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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843" ***

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    "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
     Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
     Rage like all angry boar chafed with sweat?
     Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
     And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
     Have I not in the pitched battle heard
     Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"


My entertainer received me with more civility than I had expected. He
was almost fashionably dressed; his grim features were smoothed into an
elaborate smile; and he repeated his gratification at seeing me, in such
variety of tones that I began to doubt the cordiality of my reception.
But I could have no doubt of the elegance of the apartment into which I
was shown. All was foreign, even to the flowers in the vases that filled
the windows. A few bas-reliefs in the most finished style; a few
alabasters as bright as if they had been brought at the moment from
Carrara; a few paintings of the Italian masters, if not original and of
the highest value, at least first-rate copies--caught the eye at once:
the not _too_ much, the not _too_ little, that exact point which it
requires so much skill to touch, showed that the eye of taste had been
every where; and I again thought of the dungeon in the city, and asked
myself whether it was possible that Mordecai could be the worker of the

Naturally making him some acknowledgment for his invitation, and saying
some civil thing of his taste, he laughed, and said, "I have but little
merit in the matter. All this is my daughter's. Moorfields is _my_
house; this house is Mariamne's. As our origin and connexions are
foreign, we make use of our opportunities to indulge ourselves in these
foreign trifles. But we have a little 'réunion' of our neighbours this
evening, and I must first make you known to the lady of the _fête_." He
rang the bell.

"Neighbours!" said I; "all round me, as I came, seemed solitude; and
yours is so beautiful, that I almost think society would injure its

"Well, well, Mr Marston, you shall see. But this I advise you, take care
of your heart if you are susceptible."

A servant announced that his mistress would attend us in a few minutes,
and I remained examining the pictures and the prospect; when a gay
voice, and the opening of a door, made me turn round to pay my homage to
the lady. I had made up my mind to see one of the stately figures and
magnificent countenances which are often to be found in the higher
orders of the daughters of Israel. I saw, on the contrary, one of the
gayest countenances and lightest figures imaginable--the _petit nez
retroussé_, and altogether much more the air of a pretty Parisian than
one of the superb race of Zion. Her manner was as animated as her eyes,
and with the ease of foreign life she entered into conversation; and in
a few minutes we laughed and talked together, as if we had been
acquaintances from our cradles.

The history of the house was simply, that "she hated town and loved the
country; that she loved the sea better than the land, and loved society
of her own selection better than society forced upon her.--On the
sea-shore she found all that she liked, and escaped all that she hated.
She therefore lived on the sea-shore.--She had persuaded her father to
build that house, and they had furnished it according to their own
recollections, and even their own whims.--Caprice was liberty, and
liberty was essential to the enjoyment of every thing. Thus, she loved
caprice, and laid herself open to the charge of being fantastic with
those who did not understand her."

In this sportive way she ran on, saying all kinds of lively nothings;
while we drank our coffee out of Saxon porcelain which would have shone
on the table of a crowned head.

The windows were thrown open, and we sat enjoying the noblest of all
scenes, a glorious sunset, to full advantage. The fragrance of the
garden stole in, a "steam of rich distilled perfumes;" the son of the
birds, in those faint and interrupted notes which come with such
sweetness in the parting day; the distant hum of the village, and the
low solemn sound of the waves subsiding on the beach, made a harmony of
their own, perhaps more soothing and subduing than the most refined
touches of human skill. We wanted nothing but an Italian moon to realize
the loveliness of the scene in Belmont.

    "The moon shines bright. In such a night as this,
    When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
    And they did make no noise--in such a night
    Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
    That did renew old Jason."

As I glanced on the little, superbly dressed Jewess, sitting between her
father and myself, I thought of the possibilities to come.

                    ----"In such a night
    Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
    And, with an unthrift love, did run from Venice."

We soon after had the moon herself, rising broad and bright from the
ocean; and all was romance, until a party were seen coming up the
avenue, laughing and talking very sportively.

"I beg a thousand apologies; but I had forgotten to mention that we have
a small dance this evening, chiefly foreign, and, as you may perceive,
they keep early hours," said Jessica, rising to receive them.

"They are French, and emigrants," added Mordecai. "All is over with them
and theirs in France, and they have made the best of their way to
England, therein acting more wisely than those who have stayed behind. I
know France well; the '_tigre-singe_,' as their countryman described
them. These unfortunates have been consigned to me by my correspondents,
like so many bales of silks, or barrels of Medoc. But here they come."

I certainly was not prepared for the names which I now heard
successively announced. Instead of the moderate condition from which I
had supposed Mordecai and his pretty daughter, aspiring as she was, to
have chosen their society, I found myself in a circle of names of which
the world had been talking since I was in my cradle, if not for a dozen
centuries before. I was in the midst of dukes, counts, and chevaliers,
maréchals and marchionesses, the patrons and patronesses of the
Marmontels and D'Alemberts, the charm of the Du Deffand _soirées_, and
the originals for the charming piquancies and exquisite impertinences of
L'Espinasse, and the _coterieisme_ of Paris.

All that I had seen of the peerage of our haughty country was dim and
dull to the gay glitter of the crowd around me. Nature never moulded two
national characters so distinct in all points, but the French exterior
carries all before it. Diamonds and decorations sparkled on every side.
The dresses of the women were as superb as if they had never known fear
or flight; and the conversation was as light, sportive, and _badinant_,
as if we were all waiting in the antechamber of Versailles till the
chamberlain of Marie Antoinette should signify the royal pleasure to
receive us. Here was stateliness to the very summit of human pride, but
it was softened by the taste of its display; the most easy familiarity,
yet guarded by the most refined distinctions The _bon-mot_ was uttered
with such natural avoidance of offence, and the arch allusion was so
gracefully applied, that the whole gave me the idea of a new use of
language. They were _artistes_ of conversation, professors of a study of
society, as much as painters might be of the style of the Bolognese or
the Venetian school.

I was delighted, but I was still more deeply interested; for the chief
topics of the evening were those on which public curiosity was most
anxiously alive at the moment--the hazards of the revolutionary tempest,
which they had left raging on the opposite shore. Yet, "Vive la France!"
we had our cotillon, and our songs to harp and piano, notwithstanding
the shock of governments.

But we had scarcely sat down to the supper which Mordecai's hospitality
and his daughter's taste had provided for us--and a most costly display
of plate and pine-apples it was--when our entertainer was called out of
the room by a new arrival. After some delay, he returned, bringing in
with him a middle-aged officer, a fine soldierly-looking figure, in the
uniform of the royal guard. He had just arrived from France with letters
for some of the party, and with an introduction to the Jew, whom I now
began to regard as an agent of the French princes. The officer was known
to the whole table; and the enquiries for the fate of their friends and
France were incessant and innumerable. He evidently suppressed much, to
avoid "a scene;" yet what he had to tell was sufficiently alarming. The
ominous shake of the Jew's head, and the changes of his sagacious
visage, showed me that he at least thought the evil day on the point of

"Living," said he, "at this distance from the place of events which
succeed each other with such strange rapidity, we can scarcely judge of
any thing. But, if the king would rely more on his peasantry and less on
his populace, and more on his army than either, he might be king of
France still."

"True!--true!" was the general acclamation.

"He should have clung to his noblesse, like Henri Quatre," said a duke.

"He should have made common cause with his clergy," said a prelate, with
the physiognomy of one of Titian's cardinals.

"Any thing but the Tiers Etat," was uttered by all, with a general voice
of horror.

"My letters of this evening," said Mordecai, "tell me that the _fête_ at
Versailles has had dangerous consequences."

"_Ciel_!" exclaimed a remarkably handsome woman of middle age, with the
"air noble" in every feature. "Pardon me, it must be an error. I was
present. It was the most brilliant of all possible réunions. It was a
pledge to the salvation of France. I hear the sound of 'Richard, O mon
Roi!' in my ear at this moment. When, oh when, shall I hear it again!"
She burst into a passion of tears.

The name was electric. All began that very charming air at the moment.
Sobs and sighs stole in between the pauses of the harmony. Their rich
and practised voices gave it the sweetness and solemnity of a hymn. Fine
eyes were lifted to heaven; fine faces were buried in their clasped
hands; and the whole finished like the subsidence of a prayer.

But madame la duchesse was full of her subject, and we were full of
curiosity. We implored her to give us some idea of a scene, of which all
Europe was thinking and talking. She required no importunity, but told
her tale with the majesty of a Clairon. It was at first all exclamation.
"O my king!--O my unhappy but noble queen!--O my beloved but noble
France! _O Richard! O mon Roi!--Le monde vous abandonné!_" She again
wept, and we again sympathized.

"For weeks," said she, "we had been tortured at Versailles with reports
from the capital. We lived in a perpetual fever. The fury of the
populace was terrible. The wretches who inflamed it constantly
threatened to lead the armed multitude to the palace. We were almost
without defence. The ministers could not be prevailed on to order the
advance of the troops, and we felt our lives from hour to hour dependent
on chance."

"It was my month of waiting as lady of honour. I found the queen always
firm; or, if she ever trembled, it was at the want of firmness in
others. She had made up her mind for the worst long before. She often
said to me, in those revolutionary nights when we sat listening for the
sound of the cannon or the tocsin from Paris--'France is an abyss, in
which the throne must sink. But sovereigns may be undone--they must not
be disgraced.' The world never possessed a more royal mind.

"At length an opportunity seemed to offer of showing the true feeling of
the court to the army. The regiment of Flanders had come to take its
tour of service at the palace, and the _garde du corps_ had sent them an
invitation to a grand military banquet. There was nothing new, and could
have been nothing suspicious, in the invitation; for it was the custom
of the _garde_, on the arrival of any regiment at Versailles, as a
commencement of mutual civility. The regiment of Flanders was a
distinguished corps--but the whole army had been tampered with; and the
experiment was for the first time a doubtful one. As if to make it still
more doubtful, the invitation was extended to the national guard of

Every eye was now fixed on the narrator, as she went on with increasing

"Never was there a day of greater anxiety. We were sure of the _garde du
corps_; but treachery was roving through France, and the banquet might
only produce a collision. The entertainment, by being in the opera
salon, was actually within the palace, and all the royal suite remained
in the royal apartments, in fear and trembling, during the entire day.

"But as the night advanced, the intelligence, which was brought to us
every five minutes from the salon, became more tranquillizing. The
coldness which had existed in the beginning between the _garde_ and the
troops of the line had vanished, and loyal healths, gay speeches, and
charming songs succeeded. At length a gallant young lieutenant of the
_garde_, in a fit of noble enthusiasm, cried--'We all are the soldiers
of France--we all are loyal, all are happy--Why shall not our king
witness our loyalty and our happiness?' The tidings were instantly
conveyed to the royal apartments. The king rose--the court followed. We
entered the salon. Oh, that sight!--so new, so touching, so

Her voice sank for a moment. She recovered herself, and proceeded--

"The queen leaned on the arm of the king, the dauphin and dauphiness
followed; Madame Elizabeth, that saint on earth if ever there was one,
headed the ladies of the court. All rose at our entrance; we were
received with one acclamation. The sight is still before me. I had seen
all that was brilliant in the courts of Europe. But this moment effaced
them all. The most splendid _salle_ on earth, crowded with uniforms, all
swords drawn and waving in the light, all countenances turned on the
king, all one shout of triumph, loyalty, and joy! Alas! alas! was it to
be the last beat of the national heart? Alas! alas! was it to be the
last flash of the splendour of France; the dazzling illumination of the
_catafalque_ of the Bourbons; the bright burst of flame from the funeral
pile of the monarchy?"

Her voice sank into silence; for the first time unbroken throughout the

At length, to relieve the pause, Mordecai expressed something of a hope
that the royal family slept in peace, for that one night at least.

"I really cannot tell," briskly said the fair narrator. "But I know that
the ladies of the court did not. As the king retired, and we remained in
the opera boxes to amuse ourselves a little with the display, we heard,
to our astonishment, a proposal that the tables should be cleared away,
and the ladies invited to a dance upon the spot. The proposal was
instantly followed by the officers climbing into the boxes, and by our
tearing up our pocket-handkerchiefs to make them cockades. We descended,
and danced loyally till daybreak."

"With nothing less than field-officers, I hope?" said a superb cavalier,
with a superb smile.

"I hope so too," laughed the lady; "though really I can answer for
nothing but that the cotillon was excessively gay--that our partners, if
not the best dancers upon earth--I always honour the _garde du
corps_,"--and she bowed to the captain; "were the most obliged persons

"Ah, but roturiers, madame!" said a stiff old duke, with a scorn worthy
of ten generations of ribands of St Louis.

"True; it was most melancholy, when one comes to reflect upon it," said
the lady, with an elevation of her alabaster shoulders to the very tips
of her ears. "But on that evening roturiers were in demand--popularity
was every thing; the _bourgeoisie_ of Versailles were polished by their
friction against the _garde du corps_. And I am sure, that if the same
experiment, distressing as it might be, were tried in every opera salon
in the provinces, and we had longer dances and shorter harangues, more
fiddles and fewer patriots, all would be well again in our 'belle

"But--your news, monsieur le capitaine," was the demand all round the

"I almost dread to allude to it," said the captain, "as it may seem to
contradict the opinion of madame la duchesse; yet I am afraid that we
shall have to regret this fête as one of the most disastrous events to
the king." He stopped. But the interest of the time overcame all other
considerations. "Ah, gallantry apart, let us hear!" was the general
voice; and, with every eye instantly fixed on him, and in the midst of
lips breathless with anxiety, and bosoms beating with terror at every
turn of the tale, the captain gave us his fearful narrative:--

"The banquet of the 1st of October," said he, "had delighted us all; but
its consequences, which, I quite agree with madame, ought to have
restored peace, were fatal. It lulled Versailles into a false security,
at the moment when it roused Paris into open rebellion. The leaders of
the populace, dreading the return of the national attachment to our good
king, resolved to strike a blow which should shake the monarchy.
Happening to be sent to Paris on duty next day, I was astonished to find
every thing in agitation--The workmen all in the streets; the orators of
the Palais Royal all on their benches, declaiming in the most furious
manner. Crowds of women rushing along the Boulevards, singing their
barbarous revolutionary songs; some even brandishing knives and carrying
pikes, and all frantic against the fête. As I passed down the Rue St
Honoré, I stopped to listen to the harangue of a half-naked ruffian, who
had made a rostrum of the shoulders of two of the porters of the Halle,
and, from this moving tribune, harangued the multitude as he went along.
Every falsehood, calumny, and abomination that could come from the lips
of man, were poured out by the wretch before me. The sounds of 'Vive
Marat!' told me his name. I afterwards heard that he lived on the
profits of a low journal, in a cellar, with a gang of wretches
constantly drunk, and thus was only the fitter for the rabble. He told
them that there was a conspiracy on foot to massacre the patriots of
Paris; that the troops from the provinces were coming, by order of the
king, to put man, woman, and child to the sword; that the fête at
Marseilles was given to the vanguard of the army to pledge them to this
terrible purpose; that the governors of the provinces were all in the
league of blood; and that the bakers of Paris had received an order from
Versailles to put poison in all their loaves within the next twenty-four
hours. 'Frenchmen,' exclaimed this livid villain, tearing his hair, and
howling with the wildness of a demoniac, 'do you love your wives and
children? Will you suffer them to die in agonies before your eyes? Wait,
and you will have nothing to do but dig their graves. Advance, and you
will have nothing to do but drive the tyrant, with his horde of priests
and nobles, into the Seine. Pause, and you are massacred. Arm, and you
are invincible.' He was answered by shouts of vengeance.

"I remained that night at the headquarters of the staff of Paris, the
Hotel de Ville. I was awakened before daybreak by the sound of a drum;
and, on opening my eyes, was startled by lights flashing across the
ceiling of the room where I slept. Shots followed; and it was evident
that there was a conflict in the streets. I buckled on my sabre hastily,
and, taking my pistols, went to join the staff. I found them in the
balcony in front of the building, maintaining a feeble fire against the
multitude. The night was dark as pitch, cold and stormy, and except for
the sparkle of the muskets from below, and the blaze of the torches in
the hands of our assailants, we could scarcely have conjectured by whom
we were attacked. This continued until daylight; when we at last got
sight of our enemy. Never was there a more tremendous view. Every avenue
to the Place de Grève seemed pouring in its thousands and tens of
thousands. Pikes, bayonets on poles, and rusty muskets, filled the eye
as far as it could reach. Flags, with all kinds of atrocious
inscriptions against the king and queen, were waving in the blast;
drums, horns, and every uncouth noise of the raging million filled the
air. And in front of this innumerable mass pressed on a column of
desperadoes, headed by a woman, or a man disguised as a woman, beating a
drum, and crying out, in the intervals of every roar, 'Bread, bread!'

"To resist was evidently hopeless, or only to provoke massacre; but I
had already dispatched an express to the officer in command at the
Tuileries, to come and save the arms and ammunition deposited at the
Hotel de Ville; and we expected the reinforcement from minute to minute.
While my eyes turned, in this fever of life and death, towards the
quarter from which the troops were to come, a sudden shout from the
multitude made me look round; a fellow, perhaps one of the _funambules_
of the Fauxbourg theatres, was climbing up to the belfry by a rope, with
the agility of a monkey. His purpose was seen by us at once, and seen
with fresh alarm; for, if he had been able to reach the great bell, the
terrible 'tocsin' would have aroused the country for ten leagues round,
and have poured a hundred thousand armed peasantry into Paris. I pointed
him out to the guard, and they fired a volley at him as he swung above
their heads. They missed him, the populace shouted, and the fellow,
taking off his cap and waving it in triumph, still climbed on. I next
fired both my pistols at him; which was the luckier of the two I cannot
tell, but I saw him stagger just as he planted his foot on the
battlement; he was evidently hit, and a general yell from the multitude
told that they saw it too; he made a convulsive spring to secure
himself, fell back, lost his hold, and plunged headlong from a height of
a hundred and fifty feet to the ground! Another tried the same
adventure, and with the same fate; three in succession were shot; but
enthusiasm or madness gave them courage, and at length half a dozen
making the attempt together, the belfry was reached, and the tocsin was
rung. Its effect _was_ terrible. The multitude seemed to be inspired
with a new spirit of rage as they heard its clang. Every bell in Paris
soon began to clang in succession. The din was deafening; the populace
seemed to become more daring and desperate every moment; all was uproar.
I could soon see the effect of the tocsin in the new crowds which
recruited our assailants from all sides. Their fire became heavier;
still, in the spirit of men fighting for their lives, we kept them at
bay till the last cartridge was in our muskets. But, at the moment of
despair, we saw the distant approach of the reinforcement from the
Tuileries; and breathed for an instant. Yet, judge of our astonishment,
when it had no sooner entered the crowd, than, instead of driving the
wretches before them, we saw the soldiers scatter, mix, and actually
fraternize with the _canaille_; a general scene of embracing and
huzzaing followed, the shakos were placed on the heads of the rabble,
the hats and caps of the rabble were hoisted on the soldiers' bayonets;
and to our horror alike at their treachery and our inevitable
destruction, the troops wearing the king's uniform, pushed forward,
heading the column of insurrection. We fired our last volley, and all
was over. The multitude burst into the hotel like a torrent. All our
party were either killed or wounded. For the last half hour we had not a
hundred men able to pull a trigger against a fire from the streets, from
windows, and from house tops, on every side of the squares. That any one
of us escaped from the showers of bullets is a miracle. My own escape
was the merest chance. On the first rush of the crowd into the hall, I
happened to come in contact with one of the leaders of the party, a
horrid-looking ruffian in a red cap, who roared out that he had marked
me for bringing down the citizen climber up the belfry. The fellow fired
his pistol so close to my face that it scorched me. In the agony of the
pain I rushed on him; he drew his sabre and attempted to cut me down;
but my sword was already out, and I anticipated him by a blow which
finished his patriotism, at least in this world. In the next moment, I
was trampled down, and we fell together."

I can of course offer but an imperfect transcript of the brave
guardsman's narrative; seconded as it was by an intelligent countenance,
and that national vividness of voice and gesture which often tell so
much more than words. But, to describe its effect on his auditory is
impossible. Every countenance was riveted on him, every change of those
extraordinary scenes was marked by a new expression of every face round
the table. Sighs and tears, wringing hands, and eyes turned on heaven,
were universal evidences of the interest excited by his fearful detail.
Yet, unused as I was to this quick emotion among my own sober
countrymen, I could scarcely wonder even at its wildness. They were
listening to the fate of all that belonged to them by affection,
loyalty, hope, and possession, on this side of the grave. Every hour was
big with the destinies of their king, their relations, and their
country. On the events happening, even at the moment, depended, whether
a deluge of blood might not roll over France, whether flame might not be
devouring their ancient castles, whether they might not be doomed to
mendicancy in a strange land, wanderers through the earth, without a
spot whereon to lay their head, fugitives forever. Yet the anxiety for
those left behind was of a still deeper dye; the loved, the familiar,
the honoured, all involved in a tide of calamity, irresistible by human
strength or skill.--All so near, yet all so lost; like the crew of some
noble ship hopelessly struggling with the winds and waves, within sight
of the shore, within reach almost of the very voices of their friends,
yet at the mercy of a tremendous element which forbade their ever
treading on firm ground.

But there was still much to tell; the fate of the royal family was the
general question; and the remainder of the melancholy tale was given
with manly sensibility.

"When I recovered my senses it was late in the day; and I found myself
in humble room, with only an old woman for my attendant; but my wounds
bandaged, and every appearance of my having fallen into friendly hands.
The conjecture was true. I was in the house of one of my father's
_gardes de chasse_, who, having commenced tavern-keeper in the Fauxbourg
St Antoine some years back, and being a thriving man, had become a
'personage' in his section, and was now a captain in the Fédérés.
Forced, _malgré_, to join the march to the Hotel de Ville, he had seen
me in the mêlée, and dragged me from under a heap of killed and wounded.
To his recollection I probably owed my life; for the patriots mingled
plunder with their principles, stripped all the fallen, and the pike and
dagger finished the career of many of the wounded. It happened, too,
that I could not have fallen into a better spot for information. My
_cidevant garde de chasse_ was loyal to the midriff; but his position as
the master of a tavern, made his house a rendezvous of the leading
patriots of his section. Immediately after their victory of the morning,
a sort of council was held on what they were to do next; and the room
where I lay being separated from their place of meeting only by a slight
partition, I could hear every syllable of their speeches, which, indeed,
they took no pains to whisper; they clearly thought that Paris was their
own. Lying on my bed, I learned that the attack on the Hotel de Ville
was only a part of a grand scheme of operations; that an insurrection
was to be organized throughout France; that the king was to be deposed,
and a 'lieutenant of the kingdom' appointed, until the sovereign people
had declared their will; and that the first movement was to be a march
of all the Parisian sections to Versailles. I should have started from
my pillow, to spring sabre in hand among the traitors; but I was held
down by my wounds, and perhaps still more by the entreaties of my old
attendant, who protested against my stirring, as it would be instantly
followed by her murder and that of every inmate of the house. The club
now proceeded to enjoy themselves after the labours of the day. They had
a republican carouse. Their revels were horrible. They speedily became
intoxicated, sang, danced, embraced, fought, and were reconciled again.
Then came the harangues; each orator exceeding his predecessor in
blasphemy, till all was execration, cries of vengeance against kings and
priests, and roars of massacre. I there heard the names of men long
suspected, but of whom they now spoke openly as the true leaders of the
national movement; and of others marked for assassination. They drank
toasts to Death, to Queen Poissarde, and to Goddess Guillotine. It was a

"A drum at length beat the 'Alarme' in the streets; the orgie was at an
end, and amid a crash of bottles and glasses, they staggered, as well as
their feet could carry them, out of the house. They were received by the
mob with shouts of laughter. But the column moved forward; to the amount
of thousands, as I could judge by their trampling, and the clashing of
their arms. When the sound had died away in the distance, my humble
friend entered my room, thanking his stars that 'he had contrived to
escape this march.'

"'Where are they gone?' I asked.

"'To Versailles,' was his shuddering answer.

"Nothing could now detain me. After one or two helpless efforts to rise
from my bed, and an hour or two of almost despair, I succeeded in
getting on my feet, and procuring a horse. Versailles was now my only
object. I knew all the importance of arriving at the palace at the
earliest moment; I knew the unprotected state of the king, and knew that
it was my place to be near his person in all chances. I was on the point
of sallying forth in my uniform, when the precaution of my friend forced
me back; telling me, truly enough, that, in the ferment of the public
mind, it would be impossible for me to reach Versailles as a _garde du
corps_, and that my being killed or taken, would effectually prevent me
from bearing any information of the state of the capital. This decided
me; and, disguised as a courier, I set out by a cross-road in hope to
arrive before the multitude.

"But I had not gone above a league when I fell in with a scattered
platoon of the mob, who were rambling along as if on a party of
pleasure; tossing their pikes and clashing their sabres to all kinds of
revolutionary songs. I was instantly seized, as a 'courier of the
Aristocrats.' Their sagacity, once at work, found out a hundred names
for me:--I was a 'spy of Pitt,' an 'agent of the Austrians,' a
'disguised priest,' and an 'emigrant noble;' my protestations were in
vain, and they held a court-martial, on me and my horse, on the road;
and ordered me to deliver up my despatches, on pain of being piked on
the spot. But I could give up none; for the best of all possible
reasons. Every fold of my drapery was searched, and then I was to be
piked for _not_ having despatches; it being clear that I was more than a
courier, and that my message was too important to be trusted to pen and
ink. I was now in real peril; for the party had continued to sing and
drink until they had nearly made themselves frantic; and as Versailles
was still a dozen miles off, and they were unlikely to annihilate the
garrison before nightfall, they prepared to render their share of
service to their country by annihilating me. In this real dilemma, my
good genius interposed, in the shape of an enormous _poissarde_; who,
rushing through the crowd, which she smote with much the same effect as
an elephant would with his trunk, threw her huge arms round me, called
me her _cher Jacques_, poured out a volley of professional eloquence on
the shrinking heroes, and proclaimed me her son returning from the army!
All now was sentiment. The _poissarde_ was probably in earnest, for her
faculties were in nearly the same condition with those of her fellow
patriots. I was honoured with a general embrace, and shared the
privilege of the travelling bottle. As the night was now rapidly
falling, an orator proposed that the overthrow of the monarchy should be
deferred till the next day. A Fédéré uniform was provided for me; I was
hailed as a brother; we pitched a tent, lighted fires, cooked a supper,
and bivouacked for the night. This was, I acknowledge, the first night
of my seeing actual service since the commencement of my soldiership.

"In ten minutes the whole party were asleep. I arose, stole away, left
my newly found mother to lament her lost son again, and with a heavy
heart took the road to Versailles. The night had changed to sudden
tempest, and the sky grown dark as death. It was a night for the fall of
a dynasty. But there was a lurid blaze in the distant horizon, and from
time to time a shout, or a sound of musketry, which told me only too
well where Versailles lay. I need not say what my feelings were while I
was traversing that solitary road, yet within hearing of this tremendous
mass of revolt; or what I imagined in every roar, as it came mingled
with the bellowing of the thunder. The attack might be commencing at the
moment; the blaze that I saw might be the conflagration of the palace;
the roar might be the battle over the bodies of the royal family. I
never passed three hours in such real anxiety of mind, and they were
deepened by the total loneliness of the whole road. I did not meet a
single human being; for the inhabitants of the few cottages had fled, or
put out all their lights, and shut themselves up in their houses. The
multitude had rushed on, leaving nothing but silence and terror behind.

"The church clocks were striking three in the morning when I arrived at
Versailles, after the most exhausting journey that I had ever made. But
there, what a scene met my eye! It was beyond all that I had ever
imagined of ferocity and rabble triumph. Though it was still night, the
multitude thronged the streets; the windows were all lighted up, huge
fires were blazing in all directions, torches were carried about at the
head of every troop of the banditti; it was the bivouac of a hundred
thousand bedlamites. It was now that I owned the lucky chance which had
made me a Fédéré. In any other dress I should have been a suspicious
person, and have probably been put to death; but in the brown coat,
sabre, and red cap of the Sectionaire, I was fraternized with in all
quarters. My first object was to approach the palace, if possible. But
there I found a _cordon_ of the national guard drawn up, who had no
faith even in my mob costume; and was repelled. I could only see at a
distance, drawn up in front of the palace, a strong line of troops--the
regiment of Flanders and the Swiss battalion. All in the palace was
darkness. It struck me as the most funereal sight that I had ever

"In my disappointment I wandered through the town. The night was rainy,
and gusts of wind tore every thing before them, yet the armed populace
remained carousing in the streets--all was shouting, oaths, and
execrations against the royal family. Some groups were feasting on the
plunder of the houses of entertainment, others were dancing and roaring
the 'Carmagnole.' One party had broken into the theatre, and dressed
themselves in the spoils of the wardrobe; others were drilling, and
exhibiting their skill by firing at the king's arms hung over the shops
of the restaurateurs. Those shops were crowded with hundreds eating and
drinking at free cost. All the _cafés_ and gaming-houses were lighted
from top to bottom. The streets were a solid throng, and almost as
bright as at noonday, and the jangling of all the Savoyard organs,
horns, and voices, the riot and roar of the multitude, and the frequent
and desperate quarrels of the different sections, who challenged each
other to fight during this lingering period, were absolutely
distracting. Versailles looked alternately like one vast masquerade,
like an encampment of savages, and like a city taken by storm. Wild
work, too, had been done during the day.

"As, wearied to death, I threw myself down to rest on the steps of one
of the churches, a procession of patriots happened to fix its quarters
on the spot. Its leader, an old grotesque-looking fellow, dressed in a
priest's vestments--doubtless a part of the plunder of the night--and
seated on a barrel on wheels, like a Silenus, from which, at their
several halts, he harangued his followers, and drank to the 'downfal of
the Bourbons,' soon let me into the history of the last twelve hours.
'Brave Frenchmen,' exclaimed the ruffian, 'the eyes of the world are
fixed upon you; and this night you have done what the world has never
rivalled. You have shaken the throne of the tyrant. What cared you for
the satellites of the Bourbon? You scorned their bayonets; you laughed
at their bullets. Nothing can resist the energy of Frenchmen.' This
flourish was, of course, received with a roar. The orator now produced a
scarf which he had wrapped round his waist, and waved it in the light
before them. 'Look here, citizen soldiers,' he cried; 'brave Fédérés,
see this gore. It is the blood of the monsters who would extinguish the
liberty of France. Yesterday I headed a battalion of our heroes in the
attack of the palace. One of the slaves of the tyrant Capet rushed on me
sword in hand; I sent a bullet through his heart, and, as he fell, I
tore this scarf from his body. See the marks of his blood.' It may be
conceived with what feelings I heard this narrative.--The palace had
been sacked, the queen insulted, my friends and comrades murdered. I
gave an involuntary groan; his fierce eye fell upon me as I endeavoured
to make my escape from this horrible neighbourhood, and he ordered me to
approach him. The fifty pikes which were brandished at his word made
obedience necessary. He whispered, 'I know you well; you are at my
mercy; I have often played the barrel organ outside the walls of your
_corps-de-garde_; you are acquainted with the secret ways of the palace,
and you must lead us in, or die upon the spot.' He probably took my
astonishment and silence for acquiescence; for he put a musket into my
hand. 'This night,' said he, aloud, 'will settle every thing. The whole
race of the Bourbons are doomed. The fry may have escaped, but we have
netted all the best fish. We have friends, too, in high quarters;' and
he shook a purse of louis-d'ors at my ear. 'We are to storm the palace
an hour before daybreak; the troops must either join us or be put to
death; the king and his tribe will be sent to a dungeon, and France,
before to-morrow night, will have at her head, if not the greatest man,
the richest fool, in Europe.' He burst out into an irrestrainable laugh,
in which the whole party joined; but the sound of cannon broke off his
speech; all shouldered pike or musket; I was placed under the especial
surveillance of a pair with drawn sabres, which had probably seem some
savage service during the night, for they were clotted with blood; and
with me for their guide, the horde of savages rushed forward, shouting,
to join the grand attack on the defenders of our unfortunate king.

"My situation had grown more trying at every moment, but escape was
impossible, and my next thought was to make the best of my misfortune,
enter the palace along with the crowd, and, when once there, die by the
side of my old comrades. I had, however, expected a sanguinary struggle.
What was my astonishment when I saw the massive gates, which might have
been so easily defended, broken open at once--a few random shots the
only resistance, and the staircases and ante-rooms in possession of the
multitude within a quarter of an hour. 'Where is La Fayette?' in wrath
and indignation, I cried to one of the wounded _garde-du-corps_, whom I
had rescued from the knives of my _sans-culotte_ companions. 'He is
asleep,' answered the dying man, with a bitter smile. 'Where are the
National Guard whom he brought with him last night from Paris?' I asked,
in astonishment. 'They are asleep, too,' was the contemptuous answer. I
rushed on, and at length reached my friends; tore off my Fédéré uniform,
and used, with what strength was left me, my bayonet, until it was

"I shall say no more of that night of horrors. The palace was completely
stormed. The splendid rooms, now the scene of battle hand to hand; the
royal furniture, statues, pictures, tossed and trampled in heaps;
wounded and dead men lying every where; the constant discharge of
muskets and pistols; the breaking open of doors with the blows of
hatchets and hammers; the shrieks of women flying for their lives, or
hanging over their wounded sons and husbands; and the huzzas of the
rabble, at every fresh entrance which they forced into the suites of
apartments, were indescribable. I pass over the other transactions of
those terrible hours; but some unaccountable chance saved the royal
family--I fear, for deeper sufferings; for the next step was

"The rabble leaders insisted that the king should go with them to Paris.
Monsieur La Fayette was now awake; and he gave it as his opinion that
this was the only mode of pleasing the populace. When a king submits to
popular will, he is disgraced; and a disgraced king is undone. It was
now broad day; the struggle was at an end; the royal carriages were
ordered, and the _garde-du-corps_ were drawn up to follow them. At this
moment, the barrel-organ man, my leader of the night, passed me by with
a grimace, and whispered, 'Brother Fédéré, did I not tell you how it
would be? The play is only beginning; all that we have seen is the
farce.' He laughed, and disappeared among the crowd.

"There was one misery to come, and it was the worst; the procession to
Paris lasted almost twelve hours. It was like the march of American
savages, with their scalps and prisoners, to their wigwams. The crowd
had been largely increased by the national guards of the neighbouring
villages, and by thousands flocking from Paris on the intelligence of
the rabble victory. Our escort was useless; we ourselves were prisoners.
Surrounding the carriage of the king, thousands of the most profligate
refuse of Paris, men and women, railed and revelled, sang and shouted
the most furious insults to their majesties. And in front of this mass
were carried on pikes, as standards, the heads of two of our corps, who
had fallen fighting at the door of the queen's chamber. Loaves, borne on
pikes, and dipped in blood, formed others of their standards. Huge
placards, with the words, 'Down with the tyrant! Down with the priests!
Down with the nobles!' waved above the heads of the multitude. 'Make way
for the baker, his wife, and the little apprentice,' was shouted, with
every addition of obloquy and insolence; and in this agony we were
forced to drag on our weary steps till midnight. One abomination more
was to signalize the inhuman spirit of the time. Within about a league
of Paris, the royal equipages were ordered to halt; and for what
inconceivable purpose? It was, that the bleeding heads of our
unfortunate comrades might be dressed and powdered by the village
barber--to render them fit to enter Paris. The heads were then brought
to the carriage windows, for the approval of the royal prisoners; and
the huge procession moved onward with all its old bellowings again.

"We entered the city by torchlight, amid the firing of cannon; the
streets were all illuminated, and the mob and the multitude maddened
with brandy. Yet the scene was unlike that of the night before. There
was something in the extravagances of Versailles wholly different from
the sullen and frowning aspect of Paris. The one had the look of a
melodrame; the other the look of an execution. All was funereal. We
marched with the king to the Place du Carrousel, and when the gates of
the palace closed on him, I felt as if they were the gates of the tomb.
Perhaps it would be best that they were; that a king of France should
never suffer such another day; that he should never look on the face of
man again. He had drained the cup of agony; he had tasted all the
bitterness of death; human nature could not sustain such another day;
and, loyal as I was, I wished that the descendant of so many kings
should rather die by the hand of nature than by the hand of traitors and
villains; or should rather mingle his ashes with the last flame of the
Tuileries, than glut the thirst of rebellion with his blood on the

The story left us all melancholy for a while; bright eyes again
overflowed, as well they might; and stately bosoms heaved with evident
emotion. Yet, after all, the night was wound up with a capital cotillon,
danced with as much grace, and as much gaiety too, as if it had been in
the Salle d'Opera.

       *       *       *       *       *

I rose early next morning, and felt the spirit-stirring power of the sea
breeze. In those days, Brighton covered but the borders of the shore. It
was scarcely more than a little line of fishermen's cottages, fenced
against the surge by the remaining timbers of boats which had long seen
their last adventure. Scattered at distances of at least a quarter of a
mile from each other, lay some houses of a better description, a few
deeply embosomed in trees, or rather in such thickets as could grow in
the perpetual exposure to the rough winds and saline exhalations of the
Channel. Of those, the one in which I had taken up my present residence
was amongst the best; though its exterior was so unpresuming, that I was
inclined to give Mordecai, or rather his gay heiress, credit for
humility, or perhaps for the refinement of striking their visiters with
the contrast between its simplicity of exterior and richness of
decoration within.

It was a brisk, bright morning, and the waves were curling before a
lively breeze, the sun was glowing above, and clusters of vessels,
floating down the Channel, spread their sails like masses of summer
cloud in the sunshine. It was my first sight of the ocean, and that
first sight is always a new idea. Alexander the Great, standing on the
shores of the Persian Gulf, said, "That he then first felt what the
world was." Often as I have seen the ocean since, the same conception
has always forced itself on me.

In what a magnificent world do we live! What power, what depth, what
expanse, lay before me! How singular, too, that while the grandeur of
the land arises from bold irregularity and incessant change of aspect,
from the endless variety of forest, vale, and mountain; the same effect
should be produced on the ocean by an absence of all irregularity and
all change! A simple, level horizon, perfectly unbroken, a line of
almost complete uniformity, compose a grandeur that impresses and fills
the soul as powerfully as the most cloud-piercing Alp, or the Andes
clothed with thunder.

This was the ocean in calm; but how glorious, too, in tempest! The storm
that sweeps the land is simply a destroyer or a renovator; it smites the
surface, and is gone. But the ocean is the seat of its power, the scene
of its majesty, the element in which it sports, lives, and
rules--penetrating to its depths, rolling its surface in thunder on the
shore--changing its whole motion, its aspect, its uses, and, grand as it
is in its serenity, giving it another and a more awful grandeur in its
convulsion. Then, how strangely, yet how admirably, does it fulfil its
great human object! Its depth and extent seem to render it the very
element of separation; all the armies of the earth might be swallowed up
between the shores of the Channel. Yet it is this element which actually
combines the remotest regions of the earth. Divisions and barriers are
essential to the protection of kingdoms from each other; yet what height
of mountain range, or what depth of precipice could be so secure as the
defence so simply and perpetually supplied by a surrounding sea? While
this protecting element at the same time pours the wealth of the globe
into the bosom of a nation.

Even all this is only the ocean as referred to man. How much more
magnificent is it in itself! Thrice the magnitude of the land, the world
of waters! its depth unfathomable, its mountains loftier than the
loftiest of the land, its valleys more profound, the pinnacles of its
hills islands! What immense shapes of animal and vegetable life may fill
those boundless pastures and plains on which man shall never look! What
herds, by thousands and millions, of those mighty creatures whose
skeletons we discover, from time to time, in the wreck of the
antediluvian globe! What secrets of form and power, of capacity and
enjoyment, may exist under the cover of that mighty expanse of waves
which fills the bed of the ocean, and spreads round the globe!

While those and similar ramblings were passing through my mind, as I sat
gazing on the bright and beautiful expanse before me, I was aroused by a
step on the shingle. I turned, and saw the gallant guardsman, who had so
much interested our party on the night before. But he received my
salutation with a gravity which instantly put an end to my good-humour;
and I waited for the _dénouement_, at his pleasure. He produced a small
billet from his pocket, which I opened, and which, on glancing my eye
over it, appeared to me a complete rhapsody. I begged of him to read it,
and indulge me with an explanation. He read it, and smiled.

"It is, I own, not perfectly intelligible," said he; "but some allowance
must be made for a man deeply injured, and inflamed by a sense of

I read the signature--Lafontaine, _Capitaine des Chasseurs legers_. I
had never heard the name before. I begged to know "the nature of his
business with me, as it was altogether beyond my conjecture."

"It is perfectly probable, sir," was the reply; "for I understand that
you had never seen each other till last night, at the house of your
friend. The case is simply this:--Lafontaine, who is one of the finest
fellows breathing, has been for some time deeply smitten by the various
charms of your host's very pretty daughter, and, so far as I comprehend,
the lady has acknowledged his merits. But your arrival here has a good
deal deranged the matter. He conceives your attentions to his fair one
to be of so marked a nature, that it is impossible for him to overlook

I laughed, and answered,

"Sir, you may make your friend quite at his ease on the subject, for I
have not known her existence till within these twenty-four hours."

"You danced with her half the evening--you sat beside her at supper. She
listened to you with evident attention--of this last I myself was
witness; and the report in the neighbourhood is, that you have come to
this place by an express arrangement with her father," gravely retorted
the guardsman.

All this exactness of requisition appeared to me to be going rather too
far; and I exhibited my feeling on the subject, in the tone in which I
replied, that I had stated every thing that was necessary for the
satisfaction of a "man of sense, but that I had neither the faculty nor
the inclination to indulge the captiousness of any man."

His colour mounted, and I seemed as if I was likely to have a couple of
heroes on my hands. But he compressed his lip, evidently strangled a
chivalric speech, and, after a pause to recover his calmness, said--

"Sir, I have not come here to decide punctilios on either side. I
heartily wish that this affair had not occurred, or could be reconciled;
my countrymen here, I know, stand on a delicate footing, and I am
perfectly aware of the character that will be fastened on them by the
occurrence of such rencontres. Can you suggest any means by which this
difference may be settled at once?"

"None in the world, sir," was my answer. "I have told you the fact, that
I have no pretension whatever to the lady--that I am wholly unacquainted
even with the person of your friend--that the idea of intentional injury
on my part, therefore, is ridiculous; and let me add, for the benefit of
your friend, that to expect an apology for imaginary injuries, would be
the most ridiculous part of the entire transaction."

"What, then, am I to do?" asked the gallant captain, evidently
perplexed. "I really wish that the affair could be got over without
_fracas_. In fact, though the Jewess is pretty, Lafontaine's choice does
not much gratify any of us."

"What you ought to do, sir, is sufficiently plain," said I. "Go to your
friend; if he has brains enough remaining to comprehend the nature of
the case, he will send you back with his apology. If he has not, I shall
remain half an hour on the sands until he has made up his mind."

The captain made me a low bow, and slowly paced back to the lodging of
his fiery compatriot.

When I was left alone, I, for the first time, felt the whole ill-luck of
my situation. So long as I was heated by our little dialogue, I thought
only of retorting the impertinent interference of a stranger with my
motives or actions. But, now, the whole truth flashed on me with the
force of a new faculty. I saw myself involved in a contest with a fool
or a lunatic, in which either of our lives, or both, might be
sacrificed--and for nothing. Hope, fortune, reputation, perhaps renown,
all the prospects of life were opening before me, and I was about to
shut the gate with my own hand. In these thoughts I was still too young
for what is called personal peril to intervene. The graver precaution of
more advanced years was entirely out of the question. I was a soldier,
or about to be one; and I would have rejoiced, if the opportunity had
been given to me, in heading a forlorn hope, or doing any other of those
showy things which make a name. The war, too, was beginning--my future
regiment was ordered for foreign service--every heart in England was
beating with hope or fear--every eye of Europe was fixed upon England
and Englishmen; and, in the midst of all this high excitement, to fall
in a pitiful private quarrel, struck me with a sudden sense of
self-contempt and wilful absurdity, that made me almost loathe my being.
I acknowledge that the higher thoughts, which place those rencontres in
their most criminal point of view, had then but little influence with
me. But to think that, within the next hour, or the next five minutes, I
might be but like the sleepers in the rude resting-place of the
fishermen; with my name unknown, and all the associations of life

    "This sensible warm motion to become
     A kneaded clod"--

was an absolute pang. I could have died a martyr, and despised the
flame, or rather rejoiced in it, as a security that I should not perish
forgotten. But a fancied wrong, an obscure dispute, the whole future of
an existence flung away for the jealous dreams of a mad Frenchman, or
the Sport of a coquette, of whom I knew as little as of her fantastic
lover, threw me into a fever of scorn for the solemn follies of mankind.

The captain returned. I had not stirred from the spot.

"I regret," said he, "that my friend is wholly intractable. He has
convinced himself, if he can convince no one else, that he has wholly
lost the good opinion of his fair one, and that you are the cause. Some
communication which he had from London, informed him of your frequent
intercourse with her father. This rendered him suspicious, and the
peculiar attention with which you were treated last night, produced a
demand for an explanation; which, of course, heightened the quarrel. The
inamorata, probably not displeased to have more suitors than one,
whether in amusement or triumph, appears to have assisted his error, if
such it be; and he returned home, stung to madness by what he terms her
infidelity. He now demands your formal abandonment of the pursuit."

All my former feelings of offence recurred at the words, and I hotly
asked--"Well, sir, to whom must I kneel--to the lady or the gentleman?
Take my answer back--that I shall do neither. Where is your friend to be

He pointed to a clump of frees within a few hundred yards, and I
followed him. I there saw my antagonist; a tall, handsome young man, but
with a countenance of such dejection that he might have sat for the
picture of despair. It was clear that his case was one for which there
was no tonic, but what the wits of the day called a course of steel.
Beside him stood a greyhaired old figure, of a remarkably intelligent
countenance, though stooped slightly with age. He was introduced to me
as General Deschamps; and in a few well-expressed words, he mentioned
that he attended, from respect to the British, to offer his services to
me on an occasion "which he deeply regretted, but which circumstances
unfortunately rendered necessary, and which all parties were doubtless
anxious to conclude before it should produce any irritation in the

To the offer of choice of weapons, I returned an answer of perfect
indifference. It had happened, that as my father had destined me for
diplomacy, and had conceived the science to have but two essentials,
French and fencing, I was tolerably expert in both. Swords were chosen.
We were placed on the ground, and the conflict began. My antagonist was
evidently a master of his art; but there is no weapon whose use depends
so much upon the mind of the moment as the sword. He was evidently
resolved to kill or be killed; and the desperation with which he rushed
on me exposed him to my very inferior skill. At the third pass I ran him
through the sword arm. He staggered back with the twinge; but at the
instant when he was about to bound on me, and perhaps take his revenge,
a scream stopped us all; a female, wrapped in cloak and veil, rushed
forward, and threw herself into Lafontaine's arms in a passion of sobs.
An attendant, who soon came up, explained the circumstance; and it
finally turned out, that the fair Mariamne, whatever her coquetry might
have intended at night, repented at morn; recollected some of the
ominous expressions of her lover; and on hearing that he had been seen
with a group entering the grove, and that I, too, was absent, had
conjectured the truth at once, and flown, with her _femme de chambre,_
to the rendezvous. She had come just in time.

The reconciliation was complete. I was now not only forgiven by the
lover, but was the "very best friend he had in the world;--a man of
honour, a paragon, a _chevalier sans peur et sans reproche_." The wound
of the gallant chasseur was bound up, like an ancient knight's, with his
mistress's scarf. She upbraided me, with her glistening eyes, for having
had the audacity to quarrel with her hero; and then, with the same eyes,
thanked me for the opportunity of proving her faith to _cher et
malheureux Charles_. Her little heart poured out its full abundance in
her voluble tongue; and for a quarter of an hour, and it is a long life
for happiness, we were the happiest half dozen in Christendom.

How Mordecai would admire all this, was yet to be told; but my casual
mention of his name broke up the rapture at once. Mariamne suddenly
became sensible of the irregularity of alternately fainting and smiling
in the arms of a handsome young soldier; and in the presence, too, of so
many spectators, all admirers of her black eyes and blooming
sensibilities. She certainly looked to me much prettier than in her
full-dress charms of the evening before, and I almost began to think
that the prize was worth contending for; but the guardsman and the old
general had felt the effects of the morning air, and were
unsentimentally hungry. Mariamne and her attendant were escorted to the
edge of the plantation by her restored knight; and I accepted the
general's invitation to breakfast, instead of drowning myself in the
next pond.

The general was lodged in the first floor of a fisherman's dwelling,
which, in more polished parts of the land, would have been pronounced a
hovel; but in Brighton, as it then was, bore the name of a house. We
entered it through an apartment filled with matters of the fisherman's
trade,--nets, barrels, and grapnels; and in a corner a musket or two,
which had evidently seen service, though probably _not_ in his Majesty's
pay. The walls were covered with engravings of British sea-fights and
favourite admirals, from the days of Elizabeth; patriotic in the highest
degree, and most intolerable specimens of the arts; the floor, too, had
its covering, but it was of nearly a dozen children of all sizes, from
the bluff companion of his father down to the crier in the cradle; yet
all fine bold specimens of the brood of sea and fresh air, British
bull-dogs, that were yet to pin down the game all round the world; or
rather cubs of the British lion, whose roar was to be the future terror
of the foreigner.

The general welcomed us to his little domicile with as much grace as if
he had been ushering us into the throne-room of the Tuileries. I
afterwards understood that he had been governor of the "Invalides;" and
the change from the stately halls of that military palace must have
severely taxed the philosophy of any man; yet it had no appearance of
having even ruffled the temperament of the gallant veteran. He smiled,
talked, and did the honours of his apartment with as much urbanity as if
he had been surrounded by all the glittering furniture, and all the
liveried attendance, of his governorship. I have always delighted in an
old Frenchman, especially if he has served. Experience has made me a
cosmopolite, and yet to this hour a young Frenchman is my instinctive
aversion. He is born in coxcombry, cradled in coxcombry, and educated in
coxcombry. It is only after his coxcombry is rubbed off by the changes
and chances of the world, that the really valuable material of the
national character is to be seen. He always reminds me of the
mother-of-pearl shell, rude and unpromising on the outside, but by
friction exhibiting a fine interior. However it may be thought a paradox
to pronounce the Frenchman unpolished, I hold to my assertion. If the
whole of "jeune France" sprang on their feet and clapped their hands to
the hilts of their swords, or more probably to their daggers, to avenge
the desecration of the only shrine at which nine-tenths of them worship,
I should still pronounce the Frenchman the most unpolished of Europeans.
What is his look of conscious superiority to all that exist besides in
this round world? The toss of his nostril, the glare of his eye, the
contempt of his gathered lip? Give me the homeliest manners of the
homeliest corner of Europe--nay, give me the honest rudeness of the
American savage, in preference to this arrogant assumption of an empty
superiority. Why, the very tone in which every Frenchman, from fifteen
to five-and-forty, utters the words "la France," is enough to raise the
laugh, or make the blood boil, of all mankind.

Nearly twenty years after this, I happened to be sitting one day with
Gentz, the most memorable practical philosopher of his age and country.
Germany was then in the most deplorable depression, overrun with French
armies; and with Napoleon at Erfurth, in the pride of that "bad
eminence" on which he stood in such Titanic grandeur, and from which he
was so soon to be flung with such Titanic ruin. Our conversation
naturally turned on the melancholy state of things.

"I think," said the great politician, "that this supremacy must fall. I
might not think so if any other nation were the masters of Europe; but
France, though often a conqueror, has never been a possessor. The
insolence of the individual Frenchman has been the grand obstacle to the
solidity of her empire."

To my remark, that her central position, her vast population, the
undaunted bravery of her troops, and the military propensities of her
people, fitted her to be the disturber of Europe.

"Yes," was the sage's answer; "but to be no more than the disturber. Her
power is the whirlwind; for purposes which man may never be able fully
to define, suffered, or sent forth, to sweep the Continent; perhaps,
like the tempest, to punish, nay, perhaps in the end to purify; but the
tempest is scarcely more transitory, or more different from the dew that
invisibly descends and silently refreshes the land."

"But Napoleon," said I, "with an army of a million recruited from thirty
millions, opposed to the worn-down force and exhausted treasures of the
Continent! What an iron wedge driven in among their dilapidated
combinations! What a mountain of granite, with the cloud and the thunder
for its crown, domineering over the plain!"

"True--perfectly true," he replied, throwing back the long locks from a
broad forehead which reminded me of a bust of Plato. "True. Man may be
as little able to decide on the means by which the power of France will
fall, as on the purposes for which that tremendous fabric of splendid
iniquity first rose. But, look into that street."

It happened that a French regiment of cuirassiers, with the fine
clangour of its drums and trumpets, was passing under the window at the

"You see there," said he, "the kind of feeling which that really
striking show produces; not a window is open but our own. The blinds of
every window have been let down, not an eye looks at these troops. Yet
the public of Vienna are extravagantly fond of display in all its
shapes; and punchinello, or a dance of dogs, would bring a head to every
pane of glass, from the roof to the ground. The French are individually
shrunk from, hated, abhorred.

"Naturally enough, as conquerors," I observed; chiefly from a desire to
hear more of the sentiments of the celebrated German.

"No--no!" said he, almost in a tone of vexation. "The Germans are as
much alive to the merits of their enemies in the field, as any other
nation in the world. They acknowledge the soldiership of the French. I
even believe that the talents of their extraordinary emperor are more
sincerely acknowledged in Vienna than in Paris. But it is the
intolerable insolence of the national character, that makes its bravery,
its gaiety, and even its genius detested. Trust me; this feeling will
not be unfruitful. Out of the hut of the peasant will come the avengers,
whom the cabinet has never been able to find in the camp. Out of the
swamp and the thicket will rise the tree that will at once overshadow
the fallen fortunes of Germany, and bring down the lightning on her
aggressors. In this hope alone I live."

I once more asked him, "From what quarter is the restoration to come?"

"I know not--I care not--I ask not," said he, starting from his chair,
and traversing the room with huge strides. "The topic feels to me as if
a sword was now griding its way through my frame. But France will never
keep Austria, nor Prussia, nor the Rhenish Provinces, nor Holland, nor
any spot on earth beyond the land inhabited by Frenchmen. It is true,"
said he, with a stern smile, "that she may keep her West India islands,
if your ships will let her. The negroes are her natural subjects. They
have backs accustomed to the lash, and black cheeks that will not redden
at her insolence."

"Are the German sovereigns of your opinion?"

"To a man. It is but this morning that I was honoured with a reception
by our good emperor. His conviction was complete. But you will not see
Austria stir a single step, until war is the outcry, not of her court,
but of her people. The trumpet that leads the march will be blown not
from the parade of Vienna or Berlin, but from the village, the pasture,
the forest, and the mountain. The army will be the peasant, the weaver,
the trader, the student, the whole of the pacific multitude of life
turned into the materials of war; the ten thousand rills that silently
water the plain of society suddenly united into one inundation; the eyes
of every man looking only for the enemy; the feet of every man pursuing
him; the hands of every man slaying him. The insolence of the Frenchman
has contrived to convey a sting of the bitterness of conquest into every
heart of our millions, and our millions will return it with resistless

"You have cheered and convinced me," said I, as I rose to take my leave.
"It certainly is rather strange, that France, always mad with the love
of seizure, has been able to acquire nothing during the last hundred

"You will find my theory true," said Gentz. "The individual insolence of
her people has been the real impediment to the increase of her
dominions. She is not the only ambitious power on the face of the earth.
Russia has doubled her empire within those hundred years, yet she has
kept possession of every league. Prussia has doubled her territory
within the same time, yet she has added the new solidly to the old. I am
not an advocate for the principle or the means by which those conquests
have been accomplished; but they have been retained. Austria has been
for the same time nearly mistress of Italy, and though the French arms
have partially shaken her authority, it was never shaken by popular
revolt. And why is all this contradistinction to the flighty conquest
and ephemeral possession of France? The obvious reason is, that however
the governments might be disliked, neither the Austrian soldier, nor the
Prussian, nor even the Russian, made himself abhorred, employed his
study in vexing the feelings of the people, had a perpetual sneer on his
visage, or exhibited in his habits a perpetual affectation of that
coxcomb superiority to all other human beings, that pert supremacy, that
grotesque and yet irritating caricature, which makes the _Moi, je suis
Français_, a demand for universal adoration, the concentrated essence of
absurdity, the poison-drop of scorn.

"When will this great consummation arrive?"

"When the tyranny can be endured no longer; when the people find that
they must depend upon themselves for its redress; when a just Providence
finds the vindication of its laws required by the necessities of man."

"From what quarter will the grand effort first come?"

"From the nation most aggrieved."

"What will be its result?"

To this moment I remember the sudden light which flashed into his cold
grey eye, the gasping lip, and the elevation which even his stooped form
assumed; as he answered with a tone and gesture which might have been
imagined for one of the prophets of the Sistine Chapel--

"The result," said he, "will be the fall of the French empire, for it is
a house built on the sand;--the extinction of Napoleon, for it is his
creation, and the one cannot survive the other;--the liberation of
Europe, for its united strength can be chained no longer;--perhaps the
liberty of man, for the next step for nations which have crushed foreign
dominion is to extinguish domestic despotism. Europe once free, what is
to come? A new era, a new shape of society, a new discovery of the
mighty faculties of nations, of the wonders of mind, of matter, and of
man; a vast shaking of the earth and its institutions; and out of this
chaos, a new moral creation, _fiat lux et fugient tenebræ_."

The prediction has been partly realized. Much is yet to be fulfilled.
But, like Gentz, I live in hope, and think that I see an approach to the

But the party to whom I was now introduced were of a different order
from the generality of their country. Originally of the first education
and first society of France, the strictness of the military service had
produced on the the most valuable effect of years. The natural vividness
of their temperament was smoothed down, their experience of English
kindness had diminished their prejudices; and adversity--and no men bear
the frowns of fortune better than their nation--gave them almost the
manly calmness of the English gentleman. I found the old general all
courtesy, and his friends all good-humour. My conduct in the affair of
the morning was after their own hearts; I had, by common consent, earned
their good graces; and they gave me on the spot half a dozen invitations
to the regiments and chateaus of themselves and their friends, with as
much hospitable sincerity as if they had only to recross the Channel to
take possession of them again. Lafontaine was still moody, but he was in
love; and, by this fact, unlike every body else, and unlike himself,
from one half hour to another.

The conversation soon turned on a topic, on which the emigrants every
where were peculiarly anxious to be set right with English feeling,
namely, their acquittance from the charge of having fled unnecessarily.

"Men of honour," observed the general, "understand each other in all
countries. I therefore always think it due, to both Englishmen and
Frenchmen, to explain, that we are not here in the light of fugitives;
that we have not given up the cause of our country; and that we are on
English ground in express obedience to the commands of our sovereign. I
am at this moment, in this spot, on the king's duty, waiting, like my
gallant friends here, merely the order to join the first expedition
which can be formed for the release of our monarch, and the rescue of
France from the horde of villains who have filled it with rebellion."
All fully accorded with the sentiment. "The captivity of the king," said
he, "is the result of errors which none could have anticipated ten days
since. The plan decided on by the council of officers, of which I was
one, was the formation of a camp on the frontier, to which his majesty
and the princes should repair, summon the chief authorities of the
kingdom, and there provide for the general safety with a deliberation
which was impossible in Paris. I was sent off at midnight to take the
command of the District of the Loire. I found myself there at the head
of ten regiments, in the highest order, and, as I thought, of the
highest loyalty. I addressed them and was received with shouts of _Vive
le Roi_! I gave an addition of pay to the troops, and a banquet to the
officers. A note was handed to me, as I took my seats at the head of the
table. It simply contained the words, 'You are betrayed.' I read it
aloud in contempt, and was again answered by shouts of _Vive le Roi_!
While we were in the midst of our conviviality, a volley was fired in at
the windows, and the streets of Nantz were in uproar--the whole garrison
had mutinied. The officers were still loyal: but what was to be done? We
rushed out with drawn swords. On our first appearance in the porch of
the hotel, a platoon posted in front, evidently for our massacre,
levelled by word of command, and fired deliberately into the midst of
us. Several were killed on the spot, and many wounded. Some rushed
forward, and some retreated into the house. I was among those who forced
their way through the crowd, and before I had struggled to the end of
the long street, the cry of 'fire' made me look round--the hotel was in
a blaze. The rabble had set it on flame. It was this, probably that
saved me, by distracting their attention. I made my way to the chateau
of the Count de Travancour, whose son had been on my staff at the
Invalides. But the family were in Paris, and the only inhabitants were
servants. I had received a musket-ball in my arm, and was faint with
loss of blood. Still, I was determined to remain at my post, and not
quit my district as long as any thing could be done. But I had scarcely
thrown myself, in weariness and vexation, on a sofa, when a servant
rushed into the room with the intelligence, that a band of men with
torches were approaching the chateau. To defend it with a garrison of
screaming women was hopeless; and while I stood considering what to do
next, we heard the crash of the gates. The whole circle instantly fell
on their knees before me, and implored that I should save their lives
and my own, by making my escape. A courageous Breton girl undertook to
be my guide to the stables, and we set out under a shower of prayers for
our safety. But, as we wound our way along the last corridor, I saw the
crowd of soldiers and populace rushing up the staircase at the opposite
side of the court, and calling out my name joined to a hundred atrocious
epithets. My situation now obviously became difficult; for our advance
would be met at the next minute by the assassins. The girl's presence of
mind saved me; she flew back to the end of the gallery, threw open a
small door which led to the roof; and I was in the open air, with the
stars bright above me, and a prodigious extent of the country, including
Nantz, beneath.

"Yet you may believe that the landscape was not among my principal
contemplations at the moment, though my eyes involuntarily turned on the
town; where, from the blazes springing up in various quarters, I
concluded that a general pillage had begun. That pillage was the order
of the day much nearer to me, I could fully conceive, from the opening
and shutting of doors, and the general tumult immediately under the
leads where I stood. "Situation, gentlemen," said the old general,
smiling, "is something, but circumstances are necessary to make it
valuable. There never was a finer night for an investigation of the
stars, if I had been an astronomer; and I dare say that the spot which
formed my position would have been capital for an observatory; but the
torches which danced up and down through the old and very dingy
casements of the mansion, were a matter of much more curious remark to
me than if I had discovered a new constellation.

"At length I was chased even out of this spot--my door had been found
out. I have too much gallantry left to suppose that my Breton had
betrayed me; though a dagger at her heart and a purse in her hand might
be powerful arguments against saving the life of an old soldier who had
reached his grand climacteric. At all events, as I saw torch after torch
rising along the roofs, I moved into the darkness.

"I had here a new adventure. I saw a feeble light gleaming through the
roof. An incautious step brought me upon a skylight, and I went through;
my fall, however, being deadened by bursting my way through the canopy
of a bed. I had fallen into the hospital of the chateau. A old Beguine
was reading her breviary in an adjoining room. She rushed in with a
scream. But those women are so much accustomed to casualties that I had
no sooner acquainted her with the reasons of my flight, than she offered
to assist my escape. She had been for some days in attendance on a sick
servant. She led me down to the entrance of a subterranean communication
between the mansion and the river, one of the old works which had
probably been of serious service in the days when every chateau in the
West was a fortress. The boat which had brought her from the convent was
at the mouth of the subterranean; there, the Loire was open. If you ask,
why I did not prefer throwing myself before the pursuers, and dying like
a soldier, my reason was, that I should have been numbered merely among
those who had fallen obscurely in the various skirmishes of the country;
and besides, that if I escaped, I should have one chance more of
preserving the province.

"But, at the moment when I thought myself most secure, I was in reality
in the greatest peril. The Loire had long since broken into the work,
which had probably never seen a mason since the wars of the League. I
had made no calculation for this, and I had descended but a few steps,
when I found my feet in water. I went on, however, till it reached my
sword-belt. I then thought it time to pause; but just then, I heard a
shout at the top of the passage--on the other hand I felt that the tide
was rushing in, and to stay where I was would be impossible. The
perplexity of that quarter of an hour would satisfy me for my whole
life. I pretend to no philosophy, and have never desired to die before
my time. But it was absolutely not so much the dread of finishing my
career, as of the manner in which it must be finished there, which made
the desperate anxiety of a struggle which I would not undergo again for
the throne of the Mogul. Still, even with the roar of the water on one
side, and of the rabble on the other, I had some presentiment that I
should yet live to hang some of my pursuers. At all events I determined
not to give my body to be torn to pieces by savages, and my name to be
branded as a runaway and a poltron."

A strong suffusion overspread the veteran's face as he pronounced the
words; he was evidently overcome by the possibility of the stigma.

"I have never spoken of this night before," said he, "and I allude to it
even now, merely to tell this English gentleman and his friends how
groundless would be the conception that the soldiers and nobles of an
unfortunate country made their escape, before they had both suffered and
done a good deal. My condition was probably not more trying than that of
thousands less accustomed to meet difficulties than the officers of
France: and I can assure him, that no country is more capable of a bold
endurance of evils, or a chivalric attachment to a cause."

I gave my full belief to a proposition in which I had already full
faith, and of which the brave and intelligent old man before me was so
stately an example.

"But I must not detain you," said he, "any longer with an adventure
which had not the common merit of a Boulevard spectacle; for it ended in
neither the blowing up of a castle, nor, as you may perceive, the fall
of the principal performer. As the tide rushed up through the works, I,
of course receded, until at length I was caught sight of by the rabble.
They poured down, and were now within a hundred yards of me, while I
could not move. At that moment a strong light flashed along the cavern
from the river, and I discovered for the first time that it too was not
above a hundred yards from me. I had been a good swimmer in early life:
I plunged in, soon reached the stream, and found that the light came
from one of the boats that fish the Loire at night, and which had
accidentally moored in front of my den. I got on board; the fisherman
carried me to the other side; I made my way across the country, reached
one of my garrisons, found the troops, fortunately, indignant at the
treatment which the king's colours had received; marched at the head of
two thousand men by daybreak, and by noon was in the Grande Place of
Nantz; proceeded to try a dozen of the ringleaders of the riot, who had
not been merely rebels, but robbers and murderers; and amid the
acclamations of the honest citizens, gave them over to the fate which
villains in every country deserve, and which is the only remedy for
rebellion in any. But my example was not followed; its style did not
please the ministers whom our king had been compelled to choose by the
voice of the Palais Royal; and as his majesty would not consent to bring
me to the scaffold for doing my duty, he compromised the matter, by an
order to travel for a year, and a passport for England."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Toutes les belles dames sont, plus ou moins, coquettes," says that
gayest of all old gentlemen, the Prince de Ligne, who loved every body,
amused every body, and laughed at every body. It is not for me to
dispute the authority of one who contrived to charm, at once, the
imperial severity of Maria Theresa and the imperial pride of Catharine;
to baffle the keen investigation of the keenest of mankind, the
eccentric Kaunitz; and rival the profusion of the most magnifique and
oriental of all prime ministers, Potemkin.

Mariamne was a "belle dame," and a remarkably pretty one. She was
therefore intitled to all the privileges of prettiness; and, it must be
acknowledged, that she enjoyed them to a very animated extent. In the
curious memoirs of French private life, from _Plessis Les Tours_ down to
St Evremond and Marmontel--and certainly--more amusing and dexterous
dissections of human nature, at least as it is in France, never
existed--our cooler countrymen often wonder at the strange attachments,
subsisting for half a century between the old, who were nothing but
simple fireside friends after all; and even between the old and the
young. The story of Ninon and her Abbé--the unfortunate relationship,
and the unfortunate catastrophe excepted--was the story of hundreds or
thousands in every city of France fifty years ago. It arises from the
vividness of the national mind, the quick susceptibility to being
pleased, and the natural return which the heart makes in gratitude. If
it sometimes led to error--it was the more to be regretted. But I do not
touch on such views.

As the Jew's daughter had been rendered by her late adventure all but
the affianced bride of Lafontaine, she immediately assumed all the
rights of a bride, treated her slave as slaves are treated every where,
received his friends at her villa with animation, and opened her heart
to them all, from the old general downwards, even to me. I never had
seen a creature so joyous, with all her soul so speaking on her lips,
and all her happiness so sparkling in her eyes. She was the most
restless, too, of human beings; but it was the restlessness of a glow of
enjoyment, of a bird in the first sunshine, of a butterfly in the first
glitter of its wings. She was now continually forming some party, some
ingenious surprise of pleasure, some little sportive excursion, some
half theatric scene, to keep all our hearts and eyes as much alive as
her own. Lafontaine obviously did not like all this; and some keen
encounters of their wits took place, on the pleasure which, as he
averred, "she took in all society but his own."

"If the charge be true," said she one day, "why am I in fault? It is so
natural to try to be happy."

"But, to be happy without me, Mariamne."

"Ah, what an impossibility!" laughed the little foreigner.

"But, to receive the attentions even of the general, old enough to have
married your grandmother."

"Well, does it not show his taste, even in your own opinion, to follow
your example, and admire what you tell me _you_ worship?"

"You are changed; you are a _girouette_, Mariamne."

"Well, nothing in the world is so melancholy as one who lets all the
world pass by it, without a thought, a feeling, or a wish. One might as
well be one of the pictures in the Louvre, pretty and charming, and
gazed at by all the passers-by, without a glance for any of them, in
return. I have no kind of envy for being a mummy, covered with cloth of
gold, and standing in a niche of cedar, yet with all its sensations
vanished some thousand years ago."

"Was this the language you held to me when first we met, Mariamne?"

"Was this the language _you_ held to me, when first we met, Charles? But
I shall lose my spirits if I talk to you. What a sweet evening! What a
delicious breeze! _Bon soir_!" And forth she went, tripping it among the
beds of flowers like a sylph, followed by Lafontaine, moody and
miserable, yet unable to resist the spell. Of those scenes I saw a
hundred, regularly ending in the same conclusion; the lady always, as
ladies ought, gaining the day, and the gentleman vexed, yet vanquished.
But evil days were at hand; many a trial more severe than the pretty
arguments of lovers awaited them; and Lafontaine was to prove himself a
hero in more senses than one, before they met again.

It happened, that I was somewhat a favourite with Mariamne. Yet I was
the only one of whom Lafontaine never exhibited a suspicion. His nature
was chivalrous, the rencounter between us he regarded as in the
strongest degree a pledge of brotherhood; and he allowed me to bask in
the full sunshine of his fair one's smiles, without a thought of my
intercepting one of their beams. In fact, he almost formally gave his
wild bird into my charge. Accordingly, whenever he was called to London,
which was not unfrequently the case, as the business of the emigrants
with Government grew more serious, I was her chosen companion; and as
she delighted in galloping over the hills and vales of Sussex, I was
honoured by being her chief equerry; she repaying the service by acting
as my cicerone.

"Come," said she one day, at the end of an excursion, or rather a race
of some miles along the shore, which put our blood-horses in a foam,
"have you ever seen Les Interieurs?"


"I saw you," she remarked, "admiring the Duchesse de Saint Alainville at
our little ball the other night."

"It was impossible to refuse admiration. She is the noblest looking
woman I ever saw."

"_One_ of the noblest, sir, if you please. But, as I disdain the superb
in every thing"----She fixed her bright eyes on me.

"The fascinating is certainly much superior." A slight blush touched her
cheek, she bowed, and all was good-humour again.

"Well, then," said she, "since you _have_ shown yourself rational at
last, I shall present you to this superb beauty in her own palace. You
shall see your idol in her morning costume, her French reality."

She touched the pane of a window with her whip, and a bowing domestic
appeared. "Is her Grace at home?" was the question. "Her Grace receives
to-day," was the answer. My companion looked surprised, but there was no
retreating. We alighted from our horses to attend the "reception."

The cottage was simply a cottage, roofed with thatch; and furnished in
the homeliest style of the peasants to whom it had belonged. We went up
stairs. A few objects of higher taste were to be seen in the apartment
to which we were now ushered--a pendule, a piano, and one or two
portraits superbly framed, and with ducal coronets above them. But, to
my great embarrassment, the room was full, and full of the first names
of France. Yet the whole assemblage were female, and the glance which
the Duchess cast from her fauteuil, as I followed my rather startled
guide into the room, showed me that I had committed some terrible
solecism, in intruding on the party. On what mysteries had I ventured,
and what was to be the punishment of my temerity in the very shrine of
the Bona Dea? My pretty guide, on finding herself with all those dark
eyes fixed on her, and all those stately features looking something
between sorrow and surprise, faltered, and grew alternately red and
pale. We were both on the point of retiring; when the Duchess, after a
brief consultation with some of the surrounding matronage, made a sign
to Mariamne to approach. Her hospitality to all the emigrant families
had undoubtedly given her a claim on their attentions. The result was a
most gracious smile from Madame la Presidente, and I took my seat in
silence and submission.

"Is France a country of female beauty?" is a question which I have often
heard, and which I have always answered by a recollection of this scene.
I never saw so many handsome women together, before or since. All were
not Venuses, it is true; but there was an expression, almost a mould of
feature, universal, which struck the eye more than beauty. It was
impossible to doubt that I was among a high _caste_; there was a general
look of nobleness, a lofty yet feminine grace of countenance, a stately
sweetness, which are involuntarily connected with high birth, high
manners, and high history.

There were some whose fine regularity of feature might have served as
the model for a Greek sculptor. Yet those were not the faces on which
the eye rested with the long and deep delight that "drinks in beauty." I
saw some worthy or the sublime spell of Vandyke, more with the
magnificence of style which Reynolds loved, and still more with the
subdued dignity and touching elegance of which Lawrence was so charming
a master.

On my return to French society in after years, I was absolutely
astonished at the change which seemed to me to have taken place in the
beauty of high life. I shall not hazard my reputation for gallantry, by
tracing the contrast more closely. But evil times had singularly acted
upon the physiognomy even of the nobles. The age of the _roturier_ had
been the climacteric of France. Generals from the ranks, countesses from
the canaille, legislators from the dregs of the populace, and
proprietors from the mingled stock of the parasite and the plunderer,
naturally gave the countenance, formed by their habits, to the nation
formed by their example.

Still there were, and are, examples of this original beauty to be found
among the _élite_ of the noble families; but they are rare, and to be
looked on as one looks on a statue of Praxiteles found in the darkness
and wrecks of Herculaneum. In the words of the old song, slightly

    "I roam'd through France's sanguine sand,
      At beauty's altar to adore,
    But there the sword had spoil'd the land,
      And Beauty's daughters were no more."

       *       *       *       *       *


Musical taste, as we observed in a former article, has undergone fewer
mutations in England, than in most other countries where the art has
been cultivated and esteemed. In order, therefore, to acquire an
accurate knowledge of the state of musical taste and science which now
prevails among us, it will be necessary to take a brief retrospect; and
as much of the music still popular was composed during the earliest
period of the art in England, we shall rapidly trace its history from
the times of those early masters, whose names are still held in
remembrance and repute, down to the present century.

When England threw off the Papal yoke, music was little known beyond the
services of the church. Though the secular music of this period was
barbarous in the extreme, yet masses were universally sung, and music
had long formed a necessary element in the due performance of the
services of the Romish church. During the reign of Henry VIII. few
alterations were made in public worship; and the service continued to be
sung and carried on in the Latin language, as before. From Strype's
account of the funeral of this monarch, it appears that all the old
ceremonies were observed, and that the rupture with Rome had caused no
alteration in the obsequies performed on such occasions. In the reign of
his successor, the church service was entirely changed, and the
Protestant liturgy was first published for general use. Four years after
this event, on the accession of Mary, the "old worship" was again
restored. But when, at length, the reformed religion was firmly
established by Elizabeth, and the ritual permanently changed, the music
of the old masses, suited to the genius and structure of the Romish
service, was no longer available for the simpler forms of worship by
which it was replaced. During the holiest and most solemn portions of
the ancient worship, the organ had for centuries been heard in the
cathedrals, while the choruses of praise and adoration resounded through
the aisles. Men's opinions may undergo a change, but the feelings and
ideas created by early association, and fostered by habit, are far more
lasting and enduring. The poet must have lamented the loss of the music,
which, in the stern ascetic spirit of Puritanism prevailing at a later
period of our history, he assisted to banish from our churches, as he

    "But let my due feet never fail
    To walk the studious cloisters pale,
    And love the high embowed roof,
    With antique pillars, massy proof,
    And storied windows richly dight,
    Casting a dim religious light,
    There let the pealing organ blow
    To the full-voiced choir below,
    In service high, and anthem clear,
    As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
    Dissolve me into extasies,
    And bring all heav'n before mine eyes."

At the period of which we speak, the want of music in the services of
the church seems to have been severely felt, though perhaps the simpler
forms of the new ritual were comparatively but little adapted for
musical display. Great exertions were made throughout the kingdom by the
deans and chapters to restore the efficiency of the choirs; and
Elizabeth, in the exercise of what then appeared an undoubted
prerogative of the crown, issued her warrant for the impressment of
singing men and boys for the castle of Windsor. The churches and
cathedrals still, indeed, retained their organs; "the choirs and places
where they sing" were still in being; all the _matériel_ was at hand;
but, with the exception of the production of John Marbeck, called "The
Book of Common Prayer Noted," which was printed in 1550, there was as
yet no music for the new services in the English language. Two years
after the accession of Elizabeth, and one year after the bill for the
uniformity of common prayer had passed the legislature, a choral work,
"very necessarie for the church of Christ to be frequented and used,"
was published, among the authors of which the name of Tallis appeared.
The musical necessities of the newly established church appear to have
stimulated or developed talents which, under other circumstances, might
perhaps have been less prominently brought forward: at all events, the
demand for this music would seem a principal reason why the early
English masters should have devoted themselves so exclusively to sacred
composition. Tallis and his pupil Byrd, both men of original genius,
produced many compositions for the newly introduced ritual, which, by
their intrinsic merit and comparative superiority, aided also by a
constant demand for new music of the same character, gave a permanent
direction to the exercise of musical talent; and the services of Tallis
and Byrd became the classic objects of emulation and imitation, and
sacred music became, in a peculiar manner, the national music of
England. The compositions of these "fathers of our genuine and national
sacred music," are still preserved, the latter of whom, Byrd, died in
1623, at the age of probably near eighty years.

The year 1588 forms an epoch in our musical history. An Italian
merchant, who, by his mercantile connection with the Mediterranean, had
opportunities of obtaining the newest and best compositions of his
native country, had, for some years, been in the frequent habit of
procuring the best singers of the day, to perform them, privately, at
his house in London. This gentleman had at length the spirit and
enterprise to publish a volume of Italian madrigals, entituled, "Musica
Transalpina, Madrigales translated of four, five, and six parts, chosen
out of divers excellent authors; with the first and second parts of La
Virginella, made by Maister Byrd, upon two stanzas of Ariosto, and
brought to speak English with the rest." These pieces seem to have given
birth to that passion for madrigals which was afterwards so prevalent,
and thus became the models of contemporary musicians. The next composer
of any note was Orlando Gibbons. He died at an early age, soon after the
accession of Charles I., to whom he had been appointed organist. This
master composed several madrigals, but, like his predecessors, he
devoted himself principally to sacred composition. The secular
productions of Tallis, Byrd, and Gibbons, together with those of
contemporary composers of inferior note, are, for the most part, now
forgotten; but the sacred music of these three masters still forms a
part of every collection of church music. Canons and fugues were the
favourite modes of that early period; vain substitutes for melody,
rhythm, and correct accentuation, in which particulars music was then
greatly deficient. The merits of the compositions of the Elizabethan
age, vaunted by the lovers of antiquity as the golden age of English
music, are thus summed up by Dr Burney: "It is, therefore, upon the
church music, madrigals, and songs in parts, of our countrymen during
the reign of Elizabeth, that we must rest their reputation; and these,
in point of harmony and contrivance, the chief excellencies of such
compositions, appear in nothing inferior to those of the best
contemporary compositions of the Continent. Taste, rhythm, accent, and
grace, must not be sought for in this kind of music; indeed, we might as
well censure the ancient Greeks for not writing in English, as the
composers of the sixteenth century for their deficiency in these
particulars, which having then no existence, even in idea, could not be
wanted or expected; and it is necessarily the business of artists to
cultivate or refine what is in the greatest esteem among the best judges
of their own nation and times. And these, at this period, unanimously
thought every species of musical composition below criticism except
canons and fugues. Indeed, what is generally understood by taste in
music, must ever be an abomination in the church; for, as it consists of
new refinements or arrangements of notes, it would be construed into
innovation, however meritorious, unless sanctioned by age. Thus the
favourite points and passages in the madrigals of the sixteenth century,
were in the seventeenth received as orthodox in the church; and those of
the opera songs and cantatas of the seventeenth century, are used by the
gravest and most pious ecclesiastical composers of the eighteenth." Of
the skill of the performers, for whom this music, still listened to and
admired, was written, he also observes, "that the art of singing,
further than was necessary to keep a performer in tune, and time, must
have been unknown;" and that "if £500 had been offered to any individual
to perform a solo, fewer candidates would have entered the lists than if
the like premium had been offered for flying from Salisbury steeple over
Old Sarum without a balloon." For ourselves, we do not hesitate to
acknowledge that, in our opinion, the services of these patriarchs of
the English school surpass the great majority of similar productions by
our later masters. They may, indeed, suffer when compared with the
masses of the great continental masters; but they nevertheless possess a
certain degree of simple majesty, well suited to the primitive character
of the ritual of that church which disdains the use of ornament, and on
_principle_ declines to avail herself of any appeal to the senses as an
auxiliary to devotion. We have been the more particular in our notice of
these early masters, because, long without any rivals, their church
music even now stamps the public taste, and is still held in the highest
esteem by many among whom their names alone suffice to hold the judgment

It is needless to advert to Humphrey and other composers, some of whose
productions are still in vogue; enough has been said to show with what
reason the _absolute_ correctness of English taste in sacred music, in
which we suppose ourselves so peculiarly to excel, may be called in

We proceed to sketch the history of the other branches of the art in
England, and commence at once with Henry Purcell, the greatest of our
native masters, previously to whom music is said to have been manifestly
on the decline during the seventeenth century. It has been often
remarked of Purcell, that he had "devancé son siêcle." Many of his
faults, defects, or crudities, may undoubtedly be attributed to the age
which he adorned. The tide of public approbation has of late set
strongly in his favour; and could the fulsome panegyrics, of which he
has been the object, be implicitly received, Purcell would be considered
as nothing less than a prodigy of genius. Several attempts at dramatic
music had been made before Purcell's time. Matthew Lock had already set
the songs of _Macbeth_ and the _Tempest,_ and had also given to the
world "The English Opera, or the vocal music in Psyche," in close
imitation of Lulli, the long famed composer of Louis XIV. Purcell
followed in the new track, taking for his models the productions of the
first Italian composers. The fact, that Purcell was under obligations to
the Italians, may startle many of his modern admirers; but with a
candour worthy of himself, in the dedication of his _Dioclesian_ to
Charles Duke of Somerset, he says, that "music is yet but in its nonage,
a forward child. 'Tis now learning Italian, which is its best master."
And in the preface to his Sonatas, he tells us that he "faithfully
endeavoured at a just imitation of the most famed Italian masters." An
able critic has also remarked, that he thinks he can perceive the
obligations which Purcell had to Carissimi in his recitative, and to
Lulli both in recitative and melody; and also that it appears that he
was fond of Stradella's _manner_, though he seems never to have pillaged
his passages. Many of our readers are doubtless aware, that Purcell's
opera of _King Arthur_ has been lately revived at Drury-Lane, where it
has had a considerable _run_. The public prints have been loud in its
praise; and this work has been styled "the perfect model of the lyric
drama of England." The intervention of spoken dialogue, by many in their
innocence hitherto supposed to be a defect in the construction of a
musical drama, is strangely metamorphosed into a beauty in _King
Arthur_. In short, from some of these _critiques_, _King Arthur_ would
appear to be the only perfect drama or opera which the world has ever
seen. To show the real value of these criticisms, we may mention the
fact, that in an elaborate article of a journal now before us, in which
many of the pieces of this opera are enumerated and highly commended,
the writer has curiously enough passed by in silence two airs, of which
Dr Burney observes that they contain not a single passage which the best
composers of his time, if it presented itself to their imagination,
would reject; and on one of which he also remarks, that it is "one of
the few airs that time has not the power to injure; it is of all ages
and all countries." There is doubtless much in Purcell, which, though
quaint and antiquated, the musician may nevertheless admire; but
excellence of this kind is necessarily lost upon a general audience.
Melody in his day was rude and unpolished; for there were no singers to
execute, even if the composer had the ability to conceive. Thus
Percell's melody, though often original and expressive, is nevertheless
more often rude and ungraceful. In the words of a recent writer on this
subject, "We are often surprised to find elegance and coarseness,
symmetry and clumsiness, mixed in a way that would be unaccountable, did
we not consider that, in all the arts, the taste is a faculty which is
slowly formed, even in the most highly gifted minds." We suspect that
the pageant saved _King Arthur_; the scenic illusions by which
contending armies were brought upon an extended plain, together with the
numerous transformations, continually commanded that applause which the
music alone failed to elicit. With many, however, the mere _spectacle_
was not all-sufficient; but Opinion was written down, and independently
of the _prestige_ attached to the name of Purcell, the press would have
effectually put down all exhibition of disapprobation. The theatre might
be seen to become gradually deserted, and party after party, stunned by
the noise and blinded by the glare, might be observed to glide
noiselessly away as the performance proceeded, while an air of fatigued
endurance, and disappointment, was plainly visible on the countenances
of those that remained behind. This opera has been frequently revived;
how much of the success which it has met with may be attributed to what
Rousseau, when speaking of the operas of that period, terms "a false air
of magnificence, fairyism, and enchantment, which, like flowers in a
field before the harvest, betokens an _apparent_ richness," may be
matter of speculation; but it is recorded that even on its _first_
introduction on the stage, it caused a heavy loss to the patentees, in
consequence of which their affairs were thrown into Chancery, where they
remained some twenty years. Even Purcell's fame is confined to our own
shores, and we are not aware that his music was ever known upon the

Arne, who established his reputation as a lyric composer by the music of
_Comus_ in 1738, is the next composer whom we think it necessary to
mention. To this master belongs the singular glory of having composed an
English opera--a term by which, as will be seen hereafter, we mean a
musical drama in which the whole of the plot is carried on without the
intervention of spoken dialogue. _Artaxerxes_, the only work of the kind
which we possess, was first produced in the year 1762. Though the music
is of a form now obsolete, this opera has seldom been long a stranger to
our stage, having been from time to time revived for the debut of new
and ambitious singers. One of these revivals has recently taken place;
the piece, however, was performed for a few nights only, and perhaps
popularity may be, at length, deserting _Artaxerxes_. This "standard
work of the English school" appears to be of more than doubtful
parentage. Arne is stated to have crowded the airs, those of Mandane in
particular, with all the Italian divisions and difficulties of the day,
and to have incorporated with his own property all the best passages of
the Italian and English composers of his time. With the exception of
_Comus_ and _Artaxerxes_, none of his pieces or operas met with great
success; and he seems to be principally remembered by those compositions
which were the least original. "Rule Britannia," by the combined effect
of the sentiment of the words and the spirit and vivacity of the music,
now become a national song, does not possess the merit of originality.
Long before it was _nationalized_--if one may use such a word--by
Englishmen, it was observed that in an Italian song, which may be seen
at page 25 of Walsh's collection, the idea--nay, almost all the
passages--of this melody might be found. In the well-known song, "Where
the bee sucks, there lurk I," passages occur taken almost note for note
from a _cantabile_ by Lampugnani. According to Dr Burney, Arne may also
claim the glory of having, by his compositions and instructions, formed
an era in the musical history of his country. The former relates that
music, which had previously stood still for near half a century, was
greatly improved by Arne in his endeavours "to refine our melody and
singing from the Italian;" and that English "taste and judgment, both in
composition and performance, even at the playhouses, differed as much
from those of twenty or thirty years ago, as the manners of a civilized
people from those of savages." Dr Busby, on the other hand, remarks,
that "it is a curious fact that the very father of a style, more natural
and unaffected, more truly English, than that of any other master,
should have been the first to deviate into foreign finery and finesse,
and desert the native simplicity of his country." But it is by the
compositions in which this degeneracy may be most particularly remarked,
that Arne's name as a musician has been preserved. This fact has
undoubtedly a double aspect. We may therefore, indeed, be permitted to

     "Who shall decide when _doctors_ disagree?"

Either the public taste has erred, or the bastard Italian was superior
to the genuine English. Either way there is something wrong, and it
matters little whether we elevate the composer at the expense of the
public, or whether we commend the national taste while we depreciate and
decry the excellence of the music or the merit of the musician.

To Arne succeed several masters, many of whose compositions are still
popular. Arnold, Boyce, Battishall, Shield, Horsley, Webbe, and Calcott,
are the leading names of a numerous class who are chiefly remembered for
their anthems and glees, amongst which may be found the
_chefs-d'oeuvres_ of a school of which we shall more particularly speak
hereafter. The dramatic compositions of these masters are, for the most
part, consigned to oblivion; nor has any permanent impression been made
upon the public, by a native opera, for many years. While our national
school has been thus barren, the Italian opera has been long cultivated
and esteemed. The first opera, performed wholly in Italian, was given at
the Haymarket theatre in 1710. Handel began to write for this theatre in
1712, and continued to produce operas for many years. The Italian opera
appears to have been in the most flourishing state about the years 1735
and 1736. London then possessed two lyric theatres, each managed by
foreign composers, carrying on a bitter rivalry, and each backed by all
the vocal and instrumental talent that could be found in Europe.
Porpora, by Rousseau styled the immortal, at the Haymarket, and Handel
at Covent-Garden--the former boasting the celebrated Farinelli and
Cuzzoni among his performers, the latter supported by Caustini and
Gizziello. The public, however, appears to have been surfeited by such
prodigality; for Dr Burney observes, "at this time"--about 1737--"the
rage for operas seems to have been very much diminished in our country;
the fact was, that public curiosity being satisfied as to new
compositions and singers, the English returned to their homely food, the
_Begger's Opera_ and ballad farces on the same plan, with eagerness and
comfort." In 1741, Handel, after producing thirty-nine Italian lyric
dramas, and after struggling against adversity, with a reduced
establishment in a smaller theatre, was compelled by ruin to retire for
ever from the direction of the Italian stage. The opera then passed into
other hands, and was continued, with various success and few
intermissions, down to the present time. It has been the means of
introducing to our countrymen the works of an almost innumerable host of
foreign composers. Bach, the first composer who observed the laws of
contrast as a principle, Pergolisi, Gluck, Piccini, Paesiello, Cimarosa,
Mozart, Rossini, and Bellini, are the principal names, among a long list
of masters, of whom we might otherwise have remained in utter ignorance.
Performers of every kind, singers of the highest excellence, have come
among us; the powers and performances of Farinelli, Caffarelli,
Pachierotti, Gabrielli, Mara, and others, are handed down by tradition,
while all remember the great artists of still later times. These have
been our preceptors in the art of song, and to them, and them alone, are
we indebted for our knowledge of the singer's, powers; and but for their
guidance and instruction, our native home-taught professors would have
been centuries instead of years behind. It may, however, be some
consolation to reflect, that we have not been alone in our pupilage; for
Italy, herself the pupil of ancient Greece, has in her turn become the
preceptress of the modern world in music, as well as the other branches
of the fine arts, in all of which her supremacy has been universally
acknowledged. Besides the native musicians whose names we have
enumerated, many _ephemeræ_ of the genus have fluttered their short
hour, and been forgotten. On turning over the popular music of the early
years of the present century, or the music which may, perhaps, have
formed the delight and amusement of the last generation, the musician
will marvel that such productions should have been ever tolerated.
Native skill has undoubtedly advanced since this period; and however
worthless much of our present music may be considered, it is
nevertheless superior to most of the like productions of our immediate
predecessors. We have some living composers whose works are not without
some merit; but they can scarcely be placed even in the second class.
Their compositions, when compared with the works of the great
continental masters, are tame, spiritless, and insipid; we find in them
no flashes of real genius, no harmonies that thrill the nerves, no
melodies that ravish the sense, as they steal upon the ear. Effort is
discernible throughout this music, the best of which is formed
confessedly upon Italian models; and nowhere is the universal law, of
the inferiority of all imitation, more apparent.

These observations apply with especial force to the _dramatic_ music, or
compositions of the English school. The term opera, is incorrectly used
in England. The proper meaning of the word is, a musical drama,
consisting of recitative airs and concerted pieces; without the
intervention of spoken dialogue, it should consist of music, and music
alone, from the beginning to the end. With us it has been popularly
applied to what has been well characterized as "a jargon of alternate
speech and song," outraging probability in a far higher degree than the
opera properly so called, and singularly destructive of that illusion or
deception in which the pleasure derived from dramatic representations
principally consists. Music is in itself no mean vehicle of expression;
but, when connected with speech or language, it gives a vast additional
force and power to the expression of the particular passion or feeling
which the words themselves contain. It appears, as one listens to an
opera, as if the music were but a portion, or a necessary component part
of the language of the beings who move before us on the scene. We learn
to deem it part of their very nature and constitution; and it appears,
that, through any other than the combined medium of speech and song, the
passions, we see exhibited in such intensity, could not be adequately
expressed. The breaking up of this illusion by the intervention of mere
dialogue, is absolutely painful; there is a sudden sinking from the
ideal to the real, which shocks the sense, and at once destroys the
fabric of the imagination. Rousseau says of the lyric drama, that "the
melodies must be separated by speech, but speech must be modified by
music; the ideas should vary, but the _language_ should remain the same.
This language once adopted, if changed in the course of a piece, would
be like speaking half in French and half in German. There is too great a
dissimilarity between conversation and music, to pass at once from one
to the other; it shocks both the ear and probability. Two characters in
dialogue ought either to speak or sing; they cannot do alternately one
and the other. Now, recitative is the means of union between melody and
speech by whose aid, that which is merely dialogue becomes recital or
narrative in the drama, and may be rendered without disturbing the
course of melody." Recitative is peculiarly adapted to the expression of
strong and violent emotion. The language of the passions is short,
vivid, broken, and impetuous; the most abrupt transitions and
modulations which are observed in nature, may be noted down in
recitative. Writing recitative is but committing to paper the accent and
intonation, in short, the _reading_ of the language to be delivered by
the performer; and the composer may almost be considered as a master of
elocution, writing down that reading of a passage which he thinks may
best express the passion or the sentiment of the words. The effect of
this reading or intonation is often aided and increased by the sound of
instruments, sometimes, expressing the harmonies of the passages or
transitions noted for the voice, at other times, perhaps, performing a
graceful independent melody or harmony, in which case it is said to be
"accompanied:" It may be easily conceived, how powerful an instrument of
dramatic effect, this species of composition may become in the hands of
a skillful composer. We have already given two examples of its power,
one, of recitative in its simplest form, the other, of accompanied
recitative.[1] It would seem scarcely credible that so powerful an agent
of the lyric drama should be utterly neglected, among a people who
undoubtedly _claim_ to be considered a musical nation, and whose
composers certainly esteem themselves among those to whom musical fame
might be justly awarded. But such is nevertheless the fact, and we are
not aware of any modern composer of the English school who has fully
availed himself of its powers and capabilities. It has been said of
_Artaxerxes_, that the attempt then made to apply recitative to the
English language is unsuccessful; but it may be asked, whether the long
continued popularity of this work may not, in _some_ degree at least, be
owing to the absence of the incongruous mixture of speech and song.
However this may be, it is at least a singular coincidence, that the
single opera of our language, in which dialogue does not break and
interrupt the unity and consistent action of the drama, should be the
only musical work which has been distinguished by such constant and
enduring marks of popular favour and approbation. Another species of
dramatic music, the _cantabile_ of the Italians, is equally neglected
among us. The _cantabile_ includes much of the most exquisite music of
the Italian masters, and we know of nothing more touchingly beautiful,
throughout the whole range of musical composition, than many of the
_andante cantabili_ of this school. This, also, has been rarely
attempted by the English masters, and their puny efforts will bear no
comparison with the rich, graceful, flowing measure of the true Italian.

[Footnote 1: No. cccxxvii, p. 137.]

All music is, in a greater or less degree, essentially dramatic. Its
beauty often depends, entirely, upon the fidelity and truth with which
nature is followed. Even instrumental music aims at dramatic effect, and
fanciful incidents, and catastrophes are often suggested by the melodies
and harmonies of a symphony, or concerto. These creations of the
imagination are in themselves a source of interest and delight, wholly
different, in their nature, from the pleasure conferred by mere sounds.
How beautiful are the scenes, about to follow, depicted in the overtures
to _Der Freyschutz_ and _Oberon_; what wild _diableries_ are not
suggested by those wonderful compositions! There are sounds of awful
mystery, proceeding, as it were, now, from the dread rites of dark
malignant beings of another world, now, from the mad frolics of
mischievous and reckless imps; in the midst of which a stream of
beauteous, gentle melody--like a minister of grace--breaks forth; now,
gliding smoothly along, now, rushing on impetuously, or, broken and
interrupted in its course, as though the powers of good and evil were
striving for the mastery; and at length, as if the former were
victorious in the strife, that melody again bursts forth, loud and
expanded in the bold exulting tones of triumph, with which the imaginary
scene is closed.

Similar observations might be made of many other pieces of instrumental
music; but these effects depend upon the imagination of the hearer,
there being no words to convey definite ideas to the mind. In vocal
music, where the words express no passion or emotion, the voice becomes
little more than a mere instrument of the composer or the performer.
Now, the national music of our country is for the most part adapted to
words of this description, and the anthem, the madrigal, and glee, are
thus necessarily deficient in dramatic power and expression. The glee
has been described as "_quelque chose bien triste_," and few but the
fanatics of the school who have listened to a succession of glees, will,
we think, deny the accuracy of the description. The oratorio is often
highly dramatic; but we have few, if any, oratorios of merit, of native
production. Our operas we have already designated as plays, with songs
scattered about at random. Thus, music of the highest class is rarely
attempted in this country; and the neglect of the one great requisite of
musical excellence, _may_ have prevented our composers from assuming
that rank, to which they might otherwise have shown themselves entitled.

There is, however, another class of composers whom we must not omit to
notice: we mean the song-writers of the day, the authors of those
ballads and vocal compositions, with knights and ladies fair, houris,
sentimental peasants, or highborn beauties, as the case may be,
lithographed upon the title-page. This class is entitled to notice, not
because of the merit or ability they possess, but because these masters
(!) really produce the popular music of the day, and because at present
we literally possess no other new music. The first object of the
publisher of a song is, or used to be, to have it sung in public by some
popular performer. This is not done without fee and reward; but the
value of the subject of the publisher's speculation, is greatly
increased by the publicity gained by the introduction of the song at the
theatre or the concert-room. When this event takes place, _claqeurs_ are
active, the friends of the singer support them, the playbills announce
"a hit," and a sly newspaper puff aids the delusion; copies of the
ornamented title-page are distributed among the various music-sellers,
to be exhibited in their windows, and the song is popular, and "sells."
Modest merit is unknown among us now. Thus songs and ballads without
number, which would otherwise remain in well-merited obscurity on the
shelves of the publisher, are forced into notice and repute. The trade,
no doubt, benefits by this system, the commercial end of these
speculations may indeed be answered, but the public taste is lowered by
each and every of these transactions.

We may here notice the extravagant price of music of every description
in England. For a piece of four or five pages, the sum of 2s. is
commonly demanded. Even where there has been an outlay in the purchase
of the copyright, this sum can scarcely be considered reasonable; but
when the same price is asked for music which has become common property,
it is out of all reason. The expense of engraving four or five pages of
music, the cost of the plates, together with the expense of paper and
printing a hundred copies of a song of this description, does not amount
to £5; therefore the sale of fifty copies will reimburse the publisher;
while, if the whole hundred are disposed of, he is an actual gainer of
cent per cent upon his original outlay, while the profit upon every copy
subsequently struck off is necessarily enormous. On the Continent, music
may be purchased for about one-third the sum which it would cost in
England. In Paris, Pacini's "partitions," an excellent edition of the
popular Italian operas, are sold for twelve francs each. The whole set
may be purchased at the rate of eleven francs the opera. While in
London, the identical copies purchasable abroad by those not in the
trade for about 8s. 6d. of our money, are sold at two guineas each. The
profits of "the trade" on musical instruments, are also enormous. On the
pianofortes of most of the London makers, a profit of _at least_ thirty
or thirty-five per cent is realized by the retailer; and on a grand
piano, for which the customer pays 130 guineas, "the trade" pockets on
the very lowest calculation upwards of £40.

English performers next claim our notice and attention. In this new
field of observation we find little to commend; defective training is
the great cause of our inferiority in the practical performance of
music, in all its branches. This is especially manifest in the
home-taught singers of the English school. The voice is never perfectly
formed nor developed, and brought out in the correct and scientific
manner possessed by the accomplished artists of other countries. Some of
the most popular of our singers sing with the mouth nearly closed, with
others the voice is forced and strained, proceeding not from the chest,
but from the throat, the muscles of which are necessarily contracted in
the effort. We have, no doubt, many difficulties to overcome in the
structure of our language, in which the accent is thrown on the
consonants rather than on the vowels. Unlike the Italian, which is
thrown out, _ore rotundo_, directly from the chest, the English language
is spoken from the throat, and, in general, also with the mouth nearly
closed. The Italian singer finds no difficulty in bringing out his
voice; but the Englishman has first to conquer the habit of his life,
and to overcome the obstacles his native tongue opposes to his
acquirement of this new but necessary, mode of using the voice. The
difficulty, of laying this only foundation of real sterling excellence
in the vocal art, is very great, and much care and study is
indispensable. Those who have occasion to use the voice loudly in the
open air, insensibly acquire the power of thus eliciting the voice. The
chest tones in which many of the "Cries of London" are often heard in
the streets of the metropolis, are a familiar example of nature's
teaching; another instance of which may probably still be found among
the "_bargees_," of Cambridge, whose voices, in our younger days, we
well remember to have often heard and admired, as they guided or urged
forward their sluggish horses along the banks of the still more sluggish
Cam, in tones proceeding _imo profundo_ of the chest, and magnificent
enough to have made the fortune of many a singer. These men, indeed,
seemed to pride themselves upon their vocal powers; and many of them
could execute a rapid shake, with accuracy and precision. The voice is
nature's instrument, but, like the instruments fashioned by the hand of
man, it will not yield its best tones to the unskilful. There are many
instrumental performers whose chief excellence lies in their tone, and
who could call forth tones, from even an ordinary instrument, far
superior to those which an inferior performer would be able to produce
from the best Straduarius or Amati. To the singer, tone is even of
greater value than to the instrumental performers; for the method of
instruction which improves the qualities of the vocal organ, also
imparts a power and certainty of expression and execution, which cannot
be otherwise acquired. The finest singers are ever found to be those,
who have best studied and developed the powers of the instrument which
nature had bestowed upon them. This is the first grand requisite for the
singer; without it, respectable mediocrity may occasionally be attained,
but real excellence never can be gained. We know of no English-taught
singer who possesses it. So little are the voice and its capabilities
understood in this country, that instances might be mentioned where
basses were mistaken for barytones, barytones for tenors, and contraltos
for sopranos. However incredible this may appear, it is, nevertheless,
strictly and literally true. The consequence of such strange blunders is
what might be naturally expected; the voice, forced out of its natural
compass, prematurely gives way, and at a period of life when the vocal
organ, if properly trained and developed, should have arrived at
maturity and perfection, the singer's powers are gone, and, in the prime
of life, he is compelled to abandon his profession, and subsides into
the mere singing-master, to _mis_instruct the rising generation, and to
mar the prospects of others who succeed him, as his own hopes were
blighted by the errors of his own instructors. To what other cause can
be attributed the constant and mysterious disappearance of new singers?
How many young vocalists appear from time to time; lauded at first to
the skies, for a few seasons listened to and admired, but whose
reputation gradually decays, and who at length disappear from the stage
and are forgotten. There are some who endure for years; but they fulfil
no promise of their early youth. Under these circumstances, we could ill
afford to lose an artist who seemed destined to achieve a lasting
reputation. Our musical stage has but now sustained a heavy loss in one
of the brightest ornaments it ever possessed; the charms of a happy home
have withdrawn her from public life--but the genius of Miss Adelaide
Kemble will not be soon forgotten. Another bright ornament of our stage,
however, still remains. Possessing less physical energy and tragic power
than her contemporary, Mrs Alfred Shaw is, nevertheless, the most pure,
polished, and cultivated English singer we ever heard on the boards of
our national theatre. The finish and refinement of her style, and the
clear distinctness of her enunciation, make her the worthy model for the
imitation of all who are desirous to excel. Were our future _debutanti_
trained on the system which has thus developed the powers and
capabilities of these eminent artists, less frequently would be observed
the musical disappearances of which we have been speaking.

The English tenor is a nondescript animal; singing from some unknown
region, his voice possesses no natural character, but its tones are
forced, strained, and artificial. Our tenors and counter-tenors--a sort
of musical hermaphrodite, almost peculiar to this country, and scarcely
recognized by classical composers--delight in what is called the "pure,"
or, "the good old English" style. This style, coldly correct, tame,
dull, flat, and passionless, requires but little in the singer. The bass
of this school is a saltatory creature; he is, for the most part, either
striding through thirds, or jumping over fifths and octaves, much as he
did a hundred years ago. During this period, the art of singing has made
immense advances elsewhere; the execution of Farinelli, in 1734, thought
so wonderful, would not suffice for even a third-rate singer now; and
the powers of B. Ferri, described by Rousseau, are scarcely more than
would be expected of every singer of the Queen's Theatre. Rossini's
music, replete with difficulties of execution, has compelled even the
unwieldy bass to overcome his reluctance to rapid motion, and he is now
obliged to condescend to runs, arpeggios, and other similar feats of
agility. In an opera buffa at a Neapolitan theatre, called _Il Fondo_,
we once heard Tamburini execute the well-known song "Ma non fia sempre
odiata" in his falsetto, with a taste and expression scarcely surpassed
by Rubini's performance of the air. On another occasion, at the same
theatre, the prima donna was taken suddenly ill in the midst of a
terzetto, in which Tamburini had the bass, and, while supporting her on
the stage, this accomplished musician actually took the soprano in his
falsetto, and performed the part of the indisposed lady in a manner
which drew down universal applause. The English school, "still tardy,"
and "limping after" the Italian, is yet far behind. It has, undoubtedly,
made some advances, but it is still the child, _following_ indeed, but,

     "Haud passibus æquis."

With us, the pupil commonly begins where he should end; songs are placed
before him almost as soon as he has mastered the elements of music. At a
time, when his whole study and endeavour should be to form and cultivate
the voice, and by long, patient, and persevering exercise, to develop
and command its powers, and to acquire flexibility and certainty of
execution, his efforts are expended in learning--as it is called--songs.
This process may be carried on _ad infinitum_; but none of the objects
of the pupil's study can be ever _sung_, in the real acceptation of the
term, on this method of instruction. The well-known anecdote of the
early youth of one of the greatest singers the world has ever known,
who, after the drudgery of a daily practice of exercises alone for seven
years, was bidden by his master to go his way, the first singer in
Europe, is an example of the advantages of the opposite system. The
compass of an ordinary tenor is about two octaves, from C below the
line, to C in alt. Within this compass, the tenor makes use of two
voices; the chest or natural voice--which ranges over the whole of the
lower octave and the lower half of the higher octave--and the head-voice
or falsetto, which is commonly used throughout the whole of the
remainder of the upper octave, the higher notes of which can be reached
only in the falsetto. In passing from one 'voice' to the other,
especially while descending the scale, a break or crack may be observed
in the untutored and uncultivated voice. When this defect has been
overcome, and the student has acquired the power of passing from one
'voice' to the other without this break, the voice is said to be joined.
The soprano also has to contend with a similar difficulty. It often
requires many months of constant and unremitting practice to overcome
this natural defect of the vocal organ, and in some voices it is never
entirely conquered. An acute ear might often detect the faulty joining
of the voice, in both the Grisis, when executing a distant descending
interval. This obstacle meets the student at the very threshold of his
career; but we have met with many English taught amateurs, who were
altogether ignorant even of what was meant by joining the voice. In
fact, the art of singing, or of acquiring a mastery and control over the
voice, of remedying its defects, and developing its latent powers, is
comparatively unknown in England; our professors are for the most part
entirely ignorant of the capabilities of the human voice, as an
_instrument_, in the hands of the performer. Many of these observations
apply to our instrumental performers. With few exceptions, defective
training has, in this branch of the musical art, long prevented us from
producing performers of equal celebrity with those who have visited us
from the Continent. From them we have become acquainted with effects,
which we should have deemed the instruments on which they played wholly
incapable of producing. Our young professors now often follow these men
to their own country, there to learn of them that proficiency which they
would seek in vain to acquire at home.

In the midst of all this ignorance, with our one opera, our anthems,
madrigals, glees, and ballads, we nevertheless esteem ourselves a
musical people, and every one is ready to exclaim with Bottom, "I have a
reasonable good ear in musick!" Music certainly is the fashion now, and
no one would dare to avow that he had no music in his soul. It may be
thought, that none but a people passionately devoted to music, could
produce a succession of patriots ready to sacrifice health and wealth,
rather than their countrymen should fail to possess an Italian opera.
Some one is ever found equal to the emergency; there is seldom any lack
of competitors for the "forlorn hope" of the management of the Italian
opera, and, undismayed by the ruin of his predecessors, the highest
bidder rushes boldly on to the direction of the Queen's theatre. Forty
thousand pounds of debt has been known to have been incurred in a single
season; and it has been calculated that a sum little short of a million
sterling, besides the produce of the subscriptions and admissions, has
been sacrificed to the desire of an Italian opera. Every autumn is rich
in musical festivals, as they are called, by which, though the temples
of God are desecrated, and the church, in common with the theatre and
the concert-room, becomes the scene of gaiety, frivolity, and amusement;
and though the speculation is a charitable one, by which it is _hoped_
that the funds of the benevolent institutions of the town or county may
be increased, a considerable loss is nevertheless often incurred, which
falls upon the committee, or upon the borough or county members,
according to the equity of the case. These gentlemen also furnish
another proof that there are at least some among us who will incur any
risk, and make any sacrifice, rather than forego the indulgence of their
musical tastes and inclinations. Are there not also choral and madrigal
societies, glee-clubs, and concerts innumerable, in every part of the
country? It is surely a mistake to suppose, "_Que les Anglois ont peu
d'aptitude pour la musique_;" we agree that the remainder of the
sentence, "_Ceux-ci le savent et ne s'en soucient guère_," is altogether
inapplicable now, however true it might have been when the lively
Jean-Jacques framed the sentence. Our ambition has been roused, or our
vanity has been piqued, and we are now pretty much in the same condition
with the French, when it was said of them, that they "would renounce a
thousand just rights, and pass condemnation on all other things, rather
than allow that they are not the first musicians of the world." This is
one of the signs of the times, and we hail it as a symptom of better

In the metropolis, music has advanced with far greater rapidity than in
the provinces. This appears the natural and inevitable result of causes
to which we have already alluded. Ten or fifteen years ago, the
street-music of London consisted of such tunes as Tom and Jerry--an
especial favourite--the Copenhagen Waltz, and other _melodies_ of the
same class. Now we have instruments imitating a full orchestra, which
execute elaborate overtures in addition to the best airs of the first
masters of Europe. The better the music the greater the attraction, even
in the streets of London; and the people may be seen daily to crowd
around these instruments, and to listen with attention to Italian and
German melodies. We have, of late, repeatedly heard the juvenile
unwashed, whistling airs learned from these instruments, which, however
humble, thus appear to influence the taste of the poorer classes. During
several weeks of the present year, operas in an English dress were
simultaneously performed at three of our theatres. The very gods in the
galleries now look benignly down upon the Italian strangers, which--to
use a theatrical phrase--draw better houses than any other performances
would command.

In the country, the advancement is less manifest. A provincial musical
party is generally a fearful thing. In the society of the metropolis,
none but the really skilful musician is ever heard; in the country,
these are rare beings; or, if the scientific performer is sometimes
found, like the diamond in the mine, he shines in vain, there are none
to appreciate his excellence. It is truly painful to see a number of
fair young creatures, one after another, brought up to the instrument;
there to exhibit, not taste or skill, but ignorance and inability. It is
even still more painful to be condemned to listen to the performance of
the best specimens, selected from the stock of school-taught pieces,
beyond which many of the fair performers know little or nothing. We beg
pardon of our fair young countrywomen; the fault lies not with them. The
indiscriminate teaching of music cannot make all musicians. Many have no
warm taste for music, and many more, who, under other circumstances,
might have pursued the art as an amusement and recreation, are disgusted
from their earliest youth by its being made a task, the difficulty of
which is immeasurably increased by imperfect instruments. The general
taste of the provincial world has advanced but little, for many years.
There is a certain class of music, which has been respectfully listened
to for upwards of a century; which, having been admired before, is
therefore proper to be admired again. Few would dare to criticize, or
avow a distaste for, music which has so long been popular. Handel and
some others still meet with universal deference, and their very names
alone suffice to silence any one who, more hardy than the rest, should
be disposed to find fault. This music, however, is heard with cold
indifference; it calls forth no feeling, and excites no enthusiasm. It
is, indeed, seldom adequately performed. Many of Handel's songs are
truly dramatic; but the purists of "the good old school," sternly
adhering to their--self-styled classic--insipidity, never condescend to
a meretricious display of dramatic power. The Italian and German schools
are not understood by the "million." We have on many occasions observed
a large audience, who, after having listened with an air of puzzled
stupidity to the performance of the most beautiful _cavatine_ by the
first singers of the day, would the next moment, one and all, be thrown
into apparent ecstasy by a wretched ballad, wound up by the everlasting
ponderous English shake. This mode of conclusion, to which true taste is
an utter stranger, is still considered indispensable; though, in the
Italian school, it has been exploded upwards of a century. Such is the
music which calls forth the latent enthusiasm of an English assembly,
and a very respectable degree of excitement is often thus produced.
There are many, who believe this music to be of the highest class of
excellence, and who affect to despise the music of every other school.
There are also many, who assert that all other music is artificial and
meretricious--who contend that the Italian and German schools are
usurping an undue ascendency over the genuine, but modest, merit of our
native music. That Bishop, Calcott, Webbe, Arne, and the rest, had
reached the perfection of their art, would seem a bold assertion; and
their most enthusiastic admirers would probably hesitate to state it as
their conviction, that the compositions of their favourites contain the
elements of universal popularity. Such, however, is the logical
deduction from these premises, and the necessary conclusion from
opinions, which those who hold them will not easily evade. If the music
of our country does indeed possess the excellence, so fondly asserted by
its numerous admirers, we might naturally expect, amid the general
demand in Europe for musical entertainments, that its beauties should
not be entirely neglected and unknown. But while the Italian opera has
found its way over nearly the whole of Europe, and is absolutely
naturalized in England, France, and Spain, our musical productions are
unknown beyond the limits of their native shores. This, being a negative
proposition, is not capable of direct proof. Michael Kelly gives an
amusing account of the performance of the celebrated hunting song at
Vienna, in which the discordant cries of "Tally-ho, Tally-ho," are said
to have driven the Emperor in indignation from the theatre, a great part
of the audience also following the royal example. "The ladies hid their
faces with the hands, and mothers were heard cautioning daughters never
to repeat the dreadful expression of Tally-ho." We have, ourselves,
heard a no less air than "Drops of Brandy," performed by a military
band, stationed on the balcony of the palace of the King of Naples, on
the evening of the royal birthday. The crowds enjoying the cool air on
the Stª Lucia, exclaimed "Inglese, Inglese!" English, English! as this
odd reminiscence of our countrymen was first heard. We are not aware of
any other instances in which English music has been introduced upon the
Continent. More such instances may undoubtedly exist; but the broad
fact, that our music makes no way among other nations, cannot be
disputed. The judgment of the civilized world can scarcely be in error;
and it is difficult for the most ardent admirer of his country's music,
to account for the fact on any hypothesis which is not founded on the
real inferiority of the English school.

This inferiority can be no matter of surprise, when we consider the
energy with which the tuneful art is cultivated, and the importance with
which it is invested, by the Italians. In the freedom happily enjoyed by
Englishmen, all pursuits are open to individual enterprise and ambition;
and every path to fame or opulence is thronged with busy eager
aspirants, all running the race of eminence and distinction, with that
strong purpose of the will which leaves but little opportunity for the
indulgence of tastes, which, though they often exist among the
individuals of these classes, are for this reason seldom cultivated. In
Italy, insurmountable barriers are erected across these paths, which, in
England, all are invited to pursue. The jealousy of despotic governments
is ever on the watch to stifle and put down the genius that would busy
itself on the serious affairs of men. Instances might be mentioned in
which this monstrous system has been carried into effect. The smothered
energies of these restless spirits must somewhere find a vent, and
Arteaga has eloquently described one of the effects thus produced upon
the Italians. "The love of pleasure," he remarks, "the only recompense
for the loss of their ancient liberty which the Italians possess, and
which in every nation decreases in proportion as political virtue
diminishes, has caused an excessive frequency of theatrical pageants and
amusements. In every small town, in every village, a theatre may be
found. Subsistence may fail the indigent, the rivers may want bridges,
drainage may be necessary to fertilize the plains, hospitals may be
needful for the sick and infirm, there may even be no provision to meet
a public calamity, but a species of Coliseum is nowhere wanting for the
idle and unemployed." Operas are the national entertainments at these
numerous theatres. The _impresario_, or manager, is generally one of the
most wealthy and considerable personages of the little town which he
inhabits. He forms a company, and he engages a composer to write an
opera for the opening of the season, which generally consists of twenty
or thirty nights, during which period seldom more than two operas are
performed. The first night of one of these seasons is most amusingly
described by the biographer of Rossini. "The theatre overflows, the
people flock from ten leagues' distance; the curious form an encampment
round the theatre in their calashes; all the inns are filled to excess,
where insolence reigns at its height. All occupations have ceased; at
the moment of the performance the town has the aspect of a desert. All
the passions, all the solicitudes, all the life, of a whole population,
is concentrated at the theatre. The overture commences; so intense is
the attention, that the buzzing of a fly could be heard. On its
conclusion, the most tremendous uproar ensues. It is either applauded to
the clouds, or hissed, or rather howled at, without mercy. In an Italian
theatre, they shout, they scream, they stamp, they belabour the backs of
their seats with their canes, with all the violence of persons
possessed. It is thus that they force on others the judgment which they
have formed, and strive to prove it a sound one; for, strange to say,
there is no intolerance equal to that of the eminently sensitive. At the
close of each air the same terrific uproar ensues; the bellowings of an
angry sea could give but a faint idea of its fury. Such, at the same
time, is the taste of an Italian audience, that they at once distinguish
whether the merit of an air belongs to the singer, or composer."

Contrast the scene here described with the appearance presented on
similar occasion by the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket. There, few are
bold enough either to applaud or disapprove. Many simple, perhaps, but
beautiful and refined, characteristics of the composer or performer, may
pass unnoticed; but some common-place embellishment, which is considered
safe, will command the expression of approbation which the trait of real
genius had failed to elicit. After a few representations, the fear of
applauding _unwisely_ is diminished, but still, as was once said of the
French under similar circumstances, "they affirm with the lips, but with
the eye they interrogate;" and it is not till a sort of prescription has
been established in favour of certain airs and passages, that the
Englishman banishes doubt and distrust, and claps his hands, and shouts
_bravo_--accenting the word strongly on the first syllable--with an air
of confidence and decision. We would, nevertheless, entertain the hope,
that our national reserve, or the _mauvaise honte_, which our countrymen
contrive to exhibit on every possible occasion, is one cause of this
apparent dulness; at all events, it would seem highly probable that a
people among whom music is a necessity, should, in the unbiassed
judgment of contemporary nations, be our superiors in the art.

In the north of England, musical taste is much more widely diffused than
in the south. The Committee of the Privy Council on Education, report
favourably also of the musical attainments of the people of Norfolk. Mr
Hogarth, in his excellent and able work, observes, that "in the densely
peopled manufacturing districts of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and
Derbyshire, music is cultivated among the working classes to an extent
unparalleled in any other part of the kingdom. Every town has its choral
society, supported by the amateurs of the place and its neighbourhood,
where the sacred works of Handel and the more modern masters are
performed, with precision and effect, by a vocal and instrumental
orchestra, consisting of mechanics and work people; and every village
church has its occasional oratorio, where a well-chosen and
well-performed selection of sacred music is listened to by a decent and
attentive audience, of the same class as the performers, mingled with
their employers and their families. Hence, the practice of this music is
an ordinary domestic and social recreation among the working classes of
these districts, and its influence is of the most salutary kind." We can
ourselves bear witness to the truth of many of these remarks. In some of
the more rural portions of the manufacturing districts of Lancashire, we
have often listened to the voices of little bands of happy children,
who, while returning home after the labours of the day were over, were
singing psalms and hymns to tunes learned at the national or Sunday
schools. A highly interesting example of the superior musical capacity
of the inhabitants of this county, came under our observation a few
years ago, at a large and populous village situated on the borders of
one of the extensive fields of industry of which we speak. On the
anniversary of the opening of the school, the children frequenting
it--in number nearly 300--had been long accustomed to march in
procession up to the mansion of the neighbouring squire, the founder and
endower of the school. Ranged upon the lawn in the presence of their
aged benefactor and his family--children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren, were among them--led by no instrument, and guided
only by the voices of their teachers, they performed an anthem, in
parts, with an accuracy and precision which was truly wonderful. As
their young voices rose in simple beauty to the skies, tears coursed
down the old man's cheek, and though already bowed by the weight of
nearly ninety years, he bent still lower, to hide the emotion which
overcame him. Six months after this occurrence, those children were
drawn up to pay their last tribute of respect to their benefactor, as
his remains passed to their final resting-place. In the churches of the
north, the school-children may be seen singing with evident delight, not
the mere passive instruments of the masters or teachers, but joining
heart and soul with the congregation. The Lancashire chorus singers have
long enjoyed an extended reputation; at the last festival at Westminster
Abbey, they proved the principal strength of the choral band. In other
parts of the kingdom, far less aptitude for music is shown among the
working classes. The singing in the churches is, for the most part, of
the lowest order. In many parishes considerable pains have, of late,
been taken in order to improve the psalmody, but no corresponding effect
has been produced. In the agricultural districts of the south of
England, no songs are heard lightening the daily toil of the labourer,
and the very plough-boys can hardly raise a whistle. It is impossible to
account for this; but the fact will be acknowledged by all who have had
the opportunity of observation.

In speculating upon the future prospects of music and musical taste and
science in England, the two rival systems of teaching which have been
recently introduced, must necessarily become the subjects of remark and
observation. The names of the teachers of these systems are no doubt
well known to all our readers. Mainzer, who is himself the author, as
well as the teacher, of one system, and Hullah, the teacher of the
system of Wilhelm. Wilhelm's method has been stamped by authority, and
the Committee of the Council on Education, after "carefully examining"
manuals of vocal music collected in Switzerland, Holland, the German
States, Russia, Austria, and France, in order to ascertain the
characteristic differences and general tendency of the respective
methods adopted in these countries, at length decided in favour of
Wilhelm. The accounts received of the success of this system in Paris,
induced the Council to secure the assistance of Mr Hullah, who was known
to have given much attention to the subject, and to have been already
engaged in making trials of the method. The system of Wilhelm has,
therefore, acquired the ascendency, and Mr Hullah has been invested with
the character or office of national instructor, in which capacity he is
said to realize upwards of L.5000 per annum--almost as many pounds,
according to Mr Barnett, as Wilhelm, the inventor of the system,
received francs. The prominent station and the large income realized by
a junior in the profession, has naturally roused the jealousy and
excited the envy of his elder brethren, many of whom, perhaps, found
"their occupation" almost "gone." The vast amount of the bitterness thus
engendered, may be conceived, when the reader is informed, that, in
London alone, it has been computed that music affords a livelihood to
more than 5000 persons. In the midst of such a host of bitter rivals,
the imperfections and defects of this all-engrossing system are sure of
exposure. Many grave and serious charges have been advanced against the
mode in which a superficial and deceptive success has been made to
appear real, sound, and healthy. These charges have been reiterated in a
pamphlet, recently published by one who is, perhaps, the first of our
native living masters--Mr Barnett. Those great exhibitions at Exeter
Hall, in the presence of the magnates of the land, at which none but the
pupils of Mr Hullah were stated to be allowed to attend, have been
declared to be "packed" meetings. There is an _equivoque_ in the terms
pupil and classes; with the public they would naturally be taken to mean
those persons, and those only, who had _commenced_ their musical career
in the classes taught by Mr Hullah: but according to the official
interpretation of the terms, they appear to mean, all who now are or
ever have been receiving instruction in Wilhelm's method. Now, it must
be remembered, that Mr Hullah has instructed in Wilhelm's method many
who had, for years, gained their bread by teaching music; who, having
been induced to abandon their old system, and to adopt the new method
from the superior remuneration it affords, were probably all able to
take as efficient a part in the performance, when they commenced the
nine lessons which entitle them to the certificate of competency, as
when their course of instruction was concluded. Hundreds of such pupils
may, for aught we know, have been judiciously disposed among the
remainder of the 1700 who performed on the grand occasions to which we
allude. But to enable us to judge of the efficiency of a system of
instruction, we must not only witness the performance of the pupil, but
we must also know the point from which he started. Now, these
demonstrations having been got up expressly for the purpose of
exhibiting the skill and progress of Mr Hullah's classes, all,
therefore, that was necessary in order to form a judgment upon the
question thus submitted to the public, though not directly asserted, was
nevertheless necessarily implied. At all events, the public were simple
enough so to understand the matter. But when the mistake was at length
discovered, instead of at once correcting the error, if such indeed it
was, recourse was had to a disingenuous quibble on words, which would,
therefore, seem to have been purposely rendered obscure. It will thus be
seen how fallacious a test these performances afford, either of the real
merits of the system, or of the actual progress or efficiency of those
who have received instruction from no other source. But, besides this
charge, the truth of which is thus virtually admitted, it has also
publicly been charged against the conductors of the Exeter Hall
performances, that many able musicians, who never were the pupils of any
teacher of the Wilhelm method, were surreptitiously introduced among the
classes at these great choral meetings. This is a grave accusation; it
has been made not anonymously nor in the dark, but backed and supported
by the open disclosure of the name and address of the several parties by
whom it has been publicly brought forward. Of the truth or falsehood of
this serious imputation we know nothing more than that it is raised by
facts, which have been stated, but which, so far as we can learn, have
never received any denial or explanation. On one of these occasions we
were present. We can bear testimony to the effect produced by much of
the music then performed. Mr Hullah certainly appeared to possess great
power over the numerous assembly, and the facility with which he hushed
them almost down to silence, or made them raise their voices till there
seemed no limits to their united power, was almost magical. But beyond
this, in the words of an able weekly journalist, "no means of forming
any opinions were before us--the whole affair might be a cheat and a
delusion--we had no test by which to try it. We have hitherto,"
continues the writer, "spoken of these exhibitions at Exeter Hall as
realities, as being what they were affirmed to be. This is no longer
possible. If Mr Hullah has any real confidence in his 'system,' he will
eagerly seek a real scrutiny into its merits; hitherto there has been
none." Our own personal observation does not enable us to be very
enthusiastic in the praise of the Wilhelm system. A few weeks only have
elapsed, since we attended a meeting of a class, whose progress we had
watched, from time to time, from its earliest infancy. This class had
gone through the course of sixty lessons, but continued still to receive
instruction. Their power of singing at sight was tested in our
presence--a piece of music they had never seen before was placed in
their hands. The first attempt to execute this at sight was lame, and
halted terribly; the second was somewhat better, but as we moved about,
from one pupil to another, to ascertain, as far as possible, the
individual accuracy of the class, we heard many voices, in a subdued
tone, making a number of admirable guesses at their part, but the owners
of which could not, by the utmost courtesy, be considered to be singing
at sight. The basses missed many a "distance," the tenors were
interrupted by the master, and worked, in the defective passages,
separately from the rest of the class for a while, _by ear_!! A third
attempt was made with somewhat better success, and the piece was
accomplished in a rambling uncertain manner. During the whole of this
trial, the trebles were led by the master's apprentice, a sharp clever
boy, who retained a voice of peculiar beauty and power to the unusually
late age of sixteen, and who had commenced his musical studies six or
eight years before. We considered this experiment a failure; it may be
said the fault lay in the teacher, not in the method; true, the master
was not Mr Hullah, but he was one of the "certificated," and the
partisans of Mr Hullah, in the language of the lawyers, are _estopped_
from asserting his incompetency. We have known pupils, not deficient in
general ability, who, having attended the greater part of "the course,"
during which they paid great attention to their studies, were unable to
read more than a few bars of the simplest music, beyond which they were
lost and confused. Without naming the notes _Do, Re,_ &c., they were
utterly unable to proceed at all, and it appeared to us that, by seeing
those syllables written on paper, they would have gathered a more
correct idea of the music, than by attempting to read from music written
in the ordinary manner. This is the result of the invariable use of
those syllables in exercising the voice. In the best continental
schools, they have long been obsolete for such a purpose. Still, the
Hullah-Wilhelm mania will, no doubt, produce considerable effect, even
though the system should fall short of the expectations of its friends
and promoters. We have now commenced our first national effort in this
direction; either, the prejudices which so long delayed this effort have
been overcome, or, the "National Society" is now too strong to bow,
entirely, to the opinions or prejudices of one of its earliest and most
influential patrons--one who long resisted the introduction of musical
instruction into the schools of the society; and who, some twenty years
ago, is said, on one occasion, actually to have thrown out of the
windows of the central school some cards and boards on which the
elements of music were printed, and which had been introduced by some of
the committee. But for the influence of this nobleman the effort had,
perhaps, been made many years ago. The "_premier pas_" has, however, at
length been taken. The public mind is roused; all, from the highest to
the lowest, frequent the classes of Mr Hullah. Royalty itself deigns to
listen. "THE DUKE" himself takes delight in the peaceful notes of Exeter
Hall, and the Premier has found leisure, from the business and service
of the State, to scrutinize the performance of "the classes." It must
surely be a pleasant thing to sing to princes, warriors, and
statesmen--all that the country holds most in honour, love, and
reverence. The impulse thus given is felt throughout the land. Classes
are formed in every town, almost in every village; the labourer, the
mechanic, young men and maidens, old men and children, may be seen,
after their daily toil is done, busy with the _do, re, mi, fa_, &c., of
the class-book. Although the system may not prove all that might be
desired, yet much is taught and learned, and the desire of acquiring
more is created. The general standard of music, and musical taste, must
necessarily be raised far above its previous resting-place. It must,
however, be ever borne in mind, that the system professes only to teach
sight-singing, or, in other words, the power of reading music. This
power is wholly distinct from that of singing, as we have above defined
the art; those who having attended, and profited to the utmost by the
course, will be grievously disappointed if they expect at its close to
find themselves accomplished singers. The management of the voice is
still required, and many vicious habits, contracted during the practice
at the class, will have to be forgotten. This, however, cannot be felt
by the million, to whom any musical instruction will be a gift of
unspeakable value, in a social and moral point of view. The Committee of
the Council well observe, that "amusements which wean the people from
vicious indulgences are in themselves a great advantage; they contribute
indirectly to the increase of domestic comfort, and promote the
contentment of the artisan. The songs of any people may be regarded as
important means of forming an industrious, brave, loyal, and religious
working-class." Mr Barnett calls this, "nothing but egregious cant, got
up by the teachers of the Wilhelm plan, both in France and here." In
this we cannot agree with Mr Barnett, and we scarcely understand why he
should be betrayed into so much heat upon the occasion. For ourselves,
we rejoice to see any system at work for the purpose of instructing the
working classes in the elements of music; and it seems to us a monstrous
proposition, and nothing short of an insult to our countrymen, on the
part of the prominent opposer of the Wilhelm system, to assert that the
knowledge or cultivation of an art, which throughout all history has
advanced hand in hand with civilization and refinement, should, among
the labouring classes of England, be productive only of idleness,
drunkenness, or debauchery.

The instruction of the lower classes in vocal music, however beneficial
and important as an element in civilization, or however advantageous as
a means by which the general taste of the people may be elevated and
refined, will not be found all-sufficient, in itself, to raise our
musical reputation as a nation. Native music is at a low ebb at present;
and, while musical entertainments are in such general request as almost
to have excluded the "legitimate" drama from the stage, no attempt to
introduce any English opera has been recently made. Into such oblivion
or disrepute have English composers fallen, that some of the most
eminent have actually left London. One well-known veteran now lives in
honourable retirement in the Modern Athens. Another, once popular and
admired, "disgusted with London and the profession," and "having given
up all thoughts of again appearing before the London public as an
operatic composer," is said to have migrated in the capacity of
singing-master to a fashionable watering-place; while a third, once
equally well known, has left the kingdom altogether, and has settled
himself in Paris. The public ear has learned to appreciate music of a
high class; and, judging from the past, the manager perhaps dare not
incur the risk of bringing out a new native opera. It is certainly much
to be regretted that the existing demand should not be supplied from
native sources, and thus serve the purpose of national advancement in
the art; but English music does not _take_. Does the fault rest with the
public or with the musician? It is easy, and no doubt _convenient_,
contemptuously to apply the epithet, "_hacknied_," to the operas
recently adapted to the English stage; but how is it that the old
"hacknied" music of the Italians should be preferred to the novelties of
our native school? Here again the public taste has advanced too fast,
and, owing to the inferiority of our home productions, the foreigner has
gained possession of the market.[2] Where is the remedy for this
unfortunate state of things? Some master-mind, some musical Napoleon,
_may_ rise up and take the world by storm; but such an event is
particularly unlikely now. The hour generally makes the man, and the
necessities of the moment often call forth talents and energies, the
existence of which was wholly unsuspected by their possessors. For aught
we know, many a hero may be now among the ranks, and many a gallant
officer now before the mast, undistinguished from lack of opportunity,
unknown because circumstances have not developed his dormant powers. How
then can the hour be hastened, and the opportunity of developing our
musical powers be afforded? The answer is, by the establishment of a
National Opera. It has been observed that every nation that has risen to
musical greatness, possesses a musical opera. Even the French, who,
according to Mr Hullah, "have the least possible claim to a high musical
organization," have, nevertheless, long possessed a national opera,
boasting the best orchestra in Europe, and producing masters whose works
have been successfully transplanted, and singers who have met with
universal admiration. At the present moment, Paris has two national
musical theatres, the _Académie Royale_, and the _Opera Comique_: and
the establishment of a third is said to be in contemplation. The
possibility of forming such an establishment at the present time in
England, may be reasonably called in question. The attempt made some ten
years ago, though commended by the minister of the day, was signally
abortive; and the subsequent endeavour of a popular musician to open a
theatre for the performance of English operas, was equally futile and
unsuccessful. One thing of primary importance--the patronage of the
higher classes--was wanting to both these efforts. Were the stamp of
fashion once impressed upon such an undertaking, success would be
certain, did the _fiat_ of the great world once go forth, the thing
would be accomplished. The marvellous impulse recently given to musical
instruction throughout the kingdom, shows the vast power, for good,
possessed by the higher classes of aristocratic England. We have often
lamented the apathy of the fashionable world on this subject, and we can
entertain no hope of aristocratic support and encouragement for the
English opera. There may, however, be some hope, though faint and
distant, for our musicians. In consequence of a national musical
education, a national opera may become a national want; and we can
scarcely conceive it possible, that the wide diffusion of musical taste
and knowledge should fail ultimately, to produce a large and
never-failing demand for dramatic music. Then would our musicians have a
wide, fair field for the development of their resources, success, the
highest and most brilliant, would be within their reach, and would
depend entirely on themselves. If, under such circumstances, the
reputation of our country did not quickly rise, bright and resplendent
in the musical horizon, our hopes of universal excellence would indeed
be crushed for ever.

[Footnote 2: No. cccxxvii. p. 130.]

It might be long before we rivalled either of the great continental
schools, each of which would doubtless long retain its ancient
worshippers. Of these two schools, of a character and style so
different, _we_ confess a preference for the smooth, voluptuous,
peaceful flow of the Italian, rather than the stern, but sublimer,
beauty of the German. The one, like the soft and glowing landscape of
its native land, refreshes the spirit, warms the heart, and kindles the
affections; the latter, like the wild and often savage grandeur of the
scenery of Switzerland, chills, while it awes and subdues the soul.
There is a smiling kindliness about the former, which fascinates and
attracts; the latter often pains and distracts, by an intense and varied
action which admits of no repose. It is as the tranquil elegance of the
Venus of the Tribune, or the calm dignity of the Apollo of the Vatican,
contrasted with the nervous energy of the works of Buonarroti, or the
sublime but fearful agony of the Laocoon.

The more enthusiastic admirers of the productions of the Germans, that
race of musical Michael Angelos, often despise the lamer attributes of
the music of the "sweet south." Such spirits delight in the storm and
the whirlwind; peace and repose have probably no charms for them.

            "Music was ordain'd,
    Was it not, to refresh the mind of man,
    After his studies, or his actual pain?"

Many fly to music to soothe and compose the mind, others seek it as a
means of new and fresh excitement. Neither are now able, in the music of
their country, to find _all_ they seek. We are not, however, without
hope for the future. Never till now has music formed an element in
national education; and the movement now extending throughout the land,
must of necessity be the means of elevating and refining the musical
taste of our countrymen. Improvements, like those already manifest in
the sister arts of painting and sculpture, may be now about to show
themselves in music. Even our _sons_ may wonder at the taste which could
tolerate the music which their fathers had applauded and admired; and
England, long pre-eminent in the useful arts and sciences, and the
serious and more weighty affairs of life, may at length become equally
distinguished in the fine arts, and all those lighter and more elegant
pursuits, which, throughout the history of mankind, have ever formed the
peculiar characteristics of a high degree of civilization and

       *       *       *       *       *



    Come let us drink their memory,
      Those glorious Greeks of old--
    On shore and sea the Famed, the Free,
      The Beautiful--the Bold!
    The mind or mirth that lights each page,
      Or bowl by which we sit,
    Is sunfire pilfer'd from their age--
      Gems splinter'd from their wit.
        Then drink we to their memory,
          Those glorious Greeks of yore;
        Of great or true, we can but do
          What they have done before!

    We've had with THE GREAT KING to cope--
      What if the scene he saw--
    The modern Xerxes--from the slope
      Of crimson Quatre-bras,
    Was but the fruit we early won
      From tales of Grecian fields
    Such as the swords of Marathon
      Carved on the Median shields
        Oh, honour to those chainless Greeks,
          We drink them one and all,
        Who block'd that day Oppression's way
          As with a brazen wall!

    Theirs was the marble land where, woo'd
      By love-born Taste, the Gods
    Themselves the life of stone endured
      In more divine abodes
    Than blest their own Olympus bright;
      Then in supreme repose,
    Afar star glittering, high and white
      Athenè's shrine arose.
        So the days of Pericles
          The votive goblet fill--
        In fane or mart we but distort
          His grand achievements still!

    Fill to their Matrons' memory--
      The Fair who knew no fear--
    But gave the hero's shield to be
      His bulwark or his bier.[3]
    We boast their dauntless blood----it fills
      That lion-woman's veins,
    Whose praise shall perish when thy hills,
      JELLALABAD, are plains!
        That LADY'S health! who doubts _she_ heard
          Of Greece, and loved to hear?
        The wheat, two thousand years interr'd,
          Will still its harvest bear.[4]

    The lore of Greece--the book still bright
      With Plato's precious thought--
    The Theban's harp--the judging-right
      Stagyra's sophist taught--
    Bard, Critic, Moralist to-day
      Can but their spirit speak,
    The self-same thoughts transfused. Away,
      We are not Gael but Greek.
        Then drink, and dream the red grape weeps
          Those dead but deathless lords,
        Whose influence in our bosom sleeps,
          Like music in the chords.

    Yet 'tis not in the chiming hour
      Of goblets, after all,
    That thoughts of old Hellenic Power
      Upon the heart should fall.
    Go home--and ponder o'er the hoard
      When night makes silent earth:
    The Gods the Roman most adored,
      He worshipp'd at the hearth.
        Then, drink and swear by Greece, that there
          Though Rhenish Huns may hive,
        In Britain we the liberty
          She loved will keep alive.


        And thus we drink their memory
          Those glorious Greeks of old,
        On shore and sea the Famed and Free--
          The Beautiful--the Bold!

[Footnote 3: "_Return with it or upon it_" was the well-known injunction
of a Greek mother, as she handed her son his shield previous to the

[Footnote 4: The mummy-wheat.]

       *       *       *       *       *



It was a sultry September afternoon in the year 18--. My friend Carleton
and myself had been three days wandering about the prairies, and had
nearly filled our tin boxes and other receptacles with specimens of rare
and curious plants. But we had not escaped paying the penalty of our
zeal as naturalists, in the shape of a perfect roasting from the sun,
which had shot down its rays during the whole time of our ramble, with
an ardour only to be appreciated by those who have visited the
Louisianian prairies. What made matters worse our little store of wine
had been early expended; some Taffia, with which we had replenished our
flasks, had also disappeared; and the water we met with, besides being
rare, contained so much vegetable and animal mater, as to be undrinkable
unless qualified in some manner. In this dilemma, we came to a halt
under a clump of hickory trees, and dispatched Martin, Carleton's
Acadian servant, upon a voyage of discovery. He had assured us that we
must erelong fall in with some party of Americans--or Cochon Yankees, as
he called them--who, in spite of the hatred borne them by the Acadians
and Creoles, were daily becoming more numerous in the country.

After waiting, in anxious expectation of Martin's return, for a full
hour, during which the air seemed to get more and more sultry, my
companion began to wax impatient. "What can the fellow be about?" cried
he. "Give a blast on the horn," he added, handing me the instrument; "I
cannot sound it myself, for my tongue cleaves to my palate from heat and

I put the horn to my mouth, and gave a blast. But the tones emitted were
not the clear echo-awakening sounds that cheer and strengthen the
hunter. They were dull and short, as though the air had lost all
elasticity and vibration, and by its weight crushed back the sounds into
the horn. It was a warning of some inscrutable danger. We gazed around
us, and saw that others were not wanting.

The spot where we had halted was on the edge of one of those pine
forests that extend, almost without interruption, from the hills of the
Côte Gelée to the Opelousa mountains, and of a vast prairie, sprinkled
here and there with palmetto fields, clumps of trees, and broad patches
of brushwood, which appeared mere dark specks on the immense extent of
plain that lay before us, covered with grass of the brightest green, and
so long, as to reach up to our horses' shoulders. To the right was a
plantation of palmettos, half a mile wide, and bounded by a sort of
creek or gully, the banks of which were covered with gigantic
cypress-trees. Beyond this, more prairie and a wood of evergreen oak. To
the east, an impenetrable thicket of magnolias, papaws, oak and bean
trees--to the north, the pine wood before mentioned.

Such was the rich landscape we had been surrounded by a short hour
before. But now, on looking around, we found the scene changed; and our
horizon became far more limited by rising clouds of bluish grey vapour,
which approached us rapidly from the wind quarter. Each moment this fog
appeared to become thicker; the sun no longer dazzled our eyes when we
gazed on it, but showed through the mist like a pale red moon; the
outlines of the forest disappeared, veiled from our sight by masses of
vapour; and the air, which, during the morning, had been light and
elastic, although hot, became each moment heavier and more difficult to
inhale. The part of the prairie that remained visible, presented the
appearance of a narrow, misty valley, enclosed between two mighty ranges
of grey mountains, which the fog represented. As we gazed around us and
beheld these strange phenomena, our eyes met, and we read in each others
countenance that embarrassment which the bravest and most light-hearted
are apt to feel, when hemmed in by perils of which they cannot
conjecture the nature.

"Fire off your gun," said I to Carleton. I started as I spoke at the
alteration in my own voice. The gun went off, but the report was, as it
were, stifled by the compressed atmosphere. It did not even alarm some
water-fowl that were plashing and floundering in the creek a few hundred
paces from us.

"Look at our horses!" exclaimed Carleton. "They are surely going mad."
The animals were evidently uneasy at something. They pricked up their
ears, turned half round, and gazed with startled eye behind them; then
strained with their heads and necks in the opposite direction to the
vapour, snorting violently, and at last trying to break away from the
trees to which they were tied. A short time previously they had appeared
much fatigued, but now they were all fire and impatience.

"It is impossible to remain here," said Carleton.

"But whither shall we go?"

"Wherever our horses choose to take us."

We untied the animals and sprang upon them. But scarcely were we in the
saddle when they started off at a pace as frantic as if a pack of wolves
had been at their heels; and taking the direction of the creek, which
ran between the palmetto plantation and a cypress wood, continued along
its banks at the same wild gallop. As we advanced, the creek began to
widen; in place of palmettos, clumps of marsh reeds, and rushes showed
themselves here and there. An unearthly stillness prevailed, only broken
now and then by the cry of a wild-goose; and even that appeared strange
and unnatural in its sound.

"What can be the meaning of this?" cried Carleton. "I am burning with
heat, and yet I have not the slightest moisture on my skin. All these
signs are incomprehensible. For God's sake, sound the horn again."

I did so, but this time the sound seemed to be forced back through the
horn, and to die away upon my lips. The air was so hot and parching,
that our horses' coats, which a short time previous had been dripping
with sweat, were now perfectly dry, and the hair plastered upon them;
the animals' tongues hung out of their mouths, and they seemed panting
for cooler air. "Look yonder!" cried Carleton, and he pointed to the
line of the horizon, which had hitherto been of grey, lead-coloured
vapour. It was now becoming reddish in the south-west quarter, and the
vapour had taken the appearance of smoke. At the same time we heard a
sort of distant crackling, like a heavy running-fire of musketry, and
which was repeated at short intervals. Each time it was heard, our
horses appeared scared and trembling.

The creek was getting rapidly wider, and the ground so swampy that it
was impossible to proceed further. Seeing this, we agreed to return to
the prairie, and to try if it were not cooler among the palmettos. But
when we came to the place where we had crossed the creek, our horses
refused to take the leap again, and it was with the greatest difficulty
we at length forced them over. All this time the redness in the horizon
was getting brighter, and the atmosphere hotter and drier; the smoke had
spread itself over prairie, forest, and plantations. We continued
retracing our steps as well as we could to the spot where we had halted.
"See there," said Carleton; "not half an hour ago those reeds were as
fresh and green as if they had just sprung out of the earth, and now
look at them--the leaves are hanging down, parched and curled up by the

The whole prairie, the whole horizon to the south-west, was now one mass
of dense smoke, through which the sun's disc looked scarcely brighter
than a paper-lantern. Behind the thick curtain which thus concealed
every thing from our view, we heard a loud hissing, like that of a
multitude of snakes. The smoke was stifling and unbearable; our horses
again turned panting round, and tore madly towards the creek. On
reaching it we dismounted, but had the greatest difficulty to prevent
them from leaping into the water. The streaks of red to our right became
brighter and brighter, and gleamed through the huge, dark trunks of the
cypress-trees. The crackling and hissing grew louder than ever. Suddenly
the frightful truth flashed upon us, and at the very same moment
Carleton and I exclaimed, "The prairie is on fire!"

As we uttered the words, there was a loud rustling behind us, and a herd
of deer broke headlong through a thicket of tall reeds and bulrushes,
and dashed up to their necks into the water. There they remained, not
fifty paces from us, little more than their heads above the surface,
gazing at us, as though imploring our help and compassion. We fancied we
could see tears in the poor beasts' eyes.

We looked behind us. On came the pillars of flame, flickering and
threatening through the smoke, licking up all before them; and, at
times, a gust of so hot and blasting a wind as seemed to dry the very
marrow in our bones. The roaring of the fire was now distinctly audible,
mingled with hissing, whistling sounds, and cracking noises, as of
mighty trees falling. Suddenly a bright flame shot up through the
stifling smoke, and immediately afterwards a sea of fire burst upon our
aching eyeballs. The whole palmetto field was in flames.

The heat was so great, that we every moment expected to see our clothes
take fire. Our horses dragged us still nearer to the creek, sprang into
the water, and drew us down the bank after them. Another rustling and
noise in the thicket of reeds. A she-bear, with her cubs at her heels,
came towards us; and at the same time a second herd of deer rushed into
the water not twenty yards from where we were standing. We pointed our
guns at the bears; they moved off towards the deer, who remained
undisturbed at their approach; and there they stood, bears and deer, not
five paces apart, but taking no more notice of each other than if they
had been animals of the same species. More beasts now came flocking to
the river. Deer, wolves, foxes, horses--all came in crowds to seek
shelter in one element from the fury of another. Most of them, however,
went further up the creek, where it took a north-easterly direction, and
widened into a sort of lake. Those that had first arrived began to
follow the new-comers, and we did the same.

Suddenly the baying of hounds was heard. "Hurra! there are dogs; men
must be near." A volley from a dozen rifles was the answer to our
explanation. The shots were fired not two hundred yards from us, yet we
saw nothing of the persons who fired them. The wild beasts around us
trembled and crouched before this new danger, but did not attempt to
move a step. We ourselves were standing in the midst of them up to our
waists in water. "Who goes there?" we shouted. Another volley, and this
time not one hundred yards off. We saw the flashes of the pieces, and
heard voices talking in a dialect compounded of French and Indian. We
perceived that we had to do with Acadians. A third volley, and the
bullets whistled about our ears. It was getting past a joke. "Halt!"
shouted we, "stop firing till you see what you are firing at." There was
a dead silence for a moment, then a burst of savage laughter. "Fire!
fire!" cried two or three voices.

"If you fire," cried I, "look out for yourselves, for we shall do the
same. Have a care what you are about."

"Morbleu! Sacre!" roared half a score of voices. "Who is that who dares
to give us orders? Fire on the dogs!"

"If you do, we return it."

"Sacre!" screamed the savages. "They are gentlemen from the towns. Their
speech betrays them. Shoot them--the dogs, the spies! What do they want
in the prairie?"

"Your blood be on your own heads," cried I. And, with the feelings of
desperate men, we levelled our guns in the direction in which we had
seen the flashes of the last volley. At that moment--"Halt! What is
here?" shouted a stentorian voice close to us.

"Stop firing, or you are dead men," cried five or six other voices.

"_Sacre! ce sont des Americains_," muttered the Acadians.

"Monsieur Carleton!" cried a voice.

"Here!" replied my friend. A boat shot out of the smoke, between us and
our antagonists. Carleton's servant was in it. The next moment we were
surrounded by a score of Acadians and half-a-dozen Americans.

It appeared that the Acadians, so soon as they perceived the prairie to
be on fire, had got into boat and descended a creek that flowed into the
Chicot creek, on which we now were. The beasts of the forest and
prairie, flying to the water, found themselves inclosed in the angle
formed by the two creeks, and their retreat being cut off by the fire,
they fell an easy prey to the Acadians, wild, half savage fellows, who
slaughtered them in a profusion and with a brutality that excited our
disgust, a feeling which the Americans seemed to share.

"Well, stranger!" said one of the latter, an old man, to Carleton, "do
you go with them Acadians or come with us?"

"Who are you, my friends?"

"Friends!" repeated the Yankee, shaking his head, "your friendships are
soon made. Friends, indeed! We ain't that yet; but if you be minded to
come with us, well and good."

"I met these American gentlemen," now put in Martin, "and when they
heard that you had lost your way, and were out of provisions, they were
so good as to come and seek you."

"You be'n't much used to the prairie, I reckon?" observed the American
who had spoken before.

"No, indeed, my friend," said I.

"I told you a'ready," replied the man with some degree of pride, "we
ain't your friends; but if you choose to accept American hospitality,
you're welcome."

We glanced at the Acadians, who were still firing, and dragging the
beasts they slaughtered into their boat and to the shore. They appeared
perfect savages, and there was little temptation to seek guidance or
assistance at their hands.

"If it is agreeable to you, we will accompany you," said I to the
American, making a step towards the boat. We were eager to be off, for
the heat and smoke were unbearable. The Yankee answered neither yes nor
no. His attention seemed taken up by the proceedings of the Acadians.

"They're worse than Injuns," said he to a young man standing by him.
"They shoot more in an hour than they could eat in a year in their
tarnation French wastefulness."

"I've a notion o' makin' 'em leave off," replied the young man.

"The country's theirs, or their masters' at least," rejoined the other.
"I reckon it's no business of ours."

This dialogue was carried on with the greatest possible degree of
drawling deliberation, and under circumstances in which, certainly, none
but a Yankee would have thought of wasting time in words. A prairie
twenty miles long and ten broad, and a couple of miles of palmetto
ground, all in a blaze--the flames drawing nearer every minute, and
having, in some places, already reached up to the shores of the creek.
On the other side a couple of dozen wild Acadians firing right and left,
without paying the least attention where or whom their bullets struck.
Carelton and myself, up to our waists in water, and the Americans,
chatting together as unconcernedly as if they had been sitting under the
roofs of their own blockhouses.

"Do you live far from here?" said I at last to the Yankee, rather

"Not so far as I sometimes wish," answered he, with a contemptuous
glance at the Acadians, "but far enough to get you an appetite for your
supper, if you ain't got one already." And taking a thin roll of tobacco
out of his pocket, he bit off a piece of it, laid his hands upon the
muzzle of his rifle, leant his chin upon his hands, and seemed to have
forgotten all about us.

This apathy became intolerable to men in our situation.

"My good man," said I, "will you put your hospitable offer into
execution, and take----"

I could not continue, for I was literally suffocated with the heat and
smoke. The very water of the creek was getting warm.

"I've a notion," said the yankee, with his usual drawl, and apparently
only just perceiving our distress, "I've a notion we had better be
movin' out o' the way o' the fire. Now, strangers, in with you." And he
helped Carleton and myself into the boat, where we lay down, and became
insensible from heat and exhaustion.

When we recovered our senses, we found ourselves in the bottom of the
boat, and the old Yankee standing by us with a bottle of whisky in his
hand, which he invited us to taste. We felt better for the cordial, and
began to look around us.

Before us lay an apparently interminable cypress swamp, behind us a
sheet of water, formed by the junction of the two creeks, and at present
overhung by a mass of smoke that concealed the horizon from our view.
From time to time there was a burst of flame that lit up the swamp, and
caused the cypress-trees to appear as if they grew out of a sea of fire.

"Come," said the old Yankee, "we must get on. It is near sunset, and we
have far to go."

"And which way does our road lie?" I asked.

"Across the cypress swamp, unless you'd rather go round it."

"The shortest road is the best," said Carleton.

"The shortest road is the best!" repeated the Yankee contemptuously, and
turning to his companions. "Spoken like a Britisher. Well, he shall have
his own way, and the more so as I believe it to be as good a one as the
other. James," added he, turning to one of the men, "you go further
down, through the Snapping Turtle swamp; we will cross here."

"And our horses?" said I.

"They are grazing in the rushes. They'll be took care of. We shall have
rain to-night, and to-morrow they may come round without singeing a

I had found myself once or twice upon the borders of the swamp that now
lay before us but had always considered it impenetrable, and I did not
understand, as I gazed into its gloomy depths, how we could possibly
cross it.

"Is there any beaten path or road through the swamp?" enquired I of the
old man.

"Path or road! Do you take it for a gentleman's park? There's the path
that natur' has made." And he sprang upon the trunk of a tree covered
with moss and creepers, which rose out of the vast depth of mud that
formed the swamp.

"_Here's_ the path," said he.

"Then we will wait and come round with our horses," I replied. "Where
shall we find them?"

"As you please, stranger. _We_ shall cross the swamp. Only, if you can't
do like your horses, and sup off bulrushes, you are likely to fast for
the next twenty-four hours.

"And why so? There is game and wild-fowl for the shooting."

"No doubt there is, if you can eat them raw, like the Injuns. Where will
you find, within two miles round, a square foot of dry land to make your
fire on?"

To say the truth, we did not altogether like the company we had fallen
amongst. These Yankee squatters bore in general but an indifferent
character. They were said to fear neither God nor man, to trust entirely
to their axe and their rifle, and to be little scrupulous in questions
of property; in short, to be scarce less wild and dangerous than the
Indians themselves.

The Yankee who had hitherto acted as spokesman, and who seemed to be in
some way or other the chief of the party, was a man apparently near
sixty years of age, upwards of six feet high, thin in person, but with
such bone and muscle as indicated great strength in the possessor. His
features were keen and sharp; his eye like a falcon's; his bearing and
manners bespoke an exalted opinion of himself, and (at least as far as
we were concerned) a tolerable degree of contempt for others. His dress
consisted of a jacket of skins, secured round the waist by a girdle, in
which was stuck a long knife; leather breeches, a straw hat without a
brim, and mocassins. His companion was similarly accoutred.

"Where is Martin?" cried Carleton.

"Do you mean the Acadian lad who brought us to you?"

"The same."

The Yankee pointed towards the smoke. "Yonder, no doubt, with his
countrymen; but I reckon their infernal hunt is over. I hear no more

"Then we will go to him. But where are our horses?"

"I've a notion," said one of the younger men, "the stranger don't
rightly know what he wants. Your horses are grazing half a mile off. You
would not have had us make the poor beasts swim through the creek tied
to the stern of the boat? 'Lijah is with them."

"And what will he do with them?"

"Joel is going back with the boat, and when the fire is out he will
bring them round," said the elder Yankee. "You don't suppose--?" added
he----He left the sentence unfinished, but a smile of scornful meaning
flitted over his features.

I looked at Carleton. He nodded. "We _will_ go with you," said I, "and
trust entirely to your guidance."

"You do well," was the brief reply. "Joel," added he, turning to one of
the young men, "where are the torches? We shall want them?"

"Torches!" exclaimed I.

The Yankee gave me a look, as much as to say--You must meddle with every
thing. "Yes," replied he; "and, if you had ten lives, it would be as
much as they are all worth to enter this swamp without torches." So
saying, he struck fire, and selecting a couple of pine splinters from
several lying in the boat, he lighted them, doing every thing with such
extraordinary deliberation, and so oddly, that in spite of our
unpleasant situation we could scarce help laughing. Meantime the boat
pushed off with two men in it, leaving Carleton, myself, the old man,
and another American, standing at the edge of the swamp.

"Follow me, step by step, and as if you were treading on eggs," said our
leader; "and you, Jonathan, have an eye to the strangers, and don't wait
till they are up to their necks in the mud to pick them out of it."

We did not feel much comforted by this speech; but, mustering all our
courage, we strode on after our plain-spoken guide.

We had proceeded but a very short distance into the swamp before we
found out the use of the torches. The huge trunks of the cypress-trees,
which stood four or five yards asunder, shot up to a height of fifty
feet, entirely free from branches, which then, however, spread out at
right angles to the stem, making the trees appear like gigantic
umbrellas, and covering the whole morass with an impenetrable roof,
through which not even a sunbeam could find a passage. On looking behind
us, we saw the daylight at the entrance of the swamp, as at the mouth of
a vast cavern. The further we went the thicker became the air; and at
last the effluvia was so stifling and pestilential, that the torches
burnt pale and dim, and more than once threatened to go out.

"Yes, yes," muttered our guide to himself, "a night passed in this swamp
would leave a man ague-struck for the rest of his days. A night--ay, an
hour would do it, if your pores were ever so little open; but now
there's no danger; the prairie fire's good for that, dries the sweat and
closes the pores."

He went on conversing thus with himself, but still striding forward,
throwing his torchlight on each log or tree trunk, and trying its
solidity with his foot before he trusted his weight upon it--doing all
this with a dexterity and speed that proved his familiarity with these
dangerous paths.

"Keep close to me," said he to us, "but make yourselves light--as light
at least as Britishers can make themselves. Hold your breath, and----ha!
what is that log? Hollo, Nathan," continued he to himself, "what's come
to you, man? Don't you know a sixteen foot alligator from a tree?"

He had stretched out his foot, but fortunately, before setting it down,
he poked what he took for a log with the butt of his gun. The supposed
block of wood gave way a little, and the old squatter, throwing himself
back, was within an ace of pushing me into the swamp.

"Ah, friend!" said he, not in the least disconcerted, "you thought to
sacumvent honest folk with your devilry and cunning."

"What is the matter?" asked I.

"Not much the matter," he replied, drawing his knife from its sheath.
"Only an alligator: there it is again."

And in the place of the log, which had disappeared, the jaws of a huge
alligator gaped before us. I raised my gun to my shoulder. The Yankee
seized my arm.

"Don't fire," whispered he. "Don't fire, so long as you can help it. We
ain't alone here. This will do as well," he added, as he stooped down,
and drove his long knife into the alligator's eye. The monster gave a
frightful howl, and lashed violently with its tail, besprinkling us with
the black slimy mud of the swamp.

"Take that!" said the squatter with a grim smile, "and that, and that!"
stabbing the brute repeatedly between the neck and the ribs, while it
writhed and snapped furiously at him. Then wiping his knife, he stuck it
in his belt, and looked keenly and cautiously around him.

"I've a notion there must be a tree trunk hereaway; it ain't the first
time I've followed this track. There it is, but a good six foot off."
And so saying, he gave a spring, and alighted in safety on the stepping

"Have a care, man," cried I. "There is water there. I see it glitter."

"Pho, water! What you call water is snakes. Come on."

I hesitated, and a shudder came over me. The leap, as regarded distance,
was a trifling one, but it was over an almost bottomless chasm, full of
the foulest mud, on which the mocassin snakes, the deadliest of the
American reptiles, were swarming.

"Come on!"

Necessity lent me strength, and, pressing my left foot firmly against
the log on which I was standing, and which was each moment sinking with
our weight deeper into the soft slimy ground, I sprang across. Carleton
followed me.

"Well done!" cried the old man. "Courage, and a couple more such leaps,
and we shall be getting over the worst of it."

We pushed on, steadily but slowly, never setting our foot on a log till
we had ascertained its solidity with the butts of our guns. The cypress
swamp extended four or five miles along the shores of the creek: it was
a deep lake of black mud, covered over and disguised by a deceitful
bright green veil of creeping plants and mosses, which had spread
themselves in their rank luxuriance over its whole surface, and over the
branches and trunks of trees scattered about the swamp. These latter
were not placed with any very great regularity, but had yet been
evidently arranged by the hand of man.

"There seems to have been a sort of path made here," said I to our
guide, "for"----

"Silence!" interrupted he, in a low tone; "silence, for your life, till
we are on firm ground again. Don't mind the snakes," added he, as the
torchlight revealed some enormous ones lying coiled up on the moss and
lianas close to us. "Follow me closely."

But just as I stretched forward my foot, and was about to place it in
the very print that his had left, the hideous jaw of an alligator was
suddenly stretched over the tree-trunk, not six inches from my leg, and
the creature snapped at me so suddenly, that I had but just time to fire
my gun into his glittering lizard-like eye. The monster bounded back,
uttered a sound between a bellow and a groan, and, striking wildly about
him in the morass, disappeared.

The American looked round when I fired, and an approving smile played
about his mouth as he said something to me which I did not hear, owing
to the infernal uproar that now arose on all sides of us and at first
completely deafened me.

Thousands, tens of thousands, of birds and reptiles, alligators,
enormous bull-frogs, night-owls, ahingas, herons, whose dwellings were
in the mud of the swamp, or on its leafy roof, now lifted up their
voices, bellowing, hooting, shrieking, and groaning. Bursting forth from
the obscene retreat in which they had hitherto lain hidden, the
alligators raised their hideous snouts out of the green coating of the
swamp, gnashing their teeth, and straining towards us, while the owls
and other birds circled round our heads, flapping and striking us with
their wings as they passed. We drew our knives, and endeavoured to
defend at least our heads and eyes; but all was in vain against the
myriads of enemies that surrounded us; and the unequal combat could not
possibly have lasted long, when suddenly a shot was fired, followed
immediately by another. The effect they produced was magical. The growls
and cries of rage and fury were exchanged for howls of fear and
complaint; the alligators withdrew gradually into their native mud; the
birds flew in wider circles around us; the unclean multitudes were in
full retreat. By degrees the various noises died away. But our torches
had gone out, and all around us was black as pitch.

"In God's name, are you there, old man?" asked I.

"What! still alive?" he replied with a laugh that jarred unpleasantly
upon my nerves, "and the other Britisher too? I told ye we were not
alone. These brutes defend themselves if you attack them upon their own
ground, and a single shot is sufficient to bring them about one's ears.
But when they see you're in earnest, they soon get tired of it, and a
couple more shots sent among them generally drive them away again; for
they are but senseless squealin' creturs after all."

While the old man was speaking, he struck fire, and lit one of the

"Luckily we have rather better footing here," continued he. "And now,
forward quickly; for the sun is set, and we have still some way to go."

And again he led the march with a skill and confidence in himself which
each moment increased our reliance on him. After proceeding in this
manner for about half an hour, we saw a pale light glimmering in the

"Five minutes more and your troubles are over; but now is the time to be
cautious, for it is on the borders of these cursed swamps the alligators
best love to lie."

In my eagerness to find myself once more on dry land, I scarcely heard
the Yankee's words; and as the stepping places were now near together, I
hastened on, and got a little in front of the party. Suddenly I felt a
log on which I had just placed my foot, give way under me. I had
scarcely time to call out "Halt!" when I was up to the arm-pits in the
swamp, with every prospect of sinking still deeper.

"You _will_ hurry on," said the old man with a laugh; and at the same
time, springing forward, he caught me by the hair. "Take warning for the
future," added he, as he helped me out of the mud; "and look there!"

I did look, and saw half a dozen alligators writhing and crawling in the
noxious slime within a few feet of us. I felt a sickening sensation, and
for a moment I could not utter a word: the Yankee produced his

"Take a swallow of this," said he; "but no, better wait till we are out
of the swamp. Stop a little till your heart beats quieter. So, you are
better now. When you've made two or three such journeys with old Nathan,
you'll be quite another man. Now--forward again."

A few minutes later we were out of the swamp, and looking over a field
of palmettos that waved and rustled in the moonbeams. The air was fresh,
and once more we breathed freely.

"Now then," said our guide, "a dram, and then in half an hour we are at
the Salt Lick."

"Where?" asked I.

"At the Salt Lick, to shoot a deer or two for supper. Hallo! what is

"A thunderclap."

"A thunderclap! You have heard but few of them in Louisiana, I guess, or
you would know the difference betwixt thunder and the crack of a
backwoodsman's rifle. To be sure, yonder oak wood has an almighty echo.
That's James's rifle--he has shot a stag.--There's another shot."

This time it was evidently a rifle-shot, but re-echoed like thunder from
the depths of the immense forest.

"We must let them know that we're still in whole skins, and not in the
maw of an alligator," said the old man, who had been loading his rifle,
and now fired it off.

In half an hour we were at the Salt Lick, where we found our guide's two
sons busy disembowelling and cutting up a fine buck that they had
killed, an occupation in which they were so engrossed that they scarce
seemed to notice our arrival. We sat down, not a little glad to repose
after the fatigues and dangers we had gone through. When hind and fore
quarters, breast and back, were all divided in right huntsman-like
style, the young men looked at their father. "Will you take a bite and a
sup here?" said the latter, addressing Carleton and myself, "or will you
wait till we get home?"

"How far is there still to go?"

"How far? With a good trotting horse, and a better road, three quarters
of an hour would bring you there. You may reckon it a couple of hours."

"Then we would prefer eating something here."

"As you will."

Without more words, or loss of time, a haunch was cut off one of the
hind-quarters; dry leaves and branches collected; and in one minute a
fire was blazing brightly, the joint turning before it on a wooden spit.
In half an hour the party was collected round a roast haunch of venison,
which, although eaten without bread or any of the usual condiments,
certainly appeared to us to be the very best we had ever tasted.

       *       *       *       *       *


Both the nobility and gentry of this country stand upon a basis so
entirely peculiar, that, were it for that cause only, we could not
greatly wonder at the perverse misconstructions upon these institutions
so prevalent abroad. Indeed the peculiarity of our aristocracy is so
effectual for obscurity, that we also, as a nation, are ignorant upon
much which marks it characteristically; our own ignorance partly
explains, and partly has caused, the continental ignorance. Could it,
indeed, be expected that any people should be sensible of their own
peculiarities _as_ peculiarities? Of all men, for instance, a Persian
would be the last man from whom we could reasonably look for an account
of Persia; because those habits of Persians as Orientals, as Mussulmans,
and as heretic Mussulmans, which would chiefly fix the attention of
Europeans, must be unexciting to the mind of a native.

And universally we know that, in every community, the features which
would most challenge attention from a stranger, have been those which
the natives systematically have neglected. If, but for two days'
residence, it were possible that a modern European could be carried back
to Rome and Roman society, what a harvest of interesting facts would he
reap as to the habits of social intercourse! Yet these are neglected by
Roman writers, as phenomena too familiar, which there was no motive for
noticing. Why should a man notice as a singularity what every man
witnesses daily as an experience? A satirist, like Juvenal, is obliged,
indeed, to notice particular excesses: but this is done obliquely, and
so far only as to identify the case he means; besides that often they
are caricatured. Or an antiquarian observer, like Athenæus, finds, after
ten centuries of social life amongst the same race, a field of
observation in the present, which he sees as contrasted with the past
which he reads of. It is in that way only that we English know any thing
of our own past habits. Some of these are brought forward indirectly in
the evidence upon judicial trials--some in dramatic scenes; and, as
happened in the case of Athenæus, we see English historians, at periods
of great conscious revolution, (Holinshed, for instance,[5] whose youth
had passed in the church reformation,) exerting themselves to recover,
through old men's recollections, traditions of a social life which they
felt to be passing away for ever. Except, however, in these two cases,
the one indirect, the other by accident, coinciding with an epoch of
great importance, we find little in the way of description, or
philosophic examination, toward any sustained record of English
civilization as intermitting from one era to another, and periodically
resumed. The same truth holds good of civilization on the Continent, and
for the same reason, viz. that no nation describes itself, or can do so.
To see an object you must not stand in its centre; your own station must
be external. The eye cannot see itself, nor a mechanic force measure
itself, as if it were its own resistance.

[Footnote 5: An introduction, prefixed to Holinshed, descriptive of
domestic life amongst the English, as it may be presumed to have existed
for the century before, (1450-1550,) was written (according to our
recollection) by Harrison. Almost a century earlier, we have Chief
Justice Fortescue's account of the French peasantry, a record _per
antiphrasin_ of the English. About the great era of 1688, we have the
sketch of contemporary English civilization by Chamberlayne. So rare and
distant are the glimpses which we obtain of ourselves at different

It is easy, therefore, to understand why, amongst the writers of any
given nation, we are least entitled to look for an account of the habits
or separate institutions distinguishing that nation: since the
stimulation of difference least of all exists for those who never see
that difference broadly relieved in adverse habits or institutions. To
such nation its own aristocracy, like its own climate, seems a positive
fact, neither good nor bad, and worthy of little notice, as apparently
open to little improvement. And yet to each nation its own aristocracy
is often the arbitrating cause, but always the exponent or index of its
future political welfare. Laws are important; administration of laws is
important; to be Protestant or Popish is important; and so of many other
agencies: but, as was said by Harrington in his _Oceana_, there is
something in the original idea and in the executive composition of a
gentry which cannot be created artificially, and (if wanting) cannot be
supplied by substitution. Upon the quality of an aristocracy in critical
periods, in those periods when the national stability is menaced by
revolution, or the national independence by aggression, depends the
national salvation. Let us lay before the reader an illustration.

It is our deliberate conviction, that, from the foundations of civil
society, human annals present no second case of infamy equal to that
which is presented by the condition of Spain and Portugal from the year
1807 up to our own immediate era. It is a case the more interesting,
because two opposite verdicts have been pronounced upon it by men of the
greatest ability amongst ourselves. Some, as the present and the late
Laureate, have found in the Peninsular struggle with Napoleon, the very
perfection of popular grandeur; others, agreeing with ourselves, have
seen in this pretended struggle nothing but the last extravagance of
thrasonic and impotent national arrogance. Language more frantically
inflated, and deeds more farcically abject, surely were never before
united. It seems therefore strange, that a difference, even thus far,
should exist between Englishmen standing upon the same facts, starting
from the sane principles. But perhaps, as regards Mr Wordsworth, he did
not allow enough for the long series of noxious influences under which
Spain had suffered. And this, at any rate, is notorious--he spoke of the
Spanish people, the original stock (unmodified by courtly usages, or
foreign sentiments, or city habits) of the Spanish peasantry and petty
rural proprietors. This class, as distinguished from the aristocracy,
was the class he relied on; and he agreed with us in looking upon the
Spanish aristocracy as traitors--that is, as recreants and
apostates--from any and every cause meriting the name of national. If he
found a moral grandeur in Spain, it was amongst that poor forsaken
peasantry, incapable of political combination, who could not make a
_national_ party in the absence of their natural leaders. Now, if we
adopt the mild temperament of some Spanish writers, calling this "a
_schism_ in the natural interests," how shocking that such a schism
_could_ have arisen at so dreadful a crisis! That schism, which, as a
fact, is urged, in the way of excuse, merely as a possibility, is
already itself the opprobrium for Spain never to be washed out. For in
Spain, what _was_ the aristocracy? Let us not deceive ourselves, by
limiting this term to the feudal nobility or grandees; the aristocracy
comprehended every man that would naturally have become a commissioned
officer in the army. Here, therefore, read the legend and superscription
of the national dishonour. The Spanish people found themselves without a
gentry for leading their armies. England possessed, and possesses a
gentry, the noblest that the world has seen, who are the natural leaders
of her intrepid commonalty, alike in her fleets and in her armies. But
why? How and in what sense qualified? Not only by principle and by
_honour_--that glorious distinction which poor men can appreciate, even
when less sternly summoned to its duties; not only by courage as fiery
and as passively enduring as the courage of the lower ranks, but by a
physical robustness superior to that of any other class taken
separately; and, above all, by a scale of accomplishments in education,
which strengthen the claim to command, even amongst that part of the
soldiery least capable of appreciating such advantages. In France again,
where no proper aristocracy now exits, there is, however, a gentry,
qualified for leading; the soldiers have an entire reliance on the
courage of their officers. But in Italy, in Spain, in Portugal, at the
period of Napoleon, the soldiers knew to a certainty that their officers
could not be depended on; and for a reason absolutely without remedy,
viz. that in Spain, at least, society is not so organized by means of
the press locally diffused, and by social intercourse, as that an
officer's reputation could be instantaneously propagated (as with us)
whithersoever he went. There was then no atmosphere of public opinion,
for sustaining public judgments and public morals. The result was
unparalleled; here for the first time was seen a nation, fourteen
millions strong, so absolutely palsied as to lie down and suffer itself
to be walked over by a body of foreigners, entering in the avowed
character of robbers. Colonel Napier, it is true, has contradicted
himself with regard to the value of the guerillas; alternately
ridiculing then as an imbecile force, and yet accrediting them as
neutralizers of regular armies, to an enormous amount. But can a more
deplorable record be needed of Spanish ignominy, than that a nation,
once the leader of Europe as to _infantry_ and military skill, should,
by mere default of an intrepid gentry, be thrown upon the necessity of a
brigand force? Equally abject was the state of Portugal. Let any man
read the French general Foy's account of the circumstances under which
Junot's van, separated by some days' march from the rest of the army,
entered Lisbon in 1807. The rural population of Portugal, in most
provinces, is a fine athletic race; and foreigners take a false estimate
of this race, from the depraved mob of Lisbon. This capital, however, at
that time, contained 60,000 fighting men, a powerful fortress, and ships
in the river. Yet did Junot make his entry with 6000 of the poorest
troops, in a physical sense, that Europe could show. Foy admits, that
the majority were poor starveling boys, who could scarcely hold their
muskets from cold and continual wet, hurried by forced marches, ill fed,
desponding, and almost ripe for the hospital. Vast crowds had assembled
to see the entry. "What!" exclaimed the Portuguese, "are these little
drowned rats the _élite_ of Napoleon's armies?" Inevitably, the very
basest of nations, would, on such an invitation to resistance, have
risen that same night, whilst the poor, childish, advanced guard was
already beaten to their hands. The French officers apprehended such an
attempt, but nothing happened; the faint-hearted people threw away this
golden opportunity, never to be retrieved. And why? Because they had no
gentry to lead, to rally, or to counsel them. The populace in both
countries, though miserably deteriorated by the long defect of an
aristocracy whom they could respect, were still sound at the heart; they
felt the whole sorrow of their own degradation; and that they would have
fought, was soon proved in the case of the Portuguese, when we lent them
officers and training; as it was proved also thirty years afterwards in
the case of the Spaniards, when Don Carlos, in a time of general peace,
obtained good officers from every part of Europe. Each country was
forced into redeeming itself by the overflowing upon it of a foreign
gentry. And yet, even at the moment of profoundest degradation, such was
the maniacal vanity still prevailing amongst the Spaniards, that at one
time the Supreme Junta forwarded the following proposal to the British
Government:--Men they had; their own independence of foreign aid, in
that sense, they had always asserted; money it was, and not armies,
which they needed; and they now proposed an arrangement, by which the
Spanish armies, as so notoriously the heroes of Europe, should be
rendered universally disposable for the task of facing the French in the
field, whilst the British (as confessedly unequal to duties so stern)
should be entrusted with the garrison duty of the fortresses. "_Illâ se
jactet in aulâ Anglia_;" and, since the help of the English navy (which
really _was_ good) would be available as to the maritime fortresses,
doubtless England might have a chance for justifying the limited
confidence reposed in her, when sheltered from the fiercer storms of war
by the indomitable lions of Ocana. It is superfluous to say, that the
gratitude of Spain, at the close of the war, was every thing that ought
to have been expected from this moonstruck vanity at its opening.

Such are the results for nations, when they betray to the whole world an
aristocracy bankrupt of honour, emasculated, and slothful. Spoliators so
reckless as Napoleon, are not always at hand for taking advantage of
this domestic ruin; but it is impossible that a nation, absolutely rich
as Spain was in the midst of her relative poverty, can advertise itself
for centuries as a naked, defenceless waif, having neither leaders nor
principles for organizing a resistance, but that eventually she will
hear of a customer for her national jewels. In reality, Spain had been
protected for 150 years, by the local interposition of France; had
France not occupied the antechamber to the Peninsula, making it
impossible for any but a maritime power to attack Spain in strength,
Madrid would have echoed to the cannon of the spoiler, at least a
century before the bloody 3d of May 1808.[6] In the same way, Austria
has furnished for centuries a screen to the Italian Peninsula. Yet, in
that case, the want of unity amongst so many subdivisions that were
independent states, might be pleaded as an excuse. Pitiable weakness
there was in both cases; and "to be weak is to be miserable;" but
degradation _by_ degradation, universal abasement of the national
energies, as an effect through wilful abasement as a cause; this
miserable spectacle has been exhibited in mellow maturity by no
Christian nations but those of Spain and Portugal. Both have degenerated
into nations of poltrons, and _from_ what ancestors? From those who once
headed the baptized in Europe, and founded empires in the other

    ------"Into what depth thou see'st,
    From what height fallen!"------

So that, if this gloomy shadow has crept over luminaries once so bright
through the gradual eclipse of their aristocracies, we need no proof
more pathetic or terrific of the degree in which great nations, with the
whole burden of their honour and their primary interests, are dependent,
in the final extremity, upon the quality of their gentry--considered as
their sole natural leaders in battle.

[Footnote 6: To say the truth, during the Marlborough war of the
Succession, and precisely one hundred years before Murat's bloody
occupation of Madrid, Spain presented the same infamous spectacle as
under Napoleon; armies of strangers, English, French, Germans, marching,
and counter-marching incessantly, peremptorily disposing of the Spanish
crown, alternately placing rival kings upon the throne, and all the
while no more deferring to a Spanish will than to the yelping of village

With this previous indication of the unrivalled responsibility pressing
upon aristocracies, it is our purpose to dwell a little upon those
accidents of advantage arising out of constitution, and those
differences of quality, experimentally made known to us in a thousand
trials, which sum and express the peculiarities of the British nobility
and gentry.

This first point, as to the constitution of our aristocracy, the basis
on which it reposes cannot be better introduced than by a literary fact
open to all the world, but never yet read in its true meaning. When it
became advisable, after the violent death of Charles I., that some
public exposure should be applied to the past disputes between the
Throne and the Parliament, and some account given of the royal
policy--the first question arose naturally upon the selection of a
writer having the proper qualifications. Two of these qualifications
were found in a French scholar of distinction, Monsieur de Saumaise,
better known by his Latinized name of Salmasius. He was undoubtedly a
scholar of prodigious attainments: and the first or unconditional
qualification for such a task, of great ability and extensive
information, could not be denied to him. Here was a subject fitted to
fix attention upon any writer, and on the other hand, a writer
brilliantly qualified to fix attention upon any subject. Unhappily, a
third indispensable condition, viz.--that the writer should personally
know England--was entirely overlooked. Salmasius had a fluent command of
Latin; and, supported by a learned theme, he generally left a dazzling
impression even upon those who hated his person, or disputed his
conclusions. But, coming into collision with politics, personal as well
as speculative, and with questions of real life, fitted to call for
other accomplishments than those of a recluse scholar, it seemed
probable that this great classical critic would be found pedantic and
scurrilous; and upon the affairs of so peculiar a people, it was certain
that he would be found ignorant and self-contradicting. Even Englishmen
have seldom thoroughly understood the feud of the great Parliamentary
war: the very _word_ "_rebellion_," so often applied to it, involves the
error of presuming that in its principles the war was unconstitutional,
and in its objects was finally defeated. Whereas the subsequent
Revolution of 1688-9 was but a resumption of the very same principles
and indispensable purposes under more advantageous auspices--was but a
re-affirmation of the principle votes from 1642 to 1645. The one capital
point of a responsibility, virtual though not formal, lodged in the
crown, and secured through a responsible ministry--this great principle,
which Charles I. once conceded in the case of Lord Strafford, but ever
afterwards to his dying day repented and abjured, was at length for ever
established, and almost by acclamation. In a case so novel, however, to
Englishmen, and as yet so unsettled, could it be looked for that a
foreigner should master new political principles, to which on the
Continent there was nothing analogous?[7] This, it may be alleged, was
not looked for. Salmasius was in the hands of a party; and his
prejudices, it may be thought, were confluent with theirs. Not
altogether. The most enlightened of the English royalists were sensible
of some call for a balance to the regal authority; it cannot be
pretended that Hyde, Ormond, or Southampton, wished their king to be the
fierce "_Io el rey_" (so pointedly disowning his council) of Castile, or
the "_L'état? C'est moi_" of France, some few years later. Even for a
royalist, it was requisite in England to profess some popular doctrines;
and thus far Salmasius fell below his clients. But his capital
disqualification lay in his defect of familiarity with the English
people, habits, laws, and history.

[Footnote 7: It may be thought, indeed, that as a resident in Holland,
Salmasius should have had a glimpse of the new truth; and certainly it
is singular that he did not perceive the rebound, upon his Dutch
protectors, of many amongst his own virulent passages against the
English; unless he fancied some special privilege for Dutch rebellion.
But in fact he did so. There was a notion in great currency at the
time--that any state whatever was eternally pledged and committed to the
original holdings of its settlement. Whatever had been its earliest
tenure, that tenure continued to be binding through all ages. An
elective kingdom had thus some indirect means for controlling its
sovereign. A republic was a nuisance, perhaps, but protected by
prescription. And in this way even France had authorized means, through
_old_ usages of courts or incorporations, for limiting the royal
authority as to certain known trifles. With respect to the Netherlands,
the king of Spain had never held absolute power in those provinces. All
these were privileged cases for resistance. But England was held to be a
regal despotism.]

The English aristocracy furnished a question for drawing all these large
varieties of ignorance to a focus. In coming upon the ground of English
institutions, Salmasius necessarily began "verba nostra conari," and
became the garrulous parrot that Milton represents him. Yet, strange it
is, that the capital blunder which he makes upon this subject, was not
perceived by Milton. And this reciprocal misunderstanding equally arose
in the pre-occupation of their minds by the separate principles on
which, for each side, were founded their separate aristocracies. The
confusion between the parties arose in connexion with the House of
Commons. What _was_ the House of Commons? Salmasius saw that it was
contrasted with the House of Lords. But then, again, what _were_ the
Lords? The explanation given to him was, that they were the "noblesse"
of the land. _That_ he could understand; and, of course, if the other
house were antithetically opposed to the Lords, it followed that the
House of Commons was _not_ composed of noblesse. But, on the Continent,
this was equivalent to saying, that the Commons were _roturiers,
bourgeois_--in fact, mechanic persons, of obscure families, occupied in
the lowest employments of life. Accordingly Salmasius wrote his whole
work under the most serene conviction that the English House of Commons
was tantamount to a Norwegian Storthing, viz. a gathering from the
illiterate and labouring part of the nation. This blunder was committed
in perfect sincerity. And there was no opening for light; because a
continual sanction was given to this error by the aristocratic scorn
which the cavaliers of ancient descent habitually applied to the
prevailing party of the Roundheads; which may be seen to this hour in
all the pasquinades upon Cromwell, though really in his own
neighbourhood a "gentleman of worship." But for Salmasius it was a
sufficient bar to any doubt arising, that if the House of Commons were
not nobles, then were they not gentlemen--since to be a gentleman and to
be a _titled_ man or noble, on the Continent, were convertible terms. He
himself was a man of titular rank, deriving his title from the territory
of Saumaise; and in this needy scholar, behold a nobleman of France!
Milton, on the other hand, quite incapable of suspecting that Salmasius
conceived himself to stand on a higher level than an English senator of
the Commons, and never having his attention drawn to the chasm which
universally divides foreign from English nobility, naturally interpreted
all the invectives of Salmasius against the Lower House as directed
against their principles and their conduct. Thus arose an error, which
its very enormity has hitherto screened from observation.

What, then, _is_ this chasm dividing our nobility from that upon the
Continent? Latterly that point has begun to force itself upon the
attention of the English themselves, as travellers by wholesale on the
Continent. The sagacious observers amongst them could not avoid to
remark, that not unfrequently families were classed by scores amongst
the nobility, who, in England, would not have been held to rank with the
gentry. Next, it must have struck them that, merely by their numbers,
these continental orders of nobility could never have been designed for
any thing higher than so many orders of gentry. Finally, upon
discovering that there was no such word or idea as that of gentry,
expressing a secondary class distinct from a nobility, it flashed upon
them that our important body of a landed gentry, bearing no _titular_
honours of any kind, was inexpressible by any French, German, or Italian
word; that upon the whole, and allowing for incommunicable differences,
this order of gentry was represented on the Continent by the great mass
of the "basse noblesse;" that our own great feudal nobility would be
described on the Continent as a "haute noblesse;" and that amongst all
these perplexities, it was inevitable for an Englishman to misunderstand
and to be misunderstood. For, if he described another Englishman as not
being a nobleman, invariably the foreigner would presume it to be meant
that he was not a gentleman--not of the privileged class--in fact, that
he was a plebeian or _roturier_, though very possibly a man every way
meritorious by talents or public services. Whereas, on the contrary, we
English know that a man of most ancient descent and ample estates, one,
in the highest sense, a man of birth and family, may choose, on a
principle of pride, (and not unfrequently _has_ chosen,) obstinately to
decline entering the order of nobility. Take, in short, the well-known
story of Sir Edward Seymour, as first reported in Burnet's _Own Times_;
to every foreigner this story is absolutely unintelligible. Sir Edward,
at the Revolution, was one, in the vast crowd of country gentlemen
presented to the Prince of Orange, (not yet raised to the throne.) The
prince, who never had the dimmest conception of English habits or
institutions, thought to compliment Sir Edward by showing himself aware
of that gentleman's near relationship to a ducal house. "I believe, Sir
Edward," said the prince, "that you are of the Duke of Somerset's
family?" But Sir Edward, who was the haughtiest of the human race,
speedily put an extinguisher on the prince's courtesy by replying, in a
roar, "No, your highness: my lord duke is of mine." This was true: Sir
Edward, the commoner, was of that branch which headed the illustrious
house of Seymour; and the Duke of Somerset, at that era, was a cadet of
this house. But to all foreigners alike, from every part of the
Continent, this story is unfathomable. How a junior branch should be
ennobled, the elder branch remaining not ennobled, _that_ by itself
seems mysterious; but how the unennobled branch should, in some sense
peculiarly English, bear itself loftily as the depository of a higher
consideration (though not of a higher rank) than the duke's branch, this
is a mere stone of offence to the continental mind. So, again, there is
a notion current upon the Continent, that in England titular honours are
put up to sale, as once they really were, by Charles I. in his
distresses, when an earldom was sold for L.6000; and so _pro rata_ for
one step higher or lower. Meantime, we all know in England how entirely
false this is; and, on the other hand, we know also, and cannot but
smile at the continental blindness to its own infirmity, that the
mercenary imputation which recoils from ourselves, has, for centuries,
settled upon France, Germany, and other powers. More than one hundred
and thirty thousand French "nobles," at the epoch of the Revolution, how
did most of them come by their titles? Simply by buying them in a
regular market or bazar, appointed for such traffic. Did Mr St----, a
respectable tailor, need baronial honours? He did not think of applying
to any English minister, though he was then actually resident in London;
he addressed his litanies to the chancery of Austria. Did Mr ----, the
dentist, or Mr R----, the banker, sigh for aristocratic honours? Both
crossed the Channel, and marketed in the shambles of France and Germany.

Meantime the confusion, which is inveterate upon this subject, arose out
of the incompatible grounds upon which the aristocracies of England and
the Continent had formed themselves. For the continental there seemed to
exist no exclusive privilege, and yet there _was_ one. For the English
there existed practically a real privilege, and yet in law there was
_none_. On the Continent, no titled order had ever arisen without
peculiar immunities and powers, extending oftentimes to criminal
jurisdictions; but yet, by that same error which has so often vitiated a
paper currency, the whole order, in spite of its unfair privileges, was
generally depreciated. This has been the capital blunder of France at
all times. Her old aristocracy was so numerous, that every provincial
town was inundated with "comptes," &c.; and no villager even turned to
look on hearing another addressed by a title. The other day we saw a
return from the Legion of Honour: "Such in these moments, as in all the
past," France, it appeared, had already indorsed upon this suspicious
roll not fewer than forty-nine thousand six hundred and odd
beneficiaries. Let the reader think of forty-nine thousand six hundred
Knights of the Bath turned loose upon London. Now _ex adverso_ England
must have some virtual and operative privilege for _her_ nobility, or
else how comes it, that in any one of our largest provincial
towns--towns so populous as to have but four rivals on the Continent--a
stranger saluted seriously by the title of "my lord," will very soon
have a mob at his heels? Is it that the English nobility can dispense
with immunities from taxation, with legal supremacies, and with the
sword of justice; in short, with all artificial privileges, having these
two authentic privileges from nature--stern limitation of their numbers,
and a prodigious share in the most durable of the national property?
Vainly does the continental noble flourish against such omnipotent
charters the rusty keys of his dungeon, or the sculptured image of his
family gallows. Power beyond the law is not nobility, is not antiquity.
Tax-gatherers, from the two last centuries, have been the founders of
most titled houses in France; and the _prestige_ of antiquity is,
therefore, but rarely present. But were it otherwise, and that a
"noblesse" could plead one uniform descent from crusaders, still, if
they were a hundred thousand strong--and, secondly, had no
property--and, thirdly, comprehended in their lists a mere gentry,
having generally no pretensions at all to ancient or illustrious
descent, they would be--nothing. And exactly on that basis reposes the
difference between the Continent and England. Eternally the ridiculous
pretence of being "noble" by family, seems to claim for obscure
foreigners some sort of advantage over the plain untitled Englishman;
but eternally the travelled Englishman recollects, that, so far as this
equivocal "nobility" had been really fenced with privileges, those have
been long in a course of superannuation; whilst the counter-vailing
advantages for his own native aristocracy are precisely those which time
or political revolutions never _can_ superannuate.

Thus far as to the constitution of the British nobility and those broad
popular distinctions which determine for each nobility its effectual
powers. The next point is, to exhibit the operation of these
differential powers in the condition of manners which they produce. But,
as a transitional stage lying between the two here described--between
the tenure of our aristocracy as a casual principle, and the popular
working of our aristocracy as an effect--we will interpose a slight
notice of the habits peculiar to England by which this effect is partly

One marked characteristic of the English nobility is found in the
popular education of their sons. Amongst the great feudal aristocracies
of Spain or of Austria, it was impossible that the heirs of splendid
properties should be reared when boys in national institutions. In
general, there _are_ no national institutions, of ancient and royal
foundation, dedicated to education in either land. Almost of necessity,
the young _graf_ or _fuerst_, (earl or prince,) _conde_ or _duca_, is
committed to the charge of a private tutor, usually a monk. The habits
of continental universities have always been riotous and plebeian; the
mode of paying the professors, who answer to the college tutors of
Oxford and Cambridge, has always been degrading--equally degrading to
them and to literature; whilst, in relation to all academic authority,
such modes of payment were ruinous, by creating a systematic dependence
of the teacher upon the pupil. To this account may be added, that in all
countries, where great elementary schools are wanting, the universities
are improperly used as their substitutes. Consequently these pupils are
too often boys, and not young men, in age; whilst in habits, not
belonging to the aristocracy, they are generally gross, unpolished, and
illiberal. The great bulk are meant for the professions of the land; and
hence, from an early period, the education has been too ecclesiastical
in its cast. Even at this day, it is too strictly professional. The
landed aristocracy resort to such institutions in no healthy
proportions; and the reason lies in their too exclusive dedication to
the _military_ service. It is true that, in the rude concussion given to
all Germany and Spain by the French revolutionary aggressions, many
changes have occurred. In particular, for North Germany, viz. Prussia,
Russian Poland, and Saxony, such a new and vast body has arisen of
_civil_ functionaries, that a new name and classification for this order
has been found necessary amongst British travellers and German
economists. But this change has not commensurately affected the German
universities. The military character still overshadows the professional.
The law is in no esteem, and leads to no political consideration. The
church is in the same degradation. The German pastor is too essentially
humble in his social condition to present any resistance to feudal or
military arrogance. A German clergyman is not, in that emphatic sense
which makes itself felt amongst ourselves, a gentleman. The rural pastor
of Germany is too often, in effectual weight of character, little more
than the "Amen" clerk of our English establishment. If he is treated
courteously, as amongst very elevated persons he is, this concession he
owes to _their_ high bred refinement, and not to any dignity which
clothes himself. _There_ we speak of the reformed churches, whether
Calvinist, Lutheran, or the new syncratistic church, manufactured by the
present government of Prussia. But in Popish countries, the same
tendency is seen on a larger scale: the whole ecclesiastical body,
parochial or monastic, retires from the contests of life; and fails,
therefore, to contribute any part of the _civil_ resistance needed for
making head against the military profession. On the other hand, in
England, through the great schools of Eton, Harrow, &c., children even
of ducal families are introduced to public life, and to popular
sympathies, through the discipline of what may be called miniature
republics. No country on earth, it is rightly observed by foreigners,
shows so much of aristocratic feeling as England. It cannot, therefore,
be denied--that a British duke or earl at Eton, and more especially in
his latter stages when approaching the period of his majority, is the
object of much deference. Entering upon the time when practically he
becomes _sui juris_, he has far too much power and influence to be
treated with levity. But it is equally true, that a spirit of republican
justice regulates his childish intercourse with his fellow _alumni_: he
fights battles on equal terms with any of them, when he gives or
receives offence. He plays at cricket, he sails or rows his boat,
according to known _general_ regulations. True, that his private tutor
more often withdraws a patrician boy from the public sports: but, so
long as he is a party of them, he neither is, nor, from the nature of
such amusements, could be indulged with any special immunities. The
_Condes_ and _Ducas_ of Spain, meantime, have been uniformly reared at
home: for this we have the authority of Spanish economists, as also of
many travellers. The auspicious conductor of the young grandee's
education are usually his mother's confessor and his mother's
waiting-women. Thence comes the possibility that a Spanish prince should
have degraded himself in the eyes of Europe as a sempster and
embroiderer of petticoats. Accordingly, the highest order of the Spanish
nobility is said to be physically below the standard of their
countrymen, in a degree too apparent to escape general notice; whilst in
the same relations our own nobility has been generally pronounced the
finest _animal_ race amongst us.

Another great feature in the system of our English training, is the
severe separation of children from servants. Many are the families of
mere English gentry, totally removed from the nobility, who never permit
their children to enter the servants' hall nor the kitchen. And the
probable remark upon so rigorous a separation, which an inconsiderate
person will make, that it is founded upon aristocratic arrogance,
happens to be in the very teeth of the truth. We shall content ourselves
with saying, that the comfort as well as benefit of both parties were
promoted by such an arrangement; whilst, so far from arguing hauteur, it
was the high civil condition of the English servant, which, by forcing
respect from his master, first widened the interval between the two
ranks, and founded a wholesome repulsion between them. In our own times,
we have read descriptions of West India planters admitting the infant
children of their slaves to play and sprawl about their saloons: but
now, since the slave has acquired the station of a free man, and (from
the fact of not having won this station meritoriously, but passively
received it as a boon) is too generally disposed to use it in a spirit
of defiance, does any man expect such scenes for the future? Through the
prevalence of habit, old cases of that nature may happen to survive
locally: but in the coming generation, every vestige of these indulgent
relations will have disappeared in the gloomy atmosphere of jealous
independence. That infant, who had been treated with exemplary kindness
as a creature entirely at the mercy of his master, and the living
monument of his forbearance, will be thrown sternly upon his legal
rights when he has the power of enforcing those rights in so many
instances against his patron. This case, from its abruptness, involves
unamiable features: but the English case had developed itself too
gradually and naturally to be otherwise than purely dignified for both
parties. In the age of Beaumont and Fletcher, (say 1610-1635,) gentlemen
kicked and caned their servants: the power to do so, was a privilege
growing out of the awful distance attached to rank: and in Ireland, at
the opening of the present century, such a privilege was still matter of
prescriptive usage, and too frequently furnished the matter for a
menace. But the stealthy growth of civilization and of civil liberty in
England, moved onwards so surely, under the stimulation of manufacturing
industry, (making menial service a secondary object for the poor,) that
before 1750, a gentleman, forgetting himself so far as to strike a
servant, would have been recalled to better thoughts by an action for
assault. On the Continent, for the very reason that no such rights had
been matured for servants, it was possible to treat them with much more
indulgence: because the relations between the two parties were less
honourable, allowing to the servant nothing in the way of absolute
right; for that very reason, it was possible to treat him as a child who
founds his power upon his weakness. In fact, the whole philosophy on
this subject will be found practically embodied in the household economy
of Rome about the time of Hannibal, as unfolded by Plautus. The
relations of master and servant are there exhibited in a state of
absolute pessimism: any thing worse, it is beyond the wit of men to
imagine. Respect or deference on the part of the slave towards his
master, there is none: contempt more maliciously expressed for his
master's understanding, familiarity more insolent, it is difficult to
imagine. This was in part a tendency derived from republican
institutions: but in part also it rests upon the vicious independence in
the master of all authority founded upon moral forces. Instant physical
coercion, the power of cross, gallows, _pistrinum_, and the domestic
scourge--these were the forces which made the Roman master careless of
verbal disrespect, indifferent to censure, from them whose opinions were
as impotent as those of an infant. The slave, again, on _his_ side, is
described as so thoroughly degraded, that he makes the disfiguration of
his own person by the knout, the _cancellation_ of his back by stripes
and scars--a subject of continual merriment. Between two parties thus
incapacitated by law and usage for manly intercourse, the result was
exactly such by consummation as on many parts of the Continent it still
is by tendency. The master welcomed from his slave that spirit of
familiar impertinence which stirred the dull surface of domestic life,
whilst, at any moment, a kick or a frown could silence the petty battery
when it was beginning to be offensive. Without a drawback, therefore, to
apprehend where excesses too personal or stinging could be repressed as
certainly as the trespasses of a hound, the Plautine master drew from
his servant, without anxiety, the comic services which, in the middle
ages, were drawn from the professional "fool." This original vice in the
constitution of society, though greatly mitigated, in the course of two
centuries from the era of Plautus, by the progress of intellectual
luxury, was one main fountain of that coarseness which, in every age,
deformed the social intercourse of Romans; and, especially, it was the
fountain of that odious scurrility and tongue-license which defeated the
majestic impression else sure to have waited on the grand position of
the senate. Cicero himself was as great a ruffian in his three functions
of oratory, viz. at the bar, in the popular assemblies, and in the
senate--he was as foul a libeller--as malignant--and as plebeian in his
choice of topics--as any "verna" in Rome when sparring with another
"verna." This scandal of Roman society was not, undoubtedly, a pure
product, from the vernile scurrility of which we hear so much in Roman
writers--other causes conspired; but certainly the fluency which men of
rank exhibited in this popular accomplishment of Billingsgate had been
at all times sustained by the models of this kind resounding for ever in
the streets of Rome, and in the purlieus of great mansions. Mr
Coleridge, who had seen nothing but superior amiableness in the familiar
sort of friendship existing between a French gentleman and his servant,
where, in fact, it had survived as a relic from old political
degradations, might consistently proclaim in rapture, when writing to a
lady upon the _Philosophic Dialogues_ of Cicero, "What perfect gentlemen
were[8] these old Romans!" He who suffers a single feature of
amiableness to screen the general misconstruction of social relations,
may easily find a spirit of chivalrous courtesy in what, after all, was
only a self-protecting meanness, applied to one special case of private
intercourse under a brutalizing system applied to all other intercourse
between men of public distinction. It is certain that the prevailing
relations upon the Continent between master and servant, did, before the
French Revolution, and do still, express a vicious structure of society;
they have _repeated_, in other forms, the Roman type of civilisation;
whilst we, with a sterner exterior, have been the first to stamp
respectability upon menial and mechanic labour.

[Footnote 8: And, in reality, this impression, as from some high-bred
courtesy and self-restraint, is likely enough to arise at first in every
man's mind. But the true ground of the amiable features was laid for the
Roman in the counter-force of exquisite brutality. Where the style of
public intercourse had been so deformed by ruffianism, in private
intercourse it happened, both as a natural consequence, and as a
difference sought after by prudence, that the tendencies to such rough
play incident to all polemic conversation (as in the _De Oratore_)
should be precluded by a marked extremity of refined pleasure. Hence
indeed it is, that compliments, and something like mutual adulation,
prevail so much in the imaginary colloquies of Roman statesmen. The
personal flatteries interchanged in the _De Oratore, De Legibus_, &c.,
of Cicero, are often so elegantly turned, and introduced so artfully,
that they read very much like the high bred compliments _ascribed_ to
Louis XIV., in his intercourse with eminent public officers. These have
generally a regal air of loftiness about them, and prove the possibility
of _genius_ attaching even to the art of paying compliments. But else,
in reviewing the spirit of _traffic_, which appears in the reciprocal
flatteries passing between Crassus, Antony, Cotta, &c., too often a
sullen suspicion crosses the mind of a politic sycophancy, adopted on
both sides as a defensive armour.]

Perhaps, however, the one capital force, operating for good upon the
British aristocracy, is--the paramount reference of all accomplishments,
of ambition through all its modes, and of party connexions, to the
public service. This, again, which constitutes a fourth head amongst the
characteristics of English society, may be viewed as both cause and
effect with reference to our civil institutions. Here we regard it as a
cause. It is a startling assertion to make, but we have good reason to
think it true, that, in the last great war with Jacobinism, stretching
through very nearly one whole quarter of a century, beyond all doubt the
nobility was that order amongst us who shed their blood in the largest
proportion for the commonwealth. Let not the reader believe that for a
moment we are capable of undervaluing the pretensions of any class,
whether high or low. All furnished martyrs to that noblest of causes.
And it is not possible that this should be otherwise; because amongst us
society is so exquisitely fused, so delicate are the _nuances_ by which
our ranks play out and in to each other, that no man can imagine the
possibility of an arrest being communicated at any point to the free
circulation of any one _national_ feeling whatsoever. Great chasms must
_exist_ between social ranks, where it is possible for a sentiment of
nationality to be suddenly frozen up as it approaches one particular
class; as a corollary from which doctrine, we have always treated with
derision the scurrilous notion that our rural body of landowners, our
country squires, could, by possibility, differ essentially from the rest
of us. Bred amongst us, educated amongst us, intermarrying with us
indiscriminately, how by any means apparent to common sense should it be
possible for them to maintain an inheritance of separate ignorance,
separate prejudices, or separate purposes, such as interested
manufacturers and trivial satirists assume? On the same principle, it is
not possible that, in questions of elementary patriotism, any palsy
should check the electric movement of the national feelings through
_every_ organ of its social life--except only in the one case where its
organization is imperfect. Let there be a haughty nobility, void of
popular sympathies, such as the _haute noblesse_ of Russia or Hungary is
sometimes _said_ to be, and it will be possible that jealousy on behalf
of privileges should operate so noxiously as to place such a body in
opposition to the people for the sake of what it holds separately,
rather than in sympathy with the people for the sake of what both hold
in common. With us, this is otherwise; the very highest and most feudal
amongst our nobles are associated by common rights, interests, and
subjection to the laws, with the general body of the people. Make an
exception for the right of demanding an audience from the sovereign, for
the right of _entrée_ at St James's, for the right of driving through
the Horse Guards, or for Lord Kinsale's right of wearing his hat in the
royal presence--reckon off the petty discount for privileges so purely
ceremonial, and absolute nothing remains to distinguish the nobility.
For as to the practice of entails, the legal benefit of primogeniture,
&c., these have no more essential connexion with the nobility, than the
possession of land or manorial rights. They are privileges attached to a
known situation, which is open equally to every man not disqualified as
an alien. Consequently, we infer that, the fusion and continuity of our
ranks being perfect, it is not possible to suppose, with respect to a
great patriotic interest, any abrupt pause in the fluent circulation of
our national sympathies. We, therefore, cannot be supposed to arrogate
for the nobility any separate privilege of patriotism. But still we
venture to affirm, that, if the total numbers of our nobility and their
nearest connexions were summed; and if from that sum were subtracted all
officers, being brothers, sons, nephews, of British peers, who laid down
their lives, or suffered incurable wounds in the naval or military
service of their country, the proportion will be found greater than that
upon the aggregate remainder belonging to the rest of the nation. Life
is the same blessing for all ranks alike. But certainly, though for all
it is intrinsically the same priceless jewel, there is in the setting of
this jewel something more radiantly brilliant to him who inherits a
place amongst the British nobility, than to him whose prospects have
been clouded originally by the doubts and fears of poverty. And, at all
events, the libation of blood in the course of the last war was, we must
repeat, on the part of the high aristocracy, disproportionately large.

In that proportion are those men unprincipled who speak of the English
nobility as an indolent class--detached from public employments, and
taking neither share nor interest in the public service. Such
representations, where they are not deliberate falsehoods, point to a
fact which is not uncommon; from the limited number of our nobility, and
consequently the rare opportunities for really studying their habits, it
is easy to see that in sketches of this order, (whether libellous
amongst mob-orators, or serious in novels,) the pretended portrait has
been founded on a vague romantic abstraction of what may be supposed
peculiar to the condition of a patrician order under all political
circumstances. Haughtiness, exclusiveness, indolence, and luxury,
compose the romantic type which the delineator figures to his mind; and
at length it becomes evident to any man, who has an experimental
knowledge of this order, that probably the ancient Persian satraps, or
the omrahs of Hindostan, have much more truly been operatively present
to the describers than any thing ancient or modern amongst the realities
of England. A candid person, who wishes to estimate the true, and not
the imaginary nobles of England, will perceive one fact through the
public journals, viz. that no class takes a more active share in that
sort of the public business which naturally commends itself to their
support. At least one-half of the deliberative meetings connected with
the innumerable charities of London, very many of the public dinners by
which such charities are promoted or commemorated, obtain the benevolent
aid of noblemen as chairmen and presidents. Provincial assemblies for
the same purposes, and, still more frequently, assemblies growing out of
the endless political questions incident to a nation in our
circumstances, receive the same influential countenance. These labours,
by no means slight, added to the evening Parliamentary attendance
through half the year, and the morning attendance on Parliamentary
committees, together with the magisterial duties of many
lords-lieutenant, sufficiently attest that in this point of public
duties, (exercised without fee or compensation,) our own nobility is the
only one in Europe having almost any connexion at all with the national
service, except through the army. Some of this small body are pretty
constantly attached to the cabinet; others act as ambassadors, as
under-secretaries, or as colonial governors. And so far are they from
wishing, apparently, to limit the field for their own exertions, that
the late Dukes of Manchester and Richmond spontaneously extended it, by
giving the countenances of their high stations to the governments of
Canada, and even of Jamaica. A marquis of ancient family has lately
accepted the government of Madras; and gradually, as our splendid
colonies expand their proportions, it is probable that many more of them
will benefit at intervals, (in their charities and public works,) from
the vast revenues of our leading nobles acting as their governors. Add
to these the many cases of junior nobles who sit in the House of
Commons; of those who keep alive the public spirit of great provinces by
standing costly contested elections; of those professionally pursuing
the career of arms in the naval or land service; and then, collating all
this activity with the very limited extent of our peerage taken even
with their families, not the very bigotry of democracy will deny that
the characteristic energy of our nation is faithfully reflected from its
highest order.

Is there a feature in foreign circles odious beyond all others? It is
the air of pretence, the craving after effect, the swell, the system of
coquetting with accomplishments, the tumid character of _bravura_, which
characterises the principle, and (to borrow an affected word from
connoisseurs of art) the _motivo_ of their social intercourse. Is there
a feature of manners in the English nobility, absolutely inimitable by
art, and renewing for ever the impressions of simplicity and truth? It
lies in that winning retirement from the artificial, the studied, the
theatrical, from all jealousy of design or collusive deplay, which good
sense and chastity of taste have suggested to them, as the sole style of
demeanour on a level with their dignified station. Continental society
is bad by its ideals. In the execution, there may be frequent
differences, moderating what is offensive in the conception. But the
essential and informing principle of foreign society is the scenical,
and the _nisus_ after display. It is a state of perpetual tension;
while, on the other hand, the usual state of English society, in the
highest classes, is one of dignified repose. There is the same
difference in this point between the two systems of manners, as between
the English and French tone of national intercourse, in the matter of
foreign relations. In France, when the popular blood is up, nothing is
to be heard but bounce, menace, and defiance; for England, all the
hurricanes of foreign wrath that ever blew, could not disturb her lion
port of majestic tranquillity. But when we distinguish between what is
English and what is foreign, it becomes proper that we should say more
specifically what it is that we mean by the term "foreign;" what compass
we allow to that idea. It is too palpable, and for many reasons, that
the French standard of taste has vitiated the general taste of the
Continent. How has this arisen? In part from the central position of
France; in part from the arrogance of France in every age, as pretending
to the precedency amongst the kingdoms of Christendom; in part from the
magnificence of the French kings since the time of Louis XII.--that is,
beginning with Francis I.; and in part, since the period 1660-80, from
the noisy pretensions of the French literature, at the time creating
itself, followed by that natural consequence of corresponding
pretensions for the French language. Literature it was that first opened
to the language a European career; but inversely the language it was
that subsequently clenched and riveted the diffusion of the literature.
Two accidents of European society favoured the change. Up to the
restoration of our Charles II., diplomacy had been generally conducted
in Latin. Efforts had been made, indeed, as early as Cardinal
Richelieu's time, to substitute French. His pupil, Mazarine, had
repeated the attempt; and Cromwell had resolutely resisted it. But how?
Because, at that period, the resistance was easy. Historians are apt to
forget that, in 1653, there was no French literature. Corneille, it is
true, was already known; but the impression which he had as yet made,
even upon Paris, did not merit the name of a _popular_ impression--and
for this decisive reason, that, as yet, Louis XIV. was a boy. Not until
seven years later, did he virtually begin to reign; whilst, as France
was then constituted, nothing could be popular which did not bear the
countersign and _imprimatur_ of a king and his court. The notion,
therefore, adopted by all historians of English literature, (_not_
excluding the arrogant Schlegel,) that Charles II., on his restoration,
laid the foundation of a "French school," being already nonsense by the
very tenor of the doctrine, happens also to be chronologically
impossible. English writers could not take for a model what as yet had
no collective existence. Now, until the death of Charles II., no French
literature could be said to have gathered or established itself; and as
yet no ostentation of a French literature began to stir the air of
Europe. By the time, however, that Racine, La Fontaine, Boileau,
Bossuet, and Fontenelle, had begun to fix the attention of foreign
courts upon the French language, a necessity, no longer to be disguised,
for some modern language as the common organ of diplomacy, had made
itself universally acknowledged. Not only were able negotiations
continually neutralized by ignorance or unfamiliar command of the Latin;
but at last, as the field of diplomacy was daily expanding, and as
commerce kept ahead of all other interests, it became simply impossible,
by any dexterity of evasions and compromises, to make a dead language do
the offices of negotiation without barbarism and reciprocal
misunderstanding. Now was commencing the era of congresses. The
Westphalian congress, in 1648, had put up with Latin; for the interests
which it settled, and the boundaries which it counterbalanced, were
political and general. The details of tariffs were but little concerned.
But those times were passing away. A modern language _must_ be selected
for international treating, and for the growing necessities of
travellers. French probably would, by this time, have gained the
distinction at any rate; for the same causes which carried strangers in
disproportionate numbers to Paris--viz. the newly-created splendour of
that capital, and the extensive patronage of the French kings--must have
commensurately diffused the knowledge of the French language. At such a
critical moment, however, we cannot doubt that the French literature
would give a determining impulse to the choice. For besides that the
literature adapts itself beyond all others to the classes of society
having little time for reflection, and whose sensibilities are scattered
by dissipation, it offers even to the meditative the high quality of
self-consistency. Springing from a low key of passion, it still
justifies its own pretensions to good taste, (that is, to harmony with
itself and its own principles.) Fifty years later, or about the middle
of the eighteenth century, we see a second impulse given to the same
literature, and therefore to the same language. A new race of writers
were at that time seasoning the shallowest of all philosophies with
systematic rancour against thrones and Christianity. To a military (and
therefore in those days ignorant) aristocracy, such as all continental
states were cursed with, equally the food and the condiment were
attractive beyond any other. And thus, viz. through such accidents of
luck operating upon so shallow a body of estimators as the courtiers and
the little adventurers of the Continent, did the French literature and
language attain the preponderance which once they had. It is true, that
the literature has since lost that advantage. Germany, the other great
centre of the Continent, has now a literature of her own, far more
extensive, and better fitted for her peculiar strength and weakness. But
the French language, though also drooping, still holds its ground as the
convenient resource of lazy travellers and lazy diplomatists. This
language, acting through that literature, has been the engine for fusing
the people of the Continent into a monotonous conformity to one standard
of feeling.

In this sense, and with a reference to this deduction, we ascribe unity
to the foreign system of manners and social intercourse. Had every state
in Europe been resigned to her own native temper and habits, there could
have been no propriety in talking of "foreign" manners, as existing by
way of antithesis to English. There must have been as many varieties of
what might be called "foreign," as there happen to be considerable
kingdoms, or considerable territories insulated by strong natural
boundaries, or capital cities composing separate jurisdictions for the
world of manners, by means of local differences continually ripening
into habits. But this tendency in Europe to break up and subdivide her
spirit of manners, was withered and annihilated by the unity of a French
taste. The ambition of a French refinement had so thoroughly seized upon
Germany, and even upon the Vandalism of arctic Sweden, by the year 1740,
that in the literature of both countries, a ridiculous hybrid dialect
prevailed, of which you could not say whether it were a superstructure
of Teutonic upon a basis of French, or of French upon a basis of
Teutonic.[9] The justification of "foreign," or "continental," used as
an adequate antithesis to English, is therefore but too complete.

[Footnote 9: In the days of Gottsched, a German leader about 1740, who
was a pedant constitutionally insensible to any real merits of French
literature, and yet sharing in the Gallomania, the ordinary tenor of
composition was such as this: (supposing English words substituted for
German:) "_I demande_ with entire _empressement_, your _pardon_ for
having _tant soit peu méconnu_, or at least _egaré_ from your orders,
_autrefois_ communicated. _Faute d'entendre_ your ultimate _but_, I now
confess, _de me trouver_ perplexed by _un mauvais embarras_."--And so

Having thus explained our use of the word "foreign," we put it to any
considerate man, how it should have been possible that any select tone
of society could grow up amongst a body so comprehensive and so
miscellaneous as the _soi-disant_ nobility of continental states? Could
it be expected that 130,000 French "nobles" of 1788, needy and squalid
in their habits as many of them were, should be high-bred gentlemen? In
Germany, we know that all the watering-places are infested with
black-leg gamblers, fortune-hunters, _chevaliers d'industrie_, through
all varieties of this category. Most of these bear titles of baron,
compte, &c. Are they spurious titles? Nobody knows. Such is the
obscurity and extent of an aristocracy multiplying their numbers in
every generation, and resting upon no basis of property, that it is
equally possible for the true "baron" to lie under suspicion as a
pretender, and for the false one to prosper by imposture. On the other
hand, who could hope to pass himself off for six weeks as an English
earl? Yet it is evident, that where counterfeit claims are so easy, the
intrusion of persons unqualified, or doubtfully qualified, must be so
numerous and constant that long ago every pure standard of what is noble
or gentlemanly, must have perished in so keen a struggle and so vast a
mob. Merely by its outrageous excess numerically, every continental
"noblesse" is already lowered and vitiated in its tone. For in vast
bodies, fluctuating eternally, no unity of tone can be maintained,
except exactly in those cases where some vulgar prejudice carries away
all alike by its strength of current.

Such a current we have already noticed in the style of scenical effort
manifested by most foreigners. To be a "conteur," to figure in
"proverbs," to attitudinize, to produce a "sensation"--all these are
purposes of ambition in foreign circles. Such a current we have noticed
in the general determination of the Continent towards French tastes; and
_that_ is a worse tendency even than it used to be, for the true
aristocracy of France is gone for ever as it formerly existed in the
_haute noblesse_; and the court of a democratic king is no more equal to
the task of diffusing good manners, than that of the American or Haytian
president. Personally, the king and his family might be models of high
breeding; but the insolence of democracy would refuse the example, and
untrained vulgarity would fail even in trying to adopt it.

Besides these false impulses given to the continental tone of society,
we have noticed a third, and that is the preposterous value given
amongst foreigners to what is military. This tendency is at once a cause
of vulgarity and an exponent of vulgarity. Thence comes the embroidery
of collars, the betasseling, the befrogging, the flaunting attempts at
"costuming." It is not that the military character is less fitted to a
gentlemanly refinement than any other; but the truth is, that no
professional character whatsoever, when pushed into exclusive esteem,
can continue to sustain itself on the difficult eminence of pure natural
high breeding. All professions alike have their besetting vices,
pedantries, and infirmities. In some degree they correct each other when
thrown together on terms of equality. But on the Continent, the lawyer
and the clergyman is every where degraded; the senator has usually no
existence; and the authentic landed proprietor, liberated from all
duties but the splendid and non-technical duties of patriotism, comes
forward at foreign courts only in thee character of a military officer.
At some courts this is carried so far, that no man can be presented out
of uniform. Has the military profession, on the other hand, benefited by
such partiality? So far from it, that, were the continental armies
liable to that sort of _surveillance_ which our own Horse Guards
exercises over the social morals of the officers, we do not believe that
one of those armies could exist for five years. The facts placed beyond
denial by the capture of foreign officers' baggage, by the violated
parole of honour, and by many other incidents of the late war, combine
to prove the low tone of gentlemanly honour and probity in the ill-paid
armies of the Continent.

Our purpose has been, to insist on the capital patriotic uses to which
so splendid an aristocracy as ours _has_ been applied, and will be
applied, so long as it is suffered to exist undisturbed by the growing
democracy (and, worse than _that_, by the anarchy) of the times. These
uses are principally four, which we shall but indicate in a few words.

First, it is in the nobility of Great Britain that the Conservative
principle--which cannot but be a momentous agency wheresoever there is
any thing good to protect from violence, or any thing venerable to
uphold in sanctity--is chiefly lodged. Primogeniture and the church are
the two corner-stones upon which our civil constitution ultimately
reposes; and neither of these, from the monumental character of our
noble houses, held together through centuries by the peculiar
settlements of their landed properties, has any power to survive the
destruction of a distinct patrician order.

Secondly, though not _per se_, or, in a professional sense, military as
a body, (Heaven forbid that they should be so!) yet, as always
furnishing a disproportionate number from their order to the martial
service of the country, they diffuse a standard of high honour through
our army and navy, which would languish in a degree not suspected
whenever a democratic influence should thoroughly pervade either. It is
less for what they do in this way, than for what they prevent, that our
gratitude is due to the nobility. However, even the _positive_ services
of the nobility are greater in this field than a democrat is aware of.
Are not all our satirical novels, &c., daily describing it as the
infirmity of English society, that so much stress is laid upon
aristocratic connexions? Be it so: but do not run away from your own
doctrine, O democrat! as soon as the consequences become startling. One
of these consequences, which cannot be refused, is the depth of
influence and the extent of influence which waits upon the example of
our nobles. Were the present number of our professional nobles
decimated, they would still retain a most salutary influence. We have
spoken sufficiently of the ruin which follows where a nation has no
natural and authentic leaders for her armies. And we venture to add our
suspicion--that even France, at this moment, owes much of the courage
which marks her gentry, though a mere wreck from her old aristocracy, to
the chivalrous feeling inherited from her ancestral remembrances. Good
officers are not made such by simple constitutional courage; honour, and
something of a pure gentlemanly temper, must be added.

Thirdly, for all populous and highly civilized nations, it is an
indirect necessity made known in a thousand ways, that some adequate
control should preside over their spirit of manners. This can be
effected only through a court and a body of nobles. And thence it
arises, that, in our English public intercourse, through every class,
(even the lowest of the commercial,) so much of respectful gravity and
mutual consideration is found. Now, therefore, as the means of
maintaining in strength this aristocratic influence, we request every
thoughtful man to meditate upon the following proposition. The class
even of our gentry breeds a body of high and chivalrous feeling; and
very much so by unconscious sympathy with an order above themselves. But
why is it that the amenity and perfect polish of the nobility are rarely
found in strength amongst the mass of ordinary gentlemen? It is because,
in order to qualify a man for the higher functions of courtesy, he ought
to be separated from the strife of the world. The fretful collision with
rivalship and angry tempers, insensibly modifies the demeanour of every
man. But the British nobleman, intrenched in wealth, enjoys an immunity
from this irritating discipline. He is able to act by proxy: and all
services of unpleasant contest he devolves upon agents. To have a class
in both sexes who toil not, neither do they spin--is the one _conditio
sine qua non_ for a real nobility.

Fourthly as the leaders in a high morality of honour, and a jealous
sense of the obligation attached to public engagements, our nobility has
tightened the bonds of national sensibility beyond what is always
perceived. "This is high matter," as Burke says in a parallel case; and
we barely touch it. We shall content ourselves with asking--Could the
American frauds in the naval war, calling sixty-four-gun ships by the
name of frigates, have been suffered in England? Could the American
doctrine of _repudiation_ have prospered with us? Yet are the Americans
Englishmen, wanting only a nobility.

The times are full of change: it is through the Conservative body itself
that certain perils are now approaching patrician order: if _that_
perishes, England passes into a new moral condition, wanting all the
protections of the present.

       *       *       *       *       *


Cotherstone came in amid great applause, and was the winner of the
poorest Derby ever known. Whilst acclamation shook the spheres, and the
corners of mouths were pulled down, and betting-books mechanically
pulled out--while success made some people so benevolent that they did
not believe in the existence of poverty any where, and certainly not in
the distress of the wretched-looking beggar entreating a penny--whilst
all these things were going on, champagne corks flying, the sun shining,
toasts resounding, and a perfect hubbub in full activity on all sides,
Jack Stuart drew me aside towards the carriage, and said, "'Pon my word,
it must be a cross. How the deuce could one horse beat the whole field?"

"Oh, you backed the field, did you?"

"To be sure. I always go with the strongest side."

"And you have lost?"

"A hundred and fifty."

No wonder Jack Stuart looked blue. A fifth part of his yearly income
gone at one smash--and in such a foolish way, too.

"If the excitement could last three or four days, it would almost be
worth the money," he said; "but no sooner do you hear the bell--see the
crush of horses at the starting-post--bang--bang--off they go!--and in a
minute or two all is over, and your money gone. I will have a race of
snails between London and York. It would be occupation for a year. But
come, let us leave the abominable place." He hurried me into the
stanhope, gave the rein to his active grey mare, and making a detour
towards Kingston, we soon left the crowd behind us.

"I will never bet on a horse again," said Jack, ruminating on his loss.
"Why should I? I know nothing about racing, and never could understand
odds in my life; and just at this moment, too, I can't spare the coin."

At the same time he did not spare the whip; for you will always observe,
that a meditative gentleman in a gig is peculiarly impressive on his
horse's shoulder. The grey trotted along, or burst into an occasional

"I'll back this grey against Cotherstone for fifty pounds."

"To stand flogging? I think you would win."

"No, to jump. See how she springs."

Hereupon Jack touched the mare in a very scientific manner, just under
the fore-arm, and the animal, indignant at this disrespectful manner of
proceeding, gave a prodigious rush forward, and then reared.

"You'll break the shafts," I said.

"I think she is going to run away, but there seems no wall near us--and
I don't think any coaches travel this road. Sit still, for she's off."

The mare, in good truth, resented her master's conduct in a high degree,
and took the bit in her teeth.

"If she doesn't kick, it's all right," said Jack.

"She has no time to kick if she goes at this pace," I answered; "keep
her straight."

The speed continued unabated for some time, and we were both silent. I
watched the road as far in advance as I could see, in dread of some
waggon, or coach, or sudden turn, or even a turnpike gate, for the
chances would have been greatly against an agreeable termination.

"I'll tell you what," cried Jack, turning round to me, "I think I've
found out a way of paying my losses."

"Indeed! but can't you manage in the mean time to stop the mare?"

"Poh! let her go. I think rapid motion is a great help to the intellect.
I feel quite sure I can pay my bets without putting my hand into my

"How? Pull the near check. She'll be in the ditch."

"Why, I think I shall publish a novel."

I could scarcely keep from laughing, though a gardener's cart was two
hundred yards in advance.

"You write a novel! Wouldn't you like to build a pyramid at the same

"We've given that old fellow a fright on the top of the cabbage," said
Jack, going within an inch of the wheels of the cart. "He'll think we've
got Cotherstone in harness. But what do you mean about a pyramid?"

"Why, who ever heard of your writing a novel?"

"I did not say _write_ a novel--I said _publish_ a novel."

"Well, who is to write it?" I enquired.

"That's the secret," he answered; "and if that isn't one of Pickford's
vans, I'll tell you"----

The mare kept up her speed; and, looming before us, apparently filling
up the whole road, was one of the moving castles, drawn by eight horses,
that, compared to other vehicles, are like elephants moving about among
a herd of deer.

"Is there room to pass?" asked Jack, pulling the right rein with all his

"Scarcely," I said, "the post is at the side of the road."

"Take the whip," said Jack, "and just when we get up, give her a cut
over the left ear."

In dread silence we sat watching the tremendous gallop. Nearer and
nearer we drew to the waggon, and precisely at the right time Jack
pulled the mare's bridle, and I cut her over the ear. Within a
hairbreadth of the post on one side, and the van on the other, we cut
our bright way through.

"This is rather pleasant than otherwise," said Jack, breathing freely;
"don't you think so?"

"I can't say it altogether suits my taste," I answered.

"Do you think she begins to tire?"

"Oh, she never tires; don't be the least afraid of that!"

"It's the very thing I wish; but there's a hill coming."

"She likes hills; and at the other side, when we begin to descend,
you'll see her pace. I'm very proud of the mare's speed."

"It seems better than her temper; but about the novel?" I enquired.

"I shall publish in a fortnight," answered Jack.

"A whole novel? Three volumes?"

"Six, if you like--or a dozen. I'm not at all particular."

"But on what subject?"

"Why, what a simpleton you must be! There is but one subject for a
novel--historical, philosophical, fashionable, antiquarian, or whatever
it calls itself. The whole story, after all, is about a young man and a
young woman--he all that is noble, and she all that is good. Every
circulating library consists of nothing whatever but Love and Glory--and
that shall be the name of my novel."

"But if you don't write it, how are you to publish it?"

"Do you think any living man or any living woman ever wrote a novel?"


"Stuff, my dear fellow; they never did any thing of the kind. They
published--that's all. Is that a heap of stones?"

"I think it is."

"Well, that's better than a gravel-pit. Cut her right ear. There, we're
past it. Amazing bottom, has't she?"

"Too much," I said; "but go on with your novel."

"Well, my plan is simply this--but make a bet, will you? I give odds. I
bet you five to one in fives, that I produce, in a week from this time,
a novel called 'Love and Glory,' not of my own composition or any body
else's--a good readable novel--better than any of James's--and a great
deal more original."

"And yet not written by any one?"

"Exactly--bet, will you?"

"Done," I said; "and now explain."

"I will, if we get round this corner; but it is very sharp. Bravo, mare!
And now we've a mile of level Macadam. I go to a circulating library and
order home forty novels--any novels that are sleeping on the shelf. That
is a hundred and twenty volumes--or perhaps, making allowance for the
five-volume tales of former days, a hundred and fifty volumes
altogether. From each of these novels I select one chapter and a half,
that makes sixty chapters, which, at twenty chapters to each volume,
makes a very good-sized novel."

"But there will be no connexion."

"Not much," replied Jack, "but an amazing degree of variety."

"But the names?"

"Must all be altered--the only trouble I take. There must be a countess
and two daughters, let them be the Countess of Lorrington and the Ladies
Alice and Matilda--a hero, Lord Berville, originally Mr Lawleigh--and
every thing else in the same manner. All castles are to be Lorrington
Castle--all the villains are to be Sir Stratford Manvers'--all the
flirts Lady Emily Trecothicks'--and all the benevolent Christians,
recluses, uncles, guardians, and benefactors--Mr Percy Wyndford, the
younger son of an earl's younger son, very rich, and getting on for

"But nobody will print such wholesale plagiarisms."

"Won't they? See what Colburn publishes, and Bentley, and all of them.
Why, they're all made up things--extracts from old newspapers, or
histories of processions or lord-mayor's shows. What's that coming down
the hill?"

"Two coaches abreast"--I exclaimed--"racing by Jupiter!--and not an inch
left for us to pass!"

"We've a minute yet," said Jack, and looked round. On the left was a
park paling; on the right a stout hedge, and beyond it a grass field.
"If it weren't for the ditch she could take the hedge," he said. "Shall
we try?"

"We had better"--I answered--"rather be floored in a ditch than dashed
to pieces against a coach."

"Lay on, then--here goes!"

I applied the whip to the left ear of the mare; Jack pulled at the right
cheek. She turned suddenly out of the road and made a dash at the hedge.
Away she went, harness, shafts, and all, leaving the stanhope in the
ditch, and sending Jack and me flying, like experimental fifty-sixes in
the marshes at Woolwich, halfway across the meadow. The whole incident
was so sudden that I could scarcely comprehend what had happened. I
looked round, and, in a furrow at a little distance, I saw my friend
Jack. We looked for some time at each other, afraid to enquire into the
extent of the damage; but at last Jack said, "She's a capital jumper,
isn't she? It was as good a flying leap as I ever saw. She's worth two
hundred guineas for a heavy weight."

"A flying leap!"--I said; "it was a leap to be sure, but the flying, I
think, was performed by ourselves."

"Are you hurt?" enquired Jack.

"Not that I know of," I replied; "you're all right?"

"Oh! as for me, I enjoy a quiet drive, like this, very much. I'm certain
it gives a filip to the ideas, that you never receive in a family coach
at seven miles an hour. I believe I owe the mare a great sum of money,
not to mention all the fame I expect to make by my invention. But let us
get on to the next inn, and send people after the stanhope and the mare.
We shall get into a car, and go comfortably home."

We did not go to the Oaks on Friday. We were both too stiff: for though
a gentleman may escape without breaking his bones, still an ejectment so
vigorously executed as the one we had sustained, always leaves its mark.
In the mean time Jack was busy. Piles of volumes lay round him, scraps
of paper were on the table, marks were put in the pages. He might have
stood for the portrait of an industrious author. And yet a more
unliterary, not to say illiterate, man than he had been before the
runaway, did not exist in the Albany. "Curriculo collegisse juvat"--are
there any individuals to whom their curricle has been a college, and who
have done without a university in the strength of a fast-trotting horse?
Jack was one of these. He had never listened to Big Tom of Christchurch,
nor punned his way to the bachelor's table of St John's, and yet he was
about to assume his place among the illustrious of the land, and have
his health proposed by a duke at the literary fund dinner, as "Jack
Stuart, and the authors of England;" and perhaps he would deserve the
honour as well as some of his predecessors; for who is more qualified to
return thanks for the authors of England than a person whose works
contain specimens of so many? Your plagiarist is the true

Jack's room is rather dark, and the weather, on the day of the Oaks, was
rather dingy. We had the shutters closed at half-past seven, and sat
down to dinner; soused salmon, perigord pie, iced champagne, and
mareschino. Some almonds and raisins, hard biscuit, and a bottle of cool
claret, made their appearance when the cloth was removed, and Jack
began--"I don't believe there was ever such a jumper as the grey mare
since the siege of Troy, when the horse got over the wall."

"Is she hurt?"

"Lord bless you," said Jack, "she's dead. When she got over the hedge
she grew too proud of herself, and personal vanity was the ruin of her.
She took a tremendous spiked gate, and caught it with her hind legs; the
spikes kept her fast, the gate swung open, and the poor mare was so
disgusted that she broke her heart. She was worth two hundred guineas;
so that the Derby this year has cost me a fortune. The stanhope is all
to atoms, and the farmer claims compensation for the gate. It's a very
lucky thing I thought of the book."

"Oh, you still go on with the novel?"

"It's done, man, finished--perfect."

"All written out?"

"Not a word of it. That isn't the way people write books now; no, I have
clipped out half of it with a pair of scissors, and the half is all
marked with pencil."

"But the authors will find you out."

"Not a bit of it. No author reads any body's writings but his own; or if
they do, I'll deny it--that's all; and the public will only think the
poor fellow prodigiously vain, to believe that any one would quote his
book. And, besides, here are the reviews?"

"Of the book that isn't published?"

"To be sure. Here are two or three sentences from Macauley's 'Milton,'
half a page from Wilson's 'Wordsworth,' and a good lump from Jeffrey's
'Walter Scott.' Between them, they made out my book to be a very fine
thing, I assure you. I sha'n't sell it under five hundred pounds."

"Do you give your name?"

"Certainly not--unless I were a lord. No. I think I shall pass for a
woman: a young girl, perhaps; daughter of a bishop; or the divorced wife
of a member of parliament."

"I should like to hear some of your work. I am interested."

"I know you are. We have a bet, you know; but I have found out a strange
thing in correcting my novel--that you can make a whole story out of any
five chapters."

"No, no. You're quizzing."

"Not I. I tell you, out of any five chapters, of any five novels, you
make a very good short tale; and the odd thing is, it doesn't the least
matter which chapters you choose. With a very little sagacity, the
reader sees the whole; and, let me tell you, the great fault of
story-writing is telling too much, and leaving too little for the reader
to supply to himself. Recollect what I told you about altering the names
of all the characters, and, with that single proviso, read chapter
fifteen of the first volume of this----"

Jack handed me a volume, turned down at the two-hundredth page, and I
read what he told me to call the first chapter of "Love and Glory."


    "A tangled thicket is a holy place
    For contemplation lifting to the stars
    Its passionate eyes, and breathing paradise
    Within a sanctified solemnity."

_Old Play_

["That's my own," said Jack. "When people see that I don't even quote a
motto, they'll think me a real original. Go on."]

     The sun's western rays were gilding the windows of the blue
     velvet drawing-room of Lorrington Castle, and the three ladies
     sat in silence, as if admiring the glorious light which now
     sank gradually behind the forest at the extremity of the park.
     The lady Alice leant her cheek upon her hand, and before her
     rose a vision the agitating occurrences of yesterday. The first
     declaration a girl receives alters her whole character for
     life. No longer a solitary being, she feels that with her fate
     the happiness of another is indissolubly united; for, even if
     she rejects the offer, the fact of its having been made, is a
     bond of union from which neither party gets free--Sir Stratford
     Manvers had proposed: had she accepted him? did she love him?
     ay, did she love him?--a question apparently easy to answer,
     but to an ingenuous spirit which knows not how to analyze its
     feelings, impossible. Sir Stratford was young, handsome,
     clever--but there was a certain something, a _je ne sçais quoi_
     about him, which marred the effect of all these qualities. A
     look, a tome that jarred with the rest of his behaviour, and
     suggested a thought to the very persons who were enchanted with
     his wit, and openness, and generosity--Is this real? is he not
     an actor? a consummate actor, if you will--but merely a great
     performer assuming a part. By the side of the bright and
     dashing Manvers, rose to the visionary eyes of the beautiful
     girl the pale and thoughtful features of Mr Lawleigh. She heard
     the music of his voice, and saw the deep eyes fixed on her with
     the same tender expression of interest and admiration as she
     had noticed during his visit at the Castle. She almost heard
     the sigh with which he turned away, when she had appeared to
     listen with pleasure to the sparkling conversation of Sir
     Stratford. She had _not_ accepted Sir Stratford, and she did
     _not_ love him. When a girl hesitates between two men, or when
     the memory of one is mixed up with the recollection of another,
     it is certain that she loves neither. And strange to say, now
     that her thoughts reverted to Mr Lawleigh, she forgot Sir
     Stratford altogether. She wondered that she had said so little
     to Mr Lawleigh, and was sorry she had not been kinder--she
     recalled every word and every glance--and could not explain why
     she was pleased when she recollected how sad he had looked when
     he had taken leave one little week before. How differently he
     had appeared the happy night of the county assembly, and at the
     still happier masked ball at the Duke of Rosley's! Blind,
     foolish girl, she thought, to have failed to observe these
     things before, and now!----

     "I have written to Lorrington, my dear Alice," said the
     Countess, "as head of the family, and your eldest brother, it
     is a compliment we must pay him--but it is mere compliment,

     "To write to William?" mamma.

     "I presume you know to what subject I allude," continued the
     Countess. "He will give his consent of course."

     "Oh, mamma!" cried Alice, while tears sprang into her eyes, "I
     was in hopes you would have spared me this. Don't write to
     William; or let _me_ tell him--let me add in a postscript--let

     "You will do what I wish you, I conclude--and I have told Sir

     "Oh, what? what have you told him?"

     "That he is accepted. I trust I shall hear no more on the
     subject. The marriage will take place in two months."

     "But I don't love him, mamma--indeed."

     "I am glad to hear it," said the mother, coldly. "I rejoice
     that my daughters are too well brought up to love any one--that
     is--of course--till they are engaged; during that short
     interval, it is right enough--in moderation; though, even then,
     it is much more comfortable to continue perfectly indifferent.
     Persons of feeling are always vulgar, and only fit for
     clergymen's wives."

     "But Sir Stratford, mamma"----

     "Has twenty thousand a-year, and is in very good society. He
     almost lives with the Rosleys. The Duke has been trying to get
     him for his son-in-law for a whole year."

     "And Lady Mary so beautiful, too?"

     "I believe, my dear, Lady Mary's affections, as they are
     called, are engaged."

     "Indeed?" enquired the daughter, for curiosity in such subjects
     exists even in the midst of one's own distresses.

     "May I ask who has gained Lady Mary's heart?"

     "I believe it is that young Mr Lawleigh, a cousin of the
     Duchess--old Lord Berville's nephew; you've seen him here--a
     quiet, reserved young man. I saw nothing in him, and I
     understand he is very poor."

     "And does--does Mr Lawleigh--like--love--Lady Mary?" enquired
     Alice with difficulty.

     "He never honoured me with his confidence," replied the
     Countess--"but I suppose he does--of course he does--Sir
     Stratford, indeed, told me so--and he ought to know, for he is
     his confidant."

     "He keeps the secret well," said Lady Alice with a slight tone
     of bitterness; "and Mr Lawleigh could scarcely be obliged to
     him if he knew the use he makes of his confidence--and Lady
     Mary still less"--she added.

     "Why, if girls will be such fools as to think they have hearts,
     and then throw them away, they must make up their minds to be
     laughed at. Lady Mary is throwing herself away--her _inamorato_
     is still at Rosley House."

     It was lucky the Countess did not perceive the state of
     surprise with which her communication was received.

     Lady Alice again placed her cheek upon her hand, and sank into
     a deeper reverie than ever.

     "Sir Stratford also is at Rosley, and if he rides over this
     evening, I have given orders for him to be admitted. You will
     conduct yourself as I wish. Come, Matilda, let us leave your
     sister to her happy thoughts."

     Her happy thoughts! the Lady Alice was not one of those
     indifferent beings panegyrized by the Countess; she had given
     her whole heart to Henry Lawleigh--and now to hear that he
     loved another! She gazed along the magnificent park, and longed
     for the solitude and silence of the wilderness beyond. There,
     any where but in that sickening room, where the communication
     had been made to her, she would breath freer. She wrapt her
     mantilla over her head, and walked down the flight of steps
     into the park. Deeply immersed in her own sad contemplation,
     she pursued her way under the avenue trees, and, opening the
     wicket gate, found herself on the little terrace of the
     wood--the terrace so lonely, so quiet--where she had listened,
     where she had smiled. And now to know that he was false! She
     sat down on the bench at the foot of the oak, and covered her
     face with her hands, and wept.

     A low voice was at her ear. "Alice!"

     She looked up, and saw bending over her, with eyes full of
     admiration and surprise, Harry Lawleigh. Gradually as she
     looked, his features assumed a different expression, his voice
     also altered its tone.

     "You are weeping, Lady Alice," he said--"I scarcely expected to
     find you in so melancholy a mood, after the joyous intelligence
     I heard to-day."

     "Joyous!" repeated Alice, without seeming to comprehend the
     meaning of the word. "What intelligence do you allude to?"

     "Intelligence which I only shared with the whole party at
     Rosley Castle. There was no secret made of the happy event."

     "I really can't understand you. What is it you mean? who
     communicated the news?"

     "The fortunate victor announced his conquest himself. Sir
     Stratford received the congratulations of every one from the
     duke down to--to--myself."

     "I will not pretend to misunderstand you," said Lady Alice--"my
     mother, but a few minutes ago, conveyed to me the purport of
     Sir Stratford's visit." She paused and sighed.

     "And you replied?" enquired Lawleigh.

     "I gave no reply. I was never consulted on the subject. I know
     not in what words my mother conveyed her answer."

     "The _words_ are of no great importance," said Lawleigh; "the
     fact seems sufficiently clear; and as I gave Sir Stratford my
     congratulations on his happiness, I must now offer them to you,
     on the brightness of your prospects, and the shortness of your

     "Few can appreciate the value of the latter quality so well as
     yourself--your congratulations on the other subject are as
     uncalled for as your taunts--I must return home." She rose to
     depart, and her face and figure had resumed all the grace and
     dignity which had formerly characterized her beauty.

     "One word, Lady Alice!" said Lawleigh; "look round--it was
     here--one little year ago, that I believed myself the happiest,
     and felt myself the most fortunate, of men. This spot was the
     witness of vows--sincerer on one side than any ever registered
     in heaven--on another, of vows more fleeting than the shadows
     of the leaves that danced on the greensward that calm evening
     in June, when first I told you that I loved you: the leaves
     have fallen--the vows are broken. Alice!--may you be

     "If you desire it, be it so--but before we part, it is right
     you should know all. Whatever answer my mother may have given
     to Sir Stratford Manvers, to that answer I am no party. I do
     not love him: and shall never marry him. Your congratulations,
     therefore, to both of us, were premature, and I trust the same
     description will not apply to those I now offer to Mr Lawleigh
     and Lady Mary Rosley."

     "To me?--to Lady Mary?--what does this mean?"

     "It means that your confidential friend, Sir Stratford, has
     betrayed your secret--that I know your duplicity, and admire
     the art with which you conceal your unfaithfulness by an
     attempt to cast the blame of it on me."

     "As I live----Alice! Alice! hear me," cried Lawleigh, stepping
     after the retreating girl; "I will explain--you are imposed

     A hand was laid on his arm----

     "He!--fairly caught, by Jupiter! whither away?" said Sir
     Stratford Manvers. "Thou'st sprung fair game i' the forest,
     'faith--I watched her retreat--a step like a roebuck--a form
     like a Venus"----

     "Unhand me, villain, or in an instant my sword shall drink the
     blood of thy cowardly heart."

     "Fair words! thou'st been studying the rantipoles of Will
     Shakspeare, Hal. What is't, man? Is thy bile at boiling heat
     because I have lit upon thee billing and cooing with the
     forester's fair niece--poh! man--there be brighter eyes than
     hers, however bright they be."

     "Now then, we have met," said Lawleigh, in a voice of condensed
     passion--"met where none shall hear us--met where none shall
     see us--met where none shall part us--Ha! dost thou look on me
     without a blush--the man you have injured--the friend who
     trusted--the enemy who will slay?--draw!"

     "This is sheer midsummer madness--put up thy toasting-fork,
     Hal. This is no time nor place for imitations of Ben Jonson's
     Bobadil. Zounds! man, you'll startle all the game with your
     roaring--and wherefore is all the disturbance?"

     "'Tis that you have traduced me, and injured me in the eyes of
     one, for a smile of whose lip thou well knowest I would lay
     down my life--for a touch of whose hand thou well knowest I
     would sell me to the Evil One--thou hast blackened me, and I
     will be avenged--ho! chicken-hearted boaster before women, and
     black-hearted traitor among men, will nothing rouse thee? Hear
     this, then--thou hast lied."

     "Thou mean'st it?" said Sir Stratford, and drew back a step or

     "I do--art thou man enough to cross points on that

     "Oh, on far less, as thou well knowest, in the way of
     accommodating a young gentleman anxious to essay a feat of
     arms. Thou hast said the word, and we fight--but let me ask to
     what particular achievement of mine thou hast attached so ugly
     an epithet. I would fain know to what I am indebted for your
     good opinion so gallantly expressed."

     "I will but name two names--and between them thou wilt find how
     dastardly thy conduct has been."

     "Make it three--'twere pity to balk the Graces of their
     numbers; add the young lady who so lately left thee. The
     forester's fair daughter deserves a niche as well as a duke's

     "The names I mention," said Lawleigh, "are Lady Alice
     Lorrington, and Lady Mary Rosley."

     Sir Stratford lifted his cap. "Fair ladies," he said, "I greet
     you well; that I have sunned me in the bright blue eyes of one,
     and the dark lustrous glances of the other, is true--yet, 'tis
     but acting in love as people are justified in doing in other
     things. When health begins to fail, physicians recommend a
     change of climate--when admiration begins to decay, I always
     adopt a different style of beauty; when the cold climate is too
     severe, I fly to the sunny plains of Italy--when Lady Alice
     frowns, I go to bask in the smiles of Lady Mary."

     "And are a villain, a calumniator, and boaster in all--defend

     "As best I may," replied Sir Stratford, and drew his sword. It
     was easy for him to parry the rapid thrusts of his enraged
     adversary--and warily and slowly he was beginning the offensive
     in his turn, when a sudden flash was seen, a loud report took
     place, and the baronet was stretched upon the ground, weltering
     in his blood. Rapid steps ere heard retreating in the direction
     of the thicket in the park, and Lawleigh hurried to the paling,
     and saw the form of a tall man, in a dark velvet coat,
     disappear over the hedge."

["How good that is!" said Jack Stuart, as I came to the end of the
chapter, and laid down the volume. "How good that is! Did you perceive
where the joining took place?"

"No--I saw no joining."

"Why, you stupid fellow, didn't you see that the first part was from a
novel of the present day, and the other from a story of the
rebellion--who the deuce do you think talks of _thees_ and _thous_
except the Quaker?"

"I didn't notice it, I confess."

"Glad to hear it; nobody else will; and in the next chapter, which is
the seventeenth of the second volume of this romance, you will see how
closely the story fits. Recollect to change the names as I have marked
them in pencil, and go on.]


    "Hope springs eternal in the human mind,
    I would be cruel only to be kind;
    'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
    Survey mankind from Indus to Peru;
    How long by sinners shall thy courts be trod?
    An honest man's the noblest work of God."

                      _MS. Poem_--(original.)

     Night, thick, heavy, deep night!--No star visible amid the
     sulphureous blackness of the overcharged clouds; and silence,
     dreadful as if distilled from the voicelessness of the graves
     of a buried world! Night and silence, the twins that keep watch
     over the destinies of the slumbering earth, which booms round
     in ceaseless revolution, grand, mystic, sublime, but yearns in
     the dim vastness of its sunless course, for the bright
     morning-hour which shall again invest it with a radiance fresh
     from heaven! Darkness, and night, and silence! and suddenly
     rushing down, on whirlwind wings, the storm burst fearfully
     upon their domain--wind and rain, and the hollow sound of the
     swaying branches! And Lawleigh pressed onward. His horse, which
     for several miles had shown symptoms of fatigue now yielded to
     the difficulties it could no longer encounter; and after a few
     heavy struggles, fell forward, and did not attempt to rise.
     Thirteen hours had elapsed from the time the chase on that day
     commenced, and unless for a short minute, he had seen nothing
     of the fugitive. Yet he had dashed onward, feeling occasionally
     his holsters, and satisfied that his pistols were in
     serviceable condition. He was now nearly as much exhausted as
     his horse; but determining to yield to no obstruction, he
     seized the pistols, and proceeded through the wood, leaving his
     gallant charger to its fate. Lawleigh was strong and active
     beyond most men of his day; and, when excited, more vigorous
     and determined than could have been supposed from the ordinary
     equanimity of his character. But here a great murder had been
     committed!--before his very eyes!--accusations had been
     hazarded!--and one soft voice dwelt for ever on his ear--"Find
     out the murderer, or see me no more." Had Lady Alice, indeed,
     allowed a suspicion to invade her mind, that he had been
     accessory to the death of Sir Stratford Manvers? But no!--he
     would pursue the dreadful thought no further. Sufficient that,
     after many efforts, he had regained a clue to the discovery of
     the tall man he had seen escape into the thicket. He had
     tracked him unweariedly from place to place--had nearly
     overtaken him in the cave of Nottingham Hill--caught glimpses
     of him in the gipsy camp at Hatton Grange--and now felt assured
     he was close upon his track in the savage ranges of Barnley
     Wold. Barnley Wold was a wild, uncultivated district,
     interspersed at irregular intervals with the remains of an
     ancient forest, and famous, at the period of our narrative, as
     the resort of many lawless and dangerous characters. Emerging
     from one of the patches of wood, which, we have said, studded
     the immense expanse of the wold, Lawleigh was rejoiced to
     perceive a faint brightening of the sky, which foretold the
     near approach of the morning. He looked all around, and, in the
     slowly increasing light, he thought he perceived, at the top of
     a rising ground at some distance, a shepherd's hut, or one of
     the rough sheds put up for the accommodation of the woodmen. He
     strove to hurry towards it, but his gigantic strength failed at
     length; and, on reaching the humble cottage, he sank exhausted
     at the door. When he recovered consciousness, he perceived he
     was laid on a rough bed, in a very small chamber, illuminated
     feebly by the still slanting beams of the eastern sun. He
     slowly regained his full recollection; but, on hearing voices
     in the room, he shut his eyes again, and affected the same
     insensibility as before.

     "What could I do?" said a voice, in a deprecating tone.

     "Leave him to die, to be sure," was the rough-toned answer. "I
     thought thee had had enough of gentlefolks, without bringing
     another fair-feathered bird to the nest." There was something
     in the expression with which this was said, that seemed to have
     a powerful effect on the first speaker.

     "After the years of grief I've suffered, you might have spared
     your taunt, George. The gentleman lay almost dead at the door,
     and you yourself helped me to bring him in."

     "'Twould have been better, perhaps, for him if we had led him
     somewhere else; for your father seems bitter now against all
     the fine folks together."

     "Because he fancies he has cause of hatred to me--but he never
     had," answered the girl.

     "And the gentleman had pistols, too," said the man. "You had
     better hide them, or your father will maybe use them against
     the owner."

     "I did not move them from the gentleman's breast. We must wake
     him, and hurry him off before my father's return--but, hark! I
     hear his whistle. Oh, George, what shall we do?"

     Lawleigh, who lost not a syllable of the conversation,
     imperceptibly moved his hand to his breast, and grasped the
     pistol. The man and the girl, in the mean time, went to the
     door, and, in a minute or two, returned with a third party--an
     old man dressed like a gamekeeper, and carrying a short, stout
     fowling-piece in his hand. His eyes were wild and cruel, and
     his haggard features wore the impress of years of dissipation
     and recklessness. "Does he carry a purse, George?" said the
     new-comer, in a low whisper, as he looked towards the bed.

     "Don't know--never looked," said George. "Where have you been
     all the week? We expected you home three days ago."

     "All over the world, boy--and now you'll see me rest quiet and
     happy--oh, very! Don't you think I looks as gleesome, Janet, as
     if I was a gentleman?"

     The tone in which he spoke was at variance with the words; and
     it is likely that his face belied the expression he attributed
     to it; for his daughter, looking at him for the first time,

     "Oh, father! what has happened? I never saw you look so wild."

     "Lots has happened, Janet--sich a lot o' deaths I've been in
     at, to be sure--all great folks, too, none o' your paltry
     little fellows of poachers or gamekeepers, but real quality.
     What do you think of a lord, my girl?"

     "I know nothing about them, father."

     "You used, though, when you lived at the big house. Well, I was
     a-passing, two nights since, rather in a hurry, for I was a
     little pressed for time, near the house of that old fellow that
     keeps his game as close as if he was a Turk, and they was his
     wives--old Berville--Lord Berville, you remember, as got Bill
     Hunkers transported for making love to a hen pheasant. Well,
     thinks I, I'll just make bold to ask if there's any more of
     them in his lordship's covers, when, bing, bang goes a great
     bell at the Castle, and all the village folks went up to see
     what it was. I went with them, and there we seed all the
     servants a rummaging and scrummaging through the whole house,
     as if they was the French; and, as I seed them all making free
     with snuff-boxes, and spoons, and such like, I thought I'd be
     neighbourly, and just carried off this gold watch as a keepsake
     of my old friend."

     "Oh, father! What will his lordship do?"

     "He'll rot, Janet, without thinking either about me or his
     watch; for he's dead. He was found in his bed that very morning
     when he was going to sign away all the estate from his nephew.
     So that it's lucky for that 'ere covy that the old boy slipt
     when he did. People were sent off in all directions to find
     him; for it seems the old jackdaw and the young jackdaw wasn't
     on good terms, and nobody knows where he's gone to."

     "They would have known at Rosley Castle," said the girl, but
     checked herself, when her father burst out--

     "To the foul fiend with Rosley Castle, girl! Will you never get
     such fancies out of your head. If you name that cursed house to
     me again, you die! But, ha! ha! you may name it now," he added,
     with a wild laugh. "We've done it."

     "Who? Who have done it?"

     "She and I," said the ruffian, and nodded towards the
     fowling-piece, which he had laid upon the table; "and now we're
     safe, I think; so give me some breakfast, girl, and ask no more
     foolish questions. You, George, get ready to see if the snares
     have caught us anything, and I'll go to bed in the loft. I'll
     speak to this springald when I get up."

     "Done what, father?" said the girl, laying her hand on the old
     man's arm. "For mercy's sake, tell ne what it is you have
     done--your looks frighten me."

     "Why, lodged a slug in the breast of a golden pheasant, that's
     all--a favourite bird of yours--but be off, and get me

     While waiting for his meal, he sat in an arm-chair, with his
     eyes fixed on the bed where Lawleigh, or, as we must now call
     him, Lord Berville, lay apparently asleep. What the ruffian's
     thoughts were we cannot say, but those of his involuntary guest
     were strange enough. His uncle dead, and the fortune not
     alienated, as, with the exception of a very small portion, he
     had always understood his predecessor had already done--his
     life at this moment in jeopardy; for a cursory glance at the
     tall figure of the marauder, as he had entered, had sufficed to
     show that the object of his search was before him--and too well
     he knew the unscrupulous villany of the man to doubt for a
     moment what his conduct would be if he found his pursuer in his
     power. If he could slip from the bed unobserved, and master the
     weapon on the table, he might effect his escape, and even
     secure the murderer; for he made light of the resistance that
     could be offered by the young woman, or by George. But he felt,
     without opening his eyes, that the glance of the old man was
     fixed on him; and, with the determination to use his pistol on
     the first demonstration of violence, he resolved to wait the
     course of events. The breakfast in the mean time was brought
     in, and Janet was about to remove the fowling-piece from the
     table, when she was startled by the rough voice of her father,
     ordering her to leave it alone, as it might have work to do
     before long.

     The girl's looks must have conveyed an enquiry; he answered
     them with a shake of his head towards the bed. "I may have
     business to settle with _him_," he said, in a hoarse whisper;
     and the girl pursued her task in silence. The old man, after
     cautioning her not to touch the gun, turned to the dark press
     at one end of the room, and in about half a minute had filled
     his pipe with tobacco, and re-seated himself in the chair. But
     Janet had seized the opportunity of his back being turned, and
     poured the hot water from the teapot into the touch-hole, and
     was again busy in arranging the cups and saucers.

     "Where's George?" enquired the father; "but poh, he's a
     chicken-hearted fellow, and would be of no use in case of a
     row"---- So saying, he went on with his breakfast.

     "He's awake!" he said suddenly. "I seed his eye."

     "Oh no, father! he's too weak to open his eyes--indeed he is."

     "I seed his eye, I tell ye; and more than that, I've seed the
     eye afore. Ha! am I betrayed?"

     He started up, and seized the fowling-piece. His step sounded
     across the floor, and Berville threw down the clothes in a
     moment, and sprang to his feet.

     "_You_ here?" cried the ruffian, and levelled the gun, drew the
     trigger, and recoiled in blank dismay when he missed fire, and
     saw the athletic figure of Berville distended to its full size
     with rage, and a pistol pointed with deadly aim within a yard
     of his heart. He raised the but-end of his gun; but his
     daughter, rushing forward, clung to his arm.

     "Fire not--but fly!" she cried to Berville. "Others are within
     call, and you are lost."

     "Villain!" said Berville, "miscreant! murderer! you have but a
     moment to live"--and cocked the pistol.

     "Let go my arm, girl," cried the old man, struggling.

     "I have saved your life--I hindered the gun from going off--all
     I ask you in return is to spare my father." She still retained
     her hold on the old man's arm, who, however, no longer
     struggled to get it free.

     "What! you turned against me?" he said, looking ferociously at
     the beautiful imploring face of his daughter. "You, to revenge
     whom I did it all! Do you know what I did? I watched your
     silken wooer till I saw him in the presence of this youth--I
     killed Sir Stratford Manvers"----

     "And shall die for your crime," cried Berville; "but the death
     of a felon is what you deserve, and you shall have none other
     at my hands. In the mean time, as I think you are no fit
     companion for the young woman to whom I am indebted for my
     life, I shall offer her the protection of my mother, and take
     her from your house. If you consent to let us go in peace, I
     spare your life for the present; and will even for three days
     abstain from setting the emissaries of the law in search of
     you. After that, I will hunt you to the death. Young woman, do
     you accept my terms? If you refuse, your father dies before
     your face."

     "Shall I accept, father?"

     "If you stay, I lodge a bullet in your brain," said the old
     savage, and drew himself up.

     "Come, then," said Berville, leading Janet to the door. She
     turned round ere she quitted the cottage, but met a glance of
     such anger and threatening, that she hurried forward with
     Berville, who pursued his way rapidly through the wood."

["That fits in very nicely," said Jack Stuart; "and you may be getting
ready the five pound note, for I feel sure you know you back the losing
horse. Can any thing be more like a genuine, _bona fide_ novel, the work
of one man, and a devilish clever man too? Confess now, that if you
didn't know the trick of it, you would have thought it a splendid
original work? But perhaps you're throat's dry with so much reading?
Here's another bottle of Lafitte; and we can miss over a volume and a
half of foreign scenes, which you can imagine; for they are to be found
in every one of the forty novels I sent for. Just imagine that the
Countess takes her daughters abroad--that Berville encounters them in
the Colosseum by moonlight--quarrels--doubts--suspicions--and a
reconciliation; finally, they all come home, and you will find the last
chapter of the last volume in this."

Jack handed me a volume, evidently popular among circulating library
students, for it was very dirty; and I was just going to commence when
Jack interrupted me.

"Stay," he said; "you must have a motto. Do you know Italian?"

"Not a word."

"Or Spanish, or German?"


"Well, you surely can recollect some Greek--for next to manuscript
quotations and old plays, you can't do better than have some foreign
lines at the beginning of the chapter. What Greek do you remember?--for,
'pon my honour; I've forgotten all mine."

"My dear Jack, I only know a line here and there."

"Out with them. Put them all in a row, and never mind the meaning."

Thus urged, I indited the following as a headpiece.]

    "Deinè de clangè genet' argurioio bioio,
    Be d'akeion para thina poluphlosboio thalasses,
    Thelo legein Atreidas, thelo de Cadmon adein,
    Ton d'apomeibomenos prosephè podas-ocus Achilleus."
                               HOMER, _Iliad,_ 1. I.

["Excellent! bravo!" said Jack; "they'll see at once the author is a
gentleman and a scholar; and now go on."]

     The crimson and gold drawing-room of Lorrington Caste was
     filled with company, the court-yard crowded with carriages, and
     the coachmen and footmen in gorgeous liveries, with a splendid
     white satin favour at the side of their hats. The view from the

["Stop," said Jack Stuart, "here's a better description. I cut it out of
the _Times_"----]

     The view from the window involved a spacious assemblage of all
     the numerous beauties and illustrations that cast a magnificent
     air of grandeur over one of


     The extensive shrubberies clothed the verdant meads, and threw
     a shade of deep green tints over an


     on which floated, like a nymph or naiad, a beautiful


     painted bright green, and fit for instant use. Further off, in
     one of those indistinct distances immortalized by the pencil of
     Turner--now softened into sober beauty by "the autumnal hue,
     the sear and yellow leaf," as an immortal bard expresses it, in
     language which the present writer does not imitate, and could
     not, without great difficulty, excel, was an


     fit for the accommodation of


     of a peculiar breed, highly approved of by the


     In other portions of the landscape rose statues which might
     have raised the envy of


     or attracted the love of the beautiful "Maid of France," who
     "sighed her soul away" in presence of


     a figure, in the words of a living author,

    "Too fair to worship, too divine to love."

     The drawing-room of the mansion was of the amplest size, and
     contained some of the finest specimens of the taste and
     workmanship of


     enumerating Or-molu tables--escritoires--rosewood chairs richly
     inlaid--richly coloured


     and sofas covered with figured satin.

["That will do," said Jack. "Now go on with the book."]

     But while the company were engaged in detached groups, waiting
     the signal for proceeding into the great hall, where the
     ceremony was to be performed by special license, Lord Berville
     sent a message to the Countess, that he wished to say a few
     words to Lady Alice, in the library, before the commencement of
     the ceremony that was to make him the happiest of men. He
     waited impatiently, and in a few minutes the bride appeared,
     radiant in joy and beauty. She started, when she saw seated
     beside him a beautiful young woman, plainly, but richly drest.
     They rose when Lady Alice appeared.

     "Dearest Alice," said Berville, "I have told you that there was
     a person in this neighbourhood to whom my gratitude was
     unbounded, and who, I hope, has now an equal claim on yours,
     for she is the saviour of my life."


     "Let it be a secret between us three," continued Berville; "but
     you agree with me, my friend," he said, turning to the
     stranger, "that there should be no reserve between a man and
     his wife. I told you, Alice, when we were at Rome, the story of
     an adventure I had on Barnley Wold, and of the heroic conduct
     of a young girl. In this lady you see her. She is now the wife
     of the vicar of my parish, and I trust will be a friend of both
     of us."

     Lady Alice threw her arms round Janet's neck, and said, "I know
     it all; we shall be friends; and nothing makes one so happy as
     to know we shall be so near each other."

     "Ah, madam, you know not how deeply I am indebted to his
     lordship's mother, for all her kindness, or how overpaid all my
     services are by the happiness of this moment."

     "And now, having made you thus acquainted, I must ask you, my
     kind friend, to hurry Lady Alice to the great hall, where your
     husband, I trust, is waiting to tie the indissoluble band."

     A joyous shout from the tenants assembled in the outer court,
     who became impatient for the appearance of the happy pair, gave
     evidence of the near approach of the happy moment, and Janet
     and Lady Alice hurried from the room. Lord Berville rang the
     bell. His servant appeared, being no other than our old
     acquaintance George, now softened by a year's sojourn in a
     foreign land.

     "George," said Lord Berville, "no one in the earth knows your
     position; from this hour, therefore, you cease to be my
     servant, and are the steward of my Lincolnshire estate. Your
     uncle's fate is unknown?"

     "His fate is known, my lord, that he died by his own hand in
     the hut on Barnley Wold; but his crimes are undiscovered."

     "Be it so; let them be alluded to between us no more. Your
     cousin Janet is the happy wife of my friend and chaplain; and I
     am delighted to show my appreciation of her nobleness and
     purity, by all the kindness I can bestow on her relations. Go
     down to Lincolnshire, Mr Andrews," said his lordship, shaking
     hands with George, "and when you are installed in the
     mansion-house, write to me; and now, farewell."

     It is difficult to say whose heart was most filled with joy on
     this eventful day. Lady Matilda, now happily married to Lord
     Merilands of the Guards, and the lovely Lady Mary Rosely,
     (shortly to be united to the young Earl of Gallowdale,) were
     pleased at the happiness of their friends; and certainly no
     prayer seemed to be more likely to receive its accomplishment
     than that which was poured forth, amidst the ringing of bells
     and the pealing of cannon, for the health and prosperity of
     Lord and Lady Berville.

Jack Stuart sat, with his eyes turned up to the ceiling, as if he were
listening to the music of the spheres.

"The best novel I have ever read!" he exclaimed; "and now, all I have
got to do is to get it copied fairly out, dedicate it to Lord William
Lennox or Mr Henry Bulwer, and get my five or six hundred guineas. It is
a capital thing to lose on the Derby; for unless I had been drawn for
the hundred and fifty, I don't think the dovetail novel would ever have
come into my head."

       *       *       *       *       *


    Stet lapis arboribus nudo defixus in horto
      Fundamen pulchræ tempus in omne domûs.
    Aula vetus lites legumque ænigmata servet,
      Ipsa nova exorior nobilitanda coquo.


      No more look
      For shady nook,
    Poor perspiring stranger!
      Trees for bricks
      Cut their sticks,
    Lo! our _salle-à-manager!_

      Yon old hall,
      For suit and brawl,
    Still be famed in story;
      This must look
      To the cook
    For its only glory!


       *       *       *       *       *


     _Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing in the Tweed_. By WILLIAM
     SCROPE, Esq., F.L.S. 1 vol. royal 8vo. London, 1843.

We have here a work of great beauty in a pictorial and typographical
point of view, and one which abounds with practical information
regarding the bolder branches of the "gentle art." Mr Scrope conveys to
us, in an agreeable and lively manner, the results of his more than
twenty years' experience as an angler in our great border river; and
having now successfully illustrated, both with pen and pencil, two of
the most exciting of all sporting recreations--deer-stalking and
salmon-fishing--he may henceforward repose himself upon the
mountain-side, or by the murmuring waters, with the happy consciousness
of having not only followed the bent of his own inclinations, but
contributed to the amusement and instruction of a numerous class of his
fellow creatures. The present volume consists of no dry didactic
dissertations on an art unteachable by written rules, and in which,
without long and often dear-bought experience, neither precept nor
example will avail; but it contains a sufficiency of sagacious practical
advice, and is enlivened by the narration of numerous angling
adventures, which bring out, with force and spirit, the essential
character of the sport in question.

Great advances have been recently made in our knowledge of the sea-going
_Salmonidæ_. Indeed, all the leading facts of primary importance in the
history of their first development and final growth are now distinctly
known, and have lately been laid before the public in the form both of
original memoirs in our scientific journals, and the transactions of
learned societies, and of more popular abstracts in various literary
works. We ourselves discussed the subject in this Magazine, with our
accustomed clearness, a couple of months ago; and we shall therefore not
here enter into the now no longer vexed question of the nature of parr
and smolts,--all doubt and disputation regarding the actual origin and
family alliance of these fry, their descent from and eventual conversion
into grilse and salmon, being finally set at rest to the satisfaction of
every reasonable and properly instructed mind. We consider it, however,
as a good proof of the natural sagacity and observant disposition of our
present author, that he should have come to the same conclusion several
years ago, regarding the habits and history of salmon-fry, as that so
successfully demonstrated by Mr Shaw. Mr Scrope dwells with no
unbecoming pertinacity on this point; but he shows historically, while
fully admitting the importance and originality of that ingenious
observer's experimental proceedings, that he had, in the course of his
own private correspondence and conversation, called the attention of Mr
Kennedy of Dunure as a legislator, and of Sir David Brewster as a
skilled interpreter of natural phenomena, to various facts corresponding
to those which have been since so skilfully detailed by Mr Shaw.

Our author, though well acquainted with the sporting capabilities of all
parts of Scotland, here confines himself to the lower portions of the
Tweed, more than twelve miles of which he has rented at different times.
We in some measure regret that one so able to inform us, from his
extensive experiences regarding the nature and localities of the
first-rate though rather precarious angling for salmon which may be
obtained in the northern parts of Scotland, should not have contrived to
include an account of the more uproarious Highland streams and placid
lakes frequented by this princely species. With all our admiration for
the flowing Tweed, of which we have fondly traced the early feeble

                     "a fitful sound
    Wafted o'er sullen moss and craggy mound,
    Unfruitful solitudes, that seem'd t' upbraid
    The sun in heaven!"--

until, through many an intermediate scene of infinitely varied beauty,
the expanded waters--

    "Gliding in silence with unfetter'd sweep,
    Beneath an ampler sky, a region wide
    Is open'd round them:--hamlets, towers, and towns,
    And blue-topp'd hills, behold them from afar:"--

     we should still have rejoiced to find a twin volume devoted to
     those wilder and more desolate scenes by which the northern
     angler is encompassed. Meanwhile we accept with pleasure our
     author's "Days and Nights" upon the Tweed.

     Salmon ascend from the sea, and enter this fine river, in
     greater or less abundance, during every period of the year,
     becoming more plentiful as the summer advances, provided there
     is a sufficiency of rain both to enlarge and discolour the
     waters, and thus enable the fish to pass more securely over
     those rippling shallows which so frequently occur between the
     deeper streams.

     "The salmon," says Mr Scrope "travels rapidly, so that those
     which leave the sea, and go up the Tweed on the Saturday night
     at twelve o'clock, after which time no nets are worked till the
     Sabbath is past, are found and taken on the following Monday
     near St Boswell's--a distance, as the river winds, of about
     forty miles. This I have frequently ascertained by experience.
     When the strength of the current in a spate is considered, and
     also the sinuous course a salmon must take in order to avoid
     the strong rapids, their power of swimming must be considered
     as extraordinary."--P. 10.

We do not clearly see, and should have been glad had the author stated,
in what manner he ascertained that his St Boswell's fish had not escaped
the sweeping semicircles of the lower nets some days previous. We admit
that there is a great deal of Sabbath desecration committed by salmon,
but we also know that they travel upwards, though in smaller number and
with greater risk, during all the other days of the week; and we are
curious to understand how any angler, however accomplished, can carry
his skill in physiognomy to such perfection, as to be able to look a
fish in the face on Monday morning, and decide that it had not left the
sea till the clock struck twelve on the Saturday night preceding.

     "As salmon" our author continues, "are supposed to enter a
     river merely for the purposes of spawning, and as that process
     does not take place till September, one cannot well account for
     their appearing in the Tweed and elsewhere so early as February
     and March, seeing that they lose in weight and condition during
     their continuance in fresh water. Some think it is to get rid
     of the sea-louse; but this supposition must be set aside, when
     it is known that this insect adheres only to a portion of the
     newly-run fish which are in best condition. I think it more
     probable that they are driven from the coasts near the river by
     the numerous enemies they encounter there, such as porpoises
     and seals, which devour them in great quantities. However this
     may be, they remain in the fresh water till the spawning months
     commence."--P. 10.

We cannot think that a great instinctive movement which seems, although
with a widely extended range in respect to tine, to pervade the entire
mass of salmon along our universal shores, should in any way depend upon
so casual an occurrence as an onslaught by seals and porpoises, or that
fear rather than love should force them to seek the "pastoral
melancholy" of the upper streams and tributaries. That seals are
destructive to salmon, and all other fishes which frequent our shores or
enter our estuaries, is undoubted; but we have no proof beyond the
general allegation, that porpoises pursue a corresponding prey. Our own
researches certainly lead to an opposite conclusion. The ordinary food
of the _cetacea_, notwithstanding their enormous bulk, is minute in
size; and we have never been informed, on good authority--that is, on
direct testimony--that even herrings have ever been detected in the
stomach of a porpoise. Yet we have careful notes of the dissection of
these creatures, taken from specimens slaughtered in the midst of
millions of herrings; and these notes show that the minute food with
which the sea was swarming, and which formed the sustenance for the time
of the smaller fishes, also constituted the food of the _cetacea_, which
were merely gamboling through the herring shoals.

It is certainly, however, difficult to explain the motives by which the
early spring salmon are actuated in ascending rivers, seeing that they
never spawn till autumn at the soonest. We must remember, at the same
time, that they are fresh-water fishes, born and bred in our own
translucent streams, and that they have an undoubted right to endeavour
to return there when it suits their own inclination. It may be, that
although the ocean forms their favourite feeding-ground, and their
increase of size and continuance in high condition depend upon certain
marine attributes, which, of course, they can find only in the sea, yet
the healthy development of the spawn requires a long-continued residence
in _running_ waters. We have ascertained, by experiment, that the ova of
salmon, after being deposited, will make no progress in still water; and
we cannot illustrate this portion of the subject better than by
transcribing a paragraph from a letter, addressed to us in spring, (11th
April 1843,) by Mr Andrew Young of Invershin, the manager of the Duke of
Sutherland's extensive salmon fisheries in the north of Scotland:--"You
are aware that it has been asserted by some of our wisest doctors, that
salmon spawn in the sea and in lochs, as well as in rivers. However, as
doctors are proverbially allowed to differ, I have this winter been
trying to test the fact in the following manner: At the same time that I
deposited the spawn from which I made my other experiments, I also
placed a basket of the same spawn, with equal care, in a pool of pure
still water from the river Shin; and I soon found that, while that which
was placed in the running pools was regularly progressing, every
particle put into the still water was as visibly degenerating, so that,
by the time the spawn in the running pools was alive, that in the still
water was a rotten mass. I must therefore say, from the above
experiment, that rivers and running streams are the places fixed by
nature for salmon to hatch their young." "I would also," says our
correspondent in a subsequent portion of his letter, "mention an
additional experiment on another point. It has been very generally
asserted that intense frost injured the spawn of salmon; and in this
opinion I was myself, in some measure, a believer. But as nothing but
truth will stand a proper test, I turned my attention to this subject
also. During the time of our severest frost, I took a basket of spawn,
and placed it in a stream, where for three days it continued a frozen
mass among the ice. I then placed the basket again in the running pond
from whence it had been taken, and carefully watched the effect. I found
that, although exposure to extreme cold had somewhat retarded the
progressive growth, it had not in the slightest degree destroyed
vitality. I am therefore satisfied, that unless frost goes the length of
drying up the spawning beds altogether, it does not harm the spawn,
further than by retarding its growth during the actual continuance of
excessive cold. Thus fry are longer of hatching in a severe winter, than
during an open one with little frost."

When salmon first ascend the Tweed, they are brown upon the back, fat,
and in high condition. During the prevalence of cold weather they lie in
deep and easy water, but as the season advances, they draw into the
great rough streams, taking up their stations where they are likely to
be least observed. But there the wily wand of the practiced angler casts
its gaudy lure, and "Kinmont Willie," "Michael Scott," or "The Lady of
Mertoun," (three killing flies,) darting deceitfully within their view,
a sudden lounge is made--sometimes scarcely visible by outward signs--as
often accompanied by a watery heave, and a flash like that of an aurora
borealis,--and downwards, upwards, onwards, a twenty-pounder darts away
with lightning speed, while the rapid reel gives out that heart-stirring
sound so musical to an angler's ear, and than which none accords so well
with the hoarser murmur of the brawling stream; till at last, after many
an alternate hope and fear, the glittering prize turns up his silvery
unresisting broadside, in meek submission to the merciless gaff.

Many otherwise well-principled persons believe that little more is
required in angling than the exercise of patience. Place a merely
patient man, acquainted only with pedestrian movements, upon a
strong-headed horse determined to win, and give him the start at a
steeple-chase, with Lord Waterford not far behind, and it will be seen
before he has crossed much country, where patience is always as useful
as it is praiseworthy. Place the same patient man, if he happens to have
been picked up alive, and eventually recovers, in the midst of a roaring
rock-bound river, and suppose him (a thing we confess, in his case, not
quite conceivable) to have hooked a twenty-pound salmon at the tail of
the stream, just where it subsides into some vast, almost fathomless,
and far-extended pool, and that the said salmon, being rather of a
restless disposition, and moreover somewhat disquieted by feeling an
unaccustomed barb in his cheek or tongue, takes his 300 yards down the
deep water at a single run, and then goes helter-skelter over a
cataract, which had occupied him most of the preceding Sunday to ascend,
after many a sinewy but unsuccessful spring! Will patience avail a man
any thing in such a predicament, when he ought rather to run like an
Arab, or dive like a dolphin, "splash, splash, towards the sea,"
notwithstanding the chance of his breaking his neck among the rocks, or
being drowned while trying to round a crag which he cannot clamber over?
Let us hear Mr Scrope's account of his third cast, one fine morning,
when he came to Kingswell Lees.

     "Now every one knows that Kingswell Lees, in fishermen's
     phrase, fishes off land; so there I stood on _terra dura_,
     amongst the rocks that dip down to the water's edge. Having
     executed one or two throws, there comes me a voracious fish,
     and makes a startling dash at 'Meg with the muckle mouth.'[10]
     Sharply did I strike the caitiff; whereat he rolled round
     disdainful, making a whirl in the water of prodigious
     circumference; it was not exactly Charybdis, or the Maelstrom,
     but rather more like the wave occasioned by the sudden turning
     of a man-of-war's boat. Being hooked, and having by this time
     set his nose peremptorily down the stream, he flashed and
     whizzed away like a rocket. My situation partook of the nature
     of a surprise. Being on a rocky shore, and having had a bad
     start, I lost ground at first considerably; but the reel sang
     out joyously, and yielded a liberal length of line, that saved
     me from the disgrace of being broke. I got on the best pace I
     was able, and was on good ground just as my line was nearly all
     run out. As the powerful animal darted through _Meg's Hole_, I
     was just able to step back and wind up a few yards of line; but
     he still went at a killing pace, and when he came near to
     Melrose bridge, he evinced a distressing preference for passing
     through the further arch, in which case my line would have been
     cut by the pier. My heart sunk with apprehension, for he was
     near the opposite bank. Purdie, seeing this, with great
     presence of mind, took up some stones from the channel, and
     through them one by one between the fish and the said opposite
     bank. This naturally brought Master Salmo somewhat nearer, but
     still, for a few moments, we had a doubtful struggle for it. At
     length, by lowering the head of the rod, and thus not having so
     much of the ponderous weight of the fish to encounter, I towed
     him a little sideways; and so, advancing towards me with
     propitious fin, he shot through the arch nearest me.

     "Deeply immersed, I dashed after him as best I might; and
     arriving on the other side of the bridge, I floundered out upon
     dry land, and continued the chase. The salmon, 'right orgillous
     and presumptive,' still kept the strength of the stream, and
     abating nothing of its vigour, went swiftly down the _whirls_;
     then through the _Boat shiel_, and over the shallows, till he
     came to the throat of the _Elm Wheel_, down which he darted
     amain. Owing to the bad ground, the pace here became
     exceedingly distressing. I contrived to keep company with my
     fish, still doubtful of the result, till I came to the bottom
     of the long cast in question, when he still showed fight, and
     sought the shallow below. Unhappily the alders prevented my
     following by land, and I was compelled to take water again,
     which slackened my speed. But the stream soon expanding, and
     the current diminishing, my fish likewise travelled more
     slowly; so I gave a few sobs and recovered my wind a little,
     gathered up my line, and tried to bring him to terms. But he
     derided my efforts, and dashed off for another burst,
     triumphant. Not far below lay the rapids of the
     _Slaughterford_: he would soon gain them at the pace he was
     going: that was certain--see, he is there already! But I back
     out again upon dry land, nothing loth, and have a fair race
     with him. Sore work it is. I am a pretty fair runner, as has
     often been testified; but his velocity is surprising. On, on,
     still he goes, ploughing up the water like a steamer. 'Away
     with you, Charlie! quick, quick, man--quick for your life!
     Loosen the boat at the Cauld Pool, where we shall soon be,' and
     so indeed we were, when I jumped into the said craft, still
     having good hold of my fish.

     "The Tweed is here broad and deep, and the salmon at length had
     become somewhat exhausted; he still kept in the strength of the
     stream, however, with his nose seawards, and hung, heavily. At
     last he comes near the surface of the water. See how he shakes
     his tail and digs downwards, seeking the deep profound that he
     will never gain. His motions become more short and feeble: he
     is evidently doomed, and his race wellnigh finished. Drawn into
     the bare water, and not approving of the extended cleek, he
     makes another swift rush, and repeats this effort each time
     that he is towed to the shallows. At length he is cleeked in
     earnest, and hauled to shore; he proves one of the grey-skull
     newly run, and weighs somewhat above twenty pounds. The hook is
     not in his mouth, but in the outside of it: in which case a
     fish being able to respire freely, always shows extraordinary
     vigour, and generally sets his head down the stream.

     "During the whole period of my experience in fishing, though I
     have had some sharp encounters, yet I never knew any sport
     equal to this. I am out of breath even now, whenever I think of
     it. I will trouble any surveyor to measure the distance from
     the Kingswell Lees, the starting spot, above Melrose bridge, to
     the end of the Cauld Pool, the death place, by Melrose church,
     and tell me how much less it is than a mile and three
     quarters,--I say, I will trouble him to do so; and let him be a
     lover of the angle, that he may rather increase than diminish
     the distance, as in good feeling and respect for the craft it
     behoves him to do."--P. 174.

[Footnote 10: A successful salmon-fly so named.]

On the subject of salmon leaps, most of us have both heard and seen much
that was neither new nor true. Mr Yarrell, a cautious unimaginative man,
accustomed to quote Shakspeare as if the bard of Avon had been some
quiet country clergyman who had taken his share in compiling the
statistical account of Scotland, confines their saltatorial powers only
within ten or twelve perpendicular feet. We hold, with Mr Scrope, that
even this is probably much beyond the mark. He thinks he never _saw_ a
salmon spring out of the water above five feet perpendicular.

     "There is a cauld at the mouth of the Leader water where it
     falls into the Tweed, which salmon never could spring over;
     this cauld I have lately had measured by a mason most
     carefully, and its height varies from five and a half to six
     feet from the level above to the level below it, according as
     the Tweed, into which the Leader falls, is more or less
     affected by the rains. Hundreds of salmon formerly attempted to
     spring over this low cauld, but none could ever achieve the
     leap; so that a salmon in the Leader water was formerly a thing
     unheard of. The proprietors of the upper water have made an
     opening in this cauld of late years, giving the owner of the
     mill some recompense, so that salmon now ascend freely. Large
     fish can spring much higher than small ones; but their powers
     are limited or augmented according to the depth of water they
     spring from. They rise rapidly from the very bottom to the
     surface of the water, by rowing and sculling as it were with
     fins and tail, and this powerful impetus bears them upwards in
     the air. It is probably owing to a want of sufficient depth in
     the pool below the Leader water cauld, that prevented the fish
     from clearing it; because I know an instance where salmon have
     cleared a cauld of six feet belonging to Lord Sudely, who
     lately caused it to be measured for my satisfaction, though
     they were but few out of the numerous fish that attempted it
     that were able to do so. I conceive, however, that very large
     fish could leap much higher."--P. 12.

We believe that a good deal of the contrariety of opinion which prevails
on this subject, arises from anglers and other men confounding an
inclined plane with a perpendicular height. Salmon will assuredly
overcome a prodigious force of descending water,--a roaring turmoil,
which presents from below the aspect of a fall, but consists in reality
of separate ledges massed together into one, when "floods lift up their
voices." We are sorry to say, however, that the entire practice of
angling is pervaded by a system of inaccuracy, exaggeration, and
self-deceit, which is truly humiliating. There is consequently no period
in the life of a young person which ought to be more sedulously
superintended by parents and guardians, than that in which he is first
allowed to plant himself by the rivers of waters. The most wonderful
feature, however, in the leaping of salmon is not so much the height to
which they spring, as the ease, elegance, and _certainty,_ with which,
while ascending small cataracts, they make their upward movements. For
example, near Oykel bridge in Sutherland, there is a rocky interruption
to the more ordinary current of the river, where the water is contained,
as it were, in stages of pots or little caldrons, over the lower edge of
each of which it dances downwards in the form of a short perpendicular
fall. From a neighbouring bank by the river side, the movements of the
aspiring fish may be distinctly seen. When a grilse has made his way to
the foot of one of these falls, (which he never could have ascended
before, although he must have descended it in childhood on his seaward
way,) without a moment's doubt or hesitation he darts into the air, and
throws himself head-foremost into the little basin above, to the bottom
of which he instantly descends. Nothing can be more curious than the air
of _nonchalance_ with which they drop into these watery chambers, as if
they knew their dimensions to an inch, and had been in the habit of
sleeping in them every night. Now, from what has been ascertained of the
natural history of the species, although the adult salmon of the Oykel
must have previously made the leap at least once before, no fresh-run
grilse could have ever done so; and yet, during suitable weather in the
summer season, they are sometimes seen springing along with all the
grace and agility of a troop of voltigeurs. Their object of course is to
rest themselves for a short time, before leaping into the second range
from the ground floor. But this innocent intention is too often
interfered with; for a sharp-sighted Highlander, stationed on the bank
above, immediately descends with landing-net in hand, and scoops them
out of their natural caldron, with a view to their being speedily
transferred to another of more artificial structure--the chief
difference, however, consisting in the higher temperature of the water.

"Salmon," says Mr Scrope, "are led by instinct to select such places for
depositing their spawn as are the least likely to be affected by the
floods. These are the broad parts of the river, where the water runs
swift and shallow, and has a free passage over an even bed. There they
either select an old spawning place, a sort of trough left in the
channel, or form a fresh one. They are not fond of working in new loose
channels, which would be liable to be removed by a slight flood, to the
destruction of their spawn. The spawning bed is made by the female. Some
have fancied that the elongation of the lower jaw in the male, which is
somewhat in the form of a crook, is designed by nature to enable him to
excavate the spawning trough. Certainly it is difficult to divine what
may be the use of this very ugly excrescence; but observation has proved
that this idea is a fallacy, and that the male never assists in making
the spawning place: and, indeed, if he did so he could not possibly make
use of the elongation in question for that purpose, which springs from
the lower jaw, and bends inwards towards the throat. When the female
commences making her spawning bed, she generally comes after sunset, and
goes off in the morning; she works up the gravel with her snout, her
head pointing against the stream, as my fisherman has clearly and
unequivocally witnessed, and she arranges the position of the loose
gravel with her tail. When this is done, the male makes his appearance
in the evenings, according to the usage of the female. He then remains
close by her, on the side on which the water is deepest."--P. 15.

During this crisis trout collect below to devour such portions of the
spawn as float down the river, and parr are frequently seen hovering in
and around the trough. All these parr are salmon fry of the male sex, in
a state of maturity; and if the old gentleman chances to be killed, or
driven away, without having provided an assistant or successor, the
"two-year-olds" perform the functions of paternity. This circumstance,
though overlooked by modern naturalists till the days of Shaw, (not the
old compiling doctor of the British Museum, but the more practical
"keeper" of Drumlanrig,) was known and described by Willoughby in the
seventeenth century. "To demonstrate the fact," says the more recent
observer, "in January 1837, I took a female salmon, weighing fourteen
pounds, from the spawning bed, from whence I also took a male parr,
weighing one ounce and a half, with the milt of which I impregnated a
quantity of her ova, and placed the whole in a private pond, where, to
my great astonishment, the process succeeded in every respect as it had
done with the ova which had been impregnated by the adult male salmon,
and exhibited, from the first visible appearance of the embryo fish, up
to their assuming their migratory dress, the utmost health and vigour."

So serious is the destruction of the spawn and fry of salmon, both by
sea and fresh-water trout, that the Duke of Sutherland's manager would
willingly, were it possible, extirpate the entire breed of these fish.
"They commence," he informs us, in a letter of 15th May 1843, "the
moment the salmon begin to deposit their spawn, and in the course of the
spawning season they devour an immense quantity of ova. Indeed, at all
other times of the year, they feed on the fry of salmon, and continue
their destruction till the day the smolts leave the rivers. I have often
cut up trout, and got smolts in their stomach; and last week a trout was
opened in Mr Buist's fish-yard with four full-grown smolts in its belly.
From these and other similar occurrences, you may judge to what extent
this destruction is carried on, in the course of a single year, in such
a river as our Oykel, where I have killed seven hundred trout at a
single hawl." We understand that, some years ago, when Mr Trap, (a most
appropriate name,) the fishmonger in Perth, had the Dupplin cruives, he
got about 400 whitlings (or sea-trout) in one day, all of them gorged to
the throat with salmon fry. The sea-trout of Sutherlandshire, like those
of the Nith and the Annan, almost all belong to the species named _Salmo
trutta_ by naturalists. They scarcely ever exceed, indeed rarely attain
to, a weight of five pounds; and such as go beyond that weight, and
range upwards from eight to twelve pounds, are generally found to
pertain to _Salmo eriox_, the noted _bull-trout_ of the Tweed. The great
grey sea-trout of the river Ness, which sometimes reaches the weight of
eighteen pounds, we doubt not, also belongs to the species last named.
It is rare in the waters of the Tay.

In regard to the seaward migration of salmon fry, Mr Scrope is of
opinion that some are continually going down to the salt water in every
month of the year, not with their silver scales on, but in the parr

     "I say, not with their silver scales, because no clear smolt is
     ever seen in the Tweed during the summer and autumnal months.
     As the spawning season in the Tweed extends over a period of
     six months, some of the fry must be necessarily some months
     older than the others, a circumstance which favours my
     supposition that they are constantly descending to the sea, and
     it is only a supposition, as I have no proof of the fact, and
     have never heard it suggested by any one. But if I should be
     right, it will clear up some things that cannot well be
     accounted for in any other mode. For instance, in the month of
     _March_ 1841, Mr Yarrell informs me that he found a young
     salmon in the London market, and which he has preserved in
     spirits, measuring only fifteen inches long, and weighing only
     fifteen ounces. And again another, the following _April_,
     sixteen and a half inches long, weighing twenty-four ounces.
     Now, one of these appeared two months, and the other a month,
     before the usual time when the fry congregate. According to the
     received doctrine, therefore, these animals were two of the
     migration of the preceding year; and thus it must necessarily
     follow that they remained in salt water, one ten, and the other
     eleven months, with an increase of growth so small as to be
     irreconcilable with the proof we have of the growth of the
     grilse and salmon during their residence in salt water."--P.

We are not entirely of Mr Scrope's opinion, that some salmon fry are
descending to the sea during every month of the year; at least, we do
not conceive that this forms a part of their regular rotation. But the
nature of the somewhat anomalous individuals alluded to by Mr Yarrell,
may be better understood from the following considerations. Although it
is an undoubted fact that the great portion of parr descend together to
the sea, as smolts, in May, by which time they have entered into their
third year, yet it is also certain that a few, owing to some peculiarity
in their natural constitution, do not migrate at that time, but continue
in the rivers all summer. As these have not obeyed the normal or
ordinary law which regulates the movements of their kind, they make
irregular migrations to the sea during the winter floods, and ascend the
rivers during the spring months, some time before the descent of the
two-year-olds. We have killed parr of this description, measuring eight
and nine inches, in the rivers in October, and we doubt not these form
eventually the small, thin, rather ill-conditioned grilse which are
occasionally taken in our rivers during early spring. But it is
midsummer before the regularly migrating smolts reappear as grilse.
However, certain points in relation to this branch of our subject may
still be regarded as "open questions," on which the Cabinet has not made
up its mind, and may agree to differ. Mr Scrope is certainly right in
his belief, that, whatever be the range of time occupied by the descent
of smolts towards the sea, they are not usually seen descending with
their silvery coating on except in spring; although our Sutherland
correspondent, to whom we have so frequently referred, is not of that
opinion. It may be, that those which do not join the general throng,
migrate in a more sneaking sort of way during summer. They are
non-intrusionists, who have at first refused to sign the terms of the
Convocation; but finding themselves eventually rather out of their
element, on the wrong side of the cruive dyke, and not wishing to fall
as fry into the cook's hands, have sea-ceded some time after the
disruption of their General Assembly.

Even those smolts which descend together in April and May, (the chief
periods of migration,) do not agree in size. Many are not half the
length of others, although all have assumed the silvery coat. "I had,
last April," Mr Young informs us in a letter of 3d June 1843, "upwards
of fifty of them in a large bucket of water, for the purpose of careful
and minute examination of size, &c., when I found a difference of from
three and a half to six inches--the smallest having the same silvery
coat as the largest. We cannot at all wonder at this difference, as it
is a fact that the spawn even of the same fish exhibits a disparity in
its fry as soon as hatched, which continues in all the after stages.
Although the _throng_ of our smolts descend in April and May, we have
smolts descending in March, and as late in the season as August, which
lapse of time agrees with the continuance of our spawning season. But in
all these months we have an equal proportion (that is, a corresponding
mixture) of large and small smolts. I have earnestly searched for smolts
in the winter months, year after year, and I can only say that I have
never seen one, although I have certainly tried every possible means to
find them. I have seen fish spawning through the course of six months,
and I have seen smolts descending through the same length of time. Our
return of grilses, too, exactly corresponds with this statement. Thus a
few descending March smolts give a few ascending May grilses; while our
April and May swarms of smolts yield our hordes of grilse in June and
July. After July, grilses decrease in numbers till October, in
proportion to the falling off of smolts from May to August. At least
these are my observations in our northern streams." They are
observations of great value, and it is only by gathering together
similar collections of facts from various quarters, that we can
ultimately attain to a clear and comprehensive knowledge of the whole

We gather from our most recent correspondence with Mr Shaw, (Letter of
8th June 1843,) that he does not regard the range in the spawning period
to be followed by a corresponding range in the departure of smolts
towards the sea, and in their return from it as grilse. He has found a
considerable diversity of time in the assumption of the silvery coating
even among individuals of the very same family. "I do not," he observes,
"recollect an instance where there were not individuals of each brood
reared in my ponds, which assumed the migratory coating several weeks
before the brood in general had done so; and these individuals would
have migrated accordingly, and reappeared as grilse all the sooner." As
the hatching and growth of salmon smolts and other fish, is regulated in
a great measure by the temperature of the water in which they dwell, it
is very probable that ova deposited late in the season, (say the month
of March,) may, in consequence of the great increase of temperature, be
hatched much more rapidly than those spawned in mid-winter, and so, by
the end of a couple of years, no great difference will exist between
them. We remember that, in one of Mr Shaw's earlier experiments, it is
stated that he took occasion to convey a few ova in a tumbler within
doors, where the temperature ranged from 45° to 47°. They were hatched
in thirty-six hours, while such as were left in the stream of the pond,
in a temperature of 41°, did not hatch until the termination of seven
subsequent days. The whole had been previously one hundred and six days
in the water, under a considerably lower temperature.

Mr Shaw has frequently detected individual smolts, both of salmon and
sea-trout, (though of the latter more particularly,) descending in some
seasons as early as the end of March, and as late as the middle of June,
and he has little doubt that some may make their way still earlier to
the sea. These, of course, will be found in our tideways as small
grilse, weighing one or two pounds, in April and May. The large parr, to
which we have already alluded as occasionally met with in rivers, and
which we regard as young salmon remaining (and in this forming
exceptions to the normal rule) in fresh water throughout their third
year, Mr Shaw, whose opinion we requested on the subject, coincides with
us in thinking, "would, in all probability, be the first to quit the
river after so long a residence there, when the season of migration
approached. These, however, are not the only individuals of their kind
which leave the river for the sea long before the month of May." A
difference in the period of deposition will assuredly cause a difference
in the period of hatching, and in this we agree with Mr Scrope; but we
think that a late spawning, having the advantage of a higher temperature
as the result of a more genial season, will be followed by a more rapid
development, and so the difference will not be so great, nor expanded
over so many months, as that gentlemen supposes. Finally, the vagrant
summer smolts, to which we have before alluded, may consist of that
small number of anomalous fry, which we know to assume the migratory
dress and instinct soon after the completion of their first year.

Although the excellence of a salmon's condition is derived from the sea,
and all its increase of weight is gained there, yet few of these fish
remain for any considerable length of time in marine waters. By a
wonderful, and to us most beneficial instinct, they are propelled to
revisit their ancestral streams, with an increase of size corresponding
to the length of their sojourn in the sea. Such as observe their
accustomed seasons, (and of these are the great mass of smolts,) return
at certain anticipated times. Their periods are known, and their
revolutions calculated. Such as migrate at irregular or unobserved
intervals, return unexpectedly at different times. Their motions seem
eccentric, because their periods have not been ascertained.

But it is obvious that Mr Yarrell's diminutive examples already alluded
to, could not have gone down to the sea with the great majority of their
kind, during the spring preceding that in which they were captured;
because, in that case, having remained a much longer time than usual in
salt water, they would have returned as very large grilse instead of
extremely small ones.

Mr Scrope informs us that the most plentiful season in the Tweed for
grilse, if there has been a flood, is about the time of St Boswell's
fair, namely, the 18th of July, at which period they weigh from four to
six pounds. Those which don't leave the salt for the fresh water till
the end of September and the course of October, sometimes come up from
the sea for the first time weighing ten or eleven pounds, or even more.

     "Some of them are much larger than small salmon; but by the
     term grilse I mean young salmon that have only been once to
     sea. They are easily distinguished from salmon by their
     countenance, and less plump appearance, and particularly by the
     diminished size of the part of the body next the tail, which
     also is more forked than that of the salmon. They remain in
     fresh water all the autumn and winter, and spawn at the same
     time with the salmon. They return also to sea in spring with
     the salmon. It seems worthy of remark, that salmon are
     oftentimes smaller than moderate-sized grilse; but, although
     such grilse have been only once to sea, yet the period they
     have remained there must have exceeded the two short visits
     made by the _small_ salmon, and hence their superiority of
     size. When these fish return to the river from their _second_
     visit to the sea, they are called _salmon_, and are greatly
     altered in their shape and appearance; the body is more full,
     and the tail less forked, and their countenance assumes a
     different aspect."--P. 37.

     We are glad to observe that in these opinions regarding the
     growth of grilse and salmon, our author conforms with, and
     consequently confirms, the ingenious and accurate experimental
     observations recently completed by Mr Young of Invershin.[11]

     Of all those natural causes which counteract the increase of
     salmon fry, and consequently of grown grilse and adult salmon,
     Mr Scrope considers that the "furious spates" which so
     frequently occur in Tweed, are the most destructive. These not
     only put the channel in motion, but often sweep away the
     spawning beds entirely. Prior to the improvements in
     agriculture, and the amelioration of the hill pastures by
     drainage, the floods were much less sudden, because the
     morasses and swampy grounds gave out water gradually, and thus
     the river took longer to rise, and continued fuller for a
     greater length of time than in these degenerate days, to the
     increased delight of every acre-less angler.

     "But now every hill is scored with little rills which fall into
     the rivers, which suddenly become rapid torrents and swell the
     main river, which dashes down to the ocean with tumultuous
     violence. Amidst the great din you may hear the rattling of the
     channel stones as they are borne downwards. Banks are torn
     away; new deeps are hollowed out, and old ones filled up; so
     that great changes continually take place in the bed of the
     river either for the better or the worse. When we contemplate
     these things, we must at once acknowledge the vast importance
     of Mr Shaw's experiments; for if ponds were constructed upon
     the Tweed at the general expense, after the model of those made
     by him, all these evils would be avoided. The fry might be
     produced in any quantities by artificial impregnation, be
     preserved, and turned into the great river at the proper period
     of migration. There might at first be some difficulty in
     procuring food for them; but this would be easily got over at a
     very small expense, and with a few adult salmon more fry may be
     sent to sea annually than the whole produce of the river at
     present amounts to, after having encountered the sweeping
     perils I have mentioned."--P. 43.

[Footnote 11: See _Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh_. Vol.
XV. Part iii. p. 343.]

Our author then proposes that proprietors should call meetings for the
purpose, and that parr, hitherto so named, should now, in their capacity
of young salmon, be protected by law. He advises all who have an
interest in the river, to consider the wisdom of mutual accommodation;
the owners of the more seaward banks being dependent on the upper
heritors for the protection of the spawning fish and fry, while they, on
the other hand, are equally dependent on the former for an honest
adherence to the weekly close-time.

But a thoughtful consideration of this portion of our subject would lead
us into a somewhat interminable maze, including the policy of our
ancient Acts of Parliament, and the nature of estuaries,--those
mysteriously commingled "watteris quhar the sea ebbis and flowis,"--"ubi
salmunculi vel smolti, seu fria alterius generis piscium maris vel aquæ
dulcis, (nunquam) descendunt et ascendunt,"--and then the stake-net
question stretches far before us, and dim visions of the "Sutors of
Cromarty" rise upon our inward eye, and the wild moaning of the "Gizzin
Brigs" salutes our ear, and defenders are converted into appellants, and
suspenders into respondents, and the whole habitable earth assumes for a
time the aspect of a Scotch Jury Court, which suddenly blazes into the
House of Lords.[12]

[Footnote 12: Certain river mouths and estuaries in the north of
Scotland "within flude-marke of the sea," have lately given rise to
various questions of disputed rights regarding the erection of
stake-nets, and the privilege of catching salmon with the same. These
questions involve the determination of several curious though somewhat
contradictory points in physical geography, geology, and the natural
history of fishes and marine vegetation.]

That salmon return with great regularity to the river in which they were
originally bred, is now well known. Mr Scrope, however, thinks that they
do not invariably do so, but will ascend other rivers during spawning
time, if they find their own deficient in bulk of water. Thus many Tweed
salmon are caught in the Forth, (a deep and sluggish stream,) and a
successful fishing there is usually accompanied by a scarce one in the
Tweed. Yet we know that they will linger long, during periods of great
drought, in those mingled waters where the sea "comes and gangs,"--as
was well seen in the hot and almost rainless summer of 1842, when the
Berwick fishings were abundant, but those of Kelso and the upper streams
extremely unproductive. The established fact, however, that grilse and
salmon, under ordinary natural circumstances, do certainly return to
their native beds, is one of great practical importance, because it
permits the plan of peopling barren rivers by the deposition of
impregnated spawn carried from more fruitful waters. It ought to be
borne in mind, however, in relation to this latter point, that these
waters must possess, in a considerable measure, the same natural
attributes which characterize the voluntary haunts of salmon. If they do
not do so, although the fry bred there will in all probability return
thither from the sea as grilse, yet the breeding process will be carried
on at first feebly, and then inefficiently, till the species finally
becomes extinct. The same observations, of course, apply to trout. It
has been proposed, we believe by Sir W.F. Mackenzie of Gairloch, to
apply the principle of one set of Mr Shaw's experiments to the
improvement of moorland lochs, or others, in which the breed of trout
may be inferior, by carrying the ova of a better and richer flavoured
variety from another locality. Now, in this well-intentioned scheme, we
think there is some confusion of cause and effect. It is the natural
difference in food, and other physical features and attributes, between
the two kinds of lochs in question, which causes or is intimately
connected with the difference in the fleshly condition of their finny
inhabitants; and unless we can also change the characters of the
surrounding country, and the bed of the watery basin, we shall seek in
vain to people "the margins of our moorish floods" with delicate trout,
lustrous without any red of hue within, in room of those inky-coated,
muddy-tasted tribes, "indigenæ an advectæ," which now dwell within our
upland pools.

It has been asserted by some that salmon will dwell continuously, and
even breed, in fresh water, although debarred all access to the sea.
"Near Kattrineberg," says Mr Lloyd, in his work on the field-sports of
the north of Europe, "there is a valuable fishery for salmon, ten or
twelve thousand of these fish being taken annually. These salmon are
bred in a lake, and, in consequence of cataracts, cannot have access to
the sea. They are small in size, and inferior in flavour. The year 1820
furnished 21,817." We confess we cannot credit this account of fresh
water (sea-debarred) salmon, but suppose there must be some mistake
regarding the species. Every thing that we know of the habits and
history, the growth and migrations, of these fish in Britain, is opposed
to its probability. Mr Young has conclusively ascertained that, at least
in Scotland, not only does their growth, after the assumption of the
silvery state, take place solely in the sea, but that they actually
decrease in weight from the period of their entering the rivers; and Mr
Scrope himself, (see pp. 27, 30,) although he quotes the passage without
protest, seems of the same opinion. Besides, with their irrepressible
instinctive inclination to descend the rivers during spring when young,
we don't believe that the cataract in question would prevent their doing
so, although it might assuredly hinder their return in summer, in which
case the Kattrineberg breed would soon become extinct, even supposing
that they had ever had existence. The alleged fact, however, is well
worthy of more accurate observance and explicit explanation than have
yet been bestowed upon it by the Scandinavian naturalists.

We are informed that Mr George Dormer of Stone Mills, in the parish of
Bridport, put a female salmon, which measured twenty inches, and was
caught in the mill-dam, into a small well, where it remained twelve
years, and at length died in the year 1842. "The well measured only five
feet by two feet four inches, and there was only fifteen inches depth of
water." We should have been well pleased to have been told of the size
of the fish when it died, in addition to that of the prison in which it
dwelt, for otherwise the fact itself is of less consequence.[13] We
presume its rate of growth would be extremely slow, although we do not
agree with Mr Young in the opinion already quoted, that salmon actually
decrease in _dimensions_ on entering the fresh water. We doubt not they
decrease in _weight_, and probably also in circumference; but their
bones and organic structure are assuredly enlarged, and themselves
lengthened, in such a way as to fit their general form for a rapidly
increased development, so soon as they again rejoice in the fattening
influences of the salubrious sea.

[Footnote 13: The following curious particulars regarding the
above-mentioned salmon are taken from a Devonshire newspaper:--"She
would come to the top of the water and take meat off a plate, and would
devour a quarter of a pound of lean meat in less time than a man could
eat it; she would also allow Mr Dormer to take her out of the water, and
when put into it again she would immediately take meat from his hands,
or would even bite the finger if presented to her. Some time since a
little girl teased her by presenting the finger and then withdrawing it,
till at last she leaped a considerable height above the water, and
caught her by the said finger, which made it bleed profusely: by this
leap she threw herself completely out of the water into the court. At
one time a young duckling got into the well, to solace himself in his
favourite element, when she immediately seized him by the leg, and took
him under water; but the timely interference of Mr Dormer prevented any
further mischief than making a cripple of the young duck. At another
time a full-grown drake approached the well, when Mrs Fish, seeing a
trespasser on her premises, immediately seized the intruder by the bill,
and a desperate struggle ensued, which at last ended in the release of
Mr Drake from the grasp of Mrs Fish, and no sooner freed, than Mr Drake
flew off in the greatest consternation and affright; since which time,
to this day, he has not been seen to approach the well, and it is with
great difficulty he can be brought within sight of it. This fish lay in
a dormant state for five months in the year, during which time she would
eat nothing, and was likewise very shy."]

Our author next refers to a rather singular subject, which has not yet
sufficiently attracted the notice of naturalists, and the phenomena of
which (at least their final causes) have not been explained by
physiological enquirers. That fishes assume, in a great degree, the
colour of the channel over which they lie, is known to many practical
observers. We have ourselves frequently frightened small flounders from
their propriety with our shoe-points, while angling near the mouths of
rivers, and so exactly did their colour accord with the shingle beneath
our feet, that we could not detect their presence but by their own
betraying movements. Such, however, as happened to glide towards, and
settle on, a portion of the bed of different colour from the rest,
continued perceptible for a short time; but they too seemed speedily to
disappear, although we afterwards discovered that they had not stirred
an inch, but had merely changed their tint to that of the particular
portion of the basin of the stream to which they had removed. Every
angler knows, that there is not only a difference in the colour of
trouts in different streams, but that different though almost adjoining
portions of the same river, if distinguished by some diversity of
character in respect to depth, current, or clearness, will yield him
fish of varying hue. Very rapid and irregular changes are also
observable in their colours after death; and large alternate blotches of
darker and lighter hues may be produced upon their sides and general
surface, by the mode of their disposal in the creel. Dr Stark showed
many years ago, that the colour of sticklebacks, and other small fishes,
was influenced by the colour of the earthenware, or other vessels in
which they were confined, as well as modified by the quantity of light
to which they were exposed; and Mr Shaw has very recently informed us,
regarding this mutability of the outer aspect of fishes, that if the
head alone is placed upon a particular colour, (whether lighter or
darker,) the whole body will immediately assume a corresponding shade,
quite independent of the particular tint upon which the body itself may
chance to rest. We know not to what extent these, and similar phenomena,
are familiar to Sir David Brewster; but we willingly admit, that in
order to attain to their clearer comprehension, the facts themselves
must be investigated by one who, like that accomplished philosopher, is
conversant with those branches of physical science to which they are
related. They unfortunately lie beyond the range of our own optics, but
Mr Scrope's practical improvement of the subject is as follows:--

     "I would recommend any one who wishes to show his day's sport
     in the pink of perfection, to keep his trouts in a wet cloth,
     so that, on his return home, he may exhibit them to his
     admiring friends, and extract from them the most approved of
     epithets and exclamations, taking the praise bestowed upon the
     fish as a particular compliment to himself."--P. 56.

British legislators ought certainly to consider the recent completion of
our knowledge both of salmon and sea-trout; and if they can make
themselves masters of their more detailed local history, so much the
better. Mr Home Drummond's is still the regulating Act of Parliament,
and seems to have kept its ground firmly, notwithstanding many attempted
alterations, if not amendments. In accordance with that Act, all our
rivers north of the Tweed close on the 14th of September, and do not
re-open till the 1st of February.[14] This bears hardly upon some of our
northern streams. In the Ness, for example, before the application of
the existing laws, more fish were wont to be killed in December and
January than during most other periods of the year.[15] It appears to
have been clearly ascertained that the season of a river (in respect to
its being early or late) depends mainly upon the temperature of its
waters. The Ness, which is the earliest river in Scotland, scarcely ever
freezes. It flows from the longest and deepest loch in Britain; and
thus, when the thermometer, as it did in the winter of 1807, stands at
20, 30, or even 40 deg. below the freezing point at Inverness, it makes
little or no impression upon either lake or river. The course of the
latter is extremely short. The Shin is also an early river, flowing from
a smaller loch, though with a more extended course before it enters the
Kyle of Sutherland, where it becomes confluent with the Oykel waters. It
may so happen, that in these and other localities, a colder stream,
drawing its shallow and divided sources from the frozen sides of barren
mountains, may adjoin the lake-born river, and

                      "On that flood,
    Indurated and fix'd, the snowy weight
    Lies undissolved, while silently beneath,
    And unperceived, the current steals away."

Now salmon don't like either snowy water, bridges of ice, or stealthy
streams, but a bold, bright, expansive, unimpeded, and accommodating
kind of highway to our inland vales. They instinctively regard a
modified temperature, and a flowing movement, as great inducements to
leave the sea in early winter, instead of waiting until spring; and, in
like manner, they avoid "imprisoned rivers" until icy gales have ceased
to blow. The consequences are, we may have an extremely early river and
a very late one within a few hundred yards of each other, and both
debouching from the same line of coast into the sea. Now, in the autumn
of 1836, a bill was proposed and brought in by Mr Patrick Stewart and Mr
Loch, to amend the preceding Act (9th Geo. IV.) which had repealed that
of James I., (1424.) It proceeded on the preamble, that "whereas the
sand acts have been found inadequate to the purposes for which they were
passed, inasmuch as it is found that our close-time is not suitable for
all the salmon fishings and rivers throughout Scotland, and it is
expedient that the same should therefore, and in other respects, be
altered, modified, and amended." It therefore enacted that different
close-times shall be observed in different divisions of Scotland, the
whole of which is partitioned into twelve districts, as specified in
schedule A referred to in the bill. We do not know how or from whom the
necessary information was obtained; but we doubt not it was sedulously
sought for, and digested in due form. For example, the boundaries as to
time and space of the second district, are as follows:--"From Tarbet
Ness aforesaid, to Fort George Point, in the county of Nairn, including
the Beaulie Frith and the rivers connected therewith, _except the river
Ness_, from the 20th day of August to the 6th day of January, both days
inclusive; and for the said river Ness, from the 14th day of July, to
the 1st day of December, both days inclusive." This is so far well. But
in the ninth district, the definition and directions are:--"From the
confines of the Solway Frith to the northern boundary of the county of
Ayr, from the 30th day of September to the 16th day of February, both
days inclusive." Now most anglers know that the district thus defined,
includes streams which vary considerably in their character, and cannot
be correctly classed together. Thus the Doon, which draws its chief
sources from numerous lakes among the hills, is one of the earliest
rivers in the south-west of Scotland, clean fresh-run fish occurring in
it by Christmas; while the neighbouring river Ayr, although existing
under the same general climatic influence, produces few good salmon till
the month of June. It is fed by tributaries of the common kind. The
Stinchar, in the same district, is also a late river, being seldom
worked by the tacksmen till towards the end of April, and even then few
of the fish are worth keeping. Of course, it requires to be closed in
September, although the fish are then in good case. These, and many
other facts which might be mentioned, show the difficulty of legislating
even upon the improved localizing principle which it has been attempted
to introduce. However, the bill referred to, though printed, was never

[Footnote 14: The net fishings in the Tweed do not close till the 16th
of October, and the lovers of the angle are allowed an additional
fortnight. These fishings do not open (either for net or rod) till the
15th of February.]

[Footnote 15: It was proved in evidence before the select committee of
the House of Commons in 1825, that the amount of salmon killed in the
Ness during eight years, (from 1811-12 to 1818-19,) made a total for the

Of December, of  2405
Of January,      3554
Of February,     3239
Of March,        3029
Of April,        2147
Of May,          1127
Of June,          170
Of July,          253
Of August,       2192
Of September,     430

It further appears, from the evidence referred to, that during these
years no _grilse_ ran up the Ness till after the month of May. The

Of June produced  277
Of July,         1358
Of August,       4229
Of September,    1493

Since we have entered, inadvertently, into what may be called the
legislative branch of our subject, we may refer for a moment to the
still more recent bill, prepared and brought into Parliament by Mr
Edward Ellice and Mr Thomas Mackenzie, and ordered to be printed, 11th
May 1842. It is entitled, "a bill for the better regulation of the
close-time in salmon fisheries in Scotland;" and with a view to
accommodate and reconcile the interests of all parties, it throws the
arrangement and the decision of the whole affair into the hands of the
commissioners of the _herring_ fishery. It enacts that it shall be
lawful for these commissioners, upon due application by any proprietor
(or guardian, judicial factor, or trustee) of salmon fishings, of the
value of not less than twenty pounds yearly, in any of the rivers,
streams, lochs, &c., or by any three or more of such proprietors
possessing salmon fishings of the yearly value of ten pounds each, or of
any proprietor of salmon fishings which extend one mile in length on one
side, or one half mile on both sides of any river or stream, calling
upon the said commissioners to alter the close-time of any river,
stream, &c., to enquire into the expediency of such alteration. With
that view, the are empowered to call before them, and examine upon oath
or affirmation, all necessary witnesses, and to take all requisite
evidence for and against the proposed alteration of the close-time; and
upon due consideration of all the circumstances of the case, to
determine that the close-time in such river, stream, &c., shall be
altered, and to alter the same accordingly, and fix such other
close-time as they shall deem expedient. Provided always that the
close-time to be fixed by said commissioners, shall not in any case
consist of less than one hundred and thirty-nine free consecutive days.
Provision is also made for an alteration, on application and evidence as
before, of any such legalized close-time, after the expiration of three
years; all expenses incurred by the commissioners in taking evidence, or
in other matters connected with the subject, to be defrayed by the
proprietors. Permission may also be granted in favour of angling with
the single rod, for fourteen days after the close. This bill, which we
suspect it would have been difficult to work conveniently, was likewise
laid upon the shelf.

Although, as we have said, salmon soonest ascend the warmest rivers,
they are alleged to spawn earliest in the colder ones. Thus Mr Scrope
informs us, that in the shallow mountain streams which pour into the
Tay, near its source, the fish spawn much earlier than those in the main
bed of that magnificent river, and he quotes the following sentiments of
the late John Crerar, head fisherman and forester to the Duke of Athole,
on the subject:--

     "There are," said John, "two kinds of creatures that I am well
     acquainted with--the one a land animal, the other a water
     one--the red-deer and the salmon. In October the deer ruts, and
     the salmon spawns. The deer begins soonest, high up among the
     hills, particularly in frosty weather; so does the salmon begin
     to spawn earlier in frosty weather than in soft. The master
     hart would keep all the other harts from the hind, if he could;
     and the male salmon would keep all the other males from the
     female, if he was able."--P. 60.

We do not think, however, that Mr Scrope's comparative reference to the
upper and lower portions of the Tay affords a satisfactory or conclusive
test. The higher parts of almost all rivers (including, their
tributaries) constitute the favourite spawning places, from other causes
than "by reason of the cold;" and the question should be tried, not by
comparing two different districts of the same river, but all the
portions of one river, with the entire course of another of dissimilar
character. The exceptive clause in Mr Loch's proposed act in flavour of
the river Ness, certainly stood upon the supposition of that river being
an early one for the breeding salmon, as well as the new-run winter
fish; for it enacts not only that the Ness should open more than a month
earlier than its neighbours, but also that it shall close more than a
month before them. This latter restriction would of course be useless
and impolitic, if the parent fish were not conceived to be about to
spawn. But it should also be borne in mind, that the same causes (such
as the extent and depth of feeding lakes) which produce a higher
temperature in winter, cause a lower one in summer and the earlier part
of autumn, and that shallow upland streams are warmer during the latter
periods than those which flow from deeper and more affluent sources. We
believe that the fish of all rivers spawn soonest on the higher portions
of their water courses, whether these be comparatively warm or cold. The
earliest individuals are in general such as have escaped the nets and
other accidents below, and have made their watery way in good time to
proper spawning places. In several rivers with which we are acquainted,
a great majority of the breeding fish ascend in August and September.
But many of those which make their appearance in July, would be early
spawners if they were allowed to escape the various dangers which beset
their path in life--almost all the salmon of that month being captured
by one means or another. Mr Young, in our MS. notes already quoted,
states, in regard to the range of the breeding season, that he has seen
salmon perfectly full of spawn, ascending the rivers in October,
November, December, January, and February. Now the fish of the
last-named month may have spawned as late as March, although our
correspondent adds that he has never _seen_ fish on the spawning beds
later than February, nor earlier than September. He has seen them in the
act of spawning in these and all the intermediate months.

As we have said above, the greater part of these breeders ascend in
August and September, and the _throng_ of the spawning process takes
place in November and December. The earlier spawning begins in September
with only a few pairs, generally grilse; and from that period the
numbers increase till the first week of December, when the operation has
attained its height. It then gradually decreases until February, when
perhaps only a few pairs are seen at work. Mr Young informs us that
sea-trout are seen spawning a week earlier than grilse, and grilse a
week earlier than salmon. He does not mean that all grilse spawn before
salmon begin, but that they are observed working a week before the
latter have commenced.

Mr Shaw informs us, (in his last letter,) that it is an exceedingly rare
occurrence to find an unspawned fish in the rivers of Dumfriesshire in
the month of March. On one occasion, however, about twenty years ago, he
observed a female salmon spawning in the Nith about the 10th or 12th of
March, but unaccompanied by any male. He can also call to mind a pair of
salmon having been observed spawning in the Ettrick so late as Selkirk
March fair, which is held during the first week of April. This, however,
we believe to be a very rare occurrence, notwithstanding Mr Scrope's
statement, that he has in the Tweed "caught full roaners as late as
May." These seem to be anomalous or accidental instances, and we are not
aware that any evidence has been brought forward to prove that they
still seek the spawning beds in pairs at that period, or produce what
may be called autumnal fry.

The usual spawning period in the south-west of Scotland extends from
about the middle of November till the middle of February; but the
busiest months of that period are December and January, when the salmon
spawn in great numbers in the Nith, about Drumlanrig. From the
circumstances of the largest salmon visiting the rivers at that season,
Mr Shaw is induced to think that they are likewise the oldest; and that,
as they increase in years, they desire to remain the longer in the sea,
visiting the fresh waters only during the breeding season. The spawning
period of sea-trout, he informs us, is from about the middle of October
until the middle of December, the principal period being the whole of
November, when the various streams and tributaries are taken possession
of both by sea-trout and herling, spawning in deep or shallow water,
according to their individual size.

But in reference to the point in question, that cold accelerates the
spawning process, let us take for a moment the general basin of the
Oykel waters into view. We know that for several seasons back, the
earliest spawning in that quarter has occurred in the Carron, in
September. Now, it is certain, that during that month the Carron waters
are warmer than those of the Shin. So also the Oykel (properly so
called) is itself two degrees warmer in October than the Shin, and yet
the latter is the later of the two. It thus appears that warmth may be
advantageous both as inducing early spawning in autumn, and an early
entrance of fresh-run fish in winter; although a single river may not
possess both attributes for the reason hinted at--the deepest waters,
though protected from winter's cold, being also screened from summer's
heat. Mr Scrope may therefore be regarded as right in his facts as to
the earlier season of the upland streams, although his theoretical
explanation of them is not conclusive.

The lateness of the spawning season in the Shin may, in some measure, be
owing to the early breeding fish going up into the loch, from whence,
after a time, they fall back upon the spawning places in the fords of
the river. The same thing happens in the lower regions of the Tay--the
fish fall back from the loch, and the ford between Taymouth Castle and
Kenmore is by far the latest in that river. Salmon have been seen to
spawn there in February. In regard to the general influence of the
atmosphere, we may here remark that frosty weather is good for spawning;
because the fish go then into the deeper or central portions of the
fords, by which procedure the spawning beds are never dry,--whereas, in
time of spates, salmon are apt to deposit their spawn along the margins,
and thus the roe is frequently destroyed by the subsiding of the waters.

However, the real importance of an early river has little or no
connexion with the periods of the spawning process; because it is not so
much the breeding fish that are of individual value in winter, as those
which, having no intention or requirement to spawn until the following
autumn, enter the fresh waters because they have already completed the
days of their purification in the sea. Although, when viewed in the
relation of time, they may seem to form the continuous succession of
spawning fish which have come up _gravid_ from the ocean during the
later months of autumn, they are in truth rather the _avant-couriers_ of
the newer and more highly-conditioned shoals which show themselves in
early spring. We believe that fresh-run fish may be found in all our
larger rivers during every month throughout the year, though we cannot
clear up their somewhat anomalous history, nor explain why the breeding
season, as among land creatures of identical natures, should not take
place more uniformly about the same time. It is by no means improbable,
however, that, as grilse seek our fresh waters at different periods from
adult salmon, so salmon of a certain standing may observe different
periods of migration from those of dissimilar age.

If, as many suppose, the earliest fish are those which have soonest
spawned during the preceding autumn, and have since descended towards
and recovered in the sea,--then a precocious spawning would necessarily
lead to the speediest supply of clean fish in mid-winter; but the fact
referred to has not been ascertained, and it may therefore still be as
reasonably alleged that the winter fish (an opinion supported by the
fact of their unusually large size) have continued in the sea since
spring. At least a majority of them, (for they differ somewhat in their
aspect and condition,) instead of having spawned soonest in autumn, have
probably rather spawned last of all during the preceding spring, and so
required for their recovery a corresponding retardation of their sojourn
in the sea. The reasons why grilse seldom show themselves till the
summer is well advanced, are very obvious, now that we have become
conversant with their true history. They were only smolts in the
immediately preceding spring, and are becoming grilse from week to week,
and of various sizes, according to the length of their continuance in
the sea. But they require at least a couple of months to intervene
between their departure from the rivers in April or May, and their
return thither;--which return consequently commences, though sparingly,
in June, and preponderates in July and August.

But we are making slow progress with our intended exposition of Mr
Scrope's beautiful and instructive volume. Although salmon and salmon
streams form the subject and "main region of his song," he yet touches
truthfully, albeit with brevity, upon the kindred nature of sea-trout,
which are of two species--the salmon-trout and the bull-trout. The fry
of the former, called orange fins, (which, like the genuine parr, remain
two continuous years in the river,) greatly resemble the young of the
common fresh-water trout. "Like the grilse, it returns to the river the
summer of its spring migration, weighing about a pound and a half upon
an average."--P. 63. We think our author rather over-estimates their
weight at this early period. Herlings (for so they are also named on
their first ascent from the sea) rarely weigh one pound, unless they
remain for a longer time than usual in salt water. In this state they
bear the same relation to adult sea-trout as grilse do to salmon, and
they spawn while herlings. They afterwards increase about a pound and a
half annually, and in the summer of their sixth year (from the ovum)
have been found to weigh six pounds.[16] Whether this is their ordinary
ultimate term of increase, or whether, having every year to pass up and
down the dangerous, because clear and shallow waters, exposed to many
mischances, and, it may be, the "imminent deadly breach" of the
cruive-dyke, and thus perish in their prime, we cannot say: but this we
know, that they are rarely ever met with above the weight of six or
seven pounds.

[Footnote 16: See Mr Shaw's paper "On the Growth and Migration of the
Sea-trout of the Solway."--_Transactions of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh_. Vol. XV. Part iii. p. 369.]

Of the generation and growth of the other and greater sea-trout (_Salmo
eriox_,) we have not yet acquired the same precise knowledge, but its
history may fairly be inferred to be extremely similar.

     "These fish," says Mr Scrope, "are found in many salmon rivers,
     but not in all. It is very abundant in the Tweed, which it
     visits principally at two seasons; in the spring about the
     month of May, and again in the month of October, when the males
     are very plentiful; but the females are scarce till about the
     beginning or middle of November. With salmon it is the reverse,
     as their females leave the sea before the males. The bull trout
     is also more regular in his habits than the salmon; for the
     fisherman can calculate almost to a day when the large black
     male trout will leave the sea. The foul fish rise eagerly at
     the fly, but the clean ones by no means so. They weigh from two
     to twenty-four pounds, and occasionally, I presume, but very
     rarely indeed, more. The largest I ever heard of was taken in
     the Hallowstell fishing water, at the mouth of the Tweed, in
     April 1840, and weighed twenty-three pounds and a half. The
     heaviest bull trout I ever encountered myself weighed sixteen
     pounds, and I had a long and severe contest with his majesty.
     He was a clean fish, and I hooked him in a cast in Mertoun
     water called the _Willow Bush_, not in the mouth but in the
     dorsal fin. Brethren of the craft, guess what sore work I had
     with him! He went here and there with apparent comfort and ease
     to his own person, but not to mine. I really did not know what
     to make of him. There never was such a Hector. I cannot say
     exactly how long I had him on the hook; it seemed a week at
     least. At length John Halliburton, who was then my fisherman,
     waded into the river up to his middle, and cleeked him whilst
     he was hanging in the stream, and before he was half beat."--P.

Many simple-minded people, with something of a sentimental turn, (they
are almost always fond of raw oysters, and gloat over a roasted turkey,
although they know that it was bled to to death by cutting the roots of
its tongue,) look upon angling as a "cruel sport." Let us see, with Mr
Scrope, how this matter really stands.

     "I take a little wool and feather, and tying it in a particular
     manner upon a hook, make an imitation of a fly; then I throw it
     across the river, and let it sweep round the stream with a
     lively motion. This I have an undoubted right to do, for the
     river belongs to me or my friend; but mark what follows. Up
     starts a monster fish with his murderous jaws, and makes a dash
     at my little Andromeda. Thus he is the aggressor, not I; his
     intention is evidently to commit murder. He is caught in the
     act of putting that intention into execution. Having wantonly
     intruded himself on my hook, which I contend he had no right to
     do, he darts about in various directions, evidently surprised
     to find that the fly, which he hoped to make an easy conquest
     of, is much stronger than himself. I naturally attempt to
     regain this fly, unjustly withheld from me. The fish gets tired
     and weak in his lawless endeavours to deprive me of it. I take
     advantage of his weakness, I own, and drag him, somewhat loth,
     to the shore, when one rap on the back of the head ends him in
     an instant. If he is a trout, I find his stomach distended with
     flies. That beautiful one called the May fly, who is by nature
     almost ephemeral--who rises up from the bottom of the the
     shallows, spreads its light wings, and flits in the sunbeam in
     enjoyment of its new existence--no sooner descends to the
     surface of the water to deposit its eggs, than the unfeeling
     fish, at one fell spring, numbers him prematurely with the
     dead. You see, then, what a wretch a fish is; no ogre is more
     bloodthirsty, for he will devour his nephews, nieces, and even
     his own children, when he can catch them; and I take some
     credit for having shown him up. Talk of a wolf, indeed a lion,
     or a tiger! Why, these, are all mild and saintly in comparison
     with a fish! What a bitter fright must the smaller fry live in!
     They crowd to the shallows, lie hid among the weeds, and dare
     not say the river is their own. I relieve them of their
     apprehensions, and thus become popular with the small shoals.
     When we see a fish quivering upon dry land, he looks so
     helpless without arms or legs, and so demure in expression,
     adding hypocrisy to his other sins, that we naturally pity him;
     then kill and eat him, with Harvey sauce, perhaps. Our pity is
     misplaced,--the fish is not. There is an immense trout in Loch
     Awe in Scotland, which is so voracious, and swallows his own
     species with such avidity, that he has obtained the name of
     _Salmo ferox._ I pull about this unnatural monster till he is
     tired, land him, and give him the _coup-de-grace_. Is this
     cruel? Cruelty should be made of sterner stuff."--P. 83.

Mr Scrope is known as an accomplished artist as well as an experienced
angler, and we need not now to tell our readers that he is also a
skilful author. It does not fall to the lot of all men to handle with
equal dexterity the brush, the pen, and the rod--to say nothing of the
rifle--still less of the leister, under cloud of night. There is much in
the present volume to interest even those who are so unfortunate as to
have never seen either, grilse or salmon, except as pupils or
practitioners in the silver-fork school. His reminiscences of his own
early life and manlier years, under the soubriquet of Harry Otter, are
pleasantly told, and his adventurous meetings with poachers and painters
are amusing in themselves, as well as instructive in their tendency to
illustrate, not only the deeper mysteries of piscatorial art, but the
life and conversation of the amphibious people who dwell by the sides of
rivers. His first arrival in "fair Melrose," the moonlight lustre of
which was then unsung, is thus described--

     "It was late, and I looked forth on the tranquil scene from my
     window. The moonbeams played upon the distant hilltops, but the
     lower masses slept as yet in shadow; again the pale light
     caught the waters of the Tweed, the lapse of whose streams fell
     faintly on the ear, like the murmuring of a sea-shell. In front
     rose up the mouldering abbey, deep in shadow; its pinnacles,
     and buttresses, and light tracery, but dimly seen in the solemn
     mass. A faint light twinkled for a space among the tomb-stones,
     soon it was extinct, and two figures passed off in the shadow,
     who had been digging a grave even at that late hour. As the
     night advanced, a change began to take place. Clouds heaved up
     over the horizon; the wind was heard in murmurs; the rack
     hurried athwart the moon; and utter darkness fell upon river,
     mountain, and haugh. Then the gust swelled louder, and the
     storm struck fierce and sudden against the casement. But as the
     morrow dawned, though rain-drops still hung upon the leaf, the
     clouds sailed away, the sun broke forth, and all was fair and
     tranquil."--P. 97.

The fisherman was sent for express, and his general garb and
fly-bedizened hat, are soon portrayed; while the "waxing" of the Tweed,
and how the Eildon Hills were of old cloven by the art of grammarye,
conclude the fourth chapter, and bring us only to the hundredth page.

The ensuing section of the work opens with some general observations on
the scenery of that now noted district of the south of Scotland, blended
with the graceful expression of those melancholy remembrances, we doubt
not deeply felt, which must ever cast a dark shadow over the minds of
the surviving associates of the Great Minstrel. Alas! where can we turn
ourselves without being reminded of the transitory nature of this our
low estate, of its dissevered ties, its buried hopes, and lost
affections! How many bitter endurances, reflected from the bosom of the
past, are ever mingling with all those ongoings of human life and action
which we call enjoyments! How mixed in their effects are even the
natural glories of this our fair creation! What golden sunset casts not
its far-beaming splendour, not only on the great mountains and the
glittering sea, but also breaks, as if in mockery, into ghastly chambers
where the desolation of death, "the wages of sin," is miserably
brooding! And yet how solemnizing, how elevating in their influences,
are all the highest beauties both of art and nature, notwithstanding the
awe, approaching to fearfulness, with which they not seldom affect our
spirits. The veneration with which we gaze even on insensate walls which
once formed the loved abode of genius and virtue, is a natural tribute
to a noble nature, and flows from one of the purest and most sustaining
sources of emotion by which our humanity is distinguished. It almost
looks as if, in accordance with the Platonic philosophy, there remained
to man, from an original and more lofty state of existence, some dim
remembrance of perfection.

"This inborn and implanted recollection of the godlike," says Schlegel,
"remains ever dark and mysterious; for man is surrounded by the sensible
world, which being in itself changeable and imperfect, encircles him
with images of imperfection, changeableness, corruption, and error, and
thus casts perpetual obscurity over that light which is within him.
Wherever, in the sensible and natural world, he perceives any thing
which bears a resemblance to the attributes of the God-head, which can
serve as a symbol of a high perfection, the old recollections of his
soul are awakened and refreshed. The love of the beautiful fills and
animates the soul of the beholder with an awe and reverence which belong
not to the beautiful itself--at least not to any sensible manifestation
of it--but to that unseen original of which material beauty is the type.
From this admiration, this new-awakened recollection, and this
instantaneous inspiration, spring all higher knowledge and truth. These
are not the product of cold, leisurely, and voluntary reflection, but
occupy at once a station far superior to what either thought, or art, or
speculation, can attain; and enter into our inmost souls with the power
and presence of a gift from the divinity."

Mr Scrope's first visit to the Tweed was made before the "Ariosto of the
North" had sung those undying strains which have since added so much
associated interest to the finely varied courses of that fair river. But
many fond lovers of nature, then as now,

     "Though wanting the accomplishment of verse,"

were well acquainted with all its unrecorded beauties.

     "What stranger," asks our author, "just emerging from the
     angular enclosures of the south, scored and subdued by tillage,
     would not feel his heart expand at the first sight of the
     heathy mountains, swelling out into vast proportions, over
     which man had no dominion? At the dawn of day he sees, perhaps,
     the mist ascending slowly up the dusky river, taking its
     departure to some distant undefined region; below the mountain
     range his sight rests upon a deep and narrow glen, gloomy with
     woods, shelving down to its centre. What is hid in that
     mysterious mass the eye may not visit; but a sound comes down
     from afar, as of the rushing and din of waters. It is the voice
     of the Tweed, as it bursts from the melancholy hills, and comes
     rejoicing down the sunny vale, taking its free course through
     the haugh, and glittering amongst sylvan bowers--swelling out
     at times fair and ample, and again contracted into gorges and
     sounding cataracts--lost for a space in its mazes behind a
     jutting brae, and re-appearing in dashes of light through bolls
     of trees opposed to it in shadow.

     "Thus it holds its fitful course. The stranger might wander in
     the quiet vale, and far below the blue summits he might see the
     shaggy flock grouped upon some sunny knoll, or struggling among
     the scattered birch-trees, and lower down on the haugh, his eye
     perchance might rest awhile on some cattle standing on a tongue
     of land by the margin of the river, with their dark and rich
     brown forms opposed to the brightness of the waters. All these
     outward pictures he might see and feel; but he would see no
     farther: the lore had not spread its witchery over the
     scene--the legends slept in oblivion. The stark moss-trooper,
     and the clanking stride of the warrior, had not again started
     into life; nor had the light blazed gloriously in the sepulchre
     of the wizard with the mighty book. The slogan swelled not anew
     upon the gale, sounding, through the glens and over the misty
     mountains; nor had the minstrel's harp made music in the
     stately halls of Newark, or beside the lonely braes of Yarrow.

     "Since that time I have seen the Cottage of Abbotsford, with
     the rustic porch, lying peacefully on the haugh between the
     lone hills, and have listened to the wild rush of the Tweed as
     it hurried beneath it. As time progressed, and as hopes arose,
     I have seen that cottage converted into a picturesque mansion,
     with every luxury and comfort attached to it, and have partaken
     of its hospitality; the unproductive hills I have viewed
     covered with thriving plantations, and the whole aspect of the
     country civilized, without losing its romantic character. But,
     amidst all these revolutions, I have never perceived any change
     in the mind of him who made them,--'the choice and master
     spirit of the age.' There he dwelt in the hearts of the people,
     diffusing life and happiness around him; he made a home beside
     the border river, in a country and a nation that have derived
     benefit from his presence, and consequence from his genius.
     From his chamber he looked out upon the grey ruins of the
     Abbey, and the sun which set in splendour beneath the Eildon
     Hills. Like that sun, his course has been run; and, though
     disastrous clouds came across him in his career, he went down
     in unfading glory.

     "These golden hours, alas! have long passed away; but often
     have I visions of the sylvan valley, and its glittering waters,
     with dreams of social intercourse. Abbotsford, Mertoun,
     Chiefswood, Huntly-Burn, Allerley--when shall I forget ye?"--P.

How many share these sad and vain regrets! The very voice of the living
waters, which once glittered so rejoicingly through the green pastures,
or reflected in their still expanse the lichen-covered crag or varied
woodland, seems now to utter an "_illoetabile murmur_," while

    "A trouble not of clouds or weeping rain,
    Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light,
    Engender'd, hangs o'er Eildon's triple height."

On the 21st of September 1832, Sir Walter Scott breathed his last, in
the presence of all his children. "It was a beautiful day," we have been
elsewhere told, "so warm that every window was wide open, and so
perfectly still, that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear,
the gentle ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly audible
as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest son kissed and closed his
eyes. No sculptor ever modelled a more majestic image of repose."[17]

[Footnote 17: The Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., by his literary

We must here unwillingly conclude our account of Mr Scrope's volume,
although we have scarcely even entered on many of its most important
portions. Bait fishing for salmon, and the darker, though
torch-illumined, mysteries of the leister, occupy the terminal chapters.
A careful study of the whole will amply repay the angler, the
naturalist, the artist, and the general admirer of the inexhaustible
beauties of rural scenery--nowhere witnessed or enjoyed to such
advantage as by the side of a first-rate river.

       *       *       *       *       *



In offering this little poem to the public, some few words, by way of
explanation, are deemed necessary. Most of the circumstances alluded to
in it will be familiar to Oxford readers of Bishop Heber's standing, but
especially to those of his own college, Brazenose. The origin of the
poem was simply this:--A young friend of his, B----d P----t, went to
call upon him at Brazenose, and, without being aware of the heinous
crime he was committing, cracked a four-horse whip in the quadrangle.
This moved the ire of a certain doctor, a fellow and tutor, and at that
time also dean of the college, commonly called _Dr Toe_ from a defect in
one of his feet. The doctor had unfortunately made himself obnoxious to
most of those of his own college, under-graduates as well as others, by
his absurd conduct and regulations. On the following day Mr P----t
cracked the whip in the quadrangle, when the doctor issued from his
rooms in great wrath, and after remonstrating with Mr P----t, and
endeavouring to take the whip from him, a scuffle ensued, in which the
whip was broken, and the doctor overpowered and thrown down by the
victorious P----t, who had fortunately taken his degree of Master of
Arts. Heber, then an under-graduate of only a few terms' standing, wrote
the first canto the same evening, and the intrinsic merit of the poem
will recommend it to most readers. But it will be doubly interesting
when considered as one of the _first_, if not the _very first_, of the
poetical productions of that eminent and distinguished scholar. In it
may be traced the dawnings of that genius which was afterwards to
delight the world in an enlarged sphere of usefulness.



    Where whiten'd Cain the curse of heaven defies,[18]
    And leaden slumber seals his brother's eyes,
    Where o'er the porch in brazen splendour glows
    The vast projection of the mystic nose,
    Triumph erewhile of Bacon's fabled arts,[19]
    Now well-hung symbol of the student's parts;
    'Midst those unhallow'd walls and gloomy cells
    Where every thing but Contemplation dwells,
    Dire was the feud our sculptured Alfred saw,[20]
    And thy grim-bearded bust, Erigena,
    When scouts came flocking from the empty hall,
    And porters trembled at the Doctor's call;
    Ah! call'd in vain, with laugh supprest they stood
    And bit their nails, a dirty-finger'd brood.
    E'en Looker gloried in his master's plight,[21]
    And John beheld, and chuckled at the sight.[22]
    Genius of discord! thou whose murky flight
    With iron pennons more obscured the night--
    Thou, too, of British birth, who dost reside
    In Syms's or in Goodwin's blushing tide,[23]
    Say, spirit, say, for thy enlivening bowl
    With fell ambition fired thy favourite's soul,
    From what dread cause began the bloodless fray
    Pregnant with shame, with laughter, and dismay?
    Calm was the night, and all was sunk to rest,
    Save Shawstone's party, and the Doctor's breast:
    He saw with pain his ancient glory fled,
    And thick oblivion gathering round his head.
    Alas! no more his pupils crowding come,
    To wait indignant in their tyrant's room,[24]
    No more in hall the fluttering theme he tears,
    Or lolling, picks his teeth at morning prayers;
    Unmark'd, unfear'd, on dogs he vents his hate,
    And spurns the terrier from his guarded gate.
    But now to listless indolence a prey,
    Stretch'd on his couch, he sad and darkling lay;
    As not unlike in venom and in size,
    Close in his hole the hungry spider lies.
    "And oh!" he cries, "am I so powerless grown,
    That I am fear'd by cooks and scouts alone?
    Oh! for some nobler strife, some _senior_ foe,
    To swell by his defeat the name of Toe!"
    He spoke--the powers of mischief heard his cries,
    And steep'd in sullen sleep his rheumy eyes.
    He slept--but rested not, his guardian sprite
    Rose to his view in visions of the night,
    And thus, with many a tear and many a sigh,
    He heard, or seem'd to hear, the mimic demon cry:--[25]
    "Is this a time for distant strife to pray,
    When all my power is melting fast away,
    Like mists dissolving at the beams of day,
    When masters dare their ancient rights resume,
    And bold intruders fill the common room,
    Whilst thou, poor wretch, forsaken, shunn'd by all,
    Must pick thy commons in the empty hall?
    Nay more! regardless of thy hours and thee,
    They scorn the ancient, frugal hour of three.[26]
    Good Heavens! at four their costly treat is spread,
    And juniors lord it at the table's head;
    See fellows' benches sleeveless striplings bear,[27]
    Whilst Smith and Sutton from the canvass stare.[28]
    Hear'st thou through all this consecrated ground,
    The rattling thong's unwonted clangour sound?
    Awake! arise! though many a danger lour,
    By one bright deed to vindicate thy power."
    He ceased; as loud the fatal whip resounds,
    With throbbing heart the eager Doctor bounds.
    So when some bear from Russia's clime convey'd,
    Politer grown, has learnt the dancer's trade,
    If weary with his toil perchance, he hears
    His master's lash re-echoing in his ears,
    Though loath, he lifts his paws, and bounds in air,
    And hops and rages whilst the rabble stare.


    You the great foe of this Assembly!
    I the great foe? Why the great foe?
    In that being one of the meanest, barest, poorest,
    ----Thou goest foremost.--SHAKSPEARE'S _Coriolanus_.

    Forth from his cell the wily warrior hies,
    And swift to seize the unwary victim flies.
    For sure he deem'd, since now declining day
    Had dimn'd the brightness of his visual ray,
    He deem'd on helpless under-graduate foes
    To purge the bile that in his liver rose.
    Fierce schemes of vengeance in his bosom swell,
    Jobations dire, and Impositions fell.
    And now a cross he'd meditate, and swear[29]
    Six ells of Virgil should the crime repair.[30]
    Along the grass with heedless haste he trod,[31]
    And with unequal footsteps press'd the sod--
    That hallow'd sod, that consecrated ground,
    By eclogues, fines, and crosses fenced around.
    When lo! he sees, yet scarcely can believe,
    The destined victim wears a master's sleeve;
    So when those heroes, Britain's pride and care,
    In dark Batavian meadows urge the war;
    Oft as they roam'd, in fogs and darkness lost,
    They found a Frenchman what they deem'd a post.
    The Doctor saw; and, filled with wild amaze,
    He fix'd on P----t[32] his quick convulsive gaze.
    Thus shrunk the trembling thief, when first he saw,
    Hung high in air, the waving Abershaw.[33]
    Thus the pale bawd, with agonizing heart,
    Shrieks when she hears the beadle's rumbling cart.
    "And oh! what noise," he cries, "what sounds unblest,
    Presume to break a senior's holy rest?[34]
    Full well you know, who thus my anger dare,
    To horse-whips what antipathy I bear.
    Shall I, in vain, immersed in logic lore,
    O'er Saunderson and Allrick try to pore--
    I, who the major to the minor join,
    And prove conclusively that _seven's_ not _nine_?
    With expectation big, and hope elate,
    The critic world my learned labours wait:
    And shall not Strabo then respect command,
    And shall not Strabo stay thy insulting hand?
    Strabo![35] whose pages, eighteen years and more,
    Have been my public shame, my private bore?
    Hence, to thy room, audacious wretch! retire,
    Nor think thy sleeves shall save thee from mine ire."
    He spoke; such fury sparkled in his face,
    The Buttery trembled to its tottering base,
    The frighted rats in corners laid them down,
    And all but P----t was daunted at his frown;
    Firm and intrepid stood the reverend man,
    As thrice he stroked his face, and thus began:
    "And hopest thou then," the injured Bernard said,
    "To launch thy thunders on a master's head?
    O, wont to deal the trope and dart the fist,
    Half-learn'd logician, half-form'd pugilist,
    Censor impure, who dar'st, with slanderous aim,
    And envy's dart, assault a H----r's name.
    Senior, self-called, can I forget the day,
    When titt'ring under-graduates mock'd thy sway,
    And drove thee foaming from the Hall away?
    Gods, with what raps the conscious tables rung,
    From every form how shrill the cuckoo sung![36]
    Oh! sounds unblest--Oh! notes of deadliest fear--
    Harsh to the tutor's or the lover's ear,
    The hint, perchance, thy warmest hopes may quell,
    And cuckoo mingle with the thoughts of _Bel_."[37]
    At that loved name, with fury doubly keen,
    Fierce on the Deacon rush'd the raging Dean;
    Nor less the dauntless Deacon dare withstand
    The brandish'd weight of Toe's uplifted hand.
    [38]The ghost of themes departed, that, of yore,
    Disgraced alike, the Doctor praised or tore,
    On paper wings flit dimly through the night,
    And, hovering low in air, beheld the fight.
    Each ill-starr'd verse its filthy den forsakes,
    Black from the spit, or reeking from the jakes;
    The blot-stain'd troop their shadowy pages spread,
    And call for vengeance on the murderer's head.


    digito male pertinaci.--_Hor_.

    [39]Shade of Boileau! (who told in deathless lays
    A choral pulpit's military praise,)
    Thou, too, that dared'st a cloister'd warfare sing,
    And dip thy bucket in Castalia's spring!
    Forgive, blest bards, if, with unequal fire,
    I feebly strike the imitative lyre;
    Though strong to celebrate no vulgar fray,
    Since P----t and conquest swell the exulting lay.
      Not link'd, alas in friendship's sacred band,
    With hands fast lock'd the furious parsons stand;
    Each grasps the whip with unrelenting might--
    The whip, the cause and guerdon of the fight--
    But either warrior spends his strength in vain,
    And panting draws his lengthen'd breath with pain,
    Till now the Dean, with throat extended wide,
    And faltering shout, for speedy succour cried
    [40]To them who in yon grateful cell repose,
    Where Greenland odours feast the stranger's nose--
    "Scouts, porters, shoe-blacks, whatsoe'er your trade,
    All, all, attend, your master's fist to aid!"
    They heard his voice, and, trembling at the sound,
    The half-breech'd legions swarm'd like moths around;
    But, ah! the half-breech'd legions, call'd in vain,
    Dismay'd and useless, fill'd the cumber'd plain;
    And while for servile aid the Doctor calls,
    [41]By P----t subverted, prone to earth he sprawls.
    [42]E'en then were heard, so Brazenose students sing,
    The grass-plot chains in boding notes to ring;
    E'en then we mark'd, where, gleaming through the night,
    Aerial crosses shed a lurid light.
    Those wrestlers, too, whom naked we behold
    Through many a summer's night and winter's cold,
    Now changed appear'd, his pristine languor fled,
    Expiring Abel raised his sinking head,
    While with fix'd eyes his murderer seemed to stand,
    The bone half dropping from his nerveless hand.
    So, when of old, as Latian records tell,
    At Pompey's base the laurel'd despot fell,
    Reviving freedom mock'd her sinking foe,
    And demons shriek'd as Brutus dealt the blow.
    His trencher-bonnet tumbling from his crown,
    Subdued by Bernard, sunk the Doctor down;
    But yet, though breathless on the hostile plain,
    The whip he could not seize he snapt in twain--
    "Where now, base themester,"--P----t exulting said,
    And waved the rattling fragments o'er his head--
    "Where now thy threats? Yet learn from me to know
    How glorious 'tis to spare a fallen foe.
    Uncudgel'd, rise--yet hear my high command--
    [43]Hence to thy room! or dread thy conqueror's hand."
    [44]His hair all gravel, and all green his clothes,
    In doleful dumps the downcast Doctor rose,
    Then slunk unpitied from the hated plain,
    And inly groaning sought his couch again;
    Yet, as he went, he backward cast his view,
    And bade his ancient power a last adieu.
    So, when some sturdy swain through miry roads
    A grunting porker to the market goads,
    With twisted neck, splash'd hide, and progress slow,
    Oft backward looks the swine, and half disdains to go.
    "Ah me! how fallen," with choaking sobs he said,
    And sunk exhausted on his welcome bed;
    "Ere yet my shame, wide-circling through the town,
    Spreads from the strong contagion of the gown,
    Oh! be it mine, unknowing and unknown,
    [45]With deans deceased, to sleep beneath the stone."
    As tearful thus, and half convulsed with spite,
    He lengthen'd out with plaints the livelong night,
    At that still hour of night, when dreams are oft'nest true,
    A well-known spectre rose before his view,
    As in some lake, when hush'd in every breeze,
    The bending ape his form reflected sees,[46]
    Such and so like the Doctor's angel shone,
    And by his gait the guardian sprite was known,
    Benignly bending o'er his aching head--
    "Sleep, Henry, sleep, my best beloved," he said,[47]
    "Soft dreams of bliss shall soothe thy midnight hour;
    Connubial transport and collegiate power.
    Fly fast, ye months, till Henry shall receive
    The joys a bride and benefice can give.
    But first to sanction thy prophetic name,
    In yon tall pile a doctor's honours claim;[48]
    E'en now methinks the awe-struck crowd behold
    Thy powder'd caxon and thy cane of gold.
    E'en now--but hark! the chimney sparrows sing,
    St Mary's chimes their early matins ring--
    I go--but thou----through many a festive night
    Collegiate bards shall chant thy luckless fight--
    Though many a jest shall spread the table round,
    And many a bowl to B----r----d's health be crown'd--
    O'er juniors still maintain thy dread command,
    Still boast, my son, thy cross-compelling hand.[49]
    Adieu!"--His shadowy robes the phantom spread,
    And o'er the Doctor drowsy influence shed;
    Scared at the sound, far off his terrors flew,
    And love and hope once more his curtains drew.

[Footnote 18: In the quadrangle of Brazenose College, there is a statue
of Cain destroying Abel with a bone, or some such instrument. It is of
lead, and _white-washed_, and no doubt that those who have heard that
Cain was struck black, will be surprised to find that in Brazenose he is
white as innocence.]

[Footnote 19: All the world has rung with the fame of Roger Bacon,
formerly of this college, and of his exploits in astrology, chemistry,
and metallurgy, _inter alia_ his brazen head, of which alone the nose
remains, a precious relic, and (to use the words of the excellent author
of the _Oxford Guide_) still conspicuous over the portal, where it
erects itself as a symbolical illustration of the Salernian adage
"Noscitur a naso."]

[Footnote 20: Two medallions of Alfred and Erigena ornament the outside
of the Hall, so as to overlook the field of battle.]

[Footnote 21: The Porter of the college.]

[Footnote 22: The doctor's servant or scout.]

[Footnote 23: Two wine-merchants residing in Oxford.]

[Footnote 24: To those gentlemen who, for half an hour together, have
sometimes had the honour of waiting in the Doctor's antechamber, "Donec
libeat vigilare tyranno," this passage will need no explanation; and of
his acts of graceful dignity and unaffected piety at chapel, perhaps the
less that is said the better.]

[Footnote 25: It was a Rosicrucian tenet, that the demon was assimilated
to the object of his care; and in this we are confirmed by the authority
of the Doctor himself, who treated very largely on the subject of demons
in his lecture on Plato's Phædon. The powers of his mind were never more
successfully displayed than when he illustrated his positions by the
scriptural instance of the two Galilean demoniacs, who abode in the
tombs night and day. It was reserved for his ingenuity and learning to
discover that those unfortunate Bedlamites were not mortals, but
departed spirits.]

[Footnote 26: The real friend of collegiate discipline, whose feelings
our author would blush to offend, will be pleased to recollect that this
deviation from the usual dinner hour took place in the long vacation;
that it was introduced for the convenience of study, and that the
doctor, could he so far have forgotten his dignity as to have joined the
four o'clock party, would have found decorous manners, and more than one
brother fellow of the company.]

[Footnote 27: Wisely was it ordained by our founders, that, young men
being too apt to laugh in their sleeves at the conduct of their
superiors, the academical dress of the under-graduates should, as far as
possible, obviate that inconvenience. Thus, also, Tully hath it, "Cedant
arma togæ."]

[Footnote 28: The two founders of Brazenose College.]

[Footnote 29: It is necessary to explain to non-academic readers, that
it is customary for the tutor of a college to put an X opposite the name
of an offending member in the Buttery Book, as it is called, by which he
is interdicted from having bread buttered, a kind of excommunication.]

[Footnote 30: For the meaning of this expression we refer the reader to
the most preposterous imposition ever known in the annals of collegiate
punishment; the original MS. of which is preserved in the museum of an
eminent collector in Kent. In short, as in Cambridge they sell their
butter by the yard, so at Brazenose the cloth measure has been applied
with singular success to the works of genius; and perhaps the system may
be so far improved upon, that a future under-graduate may have to toil
through a _furlong_ of Strabo, or a _perch_ of logic.]

[Footnote 31: This alludes to the hobbling gait of the Doctor, in
consequence of the defect in his foot.]

[Footnote 32: The Rev. B----d P----t.]

[Footnote 33: Alluding to a notorious malefactor, executed about this
times and hung in chains on Wimbledon Common.]

[Footnote 34: Prophetically spoken, as the Doctor was then only a junior

[Footnote 35: The Doctor, finding that Horace prescribed a nine years'
delay for play or poem, inferred that more than twice that time was
necessary for the learned labours of the editor of Strabo.]

[Footnote 36: For the wonderful answers of the learned cuckoo, at logic
lecture, we refer to his (the cuckoo's) equally edified class-fellows.]

[Footnote 37: The reader will perhaps be astonished to find, that the
Doctor as supposed to flatter himself with the hope that his attentions
were not altogether unacceptable to a young lady of singular elegance
and personal accomplishments, here alluded to.]

[Footnote 38: "Obscoenæque volucres signa dabant."]

[Footnote 39: The poet invokes his heroi-comic predecessors, the author
of the _Lutrin_, and Alessandro Tassoni, whose _Secchia Rapita_, or Rape
of the Bucket, is well known to the amateurs of Italian poetry.]

[Footnote 40: No classical stranger could ever pass the porter in his
lodge at Brazenose, without being sensibly reminded of a favourite
passage in Horace, and exclaiming,
    "Quis multà gracilis--puer in rosâ,
    Perfusus liquidis--odoribus
    Grato----sub antro."

[Footnote 41: "Procumbit humi bos." This is not the first time the
Doctor has been overcome by _port_.]

[Footnote 42:
    "Hine exaudiri gemitus, et sæva sonare
    Verbera, tum stridor ferri tractæque catenæ."

[Footnote 43: With great practical justice and classical elegance, the
words of the assailant are retorted upon himself--
    "Suo sibi gladio hunc jugulo."

[Footnote 44: The _boulevérsement_ is supposed to have happened on the
green adjoining the gravel.]

[Footnote 45: Dead deans, broken bottles, dilapidated lantherns,
under-graduated ladders, and other lumber, have generally found their
level under the pavement of Brazenose cloisters.]

[Footnote 46: Like Virgil's nightingale or owl--
          "Ferali carmine bubo
    Flet noctem."

[Footnote 47: "Post mediam visus noctem cum somnia vera."]

[Footnote 48: We have heard it whispered, but cannot undertake to vouch
for the truth of the rumour, that a considerable wager now depends upon
the accomplishment of this prophecy within nine calendar months after
the Doctor has obtained a _bona fide_ degree.]

[Footnote 49: Alluding to the collegiate punishment before explained.]

       *       *       *       *       *



    Take away that star and garter--hide them from my loathing sight,
    Neither king nor prince shall tempt me from my lonely room this night;
    Fitting for the throneless exile is the atmosphere of pall,
    And the gusty winds that shiver 'neath the tapestry on the wall.
    When the taper faintly dwindles like the pulse within the vein,
    That to gay and merry measure ne'er may hope to bound again,
    Let the shadows gather round me while I sit in silence here,
    Broken-hearted, as an orphan watching by his father's bier.
    Let me hold my still communion far from every earthly sound--
    Day of penance--day of passion--ever, as the year comes round.
    Fatal day whereon the latest die was cast for me and mine--
    Cruel day, that quell'd the fortunes of the hapless Stuart line!
    Phantom-like, as in a mirror, rise the griesly scenes of death--
    There before me, in its wildness, stretches bare Culloden's heath--
    There the broken clans are scatter'd, gaunt as wolves, and famine-eyed--
    Hunger gnawing at their vitals--hope abandon'd--all but pride--
    Pride--and that supreme devotion which the Southron never knew,
    And the hatred, deeply rankling, 'gainst the Hanoverian crew.
    Oh, my God! are these the remnants--these the wrecks of the array,
    That around the royal standard gather'd on the glorious day,
    When, in deep Glenfinnart's valley, thousands, on their bended knees,
    Saw once more that stately banner waving in the northern breeze,
    When the noble Tullibardine stood beneath its weltering fold,
    With the ruddy lion ramping in the field of treasured gold!
    When the mighty heart of Scotland, all too big to slumber more,
    Burst in wrath and exultation, like a huge volcano's roar!
    There they stand, the batter'd columns, underneath the murky sky,
    In the hush of desperation, not to conquer but to die.
    Hark! the bagpipe's fitful wailing--not the pibroch loud and shrill,
    That, with hope of bloody banquet, lured the ravens from the hill--
    But a dirge both low and solemn, fit for ears of dying men,
    Marshall'd for their latest battle, never more to fight again.
    Madness--madness! Why this shrinking? Were we less inured to war
    When our reapers swept the harvest from the field of red Dunbar?
    Fetch my horse, and blow the trumpet!--Call the riders of Fitz-James,
    Let Lord Lewis bring the muster!--Valiant chiefs of mighty names--
    Trusty Keppoch! stout Glengarry! gallant Gordon! wise Lochiel!
    Bid the clansmen charge together, fast, and fell, and firm as steel.
    Elcho, never look so gloomy! What avails a sadden'd brow?
    Heart, man--heart! we need it sorely--never half so much as now.
    Had we but a thousand troopers--had we but a thousand more!----
    Noble Perth, I hear them coming!--Hark! the English cannons' roar.
    God! how awful sounds that volley, bellowing through the mist and rain!
    Was not that the Highland slogan? Let me hear that shout again!
    Oh, for prophet eyes to witness how the desperate battle goes!
    Cumberland! I would not fear thee, could my Camerons see their foe.
    Sound, I say, the charge at venture--t'is not naked steel we fear;
    Better perish in the mêlée than be shot like driven deer!
    Hold! the mist begins to scatter. There in front 'tis rent asunder,
    And the cloudy battery crumbles underneath the deafening thunder;
    There I see the scarlet gleaming! Now, Macdonald--now or never!--
    Woe is me, the clans are broken! Father, thou art lost for ever!
    Chief and vassal, lord and yeoman, there they lie in heaps together,
    Smitten by the deadly volley, rolled in blood upon the heather;
    And the Hanoverian horsemen, fiercely riding to and fro,
    Deal their murderous strokes at random.--
                  Ah my God! where am I now?
    Will that baleful vision never vanish from my aching sight?
    Must those scenes and sounds of terror haunt me still by day and night?
    Yea, the earth hath no oblivion for the noblest chance it gave,
    None, save in its latest refuge--seek it only in the grave.
    Love may die, and hatred slumber, and their memory will decay,
    As the water'd garden recks not of the drought of yesterday;
    But the dream of power once broken, what shall give repose again?
    What shall charm the serpent-furies coil'd around the maddening brain?
    What kind draught can nature offer strong enough to lull their sting?
    Better to be born a peasant than to live an exiled king!
    Oh, these years of bitter anguish!--What is life to such as me,
    With my very heart as palsied as a wasted cripple's knee!
    Suppliant-like for alms depending on a false and foreign court,
    Jostled by the flouting nobles, half their pity, half their sport.
    Forced to hold a place in pageant, like a royal prize of war
    Walking with dejected features close behind his victor's car,
    Styled an equal--deem'd a servant--fed with hopes of future gain--
    Worse by far is fancied freedom than the captive's clanking chain!
    Could I change this gilded bondage even for the massy tower
    Whence King James beheld his lady sitting in the castle bower--
    Birds around her sweetly singing, fluttering on the kindled spray,
    And the comely garden glowing in the light of rosy May.
    Love descended to the window--Love removed the bolt and bar--
    Love was warder to the lovers from the dawn to even-star.
    Wherefore, Love, didst thou betray me? Where is now the tender glance?
    Where the meaning looks once lavish'd by the dark-eyed Maid of France?
    Where the words of hope she whisper'd, when around my neck she threw
    That same scarf of broider'd tissue, bade me wear it and be true--
    Bade me send it as a token when my banner waved once more
    On the castled Keep of London, where my fathers' waved before?
    And I went and did not conquer--but I brought it back again--
    Brought it back from storm and battle--brought it back without stain;
    And once more I knelt before her, and I laid it at her feet,
    Saying, "Wilt thou own it, Princess? There at least is no defeat!"
    Scornfully she look'd upon me with a measured eye and cold--
    Scornfully she view'd the token, though her fingers wrought the gold,
    And she answer'd, faintly flushing, "Hast thou kept it, then, so long?
    Worthy matter for a minstrel to be told in knightly song!
    Worthy of a bold Provençal, pacing through the peaceful plain,
    Singing of his lady's favour, boasting of her silken chain,
    Yet scarce worthy of a warrior sent to wrestle for a crown.
    Is this all that thou hast brought me from thy field of high renown?
    Is this all the trophy carried from the lands where thou hast been?
    It was broider'd by a Princess, can'st thou give it to a Queen?"
    Woman's love is writ in water! Woman's faith is traced in sand!
    Backwards--backwards let me wander to the noble northern land;
    Let me feel the breezes blowing fresh along the mountain side;
    Let me see the purple heather, let me hear the thundering tide,
    Be it hoarse as Corrievreckan spouting when the storm is high--
    Give me but one hour of Scotland--let me see it ere I die!
    Oh, my heart is sick and heavy--southern gales are not for me;
    Though the glens are white with winter, place me there, and set me free;
    Give me back my trusty comrades--give me back my Highland maid--
    Nowhere beats the heart so kindly as beneath the tartan plaid!
    Flora! when thou wert beside me, in the wilds of far Kintail--
    When the cavern gave us shelter from the blinding sleet and hail--
    When we lurk'd within the thicket, and, beneath the waning moon,
    Saw the sentry's bayonet glimmer, heard him chant his listless tune--
    When the howling storm o'ertook us drifting down the island's lee,
    And our crazy bark was whirling like a nutshell on the sea--
    When the nights were dark and dreary, and amidst the fern we lay
    Faint and foodless, sore with travel, longing for the streaks of day;
    When thou wert an angel to me, watching my exhausted sleep--
    Never didst thou hear me murmur--couldst thou see how now I weep!
    Bitter tears and sobs of anguish, unavailing though they be.
    Oh the brave--the brave and noble--who have died in vain for me!


       *       *       *       *       *


"It is not in Provence, (Provincia _Romanorum_,) as is commonly said
from the derivation of the name--nor yet in Spain, as many suppose, that
we are to look for the fatherland of those amusing compositions called
_Romances_, which are so eminently useful in these days as affording a
resource and occupation to ladies and gentlemen who have nothing to do.
It is in distant and far different climes to our own, and in the remote
antiquity of long vanished ages:--it is among the people of the East,
the Arabs, the Egyptians, the Persians, and the Syrians, that the germ
and origin is to be found of this species of fictitious narrative, for
which the peculiar genius and poetical temperament of those nations
particularly adapt them, and in which they delight to a degree scarcely
to be credited. For even their ordinary discourse is interspersed with
figurative expressions; and their maxims of theology and philosophy, and
above all, of morals and political science, are invariably couched under
the guise of allegory or parable. I need not stay to enlarge upon the
universal veneration paid throughout the East to the fables of Bidpai or
Pilpay, and to Lokman, who is (as may easily be shown) the Esop of the
Greeks:--and it is well known that the story of Isfendiyar, and of the
daring deeds of the Persian hero Rustan, in love and war,[50] are to
this day more popular in those regions than the tales of Hercules,
Roland, or Amadis de Gaul, ever were with us. And so decidedly is Asia
the parent of these fictions, that we shall find on examination, that
nearly all those who in early times distinguished themselves as writers
of what are now called romances, were of oriental birth or extraction.
Clearchus, a pupil of Aristotle, and the first who attempted any thing
of the sort in the Greek language, was a native of Soli in
Cilicia:--Jamblichus was a Syrian, as were also Heliodorus and Lucian,
the former being of Emessa, the latter of Samosata:--Achilles Tatius was
an Alexandrian; and the rule will be found to hold good in other
instances, with scarcely a single exception."

[Footnote 50: The exploits of these and other paladins of the Kaianian
dynasty, the heroic age of Persian history, are now known to us
principally through the _Shah-Nameh_ of Ferdousi, a poem bearing date
only at the beginning of the eleventh century; but both this and its
predecessor, the _Bostan-Nameh_, were founded on ballads and [Greek:
rhapsôdiai] of far distant ages, which had escaped the ravages of time
and the Mohammedans, and some of which are even now preserved among the
ancient tribes of pure Persian descent, in the S.W. provinces of the
kingdom. Sir John Malcolm (_History of Persia_, ii. 444, note, 8vo.
ed.,) gives an amusing anecdote of the effect produced among his escort
by one of these popular chants.]

Such is the doctrine laid down (at somewhat greater length than we have
rendered it) by the learned Huetius, in his treatise _De Origine
Fabularum Romanensium_; and from the general principle therein
propounded, we are certainly by no means inclined to dissent. But while
fully admitting that it is to the vivid fancy and picturesque
imagination of the Orientals that we owe the origin of all those popular
legends which have penetrated, under various changes of costume, into
every corner of Europe,[51] as well as those more gorgeous creations
which appear, interwoven with the ruder creations of the northern
nations, to have furnished the groundwork of the _fabliaux_ and _lais_
of the chivalry of the middle ages:--we still hold that the invention of
the romance of ordinary life, in which the interest of the story depends
upon occurrences in some measure within the bounds of probability, and
in which the heroes and heroines are neither invested with superhuman
qualities, nor extricated from their difficulties by supernatural means,
must be ascribed to a more _European_ state of society than that which
produced those tales of wonder, which are commonly considered as
characteristic of the climes of the East. Even the authors enumerated by
the learned bishop of Avranches himself, in the passage above quoted,
were all denizens of the _Greek_ cities of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt,
and consequently, in all probability, Greeks by descent; and though the
scene of their works is frequently laid in Asia, the costumes and
characters introduced are almost invariably on the Greek model. These
writers, therefore, may fairly be considered as constituting a distinct
class from those more strictly Oriental, not only in birth, but in
language and ideas; and as being, in fact, the legitimate forerunners of
that portentous crowd of modern novelists, whose myriad productions seem
destined (as the Persians believe of the misshapen progeny of Gog and
Magog, confined within the brazen wall of Iskender,) to over-run the
world of literature in these latter days.

[Footnote 51: The prototype of the well-known Welsh legend of
Beth-Gelert, for instance, is found in the Sanscrit Hitopadosa, as
translated by Sir William Jones, with a mere change in the _dramatis
personæ_--the faithful hound Gelert becoming a tame mungoos or
ichneumon, the wolf a cabra-capello, and the young heir of the Welsh
prince an infant rajah.]

At the head of this early school of romantic writers, in point of merit
as of time, (for the writings of Lucian can scarcely be considered as
regular romances; and the "Babylonica" of Jamblichus, and the "Dinias
and Dercyllis" of Antonius Diogenes, are known to us only by the
abstract of them preserved in Photius,) we may, without hesitation,
place Heliodorus, the author of the "Ethiopics," "whose writings"--says
Huetius--"the subsequent novelists of those ages constantly proposed to
themselves as a model for imitation; and as truly may they all be said
to have drunk of the waters of this fountain, as all the poets did of
the Homeric spring." To so servile an extent, indeed, was this imitation
carried, that while both the incidents and characters in the "Clitophon
and Leucippe" of Achilles Tatius, a work which, in point of literary
merit, stands next to that of Heliodorus, are, in many passages, almost
a reproduction, with different names and localities,[52] of those in the
"Ethiopics," the last-named has again had his copyists in the "Hysminias
and Hysmine" of Eustathius or Eumathius, and the "Dosicles and
Rhodanthe" of Theodorus Prodromus, the latter of whom was a monk of the
twelfth century. In these productions of the lower empire, the
extravagance of the language, the improbability of the plot, and the
wearisome dullness of the details, are worthy of each other; and are
only varied occasionally by a little gross indelicacy, from which,
indeed, none but Heliodorus is wholly exempt. Yet, "as in the lowest
deep there is a lower still," so even Theodorus Prodromus has found an
humble imitator in Nicetas Eugenianus, than whose romance of "Charicles
and Drosilla" it must be allowed that the force of nonsense "can no
further go." Besides this descending scale of plagiarism, which we have
followed down to its lowest anti-climax, we should mention, for the sake
of making our catalogue complete, the "Pastorals, or Daphnis and Chloe"
of Longus--a work in itself of no particular merits or demerits as a
literary composition, but noted for its unparalleled depravity, and
further remarkable as the first of the class of pastoral romances, which
were almost as rife in Europe during the middle ages as novels of
fashionable life are, for the sins of this generation, at the present
day. There only remain to be enumerated the three precious farragos
entitled "The Ephesiacs, or Habrocomas and Anthia"--"the
Babylonics"--and "the Cypriacs"--said to be from the pen of three
different Xenophons, of whose history nothing, not even the age in which
any of them lived, can be satisfactorily made out--though the uniformity
of stupid extravagance, not less than the similarity of name, would lead
_à priori_ to the conclusion that one luckless wight must have been the
author of all three. From this list of the Byzantine romances, (in which
we are not sure that one or two may not after all have been omitted,) it
will be seen that Heliodorus had a tolerably numerous progeny, even in
his own language, to answer for; though we fear we must concur in the
sweeping censure of a Quarterly Reviewer, (vol. x. p. 301,) who condemns
then _en masse_, with the single exception of the "Ethiopics" of the
last-named author, as "a few tiresome stories, absolutely void of taste,
invention, or interest; without influence even upon the declining
literature of their own age, and in all probability quite unknown to the
real forerunners of Richardson, Fielding, and Rousseau."

[Footnote 52: The principal adventures of Clitophon and Leucippe consist
in being twice taken by pirates on the banks of the Nile, as Theagenes
and Chariclea are in the Ethiopics.]

A work thus excepted, by common consent, from the general reprobation is
which all its compeers are involved, must deserve some notice from its
negative, if not from its positive merits; and the particulars which
have been preserved of its literary history are also somewhat curious.
Even in these days, when almost every other individual is a novelist,
either _in esse_ or in embryo, the announcement of a love-story from the
pen of a bishop would create what is called "a considerable
sensation"--though perhaps it would hardly draw down on the author such
condign and summary punishment as was inflicted by the straitlaced Kirk
of Scotland, less than a century ago, on one of her ministers, for the
high crime and misdemeanour of having indited "a stage play, called the
_Tragedy of Douglas_."[53] Yet not only the "Ethiopics," but the best
known of its successors, the "Clitophon and Leucippe" of Achilles
Tatius, are both universally asserted to have been juvenile productions
of ecclesiastics who afterwards attained the episcopal dignity: and the
former, if we may credit the Ecclesiastical History of Nicephorus, fared
not much better at the hands of the Provincial Synod of Thessaly than
did the "Tragedy of Douglas" at those of the Scottish Presbyteries. Hear
what saith the historian: "This Heliodorus, bishop of Trica, had in his
youth written certain love-stories called the "Ethiopics," which are
highly popular even at the present day, though they are now better known
by the title of 'Chariclea'"--(the name of the heroine)--"and it was by
reason thereof that he lost his see. For, inasmuch as very many of the
youth were drawn into peril of sin by the perusal of these amorous
tales, it was determined by the provincial synod that either these
books, which kindled the fire of love, should themselves be consumed by
fire, or that the author should be deposed from his episcopal
functions--and this choice being propounded to him, he preferred
resigning his bishopric to suppressing his writings."--(_Niceph. Hist.
Ecclesiast._ lib. xii. c. 34.)[54] Heliodorus, according to the same
authority, was the first Thessalian bishop who had insisted on the
married clergy putting away their wives, which may probably have tended
to make him unpopular: but the story of his deposition, it should be
observed, rests solely on the statement of Nicephorus, and is
discredited by Bayle and Huet, who argue that the silence of Socrates
(_Ecclesiast. Hist._ v. chap. 22.) in the passage where he expressly
assigns the authorship of the "Ethiopics" to _the Bishop_ Heliodorus,
more than counterbalances the unsupported assertion of Nicephorus--"an
author," says Huet, "of more credulity than judgment." If Heliodorus
were, indeed, as has been generally supposed, the same to whom several
of the Epistles of St Jerome were addressed, this circumstance would
supply an additional argument against the probability of his having
incurred the censures of the church: but whatever the testimony of
Nicephorus may be worth on this point, his mention of the work affords
undeniable proof of its long continued popularity, as his Ecclesiastical
History was written about A.D. 900, and Heliodorus lived under the reign
of the sons of Theodosius, or fully five hundred years earlier. Enough,
however, has been said of him in his capacity of a bishop--and we shall
proceed to consider him in that of an author, by which he is far better
known than by episcopacy.

[Footnote 53: Home was expelled the ministry for this heinous offence,
which raised a fearful turmoil at the time among Synods and
Presbyteries. The Glasgow Presbytery published a declaration (Feb. 14,
1757) on the "melancholy but notorious fact, that one, who is a minister
of the Church of Scotland, did himself write and compose a stage play
intitled the Tragedy of Douglas;" and to this declaration various other
presbyteries published their adhesion.]

[Footnote 54: This sentence might, with more justice, have been visited
upon the work of the other bishop, Achilles Tatius, for his not
infrequent transgressions against delicacy, a fault never chargeable on

The time of the story is laid in the middle ages of Grecian history,
after the conclusion of the wars between Greece and Persia, and while
Egypt was still governed by the satraps of the great king; and the first
scene at once plunges the reader, in accordance with the Horatian
precept, _in medias res_. A band of marauders, prowling on the coast of
Egypt, are surprised by the sight of a ship moored to the shore without
any one on board, while the beach around is strewed with the fragments
of a costly banquet, and with a number of dead bodies of men, slain
apparently in mutual conflict; the only survivors being a damsel of
surpassing beauty, arrayed as a priestess of Diana, who is wailing over
the inanimate form of a wounded youth. Before they have time however,
either to unravel the mystery, or to avail themselves of the booty, thus
unexpectedly spread before them, they are in turn put to flight by a
more numerous party of robbers, or rather buccaneers, (_bucoli_ or
_herdsmen_,) who carry off the forlorn couple to their retreat, in the
inner-most recesses of a vast lake or morass, near the Heracleotic mouth
of the Nile.[55] The description of this robber-colony appears to have
been drawn from an existing or well-remembered state of things, and
bears considerable resemblance, except in the presence of women and
children, to a _setsha_, or stronghold, of the Zaporog Cossacks in the
islets of the Dniepr.

[Footnote 55: This is usually called the _Canopia_ mouth; but Herodotus
(who says that it was dug by artificial means) calls it the _Bucolic_,
perhaps from the haunts above described in its neighbourhood.]

"This whole region is called by the Egyptians the _Bucolia_, or
'pasturages,' and is a tract of low land, which has been converted by
the inundations of the Nile into a lake, of great depth in the middle,
and gradually shoaling towards the margins into a marsh. Among this
labyrinth of lakes and morasses, all the robber-community of Egypt hold
their commonwealth; some building huts wherever there is enough of dry
land for the purpose, and others living wholly on board their boats,
which serve them for a home, as well as to transport them from place to
place. In these narrow craft their children are born and brought up,
tied by a cord round their foot, in their infancy, to keep them from
falling overboard, and tasting for their first food, after being weaned,
the fish of the lake dried in the sun. Thus, many of these _buccaneers_
are natives of the lake itself, which they regard as their country and
their fortress; and they also receive among them many recruits of the
same sort as themselves. The waters serve them for a defence, and they
are further fortified by the vast quantity of reeds overgrowing the
borders of the lake, through which they have contrived certain narrow
winding paths known only to themselves, to guard them against sudden
incursions from without."

The chief, Thyamis, is forthwith desperately smitten by the charms of
Chariclea, and announces, in a set speech to his followers, when
assembled for the division of the booty, his intention of taking her to
wife. The heroine, as usual with heroines in such trying circumstances,
feigns compliance, stipulating only for the delay of the ceremony till
she could deposit her sacred ornaments in a temple; a request which
Thyamis--who, by the way, is no vulgar depredator, but an Egyptian of
rank, who has been deprived of an hereditary[56] priesthood, and driven
into hiding, by the baseness of a younger brother--is too well bred to
refuse. The beautiful captive is accordingly, (with Theagenes, whom she
calls her brother,) given in charge, for the time, to an Athenian
prisoner named Cnemon, who had been driven into exile by the vindictive
artifices of his step-mother and her confidante, and the recital of
whose adventures (apparently borrowed from those of Hippolitus) occupies
a considerable space at this juncture, without much advancing the story.
On the following day, however, the settlement is attacked by an
irresistible force, guided by the gang who had been driven from their
prey on the beach. Thyamis, after performing prodigies of valour, is
taken prisoner; and Theagenes and Chariclea, with Cnemon, escaping in
the confusion, find themselves alone in an island of the lake. Cnemon,
as being best acquainted with the language and the surrounding country,
is sent the next day to the main land, to make discoveries, accompanied
by Thermuthis, the buccanier lieutenant, who had returned when the fray
was over, in hopes of recovering a fair captive of his own. The object
of his search, however, who proves to be no other than Thisbe, the
treacherous soubrette through whom Cnemon's misfortunes had arisen, had
been slain by accident in the conflict; and Thermuthis, whose suspicions
had been awakened by the joy expressed by Cnemon, is meditating the
murder of his fellow-traveller, when he opportunely perishes by the bite
of an asp. Cnemon, continuing on his way,[57] reaches the margin of the
Nile opposite the town of Chemmis, and there encounters a venerable
personage, who, wrapt in deep thought, is pensively pacing the banks of
the river. This old Egyptian priest, (for such he proves to be,)
Calasiris by name, not only takes the abrupt intrusion of Cnemon in
perfect good part, but carries his complaisance so far as to invite him
to the house of a friend of whom he is himself a guest, and the honours
of whose mansion he is doing in the temporary absence of the owner. This
obliging offer is, of course, accepted with great alacrity; and, in the
course of after-dinner conversation, the incidental mention by Calasiris
of the names of Theagenes and Chariclea, and the consequent enquiries of
Cnemon, who recognises them as those of his late fellow captives, lead
to a long episodical narration from the old gentleman, during which
Cnemon, in return for the hospitality and confidence thus unexpectedly
shown him, displays most enviable powers as a listener, and which, in a
great measure, unfolds the plot to the reader.

[Footnote 56: The hereditary succession of the Egyptian priesthood is
stated both by Herodotus and Diodorus; but Sir J.G. Wilkinson (_Manners
of the Ancient Egyptians_, i. 262,) believe that, "though a priest was
son of a priest, the peculiar office held by a son may sometimes have
been different in point of rank from that of his father."]

[Footnote 57: Before setting out on this expedition, he "reduces his
hair to a more moderate quantity than that usually worn by robbers."
Thus, the Italian bravoes of the middle ages, when they repented their
evil ways, were wont to "shave the tuft," which was thrown over the face
as a disguise; hence the phrase, _radere il ciuffo_, still used as
synonymous with becoming an honest man. See Manzoni's well-known romance
of "I Promessi Sposi."]

It appears that Persina, consort of Hydaspes, King of Ethiopia, had
given birth, in consequence of one of those accidents which will
sometimes happen in the best regulated families, to a _white_ or
fair-complexioned daughter;[58] and dreading lest the hue of her
offspring, unusual in that country, might draw on herself suspicions
which might expose her to certain pains and penalties, she secretly
committed the infant to the care of Sisimithres, an officer of the
court, placing at the same time in his hands, as tokens by which she
might afterwards be recognised, various costly ornaments, especially a
ring which had been given her by the king at their nuptials, bearing
"the royal symbol engraven within a circle on the talismanic stone
_Pantarbé_," and a fillet on which was embroidered, in the Ethiopic
character,[59] the story of the child's birth. Under the guardianship of
Sisimithres, she remained seven years; till, fearing for her safety if
she continued in Ethiopia, he took the opportunity of his being sent to
Thebes as ambassador from Hydaspes to the Satrap of Egypt, to transfer
his charge, with the tokens attached to her, to a priest of the Delphian
Apollo, named Charicles, who was travelling in search of consolation for
domestic afflictions. Before Sisimithres, however, had time to explain
the previous history of the foundling, he was compelled to leave Egypt
in haste; and Charicles, carrying her with him on his return to his
Grecian home, adopted her as his daughter, add gave her the name of
Chariclea. She grew up at Delphi a miracle of grace and beauty,
dedicating herself to the service of the temple, and obedient to the
will of her supposed father in all points, except one, her determination
to lead a single life. At this juncture, Calasiris (who, as it now
incidentally transpires, is father of Thyamis and his rival-brother
Petosiris) arrives at Delphi during the celebration of the Pythian
games, having found it expedient to absent himself from Egypt for a
time, for various family reasons, and more especially on account of the
prediction of an oracle, that he should live to see his two sons engaged
with each other in mortal conflict. A favourable response, vouchsafed to
him by the Pythia from the tripod, at his entrance into the fane of
Apollo, having pointed him out as a personage of consideration, he is
treated with high distinction by Charicles, who confides to him the
history of Chariclea, as far as he is himself acquainted with it, and
entreats him to dispose her, by those occult sciences in which the
Egyptian priests were supposed to be versed, to listen to the suit of
his nephew Alcamenes, whom he had destined for her husband. Calasiris
promises compliance; but the scene is now changed by the arrival of a
magnificent deputation from the Ænianes, a noble tribe of Thessaly,
headed by a princely youth named Theagenes, who, as a reputed descendant
of Achilles, has come to sacrifice at the shrine of his ancestor
Neoptolemus. The pomp and pageantry of the ceremonial is described in
vivid language, and with considerable effect; and as a specimen of our
author's manner, we shall quote the procession of the Thessalians to the

     "In the van came the oxen destined for sacrifice, led by men of
     rustic guise and rude demeanour, each clad in a white tunic
     closely girt about him, with the right arm bare to the
     shoulder, and brandishing a double-headed axe. The oxen were
     all black without mixture, with massive necks low-hung dewlaps,
     and straight and even horns, which in some were gilt, in the
     others twined with garlands; and their number was neither more
     nor less than a hundred--a true hecatomb. Next followed the
     rest of the victims, each kind of animal kept separate and in
     order, and all marshalled to the sound of flutes and other wind
     instruments. Then appeared, in rich and flowing robes, and with
     their long locks floating loose on their shoulders, a band of
     the deep-zoned virgins of Thessaly, divided into two separate
     sets or choruses, the first of which bore baskets of flowers
     and ripe fruit, while those in the second carried salvers of
     sweetmeats and rich perfumes, which filled the air with the
     mingled fragrance breathing from them; but these light burdens
     were supported on their heads, thus leaving their hands free to
     be joined in the movements of the dance, to the slow and
     stately measure of which they advanced; while one chorus led
     the hymn, the strains of which were taken up by the other, in
     praise of Peleus and Thetis, their hero-son, and Neoptolemus
     and the other heroes of his race. The alternate rhythm of the
     chant keeping time with the fall of their footsteps, riveted
     the attention of the spectators, who seemed spell-bound by the
     sweet voices of the maidens, till the cavalcade which
     succeeded, flashing out from the crowd beyond, with their
     princely leader at their head, once more attracted all eyes to
     themselves. The troop consisted of fifty horsemen, who rode
     like guards in double file, twenty-five on each side of the
     chief, arrayed all alike in white cloaks with borders of azure
     embroidery, clasped across the breast with golden buckles, and
     with buskins laced above the ancle with scarlet thongs. Their
     steeds were all of that generous breed which the rich plains of
     Thessaly alone produce, and pawed the ground as if impatient of
     the bit by which their ardour was restrained by their riders;
     and the silver and gold which glittered on their frontlets and
     caparisons, showed the rivalry prevailing among these cavaliers
     in the splendour of the equipments, rather of their coursers
     than themselves. But it was on him who rode in the midst of
     this gallant party, eclipsing all his comrades as the glare of
     lightning seems to obscure all lesser luminaries, that the eyes
     of the gazing crowd were now fixed. He was completely armed at
     all points, except his head, and grasped in his hand an ashen
     lance; while a scarlet cloak, on which was depicted, in figures
     of gold tissue, the battle of the Centaurs with the Lapithæ,
     flowed loose over his panoply, and was fastened in front with a
     clasp, representing Pallas sculptured in amber, and holding
     before her the Gorgon's head on her shield. The breeze, which
     blew back his locks from his forehead, gave his features more
     fully to view; and even the horse which bore him seemed to move
     with a statelier gait, arching his neck and proudly caracoling,
     as if conscious of the noble presence of his master; while the
     admiration of the surrounding multitude burst out into a
     spontaneous shout of applause, and some of the women of the
     lower class even threw fruit and flowers towards him, in the
     hope, I suppose, of drawing on themselves a glance of
     acknowledgement from his eye."

[Footnote 58: The incidents of the birth of Chariclea have been copied
by Tasso in the story of Clorinda, as related to her by Arsete, in the
12th canto of "Gierusalemme Liberata." In the "Shah-Nameh," also, Zal,
the father of the Persian hero Rustan, being born _with white hair_, is
exposed by his father Sam on the mountain of Elborz, where he is
preserved and brought up by the giant-bird Simorgh.]

[Footnote 59: "In the _royal_ character"--"[Greek: grammasin
Aithiopikois oy dêmotikois, alla basilikois]." This distinction between
the royal and popular system of hieroglyphics, as well as the etiquette,
before mentioned, of inscribing the title of the king within a circle or
oval, is borrowed, as need hardly be mentioned, from the monuments of

The cavalier thus eulogized by Calasiris is of course Theagenes, who,
after thrice encompassing in due form the tomb of Neoptolemus, at length
reaches the Temple of Apollo; but, during the performance of the
ceremonial, it falls to his lot to receive the torch with which the
altar is to be kindled from the hand of Chariclea, and love at first
sight, mutual and instantaneous, is the result. The aid of Calasiris is
again invoked by both the lovers; and the good old gentleman, whose
knowledge of the Ethiopian hieroglyphics, by enabling him to decipher
the mysterious inscription on the fillet, has put him in possession of
the true parentage of Chariclea, (which he does not, however,
communicate to Charicles,) at once resolves to contrive their elopement,
being further stimulated thereto by Apollo in a dream--the agency of
dreams, it should be remarked, being introduced on almost every possible
occasion throughout the narrative, and their dictates in all cases
religiously acted upon by the parties interested. A passage is procured
on board a Phoenician ship opportunely lying in the Crissæan Gulf, the
nearest point of the coast to Delphi; and the abduction of Chariclea
having been effected by apparent violence by the companions of
Theagenes, the trio set sail for Sicily, the fugitives passing as the
children of Calasiris. The voyage is at first prosperous; but the ship
happening to touch at Zacynthus, the beauty of Chariclea attracts the
eye of a noted pirate named Trachinus, who, when the vessel resumes her
course, pursues and captures her after a long chase, and turning the
crew adrift in the boat,[60] and carries his prize, with his three
captives, to the coast of Egypt, where he prepares a feast on the beach,
from the materials furnished by the rich cargo of the Phoenician ship,
in honour of his intended nuptials. Calasiris, however, whose genius
seems ever fertile in expedients, has contrived to possess the mind of
Pelorus, the pirate lieutenant, with the belief that he is the object of
the fair captive's preference; and his assertion at the banquet of his
claims gives rise to a furious conflict among the intoxicated pirates,
ending in the slaughter of the whole party except Pelorus himself, who
in turn falls by the sword of Theagenes. Calasiris, who had prudently
retired to a safe distance till the fighting was over, is now on the
point of coming forward to aid Chariclea in the care of her wounded
lover, when he is anticipated by the arrival of the robbers, by whom, as
related at the commencement of the story, he sees his protegés carried

[Footnote 60: The capture of the vessel has furnished the subject of a
painting by Raffaelle and Giulio Romano.]

Before this recital, however, had been brought to a close,
Nausicles,[61] the master of the house, returns, and the cause of his
absence is explained. An Athenian mistress whom he had brought from
Greece had fallen into the hands of the freebooters; and Nausicles,
having procured the aid of a body of Persian troops from the governor of
the district, had proceeded against the buccanier settlement in order to
recover her. On reaching the island, however, they find only Theagenes
and Chariclea, Cnemon and Thermuthis having just started on their voyage
of discovery; and Nausicles, disappointed of finding her whom he sought,
(and who was no other than the faithless Thisbe, slain, as above
related, in the battle,) conceived the idea of claiming Chariclea in her
place by way of indemnity; while Theagenes was sent off to Memphis by
the Persian officer, who deemed that his beauty and noble bearing would
make him an acceptable addition to the household[62] of the Satrap
Oroondates. The lovers are thus again separated, and Chariclea is in
despair; but, on arriving at the house of Nausicles, she is of course
immediately recognised and reclaimed by Calasiris. Cnemon, who seems to
have as extraordinary a genius for sudden friendships as the two
heroines in the "Rovers," marries the fair daughter of Nausicles after a
few hours' courtship, and at once sets sail with his father-in-law for
Greece, having ascertained from him that the detection of his enemies
had now made his return safe:--And Calasiris and Chariclea, disguised as
beggars, set out in search of the lost Theagenes. That luckless hero
had, meanwhile, been re-captured on his road to Memphis, by his, old
friend Thyamis, who, having escaped (it does not exactly appear how)
from the emissaries of his treacherous brother, with whom the attack on
the island proves to have originated, is now at the head of another and
more powerful body of the buccanier fraternity, in the district of
Bessa. He receives Theagenes with great cordiality, and, having beaten
off an attack from the Persian troops, takes the bold resolution of
leading his lawless followers against Memphis itself, in order to
reclaim his right to the priesthood, while Oroondates is engaged on the
southern frontier in withstanding an invasion of the Ethiopians. Arsace,
the wife of the satrap, who is acting as vice-regent for her husband,
unprovided with troops to repel this sudden incursion, proposes that the
two brothers shall settle the ecclesiastical succession by single
combat; and a duel accordingly takes place under the walls of Memphis,
in which Petosiris is getting considerably the worst of it, when the
combat is interrupted by the arrival of Chariclea and Calasiris, who
thus witnesses the spectacle foretold by the oracle--(the dread of
seeing which had driven him into voluntary exile)--his two sons aiming
at each other's life. The situation is a well-conceived one, and
described with spirit. Calasiris is recognised by his penitent sons, and
himself resumes the priesthood, the contested vacancy in which had been
occasioned only by his absence and supposed death. The lovers are
received as his guests in the temple of Isis, and all seems on the point
of ending happily, when Calasiris, as if the object of his existence had
been accomplished in the fulfilment of the oracle, is found the same
night dead in his bed.

[Footnote 61: He is called "A merchant of Naucratis," though resident in
Chemmis. But Naucratis, as we find from Herodotus, (ii. 179,) "was of
old the only free port of Egypt; and, if any trader came to one of the
other mouths of the Nile, he was put upon oath that his coming was
involuntary, and was then made to sail to the Canopic mouth. But, if
contrary winds prevented him from doing this, he was obliged to send his
cargo in barges round the Delta to Naucratis, so strict was the
regulation." Amasis was the first king who had permitted the trade of
the Greeks at this port, [ib. 178,] and the restriction appears to have
been continued under the Persian rule.]

[Footnote 62: The establishment of household slaves or _Mamlukes_ seems
to have been nearly on the same footing with the ancient as with the
modern Persians.]

The loss of their old protector soon involves them in a fresh maze of
troubles. Thyamis, indeed, whose elevation to the high priesthood seems
to have driven his former love for Chariclea out of his head, still
continues their friend; but Arsace, the haughty consort of the satrap,
who is represented as a princess of the royal blood of Persia, and a
prototype of Catharine of Russia in her amours, has already cast her
eyes on Theagenes, whose personal attractions seem on all occasions to
have been as irresistible by the ladies as those of the fair partner of
his wanderings by the other sex.[63] Under pretence of removing them
from the temple during the period of mourning for Calasiris, they are
lodged in the palace of the satrapess, where the constancy of the hero
is exposed to a variety of perilous temptations, but comes forth, of
course, unscathed from the ordeal. The love of ladies thus rejected has
been prone, in all ages and countries, particularly in Egypt since the
days of Yusuf and Zuleikha,[64] to turn into hatred; and Arsace is no
exception to this long-established usage. Theagenes is accordingly
thrown into a dungeon, and regularly bastinadoed under the
superintendence of a eunuch, in order to instill into him proper notions
of gallantry; while an attempt on the life of Chariclea, whom Arsace has
discovered not to be his sister, fails through the mistake of an
attendant, who delivers the poisoned goblet intended for her to Cybele,
the princess's nurse and confidante, and the contriver of the plot.
Chariclea, however, is condemned on this pretext to be burned alive as a
poisoner; but the flames recoil before the magical influence of the gem
_Pantarbé_, which she wears in her mother's ring; and before Arsace has
time to devise any fresh scheme for her destruction, the confidential
eunuch of Oroondates, to whom the misdeeds of his spouse had become
known, arrives from the camp of Syene with orders to bring the two
captives to the presence of the satrap. Arsace commits suicide in
despair; but the escort of the lovers, while travelling along the banks
of the Nile, is surprised by a roving party of Ethiopians; and they are
carried to the camp of Hydaspes, by whom they are destined, according to
Ethiopian usage, to be hereafter sacrificed to the sun and moon--the
national deities of the country, as first-fruits of the war. A long
account is now introduced of the siege and capture of Syene by the
Ethiopians, and the victory of Hydaspes over Oroondates, which occupies
the whole of the ninth book; and though in itself not ill told, is
misplaced, as interrupting the narrative at the most critical point of
the story. Peace is at last concluded between the belligerents; and
Hydaspes, returning in triumph to his capital of Meroë, holds a grand
national festival of thanksgiving, at which the victims are to be
sacrificed. The secret of her birth had, however, been revealed to
Chariclea by Calasiris before the elopement from Delphi, and when on the
point of being led to the altar, she suddenly throws herself at the feet
of the Queen Persina, and, producing the well-remembered token of the
fillet and the ring, claims the protection of her parents. The
recognition of the mother is instantaneous, but Hydaspes, who had always
believed that the child to which his queen gave birth had died in early
infancy, remains incredulous, till his doubts are removed by the
evidence of Sisimithres, who identifies Chariclea as the child which he
had confided, ten years before, to the care of Charicles. At this
juncture Charicles himself appears, having come to Egypt to reclaim his
lost child from Calasiris, and thence having been sent on by Oroondates
to the court of Ethiopia:--and the denouement, as far as the heroine is
concerned, is now complete. Theagenes, however, still remains doomed,
and Hydaspes seems unwilling to relinquish his victim; but, after an
interval of suspense, during which he incidentally performs various
exploits rather unusual in a man in momentary expectation of death,[65]
he is spared, at the vehement intercession of Persina, to whom Chariclea
has revealed her love for the young Thessalian. The voice of the people,
raised in acclamation at this deed of clemency, is ratified by the
approbation of Sisimithres and the Gymnosophists, and all difficulties
are now at an end. The betrothal of Theagenes and Chariclea is publicly
announced; and, at the termination of the festival, they return in state
into the city, with Hydaspes and Persina, as the acknowledged heirs of
the kingdom.

[Footnote 63: In all the Greek romances, it seems almost inevitable that
all the male characters should fall in love with the heroine, and all
the females with the hero; and, this is, in some of them, carried to a
ludicrous degree of absurdity.]

[Footnote 64: The name of Potiphar's wife, according to the 12th chapter
of the Koran. The story of Yusuf and Zuleikha forms the subject of one
of the most beautiful poems in the Persian language, by Jami.]

[Footnote 65: One of these consists in pursuing a wild bull on
horseback, and throwing himself from the horse on the neck of the bull,
which he seizes by the horns, and then, by main force wrenching his neck
round, hurls him powerless to the ground on his back! Such an
achievement appears almost incredible; but it is represented, in all its
particulars, in one of the Arundel marbles, (Marmor. Oxon. Selden,
xxxviii,) under the name of [Greek: Tayrokathapsia], and is mentioned as
a national sport of Thessaly, the native country of Theagenes, both by
Pliny (Hist. Nat. viii. 45), and by Suetonius (Claud. cap. 21)--"He
exhibited," (says the latter writer,) "Thessalian horsemen who drive
wild bulls round and round the circus, and leaping on them when they are
weary, bring them to the ground by the horns."]

Such is the general outline of the story, which, as will have been
perceived, is far from deficient either in incident or in strikingly
imagined situations; but the merit of the conceptions is too often
marred by the mismanagement of the details, and the unskilful
arrangement of the different parts of the narrative. Thus all the
circumstances of the early history of Chariclea, and the rise of the
mutual affection between her and Theagenes, and of their adventurous
flight, are made known through a long episode awkwardly put into the
mouth of a third person, who himself knows great part of them only at
second-hand, and voluntarily related by him to one with whom his
acquaintance is scarcely of an hour's standing. This mode of narration,
in which one of the characters is introduced (like the prologue in an
old play) to recount the previous adventures of the others, is in itself
at all times defective; since it injures the effect of the relation by
depriving it of those accessory touches which the author, from his
conventionally admitted insight into the feelings and motives of his
characters, is privileged to supply: whereas a speaker in the first
person must necessarily confine himself, unless when narrating his own
adventures, to the points which have fallen under his personal
observation. In the present instance it is, moreover, needless, as the
whole episode might as well have been told in the ordinary manner. The
endless captures and recaptures of the lovers, who are continually
bandied about from one set of pirates, robbers, or plundering soldiers
to another, become, at length, wearisome from repetition; and the
dramatic force of the conclusion, which would otherwise be highly
effective, is weakened by the knowledge which the reader possesses, that
Chariclea is all along aware of the secret of her own parentage, and
that she has only to produce the fillet and ring in order to ensure her
deliverance from the dreadful doom which appears to threaten her. The
improbability of some of the incidents, and the awkward manner in which
others are brought about, have been much objected to by modern critics,
and it must be admitted that some better way might be found to dispose
of personages whose agency was no longer needed, than to cut them off by
sudden death, like Calasiris, or by the bite of a venemous serpent, like
Thermuthis. But the mechanical art (as it may almost be called) of
constructing a story was then in its infancy; and the violations of
probability which have been laid to the charge of Heliodorus, are, after
all, much less flagrant than those of Achilles Tatius, and infinitely
less so than those of any of the other Greek writers of romance; nor
would many of our modern novelists, perhaps, gain much by the

The characters are of very different degrees of merit. Theagenes is as
insipid and uninteresting as one of Walter Scott's well-behaved heroes;
and his entreaties to Chariclea, in the final scene, no longer to delay
making herself known to her parents, betray a most laudable instinct of
self-preservation. The deeds of strength and valour which he is
occasionally made to perform, seem rather to arise from the author's
remembering that his hero must do something to support the character,
than to result naturally from the situations in which he is placed, and
his love of decorum is carried, on all occasions, to an absurd extent of
prudery. "Le heros de la pièce est d'une sagesse qui a donné lieu à des
railleries assez plaisantes," says Bayle; though the instance usually
cited--a box on the ear, which he gives Chariclea, when she approaches
him in her beggar's dress, under the walls of Memphis, and attempts to
throw herself into his arms, is scarcely a fair one, as he does not at
the time recognize his beloved under her unbecoming disguise. The
character of Chariclea herself, however, makes ample amends for the
defects of that of her lover; and this superiority of the heroine, it
may be observed, is almost invariable in the early Greek romances. The
masculine firmness and presence of mind which she evinces in situations
of peril and difficulty, combined at all times with feminine delicacy,
and the warmth and confiding simplicity of her love for Theagenes,
attach to her a degree of interest which belongs to none of the other
personages; and her spontaneous burst of grateful affection, on
recognizing, at Meroë, the voice of her foster-father, Charicles, is
expressed with exquisite tenderness. Of the subordinate characters
little need be said. Charicles is a mere impersonation of benevolence
and parental love; and Cnemon seems to have been introduced for little
else than to tell his own long story, and listen to that of Calasiris in
return. The old Egyptian priest, however, is a sketch of considerable
merit. Like Scott's Peregrine Touchwood, though abundantly zealous at
all times to serve his friends, he cannot find it in his heart to take
any but the most round-about way of doing so; but he is never
disconcerted by any of the untoward results of his schemes, and relates
to Cnemon, with the most perfect self-complacency, the deceit which he
had practiced on his confiding host, Charicles, in helping Theagenes to
steal away his adopted daughter, and the various scrapes into which his
protegés had fallen under his guidance. He has, moreover, pet theories
of his own on the phenomena of the Nile, the cause of the roughness of
the Ionian Sea, and various other matters, in which he indoctrinates
Cnemon _par parenthèse_: he is an enthusiastic admirer and constant
quoter of Homer, whose Egyptian birth (at Thebes the hundred-gated) he
maintains with all the zeal of a Highlander defending the authenticity
of Ossian; and, on the whole, we cannot but think the author has
scarcely used him well, in not allowing him to live to see his efforts
crowned with success, and to enjoy the honours which would doubtless
have been heaped upon him at the court of Ethiopia.

The author appears to take especial delight in accounts of costumes,
processions, sacrifices, &c.; the details given of which are often
valuable in an antiquarian point of view; and his information upon these
subjects, as well as of the manners of the country in which the scene is
laid, as far as our knowledge of the present day will enable us to
decide, is extremely correct. One of the most curious morceaux of this
sort, is a minute description of the complete armour for horse and man,
worn by the élite of the cavalry in the army of Oroondates; and which,
though probably taken from that used by the troops of the Sassanian
monarchs cotemporary with Heliodorus, is equally applicable to the
period at which the scene is laid; since numerous passages in ancient
authors show, that from the earliest time up to the Mohammedan conquest,
the Persian nobles and heavy cavalry used panoply as impenetrable as the
European chivalry of the middle ages. Among the other scattered traits
of manners, it will be remarked as singular, according to the ideas of
the present day, that open piracy and robbery are neither spoken of as
disreputable, nor as attaching any slur to those who exercised them;
insomuch, that the notoriety of Thyamis, having been a chief of
freebooters, is not regarded as any obstacle to his assumption of the
high-priesthood. But this, it will be found, was strictly in accordance
with the manners of the ancient Greeks, among whom piracy was so far
from being looked upon in any other light than that of an honourable
profession, that Nestor himself, in the third book of the Odyssey, asks
his guests, Telemachus and Mentor, as an ordinary question, whether
business or piracy was the object of their voyage. But the _Bucoli_
(herdsmen or buccaniers,) over whom Thyamis held command, should
probably, notwithstanding their practice of rapine, be regarded not so
much as robbers as in the light of outlaws, who had taken refuge in
these impenetrable marshes from the yoke of the Persians; and their
constant conflicts with the Persian troops, as well as the march of
Thyamis upon Memphis, confirm the opinion that this was the intention of
the author. That these vast marshes of the Delta were in fact,
throughout the period of Persian rule in Egypt, the strongholds of
Egyptian independence, admits of abundant demonstration from the Greek
historians:--it was here, in the mysterious island of Elbo, that
Amyrtæus, (called by Thucydides "the king of the marshes,") held out
after the reconquest of Egypt by Megabysus, B.C. 454, "for they could
not take him on account of the great extent of the marsh; besides which,
the marshmen are the most warlike of all the Egyptians."[66] This view
of the subject has, at least, the advantage of placing Thyamis in a more
respectable light than that of a mere marauder; though his mode of life
under either supposition, would be considered, according to modern
notions, as a strange training for the sacerdotal office.

[Footnote 66: Thuc. i. cap. 110. The island of Elbo, according to
Herodotus, who gives a curious account of the Egyptian marshes and their
inhabitants, had been constructed of _cinders_, in long past times, by a
king who lay concealed for fifty years from the Ethiopians; but no man
knew its situation, till it was again brought to light, after having
been lost for five hundred years, by Amyrtæus.]

Few if any works of fiction have enjoyed so long and widely diffused a
celebrity, as the Ethiopics. Whatever credit may be attached to the
story preserved by Nicephorus, of the deposition of Heliodorus from his
see, it at least affords evidence of the high popularity of the work,
even during the lifetime of the author; and we have the personal
testimony of Nicephorus himself, that in his own time, five centuries
later, it was still regarded with undiminished favour. Down to the fall
of the Greek empire, its style and incidents continued to furnish a
model to all the wretched scribblers who attempted the composition of
romances--nor was its fame confined within the limits of the language in
which it was written. It found a place in the famous library of Matthias
Corvinus at Buda; and the dispersion of that celebrated collection on
the capture of the city by the Ottomans after the battle of Mohácz, in
1526, first made it known to western Europe: the first edition by
Obsopoeus,[67] (printed at Basle in 1534,) having been taken in MS.
which fell into the possession of a soldier on this occasion. Among the
literati of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, its popularity
seems almost to have equalled that which it had enjoyed in its native
country. Tasso, as has already been noticed, borrowed from it the
episode of Clorinda--and Racine (one of whose early productions was also
founded upon it) was, in his younger days, so enthusiastic an admirer of
it, that when the volume was taken from him by his tutor at Port-Royal,
he replied that it mattered little, as he knew the whole by heart! The
numerous translations, however, which have appeared in various
languages, particularly in French and English, are little calculated to
add, by the merits of their execution, to the favour of the work; one
English _poetical_ version in particular, by Lisle, published in 1527,
is one of the most precious specimens of balderdash in existence--a
perfect literary curiosity in its way! Of the others, we need mention
only the French one of Amyot, (1558,) not for its merits, but from the
author's having been rewarded by Henry II. of France with the nomination
to an abbey--as if in tardy compensation to Heliodorus, in the person of
his literary representative, for the see from which the authorship is
said to have caused his expulsion.

[Footnote 67: Of the later editions of the Greek text, the best are
those of Coray, Paris, 1804; and Mitscherlisch, Strasburg, 1797.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Mr Carlyle--an astute and trenchant critic might, with show of justice,
remark--assumes to be the reformer and castigator of his age--a reformer
in philosophy, in politics, in religion--denouncing its _mechanical_
method of thinking, deploring its utter want of _faith_, and threatening
political society, obstinately deaf to the voice of wisdom, with the
retributive horrors of repeated revolutions; and yet neither in
philosophy, in religion, nor in politics, has Mr Carlyle any distinct
dogma, creed, or constitution to promulgate. The age is irreligious, he
exclaims, and the vague feeling of the impenetrable mystery which
encompasses us, is all the theology we can gather from him; civil
society, with its laws and government, is in a false and perilous
position, and for all relief and reformation, he launches forth an
indisputable morality--precepts of charity, and self-denial, and
strenuous effort--precepts most excellent, and only _too_ applicable;
applicable, unfortunately, after an _à priori_ fashion--for if men would
but obey them, there had been need of few laws, and of no remedial

This man of faith--our critic might continue--has but one everlasting
note; and it is really the most sceptical and melancholy that has ever
been heard, or heard with toleration, in our literature. He repeats it
from his favourite apostle Goethe; "all doubt is to be cured only--by
action." Certainly, if _forgetting_ the doubt, and the subject of doubt,
be the sole cure for it. But that other advice which Mr Carlyle tells us
was given, and in vain, to George Fox, the Quaker, at a time when he was
agitated by doubts and perplexities, namely, "to drink beer and dance
with the girls," was of the very same stamp, and would have operated in
the very same manner, to the removing of the pious Quaker's doubts.
Faith! ye lack faith! cries this prophet in our streets; and when
reproved and distressed scepticism enquires where truth is to be found,
he bids it back to the loom or the forge, to its tools and its workshop,
of whatever kind these may be--there to forget the enquiry.

The religion, or, if he pleases, the formula of religion, which helps to
keep men sober and orderly, Mr Carlyle despises, ridicules; "old
clothes!" he cries, empty and ragged. It is not till a man has risen
into frenzy, or some hot fanaticism, that he deserves his respect. An
Irving, when his noble spirit, kindled to fever heat, is seized with
delirium, becomes worthy of some admiration. A Cromwell is pronounced
emphatically to have believed in a God, and _therefore_ to have been "by
far the remarkablest governor we have had here for the last five
centuries or so." Meanwhile, is it the faith of an Irving, or the God of
a Cromwell, that our subtle-minded author would have us adopt, or would
adopt himself? If he scorn the easy, methodical citizen, who plods along
the beaten tracks of life, looking occasionally, in his demure,
self-satisfied manner, upwards to the heavens, but with no other result
than to plod more perseveringly along his very earthy track, it follows
not that there is any one order of fanatic spirits with whom he would
associate, to whose theology he would yield assent. Verily, no. He
demands faith--he gives no creed. What is it _you_ teach? a
plain-speaking man would exclaim; where is your church? have you also
your thirty-nine articles? have you nine? have you _one_ stout article
of creed that will bear the rubs of fortune--bear the temptations of
prosperity or a dietary system--stand both sunshine and the wind--which
will keep virtue steady when disposed to reel, and drive back crime to
her penal caverns of remorse? What would you answer, O philosopher! if a
simple body should ask you, quite in confidence, where wicked people go

Were it not better for those to whom philosophy has brought the sad
necessity of doubt, to endure this also patiently and silently, as one
of the inevitable conditions of human existence? Were not this better
than to rail incessantly against the world, for a want of that sentiment
which _they_ have no means to excite or to authorize?

The same inconsequence in politics. We have _Chartism_ preached by one
not a Chartist--by one who has no more his _five points_ of Radicalism
than his five points of Calvinistic divinity--who has no trust in
democracy, who swears by no theory of representative government--who
will never believe that a multitude of men, foolish and selfish, will
elect the disinterested and the wise. Your constitution, your laws, your
"horse-haired justice" that sits in Westminster Hall, he likes them not;
but he propounds himself no scheme of polity. Reform yourselves, one and
all, ye individual men! and the nation will be reformed; practise
justice, charity, self-denial, and then all mortals may work and eat.
This is the most distinct advice he bestows. Alas! it is advice such as
this that the Christian preacher, century after century, utters from his
pulpit, which he makes the staple of his eloquence, and which he and his
listeners are contented to applaud; and the more contented probably to
applaud, as, on all hands, it is tacitly understood to be far _too good_
to be practised.

In fine, turn which way you will, to philosophy, to politics, to
religion, you find Mr Carlyle objecting, denouncing, scoffing, rending
all to pieces in his bold, reckless, ironical, manner--but _teaching_
nothing. The most docile pupil, when he opens his tablets to put down
the precious sum of wisdom he has learned, pauses--finds his pencil
motionless, and leaves his tablet still a blank.

Now all this, and more of the same kind, which our astute and trenchant
critic might urge, may be true, or very like the truth, but it is not
the whole truth.

"To speak a little pedantically," says our author himself, in a paper
called _Signs of the Times_, "there is a science of _Dynamics_ in man's
fortune and nature, as well as of _Mechanics_. There is a science which
treats of, and practically addresses, the primary, unmodified, forces
and energies of man, the mysterious springs of love, and fear, and
wonder, of enthusiasm, poetry--religion, all which have a truly vital
and _infinite_ character; as well as a science which practically
addresses the finite, modified developments of these, when they take the
shape of immediate 'motives,' as hope of reward, or as fear of
punishment. Now it is certain, that in former times the wise men, the
enlightened lovers of their kind, who appeared generally as moralists,
poets, or priests, did, without neglecting the mechanical province, deal
chiefly with the dynamical; applying, themselves chiefly to regulate,
increase, and purify, the inward primary powers of man; and fancying
that herein lay the main difficulty, and the best service they could
undertake."--_Misc_. vol. ii. p. 277.

In such _Dynamics_ it is that Mr Carlyle deals. To speak in our own
plain common-place diction, it is to the elements of all religious
feeling, to the broad unalterable principles of morality, that he
addresses himself; stirring up in the minds of his readers those
sentiments of reverence to the Highest, and of justice to all, even to
the lowest, which can never utterly die out in any man, but which
slumber in the greater number of us. It is by no means necessary to
teach any peculiar or positive doctrine in order to exert an influence
on society. After all, there is a moral heart beating at the very centre
of this world. Touch _it_, and there is a responsive movement through
the whole system of the world. Undoubtedly external circumstances rule
in their turn over this same central pulsation: alter, arrange, and
modify, these external circumstances as best you can, but he who, by the
_word_ he speaks or writes, can reach this central pulse immediately--is
he idle, is he profitless?

Or put it thus: there is a justice between man and man--older, and more
stable, and more lofty in its requisitions, than that which sits in
ermine, or, if our author pleases, in "horse-hair," at Westminster Hall;
there is a morality recognized by the intellect and the heart of all
reflective men, higher and purer than what the present forms of society
exact or render feasible--or rather say, a morality of more exalted
character than that which has hitherto determined those forms of
society. No man who believes that the teaching of Christ was authorized
of heaven--no man who believes this only, that his doctrine has obtained
and preserved its heavenly character from the successful, unanswerable,
appeal which it makes to the human heart--can dispute this fact. Is he
an idler, then, or a dreamer in the land, who comes forth, and on the
high-road of our popular literature, insists on it that men should
assume their full _moral strength_, and declares that herein lies the
salvation of the world? But what can he do if the external circumstances
of life are against him?--if they crush this moral energy?--if they
discountenance this elevation of character? Alone--perhaps nothing. He
with both hands is raising one end of the beam; go you with your tackle,
with rope and pulley, and all mechanical appliances, to the other end,
and who knows but something may be effected?

It is not by teaching this or that dogma, political, philosophical, or
religious, that Mr Carlyle is doing his _work_, and exerting an
influence, by no means despicable, on his generation. It is by producing
a certain moral tone of thought, of a stern, manly, energetic,
self-denying character, that his best influence consists. Accordingly we
are accustomed to view his works, even when they especially regard
communities of men, and take the name of histories, as, in effect,
appeals to the individual heart, and to the moral will of the reader.
His mind is not legislative; his mode of thinking is not systematic; a
state economy he has not the skill, perhaps not the pretension, to
devise. When he treats of nations, and governments, and revolutions of
states, he views them all as a wondrous picture, which he, the observer,
standing apart, watches and apostrophizes, still revealing _himself_ in
his reflections upon them. The picture _to the eye_, he gives with
marvellous vividness; and he puts forth, with equal power, that sort of
world-wide reflection which a thinking being might be supposed to make
on his first visit to our planet; but the space between--those
intermediate generalizations which make the pride of the philosophical
historian--he neglects, has no taste for. Such a writer as Montesquieu
he holds in manifest antipathy. His _History of the French Revolution_,
like his _Chartism_, like the work now before us, his _Past and
Present_, is still an appeal to the consciousness of each man, and to
the high and eternal laws of justice and of charity--lo, ye are

And although it be true, as our critic has suggested, that to enlarge
upon the misery which lies low and wide over the whole ground-plot of
civilized society, without at the same time devising an effectual
remedy, is a most unsatisfactory business; nevertheless, this also must
be added, that to forget the existence of this misery would not be to
cure it--would, on the contrary, be a certain method of perpetuating and
aggravating it; that to _try_ to forget it, is as little wise as it is
humane, and that indeed such act of oblivion is altogether impossible.
If crowds of artizans, coming forth from homes where there is neither
food nor work, shall say, in the words that our author puts into their
mouths, "Behold us here--we ask if you mean to lead us towards work; to
try to lead us? Or if you declare that you cannot lead us? And expect
that we are to remain quietly unled, and in a composed manner perish of
starvation? What is it that you expect of us? What is it that you mean
to do with us?"--if, we say, such a question is asked, we may not be
able to answer, but we cannot stifle it. Surely it is well that every
class in the community should know how indissolubly its interest is
connected with the well-being of other classes. However remote the man
of wealth may sit from scenes like this--however reluctant he may be to
hear of them--nothing can be more true than that this distress is _his
calamity_, and that _on him_ also lies the inevitable alternative to
remedy or to suffer.

It accords with the view we have here taken of the writings of Mr
Carlyle, that of all his works that which pleased us most was the one
most completely _personal_ in its character, which most constantly kept
the reader in a state of self-reflection. In spite of all its oddities
and vagaries, and the chaotic shape into which its materials have been
thrown, the _Sartor Resartus_ is a prime favourite of ours--a sort of
volcanic work; and the reader stands by, with folded arms, resolved at
all events to secure peace within his own bosom. But no sluggard's
peace; his arms are folded, not for idleness, only to repress certain
vain tremors and vainer sighs. He feels the calm of self-renunciation,
but united with no monkish indolence. Here is a fragment of it. How it
rebukes the spirit of strife and contention!

     "To me, in this our life," says the Professor, "which is an
     internecine warfare with the time-spirit, other warfare seems
     questionable. Hast thou in any way a contention with thy
     brother, I advise thee, think well what the meaning thereof is.
     If thou gauge it to the bottom, it is simply this--'Fellow,
     see! thou art taking more than thy share of happiness in the
     world, something from _my_ share; which, by the heavens, thou
     shalt not; nay, I will fight thee rather.' Alas! and the whole
     lot to be divided is such a beggarly matter, truly a 'feast of
     shells,' for the substance has been spilled out: not enough to
     quench one appetite; and the collective human species clutching
     at them! Can we not, in all such cases, rather say--'Take it,
     thou too ravenous individual; take that pitiful additional
     fraction of a share, which I reckoned mine, but which thou so
     wanted; take it with a blessing: would to heaven I had enough
     for thee!'"--P. 200.

Truisms! Preachments repeated from Solomon downwards! some quick,
impatient reader, all animal irritability, will exclaim--Good, but it is
the very prerogative of genius, in every age, to revive truisms such as
these, and make them burn in our hearts. Many a man in his hour of
depression, when resolution is sicklied over by the pale cast of
thought, will find, in the writings of Carlyle, a freshening stimulant,
better than the wine-cup, or even the laughter of a friend, can give. In
some of his biographical sketches, with what force has he brought out
the moral resolution which animated, or ought to have animated, the man
of whom he is writing! We shall have occasion, by and by, to notice
what, to our mind, appears a mere perversion of thought, and a
mischievous exaggeration in our author, who, in his love of a certain
_energy_ of character, has often made this energy (apart from a moral
purpose) the test and rule of his admiration. But at present turn to his
admirable estimation of Dr Samuel Johnson, and the noble regret which he
throws over the memory of Burns. A portion of the first we cannot resist
extracting. What a keen mountain air, bracing to the nerves, mortal to
languor and complaint, blows over us from passages such as these:--

     "The courage we desire and prize is not the courage to die
     decently, but to live manfully. Johnson, in the eighteenth
     century, all as a man of letters, was, in good truth, 'the
     bravest of the brave.' What mortal could have more to war with?
     Yet, as we saw, he yielded not, faltered not; he fought, and
     even, such was his blessedness, prevailed. Whoso will
     understand what it is to have a man's heart, may find that,
     since the time of John Milton, no braver heart had beat in any
     English bosom than Samuel Johnson now bore. Observe, too, that
     he never called himself brave, never felt himself to be so; the
     more completely _was_ he so. No Giant Despair, no Golgotha
     Death-Dance, or Sorcerer's Sabbath of 'Literary Life in
     London,' appals this pilgrim; he works resolutely for
     deliverance; in still defiance steps stoutly along. The thing
     that is given him to do he can make himself do; what is to be
     endured he can endure in silence.

     "How the great soul of old Samuel, consuming daily his own
     bitter, unalleviable allotment of misery and toil, shows beside
     the poor, flimsy, little soul of young Boswell; one day
     flaunting in the ring of vanity, tarrying by the wine-cup, and
     crying, Aha, the wine is red; the next day deploring his
     down-pressed, night-shaded, quite poor estate; and thinking it
     unkind that the whole movement of the universe should go on,
     while _his_ digestive apparatus had stopped! We reckon
     Johnson's 'talent of silence' to be among his great and rare
     gifts. Where there is nothing further to be done, there shall
     nothing further be said; like his own poor, blind Welshwoman,
     he accomplished somewhat, and also 'endured fifty years of
     wretchedness with unshaken fortitude.' How grim was life to
     him; a sick prison-house and doubting-castle! 'His great
     business,' he would profess, 'was to escape from himself.' Yet
     towards all this he has taken his position and resolution; can
     dismiss it all 'with frigid indifference, having little to hope
     or to fear.' Friends are stupid, and pusillanimous, and
     parsimonious; 'wearied of his stay, yet offended at his
     departure;' it is the manner of the world. 'By popular
     delusion,' remarks he, with a gigantic calmness, 'illiterate
     writers will rise into renown:' it is a portion of the history
     of English literature; a perennial thing, this same popular
     delusion; and will--alter the character of the language....

     "The life of this man has been, as it were, turned inside out,
     and examined with microscopes by friend and foe; yet was there
     no lie found in him. His doings and writings are not _shows_,
     but _performances_: you may weigh them in the balance, and they
     will stand weight. Not a line, not a sentence is dishonestly
     done, is other than it pretends to be. Alas! and he wrote not
     out of inward inspiration, but to earn his wages; and with that
     grand perennial tide flowing by, in whose waters he
     nevertheless refused to fish, to whose rich oyster-beds the
     dive was too muddy for him. Observe, again, with what innate
     hatred of cant he takes to himself, and offers to others, the
     lowest possible view of his business, which he followed with
     such nobleness. Motive for writing he had none, as he often
     said, but money; and yet he wrote _so_. Into the region of
     poetic art he indeed never rose; there was no _ideal_ without
     him, avowing itself in his work; the nobler was that unavowed
     _ideal_ which lay within him, and commanded, saying, Work out
     thy artisanship in the spirit of an artist! They who talk
     loudest about the dignity of art, and fancy that they too are
     artistic guild-brethren, and of the celestials, let them
     consider well what manner of man this was, who felt himself to
     be only a hired day-labourer."--_Misc_. vol. iv. p. 19.

The _History of the French Revolution_ deserves, no doubt,
notwithstanding the sort of partiality we have intimated for its wild
predecessor, to be considered as the greatest work of Mr Carlyle; but it
is the work of which criticism, if she ventures to speak at all, must
speak with the loudest and most frequent protests. There are certain
grave objections which cannot be got over. As to the _style_, indeed, Mr
Carlyle is, on this head, (except, occasionally, when writing for some
_Review_ in which a very violent departure from the English language
would not be advisable,) far above all criticism. The attempt to censure
the oddities with which it abounds--the frequent repetition--the
metaphor and allusion used again and again till the page is covered with
a sort of slang--would only subject the critic himself to the same kind
of ridicule that would fall upon the hapless wight who should bethink
him of taking some Shandean work gravely to task for its scandalous
irregularities, and utter want of methodical arrangement. Such is
_Carlylism_; and this is all that can be said upon the matter. But the
style which seemed not altogether unnatural, and far from intolerable,
in Herr Teufelsdrockh, becomes a strangely inconvenient medium of
communication where a whole history is to be told in it. The mischief
is, that it admits of no safe middle path: it must arrest attention for
its novelty, its graphic power, its bold originality; or it must offend
by its newfangled phrase, its jerking movement, and its metaphor and
allusion reduced into a slang. Meanwhile, there is so much in a history
which needs only to be told--so much, which even this author, _skip_ how
he may, must relate, for the sake merely of preserving a continuous
narrative--and where the perfection of style would be, as all the world
knows, that it should draw no attention whatever to itself. A style like
this of our author's, once assumed, cannot be laid down for a moment;
and the least important incident is related with the same curiosity of
diction, and the same startling manner, that delighted us in the _Siege
of the Bastile_. To convey mere _information_, it seems quite
unserviceable. "How inferior," says our author somewhere himself,--"how
inferior for _seeing by_ is the brightest train of fireworks to the
humblest farthing candle!"

The basis of a history is surely, after all, the narrative, and whatever
may be the estimate of others, the _historian_ proceeds on the
supposition that the facts he has to relate are, for their own sake,
deserving to be had in remembrance. If not, why is he there recording
and verifying them? But Mr Carlyle proceeds throughout on quite the
contrary supposition, that the fact for itself is worth nothing--that it
is valuable only as it presents some peculiar picture to the
imagination, or kindles some noteworthy reflection. He maintains
throughout the attitude of one who stands apart, looking _at_ the
history; rarely does he assume the patient office of that scribe whom we
remember to have seen in the frontispiece of our school histories,
recording faithfully what the bald headed Time, sitting between his
scythe and his hour-glass, was dictating.

Never, indeed, was history written in so mad a vein--and that not only
as regards style, but the prevailing mood of mind in which the facts and
characters are scanned. That mood is for the most part ironical. There
is philanthropy, doubtless, at the bottom of it all; but a mocking
spirit, a profound and pungent irony, are the manifest and prevailing
characteristics. It is a philanthropy which has borrowed the manner of
Mephistopheles. It is a modern Diogenes--in fact it is Diogenes
Teufelsdrockh himself, surveying the Revolution from his solitary
watch-tower, where he sits so near the eternal skies, that a whole
generation of men, _whirling off in wild Sahara waltz into infinite
space_, is but a spectacle, and a very brief and confused one. This
lofty irony, pungent as it is, grows wearisome. By throwing a littleness
on all things, it even destroys the very aliment it feeds on; nothing,
at last, is worth the mocking. But the weariness it occasions is not its
greatest fault. It leads to a most unjust and capricious estimate of the
characters and actions of men. Capricious it must, of necessity, become.
To be ironical always were insufferable; even for the sake of artistical
effect, some personages; and some events, must be treated with a natural
feeling of respect or abhorrence; yet if one murder is to be recorded
with levity, why not another;--if one criminal is to be dismissed with a
jest, levelled perhaps at some personal oddity, why is an earnest
indignation to be bestowed on the next criminal that comes under notice?
The distinctions that will be made will be not fair judgments, but mere
favouritism. Situated thus--plain moral distinctions having been
disparaged--Mr Carlyle has given way to his admiration of a certain
_energy_ of character, and makes the possession of this sole excellence
the condition of his favour, the title to his respect, or perhaps, we
should say, to an immunity from his contempt. The man who has an
_eye_--that is, who glares on you like a tiger--he who, in an age of
revolution, is most thoroughly revolutionary, and _swallows all
formulas_--he is made a hero, and honourable mention is decreed to him;
whilst all who acted with an ill-starred moderation, who strove, with
ineffectual but conscientious effort, to stay the wild movement of the
revolution, are treated with derision, are dismissed with contempt, or
at best with pity for their _weakness_.

His first hero is Mirabeau, a man of energy enough doubtless, and who
had, in a most remarkable degree, that force of character which gives
not only influence over, but a sort of _possession_ of, other men's
minds, though they may claim far higher intellectual endowments. For
this one quality he is forgiven every thing. The selfish ambition of
which he must be more than suspected, is not glanced at. Even the
ridicule due to his inordinate vanity, is spared him. "Yes support that
head," says this dying gladiator to his friend; "would I could bequeath
it to thee!" And our caustic Diogenes withholds the lash. As the history
proceeds, Danton is elevated to the place of hero. He is put in strong
contrast with Robespierre. The one is raised into simple admiration, the
other sunk into mere contempt; both are spared the just execration which
their crimes have merited. The one good quality of Danton is, that, like
Mirabeau, he had an _eye_--did not see through _logic spectacles_--had
_swallowed all formulas_. So that, when question is made of certain
massacres in which he was implicated, we are calmly told "that some men
have tasks frightfuller than ours." The one great vice of Robespierre
is, that he lacked courage; for the rest, he is "sea-green and
incorruptible"--"thin and acrid." His incorruptibility is always
mentioned contemptuously, and generally in connexion with his bilious
temperament, as if they related as cause and effect, or were both alike
matters of pathology. Mr Carlyle has a habit of stringing together
certain moral with certain physical peculiarities, till the two present
themselves as of quite equal importance, and things of the same

Yet this Robespierre, had our author been in want of another hero,
possessed one quality, which, in his estimate, would have entitled him
to occupy the pedestal. He had _faith_. "Of incorruptible Robespierre,
it was long ago predicted that he might go far--mean, meagre mortal
though he was--for _doubt_ dwelt not in him." And this prediction was
uttered by no less a man than Mirabeau. "Men of insight discern that the
sea-green may by chance go far: 'this man,' observes Mirabeau, 'will do
somewhat; _he believes every word he says_.'" The audacity of Danton the
'sea-green' certainly did not possess, but of that sort of courage which
can use the extremest means for the desired end, he surely had
sufficient. He shrunk from no crime, however exorbitant. His _faith_
carried him through all, and nearer to the goal than any of his
compeers. He walked as firm as others round the crater of this volcano,
and walked there the longest. It is impossible not to feel that _here_,
by the side of Dauton, a great injustice has been done to the
incorruptible and _faithful_ Robespierre.

Well may _energy_ or _will_ stand in the place of goodness with Mr
Carlyle, since we find him making in another place this strange
paradoxical statement: "_Bad_ is by its nature negative, and can do
_nothing_; whatsoever enables us to _do_ any thing is by its very nature
_good_." So that such a thing as a _bad deed_ cannot exist, and such an
expression is without meaning. Accordingly, not only is energy
applauded, but that energy applauded most that _does most_. Those who
exercised their power, and the utmost resolution of mind, in the attempt
to restrain the Revolution, are not to be put in comparison with those
who _did something_--who carried forward the revolutionary movement.
With what contempt he always mentions Lafayette--a man of limited views,
it is true; and whose views at the time were wide enough? or to whom
would the widest views have afforded a practical guidance?--but a man of
honour and of patriotic intentions! It is "Lafayette--thin,
constitutional pedant; clear, thin, inflexible, as water turned to thin
ice." And how are the whole party of the Gironde treated with slight and
derision, because, at a period of what proved to be irremediable
confusion--when nothing but the whirlwind was to be reaped--they were
incessantly striving to realize for their country some definite and
permanent institutions! But though their attempt we see was futile,
could they do other than make the attempt? Mr Carlyle describes the
position of affairs very ably in the following passage:--

     "This huge insurrectionary movement, which we liken to a
     breaking out of Tophet and the abyss, has swept away royalty,
     aristocracy, and a king's life. The question is, what will it
     next do? how will it henceforth shape itself? Settle down into
     a reign of law and liberty, according as the habits,
     persuasions, and endeavours of the educated, monied,
     respectable class prescribe? That is to say, the volcanic
     lava-flood, bursting up in the manner described, will explode,
     and flow according to Girondine formula and pre-established
     rule of philosophy? If so, for our Girondine friends it will be

     "Meanwhile, were not the prophecy rather, that as no external
     force, royal or other, now remains which could control this
     movement, the movement will follow a course of its
     own--probably a very original one. Further, that whatsoever man
     or men can best interpret the inward tendencies it has, and
     give them voice and activity, will obtain the lead of it. For
     the rest, that, as a thing _without_ order--a thing proceeding
     from beyond and beneath the region of order--it must work and
     wither, not as a regularity, but as a chaos--destructive and
     self-destructive always; till something that _has_ order arise,
     strong enough to bind it into subjection again; which
     something, we may further conjecture, will not be a formula,
     with philosophical propositions and forensic eloquence, but a
     reality, probably with a sword in its hand!"

But, true as all this may be, Mr Carlyle would be the last man to
commend the Girondists had they allowed themselves to be borne along
_passively_ by this violent movement: is it fair dealing, then, that
their efforts--the only efforts they _could_ make--efforts which cost
them life, should be treated as little better than idle pedantries?

But what criticism has to say in _praise_ of this extraordinary work,
let it not be said with stint or timidity. The bold glance _at_ the
Revolution, taken from his Diogenes' station, and the vivid descriptions
of its chief scenes, are unrivalled.

That many a page sorely tries the reader's patience is acknowledged, and
we might easily fill column after column with extracts, to show that the
style of Mr Carlyle, especially when it is necessary for him to descend
to the common track of history, can degenerate into a mannerism scarce
tolerable, for which no term of literary censure, would be too severe.
We have, however, no disposition to make any such extracts; and our
readers, we are sure, would have little delight in perusing them. On the
other hand, when he does succeed, great is the glory thereof; and we
cannot forego the pleasure of making one quotation, however well known
the remarkable passages of this work may be, to illustrate the
triumphant power which he not unfrequently displays. Here is a portion
of his account of the _Taking of the Bastile_. It will be borne in mind,
that there is throughout a mixture of the ironical and mock-heroic:

     "All morning since nine there has been a cry every where: To
     the Bastile! Repeated 'deputations of citizens' have been here,
     passionate for arms; whom De Launay has got dismissed by soft
     speeches through port-holes. Towards noon elector Thuriot de la
     Rosière gains admittance; finds De Launay indisposed for
     surrender; nay, disposed for blowing up the place rather.
     Thuriot mounts with him to the battlements: heaps of paving
     stones, old iron, and missiles lie piled; cannon all duly
     levelled; in every embrasure a cannon--only drawn back a
     little! But _outwards_, behold how the multitude flows on,
     swelling through every street: tocsin furiously pealing, all
     drums beating the _générale_: the suburb Saint Antoine rolling
     hitherward wholly as one man!

     "Woe to thee De Launay, in such an hour, if thou canst not,
     taking some one firm decision, _rule_ circumstances! Soft
     speeches will not serve, hard grape-shot is questionable; but
     hovering between the two is _un_questionable. Ever wilder
     swells the tide of men; their infinite hum waxing even louder
     into imprecations, perhaps into crackle of stray
     musketry--which latter, on walls nine feet thick, cannot do
     execution. The outer drawbridge has been lowered for Thuriot;
     new _deputation of citizens_ (it is the third and noisiest of
     all) penetrates that way into the outer court: soft speeches
     producing no clearance of these, De Launay gives fire; pulls up
     his drawbridge; a slight sputter--which has _kindled_ the too
     combustible chaos; made it a roaring fire-chaos. Bursts forth
     insurrection at sight of its own blood, (for there were deaths
     by that sputter of fire,) into endless rolling explosion of
     musketry, distraction, execration. The Bastile is besieged!

     "On, then, all Frenchmen that have hearts in their bodies! Roar
     with all your throats, of cartilage and metal, ye sons of
     liberty; stir spasmodically whatsoever of utmost faculty is in
     you, soul, body, or spirit; for it is the hour! Smite thou,
     Louis Tournay, cart-wright of the Marais, old soldier of the
     regiment Dauphiné: smite at that outer drawbridge chain, though
     the fiery hail whistles round thee! Never, over nave or felloe,
     did thy axe (_q._ hammer?) strike such a stroke. Down with it,
     man: down with it to Orcus: let the whole accursed edifice sink
     thither, and tyranny be swallowed up for ever! Mounted, some
     say, on the roof of the guard-room, some 'on bayonets stuck
     into the joints of the wall,' Louis Tournay smites brave Aubin
     Bonnemère (also an old soldier) seconding him: the chain
     yields, breaks; the huge drawbridge slams down thundering,
     (_avec fracas_.) Glorious: and yet, alas, it is still but the
     outworks! The eight grim towers, with their Invalides'
     musketry, their paving stones and cannon-mouths, still roar
     aloft intact; ditch yawning impassable, stone-faced; the inner
     drawbridge with its _back_ towards us; the Bastile is still to

     "To describe this siege of the Bastile (thought to be one of
     the most important in history) perhaps transcends the talent of
     mortals. Could one but, after infinite leading, get to
     understand so much as the plan of the building! But there is
     open esplanade at the end of the Rue Saint-Antoine; there are
     such Fore-courts, _Cour avancé, Cour de l'Orme_, arched
     gateway, (where Louis Tournay now fights,) then new
     drawbridges, dormant bridges rampart-bastions, and the grim
     Eight Towers: a labyrinthic mass, high-frowning there, of all
     ages, from twenty years to four hundred and twenty;
     beleaguered, in this its last hour, as we said, by mere chaos
     come again! Ordnance of all calibres; throats of all
     capacities; men of all plans, every man his own engineer;
     seldom, since the war of pigmies and cranes, was there seen so
     anomalous a thing. Half-pay Elie is home for a suit of
     regimentals; no one would heed him in coloured clothes:
     half-pay Hulin is haranguing Gardes Françaises in the Place de
     Grève. Frantic patriots pick up the grape-shots; bear them,
     still hot, (or seemingly so,) to the Hôtel de Ville:--Paris,
     you perceive, is to be burnt!--Paris wholly has got to the acme
     of its frenzy; whirled, all ways, by panic madness.

     "Let conflagration rage of whatsoever is combustible!
     Guard-rooms are burnt, Invalides' mess-rooms. A distracted
     'peruke-maker with two fiery torches' is for burning 'the
     saltpetres of the arsenal;' had not a woman run screaming--had
     not a patriot, with some tincture of natural philosophy,
     instantly struck the wind out of him, (butt of musket on pit of
     stomach,) overturned barrels, and stayed the devouring element.

     "Blood flows; the aliment of new madness. The wounded are
     carried into the houses of the Rue Cerisuie; the dying leave
     their last mandate not to yield till the accursed stronghold
     fall. And yet, alas, how fall? The walls are so thick!
     Deputations, three in number, arrive from the Hôtel de Ville.
     These wave their town-flag in the gateway, and stand rolling
     their drum; but to no purpose. In such crack of doom De Launay
     cannot hear them, dare not believe them; they return with
     justified rage, the whew of lead still singing in their ears.
     What to do? The firemen are here, squirting with their
     fire-pumps on the Invalides' cannon, to wet the touch-holes;
     they unfortunately cannot squirt so high, but produce only
     clouds of spray. Individuals of classical knowledge propose
     _catapults_. Santerre, the sonorous brewer of the suburb Saint
     Antoine, advises rather that the place be fired, by a 'mixture
     of phosphorus and oil of turpentine, spouted up through forcing
     pumps.' O Spinola Santerre, hast thou the mixture _ready_?
     Every man his own engineer! And still the fire-deluge abates
     not: even women are firing, and Turks; at least one woman (with
     her sweetheart) and one Turk. Gardes Françaises have come; real
     cannon, real cannoniers. Usher Maillard is busy; half-pay Elie,
     half-pay Hulin rage in the midst of thousands.

     "How the great Bastile clock ticks (inaudible) in its inner
     court there, at its ease, hour after hour, as if nothing
     special, for it or the world, were passing! It tolled one when
     the firing began; and is now pointing towards five, and still
     the firing slakes not. Far down in their vaults the seven
     prisoners hear muffled din as of earthquakes; their turnkeys
     answer vaguely....

     "For four long hours now has the world-bedlam roared: call it
     the world-chimera, blowing fire! The poor Invalides have sunk
     under their battlements, or rise only with reversed muskets;
     they have made a white flag of napkins; go beating the
     _chamade_, or seeming to beat, for one can hear nothing. The
     very Swiss at the portcullis look weary of firing; disheartened
     in the fire-deluge, a port-hole at the drawbridge is opened, as
     by one that would speak. See Huissier Maillard, the shifty man!
     On his plank, swinging over the abyss of that stone
     ditch--plank resting on parapet, balanced by weight of
     patriots--he hovers perilous. _Such a dove towards such an
     ark!_ Deftly thou shifty usher; one man already fell, and lies
     smashed, far down there, against the masonry. Usher Maillard
     falls not; deftly, unerring he walks, with outspread palm. The
     Swiss holds a paper through his port-hole; the shifty usher
     snatches it, and returns. Terms of surrender--pardon, immunity
     to all. Are they accepted? "_Foi d'officier_--on the word of an
     officer," answers half-pay Hulin, or half-pay Elie, for men do
     not agree on it, "they are!" Sinks the drawbridge, Usher
     Maillard bolting it when down--rushes in the living deluge--the
     Bastile is fallen! '_Victoire! La Bastile est prise!_'"--Vol.
     i. p. 233.

Such descriptions, we need hardly say, are not the sport of fancy, nor
constructed by the agglomeration of eloquent phrases; they are formed by
collecting together (and this constitutes their value) facts and
intimations scattered through a number of authorities. It would be a
great mistake, however, to suppose that there is no imagination, or
little artistic talent, displayed in collecting the materials for such a
description. There may be genius in _reading well_ quite as certainly as
in _writing well_; nor is it any common or inferior ability that detects
at a glance, amongst a multitude of facts, the one which has real
significance, and which gives its character to the scene to be reviewed.
If any one wishes to convince himself how much a man of genius may _see_
in the page which can hardly obtain the attention of an ordinary reader,
the last work of Mr Carlyle, _Past and Present_, will afford him an
opportunity of making the experiment. He has but to turn, after reading
in that work the account of Abbot Samson, to the Chronicle of _Jocelin_,
from which it has been all faithfully extracted, and he will be
surprised that our author could find so much life and truth in the
antiquarian record. Or the experiment would be still more perfect if he
should read the chronicle first, and then turn to the extracted account
in _Past and Present_.

It is time, indeed, that we ourselves turned to this work, the perusal
of which has led us to these remarks upon Mr Carlyle. We were desirous,
however, of forming something like a general estimate of his merits and
demerits before we entered upon any account of his last production. What
space we have remaining shall be devoted to this work.

_Past and Present_, if it does not enhance, ought not, we think, to
diminish from the reputation of its author; but as a _mannerism_ becomes
increasingly disagreeable by repetition, we suspect that, without having
less merit, this work will have less popularity than its predecessors.
The style is the same "motley wear," and has the same jerking
movement--seems at times a thing of shreds and patches hung on
wires--and is so full of brief allusions to his own previous writings,
that to a reader unacquainted with these it would be scarce
intelligible. With all this it has the same vigour, and produces the
same vivid impression that always attends upon his writings. Here, as
elsewhere, he pursues his author-craft with a right noble and
independent spirit, striking manifestly for truth, and for no other
cause; and here also, as elsewhere, he leaves his side unguarded, open
to unavoidable attack, so that the most blundering critic cannot fail to
hit right, and the most friendly cannot spare.

The _past_ is represented by a certain Abbot Samson, and his abbey of St
Edmunds, whose life and conversation are drawn from the chronicle
already alluded to, and which has been lately published by the Camden
Society.[68] Our author will look, he tells us, face to face on this
remote period, "in hope of perhaps illustrating our own poor century
thereby." Very good. To get a station in the past, and therefrom view
the present, is no ill-devised scheme. But Abbot Samson and his monks
form a very limited, almost a domestic picture, which supplies but few
points of contrast or similitude with our "own poor century," which, at
all events, is very rich in point of view. When, therefore, he proceeds
to discuss the world-wide topics of our own times, we soon lose all
memory of the Abbot and his monastery, who seems indeed to have as
little connexion with the difficulties of our position, as the statues
of Gog and Magog in Guildhall with the decision of some election contest
which is made to take place in their venerable presence. On one point
only can any palpable contrast be exhibited, namely, between the
religious spirit of his times and our own.

[Footnote 68: Chronica JOCELINI DE BRAKELONDA, de rebus gestis Samsonis
Abbatis Monasterii Sancti Edmundi: nunc primum typis mandata, curante
JOHANNE GOGE ROKEWOOD. (Camden Society, London, 1840.)]

Now, here, as on every topic where a comparison is attempted, what must
strike every one is, the manifest partiality Mr Carlyle shows to the
past, and the unfair preference he gives it over the present. Nothing
but respect and indulgence when he revisits the monastery of St Edmunds;
nothing but censure and suspicion when he enters, say, for instance, the
precincts of Exeter Hall. Well do we know, that if Mr Carlyle could meet
such a monk alive, as he here treats with so much deference, encounter
him face to face, talk to him, and hear him talk; he and the monk would
be intolerable to each other. Fortunately for him, the monks are dead
and buried whom he lauds so much when contrasted with our modern
pietists. Could these tenants of the stately monastery preach to him
about their purgatory and their prayers--lecture him, as assuredly they
would, with that same earnest, uncomfortable, too anxious exhortation,
which all saints must address to sinners--he would close his ears
hermetically--he would fly for it--he would escape with as desperate
haste as from the saddest whine that ever issued from some
lath-and-plaster conventicle.

Mr Carlyle censures our poor century for its lack of faith; yet the kind
of faith it possesses, which has grown up in it, which is _here_ at this
present, he has no respect for, treats with no manner of tenderness.
What _other_ would he have? He deals out to it no measure of
philosophical justice. He accepts the faith of every age but his own. He
will accept, as the best thing possible, the trustful and hopeful spirit
of dark and superstitious periods; but if the more enlightened piety of
his own age be at variance even with the most subtle and difficult
tenets of his own philosophy, he will make no compromise with it, he
casts it away for contemptuous infidelity to trample on as it pleases.
When visiting the past, how indulgent, kind, and considerate he is! When
Abbot Samson (as the greatest event of his life) resolves to see and to
touch the remains of St Edmund, and "taking the head between his hands,
speaks groaning," and prays to the "Glorious Martyr that it may not be
turned to his perdition that he, miserable and sinful, has dared to
touch his sacred person," and thereupon proceeds to touch the eyes and
the nose, and the breast and the toes, which last he religiously counts;
our complacent author sees here, "a noble awe surrounding the memory of
the dead saint, symbol, and promoter of many other right noble things."
And when he has occasion to call to mind the preaching of Peter the
Hermit, who threw the fanaticism of the west on the fanaticism of the
east, and in order that there should be no disparity between them in the
sanguinary conflict, assimilated the faith of Christ to that of
Mahommed, and taught that the baptized believer who fell by the Saracen
would die in the arms of angels, and at the very gates of heaven; here,
too, he bestows a hearty respect on the enthusiastic missionary, and all
his fellow crusaders: it seems that he also would willingly have gone
with such an army of the faithful. But when he turns from the past to
the present, all this charity and indulgence are at an end. He finds in
his own mechanico-philosophical age a faith in accordance with its
prevailing modes of thought--faith lying at the foundation of whatever
else of doctrinal theology it possesses--a faith diffused over all
society, and taught not only in churches and chapels to pious
auditories, but in every lecture-room, and by scientific as well as
theological instructors--a faith in God, as creator of the universe, as
the demonstrated author, architect, originator, of this wondrous world;
and lo! this same philosopher who looked with encouraging complacency on
Abbot Samson bending in adoration over the exhumed remains of a fellow
mortal, and who listens without a protest to the cries of sanguinary
enthusiasm, rising from a throng of embattled Christians, steps
disdainfully aside from this faith of a peaceful and scientific age; he
has some subtle, metaphysical speculations that will not countenance it;
he demands that a faith in God should he put on some other foundation,
which foundation, unhappily, his countrymen, as yet unskilled in
transcendental metaphysics; cannot apprehend; he withdraws his sympathy
from the so trite and sober-minded belief of an industrious,
experimental, ratiocinating generation, and cares not if they have a God
at all, if they can only make his existence evident to themselves from
some commonplace notion of design and prearrangement visible in the
world. Accordingly, we have passages like the following, which it is not
our fault if the reader finds to be not very intelligible, or written
in, what our author occasionally perpetrates, a sad jargon.

     "For out of this that we call Atheism, come so many other
     _isms_ and falsities, each falsity with its misery at its
     heels!--A SOUL is not, like wind, (_spiritus_ or breath,)
     contained within a capsule; the ALMIGHTY MAKER is not like a
     clockmaker that once, in old immemorial ages, having _made_ his
     horologe of a universe, sits ever since and sees it go! Not at
     all. Hence comes Atheism; come, as we say, many other _isms_;
     and as the sum of all comes _vatetism_, the _reverse_ of
     heroism--sad root of all woes whatsoever. For indeed, as no man
     ever saw the above said wind element inclosed within its
     capsule, and finds it at bottom more deniable than conceivable;
     so too, he finds, in spite of Bridgewater bequests, your
     clockmaker Almighty an entirely questionable affair, a deniable
     affair; and accordingly denies it, and along with it so much
     else."--(P. 199.)

Do we ask Mr Carlyle to falsify his own transendental philosophy for the
sake of his weaker brethren? By no means. Let him proceed on the "high
_à priori_ road," if he finds it--as not many do--practicable. Let men,
at all times, when they write as philosophers, speak out simply what
they hold to be truth. It is his _partiality_ only that we here take
notice of, and the different measure that he deals out to the past and
the present. Out of compliment to a bygone century he can sink
philosophy, and common sense too; when it might be something more than a
compliment to the existing age to appear in harmony with its creed, he
will not bate a jot from the subtlest of his metaphysical convictions.

Mr Carlyle not being _en rapport_ with the religious spirit of his age,
finds therein no religious spirit whatever; on the other hand, he has a
great deal of religion of his own, not very clear to any but himself;
and thus, between these two, we have pages, very many, of such raving as
the following:--

     "It is even so. To speak in the ancient dialect, we 'have
     forgotten God;'--in the most modern dialect, and very truth of
     the matter, we have taken up the fact of the universe as it _is
     not_. We have quietly closed our eyes to the eternal substance
     of things, and opened them only to the shows and shams of
     things. We quietly believe this universe to be intrinsically a
     great unintelligible PERHAPS; extrinsically, clear enough, it
     is a great, most extensive cattle-fold and workhouse, with most
     extensive kitchen-ranges, dining-tables--whereat he is wise who
     can find a place! All the truth of this universe is uncertain;
     only the profit and the loss of it, the pudding and praise of
     it, are and remain very visible to the practical man.

     "There is no longer any God for us! God's laws are become a
     greatest-happiness principle, a parliamentary expediency; the
     heavens overarch us only as an astronomical timekeeper: a butt
     for Herschel telescopes to shoot science at, to shoot
     sentimentalities at:--in our and old Jonson's dialect, man has
     lost the _soul_ out of him; and now, after the due period,
     begins to find the want of it! This is verily the
     plague-spot--centre of the universal social gangrene,
     threatening all modern things with frightful death. To him that
     will consider it, here is the stem, with its roots and
     top-root, with its world-wide upas boughs and accursed poison
     exudations, under which the world lies writhing in atrophy and
     agony. You touch the focal centre of all our disease, of our
     frightful nosology of diseases, when you lay your hand on this.
     There is no religion; there is no God; man has lost his soul,
     and vainly seeks antiseptic salt. Vainly: in killing Kings, in
     passing Reform Bills, in French Revolutions, Manchester
     Insurrections, is found no remedy. The foul elephantine
     leprosy, alleviated for an hour, re-appears in new force and
     desperateness next hour.

     "For actually this is _not_ the real fact of the world; the
     world is not made so, but otherwise! Truly, any society setting
     out from this no-God hypothesis will arrive at a result or two.
     The _un_veracities, escorted each unveracity of them by its
     corresponding misery and penalty; the phantasms and fatuities,
     and ten-years' corn-law debatings, that shall walk the earth at
     noonday, must needs be numerous! The universe being
     intrinsically a perhaps, being too probably an 'infinite
     humbug,' why should any minor humbug astonish us? It is all
     according to the order of nature; and phantasms riding with
     huge clatter along the streets, from end to end of our
     existence, astonish nobody. Enchanted St Ives' workhouses and
     Joe Manton aristocracies; giant-working mammonism near
     strangled in the partridge nets of giant-looking Idle
     Dilettantism--this, in all its branches, in its thousand
     thousand modes and figures, is a sight familiar to us."--P.

What is to be said of writing such as this! For ourselves, we hurry on
with a sort of incredulity, scarce believing that it is set down there
for our steady perusal; we tread lightly over these "Phantasms" and
"Unveracities," and "Double-barrelled Dilettantism," (another favourite
phrase of his--pity it is not more euphonious--but none of his coinage
_rings_ well,) we step on, we say, briskly, in the confident hope of
soon meeting something--if only a stroke of humour--which shall be worth
pausing for. Accordingly in the very page where our extract stopped, in
the very next paragraph, comes a description of a certain pope most
delectable to read. As it is but fair that our readers should enjoy the
same compensation as ourselves, we insert it in a note.[69]

[Footnote 69: "The Popish religion, we are told, flourishes extremely in
these years, and is the most vivacious-looking religion to be met with
at present. '_Elle a trois cents ans dans le ventre_,' counts M.
Jouffroy; '_c'est pourquoi je la respecte!_' The old Pope of Rome,
finding it laborious to kneel so long while they cart him through the
streets to bless the people on _Corpus-Christi_ day, complains of
rheumatism; whereupon his cardinals consult--construct him, after some
study, a stuffed, cloaked figure, of iron and wood, with wool or baked
hair, and place it in a kneeling posture. Stuffed figure, or rump of a
figure; to this stuffed rump he, sitting at his ease on a lower level,
joins, by the aid of cloaks and drapery, his living head and outspread
hands: the rump, with its cloaks, kneels; the Pope looks, and holds his
hands spread; and so the two in concert bless the Roman population on
_Corpus-Christi_ day, as well as they can.

"I have considered this amphibious Pope, with the wool-and-iron back,
with the flesh head and hands, and endeavoured to calculate his
horoscope. I reckon him the remarkablest Pontiff that has darkened God's
daylight, or painted himself in the human retina, for these several
thousand years. Nay, since Chaos first shivered, and 'sneezed,' as the
Arabs say, with the first shaft of sunlight shot through it, what
stranger product was there of nature and art working together? Here is a
supreme priest who believes God to be--what, in the name of God, _does_
he believe God to be?--and discerns that all worship of God is a scenic
phantasmagory of wax candles, organ blasts, Gregorian chants,
mass-brayings, purple monsignori, wool-and-iron rumps, artistically
spread out, to save the ignorant from worse....

"There is in this poor Pope, and his practice of the scenic theory of
worship, a frankness which I rather honour. Not half and half, but with
undivided heart, does _he_ set about worshipping by stage machinery; as
if there were now, and could again be, in nature no other. He will ask
you, What other? Under this my Gregorian chant, and beautiful wax-light
phantasmagory, kindly hidden from you is an abyss of black doubts,
scepticism, nay, sans-culottic Jacobinism, an orcus that has no bottom.
Think of that. 'Groby Pool _is_ thatched with pancakes,' as Jeannie
Deans's innkeeper defined it to be! The bottomless of scepticism,
atheism, Jacobinism, behold it is thatched over, hidden from your
despair, by stage-properties judiciously arranged. This stuffed rump of
mine saves not me only from rheumatism, but you also from what other
_isms_!"--P. 187.]

The whole parallel which he runs between past and present is
false--whimsically false. At one time we hear it uttered as an
impeachment against our age, that every thing is done by committees and
companies, shares and joint effort, and that no one man, or hero, can
any longer move the world as in the blessed days of Peter the Hermit.
Were we disposed to treat Mr Carlye as members of Parliament, by the
help of their _Hansard_, controvert each other, we should have no
difficulty in finding amongst his works some passage--whether eloquent
or not, or how far intelligible, would be just a mere chance--in which
he would tell us that this capacity for joint effort, this habit of
co-operation, was the greatest boast our times could make, and gave the
fairest promise for the future. In Ireland, by the way, _one man_ can
still effect something, and work after the fashion, if not with so pure
a fanaticism, as Peter the Hermit. The spectacle does not appear very
edifying. Pray--the question just occurs to us--pray has Mr O'Connell
got an _eye_? Would Mr Carlyle acknowledge that this man has _swallowed
all formulas_? Having been bred a lawyer, we are afraid, or, in common
Christian speech, we hope, that he has not.

But we are not about to proceed through a volume such as this in a
carping spirit, though food enough for such a spirit may be found; there
is too much genuine merit, too much genuine humour, in the work. What,
indeed, is the use of selecting from an author who _will_ indulge in all
manner of vagaries, whether of thought or expression, passages to prove
that he can be whimsical and absurd, can deal abundantly in obscurities
and contradictions, and can withal write the most motley, confused
English of any man living? Better take, with thanks, from so irregular a
genius, what seems to us good, or affords us gratification, and leave
the rest alone.

We will not enter into the account of Abbot Samson; it is a little
historical sketch, perfect in its kind, in which no part is redundant,
and which, being gathered itself from very scanty sources, will not bear
further mutilation. We turn, therefore, from the _Past_, although, in a
literary point of view, a very attractive portion of the work, and will
draw our extracts (they cannot now be numerous) from his lucubrations
upon the _Present_.

Perhaps the most characteristic passage in the volume is that where, in
the manner of a philosopher who suddenly finds himself awake in this
"half-realized" world, he scans the institution of an _army_--looks out
upon the _soldier_.

     "Who can despair of Government that passes a soldier's
     guard-house, or meets a red-coated man on the streets! That a
     body of men could be got together to kill other men when you
     bade them; this, _à priori_, does it not seem one of the
     impossiblest things? Yet look--behold it; in the stolidest of
     do-nothing Governments, that impossibility is a thing done. See
     it there, with buff-belts, red coats on its back; walking
     sentry at guard-houses, brushing white breeches in barracks; an
     indisputable, palpable fact. Out of grey antiquity, amid all
     finance-difficulties, _scaccarium_-tallies, ship-monies,
     coat-and-conduct monies, and vicissitudes of chance and time,
     there, down to the present blessed hour, it is.

     "Often, in these painfully decadent, and painfully nascent
     times, with their distresses, inarticulate gaspings, and
     'impossibilities;' meeting a tall lifeguardsman in his
     snow-white trousers, or seeing those two statuesque
     lifeguardsmen, in their frowning bearskins, pipe-clayed
     buckskins, on their coal-black, sleek, fiery quadrupeds, riding
     sentry at the Horse-Guards--it strikes one with a kind of
     mournful interest, how, in such universal down-rushing and
     wrecked impotence of almost all old institutions, this oldest
     fighting institution is still so young! Fresh complexioned,
     firm-limbed, six feet by the standard, this fighting man has
     verily been got up, and can fight. While so much has not yet
     got into being, while so much has gone gradually out of it, and
     become an empty semblance, a clothes'-suit, and highest
     king's-cloaks, mere chimeras parading under them so long, are
     getting unsightly to the earnest eye, unsightly, almost
     offensive, like a costlier kind of scarecrow's blanket--here
     still is a reality!

     "The man in horse-hair wig advances, promising that he will get
     me 'justice;' he takes me into Chancery law-courts, into
     decades, half-centuries of hubbub, of distracted jargon; and
     _does get_ me--disappointment, almost desperation; and one
     refuge--that of dismissing him and his 'justice' altogether out
     of my head. For I have work to do; I cannot spend my decades in
     mere arguing with other men about the exact wages of my work: I
     will work cheerfully with no wages, sooner than with a ten
     years' gangrene or Chancery lawsuit in my heart. He of the
     horse-hair wig is a sort of failure; no substance, but a fond
     imagination of the mind. He of the shovel-hat, again, who comes
     forward professing that he will save my soul. O ye eternities,
     of him in this place be absolute silence! But he of the red
     coat, I say, is a success and no failure! He will veritably, if
     he gets orders, draw out a long sword and kill me. No mistake
     there. He is a fact, and not a shadow. Alive in this year
     Forty-three, able and willing to do _his_ work. In dim old
     centuries, with William Rufus, William of Ipres, or far
     earlier, he began; and has come down safe so far. Catapult has
     given place to cannon, pike has given place to musket, iron
     mail-shirt to coat of red cloth, saltpetre ropematch to
     percussion-cap; equipments, circumstances, have all changed and
     again changed; but the human battle-engine, in the inside of
     any or of each of these, ready still to do battle, stands
     there, six feet in standard size.

     "Strange, interesting, and yet most mournful to reflect on. Was
     this, then, of all the things mankind had some talent for, the
     one thing important to learn well, and bring to
     perfection--this of successfully killing one another? Truly you
     have learned it well, and carried the business to a high
     perfection. It is incalculable what, by arranging, commanding,
     and regimenting, you can make of men. These thousand
     straight-standing, firm-set individuals, who shoulder arms, who
     march, wheel, advance, retreat, and are, for your behoof, a
     magazine charged with fiery death, in the most perfect
     condition of potential activity; few months ago, till the
     persuasive sergeant came, what were they? Multiform ragged
     losels, runaway apprentices, starved weavers, thievish
     valets--an entirely broken population, fast tending towards the
     treadmill. But the persuasive sergeant came; by tap of drum
     enlisted, or formed lists of them, took heartily to drilling
     them; and he and you have made them this! Most potent,
     effectual for all work whatsoever, is wise planning, firm
     combining, and commanding among men. Let no man despair of
     Governments who look on these two sentries at the Horse
     Guards!"--P. 349.

Passages there are in the work which a political agitator might be glad
enough to seize on; but, upon the whole, it is very little that
Radicalism or Chartism obtain from Mr Carlyle. No political party would
choose him for its champion, or find in him a serviceable ally. Observe
how he demolishes the hope of those who expect, by new systems of
election, to secure some incomparably pure and wise body of
legislators--some aristocracy of talent!

     "We must have more wisdom to govern us, we must be governed by
     the wisest, we must have an aristocracy of talent! cry many.
     True, most true; but how to get it? The following extract from
     our young friend of the _Houndsditch Indicator_ is worth
     perusing--'At this time,' says he, 'while there is a cry every
     where, articulate or inarticulate, for an aristocracy of
     talent, a governing class, namely, what did govern, not merely
     which took the wages of governing, and could not with all our
     industry be kept from misgoverning, corn-lawing, and playing
     the very deuce, with us--it may not be altogether useless to
     remind some of the greener-headed sort what a dreadfully
     difficult affair the getting of such an aristocracy is! Do you
     expect, my friends, that your indispensable aristocracy of
     talent is to be enlisted straightway, by some sort of
     recruitment aforethought, out of the general population;
     arranged in supreme regimental order; and set to rule over us?
     That it will be got sifted, like wheat out of chaff, from the
     twenty-seven million British subjects; that any ballot-box,
     reform-bill, or other political machine, with force of public
     opinion ever so active on it, is likely to perform said process
     of sifting? Would to heaven that we had a sieve; that we could
     so much as fancy any kind of sieve, wind-fanners, or _ne plus
     ultra_ of machinery, devisable by man that would do it!

     "'Done, nevertheless, sure enough, it must be; it shall, and
     will be. We are rushing swiftly on the road to destruction;
     every hour bringing us nearer, until it be, in some measure,
     done. The doing of it is not doubtful; only the method or the
     costs! Nay, I will even mention to you an infallible
     sifting-process, whereby he that has ability will be sifted out
     to rule amongst us, and that same blessed aristocracy of talent
     be verily, in an approximate degree, vouchsafed us by-and-by;
     an infallible sifting-process; to which, however, no soul can
     help his neighbour, but each must, with devout prayer to
     heaven, help himself. It is, O friends! that all of us, that
     many of us, should acquire the true _eye_ for talent, which is
     dreadfully wanting at present.

     "'For example, you, Bobus Higgins, sausage-maker on the great
     scale, who are raising such a clamour for this aristocracy of
     talent, what is it that you do, in that big heart of yours,
     chiefly in very fact pay reverence to? Is it to talent,
     intrinsic manly worth of any kind, you unfortunate Bobus? The
     manliest man that you saw going in a ragged coat, did you ever
     reverence him; did you so much as know that he was a manly man
     at all, till his coat grew better? Talent! I understand you to
     be able to worship the fame of talent, the power, cash,
     celebrity, or other success of talent; but the talent itself is
     a thing you never saw with eyes. Nay, what is it in yourself
     that you are proudest of, that you take most pleasure in
     surveying, meditatively, in thoughtful moments? Speak now, is
     it the bare Bobus, stript of his very name and shirt, and
     turned loose upon society, that you admire and thank heaven
     for; or Bobus, with his cash-accounts, and larders dropping
     fatness, with his respectabilities, warm garnitures, and pony
     chaise, admirable in some measure to certain of the flunkey
     species? Your own degree of worth and talent, is it of
     _infinite_ value to you; or only of finite--measurable by the
     degree of currency, and conquest of praise or pudding, it has
     brought you to? Bobus, you are in a vicious circle, rounder
     than one of your own sausages; and will never vote for or
     promote any talent, except what talent or sham-talent has
     already _got_ itself voted for!'--We here cut short the
     _Indicator_; all readers perceiving whither he now tends."--P.

In the chapter, also, on Democracy, we have notions expressed upon
_liberty_ which would make little impression--would be very distasteful
to any audience assembled for the usual excitement of political oratory.

     "Liberty! the true liberty of a man, you would say, consisted
     in his finding out, or being forced to find out, the right
     path, and to walk thereon--to learn or to be taught what work
     he actually was able for, and then, by permission, persuasion,
     and even compulsion, to set about doing the same! That is his
     true blessedness, honour, 'liberty,' and maximum of
     well-being,--if liberty be not that, I for one have small care
     about liberty. You do not allow a palpable madman to leap over
     precipices; you violate his liberty, you that are wise, and
     keep him, were it in strait waist-coat, away from the
     precipices! Every stupid, every cowardly and foolish man, is
     but a less palpable madman; his true liberty were that a wiser
     man, that any and every wiser man, could, by brass collars, or
     in whatever milder or sharper way, lay hold of him when he is
     going wrong, and order and compel him to go a little righter.
     O! if thou really art my _senior_--seigneur, my
     _elder_--Presbyter or priest,--if thou art in very deed my
     _wiser_, may a beneficent instinct lead and impel thee to
     'conquer' me, to command me! If thou do know better than I what
     is good and right, I conjure thee, in the name of God, force me
     to do it; were it by never such brass collars, whips, and
     handcuffs, leave me not to walk over precipices! That I have
     been called by all the newspapers a 'free man,' will avail me
     little, if my pilgrimage have ended in death and wreck. O that
     the newspapers had called me slave, coward, fool, or what it
     pleased their sweet voices to name me, and I had attained not
     death but life! Liberty requires new definitions."--P. 285.

     "But truly, as I had to remark in the meanwhile, the 'liberty
     of not being oppressed by your fellow-man,' is an
     indispensable, yet one of the most insignificant fractional
     parts of human liberty. No man oppresses thee--can bid thee
     fetch or carry, come or go, without reason shown. True; from
     all men thou art emancipated, but from thyself and from the
     devil! No man, wiser, unwiser, can make thee come or go; but
     thy own futilities, bewilderments, thy false appetites for
     money--Windsor Georges and such like! No man oppresses thee, O
     free and independent Franchiser! but does not this stupid
     porter-pot oppress thee? no son of Adam can bid thee come and
     go; but this absurd pot of heavy-wet, this can and does! Thou
     art the thrall, not of Cedric the Saxon, but of thy own brutal
     appetites, and this scoured dish of liquor; and thou protest of
     thy 'liberty,' thou entire blockhead!"--P. 292.

We should hardly think of entering with Mr Carlyle into a controversy
upon the corn-laws, or on schemes of emigration, or any disputed point
of political economy. He brings to bear upon these certain primitive
_moral_ views and feelings which are but very remotely applicable in the
resolution of these knotty problems. We should almost as soon think of
inviting the veritable Diogenes himself, should he roll up in his tub to
our door, to a discussion upon our commercial system. Our Diogenes
Teufelsdrockh looks upon these matters in a quite peculiar manner;
observe, for example, the glance he takes at our present mercantile
difficulties, which, doubtless, is not without its own value, nor
undeserving of all consideration.

     "The continental people, it would seem, are 'exporting our
     machinery, beginning to spin cotton, and manufacture for
     themselves, to cut us out of this market and then out of that!'
     Sad news, indeed, but irremediable--by no means the saddest
     news. The saddest news is, that we should find our national
     existence, as I sometimes hear it said, depend on selling
     manufactured cotton at a farthing an ell cheaper than any other
     people--a most narrow stand for a great nation to base itself
     on; a stand which, with all the corn-law abrogations
     conceivable, I do not think will be capable of enduring.

     "My friends, suppose we quitted that stand; suppose we came
     honestly down from it, and said--'This is our minimum of cotton
     prices; we care not, for the present, to make cotton any
     cheaper. Do you, if it seems so blessed to you, make cotton
     cheaper. Fill your lungs with cotton fug, your hearts with
     copperas fumes, with rage and mutiny; become ye the general
     gnomes of Europe, slaves of the lamp!' I admire a nation which
     fancies it will die if it do not undersell all other nations to
     the end of the world. Brothers, we will cease to _under_sell
     them; we will be content to _equal_sell them: to be happy
     selling equally with them. I do not see the use of underselling
     them; cotton cloth is already twopence a yard or lower, and yet
     bare backs were never more numerous amongst us. Let inventive
     men cease to spend their existence incessantly contriving how
     cotton can be made cheaper; and try to invent, a little, how
     cotton, at its present cheapness, could be somewhat juster
     divided amongst us! Let inventive men consider whether the
     secret of this universe, and of man's life there, does after
     all, as we rashly fancy it, consist in making money? There is
     one God--just, supreme, almighty: but is Mammon the name of

     "But what is to be done with our manufacturing population, with
     our agricultural, with our ever-increasing population?--cry
     many.--Ay, what? Many things can be done with them, a hundred
     things, a thousand things--had we once got a soul and begun to
     try. This one thing of doing for them by 'underselling all
     people,' and filling our own bursten pockets by the road; and
     turning over all care for any 'population,' or human or divine
     consideration, except cash only, to the winds, with a
     'Laissez-faire' and the rest of it; this is evidently not the
     thing. 'Farthing cheaper per yard;' no great nation can stand
     on the apex of such a pyramid; screwing itself higher and
     higher: balancing itself on its great toe! Can England not
     subsist without being _above_ all people in working? England
     never deliberately proposed such a thing. If England work
     better than all people, it shall be well. England, like an
     honest worker, will work as well as she can; and hope the gods
     may allow her to live on that basis. _Laissez-faire_ and much
     else being once dead, how many 'impossibles' will become
     possible! They are 'impossible' as cotton-cloth at twopence an
     ell was--till men set about making it. The inventive genius of
     great England will not for ever sit patient with mere wheels
     and pinions, bobbins, straps, and billy-rollers whirring in the
     head of it. The inventive genius of England is not a beaver's,
     or a spinner's, or a spider's genius: it is a _man's_ genius, I
     hope, with a God over him!"--P. 246.

And hear our Diogenes on the often repeated cry of _over-production_:--

     "But what will reflective readers say of a governing class,
     such as ours, addressing its workers with an indictment of
     'over-production!' Over-production: runs it not so? 'Ye
     miscellaneous ignoble, manufacturing individuals, ye have
     produced too much. We accuse you of making above two hundred
     thousand shirts for the bare backs of mankind. Your trousers
     too, which you have made of fustian, of cassimere, of Scotch
     plaid, of jane, nankeen, and woollen broadcloth, are they not
     manifold? Of hats for the human head, of shoes for the human
     foot, of stools to sit on, spoons to eat with--Nay, what say we
     of hats and shoes? You produce gold watches, jewelleries,
     silver forks and épergnes, commodes, chiffoniers, stuffed
     sofas--Heavens, the Commercial Bazar and multitudinous Howel
     and James cannot contain you! You have produced, produced;--he
     that seeks your indictment, let him look around. Millions of
     shirts and empty pairs of breeches hang there in judgment
     against you. We accuse you of over-producing; you are
     criminally guilty of producing shirts, breeches, hats, shoes,
     and commodities in a frightful over-abundance. And now there is
     a glut, and your operatives cannot be fed.'

     "Never, surely, against an earnest working mammonism was there
     brought by game-preserving aristocratic dilettantism, a
     stranger accusation since this world began. My Lords and
     Gentlemen--why it was _you_ that were appointed, by the fact
     and by the theory of your position on the earth, to make and
     administer laws. That is to say, in a world such as ours, to
     guard against 'gluts,' against honest operatives who had done
     their work remaining unfed! I say, you were appointed to
     preside over the distribution and appointment of the wages of
     work done; and to see well that there went no labourer without
     his hire, were it of money coins, were it of hemp
     gallows-ropes: that formation was yours, and from immemorial
     time has been yours, and as yet no other's. These poor
     shirt-spinners have forgotten much, which by the virtual
     unwritten law of their position they should have remembered;
     but by any written recognized law of their position, what have
     they forgotten? They were set to make shirts. The community,
     with all its voices commanded them, saying, 'make shirts;'--and
     there the shirts are! Too many shirts? Well, that is a novelty,
     in this intemperate earth, with its nine hundred millions of
     bare backs! But the community commanded you, saying, 'See that
     the shirts are well apportioned, that our human laws be emblems
     of God's law;' and where is the apportionment? Two millions
     shirt-less, or ill-shirted workers sit enchanted in work-house
     Bastiles, five millions more (according to some) in Ugoline
     hunger-cellars; and for remedy, you say--what say you? 'Raise
     our rents!' I have not in my time heard any stranger speech,
     not even on the shores of the Dead Sea. You continue addressing
     these poor shirt-spinners and over-producers in really a _too_
     triumphant manner.

     "Will you bandy accusations, will you accuse _us_ of
     over-production? We take the heavens and the earth to witness,
     that we have produced nothing at all. Not from us proceeds this
     frightful overplus of shirts. In the wide domains of created
     nature, circulates nothing of our producing. Certain
     fox-brushes nailed upon our stable-door, the fruit of fair
     audacity at Melton Mowbray; these we have produced, and they
     are openly nailed up there. He that accuses us of producing,
     let him show himself, let him name what and when. We are
     innocent of producing,--ye ungrateful, what mountains of things
     have we not, on the contrary, had to consume, and make away
     with! Mountains of those your heaped manufactures, wheresoever
     edible or wearable, have they not disappeared before us, as if
     we had the talent of ostriches, of cormorants, and a kind of
     divine faculty to eat? Ye ungrateful!--and did you not grow
     under the shadow of our wings? Are not your filthy mills built
     on these fields of ours; on this soil of England, which belongs
     to--whom think you? And we shall not offer you our own wheat at
     the price that pleases us, but that partly pleases you? A
     precious notion! What would become of you, if we chose at any
     time to decide on growing no wheat more?"

An amusing--caustic--exaggeration, more like a portion of a clever
satire on man and society, than a sincere discussion of political evils
and remedies; and not intended, we trust, for Mr Carlyle's own sake, to
express his real belief in the true causes of the evils of society. If
we could suppose that this piece of extravagant and one-sided invective
were meant to be seriously taken, as embodying Mr Carlyle's social and
political creed, we should scarcely find words strong enough to
reprobate its false and mischievous tendency.

We have already said, that we regard the chief _value_ of Mr Carlyle's
writings to consist in the _tone of mind_ which the individual reader
acquires from their perusal;--manly, energetic, enduring, with high
resolves and self-forgetting effort; and we here again, at the close of
our paper, revert to this remark: _Past and Present_, has not, and could
not have, the same wild power which _Sartor Resartus_ possessed, in our
opinion, over the feelings of the reader; but it contains passages which
look the same way, and breathe the same spirit. We will quote one or two
of these, and then conclude our notice. Their effect will not be
injured, we may observe, by our brief manner of quotation. Speaking of
"the man who goes about pothering and uproaring for his _happiness_," he

     "Observe, too, that this is all a modern affair; belongs not to
     the old heroic times, but to these dastard new times.
     'Happiness, our being's end and aim,' is at bottom, if we will
     count well, not yet two centuries old in the world. The only
     happiness a brave man ever troubled himself with asking much
     about was, happiness enough to get his work done. Not, 'I can't
     eat!' but, 'I can't work!' that was the burden of all wise
     complaining among men. It is, after all, the one unhappiness of
     a man--that he cannot work--that he cannot get his destiny as a
     man fulfilled."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The latest Gospel in this world, is, know thy work and do it.
     'Know thyself;' long enough has that poor 'self' of thine
     tormented thee; thou wilt never get to 'know' it, I believe!
     Think it not thy business, this of knowing thyself; thou art an
     unknowable individual; know what thou canst work at; and work
     at it like a Hercules! That will be thy better plan."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other
     blessedness. He has a work, a life-purpose; he has found it,
     and will follow it! How, as a free-flowing channel, dug and
     torn by noble force through the sour mud-swamp of one's
     existence, like an ever-deepening river, there it runs and
     flows;--draining off the sour festering water gradually from
     the root of the remotest glass-blade; making, instead of
     pestilential swamp, a green fruitful meadow with its
     clear-flowing stream. How blessed for the meadow itself, let
     the stream and _its_ value be great or small. Labour is life!"

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Who art thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain
     not. Look up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow workmen there,
     in God's eternity--surviving there--they alone
     surviving--sacred band of the Immortals. Even in the weak human
     memory they survive so long as saints, as heroes, as gods; they
     alone surviving--peopling, they alone, the immeasured solitudes
     of time! To thee, Heaven, though severe, is _not_ unkind.
     Heaven is kind, as a noble mother--as that Spartan mother,
     saying, as she gave her son his shield, 'with it, my son, or
     upon it!'

     "And, who art thou that braggest of thy life of idleness;
     complacently showest thy bright gilt equipages; sumptuous
     cushions; appliances for the folding of the hands to more
     sleep? Looking up, looking down, around, behind, or before,
     discernest thou, if it be not in Mayfair alone, any _idle_
     hero, saint, god, or even devil? Not a vestige of one. 'In the
     heavens, in the earth, in the waters under the earth, is none
     like unto thee.' Thou art an original figure in this creation,
     a denizen in Mayfair alone. One monster there is in the world:
     the idle man. What is his 'religion?' That nature is a
     phantasm, where cunning, beggary, or thievery, may sometimes
     find good victual."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The 'wages' of every noble work do yet lie in heaven, or else
     nowhere. Nay, at bottom dost thou need any reward? Was it thy
     aim and life-purpose, to be filled with good things for thy
     heroism; to have a life of pomp and ease, and be what men call
     'happy' in this world, or in any other world? I answer for
     thee, deliberately, no?

     "The brave man has to give his life away. Give it, I advise
     thee--thou dost not expect to _sell_ thy life in an adequate
     manner? What price, for example, would content thee?... Thou
     wilt never sell thy life, or any part of thy life, in a
     satisfactory manner. Give it, like a royal heart--let the price
     be nothing; thou hast then, in a certain sense, got all for

Well said! we again repeat, O Diogenes Teufelsdrockh!

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work_.

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843" ***

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