to escape from the apparent trap she had got into. It was a strange and novel sight. For three or four hours—indeed ever since we had entered this basin of water, we had been vainly striving to find some passage out of it, in as near a direction as possible to our proper course, but neither this way, nor any other way, nor even that in which we had entered (for the passage had again suddenly closed), could we find one. At last, about ten A.M., an opening between two large bergs was discovered to the N.W. Without a moment's delay our gallant little bark was pushed into it, and soon we found ourselves threading through a complete labyrinth of ice rocks, if they may be so called, where the very smallest of them, ay, or even a fragment from one of them, if falling on us, would have splintered into ten thousand pieces the gallant vessel that had thus thrust herself among them, and would have buried her crew irretrievably. Wonderful indeed was it all. Numerous lanes and channels, not unlike the paths and streets of a mighty city, branched off in several directions; but our course was in those that led us most to the northward. Onward we pursued our way in this manner for about two hours, when, suddenly, on turning out of a passage between some lofty bergs, we found the view opening to us, a field of ice appearing at the termination of the channel, and at the extreme end a schooner fast to a 'floe,' that is, lying alongside the flat ice, as by a quay. The wind was fair for us, blowing a moderate breeze, so that we soon ran down to her in saucy style, rounding to just ahead of her position, and making fast in like manner. To our great joy we found that, as we had suspected, and, indeed, knew, as soon as colors were hoisted, it was indeed Sir John Ross in the 'Felix.' Glad was I of an opportunity to see the gallant old veteran, whose name and writings had latterly been so frequently before me. Directly we got on board, Sir John Ross came to meet us; I saw before me him who, for four long years and more, had been incarcerated, hopelessly, with his companions, in those icy regions to which we ourselves were bound. I was struck with astonishment! It was nothing, in comparison, for the young and robust to come on such a voyage; but that he, at his time of life, when men generally think it right—and right, perhaps, it is, too—to sit quietly down at home by their own firesides, should brave the hardship and danger once again, was indeed surprising.

"In the evening both vessels had to move into another position, in consequence of the bergs approaching too closely toward us. To watch these mountain, icy monsters in a calm, as they slowly and silently, yet surely and determinedly, move about in the narrow sheet of water by which they chance to be encompassed, one could well imagine that it was some huge mysterious [Pg 593] thing, possessed of life, and bent on the fell purpose of destruction. Onward it almost imperceptibly glides, until reaching an opposing floe, it forces its way far through the solid ice, plowing up the pieces and throwing them aside in hilly heaps with a force and power apparently incredible. Should it happen that an impetus is given to it by wind, or other causes besides those thus occasioned by the tide, or current, it is mighty in its strength, and terrific in the desolation it produces. Nothing can save a ship if thus caught by one, as was the case in the memorable and fatal year of 1830, in this very bay, when vessels were 'squeezed flat'—'reared up by the ice, almost in the position of a rearing horse! others thrown fairly over on their broadsides; and some actually overrun by the advancing floe and totally buried by it.'"

The obstructions presented by the ice continued to increase so that in a whole fortnight, in spite of the most strenuous exertions, they made only twelve miles in their northward course. And even this, as they subsequently learned, was more than was performed by the government expedition, which was five weeks in advancing thirty miles. On the third of August, in Melville's Bay, night closed in upon



"There was still more danger now, on account of the heavier and worse kind of ice about us. Several bergs and rugged hummocks were in very close quarters to us. At four A.M. we had again to unship the rudder; and this we could hardly do, in consequence of being completely beset. The 'Felix,' was just ahead; but not a particle of water any where near or around us could be seen. Several times both vessels were in extreme danger; and once we sustained a rather heavy pressure, being canted over on the starboard side most unpleasantly. But the 'Prince Albert' stood it well; although it was painfully evident that should the heavy outer floes still keep setting in upon those which inclosed us, nothing could save her. To describe our position at this moment it will be only necessary to observe that both vessels were as completely in the ice as if they had been dropped into it from on high, and frozen there. It had been impossible for me to sleep during the night in consequence of the constant harsh grating sound that the floes caused as they slowly and heavily moved along or upon the ship's side, crushing their outer edges with a most unpleasant noise close to my ear. My sleeping berth was half under and half above the level of the water, when the ship was on an even keel. In the morning I heard the grating sound still stronger and close to me: I threw myself off the bed and went on deck. From the deck, I jumped on to the ice, and had a look how it was serving the poor little vessel. Under her stern I perceived large masses crushed up in a frightful manner, and with terrific force, sufficient, I thought, to have knocked her whole counter in. My only wonder was how she stood it; but an explanation, independent of her own good strength, was soon presented to me in the fact that the floe I was standing upon was moving right round, and grinding in its progress all lesser pieces in its way. This was the cause of safety to ourselves and the 'Felix.' Had the heavy bodies of ice been impelled directly toward us, [Pg 594] as we at first feared they would be, instead of passing us in an angular direction, we should both, most assuredly, have been crushed like an egg-shell. The very bergs, or the floating ones, near which we had been fast on the previous day, were aiding in the impetus given by the tide or current to the masses now in motion; and most providential was it that no wind was blowing from the adverse quarter at the time, upon each side of the ship the floes were solid and of great thickness, and pressing closely upon her timbers. Under the bow, several rough pieces had been thrown up nearly as high as the level of the bowsprit, and these were in constant change, as the larger masses drove by them.

"I ascended on deck, and found all the preparations for taking to the ice, if necessary, renewed. Spirits of wine, for portable fuel, had been drawn off, and placed handy; bags of bread, pemmican, &c., were all in readiness; and nothing was wanting in the event of a too heavy squeeze coming. We could perceive that, sooner or later, a collision between the two floes, the one on our larboard and the other on our starboard side, must take place, as the former had not nearly so much motion as the latter; but where this collision would occur was impossible to say. Between the 'Felix' and us, the passage was blocked principally by the same sort of pieces that I have mentioned as lying under our bow; and astern of us were several small bergs that might or might not be of service in breaking the collision. Very fortunately they proved the former; for, presently, I could perceive the floe on our starboard hand, as it came flushing and grinding all near it, in its circular movement, catch one of its extreme corners on a large block of ice a short distance astern, and by the force of the pressure drive it into the opposite floe, rending and tearing all before it; while at the same time itself rebounded, as it were, or swerved on one side, and glided more softly and with a relaxed pressure past us. This was the last trial of the kind our little 'Prince' had to endure; for afterward a gradual slackening of the whole body of ice took place, and at ten it opened to the southward. We immediately shipped the rudder, and began heaving, warping, and tracking the ship through the loose masses that lay in that, the only direction for us now to pursue, if we wished to get clear at all."

On the 10th of August, as the sun, which now never sank below the horizon, rose above a low-lying fog-bank; one of the government expeditions was seen emerging from the mist. The expedition consisted of two screw steamers, each having a sailing vessel in tow. A strange sight it was to see these steamers—the first that ever burst into that silent sea—gliding along amid the eternal ice of the arctic circle. They proved of great service in breaking through the ice, dashing stem on against the massy barriers; then backing astern, to gain headway, and repeating the manœuvre until a passage was forced. When the ice was too thick to be broken in this manner, a hole was drilled in it, into which a powder-cylinder was placed, the mine fired, and the fragments dragged out by the steamers. The "Prince Albert" and "Felix" were taken in tow, for some three hundred miles by the steamers. Mr. Snow gives the following sketch and description of



[Pg 595] "I have before made mention of the remarkable stillness which may be observed at midnight in these regions; but not until now did it come upon me with such force, and in such a singular manner. I can not attempt to describe the mingled sensations I experienced, of constant surprise and amazement at the extraordinary occurrence then taking place in the waters I was gazing upon, and of renewed hope, mellowed into a quiet, holy, and reverential feeling of gratitude toward that mighty Being who, in this solemn silence, reigned alike supreme, as in the busy hour of noon when man is eager at his toil, or the custom of the civilized world gives to business active life and vigor. Save the distant humming noise of the engine working on board of the steamer towing us, there was no sound to be heard denoting the existence of any living thing, or of any animate matter. Yet there we were, perceptibly, nay, rapidly, gliding past the land and floes of ice, as though some secret and mysterious power had been set to work to carry us swiftly away from those vexatious, harassing, and delaying portions of our voyage, in which we had already experienced so much trouble and perplexity. The leading vessels had passed all the parts where any further difficulty might have been apprehended, and this of course gave to us in the rear a sense of perfect security for the present. All hands, therefore, except the middle watch on deck, were below in our respective vessels; and, as I looked forward ahead of us, and beheld the long line of masts and rigging that rose up from each ship before me, without any sail set, or any apparent motion to propel such masses onward, and without a single human voice to be heard around, it did seem something wonderful and amazing! And yet, it was a noble sight: six vessels were casting their long shadows across the smooth surface of the passing floes of ice, as the sun, with mellowed light, and gentler, but still beautiful lustre, was soaring through the polar sky, at the back of Melville's Cape. Ay, in truth it was a noble sight; and well could I look upward to the streaming pendant of my own dear country that hung listlessly from the mast-head of the 'Assistance,' and feel the highest satisfaction in my breast that I, too, was one of her children, and could boast myself of being born on her own free soil, under her own revered and idolized flag. But even as I beheld that listless symbol of my country's name, pendant from the lofty truck, my glance was directed higher; and as it caught the pale blue firmament of heaven, still in this midnight hour divested of star or moon that shine by night, and brightened by the sun; my heart breathed a prayer that He, who dwells far beyond the ken of mortal eye, would deign to grant that the attempt now making should not be made in vain, but that those whom we were now on our way to seek might be found and restored to their home and sorrowing friends; and that, until then, full support and strength might be afforded them."

After parting company with the other vessels, the "Prince Albert" stood on her way westward, until they almost reached the spot where it had been proposed to winter, and where the design of the expedition would begin to be put in execution. But they found the harbor which they had proposed to enter blocked up with ice; and so unaccountable a discouragement came over the expedition, that on the 22d of August a sudden resolution was taken to return forthwith. The Journal of Mr. Snow is extremely guarded as to the reasons for this determination. The vessel had performed admirably; every preparation had been made for wintering; they were provisioned for two years; the crew were in excellent health: and yet the whole expedition, which had been fitted out at such a sacrifice, was abandoned, almost before it was fairly begun. We are led to infer that the true reason was that the officers in command had not the cool, determined courage requisite for such a charge. But we are sure that such a deficiency can not be laid to the charge of our author. From this time forth a tone of deep and bitter chagrin runs through the Journal at this inglorious termination of the expedition. It was no small addition to this feeling of intense mortification, that on the very day when they determined to abandon the enterprise, and return home, the American Expedition fitted out by Mr. Grinnell, which they had seen, a fortnight before, blocked up by ice, as they supposed, in Melville's Bay, but which had now overtaken them, notwithstanding their own tow by the steamers, was seen boldly pressing its way where they themselves dared not follow. Notwithstanding this feeling of mortification, Mr. Snow has too intense a sympathy with daring and courage, ennobled by high and philanthropic purpose, to fail to do ample justice to


"Large pieces of ice were floating about, and setting rapidly up the inlet. We had to stand away for some distance, to round the edge of this stream; and as we approached the far end, we perceived that a vessel, which we had some time before seen, was apparently standing right in toward us. At first, we took her to be Sir John Ross's schooner, the 'Felix,' but a few moments more settled the point, by her size and rig being different, and her colors being displayed, which proved her to be one of the 'Americans!' All idea of sleep was now instantly banished from me. The American vessels already up here, when we had fancied them still in Melville's Bay, not far from where we had left them on the 6th instant! Much as I knew of the enterprising and daring spirit of our transatlantic brethren, I could not help being astonished. They must have had either some extraordinary luck, or else the ice had suddenly and most effectually broken up to admit of their exit, unaided by steam or other help, in so short a time. I felt, however, a pleasure in thus finding my repeated observations concerning them so thoroughly verified; and I was not [Pg 596] sorry for themselves that they were here. All exclusive nationality was done away with. We were all engaged in the same noble cause; we were all striving forward in the same animating and exciting race, and none should envy the other his advance therein. We showed our colors to him; and Captain Forsyth immediately determined to go on board of him, and see whether the same plan of search for him was laid out as for us. The boat was lowered, and in a short time we were standing on the deck of the 'Advance,' Lieutenant De Haven, of the American Navy, and most cordially received, with their accustomed hospitality, by our transatlantic friends.

"The 'Advance' was most extraordinarily fortified to resist any pressure of the ice, and to enable her to force her way against such impediments as those she encountered this evening. Her bow was one solid mass of timber—I believe I am right in saying, from the foremast. Her timbers were increased in size and number, so that she might well be said to have been doubled inside as well as out. Her deck was also doubled, then felted, and again lined inside, while her cabin had, in addition, a sheathing of cork. The after-part of the vessel was remarkably strong; and a movable bulk-head, which ran across the forepart of the cabin, could at any time be unshipped to afford a free communication fore and aft when needed. The crew, if I remember rightly, lived in a strongly built 'round-house' on deck, amidships, one end of which was converted into a cook-house, called a 'galley,' and another the 'pantry.' Ten men formed the number of the working seamen; there were no 'ice-masters,' nor regular 'ice-men:' but most of the sailors were long accustomed to the ice. A steward and a cook completed the full complement of the ship. The officers lived in a truly republican manner. The whole cabin was thrown into one spacious room, in which captain, mates, and surgeon lived together. Their sleeping berths were built around it, and appeared to possess every accommodation to make them comfortable.

"The 'Advance' was one of two vessels (the other being the 'Rescue'—a smaller craft) that had been bought and fitted out in the most noble and generous manner, solely by one individual—Henry Grinnell, Esq., a merchant of New York. This truly great and good man had long felt his heart yearn toward the lost ones, whom we were now seeking, and their friends; and desiring to redeem the partial pledge given by the government of the United States to Lady Franklin, he yielded to the strong impulses awakened by some of her private letters, which he had had the opportunity of reading, and being blest with an ample fortune, he determined to employ no small portion of it in sending out at his own expense an expedition to this quarter of the world, to aid in the search that England was making this year after her gallant children. It required, however, not a trifling sum to accomplish this, and I well know with what distrust and doubt of its fulfillment the first notice of his intentions was received in New York and elsewhere, when publicly made known. But he was not a man, it has appeared, to promise what he means not, or can not perform. At a very heavy outlay he purchased two vessels, one of, I believe, 125 tons, and the other of 95 tons, and had them strengthened and prepared in a most efficient manner for the service they were to enter upon. Applying to Congress, then assembled, he got these ships received into the naval force, and brought under naval authority. Officers and crews were appointed by the Board of Administration for Maritime Affairs, and the government, moreover, agreed to pay them as if in regular service, making an additional allowance on each pay, of a grade in rank above. This having been accomplished, and all things in readiness, on the 24th of May, 1850, he had the satisfaction of seeing his two ships and their brave crews depart from New York on their generous mission. He accompanied them himself for some distance, and finally bid them farewell on the 26th, returning in his yacht to the city, where, as he has often declared, he can sit down now in peace, and be ready to lay his head at rest forever; knowing that he has done his duty, and striven to perform the part of a faithful steward with the wealth which he enjoys.

"The 'Advance' was manned by sixteen persons, officers included. Her commander, Lieutenant De Haven, a young man of about twenty-six years of age, had served in the United States exploring expedition, under Commodore Wilkes, in the Antarctic Seas. He seemed as fine a specimen of a seaman, and a rough and ready officer, as I had ever seen. Nor was he at all deficient in the characteristics of a true gentleman, although the cognomen is so often misapplied and ill-understood. With a sharp, quick eye, a countenance bronzed and apparently inured to all weathers, his voice gave unmistakable signs of energy, promptitude, and decision. There was no mistaking the man. He was undoubtedly well-fitted to lead such an expedition, and I felt charmed to see it.

"His second in command (for they were very differently organized from us) was still younger and more slim, but withal of equally determined and sailorlike appearance. Next to him was a junior officer, of whom I saw but little; but that little was enough to tell me that the executives under Captain De Haven would be efficient auxiliaries to him. Last of all, though not least among them, was one of whom I must be excused for saying more than a casual word or two. It was Dr. Kane, the surgeon, naturalist, journalist, &c., of the expedition. Of an exceedingly slim and apparently fragile form and make, and with features to all appearance far more suited to a genial clime, and to the comforts of a pleasant home, than to the roughness and hardships of an arctic voyage, he was yet a very old traveler both by sea and land. His rank as a surgeon in the American navy, [Pg 597] and his appointment, at three days' notice, to this service, were sufficient proof of his abilities, and of his being considered capable of enduring all that would have to be gone through. While our captain was talking to the American commander, Dr. Kane turned his attention to me, and a congeniality of sentiment and feeling soon brought us deep into pleasant conversation. I found he had been in many parts of the world, by sea and land, that I myself had visited, and in many other parts that I could only long to visit. Old scenes and delightful recollections were speedily revived. Our talk ran wild; and there, in that cold, inhospitable, dreary region of everlasting ice and snow, did we again, in fancy, gallop over miles and miles of lands far distant, and far more joyous. Ever-smiling Italy, and its softening life; sturdy Switzerland, and its hardy sons; the Alps, the Apennines, France, Germany, and elsewhere were rapidly wandered over. India, Africa, and Southern America were brought before us in swift succession. Then came Spain and Portugal, and my own England; next appeared Egypt, Syria, and the Desert; with all of these was he personally familiar, in all had he been a traveler, and in all could I join him, too, except the latter. Rich in anecdote and full of pleasing talk, time flew rapidly as I conversed with him, and partook of the hospitality offered me. Delighted at the knowledge that I had been residing for some time in New York, he tried all he could to make me enjoy the moment."

After parting with the American Expedition, the "Prince Albert" took her homeward way, reaching Aberdeen on the 1st of October. "As it was quite dark," says Mr. Snow, "few witnessed our arrival, and I was not sorry for it". Had we returned fortunate, it would have been different; as it was, why, the night was, I thought, better suited to our condition. The "Prince Albert" brought the latest tidings received of the "Advance" and "Rescue," when


"If I had ever before doubted the daring and enterprising character of the American, what I saw and heard on board of the 'Advance' would have removed such doubt; but these peculiar features in the children of the Stars and Stripes were always apparent to me, and admiringly acknowledged. I was given a brief history of their voyage to the present time, as also an outline of their future plans. They intended to push on wherever they could, this way or that way, as might be found best, in the direction of Melville Island, and parts adjacent, especially Banks's Land; and they meant to winter wherever they might chance to be, in the Pack or out of the Pack. As long as they could be moving or making any progress, in any direction that might assist in the object for which they had come, they meant still to be going on, and, with the true characteristic of the American, cared for no obstacles or impediments that might arise in their way. Neither fears, nor the necessary caution which might easily be alleged as an excuse for hesitation or delay, at periods when any thing like fancied danger appeared, was to deter them. Happy fellows! thought I: no fair winds nor opening prospects will be lost with you; no dissension or incompetency among your executive officers exist to stay your progress. Bent upon one errand alone, your minds set upon that before you embarked, no trifles nor common danger will prevent you daring every thing for the carrying out of your mission. Go on, then, brave sons of America, and may at least some share of prosperity and success attend your noble exertions!

"If ever a vessel and her officers were capable of going through an undertaking in which more than ordinary difficulties had to be encountered, I had no doubt it would be the American; and this was evinced to me, even while we were on board, by the apparently reckless way in which they dashed through the streams of heavy ice running off from Leopold Island. I happened to go on deck when they were thus engaged, and was delighted to witness how gallantly they put aside every impediment in their way. An officer was standing on the heel of the bowsprit, conning the ship and issuing his orders to the man at the wheel in that short, decisive, yet clear manner, which the helmsman at once well understood and promptly obeyed. There was not a rag of canvas taken in, nor a moment's hesitation. The way was before them: the stream of ice had to be either gone through boldly or a long detour made; and, despite the heaviness of the stream, they pushed the vessel through in her proper course. Two or three shocks, as she came in contact with some large pieces, were unheeded; and the moment the last block was past the bow, the officer sung out, 'So: steady as she goes on her course;' and came aft as if nothing more than ordinary sailing had been going on. I observed our own little barky nobly following in the American's wake; and, as I afterward learned, she got through it pretty well, though not without much doubt of the propriety of keeping on in such procedure after the 'mad Yankee,' as he was called by our mate."


Every body uses pins—men, women, and children. Every body buys them. Every body bends them, breaks them, knocks off their heads, and loses them. They enter into every operation, from the drawing-room to the scullery. Go where you will, if you look sharp, you may calculate with certainty on picking up a pin—in the streets, in the cabs, on door-steps and mats, in halls and drawing-rooms, sticking in curtains and sofas, and paper-hangings, in counting-houses and lawyers' offices, keeping together old receipts and bills, and fragments of papers, in ladies' needlework, in shopkeepers' parcels, in books, bags, baskets, luggage—they are to be found every where, let them get there how [Pg 598] they may, by accident or design. Their ubiquity is astounding—and their manufacture, being in proportion to it, must be something prodigious. There is no article of perpetual use with which we are so familiar; and out of this familiarity springs indifference, for there is no article about whose final destination we are so profoundly ignorant. We know well enough the end of things (not half so useful to us) that wear out in the course of time, or that are liable to be smashed, cracked, chipped, put out of order, or otherwise rendered unavailable for further service; but of the fate of this little article, so universal in its application, so indispensable in its utility, we know nothing whatever. Nobody ever thinks of asking, What becomes of the Pins? For our own parts, we should be very glad to get an answer to that question, and should be very much obliged to any person who could furnish us with it.

The question is by no means an idle one. If we could get at the statistics of pins, we should have some tremendous revelations. The loss in pins, strayed, stolen, and mislaid, is past all calculation. Millions of billions of pins must vanish—no woman alive can tell how or where—in the course of a year. Of the actual number fabricated, pointed, headed, and papered up for sale from one year's end to another (remember they are to be found in every house, large and small, within the pale of civilization), we should be afraid to venture a conjecture; but, judging from what we know of their invincible tendency to lose themselves, and our own inveterate carelessness in losing them, we apprehend that, could such a return be obtained, it would present an alarming result. Think of millions of billions of pins being in course of perpetual disappearance! And that this has been going on for centuries and centuries, and will continue to go on, probably, to the world's end. A grave matter to contemplate, my masters! A pin, in its single integrity, is a trifle, atomic, in comparison with other things that are lost and never found again. But reflect for a moment upon pins in the aggregate. The grand sum-total of human life is made up of trifles—all large bodies are composed of minute particles. Years are made up of months, months of weeks, weeks of days, days of hours, hours of minutes, minutes of seconds; and, coming down to the seconds, and calling in the multiplication-table to enlighten us, we shall find that there are considerably upward of thirty-one millions of them in a year. Try a similar experiment with the pins. Assume any given quantity of loss in any given time, and calculate what it will come to in a cycle of centuries. Most people are afraid of looking into the future, and would not, if they could, acquire a knowledge of the destiny that lies before them. Pause, therefore, before you embark in this fearful calculation; for the chances are largely in favor of your arriving at this harrowing conclusion, that, by the mere force of accumulation and the inevitable pressure of quantity, the great globe itself must, at no very distant period, become a vast shapeless mass of pins.

As yet we have no signs or tokens of this impending catastrophe, and are entirely in the dark about the process that is insidiously conducting us to it; and hence we ask, in solemn accents, What becomes of the Pins? Where do they go to? How do they get there? What are the attractive and repulsive forces to which they are subject after they drop from us? What are the laws that govern their wanderings? Do they dissolve and volatilize, and come back again into the air, so that we are breathing pins without knowing it? Do they melt into the earth, and go to the roots of vegetables, so that every day of our lives we are unconsciously dining on them? The inquiry baffles all scholarship; and we are forced to put up with the obscure satisfaction which Hamlet applies to the world of apparitions, that there are more pins in unknown places and unsuspected shapes upon the earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.


I know—I sigh when I think of it—that hitherto the French people have been the least religious of all the nations of Europe. Is it because the idea of God—which arises from all the evidences of Nature, and from the depths of reflection, being the profoundest and weightiest idea of which human intelligence is capable—and the French mind being the most rapid, but the most superficial, the lightest, the most unreflective of all European races—this mind has not the force and severity necessary to carry far and long the greatest conception of the human understanding?

Is it because our governments have always taken upon themselves to think for us, to believe for us, and to pray for us? Is it because we are and have been a military people, a soldier-nation, led by kings, heroes, ambitious men, from battlefield to battlefield, making conquests, and never keeping them, ravaging, dazzling, charming, and corrupting Europe; and bringing home the manners, vices, bravery, lightness, and impiety of the camp to the fireside of the people?

I know not, but certain it is that the nation has an immense progress to make in serious thought if she wishes to remain free. If we look at the characters, compared as regards religious sentiment, of the great nations of Europe, America, even Asia, the advantage is not for us. The great men of other countries live and die on the scene of history, looking up to heaven; our great men appear to live and die, forgetting completely the only idea for which it is worth living and dying—they live and die looking at the spectator, or, at most, at posterity.

Open the history of America, the history of England, and the history of France; read the great lives, the great deaths, the great martyrdoms, [Pg 599] the great words at the hour when the ruling thought of life reveals itself in the last words of the dying—and compare.

Washington and Franklin fought, spoke, suffered, ascended, and descended in their political life of popularity in the ingratitude of glory, in the contempt of their fellow-citizens—always in the name of God, for whom they acted; and the liberator of America died, confiding to God the liberty of the people and his own soul.

Sidney, the young martyr of a patriotism, guilty of nothing but impatience, and who died to expiate his country's dream of liberty, said to his jailer—"I rejoice that I die innocent toward the king, but a victim, resigned to the King on High, to whom all life is due."

The Republicans of Cromwell only sought the way of God, even in the blood of battles. Their politics were their faith—their reign a prayer—their death a psalm. One hears, sees, feels, that God was in all the movements of these great people.

But cross the sea, traverse La Mancha, come to our times, open our annals, and listen to the last words of the great political actors of the drama of our liberty. One would think that God was eclipsed from the soul, that His name was unknown in the language. History will have the air of an atheist, when she recounts to posterity these annihilations, rather than deaths, of celebrated men in the greatest year of France! The victims only have a God; the tribunes and lictors have none.

Look at Mirabeau on the bed of death—"Crown me with flowers," said he; "intoxicate me with perfumes. Let me die to the sound of delicious music"—not a word of God or of his soul. Sensual philosopher, he desired only supreme sensualism, a last voluptuousness in his agony. Contemplate Madame Roland, the strong-hearted woman of the Revolution, on the cart that conveyed her to death. She looked contemptuously on the besotted people who killed their prophets and sibyls. Not a glance toward heaven! Only one word for the earth she was quitting—"Oh, Liberty!"

Approach the dungeon door of the Girondins. Their last night is a banquet; the only hymn, the Marseillaise!

Follow Camille Desmoulins to his execution. A cool and indecent pleasantry at the trial, and a long imprecation on the road to the guillotine, were the two last thoughts of this dying man on his way to the last tribunal.

Hear Danton on the platform of the scaffold, at the distance of a line from God and eternity. "I have had a good time of it; let me go to sleep." Then to the executioner, "you will show my head to the people—it is worth the trouble!" His faith, annihilation; his last sigh, vanity. Behold the Frenchman of this latter age!

What must one think of the religious sentiment of a free people whose great figures seem thus to march in procession to annihilation, and to whom that terrible minister—death—itself recalls neither the threatenings nor promises of God!

The republic of these men without a God has quickly been stranded. The liberty, won by so much heroism and so much genius, has not found in France a conscience to shelter it, a God to avenge it, a people to defend it against that atheism which has been called glory. All ended in a soldier and some apostate republicans travestied into courtiers. An atheistic republicanism can not be heroic. When you terrify it, it bends; when you would buy it, it sells itself. It would be very foolish to immolate itself. Who would take any heed? the people ungrateful and God non-existent! So finish atheist revolutions!—Bien Publique.

[From Dickens's Household Words.]


All amid the summer roses
In his garden, with his wife,
Sate the cheerful Thomas Harlowe,
Glancing backward through his life.

Woodlarks in the trees were singing,
And the breezes, low and sweet,
Wafted down laburnum blossoms,
Like an offering, at his feet.

There he sate, good Thomas Harlowe,
Living o'er the past in thought;
And old griefs, like mountain summits,
Golden hues of sunset caught.

Thus he spake: "The truest poet
Is the one whose touch reveals
Those deep springs of human feeling
Which the conscious heart conceals.

"Human nature's living fountains,
Ever-flowing, round us lie,
Yet the poets seek their waters
As from cisterns old and dry.

"Hence they seldom write, my Ellen,
Aught so full of natural woe,
As that song which thy good uncle
Made so many years ago.

"My sweet wife, my life's companion,
Canst thou not recall the time
When we sate beneath the lilacs,
Listening to that simple rhyme?

"I was then just five-and-twenty,
Young in years, but old in sooth;
Hopeless love had dimmed my manhood,
Care had saddened all my youth.

"But that touching, simple ballad,
Which thy uncle writ and read,
Like the words of God, creative,
Gave a life unto the dead.

"And thenceforth have been so blissful
All our days, so calm, so bright,
That it seems like joy to linger
O'er my young life's early blight.

"Easy was my father's temper,
And his being passed along
Like a streamlet 'neath the willows,
Lapsing to the linnet's song.

"With the scholar's tastes and feelings,
He had all he asked of life
In his books and in his garden,
In his child, and gentle wife.
[Pg 600]

"He was for the world unfitted;
For its idols knew no love;
And, without the serpent's wisdom
Was as guileless as the dove.

"Such men are the schemer's victims.
Trusting to a faithless guide,
He was lured on to his ruin,
And a hopeless bankrupt died.

"Short had been my father's sorrow;
He had not the strength to face
What was worse than altered fortune,
Or than faithless friends—disgrace.

"He had not the strength to combat
Through the adverse ranks of life;
In his prime he died, heart-broken,
Leaving unto us the strife.

"I was then a slender stripling,
Full of life, and hope, and joy;
But, at once, the cares of manhood
Crushed the spirit of the boy.

"Woman oft than man is stronger
Where are inner foes to quell,
And my mother rose triumphant,
When my father, vanquished, fell.

"All we had we gave up freely,
That on him might rest less blame;
And, without a friend in London,
In the winter, hither came.

"To the world-commanding London,
Came as atoms, nothing worth;
'Mid the strift of myriad workers,
Our small efforts to put forth.

"Oh, the hero-strength of woman,
When her strong affection pleads,
When she tasks her to endurance
In the path where duty leads!

"Fair my mother was and gentle,
Reared 'mid wealth, of good descent,
One who, till our time of trial,
Ne'er had known what hardship meant.

"Now she toiled. Her skillful needle
Many a wondrous fabric wrought,
Which the loom could never equal,
And which wealthy ladies bought.

"Meantime I, among the merchants
Found employment; saw them write,
Brooding over red-lined ledgers,
Ever gain, from morn till night.

"Or amid the crowded shipping
Of the great world's busy hive,
Saw the wealth of both the Indies,
For their wealthier marts, arrive

"So we lived without repining,
Toiling, toiling, week by week;
But I saw her silent sufferings
By the pallor of her cheek.

"Love like mine was eagle sighted;
Vainly did she strive to keep
All her sufferings from my knowledge,
And to lull my fears to sleep.

"Well I knew her days were numbered;
And, as she approached her end,
Stronger grew the love between us,
Doubly was she parent—friend!

"God permitted that her spirit
Should through stormy floods be led,
That she might converse with angels
While she toiled for daily bread.

"Wondrous oft were her communings,
As of one to life new-born,
When I watched beside her pillow,
'Twixt the midnight and the morn.

"Still she lay through one long Sabbath,
But as evening closed she woke,
And like one amazed with sorrow,
Thus with pleading voice she spoke:

"'God will give whate'er is needful;
Will sustain from day to day;
This I know—yet worldly fetters
Keep me still a thrall to clay!

"'Oh, my son, from these world-shackles
Only thou canst set me free!'
'Speak thy wish,' said I, 'my mother,
Lay thy lov'd commands on me!'

"As if strength were given unto her
For some purpose high, she spake:
'I have toiled, and—like a miser—
Hoarded, hoarded for thy sake.

"'Not for sordid purpose hoarded,
But to free from outward blame,
From the tarnish of dishonor,
Thy dead father's sacred name,

"'And I lay on thee this duty—
'Tis my last request, my son—
Lay on thee this solemn duty
Which I die and leave undone!

"'Promise, that thy dearest wishes,
Pleasure, profit, shall be naught,
Until, to the utmost farthing,
Thou this purpose shalt have wrought!'

"And I promised. All my being
Freely, firmly answered, yea!
Thus absolved, her angel-spirit,
Breathing blessings, passed away.

"Once more in the noisy, jostling
Human crowd; I seemed to stand,
Like to him who goes to battle,
With his life within his hand.

"All things wore a different aspect;
I was now mine own no more:
Pleasure, wealth, the smile of woman
All a different meaning bore.

"Thus I toiled—though young, not youthful
Ever mingling in the crowd,
Yet apart; my life, my labor,
To a solemn purpose vowed.

"Yet even duty had its pleasure,
And I proudly kept apart;
Lord of all my weaker feelings;
Monarch of my subject heart.

"Foolish boast! My pride of purpose
Proved itself a feeble thing,
When thy uncle brought me hither,
In the pleasant time of Spring.

"Said he, 'Thou hast toiled too closely;
Thou shalt breathe our country air;
Thou shalt come to us on Sundays,
And thy failing health repair!'

"Now began my hardest trial.
What had I with love to do?
Loving thee was sin 'gainst duty,
And 'gainst thy good uncle too!

"Until now my heart was cheerful;
Duty had been light till now,
—Oh that I were free to woo thee;
That my heart had known no vow!

"Yet, I would not shrink from duty;
Nor my vow leave unfulfilled!
—Still, still, had my mother known thee,
Would she thus have sternly willed?
[Pg 601]

"Wherefore did my angel-mother
Thus enforce her dying prayer?
—Yet what right had I to seek thee,
Thou, thy uncle's wealthy heir!

"Thus my spirit cried within me;
And that inward strife began,
That wild warfare of the feelings
Which lays waste the life of man.

"In such turmoil of the spirit,
Feeble is our human strength;
Life seems stripped of all its glory:
—Yet was duty lord at length.

"So at least I deemed. But meeting
Toward the pleasant end of May
With thy uncle, here he brought me,
I who long had kept away.

"He was willful, thy good uncle;
I was such a stranger grown;
I must go to hear the reading
Of a ballad of his own.

"Willing to be won, I yielded.
Canst thou not that eve recall,
When the lilacs were in blossom,
And the sunshine lay o'er all?

"On the bench beneath the lilacs,
Sate we; and thy uncle read
That sweet, simple, wondrous ballad,
Which my own heart's woe portrayed.

"'Twas a simple tale of nature—
Of a lowly youth who gave
All his heart to one above him,
Loved, and filled an early grave.

"But the fine tact of the poet
Laid the wounded spirit bare,
Breathed forth all the silent anguish
Of the breaking heart's despair.

"'Twas as if my soul had spoken,
And at once I seemed to know,
Through the poet's voice prophetic,
What the issue of my woe.

"Later, walking in the evening
Through the shrubbery, thou and I,
With the woodlarks singing round us,
And the full moon in the sky;

"Thou, my Ellen, didst reproach me,
For that I had coldly heard
That sweet ballad of thy uncle's,
Nor responded by a word.

"Said I, 'If that marvelous ballad
Did not seem my heart to touch;
It was not from want of feeling,
But because it felt too much.'

"And even as the rod of Moses
Called forth water from the rock;
So did now thy sweet reproaches
All my secret heart unlock.

"And my soul lay bare before thee;
And I told thee all; how strove,
As in fierce and dreary conflict,
My stern duty and my love.

"All I told thee—of my parents,
Of my angel-mother's fate;
Of the vow by which she bound me;
Of my present low estate.

"All I told thee, while the woodlarks
Filled with song the evening breeze,
And bright gushes of the moonlight
Fell upon us through the trees.

"And thou murmured'st, oh! my Ellen,
In a voice so sweet and low;
'Would that I had known thy mother.
Would that I might soothe thy woe!'

"Ellen, my sweet, life's companion!
From my being's inmost core
Then I blessed thee; but I bless thee,
Bless thee, even now, still more!

"For, as in the days chivalric
Ladies armed their knights for strife,
So didst thou, with thy true counsel,
Arm me for the fight of life.

"Saidst thou, 'No, thou must not waver,
Ever upright must thou stand:
Even in duty's hardest peril,
All thy weapons in thy hand.

"'Doing still thy utmost, utmost;
Never resting till thou'rt free!—
But, if e'er thy soul is weary,
Or discouraged—think of me!'

"And again thy sweet voice murmured,
In a low and thrilling tone;
'I have loved thee, truly loved thee,
Though that love was all unknown!

"'And the sorrows and the trials
Which thy youth in bondage hold,
Make thee to my heart yet dearer
Than if thou hadst mines of gold!

"'Go forth—pay thy debt to duty;
And when thou art nobly free,
He shall know, my good old uncle,
Of the love 'twixt thee and me!'

"Ellen, thou wast my good angel!
Once again in life I strove—
But the hardest task was easy,
In the light and strength of love.

"And, when months had passed on swiftly,
Canst thou not that hour recall—
'Twas a Christmas Sabbath evening—
When we told thy uncle all?

"Good old uncle! I can see him,
With those calm and loving eyes,
Smiling on us as he listened,
Silent, yet with no surprise.

"And when once again the lilacs
Blossom'd, in the merry May,
And the woodlarks sang together,
Came our happy marriage day.

"My sweet Ellen, then I blessed thee
As my young and wealthy wife,
But I knew not half the blessings
With which thou wouldst dower my life!"

Here he ceased, good Thomas Harlowe;
And as soon as ceased his voice—
That sweet chorusing of woodlarks
Made the silent night rejoice.

[From Fraser's Magazine.]


(Continued from Page 468.)



"I am not about to relate a family history," he began; "but there are some personal circumstances to which I must allude. At nineteen, I was left the sole protector of two sisters, and of a ward of my father, whose guardianship also devolved upon me. It was a heavy responsibility at so early an age, and pressed hard upon a temperament better adapted [Pg 602] for gayety and enjoyment. I discharged it, however, with the best judgment I could, and with a zeal that has bequeathed me, among many grateful recollections, one source of lasting and bitter repentance."

"Repentance, Forrester?" I cried, involuntarily.

"You may understand the sort of dangers to which these young creatures were exposed in the spring-tide of their beauty, protected only by a stripling, who knew little more of the world than they did themselves. Upon that point, perhaps, I was too sensitive. I knew what it was to struggle against the natural feelings of youth, and was not disposed to place much trust in the gad-flies who gathered about my sisters. Well—I watched every movement, and I was right. Yet, with all my care, it so happened that an offense—an insult such as your heartless libertines think they may inflict with impunity on unprotected women—was offered to one of my sisters. Our friendless situation was a mark for general observation, and it was necessary that society should know the terms I kept with it. My enemy—for I made him so on the instant—would have appeased me, but I was inaccessible to apologies. We met; I was wounded severely—my opponent fell. This fearful end of the quarrel affected my sister's health. She had a feeling of remorse about being the cause of that man's death, and her delicate frame sunk under it."

"Perhaps," said I, "there might have been other feelings, which she concealed."

"That fear has cast a shadow over my whole life. But we will not talk of it. I must hasten on. There was a fatal malady in our family—the treacherous malady which is fed so luxuriously by the climate of England. My remaining sister, plunged into grief at our bereavement, became a prey to its wasting and insidious influence. You saw that the servant who opened the door was in mourning? I have mentioned these particulars that you may understand I was not alone in the world, as I am now, when the lady you have seen came to reside in my house. At that time, my sisters were living."

"And she?"

"Was my father's ward, of whom I have spoken. During the early part of her life she lived in Scotland, where she had friends. Now listen to me attentively. Gertrude Hastings lost her mother in her childhood; and upon the death of her father, being a minor, her education and guardianship devolved upon my father, who was trustee to her fortune. At his death, which took place soon afterward, the trust came into my hands. It was thought advisable, under these circumstances, that she should have the benefit of wiser counsel than my own, and for several years she was placed in the house of her mother's sister, who lived at no great distance from the English Border. It was my duty to visit her sometimes." He hesitated, and his voice trembled as he spoke.

"Well—I entreat you to proceed."

"Let me collect myself. I visited her sometimes—at first at long intervals, then more frequently. Every man in his youth forms some ideal, false or true, of the woman to whom he would devote his love. Such dreams visited me, but my situation forbade me to indulge in them, and I resolved to devote myself to the charge I had undertaken, and to forego all thoughts of marriage. I never found this conflict beyond my strength until I saw Gertrude Hastings."

I was struck with horror at these words, and shuddered at what I feared was yet to come. He perceived the effect they took upon me, and went on:

"You are precipitate in your judgment, and I must beg that you will hear me patiently to the end. I will be brief, for I am more pained by the disclosure than you can be. Why should I prolong a confession which you have already anticipated? I loved her; and every time I saw her, I loved her more and more. I was justified by the circumstances that drew us together—the equality of our births—the connection of our families. She was free to choose—so was I. I knew of no impediment, and there was none at the time she inspired me with that fatal passion which, when it grew too strong to be concealed from her, she was unable to return."

I breathed more freely; but seeing the emotion under which poor Forrester was laboring, I kept silence, and waited for him to resume.

"I despise what is called superstition," he said, "as much as any of those bald philosophers we are in the habit of meeting. When they, or you, or I, talk of supernatural agencies, we must each of us be judged by the measure of our knowledge. Ignorance and unbelief evade the question they fear to examine by the easy process of rejecting the evidence on which it rests. If the evidence be trustworthy, if it be clear and coherent in every particular, if it be such as we should be bound to admit upon matters that come within the range of our experience, I have yet to learn upon what grounds it can be rejected when it relates to matters of which we know nothing. Our inability to refute it should make us pause before we heap odium on the witnesses who vouch for its truth."

Forrester was proceeding in this strain, apparently under an apprehension that the disclosure he was about to make required some prologue of this kind to bespeak credit for it, little suspecting that there were incidents in my own life which rendered me too easy a recipient of such statements. But I interrupted him by an assurance that I was quite prepared to believe in things much more extraordinary than any which he could have to relate. He then returned to the narrative.

"Gertrude's aunt had been bred up in Scotland, and was a staunch supporter of the old customs, and a stickler for the popular faith in the ceremonies that are practiced there on certain [Pg 603] anniversaries. On one of these occasions, Gertrude, whose imagination had, probably, been affected by the stories she had heard concerning them, was induced, half in play and half in earnest, to try the virtue of one of the charms prescribed for the Eve of All Hallows. We might safely smile at these things, if they did not sometimes, as in this instance, lead to serious results. You see I am relating it to you calmly and circumstantially, although it has blighted my existence. The charm worked out its ends to a miracle. The table was laid out with supper, the necessary incantations having been previously performed, and Gertrude, hiding behind a screen, waited for the appearance of the lover who was to decide her future destiny. They say there was a long pause—at least it seemed so to her—and then a footstep was heard, and then the figure of a man entered the room, and seated himself at the table. Trembling with terror, she looked out from her hiding-place, and saw him clearly within two or three yards of her. The chair had been so placed that his face was exactly opposite to her. She scanned his features so accurately, that she remembered the minutest particulars, to the color of his hair and eyes, and the exact form of his mouth, which had a peculiar expression in it. The figure moved, as if to rise from the chair, and Gertrude, struck to the heart with fear, uttered a loud shriek, and fell in a swoon upon the ground. Her friends, who were watching outside, rushed into the room, but it was empty."

"And that figure—has she never seen it since?"

"Never till to-night. She recognized you in an instant."

My amazement at this narrative nearly deprived me of the power of speech.

"What followed this?" I inquired.

"A delusion that has occupied her thoughts ever since. It took such complete possession of her, that all arguments were useless. When she was asked if she believed it to be real, her invariable answer was that it was real to her. I suffered her to indulge this fancy, hoping that one day or another she would recover from what I regarded as a trance of the mind; but I was mistaken. She always said she was sure of your existence; and looked forward to the realization of her destiny, like one who lived under an enchantment. By slow degrees I relinquished all hopes, and resolved to sacrifice my own happiness to hers, if the opportunity should ever arrive. After this she came to London, broken down in health, and rapidly wasting away under the influence of the protracted expectation that was destroying her. Then it was I first met you. I had some misgiving about you from the beginning, and prevailed upon her to describe to me again and again the person of my spectral rival. It was impossible to mistake the portrait. My doubts were cleared up, and the duty I had to perform was obvious. But I determined to make further inquiry before I revealed to either what I knew of both, and having heard you speak of your birth-place and residence, I went into the country, satisfied myself on all points respecting you, and at the same time learned the whole particulars of your life. Still I delayed from day to day my intention of bringing you together, knowing that when it was accomplished my own doom would be sealed forever. While I delayed, however, she grew worse, and I felt that it would be criminal to hesitate any longer. I have now fulfilled my part—it remains for you to act upon your own responsibility. My strength exerted for her has carried me so far—I can go no further."

As he uttered these words he rose and turned away his head. I grasped his hand and tried to detain him. He stood and listened while I expressed the unbounded gratitude and admiration with which his conduct inspired me, and explained, hurriedly, the fascination that had held me in a similar trance to that which he had just described. But he made no observation on what I said. It appeared as if he had resolved to speak no more on the subject; and he exhibited such signs of weariness and pain that I thought it would be unreasonable to solicit his advice at that moment. And so we parted for the night.


I pondered all night upon the history related to me by Forrester. In the desire to escape from the clouds which still darkened my judgment, I endeavored to persuade myself at one moment that Forrester was trying to impose upon me, and at another that he must be laboring under a mental aberration. The pride of reason revolted from the incredible particulars of that extraordinary narrative; yet certain coincidences, which seemed to confirm their truth, made me hesitate in my skepticism. If I had related to him what had happened to myself, he would have had as good a right to doubt my sanity or veracity as I had to doubt his. This was what staggered me.

I sifted every particle of the story, and was compelled to confess that there was nothing in it which my own experience did not corroborate. The fetch, or wraith, or whatever it was that had appeared to Gertrude, was a counterpart illusion to the figure that had appeared to me. Upon her memory, as upon mine, it had made so vivid an impression, that our recognition of each other was mutual and instantaneous. That fact was clear, and placed the truth of Forrester's statement beyond controversy. It was competent to others, who had no personal evidence of such visitations, to treat with indifference the mysteries of the spiritual world; but I was not free, however much I desired it, to set up for a philosophical unbeliever. All that remained, therefore, was to speculate in the dark on the circumstances which were thus shaping out our destiny, and which, inscrutable as they were, commanded the submission of my reason and my senses. [Pg 604]

It occurred to me that, as Gertrude's residence beyond the border might not have been distant many miles from the spot where I imagined I had seen her, it was possible—barely possible—that her appearance there might have been a reality after all. This supposition was a great relief to me, for I would gladly have accepted a natural solution of the phenomenon, and I accordingly resolved to question her upon the subject.

I thought the next day would never come, yet I shuddered at its coming. I was eager to see her again, although I dreaded the interview; and I will frankly acknowledge, that when I approached the house I trembled like a man on the eve of a sentence which was to determine the issue of life or death.

The blinds were down in all the windows, and the aspect of the whole was chill and dismal. Where sickness is, there, too, must be cheerlessness and fear. The passion which had so long possessed me was as strong as ever, but it was dashed with a hideous terror; there was so much to explain and to be satisfied upon before either of us could rightly comprehend our situation.

I knocked faintly. There was no answer. I knocked again, more loudly, but still lowly, and with increasing apprehension. The door was opened by Forrester. He looked dreadfully haggard, as if he had been sitting up all night, worn by grief and watching. I spoke to him, something broken and hardly articulate: he bent his head, and, raising his hand in token of silence, beckoned me to follow him. He was evidently much agitated, and a suspicion crossed my mind that he already repented the sacrifice he had made. But I did him wrong.

When we reached the door of the room in which we had seen Gertrude on the preceding night Forrester paused, as if to gather up his manhood for what was to follow; then, putting forward his hand, he pushed open the door.

"Go in—go in," he cried, in a choking voice; and hurrying me on he retreated back into the shadow, as if he wished to avoid being present at our meeting.

The room was in deep twilight. The curtains were drawn together over the windows, and there was less disorder in the apartment than when I had last seen it. The evidences of illness which I had observed scattered about were removed, and the furniture was more carefully arranged. The atmosphere was heavy, and affected me painfully. But I thought nothing of these things, although the slightest incident did not escape me. Gertrude still lay upon the sofa, and appeared to be more tranquil and composed. There was a solemn hush over her as she lay perfectly calm and motionless. I fancied she was asleep, and approached her gently. Her hands were stretched down by her sides, and I ventured to raise one of them to my lips. I shall never forget the horror of that touch. A thrill shot through my veins, as if a bolt of ice had struck upon my heart and frozen up its current at the fountain. It was the hand of a corpse.

In the first feeling of madness and despair which seized upon me I ran my hands wildly over her arms, and even touched her face and lips, doubting whether the form that lay before me was of this world. Some such wild apprehension traversed my brain; but the witnesses of death in the flesh were too palpable in many ways to admit of any superstitious incredulity. The violent surprise and emotion of the night before had proved too much for her wasted strength, and she had sunk suddenly under the fearful re-action.

The shock overwhelmed me. Not only was she taken from me at the very instant of discovery and possession, but all hope of mutual explanation was extinguished forever. Upon one point alone had I arrived at certainty, but that only rendered me more anxious to clear up the rest. I had seen her living, had spoken to her, and heard her voice; and now she was dead, the proof of her actual humanity was palpable. It was some comfort to know that she to whom I had dedicated myself under the influence of a sort of sorcery, was a being actuated by passions like my own, and subject to the same natural laws; but it was the extremity of all conceivable wretchedness to lose her just as I had acquired this consoling knowledge. The phantom had scarcely become a reality when it again faded into a phantom.

A few days afterward, for the second time, I followed a hearse to the grave. The only persons to whom I had consecrated my love were gone; and this last bereavement seemed to me at the time as if it were final, and as if there was nothing left for me but to die. My reason, however, had gained some strength by my rough intercourse with the world; and even in the midst of the desolation of that melancholy scene I felt as if a burden had been taken off my mind, and I had been released from a harassing obligation. At all events I had a consciousness, that as the earth closed over the coffin of Gertrude, I passed out of the region of dreams and deceptions, and that whatever lay in advance of me, for good or evil, was of the actual, toiling, practical world. The exodus of my delusion seemed to open to me a future, in which imagination would be rebuked by the presence of stern and harsh realities. I felt like a manumitted slave, who goes forth reluctantly to the hard work of freedom, and would gladly fall back, if he could, upon the supine repose which had spared him the trouble of thinking for himself.

Forrester bore his agony with heroic endurance. I, who knew what was in his heart, knew what he suffered. But his eyes were still and his lips were fixed, and not a single quiver of his pulses betrayed his anguish to the bystanders. When the last rites were over, and we turned away, he wrung my hand without a word of leave-taking, and departed. A few days afterward he left England. The associations [Pg 605] connected with the scenes of his past life—with the country that contained the ashes of all he loved—embittered every hour of his life, and he wisely sought relief in exile. I was hurt at not having received some communication from him before he went away; but I knew he was subject to fits of heavy depression, and his silence, although it pained me at the time, did not diminish the respect and sympathy inspired by his conduct.

I will not dwell upon the immediate effect which the dissolution of Gertrude, and the phantoms connected with her, had upon my mind. Shattered and subdued, I re-entered the world, which I was now resolved, out of cowardice and distrust of myself, not to leave again; taking mental exercise, as an invalid, slowly recovering from the prostration of a long illness, tests his returning strength in the open air. I had a great fear upon me of going into the country, and being once more alone. The tranquillity of Nature would have thrown me back into despair, while the crowded haunts of London kept me in a state of activity that excluded the morbid influences I had so much reason to dread. Of my new experiences in the second phase of my life, as different from the former as light from darkness, I shall speak with the same fidelity which I have hitherto strictly observed.



When I had deposited Gertrude in the grave I was a solitary tree, singled out by the lightning, from the rest of the forest, and blasted through every part of its articulation. There was no verdure in my soul. I was dead to the world around me. I lived in what was gone—I had no interest in what was to come. I believed that the fatal spell that had exercised such a power over my thoughts and actions had accomplished its catastrophe, and that there was nothing further for me to fulfill but death. My Idol had perished in her beauty and her love. She had withered before my eyes, destroyed by the supernatural passion which had bound us to each other. How then could I live, when that which was my life had vanished like a pageant in the sky? I thought I could not survive her. Yet I did. And seeing things as I see them now, and knowing the supremacy of time over affliction, I look back and wonder at the thought which desolated my heart under the immediate pressure of a calamity that appeared irreparable, but for which the world offered a hundred appeasing consolations.

I went again into the bustle—the strife of vanities, ambitions, passions, and interests. At first I merely suffered myself to be carried away by the tide; my plank was launched, and I drifted with the current. But in a little time I began to be excited by the roar and jubilee of the waters.

For many months Gertrude was ever present to me, in moments of respite and solitude. As certain as the night returned, the stillness of my chamber was haunted by her smiles. The tomb seemed to give up its tenant in the fresh bloom and sweet confidence of life, and she would come in her star-light brightness, smiling sadly, as if she had a feeling of something wanted in that existence to which death had translated her, and looking reproachfully, but sweetly down upon me for lingering so long behind her. By degrees, as time wore on, her form grew less and less distinct, and, wearied of watching and ruminating, I would fall asleep and lose her; and so, between waking and sleeping, the floating outlines vanished, and she visited me no more. At last I almost forgot the features which were once so deeply portrayed upon my heart. Poor human love and grief, how soon their footprints are washed away!

I resided entirely in London, without any settled plan of life, tossed about upon the living surge, and indifferent whither it swept me. I lived from hour to hour, and from day to day, upon the incidents that chanced to turn up. People thought there was something singular in my manner, and that my antecedents were ambiguous; consequently I was much sought after, and invited abroad. My table was covered with cards. I was plagued with inquiries, and found that ladies were especially anxious to know more about me than I chose to tell. My silence and reserve piqued their curiosity. Had I been a romantic exile, dressed in a bizarre costume, with an interesting head of hair, and an impenetrable expression of melancholy in my face, I could not have been more flattered by their inconvenient attentions. Out of this crush of civilities I made my own election of friends. My acquaintance was prodigious—my intimacies were few. Wherever I went I met a multitude of faces that were quite familiar to me, and to which I was expected to bow, but very few individuals whom I really knew. I had not the kind of talent that can carry away a whole London Directory in its head. I could never remember the names of the mob of people I was acquainted with. I recognized their faces, and shook their hands, and was astonished to find how glibly they all had my name, although I hardly recollected one of theirs, and this round of nods and how-d'ye-do's constituted the regular routine of an extensive intercourse with society. The clatter, frivolous as it was, kept me in motion, and there was health in that; but it was very wearisome. A man with a heart in his body desires closer and more absorbing ties. But we get habituated to these superficialities, and drop into them with surprising indifference; knowing or hoping that the sympathy we long for will come at last, and that, if it never comes, it is not so bad a thing after all, to be perpetually stopped on the journey of life by lively gossips, who will shake you by the hand, and insist upon asking you how you are, just as cordially as if they cared to know.

There was one family I visited more frequently than the rest of my miscellaneous acquaintance. [Pg 606] I can hardly explain the attraction that drew me so much into their circle, for there was little in it that was lovable in itself, or that harmonized with my tastes. But antagonisms are sometimes as magnetic as affinities in the moral world. They were all very odd, and did nothing like other people. They were so changeable and eccentric that they scarcely appeared to me for two evenings in succession to be the same individuals. They were perpetually shifting the slides of character, and exhibiting new phases. Their amusements and occupations resembled the incessant dazzle of a magic lantern. They were never without a novelty of some kind on hand—a new whim, which they played with like a toy till they got tired of it—a subtle joke, with a little malicious pleasantry in it—or a piece of scandal, which they exhausted till it degenerated into ribaldry. Their raillery and mirth, even when they happened to be in their most good-natured moods, were invariably on the side of ridicule. They took delight in distorting every thing, and never distorted any thing twice in the same way. They laughed at the whole range of quiet, serious amiabilities, as if all small virtues were foibles and weaknesses; and held the heroic qualities in a sort of mock awe that was more ludicrous and humiliating than open scoffing and derision. In this way they passed their lives, coming out with fresh gibes every morning, and going to bed at night in the same harlequinade humor. It seemed as if they had no cares of their own, and made up for the want of them by taking into keeping the cares of their neighbors; which they tortured so adroitly that, disrelish it as you might, it was impossible to resist the infection of their grotesque satire.

One of the members of this family was distinguished from the rest by peculiarities special to himself. He was a dwarf in stature, with a large head, projecting forehead, starting eyes, bushy hair, and an angular chin. He was old enough to be dealt with as a man; but from his diminutive size, and the singularity of his manners, he was treated as a boy. Although his mental capacity was as stunted as his body, he possessed so extraordinary a talent for translating and caricaturing humanity, that he was looked upon as a domestic mime of unrivaled powers. He could run the circle of the passions with surprising facility, rendering each transition from the grave to the gay so clearly, and touching so rapidly, yet so truly, every shade of emotion, that your wonder was divided between the dexterity, ease, and completeness of the imitation, and the sagacious penetration into character which it indicated. Acting, no doubt, is not always as wise as it looks; and the mimicry that shows so shrewd on the surface is often a mere mechanical trick. But in this case the assumptions were various, distinct, and broadly marked, and not to be confounded with the low art that paints a feeling in a contortion or a grimace. During these strange feats he never spoke a word. He did not require language to give effect or intelligence to his action. All was rapid, graphic, and obvious, and dashed off with such an air of original humor that the most serious pantomime took the odd color of a jest without compromising an atom of its grave purpose. Indeed this tendency to indulge in a kind of sardonic fun was the topping peculiarity of the whole group, and the dwarf was a faithful subscriber to the family principles.

I suffered myself to be most unreasonably amused by this daily extravagance. The dwarf was a fellow after my own fancy: an irresponsible fellow, headlong, irregular, misshapen, and eternally oscillating to and fro without any goal in life. He never disturbed me by attempts to show things as they were, or by over-refined reasoning upon facts, in which some people are in the habit of indulging until they wear off the sharp edge of truths, and fritter them down into commonplaces. In short, he never reasoned at all. He darted upon a topic, struck his fangs into it, and left it, depositing a little poison behind him. His singularities never offended me, because they never interfered with my own. He turned the entire structure and operations of society to the account of the absurd; and made men, not the victims of distaste as I did, but the puppets of a farce. We arrived, however, at much the same conclusion by different routes, and the dwarf and I agreed well together; although there was an unconfessed repulsion between us which prohibited the interchange of those outward tokens of harmony that telegraph the good fellowship of the crowd.

From the first moment of our acquaintance I had a secret distrust about my friend the dwarf. I shrank from him instinctively when I felt his breath upon me, which was as hot as if it came from a furnace. I felt as if he was a social Mephistophiles, exercising a malignant influence over my fate. Yet, in spite of this feeling, we became intimate all at once. As I saw him in the first interview, I saw him ever after. We relaxed all formalities on the instant of introduction, when he broke out with a gibe that put us both at our ease at once. We were intimates in slippers and morning-gowns, while the rest of the family were as yet on full-dress ceremony with me.


After I had known this family a considerable time, a lady from a distant part of the country, whom I had never seen or heard of before, came on a visit to them. She was a woman of about twenty-five years of age, with a handsome person, considerable powers of conversation, and more intellect than fine women usually take the trouble to cultivate or display, preferring to trust, as she might have safely done, to the influence of their beauty. Her form was grand and voluptuous; her head, with her hair bound up in fillets, had a noble classical air; and her features were strictly intellectual. She had never been married; and exhibiting, as she did at all times, a lofty superiority over the people by whom she was surrounded in this house, it opened a [Pg 607] strange chapter of sprightly malevolence to observe how they criticised her, and picked off her feathers, whenever she happened to be out of the room. They affected the most sublime regard for her, and the way they showed it was by wondering why she remained single, and trying to account for it by sundry flattering inuendos, with a sneer lurking under each of them.

The men had no taste—this was said so slily as to make every body laugh—or perhaps they were afraid of her; she was hard to please; her mind was too masculine, which made her appear more repulsive than she really was; she did not relish female society, and men are always jealous of women who are superior to themselves, and so, between the two—hem!—there was the old adage! Then she aimed at eccentricity, and had some uncommon tastes; she was fond of poetry and philosophy, and blue stockings are not so marketable as hosiery of a plainer kind: in short, it was not surprising that such a woman should find it rather difficult to suit herself with a husband. But whoever did succeed in overcoming her fastidiousness would get a prize!

These criticisms, probably, awakened an interest in my mind about this lady. She was evidently not understood by her critics; and it was by no means unlikely that, in attributing peculiarities to her which did not exist, they might have overlooked the true excellencies of her character. In proportion as they depreciated her, she rose in my estimation, by the rule of contrarieties. It had always been a weakness of mine to set myself against the multitude on questions of taste, and to reverse their judgment by a foregone conclusion. I then believed, and do still in a great measure believe, that persons of genius are not appreciated or comprehended by the mob; but I occasionally committed the mistake of taking it for granted that persons who were depreciated by the mob must of necessity be persons of genius.

Astræa—for so she was familiarly called, at first in the way of covert ridicule, but afterward from habit—was thoroughly in earnest in every thing she said and did. She could adapt herself to the passing humor of vivacity or sarcasm without any apparent effort, but her natural manner was grave and dominant. Beneath the severity of her air was an unsettled spirit, which a close observer could not fail to detect. It was to carry off or hide this secret disquietude of soul (such, at least, it appeared to me), that, with a strong aversion to frivolity, she heeded all the frivolous amusements; but then it was done with an effort and excess that showed how little her taste lay in it, and that it was resorted to only as an escape from criticism. She had no skill in these relaxations, and blundered sadly in her attempts to get through them; and people tried to feel complimented by her condescension, but were never really satisfied. And when she had succeeded in getting up the group to the height of its gayety, and thought that every body was fully employed, she would take advantage of the general merriment and relapse into her own thoughts. It was then you could see clearly how little interest she took in these things. But she was too important a person to be allowed to drop out, and as she was well aware of the invidious distinction with which she was treated, she would speedily rally and mix in the frivolity again. All this was done with a struggle that was quite transparent to me. She never played that part with much tact. Yet her true character baffled me, notwithstanding. There was an evident restlessness within; as if she were out of her sphere, or as if there were a void to be filled, a longing after something which was wanted to awaken her sympathies, and set her soul at repose. Of that I was convinced; but all beyond was impenetrable obscurity.

The mystery that hovered about her manner, her looks, her words, attracted me insensibly toward her. She was an enigma to the world as I was myself; and a secret feeling took possession of me that there were some latent points of unison in our natures which would yet be drawn out in answering harmony. This feeling was entirely exempt from passion. Gertrude had absorbed all that was passionate and loving in my nature—at least, I thought so then. And the difference between them was so wide, that it was impossible to feel in the same way about Gertrude first and Astræa afterward. Simplicity, gentleness, and timidity, were the characteristics of Gertrude; while Astræa was proud, grand, almost haughty, with a reserve which I could not fathom. If it be true that the individual nature can find a response only in another of a certain quality, then it would have been absurd to delude myself by any dreams of that kind about Astræa. If I had really loved Gertrude, I could not love Astræa. They were essentially in direct opposition to each other. As for Astræa, she appeared inaccessible to the weaknesses of passion; her conversation was bold, and she selected topics that invited argument, but rarely awakened emotion. Energetic, lofty, and severe, her very bearing repelled the approaches of love. He would have been a brave man who should have dared to love Astræa. I wondered at her beauty, which was not captivating at a glance, but full of dignity. I wondered, admired, listened, but was not enslaved.

She treated me with a frankness which she did not extend to others. This did not surprise me in the circle in which I found her. It was natural enough that she should avail herself of any escape that offered from that atmosphere of persiflage. I was guided by a similar impulse. But the same thing occurs every day in society. People always, when they can, prefer the intercourse which comes nearest to their own standard. It does not follow, however, that they must necessarily fall in love. Such a suspicion never entered my head.

I soon discovered that her knowledge was by no means profound; and that her judgment was not always accurate. Setting aside the showy accomplishments which go for nothing as mental culture she was self-educated. She [Pg 608] had been an extensive reader, but without method. She touched the surface of many subjects, and carried away something from each, to show that she had been there, trusting to her vigorous intellect for the use she should make of her fragmentary acquisitions. It was only when you discussed a subject fully with her that you discovered her deficiencies. In the ordinary way, rapidly lighting upon a variety of topics, she was always so brilliant and suggestive that you gave her credit for a larger field of acquirements than she really traversed. This discovery gave me an advantage over her; and my advantage gave me courage.

One evening we were talking of the mythology, one of her favorite themes.

"And you seriously think," I observed, in answer to something she said, "that the story of Hercules and the distaff has a purpose?"

"A deep purpose, and a very obvious moral," she replied.

"Will you expound it to me?"

"It is quite plain—the parable of strength vanquished by gentleness. There is nothing so strong as gentleness."

This reply took me by surprise, and I observed, "I should hardly have expected that from you." I was thinking more of the unexpected admission of the power of gentleness from the lips of Astræa, than of the truth or depth of the remark.

"Do you mean that as a compliment?" she inquired.

"Well—no. But from a mind constituted like yours, I should have looked for a different interpretation."

"Then you think that my mind ought to prostrate itself before a brawny development of muscles?"

"No, no; remember, you spoke of gentleness."

"That is the mind of woman," she answered, "taking its natural place, and asserting its moral power. For gentleness, like beauty, is a moral power."

"Beauty a moral power?" I exclaimed.

"That is its true definition, unless you would degrade it by lowering it to the standard of the senses," she replied, kindling as she spoke. "It elevates the imagination; we feel a moral exaltation in the contemplation of it; it is the essential grace of nature; it refines and dignifies our whole being; and appreciated in this aspect, it inspires the purest and noblest aspirations."

This creed of beauty was very unlike any thing I had anticipated from her. If any body in a crowded drawing-room had spoken in this style, I should have expected that she would have smiled somewhat contemptuously upon them.

"Your definition is imperfect," I ventured to say; "I do not dispute it as far as it goes, but it is defective in one article of faith."

"Oh! I am not sent from the stars—though they have voted me Astræa—to convert heathens. Pray, let us have your article of faith."

"I believe implicitly in your religion," said I; "but believing so much, I am compelled to believe a little more. If beauty calls up this homage of the imagination, and inspires these pure and elevating aspirations, it must awaken the emotions of the heart. To feel and appreciate beauty truly, therefore, is, in other words, to love."

"That is an old fallacy. If love were indispensable to the appreciation of beauty, it would cruelly narrow the pleasures of the imagination."

"On the contrary," I replied, "I believe them to be inseparable."

"You are talking riddles," she replied, as if she were getting tired of the subject; "but, true or false, I have no reliance upon the word love, or the use that is made of it. It means any thing or nothing."

"Then you must allow me to explain myself;" and so I set about my explanation without exactly knowing what it was I had to explain. "I spoke of love as an abstract emotion." She smiled very discouragingly at that phrase, and I was, therefore, bound to defend it. "Certainly there is such a thing—listen to me for a moment. I was not speaking of the love of this or that particular object—a love that may grow up and then die to the root; but the love which may be described as the poetical perception and permanent enjoyment of the ideal."

"We must not quarrel about the word," interrupted Astræa, as if she wished to bring the conversation to a close; "we agree, possibly, in the thing, although I should have expressed it differently."

"I grant," said I, trying to gather my own meaning more clearly, "love must have an object. Abstractions may occupy the reason, but do not touch the heart. When beauty appeals to the heart it must take a definite shape, and the love it inspires must be addressed to that object alone."

"We have changed our argument," observed Astræa, quickly, "and see, we must change our seats, too, for supper is announced."

I felt that I was rhapsodizing, and that, if I had gone on much further, I must have uttered a great deal that Astræa would have inevitably set down as rank nonsense. I was not sorry, therefore, that the conversation was broken off at that dubious point. We were both scared out of our subtleties by the flutter and laughter that rang through the room as every body rose to go to supper; and in a few moments I found myself seated at table with Astræa next to me, and my friend the dwarf seated exactly opposite.


The chatter of the party was, as usual, noisy and sarcastic. They were in an extraordinary flow of spirits, and indulged their unsparing raillery to an extravagant excess. The dwarf had quite a roystering fit upon him, and tossed his great shapeless head about with such outrageous fun, that one might suppose he was laboring under a sudden access of delirium, or had, [Pg 609] at least, fallen in with a rare God-send to exercise his powers of frantic ridicule upon. These things, no doubt, presented themselves to me in an exaggerated light, for I was a little out of humor with myself; and could not help contrasting the reckless levity of the group with the stillness of Astræa, who must have secretly despised the companionship into which she was thrown.

Whenever any body uttered a joke (and dreary and miserable jokes they were), the dwarf, who acted a sort of chorus to their obstreperous humors, would jerk his head back with a theatrical "Ha!" and spread out his hands like so many coiling snakes, with an indescribable exaggeration of astonishment. Then a sneer and chirrup would run round the table, rising presently into a loud laugh, which the lady of the house would discreetly suppress by lifting her finger half way to her face—a signal that was understood to imply a cessation of hostilities when the ribaldry was supposed to be going too far.

I looked at Astræa involuntarily on one of these occasions, and found her eyes turned at the same instant to mine. The same thought was in both our minds. We both abhorred the coarseness of the scene, and felt the same desire to be alone. The position which thus extracted the feelings that we held in common was full of peril to us; but at such moments one never thinks of peril.

I asked her to take wine, pouring it into her glass at the same moment. This implied a familiarity between us which I certainly did not intend, and should not have been conscious of if I had not chanced to notice the face of the dwarf. He was looking straight at us, his mouth pursed out, and his head thrust forward as if to make way for a sudden writhing or elevation of his shoulders. It was the express image of a man who had discovered something very strange, or in whom a previous doubt had just been confirmed. I could not at all comprehend his meaning; but I knew he had a meaning, and that threw me back upon myself to find out the point of the caricature. I attributed it to the unceremonious freedom I had taken with Astræa, and regretted that I had given occasion to so pitiful a jest; but I was by no means satisfied that there was not an arrière pensée in the mind of the dwarf.

The spiteful mirth went on in a rapid succession of vulgar inuendos, puns, and jokes. The peculiarities of one intimate friend after another were anatomized with surprising skill; nobody was spared; and the finger of the hostess was in constant requisition to check the riot, and direct the scandal-hunters after fresh quarry. As none of the people who were thus made the subjects of unmerciful ridicule were known to me or Astræa, we took no part in their dissection, and imperceptibly dropped into a conversation between ourselves.

We resumed our old subject, and talked in low and earnest tones. I supposed that they were all too much engaged in the personal topics that afforded them so much amusement to think about us, and had no suspicion that they were observing us closely all the time. I was apprised of the fact by the astounding expression I detected on the face of my indefatigable Mephistophiles: I shall never forget it. It was a face of saturnine ecstasy, with a secret smile of pleasure in it, evidently intended for me alone, as if he rejoiced, and wondered, and congratulated me, and was in high raptures at my happiness. I was astonished and confounded, and felt myself singularly agitated; yet, I knew not why—I was not angry with him: for although his manner was inexplicable, and ought to have been taken as an offense from its grossness, still, for some unaccountable reason, it was pleasant rather than disagreeable to me.

I forgot the little demon, however, in the delight of looking at Astræa, and listening to her. There was such a charm in her eyes, and in the sound of her voice, that I was soon drawn again within its powerful influence. As to the subject of our conversation, it was of secondary interest to the pleasure of hearing her speak. Whatever I said was but to induce her to say more. To struggle in an argument was out of the question—all I yearned for was the music of her tones. Not that I quite lost the thread of our discussion, but that I was more engaged in following the new graces and embellishments it derived from her mode of treating it, than in pursuing the main topic. Again I turned to the dwarf, and there he was again glaring upon us with a look of transport. But his fiery eyes no longer leaped out upon me alone; they were moved quickly from Astræa to me alternately, and were lighted up with a wild satisfaction that appeared to indicate the consummation of some delirious passion. I never saw so much mad glee in a human face; all the more mad to me, since I was entirely ignorant of the source from whence it sprang. Once I thought Astræa observed him, but she turned aside her head, and hastily changed the conversation, apparently to defeat his curiosity.

Many times before I took leave that night the mime repeated his antics; and, as if to make me feel assured that I was really the object of his pantomimic raptures, he squeezed my hand significantly at parting, and with more cordiality than he had ever shown me before.

As I bade Astræa "good-night," she gave me her hand—in the presence of the whole family; there was nothing to conceal in her thoughts. I took it gently in mine, and, gazing for a moment intently into her face, in which I thought I perceived a slight trace of confusion, I bowed and withdrew.

That was a night of strange speculation. For some time past, I had thought little of Gertrude—had almost forgotten her. That night she returned, but unlike what she had ever been before. The smile, like sunlight let in upon the recesses of a young bud, no longer cleft her lips; and her eyes were cold and glassy. I felt, too, that I had recalled her by an effort of the [Pg 610] will, and that she did not come involuntarily, as of old.

There was a sense of guiltiness in this. Was Gertrude fading from my memory?—and was Astræa concerned in the change? No, Astræa was nothing to me—she was out of my way—the height on which she stood was frozen. What was it, then, that troubled and excited me, and blotted out the past?

I was more unhappy than ever; yet it was an unhappiness that carried me onward, as if there was an escape for it, or a remedy. I was perplexed and disturbed. I was like a bird suddenly awakened in its cage amidst the glare of torches. I tried to think of Gertrude, but it was in vain. The thought no longer appeased me. The dwarf-mime was before me with all his devilish tricks and gestures. I could not rid myself of his hideous features. They danced and gibbered in the air, and were always fastened upon me. He was like a human nightmare; and even the gray dawn, as it came through the curtains, only showed that misshapen head more clearly. What was this dwarf to me that he should haunt me thus, and become an agony to my soul. Was he my fate? or was he sent to torture me to some deed of self-abandonment? I should have gone mad with this waking dream, but as the morning advanced, and the light spread, my aching eyes closed in an uneasy sleep.

I was dissatisfied with myself, without exactly knowing why. I hated the dwarf, yet was fascinated by the very importunity that made me hate him. Why should he meddle with me? Why should he exult in any diversion of my fortunes? What was he to me, or Astræa to either of us? I was an unchartered ship, in which no living person had an interest, drifting on the wide waste of waters. Why should his eyes traverse the great expanse to keep watch on me? Could he not let me founder on the breakers, without making mocking signals to me from the shore, where he and his stood in heartless security? My sleep was full of dreams of that malignant demon, and I awoke in a state of actual terror from their violent action on my nerves.


The next morning I went out, determined to dissipate these harassing reflections, and, above all things, resolved not to see Astræa. I wandered about half the day, perfectly sincere in my intention of avoiding the quarter of the town in which she lived. My mind was so much absorbed, that I was quite unconscious of the route I had taken, until, raising my eyes, I saw the dwarf standing before me on the steps of his own door. I had dropped into the old track by the sheer force of habit, and have no doubt that my tormentor put the worst construction on the flush that shot into my face at seeing him. The same riotous glee was in his eyes that I had noticed, for the first time, on the evening before; but it now took something of a look of triumph that perplexed me more than ever.

"Ha!" he exclaimed, with a chuckle that literally palpitated through his whole body—"you are come at last. I have been looking out for you the whole morning."


"How did you sleep last night?" he continued; "what sort of dreams had you? I'll answer for it that no dancing dervish ever went through such contortions!"

"What do you mean?" I demanded.

"Why, there!" he replied, "you turn red and white by turns. Are you hit?—are you hit? Confess yourself, and I will comfort you."

"Come, come," said I, anxious not to provoke the explanation I panted for, yet dreaded, "this badinage is sorry work for the day-light. You should keep it till the lamps are lighted!"

"Have at you, then," he returned, his features undergoing a comical transition into affected gravity; "I will talk proverbs with you, and look as gloomy as a mute at a funeral:" giving, at the same time, an irresistible imitation of one of those ghastly, wire-drawn, drunken faces. "Mercy upon us! what ominous tokens are in that doleful countenance of yours! The candle gives out its warning-sheet for the bespoken of the grave; the sea has its sights and sounds for the doomed man who is to sup with the fishes; the cricket challenges death in the hearth; the devil gives three knocks at the door when some miserable wretch is passing through the mortal agony; and there are signs in your face of a living torture, which any man galloping by may see. What does it mean? Is the leaf only turned over by the wind, and will the next blast whisk it back again? or are its fibres riven past recovery?"

I could not bear this tantalizing mockery; and if I had not been afraid of exciting the malice of that fiendish nature, there must have been an explosion at this moment. I managed, however, to control myself, and spoke to him calmly, but with a resolution in my voice which admitted of no mis-construction. "Now, listen to me, my friend," I said, "and understand distinctly what I am going to say. You have extraordinary talents for sarcasm, but I must ask you not to practice them upon me. I don't like to be questioned and criticised in this way. I dare say you don't intend any thing beyond an idle joke; but I don't like being made the subject of jokes. I covet no favor from you but to be spared your gibes—and that is not much for you to grant."

"The hardest thing in the world to grant!" he answered. "To be spared my gibes! What is to become of us, if I'm not to have my gibes? You might as well ask me to look you straight in the face and not to see you. Nonsense! you mustn't impose such a penance upon me."

"But why do you jest with me in this way? Do you think I am a fit object for burlesque and buffoonery?"

"Burlesque and buffoonery?" he returned, twitching his mouth as if he were stung to the quick; "I do not burlesque you, and I am not a buffoon." [Pg 611]

"Then drop this strange humor of yours, and try to be serious with me."

"Do you desire me to be serious with you?"

"Most assuredly I do. I don't understand any thing else."

"Then it is a bond between us henceforth," he cried, in a tone of deep earnestness. "From this hour I jest with you no more."

As he spoke he glanced at me darkly under his eyebrows, and turned into the house. I was rather taken by surprise at this new manifestation of his versatile genius, and followed him mechanically, utterly forgetful of the wise resolution with which I had set out.

We went into the drawing-room. Astræa was surrounded by a group o girls, some kneeling, others dispersed about her, while she was directing their employment on a piece of tapestry on a large frame. The tableau was striking, and I thought Astræa never looked so well Her fine figure was thrown into a graceful attitude, the head slightly averted, and one hand pointing to the tracery, while the other was raised in the air, suspending some threads of the embroidery. The face that formed a circle round her were looking up, beaming with pleasure and presented an animated picture. Here was Astræa in a new aspect. I felt the injustice her flippant critics had committed in unsexing her, and depriving her of her domestic attributes.

Our entrance disturbed the group, and, springing up, they took to flight like a flock of birds.

"You see, Astræa," said the dwarf, in a sharp voice, meant to convey sneer through a compliment, "you are not allowed to be useful in this world. You are invaded at all your weak points: the force of you attraction will not suffer you to enjoy even your needle in private."

"A truce, sir, to this folly!" exclaimed Astræa, turning from him an advancing to meet me.

The dwarf twirled painfully on his chair, as if the scorn had taken full effect upon him. We had both struck him in the same place. Had we premeditated a plan of operations for wounding his vanity we could not have acted more completely in concert.

"I hope," said I, desiring to change the subject, "you have recovered our merriment of last night?"

"Merriment?" interposed Mephistophiles; "Good! Your merriment You and Astræa were like dull citizens yawning over a comedy, which we were fools enough to act for you. When next we play in that fashion may we have a livelier audience."

"The reproach, I am afraid, is just," I observed, looking at Astræa. But she was not disposed to give the vantage ground to Mephistophiles. "I hope next time you may have an audience more to your liking," she observed; "tastes differ, you know, in these matters."

"Yes, that's quite true," returned the dwarf, dryly; "but your tastes, it seems agree wonderfully."

Thus Astræa and I were coupled and cast together by the mime, who evidently took a vindictive delight in committing us to embarrassments of that kind. To have attempted to extricate ourselves would probably have only drawn fresh imputations upon us; so we let it pass.

Every body has observed what important events sometimes take their spring in trifles. The destiny of a life is not unfrequently determined by an accident. I felt that there was something due to Astræa or the freedom to which she was exposed on my account. Yet it was an exceedingly awkward subject to touch upon. The very consciousness of this awkwardness produced or suggested other feelings that involved me in fresh difficulties. I felt that I ought to apologize for having brought this sort of observation upon her; but I also felt that explanations on such subjects are dangerous, and that it is safer to leave them unnoticed. The impulse, however, to say something was irresistible; and what I did say was not well calculated to help me out of the dilemma.

"I feel," said I, quite aware at the moment I spoke that it would have been just as well to have left my feelings out of the question—"I feel that I ought to apologize t you for bringing discredit on your taste. The whole fault of the dullness lies with me."

"Not at all," she replied; "I am perfectly willing to take my share of it. Be assured that the highest compliment is often to be extracted from some people's sarcasms."

This was a "palpable hit," and I apprehended that it would rouse the dwarf to a fierce rejoinder. But he had left the room, and we were alone.

There was a pause; and Astræa, who had more courage under the embarrassment than I could command, was the first to speak. "They mistake me," she said slowly; "it has been my misfortune all my life to be misunderstood. Per aps the error is in myself. Possibly my own nature is at cross-purposes, marring and frustrating all that I really mean to do and say. I try to adapt myself to other people, but always fail. Even my motive are misinterpreted, and I can not make myself intelligible. It must be some original willfulness of my nature, that makes me seem too proud to the proud, and too condescending to the humble; but certain it is that both equally mistake me."

"I do not mistake you, Astræa," I cried, startled by the humility of her confession.

"I feel you do not," she answered.

"They say you are scornful and unapproachable—not so! You are as timid at heart as the fawn trembling in its retreat at the sound of the hunter's horn. But you hold them, with whom you can not mingle, by the bond of fear. You compel them to treat you with deference, from the apprehension that they might otherwise [Pg 612] become familiar. The translate your high intelligence into haughtiness; and because they can not reach to your height, they believe you to be proud and despotic."

"I know not how that may be," she returned; "but I will acknowledge that my feelings must be touched before the mere woman's nature is awakened. They who do not know me think—"

"That you are insensible to that touch," said I, supplying the unfinished sentence; "they libel you, Astræa! Achilles had only one vulnerable spot, but that was fatal. Protected in all else, you are defenseless on one point, and when that is struck your whole nature is subjugated. Do I describe you truly? When the woman is awakened, the insensibility and fortitude in which you are shut up will melt away—your power will be reduced to helplessness: absorbing devotion, unbounded tenderness, which are yearning for their release, will flow out; the conqueror will become the enslaved, living, not for victories which you despise, but for a servitude which will bring your repressed enthusiasm into action. For this you would sacrifice the world—pride, place, applause, disciples, flattery!"

"Not a very agreeable picture—but, I am afraid, a faithful one."

"Strong feelings and energy of character are not always best for our happiness," I went on; "you expected too much; you found the world cold and selfish, and your heart closed upon it. This was the action of a temperament eager and easily chilled; and it was natural enough that people who could not move your sympathies should think that your heart was dead or callous. Yet there it was, watching for the being who was one day to call up its idolatry—for it is not love that will constitute your happiness, Astræa—it must be idolatry. It is that for which you live—to relinquish yourself for another. All is darkness and probation with you till she who now inspires so much worship to which she is indifferent, shall herself become the worshiper. It is the instinct of your nature, the secret of the enigma, which makes you seem exactly the opposite of what you are."

I might have run on I know not to what excess, for I felt my eloquence kindling and rising to an extravagant height, when I perceived Astræa change color and avert her eyes.

"Have I offended you, Astræa?" I inquired.

"Offended me?" she answered; "no, you have done me a service. You have shown me the error of my life—the folly and delusion of hoping for a destiny different from that of the ordinary lot."

"Why do you call it a delusion? You will yet find that haven of rest toward which your heart looks so tremulously. The bird whose instinct carries it over the wild seas from continent to continent sometimes droops its jaded wings and sinks, but it makes land at last."

"No, no; it was a dream. There is no reality in such foolish notions."

"Come," said I, with increasing earnestness, "you must not speak against your convictions. You do not think it a dream—you rely confidently on the hope that the time will come—"

"The thought is madness," interrupted Astræa, quickly; "no—no—no—there is no such hope for me. Do not misconceive me. You have read my nature as clearly as if the volume of my whole life to its inmost thoughts were laid open before you. But the dream is over. It might have been the pride and glory of my soul to have waited upon some high Intelligence—to have followed its progress, cheered it patiently in secret to exertion, encouraged its ambition, and lain in the shadow of its triumphs. It is over. That may never be!"

Her voice shook, although she looked calmly at me as she spoke, trying to conceal her emotion. Her hand accidentally lay in mine. There was a danger in it which I would not see.

"And you have not found the Intelligence for which you sought?" I demanded, in a voice that conveyed more than it expressed in words.

"Yes," she replied slowly, "I have found Intelligence—original, hard, athletic; but wanting in the sympathy that alone wins the heart of woman."

"Astræa," I replied, "your imagination has pictured an ideal which I fear you will never find realized."

"I have found it!" she cried, betrayed into a transport of feeling; then, checking herself, she added, "and I have lost it. Would to God I had never found it!"

Her head drooped—it touched my shoulder; my arm pressed her waist—I was ignorant of it; a haze swam before my eyes. Tumultuous sensations beat audibly at my heart. Astræa, the haughty beauty—the intellectual, proud Astræa—where was her dominant power—her lofty self-possession now? Subdued, bowed down by emotion, the strength of her will seemed to pass from her to me, reversing our positions, and placing in my hands the ascendency she had so lately wielded. The air seemed to palpitate with these new and agitating feelings. I made an effort to control myself and speak, but could only pronounce her name


There were a hundred questions in the word; but she was silent, and in her silence a hundred answers.

"Not here, Astræa," I cried; "we shall be more free to speak elsewhere—away from those vacant eyes through which no hearts find utterance for us. One word, and I will be still—one word—"

She trembled violently, and pressed my hand convulsively, as if she desired that I should not ask that word. But it was no longer possible to restrain it.

That word was spoken.

A shudder passed over her, and as she bent her head I felt a gush of tears upon my hand. At that moment a muffled step was on the stairs, and I had scarcely time to disengage [Pg 613] myself when our imp half opened the door, and looked in with a leer of ribaldry and suspicion that chilled me to the core.

(To be continued.)


Penn did not remain long in London. His father, anxious to keep him apart from his old Puritan friends—and to sustain the habit of devotion to his temporal interests into which he seemed gradually falling, sent him again into Ireland. He had no suspicion that the enemy of his peace lay in ambush at the very gates of his stronghold. But the youth had not resided more than a few months at Shangarry Castle before one of those incidents occurred which destroy in a day the most elaborate attempts to stifle the instincts of nature. When the admiral in England was pluming himself on the triumphs of his worldly prudence, his son, on occasion of one of his frequent visits to Cork, heard by accident that Thomas Loe, his old Oxford acquaintance, was in the city and intended to preach that night. He thought of his boyish enthusiasm at college, and wondered how the preacher's eloquence would stand the censures of his riper judgment. Curiosity prompted him to stay and listen. The fervid orator took for his text the passage—"There is a faith that overcomes the world, and there is a faith that is overcome by the world." The topic was peculiarly adapted to his own situation. Possessed by strong religious instincts, but at the same time docile and affectionate—he had hitherto oscillated between two duties—duty to God and duty to his father. The case was one in which the strongest minds might waver for a time. On the one side—his filial affection, the example of his brilliant friends, the worldly ambition never quite a stranger to the soul of man—all pleaded powerfully in favor of his father's views. On the other there was only the low whisperings of his own heart. But the still voice would not be silenced. Often as he had escaped from thought into business, gay society, or the smaller vanities of the parade and mess-room—the moment of repose again brought back the old emotions. The crisis had come at last. Under Thomas Loe's influence they were restored to a permanent sway. From that night he was a Quaker in his heart.

He now began to attend the meetings of this despised and persecuted sect, and soon learned to feel the bitter martyrdom to which he had given up all his future hopes. In no part of these islands were the Quakers of that time treated as men and as brethren—and least of any where in Ireland. Confounded by ignorant and zealous magistrates with those sterner Puritans who had lately ruled the land with a rod of iron, and had now fallen into the position of a vanquished and prostrate party—they were held up to ridicule in polite society, and pilloried by the vulgar in the market-place. On the 3d of September (1667), a meeting of these harmless people was being held in Cork when a company of soldiers broke in upon them, made the whole congregation prisoners and carried them before the mayor on a charge of riot and tumultuous assembling. Seeing William Penn, the lord of Shangarry Castle and an intimate friend of the viceroy, among the prisoners, the worthy magistrate wished to set him at liberty on simply giving his word to keep the peace, but not knowing that he had violated any law he refused to enter into terms, and was sent to jail with the rest. From the prison he wrote to his friend the Earl of Ossory—Lord President of Munster—giving an account of his arrest and detention. An order was of course sent to the mayor for his immediate discharge; but the incident had made known to all the gossips of Dublin the fact that the young courtier and soldier had turned Quaker.

His friends at the vice-regal court were greatly distressed at this untoward event. The earl wrote off to the admiral to inform him of his son's danger, stating the bare facts just as they had come to his knowledge. The family were thunderstruck. The father especially was seriously annoyed; he thought the boy's conduct not only mad but what was far worse in that libertine age—ridiculous. The world was beginning to laugh at him and his family:—he could bear it no longer. He wrote in peremptory terms, calling him to London. William obeyed without a word of expostulation. At the first interview between father and son nothing was said on the subject which both had so much at heart. The admiral scrutinized the youth with searching eyes—and as he observed no change in his costume, nor in his manner any of that formal stiffness which he thought the only distinction of the abhorred sect, he felt re-assured. His son was still dressed like a gentleman; he wore lace and ruffles, plume and rapier; the graceful curls of the cavalier still fell in natural clusters about his neck and shoulders: he began to hope that his noble correspondent had erred in his friendly haste. But a few days served to dissipate this illusion. He was first struck with the circumstance that his son omitted to uncover in the presence of his elders and superiors; and with somewhat of indignation and impatience in his tone demanded an interview and an explanation.

William frankly owned that he was now a Quaker. The admiral laughed at the idea, and treating it as a passing fancy, tried to reason him out of it. But he mistook his strength. The boy was the better theologian and the more thorough master of all the weapons of controversy. He then fell back on his own leading motives. A Quaker! Why, the Quakers abjured worldly titles: and he expected to be made a peer! Had the boy turned Independent, Anabaptist—any thing but Quaker, he might have reconciled it to his conscience. But he had made himself one of a sect remarkable only for [Pg 614] absurdities which would close on him every door in courtly circles. Then there was that question of the hat. Was he to believe that his own son would refuse to uncover in his presence? The thing was quite rebellious and unnatural. And to crown all—how would he behave himself at court? Would he wear his hat in the royal presence? William paused. He asked an hour to consider his answer—and withdrew to his own chamber.

This enraged the admiral more than ever. What! a son of his could hesitate at such a question! Why, this was a question of breeding—not of conscience. Every child uncovered to his father—every subject to his sovereign. Could any man with the feelings and the education of a gentleman doubt? And this boy—for whom he had worked so hard—had won such interest—had opened such a brilliant prospect—that he, with his practical and cultivated mind, should throw away his golden opportunities for a mere whimsy! He felt that his patience was sorely tried.

After a time spent in solitude and prayer, the young man returned to his father with the result of his meditation—a refusal.

The indignant admiral turned him out of doors.


He was scarce past his childhood, and yet, at a glance, I perceived that he had commenced life's warfare for himself; that necessity had, with a stern, unbending brow, pointed out to him the way he was to take, and taught him, young as he was, that his fate must be to battle for himself on the path of life. His very humble and tattered dress, the sorrowful expression which had settled on his pallid yet interesting features, told their own story, and I involuntarily sighed while observing him. "Want alone," I mentally exclaimed, "has hitherto been his companion; light hearts, gamboling playmates of his own years, exuberance of the young spirit, which gives buoyancy to the foot, throws sunshine on the heart, and 'neath whose spell all things seem beautiful—he, poor boy! has never known. He knows naught of the green fields and flowers, of murmuring brooks and leafy trees, amidst whose branches sweet music dwells: in some pent-up, crowded alley is his home, and his young mind hath been awoke in confines close, amidst scenes of toil and misery."

The gentle and dejected expression of his countenance first attracted my attention, and, unobserved by him, I watched his movements as he slowly advanced down the crowded street toward the spot where I stood. Occasionally he paused, and after looking up and down the busy thoroughfare, apparently awaiting or looking for some expected object to come in sight, he resumed his saunter, keeping close to the wall, so as to avoid intercepting the way of the numbers who were hurrying past him. The more I saw of the boy, the more was my interest in him increased, and my desire to know what object had brought him thither. So young, could his design be criminal? had he been initiated into the craft of pocket-picking? did he thus linger amidst the bustle of the crowded pathway to mark where he could successfully seize the spoil? I looked at him more earnestly as he approached me still nearer, and I felt that in the bare suspicion I had done him an injustice.

While I was thus speculating on his character, he paused within a few paces of me, and gazed earnestly down the street, where something appeared to be exciting his attention. Following the direction of his earnest look, I perceived at a little distance a gentleman on horseback slowly advancing, while looking inquiringly at the houses he was passing, as though in search of one of them in particular. He had arrived within a few yards of the place where I stood, when he halted, and dismounted: in an instant the boy I have spoken of was at his side, and touching the ragged apology for a cap which he wore, evidently tendered his services to hold the horse. The horseman cast a hasty glance at the little fellow, and was apparently about to resign the reins into his hands, when the door of the house before which he was standing opened, and a servant advanced to address him. I indistinctly caught the words "from home" and "to-morrow," when the functionary retired to the house; the horseman remounted, and cantered down the street, leaving the boy disappointedly and wistfully gazing after him.

Yes, I saw the gleam which had irradiated the little fellow's face vanish; and fancied I heard a sigh, which his young breast heaved forth as he turned away dejectedly from the spot. Thus unsuccessful, I saw him next, from some of the passers-by, ask charity; but so timidly, that I saw he feared the repulse of harsh words, which, as I watched him, in some instances met his solicitations; while others passed him without the slightest notice. Apparently very tired, he now seated himself on a door-step, still looking eagerly about him, as though anxious for another opportunity to present itself, when he might, with success, offer his services. While he was thus employed, an open carriage came rattling up the street, and, pulling up, a lady alighted at the house immediately opposite to where the young street-wanderer sat. I watched the play of his features as his gaze rested upon two little fellows of apparently his own age who were in the carriage, and who, in spite of an elderly-looking nurse's efforts to restrain them, were gamboling with each other rather boisterously. In the true spirit of boyish glee and mischief, they were endeavoring with parasols to push off the hat of the footman; who, seemingly, as much amused as themselves, while standing by the carriage awaiting the lady's return, was giving them opportunities to accomplish their object. [Pg 615] Yes, right joyous were they; and with their costly dresses, rosy cheeks, and bright eyes, presented a striking contrast to the little fellow, who, in rags and wretchedness, from the door-step, was earnestly observing them. I would have given much to have known his thoughts in those moments; to have read, like the pages of a book, the feelings of his heart, while watching them in their gambols. There was no envy in the expression of his countenance; but, by the fixedness of his gaze, I judged that the sight of the carriage and its young occupants, at that juncture, had given birth to a train of thoughts and ideas as new as they were, perhaps, saddening. Did he think that fate had dealt hardly with him? Did he in his cogitations become bewildered in a labyrinth of thought, in endeavoring to account for the why of their being so differently situated? or, did fancy in his young brain raise some strange speculation on the world and the designs of Him who made it?

After a short time had elapsed, the door of the house opened, and the lady came forth; she entered the carriage, the footman mounted behind, away they rattled down the street, and were soon out of sight. I turned to look at the boy; he seemed to have fallen into a reverie, sitting motionless, while his gaze rested on the part of the street where the carriage had disappeared.

When I again observed him, he had left his seat, and was rapidly crossing the street, to meet a female who, attired somewhat above the common garb, was advancing on the opposite side, and bearing in her arms a rather bulky parcel, which she appeared inconveniently to carry. As I had seen him salute the horseman, the street-wanderer, in addressing her, touched his cap, and evidently tendered his services to carry the parcel. The woman paused for a moment to look at the applicant, when, either deeming him too diminutive for the burden, or actuated by a spirit of economy, with some brief but decisive remark she turned from him, and resumed her walk. At the same moment a boor of a porter, rather than diverge from his path, knocked roughly against the boy, who was standing on the pavement, and sent him staggering against the wall, continuing his heavy tread onward, without as much as turning his head to see whether or not the little fellow had fallen.

Thus twice had I seen the cup held to his lips and dashed away; twice had I seen him strong in hope, and twice in disappointment deep. Where now, boy, is thy energy? where thy spirit, thy resolution? Methinks thou needst them now. Alas! thou art but a child; and at thy age the green fields, where birds are blithely singing, or the jocund playground with young kindred spirits, where sport hath its daring and its perseverance too, were more fitting place to bring forth such exalted qualities than the crowded street—where want, perhaps, spurs thee to attempt; where fortune frowns upon thee, and seems hope to whisper only to deceive! Courage thou hast no more. Energy, it has left thee; else wouldst thou not so dejectedly hang thy head, and creep along the street as though thou wert upon forbidden ground, or trespassing in sharing the light of the fading day and the breath of heaven with those who are heedlessly hurrying past thee.

After his last unsuccessful application, I next saw the dispirited little fellow turn down a small, little-frequented street, and, with the intention of meeting and speaking to him, I made a short détour, soon gaining the opposite end of the street which I had seen him enter. The buildings consisted entirely of warehouses, which were all closed for the night; and knowing that he could scarcely have entered one of them, I was not a little surprised to find the street apparently deserted. Advancing a few paces, however, the mystery was soon solved. Nestling in the corner of a warehouse doorway, with his head resting on his little hand, my eyes fell upon the wanderer I was in search of. Absorbed in his grief, I approached him unseen, unheard. Ah! need I say that he was weeping bitterly?

Reader, the boy had a home; I saw it; a cellar, whose bare walls and brick-uncovered floor bespoke it the abode of poverty and misery. He was not an orphan; for on a heap of rags, which served her for a bed, I saw an emaciated figure which he called his mother; a brother and a sister, too, were there, younger than my guide, and in their tattered, dirty garments scarcely distinguishable from the bed of rags on which they were huddled beside the dying woman. He was not an orphan; the young street-wanderer had a father. Him, too, I saw; a rude, blear-eyed drunkard, whose countenance it was fearful to look upon; for there might be seen that the worst passions of our common nature had with him obtained a perilous ascendency—a brute, whose intellect, perhaps never bright, had become more brutal under the influence of the fire-spirit, to which he bore conspicuous marks of being a groveling soul-and-body slave. To me he appeared like the demon Ruin midst the wreck around. On him, now that the wife could work no more, were they dependent. Need I say that there were days when they scarce tasted food, when the young wanderer had been unsuccessful in the streets? and when hungry, tired, and dejected, he gave current to his grief, as when I found him in the midst of his heart-breaking sorrow?

Yes, my first surmise was painfully correct. He had, indeed, commenced life's warfare for himself; young as he was, it was his fate to battle his way on the path of life, and not a soul to advise and guard him against the demon Crime, whose favorite haunts are the footsteps of the ignorant and needy.

Reader, how many of the victims of crime who fill our prisons, were their histories known, would prove to have commenced life like this boy! Not always, then, let us unpitying behold [Pg 616] the criminal, who, in his early manhood or the prime of life, is banished from his country, or suffers the dread penalty of death, without reflecting how much those who brought him into the world were concerned with so melancholy an issue—without reflecting that, like the little fellow of whom these pages tell, he may have had a father little better than the brute of the field, and in his childish years have been turned out to get his bread—a wanderer in the streets.



"Nulla dies sine linea."

Chelsea, June 18.

On asking Mr. Gunnel to what use I sd put this fayr libellus, he did suggest my making it a kinde of family register, wherein to note ye more important of our domestick passages, whether of joy or griefe—my father's journies and absences—the visits of learned men, theire notable sayings, etc. "You are smart at the pen, Mistress Margaret," he was pleased to say; "and I woulde humblie advise your journalling in ye same fearless manner in the which you framed that letter which soe well pleased the Bishop of Exeter, that he sent you a Portugal piece. 'Twill be well to write it in English, which 'tis expedient for you not altogether to negleckt, even for the more honourable Latin."

Methinks I am close upon womanhood.... "Humblie advise," quotha! to me, that hath so oft humblie sued for his pardon, and sometimes in vayn!

'Tis well to make trial of Gonellus his "humble" advice: albeit, our daylie course is so methodicall, that 'twill afford scant subject for ye pen—Vitam continet una dies.

... As I traced ye last word, methoughte I heard ye well-known tones of Erasmus his pleasant voyce; and, looking forthe of my lattice, did indeede beholde the deare little man coming up from ye river side with my father, who, because of ye heat, had given his cloak to a tall stripling behind him to bear. I flew up stairs, to advertise mother, who was half in and half out of her grogram gown, and who stayed me to clasp her owches; so that, by ye time I had followed her down stairs, we founde 'em alreadie in ye hall.

So soon as I had kissed their hands, and obtayned their blessings, the tall lad stept forthe, and who sd he but William Roper, returned from my father's errand over-seas! He hath grown hugelie, and looks mannish; but his manners are worsened insteade of bettered by forayn travell; for, insteade of his old franknesse, he hung upon hand till father bade him come forward; and then, as he went his rounds, kissing one after another, stopt short when he came to me, twice made as though he would have saluted me, and then held back, making me looke so stupid, that I cd have boxed his ears for his payns. 'Speciallie as father burst out a-laughing, and cried, "The third time's lucky!"

After supper, we took deare Erasmus entirely over ye house, in a kind of family procession, e'en from the buttery and scalding-house to our own deare Academia, with its cool green curtain flapping in ye evening breeze, and blowing aside, as though on purpose to give a glimpse of ye cleare-shining Thames! Erasmus noted and admired the stone jar, placed by Mercy Giggs on ye table, full of blue and yellow irises, scarlet tiger-lilies, dog-roses, honeysuckles, moonwort, and herb-trinity; and alsoe our various desks, eache in its own little retirement,—mine own, in speciall, so pleasantly situate! He protested, with everie semblance of sincerity, he had never seene so pretty an academy. I should think not, indeede! Bess, Daisy, and I, are of opinion, that there is not likelie to be such another in ye world. He glanced, too, at ye books on our desks; Bessy's being Livy; Daisy's, Sallust; and mine, St. Augustine, with father's marks where I was to read, and where desist. He tolde Erasmus, laying his hand fondlie on my head, "Here is one who knows what is implied in the word Trust." Dear father, well I may! He added, "There was no law against laughing in his academia, for that his girls knew how to be merry and wise."

From the house to the new building, the chapel and gallery, and thence to visitt all the dumbe kinde, from the great horned owls to Cecy's pet dormice. Erasmus was amused at some of theire names, and doubted whether Dun Scotus and the venerable Bede would have thoughte themselves complimented in being made name-fathers to a couple of owls; though he admitted that Argus and Juno were goode cognomens for peacocks. Will Roper hath broughte mother a pretty little forayn animal called a marmot, but she sayd she had noe time for such-like playthings, and bade him give it to his little wife. Methinks, I being neare sixteen and he close upon twenty, we are too old for those childish names now, nor am I much flattered at a present not intended for me; however, I shall be kind to the little creature, and, perhaps, grow fond of it, as 'tis both harmlesse and diverting.

To return, howbeit, to Erasmus; Cecy, who had hold of his gown, and had alreadie, through his familiar kindnesse and her own childish heedlessness, somewhat transgrest bounds, began now in her mirthe to fabricate a dialogue, she pretended to have overhearde, between Argus and Juno as they stoode pearcht on a stone parapet. Erasmus was entertayned with her garrulitie for a while, but at length gentlie checkt her, with "Love ye truth, little mayd, love ye truth, or, if thou liest, let it be with a circumstance," a qualification which made mother stare and father laugh.

Sayth Erasmus, "There is no harm in a fabella, apologus, or parabola, so long as its character be distinctlie recognised for such, but contrariwise, much goode; and ye same hath [Pg 617] been sanctioned, not only by ye wiser heads of Greece and Rome, but by our deare Lord himself. Therefore, Cecilie, whom I love exceedinglie, be not abasht, child, at my reproof, for thy dialogue between the two peacocks was innocent no less than ingenious, till thou wouldst have insisted that they, in sooth, sayd something like what thou didst invent. Therein thou didst violence to ye truth, which St. Paul hath typified by a girdle, to be worn next the heart, and that not only confineth within due limits but addeth strength. So now be friends; wert thou more than eleven and I no priest, thou shouldst be my little wife, and darn my hose, and make me sweet marchpane, such as thou and I love. But, oh! this pretty Chelsea! What daisies! what buttercups! what joviall swarms of gnats! The country all about is as nice and flat as Rotterdam."

Anon, we sit down to rest and talk in the pavillion.

Sayth Erasmus to my father, "I marvel you have never entered into the king's service in some publick capacitie, wherein your learning and knowledge, bothe of men and things, would not onlie serve your own interest, but that of your friends and ye publick."

Father smiled and made answer, "I am better and happier as I am. As for my friends, I alreadie do for them alle I can, soe as they can hardlie consider me in their debt; and, for myself, ye yielding to theire solicitations that I wd putt myself forward for the benefit of the world in generall, wd be like printing a book at request of friends, that ye publick may be charmed with what, in fact, it values at a doit. The cardinall offered me a pension, as retaining fee to the king a little while back, but I tolde him I did not care to be a mathematical point, to have position without magnitude."

Erasmus laught and sayd, "I woulde not have you ye slave of anie king; howbeit, you mighte assist him and be useful to him."

"The change of the word," sayth father, "does not alter the matter; I shoulde be a slave, as completely as if I had a collar rounde my neck."

"But would not increased usefulnesse," says Erasmus, "make you happier?"

"Happier?" says father, somewhat heating; "how can that be compassed in a way so abhorrent to my genius? At present, I live as I will, to which very few courtiers can pretend. Half-a-dozen blue-coated serving-men answer my turn in the house, garden, field, and on the river: I have a few strong horses for work, none for show, plenty of plain food for a healthy family, and enough, with a hearty welcome, for a score of guests that are not dainty. The lengthe of my wife's train infringeth not the statute; and, for myself, I soe hate bravery, that my motto is, 'Of those whom you see in scarlet, not one is happy.' I have a regular profession, which supports my house, and enables me to promote peace and justice; I have leisure to chat with my wife, and sport with my children; I have hours for devotion, and hours for philosophie and ye liberall arts, which are absolutelie medicinall to me, as antidotes to ye sharpe but contracted habitts of mind engendered by ye law. If there be aniething in a court life which can compensate for ye losse of anie of these blessings, deare Desiderius, pray tell me what it is, for I confesse I know not."

"You are a comicall genius," says Erasmus.

"As for you," retorted father, "you are at your olde trick of arguing on ye wrong side, as you did ye firste time we mett. Nay, don't we know you can declaime backward and forwarde on the same argument, as you did on ye Venetian war?"

Erasmus smiled quietlie, and sayd, "What coulde I do? The pope changed his holy mind." Whereat father smiled too.

"What nonsense you learned men sometimes talk!" pursues father. "I—wanted at court, quotha! Fancy a dozen starving men with one roasted pig betweene them;—do you think they would be really glad to see a thirteenth come up, with an eye to a small piece of ye crackling? No; believe me, there is none that courtiers are more sincerelie respectfull to than the man who avows he hath no intention of attempting to go shares; and e'en him they care mighty little about, for they love none with true tendernesse save themselves."

"We shall see you at court yet," says Erasmus.

Sayth father, "Then I will tell you in what guise. With a fool-cap and bells. Pish! I won't aggravate you, churchman as you are, by alluding to the blessings I have which you have not; and I trow there is as much danger in taking you for serious when you are onlie playful and ironicall as if you were Plato himself."

Sayth Erasmus, after some minutes' silence, "I know full well that you holde Plato, in manie instances, to be sporting when I accept him in very deed and truth. Speculating he often was; as a brighte, pure flame must needs be struggling up, and, if it findeth no direct vent, come forthe of ye oven's mouth. He was like a man shut into a vault, running hither and thither, with his poor, flickering taper, agonizing to get forthe, and holding himself in readinesse to make a spring forward the moment a door sd open. But it never did. 'Not manie wise are called.' He had clomb a hill in ye darke, and stoode calling to his companions below, 'Come on, come on! this way lies ye east; I am advised we shall see the sun rise anon.' But they never did. What a Christian he woulde have made! Ah! he is one now. He and Socrates—the veil long removed from their eyes—are sitting at Jesus' feet. Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis!"

Bessie and I exchanged glances at this so strange ejaculation; but ye subjeckt was of such interest, that we listened with deep attention to what followed.

Sayth father, "Whether Socrates were what Plato painted him in his dialogues, is with me [Pg 618] a great matter of doubte; but it is not of moment. When so many contemporaries coulde distinguishe ye fancifulle from ye fictitious, Plato's object coulde never have beene to deceive. There is something higher in art than gross imitation. He who attempteth it is always the leaste successfull; and his failure hath the odium of a discovered lie; whereas, to give an avowedlie fabulous narrative a consistence within itselfe which permitts ye reader to be, for ye time, voluntarilie deceived, is as artfulle as it is allowable. Were I to construct a tale, I woulde, as you sayd to Cecy, lie with a circumstance, but shoulde consider it noe compliment to have my unicorns and hippogriffs taken for live animals. Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, magis tamen amica veritas. Now, Plato had a much higher aim than to give a very pattern of Socrates his snub nose. He wanted a peg to hang his thoughts upon—"

"A peg? A statue of Phidias," interrupts Erasmus.

"A statue by Phidias, to clothe in ye most beautiful drapery," sayth father; "no matter that ye drapery was his own, he wanted to show it to the best advantage, and to ye honour rather than prejudice of the statue. And, having clothed ye same, he got a spark of Prometheus his fire, and made the aforesayd statue walk and talk to the glory of gods and men, and sate himself quietlie down in a corner. By the way, Desiderius, why shouldst thou not submitt thy subtletie to the rules of a colloquy? Set Eckius and Martin Luther by the ears! Ha! man, what sport! Heavens! if I were to compound a tale or a dialogue, what crotches and quips of mine own woulde I not putt into my puppets' mouths! and then have out my laugh behind my vizard, as when we used to act burlesques before Cardinall Morton. What rare sporte we had, one Christmas, with a mummery we called the 'Triall of Feasting!' Dinner and Supper were broughte up before my Lord Chief Justice, charged with murder. Theire accomplices were Plum-pudding, Mince-pye, Surfeit, Drunkenness, and suchlike. Being condemned to hang by ye neck, I, who was Supper, stuft out with I cannot tell you how manie pillows, began to call lustilie for a confessor; and, on his stepping forthe, commenct a list of all ye fitts, convulsions, spasms, payns in ye head, and so forthe, I had inflicted on this one and t'other. 'Alas! good father,' says I, 'King John layd his death at my door; indeede, there's scarce a royall or noble house that hath not a charge agaynst me; and I'm sorelie afrayd' (giving a poke at a fat priest that sate at my lord cardinall's elbow) 'I shall have the death of that holy man to answer for.'"

Erasmus laughed, and sayd, "Did I ever tell you of the retort of Willibald Pirkheimer. A monk, hearing him praise me somewhat lavishly to another, could not avoid expressing by his looks great disgust and dissatisfaction; and, on being askt whence they arose, confest he cd not, with patience, hear ye commendation of a man soe notoriously fond of eating fowls. 'Does he steal them?' says Pirkheimer. 'Surely no,' says ye monk. 'Why, then,' quoth Willibald, 'I know of a fox who is ten times the greater rogue; for, look you, he helps himself to many a fat hen from my roost without ever offering to pay me. But tell me now, dear father, is it then a sin to eat fowls?' 'Most assuredlie it is,' says the monk, 'if you indulge in them to gluttony.' 'Ah! if, if!' quoth Pirkheimer. 'If stands stiff, as the Lacedemonians told Philip of Macedon; and 'tis not by eating bread alone, my dear father, you have acquired that huge paunch of yours. I fancy, if all the fat fowls that have gone into it coulde raise their voices and cackle at once, they woulde make noise enow to drown ye drums and trumpets of an army.' Well may Luther say," continued Erasmus, laughing, "that theire fasting is easier to them than our eating to us; seeing that every man Jack of them hath to his evening meal two quarts of beer, a quart of wine, and as manie as he can eat of spice cakes, the better to relish his drink. While I—'tis true my stomach is Lutheran, but my heart is Catholic; that's as heaven made me, and I'll be judged by you alle, whether I am not as thin as a weasel."

'Twas now growing dusk, and Cecy's tame hares were just beginning to be on ye alert, skipping across our path, as we returned towards the house, jumping over one another, and raysing 'emselves on theire hind legs to solicitt our notice. Erasmus was amused at theire gambols, and at our making them beg for vine-tendrils; and father told him there was hardlie a member of ye householde who had not a dumb pet of some sort. "I encourage the taste in them," he sayd, "not onlie because it fosters humanitie and affords harmless recreation, but because it promotes habitts of forethought and regularitie. No child or servant of mine hath liberty to adopt a pet which he is too lazy or nice to attend to himself. A little management may enable even a young gentlewoman to do this, without soyling her hands; and to neglect giving them proper food at proper times entayls a disgrace of which everie one of 'em wd be ashamed. But, hark! there is the vesper-bell."

As we passed under a pear-tree, Erasmus told us, with much drollerie, of a piece of boyish mischief of his—the theft of some pears off a particular tree, the fruit of which the superior of his convent had meant to reserve to himself. One morning, Erasmus had climbed the tree, and was feasting to his great content, when he was aware of the superior approaching to catch him in ye fact; soe, quicklie slid down to the ground, and made off in ye opposite direction, limping as he went. The malice of this act consisted in its being the counterfeit of the gait of a poor lame lay brother, who was, in fact, smartlie punisht for Erasmus his misdeede. Our friend mentioned this with a kinde of remorse, and observed to my father, "Men laugh at the [Pg 619] sins of young people and little children, as if they were little sins; albeit, the robbery of an apple or cherry-orchard is as much a breaking of the eighth commandment as the stealing of a leg of mutton from a butcher's stall, and ofttimes with far less excuse. Our Church tells us, indeede, of venial sins, such as the theft of an apple or a pin; but, I think" (looking hard at Cecilie and Jack), "even the youngest among us could tell how much sin and sorrow was brought into the world by stealing an apple."

At bedtime, Bess and I did agree in wishing that alle learned men were as apt to unite pleasure with profit in theire talk as Erasmus. There be some that can write after ye fashion of Paul, and others preach like unto Apollos; but this, methinketh, is scattering seed by the wayside, like the great Sower.

'Tis singular, the love that Jack and Cecy have for one another; it resembleth that of twins. Jack is not forward at his booke; on ye other hand, he hath a resolution of character which Cecy altogether wants. Last night, when Erasmus spake of children's sins, I observed her squeeze Jack's hand with alle her mighte. I know what she was thinking of. Having bothe beene forbidden to approach a favorite part of ye river bank which had given way from too much use, one or ye other of em transgressed, as was proven by ye smalle footprints in ye mud, as well as by a nosegay of flowers, that grow not, save by the river; to wit, purple loose-strife, cream-and-codlins, scorpion-grass, water plantain, and the like. Neither of them would confesse, and Jack was, therefore, sentenced to be whipt. As he walked off with Mr. Drew, I observed Cecy turn soe pale, that I whispered father I was certayn she was guilty. He made answer, "Never mind, we cannot beat a girl, and 'twill answer ye same purpose; in flogging him we flog both." Jack bore the first stripe or two, I suppose, well enow, but at lengthe we hearde him cry out, on which Cecy coulde not forbeare to do ye same, and then stopt bothe her ears. I expected everie moment to hear her say, "Father, 'twas I;" but no, she had not courage for that; onlie, when Jack came forthe all smirked with tears, she put her arm aboute his neck, and they walked off together into the nuttery. Since that hour, she hath beene more devoted to him than ever, if possible; and he, boy-like, finds satisfaction in making her his little slave. But the beauty lay in my father's improvement of ye circumstance. Taking Cecy on his knee that evening (for she was not ostensiblie in disgrace), he beganne to talk of atonement and mediation for sin, and who it was that bare our sins for us on the tree. 'Tis thus he turns ye daylie accidents of our quiet lives into lessons of deepe import, not pedanticallie delivered, ex cathedrâ, but welling forthe from a full and fresh mind.

This morn I had risen before dawn, being minded to meditate on sundrie matters before Bess was up and doing, she being given to much talk during her dressing, and made my way to ye pavillion, where, methought, I sd be quiet enow; but beholde! father and Erasmus were there before me, in fluent and earneste discourse. I wd have withdrawne, but father, without interrupting his sentence, puts his arm rounde me and draweth me to him, soe there I sit, my head on 's shoulder, and mine eyes on Erasmus his face.

From much they spake, and other much I guessed, they had beene conversing ye present state of ye Church, and how much it needed renovation.

Erasmus sayd, ye vices of ye Clergy and ignorance of ye vulgar had now come to a poynt, at the which, a remedie must be founde, or ye whole fabric wd falle to pieces.

—Sayd, the revival of learning seemed appoynted by heaven for some greate purpose, 'twas difficulte to say how greate.

—Spake of ye new art of printing, and its possible consequents.

—Of ye active and fertile minds at present turning up new ground and ferreting out old abuses.

—Of the abuse of monachism, and of ye evil lives of conventualls. In special, of ye fanaticism and hypocrisie of ye Dominicans.

Considered ye evills of ye times such, as that societie must shortlie, by a vigorous effort, shake 'em off.

Wondered at ye patience of the laitie for soe manie generations, but thoughte 'em now waking from theire sleepe. The people had of late beganne to know theire physickall power, and to chafe at ye weighte of theire yoke.

Thoughte the doctrine of indulgences altogether bad and false.

Father sayd, that ye graduallie increast severitie of Church discipline concerning minor offences had become such as to render indulgences ye needfulle remedie for burdens too heavie to be borne.—Condemned a Draconic code, that visitted even sins of discipline with ye extream penaltie.—Quoted how ill such excessive severitie answered in our owne land, with regard to ye civill law; twenty thieves oft hanging together on ye same gibbet, yet robberie noe whit abated.

Othermuch to same purport, ye which, if alle set downe, woulde too soone fill my libellus. At length, unwillinglie brake off, when the bell rang us to matins.

At breakfaste, William and Rupert were earneste with my father to let 'em row him to Westminster, which he was disinclined to, as he was for more speede, and had promised Erasmus an earlie caste to Lambeth; howbeit, he consented that they sd pull us up to Putney in ye evening, and William sd have ye stroke-oar. Erasmus sayd, he must thank ye archbishop for his present of a horse; "tho' I'm full faine," he observed, "to believe it a changeling. He is idle and gluttonish, as thin as a wasp, and as ugly as sin. Such a horse, and such a rider!"

In the evening, Will and Rupert made 'emselves spruce enow, with nosegays and ribbons [Pg 620] and we tooke water bravelie—John Harris in ye stern, playing the recorder. We had the six-oared barge; and when Rupert Allington was tired of pulling, Mr. Clement tooke his oar; and when he wearied, John Harris gave over playing ye pipe; but William and Mr. Gunnel never flagged.

Erasmus was full of his visitt to ye archbishop, who, as usuall, I think, had given him some money.

"We sate down two hundred to table," sayth he; "there was fish, flesh, and fowl; but Wareham onlie played with his knife, and drank noe wine. He was very cheerfulle and accessible; he knows not what pride is; and yet, of how much mighte he be proude! What genius! what erudition! what kindnesse and modesty! From Wareham, who ever departed in sorrow?"

Landing at Fulham, we had a brave ramble thro' ye meadows. Erasmus noting ye poor children a gathering ye dandelion and milk-thistle for the herb-market, was avised to speak of forayn herbes and theire uses, bothe for food and medicine.

"For me," says father "there is manie a plant I entertayn in my garden and paddock which ye fastidious woulde cast forthe. I like to teache my children ye uses of common things—to know, for instance, ye uses of ye flowers and weeds that grow in our fields and hedges. Manie a poor knave's pottage woulde be improved, if he were skilled in ye properties of ye burdock and purple orchis, lady's-smock, brook-lime, and old man's pepper. The roots of wild succory and water arrow-head mighte agreeablie change his Lenten diet; and glasswort afford him a pickle for his mouthfulle of salt-meat. Then, there are cresses and wood-sorrel to his breakfast, and salep for his hot evening mess. For his medicine, there is herb-twopence, that will cure a hundred ills; camomile, to lull a raging tooth; and the juice of buttercup to cleare his head by sneezing. Vervain cureth ague; and crowfoot affords ye leaste painfulle of blisters. St. Anthony's turnip is an emetic; goosegrass sweetens the blood; woodruffe is good for the liver; and bind-weed hath nigh as much virtue as ye forayn scammony. Pimpernel promoteth laughter; and poppy sleep: thyme giveth pleasant dreams; and an ashen branch drives evil spirits from ye pillow. As for rosemarie, I lett it run alle over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because 'tis the herb sacred to remembrance, and, therefore, to friendship, whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language that maketh ye chosen emblem at our funeral wakes, and in our buriall grounds. Howbeit, I am a schoolboy prating in presence of his master, for here is John Clement at my elbow, who is the best botanist and herbalist of us all."

—Returning home, ye youths being warmed with rowing, and in high spiritts, did entertayn themselves and us with manie jests and playings upon words, some of 'em forced enow, yet provocative of laughing. Afterwards, Mr. Gunnel proposed enigmas and curious questions. Among others, he woulde know which of ye famous women of Greece or Rome we maidens wd resemble. Bess was for Cornelia, Daisy for Clelia, but I for Damo, daughter of Pythagoras, which William Roper deemed stupid enow, and thoughte I mighte have found as good a daughter, that had not died a maid. Sayth Erasmus, with his sweet, inexpressible smile, "Now I will tell you, lads and lassies, what manner of man I wd be, if I were not Erasmus. I woulde step back some few years of my life, and be half-way 'twixt thirty and forty; I would be pious and profounde enow for ye church, albeit noe churchman; I woulde have a blythe, stirring, English wife, and half-a-dozen merrie girls and boys, an English homestead, neither hall nor farm, but betweene both; but neare enow to ye citie for convenience, but away from its noise. I woulde have a profession, that gave me some hours daylie of regular businesse, that sd let men know my parts, and court me into publick station, for which my taste made me rather withdrawe. I woulde have such a private independence, as sd enable me to give and lend, rather than beg and borrow. I woulde encourage mirthe without buffoonerie, ease without negligence; my habitt and table shoulde be simple, and for my looks I woulde be neither tall nor short, fat nor lean, rubicund nor sallow, but of a fayr skin with blue eyes, brownish beard, and a countenance engaging and attractive, soe that alle of my companie coulde not choose but love me."

"Why, then, you woulde be father himselfe," cried Cecy, clasping his arm in bothe her hands with a kind of rapture, and, indeede, ye portraiture was soe like, we coulde not but smile at ye resemblance.

Arrived at ye landing, father protested he was wearie with his ramble, and, his foot slipping, he wrenched his ankle, and sate for an instante on a barrow, the which one of ye men had left with his garden tools, and before he cd rise or cry out, William, laughing, rolled him up to ye house-door; which, considering father's weight, was much for a stripling to doe. Father sayd the same, and, laying his hand on Will's shoulder with kindnesse, cried, "Bless thee, my boy, but I woulde not have thee overstrayned, like Biton and Clitobus."

(To be continued.)


John Overs was a miser, living in the old days when popery flourished, and friars abounded in England. Some of his vices and eccentricities have been chronicled in a little tract of great rarity, entitled "The True History of the Life and Death of John Overs, and of his Daughter Mary, who caused the Church of St. Mary Overs to be built." But in giving the particulars of his life, we do not vouch for their authenticity: the tract resembles too strongly a chap book to bear the marks of honest truth; yet the anecdotes are amusing, and the tradition [Pg 621] of the miser's pretty daughter reads somewhat romantic.

John Overs was a Southwark ferryman, and he obtained, by paying an annual sum to the city authorities, a monopoly in the trade of conveying passengers across the river. He soon grew rich, and became the master of numerous servants and apprentices. From his first increase of wealth, he put his money out to use on such profitable terms, that he rapidly amassed a fortune almost equal to that of the first nobleman in the land; yet, notwithstanding this speedy accumulation of wealth, in his habits, housekeeping, and expenses, he bore the appearance of the most abject poverty, and was so eager after gain, that even in his old age, and when his body had become weak by unnecessary deprivations, he would labor incessantly, and allow himself no rest or repose. This most miserly wretch, it is said, had a daughter, remarkable both for her piety and beauty; the old man, in spite of his parsimonious habits, retained some affection for his child, and bestowed upon her a somewhat liberal education.

Mary Overs had no sympathy with the avarice and selfishness of her parent: she grew up endowed with amiability, and with a true maiden's heart to love. As she approached womanhood, her dazzling charms attracted numerous suitors; but the miser refused all matrimonial offers, and even declined to negociate the matter on any terms, although some of wealth and rank were willing to wed with the ferryman's daughter. Mary was kept a close prisoner, and forbidden to bestow her smiles upon any of her admirers, nor were any allowed to speak with her; but love and nature will conquer bolts and bars, as well as fear; and one of her suitors took the opportunity, while the miser was busy picking up his penny fares, to get admitted to her company. The first interview pleased well; another was granted and arranged, which pleased still better; and a third ended in a mutual plighting of their troths. During all these transactions at home, the silly old ferryman was still busy with his avocation, not dreaming but that things were as secure on land as they were on water.

John Overs was of a disposition so wretched and miserly, that he even begrudged his servants their necessary food. He used to buy black puddings, which were then sold in London at a penny a yard; and whenever he gave them their allowance, he used to say, "There, you hungry dogs, you will undo me with eating." He would scarcely allow a neighbor to obtain a light from his candle, lest he should in some way impoverish him by taking some of its light. He used to go to market to search for bargains: he bought the siftings of the coarsest meal, looked out eagerly for marrow-bones that could be purchased for a trifle, and scrupled not to convert them into soup if they were mouldy. He bought the stalest bread, and he used to cut it into slices, "that, taking the air, it might become the harder to be eaten." Sometimes he would buy meat so tainted, that even his dog would refuse it; upon which occasions, he used to say that it was a dainty cur, and better fed than taught, and then eat it himself. He needed no cats, for all the rats and mice voluntarily left the house, as nothing was cast aside from which they could obtain a picking.

It is said that this sordid old man resorted one day to a most singular stratagem, for the purpose of saving a day's provision in his establishment. He counterfeited illness, and pretended to die; he compelled his daughter to assist in the deception, much against her inclination. Overs imagined that, like good Catholics, his servants would not be so unnatural as to partake of food while his body was above ground, but would lament his loss, and observe a rigid fast; when the day was over, he intended to feign a sudden recovery. He was laid out as dead, and wrapt in a sheet; a candle was placed at his head, in accordance with the popish custom of the age. His apprentices were informed of their master's death; but, instead of manifesting grief, they gave vent to the most unbounded joy; hoping, at last, to be released from their hard and penurious servitude. They hastened to satisfy themselves of the truth of this joyful news, and seeing him laid out as dead, could not even restrain their feelings in the presence of death, but actually danced and skipped around the corpse; tears or lamentations they had none; and as to fasting, an empty belly admits of no delay. In the ebullition of their joy, one ran into the kitchen, and breaking open the cupboard, brought out the bread; another ran for the cheese, and brought it forth in triumph; and the third drew a flagon of ale. They all sat down in high glee, congratulating and rejoicing among themselves, at having been so unexpectedly released from their bonds of servitude. Hard as it was, the bread rapidly disappeared; they indulged in huge slices of cheese, even ventured to cast aside the parings, and to take copious draughts of the miser's ale. The old man lay all this time struck with horror at this awful prodigality, and enraged at their mutinous disrespect: flesh and blood—at least, the flesh and blood of a miser—could endure it no longer; and starting up he caught hold of the funeral taper, determined to chastise them for their waste. One of them seeing the old man struggling in the sheet, and thinking it was the devil or a ghost, and becoming alarmed, caught hold of the butt end of a broken oar, and at one blow struck out his brains! "Thus," says the tradition, "he who thought only to counterfeit death, occasioned it in earnest; and the law acquitted the fellow of the act, as he was the prime cause of his own death." The daughter's lover, hearing of the death of old Overs, hastened up to London with all possible speed; but riding fast, his horse unfortunately threw him, just as he was entering the city, and broke his neck. This, with her father's death, had such an effect on the spirits of Mary Overs, that she was almost frantic, and being troubled with a numerous train of suitors, she resolved to [Pg 622] retire into a nunnery, and to devote the whole of her wealth, which was enormous, to purposes of charity and religion. She laid the foundation of "a famous church, which at her own charge was finished, and by her dedicated to the Virgin Mary." This, tradition says, was the origin of St. Mary Overs, Southwark, a name which it received in memory of its beautiful, but unfortunate foundress.

On an old sepulchre, in St. Saviour's church, may be seen to this day, reclining in no very easy posture, the figure of a poor, emaciated-looking being; which rumor has declared to be the figure of John Overs, the ferryman. There is not much to warrant the conclusion, except, perhaps, the similarity which the mind might discover in the stone effigy and the aspect with which, in idea, we instinctively endow all such objects of penury. The figure looks thin enough for a man who lived on the pickings of stale bones, and musty bread, it must be allowed; and the countenance certainly looks miserly enough for any miser; but then the marble tablet above merely tells the passer by that the body of one William Emerson lyeth there, "who departed out of this life," one day in June, in the year 1575.

The curious little tract from which we have gleaned many of the above particulars, gives a very different account of the miser's burying-place. On account, it is said, of his usury, extortion, and the general sordidness of his life, he had been excommunicated, and refused Christian burial; but the daughter, by large sums of money, endeavored to bribe the friars of Bermondsey Abbey to get him buried. As my lord abbot happened to be away from home, the holy brothers took the money, and buried him within the cloister. The abbot on his return seeing a new grave, inquired who, in his absence, had been buried there; and on being informed, he ordered it to be immediately disinterred, and be laid on the back of an ass; then muttering some benediction, or, perhaps, an anathema, he turned the beast from the abbey gates. "The ass went with a solemn pace, unguided by any, through Kent Street, till it came to St. Thomas-a-Watering, which was then the common execution place; and then shook him off, just under the gallows, where a grave was instantly made, and, without any ceremony, he was tumbled in, and covered with earth."

While we abhor the abuse, and think it well to guard others by hideous examples of its folly and vice, we can appreciate and participate in its general use. We look upon it as a solemn duty in men, whether regarded as citizens or fathers of families, to practice a prudent economy; and the man who is frugal without being avaricious—who is parsimonious without being sordid—we regard as fulfilling one of his greatest social duties. If economy is a virtue, wastefulness is a sin; and yet how many weekly glory in being thought extravagant! Ruined spendthrifts will boast of their meanless prodigality and their wasteful dissipation, as if in their past liberal selfishness they could claim some forbearance for their present disrepute, or some compassion for the misfortunes into which their own heedlessness has thrown them. The learned, too, will disdain all knowledge of the dull routine of economy, and proclaim their ignorance of the affairs of life, as if the confession endowed them with a virtue; but perfection is not the privilege of any order of men, and many who ought to have been the monitors of mankind, whose talents have made their names immortal, embittered their lives, and impaired the vigor of their intellects by their thoughtless and wanton extravagance.


In the winter of the year 1792, Paris was agitated to the very core, by the most important public question which had yet arisen during the course of the Revolution. The people had hitherto been completely triumphant in their attack on established things. They had overturned the throne, and sent its supporters by thousands to the scaffold or to exile. They had subverted the ancient constitution; and, though no new form of government had yet been arranged, all power lay for the time in the hands of their leaders, of one or another denomination of republicans. The Jacobins, ultimately the dominant faction, had not yet obtained full sway, but had to contend for supremacy in the convention (or senate) of the nation, with the Girondists, a section numbering in its ranks many of the most able and more moderate republicans of France. Daily and bitterly did these two parties struggle at this time against one another—Robespierre, Danton, and Marat being the virtual chiefs, whether acting in unison or otherwise, of the Jacobins or violent republicans; while Vergniaud, Guadet, Louvet, Salle, Petion, and others, headed the Girondists or moderates. Matters stood thus before the commencement of the trial of Louis XVI., the question already alluded to as exceeding in importance and interest any to which the Revolution had yet given birth. On the results of the process hung the life of the king; and men speculated as to the issue with anxiety, mingled with fear and wonderment. Doubts existed as to what might be that issue—doubts excited chiefly by the condition of parties just described. On the whole, the chances seemed in favor of the king before the commencement of his trial, seeing that the Girondists had then a decided ascendency over their rivals in the convention, and that many of them had strong leanings to the side of mercy. But the unfortunate Louis XVI., whose very mildness made him the scape-goat for the errors of his predecessors, stood in mortal peril in the best view of the case. So felt his friends throughout France, and they were yet numerous, though constrained to look on in silence, and bury their feelings in their own bosoms.

One evening, in the winter mentioned, before the trial of the king had opened, the convention [Pg 623] broke up after a stormy sitting, and its members separated for their clubs or their homes, to intrigue or to recreate, as they felt inclined. The Girondist leaders, Vergniaud, Guadet, Fonfrene, and others, might then have been seen, as they left the place of sitting, to surround a young man who was speaking loudly and vehemently. His theme was Robespierre; and bitter were the recriminations which he poured on that too famous individual. Vergniaud and the rest attempted to check the outbursts of wrath, but, at the same time, with peals of laughter at their young colleague's angry violence.

"Come home with me, my good Barbaroux," said Vergniaud; "we shall hear you more comfortably before a good fire. It is piercingly cold, and I promise you, that, if the vines of Medoc have to sustain such a season, we need not expect to drink Bordeaux at a reasonable price for fifteen years to come."

"Fifteen years!" said Guadet, in a melancholy voice; "and do you then count upon living for another fifteen years, Vergniaud?"

"Why not?" was the answer; "am I a king that I should fear the anger of the Republic?"

At this moment, a little Savoyard, with his stool at his back, threw himself almost betwixt the legs of Vergniaud, and, holding out a letter, exclaimed, "Which of you, citizens, is the representative Barbaroux?"

"Here," said Vergniaud, taking the letter from the lad, and handing it to his companion, the irritated young deputy above mentioned, "here is a billet for you, Barbaroux. I should guess that it comes from some ex-marchioness, who wishes to know if the judges of the king are formed like other men, or if you have got horns on your head, and a cloven foot."

Barbaroux, at this time little more than twenty-seven years of age, was one of the most handsome, as well as beautiful men of his time. Madame Roland, in one phrase, has given us a singular idea of his personal attractions. "He had," she says, "the head of Antinous upon the frame of a Hercules." The young representative of Marseilles (for such was his station) took the note of the Savoyard, and, advancing to a lamp, opened it, and read therein the following words:

"Citizen, if you fear not to accede to an invitation which can not be signed, repair this evening, at nine o'clock, to the street St. Honore, where you will find a coach standing in front of the house, No. 56. Enter the vehicle without fear, and it will conduct you among old friends."

Turning to his companions, after reading this mystic note, Barbaroux observed, "You are right, Vergniaud; it is a communication from an ex-marchioness."

"Ah! I thought so," replied the other; "and will you accept the invitation?"

"I know not," was the careless response.

Barbaroux was young, and, without being exactly weary of the agitated public life which he habitually led, felt any circumstance calculated to take him out of it for a time as a piece of good fortune not to be contemned. He deceived Vergniaud, therefore, when he affected to treat the matter of the billet lightly. In fact, it seized upon his thoughts exclusively; and he not only spoke no more of Robespierre to his friends, but quitted them upon some slight pretext soon afterward. He then returned directly to his own home; and, when there, delivered himself up to conjectures respecting the mysterious epistle which he had received. Barbaroux was young, be it again observed, and of a temperament not indisposed to gallantry, though the softer concerns of life had been all but banished from his thoughts more lately. However, the anonymous billet, which came, he felt assured, from a female, directed his reflections into a train once not so unfamiliar to them, and the more so as it spoke of his meeting "old friends." With impatience, therefore, he watched the movements of his time-piece, as it indicated the gradual approach of the hour of appointment. The Marseillaise representative felt no personal alarm respecting the coming adventure. He had never been an advocate of bloodshed in his public character, and knew of none likely to entertain against him sentiments of hostility, or to project snares for his life. No; he confidently assumed the object of the unknown correspondent to be friendly.

Enough, however, about the anticipations of Barbaroux. The hour of nine came, and he hastily left his own residence, to proceed to the Rue St. Honore. There, opposite to No. 56, he found a coach in waiting. Without a word, he opened the door, leaped inside, and shut himself up with his own hands. In a moment the coachman lashed his horses, and Barbaroux felt himself whirled along for an hour with such rapidity, as, together with the obscurity of the evening, to prevent him completely from discerning the route taken. At length the vehicle stopped abruptly, in a petty street, and before a house of sufficiently mediocre appearance. The gate opened instantly, and the driver, descending from his seat, silently showed Barbaroux into the house, after which the door was closed behind. The young man now found himself in a passage of some length, as was shown by a distant light. That light speedily increased, and the visitor perceived a young girl approaching him with a lamp in her hand—one of those old iron lamps in which the oil floats openly, and which have the wick at one of the sides. Barbaroux was instantly reminded of the fisher-cots of Marseilles—his own well-known Marseilles—where such articles are used constantly by the fishing community. Casting his eyes attentively on the girl, he saw more to remind him of the same ancient sea-port—her cap, colored kerchief, and dress generally, being such as its young women always wore. Her face, too, was not a strange one. Moreover the odor of tar, or that smell peculiar to well-used cordage and sails, struck forcibly on his senses, and [Pg 624] strengthened the same associative recollections. Astonished already, Barbaroux felt still more so, when a once familiar voice addressed him in accents strongly provincial, or Marseillaise.

"Charles," said the girl with the lamp, "you have made us wait. You promised this morning to be earlier here."

"I promised!" cried Barbaroux, with amazement, heightened by a sort of impression that he was speaking to a person who ought at the moment to be at two hundred leagues' distance.

"Yes! promised," continued the girl; "but no doubt, you have been at the office, or have forgotten yourself with the curate of La Major, who makes you study such beautiful plants. Never mind; come with me. Melanie is with her uncle Jean, and I, as I tell you, have been waiting for you more than an hour. Come, then!"

Barbaroux scarcely comprehended what was said to him. He found all his senses deceiving him at once, as it were, sight, hearing, and smell; and his imagination transported from the present to the past, had some difficulty in overcoming the first shock of stupefied surprise. Thereafter, he felt a kind of wish to yield himself up voluntarily to what seemed a sweet illusion. He followed the young girl as desired, but soon found new causes for astonishment. Before him appeared the old screw-stair of a well-known fisher dwelling, with the narrow landing-place, chalky walls, and plastered chimney, with its tint of yellow, to him most familiar of old. He even noted on the plaster an acanthus leaf, where such a thing had been once rudely charcoaled by his own hand. In the chimney grate, he beheld an enormous log, the Christmas log, sparkling above the red embers; and he then called to mind that the day was the 24th of December, and the evening Christmas Eve.

"Ah! you see," said the young girl, rousing him by her voice, "we are going to hold the Christmas feast. Come, Charles, enter, and sit down opposite to uncle Jean, and by the side of Melanie. I will take my place on your other hand."

As the girl spoke, she had opened the door of an inner apartment, and led forward Barbaroux. The latter did indeed see before him uncle Jean; he clasped in his own the hands of Melanie. He beheld all that he had been once wont to see, in short, in the home of uncle Jean, the old seaman of Marseilles. The same veteran weather-glass hung on the wall; the compass was there, too, pointing still, as it pointed of yore. On the table Barbaroux observed the green glasses of Provence; the bottles were the peculiar bottles of uncle Jean; and, amid others, he saw the yellow seals marking the prized Cyprus wine of the ancient mariner of Marseilles. Brown dishes were there of the pottery of Saint Jacquerie—articles to Paris unknown. Edibles lay upon them too, such as Marseilles draws from sunny Afric: almonds and dates, with figs and raisins, alone, or compounded into cakes, after the mode of southern France. All these things confounded the young member of convention. Had he made in a few hours a journey of eight days? Had he retrograded in the way of existence? Had he dreamt of a busy life of three years, since the time when, under the shade of the church of St. Laurent of Marseilles, he had courted the fair niece of uncle Jean, amid scenes and sights such as now surrounded him? The deputy of Marseilles, the popular conventionist, closed his eyes in doubt. Dreamed he at that moment or had he dreamed for years?

Barbaroux was no weak-minded man, and yet it is not too much to say, that he felt positive difficulty in determining what he saw to be unreal, or, at most but an illusory revival of a former reality; and this difficulty he felt, even though he had in his pocket, and touched with his fingers, a note from Madame Roland, received in the convention on that very afternoon. On the other hand, the two Provençal girls were assuredly by his side; and, at the sight of Melanie, upsprung anew that fresh young love which politics had stifled in his heart in its very bud. Was not uncle Jean there, moreover, with his robust form and open features, his kindly smile, and his strong Marseillaise accents? If all was a delusion, as the reason of Barbaroux ever and anon told him, and if a purposed delusion, as seemed more than likely, what could that purpose be? Had uncle Jean and Melanie thus mysteriously encompassed him with souvenirs of former and happy hours, to rekindle the love from which politics had detached him, and to lead him yet into that union once all but arranged? Such might possibly be the case, and the thought tended to check the questions which rose naturally to the young man's lip. He could not, would not, bring a blush to the cheek of Melanie, by asking her explanations so delicate. These would be voluntarily given, doubtless, in due time. Besides, to speak the truth, he felt so happy to be again by her side, as to shrink from the idea of breaking the spell, and was contented to yield himself up to the soft intoxication of the moment. He spoke of Marseilles, as if he was actually there, and as if he had no thought save of its passing interests and affairs. On these matters, uncle Jean and the two girls conversed with him freely, never leaving it to be supposed for an instant, however, that they were at all conscious of being elsewhere, or that Barbaroux had ever been absent from their sides. Only now and then did Barbaroux catch the glance of Melanie, fixed on him with an unusual expression, made up of mingled tenderness and thoughtful anxiety. His observation, however, made her instantly recur to the same manner displayed by her sister and uncle, who treated him as if they had seen him but a few hours previously. The deputy, after being enlivened by the little supper and the good wine, even smiled internally to see the extent to which they carried this caution, though it mystified him the [Pg 625] more. The window of the chamber in which they sat at their singular Christmas feast, opened suddenly of its own accord.

"Shut that window, Melanie," said uncle Jean; "the air of the sea is unwholesome by night." The window was closed accordingly; but Barbaroux fancied that he had actually heard through it the roll of the waves, and felt on his cheek the freshness of the ocean breeze.

At length the hour of midnight sounded—the hour at which, once only in the year, the priest ascends the high altar to say mass—the hour of the Saviour's birth.

"It is midnight," cried the two girls; "let us proceed to mass."

As they spoke, the girls rose from table, and, in doing so, overturned, by accident or intention, the two candles by which the room was lighted. Barbaroux found himself a second time in the dark; but speedily his arms were seized by the girls, one on each side, and he was noiselessly led down into the dark passage by which he had entered. Barbaroux had often stolen an embrace from Melanie in such circumstances as the present, and he here found himself repaid by a voluntary one from herself. For a moment her arm lingered around him, and was then withdrawn in silence. The door was then opened for him, and, in another second of time, he stood alone in the street, with the coach in waiting which had brought him thither. Confusedly and mechanically he entered the vehicle, and was ere long set down in the Rue St. Honore, at liberty to regain his own home.

Deeply as he was impressed by this remarkable incident, Barbaroux did not think it necessary to disclose the particulars to Vergniaud and his other political companions; but he made a confidant of Madame Roland.

"It is plain," said he, concludingly to that lady, "that the whole was a purposed plan of deception or illusion. It is the story of Aline put in action for my especial benefit, but surely without end, without sufficing grounds. Wherefore employ such chicanery with a man like me? It would have been better to have addressed me frankly, and so have reminded me of the past, than to have resorted to a scheme which, though impressive at the time, can only move me now to a smile. Yes, madame, I would say—that the issue might possibly have been more agreeable to their wishes, had they dealt with me less mysteriously. But what inducement can have made uncle Jean go in with such a step, really puzzles me. He is a man who dies of ennui when out of sight of the sea for a day. Besides, though he did love me once, I believe that he at heart hates the convention, with all belonging to it, and favors the Bourbons."

"Even if the intention," replied Madame Roland, "was only to recall your old love to your recollection, Barbaroux, there is something pretty in the idea. It is as if your Melanie, in putting her home, her friends, and herself, before you in their perfect reality, had said—'This is all I can offer—all save my love.' But there is something more under it than all this, Barbaroux,' pursued the lady, after reflecting gravely for some time. 'They gave you no verbal explanation, you say; but did they leave you no clew otherwise? Did you wear your present dress yesterday?"

"I did, madame."

"Have you examined its pockets?"

"No," said Barbaroux, "but I shall do so immediately."

The young member of convention accordingly put his hands into his pockets, and was not slow to discover there, as Madame Roland had acutely conjectured, a complete solution of his whole enigma. He found a paper bearing his address, in which an offer was made to him of the hand of the woman he (once, at least, had) loved, with a dowry of five hundred thousand francs, and the prospect of enjoying anew all the pleasures of his happy youth, provided that he supported the Appeal to the People on behalf of Louis XVI.—provided, in short, that he lent his influence to save the life, at all events, of the king. That such an appeal would have saved Louis from the scaffold, all men at the time believed. The Jacobins obviously thought so, since they obstinately denied him any such chance of escape.

It is probable that the monetary clause in this proposal would alone have prevented its entertainment by the young deputy for Marseilles. Be this as it may, the romantic scheme which the friendship of uncle Jean, and the love of Melanie, had led them to enter upon, at the instance, doubtless of the other friends of Louis, for inducing Barbaroux to befriend the king, and for wiling himself from the dangerous vortex of political turmoil, ended in nothing. Within a few weeks—nay, a few days afterward—began that life-and-death struggle between the Girondists and Jacobins, which only terminated with the total fall of the former party, and the condemnation to the scaffold of all its leaders. To the honor of Barbaroux, be it told that, without a bribe, he supported the Appeal to the People, and had he had the power would have saved the ill-fated king from the extreme and bloody penalty of the guillotine. But the infuriate councils of Robespierre and Marat prevailed; and Barbaroux, with five companions, fled for safety to the Gironde, that southern portion of France, of which Bordeaux is the capital, and whence they had derived their party name. They found there, however, no safety; they were hunted down like wild beasts by the dominant faction, and every man of them was taken and beheaded, or otherwise perished miserably, with the exception of Louvet, who subsequently recorded their perils and their sufferings. Barbaroux, the young, gay, handsome and brave Barbaroux, died on the scaffold, while Petion met the death of a wild beast in the fields—starved while in life, and mangled by wolves when no [Pg 626] more. Well had it been for Barbaroux, had he yielded timeously to the loving call of Melanie, made so romantically and mysteriously. It was not so destined to be.[2]


Many years since, two pupils of the University at Warsaw were passing through the street in which stands the column of King Sigismund, round whose pedestal may generally be seen seated a number of women selling fruit, cakes, and a variety of eatables, to the passers-by. The young men paused to look at a figure whose oddity attracted their attention. This was a man apparently between fifty and sixty years of age; his coat, once black, was worn threadbare; his broad hat overshadowed a thin wrinkled face; his form was greatly emaciated, yet he walked with a firm and rapid step. He stopped at one of the stalls beneath the column, purchased a halfpenny worth of bread, ate part of it, put the remainder into his pocket, and pursued his way toward the palace of General Zaionczek, lieutenant of the kingdom, who, in the absence of the czar, Alexander, exercised royal authority in Poland.

"Do you know that man?" asked one student of the other.

"I do not; but judging by his lugubrious costume, and no less mournful countenance, I should guess him to be an undertaker."

"Wrong, my friend; he is Stanislas Staszic."

"Staszic!" exclaimed the student, looking after the man, who was then entering the palace. "How can a mean, wretched-looking man, who stops in the middle of the street to buy a morsel of bread, be rich and powerful?"

"Yet, so it is," replied his companion. "Under this unpromising exterior is hidden one of our most influential ministers, and one of the most illustrious savans of Europe."

The man whose appearance contrasted so strongly with his social position, who was as powerful as he seemed insignificant, as rich as he appeared poor, owed all his fortune to himself—to his labors, and to his genius.

Of low extraction—he left Poland, while young, in order to acquire learning. He passed some years in the Universities of Leipsic and Göttingen, continued his studies in the College of France, under Brisson and D'Aubanton; gained the friendship of Buffon; visited the Alps and the Apennines; and, finally, returned to his native land, stored with rich and varied learning.

He was speedily invited by a nobleman to take charge of the education of his son. Afterward, the government wished to profit by his talents; and Staszic, from grade to grade, was raised to the highest posts and the greatest dignities. His economical habits made him rich. Five hundred serfs cultivated his lands, and he possessed large sums of money placed at interest. When did any man ever rise very far above the rank in which he was born, without presenting a mark for envy and detraction to aim their arrows against? Mediocrity always avenges itself by calumny; and so Staszic found it, for the good folks of Warsaw were quite ready to attribute all his actions to sinister motives.

A group of idlers had paused close to where the students were standing. All looked at the minister, and every one had something to say against him.

"Who would ever think," cried a noble, whose gray mustaches and old-fashioned costume recalled the era of King Sigismund, "that he could be a minister of state? Formerly, when a Palatin traversed the capital, a troop of horsemen both preceded and followed him. Soldiers dispersed the crowds that pressed to look at him. But what respect can be felt for an old miser, who has not the heart to afford himself a coach, and who eats a piece of bread in the streets, just as a beggar would do?"

"His heart," said a priest, "is as hard as the iron chest in which he keeps his gold; a poor man might die of hunger at his door, before he would give him alms."

"He has worn the same coat for the last ten years," remarked another.

"He sits on the ground for fear of wearing out his chairs," chimed in a saucy-looking lad, and every one joined in a mocking laugh.

A young pupil of one of the public schools had listened in indignant silence to these speeches, which cut him to the heart; and at length, unable to restrain himself, he turned toward the priest and said:

"A man distinguished for his generosity ought to be spoken of with more respect. What does it signify to us how he dresses, or what he eats, if he makes a noble use of his fortune?"

"And pray what use does he make of it?"

"The Academy of Sciences wanted a place for a library, and had not funds to hire one. Who bestowed on them a magnificent palace? Was it not Staszic!"

"Oh! yes, because he is as greedy of praise as of gold."

"Poland esteems, as her chief glory, the man who discovered the laws of the sidereal movement. Who was it that raised to him a monument worthy of his renown—calling the chisel of Canova to honor the memory of Copernicus?"

"It was Staszic," replied the priest, "and so all Europe honors for it the generous senator. But, my young friend, it is not the light of the noon-day sun that ought to illume Christian charity. If you want really to know a man, watch the daily course of his private life. This ostentatious miser, in the books which he publishes groans over the lot of the peasantry, and in his vast domains he employs five hundred [Pg 627] miserable serfs. Go some morning to his house—there you will find a poor woman beseeching with tears a cold proud man who repulses her. That man is Staszic—that woman his sister. Ought not the haughty giver of palaces, the builder of pompous statues, rather to employ himself in protecting his oppressed serfs, and relieving his destitute relative?"

The young man began to reply, but no one would listen to him. Sad and dejected at hearing one who had been to him a true and generous friend, so spoken of, he went to his humble lodging.

Next morning he repaired at an early hour to the dwelling of his benefactor. There he met a woman weeping, and lamenting the inhumanity of her brother.

This confirmation of what the priest had said, inspired the young man with a fixed determination. It was Staszic who had placed him at college, and supplied him with the means of continuing there. Now, he would reject his gifts—he would not accept benefits from a man who could look unmoved at his own sister's tears.

The learned minister, seeing his favorite pupil enter, did not desist from his occupation, but, continuing to write, said to him:

"Well, Adolphe, what can I do for you to-day? If you want books, take them out of my library; or instruments—order them, and send me the bill. Speak to me freely, and tell me if you want any thing."

"On the contrary, sir, I come to thank you for your past kindness, and to say that I must in future decline receiving your gifts."

"You are, then, become rich?"

"I am as poor as ever."

"And your college?"

"I must leave it."

"Impossible!" cried Staszic, standing up, and fixing his penetrating eyes on his visitor. "You are the most promising of all our pupils—it must not be!"

In vain the young student tried to conceal the motive of his conduct; Staszic insisted on knowing it.

"You wish," said Adolphe, "to heap favors on me, at the expense of your suffering family."

The powerful minister could not conceal his emotion. His eyes filled with tears, and he pressed the young man's hand warmly, as he said:

"Dear boy, always take heed to this counsel—'Judge nothing before the time.' Ere the end of life arrives, the purest virtue may be soiled by vice, and the bitterest calumny proved to be unfounded. My conduct is, in truth, an enigma, which I can not now solve—it is the secret of my life."

Seeing the young man still hesitate, he added:

"Keep an account of the money I give you, consider it as a loan; and when some day, through labor and study, you find yourself rich, pay the debt by educating a poor, deserving student. As to me, wait for my death, before you judge my life."

During fifty years Stanislas Staszic allowed malice to blacken his actions. He knew the time would come when all Poland would do him justice.

On the 20th of January, 1826, thirty thousand mourning Poles flocked around his bier, and sought to touch the pall, as though it were some holy, precious relic.

The Russian army could not comprehend the reason of the homage thus paid by the people of Warsaw to this illustrious man. His last testament fully explained the reason of his apparent avarice. His vast estates were divided into five hundred portions, each to become the property of a free peasant—his former serf. A school, on an admirable plan and very extended scale, was to be established for the instruction of the peasants' children in different trades. A reserved fund was provided for the succor of the sick and aged. A small yearly tax, to be paid by the liberated serfs, was destined for purchasing, by degrees, the freedom of their neighbors, condemned, as they had been, to hard and thankless toil.

After having thus provided for his peasants, Staszic bequeathed six hundred thousand florins for founding a model hospital; and he left a considerable sum toward educating poor and studious youths. As for his sister, she inherited only the same allowance which he had given her, yearly, during his life; for she was a person of careless, extravagant habits, who dissipated foolishly all the money she received.

A strange fate was that of Stanislas Staszic. A martyr to calumny during his life, after death his memory was blessed and revered by the multitudes whom he had made happy.


During the earlier half of the last century, there lived in one of the villages on the outskirts of the moor on which a singular pile of rocks on the Cornish moors called the Cheese-Wring stands, a stone-cutter named Daniel Gumb. This man was noted among his companions for his taciturn, eccentric character, and for his attachment to mathematical studies. Such leisure time as he had at his command he regularly devoted to pondering over some of the problems of Euclid; he was always drawing mysterious complications of angles, triangles, and parallelograms, on pieces of slate, and on the blank leaves of such few books as he possessed. But he made very slow progress in his studies. Poverty and hard work increased with the increase of his family. At last he was obliged to give up his mathematics altogether. He labored early and labored late; he hacked and hewed at the hard material out of which he was doomed to cut a livelihood with unremitting diligence; but want still kept up with him, toil as he might to outstrip it, in the career of life. In short, times went on so ill with Daniel, that in despair of ever finding them better he took a sudden resolution of altering his manner of living, and retreating from [Pg 628] the difficulties that he could not overcome. He went to the hill on which the Cheese-Wring stands, and looked about among the rocks until he found some that had accidentally formed themselves into a sort of rude cavern. He widened this recess; he propped up a great wide slab, that made its roof, at one end where it seemed likely to sink without some additional support; he cut out in a rock that rose above this, what he called his bed-room—a mere longitudinal slit in the stone, the length and breadth of his body, into which he could roll himself sideways when he wanted to enter it. After he had completed this last piece of work, he scratched the date of the year of his extraordinary labors (1735) on the rock; and then, he went and fetched his wife and family away from their cottage, and lodged them in the cavity he had made—never to return during his life-time, to the dwellings of men!

Here he lived and here he worked, when he could get work. He paid no rent now: he wanted no furniture; he struggled no longer to appear to the world as his equals appeared; he required no more money than would procure for his family and himself the barest necessaries of life; he suffered no interruptions from his fellow-workmen, who thought him a madman, and kept out of his way; and—most precious privilege of his new position—he could at last shorten his hours of labor, and lengthen his hours of study, with impunity. Having no temptations to spend money, no hard demands of an inexorable landlord to answer, whether he was able or not, he could now work with his brains as well as his hands, he could toil at his problems upon the tops of rocks, under the open sky, amid the silence of the great moor; he could scratch his lines and angles on thousands of stone tablets freely offered around him. The great ambition of his life was greatly achieved.

Henceforth, nothing moved him, nothing depressed him. The storms of winter rushed over his unsheltered dwelling, but failed to dislodge him. He taught his family to brave solitude and cold in the cavern among the rocks, as he braved them. In the cell that he had scooped out for his wife (the roof of which has now fallen in) some of his children died, and others were born. They point out the rock where he used to sit on calm summer evenings, absorbed over his tattered copy of Euclid. A geometrical "puzzle," traced by his hand, still appears on the stone. When he died, what became of his family, no one can tell. Nothing more is known of him than that he never quitted the wild place of his exile; that he continued to the day of his death to live contentedly with his wife and children, amid a civilized nation, and during a civilized age, under such a shelter as would hardly serve the first savage tribes of the most savage country—to live, starving out poverty and want on a barren wild; defying both to follow him among the desert rocks—to live, forsaking all things, enduring all things for the love of Knowledge, which he could still nobly follow through trials and extremities, without encouragement of fame or profit, without vantage ground of station or wealth, for its own dear sake. Beyond this, nothing but conjecture is left. The cell, the bed-place, the lines traced on the rocks, the inscription of the year in which he hewed his habitation out of them, are all the memorials that remain of a man, whose strange and striking story might worthily adorn the pages of a tragic yet glorious history which is still unwritten—the history of the martyrs of knowledge in humble life!


In the year 1834, a widow lady of good fortune (whom we shall call Mrs. Newton), resided with her daughter in one of the suburbs nearest to the metropolis. They lived in fashionable style, and kept an ample establishment of servants.

A very pretty young girl, nineteen years of age, resided in this family in the capacity of lady's-maid. She was tolerably educated, spoke with grammatical correctness, and was distinguished by a remarkably gentle and fascinating address.

At that time Miss Newton was engaged to be married to one Captain Jennings, R.N.; and Miss Newton (as many young ladies in the like circumstances have done before), employed her leisure in embroidering cambric, making it up into handkerchiefs, and sending them and other little presents of that description, to Captain Jennings. Unhappily, but very naturally, she made Charlotte Mortlock, her maid, the bearer of these tender communications. The captain occupied lodgings suited to a gentleman of station, and thither Charlotte Mortlock frequently repaired at the bidding of her young mistress, and generally waited (as lovers are generally impatient) to take back the captain's answers.

A strange sort of regard, or attachment (it is confidently believed to have been guiltless) sprung up between the captain and the maid; and the captain, who would seem to have deserved Miss Newton's confidence as little as her maid did, gave as presents to Charlotte, some of the embroidered offerings of Miss Newton.

It happened that a sudden appointment to the command of a ship of war, took Captain Jennings on a transatlantic voyage. He had not been very long gone, when the following discovery threw the family of the Newtons into a state of intense agitation.

In search of some missing article in the absence of her maid, Miss Newton betook herself to that young woman's room, and, quite unsuspiciously, opened a trunk which was left unlocked. There she found, to her horror, a number of the handkerchiefs she had embroidered for her lover. The possibility of the real truth never flashed across her mind; the dishonesty of Charlotte seemed to be the only solution of the incident. "Doubtless," she reasoned, "the parcels had been opened on their way to Captain Jennings, and their contents stolen."

On the return of Charlotte Mortlock, she was [Pg 629] charged with the robbery. What availed the assertion that she had received the handkerchiefs from the captain himself? It was no defense, and certainly was not calculated to soften the anger of her mistress. A policeman was summoned, the unhappy girl was charged with felony, underwent examination, was committed for trial, and, destitute of witnesses, or of any probable defense, was ultimately convicted. The judge (now deceased) who tried the case, was unsparingly denounced by many philanthropic ladies, for the admiration he had expressed for the weeping girl, and especially for his announcement to the jury, in passing sentence of one year's imprisonment with hard labor, "that he would not transport her, since the country could not afford to loose such beauty." It was doubtless, not a very judicial remark; but an innocent girl was, at all events, saved from a sentence that might have killed her.

Consigned to the County House of Correction, Charlotte Mortlock observed the best possible conduct—was modest, humble, submissive, and industrious—and soon gained the good-will of all her supervisors. To the governor she always asserted her innocence, and told, with great simplicity, the tale of her fatal possession of those dangerous gifts.

She had been in prison a few months, when the governor received a visit from a certain old baronet, who with ill-disguised reluctance, and in the blunt phraseology which was peculiar to him, proceeded to say, that "A girl named Charlotte Mortlock had quite bewitched his friend Captain Jennings, who was beyond the Atlantic; and that a letter he produced would show the singular frame of mind in which the captain was, about that girl."

Assuredly, the letter teemed with expressions of anguish, remorse, and horror at the suffering and apparent ruin of "a dear innocent girl," the victim of his senseless and heartless imprudence. However, the baronet seemed to be any thing but touched by his friend's rhapsodies. He talked much of "human nature," and of "the weakness of a man when a pretty girl was in the case;" but, in order to satisfy his friend's mind, asked to see her, that he might write some account of her appearance and condition. Accordingly, he did see her, in the governor's presence. After a few inappropriate questions, he cut the interview short, and went away, manifestly disposed to account his gallant friend a fool for his excitement.

The incident was not lost upon the governor, who listened with increased faith to the poor girl's protestations. In a few months more he received a stronger confirmation of them. Apparently unsatisfied with the baronet's services, Captain Jennings wrote to another friend of his, a public functionary, formerly a captain in the renowned Light Division; and that officer placed in the governor's hands a letter from the captain, expressing unbounded grief for the dreadful fate of an innocent young woman. "He could not rest night or day; she haunted his imagination, and yet he was distant, and powerless to serve her." His second messenger was touched with pity, and consulted the governor as to the proper steps to pursue. However, under the unhappy circumstances of the case, Captain Jennings being so far away, no formal document being at hand, and the period of the poor girl's release being then almost come, it was deemed unadvisable to take any step. Charlotte Mortlock fulfilled the judgment of the law.

She had been carefully observed, her occupation had been of a womanly character; she had never incurred a reproof, much less a punishment, in the prison; and her health had been well sustained. She, consequently, quitted her sad abode in a condition suitable for active exertion. Such assistance as could be extended to her, on her departure, was afforded, and so she was launched into the wide world of London.

She soon found herself penniless. Happily, she did not linger in want, pawn her clothes (which were good), and gradually descend to the extreme privation which has assailed so many similarly circumstanced. She resolved to act, and again went to the prison gates. Well attired, but deeply vailed, so as to defy recognition, she inquired for the governor. The gate porter announced that "a lady" desired to speak to him. The stranger was shown in, the vail was uplifted, and, to the governor's astonishment, there stood Charlotte Mortlock! Her hair was neatly and becomingly arranged about her face; her dress was quiet and pretty; and altogether she looked so young, so lovely, and, at the same time, so modest and innocent, that the governor, perforce, almost excused the inconstancy (albeit attended with such fatal consequences) of Captain Jennings.

With many tears she acknowledged her grateful obligations for the considerate and humane treatment she had received in prison. She disclosed her poverty, and her utter friendlessness; expressed her horror of the temptations to which she was exposed; and implored the governor's counsel and assistance. Without a moment's hesitation, she was advised to go at once to a lady of station, whose extensive charities and zealous services, rendered to the outcasts of society at that time, were most remarkable. She cheerfully acquiesced. She found the good lady at home, related her history, met with sympathy and active aid, and, after remaining for a time, by her benevolent recommendation, in a charitable establishment, was recommended to a wealthy family, to whom every particular of her history was confided. In this service she acquitted herself with perfect trustfulness and fidelity, and won the warmest regard. The incident which had led to her unmerited imprisonment, broke off the engagement between Captain Jennings and Miss Newton; but whether the former had ever an opportunity of indemnifying the poor girl for the suffering she had undergone, the narrator has never been able to learn. This is, in every particular, a true case of prison experience. [Pg 630]


If it so happened that a stranger in Cornwall went out to take his first walk along the cliffs toward the south of the country, in the month of August, that stranger could not advance far in any direction without witnessing what would strike him as a very singular and alarming phenomenon. He would see a man standing on the extreme edge of a precipice, just over the sea, gesticulating in a very remarkable manner, with a bush in his hand, waving it to the right and the left, brandishing it over his head, sweeping it past his feet; in short, apparently acting the part of a maniac of the most dangerous description. It would add considerably to the startling effect of this sight on the stranger aforesaid, if he were told, while beholding it, that the insane individual before him was paid for flourishing the bush at the rate of a guinea a week. And if he, thereupon, advanced a little to obtain a nearer view of the madman, and then observed on the sea below (as he certainly might) a well-manned boat, turning carefully to right and left exactly as the bush turned right and left, his mystification would probably be complete, and his ideas on the sanity of the inhabitants of the neighborhood would at least be perplexed with grievous doubt.

But a few words of explanation would soon make him alter his opinion. He would then learn that the man with the bush was an important agent in the Pilchard Fishery of Cornwall; that he had just discovered a shoal of pilchards swimming toward the land; and that the men in the boat were guided by his gesticulations alone, in securing the fish on which they and all their countrymen on the coast depend for a livelihood.

To begin, however, with the pilchards themselves, as forming one of the staple commercial commodities of Cornwall. They may be, perhaps, best described as bearing a very close resemblance to the herring, but as being rather smaller in size and having larger scales. Where they come from before they visit the Cornish coast—where those that escape the fishermen go to when they quit it, is unknown; or, at best, only vaguely conjectured. All that is certain about them is, that they are met with, swimming past the Scilly Isles, as early as July (when they are caught with a drift-net). They then advance inland in August, during which month the principal, or "in-shore," fishing begins, visit different parts of the coast until October or November, and after that disappear until the next year. They may be sometimes caught off the southwest part of Devonshire, and are occasionally to be met with near the southernmost coast of Ireland; but beyond these two points they are never seen on any other portion of the shores of Great Britain, either before they approach Cornwall, or after they have left it.

The first sight from the cliffs of a shoal of pilchards advancing toward the land, is not a little interesting. They produce on the sea the appearance of the shadow of a dark cloud. This shadow comes on, and on, until you can see the fish leaping and playing on the surface by hundreds at a time, all huddled close together, and all approaching so near to the shore that they can be always caught in some fifty or sixty feet of water. Indeed, on certain occasions, when the shoals are of considerable magnitude, the fish behind have been known to force the fish before, literally up to the beach, so that they could be taken in buckets, or even in the hand with the greatest ease. It is said that they are thus impelled to approach the land by precisely the same necessity which impels the fishermen to catch them as they appear—the necessity of getting food.

With the discovery of the first shoal, the active duties of the "look-out" on the cliffs begin. Each fishing-village places one or more of these men on the watch all round the coast. They are called "huers," a word said to be derived from the old French verb huer, to call out, to give an alarm. On the vigilance and skill of the "huer" much depends. He is, therefore, not only paid his guinea a week while he is on the watch, but receives, besides, a perquisite in the shape of a percentage on the produce of all the fish taken under his auspices. He is placed at his post, where he can command an uninterrupted view of the sea, some days before the pilchards are expected to appear; and, at the same time, boats, nets, and men are all ready for action at a moment's notice.

The principal boat used is at least fifteen tons in burden, and carries a large net called the "seine," which measures a hundred and ninety fathoms in length, and costs a hundred and seventy pounds—sometimes more. It is simply one long strip, from eleven to thirteen fathoms in breadth, composed of very small meshes, and furnished, all along its length, with lead at one side and corks at the other. The men who cast this net are called the "shooters," and receive eleven shillings and sixpence a week, and a perquisite of one basket of fish each out of every haul.

As soon as the "huer" discerns the first appearance of a shoal, he waves his bush. The signal is conveyed to the beach immediately by men and boys watching near him. The "seine" boat (accompanied by another small boat, to assist in casting the net) is rowed out where he can see it. Then there is a pause, a hush of great expectation on all sides. Meanwhile, the devoted pilchards press on—a compact mass of thousands on thousands of fish, swimming to meet their doom. All eyes are fixed on the "huer;" he stands watchful and still, until the shoal is thoroughly embayed, in water which he knows to be within the depth of the "seine" [Pg 631] net. Then, as the fish begin to pause in their progress, and gradually crowd closer and closer together, he gives the signal; the boats come up, and the "seine" net is cast, or, in the technical phrase, "shot" overboard.

The grand object is now to inclose the entire shoal. The leads sink one end of the net perpendicularly to the ground—the corks buoy up the other to the surface of the water. When it has been taken all round the fish, the two extremities are made fast, and the shoal is then imprisoned within an oblong barrier of network surrounding it on all sides. The great art is to let as few of the pilchards escape as possible, while this process is being completed. Whenever the "huer" observes from above that they are startled, and are separating at any particular point, to that point he waves his bush, thither the boat is steered, and there the net is "shot" at once. In whatever direction the fish attempt to get out to sea again, they are thus immediately met and thwarted with extraordinary readiness and skill. This labor completed, the silence of intense expectation that has hitherto prevailed among the spectators on the cliff, is broken. There is a great shout of joy on all sides—the shoal is secured!

The "seine" is now regarded as a great reservoir of fish. It may remain in the water a week or more. To secure it against being moved from its position in case a gale should come on, it is warped by two or three ropes to points of land in the cliff, and is, at the same time, contracted in circuit, by its opposite ends being brought together, and fastened tight over a length of several feet. While these operations are in course of performance, another boat, another set of men, and another net (different in form from the "seine") are approaching the scene of action.

This new net is called the "tuck;" it is smaller than the "seine," inside which it is now to be let down for the purpose of bringing the fish closely collected to the surface. The men who manage this net are termed "regular seiners." They receive ten shillings a week, and the same perquisite as the "shooters." Their boat is first of all rowed inside the seine-net, and laid close to the seine-boat, which remains stationary outside, and to the bows of which one rope at one end of the "tuck-net" is fastened. The "tuck" boat then slowly makes the inner circuit of the "seine," the smaller net being dropped overboard as she goes, and attached at intervals to the larger. To prevent the fish from getting between the two nets during this operation, they are frightened into the middle of the inclosure by beating the water, at proper places, with oars, and heavy stones fastened to ropes. When the "tuck" net has at length traveled round the whole circle of the "seine," and is securely fastened to the "seine" boat, at the end as it was at the beginning, every thing is ready for the great event of the day—the hauling of the fish to the surface.

Now, the scene on shore and sea rises to a prodigious pitch of excitement. The merchants, to whom the boats and nets belong, and by whom the men are employed, join the "huer" on the cliff; all their friends follow them; boys shout, dogs bark madly; every little boat in the place puts off crammed with idle spectators; old men and women hobble down to the beach to wait for the news. The noise, the bustle, the agitation, increases every moment. Soon the shrill cheering of the boys is joined by the deep voices of the "seiners." There they stand, six or eight stalwart, sunburnt fellows, ranged in a row in the "seine" boat, hauling with all their might at the "tuck" net, and roaring the regular nautical "Yo-heave-ho!" in chorus! Higher and higher rises the net, louder and louder shout the boys and the idlers. The merchant forgets his dignity, and joins them; the "huer," so calm and collected hitherto, loses his self-possession and waves his cap triumphantly—even you and I, reader, uninitiated spectators though we are, catch the infection, and cheer away with the rest, as if our bread depended on the event of the next few minutes. "Hooray! hooray! Yo-hoy, hoy, hoy! Pull away, boys! Up she comes! Here they are! Here they are!" The water boils and eddies; the "tuck" net rises to the surface, and one teeming, convulsed mass of shining, glancing, silvery scales; one compact crowd of thousands of fish, each one of which is madly endeavoring to escape, appears in an instant!

The noise before, was as nothing compared with the noise now. Boats as large as barges are pulled up in hot haste all round the net; baskets are produced by dozens: the fish are dipped up in them, and shot out, like coals out of a sack, into the boats. Ere long, the men are up to their ankles in pilchards; they jump upon the rowing benches and work on, until the boats are filled with fish as full as they can hold, and the gunwales are within two or three inches of the water. Even yet, the shoal is not exhausted; the "tuck" net must be let down again and left ready for a fresh haul, while the boats are slowly propelled to the shore, where we must join them without delay.

As soon as the fish are brought to land, one set of men, bearing capacious wooden shovels, jump in among them; and another set bring large handbarrows close to the side of the boat, into which the pilchards are thrown with amazing rapidity. This operation proceeds without ceasing for a moment. As soon as one barrow is ready to be carried to the salting-house, another is waiting to be filled. When this labor is performed by night—which is often the case—the scene becomes doubly picturesque. The men with the shovels, standing up to their knees in pilchards, working energetically; the crowd stretching down from the salting-house, across the beach, and hemming in the boat all around; the uninterrupted succession of men hurrying backward and forward with their barrows, through a narrow way, kept clear for them in the throng: the glare of the lanterns [Pg 632] giving light to the workmen, and throwing red flashes on the fish as they fly incessantly from the shovels over the side of the boat, all combine together to produce such a series of striking contrasts, such a moving picture of bustle and animation, as no attentive spectator can ever forget.

Having watched the progress of affairs on the shore, we next proceed to the salting-house, a quadrangular structure of granite, well roofed-in all round the sides, but open to the sky in the middle. Here, we must prepare ourselves to be bewildered by incessant confusion and noise; for here are assembled all the women and girls in the district, piling up the pilchards on layers of salt, at three-pence an hour; to which remuneration, a glass of brandy and a piece of bread and cheese are hospitably added at every sixth hour, by way of refreshment. It is a service of some little hazard to enter this place at all. There are men rushing out with empty barrows, and men rushing in with full barrows, in almost perpetual succession. However, while we are waiting for an opportunity to slip through the doorway, we may amuse ourselves by watching a very curious ceremony which is constantly in course of performance outside it.

As the filled harrows are going into the salting-house, we observe a little urchin running by the side of them, and hitting their edges with a long cane, in a constant succession of smart strokes, until they are fairly carried through the gate, when he quickly returns to perform the same office for the next series that arrive. The object of this apparently unaccountable proceeding is soon practically illustrated by a group of children, hovering about the entrance of the salting-house, who every now and then dash resolutely up to the barrows, and endeavor to seize on as many fish as they can take away at one snatch. It is understood to be their privilege to keep as many pilchards as they can get in this way by their dexterity, in spite of a liberal allowance of strokes aimed at their hands; and their adroitness richly deserves its reward. Vainly does the boy officially intrusted with the administration of the cane, strike the sides of the barrow with malignant smartness and perseverance—fish are snatched away with lightning rapidity and pickpocket neatness of hand. The hardest rap over the knuckles fails to daunt the sturdy little assailants. Howling with pain, they dash up to the next barrow that passes them, with unimpaired resolution; and often collect their ten or a dozen fish apiece, in an hour or two. No description can do justice to the "Jack-in-office" importance of the boy with the cane, as he flourishes it about ferociously in the full enjoyment of his vested right to castigate his companions as often as he can. As an instance of the early development of the tyrannic tendencies of human nature, it is, in a philosophical point of view, quite unique.

But now, while we have a chance, while the doorway is accidentally clear for a few moments, let us enter the salting-house, and approach the noisiest and most amusing of all the scenes which the pilchard fishery presents. First of all, we pass a great heap of fish lying in one recess inside the door, and an equally great heap of coarse, brownish salt lying in another. Then, we advance further, get out of the way of every body, behind a pillar; and see a whole congregation of the fair sex screaming, talking, and—to their honor be it spoken—working at the same time, round a compact mass of pilchards which their nimble hands have already built up to a height of three feet, a breadth of more than four, and a length of twenty. Here we have every variety of the "female type" displayed before us, ranged round an odoriferous heap of salted fish. Here, we see crones of sixty and girls of sixteen; the ugly and the lean, the comely and the plump; the sour-tempered and the sweet—all squabbling, singing, jesting, lamenting, and shrieking at the very top of their very shrill voices for "more fish," and "more salt;" both of which are brought from the stores, in small buckets, by a long train of children running backward and forward with unceasing activity and in inextricable confusion. But, universal as the uproar is, the work never flags; the hands move as fast as the tongues; there may be no silence and no discipline, but there is also no idleness and no delay. Never was three-pence an hour more joyously or more fairly earned than it is here!

The labor is thus performed. After the stone floor has been swept clean, a thin layer of salt is spread on it, and covered with pilchards laid partly edgewise, and close together. Then another layer of salt, smoothed fine with the palm of the hand, is laid over the pilchards; and then more pilchards are placed upon that; and so on until the heap rises to four feet, or more. Nothing can exceed the ease, quickness, and regularity with which this is done. Each woman works on her own small area, without reference to her neighbor; a bucketful of salt and a bucketful of fish being shot out in two little piles under her hands, for her own especial use. All proceed in their labor, however, with such equal diligence and equal skill, that no irregularities appear in the various layers when they are finished—they run as straight and smooth from one end to the other, as if they were constructed by machinery. The heap, when completed, looks like a long, solid, neatly-made mass of dirty salt; nothing being now seen of the pilchards but the extreme tips of their noses or tails, just peeping out in rows, up the sides of the pile.

The fish will remain thus in salt, or, as the technical expression is, "in bulk," for five or six weeks. During this period, a quantity of oil, salt, and water drips from them into wells cut in the centre of the stone floor on which they are placed. After the oil has been collected and clarified, it will sell for enough to pay off the whole expense of the wages, food, and drink given to the "seiners"—perhaps, for some other incidental charges besides. The salt and water left behind, and offal of all sorts [Pg 633] found with it, furnish a valuable manure. Nothing in the pilchard itself, or in connection with the pilchard, runs to waste—the precious little fish is a treasure in every part of him.

After the pilchards have been taken out of "bulk," they are washed clean in salt water, and packed in hogsheads, which are then sent for exportation to some large sea-port—Penzance, for instance—in coast traders. The fish reserved for use in Cornwall, are generally cured by those who purchase them. The export trade is confined to the shores of the Mediterranean—Italy and Spain providing the two great foreign markets for pilchards. The home consumption, as regards Great Britain, is nothing, or next to nothing. Some variation takes place in the prices realized by the foreign trade—their average, wholesale, is stated to about fifty shillings per hogshead.

Some idea of the almost incalculable multitude of pilchards caught on the shores of Cornwall, may be formed from the following data. At the small fishing cove of Trereen, 600 hogsheads were taken in little more than one week, during August 1850. Allowing 2400 fish only to each hogshead—3000 would be the highest calculation—we have a result of 1,440,000 pilchards, caught by the inhabitants of one little village alone, on the Cornish coast, at the commencement of the season's fishing!

At considerable sea-port towns, where there is an unusually large supply of men, boats, and nets, such figures as those quoted above, are far below the mark. At St. Ives, for example, 1000 hogsheads were taken in the first three seine nets cast into the water. The number of hogsheads exported annually, averages 22,000. This year, 27,000 have been secured for the foreign markets. Incredible as these numbers may appear to some readers, they may nevertheless be relied on; for they are derived from trustworthy sources—partly from local returns furnished to me—partly from the very men who filled the baskets from the boat-side, and who afterward verified their calculations by frequent visits to the salting-houses.

Such is the pilchard fishery of Cornwall—a small unit, indeed, in the vast aggregate of England's internal sources of wealth: but yet, neither unimportant nor uninteresting, if it be regarded as giving active employment to a hardy and honest race who would starve without it, as impartially extending the advantages of commerce to one of the remotest corners of our island, and—more than all—as displaying a wise and beautiful provision of Nature, by which the rich tribute of the great deep is most generously lavished on the land which most needs a compensation for its own sterility.

[From Dickens's Household Words.]


The office of clerk of the Carvers' Company has been filled by members of my family for one hundred years past. My great-grandfather was elected in the year 1749. After him, came his younger brother; and, when he died, my grandfather was chosen by nine votes out of twelve; after that, all opposition vanished: our dynasty was established. When my grandfather died, my father went through the ceremony of calling upon the members of the Court of Assistants, and soliciting their votes; and, afterward, the formality of a show of hands being passed, he was declared, as every one knew he would be who was aware of the existence of the Carvers' Company, the successor of his father. The transition from him to myself was so easy as to be hardly felt. When I threw aside my yellow breeches, and came out of the "Blue-Coat School," with some knowledge of Greek, and very small skill in penmanship, I was at once transplanted to a stool at my father's desk; which stood railed off, in a corner of the great hall, under the stained-glass window. The master and twelve senior liverymen, who formed what is called the Court of Assistants, saw me there when they met together; and one patted me on the head, and prophesied great things of me, while I sat, very red in the face, wondering who had been talking to him about me. Another, who had himself worn the girdle and blue-petticoats, some half a century previously, examined my classical knowledge; and, finding himself somewhat at fault, remarked that he was not fresh from school, like me. At length, my father and I attended their meetings alternately; and, as he became old and infirm, the duties devolved entirely upon me. When he died, therefore, there was no change. The twelve liverymen held up twelve of their four-and-twenty hands, and my election was recorded on the minutes.

Carvers' Hall was a place not very easy to find out, for any but the warder and twelve liverymen: but, as few people else ever had occasion to find it out, that was not of much consequence. The portion of the city in which it stood had escaped the fire of London, which took a turn at a short distance, owing, perhaps, to a change in the wind, and left the hall and some adjacent courts untouched. In order to arrive there, it was necessary, first, to pass through a narrow passage running up from Thames-street; then, along a paved yard, by the railing of a church; and, lastly, down an impassable court, at the bottom of which stood the antique gateway of Carvers' Hall. Over the door-way was a curious carving of the Resurrection, in oak, which must have cost some ancient member of the Worshipful Guild considerable time and trouble. There were represented graves opening, and bald-headed old men forcing up the lids of their family-vaults—some looking happy, and some with their features distorted by despair. Out of others, whole families, mother, father, and several children, had just issued, and were standing hand-in-hand. Some, again, were struggling, half-buried in the ground; while others, already extricated, were assisting their kinsmen in their efforts to disinter [Pg 634] themselves. The scene was made a section, in order to give the spectator a view of an immense host of cherubim above, sitting upon a massy pile of cloud; through, which—the middle point of the picture—the summoning angel was throwing himself down, with a trumpet in his hand; which, according to the relative scale of the work, must have been several leagues, at least, in length. Having passed under this gate-way, you entered a small square yard, paved with black and white stones, placed diamond-wise; and facing you was the hall itself, up three stone-steps, and with a wooden portico.

This solitary building, silent and retired, though in the heart of a crowded city, has been my home for nearly sixty years. I have become assimilated to the place by long usage. I am myself silent, retired, and tenacious of old habits; though I do not think this is my natural disposition. But why do I talk of natural disposition? Are we not all moulded and made what we are by time and outward influences? However, when I was at school I was a cheerful boy, though the monastic life of Christ's Hospital is not calculated to improve the spirits. It was only on entering my father's office that I began to be subdued to the formal being which I have since become. The portraits of my predecessors hang in the hall; they are exactly alike, both in features and in dress, except that the first two wore hair-powder. It was my father's pride that he clung to the style of dress which was prevalent when he was a young man, which he considered to be, in every way, superior to all modern inventions. I was only released from the absurd dress of the blue-coat boy to be put into garments equally provocative of remarks from impertinent boys. The family costume is, imprimis, a pair of knee-breeches with buckles; then a blue coat with metal buttons; and a large white cravat, spread out over the whole chest, and ornamented in the middle with a cornelian brooch. The same brooch appears in every one of the portraits. I have worn this dress all my life, with the exception of a short period, when I changed it to return to it shortly again.

If happiness consists in having many friends, I ought to have been a happy man. Old carvers, neighbors, pensioners of the company, every one down to the housekeeper, and Tom Lawton, my only clerk, spoke kindly of me. Theirs was no lip-service. I knew they liked me in their hearts. The world, too, had gone smoothly with me. I knew nothing of the struggles for bread, the hardships and wrongs which other men endure. They appeared to me even fabulous when I read them. The means of getting my living were put into my hands. The company seemed almost grateful to my father for bringing me up to the office. My income was two hundred pounds per annum, as well as the house to live in, and coals and candles, which was more than I needed for my support, though I always found means of disposing of the surplus, and never saved any thing. I was not, however, a happy man. I had always the feeling of a spirit subdued to a life to which it was not suited. I do not say that in another sphere I should have led a boisterous life. My mind was, perhaps, more prone to reflection than to action, although I felt that if I had been more in the world, if I had known more of life and change, I should have been a happier man. But from my earliest days the vanity of life, and the virtue of keeping aloof from temptation, were instilled into me. "A rolling stone gathers no moss," was the first proverb which I heard from my father's mouth. These principles, implanted early, took deep root, though, perhaps, in an unfavorable soil. Living also under the same roof with my father, I felt alarmed at every whispering of my own inclinations which was opposed to his wishes, and strove to subdue them, as if I were struggling with the evil portion of my nature. Thus, in course of time, I became what I am; not a misanthrope, thank God, but a timid and somewhat melancholy man. We had no mirth-making in our household, except at Christmas-time, when we feasted, in good earnest. My father loved at that time to display a rough hospitality. We had generally two or three nights of merry-making, at which were both young and old people—all carvers, or the children of carvers—and after his death I continued the custom. Often, as I sat with my happy friends about me, some sweet young woman would give me a sly hit upon my obdurate determination to die an old bachelor; little thinking that her heedless words could give me pain, though they cut me deeply, and set me looking at the fire with a thoughtful face. I might have married, perhaps, if I had found a partner; my income was not large, but many men run the risk of a family with less means to support one than I had; but, somehow, I found myself at forty-five years of age unmarried, slim, and prim—the very type of an old bachelor. It was not from indifference, for I was by nature sensitive and affectionate. For women I had a kind of reverence. I pictured them to myself all that is noble and good: yet, in their presence, I only looked upon them timidly, speaking little, but thinking of them, perhaps, long afterward when they were gone.

One result of my reputation for gravity was a number of executorships which had been imposed upon me by deceased friends. Any one would have thought that there was a conspiracy abroad to overwhelm me with proofs of confidence. My stock of mourning rings is considerable. The expression, "Nineteen guineas for his trouble," had to me an old familiar sound with it. At length I was obliged to hint to any old carver who waxed sickly, that my duties in that way were already as much as I could fulfill. There was, however, an old grocer of my acquaintance, named Cawthorne, who would make me executor of his will, in spite of my remonstrances, relieving my scruples by [Pg 635] assuring me that he had named another friend for my colleague, who, it was understood, was to undertake, if we survived him, the greater part of his duties, including the guardianship of his daughter Lucy. We did survive him; and the other executor entered upon his office, seldom troubling me except when absolutely necessary. Thus he went on for some years. The daughter had become a fine young woman of nineteen, with blue eyes and fair hair, rippled like the sunlight upon waters touched by a light wind. I saw her often in the house when he was taken ill, and thought her very beautiful. I fancied, sometimes, how she would look robed in pure white, and holding in her hand an olive branch, as I had seen some angels carved in stone. I have met her ascending the stairs with a candle in her hand, the light striking upward, like a glory on her face, and she seemed to me not to mount from step to step, but slowly to ascend without a movement of the feet. My feeling with regard to her almost amounted to a superstitious awe; for I seldom spoke many words to her, and I think, at first, she thought me harsh and cold. At length her guardian died, and although I had known from the first that in that event his duty would devolve upon me, the fact seemed to take me by surprise. I could hardly believe that henceforth, for some time, she would look to me as her sole protector. However, in a short time, the affairs of my deceased colleague were set in order, and she came to reside with me in the old Hall.

She soon forgot her first antipathy, and we became good friends together. I took her over the old place, and showed her the library and the paintings, and every thing there that was quaint and curious. We had a garden at the back of the Hall, in which she sat at work on fine days. It was not large, but it was nevertheless a garden, and in the midst of London. It was planted with shrubs, and contained two or three large trees, as well as a rustic seat upon a grass-plot; though the grass was not very thriving, on account of the trees shutting out the sun and air. However, sitting here, the back of the Hall had a picturesque look, half covered with the great leaves of a fig-tree nailed against the wall, and with its worn stone steps guarded on each side by an aloe in a green tub. This was her favorite place. She worked or read there in the morning, and in the afternoon she taught two little nieces of the housekeeper to read and write. Sometimes, in the evening, I got an old book from the library, and read to her, and made her laugh at its quaintness. I remember one translation of a Spanish novel in folio, printed in the seventeenth century, which amused her very much. The translation occupied one half of the book, and the prefaces the other. There was the Translator's "Apology for his labor;" "A declaration for the better understanding of the book;" an address "To the learned Reader;" another "To the discreet and courteous Reader;" and another "To the vulgar Reader," with some others; and, finally, the Spanish novel itself was ushered in by a number of verses in English and Latin, laudatory of the book and the translator, by celebrated men of the period.

On Sunday we sat at church, in the same pew, and often I forgot my own devotions in listening to the earnest tones with which she said the prayers. I thought that she, of all that congregation, was best fitted to speak those words of Christian love. I was vexed to hear an old overseer of the parish, whom I knew to be a bad and worldly man, in the next pew, repeating the same words in a drawling tone; and I could almost have requested him to say them to himself.

Thus, ours was not a very cheerful way of life for a young maiden; but she seemed always happy and contented. For myself, although I was sorry for the death of my co-executor, I blessed the day when she came into the house; and I grieved that I had objected to become her guardian from the first, that she might have grown up from childhood with me, and learnt to look up to me as a father. Living with her daily, and noting all her thoughts and actions, sometimes even when she did not suspect that I observed her, I saw her purer than the purest of my own ideals. My feeling was almost an idolatry. If I had, at forty-five years of age, still any thoughts of marrying, I renounced them for her sake, and resolved to devote all my care to her, until such time as she should find a husband worthy of her.

By an ancient bequest to the Company, we distributed, on the day before Christmas-day, to twenty-four poor people, a loaf of bread, a small log of wood, or bavin, as we call it, and the sum of two shillings and ten-pence to each person. The recipients were all old, decrepit men and women. There was an ancient regulation, still unrepealed, that they should all attend on the following court-day, at noon precisely, to "return thanks for the same;" though that performance of mechanical gratitude had been allowed to fall into disuse by a more philosophical generation. The first Christmas after Lucy came there, she begged me to let her distribute these gifts, and I consented. I stood at my little desk at the end of the hall, with my face resting upon my hands, watching her, and listening to her talking to the old people. Next to the pleasure of hearing her speak to little children, I delighted to hear her talk with the very aged folks. There was something in the contrast of the two extremes of life—the young and beautiful maiden, and the bent and wrinkled old people—that pleased me. She heard all their oft-repeated complaints, their dreary accounts of their agues and rheumatics, and consoled them as well as she could; and, with some of the very old, she took their brown and sinewy hands in hers, and led them down the steps. I did not know what ailed me that day. I stood dreaming and musing, till I seemed to have lost that instinctive dexterity [Pg 636] with which we perform the simple operations of our daily life. Some accounts lay before me which I was anxious to cast, but several times I essayed, and seemed incapable of doing so. As the simple words of our daily language, which issue from our lips simultaneously with the thought, become vague and indistinct if we muse upon their origin, and repeat them several times to ourselves; so by dwelling long upon the idea of the work before me, it seemed to have become confused, and difficult to realize. I handed them over to my clerk, Tom Lawton, who sat opposite to me.

Poor Tom Lawton! I thought I saw him looking anxiously at me, several times, when I raised my eyes. No being upon earth ever loved me more than he. It is true, I had done him some acts of kindness, but I had often done as much for others, who had forgotten it since; whereas his gratitude became a real affection for me, which never failed to show itself each day that he was with me. He was a fine young man, and a great favorite with the housekeeper, who said "she liked him because he was so good to his mother, just as she thought her poor son would have been if he had lived." Tom was fond of reading, and sometimes wrote verses, of which he made copies for his friends in a neat hand. He was a shrewd fellow in some things, but in others he was as simple as a child. His temper was the sweetest in the world—the children knew that. No diving into his coat-pocket ever ruffled him; no amount of pulling his hair could ever induce him to cry out.

Tom was to spend his Christmas Eve with us, and to make "toast and ale," as was our custom; so, when the gifts were all distributed, he left me, and ran home to dress himself smartly for the occasion. I stood at my desk, still musing, till the evening closed upon the short and wintry afternoon. Lucy came and called me, saying the tea was on the table.

"We thought you were fallen asleep," said she. "Mr. Lawton is come."

We sat round a large fire in the old wainscoted sitting-room, while Lucy made the tea—and would have made the toast, too; but Tom said he would sooner burn his eyes out than suffer her to do so. The housekeeper came up, and afterward came an old carver and his daughter. We sat till after midnight. The old carver told some anecdotes of people whom my father knew; and Tom told a ghost story, which kept them all in breathless terror, till it turned out, at last, to be a dream. But I was restless, and spoke little. Once, indeed, I answered the old carver sharply. He had patted Lucy on the head, and said he supposed she would be soon getting married, and leaving us old people. I could not endure the thought of her leaving us; though I knew that she would do so, probably, one day. She had never looked to me more interesting than she did that evening. A little child, worn out with playing, had fallen asleep, with its head upon her lap; and, as she was speaking to us, her hand was entangled in its hair. I gazed at her, and caught up every word she spoke; and when she stopped, my restlessness returned. I strove in vain to take part in their mirth. I wanted to be alone.

When I sat that night in my little bedroom, I was thinking still of Lucy. I heard her voice still sounding in my ear; and, when I shut my eyes, I pictured her still before me, with her dear kind face, and her little golden locket hung upon her neck. I fell asleep and dreamed of her. I woke, and waited for the daylight, thinking of her still. So we passed all the Christmas holidays. Sometimes it was a happy feeling which possessed me; and sometimes I almost wished that I had never seen her. I was always restless and anxious; I knew not for what. I became a different man to that which I had been before I knew her.

When, at last, I concealed from myself no longer that I loved her fondly, deeply—deeper, I believe, than ever man has loved—I became alarmed. I knew what people would say, if it came to be known. She had some property, and I had nothing; but what was worse, I was forty-five years of age, and she was only twenty. I was, moreover, her guardian; and she had been consigned to my care by her dying father, in confidence, that if she came under my protection, I would act toward her as he himself would have acted, if he had lived, not dreaming that I should encourage other thoughts than those of a protector and a friend. I knew that I should have been jealous, angry, with any one who evinced a liking for her; and yet I asked myself whether it was right that I should discourage any man who might make her happy; who, perhaps, would love her nearly as much as I did, and be more suited for her, by reason of his youth and habits; not like mine, sedate and monkish. Even if I eventually gained her affections, would not the world say that I had exerted the undue influence of my authority over her; or that I had kept her shut up from society; so that, in her ignorance of life, she mistook a feeling of respect for a stronger sentiment? And, again, if all these things were set aside, was it not wrong that I should take a young and beautiful girl and shut her up in that old place forever—checking the natural gayety of youth, and bringing her by slow degrees to my old ways? I saw the selfishness of all my thoughts, and resolved to strive to banish them forever.

But they would not leave me. Each day I saw something in her that increased my passion. I watched her as she went from room to room. I walked stealthily about the place, in the hope of seeing her somewhere unobserved, and hearing her speak, and stealing away again before she saw me. I walked on tiptoe once, and saw her through the open door, thoughtful—looking at the candle—with her work untouched beside her. I fancied to myself what thoughts possessed her: perhaps the memory of a friend, no longer of this world, had touched her suddenly, [Pg 637] and made her mute and still; or, perhaps, the thought of some one dearer. The idea ran through me like a subtle poison, and I shuddered. I thought she started. I believe it was a fancy; but I stole away hurriedly, on tiptoe, and never looked behind me till I reached my corner in the Hall.

Every one remarked a change in me. Lucy looked at me anxiously sometimes, and asked me if I was not ill. Tom Lawton grieved to see me so dejected, till he became himself as grave as an old man. I sat opposite to Lucy sometimes, with a book in my hand. I had ceased to read aloud; and she seeing that I took no pleasure in it, did not press me to do so. I looked at the pages, without a thought of their contents, simply to avoid her looks. I thought, at last, that she grew vexed with my neglect. One night I suddenly threw down my book, and looking at her boldly and intently, to observe the expression of her features, I said,

"I have been thinking, Lucy, that you grow weary of my dull ways. You do not love me now, as you did some months ago."

"Oh, yes!" she replied, "indeed I do. I do not know what makes you talk like this, unless I have offended you in something. But I see it now," she said. "I must have said something that has given you pain; though it was never in my thought to do so. And this is why you treat me coldly, day by day, and never let me know what I have done."

She came over to me, and took my hand in hers; and, with tears in her eyes, begged me to tell her what it was.

"I know," she said, "I have no friend more kind and good than you. My father died before I knew how great a friend I had in him; but, had he lived, I never could have loved him more than I love you."

"Well, well, Lucy," said I, "I did not mean to hurt you. I know not why I reproached you. I am not well; and when I feel thus, I know not what I say."

"Kiss me, then," said she, "and tell me you are not angry with me; and do not think now, that I am tired of living here with you. I will do every thing to make you happy. I will not ask you to read. I will put away my work and read to you in future. I have seen you silent, looking unhappy, and have said nothing—thinking that was best, as I did not know what it was that made you so; and you have thought, perhaps, that I was vexed with you, and wished to show it by a sullen air. But now I will strive to make you cheerful. I will read and sing to you, and we will play at draughts, sometimes, as we used to do. Indeed, I like this old place, and all that live in it, and never was so happy in my life as I have been since I came here."

I placed my hand upon her head, and kissed her on the forehead, saying nothing.

"You are trembling," she exclaimed; "this is not merely illness. You have some sorrow on your mind that haunts you. Tell me what it is that ails you; perhaps I may be able to console you. I have not so much experience as you; but sometimes a young mind can advise the oldest and the most experienced. Perhaps, too, you magnify your trouble by brooding over it; you think upon it, till your mind is clouded, and you can not see the remedy, which I, looking at it for the first time, might see directly. Besides," she said, seeing me hesitate, "if you do not tell me, I shall always be unhappy—imagining a hundred evils, each, perhaps, more serious than the truth."

"No, Lucy," said I, "I am unwell; I have felt thus for some time, and to-night I feel worse. I must go to bed; I shall be better after a night's rest."

I lighted a candle, and, bidding her good night, left her and stole up to bed—afraid to stay longer, lest I should be tempted to reveal my secret. Oh, how could I endure the thought of her kind words, more painful to me than the coldest scorn! She had said she loved me as a father. In the midst of all her kindness, she had spoken of my age and my experience. Did I, then, look so old as that? Yes, I knew that it was not my years which made me old; it was my staid manners, my grave and thoughtful face, which made me look an old man, even in my prime. Bitterly I complained of my father, who had shut me out from the knowledge of all that makes life beautiful; who had biased me to a belief that such a life as his was best, by hiding from me all comparison; till now, when I perceived my error, it was too late to repair it. I surveyed my antiquated garments with disgust; my huge cravat; the very hair of my head, by long training, become old-fashioned beyond all reclaiming. My whole appearance was that of a man who had slept for half a century, except that I was without a speck or soil. I believe they would have admitted me to a masquerade in such a dress, without a single alteration, and think that I had hired it for the occasion. But a new hope sprang up within me. I would change my way of life—I would try to be more cheerful; I would wear more modern clothes, and endeavor, at least, not to make myself look older than I was.

I have known nothing like the peace of mind which these thoughts brought me, for many days. I wondered that what was so obvious had not occurred to me before. I had gone about dreaming in my absent way, brooding unprofitably over my troubles, instead of devising something practical and useful. But I would act differently—I would not despair. Five-and-forty years was, after all, no great age. I recalled to my mind many instances of men marrying long after that time with women younger than themselves, and living afterward very happily. I remembered one of our wardens who married at sixty a young and very beautiful women, and every one saw how happy they were, and how she loved her husband for years, till a rascal, by slow and artful steps, [Pg 638] won over her affections, and she ran away with him. But Lucy would not do that; I knew too well the goodness of her nature to have any fear of such a result. Then I thought how kind I would be to her—studying every way that could amuse and please a youthful mind; till she, seeing how all my life was devoted to her, would come to love me in the end. I planned out minutely our way of life. I would invite more friends to visit us, and we would go out and visit others. We would play at our old game of draughts together in the winter evenings, and sometimes I would take her to the theatre. In the summer we would go into the country—lingering all day long in quiet, shady places, and returning about dusk. Sweet thoughts, that held my mind until I slept, and lingered, breeding pleasant dreams.

The next day I visited my tailor, who took my orders with evident astonishment. My clothes were brought home in a few days, and I threw off my knee-breeches, as I thought, forever. I felt a little uneasy in my new attire—my legs had been so long used to feel cool and unrestrained, that the trowsers were irksome. However, I supposed I should soon become accustomed to them; and they really made me look some years younger. What would my father have said if he had visited the earth that day and seen me? My hair, however, was less manageable—in vain I parted it on the right side, and brushed it sideways, instead of backward, as I had hitherto done. For five-and-forty years it had been brushed in one direction, and it seemed as if nothing but five-and-forty years' daily brushing in the other, could ever reverse it. I descended from my room, trying to look unconscious of any thing unusual in my appearance. It was court-day: the Warden and Assistants stared at me, and would have laughed, no doubt, if most of them had not left off laughing for many years. Some of them, however, coughed; and one addressed to me some simple questions, evidently intended to test my sanity. I felt a little vexed; for I thought it was no concern of theirs, if I chose to adopt some alterations in my dress. However, I said nothing, but went quietly through my duties. Tom Lawton was there. It should have been a joyful day for him; for they increased his salary at that court. But he looked at me compassionately, and evidently thought, like the rest, that I was going mad. I was, however, amply consoled—for Lucy was pleased to see the change in my dress and manners. I laughed and chatted with her, and she read to me, and sang, as she had promised. Thus I went on for some time; when something of my old restlessness came back. I saw how little she suspected that I loved her more than as a friend; and fearing still to let her know the truth, I felt that I might go on thus for years to little purpose. So, by degrees, I returned to my former sadness, and became again reserved and thoughtful.

One night, I descended from my little room into the garden, and walked about with my hat in my hand, for I felt feverish and excited. Night after night, my sleep had been broken and disturbed by dreams, that glided from my memory when I woke, but left a feeling of despondency that followed me throughout the day. Sometimes, I thought, myself, that my reason was deserting me. We were very busy at that time, and Tom Lawton and I were to have worked together all the evening, but I had left him; utterly unable to fix my attention upon what I set before me. I paced to and fro several times, when passing by the window where I had left him at work, I heard him speaking with some one. A word, which I fancied having caught, made me curious, and I mounted upon a stone ledge and listened; for the sliding pane of glass which served to ventilate the Hall had been pushed back, and I could hear distinctly when I applied my ear to the aperture. The light being inside, I could not be seen, although I could see his desk. The lamp was shaded, and the window was of stained glass, so that I did not see very clearly. But I had a quick vision for such a scene as that before me.

That form standing beside Tom Lawton, with its hand in his, was Lucy's! The blood rushed to my head. A thousand little lights were dancing before my eyes. I felt myself falling, but I made an effort, and clutched the window-sill and listened. It was Lucy's voice that I heard first.

"Hush!" she said, "I heard a noise; there is some one coming. Good-night! Good-night!"

"No, no," said Tom, "it is the wind beating the dead leaves against the window."

They seemed to listen for a moment, and then he spoke again,

"Oh, Miss Lucy, do not run away before we have talked together a little. I see you now so seldom, and when I do there are others present, and I can not speak to you of what is always uppermost in my thoughts. I think of you all day, and at night I long for the next morning, to be in the same house with you, in the hope of seeing you before I go; though I am continually disappointed. I think I am unfortunate in all but one thing, though that consoles me for the rest—I think you love me a little, Lucy."

"Yes, Tom, I do; a great deal. I have told you so many times, and I am not ashamed to repeat it. I would not hide it from any one, if you did not tell me to do so. But why do you tease yourself with fancies, and think yourself unfortunate? I do not know why we should not tell him all about it. He is the kindest being in the world, and I know he would not thwart me in any thing that could procure my happiness; and then, again, you are a favorite of his, and I am sure he would be delighted to think that we loved each other."

"No, no, Lucy; you must not say a word about it. What would he think of me, with nothing in the world but my small salary, encouraging [Pg 639] such thoughts toward you, who are rich; and going on like this—laying snares, as he would say, for months, to gain your affections, and never saying a word about it; bringing, too, disgrace upon him, as your guardian, that he had suffered a poor clerk in his office to find opportunities of speaking to you alone, and at last persuading you to promise to become his wife one day?"

"All this you have told me many a time; but indeed this need not be an obstacle. I wish that I had not sixpence in the world. My money is become a misfortune to us, instead of a blessing, as it should be. I wish I might give it away, or renounce it altogether. I am sure we should be as well without it, one day; and if we had to wait a long time, we should still be able to see one another openly, and not have to watch for secret opportunities, as if we were doing wrong. You do not know, Tom, how unhappy the thought of all this makes me. I never had a secret before, that I feared to tell before the whole world; and now I sit, night after night, with him from whom I should conceal nothing, and feel that I am deceiving him. Every time he looks at me, I fancy that he knows all about it, and thinks me an artful girl, and waits to see how long I shall play my part before him. Many times I have been tempted to tell him all, in spite of your injunction, and beg him not to be angry with me because I had not dared to tell him before. I would have taken all blame upon myself, and said that I had loved you secretly before you had ever spoken to me about it—any thing I would have said rather than feel myself deceitful, as I do!"

"Lucy!" exclaimed Tom, in a broken voice, "you must not—you must not, indeed, ever give way to such an impulse. I know not what might come of it, if he knew. It would ruin us—perhaps, be the cause of our being separated forever—make him hate us both, and never pardon me, at least, while he lives. Oh, Lucy! I have not told you all. Something yet more serious remains behind."

"Tell me—what is this, Tom?—you alarm me!"

"Come here then, and bring your ear closer. No; I will not tell you. Do not ask me again. It is, perhaps, only a fancy, which has come into my head because I am anxious about you, and imagine all kinds of misfortunes that might arise to make us wretched. But, oh! if I am right, we are, indeed, unfortunate. No misfortune that could befall us could be equal to this."

Lucy's eyes were filled with tears. "I do not like to go back into the parlor," she said, "lest he should be there, and ask me why I have been crying. He was in his room, upstairs, I think, just now, and he may have come down, and I am sure I could not stand before him as I am. You have, indeed, made me miserable. Oh! Tom, Tom, do tell me what this is?"

"I can not tell you," he replied, "it would not be right to breathe a word about it till I have surer ground for my suspicion. Let me dry your eyes, and now go back into the parlor, or your absence will be observed."

Twice he bade her "good-night" before she left him, and each time I saw him put his arms about her, and kiss her; then he called after her,


She turned back, and ran up to him.

"I hardly know why I called you back. Only, I may not see you again for some time, and it may be many, many days, before I can speak to you alone."


I trembled for what he was about to say, and in my anxiety to catch his words, I put my ear closer, and, in so doing, struck the door of the ventilator.

"Hark! I thought I heard something moving. Go, go!" said Tom. "Good-night! Good-night!" And she glided across the hall, and was gone in a moment.

In the eagerness with which I had listened to their conversation, I had not had time to feel the terrible blow which I had received. It was only when the voices ceased, that I felt how all my hopes had been shattered in a moment. I relaxed my hold; and, alighting on the ground, walked again to and fro—but more hurriedly than before. I had never dreamed of this: Tom Lawton!

I sat down upon the garden-seat, and wept and sobbed like a child—the first time for many years. I could not help feeling angry with them both. "Oh!" thought I, "Tom Lawton, you were right in thinking that I should never pardon you for this. You have taken away the one hope of my life. I shall hate you while I live. Lucy, also, I blame; but my anger is chiefly with you. In order to shield you, she would have told me, poor child, that she only was to blame; but I know better. You have laid snares for her, and inveigled her; your heart told you that you had, when you put the words into my mouth."

I walked about and sat down again several times. I groaned aloud, for my heart was swelled almost to bursting. So I continued for some time fiercely denouncing my rival to myself; but that night, upon my bed, when I was worn out with my passion, a better feeling came upon me. I grew more calm and resigned to my misfortune. I saw how useless—nay, how wrong, would be all persecution; and I felt that it was natural that the young should love the young before the old. So, with a sorrowful and humbled spirit, I resolved to encourage them and bring about their union. God knows how much the resolution cost me; but it brought with it a certain peace of mind—a consciousness of doing rightly—which sustained me in my purpose. I would not delay a day, lest my resolution should waver. In the morning I walked into the parlor, and bidding Tom Lawton [Pg 640] follow me, stood there before him and Lucy. Tom looked pale as if he dreaded my anger.

"I expect," said I, "a direct answer to what I am going to ask you. Have you not given your faith to one another?"

Tom turned paler still; but Lucy answered before he could say a word, and confessing all, said she took the blame upon herself; but Tom interrupted her, exclaiming that he only was to blame.

"There is no blame attached to either," said I, "except for a little concealment, for which I pardon you."

Thus far I had done the duty which I had set before me; but I did not feel it to be completed till they were married.

About three months after I gave my permission, and the day was fixed. I saw them the happiest creatures upon earth. They never knew my secret. That Tom had suspected it, and that it was to that he referred when he was speaking to Lucy in the hall, I had never doubted; though the readiness with which I had befriended them had deceived him. He had taken a small house, and every thing was ready. But, on the day before their wedding, my heart failed me. I knew then that I had never ceased to love her, and I could not endure the thought of her marriage. I felt that I must go away until the day was past; so I gave out that I had suddenly received a summons to go into the country, and that it was my wish that the marriage should not be delayed on that account. That night I went away, not caring whither.

I know what were my thoughts in those two days that I was absent. When I returned, the Hall was silent—Lucy was gone; and I was again alone in the old place.

I remain there.


The hyperbole of being "idolized" was never, perhaps, made a literal truth in so striking a manner as is shown in the following story; for which we are indebted to a French author.

In 1818, the good ship "Dido" left the Mauritius, on her voyage to Sumatra. She had a cargo of French manufactures on board, which her captain was to barter for coffee and spice with the nabobs of the Sunda Isles. After a few days' sail, the vessel was becalmed; and both passengers and crew were put on short allowance of provisions and water.

Preserved meats, fruits, chocolate, fine flour, and live-stock, were all exhausted, with the exception of one solitary patriarchal cock, who, perched on the main-yard, was mourning his devastated harem, like Mourad Bey after the battle of the Pyramids.

The ship's cook, Neptune, a Madagascar negro, received orders, one morning, to prepare this bird for dinner; and, once more, the hungry denizens of the state-cabin snuffed up the delicious odor of roast fowl. The captain took a nap, in order to cheat his appetite until dinner-time; and the chief mate hovered like a guardian-angel round the caboose, watching lest any audacious spoiler should lay violent hands on the precious dainty.

Suddenly, a cry of terror and despair issued from the cook's cabin, and Neptune himself rushed out, the picture of affright, with both his hands twisted, convulsively, in the sooty wool that covered his head. What was the matter? Alas! in an ill-starred hour the cook had slumbered at his post, and the fowl was burnt to a cinder.

A fit of rage, exasperated by hunger and a tropical sun, is a fearful thing. The mate, uttering a dreadful imprecation, seized a large knife, and rushed at Neptune. At that moment, one of the passengers, named Louis Bergaz, interposed to ward off the blow. The negro was saved, but his preserver received the point of the steel in his wrist, and his blood flowed freely. With much difficulty the other passengers succeeded in preventing him, in his turn, from attacking the mate; but, at length, peace was restored, the aggressor having apologized for his violence. As to poor Neptune, he fell on his knees, and kissed and embraced the feet of his protector.

In a day or two the breeze sprang up, and the "Dido" speedily reached Sumatra. Four years afterward, it happened, one day, that Louis Bergaz was dining at the public table of an English boarding-house at Batavia. Among the guests were two learned men who had been sent out by the British Government to inspect the countries lying near the equator. During dinner, the name of Bergaz happening to be pronounced distinctly by one of his acquaintances at the opposite side of the table, the oldest of the savans looked up from his plate, and asked, quickly,

"Who owns the name of Bergaz?"

"I do."

"Curious enough," said the savant, "you bear the same name as a god of Madagascar."

"Have they a god called Bergaz?" asked Louis, smilingly.

"Yes. And if you like, after dinner, I will show you an article on the subject, which I published in an English scientific journal."

Louis thanked him; and afterward read as follows:

"The population of Madagascar consists of a mixture of Africans, Arabs, and the aboriginal inhabitants. These latter occupy the kingdom of the Anas, and are governed by a queen. The Malagasys differ widely from the Ethiopian race, both in their physical and moral characteristics. They are hospitable and humane, but extremely warlike, because a successful foray furnishes them with slaves. It is a mistake to believe that the Malagasys worship the devil, and that they have at Teintingua a tree consecrated to the Evil One. They have but one temple, dedicated to the god Bergaz (beer, source, or well, in the Chaldean, and gaz, light, in the Malagasy tongue.) To this divinity they are ardently [Pg 641] devoted, and at stated periods offer him the sacrifice of a cock, as the ancient Greeks did to Æsculapius. So true it is that the languages and superstitions of all lands and ages are linked together by mysterious bonds, which neither time nor distance can destroy."

Louis Bergaz thought the latter philosophical reflection very striking.

"You can scarcely imagine," said his companion, "how important these remote analogies, traced out by us with so much labor and fatigue, are to the advancement of science!"

Bergaz bowed, and was silent.

The cares of a busy commercial life soon caused him to forget both the philosopher and his own idol namesake.

After the lapse of about two years, Bergaz set out to purchase ebony at Cape St. Maria, in Madagascar; but a violent tempest forced the vessel to stop at Simpaï on the Avas coast. While the crew were busy refitting the ship, Bergaz started off to explore the interior of the country. There are no carnivorous wild beasts in Madagascar; but, there is abundance of game to tempt the sportsman: and Louis, with his gun on his shoulder, followed the chase of partridges, quails, and pheasants, for several miles, until he reached the border of a thick bamboo jungle.

There, he saw a number of the natives prostrate before the entrance of a large hut. They were singing, with one accord, a monotonous sort of hymn, whose burden was the word "Bergaz!" so distinctly pronounced, that Louis immediately recollected the account given him by the philosopher in Batavia.

Impelled by very natural curiosity, he stepped forward, and peeped into the temple. No attempt had been made to ornament its four walls, built of bamboo, cemented with clay; but, in the centre of the floor stood, on a pedestal, the statue of the god Bergaz, and Louis was greatly struck with his appearance.

The idol, although far from being a finished work of art, was yet far superior in form and workmanship to the ordinary divinities of savage nations. The figure represented a man, dressed in European costume, with a wide straw hat on his head, and a striped muslin cravat round his neck. He was standing in the attitude of one who is intercepting a blow, and his right hand was stained with blood. There was even an attempt, Louis Bergaz thought, to imitate his own features; and the god had thick black whiskers meeting under his chin, precisely such as Louis had worn in 1818. The dress, too, resembled his own; and the cravat, marked in the corner, L. B., was one which he had given Neptune the cook. In a few minutes, a procession of natives entered the temple; they kindled a fire in a sort of chafing-dish; and, placing on it a dead cock, burnt the sacrifice before their god, amid loud acclamation. Bergaz, unluckily, was not able to preserve his gravity during this pious ceremonial. He burst into a fit of laughter, and was instantly seized by the offended worshipers. With shouts of rage they were about to sacrifice him to their outraged deity, when a noise of cymbals announced the approach of the chief of the tribe. The high priest met him at the door, and announced the sacrilegious conduct of the stranger. The incensed chieftain seized a Malayan crease, and ran to take vengeance on the offender. Bergaz turned and looked at him; each uttered a cry of surprise; the next moment, the chief was embracing the feet of Louis.

"Neptune, old fellow! what is all this?" asked Bergaz pointing to the figure, "Bergaz is my god!" cried the negro, striking his breast. Then, to the unbounded astonishment of all present, the European and the chief walked off lovingly together toward the palace of the latter.

On their way thither, Neptune related his history to his friend. The powerful Radamas, sovereign of Madagascar, had concluded a treaty of peace with his enemy Réné. The wife of the latter, being a woman of genius, was named queen of the Anas, by an edict of Radama; and this lady was the sister of Neptune, ex-cook of the Dido.

No sooner was she seated on the throne than she released her brother from his menial situation, and gave him absolute authority over the small province of Simpaï.

Neptune's first act was an endeavor to manifest his gratitude, after the strange fashion of his people, to his protector Bergaz; and we may fancy how cordial was the reception, how warm and affectionate the welcome, bestowed on the living benefactor, whose wooden semblance he and his people worshiped as a god. The grateful negro loaded him with presents, and sent his most skillful workmen to assist in repairing the ship. Probably, to this day, the god Bergaz may still be worshiped in Simpaï; and the Æsculapian cock may still excite the wonder, and fill the note-books of traveling philosophers.


After a long continental ramble, I was glad to have the prospect of getting home again; but an embargo was laid upon me at Boulogne. It blew great guns from the opposite side of the Channel. The genius of Albion was not just then in the mood for receiving visits, or welcoming the return of absentees; and so the steam-packet lay fretting in the harbor, and rubbing her sides peevishly against the pier; while her intending passengers were distributed among the hotels and boarding-houses, venting their discontent on the good things of the table d'hôte, and mounting every now and then to the garret to throw a scowling look to windward.

For my part I had been tossed about the world too long, and bumped too hard against its rocks and snags, to think much of a little compulsory tranquillity. On the second day I rather liked it. It was amusing to watch the characters of my companions stealing out from beneath the vail of conventionalism; and it was better than amusing to become actually acquainted with one or two of them, as if we were indeed [Pg 642] men and women, and not the mere automata of society. Taking them in the mass, however, a good deal of the distinction observable among them depended on the mere circumstance of age. We old gentlemen sat coolly sipping our wine after dinner, rarely alluding in conversation to our present dilemma; while the green hands, after a whirl round the billiard-table, drank their glass of brandy-and-water with vehemence, and passed a unanimous vote of censure on the captain for his breach of faith and unsailor-like timidity.

"This is pleasant!" said I, smiling at one of these outbreaks, which occurred late at night—"one always meets something out of the way in traveling."

"I never do," replied the gentleman I had addressed; "I find the human character every where the same. You may witness the same kind of absurdity among raw lads like these every day at home; and it is only your own imagination that flings upon it here a different color. I wish I could see something strange!"

"Perhaps, my dear sir," said I blandly, "you never look? For my part I never fail to meet with something strange, if I have only the opportunity of examining. Come, let us go out into the street, and I shall undertake to prove it. Let us peep under the first vail or the first slouched hat we meet, and I pledge myself that, on due inquiry, we shall light upon a tale as odd or as wild as fancy ever framed. A bottle of wine upon it?"


"Done, then: but hold, what's that?"

"Le paquebot va partir à minuit!"

"Hurra!" cried the young men. "The storm is not down a single breath, and it is pitch dark! The captain's a trump after all!"

Then there were hurrying steps and slamming doors, and flitting lights through the whole house; then hasty reckonings, and jingling coins, and bows, and shrugs, and fights with the sleeves of greatcoats; and finally, stiff moving figures mummied in broadcloth; and grim faces, half-visible between the cravat and cap; and slender forms, bonneted, yet shapeless, clinging to stout arms, as we all floated out into the night.

"The Diet is deserted," said my friend, "pro loco et tempore."

"Only the venue changed to shipboard," gasped I against the wind. "Remember the first man, woman, or child that attracts our attention on deck!" And so we parted, losing one another, and ourselves lost in the unsteady crowd.

The vessel had cleared the harbor before I met with my friend in the darkness and confusion of the midnight deck: and when we were thrown together, it was with such emphasis that we both came down. We fell, however, upon a bundle of something comparatively soft—something that stirred and winced at the contact—something that gave a low cry in three several cadences, as if it had three voices. It gave us, in fact, some confused idea of a mass of heads, legs, arms, and other appurtenances of the human body; but the whole was shrouded in a sort of woolly covering, the nature of which the darkness of the night and the rolling of the ship rendered it impossible to ascertain. I thought to myself for a moment that this was just the thing for my boasted demonstration; but no philosophy could keep the deck under such circumstances; and when my friend and I had gathered ourselves up, we made the best of our way—and it was no easy task—to the cabin, and crept into our berths. As I lay there in comparative coziness, my thoughts reverted to that bundle of life, composed in all probability of deck passengers, exposed to the cold night-wind and the drenching spray; but I soon fell asleep, my sympathy merging as my faculties became more dim in a grateful sense of personal comfort.

As the morning advanced, the wind moderated, testifying to the weather-wisdom of our captain; and my friend and I getting up betimes, met once more upon the deck. The bundle of life was still there, just without the sacred line which deck and steerage passengers must not cross; and we saw that it was composed of human figures, huddled together without distinction, under coarse and tattered cloaks.

"These persons," said I dictatorially, pointing to them with my cane, "have a story, and a strange one; and by-and-by we shall get at it."

"The common story of the poor," replied my friend: "a story of hardship, perhaps of hunger: but why don't they wake up?"

This question seemed to have occurred to some of the other passengers, and all looked with a sort of languid curiosity, as they passed, at the breathing bundle of rags. After a time, some motion was observed beneath the tattered cloaks, and at length a head emerged from their folds; a head that might have been either a woman's or a little girl's, so old it was in expression, and so young in size and softness. It was a little girl's, as was proved by the shoulders that followed—thin, slight, childish; but so intelligent was the look she cast around, so full of care and anxiety, that she seemed to have the burden of a whole family on her back. After ascertaining by that look, as it seemed, what her present position was, and bestowing a slight, sweeping glance upon the bystanders, the ship, and the gloomy sky, she withdrew her thoughts from these extraneous matters, and with a gentle hand, and some whispered words, extracted from his bed of rags a small, pale, little boy. The boy woke up in a sort of fright, but the moment his eyes rested on his sister's face—for she was his sister, that was clear—he was calm and satisfied. No smiles were exchanged, such as might have befitted their age; no remark on the novel circumstances of their situation. The boy looked at nothing but the girl; and the girl smoothed his hair with her fingers, arranged his threadbare dress, and breathing on his hands, polished them with her [Pg 643] sleeve. This girl, though bearing the marks of premature age, could not in reality have been more than eleven, and the boy was probably four years younger.

A larger figure was still invisible, except in the indefinite outline of the cloak, and my friend and I indulged in some whispered speculations as to what it might turn out.

"The elder sister doubtless," said he, with one of his cold smiles; "a pretty and disconsolate young woman, the heroine of your intended romance, and the winner of my bottle of wine!"

"Have patience," said I, "have patience;" but I had not much myself. I wished the young woman would awake, and I earnestly hoped—I confess the fact—that she might prove to be as pretty as I was sure she was disconsolate. You may suppose, therefore, that it was with some anxiety I at length saw the cloak stir, and with some surprise I beheld emerge from it one of the most ordinary and commonplace of all the daughters of Eve. She was obviously the mother of the two children, but although endowed with all her natural faculties, quite as helpless and dependent as the little boy. She held out her hand to the little girl, who kissed it affectionately in the dutiful morning fashion of Fatherland; and then dropping with that action the manner of the child, resumed, as if from habit, the authority and duties of the parent. She arranged her mother's hair and dress as she had done those of her brother, dictated to her the place and posture in which she was to sit, and passed a full half hour—I can not now tell how—in quiet but incessant activity.

Time passed on; the other passengers had all breakfasted; but no one had seen the solitary family eat. Two or three of us remarked the circumstance to each other, and suggested the propriety of our doing something. But what to do was the question, for although poor, they were obviously not beggars. I at length ventured to offer a biscuit to the little boy. He looked at it, and then at his sister, but did not stir. The proceeding, apparently, was contrary to their notions of etiquette; and I presented the biscuit to the mother "for her little son." She took it mechanically—indifferently—as if it was a thing she had no concern in, and handed it to the girl. The little girl bowed gravely, muttered some words in German, apparently of thanks, and dividing the biscuit among them, in three unequal portions, of which she kept the smallest to herself, they all began to eat with some eagerness.

"Hunger!" said my friend—"I told you: nothing else."

"We shall see;" but I could not think of my theory just then. The family, it appeared, were starving; they had undertaken the little voyage without preparation of any kind in food, extra clothing, or money; and under such circumstances, they sat calmly, quietly, without uttering a single complaint. In a few minutes a more substantial breakfast was before them; and it was amusing to see the coolness with which the little girl-commodore accepted the providential windfall, as if it had been something she expected, although ignorant of the quarter whence it should come, and the business-like gravity with which she proceeded to arrange it on their joint laps, and distribute the shares. Nothing escaped her; her sharp look was on every detail; if a fold of her mother's cloak was out of order, she stopped her till she had set it right; and when her brother coughed as he swallowed some tea, she raised his face, and patted him on the back. I admired that little creature with her wan face, and quick eyes, and thin fragile shoulders; but she had no attention to bestow on any one but the family committed to her charge.

"This is comical," said my friend: "I wonder what they are. But they have done breakfast: see how carefully the little girl puts away the fragments! Let us now ask them for what you call their "story," and get them to relate the romantic circumstances which have induced them to emigrate to London, to join some of their relatives in the business of selling matches or grinding organs!"

We first tried the mother, but she, in addition to being of a singularly taciturn, indifferent disposition, spoke nothing but German. The little boy answered only with a negative or affirmative. The commodore of the party, however, knew some words of French, and some of English, and we were able to understand what she told us with no more difficulty than arose from the oddity of the circumstances. The following is the dialogue that took place between us, with her polyglott part translated into common English.

"Where are you from, my little lass?"

"Is it me, sir? Oh, I am from New York."

"From New York! What were you doing there!"

"Keeping my father's room, sir: he is a journeyman."

"And what brings you to Europe?"

"My father sent me to bring over mother."

"Sent you."

"Yes, sir; and because my brother could not be left in the room all day when my father was out at work, I took him with me."

"What! and you two little children crossed the ocean to fetch your mother?"

"Oh, that is nothing: the ship brought us—we did not come. It was worse when we landed in London; for there were so many people there, and so many houses, it was just as if we had to find our way, without a ship, through the waves of the sea."

"And what were you to do in London."

"I was to go to a countryman of ours, who would find me a passage to France. But nobody we met in the street knew him, and nobody could understand what place it was I asked for; and if we had not met a little German boy with an organ, I do not know what we [Pg 644] should have done. But somebody always comes in time—God sends him. Father told us that."

"And the little German boy took you to your countryman?"

"Yes, and more than that! He bought some bread with a penny as we went along, and we all sat down on a step and ate it." Here my friend suddenly used his handkerchief, and coughed vigorously; but the young girl went on without minding the interruption.

"Our countryman gave us a whole handful of copper money, and a paper to the captain of the ship. It was late before we got there, and we were so tired that I could hardly get my brother along. But the captain was so good as to let us sleep on the deck."

"Your mother was in Germany. How did you get to her?"

"Oh, we walked—but not always. Sometimes we got a cast in a wagon; and when we were very hungry, and would not lay out our money, we were always sure to get something given us to eat."

"Then you had money."

"Oh yes, to be sure!" and the little girl gave a cunning twinkle of her eye. "We could not get mother away, you know, without money—could we, mother?" patting her on the back like one fondling a child.

Such was the story of the little commodore—a story which was listened to not only by my friend and myself, but by at least a score of other persons, some of whom will no doubt be pleased to see it here reproduced.[4] A collection was made for the travelers, whose boasted funds had been exhausted at Boulogne; but what became of them afterward I never knew. When we reached London, I saw them walk up the landing-place—wholly unencumbered with baggage, poor things!—the mother and the little boy clinging on either side to the commodore; and so, like the shadowy figures in the "Pilgrim's Progress," "they passed on their way, and I saw them no more."

For my own part, my theory had gone much further than I had thought of carrying it. My friend himself was not more surprised than I by the story of the little girl; and, like the Witch of Endor, when her pretended incantations were answered by the actual apparition of the prophet, I was stupefied by my own success.


I find it impossible to separate these two headings; for the habits of the costermonger are not domestic. His busy life is passed in the markets or the streets, and as his leisure is devoted to the beer-shop, the dancing-room, or the theatre, we must look for his habits to his demeanor at those places. Home has few attractions to a man whose life is a street-life. Even those who are influenced by family ties and affections, prefer to "home"—indeed that word is rarely mentioned among them—the conversation, warmth, and merriment of the beer-shop, where they can take their ease among their "mates." Excitement or amusement are indispensable to uneducated men. Of beer-shops resorted to by costermongers, and principally supported by them, it is computed that there are 400 in London.

Those who meet first in the beer-shop talk over the state of trade and of the markets, while the later comers enter at once into what may be styled the serious business of the evening—amusement.

Business topics are discussed in a most peculiar style. One man takes the pipe from his mouth and says, "Bill made a doogheno[6] hit this morning." "Jem," says another, to a man just entering, "you'll stand a top o' reeb?"[7] "On,"[8] answers Jem, "I've had a trosseno tol,[9] and have been doing dab."[10] If any strangers are present, the conversation is still further clothed in slang, so as to be unintelligible even to the partially initiated. The evident puzzlement of any listener is of course gratifying to the costermonger's vanity for he feels that he possesses a knowledge peculiarly his own.

Among the in-door amusements of the costermonger is card-playing, at which many of them are adepts. The usual games are all-fours, all-fives, cribbage, and put. Whist is known to a few, but is never played, being considered dull and slow. Of short whist they have not heard: "But," said one, whom I questioned on the subject, "if it's come into fashion, it'll soon be among us." The play is usually for beer, but the game is rendered exciting by bets both among the players and the lookers-on. "I'll back Jem for a yanepatine," says one. "Jack for a gen," cries another. A penny is the lowest sum laid, and five shillings generally the highest, but a shilling is not often exceeded. "We play fair among ourselves," said a costermonger to me—"ay, fairer than the aristocrats—but we'll take in any body else." Where it is known that the landlord will not supply cards, "a sporting coster" carries a pack or two with him. The cards played with have rarely been stamped; they are generally dirty, and sometimes almost illegible, from long handling and spilled beer. Some men will sit patiently for hours at these games, and they watch the dealing round of the dingy cards intently, and without the attempt—common among politer gamesters—to appear indifferent, though they bear their losses well. In a full room of card-players, the groups are all shrouded in tobacco-smoke, and from them are heard constant sounds—according to the games they are engaged in—of "I'm low, and Ped's high." "Tip and me's game." "Fifteen four and a flush of five." I may remark it is curious that costermongers, who can neither read nor write, [Pg 645] and who have no knowledge of the multiplication table, are skillful in all the intricacies and calculations of cribbage. There is not much quarreling over the cards, unless strangers play with them, and then the costermongers all take part one with another, fairly or unfairly.

It has been said that there is a close resemblance between many of the characteristics of a very high class, socially, and a very low class. Those who remember the disclosures on a trial a few years back, as to how men of rank and wealth passed their leisure in card-playing—many of their lives being one continued leisure—can judge how far the analogy holds when the card-passion of the costermongers is described.

"Shove-halfpenny" is another game played by them; so is "Three-up." Three halfpennies are thrown up, and when they fall all "heads" or all "tails," it is a mark; and the man who gets the greatest number of marks out of a given amount—three, or five, or more—wins. "Three-up" is played fairly among the costermongers; but is most frequently resorted to when strangers are present to "make a pitch,"—which is, in plain words, to cheat any stranger who is rash enough to bet upon them. "This is the way, sir," said an adept to me; "bless you, I can make them fall as I please. If I'm playing with Jo, and a stranger bets with Jo, why, of course I make Jo win." This adept illustrated his skill to me by throwing up three halfpennies, and, five times out of six they fell upon the floor, whether he threw them nearly to the ceiling or merely to his shoulder, all heads or all tails. The halfpence were the proper current coins—indeed, they were my own; and the result is gained by a peculiar position of the coins on the fingers, and a peculiar jerk in the throwing. There was an amusing manifestation of the pride of art in the way in which my obliging informant displayed his skill.

"Skittles" is another favorite amusement, and the costermongers class themselves among the best players in London. The game is always for beer, but betting goes on.

A fondness for "sparring" and "boxing" lingers among the rude members of some classes of the working-men, such as the tanners. With the great majority of the costermongers this fondness is still as dominant as it was among the "higher classes," when boxers were the pets of princes and nobles. The sparring among the costers is not for money, but for beer and "a lark"—a convenient word covering much mischief. Two out of every ten landlords, whose houses are patronized by these lovers of "the art of self-defense," supply gloves. Some charge 2d. a night for their use; others only 1d. The sparring seldom continues long, sometimes not above a quarter of an hour; for the costermongers, though excited for a while, weary of sports in which they can not personally participate, and in the beer-shops only two spar at a time, though fifty or sixty may be present. The shortness of the duration of this pastime may be one reason why it seldom leads to quarreling. The stake is usually a "top of reeb," and the winner is the man who gives the first "noser;" a bloody nose however is required to show that the blow was veritably a noser. The costermongers boast of their skill in pugilism as well as at skittles. "We are all handy with our fists," said one man, "and are matches, ay, and more than matches, for any body but regular boxers. We've stuck to the ring, too, and gone reg'lar to the fights, more than any other men."

"Twopenny-hops" are much resorted to by the costermongers, men and women, boys and girls. At these dances decorum is sometimes, but not often, violated. "The women," I was told by one man, "doesn't show their necks as I've seen the ladies do in them there pictures of high life in the shop-winders, or on the stage. Their Sunday gowns, which is their dancing gowns, ain't made that way." At these "hops" the clog-hornpipe is often danced, and sometimes a collection is made to insure the performance of a first-rate professor of that dance; sometimes, and more frequently, it is volunteered gratuitously. The other dances are jigs, "flash jigs"—hornpipes in fetters—a dance rendered popular by the success of the acted "Jack Sheppard"—polkas, and country-dances, the last-mentioned being generally demanded by the women. Waltzes are as yet unknown to them. Sometimes they do the "pipe-dance." For this a number of tobacco-pipes, about a dozen, are laid close together on the floor, and the dancer places the toe of his boot between the different pipes, keeping time with the music. Two of the pipes are arranged as a cross, and the toe has to be inserted between each of the angles, without breaking them. The numbers present at these "hops" vary from 30 to 100 of both sexes, their ages being from 14 to 45, and the female sex being slightly predominant as to the proportion of those in attendance. At these "hops" there is nothing of the leisurely style of dancing—half a glide and half a skip—but vigorous, laborious capering. The hours are from half-past eight to twelve, sometimes to one or two in the morning, and never later than two, as the costermongers are early risers. There is sometimes a good deal of drinking; some of the young girls being often pressed to drink, and frequently yielding to the temptation. From £1 to £7 is spent in drink at a hop; the youngest men or lads present spend the most, especially in that act of costermonger politeness—"treating the gals." The music is always a fiddle, sometimes with the addition of a harp and a cornopean. The band is provided by the costermongers, to whom the assembly is confined; but during the present and the last year, when the costers' earnings have been less than the average, the landlord has provided the harp, whenever that instrument has added to the charms of the fiddle.

The other amusements of this class of the [Pg 646] community are the theatre and the penny concert, and their visits are almost entirely confined to the galleries of the theatres on the Surrey-side—the Surrey, the Victoria, the Bower Saloon, and (but less frequently) Astley's. Three times a week is an average attendance at theatres and dances by the more prosperous costermongers. The most intelligent man I met with among them gave me the following account. He classes himself with the many, but his tastes are really those of an educated man: "Love and murder suits us best, sir; but within these few years I think there's a great deal more liking for deep tragedies among us. They set men a-thinking; but then we all consider them too long. Of Hamlet we can make neither end nor side; and nine out of ten of us—ay, far more than that—would like it to be confined to the ghost scenes, and the funeral, and the killing off at the last. Macbeth would be better liked, if it was only the witches and the fighting. The high words in a tragedy we call jaw-breakers, and say we can't tumble to that barrikin. We always stay to the last, because we've paid for it all, or very few costers would see a tragedy out if any money was returned to those leaving after two or three acts. We are fond of music. Nigger music was very much liked among us, but it's stale now. Flash songs are liked, and sailors' songs, and patriotic songs. Most costers—indeed, I can't call to mind an exception—listen very quietly to songs that they don't in the least understand. We have among us translations of the patriotic French songs. 'Mourir pour la patrie' is very popular, and so is the 'Marseillaise.' A song to take hold of us must have a good chorus." "They like something, sir, that is worth hearing," said one of my informants, "such as the 'Soldier's Dream,' 'The Dream of Napoleon,' or 'I 'ad a dream—an 'appy dream.'"

The songs in ridicule of Marshal Haynau, and in laudation of Barclay and Perkins's draymen, were and are very popular among the costers; but none are more popular than Paul Jones—"A noble commander, Paul Jones was his name." Among them the chorus of "Britons never shall be slaves," is often rendered "Britons always shall be slaves." The most popular of all songs with the class, however, is "Duck-legged Dick," of which I give the first verse.

"Duck-legged Dick had a donkey,
And his lush loved much for to swill,
One day he got rather lumpy,
And got sent seven days to the mill.
His donkey was taken to the green-yard,
A fate which he never deserved.
Oh! it was such a regular mean yard,
That alas! the poor moke got starved.
Oh! bad luck can't be prevented,
Fortune she smiles or she frowns,
He's best off that's contented,
To mix, sirs, the ups and the downs."

Their sports are enjoyed the more, if they are dangerous and require both courage and dexterity to succeed in them. They prefer, if crossing a bridge, to climb over the parapet, and walk along on the stone coping.
When a house is building, rows of coster lads will climb up the long
ladders, leaning against the unslated roof, and then slide down again, each one resting on the other's shoulders. A peep-show with a battle scene is sure of its coster audience, and a favorite pastime is fighting with cheap theatrical swords. They are, however, true to each other, and should a coster, who is the hero of his court, fall ill and go to a hospital, the whole of the inhabitants of his quarter will visit him on the Sunday, and take him presents of various articles so that "he may live well."

Among the men, rat-killing is a favorite sport. They will enter an old stable, fasten the door and then turn out the rats. Or they will find out some unfrequented yard, and at night-time build up a pit with apple-case boards, and lighting up their lamps, enjoy the sport. Nearly every coster is fond of dogs. Some fancy them greatly, and are proud of making them fight. If when out working, they see a handsome stray, whether he is a "toy" or "sporting" dog, they whip him up—many of the class not being very particular whether the animals are stray or not.

Their dog-fights are both cruel and frequent. It is not uncommon to see a lad walking with the trembling legs of a dog shivering under a bloody handkerchief, that covers the bitten and wounded body of an animal that has been figuring at some "match." These fights take place on the sly—the tap-room or back-yard of a beer-shop being generally chosen for the purpose. A few men are let into the secret, and they attend to bet upon the battle, the police being carefully kept from the spot.

Pigeons are "fancied" to a large extent, and are kept in lath cages on the roofs of the houses. The lads look upon a visit to the Red-house, Battersea, where the pigeon-shooting takes place, as a great treat. They stand without the boarding that incloses the ground, and watch for the wounded pigeons to fall, when a violent scramble takes place among them, each bird being valued at 3d. or 4d. So popular has this sport become, that some boys take dogs with them trained to retrieve the birds, and two Lambeth costers attend regularly after their morning's work with their guns, to shoot those that escape the "shots" within.

A good pugilist is looked up to with great admiration by the costers, and fighting is considered to be a necessary part of a boy's education. Among them cowardice in any shape is despised as being degrading and loathsome; indeed the man who would avoid a fight, is scouted by the whole of the court he lives in. Hence it is important for a lad and even a girl to know how to "work their fists well"—as expert boxing is called among them. If a coster man or woman is struck they are obliged to fight. When a quarrel takes place between two boys, a ring is formed, and the men urge them on to have it out, for they hold that it is a wrong thing to stop a battle, as it causes bad blood for life; whereas, if the lads fight it out [Pg 647] they shake hands and forget all about it. Every body practices fighting, and the man who has the largest and hardest muscle is spoken of in terms of the highest commendation. It is often said in admiration of such a man that "he could muzzle half a dozen bobbies before breakfast."

To serve out a policeman is the bravest act by which a costermonger can distinguish himself. Some lads have been imprisoned upward of a dozen times for this offense; and are consequently looked upon by their companions as martyrs. When they leave prison for such an act, a subscription is often got up for their benefit. In their continual warfare with the force, they resemble many savage nations, from the cunning and treachery they use. The lads endeavor to take the unsuspecting "crusher" by surprise, and often crouch at the entrance of a court till a policeman passes, when a stone or a brick is hurled at him, and the youngster immediately disappears. Their love of revenge too is extreme—their hatred being in no way mitigated by time; they will wait for months, following a policeman who has offended or wronged them, anxiously looking out for an opportunity of paying back the injury. One boy, I was told, vowed vengeance against a member of the force, and for six months never allowed the man to escape his notice. At length, one night, he saw the policeman in a row outside a public-house, and running into the crowd kicked him savagely, shouting at the same time: "Now, you b—— I've got you at last." When the boy heard that his persecutor was injured for life, his joy was very great, and he declared the twelvemonth's imprisonment he was sentenced to for the offense to be "dirt cheap." The whole of the court where the lad resided sympathized with the boy, and vowed to a man, that had he escaped, they would have subscribed a pad or two of dry herrings, to send him into the country until the affair had blown over, for he had shown himself a "plucky one."

It is called "plucky" to bear pain without complaining. To flinch from expected suffering is scorned, and he who does so is sneered at and told to wear a gown, as being more fit to be a woman. To show a disregard for pain, a lad, when without money, will say to his pal, "Give us a penny, and you may have a punch at my nose." They also delight in tattooing their chests and arms with anchors, and figures of different kinds. During the whole of this painful operation, the boy will not flinch, but laugh and joke with his admiring companions, as if perfectly at ease.


"Miss not the occasion; by the forelock take
That subtle power—the never-halting time—
Lest a mere moment's putting off should make
Mischance almost as heavy as a crime!"

We have just closed a volume of "Wordsworth's Poems," and the motto we have quoted, and the sonnet following it, recalled certain memories which have proved suggestive of our present subject. Five minutes too late! What an awful meaning is conveyed by the last two words of that brief sentence to the children of time, over whom circumstances and death have such fearful power! They conjure before our mental vision a spectral array of consequences from which we shrink: ghosts of vain hopes, of disappointed expectations, of love closed in death, move in ghastly procession, and but for certain recollections of a more enlivening nature—(for sometimes comedy blends even with the deepest tragedy in this kaleidoscope world of ours!)—we should erase our title, and choose another theme. Let it not alarm the reader, however, by the apparent threat it holds out of a homily upon the evils of procrastination. We mean to bestow no such tediousness upon his worship, deeming that the "golden-lipped" saint himself would prove powerless to exorcise that most pertinacious of demons when he has once taken possession of any human soul. No; we intend simply to give a few instances of the singular, fatal, or ludicrous effects which the loss or delay of five minutes has caused, leaving Wordsworth's motto to point the moral of our gossiping.

The first, and one of the most painful of these our "modern instances," was very recently related to us by the son of him whose fortunes were changed, and finally his fate sealed, by the unheeded flitting of those few sands of time, and whose family are still sufferers from this apparent trifle. The momentous five minutes to which we allude were a portion of one of the most glorious periods that ever dial or hourglass marked—that in which the Trafalgar victory was won, and Nelson lost. Among the gallant fleet which on that day roused the echoes of the hills of Spain, was a certain cutter commanded by a young lieutenant, who, possessing no naval interest, hoped for advancement only from his own gallantry and good conduct; and little doubt was there that either would prove lacking in his case. Memories of the fair wife and dear babe whose fortunes were, in the expressive language of the East, "bound up in the bundle of his life," awoke every energy of his nature, and gave (for him) a double and inspiring meaning to that celebrated signal, the simple majesty of which still thrills the heart of all who owe homage to the name of our country—"England expects every man to do his duty." When the fight began, our young lieutenant did his duty gallantly; the "angel opportunity" was lacking for any very memorable achievement, but in that scene of unrivaled valor and exertion, the eye of the great commander marked the conduct of the gallant little cutter, and he noticed it to "Hardy." Had he lived, the fortune of the young officer would have been assured; but the life which then "set in bloody glory" bore with it the hopes of many a brave mariner "into the dim oblivion!"

It is well known that the fleet which achieved this victory had, during the succeeding night and day, to contend with the fury of the elements; [Pg 648] many ships dismasted in the battle, all shattered, and in numerous cases without an anchor to let go. It was while the storm was still raging that Lord Collingwood made a signal to the —— cutter to send a boat for the dispatches which were to be conveyed to England. The office intended for her commander was a favor, as the harbinger of such intelligence was certain of promotion; but, alas! our young lieutenant, engrossed by the present scene, and excited by the recent march of events, was not heeding the signal of the Euryalus, and it had been flying five minutes before it was reported to him. Then he hurried to obey the mandate—too late! Another had seen the summons, and preceded him, deeming that the state of the cutter must be the cause of her commander's delay. As her boat came alongside the Euryalus, that of his successful rival—if I may so style him—pushed off, and the officers exchanged greetings. Poor Y—— at that moment bade farewell to the flood-tide of his fortunes! The admiral accepted his excuses, and regretted that he had not arrived in time, giving him the only charge remaining in his power to bestow—duplicates of the dispatches—and with these he took his homeward course: but the lost five minutes had wrecked his hopes. His predecessor arrived safely, received promotion, and is now, or was very recently, an admiral, while the hero of our story obtained only a sword in commemoration of his bravery; and at the close of the war, was thrown aside, with many a gallant comrade, to waste the remainder of his life in oblivion and neglect. The disappointment of his hopes affected him deeply; the more so as his family increased, and his means of supporting and providing for them were small. What profound regret darkened the vision of Trafalgar when it recurred to the old officer's memory! He was sometimes heard to say, with a playful mockery of his own ill-fortune, "that he had grown prematurely bald from the number of young men who had walked over his head;" but there was a pathos in the very jest. By a marvelous coincidence, his life was closed, as its prospects had been blighted, by the fatal five minutes too late. He was engaged to dine with an old brother-officer—one who hated to be kept waiting for his dinner—and by some accident, it was five minutes after the appointed time when he left his house to proceed to his Amphitryon's. In his anxiety to redeem the lost time, he hurried up the hill he was compelled to ascend at a pace little befitting his age and infirmities—for he suffered from a complaint of the heart—reached the dining-room "again five minutes too late," as he remarked himself, in allusion to the unseen signal, was taken ill from the exertion, carried home, and died. "The tide" of life as well as of fortune had for him "passed the flood!"

The colors of this kaleidoscope vision are of the darkest and saddest; let us shake the instrument and vary the combinations, and lo an Indian bungalow rises before us seated on a mountain height; and many busy forms are moving near and about it, for the lady who dwells there is about to join a party of friends traveling to the island presidency below. Her husband's regiment has been recently hurried to the seat of war, and she can no longer dwell upon the wide and pleasant plains of the Deccan; moreover, the monsoon is ended, and the hot winds of the season are beginning to penetrate the screens. And now the ayah hastens her lady's preparations, by the information that the party of travelers are waiting in their palanquins without; but the "Ma'am Sahib" is a confirmed procrastinator, and so much has been left till this last moment unprepared and undone, that she can not obey the summons. The climate is not favorable to patience; besides, there is a "tide" to be caught at the next bunder, and it, proverbially, will wait for no one; therefore, with some few apologies, the party moved on, expressing their assurance that Mrs. T—— would soon overtake them. She was of the same opinion, and bore their desertion very philosophically, insisting even on not detaining a gentleman of the group, who would fain have waited her leisure. As she entered her palanquin, she observed to her ayah—the only servant who accompanied her—that she had been, "after all, only five minutes too late." The "God's image carved in ebony," as Fuller calls the dark sisterhood of our race, showed her ivory teeth good-humoredly in assent, and retired to take possession of her own conveyance, in which she was ordered to follow closely that of her mistress, deeming the loss of time of as little moment as the lady did. The hamals then began their labors, and the first portion of the descent was achieved pleasantly and safely. Seated in her coffin-like carriage, Mrs. T—— looked forth on a scene of almost unrivaled beauty, every turn of the mountain pathway varying its character and increasing its loveliness. Revived by the recent heavy rains, the trees and herbage wore a green as vivid as if they were never scorched by the burning kisses of an Eastern sun; gay wild-flowers peeped out from the long grass of the jungle; and tiny waterfalls danced and sported down the mountains' sides to their own liquid music: the tramp of the bearers, the monotonous chant into which they occasionally broke, even the shrill cry of the green parrot, had all a charm for the fair lady traveler; and she forgot the "five minutes too late" which had separated her from her companions, and the fact that there was still no appearance of rejoining them. The latter recollection had, however, occurred to her bearers, and gradually, though their burden marked it not, they slackened their pace, and held low conference among themselves. The ayah's palanquin was far behind, the travelers who preceded them far before; the road was solitary, the jungle deep and secret as the grave; the lady known to be rich in jewels, if not in gold and rupees. [Pg 649]

Evening was closing in: day fades rapidly in the East, and the brief twilight is as solemn as it is soft and short. The hamals' steps fell slower and slower; and at last a vague fear awoke in the lady's mind, to which the gradually deepening gloom added force. She was imaginative, and she fancied the pretty water-jets grew larger, and foamed, and took a spectral form, like the mischievous uncle of "Undine," and that the dark figures of the relay of hamals, running by the side of the palanquin, grew taller, and more fiendish-looking: she began to "see their visage" less "in their mind" than in its natural color and swart ugliness, and bitterly repented having been five minutes too late. A regret, alas! too late also; for suddenly her palanquin was set upon the ground, and eight shadowy forms gathered round the door, with glittering eyes and looks from which she shrank, while one in brief phrase desired her to give him her jewel-case and her money. The request was not instantly granted. The Scotswoman was courageous, and represented to her false guides that they could neither rob nor injure a woman of her race with impunity. In answer, one fellow pointed to the deep jungle, and made an expressive sign at the back of his own throat. She saw that it would be vain to refuse, and delivered the small box she had with her, and her money. They received it silently; and sitting down in her sight, coolly examined and divided their spoil. Then came a fearful pause. They looked toward the palanquin; they were evidently consulting as to what they should do with her. Never could she afterward forget the feeling with which her gaze encountered those terrible black eyes! the agony of suspense was more than she could bear; and as they rose simultaneously, she buried her face in her hands, and in a short, almost wordless prayer, commended her soul to her Creator. At the same instant a frightful roar, echoed by a thrilling scream, or rather yell, burst on her ear. She looked up, and beheld her foes scattered on all sides, pursued by a tiger, to whose remorseless thirst one had evidently fallen a prey, for faint from the distance came a cry of mortal agony. She was saved! The five minutes they had loitered over their spoil had, through the mercy of a good Providence, made crime too late to be consummated. She sat there alone, wonderfully preserved, but still in an awful situation for a female, since night was gathering round her, and the lair of the wild beast so near! Her heart beat audibly, when suddenly the stillness was broken by a familiar and blessed sound: "Auld Lang-syne," played on her native bagpipes, stole on the silence of the evening, and, relieved from a weight of terror—from the fear of death itself—she shed large heavy tears as the clear music approached her. A Highland regiment was on its night march back to the Presidency, and either its approach had been perceived by the robbers who had escaped the tiger, and thus prevented their return to their victim, or their superstitious terror at the jungle tyrant had kept them from the spot. In a few minutes some of the Highland officers were beside the palanquin, listening indignantly to the lady's story, and offering her every assistance in their power. She was a good horsewoman, and the adjutant resigned his steed to her. Her jewels and money, found scattered on the road, were collected and given in charge to a Highlander, and she was escorted in safety by the gallant 7-th to the bunder, from whence she could embark for Bombay. If any thing could cure procrastination, the effects of such a "five minutes too late" might be expected to perform it; but, as we have said, we have no faith in even so severe a remedy, and we doubt if pretty Mrs. T—— has ever put her bonnet on the quicker since her adventure on the Kandallah Ghauts.

And now, looking back into our very early childhood, we can see a neat, quiet-looking old lady, on whose fate our ominous title had as important a result. She was the widow of a merchant-ship captain, who had left her a comfortable independence, and the care of a boy nephew—his only sister's son—a fine lad destined for the sea. The pair lived in an old-fashioned house in one of the old, narrow, dull, but respectable streets of Portsea, and were introduced to our notice by the necessity of applying to Mrs. Martin, or, as she called herself, Mrs. Marting, for the character of a servant. Inquiries touching the damsel's capabilities had been made by letter, but the reply was by no means as clear as could be desired; for the old lady was a very "queen of the dictionary," and played so despotically with words, and the letters which form them, that the only part of her reply at all intelligible to my mother was a kindly-expressed hope that "Susan Olding would shoot her!" We supposed she meant suit; but to make assurance doubly sure, mamma called on her, and took us children with her. It was about Christmas-time, and we remember distinctly how nice and cosy we thought the quaint-looking old parlor into which we were ushered. The fireplace was formed of Dutch tiles, commemorative of a whole Bible biography: a large closet, with glass doors, exhibited to our childish peeping a quantity of valuable old china. There was a harpsichord—the only one we ever saw—open in the room. Round the walls hung pieces of embroidery framed, the subjects being taken from the "Faerie Queen;" and above each shone the glittering leaves and scarlet berries of a holly sprig. A bright fire blazed on the hearth; and by the side of it, in an imposing-looking arm-chair, sat the mistress of the dwelling knitting—a pretty woman even in advancing years, with a kind, happy expression of countenance, that one would have felt grieved to see overshadowed by a care.

From that time we became acquaintances of good Mrs. Martin. She met us in our walks; sometimes took us into her house to give us a piece of seed-cake and a glass of home-made wine; and finally, invited us occasionally to drink tea [Pg 650] with her. We enjoyed those evenings exceedingly; she was so kind, and good-natured, and so ready to enter into all our games, in which we had also a blithe comrade in the young man her nephew, who had just returned from sea. He would play with us till we were tired, and then seating us round the blazing fire, would entertain us, Othello-like, with his adventures, and those of his messmates, till we held our breath to listen. A very fine seaman-like youth was Harry Darling the midshipman, and very proud his aunt was of him. In truth she had good cause to rejoice in her affection for him, as the incident we have to relate will prove. When Harry first went to sea, his adopted mother felt, as she expressed it, "very dissolute" (desolate?) in her deserted house, and sought refuge from her anxious thoughts by frequenting oftener the tea-tables of her neighbors, among whom her cheerful temper, to say nothing of her comfortable income and hospitality, made her very popular. At the house of one of the most intimate of her gossips, the worthy widow was in the habit of meeting, and of being partner at whist, with a tall gentleman wearing a mustache, and distinguished by the title of "Count." Now, if Mrs. Martin had a weakness, it was her love for "great people," as she phrased it; many of whose privileges were the especial objects of her envy, especially the mournful one of a funeral exhibition of heraldic honors. She always regretted that she had not been able to hang out "a hatchet" for her poor dear departed Marting. Now, as she never dreamed, dear guileless old body, of any one assuming a dignity not justly appertaining to them, and had no conception of the exact standard of national rank, a foreign count with a mustache like a Life Guardsman was as imposing a personage in her estimation as an ancient English "Thane," and she treated his countship with all possible respect and attention, considering it a high honor when he favored her neat dwelling with a visit, and drank tea out of her best china. She always called him "my lord," and "your lordship," and sympathized deeply in the cruel reverses to which the Revolution had subjected him, never wearying of hearing descriptions of his "chatoo," and of his hotel in Paris, though it long continued a mystery to her how a nobleman with such a fortune could have liked to keep a hotel, a difficulty she had at last solved by ascribing it to foreign manners. But the count became daily more intimate at her house, telling her long stories over the winter fire, or while partaking of the meal she called, in compliment to him, her "petty soupey," and gradually the usual consequences of such story-telling ensued. The unfortunate noble proposed to Mrs. Martin, and, quite flattered and dazzled by the honor, the widow consented to become Madame la Comtesse. His lady-love's assent once obtained, the Frenchman was eager for the immediate celebration of their nuptials; but Mrs. Martin insisted on waiting till her dear Harry came home from sea, his ship being daily expected. The bridegroom shrugged an unwilling assent, and consoled himself by dining occasionally, as well as drinking tea, with his lady-love.

At length the battery and guard-ship guns of Portsmouth greeted the expected frigate, and the next day Harry Darling embraced his aunt, and learned from her with much surprise, and a little vexation, that she was about to marry "a member of the French House of Lords!" The boy had already seen enough of the world to take a very different view of the proposed exaltation, and to have serious fears for his kinswoman's happiness in a union with one whom he, at first sight, pronounced an adventurer; but on hinting his suspicions to her, the good lady for the first time grew angry with him, ascribing his observations to a selfish regard for his own interest, and Harry finding remonstrance vain, was fain to yield a sad consent to be present at the ceremony in a week's time.

The wedding-day arrived. The ceremony was to be performed at a little village church at some distance, and the carriages destined to convey the bridal party were ordered at an early hour. The bride, handsomely attired, and the bridegroom in the dignity of an entire new suit, were waiting, attended by their friends, in the parlor we have described, for the appearance of Harry, who had been unable to get leave till the eventful morning, but had promised to be there in time. There is nothing more calculated to throw a gloom over persons assembled for some festive or momentous occasion, than the having to wait for an expected guest. The gossips assembled in Mrs. Martin's room had met with gay smiles and pleasant congratulations, but as minute after minute stole away, and no Harry Darling appeared, the conversation sank into silence, and the company looked grave and tired. The count became impatient, and urged his betrothed not to delay longer, as circumstances might have occurred to prevent "Monsieur Darling" from leaving his ship; but the widow was not to be persuaded. She loved Harry with all the warmth of her affectionate nature. She had never known him break his promise; if he did not come, he must, "she was sure, be ill, or he might even have fallen overboard, and could the count think her such an inhuman monster as to go to be married while the dear child's fate was doubtful?" The gentleman internally wished "the dear child" at the bottom of Spithead, but he dared not dispute the will of his despotic widow, and they waited another quarter of an hour, when, to the joy of all, the missing Harry sprang across the threshold, releasing the "wedding guests" from their thralldom to a nameless kind of discomfort, and his aunt from her nervous fears.

With all speed the party then drove off, and proceeded at a brisk pace to the village church; but even as the tall spire rose in sight above the leafy elms, the clock struck the hour of noon. The bridal party exchanged looks: after twelve, it is not possible to be married in England [Pg 651] without a special license. But the bride's attendant suggested that as it could not be more than five minutes after the time, the rector might be induced to overlook the rule, and they alighted and entered the church. Only the sexton was visible, in the act of closing the doors. He told them that the Rev. Mr. Bunbury, after waiting for them till noon, had just ridden off to attend a clerical meeting at some distance; but that even had he been at home, it would have been quite impossible for him to have performed the ceremony after the appointed hour. They were therefore compelled to return unmarried, and Harry received a gentle chiding from his aunt for the confusion he had occasioned, which, however, he asserted was not his fault, but that of the first lieutenant, who had detained him. To atone in some measure for the disappointment to her friends, Mrs. Martin invited them all to dine with her at six, and to accompany her on a similar expedition on the morrow. The invitation was accepted, and the count forgot his disappointment over a plate of turtle-soup, and indulged in delightful anticipations of the next morning which was to render him

"Monarch of all he surveyed."

Alas, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip! A five minutes too late is no such trifling matter. It was even while wit and champagne were at their height, that a knock at the street door disturbed the jovial company, and was followed by the announcement of "a lady who wished to speak to Monsieur de Fierville." Mrs. Martin, eager to please the man she delighted to honor, bade the servant usher the lady in, and a scene of confusion followed which may rather be imagined than described. It was no less a personage than the Madame de Fierville herself—the true and living wife of the deceitful lover—who had at length, as she informed them, been able to dispose advantageously of her business as a modiste, and had followed her husband to England, trusting she should find him established, according to his intention, as a hairdresser in the good town of Portsea. On reaching his lodgings, however—for she had, after some difficulty, succeeded in tracing him—she learned from the mistress of the house that he had taken to himself the title of his former master—he had been valet to Count F——, and an English wife, and she had come to the home of the latter to exact justice or revenge. "The count" was no match for his vehement and enraged wife, and could not deny the authenticity of the testimonials of the truth of her statement, which she produced. He was hurried, at rather uncivil speed, from the house by the enraged Harry Darling, and was followed thence by the angry and garrulous Frenchwoman; while Mrs. Martin had a gentle hysteric—nothing could greatly disturb the equanimity of her temper—and sinking on her nephew's shoulder, murmured in broken sobs her thanks to Providence, and, under Providence, to him, "that from being five minutes too late she had escaped being made an accomplice in the crime of burglary!"

We must turn from Mrs. Marting—her love passages and her blunders—to an incident in which the words of our motto were most pathetically and fatally exemplified—

"A moment's putting off has made
Mischance as heavy as a crime."

The actors, or rather sufferers, of the story were a twin brother and sister, orphans, and dependent on the bounty of a near kinswoman, who, being of the Romish persuasion, had educated the girl in the doctrines of her own faith, although, in compliance with the dying wish of her widowed sister, the boy was suffered to retain that of his country and his father. But this difference of creeds proved the cause of no diminution of affection between the children, whose love for each other equaled or surpassed those loves which Scripture and poetry have made immortal. They were ever to be seen hand-in-hand; the one had no pleasure the other did not partake; their playthings, books, thoughts, joys, and infantine sorrows were shared invariably; and as the boy was educated at home, they were never separated till John had attained his seventeenth year, when his aunt's interest procured him a cadetship, and he was obliged to leave Mary in order to join his regiment in India. It was a terrible separation in those days, when the subjected elements "yoked to man's iron car" had not, as in the present day, nearly fulfilled the modest wish of Dryden's lovers, and

"Annihilated time and space!"

The twins were heartbroken at the idea of parting; but John consoled his sister by the promise of sending for her as soon as he had an Indian home to offer her; and Mary pleaded "that it might be soon, no matter how humble that home might be!" And he assented to all her wishes, and pledged his word never to miss an opportunity of writing to her.

Letters from the East were then few and far between; and when received, brought in their very date a painful reminder of the time that had elapsed since the beloved hand had traced them, and a fear of all that might have chanced since their old news was written. But they were the chief comfort of Mary Murray—

"When seas between them broad had rolled,"

and for days after the arrival of one, her step would fall more lightly, and her voice take a happier tone. After the departure of her nephew, Mrs. Jermyn removed with her niece to France. Her means were straitened, and she could live more economically on the Continent; and there, after the lapse of some few years, she died, leaving Mary Murray all her little property, and advising her to join her brother in India as soon as she conveniently could, but to remain as boarder in a convent till arrangements to that effect could be made. The poor girl obeyed the wishes of her last and only friend, and became for a time the inmate of a cloister; but her thoughts and wishes all tended to the [Pg 652] East, and she longed for the arrival of her brother's next letter—the answer to that in which she had made him aware of her loss, and of her wish to go to him. The mail arrived; there was no letter for her, but it brought news of an engagement in which John Murray's regiment had fought bravely and suffered much. His name was not in the list of killed or wounded, but he was reported "missing," probably a prisoner to the enemy, or drowned in the river, on the banks of which the contest had taken place. The grief of her, who had no other tie of love in the world may be imagined; it could scarcely be described. Nevertheless she was young, and the young are generally sanguine. Almost without her being conscious of it, she still cherished a hope that he might be restored to her; but months rolled on, and brought no tidings. Then it was that, sick at heart, and weary even of the hope that was so constantly disappointed, her thoughts turned to the cloister as a refuge from her lonely sorrow. She had no object of interest beyond the walls; the nuns were kind and good; the duties of the convent such as she loved to fulfill. She took the white vail, and at the end of the year's novitiate, the black. The service of final dedication had begun, when a stranger arrived at the convent gate, and requested to see Miss Murray on business of importance. He was desired by the porteress to wait till the ceremony, which had commenced about five minutes previously, was ended; and ignorant of the name of the nun who was making her profession, he of course consented to the request. In about an hour's time, a young figure, robed in black, and vailed, stood at the grate to ask his business with her. He uttered an exclamation of alarm and consternation when he perceived Miss Murray in the dress of a nun. Then recovering himself he informed her, as cautiously as his surprise permitted, that he had come from her brother, who had been made prisoner, and was now restored to his regiment, after having endured much, and met with a number of adventures, of which a letter he then offered her would give her a full account. It ought, he acknowledged, to have been delivered a day or two earlier, but he had been much engaged since his arrival in Paris, and had forgotten it till that morning, when, ashamed and sorry for his neglect, he had proceeded at an early hour to the convent. Mary Murray heard him with a pale cheek and quivering lip, and as she took the letter from his hand, murmured, "You came five minutes too late, sir! and to that lost time my brother's happiness and mine have been sacrificed. I am a nun now—as dead to him as if the grave had closed above me!" The young messenger was overwhelmed with regret as vain as it was agonizing. Miss Murray kindly endeavored to console him, but on herself the blow fell heavily. She was never seen to smile from that day; and in less than a year after, the nuns of St. Agnes followed their young sister to the grave. Most fitly might the beautiful epitaph in the church of Santa Croce have been graven beneath the holy sign her tombstone bore:

"Ne la plaignez pas! Si vous saviez
Combien de peines ce tombeau l'a épargné!"

The brother grieved deeply for a while, but the stream of the world bore him onward, and its waters are the true Lethe for ordinary and even extraordinary sorrow. He married, and years afterward returned to England with his wife and family; and then the memory of his sister Mary returned vividly and painfully to his mind, and, as a warning to his children, he told them the story of her enduring affection, and of the fatal five minutes too late!


We left the Land's End, feeling that our homeward journey had now begun from that point; and, walking northward, about five miles along the coast, arrived at Botallack, which contains the most extraordinary copper-mine in Cornwall. Having heard that there was some disinclination in Cornwall to allow strangers to go down the mines, we had provided ourselves, through the kindness of a friend, with a proper letter of introduction, in case of emergency. We were told to go to the counting-house to present our credentials; and on our road thither, beheld the buildings and machinery of the mine, literally stretching down the precipitous face of the cliff, from the land at the top, to the sea at the bottom.

This sight was striking and extraordinary. Here, we beheld a scaffolding perched on a rock that rose out of the waves—there, a steam-pump was at work raising gallons of water from the mine every minute, on a mere ledge of land, half-way down the steep-cliff side. Chains, pipes, conduits, protruded in all directions from the precipice; rotten-looking wooden platforms, running over deep chasms, supported great beams of timber and heavy coils of cable; crazy little boarded-houses were built, where gulls' nests might have been found in other places. There did not appear to be a foot of level space anywhere, for any part of the works of the mine to stand upon; and yet, there they were, fulfilling all the purposes for which they had been constructed, as safely and completely on rocks in the sea, and down precipices on the land, as if they had been cautiously founded on the tracts of smooth, solid ground above!

The counting-house was built on a projection of earth about midway between the top of the cliff and the sea. When we got there, the agent, to whom our letter was addressed, was absent; but his place was supplied by two miners, who came out to receive us; and to one of them we mentioned our recommendation, and modestly hinted a wish to go down the mine forthwith.

But our new friend was not a person who did any thing in a hurry. He was a grave, courteous, and rather melancholy man, of great stature [Pg 653] and strength. He looked on us with a benevolent, paternal expression, and appeared to think that we were nothing like strong enough, or cautious enough, to be trusted down the mine. "Did we know," he urged, "that it was dangerous work?" "Yes; but we didn't mind danger!" "Perhaps we were not aware that we should perspire profusely, and be dead-tired getting up and down the ladders?" "Very likely; but we didn't mind that, either!" "Surely we shouldn't like to strip, and put on miners' clothes?" "Yes, we should, of all things!" and, pulling off coat, waistcoat, and trowsers, on the spot, we stood half-undressed already, just as the big miner was proposing another objection, which, under existing circumstances, he good-naturedly changed into a speech of acquiescence. "Very well, gentlemen," said he, taking up two suits of miners' clothes; "I see you are determined to go down; and so you shall! You'll be wet through with the heat and the work before you come up again; so just put on these things, and keep your own clothes dry."

The clothing consisted of a flannel shirt, flannel drawers, canvas trowsers, and a canvas jacket—all stained of a tawny copper color; but all quite clean. A white night-cap and a round hat, composed of some iron-hard substance, well calculated to protect the head from any loose stones that might fall on it, completed the equipment; to which, three tallow-candles were afterward added—two to hang at the button-hole, one to carry in the hand.

My friend was dressed first. He had got a suit which fitted him tolerably, and which, as far as appearances went, made a regular miner of him at once. Far different was my case.

The same mysterious dispensation of fate, which always awards tall wives to short men, decreed that a suit of the big miner's should be reserved for me. He stood six feet two inches—I stand five feet six inches. I put on his flannel shirt—it fell down to my toes, like a bed-gown; his drawers—and they flowed in Turkish luxuriance over my feet. At his trowsers I helplessly stopped short, lost in the voluminous recesses of each leg. The big miner, like a good Samaritan as he was, came to my assistance. He put the pocket-button through the waist button-hole, to keep the trowsers up, in the first instance; then, he "hauled taut" the braces (as sailors say), until my waistband was under my armpits; and then he pronounced that I and my trowsers fitted each other in great perfection. The cuffs of the jacket were next turned up to my elbows—the white nightcap was dragged over my ears—the round hat was jammed down over my eyes. When I add to all this, that I am so near-sighted as to be obliged to wear spectacles, and that I finished my toilet by putting my spectacles on (knowing that I should see little or nothing without them), nobody, I think, will be astonished to hear that my companion seized his sketch-book, and caricatured me on the spot; and that the grave miner, polite as he was, shook with internal laughter, as I took up my tallow-candles and reported myself ready for a descent into the mine.

We left the counting-house, and ascended the face of the cliff. Then, walked a short distance along the edge, descended a little again, and stopped at a wooden platform built across a deep gully. Here, the miner pulled up a trap-door, and disclosed a perpendicular ladder leading down to a black hole, like the opening of a chimney. "This is the shaft; I will go down first, to catch you, in case you tumble; follow me, and hold tight!" Saying this, our friend squeezed himself through the trap-door, and we went after him as we had been bidden.

The black hole, when we entered it, proved to be not quite so dark as it had appeared from above. Rays of light occasionally penetrated it through chinks in the outer rock. But, by the time we had got some little way further down, these rays began to fade. Then, just as we seemed to be lowering ourselves into total darkness, we were desired to stand on a narrow landing-place opposite the ladder, and wait there while the miner went below for a light. He soon reascended to us, bringing not only the light he had promised, but a large lump of damp clay with it. Having lighted our candles, he stuck them against the front of our hats with the clay, in order, as he said, to leave both our hands free to us to use as we liked. Thus strangely accoutred, like Solomon Eagles in the Great Plague, with flame on our heads, we resumed the descent of the shaft; and now, at last, began to penetrate beneath the surface of the earth in good earnest.

The process of getting down the ladders was not very pleasant. They were all quite perpendicular, the rounds were placed at irregular distances, were many of them much worn away, and were slippery with water and copper-ooze. Add to this, the narrowness of the shaft, the dripping-wet rock shutting you in, as it were, all round your back and sides against the ladder—the fathomless-looking darkness beneath—the light flaring immediately above you, as if your head was on fire—the voice of the miner below, rumbling away in dull echoes lower and lower into the bowels of the earth—the consciousness that if the rounds of the ladder broke, you might fall down a thousand feet or so of narrow tunnel in a moment—imagine all this, and you may easily realize what are the first impressions produced by a descent into a Cornish mine.

By the time we had got down seventy fathoms, or four hundred and twenty feet of ladders, we stopped at another landing-place, just broad enough to afford standing-room for us three. Here, the miner, pointing to an opening yawning horizontally in the rock at one side of us, said that this was the first gallery from the surface; that we had done with the ladders for the present; and that a little climbing and crawling were now to begin.

Our path was a strange one, as we advanced [Pg 654] through the rift. Rough stones of all sizes, holes here, and eminences there, impeded us at every yard. Sometimes, we could walk on in a stooping position—sometimes, we were obliged to crawl on our hands and knees. Occasionally, greater difficulties than these presented themselves. Certain parts of the gallery dipped into black, ugly-looking pits, crossed by thin planks, over which we walked dizzily, a little bewildered by the violent contrast between the flaring light that we carried above us, and the pitch-darkness beneath and before us. One of these places terminated in a sudden rising in the rock, hollowed away below, but surmounted by a narrow, projecting wooden platform, to which it was necessary to climb by cross-beams arranged at wide distances. My companion ascended to this awkward elevation without hesitating; but I came to an "awful pause" before it. Fettered as I was by my Brobdignag jacket and trowsers, I felt a humiliating consciousness that any extraordinary gymnastic exertion was altogether out of my power.

Our friend, the miner, saw my difficulty, and extricated me from it at once, with a promptitude and skill which deserves record. Descending half way by the beams, he clutched with one hand that hinder part of my too voluminous nether garments, which presented the broadest superficies of canvas to his grasp (I hope the delicate reader appreciates the ingenious cleanliness of my periphrasis, when I mention in detail so coarse a subject as trowsers!). Having grappled me thus, he lifted me up in an instant, as easily as a small parcel; then carried me horizontally along the loose boards, like a refractory little boy borne off by the usher to the master's birch; or, considering the candle burning on my hat, and the necessity of elevating my position by as lofty a comparison as I can make—like a flying Mercury with a star on his head; and finally deposited me safely upon my legs again, on the firm rock pathway beyond. "You are but a light and a little man, my son!" says this excellent fellow, snuffing my candle for me before we go on; "only let me lift you about as I like, and you shan't come to any harm while I am with you!"

Speaking thus, the miner leads us forward again. After we have walked a little further in a crouching position, he calls a halt, makes a seat for us by sticking a piece of old board between the rocky walls of the gallery, and then proceeds to explain the exact subterranean position which we actually occupy.

We are now four hundred yards out, under the bottom of the sea; and twenty fathoms, or a hundred and twenty feet, below the sea level. Coast-trade vessels are sailing over our heads. Two hundred and forty feet beneath us men are at work, and there are galleries deeper yet, even below that! The extraordinary position down the face of the cliff, of the engines and other works on the surface, at Botallack, is now explained. The mine is not excavated like other mines under the land, but under the sea!

Having communicated these particulars, the miner next tells us to keep strict silence and listen. We obey him, sitting speechless and motionless. If the reader could only have beheld us now, dressed in our copper-colored garments, huddled close together in a mere cleft of subterranean rock, with flame burning on our heads, and darkness enveloping our limbs—he must certainly have imagined, without any violent stretch of fancy, that he was looking down upon a conclave of gnomes!

After listening for a few moments, a distant, unearthly noise becomes faintly audible—a long, low, mysterious moaning, that never changes, that is felt on the ear as well as heard by it—a sound that might proceed from some incalculable distance—from some far invisible height—a sound unlike any thing that is heard on the upper ground, in the free air of heaven—a sound so sublimely mournful and still, so ghostly and impressive when listened to in the subterranean recesses of the earth, that we continue instinctively to hold our peace, as if enchanted by it, and think not of communicating to each other the strange awe and astonishment which it has inspired in us both from the very first.

At last, the miner speaks again, and tells us that what we hear is the sound of the surf lashing the rocks a hundred and twenty feet above us, and of the waves that are breaking on the beach beyond. The tide is now at the flow, and the sea is in no extraordinary state of agitation: so the sound is low and distant just at this period. But, when storms are at their height, when the ocean hurls mountain after mountain of water on the cliffs, then the noise is terrific; the roaring heard down here in the mine is so inexpressibly fierce and awful, that the boldest men at work are afraid to continue their labor—all ascend to the surface to breathe the upper air and stand on the firm earth; dreading, though no such catastrophe has ever happened yet, that the sea will break in on them if they remain in the caverns below.

Hearing this, we get up to look at the rock above us. We are able to stand upright in the position we now occupy; and flaring our candles hither and thither in the darkness, can see the bright pure copper streaking the dark ceiling of the gallery in every direction. Lumps of ooze, of the most lustrous green color, traversed by a natural network of thin red veins of iron, appear here and there in large irregular patches, over which water is dripping slowly and incessantly in certain places. This is the salt water percolating through invisible crannies in the rock. On stormy days it spirts out furiously in thin, continuous streams. Just over our heads we observe a wooden plug of the thickness of a man's leg; there is a hole here, and the plug is all that we have to keep out the sea.

Immense wealth of metal is contained in the roof of this gallery, throughout its whole length; but it remains, and will always remain, untouched; the miners dare not take it, for it is [Pg 655] part, and a great part, of the rock which forms their only protection against the sea; and which has been so far worked away here, that its thickness is limited to an average of three feet only between the water and the gallery in which we now stand. No one knows what might be the consequence of another day's labor with the pickax on any part of it.

This information is rather startling when communicated at a depth of four hundred and twenty feet under ground. We should decidedly have preferred to receive it in the counting-house! It makes us pause for an instant, to the miner's infinite amusement, in the very act of knocking away about an inch of ore from the rock, as a memento of Botallack. Having, however, ventured, on reflection, to assume the responsibility of weakening our defense against the sea by the length and breadth of an inch, we secure our piece of copper, and next proceed to discuss the propriety of descending two hundred and forty feet more of ladders, for the sake of visiting that part of the mine where the men are at work.

Two or three causes concur to make us doubt the wisdom of going lower. There is a hot, moist, sickly vapor floating about us, which becomes more oppressive every moment; we are already perspiring at every pore, as we were told we should, and our hands, faces, jackets, and trowsers, are all more or less covered with a mixture of mud, tallow, and iron-drippings, which we can feel and smell much more accurately than is exactly desirable. We ask the miner what there is to see lower down. He replies, nothing but men breaking ore with pickaxes; the galleries of the mine are alike, however deep they may go: when you have seen one, you have seen all.

The answer decides us—we determine to get back to the surface.

We returned along the gallery, just as we had advanced, with the same large allowance of scrambling, creeping, and stumbling on our way. I was charitably carried along and down the platform over the pit by my trowsers, as before: our order of procession only changed when we gained the ladders again. Then, our friend the miner went last instead of first, upon the same principle of being ready to catch us if we fell, which led him to precede us on our descent. Except that one of the rounds cracked under his weight as we went up, we ascended without casualties of any kind. As we neared the mouth of the shaft, the daylight atmosphere looked dazzlingly white, after the darkness in which we had been groping so long; and when we once more stood out on the cliff, we felt a cold, health-giving purity in the sea-breeze, and, at the same time, a sense of recovered freedom in the power that we now enjoyed of running, jumping, and stretching our limbs in perfect security and with full space for action, which it was almost a new sensation to experience. Habit teaches us to think little of the light and air that we live and breathe in, or, at most, to view them only as the ordinary conditions of our being. To find out that they are more than this, that they are a luxury as well as a necessity of life, go down into a mine, and compare what you can exist in there, with what you do exist in, on upper earth!

On re-entering the counting-house, we were greeted by the welcome appearance of two large tubs of water, with soap and flannel placed invitingly by their sides. Copious ablutions and clean clothes, are potent restorers of muscular energy. These, and a half hour of repose, enabled us to resume our knapsacks as briskly as ever, and walk on fifteen miles to the town of St. Ives—our resting-place for the night.

Serious accidents are rare in the mines of Cornwall. From the horrors of such explosions as take place in coal-mines, they are by their nature entirely free. The casualties that oftenest occur are serious falls, generally produced by the carelessness of inexperienced, or foolhardy people. Of these, and of extraordinary escapes from death with which they are associated, many anecdotes are told in mining districts, which would appear to the reader exaggerated, or positively untrue, if I related them on mere hearsay evidence. There was, however, one instance of a fall down the shaft of a mine, unattended with fatal consequences, which occurred while I was in Cornwall; and which I may safely adduce, for I can state some of the facts connected with the affair, as an eye-witness. I attended an examination of the sufferer by a medical man, and heard the story of the accident from the parents of the patient.

On the 7th of August last, a boy fourteen years of age, the son of a miner, slipped into the shaft of Boscaswell Down Mine, in the neighborhood of Penzance. He fell to the depth of thirteen fathoms, or seventy-eight feet. Fifty-eight feet down, he struck his left side against a board placed across the shaft, snapped it in two, and then falling twenty feet more, pitched on his head. He was of course taken up insensible; the doctor was sent for; and, on examining him, found, to his amazement, that there was actually a chance of the boy's recovery after his tremendous fall!

Not a bone in his body was broken. He was bruised and scratched all over, and there were three cuts—none of them serious—on his head. The board stretched across the shaft, twenty feet from the bottom, had saved him from being dashed to pieces; but had inflicted, at the same time, where his left side had struck it, the only injury that appeared dangerous to the medical man—a large, hard lump that could be felt under the bruised skin. The boy showed no symptoms of fever; his pulse, day after day, was found never varying from eighty-two to the minute; his appetite was voracious; and the internal functions of his body only required a little ordinary medicine to keep them properly at work. In short, nothing was to be dreaded but the chance of the formation of an abscess in his left side, between the hip and ribs. He [Pg 656] had been under medical care exactly one week, when I accompanied the doctor on a visit to him.

The cottage where he lived with his parents, though small, was neat and comfortable. We found him lying in bed, awake. He looked sleepy and lethargic; but his skin was moist and cool; his face displayed neither paleness, nor injury of any kind. He had just eaten a good dinner of rabbit-pie; and was anxious to be allowed to sit up in a chair, and amuse himself by looking out of the window. His left side was first examined. A great circular bruise discolored the skin, over the whole space between the hip and ribs; but on touching it, the doctor discovered that the lump beneath had considerably decreased in size, and was much less hard than it had felt during previous visits. Next, we looked at his back and arms—they were scratched and bruised all over; but nowhere seriously. Lastly, the dressings were taken off his head, and three cuts were disclosed, which even a non-medical eye could easily perceive to be of no great importance. Such were all the results of a fall of seventy-eight feet!

The boy's father reiterated to me the account of the accident, just as I had already heard it from the doctor. How it happened, he said, could only be guessed, for his son had completely forgotten all the circumstances immediately preceding the fall; neither could he communicate any of the sensations which must have attended it. Most probably, he had been sitting dangling his legs idly over the mouth of the shaft, and had so slipped in. But, however the accident really happened, there the sufferer was before us—less seriously hurt than many a lad who has trodden on a piece of orange peel as he was walking along the street.

We left him (humanly speaking) certain of recovery, now that the dangerous lump in his side had begun to decrease. I have since heard from his medical attendant, that in two months from the date of the accident, he was at work again as usual in the mine; at that very part of it too, where his fall had taken place!

It was not the least interesting part of my visit to the cottage where he lay ill, to observe the anxious affection displayed toward him by both his parents. His mother left her work in the kitchen to hold him in her arms, while the old dressings were being taken off and the new ones applied—sighing bitterly, poor creature, every time he winced or cried out under the pain of the operation. The father put several questions to the doctor; which were always perfectly to the point; and did the honors of his little abode to his stranger visitor, with a natural politeness and a simple cordiality of manner which showed that he really meant the welcome that he spoke. Nor was he any exception to the rest of his brother-workmen with whom I met. As a body of men, they are industrious and intelligent; sober and orderly; neither soured by hard work, nor easily depressed by harder privations. No description of personal experiences in the Cornish mines can be fairly concluded, without a collateral testimony to the merits of the Cornish miners—a testimony which I am happy to accord here; and to which my readers would cheerfully add their voices, if they ever felt inclined to test its impartiality by their own experience.


On a Saturday—the coster's business day—it is computed that as many as 2000 donkey-barrows, and upward of 3000 women with shallows and head-baskets visit this market during the forenoon. About six o'clock in the morning is the best time for viewing the wonderful restlessness of the place, for then not only is the "Garden" itself all bustle and activity, but the buyers and sellers stream to and from it in all directions, filling every street in the vicinity. From Long Acre to the Strand on the one side, and from Bow-street to Bedford-street on the other, the ground has been seized upon by the market-goers. As you glance down any one of the neighboring streets, the long rows of carts and donkey-barrows seem interminable in the distance. They are of all kinds, from the greengrocer's taxed cart to the coster's barrow—from the showy excursion-van to the rude square donkey-cart and bricklayer's truck. In every street they are ranged down the middle and by the curb-stones. Along each approach to the market, too, nothing is to be seen, on all sides, but vegetables; the pavement is covered with heaps of them waiting to be carted; the flagstones are stained green with the leaves trodden under foot; sieves and sacks full of apples and potatoes, and bundles of broccoli and rhubarb, are left unwatched upon almost every door-step; the steps of Covent Garden Theatre are covered with fruit and vegetables; the road is blocked up with mountains of cabbages and turnips; and men and women push past with their arms bowed out by the cauliflowers under them, or the red tips of carrots pointing from their crammed aprons, or else their faces are red with the weight of the loaded head-basket.

The donkey-barrows, from their number and singularity, force you to stop and notice them. Every kind of ingenuity has been exercised to construct harness for the costers' steeds; where a buckle is wanting, tape or string make the fastening secure; traces are made of rope and old chain, and an old sack or cotton handkerchief is folded up as a saddle-pad. Some few of the barrows make a magnificent exception, and are gay with bright brass; while one of the donkeys may be seen dressed in a suit of old plated carriage-harness, decorated with coronets in all directions. At some one of the coster conveyances stands the proprietor, arranging his goods, the dozing animal starting up from its sleep each time a heavy basket is hoisted on the tray. Others, with their green and white and red load neatly arranged, are ready for [Pg 657] starting, but the coster is finishing his breakfast at the coffee-stall. On one barrow there may occasionally be seen a solitary sieve of apples, with the horse of some neighboring cart helping himself to the pippins while the owner is away. The men that take charge of the trucks, while the costers visit the market, walk about, with their arms full of whips and sticks. At one corner a donkey has slipped down, and lies on the stones covered with the cabbages and apples that have fallen from the cart.

The market itself presents a beautiful scene. In the clear morning air of an autumn day the whole of the vast square is distinctly seen from one end to the other. The sky is red and golden with the newly-risen sun, and the rays falling on the fresh and vivid colors of the fruit and vegetables, brighten up the picture as with a coat of varnish. There is no shouting, as at other markets, but a low murmuring hum is heard, like the sound of the sea at a distance, and through each entrance to the market the crowd sweeps by. Under the dark Piazza little bright dots of gas-lights are seen burning in the shops; and in the paved square the people pass and cross each other in all directions, hampers clash together, and excepting the carters from the country, every one is on the move. Sometimes a huge column of baskets is seen in the air, and walks away in a marvelously steady manner, or a monster railway van, laden with sieves of fruit, and with the driver perched up on his high seat, jolts heavily over the stones. Cabbages are piled up into stacks, as it were. Carts are heaped high with turnips, and bunches of carrots, like huge red fingers, are seen in all directions. Flower-girls, with large bundles of violets under their arms, run past, leaving a trail of perfume behind them. Wagons, with their shafts sticking up in the air, are ranged before the salesmen's shops, the high green load railed in with hurdles, and every here and there bunches of turnips are seen flying in the air over the heads of the people. Groups of apple-women, with straw pads on their crushed bonnets, and coarse shawls crossing their bosoms, sit on their porter's knots, chatting in Irish, and smoking short pipes; every passer-by is hailed with the cry of "Want a baskit, yer honor?" The porter, trembling under the piled-up hamper, trots along the street, with his teeth clenched, and shirt wet with the weight, and staggering at every step he takes.

Inside, the market is all bustle and confusion. The people walk along with their eyes fixed on the goods, and frowning with thought. Men in all costumes, from the coster in his corduroy suit to the greengrocer in his blue apron, sweep past. A countryman, in an old straw hat and dusty boots, occasionally draws down the anger of a woman for walking about with his hands in the pockets of his smock-frock, and is asked, "if that is the way to behave on a market-day?" Even the granite pillars can not stop the crowd, for it separates and rushes past them, like the tide by a bridge pier. At every turn there is a fresh odor to sniff at; either the bitter aromatic perfume of the herbalists' shops breaks upon you, or the scent of oranges, then of apples, and then of onions, is caught for an instant as you move along. The broccoli tied up in square packets, the white heads tinged slightly red, as it were, with the sunshine—the sieves of crimson love-apples, polished like china—the bundles of white glossy leeks, their roots dangling like fringe; the celery, with its pinky stalks and bright green tops, the dark purple pickling-cabbages, the scarlet carrots, the white knobs of turnips, the bright yellow balls of oranges, and the rich brown coats of the chestnuts—attract the eye on every side. Then there are the apple-merchants, with their fruit of all colors, from the pale yellow green to the bright crimson, and the baskets ranged in rows on the pavement before the little shops. Round these the customers stand examining the stock, then whispering together over their bargain, and counting their money. "Give you four shillings for this here lot, master," says a coster, speaking for his three companions. "Four-and-six is my price," answers the salesman. "Say four, and it's a bargain," continues the man. "I said my price," returns the dealer; "go and look round, and see if you can get 'em cheaper; if not, come back. I only wants what's fair." The men, taking the salesman's advice, move on. The walnut-merchant, with a group of women before his shop, peeling the fruit, their fingers stained deep brown, is busy with the Irish purchasers. The onion stores, too, are surrounded by Hibernians, feeling and pressing the gold-colored roots, whose dry skins crackle as they are handled. Cases of lemons in their white paper jackets, and blue grapes, just seen above the sawdust, are ranged about, and in some places the ground is slippery as ice from the refuse leaves and walnut-husks scattered over the pavement.

Against the railings of St. Paul's Church are hung baskets and slippers for sale, and near the public-house is a party of countrymen preparing their bunches of pretty colored grass—brown and glittering, as if it had been bronzed. Between the spikes of the railing are piled up square cakes of green turf for larks; and at the pump, boys, who probably have passed the previous night in the baskets about the market, are washing, and the water dripping from their hair that hangs in points over the face. The curb-stone is blocked up by a crowd of admiring lads, gathered round the bird-catcher's green stand, and gazing at the larks beating their breasts against their cages. The owner, whose boots are red with the soil of the brick-field, shouts, as he looks carelessly around, "A cock linnet for tuppence," and then hits at the youths who are poking through the bars at the fluttering birds.

Under the Piazza the costers purchase their flowers (in pots), which they exchange in the streets for old clothes. Here is ranged a small garden of flower-pots, the musk and mignonnette smelling sweetly, and the scarlet geraniums, [Pg 658] with a perfect glow of colored air about the flowers, standing out in rich contrast with the dark green leaves of the evergreens behind them. "There's myrtles, and larels, and boxes," says one of the men selling them, "and there's a harbora witus, and lauristiners, and that bushy shrub with pink spots is heath." Men and women, selling different articles, walk about under the cover of the colonnade. One has seed-cake, another small-tooth and other combs, others old caps or pig's feet, and one hawker of knives, razors, and short hatchets, may occasionally be seen driving a bargain with a countryman, who stands passing his thumb over the blade to test its keenness. Between the pillars are the coffee-stalls, with their large tin cans and piles of bread and butter, and protected from the wind by paper screens and sheets thrown over clothes-horses; inside these little parlors, as it were, sit the coffee-drinkers on chairs and benches, some with a bunch of cabbages on their laps, blowing the steam from their saucers, others, with their mouths full, munching away at their slices, as if not a moment could be lost. One or two porters are there besides, seated on their baskets, breakfasting with their knots on their heads.

As you walk away from this busy scene, you meet in every street barrows and costers hurrying home. The pump in the market is now surrounded by a cluster of chattering wenches quarreling over whose turn it is to water their drooping violets, and on the steps of Covent Garden Theatre are seated the shoeless girls, tying up the halfpenny and penny bundles.


In a work recently published in London, entitled "Lights and Shades of Military Life," M. de Vigny, the author, gives incidents from his own experience which place in a striking light some of the unutterable horrors of war.

In his first march, with his ambition glowing as brightly as his maiden sword, and his hopes yet fresh as his untarnished epaulets, he falls in with an old chef de bataillon. He was a man of about fifty, with mustaches, tall and stout, his back curved, after the manner of old military officers who have carried the knapsack. His features were hard but benevolent, such as you often meet with in the army, indicating, at the same time, the natural goodness of the heart of the man, and the callousness induced by long use to scenes of blood and carnage. This old soldier of the Empire is marching along beside a little cart, drawn by a sorry mule, in which sits a woman—a maniac—whose story he tells with a soldier's frankness, as a part of his own history. The old man had been a sailor in his youth, and at the time of the Directory was captain of a merchantman. From that situation he was promoted, aristocracy being at a discount, to command the Marat, a brig of war, and one of his first duties was to sail with two political prisoners, a young Frenchman and his wife. He supposed that he was to land them at Cayenne, to which place other exiles had previously been dispatched in other vessels; but he carried sealed orders from the Directory, which were not to be opened till the vessel reached the Equator. On the passage, the captain and his young passengers became greatly attached to each other, so much so that he wished to leave the service, and, with what fortune he had, share and alleviate their fate. In their youth and innocence, and earnest love for each other, the young unfortunates had twined themselves about the rough heart of the sailor, and he regarded them as his children. But there was the ominous letter, bearing the red seals of the Directory, which was to decide their fate—and the time arrived for it to be opened. The seals were broken, and what was the captain's horror to find that it contained an order for him to have the young husband shot, and then to return with the wife to France. After he had read the paper, he rubbed his eyes, thinking that they must have deceived him. He could not trust his senses. His limbs trembled beneath him. He could not trust himself to go near the fair young Laura, who looked so happy, with tidings that would blight her existence. What was he to do? He never seems to have thought of leaving the order unexecuted; the iron of unreasoning obedience had seared his soul too deeply for that. The horrid task, revolt at it as he might, was a duty, because he had been ordered to do it. He communicated the order to his victim, who heard his fate with a stoicism worthy of an old Roman. His only thought was for his poor young wife, so fair, and fond, and gentle. He said, with a voice as mild as usual, "I ask no favor, captain. I should never forgive myself if I were to cause you to violate your duty. I should merely like to say a few words to Laura, and I beg you to protect her, in case she should survive me, which I do not think she will." It is arranged between the victim of slavish obedience, and the victim of the cruelty of the Reign of Terror, that poor Laura should know nothing of what was to be her husband's fate. She is put into a boat at night and rowed from the ship, while the tragedy is being acted out; but she sees the flash of the muskets, her heart tells her too plainly what has happened, and her reason fails under the shock. "At the moment of firing, she clasped her hand to her head, as if a ball had struck her brow, and sat down in the boat without fainting, without shrieking, without speaking, and returned to the brig with the crew when they pleased and how they pleased." The old captain spoke to her but she did not understand him. She was mute, rubbing her pale forehead, and trembling as though she were afraid of every body, and thus she remained an idiot for life. The captain returned to France with his charge, got himself removed into the land forces, for the sea—into which he had cast innocent blood—was unbearable to him; and had continued to watch over the poor imbecile as a father over his child. [Pg 659] M. de Vigny saw the poor woman; he says, "I saw two blue eyes of extraordinary size, admirable in point of form, starting from a long, pale, emaciated face, inundated by perfectly straight fair hair. I saw, in truth, nothing but those two eyes, which were all that was left of that poor woman, for the rest of her was dead. Her forehead was red, her cheeks hollow and white, and bluish on the cheek bones. She was crouched among the straw, so that one could just see her two knees rising above it, and on them she was playing all alone at dominoes. She looked at us for a moment, trembled a long time, smiled at me a little, and began to play again. It seemed to me that she was trying to make out how her right hand beat her left." It was the wreck of love and beauty, torn by the blind slave obedience, at the bidding of vengeance and hate. M. de Vigny was a young and thoughtless soldier; but young and thoughtless as he was, the phantom glory must have beamed brightly indeed, to prevent him from seeing the gloomy darkness of such a shade of military life as this, and keep him from shaking the fetters of blind obedience from intellect and mercy. He never saw the old chef and his charge again; but he heard of them. In speaking to a brother officer one day of the sad story, his companion in arms replied, "Ah, my dear fellow, I knew that poor devil well. A brave man he was too; he was taken off by a cannon-ball at Waterloo. He had, in fact, left along with the baggage a sort of crazy girl, whom we took to the hospitable of Amiens on our way to the army of the Loire, and who died there and raving at the end of three days."

If in this story we recognize the goodness, the true nobility of heart of this old soldier, we can not fail to see in all its hideousness, the horrors and evils of a system which deadens intellect, paralyzes virtue, and dims the light of mercy—the system of slavish obedience, crushing out all individuality, and making the good and the bad alike its subservient instruments.

As a pendant to the above we take a few extracts from the story of Captain Renaud, once a page to Napoleon, of whom Byron truly says:

"With might unquestioned—power to save—
Thine only gift hath been the grave,
To those that worship'd thee."

And so poor Renaud found. He had the misfortune to fall under the displeasure of the Emperor, and was sent from the army to serve on board that abortive flat-bottomed-boat armada, which threatened a descent upon the shores of England. Here he was taken prisoner, and, after a long captivity, being exchanged, hastened to Paris to throw himself at the feet of the conqueror. The reception was a strange one. It took place at the Opera, and we quote a description of it. "He (Napoleon) placed his left hand upon his left eye to see better, according to his custom; I perceived that he had recognized me. He turned about sharply, took no notice of any thing but the stage, and presently retired. I was already in waiting for him. He walked fast along the corridor, and, from his thick legs, squeezed into white silk stockings, and his bloated figure in his green dress, I should scarcely have known him again. He stopped short before me, and speaking to the colonel, who presented me, instead of addressing himself direct to me, 'Why,' said he, 'have I never seen any thing of him? Still a lieutenant?'

"'He has been a prisoner ever since 1804.'

"'Why did he not make his escape?'

"'I was on parole!' said I, in an undertone.

"'I don't like prisoners!—the fellows ought to get killed,' said he, turning his back upon me.

"We remained motionless in file, and when the whole of his suite had passed: 'My dear fellow,' said the colonel, 'don't you see plainly that you are a fool? You have lost your promotion, and nobody thinks the better of you for it.'"

Poor obedience, blind, slavish, unreasoning; its reward was often to be spurned. "Fool" indeed; a great many people will be inclined to re-echo the colonel's epithet, not because Renaud had been a prisoner—not because he was not killed, or did not escape, but because this same habit of obedience had so thoroughly taken the true man out of him, that he did not cut the epaulets from his shoulders, and leave glory to find some other fool. But he was a soldier, and a soldier's first duty was obedience. He went to his regiment, and from his after-life we extract another "shade" of the horrors of war. Captain Renaud narrates how he surprised a detachment of Russians at their post. It was a glorious achievement of course—a parallel to any of the atrocities of the North American Indians. "I came up slowly, and I could not, I must confess, get the better of a certain emotion which I had never felt at the moment of other encounters. It was shame for attacking men who were asleep; I saw them wrapped in their cloaks, lighted by a close lantern, and my heart throbbed violently. But all at once, at the moment of acting, I feared that it was a weakness very like that of cowards; I was afraid that I had for once felt fear, and taking my sword, which had been concealed under my arm, I briskly entered first, setting the example to my grenadiers. I made a motion to them which they comprehended; they fell first upon the guns, then upon the men, like wolves upon a flock of sheep. Oh, it was a dismal, a horrible butchery. The bayonet pierced, the butt-end smashed, the knee stifled, the hand strangled. All cries were extinguished, almost before they were uttered, beneath the feet of our soldiers; and not a head was raised without receiving the mortal blow. On entering, I had struck at random a terrible stroke at something black, which I had run through and through. An old officer, a tall stout man, whose head was covered with white hair, sprung upon his feet like a phantom, made a violent lunge at my face with [Pg 660] a sword, and instantly dropped dead pierced by the bayonets! On my part, I fell beside him, stunned by the blow, which had struck me between the eyes, and I heard beneath me the tender and dying voice of a boy, saying, 'papa!' I then comprehended what I had done, and I looked at my work with frantic eagerness. I saw one of those officers of fourteen, so numerous in the Russian armies, which invaded us at that period, and who were dragged away to this awful school. His long curling hair fell upon his bosom, as fair, as silken as that of a woman, and his head was bowed, as though he had but fallen asleep a second time. His rosy lips, expanded like those of a new-born infant, seemed to be yet moist with the nurse's milk; and his large blue eyes, half open, had a beauty of form that was fond and feminine. I lifted him upon one arm, and his cheek fell against mine, dripping with blood, as though he were burying his face in his mother's bosom to warm it again. He seemed to shrink from me, and crouch close to the ground, in order to get away from his murderer. Filial affection, and the confidence and repose of a delicious sleep pervaded his lifeless face, and he seemed to say to me, 'Let us sleep in peace!'

"At this moment, the colonel entered, followed close by his column, whose step and arms I heard.

"'Bravo, my dear fellow,' said he, 'you've done that job cleverly; but you are wounded!'

"'Look there,' said I; 'what difference is there between me and a murderer?'

"'Eh! Sacre dieu! comrade, what would you have? 'Tis our trade!'"

Great God! what a trade for men to give themselves up to, for considerations of all kinds, from peerages and pensions down to a shilling a day. Legalized murder as a profession for the poor foster-children of passive obedience, who, when they trust themselves to think, sometimes find themselves—and upon their own showing, too—little better than murderers. Poor Captain Renaud, however, continued in the service still. So thoroughly was the man smothered in the soldier, that neglect, contempt, contumely, and the sensations of a homicide were not sufficient to induce him to break his fetters. After Napoleon's fall, he remained a soldier of the Bourbons, and there was a sort of poetical justice in his death; for in the sanguinary revolution of 1830 a gamin de Paris, a boy scarcely able to hold a horse-pistol, shot the veteran of the Empire.

M. de Vigny closes his portion of the "Lights and Shades" by setting up an idol for soldiers to worship, and which is to sustain them under all their sufferings. The profession of arms has lost the attribute of apparent usefulness which once belonged to it. The star of glory is setting below the horizon of peace; and warriors, knowing themselves at once hated and feared—feeling themselves out of place in the era which is beginning—degraded from heroes into policemen—are to lean upon Honor for support; but we think, that in the midst of obloquy, privation, and neglect, that sentiment will prove but a broken staff, incapable of bearing such a load of misery and wrong.



In the middle of a dark night, Joel, a boy of nine years old, heard his name called by a voice which, through his sleep, seemed miles away. Joel had been tired enough when he went to bed, and yet he had not gone to sleep for some time; his heart beat so at the idea of his mother being very ill. He well remembered his father's death, and his mother's illness now revived some feelings which he had almost forgotten. His bed was merely some clothes spread on the floor, and covered with a rug; but he did not mind that; and he could have gone to sleep at once but for the fear that had come over him. When he did sleep, his sleep was sound; so that his mother's feeble voice calling him seemed like a call from miles away.

In a minute Joel was up and wide awake.

"Light the candle," he could just hear the voice say.

He lighted the candle, and his beating heart seemed to stop when he saw his mother's face. He seemed hardly to know whether it was his mother or no.

"Shall I call—?"

"Call nobody, my dear. Come here."

He laid his cheek to hers.

"Mother, you are dying," he murmured.

"Yes, love, I am dying. It is no use calling any one. These little ones, Joel."

"I will take care of them, mother."

"You, my child! How should that be?"

"Why not?" said the boy, raising himself, and standing at his best height. "Look at me, mother. I can work. I promise you—"

His mother could not lift her hand, but she moved a finger in a way which checked him.

"Promise nothing that may be too hard afterward," she said.

"I promise to try then," he said; "that little sister shall live at home, and never go to the workhouse." He spoke cheerfully, though the candle-light glittered in the two streams of tears on his cheeks. "We can go on living here; and we shall be so—"

It would not do. The sense of their coming desolation rushed over him in a way too terrible to be borne. He hid his face beside her, murmuring, "O mother! mother!"

His mother found strength to move her hand now. She stroked his head with a trembling touch, which he seemed to feel as long as he lived. She could not say much more. She told him she had no fear for any of them. They would be taken care of. She advised him not to waken the little ones, who were sound asleep on the other side of her, and begged him to lie down himself till daylight, and try to sleep, when she should be gone.

This was the last thing she said. The candle [Pg 661] was very low; but before it went out, she was gone. Joel had always done what his mother wished; but he could not obey her in the last thing she had said. He lighted another candle when the first went out; and sat thinking, till the gray dawn began to show through the window.

When he called the neighbors, they were astonished at his quietness. He had taken up the children, and dressed them, and made the room tidy, and lighted the fire, before he told any body what had happened. And when he opened the door, his little sister was in his arms. She was two years old, and could walk, of course; but she liked being in Joel's arms. Poor Willy was the most confounded. He stood with his pinafore at his mouth, staring at the bed, and wondering that his mother lay so still.

If the neighbors were astonished at Joel that morning, they might be more so at some things they saw afterward; but they were not. Every thing seemed done so naturally; and the boy evidently considered what he had to do so much a matter of course, that less sensation was excited than about many smaller things.

After the funeral was over, Joel tied up all his mother's clothes. He carried the bundle on one arm, and his sister on the other. He would not have liked to take money for what he had seen his mother wear; but he changed them away for new and strong clothes for the child. He did not seem to want any help. He went to the factory the next morning, as usual, after washing and dressing the children, and getting a breakfast of bread and milk with them. There was no fire; and he put every knife, and other dangerous thing on a high shelf, and gave them some trifles to play with, and promised to come and play with them at dinner-time. And he did play. He played heartily with the little one, and as if he enjoyed it, every day at the noon hour. Many a merry laugh the neighbors heard from that room when the three children were together; and the laugh was often Joel's.

How he learned to manage, and especially to cook, nobody knew; and he could himself have told little more than that he wanted to see how people did it, and looked accordingly, at every opportunity. He certainly fed the children well; and himself too. He knew that every thing depended on his strength being kept up. His sister sat on his knee to be fed till she could feed herself. He was sorry to give it up; but he said she must learn to behave. So he smoothed her hair, and washed her face before dinner, and showed her how to fold her hands while he said grace. He took as much pains to train her to good manners at table as if he had been a governess, teaching a little lady. While she remained a "baby," he slept in the middle of the bed, between the two, that she might have room, and not be disturbed; and when she ceased to be a baby, he silently made new arrangements. He denied himself a hat, which he much wanted, in order to buy a considerable quantity of coarse dark calico, which, with his own hands, he made into a curtain, and slung up across a part of the room; thus shutting off about a third of it. Here he contrived to make up a little bed for his sister; and he was not satisfied till she had a basin and jug, and piece of soap of her own. Here nobody but himself was to intrude upon her without leave; and, indeed, he always made her understand that he came only to take care of her. It was not only that Willy was not to see her undressed. A neighbor or two, now and then lifted the latch without knocking. One of these one day, heard something from behind the curtain, which made her call her husband silently to listen; and they always afterward treated Joel as if he were a man, and one whom they looked up to. He was teaching the child her little prayer. The earnest, sweet, devout tones by the boy, and the innocent, cheerful imitation of the little one, were beautiful to hear, the listeners said.

Though so well taken care of, she was not to be pampered; there would have been no kindness in that. Very early, indeed, she was taught, in a merry sort of way, to put things in their places, and to sweep the floor, and to wash up the crockery. She was a handy little thing, well trained and docile. One reward that Joel had for his management was, that she was early fit to go to chapel. This was a great point; as he, choosing to send Willy regularly, could not go till he could take the little girl with him. She was never known to be restless; and Joel was quite proud of her.

Willy was not neglected for the little girl's sake. In those days, children went earlier to the factory, and worked longer than they do now, and, by the time the sister was five years old, Willy became a factory boy; and his pay put the little girl to school. When she, at seven, went to the factory, too, Joel's life was altogether an easier one. He always had maintained them all, from the day of his mother's death. The times must have been good—work constant, and wages steady—or he could not have done it. Now, when all three were earning, he put his sister to a sewing-school for two evenings in the week, and the Saturday afternoons; and he and Willy attended an evening-school, as they found they could afford it. He always escorted the little girl wherever she had to go: into the factory, and home again—to the school door, and home again—and to the Sunday-school; yet he was himself remarkably punctual at work and at worship. He was a humble, earnest, docile pupil himself, at the Sunday-school—quite unconscious that he was more advanced than other boys in the sublime science and practice of duty. He felt that every body was very kind to him; but he was unaware that others felt it an honor to be kind to him.

I linger on these years, when he was a fine growing lad, in a state of high content. I linger, unwilling to proceed. But the end must come; and it is soon told. He was sixteen, I [Pg 662] think, when he was asked to become a teacher in the Sunday-school, while not wholly ceasing to be a scholar. He tried, and made a capital teacher, and he won the hearts of the children while trying to open their minds. By this he became more widely known than before.

One day in the next year a tremendous clatter and crash was heard in the factory where Joel worked. A dead silence succeeded, and then several called out that it was only an iron bar that had fallen down. This was true: but the iron bar had fallen on Joel's head, and he was taken up dead!

Such a funeral as his is rarely seen. There is something that strikes on all hearts in the spectacle of a soldier's funeral—the drum, the march of comrades, and the belt and cap laid on the coffin. But there was something more solemn and more moving than all such observances in the funeral of this young soldier, who had so bravely filled his place in the conflict of life. There was the tread of comrades here, for the longest street was filled from end to end. For relics, there were his brother and sister; and for a solemn dirge, the uncontrollable groans of a heart-stricken multitude.


There are people whom one occasionally meets with in the world, who are in a state of perpetual fidget and pucker. Every thing goes wrong with them. They are always in trouble. Now, it is the weather, which is too hot; or at another time, too cold. The dust blows into their eyes, or there is "that horrid rain," or "that broiling sun," or "that Scotch mist." They are as ill to please about the weather as a farmer; it is never to their liking, and never will be. They "never saw such a summer," "not a day's fine weather," and they go back to antiquity for comfort—"it was not so in our younger days."

Fidgety people are rarely well. They have generally "a headache," or "spasms," or "nerves," or something of that sort; they can not be comfortable in their way, without trouble. Most of their friends are ill; this one has the gout "so bad;" another has the rheumatics; a third is threatened with consumption; and there is scarcely a family of their acquaintance whose children have not got measles, whooping-cough, scarlet fever, or some other of the thousand ills which infantine flesh is heir to. They are curiously solicitous about the health of every body; this one is exhorted "not to drink too much cold water," another "not to sit in the draught," a third is advised to "wear flannels;" and they have great doctors at their fingers' ends whom they can quote in their support. They have read Buchan and Culpepper, and fed their fidgets upon their descriptions of diseases of all sorts. They offer to furnish recipes for pills, draughts, and liniments; and if you would believe them, your life depends on taking their advice gratis forthwith.

To sit at meals with such people is enough to give one the dyspepsia. The chimney has been smoking, and the soot has got into the soup; the fish is over-done, and the mutton is underdone; the potatoes have had the disease, the sauce is not of the right sort, the jelly is candied, the pastry is fusty, the grapes are sour. Every thing is wrong. The cook must be disposed of; Betty stands talking too long at the back-gate. The poultry-woman must be changed, the potato-man discarded. There will be a clean sweep. But things are never otherwise. The fidgety person remains unchanged, and goes fidgeting along to the end of the chapter; changing servants, and spoiling them by unnecessary complainings and contradictions, until they become quite reckless of ever giving satisfaction.

The fidgety person has been reading the newspaper, and is in a ferment about "that murder!" Every body is treated to its details. Or somebody's house has been broken into, and a constant fidget is kept up for a time about "thieves!" If a cat's whisper is heard in the night, "there is a thief in the house;" if an umbrella is missing, "a thief has been in the lobby;" if a towel can not be found, "a thief must have stolen it off the hedge." You are counseled to be careful of your pockets when you stir abroad. The outer doors are furnished with latches, new bolts and bars are provided for outhouses, bells are hung behind the shutters, and all other possible expedients are devised to keep out the imaginary "thief."

"Oh! there is a smell of fire!" Forthwith the house is traversed, down-stairs and up-stairs, and a voice at length comes from the kitchen, "It's only Bobby been burning a stick." You are told forthwith of a thousand accidents, deaths, and burnings, that have come from burning sticks! Bobby is petrified and horror-stricken, and is haunted by the terror of conflagrations. If Bobby gets a penny from a visitor, he is counseled "not to buy gunpowder" with it, though he has a secret longing for crackers. Maids are cautioned to "be careful about the clothes-horse," and their ears are often startled with a cry from above-stairs of "Betty, there is surely something singeing!"

The fidgety person "can not bear" the wind whistling through the key-hole, nor the smell of washing, nor the sweep's cry of "svee-eep, svee-eep," nor the beating of carpets, nor thick ink, nor a mewing cat, nor new boots, nor a cold in the head, nor callers for rates and subscriptions. All these little things are magnified into miseries, and if you like to listen, you may sit for hours and hear the fidgety person wax eloquent about them, drawing a melancholy pleasure from the recital.

The fidgety person sits upon thorns, and loves to perch his or her auditor on the same raw material. Not only so, but you are dragged over thorns, until you feel thoroughly unskinned. Your ears are bored, and your teeth are set on edge. Your head aches, and your withers are wrung. You are made to shake hands with [Pg 663] misery, and almost long for some real sorrow as a relief.

The fidgety person makes a point of getting out of humor upon any occasion, whether about private or public affairs. If subjects for misery do not offer within doors, they abound without. Something that has been done in the next street excites their ire, or something done a thousand miles off, or even something that was done a thousand years ago. Time and place matter nothing to the fidgety. They overleap all obstacles in getting at their subject. They must be in hot water. If one question is set at rest, they start another; and they wear themselves to the bone in settling the affairs of every body, which are never settled; they

"Are made desperate by a too quick sense
Of constant infelicity."

Their feverish existence refuses rest, and they fret themselves to death about matters with which they have often no earthly concern. They are spendthrifts in sympathy, which in them has degenerated into an exquisite tendency to pain. They are launched on a sea of trouble, the shores of which are perpetually extending. They are self-stretched on a rack, the wheels of which are ever going round.

The fundamental maxim of the fidgety is—whatever is, is wrong. They will not allow themselves to be happy, nor any body else. They always assume themselves to be the most aggrieved persons extant. Their grumbling is incessant, and they operate as a social poison wherever they go. Their vanity and self-conceit are usually accompanied by selfishness in a very aggravated form, which only seems to make their fidgets the more intolerable. You will generally observe that they are idle persons; indeed, as a general rule, it may be said, that the fidgety class want healthy occupations. In nine cases out of ten, employment in some active pursuit, in which they could not have time to think about themselves, would operate as a cure.

But, we must make an allowance. Fidgets are often caused by the state of the stomach, and a fit of bad temper may not unfrequently be traced to an attack of indigestion. One of the most fidgety members of the House of Commons is a martyr to dyspepsia, and it is understood that some of his most petulant and bitter diatribes have been uttered while laboring under more than usually severe attacks of this disease. He has "pitched into" some "honorable gentleman" when he should have taken blue pill. And so it is with many a man, in domestic and social life, whom we blame for his snappish and disagreeable temper, but whose stomach is the real organ at fault. Indeed, the stomach is the moral no less than the physical barometer of most men; and we can very often judge of tempers, conditions, and sympathies, pretty accurately, according to its state. Let us, therefore, be charitable to the fidgety, whose stomachs, rather than their hearts, may be at fault; and let us counsel them to mend them, by healthy and temperate modes of living, and by plenty of wholesome occupation and exercise.


We need not go to the Valley of Diamonds with Sinbad to find enormous serpents. The companions of other sailors have been swallowed up by those monstrous reptiles, as was too-clearly proved to the crew of the Malay proa, who anchored for the night close to the island of Celebes. One of the party went on shore to look for betel-nut, and, on returning from his search, stretched his wearied limbs to rest on the beach, where he fell asleep, as his companions believed. They were roused in the middle of the night by his screams, and hurried on shore to his assistance; but they came too late. A monstrous snake had crushed him to death. All they could do was to wreak their vengeance on his destroyer, whose head they cut off, and bore it with the body of their ship-mate to their vessel. The marks of the teeth of the serpent, which was about thirty feet in length, were impressed on the dead man's right wrist, and the disfigured corpse showed that it had been crushed by constriction round the head, neck, breast, and thigh. When the snake's jaws were extended, they admitted a body the size of a man's head.

But to see the true boas in their native forests we must cross the Atlantic; and those who are not familiar with the story may have no objection to learn how Captain Stedman fared in an encounter with one twenty-two feet and some inches in length, during his residence in Surinam.

Captain Stedman was lying in his hammock, as his vessel floated down the river, when the sentinel told him that he had seen and challenged something black, moving in the brushwood on the beach, which gave no answer. Up rose the captain, manned the canoe that accompanied his vessel, and rowed to the shore to ascertain what it was. One of his slaves cried out that it was no negro, but a great snake that the captain might shoot if he pleased. The captain, having no such inclination, ordered all hands to return on board. The slave, David, who had first challenged the snake, then begged leave to step forward and shoot it. This seems to have roused the captain, for he determined to kill it himself, and loaded with ball cartridge.

The master and slave then proceeded. David cut a path with a bill-hook, and behind him came a marine with three more loaded guns. They had not gone above twenty yards through mud and water, the negro looking every way with uncommon vivacity, when he suddenly called out, "Me see snakee!" and, sure enough there the reptile lay, coiled up under the fallen leaves and rubbish of the trees. So well covered was it, that some time elapsed before the captain could perceive its head, not above sixteen feet from him, moving its forked tongue, while its vividly-bright eyes appeared to emit sparks of fire. The captain now rested his piece upon a branch to [Pg 664] secure a surer aim, and fired. The ball missed the head, but went through the body, when the snake struck round with such astonishing force as to cut away all the underwood around it with the facility of a scythe mowing grass, and, flouncing with its tail, made the mud and dirt fly over their heads to a considerable distance. This commotion seems to have sent the party to the right about; for they took to their heels, and crawled into the canoe. David, however, entreated the captain to renew the charge, assuring him that the snake would be quiet in a few minutes, and that it was neither able nor inclined to pursue them, supporting his opinion by walking before the captain till the latter should be ready to fire.

They now found the snake a little removed from its former station, very quiet, with its head as before, lying out among the fallen leaves, rotten bark, and old moss. Stedman fired at it immediately, but with no better success than at first; and the enraged animal, being but slightly wounded by the second shot, sent up such a cloud of dust and dirt as the captain had never seen, except in a whirlwind; and away they all again retreated to their canoe. Tired of the exploit, Stedman gave orders to row toward the barge; but the persevering David still entreating that he might be permitted to kill the reptile, the captain determined to make a third and last attempt in his company; and they this time directed their fire with such effect that the snake was shot by one of them through the head.

The vanquished monster was then secured by a running-noose passed over its head, not without some difficulty, however; for, though it was mortally wounded, it continued to writhe and twist about so as to render a near approach dangerous. The serpent was dragged to the shore, and made fast to the canoe, in order that it might be towed to the vessel, and continued swimming like an eel till the party arrived on board, where it was finally determined that the snake should be again taken on shore, and there skinned for the sake of its oil. This was accordingly done; and David having climbed a tree with the end of a rope in his hand, let it down over a strong-forked bough, the other negroes hoisted away, and the serpent was suspended from the tree. Then, David quitting the tree, with a sharp knife between his teeth, clung fast upon the suspended snake, still twisting and twining, and proceeded to perform the same operation that Marsyas underwent, only that David commenced his work by ripping the subject up: he then stripped down the skin as he descended. Stedman acknowledges, that though he perceived that the snake was no longer able to do the operator any harm, he could not, without emotion, see a naked man, black and bloody, clinging with arms and legs round the slimy and yet living monster. The skin and above four gallons of clarified fat, or rather oil, were the spoils secured on this occasion; full as many gallons more seem to have been wasted. The negroes cut the flesh into pieces, intending to feast on it; but the captain would not permit them to eat what he regarded as disgusting food, though they declared that it was exceedingly good and wholesome. The negroes were right, and the captain was wrong: the flesh of most serpents is very good and nourishing, to say nothing of the restorative qualities attributed to it.

One of the most curious accounts of the benefit derived by man from the serpent race, is related by Kircher (see Mus. Worm.), where it is stated that near the village of Sassa, about eight miles from the city of Bracciano, in Italy, there is a hole, or cavern, called la Grotto, delli Serpi, which is large enough to contain two men, and is all perforated with small holes like a sieve. From these holes, in the beginning of spring, issue a prodigious number of small, different-colored serpents, of which every year produces a new brood, but which seem to have no poisonous quality. Such persons as are afflicted with scurvy, leprosy, palsy, gout, and other ills to which flesh is heir, were laid down naked in the cavern, and their bodies being subjected to a copious sweat from the heat of the subterraneous vapors, the young serpents were said to fasten themselves on every part, and extract by sucking every diseased or vitiated humor; so that after some repetitions of this treatment, the patients were restored to perfect health. Kircher, who visited this cave, found it warm, and answering, in every way, the description he had of it. He saw the holes, heard a murmuring, hissing noise in them, and, though he owns that he missed seeing the serpents, it not being the season of their creeping out, yet he saw great numbers of their exuviæ, or sloughs, and an elm growing hard by laden with them. The discovery of this air Schlangenbad, was said to have been made by a leper going from Rome to some baths near this place, who, fortunately, losing his way, and being benighted, turned into this cave. Finding it very warm, and being very weary, he pulled off his clothes, and fell into such a deep sleep that he did not feel the serpents about him till they had wrought his cure.

Such instances of good-will toward man, combined with the periodical renovation of youthful appearance, by a change of the whole external skin, and the character of the serpent for wisdom, contributed, doubtless, to raise the form to a place among the deities.

Their aptitude for tameness was another quality which aided their elevation. The little girl mentioned by Maria Edgeworth, of blessed memory, took out her little porringer daily to share her breakfast with a friendly snake that came from its hiding-place to her call; and when the guest intruded beyond the due limits, she would give it a tap on the head with her spoon, and the admonition, "Eat on your own side, I say."

A lad whom I knew kept a common snake in London, which he had rendered so tame that it [Pg 665] was quite at ease with him, and very fond of its master. When taken out of its box, it would creep up his sleeve, come out at the top, wind itself caressingly about his neck and face, and when tired retire to sleep in his bosom.

Carver, in his travels, relates an instance of docility, which, if true, surpasses any story of the kind I ever heard.

"An Indian belonging to the Menomonie, having taken a rattlesnake, found means to tame it; and when he had done this treated it as a deity, calling it his great father, and carrying it with him in a box wherever he went. This he had done for several summers, when Mons. Pinnisance accidentally met with him at this carrying place, just as he was setting off for a winter's hunt. The French gentleman was surprised one day to see the Indian place the box which contained his god on the ground, and opening the door, give him his liberty; telling him, while he did it, to be sure and return by the time he himself should come back, which was to be in the month of May following. As this was but October, Monsieur told the Indian, whose simplicity astonished him, that he fancied he might wait long enough, when May arrived, for the arrival of his great father. The Indian was so confident of his creature's obedience, that he offered to lay the Frenchman a wager of two gallons of rum, that at the time appointed he would come and crawl into his box. This was agreed on, and the second week in May following fixed for the determination of the wager. At that period they both met there again, when the Indian set down his box, and called for his great father. The snake heard him not; and the time being now expired, he acknowledged that he had lost. However, without seeming to be discouraged, he offered to double the bet if his father came not within two days more. This was further agreed on; when, behold, on the second day, about one o'clock the snake arrived, and of his own accord crawled into the box, which was placed ready for him. The French gentleman vouched for the truth of this story, and from the accounts I have often received of the docility of those creatures, I see no reason to doubt its veracity."


In a dark room, in a ruined and wretched house, in one of the most filthy districts of a great city, a mother sat watching her sleeping babe. The infant was lying on a hard pallet on the floor, and the mother was sitting beside it on a broken chair, plying her needle with eager haste, and occasionally pausing to look down at her babe or to kiss it as it lay asleep. The child was pale and sickly, and in the close offensive air of the room it seemed to breathe painfully and to inhale, with every pulse of its tender heart, the insidious principles of death and dissolution. But not less pale and wan was the mother, who sat there watching; her features wore that blanched, unearthly hue, and that strange upward light was playing in her eyes, which spoke but too plainly that death was breathing on her. The room was lonely—very lonely—for there were no pictures to adorn its walls, scarcely any articles of common domestic use within it; it was bare, almost unfurnished, dismal, and cold. The mother was engaged in making shirts, and the price which she received for them averaged two-pence-halfpenny each; and it is said that by extraordinary exertions, for twenty hours out of twenty-four, the sum of three shillings may be earned weekly at such labor. Well, the pale, care-worn, suffering mother continued to stitch, stitch, anxiously from hour to hour, leaving off now and then to take her dying baby in her arms and to press it fondly to her breast, until the tide of her heart's affection came stealing forth in tears; and recollecting that the next meal for herself and child must be earned by the continued labor of her jaded hands, she placed the infant on its bed, and again resumed her work.

Thus many hours had passed in a silence broken only by the low moaning of the child, as it turned to and fro in the feeble expression of long-continued anguish, and the deep sighs of the mother as she gazed anxiously upon its fevered face, and saw the stamp of want and misery there in an expression akin to the imbecility of years. At length the babe awoke, and the mother took it tenderly into her arms; she pressed it to her breast and kissed the cold dew from its forehead. And now she began to prepare her humble meal, she placed a few sticks of wood in the stove and lighted them, and placed an old broken kettle half filled with water upon them; and then arranged two cups and saucers on a small tray, and took a portion of a loaf from a shelf above. While waiting for the water to boil she gave her child some food; and she had scarcely begun to do this when a heavy and unsteady step was heard upon the threshold; her heart leaped with fear, and she trembled like a moonlight shadow. A creature somewhat in the semblance of a man staggered into the room, and threw himself down upon the pallet where the child had just been sleeping.

"Charles, Charles, do not, for God's sake, treat me thus," said the mother of the child, and she sobbed loudly, and was steeped in tears.

The man scowled upon her from beneath the broken brim of a slouched hat, and in a low fiendish growl, cursed her. His clothes had been respectable in their time, but now were tattered and slovenly, and his face wore the savage wildness and vacancy of long-continued dissipation.

"I came home to ask you for money, so give me what you've got, and let me go, for I haven't done drinking yet," said he, while the devil-like glare of his eyes seemed to pierce the poor mother to the soul.

"I spent my last penny to buy my child some food, I know not where to get another; you have never wanted a meal while I could work, and my poor fingers are wasted to the bone by midnight [Pg 666] labor and the want of bread, and my poor child is wasting away before my face, while you, forgetting all the ties that bind a father to his offspring, or a husband to his wife, take the very bread from me and my babe, to waste it in drunkenness; oh, Charles, you loved me once, but you are killing me now, and my poor dear child."

"You howling, canting hypocrite, give me some money and let me go," bawled the intoxicated brute, and with a sweep of his hand, as he sat upon the child's bed, he overturned the table and scattered the miserable meal upon the floor. The heart-broken wife rushed with her babe to the opposite end of the room, and cowered down in fear. "Do you hear, or do you want me to murder you?" and he rose from where he sat and reeled toward her; shrinking and shivering as she bent over her babe, she pressed its almost lifeless body to her heart, and when he stood above her, she looked up in his face in the agony of despair, and implored, in the mute utterance of her tear-worn eyes, for mercy. But he did not strike her, although she was indeed well used to that, but he put out his hand and taking from her bosom a locket, which had been a dear sister's gift, and the last thing left her but her babe and death, staggered to the door, and, after looking back with a menacing and brutal expression of his savage features, left her. Although he was gone she moved not, but sat wailing like a dove whose nest has been bereft of that which made life dear, and sobbing loudly in her grief she looked upon her child, and saw the tokens of pain and want upon its meagre face, and could feel the throbbing of its little heart becoming more and more feeble, from hour to hour, as the shadow of its life was waning.

And night came, and she laid her child down to rest, and again sat working and watching. She kissed it when its low cry startled her in the midnight silence, and hushed it again to sleep, for it wanted food and that she had not. The morning came, but it was still night to her, and the darkness of her woe sat hovering over her frail soul like the shadow of a great but silent misery. She hurried on in the delirium of extreme weakness that she might complete the wretched work she had, and get food for her famished child. Intense suffering, long watching, hunger, cold, and cruelty had blanched a cheek which had been more fair than snow, and had carved wrinkles, like those of age, upon a youthful brow; death hovered over her like a ghastly shadow, not to her—as to those in comfort—terrible, but welcome. And thus from hour to hour, and from day to day, that mother labored for her lonely child, while he, whose heart should have beat with the devotion of love for her whom he had sworn to cherish, and whose hand should have been ever ready to defend her, deeming nothing too severe, nothing too difficult, which could bring food and comfort to a woman's constant heart, came only to rob her of her last morsel, and to add fresh agonies to her almost withered soul by imprecations and curses.

One morning, after she had been toiling long in cold and hunger, she became too weak to labor more, and nature faltered. She stooped to kiss her babe and to ask a blessing on its head from Him whose benedictions come even to the sorrowful and needy, and as she bent down above its little shadowy form, her sorrows overwhelmed her, and she fell down beside her child and fainted. With none to aid and soothe her—with none to nourish her in her distress of heart, and no kind hand to minister to the poor watcher in that hour of affliction, she lay in that sweet peace which comes to the aching heart when it can for a time forget its sorrows; and better too, perhaps, for her, for her babe was dying, and in the unconsciousness of temporary death, she knew it not.

She awoke at last, for even the forgetfulness so dear to the wounded spirit will have an end, and the grim bitter realities become palpable once more; and as consciousness returned she was startled from her partial dream by the icy chill which fell upon her when she touched her child. She shrieked wildly, and fell upon her face in the maddening agony of despair, "my child, my child, oh, my child!" she cried, and tore her hair in frenzy. Now she became more calm, and turned round to look upon the babe, whose soul had passed into that better sleep from which there is no waking. She kissed its cold wasted form, and bathed its little marble face with her scalding tears.

"Oh, my child," she sobbed, "my poor child, murdered by its father's hand, the victim of his cruelty; oh, Father of all, Father of the wicked and good, take my poor babe to thy fostering bosom, and let me die too, for my last hope is gone, the last link of my heart's affection is broken; Father of mercies, listen to the supplications of a childless mother!"

That step! and the blood goes back to her heart like an icy flood, and every pulse is withered, as with a bleak and desolating frost; she holds her breath, and with her dead child in her arms, crouches down in the corner on the floor, and in the silence of despair and terror asks her God to bless and protect her, and to soften his heart in such an awful moment as this. He came to the threshold of the room, and fell prostrate on the floor as he attempted to approach her; he was too much intoxicated to rise, and there he lay muttering, in broken and inarticulate words, the most horrible oaths and imprecations. The mother spake not, for although, even then she could have prayed for him in her heart, and bless him with her tongue; ay, and still labor for him with her hands, if by such she could win back the old love which had made her youthful hours glad, and which had spread the rosy atmosphere of hope before her; but which was now a thing of silent memory, of sadness, and of tears.

Thus passed away the morning, and at noon the drunkard arose from where he lay, and again [Pg 667] demanded what money she had; she gave him a few halfpence from her pocket, and he snatched them from her and departed.

To know that he had gone to procure the poison on which he fed, with this last remnant of the midnight toil, and when his child lay dead within its mother's arms; to know that for the veriest morsel she must toil again, sleepless and famished, and with the withered blossom of her heart's broken hope beside her; to know that the last office of affection, the burial of the child, must be performed by those who cared for neither her nor it, and who would desecrate, by the vile touch of parochial charity, that which had been more dear to her than her own life; to know that all her joys were wasted now, and that she still lived to hear him curse her in the very place where death had so lately been; and that although she sat before him with the sleeping infant in her arms, while he was too brutalized by drink to know that that sleep was one from which it would never more awake, and that her own terror made her speechless when she would have told him; all this was a torrent of sorrow, before whose overbearing force her wintered heart gave way, and she sank down upon the floor, with her dead babe in her arms, senseless.

Sleep came upon her like a poppy spell, and wafted her silent, soul to sweeter worlds. Far away from her cold and solitary room, far away from hunger, wretchedness, and tears; far away from the keen tortures of maternal sorrow and the despair of withered love, her spirit wandered in that peaceful dream. From earth, as from a wilderness of ashes, her willing spirit went upon its upward flight, ascending and ascending. It neared the blue and shining arch above, and clapped its wings for joy, and felt within it the renovated bliss of innocent and unchanging beauty. It felt the calming influence of soft music swelling around it like sunbright waves upon a summer sea; it saw sweet spots and green peaceful valleys lying in the rosy light of heaven, as clouds at evening lie folded up in sleep. On and on her spirit went in calm and holy majesty, amid the shadowy beauty of that pleasant land. It seemed to bathe in bliss amid bright galaxies of living and rejoicing worlds, and to embrace happiness as its long-sought boon. Through flowery pastures, and falling waters, perfumed gardens, and star-lighted solitudes where the soul of music dwelt and lived amid the sweet echoes of her seraph songs, that mother's new-born soul wandered in its freedom, forgetting all the pangs and tears it had so lately known. Now it passed floating islands of glittering beauty where troops of cherubim were worshiping their God; and from the midst of a soft bed of twilight flowers arose an angel host of babes, soaring in their wantonness of joy to higher regions of the azure air, and singing their simple songs in harmony together. From all the gleaming lights afar came dulcet harpings of angelic wings, and all things in that sweet dream-land of beauty told of the joy which falls upon the virtuous soul. The spirit of the mother, dazzled and amazed till now, awoke from its trance of wonder, and cried aloud "my child, my child, and my husband, where, where are they?" and she sank upon a gleaming bed of purpled blooms, and from the odorous sighing of the lute-toned air the voice of her child came gladly in reply. And now a joyous troop of star-light seraphs sailed toward her, like a snowy cloud, and in the midst she sees her darling babe, clapping its little hands in laughing glee, and overjoyed once more to meet her. Oh, what bliss is like the feeling of a mother, when her trusting heart is gladdened by the return of a child whom she deemed was lost; and if such joy awake within the soul amid all the harsh realities of earth, how much more so in the spirit's home, where nothing but the peaceful thought can live, and all earth's grief is banished? It was her own babe, the bud of hope she nursed and tended in the dark winter of her earthly sorrow, now wearing the same smile which gladdened her amid the gloom, but holier, fairer, and freed from all the traces of want and suffering. The spirits of the mother and the babe embraced each other in the wild joy of this happy meeting, and the mother's spirit knelt before the heaven-built temple of light which arched above, and offered the incense of its prayers for him whose wickedness of heart had steeped her earthly days in bitterness; but who was yet to her the token of a youthful hope, and the living memory of a trusting love. Her earnest spirit, in the gush of its awakened affection for the child of her bosom, called upon its God to have mercy upon him, and to snatch his soul from the blackness of its guilt and the impending terrors of destruction. And the prayer went upward, and the angels sung.

The drunkard staggered to the wretched home, and reeling into the silent room gazed upon the wife and child. They spoke not, moved not; he stooped to touch, but recoiled in horror, for both of them were dead. The mother, in her sweet dream, had glided into the blissful evening land, and he, the destroyer of a wife and child, now felt in all the piercing agony of sin and shame, the scorpion stings of conscience. He fell upon his knees and prayed for mercy! His withering soul seemed struggling within him, and he gasped for breath. He had wandered into wicked paths, he had blighted a gentle heart by cruelty and neglect, he had wasted his own child's meal in drunkenness and villainy, while it lay on its mother's breast perishing for want of food. He felt all the terrors of remorse, and hell seemed gaping beneath him! He arose and wept, and the first tear he shed was carried by invisible hands upward to that world of peace, as a sacrifice of penitence to the kneeling spirit of a mother. He wandered away in silence, and where he went were the falling tears which spoke, in accents eloquent and true, the silent utterance of a repentant heart. [Pg 668]


Two other gentlemen occupied the railway carriage, which, on a gusty day in December, was conveying us toward Gravesend, via Blackwall. One wore spectacles, by the aid of which he was perusing a small pocket edition of his favorite author. No sound escaped his lips; yet, his under-jaw and his disengaged hand moved with the solemn regularity of an orator emitting periods of tremendous euphony. Presently, his delight exploded in a loud shutting up of the book and an enthusiastic appeal to us in favor of the writings of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

"What, for example, can be finer, gentlemen, than his account of the origin of glass-making; in which, being a drysalter, I take a particular interest. Let me read the passage to you!"

"But the noise of the train—"

"Sir, I can drown that."

The tone in which the Johnsonian "Sir" was let off, left no doubt of it. Though a small man, the reader was what his favorite writer would have denominated a Stentor, and what the modern school would call a Stunner. When he re-opened the book and began to read, the words smote the ear as if they had been shot out of the mouth of a cannon. To give additional effect to the rounded periods of his author, he waved his arm in the air at each turn of a sentence, as if it had been a circular saw. "Who," he recited, "when he saw the first sand or ashes, by a casual intenseness of heat, melted into a metalline form, rugged with excrescences, and clouded with impurities, would have imagined, that in this shapeless lump lay concealed so many conveniences of life, as would in time constitute a great part of the happiness of the world? Yet by some such fortuitous liquefaction was mankind taught to procure a body at once in a high degree solid and transparent, which might admit the light of the sun, and exclude the violence of the wind: which might extend the light of the philosopher to new ranges of existence, and charm him at one time with the unbounded extent of the material creation, and at another with the endless subordination of animal life; and, what is yet of more importance, might supply the decays of nature, and succor old age with subsidiary sight. Thus was the first artificer in glass employed, though without his own knowledge or expectation. He was facilitating and prolonging the enjoyment of light, enlarging the avenues of science, and conferring the highest and most lasting pleasures; he was enabling the student to contemplate nature, and the beauty to behold herself. This passion for—"

"Blackwall, gents! Blackwall, ladies! Boat for Gravesend!" We should, unquestionably, have been favored with the rest of the ninth number of the "Rambler" (in which the fore-going passage occurs) but for these announcements.

"There is one thing, however," said the little man with the loud voice, as we walked from the platform to the pier, "which I can not understand. What does the illustrious essayist mean by the 'fortuitous liquefaction' of the sand and ashes. Was glass found out by accident?"

Luckily, a ray of school-day classics enlightened a corner of our memory, and we mentioned the well-known story, in Pliny, that some Phœnician merchants, carrying saltpetre to the mouth of the river Belus, went ashore; and, placing some lumps of the cargo under their kettles to cook food, the heat of the fire fused the nitre, which ran among the sand of the shore. The cooks finding this union to produce a translucent substance, discovered the art of making glass.

"That," said our other companion, holding his hat to prevent the wind from blowing it aboard the Gravesend steamer (which was not to start for ten minutes), "has been the stock tale of all writers on the subject, from Pliny down to Ure; but, Sir Gardiner Wilkinson has put it out of the power of future authors to repeat it. That indefatigable haunter of Egyptian tombs discovered minute representations of glass-blowing, painted on tombs of the time of Orsirtasin the First, some sixteen hundred years before the date of Pliny's story. Indeed, a glass bead, bearing the name of a king who lived fifteen hundred years before Christ, was found in another tomb by Captain Henvey, the specific gravity of which is precisely that of English crown-glass."

"You seem to know all about it!" exclaimed the loud-voiced man.

"Being a director of a plate-glass company I have made it my business to learn all that books could teach me on the subject."

"I should like to see glass made," said the vociferous admirer of Dr. Johnson, "especially plate-glass."

To this, the other replied, with ready politeness, "If your wish be very strong, and you have an hour to spare, I shall be happy to show you the works to which I am going—those of the Thames Plate Glass Company. They are close by."

"The fact is," was the reply, "Mrs. Bossle (I'm sorry to say Mrs. Bossle is an invalid) expects me down to Gravesend to tea; but an hour won't matter much."

"And you, sir?" said the civil gentleman, addressing me.

My desire was equally strong, and the next hour equally my own; for, as the friend, whom a negligent public had driven to emigration, was not to sail until the next morning, it did not much matter whether I took my last farewell of him at Gravesend early or late that evening.

Tracking our guide through dock gates, over narrow drawbridges, along quays; now, dodging the rigging of ships; now, tripping over cables, made "taut" to rings; now falling foul [Pg 669] of warping-posts (for it was getting dusk); one minute, leaping over deserted timber; the next, doubling stray casks; the next, winding among the strangest ruins of dismantled steamboats, for which a regular hospital seemed established in that region of mud and water; then, emerging into dirty lanes, and turning the corners of roofless houses; we finished an exciting game of Follow-my-Leader, at a pair of tall gates. One of these admitted us into the precincts of the southernmost of the six manufactories of plate glass existing in this country.

The first ingredient in making glass, to which we were introduced, was contained in a goodly row of barrels in full tap, marked with the esteemed brand of "Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, and Co." It is the well-known fermented extract of malt and hops, which is, it seems, nearly as necessary to the production of good plate glass, as flint and soda. To liquefy the latter materials by means of fire is, in truth, dry work; and our cicerone explained, that seven pints per day, per man, of Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton, and Company's Entire, has been found, after years of thirsty experience, to be absolutely necessary to moisten human clay, hourly baked at the mouths of blazing furnaces. These furnaces emit a heat more intense than the most perspiring imagination can conceive, or the stanchest thermometer indicate. An attempt to ascertain the degree of heat was once made: a pyrometer (a thermometer of the superlative degree, or "fire-measurer"), was applied to the throat of a furnace—for every furnace has its mouth, its throat, and its flaming tongues; but the wretched instrument, after five minutes' scorching, made an expiring effort to mark thirteen hundred degrees above boiling point, cracked, was shivered into bits, and was finally swallowed up by the insatiable element whose proceedings it had presumptuously attempted to register.

Having, by this time, crossed a yard, we stood on the edge of a foul creek of the Thames, so horribly slimy, that a crocodile or an alligator, or any scaly monster of the Saurian period, seemed much more likely to be encountered in such a neighborhood than the beautiful substance that makes our modern rooms so glittering and bright; our streets so dazzling, and our windows at once so radiant and so strong.

"In order to understand our process thoroughly," said the obliging director of the seven acres of factory and the four hundred operatives we had come to see, "we must begin with the beginning. This," picking up from a heap a handful of the finest of fine sand—the glittering pounce, in fact, with which our forefathers spangled their writing—"is the basis of all glass. It is the whitest, most highly pulverized flint sand that can be procured. This comes from Lynn, on the coast of Norfolk. Its mixture with the other materials is a secret, even to us. We give the man who possesses it a handsome salary for exercising his mystery."

"A secret!" cried Mr. Bossle. "Every body, I thought, knew—at least every body in the drysaltery line understands—what glass is made of. Why, I can repeat the recipe given by Dr. Ure, from memory: To every hundred parts of materials, there are of pure sand forty-three parts; soda twenty-five and a half (by-the-by, we have some capital carbonate coming forward ex Mary Anne, that we could let you have at a low figure); quick-lime, four; nitre, one and a half; broken glass, twenty-six. The doctor calculates, if I remember rightly, that of the whole, thirty parts of this compound run to waste in fusing so that seventy per cent. becomes, on an average, glass."

"That is all very true," was the answer; "but our glass is, we flatter ourselves, of a much better color, and stands annealing better, than that made from the ordinary admixture: from which, however, ours differs but little—only, I think, in the relative quantities. In that lies the secret."

Mr. Bossle expressed great anxiety to behold an individual who was possessed of a secret worth several hundreds a year, paid weekly. Romance invariably associates itself with mystery; and we are not quite sure from the awful way in which Mr. Bossle dropped his voice to a soft whisper, that he did not expect, on entering the chamber of pre-vitrified chemicals, to find an individual clothed like the hermit in "Rasselas," or mingling his "elements" with the wand of Hermes Trismegistus. He looked as if he could hardly believe his spectacles, when he saw a plain, respectable-looking, indifferent-tempered man, not a whit more awe-inspiring—or more dusty—than a miller on a market-day.

We do not insinuate that Mr. Bossle endeavored to "pluck out the heart of the mystery," though nothing seemed to escape the focus of his spectacles. But, although here lay, in separate heaps, the sand and soda and saltpetre and lime and cullet, or broken glass; while there, in a huge trough, those ingredients were mixed up (like "broken" in a confectioner's shop) ready to be pushed through a trap to fill the crucible or stomach of the furnace; yet, despite Mr. Bossle's sly investigations, and sonorous inquiries, he left the hall of "elements" as wise as he had entered.

Passing through a variety of places in which the trituration, purification, and cleaning of the materials were going on, we mounted to an upper story that reminded us of the yard in which the cunning captain of the Forty Thieves, when he was disguised as an Oil Merchant, stored his pretended merchandise. It was filled with rows and rows of great clay jars, something like barrels with their heads knocked out. Each had, instead of a hoop, an indented band round the middle, for the insertion of the iron gear by which they were, in due time, to be lifted into and out of the raging furnaces. There were two sizes; one about four feet deep, and three feet six inches in diameter, technically called "pots," and destined to receive the [Pg 670] materials for their first sweltering. The smaller vessels (cuvettes) were of the same shape, but only two feet six inches deep, and two feet in diameter. These were the crucibles in which the vitreous compound was to be fired a second time, ready for casting. These vessels are built—for that is really the process; and it requires a twelvemonth to build one, so gradually must it settle and harden, and so slowly must it be pieced together, or the furnace would immediately destroy it—of Stourbridge clay, which is the purest and least silicious yet discovered.

"We have now," said Mr. Bossle, wiping his spectacles, and gathering himself up for a loud Johnsonian period, "seen the raw materials ready to be submitted to the action of the fire, and we have also beheld the vessels in which the vitrification is to take place. Let us therefore witness the actual liquefaction."

In obedience to this grandiloquent wish, we were shown into the hall of furnaces.

It was a sight indeed. A lofty and enormous hall, with windows in the high walls open to the rainy night. Down the centre, a fearful row of roaring furnaces, white-hot: to look at which, even through the chinks in the iron screens before them, and masked, seemed to scorch and splinter the very breath within one. At right angles with this hall, another, an immense building in itself, with unearthly-looking instruments hanging on the walls, and strewn about, as if for some diabolical cookery. In dark corners, where the furnaces redly glimmered on them, from time to time, knots of swarthy muscular men, with nets drawn over their faces, or hanging from their hats: confusedly grouped, wildly dressed, scarcely heard to mutter amid the roaring of the fires, and mysteriously coming and going, like picturesque shadows, cast by the terrific glare. Such figures there must have been, once upon a time, in some such scene, ministering to the worship of fire, and feeding the altars of the cruel god with victims. Figures not dissimilar, alas! there have been, torturing and burning, even in our Saviour's name. But, happily those bitter days are gone. The senseless world is tortured for the good of man, and made to take new forms in his service. Upon the rack, we stretch the ores and metals of the earth, and not the image of the Creator of all. These fires and figures are the agents of civilization, and not of deadly persecution and black murder. Burn fires and welcome! making a light in England that shall not be quenched by all the monkish dreamers in the world!

We were aroused by a sensation like the sudden application of a hot mask to the countenance. As we instinctively placed a hand over our face to ascertain how much of the skin was peeling off, our cool informant announced that the furnace over against us had been opened to perform the tréjetage, or ladling of the liquid pot à feu from the large pots into the smaller ones. "I must premise," he said, "that one-third of the raw materials, as put together by our secret friend, are first thrown in; and when that is melted, one-third more; on that being fused, the last third is added. The mouth of the furnace is then closed, and an enormous heat kept up by the tiseur or stoker (all our terms are taken from the French), during sixteen hours. That time having now elapsed, in the case of the flaming pot before you, the furnace is opened. The man with the long ladle thrusts it, you perceive, into the pot, takes out a ladleful, and, by the assistance of two companions, throws the vitrified dough upon an iron anvil. The other two men turn it over and over, spread it upon the inverted flat-iron, and twitch out, with pliers, any speck or impurity; it is tossed again into the ladle, and thrown into a cuvette in another furnace. When the cuvettes are full, that furnace is stopped up to maintain a roaring heat for another eight hours; and, in the language of the men, 'the ceremony is performed.'"

At this moment, the noise burst forth from the middle of the enormous shed, of several beats of a gong: so loud, that they even drowned the thundering inquiries with which Mr. Bossle was teasing one of the "teasers." In an instant the men hastened to a focus, like giants in a Christmas pantomime about to perform some wonderful conjuration; and not a whisper was heard.

"Aha!" exclaimed the director, "they are going to cast. This way, gentlemen!"

The kitchen in which the Ogre threatened to cook Jack and his seven brothers could not have been half so formidable an apartment as the enormous cuisine into which we were led. One end was occupied with a row of awful ovens; in the midst, stood a stupendous iron table; and upon it lay a rolling-pin, so big, that it could only be likened to half-a-dozen garden-rollers joined together at their ends. Above, was an iron crane or gallows to lift the enormous messes of red-hot gruel, thick and slab, which were now to be brought from the furnaces.

"Stand clear!" A huge basin, white with heat, approaches, on a sort of iron hurley; at one end of which sits, triumphant, a salamander, in human form, to balance the Plutonian mass, as it approaches on its wheeled car—playing with it—a game of see-saw. It stops at the foot of the iron gallows. Mr. Bossle approaches to see what it is, and discovers it to be a cuvette filled with molten glass, glowing from the fiery furnace. What is that man doing with a glazed mask before his face? "Why, if you will believe me," exclaims Mr. Bossle, in the tones of a speaking-trumpet (we are at a prudent distance), "he is ladling off the scum, as composedly as if it were turtle-soup!" Mr. Bossle grows bold, and ventures a little nearer. Rash man! His nose is assuredly scorched; he darts back, and takes off his spectacles, to ascertain how much of the frames are melted. The dreadful pot is lifted by the crane. It is poised immediately over the table; a workman tilts it; and out pours a cataract of [Pg 671] molten opal which spreads itself, deliberately, like infernal sweet-stuff, over the iron table; which is spilled and slopped about, in a crowd of men, and touches nobody. "And has touched nobody since last year, when one poor fellow got the large shoes he wore, filled with white-hot glass." Then the great rolling-pin begins to "roll it out."

But, those two men, narrowly inspecting every inch of the red hot sheet as the roller approaches it—is their skin salamandrine? are their eyes fire-proof?

"They are looking," we are told, "for any accidental impurity that may be still intruding in the vitrifaction, and, if they can tear it out with their long pincers before the roller has passed over it, they are rewarded. From the shape these specks assume in being torn away, they are called 'tears.'"

When the roller has passed over the table, it leaves a sheet of red-hot glass, measuring some twelve feet by seven.

This translucent confection is pushed upon a flat wooden platform on wheels—sparkling, as it touches the wood, like innumerable diamonds—and is then run rapidly to an oven, there to be baked or annealed. The bed or "sole" of this carquèse is heated to a temperature exactly equal to that of the glass; which is now so much cooled that you can stand within a yard or so of it without fear of scorching off your eyelashes. The pot out of the furnace is cooled, too, out in the rain, and lies there, burst into a hundred pieces. It has been a good one: for it has withstood the fire seventy days.

So rapidly are all these casting operations performed, that, from the moment when Mr. Bossle thought his spectacles were melting off his nose, to the moment when the sheet of glass is shut up in the oven, about five minutes have elapsed. The operations are repeated, until the oven is full of glass-plates.

When eight plates are put into the carquèse, it is closed up hermetically; for the tiniest current of cold air would crack the glass. The fire is allowed to go out of its own accord, and the cooling takes place so gradually, that it is not completed until eight days are over. When drawn forth, the glass is that "rough plate" which we see let into the doors of railway stations, and forming half-transparent floors in manufactories. To make it completely transparent for windows and looking-glasses, elaborate processes of grinding and polishing are requisite. They are three in number: roughing down, smoothing, and polishing.

"I perceive," said Mr. Bossle, when he got to the roughing-down room, where steam machinery was violently agitating numerous plates of glass, one upon the other, "that the diamond-cut-diamond principle is adopted."

"Exactly; the under-plate is fastened to a table by plaster-of-paris, and the upper one—quite rough—is violently rubbed by machinery upon it, with water, sand, and other grinding-powders between. The top-plate is then fastened to a table, to rough down another first plate; for the under one is always the smoother."

Then comes the "smoothing." Emery, of graduated degrees of fineness, is used for that purpose. "Until within the last month or so, smoothing could only be done by human labor. The human hand alone was capable of the requisite tenacity, to rub the slippery surfaces over each other; nay, so fine a sense of touch was requisite, that even a man's hand had scarcely sensitiveness enough for the work; hence females were, and still are employed."

As our pains-taking informant spoke, he pushed open a door, and we beheld a sight that made Mr. Bossle wipe his spectacles, and ourselves imagine for a moment that a scene from an Oriental story-book was magically revealed to us; so elegant and graceful were the attitudes into which a bevy of some fifty females—many of them of fine forms and handsome features—were unceasingly throwing themselves. Now, with arms extended, they pushed the plates to one verge of the low tables, stretching their bodies as far as possible; then, drawing back, they stood erect, pulling the plate after them; then, in order to reach the opposite edge of the plane, they stretched themselves out again to an almost horizontal posture. The easy beauty of their movements, the glitter of the glass, the brilliancy of the gas-lights, the bright colors of most of the dresses, formed a coup d'œil which Mr. Bossle enjoyed a great deal more than Mrs. Bossle, had she been there, might have quite approved.

The fairy scene is soon, however, to disappear. Mr. Blake the ingenious manager of the works, has invented an artificial female hand, by means of which, in combination with peculiar machinery, glass smoothing can be done by steam. The last process is "polishing." This art is practiced in a spacious room glowing with red. Every corner of the busy interior is as rubicund as a Dutch dairy. The floor is red, the walls are red, the ceiling is red, the pillars are red. The machinery is very red. Red glass is attached, by red plaster of Paris, to red movable tables; red rubbers of red felt, heavily weighted with red leads, are driven rapidly over the red surface. Little red boys, redder than the reddest of Red Indians, are continually sprinkling on the reddened glass, the rouge (moistened crocus, peroxyde of iron), which converts the scene of their operations into the most gigantic of known Rubrics.

When polished, the glass is taken away to be "examined." A body of vigilant scrutineers place each sheet between their own eyes and a strong light: wherever a scratch or flaw appears, they make a mark with a piece of wax. If removable, these flaws are polished out by hand. The glass is then ready for the operation which enables "the beauty to behold herself." The spreading of the quicksilver at the back is, however, a separate process, accomplished elsewhere, and performed by a perfectly distinct body of workmen. It is a very simple art. [Pg 672]

The manufacture of plate-glass adds another to the thousand and one instances of the advantages of unrestricted and unfettered trade. The great demand occasioned by the immediate fall in price consequent upon the New Tariff, produced this effect on the Thames Plate Glass Works. They now manufacture as much plate-glass per week as was turned out in the days of the Excise, in the same time, by all the works in the country put together. The Excise incubi clogged the operations of the workmen, and prevented every sort of improvement in the manufacture. They put their gauges into the "metal" (or mixed materials) before it was put into the pot. They overhauled the paste when it was taken out of the fire, and they applied their foot-rules to the sheets after the glass was annealed. The duty was collected during the various stages of manufacture half-a-dozen times, and amounted to three hundred per cent. No improvement was according to law, and the exciseman put his veto upon every attempt of the sort. In the old time, the mysterious mixer could not have exercised his secret vocation for the benefit of his employers, and the demand for glass was so small that Mr. Blake's admirable polishing machine would never have been invented. Nor could plate-glass ever have been used for transparent flooring, or for door panels, or for a hundred other purposes, to which it is now advantageously and ornamentally applied.

Thanking the courteous gentlemen who had shown us over the works, we left Mr. Bossle in close consultation with the manager. As, in crossing the yard, we heard the word "soda!" frequently thundered forth, we concluded that the Johnsonian drysalter was endeavoring to complete some transactions in that commodity, which he had previously opened with the director. But, it is not in our power to report decisively on this head, for our attention was directed to two concluding objects.

First, to a row of workmen—the same we had lately seen among the fires and liquid glass—good-humoredly sitting, with perfect composure, on a log of timber, out in the cold and wet, looking at the muddy creek, and drinking their beer, as if there were no such thing as temperature known. Secondly, and lastly, to the narrow passages or caves underneath the furnaces, into which the glowing cinders drop through gratings. These looked, when we descended into them, like a long Egyptian street on a dark night, with a fiery rain falling. In warm divergent chambers and crevices, the boys employed in the works love to hide and sleep, on cold nights. So slept De Foe's hero, Colonel Jack, among the ashes of the glass-house where he worked.

And that, and the river together, made us think of Robinson Crusoe the whole way home, and wonder what all the English boys who have been since his time, and who are yet to be, would have done without him and his desert Island.


My name is Meek. I am, in fact, Mr. Meek. That son is mine and Mrs. Meek's. When I saw the announcement in the Times, I dropped the paper. I had put it in, myself, and paid for it, but it looked so noble that it overpowered me.

As soon as I could compose my feelings, I took the paper up to Mrs. Meek's bedside. "Maria Jane," said I (I allude to Mrs. Meek), "you are now a public character." We read the review of our child, several times, with feelings of the strongest emotion; and I sent the boy who cleans the boots and shoes, to the office, for fifteen copies. No reduction was made on taking that quantity.

It is scarcely necessary for me to say, that our child had been expected. In fact, it had been expected, with comparative confidence, for some months. Mrs. Meek's mother, who resides with us—of the name of Bigby—had made every preparation for its admission to our circle.

I hope and believe I am a quiet man. I will go further. I know I am a quiet man. My constitution is tremulous, my voice was never loud, and, in point of stature, I have been from infancy, small. I have the greatest respect for Maria Jane's mamma. She is a most remarkable woman. I honor Maria Jane's mamma. In my opinion she would storm a town, single-handed, with a hearth-broom, and carry it. I have never known her to yield any point whatever, to mortal man. She is calculated to terrify the stoutest heart.

Still—but I will not anticipate.

The first intimation I had, of any preparations being in progress, on the part of Maria Jane's mamma, was one afternoon, several months ago. I came home earlier than usual from the office, and, proceeding into the dining-room, found an obstruction behind the door, which prevented it from opening freely. It was an obstruction of a soft nature. On looking in, I found it to be a female.

The female in question stood in the corner behind the door, consuming sherry wine. From the nutty smell of that beverage pervading the apartment, I had no doubt she was consuming a second glassful. She wore a black bonnet of large dimensions, and was copious in figure. The expression of her countenance was severe and discontented. The words to which she gave utterance on seeing me, were these, "Oh, git along with you, sir, if you please; me and Mrs. Bigby don't want no male parties here!"

That female was Mrs. Prodgit.

I immediately withdrew, of course. I was rather hurt, but I made no remark. Whether it was that I showed a lowness of spirits after dinner, in consequence of feeling that I seemed to intrude, I can not say. But, Maria Jane's mamma said to me on her retiring for the night, in a low distinct voice, and with a look of reproach that completely subdued me, [Pg 673] "George Meek, Mrs. Prodgit is your wife's nurse!"

I bear no ill-will toward Mrs. Prodgit. Is it likely that I, writing this with tears in my eyes, should be capable of deliberate animosity toward a female, so essential to the welfare of Maria Jane? I am willing to admit that Fate may have been to blame, and not Mrs. Prodgit; but, it is undeniably true, that the latter female brought desolation and devastation into my lowly dwelling.

We were happy after her first appearance; we were sometimes exceedingly so. But, whenever the parlor door was opened, and "Mrs. Prodgit!" announced (and she was very often announced), misery ensued. I could not bear Mrs. Prodgit's look. I felt that I was far from wanted, and had no business to exist in Mrs. Prodgit's presence. Between Maria Jane's mamma, and Mrs. Prodgit, there was a dreadful, secret understanding—a dark mystery and conspiracy, pointing me out as a being to be shunned. I appeared to have done something that was evil. Whenever Mrs. Prodgit called, after dinner, I retired to my dressing-room—where the temperature is very low, indeed, in the wintry time of the year—and sat looking at my frosty breath as it rose before me, and at my rack of boots: a serviceable article of furniture, but never, in my opinion, an exhilarating object. The length of the councils that were held with Mrs. Prodgit, under these circumstances, I will not attempt to describe. I will merely remark, that Mrs. Prodgit always consumed sherry wine while the deliberations were in progress; that they always ended in Maria Jane's being in wretched spirits on the sofa; and that Maria Jane's mamma always received me, when I was recalled, with a look of desolate triumph that too plainly said, "Now, George Meek! You see my child, Maria Jane, a ruin, and I hope you are satisfied!"

I pass, generally, over the period that intervened between the day when Mrs. Prodgit entered her protest against male parties, and the ever-memorable midnight when I brought her to my unobtrusive home in a cab, with an extremely large box on the roof, and a bundle, a bandbox, and a basket, between the driver's legs. I have no objection to Mrs. Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby, who I never can forget is the parent of Maria Jane), taking entire possession of my unassuming establishment. In the recesses of my own breast, the thought may linger that a man in possession can not be so dreadful as a woman, and that woman Mrs. Prodgit: but, I ought to bear a good deal, and I hope I can, and do. Huffing and snubbing, prey upon my feelings; but I can bear them without complaint. They may tell in the long run; I may be hustled about, from post to pillar, beyond my strength; nevertheless, I wish to avoid giving rise to words in the family.

The voice of Nature, however, cries aloud in behalf of Augustus George, my infant son. It is for him that I wish to utter a few plaintive household words. I am not at all angry; I am mild—but miserable.

I wish to know why, when my child, Augustus George, was expected in our circle, a provision of pins was made, as if the little stranger were a criminal who was to be put to the torture immediately on his arrival, instead of a holy babe? I wish to know why haste was made to stick those pins all over his innocent form, in every direction? I wish to be informed why light and air are excluded from Augustus George, like poisons? Why, I ask, is my unoffending infant so hedged into a basket-bedstead, with dimity and calico, with miniature sheets and blankets, that I can only hear him snuffle (and no wonder!) deep down under the pink hood of a little bathing-machine, and can never peruse even so much of his lineaments as his nose.

Was I expected to be the father of a French Roll, that the brushes of All Nations were laid in, to rasp Augustus George? Am I to be told that his sensitive skin was ever intended by Nature to have rashes brought out upon it, by the premature and incessant use of those formidable little instruments?

Is my son a Nutmeg, that he is to be grated on the stiff edges of sharp frills? Am I the parent of a Muslin boy, that his yielding surface is to be crimped and small-plaited? Or is my child composed of Paper or of Linen, that impressions of the finer getting-up art, practiced by the laundress, are to be printed off, all over his soft arms and legs, as I constantly observe them? The starch enters his soul; who can wonder that he cries?

Was Augustus George intended to have limbs, or to be born a Torso? I presume that limbs were the intention, as they are the usual practice. Then, why are my poor child's limbs fettered and tied up? Am I to be told that there is any analogy between Augustus George Meek, and Jack Sheppard.

Analyze Castor Oil at any Institution of Chemistry that may be agreed upon, and inform me what resemblance, in taste, it bears to that natural provision which it is at once the pride and duty of Maria Jane to administer to Augustus George! Yet, I charge Mrs. Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby) with systematically forcing Castor Oil on my innocent son, from the first hour of his birth. When that medicine, in its efficient action, causes internal disturbance to Augustus George, I charge Mrs. Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby) with insanely and inconsistently administering opium to allay the storm she has raised! What is the meaning of this?

If the days of Egyptian Mummies are past, how dare Mrs. Prodgit require, for the use of my son, an amount of flannel and linen that would carpet my humble roof? Do I wonder that she requires it? No! This morning, within an hour, I beheld this agonizing sight. I beheld my son—Augustus George—in Mrs. [Pg 674] Prodgit's hands, and on Mrs. Prodgit's knee, being dressed. He was at the moment, comparatively speaking, in a state of nature; having nothing on, but an extremely short shirt, remarkably disproportionate to the length of his usual outer garments. Trailing from Mrs. Prodgit's lap, on the floor, was a long narrow roller or bandage—I should say, of several yards in extent. In this, I SAW Mrs. Prodgit tightly roll the body of my unoffending infant, turning him over and over, now presenting his unconscious face upward, now the back of his bald head, until the unnatural feat was accomplished, and the bandage secured by a pin, which I have every reason to believe entered the body of my only child. In this tourniquet, he passes the present phase of his existence. Can I know it, and smile!

I fear I have been betrayed into expressing myself warmly, but I feel deeply. Not for myself; for Augustus George. I dare not interfere. Will any one? Will any publication? Any doctor? Any parent? Any body? I do not complain that Mrs. Prodgit (aided and abetted by Mrs. Bigby) entirely alienates Maria Jane's affections from me, and interposes an impassable barrier between us. I do not complain of being made of no account. I do not want to be of any account. But Augustus George is a production of Nature (I can not think otherwise) and I claim that he should be treated with some remote reference to Nature. In my opinion, Mrs. Prodgit is, from first to last, a convention and a superstition. Are all the faculty afraid of Mrs. Prodgit? If not, why don't they take her in hand and improve her?

P.S. Maria Jane's mamma boasts of her own knowledge of the subject, and says she brought up seven children besides Maria Jane. But how do I know that she might not have brought them up much better? Maria Jane herself is far from strong, and is subject to headaches, and nervous indigestion. Besides which, I learn from the statistical tables that one child in five dies within the first year of its life; and one child in three within the fifth. That don't look as if we could never improve in these particulars, I think!

P.P.S. Augustus George is in convulsions.



When George Banks was nearly thirty years of age, he married. He had always been happy, except for one great drawback: and now he hoped to be happier than ever; and, indeed, he was. The drawback was that his father drank. Banks had been brought up to expect a little property which should make life easy to him; but, while still a youth, he gave up all thought of any property but such as he might earn. He saw every thing going to ruin at home; and he and his sister, finding that their father was irreclaimable, resolved to go out and work for themselves, and for their mother while she lived. The sister went out to service, and Banks became a farm-laborer. Their father's pride was hurt at their sinking below the station they were born to; but they were obliged to disregard his anger when an honest maintenance was in question. There was a smaller drawback, by the way; Banks was rather deaf, and he thought the deafness increased a little; but it was not enough to stand in the way of his employment as a laborer; he could hear the sermon in church; and Betsy did not mind it, so he did not. He had a good master in old Mr. Wilkes, a large farmer in a southern county. Mr. Wilkes paid him 12s. a week all the year round, and £5 for the harvest month. For some years Banks laid by a good deal of money; so did Betsy, who was a housemaid at Mr. Wilkes's. When they became engaged, they had between them £50 laid by.

Banks took a cottage of three rooms, with nearly half a rood of garden-ground. They furnished their house really well, with substantial new furniture, and enough of it. In those days of high prices it made a great cut out of their money: but they agreed that they should never repent it. Banks had the privilege of a run on the common for his cow, and of as much peat as he chose to cut and carry for fuel. He had seen the consequences of intemperance in his father's case, and he was a water-drinker. He seldom touched even beer, except at harvest-time, when his wife brewed for him, that they might keep clear of the public-house.

During the whole of their lives to this day (and they are now old) they have never bought any thing whatever without having the money in their hands to pay for it. If they had not the money, they no more thought of having the article than if it had been at the North Pole. They paid £5 a year for their cottage, and the poor rate has always been from 15s. to 20s. a year. It was war-time when they married, in 1812; and the dread came across them now and then, of a recruiting party appearing, or of Banks being drawn for the militia; but they hoped that the deafness would save them from this misfortune. And the fear was not for long: in 1814, peace was proclaimed. It was a merry night—that when the great bonfire was lighted for the peace. Mrs. Banks could not go to see it, for she was in her second confinement at the time; but her husband came to her bedside and told her all about it. She had never seen him so gay. He was always cheerful and sweet-tempered; but he was of a grave cast of character, which the deafness had deepened into a constant thoughtfulness. This night, however, he was very talkative, telling her what good times were coming, now that Bonaparte was put down; how every man might stay at home at his proper business, and there would be fewer beggars and lower poor rates, and every thing would go well, with God's blessing on a nation at peace. The next year there was war again; but, almost as soon as it was known [Pg 675] that Bonaparte had reappeared, the news came of the battle of Waterloo, and there was an end of all apprehension of war.

In eleven years they had eleven children. There was both joy and sorrow with those children. For seven years, the eldest, little Polly, was nothing but joy to her parents. She was the prettiest little girl they had ever seen; and the neighbors thought so too. She was bright and merry, perfectly obedient, very clever, and so handy that she was a helpful little maid to her mother. When three infants died, one after another, her father found comfort in taking this child on his knees in the evenings, and getting her to prattle to him. Her clear little merry voice came easily to his ear, when he could not hear older people without difficulty. The next child, Tom, was a blessing in his way: he was a strong little fellow of six; and he went out with Banks to the field, and really did some useful work—frightening the birds, leading the horses, picking sticks, weeding, running errands, and so on. But the charm at home was little Polly. When Polly was seven, however, a sad accident happened. She was taking care of the little ones before the door, during her mother's confinement, and one of the boys struck her on the top of the head with a saucepan. She fell, and when she was taken up she looked so strangely that the doctor was consulted about her. After watching her for some weeks he said he feared there was some injury to the brain. Banks has had many troubles in life, but none has been sorer than that of seeing the change that came over this child. It was not the loss of her beauty that made his heart ache when he looked in her face: it was the staring, uneasy expression of countenance which made him turn his eyes away in pain of heart. She grew jealous and suspicious; and, though no mood of mind remained many minutes, this was a sad contrast with the open sweetness of temper that they were never more to see. She did as she was bid; she went on learning to cook and to sew, and she could clean the house; but she never remembered from one minute to another what she was to do, and was always asking questions about things that she had known all her life. Her uncle (her mother's brother), who was well off in the world, and had no children, took her home, saying that change and going to school would make all the difference in her. But she had no memory, and could learn nothing, while she lost the mechanical things she could do at home. So, after a patient trial of three years, her uncle brought her home, and took, in her stead, the bright little Susan, now four years old. Polly never got better. After a time, fits of languor came on occasionally, and her mother could not get her out of bed; and now she sometimes lies for many days together, as in a swoon, looking like one dying, but always reviving again, though declining on the whole; so that it is thought it can not now go on very long.

Tom never went to school. There was no school within reach, while he was a very little boy, and when a new clergyman's lady came and set up one, Tom was thought rather too old to begin; and, besides, his father really could not spare his earnings. Old Mr. Wilkes was dead, and his son, succeeding to the farm, complained of bad times, and reduced his laborers' wages to 11s., and then 10s., and then 9s., while the poor-rate went on increasing. Tom can not read or write, and his father is very sorry for it. The boy always seemed, however, to have that sobriety of mind and good sense which education is thought necessary to give. The fact is, he has had no mean education in being the associate of his honorable-minded father. He grew up as grave as his father, thoughtful and considerate, while very clever. He is a prodigious worker, gets through more work than any other man in the neighborhood, and does it in a better manner. Earning in his best days only 9s. a week, and not being sure of that, he has never married, nor thought of marrying; and a great loss that is to some good woman.

The school being set up while Harry was a little fellow, he was sent to it, and he remained at it till he was twelve years old. It was well meant for him—well meant by the lady and by his parents; but the schoolmistress "was not equal to her business," as the family mildly say. Those years were almost entirely lost. Harry was remarkably clever, always earnest in what he was about, always steady and business-like, and eager to learn; yet he came away, after all those years, barely able to spell out a chapter in the Testament on Sundays, and scarcely able to sign his own name. He tried to use and improve his learning, putting in, where beans and peas were sown, slips of wood with banes and pase upon them, and holding a pen with all his force when he wanted to write his name; but he felt all along that he had better have been obtaining the knowledge which the earnest mind may gain in the open fields, unless he had been really well taught.

By this time there were few at home, and the home had become grave and somewhat sad. Six children had died in infancy—the oldest dying under three years old. Susan was at her uncle's, and not likely to come home again; for her aunt had become insane, and was subject to epilepsy to such a degree that she could not be left. Some people thought Susan's prospects very fine, for her uncle promised great things as to providing for her and leaving her property; but the story of her grandfather was a warning to her. Her uncle was falling into drinking habits, and this young girl, supposed to be so fortunate, often found herself with her aunt on one side in an epileptic fit, and her uncle on the other helplessly or violently drunk. He was an amiable man, and always, when remonstrated with, admitted his fault and promised amendment. It ended, however, in his being reduced in his old age to the point of screwing out of Susan her earnings at service, under the name [Pg 676] of debt, and finding a home with her old father. Instead of enjoying his money, she enjoys the comfort of having gloriously discharged her duty to him, and she seems to be quite content.

But of the small party at home. The sons did not live at home, but they were not far off. Their honest faces looked in pretty often, and they were so good that their father had a constant pride in them. It was little more than seeing them, for Banks was now so deaf that conversation was out of the question. He went to church every Sunday, as he had always done; but every body knew that he did not hear one word of the service. His wife, exhausted by care and grief for her children, was too feeble to be much of a companion to him; and many a long night now he was kept awake by rheumatism. Yet no one ever saw a cross look in either, or heard a complaining word. Their house was clean; their clothes were neat; and, somehow or other, they went on paying poor-rate. One of the daughters says, "We always live very comfortably;" and the sons were told that, if their employment failed, they were always to come to their father's for a dinner. Banks worked harder and with more intenseness of mind at his garden, and they still continued to keep a pig; so they reckoned upon always having bacon and vegetables—summer vegetables, at least—upon the table. The youngest daughter lived at home, and earned a humble subsistence by stay-making and dress-making for the neighbors. She could read and write well enough to be a comfort if any letter came from a distance (an incident which, as we shall see, was hereafter to happen often), and to amuse her mother in illness with a book. Lizzy was not so clever as her brothers and Susan, but she was a good girl and a steady worker.

But soon the second Mr. Wilkes died rather suddenly. Banks's heart sank at the news. He had been attached to his employer, and valued by him, though his earnings had been so much reduced; and he had a misgiving that there would be a change for the worse under the young master. It was too true. The young master soon began to complain of want of money, and to turn off his laborers. He told Banks to his face that being now past sixty, and rheumatic at times, it was impossible that his work could be worth what it was, and he should have no more than six shillings a week henceforth. It was a terrible blow; but there was no help for it. A deaf old man had no chance of getting work in any new place; and the choice was simply between getting six shillings a week and being turned off. If his heart was ever weak within him, it must have been now. His savings were all gone years ago; there was no security that he would not be turned off any day. His children really could give him no effectual help; for the sons could not marry, and the daughters were not fully maintaining themselves. The workhouse was an intolerable thought to one who had paid rates, as he had done ever since he married. It was a dark time now, the very darkest. Yet the grave man lost nothing of his outward composure and gentleness. They were not without friends. The clergyman had his eye upon them; and Mrs. Wilkes, the widow, sent for Mrs. Banks once a year to spend two or three days with her, and talk over old times; and she always sent her guest home with a new gown. The friendship of some, and the respect of all, were as hearty as ever.

Some comfort was near at hand: and out of one comfort grew several. Susan first found herself well placed; and soon after, and as a consequence, Harry, and then, and again as a consequence, Tom; and then, Lizzy. About this, more will be told hereafter. The next thing that befell was a piece of personal comfort to Banks himself. A deaf lady, at a distance, sent him an ear-trumpet—with little hope that it would be of use—so long, and so extremely deaf as he was. He took it to church, and heard the service for the first time for twenty years. Steady and composed as he usually was, he now cried for a whole day. After that he cheered up delightfully; but nothing could make him use his trumpet on week days. It was too precious for any day but Sundays. When the lady heard this, she sent him an old shabby one for every day use, and it makes a great difference in his everyday life.

Next, the good clergyman found himself able to do something that he had long and earnestly wished, to let out some allotments to laborers. Banks obtained one immediately; a quarter of an acre of good land, at a rent of ten shillings a year. The benefit of this is very great. He is still strong enough to cultivate it well; and, by his knowledge, as well as his industry, makes it admirably productive. In the midst of this little brightening of his prospects, there is one overshadowing fear which it sickens the heart to hear of; it happened that, by an accident which need not be detailed, the fact got into print that one of the sons at a distance had sent some money to his old father. The family were immediately in terror lest the employer should hear of it, and should turn off his old servant on the plea that he had other means of subsistence than his labor. It is not credible that such a thing should be done in the face of society. It is not credible that any one should desire to do such a thing. But that the fear should exist is mournful enough, and tells a significant tale; a tale too significant to need to be spoken out.

Banks is, as we have said a silent man. He does not pour out his heart in speech, as some of us do who have much less in our hearts than he. And there is surely no need. We want no prompting from him to feel that wrong must exist somewhere when a glorious integrity, a dignified virtue like his, has been allied with sinking fortunes through life, and has no prospect of repose but in the grave. [Pg 677]


The criminal business of the office was, during the first three or four years of our partnership, entirely superintended by Mr. Flint; he being more au fait, from early practice, than myself in the art and mystery of prosecuting and defending felons, and I was thus happily relieved of duties which, in the days when George III. was king, were frequently very oppressive and revolting. The criminal practitioner dwelt in an atmosphere tainted alike with cruelty and crime, and pulsating alternately with merciless decrees of death, and the shrieks and wailings of sentenced guilt. And not always guilt! There exist many records of proofs, incontestable, but obtained too late, of innocence having been legally strangled on the gallows in other cases than that of Eliza Fenning. How could it be otherwise with a criminal code crowded in every line with penalties of death, nothing but—death? Juster, wiser times have dawned upon us, in which truer notions prevail of what man owes to man, even when sitting in judgment on transgressors; and this we owe, let us not forget, to the exertions of a band of men who, undeterred by the sneers of the reputedly wise and practical men of the world, and the taunts of "influential" newspapers, persisted in teaching that the rights of property could be more firmly cemented than by the shedding of blood—law, justice, personal security more effectually vindicated than by the gallows. Let me confess that I also was, for many years, among the mockers, and sincerely held such "theorists" and "dreamers" as Sir Samuel Romilly and his fellow-workers in utter contempt. Not so my partner Mr. Flint. Constantly in the presence of criminal judges and juries, he had less confidence in the unerring verity of their decisions than persons less familiar with them, or who see them only through the medium of newspapers. Nothing could exceed his distress of mind if, in cases in which he was prosecuting attorney, a convict died persisting in his innocence, or without a full confession of guilt. And to such a pitch did this morbidly-sensitive feeling at length arrive, that he all at once refused to undertake, or in any way meddle with, criminal prosecutions, and they were consequently turned over to our head clerk, with occasional assistance from me if there happened to be a press of business of the sort. Mr. Flint still, however, retained a monopoly of the defenses, except when, from some temporary cause or other, he happened to be otherwise engaged, when they fell to me. One of these I am about to relate, the result of which, whatever other impression it produced, thoroughly cured me—as it may the reader—of any propensity to sneer or laugh at criminal-law reformers and denouncers of the gallows.

One forenoon, during the absence of Mr. Flint in Wiltshire, a Mrs. Margaret Davies called at the office, in apparently great distress of mind. This lady, I must premise, was an old, or at all events an elderly maiden, of some four-and-forty years of age—I have heard a very intimate female friend of hers say she would never see fifty again, but this was spite—and possessed of considerable house property in rather poor localities. She found abundant employment for energies which might otherwise have turned to cards and scandal, in collecting her weekly, monthly, and quarterly rents, and in promoting, or fancying she did, the religious and moral welfare of her tenants. Very barefaced, I well knew, were the impositions practiced upon her credulous good-nature in money matters, and I strongly suspected the spiritual and moral promises and performances of her motley tenantry exhibited as much discrepancy as those pertaining to rent. Still, deceived or cheated as she might be, good Mrs. Davies never wearied in what she conceived to be well-doing, and was ever ready to pour balm and oil into the wounds of the sufferer, however self-inflicted or deserved.

"What is the matter now?" I asked as soon as the good lady was seated, and had untied and loosened her bonnet, and thrown back her shawl, fast walking having heated her prodigiously. "Nothing worse than transportation is, I hope, likely to befall any of those interesting clients of yours?"

"You are a hard-hearted man, Mr. Sharp," replied Mrs. Davies between a smile and a cry; "but being a lawyer, that is of course natural, and, as I am not here to consult you as a Christian, of no consequence."

"Complimentary, Mrs. Davies; but pray go on."

"You know Jane Eccles, one of my tenants in Bank Buildings: the embroidress who adopted her sister's orphan child?"

"I remember her name. She obtained, if I recollect rightly, a balance of wages for her due to the child's father, a mate, who died at sea. Well, what has befallen her?"

"A terrible accusation has been preferred against her," rejoined Mrs. Davies; "but as for a moment believing it, that is quite out of the question. Jane Eccles," continued the warm-hearted lady, at the same time extracting a crumpled newspaper from the miscellaneous contents of her reticule—"Jane Eccles works hard from morning till night, keeps herself to herself; her little nephew and her rooms are always as clean and nice as a new pin; she attends church regularly; and pays her rent punctually to the day. This disgraceful story, therefore," she added, placing the journal in my hands, "can not be true."

I glanced over the police news: "Uttering forged Bank-of-England notes, knowing them to be forged," I exclaimed, "The devil!"

"There's no occasion to be spurting that name out so loudly, Mr. Sharp," said Mrs. Davies with some asperity, "especially in a lawyer's office. People have been wrongfully accused before to-day, I suppose?"

I was intent on the report, and not answering, [Pg 678] she continued, "I heard nothing of it till I read the shameful account in the paper half an hour agone. The poor slandered girl was, I daresay, afraid or ashamed to send for me."

"This appears to be a very bad case, Mrs. Davies," I said at length. "Three forged ten-pound notes changed in one day at different shops each time, under the pretense of purchasing articles of small amount, and another ten-pound note found in her pocket! All that has, I must say, a very ugly look."

"I don't care," exclaimed Mrs. Davies, quite fiercely, "if it looks as ugly as sin, or if the whole Bank of England was found in her pocket! I know Jane Eccles well: she nursed me last spring through the fever; and I would be upon my oath that the whole story, from beginning to end, is an invention of the devil, or something worse!"

"Jane Eccles," I persisted, "appears to have been unable or unwilling to give the slightest explanation as to how she became possessed of the spurious notes. Who is this brother of hers, 'of such highly-respectable appearance,' according to the report, who was permitted a private interview with her previous to the examination?"

"She has no brother that I have ever heard of," said Mrs. Davies. "It must be a mistake of the papers."

"That is not likely. You observed, of course, that she was fully committed—and no wonder!"

Mrs. Davies's faith in the young woman's integrity was not to be shaken by any evidence save that of her own bodily eyes, and I agreed to see Jane Eccles on the morrow, and make the best arrangements for the defense—at Mrs. Davies's charge—which the circumstances and the short time I should have for preparation—the Old Bailey session would be on in a few days—permitted. The matter so far settled, Mrs. Margaret hurried off to see what had become of little Henry, the prisoner's nephew.

I visited Jane Eccles the next day in Newgate. She was a well-grown young woman of about two or three-and-twenty—not exactly pretty, perhaps, but very well-looking. Her brown hair was plainly worn, without a cap, and the expression of her face was, I thought, one of sweetness and humility, contradicted in some degree by rather harsh lines about the mouth, denoting strong will and purpose. As a proof of the existence of this last characteristic, I may here mention that when her first overweening confidence had yielded to doubt, she, although dotingly-fond of her nephew, at this time about eight years of age, firmly refused to see him, "in order," she once said to me, and the thought brought a deadly pallor to her face—"in order that, should the worst befall, her memory might not be involuntarily connected in his mind with images of dungeons, and disgrace, and shame." Jane Eccles had received what is called in the country "a good schooling," and the books Mrs. Davies had lent her she had eagerly perused. She was, therefore, to a certain extent, a cultivated person; and her speech and manners were mild, gentle, and, so to speak, religious. I generally found, when I visited her, a Bible or prayer-book in her hand. This, however, from my experience, comparatively slight though it was, did not much impress me in her favor—devotional sentiment, so easily, for a brief time, assumed, being, in nine such cases out of ten, a hypocritical deceit. Still she, upon the whole, made a decidedly favorable impression on me, and I no longer so much wondered at the bigotry of unbelief manifested by Mrs. Davies in behalf of her apparently amiable and grateful protégée.

But beyond the moral doubt thus suggested of the prisoner's guilt, my interviews with her utterly failed to extract any thing from her in rebutment of the charge upon which she was about to be arraigned. At first she persisted in asserting that the prosecution was based upon manifest error; that the impounded notes, instead of being forged, were genuine Bank-of-England paper. It was some time before I succeeded in convincing her that this hope, to which she so eagerly, desperately clung, was a fallacious one. I did so at last; and either, thought I, as I marked her varying color and faltering voice, "either you are a consummate actress, or else the victim of some frightful delusion or conspiracy."

"I will see you, if you please, to-morrow," she said, looking up from the chair upon which, with her head bowed and her face covered with her hands, she had been seated for several minutes in silence. "My thoughts are confused now, but to-morrow I shall be more composed; better able to decide if—to talk, I mean, of this unhappy business."

I thought it better to comply without remonstrance, and at once took my leave.

When I returned the next afternoon, the governor of the prison informed me that the brother of my client, James Eccles, quite a dashing gentleman, had had a long interview with her. He had left about two hours before, with the intention, he said, of calling upon me.

I was conducted to the room where my conferences with the prisoner usually took place. In a few minutes she appeared, much flushed and excited, it seemed to be alternately with trembling joy, and hope, and doubt, and nervous fear.

"Well," I said, "I trust you are now ready to give me your unreserved confidence, without which, be assured, that any reasonable hope of a successful issue from the peril in which you are involved is out of the question."

The varying emotions I have noticed were clearly traceable as they swept over her telltale countenance during the minute or so that elapsed before she spoke.

"Tell me candidly, sir," she said at last, "whether, if I owned to you that the notes were given to me by a—a person, whom I can not, if I would, produce, to purchase various articles at different shops, and return him—the [Pg 679] person I mean—the change; and that I made oath this was done by me in all innocence of heart, as the God of heaven and earth truly knows it was, it would avail me?"

"Not in the least," I replied, angry at such trifling. "How can you ask such a question? We must find the person who, you intimate, has deceived you, and placed your life in peril; and if that can be proved, hang him instead of you. I speak plainly, Miss Eccles," I added, in a milder tone; "perhaps you may think unfeelingly, but there is no further time for playing with this dangerous matter. To-morrow a true-bill will be found against you, and your trial may then come on immediately. If you are careless for yourself, you ought to have some thought for the sufferings of your excellent friend Mrs. Davies; for your nephew, soon, perhaps, to be left friendless and destitute."

"Oh, spare me—spare me!" sobbed the unhappy young woman, sinking nervelessly into a seat. "Have pity upon me, wretched, bewildered as I am!" Tears relieved her; and, after a while, she said: "It is useless, sir, to prolong this interview. I could not, I solemnly assure you, if I would, tell you where to search for, or find the person of whom I spoke. And," she added, while the lines about her mouth of which I have spoken grew distinct and rigid, "I would not, if I could. What, indeed, would it, as I have been told and believe, avail, but to cause the death of two deceived, innocent persons, instead of one? Besides," she continued, trying to speak with firmness, and repress the shudder which crept over and shook her as with ague—"besides, whatever the verdict, the penalty will not, can not, I am sure, I know, be—be—"

I understood her plainly enough, although her resolution failed to sustain her through the sentence.

"Who is this brother, James Eccles he calls himself, whom you saw at the police-office, and who has twice been here, I understand—once to-day?"

A quick start revealed the emotion with which she heard the question, and her dilated eyes rested upon me for a moment with eager scrutiny. She speedily recovered her presence of mind, and, with her eyes again fixed on the floor, said, in a quivering voice: "My brother! Yes—as you say—my brother!"

"Mrs. Davies says you have no brother!" I sharply rejoined.

"Good Mrs. Davies," she replied, in a tone scarcely above a whisper, and without raising her head, "does not know all our family."

A subterfuge was, I was confident, concealed in these words; but after again and again urging her to confide in me, and finding warning and persuasion alike useless, I withdrew discomfited and angry; and withal as much concerned and grieved as baffled and indignant. On going out, I arranged with the governor that the "brother," if he again made his appearance, should be detained bongrè malgrè, till my arrival. Our precaution was too late: he did not reappear; and so little notice had any one taken of his person, that to advertise a description of him with a reward for his apprehension was hopeless.

A true bill was found, and two hours afterward Jane Eccles was placed in the dock. The trial did not last more than twenty minutes, at the end of which, an unhesitating verdict of guilty was returned, and she was duly sentenced to be hanged by the neck till she was dead. We had retained the ablest counsel practicing in the court, but, with no tangible defense, their efforts were merely thrown away. Upon being asked what she had to say why the sentence of the law should not be carried into effect, she repeated her previous statement—that the notes had been given her to change by a person in whom she reposed the utmost confidence; and that she had not the slightest thought of evil or fraud in what she did. That person, however, she repeated once more, could not be produced. Her assertions only excited a derisive smile; and all necessary forms having been gone through, she was removed from the bar.

The unhappy woman bore the ordeal through which she had just passed with much firmness. Once only, while sentence was being passed, her high-strung resolution appeared to falter and give way. I was watching her intently, and I observed that she suddenly directed a piercing look toward a distant part of the crowded court. In a moment her eye lightened, the expression of extreme horror which had momently darkened her countenance passed away, and her partial composure returned. I had instinctively, as it were, followed her glance, and thought I detected a tall man, enveloped in a cloak, engaged in dumb momentary communication with her. I jumped up from my seat, and hastened as quickly as I could through the thronged passages to the spot, and looked eagerly around, but the man, whosoever he might be, was gone.

The next act in this sad drama was the decision of the Privy Council upon the recorder's report. It came. Several were reprieved, but among them was not Jane Eccles. She and nine others were to perish at eight o'clock on the following morning.

The anxiety and worry inseparable from this most unhappy affair, which from Mr. Flint's protracted absence, I had exclusively to bear, fairly knocked me up, and on the evening of the day on which the decision of the council was received, I went to bed much earlier than usual, and really ill. Sleep I could not, and I was tossing restlessly about, vainly endeavoring to banish from my mind the gloomy and terrible images connected with the wretched girl and her swiftly-coming fate, when a quick tap sounded on the door, and a servant's voice announced that one of the clerks had brought a letter which the superscription directed to be read without a moment's delay. I sprang out of bed, snatched the letter, and eagerly ran it over. It was from the Newgate chaplain, a very worthy, humane gentleman, and stated [Pg 680] that, on hearing the result of the deliberations of the Privy Council, all the previous stoicism and fortitude exhibited by Jane Eccles had completely given way, and she had abandoned herself to the wildest terror and despair. As soon as she could speak coherently, she implored the governor with frantic earnestness to send for me. As this was not only quite useless in the opinion of that official, but against the rules, the prisoner's request was not complied with. The chaplain, however, thinking it might be as well that I should know of her desire to see me, had of his own accord sent me this note. He thought that possibly the sheriffs would permit me to have a brief interview with the condemned prisoner in the morning, if I arrived sufficiently early; and although it could avail nothing as regarded her fate in this world, still it might perhaps calm the frightful tumult of emotion by which she was at present tossed and shaken, and enable her to meet the inevitable hour with fortitude and resignation.

It was useless to return to bed after receiving such a communication, and I forthwith dressed myself, determined to sit up and read, if I could, till the hour at which I might hope to be admitted to the jail should strike. Slowly and heavily the dark night limped away, and as the first rays of the cold wintry dawn reached the earth, I sallied forth. A dense, brutal crowd were already assembled in front of the prison, and hundreds of well-dressed sight-seers occupied the opposite windows, morbidly eager for the rising of the curtain upon the mournful tragedy about to be enacted. I obtained admission without much difficulty, but, till the arrival of the sheriffs, no conference with the condemned prisoners could be possibly permitted. Those important functionaries happened on this morning to arrive unusually late, and I paced up and down the paved corridor in a fever of impatience and anxiety. They were at last announced, but before I could, in the hurry and confusion, obtain speech of either of them, the dismal bell tolled out, and I felt with a shudder that it was no longer possible to effect my object. "Perhaps it is better so," observed the reverend chaplain in a whisper. "She has been more composed for the last two or three hours, and is now, I trust, in a better frame of mind for death." I turned, sick at heart, to leave the place, and in my agitation missing the right way, came directly in view of the terrible procession. Jane Eccles saw me, and a terrific scream, followed by frantic heart-rending appeals to me to save her, burst with convulsive effort from her white quivering lips. Never will the horror of that moment pass from my remembrance. I staggered back, as if every spasmodic word struck me like a blow; and then, directed by one of the turnkeys, sped in an opposite direction as fast as my trembling limbs could carry me—the shrieks of the wretched victim, the tolling of the dreadful bell, and the obscene jeers and mocks of the foul crowd through which I had to force my way, evoking a confused tumult of disgust and horror in my brain, which, if long continued, would have driven me mad. On reaching home, I was bled freely, and got to bed. This treatment, I have no doubt, prevented a violent access of fever; for, as it was, several days passed before I could be safely permitted to re-engage in business.

On revisiting the office, a fragment of a letter written by Jane Eccles a few hours previous to her death, and evidently addressed to Mrs. Davies, was placed by Mr. Flint, who had by this time returned, before me. The following is an exact copy of it, with the exception that the intervals which I have marked with dots, . . . . . were filled with erasures and blots, and that every word seemed to have been traced by a hand smitten with palsy:

"From my Death-place, Midnight.

"Dear Madam—No, beloved friend, mother let me call you . . . . . . Oh, kind, gentle mother, I am to die . . . . . to be killed in a few hours by cruel man!—I, so young, so unprepared for death, and yet guiltless! Oh, never doubt that I am guiltless of the offense for which they will have the heart to hang me . . . . . Nobody, they say, can save me now; yet if I could see the lawyer . . . . I have been deceived, cruelly deceived, madam—buoyed up by lying hopes, till just now the thunder burst, and I—oh God! . . . . As they spoke, the fearful chapter in the Testament came bodily before me—the rending of the vail in twain, the terrible darkness, and the opened graves! . . . . I did not write for this, but my brain aches and dazzles . . . . It is too late—too late, they all tell me! . . . . . Ah, if these dreadful laws were not so swift, I might yet—but no; he clearly proved to me how useless . . . . . I must not think of that . . . . . It is of my nephew, of your Henry, child of my affections, that I would speak. Oh, that I . . . . . But hark!—they are coming . . . . . The day has dawned . . . . . to me the day of judgment! . . . . . ."

This incoherent scrawl only confirmed my previous suspicions, but it was useless to dwell further on the melancholy subject. The great ax had fallen, and whether justly or unjustly, would, I feared, as in many, very many other cases, never be clearly ascertained in this world. I was mistaken. Another case of "uttering forged Bank-of-England notes, knowing them to be forged," which came under our cognizance a few months afterward, revived the fading memory of Jane Eccles's early doom, and cleared up every obscurity connected with it.

The offender in this new case was a tall, dark-complexioned, handsome man, of about thirty years of age, of the name of Justin Arnold. His lady mother, whose real name I shall conceal under that of Barton, retained us for her son's defense, and from her and other sources we learned the following particulars:

Justin Arnold was the lady's son by a former marriage. Mrs. Barton, still a splendid woman, had, in second nuptials, espoused a very wealthy [Pg 681] person, and from time to time had covertly supplied Justin Arnold's extravagance. This, however, from the wild course the young man pursued, could not be for ever continued, and after many warnings, the supplies were stopped. Incapable of reformation, Justin Arnold, in order to obtain the means of dissipation, connected himself with a cleverly-organized band of swindlers and forgers, who so adroitly managed their nefarious business, that, till his capture, they had contrived to keep themselves clear of the law—the inferior tools and dupes having been alone caught in its fatal meshes. The defense, under these circumstances necessarily a difficult, almost impossible one, was undertaken by Mr. Flint, and conducted by him with his accustomed skill and energy.

I took a very slight interest in the matter, and heard very little concerning it till its judicial conclusion by the conviction of the offender, and his condemnation to death. The decision on the recorder's report was this time communicated to the authorities of Newgate on a Saturday, so that the batch ordered for execution, among whom was Justin Arnold, would not be hanged till the Monday morning. Rather late in the evening a note once more reached me from the chaplain of the prison. Justin Arnold wished to see me—me, not Mr. Flint. He had something of importance to communicate, he said, relative to a person in whom I had once felt great interest. It flashed across me that this Justin might be the "brother" of Jane Eccles, and I determined to see him. I immediately sought out one of the sheriffs, and obtained an order empowering me to see the prisoner on the afternoon of the morrow (Sunday.)

I found that the convict expressed great anxiety lest I should decline to see him. My hoped-for visit was the only matter which appeared to occupy the mind or excite the care of the mocking, desperate young man; even the early and shameful termination of his own life on the morrow he seemed to be utterly reckless of. Thus prepared, I was the less surprised at the scene which awaited me in the prisoner's cell, where I found him in angry altercation with the pale, affrighted chaplain.

I had never seen Justin Arnold before; this I was convinced of the instant I saw him; but he knew, and greeted me instantly by name. His swarthy, excited features were flushed and angry, and after briefly thanking me for complying with his wishes, he added in a violent, rapid tone, "This good man has been teasing me. He says, and truly, that I have defied God by my life; and now he wishes me to mock that inscrutable Being, on the eve of death, by words without sense, meaning, or truth!"

"No, no, no!" ejaculated the reverend gentleman. "I exhorted you to true repentance, to peace, charity, to—"

"True repentance, peace, charity!" broke in the prisoner with a scornful burst: "when my heart is full of rage, and bitterness, and despair! Give me time for this repentance which you say is so needful—time to lure back long since banished hope, and peace, and faith! Poh!—you but flout me with words without meaning. I am unfit, you say, for the presence of men, but quite fit for that of God, before whom you are about to arrogantly cast me! Be it so: my deeds upon my head! It is at least not my fault that I am hurled to judgment before the Eternal Judge himself commanded my presence there!"

"He may be unworthy to live," murmured the scared chaplain, "but, oh, how utterly unfit to die!"

"That is true," rejoined Justin Arnold with undiminished vehemence. "Those, if you will, are words of truth and sense: go you and preach them to the makers and executioners of English law. In the mean time I would speak privately with this gentleman."

The reverend pastor, with a mute gesture of compassion, sorrow, and regret, was about to leave the cell, when he was stayed by the prisoner, who exclaimed, "Now I think of it, you had better, sir, remain. The statement I am about to make can not, for the sake of the victim's reputation, and for her friends' sake, have too many witnesses. You both remember Jane Eccles?" A broken exclamation from both of us answered him, and he quickly added—"Ah, you already guess the truth, I see. Well, I do not wonder you should start and turn pale. It was a cruel, shameless deed—a dastardly murder, if there was ever one. In as few words as possible, so you interrupt me not, I will relate my share in the atrocious business." He spoke rapidly, and once or twice during the brief recital the moistened eye and husky voice betrayed emotions which his pride would have concealed.

"Jane and I were born in Hertfordshire, within a short distance of each other. I knew her from a child. She was better off then, I worse than we subsequently became—she by her father's bankruptcy, I by my mo—, by Mrs. Barton's wealthy marriage. She was about nineteen, I twenty-four, when I left the country for London. That she loved me with all the fervor of a trusting woman I well knew; and I had, too, for some time known that she must be either honorably wooed or not at all. That with me was out of the question, and, as I told you, I came about that time to London. You can, I daresay, imagine the rest. We were—I and my friends I mean—at a loss for agents to dispose of our wares, and at the same time pressed for money. I met Jane Eccles by accident. Genteel, of graceful address and winning manners, she was just fitted for our purpose. I feigned reawakened love, proffered marriage, and a home across the Atlantic, as soon as certain trifling but troublesome affairs which momently harassed me were arranged. She believed me. I got her to change a considerable number of notes under various pretexts, but that they were forged she had not and could not have the remotest suspicion. You know the catastrophe. [Pg 682] After her apprehension I visited this prison as her brother, and buoyed her up to the last with illusions of certain pardon and release, whatever the verdict, through the influence of my wealthy father-in-law, of our immediate union afterward, and tranquil American home. It is needless to say more. She trusted me, and I sacrificed her—less flagrant instances of a like nature occur every day. And now, gentlemen, I would fain be alone."

"Remorseless villain!" I could not exclaiming under my breath as he moved away.

He turned quickly back, and looking me in the face, without the slightest anger said, "An execrable villain if you like—not a remorseless one! Her death alone sits near, and troubles my to all else hardened conscience. And let me tell you, reverend sir," he continued, resuming his former bitterness as he addressed the chaplain—"let me tell you that it was not the solemn words of the judge the other day, but her pale, reproachful image, standing suddenly beside me in the dock, just as she looked when I passed my last deception on her, that caused the tremor and affright, complacently attributed by that grave functionary to his own sepulchral eloquence. After all, her death can not be exclusively laid to my charge. Those who tried her would not believe her story, and yet it was true as death. Had they not been so confident in their own unerring wisdom, they might have doomed her to some punishment short of the scaffold, and could now have retrieved their error. But I am weary, and would, I repeat, be alone. Farewell!" He threw himself on the rude pallet, and we silently withdrew.

A paper embodying Justin Arnold's declaration was forwarded to the secretary of state, and duly acknowledged, accompanied by an official expression of mild regret that it had not been in time to save the life of Jane Eccles. No further notice was taken of the matter, and the record of the young woman's judicial sacrifice still doubtless encumbers the archives of the Home Office, forming, with numerous others of like character, the dark, sanguine background upon which the achievements of the great and good men who have so successfully purged the old Draco code that now a faint vestige only of the old barbarism remains, stand out in bright relief and changeless lustre.


(Continued from page 543.)


"It was no bad idea of yours, Pisistratus," said my father, graciously, "to depict the heightened affections and the serious intentions of Signior Riccabocca by a single stroke—He left off his spectacles! Good."

"Yet," quoth my uncle, "I think Shakspeare represents a lover as falling into slovenly habits, neglecting his person, and suffering his hose to be ungartered, rather than paying that attention to his outer man which induces Signor Riccabocca to leave off his spectacles, and look as handsome as nature will permit him."

"There are different degrees and many phases of the passion," replied my father. "Shakspeare is speaking of an ill-treated, pining, woebegone lover, much aggrieved by the cruelty of his mistress—a lover who has found it of no avail to smarten himself up, and has fallen despondently into the opposite extreme. Whereas Signor Riccabocca has nothing to complain of in the barbarity of Miss Jemima."

"Indeed he has not!" cried Blanche, tossing her head—"forward creature!"

"Yes, my dear," said my mother, trying her best to look stately, "I am decidedly of opinion that, in that respect, Pisistratus has lowered the dignity of the sex. Not intentionally," added my mother, mildly, and afraid she had said something too bitter; "but it is very hard for a man to describe us women."

The Captain nodded approvingly; Mr. Squills smiled; my father quietly resumed the thread of his discourse.

"To continue," quoth he. "Riccabocca has no reason to despair of success in his suit, nor any object in moving his mistress to compassion. He may, therefore, very properly tie up his garters and leave off his spectacles. What do you say, Mr. Squills?—for, after all, since love-making can not fail to be a great constitutional derangement, the experience of a medical man must be the best to consult."

"Mr. Caxton," replied Squills, obviously flattered, "you are quite right: when a man makes love, the organs of self-esteem and desire of applause are greatly stimulated, and therefore, of course, he sets himself off to the best advantage. It is only, as you observe, when, like Shakspeare's lover, he has given up making love as a bad job, and has received that severe hit on the ganglions which the cruelty of a mistress inflicts, that he neglects his personal appearance: he neglects it, not because he is in love, but because his nervous system is depressed. That was the cause, if you remember, with poor Major Prim. He wore his wig all awry when Susan Smart jilted him; but I set it all right for him."

"By shaming Miss Smart into repentance, or getting him a new sweetheart?" asked my uncle.

"Pooh!" answered Squills, "by quinine and cold bathing."

"We may therefore grant," renewed my father, "that, as a general rule, the process of courtship tends to the spruceness, and even foppery, of the individual engaged in the experiment, as Voltaire has very prettily proved somewhere. Nay, the Mexicans, indeed, were of opinion that the lady, at least, ought to continue those cares of her person even after marriage. There is extant, in Sahagun's History of New [Pg 683] Spain, the advice of an Aztec or Mexican mother to her daughter, in which she says—'That your husband may not take you in dislike, adorn yourself, wash yourself, and let your garments be clean.' It is true that the good lady adds—'Do it in moderation; since, if every day you are washing yourself and your clothes, the world will say that you are over-delicate; and particular people will call you—TAPETZON TINEMAXOCH!' What those words precisely mean," added my father, modestly, "I can not say, since I never had the opportunity to acquire the ancient Aztec language—but something very opprobrious and horrible, no doubt."

"I daresay a philosopher like Signor Riccabocca," said my uncle, "was not himself very Tapetzon tine—what d'ye call it?—and a good, healthy, English wife, like that poor affectionate Jemima, was thrown away upon him."

"Roland," said my father, "you don't like foreigners: a respectable prejudice, and quite natural in a man who has been trying his best to hew them in pieces, and blow them up into splinters. But you don't like philosophers either—and for that dislike you have no equally good reason."

"I only implied that they were not much addicted to soap and water," said my uncle.

"A notable mistake. Many great philosophers have been very great beaux. Aristotle was a notorious fop. Buffon put on his best laced ruffles when he sat down to write, which implies that he washed his hands first. Pythagoras insists greatly on the holiness of frequent ablutions; and Horace—who, in his own way, was as good a philosopher as any the Romans produced—takes care to let us know what a neat, well-dressed, dapper little gentleman he was. But I don't think you ever read the 'Apology of Apuleius?'"

"Not I—what is it about?" asked the Captain.

"About a great many things. It is that Sage's vindication from several malignant charges—among others, and principally indeed, that of being much too refined and effeminate for a philosopher. Nothing can exceed the rhetorical skill with which he excuses himself for using—tooth-powder. 'Ought a philosopher,' he exclaims, 'to allow any thing unclean about him, especially in the mouth—the mouth, which is the vestibule of the soul, the gate of discourse, the portico of thought! Ah, but Æmilianus [the accuser of Apuleius] never opens his mouth but for slander and calumny—tooth-powder would indeed be unbecoming to him! Or, if he use any, it will not be my good Arabian tooth-powder, but charcoal and cinders. Ay, his teeth should be as foul as his language! And yet even the crocodile likes to have his teeth cleaned; insects get into them, and, horrible reptile though he be, he opens his jaws inoffensively to a faithful dentistical bird, who volunteers his beak for a toothpick.'"

My father was now warm in the subject he had started, and soared miles away from Riccabocca and "My Novel." "And observe," he exclaimed—"observe with what gravity this eminent Platonist pleads guilty to the charge of having a mirror. 'Why, what,' he exclaims, 'more worthy of the regards of a human creature than his own image' (nihil respectabilius homini quam formam suam!) Is not that one of our children the most dear to us who is called 'the picture of his father?' But take what pains you will with a picture, it can never be so like you as the face in your mirror! Think it discreditable to look with proper attention on one's self in the glass! Did not Socrates recommend such attention to his disciples—did he not make a great moral agent of the speculum? The handsome, in admiring their beauty therein, were admonished that handsome is who handsome does; and the more the ugly stared at themselves, the more they became naturally anxious to hide the disgrace of their features in the loveliness of their merits. Was not Demosthenes always at his speculum? Did he not rehearse his causes before it as before a master in the art? He learned his eloquence from Plato, his dialectics from Eubulides; but as for his delivery—there, he came to the mirror!

"Therefore," concluded Mr. Caxton, returning unexpectedly to the subject—"therefore it is no reason to suppose that Dr. Riccabocca is averse to cleanliness and decent care of the person, because he is a philosopher; and, all things considered, he never showed himself more a philosopher than when he left off his spectacles and looked his best."

"Well," said my mother, kindly, "I only hope it may turn out happily. But I should have been better pleased if Pisistratus had not made Dr. Riccabocca so reluctant a wooer."

"Very true," said the Captain; "the Italian does not shine as a lover. Throw a little more fire into him, Pisistratus—something gallant and chivalrous."

"Fire—gallantry—chivalry!" cried my father, who had taken Riccabocca under his special protection—"why, don't you see that the man is described as a philosopher?—and I should like to know when a philosopher ever plunged into matrimony without considerable misgivings and cold shivers. Indeed, it seems that—perhaps before he was a philosopher—Riccabocca had tried the experiment, and knew what it was. Why, even that plain-speaking, sensible, practical man, Metellus Numidicus, who was not even a philosopher, but only a Roman Censor, thus expressed himself in an exhortation to the People to perpetrate matrimony—'If, O Quirites, we could do without wives, we should all dispense with that subject of care (eâ molestiâ careremus); but since nature has so managed it, that we can not live with women comfortably, nor without them at all, let us rather provide for the human race than our own temporary felicity."

Here the ladies set up a cry of such indignation, [Pg 684] that both Roland and myself endeavored to appease their wrath by hasty assurances that we utterly repudiated that damnable doctrine of Metellus Numidicus.

My father, wholly unmoved, as soon as a sullen silence was established, recommenced—"Do not think, ladies," said he, "that you were without advocates at that day: there were many Romans gallant enough to blame the Censor for a mode of expressing himself which they held to be equally impolite and injudicious. 'Surely,' said they, with some plausibility, 'if Numidicus wished men to marry, he need not have referred so peremptorily to the disquietudes of the connection, and thus have made them more inclined to turn away from matrimony than given them a relish for it.' But against these critics one honest man (whose name of Titus Castricius should not be forgotten by posterity) maintained that Metellus Numidicus could not have spoken more properly; 'For remark,' said he, 'that Metellus was a censor, not a rhetorician. It becomes rhetoricians to adorn, and disguise, and make the best of things; but Metellus, sanctus vir—a holy and blameless man, grave and sincere to wit, and addressing the Roman people in the solemn capacity of Censor—was bound to speak the plain truth, especially as he was treating of a subject on which the observation of every day, and the experience of every life, could not leave the least doubt upon the mind of his audience.' Still Riccabocca, having decided to marry, has no doubt prepared himself to bear all the concomitant evils—as becomes a professed sage; and I own I admire the art with which Pisistratus has drawn the precise woman likely to suit a philosopher."

Pisistratus bows, and looks round complacently; but recoils from two very peevish and discontented faces feminine.

Mr. Caxton (completing his sentence.)—"Not only as regards mildness of temper and other household qualifications, but as regards the very person of the object of his choice. For you evidently remembered, Pisistratus, the reply of Bias, when asked his opinion on marriage: Ητοι καλην ἑξεις, η αισχραν· και ει καλην, ἑξεις κοινην· ει δη αισχραν ἑξεις ποινην."

Pisistratus tries to look as if he had the opinion of Bias by heart, and nods acquiescingly.

Mr. Caxton.—"That is, my dears, 'The woman you would marry is either handsome or ugly; if handsome, she is koiné, viz., you don't have her to yourself; if ugly, she is poiné—that is, a fury.' But, as it is observed in Aulus Gellius (whence I borrow this citation), there is a wide interval between handsome and ugly. And thus Ennius, in his tragedy of Menalippus, uses an admirable expression to designate women of the proper degree of matrimonial comeliness, such as a philosopher would select. He calls this degree stata forma—a rational, mediocre sort of beauty, which is not liable to be either koiné or poiné. And Favorinus, who was a remarkably sensible man, and came from Provence—the male inhabitants of which district have always valued themselves on their knowledge of love and ladies—calls this said stata forma the beauty of wives—the uxorial beauty. Ennius says that women of a stata forma are almost always safe and modest. Now Jemima, you observe, is described as possessing this stata forma; and it is the nicety of your observation in this respect, which I like the most in the whole of your description of a philosopher's matrimonial courtship, Pisistratus, (excepting only the stroke of the spectacles) for it shows that you had properly considered the opinion of Bias, and mastered all the counter logic suggested in Book v. Chapter xi., of Aulus Gellius."

"For all that," said Blanche, half-archly, half-demurely, with a smile in the eye, and a pout of the lip, "I don't remember that Pisistratus, in the days when he wished to be most complimentary, ever assured me that I had a stata forma—a rational, mediocre sort of beauty."

"And I think," observed my uncle, "that when he comes to his real heroine, whoever that may be, he will not trouble his head much about either Bias or Aulus Gellius."


Matrimony is certainly a great change in life. One is astonished not to find a notable alteration in one's friend, even if he or she have been only wedded a week. In the instance of Dr. and Mrs. Riccabocca the change was peculiarly visible. To speak first of the lady, as in chivalry bound, Mrs. Riccabocca had entirely renounced that melancholy which had characterized Miss Jemima: she became even sprightly and gay, and looked all the better and prettier for the alteration. She did not scruple to confess honestly to Mrs. Dale, that she was now of opinion that the world was very far from approaching its end. But, in the mean while, she did not neglect the duty which the belief she had abandoned serves to inculculate—"She set her house in order." The cold and penurious elegance that had characterized the Casino disappeared like enchantment—that is, the elegance remained, but the cold and penury fled before the smile of woman. Like Puss-in-Boots after the nuptials of his master, Jackeymo only now caught minnows and sticklebacks for his own amusement. Jackeymo looked much plumper, and so did Riccabocca. In a word, the fair Jemima became an excellent wife. Riccabocca secretly thought her extravagant, but, like a wise man, declined to look at the house bills, and ate his joint in unreproachful silence.

Indeed, there was so much unaffected kindness in the nature of Mrs. Riccabocca—beneath the quiet of her manner there beat so genially the heart of the Hazeldeans—that she fairly justified the favorable anticipations of Mrs. Dale. And though the Doctor did not noisily boast of his felicity, nor, as some new married folks do, thrust it insultingly under the nimis unctis naribus—the turned-up noses [Pg 685] of your surly old married folks, nor force it gaudily and glaringly on the envious eyes of the single, you might still see that he was a more cheerful and light-hearted man than before. His smile was less ironical, his politeness less distant. He did not study Machiavelli so intensely—and he did not return to the spectacles; which last was an excellent sign. Moreover, the humanizing influence of the tidy English wife might be seen in the improvement of his outward or artificial man. His clothes seemed to fit him better; indeed, the clothes were new. Mrs. Dale no longer remarked that the buttons were off the wristbands, which was a great satisfaction to her. But the sage still remained faithful to the pipe, the cloak, and the red silk umbrella. Mrs. Riccabocca had (to her credit be it spoken) used all becoming and wife-like arts against these three remnants of the old bachelor Adam, but in vain, "Anima mia—soul of mine," said the Doctor, tenderly, "I hold the cloak, the umbrella, and the pipe, as the sole relics that remain to me of my native country. Respect and spare them."

Mrs. Riccabocca was touched, and had the good sense to perceive that man, let him be ever so much married, retains certain signs of his ancient independence—certain tokens of his old identity, which a wife, the most despotic, will do well to concede. She conceded the cloak, she submitted to the umbrella, she concealed her abhorrence of the pipe. After all, considering the natural villainy of our sex, she confessed to herself that she might have been worse off. But, through all the calm and cheerfulness of Riccabocca, a nervous perturbation was sufficiently perceptible; it commenced after the second week of marriage—it went on increasing, till one bright sunny afternoon, as he was standing on his terrace gazing down upon the road, at which Jackeymo was placed—lo, a stage-coach stopped! The Doctor made a bound, and put both hands to his heart as if he had been shot; he then leapt over the balustrade, and his wife from her window beheld him flying down the hill, with his long hair streaming in the wind, till the trees hid him from her sight.

"Ah," thought she with a natural pang of conjugal jealousy, "henceforth I am only second in his home. He has gone to welcome his child!" And at that reflection Mrs. Riccabocca shed tears.

But so naturally amiable was she, that she hastened to curb her emotion, and efface as well as she could the trace of a stepmother's grief. When this was done, and a silent, self-rebuking prayer murmured over, the good woman descended the stairs with alacrity, and, summoning up her best smiles, emerged on the terrace.

She was repaid; for scarcely had she come into the open air, when two little arms were thrown round her, and the sweetest voice that ever came from a child's lips, sighed out in broken English, "Good mamma, love me a little."

"Love you? with my whole heart!" cried the stepmother, with all a mother's honest passion. And she clasped the child to her breast.

"God bless you, my wife!" said Riccabocca, in a husky tone.

"Please take this, too," added Jackeymo, in Italian, as well as his sobs would let him—and broke off a great bough full of blossoms from his favorite orange-tree, and thrust it into his mistress's hand. She had not the slightest notion what he meant by it!


Violante was indeed a bewitching child—a child to whom I defy Mrs. Caudle herself (immortal Mrs. Caudle!) to have been a harsh stepmother.

Look at her now, as, released from those kindly arms, she stands, still clinging with one hand to her new mamma, and holding out the other to Riccabocca—with those large dark eyes swimming in happy tears. What a lovely smile!—what an ingenuous candid brow! She looks delicate—she evidently requires care—she wants the mother. And rare is the woman who would not love her the better for that! Still, what an innocent infantine bloom in those clear smooth cheeks!—and in that slight frame, what exquisite natural grace!

"And this, I suppose, is your nurse, darling?" said Mrs. Riccabocca, observing a dark foreign-looking woman, dressed very strangely—without cap or bonnet, but a great silver arrow stuck in her hair, and a filagree chain or necklace resting upon her kerchief.

"Ah, good Annetta," said Violante in Italian. "Papa, she says she is to go back; but she is not to go back—is she?"

Riccabocca, who had scarcely before noticed the woman, started at that question—exchanged a rapid glance with Jackeymo—and then, muttering some inaudible excuse, approached the Nurse, and, beckoning her to follow him, went away into the grounds. He did not return for more than an hour, nor did the woman then accompany him home. He said briefly to his wife that the Nurse was obliged to return at once to Italy, and that she would stay in the village to catch the mail; that indeed she would be of no use in their establishment, as she could not speak a word of English; but that he was sadly afraid Violante would pine for her. And Violante did pine at first. But still, to a child it is so great a thing to find a parent—to be at home—that, tender and grateful as Violante was, she could not be inconsolable while her father was there to comfort.

For the first few days, Riccabocca scarcely permitted any one to be with his daughter but himself. He would not even leave her alone with his Jemima. They walked out together—sat together for hours in the Belvidere. Then by degrees he began to resign her more and more to Jemima's care and tuition, especially in [Pg 686] English, of which language at present she spoke only a few sentences (previously, perhaps, learned by heart), so as to be clearly intelligible.


There was one person in the establishment of Dr. Riccabocca, who was satisfied neither with the marriage of his master nor the arrival of Violante—and that was our friend Lenny Fairfield. Previous to the all-absorbing duties of courtship, the young peasant had secured a very large share of Riccabocca's attention. The sage had felt interest in the growth of this rude intelligence struggling up to light. But what with the wooing, and what with the wedding, Lenny Fairfield had sunk very much out of his artificial position as pupil, into his natural station of under-gardener. And on the arrival of Violante, he saw, with natural bitterness, that he was clean forgotten, not only by Riccabocca, but almost by Jackeymo. It was true that the master still lent him books, and the servant still gave him lectures on horticulture. But Riccabocca had no time nor inclination now to amuse himself with enlightening that tumult of conjecture which the books created. And if Jackeymo had been covetous of those mines of gold buried beneath the acres now fairly taken from the Squire (and good-naturedly added rent-free, as an aid to Jemima's dower), before the advent of the young lady whose future dowry the produce was to swell—now that she was actually under the eyes of the faithful servant, such a stimulus was given to his industry, that he could think of nothing else but the land, and the revolution he designed to effect in its natural English crops. The garden, save only the orange-trees, was abandoned entirely to Lenny, and additional laborers were called in for the field-work. Jackeymo had discovered that one part of the soil was suited to lavender, that another would grow chamomile. He had in his heart apportioned a beautiful field of rich loam to flax; but against the growth of flax the Squire set his face obstinately. That most lucrative, perhaps, of all crops, when soil and skill suit, had, it would appear, been formerly attempted in England much more commonly than it is now; since you will find few old leases which do not contain a clause prohibitory of flax, as an impoverishment of the land. And though Jackeymo learnedly endeavored to prove to the Squire that the flax itself contained particles which, if returned to the soil, repaid all that the crop took away, Mr. Hazeldean had his old-fashioned prejudices on the matter, which were insuperable. "My forefathers," quoth he, "did not put that clause in their leases without good cause; and as the Casino lands are entailed on Frank, I have no right to gratify your foreign whims at his expense."

To make up for the loss of the flax, Jackeymo resolved to convert a very nice bit of pasture into orchard ground, which he calculated would bring in £10 net per acre by the time Miss Violante was marriageable. At this, the Squire pished a little; but as it was quite clear that the land would be all the more valuable hereafter for the fruit trees, he consented to permit the "grass land" to be thus partially broken up.

All these changes left poor Lenny Fairfield very much to himself—at a time when the new and strange devices which the initiation into book knowledge creates, made it most desirable that he should have the constant guidance of a superior mind.

One evening after his work, as Lenny was returning to his mother's cottage very sullen and very moody, he suddenly came in contact with Sprott the tinker.


The tinker was seated under a hedge, hammering away at an old kettle—with a little fire burning in front of him—and the donkey hard by, indulging in a placid doze. Mr. Sprott looked up as Lenny passed—nodded kindly, and said:

"Good evenin', Lenny: glad to hear you be so 'spectably sitivated with Mounseer."

"Ay," answered Lenny, with a leaven of rancor in his recollections, "You're not ashamed to speak to me now, that I am not in disgrace. But it was in disgrace, when it wasn't my fault, that the real gentleman was most kind to me."

"Ar—r, Lenny," said the Tinker, with a prolonged rattle in that said Ar—r, which was not without great significance. "But you sees the real gentleman who han't got his bread to get, can hafford to 'spise his cracter in the world. A poor tinker must be timbersome and nice in his 'sociations. But sit down here a bit, Lenny; I've summat to say to ye!"

"To me—"

"To ye. Give the neddy a shove out i' the vay, and sit down, I say."

Lenny rather reluctantly, and somewhat superciliously, accepted this invitation.

"I hears," said the Tinker in a voice made rather indistinct by a couple of nails which he had inserted between his teeth; "I hears as how you be unkimmon fond of reading. I ha' sum nice cheap books in my bag yonder—sum as low as a penny."

"I should like to see them," said Lenny, his eyes sparkling.

The Tinker rose, opened one of the panniers on the ass's back, took out a bag which he placed before Lenny, and told him to suit himself. The young peasant desired no better. He spread all the contents of the bag on the sward, and a motley collection of food for the mind was there—food and poison—serpentes avibus—good and evil. Here, Milton's Paradise Lost, there The Age of Reason—here Methodist tracts, there True Principles of Socialism—Treatises on Useful Knowledge by sound learning actuated by pure benevolence—Appeals to Operatives by the [Pg 687] shallowest reasoners, instigated by the same ambition that had moved Eratosthenes to the conflagration of a temple; works of fiction admirable as Robinson Crusoe, or innocent as the Old English Baron, beside coarse translations of such garbage as had rotted away the youth of France under Louis Quinze. This miscellany was an epitome, in short, of the mixed World of Books, of that vast City of the Press, with its palaces and hovels, its aqueducts and sewers—which opens all alike to the naked eye and the curious mind of him to whom you say, in the Tinker's careless phrase, "suit yourself."

But it is not the first impulse of a nature, healthful and still pure, to settle in the hovel and lose itself amid the sewers; and Lenny Fairfield turned innocently over the bad books, and selecting two or three of the best, brought them to the Tinker and asked the price.

"Why," said Mr. Sprott, putting on his spectacles, "you has taken the werry dearest: them 'ere be much cheaper, and more hinterestin'."

"But I don't fancy them," answered Lenny; "I don't understand what they are about, and this seems to tell one how the steam-engine is made, and has nice plates; and this is Robinson Crusoe, which Parson Dale once said he would give me—I'd rather buy it out of my own money."

"Well, please yourself," quoth the Tinker; "you shall have the books for four bob, and you can pay me next month."

"Four bobs—four shillings? it is a great sum," said Lenny, "but I will lay by, as you are kind enough to trust me; good evening, Mr. Sprott."

"Stay a bit," said the Tinker; "I'll just throw you these two little tracks into the barging; they be only a shilling a dozen, so 'tis but tuppence—and ven you has read those, vy, you'll be a reglar customer."

The Tinker tossed to Lenny Nos. 1 and 2 of Appeals to Operatives, and the peasant took them up gratefully.

The young knowledge-seeker went his way across the green fields, and under the still autumn foliage of the hedgerows. He looked first at one book, then at another; he did not know on which to settle.

The Tinker rose and made a fire with leaves and furze and sticks, some dry and some green.

Lenny has now opened No. 1 of the tracts: they are the shortest to read, and don't require so much effort of the mind as the explanation of the steam-engine.

The Tinker has now set on his grimy glue-pot, and the glue simmers.


As Violante became more familiar with her new home, and those around her became more familiar with Violante, she was remarked for a certain stateliness of manner and bearing, which, had it been less evidently natural and inborn, would have seemed misplaced in the daughter of a forlorn exile, and would have been rare at so early an age among children of the loftiest pretensions. It was with the air of a little princess that she presented her tiny hand to a friendly pressure, or submitted her calm clear cheek to a presuming kiss. Yet withal she was so graceful, and her very stateliness was so pretty and captivating, that she was not the less loved for all her grand airs. And, indeed, she deserved to be loved; for though she was certainly prouder than Mr. Dale could approve of, her pride was devoid of egotism; and that is a pride by no means common. She had an intuitive forethought for others; you could see that she was capable of that grand woman-heroism, abnegation of self; and though she was an original child, and often grave and musing, with a tinge of melancholy, sweet, but deep in her character, still she was not above the happy genial merriment of childhood—only her silver laugh was more attuned, and her gestures more composed than those of children, habituated to many playfellows, usually are. Mrs. Hazeldean liked her best when she was grave, and said "she would become a very sensible woman." Mrs. Dale liked her best when she was gay, and said, "she was born to make many a heart ache;" for which Mrs. Dale was properly reproved by the Parson. Mrs. Hazeldean gave her a little set of garden tools; Mrs. Dale a picture-book and a beautiful doll. For a long time the book and the doll had the preference. But Mrs. Hazeldean having observed to Riccabocca that the poor child looked pale, and ought to be a good deal in the open air, the wise father ingeniously pretended to Violante that Mrs. Riccabocca had taken a great fancy to the picture book, and that he should be very glad to have the doll, upon which Violante hastened to give them both away, and was never so happy as when mamma (as she called Mrs. Riccabocca) was admiring the picture-book, and Riccabocca with austere gravity dandled the doll. Then Riccabocca assured her that she could be of great use to him in the garden; and Violante instantly put into movement her spade, hoe, and wheelbarrow.

This last occupation brought her into immediate contact with Mr. Leonard Fairfield; and that personage one morning, to his great horror, found Miss Violante had nearly exterminated a whole celery-bed, which she had ignorantly conceived to be a crop of weeds.

Lenny was extremely angry. He snatched away the hoe, and said, angrily, "You must not do that, Miss. I'll tell your papa if you—"

Violante drew herself up, and never having been so spoken to before, at least since her arrival in England, there was something comic in the surprise of her large eyes, as well as something tragic in the dignity of her offended mien. "It is very naughty of you, Miss," continued Leonard, in a milder tone, for he was both softened [Pg 688] by the eyes and awed by the mien, "and I trust you will not do it again."

"Non capisco" (I don't understand), murmured Violante, and the dark eyes filled with tears. At that moment up came Jackeymo; and Violante, pointing to Leonard, said, with an effort not to betray her emotion, "Il fanciullo e molto grossolano" (he is a very rude boy).

Jackeymo turned to Leonard with the look of an enraged tiger. "How you dare, scum of de earth that you are," cried he,[13] "how you dare make cry the signorina?" And his English not supplying familiar vituperatives sufficiently, he poured out upon Lenny such a profusion of Italian abuse, that the boy turned red and white in a breath with rage and perplexity.

Violante took instant compassion upon the victim she had made, and, with true feminine caprice, now began to scold Jackeymo for his anger, and, finally approaching Leonard, laid her hand on his arm, and said with a kindness at once childlike and queenly, and in the prettiest imaginable mixture of imperfect English and soft Italian, to which I can not pretend to do justice, and shall therefore translate: "Don't mind him. I dare say it was all my fault, only I did not understand you: are not these things weeds?"

"No, my darling signorina," said Jackeymo, in Italian, looking ruefully at the celery-bed, "they are not weeds, and they sell very well at this time of the year. But still, if it amuses you to pluck them up, I should like to see who's to prevent it."

Lenny walked away. He had been called "the scum of the earth," by a foreigner, too! He had again been ill-treated for doing what he conceived his duty. He was again feeling the distinction between rich and poor, and he now fancied that that distinction involved deadly warfare, for he had read from beginning to end those two damnable tracts which the Tinker had presented to him. But in the midst of all the angry disturbance of his mind, he felt the soft touch of the infant's hand, the soothing influence of her conciliating words, and he was half ashamed that he had spoken so roughly to a child.

Still, not trusting himself to speak, he walked away, and sat down at a distance. "I don't see," thought he, "why there should be rich and poor, master and servant." Lenny, be it remembered, had not heard the Parson's Political Sermon.

An hour after, having composed himself, Lenny returned to his work. Jackeymo was no longer in the garden; he had gone to the fields; but Riccabocca was standing by the celery-bed, and holding the red silk umbrella over Violante as she sat on the ground, looking up at her father with those eyes already so full of intelligence, and love, and soul.

"Lenny," said Riccabocca, "my young lady has been telling me that she has been very naughty, and Giacomo very unjust to you. Forgive them both."

Lenny's sullenness melted in an instant; the reminiscences of tracts Nos. 1 and 2,

"Like the baseless fabrics of a vision,
Left not a wreck behind."

He raised eyes, swimming with all his native goodness, toward the wise man, and dropped them gratefully on the face of the infant peacemaker. Then he turned away his head and fairly wept. The Parson was right: "O ye poor, have charity for the rich; O ye rich, respect the poor."


Now from that day the humble Lenny and the regal Violante became great friends. With what pride he taught her to distinguish between celery and weeds—and how proud too, was she when she learned that she was useful! There is not a greater pleasure you can give to children, especially female children, than to make them feel they are already of value in the world, and serviceable as well as protected. Weeks and months rolled away, and Lenny still read, not only the books lent him by the Doctor, but those he bought of Mr. Sprott. As for the bombs and shells against religion which the Tinker carried in his bag, Lenny was not induced to blow himself up with them. He had been reared from his cradle in simple love and reverence for the Divine Father, and the tender Saviour, whose life beyond all records of human goodness, whose death beyond all epics of mortal heroism, no being whose infancy has been taught to supplicate the Merciful and adore the Holy, yea, even though his later life may be entangled amidst the thorns of some desolate Pyrrhonism, can ever hear reviled and scoffed without a shock to the conscience and a revolt of the heart. As the deer recoils by instinct from the tiger, as the very look of the scorpion deters you from handling it, though you never saw a scorpion before, so the very first line in some ribald profanity on which the Tinker put his slack finger, made Lenny's blood run cold. Safe, too, was the peasant boy from any temptation in works of a gross and licentious nature, not only because of the happy ignorance of his rural life, not because of a more enduring safeguard—genius! Genius, that, manly, robust, healthful as it be, is long before it lose its instinctive Dorian modesty: shame-faced, because so susceptible to glory—genius, that loves indeed to dream, but on the violet bank, not the dunghill. Wherefore, even in the error of the senses, it seeks to escape from the sensual into worlds of fancy, subtle and refined. But apart from the passions, true genius is the most practical of all human gifts. Like the Apollo, whom the [Pg 689] Greek worshiped as its type, even Arcady is its exile, not its home. Soon weary of the dalliance of Tempé, its ascends to its mission—the Archer of the silver bow, the guide of the car of light. Speaking more plainly, genius is the enthusiasm for self-improvement; it ceases or sleeps the moment it desists from seeking some object which it believes of value, and by that object it insensibly connects its self-improvement with the positive advance of the world. At present Lenny's genius had no bias that was not to the Positive and Useful. It took the direction natural to his sphere, and the wants therein, viz., to the arts which we call mechanical. He wanted to know about steam-engines and Artesian wells; and to know about them it was necessary to know something of mechanics and hydrostatics; so he bought popular elementary works on those mystic sciences, and set all the powers of his mind at work on experiments.

Noble and generous spirits are ye, who with small care for fame, and little reward from pelf, have opened to the intellects of the poor the portals of wisdom! I honor and revere ye; only do not think ye have done all that is needful. Consider, I pray ye, whether so good a choice from the Tinker's bag would have been made by a boy whom religion had not scared from the Pestilent, and genius had not led to the Self-improving. And Lenny did not wholly escape from the mephitic portions of the motley elements from which his awakening mind drew its nurture. Think not it was all pure oxygen that the panting lip drew in. No; there were still those inflammatory tracts. Political I do not like to call them, for politics mean the art of government, and the tracts I speak of assailed all government which mankind has hitherto recognized. Sad rubbish, perhaps, were such tracts to you, O sound thinker, in your easy-chair! Or to you, practiced statesman, at your post on the Treasury Bench—to you, calm dignitary of a learned Church—or to you, my lord judge, who may often have sent from your bar to the dire Orcus of Norfolk's Isle the ghosts of men whom that rubbish, falling simultaneously on the bumps of acquisitiveness and combativeness, hath untimely slain. Sad rubbish to you! But seems it such rubbish to the poor man, to whom it promises a paradise on the easy terms of upsetting a world? For ye see, these "Appeals to Operatives" represent that same world-upsetting as the simplest thing imaginable—a sort of two-and-two-make-four proposition. The poor have only got to set their strong hands to the axle, and heave-a-hoy! and hurrah for the topsy-turvy! Then, just to put a little wholesome rage into the heave-a-hoy! it is so facile to accompany the eloquence of "Appeals" with a kind of stir-the-bile-up statistics—"Abuses of the Aristocracy"—"Jobs of the Priesthood"—"Expenses of Army kept up for Peers' younger sons"—"Wars contracted for the villainous purpose of raising the rents of the landowners"—all arithmetically dished up, and seasoned with tales of every gentleman who has committed a misdeed, every clergyman who has dishonored his cloth; as if such instances were fair specimens of average gentlemen and ministers of religion! All this passionately advanced, (and observe, never answered, for that literature admits no controversialists, and the writer has it all his own way), may be rubbish; but it is out of such rubbish that operatives build barricades for attack, and legislators prisons for defense.

Our poor friend Lenny drew plenty of this stuff from the Tinker's bag. He thought it very clever and very eloquent; and he supposed the statistics were as true as mathematical demonstrations.

A famous knowledge-diffuser is looking over my shoulder, and tells me, "Increase education, and cheapen good books, and all this rubbish will disappear!" Sir, I don't believe a word of it. If you printed Ricardo and Adam Smith at a farthing a volume, I still believe they would be as little read by the operatives as they are nowadays by a very large proportion of highly-cultivated men. I still believe that while the press works, attacks on the rich, and propositions for heave-a-hoys, will always form a popular portion of the Literature of Labor. There's Lenny Fairfield reading a treatise on hydraulics, and constructing a model for a fountain into the bargain; but that does not prevent his acquiescence in any proposition for getting rid of a National Debt, which he certainly never agreed to pay, and which he is told makes sugar and tea so shamefully dear. No. I tell you what does a little counteract those eloquent incentives to break his own head against the strong walls of the Social System—it is, that he has two eyes in that head, which are not always employed in reading. And, having been told in print that masters are tyrants, parsons hypocrites or drones in the hive, and landowners vampires and bloodsuckers, he looks out into the little world around him, and, first he is compelled to acknowledge that his master is not a tyrant (perhaps because he is a foreigner and a philosopher, and, for what I and Lenny know, a republican). But then Parson Dale, though High Church to the marrow, is neither hypocrite nor drone. He has a very good living, it is true—much better than he ought to have, according to the "political" opinions of those tracts; but Lenny is obliged to confess that, if Parson Dale were a penny the poorer, he would do a pennyworth's less good; and, comparing one parish with another, such as Rood Hall and Hazeldean, he is dimly aware that there is no greater CIVILIZER than a parson tolerably well off. Then, too, Squire Hazeldean, though as arrant a Tory as ever stood upon shoe-leather, is certainly not a vampire nor bloodsucker. He does not feed on the public; a great many of the public feed upon him: and, therefore, his practical experience a little staggers and perplexes Lenny Fairfield as to the gospel accuracy of his theoretical [Pg 690] dogmas. Masters, parsons, landowners! having, at the risk of all popularity, just given a coup de patte to certain sages extremely the fashion at present, I am not going to let you off without an admonitory flea in the ear. Don't suppose that any mere scribbling and typework will suffice to answer scribbling and typework set at work to demolish you—write down that rubbish you can't—live it down you may. If you are rich, like Squire Hazeldean, do good with your money; if you are poor, like Signor Riccabocca, do good with your kindness.

See! there is Lenny now receiving his week's wages; and though Lenny knows that he can get higher wages in the very next parish, his blue eyes are sparkling with gratitude, not at the chink of the money, but at the poor exile's friendly talk on things apart from all service; while Violante is descending the steps from the terrace, charged by her mother-in-law with a little basket of sago, and suchlike delicacies, for Mrs. Fairfield, who has been ailing the last few days.

Lenny will see the Tinker as he goes home, and he will buy a most Demosthenean "Appeal"—a tract of tracts, upon the "Propriety of Strikes," and the Avarice of Masters. But, somehow or other, I think a few words from Signor Riccabocca, that did not cost the Signor a farthing, and the sight of his mother's smile at the contents of the basket, which cost very little, will serve to neutralize the effects of that "Appeal," much more efficaciously than the best article a Brougham or a Mill could write on the subject.


Spring had come again; and one beautiful May-day, Leonard Fairfield sate beside the little fountain which he had now actually constructed in the garden. The butterflies were hovering over the belt of flowers which he had placed around his fountain, and the birds were singing overhead. Leonard Fairfield was resting from his day's work, to enjoy his abstemious dinner, beside the cool play of the sparkling waters, and, with the yet keener appetite of knowledge, he devoured his book as he munched his crusts.

A penny tract is the shoeing-horn of literature: it draws on a great many books, and some too tight to be very useful in walking. The penny tract quotes a celebrated writer, you long to read him; it props a startling assertion by a grave authority, you long to refer to it. During the nights of the past winter, Leonard's intelligence had made vast progress: he had taught himself more than the elements of mechanics, and put to practice the principles he had acquired, not only in the hydraulical achievement of the fountain, nor in the still more notable application of science, commenced on the stream in which Jackeymo had fished for minnows, and which Lenny had diverted to the purpose of irrigating two fields, but in various ingenious contrivances for the facilitation or abridgment of labor, which had excited great wonder and praise in the neighborhood. On the other hand, those rabid little tracts, which dealt so summarily with the destinies of the human race, even when his growing reason, and the perusal of works more classical or more logical, had led him to perceive that they were illiterate, and to suspect that they jumped from premises to conclusions with a celerity very different from the careful ratiocination of mechanical science, had still, in the citations and references wherewith they abounded, lured him on to philosophers more specious and more perilous. Out of the Tinker's bag he had drawn a translation of Condorcet's Progress of Man, and another of Rousseau's Social Contract. These had induced him to select from the tracts in the Tinker's miscellany those which abounded most in professions of philanthropy, and predictions of some coming Golden Age, to which old Saturn's was a joke—tracts so mild and mother-like in their language, that it required a much more practical experience than Lenny's to perceive that you would have to pass a river of blood before you had the slightest chance of setting foot on the flowery banks on which they invited you to repose—tracts which rouged poor Christianity on the cheeks, clapped a crown of innocent daffodillies on her head, and set her to dancing a pas de zephyr in the pastoral ballet in which St. Simon pipes to the flock he shears; or having first laid it down as a preliminary axiom, that

"The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself—
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,"

substituted in place thereof Monsieur Fourier's symmetrical phalanstere, or Mr. Owen's architectural parallelogram. It was with some such tract that Lenny was seasoning his crusts and his radishes, when Riccabocca, bending his long dark face over the student's shoulder, said abruptly—

"Diavolo, my friend! What on earth have you got there? Just let me look at it, will you?"

Leonard rose respectfully, and colored deeply as he surrendered the tract to Riccabocca.

The wise man read the first page attentively, the second more cursorily, and only ran his eye over the rest. He had gone through too vast a range of problems political, not to have passed over that venerable Pons Asinorum of Socialism, on which Fouriers and St. Simons sit straddling and cry aloud that they have arrived at the last boundary of knowledge!

"All this is as old as the hills," quoth Riccabocca irreverently; "but the hills stand still, and this—there it goes!" and the sage pointed to a cloud emitted from his pipe. "Did you ever read Sir David Brewster on Optical Delusions? No! Well, I'll lend it to you. You will find therein a story of a lady who always saw a black cat on her hearth-rug. The black cat existed only in her fancy, but the hallucination was natural and reasonable—eh—what do you think?" [Pg 691]

"Why, sir," said Leonard, not catching the Italian's meaning, "I don't exactly see that it was natural and reasonable."

"Foolish boy, yes! because black cats are things possible and known. But who ever saw upon earth a community of men such as sit on the hearth-rugs of Messrs. Owen and Fourier? If the lady's hallucination was not reasonable, what is his, who believes in such visions as these?"

Leonard bit his lip.

"My dear boy," cried Riccabocca kindly, "the only thing sure and tangible to which these writers would lead you, lies at the first step, and that is what is commonly called a Revolution. Now, I know what that is. I have gone, not indeed through a revolution, but an attempt at one."

Leonard raised his eyes toward his master with a look of profound respect, and great curiosity.

"Yes," added Riccabocca, and the face on which the boy gazed exchanged its usual grotesque and sardonic expression for one animated, noble, and heroic. "Yes, not a revolution for chimeras, but for that cause which the coldest allow to be good, and which, when successful, all time approves as divine—the redemption of our native soil from the rule of the foreigner! I have shared in such an attempt. And," continued the Italian mournfully, "recalling now all the evil passions it arouses, all the ties it dissolves, all the blood that it commands to flow, all the healthful industry it arrests, all the madmen that it arms, all the victims that it dupes, I question whether one man really honest, pure, and humane, who has once gone through such an ordeal, would ever hazard it again, unless he was assured that the victory was certain—ay, and the object for which he fights not to be wrested from his hands amidst the uproar of the elements that the battle has released."

The Italian paused, shaded his brow with his hand, and remained long silent. Then, gradually resuming his ordinary tone, he continued—

"Revolutions that have no definite objects made clear by the positive experience of history; revolutions, in a word, that aim less at substituting one law or one dynasty for another, than at changing the whole scheme of society, have been little attempted by real statesmen. Even Lycurgus is proved to be a myth who never existed. They are the suggestions of philosophers who lived apart from the actual world, and whose opinions (though generally they were very benevolent, good sort of men, and wrote in an elegant poetical style) one would no more take on a plain matter of life, than one would look upon Virgil's Eclogues as a faithful picture of the ordinary pains and pleasures of the peasants who tend our sheep. Read them as you would read poets, and they are delightful. But attempt to shape the world according to the poetry—and fit yourself for a madhouse. The farther off the age is from the realization of such projects, the more these poor philosophers have indulged them. Thus, it was amidst the saddest corruption of court manners that it became the fashion in Paris to sit for one's picture with a crook in one's hand, as Alexis or Daphne. Just as liberty was fast dying out of Greece, and the successors of Alexander were founding their monarchies, and Rome was growing up to crush, in its iron grasp, all states save its own, Plato withdraws his eyes from the world, to open them in his dreamy Atlantis. Just in the grimmest period of English history, with the ax hanging over his head, Sir Thomas More gives you his Utopia. Just when the world is to be the theatre of a new Sesostris, the dreamers of France tell you that the age is too enlightened for war, that man is henceforth to be governed by pure reason and live in a paradise. Very pretty reading all this to a man like me, Lenny, who can admire and smile at it. But to you, to the man who has to work for his living, to the man who thinks it would be so much more pleasant to live at his ease in a phalanstere than to work eight or ten hours a day; to the man of talent, and action, and industry, whose future is invested in that tranquillity, and order of a state, in which talent, and action and industry are a certain capital; why, Messrs. Coutts, the great bankers, had better encourage a theory to upset the system of banking! Whatever disturbs society, yea, even by a causeless panic, much more by an actual struggle, falls first upon the market of labor, and thence affects, prejudicially, every department of intelligence. In such times the arts are arrested; literature is neglected; people are too busy to read any thing save appeals to their passions. And capital, shaken in its sense of security, no longer ventures boldly through the land, calling forth all the energies of toil and enterprise, and extending to every workman his reward. Now, Lenny, take this piece of advice. You are young, clever, and aspiring: men rarely succeed in changing the world; but a man seldom fails of success if he lets the world alone, and resolves to make the best of it. You are in the midst of the great crisis of your life; it is the struggle between the new desires knowledge excites, and that sense of poverty, which those desires convert either into hope and emulation, or into envy and despair. I grant that it is an up-hill work that lies before you; but don't you think it is always easier to climb a mountain than it is to level it? These books call on you to level the mountain; and that mountain is the property of other people, subdivided among a great many proprietors, and protected by law. At the first stroke of the pick-ax, it is ten to one but what you are taken up for a trespass. But the path up the mountain is a right of way uncontested. You may be safe at the summit, before (even if the owners are fools enough to let you) you could have leveled a yard. Cospetto!" quoth the Doctor, "it is more than two thousand years ago since poor Plato began to level it, and the mountain is as high as ever!" [Pg 692]

Thus saying, Riccabocca came to the end of his pipe, and, stalking thoughtfully away, he left Leonard Fairfield trying to extract light from the smoke.


Shortly after this discourse of Riccabocca's, an incident occurred to Leonard that served to carry his mind into new directions. One evening, when his mother was out, he was at work on a new mechanical contrivance, and had the misfortune to break one of the instruments which he employed. Now it will be remembered that his father had been the Squire's head-carpenter; the widow had carefully hoarded the tools of his craft, which had belonged to her poor Mark; and though she occasionally lent them to Leonard, she would not give them up to his service. Among these, Leonard knew that he should find the one that he wanted; and being much interested in his contrivance, he could not wait till his mother's return. The tools, with other little relics of the lost, were kept in a large trunk in Mrs. Fairfield's sleeping room; the trunk was not locked, and Leonard went to it without ceremony or scruple. In rummaging for the instrument, his eye fell upon a bundle of MSS.; and he suddenly recollected that when he was a mere child, and before he much knew the difference between verse and prose, his mother had pointed to these MSS. and said, "One day or other, when you can read nicely, I'll let you look at these Lenny. My poor Mark wrote such verses—ah, he was a scollard!" Leonard, reasonably enough, thought that the time had now arrived when he was worthy the privilege of reading the paternal effusions, and he took forth the MSS. with a keen but melancholy interest. He recognized his father's handwriting, which he had often seen before in account-books and memoranda, and read eagerly some trifling poems, which did not show much genius, nor much mastery of language and rhythm—such poems, in short as a self-educated man, with poetic taste and feeling, rather than poetic inspiration or artistic culture, might compose with credit, but not for fame. But suddenly, as he turned over these "Occasional Pieces," Leonard came to others in a different handwriting—a woman's handwriting—small, and fine, and exquisitely formed. He had scarcely read six lines of these last, before his attention was irresistibly chained. They were of a different order of merit from poor Mark's; they bore the unmistakable stamp of genius. Like the poetry of women in general, they were devoted to personal feeling—they were not the mirror of a world, but reflections of a solitary heart. Yet this is the kind of poetry most pleasing to the young. And the verses in question had another attraction for Leonard: they seemed to express some struggle akin to his own—some complaint against the actual condition of the writer's life, some sweet melodious murmurs at fortune. For the rest, they were characterized by a vein of sentiment so elevated that, if written by a man, it would have run into exaggeration; written by a woman, the romance was carried off by so many genuine revelations of sincere, deep, pathetic feeling, that it was always natural, though true to a nature from which you would not augur happiness.

Leonard was still absorbed in the perusal of these poems, when Mrs. Fairfield entered the room.

"What have you been about, Lenny? searching in my box?"

"I came to look for my father's bag of tools, mother, and I found these papers, which you said I might read some day."

"I doesn't wonder you did not hear me when I came in," said the widow sighing. "I used to sit still for the hour together, when my poor Mark read his poems to me. There was such a pretty one about the 'Peasant's Fireside,' Lenny—have you got hold of that?"

"Yes, dear mother; and I remarked the allusion to you: it brought tears to my eyes. But these verses are not my father's—whose are they? They seem a woman's hand."

Mrs. Fairfield looked—changed color—grew faint—and seated herself.

"Poor, poor Nora!" said she, faltering. "I did not know as they were there; Mark kep 'em; they got among his—"

Leonard.—"Who was Nora!"

Mrs. Fairfield.—"Who?—child—who? Nora was—was my own—own sister."

Leonard (in great amaze, contrasting his ideal of the writer of these musical lines, in that graceful hand, with his homely uneducated mother, who can neither read nor write).—"Your sister—is it possible? My aunt, then. How comes it you never spoke of her before? Oh! you should be so proud of her, mother."

Mrs. Fairfield (clasping her hands).—"We were proud of her, all of us—father, mother—all! She was so beautiful and so good, and not proud she! though she looked like the first lady in the land. Oh! Nora, Nora!"

Leonard (after a pause).—"But she must have been highly educated?"

Mrs. Fairfield.—"'Deed she was!"

Leonard.—"How was that?"

Mrs. Fairfield (rocking herself to and fro in her chair.)—"Oh! my Lady was her godmother—Lady Lansmere I mean—and took a fancy to her when she was that high! and had her to stay at the Park, and wait on her ladyship; and then she put her to school, and Nora was so clever that nothing would do but she must go to London as a governess. But don't talk of it, boy! don't talk of it!"

Leonard.—"Why not, mother? what has become of her? where is she?"

Mrs. Fairfield (bursting into a paroxysm of tears.)—"In her grave—in her cold grave! Dead, dead!"

Leonard was inexpressibly grieved and shocked. [Pg 693] It is the attribute of the poet to seem always living, always a friend. Leonard felt as if some one very dear had been suddenly torn from his heart. He tried to console his mother; but her emotion was contagious, and he wept with her.

"And how long has she been dead?" he asked at last, in mournful accents.

"Many's the long year, many; but," added Mrs. Fairfield, rising, and putting her tremulous hand on Leonard's shoulder, "you'll just never talk to me about her—I can't bear it—it breaks my heart. I can bear better to talk of Mark—come down stairs—come."

"May I not keep these verses, mother? Do let me."

"Well, well, those bits o' paper be all she left behind her—yes, keep them, but put back Mark's. Are they all here?—sure?" And the widow, though she could not read her husband's verses, looked jealously at the MSS. written in his irregular large scrawl, and, smoothing them carefully, replaced them in the trunk, and resettled over them some sprigs of lavender, which Leonard had unwittingly disturbed.

"But," said Leonard, as his eye again rested on the beautiful handwriting of his lost aunt—"but you call her Nora—I see she signs herself L."

"Leonora was her name. I said she was my Lady's god-child. We called her Nora for short—"

"Leonora—and I am Leonard—is that how I came by the name?"

"Yes, yes—do hold your tongue, boy," sobbed poor Mrs. Fairfield; and she could not be soothed nor coaxed into continuing or renewing a subject which was evidently associated with insupportable pain.


It is difficult to exaggerate the effect that this discovery produced on Leonard's train of thought. Some one belonging to his own humble race had, then, preceded him in his struggling flight toward the loftier regions of Intelligence and Desire. It was like the mariner amidst unknown seas, who finds carved upon some desert isle a familiar household name. And this creature of genius and of sorrow—whose existence he had only learned by her song, and whose death created, in the simple heart of her sister, so passionate a grief, after the lapse of so many years—supplied to the romance awaking in his young heart the ideal which it unconsciously sought. He was pleased to hear that she had been beautiful and good. He paused from his books to muse on her, and picture her image to his fancy. That there was some mystery in her fate was evident to him; and while that conviction deepened his interest, the mystery itself, by degrees, took a charm which he was not anxious to dispel. He resigned himself to Mrs. Fairfield's obstinate silence. He was contented to rank the dead among those holy and ineffable images which we do not seek to unvail. Youth and Fancy have many secret hoards of idea which they do not desire to impart, even to those most in their confidence. I doubt the depth of feeling in any man who has not certain recesses in his soul into which none may enter.

Hitherto, as I have said, the talents of Leonard Fairfield had been more turned to things positive than to the ideal; to science and investigation of fact than to poetry, and that airier truth in which poetry has its element. He had read our greater poets, indeed, but without thought of imitating; and rather from the general curiosity to inspect all celebrated monuments of the human mind, than from that especial predilection for verse which is too common in childhood and youth to be any sure sign of a poet. But now these melodies, unknown to all the world beside, rang in his ear, mingled with his thoughts—set, as it were, his whole life to music. He read poetry with a different sentiment—it seemed to him that he had discovered its secret. And so reading, the passion seized him, and "the numbers came."

To many minds, at the commencement of our grave and earnest pilgrimage, I am Vandal enough to think that the indulgence of poetic taste and reverie does great and lasting harm; that it serves to enervate the character, give false ideas of life, impart the semblance of drudgery to the noble toils and duties of the active man. All poetry would not do this—not, for instance, the Classical, in its diviner masters—not the poetry of Homer, of Virgil, of Sophocles—not, perhaps, even that of the indolent Horace. But the poetry which youth usually loves and appreciates the best—the poetry of mere sentiment—does so in minds already over predisposed to the sentimental, and which require bracing to grow into healthful manhood.

On the other hand, even this latter kind of poetry, which is peculiarly modern, does suit many minds of another mould—minds which our modern life, with its hard positive forms, tends to produce. And as in certain climates plants and herbs, peculiarly adapted as antidotes to those diseases most prevalent in the atmosphere, are profusely sown, as it were, by the benignant providence of nature—so it may be that the softer and more romantic species of poetry, which comes forth in harsh, money-making, unromantic times, is intended as curatives and counter-poisons. The world is so much with us, nowadays, that we need have something that prates to us, albeit even in too fine an euphuism, of the moon and stars.

Certes, to Leonard Fairfield, at that period of his intellectual life, the softness of our Helicon descended as healing dews. In his turbulent and unsettled ambition, in his vague grapple with the giant forms of political truths, in his bias toward the application of science to immediate practical purposes, this lovely vision of the Muse came in the white robe of the Peacemaker; [Pg 694] and with upraised hand, pointing to serene skies, she opened to him fair glimpses of the Beautiful, which is given to Peasant as to Prince—showed to him that on the surface of earth there is something nobler than fortune—that he who can view the world as a poet is always at soul a king; while to practical purpose itself, that larger and more profound invention, which poetry stimulates, supplied the grand design and the subtle view—leading him beyond the mere ingenuity of the mechanic, and habituating him to regard the inert force of the matter at his command with the ambition of the Discoverer. But, above all, the discontent that was within him finding a vent, not in deliberate war upon this actual world, but through the purifying channels of song—in the vent itself it evaporated, it was lost. By accustoming ourselves to survey all things with the spirit that retains and reproduces them only in their lovelier or grander aspects, a vast philosophy of toleration for what we before gazed on with scorn or hate insensibly grows upon us. Leonard looked into his heart after the enchantress had breathed upon it; and through the mists of the fleeting and tender melancholy which betrayed where she had been, he beheld a new sun of delight and joy dawning over the landscape of human life.

Thus, though she was dead and gone from his actual knowledge, this mysterious kinswoman—"a voice and nothing more"—had spoken to him, soothed, elevated, cheered, attuned each discord into harmony; and, if now permitted from some serener sphere to behold the life that her soul thus strangely influenced, verily, with yet holier joy, the saving and lovely spirit might have glided onward in the Eternal Progress.

We call the large majority of human lives obscure. Presumptuous that we are! How know we what lives a single thought retained from the dust of nameless graves may have lighted to renown?


It was about a year after Leonard's discovery of the family MSS. that Parson Dale borrowed the quietest pad mare in the Squire's stables, and set out on an equestrian excursion. He said that he was bound on business connected with his old parishioners of Lansmere; for, as it has been incidentally implied in a previous chapter, he had been connected with that borough town (and, I may here add, in the capacity of curate) before he had been inducted into the living of Hazeldean.

It was so rarely that the Parson stirred from home, that this journey to a town more than twenty miles off was regarded as a most daring adventure, both at the Hall and at the Parsonage. Mrs. Dale could not sleep the whole previous night with thinking of it; and though she had naturally one of her worst nervous headaches on the eventful morn, she yet suffered no hands less thoughtful than her own to pack up the saddlebags which the Parson had borrowed along with the pad. Nay, so distrustful was she of the possibility of the good man's exerting the slightest common sense in her absence, that she kept him close at her side while she was engaged in that same operation of packing up—showing him the exact spot in which the clean shirt was put, and how nicely the old slippers were packed up in one of his own sermons. She implored him not to mistake the sandwiches for his shaving-soap, and made him observe how carefully she had provided against such confusion, by placing them as far apart from each other as the nature of saddlebags will admit. The poor Parson—who was really by no means an absent man, but as little likely to shave himself with sandwiches and lunch upon soap as the most common-place mortal may be—listened with conjugal patience, and thought that man never had such a wife before; nor was it without tears in his own eyes that he tore himself from the farewell embrace of his weeping Carry.

I confess, however, that it was with some apprehension that he set his foot in the stirrup, and trusted his person to the mercies of an unfamiliar animal. For whatever might be Mr. Dale's minor accomplishments as a man and parson, horsemanship was not his forte. Indeed, I doubt if he had taken the reins in his hand more than twice since he had been married.

The Squire's surly old groom, Mat, was in attendance with the pad; and, to the Parson's gentle inquiry whether Mat was quite sure that the pad was quite safe, replied laconically, "Oi, oi, give her her head."

"Give her her head!" repeated Mr. Dale, rather amazed, for he had not the slightest intention of taking away that part of the beast's frame, so essential to its vital economy—"Give her her head!"

"Oi, oi; and don't jerk her up like that, or she'll fall a doincing on her hind-legs."

The Parson instantly slackened the reins; and Mrs. Dale—who had tarried behind to control her tears—now running to the door for "more last words," he waved his hand with courageous amenity, and ambled forth into the lane.

Our equestrian was absorbed at first in studying the idiosyncrasies of the pad, and trying thereby to arrive at some notion of her general character: guessing, for instance, why she raised one ear and laid down the other; why she kept bearing so close to the left that she brushed his leg against the hedge; and why, when she arrived at a little side-gate in the fields, which led toward the home-farm, she came to a full stop, and fell to rubbing her nose against the rail—an occupation from which the Parson, finding all civil remonstrances in vain, at length diverted her by a timorous application of the whip.

This crisis on the road fairly passed, the pad seemed to comprehend that she had a journey [Pg 695] before her, and giving a petulant whisk of her tail, quickened her amble into a short trot, which soon brought the Parson into the high road, and nearly opposite the Casino.

Here, sitting on the gate which led to his abode, and shaded by his umbrella, he beheld Dr. Riccabocca.

The Italian lifted his eyes from the book he was reading, and stared hard at the Parson; and he—not venturing to withdraw his whole attention from the pad (who, indeed, set up both her ears at the apparition of Riccabocca, and evinced symptoms of that surprise and superstitious repugnance at unknown objects which goes by the name of "shying"), looked askance at Riccabocca.

"Don't stir, please," said the Parson, "or I fear you'll alarm this creature; it seems a nervous, timid thing;—soho—gently—gently."

And he fell to patting the mare with great unction.

The pad thus encouraged, overcame her first natural astonishment at the sight of Riccabocca and the red umbrella; and having before been in the Casino on sundry occasions, and sagaciously preferring places within the range of experience to bournes neither cognate nor conjecturable, she moved gravely up toward the gate on which the Italian sate; and, after eying him a moment—as much as to say, "I wish you would get off"—came to a dead lock.

"Well," said Riccabocca, "since your horse seems more disposed to be polite to me than yourself, Mr. Dale, I take the opportunity of your present involuntary pause to congratulate you on your elevation in life, and to breathe a friendly prayer that pride may not have a fall!"

"Tut," said the Parson, affecting an easy air, though still contemplating the pad, who appeared to have fallen into a quiet doze, "It is true that I have not ridden much of late years, and the Squire's horses are very high fed and spirited; but there is no more harm in them than their master when one once knows their ways."

"Chi và piano, và sano,
E chi va sano và lontano,"

said Riccabocca, pointing to the saddle-bags. "You go slowly, therefore safely; and he who goes safely may go far. You seem prepared for a journey?"

"I am," said the Parson; "and on a matter that concerns you a little."

"Me!" exclaimed Riccabocca—"concerns me!"

"Yes, so far as the chance of depriving you of a servant whom you like and esteem affects you."

"Oh," said Riccabocca, "I understand: you have hinted to me very often that I or knowledge, or both together, have unfitted Leonard Fairfield for service."

"I did not say that exactly; I said that you have fitted him for something higher than service But do not repeat this to him. And I can not yet say more to you, for I am very doubtful as to the success of my mission; and it will not do to unsettle poor Leonard until we are sure that we can improve his condition."

"Of that you can never be sure," quoth the wise man, shaking his head; "and I can't say that I am unselfish enough not to bear you a grudge for seeking to decoy away from me an invaluable servant—faithful, steady, intelligent, and (added Riccabocca, warming as he approached the climacteric adjective)—exceedingly cheap! Nevertheless go, and Heaven speed you. I am not an Alexander, to stand between man and the sun."

"You are a noble great-hearted creature, Signor Riccabocca, in spite of your cold-blooded proverbs and villainous books." The Parson, as he said this, brought down the whip-hand with so indiscreet an enthusiasm on the pad's shoulder, that the poor beast, startled out of her innocent doze, made a bolt forward, which nearly precipitated Riccabocca from his seat on the stile, and then turning round—as the Parson tugged desperately at the rein—caught the bit between her teeth, and set off at a canter. The Parson lost both his stirrups; and when he regained them (as the pad slackened her pace), and had time to breathe and look about him, Riccabocca and the Casino were both out of sight.

"Certainly," quoth Parson Dale, as he resettled himself with great complacency, and a conscious triumph that he was still on the pad's back—"certainly it is true 'that the noblest conquest ever made by man was that of the horse:' a fine creature it is—a very fine creature—and uncommonly difficult to sit on,—especially without stirrups." Firmly in his stirrups the Parson planted his feet; and the heart within him was very proud.


Lansmere was situated in the county adjoining that which contained the village of Hazeldean. Late at noon the Parson crossed the little stream which divided the two shires, and came to an inn, which was placed at an angle, where the great main road branched off into two directions—the one leading toward Lansmere, the other going more direct to London. At this inn the pad stopped, and put down both ears with the air of a pad who has made up her mind to bait. And the Parson himself, feeling very warm, and somewhat sore, said to the pad, benignly: "It is just—thou shalt have corn and water!".

Dismounting, therefore, and finding himself very stiff, as soon as he had reached terra firma, the Parson consigned the pad to the hostler, and walked into the sanded parlor of the inn, to repose himself on a very hard Windsor chair.

He had been alone rather more than half-an-hour, reading a county newspaper which smelt much of tobacco, and trying to keep off the flies that gathered round him in swarms, as if they [Pg 696] had never before seen a Parson, and were anxious to ascertain how the flesh of him tasted—when a stage-coach stopped at the inn. A traveler got out with his carpet-bag in his hand, and was shown into the sanded parlor.

The Parson rose politely, and made a bow.

The traveler touched his hat, without taking it off—looked at Mr. Dale from top to toe—then walked to the window, and whistled a lively, impatient tune, then strode toward the fireplace and rang the bell; then stared again at the Parson; and that gentleman having courteously laid down the newspaper, the traveler seized it, threw himself on a chair, flung one of his legs over the table, tossed the other up on the mantle-piece, and began reading the paper, while he tilted the chair on its hind-legs with so daring a disregard to the ordinary position of chairs and their occupants, that the shuddering Parson expected every moment to see him come down on the back of his skull.

Moved, therefore, to compassion, Mr. Dale said, mildly:

"Those chairs are very treacherous, sir; I'm afraid you'll be down."

"Eh," said the traveler, looking up much astonished. "Eh, down?—oh, you're satirical, sir!"

"Satirical, sir? upon my word, no!" exclaimed the Parson, earnestly.

"I think every free-born man has a right to sit as he pleases in his own house," resumed the traveler, with warmth; "and an inn is his own house, I guess, so long as he pays his score. Betty, my dear!"

For the chamber-maid had now replied to the bell.

"I han't Betty, sir; do you want she?"

"No, Sally—cold brandy-and-water—and a biscuit."

"I han't Sally, either," muttered the chamber-maid; but the traveler, turning round, showed so smart a neckcloth, and so comely a face, that she smiled, colored, and went her way.

The traveler now rose, and flung down the paper. He took out a penknife, and began paring his nails. Suddenly desisting from this elegant occupation, his eye caught sight of the Parson's shovel-hat, which lay on a chair in the corner.

"You're a clergyman, I reckon, sir," said the traveler, with a slight sneer.

Again Mr. Dale bowed—bowed in part deprecatingly—in part with dignity. It was a bow that said, "No offense, sir! but I am a clergyman, and I'm not ashamed of it!"

"Going far?" asked the traveler.

Parson.—"Not very."

Traveler.—"In a chaise or fly? If so, and we are going the same way—halves!"


Traveler.—"Yes, I'll pay half the damage—pikes inclusive."

Parson.—"You are very good, sir: but" (spoken with pride), "I am on horseback."

Traveler.—"On horseback! Well, I should not have guessed that! You don't look like it. Where did you say you were going?"

"I did not say where I was going, sir," said the Parson, drily, for he was much offended at that vague and ungrammatical remark, applicable to his horsemanship, that "he did not look like it!"

"Close!" said the traveler, laughing; "an old traveler, I reckon!"

The Parson made no reply; but he took up his shovel-hat, and, with a bow more majestic than the previous one, walked out to see if his pad had finished her corn.

The animal had indeed finished all the corn afforded to her, which was not much, and in a few minutes more Mr. Dale resumed his journey. He had performed about three miles, when the sound of wheels behind made him turn his head, and he perceived a chaise driven very fast, while out of the windows thereof dangled strangely a pair of human legs. The pad began to curvet as the post-horses rattled behind, and the Parson had only an indistinct vision of a human face supplanting these human legs. The traveler peered out at him as he whirled by—saw Mr. Dale tossed up and down on the saddle, and cried out: "How's the leather?"

"Leather!" soliloquized the Parson, as the pad recomposed herself. "What does he mean by that? Leather! a very vulgar man. But I got rid of him cleverly!"

Mr. Dale arrived without further adventure at Lansmere. He put up at the principal inn—refreshed himself by a general ablution—and sat down with good appetite to his beef-steak and pint of port.

The Parson was a better judge of the physiognomy of man than that of the horse; and after a satisfactory glance at the civil, smirking landlord, who removed the cover and set on the wine, he ventured on an attempt at conversation. "Is my lord at the park?"

Landlord, still more civilly than before: "No, sir; his lordship and my lady have gone to town to meet Lord L'Estrange."

"Lord L'Estrange! He is in England, then?"

"Why, so I heard," replied the landlord; "but we never see him here now. I remember him a very pretty young man. Every one was fond of him, and proud of him. But what pranks he did play when he was a lad! We hoped he would come in for our boro' some of these days, but he has taken to foren parts—more's the pity. I am a reg'lar Blue, sir, as I ought to be. The Blue candidate always does me the honor to come to the Lansmere Arms. 'Tis only the low party puts up with The Boar," added the landlord, with a look of ineffable disgust. "I hope you like the wine, sir?"

"Very good, and seems old."

"Bottled these eighteen years, sir. I had in the cask for the great election of Dashmore and Egerton. I have little left of it, and I never give it but to old friends like—for, I think, sir, though you be grown stout, and look more grand, [Pg 697] I may say that I've had the pleasure of seeing you before."

"That's true, I dare say, though I fear I was never a very good customer."

Landlord.—"Ah, it is Mr. Dale, then! I thought so when you came into the hall. I hope your lady is quite well, and the Squire, too; a fine pleasant-spoken gentleman; no fault of his if Mr. Egerton went wrong. Well, we have never seen him—I mean Mr. Egerton—since that time. I don't wonder he stays away; but my lord's son, who was brought up here—it an't nat'ral-like that he should turn his back on us!"

Mr. Dale made no reply, and the landlord was about to retire, when the Parson, pouring out another glass of the port, said: "There must be great changes in the parish. Is Mr. Morgan, the medical man, still here?"

"No, indeed; he took out his ploma after you left, and became a real doctor; and a pretty practice he had, too, when he took, all of a sudden, to some new-fangled way of physicking—I think they calls it homy-something—"


"That's it—something against all reason; and so he lost his practice here and went up to Lunnun. I have not heard of him since."

"Do the Avenels keep their old house?"

"Oh yes!—and are pretty well off, I hear say. John is always poorly; though he still goes now and then to the Odd Fellows, and takes his glass; but his wife comes and fetches him away before he can do himself any harm."

"Mrs. Avenel is the same as ever."

"She holds her head higher, I think," said the landlord, smiling. "She was always—not exactly proud like, but what I calls gumptious."

"I never heard that word before," said the Parson, laying down his knife and fork. "Bumptious, indeed, though I believe it is not in the dictionary, has crept into familiar parlance, especially among young folks at school and college."

"Bumptious is bumptious, and gumptious is gumptious," said the landlord, delighted to puzzle a Parson. "Now the town beadle is bumptious and Mrs. Avenel is gumptious."

"She is a very respectable woman," said Mr. Dale, somewhat rebukingly.

"In course, sir, all gumptious folks are; they value themselves on their respectability, and looks down on their neighbors."

Parson (still philologically occupied). "Gumptious—gumptious. I think I remember the substantive at school—not that my master taught it to me. 'Gumption,' it means cleverness."

Landlord, (doggedly).—"There's gumption and gumptious! Gumption is knowing; but when I say sum un is gumptious, I mean—though that's more vulgar like—sum un who does not think small beer of hisself. You take me, sir?"

"I think I do," said the Parson, half-smiling. "I believe the Avenels have only two of their children alive still—their daughter, who married Mark Fairfield, and a son who went off to America?"

"Ah, but he made his fortune there, and has come back."

"Indeed! I'm very glad to hear it. He has settled at Lansmere?"

"No, sir. I hear as he's bought a property a long way off. But he comes to see his parents pretty often—so John tells me—but I can't say that I ever see him. I fancy Dick doesn't like to be seen by folks who remember him playing in the kennel."

"Not unnatural," said the Parson indulgently; "but he visits his parents; he is a good son, at all events, then?"

"I've nothing to say against him. Dick was a wild chap before he took himself off. I never thought he would make his fortune; but the Avenels are a clever set. Do you remember poor Nora—the Rose of Lansmere, as they called her? Ah, no, I think she went up to Lunnun afore your time, sir."

"Humph!" said the Parson drily. "Well, I think you may take away now. It will be dark soon, and I'll just stroll out and look about me."

"There's a nice tart coming, sir."

"Thank you, I've dined."

The Parson put on his hat and sallied forth into the streets. He eyed the houses on either hand with that melancholy and wistful interest with which, in middle life, we revisit scenes familiar to us in youth—surprised to find either so little change or so much, and recalling, by fits and snatches, old associations and past emotions.

The long High-street which he threaded now began to change its bustling character, and slide, as it were gradually, into the high road of a suburb. On the left, the houses gave way to the moss-grown pales of Lansmere Park: to the right, though houses still remained, they were separated from each other by gardens, and took the pleasing appearance of villas—such villas as retired tradesmen or their widows, old maids, and half-pay officers, select for the evening of their days.

Mr. Dale looked at these villas with the deliberate attention of a man awakening his power of memory, and at last stopped before one, almost the last on the road, and which faced the broad patch of sward that lay before the lodge of Lansmere Park. An old pollard oak stood near it, and from the oak there came a low discordant sound: it was the hungry cry of young ravens, awaiting the belated return of the parent bird. Mr. Dale put his hand to his brow, paused a moment, and then, with a hurried step, passed through the little garden and knocked at the door. A light was burning in the parlor, and Mr. Dale's eye caught through the window a vague outline of three forms. There was an [Pg 698] evident bustle within at the sound of the knocks. One of the forms rose and disappeared. A very prim, neat, middle-aged maid-servant, now appeared at the threshold, and austerely inquired the visitor's business.

"I want to see Mr. or Mrs. Avenel. Say that I have come many miles to see them; and take in this card."

The maid-servant took the card, and half-closed the door. At least three minutes elapsed before she re-appeared.

"Missis says it's late, sir; but walk in."

The Parson accepted the not very gracious invitation, stepped across the little hall, and entered the parlor.

Old John Avenel, a mild-looking man, who seemed slightly paralytic, rose slowly from his arm-chair. Mrs. Avenel, in an awfully stiff, clean, and Calvinistical cap, and a gray dress, every fold of which bespoke respectability and staid repute—stood erect on the floor, and, fixing on the Parson a cold and cautious eye, said—

"You do the like of us great honor, Mr. Dale—take a chair! You call upon business?"

"Of which I have apprised you by letter, Mr. Avenel."

"My husband is very poorly."

"A poor creature!" said John feebly, and as if in compassion of himself. "I can't get about as I used to do. But it ben't near election time, be it, sir."

"No, John," said Mrs. Avenel, placing her husband's arm within her own. "You must lie down a bit, while I talk to the gentleman."

"I'm a real good blue," said poor John; "but I ain't quite the man I was;" and, leaning heavily on his wife, he left the room, turning round at the threshold, and saying, with, great urbanity—"Any thing to oblige, sir?"

Mr. Dale was much touched. He had remembered John Avenel the comeliest, the most active, and the most cheerful man in Lansmere; great at glee club and cricket (though then stricken in years), greater in vestries; reputed greatest in elections.

"Last scene of all," murmured the Parson; "and oh well, turning from the poet, may we cry with the disbelieving philosopher. 'Poor, poor humanity!'"[14]

In a few minutes Mrs. Avenel returned. She took a chair, at some distance from the Parson's, and, resting one hand on the elbow of the chair, while with the other she stiffly smoothed the stiff gown, she said—

"Now, sir."

That "Now, sir," had in its sound something sinister and warlike. This the shrewd Parson recognized, with his usual tact. He edged his chair nearer to Mrs. Avenel, and placing his hand on hers—

"Yes, now then, and as friend to friend."

(To be continued.)


There is a proverb which says, "Better is the enemy of well." Perhaps we may go further, and say, that "Well sometimes makes us regret bad."

You would have confessed the truth of this latter axiom if you had known, as I did, an excellent young man named Horace Castillet, who had been gifted by Providence with good health, powerful intellect, an amiable disposition, and many other perfections, accompanied by one single drawback. He had a distorted spine and crooked limbs, the consciousness of which defects prevented him from rushing into the gayety and vain dissipation which so often ensnare youth. Forsaking the flowery paths of love and pleasure, he steadily pursued the rough, up-hill road of diligent, persevering study. He wrought with ardor, and already success crowned his efforts. Doubtless bitter regrets sometimes troubled his hours of solitary study, but he was amply consoled by the prospect of fortune and well-earned fame which lay before him. So he always appeared in society amiable and cheerful, enlivening the social circle with the sallies of his wit and genius. He used sometimes to say, laughing: "Fair ladies, mock me, but I will take my revenge by obliging them to admire!"

One day a surgeon of high repute met Horace, and said to him: "I can repair the wrong which nature has done you: profit by the late discoveries of science, and be, at the same time, a great and a handsome man." Horace consented. During some months he retired from society, and when he reappeared, his most intimate friends could scarcely recognize him. "Yes," said he, "it is I myself: this tall, straight, well-made man is your friend Horace Castillet. Behold the miracle which science has wrought! This metamorphosis has cost me cruel suffering. For months I lay stretched on a species of rack, and endured the tortures of a prisoner in the Inquisition. But I bore them all, and here I am, a new creature! Now, gay comrades, lead me whither you will; let me taste the pleasures of the world, without any longer having to fear its raillery!"

If the name of Horace Castillet is unspoken among those of great men—if it is now sunk in oblivion, shall we not blame for this the science which he so much lauded? Deeply did the ardent young man drink of this world's poisoned springs. Farewell to study, fame, and glory! Æsop, perhaps, might never have composed his Fables had orthopedia been invented in his time. Horace Castillet lost not only his talents, but a large legacy destined for him by an uncle, in order to make him amends for his natural defects. His uncle, seeing him no longer deformed in body and upright in mind, chose another heir. After having spent the best years of his life in idleness and dissipation, Horace is now poor, hopeless, and miserable. He said lately to one of his few remaining friends: "I was ignorant of the treasure I possessed. I have [Pg 699] acted like the traveler who should throw away his property in order to walk more lightly across a plain!"

The surgeon had another deformed patient, a very clever working mechanic, whose talents made him rich and happy. When he was perfectly cured, and about to return to his workshop, the conscription seized him, finding him fit to serve the state. He was sent to Africa, and perished there in battle.

A gentleman who had the reputation of being an original thinker, could not speak without a painful stutter; a skillful operator restored to him the free use of his tongue, and the world, to its astonishment, discovered that he was little better than a fool! Hesitation had given a sort of originality to his discourse. He had time to reflect before he spoke. Stopping short in the middle of a sentence had occasionally a happy effect; and a half-spoken word seemed to imply far more than it expressed. But when the flow of his language was no longer restrained, he began to listen to his own commonplace declamation with a complacency which assuredly was not shared by his auditors.

One fine day a poor blind man was seated on the Pont-Royal in Paris, waiting for alms. The passers-by were bestowing their money liberally, when a handsome carriage stopped near the mendicant, and a celebrated oculist stepped out. He went up to the blind man, examined his eyeballs, and said—"Come with me; I will restore your sight." The beggar obeyed; the operation was successful; and the journals of the day were filled with praises of the doctor's skill and philanthropy. The ex-blind man subsisted for some time on a small sum of money which his benefactor had given him; and when it was spent, he returned to his former post on the Pont-Royal. Scarcely, however, had he resumed his usual appeal, when a policeman laid his hand on him, and ordered him to desist, on pain of being taken up.

"You mistake," said the mendicant, producing a paper; "here is my legal license to beg, granted by the magistrates."

"Stuff!" cried the official; "this license is for a blind man, and you seem to enjoy excellent sight." Our hero, in despair, ran to the oculist's house, intending to seek compensation for the doubtful benefit conferred on him; but the man of science had gone on a tour through Germany, and the aggrieved patient found himself compelled to adopt the hard alternative of working for his support, and abandoning the easy life of a professed beggar.

Some years since there appeared on the boards of a Parisian theatre an excellent and much-applauded comic actor named Samuel. Like many a wiser man before him, he fell deeply in love with a beautiful girl, and wrote to offer her his hand, heart, and his yearly salary of 8000 francs. A flat refusal was returned. Poor Samuel rivaled his comrade, the head tragedian of the company, in his dolorous expressions of despair; but when, after a time, his excitement cooled down, he dispatched a friend, a trusty envoy, with a commission to try and soften the hard-hearted beauty. Alas, it was in vain!

"She does not like you," said the candid embassador; "she says you are ugly; that your eyes frighten her; and, besides, she is about to be married to a young man whom she loves."

Fresh exclamations of despair from Samuel.

"Come," said his friend, after musing for a while, "if this marriage be, as I suspect, all a sham, you may have her yet."

"Explain yourself?"

"You know that, not to mince the matter, you have a frightful squint?"

"I know it."

"Science will remove that defect by an easy and almost painless operation." No sooner said than done. Samuel underwent the operation for strabismus, and it succeeded perfectly. His eyes were now straight and handsome; but the marriage, after all, was no sham—the lady became another's, and poor Samuel was forced to seek for consolation in the exercise of his profession. He was to appear in his best character: the curtain rose, and loud hissing saluted him.

"Samuel!" "Where is Samuel?" "We want Samuel!" was vociferated by pit and gallery.

When silence was partly restored, the actor advanced to the footlights and said—"Here I am, gentlemen: I am Samuel!"

"Out with the impostor!" was the cry, and such a tumult arose, that the unlucky actor was forced to fly from the stage. He had lost the grotesque expression, the comic mask, which used to set the house in a roar: he could no longer appear in his favorite characters. The operation for strabismus had changed his destiny: he was unfitted for tragedy, and was forced, after a time, to take the most insignificant parts, which barely afforded him a scanty subsistence. "Let well alone" is a wise admonition: "Let bad alone" may sometimes be a wiser.


Thou silvery braid, now banded o'er my brow,
Before thy monitory voice I bow;
Obedient to thy mandate, youth forget,
And strive thy word to hear without regret.
Why should regret attend that onward change,
Which tells that time is coming to its range—
Its border line, which God approves and seals,
As crown of glory to the man who feels
Content in ways of righteousness to dwell?
To such gray hair does not of weakness tell;
But rays of glory light its silv'ry tint,
And change its summons to a gentle hint
That time from all is fading fast away,
But that to some its end is lasting day;
And that the angels view its pure white band,
As seal of glory from their master's hand,
And closer draw, the near ripe fruit to shield,
Until to heaven its produce they can yield.

[Pg 700]

Monthly Record of Current Events.



Congress adjourned, as required by the Constitution, on the fourth of March. The protracted character of the discussions of the session compelled final action upon nearly all the important bills at the very close of the session; and as a natural consequence many bills which have challenged a marked degree of attention, were not passed. The bill making appropriations for the improvement of Rivers and Harbors, which had passed the House, was sent into the Senate, but was not passed by that body. The bills making appropriations in aid of the American line of steamers,—that authorizing and aiding the establishment of a line of steamers to Liberia,—the bill providing for the payment of French spoliations,—the one appropriating lands to aid in the establishment of Asylums for the insane, and a great number of other bills, of decided importance, but of less general interest than these, were lost. Sundry valuable bills, however, were duly acted upon and passed into laws. A joint resolution was adopted authorizing the President to grant the use of a ship attached to the American squadron in the Mediterranean for the use of Kossuth and his companions in coming to this country, after they shall have been liberated by the Turkish authorities. A very interesting letter from the Secretary of State to the American Minister at Constantinople, in regard to the Hungarian exiles, has just been published. Mr. Webster refers to the fact, that under the convention between Austria and Turkey, the term of one year for which the exiles were to be confined within the limits of the Turkish empire, would soon expire: and the hope is confidently expressed that the Sublime Porte has not made, and will not make, any new stipulations for their detention. Mr. Marsh is instructed to address himself urgently, though respectfully, to the Turkish government upon this question, and to convince it that no improper interference with the affairs of another nation is intended by this application. The course of the Sublime Porte, in refusing to allow these exiles to be seized by the Austrians, although "the demand upon him was made by a government confident in its great military power, with armies in the field of vast strength, flushed with recent victory, and whose purposes were not to be thwarted, or their pursuit stayed, by any obstacle less than the interposition of an empire prepared to maintain the inviolability of its territories, and its absolute sovereignty over its own soil," is warmly applauded, and his generosity in providing for their support, is commended in the highest terms of admiration. Mr. Webster proceeds to say that "it is not difficult to conceive what may have been the considerations which led the Sublime Porte to consent to remove these persons from its frontiers, require them to repair to the interior, and there to remain for a limited time. A great attempt at revolution, against the established authorities of a neighboring State, with which the Sublime Porte was at peace, had only been suppressed. The chief actors in that attempt had escaped into the dominions of the Porte. To permit them to remain upon its frontiers, where they might project new undertakings against that State, and into which, if circumstances favored, they could enter in arms at any time, might well have been considered dangerous to both governments; and the Sublime Porte, while protecting them, might certainly, also, prevent their occupying any such position in its own dominions, as should give just cause of alarm to a neighboring and friendly power. Their removal to certain localities might also be rendered desirable by considerations of convenience to the Sublime Porte, itself, upon whose charity and generosity such numbers had suddenly become dependent. The detention of these persons for a short period of time, in order that they might not at once repair to other parts of Europe, to renew their operations, was a request that it was not unnatural to make, and was certainly in the discretion of the Sublime Porte to grant, without any sacrifice of its dignity, or any want of kindness toward the refugees." But now all danger from this source has disappeared. The attempts of these exiles to establish for their country an independent government have been sternly crushed: their estates have been confiscated, their families dispersed, and themselves driven into exile. Their only wish now is to remove from the scene of their conflict and find new homes in the vast interior of the United States. The people of the United States wait to receive these exiles on their shores, and they trust that, through the generosity of the Turkish government, they may be released.

A bill was also passed reducing the rates of postage on letters and newspapers throughout the United States. All letters weighing not more than half-an-ounce are charged three cents if prepaid; five cents if not prepaid, for all distances under three thousand miles;—over three thousand miles, they pay twice these rates. Upon newspapers the imposition of postage is quite complicated. The following statement shows the rates charged to regular subscribers, who pay postage quarterly in advance, comparing, also, the new postage with the old:

Miles. Weekly. Semi-
Under 50 (new bill) 5 cts. 10 25
Present rate 12 24 48
Over 50-under 300 10 20 50
Present rate 18 36 108
Over 300-under 1000 15 30 75
Present rate 18 36 108
Over 1000-under 2000 20 40 100
Present rate 18 36 108
Over 2000-under 4000 25 50 125
Present rate 18 36 108
Over 4000 30 60 150
Present rate 18 36 108

Papers weighing less than an ounce and a half pay half these rates; papers measuring less than three hundred square-inches pay one-fourth. On monthly and semi-monthly papers the same rates are paid, in proportion to the number of sheets, as weekly papers. All weekly papers are free within the county where they are published. Although the bill does not reduce postage quite as low as was very generally desired, it is still a decided advance [Pg 701] upon the old law. The experience of the past has shown that reduced rates increase the revenue.

The usual appropriation bills were passed, as were also bills giving the Colonization Society forty thousand dollars, for expenses incurred in supporting the Africans recaptured from the Pons; appointing appraisers at large, to look into the doings of the local appraisers; repealing constructive mileage; repaying Maine money, formerly advanced to the General Government; and establishing an asylum for soldiers, infirm and disabled, who have served twenty years, or been disabled by wounds or disease—the money for its support to be fines and stoppages of pay of soldiers punished by courts-martial, and one hundred thousand dollars levied by General Scott in Mexico.

A good deal of excitement was created by the rescue at Boston of a person claimed and arrested as a fugitive slave, under the law of the last session. The rescue was effected by a mob, mainly of colored men, who rushed into the room where the alleged fugitive was in custody of the officers, took him therefrom, and started him on his way to Canada, where he safely arrived soon after. Intelligence of the affair was transmitted by telegraph to Washington. The President issued a proclamation, commanding obedience to the laws, and sent a message to Congress, narrating the facts, and stating that the whole power of the Government should be used to enforce the laws. The matter was referred to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, from which two reports were made—one by Mr. Bradbury, of Maine, stating that the President possessed all needful power, and the other from Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, arguing that the President could not call out either the army and navy or the militia to suppress an insurrection, without having previously issued a proclamation. No further action upon the subject was had in Congress, but a great number of arrests have been made in Boston of persons charged with participation in the rescue.

Unsuccessful attempts to elect U. S. Senators have been renewed in New York, and Massachusetts. In New Jersey Commodore R. F. Stockton, Democrat; and in Ohio Hon. Benjamin F. Wade, Free Soil Whig, have been elected to the U. S. Senate.

In New Hampshire two Whig and two Democratic Members of Congress have been elected. There is a Democratic majority in the Senate; in the House parties are very nearly balanced, each, at present, claiming the majority. The Free Soilers, apparently, hold the balance of power. The Governor will be chosen by the Legislature, there being no choice by the people; the regular Democratic candidate has a decided plurality over either of his opponents.

In Virginia, the State election has been postponed from April to October. This has been done in consequence of the unsettled state of affairs growing out of the deliberations of the State Constitutional Convention. It is supposed that the draft of the New Constitution will be completed so that it may be submitted to the people at that time.

An Act to exempt Homesteads from sale on execution, has passed the General Assembly of Illinois, and is to take effect on the 4th of July next. It provides that in addition to property now exempt from execution, the lot of ground and buildings occupied as a residence by any debtor being a householder, shall be free from levy or forced sale for debts contracted after the above date, provided that the value shall not exceed one thousand dollars. This exemption is to continue, after the death of the owner, for the benefit of the widow and children, until the death of the widow, and until the youngest child shall reach the age of twenty-one years. Provisions are made for levying upon the amount of the value of property above one thousand dollars.

Upon the same day, a bill to exempt from levy upon execution, bed, furniture and tools, to an amount not exceeding one hundred dollars, becomes a law in Delaware. A license law, containing extremely stringent provisions, has been passed in this State.

A Bill has passed the Legislature of Iowa, prohibiting the immigration of negroes. They are required to leave the State after receiving three days' notice of the law, and in case of returning are liable to penalties.

Manufactures are advancing in some of the Southern States, especially in Georgia. A few days since a large quantity of cotton yarn was shipped from Augusta to find markets in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

Emigration from the Old World, and especially from Germany, is setting strongly into Texas, Houston and Galveston, with a population of 8000, have 2000 Germans. An effort is made to appropriate a considerable part of the ten millions received from the United States, to the purposes of popular education. Indian depredations occur along the western frontier. Two engagements, attended with loss of life on both sides, have recently taken place between the troops of the United States and the Indians. An expedition is to be organized against the Comanches.

Intelligence from the Boundary Commission has been received up to December 31st. The initial point from which the survey is to commence has been agreed upon by both sides. It is to be at a point on the Rio Grande in latitude 32 degrees 22 minutes. The precise point is to be ascertained by the astronomers, and will probably be about 20 miles to the northward of El Paso. The time of completing the survey is variously estimated at from one to three years.

From California there have been three arrivals since our last, bringing an aggregate of $1,700,000 in gold, and between 700 and 800 passengers. Our dates are up to the 1st of February. The intelligence of most importance is that of desperate hostilities between the Indians and the whites. The former seem to have determined upon a war of extermination, which of course meets with prompt retaliation; and the ultimate issue can be no matter of uncertainty. Seventy-two miners were attacked by surprise in a gulch near Rattlesnake Creek, and massacred to a man. A petition for aid was dispatched to the Executive of the State, and a force of 200 men ordered out. In the instructions to the commander, directions are given studiously to avoid any act calculated unnecessarily to exasperate the Indians. A daring attack was made on the 9th of January, by a company of 40 or 50 Americans, upon an intrenched camp, manned by 400 or 500 Indians. The position was so strong that a dozen whites might have defended it against thousands. Of the Indians 44 were killed, and the rancheria fired. Many of the aged and children were burned to death. Of the Americans two were killed, and five or six wounded. It is reported that all the Indians from Oregon to the Colorado are leagued together, and have sworn eternal hostility to the white race.

The product of gold continues to be great. The [Pg 702] report of the new gold bluffs, mentioned in our last Number, is confirmed; but the access to them is so difficult that they will not probably be soon available. They are situated near the mouth of the Klamath River, about thirty miles north of Trinidad. The approach to them by land is over a plain of sand, into which the traveler sinks ankle-deep at every step. The bluffs stretch along some five or six miles, and present a perpendicular front to the ocean of from 100 to 400 feet in height. In ordinary weather the beach at the foot is from 20 to 50 feet in width, composed of a mixture of gray and black sand, the latter containing the gold in scales so fine that they can not be separated by the ordinary process of washing; so that resort must be had to chemical means. The beach changes with every tide, and sometimes no black, auriferous sand is to be seen on the surface. By digging down, it is found mixed with a gray sand, which largely predominates. The violence of the surf renders landing in boats impracticable. Several tons of goods were landed from a steamer dispatched thither, by means of lines from the vessel to the shore. The Pacific Mining Company claim a large portion of the beach, and have made preparations for working the bluffs, and are sanguine of an extremely profitable result.

Specimens of gold in quartz have been submitted to assay, which have proved very rich. Operations in the "dry diggings" have been much retarded by the absence of rain. Large quantities of sand have been thrown up, ready to take advantage of the earliest showers to wash it out.

A bill to remove the State Capital from San José to Vallejo has passed the Senate, but has not been acted upon in the House. A project has been started for a railroad from San José to San Francisco. The receipts into the city treasury of San Francisco, for the quarter ending Nov. 30, were $426,076, and the expenditures $638,522. The total debt of the city was $536,493. No election for U. S. Senator had taken place. The choice will undoubtedly fall upon Mr. Frémont or T. Butler King. The Whigs seem confident of success. An expedition was dispatched toward the close of October to explore the Colorado River from its mouth. They have been heard from about 30 miles up the stream, to which point they had ascended without difficulty. They believe the Colorado to be navigable for steamboats, during the greater portion of the year, as high as the mouth of the Gila.


Señor Munguia, the new Bishop of Michoacan, has refused to take the oaths required by Government, throwing himself upon the rights and privileges granted to the clergy, upon the first establishment of Christianity in Mexico.——Great complaints are made of the inefficiency of the police in the capital. On the 3d of January a band of armed robbers attacked the promenaders on the Paseo, rifling them of their money and valuables.——Chihuahua was greatly alarmed by the report that a band of American adventurers and Indians were encamped at a distance of 25 leagues. The band is said to be well armed, having two field-pieces. From the description of the leader he is supposed to be the notorious Captain French.——The affairs of Yucatan are in a situation almost desperate. The Indians are waging fierce hostilities, which have prevented the transportation of provisions. The treasury is exhausted, the army without pay, and almost reduced to starvation.——A poetical work, by a young Mexican woman, is advertised. It is entitled the "Awakener of Patriotism," and narrates the history of the late war with the United States.

Hostilities have broken out between the central Government of Guatemala on the one hand, and the allied States of San Salvador and Honduras on the other. A battle took place on the 21st of January at a village called San José, when the forces of San Salvador and Honduras were totally routed, and fled in every direction, closely pursued by the victors. Such, at least, is the Guatemalan account, which is the only one that has yet reached us.

Attention has recently been turned to the gold region of New Grenada, portions of which have been found to be extremely productive. The districts richest in gold are said to be extremely unhealthy.

From Nicaragua we learn that the survey of the route from Lake Nicaragua to the Pacific is nearly completed. The distance is 12 miles, and the highest point only 40 feet. The steamer Director is running on the lake. A complete steam communication will in a few weeks be effected between the lake and the Atlantic; a canal of 12 miles will unite the lake with the Pacific. When lines of steamers are established on both sides of the Isthmus, connecting with this rout across, it is anticipated that the passage from New York to San Francisco may be made in 24 days.

Carthagena was visited on the 7th of February by a severe shock of an earthquake, which lasted nine seconds. Considerable damage was done throughout the city; some houses were thrown down, and several lives lost. The city walls and the Cathedral were much injured. Had the shock been protracted a few seconds longer, the whole city would have been laid in ruins. On the night of the 8th the public squares and walks were filled with people who had left their dwellings in dread of a repetition of the shock. But up to the 15th none had occurred. No city in the region felt the shock so severely as did Carthagena.

In Peru, Congress was to meet March 20. The Presidential election has terminated in favor of Echenique.

In Bolivia there have been one or two attempts at insurrection. A decree has been issued, banishing all Buenos Ayreans except those married to Bolivian women, and all who were known as Federalists.

From Brazil it is officially announced that liberated slaves, not Brazilian born, must not be taken to that country. By a law of 1831, which it is announced will be rigidly enforced, a penalty of 100 milreas, besides expenses of re-exportation, is imposed upon masters of vessels for each such person landed.


We have the somewhat unexpected intelligence of the defeat and resignation of the Whig Ministry at the very opening of the session. Parliament met on the 4th of February. On the preceding evening, the customary absurd farce of searching the vaults under the house, as a precaution against a second gunpowder-plot, was enacted. Nothing was discovered boding any peril to the wisdom of the nation about to be assembled. The Royal Speech was of the usual brevity, and of more than usual tameness. The following were the only paragraphs of the least interest:

"I have to lament, however, the difficulties which are still felt by that important body among my people who are owners and occupiers of land. But it is my confident hope, that the prosperous [Pg 703] condition of other classes of my subjects will have a favorable effect in diminishing those difficulties, and promoting the interests of agriculture.

"The recent assumption of certain ecclesiastical titles, conferred by a Foreign Power, has excited strong feelings in this country; and large bodies of my subjects have presented addresses to me, expressing attachment to the throne, and praying that such assumptions should be resisted. I have assured them of my resolution to maintain the rights of my crown, and the independence of the nation, against all encroachment, from whatever quarter it may proceed. I have, at the same time, expressed my earnest desire and firm determination, under God's blessing, to maintain unimpaired the religous liberty which is so justly prized by the people of this country. It will be for you to consider the measure which will be laid before you on this subject."

There was no actual debate on the Address to the Queen. It consisted of a mere echo and amplification of the Royal Speech; and was still further amplified and diluted in the speeches of the movers and seconders. The Opposition were evidently taken by surprise at the moderation with which the Catholic question was referred to. They had expected something answering to the famous Durham letter of the Premier. Lord John Russell took occasion to explain that certain phrases in that letter, which Catholics had assumed to be insult to their religion, were, in fact, applied to a portion of his own communion. Lord Camoys, in the Upper, and Mr. Anstey, in the Lower House, both Catholics, most emphatically repudiated any idea of the supremacy of the Pope in temporal matters; and deprecated the establishment of the Catholic sees in England as ill-advised in the extreme. This would seem to be the general tone of feeling among the nobility and gentry of England. In Ireland, however, the action of the Pope meets with warm approbation.

The campaign was fairly opened on Friday, the 7th, when Lord John Russell asked leave to bring in the Government bill, "to prevent the assumption of certain ecclesiastical titles in respect of places in the United Kingdom." He admitted that no violation of any existing law was committed by the assumption as it had been made; and though the introduction of bulls from Rome was illegal, and liable to punishment, the statute had been so long in disuse, that a prosecution would undoubtedly fail. The measure which he finally proposed seems almost ludicrous when looked upon as the sequel to the fierce controversy which has convulsed the kingdom, and caused the effusion of such torrents of ink. It contains two provisions. By the first, the provision of the Catholic Act, which imposes a penalty of £100 upon the assumption by Roman Catholic prelates of any title of existing sees in the United Kingdom, is to be extended, so as to include titles belonging to any city, district, or place in Great Britain. By the second provision, any act done by or for any prelate under such title, is absolutely null and void; so that any bequest or endowment made to him under such title falls to the Crown. Leave to bring in the bill was granted, by an overwhelming majority, after four nights of debate. Although the bill falls so far short of what was demanded in one direction, it goes no less beyond what will be submitted to in another. The Catholic prelates denounce it as persecution, and declare that they will disobey it, if passed; and defy the Government to place the religious teachers of a third of the nation in a posture of conscientious opposition to the law. All the indications are, that the bill will be carried triumphantly through Parliament; or if at all modified, will be rendered more stringent. This will be but the commencement of the difficulty.

Pending the ecclesiastical question, the Ministers "lost a victory" on that of Free-trade. On Tuesday, the 11th, Mr. Disraeli, taking advantage of that paragraph in the Royal Speech which admits the existence of distress among the owners and occupiers of land, moved a resolution to the effect that it was the duty of Ministers to take effectual measures for the relief of this distress. This was, in effect, a covert and dexterous attack upon the principle of free-trade in corn, and as such was met by the Ministers. The leading speech, in reply, was made by Sir James Graham, endorsed by Lord John Russell. He declared that the abolition of protection upon corn had been of incalculable benefit to the people at large, and that any attempt to raise again the price of bread-stuffs by artificial protection must be a failure. The Corn-law Rhymer could not have taken higher ground than did the Minister. He declared, that in consequence of the removal of duty, millions of quarters of grain had been introduced, and had been consumed by those who otherwise would never have tasted of wheaten bread. There was not a plowman, nor a weaver, nor a shepherd, whose condition was not made more tolerable by the repeal of the Corn-law, and they knew it. The condition of the mass of the people was the true test of national prosperity. The resolution of Mr. Disraeli was made a test-question by Government, and was lost by 267 to 281, showing a ministerial majority of only 14. If this were to be accepted as a true indication of the state of parties in Parliament on the vital question of Protection, the Ministers could not carry on government, and must either resign or dissolve Parliament, and trust to the chances of a new election. But it is said that many members voted for Mr. Disraeli's resolution out of pique at the action of the Ministers upon the ecclesiastical question, and that the true strength of the Free-trade and Protection parties is yet to be tested. At all events, the Whigs are irretrievably committed against any attempt to enhance the price of bread by any artificial protection.

On Monday, the 17th, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Charles Wood, presented the Budget. The main difficulty here was to decide what to do with the surplus revenue. It is so long a time since any European government has had a question of this nature to deal with, that it is not to be wondered at that it caused embarrassment. Official ingenuity has been well-trained to devise ways and means to supply deficiencies in revenue, by inventing new taxes, or by borrowing; but it has had no experience in dealing with an actual surplus. Where every interest is burdened to the utmost, each feels itself to be the most oppressed, and demands to be first relieved. There were claims to ten times the amount to be taken off. The Chancellor kept his project a profound secret from all men; no deputation could worm out of him whether he favored their own special views; when the proper time came, they should see what they should see. They did all see; and not a soul was satisfied. The surplus was estimated to be about £1,900,000; one million was to be devoted to the payment of the National Debt—a rate which, if kept up, would extinguish the whole debt in somewhat less than four thousand years; the remainder was proposed to be so apportioned that no interest [Pg 704] will find itself specially benefited. For instance, the window-tax was to be nominally abolished; but a large proportion of it was to be re-imposed in the shape of a duty upon houses;—and all these proposed reductions were based upon the condition that the income-tax, which has some features making it particularly odious, involving as it does an almost inquisitorial prying into private affairs, should be continued for another three years. The debate upon the Budget was fixed for Friday, the 21st.

In the mean time, however, it became apparent that the Budget could not be carried. A circumstance unimportant in itself sufficiently evinced this. Mr. King moved for leave to bring in a bill giving the right of voting in the counties, as well as in the boroughs, to all occupiers of tenements of the value of £10. Though this was nowise a test question, Lord John Russell opposed it, and when the vote was taken only 52 votes were found for the Ministers, while for the motion there were 100. The apathy of their own party showed the Ministers that they could not sustain themselves. Lord John Russell moved that the debate on the Budget should be adjourned to Monday, the 24th. In the mean while, on Saturday the 22d, the Ministry tendered their resignations.

The defeat on the Franchise was only "the last feather that broke the camel's back." The Ministry fell, at the first attack, from inherent weakness. For a week the Government literally went a-begging, no statesman daring to undertake the task of conducting it. The Queen, as the most natural recourse, applied in the first place, to Lord Stanley, the recognized leader of the Opposition, and head of the Protectionist party. But he declined to attempt the formation of a Ministry. She then fell back upon Lord John Russell, who endeavored in vain to reconstruct a Cabinet which should secure a Parliamentary majority. An unsuccessful application was then made to Lord Aberdeen. Lord Stanley was again applied to, who made an attempt to form a Conservative Ministry, leaving the subject of Protection in abeyance; but he failed to gain the acquiescence of the leading men of his party upon other grounds, and abandoned the task. Thus matters remained up to March 1st, the date of our latest intelligence. It is worthy of remark, how completely the existence of the House of Peers has been ignored throughout the whole of these proceedings; the only point aimed at having been to secure a majority in the Commons.

A cool attempt to swindle the treasury out of £20,000 has been made in behalf of the estate of the late Queen Dowager. Her comfortable annuity of £100,000 was made payable at regular quarter-days, commencing after the death of William IV. As it happened, he died ten days before the quarter-day, so that the queen received pay for a whole quarter for those ten days. She died 63 days after the last quarterly payment; and a claim was made for payment for that time; although blending the two periods together she would have received a quarter's payment for 19 days less than a quarter's time. The court, however, refused to grant the privilege of burning the candle at both ends; and the beggarly German heirs of the late queen fail in gaining the sum.

Petitions have been presented to Parliament from the bishop, commissioners of parishes, and householders of Capetown, stating that the Legislative Assembly of the colony has lost the confidence of the colonists, and presenting the details of a constitution which they pray may be granted them.

Certain Protestants of Dublin addressed a letter to the Duke of Wellington urging him to fulfill a pledge which they infer him to have made many years ago, when he was Premier, to move the repeal of the Catholic Relief Bill, if it should, on trial, be found not to work satisfactorily. The Duke replies in one of the curtest letters in all his curt correspondence; and in terms which the liveliest imagination can not interpret as complimentary, refuses to have any thing to do with them or their request.

The Commissioners of the Exhibition have decided upon the following rates for admission: Season tickets for a gentleman will cost three guineas, for a lady, two guineas. These tickets are not transferrable, and will admit the owner at all times to the Exhibition. On the day of opening those only are to be admitted who have season tickets. On the two subsequent days, the price of admittance will be twenty shillings. On the fourth day, it will be reduced to five shillings, at which sum it will continue till the 22d day, when it will be lowered to one shilling. After that period, the rate will be one shilling, except on Fridays, when it will be two shillings and sixpence, and Saturdays, when it will be five shillings. The severest tests have demonstrated the stability of the building.

The proposed abolition of the Vice-royalty in Ireland, excites great opposition, especially in Dublin. A large meeting has been held, at which the Lord Mayor presided, for the purpose of petitioning against the intended abolition, and protesting against the system of centralization which, it is alleged, has been so destructive of the best interests of Ireland.


The main features of interest are confined to the quarrel between the President and the Assembly. Bonaparte is gaining ground. The Minister of Finance presented the bill asking for a dotation for the President. The question was an embarrassing one for the Assembly. If they granted it, it would be giving additional power to him. If they refused, he would become an object of sympathy, and still gain power. The amount asked was 1,800,000 francs, in addition to his salary of 600,000. M. de Montalembert was the principal speaker in favor of the bill. He declared that the President had fulfilled his mission in restoring society and reestablishing order, and warned the majority not to persist in their course of hostility, or they would repent it in 1852. Upon taking the question, there were 294 for the bill, and 396 against it; so that it was lost by a majority of 102. In anticipation of this rejection, subscriptions were set on foot throughout the country in aid of the President; but Bonaparte, by an official notice in the Moniteur declined to receive any such contributions, choosing, as he said, to make any personal sacrifices rather than endanger the peace of the country. He made immediate preparation to live according to his means: stopped his expensive receptions, and announced a sale of his horses. He is playing a subtle and well-considered game for re-election to the Presidency; and if the constitutional prohibition can be repealed or overridden, there seems little question that he will succeed. His popularity among the middle classes is great and increasing. When the question of the revision of the Constitution comes up, the great contest of parties will begin, which will decide the fate of the Republic. It is almost impossible that the incongruous combination which now constitutes the formidable majority against him can hold together, against his cool and cautious policy, and with so many elements of disunion among themselves. [Pg 705]


The doings of the Dresden Conference have not officially transpired. But enough is known to make it evident that our previous accounts are correct. In addition it is now said, and with probable truth, that Austria and Prussia have determined to share the executive power of the Diet between them, to the absolute exclusion of the minor Powers. Austria brings into the Confederacy the whole of her Sclavic and Italian possessions. This will call forth the vehement remonstrances of the other European states, who look upon it as undoing the work of the Holy Alliance, and disturbing the balance of power. In consideration of granting this real advantage to Austria, Prussia gains the empty honor of sharing the Presidency in the Diet, which was formerly held by Austria exclusively. The pacification of Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse is complete. In the latter the malcontents are undergoing the penalties of Bavarian courts-martial. Hamburg is occupied by Austrian troops. Well authenticated accounts of a conspiracy at Vienna have been received, but the particulars are not given. The 150th anniversary of the erection of Prussia into a kingdom was celebrated at Berlin on the 17th of January, with great pomp.


There can be little doubt that an insurrection, of which Mazzini is the soul and centre is in course of organization. Funds to a considerable amount have been provided. The overthrow of the democratic cause throughout Europe has disbanded an immense number of soldiers, who will be ready for any enterprise, and will be especially glad to fight for the old cause, against the old enemy, upon Italian ground. Various parts of the country are terribly infested with brigands, whose enterprises are carried on with an audacity which reminds one of the middle ages. There are reports of an approaching Austrian interference in Piedmont and Switzerland. The Pope is said to be desirous of the withdrawal of the French troops from Rome, that he may place himself under the more immediate protection of Austria and Naples. The Austrian army in Italy has been considerably reinforced, to provide against the action of Mazzini and the growing discontent in Lombardy. Archbishop Hughes of this city is preaching at Rome to increasing audiences. He predicts, there as well as here, the speedy downfall of Protestantism, and prophesies that ere long it will have disappeared from the world as completely as the heretical sects of the Arians and the Manichæans. There is apparently no doubt that the Archbishop will be raised to the rank of Cardinal. At the sitting of the Piedmontese Chamber of Deputies, in Turin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a speech on occasion of presenting the Budget, marked by a liberality for which we are not accustomed to look to statesmen of Italy.


In India, on the whole, tolerable tranquillity was prevalent. Sir Charles Napier, in taking leave of the army of India, of which he was commander-in-chief, addressed a most ultra-Naperian epistle to the officers. Instead of reminding them of the laurels they have won, and the territories they have overrun, he berates them for their habits of lavish expenditure, and for contracting debts which they have no means or expectation of paying. An interview has been held between Gholab Singh, the ruler of Cashmere, and the Governor-general, in which the usual protestations of eternal friendship were interchanged. These interviews, since the days of Hastings and Clive, have betokened fresh accessions to the territories of the Company.

An insurrection of a formidable character which had been raging in some of the provinces of China, the object of which was the overthrow of the Tartar dynasty, was, at the latest dates, entirely suppressed. The famous Commissioner Lin, whose energetic proceedings gave rise to the opium war, is dead. From the un-oriental energy of his character, and the salutary dread with which he had inspired his countryman, his death is a loss to the Empire.

Difficulties are apprehended in Egypt. The Porte demands certain reforms of the Viceroy; among which are the abatement of taxes and the reduction of the army. The Viceroy refuses to comply, and is determined to offer forcible resistance, in case of an attempt to enforce the demands.

The hostilities at Bagdad between the Turks and Arabs have been renewed since the death of Bem. Vigorous measures, are to be taken to reduce the insurgent Arabs to subjection.

From Southern Africa, under date of Sept. 6, we have authentic intelligence of terrible atrocities committed by the Namquas upon the Danish missionary station. Numbers were killed; and women and children cruelly tortured.



It is seed-time rather than harvest in the world of Literature and Art, as well as in that of matter. Publishers are in deep consultation over projected works. The still labor of brain, eye, and hand goes on in the library of the author and the studio of the artist, the results of which, when ready for the public eye, we shall chronicle. The series of lectures before the Artists' Association has been brought to a very appropriate close by a lecture from Huntington, the painter. His subject was "Christian Art." He claimed, in theory, for his Art that lofty and sublime mission which he has attempted to exemplify in practice.——The most attractive series of lectures delivered in this city during the last season has undoubtedly been that of Mr. Lord, on the "Heroes and Martyrs of Protestantism." Those who might feel inclined to dissent from several of his views and conclusions, could not be other than pleased by the earnestness and zeal with which they were set forth and advocated. As literary productions, these lectures are deserving of high praise.——Banvard's three-mile Panorama of the Mississippi has been the fruitful parent of a multitude of staring and impudent productions, which it were almost a libel upon Art to call pictures. The "cheap side" of Broadway is lined with these monstrosities, which for the most part have met with the very moderate patronage which they deserve.

Martin Farquuhart Tupper, has arrived in this country. We copy from the Evening Post the following graceful lines, written in the harbor on the morning of his arrival:

Not with cold scorn or ill-dissembled sneer,
Ungraciously your kindly looks to greet,
By God's good favor safely landed here.
Oh friends and brothers, face to face we meet.
Now for a little space my willing feet,
After long hope and promise many a year,
Shall tread your happy shores; my heart and voice
Your kindred love shall quicken and shall cheer,
While in your greatness shall my soul rejoice—
For you are England's nearest and most dear!
Suffer my simple fervors to do good,
As one poor pilgrim haply may and can,
Who, knit to heaven and earth by gratitude,
Speaks from his heart, to touch his fellow man.

[Pg 706]

Washington's Birth-day was celebrated with unusual splendor in this city. An oration was delivered by Hon. H. M. Foote, of Mississippi. At the public dinner letters were read from President Fillmore, and Messrs. Webster, Clay, and Cass. The principal speech of the evening was made by Hon. Edward Everett, in reply to the toast of "the Constitution."

Washington Irving has written a pleasant and characteristic letter, which has been going the rounds of the papers, to Jesse Merwin, of Kinderhook, the original Ichabod Crane, of the far-renowned "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."


Among the recent issues of the London press we notice "The Mirror for Maidens," by Mrs. Sherwood and her daughter, Mrs. Streeten. The well-won reputation of the mother, acquired so many years ago, will not be enhanced by her share in this tale.—A volume of Poems, by W. C. Bennett, is made up of pieces of very unequal merit. Some portions are extremely beautiful, while others are utterly devoid of expression or character. The readers of Mrs. Marsh's tales will remember many mottoes taken from Mr. Bennett, giving promise of no common degree of poetic talent.—Sheridan Knowles, the dramatist, has taken the field as a religious controversialist in a volume upon Transubstantiation, in reply to the lectures of Cardinal Wiseman. He shows more familiarity with the principles and details of the controversy than could have been anticipated from his former avocations.—England as it Is, by Wm. Johnston, is an attempt to point out the political, social, and industrial state of the kingdom in the middle of the nineteenth century. The author is of the opinion that, on the whole, the mechanical inventions and money-making spirit of the last fifty years have lessened the comforts and deteriorated the character of the poorer classes. The book does not seem to be written with sufficient ability to make any decided impression.

Revelations of Hungary, by the Baron Prochazka, presents the Austrian view of the question with more zeal than ability. The author details with the utmost complacency the fearful atrocities of the campaign, wondering all the while that the Austrians were hated by the oppressed population. Appended to the Revelations is a "Memoir of Kossuth," designed to instruct the world as to the true character of the illustrious Magyar. Every good quality which has been attributed to him, from genius down to personal beauty, is vehemently disputed. The world is assured that "Kossuth is by no means the handsome man his partisans represent him to be; he is of middle stature; his figure is insignificant; his hair was brown, but being bald, he wears a wig of that color." This last allegation, we fear is too true; for Kossuth lost not only his hair, but his health and every thing but life, hope, and honor during his imprisonment in Austrian dungeons.

The Correspondence of Sir Isaac Newton and Professor Cotes, edited by J. Eddleston, M.A., presents a view of all the ascertained facts in the personal and intellectual history of the great mathematician. When he was engaged in elaborating his theory respecting light and color, in order "to quicken his faculties, and fix his attention, he confined himself to a small quantity of bread during all the time, with a little sack and water, of which, without any regulation, he took as he found a craving or failure of spirits."

A continuation of the Dix Ans of Louis Blanc has been commenced by M. Elias Regnault, under the title of L'Histoire de Huit Ans, 1840-48.

The London Leader speaks of a new work by Harriet Martineau and Mr. Atkinson which is likely to excite attention. It is entitled "Letters on Man's Nature and Development." The Leader having read a few of the proof sheets, says that for boldness of outspeaking on subjects usually glozed over, and for power of philosophic exposition, it has few equals. The marvels of mesmerism and clairvoyance are stated with unflinching plainness, as facts admitting of no dispute. Materialism is unequivocally and even eloquently avowed; and phrenology assumes quite a new aspect from the observations and discoveries here recorded.

The London Critic contains an interesting paraagraph giving an account of the payments made to authors in France. It is said that Lamartine, for the single volume of his Confidences, received 8000 dollars. Chauteaubriand, a few years before his death, contracted with a company to sell them, at the price of 4000 dollars per volume, any new works he might write and desire to print. Victor Hugo, by contract with the publishers, is paid 3000 dollars for each new volume with which he may furnish them. De Balzac, in 1837, entered into a contract with his publisher, Delloye, by which the publisher acquired the property for fifteen years of the works of De Balzac at that time published. The pecuniary consideration paid to the author, was 12,000 dollars cash, and an annuity of 3000 dollars. Eugene Sue sold for 9600 dollars the right of publishing and selling, during five years only, his novel called Martin the Foundling, or the Memoirs of a Valet de Chambre. The work was already in course of publication in the feuilleton of The Constitutionnel, and the purchaser's rights were confined to France. It was the Mystères de Paris that made the great literary name and fortune of Eugene Sue. Previously the remuneration of his literary labors was much more modest. La Salamandre was disposed of at 300 dollars per volume. The Wandering Jew, and Les Mystères de Paris, were sold at 20,000 dollars the volume: and the purchaser made 12,000 by the operation. In August, 1845, The Constitutionnel, wishing to secure M. Sue exclusively to itself, made with him a contract which was to last for thirteen years and a half. By its terms the author bound himself to furnish for publication in the feuilleton of The Constitutionnel not less than four, nor more than six volumes of novels per annum, for which he was to be paid 2000 dollars per volume on delivery of the manuscript.

Lamartine seems determined to surpass the literary fecundity of James, or even, if such a thing be conceivable, that of the renowned Alexandre Dumas. In addition to his History of the Directory, mentioned in our last number, it is announced that he has contracted to write a History of the Restoration, in some eight or ten volumes. The Leader, which is good authority on these matters, however, states that this last is substituted for the History of the Directory, which Lamartine abandoned in disgust when he found that Garner de Cassagnac had undertaken the same subject for feuilleton publication. A romance, after the manner of Genevieve, is advertised to appear in the feuilleton of La Presse. He has long been under engagements to furnish, under the title of the Conseiller du Peuple, a monthly pamphlet on current political events; and he is said to have engaged to write another similar one every fortnight. Finally, he has in contemplation a History of Turkey. He is, moreover, an active member of the Legislative [Pg 707] Assembly, and a frequent speaker. During one of the late ministerial crises he came very near being placed at the head of the Ministry. With such a number of engagements, undertaken under the pressure of pecuniary necessities, it is not to be wondered that his recent productions have been unworthy of his former reputation.

Dr. J. F. Schröder has produced a unique work on Talmudic and Rabbinic maxims and usages. As a specimen of these, we give some of the refinements and distinctions relating to the observance of the Sabbath: "Hunting is totally forbidden on the Sabbath, and since fly-catching is a species of hunting, it is prohibited—nay, the prohibition extends so far, that a Jew must not cover vessels in which there are flies, because in this way a sort of catching might take place. Fleas must first have bitten before they may be caught; and it is not allowable to kill them when caught. A louse found on the body may be killed, but not one that has taken up its abode in the outer parts of the garments. Animals, on the contrary, which are tame and willingly allow themselves to be taken, may be caught even on the Sabbath; some, however, consider this not allowable. An egg laid on the Sabbath, or fruits which have been plucked on that day, may not be used.... If any body wishes to borrow any thing of another on the Sabbath, he must not say, 'Lend me this or that;' but 'Give it me, and I will give it you back.' If a pledge is to be restored, the lender must lay it down in silence. He who wishes to have some beer or wine on a Sabbath, must not say to the tavern-keeper, 'Give me so much wine or beer for so much money;' but 'Give me the vessel full or half full.' After the Sabbath the vessel may be measured, and the value of the wine or beer received may be determined. Letters must not be either written or opened on the Sabbath; but if any one not a Jew has opened them, without having received orders to do so, and one is anxious to know the contents, they may be read; but the words must not be uttered aloud. News also may be read in this way. Accounts, on the contrary, bills of exchange, and such things, relating to trade, may not be read. If a leg, &c., falls out of a chair or bench on the Sabbath, the injury must not be repaired on that day. Should a wine-cask or any thing of that sort begin to leak, a vessel may be put under it, but the hole must not be stopped up."

Charles Knight, the eminent publisher, in an effective pamphlet advocating the repeal of the paper-tax, presents some facts showing the bearing of that tax upon the diffusion of knowledge. He has had in contemplation a Supplement to the National Cyclopædia, to consist of a series of treatises upon Scientific, Social, and Industrial Progress, to extend to four volumes. To produce this as it should be done, he must secure the assistance of the most eminent men in every department of knowledge; which assistance will cost £2000. To cover the outlay he must sell at least 25,000 copies; which will consume 6400 reams of paper, the duty upon which would be £880. This additional expense, adding nothing to the value of the work, makes him hesitate to embark in the enterprise, If this burden were removed he might either save it in the original cost, or expend it in adding to the value of the work. In either case he would not hesitate to carry out his design.

Robert Chambers shows the bearing of the same tax upon labor. His Miscellany of Tracts was stopped as not paying, although it had a regular sale of 80 000. While published it had paid a paper-tax of £6220. This publication, which might have been continued had it not been for this tax, distributed £18,000 a year in labor. He had since started a similar series at three halfpence, of which, owing to the increase in price, only half as many were sold as the other. It is calculated that this tax keeps out of employment, in London alone, full 40,000 people. The whole value of the paper annually manufactured in the kingdom is estimated at £4,000,000, upon which a duty is laid of £800,000. This is levied almost entirely upon labor, the mateterial used being almost entirely without value.

Leopold Ranke, author of the History of the Popes, in the course of his researches in the National Library at Paris, has discovered a manuscript portion of the Memoirs of the famous statesman Cardinal Richelieu, which has long been supposed to be lost. In the manuscript deposited at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a series of leaves is wanting. These Mr. Ranke found by accident in a bundle of old papers. It is thought that this discovery may throw some light upon the disputed question whether the cardinal was the actual author of the works which are attributed to him, or merely revised and corrected them.

The Quarterly Review tells a story about George IV. which reflects little credit upon the "First Gentleman of Europe." The noble library of George III., in the British Museum bears an inscription purporting that it was a gift to the nation from his successor. It appears, however, that the library was a purchase. George IV., in one of his frequent pecuniary straits, had negotiated for its sale to the Emperor of Russia, and was only prevented from completing the contract by the most urgent remonstrances, backed by the receipt of the value of the Russian rubles, in sterling coin, from the droits of the Admiralty. It is suggested that the inscription in the Museum should be erased; as there can be no good reason why the nation should be called upon to supply by a public forgery the deficiency of worthy records left behind by that monarch.

According to the Journal de la Librairie the whole number of books and pamphlets printed in France during the past year is 7208, of which 5848 are new publications. The publications in the French language were 6661; in the dialects spoken in France, 68; in German, 53; in English, 61; in Spanish, 51; in Greek, 83; in Latin, 165; in Portuguese, 16; in Polish, 14; in Hebrew, 9.

A Grammar of the Kaffir Language, by Rev. John W. Appleyard, a Wesleyan Missionary in British Kaffraria, is another valuable contribution to science resulting from missionary labors. This language, although, of course, destitute of literary treasures, presents some features of interest to students of comparative philology. Those relations of words to each other which in other languages are indicated by change of termination, are in this denoted by prefixes, which are regulated by similarity of sound. Neither gender nor number has any influence upon grammatical construction, being lost sight of in the euphonic form of the word or prefix. The noun is the leading word in a sentence, the prefix to it determining that to the other words. Thus, abantu means "the people," and ziyeza, "are coming;" but a Kaffir would not express "the people are coming" by abantu ziyeza, but by abantu bayeza, it being necessary that the prefixes to the verb and its subject should have a similar sound. The language is also remarkable for freedom from anomalous usages and exceptions, and for great facility of forming compound words. Mr. Appleyard's work contains also valuable ethnographical [Pg 708] materials in the shape of a general classification of the South African dialects.

An Italian savant announces that when the fog is so thick as to prevent signals being seen from one station to another, the difficulty may be greatly diminished by placing a colored glass between the eye and the eye-piece of the telescope. The best color for those who have strong eyesight is dark red; while those who are short-sighted find light red preferable. He accounts for the fact by stating that the white color of the fog strikes too powerfully upon the eye, particularly if the glass have a large field; and the intensity of the light is diminished by the interception of a part of the rays by the colored glass, so that the eye is less wearied.

The Velocity of Artificial Light has been the subject of some very ingenious experiments by M. Fizean. A point of intense brightness, produced by oxy-hydrogen light, is concentrated by a lens, and being received upon a mirror placed at about two leagues distance, is reflected back again in the same line. This is effected so exactly that scarcely any deviation in the course of the two rays can be perceived, the going and returning ray appearing one within the other. Behind the point of light is placed a wheel having 720 teeth, so adjusted that the light shines between two of the teeth, so that when the wheel is at rest, an eye placed behind it receives the impression of the full ray. When the wheel is moved so that 12·6 revolutions are made in a second, the teeth of the wheel appear continuous, and half the light is obstructed. If the velocity be sufficiently accelerated all the light is cut off, and that rate shows the time necessary for the light to have traversed the two leagues and back again, for the observer sees only the returning ray. The velocity of artificial light has thus been fixed at 70,000 French leagues in a second, which agrees remarkably with that given by astronomers to solar light, 192,500 miles in a second. The English mile, it will be recollected is a trifle longer than the French mile.

A paper read before the British Association, describes several remarkable hail storms which have occurred in India. The weight of some masses of ice which have fallen exceeds 14 pounds. Many of these masses, under a rough external coat, contained an interior of clear ice. Immense conglomerated masses of hail stones had been known to be swept down the mountain ravines by the torrents which succeeded the storms; and in one of these conglomerations a snake was found frozen up, and apparently dead; but it revived on being thawed out.

A patent has been taken out for what the patentee calls the essence of milk. Fresh milk is placed in a long, shallow copper pan, heated by steam to a temperature of 110 degrees. A quantity of sugar is mixed with the milk, which is continually kept in motion by stirring. This is continued for about four hours, during which the milk is reduced by evaporation to one-fourth of its original bulk. It is then put into small tin cans, the tops of which are soldered on. These cans are placed for a while in boiling water, which completes the process. This preparation may be kept for a long time, in any climate. It is peculiarly adapted for use on shipboard.


The Marquis of Northampton (Spencer Joshua Alwyne Compton) died Jan. 16, aged 60 years. He early manifested a love for literature, science, and art, which he cultivated with greater assiduity than is usual among students of his social rank. Among his associates at the university were many whose names have since become known in the world of mind. In 1830 he became a member of the Royal Society. In 1838, when the presidency of that body was resigned by the Duke of Sussex, on the ground that the £13,000 a year, which was granted him as a prince of the blood, was an income too limited to enable him to afford the coffee and sandwiches usually furnished at the soirées of the Society, the Marquis of Northampton was selected to fill that place. If the selection was to be on the grounds of rank rather than of high scientific attainments, no better one could have been made. The soirées which he gave drew together the rank and science of the country, and had a happy influence upon the scientific world. His attainments in almost every graceful branch of intellectual culture were highly respectable. He resigned the presidency of the Royal Society in 1848, and was succeeded by the Earl of Rosse. He took no very decided part in politics, although he was always recognized as belonging to the liberal portion of the House of Peers. Among the large number of the higher classes who have recently died, no one, since the death of Sir Robert Peel, is so great a loss to literature and science as the Marquis of Northampton.

John Pye Smith, D.D., one of the most learned and eminent of the dissenting clergy of England died Feb. 5, aged 77 years. He was the author of a number of works of decided merit; the one by which he was best known was Scripture and Geology. His attainments in geological science procured his election as a member of the Royal Society. Early in January a company of his friends and admirers presented him with a testimonial of their affectionate regard, in commemoration of the fiftieth year of his academic labors in the Dissenting College at Homerton. The sum of £2600 was raised, the interest of which was to be applied to his benefit during his lifetime, and the principal, after his death, to be applied to the foundation of scholarships. This testimonial to his eminent merit was only in time for an honor, but too late as a pecuniary benefit.

Charles Coquerel, whose recent death is announced in the Paris papers, was the brother of the celebrated Protestant clergyman of France. He was the author of a number of works, among which we remember a History of English Literature; Caritas, an Essay on a complete Spiritual Philosophy; and the History of the Churches in the Desert, or the History of the Protestant Churches of France from the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes to the Reign of Louis XVI. In this last work he introduced the substance of a vast mass of private and official correspondence relative to the persecutions undergone by the French Protestants. He was also distinguished for his scientific attainments, and for many years reported the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences for the Courrier Francaise. He was especially interested in Arago's investigations upon light, and was busied with them almost to the day of his death.

Gaspar Spontini, composer of La Vestale, and many other less successful operas, died recently in the Roman States, at an advanced age. For many years he was chapel-master to the late King of Prussia, where both himself and his music were unpopular to the last degree among artists; and it was an article in the contract of more than one prima donna, that she should not be required to sing Spontini's music. The one great work of his [Pg 709] life was La Vestale, produced in 1809. It was in rehearsal for a twelvemonth, and while in preparation was retouched and amended to such an extent, that the expense of copying the alterations is said to have amounted to 10,000 francs.

Mrs. Shelley, wife of the poet, and daughter of Godwin and the celebrated Mary Wolstoncroft, died in London on the 11th of February, aged 53 years. She was herself an authoress of no inconsiderable repute. Her wild and singular novels, among which are the Last Man, Walpurga, and Frankenstein, are unequaled in their kind. The last in particular, notwithstanding the revolting nature of the legend, is wrought up with great power, and possesses singular fascination for the lovers of the marvelous and the supernatural.

Joanna Baillie, the most illustrious of the female poets of England, unless that place be assigned to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, notwithstanding her many affectations and great inequalities, died at Hampstead, on the 23d of February, at the age of 90 years, within a few weeks. She is best known by her "Plays on the Passions," in which she made a bold and successful attempt to delineate the stronger passions of the mind by making each of them the subject of a tragedy and a comedy. The first volume was published in 1798, and was followed by a second and a third in 1802 and 1812, and in 1836 by three additional volumes. In addition to these she published at different times miscellaneous poetry, which was in 1841 collected into a volume. Her career as an author thus extends over almost half a century. A complete edition of her works in one large volume has been issued within a few weeks. To Miss Baillie and Wordsworth, more than to any others is to be attributed the redemption of our poetry from that florid or insipid sentimentalism which was its prevailing characteristic at the beginning of the present century. They boldly asserted, by precept and practice, the superiority of nature over all affectation and conventionalism. "Let one simple trait of the human heart," says she in the Introduction to her first volume, "one expression of passion genuine to truth and nature, be introduced, and it will stand forth alone in the boldness of reality, while the false and unnatural around it fades away upon every side, like the rising exhalations of the morning." Her dramas are wrought wholly out from her own conceptions, and exhibit great originality and invention. Her power of portraying the darker and sterner passions of the human heart has rarely been surpassed. Scott eulogized "Basil's love and Montfort's hate" as a revival of something of the old Shaksperean strain in our later and more prosaic days. But her dramas have little in common with those of Shakspeare, so full of life, action, and vivacity. Their spirit is more akin to the stern and solemn repose of the Greek dramas. They have little of the form and pressure of real life. The catastrophe springs rather from the characters themselves than from the action of the drama. The end is seen from the beginning. Over all broods a fate as gloomy as that which overhung the doomed House of Atreus. Her female characters are delineated with great elevation and purity. Jane de Montfort—with her stately form which seems gigantic, till nearer approach shows that it scarcely exceeds middle stature; her queenly bearing, and calm, solemn smile; her "weeds of high habitual state"—is one of the noblest conceptions of poetry. Miss Baillie was a conspicuous instance of high poetic powers existing in a mind capable of fulfilling the ordinary duties of life. Among her friends were numbered most of those whose genius has adorned their day. Her modest residence at Hampstead was sought by visitors from all parts of Europe, and especially from America, attracted by admiration of her genius, and love for her virtues. In her has set one of the last and brightest stars of that splendid constellation of genius, which arose during the early part of the present century.


Lippincott, Grambo & Co. have issued the third edition of California and Oregon, or, Sights in the Gold Region, by Theodore T. Johnson, a work which has deservedly met with a favorable reception from the public, and which can not fail to be highly appreciated by the emigrant to the shores of the Pacific. The author describes the incidents of his voyage to Chagres, the journey across the Isthmus, his stay at Panama, and his observations in the Gold Regions, in a spirited and graphic style, which renders his volume no less amusing than instructive. The chapters devoted to Oregon are full of valuable information, and form not the least interesting portions of the work. In the opinion of the author, Oregon is destined to be the permanent seat of American Empire on the Pacific coast. The tide of emigration to California is now setting in with gradual but increasing force toward Oregon, and of the thousands among the population of that territory who have visited the placers of the Sacramento, none have become settlers, but all have returned to resume their abode in Oregon. The statements embodied in this volume concerning the climate, soil, physical resources, and social condition of Oregon, by Hon. Mr. Thurston, the able Representative to Congress from that Territory, are distinguished for their good sense and practical character, and have already made a strong impression on the public mind. They should be taken into consideration by every one who proposes to establish his residence in the Farthest West.

Mount Hope, or, Philip, King of the Wampanoags, by G. H. Hollister (published by Harper and Brothers) is a new historical romance, founded on the scenes of Indian warfare which occurred in the first century after the settlement of New England. The fruitful legends of that period, which present such rich materials to the novelist, are interwoven with the historical incidents of the day, in a tale of more than common vigor and beauty. The development of the plot is accompanied with numerous portraitures of real characters, some of which betray no mean powers of description, and predict the future distinction of the writer in this line of composition. Among the historical personages who figure in the story, are Whalley and Goffe, the regicide judges, who found an asylum for many years in Massachusetts, and who have left so many traditions of mysterious interest concerning their fate. A scene from the death-bed of the former presents a favorable specimen of the author's ability: [Pg 710]

"On a beautiful peninsula, formed by the most graceful curve which the Connecticut (the loveliest of all the rivers that gleam among the hills of the north) makes in its long, winding journey to the ocean, stood the rural village of Hadley. It was situated upon the very point of the peninsula, with one main street running north and south, and abutting at either extremity upon the river. The settlement was then new, and had in it few houses; but most of them indicated, from their size and neatness, as well as from the degree of culture that surrounded them, the industry and comparative opulence of the inhabitants.

"On the eastern side of the street, and about midway between the arms of the river, stood the large, well-built mansion of Mr. Russell, the parish clergyman, almost hidden behind the branches of two magnificent elms of primitive growth. In the rear of the house was a lawn covered with apple-trees.

"It was about ten o'clock in the evening of the day mentioned in the preceding chapter, when a gentleman, closely enveloped in a long cloak that perfectly concealed his person, emerged from the tall forest-trees that skirted the river, and entered the orchard. At first, his step was rapid and bold, but as he neared the house, he walked with more caution; and on arriving at the garden-gate he paused, with his hand upon the latch, and looked cautiously around him. Having apparently satisfied himself that he was unnoticed, he passed noiselessly through the garden, and stepped over the little low stile that separated it from the house, stopped suddenly, and stamped his foot upon the ground. The earth beneath him returned a hollow sound, and the traveler, kneeling upon his right knee, commenced removing the rubbish that had been thrown so artfully over the spot as to elude the vigilance of any eye not acquainted with the premises. After he had cleared a space of about two feet in diameter, the clear moonlight disclosed the entire surface of a small trap-door, fastened by a strong padlock. He then pulled from his pocket a bunch of keys, tied together by a thong of deerskin, and, selecting the one that seemed to suit his purpose, applied it to the lock, which yielded readily to his hand. Lifting the door upon its rusty hinges far enough to admit his person, he placed his foot upon a short ladder, letting the heavy door gently down as he descended. The pit in which he had thus voluntarily shut himself was about six feet in depth, and walled in like a well. At the west side, and near the bottom, was a narrow channel or passage, of sufficient size to admit a full-grown man, running horizontally westward with side-walls, and covered with large, flat stones. Along this passage the mysterious night-wanderer crept softly until he came to another door, opening inward, and secured in a similar manner to the one that he had just passed. This he unlocked, and glided through the aperture, shutting and fastening the door carefully behind him. He was now in the cellar of the parsonage, which was so deep that he could stand upright without touching the timbers overhead. After groping about in the dark for some moments he discovered a small movable staircase standing against the wall, and leading perpendicularly upward. This he carefully ascended until he reached a third door, constructed of lighter materials than the others, which he easily raised with a slight pressure of the hand. He now found himself in a spacious closet, shut in with solid panels of oak. Letting the door noiselessly down, he stood a moment, and listened. Putting his ear to the wainscot, he could hear the indistinct murmur of voices in low but apparently earnest conversation. He heaved a deep sigh, and muttering to himself, 'I pray God it be not too late,' knocked distinctly with his heavy hand against the firm partition. The voices ceased, and he heard a light step cross the adjoining apartment, and then a knock against the wall corresponding to his own.

"'Who waits there?' inquired a voice from within.

"'Mr. Goldsmith,' responded the stranger.

"In a moment the door was partly opened from within by Mr. Russell, the proprietor of the mansion, who held a lighted candle in his hand, and who glanced stealthily into the closet, as if in doubt whether he could safely admit his visitor.

"'Thank Heaven!' exclaimed the clergyman, 'my expectations have not deceived me: you are with us at last.'

"'Ay, my son; the wanderer has returned. But you look pale—I am too late—tell me if he yet lives?'

"'He lives, but is fast sinking.'

"'And his mind?'

"'Is still wandering; but there are intervals—I should rather say glimmerings of reason; he spoke incoherently but a moment since; but he replied not to my words, and whether he was sleeping or waking I could not tell. His eyes were closed.'

"'I must see him: lead the way.' And opening wider the massive door, the gray-haired regicide entered the apartment of the invalid.

"It was a small but comfortable chamber, neatly carpeted, and furnished with a table (covered with writing materials and a few books), three large oaken chairs, and two beds, in one of which, with his face turned to the wall, as if to avoid the trembling rays of light that flickered upon the table, lay an old man, apparently about eighty-five years of age. As the evening was sultry, his only covering was a single linen sheet thrown loosely over him, from which his emaciated arm and small, livid fingers had escaped, and lay languidly by his side. His high, straight forehead, and calm features, which, from their perfect outline, neither age nor disease had robbed of their serene beauty, were pale as marble. The window was partly open to admit the cool air from the river, and the night breeze fanned gently the thin, snow-white locks that still lingered about his temples. The tall form of Goffe bent over him, long and silently, while he read with mournful earnestness the ravages of superannuation and disease in every lineament and furrow of the venerable face of his friend. Then, turning to the clergyman, who still remained standing by the table, he asked, in a voice choked with grief, while a tear sparkled in his bright eye, 'How long is it, my son, since he spoke intelligibly? Hath he inquired after me to-day?'

"'About one o'clock, when I brought him his simple meal, he roused himself for a moment, and demanded of me if 'I had seen his dear major-general;' but when I sought to prolong the conversation, and asked if he would see Goffe, his beloved son-in-law, he smiled, and said 'Yes;' but added, soon after, 'No, no: I have no son, and Goffe died long ago.''

"'Alas!' replied Goffe—seating himself, and motioning the clergyman to a seat that stood near him—'alas! I fear that my fruitless journey hath taken from me the privilege I most prized on earth—the administering of consolation to the last moments of this more than father.'

"'You call it a fruitless journey, then? And did you hear no tidings of the long-lost son?'

"'None: I have ridden over ground where the sound of my very name would have echoed treason; I have sought him out among men who, had they known the name of the seeker, would gladly have bought the royal favor by seizing and delivering over to the hands of the executioner the wasted, life-weary regicide. I have this very day encountered the mortal enemy of me and my race; but my arm struck down the wretch, as it has stricken down many a better man in the days of the Protector. He paid the price of his mad folly in the last debt to nature.'

"'An enemy! and slain! Have you, then, been discovered?'

"'Ay, an enemy to God and man. But did I not tell thee that he was dead? Death is no betrayer [Pg 711] of secrets: the hounds that scented my blood, bore off his mutilated remains, but they will gladly leave them in the wilderness to gorge the wolf and the raven.'

"'Who is this fallen enemy?'

"'Edward Randolph.'

"'Edward Randolph! Have you met and slain Edward Randolph?'

"'I have slain him. You look wild—you shudder. Dost think it a sin in the sight of Heaven to stop the breath of a murderer? You start at my words, and the minister of God may well shrink from the weapons which the servants of the Protector have grown old in wielding. But, Russell, Justice always bears a sword, and Oliver only taught us to employ it as the meanest viper that crawls will use his envenomed tooth, to protect his writhing shape from the foot that crushes him.'

"'The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,' interposed the clergyman.

"'Self-defense is the first law of our nature, Russell. But self-defense, when roused against a tyrant, or the minions of a tyrant, and in behalf of a goaded and maddened people, to inspire them with hope and freedom, and lift their eyes to the pure light of heaven, is the sentiment of a Christian patriot, and God will approve it. But let us awaken our aged friend, and try if we can marshal his scattered thoughts for a last conflict with the enemy of man.'

"He walked the room a moment, to banish, by more tranquil thoughts, the frown that still lowered upon his brow and the gleam that had lighted his dark eye—the reflex of many a bloody field; and walking slowly up to the bed of the sick man, stooped over him, and passed his brawny hand over the pale forehead of the sleeper. 'Awake, father, awake!—Dost thou not know that thy son has returned? Let me hear thy voice once again.'

"The invalid turned his face suddenly toward the light, and, opening his eyes, stared wildly at Goffe, but showed no signs of recognition.

"'Speak, Whalley: do you know me?'

"At the sound of his name, the old man started up, and rising upon his elbow, cried, in a voice that rang hollow as the echo of the sepulchre, 'Who calls Whalley? Was it my Lord Cromwell? Was it the Lord General? Tell him that I am ready with two hundred good troopers that carry pistols at their holsters and swords at their girdles.' Then raising his arm, with his small attenuated hand clenched as if it grasped the weapon of which he raved, he continued with increased energy, 'Up, my merry men! to horse! hew the roisterers down!—one more charge like that, and we drive them into the morass!—There again—it was well done—now they flounder man and horse in the dead pool—call off the men. They cry quarter—shame on ye—'tis murder to strike a fallen foe! But I wander. Who called Whalley? Sure I have heard that voice ere this.'

"'It is your son: it is Goffe.'

"'Peace, man! I know thee not. There was a Goffe, who stood once by my side in the armies of the Protector, and who sat with me in judgment upon the tyrant; but he was attainted of high-treason, and hanged—or, if not, he must have died in the tower. My memory is poor and treacherous; I am old, sir; but you look—"

"'Hear me, father. Do you remember under whose charge the Stuart was placed at Hampton Court?'

"'Do I remember it!' quoth he. 'Ay, do I, as if it were but a thing of yesterday. Yesterday! better than that. Sir, I have forgotten yesterday already: my thoughts live only in those glorious days; they are written on the tablets of the brain as with a diamond. But what was I saying? It has escaped me.'

"'The Stuart, father—'

"'Who had the Stuart in charge at Hampton Court? I had him, and thought the game-bird would sooner have escaped from the talons of the falcon when poised on the wing, than he from me. But some knave played me false, and for love or gold let the tyrant slip through my hands. And, sir, to own the truth, he was a princely gentleman; and after his escape he wrote me a loving letter, with many thanks for my gentle courtesy and kindly care of him. Yet his phantasy was ever running upon trifles: for in that very epistle he begged me to present in his name a trumpery dog as a keep-sake to the Duke of Richmond. Had it not been for such light follies and an overweening tyranny, he might have ruled England to this hour.'

"Goffe now perceived that he had hit upon the right vein, and proceeded to ply him with reminiscences of his earlier manhood.

"'Had you e'er a wife?'

"'The wife of my youth was an angel. What of her, but that she is dead, and I desolate? Or who are you, that venture to thrust my grief upon me unasked. You tread upon the ashes of the dead!'

"'Pardon me: I wound, that I may heal. Had you ever a daughter?'

"'I had several, but I can not recall their names. Yet I am sure there must have been more than one.'

"'Was not one of them made by your consent the wife of William Goffe?'

"'Yes—why yes: Frances was the wife of Goffe—a gallant officer, and a faithful servant of God and the commonwealth. I mind him well now. He was a host in battle, but something rash, and of a hot temper. I thought to hear of his death at the end of every conflict with the cavaliers. He would ride a furlong in front of his troop in the rage of pursuit, if ever the enemy broke rank and fled.'

"'What became of him?'

"'He died—no—it has all come back to me now. He came with me to America, and here in the rocks and caverns of this wilderness he has helped to hide me, with the tenderness of a bird for its unfledged young, through this my second infancy.'

"'Do you not know me now?' asked Goffe, affectionately taking his hand.

"The old man fixed his mild blue eye, already beaming with the rays of returning intelligence, full upon the anxious face of his fellow-exile, and gazed long and intently, as if he would have read in his features some sign of an attempt to practice upon his credulity. Then the color came back in a momentary glow to his cheeks, and tears flowed copiously over them, as he threw his arms around the iron form of Goffe, and smiled faintly as he faltered, 'Alas the day—that I should live to forget thee, my more than son!'

"The empire of reason was restored: and although afterward it sometimes lost its sway in the chaos of the dim and shadowy images of the past, yet from that time to the day of his death, the jealous glance with which he followed the steps of the companion of his earlier and more prosperous days, as he moved noiselessly around the room—the warm grasp of the hand—the subdued patience of the sufferer—the oft-repeated endearing appellation 'my son—my son'—were constant witnesses to the faithfulness of memory, when kindled and kept in exercise by gratitude and love."

Parnassus in Pillory, by Motley Manners, Esq. (published by Adriance, Sherman, and Co.), is a satire of great pretension and considerable success upon several of the most eminent living American poets. Mr. Manners has some sharp weapons in his armory, which he flourishes with the skill of an adroit fencing master, but in most cases, they gleam idly in the air without drawing blood. His happiest hits are usually harmless, but now and then they damage himself while his antagonist escapes. On the whole, the author's forte is poetry rather than satire, and punning more than either. In this last accomplishment, we admit his "proud pre-eminence." [Pg 712]

Ticknor, Reed, and Fields have issued a new edition of Twice Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, with an original preface, and a portrait of the author. The preface is highly characteristic, and will be read with as much interest as any of the stories. Mr. Hawthorne presents some details of his literary autobiography, in which he relates the ill success of his first adventures as an author, with irresistible unction and naïvete. He claims to have been for a good many years the obscurest literary man in America. His stories were published in magazines and annuals, for a period comprising the whole of the writer's young manhood, without making the slightest impression on the public, or, with the exception of "The Rill from the Town-Pump," as far as he is aware, having met with the good or evil fortune to be read by any body. When collected into a volume, at a subsequent period, their success was not such as would have gratified a craving desire for notoriety, nor did they render the writer or his productions much more generally known than before. The philosophy of this experience is unfolded by the author without the slightest affectation of concealment, or any show of querulousness on account of its existence. On the contrary, he views the whole affair with perfect good humor, and consoles himself in the failure of large popularity, with the sincere appreciation which his productions received in certain gratifying quarters. They were so little talked about that those who chanced to like them felt as if they had made a new discovery, and thus conceived a kindly feeling not only for the book but for the author. The influence of this on his future literary labors is set forth with his usual half-comic seriousness. "On the internal evidence of his sketches, he came to be regarded as a mild, shy, gentle, melancholic, exceedingly sensitive, and not very forcible man, hiding his blushes under an assumed name, the quaintness of which was supposed, somehow or other, to symbolize his personal and literary traits. He is by no means certain that some of his subsequent productions have not been influenced and modified by a natural desire to fill up so amiable an outline, and to act in consonance with the character assigned to him, nor even now could he forfeit it without a few tears of tender sensibility."

Time the Avenger is the title of Mrs. Marsh's last novel, reprinted by Harper and Brothers. It is intended as the sequel to "The Wilmingtons," and like that powerful story abounds in vivid delineations of character, and natural and impressive developments of passion. With a more reflective character than most of the former productions of the author, the style is equally vigorous and sparkling with that of the admirable works which have given her such a brilliant celebrity.

The Educational System of the Puritans and Jesuits compared, by N. Porter, Professor in Yale College (published by M. W. Dodd) is an historical and argumentative treatise discussing the origin, influence, and prevalence in this country of the two systems. The views of the author are presented with discrimination and force, and well deserve the attention of the friends of religion and education.

George P. Putnam has issued the second part of The Girlhood of Shakspeare's Heroines, by Mary Cowden Clarke, containing The Thane's Daughter, in which the early history of Lady Macbeth is described in an ingenious and lively fiction. The story does great credit to the author's power of invention, and is executed with so much skill, as in some degree to atone for the presumptuousness of the enterprise. The volume is embellished with a neat engraving of "Cawdor Castle."

Munroe and Francis, Boston, have published a volume of Poetry from the Waverly Novels, containing the poems scattered through the Waverly Novels, which are supposed to be written by Sir Walter Scott, and which are ascribed by him to anonymous sources. The volume will be welcomed by every lover of poetry and of Scott, not only for the agreeable associations which it awakens, but for the numerous delicious morceaux which it has preserved.

A new edition of Essays and Reviews by Edwin P. Whipple, has been issued by Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, comprising the contents of the former edition, with a Review of Dana's Poems and Prose Writings, and one or two less elaborate papers. These volumes present the character of the author as an acute and enlightened critic in a very favorable light. With a familiar knowledge of the lighter portions of English literature, a healthy relish for the racy varieties of a wide range of authors, a sensitive taste which is none the less accurate in its decisions for being catholic in its affinities, a peculiar facility in appreciating the point of view of the writers under discussion, and a richness, point, and beauty of expression rarely combined in any department of composition, Mr. Whipple has attained a deserved eminence as a critical authority, which is certainly not surpassed in the field of American letters, and with but few exceptions, by any writer in the English language.

Elements of Analytical Geometry and of the Differential and Integral Calculus, by Elias Loomis, Professor in the University of New York (published by Harper and Brothers) presents the principles of the sciences treated of, with a precision of statement and clearness of illustration, without sacrificing any thing of scientific rigor, which make it an admirable text-book for the college student, as well as a facile guide for the mathematical amateur. The happy manner in which the knotty points of the Calculus are unraveled in this treatise presents a strong temptation to plunge into the time-devouring study.

Harper and Brothers have published Wallace and Mary Erskine, being the second and third numbers of Mr. Abbott's popular series of Franconia Stories.

The City of the Silent, by W. Gilmore Simms, is the title of an occasional poem delivered at the consecration of Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S. C. Its felicitous selection of topics, and classic beauty of expression, entitle it to a high place in the current poetry of the day, and amply sustain the reputation of the distinguished author. The notes exhibit a rich store of curious erudition.

The Shipmaster's Assistant and Commercial Digest, by Joseph Blunt, is published by Harper and Brothers, in the fifth edition, although such changes have been introduced as to render it in fact a new work. It presents a complete digest of the laws of the different States of the Union, relating to subjects connected with navigation; a systematic arrangement of the acts of Congress in regard to the revenue and commerce; a view of the different moneys and weights and measures of the world, besides an immense amount of information, under appropriate heads, on the various points of marine law and commercial regulations that can interest an American shipmaster. [Pg 713]

Three Leaves from Punch.

Please, Sir, shall I hold your Horse?


Please, Sir, shall I hold your Horse?"


Fat cattle did not sell well this year. Their ever-obesity seems to have been one of the causes of their going off so heavily—which is no wonder. Fat oxen can not be expected to be brisk. Now, this truth has been brought home to graziers, perhaps they will abandon the system of fattening animals so enormously; which is the merest infatuation.


Every one knows that Punch has lately been knocking the modern hat upon the head with his playful, but powerful bâton. War to the hat is happily superseding, on the Continent, the rage for making war on crowns alone; and, indeed, we had so much rather see the military employed abroad in a crusade against hats than in the work of carnage, that, by way of giving employment in a good cause, to a brave soldier, we invest with full powers against hats the renowned General Hatzoff.


The Crystal Palace may be looked upon as a noble Temple of Peace, where all nations will meet, by appointment, under the same roof, and shake each other by the hand. It is very curious that one-half of Mr. Paxton's name should be significant of Peace. We propose, therefore, that over the principal entrance there be erected in large gold letters, the following motto, so that all foreigners may read it as a friendly salute on the part of England:

"Pax(ton) Vobiscum."


We find there has been recently advertised a Law Book under the promising title of Broom's Practice. This is just what is wanted in the law; the Broom happens to be a good one, for a little practice with such an implement may have the effect of operating a sweeping reform. [Pg 714]



"Dear Mr. Punch,

"I am a bachelor, and my friends, I believe, allow that, in the main, I am a tolerably good-natured fellow—but just look here! I was invited a few days ago to spend a week at a country house, and here I am; but I must confess that I was a little put out when taken to the very top of it, and told that this was my bedroom. I have since been led to suppose that unmarried men must expect to sleep in the worst rooms there are; for see—this is the bedroom of a married couple, friends of mine. Now—confound it! I say the comfort is monstrously and unfairly disproportioned. The ladies—bless them!—ought, of [Pg 715] course, to be made as cosy as possible; no man could object to their having their nice little bit of fire, and their dear little slippers placed before it, with their couches, and their easy chairs, &c.—of course not—but that is no reason why we single men should be treated like so many Shetland ponies. There is no fireplace in my room, and the only ventilation is through a broken window. As far as the shooting, the riding, the eating and drinking go, I have nothing whatever to complain of. But I want to know why—why this mature female always answers my bell, and that great brute Snawkins (whose mind, by-the-by, is not half so well regulated as mine)—merely because he is a married man—has his hot water brought by this little maid! I don't understand it. You may print this, if you like; only send me a few copies of Punch, when it appears, that's a good fellow, and I will carelessly leave them about, in the hope that Mrs. Haycock may see them; and by Jove! if the hint is not taken, and my bedroom changed—or, at least, made more comfortable—I'll—yes—(there's an uncommonly nice girl stopping here) I'll be hanged if I don't think very seriously of getting married myself.

"Believe me, my dear Punch,
"Yours faithfully,
"Charles Singleboy."



The following drama is upon a subject that will come home to the heart and tongue, the lungs and the lips, the epiglottis and the affections, of every Englishman. There is not a theme in the whole range of every-day life, that so frequently furnishes the matter of conversation, and there can be none, consequently, so universal in its interest, as the one which forms the subject of the drama we are about to present to our readers. In every circle, at every hour of every day, the first point started by every one meeting with another, and taken up by that other with the keenest relish, is—The Weather. The title may not appear at first sight a promising one, for the purposes of the dramatist; but if he can succeed in presenting to his countrymen a type of a drama for every-day life, divested of those common-places which long habit and an apparent exhaustion of the theme may have thrown about it, he will be content to hang up his harp on the first hat-peg of "Tara's," or any one else's "hall," and repose, as well as such a substitute for a mattress will allow him, upon his already-acquired laurels. But without further prologue, we will "ring up," and let the curtain rise for the drama of


Dramatis Personæ.
Mr. Muffle An old friend of the late husband of Mrs. Yawnley.
Mrs. Muffle Wife of Mr. Muffle.
Mrs. Shivers A casual acquaintance of Mrs. Yawnley, and knowing incidentally a little of the Muffles.
Mrs. Yawnley A widow, whose late husband was a friend of Mr. Muffle.
Servant to Mrs. Yawnley.

The Scene passes in the drawing-room of Mrs. Yawnley. The Stage represents a handsome drawing-room, elegantly furnished. There is a door at the back opening on to a hall in which is hung a weather-glass.

Mrs. Yawnley (in a morning dress) discovered seated in conversation with Mrs. Shivers, who wears her shawl and bonnet.

Mrs. Y. It is indeed! the winter, as you say,
Has now set in with great severity.

Mrs. S. Not that I think we've reason to complain.
This is December, we should recollect.

Mrs. Y. We should indeed—a very true remark:
And one that never struck me till you made it. [Pg 716]

Enter Servant, announcing Mr. and Mrs. Muffle.

Mrs. Y. (rising.) Dear Mrs. Muffle, this is very kind,
To come to see me on a day like this.
Which I and Mrs. Shivers (whom you know)
Were just remarking was extremely cold.

Mr. M. Cold—do you think!

Mrs. Y. Yes—pray come near the fire.

Mrs. M. Oh! Thank you—no—I'd really rather not.
I'm very warm with walking.

[Sits at a distance.

Mrs. S. Probably.
But walking somehow never makes me warm.

[An awkward pause, during which Mr. Muffle puts his fingers between the bars of a parrot's cage, as if playing with the bird, receives a savage snap, but says nothing, as the affair is not remarked by any body.]

Mrs. Y. What think you, Mister Muffle, will it rain?
You gentlemen can always judge so well.

Mr. M. (Walking to the window, partly to conceal the pain of his finger.) Why, that depends a good deal on the wind.

Mrs. S. They say that when the smoke is beaten down,
Rain may be looked for.

Mrs. M. I have often heard
That if the birds fly very near the ground,
Wet is in store. Look at that sparrow now,
He's fairly on the ground, so it must rain.

Mrs. Y. But now he's off again, and so it won't,
Those adages, I think, are often wrong.

Mr. M. One rule I've always found infallible.

Mrs. S. Pray tell us what it is.

Mrs. Y. Do—I entreat.
It would be so convenient to know.
Some certain rule by which to guide one's self.
My glass deceives me often.

Mrs. M. (in a mental aside.) Rather say
Your glass tells often some unpleasant truths.

Mr. M. My weather-glass, dear madam, is my corn.

Mrs. M. Why, really, Mister M., you're quite absurd;
Have we the means of guidance such as that?
You're positively rude.

Mrs. Y. (laughing.) Oh, not at all;
He's trod upon no tender place of mine.

Mrs. S. I've heard some story of the tails of cows
'Tis said that when to the wind's quarter turn'd,
They augur rain. Now tell me, Mr. Muffle,
Do you believe in that?

Mr. M. I'd trust a cow's,
As well as any other idle tail.

Mrs. Y. That's saying very little. Tell me, now,
(For your opinion, really, I respect,)
Are mackerel-looking clouds a sign of wet?

Mr. M. I think it probable that mackerel clouds
Betoken wet, just as a mackerel's self
Puts us in mind of water.

Mrs. S. Are you joking
Or speaking as a scientific man?

Mrs. Y. You're such a wag, there's never any knowing
When you are serious, or half in jest.
Dear Mrs. Muffle, you that know him best,
Shall we believe him?

Mrs. M. Oh, I can say nothing,

[All laugh for some minutes, on and off, at the possibly intended wit of Mr. Muffle; and the tittering having died off gradually, there is a pause.]

Mrs. M. (to Mrs. Y.) Have you been out much lately?

Mrs. Y. No, indeed,
The dampness in the air prevented me.

Mrs. S. 'Tis rather drier now.

Mrs. Y. I think it is.
I hope I shall be getting out next week,
If I can find a clear and frosty day.

Mr. M. I think 'tis very probable you will.

Mrs. Y. I'm quite delighted to have heard you say so;
But are you quizzing us. You're such a quiz!

Mr. M. (with serious earnestness.) Believe me, Mrs. Yawnley, when I say
I've far too much regard—too much esteem—
For one I've known as long as I've known you,
To say a word intending to mislead;
In friendship's solemn earnestness I said,
And say again, pledging my honor on it,
'Tis my belief we may, ere very long,
Some clear and frosty days anticipate.

Mrs. Y. I know your kindness, and I feel it much;
You were my poor dear husband's early friend.

[Taking out her handkerchief. Mrs. S. goes toward the window to avoid being involved in the scene.]

I feel that though with cheerful badinage
You now and then amuse a passing hour,
When with a serious appeal addressed,
You never make a frivolous reply.

Mrs. M. (rising, and kissing Mrs. Y.) You do him justice, but we must be going.

Mr. M. (giving his hand to Mrs. Y.) Good morning, Mrs. Yawnley.

Mrs. Y. Won't you wait,
And take some luncheon?

Mr. M. Thank you; no, indeed;
We must be getting home, I fear 'twill rain.

Mrs. S. I think you go my way—I'm in a fly,
And shall be very glad to set you down.

Mrs. M. Oh, thank you; that's delightful.

Mrs. S. (to Mrs. Y.) So, I'll say
Good-by at once.

Mrs. Y. Well, if you will not stay.

[Mr. and Mrs. Muffle, and Mrs. Shivers, exeunt by the door. Mrs. Yawnley goes to the bell. Mr. Muffle taps on the weather-glass; the bell rings; and the glass, which is going down, falls considerably at the same moment as the curtain.] [Pg 717]



First Juvenile.—"That's a pretty girl talking to young Algernon Binks."
Second Juvenile.—"Hm—Tol-lol! You should have seen her some seasons ago."


Soyer, in his Modern Housewife, is quite angry that our great Painters have never busied themselves with "such useful and interesting subjects" as the subjects of the kitchen, instead of "continually tracing on innumerable yards of canvas the horrors of war, the destruction of a fire by fire or water, the plague, the storm, the earthquake." For this purpose, Soyer suggests some admirable historical events, connected with the Cuisine, on which artists might, with advantage, employ their genius. Among others, he mentions the following:

"Louis XIV., at Versailles, receiving from the hands of the Pacha the First Cup of Café ever made in France."

"Voltaire helping Frederic, on the Field of Potsdam, with a Cup of Cho-ca."

"Cardinal Mazarin tasting, at the Louvre, the First Cup of Chocolate."

In all matters of taste (excepting his Nectar and his Economical Soup, which, we candidly confess, we never could stomach) we always agree with the mighty Soyer. And we are so moved with his indignation at the neglect with which artists have too long visited all subjects connected with culinary art, that we go out of [Pg 718] our way to give Royal Academicians the benefit of the following notions, which may have the desired effect of elevating the Cuisine to the same level as the Conqueror's Tent, or the Monarch's Council Chamber. We see a grand historical picture in each of the following suggestions:

"George the Third in the Old Woman's Cottage, wondering 'how ever the apples got inside the apple-dumpling.'"

"Ude Tearing his Hair, upon learning that the British Nobleman had put salt into his soup."

"The Duke of Norfolk conceiving the brilliant notion of rescuing a Nation from Starvation, by means of his celebrated Curry-Powder."

"The Immortal Courage of the Great Unknown who Swallowed the First Oyster."

"Marie-Antoinette wondering how the People could starve, when there were such nice little Gâteaux at three sous apiece."

"Napoleon Eating the Dish of Stewed Mushrooms, by which, it is said, he lost (in consequence of the indigestion), the Battle of Leipzig."

"The Resignation of Soyer at the Reform Club."

"Portrait of the Celebrated American Oyster, that was so large, that it took three men to swallow it."

"Abernathy inventing his Dinner-Pill."

"Brillat Savarin tasting the Wonderful Sauce, that was so delicious, that a person could eat his own father with it."

"Cæsar, or Dando, Astonishing the Natives."

"Heroic Death of Vatel, upon hearing that the Fish had not arrived."

"Cann first hitting upon the glorious idea of giving in Holborn 'a devilish good dinner for 2-1/2d.'"

As soon as our great Painters have put into living shape the above delicious morçeaux, we shall be prepared to furnish them with another course of the same choice quality.



Ragged Urchin.—"Please give Dad a Short Pipe?"

Barman.—"Can't do it. Don't know him."

Ragged Urchin.—"Why, he gets Drunk here every Saturday Night."

Barman.—"Oh! Does he, my Little Dear? Then 'ere's a Nice Long 'un, with a bit of Wax at the end."

[Pg 719]

Spring Fashions.

Fig. 1.—Promenade and Evening Costumes.

Fig. 1.—Promenade and Evening Costumes.

Like coquettish April, Fashion is now beginning to exchange its more sombre aspect for its sweetest smiles, and to develop its pretty flowers and delicate foliage. The darker colors and firmer textures of winter are now disappearing, and all the gay hues and lighter fabrics are taking their places.

Walking Dresses.—Silks of every color and texture are now to be seen for afternoon toilet. We may cite the following as the most general form in which they are made: First, a dress of green silk or velvet, the skirt made perfectly plain and very full; three-quarters high body, fitting close to the figure, and ornamented with nœuds of velvet, to which are attached three small drops of fancy buttons, put on at regular distances, and reaching from the top of the corsage to the lower edge of the skirt. Loose sleeves, made open up to the elbow at the back, and rounded, trimmed with a double frilling of narrow velvet. Chemisette and full sleeves of white cambric. Bonnet of a deep lilac velours épinglé. Across the centre of the front [Pg 720] is worked a wreath in tambour work, the edge of the front finished with a narrow fulling. The curtain is bordered to match the front, the interior of which is decorated with loops of ribbon, with brides to match. Such is the costume represented on the right in Figure 1.

Another beautiful walking dress is of green silk, the skirt trimmed with three deep flounces, the upper one descending from the waist, and each encircled with three narrow galons, put on so as to represent square vandykes; high body, closing at the back, and ornamented in front of the chest with five nœuds papillons, and on either side three galons, forming revers. Pagoda sleeves, rather short, and finished with two frillings decorated with galons white sleeves of embroidered muslin, having three frillings of Valenciennes lace. Another pretty style is composed of moire antique of a dark blue and black ground, broché in light blue, and trimmed with a chenille lace of a dark blue color. Changeable, lilac, pale blue, and corn-color silks are now becoming fashionable for walking dresses.

Evening Costume.—Every variety of color is now fashionable for evening costume. The most favorite colors are mauve, amber, pink, lilac, blue, and peach. The centre figure in our first illustration exhibits a very elegant evening costume. A dress of pale pink satin, trimmed upon each side of the skirt with a broad lappet of the same, edged with a flat row of blonde, and confined at two distances with a nœud of satin and two ostrich feathers shaded pink, the lower part being rounded. The centre of the pointed corsage is formed of two rows of lace, divided with fullings of satin; the cape is composed of two rows of lace, headed with a fulling of ribbon. The cap is composed of white lace and decorated with pink ribbons and feathers.

Fig. 2.—Coiffure.

Fig. 2.—Coiffure.

Coiffures.—There is a great variety of head dresses, many of them extremely rich and elegant. They are composed of light fabrics, and flowers of the rarest kind. The latter are generally intermixed with fancy ribbons, combining the most vivid hues with threads of gold or silver, while others are varied with nœuds and streamers of ribbon velvet. Figure 2 represents a neat style of head dress for an evening party, showing the arrangement of the back hair. An elegant style of coiffure is composed of the white thistle, intermixed with small clusters of gold berries and white gauze ribbon, richly embroidered with gold. Those formed of ivy leaves, interspersed with tips of white marabout sables d'or, and attached with bows of green and gold ribbon, are extremely elegant.

Fig. 3.—Bonnet.

Fig. 3.—Bonnet.

Fig. 4.—Straw Bonnet.

Fig. 4.—Straw Bonnet.

Bonnets.—Figure 3 represents a very pretty style of bonnet, adapted for early spring. It is composed of folds of pink silk or satin, ornamented within with flowers. The front is trimmed with fullings of satin, attached to which, and frilling back, is a row of pointed lace. Figure 4 shows an elegant style of straw flat, for a little Miss, trimmed, in connection with the tie, with several folds of satin ribbon. The only external ornament is a long ostrich feather, sweeping gracefully around the front of the crown, and falling upon the side of the brim.

Ball Dresses are of almost every variety of style. Narrow blondes are now much used for decorating ball dresses; they give a light and sparkling effect when arranged in narrow rûches upon a dress of rich satin. Sometimes the skirt is trimmed with a single flower, upon which is placed five or six papillons of blonde, and sometimes upon one skirt are four flounces, made of the same material as the dress, or of lace. The figure on the left, in our first plate, represents an elegant and elaborate style. The dress is pale amber satin; the corsage low; the waist long, and à pointe; berthe of point d'Alençon; the sleeves are short and plain, and are nearly covered by the deep berthe; the skirt is long and full, trimmed with a double row of dentelle de laine, between which are bows of broad satin ribbon. The sortie de bal which covers the body, is of white cachmere, finished by a deep flounce of dentelle de laine. Across the front are placed five rows of fancy silk fringe; the top row going round the shoulders in the form of a small cape; the pelerine, or hood, is composed entirely of dentelle de laine; tassels at the corner in front; the sleeves very wide and trimmed with deep lace to correspond with the flounce. The hood, which, in the figure is thrown over the head, is terminated at the points with two large tassels of fancy silk. This is an elegant costume in which to leave the ball room for the carriage.


[1] From a new life of Penn, by Hepworth Dixon, in the press of Blanchard and Lea, Philadelphia.

[2] This little story is drawn from the French. The Revolutionary era was so fertile in romantic incidents, springing at once from the theatrical character of the people, and the extraordinary excitement of the period, that the adventure of Barbaroux is quite within the range of probability. One vote did at last condemn Louis XVI.

[3] From "Rambles beyond Railways," an interesting work by W. Wilkie Collins, just published in London.

[4] The writer is in earnest; this is a true story.—Ed.

[5] From Mayhew's "London Labor and the London Poor," now publishing by Harper and Brothers.

[6] First rate.

[7] Pot of beer.

[8] No.

[9] Bad luck.

[10] Badly.

[11] From "Rambles beyond Railways," by W. Wilkie Collins.

[12] From Mayhew's "London Labor and the London Poor," in the press of Messrs. Harper and Brothers.

[13] It need scarcely be observed, that Jackeymo, in his conversations with his master or Violante, or his conference with himself, employs his native language, which is therefore translated without the blunders that he is driven to commit when compelled to trust himself to the tongue of the country in which he is a sojourner.

[14] Mr. Dale probably here alludes to Lord Bolingbroke's ejaculation as he stood by the dying Pope; but his memory does not serve him with the exact words.

Transcriber's Note:

Variant and dialect spelling have been retained.

Punctuation normalized without comment.

Page 606, "passions with suprising" was changed to read "passions with surprising."

Page 611, "the wise resotion" was changed to read "the wise resolution."

Page 615, "too diminuitive for" was changed to read "too diminutive for."

Page 624, "southorn France." was changed to read "southern France."

Page 628, "he never quited" was changed to read "he never quitted."

Page 647, "spectral arrray of" was changed to read "spectral array of."

Page 658, "myrtles, and larels" was changed to read "myrtles, and laurels."

Page 662, "accompanied by selfishess" was changed to read "accompanied by selfishness."

Page 662, "measles, hooping-cough," was changed to read "measles, whooping-cough,."

Page 665, "for I havn't done" was changed to "for I haven't done."

Page 668, "for these anouncements" was changed to read "for these announcements."

Page 672, "door pannels" was changed to read "door panels."

Page 680, "if I arrrived" was changed to read "if I arrived."

Page 681, "momently harrassed me" was changed to read "momently harassed me."

Page 693, "that peried of" was changed to read "that period of."

Page 694, "his old parishoners" was changed to read "his old parishioners."

Page 701, "against the Camanches" was changed to read "against the Comanches."

Page 705, "Bavarian court-martials" was changed to read "Bavarian courts-martial."