The Project Gutenberg eBook of Graham's Magazine, Vol. XX, No. 2, February 1842

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Title: Graham's Magazine, Vol. XX, No. 2, February 1842

Author: Various

Editor: George R. Graham

Release date: February 19, 2022 [eBook #67443]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: George R. Graham, 1842

Credits: Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at, from page images generously made available by The Internet Archive



Vol. XX.      February, 1842.      No. 2.


Fiction, Literature and Articles
Harper’s Ferry
Harry Cavendish continued
The Two Dukes continued
Original Letter from Charles Dickens
The Duello
Dreams of the Land and Sea
Mrs. Norton
The Lady’s Choice
The Blue Velvet Mantilla
The Daughters of Dr. Byles
A Few Words About Brainard
Review of New Books
Poetry, Music and Fashion
My Bonnie Steed
Nydia, The Blind Flower-Girl of Pompeii
The Veiled Altar
Agathè.—A Necromaunt
A Dream of the Dead
The Dream Is Past
Spring Fashions in Advance

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

looking down on a village by a waterway

W.H. Bartlett         A.L. Dick.


(From the Blue ridge.)


Vol. XX.    PHILADELPHIA: FEBRUARY, 1842.    No. 2.


The scenery at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, is perhaps the most picturesque in America. The view given in the accompanying engraving is taken from the Blue Ridge, from whence the tourist enjoys the finest prospect of this delightful spot. Lofty as the summit is, and difficult as the ascent proves to the uninitiated, the magnificence of the view from the top of the ridge amply compensates the adventurer for his trouble. Immediately beneath your feet are seen the Potomac and Shenandoah enveloping the beautiful village of Harper’s Ferry in their folds, and then joining, their waters flow on in silent beauty, until lost behind the gorges of the mountains. Far away in the distance stretch a succession of woody plains, diversified with farm-houses and villages, and gradually growing more and more indistinct, until they fade away into the summits of the Alleghanies. But we cannot do better than give President Jefferson’s unrivalled description of this scene. “The passage,” he says, “of the Potomac, through the Blue Ridge, is, perhaps, one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land; on your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountains a hundred miles to seek a vent, on your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also: in the moment of their junction, they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea. The first glance of this scene harries our senses into the opinion that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that, in this place particularly they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley,—that continuing to rise, they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah—the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate the impression. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character; it is a true contrast to the foreground; it is as placid and delightful as that is wild and tremendous,—for the mountain being cloven asunder, she presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small closet of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate in the calm below. Here the eye ultimately composes itself, and that way, too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potomac just above its junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain for three miles, its terrible precipices hanging over you, and, within about twenty miles, reach Fredericktown and the fine country round that. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”

Enthusiastic as Jefferson is in this description, he does not exceed the truth. Foreigners have borne ample testimony to the splendor of the prospect from the top of the ridge at Harper’s Ferry, admitting that there are few scenes in Europe which surpass it.

It is time to do justice to American scenery. Hundreds of our citizens annually cross the Atlantic for the purpose of visiting the scenery of Europe, under the mistaken supposition that their own country affords nothing to compensate them for the trouble of a visit. This ignorance is less general than formerly, but it still prevails to a considerable extent. Yet no country affords finer or more magnificent scenery than America. Go up the Hudson, travel along the banks of the Susquehanna, cross the Alleghanies or ascend the Catskill, loiter over the fairy-like waters of lake Horicon, and you will cease to believe that America affords no scenery to reward the traveller. We say nothing of Niagara or Trenton falls, or of the mountain scenery scattered all over the south. We say nothing of the vast prairies of the west, of the boundless melancholy expanse of the Mississippi, of the magnificent scenery on the route to St. Anthony’s Falls. Let our people visit these before going abroad. Let them learn to do justice to the country of their birth.






The night after the rescue of the passengers and crew of the brig was to me a restless one. I could not sleep. Hour after hour I lay in my hammock eagerly courting repose, but unable to find it, for the images of the past crowded on my brain, and kept me in a feverish excitement that drove slumber from my pillow. My thoughts were of my boyhood,—of Pomfret Hall,—of my early schoolmate—and of his little seraph-like sister, Annette. I was back once more in the sunny past. Friends whom I had long forgotten,—scenes which had become strangers to me,—faces which I once knew but which had faded from my memory, came thronging back upon me, as if by some magic impulse, until I seemed to be once more shouting by the brookside, galloping over the hills, or singing at the side of sweet little Annette at Pomfret Hall.

I was the son of a decayed family. My parents lived in honorable poverty. But, though reduced in fortune, they had lost none of the spirit of their ancestors. Their ambition was to see their son a gentleman, a man of education. I had accordingly been early put to school, preparatory to a college education. Here I met with a youth of my own age, a proud, high-spirited, generous boy, Stanhope St. Clair. He was the heir of a wealthy and ancient family, whose residence, not far from Boston, combined baronial splendor with classic taste. We formed a fast friendship. He was a year or two my senior, and being stronger than myself, became my protector in our various school frays; this united me to him by the tie of gratitude. During the vacation I spent a month at his house; here I met his little sister, a sweet-tempered innocent fairy, some four or five years my junior. Even at that early age I experienced emotions towards her which I am even now wholly unable to analyze, but they came nearer the sentiment of love than any other feeling. She was so beautiful and sweet-tempered, so innocent and frank, so bright, and sunny, and smiling, so infinitely superior to those of her age and sex I had been in the habit of associating with, that I soon learned to look on her with sentiments approaching to adoration. Yet I felt no reserve in her society. Her frankness made me perfectly at home. We played, sung and laughed together, as if life had nothing for us but sunshine and joy. How often did those old woods, the quaintly carved hall, the green and smiling lawn ring with our gladsome merriment. We studied, too, together; and as I sat playfully at her feet, looking now on her book and now in her eyes, while her long silken tresses undulated in the breeze and frolicked over my face, I experienced sensations of strange pleasure unlike anything I had ever experienced. At length the time came when I was to leave this Eden. I remember how desolate I felt on that day, but how from pride in my sex I struggled to hide my emotions. Annette made no attempt to conceal her sorrow. She flung herself into my arms and wept long and bitterly. It was the grief of a child, but it filled my heart with sunshine, and dwelt in my memory for years.

I returned to school, but my playmate was always in my thoughts. In dream or awake, at my tasks or in play, loitering under the forest trees or wandering by the stream, in the noisy tumult of day or musing in the silent moonshine, the vision of that light-hearted and beauteous girl was ever present to my imagination. It may seem strange that such emotions should occupy the mind of a mere boy; but so it was. At length, however, St. Clair took sick, and died. How bitter was my grief at this event. It was the first thing that taught me what real sorrow was. This occurrence broke up my intimacy with the St. Clair family, for, young as I was, I could perceive that my presence would be a pain to the family, by continually reminding them of their lost boy. I never therefore visited Pomfret Hall again,—but often would I linger in its vicinity hoping to catch a glance of Annette. But I was unsuccessful. I never saw her again. Our spheres of life were immeasurably separated, the circles in which she moved knew me not. We had no friends in common, and therefore no medium of communication. God knew whether she thought of me. Her parents, though kind, had always acted towards me as if an impassable barrier existed betwixt the haughty St. Clairs and the beggared Cavendish, and now that their son was no more they doubtless had forgotten me. Such thoughts filled my mind as I grew up. The busy avocations of life interfered, my father died and left me pennyless, and, to ensure a subsistence for my mother and myself, I went to sea. The dreams of my youth had long since given way to the sad realities of life,—and of all the sunny memories of childhood but one remained. That memory was of Annette.

It is a common saying that the love of a man is but an episode, while that of a woman is the whole story of life, nor is it my purpose to gainsay the remark. The wear and tear of toil, the stern conflict with the world, the ever changing excitements which occupy him,—war, craft, ambition,—these are sufficient reasons why love can never become the sole passion of the stronger sex. But, though the saying is in general true, it has one exception. The first love of a man is never forgotten. It is through weal and woe the bright spot in his heart. Old men, whose bosoms have been seared by seventy years conflict with the world, have been known to weep at the recollection of their early love. The tone of a voice, the beam of an eye,—a look, a smile, a footstep may bring up to the mind the memory of her whom we worshipped in youth, and, like the rod of Moses, sunder the flinty rock, bring tears gushing from the long silent fountains of the heart. Nor has any after passion the purity of our first love. If there is anything that links us to the angels, it is the affection of our youth. It purifies and exalts the heart—it fills the soul with visions of the bright and beautiful—it makes us scorn littleness, and aspire after noble deeds. Point me out one who thus loves, and I will point you out one who is incapable of a mean action. Such was the effect which my sentiments for Annette had upon me. I saw her not, it is true,—but she was ever present to my fancy. I pictured continually to myself the approbation she would bestow on my conduct, and I shrunk even from entertaining an ignoble thought. I knew that in all probability we should never meet, but I thirsted to acquire renown, to do some act which might reach her ears. I loved without hope, but not the less fervently. A beggar might love a Princess, as a Paladin of old looked up to his mistress, as an Indian worshipper adored the sun, I loved, looked up to, and adored Annette. What little of fame I had won was through her instrumentality. And now I had met her, had been her preserver. As I lay in my hammock the memory of these things came rushing through my mind, and emotions of bewilderment, joy, and gratitude, prevented me from sleep.

I had seen Annette only for a moment, as the fatigue they had endured, had confined herself and companion to the cabin, during the day. How should we meet on the morrow? My heart thrilled at the recollection of her delighted recognition—would she greet me with the same joy when we met again? How would her father receive me? A thousand such thoughts rushed through my brain, and kept me long awake—and when at length I fell into a troubled sleep, it was to dream of Annette.

When I awoke, the morning watch was being called, and springing from my hammock I was soon at my post on deck. The sky was clear, the waves had gone down, and a gentle breeze was singing through the rigging. To have gazed around on the almost unruffled sea one would never have imagined the fury with which it had raged scarcely forty-eight hours before.

Early in the day Mr. St. Clair appeared on deck, and his first words were to renew his thanks to me of the day before. He alluded delicately to past times, and reproved me gently for having suffered the intimacy betwixt me and his family to decline. He concluded by hoping that, in future, our friendship—for such he called it—would suffer no diminution.

I was attending, after breakfast, to the execution of an order forwards, when, on turning my eyes aft, I saw the flutter of a woman’s dress. My heart told me it was that of Annette, and, at the instant, she turned around. Our eyes met. Her smile of recognition was even sweeter than that of the day before. I bowed, but could not leave my duty, else I should have flown to her side. It is strange what emotions her smile awakened in my bosom. I could scarcely attend to the execution of my orders, so wildly did my brain whirl with feelings of extatic joy. At length my duty was performed. But then a new emotion seized me. I wished and yet I feared to join Annette. But I mustered courage to go aft, and no sooner had I reached the quarterdeck, than Mr. St. Clair beckoned me to his side.

“Annette,” he said, “has scarcely yet given you her thanks. She has not forgotten you, indeed she was the first to recognise you yesterday. You remember, love, don’t you?” he said, turning to his daughter, “the summer Mr. Cavendish spent with us at the Hall. It was you, I believe, who shed so many tears at his departure.”

He said this gayly, but it called the color into his daughter’s cheek. Perhaps he noticed this, for he instantly resumed in a different tone:

“But see, Annette, here comes the captain, and I suppose you would take a turn on the quarterdeck. Your cousin will accompany him,—Mr. Cavendish must be your chaperon.”

The demeanor of Mr. St. Clair perplexed me. Could it be that he saw my love for his daughter and was willing to countenance my suit? The idea was preposterous, as a moment’s reflection satisfied me. I knew too well his haughty notions of the importance of his family. My common sense taught me that he never had entertained the idea of my aspiring to his daughter’s hand—that he would look on such a thing as madness—and his conduct was dictated merely by a desire to show his gratitude and that of his daughter to me. These thoughts passed through my mind while he was speaking, and when he closed, and I offered to escort his daughter, I almost drew a sigh at the immeasurable distance which separated me from Annette. Prudence would have dictated that I should avoid the society of one whom I was beginning to love so unreservedly, but who was above my reach. Yet who has ever flown from the side of the one he adores, however hopeless his suit, provided she did not herself repel him? Besides, I could not, without rudeness, decline the office which Mr. St. Clair thrust upon me. I obeyed his task, but I felt that my heart beat faster when Annette’s taper finger was laid on my arm. How shall I describe the sweetness and modesty with which Annette thanked me for the service which I had been enabled to do her father and herself—how to picture the delicacy with which she alluded to our childhood, recalling the bright hours we had spent together by the little brook, under the old trees, or in the rich wainscoted apartments of Pomfret Hall! My heart fluttered as she called up these memories of the past. I dwelt in return on the pleasure I had experienced in that short visit, until her eye kindled and her cheek crimsoned at my enthusiasm. She looked down on the deck, and it was not till I passed to another theme that she raised her eyes again. Yet she did not seem to have been displeased at what I had said. On the contrary it appeared to be her delight to dwell with innocent frankness on the pleasure she had experienced in that short visit. The pleasure of that half hour’s promenade yet lives green and fresh in my memory.

We were still conversing when my attention was called away by the cry of the look-out that a sail was to be seen to windward. Instantly every eye was turned over the weather-beam, for she was the first sail that had been reported since the gale. An officer seized a glass, and, hurrying to the mast-head, reported that the stranger was considered a heavy craft, although, as yet, nothing but his royals could be seen. As we were beating up to windward and the stranger was coming free towards us, the distance betwixt the two vessels rapidly decreased, so that in a short time the upper sails of the stranger could be distinctly seen from the deck. His topgallant-yards were now plainly visible from the cross-trees, and the officer aloft reported that the stranger was either a heavy merchantman or a frigate. This increased the excitement on deck, for we knew that there were no vessels of that grade in our navy, and if the approaching sail should prove to be a man-of-war and an Englishman, our chances of escape would be light, as he had the weather-gauge of us, and appeared, from the velocity with which he approached us, to be a fast sailer. The officers crowded on the quarterdeck, the crew thronged every favorable point for a look-out, and the ladies, gathering around Mr. St. Clair and myself, gazed out as eagerly as ourselves in the direction of the stranger. At length her top-sails began to lift.

“Ha!” said the captain, “he has an enormous swing—what think you of him, Mr. Massey?” he asked, shutting the glass violently, and handing it to his lieutenant.

The officer addressed took the telescope and gazed for a minute on the stranger.

“I know that craft,” he said energetically, “she is a heavy frigate,—the Ajax,—I served in her some eight years since. I know her by the peculiar lift of her top-sails.”

“Ah!” said the captain; “you are sure,” he continued, examining her through his glass again; “she does indeed seem a heavy craft and we have but one chance—we should surely fight her?”

“If you ask me,” said the lieutenant, “I say no!—why that craft can blow us out of the water in a couple of broadsides; she throws a weight of metal treble our own.”

“Then there is but one thing to do—we must wear, and take to our heels—a stern chase is proverbially a long one.”

During this conversation not a word had been spoken in our group; but I had noticed that when the lieutenant revealed the strength of the foe, the cheek of Annette for a moment grew pale. Her emotion however continued but a moment. And when our ship had been wore, and we were careering before the wind, her demeanor betrayed none of that nervousness which characterized her cousin.

“Can they overtake us Mr. Cavendish?” said her companion. “Oh! what a treacherous thing the sea is. Here we were returning only from Charleston to Boston, yet shipwrecked and almost lost,—and now pursued by an enemy and perhaps destined to be captured.”

“Fear not! sweet coz,” laughingly said Annette, “Mr. Cavendish would scarcely admit that any ship afloat could outsail THE ARROW, and you see what a start we have in the race. Besides, you heard Captain Smythe just now say, that, when night came, he hoped to be able to drop the enemy altogether. Are they pursuing us yet Mr. Cavendish?”

“Oh! yes, they have been throwing out their light sails for the last quarter of an hour—see there go some more of their kites.”

“But will not we also spread more canvass?”

I was saved the necessity of a reply by an order from the officer of the deck to spread our studding-sails, and duty called me away. I left the ladies in the charge of Mr. St. Clair, and hurried to my post. For the next half hour I was so occupied that I had little opportunity to think of Annette, and indeed the most of my time was spent below in superintending the work of the men. When I returned on deck the chase was progressing with vigor, and it was very evident that THE ARROW, though a fast sailer, was hard pressed. Every stitch of canvass that could be made to draw was spread, but the stranger astern had, notwithstanding, considerably increased on the horizon since I left the deck. The officers were beginning to exchange ominous looks, and the faces of our passengers wore an anxious expression. One or two of the older members of the crew were squinting suspiciously at the stranger. The captain however wore his usual open front, but a close observer might have noticed that my superior glanced every moment at the pursuer, and then ran his eye as if unconsciously up our canvass. At this moment the cry of a sail rang down from the mast-head, startling us as if we had heard a voice from the dead, for so intense had been the interest with which we had regarded our pursuer that not an eye gazed in any direction except astern. The captain looked quickly around the horizon, and hailing the look-out, shouted,


“On the starboard-bow.”

“What does he look like?” continued Captain Smythe to me, for I had taken the glass at once and was now far on my way to the cross-trees.

“He seems a craft about as heavy as our own.”

“How now?” asked the captain, when sufficient space had elapsed to allow the top-sails of the new visiter to be seen.

“She has the jaunty cut of a corvette!” I replied.

A short space of time—a delay of breathless interest—sufficed to betray the character of the ship ahead. She proved, as I had expected, a corvette. Nor were we long left in doubt as to her flag, for the red field of St. George shot up to her gaff, and a cannon ball ricochetting across the waves, plumped into the sea a few fathoms ahead of our bow. For a moment we looked at each other in dismay at this new danger. We saw that we were beset. A powerful foe was coming up with us hand over hand astern, and a craft fully our equal was heading us off. Escape seemed impossible. The ladies, who still kept the deck, turned pale and clung closer to their protector’s arm. The crew were gloomy. The officers looked perplexed. But the imperturbable calm of the captain suffered no diminution. He had already ordered the crew to their quarters, and the decks were now strewed with preparations for the strife.

“We will fight him,” he said; “we will cripple or sink him, and then keep on our way. But let not a shot be fired until I give the order. Steady, quartermaster, steady.”

By this time I had descended to the deck, ready to take my post at quarters. The ladies still kept the deck, but the captain’s eye happening to fall on them, the stern expression of his countenance gave way to one of a milder character, and, approaching them, he said,

“I am afraid, my dear Miss St. Clair, that this will soon be no place for you or your fair companion. Allow me to send you to a place of safety. Ah! here is Mr. Cavendish, he will conduct you below.”

“Oh! Mr. Cavendish,” said Isabel, with a tremulous voice, “is there any chance of escape?”

Annette did not speak, but she looked up into my face with an anxious expression, while the color went and came in her cheek. My answer was a confident assertion of victory, although, God knows, I scarcely dared to entertain the hope of such a result. It reassured my fair companions, however, and I thought that the eyes of Annette at least expressed the gratitude which did not find vent in words.

“We will not forget you in our prayers,” said Isabel, as I prepared to reascend to the deck, “farewell—may—may we meet again!” and she extended her hand.

“God bless you and our other defenders,” said Annette. She would have added more, but her voice lost its firmness. She could only extend her hand. I grasped it, pressed it betwixt both of mine, and then tore myself away. As I turned from them, I thought I heard a sob. I know that a tear-drop was on that delicate hand when I pressed it in my own.

When I reached the deck, I found Mr. St. Clair already at his post, for he had volunteered to aid in the approaching combat. Nor was that combat long delayed. We were now close on to the corvette, but yet not a shot had been fired from our batteries, although the enemy was beginning a rapid and furious cannonade, under which our brave tars chafed like chained lions. Many a tanned and sun-browned veteran glared fiercely on the foe, and even looked curiously and doubtingly on his officers, as the balls of the corvette came hustling rapidly and more rapidly towards us, and when at length a shot dismounted one of our carriages and laid four of our brave fellows dead on the deck, the excitement of the men became almost uncontrollable. At this instant, however, the corvette yawed, bore up, and ran off with the wind on his quarter. Quick as lightning Captain Smythe availed himself of the bravado.

“Lay her alongside, quartermaster,” he thundered.

“Ay, ay, sir,” answered the old water-rat, and during a few breathless moments of suspense we crowded silently after the corvette. That suspense, however, was of short duration. We were now on the quarter of the enemy. The captain paused no longer, but waving his sword, he shouted “FIRE,” and simultaneously our broadside was poured in, like a hurricane of fire, on the foe. Nor during ten minutes was there any intermission in our fire. The combat was terrific. The men jerked out their pieces like playthings, and we could soon hear over even the din of the conflict, the crashing of the enemy’s hull and the falling of his spars. The rapidity and certainty of our fire meanwhile seemed to have paralysed the foe, for his broadsides were delivered with little of the fury which we had been led to expect. His foremast at length went by the board. The silence of our crew was now first broken, and a deafening huzza rose up from them, shaking the very welkin with the uproar.

“Another broadside, my brave fellows,” said Captain Smythe, “and then lay aloft and crowd all sail—I think she’ll hardly pursue us.”

“Huzza, boys, pour it into her,” shouted a grim visaged captain of a gun, “give her a parting shake, huzza!”

Like a volcano in its might—like an earthquake reeling by—sped that fearful broadside on its errand. We did not pause to see what damage we had done, but while the ship yet quivered with the discharge the men sprang aloft, and before the smoke had rolled away from the decks our canvass was once more straining in the breeze and we were rapidly leaving our late enemy. When the prospect cleared up we could see her lying a hopeless wreck astern. The frigate which, during the conflict, had drawn close upon us, was now sending her shots like hail-stones over us, but when she came abreast of her consort she was forced to stop, as our late foe by this time had hung out a signal of distress. We could see that boats, laden with human beings, were putting off from the corvette to the frigate, which proved that our late antagonist was in a sinking condition. Before an hour she blew up with a tremendous explosion.

I was the first one to hurry below and relieve the suspense of Annette and her cousin by apprising them of our success. A few hours repaired the damage we had sustained, and before night-fall the frigate was out of sight astern. So ended our first conflict with our enemy.





(Continued from page 56.)

The artisan whom we left mounted on Lord Dudley’s charger was, much against his inclinations, swept onward by the crowd, till he found himself heading, like a single item of cavalry, upon the body of Somerset men now drawn up directly before him. He had no power to change his course or dismount from the conspicuous situation which placed him in full view of both parties, and which, under all the circumstances, was rather annoying to a man of his retiring and modest nature. Still he exerted himself to restrain the onward course of his charger with one hand, while the other was bent in and the fingers clenched together over the edge of his sleeve with a prudent regard for the diamond ring and the emeralds which had been so hastily bestowed there. All at once he gave a start that almost unclenched the grasp upon his sleeve and jerked the bridle with a vehemence which brought the red and foaming mouth of the spirited animal he bestrode down upon his chest with a violence that sent the foam flying like a storm of snowflakes over his black shoulders and mane. The proud and fretted creature gave an angry snort and recoiled madly under this rough treatment. With burning eyes and a fiercer toss of the head he recovered himself and leaped into the midst of a body of armed horsemen which that moment formed a line across the street, just above St. Margaret’s, and backed by an armed force, was slowly driving the mob inch by inch from the ground they had occupied.

The plunge was so sudden and furious that a slightly built but stern and aristocratic man, who rode in the centre of his party, was almost unhorsed by the shock, and a great deal of confusion was created among the horses and people thus forced back upon those eagerly pressing toward the church. The man, who had been so nearly flung from his saddle, fiercely curbed his plunging horse, and pressing his feet hard in the broad stirrups, regained his position, but with a pale face and eyes flashing fire at the rude assault which he believed to have been purposely made upon his person.

“What, ho! take yon caitiff in charge,” he shouted, pointing sternly with his drawn sword toward the artisan, “or cleave him to the earth a base leader of a rabble as he seems.”

Instantly the fiery and still restive charger was seized by the bit, a dozen hands were laid upon the pale and frightened being who crouched upon his back, and he was drawn face to face with Somerset, the Lord Protector of England.

There was something in the abject and insignificant figure of the artisan which made the stern anger levelled at him by the haughty man before whom he was forced almost ludicrous. This thought seemed to present itself to the Lord Protector, for his mouth relaxed into a contemptuous smile as he gazed upon his prisoner, and letting his sword drop as if it had been a riding whip, he gave a careless order that the man should be secured, and was about to move forward when his eye fell upon the rich housings of Lord Dudley’s charger. At first a look of surprise arose to his face, which gradually bent his brow into a heavy and portentous frown. Once more lifting his sword, he pointed toward the horse, demanding in a stern voice of the artisan, how he came there, and so mounted?

“May it please your highness,” faltered the artisan, resuming something of his natural audacity when he saw that there was a chance of extricating himself by craft rather than blows,—“May it please your highness, the horse belongs to my good Lord of Dudley whom I left but now among the rioters yonder. They lack a leader and cannot spare him yet, or he would vouch for my honesty and care which I have taken to bestow myself and the good horse into safe quarters without meddling hand or foot in this affray.”

“And how came Lord Dudley or his charger at St. Margaret’s?” said Somerset, frowning still more heavily, “answer the truth now—how came your lord here?”

The artisan seemed at a loss how to reply; but when the Protector grew impatient, he shook his head with a look of shrewd meaning, and said that his lord had ridden forth to seek a fair lady in the morning who had promised him a meeting somewhere in the neighborhood, but that being called upon by the mob, he had led the rioters for a time in their attack upon the workmen, and at last had joined them on foot, consigning the charger to his, the artisan’s care, and that was all he knew of the matter.

“Think ye this varlet speaks truth,” said Somerset, bending to a nobleman who rode at his left hand, “or does he make up this tale of the lady to screen the premeditated share his master has taken in this riot?”

“He has a lying face,” replied the person thus consulted, “the look of an unwashed dog, and but for the charger which speaks for itself, and the cry which arose but now from the heart of the mob, I should doubt.”

“Nay, it must be true, traitor as he looks,” exclaimed Somerset, abruptly interrupting the other, “how could I expect aught else from a Warwick? root and branch they are all alike, ambitious and full of treachery. Take this man in charge!” he called aloud to those about him, “and see that he find no means of escape. And now on, my good men, that we may face this young traitor in the midst of his rabble followers—a glorious band to be led on by a Warwick!” he added, tossing a scornful glance over the rude throng which was beginning to give way before the long pikes of his men.

The artisan, who had been allowed to sit freely on his horse while under examination, was again seized at the command of Somerset; but this time he refused to submit tamely to the hands laid upon him. In the struggle his fingers were torn from their hold on his sleeve, and the stolen jewels fell sparkling upon the long black mane of the charger. Before he could free his hands and snatch them up, they were observed and secured by one of the men to whom he had been consigned, who approached the Lord Protector, as he finished his scornful comment on the rioters, and laid them in his hand, informing him how they had been obtained.

Somerset glanced carelessly at the jewels, and was about to return them, saying,

“We will attend to it all anon; keep strict guard of the wretch and see that he does not escape.”

He had dropped part of the gems into the messenger’s hand again, when his eye fell upon the ring; instantly the color flashed up to his forehead, and he examined the stones with an intense interest, amounting almost to agitation, for they circled his own family crest, and not many hours before he had seen them on the hand of his youngest and favorite daughter. He cast a keen glance on the man who had brought the jewels to him, as if to ascertain if he had discovered the crest, and then quietly reaching forth his hand he took the emeralds, examined them closely, and forcing his horse up to the artisan, motioned that those around him should draw back. He was obeyed so far as the crowd would permit, and then drawing close to the prisoner, with a face almost as white and agitated as his own, he demanded in a low severe voice how he came in possession of the jewels?

“How did I come in possession? May it please your highness, as an honest man should. The ring was given me by a fair lady for good service rendered in bringing her and her sweet-heart together; and as for the green stones there, which may be of value and may not, there is no gold about them; and I have my doubts, for in these cases I have always found the lady most liberal of the party—for the emeralds—why my young master was generous as well as the lady—and well he might be, for I had much ado to bring them together, besides fighting through the crowd, and caring for the horse, and helping my lord to make a passage for his light-o-love.”

“Hound! speak the word again and I will cleave thee to the earth, if it be with my own sword, loth as I am to stain it so foully!” said Somerset in a voice of intense rage.

“I did but answer the question your highness put,” replied the artisan cringingly.

“Peace!” commanded the Protector. After a moment, he said with more calmness, but still in the low and stern voice of concentrated anger⁠—

“Know you the lady’s name who gave you this ring?”

“My lord called her Jane, or Lady Jane, which may be the true name and may not—such light-o’—I crave your highness’ pardon—such ladies sometimes have as many names as lovers—and this one may be Lady Jane to my lord, and Mistress Jane, or Mary, or⁠—”

“Enough,” interrupted the Protector—“and this ring was given by the—a lady to reward thee for bringing her to an interview with Lord Dudley. How happened it that thy services were required?”

“Well, as near as I can understand the matter,” replied the artisan, somewhat reassured by the low calm tone of his questioner, though there was something in the stern face that made his heart tremble, he knew not why, “the lady, whoever she be, was to have met my lord somewhere near the church yonder, but when he came to meet one person, behold a whole parish of hotheaded people had taken possession, so instead of a love passage he consoled himself by turning captain of the riot, and played the leader to a marvel, as your highness may have heard by the clamorous outcry with which he was cheered by the mob. I am but an humble man and content me with looking on in a broil, so as I bestowed myself to a safe corner, behold the fair lady of the ring had taken shelter there also, and at her entreaties, urged in good sooth by a host of tears and those sparklers almost as bright, she won me to give my lord an inkling of her whereabouts, so as much for the bright tears as the gems I fought my way through the mob and whispered a word in the eagle’s ears, which soon brought him from his war flight to the dove cot, whereupon he gave me charge of the horse here, and, taking the lady under his arm, went⁠—”

“Whither, sirrah, whither did he take her?” said the Lord Protector, in a voice that frightened the man, for it came through his clenched teeth scarcely louder than a whisper, and yet so distinct that it fell upon his ear sharply amid all the surrounding din.

“I lost sight of them in the crowd, for this strong-bitted brute was enough to manage without troubling myself with love matters. They were together, I had my reward, and that is the long and short of the matter,” replied the artisan, mingling truth and falsehood with no little address, considering the state of terror into which he had been thrown.

“And thou art ignorant where she is now?” inquired Somerset, still in a calm constrained voice.

“Even so, your highness. Lord Dudley has doubtless nestled his dove into some safe nook hereabouts, while he leads on the rioters near the church. I heard them shouting his name just as your lordly followers seized my mettlesome beast by the bit. So there is little fear that he will not be found all in good time.”

The Lord Protector turned away his head and wheeled his horse around without speaking a word, but his followers were struck by the fierce deep light that burned in his eyes and the extraordinary whiteness of his face. The artisan took this movement as a sign of his own liberation, and, glad to escape even with the loss of his plunder, he gathered up the bridle and was about to push his way from a presence that filled him with fear and trembling.

The Lord Protector’s quick eye caught the motion, and, as if all the passions of his nature broke forth in the command, he thundered out⁠—

“Seize that man and take good care that he neither speaks nor is spoken to. God of Heaven!” he added, suddenly bending forward with all the keen anguish of a father and a disgraced noble breaking over his pale features as they almost touched the saddle-bow—“Father of Heaven, that the honor of a brave house should lie at the mercy of a slippery knave’s tongue!”

These words, spoken in a low stifled voice, were lost amid the din of surrounding strife; but instantly that pale proud head was lifted again and turned almost fierce upon his followers. The naked sword flashed upward, and a shout, like that of a wounded eagle fierce in his death-struggle, broke upon his white lips and rang almost like a shriek upon the burthened air.

“On to the church—on, on through the mob—trample them to the earth till we stand face to face with the leader!”

Instantly the men with their long pikes made a rush upon the multitude. The horsemen plunged recklessly forward, crushing the unarmed people to the earth, and trampling the warm life from many a human heart beneath the hoofs of their chargers.

It was the cry and struggle which arose from this onset that reached the Lord Dudley in the dim and solemn quietude of St. Margaret’s church. It was this which made the Lady Jane spring wildly upon the altar where she had been extended so weak and helpless, put back the hair from her face and listen, white and breathless as a statue, for another sound of her father’s voice like the one shrill war-cry that had cut to her heart like a denunciation.

Lord Dudley hurried down the aisle again, for there was something in the wild terror of her look that made him forgetful of everything but her. As his foot was lifted upon the first step of the altar, the tumult increased around the church till its foundation seemed tottering beneath the levers of a thousand fiends, all fierce and clamorous for a fragment of the sacred pile. There was a sound of heavy weapons battering against the entrance. Shout rang upon shout—a terrible crash—the great arched window was broken in. A fragment of the stone casement fell upon the baptismal font, forcing it in twain and dashing the consecrated water about till the censers and velvet footcloths were deluged with it. A storm of painted glass filled the church—whirled and flashed in the burst of sunshine, thus rudely let in, and fell upon the white altar-stone, and the scarcely less white beings that stood upon it, like a shower of gems shattered and ground to powder in their fall. Then the door gave way, and those who had kept guard rushed in with uplifted hands, and faces filled with terrible indignation, beseeching Lord Dudley to arouse himself and come to their aid against the tyrant who even then was planting his foot upon the ashes of their dead.

It was no time for deliberation or delay; the foundation of the church shook beneath their feet, a body of armed men hot with anger and chafed by opposition thundered at the scarcely bolted entrance. Perhaps the brave blood which burned in Dudley’s veins, urged him on to the step which now seemed unavoidable. Still he would have died, like a lion in his lair, rather than become in any way the leader of a mob, but he could not see that bright and gentle being, so good and so beloved, perish by the violence of her own father. He snatched her from the altar where she stood, and bearing her to a corner of the church most distant from the entrance, forced her clinging arms from his neck, pressed his lips hurriedly to her forehead, and rushed toward the door, followed by the men who had hitherto guarded it. The effort proved a useless one. The doors were blocked up by a phalanx of parishioners, and he could not make himself known or force a passage out. The brave band was almost crushed between the walls of the church and the Lord Protector, who, with his horsemen, had driven them back, step by step, till they were wedged together, resolute but almost helpless from want of room.

“To the window—stand beneath that I may mount by your shoulders,” exclaimed Dudley to the men who surrounded him.

Instantly the group gathered in a compact knot beneath the shattered window. Lord Dudley sprang upon the sort of platform made by their shoulders, and thence, with a vigorous leap to the stone sill where he stood, exposed and unarmed before the people—his cloak swaying loosely back from his shoulder—his cap off and his fine hair falling in damp heavy curls over his pale forehead.

A joyful shout and a fierce cry burst from the multitude and mingled together as he appeared before them. A world of flashing eyes and working faces was uplifted to the window, and for a moment the strife raging about the church was relaxed, for men were astonished by his appearance there, almost in open rebellion, face to face with the Lord Protector.

“Bring that man to the earth dead,” shouted Somerset, pointing toward the young nobleman, “and then set fire to the building, to-morrow shall not see a single stone in its place.”

A shower of deadly missiles flew around the young noble, but he sprang unhurt into the midst of the throng, which made way for him to pass till he stood front to front with the man who had just commanded his death. Somerset turned deadly pale, and, clenching his teeth with intense rage, lifted his sword with both hands, as if to cleave the youth through the head.

“My Lord Duke,” said Dudley, in a manner so calm that it arrested the proud nobleman’s hand, though his weapon was still kept uplifted, “I do beseech your grace draw the soldiers away; the parishioners are furious, and I am convinced will defend the church till you trample an entrance over their dead bodies.”

Dudley spoke respectfully and as a son to his parent, but with much agitation, for everything that he held dear seemed involved in the safety of the church. He knew that estrangement existed between the duke and his own noble father, but up to that moment had no idea that his personal favor with Somerset was in the least impaired. He had not believed that the command levelled against his life was indeed intended for him, and was therefore both astonished and perplexed when the duke bent his face bloodless and distorted with rage close down to his and exclaimed,

“Dastard and traitor! where is my child?”

“She is yonder within the church,” replied Dudley with prompt and manly courage. “Safe, thank God! as yet, but if this fierce assault continue she must perish in the ruin!”

“So shall it be,” replied the Protector fiercely. “Let her life and her shame be buried together.”

“Her shame, my Lord Duke,” said Dudley, laying his hand on Somerset’s bridle-rein, and meeting the stern glance fixed on him with one full of proud feeling. “Another lip than yours had not coupled such words with the pure name of Jane Seymour, and lived to utter another. But you are her father.”

“Ay, to my curse and bitter shame be it said, I am her father,” replied the duke, “and have power to punish both the victim and the tempter. Your conduct, base son of a baser father, shall be answered for before the king, but first stand by and see your weak victim meet the reward of her art.”

As he spoke, Somerset grasped the youth by his arm, and hurling him among his followers, shouted, “secure the traitor, or if he resist cut him down. Now on to the attack. A hundred pounds to the first man who forces an entrance to the church. Set fire to it if our strength be not enough, and let no one found there escape alive.”

The confusion which followed this order was instant and tremendous. The mob rushed fiercely upon the Protector in a fruitless effort to rescue Lord Dudley, while the soldiers sprang forward upon the building, and half a score were seen clambering like wild animals along the rough stone-work toward the windows, for still the mob kept possession of the door.

The group which we left within the church hearing this command, looked sternly into each other’s faces, and their leader—he who had admitted Dudley and his companion—was aided by his friends, and sprang within the shattered window just as the head of a clambering assailant was raised above the sill. The sexton, for the man held that office in the church, planted one foot upon the soldier’s fingers, when they clung with a fierce gripe upon the stone, and stooping down he secured the poor fellow by both shoulders, bent him back till his body was almost doubled, and then with hands and foot spurned him from the wall with a violence that hurled him many paces into the crowd. Another and another shared the fate of this unfortunate man, and there stood the sexton, unharmed, guarding the pass like a lion at bay, and tearing up fragments of stone to hurl at the soldiers whenever he was not compelled to act on the defensive; but his situation soon became very critical, for his station became the point of general attack, and Somerset’s voice was still heard fiercely ordering his men to fire the building; for a moment the shower of missiles hurled from the soldiers beat him down, and he was forced to spring into the church among his companions again for shelter. The poor young lady heard the savage command of her parent, and, rushing to the men, frantically besought them to inform the Duke of Somerset his child was in the building, and that, she was certain, would save it from destruction. There was something in the helplessness and touching beauty of that young creature as she stood before them, wringing her hands, and with tears streaming down her pale cheek, that touched the men with compassion, or she might have perished by their hands when her connection with their oppressor was made known. They looked in each other’s faces and a few rapid words passed between them. The sexton sprang once more upon the window, the rest turned upon the terrified lady and she was lifted from hand to hand, till at last they placed her by his side, trembling and almost senseless.

“Behold,” cried the sexton, lifting the poor girl up before the multitude and flinging back the hair from her pale and affrighted features, that her father might recognise them, and feel to his heart, all the indignity and peril of her position. “Behold, I say, lift but another pike, hurl a stone but the size of a hazelnut against these walls, and this proud lady shall share them all side by side with the humble sexton. My Lord of Somerset,” he shouted, grasping the lady firm with one arm, as if about to hurl her from the window, “Draw off your soldiers, leave these old walls, where we may worship our God in peace, or I will hurl your child into the midst of my brethren, that she may be trampled beneath their feet, even as you have crushed human limbs this day under your iron-shod war horses.”

These words were uttered by a rude man, but excitement had made him eloquent, and his voice rang over the crowd like the blast of a trumpet. When he ceased speaking, a silence almost appalling, after the previous wild sounds, fell upon the multitude. The horsemen stayed their swords, and the soldiers stood with their pikes half lifted, and Somerset himself sat like one stupified by the sudden apparition of his child; among all that rude throng there was no hand brutal enough to lift itself against that beautiful and trembling girl, but many a glistening eye turned from her to the stern but now agonized face of the duke, anxious that he should draw off his men. He was very pale, his lip quivered for a moment, and then his face hardened again like marble.

“Her blood be upon thy head, young man,” he exclaimed, bending his keen but troubled eyes on Lord Dudley, who stood vainly struggling with his captors; then lifting his voice he cried out,

“Tear down the church; neither wall of stone nor human being must stop our way!”

Still a profound silence lay upon the multitude. There was something horrible in the command that caused the coarsest heart to revolt at its cruelty. So still and motionless remained the throng that the faint shriek which died on the pale lips of that helpless girl as her father’s command fell upon her ear, was distinctly heard even by the stern parent himself. He lifted his eyes to the place where she was kneeling, her hands clasped, her face like marble, and those eyes, usually so tranquil and dove-like, glittering with terror and fixed imploringly upon his face.

He turned away his head and tried to repeat his command, but the words died in his throat, and he could not utter them. Again her locked hands were extended, and her heart seemed breaking with wonder at his cruelty as she uttered the single word, “Father!”

That little word as it came like a frightened dove over the listening mob, settled upon the heart of that stern man, and awoke feelings which would not be hushed again. It was the first word his child had ever spoken. Her rosy infancy was before him—the sweet smile, the soft tiny hands clasped triumphantly together, when those syllables were mastered, seemed playing with his heart-strings, the same heart which had thrilled with so sweet a pleasure to her infant greeting. It was a strange thing that these memories should fall upon him when his passions were all aroused and amid a concourse of rough contending people, but the heart is an instrument of many tones, and nature sometimes hangs forth its sweetest music in singular places, and amid scenes that we cannot comprehend. The Lord Protector bent his head, for tears were in his eyes, and, like many a being before and since, he was ashamed of his better nature. At last he conquered his agitation, and in a loud firm voice, commanded his soldiers to withdraw, and pledged his knightly word to the rioters that the church should receive no farther injury.

The people were generally satisfied with this assurance, and began to disperse when they saw the soldiery filing away toward the river. The duke dismissed his followers at the door of St. Margaret’s, saw Lord Dudley conducted from his presence under a strong guard, and then entered the church alone and much agitated. He found his child sitting upon a step of the altar, shivering as with cold, and with her face buried in her hands. She knew his step as he came slowly down the aisle, and lifted her dim eyes with a look of touching appeal to his face. It was stern, cold, and unforgiving. She arose timidly and moved with a wavering step to meet him. His face was still averted, but she reached up her arms, wound them about his neck, and swooned away with her cheek pressed to his, like a grieved child that had sobbed itself to sleep. Again the thoughts of her infancy came to his heart, and though it was wrung with a belief that she had been very blameable and had trifled with her proud name, she was senseless and could not know that he had caressed her as of old; so the stern man bent his head and wept, as he kissed her forehead.

(To be continued.)

A lady on horseback

My Bonnie Steed





My bonnie steed, with merry speed,

  Away we gallop free,

The first to drink the morning breeze,

   Or brush the dewy lea,

To hail the sun as o’er the hills

  His slanting ray he flings,

Or hear the matin of the lark

  That high in heaven rings.


My bonnie steed, o’er noontide mead

  We’ve swept in canter gay,

Through woodland path have boldly dash’d,

  Oh! what can check our way?

With hound and horn in jocund band

  And hearts that smile at fear,

And flowing rein and gay halloo,

  We’ve chased the flying deer.


My bonnie steed, with matchless speed

  At eve we dash away,

The zephyrs laughing round our path

  As children at their play,

And while in merry race and free,

  Away, away we fly,

The thick stars shining overhead

  Seem speeding swifter by.


My bonnie steed, my bonnie steed,

  True friend indeed thou art,

And none are brighter in mine eye

  Or dearer to my heart.

Let others smile on gallants gay

  I mock the lover’s creed,

Then onward press, away, away,

  My bonnie, bonnie steed.




[For the truly characteristic letter here published, and for the sketch which accompanies it, we are indebted to the obliging attention of Mr. John Tomlin of Tennessee.—With our own warm admiration of the writings and character of Dickens we can well understand and easily pardon the enthusiasm of our friend.]

In setting about that most difficult of all tasks, the sketching of the character of a living author, I feel that I cannot entirely keep clear of that weakness of the human mind, which praises the foibles of a friend and condemns the virtues of an enemy. There is no task more difficult of performance than the one I have imposed upon myself—no task but what can be more easily performed correctly, than the presentation to the world, in their nice distinctive shades, of living characters. To admire one is to praise him—and to cover all of his faults in the blindness of charity, is the weakness of our nature. It is scarcely possible then, Mr. Poe, for one like me, whose love is as strong as the faith of the martyr, when at the stake he expires, and whose hate is as deep as the depths of the sea, to shun the errors that almost every one has fallen into, who undertakes the task of sketching characters, life-like, of eminent living individuals.—To succeed partially is in my power, and in the power of almost every one, but to succeed wholly in introducing to the mind’s eye the character as it really is, of any individual, is scarcely possible. I will not say that I am peculiarly fitted to shine in this province, nor will I say that I am equal to the task that I have voluntarily imposed upon myself—but I will say that everything I say will be said from a conviction of belief.

Nay, do not start and turn pale, gentle reader, when I tell you that “Boz,” the inimitable “Boz,” is the subject of the present sketch. It is indeed true that Charles Dickens, the great English author—he who lives in London amid the exciting scenes and struggles of this world’s great Metropolis, is now about to be “talked off,” by a backwoodsman—but he will do it with an admiring reverence, and a most partial discretion. I will not speak of his published works, for they have been numbered among our household gods,—nor of the genius of the mind that has made them such. So long as there is mind to appreciate the high conceptions of mind, and a taste to admire the purity of thought, so long will Charles Dickens live “the noblest work of God.”

Charles Dickens as an author is too well known for me to say aught for or against him. It is only in his private capacity will I speak—only as Charles Dickens, the private man. Those social qualities of the nature so requisite in the making up of a good man, belong to him essentially and justly. He could not be Charles Dickens and have not those qualities of the soul which but few possess. Had all of us the true nobility of nature, all of us would be like him in spirit. There is in him a gentleness that commands our love as much as his genius has our admiration. The kindness of his nature is as great as his talent is pre-eminent. He could never be otherwise than “Boz” nor less than Charles Dickens—the being of all kindly feeling.

Dwelling in a little hamlet that is scarcely known beyond the sound of its church bell—and in a place that a few years ago, resounded only to the winds of the magic woods, or the moccasin tread of the Indian on the dry leaves,—I, a creature less known by far than my village, addressed a letter to “Boz,” and, in answer from him, received the following letter:

“1 Devonshire Terrace, York Gate.

Regent’s Park, London.

Tuesday, Twenty-third February, 1841.

Dear Sir:—You are quite right in feeling assured that I should answer the letter you have addressed to me. If you had entertained a presentiment that it would afford me sincere pleasure and delight to hear from a warm-hearted and admiring reader of my books in the back-woods of America, you would not have been far wrong.

I thank you cordially and heartily, both for your letter, and its kind and courteous terms. To think that I have awakened a fellow-feeling and sympathy with the creatures of many thoughtful hours among the vast solitudes in which you dwell, is a source of the purest delight and pride to me; and believe me that your expressions of affectionate remembrance and approval, sounding from the great forests on the banks of the Mississippi, sink deeper into my heart and gratify it more than all the honorary distinctions that all the courts in Europe could confer.

It is such things as these that make one hope one does not live in vain, and that are the highest reward of an author’s life. To be numbered among the household gods of one’s distant countrymen and associated with their homes and quiet pleasures—to be told that in each nook and corner of the world’s great mass there lives one well-wisher who holds communion with one in the spirit—is a worthy fame indeed, and one which I would not barter for a mine of wealth.

That I may be happy enough to cheer some of your leisure hours for a very long time to come, and to hold a place in your pleasant thoughts is the earnest wish of Boz.—And with all good wishes for yourself, and with a sincere reciprocation of all your kindly feeling, I am, Dear Sir,

Faithfully Yours,

Charles Dickens.

Mr. John Tomlin.

Can anything be more unique—or more sweetly beautiful than this letter? In it there is the poetry of feeling warmed into life by his sympathies with the “creatures of many thoughtful hours.” The brain has never yet loosened from her alembic fountain, and dropped upon an author’s page, thoughts more gem-like than those that we see sparkling like diamonds in his letter. Time in her ravages on the thoughts of the departed never harvested more sparkling things than what appears here from the granary of “Boz’s” original mind. Throughout there is a tenderness breathing its seer-like influence on every thought, until it seems to become hallowed like the spirit-dream of a lover’s hope.

The great difference between mankind is, that there is a feeling of kindness in the heart of some that is not possessed by others. To live in this world without conferring on others, benefits, is to live without a purpose. Of what value to our fellow creatures is mind, no matter how splendidly adorned, if it bestows no favors on them? The rich gems that lie buried in the caves of the oceans, are not in their secret caves intrinsically less valuable, but their value is really not known until they yield a profit.—Napoleon in his granite mind impressed no stamp of heaven on his countrymen. Hard as the winter of his Russian Service lived his life on the memory of man! Frozen tears as thickly as hail-drops from a thunder-shower fell from the eyes of his army to blight and wither the affections of civilized Europe. In his life he toiled for a name which he won at the sacrifice of the lives of millions, and perished a prisoner on a bleak and rocky isle of the ocean!—The splendid intellect of Byron, more dazzling than the sunbeam from a summer sky, by one untoward circumstance came to prey upon every good feeling of his heart—and what was he?—a misanthrope!—That ill-fated and persecuted star, P. B. Shelley, what could he not have been, had the genius of his high-toned feelings been directed aright?

With all of the genius of these three beings Charles Dickens has a good heart, with all of the philanthropy and patriotism of a Washington. How few indeed are the great men that have lived in any age or in any country whose social qualities of the heart have not been materially injured, and in many instances totally destroyed, by eccentric peculiarities. Sometimes these peculiarities are real, but mostly have they been assumed. To be as nature made us is hardly possible now with any being who has the least prospect of a brilliant career in the world of letters. When nature bestows her high endowments on the mind, the favored one immediately aspires to oddity, and often to insanity,—and makes a non-descript of his genius. To have the world’s affability, and those social qualities of the heart that give so much of happiness and pleasure to our fellow creatures, is not considered by a man of genius as a thing at all worthy of possession, or as gifts adding one lustre to the character. Instead of being as they are, forming epochs in time and being bright exemplars in the annals of chroniclers, which nature intended them to do, they by the most odd monstrosities endeavor to mar the genial warmth of the feeling by misanthropic actions, and destroy from their very foundation the most kindly emotions.

To see one of our fellow creatures on whom nature has with an unsparing hand bestowed her best gifts, doing deeds unworthy the high standing of his parentage, and disgracing the purity of his privileges, is to the noble in spirit the source of its most feverish excitement. With the best of minds, organized artistically, Byron fell into habits so monstrously bad, that among the virtuous his name became a term used in denoting disgrace. No excuse can be offered for the man who has disgraced his name—no charity is so blind as not to see the stain.

In the world’s history, as far back as the memory reaches into the past, we have seen the most brilliant minds, associated in connection with some of the worst qualities of the heart. There is occasionally some solitary instance, standing as some beautiful relief on the epoch of time, of beings whose splendid endowments of mind have not been more remarkable in their era of history for talent, than the generous breathings of the holy purity of heart have been for kindness. Such cases as these are few, and happen but seldom. In “Boz” these two qualities have met.





Thou beautiful misfortune! image fair

  Of flowers all ravished, yet their sweetness giving

To the rude hand that crushed them! thou dost wear

  Thy loveliness so meekly—thy love hiving

Within thy deepest heart-cells—that the air

  Pauses enamored, from thy breath contriving

To steal the perfume of the incensed fire

Which brightly burns within, yet burns without desire.


Thy life should be among the roses, where

  Beauty without its passion paints each leaf,

And gently-falling dews upon the air

  The light of loveliness exhale, and brief

And glorious, without toil, or pain, or care,

  They prideless bloom and wither without grief.

Thou shouldst not feel the slow and sure decay

Which frees ignoble spirits from their clay.


Farewell, thou bright embodiment of truth⁠—

  Too warm to worship, yet too pure to love!

Thou shalt survive in thy immortal youth

  Thy brief existence—while thy soul above

Rests in the bosom of its God. No ruth,

  Or anguish, or despair, or hopeless love,

Again shall rend thy gentle breast—but bliss

Embalm in that bright world the heart that broke in this.





It was a clear bright day in the early autumn when the royal tilt-yard, on the Isle de Paris, was prepared for a deadly conflict. The tilt-yard was a regular, oblong space, enclosed with stout squared palisades, and galleries for the accommodation of spectators, immediately in the vicinity of the royal residence of the Tournelles, a splendid gothic structure, adorned with all the rare and fanciful devices of that rich style of architecture—at a short distance thence arose the tall gray towers of Notre Dame, the bells of which were tolling minutely the dirge for a passing soul. From one of the windows of the palace a gallery had been constructed, hung with rich crimson tapestry, leading to a long range of seats, cushioned and decked with arras, and guarded by a strong party of gentlemen in the royal livery with partizans in their hands and sword and dagger at the belt—at either end of the list was a tent pitched, that at the right of the royal gallery a plain marquee of canvass of small size, which had apparently seen much service, and been used in real warfare. The curtain which formed the door of this was lowered, so that no part of the interior could be seen from without; but a particolored pennon was pitched into the ground beside it, and a shield suspended from the palisades, emblazoned with bearings, which all men knew to be those of Charles Baron de La-Hirè, a renowned soldier in the late Italian wars, and the challenger in the present conflict. The pavilion at the left, or lower end, was of a widely different kind—of the very largest sort then in use, completely framed of crimson cloth lined with white silk, festooned and fringed with gold, and all the curtains looped up to display a range of massive tables covered with snow-white damask, and loaded with two hundred covers of pure silver!—Vases of flowers and flasks of crystal were intermixed upon the board with tankards, flagons, and cups and urns of gold, embossed and jewelled—and behind every seat a page was placed, clad in the colors of the Count de Laguy—a silken curtain concealed the entrance of an inner tent, wherein the Count awaited the signal that should call him to the lists.—Strange and indecent as such an accompaniment would be deemed now-a-days to a solemn mortal conflict—it was then deemed neither singular nor monstrous—and in this gay pavilion Armand de Laguy, the challenged in the coming duel, had summoned all the nobles of the court to feast with him, after he should have slain, so confident was he of victory, his cousin and accuser, Charles Baron de La-Hirè. The entrances of the tilt-yard were guarded by a detachment of the King’s sergeants, sheathed cap-a-pié in steel, with shouldered arquebuses and matches ready lighted—the lists were strewn with saw-dust and hung completely with black serge, save where the royal gallery afforded a strange contrast by its rich decorations to the ghastly draperies of the battle-ground. One other object only remains to be noticed; it was a huge block of black-oak, dinted in many places as if by the edge of a sharp weapon and stained with plashes of dark gore. Beside this frightful emblem stood a tall muscular gray-headed man, dressed in a leathern frock and apron stained like the block with many a gout of blood, bare-headed and bare-armed, leaning upon a huge two-handed axe, with a blade of three feet in breadth. A little way aloof from these was placed a chair, wherein a monk was seated, a very aged man with a bald head and beard as white as snow, telling his beads in silence until his ministry should be required.

The space around the lists and all the seats were crowded well nigh to suffocation by thousands of anxious and attentive spectators; and many an eye was turned to watch the royal seats which were yet vacant, but which it was well known would be occupied before the trumpet should sound for the onset. The sun was now nearly at the meridian, and the expectation of the crowd was at its height, when the passing bell ceased ringing, and was immediately succeeded by the accustomed peal, announcing the hour of high noon. Within a moment or two, a bustle was observed among the gentlemen pensioners—then a page or two entered the royal seats, and, after looking about them for a moment, again retired. Another pause of profound expectation, and then a long loud blast of trumpets followed from the interior of the royal residence—nearer it rang, and nearer, till the loud symphonies filled every ear and thrilled to the core of every heart—and then the King, the dignified and noble Henry, entered with all his glittering court, princes and dukes, and peers and ladies of high birth and matchless beauty, and took their seats among the thundering acclamations of the people, to witness the dread scene that was about to follow, of wounds and blood and butchery. All were arrayed in the most gorgeous splendor—all except one, a girl of charms unrivalled, although she seemed plunged in the deepest agony of grief, by the seductive beauties of the gayest. Her bright redundant auburn hair was all dishevelled—her long dark eyelashes were pencilled in distinct relief against the marble pallor of her colorless cheek—her rich and rounded form was veiled, but not concealed, by a dress of the coarsest serge, black as the robes of night, and thereby contrasting more the exquisite fairness of her complexion. On her all eyes were fixed—some with disgust—some with contempt—others with pity, sympathy, and even admiration. That girl was Marguerite de Vaudreuil—betrothed to either combatant—the betrayed herself and the betrayer—rejected by the man whose memory, when she believed him dead, she had herself deserted—rejecting in her turn, and absolutely loathing him whose falsehood had betrayed her into the commission of a yet deeper treason. Marguerite de Vaudreuil, lately the admired of all beholders, now the prize of two kindred swordsmen, without an option save that between the bed of a man she hated, and the life-long seclusion of the convent.

The King was seated—the trumpets flourished once again, and at the signal the curtain was withdrawn from the tent door of the challenger, and Charles de La-Hirè stepped calmly out on the arena, followed by his godfather, De Jarnac, bearing two double-edged swords of great length and weight, and two broad-bladed poniards. Charles de La-Hirè was very pale and sallow, as if from ill health or from long confinement, but his step was firm and elastic, and his air perfectly unmoved and tranquil; a slight flush rose to his pale cheek as he was greeted by an enthusiastic cheer from the people, to whom his fame in the wars of Italy had much endeared him, but the flush was transient, and in a moment he was as pale and cold as before the shout which hailed his entrance. He was clad very plainly in a dark morone-colored pourpoint, with vest, trunk-hose, and nether stocks of black silk netting, displaying to admiration the outlines of his lithe and sinewy frame. De Jarnac, his godfather, on the contrary, was very foppishly attired with an abundance of fluttering tags and ruffles of rich lace, and feathers in his velvet cap. These two had scarcely stood a moment in the lists, before, from the opposite pavilion, De Laguy and the Duke de Nevers issued, the latter bearing, like De Jarnac, a pair of swords and daggers; it was observed, however, that the weapons of De Laguy were narrow three-cornered rapier blades and Italian stilettoes, and it was well understood that on the choice of the weapons depended much the result of the encounter—De Laguy being renowned above any gentleman in the French court for his skill in the science of defence, as practised by the Italian masters—while his antagonist was known to excel in strength and skill in the management of all downright soldierly weapons, in coolness, in decision, presence of mind, and calm self-sustained valor, rather than in slight and dexterity. Armand de Laguy was dressed sumptuously, in the same garb indeed which he had worn at the festival whereon the strife arose which now was on the point of being terminated—and forever!

A few moments were spent in deliberation between the godfathers of the combatants, and then it was proclaimed by De Jarnac, “that the wind and sun having been equally divided between the two swordsmen, their places were assigned—and that it remained only to decide upon the choice of the weapons!—that the choice should be regulated by a throw of the dice—and that with the weapons so chosen they should fight till one or other should be hors de combat—but that in case that either weapon should be bent or broken, the seconds should cry ‘hold,’ and recourse be had to the other swords—the use of the poniard to be optional, as it was to be used only for parrying, and not for striking—that either combatant striking a blow or thrusting after the utterance of the word ‘hold,’ or using the dagger to inflict a wound, should be dragged to the block and die the death of a felon.”

This proclamation made, dice were produced, and De Nevers winning the throw for Armand, the rapiers and stilettoes which he had selected were produced, examined carefully, and measured, and delivered to the kindred foemen.

It was a stern and fearful sight—for there was no bravery nor show in their attire, nor aught chivalrous in the way of battle. They had thrown off their coats and hats, and remained in their shirt sleeves and under garments only, with napkins bound about their brows, and their eyes fixed each on the other’s with intense and terrible malignity.

The signal was now given and the blades were crossed—and on the instant it was seen how fearful was the advantage which De Laguy had gained by the choice of weapons—for it was with the utmost difficulty that Charles de La-Hirè avoided the incessant longes of his enemy, who springing to and fro, stamping and writhing his body in every direction, never ceased for a moment with every trick of feint and pass and flourish to thrust at limb, face and body, easily parrying himself with the poniard, which he held in his left hand, the less skilful assaults of his enemy. Within five minutes the blood had been drawn in as many places, though the wounds were but superficial, from the sword-arm, the face and thigh of De La-Hirè, while he had not as yet pricked ever so lightly his formidable enemy—his quick eye, however, and firm active hand stood him in stead, and he contrived in every instance to turn the thrusts of Armand so far at least aside as to render them innocuous to life. As his blood, however, ebbed away, and as he knew that he must soon become weak from the loss of it, De Jarnac evidently grew uneasy, and many bets were offered that Armand would kill him without receiving so much as a scratch himself. And now Charles saw his peril, and determined on a fresh line of action—flinging away his dagger, he altered his position rapidly, so as to bring his left hand toward De Laguy, and made a motion with it, as if to grasp his sword-hilt—he was immediately rewarded by a longe, which drove clear through his left arm close to the elbow joint but just above it—De Jarnac turned on the instant deadly pale, for he thought all was over—but he erred widely, for De La-Hirè had calculated well his action and his time, and that which threatened to destroy him proved, as he meant it, his salvation—for as quick as light when he felt the wound he dropped his own rapier, and grasping Armand’s guard with his right hand, he snapped the blade short off in his own mangled flesh and bounded five feet backward, with the broken fragment still sticking in his arm.

“Hold!” shouted each godfather on the instant—and at the same time De La-Hirè exclaimed, “give us the other swords—give us the other swords, De Jarnac⁠—”

The exchange was made in a moment, the stilettoes and the broken weapons were gathered up, and the heavy horse-swords given to the combatants, who again faced each other with equal resolution, though now with altered fortunes. “Now De La-Hirè,” exclaimed De Jarnac, as he put the well poised blade into his friend’s hand—“you managed that right gallantly and well—now fight the quick fight, ere you shall faint from pain and bleeding!”—and it was instantly apparent that such was indeed his intention—his eye lightened, and he looked like an eagle about to pounce upon his foe, as he drew up his form to its utmost height and whirled the long new blade about his head as though it had been but a feather. Far less sublime and striking was the attitude and swordsmanship of De Laguy, though he too fought both gallantly and well. But at the fifth pass, feinting at his head, Charles fetched a long and sweeping blow at his right leg, and striking him below the ham, divided all the tendons with the back of the double-edged blade—then springing in before he fell, plunged his sword into his body, that the hilt knocked heavily at his breast bone and the point came out glittering between his shoulders—the blood flashed out from the deep wound, from nose, and ears, and mouth, as he fell prostrate, and Charles stood over him, leaning on his avenging weapon and gazing sadly into his stiffening features—“Fetch him a priest,” exclaimed De Nevers—“for by my halidome he will not live ten minutes.”

“If he live five,” cried the King rising from his seat—“if he live five, he will live long enough to die upon the block—for he lies there a felon and convicted traitor, and by my soul he shall die a felon’s doom—but bring him a priest quickly.”

The old monk ran across the lists, and raised the head of the dying man, and held the crucifix aloft before his glazing eyes, and called upon him to repent and to confess as he would have salvation.

Faint and half choked with blood he faltered forth the words—“I do—I do confess guilty—oh! double guilty!—pardon! oh God—Charles!—Marguerite!”—and as the words died on his quivering lips he sank down fainting with the excess of agony.

“Ho! there!—guards, headsman”—shouted Henry—“off with him—off with the villain to the block, before he die an honorable death by the sword of as good a knight as ever fought for glory!”

Then De La-Hirè knelt down beside the dying man, and took his hand in his own and raised it tenderly, while a faint gleam of consciousness kindled the pallid features—“May God as freely pardon thee as I do, oh my cousin!”—then turning to the King—“You have admitted, sire, that I have served you faithfully and well—never yet have I sought reward at your hand—let this now be my guerdon. Much have I suffered, even thus let me not feel that my King has increased my sufferings by consigning one of my blood to the headsman’s blow—pardon him, sire, as I do—who have the most cause of offence—pardon him, gracious King, as we will hope that a King higher yet shall pardon him and us, who be all sinners in the sight of his all-seeing eye!”

“Be it so,” answered Henry—“it never shall be said of me that a French King refused his bravest soldier’s first claim upon his justice—bear him to his pavilion!”

And they did bear him to his pavilion, decked as it was for revelry and feasting, and they laid him there ghastly and gashed and gory upon the festive board, and his blood streamed among the choice wines, and the scent of death chilled the rich fragrance of the flowers—an hour! and he was dead who had invited others to triumph over his cousin’s slaughter—an hour! and the court lackeys shamefully spoiled and plundered the repast which had been spread for nobles.

“And now,” continued Henry, taking the hand of Marguerite—“Here is the victor’s prize—wilt have him, Marguerite?—’fore heaven but he has won thee nobly!—wilt have her, De La-Hirè, methinks her tears and beauty may yet atone for fickleness produced by treasons such as his who now shall never more betray, nor lie, nor sin forever!⁠—”

“Sire,” replied De La-Hirè very firmly, “I pardon her, I love her yet!—but I wed not dishonor!”

“He is right,” said the pale girl—“he is right, ever right and noble—for what have such as I to do with wedlock? Fare thee well!—Charles—dear, honored Charles!—The mists of this world are clearing away from mine eyes, and I see now that I loved thee best—thee only! Fare thee well, noble one, forget the wretch who has so deeply wronged thee—forget me and be happy. For me I shall right soon be free!”

“Not so—not so,” replied King Henry, misunderstanding her meaning—“not so, for I have sworn it, and though I may pity thee, I may not be forsworn—to-morrow thou must to a convent, there to abide for ever!”

“And that will not be long,” answered the girl, a gleam of her old pride and impetuosity lighting up her fair features.

“By heaven, I say forever,” cried Henry, stamping his foot on the ground angrily.

“And I reply, not long!”

See the “False Ladye,” page 27.






“We could not pray together on the deep,

Which, like a floor of sapphire, round us lay,

Soft, solemn, holy!”


’Tis Sunday!—Far to the westward lie the regions of the Amazonians, and, in the east, the Caffre hunts the ostrich. From the south, the lonely island of Tristan d’Acunha looms high above the horizon. Although twenty-three miles of water intervene between us and the base of this extinct volcano, the spray of the long billows of the southern ocean rises in misty clouds above the perpendicular and rocky shores, shading the mountain with a pearly veil, widely different in color from the soft blue tint of distance.—Even from the mast-head, whither the desire of solitude has led me, the summits of three or four billows complete the range of vision; for, around the entire circuit of the earth, the eternal west winds sweep, with scarce a barrier to their action.

To those who are familiar with the Atlantic only—that comparatively diminutive expanse, which Humboldt has appropriately called “an arm of the sea,”—the extent of these mountain swells must appear almost incredible. It is not their height—for this is fixed within narrow limits by an immutable law—but their vast, unbroken magnitude, that awes the observer with the consciousness of infinite power. What are the proudest monuments of human strength and skill, dotting the surface of creation, when compared with these majestic waves, which are themselves but the ripple of a passing breeze?

Reclining in the main-top, above all living things except the wild sea bird—an antiquated volume on the Scandinavian mysteries in hand—I give myself up to solitary reflection.—Dark dreams of superstition!—and must the order and loveliness of this glorious world be terminated in one wild wreck—one chaos of hopeless ruin!—shall all the labors of creative goodness sink beneath the power of the unchained demon of destruction!

We move upon the hardened crust of a volcanic crater!—The solid pillars of the earth have given way once and again!—The stony relics of a former world forewarn proud man himself, that he too, with all his boastful race is hurrying to his doom!—All things have their cycles.

“This huge rotundity we tread grows old!”

What a pitiful guide is the unaided light of human reason, when it grapples with the mysteries of creation! The good and great have lived in every land, and all have striven to elevate the soul of man above the grovelling passions and desires that link him with the brutes—pointing his attention to the future, and instilling a belief in other powers, by whose high best our destiny is governed, and whose wise decrees will prove hereafter the reward of virtue and the scourge of vice.—Yet what have they accomplished!—Each forms a Deity, whose attributes are the reflection of the physical objects which surround him, or the echo of his own ill-regulated feelings!

In the bright regions of the East, where the unremitting ardor of the sun gives birth to an infinity of life, and the decaying plant or animal is scarce resolved into its elements, ere other forms start forth from its remains—there, the soul of man must wander from link to link in the great chain of Nature, till, purified by ages of distress, it merges into the very essence of the power supreme!—a power divided and engaged in an eternal contest with itself! a never-ceasing war between the principles of Good and Evil!

In those distant regions of the North, where winter rules three-quarters of the year, and the orb of day, with look askance, but half illuminates man’s dwelling and his labors—where verdure, for a few days, clothes the hills with transitory grace; but all that seeks support from vegetable aliment is endowed with fleetness like the reindeer, or migrates, in the icy season, to more genial climes with the wild duck and the pigeon;—in that gloomy circle, where the frozen earth scarce yields a foot in depth to all the warming influence of summer, and men, curtailed of half the sad resource spared even in the primeval curse, swept with their robber hordes the provinces of their more fortunate neighbors until the iron art of war barred up the avenues to these precious granaries;—in that inhospitable region where dire necessity inters the living infant with the departed mother, and resigns the aged and decrepit to starvation!—the Parent of Good is a warrior armed, compelled to struggle fruitlessly with Fate, until, with Thor’s dread hammer in his hand, he yields, and breathes his last beneath the arm of liberated Locke!

All! all contention!—Our very nature refuses credence in annihilation! Then⁠—

“When coldness wraps this suffering clay,

 Ah! whither flies the immortal mind!”

Is there no place of rest?—no truth in the visions which haunt us as the sun declines, and the rich hues of evening fade away—when the spirits of those we have loved “sit mournfully upon their clouds,” gazing, with a chastened melancholy which refines but cannot darken the calm bliss of Paradise, upon the ceaseless, bootless turmoil of their once cherished friends? Mythology presents us with no brighter future than the wild riot of the Hall of Odin, the lethean inanity of Hades, or the sensual and unmanly luxury of the Moslem Bowers of the Blest.

But hark! A manly voice, speaking of a loftier philosophy, rises upon the clear air from the very bowels of the vessel.

“And the earth,” it cries, “was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Slowly and in measured cadence poured forth, from the lips of one who felt the truths he uttered, the exposition of the order of creation and the high destinies of the creature. ’Tis a layman’s effort, clothed in language suited to the rude ideas of simple-minded men:—I am not of his faith,—and cannot crowd my thoughts within the narrow compass of our wooden walls:—aloft in air, my temple is the canopy of heaven!—my hymn—the wild tone of the ocean-wind with the low rushing of the billows!—the symphony of Nature!—yet, as the words of prayer ascend upon the gale, my own thoughts follow them.—I know them for the pure aspiration of the heart,—the breathing of a contrite spirit!—They are registered above!

All is still!—But, again, the harmony of many voices strikes the ear. A hymn of praise from the wide bosom of the southern ocean!—No hearer but the spirit to whose glory these sweet notes are tuned! The distance, and the deadening influence of the narrow hatches, render words inaudible; but, such as this, their tenor might have been.

  Being of almighty power,

On the wide and stormy sea,

  In thy own appointed hour,

Here, we bow our hearts to thee!


  What is man, that he should dare

Ask of Thee a passing thought?

  Ruling ocean, earth, and air,

Thou art all—and he is naught!


  Like a mote upon the earth!

(Earth—a mote in space to Thee!)

  What avails his death or birth!

What, his hopes or destiny?


  Yet, a spirit Thou hast given

To thy creature of the clay,

  Ranging free from Earth to Heaven,

Heir of an eternal day!


  In thy image Thou hast made,

Not the body, but the mind!

  That shall lie defiled—decayed!

This to loftier fate consigned,


  Shall, above the tempest roar,

Viewless, gaze on all below,

  And, its mundane warfare o’er,

Calmly watch Time’s ceaseless flow!


  Aid us! Father! with thy power!

(Without Thee our strength is naught!)

  Thus, in Nature’s dreaded hour,

We may own the peaceful thought,


  That, our blinded efforts here,

May not mar Thy great design,

  And each humble work appear

Worthy of a child of Thine!

The voices have ceased.—The service, in which all the company except the helmsman and myself had joined, is ended; and, one by one, the officers of the vessel, followed by the watch on duty, in their well blanched trousers and bright blue jackets, appear on deck; their sobriety of mien, and cheerfulness of countenance speaking volumes in favor of the benign influence of Christianity, even when acting upon what are erroneously considered by many, the worst materials.





Thou look’d’st on me all yesternight,

Thine eyes were blue, thy hair was bright

As when we murmured our trothplight

Beneath the thick stars, Rosaline!

Thy hair was braided on thy head

As on the day we two were wed,

Mine eyes scarce knew if thou wert dead⁠—

But my shrunk heart knew, Rosaline!


The deathwatch tickt behind the wall,

The blackness rustled like a pall,

The moaning wind did rise and fall

Among the bleak pines, Rosaline!

My heart beat thickly in mine ears:

The lids may shut out fleshly fears,

But still the spirit sees and hears,

Its eyes are lidless, Rosaline!


A wildness rushing suddenly,

A knowing some ill shape is nigh,

A wish for death, a fear to die,⁠—

Is not this vengeance, Rosaline!

A loneliness that is not lone,

A love quite withered up and gone,

A strong soul trampled from its throne,⁠—

What would’st thou further, Rosaline!


’Tis lone such moonless nights as these,

Strange sounds are out upon the breeze,

And the leaves shiver in the trees,

And then thou comest, Rosaline!

I seem to hear the mourners go,

With long black garments trailing slow,

And plumes anodding to and fro,

As once I heard them, Rosaline!


Thy shroud it is of snowy white,

And, in the middle of the night,

Thou standest moveless and upright,

Gazing upon me, Rosaline!

There is no sorrow in thine eyes,

But evermore that meek surprise,⁠—

Oh, God! her gentle spirit tries

To deem me guiltless, Rosaline!


Above thy grave the robin sings,

And swarms of bright and happy things

Flit all about with sunlit wings,⁠—

But I am cheerless, Rosaline!

The violets on the hillock toss,

The gravestone is o’ergrown with moss,

For Nature feels not any loss,⁠—

But I am cheerless, Rosaline!


Ah! why wert thou so lowly bred?

Why was my pride galled on to wed

Her who brought lands and gold instead

Of thy heart’s treasure, Rosaline!

Why did I fear to let thee stay

To look on me and pass away

Forgivingly, as in its May,

A broken flower, Rosaline!


I thought not, when my dagger strook,

Of thy blue eyes; I could not brook

The past all pleading in one look

Of utter sorrow, Rosaline!

I did not know when thou wert dead:

A blackbird whistling overhead

Thrilled through my brain; I would have fled

But dared not leave thee, Rosaline!


A low, low moan, a light twig stirred

By the upspringing of a bird,

A drip of blood,—were all I heard⁠—

Then deathly stillness, Rosaline!

The sun rolled down, and very soon,

Like a great fire, the awful moon

Rose, stained with blood, and then a swoon

Crept chilly o’er me, Rosaline!


The stars came out; and, one by one,

Each angel from his silver throne

Looked down and saw what I had done:

I dared not hide me, Rosaline!

I crouched; I feared thy corpse would cry

Against me to God’s quiet sky,

I thought I saw the blue lips try

To utter something, Rosaline!


I waited with a maddened grin

To hear that voice all icy thin

Slide forth and tell my deadly sin

To hell and Heaven, Rosaline!

But no voice came, and then it seemed

That if the very corpse had screamed

The sound like sunshine glad had streamed

Through that dark stillness, Rosaline!


Dreams of old quiet glimmered by,

And faces loved in infancy

Came and looked on me mournfully,

Till my heart melted, Rosaline!

I saw my mother’s dying bed,

I heard her bless me, and I shed

Cool tears—but lo! the ghastly dead

Stared me to madness, Rosaline!


And then amid the silent night

I screamed with horrible delight,

And in my brain an angel light

Did seem to crackle, Rosaline!

It is my curse! sweet mem’ries fall

From me like snow—and only all

Of that one night, like cold worms crawl

My doomed heart over, Rosaline!


Thine eyes are shut: they nevermore

Will leap thy gentle words before

To tell the secret o’er and o’er

Thou could’st not smother, Rosaline!

Thine eyes are shut: they will not shine

With happy tears, or, through the vine

That hid thy casement, beam on mine

Sunfull with gladness, Rosaline!


Thy voice I nevermore shall hear,

Which in old times did seem so dear,

That, ere it trembled in mine ear,

My quick heart heard it, Rosaline!

Would I might die! I were as well,

Ay, better, at my home in Hell,

To set for ay a burning spell

’Twixt me and memory, Rosaline!


Why wilt thou haunt me with thine eyes,

Wherein such blessed memories,

Such pitying forgiveness lies,

Than hate more bitter, Rosaline!

Woe’s me! I know that love so high

As thine, true soul, could never die,

And with mean clay in church-yard lie⁠—

Would God it were so, Rosaline!


If some small savor creep into my rhyme

Of the old poets, if some words I use,

Neglected long, which have the lusty thews

Of that gold-haired and earnest hearted time,

Whose loving joy and sorrow all sublime

Have given our tongue its starry eminence.⁠—

It is not pride, God knows, but reverence

Which hath grown in me since my childhood’s prime;

Wherein I feel that my poor lyre is strung

With soul-strings like to theirs, and that I have

No right to muse their holy graves among,

If I can be a custom-fettered slave,

And, in mine own true spirit, am not brave

To speak what rusheth upward to my tongue.


                             J. R. L.





In the last edition of Mrs. Norton’s poems, the unrivalled burine of Lewis has attempted to trace the form and lineaments of the authoress—one of the most perfect specimens of female loveliness that ever furnished an idea to the painter or inspiration to the poet. Affliction, which has graven such deep lines into her heart, has not yet effaced the beauty of her countenance, or impaired the perfection of her form. We have, in the engraving before us, the full maturity of that gorgeous beauty, which, in its infancy, commanded the unqualified admiration of the most severe and fastidious critics, that ever sat in the Court of Fashion. We have still spared to us, that full and voluptuous bust—the arm that statuaries delight to chisel, and a neck that would have crazed Canova, while it rivals in whiteness, the purest Carrara of his studio. But it is the more minute and delicate lines of her beauty that have been swept by the touch of grief. Her countenance is sad and subdued; her full and flexible lip is no longer played upon by ever-varying smiles, and her eye, which once beamed with every expression, from the twinkle of arch simplicity to the flash of an insulted Jewess, has now settled into the melting, mournful, appealing gaze of heart-breaking sorrow.

When we consider that a form so peerless, is the dwelling place of a most brilliant and gifted spirit—that a countenance so winning and expressive is but the reflex of a pure and exalted soul,—that her eye is moistened by the swelling fountain beneath—that lips whose mute beauty is so persuasive, are the oracles of “thoughts that breathe and of words that burn,” we can no longer discredit the miracles, which, in all ages, female loveliness has wrought, the devotion and the sacrifices it has wrung from the stern and selfish spirit of man. We are at no loss for the reason, why the Greeks of old raised altars to incarnate Beauty, why heroes bent their knees at her feet, and purchased trophies with their blood that they might suspend them in her temples.

If such endowments melt us into fealty, when, like the distant stars, they shine above our reach and our aspirations,—if such a being commands our respectful yet ardent love, when moving in a sphere we never can approach, exacting homage from a thousand hearts, and raised as much above our sympathy as our position—what strength of affection, what full, free, unreserved devotion is enlisted in her service, when she is brought near to us by sorrow, when the sympathy of the humblest may be a balm to the wounded spirit of the highest, when innocence is assailed in her form, her character defamed, her honor maligned, her “life’s life lied away!”

It must be known to most of our readers, that, incited by the political enemies of Lord Melbourne, the husband of Mrs. Norton commenced legal proceedings against that nobleman, alleging at the same time, the infidelity of his own wife. No means, which personal hatred or political bigotry could employ, were left untried, to sustain the accusation, and the fate of this unfortunate lady became involved with the triumph or the overthrow of Cabinets. All the arts, which were so successfully used to blacken the memory and hurry to an early grave the illustrious consort of George the Fourth, were revived against Mrs. Norton. Servants were bribed, spies were employed, key-holes searched, perjury encouraged, letters forged, surmises whispered about as facts, and doubts magnified into certainties, that the lady might be convicted and the minister crushed. The whole life, conduct, and conversation of the victim were subjected to the most searching scrutiny, her letters and private papers, her diary even—the communings of an imaginative woman with her own soul—were placed in the hands of dexterous and sophistical attorneys, that they might be tortured into proofs of guilt. Acts which the most rigid duenna would not have named—indiscretions, the out-gushings of a heart conscious of its own purity, the confiding conduct of innocence, and the licentiousness of her grandfather, were the strong proofs of adultery which counsel had the impudence to present to an English Jury. On the testimony of bribed witnesses, perjured coachmen and lubricious chambermaids, they sought to impeach the unsullied honor of a British matron; to fix stain on the pure lawn of a seraph by evidence which would not have sullied the flaunting robes of a Cyprian. Need it be said that the result of such an infamous attempt was the complete and triumphant vindication of the accused? But the acquittal of a Jury can be no reparation to a woman whose honor has been publicly assailed. Female virtue must not only be above reproach, but beyond suspicion, and the breath of calumny is frequently as fatal to it as the decrees of truth. The verdict of “not guilty,” is no bar to the malignity of scandal-loving human nature; there remain the cavil, the sneer, the “damning doubt,” the insolent jest. She is separated by an impassable gulf from her only lawful protector; she can fly to no other without shame; she is placed in the most ambiguous position in society—that of an unmarried wife; fettered by all the restraints, watched with all the jealousy, but entitled to none of the privileges of the conjugal tie. And, in addition to all this, she becomes a bereaved mother; for the “righteous law entrusts the children to the exclusive guardianship of the father.” Such is the position which a combination of most untoward circumstances has forced upon a lady who has every claim upon the protection, the respect, the admiration and the love of mankind.

We have dwelt thus long upon the domestic infelicity of Mrs. Norton, for the purpose of illustrating the influence which it has had in modifying her genius, and accounting for the undercurrent of deep melancholy which is discernible in many of her pieces, and for the outbreaks of passionate sympathy with the peculiar sorrows and sufferings of her own sex, which distinguish all of her more recent productions. Not alone, however, is Mrs. Norton in her misfortunes. She is but one of a large sisterhood, who, finding the waters poisoned that rill from “affection’s springs,” have sought to relieve their thirst from the “charmed cup” of Fame, who, in the deep and bitter fountains of unrequited love, in the gulfs of their own woe, have gathered pearls to deck the brow of female genius. The mournful song of Hemans, of Tighe and of Landon, had scarcely died away, before the lips of a fourth were touched with live coals from the same furnace of affliction. Indeed, domestic infelicity is so often connected with the developement of the poetical faculty in woman, is so frequently the cause which first awakens those deep and vivid emotions which are the essence of poetry, is so universally the concomitant and the burthen of female song, that the relation between the two is well worthy of philosophic investigation.

It seems to us that the effect is a very manifest result of the cause. The female mind is distinguished from that of the sterner sex, by its more delicate organization, by its keener sensibility, by its stronger and more sensitive affections; by its inferiority in mere strength of intellect, clearness of understanding, and range of observation. Her vision, therefore, though nicer, more accurate and susceptible, within its own range, takes in but a very small portion of that poetic realm which stretches from “heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven.” She is consequently more entirely introversive than man, and draws whatever she communicates more from within than from without. She does not derive her inspiration, she does not form her genius, from a wide and accurate survey of human passions. The emotions which gave birth to such creations as Satan, Prometheus, Shylock, Manfred; the frightful visions which glare from the lurid page of Dante’s Inferno; the wide range of incident, description and passion which distinguish the poetry of Scott and Southey—it would be unnatural and unreasonable to expect from the delicate and peace-loving nature of woman. Her heart could never “bide the beatings” of such storms. She can, at the most, but love ardently, hope lastingly, and endure faithfully; and when she sings she can be but the oracle of her own heart. When her hopes are baffled, when her household gods are scattered, when despair takes up its abode within her breast these emotions become vocal, and she sings of yearning love, of deathless affections, of unshaken constancy, of patient endurance, of self-sacrificing devotion. As by the law of her nature, so by her position in society, the cultivation of her affections must be by far the most prominent object of her life, as well as her most reliable source for enjoyment.

In man’s life love is but an episode; in woman’s it is the entire action of the piece. With him it is but one act in the drama, with her it is the beginning, middle, and end. Man’s warfare with the world is like the battle array of the Romans—they had their first, second, and third rank. If the first was defeated it fell back into the intervals of the second, and both together renewed the attack; if vanquished again they were received into the wider intervals of the third, and the whole mass united made a more impetuous onset. Thus with man, if unsuccessful in Love he rallies on Ambition; if again defeated, he falls back with accumulated energy upon Avarice—the peculiar passion of old age. Not so with woman; upon her success as a wife and a mother, her whole happiness is risked. In her encounter with the world she has no passion in reserve; she concentrates her whole force into one line and trusts herself and her fortune upon the success of a single charge. If unfortunate in this venture, she has no place for retreat except the recesses of her own heart. Can we wonder, then, that disappointment in what she values the most, the utter blight of her hopes, affections driven back upon her heart, and trust betrayed, should excite those strong and fervent emotions which will not “down” at mortal bidding, but express themselves in song? or, that the wing of her spirit while brooding over the ruin of her peace, should gather strength for poetic flight?

We do not know where we could have found a more complete illustration of these views than in the history of Mrs. Norton. The blow which blighted the fair promise of her spring, found her a poetess of some celebrity. She had given to the world many pieces, imbued with the warm sensibility, the pure, ardent, and devoted love of woman; but nothing which in sincerity, strength, fervor and truthfulness of passion, can compare with the “Dream”—gushing as it does from the heart of the betrayed wife and abandoned mother. We had intended to speak at some length of the characteristics of Mrs. Norton’s genius, but we believe that the same end will be accomplished more to the edification of our readers, by giving a short analysis of this beautiful poem.

The story of the piece, is brief and simple, and was undoubtedly suggested to her mind by the association of contrast. We are presented with a widowed mother watching

                    “her slumbering child,

On whose young face the sixteenth summer smiled.”

And we have the following exquisite family piece presented—“O matre pulchrâ filia pulchrior.

“So like they seem’d in form and lineament,

You might have deem’d her face its shadow gave

To the clear mirror of a fountain’s wave;

Only in this they differ’d; that, while one

Was warm and radiant as the summer sun,

The other’s smile had more a moonlight play,

For many tears had wept its glow away;

Yet was she fair; of loveliness so true,

That time which faded, never could subdue;

And though the sleeper, like a half blown rose,

Show’d bright as angels in her soft repose,

Though bluer veins ran through each snowy lid,

Curtaining sweet eyes by long dark lashes hid⁠—

Eyes that as yet had never learnt to weep,

But woke up smiling like a child from sleep;⁠—

Though fainter lines were pencill’d on the brow,

Which cast soft shadow on the orbs below;

Though deeper color flush’d her youthful cheek,

In its smooth curve more joyous and less meek,

And fuller seem’d the small and crimson mouth,

With teeth like those that glitter in the south,⁠—

She had but youth’s superior brightness, such

As the skill’d painter gives with flattering touch,

When he would picture every lingering grace,

Which once shone brighter in some copied face;

And it was compliment when’er she smiled

To say, ‘Thou’rt like thy mother, my fair child’.”

Over such a child the mother hangs with devoted fondness, with sweet recollections of her infancy, and

            “of the change of time and tide

Since Heaven first sent the blessing by her side,”

and with mournful anticipations, of what would befall the fledged bird, when it should grow impatient of the nest. The child at length awakes⁠—

            “And when her shadowy gaze

Had lost the dazzled look of wild amaze,”

she relates her dream to the mother.

“Methought, oh! gentle mother, by thy side

I dwelt no more as now, but through a wide

And sweet world wander’d, nor even then alone;

For ever in that dream’s soft light stood one,⁠—

I know not who,—yet most familiar seem’d

The fond companionship of which I dream’d!

A Brother’s love is but a name to me;

A Father’s brighten’d not my infancy,

To me in childhood’s years no stranger’s face

Took from long habit friendship’s holy grace;

My life hath still been lone, and needed not,

Heaven knows, more perfect love than was my lot

In thy dear heart; how dream’d I then, sweet Mother,

Of any love but thine, who knew no other?”

Dear little innocence! you have much to learn. Thy “shadow and herself” wander together by the “blue and boundless sea,” the shore is covered with flowers and “tangled underwood” and “sunny fern.” The ocean, “the floating nautilus,” the “pink-lipped” shells⁠—

                “And many color’d weeds

And long bulbous things like jasper beads,”

and ships with “swelling sails unfurled,” dance before her in this delightful vision until⁠—

“The deep spirit of the wind awoke,

  Ruffling in wrath each glassy verdant mound,

While onward roll’d the army of huge waves,

  Until the foremost with exulting roar,

Rose proudly crested o’er his brother slaves,

  And dashed triumphant to the groaning shore.”

The ocean finally passes from her sleeping vision and the winged travellers fly into a different scene⁠—

“We look on England’s woodland fresh and green,”

and a beautiful picture is presented of the rural scenery of Great Britain, until the scene changes again to some romantic resting-place of the dead, to some Père la Chaise, or Laurel Hill, or Mount Auburn, to a⁠—


  Where yew and cypress seemed to wave

O’er countless tombs, so beautiful, that death

  Seemed here to make a garden of the grave.”

And as the fair one wanders over the “mighty dead,” over “warriors,” and “sons of song” and orators⁠—

        “whose all persuading tongue

Had moved the nations with resistless sway,”

and “pale sons of science”⁠—

“He who wandered with me in my dream

  Told me their histories as we onward went,

Till the grave shone with such a hallowed beam,

  Such pleasure with their memory seem’d blent

That, when we looked to heaven, our upward eyes

  With no funereal sadness mock’d the skies.”

We are ourselves getting rapidly to envy that “fellow” who is “wandering with her.” In our opinion she will soon be able to answer her own naïve question about love. Her companion leads her, with admirable discernment, as we think, into a glorious “old library.” What better place could he have selected to impress the heart of an imaginative and appreciating “little love.” If the cemetery and those “histories” did not explain to her the novel psychological emotion about which she consulted her mother, what occurs in the library certainly will. For see how the youth plays with the susceptibilities of a girl of “sixteen”⁠—

“We sate together: his most noble head

  Bent o’er the storied tome of other days,

And still he commented on all we read,

  And taught me what to love and what to praise.

Then Spencer made the summer day seem brief,

  Or Milton sounded with a loftier song,

Then Cowper charmed, with lays of gentle grief,

  Or rough old Dryden roll’d the hour along.

Or, in his varied beauty dearer still,

  Sweet Shakspeare changed the world around, at will;

And we forgot the sunshine of that room

To sit with Jacques in the forest gloom;

To look abroad with Juliet’s anxious eye

For her gay lover ’neath the moonlight sky;

Stand with Macbeth upon the haunted heath,

Or weep for gentle Desdemona’s death;

Watch on bright Cydnus’ wave, the glittering sheen,

And silken sails of Egypt’s wanton Queen;

Or roam with Ariel through that island strange,

Where spirits and not men were wont to range,

Still struggling on through brake and bush and hollow,

Hearing the sweet voice calling ‘Follow! follow!’


Nor were there wanting lays of other lands,

For these were all familiar in his hands:

And Dante’s dream of horror work’d its spell,⁠—

And Petrarch’s sadness on our bosoms fell.⁠—

And prison’d Tasso’s—he, the coldly loved,

The madly-loving! he, so deeply proved

By many a year of darkness, like the grave,

For her who dared not plead, or would not save,

For her who thought the poet’s suit brought shame,

Whose passion hath immortalized her name!

And Egmont, with his noble heart betrayed,⁠—

And Carlo’s haunted by a murder’d shade,⁠—

And Faust’s strange legend, sweet and wondrous wild,

Stole many a tear;—Creation’s loveliest child!

Guileless, ensnared, and tempted Margaret,

‘Who could peruse thy fate with eyes unwet?’ ”

If such a quantity of poetry and such poetry—Spencer, Milton, Dryden, Cowper, Shakspeare, Dante, Tasso and Göethe did not enlighten the “young innocent,” respecting the emotions with which she regarded the “fond companion of her dreams,” we do not know to whom to commend her for instruction. But we must hurry on with the story; the pair wander over Italy, and a picture is presented, of mountain and vale, of orange and myrtle groves, of grottoes, fountains, palaces, paintings, and statues that would “create a soul” under the ribs of a utilitarian. We were inclined to think that he of “the most noble brow,” entrapped the young affections of the dreamer in the “old library,” but we do not believe that she breathed the delicious confession into his ear until they reached the sunny clime of Italy. It was the unrivalled music of that land which unsealed her lips.

“We sate and listened to some measure soft

From many instruments; or faint and lone

(Touch’d by his gentle hand or by my own)

The little lute its chorded notes would send,

Tender and clear; and with our voices blend

Cadence so true, that when the breeze swept by

One mingled echo floated on its sigh!

And still as day by day we saw depart,

I was the living idol of his heart:

How to make joy a portion of the air

That breathed around me seemed his only care.

For me the harp was strung, the page was turned;

For me the morning rose, the sunset burn’d;

For me the Spring put on her verdant suit;

For me the Summer flowers, the Autumn fruit;

The very world seemed mine, so mighty strove

For my contentment that enduring love.

But the slumbers of the dear girl are at length broken, she discovers that it is but a dream, and thus repines over the contrast.

“Is all that radiance past—gone by for ever⁠—

  And must there in its stead for ever be

The gray, sad sky, the cold and clouded river,

  And dismal dwelling by the wintry sea?

Ere half a summer altering day by day,

In fickle brightness, here, hath passed away!

And was that form (whose love might well sustain)

Naught but a vapor of the dreaming brain?

Would I had slept forever.”

The “mournful mother” now speaks. And how sweetly come from her lips the lessons of piety and resignation. She gently rebukes her daughter, contrasts the world which fancy paints with the stern realities of existence, and distils into the opening mind of the child the wisdom which her own sad experience had taught.

“Upbraid not Heaven, whose wisdom thus would rule

A world whose changes are the soul’s best school:

All dream like thee and ’tis for mercy’s sake

That those who dream the wildest soonest wake;

All deem Perfection’s system would be found

In giving earthly sense no stint or bound;

All look for happiness beneath the sun,

And each expects what God hath given to none.”

It is in this part of the argument that we discover the fervor, strength, and pathos that the lessons of experience impart. It is here that Mrs. Norton teaches in song what she has herself learnt in suffering. If the following is not poetry it is something that moistens the eye very much like it.

“Nor ev’n does love whose fresh and radiant beam

Gave added brightness to thy wandering dream,

Preserve from bitter touch of ills unknown,

But rather brings strange sorrows of its own.

Various the ways in which our souls are tried;

Love often fails where most our faith relied.

Some wayward heart may win, without a thought,

That which thine own by sacrifice had bought;

May carelessly aside the treasure cast

And yet be madly worshipped to the last;

Whilst thou forsaken, grieving, left to pine,

Vainly may’st claim his plighted faith as thine;

Vainly his idol’s charms with thine compare,

And know thyself as young, as bright, as fair.

Vainly in jealous pangs consume thy day,

And waste the sleepless night in tears away;

Vainly with forced indulgence strive to smile,

In the cold world heart-broken all the while;

Or from its glittering and unquiet crowd,

Thy brain on fire, thy spirit crushed and bow’d,

Creep home unnoticed, there to weep alone,

Mock’d by a claim which gives thee not thy own;

Which leaves thee bound through all thy blighted youth

To him, whose perjured heart hath broke its truth;

While the just world beholding thee bereft,

Scorns—not his sin—but thee, for being left!

            *     *     *     *     *     *

“Those whom man, not God, hath parted know,

A heavier pang, a more enduring woe;

No softening memory mingles with their tears,

Still the wound rankles on through dreary years,

Still the heart feels, in bitterest hours of blame

It dares not curse the long familiar name;

Still, vainly free, through many a cheerless day,

From weaker ties turns helplessly away,

Sick for the smile that bless’d its home of yore,

The natural joys of life that come no more;

And, all bewildered by the abyss, whose gloom

Dark and impassible as is the tomb,

Lies stretch’d between the future and the past,⁠—

Sinks into deep and cold despair at last.

Heaven give thee poverty, disease or death,

Each varied ill that waits on human breath,

Rather than bid thee linger out thy life

In the long toil of such unnatural strife.

To wander through the world unreconciled,

Heart-weary as a spirit-broken child,

And think it were an hour of bliss like Heaven

If thou could’st die—forgiving and forgiven,⁠—

Or with a feverish hope, of anguish born,

(Nerving thy mind to feel indignant scorn

Of all thy cruel foes who ’twixt thee stand,

Holding thy heart-strings with a reckless hand,)

Steal to his presence now unseen so long,

And claim his mercy who hath dealt the wrong!

Within the aching depths of thy poor heart

  Dive, as it were, even to the roots of pain

And wrench up thoughts that tear thy soul apart,

  And burn like fire through thy bewildered brain.

Clothe them in passionate words of wild appeal

To teach thy fellow creatures how to feel.⁠—

Pray, weep, exhaust thyself in maddening tears,⁠—

Recall the hopes, the influences of years,⁠—

Kneel, dash thyself upon the senseless ground,

Writhe as the worm writhes with dividing wound,

Invoke the heaven that knows thy sorrow’s truth,

By all the softening memories of youth⁠—

By every hope that cheered thine earlier day⁠—

By every tear that washes wrath away⁠—

By every old remembrance long gone by⁠—

By every pang that makes thee yearn to die;

And learn at length how deep and stern a blow

Near hands can strike, and yet no pity show!

  Oh! weak to suffer, savage to inflict,

Is man’s commingling nature; hear him now

  Some transient trial of his life depict,

Hear him in holy rites a suppliant bow;

See him shrink back from sickness and from pain,

And in his sorrow to his God complain⁠—

‘Remit my trespass, spare my sin,’ he cries,

‘All-merciful, All-mighty, and All-wise:

Quench this affliction’s bitter whelming tide,

Draw out thy barbed arrow from my side;’⁠—

And rises from that mockery of prayer

To hate some brother-debtor in despair.”


From what deep fountains of suffering must these lines have been drawn! What days, weeks, months of deferred hope, of doubt, and of final despair are recorded here!

What life-drops from the minstrel wrung

Have gushed with every word?

The mother at length ceases, and the spirited girl shrinking from the picture of life which has been presented to her, thus replies:⁠—

“If this be so, then mother, let me die

Ere yet the glow hath faded from my sky!

Let me die young; before the holy trust,

In human kindness crumbles into dust;

Before I suffer what I have not earned

Or see by treachery my truth returned;

Before the love I live for fades away;

Before the hopes I cherish’d most decay;

Before the withering touch of fearful change

Makes some familiar face look cold and strange,

Or some dear heart close knitted to my own,

By perishing, hath left me more alone!

Though death be bitter, I can brave its pain

Better than all which threats if I remain,

While my soul, freed from ev’ry chance of ill,

Soars to that God whose high mysterious will,

Sent me, foredoom’d to grief, with wandering feet

To grope my way through all this fair deceit.”

The mother then breaks forth in a beautiful strain, inculcating confidence in God and submission to his will. We have never heard a homily from any pulpit that has taught these lessons with one half the force and eloquence of these beautiful lines. If any of our readers, in the midst of sorrow, suffering or despair, are inclined to forget that there is “another and a better world,” we advise them to learn patience under tribulation from the lips of Mrs. Norton. We wish we could quote them—but we cannot—we have already transcended our limits and can only give the beautiful and touching end of this “sad and eventful history.”

“There was a pause; then with a tremulous smile,

The maiden turned and pressed her mother’s hand:

‘Shall I not bear what thou hast borne erewhile?

  Shall I, rebellious, Heaven’s high will withstand?

No! cheerly on, my wandering path I’ll take;

Nor fear the destiny I did not make:

Though earthly joy grow dim—though pleasure waneth⁠—

This thou hath taught thy child, that God remaineth!’


“And from her mother’s fond protecting side

She went into the world, a youthful bride.”

Fain would we linger longer among the brilliant creations of Mrs. Norton’s genius; but, like her own beautiful sleepers, our “dream” is broken, and we must return from fairy-land to encounter “the rude world.”

The Dream and other poems, by the Honorable Mrs. Norton—Dedicated to Her Grace, the Duchess of Sutherland.

“We have an human heart

 All mortal thoughts confess a common home.”


London. Henry Colburn, Publisher, Great Marlborough street, 1840.






I bent me o’er him as he lay upon his couch,

  Deep sleep weighed down the curtains of his eyes,

Forever and anon the seraph seemed to touch

  His dreaming soul with radiance of the skies!

I bent me o’er him then, for mighty thoughts did seem

  To pant for utterance, as he sighed for breath,

And strove to speak—for in that dark and fearful dream

  He passed the portals of the phantom Death!


“The chains that clogged my spirit’s pinions roll

  Powerless back to earth—a vain, base clod,

And awe-inspiring thoughts brood o’er my soul,

  As angels hover round the ark of God!

I see before me in the distance far

  A mystic altar veiled, and part concealed

Amid the tresses of a burning star,

  Whose mysteries from earth are ever sealed!


“It gleams—that fountain of mysterious light

  At holy eve, far in the western sky,

And angels smile, when man ascends by night

  To read in it his puny destiny!

A something bears me onward towards the throne

  With speed which mocks the winged lightning’s glance!

And here, amid the stars’ eternal home

  I stand, with senses steeped as in a trance!


“I feel a power, a might within my soul

  That I could wrest from angels, themes for song!

My earth-freed spirit soars and spurns control,

  While deep and chainless thoughts around me throng!

I know the veil is pierced—the altar gained⁠—

  I bend me lowly at its foot sublime;

Yet false inspirers, who on earth have feigned

  The God, depart from this eternal clime!”


He woke—and swift unto the land of misty sleep

  His dreams rolled back, and left him still on earth,

But ever after did the Poet’s spirit keep

  This deep, unchanging, mystic, second birth!





“In terms of choice I am not solely led

 By nice direction of a maiden’s eyes.”

Merchant of Venice.

I want to ask you a question, Mildred, but I am afraid you will deem it an impertinent one.”

“Ask me what you please, dear Emily, and be assured that you shall receive a frank reply; we have known and loved each other too long to doubt that affection and not mere idle curiosity prompts our mutual inquiries respecting each other’s welfare during our separation.”

“When I bade farewell to my native land, Mildred, I left you surrounded by a wide circle of admirers; you were beautiful and rich,—these gifts alone would have won you many a suitor,—but you were also possessed of the noblest qualities of heart and mind, and were as worthy to be loved as to be admired. How has it happened then that from among the many who sought your hand, you selected one so—so⁠—”

“I understand you, Emily,—so misshapen and ugly, you would say; it is precisely because I possessed a little more heart and soul than usually belongs to a fashionable belle.”

“What do you mean, Mildred? when I parted from you I thought you were more than half in love with the handsome Frank Harcourt.”

“And you return to find me married to his crooked cousin.”

“I did not know Mr. Heyward was related to your quondam admirer.”

“Ah, I see I must tell the whole story; ‘wooed an’ married an’ a’ ’ is not enough for you; I must relate all the particulars which led to such an apparently whimsical choice.

“You remember me doubtless as the enfant gâtée of society; the spoiled child of doating parents, and the flattered votary of fashion. My web of life, unbroken by a single sombre thread, seemed woven only of rose-color and gold. My mirror taught me that the world spoke truth, when it assigned to me the brightest of all womanly gifts: experience showed me my superiority in mind over the well dressed dolls of society: and the earnestness of my affection for the friends of my youth, convinced me that many stronger and deeper emotions still lay latent within my heart. Yet with all these gifts, Emily, I narrowly escaped the fate of a fashionable flirt. I could not complain, like Voltaire, that ‘the world was stifling me with roses,’ but I might have truly said, that the incense offered at the shrine of my vanity was fast defacing, with its fragrant smoke, the fine gold that adorned the idol. Selfishness is a weed which flourishes far more luxuriantly beneath the sunshine of prosperity than under the weeping skies of adversity; for, while sorrow imparts a fellow-feeling with all who suffer, happiness too often engenders habits of indulgence, utterly incompatible with sympathy and disinterestedness. Wherever I turned I was met by pleasant looks and honied words, everybody seemed to consider me with favor, and I was in great danger of believing that the world was all sincerity and Miss Mildred all perfection. The idea that I shone in the reflected glitter of my father’s gold never occurred to me. Too much accustomed to the appliances of wealth to bestow a thought upon them; entirely ignorant of the want and consequently of the value of money, I could not suppose that other people prized what to me was a matter of such perfect indifference, or that the weight of my purse gave me any undue preponderance in the scale of society. Proud, haughty and self-willed as I have been, yet my conscience acquits me of ever having valued myself upon the adventitious advantages of wealth. Had I been born in a hovel I still should have been proud:—proud of the capabilities of my own character,—proud because I understood and appreciated the dignity of human nature,—but I should have despised myself if, from the slippery eminence of fortune, I could have looked with contempt upon my fellow beings.

“But I was spoiled, Emily, completely spoiled. There was so much temptation around me,—so much opportunity for exaction and despotism that my moral strength was not sufficient to resist the impulses of wrong. With my head full of romantic whims, and my heart thrilling with vague dreams of devoted love and life-long constancy; a brain teeming with images of paladin and troubadour, and a bosom throbbing with vain longings for the untasted joy of reciprocal affection,—I yet condescended to play the part of a consummate coquette. But, no; if by coquetry be meant a deliberate system of machinations to entrap hearts which become worthless as soon as gained, then I never was a coquette, but I certainly must plead guilty to the charge of thoughtless, aimless, mischievous flirtation. If the Court of Love still existed,—that court, which, as you know, was instituted in the later days of chivalry, and composed of an equal number of knights and dames, whose duty it was to try all criminals accused of offences against the laws of Love; if such a tribunal still existed, I think it might render a verdict of wilful murder against a coquette, while only manslaughter could be laid to the charge of the flirt. The result of both cases is equally fatal, but the latter crime is less in degree because it involves no malice prepense. Do not misunderstand me, Emily, I do not mean to exculpate the lesser criminal; for if the one deserves capital punishment the other certainly merits imprisonment for life, and, next to the slanderer, I look upon the coquette and habitual flirt as the most dangerous characters in society. Yet I believe that many a woman is imperceptibly led to the very verge of flirtation by a natural and even praiseworthy desire to please. The fear of giving pain when we suspect we possess the power, often gives softness to a woman’s voice and sweetness to her manner, which, to the heart of a lover, may bear a gentler interpretation. Among the chief of our minor duties may be ranked that of making ourselves agreeable; and who does not know the difficulty of walking between two lines without crossing either? You think I am saying all this in exculpation of my past folly, and perhaps you are right.

“I was just nineteen, and in the full enjoyment of my triumphs in society, when I officiated as your bridesmaid. I must confess, Emily, that the marriage of such a pretty, delicate creature, as you then were, with a man full twice your age, in whose dark whiskers glistened more than one silver thread, and on whom time had already bestowed a most visible crown, seemed to me one of the marvels of affection for which I could not then account.”

“Now you are taking your revenge, Mildred, for my saucy question respecting your husband; but if you can give as good a reason for your choice as I found for mine, I shall be perfectly satisfied.”

“Let me gratify my merry malice, ladye fair; time has shown some little consideration for you in this matter, for, while he has left no deeper impress on your husband’s brow, he has expanded the slender girl into the blooming, matronly-looking woman. You are now well matched, Emily, and your husband is one of the handsomest men of—his age.”

The arch look of the speaker interpreted the equivocally-worded compliment, and, with a joyous laugh, Mrs. Heyward resumed:

“It was about the time of your marriage, and shortly before your departure for Europe, that I became acquainted with Frank Harcourt. You must remember his exceeding beauty. The first time I beheld him, Byron’s exquisite description of the Apollo Belvedere rose to my lips:

——“In his delicate form,—a dream of Love

Shaped by some solitary nymph, whose heart

Longed for a deathless lover from above

And maddened in that vision, is exprest

All that ideal beauty ever blessed

The mind with in its most unearthly mood.”

His admirable symmetry of form, and a face of such perfect contour, such exquisite regularity of feature, that its semblance in marble might have been valued as a relic of Grecian ideal beauty, were alone sufficient to attract the admiration of such a lover of the beautiful as I always have been; but the charm of perfect coloring, the effect of light and shade was not wanting in this finished picture. His full dark eye sparkled beneath a snow-white forehead,—his cheek was bronzed by exposure and yet bright with health,—his lips were crimson and velvet-like as the pomegranate flower,—his teeth white as the ocean pearl,—his raven curls fell in those rich slight tendrils so rarely seen except on the head of infancy,—while the soft and delicate shadowing in his lip and chin resembled rather the silken texture of a lady’s eyebrow, than the wiry and matted masses of hair usually cherished under the name of whiskers and moustache.”

“You are quite impassioned in your description, Mildred; what would your husband say if he were to hear you?”

“He would agree with me in thinking that Frank Harcourt is the most beautiful specimen of humanity that ever presented itself to my admiring eyes.”

“He has less jealousy then in his nature than most of his sex.”

“A man has little cause to be jealous of a rival he has so utterly discomfited.

“Harcourt soon professed himself my admirer and need I say that his attentions were by no means displeasing to me. The buzz of admiration which met my ear whenever he appeared,—the delight with which ladies accepted his slightest civilities,—the manœuvres constantly practised to secure his society, all tended to render me vain of his homage. Had he been merely a beautiful statue,—a rich but empty casket, I should soon have become weary of my conquest. But Harcourt possessed a mind rather above mediocrity, fine taste, elegant manners, and, what was especially useful to him, great skill in decyphering character and consummate tact in adapting himself to its various peculiarities. When those beautiful lips parted only to utter the language of high-toned sentiment, or to breathe the impassioned words of Byron and Moore,—when those bright eyes glistened with suppressed tears at the voice of melancholy music, or sparkled with merry delight at the tones of gayety; when that fine person swayed itself with inimitable grace to the movements of the mazy dance, or bent its towering altitude with gentle dignity over the slight form of some delicate girl, it is not strange, that, even to my eyes, he should seem all that was noble and majestic in mind as well as person. Flattered by his courtly attentions, congratulated by my fashionable friends, and captivated by his brilliant qualities, my imagination soon became excited to a degree which bore a strong semblance to affection. He offered me his hand and was accepted. You look surprised, Emily; I thought you knew that I was actually engaged to him.”

“Indeed I did not, Mildred, and I regret now to learn that such was the case. There is something to me very wrong,—I might almost say disgraceful in the disruption of such bonds; and the levity with which young ladies now make and break engagements, argues as ill for the morality of society, as does the frequency of bankruptcies and suspensions.”

“I agree with you, Emily, and since it has become the fashion to consider the most solemn obligations only as a strait-laced garment which may be thrown off as soon as we can shut out society from our solitude,—since women pledge their hands without even knowing whether they have such an article as a heart to accompany it,—since men with equal ease repudiate their debts and their wives, I am afraid the next generation has little chance of learning morality from their parents. But sometimes, Emily, the sin is in making not in breaking the engagement. However, hear my story, and then judge.

“All the world knew that I was affianced to the handsome Frank Harcourt, and I was quite willing to enjoy my triumph as long as possible, before I settled myself down to the dull routine of domestic life. This disposition to defer my marriage might have led me to suspect the nature of my feelings, for no woman will ever shrink from a union with one to whom her soul is knit in the close bonds of affection. My lover was respectably connected, but had been educated for no profession and was not possessed of fortune. He had left his native village to find employment, and, as he hoped, wealth, in the busy mart of the Empire state. How he managed to satisfy my father, who, in the true spirit of an old Dutch burgomaster, looked upon every man as a rogue if he did not possess some visible occupation, I never could discover. He probably flattered his self-love by listening to all his schemes for the reformation of society; and, I am not sure that he did not draw up the constitution and by-laws of a certain association which my father wished to establish,—to be entitled a “Society for the Encouragement of Integrity among men of Business,” and of which the old gentleman meant to constitute himself president.

“It was agreed that our marriage should take place at the expiration of a year, and my father (who was as fond of coincidents as a newspaper editor) declared that on the very day of our nuptials, the name of Harcourt should be added to the very respectable firm of Marchmont, Goodfellow & Co. About this part of the arrangement I cared very little. I enjoyed the present moment, and lavished my time, my thoughts and my feelings as foolishly as I did the gold with which my father supplied me. I was a mere child in my knowledge of the duties of life, and perhaps there never was one of my age to whom the word ‘responsibility’ was so mystical a sound.

“I soon discovered that I had a serious rival in the affections of my future husband. Frank Harcourt loved himself far better than he did his mistress; and though his tact enabled him to avoid any offensive expression of this Narcissus-like preference, it was still very perceptible to me. Yet how could I blame him when I looked upon his handsome person? Indeed I often found myself quoting Pope’s celebrated couplet, but with a difference,

“If to his share a coxcomb’s errors fall,

 Look in his face and you forget them all.”

The truth was, that my vanity induced me to excuse his weakness. I was proud of exhibiting, as my lover, the man whom all admired; and I felt redoubled satisfaction in hearing him applauded by the very people who had already bestowed on me the meed of praise. I was even so foolish as to be vain of his costume, and although I knew that he wasted hours upon the adornment of his person, I delighted to see him appear attired in that manner, so peculiarly his own, which gave a graceful negligence to a toilet the most soignée and made a fanciful poet once style his dress ‘an elegant impromptu.’ Like some other (so-called) impromptus, many a weary hour had been bestowed upon the task of making it seem extemporaneous.

“The only one of Frank Harcourt’s family with whom I then became acquainted, was his cousin Louis Heyward, and, among the whole circle of my acquaintances, there was no one whom I so cordially disliked. His form was diminutive and slightly misshapen, while his face would have been positively ugly, but for the effect of a pair of large, dark, soft eyes which seemed to speak a more fluent language than his lips. His manners were cold, quiet and indifferent; he mingled but little in society, and I think our well-filled library and my music alone induced him to conquer his reserve sufficiently to become one of my habitual visiters. To me he was always polite and gentlemanly but no more. He never flattered,—never even commended, though he often looked as if he would have censured, had he felt himself privileged to do so. Frank used to take great pains to bring him out into company, (Heaven forgive me if I wrong him in believing now that he wanted him as a foil to his own exceeding beauty,) but, excepting at our house, Louis was rarely seen in society. He had devoted himself to the gospel ministry, and, in order to support himself independently during the period of his theological studies, he had engaged to give instructions in some of the higher branches of education, at one of our principal schools. In fact Louis Heyward was only a poor student, a school-master,—yet he dared to criticise the conduct of the flattered and spoiled Mildred Marchmont; and he alone,—of all the gifted and the graceful who bowed before her power,—he alone—the deformed, the unlovely—seemed to despise her influence.”

“Pray how did you discover that he was actuated by such feelings? he surely did not venture to disclose them?”

“No, Emily; he was usually silent and abstracted in my presence. His relationship to Frank, placed him at once on a familiar footing in our family, and, we soon became accustomed to his somewhat eccentric manners. When not listening to my harp or piano, he was often occupied with a book, seeming utterly regardless of every one around him. But, often, when I have been sitting in the midst of an admiring circle of ‘danglers’ bestowing on one a smile, on another a sweet word, on another a trifling command, and, in short, playing off the thousand petty airs which belles are very apt to practise in order to claim the attentions of all around them,—I have stolen a glance at that cold, grave countenance, and there has been such severe expression in his speaking eyes,—such a smile of contempt on his pale lip, that I have blushed for my own folly even while I hated the cynic who made me sensible of it. I was constantly disputing with him about trifling matters of opinion, and I delighted in uttering beautiful fallacies, which I knew he would contradict. It was a species of gladiatorial game which I enjoyed because it was new and exciting. I had been so long accustomed to assent and flattery that it was quite refreshing to meet with something like opposition, which could arouse the dormant powers of my mind. The information with which my early reading had stored my memory,—the quickness of repartee which generally belongs to woman,—the readiness to turn the weapon of the assailant with a shield for our own weakness which is so very feminine a mode of argument,—all afforded a new gratification to my vanity, and while I heartily disliked the disputant, I yet eagerly sought the dispute. Louis at length discovered my motives for thus seeking to draw him into discussions, and, after that, no provocation could induce him to enter into a war of wit with me. In vain I uttered the most mischievous sophistries,—in vain I goaded him with keen satire; he smiled at my futile attempts, as if I were a petted child, but deigned me no reply. It was not until then that I estimated the treasures of his gifted mind, for when he no longer allowed himself to be drawn from his reserve,—when his fine conversational powers were no longer exerted, I felt I had lost a positive enjoyment which when in my possession I had scarcely thought of valuing.

“I happened one afternoon to be walking on the Battery with the two cousins, when we overtook an acquaintance who was unattended, except by a young brother. We immediately joined her, and, with a feeling of gratified vanity, (knowing that she had once diligently sought to attract Mr. Harcourt,) I stepped back, and taking the arm of Louis, left the lady in uninterrupted possession, for a short time, of my handsome lover. There was a mean and petty triumph in my heart at which I now blush, and, as I looked up into the face of my companion, after performing the manœuvre, I was almost startled at the stern contempt which was visible in his countenance.”

“ ‘Come, Mr. Heyward, do make yourself agreeable for once,’ I exclaimed, with levity, ‘do tell me you are flattered by my preference of your society.’

“ ‘I never utter untruths,’ was the cold reply.

“My first impulse was to withdraw my arm from his, but I restrained myself, and flippantly said:

“ ‘You are as complimentary as usual, I perceive.’

“ ‘Would you have me to feel flattered by being made the tool of your vanity, Madam?’ said he, while his cheek flushed and his eye sparkled; ‘do I not know that you only sought to gratify a malicious triumph over your less fortunate rival?’

“A denial rose to my lips, but my conscience forbade me to utter it. I was perfectly silent—yet, perhaps, there was something of penitence in my countenance, for he immediately added:

“ ‘Good Heavens! Mildred,—Miss Marchmont, I mean—what capabilities of mind,—what noble characteristics of feeling you are daily wasting in society! How rapidly are the weeds of evil passion springing up amid the rich plants of virtue which are still rooted in your heart! How awful is the responsibility of one so nobly gifted as yourself!’

“ ‘What do you mean, sir?’ exclaimed I, startled at his earnestness.

“ ‘Have you never read the parable of the unfaithful steward who hid his talent in the earth?’ was his reply: ‘God has given you beauty and mental power, and wealth and influence; yet what is your beauty but a snare?—What are your talents but instruments to gratify your vanity? Where is your wealth expended if not in ministering to your luxuries? What suffering fellow-being has ever been cheered by your sympathy?—or what weak and erring mortal has ever been strengthened in duty, or wakened to virtue by your influence?’

“I cannot describe how deeply I was shocked and pained at these impressive words. An emotion resembling terror seized me;—I was actually alarmed at the picture they abruptly presented to my view.

“Louis continued: ‘Forgive me, Miss Marchmont, if I have trespassed beyond the limits of decorum. I speak the language of truth,—a language you are but little accustomed to hear; but my conscience and my heart have long reproached my silence.’

“ ‘You are a severe judge, Mr. Heyward,’ said I, with a faint attempt at a smile; and just at that moment we were interrupted by some jesting remarks from the party who preceded us. No opportunity was afforded for renewing our conversation; but as we approached home, Louis lingered so as to secure a moment’s time, and said in a low voice:

“ ‘I will not ask you to forgive my frankness, Miss Marchmont, for something tells me that the time will come when you will not resent my apparent rudeness. I owe to you some of the happiest, and, it may be, some of the saddest moments of my life. Before we part, I would fain awaken you to a sense of your own true value, for amid all the frivolities which now waste your life, I have discovered that you were born for better things.’ As he uttered these words, we found ourselves at my father’s door, and with a cold bow he turned away.

“That night I was engaged to attend a brilliant ball, but my spirits were depressed, and my brow clouded by unwonted sadness. Whether wheeling in the giddy dance, or gliding with light words and lighter laugh amid the groups of pleasure-seeking guests, still the deep voice of Louis Heyward rung in my ears; and the words ‘you were born for better things,’ seemed written upon everything that I beheld.

“ ‘You are triste to-night, ma belle,’ said Frank Harcourt, as he placed me in the carriage to return home: ‘I shall be quite jealous of my crooked cousin, if a tête-à-tête with him has such power to dim your radiance.’

“Many a truth is uttered in the language of mockery. That walk with Louis had become an era in my life. How I longed to weep in solitude! The weariness and satiety which had long unconsciously possessed me,—the unsatisfied cravings for excitement, which had long been my torment, now seemed to me fully explained. Louis Heyward had unfolded to me the truth,—he had revealed the secret of my hidden discontent, when he told me I was born for better things. I had ‘placed my happiness lower than myself,’ and therefore did I gather only disappointment and vexation. Why did I not utter these thoughts to my affianced lover? Why did I not weep upon his bosom and seek his tender sympathy? Because I instinctively knew that he would not understand me. The charm which enrobed my idol was already unwinding, and I had learned that there were many subjects on which there could exist no congenial sentiments. For the first time in my life, I began to reflect; and, with reflection, came remorse for wasted time and ill-regulated feelings. Like the peasant girl in the fairy tale, mine eyes had been touched with the ointment of disenchantment, the illusion which had made life seem a scene of perfect beauty and happiness was dispelled forever, and I now only beheld a field where thorns grew beneath every flower, and a path where duties were strewn far more thickly than pleasures.

“A circumstance which soon after occurred confirmed my melancholy impressions. Do you remember little Fanny Rivers whom my mother took while yet a child, with the intention of making her my confidential servant and dressing-maid? She was about my age, and had grown up to be very pretty,—with one of those sweet, innocent, child-like faces, which are always so lovely in woman. Soon after your marriage she abruptly left my service, and much to my regret I was unable to obtain any trace of her. At the time of which I have just spoken, however, I received a note from her. She was sick and in distress, and she requested from me some pecuniary aid. I did not receive the appeal with indifference, and instead of merely sending her assistance I determined to seek her in person. I found her residing with a relative, a poor washerwoman, and as I sat by the sick bed of the young invalid, I for the first time beheld, with my own eyes, the actual life of poverty. Hitherto I had been lavish of money in charity, from a thoughtless and selfish wish to avoid the sight of suffering, but now I learned to sympathise with the poor and unhappy. Poor Fanny was dying with consumption, and daily did I visit her humble apartment, led thither as much by my morbid and excited feelings as by my interest in the failing sufferer. But it was not till she was near her death-hour that she revealed to me her painful story. Never shall I forget her simple words:

“ ‘I used to think ma’m, that nothing was so desirable as fine clothes, and when I saw you dressed in your beautiful silks and satins, I used to cry with envy because I was only a servant. As I grew older this wicked feeling increased, and often when you had gone to a party, I have locked myself in your dressing-room, and put on your laces, and flowers and jewels, just to see how I should look in such fine dress. I felt very proud when the large glass showed me that I looked just like a lady; but it only made me more envious and unhappy. At last my hour of temptation came. One,—whose name I have sworn never to reveal,—came to me with promises of all that I had so long wanted. He offered me silk dresses, and plenty of money, and said I should have servants to wait on me if I would only love him. He was so handsome, and he brought me such costly presents,—he talked to me so sweetly and pitied me so much for being a servant when I ought to be a lady, that I could not refuse to believe him. He told me I should be his wife in the sight of Heaven, and he ridiculed what he called my old-fashioned notions, until he made me forget the prayers which my poor mother taught me and the Bible which she used to read to me. I was vain and so I became wicked. I sold my happiness on earth and my hopes of Heaven hereafter, for the privilege of wearing fine clothes; for indeed, Miss Mildred, I never was happy after I left your house.’

“I sought to learn no more of poor Fanny’s history, Emily; I scarcely heard the tale of her subsequent desertion and destitution. My conscience was awakened, and fearfully did she knell in my ears my own condemnation. ‘Who made ye to differ?’ asked my heart, as I gazed on this victim to vanity and treachery. Who taught this fallen creature to value the allurements of dress beyond the adornment of innocence? Who sowed in her bosom the seeds of envy and discontent, and nurtured them there until they bore the poisoned fruit of sin? Was I guiltless of my brother’s blood? Had not I been the first tempter of the guileless child? Here, then, was an evidence of my influence;—how fatally exercised!

“Emily, I have repented in tears and agony of spirit:—I have prayed that this weight of blood-guiltiness might be removed from my soul; and I humbly trust my prayer has not been in vain:—but even now my heart sickens at the recollection of the being whom my example first led astray. It was at the bedside of the dying girl,—when my spirit was bowed in humble penitence—that the words of religious truth first impressed themselves upon my adamantine heart. I had listened unmoved to the promises and denunciations of the gospel, when uttered from the pulpit; but now, the time, the place, the circumstance gave them tenfold power. I visited Fanny Rivers daily, until death released the penitent from her sufferings, and then, I fell into a deep melancholy from which nothing could arouse me, and for which no one could account.

“Frank Harcourt was annoyed and vexed at this change. He earnestly pressed our immediate marriage, and talked about a trip to Paris as an infallible cure for my ‘nervous excitement.’ But in proportion as my better feelings were awakened, my attachment to him decreased, until I actually shrunk from a union with him. He now appeared to me frivolous in his tastes, and the light tone with which he spoke of moral duties, though often listened to as an idle jest, in calmer times, now offended and disgusted me. In vain I tried to recall my past feelings. In vain I gazed upon his exquisite face and watched the movements of his graceful form, in the hope of again experiencing the thrill of pleasure which had once been awakened by his presence. The flame had been kindled at the unholy shrine of vanity, and already the ashes of perished fancies had gathered over it to dim its brightness. I could no longer cheat myself into the belief that I loved Frank Harcourt. He was still as glorious in beauty,—still the idol of society; but the spell was broken, and I looked back with wonder to my past delusion.

“You will ask where, during all these changes, was Louis Heyward. The very day after the conversation which had so awakened my remorse of conscience, he bade me farewell, having been summoned to take charge of a small congregation, and to ‘build up a church in the wilderness.’ I would have given much for his counsel and his sympathy, but he was far away, absorbed in noble duties, and had probably ceased to remember with interest, the being whom his one true word had rescued from destruction. I was exceedingly wretched, and saw no escape from my unhappiness. The approach of the period fixed upon for my marriage only added to the horror of my feelings, and I sometimes fancied I should be driven to madness.

“But the dénouement,—a most unexpected one—came at length. The aunt of poor Fanny, who was very grateful for my attentions to the unhappy girl, accidentally heard that I was on the point of marriage with Mr. Harcourt, and, instigated no less by revenge than by a sense of gratitude to me, she revealed to me the name which Fanny had sworn, and she had promised to conceal. You can imagine the rest, Emily. With the indignant feeling of insulted virtue and outraged womanhood, I instantly severed the tie that bound me to him. Did I not do right in breaking my engagement?

“More than two years passed away. I had withdrawn from the follies, though not from the rational enjoyments of society; and, having joined myself to the church, I endeavored to live in a manner worthy of my profession. Alas! all my good deeds were insufficient to make amends for my wasted years and baleful example. The world ceased, at last, to wonder and ridicule my sudden reformation, (which they kindly attributed to my lover’s fickleness,) and I was beginning to enjoy the peace of mind, always attendant on the exercise of habitual duty, when I was surprised by the intelligence that Louis Heyward had been chosen to succeed the deceased pastor of our church. The day when he preached his first sermon for us will long live in my remembrance. Associated, as he was, with my brightest and my darkest hours, I almost feared to see him, lest the calm of my feelings should be disturbed by painful recollections. But he now appeared before me in a new and holier light. He was a minister of truth unto the people, and as I watched the rich glow of enthusiasm mantling his pale cheek, and the pure light of zeal illumining his dark eyes, I thought there was indeed ‘a beauty in holiness.’

“Do not think I was in love with our young pastor. I fancied that my heart was dead to such impressions, and it was only with quiet friendship that I greeted him when he renewed his acquaintance with her whom he had once known as the glittering belle of a ball-room. I saw him frequently, for I now understood the value of wealth and influence when they could be made subservient to the interests of religion and humanity. My purse as well as my time was readily bestowed for the good of others. Always in extremes, I was in danger of running into the error of fanaticism, and I owe it to Louis that I am now a rational, and I trust, earnest Christian. But a long time elapsed after this renewal of our intercourse before I was permitted to read the volume of his heart. It was not until he was well assured that the change which he beheld was the result, not of temporary disgust with the world, but of a thorough conviction of error, that he ventured to indulge the affections of his nature. He had loved me, Emily, during my days of vanity and folly. His cold, stern manner was a penance imposed upon himself, to expiate his weakness, and while he strove to scorn my levity, he was, in fact, the slave of my caprice. But he crushed the passion even in its bud, and forced himself to regard me only as his cousin’s bride. Yet the glimpses of better feelings which sometimes struggled through every frivolity, almost overcame his resolution, and the conversation which first awakened me to reflection, was the result of a sense of duty strangely blended with the impulses of a hopeless passion.

“Perfect confidence now existed between us. My external life had been almost an unbroken calm, but my heart’s history was one of change and tumult and darkness. Louis wept,—aye, wept with joy, when he learned that his hand had sown the good seed within my bosom. It is Madame de Stäel who says that ‘Truth, no matter by what atmosphere it is surrounded, is never uttered in vain;’ and I am a living proof that she is right. I have now been five years a wife; and, though my husband has not a face that limners love to paint and ladies to look upon,—though his form is not moulded to perfect symmetry, and his limbs lack the graceful comeliness of manly strength,—in short,—though he is a little, ugly, lame man, yet I look upon him with a love as deep as it is enduring, for the radiant beauty of his character has blinded my feeble eyes to mere personal defects. Frank Harcourt was the sculptured image,—the useless ornament of a boudoir, but Louis,—my own Louis is the unpolished casket,—rude in its exterior, but enclosing a pearl of price,—the treasure of a noble spirit.”

“And what has become of your former lover?”

“He is the ornament of Parisian saloons; living no one knows how, but suspected to be one of that class, termed in England, ‘flat-catchers,’ lending the aid of his fine person and fascinating manners to attract victims to the gaming-table. He is said to be as handsome as ever,—dresses well, and is the admiration of all the young ladies as well as the dread of all the mammas who are on the watch to avoid ‘ineligibles.’ And now that you have heard my story, Emily, are you still surprised at my choice?”





          “I do admire

Of womankind but one.”

John Gilpin.

So then, Julius, you are at last a lawyer, out and out?—how did you pass your examination?”

“Just to please myself, uncle, I wasn’t stumped once.”

“Bravo! I am glad to hear it; that was exactly following my example. Before I got through, they tried hard to pose me, but I was an overmatch for them. I would have made a capital lawyer, Julius, had I chosen to practise.”

“What a pity you did not, uncle!”

“Yes, that’s what all my friends say, and that, if I had not been too rich to need it, they would have given me all the business in their power,—every cent’s worth of it. Many of them wish that I had been poorer, that I might have been of greater service to the public.”

“What kind friends you must have, sir!”

“You rascal! I see that you are laughing at me. However, I intend to take you for my raw material, and make of you everything that I have failed to be myself. In the first place, you are to rise to the height of the profession here, in this very city, to make amends for my not having attained the station.”

“But the opposite reason to yours will forbid my accomplishing that, my dear sir,—too light a purse, is, in the generality of cases, a greater obstacle than one too heavy.”

“An ingenious lawyer, to presume that, when I employ you to do my work for me, I expect you to go upon your own means! why, my worshipful attorney, you must live here with me, in my own house, and make use of my own purse. It is my place to pay the expenses.”

“Dear uncle! how kind you are! how generous!—I can never be sufficiently grateful⁠—”

“Spare your eloquence to plead my causes for me!—we lawyers know how much speeches ought to go for, so I want none of them here, just now. Am I not telling you that you are to work for me in return?—and I wish you to fulfil another of my duties towards society.”

“Anything in the world, uncle, after all the kindness⁠—”

“Poh! it’s not any uncommon task I wish you to undertake. It is only to marry a wife and to raise a family. You may imitate me in everything but in being an idler, and an old bachelor.”

“Why, everybody thinks you, sir, the happiest, most independent, most contented old bachelor in the world. Quite an enviable person.”

“I am not at all to be envied, Julius. As to being happy,—that’s all a sham. I have never been contented since they called me an old bachelor. No, no,—you must have a wife. I have picked one out for you.”

“Indeed! pray who is she, uncle?”

“One of the loveliest girls in the city,—your cousin Henrietta Attwood.”

“Etty Attwood! the pretty little second-cousin who used to come sometimes to visit us when I was a boy! I remember her well;—the most beautiful, sweetest tempered child in the world; with bright brown eyes, and flaxen ringlets curling over her shoulders and down to her waist! if she is as charming a woman as she was a child, I have not the shadow of an objection. I used to call her my little wife then, and the first poetry I ever perpetrated, was some stanzas addressed to her on her birthday.”

“Yes, she has shown them to me more than once; she remembers you as well as you do her, and often inquires of me about her cousin and old play-fellow, Julius Rockwell.”

“But do you think she would have me, uncle?”

“Why shouldn’t she?—you are plaguy good-looking,—you know that well enough,—very much like what I was at your age; you have sense plenty,—that is, if you are not a degenerate shoot of your family; if you have not, you must acquire it; you have formed no bad habits, I hope;—if you have, I must cane them out of you. And Etty will do whatever I bid her,—I know she will. She is aware that I was looking for you, and will expect you to call to see her immediately.”

“I shall be delighted to do so; can you take me this evening, uncle? But how does it happen that she is in the city? Her parents, I believe, reside in the country still.”

“She is with her aunt, Mrs. Attwood, a rich widow, who having married off all her own daughters, has begged a share of her time for the sake of her company. She is very much of a belle, but if you manage properly, you and she will make a match of it in less than six months, or my name is not Herman Holcroft. You must then live with me. I begin to feel lonesome as I grow old, and, you perceive, I have house-room for twenty more.”

“My dear uncle, you are too kind!”

“Stop a moment! remember it is only on condition you bring Etty with you; I don’t know that I would like any one else. So I will go with you, and introduce you to-night. I was afraid you would have to wait to be provided with a new suit, but am agreeably disappointed. You look not only genteel but fashionable. Your country tailors must be on the march of improvement.”

“Oh! since steam-engines are so abundant, no one need be behind the fashions, unless he chooses;—but, uncle,—look here, quick!—Ah! she has gone around that corner!”

“Who?—what is it?” asked the old bachelor, hastily rising from his superb, damask covered rocking chair, to approach the window.

“A young lady,—the loveliest, brightest⁠—”

“Pho!” returned Mr. Holcroft, sinking again into his cushions with a look of disappointment; “why I see thousands of lovely, bright-looking girls passing here every day, and so it has been for the last twenty years. That, I suppose, is one reason why I have not married. I never could get one pretty face fixed in my heart, before a hundred others presented themselves to drive it away.”

The windows of the apartment, in which the gentlemen sat, opened upon one of the most noted thoroughfares on this side of the Atlantic, which at that hour, was crowded by an unusually brilliant throng of the fair and the gay, called out by the bright sunshine of a clear December afternoon, to exhibit, each, her new assortment of winter finery. During the foregoing dialogue, young Rockwell had not been so much occupied as to be unable to throw an occasional glance into the street, and the one which preceded his exclamation, had been met by a pair of radiant eyes, with an expression so cordial and familiar, that he was quite startled,—and the more easily, that they belonged to one of the most beautiful faces and one of the richest costumes that he had noticed on the crowded pavé. “I could never have seen her before,—no, I never did,”—said he to himself, and the passage of Moore so generally known to the sentimental and romantic youths, who sigh in our language, came into his mind:⁠—

“As if his soul that moment caught

An image it through life had sought;

As if the very lips and eyes,

Predestined to have all his sighs,

And never be forgot again,

Sparkled and smiled before him then.”

“That is a favorite excuse with you old bachelors,” said he, at length, remembering that a reply might be expected to his uncle’s last observation; “but this young lady,—such a face could not be easily driven away! I wonder who she can be?—perhaps you know her,—she is evidently one of your élite, but I can’t describe her; one thing I noticed, however, she had on a blue velvet—, what is the name of those new articles?—neither a cloak nor a shawl;—you understand what I mean, uncle.”

“A mantilla, you block-head!” replied the old bachelor, consequentially, as if proud of being so far read in women’s gear.

“Yes, a mantilla,—a blue velvet mantilla, worked in yellow figures.”

“Embroidered in gold color, or straw, or canary, or lemon, the ladies say,” returned Mr. Holcroft, in a tone of correction; “there are plenty of blue velvet mantillas, and how am I to know which you mean?”

Julius admitted that it might be rather difficult, and looked out of the window with renewed interest, while his uncle kept up a rambling discourse which required no reply. In a few moments the blue mantilla again appeared, another witching glance was thrown upon him, and snatching up his hat, without a word of explanation or excuse, he darted from the room. Immediately after, a fine looking young man entered, and was saluted by the name of Elkinton, by Mr. Holcroft, who sat wondering at his nephew’s sudden disappearance.

“Has Rockwell arrived, Mr. Holcroft?” asked the visiter.

“Yes,—did you not meet him at the door?—he reached this an hour or two ago, and has just bolted out as if life and death depended on his speed. I suppose he saw something wonderful in the street. These rustics, when they come to town, are always on the stare for novelties. A fire-bell startles them as much as an earthquake would us. But won’t you sit down?—he will be back again in a few minutes, no doubt.”

“Thank you, I have not time to wait. I merely called in to see if he had come. Perhaps I may find him in the street.”

Meanwhile Julius was eagerly tracing the fair unknown, and unpractised as he was in threading the mazes of a city crowd, he found little difficulty in gaining upon the light, quick step he followed. But at length, as he joyfully held, his good genius befriended him. She was stopped by a distinguished looking girl, whose tall figure, dark eyes, and black hair, contrasted strongly with her own rather petite proportions, hazel eyes and ringlets of light brown. He came up in time to hear the lady of his pursuit say to the other, “I half expect visiters this evening, but should they not call, I shall go certainly. I believe it is the Vandenhoffs’ benefit, and, no doubt, a treat may be looked for.”

Just then a carriage drew up to the curbstone, and an elderly lady called from it, “I have half a notion to make you both walk home;—I have been driving up and down street for an hour, expecting to meet you. Get in,—quick!”

The steps were let down, and the black-eyed damsel was handed in. Her companion was about to follow, when, glancing over her shoulder, she beheld our hero. She paused, half-smiled, blushed, and springing into the carriage, was driven off, and out of sight in a moment, while Julius stood transfixed where she left him. He was aroused by a hand laid on his arm, and turning, he exclaimed, somewhat abashed at being found in a position so equivocal, “Is it possible, Elkinton!”

“My dear Rockwell! I am rejoiced to see you! I almost passed without recognising you; I could scarcely have expected to meet you, fresh from the country, standing in a brown study, in the most crowded square of the city!”

The two young men had been classmates at college, and though a regular correspondence had not been kept up between them, they were always the warmest of friends whenever they chanced to meet. They turned to walk together towards Mr. Holcroft’s.

“Pray, Elkinton, do you know any lady who wears a blue velvet mantilla?” asked Julius as soon as politeness allowed him to introduce an extrinsic subject.

“Very probably I may, but I never recollect ladies by their dress, as I seldom pay the slightest attention to it. What sort of a lady do you mean?”

“A young, very beautiful one, with bright complexion, clear hazel eyes and sunny tresses.”

“I know several such,—you may see plenty of them passing any hour; but what about her?”

“Oh, nothing! only I saw her in the street and was struck with her appearance.”

“Pshaw! you will be struck ten times a minute if you are on the look-out for beauty. For my part, I have given up looking at the ladies in general.”

“Then it must be because you are engrossed by one in particular.”

“Right, and I’ll introduce you to her for old acquaintance sake. Don’t you remember our standing argument, that neither of us would marry without a communication to, and a consultation with, the other?”

“Of course,” replied Julius abstractedly; “I must try to find out who she is.”

“You shall know all about her, my Julius, and become acquainted with her; as soon as you are at leisure, I should like to have your impression of my choice,” returned Elkinton cordially; of course alluding to his own lady love; “but I have not time to talk longer, just now. I’ll call to see you in the morning.”

“Stay, at which house are the Vandenhoffs to perform to-night?” asked Julius, detaining him.

Elkinton named the theatre and hurried away.

On returning to his uncle, there being visiters present, no questions were asked about his absence, and when they were again alone, the old gentleman desired him to have himself in readiness to call on his cousin, Miss Attwood, after tea. With some hesitation, he excused himself. “Perhaps you would like to go to see the Vandenhoffs, as this is their last night,” said Mr. Holcroft, presuming that to be his objection; “if so, by going early to visit Etty, we may have a chance to take her along, if she is not engaged. You need not mind being out of etiquette, as I shall propose it myself.”

Still Julius demurred about the visit, and added, “It was my intention to go to the theatre, but I should prefer going alone.”

“Going alone!” repeated the old gentleman, looking at him scrutinizingly; “that is altogether wrong, Julius. A young man should not, if possible, appear at a place of amusement, which ladies are sanctioned to attend, without having one along. They are a protection from improper associations, and add greatly to the respectability of one’s appearance. On the present occasion, your attendance on Henrietta Attwood will establish your standing in society at once. She is certainly one of the most admired girls in the city.”

“No doubt of it, uncle; but for my part I never admired dumpy girls.”

“Dumpy girls?—what do you intimate by that, sir? why Etty has one of the most perfect figures I ever saw! she is a very sylph.”

“Indeed! when she was a child, she was very short and fat. At any rate, she must have white hair,—she formerly had,—and I have no great partiality for ‘lint white locks.’ ”

“White hair! what the plague has got into the fellow? she has no such thing. An hour or two ago you were all anxiety that I should take you to see her, and you seem ready to decline going altogether.”

“Excuse me, uncle, but really I don’t feel in the humor for ladies’ society this evening.”

“Oh, very well, sir; consult your own pleasure,” replied the old bachelor in a tone of pique, and took his tea in silence.

Julius noticed it, but though sorry to displease him, was ashamed to confess his motive for wishing to go alone, and, after a few minutes of constraint, in the drawing-room, he set off for the theatre.

He arrived early, and selecting a place which commanded a view of the whole house, he kept his eyes in constant motion from door to door, with the purpose of scanning every group that entered, a feat not easy to accomplish, as an unusual number were thronging the house. At length, a round of applause, on the rising of the curtain, distracted his attention, for a moment, and on again turning round, he beheld in a box near him, the identical blue velvet mantilla, accompanied by an elderly gentleman, and the tall brunette. The best acting of the season was all lost upon him, the one object alone chaining his eyes and his thoughts. She, too, evidently perceived him, while surveying the audience. At the end of the first act, and several times afterward, she met his gaze with conscious blushes, and an apparent effort to repress a smile. He also fancied that some communication on the subject passed between her and her companions.

The play at length was over, and the party rose to go. Julius pushed through the crowd until he found himself beside them. In the press, the mantilla became unfastened, and, unperceived, by its owner, a gentleman set his foot upon it. “The lady’s mantilla, sir!” said our hero, eagerly catching it up. She nodded her thanks with looks half downcast, and confusedly taking it from his hand, wrapped it around her and, in a few minutes, they had reached the door. The old gentleman handed his fair charges into a carriage in waiting, and, saying that he would walk, ordered the servant to drive on.

“Have a hack, sir?” asked a coachman.

“Yes,—follow that carriage,” replied Julius, and springing in, was driven into one of the most fashionable streets of the city. The carriage stopped before one of the handsomest houses in it, and he saw the ladies alight and enter the door. Then discharging his coach, he reconnoitered the house and square, to know them again, and congratulating himself on his discovery, he returned to his uncle’s.

Mr. Holcroft had recovered, in some degree, from his displeasure against the morning, and with a return of his usual manner, he questioned his nephew upon the quality of the past night’s entertainment.

“I can hardly tell, sir; that is,—I believe it was good, sir;” answered he with some incoherence.

“Why, my good fellow, I hope you are not so green as not to know whether a theatrical performance was good or the contrary!” said the old bachelor, staring at him, whereupon the young gentleman felt himself necessitated to be somewhat less abstracted.

After breakfast he took up his hat with unexpressed intention to visit the scene of his discovery, and half formed hopes, and his uncle, having observed that in a stroll through the city he might see some books, or other such matters, which he would like to possess, kindly proffered him funds to purchase them.

Julius thanked him, and answered that he was provided with a sum, naming it, amply sufficient for the expenses of the three or four weeks he had proposed for the length of his visit.

“Don’t forget to be back again at twelve,” said Mr. Holcroft; “against that time I shall want you to go with me to see your cousin Etty.”

“Hang my cousin Etty!” thought Julius, but he said nothing, and, with a bow, he departed. On reaching the place where his thoughts had been all the morning, he examined the door, but could find no name, nor could he see a child or a servant within half a square, of whom he might have obtained information. But, crossing the street in his disappointment, he noticed on the first house before him, a large brass door-plate, inscribed “Boarding,” and actuated by the first suggestion of his fancy, he rang the bell, and inquired if he could obtain lodgings for a short time.

“My rooms are all taken, sir,—that is, all the best apartments,” replied the mistress of the mansion, presuming, from his appearance, that none but good accommodations would answer.

Julius paused a moment, but having gone so far, he concluded not to draw back. “I would be willing to put up with an inferior one, provided it is in the front of the house,” said he.

“The small room, in the third story, over the entrance, is vacant,” said the lady, hesitating to offer it.

“I’ll take it, madam,” he returned, and without further question or examination, he hastened to have his baggage brought. This he executed without the knowledge of his uncle, the old gentleman having rode out after breakfast.

He felt half ashamed of his precipitancy, when he saw his trunks deposited in a chamber, so filled up by a narrow bed, a washstand and a single chair, that there was hardly space enough for them, but on approaching the window, he beheld the blue mantilla descending from the steps of the house opposite, and he regarded himself as fully compensated for the sacrifice.

“Who lives in the house immediately across the way?” asked he of the servant who was arranging the room.

“Mr. Lawrenson, sir,—that gentleman coming out.” It was the old gentleman of the theatre.

“There are a couple of young ladies in the house, are there not?”

“Only one, sir, that I know of,—a great belle among the quality. The gentlemen call her the beautiful Miss Lawrenson.”

Julius was satisfied. He knew the family by reputation, and to have attracted the attention, and commenced a flirtation of the eyes with a beauty so distinguished, he felt was an adventure to be pursued without respect to little inconveniences. He was strengthened in this sentiment by some of the gentlemen at the dinner-table stating, that one of the most prominent ornaments of the dress circle, at the theatre, the night before, was the beautiful Charlotte Lawrenson.

After dinner he watched long for the return of his fair neighbor, an occupation not the most comfortable, as there was no chimney in the room, and therefore no possibility of his having a fire; but she did not again appear, and recollecting that his uncle ought to be informed of his change of quarters, he proceeded to fulfil that duty. On his way he had some misgiving that the old gentleman would not receive his apprisal on the best of terms, and he was projecting some plausible excuse to satisfy him, when the result of his ingenuity was annihilated by his encountering, face to face, the lady of his thoughts,—his heart, as he believed. The same half-smile met him,—there might have been observed an additional expression of familiarity;—the same blush, and he would have turned to follow her again, but his sense of propriety had not so far left him, as to admit of the repetition,—particularly as there was no object to be gained by it. So, satisfied that from his close vicinity, he could have an opportunity of seeing her daily, and of taking advantage of any favorable accident for a better acquaintance, he entered the drawing-room of the old bachelor, who received him with an exclamation of “Where upon earth have you been all this day, Julius?”

“At my lodgings, sir,” replied the youth, having come to the conclusion that it would be best to treat his desertion in the most matter of course way possible.

“Your lodgings!” repeated Mr. Holcroft, in astonishment.

“Yes, uncle; as I don’t like to trouble my friends more than I can help, I decided upon taking boarding, and your absence, when I came to remove my baggage, prevented my informing you of it.”

“What, after I had proposed your taking up your residence in my house, not only during your visit, but during my life time! I need a better excuse than that. Where have you gone?”

Julius named the place.

“One of the most expensive establishments in the city, and one frequented by dandies, roués, and bon vivants,—the very worst sort of society for a young man, who aspires to attaining eminence in one of the learned professions. You might, at least, have consulted me about a place proper for you, even though you had decided upon mortifying me by leaving my house. How long have you engaged to stay?”

“Only a week or two, uncle,” replied Julius, devoutly hoping that no questions would be asked, which would compel him to confess that he had ensconsed himself in the worst apartment in the house.

“I waited dinner for you an hour, after having expected you for two or three to go with me to visit your cousin Etty. However, you can stay to tea, and go with me in the evening.”

“Excuse me, dear sir,—I have a particular reason for declining.”

“What! again?—how do you intend to dispose of yourself?”

“I—I shall stay in my own room, I believe, uncle.”

“You vex and surprise me more and more, Julius. Independent of my earnest desire that you should see your cousin, your duty as a gentleman and as a relative requires that you should make her a visit, and the sooner it is done, the more it will be to your credit.”

“The young lady in question being only my second-cousin, I cannot perceive that there is any duty connected with the matter. Second-cousins, except in cases of convenience, are seldom regarded as relatives at all.”

“Whew! I presume that, after all that, I need not be surprised if you should propose to dissolve the connection between me and yourself! I, a queer, plain, old fellow, will hardly be likely to remain an acknowledged kinsman of one who declines the relationship of one of the loveliest girls that ever the sun shone upon!”

“My dear uncle, I meant no disrespect towards Miss Attwood, much less to you, but really, I have something to attend to, that will debar me from the pleasure of fulfilling your wishes, to-night. I will see you again in the morning. Good evening.”

“I must keep a sharp watch on that youngster,” said the old bachelor to himself; “he can’t have formed an attachment at home, for he appeared delighted, at first, with my proposition for his settlement. As to his leaving my house, it strikes me that it was done for the purpose of escaping my surveillance. I must be careful as to what sort of habits he has formed, before I decide on carrying out my plans. I must go to see Etty this evening myself, and as she will expect some excuse for his not calling, I can tell her that he is diffident,—not used to ladies’ society, or something that way. She has not been here for several days, I presume on his account; so I’ll tell her that he has taken boarding at Mrs. W⁠——’s. I have no notion of being cheated out of my only lady visiter by the ungrateful scamp.” And the old gentleman carried his resolve into execution.

Julius had really told the truth in saying that he intended to remain at home that evening, but he would not for any thing in the world,—except, indeed, the heart under the blue velvet mantilla,—have acknowledged his reason for so doing. The fact was, he had concluded that no time was to be lost in pursuing his advantage, and that, as he had been the poet of his class at college, he might be inspired, if in solitude, to produce a metrical accompaniment for some pretty gage d’amour, to be sent the next morning. His muse not unpropitious, but cabin’d, confined, in his fireless dormitory, his ardour would, no doubt, have abated, had he not, by an occasional glance out of the window, been reminded, by the blue sky and its golden embroidery of stars, of the azure mantilla. Thus refreshed, whenever he found himself flagging, he completed his performance to his full satisfaction, and after copying it on paper perfumed and gilt,—with his washstand for a writing table,—he retired to dream the night into day.

In the morning, as soon as breakfast was over, he set off in quest of his intended gift, and seeing the gorgeous display of exotics, in the window of a celebrated florist, he stopped and selected flowers for a bouquet, the richest and rarest, without regard to cost, and ordering them to be sent immediately to his lodgings, he hastened to meet them there. He was stopped, however, in his course by his friend Elkinton.

“I am glad at the accident of meeting you,” said the latter; “I called last evening and this morning at Mr. Holcroft’s in expectation of your coming in,—the servants having told me yesterday that you had changed your residence. Where do you lodge?—your uncle was not at home, and, consequently, I did not ascertain.”

Julius evaded an answer, afraid of exposing to any acquaintance how comfortless a place he had deposited himself in, and though they had now nearly reached it, he walked off in a contrary direction to avoid suspicion, talking all the while with much more animation than he would have been likely to do in his present state of feeling, if there had not been a strong motive to prompt him.

“Have you any engagement for this evening?” asked Elkinton; “if not, I will take you to see my fiancée, as I promised you the other day. I really wish to have your congratulations on my selection. All the fellows of my acquaintance regard me with envy;—you need not smile,—I say it without vanity or boasting.”

Julius declined without offering an excuse.

“When will you go then?” persisted the intruder.

“I don’t know,—in truth I go very little into ladies’ society at present,” replied Rockwell, with an air of nonchalance.

That his friend should be totally indifferent towards his mistress, is little less unpardonable to a lover, than that he should attempt to rival him in her affections; accordingly Elkinton, after replying coolly, “very well, I hold you to no appointment,” bowed stiffly, and walked away.

Not giving his friend’s change of deportment a thought, Julius hastened to his room, where the flowers had arrived before him, and folded his poetical billet-doux to send with them. How to direct it was the next question, and determining that it would be disrespectful, without his having an introduction, to address it to “Miss Lawrenson,” he substituted, in place of her name, to “The Blue Velvet Mantilla.” He then rang the bell, and giving the waiter who appeared, a liberal douceur to carry it across the street, and leave it for Miss Lawrenson, with the bouquet, he watched at the window until he saw it delivered to a servant at the door.

The other boarders having left the parlors, he took possession of one of the front windows with a newspaper in his hand, and watched every movement across the way. In a short time the tall brunette emerged from the doorway, but her companion of the sunny ringlets did not appear. After dinner she really did present herself,—he was on the watch again;—and he noticed that, before she reached the steps, she glanced across with apparent curiosity, from which he conjectured that she had discovered, by means of the servant, whence the offering had come. And then, when she turned to look again, after she had pulled the bell, he was confident that she recognised his figure at the window. Towards evening he tore himself from his loadstone long enough to saunter out with the object of paying his respects to his uncle, but the old gentleman not being in the house, he did not enter, and returning to his room, he busied himself, as the evening before, in writing verses for a future occasion.

Thus ended one day of folly, and the next was spent in a similar manner, except that he sent a costly English annual, as his second tribute, and, to his surprise and ecstasy, received, in return, by his messenger, a geranium leaf, enclosed in a sheet of rose-colored note-paper, in which was inscribed, in a dainty female hand, the single line,—“From the Blue Velvet Mantilla.”

The third day, he sent a present equally elegant, and employed some of the most skilful members of a famous band to discourse their most elegant music under her window in the night, and he felt not a little flattered, secretly, to hear some of the boarders pronounce it the most delightful serenade ever heard, even in the neighborhood of Miss Lawrenson. But it would be tedious to follow him in his extravagances. He dispensed his flowers, and books, and music, and tasteful bijoux as prodigally as if he had possessed the purse of a Fortunio, until better than a week had passed. During this time he forced himself to call daily on his uncle, and daily declined a visit to his cousin, until the old gentleman, deeply offended, ceased to invite him to his house, and he for the same reason, ceased to go. Elkinton, too, met him once or twice, and, in remembrance of his want of courtesy, passed him with merely a nod, but what was all that, in comparison with the compensation he received from the lady of the mantilla?—sundry glances and blushes, when he chanced to meet her on the street; a wave of her scarf across the window, which could not have been accidental; and above all, two several notes, containing, each, familiar quotations, in her own delicate hand, as answers to some of his impassioned rhapsodies. A new incident, however, brought him somewhat to his senses.

One morning his messenger, on returning, presented him with a note, markedly different, from its bold penmanship, to the others, and on opening it, he read to the following effect.⁠—

“The person, who, for a week past, has been so liberal of his favors to Miss C⁠—— L⁠——, is requested to call this afternoon, three o’clock, at No. 26, —— Hotel, and explain his conduct to one possessed of a right to demand it. Should he not comply, it will be presumed that he is unworthy of being treated as a gentleman, and he shall be dealt with accordingly.”

“From whom did you receive this?” asked he of the servant.

“From Mr. Lawrenson’s footman, sir, who always receives my messages; he said it was given to him by a gentleman who ordered him not to tell his name.”

“Very well; that is sufficient,” said Julius, with considerably more self-possession than if it had contained another quotation or geranium leaf.

What explanation should he make?—was he to meet a father, or a brother? whom? or, what? was he to be called upon to apologize, or to fight? or what was to be done? He could settle none of these questions to his satisfaction, and so he concluded to remain as unconcerned as possible, and be guided by the relative position and deportment of his challenger.

The appointed hour came, and found our hero at the house designated. He asked to be shown to No. 26, and, on rapping at the door, to his surprise, it was opened by Elkinton. The latter, also, looked surprised, but presuming that he had called to atone for his former unfriendliness, he invited him in, and seated him, with much cordiality. Julius looked around, and perceiving no other person in the room, took the letter from his pocket, and remarked—“There must be some mistake here. To confess the truth, Elkinton, I did not expect to find myself in your apartment. This note directed me to number 26, but it must be a mistake of the pew. However, as I am here, I would be very glad of your advice as a friend. Read this.”

Elkinton glanced at the note, and, with a heightened color, returned, “There must, indeed, be some mistake. I am the writer of this, but you, certainly, cannot be the person for whom it was intended.”

Julius started, but commanded himself to reply coolly,—“Judging from its import, it undoubtedly was destined for my hands.”

Elkinton paced the room once or twice, and then, seating himself beside his visiter, remarked, “This is a delicate affair, Julius, but, as old friends, let us talk it over quietly. That there may be no misunderstanding, let us be certain that we both interpret these initials alike.”

“I presumed them to be those of Miss Lawrenson,—Charlotte Lawrenson,” answered Julius.

“She, indeed, is the person meant, and to prove to you my right to interfere in this matter, she is the lady to whom I am engaged, of which I informed you,—who is affianced to be my wife in a few months.”

Julius sprang to his feet, and turned pale as marble. To be thus flirted and betrayed!

“Now,” pursued Elkinton, earnestly, “you will understand why I should have felt indignant at any one presuming to make such advances, as you have done, towards the lady in question, and you will not be surprised if I ask by what you were encouraged to persist in them, so assiduously.”

“By the lady’s own conduct,” said Julius, with his usual impetuosity; “by her accepting my presents, which were invariably accompanied by expressions of admiration,—nay, of passion; by her noticing those expressions with answers, which, if not explicitly favorable, could not have been construed otherwise, as they were not reprobatory; by tokens of personal recognition from her house, and by conscious, and not discouraging looks, whenever we met in the street.”

“Stay, Julius! these are serious charges, and such as no man could patiently listen to of his affianced wife. Your presents I know she received, for from her jestingly showing them to me, and pointing out the house from which they came, I was led to write the note in your hand, of which she is aware; but that a girl of Charlotte Lawrenson’s dignity of character would answer love-letters from an entire stranger, and exchange coquettish glances with him in the streets, is more than I can credit.”

“That is language, Elkinton, that I cannot and will not submit to,” retorted Julius angrily; “if you must have proofs farther than the word of a man of honor, take these!” and he drew the notes from his bosom, where, in the most approved fashion of lovers, he had kept them secured day and night.

Elkinton snatched them, and after a scrutinizing examination replied, “I can say, almost positively, that not a word here is in her handwriting.”

“No doubt, you find it very satisfactory to feel thus assured,” said Julius, with a sarcastic smile.

“To save further dispute, by which neither of us can be convinced,” returned Elkinton, endeavoring to be more composed, “I will go directly to Miss Lawrenson, and ask an explanation from her, without which, I at least, cannot feel satisfied. If you shall be at leisure, I will call on you, or, if you prefer it, shall expect you here at eight this evening.”

For particular reasons, unnecessary to specify, Julius chose the latter, and Elkinton, escorting him out with cold politeness, proceeded, in much perturbation, to the mansion of Mr. Lawrenson.

Our hero was punctual to his appointment in the evening, and found Elkinton impatiently awaiting him. “I have laid your representations before Miss Lawrenson, and, for your sake, am sorry that she disclaims their veracity. Though she again acknowledges having your presents in her possession, she denies having answered your notes, or even having opened them; denies ever having given you a mark of recognition, and denies that, to her knowledge, she ever saw you in the street.”

Julius stood aghast. To have the truth so pointedly disowned, to have his word so plainly doubted, it was not to be borne. “Her retaining my love-tokens, I think, might be sufficient evidence to you that all is not exactly as you would desire,” he replied indignantly, “a woman who encourages the advances of a total stranger, in everything but words, while betrothed to another, and then, to preserve his favor, denies the whole course of her conduct, is unworthy the notice of any man who calls himself a gentleman.”

“One thing can yet be done,” said Elkinton, repressing a furious answer; “let me have those notes, and, through them, Miss Lawrenson may probably be enabled to discover by whom they were produced. If that cannot be done, I shall hold you responsible for gross misrepresentations of her character;” and he strode out, leaving his rival in possession of his room.

Matters now wore a serious aspect. Should the lady make no confession, a challenge would be the consequence, and even should she vouchsafe to explain, it would be to make him a laughing stock by proving him quizzed, coquetted and jilted. If the first were to occur, it behoved him to prepare to leave the world; if the latter, at least to leave the city. And on his way homeward, he decided to put his affairs in order. He remembered that his landlady had sent in her bill that morning, requiring money for a pressing engagement, and that, having pretty well exhausted his funds in his expensive outlays for his fair enchantress, he had concluded to apply to his uncle for means to discharge it. Accordingly he stopped to inquire for him, but not finding him at home, he left on his secretaire a note, requesting the loan of the sum he required, and saying he would call for it in the morning. He then retired to his lodgings in such a state of excitement as it had not been his lot before to experience.

In the morning, when completing his toilet, for breakfast, he heard the sound of a stick and an unusually heavy step on the stairs, and after a loud rap on the door, Mr. Holcroft, to his great surprise, presented himself.

“So,” said the old bachelor, seating himself on the side of the bed, the only chair being occupied by Julius’ collar and cravat, and looking around in astonishment, “a pretty exchange you have made, young gentleman, for the pleasant apartments to which I welcomed you on your arrival!”

Julius saw that his ire was aroused, but unable to conjecture why, and somewhat abashed at the shabbiness of his surroundings, he could only stammer something about having found it impossible to obtain the accommodation of a better room.

“And what are your reasons, young man, for submitting to such discomforts and inconveniences?—You need not take the trouble to fabricate an answer. Your last night’s demand for money has given me a full insight into your character and pursuits, and I have come to assert my tacit right as your mother’s brother, and your nearest living relation, to use the power of a guardian, and remove you from scenes in which you are in a fair way to prove a disgrace to me and to the memory of your parents. On your arrival in the city, I laid before you my plans for your future benefit,—that you should make your home with me as my son, and my prospective heir, an offer which almost any young man would have considered extraordinary good fortune,—and suggested to you an alliance which, I felt confident, would secure your happiness. I was not such an old block-head to expect you to marry your cousin without your own conviction that she would suit you, but merely named her to you as a woman who, to any reasonable man, would be a treasure, such as, I fear, you will never deserve to possess. Then, instead of calling on your cousin, as I requested, if only through civility to me,—you displayed a churlish indifference to female society, which young men of good principles and education seldom feel, and to escape from the watch and control which you supposed I would keep on your movements,—you clandestinely left my house. To be sure, you did make a show of respect, by coming occasionally to see me, but your abstracted manner, and entire silence as to your engagements and mode of spending the time, confirmed my suspicions that your amusements were such as you were ashamed to confess them to be. On one occasion, however, you committed yourself,—in naming the amount of funds you had brought with you,—quite sufficient for any young man of good habits for a month, situated as you are; and now, though I am perfectly willing to give you the sum you require, and as much in addition, as will take you away from temptation as far as you may choose to go, I demand in return, to know how your own has been spent.”

Hurt, mortified and vexed at suspicions so unjust and injurious, Julius did not attempt to interrupt him, and against he concluded, had made up his mind to confess the whole truth, which he did, circumstantially and minutely.

“Can it be possible that my sister’s son should have made such a fool of himself?” exclaimed the old gentleman, raising his hands in amazement, “that you should have given up the comforts of my house, and the pleasures of the agreeable society you would have met there, for this inconvenient dungeon in a boarding-house; squandered your money like a tragedy hero, and put yourself into a situation to shoot, or to be shot by, one of your best friends, all for the sake of a girl who was silly and impudent enough to cast a few coquettish glances at you in the street! truly! truly!—however, it is not quite so bad as I apprehended, certainly less unpardonable that you should play the idiot than to have turned out a gambler or roué, as I suspected. But just see how easily all this might have been avoided!—merely by your going with me to see your cousin, and falling in love with her, and thus putting yourself out of danger of becoming entangled in the snares of another. It is a lucky thing for you, my gentle Romeo, that we came to an understanding so soon, for I had made up my mind, partly, to marry Mrs. Attwood, the widow, right off, and as Etty would have been a sort of niece, to make her my heiress. What d’ye think of that? But there’s your breakfast bell, and my carriage is waiting for me. Go down, and in half an hour I will call and take you home with me. In the meantime I will see Elkinton, and try if the matter can’t be settled without pistols.”

At the end of the half-hour Mr. Holcroft returned, and apprising Julius that he had made an appointment with Elkinton to meet him at eleven, he took him away, talking all the time with much spirit, evidently to engage and amuse the thoughts of the chagrined and disappointed lover. This seemed to have little effect, when, thinking of another expedient, he ordered his coachman to stop at the rooms of an eminent painter, where, he stated to Julius, he was getting some pictures executed, which he would like him to examine. He would take no refusal, and the young gentleman was obliged to alight and accompany him into the gallery. When they had reached it, he found no difficulty in recognizing the first piece pointed out to him as the portrait of his uncle himself, and after giving it the appropriate measure of approbation, he strolled away, on seeing the artist approach. With occasionally a cursory glance at them, he walked in front of a row of ladies and gentlemen, who smiled upon him from the canvass in a manner that, to his moodiness, appeared quite tantalizing, and, at length, an exclamation from him drew Mr. Holcroft to his side, who found him gazing pale and breathless upon a picture, the very counterpart, even to the blue velvet mantilla, of the one in his heart.

“Why, what’s the matter?—whom do you recognize there?” asked the old bachelor.

“She,—herself,—the fair cause of my late—insanity;” answered he, with an unsuccessful effort to return the smile.

“Who?—that?—the original of that! Whew! ha! ha!” exclaimed the old gentleman with a stare and then a boisterous laugh; “and is it she, that you have allowed to put you on the road to Bedlam!—a dumpy little thing like that! ha! ha! But I see that I have frustrated my own intention, in bringing you here to compose you. Don’t stand there in such an attitude, and looking so wo-begone, or Mr. —— will make a caricature of you; he has his keen eye fixed on you now, come along!” and Julius followed unwillingly down stairs, his uncle laughing all the way in a manner that was excessively provoking.

In a few minutes they had reached home. “I’ll not get out,” said the old bachelor, “just go in and amuse yourself, until I return, which will be shortly. Be sure that you wait for me, as I wish to be present at your interview with Elkinton.”

Julius did as he was requested, and in due time his uncle returned. “Come now,” said he, “I have no doubt that the young lady will make a confession, and that you will escape with your character untarnished except by folly. Then after we have got over our business with Elkinton, if it should be settled amicably, we will go to see your cousin Henrietta.”

“My dear uncle! I beseech you do not propose my going to visit a lady, in my present frame of mind! I really should disgrace both myself and you. Make my excuses to Etty, and when I have returned to the city, after I shall have banished the remembrance of my disappointment by a few months in the country, I will endeavour to do everything that is proper.”

“I forgot to tell you,” said Mr. Holcroft, “that we are not to meet Elkinton at his lodgings, but in a private house; an arrangement made, I suspect, that Miss Lawrenson might be present, to make an explanation of her conduct. Here is the place, now.”

Julius started, but the carriage stopped, and he followed his uncle in silence. They were ushered into an elegant drawing-room, and on an ottoman, in full view of the door, sat the blue velvet mantilla.—She bowed to Mr. Holcroft, and looked at Julius, as if quite prepared to confront him. The sight of her convinced him that he was not yet cured of his passion, but before he had had any time to betray it, his uncle took him by the arm, and said as he drew him forward, “Allow me, Julius, to present you to your cousin Henrietta Attwood.”

“The most unnecessary thing in the world, Mr. Holcroft,” returned the lady rising, “as I would have known my cousin Julius anywhere. He, however, I presume, would not have found it so easy to recognize me!” and looking into his face with a merry, ringing laugh, she approached him, and held out her hand.

Confounded by the many emotions that crowded upon him, Julius stood speechless, and almost afraid to touch it, when her laugh was echoed from the adjoining room and Elkinton appeared, accompanied by the dark-eyed damsel, whom our hero had seen as the companion of his cousin, and introduced her as Miss Lawrenson.

“My dear Rockwell,” said he, heartily grasping Julius’ hand, “I am delighted to meet you again as one of the most valued of my friends. We have good reason to congratulate each other that we did not fall victims to a stratagem, planned by these cruel nymphs, as cunning as ever was devised by Circe of old.”

“Stop, stop, Elkinton!” interrupted the old bachelor, “as the merit of the dénouement is mine, I think I am entitled to make a speech to Julius.”

“Not now, not here, before us! dear Mr. Holcroft!” exclaimed both the girls laughing and blushing, but as he showed signs of proceeding, they ran away, and left the gentlemen by themselves.

According to Mr. Holcroft’s explanation, Henrietta had recognized her cousin on the day of his arrival, which fully accounted for her pleasant glances; and from his following her in the street, approaching her at the theatre, and tracing her to Mr. Lawrenson’s, which that gentleman had observed, she presumed that she was equally known to him, and, of course, wondered that he did not avail himself of the easier method of renewing their acquaintance by means of his uncle. But on discovering, from Mr. Holcroft’s representations, that she was mistaken, learning his change of residence, and receiving through Miss Lawrenson, his verses, in which she recognized his hand, she was struck with a clearer perception of the case, and she determined to engage in the flirtation, and pursue it until he should make her a visit, as a relation, and then have a laugh at his expense. Miss Lawrenson, in return for assisting her, by receiving his communications, claimed the privilege of having some amusement of her own out of the adventure, and to effect this, she made use of his beautiful gifts to excite the jealousy of Elkinton; they both, however, discovered that they had carried the game too far, and alarmed at the turn it had taken, had sent for Elkinton, an hour or two before, from Mrs. Attwood’s, and made a full confession. There Mr. Holcroft had found him, when he called to inform Etty of his discovery in the picture-room, and of his nephew’s difficulties, and there the grand finale was projected.

“It must have been my indistinct and unconscious recollection of my old play-fellow, after all,” said Julius, “which so attracted me, and it was her getting out of the carriage at Mr. Lawrenson’s and being there so often, which brought you into the drama, Elkinton.”

“Yes, she is to be our bridesmaid, and, no doubt, she and Charlotte have a good many little matters to talk over;—that accounts for their being so much together. She stayed over night the time in question.”

“Well, well, it is a mercy that in their confabulations they did not set you two blowing each other’s brains out; and it would have been no wonder, Julius, if such a catastrophe had happened, to punish you for your disobedience,” said the old bachelor, “now, if you had obliged me, like a dutiful nephew, by calling on your cousin, and acted a friend’s part towards Elkinton, by going to see his sweetheart, everything would have ended properly without any of this trouble. But it is too often the case that people run after all sorts of shadows, and get themselves into all sorts of scrapes, in their search after happiness, when they could find it at once by quietly attending to their duties at home.”

The young ladies returned, and, through delicacy towards them, no allusion was made to the subject just canvassed, but Julius, on returning with his uncle to dinner, declared his intention of offering himself to Etty that very evening, if he should find an opportunity. This the old gentleman expressly forbade, giving him a fortnight as a term of probation; but whether he was obeyed more closely in this than in his former requisitions, was, from certain indications, a matter of doubt.

At the end of the two weeks, there was a friendly contest between Rockwell and Elkinton, as to which must wait to be the groomsman of the other. It was left to the decision of Mr. Holcroft, who declared in favor of the latter, he having determined to serve in that capacity, towards his nephew himself.

He did so, in the course of a few months, and though Julius has not had time to rise, as his substitute, to the height of the profession, he has carried out the original plan so far as to have furnished the Holcroft mansion with a boy, athletic enough already to ride on his grand uncle’s cane, and a girl, so ingenious as to have, occasionally, made a doll’s cradle of his rocking chair.






          Chimera II.


A curse! a curse!—the beautiful pale wing

Of a sea-bird was worn with wandering,

And, on a sunny rock beside the shore

It stood, the golden waters gazing o’er,

And they were heaving a brown amber flow

Of weeds, that glittered gloriously below.


It was the sunset, and the gorgeous hall

Of heaven rose up on pillars magical

Of living silver, shafting the fair sky

Between dark time and great eternity.

They rose upon their pedestal of sun,

A line of snowy columns! and anon,

Were lost in the rich tracery of cloud

That hung along magnificently proud,

Predicting the pure star-light, that beyond

The East was armoring in diamond

About the camp of twilight, and was soon

To marshal under the fair champion moon,

That called her chariot of unearthly mist,

Toward her citadel of amethyst.


A curse! a curse!—a lonely man is there

By the deep waters, with a burden fair

Clasped in his wearied arras.—’Tis he; ’tis he

The brain-struck Julio and Agathè!

His cowl is back—flung back upon the breeze,⁠—

His lofty brow is haggard with disease,

As if a wild libation had been pour’d

Of lightning on those temples, and they shower’d

A dismal perspiration, like a rain,

Shook by the thunder and the hurricane!


He dropt upon a rock, and by him placed,

Over a bed of sea-pinks growing waste,

The silent ladye, and he mutter’d wild,

Strange words, about a mother, and no child.

“And I shall wed thee, Agathè! although

Ours be no God—blest bride—even so!”

And from the sand he took a silver shell,

That had been wasted by the fall and swell

Of many a moon-borne tide into a ring⁠—

A rude, rude ring; it was a snow-white thing,

Where a lone hermit limpet slept and died,

In ages far away.—“Thou art a bride,

Sweet Agathè! wake up; we must not linger.”

He press’d the ring upon her chilly finger,

And to the sea-bird, on its sunny stone,

Shouted,—“Pale priest! that liest all alone

Upon thy ocean-altar, rise away

To our glad bridal!” and its wings of gray

All lazily it spread, and hover’d by

With a wild shriek—a melancholy cry!

Then swooping slowly o’er the heaving breast

Of the blue ocean, vanish’d in the west.

And Julio is chanting to his bride,

A merry song of his wild heart, that died

On the soft breeze through pinks beside the sea,

All rustling in their beauty gladsomely.



A rosary of stars, love! we’ll count them as we go

Upon the laughing waters, that are wandering below,

And we’ll o’er the pearly moon-beam, as it lieth in the sea

In beauty and in glory, like a shadowing of thee!


A rosary of stars, love! a prayer as we glide

And a whisper in the wind, and a murmur on the tide!

And we’ll say a fair adieu to the flowers that are seen,

With shells of silver sown in radiancy between.


A rosary of stars, love! the purest they shall be,

Like spirits of pale pearl, in the bosom of the sea;

Now help thee, virgin mother! with a blessing as we go,

Upon the laughing waters, that are wandering below.


      He lifted the dead girl, and is away

      To where a light boat in its moorings lay,

      Like a sea-cradle, rocking to the hush

      Of the nurse waters; with a frantic rush

      O’er the wild field of tangles he hath sped,

      And through the shoaling waves that fell and fled

      Upon the furrow’d beach.


                            The snowy sail

      Is hoisted to the gladly gushing gale,

      That bosom’d its fair canvass with a breast

      Of silver, looking lovely to the west;

      And at the helm there sits the wither’d one,

      Gazing and gazing on the sister nun,

      With her fair tresses floating on his knee⁠—

      The beautiful death-stricken Agathè!

      Fast, fast, and far away, the bark hath stood

      Out toward the great heaving solitude,

      That gurgled in its deeps, as if the breath

      Went through its lungs of agony and death!


      The sun is lost within the labyrinth

      Of clouds of purple and pale hyacinth,

      That are the frontlet of the sister sky

      Kissing her brother ocean; and they lie

      Bathing in blushes, till the rival queen,

      Night, with her starry tiar, floateth in⁠—

      A dark and dazzling beauty! that doth draw

      Over the light of love a shade of awe

      Most strange, that parts our wonder not the less

      Between her mystery and loveliness!


      And she is there, that is a Pyramid

      Whereon the stars, the statues of the dead,

      Are imaged over the eternal hall,

      A group of radiances majestical!

      And Julio looks up, and there they be,

      And Agathè, and all the waste of sea,

      That slept in wizard slumber, with a shroud

      Of night flung o’er his bosom, throbbing proud

      Amid its azure pulses, and again

      He dropt his blighted eye-orbs, with a strain

      Of mirth upon the ladye:—Agathè!

      Sweet bride! be thou a queen and I will lay

      A crown of sea-weed on thy royal brow!

      And I will twine these tresses, that are now

      Floating beside me, to a diadem:

      And the sea foam will sprinkle gem on gem,

      And so will the soft dews. Be thou the queen

      Of the unpeopled waters, sadly seen

      By star-light, till the yet unrisen moon

      Issue, unveiled, from her anteroom,

      To bathe in the sea fountains: let me say,

      “Hail—hail to thee! thrice hail, my Agathè!”


      The warrior world was lifting to the bent

      Of his eternal brow magnificent,

      The fiery moon, that in her blazonry

      Shone eastward, like a shield. The throbbing sea

      Felt fever on his azure arteries,

      That shadow’d them with crimson, while the breeze

      Fell faster on the solitary sail.

      But the red moon grew loftier and pale,

      And the great ocean, like the holy hall,

      Where slept a seraph host maritimal,

      Was gorgeous, with wings of diamond

      Fann’d over it, and millions beyond

      Of tiny waves were playing to and fro,

      All musical, with an incessant flow

      Of cadences, innumerably heard

      Between the shrill notes of a hermit bird,

        That held a solemn pæan to the moon.


        A few devotional fair clouds were soon

      Breath’d o’er the living countenance of Heaven,

      And under the great galaxies were driven

      Of stars that group’d together, and they went

      Like voyagers along the firmament,

      And grew to silver in the blessed light

      Of the moon alchymist. It was not night,

      Not the dark deathly shadow, that falls o’er

      The eye-lid like a curse, but far before

      In splendor, struggling through a fall of gloom,

      In many a myriad gushes, that do come

      Direct from the eternal stars beyond,

      Like holy fountains pouring diamond!


      A sail! awake thee, Julio! a sail!

      And be not bending to thy trances pale.

      But he is gazing on the moonlit brow

      Of his dead Agathè, and fondly now,

      The light is silvering her bloodless face

      And the cold grave-clothes. There is loveliness

      As in a marble image, very bright!

      But stricken with a phantasy of light

      That is not given to the mortal hue,

      To life and breathing beauty: and she too

      Is more of the expressless lineament,

      Than of the golden thoughts that came and went

        Over her features, like a living tide

              No while before.


                  A sail is on the wide

      And moving waters, and it draweth nigh

      Like a sea-cloud. The elfin billows fly

      Before it, in their armories enthrall’d

      Of radiant and moon-breasted emerald:

      And many is the mariner that sees

      That lone boat in the melancholy breeze,

      Waving her snowy canvass, and anon

      Their stately vessel with a gallant run

      Crowds by in all her glory; but the cheer

      Of men is pass’d into a sudden fear,

      And whisperings, and shaking of the head.⁠—

      The moon was streaming on a virgin dead,

      And Julio sat over her insane,

      Like a sea demon! o’er and o’er again,

      Each cross’d him, as the stately vessel stood

      Far out into the murmuring solitude!


      But Julio saw not; he only heard

      A rushing, like the passing of a bird,

      And felt him heaving on the foam, that flew

      Along the startled billows: and he knew

      Of a strange sail, by broken oaths that fell

      Beside him, on the coming of the swell.


      “They knew thou wert a queen, my royal bride!

      And made obeisance at thy holy side.

      They saw thee, Agathè! and go to bring

      Fair worshippers, and many a poet-king,

      To utter music at thy pearly feet.⁠—

      Now, wake thee! for the moonlight cometh sweet,

      To visit in thy temple of the sea;

      Thy sister moon is watching over thee!

      And she is spreading a fair mantle of

      Pure silver, in thy lonely palace, love!⁠—

      Now, wake thee! for the sea-bird is aloof,

      In solitude, below the starry roof:

      And on its dewy plume there is a light

      Of palest splendor, o’er the blessed night.

      Thy spirit, Agathè!—and yet thou art

      Beside me, and my solitary heart

      Is throbbing near to thee: I must not feel

      The sweet notes of thy holy music steal

      Into my feverous and burning brain,⁠—

      So wake not! and I’ll hush thee with a strain

      Of my wild fancy, till thou dream of me,

      And I be loved as I have lovéd thee:—”



  ’Tis light to love thee living, girl, when hope is full and fair

In the springtide of thy beauty, when there is no sorrow there⁠—

No sorrow on thy brow, and no shadow on thy heart!

When, like a floating sea-bird, bright and beautiful thou art!


’Tis light to love thee living, girl—to see thee ever so,

With health, that, like a crimson flower, lies blushing in the snow;

And thy tresses falling over, like the amber on the pearl⁠—

Oh! true, it is a lightsome thing, to love thee living, girl:


But when the brow is blighted, like a star at morning tide,

And faded is the crimson blush upon the cheek beside:

It is to love as seldom love, the brightest and the best,

When our love lies like a dew upon the one that is at rest,

Because of hopes that fallen are changing to despair,

And the heart is always dreaming on the ruin that is there.

Oh, true! ’tis weary, weary, to be gazing over thee,

And the light of thy pure vision breaketh never upon me!


      He lifts her in his arms, and o’er and o’er,

      Upon the brow of chilliness and hoar,

      Repeats a silent kiss:—along the side

      Of the lone bark, he leans that pallid bride,

      Until the waves do image her within

      Their bosom, like a spectre—’tis a sin

      Too deadly to be shadow’d or forgiven

      To do such mockery in the sight of Heaven!

      And bid her gaze into the startled sea,

      And say, “Thy image, from eternity,

      Hath come to meet thee, ladye!” and anon

      He bade the cold corse kiss the shadowy one,

      That shook amid the waters, like the light

      Of borealis in a winter night!


      And after, he did strain her sea-wet hair

      Between his chilly fingers, with a stare

      Of mystery, that marvell’d how that she

      Had drench’d it so amid the moonlit sea.


      The morning rose, with breast of living gold,

      Like eastern phœnix, and his plumage roll’d

      In clouds of molted brilliance, very bright!

      And on the waste of waters floated light.⁠—


      In truth, ’twas strange to see that merry bark

      Skimming the silver ocean, like a shark

      At play amid the beautiful sea-green,

      And all so sadly desolate within.


      And hours flew after hours, a weary length,

      Until the sunlight, in meridian strength,

      Threw burning floods upon the wasted brow

      Of that sea-hermit mariner; and now

      He felt the fire-light feed upon his brain,

      And started with intensity of pain,

      And washed him in the sea;—it only brought

      Wild reason, like a demon; and he thought

      Strange thoughts, like dreaming men,—he thought how those

      Were round him he had seen, and many rose

      His heart had hated; every billow threw

      Features before him, and pale faces grew

      Out of the sea by myriads:—the self-same

      Was moulded from its image, and they came

      In groups together, and all said, like one,

      “Be cursed!” and vanish’d in the deep anon.

      Then thirst, intolerable as the breath

      Of Upas, fanning the wild wings of death,

      Crept up his very gorge,—like to a snake,

      That stifled him, and bade the pulses ache

      Through all the boiling current of his blood.

      It was a thirst, that let the fever flood

      Fall over him, and gave a ghastly hue

      To his cramp’d lips, until their breathing grew

      White as a mist and short, and like a sigh,

      Heaved with a struggle, till it faltered by.

      And ever he did look upon the corse

      With idiot visage, like the hag Remorse

      That gloateth over on a nameless deed

      Of darkness and of dole unhistoried.

      And were there that might hear him, they would hear

      The murmur of a prayer in deep fear

      Through unbarr’d lips, escaping by the half,

      And all but smother’d by a maniac laugh,

      That follow’d it, so sudden and so shrill,

      That swarms of sea-birds, wandering at will

      Upon the wave, rose startled, and away

      Went flocking, like a silver shower of spray!

      And aye he called for water, and the sea

      Mock’d him with his brine surges tauntingly,

      And lash’d them over on his fev’rous brow,

      Volleying roars of curses,—“Stay thee, now,

      Avenger! lest I die; for I am worn

      Fainter than star-light at the birth of morn;

      Stay thee, great angel! for I am not shriven,

      But frantic as thyself: Oh! Heaven! Heaven!

      But thou hast made me brother of the sea,

      That I may tremble at his tyranny:

      Or am I slave? a very, very jest

      To the sarcastic waters? let me breast

      The base insulters, and defy them so,

      In this lone little skiff.—I am your foe!

      Ye raving, lion-like, and ramping seas,

      That open up your nostrils to the breeze,

      And fain would swallow me! Do ye not fly,

      Pale, sick, and gurgling, as I pass you by?


      “Lift up! and let me see, that I may tell

      Ye can be mad, and strange, and terrible;

      That ye have power, and passion, and a sound,

      As of the flying of an angel round

      The mighty world: that ye are one with time,

      And in the great primordium sublime

      Were cursed together, as an infant-twain,⁠—

      A glory and a wonder! I would fain

      Hold truce, thou elder brother! for we are,

      In feature, as the sun is to a star.

      So are we like, and we are touch’d in tune

      With lunacy as music; and the moon,

      That setteth the tides sentinel before

      Thy camp of waters, on the pebbled shore,

      And measures their great footsteps to and fro,

      Hath lifted up into my brain the flow

      Of this mad tide of blood—ay? we are like

      In foam and frenzy; the same winds do strike,

      The same fierce sun-rays, from their battlement

      Of fire! so, when I perish impotent

      Before the might of death, they’ll say of me,

      He died as mad and frantic as the sea!”


      A cloud stood for the East, a cloud like night,

      Like a huge vulture, and the blessed light

      Of the great Sun grew shadow’d awfully;

      It seemed to mount up from the mighty sea,

      Shaking the showers from its solemn wings,

      And grew, and grew, and many a myriad springs

      Were on its bosom, teeming full of rain.

      There fell a terrible and wizard chain

      Of lightning, from its black and heated forge,

      And the dark waters took it to their gorge,

      And lifted up their shaggy flanks in wonder

      With rival chorus to the peal of thunder,

      That wheel’d in many a squadron terrible

      The stern black clouds, and as they rose and fell

      They oozed great showers; and Julio held up

      His wasted hands, in likeness of a cup,

      And drank the blessed waters, and they roll’d

      Upon his cheeks like tears, but sadly cold!⁠—

      ’Twas very strange to look on Agathè!

      How the quick lightnings, in their elfin play,

      Stream’d pale upon her features, and they were

      Sickly, like tapers in a sepulchre!

(To be continued.)






(Concluded from page 65.)


Having thus become acquainted with the two Miss Byleses, and understanding that they were always delighted when strangers were brought to see them in a similar manner, I afterwards became the introducer of several friends from other cities, who successively visited Boston in the course of that summer, and who expressed a desire to pay their compliments to these singular old ladies.

In every instance, the same routine was pursued upon these occasions by the two sisters, and the practice of nearly half a century had, of course, made them perfect in it. I was told by a lady who had known the Miss Byleses long and intimately, and had introduced to them, at their house, not less than fifty persons, that she had never observed the slightest variation in their usual series of sayings and doings. And so I always found it, whenever I brought them a new visitor. Miss Mary always came to receive us at the front door,—and Miss Catharine always produced her own effect by not making her appearance, till we had sat sometime in the parlour. The attention of the stranger was always, in the same words, directed to the cornelian ring on their father’s picture, and always the new guests were placed in the great carved chair, and the same wonder was expressed that “they should sit easy under the crown.” Always did their visiter hear the history of “their nephew, poor boy, whom they had not seen for forty years.” Always did Miss Catharine with the same diffidence exhibit the snake,—and always was the snake unwilling to re-enter his box, till he had been brought to obedience by a little wholesome chastisement. The astounding trick of the alphabetical bits of paper was unfailingly shown;—and, always when the visiters gave symptoms of departure, did Miss Mary slip out of the room, and lock the front door, that she might have an opportunity of repeating her excellent joke about the ladies’ night caps.

It was very desirable that all ladies and gentlemen, taken to see the Miss Byleses, should have sufficient tact to be astonished up to the exact point at the exhibition of their curiosities, that they should laugh, just enough, at their witticisms; and that they should humor, rather than controvert, their gratuitous manifestations of loyalty to the person they called their rightful king.

My friend Mr. Sully, (who was glad to have an opportunity of seeing Copley’s portrait of Dr. Byles,) enacted his part à mervëílle;—or rather, it was no acting at all; but the genuine impulse of his kind and considerate feelings, and of his ever-indulgent toleration for the peculiarities of such minds as are not so fortunate as to resemble his own.

Another gentleman who was desirous of an introduction to the sisters, rather alarmed me by over-doing his part,—and, as I thought, being rather too much amazed at the curiosities; and rather too mirthful at the jokes,—and rather too warm in praising kings and deprecating presidents. But on this occasion, I threw away a great deal of good uneasiness, for I afterwards found that the Miss Byleses, spoke of this very gentleman as one of the most sensible and agreeable men they had ever seen,—and one who had exactly the right way of talking and behaving.

A lady who testified a wish to accompany me on a visit to the Miss Byleses, found little either to interest or amuse her,—the truth was, that being unable to enter the least into their characters, she looked very gravely all the time, and afterwards told me she saw nothing in them but foolishness.

I must do the Miss Byleses the justice to say, that they appeared to much less advantage on these the first visits of new people, than to those among the initiated, who took sufficient interest in them to cultivate an after-acquaintance. I went sometimes alone to sit an hour with them towards the decline of a summer afternoon,—and then I always found them infinitely more rational than when “putting themselves through their facings,” to show off to strangers. In the course of these quiet visits, they told me many little circumstances connected with the royalist side of our revolutionary contest, that I could scarcely have obtained from any other source,—the few persons yet remaining among us that were tories during that eventful period, taking care to say as little about it as possible: and every one is so considerate as to ask them no questions on a subject so sore to them.

But with the daughters of Dr. Byles, the case was quite different. They gloried,—they triumphed, in the firm adherence of their father and his family to the royalty of England,—and scorned the idea of even now being classed among the citoyennes of a republic; a republic which, as they said, they had never acknowledged, and never would; regarding themselves still as faithful subjects to the majesty of Britain, whoever that majesty might be. Of the kings that they knew of, they had a decided preference for George the Third, as the monarch of their youthful days, and under whom the most important events of their lives had taken place. All since the revolution was nearly a blank in their memories;—they dated almost entirely from that period,—and since then, they had acquired but a scanty accession to the number of their ideas. From their visiters they learnt little or nothing, as they always had the chief of the talk to themselves. With English history, and with the writers of the first half of the last century they were somewhat conversant,—but all that had transpired in the literary and political world since the peace of ’83, was to them indistinct and shadowy as the images of a dream not worth remembering. But they talked of what, to us, is now the olden time with a vividness of recollection that seemed as if the things had occurred but yesterday. In the coloring of their pictures, I, of course, made allowance for the predominant tinge of toryism, and who for a large portion of the lingering vanity, which I regarded indulgently, because it injured no one, and their self-satisfaction added to the happiness of these isolated old ladies. They once showed me, in an upper room, portraits of themselves at the ages of seventeen and eighteen, painted by Pelham, the brother-in-law, I believe, of Copley. The pictures were tolerably executed; and I think they must have been likenesses, for the faded faces of the octogenarian sisters still retained some resemblance to their youthful prototypes. The Miss Byleses were not depicted in the prevailing costume of that period. They had neither hoop-petticoats, stomachers, nor powdered heads,—both were represented in a species of non-descript garments, imagined by the painter,—and for head gear, Miss Catharine had her own fair locks in a state of nature,—and Miss Mary a thing like a small turban.

From their own account they must have been regarded somewhat in the light of belles by the British officers. They talked of walking on the Common arm in arm with General Howe and Lord Percy: both of whom, they said, were frequent visitors at the house, and often took tea and spent the evening there.

I imagined the heir of Northumberland, taking his tea in the old parlour, by the old fire-place, at the old tea-table,—entertained by the witticisms of Dr. Byles, and the prettinesses of his daughters; who, of course, were the envy of all the female tories of Boston, at least of those who could not aspire to the honor of being talked to by English noblemen. Moreover, Lord Percy frequently ordered the band of his regiment to play under the chesnut trees, for the gratification of the Miss Byleses, who then, as they said, had “God save the King” in perfection. By the bye, I have never heard either God save the king or Rule Britannia well played by an American band; though our musicians seem to perform the Marseillaise con amore.

The venerable ladies told me that the intimacy of their family with the principal British officers became so well known, that in a short time they found it expedient to close their shutters before dark, as the lights gleaming through the parlor windows made the house of Dr. Byles, a mark for the Americans to fire at from their fortifications on Dorchester heights, in the hope that every ball might destroy a red-coated visitor. Also, that the cannon-shot, still sticking in the tower of Brattle-street church, was aimed by the Cambridge rebels at General Howe, who had established his head-quarters at the old Province House. Unpractised artillerymen as they then were, it is difficult to believe that, if the Province House was really their mark, they could have missed it so widely.

The Miss Byleses related many anecdotes of their father; some of which were new to me, and with others I had long been familiar. For the benefit of such of my readers as have not yet met with any of these old fashioned jeux d’esprit I will insert a few samples of their quality.

For instance, his daughters told me of the doctor walking one day with a whig gentleman, in the vicinity of the Common, where a division of the British troops lay encamped. His companion pointing to the soldiers of the crown—said—“you see there the cause of all our evils—” “—But you cannot say that our evils are not red-dressed,” remarked Dr. Byles. “Your pun is not a good one,” observed his companion, “you have mis-spelt the word by adding another D.”—“Well—” replied the clerical joker,—“as a doctor of divinity, am I not entitled to the use of two D’s?”

They spoke of their father’s captivity in his own mansion. And one of them repeated to me the well known story of Dr. Byles coming out to the centinel who was on guard, in a porch that then ran along the front of the house, and requesting him to go to the street pump and bring a bucket of cold water, as the day was warm, and the doctor very thirsty. The soldier, it seems, at first declined; alleging his reluctance to violate the rules of the service by quitting his post before the relief came round. The doctor assured the man that he would take his place, and be his own guard till the water was brought. The centinel at last complied; and took the bucket and went to the pump,—first resigning his musket to Dr. Byles, who shouldered it in a very soldier-like manner, and paced the porch, guarding himself till the sentry came back,—to whom on returning his piece, he said,—“Now my friend, you see I have been guarded—re-guarded—and dis-regarded.”

The Miss Byleses also referred to the anecdote of their father having once paid his addresses to a lady who refused him, and afterwards married the Mr. Quincy of that time, a name which then, as now, is frequently in Boston pronounced Quinsy. The doctor afterwards meeting the lady, said to her jocosely,—“Your taste in distempers must be very bad, when it has led you to prefer the Quinsy to Byles.”

In front of the house was in former times a large deep slough, that had been suffered by the municipal authorities to remain there for several winters, with all its inconveniences, which in wet weather rendered it nearly impassable. One day, Dr. Byles observed from his window that a chaise, containing two of the select men, or regulators of the town, had been completely arrested in its progress by sticking fast in the thick heavy mud,—and they were both obliged to get out, and putting their shoulders to the wheel, work almost knee-deep in the mire before they could liberate their vehicle. The doctor came out to his gate, and bowing respectfully, said to them—“Gentlemen, I have frequently represented that slough to you as a nuisance to the street, but hitherto without any effect. Therefore I am rejoiced to see you stirring in the matter at last.”

Certain fanatics who called themselves New-Lights had become very obnoxious to the more rational part of the community, and were regarded with much displeasure by the orthodox churches. A woman of this sect, who lived in the neighborhood, came in as usual, one morning, to annoy Dr. Byles, by a long argumentative, or rather vituperative visit. “Have you heard the news?” asked the doctor, immediately on the entrance of his unwelcome guest; he having just learnt the arrival, from London, of three hundred street lamps.

She replied in the negative.

“Well then,”—resumed the doctor,—“Not less than three hundred new lights have just arrived from England, and the civil authorities are going immediately to have them all put in irons.”

The lady was shocked to hear of the cruel treatment designed for her sectarian brethren that had just come over, and she hastened away directly, to spread the intelligence among all her acquaintances, in the hope, as she said, that something might be done to prevent the infliction of so unmerited a punishment. And the doctor congratulated himself on the success of the jest by which he had gotten rid of a troublesome visiter.

A son of Dr. Byles, that retired to Halifax, must have probably inherited a portion of his father’s mantle; for his sisters repeated to me one of his conundrums, the humor of which almost atones for its coarseness—“Why do the leaders of insurrections resemble men that like sausages?”—“Because they are fond of intestine broils.”

The Miss Byleses told me much of the scarcity of provisions and fire-wood, throughout Boston, during the winter of 1775, when the British and their adherents held out the town against the Yankee rebels, as they called them—and who had invested it every-where on the land side, taking especial care that no supplies should pass in. It was then that the old North Church was torn down by order of General Howe, that the soldiers might convert into fuel the wood of which it was built.

By the bye, Mrs. Corder, an aged and intelligent female, living at the North end, informed me that, when a little girl, she witnessed from her father’s house on the opposite side of the way, the demolition of this church; and that she was terrified at the noise of the falling beams and of the wooden walls, as they battered them down, and at the shouting and swearing of the soldiers as they quarrelled over their plunder. Nevertheless, when the work of destruction was over, and the soldiers all gone, she and other children of the neighborhood ran out to scramble among the rubbish—and she found and carried home a little wooden footstool or cricket, that had evidently been thrown out from one of the demolished pews. I bought of my informant (who was in indigent circumstances) this humble and time-darkened relic, and it is now in possession of my youngest niece.

To return to the daughters of Dr. Byles.—They still lamented greatly over the privations endured that winter by the British army shut up and beleaguered in Boston; though certainly the same sufferings were shared by all the inhabitants that remained in the town.—And they grieved accordingly, to think that these inconveniencies finally compelled their English friends to take to their ships and depart.

Miss Mary Byles related to me, that on one occasion she had given to a hungry British soldier a piece of cold pork that had been left from dinner. A few evenings after, the same man knocked at the door, and requested to see one of the ladies—Miss Mary presented herself, and the grateful soldier slipped into her hand a paper containing a small quantity of the herb called by the whigs of that time “the detested tea;” and which it was then scarcely possible to obtain on any terms.

Several years elapsed before I again was in Boston. In the interim, I heard something of the Miss Byleses from ladies who knew and visited them. I understood that, at length, they had found it impossible to prevent what they had so long dreaded, the opening of a street that would take in their little green lawn, their old horse-chesnut trees, and that part of their house that stood directly across the way. For this surrender of their property, they received from the city an ample compensation in money; also their house was made as good or rather better than ever besides being new roofed and thoroughly repaired. The despoiled sisters, though another and more comfortable residence was offered to them during the time of their destruction, as they termed it, steadily persisted in remaining on their own domain during the whole process of its dismemberment. Their house, as they said, was cut in half; that part which faced the end of Tremont street being taken away. They mourned over the departure of every beam and plank as if each was an old friend—and so they truly were. And deep indeed was the affliction of the aged sisters when they saw, falling beneath the remorseless axe, their noble horse-chesnut trees whose scattered branches, as they lay on the grass, the old ladies declared, seemed to them like the dismembered limbs of children. At this juncture, their grief and indignation reached its climax; and they excited much sympathy even among professed utilitarians. There were many indulgent hearts in Boston that felt as if the improvement of this part of the city might yet have been delayed for a few short years, till after these venerable and harmless females should have closed their eyes for ever upon all that could attach them to this side of the grave. And that even if the march of public spirit should in consequence have allowed itself to pause a little longer in this part of its road, “neither heaven nor earth would have grieved at the mercy.”

Miss Mary Byles, who with more sprightliness had less strength of mind than her younger sister, never, as the saying is, held up her head again.—Her health and spirits declined from that time—she sunk slowly but surely; and after lingering some months, a few days of severe bodily suffering terminated all her afflictions, and consigned her mortal remains to their final resting-place beside her father. In the meantime she had lost her nephew, Mather Brown, the painter, who died at an advanced age in London and who was to have been the heir of all that his aunts possessed.

In addition to the rest of their little wealth, the Miss Byleses had in a sort of strong hold up stairs a chest of old-fashioned plate, no article of which was on any occasion used by them. Also, they retained some rare and valuable books that had belonged to their father, and a few curious and excellent mathematical instruments brought by him from England, and which the University of Harvard had vainly endeavoured to purchase from them. Among other articles was an immense burning-glass, said to be one of the largest in the world, and which the old ladies kept locked up in a closet, and carefully covered with a thick cloth, lest, as they said, it should set the house on fire.

On a subsequent visit to the metropolis of the American east, I went to see the surviving Miss Byles; and when I reached the accustomed place I could scarcely recognize it. The main part of the old house was yet standing; but the loss of one end had given it quite a different aspect. There was no longer the green inclosure, the fence-gate, and the narrow path through the grass—the door opened directly upon a brick pavement and on the dusty street. To be sure there was a fresh-looking wooden door-step. New tenements had been run up all about the now noisy vicinity, which had entirely lost its air of quiet retirement. All was now symptomatic of bustle and business. The ancient dwelling-place of the Byles family had ceased to be picturesque. It had been repaired and made comfortable; but denuded of its guardian trees there was nothing more to screen from full view its extreme unsightliness. Above its weather-blackened walls (which the sisters would not allow to be painted, lest it should look totally unlike itself) the new shingles of the roof seemed out of keeping—I thought of all the poor ladies must have suffered during the transformation of their paternal domicile.

On knocking at the door, it was opened for me by an extremely good-looking neatly dressed matron, who conducted me into a room which I could scarcely believe was the original old parlor. The homely antique furniture had disappeared, and was replaced by some very neat and convenient articles of modern form. The floor was nicely carpeted; there were new chairs and a new table,—a bed with white curtains and counterpane, and window-curtains to match.—Nothing looked familiar but the antique crown chair and the pictures.

I found Miss Catharine Byles seated in a rocking chair with a pillow at her back.—She looked paler, thinner, sharper, and much older than when I last saw her. She was no longer in a white short gown but wore a whole gown of black merino, with a nice white muslin collar and a regular day-cap trimmed with black ribbon.

Though glad to find her so much improved as to comfort, I take shame to myself when I confess that I felt something not unlike disappointment, at seeing such a change in the ancient lady and her attributes. The quaintness, and I may say the picturesqueness of the old mansion, and its accessories, and also that of its octogenarian mistress, seemed gone for ever. I am sorry to acknowledge that at the moment I thought of the French artist Lebrun, who meeting in the street an old tattered beggar-man with long gray locks and a venerable silver beard, was struck with the idea of his being a capital subject for the pencil, and engaged him to come to him next day and have his likeness transferred to canvass. The beggar came; but thinking that all people who sit for their pictures should look spruce, he had bedizened himself in a very genteel suit of Sunday clothes, with kneebuckles and silk stockings; his face and hands nicely washed; his chin shaved clean; and his hair dressed and powdered; the whole man looking altogether as unpaintable as possible.—All artists will sympathize with the disappointed Lebrun, as he contemplated his beggar with dismay, and exclaimed “—oh! you are spoiled!—you are spoiled!” I suppose it is because I am a painter’s sister, that I caught myself nearly on the point of making a similar ejaculation on seeing the new-modelling of Miss Catharine Byles, and her domicile.

But a truce with such unpardonable thoughts—Miss Catharine recognized me at once, and seemed very glad to see me. She soon began to talk about her troubles, and her sorrows, and alluded in a very affecting manner to the loss of her sister, who she said had died of a broken heart in consequence of the changes made in their little patrimony; having always hoped to die, as she had lived, in her father’s house just as he had left it—“But the worst of all,” pursued Miss Catharine—“was the cutting down of the old trees.—Every stroke of the axe seemed like a blow upon our hearts. Neither of us slept a wink all that night. Poor sister Mary; she soon fretted herself to death. To think of our having to submit to these dreadful changes, all at once; when for ten years our dear father’s spectacles, were never removed from the place in which he had last laid them down.”

I attempted to offer a few words of consolation to Miss Catharine, but she wept bitterly and would not be comforted. “Ah!”—said she—“this is one of the consequences of living in a republic. Had we been still under a king, he would have known nothing about our little property, and we could have enjoyed it in our own way as long as we lived. There is one comfort, that not a creature in the states will be any the better for what we shall leave behind us—Sister and I have taken care of that. We have bequeathed every article to our relations in Nova Scotia since our nephew, poor boy, was so unfortunate as to die before us. In all our trials it has been a great satisfaction to us to reflect that when everything was changing around, grace has been given us to remain faithful to our church and king.”

The loyal old lady then informed me that, on his accession to the throne, she had written a letter of congratulation to his Britannic Majesty, William the Fourth, whom she remembered having seen in Boston before the revolution, when he was there as Duke of Clarence and an officer in his father’s navy. In this epistle she had earnestly assured him that the family of Dr. Byles always were, and always would be, most true and fervent in their devotion to their liege lord and rightful sovereign the king of England.—To have attempted to argue her out of this feeling, the pride and solace of her declining life, would have been cruel; and moreover entirely useless—I did not hint to her the improbability of her letter ever having reached the royal personage to whom it was addressed.

The old lady told me that her chief occupation now was to write serious poetry, and she gave me a copy of some stanzas which she had recently composed. The verses were tolerably good, and written in a hand remarkably neat, handsome, and steady.

Miss Catharine Byles survived her sister Miss Mary about two years, and died of gradual decay in the summer of 1837. Her remains repose with those of her father and sister beneath the flooring of Trinity Church. They left the whole of their property to their loyalist relations in Nova Scotia, true to their long-cherished resolution that no republican should inherit the value of a farthing from them. The representative of the family is said to have come to Boston and taken possession of the bequest.

It is curious, as well as instructive, to contemplate the infinite varieties of human character, and the strange phases under which human intellect presents itself. The peculiarities of these two sisters strikingly evinced the lasting power of early impressions, almost always indelible when acting upon minds that have not been expanded by intercourse with the world. For instance—their steadfast, gratuitous and useless loyalty, cherished for monarchs whom they had never seen, and who had forgotten the very existence of Dr. Byles (if indeed they had ever remembered it) and who, of course, neither knew nor cared anything about his daughters; their rooted antipathy to the republic in which they lived, and where if they had not persisted in shutting their eyes they must have seen everything flourishing around them; the strict economy which induced them to deny themselves even the comforts of life, and their willingness to be assisted by the benevolent rather than render themselves independent by an advantageous disposal of their property. The almost idolatrous devotion with which they clung to the inanimate objects that had been familiar to them in early life, showed an intensity of feeling which was both pitied and respected by their friends, though reason perhaps would not have sanctioned its entire indulgence. By living so much alone, by visiting at no other house, by never going out of their native town, by perpetually thinking and talking over the occurrences of their youth, they had wrought themselves into a firm belief that no way was right but their own way, no opinions correct but their own opinions: and above all, that in no other dwelling-place but their paternal mansion was it possible for them to be happy or even to exist.

As a set-off to their weaknesses, their vanities and their prejudices, it gives me pleasure to bear testimony to the kindness of their deportment, the soft tones of their voices, and to the old-fashioned polish of their manners; which at once denoted them to be ladies, even in their short-gowns and petticoats.

Though, in the latter part of their lives, the daughters of Dr. Byles were subjected to the sore trial of seeing the little green lawn on which they had played when children converted into a dusty street, and the fine old trees (which would take a century to replace) demolished in a few minutes before their eyes: still they were both permitted to die beneath the same roof under which their existence had commenced. The house of their heavenly father has many mansions; and there, in their eternal abode, now that their mental vision has cleared, and their souls have been purified from the dross of mortality, they have learnt the futility of having set their hearts too steadfastly on a dwelling erected by human hands; and more than all, of fostering prejudices in favor of that system of government which, according to the signs of the times, is fast and deservedly passing away. Is it too much to hope that ere the lapse of another half century, not a being in the civilized world will render the homage of a bended knee, except to the King of Heaven.


A dream of love, too short, but ah, how dear!

  Hath fled and left me sad and desolate.

Oft from my lids I dash the silent tear

  And mourn as mourns the wood-dove for her mate,

Who on some branch of thunder-stricken oak

  Wastes in complainings tremulous and low

Her gentle soul away. The charm is broke,

  Which link’d me erst to joy. With pensive brow,

At midnight hour beneath the ruined pile,

  Musing o’er change my vigil lone I keep,⁠—

While streaming faint aslant the shattered aisle,

  Soft on its moss the pillowed moonbeams sleep,

Or trim the flickering lamp and eager pore

On bard or sage in Hellas famed of yore.


                                 B. H. B.





Among all the pioneers of American literature, whether prose or poetical, there is not one whose productions have not been much over-rated by his countrymen. But this fact is more especially obvious in respect to such of these pioneers as are no longer living,—nor is it a fact of so deeply transcendental a nature as only to be accounted for by the Emersons and Alcotts. In the first place, we have but to consider that gratitude, surprise, and a species of hyper-patriotic triumph have been blended, and finally confounded, with mere admiration, or appreciation, in respect to the labors of our earlier writers; and, in the second place, that Death has thrown his customary veil of the sacred over these commingled feelings, forbidding them, in a measure, to be now separated or subjected to analysis. “In speaking of the deceased,” says that excellent old English Moralist, James Puckle, in his “Gray Cap for a Green Head,” “so fold up your discourse that their virtues may be outwardly shown, while their vices are wrapped up in silence.” And with somewhat too inconsiderate a promptitude have we followed the spirit of this quaint advice. The mass of American readers have been, hitherto, in no frame of mind to view with calmness, and to discuss with discrimination, the true claims of the few who were first in convincing the mother country that her sons were not all brainless, as, in the plentitude of her arrogance, she, at one period, half affected and half wished to believe; and where any of these few have departed from among us, the difficulty of bringing their pretensions to the test of a proper criticism has been enhanced in a very remarkable degree. But even as concerns the living: is there any one so blind as not to see that Mr. Cooper, for example, owes much, and that Mr. Paulding, owes all of his reputation as a novelist, to his early occupation of the field? Is there any one so dull as not to know that fictions which neither Mr. Paulding nor Mr. Cooper could have written, are daily published by native authors without attracting more of commendation than can be crammed into a hack newspaper paragraph? And, again, is there any one so prejudiced as not to acknowledge that all this is because there is no longer either reason or wit in the query,—“Who reads an American book?” It is not because we lack the talent in which the days of Mr. Paulding exulted, but because such talent has shown itself to be common. It is not because we have no Mr. Coopers; but because it has been demonstrated that we might, at any moment, have as many Mr. Coopers as we please. In fact we are now strong in our own resources. We have, at length, arrived at that epoch when our literature may and must stand on its own merits, or fall through its own defects. We have snapped asunder the leading-strings of our British Grandmamma, and, better still, we have survived the first hours of our novel freedom,—the first licentious hours of a hobbledehoy braggadocio and swagger. At last, then, we are in a condition to be criticised—even more, to be neglected; and the journalist is no longer in danger of being impeached for lèse-majesté of the Democratic Spirit, who shall assert, with sufficient humility, that we have committed an error in mistaking “Kettell’s Specimens” for the Pentateuch, or Joseph Rodman Drake for Apollo.

The case of this latter gentleman is one which well illustrates what we have been saying. We believe it was some five years ago that Mr. Dearborn republished the “Culprit Fay,” which then, as at the period of its original issue, was belauded by the universal American press, in a manner which must have appeared ludicrous—not to speak very plainly—in the eyes of all unprejudiced observers. With a curiosity much excited by comments at once so grandiloquent and so general, we procured and read the poem. What we found it we ventured to express distinctly, and at some length, in the pages of the “Southern Messenger.” It is a well-versified and sufficiently fluent composition, without high merit of any kind. Its defects are gross and superabundant. Its plot and conduct, considered in reference to its scene, are absurd. Its originality is none at all. Its imagination (and this was the great feature insisted upon by its admirers,) is but a “counterfeit presentment,”—but the shadow of the shade of that lofty quality which is, in fact, the soul of the Poetic Sentiment—but a drivelling effort to be fanciful—an effort resulting in a species of hop-skip-and-go-merry rhodomontade, which the uninitiated feel it a duty to call ideality, and to admire as such, while lost in surprise at the impossibility of performing at least the latter half of the duty with any thing like satisfaction to themselves. And all this we not only asserted, but without difficulty proved. Dr. Drake has written some beautiful poems, but the “Culprit Fay,” is not of them. We neither expected to hear any dissent from our opinions, nor did we hear any. On the contrary, the approving voice of every critic in the country whose dictum we had been accustomed to respect, was to us a sufficient assurance that we had not been very grossly in the wrong. In fact the public taste was then approaching the right. The truth indeed had not, as yet, made itself heard; but we had reached a point at which it had but to be plainly and boldly put, to be, at least tacitly, admitted.

This habit of apotheosising our literary pioneers was a most indiscriminating one. Upon all who wrote, the applause was plastered with an impartiality really refreshing. Of course, the system favored the dunces at the expense of true merit; and, since there existed a certain fixed standard of exaggerated commendation to which all were adapted after the fashion of Procrustes, it is clear that the most meritorious required the least stretching,—in other words, that, although all were much over-rated, the deserving were over-rated in a less degree than the unworthy. Thus with Brainard:—a man of indisputable genius, who, in any more discriminate system of panegyric, would have been long ago bepuffed into Demi-Deism; for if “M’Fingal,” for example, is in reality what we have been told, the commentators upon Trumbull, as a matter of the simplest consistency, should have exalted into the seventh heaven of poetical dominion the author of the many graceful and vigorous effusions which are now lying, in a very neat little volume, before us.[3]

Yet we maintain that even these effusions have been overpraised, and materially so. It is not that Brainard has not written poems which may rank with those of any American, with the single exception of Longfellow—but that the general merit of our whole national Muse has been estimated too highly, and that the author of “The Connecticut River” has, individually, shared in the exaggeration. No poet among us has composed what would deserve the tithe of that amount of approbation so innocently lavished upon Brainard. But it would not suit our purpose just now, and in this department of the Magazine, to enter into any elaborate analysis of his productions. It so happens, however, that we open the book at a brief poem, an examination of which will stand us in good stead of this general analysis, since it is by this very poem that the admirers of its author are content to swear—since it is the fashion to cite it as his best—since thus, in short, it is the chief basis of his notoriety, if not the surest triumph of his fame.

We allude to “The Fall of Niagara,” and shall be pardoned for quoting it in full.

The thoughts are strange that crowd into my brain

While I look upward to thee. It would seem

As if God poured thee from his hollow hand,

And hung his brow upon thine awful front,

And spoke in that loud voice which seemed to him

Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour’s sake

The “sound of many waters,” and had bade

Thy flood to chronicle the ages back

And notch his centuries in the eternal rocks.


Deep calleth unto deep. And what are we

That hear the question of that voice sublime?

O, what are all the notes that ever rung

From war’s vain trumpet by thy thundering side?

Yea, what is all the riot man can make

In his short life to thy unceasing roar?

And yet, bold babbler, what art thou to HIM

Who drowned a world and heaped the waters far

Above its loftiest mountains?—a light wave

That breaks and whispers of its Maker’s might.

It is a very usual thing to hear these verses called not merely the best of their author, but the best which have been written on the subject of Niagara. Its positive merit appears to us only partial. We have been informed that the poet had seen the great cataract before writing the lines; but the Memoir prefixed to the present edition, denies what, for our own part, we never believed; for Brainard was truly a poet, and no poet could have looked upon Niagara, in the substance, and written thus about it. If he saw it at all, it must have been in fancy—“at a distance”—εκας—as the lying Pindar says he saw Archilocus, who died ages before the villain was born.

To the two opening verses we have no objection; but it may be well observed, in passing, that had the mind of the poet been really “crowded with strange thoughts,” and not merely engaged in an endeavor to think he would have entered at once upon the thoughts themselves, without allusion to the state of his brain. His subject would have left him no room for self.

The third line embodies an absurd, and impossible, not to say a contemptible image. We are called upon to conceive a similarity between the continuous downward sweep of Niagara, and the momentary splashing of some definite and of course trifling quantity of water from a hand; for, although it is the hand of the Deity himself which is referred to, the mind is irresistibly led, by the words “poured from his hollow hand,” to that idea which has been customarily attached to such phrase. It is needless to say, moreover, that the bestowing upon Deity a human form, is at best a low and most unideal conception.[4] In fact the poet has committed the grossest of errors in likening the fall to any material object; for the human fancy can fashion nothing which shall not be inferior in majesty to the cataract itself. Thus bathos is inevitable; and there is no better exemplification of bathos than Mr. Brainard has here given.[5]

The fourth line but renders the matter worse, for here the figure is most inartistically shifted. The handful of water becomes animate; for it has a front—that is, a forehead, and upon this forehead the Deity proceeds to hang a bow, that is, a rainbow. At the same time he “speaks in that loud voice, &c.;” and here it is obvious that the ideas of the writer are in a sad state of fluctuation; for he transfers the idiosyncrasy of the fall itself (that is to say its sound) to the one who pours it from his hand. But not content with all this, Mr. Brainard commands the flood to keep a kind of tally; for this is the low thought which the expression about “notching in the rocks” immediately and inevitably induces. The whole of this first division of the poem, embraces, we hesitate not to say, one of the most jarring, inappropriate, mean, and in every way monstrous assemblages of false imagery, which can be found out of the tragedies of Nat Lee, or the farces of Thomas Carlyle.

In the latter division, the poet recovers himself, as if ashamed of his previous bombast. His natural instinct (for Brainard was no artist) has enabled him to feel that subjects which surpass in grandeur all efforts of the human imagination are well depicted only in the simplest and least metaphorical language—a proposition as susceptible of demonstration as any in Euclid. Accordingly, we find a material sinking in tone; although he does not at once, discard all imagery. The “Deep calleth unto deep” is nevertheless a great improvement upon his previous rhetoricianism. The personification of the waters above and below would be good in reference to any subject less august. The moral reflections which immediately follow, have at least the merit of simplicity: but the poet exhibits no very lofty imagination when he bases these reflections only upon the cataract’s superiority to man in the noise it can create; nor is the concluding idea more spirited, where the mere difference between the quantity of water which occasioned the flood, and the quantity which Niagara precipitates, is made the measure of the Almighty Mind’s superiority to that cataract which it called by a thought into existence.

But although “The Fall of Niagara” does not deserve all the unmeaning commendation it has received, there are, nevertheless, many truly beautiful poems in this collection, and even more certain evidences of poetic power. “To a Child, the Daughter of a Friend” is exceedingly graceful and terse. “To the Dead” has equal grace, with more vigor, and, moreover, a touching air of melancholy. Its melody is very rich, and in the monotonous repetition, at each stanza, of a certain rhyme, we recognise a fantastic yet true imagination. “Mr. Merry’s Lament for Long Tom” would be worthy of all praise were not its unusually beautiful rhythm an imitation from Campbell, who would deserve his high poetical rank, if only for its construction. Of the merely humorous pieces we have little to say. Such things are not poetry. Mr. Brainard excelled in them, and they are very good in their place; but that place is not in a collection of poems. The prevalent notions upon this head are extremely vague; yet we see no reason why any ambiguity should exist. Humor, with an exception to be made hereafter, is directly antagonistical to that which is the soul of the Muse proper; and the omni-prevalent belief, that melancholy is inseparable from the higher manifestations of the beautiful, is not without a firm basis in nature and in reason. But it so happens that humor and that quality which we have termed the soul of the Muse (imagination) are both essentially aided in their development by the same adventitious assistance—that of rhythm and of rhyme. Thus the only bond between humorous verse and poetry, properly so called, is that they employ in common, a certain tool. But this single circumstance has been sufficient to occasion, and to maintain through long ages, a confusion of two very distinct ideas in the brain of the unthinking critic. There is, nevertheless, an individual branch of humor which blends so happily with the ideal, that from the union result some of the finest effects of legitimate poesy. We allude to what is termed “archness”—a trait with which popular feeling, which is unfailingly poetic, has invested, for example, the whole character of the fairy. In the volume before us there is a brief composition entitled “The Tree Toad” which will afford a fine exemplification of our idea. It seems to have been hurriedly constructed, as if its author had felt ashamed of his light labor. But that in his heart there was a secret exultation over these verses for which his reason found it difficult to account, we know; and there is not a really imaginative man within sound of our voice to-day, who, upon perusal of this little “Tree Toad” will not admit it to be one of the truest poems ever written by Brainard.

The Poems of John G. C. Brainard. A New and Authentic Collection, with an original Memoir of his Life. Hartford: Edward Hopkins.

The Humanitarians held that God was to be understood as having really a human form.—See Clarke’s Sermons, vol. 1, page 26, fol. edit.

“The drift of Milton’s argument leads him to employ language which would appear, at first sight, to verge upon their doctrine: but it will be seen immediately that he guards himself against the charge of having adopted one of the most ignorant errors of the dark ages of the church.”—Dr. Sumner’s Notes on Milton’s “Christian Doctrine.”

The opinion could never have been very general. Andeus, a Syrian of Messopotamia, who lived in the fourth century, was condemned for the doctrine, as heretical. His few disciples were called Anthropmorphites. See Du Pin.

It is remarkable that Drake, of whose “Culprit Fay,” we have just spoken is, perhaps, the sole poet who has employed, in the description of Niagara, imagery which does not produce a pathetic impression. In one of his minor poems he has these magnificent lines⁠—

  How sweet ’twould be, when all the air

In moonlight swims, along the river

  To couch upon the grass and hear

Niagara’s everlasting voice

  Far in the deep blue West away;

That dreamy and poetic noise

  We mark not in the glare of day⁠—

Oh, how unlike its torrent-cry

  When o’er the brink the tide is driven

As if the vast and sheeted sky

  In thunder fell from Heaven!





Who, when my thoughts at midnight deep,

  And senses drowned in slumber lie,

And star and moon their still watch keep,

  Is imaged to my sleeping eye?

The gems amid the braids that ’twine

  The dark locks from her pale brow thrown,

Faintly, as dews by eve wept, shine.

  Her cheek—its living tints are flown.


Sure I should know that fond, fixed gaze,

  Those hands whose fairy palms infold

Gently my own, the smile that plays

  Around those lips now pale and cold.

O! ever thus, as Night repeats

  Her silent star-watch, come to me!

More dear than all which living greets

  My waking eye, a dream of thee.





Philadelphia: John F. Nunns, 184 Chesnut Street.


The dream is past, and with it fled,

The hopes that once my passion fed;

And darkly die, mid grief and pain,

The joys which gone come not again.


My soul in silence and in tears,

Has cherish’d now for many years,

A love for one who does not know

The thoughts that in my bosom glow.


Oh! cease my heart, thy throbbing hide,

Another soon will be his bride;

And hope’s last faint, but cheering ray,

Will then for ever pass away.


They cannot see the silent tear,

That falls unchecked when none are near;

Nor do they mark the smother’d sigh

That heaves my breast when they are by.

I know my cheek is paler now,

And smiles no longer deck my brow,


’Tis youth’s decay, ’twill soon begin

To tell the thoughts that dwell within.

Oh! let me rouse my sleeping pride,

And from his gaze my feelings hide;

He shall not smile to think that I

With love for him could pine and die.


Barnaby Rudge; By Charles Dickens, (Boz) Author of “The Old Curiosity-Shop,” “Pickwick,” “Oliver Twist,” etc. etc. With numerous Illustrations, by Cattermole, Browne & Sibson. Lea & Blanchard: Philadelphia.

We often hear it said, of this or of that proposition, that it may be good in theory, but will not answer in practice; and in such assertions we find the substance of all the sneers at Critical Art which so gracefully curl the upper lips of a tribe which is beneath it. We mean the small geniuses—the literary Titmice—animalculae which judge of merit solely by result, and boast of the solidity, tangibility and infallibility of the test which they employ. The worth of a work is most accurately estimated, they assure us, by the number of those who peruse it; and “does a book sell?” is a query embodying, in their opinion, all that need be said or sung on the topic of its fitness for sale. We should as soon think of maintaining, in the presence of these creatures, the dictum of Anaxagoras, that snow is black, as of disputing, for example, the profundity of that genius which, in a run of five hundred nights, has rendered itself evident in “London Assurance.” “What,” cry they, “are critical precepts to us, or to anybody? Were we to observe all the critical rules in creation we should still be unable to write a good book”—a point, by the way, which we shall not now pause to deny. “Give us results,” they vociferate, “for we are plain men of common sense. We contend for fact instead of fancy—for practice in opposition to theory.”

The mistake into which the Titmice have been innocently led, however, is precisely that of dividing the practice which they would uphold, from the theory to which they would object. They should have been told in infancy, and thus prevented from exposing themselves in old age, that theory and practice are in so much one, that the former implies or includes the latter. A theory is only good as such, in proportion to its reducibility to practice. If the practice fail, it is because the theory is imperfect. To say what they are in the daily habit of saying—that such or such a matter may be good in theory but is false in practice,—is to perpetrate a bull—to commit a paradox—to state a contradiction in terms—in plain words, to tell a lie which is a lie at sight to the understanding of anything bigger than a Titmouse.

But we have no idea, just now, of persecuting the Tittlebats by too close a scrutiny into their little opinions. It is not our purpose, for example, to press them with so grave a weapon as the argumentum ad absurdum, or to ask them why, if the popularity of a book be in fact the measure of its worth, we should not be at once in condition to admit the inferiority of “Newton’s Principia” to “Hoyle’s Games;” of “Ernest Maltravers” to “Jack-the-Giant-Killer,” or “Jack Sheppard,” or “Jack Brag;” and of “Dick’s Christian Philosopher” to “Charlotte Temple,” or the “Memoirs of de Grammont,” or to one or two dozen other works which must be nameless. Our present design is but to speak, at some length, of a book which in so much concerns the Titmice, that it affords them the very kind of demonstration which they chiefly affect—practical demonstration—of the fallacy of one of their favorite dogmas; we mean the dogma that no work of fiction can fully suit, at the same time, the critical and the popular taste; in fact, that the disregarding or contravening of Critical Rule is absolutely essential to success, beyond a certain and very limited extent, with the public at large. And if, in the course of our random observations—for we have no space for systematic review—it should appear, incidentally, that the vast popularity of “Barnaby Rudge” must be regarded less as the measure of its value, than as the legitimate and inevitable result of certain well-understood critical propositions reduced by genius into practice, there will appear nothing more than what has before become apparent in the “Vicar of Wakefield” of Goldsmith, or in the “Robinson Crusoe” of De Foe—nothing more, in fact, than what is a truism to all but the Titmice.

Those who know us will not, from what is here premised, suppose it our intention, to enter into any wholesale laudation of “Barnaby Rudge.” In truth, our design may appear, at a cursory glance, to be very different indeed. Boccalini, in his “Advertisements from Parnassus,” tells us that a critic once presented Apollo with a severe censure upon an excellent poem. The God asked him for the beauties of the work. He replied that he only troubled himself about the errors. Apollo presented him with a sack of unwinnowed wheat, and bade him pick out all the chaff for his pains. Now we have not fully made up our minds that the God was in the right. We are not sure that the limit of critical duty is not very generally misapprehended. Excellence may be considered an axiom, or a proposition which becomes self-evident just in proportion to the clearness or precision with which it is put. If it fairly exists, in this sense, it requires no farther elucidation. It is not excellence if it need to be demonstrated as such. To point out too particularly the beauties of a work, is to admit, tacitly, that these beauties are not wholly admirable. Regarding, then, excellence as that which is capable of self-manifestation, it but remains for the critic to show when, where, and how it fails in becoming manifest; and, in this showing, it will be the fault of the book itself if what of beauty it contains be not, at least, placed in the fairest light. In a word, we may assume, notwithstanding a vast deal of pitiable cant upon this topic, that in pointing out frankly the errors of a work, we do nearly all that is critically necessary in displaying its merits. In teaching what perfection is, how, in fact, shall we more rationally proceed than in specifying what it is not?

The plot of “Barnaby Rudge” runs thus: About a hundred years ago, Geoffrey Haredale and John Chester were schoolmates in England—the former being the scape-goat and drudge of the latter. Leaving school, the boys become friends, with much of the old understanding. Haredale loves; Chester deprives him of his mistress. The one cherishes the most deadly hatred; the other merely contemns and avoids. By routes widely different both attain mature age. Haredale, remembering his old love, and still cherishing his old hatred, remains a bachelor and is poor. Chester, among other crimes, is guilty of the seduction and heartless abandonment of a gypsy-girl, who, after the desertion of her lover, gives birth to a son, and, falling into evil courses, is finally hung at Tyburn. The son is received and taken charge of, at an inn called the Maypole, upon the borders of Epping forest, and about twelve miles from London. This inn is kept by one John Willet, a burley-headed and very obtuse little man, who has a son, Joe, and who employs his protégé, under the single name of Hugh, as perpetual hostler at the inn. Hugh’s father marries, in the meantime, a rich parvenue, who soon dies, but not before having presented Mr. Chester with a boy, Edward. The father, (a thoroughly selfish man-of-the-world, whose model is Chesterfield,) educates this son at a distance, seeing him rarely, and calling him to the paternal residence, at London, only when he has attained the age of twenty-four or five. He, the father, has, long ere this time, spent the fortune brought him by his wife, having been living upon his wits and a small annuity for some eighteen years. The son is recalled chiefly that by marrying an heiress, on the strength of his own personal merit and the reputed wealth of old Chester, he may enable the latter to continue his gayeties in old age. But of this design, as well as of his poverty, Edward is kept in ignorance for some three or four years after his recall; when the father’s discovery of what he considers an inexpedient love-entanglement on the part of the son, induces him to disclose the true state of his affairs, as well as the real tenor of his intentions.

Now the love-entanglement of which we speak, is considered inexpedient by Mr. Chester for two reasons—the first of which is, that the lady beloved is the orphan niece of his old enemy, Haredale, and the second is, that Haredale (although in circumstances which have been much and very unexpectedly improved during the preceding twenty-two years) is still insufficiently wealthy to meet the views of Mr. Chester.

We say that, about twenty-two years before the period in question, there came an unlooked-for change in the worldly circumstances of Haredale. This gentleman has an elder brother, Reuben, who has long possessed the family inheritance of the Haredales, residing at a mansion called “The Warren,” not far from the Maypole-Inn, which is itself a portion of the estate. Reuben is a widower, with one child, a daughter, Emma. Besides this daughter, there are living with him a gardener, a steward (whose name is Rudge) and two women servants, one of whom is the wife of Rudge. On the night of the nineteenth of March, 1733, Rudge murders his master for the sake of a large sum of money which he is known to have in possession. During the struggle, Mr. Haredale grasps the cord of an alarm-bell which hangs within his reach, but succeeds in sounding it only once or twice, when it is severed by the knife of the ruffian, who then, completing his bloody business, and securing the money, proceeds to quit the chamber. While doing this, however, he is disconcerted by meeting the gardener, whose pallid countenance evinces suspicion of the deed committed. The murderer is thus forced to kill his fellow servant. Having done so, the idea strikes him of transferring the burden of the crime from himself. He dresses the corpse of the gardener in his own clothes, puts upon its finger his own ring and in its pocket his own watch—then drags it to a pond in the grounds, and throws it in. He now returns to the house, and, disclosing all to his wife, requests her to become a partner in his flight. Horror-stricken, she falls to the ground. He attempts to raise her. She seizes his wrist, staining her hand with blood in the attempt. She renounces him forever; yet promises to conceal the crime. Alone, he flees the country. The next morning, Mr. Haredale being found murdered, and the steward and gardener being both missing, both are suspected. Mrs. Rudge leaves The Warren, and retires to an obscure lodging in London (where she lives upon an annuity allowed her by Haredale) having given birth, on the very day after the murder, to a son, Barnaby Rudge, who proves an idiot, who bears upon his wrist a red mark, and who is born possessed with a maniacal horror of blood.

Some months since the assassination having elapsed, what appears to be the corpse of Rudge is discovered, and the outrage is attributed to the gardener. Yet not universally:—for, as Geoffrey Haredale comes into possession of the estate, there are not wanting suspicions (fomented by Chester) of his own participation in the deed. This taint of suspicion, acting upon his hereditary gloom, together with the natural grief and horror of the atrocity, embitters the whole life of Haredale. He secludes himself at The Warren, and acquires a monomaniac acerbity of temper relieved only by love of his beautiful niece.

Time wears away. Twenty-two years pass by. The niece has ripened into womanhood, and loves young Chester without the knowledge of her uncle or the youth’s father. Hugh has grown a stalwart man—the type of man the animal, as his father is of man the ultra-civilized. Rudge, the murderer, returns, urged to his undoing by Fate. He appears at the Maypole and inquires stealthily of the circumstances which have occurred at The Warren in his absence. He proceeds to London, discovers the dwelling of his wife, threatens her with the betrayal of her idiot son into vice and extorts from her the bounty of Haredale. Revolting at such appropriation of such means, the widow, with Barnaby, again seeks The Warren, renounces the annuity, and, refusing to assign any reason for her conduct, states her intention of quitting London forever, and of burying herself in some obscure retreat—a retreat which she begs Haredale not to attempt discovering. When he seeks her in London the next day, she is gone; and there are no tidings, either of herself or of Barnaby, until the expiration of five years—which bring the time up to that of the Celebrated “No Popery” Riots of Lord George Gordon.

In the meanwhile, and immediately subsequent to the re-appearance of Rudge; Haredale and the elder Chester, each heartily desirous of preventing the union of Edward and Emma, have entered into a covenant, the result of which is that, by means of treachery on the part of Chester, permitted on that of Haredale, the lovers misunderstand each other and are estranged. Joe, also, the son of the innkeeper, Willet, having been coquetted with, to too great an extent, by Dolly Varden, (the pretty daughter of one Gabriel Varden, a locksmith of Clerkenwell, London) and having been otherwise mal-treated at home, enlists in his Majesty’s army and is carried beyond seas, to America; not returning until towards the close of the riots. Just before their commencement, Rudge, in a midnight prowl about the scene of his atrocity, is encountered by an individual who had been familiar with him in earlier life, while living at The Warren. This individual, terrified at what he supposes, very naturally, to be the ghost of the murdered Rudge, relates his adventure to his companions at the Maypole, and John Willet conveys the intelligence, forthwith, to Mr. Haredale. Connecting the apparition, in his own mind, with the peculiar conduct of Mrs. Rudge, this gentleman imbibes a suspicion, at once, of the true state of affairs. This suspicion (which he mentions to no one) is, moreover, very strongly confirmed by an occurrence happening to Varden, the locksmith, who, visiting the woman late one night, finds her in communion of a nature apparently most confidential, with a ruffian whom the locksmith knows to be such, without knowing the man himself. Upon an attempt, on the part of Varden, to seize this ruffian, he is thwarted by Mrs. R.; and upon Haredale’s inquiring minutely into the personal appearance of the man, he is found to accord with Rudge. We have already shown that the ruffian was in fact Rudge himself. Acting upon the suspicion thus aroused, Haredale watches, by night, alone, in the deserted house formerly occupied by Mrs. R. in hope of here coming upon the murderer, and makes other exertions with the view of arresting him; but all in vain.

It is, also, at the conclusion of the five years, that the hitherto uninvaded retreat of Mrs. Rudge is disturbed by a message from her husband, demanding money. He has discovered her abode by accident. Giving him what she has at the time, she afterwards eludes him, and hastens, with Barnaby, to bury herself in the crowd of London, until she can find opportunity again to seek retreat in some more distant region of England. But the riots have now begun. The idiot is beguiled into joining the mob, and, becoming separated from his mother (who, growing ill through grief, is borne to a hospital) meets with his old playmate Hugh, and becomes with him a ringleader in the rebellion.

The riots proceed. A conspicuous part is borne in them by one Simon Tappertit, a fantastic and conceited little apprentice of Varden’s, and a sworn enemy to Joe Willet, who has rivalled him in the affection of Dolly. A hangman, Dennis, is also very busy amid the mob. Lord George Gordon, and his secretary, Gashford, with John Grueby, his servant, appear, of course, upon the scene. Old Chester, who, during the five years, has become Sir John, instigates Gashford, who has received personal insult from Haredale, (a catholic and consequently obnoxious to the mob) instigates Gashford to procure the burning of The Warren, and to abduct Emma during the excitement ensuing. The mansion is burned, (Hugh, who also fancies himself wronged by Haredale, being chief actor in the outrage) and Miss H. carried off, in company with Dolly, who had long lived with her, and whom Tappertit abducts upon his own responsibility. Rudge, in the meantime, finding the eye of Haredale upon him, (since he has become aware of the watch kept nightly at his wife’s,) goaded by the dread of solitude, and fancying that his sole chance of safety lies in joining the rioters, hurries upon their track to the doomed Warren. He arrives too late—the mob have departed. Skulking about the ruins, he is discovered by Haredale, and finally captured, without a struggle, within the glowing walls of the very chamber in which the deed was committed. He is conveyed to prison, where he meets and recognises Barnaby, who had been captured as a rioter. The mob assail and burn the jail. The father and son escape. Betrayed by Dennis, both are again retaken, and Hugh shares their fate. In Newgate, Dennis, through accident, discovers the parentage of Hugh, and an effort is made in vain to interest Chester in behalf of his son. Finally, Varden procures the pardon of Barnaby; but Hugh, Rudge and Dennis are hung. At the eleventh hour, Joe returns from abroad with one arm. In company with Edward Chester, he performs prodigies of valor (during the last riots) on behalf of the government. The two, with Haredale and Varden, rescue Emma and Dolly. A double marriage, of course, takes place; for Dolly has repented her fine airs, and the prejudices of Haredale are overcome. Having killed Chester in a duel, he quits England forever, and ends his days in the seclusion of an Italian convent. Thus, after summary disposal of the understrappers, ends the drama of “Barnaby Rudge.”

We have given, as may well be supposed, but a very meagre outline of the story, and we have given it in the simple or natural sequence. That is to say, we have related the events, as nearly as might be, in the order of their occurrence. But this order would by no means have suited the purpose of the novelist, whose design has been to maintain the secret of the murder, and the consequent mystery which encircles Rudge, and the actions of his wife, until the catastrophe of his discovery by Haredale. The thesis of the novel may thus be regarded as based upon curiosity. Every point is so arranged as to perplex the reader, and whet his desire for elucidation:—for example, the first appearance of Rudge at the Maypole; his questions; his persecution of Mrs. R.; the ghost seen by the frequenter of the Maypole; and Haredale’s impressive conduct in consequence. What we have told, in the very beginning of our digest, in regard to the shifting of the gardener’s dress, is sedulously kept from the reader’s knowledge until he learns it from Rudge’s own confession in jail. We say sedulously; for, the intention once known, the traces of the design can be found upon every page. There is an amusing and exceedingly ingenious instance at page 145, where Solomon Daisy describes his adventure with the ghost.

“It was a ghost—a spirit,” cried Daisy.

“Whose?” they all three asked together.

In the excess of his emotion (for he fell back trembling in his chair and waved his hand as if entreating them to question him no farther) his answer was lost upon all but old John Willet, who happened to be seated close beside him.

“Who!” cried Parkes and Tom Cobb—“Who was it?”

“Gentlemen,” said Mr. Willet, after a long pause, “you needn’t ask. The likeness of a murdered man. This is the nineteenth of March.”

A profound silence ensued.

The impression here skilfully conveyed is, that the ghost seen is that of Reuben Haredale; and the mind of the not-too-acute reader is at once averted from the true state of the case—from the murderer, Rudge, living in the body.

Now there can be no question that, by such means as these, many points which are comparatively insipid in the natural sequence of our digest, and which would have been comparatively insipid even if given in full detail in a natural sequence, are endued with the interest of mystery; but neither can it be denied that a vast many more points are at the same time deprived of all effect, and become null, through the impossibility of comprehending them without the key. The author, who, cognizant of his plot, writes with this cognizance continually operating upon him, and thus writes to himself in spite of himself, does not, of course, feel that much of what is effective to his own informed perception, must necessarily be lost upon his uninformed readers; and he himself is never in condition, as regards his own work, to bring the matter to test. But the reader may easily satisfy himself of the validity of our objection. Let him re-peruse “Barnaby Rudge,” and, with a pre-comprehension of the mystery, these points of which we speak break out in all directions like stars, and throw quadruple brilliance over the narrative—a brilliance which a correct taste will at once declare unprofitably sacrificed at the shrine of the keenest interest of mere mystery.

The design of mystery, however, being once determined upon by an author, it becomes imperative, first, that no undue or inartistical means be employed to conceal the secret of the plot; and, secondly, that the secret be well kept. Now, when, at page 16, we read that “the body of poor Mr. Rudge, the steward, was found” months after the outrage, &c. we see that Mr. Dickens has been guilty of no misdemeanor against Art in stating what was not the fact; since the falsehood is put into the mouth of Solomon Daisy, and given merely as the impression of this individual and of the public. The writer has not asserted it in his own person, but ingeniously conveyed an idea (false in itself, yet a belief in which is necessary for the effect of the tale) by the mouth of one of his characters. The case is different, however, when Mrs. Rudge is repeatedly denominated “the widow.” It is the author who, himself, frequently so terms her. This is disingenuous and inartistical: accidentally so, of course. We speak of the matter merely by way of illustrating our point, and as an oversight on the part of Mr. Dickens.

That the secret be well kept is obviously necessary. A failure to preserve it until the proper moment of dénouement, throws all into confusion, so far as regards the effect intended. If the mystery leak out, against the author’s will, his purposes are immediately at odds and ends; for he proceeds upon the supposition that certain impressions do exist, which do not exist, in the mind of his readers. We are not prepared to say, so positively as we could wish, whether, by the public at large, the whole mystery of the murder committed by Rudge, with the identity of the Maypole ruffian with Rudge himself, was fathomed at any period previous to the period intended, or, if so, whether at a period so early as materially to interfere with the interest designed; but we are forced, through sheer modesty, to suppose this the case; since, by ourselves individually, the secret was distinctly understood immediately upon the perusal of the story of Solomon Daisy, which occurs at the seventh page of this volume of three hundred and twenty-three. In the number of the “Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post,” for May the 1st, 1841, (the tale having then only begun) will be found a prospective notice of some length, in which we made use of the following words⁠—

That Barnaby is the son of the murderer may not appear evident to our readers—but we will explain. The person murdered is Mr. Reuben Haredale. He was found assassinated in his bed-chamber. His steward (Mr. Rudge, senior,) and his gardener (name not mentioned) are missing. At first both are suspected. ‘Some months afterward,’ here we use the words of the story—‘the steward’s body, scarcely to be recognised but by his clothes, and the watch and ring he wore—was found at the bottom of a piece of water in the grounds, with a deep gash in the breast where he had been stabbed by a knife. He was only partly dressed; and all people agreed that he had been sitting up reading in his own room, where there were many traces of blood, and was suddenly fallen upon and killed, before his master.’

Now, be it observed, it is not the author himself who asserts that the steward’s body was found; he has put the words in the mouth of one of his characters. His design is to make it appear, in the dénouement, that the steward, Rudge, first murdered the gardener, then went to his master’s chamber, murdered him, was interrupted by his (Rudge’s) wife, whom he seized and held by the wrist, to prevent her giving the alarm—that he then, after possessing himself of the booty desired, returned to the gardener’s room, exchanged clothes with him, put upon the corpse his own watch and ring, and secreted it where it was afterwards discovered at so late a period that the features could not be identified.

The differences between our pre-conceived ideas, as here stated, and the actual facts of the story, will be found immaterial. The gardener was murdered not before but after his master; and that Rudge’s wife seized him by the wrist, instead of his seizing her, has so much the air of a mistake on the part of Mr. Dickens, that we can scarcely speak of our own version as erroneous. The grasp of a murderer’s bloody hand on the wrist of a woman enceinte, would have been more likely to produce the effect described (and this every one will allow) than the grasp of the hand of the woman upon the wrist of the assassin. We may therefore say of our supposition as Talleyrand said of some cockney’s bad French—que s’il ne soit pas Français, assurément donc il le doit être—that if we did not rightly prophesy, yet, at least, our prophecy should have been right.

We are informed in the Preface to “Barnaby Rudge” that “no account of the Gordon Riots having been introduced into any work of fiction, and the subject presenting very extraordinary and remarkable features,” our author “was led to project this tale.” But for this distinct announcement (for Mr. Dickens can scarcely have deceived himself) we should have looked upon the Riots as altogether an afterthought. It is evident that they have no necessary connection with the story. In our digest, which carefully includes all essentials of the plot, we have dismissed the doings of the mob in a paragraph. The whole event of the drama would have proceeded as well without as with them. They have even the appearance of being forcibly introduced. In our compendium above, it will be seen that we emphasised several allusions to an interval of five years. The action is brought up to a certain point. The train of events is, so far, uninterrupted—nor is there any apparent need of interruption—yet all the characters are now thrown forward for a period of five years. And why? We ask in vain. It is not to bestow upon the lovers a more decorous maturity of age—for this is the only possible idea which suggests itself—Edward Chester is already eight-and-twenty, and Emma Haredale would, in America at least, be upon the list of old maids. No—there is no such reason; nor does there appear to be any one more plausible than that, as it is now the year of our Lord 1775, an advance of five years will bring the dramatis personae up to a very remarkable period, affording an admirable opportunity for their display—the period, in short, of the “No Popery” riots. This was the idea with which we were forcibly impressed in perusal, and which nothing less than Mr. Dickens’ positive assurance to the contrary would have been sufficient to eradicate.

It is, perhaps, but one of a thousand instances of the disadvantages, both to the author and the public, of the present absurd fashion of periodical novel-writing, that our author had not sufficiently considered or determined upon any particular plot when he began the story now under review. In fact, we see, or fancy that we see, numerous traces of indecision—traces which a dexterous supervision of the complete work might have enabled him to erase. We have already spoken of the intermission of a lustrum. The opening speeches of old Chester are by far too truly gentlemanly for his subsequent character. The wife of Varden, also, is too wholesale a shrew to be converted into the quiet wife—the original design was to punish her. At page 16, we read thus—Solomon Daisy is telling his story:

“I put as good a face upon it as I could, and, muffling myself up, started out with a lighted lantern in one hand and the key of the church in the other”—at this point of the narrative, the dress of the strange man rustled as if he had turned to hear more distinctly.

Here the design is to call the reader’s attention to a point in the tale; but no subsequent explanation is made. Again, a few lines below⁠—

“The houses were all shut up, and the folks in doors, and perhaps there is only one man in the world who knows how dark it really was.”

Here the intention is still more evident, but there is no result. Again, at page 54, the idiot draws Mr. Chester to the window, and directs his attention to the clothes hanging upon the lines in the yard⁠—

“Look down,” he said softly; “do you mark how they whisper in each other’s ears, then dance and leap to make believe they are in sport? Do you see how they stop for a moment, when they think there is no one looking, and mutter among themselves again; and then how they roll and gambol, delighted with the mischief they’ve been plotting? Look at ’em now! See how they whirl and plunge. And now they stop again, and whisper cautiously together—little thinking, mind, how often I have lain upon the ground and watched them. I say—what is it that they plot and hatch? Do you know?”

Upon perusal of these ravings we, at once, supposed them to have allusion to some real plotting; and even now we cannot force ourselves to believe them not so intended. They suggested the opinion that Haredale himself would be implicated in the murder, and that the counsellings alluded to might be those of that gentleman with Rudge. It is by no means impossible that some such conception wavered in the mind of the author. At page 32 we have a confirmation of our idea, when Varden endeavors to arrest the murderer in the house of his wife⁠—

“Come back—come back!” exclaimed the woman, wrestling with and clasping him. “Do not touch him on your life. He carries other lives beside his own.

The dénouement fails to account for this exclamation.

In the beginning of the story much emphasis is placed upon the two female servants of Haredale, and upon his journey to and from London, as well as upon his wife. We have merely said, in our digest, that he was a widower, italicizing the remark. All these other points are, in fact, singularly irrelevant, in the supposition that the original design has not undergone modification.

Again, at page 57, when Haredale talks of “his dismantled and beggared hearth,” we cannot help fancying that the author had in view some different wrong, or series of wrongs, perpetrated by Chester, than any which appear in the end. This gentleman, too, takes extreme and frequent pains to acquire dominion over the rough Hugh—this matter is particularly insisted upon by the novelist—we look, of course, for some important result—but the filching of a letter is nearly all that is accomplished. That Barnaby’s delight in the desperate scenes of the rebellion, is inconsistent with his horror of blood, will strike every reader; and this inconsistency seems to be the consequence of the afterthought upon which we have already commented. In fact the title of the work, the elaborate and pointed manner of the commencement, the impressive description of The Warren, and especially of Mrs. Rudge, go far to show that Mr. Dickens has really deceived himself—that the soul of the plot, as originally conceived, was the murder of Haredale with the subsequent discovery of the murderer in Rudge—but that this idea was afterwards abandoned, or rather suffered to be merged in that of the Popish Riots. The result has been most unfavorable. That which, of itself would have proved highly effective, has been rendered nearly null by its situation. In the multitudinous outrage and horror of the Rebellion, the one atrocity is utterly whelmed and extinguished.

The reasons of this deflection from the first purpose appear to us self-evident. One of them we have already mentioned. The other is that our author discovered, when too late, that he had anticipated, and thus rendered valueless, his chief effect. This will be readily understood. The particulars of the assassination being withheld, the strength of the narrator is put forth, in the beginning of the story, to whet curiosity in respect to these particulars; and, so far, he is but in proper pursuance of his main design. But from this intention he unwittingly passes into the error of exaggerating anticipation. And error though it be, it is an error wrought with consummate skill. What, for example, could more vividly enhance our impression of the unknown horror enacted, than the deep and enduring gloom of Haredale—than the idiot’s inborn awe of blood—or, especially, than the expression of countenance so imaginatively attributed to Mrs. Rudge—“the capacity for expressing terror—something only dimly seen, but never absent for a moment—the shadow of some look to which an instant of intense and most unutterable horror only could have given rise?” But it is a condition of the human fancy that the promises of such words are irredeemable. In the notice before mentioned we thus spoke upon this topic⁠—

This is a conception admirably adapted to whet curiosity in respect to the character of that event which is hinted at as forming the basis of the story. But this observation should not fail to be made—that the anticipation must surpass the reality; that no matter how terrific be the circumstances which, in the dénouement, shall appear to have occasioned the expression of countenance worn habitually by Mrs. Rudge, still they will not be able to satisfy the mind of the reader. He will surely be disappointed. The skilful intimation of horror held out by the artist, produces an effect which will deprive his conclusion of all. These intimations—these dark hints of some uncertain evil—are often rhetorically praised as effective—but are only justly so praised where there is no dénouement whatever—where the reader’s imagination is left to clear up the mystery for itself—and this is not the design of Mr. Dickens.

And, in fact, our author was not long in seeing his precipitancy. He had placed himself in a dilemma from which even his high genius could not extricate him. He at once shifts the main interest—and in truth we do not see what better he could have done. The reader’s attention becomes absorbed in the riots, and he fails to observe that what should have been the true catastrophe of the novel, is exceedingly feeble and ineffective.

A few cursory remarks:—Mr. Dickens fails peculiarly in pure narration. See, for example, page 296, where the connection of Hugh and Chester is detailed by Varden. See also in “The Curiosity-Shop,” where, when the result is fully known, so many words are occupied in explaining the relationship of the brothers.

The effect of the present narrative might have been materially increased by confining the action within the limits of London. The “Notre Dame” of Hugo affords a fine example of the force which can be gained by concentration, or unity of place. The unity of time is also sadly neglected, to no purpose, in “Barnaby Rudge.”

That Rudge should so long and so deeply feel the sting of conscience is inconsistent with his brutality.

On page 15 the interval elapsing between the murder and Rudge’s return, is variously stated at twenty-two and twenty-four years.

It may be asked why the inmates of The Warren failed to hear the alarm-bell which was heard by Solomon Daisy.

The idea of persecution by being tracked, as by bloodhounds, from one spot of quietude to another is a favorite one with Mr. Dickens. Its effect cannot be denied.

The stain upon Barnaby’s wrist, caused by fright in the mother at so late a period of gestation as one day before mature parturition, is shockingly at war with all medical experience.

When Rudge, escaped from prison, unshackled, with money at command, is in agony at his wife’s refusal to perjure herself for his salvation—is it not queer that he should demand any other salvation than lay in his heels?

Some of the conclusions of chapters—see pages 40 and 100—seem to have been written for the mere purpose of illustrating tail-pieces.

The leading idiosyncrasy of Mr. Dickens’ remarkable humor, is to be found in his translating the language of gesture, or action, or tone. For example⁠—

“The cronies nodded to each other, and Mr. Parkes remarked in an under tone, shaking his head meanwhile, as who should say ‘let no man contradict me, for I won’t believe him,’ that Willet was in amazing force to-night.”

The riots form a series of vivid pictures never surpassed.

At page 17, the road between London and the Maypole is described as a horribly rough and dangerous, and at page 97, as an uncommonly smooth and convenient one.

At page 116, how comes Chester in possession of the key of Mrs. Rudge’s vacated house?

Mr. Dickens’ English is usually pure. His most remarkable error is that of employing the adverb “directly” in the sense of “as soon as.” For example—“Directly he arrived, Rudge said, &c.” Bulwer is uniformly guilty of the same blunder.

It is observable that so original a stylist as our author should occasionally lapse into a gross imitation of what, itself, is a gross imitation. We mean the manner of Lamb—a manner based in the Latin construction. For example⁠—

In summer time its pumps suggest to thirsty idlers springs cooler and more sparkling and deeper than other wells; and as they trace the spillings of full pitchers on the heated ground, they snuff the freshness, and, sighing, cast sad looks towards the Thames, and think of baths and boats, and saunter on, despondent.

The wood-cut designs which accompany the edition before us are occasionally good. The copper engravings are pitiably ill-conceived and ill-drawn; and not only this, but are in broad contradiction of the wood-designs and text.

There are many coincidences wrought into the narrative—those, for example, which relate to the nineteenth of March; the dream of Barnaby, respecting his father, at the very period when his father is actually in the house; and the dream of Haredale previous to his final meeting with Chester. These things are meant to insinuate a fatality which, very properly, is not expressed in plain terms—but it is questionable whether the story derives more, in ideality, from their introduction, than it might have gained of verisimilitude from their omission.

The dramatis personae sustain the high fame of Mr. Dickens as a delineator of character. Miggs, the disconsolate handmaiden of Varden; Tappertit, his chivalrous apprentice; Mrs. Varden, herself; and Dennis, a hangman—may be regarded as original caricatures, of the highest merit as such. Their traits are founded in acute observation of nature, but are exaggerated to the utmost admissible extent. Miss Haredale and Edward Chester are common-places—no effort has been made in their behalf. Joe Willet is a naturally drawn country youth. Stagg is a mere make-weight. Gashford and Gordon are truthfully copied. Dolly Varden is truth itself. Haredale, Rudge and Mrs. Rudge are impressive only through the circumstances which surround them. Sir John Chester is, of course, not original, but is a vast improvement upon all his predecessors—his heartlessness is rendered somewhat too amusing, and his end too much that of a man of honor. Hugh is a noble conception. His fierce exultation in his animal powers; his subserviency to the smooth Chester; his mirthful contempt and patronage of Tappertit, and his brutal yet firm courage in the hour of death—form a picture to be set in diamonds. Old Willet is not surpassed by any character even among those of Dickens. He is nature itself—yet a step farther would have placed him in the class of caricatures. His combined conceit and obtusity are indescribably droll, and his peculiar misdirected energy when aroused, is one of the most exquisite touches in all humorous painting. We shall never forget how heartily we laughed at his shaking Solomon Daisy and threatening to put him behind the fire, because the unfortunate little man was too much frightened to articulate. Varden is one of those free, jovial, honest fellows at charity with all mankind, whom our author is so fond of depicting. And lastly, Barnaby, the hero of the tale—in him we have been somewhat disappointed. We have already said that his delight in the atrocities of the Rebellion is at variance with his horror of blood. But this horror of blood is inconsequential; and of this we complain. Strongly insisted upon in the beginning of the narrative, it produces no adequate result. And here how fine an opportunity has Mr. Dickens missed! The conviction of the assassin, after the lapse of twenty-two years, might easily have been brought about through his son’s mysterious awe of blood—an awe created in the unborn by the assassination itself—and this would have been one of the finest possible embodiments of the idea which we are accustomed to attach to “poetical justice.” The raven, too, intensely amusing as it is, might have been made, more than we now see it, a portion of the conception of the fantastic Barnaby. Its croakings might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama. Its character might have performed, in regard to that of the idiot, much the same part as does, in music, the accompaniment in respect to the air. Each might have been distinct. Each might have differed remarkably from the other. Yet between them there might have been wrought an analogical resemblance, and, although each might have existed apart, they might have formed together a whole which would have been imperfect in the absence of either.

From what we have here said—and, perhaps, said without due deliberation—(for alas! the hurried duties of the journalist preclude it) there will not be wanting those who will accuse us of a mad design to detract from the pure fame of the novelist. But to such we merely say in the language of heraldry “ye should wear a plain point sanguine in your arms.” If this be understood, well; if not, well again. There lives no man feeling a deeper reverence for genius than ourself. If we have not dwelt so especially upon the high merits as upon the trivial defects of “Barnaby Rudge” we have already given our reasons for the omission, and these reasons will be sufficiently understood by all whom we care to understand them. The work before us is not, we think, equal to the tale which immediately preceded it; but there are few—very few others to which we consider it inferior. Our chief objection has not, perhaps, been so distinctly stated as we could wish. That this fiction, or indeed that any fiction written by Mr. Dickens, should be based in the excitement and maintenance of curiosity we look upon as a misconception, on the part of the writer, of his own very great yet very peculiar powers. He has done this thing well, to be sure—he would do anything well in comparison with the herd of his contemporaries—but he has not done it so thoroughly well as his high and just reputation would demand. We think that the whole book has been an effort to him—solely through the nature of its design. He has been smitten with an untimely desire for a novel path. The idiosyncrasy of his intellect would lead him, naturally, into the most fluent and simple style of narration. In tales of ordinary sequence he may and will long reign triumphant. He has a talent for all things, but no positive genius for adaptation, and still less for that metaphysical art in which the souls of all mysteries lie. “Caleb Williams” is a far less noble work than “The Old Curiosity-Shop;” but Mr. Dickens could no more have constructed the one than Mr. Godwin could have dreamed of the other.

Wakondah; The Master of Life. A Poem. George L. Curry and Co.: New York.

“Wakondah” is the composition of Mr. Cornelius Mathews, one of the editors of the Monthly Magazine, “Arcturus.” In the December number of the journal, the poem was originally set forth by its author, very much “avec l’air d’un homme qui sauve sa patrie.” To be sure, it was not what is usually termed the leading article of the month. It did not occupy that post of honor which, hitherto, has been so modestly filled by “Puffer Hopkins.” But it took precedence of some exceedingly beautiful stanzas by Professor Longfellow, and stood second only to a very serious account of a supper which, however well it might have suited the taste of an Ariel, would scarcely have feasted the Anakim, or satisfied the appetite of a Grandgousier. The supper was, or might have been, a good thing. The poem which succeeded it is not; nor can we imagine what has induced Messrs. Curry & Co. to be at the trouble of its republication. We are vexed with these gentlemen for having thrust this affair the second time before us. They have placed us in a predicament we dislike. In the pages of “Arcturus” the poem did not come necessarily under the eye of the Magazine critic. There is a tacitly-understood courtesy about these matters—a courtesy upon which we need not comment. The contributed papers in any one journal of the class of “Arcturus” are not considered as debateable by any one other. General propositions, under the editorial head, are rightly made the subject of discussion; but in speaking of “Wakondah,” for example, in the pages of our own Magazine, we should have felt as if making an occasion. Now, upon our first perusal of the poem in question, we were both astonished and grieved that we could say, honestly, very little in its praise:—astonished, for by some means, not just now altogether intelligible to ourselves, we had become imbued with the idea of high poetical talent in Mr. Mathews:—grieved, because, under the circumstances of his position as editor of one of the very best journals in the country, we had been sincerely anxious to think well of his abilities. Moreover, we felt that to speak ill of them, under any circumstances whatever, would be to subject ourselves to the charge of envy or jealousy, on the part of those who do not personally know us. We, therefore, rejoiced that “Wakondah” was not a topic we were called upon to discuss. But the poem is republished, and placed upon our table, and these very “circumstances of position,” which restrained us in the first place, render it a positive duty that we speak distinctly in the second.

And very distinctly shall we speak. In fact this effusion is a dilemma whose horns goad us into frankness and candor—“c’est un malheur,” to use the words of Victor Hugo, “d’où on ne pourrait se tirer par des periphrases, par des quemadmodums et des verumenimveros.” If we mention it at all, we are forced to employ the language of that region where, as Addison has it, “they sell the best fish and speak the plainest English.” “Wakondah,” then, from beginning to end, is trash. With the trivial exceptions which we shall designate, it has no merit whatever; while its faults, more numerous than the leaves of Valombrosa, are of that rampant class which, if any schoolboy could be found so uninformed as to commit them, any schoolboy should be remorselessly flogged for committing.

The story, or as the epics have it, the argument, although brief, is by no means particularly easy of comprehension. The design seems to be based upon a passage in Mr. Irving’s “Astoria.” He tells us that the Indians who inhabit the Chippewyan range of mountains, call it the “Crest of the World,” and “think that Wakondah, or the Master of Life, as they designate the Supreme Being, has his residence among these aerial heights.” Upon this hint Mr. Mathews has proceeded. He introduces us to Wakondah standing in person upon a mountain-top. He describes his appearance, and thinks that a Chinook would be frightened to behold it. He causes the “Master of Life” to make a speech, which is addressed, generally, to things at large, and particularly to the neighboring Woods, Cataracts, Rivers, Pinnacles, Steeps, and Lakes—not to mention an Earthquake. But all these (and we think, judiciously) turn a deaf ear to the oration, which, to be plain, is scarcely equal to a second-rate Piankitank stump speech. In fact, it is a bare-faced attempt at animal magnetism, and the mountains, &c., do no more than show its potency in resigning themselves to sleep, as they do.

Then shone Wakondah’s dreadful eyes

—then he becomes very indignant, and accordingly launches forth into speech the second—with which the delinquents are afflicted, with occasional brief interruptions from the poet, in proper person, until the conclusion of the poem.

The subject of the two orations we shall be permitted to sum up compendiously in the one term “rigmarole.” But we do not mean to say that our compendium is not an improvement, and a very considerable one, upon the speeches themselves,—which, taken altogether, are the queerest, and the most rhetorical, not to say the most miscellaneous orations we ever remember to have listened to outside of an Arkansas House of Delegates.

In saying this we mean what we say. We intend no joke. Were it possible, we would quote the whole poem in support of our opinion. But as this is not possible, and moreover, as we presume Mr. Mathews has not been so negligent as to omit securing his valuable property by a copyright, we must be contented with a few extracts here and there at random, with a few comments equally so. But we have already hinted that there were really one or two words to be said of this effusion in the way of commendation, and these one or two words might as well be said now as hereafter.

The poem thus commences—

The moon ascends the vaulted sky to-night;

  With a slow motion full of pomp ascends,

  But, mightier than the Moon that o’er it bends,

A form is dwelling on the mountain height

That boldly intercepts the struggling light

  With darkness nobler than the planet’s fire,⁠—

  A gloom and dreadful grandeur that aspire

To match the cheerful Heaven’s far-shining might.

If we were to shut our eyes to the repetition of “might,” (which, in its various inflections, is a pet word with our author, and lugged in upon all occasions) and to the obvious imitation of Longfellow’s Hymn to the Night in the second line of this stanza, we should be justified in calling it good. The “darkness nobler than the planet’s fire” is certainly good. The general conception of the colossal figure on the mountain summit, relieved against the full moon, would be unquestionably grand were it not for the bullish phraseology by which the conception is rendered, in a great measure, abortive. The moon is described as “ascending,” and its “motion” is referred to, while we have the standing figure continuously intercepting its light. That the orb would soon pass from behind the figure, is a physical fact which the purpose of the poet required to be left out of sight, and which scarcely any other language than that which he has actually employed would have succeeded in forcing upon the reader’s attention. With all these defects, however, the passage, especially as an opening passage, is one of high merit.

Looking carefully for something else to be commended we find at length the lines⁠—

Lo! where our foe up through these vales ascends,

  Fresh from the embraces of the swelling sea,

  A glorious, white and shining Deity.

Upon our strength his deep blue eye he bends,

With threatenings full of thought and steadfast ends;

  While desolation from his nostril breathes

  His glittering rage he scornfully unsheathes

And to the startled air its splendor lends.

This again, however, is worth only qualified commendation. The first six lines preserve the personification (that of a ship) sufficiently well; but, in the seventh and eighth, the author suffers the image to slide into that of a warrior unsheathing his sword. Still there is force in these concluding verses, and we begin to fancy that this is saying a very great deal for the author of “Puffer Hopkins.”

The best stanza in the poem (there are thirty-four in all) is the thirty-third.

No cloud was on the moon, yet on His brow

  A deepening shadow fell, and on his knees

  That shook like tempest-stricken mountain trees

His heavy head descended sad and low

Like a high city smitten by the blow

  Which secret earthquakes strike and topling falls

  With all its arches, towers, and cathedrals

In swift and unconjectured overthrow.

This is, positively, not bad. The first line italicized is bold and vigorous, both in thought and expression; and the four last (although by no means original) convey a striking picture. But then the whole idea, in its general want of keeping, is preposterous. What is more absurd than the conception of a man’s head descending to his knees, as here described—the thing could not be done by an Indian juggler or a man of gum-caoutchouc—and what is more inappropriate than the resemblance attempted to be drawn between a single head descending, and the innumerable pinnacles of a falling city? It is difficult to understand, en passant, why Mr. Mathews has thought proper to give “cathedrals” a quantity which does not belong to it, or to write “unconjectured” when the rhythm might have been fulfilled by “unexpected” and when “unexpected” would have fully conveyed the meaning which “unconjectured” does not.

By dint of farther microscopic survey, we are enabled to point out one, and alas, only one more good line in the poem.

Green dells that into silence stretch away

contains a richly poetical thought, melodiously embodied. We only refrain, however, from declaring, flatly, that the line is not the property of Mr. Mathews, because we have not at hand the volume from which we believe it to be stolen.

We quote the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth stanzas in full. They will serve to convey some faint idea of the general poem. The Italics are our own.



The spirit lowers and speaks: “Tremble ye wild Woods!

  Ye Cataracts! your organ-voices sound!

  Deep Crags, in earth by massy tenures bound,

Oh, Earthquake, level flat! The peace that broods

Above this world, and steadfastly eludes

  Your power, howl Winds and break; the peace that mocks

  Dismay ’mid silent streams and voiceless rocks⁠—

Through wildernesses, cliffs, and solitudes.



“Night-shadowed Rivers—lift your dusky hands

  And clap them harshly with a sullen roar!

  Ye thousand Pinnacles and Steeps deplore

The glory that departs; above you stands,

Ye Lakes with azure waves and snowy strands,

  A Power that utters forth his loud behest

  Till mountain, lake and river shall attest,

The puissance of a Master’s large commands.”



So spake the Spirit with a wide-cast look

  Of bounteous power and cheerful majesty;

  As if he caught a sight of either sea

And all the subject realm between: then shook

His brandished arms; his stature scarce could brook

  Its confine; swelling wide, it seemed to grow

  As grows a cedar on a mountain’s brow

By the mad air in ruffling breezes took!



The woods are deaf and will not be aroused⁠—

  The mountains are asleep, they hear him not,

  Nor from deep-founded silence can be wrought,

Tho’ herded bison on their steeps have browsed:

Beneath their hanks in darksome stillness housed

  The rivers loiter like a calm-bound sea;

  In anchored nuptials to dumb apathy

Cliff, wilderness and solitude are spoused.

Let us endeavor to translate this gibberish, by way of ascertaining its import, if possible. Or, rather, let us state the stanzas, in substance. The spirit lowers, that is to say grows angry, and speaks. He calls upon the Wild Woods to tremble, and upon the Cataracts to sound their voices which have the tone of an organ. He addresses, then, an Earthquake, or perhaps Earthquake in general, and requests it to level flat all the Deep Crags which are bound by massy tenures in earth—a request, by the way, which any sensible Earthquake must have regarded as tautological, since it is difficult to level anything otherwise than flat:—Mr. Mathews, however, is no doubt the best judge of flatness in the abstract, and may have peculiar ideas respecting it. But to proceed with the Spirit. Turning to the Winds, he enjoins them to howl and break the peace that broods above this world and steadfastly eludes their power—the same peace that mocks a Dismay ’mid streams, rocks, et cetera. He now speaks to the night-shadowed Rivers, and commands them to lift their dusky hands, and clap them harshly with a sullen roar—and as roaring with one’s hands is not the easiest matter in the world, we can only conclude that the Rivers here reluctantly disobeyed the injunction. Nothing daunted, however, the Spirit, addressing a thousand Pinnacles and Steeps, desires them to deplore the glory that departs, or is departing—and we can almost fancy that we see the Pinnacles deploring it upon the spot. The Lakes—at least such of them as possess azure waves and snowy strands—then come in for their share of the oration. They are called upon to observe—to take notice—that above them stands no ordinary character—no Piankitank stump orator, or anything of that sort—but a Power;—a power, in short, to use the exact words of Mr. Mathews, “that utters forth his loud behest, till mountain, lake and river shall attest the puissance of a Master’s large commands.” Utters forth is no doubt somewhat supererogatory, since “to utter” is of itself to emit, or send forth; but as “the Power” appears to be somewhat excited he should be forgiven such mere errors of speech. We cannot, however, pass over his boast about uttering forth his loud behest till mountain, lake and rivers shall obey him—for the fact is that his threat is vox et preterea nihil, like the countryman’s nightingale in Catullus; the issue showing that the mountains, lakes and rivers—all very sensible creatures—go fast asleep upon the spot, and pay no attention to his rigmarole whatever. Upon the “large commands” it is not our intention to dwell. The phrase is a singularly mercantile one to be in the mouth of “a Power.” It is not impossible, however, that Mr. Mathews himself is

—busy in the cotton trade

And sugar line.

But to resume. We were originally told that the Spirit “lowered” and spoke, and in truth his entire speech is a scold at Creation; yet stanza the eighth is so forgetful as to say that he spoke “with a wide-cast look of bounteous power and cheerful majesty.” Be this point as it may, he now shakes his brandished arms, and, swelling out, seems to grow⁠—

As grows a cedar on a mountain’s top

By the mad air in ruffling breezes took

—or as swells a turkey-gobbler; whose image the poet unquestionably had in his mind’s eye when he penned the words about the ruffled cedar. As for took instead of taken—why not say tuk at once? We have heard of chaps vot vas tuk up for sheep-stealing, and we know of one or two that ought to be tuk up for murder of the Queen’s English.

We shall never get on. Stanza the ninth assures us that the woods are deaf and will not be aroused, that the mountains are asleep and so forth—all which Mr. Mathews might have anticipated. But the rest he could not have foreseen. He could not have foreknown that “the rivers, housed beneath their banks in darksome stillness,” would “loiter like a calm-bound sea,” and still less could he have been aware, unless informed of the fact, that “cliff, wilderness and solitude would be spoused in anchored nuptials to dumb apathy!” Good Heavens—no!—nobody could have anticipated that! Now, Mr. Mathews, we put it to you as to a man of veracity—what does it all mean?

As when in times to startle and revere.

This line, of course, is an accident on the part of our author. At the time of writing it he could not have remembered

To haunt, to startle, and waylay.

Here is another accident of imitation; for seriously, we do not mean to assert that it is anything more⁠—

I urged the dark red hunter in his quest

Of pard or panther with a gloomy zest;

And while through darkling woods they swiftly fare

Two seeming creatures of the oak-shadowed air,

I sped the game and fired the follower’s breast.

The line italicized we have seen quoted by some of our daily critics as beautiful; and so, barring the “oak-shadowed air,” it is. In the meantime Campbell, in “Gertrude of Wyoming,” has the words

—the hunter and the deer a shade.

Campbell stole the idea from our own Freneau, who has the line

The hunter and the deer a shade.

Between the two, Mr. Mathews’ claim to originality, at this point, will, very possibly, fall to the ground.

It appears to us that the author of “Wakondah” is either very innocent or very original about matters of versification. His stanza is an ordinary one. If we are not mistaken, it is that employed by Campbell in his “Gertrude of Wyoming”—a favorite poem of our author’s. At all events it is composed of pentameters whose rhymes alternate by a simple and fixed rule. But our poet’s deviations from this rule are so many and so unusually picturesque, that we scarcely know what to think of them. Sometimes he introduces an Alexandrine at the close of a stanza; and here we have no right to quarrel with him. It is not usual in this metre; but still he may do it if he pleases. To put an Alexandrine in the middle, or at the beginning, of one of these stanzas is droll, to say no more. See stanza third, which commences with the verse

Upon his brow a garland of the woods he wears,

and stanza twenty-eight, where the last line but one is

And rivers singing all aloud tho’ still unseen.

Stanza the seventh begins thus

The Spirit lowers and speaks—tremble ye Wild Woods!

Here it must be observed that “wild woods” is not meant for a double rhyme. If scanned on the fingers (and we presume Mr. Mathews is in the practice of scanning thus) the line is a legitimate Alexandrine. Nevertheless, it cannot be read. It is like nothing under the sun; except, perhaps, Sir Philip Sidney’s attempt at English Hexameter in his “Arcadia.” Some one or two of his verses we remember. For example⁠—

So to the | woods Love | runs as | well as | rides to the | palace;

Neither he | bears reve | rence to a | prince nor | pity to a | beggar,

But like a | point in the | midst of a | circle is | still of a | nearness.

With the aid of an additional spondee or dactyl Mr. Mathews’ very odd verse might be scanned in the same manner, and would, in fact, be a legitimate Hexameter⁠—

The Spi | rit lowers | and speaks | tremble ye | wild woods

Sometimes our poet takes even a higher flight and drops a foot, or a half-foot, or, for the matter of that, a foot and a half. Here, for example, is a very singular verse to be introduced in a pentameter rhythm⁠—

Then shone Wakondah’s dreadful eyes.

Here another—

Yon full-orbed fire shall cease to shine.

Here, again, are lines in which the rhythm demands an accent on impossible syllables.

But ah winged with what agonies and pangs.

Swiftly before me nor care I how vast.

I see visions denied to mortal eyes.

Uplifted longer in heaven’s western glow.

But these are trifles. Mr. Mathews is young and we take it for granted that he will improve. In the meantime what does he mean by spelling lose, loose, and its (the possessive pronoun) it’s—re-iterated instances of which fashions are to be found passim in “Wakondah”? What does he mean by writing dare, the present, for dared the perfect?—see stanza the twelfth. And, as we are now in the catachetical vein, we may as well conclude our dissertation at once with a few other similar queries.

What do you mean, then, Mr. Mathews, by

A sudden silence like a tempest fell?

What do you mean by “a quivered stream;” “a shapeless gloom;” a “habitable wish;” “natural blood;” “oak-shadowed air;” “customary peers” and “thunderous noises?”

What do you mean by

A sorrow mightier than the midnight skies?

What do you mean by

A bulk that swallows up the sea-blue sky?

Are you not aware that calling the sky as blue as the sea, is like saying of the snow that it is as white as a sheet of paper?

What do you mean, in short, by

Its feathers darker than a thousand fears?

Is not this something like “blacker than a dozen and a half of chimney-sweeps and a stack of black cats,” and are not the whole of these illustrative observations of yours somewhat upon the plan of that of the witness who described a certain article stolen as being of the size and shape of a bit of chalk? What do you mean by them we say?

And here notwithstanding our earnest wish to satisfy the author of Wakondah, it is indispensable that we bring our notice of the poem to a close. We feel grieved that our observations have been so much at random:—but at random, after all, is it alone possible to convey either the letter or the spirit of that, which, a mere jumble of incongruous nonsense, has neither beginning, middle, nor end. We should be delighted to proceed—but how? to applaud—but what? Surely not this trumpery declamation, this maudlin sentiment, this metaphor run-mad, this twaddling verbiage, this halting and doggerel rhythm, this unintelligible rant and cant! “Slid, if these be your passados and montantes, we’ll have none of them.” Mr. Mathews, you have clearly mistaken your vocation, and your effusion as little deserves the title of poem, (oh sacred name!) as did the rocks of the royal forest of Fontainebleau that of “mes déserts” bestowed upon them by Francis the First. In bidding you adieu we commend to your careful consideration the remark of M. Timon “que le Ministre de l’Instruction Publique doit lui-même savoir parler Français.”


Transcriber’s Notes:

Table of Contents has been added for reader convenience. Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Obvious punctuation and typesetting errors have been corrected without note. Other errors have been corrected as noted below.


A cover has been created for this ebook and is placed in the public domain.


page 97, joyous laugh, Miss Heyward resumed ==> joyous laugh, Mrs. Heyward resumed



[End of Graham’s Magazine, Vol. XX, No. 2, February 1842, George R. Graham, Editor]