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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 341, March, 1844
Author: Various
Language: English
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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 55, No. 341, March, 1844" ***

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BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCXLI. MARCH, 1844. VOL. LV.



CONTENTS.


    ETHIOPIA,
    A WORD OR TWO OF THE OPERA-TIVE CLASSES. BY LORGNON,
    THE PIRATES OF SEGNA. A TALE OF VENICE AND THE ADRIATIC. PART I.,
    COLONEL DAVIDSON'S TRAVELS IN INDIA,
    BELFRONT CASTLE. A RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW,
    DUMAS IN HIS CURRICLE,
    MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART IX.,
    THE OLYMPIC JUPITER,
    A ROMAN IDYL,
    GOETHE,
    HYMN OF A HERMIT,
    THE LUCKLESS LOVER,
    FREE TRADE AND PROTECTION--THE CORN LAWS,

            *       *       *       *       *



ETHIOPIA[1]

    [1] _The Highlands of Ethiopa._ by Major W. CORNWALLIS HARRIS, H.E.
    I.C. Engineers. 3 vols.


From the various circumstances of our day, the impression is powerfully
made upon intelligent men in Europe, that some extraordinary change is
about to take place in the general condition of mankind. A new ardour of
human intercourse seems to be spreading through all nations. Europe has
laid aside her perpetual wars, and seems to be assuming a _habit_ of peace.
Even France, hitherto the most belligerent of European nations, is
evidently abandoning the passion for conqest, and begining to exert her
fine powers in the cultivation of commerce. All the nations of Europe are
either following her example, or sending out colonies of greater or less
magnitude, to fill the wild portions of the world. Regions hitherto
utterly neglected, and even scarcely known, are becoming objects of
enlightened regard; and mankind, in every quarter, is approaching, with
greater or less speed, to that combined interest and mutual intercourse,
which are the first steps to the true possession of the globe.

But, we say it with the gratification of Englishmen, proud of their
country's fame, and still prouder of its principles--that the lead in this
noblest of all human victories, has been clearly taken by England. It is
she who pre-eminently stimulates the voyage, and plants the colony, and
establishes the commerce, and civilizes the people. And all this has been
done in a manner so little due to popular caprice or national ambition, to
the mere will of a sovereign, or the popular thirst of possession, that it
invests the whole process with a sense of unequaled security. Resembling
the work of nature in the simplicity of its growth, it will probably also
resemble the work of nature in the permanence of its existence. It is not
an exotic, fixed in an unsuitable soil by capricions planting; but a seed
self-sown, nurtured by the common air and dews, assimilated to the climate,
and strikig its roots deep in the ground which it has thus, by its own
instincts, chosen. The necessities of British commerce, the urgency of
English protection, and the overflow of British population, have been the
great acting causes of our national efforts; and as those are causes which
regulate themselves, their results are as regular and unshaken, as they
are natural and extensive. But England has also had a higher motive. She
has unquestionably mingled a spirit of benevolence largely with her
general exertions. She has laboured to communicate freedom, law, a feeling
of property, and a consciousness of the moral debt due by man to the Great
Disposer of all, wherever she has had the power in her hands. No people
have ever been the worse for her, and all have been the better, in
proportion to their following her example. Wherever she goes, oppression
decays, the safety of person and property begins to be felt, the sword is
sheathed, the pen and the ploughshare commence alike to reclaim the mental
and the physical soil, and civilization comes, like the dawn, however
slowly advancing, to prepare the heart of the barbarian for the burst of
light, in the rising of Christianity upon his eyes.

The formation of a new route between India and Europe by the Red Sea--a
route, though well known to the ancient world, yet wholly incapable of
adoption by any but an Arab horseman, from the perpetual tumults of the
country--compelled England to look for a resting-place and depot for her
steam-ships at the mouth of the Red Sea. Aden, a desolated port, was the
spot fixed on; and the steam-vessels touching there were enabled to
prepare themselves for the continuance of their voyage. We shall
subsequently see how strikingly British protection has changed the
desolateness of this corner of the Arab wilderness, how extensively it has
become a place of commerce, and how effectually it will yet furnish the
means of increasing our knowledge of the interior of the great Arabian
peninsula.

It is remarkable that Africa, one of the largest and most fertile portions
of the globe, remains one of the least known. Furnishing materials of
commerce which have been objects of universal desire since the
deluge--gold, gems, ivory, fragrant gums, and spices--it has still
remained almost untraversed by the European foot, except along its coast.
It has been circumnavigated by the ships of every European nation, its
slave-trade has divided its profits and its pollutions among the chief
nations of the eastern and western worlds; and yet, to this hour, there
are regions of Africa, probably amounting to half its bulk, and possessing
kingdoms of the size of France and Spain, of which Europe has no more
heard than of the kingdoms of the planet Jupiter. The extent of Africa is
enormous:--5000 miles in length, 4600 in breadth, it forms nearly a
square of 13,430,000 square miles! the chief part solid ground; for we
know of no Mediterranean to break its continuity--no mighty reservoir for
the waters of its hills--and scarcely more than the Niger and the Nile for
the means of penetrating any large portion of this huge continent.

The population naturally divides itself into two portions, connected with
the character of its surface--the countries to the north and the south of
the mountains of Kong and the Jebel-al-Komr. To the north of this line of
demarcation, are the kingdoms of the foreign conquerors, who have driven
the original natives to the mountains, or have subjected them as slaves.
This is the Mahometan land. To the south of this line dwells the Negro, in
a region a large portion of which is too fiery for European life. This is
Central Africa; distinguished from all the earth by the unspeakable
mixture of squalidness and magnificence, simplicity of life yet fury of
passion, savage ignorance of its religious notions yet fearful worship of
evil powers, its homage to magic, and desperate belief in spells,
incantations and the _fetish_. The configuration of the country, so far as
it can be conjectured, assists this primeval barbarism. Divided by natural
barriers of hill, chasm, or river, into isolated states, they act under a
general impulse of hostility and disunion. If they make peace, it is only
for purposes of plunder; and, if they plunder, it is only to make slaves.
The very fertility of the soil, at once rendering them indolent and
luxurious, excites their passions, and the land is a scene alike of
profligacy and profusion. To the south of this vast region lies a
third--the land of the Caffre, occupying the eastern coast, and, with the
Betjouana and the Hottentot, forming the population of the most promising
portion of the continent. But here another and more enterprising race have
fixed themselves; and the great English colony of the Cape, with its
dependent settlements, has begun the first real conquest of African
barbarism. Whether Aden may not act on the opposite coasts of the Red Sea,
and Abyssinia become once more a Christian land; or whether even some
impulse may not divinely come from Africa itself, are questions belonging
to the future. But there can scarcely be a doubt, that the existence of a
great English viceroyalty in the most prominent position of South Africa,
the advantages of its government, the intelligence of its people, their
advancement in the arts essential to comfort, and the interest of their
protection, their industry, and their example, must, year by year, operate
in awaking even the negro to a feeling of his own powers, of the enjoyment
of his natural faculties, and of that rivalry which stimulates the skill
of man to reach perfection.

The name of Africa, which, in the Punic tongue, signifies "ears of corn,"
was originally applied only to the northern portion, lying between the
Great Desert and the shore, and now held by the pashalics of Tunis and
Tripoli. They were then the granary of Rome. The name Lybia was derived
from the Hebrew _Leb_, (heat,) and was sometimes partially extended to the
continent, but was geographically limited to the provinces between the
Great Syrtis and Egypt. The name Ethiopia is evidently Greek, (burning, or
black, visage.)

There is strong reason to believe that the Portuguese boast of the
sixteenth century--the circumnavigation of Africa--was anticipated by the
Phoenician sailors two thousand years and more. We have the testimony of
Herodotus, that Necho, king of Egypt, having failed in an attempt to
connect the Nile with the Red Sea by a canal, determine to try whether
another route might not be within his reach, and sent Phoenician vessels
from the Red Sea, with orders to sail round Africa, and return by the
Mediterranean. It is not improbable that, from being unacquainted with the
depth to which it penetrates the south, he had expected the voyage to be a
brief one. It seems evident that the navigators themselves did not
conceive that it could extend beyond the equator, from their surprise at
seeing the sun rise on their _right hand_. The narrative tells us--"The
Phoenicians, taking their course from the Red Sea, entered into the
Southern Ocean on the approach of autumn; they landed in Lybia, planted
corn, and remained till the harvest. They then sailed again. After having
thus spent two years, they passed the Columns of Hercules in the third,
and returned to Egypt." Herodotus doubted their story--"Their relation,"
says the honest old Greek, "may obtain belief from others, but to me it
seems incredible; for they affirmed, that, having sailed round Africa,
they _had the sun on their right hand_. Thus was Africa for the first time
known."

Thus the very circumstance which the old historian regarded as throwing
doubt on the discovery, is now one of the strongest corroborations of its
truth.[2] There appear to have been several attempts to sail along the
west coast, by ancient expeditions; but to the Portuguese is due the
modern honour of having first sailed round the Cape. From 1412, the
Portuguese, under a race of adventurous princes, had extended their
discoveries; but it occupied them sixty years to reach the Line, and
nearly thirty years more to reach the Cape, which they first called Cabo
Tormentoso, (Stormy Cape.) But the king gave it the more lucky, though the
less poetical, title which it now bears.

    [2] Reunell, p. 682.

The triumph of Columbus, in his discovery of the New World in 1493, raised
the emulation of the Portuguese, then regarded as the first navigators in
the world; yet it was not until four years after, that their expedition
was sent, to equalize the stupendous accession to the Spanish domains, by
the possession of the East. In July 1497, Gama sailed, reached Calicut May
2, 1498, and returned to Portugal, covered with well-earned renown, after
a voyage of upwards of two years.

Having given this brief outline of the divisions and character of the
mighty continent, which seemed important to the better understanding of
the immediate subject, we revert to the intelligent and animated volumes
of Captain (now Major) Harris.

A letter from the Bombay government, 29th April 1841, gave him this
distinguished credential:--

"SIR--I am directed to inform you that the Honourable the Governor in
Council, having formed a very high estimate of your talents and
acquirements, and of the spirit of enterprise and decision, united with
prudence and discretion, exhibited in your recently published travels
through the territories of the Maselakatze to the Tropic of Capricorn, has
been pleased to select you to conduct the mission which the British
Government has resolved to send to Sahela Selasse, the king of Shoa, in
Southern Abyssinia, whose capital, Ankober, is supposed to be about four
hundred miles inland from the port of Tajura, on the African coast."

[Then followed the mention of the vessels appointed to carry the mission.]

    (Signed) "J.P. WILLOUGHBY,"

    "Secretary to Government."

The persons comprising the mission were Major W.C. Harris, Bombay
Engineers, Captain Douglas Graham, Bombay army, principal assistant, with
others, naturalists, draftsmen, &c., and an escort of two sergeants and
fifteen rank and file, volunteers from H.M. 6th foot and the Bombay
Artillery.

On the afternoon of a sultry day in April, Major Harris, with his gallant
and scientific associates, embarked on board the East India Company's
steam ship Auckland, in the harbour of Bombay, on their voyage to the
kingdom of Shoa in Southern Abyssinia, in the year 1841. The steam frigate
pursued her way prosperously through the waters, and on the ninth day was
within sight of Cape Aden, after a voyage of 1680 miles. The Cape, named
by the natives, Jebel Shemshan, rises nearly 1800 feet above the ocean, is
frequently capped with clouds, a wild and fissured mass of rock, and
evidently intended by nature for one of those great beacons which announce
the approach to an inland sea. On rounding the Cape, the British eye was
delighted with the sight of the Red Sea squadron, riding at anchor within
the noble bay. The arrival of the frigate also caused a sensation on the
shore; and Major Harris happily describes the feelings with which a new
arrival is hailed by the British garrison on that dreary spot, their only
excitement being the periodical visits of the packets between Suez and
Bombay. In the dead of the night a blue light shoots up in the offing. It
is answered by the illumination of the block ship, then the thunder of her
guns is heard, then, as she nears the shore, the flapping of her paddles
is heard through the silence, then the spectral lantern appears at the
mast-head, and then she rushes to her anchorage, leaving in her wake a
long phosphoric train.

Wherever England drops an anchor a new scene of existence has begun. At
Aden, the supply of coals for the steam-ships has introduced a new trade;
gangs of brawny Seedies, negroes from the Zanzibar coast, but fortunately
enfranchised, make a livelihood by transferring the coal from the depots
on shore to the steamers. Though the most unmusical race in the world,
they can do nothing without music, but it is music of their own--a
tambourine beaten with the thigh-bone of a calf; but their giant frames go
through prodigious labour, carry immense sacks, and drink prodigious
draughts to wash the coal-dust down. Such is the furious excitement with
which they rush into this repulsive operation, that Major Harris thinks
that for every hundred tons of coal thus embarked, at least one life is
sacrificed; those strong savages, at once inflamed by drink, and overcome
with toil, throwing themselves down on the dust or the sand, to rise no
more. This shows the advantage of English philosophy: our coal-heavers in
the Thames toil as much, are nearly as naked, nearly as black, and
probably drink more; but we never hear of their dying in a fit of rapture
in the embrace of a coal-sack. When the day is done, drunk or sober,
washed or unwashed, they go home to their wives, sleep untroubled by the
cares of kings, and return to fresh dust, drink, and dirt, next morning.

The coast of Arabia has no claims to the picturesque: all its charms, like
those of the oyster, lie within the roughest of possible shells. Its first
aspect resembles heaps of the cinders of a glass-house--a building whose
heat seems to be fully realized by the temperature of this fearful place.
England has a resident there, Captain Haynes, named as political agent.
That any human being, who could exist in any other place, would remain in
Aden, is one of the wonders of human nature. An officer, of course, must
go wherever he is sent; but such is the innate love for a post, that if
this gallant and intelligent person were roasted to death, as might happen
in one of the coolest days of the Ethiopian summer, there would be a
thousand applications before a month was over, to the Foreign Office, for
the honour of being carbonaded on the rocks of Aden.

The promontory has all the marks of volcanic eruption, and is actually
recorded, by an Arab historian of the tenth century, to have been thrown
up about that period. "Its sound, like the rumbling of thunder, might then
be heard many miles, and from its entrails vomited forth redhot stones,
with a flood of liquid fire." The crater of the extinguished volcano is
still visible, though shattered and powdered down by the tread under which
Alps and Appennines themselves crumble away--that of Time. The only point
on which we are sceptical is the late origin of the promontory. Nothing
beyond a sandhill or a heap of ashes has been produced on the face of
nature since the memory of man. That a rock, or rather a mountain chain,
with a peak 1800 feet high, should have been produced at any time time
within the last four thousand years, altogether tasks our credulity. The
powers of nature are now otherwise employed than in rough-hewing the
surface of the globe. She has been long since, like the sculptor, employed
in polishing and finishing--the features were hewn out long ago. Her
master-hand has ever since been employed in smoothing them.

Aden's reputation for barrenness is an old one--"Aden," says Ben Batuta of
Tangiers, "is situate upon the sea-shore; a large city without either seed,
water, or tree." This was written five hundred years ago; yet the ruins of
fortifications and watch-towers along the rocks, show that even this human
oven was the object of cupidity in earlier times; and the British guns,
bristling among the precipices, show that the desire is undecayed even in
our philosophic age.

Yet the Arab imagination has created its wonders even in this repulsive
scene; and the generation of monkeys which tenant the higher portion of
the rocks, are declared by Arab tradition to be the remnant of the once
powerful tribe of Ad, changed into apes by the displeasure of Heaven, when
"the King of the World," Sheddad, renowned in eastern story,
presumptuously dared to form a garden which should rival Paradise. The
prophet Hud remonstrated; but his remonstrances went for nothing, and the
indignant monarch and his courtiers suddenly found their visages simious,
their tongues chattering, and their lower portions furnished with tails--a
species of transformation, which, so far as regards visage and tongue, is
supposed to be not unfrequent among courtiers to this day. But this showy
tradition goes further still. The Bostan al Irem (Garden of Paradise) is
believed still to exist in the deserts of Aden; though geographers differ
on its position. It still retains its domes and bowers--both of
indescribable beauty; its crystal fountains, and its walks strewed with
pearls for sand. It is true, that no living man can absolutely aver that
he has seen this place of wonders; but that is a mere result of our very
wicked age. This has not been always the case; for Abdallah Ibn Aboo
Kelaba passed a night in its palace in the reign of Moowiych, the prince
of the Faithful. Lucky the man who shall next find it, but unlucky the
world when he does; for then the day of the general conflagration will be
at hand. In the mean time, it remains, like the top of Mount Meru, covered
with clouds, or, like the inside of a Chinese puzzle, a work of unrivaled
art, conceivable but intangible by man.

In this pleasant mingling of fact, visible to his shrewd eye, and fiction
drawn from ancient fancy, Major Harris leads us on. But Aden is not yet
exhausted of wonders--an island in its bay, Seerah, (the fortified black
isle,) is pronounced to have been the refuge of Cain on the murder of Abel;
and its volcanic and barren chaos is no unequal competitor for the honour
with the rocks of the Caucasus.

But England, which changes every thing, is changing all this. Within the
next generation, the railway will run down the romances of Nutrib; a
cotton manufactory will send up its smokes to blot out the celestial blue
by day, and shoot forth its sullen illumination by night, over the
anointed soil; the minstrel will turn policeman, and the sheik be a
justice of peace; political economy will have its itinerant lecturers,
enlightening the Bedouins on the principles of rent and taxes; the city
will have a lord mayor and corporation of the deepest black; the volcano
will be planted with villas; turnpikes will measure out the sands; a hotel
will flourish on the summit of Jebel Shemshan; and Aden will differ from
Liverpool in nothing but being two thousand miles further from the smoke
and multitudes of London.

The Arab is still the prominent person among the native population of this
territory. Major Harris describes him well. The bronzed and sunburnt
visage, surrounded by long matted locks of raven hair; the slender but
wiry and active frame, and the energetic gait and manner, proclaimed the
untamable descendant of Ishmael. He nimbly mounts the crupper of his now
unladen dromedary, and at a trot moves down the bazar. A checked kerchief
round his brows, and a kilt of dark blue calico round his frame, comprise
his slender costume. His arms have been deposited outside the Turkish wall;
and as he looks back, his meagre, ferocious aspect, flanked by that
tangled web of hair, stamps him the roving tenant of the desert. It is
curious to find in this remote country a custom similar to that of the
fiery cross, which in old times summoned the Celtic tribes to arms. On the
alarm of invasion, a branch, torn by the priest from the _nebek_, (a tree
bearing a fruit like the Siberian crab,) is lighted in the fire, the flame
is then quenched in the blood of a newly slaughtered ram. It is then sent
forth with a messenger to the nearest clan. Thus, great numbers are
assembled with remarkable promptitude. In the invasion under Ibrahim Pasha,
sixteen thousand of these wild warriors were assembled from one tribe.
They crept into the Egyptian camp by night, and, using only their daggers,
made such formidable slaughter, that the Pasha was glad to escape by a
precipitate retreat.

The Jews form an important part of the population, as artizans and
manufacturers. Feeling the natural veneration for the Chosen People in all
their misfortunes, and convinced that the time will come when those
misfortunes will be obliterated, it is highly gratifying to find, that
even in this place of their ancient sufferings, they are beginning to feel
the benefit of British protection. Hitherto, through their indefatigable
industry, having acquired opulence in Arabia as elsewhere, they were
afraid either to display or to enjoy it; but now, under the protection of
the British flag, they not merely enjoy their wealth, but they publicly
practise the rights of their religion. Stone slabs with Hebrew
inscriptions mark the place of their dead. They have schools for the
education of their children; and their men and women, arrayed in their
holiday apparel, sit fearlessly in the synagogue, and listen to the
reading of the law and the prophets, as of old. It is a great source of
gratification to the philanthropist to find, that wherever England extends
her power, industry, commerce, and peace are the natural result. Aden,
barren as the soil is, is evidently approaching to a prosperity which it
never possessed even in its most flourishing days. Emigrants from Yemen
and from both shores of the Red Sea, are daily crowding within the walls,
through the security which they offer against native oppression. In the
short space of three years, the population has risen to twenty thousand
souls. Substantial dwellings are rising up in every quarter, and at all
the adjacent ports hundreds of native merchants are only waiting the
erection of permanent fortifications, in token of our intending to remain,
to flock under the guns with their families and wealth. The opinion of
this intelligent writer is, that Aden, as a free port, whilst she pours
wealth into a now impoverished land, must erelong become the queen of the
adjacent seas, and rank amongst the most useful dependencies of the
British crown.

The mission having remained some time at Aden, to purchase horses and
stores, sailed on the 15th May; and, on losing sight of Aden, the members
of the mission characteristically took the "Pilgrims' vow" not to shave
until their return. On the 17th they opened the town of Tajura, on the
verge of a broad expanse of blue water, over which a gossamerlike fleet of
fishing catamarans already plied their craft. Their pilot, an old Arab,
was a man of fun, and the specimens of his tongue are good. In some
reference to the anchorage, he said, "Now if we only had two-fathom Ali
here, you would not have all these difficulties. When they want to lay out
an anchor, they have nothing to do but to hand it over to Ali, and he
walks away with it into six or eight feet without any ado. I went once
upon a time in the dark to grope for a berth on board of his buggalow, and,
stumbling over some one's toes, enquired to whom they belonged. 'To Ali,'
was the reply. 'And whose knees are these?' said I, after walking half
across the deck. 'Ali's.' 'And this head in the scuppers, pray whose is
it?' 'Ali's; what do you want with it?' 'Ali again!' I exclaimed; 'then I
must even look for stowage elsewhere.'"

The sight of a shark in the harbour let loose the old jester again. "A
friend of mine," said he, "pilot of a vessel almost as fast a sailer as my
own, which is acknowledged to be the best in these seas, was bound to
Mocha with camels on board. When off the high table-land betwixt the Bay
of Tajura and the Red Sea, one of the beasts dying, was hove overboard. Up
came a shark ten times the size of that fellow there, and swallowed the
camel, leaving only his hinder legs sticking out of his jaws; but before
he had time to think where he was to find stowage for it, up came another
tremendous fellow and bolted the shark, camel, legs, and all."

In return for this anecdote, the major gave him the story of the two
Kilkenny cats in the saw-pit, which fought, until nothing remained of
either but the tail and a bit of the flue. The old pilot doubted. "How can
that be?" said he, revolving the business seriously in his mind. "As for
the story I have told you, it is as true as the Koran."

After a short stay and presentation to the Sultan of Tajura, a slave-port,
with a miserable old man for its master, the mission once more set forth
for Shoa; yet even here we glean a specimen of Arab speech. "Trees attain
not to their growth in a single day," said an Arab, when remonstrating
with the sultan on his inordinate love of lucre. "Take the tree as your
text, and learn that property is to be gathered only by slow degrees."
"True," said the old miser; "but, sheik, you must have lost sight of the
fact, that my leaves are already withered, and that, if I would be rich, I
have not a moment to lose."

The packing up for the journey was a new source of trouble; every
camel-driver found fault with his load. However, at length every article
was stowed, except a hand-organ and a few stand of arms. At length, a
great hulking savage offered to take the arms, provided they were cut in
two to suit the back of his animals. We have then another instance of Arab
drollery. "You are a tall man," said the old pilot; "suppose we shorten
you by the legs." "No, no," said the barbarian, "I am flesh and blood, and
shall be spoiled." "So will the contents of these cases, you offspring of
an ass," said the old man, "if you divide them."

The progress to the interior from the port of Tajura, led them over
immense ranges of basaltic cliffs, where the heat of the sun was felt with
an intensity scarcely conceivable by European feelings. In this land of
fire, the road skirting the base of a barren range covered with heaps of
lava blocks, and its foot marked by piles of stones, the memorials of
deeds of blood, the lofty conical peak of Jebel Seearo rose in sight, and
not long afterwards the far-famed Lake Assad, surrounded by its dancing
mirage, was seen sparkling at its base.

The first glimpse of this phenomenon, "though curious, was far from
pleasing"--"an elliptical basin, seven miles in its transverse axis,
filled half with smooth water of the deepest cerulean hue, and half with a
sheet of glittering snow-white salt, girded on three sides by huge
hot-looking mountains, that dip their basins into its very bowl, and on
the fourth by crude, half-formed rocks of lava, broken and divided by
chasms. No sound broke on the ear, not a ripple played on the water. The
molten surface of the lake lay like burnished steel, the fierce sky was
without a cloud, and the angry sun, like a ball of metal at a white heat,
rode in full blaze."

It is scarcely wonderful, that among a people devoted to superstition,
those terrible passes and sultry hollows should be marked as the haunts of
the powers of evil. Adyli, a deep mysterious cavern at the extremity of
one of those melancholy plains, is believed to be the especial abode of
gins and _afreets_, whose voices are heard in the night, and who carry off
the traveller to devour him without remorse. A late instance was mentioned
of a man who was compelled by the weariness of his camel to fall behind
the caravan, and who left no remnants behind him but his spear and shield.
Major Harris well describes this spot as one which, from its desolate
position, might be believed to be the last stage of the habitable world.
"A close mephitic stench, impeding respiration, arose from the saline
exhalations of the stagnant lake. A frightful glare from the white salt
and limestone hillocks threatened extinction to the vision, and a
sickening heaviness in the loaded atmosphere was enhanced rather than
alleviated by the fiery breath of the north-westerly wind, which blew
without interruption during the day. The air was inflamed, the sky
sparkled, and columns of burning sand, which at quick intervals towered
high into the atmosphere, became so illumined as to appear like tall
pillars of fire. Crowds of horses, mules, and camels, tormented to madness
by the poisonous gad-fly, flocked to share the only bush; and, disputing
with their heels the slender shelter it afforded, compelled several of the
party to seek refuge in caves formed below by fallen masses of volcanic
rock, heated to the temperature of a potter's kiln, and fairly baking up
the marrow in the bones." The heat in this place, with the thermometer
under the shade of cloaks and umbrellas, was at 126°. It is only
surprising how any of the party survived. Certainly if Abyssinia is to be
approached only by this road, the prospect of an intercourse with it from
the east, appears among the most improbable things of this world.

One of the advantages of continental travel has been long since said to be,
its teaching us how many comfortable things we enjoy at home; and it
appears that no Englishman can comprehend the value of that despised fluid,
fresh water, until he has left the precincts of his own fortunate land:
but it is in Africa, and peculiarly on this Abyssinian high-road, that the
value of a draught of spring water is to be especially estimated. "Since
leaving the shores of India," says Major Harris, "the party had gradually
been in training towards a disregard of dirty water. On board a ship of
any description, the fluid is seldom very clear or very plentiful. At Cape
Aden, there was little perceptible difference between the sea water and
the land water. At Tajura, the beverage obtainable was far from being
improved in quality by the taint of the new skins in which it was
transferred from the only well; and now, in the very heart of the
scorching Tehama, where a copious draught of pure water seemed absolutely
indispensable every five minutes, the mixture was the very acme of
abomination. Fresh hides stript from the he-goat, besmeared inside as well
as out with old tallow and strong bark tan, filled from an impure well at
Sagallo, tossed and tumbled during two days and nights under a distilling
heat," formed a drink which we should conclude to be little short of
poison. However, the human throat learns to accommodate itself to every
thing in time, and the time came when even this abomination was longed for.

But the worst was not yet come. It was midnight when the party commenced
the steep ascent of the south-eastern boundary of the lake, a ridge of
volcanic rocks. "The north-east wind had scarcely diminished its parching
fierceness, and in hot suffocating gusts swept over the glittering expanse
of water and salt, where the moon shone brightly; each deadly puff
succeeded by the stillness that foretells a tropical hurricane. The
prospect around was wild--beetling, basaltic cones, and jagged slabs of
shattered lava."

The path itself was formidable, winding along the crest of the ridge over
sheets of broken lava, with scarcely more than sufficient width to admit
of the progress in single file. "The horrors of this dismal night set all
description at defiance." The hope of water, though at the distance of
sixteen miles, excited them for a while; but at length even this
excitement failed. And "owing to the heat, fasting, and privation, the
limbs of the weaker refused the task, and after the first two miles they
dropped fast into the rear. Under the fiery blast of the midnight sirocco
the cry for water, uttered feebly and with difficulty by numbers of
parched throats, now became incessant; and the supply for the whole party
falling short of a gallon and a half, it was not long to be answered. A
tiny sip of diluted vinegar for a moment assuaged the burning thirst which
raged in the vitals; but its effects were transient, and, after struggling
a few steps, they sank again, declaring their days to be numbered, and
their resolution to rise up no more. Dogs incontinently expired upon the
road, horses and mules that once lay down were abandoned to their fate;
while the lion-hearted soldier, who had braved death at the cannon's
mouth, subdued and unmanned by thirst, lay gasping by the wayside, hailing
approaching dissolution with delight, as the termination of tortures which
were no longer to be endured. As another day dawned, and the "round red
sun" again rose over the lake of salt, the courage even of those who had
borne up against this fiery trial began to flag: "a dimness came before
the drowsy eyes, giddiness seized the brain, and the hope held out by the
guides, of water in advance, seemed like the delusion of a dream."

In this crisis, at which our chief wonder is, that Major Harris and his
explorers were ever heard of again, or had left any memorials of
themselves but their bones, a wild Bedouin was seen, "like a delivering
angel," hurrying forward with a large skin, filled with muddy water. This
well-timed supply was divided among the fainting people: a quantity was
poured over the face and down the throat of each; and at a late hour,
"ghastly, haggard, and exhausted, like men who had escaped from the jaws
of death, the whole had contrived to straggle into a camp, which, but for
the foresight and firmness of the son of Ali Abi,(who had sent the water,)
few individuals would have reached alive."

After traversing this terrible desert of fifty miles--a barrier to all
general and commercial intercourse, which we should think impassable,
however it might be overcome by a small party of bold and hardy men, well
led, furnished with every supply, water excepted, which could sustain them
through its horrors, (and which yet, through that single want, had nearly
perished)--they persued a long and dlifficult march through a dreary
country, scantily peopled, dotted with robber clans, and exhibiting
impediments of all kinds in the knavery and villany of the native
authorities; until they reached the borders of Abyssinia. We had by no
means been aware that volcanoes had made so large a share of this portion
of Africa. The whole border seems to be volcanic, and to retain in its
blasted and broken surface, evidence of its having been, in remote ages,
perhaps in the earliest, the scene of most intense and general volcanic
action.

In Major Harris's animated description--"singular and interesting indeed
is the wild scenery in the vicinity of the treacherous oasis of Sultelli.
A field of extinct volcanic cones, vomited out of the entrails of the
earth, and each encircled by a black belt of vitrified lava, environs it
on three sides; and of these Mount Abida, three thousand feet in height,
whose cup, enveloped in clouds, stretches some two and a half miles in
_diameter_, would seem to be the parent. Beyond, the still loftier crater
of Aiulloo, the ancient landmark of the now-decayed empire of Ethiopia, is
visible in dim perspective; and, looming hazily in the extreme distance,
is the great blue Abyssinian range."

In any part of Africa a river of tolerable magnitude is an object of the
most anxious interest; and the approach to the Hawash, the boundary river
of the kingdom of Shoa, was looked to with eager speculation. At length
the height was reached from which was obtained "an exhilarating prospect
over the dark, lone valley of the long looked-for Hawash. The course of
the river was marked by a dense belt of trees and verdure, stretching
towards the base of the great mountain range, of which the cloud-capped
cone, which frowns over the capital of Shoa, forms the most conspicuous
feature." The mission now began to exalt:--"Though still far distant, the
ultimate destination of the embassy appeared almost to have been gained,
and none had an idea of the length of time that must elapse before his
foot should press the soil of Ankober." A day of intense heat was as usual
followed by a heavy fall of rain, which, owing to the unaccommodating
arrangement of striking the tents at sunset, thoroughly drenched the whole
party.

The new difficulty was, how to cross the Hawash, "second of the rivers of
Abyssinia, and rising in the very heart of Ethipoia, at an elevation of
8000 feet above the sea. It is fed by niggardly tributaries from the high
bulwarks of Shoa and Efat, and flows, like a great artery, through the
arid plains of the Adaiel, green and wooded throughout its long course,
and finally absorbed in the lagoons of Aussa. The canopy of fleecy clouds,
which, as mid-day dawned, hung thick and heavy over the lofty blue peaks
beyond, gave sad presage of the deluge that was pouring between its
verdant banks from the higher regions of the source."

The party now descended to enjoy the real luxuries of shade and water, in
a region where they had hitherto seen nothing but salt and lava. At first
thinly wooded, they found the soil covered with tall rank grass, from
which, however, the perpetual incursions of the robber tribes scare the
flocks and herds. Deeper down, they entered among gum-bearing acacias and
fruit-trees. "Guinea-fowl rose before them, groves of tamarisk, ringing to
the voice of the bell-bird, flanked every open glade, and the fractured
branches of the nobletrees gave proof of the presence of the most
ponderous of the mammalia."

Forcing their way, with some difficulty, through this jungle, they
obtained their first near view of the river, a "deep volume of turbid
water," covered with drift wood, and rolling, at the rate of three miles
an hour, between clayey walls twenty-five feet in height. The breadth fell
short of sixty yards, but the flood was not yet at its maximum. Willows,
drooping over the stream, were festooned with recent drift, hanging many
feet above the level of the banks; and it was evident that the waters had
lately been out, to the overflowing of the country for many miles. The
river, now upwards of 2200 feet above the level of the ocean forms, in
this quarter, the nominal boundary of the kingdom of Shoa.

They were now on "the spot which exhibited the forest life of Africa." In
a lake adjoining the river, the hippopotamus "rolled his unwieldy carcass
to the surface, and floating crocodiles, protruding his snout to blow a
snort that might be heard at the distance of a mile." An unfortunate
donkey, which had been partly drowned and partly strangled, was thrown out
of the camp. No sooner had night fallen, than this prey roused the
appetites of the whole forest, the howl and growl of wild beasts was heard
at their banquet on the donkey throughout the night. Lightening played
over the woods; the "violent snapping of the branches proclaimed the
nocturnal movements of the elephant and hippopotamus;" the loud roar and
startling snort were constantly heard; and by morning every vestige of the
dead animal, even to the skull, had disappeared.

Africa, in all its provinces, is the scene of the boldest field sports in
the world--India and its tigers, perhaps, excepted. But Africa excels even
India in the variety and multitude of its mighty savages--lions, elephants,
panthers, and hippopotami; the sands, the forests, the jungles, the rivers,
the marshes, every thing and place abounds with brute life, on the largest,
the boldest, and the fiercest scale. Africa, with the human race on the
lowest grade, has the brute on the highest, and its true name is the great
kingdom of savage nature.

A two-ounce ball had been lodged in the forehead of hippopotamus on the
evening of reaching the Hawash; but the animal having dived, the natives,
in some jealousy of the skill of the British rifle, declared that it had
not been mortally struck. The next dawn, however, decided the question,
for the "freckled pink sides of a dead hippopotamus were to be seen high
above the surface, as the distended carcass floated like a monstrous buoy
at anchor." Hawsers were carried out with all diligence, and the "colossus"
was towed ashore amidst the acclamations of the whole caravan. Then came a
native scene. A tribe of savages, who had waited, squatting, to see the
arrival of the monster, threw aside their bows and arrows, and, stripping
its thick hide from the ribs, attacked it with the vigour of an African
horde. Donkeys and women were laden with incredible despatch, and,
"staggering under huge flaps of meat," the savages went their way.

The soil now became swampy, yet only the more filled with animal existence.
LE ADO, (the White Water,) a lake which they skirted, of two miles'
diameter, was the haunt of countless wild-fowl, geese, mallards, teal,
herons, flamingoes. A party of Bedouin women deposed to having seen
another "party" of elephants taking a bath in the spot half an hour before,
and the prints of their huge feet in the moist sands corroborated the
testimony. Hideously withered women followed the march of the mission,
carrying curds, and covered over with marsh-flies. Above, vast flights of
locusts, which had stripped the coast, were pouring in towards Abyssinia.
"They quite darkened the air" where the caravan halted; and above them
again were a host of adjutant birds, sometimes bursting down through the
mass, and then stooping to the ground, and stalking along to devour the
killed and wounded. This is the land, too, of the hurricane. Nature is
queen or tyrant here; the thunder tears the sensorium; the lightning burns
out the eyes; the rain is a cataract; the hall is a continued volley of
ice; the clouds stoop to earth, and bury the daylight like a shroud; the
rivers become torrents; the dry plain becomes first a swamp, and then a
sea. Tents and tarpaulins are useless to keep out the deluge from above,
or are beaten down by its weight on the heads of the unfortunates who
trust to them for shelter, until at length the caravan, stripped of all
covering, has no resource but to bide the pelting of the pitiless storm,
and, shivering and shelterless, wait until the hurricane has howled itself
away.

At length they reached the city of Furri, loaded, for the thirty-fifth
time, with the baggage of the British embassy. The caravan, escorted by a
detachment of three hundred matchlock men, with flutes playing, and
muskets echoing, and the heads of the warriors decorated with white plumes,
on the 16th July entered the frontier town of the kingdom of Efat.
Clusters of conical-roofed houses, covering the sides of twin hills, here
presented the first permanent habitations that had greeted the eye since
leaving the sea-coast--rude and ungainly, but right welcome signs of
transition from depopulated waste to the abodes of man. The African seems
a robber by nature, and the sight of the bales and boxes excited the
national propensity in a most violent degree. Even the royal ministers and
courtiers seem to have felt a passion for looking into those prohibited
treasures, which evidently tempted their virtue in a most perilous degree.
Meanwhile a special messenger arrived, bearing reiterated compliments from
the Negoos, (king,) with a horse and a mule from the royal stud, attired
in the peculiar trappings which belong to majesty. Those animals awoke all
the loyal curiosity of the people. At the sight women and girls, enveloped
in blood-red shifts, who had thronged to stare at the strangers, burst
into a scream of acclamation. A group of hooded widows thrust their
fingers into their ears and joined in the clamour. The escort and
camel-drivers placed no bounds to their hilarity. A fat ox, that had been
promised, was turned loose among the spectators, pursued by fifty savages
with their gleaming _creeses_, and hamstrung by a dexterous blow, which
threw it bellowing to the earth in the height of its mad career, and
tribes of lean curs commenced an indiscriminate engagement over the
garbage.

The neighbouring nations look upon the population of this province with
great contempt. They say that their tongues are long for lying, their arms
are long for stealing, and their legs are long for running away.

The mission now approached another region, perhaps the finest in Africa.
Every change in the climate and soil in Africa is in extremes, and
barreness and unbounded fertility lie side by side.

  "As if by the touch of the magician's wand, the scene now passes, in
  an instant, from parched wastes to the geen, and lovely islands of
  Abyssinia, presenting one scene of rich and thriving cultivation. The
  baggage having at length been consigned to the shoulders of six
  hundred grumbling Moslem porters--for here the camel, from the
  steepness of the hills, was useless--and forming a line, which
  extended upwards of a mile, the embassy, on the morning of the 17th,
  comnenced the ascent of the Abyssinian Alps; the flutes again played,
  the wild warriors of the escort again chanted their songs. It was a
  cool and lovely morning, and an invigorating breeze played over the
  mountains' side, on which, now less than ten degrees from the equator,
  flourished the vegetation of northern climes. The rough and stony
  road wound on, by a steep ascent, over hill and dale, now skirting
  some precipitous ascent, now dipping into the basin of some verdant
  hollow, where it suddenly emerged into a succession of shady lanes,
  bounded by flowering hedgerows."

All this is so like England, and so unlike Africa, that we should suspect
the major's memory to have been as active at least as his observation. But
the work contains so much internal evidence of accuracy, independently of
the confidence attached to the character of the intelligent writer himself,
that we must believe the heart of Ethiopa to possess secnes that would be
worthy of the heart of our own fresh and flower-bearing island. The scene
which follows is quite Arcadian.

  "The wild rose, the fern, the lantana, and the honeysuckle, smiled
  round a succession of highly cultivated terraces, and on every
  eminence, stood a cluster of conically thatched houses, environed by
  green hedges, and partially embowered amid dark trees As the troop
  passed on, the peasant abandoned his occupation to gaze at the novel
  procession; while merry groups of hooded women, decked in scarlet and
  crimson left their avocations in the hut to welcome the king's guests
  with a shrill _ziroleet_, which ran from every hand. Birds warbled
  among the groves. At various turns of the road the prospect was
  rugged, wild, and beautiful. The first Christian village was soon
  revealed on the summit of a height. Three principal ranges of hills
  were next crossed in succession. Lastly, the view opened upon the
  wooded site of Ankober occupying a central position in a horseshoe
  crescent of mountains, still high above which enclose a magnificent
  amphitheatre of ten miles in diameter. This is clothed throughout
  with a splendid vigorous, and varied vegetation."

The embassy now halted, waiting for permission to enter the capital, and
taking up their quarters in a town three thousand feet above Furri, on the
frontier. The escort of the troop fired a salute on entering, and, as they
marched along, performed the war dance. A veteran capered before the ranks
with a drawn sword between his teeth, and the martial song was chorused by
three hundred Christian throats. The prospect from this elevated point
naturally struck the travellers with astonishment and admiration. The site
of the town is only one of the thousand cones into which the mountain side
is broken as it approaches the plain. The prospect over the plain was
boundless, and countless villages met the eye upon the mountain slope.
Wherever the plough could go, all was cultivated. Wheat, barley, Indian
corn, beans, peas, cotton, and oil plant, throve luxuriantly round every
hamlet. The regularly marked fields mounted in terraces to the height of
three or four thousand feet, becoming, in their boundaries, more and more
indistinct, until totally lost in the shadowy green side of Mamrat (the
Mother of Grace.)

This mountain is a wonder, shrouded in clouds whilst all was sunshine
below. It is clothed with a dense forest, and ascends to an elevation of
13,000 feet above the sea. Here are collected, for security, the treasures
of the monarch which have been amassing since the re-establishment of the
kingdom, one hundred and fifty years since.

After remaining some time in the market-place, the governor of the town
appeared, and conducted the mission to the house of an old Moslem woman,
where they were to lodge for the night. The names of the three daughters,
Major Harris observes, were worthy of the days of Prince Cherry and Fair
Star. They were Eve, Sweet Limes, and Sunbeam. The ladies vacated the
house with great good-humour; but it was low, intolerably filthy, and
without bedding or food. The unfortunate mission had thus to spend a night,
probably unequaled by their sufferings in the open field. Though so near
the equator, they felt the cold severely; rain set in with great violence,
pouring through the roof, and entering into the threshold. A fire was
indispensable, yet they were nearly suffocated with smoke; they were
devoured with insects, and in this torment and fever tossed till dawn. At
the arrival of morning they received the disappointing message, that the
king could not yet visit his capital, but that they might either seek him
among the mountains, or wait for him  where they were.

Major Harris imputes this disappointment to the accidental opening of one
of the boxes of presents. Royal cupidity had been so strongly excited by
the conjectures of their contents, that the king had evidently been
anxious, in the first instance, to hasten their delivery as much as
possible. Gold and jewels were probably uppermost in the royal conceptions;
but the box happening to contain only the leathern buckets belonging to
the "galloper guns," the spectators were loud in their derision. "These,"
they exclaimed, "are but a poor people! What is their nation compared with
the Amhara? for behold, in this trash, specimens of the offerings brought
from their boasted land to the footstool of the mightiest of monarchs."

The rainy season was now setting in, and the situation of the embassy
became more comfortless from day to day. Notes were written, and answers
received from the monarch, but the royal interview was still postponed,
partly by the artifice of the knavish governors, who kept a longing eye on
the presents, and partly by the barbarian etiquette of showing the natives
the scorn with which their king was entitled to treat all the nations of
the world.

The residence of the mission in this comfortless place, however, gave a
opportunity of acquiring considerable knowledge of the habits and commerce
of the interior. The chief traffic is in slaves, but coffee is exported
extensively from Hurrna, and large caravans three times in the year visit
the ports, Zeyla and Barbara, laden with ivory, ostrich feathers, ghee,
saffrons, gums, and myrrh. In return are brought blue and white calicoes,
Indian piece goods, Indian prints, silks, and shawls, red cotton yarn,
silk threads, beads, frankincense, copper wire, and zinc.

A fortnight rolled away painfully in this detestable place, which was
named Alio Amba, when a summons came from the monarch in these formal
words:--"Tarry not by day, neither stay ye by night; for the heart of the
father longeth to see his children, and let him not be disappointed."

They now ascended through a country of romantic beauty, to Machalwan, the
place appointed for the interview. The Abyssinian in charge of the embassy,
was now sent forward to obtain permission to fire a salute of twenty-one
guns on the arrival of the troop at the royal residence. This request
seemed to have alarmed his majesty in no slight degree. The most romantic
reports of the ordnance had gone before them. It was currently believed
that their discharge was sufficient to set fire to the ground, to shiver
rocks, and to dismantle mountain fastnesses. Men were said to have arrived,
with "copper legs," who served those tremendous engines; and in alarm for
the safety of his palace, capital, and treasures, the suspicious monarch
still peremptorily insisted on withholding the desired license, until he
should have seen the battery "with his own eyes." It rained incessantly
during the night which preceded the day of presentation, and until the
morning broke; when a great volume of white mist rose from the deep
valleys, and drifted like a scene-curtain across the summit of the giant
Mamrat. The whole troop now began to ascend the mountain; and, as they
approached within sight of the stockaded palace, the escort commenced to
fire their matchlocks. The view here is described as very lovely, and
giving some conception of European variety of vegetation, with tropical
luxuriance. Farm-houses, rich fields, foaming cascades, and bright green
meadows covered with flowers, met the eye on every side; and above all
towered the great Abyssinian range, some thousand feet perpendicularly
overhead, with its summits crested with clouds. The crowd of spectators
was immense, and were repelled only by strokes of the bamboo. At length a
large tent was pitched for the reception of the embassy, the floor was
strewed with heath, myrtles, and other aromatic shrubs; and the weather
having cleared up, "the mission, radiant with plumes and gold embroidery,
moved on." As they reached the precincts of the palace, the artillery
fired a salute, which equally awed and astonished the multitude, the
discharge being followed by universal shouts in the native tongue
of--"Wonderful English! Well done, well done!"

After several further stoppages, they entered the reception hall. It was
circular, and showy. The lofty walls glittered with a profusion of silver
ornaments, emblazoned shields, matchlocks, and double-barreled guns.
Persian carpets and rugs of all sizes, colours, and patterns, covered the
floors; and crowds of governors, chiefs, and officers of the court, in
their holiday attire, stood in a posture of respect, uncovered to the
girdle. Two wide alcoves receded on either side, in one of which blazed a
cheerful wood fire, engrossed by indolent cats; while in the other, on a
flowered satin ottoman, surrounded by withered slaves and juvenile pages,
and supported by gay velvet cushions, lay "His most Christian majesty,
Sahela Selasse!" The Dech Agulari (state doorkeeper,) as master of the
ceremonies, stood with a rod of green rushes to preserve the exact
distance of approach to royalty; and as the British entered and made their
bows, pointed them to chairs, which done, it was commanded that all should
be covered.

The monarch was not unworthy of figuring in this pomp. Forty summers, of
which eight-and-twenty had been passed on the throne, had slightly
furrowed his forehead, and grizzled a full bushy head of hair, arranged in
elaborate curls. But, though wanting the left eye, "the expression of his
manly features, open, pleasing, and commanding, did not belie the
character for impartial justice which he had obtained far and wide; even
the robber tribes of the low country calling him a fine balance of gold."

After the delivery of the ambassadorial letters, the exhibition commenced,
which had so long been the envy of the courtiers, and probably the
conversation of the kingdom. The presents were displayed. A rich Brussels
carpet, which completely covered the hall, Cashmere shawls, and
embroidered Delhi scarfs of resplendent hues, excited universal admiration.
The finer specimens were handed to the king. As the various presents
succeeded, the delight increased. A group of Chinese dancing figures,
produced bursts of merriment; and when the European escort, in full
uniform, with the sergeant at their head, marched into the hall, paced in
front of the throne, and performed the manual and platoon exercises, amid
ornamented clocks chiming, and musical boxes playing "God save the Queen,"
his majesty appeared quite entranced. "But many and bright were the smiles
that lighted up the royal features, as three hundred muskets, with
bayonets fixed, were piled in front of the royal footstool. A buzz of
mingled wonder and applause arose from the crowded courtiers; and the
monarch's satisfaction now filled to overflowing. 'God will reward you,'
he exclaimed--'for I cannot!'"

But a more serious and a more striking display was still to follow. The
artillery were to exhibit their powers; and the crowd rushed out, and
scattered over the hill to see its practice. A sheet was attached to the
opposite face of the ravine, the valley rang to the roar of the guns; and
as the white cloth flew in shreds to the wind, under a rapid discharge of
round shot, canister, and grape, amid the crumbling of the rock, and the
rush of falling stones, shouts of admiration rang from hill to hill. This
eventful evening was closed by testimonies of the king's satisfaction, in
the shape of a huge pepper pie from the royal kitchen, with his commands
that his children might feast; and a visit from the royal confessor, a
dwarf enveloped in robes and turbans, and armed with silver cross and
crosier. Seating himself in a chair, he delivered a speech, which affords
as good a specimen of court oratory as any thing that we remember; and
also shows the powerful effect of the presents on the courtly
sensibilities. The speech was as follows:--

  "Forty years have rolled away since Asfa Woosen, on whose memory be
  peace! grandsire to our beloved monarch, saw in a dream that the red
  men were bringing into his kingdom, curious and beautiful commodities
  from countries beyond the great sea. The astrologers, on being
  commanded to give an interpretation thereof, predicted with one
  accord, that foreigners from the land of Egypt would come into
  Abysinia during his majesty's most illustrious reign; and that yet
  more and wealthier would follow in that of his son, and of his son's
  son, who should sit next upon the throne. Praise be unto God, that
  the dream and its interpretation have now been fulfilled! Our eyes,
  though they be old, have never beheld wonders until this day; and
  during the reign over Shoa of seven successive kings, no such
  miracles as these have been wrought in Ethiopia!!"

The embassy were now fixed under the protection of the monarch; and they
were invited to join in the various displays and festivals of the new year,
which the Abyssinians begin on the 10th of September. Of these, the
cavalry review was by far the most showy, as well as the most suited to
the gratification of the British officers. Some parts of this display
seemed to have been borrowed from the days of European knighthood. The
king's master of the horse advanced at the head of his squadrons of picked
household cavalry, "the flower of the Christian lances." Ayto Melkoo,
their leader, was arrayed in a party-coloured vest, surmounted by a
crimson Arab fleece, handsomely studded with silver jets. A gilt embossed
gauntlet encircled his right arm, from the wrist to the elbow; his targe
and horse trappings glittered with a profusion of silver crosses and
devices, and he looked a stately and martial figure, curveting at the head
of his well-appointed lancers.

This warrior, advancing with his line, galloped up in front, and made a
speech in the manner of old heroic times, vaunting his past prowess and
his present loyalty, his troopers accompanying the more succcessful parts
of his speech by striking the lance upon the targe. At the close, he threw
his spears upon the ground, unsheathed his two-edged falchion, gave a howl,
which was answered by a roar from his horsemen, and a discharge of
fire-arms; and the whole made a dash, and charged across the parade.

At the royal command, the British now fired a salute of twenty-one guns,
to the great wonder and astonishment of the wild Galla and the multitude
of spectators. Thirteen governors, (of provinces, we presume,) clothed in
the skins of lions and leopards and covered with silver chains, cuirasses,
and gauntlets, emblems of their gallantry in the field, next passed before
the king, each at the head of his troop, and each making a harangue.
Abyssinia must be a very oratorical country. Last of all, came the tall,
martial figure of Abegoz Moreteh, chief of the tributary Galla of the
south, at the head of his legion, three thousand in number: this "sea of
wild horsemen" moved in advance, to the sound of kettle-drums, their arms
and decorations flashing in the sun, and their ample white robes and long
sable hair streaming in the breeze. At the war-hoop of their leader, "with
the rush of a hurricane the moving forest of lances disappeared under a
cloud of dust." From _eight to ten thousand_ cavalry were in the field;
and the spectacle, which lasted from nine in the morning until five in the
afternoon, was "exceedingly wild and impressive." But the most impressive
display of all was to be supplied by the British. With fire-arms the
people were acquainted already. The "brass galloper," though viewed with
"wonderful respect," was still only an engine on a larger scale than those
to which they were familiarized. But the rocket was a formidable and
splendid novelty. Night had now thrown her mantle round the field, and, by
the king's command, the rocket practice began; the first brilliant rush
into the air was matter of amazement to all. When the rocket started with
a roar from its bed, men, women, and children fell on their faces--horses
and mules broke from their tethers--and the warriors who had any heart
remaining shouted aloud. The Galla tribes, who witnessed the explosion,
ascribed the phenomenon to "potent medicines," and declared, that since
the Gyptzis (British) could, at pleasure, produce comets in the sky and
rain fire down heaven, there was nothing for them but submission to the
king's command.

The review was followed, at some interval of time, by a more substantial
display. Thrice in the year the king summons his rude militia for an
inroad into some of the neighbouring lands; and, as he was particularly
anxious to have the presence of the embassy on this occasion, and as they
conceived it to offer the best opportunity of seeing the country, they
accordingly accepted the invitation. As it is to be presumed that they had
no intention of taking any personal part in this marauding expedition, we
are not disposed to criticise their acquiescence; otherwise there could be
no doubt whatever, that they had no right to assist the king of Shoa in
his foray on his neighbours, more than they would have had a right to
assist his neighbours in their attacks upon the king of Shoa.

The march was peculiar, and even pompous, in its kind. It was
extraordinary to see it preceded by a copy of the Holy Scriptures, under a
canopy of scarlet cloth, and borne on a mule; but, it must be owned,
accompanied by the "Ark of the cathedral of St Michael," which works
miracles, and is regarded as a pledge of victory. Then came the king on a
specially caparisoned mule, surrounded by his guard of shield-bearers, and
flanked by matchlock-men; then came forty damsels, royal cooks, painted
with ochre, and muffled in crimson-striped robes of cotton--a troop
rigorously guarded by attendants with long white wands. Beyond these, as
far as the eye could penetrate the clouds of dust, every hill and valley
teemed with horsemen, camp-followers, sumpter-mules, and men carrying
sheaves of spears, and leading caparisoned horses, all mixed in the most
picturesque confusion. After a march of fifteen miles, the female cooks
halted, like a flight of flamingoes, in a pretty, secluded valley. It was
evident that the day's march was now at an end, and the army halted to
bivouac for the night. In the centre of this straggling camp, which could
not be less than five miles in diameter, was raised a suite of royal tents,
consisting of a gay party-coloured marquee of Turkish manufacture,
surrounded by twelve ample awnings of black serge, over which floated five
crimson pennons, surmounted respectively by silver globes. There was
something of African, or perhaps European, pomp in this proceeding. Until
the royal tents were enclosed from the vulgar eye, the Negoos, ascending
an adjacent eminence with his chiefs and an escort of picked warriors,
remained seated on cushioned _alga_, and under the crimson canopy of the
state umbrella.

When night fell, rockets were fired by the royal command, "to instil
terror into the breasts of the Galla hordes;" and the peak which ran near
the headquarters, was chosen as the most central spot for the display. The
effect, brilliant every where, was here all that even Majesty could have
desired. The "fire-rainers" (the picturesqe name which, we presune, Major
Harris has adopted from the natives) produced delight, wonder, and terror,
in all their degrees; and if the Galla nation were present, they must, to
a man, have solicited chains, rather than be roasted alive by those flying
monsters, which the people seem to have taken for the works of magic, if
not magicians themselves. The display was followed by a repast in the old
heroic style, and which will not be forgotten, should Abyssinia ever give
the world a sable Homer.

  "The chiefs and nobles sat down to their feast in the royal pavilion,
  where hydromel, beer, and _raw_ flesh were in regal profusion!! After
  supper, speeches were made in the Homeric style, boasting of what the
  warriors had done, and intended to do. A fragment of one of the
  speeches; addressed to the English as the party broke up, gives a
  fair idea of Abyssinian table eloquence, 'You are the adorners,' (the
  orator had been decorated with a scarlet cloak;) 'you have given me
  scarlet broadcloth, and behold I have reserved the gift for this day.
  This garment will bring me success; for the Pagan who sees a crimson
  cloak on the shoulders of the Amhara,' (Abyssinian,) 'believing him
  to be a warrior of distinguished valour, will take, like an ass, to
  his heels, and be speared without the smallest danger.'"

The march, and the foray into the country of one of the Galla tribes, are
admirably told, and perhaps are among the best descriptions in the
volumes--exact without being tedious, and deeply coloured without
exaggeration. But we must hasten to other things. This was the monarch's
eighty-fourth foray; and on this we may conceive something of the horrors
of barbarian life, and of the tremendous evils which nations have escaped
whose laws and principles tame down the original evil of man.

We are glad to find that the embassy refused to take any share in this
horrible work, though they fell into some disrepute with the troops, and
even with the monarch, for their remissness. The king had even reserved an
unlucky Galla in a tree, to be shot by his guests. But this they declined,
first, on the pretext of its being the Sabbath, and next, more distinctly
on the ground, that--"no public body was authorized by the law of nations,
to draw a sword offensively in any country not at war with its own." They
then offered the compromise, "that an elephant was esteemed equivalent to
forty Gallas, and a wild buffalo to five, and that they were ready to
shoot as many of both as his Majesty pleased." But the embassy did more
effectual things; the sick and wounded received relief from them to the
extent of their means, and they even prevailed on the king to liberate all
his prisoners. The troops in the foray amounted to about 20,000.

On the return of this destroying expedition, which seems to have turned a
very fine country into a desert, the king made a kind of triumphal entry
into his capital. His costume was splendidly savage. A lion's skin over
his shoulders, richly ornamented, and half concealing beneath its folds an
embroidered green mantle of Indian manufacture; on his right shoulder were
three chains of gold, as emblems of the Holy Trinity,(!) and the
fresh-plucked bough of asparagus, which denoted his recent exploit, rose
from the centre of an embossed coronet of silver on his brow. His dappled
war-horse, in housings of blue and yellow, was led beside him; and in
front his "champion" rode a coal-black charger, bearing the royal shield
of massive silver, with the cross upon it, and dressed in a panther's hide.
The two chief officers of his army rode either side of the crimson
umbrella; at the palace gates, a deputation of priests in white robes
received the conqueror with a benediction and a volley of musketry
announced his arrival. The leader of the royal matchlock-men performed a
war dance before the Ark as it was borne along, and in the inner court the
principal warriors, each carring some human fragment on his lance, flung
then on the ground before the royal footstool, and shouted their war
praise.

The embassy at length attained personal distinction by the death of an
elephant, which one of the party brought to the ground by a two-ounce ball.
The "warriors" were all in astonishment at this feat, to which all had
predicted the most disastrous termiration; and "Boroo, the brave chief of
the Soopa," exclaimed in his delight, "The world was made for you, and no
one else has any business in it!"

The chief object of the embassy was still to be accomplished--the
formation of something that approached to a treaty of commerce. Beads,
cutlery, and trinkets, had been received from the coast; but the beggary
of the nobles for those things was perpetual and intolerable. They called
those ornanents pleasing things, and the cry was constant, "show me
pleasing things," "give me delighting things," "adorn me from head to
foot." It is scarcely surprising that the natives should be enamoured of
European conmodities; for, though an old commerce had subsisted with
Arabia, the supplies brought by the English were of the most exciting kind.
Detonating caps were in great request; treble strong canister powder was
also much in demand. Yet there was some ingenuity amongst themselves; for
a young fellow was taken up for making dollars of pewter. Every spot and
letter had been closely represented with punch and file. "Tell me," said
the king, on the case of this culprit being mentioned to him, "how is that
machine made which in your country pours out the silver crowns like a
shower of rain?" The hand corn-mills, presented by the British Government,
had been erected within the palace walls, and slaves were turning the
wheels with unceasing diligence. "Demetrius, the Armenian, made a machine
to grind corn," exclaimed his majesty in a transport of delight, as the
flour streamed upon the floor; "and though it cost the people a year of
hard labour to construct, it was useless when finished, because the priest
declared it to be the devil's work, and cursed the bread. But, may the
Sahela Selasse die--these engines are the work of clever hands."

The monarch, elated with his knowledge, now determined to build a bridge,
which in three days was completed; and, as was predicted by the quiet
English spectators, in three hours fell down on the very first fresh
produced by the annual rains.

Weaving excepted, the people manufactured nothing; but British commerce
has long been known, though evidently of the coarsest kind. At length, on
his majesty's being told that five thousand looms would bring him more
wealth than ten thousand soldiers, he gradually consented to form a
commercial treaty. The crown had hitherto appropriated the property of
strangers dying in the country. The purchase or display of costly goods by
the subject had been interdicted, and a maxim exhibiting the whole
jealousy of savage life had been established, that the stranger who once
entered was never to depart from Abyssinia. By the articles of the
commercial treaty, all those barbarous prohibitions have been abolished.

As the monarch returned the deed, he made a short speech sufficiently able
and appropriate: "You have loaded me with costly presents, the rainment
that I  wear, the throne on which I sit, the curiosities in my
store-houses, and the muskets which hang round my great hall--all are from
your country. What have I to give in return for such wealth? My kingdom is
as nothing."

The hereditary provinces at this day subject to the King of Shoa, are
comprised in a rectangular domain of 150 by 90 miles; an area traversed by
five systems of mountains, of which the culminating point divides the
basin of the Nile from that of the Hawash. The Christian population of
Shoa and Efat are estimated at a million; and the Moslem and Pagan
population at a million and a half. The royal revenues are said to amount
to 80,000 or 90,000 German crowns, arising chiefly from import duties in
slaves, merchandise, and salt. As the annual expenses of the state do not
exceed 10,000 dollars; it is presumed that the king, during his thirty
years' reign, has amassed much treasure, which is regularly deposited
under ground.

We recommend the enquirers into the truth of Herodotus, to examine the
curious illustrations stated in these volumes; and, among the rest, the
kingdom of pigmies. The geographer will find ample interest in tracing the
course of the Gochob, a sort of central Nile; and the naturalist, botanist,
and entomologist, will find abundant information in the very interesting
and complete appendices on those subjects. The history of the Christian
missions of early ages is an excellent chapter, and the general statistics
of religion.

The practical religion of the Abyssinian Christian is of the very lowest
degree of formality. Fasts, penances, and excommunications, form the chief
discipline; but the penitent can always provide a substitute for the two
former, and the latter is always to be averted by money. Spiritual
offences, however, are rare; for murder and sacrilege alone give umbrage
to the easy conscience of the natives of Shoa. Abstinence and largesses of
money are equivalent to wiping away every sin. Their creed advises the
invocation of saints, confession to the priest, and faith in charms and
amulets. Prayers for the dead, and absolution, are indispensable; and, as
a more summary mode of relieving the burdens of the flesh, it is
pronounced, that all sins are forgiven from the moment that the kiss of
the pilgrim is imprinted on the stones of Jerusalem, and that even kissing
the hand of a priest purifies the body from all sin. A creed of this order,
which makes spiritual safety dependent, not upon personal purification of
mind and divine mercy, but upon forms which are unconnected with either,
and which even can be executed by a substitute, of course excludes the
necessity for morals of any kind. All is corruption--"Born amid falsehood
and deceit, cradled in bloodshed, and nursed in the arms of idleness and
debauchery, the national character almost defies the missionary."

There are some strange remnants of Judaism still lingering amongst the
tribes of these highland regions. The Galla have a tradition, that their
whole nation will one day be called on to march, _en masse_, and reconquer
Palestine for the return of the Jews. The king of Shoa regards himself as
a direct descendant of the house of Solomon, calls himself king of Israel,
and the national standard bears the motto, "The Lion of the tribe of Judah
hath prevailed." They believe the 45th Psalm to be a prophecy of Queen
Magueda's visit to Jerusalem; whither she was attended by a daughter of
Hiram, king of Tyre. The Jewish prohibitions against the flesh of unclean
animals, are observed by the Abyssinians. The sinew which shrank, and the
eating of which was prohibited to the Israelite, is also prohibited in
Shoa. The Jewish Sabbath is strictly observed. The Abyssinians are said,
by Ludolf, to be the greatest fasters in the world. The Wednesdays and
Fridays are fasts; the forty days before Easter are rigidly observed as a
fast; and from the Thursday preceding Easter till the Sunday, no morsel of
meat is to enter the lips, and the prohibition against drink is equally
rigorous. St Michael and the Virgin Mary are venerated in the highest
degree; St Michael as the leader of the hosts of heaven, and the latter as
the chief of all saints, and queen of heaven and earth, and both as the
great intercessors of mankind.

Like the Jews of old, the Abyssinians weep and lament on all occasions of
death; and the shriek ascends to the sky, as if the soul could be recalled
from the world of spirits. As with the Jews, the most inferior garments
are employed as the weeds of woe; and the skin torn from the temples, and
scarified on the cheeks and breast, proclaims the last extremity of grief.
As the Rabbins believe that angels were the governors of all sublunary
things, the Abyssinians adopt this belief: carrying it even further, they
confidently implore their assistance in all concerns, and invoke and adore
them in a higher degree than the Creator. The clergy enjoy the price of
deathbed confession; and the churchyard is sternly denied to all who die
without the rite, or whose relations refuse the fee and the funeral feast.
Eight pieces of salt are the price of wafting a poor man's soul to the
place of rest, and the feast for the dead places him in a state of
happiness, according to the cost of the entertainment. For the rich, money
procures the attendance of priests, who absolve, and pray continually day
and night. The anniversaries of the deaths of the six kings of Shoa are
held with great ceremony in the capital; and once every twelvemonth,
before a splendid feast, their souls are absolved from all sin.

Major Harris expresses himself ardently and eloquently on the hopes of
commerce which might be maintained by Great Britain with this little-known
but productive part of the world. It is notorious that gold and gold dust,
ivory, ostrich feathers, peltries, spices, wax, and precious gums, form a
part of the lading of every slave caravan; notwithstanding that the
tediousness of the transport, and the penuriousness of the Indian and Arab
merchant, offer but a small compensation for their labour. No quarter of
the globe abounds to a greater extent in vegetable and mineral productions
than tropical Africa; and in the populous, fertile, and salubrious
portions lying immediately north of the equator, the very highest
capabilities are presented for the employment of British capital. Coal has
already been found; cotton, of a quality unrivaled in the whole world, is
every where a weed, and might be cultivated to any extent. The coffee
which is sold in Arabia as the produce of Mocha, is chiefly of wild
African growth; and that species of the tea plant which is used by the
lower orders of the Chinese, flourishes so widely, and with so little care,
that the climate would doubtless be found well adapted for the
higher-flavoured and more delicate species. If, at a very moderate
calculation, a sum falling very little short of a hundred thousand pounds
sterling, can be annually invested in European goods, to supply the wants
of some of the poorer tribes adjacent to Abyssinia, what important results
might not be anticipated from well-directed efforts, adopting the natural
neans of communication in Africa?

Another winter passed--a dreary time for the mission in Ankober. Torrents
rushed down the mountains, every footpath had been converted into a stream,
and every valley into a morass. The season was peculiarly tempestuous; the
heavy white clouds constantly hung on the mountain pinnacles, and the
torrents swelled the Hawash to such an extent, that the land for many
miles on both sides was inundated. There must have been some difficulty in
spending the time of this solitary confinement among the hills; but the
author was well employed in writing his volumes, and engineers were
employed in erecting a Gothic hall, to the great delight of his Abyssinian
majesty. He would allow them to do every thing except paint his
portrait--the national idea being, that whoever takes a likeness,
immediately becomes invested with power over the original. "You are
writing a book," he said. "I know this, because I never enquire what you
are doing that they do not tell me you are using a pen, or gazing at the
heavens. That is a good thing, and it pleases me. You will speak
favourably of myself; but you shall not insert my portrait, as you have
done that of the King of Zingero."

The English had new wonders for him; they shaped planks out of trees in a
fashion new to the Abyssinians, who waste a tree on every plank. "You
English are indeed a strange people," said the king, as he saw the first
plank formed in this economical style. "I do not understand your stories
of the roads dug under rivers, nor of the carriages that gallop without
horses; but you are a strong people, and employ wonderful inventions."

At length the Gothic hall was complete. It may be presumed that nothing
like it was ever seen in Abyssinia before; for the mission not merely
built, but furnished it with couches, ottomans, chairs, tables, and
curtains; doubtless a very showy affair, though we camot exactly
comprehend the author's expression of its being furnished after the manner
of an English cottage ornee. The king, however, was delighted with it. "I
shall turn it into a chapel," said his majesty, patting his chief
ecclesiastic on the back. "What say you to that plan, my father?"  As a
last finishing touch, were suspended in the centre hall a series of large
coloured engravings, representing the chase of the tiger in all its
various phases. The domestication of the elephant, and its employment in
war or in the pageant, had ever proved a stumbling block to the king; but
the appearance of the hugest of beasts in his hunting harness struck the
chord of a new idea. "I will have a nunber caught on the Roby," he
exclaimed, "that you may tame then, and that I too may ride on an elephant
before I die!"

Another of those fearful displays of barbarian plunder and havoc took
place at the end of September. Twenty thousand warriors, headed by the
king, made an inroad on the Galla. Those unfortunate people were so little
prepared, that they seem to have been slaughtered without resistance.
Between four and five thousand were butchered, and forty-three thousand
head of cattle were driven off. A thousand captives, chiefly women and
children, were marched in triumph to the capital; but they were soon
liberated, apparently on the remonstrance of the British mission.

But a terrible disaster was to befall the palace and the people. The
dweller amongst mountains must be always exposed to their dilapidation;
and a season of unusual rain, continuing to a much later period than usual,
produced an earth-avalanche.

  "As the evening of an eventful night (Dec. 6th) closed in, not a
  single breath of wind disturbed the thick fog which brooded over the
  mountain. A sensible difference was perceptible in the atmosphere;
  but the rain again began to descend, and for hours pelted like the
  dischage of a waterspout. Towards morning, a violent thunder storm
  careered along the crest of the range, and every rock and cranny
  re-echoed from the crash of the thunder. Deep darkness again settled
  on the mountains, and a heavy rumbling noise, like the passage of
  artillery wheels, as followed by the shrill cry of despair. The earth,
  saturated with moisture, had slidden from their steep slopes, houses
  and cottages were engulfed in the debris, or shattered to fragments
  by the descending masses, and daylight presented a strange scene of
  ruin. Perched on the apex of the conical peak, the palace buildings
  were now stripped of their palisades, or overwhelmed: the roads along
  the hill were completely obliterated. The desolation had spread for
  miles along the great range: houses, with their inmates, had been
  hurried away."

Before the mission took its departure, it did honour to the character of
its country by one act which alone would have been worth its time and
trouble. The horrid policy of African despotism condemns all the brothers
of the throne to the dungeon, from the moment of the royal accession. The
king had exhibited qualities of a very unexpected order in an African
despot, and, under the guidance of the mission, had made some advances to
justice, and even to clemency. At this period, he was suddenly seized with
an alarming spasmodic disorder, and he apprehended that his constitution,
enfeebled by the habits of his life, was likely to give way. On his
recovery being despaired of by both priests and physicians, he suddenly
sent for the British mission.

  "'My children,' said his majesty in a sepulchral voice, as he
  extended his burning hand towards them, 'behold I am sore stricken.
  Last night they believed me dead, and the voice of mourning had
  arisen within the palace walls; but God hath spared me until now.'"

It seems to be the custom for the king's physician to taste the draught
prescribed for him, and an attenpt being made to do this by the British,
the sick monarch generously forbade it.

  "'What need is there now of this?' he exclaimed reproachfully. 'Do I
  not know that you would administer to Sahela Selasse nothing that
  could do him mischief?'"

The reader will probably remember an almost similar act of confidence of
Alexander the Great in his physician. An opportunity was now taken of
urging him to an act of humanity, however strongly opposed to the habits
of the country, and to the interests of the man. It was represented to him
that his uncles and brothers had been immured in a dungeon during the
thirty years of his reign, and that no act could be more honourable to
himself, or acceptable to Heaven, than the extinction of this barbarous
custom.

  "'And I will release them,' returned the monarch, after a moment's
  debate within himself. 'By the Holy Eucharist I swear, and by the
  Church of the Holy Trinity in Koora Gadel, that if Sahela Selasse
  arise from this bed of sickness, all of whom you speak shall be
  restored to the enjoyment of liberty.'"

Fortunately he did arise from that bed of sickness, and he honourably
determined to keep his promise. The royal captives were seven, and the
British mission were summoned to see their introduction into the presence.
They had been so exhausted by long captivity, that at first they seemed
scarcely to comprehend freedom. They had been manacled, and spent their
time in the fabrication of harps and combs, of which they brought
specimens to lay at the feet of their monarch. This touching interview
concluded with a speech of the king to the embassy--

  "'My children, you will write all that you have seen to your country,
  and will say to the British Queen, that, though far behind the
  nations of the White Men, from whom Ethiopia first received her
  religion, there yet remains a spark of Christian love in the breast
  of the King of Shoa.'"

We have thus given a rapid and bird's-eye view of a work, which we regard
as rivaling in interest and importance any "book of travels" of this
century.  The name of Abyssinia was scarcely more than a recollection,
connected with the adventurous ramblings of Bruce, for the romantic
purpose of discovering the source of the Nile. His narrative had also been
wholly profitless--attracting public curiosity in a remarkable degree at
he time, no direct foundation of European intercourse was laid, and no
movement of European traffic followed. But giving Bruce all the credit,
which was so long denied him, for fidelity to fact, and for the spirit of
bold adventure which he exhibited in penetrating a land of violence and
barbarism, the mission of Major Harris at once establishes its object on
more substantial grounds. It is not a private adventure, but a public act,
rendered natural by the circumstances of British neighbourhood, and
important for the opening of Abyssinia and central Africa to the greatest
civilizer which the world has ever seen--the commerce of England. There
are still obvious difficulties of transit, between the coast and the
capital, by the ordinary route. But if the navigation of the Gochob, or
the route from Tajura, should once be secured, the trade will have
commenced, which in the course of a few years will change the face of
Abyssinia; limit, if not extinguish, that disgrace of human nature--the
slave trade; and, if not reform, at least enlighten, the clouded
Christianity of the people.

As the author was commissioned, not merely as a discoverer, but a
diplomatist, it is to be presumed that on many interesting points he
writes under the restraints of diplomatic reserve. But he has told us
enough to excite our strong interest in the beauty, the fertility, and the
capabilities of the country which he describes; and more than enough to
show, that it is almost a British duty to give the aid of our science, our
inventions, and our principles, to a monarch and a people evidently
prepared for rising in the scale of nations.

We have a kind of impression, that some general improvement is about to
take place in the more neglected portions of the world, and that England
is honoured to be the chief agent in the great work. Africa, which has
been under a _ban_ for so many thousand years, may be on the eve of relief
from the misery, lawlessness, and impurity of barbarism; and we are
strongly inclined to look upon this establishment of British feeling, and
intercourse in Abyssinia, as the commencement of that proud and fortunate
change. All attempts to enter Africa by the western coast have failed. The
heat, the swamps, the rank vegetation, and the unhealthy atmosphere, have
proved insurmountable barriers. The north is fenced by a line of burning
wilderness. But the east is open, free, fertile, and beautiful. A British
factory in Abyssinia would be not merely a source of infinite comfort to
the people, by the communication of European conveniences and manufactures,
but a source of light. British example would teach obedience and loyalty
to the laws, subordination on the part of the people, and mercy on that of
the sovereign.

But we have also another object, sufficiently important to determine our
Government in looking to the increase of our connexion with Eastern Africa.
It is certainly a minor one, but one which no rational Government can
undervalue. The policy of the present French King is directed eminently to
the extension of commercial influence in all countries. To this policy,
none can make objection. It is the duty of a monarch to develop all the
resources of his country; and while France exerts herself only in the
rivalry of peace, her advance is an advance of all nations. But her
extreme attention, of late years, to Africa, ought to open our eyes to the
necessity of exertion in that boundless quarter. On the western coast, she
had long fixed a lazy grasp; but that grasp is now becoming vigorous, and
extending hour by hour. Her flag flies at Golam, 250 miles up the Senegal.
She has a settlement at Gori; she has lately established a settlement at
the mouth of the Assinee, another at the mouth of the Gaboon, and is on
the point of establishing another in the Bight of Benin; when she will
command all Western Africa.

She is not less active on the eastern shore. At Massawah, on the coast of
Abyssinia, she is fast monopolizing the trade in gold and spices. She has
purchased Edh, and is endeavouring to purchase Brava. Her attention to
_Northern_ Abyssinia is matter of notoriety, and we must regard this
system, not so much with regard to advantages which such possessions might
give to ourselves, as to their prejudice to us in falling into rival hands.
The possession of Algeria should direct the eye of Europe to the ulterior
objects of France; the first change of masters in Egypt, must be looked to
with national anxiety; and the transmission of the great routes of Africa
into her hands, must be guarded against with a vigilance worthy of the
interests of England and Europe.

If the river shall be found navigable to any extent, what an opening is
thus presented to both the Merchant and the philanthropist; a soil
surpassed by none in the world, a climate varying only 1º in the mean
temperature of summer and winter, and presenting an average of 55-1/2º,
and a population who could hardly fail to feel the advantages of commerce
and civilization. From such a point as Aden offers, access is promised to
the very heart of Africa, and thence to the sources of the mighty rivers
which find an outlet on the western side of the continent; thus not merely
benefiting the British merchant in a remarkable degree, but rapidly
abolishing the slave trade, by giving employment to the people, wealth to
the native trader, and a new direction to the powers of the country and
the mind of its unhappy population.

On the whole consideration of the subject, we feel convinced, that Eastern
Africa is the safe and the natural point for British enterprise; that it
is the most direct and effective point for the extinction of the cruel
traffic in human flesh; and that it is the most promising and productive
point for the establishment of that substantial connexion with the
governments of the interior, which alone can be regarded as worth the
attention of the statesman.

Insignificant stations on the coast, to carry on a peddling traffic, are
beneath a manly and comprehensive policy. We must penetrate the mountains,
ascend the rivers, and reach the seats of sovereignty. We must, by a large
and generous self-interest, combine the good, the knowledge, and the
virtue of the population with our own; and we must lay the foundation of
our permanent influence over this fourth of the globe, by showing that we
are the fittest to communicate the benefits, and establish the example of
civilized society.

To those who desire to go into more minute details, we recommend an
accompanying volume by the missionaries Isenberg and Krapf--the latter of
whom acted as interpreter to the embassy. A capital geographical memoir is
also given by Mr M'Queen, the well-known African geographer.

On the whole, it is highly gratifying to our respect for British
soldiership; to see works of this rank proceeding from our military men.
They have great opportunities, and may thus render national services in
peace, not less important than their enterprise in war. The East India
Company offers inducements of the most important order, to the
accomplishment and scientific activity of its officers; and Major Harris
must feel the distinction of having been selected for a mission of such
interest, as well as the high gratification of having conducted it to so
benevolent, solid, and satisfactory a close.

       *       *       *       *       *



A WORD OR TWO OF THE OPERA-TIVE CLASSES.

BY LORGNON.


      "Vai, ch'avete gl'intelletti sani,
  Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde,
  Sotto queste coperte, alte e profonde!"--BERNI.

In the course of social transition, professions, like dogs, have their day.
A calling honourable in one century, becomes infamous in the next; and
vocations grow obsolete, like the fashioning of our garments or figures of
speech. In barbarous communities, the strong man is king:--

  "Le premier roi fut un soldat heureux."

Where human statute is beginning to prize the general weal, the legist is
of high account, and the priest paramount. Higher civilization engenders
the influence of the man of letters, the artist, the dramatist, the wit,
the poet, and the orator. Or when, with a wisdom surpassing the philosophy
of the schools, we tumble down to prose, and assume the leathern apron of
the utilitarian--the civil engineer, or operative chemist, starts up into
a colossus. Sir Humphrey Davy, and Sir Isambert Brunel, are the true
knights of modern chivalry; and Sir Walter--our Sir Walter--never showed
himself more shrewd than in his exclamation to Moore--"Ah, Tam!--it's
lucky, man, we cam' sae soon!" Great as was his influence, equaling that
of the other two great Sir Walters, Manny and Raleigh, in their several
epochs of valour and enterprise, it is likely enough, that, if born a
century later, the MSS. of the Scotch novels would have been chiefly
valuable to light the furnace of some factory!

So much in exposition of the fact, that, so long as the world possessed
only three of what we choose to call quarters, an executioner was an
officer of state; and that, now it possesses five, the female of highest
renown, and greatest power of self-enrichment, is the _danseuse_, or
opera-dancer!

Many intermediary callings have disappeared. The domestic chaplain of a
lordly household is now nearly as superfluous as its archers or falconers;
and the court calendars of former reigns record a variety of places and
perquisites, which, did they still exist, would be unpalatable to modern
courtiers, though compelled to earn their daily cakes, however dirty. Just
as the last golden pippin of the house of Crenie was preserved in wax for
the edification of posterity, a watchman has been deposited, with his
staff and lantern, in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, or the Museum of the
Zoological, or United Service Club, or some other of your grand national
collections, as a specimen of the extinct Dogberry or Charley of the
eighteenth century; and in process of time, as much and more also will
probably be done to a parish beadle, a theatrical manager, a lord
chamberlain--and other public functionaries whom it might not be
altogether safe to enumerate.

Among them, however, there is really some satisfaction in hinting at the
hangman!--For, hear it, ye sanguinary _manes_ of our ancestors:--"_Les
bourreaux s'en vont!_" Executioners are departing! We shall shortly have
to commemorate in our obituaries, and signalize by the hands of our
novelists--"the last of the Jack Ketches." In these days of
ultra-philanthropy, the hangman scarcely finds salt to his porridge, or
porridge to salt.

_Exempli gratia_. In the course of last year, a patient of the lower class
was admitted into the lunatic ward of the public hospital at Marseilles,
whose malady seemed the result of religious depression. In that
supposition, the usual means of relief were resorted to, and he was at
length discharged as convalescent; when, to attest the perfectness of his
cure, he went and hanged himself! A _procès verbal_ was, as usual, made
out, and the supposed fanatic proved to be the ex-executioner of Lyons!
Tender-hearted people instantly ascribed his melancholy to qualms of
conscience. But it appeared in evidence, that, since the accession of the
citizen king, the trade of the hangman had become a dead failure; and the
disconsolate bankrupt was accordingly forced to take French leave of a
world wherein _bourreaux_ can no longer turn an honest penny!

Yet, less than three centuries ago, his predecessors were men of mark and
consideration. Our own King Hal took more heed of his executioner than of
half the counties over whose necks his axe was suspended; while Louis XI.,
a _legitimate_ sovereign of France, used to dip in the dish with Tristan
Hermite and Olivier le Dain. A few reigns later, and the hangman of the
French metropolis (who shares with its diocesan the honour of being styled
"Monsieur de Paris") was respected as the most accomplished in Europe. The
treasons of its civil wars had created so many executions, that a Gascon,
wishing to prove that his father had been beheaded as a nobleman, instead
of hanged like a dog or a citizen, asserted the decollation to have been
so expertly executed _en Grève_, that the sufferer was unconscious of his
end. "Shake yourself," exclaimed the executioner; and, on his lordship's
making the attempt, his head rolled into the dust.

This adroitness was the result of competition. In that day there were
degrees of hangmen, and promotion might be accomplished. Not only had the
king his executioner, and the Lorraines theirs--the court and the
city--the abbot of St Germain des Près--the abbot of this, and the abbot
of that--but various communities and Signories, having right of life and
death over their vassals, kept an executioner for purposes of domestic
torture, as they kept a seneschal to carve their meats; or as people now
keep a _chef_ or a_ maître d'hôtel_. In those excellent olden times of
Europe, hangmen, doubtless, carried about written characters from lord to
lord, certifying their experience with rope and axe--branding-iron and
thong. So long as the Inquisition afforded constant work for able hands, a
good hangman out of place must have been a treasure! Had there been
register-offices or newspaper advertisements, there probably would have
appeared--

"WANTS A SITUATION--An able-bodied, middle-aged man, without encumbrance,
who can have an undeniable character from his last situation, as headsman,
hangman, and general executioner. He is accustomed to the use of
thumbikins and the most approved and fashionable modes of torture; and
officiated for many years as superintendent of the wheel of a foreign
prince, renowned for the neatness of his rack. Drawing and quartering in
all their branches. Pressing to death performed in the most economical
style. Impalement in the Turkish manner; and the pile, as practised by the
best Smithfield hands, &c. &c. &c."

Independent, indeed, of the high prosperity and vast perquisites of such
posts as executioner of the Tower of London or the Grève of Paris, there
was honour and satisfaction in the office. A royal master knew when he was
well served. Henry III. stood by, in his chateau of Blois, to see, not
only the heads severed from the dead bodies of the Duke and Cardinal de
Guise, but their _flesh cut into small pieces_, preparatory to being
burned, and the ashes scattered to the winds. "His majesty," says an
eyewitness, "stood in a pool of blood to witness the hacking of the
bodies."

This Italian _gusto_ for the smell of blood, appears to have been
introduced into the palaces of France from those of Italy by alliance with
the Medici--those ennobled pawnbrokers of the middle ages, whose _parvenu_
taste engendered the fantastic gilding of the _renaissance_, which they
naturalized in the Tuileries and at Fontainbleau, in common with the
stiletto and acqua tofana of their poisoners, and the fatalism of their
judicial astrology.

But enough of Catharine de Medicis and her sanguinary son--enough of Henry
Tudor and his savage daughters--enough of the monstrous professions
flourishing in their age of monstrosities. And turn we for relief to the
exquisite vocation completing the antithesis--the vocation whose execution
is that of _pas de zéphyrs_, and the tortures of whose infliction are the
tortures of the tender heart!

The calling of the _danseuse_, we repeat, is among the most lucrative of
modern times, and nearly the most influential. The names of Taglioni and
Elssler are as European, nay, as universal, as those of Wellington and
Talleyrand-Metternich or Thiers; and modern statesmanship and modern
diplomacy show pale beside the Machiavelism of the _coulisses_.

With what pomp of phraseology are the triumphs and movements of these
_danseuses_ announced, by the self-same journal which despatches, with a
stroke of the pen, the submission of a province or revolution of a kingdom!
One poor halfpenny-worth, or half a line, suffices for the death of a
sultana; while fiery columns precede the departure and arrival of the
steamer honoured by conveying across the Atlantic some ethereal being,
whose light fantastic toe is to give the law to the United States. Her
appearance in the Ecclesiastic States, on the other hand, is announced in
Roman capitals; and her triumphal entry into St Petersburg received with
regiments of notes of admiration!!!

Were Taglioni, by the malediction of Providence, to break her leg, what
corner of the civilized earth but would sympathize in the casualty? Or
were Elssler epidemically carried off, on the same day with the Pope, the
Archbishop of Dublin, a chancellor of an university, an historiographer,
or astronomer-royal--_which_ would be most cared for by society at large,
or to which would the public journals distribute the larger share of their
dolefuls?

Nor is it alone the levities of Europe which have encompassed with a
gaseous atmosphere of enthusiasm these idols of the day. We appeal to our
sober, plodding, painstaking brother Jonathan. We move for returns of the
sums he has expended on his beloved Fanny, and for notes of the honours
conferred upon her, not only on the boards of his theatres and in the
publicity of his causeways, but amid the august nationalities of his
senate! "Fanny Elssler in Congress" has become as historical as the name
of Washington! As if for the purpose of proving that extremes meet, the
democrats of the New World were demonstrating the wildest infatuation in
favour of one dancer, while the great autocrat of the Old was exhibiting a
similar fervour in honour of another. La Gitana became all but
presidentess of the Transatlantic republic; La Bayadère depolarized the
tyrant of the Poles! But, above all, the Empress of Russia--albeit, the
lightest of sovereigns and coldest of women--was carried so far by her
enthusiasm as to fasten a bracelet of gems on the fair arm of Taglioni;
while the Queen-Dowager of England conferred a similar honour on the
Neapolitan dancer Cerito!

Now, what queen or princess, we should like to know, has lavished necklace,
or bracelet, or one poor pitiful brooch, on Miss Edgeworth or Miss Aitkin,
Mrs Somerville or Joanna Baillie, or any other of the female illustrations
of the age, saving these aerial machines which have achieved such enviable
supremacy? Mrs Marcet, who has taught the young idea of our three kingdoms
how to shoot; Miss Martineau, who has engrafted new ones on our oldest
crab-stocks, might travel from Dan to Beersheba without having a fatted
calf or a fatted capon killed for them, at the public expense. But let
Taglioni take the road, and what clapping of hands--what gratulation--what
curiosity--what expansion of delight!

The only wonder of all this is, that we should wonder about the matter.
Dancing constitutes that desideratum of the learned of all ages--an
universal language. Music, which many esteem much, is nearly as
nationalized in its rhythm as dialect in its words; whereas the organs of
sight are cosmopolitan. The eye of man and the foot of the dancer include
between them all nations and languages. The poetry of motion is
interpreted by the lexicon of instinct; and the unimpregnable grace of a
Taglioni becomes omnipotent and catholic as that of

  "The statue that enchants the world!"

Who can doubt that the names of these sorceresses of our time will reach
posterity, as those of the Aspasias and Lauras of antiquity have reached
our own--as having held philosophers by the beard, and trampled on the
necks of the conquerors of mankind--as being those for whom Solon
legislated, and to whom Pericles succumbed?

Pausanius tells us of the stately tomb of the frail Pythonice in the Vica
Sacra; and we know that Phryne offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes, by
Alexander overthrown. And surely, if modern guide-books instruct us to
weep in the cemetery of Père la Chaise over the grave of Fanny Bias,
history will say a word or two in honour of Cerito, who proposed through
the newspapers, last season, an alliance offensive and defensive with no
less a man than Peter Borthwick, Esq. M.P., (_Arcades ambo_!) to relieve
the distress of the manufacturing classes of Great Britain! It is true
such heroines can afford to be generous; for what lord chancellor or
archbishop of modern times commands a revenue half as considerable?

Why, therefore--O Public! why, we beseech thee, seeing that the influence
of the operative class is fairly understood, and undeniably established
among us--why not at once elevate choriography to the rank of one of the
fine arts?--Why not concentrate, define, and qualify the calling, by a
public academy?--since all hearts and eyes are amenable to the charm of
exquisite dancing, why vex ourselves by the sight of what is bad, when
better may be achieved? Be wise, O Pubic, and consider! Establish a
professor's chair for the improvement of pirouetters. We have hundreds of
professor's chairs, quite as unavailable to the advancement of the
interests of humanity, and wholly unavailable to its pleasures. Neither
painters nor musicians acquire as much popularity as dancers, or amass an
equal fortune. Why should they be more highly protected by the state?

To disdain this exquisite art, is a proof of barbarism. The nations of the
East may cause their dances to be performed by slaves; but two of the
greatest kings of ancient and modern times, the kings after God's own
heart and man's own heart--David and Louis le Grand--were excellent
dancers, the one before the ark, the other before his subjects.

Never, perhaps, did the art of dancing attain such eminent honours in the
eyes of mankind, as during the _siècle doré_ of the latter monarch. At an
epoch boasting of Molière and Racine, Bossuet and Fénélon, Boileau and La
Fontaine, Colbert and Perrault, (the fairy talisman of politics and
architecture,) the court of Versailles could imagine no manifestation of
regality more august, or more exquisite, than that of getting up a royal
ballet; and the father of his people, Louis XIV., was, in his youth, its
_coulon_.

How amusing are the descriptions of these _entrées de ballet_,
circumstantially bequeathed us by the memoirs of the regency of Anne of
Austria! The cardinal himself took part in them; but the chief performers
were the young King, his brother Gaston d'Orleans, and the maids of honour,
figuring as Apollo and the Muses, or Hamadryads adoring some sylvan
divinity. Who has not sympathized in the joy of Madame de Sevigné, at
seeing her fair daughter exhibit among the _coryphées_! Who has not felt
interested in the _jetées_ and _pas de bourrées_ of the _ancien régime_,
when accomplished at court by Condés, Contis, Montpensiers, Montmorencys,
Rohans, Guises! The Marquis de Dangeau first recommended himself to the
favour of the royal master whose courts he was destined to journalize for
posterity, by the skill of his _pas de basques_; and long before the all
but conjugal influence of the lovely La Vallière commenced over the heart
of the _grand monarque_, his early love, and more especially his passion
for the beautiful niece of the Cardinal, may be traced to the rehearsals
and _rondes de jambes_ of Maitz and Fontainbleau.

The reign of Madame de Maintenon (_la raison même_) over his affections,
declared itself by the sudden transfer of a ballet-opera, expressly
composed by Rameau and Quinault for the beauties of the court, to the
public theatre of the Palais Royal. No more noble figurantes at Versailles!
Louis le Pirouettiste's occupation was gone; and the _maître des ballets
du roi_ arrayed himself in sackcloth and ashes. But, lo! the glories of
his throne took wing with the loves and graces; ballets and victories
being effaced on the same page from the annals of his reign.

During the minority of Louis XV., the same royal dansomania was renewed.
The regent, Duke of Orleans, entertained the same notions of kingly
education, on this head, as his predecessor the cardinal; and Louis _le
Bien-aimé_, like his great-grandfather before him, was the best dancer of
his realm. Such dancing as it was! such exquisite footing! In the upper
story of the grand gallery at Versailles, hang several pictures
representing these court ballets; Cupids in coatees of pink lustring, with
silver lace and tinsel wings, wearing full-bottomed wigs and the riband of
the St Esprit; or Venuses in hoops and powder, whose _minauderies_ might
afford a lesson to the divinities of our own day for the benefit of the
omnibus box.

Some of these groups, by Mignard, Boucher, and their imitators, are
charming studies as _tableaux de genre_. But in nothing, by the way, are
they more remarkable than in their _decency_. The nudities of the present
times appear to have been undreamed of in the philosophy of Versailles.
That simple-hearted, though strong-minded American writer, Miss Sedgwick,
who has published an account of her consternation as she sat with Mrs
Jameson in the stalls of our Italian opera, might have witnessed the royal
performance unabashed. On being told, as she gazed upon the intrepid
self-exposure of Taglioni, "_qu'il fallait être sage pour danser comme
ça_," Miss S. observes, that it requires to be more or less than woman,
and proposes to divide the human species into men, women, and
OPERA-DANCERS, little suspecting that half her readers translate such a
classification into "men, women, and ANGELS;" or that they would see
herself and her sister moralist go down in the _President_ without a pang,
provided Elssler and Taglioni were saved from the deep!

Natural enough! we repeat it--natural enough! To create a good dancer,
requires the rarest combination of physical and mental endowments.
Graceful as the forms transmitted to us by the pottery of Etruria and the
frescoes of Herculaneum, she must unite with the strength of an athlete,
the genius of a first-rate actress. That even moderate dancing demands
immoderate abilities, is attested by the exhibition of human ungainliness
disfiguring all the court balls of Europe. There may be seen the
representatives of the highest nobility, tutored by the highest education,
shuffling over the polished floor with stiffened arms and bewildered
legs--often out of time--always out of place--as if acting under the
influence of a galvanic battery. Not one in ten of them rises even to
mediocrity as a dancer. A few degrees lower in the social scale, and it
would be not one in twenty. Amid the shoving, shouldering, shuffling mob
of dancers in an ordinary ball-room, the absence of all grace amounts even
to the ludicrous. Forty years long have people been dancing the quadrilles
now in vogue, which consist of six favourite country-dances, fashionable
in Paris at the close of the last century, and then singly known by the
names they still retain--"La Poule, L'Eté, Le Pantalon, Le Trenis," &c. &c.
To avoid the monotony of dancing each in succession, for hours at a time,
down a file of forty couple, it was arranged that every eight couple
should form a square, and perform the favourite dances, in succession,
with the same partner--a considerable relief to the monotony of the
ball-room. Yet, after all this experience, if poor Monsieur le Trenis
(after whom one of the figures was named, and who, during the consulate,
died dancing-mad in a public lunatic asylum) could rise, sane, from the
dead, it would be enough to drive him mad again to see how little had been
acquired, in the way of practice, since his decease. The processes and
varieties of the ball-room are just where he left then on his exit!

Previous to the introduction of quadrilles and country dances or
_contredanses_, the inaptitude of nine-tenths of mankind for dancing was
still more eminently demonstrated in the murders of the minuet. For (as
Morall, the dancing-master of Marie Antoinette, used passionately to
exclaim)--_que de choses dans un minuet_! What worlds of modest
dignity--of alternate amenity and scorn! The minuet has all the tender
coquetry of the bolero, divested of its licentious fervour. With the
minuet and the hoop, indeed, disappeared that powerful circumvallation of
female virtue, rendering superfluous the annual publication of a dozen
codes of ethics, addressed to the "wives of England" and their daughters.
All was comprehended in the _pas grave_. That noble and right Aulic dance
was expressly invented in deference to the precariousness of powdered
heads; and its calm sobrieties, once banished from the ball-room,
revolutionary _boulangères_ succeeded--and chaos was come again! The
stately _pavon_ had possession of the English court, with ruffs and
farthingales, in the reign of Elizabeth. With the Stuarts came the wild
courante or corante--

  "Hair loosely flowing, robes as free"--

and if the House of Hanover, and minuets, reformed for a time the
irregularities of St James's--what are we to expect now that waltzes,
galops, and the eccentricities of the cotillon have possession of the
social stage? WHAT NEXT? as the pamphlets say--"What will the lords
do?"--what the ladies?

Thus much in proof, that the boss of pirouettiveness is strangely wanting
in human conformation, and that there is consequently all the excuse of
ignorance for the wild enthusiasm lavished by London on the operative
class. Ten guineas per night--five hundred for the season--is the price
exacted for a first-rate opera-box; and as the exclusives usually arrive
at the close of the opera, or, if earlier, keep up a perpetual babble
during its performance, they clearly come for the dancing.--"_On voit
l'opéra, et l'on écoute le ballet_," used to be said of the Académie de
Musique. But it might be asserted now, with fully as much truth, of the
Queen's Theatre, where the evolutions of Carlotta Grisi, Elssler, and
Cerito, keep the audience in a state of breathless attention denied to
Shakspeare.

In two out of these instances, it may be advanced that they are consummate
actresses as well as graceful and active dancers. Elssler's comedy is
almost as piquant as that of Mademoiselle Mars. Nor is the ballet
unsusceptible of a still higher order of histrionic display. We never
remember to have seen a stronger _levée en masse_ of cambric handkerchiefs
in honour of O'Neill's _Mrs Haller_, or Siddons's _Isabella_, than of the
ballet of "Nina;" while the affecting death-dance in "Masaniello" is still
fresh in the memory of the admirers of Pauline Leroux. We have heard of
swoons and hysterics along the more impressionable audiences of La Scala,
during the performance of the ballet of "La Vestale;" and have witnessed
with admiration the striking effect of the fascinative scene in "Faust."

Of late years, the union of Italian blood and a French education has been
found indispensable to create a _danseuse_--"Sangue Napolitano in scuola
Parigiana;"--and Vesuvius is the Olympus of all our recent divinities.
Formerly, a Spanish origin was the most successful. The first dancer who
possessed herself of European notoriety was La Camargo, whose portraits,
at the close of a century, are still popular in France, where she has been
made the heroine of several recent dramas. To her reign, succeeded that of
the Gruinards and Duthés--in honour of whose bright eyes, a variety of
noblemen saw the inside both of Fort St Evêque and St Pelagie; the opera
being at that time a fertile source of _lettres de cachet_. To obtain
admittance to the private theatricals of the former dancer, in her
magnificent hotel in the Chaussée d'Antin, the ladies of fashion and of
the court had recourse to the meanest artifices; while the latter has
obtained historical renown, by having excited the jealousy, or rather envy,
of Marie Antoinette. Mademoiselle Duthé appeared at the fêtes of
Longchamps, in the Bois de Boulogne, in a gorgeous chariot drawn by six
milk-white steeds, with red morocco harness, richly ornamented with cut
steel; and thus accomplished the object of incurring the resentment of the
court, from the prodigality of one of whose married princes these
splendours were supposed to emanate--splendours exceeding those of the
Rhodopes of old.

But the greatest triumph ever achieved by _danseuse_, was that of
Bigottini! The Allied sovereigns, after vanquishing the victor of modern
Europe, were by _her_ vanquished in their turn. At her feet, fresh
trembling from an _entre-chat_, did

  "Fiery French and furious Hun"

lay down their arms! The Allied armies appeared to have entered Paris only
to become the slaves of Bigottini!

In our own country, devotees of the _danseuse_ have done more, by
promoting her to the decencies of the domestic fireside. In our own
country, also, even Punch was once purchased by an eccentric nobleman for
the diversion of his private life. But as Demosthenes observed of the cost
of such a pleasure, "that is buying repentance too dear!"

We are perhaps offending the gravity of certain of our readers by the
extent of this notice; albeit, we have striven to propitiate their
prejudices by the peculiar combination and juxtaposition of professions,
selected for consideration. But we are not acting unadvisedly. Close its
eyes as it may, the public cannot but perceive, that the legitimate drama
is banished by want of encouragement from the national theatres, and that
the ballet is brandishing her cap and bells triumphantly in its room.

Such changes are never the result of accident. The supply is created by
the demand. It is because we prefer the Sylphide to Juliet, that the
Sylphide figures before us. Shakspeare was played to empty benches; the
Peri and Gisele fill the houses.

We repeat, therefore, since such is the bent of public appetite, let it be
gratified in the least objectionable way. Let us have a royal academy of
dancing. We shall easily find some Earl of Westmoreland to compose its
ballets, and lady patronesses to give an annual ball for the benefit of
the institution. Do not let some eighty thousand a-year be lost to the
country. An idol is as easily carved out of one block of wood as another.
Let us make unto ourselves goddesses out of the haberdashers' shops of
Oxford Street; and qualify the youthful caprices of Whitechapel to command
the homage of Congress, and of the great autocrat of all the Russias.
Properly instructed, little Sukey Smith may still obtain an enameled
brooch or bracelet from her Majesty the Queen-Dowager! Let us "people this
whole isle with sylphs!" Let Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden flourish;
but--thanks to Great Britain pirouettes!--the art of giving ten guineas
for a couple of hours spent in an opera-box, will then become less
criminal; and we shall have no fear of the influence of some Herodias's
daughter in our domestic life, when we see the Cracovienne announced in
the bills "by Miss Mary Thomson." The charm will be destroyed. The
unfrequented _coulisses_, like Dodona, will cease to give forth oracles.

Under the influence of an "establishment," we shall have to record of
opera-dancers as of other professions, that "the goddesses are departing!"
The _danse à roulades_ of Fanny Elssler will be voted vulgar, when
attempted by a Buggins. Let Mr Bunn look to himself. He may yet survive
his immortality. We foresee a day in which he will be no longer styled
Alfred the Great. With the aid of George Robins, and other illustrious
persons interested in the destinies of theatrical property, we do not
despond of hearing attached to "a bill for the legalization of the Royal
and National Academy of Dancing of the United Kingdom," the satisfactory
decree of "LA REINE LE VEUT!"

       *       *       *       *       *



THE PIRATES OF SEGNA.

A TALE OF VENICE AND THE ADRIATIC. IN TWO PARTS.

PART I.

CHAPTER I.--THE STUDIO.


It was on a bright afternoon in spring, and very near the close of the
sixteenth century, that a handsome youth, of slender form and patrician
aspect, was seated and drawing before an easel in the studio of the aged
cavaliere Giovanni Contarini--the last able and distinguished painter of
the long-declining school of Titian. The studio was a spacious and lofty
saloon, commanding a cheerful view over the grand canal. Full curtains of
crimson damask partially shrouded the lofty windows, intercepting the
superabundant light, and diffusing tints resembling the ruddy, soft, and
melancholy hues of autumnal foliage; while these hues were further
deepened by a richly carved ceiling of ebony, which, not reflecting but
absorbing light, allayed the sunny radiance beneath, and imparted a sombre
yet brilliant effect to the pictured walls, and glossy draperies, of the
spacious apartment. Above the rich and lofty mantelpiece hung one of the
last portraits of himself painted by the venerable Titian, and on the dark
pannels around were suspended portraits of great men and lovely women by
the gifted hands of Giorgione, Paul Veronese, Paris Bordone, and
Tintoretto. Regardless, however, of all around him, and almost breathless
with eagerness and impatience, the student pursued his object, and with
rapid and vigorous strokes had half completed his sketch--totally
unconcious the while that some one had opened the folding-doors, crossed
the saloon, and now stood behind his chair.

"But tell me, Antonello mio!" exclaimed old Contarini, after gazing awhile
in mute astonishment at the sketch before him; "tell me, in the name of
wonder, what kind of face do you mean to draw around that lean and
withered nose and that horribly wrinkled mouth?"

Antonio, however, was so unconcious of the "world without," that he
started not at this sudden interruption of the previous stillness.
Regardless, too, of the serious and indeed reproving tone of the old man's
voice, he hastily replied without averting his gaze from the canvass.
"Hush, maestro! I beseech you. Question me not, for Heaven's sake! I
cannot spare a word in reply. The original," continued he, after a brief
interval of close attention to his object, and drawing as he spoke; "the
original is still firmly fixed in my memory. I see its sharp outlines
clear within me, and, as you well know and oft have told me, a feature
lost is lost for ever. Alas! alas! those lines and angles around the mouth
are already fading into shadow."

After he had thrown out these words, from time to time, like interjections,
and with Venetian rapidity of utterance, nothing was audible in the saloon
for some minutes but the young artist's sharp and rapid strokes upon the
canvass.

"No more of this, Antonio!" at length exclaimed the old painter with
energy, after gazing for some time at the gradual appearance of an old
woman's lean and winkled features, dried up and yellow as if one of the
dead, and yet lighted up by a pair of dark deep-set eyes, which seemed to
blaze with supernatural life and lustre. At each touch of the artist, this
mummy-like and unearthly visage was brought out into sharper and more
disgusting relief, when Contarini, no longer able to control his
indignation, dashed the charcoal from his pupil's hand. "Apage, Satanas!"
he shouted, "thy talent hath a devil in it. I see his very hoof-print in
that horrible design."

Startled by this unexpected violence, the young artist turned round, and
beheld with amazement the usually benign featutes of his venerable teacher
flashing upon him with irrepressible anger, which was the more impressive
because the Cavaliere had just returned from a visit to the Doge, and was
richly attired in the imposing patrician costume of the period. Around his
neck was the golden chain hung there by the imperial hands of Rodolph the
Second, and he wore the richly enameled barret, and lofty heron's plume,
which the same picture-loving emperor had placed upon his head when he
knighted him as a reward for the noble pictures he had painted in Germany.
There was a true and fine air of nobility in his lofty form and
well-marked features--a character of matured thought and intellectual
power in the expansive brow, and in the firm gaze of his large dark eyes,
as yet undimmed by age--with evidence of decision and self-respect, and
habitual composure in the finely formed mouth and chin. Thus splendidly
arrayed, and thus dignified in form, features, and expression, this
distinguished man recalled so powerfully to the memory of his imaginative
pupil the high-minded doges of the heroic period of Venice, and the
imposing portraits of Titian's senators, that, with a deep sense of his
own moral inferiority, he obeyed in silence, and with starting tears
removed the offending sketch. Then placing before him a small picture of a
weeping and lovely Magdalen by Contarini, which he had undertaken to copy,
he began the sketch, patiently awaiting a voluntary explanation of this
unwonted vehemence in his beloved teacher, who, seated in his armchair,
leaned his head upon his hand and seemed lost in thought.

And now again for some time was the deep stillness of the studio
interrupted only by the strokes of Antonio's charcoal, which, unlike his
rapid and feverish efforts when sketching the old woman, were now subdued
and tranquil. As he gazed into the upraised and pleading eyes of the
beautiful Magdalen, his excitement gradually yielded to the pacifying
influence of her mute and eloquent sorrow. This salutary change escaped
not the observation of Contarini, whose benevolent features softened as he
gazed upon these tokens of a better spirit in his pupil.

"I rejoice to see, Antonio," he began, "that you already feel, how ever
imperfectly, the soothing and hallowed influence of the Beautiful in Art
and Nature, and the peril to soul and body of delighting in imaginary
forms of horror. If you indulge these cravings of a distempered fancy, you
will sink to the base level of those Flemish artists who delight in
painting witches and demons, and in all fabulous and monstrous forms. You,
who are nobly born, devoted to poetry and fine art, and possess manifest
power in portraiture, should aim at the Heroic in painting. Make this your
first and steadfast purpose. Devote to it your life and soul; and, should
the power to reach this elevation be wanting, you may still achieve the
Beautiful, and paint lovely women in lovely attitudes. But tell me,
Antonello!" continued he, resuming his wonted kindness, "how came that
horrid visage across thy path, or rather across thy fancy? for surely no
such original exists. Say, didst thou see it living, or was it the growth
of those distempered dreams to which painters, more than other men, are
subject?"

"No, padre mio! it was no dream," eagerly answered his pupil. "Yesterday I
went in our gondola, as is my wont on festivals, to the beautiful church
of San Moyses, which I love for its oriental and singular architecture.
When near the church I heard a melodious voice calling to Jacopo, my
gondolier, the only boatman in sight, and begging a conveyance across the
canal. Issuing from the cabin, I saw a tall figure, closely veiled,
standing on the steps of the palace facing the church and occupied by the
Archduke's ambassador. Approaching the steps, Jacopo placed a plank for
the stranger; but, as she stepped out to reach it, a sudden gust caught
her large loose mantle, which, clinging to her shape, displayed for a
moment a form of such majestic and luxuriant fulness--such perfect and
glorious symmetry, as no man, still less an artist, could look on unmoved.
In trembling and indescribable impatience, I awaited the raising of her
veil. Another gust, and a slight stumble as she bounded rather than
stepped into the boat, befriended me; the partial shifting of her veil,
which she hastily replaced, permitted a glimpse of her features--brief,
indeed, but never to be forgotten. Yes, father! the face which surmounted
that goddess-like and splendid person, was the horrid visage I have
sketched, lean and yellow, drawn up into innumerable wrinkles, and with
black eyes of intolerable brightness, blazing out of deep and faded
sockets. Staggered by this unearthly contrast, I fell back upon the bench
of the gondola, and gazed in silent horror at the stranger, who answered
not the blunt questions of Jacopo; and, as if ashamed of her astounding
ugliness, sat motionless and shrouded from head to foot in her capacious
mantle. I followed her into the church; but, unable to hold out during the
mass, I left her there and hastily returned to sketch this sublime example
of the hideous before any of its points had faded from my memory. Forgive
me, father, for yielding to an impulse so strong as to overwhelm all power
of resistance. Yet why should I abandon this rare opportunity of
displaying any skill I may have gained from so gifted a teacher? Pictures
of Madonnas and of lovely women so abound in all our palaces, that a young
artist can only rise above the common level by representing something
extraordinary, something rarely or never seen in life."

Contarini gazed with sorrowing and affectionate interest upon the flushed
features of his pupil, again excited as before by his own description of
the mysterious stranger. One less acquainted with human nature, would have
mistaken the flashing eyes and animated features of the youthful artist
for the sure tokens of conscious and advancing talent; but the aged
painter, whose practised eye was not dazzled by the soft harmony of
features which gave a character of feminine beauty to Antonio, saw in the
excitement which failed to give a more intellectual character to his
countenance, sad evidence of a soul too feeble and infirm of purpose to
achieve eminence in any thing, and with growing alarm he inferred a
predisposition to mental disease from those morbid and uncontrolled
impulses, which delighted in portraying objects revolting to all men of
sound and healthy feelings.

He arose in evident emotion, and after pacing the studio some time in
silence, he approached Antonio, who, yielding to his eccentric longings,
had seized the sketch of the old woman's head, and was gazing on it with
evident delight. "Give me the sketch, Antonio!" resumed the painter in his
kindest tone, "'Tis finished, and the hunter cares not for the hunted
beast when stricken. What wouldst thou with it?" "What would I, maestro?"
exclaimed the alarmed youth, hastily removing his sketch from the extended
hand of the painter, "Finish the subject of course, and place this
wonderful old head upon the magnificent form to which it belongs."

"But, saidst thou not, Antonio, that the poor creature in the gondola
hastily concealed her features when accident revealed them, as if ashamed
of her unnatural ugliness? And canst thou be so heartless as to publish to
the world that strange deformity she is doomed to bear through life, and
which she is evidently anxious to conceal? Wouldst thou add another pang
to the existence of one to whom life is worse than death, and whose
eternal veil is but a foretaste of the winding-sheet and the grave? Thou
wilt not, canst not, my Antonio, make such unheard-of misery thy
stepping-stone to fame and fortune." This impassioned appeal to all his
better feelings at length reached the heart of Antonio. For a short time
he continued to withhold the drawing; but his kindly nature triumphed.
Tearing his sketch into fragments, he threw himself into the extended arms
of his beloved teacher, who with deep emotion placed his trembling hand on
the curling locks of his pupil, and implored the blessing of Heaven on his
better feelings and purposes.

With a view to improve the impression he had made, the painter led Antonio
round the studio, and sought to fix his attention upon several portraits
of lovely women which adorned it. "Here," said he, "are heads worthy to
crown that striking figure in the gondola. Behold that all-surpassing
portrait by Giorgione, of such beauty as painters and poets may dream of
but never find, and yet not superhuman in its type. Too impassioned for an
angel; too brilliant for a Madonna; and with too much of thought and
character for a Venus--she is merely _woman_. Belonging to no special rank
or class in society, and neither classical nor ideal, she personifies all
that is most lovely in her sex; and, whether found in a palace or a
cottage, would delight and astonish all beholders. This rarely gifted
woman was the daughter of Palma Vecchio, and the beloved of Giorgione, one
of the handsomest men of his time; but her sympathies were not for him,
and he died of grief and despair in his prime. She was the favourite model
of Titian and his school, and the type that more or less prevails in many
celebrated pictures.

"How different and yet how beautiful of its kind, is that portrait of a
Doge's daughter, by Paris Bordone! Less dazzling and luxuriant in her
beauty than Palma's daughter, she is in all respects intensely
aristocratic. In complexion not rich and glowing, but of a transparent and
pearly lustre, through which the course of each blue vein is visible. In
shape and features not full and beautifully rounded, but somewhat taller
and of more delicate symmetry. In look and attitude not open, frank, and
natural; but astute, refined, courteous, and winning to a degree
attainable only by aristocratic training and the habits of high society.
In apparel, neither national nor picturesque, but attired with studied
elegance. Rich rows of pearls wind through her braided hair, in colour
gold, in texture soft as silk. A band of gold forms the girdle of her
ruby-coloured velvet robe, which descends to the wrist, and there reveals
the small white hand and tapering fingers of patrician beauty. All this
may captivate the fastidious noble; but, to men less artificial in their
tastes and habits, could such a woman be better than a statue--and could
love, the strongest of human passions, be ever more to her than a
short-lived and amusing pastime?

"From these immortal portraits, my Antonio, you may learn that _colour_
was the grand secret of the great Venetian painters. _Their_ pale forms
are never white, nor their blooming cheeks rose-colour, but the true
colour of life--mellow, rich, and glowing; both men and women strictly
true to nature, and looking as if they could turn pale with anger or blush
with tender passion. From these great men can best be learned how much
charm may be conveyed by _colour_, and what life and glow, what passion,
grace, and beauty it gives to _form_.

"But I weary thee, Antonio; and after such excitement thou hast need of
repose. To-morrow, let me see thee early."

The exhausted youth gladly departed from a scene of so much trial; and,
hastening to his gondola, sought refreshment in an excursion to the Lido.
Returning after nightfall, he landed on the Place of St Mark's, and
wandered through its cool arcades until they were deserted. In vain,
however, did he strive to banish the graceful form and grisly features of
the stranger. The strong impression he had received became so vivid and
absorbing, that at every turn he thought he saw her gazing at him as if in
mockery, and lighting up the deep shadows beneath the arches with her
glowing orbs, which seemed to his disordered fancy to emit sparks and
flashes of fire. No longer able to resist the impulse, forgetting alike
the paternal admonitions of the old painter, and the promises so sincerely
given, he quitted the piazza and hastened to the palace of his father, the
Proveditore Marcello, then absent on state affairs in the Levant.

Retiring to his own apartment, he fixed an easel with impetuous haste, and
by lamp-light again began to sketch the Medusa head of the old woman.
Yielding himself up to this new frenzy, he succeeded beyond his hopes; a
supernatural power seemed to guide his hand, and soon after midnight he
had drawn to the life not only the appalling head, but the commanding and
beautiful person, of the mysterious personage in the gondola. After gazing
awhile upon his work with triumphant delight, he retired to bed; but slept
not until long after sunrise, and then the extraordinary incidents of the
past day haunted his feverish dreams. A female form, youthful and of
surpassing beauty, hovered around his couch, but ever changing in
appearance. At first her head was invisible and veiled in mist, from which,
at intervals, flashed features of resplendent loveliness, and eyes of
heavenly blue, which beamed upon him with thrilling tenderness; and then
the mist dispersed, and the beauteous phantom stooped down to kiss his
cheek, when suddenly her blooming face darkened and withered into the
death-like visage of that fearful stranger, and her long bright hair was
converted into hissing sepents. Starting with a scream of horror from his
troubled and exhausting slumbers, he again sought refuge in his gondola,
but returned, alas! to make his sketch into a picture, which the hues of
life made still more hideous and repulsive. After several days thus
occupied, he sketched in various attitudes the imposing figure of the old
woman, and endeavoured to fit this beautiful Torso with a head not
unworthy of it. But herein, after many attempts, he failed. His excitement,
so long indulged, had risen into fever. His diseased fancy controlled his
pencil, and blended with features of the highest order of beauty so many
touches of the old woman's ghastly visage, that he threw down his pencil,
and abandoned all further efforts in despair.



CHAPTER II.

THE CAVERN.


The shores of Austrian Dalmatia south of the port of Fiume, are of so
rugged and dangerous a nature, that although broken into numerous creeks
and bays, there are but few places where vessels, even of small dimensions,
dare to approach them, or indeed where it is possible to effect a landing.
A long experience of the coast, and of the adjacent labyrinth of islands
which block up the gulf of Carnero, is necessary in order to accomplish in
safety the navigation of the shallow rocky sea; and even when the mariner
succeeds in setting foot on land, he not unfrequently finds his progress
into the interior barred by precipices steep as walls, roaring torrents,
and yawning ravines.

It was on a mild evening of early spring, and a few days after the
incidents recorded in the preceding chapter, that a group of wild-looking
figures was assembled on the Dalmatian shore, opposite the island of
Veglia. The sun was setting, and the beach was so overshadowed by the
beetling summits of the high chalky cliffs, that it would have been
difficult to discover much of the appearance of the persons in question,
but for an occasional streak of light that shot out of a narrow ravine
opening among the rocks in rear of the party, and lit up some dark-bearded
visage, or flashed on the bright barrel of a long musket. High above the
ravine, and standing out against the red stormy-looking sky behind it, the
outline of a fortress was visible, and in the hollow beneath might be
distinguished the small closely-built mass of houses known as the town of
Segna.

This castle, which, by natural even more than artificial defences, was
deemed impregnable, especially on its sea face, was the stronghold of a
handful of hardy and desperate adventurers, who, although their numbers
never exceeded seven hundred men, had yet, for many years preceding the
date of this narrative, made themselves a name dreaded throughout the
whole Adriatic. The inhabitants of the innumerable Dalmatian islands, the
subjects of the Grand Turk, the people of Ancona--all, in short, who
inhabited the shores of the Adriatic, and were interested in its commerce,
or in the countless merchant vessels that skimmed over its
waters--trembled and turned pale when the name of these daring freebooters
was mentioned in their hearing. In vain was it that the Sultan, who in his
sublimity scarcely deigned to know the names of some of the great European
powers, had caused his pachas to take the field with strong armaments for
the extermination of this nest of pirates. These expeditions were
certainly not disadvantageous to the Porte, which seized the opportunity
of annexing to its dominions some large slices of Hungarian and Venetian
territory; but their ostensible object remained unaccomplished, and the
proverbial salutation of the time, "God save you from the Uzcoques!" was
still on the lips of every one.

The word "Uzcoque," by which this dreaded people was known, had grown into
a sound of mourning and panic to the inhabitants of the shores and islands
of the Adriatic. At the utterance of that fearful name, young girls
crowded together like frightened doves; the child hid its terrified face
in its mother's lap; the eyes of the matron overflowed with tears as the
images of murdered sons and outraged daughters passed before her mind's
eye, and, like Banquo's ghost, filled the vacant seats at the table; while
the men gazed anxiously out, expecting to see their granaries and
store-houses in flames. Nor were the seaman's apprehensions less lively,
when night surprised him with some valuable cargo in the neighbourhood of
the pirates' haunts. Every rock, each tree, and bush became an object of
dread; the very ripple of the waves on the shingle a sound of alarm. To
his terrified fancy, a few leafless and projecting branches assumed the
appearance of muskets, a point of rock became the prow of one of those
light, sharp-built boats in which the Uzcoques were wont to dart like
seabirds upon their prey; and, invoking his patron saint, the frightened
sailor crossed himself, and with a turn of the rudder brought his vessel
yet nearer to the Venetian galleys that escorted the convoy.

At the cry "Uzcoque" the slender active Albanian grasped his fire-lock,
with rage and hatred expressed on his bearded countenance: the phlegmatic
Turk sprang in unwonted haste from his carpet; his pipe and coffee were
neglected, his women and treasures secured in the harem, while he shouted
for the Martellossi,[3] and slipping them like dogs from a leash, sent
them to the encounter of their foes on the devastated plains of Cardavia.
In the despatches from Madrid, from the ministers of that monarch on whose
dominions the sun never set, to his ambassadors, the name of these seven
hundred outlaws occupied a frequent and prominent place. But by none were
the Uzcoques more feared and detested than by the greyheaded doge and
senators of the Ocean Queen, the sea-born city, before whose cathedral the
colours of three kingdoms fluttered from their crimson flagstaffs; and the
few young Venetians in whose breasts the remembrance of their heroic
ancestors yet lived, blushed for their country's degradation when they
beheld her rulers braved and insulted by a band of sea-robbers.

    [3] The Turks, finding their own troops not well adapted to the
    irregular and desperate kind of warfare waged by the Uzcoques, and
    also unable to compete with them in the rapidity of their movements,
    formed a corps expressly for the pursuit of the freebooters, which
    was composed of men as wild and desperate as themselves. With these
    _Martellossi_, as they were called, the Uzcoques had frequent and
    sanguinary conflicts. Minucci says of the Martellossi, in his
    _Historia degli Uscochi_, that they were "Scelerati barbari anco
    'ordine de' medesime Scochi."

To this band belonged the wild figures, whose appearance on the shore has
been noticed, and who were busily employed in rummaging a number of sacks
and packages which lay scattered on the ground. They pursued their
occupation in profound silence, except when the discovery of some object
of unusual value elicited an exclamation of delight, or a disappointment
brought a grumbling curse to their lips. They seemed carefully to avoid
noise, lest it should draw down upon them the observation of the castle
that frowned above their heads, and at the embrasures and windows of which
they cast frequent and frightened glances, although the darkness of the
ravine, at the entrance of which they had stationed themselves, and the
rapidly deepening twilight, rendered it almost impossible to discover them.

"By the beard of the prophet, Hassan!" exclaimed in a suppressed tone a
young Turk, who lay bound hand and foot at a short distance from the
pirates, "why do these mangy curs keep us lying so long on the wet grass?
Why do they not seek their kennel up yonder?"

The person addressed was a little, round, oily-looking Turk, a Levant
merchant, whose traffic had called him to one of the neighbouring islands,
and who had been laid hold of on his passage by the Uzcoques. He was
sitting up, being less strictly manacled than his more youthful and
energetic-looking companion; and his comical countenance wore a most
desponding expression, as, in reply to the question put to him, he shook
his head slowly from side to side, at the same time gravely stroking his
beard.

"By Allah!" exclaimed the young man impatiently, as he saw the pirates
rummaging more eagerly than ever, and now and then concealing something of
value under their cloaks, "could not the greedy knaves wait till they got
home before they shared the plunder? May their fathers' souls burn!"

"What saith the sage Oghuz?" quoth old Hassan slowly, "'As people grow
rich their maw widens.'"

"Silence, unbelieving hound!" exclaimed a harsh voice behind him, and a
thump between the shoulders warned the old Turk to keep his proverbs for a
more fitting season. The pirate was about to repeat the blow, when
suddenly his hand fell, and the curses died away upon his lips.

The clouds that had hitherto veiled the setting sun had suddenly broken,
and a broad stream of golden light poured down the ravine, flashing upon
the roofs and gables of the town, and making the castle appear like a huge
and magnificent lantern. The ravine was lighted up as though by
enchantment, and the unexpected illumination caused an alarm among the
group of pirates, not unlike that of an owl into whose gloomy
roosting-place a torch is suddenly intruded. Terror was depicted upon
their countenances as they gazed up at the castle. For a moment all was
still and hushed as the grave, and the Uzcoques scarcely seemed to breathe
as they drew their greedy hands in silent haste out of the sacks; then,
suddenly recovering from their stupefaction, they snatched up their
muskets and crowded into a dark cavern in the rock, which the beams of the
setting sun had now for the first time rendered visible, without, however,
lighting up its deep and dark recesses. In their haste and alarm, more
than one of the freebooters had his tattered mantle caught by the thorny
arms of some of the bushes scattered over the shore, and turned in terror,
thinking himself in the grasp of a foe. A few only had the presence of
mind to throw their cloaks over the varied and glittering plunder that lay
scattered about on the ground; and strange was the contrast of the
sparkling jewellery, the rich stuffs, and embroidered robes, strewed on
the beach, with the mean and filthy garments that partially concealed them,
and the wild and squalid figures of their present possessors.

A number of the Uzcoques now threw themselves with brutal violence upon
the two prisoners, muffled their heads in cloaks to prevent their crying
out, and carried them with the speed of light into the cave, in the
innermost recess of which they bestowed them. They then rejoined their
companions, who were grouped together at the entrance of the cavern like a
herd of frightened deer, and gazing anxiously up at the castle. After the
lapse of a very few minutes, the bright glow again faded away, the
fortress reassumed its black and frowning aspect, the roofs of Segna
relapsed into their dull grey hue, and shadows, deeper than before,
covered the ravine.

Reviving under the influence of the darkness, so congenial to their habits
and occupations, the Uzcoques began to recover from their alarm, and the
murmur of voices was again heard as they seized the sacks, and hastily
filled them with the various objects lying on the beach. Every thing being
collected, the pirates commenced toiling their way up the steep mountain
path leading to the castle, with the exception of a few who still lingered
at the entrance of the cavern, and whom the prisoners could hear disputing
about some point on which there seemed to exist much difference of opinion.

"Hell and the devil!" at last exclaimed an impatient voice, in a louder
tone than had yet been employed. "There's little chance that we have not
been seen from the castle; for the warder would expect us back about this
time, and doubtless was on the look-out. These Turkish hounds have seen
every thing, and might easily betray us. Let us leave them here till
to-morrow, till I have spoken to the warder, and arranged that they be
sent on at once to Gradiska without coming to speech of the captain. I
will join the escort myself to make it still surer."

After some slight opposition on the part of the others, this proposal was
adopted, and the remaining pirates took their departure. The sound of
their footsteps along the rocky path had scarcely died away on the ears of
the anxiously listening captives, when loud acclamations and cries of joy
announced the arrival of the first detachment at the castle. The heavy
gates of the fortress were opened with much din and rattle; after a short
space they were again slammed to, the portcullis fell, and then no further
sound broke the deep silence that reigned in the ravine.

The collection of the plunder, the discussion among the pirates, and their
departure, had passed so rapidly, that the young Turk had scarcely had
time to recover from the giddy, half-stunned state into which the rough
usage he had received had thrown him, when he found himself alone with his
old fellow-captive.

"Well, Hassan," said he at last, in a voice of suppressed fury, "what
think you of all this?"

The old man made no verbal reply, but merely stroked his beard, shrugged
his shoulders, and opened his eyes wider than before, as much as to say,
"I don't think at all; what do you think?"

"It is not the prospect of passing the night in this damp hole, bound hand
and foot, that chafes me to madness, and makes my very blood boil in my
veins," resumed the young man after a pause. "That is a small matter,
 but"--

"A small matter!" interrupted Hassan with unusual vivacity. "That is,
because you have forgotten the most dreadful part of our position. Bound
hand and foot as we are, we can expect nothing less than to fall, ere
cock-crow, into the power of Satan."

"Of Satan!" repeated the other. "Has terror turned thy brain?"

"Of a truth, the Evil One has already tied the three fatal nooses which he
hangs over the head of the sleeping believer," replied the old Mahometan
in a lachrymose tone. "He who awakes and forthwith invokes the holy name
of Allah, is thereby delivered from the first noose; by performing his
ablutions, the second becomes loosened; and by fervent prayer he unties
the third. Our bonds render it impossible for us to wash, and the second
noose, therefore, will remain suspended over our devoted heads."

"Runs it so in the Koran, old man?" asked the youth.

"In the Koran! What Mussulman are you? It is the hundred and forty-ninth
passage of the Suna."

"The Suna!" repeated the other, in a tone of indifference. "If that is all,
it will not break my slumbers."

"Allah protect me!" exclaimed the old man, as he made an attempt to pluck
out his beard, which the shackles on his wrists rendered ineffectual.
"Allah protect me! Is it not enough that I have fallen into captivity? Am
I also doomed to pass the night under the same roof with an unbeliever,
even as the Nazarenes are?"

"May the bolt of Heaven fall on thy lying tongue!" exclaimed the youth in
great wrath. "I an unbeliever! I, Ibrahim, the adopted son of Hassan,
pacha of Bosnia!"

In deepest humility did the old merchant bow his head, and endeavour to
lay hold of the hem of the young man's crimson caftan, in order to carry
it to his lips.

"Enough! enough!" said Ibrahim, whose good temper had returned. "You spoke
in haste and ignorance. I am well pleased when I break no commandment of
the Koran; and trouble my head little about the sayings of those babbling
greybeards, the twelve holy Imaums."

"But the nooses," expostulated Hassan, not a little scandalized by his
companion's words.

"You have nothing to do but to sleep all night without awaking," replied
the young Turk laughing. "Then you will have no need either to wash or
pray."

The superstitious old man turned his face to the wall in consternation and
anguish of spirit.

"This night have I seen with my own eyes what we have hitherto refused to
believe," resumed Ibrahim after a pause, and in a tone of indignation that
echoed through the cavern. "I am now convinced that the shameless
scoundrels do not rob on their own account, since they are obliged to
pilfer and conceal a part of their plunder in order to get a profit from
their misdeeds. Marked you not, Hassan, how they trembled when the sun lit
up the ravine, lest their tricks should be espied by some sentry on the
battlements; and how their panic fear made them carry every thing up to
the castle?"

The old Turk bowed his head assentingly.

"Glory be to God and the Sultan!" continued the youth. "Before the bright
countenance of the prophet's vicegerent, who reigneth in Stamboul, no
misdeed can remain hidden that occurs in the remotest corner of his vast
dominions. Nay, much of what happens in the land of the Giaour is also
manifest to his penetrating vision. Witness the veil of turpitude and
cunning which has long been seen through by the clear eyes of our holy
mollahs, and of the council at the Seraglio, and which has just now been
torn away from before me, like a mist dispersing in the sunshine of truth.
Truly spoke the Christian maiden, whom but a few weeks back I took captive
in a fight with the Uzcoques, but who was shortly after rescued by another
band of those raging fiends."

"Saw you the maiden," exclaimed Hassan, "the good maiden that accompanies
the pirates, like an angel walking among demons?"

"What know you of the Houri?" eagerly demanded the youth, in vain
endeavouring to raise his head from the damp stones.

"That it was the hand of Allah that rescued her from you," replied the
other. He chastiseth his creatures with rods, but even in his chastisemcnt
is mercy. "How many more had not the dogs and the ravens devoured, had the
Christian maiden been taken from among the Uzcoques? She belongs to them,
she is the daughter of their leader, the terrible Dansowich, beside whom
she is ever to be found, instilling the musk and amber of mildness into
his fierce soul, and pouring healing into the wounds he makes. I know her
not, but often have I heard the Christians, with whom my traffic brought
me acquainted, include her in the prayers they addressed to their God."

"Her eyes were as brilliant stars, and they blinded my very soul,"
exclaimed Ibrahim impetuously; "the honey of her words dropped like balm
into my heart! As the sound of bubbling fountains, and the rustle of
flowery groves to the parched wanderer in the desert, fell her sweet voice
upon my ear. So gentle and musical were its tones, that I thought not of
their meaning, and it is only to-day that I understand them."

"I know not," quoth Hassan, "what you may have seen; but doubtless, Satan,
who wished to inspire you with an unholy desire for a Nazarene woman,
began by blinding you. According to all I have heard, the Uzcoque maiden
is good and compassionate, but as ugly as night."

"Ugly!" cried Ibrahim, "Then there must be two of them; for the one I saw
was blooming as the spring, her eyes like the morning star, and her cheeks
of velvet. Oh, that I could again behold her! In that hope it was that I
pressed so rashly forward in the fight, and was made prisoner; but yet
have I not beheld the pearl of mine eyes."

"She cannot be amongst them," said Hassan; "and thence comes it that the
pirates have this year committed greater cruelties than ever, and done
deeds that cry out to Allah for vengeance."

"Instead of her silver tones," continued Ibrahim, "I hear the shrieks of
the tortured; instead of her words of peace and blessing, the curses of
the murderer."

"But what did the maiden tell you?" enquired Hassan, who was getting
impatient at the transports of the enamoured youth.

"Her words flowed like a clear stream out of the well of truth. It is not
the Uzcoques alone," said she, "who are to blame for the horrors that"--

"Hark!" interrupted the old Turk.

A clamour of voices and splashing of oars became audible, a keel grated on
the beach, and then hurried footsteps were heard in the ravine.

"It is another vessel with Uzcoques!" exclaimed Ibrahim; "but these are
not laden with plunder, their movements are too rapid."

As he spoke, the tumult and murmur of voices and trampling of feet
increased, and above all a noise like distant musketry was heard.

"Holy Virgin!" suddenly exclaimed a clear and feminine voice, apparently
close to the mouth of the cavern. "They are already at the castle--the
gates, no doubt, are shut, the drawbridge raised. Before they could come
down it would be too late."

The young Turk started.

"It is she, Hassan!" he exclaimed. "It is Strasolda, the Christian maiden!"

"Oh, my father!" cried the same voice in tones of heart-rending anguish.
"How shall we deliver thee? Alas! alas! who can tell the tortures they
will make thee suffer in their dreadful dungeons?"

The noise of the musketry became more and more distinct. Some of the newly
arrived Uzcoques who had hurried up the winding path, were soon heard
clamouring furiously for admittance at the castle gates.

"They will be too late!" exclaimed the maiden, wringing her hands in
despair. The next moment a sudden thought seemed to flash across her mind,
lending her fresh hope and energy.

"Gracious Heaven!" she exclaimed in joyful tones. "Have we not here the
cave, from which, invoked by fire, the storm and the hurricane, the north
wind and the tempest, come forth and shatter the most stately vessels
against our iron-bound coast.[4] Up, Uzcoques, and fire the cavern! Let
the elements do battle for us. Perchance by their aid the bark of your
leader Dansowich may yet escape its foes and reach the haven."

    [4] In Minucci's History of the Uzcoques, continued by Paola Sarpi,
    we find the following:--"Segna, through its position on a cragged
    rock, was unapproachable by carts or horses, and consequently by
    artillery. The harbour appertaining to it, however, was tolerably
    good, but exceedingly difficult of access on account of the north
    wind, (vento di Buora,) which blew almost incessantly in the
    channel leading to it. According to popular belief, the Segnarese
    had the power of causing this wind to blow at will, by merely
    kindling a fire in a certain hollow of the cliffs. The mysterious
    operation of this fire was to heat the veins of the earth, which
    then, through pain or fury, sent out the raging hurricanes that
    rendered those narrow seas in the highest degree dangerous, and
    indeed untenable."

Immediately after these words, which made the two Moslems quail, the
pirate's daughter hastily entered the cavern with a blazing torch, the
flashes of which awakened from slumber into life and glow the various tints
of mosses, lichens, and stalactites innumerable that studded the ample
vault. In this flitting and singular illumination, the appearance of the
Uzcoque maiden was awful. Above the common stature of woman, and finely
formed, she was attired in a white woollen garment, carelessly adjusted
and confined at the waist by broad red girdle, from which it fell in long
and graceful folds to her feet. Her face was a perfect oval; her features
of regular and striking beauty; her complexion, naturally of that clear
rich brown, which lends more lustre to the eyes than the purest red and
white, was now ghastly with intense alarm; and this death-like paleness
imparted a more prominent and commanding character to her well-defined,
jet-black brows, and the full, dark, humid eyes, which gleamed like
brilliants through their long lashes. Heavy tresses of raven hair,
escaping beneath her turban-like head-dress, streamed out like a sable
banner as she rushed into the cavern, then fell and flowed in waving
luxuriance over neck and shoulders to her girdle. The Turks in the
interior of the cavern, gazed in speechless wonder at this beautiful
apparition standing erect in the strong red light. Waving her torch with
energetic and graceful action, she appeared like an antique sybil at the
moment of inspiration, or some Arabian enchantress preparing for an
incantation. Their admiration, however, yielded to alarm, when they beheld
her dash the torch upon the ground, and her attendants pile upon it straw
and fagots, which blazed up instantly to the cavern roof, emitting volumes
of smoke that made the captives invisible, and by its suffocating
influence deprived them erelong of all power of utterance.

The evening was serene and still, with scarcely a breath of wind stirring,
and the flames blazed upward to the cavern roof; only now and then a light
breeze from the sea wafted them on one side, and, at the sane time,
dispersing the smoke, gave the Turks a momentary glimpse of the maiden,
standing with uplifted hands, expectation, anxiety, and grief, depicted on
her speaking countenance, as she invoked the spirit of the storm, while
around her stood the few remaining Uzcoques, with sorrowing and downcast
faces.

"They come not!" she exclaimed after a pause, during which the fire began
to burn low for lack of fuel, and the noise of the musketry diminished and
finally ceased. "Uzcoques!" she cried in a louder voice, and with
inspiration in her thrilling tones--"Take heed and warning, for your hour
is come. Your crags and caverns, your rocky shores and howling storms,
refuse you further service!"

She paused, and at that moment was heard the rush of a rapidly approaching
boat.

"Speak not, ye messengers of evil!" exclaimed Strasolda in piercing
accents. "Utter not a word. You have left Dansowich in the hands of the
Venetians."

There was no reply to her half frantic exclamation, and the deep silence
was only broken by the footsteps of the new-comers, as with dejected looks
they joined their companions. Just then some damp branches that had lain
smouldering and smoking on the fire, burned brightly up, and by their
light Ibrahim and Hassan beheld the maiden kneeling in the midst of the
pirates, her tearful face covered by her fair and slender fingers. The
next moment she raised her head and gazed into the cavern.

As she did so, the sorrowful expression of her features changed, and her
countenance was lighted up with a look of rapture, while a loud cry burst
from her lips. Through the opening in the smoke, the prisoners became
visible to her as they lay motionless in the interior of the cave, the
light from the flames glowing on their red garments, and giving them the
appearance of two statues of fire. In the handsome countenance of one of
the figures thus suddenly revealed to her, Strasolda recognized the young
Moslem, whose prisoner she had been, and whose noble person and bearing,
courteous manners, and gentle treatment, had more than once since the day
of her captivity, occupied the thoughts and fancy of the Uzcoque maiden.
Unaware of Ibrahim's capture, Strasolda did not for an instant suppose
that she beheld him in flesh and blood before her. To her excited and
superstitious imagination, the figures of the Turks appeared formed out of
fire itself, and she doubted not that the spirits of the cave had chosen
this means of presenting to her, as in a prophetic mirror, a shadowy
fore-knowledge of future and more favourable events.

While she yet gazed eagerly on what she deemed a supernatural appearance,
the rent in the veil of smoke suddenly closed, the flame sank down, and
again all was gloom and darkness in the cavern. The thick stifling vapour
of the damp wood, augmenting as the flame diminished, was now so
overpowering that the Turks were in imminent danger of suffocation. In
their extremity, making a violent effort, their pent up voices found vent
in a cry of such startling wildness, that the Uzcoques, struck with terror,
sprang back from the mouth of the cave, hurrying the maiden with them. The
cry was not repeated, for the Turks had lost all consciousness from the
stifling effects of the smoke.

"Banish your fears, Uzcoques!" exclaimed Strasolda, staying the fugitives.
"The voice that to you is a sound of dismay, gives me hope and confidence.
I see the golden crescent rising in irresistible might, and shedding its
rays over all the lands of the earth. Happy they on whom it casts its mild
and favouring beams, and truer far the safeguard it affords to those who
serve it, than that which is found beneath the shadow of the cross. Better
the sharp cimeter and plighted word of the Moslem, than the fair promises
of the lying Christian, who, in the hour of peril, abandons those by whose
courage he has profited. But enough!" cried she in an altered tone. "Our
first duty is to rescue my father from the hands of the Venetians. Go not
into Segna. There are traitors there who might reveal what we most wish
kept secret. The Venetians know not the person of Dansowich, and that may
save him if no time be lost in plotting his deliverance. Let none even of
our own people hear of his captivity. Now to the castle!"

She led the way, and in silence and sadness the pirates followed the
daughter of their captive chief.

The fire was quite out, the smoke had cleared away, the moon poured its
silvery light into the cavern, and the stillness was unbroken, save by the
ripple of the waves on the beach, when Ibrahim recovered from the state of
insensibility into which he had been thrown by the suffocating influence
of the smoke, and heard his companion snoring at his side. For some time
the young Turk lay, revolving in his mind the eventful scene he had
witnessed, and the strange and startling circumstances that had come to
his knowledge during the few preceding hours. The capture of Dansowich was
an event of much importance; nor was there less weight in the discovery
Ibrahim had made of the dependence of the Uzcoques upon a higher power,
which, in secret, aided and profited by their depredations. Although
Austria had been frequently accused of abetting the piracies of the
Uzcoques, the charge had never been clearly proved, and to many appeared
too improbable to obtain credence. Ibrahim had hitherto been among the
incredulous; but what he had this day seen and heard, removed every doubt,
and fully convinced him of the justice of those imputations.

Turning in disgust from the contemplation of the labyrinth of crime and
treachery to which he had seized the clue; the young Moslem sought and
found a far pleasanter subject of reflection in the remembrance of the
maiden, whose transcendent beauty and touching devotion to her captive
parent, shone out the more brightly from their contrast with the vice and
degradation by which she was surrounded. With much interest did he
endeavour to solve the problem, and explain what appeared almost
miraculous, how so fair a creature--such a masterpiece of Heaven's
handiwork--could have passed her childhood and youth amongst the refuse of
humanity assembled on the island, and yet have retained the spotless
purity which was apparent in every look and gesture. But, however
interesting these reflections were to the enamoured Ibrahim, his recent
fatigues had been too great for nature not to assert her claims, and the
wearied body finished by triumphing over the rebellious restlessness of
the excited spirit. The graceful form of Strasolda, and the wild figures
of the Uzcoques, swam more and more indistinctly before his closing eyes,
until he sank at last into a deep and refreshing slumber.



CHAPTER III.

THE JEWELS.


The tribe of the Uzcoques, or Scochi, derived their name from _scoco_, a
refugee or fugitive, a word bearing reference to their origin. Towards the
commencement of the sixteenth century, a band of hardy and warlike men
abandoned the the provinces of Southern Hungary, Bulgaria, and Servia, and
took refuge in Dalmatia from the tyranny and ill usage of the Turks, who
had overrun the first-named provinces. Accompanied by their wives and
families, and recruiting their numbers as they went along, they at last
reached the fortress of Clissa, situated in the mountains, a few miles
from the old Roman town of Spalatro. There, with the permission of its
owner, Pietro Crosichio, they established themselves, forming one of the
outposts of Christendom, and thence carried on a war of extermination
against the Turks, to whom they did a degree of injury that would appear
quite incommensurate with the smallness of their numbers. The name of
Uzcoque soon became known throughout the Adriatic as the synonyme of a
gallant warrior, till at length the Turks, driven nearly frantic by the
exploits of this handful of brave men, fitted out a strong expedition and
laid siege to Clissa, with the double object of getting rid of a
troublesome foe, and of advancing another step into Christian Europe.

The different powers who had benefited greatly, although indirectly, by
the enterprising valour of the Uzcoques, neglected to give them the
smallest assistance in their hour of peril. After an heroic defence,
Clissa fell into the hands of the Turks, and a scanty and disheartened
remnant of its brave defenders fled northward to seek some new place of
refuge. This they found in the fortress of Segna, then belonging to a
Count Frangipani, who allowed them to occupy it; and, at the same time,
Ferdinand the First of Austria bethought himself, although somewhat
tardily, that the Uzcoques had deserved better at his hands, and at those
of other Christian princes, than to be left to their own resources when
assailed by the overwhelming power of the Porte. As a sort of atonement,
he took them formally into his pay, to assist him in his wars against the
infidel. But from this day forward the Uzcoques gradually declined in
valour and in moral worth. From a race of heroes they degenerated into a
horde of mercenary adventurers, and finally, of cruel and cowardly pirates.
Their primitive customs and simple virtues were exchanged for the vices of
refugees and criminals from Venice and other neighbouring states, who came
in crowds to fill up the frequent vacancies occurring in their ranks.

At length the military value of the Uzcoques being much impaired, and
their services also less required, Austria became irregular in her
payments, and at last entirely discontinued them. The barren mountains
round Segna produced nothing, and the unfortunate Uzcoques were in danger
of dying of hunger. This they felt by no means inclined to do, and erelong
complaints began to be made of piracies and depredations committed by the
Segnarese on the vessels and territory of Venice. For some time no
application on the subject was made to Austria, and when made it was found
to be of little avail.

At the period to which this narrative refers, Austria had already formed
those designs upon her southern neighbour, which in more modern times she
has carried out with complete success. The fertile plains of Northern
Italy, the convenient ports on the Adriatic, the rich commerce with the
Levant, were tempting baits to what was then the most ambitious power in
Europe; and with an undeviating steadiness did she follow up the policy
which promised to place such desirable acquisitions within her grasp.
Venice, whose power and importance were already on the decline, was the
state against which her most strenuous efforts were directed; and nothing
that could injure the trade, or lower the dignity and importance of the
republic, was omitted by the Austrian Machiavels of the day. Insignificant
as such a means of annoyance may appear, the band of Uzcoques was one of
the prime engines employed to undermine the bulwarks of Venetian
independence. Through her commerce had Venice achieved her greatness, and
through her commerce was she to be assailed and overthrown. Whilst the
Venetians, for the sake of their trade, had formed alliances with the
Turks, the Austrians, professing great religious zeal, and hatred of the
infidels, as well as a dread of further encroachments upon European
territory, did all in their power to ruin the traffic and break the
connexion between the republic and the Porte. The Uzcoques, who, although
asserting a sort of independence, still dwelt on Austrian territory, and
were reckoned as Austrian subjects, were secretly encouraged in the
piracies which they committed indiscriminately against Turkish and
Venetian vessels. These acts of piracy usually took place in the night,
and could rarely be brought home to their perpetrators, although there
could be no moral doubt as to the identity of the latter; but, even when
proved, it was found impossible to obtain any substantial redress. At the
time now referred to, the evil was at its height. Nominally peace both
with Venice and the Porte, Austria, nevertheless, stimulated the Uzcoques
to aggressions upon the subjects of both. The Archduke Ferdinand, a
well-intentioned and virtuous prince, but young and inexperienced, was
completely led and deceived by the wily and unprincipled politicians who
governed in his name. He was kept entirely in the dark as to the real
character of the Segnarese, and thus prevented from giving credence to the
frequent complaints made against them by neighbouring states. His corrupt
ministers, moreover, not content with making the pirates instrumental in
this tortuous policy, were not ashamed to squeeze from them a portion of
their illicit gains; and a lion's share of the spoil found its way into
the coffers of the archducal counsellors, who welcomed the golden Pactolus,
utterly regardless of the foul channel through which it flowed. The
Uzcoques, on their part, who were no longer the race of brave and hardy
soldiers they had been some half century before, clung to the protection
of Austria, conscious that, in their degenerate state, and with their
diminished numbers, they must soon fall a prey to their numerous foes,
should that protection be withdrawn. Thus, although inwardly chafing at
being compelled to disgorge a large part of the hard-won booty for which
they frequently periled their lives, they did not dare to withhold the
tribute, nor to omit the rich presents which they were in the habit of
making to certain influential persons about the archducal court. In return,
the ports of Austria on the Adriatic, were open to them to build and
repair vessels, or obtain supplies of provisions; every species of
indirect assistance was afforded them, and more than once, when some of
their number had fallen into the hands of the Venetians, their release, as
subjects of Austria, had been demanded and obtained by the authorities at
Gradiska. On the other hand, the claims of Venice for satisfaction, when
some of her richly laden merchant-ships had been captured or pillaged,
were slightly attended to, the applicants put off from day to day, and
from year to year, with promises and excuses, until the weak and cowardly
republic, seeing that no satisfaction was to be obtained by peaceable
means, and being in no state to declare war against her powerful neighbour,
usually ended the matter by ceasing to advance claims, the prosecution of
which only tended to her further humiliation.

It was Easter Sunday in the town of Gradiska. The strict religious
ceremonies with which the Passion week was commemorated at the court of
the youthful but pious Archduke Ferdinand were at an end; the black
hangings disappeared from the church walls, and the bells rang out a merry
peal in joyful commemoration of the Saviour's resurrection. The nobles and
ladies of the court, wearied with the vigils and fasting which the
religious zeal of the time rendered imperative, betook themselves with
lightened hearts to their apartments, the elder portion to repose, the
younger ones to prepare for the brilliant festival and ball which the
following day was to witness.

In a richly furnished apartment of the castle, the young and handsome wife
of one of the archducal counsellors was pacing up and down, her full and
voluptuous form reflected on every side by the tall Venetian mirrors that
covered the walls of the apartment. The lady was apparently in no gentle
mood; her step was hurried and impatient, her face flushed, her lips
peevishly compressed, and her irritation seemed to increase each time that
she passed before a table on which were displayed a number of jewel-boxes
and caskets, all open, and nearly all empty. Since the Easter festival of
the preceding year, the caprices and necessities of this spendthrift
beauty had abstracted one by one the rich kernels from these now worthless
husks, and the recollection of the follies, or worse, in which their value
had been squandered, now came to aggravate the vexation which the want of
the jewels occasioned her. So absorbed was she in the consideration of her
annoyances and perplexities, that for some time she took no notice of the
presence of a young and graceful female in plain attire, who stood
apparently in deep thought in the embrasure of one of the windows. The
maiden had her back turned to the room; but the admirable contours of her
fine figure, and the rich luxuriance of the jet-black locks that flowed
over her shoulders, gave promise of a perfection that was not belied, when,
on an exclamation of impatience from her mistress, she suddenly turned
round, and revealed the beauteous features of Dansowich's daughter. She it
was who formed the usual medium of communication between the pirates and
their archducal allies; and during her frequent sojourns at Gradiska, she
assumed the character of attendant on the counsellor's lady.

"Holy Virgin!" exclaimed the court dame, stamping her foot violently on
the polished floor. "What can detain the knaves? Say, girl! where can they
be lingering?"

Strasolda made no reply to this impetuous enquiry. She was no longer the
excited and impetuous Uzcoque heroine, invoking the spirit of the storm
amidst the precipices and caverns of her native shores. A total change had
come over her. Her look was subdued, her cheek pale, her eyes red and
swollen with weeping. She cast an humble and sorrowful glance at the lady,
and a tear trembled on her long dark lashes.

"Why come they not?" repeated the angry dame in a voice half-choked with
passion. "By all the saints!" she continued, with a furious look at
Strasolda, "I believe thy father, Dansowich, to be the cause of this delay;
for well I know it is with small good-will he pays the tribute. But if the
thieving knaves thus play me false, if the Easter gift is wanting, and for
lack of jewels I am compelled to plead sickness, and pass to-morrow in my
apartment, instead of, as heretofore, eclipsing every rival by the
splendour of my jewels, rest assured, maiden, that thy robber friends
shall pay dearly for their neglect. A word from me, and thy father,
brethren, and kinsmen grace the gallows, and their foul eyrie is leveled
with dust."

Strasolda pressed her hands upon her heart, and burst into a flood of
tears. Then throwing herself at the lady's feet--

"That word you will never have the cruelty to utter," cried she. "Bethink
you, noble lady, of the perils to which they are exposed. The bravest
cannot command success, and you know not yet whether their last expedition
may not have been unprosperous."

"I!" replied her irritated mistress. "How should I be privy to their
proceedings? But _you_ ought to be able to give some tidings: Wherefore
did you not accompany your father this last voyage?"

"I told you, lady," answered Strasolda, "that I was busied with plans for
the deliverance of the Uzcoques now held captive in Venice. I have
brothers amongst those unfortunate prisoners, and it is the uncertainty of
their fate which thus afflicts me."

The maiden gazed tearfully and imploringly at the angry lady. It was not
without good reason that she concealed from her the fact of her father's
captivity. The stern and inflexible Dansowich had ever viewed with an eye
of disapproval the connexion between his people and the counsellors at
Gradiska; and the latter, aware of this, would not have been likely to
take much pains for the release of one who was unfavourable to their
interests. It was only, therefore, by representing the captive Uzcoques as
less nearly connected with her, that Strasolda could hope for aid to
rescue them from the hands of the Venetians.

"So much the more should you desire the arrival of the tribute!" exclaimed
the lady. "Did I not, at your request, make interest with our ambassador
at Venice, that he should insist upon the surrender of the Uzcoques as
Austrian subjects? Assuredly the feeble signoria will not venture to
refuse compliance. A casket of jewels is but a paltry guerdon for such
service, and yet even that is not forthcoming. But it is not too late to
alter what has been done. If I say the word, the prisoners linger in the
damp and fetid dungeons of the republic, until they welcome death as a
blessing."

"Alas, alas!" sobbed Strasolda; "have you the heart thus to add to my
sorrow? Is it not enough to know those I love in captivity, to behold my
people, once so noble and heroic, degraded to the very refuse of humanity
despised and detested of all men, having their dwelling on a barren rock,
and earning by crime and bloodshed a precarious existence and doubtful
freedom? Is it not enough"--

"Hush!" interrupted the lady in a quick sharp whisper, raising her finger,
and glancing towards the door of the apartment. There was a noise as of
stealthy footsteps in the corridor. Strasolda sprang from the kneeing
posture which she had maintained during her conversation with her mistress,
and resumed her station in the recess of a window, while the counsellor's
lady snatched up a rich shawl from a damask covered ottoman, and threw it
over the caskets spread out upon the table. Scarcely were these
arrangements completed, when the door was partially opened, and a wild
sunburnt and bearded countenance showed itself at the aperture.

"Heaven and the saints be praised!" exclaimed the lady. "They are come at
last. In with you, Jurissa Caiduch: there is no one but Strasolda here."

The person thus addressed, was a strongly built and active man, rather
under the middle size, muffled in a coarse brown cloak, which was drawn
over the lower part of his face, apparently with a view to concealment. A
broad-brimmed felt hat was slouched over his small black eyes, which
glittered through its shadow like those of a snake, never fixing
themselves on an object, but casting restless and suspicious glances, as
though apprehensive of danger or treachery. Gliding into the room, and
closing the door noiselessly behind him, he approached the table, and
placed upon it a tolerably large casket, which he produced from under his
cloak; then retreating a step or two, he removed his hat, and stood in an
attitude of silent respect, his eyes still gleaming, however, with their
habitual expression of mistrust and cunning.

Without uttering a word, the lady seized the casket, and impatiently
forced open its delicate silver lock. A cry of joyful surprise burst from
her lips on beholding the rich contents of the jewel-case. Diamond chains,
golden girdles and bracelets, combs and hair ornaments studded with orient
pearls, passed in rapid succession through the white and eager fingers of
the gratified dame, who seemed to lack words to express her pleasure and
astonishment at the sight of such costly gems. At last she turned to the
bearer.

"Of a truth, Jurissa" cried she, "you are unusually liberal this time, and
you must have great need of the good offices of myself and Father Cipriano,
to be willing to purchase our influence with the archduke at so high a
price."

"Our last expedition was a successful one, noble lady," replied the
Uzcoque. "The tender-hearted Strasolda," added he with a spiteful glance
at the maiden, who still kept her station by the window, "that guardian
angel, who so often steps between us and our prey, was absent, and we had
no need to stay our hands."

As he spoke, the door was again hastily opened as softly as before, but
somewhat wider, and the burly figure of a monk entered the room. This was
no other than the Father Cipriano Guido Lucchese, whom the lady had
alluded to, and who, by his pleadings at the papal court, in favour of the
Uzcoques, had earned himself the honourable cognomen of Ambassador de
Ladri, or the Thieves' Envoy. He had expiated his discreditable
intercession by a sojourn in the prisons of the Inquisition, which did not,
however, present his being in high favour with the Archduke Ferdinand, at
whose court he filled the triple office of theologian, confessor, and
privy counsellor.

The sleek and unctuous physiognomy of the monk wore an expression of
unusual care and anxiety. Without bestowing a salutation or a look upon
the lady whose apartment he thus unceremoniously entered, he addressed
himself at once to the Uzcoque Jurissa.

"Away with you!" cried he. "Out of the palace; and quietly, too, as your
own shadow. Thumbscrews are waiting for you if you linger."

Strasolda gazed in alarm at Father Cipriano. Jurissa thrust his right hand
under his cloak, and seemed to clutch some weapon. Even the counsellor's
dame for a moment turned her eyes from the jewels she was admiring to the
anxious countenance of the padre.

"Your last exploit will bring you into trouble," continued the latter to
Jurissa. "You have gone beyond all bounds; and a special ambassador has
arrived here from Venice."

"Well!" replied the Uzcoque surlily, "was not the sack of doubloons
sufficient fee to keep you at your post?"

"I have but just left it," answered the monk, "and you may thank me if the
storm is averted for the moment, although it must burst erelong. Before
the ambassador could obtain his audience, I hurried to the archduke, and
chanted the old ditty; told him you were the Maccabees of the century--the
bulwarks of Christendom: that without you the Turks would long since have
been in Gradiska--that the Venetians, through fear and lust of gain, were
hand and glove with the followers of Mahomet--and that it was their own
fault if you had to strike through them to get at the infidel: that they
cared little about religion, so long as the convenience of their traffic
was not interfered with--and that it would be a sin and a shame to deprive
himself of such valiant defenders for the sake of obliging the republic.
This, and much more, did I say to his highness, Signor Jurissa," concluded
the fat priest, wiping away the perspiration which his eagerness and
volubility had caused to start out on his brow; "and, in good truth, I
think your paltry bag of doubloons but poor reward for the pains I took,
and the zeal I have shown in your defence."

"And wherein consists the danger, then," interrupted Jurissa, "since your
eloquence has sped so well on our behalf?"

"You do not hear me out, my son," replied the priest. "The greybeards at
Venice have chosen an envoy who is right well informed of your small
numbers, bad equipment, and cowardice in broad daylight. Nay, man, never
grind your teeth. I do but repeat the ambassador's words; for I had
stationed myself in an adjoining room, and heard all that passed between
him and the archduke. He said, moreover, that, far from being of use as a
bulwark against Turkish encroachments, it was you who had afforded to the
infidels a pretext to wrest more than one rich province from Christian
potentates. All this seemed to make some impression upon the archduke, and
to plant suspicions in his mind which bode no good to you and your race.
For the present, the capture of those two Turks, one of whom is a person
of rank, is testimony in your favour with his highness, to whom the
crescent is an abomination. Could he follow his own inclinations, he would,
I fully believe, start a new crusade against the followers of Mahoun. But
come, Jurissa, this is no time for gossip. You must not be seen in
Gradiska. Away with you!"

"And the Venetian," cried Jurissa, "what is his name?"

"It is the Proveditore Marcello, who has lately returned from a long
absence in the East."

The Uzcoque started. The name seemed to have some potent and mysterious
effect upon him, and he stood for a few moments with his eyes fixed upon
the ground, apparently forgetful of the necessity for his immediate
departure. The priest took him by the arm, and drew him towards the door,
which he was about to open, when Jurissa shook off his grasp and hastily
approached the counsellor's wife, who had thrown herself into a large
gilded chair before one of the pier-glasses, and was busily engaged in
trying on the ornaments that had just been brought her.

"Have a care, noble lady!" cried the Uzcoque. "You will do well to let a
couple of weeks elapse before you appear in public with those pretty gauds.
At any rate, wear them not at to-morrow's ball, lest, perchance, they find
an owner. Beware, lady, of the Proveditore Marcello!"

With a look of peculiar meaning he left the room, accompanied by Father
Cipriano. But his warning fell faintly upon the lady's ear, who, though
she heard the words, was far too much engrossed in arranging and admiring
the costly gems so lately become her own, to give much heed to their
import. She remained before her mirror, loading her white neck and arms
with chains and jewels, and interweaving diamonds and pearls in her
tresses, regardless of the grief of Strasolda who sat in tears and sadness,
deploring her father's increasing peril, and the cloud that menaced the
future fortunes of her people.



CHAPTER IV.

THE BALL.


The ancient burg, or castle, of Gradiska had been originally on a larger
scale, but, at this period, consisted only of a centre, flanked at right
angles by two wings ending in square towers, large, grey, and massive, and
embattled, with overhanging galleries for sentinels to pace along, while
similar galleries, on a smaller scale, extended along the entire front and
wings of the castle. The central edifice contained, on the ground-floor,
numerous apartments and offices for menials; above which arose a spacious
saloon and other lofty apartments, lighted by windows high above the
flooring, and terminating in the round-headed arches so commonly seen in
the castellated mansions of northern Italy. In this palatial hall
preparation had been busy for the ball, to which the wife of the archducal
counsellor so impatiently looked forward, as an opportunity to eclipse all
rivals by the splendour of her jewels. The hour of reception by the
archduke had arrived. The exterior of the spacious edifice was illuminated
from end to end by nunerous torches, and the capacious staircase was
lighted by a double rank of torch-bearers, in splendid apparel. In the
interior of the vast apartment huge waxen tapers were fixed above the
_chevron_, or zig-zag moulding, which ran round the walls, and connected
the casement of each window. Large crystal lamps, pendant from the point
of each inverted pinnacle on the lofty roof, diffused a flood of brilliant
light, and imparted life and colour to the rich tapestries, portraying
stirring scenes from the Crusades, which covered the walls from floor to
window. Complete suits of armour, exhibiting every known device of harness,
and numerous weapons, fancifully arranged, decorated the spaces between
the windows. And now began to appear, in this scene of splendour, groups
of knights and nobles, arrayed in velvet and cloth of gold, and attending
upon fair dames, sparkling with jewels, and bearing nodding plumes upon
their braided hair. Conspicuous amidst these, and towering above all in
stature, appeared the haughty mistress of Strasolda, attired in a robe of
dark green velvet, which well relieved the fairness of her complexion, and
displaying upon her finely moulded neck and arms a collar and bracelets of
large and lustrous oriental pearls. Her firlgers were bedecked with costly
rings, and upon her head she wore an ornament of singular device, which
soon attracted universal attention. Above the rim of a golden comb, richly
chased and studded with brilliants, arose a peacock with expanded tail.
The body was of chased gold in imitation of feathers, the arching neck was
mosaic work of precious stones, the eyes were sparkling diamonds of the
purest water, and the feathers of the tail glittered with emeralds, rubies,
and sapphires of singular beauty and lustre. So great was the curiosity
excited by the dazzling splendour of these jewels, that the fair wearer
was followed round the room by a train of ladies, anxious to observe at
leisure a display of ornaments so extraordinary, and whispering to
sympathizing ears conjectures not over charitable to the counsellor's wife.
When, at length, she had seated herself upon one of the sofas which lined
the walls, a circle of admiring gazers was formed, whose numbers were
rapidly increased by the attendant cavaliers. While the lady was enjoying
her triumph, a bustle at the entrance of the hall turned every head in
that direction, when the cause appeared in the person of the young
archduke, who entered in full costume, followed by a group of courtiers,
and accompanied by a Venetian cavalier, of tall and commanding person,
with whom he appeared to be in earnest discourse. The stranger was a
large-boned, spare, and powerful man, of middle age, and attired in a
black vest and pantaloons of woven silk, with a short cloak, of the same
hue. The golden hilt of his rapier, and a gold chain and medallion round
his neck, were his only ornaments. His features were large, regular, and
grand, and the gaze of his full dark eyes serene, yet firm and potent; his
complexion pale, and contrasting strongly with a dark beard which circled
his visage like a frame. His high and massive forehead, and well closed
lips, had a character of thought and decision, while his mien and tread
were those of one long accustomed to authority. He seemed a man born after
his time, and worthy to have lived and acted in the high and palmy days of
Venice. After attending the archduke to the steps of the dais at the upper
end of the hall, he made his bow, and began to pace the floor in seeming
abstraction from the gay scene around him. Arrested in his progress by the
numerous groups which, after saluting the archduke, had again collected
around the counsellor's lady, he paused in returning conciousness; and,
looking for the cause of such unwonted attraction, was enabled, by his
lofty stature, to obtain a glimpse of the jewelled lady within the circle.
Her features were unknown to him; but when his careless gaze fell upon the
rare ornament which crowned her redundant tresses, his countenance became
suddenly darkened by some strong emotion. Again, he looked more earnestly,
and with increasing wonder and curiosity. Controlling, by a sudden effort,
all outward evidence of feeling, he watched his opportunity, and at length
penetrating within the crowd, stood for some moments before the object of
attraction, and gazed, as if admiringly, upon her various adornments in
succession; then, bowing gracefully, he addressed to her some words of
compliment upon the splendour and value of the dazzling bird upon her head.
"Fair lady," he continued, "I have a daughter whom I fondly love, and fain
would I bestow upon her youthful beauty such ornaments as yours. But say,
I pray you, where can the cunning hand be found which fashions such
glorious birds? Was it in Venice or Vienna that you bought this materpiece
of art?" Unsuspicious of evil, and bridling at gratified vanity at this
attention from a stranger of such distinguished mien, the spoil-bedecked
fair one replied to him as she had done to others.

"I bought this ornament, some weeks back, in Venice, at the store of a
Greek trader from the Levant."

"Ha!" exclaimed the stranger; "and where dwelt this Greek, that I may see
and ask him for another such?"

The concious lady, embarrassed by such close questioning, and somewhat
alarmed by the kindling glances of the questioner, replied in haste--"Nay,
signor, now I remember better, it was not a Greek I bought these gauds,
but of a trading Jew, who walks the Merceria with a box of jewellry."

"Just now, methinks, you said a Greek, fair lady; and now you say a Jew.
What next? Why not a Moslem, or perchance _an Uzcoque?_"

At this ominous conclusion, which the stranger muttered in tones of marked
significance, the alarmed culprit started to her feet; and her fierce
temper getting the better of her prudence, she boldly faced the cavalier,
exclaiming, in a louder key than beseemed a courtier's wife--

"And who are you, signor, that dare thus question the lady of an archducal
counsellor?"

"Lady!" he sternly answered, "here I am known to none save your husband's
master; but in Venice men call me the Proveditore Marcello."

And now flashed upon the indignant signora a fearful reminiscence of
Jurissa's unheeded and forgotten warning, to hide her jewels for a time,
and to beware of the Proveditore Marcello. In utter dismay, and nearly
fainting with alarm, she sank upon the sofa, and her eyes expanded into
the wide stare of terror as she gazed at the menacing visage of the
Venetian noble. Unwilling to expose the conscience-striken woman before so
numerous an assemblage, he seated himself beside her, and in tones
inaudible to others thus whispered in her ear--"Lady! but eight days back
the jewels that you wear were mine. That peacock was my own design, and
made for my daughter by a cunning artificer in Candia. Its like exists not
in the world; for the mould was made by my order, and broken as soon as
used. 'Twas mine until the base Uzcoques plundered my baggage. How thus
quickly it passed from them to you, is as well known to me as to yourself.
But mark me, lady! if all these jewels are not delivered at my apartments
in the west wing of the castle ere midnight, I will denounce your husband
and his colleagues as long-suspected and now-proved partakers with the
Pirates of Segna. And, should redress be denied me here, the ambassador of
Venice shall report this infamous collusion before a higher tribunal in
Vienna."

Struck dumb by this terrible denunciation, the fair culprit gasped for
breath, and her evident distress having been watched in growing wonder by
the assembled ladies and cavaliers, the latter began to mutter threats of
vengeance. One of them now stepped forward, and, grasping the hilt of his
rapier, accused the Venetian of having insulted the wife of a nobleman
high in the councils of the archduke, when the Proveditore, looking down
upon the courtier with that riveted and intensely piercing gaze which
staggers the beholder like a sudden blow, and may still be noted in many
of Titian's portraits, answered with brief and startling emphasis--

"Signor! you do me grievous wrong. 'Tis I, and not the lady, who am the
injured party."

Awed by his gathering brow, and the settled, stern, unsparing resolution
which flashed from every feature, and indicated a man confident in his own
resources, the courtiers did involuntary homage to his loftier spirit, and
gave way. The proud Venetian strode through the yielding circle and
quitted the hall, while the counsellor's wife, pleading illness and
fatigue in reply to the pointed and numerous questions of surrounding
friends and enemies, summoned her husband to attend her, and retired to
her apartments.

Meanwhile the young Moslem and his companion in misfortune, who had been
brought prisoners to Gradiska, were confined in one of the massive towers
which flanked the castle. They had arrived not long before the comencement
of the festival, and when going under guard along a corridor in the east
wing, Ibrahim passed the open door of an apartment in which Strasolda was
adjusting the rich jewels of the counsellor's lady before her appearance
in the ball-room. Startled by the approaching tramp of armed men, the
Uzcoque maiden raised her eyes, and beheld the noble and well-remembered
features of the young Turk, whose captive she had been, and whose image
had so strangely reappeared to her through the flitting cloud of smoke in
the cavern. "Mother of Heaven!" she exclaimed, covering her eyes with her
hands; "do I again behold that Moslem youth, ever appearing when least
expected?" Again she gazed; but the prisoners, hurried onward by their
guards, had proceeded to the end of the corridor, where a narrow winding
staircase, fashioned in the immense thickness of the tower wall, led to
their appointed prison, a large square apartment, the sides of which were
panneled to a considerable height, and imperfectly lighted by small
windows, or rather embrasures, perforating a wall many feet in thickness.
Here they were left to their reflections, and to what comfort they could
derive fron a lamp and a supply of provisions. Hassan, wearied with his
journey, hastily swallowed his supper, and, stretching himself upon a
paillasse, soon forgot his calamities in sound repose. Ibrahim, more
vigilant and less apprehensive of future evil, as the Turks and Austrians
were then at peace, paced awhile along the floor of his spacious prison,
musing on the peerless charms of the Uzcoque maiden. From time to time he
gazed upon the walls and windows as if calculating the chances of escape,
when gradually the peculiar and regular design of the panneling caught and
fixed his attention. It was divided by prominent mouldings into oblong
squares, from the centres of which projected large diamond-shaped bosses
of carved oak. This peculiarity at length roused into action some
reminiscences of the early life and adventures of his beloved patron, the
pacha of Bosnia, to the recital of which he had often, in his boyhood,
listened with eager delight. These recollections, at first shadowy and
indistinct, became gradually more vivid and accurate, until finally the
full conviction flashed upon him that his benefactor, when taken prisoner
in his youth by the Austrians, had been confined in this very tower and
room, and, by a singular discovery, had been enabled to liberate himself
and his fellow-prisoners. The pacha, then a subordinate in rank, in
endeavouring to reach the level of one of the embrasures, had mounted upon
the shoulders of a comrade, and was supporting himself by a firm grasp of
the large boss in the centre of the pannel, when suddenly he felt it
turning round in his hand. Surprised to find it not a fixture, he pulled
it towards him, and found that it slowly yielded to the impulse. Drawing
it out of the socket, he saw it followed by an iron chain, which for a
time resisted all his efforts, but at length gave way, and he heard a
grating sound like the drawing of a rusty bolt. Suddenly the entire pannel
shook, and then the lower end started back sufficiently to betray a recess
in the wall. Hastily descending on his comrade's shoulders, and pushing
back the pannel, he discovered that it was supported by hinges, and was
doubtless intended to conceal a secret issue from the castle, which he
soon ascertained, and effected his escape. These facts were all that the
memory of Ibrahim could supply; but they were enough to guide him in his
search, and he immediately proceeded to sound the pannels in succession
with his fist. Commencing with the southern or outer wall, which he
supposed more massive and more likely to contain a secret passage, he
sounded each pannel, and perceiving in the corner one more reverberation
than in the others, he roused Hassan from his slumbers. "Hassan! Hassan!"
he exclaimed, "Arouse thee, man! and listen to good tidings." The awakened
sleeper gazed with half-opened eyes upon his excited companion, and would
have dropped to sleep again had not a few words of explanation and the
hope of escape fully roused him. Having with some difficulty perched his
rotund person upon the ample shoulders of Ibrahim, he followed his
directions and grasped the wooden boss, which, to the inexpressible
delight of both, yielded, as it had done forty years before to the captive
Turk, and displayed the iron chain. Bidding Hassan replace the boss,
Ibrahim determined to postpone his attempt until the festival had
collected all the guards and menials into the central edifice and its
approaches. An hour before midnight, when the young Moslem expected the
revelry would be at its height, Hassan again mounted upon his shoulders,
and after many strenuous efforts, at length succeeded in drawing up the
bolt. The pannel receded some inches, and Ibrahim raising it still further,
seized the lamp and entered a small oblong recess in the wall, which was
not less than ten or twelve feet in thickness. Perceiving no outlet, he
examined the wooden flooring, and soon discovered a trap, which, when
raised by the ring attached, exposed to view a steep and narrow descending
staircase, leading apparently to some sally-port beyond the castle ditch.
After carefully trimming his lamp, he was about to lead the way into this
dark abyss, when a sound, sharp and sudden, as of something falling in the
adjacent prison, caught his ear. Retracing his steps, he re-entered the
apartment, where, after a brief search, he found beneath one of the
embrasures a paper folded round a large pebble. Hastily opening it, the
following lines, written in the _lingua Franca_ so common in the Levant,
were visible.

"Moslem! If thy soul belie not thy noble form and features, thou wilt not
withhold thine aid from a bereaved and sorrowing daughter. Before
to-morrow's sunset thou wilt be free, for Austria wars not with the Turk.
Then straight repair to Venice, and there await the Battle of the Bridge.
Take thy stand beneath the portal of St Barbara, and follow the man who
whispers in thine ear,

    "STRASOLDA."

"Mashallah!" shouted the enraptured youth, "these lines are from the
Uzcoque maiden; and by the gates of Paradise I'll do her bidding, though
it perils life."

For a time he was tempted to follow her guidance implicitly, and await the
promised release from the authorities of Gradiska; recollecting, however,
the proverbial slowness of Austrian counsellors, and too restless and
ardent to endure suspense, he resumed his purpose of exploring the secret
passage. After he had secured the pannel and replaced the boss, he bade
Hassan follow him and began to descend. The staircase ended in a small
passage round an angle, beyond which he discovered a similar descent,
followed by another angle and staircase, proving that this secret issue
from the castle penetrated through each of the four massive walls which
formed the tower. At length their further progress was stopped by a door,
originally strong and plated with iron, but now so much decayed, that
although fastened by bolts without, the joint strength of the two captives
forced it from its hinges. They now entered a vaulted passage of hewn
stone, low and narrow, and with no visible termination. As they advanced,
the long pent-up and dank unwholesome vapours made it difficult to breathe,
and compelled Ibrahim to pause repeatedly and trim his lamp, which burned
so dimly in this oppressive atmosphere as to be nearly extinguished. After
a while the path began to slope upwards, and erelong they distinguished
moonlight faintly streaming through a tangled mass of ivy which concealed
the remains of an iron grating, broken probably in his patron's successful
attempt to escape by this secret passage from the prison above. Gazing
through the aperture, they perceived not many feet below what had once
been the castle ditch, now dry, and forming a portion of the archduke's
gardens. With a joyous heart and an elastic bound, Ibrahim reached the
soft turf beneath. The more timid and helpless Hassan lowered himself by
clinging to a remaining iron bar, and with the aid of his companion was
soon on his feet, enjoying, with many thanks to Allah, the fresh air of
heaven and the consciousness of escape from captivity. The gates of the
palace gardens being unguarded during the festival, the liberated
prisoners reached the coast without an obstacle, compelled a fisherman to
take them in his bark across the Adriatic, and land them on the Lido,
which forms the outward limit of the port of Venice. Then making free with
an unwatched gondola, they sped across the bay, and were soon in safety,
beneath the roof of a Turkish trader and correspondent of Hassan.

Before their escape was discovered on the following morning, the indignant
Proveditore had departed for Venice, and Strasolda had disappeared.

       *       *       *       *       *



COLONEL DAVIDSON'S TRAVELS IN INDIA.[5]


    [5] _Diary of Travels and Adventures in Upper India_, from Bareilly,
    in Rohilcund, to Hurdwar and Nahun, in the Himalaya Mountains;
    with a Tour in Bundelcund, a Sporting Excursion in the Kingdom of
    Oude, and a Voyage down the Ganges. By C.J.C. DAVIDSON, Esq.,
    late Lieut.-Col. of Engineers, Bengal.

The appearance of this work was heralded some three months since, as
divers of our readers may possibly remember, by a species of
puff-preliminary, for which even the annals of Great Marlborough Street
afforded no precedent--being nothing less than the appearance of Mr
Colburn, _in propriâ personâ_, at the bar of the police-office adjoining
his premises, to answer the complaint of the gallant and irate author for
what he was pleased to consider the unwarrantable detention of the MS.
from which his narrative had been printed. It was alleged, in extenuation,
that "the gallant colonel's MS. was so nearly undecipherable, that Mr
Colburn had been put to considerable expense in revising the press;"--and
a mysterious and curiosity-provoking hint was further thrown out, that "it
was the custom of the trade, that, until a work was published, the MS.
should not be parted with by the publisher, as it might turn out that some
part of it was libellous, and in such case the publisher must produce the
MS." In the end the gallant colonel (whom the newspaper reports described
as "very much excited,") took nothing by his motion in regard to the
recovery of the MS.; but though in this respect he may have been somewhat
scurvily treated, we cannot equally sympathize with his complaints of the
work not having been duly _advertised_; for surely all the little "neatly
turned paragraphs" that ever proceeded from Mr Colburn's laboratory, could
not have been so effectual as the method struck out by the impromptu
genius of the colonel himself, in intimating to the public that something
quite out of the common way might be expected from the forthcoming
production thus brought before its notice.

And verily those who have been prepared for a queer volume, will not be
disappointed in the diary of our choleric and corpulent colonel. If ever
the assurance, which seems to be regarded as indispensable in the preface
to works of this class, that the author "wrote the following pages purely
for his own amusement," bore the stamp of unequivocal truth, it is in the
present instance; and, notwithstanding the asseverations of Mr Colburn and
his literary employés, it is difficult to conceive that any revision
whatever can have been bestowed on the rough notes of the writer, since
they were first hastily committed to paper amidst the scenes which they
describe. The style is as rambling and unconnected as the incidents to
which it refers; but wherever the author's devious footsteps lead us, from
the jungles of Bundelcund to the holy ghâts of Hurdwar, the principal
figure is always that of the colonel himself, who, in the portly
magnificence of twenty stone minus two pounds, fills up the whole
foreground with himself and his accessories of servants, elephant, stud,
Nagoree cows, and other component parts of the _suwarree_ or suite of a
_Qui-hye_, who can afford to make himself comfortable after the fashion of
the country. The quantity (sometimes not trifling) and quality of his
meals, the consequent state of his digestion, and his endless rows on the
score of accommodations and forage with thannadars, darogahs, kutwals, and
all the other designations for Hindoo and Hindoostani jacks-in-office,
(for to Feringhi society he appears to have been not very partial,) may
doubtless have been points of peculiar interest to the colonel himself,
but are not likely to engage the attention of the world in general, and
had better have been omitted in the revision of the diary, instead of
being chronicled, as they are on all occasions, with wearisome minuteness
of detail. But with all these drawbacks, a man who, as he says of himself,
"has dwelt in India twenty-five years, and traversed it from the snowy
range to Bombay on the west, must have seen something of the country, and
may be supposed to know something of the natives"--among whom, by the way,
he seems to have mingled more familiarly than most Feringhis; and in spite
of all the egotism and rigmarole with which his pages abound, the rambles
of this "stout gentleman" through Upper India, and some other parts of the
country not much visited by Europeans, present us with a good deal of
plain sense and sterling matter, viewed, it is true, with the eccentric
eye of a humorist, and frequently couched in very odd phraseology; but not
the less true on that account. His opinions on all men and all things are
expressed with the same honesty and candour with which he narrates the
various scrapes in which he was involved, while pushing right a-head like
an elephant through a jungle;--and though laughing at him quite as often
as with him, we have found the colonel, on the whole, far from an
unpleasant travelling companion.

Bareilly, on the fronters of Oude and Rohilcund, was the colonel's
starting-point;--and thence on St Patrick's day[6] he set forward for
Hurdwar, at the head of a retinue, the members of which, both quadruped
and biped, he enumerates seriatim, giving the _pas_ to the former--a
precedence perhaps well merited by steeds up to such a welter weight under
the climate of India, over such a set of unredeemed and thriftless knaves
as he describes his native attendants. Accordingly, he gives the names and
pedigrees of the whole stud, from "the buggy mare Maiden-head and my
wicked little favourite Fish-Guts," up to "my favourite brood-mare Fair
Amelia, purchased at a prize sale on the frontier, and bred by the king of
Bokhara, with his royal stamp on her near flank--stands nearly fifteen and
a half hands high, with magnificent action and great show of blood--had,
when taken, four gold rings in her nostrils, now removed and replaced by
silver, which will be stolen by her groom one by one." His first day's
march was to Futtehgunge, ("the mart of victory," being the scene of the
memorable battle in 1774, in which the English, as the bought allies of
the Nawab Shoojah-ed-dowlah, defeated and slew the gallant Rohilla chief,
Hafez-Rehmut;) and here he oracularly announced a discovery in gastronomy,
of which it would be unpardonable not to give our readers the benefit. "I
used my farourite condiment, tomata sauce, with my beef; and _to all who
are ignorant_ of this delicious vegetable I may venture to recommend its
sauce, as at once both wholesome and savoury, if eaten with anything but
cranberry tart or apple pie!" It is melancholy to reflect how often the
best efforts of genius are anticipated and rendered of no avail. The
colonel, when he penned this sentence with a heart overflowing with
Epicurean philanthropy, was evidently unconscious that "chops and tomata
sauce" were already familiar to the British public from the immortal
researches of Mr Pickwick!

    [6] The year is not specified; but as the Ramazan is subsequently
    said to have ended March 25, it must have been in the year of the
    Hejra 1245, ansering to A.D. 1830.

Rampore, in the territory of which the colonel now found himself, is still
a semi-independent state, the Nawab of which has a revenue of sixteen lacs
of rupees, (£160,000,) while the city, being without the pale of English
law, is "a city of refuge, a very Goshen of robbers, ... the streets are
crowded with a mob of very handsome, idle, lounging fellows, having
generally the fullest and finest jet-black beards and black mustaches in
the world. Many of these were handsomely dressed, and many (which struck
me as a very curious fact) appeared clean!" These were the Pathans and
Rohillas, partly descended from the original Moslem conquerors of India,
and partly from those who have more recently migrated from Affghanistan
and the adjoining countries. The most athletic and warlike race among the
Indian Mahommedans, and too proud of their blood to exercise any
profession but that of arms, they are found in every town throughout Upper
India, swaggering about with sword, shield, and matchlock, in the retinues
of the native princes, and ready to join any enterprise, or flock to the
standard of any invader, through whose means any prospect is afforded of
shaking off the Feringhi yoke, and resuming their ancient predominance in
the country which their forefathers won by their swords from the idolaters.
"They hate us with the most intense bitterness, and can any one be
surprised at it? We have taken their broad lands foot by foot." Few if any
of these turbulent spirits are found in our European regular native army;
their dislike to the cumbrous accoutrements and awkward European saddles
operating equally, perhaps, with the severity of the drill and discipline
to deter them; but they form the strength of the various corps of
irregular horse--a force which, of late years, has most judiciously been
greatly increased in numbers, and the uniform dashing bravery of which in
the field, strongly contrasts with the misconduct of one at least of the
regular native cavalry regiments in the late Affghan war. "I have seen,"
(says the colonel,) "a lineal descendant of Pathan Nawab's serving in the
ranks of Hearsay's horse, as a common trooper on twenty rupees a-month,
out of which he had merely to buy and feed his horse, procure clothes,
arms, and harness, and sustain his hereditary dignity! By his commander
and his fellow-soldiers he was always addressed by his title of Nawab
Sahib!"

The small-pox was committing dreadful ravages in Rampore and its
neighbourhood; and though vaccination was performed gratis at Bareilly,
the fatalist prejudices of the natives, even of those of rank and
education, prevented them from availing themselves of the boon. All the
instances of the colonel, in behalf of a charming little girl, four years
old, whose mother and sister had already taken the infection, could get
from her father nothing more than a promise "to think of it! If it's her
fate----" said he. "'You fool!' said I, in my civil way," (and the
colonel's _brusquerie_ was here, at least, not misplaced,) "'if a man
throws himself into the fire or a well, or in the path of a tiger, is he
without blame?'" Such apathy seems almost unaccountable to English minds;
but it may find a parallel in Lady Chatterton's story of the Irish parents,
[7] who, after refusing to spend fourpence in nourishment for a dying
child, came in deep grief after its death to their employer, to solicit an
advance of thirty shillings to _wake the corpse_! Perhaps some ingenious
systematists might hence deduce a fresh argument in favour of the alleged
oriental origin of the Irish.

    [7] Rambles in the South of Ireland; ii. 143.

The colonel's next stage was to Moradabad, another Pathan city, but under
the _raj_ of the Company, where, in a visit to a native original, named
Meer Mahommed, he was greatly delighted by his new friend's introduction
of the English word _swap_ into a sentence of Hindoostani. And on the 25th
he reached Dhampore, where the welcome proclamation, "that the new moon
had been seen," terminated the fast of the Ramazan, to the uncontrollable
joy of the Mussulmans, who would have been subjected to another day's
abstinence if it had not been perceived till the succeeding evening. The
colonel, however, slyly remarks, that "it was very odd that the _Hindoos_
could not see the new moon," and hints that their imperfection of vision
was shared by himself, but it was otherwise decided by the Faithful; and
he proceeded, amid the noisy rejoicings of the Moslem feast of _Bukra-Eed_,
(called by the Turks Bairam,) by Najeena, the Birmingham of Upper India,
to Nujeebabad. Here resided, on a pension of 60,000 rupees (£6000) a-year
from the English government, the Nawab Gholam-ed-deen, better known by the
nickname of Bumbo Khan, a brother of the once famous Rohilla chief
Gholam-Khadir. Though past eighty years of age, and weighing upwards of
twenty stone, he had not lost, any more than the equiponderant colonel,
his taste for the good things of this world; and our traveller, on
partaking of the Nawab's hospitality, records with infinite zest the
glories of a peculiar preparation of lamb, called _nargus_, or the
narcissus. But, alas! the reminiscences of the nargus were less grateful
than the fruition, and the remorse of the colonel's guilty stomach (as
poor Theodore Hooke, or some one else, used to call indigestion) continued
to afflict him all the way to Hurdwar; and may probably account, by the
consequent irritation of his temper, for various squabbles in which he was
involved on the route.

The great fair of Hurdwar was in full swing at the colonel's arrival, with
its vast concourse of Hindoo devotees from all parts of India, to whom it
is in itself a spot of peculiar sanctity, besides lying in the way to the
shrine of Gungotree, (the source of the Ganges,) in the Himmalaya--its
crowds of merchants and adventurers of all sorts, even from Uzbek Tartary
and the remote regions of Central Asia--Seiks by thousands from the Punjab,
with their families--Affghan and Persian horse-dealers--and numerous
grandees, both of the Hindoo and Moslem faith, who repair hither as to a
scene of gaiety and general resort. The colonel found quarters in the tent
of a friend employed in the purchase of horses for government, and seems
to have entered with all his heart into the humours of the scene; his
description of which, and of the varied characteristics of the motley
groups composing the half million of human beings present, is one of the
most graphic and picturesque sketches in his work. "Huge heaps of
assafoetida, in bags, from the mountains beyond Cabool--tons of raisins of
various sorts--almonds, pistachio nuts, sheep with four or five
horns--Balkh[8] cats, with long silken hair; of singular beauty--faqueers
begging, and abusing the uncharitable with the grossest and most filthy
language--long strings of elderly ladies, proceeding in a chant to the
priests of the Lingam, to bargain for bodily issue--Ghât priests
presenting their books for the presents and signatures of the European
visitors--groups of Hindoos surrounding a Bramin, who gives each of them a
certificate of his having performed the pilgrimage"--such are a few of the
component parts of the scene; but the colonel's attention seems to have
been principally fixed upon the horses, and the tricks of the _dulals_ or
brokers, to whom the purchase is generally confided, it being almost
hopeless for an European to make a personal bargain with a native dealer.
But among the greatest curiosities in this way were some _tortoiseshell_
ponies--for we can call them nothing else--a peculiar race from Uzbek
Tartary, which we never remember to have heard of before. "They were under
thirteen hands high, and the most curious compound of colours and marks
that can be imagined. Suppose the animal pure, snowy white; cover the
white with large, irregular, light bay spots through which the white is
visible; in the middle of these light bay let there be dark bay marbled
spots; at every six or eight inches plant rhomboidal patches of a very
dark iron-grey; then sprinkle the whole with dark flea-bites! There's a
_phooldar_, ( flower-market,) as they call them;" and we agree with the
colonel that such an animal would be a fortune at Bartlemy fair.

    [8] In the original "bulkh," which we have ventured to amend as
    above. The Oriental words and phrases are, in several instances,
    very incorrectly printed; but whether the fault rests with the
    colonel's "undecipherable" MS., or the correctors of the press, it
    is not for us to decide.

Among the distinguished visitors to Hurdwar at this season of festivity
was the noted Begum Sombre, or Sumroo, whose face the colonel compares to
that of an old Scotch highlander, and her person to a sackful of shawls,
and who declared "that the Duke of Wellington _must_ be at heart a
Catholic, _because_ he emancipated the Catholics!" He also renewed his
gastronomic friendship with his friend Bumbo Khan, with whom the
recollections of past indigestion did not prevent him from feasting on
_mahaseer_, a delicious fish found in this part of the Ganges; and on this
occasion his Apician ecstasies are not alloyed by subsequent
regrets--"even now the recollection soothes me"--and he recommends such of
his readers as are yet ignorant of this luxury to start forthwith for
Hurdwar and repair the omission. The fair ended April 13; and the colonel
having previously succeeded in disposing of his buggy to a potentate whom
he calls "the Kheerea Thunnasir Rajah," (we believe, the ruler of one of
the Seik protected states,) and buying a stout Turcomani pony for the
hills, started the same day on the road to Suharunpoor. He favours his
readers, _en passant_, with some exceedingly original speculations
touching the Mosaic deluge, in reference to the hills about Hurdwar, which
do not speak very highly for his attainments in geology, though in some
other branches of natural history, and particularly in botany, he appears
to be no mean proficient. The journey was disturbed by attempts to steal
the colonel's new purchase, (which was not, like the rest of the stud,
distinguished from the horses of the country by having its tail cut,) and
by a quarrel at Secunderpore with a thannadar, or native police magistrate,
whose European superior's neglect of the colonel's complaint he charitably
attributes to "some (I hope slight) derangement of the stomach." At
Suharunpore he visited the well-known botanist Dr Royle, the curator of
the Company's botanic garden there, then engaged in those labours on the
Flora of the Himmalayas which have been since given to the world; and at
Boorea, leaving the British territory, he entered that of the protected
Seik states, whose petty chieftains are secured in their semi-independence
by the treaty with Runjeet in 1809, which confined the ruler of Lahore to
the right bank of the Sutlej. But their reception of the colonel did not
appear to indicate any great degree of gratitude for these favours to the
British nation, as represented in his person; for not one of the five Seik
chiefs, "each of whom has his own snug little fort close to the city,"
would supply him with a lodging; and it was only by perseverance and
ingenuity that he secured a place to lay his head, after long wrangling
with the subordinate functionaries. Matters improved, however, as he
advanced further into the country; and, at the little mountain-city of
Nahun, he was most hospitably received and entertained by the young rajah,
Futteh Pur Grass Sing, "who had been educated almost entirely under the
kind and fatherly superintendence of Captain Murray," the commissioner of
the Seik states, and whose frank and gentlemanlike manners, "so unlike
those of the ghee-fed wretches of the plains," did honour to his guardian's
precepts. The town of Nahun, which is 3600 feet above the level of the
sea, is described as clean and well paved; and the rajah, whose revenue
had been increased under the management of Captain Murray from 37,000 to
53,000 rupees, was highly popular, and by the colonel's account deservedly
so, with his subjects. He earnestly pressed "the fat gentleman" (whose
caution in mounting an elephant, while two men on the other side of the
howdah balanced his weight, vehemently excited his risibility) to return
to the plains through Nahun, and have a month's shooting with him in the
valley; but whether the invitation was accepted or not remains untold,
as--"Alas for the literature of the age! when I was ordered to Bundelcund,
a vile thief entered my tents at night, and robbed me of my second volume;
and thus did I lose my carefully written account of the sub-Himmalayan
range, which cost me fully eight months' labour."

Thus abruptly terminates the first part of the colonel's travels, and at
the commencement of the second we find him crossing the Jumna to Calpee,
the frontier town of Bundelcund, a wild and unsettled province, prolific
in Thugs and bad characters of all sorts, and principally inhabited by a
peculiar race called Bundelas, who have never been perfectly reconciled to
the British supremacy, and who, at this present writing, are kept quiet
only by the presence of a force of 15,000 men. Calpee is said to be the
hottest place in India, the thermometer in June, according to the colonel,
standing even on a cloudy day at 145 degrees--a degree of heat almost
incredible; and it is also the principal mart for the cotton, which the
rich black soil of Bundelcund produces of finer quality than any other
part of Hindostan. But, notwithstanding its commercial inportance, the
town was at this time left to the government of a native Darogah or chief
of police, the nearest European courts being at Hameerpore, thirty miles
distant, and the state of society seems to have been somewhat singular.
Among its most conspicuous members is "Gopal, the celebrated robber,
murderer, and smuggler, a tall athletic man about forty-two years of age,
with a most hideous muddy eye, having the glare of hell itself. It is said
that he has always fifteen servants in stated pay, and can in a few hours
command the services of three hundred armed and desperate men; and the
strength and vigour of the Calpee police may be estimated by the fact,
that he has been known to walk into the house of a rich merchant in the
centre of the town, when he was surrounded by his servants and family; he
has very coolly selected the gold bangles of his children, and silenced
the trembling remonstrances of the Mahajun by threats of vengeance; nor is
this a solitary instance. When he murders, he is equally above all
concealment; as in the recent case of a sepahee returning home with his
savings, who was waylaid and murdered by our hero in open day. He very
coolly gave himself up, acknowledging that he had killed the sepahee, who
had first assaulted him. It was proved on the trial, that the sepahee was
wholly unarmed, and he was condemned to be hung by the court of Hameerpore
on his own confession, but released, _from want of evidence_, by the
Sudder Court at Calcutta. Their objection was excellent, though curious;
that if his confession was taken, it must be taken altogether, and not
that part only which could lead to his conviction. He was released, and
now walks about in his Sunday clothes, a living evidence of British
tenderness."

Gopal was not the only amiable character with whom the colonel became
acquainted at Calpee, as he sought and obtained an interview with a famous
Thug approver, who had retired from the active exercise of his profession,
and was travelling the country in company with a party of police,
denouncing his former associates to justice. We cannot help suspecting,
both from the traits recorded of him, and from the vicinity of Calpee to
his former residence at Jalone, that this personage was no other than the
celebrated Ameer Ali, whose adventures formed the ground of Captain
Meadows Taylor's well-known "Confessions of a Thug;" and as a pendant to
the already published descriptions of him, we here quote the impression he
made upon the colonel. "I expected to see a great man, but at the first
glance I saw that I was in the presence of a master. The Thug was tall,
active, and slenderly formed; his head was nearly oval; his eye most
strongly resembled that of a cobra di capello; its dart was perfectly wild
and maniacal, restless, brilliant, metallic, and concentrated." The
colonel had a narrow escape from irretrievably affronting this eminent
professor of murder, by unguardedly enquiring whether he was in any way
cognizant of a trifling robbery by which the colonel himself had been a
sufferer. "No, sir!" he exclaimed with a look which might have frozen a
less innocent querist; "murder, not robbery, is my profession ... and none
but the merest novices would descend so low as to rob a tent or a
dwelling-house." The colonel, however, expresses a shrewd suspicion, from
circumstances which had come to his knowledge, that his distinguished
visitor's _esprit de corps_ led him to deviate from truth in this
particular--a belief in which Captain Taylor's pages fully bear him out.

The colonel's movements, after quitting Calpee and its attractive circles,
appear to have been somewhat desultory. We find him, successively, at
Murgaon or Murgong, Julalpore, Keitah, &c., without being told what
decided his route; but from some subsequent remarks, it appears probable
that he was engaged on engineering service by order of Government. Between
Julalpore and Keitah he fell in with a gang of _nutts_[9] or gipsies,
whom the beauty of their women (a point to which the colonel is always
alive) did not prevent him from suspecting of an intention to practise
_thuggee_ on his own portly person--a belief in which he was confirmed by
hearing them speak _in another tongue_ among themselves--no doubt the
_Ramasee_, or cant language of the Thugs, subsequently made known to the
world at large by the investigations of Major Sleeman. At Goraree he
purchased some small cups, carved from the variegated serpentine of the
rock on which the town is built; but, on proposing to employ the artist in
making some larger vases, "he told me that he was a very poor man, and his
efforts had never been directed to larger patterns; meaning to infer that
it was impossible he could either try or succeed!" Such is Hindoo nature!

    [9] The Indian gipsies are several times mentioned in the journal of
    Bishop Heber, who says they are called Kunjas in Bengal. Colonel
    Davidson also mentions a race in Bundelcund called Kunjurs who
    were in the habit, as he was informed by the Bramins, of
    "catching lizards, scorpions, snakes, and foxes," which, if it is
    meant that they use them for food, is analogous to the omnivorous
    propensities of the gipsies.

Churkaree, the capital of Ruttun Sing Buhadoor, one of the principal of
the numerous rajahs among whom Bundelcund is divided, is described as
"prettily situated on the side of the hill, over a lake covered with the
white lotus flower, and having a very fine appearance from a distance, as
most of the houses have their upper stories whitewashed, and are seen
peeping through the dark-green leafy trees of the country, but the town,
which contains perhaps 15,000 souls, of whom 1000 may be Mussulmen, is
very straggling, irregular, and dirty." The male population were all
fiercely mustached, and loaded with arms; but their repulsive exterior was
more than compensated by the charms of the other sex, all of whom wore
immense hollow ankle bangles of zinc, filled with bits of gravel, which
tinkled as they walked. "I have never seen so many well-formed and
handsome women together as I did at the wells outside the town, drawing
water _à la Rebecca_. Some of their faces were strikingly intelligent, and
their figures eminently graceful. The population is almost purely Hindoo;
and I think the Hindoo females are more delicate in their forms than the
Mussulmanees." The Rajah was, however, absent on a sporting excursion, and
the darogah refused to provide the colonel with lodgings, alleging his
master's orders that no Feringhis should be allowed in the town; and it
was not till after a long altercation, of which the colonel gives himself
greatly the best, that he succeeded in finding quarters in the house of a
_bunneea_ or grocer. But the next day's march (for Bundelcund is almost as
thickly set with sovereign princes as Saxony itself) carried him out of
the realm of this inhospitable potentate into the territories of the Rajah
of Jalone, the once noted patron and protector of Thuggee, by whose agent
he was most politely received at Mahoba, a once splendid but now ruined
city, celebrated for its artificial lakes, which in long-past times were
formed by a famous Rajpoot prince named Purmal, by damming up the narrow
gorges of the hills. "Never had I seen, in the plains of India, a prospect
more enchanting! Conceive a beautiful sheet of calm, clear, silvery water,
of several miles in circumference, occasionally agitated by the splashing
leaps of large fishes, or the gradual alighting of noble swan-like aquatic
birds: its margin broken as if by the most skilful artist; now running
into the centre, and ending in most romantic low rocky hills, covered with
trees and embellished with black, antique Jain temples, deserted probably
for hundreds of years, and at present the retreat of the elegant peafowl;
in other places embanked with huge blocks of cut granite, embrowned by the
shade of magnificent trees, under which small bright Hindoo temples,
carefully whitewashed, might be seen in the shade; or bounded by abrupt
rocky promontories, surmounted by many-pillared temples in ruins, hanging
in the sky. A fine rich sunset gave an exquisite richness and classic
magnificence to the scene. Many little boys with rod and line were
ensnaring the sweet little _singhee_, or the golden _rohoo_ or
carp--bringing back to my heart the days, when, stealing from school, I
was wont to sit on the rocks of the Dee, at Craglug, near Aberdeen,
watching the motion of a float that was not under water once in the
twenty-four hours."

The colonel's laudable habit of associating freely, whenever opportunity
occurred, with the natives, gave him considerable insight into the state
of the country, where the caprices of the native princes were not then
much interfered with, and which consequently, as he says, "was pretty much
in the situation of the Emerald Isle;" and verily if the tale told him by
the Hindoo _gosain_ or priest at Jourâhoô, of the murder of his
predecessor in the temple, and the impunity of the robbers, were correctly
related, the Bundelas have not much to learn in the arts of bloodshed and
depredation. "This village being a sort of corner to the territories of
several Rajahs, robberies, murders, and all other diversions, are of daily
occurrence; and when enquiries are made; each territory throws the blame
on its neighbour." The maxim of government most current in Bundelcund,
both with rulers and ruled, seems indeed to have been--

  "The good old rule, the simple plan,
  That those should take who have the power,
  And those should keep who can;"

for while this strange confusion of _meum_ and _tuum_ prevailed among the
peasantry, the country was ruined by the oppressive and irregular
exactions of the rajahs, both zemindars and cultivators flying from their
habitations to escape the levying of the rents, which were often demanded
more than once by different collectors. At Chundla, the colonel was lodged
in the house of an opulent zemindar, who had absconded for the reason just
given; "and one of the thanna servants told me, that, by those means,
Bundelcund was depopulated"--a statement corroborated by the numerous
ruined brick houses remaining in the towns among the miserable hovels of
the present day. The rajahs of Bundelcund are, almost without exception,
of Rajpoot lineage, and thus of a different race from their Bundela
subjects; but the condition of the country is much the same wherever it is
left under the sway of the Hindoo princes, who are exempt even from the
partial restraint which the Koran imposes on the despotism of Mahommedan
rulers. The only effectual cure for the evils reigning in Bundelcund will
be its formal incorporation with the dominions of the Company--a
consummation which, from the refractory spirit shown in the province after
our losses in Affghanistan, is probably not far distant.

The remainder of the colonel's notes on Bundelcund relate principally to
his visits to the ancient hill-fortresses of Ajeegur and Kalingur, both
formerly occupied in force by the British, but now--with the exception of
a havildar's (sergeant's) party of sepoys posted at the former, and a
single company at the latter--garrisoned solely by the _lungoors_, or
large black monkeys, whom the colonel found holding solemn assembly in the
Jain temples and the hall of audience, built by the famous Rajah Purmal at
Ajeegur. While exploring his way along the ruined and overgrown ramparts,
he had a narrow escape from the fangs of a large venomous serpent, ("the
_Katula Rekula Poda_, No. 7 of Russell,") on which he was on the point of
treading, and which, in commendable gratitude for its forbearance; he
allowed to glide off unharmed by his fowling-piece; "but he was the first
reptile that ever escaped without the chance of losing his life at my
hands." On the road to Kalingur he had an interview with a petitioner, who
offered him 400 rupees in cash, or a large diamond, for his interest in a
certain case then pending before the judge at Bandah; "but I explained to
my client that I was not in that line of business, and as I saw he had no
intention of insulting me, we parted friends." Kalingur, which was taken
by the British after a long siege in 1812, stands on a rock towering
"upwards of 850 feet above the plain below, and probably about 3000 feet
above the level of the sea;" but its strength as a fortress is as nothing
in comparison to its sanctity, which entitles every one, who resides there
only as long as it takes to milk a cow, to especial beatitude--the object
of veneration being a _lingam_ of black stone enshrined in a temple, the
guardianship of which is jointly vested in five resident families of
Bramins. "At this time," says the colonel, "the place is not worth keeping,
the country being so thoroughly impoverished and desolate;" and he
accordingly, after viewing the marvels of the locality, pursued his way to
Banda, and thence _laid a dâk_ (or travelled by palanquin with relays of
bearers) to Calpee, "there to sit from nine to four, writing filthy
accounts of bricks and mortar, square feet, cubic feet, and running feet,
rupees, annas, and pie; squabbling with wrinkled unromantic villains,
whose cool-tempered and overwhelming patience amply deserve their unlawful
gains--I mean as labourers in the vineyard of villany."

"A sporting excursion in Oude," in the spring of 1836, comes next in order
of time; and in regular order we accordingly take it, though it has
pleased either Mr Colburn or the colonel to place it after the voyage down
the Ganges. The colonel left Lucknow, March 2; and three days later the
whole party rendezvoused at Khyrabad, consisting of "Mrs, Miss, and
Brigadier Churchill, Colonel Arnold, Major Cureton, Lieut. Waugh, Dr Ross
of her Majesty's 16th Lancers, and the writer of these amiable records;"
to whom was soon after added, in the capacity of guide and hanger-on, "Sam
Lall, by birth a Chuttree or Rajpoot, by profession a zemindar, and by
inclination a sycophant and shikarree, (hunter.)" Indian field sports,
with their concomitants of hogs, hogdeer, jungles, elephants, tigers, and
nullahs, have been of late years rendered so familiar to stay-at-home
travellers, that we shall but concisely notice the colonel's exploits in
this forest campaign, which present no remarkable novelty, though detailed
_con amore_, and with the two-fold zest of a sportsman and an epicure.
With all deference, indeed, to the colonel, we have shrewd doubts whether
the latter feeling was not the predominant one; for the death of a tiger,
nine of which fell during the three weeks' foray before the rifles of
himself and his companions, is evidently chronicled with less of
heart-felt enthusiasm than characterises his encomiums on the hogdeer soup,
the delicate floricans and black partridges, (in the preparation of bread
sauce, for which, with his own hands, he earned immortal renown,) and the
other materials for good living poured forth from the cornucopia of an
Indian game-bag. His gastronomic fervour during this jaunt reaches at
times an ecstatic pitch, which, as old Weller says, "werges on the
poetical." "For him (the gastronomist) the dark rocks and arid plains of
the dry Dekkan produce their purple grapes, and cunning but goodly bustard;
for him burning Bundelcund its wonderful rock pigeon and ortolan
inimitable; the Jumna, most ancient of rivers, its large rich Kala banse,
and tasty crabs; for him yields the low and marshy Terace her elegant
florican; the mighty Gunga its melting mahaseer; the Goomtee its exquisite
mullet. And shall he not eat and delight in her fruits? ... Let the ass eat
its thistles, and the swallow its flies _au naturel_; you and I, reader,
know better!"

One day, while wading on their elephants through a deep marsh in pursuit
of a tiger, the chasseurs suddenly stumbled upon a pleasant family
party--"a labyrinth of huge boa-constrictors or pythons, sound asleep,
floating on a bed of crushed _nurkool_, (a gigantic species of reed,) the
least of them twenty feet long, and two feet in circumference. A more
beautiful natural mosaic cannot be imagined: they appeared, from being wet,
as if recently varnished. Perhaps they were from twenty to thirty in
number, and occupied a spot of about twenty feet square. No sooner did the
dreadful glistening reptiles hear the click of my rifle, and feel its ball,
than they shot forth with all their vigour, and diving, disappeared in an
instant under the matted roots of the tall nurkool, and, although I tried,
I could not get another glimpse." One of these giant serpents, seventeen
feet long, and eighteen inches in circumference, which the colonel calls a
small one, was shot a few days afterwards by Colonel Arnold. The marsh and
jungle swarmed with peacocks, jungle-fowl, and wild-fowl of all sorts,
affording glorious sport; and, besides the smaller kinds of deer, several
specimens occurred of a magnificent species of stag with twelve-tyned
horns, called _baru-singa_--apparently allied to the _sambur_ and _rusa_
of the Dekkan. The comparatively small number of tigers killed was,
however, a source of disappointment; since the utility of these battues,
in which the superior fire-arms and appliances of the English are brought
into action for the destruction of these ferocious animals, may be
estimated from the damage done by them in the wilder parts of India,
"which is beyond the belief even of Indo-European residents, and must,
consequently, appear an exaggeration to distant Englishmen. General (then
Captain) Briggs, when resident at Dhoolia in Candeish, in 1821, where his
potails, or head men, were obliged to keep a register of the oxen
(exclusive of sheep and goats) destroyed in their villages, reported that
no less than 21,000 had been killed in three years! As no register is kept
in Oude, it is impossible to register the number."

On the banks of the Mohun-nuddee the party was joined by Rajah Ruttun Sing,
a chief holding a considerable tract of country under the suzerainté of
Oude, who favoured them with his company while they remained in his
district--a compliment which he expected to be acknowledged, as he
distinctly intimated on taking leave, by the gift of a valuable
fowling-piece; but this modest request was parried by the rejoinder, that
none of their guns were good enough for his highness! During one of the
halts, an incident occurred which strongly illustrates the inhuman apathy
of the Hindoos towards any one not connected with them by the ties of
caste. A man was found sitting under a tree near the camp, uttering
strange cries, and the servants were desired to order him to withdraw;
"they returned, saying carelessly that he was a _nutt_, or gipsy, who had
been robbed." A robbery _from_ a gipsy was such a strange contradiction of
terms, that the colonel went personally to enquire into the matter, when
he was horror-struck by finding, that the man had been, not only plundered
of his earnings by a band of Bunjarras, but frightfully mutilated and
wounded, a trifle which the Hindoo servants had not thought worth
mentioning. The poor wretch's arm was amputated by Dr Ross; and, being
carried with the camp and carefully tended, he was at last dismissed, with
a fair prospect of recovery, and with a gift of sixty rupees subscribed
among the party; but not even the example of the _sahibs_ could teach the
Hindoos humanity, and only the peremptory commands of Dr Ross could
prevail upon his bearer to place a mattress under the sufferer! On their
return march, the party were further honoured by visits from several
rajahs and zemindars, all of whom were "loud in complaint against the
extortions of the aumils, who constantly attempted to gather more, and
sometimes twice and a half as much, as the stipulated rent, in consequence
of which the zemindars were compelled to rebel;" a view of the political
condition of Oude which naturally results from its anomalous position,
under a sovereign nominally independent, who is at once too weak to
control his own subjects, and fearful of diminishing the shadow of
authority left to him by calling in the only available aid. On the 29th of
March the party again reached Khyrabad, the appointed place of their
separation, as it had been of their meeting; and here the narrative, as
before, breaks off abruptly.

The concluding part, in order of time, of the colonel's lucubrations,
contains his narrative of a voyage on the Ganges, from Allahabad, by
Dhacca, to Calcutta; but the features and incidents of this navigation
have been so frequently described by travellers of all sorts and kinds,
from Bishop Heber and Captain Bellew to our own much-esteemed Kerim Khan,
that we shall devote but brief space to it. He quitted Allahabad, as he
informs us, December 5, 1839, so deeply regretted by the native population,
that they determined to perpetuate his memory by the erection of a new
ghât or landing-place, every brick of which was to be stamped with the
letter D--a distinction which he had, no doubt, deserved by the
_bonhommie_ towards both Hindoo and Moslem, which forms one of the most
favourable traits in the jovial colonel's character. The Tribeenee Ghât,
immediately below Allahabad, where the streams of the Jumna and the Ganges
unite, is one of the holiest spots in India; to which pilgrims resort from
all quarters, in the hope of securing paradise by dying at the junction of
the sacred waters. The spirit of religious exclusiveness prevails here as
well as in other places; and the colonel mentions his having been once an
eyewitness of some rough treatment received by a _chumar_, or
leather-dresser, (one of the lowest castes,) at the hands of some high
caste sepoys, who were highly indignant that so mean a carcass should
presume to defile the holy ground! Leaving the ghâts and devotees behind
him, however, and floating down the stream in his capacious three-roomed
budgerow, he passed Mirzapoor, Chunar, and even the holy city of Benares,
(which he perversely spells Bunarus,) without halting; and reached without
adventure or mishap the mouth of the Goomtee, where his attention was
attracted by a party of eighteen young elephants, the property of the king
of Oude, bathing in the river. "Of all animals, saving the Bundela goat,
there is none that suffers more from change of climate than the elephant:
of the numbers caught on the eastern frontier, probably not one in four
survives a journey to Delhi. Bred in the darkest and most gloomy forests,
they are in a great measure sheltered from heat by the eternal moisture of
the cool shady bower under which they rove; and are then expected to bear
all on a sudden the most intense heat, acting directly on their jet-black
skins, when brought into the plains of Upper India. A very clever native
told me he could make money by any thing but young elephants." Another
curious fact relative to the elephant, mentioned in a subsequent chapter
on the authority of Captain Broadfoot of the Madras commissariat, is, that
both wild and tame elephants are extremely subject to a pulmonary disease,
which proved on dissection to be tubercular--in fact, consumption! It was
found to yield, however, to copious bleedings, if taken in its early
stages.

The colonel's pages, at this point, are filled with digressions and
dissertations on subjects somewhat miscellaneous--Aberdeen pale ale--the
enormities of Warren Hastings' government--the late James Prinsep and the
moral precepts of the Rajah Piyâdâsee--and a most incomprehensible
rhapsody about "a red mustached member of the Bengal civil service," of
which we profess ourselves utterly incompetent to make either head or tail,
and strongly recommend the colonel to expunge it if the work reaches
another edition. The voyage presents no incidents but the usual ones of
pelicans, alligators, and porpoises: and on January 15, he arrived at
Dhacca, "the once famous city of muslins." But the muslin trade has now
almost wholly disappeared; and with it "the thousands of families of
muslin weavers, who, from the extreme delicacy of their manufacture, were
obliged to work in pits, sheltered from the heat of the sun and changes of
the weather; and even after that precaution, only while the dew lay on the
ground, as the increasing heat destroyed the extremely delicate thread."
The jungle is in consequence advancing close upon the city, which is thus
rendered almost uninhabitable from malaria--the only manufacturers which
continue to flourish being those of violins, bracelets, made from a
peculiar shell resembling the _Murex tulipa_, and--idols for Hindoo
worship!

The colonel remained at Dhacca till February 4, awaiting ulterior orders
from headquarters, and had, consequently, abundance of leisure for making
himself acquainted with the place and its people. These researches,
however, were not always unattended with danger; for on one occasion,
while viewing the city from an elevated building, a piece of plaster was
struck from the cornice near where he stood by a matchlock ball--a
delicate hint that the Mussulmans disliked being overlooked. The Nawab,
apparently the son of Bishop Heber's acquaintance, Shumseddowlah, still
resides in the palace of his ancestors, but is described as an extravagant,
uneducated youth, who has mortgaged away his income from 5000 to 200
rupees per mensem--that is, from L.6000 to L.240 per annum. The
inhabitants were a mixture of almost all the creeds and nations of
Asia--Chinese, Thibetans, Mugs from Arracan, Burmese, Malays, etc.; but
the great majority are Hindoos, whose sanguinary goddess Kalee is adored
in not less than fifty temples. The Greeks and Armenians also have each a
church, the services of which, as described by the colonel, are conducted
in much the same form as at Constantinople:--"But among the (Armenian)
matrons only was any appearance of devotion visible; one of them, most
gorgeously appareled in the Armenian fashion, with a magnificent tiara of
jewels on her brow, and wearing a superb shawl, threw herself on the
ground, with her head sunk between her arms, towards the altar, and
remained in that position nearly five minutes. The others, being dressed
_à l'Anglaise_, with stiff stays and fashionable bonnets, could not afford
to indulge in such a position." The Armenians were formerly numerous in
Dhacca, and are still an influential and wealthy body; the Greeks are now
"few and far between," but in the palmy days of Dhacca they were a
flourishing community.

Dhacca was a place abounding in strange characters from all parts of the
world; and among others whom the colonel encountered, was a singular
specimen of a cosmopolite, a native of Fez, who called himself a Moslem,
but whom our friend vehemently suspected of being a Jew. He had been
almost as great a traveller as his countryman the famous Sheikh Ebn Batuta,
whose wanderings are immortalized in the pages of Maga,[10] and came last
from Moulmein, with a cargo of black pepper and rubies. He had resided
seventeen years in India, and proposed to the colonel, whom he claimed as
a brother, "since from his own home he could reach England in ten days,"
that they should jointly freight a vessel with valuables, and go _home_
together! And, among other scattered facts, a casual encounter with some
Chinese in the employ of the Assam Tea Company, whom the colonel
considerably astonished by addressing them in their own language,
introduces "the very curious fact," that at Tipperah, a civil station not
more than fifty or sixty miles from Dhacca, the natives have from time
immemorial used the tea which grows there abundantly, and is prepared
after a fashion of their own. "And yet" (continues the colonel--and we
fear there is too much truth in his remarks) "the existence of the
tea-plant is but a recent discovery! Any other nation would have
established a tea-manufactory at Tipperah, immediately after the first
settlement, and the Yankees would have 'progressed' railroads and
steam-boats for its success. India is at this moment a mine of unexplored
wealth. No sooner had steam-boats appeared than coal has been discovered
in every direction!" The manufacture of native iron in Bengal, which had
been pressed upon Lord Hastings, as the colonel seems to imply, by himself,
and at first warmly adopted by him, was objected to in the council, and
ultimately abandoned, "on the grounds that it would militate against the
commercial interests of Great Britain--that is, against the profits of
those India stockholders, possessing votes, who followed the trade of
ironmongers!" There is many a true word spoken in jest; and this and other
side-cuts of the colonel at the shortsighted proceedings of the Bahadurs
at Calcutta, though sometimes queerly worded, contain now and then some
unpalatable facts. The administration of the present Governor-General has
shown at least some _promise_ of a better state of things--and if the
impulse now given to the development of the resources of India be steadily
followed up, this reproach will erelong be taken away. The receipt of his
final orders, however, which pointed out China as his destination, put an
end to the colonel's speculations; and re-embarking on the stream of the
Booree Gunga, he passed, with little incident worth noticing, through the
numerous branches of the river, and the picturesque jungles of the
Soonderbunds, and arrived safely, after an absence of twenty-one years, at
the city of palaces--and there we leave him.

    [10] May 1841.

The subject of the manufactures and products of India, is not, however,
the only point connected with the internal administration, respecting
which some inconvenient facts find their way to light in the colonel's
pages--and with one or two of these revelations, we shall conclude our
extracts. The majority of those Anglo-Indian employés, who have favoured
the world with "Reminiscences" and "Narratives," are singularly free from
the charge of what is familiarly termed "telling tales out of school."
According to their account, nowhere is justice so efficiently administered,
or its functionaries so accessible, as in our Indian empire; but here,
whether from the native frankness of the colonel's disposition, or from
his having nothing more to hope or fear from the old Begum in Leadenhall
Street, we find this important subject placed, on several occasions, in
rather a different light from that in which it is usually represented. It
is well known that Sir David Ochterlony, a short time before his death,
discovered by mere accident that he was enrolled as a pensioner to a large
amount on the civil list of almost every native prince in Upper India,
from the emperor of Delhi downwards--his principal moonshee, or native
secretary, having thrown out intelligible hints, as though from his master,
that such douceurs would not be without their use in securing his powerful
interest at Calcutta--the moonshee himself quietly pocketing the proceeds.
This was certainly an outrageous instance; but it is the direct interest
of every native subordinate to screen his own misdeeds and extortions, by
promoting to the utmost, in his European superior, that inaccessibility to
which he is naturally but too much inclined--and the extent to which this
system of exclusion is carried, may be inferred from the following
anecdote. The colonel had been requested by a native landholder of high
respectability, to introduce him to the house of a civilian; and on asking
why he could not go by himself, was told, "I dare not approach the very
compound of the house he lives in! If his head man should hear that I
ventured to present myself before the gentleman without his permission, he
would immediately harass me by some false complaint, or even by
instituting an enquiry into the very title-deeds of my estate, which might,
however falsely, terminate in my ruin. It is not long since I paid eleven
hundred rupees to ---- to suppress false claims, which, if they had
actually gone into court, would have cost me ten times the sum."

Of the practical effects of criminal punishments, the colonel does not
speak more highly. "In the real Hindoostanee view of the subject, a
convict in chains is nearly a native gentleman--a little roué,
perhaps--employed on especial duties in the Company's service, for which
he is well fed, and has little labour. A jail-bird can easily be
distinguished after the first six months, by his superior bodily condition.
On his head maybe seen either a kinkhâb (brocade) or embroidered cap, or
one of English flowered muslin, enriched with a border of gold or silver
lace. Gros de Naples is coming into fashion, but slowly.... Was he
low-spirited, he could, for a trifling present, send to the bazar, and
enjoy a nautah from the hour the judge went to sleep till daybreak next
morning--nay, under proper management, he might be gratified by the
society of his wife and family.... See him at work, the burkandauze
(policeman) is smoking _his_ chillum, while he and his friends are sound
asleep, _sub tegmine fagi_. All of a sudden there is an alarm--the judge
is coming! up they all start, and work like devils for ten or fifteen
seconds, and then again to repose. This is working in chains on the roads!
In fact, after a man is once used to the comforts of an Indian prison,
there's no keeping him out!"

All this, no doubt, is broad caricature--but "ridentem dicere verum quid
vetat?" a motto which the colonel could not do better than adopt for any
future edition of his eccentric lucubrations. And so Rookhsut! Colonel
Sahib! may your favourite tomata sauce never pall upon your palate; and
though perhaps you would hardly thank us for the usual oriental good wish,
that your shadow may continue to increase, may it at least never be
diminished by that worst of all fiends, indigestion!

       *       *       *       *       *



BELFRONT CASTLE.

A RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW.


One half of the world was surprised that Reginald Belfront married Jane
Holford--and the other half was equally surprised that Jane Holford
married Reginald Belfront; for, considering the experience that both
halves of the world must have had, it is amazing how subject they still
are to surprise. To us, who have not the pleasure to belong to either half,
there is very little surprising in the matter. Reginald had been for some
time on a visit at the house of a distant relation--old Sir Hugh de Mawley.
He had wandered through the great woods of the estate, and found them very
tiresome; had strolled in the immense park, and found it dull; and, in the
long evenings, had sat in the stately hall, and listened to the endless,
whispered anecdotes of his host, and found them both intolerable. No
wonder he started with joyful surprise when, one day in the drawing-room,
he heard the rustle of a silk gown; caught the glancing of some beautiful
real flowers on the top of a bright-green bonnet; and, more wonderful than
all, the smile of the prettiest lips, and the glances of the clearest eyes
he had ever seen in his life. The gown, the bonnet, the smiles, and eyes,
all belonged to Jane Holford; and Reginald, who had, up to this time, made
no great progress in the study of comparative physiology, now made such
rapid strides, that he could have told you every point in which the
possessor of the above-named attributes differed from the stiff and prim
Miss de Mawley, who had hitherto been the sole representative of the
female sex in Mawley Court. The neck and shoulders--the chin--nose--arms--
ankles--feet--not to mention the hair and eyebrows--of the new specimen,
were minutely studied; and, in spite of the usual antipathy he entertained
against all scientific pursuits, he felt a strong inclination to be the
owner of it himself, in order to pursue his investigations at full leisure.
He was no genius--hated books--disliked clever people--but prided himself
on his horsemanship, his play at quarterstaff, his personal strength, and,
above all, in his fine old castle in a somewhat inaccessible part of
Yorkshire, which had remained in the possession of his family ever since
the Conquest. Jane, on the other hand, had no castle to boast of; and
probably had no ancestor whatever at any period preceding the year 1750,
when her grandfather had bought an estate near Mawley Court--which had
gone on improving with the improvement of the times, till her father found
himself the possessor of a rent-roll of fifteen hundred a year, four sons,
and six grown-up daughters. It will easily be believed that no objections
to the match were raised on the part of a middle-aged gentleman, with so
many reasons for agreeing to the marriage settlement proposed by Reginald
Belfront; consisting, as it did, of a jointure to the widow, and the use
of Belfront Castle for life, without the remotest allusion to any portion
or other contingent advantage on the other side; and as Jane herself was,
if possible, still more satisfied on the subject than her father, all the
arrangements were rapidly made, and in less than three months after the
apparition of the silk gown and other etceteras in the drawing-room, the
indissoluble knot was tied, and Miss Cecilia, the second daughter, was
advanced to the dignity of Miss Holford, vice Jane--promoted.

The church was all decked out with roses and other pleasing emblems of the
unfading nature of connubial bliss; wreaths of sunflowers, with the same
comfortable moral, were hung up over the great gate of Mawley Court; while
Miss de Mawley, representing in her own person the evergreens omitted in
the garlands, received the happy couple on their return from the ceremony
at the head of all the female domestics, from the housekeeper down to the
kitchenmaid, and led the bride and bridegroom to the table in the great
hall, where old Sir Hugh was sitting in great state. They kneeled down
before his chair; and, laying his hand on their heads, he began blessing;
but not having practised that style of oratory so much as he ought, it
rapidly degenerated into a grace--and, as lunch in the mean time was
brought in, and the Holford family, and one or two of the neighbours who
had been present at the ceremony, had now arrived, the eloquence of Sir
Hugh was not altogether thrown away. There were several speeches and
toasts, and sundry attempts at jocularity; and Sir Hugh began the story of
the French countess and the waterfall at Fountainbleau; and Reginald
availed himself of the somnolency of the rest of the party to slip out
with his bride without being observed, just as the royal family began to
suspect the secret--and, long before the incensed husband sent the
challenge, the happy pair were careering onward as fast as the postboy
could drive, on the first stage of their wedding tour.

A month afterwards they were in a country inn in Wales. The window at
which they sat commanded a view of the beautiful vale of Cwmcwyllchly--a
small river glided down in winding mazes, hiding itself behind wooded
knolls, and brawling over rocks in the most playful and picturesque manner
imaginable. The sun had begun to set, and was taking a last look at the
prospect, with his vast chin rested on the top of Penchymcrwm, presenting
to the poetical mind an image of a redfaced farmer looking over a
five-barred gate--every thing, in short, that is generally met with in
Tourists' Guides, as constituting a splendid view, was assembled on this
favoured spot; and yet Jane heaved a deep sigh, and appeared to take no
notice of the landscape.

"You're tired, my love," said Reginald; "you have walked too far up these
Welsh mountains."

"I hope to get used to climbing," answered Jane; "there are plenty of
hills at Belfront--aren't there?"

"Yes, we have plenty of hills; but why don't you call it home, Jane?"

"Because I have never lived there," she replied; "and a place can scarcely
be called home that one has never seen."

"But you have never said you wished to see it."

"Oh, but I have wished it all the same--may we--may we go--home?"

She said the word at last, and Reginald was delighted.

"Home! to be sure--to-morrow, at daybreak; for, to tell you the truth, I
don't care sixpence for fine views--in fact, I don't think there is any
difference between any two landscapes--except that there may be hills in
one, and none in another, or woods, or a river--but they are all exactly
the same in reality. So, let us go home, my love, as fast as we can, or
I'm very much afraid Mr Peeper won't like it."

"Mr Peeper?" enquired Jane. "Who is Mr Peeper?"

"You will know him in good time," said Reginald; "and I hope he will like
you."

"I hope he will--I hope all your friends will like me--I will do every
thing in my power to please them."

"You're a very good girl, Jane; and Mr Peeper can't help but be pleased,
and I am glad of it; for it ought to be our first study to make ourselves
agreeable to _him_."

"Agreeable to Mr Peeper!" thought Jane. "How strange that I never was told
about him before this moment! Does he live in the castle, Reginald?" she
asked.

"Certainly. One of his family has lived there ever since one of mine did;
so there is a connexion between us of a few hundred years."

"Have you any other friends who live in the castle?" enquired the bride.

"I don't know whether Phil Lorimer is there just now or not; he has a room
whenever he comes; and a knife and fork at table."

"Who is he?"

"A capital fellow--full of wit--and makes funnier faces and better songs
than any man in Yorkshire. You will like Phil Lorimer."

"And I hope he will like me!"

"If he don't, I'll break every bone in his body."

"Oh! I beg you won't," said the bride with a smile, and looking up in
Reginald's face to assure herself he spoke in joke. It was as earnest a
face as if it had been of cast-iron; and she saw that Mr Lorimer's only
chance of preserving a whole skin was to like her with all his might.

"Is there any one else?"

"There's Mr Peeper's assistant, Mark Lutter--a clever man, and a great
scholar. I hate scholars, so he dines in the servants' hall, or far down
the table--below the salt."

"Are you serious?" enquired Jane.

"Do you not like scholars?"

"What's the use of them? I never could see what they were good for--and,
besides, Mr Peeper hates them too."

"Then why does he keep this man as his assistant?"

"Because if he didn't, the fellow would rebel."

"Well, you could turn him off."

"We never turn any body off at Belfront Castle. If they go of their own
accord, we punish them for it if we can--if they stay, they are welcome.
Mr Peeper must look to it, or Lutter will make a disturbance."

"What a curious place this castle must be," thought Jane, "and what odd
people they are that live in it!" She asked no more questions, but
determined to restrain her curiosity till she could satisfy it on the spot;
and, luckily, she had not long to wait. Next day they started on their
homeward way. As they drew nearer their destination, Jane's anxiety to
gain the first glimpse of her future home increased with every mile. She
had, of course, formed many fancy pictures of it in her own mind; and, as
love lent the brush and most obligingly compounded the colours, there can
be no doubt they made out a very captivating landscape of it between them.

"At the top of the next hill," said Reginald, "you will see the keep."

Jane stretched her head forward, and looked through the front window as if
she could pierce the hill that lay between her and home. On went the
horses; but the next hill seemed an incredible way off; it was now getting
late, and the shadows of evening, like a flock of tired black sheep, began
to lie down and rest thenselves on the vast dreary moor they were
travelling over. At last Jane felt that they were beginning an ascent; and
a sickly moon, that seemed to have undergone a severe operation, and lost
nearly all her limbs, lifted up her pale face in the sky. The wind, too,
began to whistle in long low gusts, and Reginald, who was not of a
poetical temperament, as we have already observed, was nearly asleep. They
reached the hill top at last, and a great expanse of rugged and broken
country lay before them.

"Where is it?--on which hand?" said Jane.

"Straight before you," replied the husband; "it is only three miles off;
the high-road turns off to the left, but we go through fields right on."

Jane looked with almost feverish anxiety. At a good distance in front,
rose a tall black structure, like the chimney of a shot manufactory--a
single, square, gigantic tower--throwing a darker mass against the
darkened sky, and sicklied o'er on one of the faces with the yellow-green
moonlight. There were no lights in it, nor any sign of habitation; and
Jane would have indulged in various enquiries and exclamations, if the
carriage had allowed her; but it had by this time left the main road, and
sank up to the axles in the ruts; it bounded against stones, and wallowed
in mire alternately; and all that she could do, was to hold on by one of
the arm rests, as if she had been in the cabin of a storm-toss'd ship.

"For mercy's sake, Reginald, will this last long?" she said, out of breath
with her exertions.

"We are about a mile from the drawbridge. I hope they have not drawn it
up."

"Could we not get into the castle if they have?"

"We might fall into the moat if we tried the postern."

"Oh, gracious!--is there a moat?"--and instinctively she put her hand to
her throat, for her mother had brought her up with a salutary dread of
colds, and she felt a sensation of choking at the very name.

At this moment, the agonized carriage, after several groans that would
have moved the heart of a highway commissioner, gave a rush downward, and
committed suicide in the most determined manner, by dashing its axle on
the ground--the wheels endeavouring in vain to fathom the profundity of
the ruts, and the horses totally unable to move the stranded equipage. The
sudden jerk knocked Reginald's hat over his eyes against the roof of the
carriage, and Jane screamed when she felt the top of her bonnet squeezed
as flat as a pancake by the same process, but neither of them, luckily,
was hurt.

"We must get out and walk," said the husband; "it isn't more than half a
mile, and we will send Phil Lorimer, or some of them, for the trunks."

He put his arm round Jane's waist, and helped her over the almost
impassable track.

"We must try to get the road mended," said Jane.

"It has never been mended in our time," was the reply; and it was said in
a tone which showed that the fact so announced was an unanswerable
argument against the proposition of the bride.

"A few stones well broken would do it all," she urged.

"We never break stones at Belfront," was the rejoinder; and in silence,
and with some difficulty, they groped their unsteady way. At last they
emerged from a thick overgrown copse, in which the accident had happened,
and, after sundry narrow escapes from sprained ankles and broken arms,
they reached the gate. It was an immense wooden barrier, supported at each
end by little round buildings--like a slice of toast laid lengthways
between two half pounds of butter. It was thickly studded with iron nails,
and the round piers were of massive stone, partly overgrown with ivy, and
as solid as if they had been formed of one mass.

"Does any body live in those lodges?" enquired Jane.

"There is a warder in the inner court," said Reginald. "These are merely
the supporters of the outer gate."

"And how are we to get in?"

"We must blow, I suppose." And so saying, Reginald lifted up a horn that
was hung by an iron chain from one of the piers, and executed a flourish
that made Jane put her fingers to her ears.

In a short time the creaking of an iron chain--whose recollection of oil
must have been of the most traditionary nature--gave intimation that its
intentions were decidedly hospitable; and with many squeaks and grunts the
enormous portal turned at last on its hinges, and exposed to view a narrow
winding road between two walls, which, in a short time, conducted the
visitors to a long wooden bridge over a piece of stagnant water--the said
bridge having only that moment been let down from the lofty position in
which its two halves were kept by an immense wooden erection, which bore
an awful resemblance to a scaffold. When they got over the bridge,
Reginald turned round, and, imprinting a kiss on the pale cheek of the
astonished bride, said--

"Welcome home, dear Jane. This is Belfront Castle!"

Jane looked round a spacious courtyard, and saw a square of low
dark-looking buildings, with the enormous tower she had seen from the top
of the hill rearing its thick head above all at one corner. They proceeded
across the roughly-paved quadrangle, and entered a low door; ascended
three steps, and opened another door. They then found themselves in a
large and lofty hall, with fitful flashes of red light flickering on the
walls, as the flame of the wood fire on the hearth rose or fell beneath
the efforts of a half distinguishable figure, extended at full length on
the floor, and puffing the enormous log with a pair of gigantic bellows.
In the palpable obscure, Jane could scarcely make out the persons of the
occupants of the apartment; but when the flame burnt up a little more
powerfully than usual, she observed the figure of a tall man dressed in
black, who shook hands with Reginald, and bowed very coldly and formally
to her, when he was introduced as Mr Peeper. He seemed about fifty or
sixty years of age, but very much enfeebled. He stooped and coughed, and
was very infirm in his motions; but when the red glare from the hearth
fell upon his eyes, they fixed themselves on Jane with such a piercing
expression, that she turned away her face almost in fear. His hair was
snow-white, and yet it was impossible to decide whether he was a man of
the years we have stated, with the premature appearance of age, or a
person of extraordinary longevity, retaining the vigorous eyes and active
spirit of youth. However it was, Mr Peeper was too harsh and haughty in
his approaches, and exacted too much deference from the youthful bride, to
be very captivating at first. He said no welcome to the new-comer, and was
stiff and unkind even to the owner of the castle. Candles were soon
brought in, and Jane took the opportunity of looking round. The individual
who had been busy blowing the fire now rose from his humble position, and
was presented to the lady as Phil Lorimer. He bowed and smiled, and was
proceeding with a compliment, in which, however, he advanced no further
than the summer sun bringing out the roses, when Reginald pushed him out
of the hall, with orders to get the luggage brought in from the carriage,
and to be back in time for supper. Phil Lorimer seemed a man of thirty,
strongly built, with a sweet voice and friendly smile; but what station he
filled in the household--whether a servant, a visitor, a poor relation, or
what he could be, Jane could not make out, either from his manner or the
way he was treated.

"Mr Lorimer is very good-natured--very obliging, to take care of the
luggage, I am sure," said Jane.

"Better that than talking nonsense about roses," replied Reginald. "Did
you expect us this evening, Mr Peeper?"

"I did, Mr Reginald, and have invited a few of the neighbours to meet you."

"Who are coming?"

"Sir Bryan De Barreilles, Hasket of Norland, Maulerer of Phascald, and old
Dr Howlet. They will be here soon, so you had better make haste."

"I had better not appear, love," said Jane; "no ladies are coming, and
among so many gentlemen my presence might be awkward."

"By no means," replied the husband. "It wouldn't be right, Mr Peeper, for
my wife to be absent from the supper-table?"

"Certainly not. It is to see _her_ the neighbours are coming."

Is this Mr Peeper to have the control of all my actions? thought Jane. Who
can he be?

She took another glance at the object of her thoughts, but caught his eye
fixed on her with the same penetrating brightness as before; and she cast
her looks on the ground; and, whether from anger or fear, she felt her
cheeks glowing with blushes.

"You will not be long gone, if you please," he said to Jane as she retired
to change her dress.

"You don't seem pleased to see us, Mr Peeper," said Reginald, when Jane
had gone to her room under the guidance of a very tall old woman, who
walked before her, holding out a tremendously long candle, as if it were a
sword, and she was at the head of a military procession.

"No, sir," replied Mr Peeper; "I am not pleased with the person you have
brought here. You have gone too far from home for a wife. None of the
Belfronts have ever married out of Yorkshire, and it may give rise to
troubles."

"I am very sorry my wife's relations would not allow me to send for you to
perform the ceremony."

"It is a bad omen," said the old man; "my predecessors have married your
predecessors without a break since the conquest. It bodes no good."

"I trust no harm will happen, and that you will soon forget the
disappointment."

"None of my family forget, but we will not _talk_ of it." So saying, he
turned away, and arranged a goodly array of bottles on the sideboard.
Reginald sat down on an oak chair beside the fire, and gazed attentively
into the log.

In the mean time, Jane had followed her gigantic conductor through half a
mile of passages, and reached a small room at one end of the quadrangle,
and through the window (of which half the panes were broken, as if on
purpose) she caught the melodious murmur of a rapid river, that chafed
against the foundation walls of the castle. On looking round, the prospect
was not very encouraging. Tattered tapestries hung down the walls, and
waved in a most melancholy and ghost-like fashion in the wind; the floor
was thinly littered over with some plaited rushes, to supply the place of
a carpet; and a few long high-backed oak chairs kept guard against the
wall. The fire had died an infant in its iron cradle, the grate; and the
curtain of the bed waved to and fro in mournful sympathy with the tapestry
round the room. Jane was so cold that she could hardly go through her
toilette, simple as it was; but having at last achieved a very slight
alteration in her dress, and left her bonnet on the head of an owl, which
formed the ornament of one of the high-backed chairs, she endeavoured to
retrace her steps; and after a few pauses and mistakes, she found her way
once more into the hall.

The guests in the mean time were assembled and had seated themselves at
table. On Jane's entrance they all rose, and on being respectively named
by their host, bowed with cold and stately courtesy, and sat down again.
The four strangers seemed all of the same ages, fifty or thereabouts--tall,
hale, and dignified in their manners. Sir Bryan de Barreilles had a patch
on his right eye; Hasket of Norland a deep scar on his forehead, that cut
his left eyebrow into two parts, and gave a very extraordinary expression
to his rigid countenance; Maulerer of Phascald had the general effect of
very handsome features, marred by the want of his nose; not that there was
actually no nose, but that it did not occupy the prominent position it
usually holds on the human face divine, but was inserted deep between the
cheeks--in fact, was a nose not set on after the fashion of a knocker, but
a fine specimen of _basso-relievo_, indented after the manner of Socrates's
head on a seal, and would probably have made a very fine impression. Dr
Howlet was perfectly blind, and from the tone in which he was addressed by
the other gentlemen, Jane concluded he was also very nearly deaf. Besides
these, there were present Mr Peeper, at the foot of the table next to
Reginald, and on the other side of him a thick square-built man, with a
fine hilarious open countenance, who was perhaps of too low a rank to be
introduced to the lady of the castle--no other in fact than the
redoubtable Mr Lutter, of whom Jane had heard on her journey home.

After the serving men, with some difficulty, had brought in the supper,
consisting of enormous joints of meat, hot and cold, and deposited on the
sideboard vast tankards of strong ale and other potent beverages, Mr
Peeper rose, and folding his hands across his breast, and bending forward
his head with every appearance of devotion, muttered some words evidently
intended to represent a grace; but so indistinct that it was utterly
impossible to make the slightest guess at their meaning, whereupon they
all fell to with prodigious activity, and cut and slashed the enormous
dishes as if they had been famished for a year. Mr Lutter, after making an
observation that true thankfulness was as much shown by moderate enjoyment
of good gifts as by long prayers said over them, made a most powerful
assault on the cold sirloin, and, of all the party, was the only one who
had the politeness to send a helping to Jane. She was tired and hungry,
and felt really obliged by the attention, but could scarcely do justice to
the viands from surprise at the conversation of the guests.

"Ho, ho!" said Sir Bryan de Barreilles, "I once knew a thing--such a thing
it was too--ho! ho!" And partly the vividness of the recollection, and
principally an enormous mouthful of beef, produced a long fit of
coughing--"'twill make you laugh," he continued--"'twas a rare feat--ho!
ho!--even this lady will be pleased to hear it."

Jane bowed in expectation of an amusing anecdote.

"One of my tenants was going to be married; his bride was a very young
creature, not more than eighteen, and on the wedding-day, as I always was
ready for a joke in those days--ah! 'tis thirty years ago, or more--I
asked the bridal party to the Tower. Ho! ho! such laughing we had!--Giles
Mallet and Robin Henslow fought with redhot brands out of the fire, till I
thought we should all have died; and Giles--the cleverest fellow and the
wittiest, ho! ho!--such a fellow was Giles!--he took up the poker instead
of the fir-log, and watched his opportunity, ho! ho!--it was redhot too--a
good stout poker as ever you saw--and ran it clean through his cheek--you
heard the tongue fizz! as it licked the hot iron--'twas a famous play. How
Robin roared, to be sure, and couldn't speak plain--ho! ho! Well, the
games went on; and nothing would please some of the young ones but we
should see the Oubliette. 'Twas a dark hole where my forefathers
imprisoned their refractory vassals, and sad stories were told about
it--how that voices were heard from the bottom of it, and groans, and
sometimes gory heads were seen at the top of it, looking up to the
skylight, and struggling to escape, but ever tumbling back into the deep
dark hole, with screams and smothered cries; a rare place for a man's
enemies--but it had not been used for many years. Well--nothing would do,
but when we were all merry with ale, we should all go and see the
Oubliette, and a kiss of the bride was promised to the one who should go
down the furthest. Now, the stone steps were very narrow at best; and were
all worn away--and that was the best of it--all along the passages we went,
and past the dungeon grating, till we came to the open mouth of the
Oubliette. Ho! ho! how you'll laugh. Down a step went one--no kiss from
the bride for him--two steps went another--some went down six steps, and
one bold fellow went down so far that we lost sight of him in the darkness.
Then the bridegroom, a stout young yeoman--thought it shame to let anyone
beat him in daring, for so rich a prize as a kiss from the rosy lips of
his bride, and down--down--he went--step after step--till finally, far
down in the gloom, we heard a loud scream--such a scream--ho! ho! I can't
help laughing yet when I think of it--and in a minute or two, whose voice
should we hear but Giles Mallet's! _There_ was Giles, hollowing and
roaring for us to send down a rope but _how_ he had got down, or _when_ he
had gone down, nobody knew. However, a rope was got, and merrily, stoutly,
we all pulled, but no Giles came up. Instead of him, we drew forth the
bridegroom! but such a changed man. His eyes were fixed, and his face as
white as silver--his mouth was wide open, and his great tongue went
lolling about from side to side--and he shook his head, and mumbled and
slavered--he was struck all of a sudden into idiocy, and knew nobody; not
even his bride. She was sinking before him, but he never noticed her, but
went moaning, and muttering, and shaking his head. Ho! ho! 'twas the
comicalest thing I ever saw. And when Giles came up he explained it all.
Giles had gone down deeper than any of them, and waited for the others on
a ledge in the cavern; and just when the bridegroom reached it, Giles
seized him by the leg, and said--'Your soul is mine'--ho! ho! 'Your soul
is mine,' said Giles--and the bridegroom uttered only the loud, long
scream we had all heard, and stood and shook and trembled. 'Twas a rare
feat; and if you had come down last year"--he added, turning to Jane--"you
would have seen the bridegroom going from door to door, followed by all
the boys in the village--he never recovered. There he went, shake, shaking
his head--and gape gaping with his mouth. "Twas good sport to teaze him.
I've set my dogs on him myself; but he never took the least notice. 'Twas
a good trick--I never knew better."

"And the bride?" enquired Jane.

"Oh, she died in a week or two after the adventure! A silly hussy--I
wished to marry her, by the left hand, to my forester, but she kept on
moping and looking at the idiotical bridegroom, and died--a poor fool."

"Ah! we've grown dull since those merry times," said Hasket of Norland,
looking, round the empty hall, and then towards Reginald, as if
reproaching him with the absence of the ancient joviality. "There were
three men killed at my marriage--in fair give and take fight--in the hall,
at the wedding supper. There is the mark of blood on the floor yet."

"I lost my eye at the celebration of a christening," said Sir Bryan de
Barreilles. "My uncle of Malmescott pushed it in with the handle of his
dagger."

"I got this wound on my forehead at a feast after a funeral," said Hasket
of Norland. "I quarreled with Morley Poyntz, and he cut my eyebrow with an
axe. 'Twas a merry party in spite of that."

"The Parson of Pynsent jumped on my face at a festival in honour of the
birth of Sir Ranulph Berlingcourt's heir," said Maulerer of Phascald. "I
had been knocked on the floor by the Archdeacon of Warleileigh, and the
Parson of Pynsent trode on my nose. He was the biggest man in Yorkshire,
and squeezed my nose out of sight--a rare jovial companion, was the Parson
of Pynsent, and many is the joke we have had about the weight of his foot.
Ah! we have no fun now--no fighting, no grinning through a horse-collar,
no roasting before a fire, no singing"--

"Yes," said Reginald, "we have Phil Lorimer."

"Let him come--let us hear him," said some of the party.

"I hate songs," said Dr Howlet; "and think all ballads should be burned."

"And the writers of them, too," added Mr Peeper, with a fierce glance
towards the fireplace, from which Phil Lorimer emerged.

"Oh no! I think songs an innocent diversion," said Mr Lutter, "and
softening to the heart. Sit near me, Mr Lorimer."

"Make a face, Phil," cried the knight; "I would rather see a grin than
hear your ballad."

"Jump, Phil," said Hasket of Norland, applying his fork to Phil's leg as
he passed, "you are a better morris-dancer than a poet."

Phil, who was imperturbably good-natured, did as he was told. He opened
his mouth to a preternatural size, turned one eye to the ceiling, and the
other down to the floor, till Sir Bryan was in ecstasies at his
achievement. He then sprang to an incredible height in that air, and
danced once or twice through the hall, throwing himself into the most
grotesque attitudes imaginable, and the table was nearly shaken in pieces
by the thumpings with which the party showed their satisfaction.

"Now then, Phil; here's a cup of sherry-wine--drink it, boy, and sing a
sweet song to the lady," said Reginald.

"Songs are an invention of the devil," said Mr Peeper.

"Unless they are sung through the nose," said Mr Lutter, with a sneer.

"You approve of songs then?" inquired Mr Peeper, with a fierce look.

"Certainly," said Mr Lutter, "when their subject is good, and the language
modest."

"Then you are an atheist," retorted Mr Peeper.

"What has a ballad to do with atheism?" enquired Mr Lutter, looking angry.

"You approve of wicked songs, and therefore are an atheist."

"A man is more like an atheist," retorted Mr Lutter, "who is ungrateful to
God for the gift of song, and shuts up the sweetest avenue by which the
spirit approaches its Creator. I admire poetry, and respect poets."

"Any one who holds such diabolic doctrines is not fit to remain in
Belfront Castle."

"Nay," replied Mr Lutter, "Belfront Castle would be infinitely improved if
such doctrines were adopted in it."

"Gentlemen," said Reginald, "you are both learned men; and I know nothing
about the questions you discuss."

"Your lady shall judge between us," said Mr Lutter.

"She shall not," said Mr Peeper; "I am the sole judge in matters of the
kind."

"Let us hear Phil's song in the mean time," said Reginald. "Come, Lorimer."

"What shall it be?" said Phil.

"Something comic," said Sir Bryan.

"Something bloody," said Hasket of Norland.

"Something loving," said Maulerer of Phascald.

"Will the lady decide for us?" said Phil, with a smile. "Will you have the
'Silver Scarf,' madam; or 'the Knight and the Soldan of Bagdad?' They are
both done into my poor English from the troubadours of Almeigne."

The lady fixed, at haphazard, on "the Knight and the Soldan of Bagdad:"
and Phil prepared to obey her commands. He took a small harp in his hand,
and sate down in the vacant chair next to Sir Bryan de Bareilles. The rest
of the company composed themselves to listen; and, after a short prelude,
Lorimer, in a fine manly voice, began--

  "Oh, brightly bloom'd the orange flow'r,
    And fair the roses round;
  And the fountain, in its marble bed,
    Leapt up with a happy sound;
  And stately, stately was the hall,
    And rich the feast outspread;
  But the Soldan of Bagdad sigh'd full sore,
    And never a word he said.
  Never a word the Soldan said,
    But many a tear let fall;
  He had tried all the joys that life could give,
    And was weary of them all.
  The Soldan lift up his heavy eye--
    And to that garden fair,
  A stranger enter'd with harp in hand,
    And with a winsome air;
  Long locks of yellow molten gold
    Hung over his cheek so brown,
  And a red mantle of Venice silk
    Fell from his shoulders down.
  A weary wanderer he did seem,
    Come from a distant land;
  And over the harpstrings thoughtfully,
    He moveth his cunning hand.
  He opes his lips, and he poureth forth
    Such a sweet stream of sound,
  That the Soldan's heart leaps up in his breast,
    And his eye he casts around.
  'Was never a voice,' the Soldan said,
    'So sweet--nor so blest a song;--
  Sing on, kind minstrel,' the Soldan said,
    'I have been sad too long.'
  The minstrel sang, and soft and sweet
    The Soldan's tears fell free;
  'Oh, tell me, thou minstrel dear,' he said,
    'What boon shall I give to thee?
  Oh, stay with me but a year and a day,
    And sing sweet songs to me;
  And whatever the boon, by Allah, I swear,
    I will freely give it to thee.'
  The minstrel stay'd a year and a day,
    And the Soldan loved him well;
  'Now what is the boon thou askest of me--
    I prithee, dear minstrel, tell.'
  'A Christian knight in thy dungeon pines,
    And his hope is nearly o'er;
  His freedom is the boon I ask--
    Oh, open his prison door!'
  The minstrel went--and no more was seen;
    And the Christian knight, set free,
  Found a stately ship, that bore him safe
    Home to his own countrie.
  And his lady met him at the gate,
    His lady fair and young;
  And with a scream of pride and joy,
    She in his bosom hung.
  Oh, glad, glad was the Christian knight,
    And glad was his lady fair,
  And her pale cheek flush'd as he cast aside
    The locks of her raven hair,
  And kiss'd her brow, and told the tale
    Of his dungeon, deep and strong;
  And of the minstrel, too, he told
    And of the power of song.
  And they blest the minstrel, and blest his song,
    And soon the feast was dight;
  And prince and noble crowded in,
    To welcome home the knight.
  And when the brimming cup went round,
    Spoke out an evil tongue,
  And blamed that lady to her lord,
    That lady fair and young;
  And told, with many a bitter sneer,
    How that, for many a day,
  When he was prison'd in Paynim land,
    That dame was far away,
  And none knew where; but all could guess--
    Up rose the knight, and kept
  His hand close clutch'd on his dagger heft,
    And down the hall he stept;
  And onwards with the dagger bared,
    He rush'd to the lady's bower--
  'Thou hast been false, and left thy home--
    Thou diest this very hour!'
  'Oh! it is true, I left my home;
    But yet, before I die,
  Oh! look not on me with face so changed,
    Nor with so fierce an eye!
  Oh! let me, but for a minute's space,
    Into my chamber hie;
  One prayer I would say for thee and me--
    One prayer--before I die!'
  She left the bower; and as he stept
    To and fro in ireful mood,
  A stranger from the chamber came,
    And close behind him stood.
  Long locks of molten yellow gold
    Hung over his cheek so brown,
  And a red mantle of Venice silk,
    Fell from his shoulder, down.
  Dark frown'd the knight--'Vile churl!' he said;
    But ere he utter'd more,
  The stranger let the mantle fall
    Unclasp'd upon the floor,--
  And off he cast the yellow locks--
    And, lo! the lady fair,
  Blushing and casting from her cheek
    Her glossy raven hair!
  Down fell the dagger; down the knight
    Sank kneeling and opprest;
  And the lady oped her snow white arms,
    And wept upon his breast!"

"A foul song!--a wanton woman!"--exclaimed Sir Bryan de Barreilles--"he
should have stabbed her for living so long with a Jew villain like the
Soldan of Bagdad."

"Was the villain a Jew?" enquired Dr Howlet, who had caught the word. "I
did not know Bagdad was in Jewry. Is a heathen the same as a Jew, Mr
Peeper?"

The gentleman thus appealed to, coughed as if to clear his throat, and
though he usually spoke with the utmost clearness, he mumbled and muttered
in the same unintelligible manner as he had done when he was saying grace;
and it was a very peculiar habit of the learned individual, whenever he
was applied to for an explanation, to betake himself to a mode of speech
that would have puzzled a far wiser head than Dr Howlet's, to make head or
tail of it.

Dr Howlett, however, appeared to be perfectly satisfied with the
information; and by the indignant manner in which he struck his long
gold-headed ebony walking-stick on the floor, seemed entirely to agree
with the worthy knight in his estimate of the heroine of Phil Lorimer's
ballad.

"I like the ballad about the jousting of Romulus the bold Roman, with
Judas Maccabaeus in the Camp at Ascalon far better," said Hasket of
Norland. "Sing it, Phil."

"No, no," cried Maulerer, who was far gone in intoxication. "Sing us the
song of the Feasting at Glaston, when Eneas the Trojan married Arthur's
daughter.--Sing the song, sirrah, this moment, or I'll cut your tongue in
two, to make your note the sweeter.--Sing."

Thus adjured, Phil once more began:--

  "There was feasting high and revelry
    In Glaston's lofty hall;
  And loud was the sound, as the cup went round,
    Of joyous whoop and call;
  And Arthur the king, in that noble ring,
    Was the merriest of them all.
  No thought, no care, found entrance there,
    But beauty's smiles were won;
  No sour Jack Priest to spoil the feast"--

"Ha!" cried Howlet, interrupting Mr Lorimer in a tremendous passion, "what
says the varlet? He is a heathen Turk, and no Christian. How dares he talk
so of the church?" The old man rose as he spoke, and, suddenly catching
hold of the enormous ebony walking-stick, which generally reposed at the
side of his chair, he aimed a blow with all his force at the unfortunate
songster; but, being blind, and not calculating his distance, his staff
fell with tremendous effect on the left eye of Sir Bryan de Barreilles.

"Is it so?" cried the Knight, stunned; but resisting the tendency to
prostration produced by the stroke, and flinging a large silver flagon
across the table, which missed Dr Howlet, and made a deep indentation in
the skull of Maulerer of Phascald--"Now, then!"

Hasket of Norland attempted to hold Sir Bryan, and prevent his following
up his attack; and Mr Maulerer recovered sufficiently to fling the heavy
candlestick at his assailant; the branches of which hit the cheek of
Hasket, while the massive bottom ejected the three front teeth of Sir
Bryan.

There was now no possibility of preventing the quarrel; and while the four
strangers were pounding each other with whatever weapons came first to
hand, and Mr Peeper crept under the table for safety, and Reginald essayed
to talk them into reason, Mr Lutter politely handed Jane to the door of
the hall.

"Permit me, madam, to rescue you from this dreadful scene."

"Is it thus always?" enquired Jane, nearly weeping with fright.

"There are many things that may be improved in the castle," said Mr Lutter.
"I have seen the necessity of an alteration for a long time, and, if you
will favour me with your assistance, much may be done."

"Oh! I will help you to the utmost of my power."

"We must upset the influence of Mr Peeper," said Mr Lutter. "May I speak
to you on the subject to-morrow?"

A month had passed since Jane's arrival at Belfront Castle, and she had
had many private and confidential conversations with Mr Lutter. The
ominous eyes of Mr Peeper grew fiercer and fiercer, and she many times
thought of coming to an open rupture with him at once; but was deterred
from doing so, by not yet having ascertained whether her influence over
Reginald was sufficiently established to stand a contest with the
authority of his ancient friend. She could not understand how her husband
could have remained hoodwinked so long; or how he had submitted to the
despotic proceedings of his former tutor, who persisted in assembling the
same airs of authority over him, as he had exercised when he was a child.
Such, however, was evidently the case; and Reginald had never entertained
a thought of rescuing himself from the thraldom in which he had grown up.
A look from Mr Peeper; a solemn statement from him, that such and such
things had never been heard of before in Belfront; and, above all, the use
of the muttered and unintelligible jargon to which Mr Peeper betook
himself in matters of weight and difficulty, were quite sufficient:
Reginald immediately gave up his own judgment, and felt in fact rather
ashamed of himself for having hinted that he had a judgement at all. Under
these circumstances, Mr Lutter had a very difficult part to play; and all
that Jane could do, was to second him whenever she had the opportunity.
One day, in the lovely month of April, Phil Lorimer sat on a sunny part of
the enornous wall that guarded the castle, and leaning his back against
one of the little square towers that rose at intervals in the circuit of
the fortifications, sang song after song, as if for the edification of a
number of crows that were perched on the trees on the other side of the
moat. The audience were grossly inattentive, and paid no respect whatever
to the performer, who still continued his exertions, as highly satisfied
as if he were applauded by boxes, pit, and gallery of a crowded
theatre:--Among others, he sang the ballad of the "Silver Scarf."

  "It was a King's fair daughter,
    With eyes of deepest blue,
  She wove a scarf of silver
    The whole long summer through--

  "A stately chair she sat on
    Before the castle door,
  And ever in the calm moonlight
    She work'd it o'er and o'er.

  "And many a knight and noble
    Went daily out and in,
  And each one marvell'd in his heart
    Which the fair scarf might win.

  "She took no heed of questions,
    From her work ne'er raised her head,
  And on the snow-white border
    Sew'd her name in blackest thread.

  "Then came a tempest roaring,
    From the high hills it came,
  And bore the scarf far out to sea
    From forth its fragile frame:

  "The maiden sate unstartled,
    As if it _must_ be so--
  She stood up from her stately chair,
    And to her bower did go.

  "She took from forth her wardrobe
    Her dress of mourning hue--
  Whoever for a scarf before
    Such weight of sorrow knew?

  "In robes of deepest mourning,
    Three nights and days she sate;
  On the third night, the warder's horn
    Was sounded at the gate--

  "A messenger stands at the door,
    And sad news bringeth he;
  The king and all his gallant ships
    Are wreck'd upon the sea.

  "And now the tide is rising,
    And casts upon the shore
  Full many a gallant hero's corse,
    And many a golden store.

  "Then up rose the king's daughter,
    Drew to her window near;
  'What is it glitters on thine arm,
    In the moonlight so clear?'

  "'It is a scarf of silver,
    I brought it from the strand;
  I took it from the closed grasp
    Of a strong warrior's hand.'

  "That feat thou ne'er shouldst boast of
    If but alive were he;
  Go take him back thy trophy
    To the blue rolling sea.

  "And when that knight you've buried,
    The scarf his grave shall grace;
  And next to where you've laid him,
    Oh, leave a vacant place!"

"Here, you cursed old piper! leave off frightening the crows, and open the
gate this moment. Who the devil, do you think, is to burst a bloodvessel
by hollowing here all day?"

Mr Lorimer, though used to considerable indignities, as we have already
seen, had still a little of the becoming poetical pride about him, and
looked rather angrily over the wall. "Nobody wishes you to break
bloodvessels, or have their own ears disturbed by your screaming," he said.
"What do you want?"

"To get into your infernal house, to be sure. Where did you get such
unchristian roads? My bones are sore with the jolting. Send somebody to
open the gate."

"The drawbridge is up, and Mr Peeper must have his twopence."

"Who the devil is Mr Peeper?" said the stranger. "I sha'n't give him a
fraction. Who made the drawbridge his? Is Mr Belfront at home?"

"Yes, he is in Mr Peeper's study."

"And Mrs Belfront?"--

"Pickling cod. It is Mr Peeper's favourite dish; so we all live on it
sometimes for weeks together."

"With such a trout-stream at your door? He'll be a cleverer fellow than I
think him if he gets me to eat his salted carrion. Open the door, I say,
or you'll have the worst of it when my stick gets near your head. Tell Mrs
Belfront her uncle is here--her Uncle Samson."

Phil Lorimer saw no great resemblance to the Jewish Hercules in the little,
dapper, bustling-mannered man in a blue coat with bright brass buttons,
pepper-and-salt knee-breeches, and long gaiters, who thus proclaimed his
relationship to the lady of the castle. He hurried down from the wall to
make the required announcement.

"My uncle Samson, the manufacturer, from Leeds! Oh, let him in, by all
means!" exclaimed Jane; "he was always so kind to me when I was a child!"

"He can't get in, madam, unless Mr Peeper orders the drawbridge to be
lowered; and he is now busy with Mr Belfront."

"Go for Mr Lutter; he will be glad to hear of uncle Samson's arrival."

Mr Lorimer discovered Mr Lutter comfortably regaling himself in the
buttery; but on hearing in what respect his services were required, he
left unfinished a large tankard of ale, with which he was washing down an
enormous quantity of bread and cheese, and proceeded to the moat.

"Don't disturb Mr Peeper," he said, "but help me to launch the little
punt."

By dint of a little labour, the small vessel was got into the water, and
Mr Lutter, taking a scull in his hand, paddled over to the other side, and
embarked the gentleman in the blue coat. Paddling towards an undefended
part of the castle, he taught him how to clamber up the wall; and Mr
Samson, wiping the stains of his climbing from the knees of his nether
habiliments, looked round the castle-yard. "Well! who'd have thought that
such a monstrous strong-looking place should be stormed by a middle-aged
gentleman in a punt!"

"You've a friend in the garrison, you'll remember, sir, and the
battlements have never been repaired."

"They ain't worth repairing. It's a regular waste of building materials to
make such thick walls and pinnacles. Blowed, if them stones wouldn't build
a mill; and a precious water-power, too," he added, as he saw the river
sparkling downward at the northern side. "Oho! I must have a talk with
Jane. Will you take me to Mrs Belfront? I haven't seen her for five years.
She must be much changed since then, and I must prepare her for the
arrival of her cousins."

Jane was sitting in the great hall, feeling disconsolate enough. Often, in
her father's comfortable parlour, she had read accounts of baronial
residences of the olden time; and one of the greatest pleasures she had
felt in becoming Mrs Belfront, was to be the possessor of a real _bona
fide_ castle that had been actually a fortress in the days of knighthood.
She had studied long ago the adventures of high-born dames and stately
nobles, till she was nearly as far gone in romance as Don Quixote; and
many questions she had asked about Belfront, and donjon-towers, and keeps,
and tiltyards, and laboured very hard to acquire a correct idea of the
mode of life and manners of the days of chivalry. Her imagination, we have
seen, was too lively to be restrained by the more matter-of-fact nature of
her husband; and she now felt with great bitterness the difference between
presiding at a tournament, or being present at the Vow of the Peacock, and
the slavish submission in which she, with the whole household, was held by
Mr Pepper. Deeply she now regretted the feelings of superiority she had
experienced over her own relations by her marriage into such an ancient
race as the Belfronts. She felt ashamed of the contempt she had felt for
the industrious founders of her own family's wealth, and at that moment
would have preferred the blue coat and brass buttons of her uncle Samson,
to all the escutcheons and shields of the Norman conquest; and at that
moment, luckily, the identical coat and buttons made their appearance.

"Well, niece, here's a go!" exclaimed the angry uncle. "Is this a way to
receive a near relation after such a journey?"

"Oh, uncle!"

"Why, did ye never hear tell of such a place as Kidderminster?--have you
no carpets?"

"Mr Belfront says there were no carpets in his ancestor's time"--

"And no railroads, nor postchaises, nor books, nor nothing; and is that
any reason why we shouldn't have lots of every thing now? By dad, before
I've been here a week I'll have a reg'lar French Revolution! No Bastille!
says I; let's have a Turkey carpet, and a telescope dining-table, good
roads, and no infernal punts--and, above all, let's get quit of the
villain Peeper."

"Oh! if Reginald would only consent!"

"Why not? by dad, I'll make his fortune. I'll give him a thousand a-year
for the water-power that's now all thrown away. I'll have a nice village
built down in the valley. I'll get him two guineas an acre for his land
that's now lying waste. I'll dig for coal. We'll build a nice comfortable
house, and leave this old ruin to the crows."

"And the neighbours, uncle Samson?"

"Why, we'll build a church, and the parson will be a good companion. When
the roads are made, you'll give a jolly dinner once a-week to every squire
within ten miles. You'll have a book club. You'll help in the Sunday
school. You'll go to the county balls. Your husband will join the
agricultural society, and act as a magistrate. He'll subscribe to the
hounds. He'll attend to the registrations. He'll have shooting-parties in
September. And as to any old-world, wretched talks about chivalry and
antiquity, we'll show him that there never was a time like the
present--commerce, land, property, and intelligence, all in the very best
condition. We'll make Lutter superintendent of the whole estate, and send
old Peeper about his business. And in all this you must help; for there's
nothing to be done without the help of the ladies: so give me your hand,
dear niece, and don't cry."

"It would make me so happy! I would never look into Amadis de Gaul again!"

"Hang Amadis de Gall and Amadi de Spurzheim, too! Where is your husband?"

"I seldom see him now. He is always in the oratory with Mr Peeper."

"The deuce he is!" said the uncle. "And how do you get on in other
respects? Are you comfortable--happy--contented?" Jane told him all she
had encountered since she had come to the castle, and the uncle seemed
thunderstruck at the recital.

"Well! bold measures are always the best," he said at last; "I'll kick
Peeper into the moat!" and before his niece could interfere, the uncle had
rushed across the quadrangle, guided, we are sorry to say, by Mr Lutter,
and, grasping the venerable Peeper, whom he met near the drawbridge, he
dragged him towards the water.

Jane ran to get assistance for the unfortunate victim; and crying "Help!
help!" as she saw the wretched man forced over the walls, she looked in a
state of distraction towards her husband. "Dear Jane," said that
individual, smiling blandly, "I told you you had overtired yourself with
walking." Jane gazed round; there was Reginald sitting beside her, with
her head reclining on his shoulder, at the open window of the inn in Wales.
The vale of Cwmcwyllchly was spread in a beautiful landscape below. They
were still on their wedding tour.

"You have been asleep, Jane," said Reginald.

"And have had such dreadful dreams. Oh, Reginald! I have had such visions
of horrid things and people. I shall never be romantic again about
chivalry. Such coarseness!--such slavery!--such ignorance! Ah, how happy
we ought to be that we are born in a civilized time, with no Mr Peepers
for father confessors, nor fighting with firebrands for amusement!"

"You have been reading _Hallam's Middle Ages_--a present from your uncle
Samson--till you have become a right-down Utilitarian. Come, let us ring
for tea; and to-morrow we must start for Yorkshire! The Quarter-sessions
are coming on."

       *       *       *       *       *



DUMAS IN HIS CURRICLE.


We left M. Dumas at Marseilles: we find him again at Naples. Three volumes
are the result of his visit to the last named city--volumes in which he
manages to put a little of every thing, and a good deal of some things.
Antiquarian, historian, virtuoso, novelist, he touches upon all subjects,
flying from one to the other with a lightness and a facility of transition
peculiarly his own, and peculiarly agreeable. English travellers and
Italian composers, St Januarius and the opera, Masaniello and the
_gettatura_, Pompeii, princes, police spies, Vesuvius, all have their
turn--M. Dumas, with his usual tact, merely glancing at those subjects
which are known and written about by every tourist, but giving himself
full scope when he gets off the beaten track. His book is literally
crammed with tales and anecdotes, to such a degree indeed, and most of
them so good, that our principal difficulty in commencing a notice of it,
is to know where to pick and choose our extracts; _l'embarras des
richesses_, in short. The best way will probably be to begin at the
beginning, and go as far as our limits allow us, referring our readers to
the original for the many good things that want of space will compel us to
exclude.

M. Dumas calls his book the _Corricolo_, and devotes a short and
characteristic preface to an explanation of the title. This explanation we
must give in his own words. It is so highly graphic, that, after reading
it, we fancied we had seen a picture of what it describes.

"A _corricolo_ is a sort of tilbury or gig, originally intended to hold
one person, and be drawn by one horse. At Naples they harness two horses
to it; and it conveys twelve or fifteen individuals, not at a walk nor at
a trot, but at full gallop, and this, notwithstanding that only one of the
horses does any work. The shaft horse draws, but the other, which is
harnessed abreast of him, and called the _bilancino_, prances and curvets
about, animates his companion, but does nothing else.

"Having said that the gig built to carry one is made to carry fifteen, I
am, of course, expected to explain how this is accomplished. There is an
old French proverb, according to which, when there is enough for one there
is enough for two; but I am not aware of any proverb in any language which
says, that when there is enough for one, there is enough for fifteen.
Nevertheless, it is the case with the _corricolo_. In the present advanced
state of civilization, every thing is diverted from its primitive
destination. As it is impossible to say at what period, or in how long a
time, the capacity of the vehicle in question was extended in the ratio of
one to fifteen, I must content myself with describing the way of packing
the passengers.

"In the first place, there is almost invariably a fat greasy monk seated
in the middle, forming the centre of a sort of coil of human creatures. On
one of his knees is some robust rosy-cheeked nurse from Aversa or Nettuno;
on the other, a handsome peasant woman from Bauci or Procida. On either
side of him, between the wheels and the body of the vehicle, stand the
husbands of these two ladies. Standing on tiptoe behind the monk is the
driver, holding in his left hand the reins, and in his right the long whip
with which he keeps his horses at an equal rate of speed. Behind _him_ are
two or three lazzaroni, who get up and down, go away, and are succeeded by
others, without any body taking notice of them, or expecting them to pay
for their ride. On the shafts are seated two boys, picked up on the road
from Torre del Greco or Pouzzoles, probably supernumerary _ciceroni_ of
the antiquities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Finally, suspended under the
carriage, in a sort of coarse rope network with large meshes, which swings
backwards and forwards at every movement of the vehicle, is a shapeless
and incomprehensible mass, which cries, laughs, sings, screams, shouts,
and bellows, all by turns and none for long together, and the nature of
which it is impossible to distinguish, dimly seen as it is through the
clouds of dust raised by the horses' feet. This mass consists of three or
four children, who belong to Heaven knows who, are going Heaven knows
where, live Heaven knows how, and are there Heaven knows wherefore.

"Now then, put down, one above the other, monk, women, husbands, driver,
lazzaroni, boys and children; add them up, include the infant in arms,
which has been forgotten, and the total will be fifteen.

"It sometimes happens that the _coricolo_ passes over a big stone, and
upsets, pitching out its occupants to a greater or less distance,
according to their respective gravity. But, on such occasions, nobody
thinks of himself; the attention of every one is immediately turned to the
monk. If he is hurt, the journey is over for the day; they carry him to
the nearest house; the horses are put into the stable, and he is put to
bed; the women nurse him, make much of him, cry and pray over him. If, on
the other hand, the monk is safe and sound, nobody has a right to complain;
he resumes his seat, the nurse and the peasant woman resume theirs, the
others climb up into their respective places--a crack of the long whip,
and a shout from the driver, and the _corricolo_ is off again full speed."

From this we learn what a _corricolo_ is, but we have not yet been told
why M. Dumas should christen his book after the degenerate descendant of
the Roman curriculum. Patience--we shall get to it in time. Materials
crowd upon our traveller, and it is only in the second chapter that the
desired explanation is given. In the first we are informed of M. Dumas's
installation at the Hotel Vittoria, kept by M. Martin Zill, who, besides
being an innkeeper, is a man of much taste in art, a distinguished
antiquary, an amateur of pictures, a collector of autographs and
curiosities. Apropos of the hotel we have an anecdote of the ex-dey of
Algiers, who, on being dispossessed of his dominions by the French, took
refuge at Naples, and established himself under M. Zill's hospitable roof.
The third floor was entirely occupied by his suite and attendants, the
fourth was for himself and his treasures, the fifth, or the garrets, he
converted into his harem. The curious arms, costumes, and jewels which
Hussein Pacha had brought with him, were a godsend to the virtuoso weary
of examining and admiring them; and, before the African had been a week in
the house, he and his host were sworn friends. Unfortunately this harmony
was not destined to last very long.

"One morning Hussein Pacha's cook (a Nubian as black as ink, and as
shining as if he had been polished with a shoe-brush) entered the kitchen
of the hotel, and asked for the largest knife they had. The head-cook gave
him a sort of carving-knife, some eighteen inches long, sharp as a razor,
and pliant as a foil. The negro looked at it, shook his head as if in
doubt whether it would do, but nevertheless took it up stairs with him.
Presently he brought it down again, and asked for a larger one. The cook
opened all his drawers, and at last found a sort of cutlass, which he
hardly ever used on account of its enormous size. With this the Nubian
appeared more satisfied, and again went up stairs. Five minutes afterwards
he came down for the third time, and returned the knife, asking for a
bigger one still. The cook's curiosity was excited, and he enquired who
wanted the knife, and for what purpose.

"The African told him very coolly that the dey, having left his dominions
rather in a hurry, had forgotten to bring an executioner with him, and had
consequently ordered his cook to get a large knife and cut off the head of
Osmin, chief of the eunuchs, who was convicted of having kept such
negligent watch and ward over his highness's seraglio, that some
presumptuous Giaour had made a hole in the wall, and established a
communication with Zaida, the dey's favourite _odalisque_. Accordingly
Osmin was to be decapitated; and as to the offending lady, the next time
the dey took an airing in the bay of Naples, she would be put into the
boat in a sack, and consigned to the keeping of the kelpies. Thunderstruck
at such summary proceedings, the cook desired his Nubian brother to wait
while he went for a larger knife; then hastening to M. Martin Zill, he
told him what he had just heard.

"M. Martin Zill ran to the minister of police, and laid the matter before
him. His excellency got into his carriage and went to call upon the dey.

He found his highness reclining upon a divan, his back supported by
cushions, smoking latakia in a chibouque, while an icoglan scratched the
soles of his feet, and two slaves fanned him. The minister made his three
salaams; the dey nodded his head.

"'Your highness,' said his excellency, 'I am the minister of police.'

"'I know you are,' answered the dey.

"'Then your highness probably conjectures the motive of my visit.'

"'No. But you are welcome all the same.'

"'I come to prevent your highness from committing a crime.'

"'A crime! And what crime?' said the dey, taking the pipe from his mouth,
and gazing at his interlocutor in the most profound astonishment.

"'I wonder your highness should ask the question,' replied the minister.
'Is it not your intention to cut off Osmin's head?'

"'That is no crime,' answered the dey.

"'Does not your highness purpose throwing Zaida into the sea?'

"'That is no crime,' repeated the dey. 'I bought Osmin for five hundred
piasters, and Zaida for a thousand sequins, just as I bought this pipe for
a hundred ducats.'

"'Well,' said the minister, 'what does your highness deduce from that?'

"'That as this pipe belongs to me, as I have bought it and paid for it, I
may break it to atoms if I choose, and nobody has a right to object.' So
saying, the pacha broke his pipe, and threw the fragments into the middle
of the room.

"'All very well, as far as a pipe goes,' said the minister; 'but Osmin,
but Zaida?'

"'Less than a pipe,' said the dey gravely.

"'How! less than a pipe! A man less than a pipe! A woman less than a pipe!'

"'Osmin is not a man, and Zaida is not a woman: they are slaves. I will
cut off Osmin's head, and throw Zaida into the sea.'

"'No!' said the magistrate. 'Not at Naples at least.'

"'Dog of a Christian!' shouted the dey, 'do you know who I am?'

"'You are the ex-dey of Algiers, and I am the Neapolitan minister of
police; and, if your deyship is impertinent, I shall send him to prison,'
added the minister very coolly.

"'To prison!' repeated the dey, falling back upon his divan.

"'To prison,' replied the minister.

"'Very well,' said Hussein. 'I leave Naples to-night.'

"'Your highness is as free as air to go and to come. Nevertheless, I must
make one condition. Before your departure, you will swear by the Prophet,
that no harm shall be done to Osmin or Zaida.'

"'Osmin and Zaida belong to me, and I shall do what I please with them.'

"'Then your highness will be pleased to deliver them over to me, to be
punished according to the laws of the country; and, until you do so, you
will not be allowed to leave Naples.'

"'Who will prevent me?'

"'I will.'

"The pacha laid his hand on his dagger. The minister stepped to the window
and made a sign. The next moment the tramp of heavy boots and jingle of
spurs were heard upon the stairs; the door opened, and a gigantic corporal
of gendarmes made his appearance, his right hand raised to his cocked hat,
his left upon the seam of his trouser.

"'Gennaro,' said the minister of police, 'if I gave you an order to arrest
this gentleman, would you see any difficulty in executing it?'

"'None, your excellency.'

"'You are aware that this gentleman's name is Hussein Pacha.'

"'I was not, your excellency.'

"'And that he is dey of Algiers.'

"'May it please your excellency, I don't know what that is.'

"'You see?' said the minister, turning to the dey.

"'The devil! exclaimed Hussein.

"'Shall I?' said Gennaro, taking a pair of handcuffs from his pocket, and
advancing a pace towards the dey, who, on his part, took a step backwards.

"'No,' replied the minister, 'it will not be necessary. His highness will
do as he is bid. Go and search the hotel for a man named Osmin, and a
woman named Zaida, and take them both to the prefecture.'

"'What!' cried the dey; 'this man is to enter my harem?'

"'He is not a man,' replied the minister; 'he is a corporal of gendarmes.
But if you do not wish him to go, send for Osmin and Zaida yourself.'

"'Will you promise to have them punished?' enquired the dey.

"'Certainly; according to the utmost rigour of the law.'

"Hussein Pacha clapped his hands. A door concealed behind a tapestry was
opened, and a slave entered the room.

"'Bring down Osmin and Zaida,' said the dey.

"The slave crossed his hands on his breast, bowed his head, and
disappeared without uttering a word. The next instant he came back with
the two culprits.

"The eunuch was a little round fat fellow, with beardless face, and small
hands and feet. Zaida was a beautiful Circassian, her eyelids painted with
kool, her teeth blackened with betel, her nails reddened with henna. On
perceiving Hussein Pacha, the eunuch fell upon his knees; Zaida raised her
head. The dey's eyes flashed, and he clutched the hilt of his kangiar.
Osmin grew pale; Zaida smiled. The minister of police made a sign to the
gendarme, who stepped up to the two captives, handcuffed them, and led
them out of the room. As the door closed behind them, the dey uttered a
sound between a sigh and a roar.

"The magistrate looked out of the window, till he saw the prisoners and
their escort disappear at the corner of the Strada Chiatamone. Then
turning to the dey--

"'Your highness is now at liberty to leave Naples, if he wishes so to do,'
said the imperturbable functionary with a low bow.

"'This very instant!' cried Hussein. 'I will not remain another moment in
such a barbarous country as yours.'

"'A pleasant journey to your highness,' said the minister.

"'Go to the devil!' retorted Hussein.

"Before an hour had elapsed, the dey had chartered a small vessel, on
board of which he embarked the same evening with his suite, his wives, and
his treasures; and at midnight he set sail; cursing the tyranny that
prevented a man from drowning his wife and cutting off the heads of his
slaves. The next day the minister of police had the culprits brought
before him and examined. Osmin was found guilty of having slept when he
ought to have watched, and Zaida of having watched when she ought to have
slept. But, by some strange omission, the Neapolitan code allots no
punishment to such offences; and, consequently, Osmin and Zaida, to their
infinite astonishment, were immediately set at liberty. Osmin took to
selling pastilles for a livelihood, and the lady got employment as _dame
de comptoir_ in a coffeehouse. As to the dey, he had left Naples with the
intention of going to England, in which country, as he had been informed,
a man is at liberty to sell his wife, if he may not drown her. He was
taken ill, however, on the road, and obliged to stop at Leghorn, where he
died."

M. Dumas, not being in good odour with the Neapolitan authorities, on
account of some supposed republican tendencies of his, is at Naples under
an assumed name; and, as it is uncertain how long he may be able to
preserve his incognito, he is desirous of seeing all that is to be seen in
as short a time as possible. He finds that Naples, independently of its
suburbs, consists of three streets where every body goes, and five hundred
streets where nobody goes. The three streets are, the Chiaja, the Toledo,
and the Forcella; the five hundred others are nameless--a labyrinth of
houses, which might be compared to that of Crete, deducting the Minotaur,
and adding the Lazzaroni. There are three ways of seeing Naples--on foot,
in a _corricolo_ or in a carriage. On foot, one goes every where, but one
sees too much; in a carriage, one only goes through the three principal
streets, and one sees too little--the _corricolo_ is the happy medium, the
_juste milieu_, to which M. Dumas for once determines to adhere. Having
made up his mind, he sends for his host, and enquires where he can hire a
_corricolo_ by the week or month. His host tells him he had better buy one,
horse and all. To this plan M. Dumas objects the expense.

"'It will cost you,' said M. Martin, after a momentary calculation in his
head, 'it will cost you--the _corricolo_ ten ducats, each horse thirty
carlini, the harness a pistole; in all, eighty French francs.'

"'What! for ten ducats I shall have a _corricolo_?'

"'A magnificent one.'

"'New?'

"'Oh! you are asking too much. There are no such things as new _corricoli_.
There is a standing order of the police forbidding coachmakers to build
them.'

"'Indeed! How long has that order been in force?'

"'Fifty years, perhaps.'

"'How comes it, then, that there is such a thing as a _corricolo_ in
existence?'

"'Nothing easier. You know the story of Jeannot's knife?'

"'To be sure I do; it is one of our national chronicles. The blade had
been changed fifteen times, and the handle fifteen times, but it was still
the same knife.'

"'The case of the _corricolo_ is exactly similar. It is forbidden to build
new ones, but it is not forbidden to put new wheels to old bodies, and new
bodies on old wheels. By these means the _corricolo_ becomes immortal.'

"'I understand. An old body and new wheels for me, if you please. But the
horses? Do you mean to say that for thirty francs I shall have a pair of
horses?'

"'A superb pair, that will go like the wind.'

"'What sort of horses?'

"'Oh, dead ones, of course!'

"'Dead ones!'

"'Certainly. At that price you could hardly expect any thing better.'

"'My dear M. Martin, be kind enough to explain. I am travelling for my
improvement, and information of all kinds is highly acceptable.'

"'You are acquainted with the history of the horse, I suppose?'

"'The natural history? Buffon's? Certainly. The horse is, after the lion,
the noblest of all the beasts.'

"'No, no; the philosophical history. The different stages and vicissitudes
in the existence of those noble quadrupeds.'

"'Oh yes! first the saddle, then a carriage or gig, thence to a
stage-coach or omnibus, hackney-coach or cab, and finally--to the
knacker's.'

"'And from the knacker's?'

"'To the Elysian fields, I suppose.'

"'No. Not here, at least. From the knacker's they go to the _corricoli_.'

"'How so?'

"'I will tell you. At the Ponte della Maddalena, where horses are taken to
be killed, there are always persons waiting, who, when a horse is brought,
buy the hide and hoofs for thirty carlini, which is the price regulated by
law. Instead of killing the horse and skinning him, these persons take him
with the skin on, and make the most of the time he yet has to live. They
are sure of getting the skin sooner or later. And these are what I mean by
dead horses.'

"'But what can they possibly do with the unfortunate brutes?'

"'They harness them to the _corricoli_.'

"'What! those with which I came from Salerno to Naples'--

"'Were the ghosts of horses; spectre steeds, in short.'

"'But they galloped the whole way.'

"'Why not? _Les morts vont vite._'"

_Et cetera, et cetera_. For the price stated by his host, M. Dumas finds
himself possessor of a magnificent _corricolo_ of a bright red colour,
with green trees and animals painted thereon. Two most fiery and impatient
steeds, half concealed by harness, bells, and ribands, are included in his
purchase. After a vain attempt to drive himself, the phantom coursers
having apparently a supreme contempt for whipcord, he gives up the reins
to a professional charioteer, and commences his perambulations. His first
visit is to the Chiaja, the favourite promenade of the aristocracy and of
foreigners; his second to the Toledo, the street of shops and loungers;
his third to the Forcella, frequented by lawyers and their clients. He
makes a chapter, and a long one too, out of each street; but not in the
way usually adopted by those pitiless tour-writers who overwhelm their
readers with dry architectural details, filling a page with a portico, and
a chapter with a chapel--not letting one off a pane of a painted window or
line of worm-eaten inscription however often those things may have been
described already by previous travellers. M. Dumas prefers men to things
as subjects for his pen; and the three chapters above named are filled
with curious illustrations of Neapolitan manners, customs, and character.
Apropos of the Toledo, we are introduced to the well-known _impresario_,
Domenico Barbaja, who had his palazzo in that street, and who, from being
waiter in a coffeehouse at Milan, became the manager of three theatres at
one time, namely, San Carlo, La Scala, and the Vienna opera. He appears to
have been a man of great energy and originality of character, concealing
an excellent heart under the roughest manners and most choleric of tempers.

"It would be impossible," says M. Dumas, "to translate into any language
the abuse with which Barbaja used to overwhelm the singers and musicians
at his theatres when they displeased him. Yet not one of them bore him
malice for it, knowing that, if they had the least triumph, Barbaja would
be the first to embrace and congratulate them: if they were unsuccessful,
he would console them with the utmost delicacy: if they were ill, he would
watch over them with the tenderness of a father or brother. The fortune
which he had amassed, little by little, and by strenuous exertions, he
spent in the most generous and princely manner. His palace, his villa, and
his table, were open to all.

"His genius was of a peculiar and extraordinary kind. Education he had
none: he was unable to write the commonest letter, and did not know a note
of music; yet he would give his composers the most valuable hints, and
dictate with admirable skill the plan of a libretto. His own voice was of
the harshest and most inharmonious texture; but by his advice and
instructions he formed some of the first singers in Italy. His language
was a Milanese patois; but he found means to make himself excellently
understood by the kings and emperors, with whom he carried on negotiations
upon a footing of perfect equality. It was a great treat to see him seated
in his box at San Carlo, opposite that of the King of Naples, on the
evening of a new opera; with grave and impartial aspect, now turning his
face to the actors, then to the audience. If a singer went wrong, Barbaja
was the first to crush him with a severity worthy of Brutus. His '_Can de
Dio_!' was shouted out in a voice that made the theatre shake and the poor
actor tremble. If, on the other hand, the public disapproved without
reason, Barbaja would start up in his box and address the audience.
'_Figli d'una racca_!' 'Will you hold your tongues? You don't deserve good
singers.' If by chance the King himself omitted to applaud at the right
time, Barbaja would shrug his shoulders and go grumbling out of his box.

"With all his peculiarities, he it was who formed and brought forward
Lablache, Tamburini, Rubini, Donzelli, Colbran, Pasta, Fodor, Donizetti,
Bellini, and the great Rossini himself, whose masterpieces were composed
for Barbaja. It is impossible to form an idea of the amount of entreaties,
stratagems, and even violence, expended by the _impresario_ to make
Rossini work. I will give an example of it, which is highly characteristic
both of the manager and of the greatest and happiest, but most
_insouciant_ and idle, musical genius that ever drew breath under the
bright sky of Italy."

We are sorry to tantalize our readers, but we have not space for the story
that follows. It relates to the opera of _Othello_, which was composed by
Rossini in an incredibly short time, whilst a prisoner in an apartment of
Barbaja's house. For nearly six months had the composer been living vith
the manager, entertaining his friends at his well-spread table, drinking
his choicest wines, and occupying his best rooms--all this under promise
of producing a new opera within the half-year, a promise which he showed
little disposition to fulfil. Barbaja was in a fever of anxiety, and
finding remonstrance unavailing, had recourse to stratagem. One morning,
when Rossini was about to start on a party of pleasure, he found his doors
secured outside; and, on putting his head out of the window, was informed
by Barbaja that he must remain captive until his ransom was paid. The
ransom, of course, was the opera.

Rossini subsequently revenges himself on his tyrant in a very piquant
manner; and, finally, the morning after _Othello_ has been performed with
triumphant success, he starts for Bologna, taking with him, as travelling
companion, the _prima donna_ of the San Carlo theatre, Signora Colbran,
whom he had privately married. All this is related very amusingly by M.
Dumas, but at too great length for our limits.

We have a naval combat in the second volume, in which a French frigate is
attacked by two English line-of-battle ships, one of which she sinks, and
receives in return the entire point-blank broadside of the other, a
three-decker; which broadside, we in our ignorance of nautical matters,
should have thought sufficient to blow her either out of the water or
under it. It has not that effect, however, and the frigate is captured;
the captain of her, when he has hauled down his flag in order to save the
lives of his men, stepping into his cabin and blowing his brains out. All
this is very pretty, whatever may be said of its probability. But there
are two subjects on which the majority of Frenchmen indulge in most
singular delusions. These are, their invincibility upon the sea, and the
battle of Waterloo. M. Dumas has not escaped the national monomania.

Our author is very hard upon the poor English in this book. He attacks
them on all sides and with all weapons. Nelson and Lady Hamilton occupy a
prominent position in his pages. The execution of Admiral Carraciolo, an
undoubted blot on the character of our naval hero, is given in all its
details, and with some little decorations and embellishments, for which we
suspect that we have to thank our imaginative historian. Nelson's weakness,
the ascendency exercised over him by Lady Hamilton, or Emma Lyonna, as M.
Dumas prefers styling her, her intimacy with the Queen of Naples, and
subservient to the wishes and interests of the Neapolitan court, are all
set forth in the most glowing colours. This is the heavy artillery, the
round-shot and shell; but M. Dumas is too skilful a general to leave any
part of his forces unemployed, and does not omit to bring up his
sharpshooters, and open a pretty little fire of ridicule upon English
travellers in Italy, who, as it is well known, go thither to make the
fortunes of innkeepers and purchase antiquities manufactured in the
nineteenth century. Strange as it may appear, we should be heartily sorry
if M. Dumas were to exchange his evident dislike of us for a more kindly
feeling. We should then lose some of his best stories; for he is never
more rich and amusing than when he shows up the sons and daughters of _le
perfide Albion_. In support of our assertion, take the following sketch:--

"During my stay at Naples an Englishman arrived there, and took up his
quarters at the hotel at which I was stopping. He was one of those
phlegmatic, overbearing, obstinate Britons, who consider money the engine
with which every thing is to be moved and all things accomplished, the
argument in short which nothing can resist. Money was every thing in his
estimation of mankind; talent, fame, titles, mere feathers that kicked the
beam the moment a long rent-roll or inscription of three per cents were
placed in the opposite scale. In proportion as men were rich or poor, did
he esteem them much or little. Being very rich himself, he esteemed
himself much.

"He had come direct to Naples by steam, and during the voyage had made
this calculation: With money I shall say every thing, do every thing, and
have every thing I please. He had not long to wait to find out his mistake.
The steamer cast anchor in the port of Naples just half an hour too late
for the passengers to land. The Englishman, who had been very sea-sick,
and was particularly anxious to get on shore, sent to offer the captain of
the port a hundred guineas if he would let him land directly. The
quarantine laws of Naples are very strict; the captain of the port thought
the Englishman was mad, and only laughed at his offer. He was therefore
obliged to sleep on board in an excessively bad humour, cursing alike
those who made the regulations and those who enforced them.

"The first thing he did when he got on shore, was to set off to visit the
ruins of Pompeii. There happened to be no regular guide at hand, so he
took a lazzarone instead. He had not forgotten his disappointment of the
night before, and all the way to Pompeii he relieved his mind by abusing
King Ferdinand in the best Italian he could muster. The lazzarone, whom he
had taken into his carriage, took no notice of all this so long as they
were on the high-road. Lazzaroni, in general, meddle very little in
politics, and do not care how much you abuse king or kaiser so long as
nothing disrespectful is said of the Virgin Mary, St Januarius, or Mount
Vesuvius. On arriving, however, at the _Via dei Sepolchri_, the ragged
guide put his finger on his lips as a signal to be silent. But his
employer either did not understand the gesture, or considered it beneath
his dignity to take notice of it, for he continued his invectives against
Ferdinand the Well-beloved.

"'Pardon me, Eccellenza,' said the lazzarone at last, placing his hand
upon the side of the barouche, and jumping out as lightly as a harlequin.
'Pardon me, Eccellenza, but I must return to Naples.'

"'And why so?' inquired the other in his broken Italian.

"'Because I do not wish to be hung.'

"'And who would dare to hang you?'

"'The king.'

"'Why?'

"'Because you are speaking ill of him.'

"'An Englishman has a right to say whatever he likes.'

"'It may be so, but a lazzarone has not.'

"'But you have said nothing.'

"'But I hear everything.'

"'Who will tell what you hear?'

"'The invalid soldier who accompanies us to visit Pompeii.'

"'I do not want an invalid soldier.'

"'Then you cannot visit Pompeii.'

"'Not by paying?'

"'No.'

"'But I will pay double, treble, four times, whatever they ask.'

"'No, no, no.'

"'Oh!' said the Englishman, and he fell into a brown study, during which
the lazzarone amused himself by trying to jump over his own shadow.

"'I will take the invalid,' said the Englishman after a little reflection.

"'Very good,' replied the lazzarone, 'we will take him.'

"'But I shall say just what I please before him.'

"'In that case I wish you a good morning.'

"'No, no; you must remain.'

"'Allow me to give you a piece of advice then. If you want to say what you
please before the invalid, take a deaf one.'

"'Ooh!' cried the Englishman, delighted with the advice, 'by all means a
deaf one. Here is a piaster for you for having thought of it.' The
lazzarone ran to the guard-house, and soon returned with an old soldier
who was as deaf as a post.

"They began the usual round of the curiosities, during which the
Englishman continued calling King Ferdinand any thing but a gentleman, of
all which the invalid heard nothing, and the lazzarone took no notice.
They visited the Via dei Sepolchri, the houses of Diomedes and Cicero. At
last they came to Sallust's house, in one of the rooms of which was a
fresco that hit the Englishman's fancy exceedingly. He immediately sat
down, took a pencil and a blank book from his pocket, and began copying it.
He had scarcely made a stroke, however, when the soldier and the lazzarone
approached him. The former was going to speak, but the latter took the
words out of his mouth.

"'Eccellenza,' said he, 'it is forbidden to copy the fresco.'

"'Oh!' said the Englishman, 'I must make this copy. I will pay for it.'

"'It is not allowed, even if you pay.'

"'But I will pay ten times its value if necessary; I must copy it, it is
so funny.'

"'If you do, the invalid will put you in the guard-room.'

"'Pshaw! An Englishman has a right to draw any thing he likes.' And he
went on with his sketch. The invalid approached him with an inexorable
countenance.

"'Pardon me, Eccellenza,' said the lazzarone; 'but would you like to copy
not only this fresco, but as many more as you please?'

"'Certainly I should, and I will too.'

"'Then, let me give you a word of advice. Take a blind invalid.'

"'Ooh!' cried the Englishman, still more enchanted with this second hint
than with the first. 'By all means, a blind invalid. Here are two piasters
for the idea.'

"They left Sallust's house, the deaf man was paid and discharged, and the
lazzarone went to the guard-room, and brought back an invalid who was
stone-blind and led by a black poodle.

"The Englishman wished to return immediately to continue his drawing, but
the lazzarone persuaded him to delay it, in order to avoid exciting
suspicion. They continued their rambles, therefore, guided by the invalid,
or rather by his dog, who displayed a knowledge of Pompeii that might have
qualified him to become a member of the antiquarian society. After
visiting the blacksmith's shop, Fortunata's house, and the public oven,
they returned to the abode of Sallust, where the Englishman finished his
sketch, while the lazzarone chatted with the blind man, and kept him
amused. Continuing their lounge, he made a number of other drawings, and
in a couple of hours his book was half full.

"At last they arrived at a place where men were digging. There had been
discovered a number of small busts and statues, bronzes, and curiosities
of all kinds, which, as soon as they were dug up, were carried into a
neighbouring house, and had his attention speedily attracted by a little
statue of a satyr about six inches high. 'Oh!' cried he, 'I shall buy this
figure.'

"'The king of Naples does not wish to sell it,' replied the lazzarone.

"'I will give its weight in sovereigns--double its weight even.'

"'I tell you it is not to be sold,' persisted the lazzarone; 'but,' added
he, changing his tone, 'I have already given your excellence two pieces of
advice which you liked, I will now give you a third: Do not buy the
statue--steal it.'

"'Oh--oh! that will be very original, and we have a blind invalid too.
Capital!'

"'Yes, but the invalid has a dog, who has two good eyes and sixteen good
teeth, and who will fly at you if you so much as touch any thing with your
little finger.'

"'I'll buy the dog, and hang him.'

"'Do better still; take a lame invalid. Then, as you have seen nearly
every thing here, put the figure in your pocket and run away. He may call
out as much as he likes, he will not be able to run after you.'

"'Ooh!' cried the Englishman, in convulsions of delight, 'here are three
piasters for you. Fetch me a lame invalid.'

"And in order not to excite the suspicions of the blind man and his dog,
he left the house, and pretended to be examining a fountain made of
shell-work, while the lazzarone went for a third guide. In a quarter of an
hour he returned, accompanied by an invalid with two wooden legs. They
gave the blind man three carlini, two for him and one for his dog, and
sent him away.

"The theatre and the temple of Isis were all that now remained to be seen.
After visiting them, the Englishman, in the most careless tone he could
assume, said he should like to return to the house in which were deposited
the produce of the researches then making. The invalid, without the
slightest suspicion, conducted them thither, and they entered the
apartment in which the curiosities were arranged on shelves nailed against
the wall.

"While the Englishman lounged about, pretending to be examining every
thing with the greatest interest, the lazzarone busied himself in
fastening a stout string across the doorway, at the height of a couple of
feet from the ground. When he had done this, he made a sign to the
Englishman, who seized the little statue that he coveted from under the
very nose of the astounded invalid, put it into his pocket, and, jumping
over the string, ran off as hard as he could, accompanied by the lazzarone.
Darting through the Stabian gate, they found themselves on the Salerno
road--an empty hackney-coach was passing, the Englishman jumped in, and
had soon rejoined his carriage, which was waiting for him in Via dei
Sepolchri. Two hours after he had left Pompeii he was at Torre del Greco,
and in another hour at Naples.

"As to the invalid, he at first tried to step over the cord fastened
across the door, but the height at which the lazzarone had fixed it was
too great for wooden legs to accomplish. He then endeavoured to untie it,
but with no better success; for the lazzarone had fastened it in a knot
compared to which the one of Gordian celebrity would have appeared a mere
slip-knot. Finally, the old soldier, who had perhaps read of Alexander the
Great, determined to cut what he could not untie, and accordingly drew his
sword. But the sword in its best days had never had much edge, and now it
had none at all; so that the Englishman was halfway to Naples whilst the
invalid was still sawing away at his cord.

"The same evening the Englishman left Naples on board a steamboat, and the
lazzarone was lost in the crowd of his comrades; the six plasters he had
got from his employer enabling him to live in what a lazzarone considers
luxury for nearly as many months.

"The Englishman had been twelve hours at Naples, and had done the three
things that are most expressly forbidden to be done there. He had abused
the king, copied frescoes, and stolen a statue, and all owing, not to his
money, but to the ingenuity of a lazzarone."

The lazzarone is a godsend for M. Dumas, an admirable peg upon which to
hang his quaint conceit and sly satire; and he is accordingly frequently
introduced in the course of the three volumes. We must make room for one
more extract, in which he figures in conjunction with his friend the
sbirro or gendarme, who before being invested with a uniform, and armed
with carbine, pistols, and sabre, has frequently been a lazzarone himself,
and usually preserves the instincts and tastes of his former station. The
result of this is a coalition between the lazzarone and the
sbirro--law-breaker and law-preserver uniting in a systematic attack upon
the pockets of the public.

"I was one day passing down the Toledo, when I saw a sbirro arrested. Like
La Fontaine's huntsman, he had been insatiable, and his greediness brought
its own punishment. This is what had happened.

"A sbirro had caught a lazzarone in the fact.

"'What did you steal from that gentleman in black, who just went by?' he
demanded he.

"'Nothing, your excellency,' replied the lazzarone. A lazzarone always
addresses a sbirro as _eccellenza_.

"'I saw your hand in his pocket.'

"'His pocket was empty.'

"'What! Not a purse, a snuff-box, a handkerchief?'

"'Nothing, please your excellency. It was an author.'

"'Why do you go to those sort of people?'

"'I found out my mistake too late.'

"'Come along with me to the police-office.'

"'But, your excellency--since I have stolen nothing?'

"'Idiot, that's the very reason. If you _had_ stolen something, we might
have arranged matters.'

"'Only wait till next time. I shall not always be so unfortunate. I
promise you the contents of the pocket of the next person who passes.'

"'Very good; but I will select the individual, or else you will be making
a bad choice again.'

"'As your excellency pleases.'

"The sbirro folded his arms in a most dignified manner, and leaned his
back against a post; the lazzarone stretched himself on the pavement at
his feet. A priest came by, then a lawyer, then a poet; but the sbirro
made no sign. At last there appeared a young officer, dressed in brilliant
uniform, who passed gaily along, humming between his teeth a tune out of
the last opera. The sbirro gave the signal. Up sprang the lazzarone and
followed the officer. Both disappeared round a corner. Presently the
lazzarone returned with his ransom in his hand.

"'What have you got there?' said the sbirro.

"'A handkerchief,' replied the other.

"'Is that all?'

"'That all! It is of the finest cambric.'

"'Had he only one?'[11]

    [11] At Naples, it is customary to carry two handkerchiefs, one of
    silk, and the other of cambric; the latter being used to wipe the
    forehead.

"'Only one in that pocket.'

"'And in the other?'

"'In the other he had a silk handkerchief.'

"'Why didn't you bring it?'

"'I keep that for myself, excellency. It is fair that we should divide the
profits. One pocket for you, the other for me.'

"'I have a right to both, and I must have the silk handkerchief.'

"'But, your excelleilcy'----

"'I must have the silk handkerchief.'

"'It is an injustice.'

"'Ha! Do you dare speak ill of his majesty's sbirri? Come along to prison.'

"'You shall have the silk handkerchief, your excellency.'

"'How will you find the officer again?'

"'He is gone to pay a visit in the Strada de Foria. I will go and wait for
him at the door.'

"The lazzarone walked away, turned the corner of the street, and
established himself in the recess of a doorway. Presently the young
officer came out of a house opposite, and before he had gone ten paces,
put his hand in his pocket, and found he was minus a handkerchief.

"'Pardon me, excellency,' said the lazzarone, stepping up to him; 'you
have lost something, I think?'

"'I have lost a cambric handkerchief.'

"'Your excellency has not lost it; it has been stolen from him.'

"'And who stole it?'

"'What will your excellency give me if I find him the thief?'

"'I will give you a piastre.'

"'I must have two.'

"'You shall. Hallo! What are you doing?'

"'I am stealing your silk handkerchief.'

"'In order to find my cambric one?'

"'Yes.'

"'And where will both of them be?'

"'In the same pocket. The person to whom I shall give this handkerchief is
the same to whom I have already given the other. Follow me, and observe
what I do.'

"The officer followed the lazzarone, who gave the handkerchief to the
sbirro, and walked away. The latter had hardly put his prize in his pocket
when the officer came up and seized him by the collar. The sbirro fell on
his knees, but the officer was inexorable, and he was sent to prison. As
the sbirro had himself been a lazzarone, he saw at once the trick that had
been played him. He wanted to cheat his confederate, and his confederate
had cheated him; but far from bearing him malice for having done so, the
sbirro views the conduct of the lazzarone in the light of an exploit, and
feels an additional respect for him in consequence. When he is released
from prison, he will seek him out, and they will be hand and glove
together. When that time comes, look to your pockets."

We are introduced to Ferdinand IV. of Naples, King Nasone, as the
lazzaroni nicknamed him; also to Padre Rocco, a popular preacher, and the
idol of the lower classes of Neapolitans; and to Cardinal Perelli,
remarkable for his simplicity, which quality, as may be supposed, loses
nothing in passing through the hands of his present biographer. With his
usual skill, M. Dumas glides from a ticklish story of which the cardinal
is the hero, (a story that he does _not_ tell, for which forbearance we
give him due credit, since he is evidently sorely tempted thereto,) to an
account of the Vardarelli, a band of outlaws which for some time infested
Calabria and the Capitanato.

"Gaetano Vardarelli was a native of Calabria, and one of the earliest
members of the revolutionary society of the Carbonari. When Murat, after
for some time favouring that society, began to persecute it, Vardarelli
fled to Sicily, and took service under King Ferdinand. He was then
twenty-six years of age, possessing the muscles and courage of a lion, the
agility of a chamois, the eye of an eagle. Such a recruit was not to be
despised, and he was made sergeant in the Sicilian guards. On Ferdinand's
restoration in 1815, he followed him to Naples; but finding that he was
not likely ever to rise above a very subordinate grade, he became
disgusted with the service, deserted, and took refuge in the mountains of
Calabria. There two of his brothers, and some thirty brigands and outlaws,
assembled around him and elected him their chief, with right of life and
death over them. He had been a slave in the town; he found himself a king
in the mountains.

"Proceeding according to the old formula observed by banditti chiefs both
in Calabria and in melodramas, Vardarelli proclaimed himself redresser
general of wrongs and grievances, and acted up to his profession by
robbing the rich and assisting the poor. The consequence was, that he soon
became exceedingly dreaded by the former, and exceedingly popular among
the latter class; and at last his exploits reached the ears of King
Ferdinand himself, who was highly indignant at such goings on, and gave
orders that the bandit should immediately be hung. But there are three
things necessary to hang a man--a rope, a gallows, and the man himself. In
this instance, the first two were easily found, but the third was
unfortunately wanting. Gendarmes and soldiers were sent after Vardarelli,
but the latter was too cunning for them all, and slipped through their
fingers at every turn. His success in eluding pursuit increased his
reputation, and recruits flocked to his standard. His band soon doubled
its numbers, and its leader became a formidable and important person,
which of course was an additional reason for the authorities to wish to
capture him. A price was set on his head, large bodies of troops sent in
search of him, but all in vain. One day the Prince of Leperano, Colonel
Calcedonio, Major Delponte, with a dozen other officers, and a score of
attendants, were hunting in a forest a few leagues from Bari, when the cry
of '_Vardarelli_!' was suddenly heard. The party took to flight with the
utmost precipitation, and all escaped except Major Delponte, who was one
of the bravest, but, at the same time, one of the poorest, officers of the
whole army. When he was told that he must pay a thousand ducats for his
ransom, he only laughed, and asked where he was to get such a sum.
Vardarelli then threatened to shoot him if it was not forthcoming by a
certain day. The major replied that it was losing time to wait; and that,
if he had a piece of advice to give his captor, it was to shoot him at
once. The bandit at first felt half inclined to do so; but he reflected
that the less Delponte cared about his life, the more ought Ferdinand to
value it. He was right in his calculation; for no sooner did the king
learn that his brave major was in the hands of the banditti, than he
ordered the ransom to be paid out of his privy purse, and the major
recovered his freedom.

"But Ferdinand had sworn the extermination of the banditti with whom he
was thus obliged to treat as from one potentate to another. A certain
colonel, whose name I forget, and who had heard this vow, pledged himself,
if a battalion were put under his command, to bring in Vardarelli, his two
brothers, and the sixty men composing his troop, bound hand and foot, and
to place them in the dungeons of the Vicaria. The offer was too good to be
refused; the minister of war put five hundred men at the disposal of the
colonel, who started with them at once in pursuit of the outlaw. The
latter was soon informed by his spies of this fresh expedition, and _he_
also made a vow, to the effect that he would cure his pursuer, once and
for all, of any disposition to interfere with the Vardarelli.

"He began by leading the poor colonel such a dance over hill and dale,
that the unfortunate officer and his men were worn out with fatigue; then,
when he saw them in the state that he wished, he caused some false
intelligence to be conveyed to them at two o'clock one morning. The
colonel fell into the snare, and started immediately to surprise
Vardarelli, whom he was assured was in a little village at the further
extremity of a narrow pass, through which only four men could pass abreast.
He made such haste that he marched four leagues in two hours, and at
daybreak found himself at the entrance of the pass, which, however, seemed
so peculiarly well adapted for an ambuscade, that he halted his battalion,
and sent on twenty men to reconnoitre. In a quarter of an hour the twenty
men returned. They had not met a single living thing. The colonel
hesitated no longer, and entered the defile; but, on reaching a spot about
halfway through it, where the road widened out into a sort of platform
surrounded by high rocks and steep precipices, a shout was suddenly heard,
proceeding apparently from the clouds, and the poor colonel looking up,
saw the summits of the rocks covered with brigands, who levelled their
rifles at him and his soldiers. Nevertheless, he began forming up his men
as well as the nature of the ground would permit, when Vardarelli himself
appeared upon a projecting crag. 'Down with your arms, or you are dead
men!' he shouted in a voice of thunder. The bandits repeated his summons,
and the echoes repeated their voices, so that the troops, who had not made
the same vow as their colonel, and who thought themselves surrounded by
greatly superior numbers, cried out for quarter, in spite of the
entreaties and menaces of their unfortunate commander. Then Vardarelli,
without leaving his position, ordered them to pile their arms, and march
to two different places which he pointed out to them. They obeyed; and
Vardarelli, leaving twenty of his men in their ambush, came down with the
remainder, who immediately proceeded to render the Neapolitan muskets
useless (for the moment at least) by the same process which Gulliver
employed to extinguish the conflagration of the palace at Lilliput.

"The news of this affair put the king in very bad humour for the first
twenty-four hours; after which time, however, the love of a joke
overcoming his anger, he laughed heartily, and told the story to every one
he saw; and as there are always lots of listeners when a king narrates,
three years elapsed before the poor colonel ventured to show his face at
Naples and encounter the ridicule of the court."

The general commanding in Calabria takes the matter rather more seriously,
and vows the destruction of the banditti. By offers of large pay and
privileges, they are induced to enter the Neapolitan service, and prove
highly efficient as a troop of gendarmes. But the general cannot forget
his old grudge against them; although, for lack of an opportunity, and on
account of the desperate character of the men, he is obliged to defer his
revenge for some time. At last he succeeds in having their leaders
assassinated, and by pretending great indignation, and imprisoning the
perpetrators of the deed, he lulls the suspicions of the remaining bandits,
who elect new officers, and on an appointed day, proceed to the town of
Foggia to have their election confirmed. Only eight of them, apprehensive
of treachery, refuse to accompany their comrades. The remaining thirty-one,
and a woman who would not leave her husband, obey the general's summons.

"It was a Sunday, the review had been publicly announced, and the square
was thronged with spectators. The Vardarelli entered the town in perfect
order, armed to the very teeth, but giving no sign of hostility or
mistrust. On reaching the square, they raised their sabres, and with one
voice exclaimed--'_Viva il Re_!' The general appeared on his balcony to
acknowledge their salute. The aide-de-camp on duty came down to receive
them, and after complimenting them on the beauty of their horses and good
state of their arms, desired them to file past under the general's window,
which they did with a precision worthy of regular troops. They then formed
up again in the middle of the square, and dismounted.

"The aide-de-camp went into the house again with the list of the three new
officers; the Vardarelli were standing by their horses, when suddenly
there was a great confusion and movement in the crowd, which opened in
various places, and down every street leading to the square, a column of
Neapolitan troops was seen advancing. The Vardarelli were surrounded on
all sides. Perceiving at once that they were betrayed, they sprang upon
their horses and drew their sabres; but at the same moment the general
took off his hat, which was the signal agreed upon; the command, '_Faccia
in terra_,' was heard, and the spectators, throwing themselves on their
faces, the soldiers fired over them, and nine of the brigands fell to the
ground, dead or mortally wounded. Those who were unhurt, seeing that they
had no quarter to expect, dismounted, and forming a compact body, fought
their way to an old castle in which they took refuge. Two only, trusting
to the speed of their horses, charged the group of soldiers that appeared
the least numerous, shot down two of them, and succeeded in breaking
through the others and escaping. The woman owed her life to a similar
piece of daring, effected, however, on another point of the enemy's line.
She broke through, and galloped off, after having discharged both her
pistols with fatal effect.

"The attention of all was now turned to the remaining twenty Vardarelli,
who had taken refuge in the ruined castle. The soldiers advanced against
them, encouraging one another, and expecting to encounter an obstinate
resistance; but, to their surprise, they reached the gate of the castle
without a shot being fired at them. The gate was soon beaten in, and the
soldiers spread themselves through the halls and galleries of the old
building. But all was silence and solitude; the bandits had disappeared.

"After an hour passed in rummaging every corner of the place, the
assailants were going away in despair, convinced that their prey had
escaped them; when a soldier, who was stooping down to look through the
air-hole of a cellar, fell, shot through the body.

"The Vardarelli were discovered; but still it was no easy matter to get at
them. Instead of losing men by a direct attack, the soldiers blocked up
the air-hole with stones, set a guard over it, and then going round to the
door of the cellar, which was barricadoed on the inner side, they heaped
lighted fagots and combustibles against it, so that the staircase was soon
one immense furnace. After a time the door gave way, and the fire poured
like a torrent into the retreat of the unfortunate bandits. Still a
profound silence reigned in the vault. Presently two carbine shots were
fired; two brothers, determined not to fall alive into the hands of their
enemies, had shot each other to death. A moment afterwards an explosion
was heard; a bandit had thrown himself into the flames, and his cartridge
box had blown up. At last the remainder of the unfortunate men being
nearly suffocated, and seeing that escape was impossible, surrendered at
discretion, were dragged through the air-hole, and immediately bound hand
and foot, and conveyed to prison.

"As to the eight who had refused to come to Foggia, and the two who had
escaped, they were hunted down like wild beasts, tracked from cavern to
cavern, and from forest to forest. Some were shot, others betrayed by the
peasantry, some gave themselves up, so that, before the year was out, all
the Vardarelli were dead or prisoners. The woman who had displayed such
masculine courage, was the only one who finally escaped. She was never
heard of afterwards."

M. Dumas finds that the climate of Naples, delightful as it is, has
nevertheless its little drawbacks and disadvantages. He returns one night
from an excursion in the environs, and has scarcely got into bed, when he
is almost blown out of it again by a tornado of tropical violence.

"At midnight, when we returned to Naples, the weather was perfect, the sky
cloudless, the sea without a ripple. At three in the morning I was
awakened by the windows of my room bursting open, their eighteen panes of
glass falling upon the floor with a frightful clatter. I jumped out of bed,
and felt that the house was shaking. I thought of Pliny the Elder, and
having no desire for a similar fate, I hastily pulled on my clothes and
hurried out into the corridor. My first impulse had apparently been that
of all the inmates of the hotel, who were all standing, more or less
dressed, at the doors of their apartments; amongst others, Jadin, who made
his appearance with a phosphorus box in his hand, and his dog Milord at
his heels. 'What a terrible draught in the house!' said he to me. This
same draught, as he called it, had just carried off the roof of the Prince
of San Feodoro's palace, including the garrets and several servants who
were sleeping in them.

"My first thought had been of an eruption of Vesuvius, but there was no
such luck for us; it was merely a hurricane. A hurricane at Naples,
however, is rather different from the same thing in any other European
country.

"Out of the seventy windows of the hotel, three only had escaped damage.
The ceilings of seven or eight rooms were rent across. There was a crack
extending from top to bottom of the house. Eight shutters had been carried
away, and the servants were running down the street after them, just as
one runs after one's hat on a windy day. The broken glass was swept away;
as for sending for glaziers to mend the windows, it was out of the
question. At Naples nobody thinks of disturbing himself at three in the
morning. Besides, even had new panes been put in, they would soon have
shared the fate of the old ones. We were obliged, therefore, to manage as
well as we could with the shutters. I was tolerably lucky, for I had only
lost one of mine. I went to bed again, and tried to sleep; but a storm of
thunder and lightning soon rendered that impossible, and I took refuge on
the ground-floor, where the wind had done less damage. Then began one of
those storms of which we have no idea in the more northern parts of Europe.
It was accompanied by a deluge such as I had never witnessed, except
perhaps in Calabria. In an instant the Villa Reale appeared to be a part
of the sea; the water came up to the windows of the ground-floor, and
flooded the parlours. A minute afterwards, the servants came to tell M.
Zill that his cellars were full, and his casks of wine floating about and
staving one another. Presently we saw a jackass laden with vegetables come
swimming down the street, carried along by the current. He was swept away
into a large open drain, and disappeared. The peasant who owned him, and
who had also been carried away, only saved himself from a like fate by
clinging to a lamp-post. In one hour there fell more water than there
falls in Paris during the two wettest months in the year.

"Two hours after the cessation of the rain, the water had disappeared, and
I then perceived the use of this kind of deluge. The streets were clean;
which they never are in Naples except after a flood of this sort."

One short anecdote, and we have done. After a long account of St Januarius,
including the well-known miracle of the liquefaction of his blood, and
some amusing illustrations of his immense popularity with the Neapolitans,
M. Dumas, in two pithy lines, gives us the length, breadth, and thickness
of a lazzarone's religion.

"I was one day in a church at Naples," he says, "and I heard a lazzarone
praying aloud. He entreated God to intercede with St Januarius to make him
win in the lottery."

On the whole, we think this one of the most amusing of M. Dumas's works,
very light and sketchy, as is evident from our extracts; but at the same
time giving a great deal of information concerning Naples, its environs,
inhabitants, and customs, of much interest, and calculated to be highly
useful to the traveller. It is also very free from a fault with which we
taxed its author in a former paper, and we can scarcely call to mind a
single line which it would be necessary to expunge, in order to render it
fit reading for the most fastidious. As far as we ourselves are concerned,
we heartily wish M. Dumas would travel over all the kingdoms of the earth,
and write a book about each of them; and if he is as good company in a
post-chaise as his books are at the chimney-corner, there are few things
we should like better than to accompany him on his pilgrimage.

       *       *       *       *       *



MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN.

PART IX.


  "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
  Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
  Rage like an 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?"

        SHAKSPEARE.


The market-place was lighted up, and filled with dragoons. Leaving my
hulans under cover of a dark street, and riding forward to reconnoitre, I
saw with astonishment the utter carelessness with which they abandoned
themselves to their indulgences in the midst of an irritated population.
Some were drinking on horseback; some had thrown themselves on the benches
of the market, and were evidently intoxicated. The people stood at the
corners of the streets looking on, palpably in terror, yet as palpably
indignant at the outrage of the military. From the excessive blaze in some
of the windows, and the shrieks of females, I could perceive that plunder
was going on, and that the intention was, after having ransacked the place,
to set it on fire. Yet a strong body of cavalry mounted in the middle of
the square, and keeping guard round a waggon on which a guillotine had
been already erected, still made me feel that an attack would be hopeless.
I soon saw a rush of the people from one of the side streets; a couple of
dragoon helmets were visible above the crowd; and three or four carts
followed, filled with young females in white robes and flowers, as if
dressed for a ball. I gazed intently, to ascertain the meaning of this
strange and melancholy spectacle. At this moment I felt my horse's bridle
pulled, and saw the old noble at his head. "Now or never!" he cried, in a
voice almost choked with emotion. "Those are destined for the guillotine.
Barbarians! brigands!--they will murder my Amalia." He sank before me.
"What! is this an execution?" I exclaimed. His answer was scarcely above a
whisper, for he seemed fainting. "The villains have been sent," said he,
"to burn the town; they have seized those children of our best families,
compelled them to dress as they were dressed for the Prussian ball, and
are now about to murder them by their accursed guillotine." Pointing to
one lovely girl, who, pale as death, stood in the foremost of those
vehicles of death, he exclaimed "Amalia! O, my Amalia!" The cart was
already within a few feet of the scaffold when I gave the word to my
troopers. The brave fellows answered my "Forward!" with a shout, charged
sabre in hand, and in an instant had thrown themselves between the victims
and the scaffold. Their escort, taken completely by surprise, was broken
at the first shock; we dashed without loss of time on the squadrons
scattered round the market, and swept it clear of them. Surprised,
intoxicated, and unacquainted with our force--which they probably thought
to be the advance of the whole Prussian cavalry--after having lost many
men, for the peasantry showed no mercy on the dismounted, the regiment
turned at full gallop to the open country. The townspeople now performed
their part. The victims were hurried away by their families, among a storm
of lamentations and rejoicings, tears and kisses. The old noble's daughter,
half dead, was carried off in her father's arms, with a thousand
benedictions on me. The guillotine was hewn down with a hundred axes, and
I saw the fragments burning in the square. Its waggon was made to serve
its country as a portion of a barricade; and with every vehicle, wheeled
or unwheeled, which could be rolled out, the entrance to the streets was
fortified with the national rapidity in any deed, good or ill, under the
stars.

After having appeased our hunger and that of our famishing horses, and
being offered all the purses, which the French dragoons, however, had
lightened nearly to the last coin, we finished the exploit by a general
chant in honour of the ladies, and marched on our route, followed by the
prayers of the whole community. This ended the only productive skirmish of
the retreat. It fed us, broke the monotony of the march, and gave us
something to talk of--and the soldier asks but little more. A gallant
action had certainly been done; not the less gallant for its being a
humane one; and even my bold hulans gave me credit for being a "smart
officer," a title of no slight value in their dashing service.

Yet what, as the poet Saadi says, is fortune but a peacock "a showy tail
on a frightful pair of legs?" Our triumph was to be followed by a reverse.
The burgundy and champagne of the old count's cellar had made us festive,
and our voices were heard along the road with a gaiety imprudent in a
hostile land. The sound of a trumpet in our front brought us to our senses
and a dead stand. But we were in a vein of heroism and instead of taking
to our old hussar habits, and slipping round the enemy's flanks, we
determined to cut our way through them, if they had the whole cavalry of
France as their _appui_. The word was given, and the spur carried us
through a strong line of cavalry posted across the road. The moon had just
risen enough to show that there was a still stronger line a few hundred
yards beyond, which it would be folly to touch. There was now no resource
but to return as we went, which we did at full speed, and again broke up
our antagonists. But again we saw squadron after squadron blocking up the
road. All was now desperate. But Frederick's law of arms was well
known--"the officer of cavalry who _waits to be charged_, must be broke."
We made a plunge at our living circumvallation; but the French dragoons
had now learned common sense--they opened for us--and when we were once
fairly in, enveloped us completely; it was then a troop to a brigade;
fifty jaded men and horses to fifteen hundred fresh from camp. What
happened further I know not. I saw for a minute or two a great deal of
pistol firing and a great deal of sabre clashing; I felt my horse stagger
under me, at the moment when I aimed a blow at a gigantic fellow covered
all over with helmet and mustache; a pistol exploded close at my ear as I
was going down, and I heard no more.

On opening my eyes again, I found the scene strangely altered. I was lying
in a little chamber hung round with Parisian ornament--a sufficient
contrast to a sky dark as pitch, or only illumined by carbines and the
sparkles of sabres delving at each other. I was lying on an embroidered
sofa--an equally strong contrast to my position under the bodies of fallen
men and the heels of kicking horses. A showy Turkish cloak, or _robe de
chambre_, had superseded my laced jacket, purple pantaloons, and hussar
boots. I was completely altered as a warrior; and, from a glimpse which I
cast on a mirror, surrounded with gilt nymphs and swains enough to have
furnished a ballet, I saw in my haggard countenance, and a wound, which a
riband but half concealed, across my forehead, that I was not less altered
as a man.

All round me looked so perfectly like the scenes with which I had been
familiar in my romance-reading days, that, bruised and feeble as I was, I
almost expected to find my pillow attended by some of those slight figures
in long white drapery with blue eyes, which of old ministered to so many
ill-used knights and exhausted pilgrims. But my reveries were broken up by
a rough voice in the outer chamber insisting on an entrance into mine, and
replied to by a weak and garrulous female one, refusing the admission. The
dialogue was something of this order--

"Strong or weak, well or ill, able or not able, I must send him, before
twelve o'clock this night, to Paris."

"But the poor gentleman's wounds are still unhealed."

"Still he must set out. The '_malle poste_' will be at the door; and, if
he had fifty wounds on him, he must go. The marquis is halfway to Paris by
this time; perhaps more than halfway to the guillotine."

This was followed by a burst of sobs and broken exclamtions from the
female, whom I discovered, by her sorrowing confessions, to have been a
nurse in the family.

"Well," was the ruffian's reply; "women of all ages are fools: what is it
to you whether this young fellow is shot or hanged? He was taken in arms
against the Republic--one and indivisible. All the enemies of France must
perish!"

The old woman now partially opened the door, to see whether I slept; and I
closed my eyes, for the purpose of hearing all that was to be heard
without interruption. The speaker, whom I alternately took for the
_gendarme_ of the district, and the executioner, gave went to his swelling
soul in the national style.

"What! leave _me_! leave Jean Jacques Louis Gilet in charge of this
wretched aristocrat, while I should be marching with my battalion, and at
its head too, if merit meets its reward, to sweep the foes of the Republic
from the face of the earth. No; I shall not remain in this paltry place,
solicitor of a village, when I ought to be on the highest seat of
justice--or playing the part of arresting aristocrats, when I might be
commandant of a brigade, marching over the bodies of the crowned tyrants
of the earth to glory!"

As his harangue glowed, his pace quickened, and his voice grew more
vehement; at length, probably impatient of the time which lay between him
and the first offices of the Republic, he overpowered the resistance of
the nurse, and rushed into the chamber. Throwng himself into a theatrical
attitude before a mirror--for what Frenchman ever passes one without a
glance of happy recognition?--"Rise, aristocrat!" he cried, in the tone of
Talma calling up the shade of Caesar. "Rise, and account to the world for
your crimes against the liberty of man!"

I looked with such surprise on this champion of the sons of Adam--a little
meagre creature, who seemed to be shaped on the model of one of his own
pens, stripped, withered, and ink-dried--that I actually burst into
laughter. His indignation rose, and, pulling out a pistol with one hand,
and a roll of paper from his bosom with the other, he presented them
together. I perceived, as I lay on my pillow, that the pistol was without
a lock, and thus was comforted; but the paper was of a more formidable
description. It was the famous decree of "Fraternization," by which France
pronounced the fall of her own monarchy, declared "that she would grant
succour to every people who wished to recover their liberty," and
commanded her generals "to aid all such, and to defend all citizens who
might be troubled in the cause of freedom."

This paper indeed startled me; it was the consummation which I had dreaded
so long. I saw at once that France, in those wild words, had declared war
against every throne in Europe, and that we were now beginning the era of
struggle and suffering which Mordecai's strong sense had predicted, and of
which no human sagacity could foresee the end. My countenance probably
showed the impression which this European anathema had made upon me; for
Monsieur Gilet became more heroic than ever, tore his grizzled curls,
throwing aside his pistol, which he had at length discovered to be _hors
de combat_, and drawing the falchion which clattered at his heels, and was
nearly as long as himself, flourished it in quick march backward and
forward before the mirror--that mirror never forgotten!--in all the
whirlwind of his rage, and panted for the conquest of "perfidious Albion,"
the "traitor" Pitt, and the whole brood of hoary power. I was too feeble
to turn him out of the room, and too contemptuous to reply. But his
overthrow was not the further off. The old nurse, who, old as she was,
still retained some of the sinews and all the irritability of a stout
Champenoise peasant, roused by his insults to the aristocracy, one of whom
she probably regarded herself, from having lived so long under their roof,
watched her opportunity, made a spring at him like a wild-cat, wrested the
sabre from his hand, and, grasping the struggling and screaming little
functionary in her strong arms, carried him like a child out of the room.

She then returned, and having locked the door to prevent his second inroad,
sat down by the side of my couch, and, with the usual passion of women
after strong excitement, burst into exclamations and tears. What I could
collect from her broken narrative, was little more than the commonplace of
national misery in that fearful time. She had been a servant in the family
of the nobleman whose daughter I had saved from death. She had been the
nurse of the young countess; and all the blessings that sorrow and
gratitude ever gathered together, could not be exceeded by the praises
which she poured upon my head. It had been rumoured in the town that I was
attacked and killed by a body of cavalry sent to revenge the rout of their
comrades. And the Marquis Lanfranc--I now first learned the name of my
noble entertainer--had gone forth to look for my remains in the field. I
was found still breathing, and to avoid further danger was carried to this
dwelling, a hunting-lodge in the heart of the forest; there I had been
attended by the family physician only, and, after a week of insensibility,
had given signs of recovery. The marquis's humanity had brought evil on
himself. His visits to the lodge had been remarked, and on this very
morning he had been arrested, and conveyed with his daughter, in a
carriage escorted by _gendarmes_ to the capital. My detection followed of
course; papers found on my person had proved that I was an agent of
England; and the officious M. Gilet had spent the morning in exhibiting to
the peasantry of the neighbourhood the order of the "Committee of Public
Safety," a name which froze the blood, to take me under his charge, and
conduct me forthwith to their tribunal. I tell all this in my own way; for
the dame's sighs, sobs, and vehement indignation, would have defied all
record.

My prospect was now black enough, for justice was a word unheard of in the
present condition of things; and my plea of being an Englishman, and in
the civil service of my country, would have been a death-warrant. I must
acknowledge, too, that I had fairly thrown it away by my adoption of the
Prussian sabre. I might well be now in low spirits; for the guillotine was
crushing out life at that moment in every province of France, and the
thirst of public curiosity was to be fed by nothing but blood. Yet, even
in that moment, let me give myself credit for the recollection, my first
enquiry was for the fate of my squadron. The old woman could tell me but
little on the subject; but that little was consolatory. The French
troopers, who had come back triumphing into the town, had not brought any
Prussian prisoners: two or three foreigners, who had lost their horses,
were sheltered in her master's stables until they could make their escape;
and of them she had heard no more. The truth is, that nothing is more
difficult in war than to catch a hussar who understands his business; and
the probability was, that the chief part of them had slipped away, leaving
the French to sabre each other in the dark. The fall of my horse had
brought me down, otherwise I might have escaped the shot which stunned me,
and been at that hour galloping to Berlin.

Monsieur Gilet, with some of the civic authorities, paid me a second visit
in the evening, to prepare me for my journey. To me it was become
indifferent whether I died in the carriage or by the edge of the
guillotine; the journey was short in either case, and the shorter and
sooner the better. I answered none of their interrogatories; told them I
was at their disposal; directed the old woman to pack up whatever
travelling matters remained to me, and to remember me to her master and
mistress, if she ever should see them in this world; shook her strong old
hand, and bade God bless her. In return, she kissed me on both cheeks,
whispered a thousand benedictions, and left the room violently sobbing;
yet with a parting glance at Monsieur Gilet and his _collaborateurs_, so
mingled of wrath and ridicule, that it was beyond all my deciphering.

  "Time and the hour run through the longest day,"

says the great poet; and, with the coming of midnight, a _chaise de poste_
drew up at the door. As I was a prisoner of importance, M. Gilet was not
suffered to take all the honour of my introduction to the axe on himself;
and the mayor and deputy-mayor of the district insisted on this
opportunity of making themselves known to the supreme Republic. They
mounted the box in front, a couple of gendarmes sat behind, M. Gilet took
his seat at my side, and, with an infinite cracking of whips, we rushed
out upon the causeway.

I soon discovered that my companion was by no means satisfied with
existing circumstances. The officiousness of the pair of mayors
prodigiously displeased him. He broke forth--

"See these two beggars," he exclaimed, "pretending to patriotism! They
have no energy, no courage, no civism. Why, _you_ might have remained for
a twelvemonth under their very nostrils before they would have found you
out. Gilet is the man for the service of his country." Merely to stop the
torrent of his complainings, I asked him some vague questions relative to
the nobleman whom I was now following to Paris. But the patriot was not to
be moved from his topic.

"Hah! Citizen Lanfranc. All is over with him. He once held his head high
enough, but it will soon be as low as ever it was high. Yet I could have
forgiven his aristocracy, if he had not put these two 'chiens' above me."

The position in which the mayor and his deputy sat, on the box of the
chaise, continually presenting them to the eye of my companion, kept his
choler peculiarly active.

"One of these fellows," he exclaimed, "was the Marquis's cook, another his
perruquier! _I_ was his tailor. Every man of taste and talent knows the
superiority of _my_ profession; for what is the first of noblemen without
elegance of costume, or what indeed would man himself be without my art,
the noblest and the earliest art of mankind? And yet he made these two
'brigands' mayor and deputy--_peste_! I did my duty. I denounced him on
the spot. I did more. The aristocrat had a faction in the town. It was
filled with his dependents. In fact, it had been built on his grounds, and
tenanted by the old hangers-on of the family. So, to make a clear stage, I
denounced the town." He clapped his hands with exultation at this civic
triumph.

My recollection of the miseries which his malice had caused roused me into
wrath, and, rash as the act was, I grasped him by the collar, with the
full intent of throwing the little writhing wretch out of the window; but,
while I was lifting him from the seat to which he clung screaming for help,
and had already forced him halfway outside, a shot whistled close by the
head of the postilion, which brought him to a full stop. "Mon
Dieu!--Brigands!" exclaimed Monsieur Gilet; and, dropping back into the
carriage, attempted to make a screen of my body by slipping his adroitly
behind me. Two or three more discharges rattled through the trees,
followed by a rush of peasants, who unceremoniously knocked down the two
officials in front, and began a general scuffle with the gendarmes. The
night was so dark, that I could discover nothing of the _mêlée_ but by the
blaze of the fusils. All, however, was quiet in a few moments, by the
disappearance of the gendarmes, and the complete capture of the convoy--M.
Gilet, mayors, and all. Whether we had fallen into the hands of highwaymen,
or of stragglers from the French army, was doubtful for a while, as not a
syllable was spoken, nor a sound uttered, except by the unhappy
functionaries, who grumbled prodigiously as they were dragged along
through "rough and smooth, moss and mire," and whose pace was evidently
quickened by many a kick and blow of the fusil. This was a rude march for
me, too, with my unhealed wound, and my week's sojourn in bed; but I was
treated, if not with tenderness, without incivility, while my _compagnons
de voyage_ were insulted with every contemptuous phrase in a vocabulary at
least as rich in those matters as any other in Europe. At length, after
about an hour's rapid movement, we reached an open ground, and the door of
one of the wide, old, staring, yet not uncomfortable farmhouses which are
to be found in the northern provinces of France.

Signs of comfort within were visible even at a distance, and the light of
a huge wood fire had been seen for the last quarter of an hour gleaming
through the woods, and leaving us in doubt whether we were approaching a
horde of gipsies, or about to realize the classic scenes of Gil Blas.


But it was only a farm-house after all. The good dame of the house, with
an enormous cap, enormous petticoats, enormous earrings, and all the
glaring good-humour of a countenance of domestic plenty and power, came to
meet us on the threshold; and her reception of me was ardent, to the very
verge of stranglulation. Nothing could exceed her rapture at the sight of
me, or the fierceness of her embraces, except her indignation at the sight
of my traveling companions. Her disgust at the mayor and his deputy--and
certainly after their night trip they were not figures to charm the
eye--was pitched in the highest key of scorn, so as to be surpassed only
by the torrent of contempt which her well-practised elocution poured upon
the "_traître tailleur._" I really believe, that, if she could have
boiled him in the huge soup-kettle which bubbled upon the fire, without
spoiling our supper, she would have flung him in upon the spot. The
peasants who had captured us--bold, tall fellows, well dressed and well
armed with cutlass and fusil, in the style of the
_gardes-de-chasse_--could scarcely be kept from taking them out to the
next tree, to make marks of them; and it was probably by my intercession
alone that they were consigned to an outer house for the night. How the
scene was to end with me, I knew not; though the jovial visage of my
protectress showed me that I was secure. But the prisoners had no sooner
been flung out of the door than I was ushered into an inner room, prepared
with somewhat more of attention; where, to my great surprise and delight,
the Marquis Lanfranc came forward to shake my hand, and, with a thousand
expressions of gratitude, made me known to his daughter. The adventure was
of the simplest order. The arrest of the Marquis was, of course, known in
an instant, and a party of his foresters had immediately determined to
take the law into their own hands--had posted themselves on the road by
which his carriage was to pass, and had released him without difficulty.
My release was merely a sequel to the drama. I had been left in the
hunting-lodge by its owner, under the impression that an individual who
could not be moved without hazard to life, would escape the vengeance of
village patriotism. But the nurse, whom he had placed in charge of me, had
no sooner ascertained that I was arrested, than she sent an express to the
farm-house. The consequence naturally followed in my liberty; and the
night which I expected to have spent freezing on my way to the dungeon,
presented me with the pleasant exchange of hospitable shelter, the society
of a most accomplished man, and his graceful handsome daughter; and last,
not least, a couple of kisses from my late nurse, according to the custom
of the country, as glowing and remorseless as those of my portly landlady
herself.

We sat for some hours, and scarcely felt them pass in the anxious topics
which engrossed us; the perils of France, the prospects of the Allies, and
the captivity of the unhappy Bourbons. Now and then the conversation
turned on their own hair-breadth escapes, and those of their relatives and
friends. Among the rest, the hazards of the De Tourville family were
mentioned, and I heard the name of Clotilde pronounced with a sensation
indescribable. The name was connected with such displays of fortitude,
nobleness of spirit, and deep devotion to the royal cause, that, if I had
loved before, I now honoured her. She had saved the lives of her household;
she had, by an act of extraordinary, but most perilous affection, saved
the life of her mother, at the moment when the first insurgency broke out;
and, young as she was, she had exhibited so noble a union of generosity
and strength of mind, that the Marquis's eyes filled with tears as he told
it, and Amalia buried her forehead in her hands to conceal her convulsive
emotions: what must have been mine!

Our conversation was not unfrequently interrupted by bursts of merriment
from the outer room, where the peasants were at supper provided by the
Marquis for his bold rescuers--an indulgence which they seemed to enjoy
with the highest zest imaginable. Songs were sung with very various kinds
of merit in the performer, but all well received. Healths were proposed,
in which the existing Government was certainly not much honoured; and, if
the good wishes of the party could have sent the "Committee of Public
Safety," the butcher cabinet of France, to the darkest spot on earth, or
under it, its time would have been brief. But even this died away; the
laugh subsided, the mirth grew silent, and at length the
_gardes-de-chasse_ went away, making the forest ring with their
professional whoops and holloas, the remnants of their honest revel. At
length the Marquis and his daughter, who were to be on the wing at
daybreak for the German frontier, and who had generously offered to take
charge of my invalid frame in the same direction, retired; and wrapping
myself up in a dark cloak, furnished by my mistress and formed to her
showy proportions, I threw myself on the sofa, and was in the land of
dreams.

But though I slept, I did not rest. My fever, or my lassitude, or probably
some presentiment of the troubled career into which I was to be plunged,
made "tired nature's sweet restorer" a stepmother to me. I can never
endure hearing the dreams of others, and thus I cannot suffer myself to
inflict them on my hearers; but on that night, Queen Mab, like Jehu, drove
her horses furiously. Every possible kind of disappointment, vexation, and
difficulty; every conceivable shape of things, past and present, rushed
through my brain; and all pale, fierce, disastrous, and melancholy. I was
beckoned along dim shades by shapeless phantoms; I was trampled in battle;
I was brought before a tribunal; I was on board a ship which blew up, and
was flung strangling down an infinite depth in a midnight ocean. But this
exceeded the privilege even of dreams. I made one desperate effort to rise,
and awoke with a bound on the floor. There I found a real obstacle--a
ruffian in a red cap. One strong hand was on my throat; and by the glimmer
of the dying lantern, which hung from the roof, I saw the glitter of a
pistol-barrel in the other. "Surrender in the name of the Republic!" were
the words which told me my fate. Four or five wearers of the same ominous
emblem, with sabres and pistols, were round me at the moment, and after a
brief struggle I was secured. Cries were now heard outside the door, and a
wounded gendarme was carried in, borne in the arms of his comrades. From
their confused clamour, I could merely ascertain that the gendarmes who
had escaped in the original _mêlée_, had obtained assistance, and returned
on their steps. The farm-house had been surrounded, and the Marquis was
indebted only to the vigilance of his peasantry for a second escape with
his daughter. The _gardes-de-chasse_ had kept the gendarmes at bay until
their retreat was secure; and the post-chaise which had brought M. Gilet
and his coadjutors, was, by this time, some leagues off, at full speed,
beyond the fangs of Republicanism.

This at least was comfort, though I was left behind. But it was clear that
the gallant old noble was blameless in the matter, and that nothing was to
be blamed but my habitual ill luck. "_En route_ for Paris," was the last
order which I heard; and with a gendarme, in the strange kind of
post-waggon which was rolled out from the farmer's stable, I was
dispatched, before daybreak, on my startling journey.

I found my gendarme a facetious fellow; though his merriment might not be
well adapted to cheer his prisoner. He whistled, he sang, he screamed, he
stamped, to get rid of the ennui of travelling with so silent a companion.
He told stories of his own prowess; libeled M. Gilet, who had got him
beaten on this service in the first instance, and who seemed to be in the
worst possible odour with man and woman; and abused all, mayors,
deputy-mayors, and authorities, with the tongue of a leveler. But my
facetious friend had his especial _chagrins_.

"I have all my life," said he, "been longing to see Paris, and have never
been able to stir a step beyond this stupid province. Yet I have had my
chances too. I was once valet to a German count, and we were on the way to
Paris together when the post-chaise was stopped, the baron was arrested as
a swindler, and I was charged as his accomplice. He was sent to the
galleys; I got off. I then had a second chance. I enlisted in a regiment
of dragoons which was to be quartered in Versailles. But such was my fate,
I had no sooner passed the first drill, when we were ordered off to
Lorraine to watch old King Stanislaus, the Pole, who lived there like one
of his own bears, frozen and fat. Still I was determined to see Paris. I
asked leave of absence; the adjutant laughed at me, the colonel turned on
his heel, and the provost-marshal gave me a week of the black-hole. But a
week is but seven days after all, and on my seeing the parade again--I--"

"You deserted?"

"Not quite that," was the reply. "I took leave, and, as I had seen enough
of the black hole already, I took good care to give the provost-marshal no
notice on the subject. A fortnight's march brought me within sight of the
towers of Notre-Dame. But as I was resting myself on the roadside, our
adjutant, as ill luck would have it, came by in the _coupe_ of the
diligence. He jumped out. I was seized, given up to the next guard-house,
and after fitting me with a pair of fetters, by way of boots, I was
ordered to take my passage with a condemned regiment for the West Indies.
There I served ten years; I saw the regiment reduced to a skeleton by
short rations and new rum; and returned the tenth representative of
fifteen hundred felons. At last I have a chance; the gendarme of the
village was so desperately mauled by the foresters in the attempt to carry
you prisoner, that he has been forced to take to his bed, and let me take
his place. The thing is certain now. _You_ will be guillotined, but I
shall see Paris."

Yet what is certain in this most changeful of possible worlds?

  "Fate granted half the prayer,
  The rest the gods dispersed in empty air."

We had toiled through our long journey, rendered doubly long by the
dreariest and deepest roads on earth, and were winding round the spur of
Montmartre, when a troop of citizen heroes, coming forth to sweep the
country of the retreating Prussians, and whose courage had risen to the
boiling point by the news of the retreat, surrounded the carriage. My
Prussian uniform was proof enough for the brains of the patriots; and the
quick discovery of Parisian ears, that I had not learned my French in
their capital, settled the question of my being a traitor. The gendarme
joined in the charge with his natural volubility; but rather insisted
rashly on his right to take his prisoner into Paris on his own behalf. I
saw a cloud gathering on the brow of the _chef_, a short, stout, and
grim-looking fellow, with the true Faubourg St Antoine physiognomy. The
prize was evidently too valuable not to be turned to good account with the
authorities; and he resolved on returning at the head of his brother
patriots to present me as the first-fruits of his martial career. The
dispute grew hot; my escort was foolish enough to clap his hand on the
hilt of his sabre--an affront intolerable to a citizen, at the head of
fifty or sixty _braves_ from the counter or the shambles; the result was,
a succession of blows from the whole troop, which closed in my seeing him
stripped of every thing, and flung into the _cachot_ of the _corps de
garde_, from which his only view of his beloved Paris must have been
through an iron _grille_.

My captor, determined to enter the capital for once with eclat, seated
himself beside me in the _chaise de poste_, and, surrounded by his
pike-bearers, we began our march down the descent of the hill.

My new friend was communicative. He gave his history in a breath. He had
been a clerk in the office of one of the small tribunals in the south;
inflamed with patriotism, and indignant at the idea of selling his talents
at the rate of ten sous a-day, "in a rat-hole called a bureau," he had
resolved on being known in the world, and to Paris he came. Paris was the
true place for talent. His _civisme_ had become conspicuous; he had
"assisted" at the birth of liberty. He had carried a musket on the 10th of
August, and had "been appointed by the Republic to the command of the
civic force," which now moved, before and behind me. He was a "_grand
homme_" already. Danton had told him so within the last fortnight, and
France and Europe would no sooner read his last pamphlet on the "Crimes of
Kings," than his fame would be fixed with posterity.

I believe that few men have passed through life without experiencing times
when it would cost them little to lay it down. At least such times have
occurred to me, and this was among them. Yet this feeling, whether it is
to be called nonchalance or despair, has its advantages for the moment; it
renders the individual considerably careless of the worst that man can do
to him; and I began to question my oratorical judge's clerk on the events
in the "city of cities." No man could take fuller advantage of having a
listener at his command.

"We have cut down the throne," said he, clapping his hands with exultation,
"and now you may buy it for firewood. But you are an aristocrat, and of
course a slave; while we have got liberty, equality, and a triumvirate
that shears off the heads of traitors at a sign. Suspicion of being
suspected is quite sufficient. Away goes the culprit; a true patriot is
ordered to take possession of his house until the national pleasure is
known; and thus every thing goes on well. Of course, you have heard of the
clearance of the prisons. A magnificent work. Five thousand aristocrats,
rich, noble, and enemies to their country, sent headless to the shades of
tyrants. _Vive la Republique_! But a grand idea strikes me. You shall see
Danton himself, the genius of liberty, the hero of human nature, the
terror of kings." The thought was new, and a new thought is enough to turn
the brain of the Gaul at any time. He thrust his head out of the window,
ordered a general halt; and, instead of taking me to the quarters of the
National, resolved to have the merit of delivering up an "agent of Pitt
and English guineas" to the master of the Republic alone. "_A l'Abbaye_!"
was his cry. But a new obstacle now arose in his troop; they had reckoned
on a civic supper with their comrades of the guard; and the notion of
bivouacking in front of the Abbaye, under the chilling wind and fierce
showers which now swept down the dismal streets, was too much for their
sense of discipline. The dispute grew angry. At length one of them, a huge
and savage-looking fellow, who, by way of illustration, thrust his pike
close to the little commandant's shrinking visage, bellowed out--

"The people are not to be insulted. The people order, and all must obey!"
Nothing could be more unanswerable, and no attempt was made to answer. The
captain dropped back into the chaise, the troop took their own way, and my
next glance showed the street empty. But the Frenchman finds comfort under
all calamities. After venting his wrath in no measured terms on "rabble
insolence," and declaring that laws were of no use when "_gueux_" like
these could take them into their hands, he consoled himself by observing
that, stripped as he was of his honours, the loss might be compensated by
his profits; that the "vagabonds" might have expected to share the reward
which the "grand Danton would infallibly be rejoiced to give for my
capture, and that both the purse and the praise would be his own." "_A
l'Abbaye_!" was the cry once more.

We now were in motion again; and, after threading a labyrinth of streets,
so dreary and so dilapidated as almost to give me the conception that I
had never been in Paris before, we drove up to the grim entrance of the
Abbaye. My companion left me in charge of the sentinel, and rushed in.
"And is this," thought I, as I looked round the narrow space of the four
walls, "the spot where so many hundreds were butchered; this the scene of
the first desperate triumph of massacre; this miserable court the last
field of so many gallant lives; these stones the last resting-place of so
many whose tread had been on cloth of gold; these old and crumbling walls
giving the last echo to the voices of statesmen and nobles, the splendid
courtiers, the brilliant orators, and the hoary ecclesiastics, of the most
superb kingdom of Europe!" Even by the feeble lamp-light, that rather
showed the darkness than the forms of the surrounding buildings, it seemed
to me that I could discover the colour of the slaughter on the ground; and
there were still heaps in corners, which looked to me like clay suddenly
flung over the remnants of the murdered.

But my reveries were suddenly broken up by the return of the little
captain, more angry than ever. He had missed the opportunity of seeing the
"great man," who had gone to the Salpetrière. And some of the small men
who performed as his jackals, having discovered that the captain was
looking for a share in their plunder, had thought proper to treat him, his
commission, and even his civism, with extreme contempt. In short, as he
avowed to me, the very first use which he was determined to make of that
supreme power to which his ascent was inevitable, would be to clear the
_bureaux_ of France, beginning with Paris, of all those insolent and idle
hangers-on, who lived only to purloin the profits, and libel the services,
of "good citizens."

"_A la Salpetrière_." There again disappointment met us. The great man had
been there "but a few minutes before," and we dragged our slow way through
mire and ruts that would have been formidable to an artillery waggon with
all its team. My heart, buoyant as it had been, sank within me as I looked
up at the frowning battlements, the huge towers, more resembling those of
a fortress than of even a prison, the gloomy gates, and the general grim
aspect of the whole vast circumference, giving so emphatic a resemblance
of the dreariness and the despair within.

"_Aux Carmes_!" was now the direction; for my conductor's resolve to earn
his reward before daybreak, was rendered more pungent by this interview
with the _gens de bureau_ at the Abbaye. He was sure that they would be
instantly on the scent; and if they once took me out of his hands, adieu
to dreams, of which Alnaschar, the glassman's, were only a type. He grew
nervous with the thought, and poured out his whole vision of hopes and
fears with a volubility which I should have set down for frenzy, if in any
man but a wretch in the fever of a time when gold and blood were the
universal and combined idolatries of the land.

"You may think yourself fortunate," he exclaimed, "in having been in my
charge! That brute of a country gendarme could have shown you nothing. Now,
_I_ know every jail in Paris. I have studied them. They form the true
knowledge of a citizen. To crush tyrants, to extinguish nobles, to avenge
the cause of reason on priests, and to raise the people to a knowledge of
their rights--these are the triumphs of a patriot. Yet, what teacher is
equal to the jail for them all? _Mais voilà les Carmes_!"

I saw a low range of blank wall, beyond which rose an ancient tower.

"Here," said he, "liberty had a splendid triumph. A hundred and fifty
tonsured apostles of incivism here fell in one day beneath the two-handed
sword of freedom. A cardinal, two archbishops, dignitaries, monks, hoary
with prejudices, antiquated with abuses, extinguishers of the new light of
liberty, here were offered on the national shrine! _Chantons la
Carmagnole_."

But he was destined to be disappointed once more. Danton had been there,
but was suddenly called away by a messenger from the Jacobins. Our
direction was now changed again. "Now we shall be disappointed no longer.
Once engaged in debate, he will be fixed for the night. _Allons_, you
shall see the 'grand patriote,' 'the regenerator,' 'the first man in the
world.' _Aux Jacobins_!"

Our unfortunate postilion falling with fatigue on his horses' neck,
attempted to propose going to an inn, and renewing our search in the
morning; but the captain had made up his mind for the night, and, drawing
a pistol from his breast, exhibited this significant sign pointed at his
head. The horses, as tired as their driver, were lashed on. I had for some
time been considering, as we passed through the deserted streets, whether
it was altogether consistent with the feelings of my country, to suffer
myself to be dragged round the capital at the mercy of this lover of lucre;
but an apathy had come over my whole frame, which made me contemptuous of
life. The sight of his pistol rather excited me to make the attempt, from
the very insolence of his carrying it. But we still rolled on. At length,
in one of the streets, which seemed darker and more miserable than all the
rest, we were brought to a full stop by the march of a strong body of the
National Guard, which halted in front of an enormous old building,
furnished with battlement and bartizan. "_Le Temple_!" exclaimed my
companion, with almost a shriek of exultation. I glanced upward, and saw a
light with the pale glimmer which, in my boyish days, I had heard always
attributed to spectres passing along the dim casements of a gallery. I
cannot express how deeply this image sank upon me. I saw there only a huge
tomb--the tomb of living royalty, of a line of monarchs, of all the
feelings that still bound the heart of man to the cause of France. All now
spectral. But, whatever might be the work of my imagination, there was
terrible truth; enough before me to depress, and sting, and wring the mind.
Within a step of the spot where I sat, were the noblest and the most
unhappy beings in existence--the whole family of the throne caught in the
snare of treason. Father, mother, sister, children! Not one rescued, not
one safe, to relieve the wretchedness of their ruin by the hope that there
was an individual of their circle beyond their prison bars--all consigned
to the grave together--all alike conscious that every day which sent its
light through their melancholy casements, only brought them nearer to a
death of misery! But I must say no more of this. My heart withered within
me as I looked at the towers of the Temple. It almost withers within me,
at this moment, when I think of them. They are leveled long since; but
while I write I see them before me again, a sepulchre; I see the mustering
of that crowd of more than savages before the grim gate; and I see the
pale glimmer of that floating lamp, which was then, perhaps, lighting the
steps of Marie Antoinette to her solitary cell.

Of all the sights of that melancholy traverse, this the most disheartened
me, whatever had been my carelessness of life before. It was now almost
scorn. The thoughts fell heavy on my mind. What was I, when such victims
were prepared for sacrifice? What was the crush of my obscure hopes, when
the sitters on thrones were thus leveled with the earth? If I perished in
the next moment, no chasm would be left in society; perhaps but one or two
human beings, if even they, would give a recollection to my grave. But
here the objects of national homage and gallant loyalty, beings whose
rising radiance had filled the eye of nations, and whose sudden fall was
felt as an eclipse of European light, were exposed to the deepest
sufferings of the captive. What, then, was I, that I should murmur; or,
still more, that I should resist; or, most of all, that I should desire to
protract an existence which, to this hour, had been one of a vexed spirit,
and which, to the last hour of my career, looked but cloud on cloud?

Some of this depression may have been the physical result of fatigue, for
I had been now four-and-twenty hours without rest; and the dismal streets,
the dashing rain, and the utter absence of human movement as we dragged
our dreary way along, would have made even the floor of a dungeon welcome.
I was as cold as its stone.

At length our postilion, after nearly relieving us of all the troubles of
this world, by running on the verge of the moat which once surrounded the
Bastile, and where nothing but the screams of my companion prevented him
from plunging in, wholly lost his way. The few lamps in this intricate and
miserable quarter of the city had been blown out by the tempest, and our
only resource appeared to be patience, until the tardy break of winter's
morn should guide us through the labyrinth of the Faubourg St Antoine.
However, this my companion's patriotism would not suffer. "The Club would
be adjourned! Danton would be gone!" In short, he should not hear the
Jacobin lion roar, nor have the reward on which he reckoned for flinging
me into his jaws. The postilion was again ordered to move, and the turn of
a street showing a light at a distance, he lashed his unfortunate horses
towards it. Utterly indifferent as to where I was to be deposited, I saw
and heard nothing, until I was roused by the postilion's cry of "Place de
Grève."

A large fire was burning in the midst of the gloomy square, round which a
party of the National Guard were standing, with their muskets piled, and
wrapped in their cloaks, against the inclemency of the night. Further off,
and in the centre, feebly seen by the low blaze, was a wooden structure,
on whose corners torches were flaring in the wind. "_Voilà, la
guillotine_!" exclaimed my captor with the sort of ecstasy which might
issue from the lips of a worshipper. As I raised my eyes, an accidental
flash of the fire showed the whole outline of the horrid machine. I saw
the glitter of the very axe that was to drop upon my head. My first
sensation was that of deadly faintless. Ghastly as was the purpose of that
axe, my imagination saw even new ghastliness in the shape of its huge
awkward scythe-like steel; it seemed made for massacre. The faintness went
off in the next moment, and I was another man. In the whole course of a
life of excitement, I have never experienced so total a change. All my
apathy was gone. The horrors of public execution stood in a visible shape
before me at once. I might have fallen in the field with fortitude; I
might have submitted to the deathbed, as the course of nature; I might
have even died with exultation in some great public cause. But to perish
by the frightful thing which shot up its spectral height before me; to be
dragged as a spectacle to scoffing and scorning crowds--dragged, perhaps,
in the feebleness and squalid helplessness of a confinement which might
have exhibited me to the world in imbecility or cowardice; to be grasped
by the ruffian executioner, and flung, stigmatized as a felon, into the
common grave of felons--the thought darted through my mind like a jet of
fire; but it gave me the strength of fire. I determined to die by the
bayonets of the guard, or by any other death than this. My captor
perceived my agitation, and my eye glanced on his withered and malignant
visage, as with a smile he was cocking his pistol. I sprang on him like a
tiger. In our struggle the pistol went off, and a gush of blood from his
cheek showed that it had inflicted a severe wound. I was now his master,
and, grasping him by the throat with one hand, with the other I threw open
the door and leaped upon the pavement. For the moment, I looked round
bewildered; but the report of the pistol had caught the ears of the guard,
whom I saw hurrying to unpile their muskets. But this was a work of
confusion, and, before they could snatch up their arms, I had made my
choice of the darkest and narrowest of the wretched lanes which issue into
the square. A shot or two fired after me sent me at my full speed, and I
darted forward, leaving them as they might, to follow.

How long I scrambled, or how often I felt sinking from mere weariness in
that flight, I knew not. In the fever of my mind, I only knew that I
twined my way through numberless streets, most of which have been since
swept away; but, on turning the corner of a street which led into the
Boulevard, and when I had some hope of taking refuge in my old hotel, I
found that I had plunged into the heart of a considerable crowd of persons
hurrying along, apparently on some business which strongly excited them.
Some carried lanterns, some pikes, and there was a general appearance of
more than republican enthusiasm, even savage ferocity, among them, that
gave sufficient evidence of my having fallen into no good company. I
attempted to draw back, but this would not be permitted; the words, "Spy,
traitor, slave of the Monarchiques!" and, apparently as the blackest
charge of all, "Cordelier!" were heaped upon me, and I ran the closest
possible chance of being put to death on the spot. It may naturally be
supposed that I made all kinds of protestations to escape being piked or
pistoled. But they had no time to wait for apologies. The cry of "Death to
the traitor!" was followed by the brandishing of half a dozen knives in
the circle round me. At that moment, when I must have fallen helplessly, a
figure stepped forward, and opening the slide of his dark lantern directly
on his own face, whispered the word Mordecai. I recognised, I shall not
say with what feelings, the police agent who had formerly conveyed me out
of the city. He was dressed, like the majority of the crowd, in the
republican costume; and certainly there never was a more extraordinary
costume. He wore a red cap, like the cap of the butchers of the Faubourgs;
an enormous beard covered his breast, a short Spanish mantle hung from his
shoulders, a short leathern doublet, with a belt like an armoury, stuck
with knives and pistols, a sabre, and huge trousers striped with red, in
imitation of streams of gore, completed the patriot uniform. Some wore
broad bands of linen round their waists, inscribed, "2d, 3d and 4th
September,"--the days of massacre. These were its heros. I was in the
midst of the _élite_ of murder.

"Citizens," exclaimed the Jew in a voice of thunder, driving back the
foremost, "hold your hands up; are you about to destroy a friend of
freedom? Your knives have drunk the blood of aristocrats; but they are the
defence of liberty. This citizen, against whom they are now unsheathed, is
one of ourselves. He has returned from the frontier, to join the brave men
of Paris, in their march to the downfall of tyrants. But out friends await
us in the glorious club of the Jacobins. This is the hour of victory.
Advance, regenerated sons of freedom! Forward, Frenchmen!"

His speech had the effect. The rapid executors of public vengeance fell
back; and the Jew, whispering to me, "You must follow us, or be
killed,"--I chose the easier alternative at once, and stepped forward like
a good citizen. As my protector pushed the crowd before him, in which he
seemed to be a leader, he said to me from time to time, "Show no
resistance. A word from you would be the signal for your death--we are
going to the hall of the Jacobins. This is a great night among them, and
the heads of the party will either be ruined to-night, or by morning will
be masters of every thing. I pledge myself, if not for your safety, at
least for doing all that I can to save you." I remained silent, as I was
ordered; and we hurried on, until there was a halt in front of a huge old
building. "The hall of the Jacobins," whispered the Jew, and again
cautioned me against saying or doing any thing in the shape of reluctance.

We now plunged into the darkness of a vast pile, evidently once a convent,
and where the chill of the massive walls struck to the marrow. I felt as
if walking through a charnel-house. We hurried on; a trembling light,
towards the end of an immense and lofty aisle, was our guide; and the
crowd, long familiar with the way, rushed through the intricacies where so
many feet of monks had trod before them, and where, perhaps, many a deed
that shunned the day had been perpetrated. At length a spiral stair
brought us to a large gallery, where our entrance was marked with a shout
of congratulation; and tumbling over the benches and each other, we at
length took our seats in the highest part, which, in both the club and the
National Assembly, was called, from its height, the Mountain, and from the
characters which generally held it, was a mountain of flame. In the area
below, once the nave of the church, sat the Jacobin club. I now, for the
first time, saw that memorable and terrible assemblage. And nothing could
be more suited than its aspect to its deeds. The hall was of such extent
that a large portion of it was scarcely visible, and few lights which hung
from the walls scarcely displayed even the remainder. The French love of
decoration had no place here; neither statues nor pictures, neither
gilding nor sculpture, relieved the heaviness of the building. Nothing of
the arts was visible but their rudest specimens; the grim effigies of
monks and martyrs, or the coarse and blackened carvings of a barbarous age.
The hall was full; for the club contained nearly two thousand members, and
on this night all were present. Yet, except for the occasional cries of
approval or anger when any speaker had concluded, and the habitual murmur
of every huge assembly, they might have been taken for a host of spectres;
the area had so entirely the aspect of a huge vault, the air felt so thick,
and the gloom was so feebly dispersed by the chandeliers. All was
sepulchral. The chair of the president even stood on a tomb, an antique
structure of black marble. The elevated stand, from which the speakers
generally addressed the assembly, had the strongest resemblance to a
scaffold, and behind it, covering the wall, were suspended chains, and
instruments of torture of every horrid kind, used in the dungeons of old
times; and though placed there for the sake of contrast with the mercies
of a more enlightened age, yet enhancing the general idea of a scene of
death. It required no addition to render the hall of the Jacobins fearful;
but the meetings were always held at night, often prolonged through the
whole night. Always stormy, and often sanguinary, daggers were drawn and
pistols fired--assassination in the streets sometimes followed bitter
attacks on the benches; and at this period, the mutual wrath and terror of
the factions had risen to such height, that every meeting might be only a
prelude to exile or the axe; and the deliberation of this especial night
must settle the question, whether the Monarchy or the Jacobin club was to
ascend the scaffold. It was the debate on the execution of the unhappy
Louis XVI.

The arrival of the crowd, among whom I had taken my unwilling seat,
evidently gave new spirits to the regicides; the moment was critical. Even
in Jacobinism all were not equally black, and the fear of the national
revulsion at so desperate a deed startled many, who might not have been
withheld by feelings of humanity. The leaders had held a secret
consultation while the debate was drawing on its slow length, and Danton's
old expedient of "terror" was resolved on. His emissaries had been sent
round Paris to summon all his banditti; and the low _cafés_, the Faubourg
taverns, and every haunt of violence, and the very drunkenness of crime,
had poured forth. The remnant of the Marseillois--a gang of actual
galley-slaves, who had led the late massacres--the paid assassins of the
Marais, and the _sabreurs_ of the Royal Guard, who after treason to their
king, had found profitable trade in living on the robbery and blood of the
nobles and priests, formed this reinforcement; and their entrance into the
gallery was recognised by a clapping of hands from below, which they
answered by a roar, accompanied with the significant sign of clashing
their knives and sabres.

Danton immediately rushed into the Tribune. I had seen him before, on the
fearful night which prepared the attack on the palace; but he was then in
the haste and affected savageness of the rabble. He now played the part of
leader of a political sect; and the commencement of his address adopted
something of the decorum of public council. In this there was an artifice;
for, resistless as the club was, it still retained a jealousy of the
superior legislative rank of the assembly of national representatives, the
Convention. The forms of the Convention were strictly imitated; and even
those Jacobins who usually led the debate, scrupulously wore the dress of
the better orders. Robespierre was elaborately dressed whenever he
appeared in the Tribune, and even Danton abandoned the _canaille_ costume
for the time. I was struck with his showy stature, his bold forehead, and
his commanding attitude, as he stood waving his hand over the multitude
below, as if he waved a sceptre. His appearance was received with a
general shout from the gallery, which he returned by one profound bow, and
then stood erect, till all sounds had sunk. His powerful voice then rang
through the extent of the hall. He began with congratulating the people on
their having relieved the Republic from its external dangers. His language
at first was moderate, and his recapitulation of the perils which must
have befallen a conquered country, was sufficiently true and even touching;
but his tone soon changed, and I saw the true democrat. "What!" he cried,
"are those perils to the horrors of domestic perfidy? What are the ravages
on the frontier to poison and the dagger at our firesides? What is the
gallant death in the field to assassination in cold blood? Listen,
fellow-citizens, there is at this hour a plot deeper laid for your
destruction than ever existed in the shallow heads of, or could ever be
executed by the coward hearts of, their soldiery. Where is that plot? In
the streets? No. The courage of our brave patriots is as proof against
corruption as against fear." This was followed by a shout from the gallery.
"Is it in the Tuileries? No; there the national sabre has cut down the
tree which cast its deadly fruits among the nation. Where then is the
focus of the plot--where the gathering of the storm that is to shake the
battlements of the Republic--where that terrible deposit of combustibles
which the noble has gathered, the priest has piled, and the king has
prepared to kindle? Brave citizens, that spot is ----," he paused, looking
mysteriously round, while a silence deep as death pervaded the multitude;
then, as if suddenly recovering himself, he thundered out--"The Temple!"
No language can describe the shout or the scene that followed. The daring
word was now spoken which all anticipated; but which Danton alone had the
desperate audacity to utter. The gallery screamed, howled, roared,
embraced each other, danced, flourished their weapons, and sang the
Marseillaise and the Carmagnole. The club below were scarcely less violent
in their demonstrations of furious joy. Danton had now accomplished his
task; but his vanity thirsted for additional applause, and he entered into
a catalogue of his services to Republicanism. In the midst of the detail,
a low but singularly clear voice was heard, from the extremity of the hall.

"Descend, man of massacre!"

I saw Danton start back as if he had been shot. At length, recovering his
breath, he said feebly--

"Citizens, of what am I accused?"

"Of the three days of September," uttered the voice again, in a tone so
strongly sepulchral, that it palpably awed the whole assemblage.

"Who is it that insults me? who dares to malign me? What spy of the
Girondists, what traitor of the Bourbons, what hireling of the gold of
Pitt, is among us?" exclaimed the bold ruffian, yet with a visage which,
even at the distance, I could observe had lost its usual fiery hue, and
turned clay-colour. "Who accuses me?"

"I!" replied the voice, and I saw a thin tall figure stalk up the length
of the hall, and stand at the foot of the tribune. "Descend!" was the only
word which he spoke; and Danton, as if under a spell, to my astonishment,
obeyed without a word, and came down. The stranger took his place, none
knew his name; and the rapidity and boldness of his assault suspended all
in wonder like my own. I can give but a most incomplete conception of the
extraordinary eloquence of this mysterious intruder. He openly charged
Danton with having constructed the whole conspiracy against the
unfortunate prisoners of September; with having deceived the people by
imaginary alarms of the approach of the enemy; with having plundered the
national treasury to pay the assassins; and, last and most deadly charge
of all, with having formed a plan for a National Dictatorship, of which he
himself was to be the first possessor. The charge was sufficiently
probable, and was not now heard for the first time. But the keenness and
fiery promptitude with which the speaker poured the charge upon him, gave
it a new aspect; and I could see in the changing physiognomies round me,
that the great democrat was already in danger. He obviously felt this
himself; for starting up from the bench to which he had returned, he cried
out, or rather yelled--

"Citizens, this man thirsts for my blood. Am I to be sacrificed? Am I to
be exposed to the daggers of assassins!" But no answering shout now arose;
a dead silence reigned: all eyes were still turned on the tribune. I saw
Danton, after a gaze of total helplessness on all sides, throw up his
hands like a drowning man, and stagger back to his seat. Nothing could be
more unfortunate than his interruption; for the speaker now poured the
renewed invective, like a stream of molten iron, full on his personal
character and career.

"Born a beggar, your only hope of bread was crime. Adopting the profession
of an advocate, your only conception of law was chicanery. Coming to Paris,
you took up patriotism as a trade, and turned the trade into an imposture.
Trained to dependence, you always hung on some one till he spurned you.
You licked the dust before Mirabeau; you betrayed him, and he trampled on
you; you took refuge in the cavern of Marat, until he found you too base
even for his base companionship, and he, too, spurned you; you then clung
to the skirts of Robespierre, and clung only to ruin. Viper! known only by
your coils and your poison; like the original serpent, degraded even from
the brute into the reptile, you already feel your sentence. I pronounce it
before all. The man to whom you now cling will crush you. Maximilien
Robespierre, is not your heel already lifted up to tread out the life of
this traitor? Maximilien Robespierre," he repeated with a still more
piercing sound, "do I not speak the truth?" "Have I not stripped the veil
from your thoughts? Am I not looking on your heart?" He then addressed
each of the Jacobin leaders in a brief appeal. "Billaud Varennes, stand
forth--do you not long to drive your dagger into the bosom of this new
tyrant? Collot d'Herbois, are you not sworn to destroy him? Couthon, have
you not pronounced him perjured, perfidious, and unfit to live? St Just,
have you not in your bosom the list of those who have pledged themselves
that Danton shall never be Dictator; that his grave shall be dug before he
shall tread on the first step of the throne; that his ashes shall be
scattered to the four winds of heaven; that he shall never gorge on
France?"

A hollow murmur, like an echo of the vaults beneath, repeated the
concluding words. The murmur had scarcely subsided when this extraordinary
apparition, flinging round him a long white cloak, which he had hitherto
carried on his arm, and which, in the dim light, gave him the look of one
covered with a shroud, cried out in a voice of still deeper solemnity,
"George Jacques Danton, you have this night pronounced the death of your
king--I now pronounce your own. By the victims of the 20th of June--by the
victims of the 10th of August--by the victims of the 2d of September--by
the thousands whom your thirst of blood has slain--by the tens of
thousands whom your treachery has sent to perish in a foreign grave--by
the millions whom the war which you have kindled will lay in the field of
slaughter--I cite you to appear before a tribunal, where sits a judge whom
none can elude and none can defy. Within a year and a month, I cite you to
meet the spirits of your victims before the throne of the Eternal."

He stopped; not a voice was heard. He descended the steps of the Tribune,
and stalked slowly through the hall; not a hand was raised against him. He
pursued his way with as much calmness and security as if he had been a
supernatural visitant, until he vanished in the darkness.

This singular occurrence threw a complete damp on the regicidal ardour;
and, as no one seemed inclined to mount the Tribune, the club would
probably have broken up for the night, when a loud knocking at one of the
gates, and the beating of drums, aroused the drowsy sitters on the benches.
The gallery was as much awake as ever; but seemed occupied with evident
expectation of either a new revolt, or a spectacle; pistols were taken out
to be new primed, and the points and edges of knives duly examined. The
doors at length were thrown open, and a crowd, one half of whom appeared
to be in the last stage of intoxication, and the other half not far from
insanity, came dancing and chorusing into the body of the building. In the
midst of their troop they carried two busts covered with laurels--the
busts of the regicides Ravaillac and Clement, with flags before them,
inscribed, "They were glorious; for they slew kings!" The busts were
presented to the president, and their bearers, a pair of _poissardes_,
insisted on giving him the republican embrace, in sign of fraternization.
The president, in return, invited them to the "honours of a sitting;" and
thus reinforced, the discussion on the death of the unhappy monarch
commenced once more, and the vote was carried by acclamation. The National
Convention was still to be applied to for the completion of the sentence;
but the decree of the Jacobins was the law of the land.

I had often looked towards the gallery door, during the night, for the
means of escape; but my police friend had forbade my moving before his
return. I therefore remained until the club were breaking up, and the
gallery began to clear. Cautious as I had been, I could not help
exhibiting, from time to time, some disturbance at the atrocities of the
night, and especially at the condemnation of the helpless king. In all
this I had found a sympathizing neighbour, who had exhibited marked
civility in explaining the peculiarities of the place, and giving me brief
sketches of the speakers as they rose in succession. He had especially
agreed with me in deprecating the cruelty of the regicidal sentence. I now
rose to bid my gentlemanlike _cicerone_ good-night; but, to my surprise, I
saw him make a sign to two loiterers near the door, who instantly pinioned
me.

"We cannot part quite so soon, Monsieur l'Aristocrat," said he; "and,
though I much regret that I cannot have the honour of accommodating you in
the Temple, near your friend Monsieur Louis Capet, yet you may rely on my
services in procuring a lodging for you in one of the most agreeable
prisons in Paris."

I had been entrapped in the most established style, and I had nothing to
thank for it but fortune. Resistance was in vain, for they pointed to the
pistols within their coats; and with a vexed heart, and making many an
angry remark on the treachery of the villain who had ensnared me--matters
which fell on his ear probably with about the same effect as water on the
pavement at my feet--I was put into a close carriage, and, with ny captors,
carried off to the nearest barrier, and consigned to the governor of the
well-known and hideous St Lazare.

       *       *       *       *       *



The Olympic Jupiter.

  Calm the Olympian God sat in his marble fane,
  High and complete in beauty too pure and vast to wane;
  Full in his ample form, Nature appear'd to spread;
  Thought and sovran Rule beam'd in his earnest head;
  From the lofty foliaged brow, and the mightily bearded chin,
  Down over all his frame was the strength of a life within.

  Lovely a maid in twilight before the vision knelt,
  Looking with upturn'd gaze the awe that her spirit felt.
  Hung like the skies above her was bow'd the monarch mild,
  Hearing the whisper'd words of the fair and panting child.
  --Could she be dear to him as dews to ocean are,
  Be in his wreath a leaf, on his robes a golden star!
  Could she as incense float around his eternal throne,
  Sound as the note of a hymn to his deep ear alone!

  Lo! while her heart adoring still to the God exhales,
  Speech from his glimmering lips on the silent air prevails:
  --"Child of this earth, bewilder'd in thine aërial dream,
  Turn thee to Powers that are, and not to those that seem.
  All of fairest and noblest filling my graven form
  First in a human spirit was breathing alive and warm.
  Seek thou in him all else that he can evoke from nought,
  Seek the creative master, the king of beautiful thought."

  --Down the eyes of the maiden sank from the Thunderer's look,
  Pale in her shame and terror, and yet with delight she shook
  Swift on her brow she felt a crown by the God bestow'd,
  Shading her face that now with a hope too lively glow'd.
  Bending the Sculptor stood who wrought the work divine,
  Godlike in voice he spake--Ever, oh, maid be mine!

J.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



A ROMAN IDYL.


  Oh! blame not, friend, with scoff unfeeling,
    The gentle tale of grief and wrong,
  Which, all the pain of life revealing,
    Yet teaches peace by thoughtful song.

  The landscape round us wide expanded
    As ere was heard the name of Rome;
  And Rome, though fallen, our souls commanded,
    In this her empire's earliest home.

  Her brightness beam'd on each far mountain,
    Her life made green the grass we trode,
  Her memory haunted still the fountain,
    And spread her shadows o'er the sod.

  Her ruins told their tale of glory,
    Decreed to that eternal sky;
  And through that ancient grove, her story
    With sibyl whisper seem'd to sigh.

  The pile her wealthiest mourner builded,
    In glimpse we caught through ilex gloom--
  Metella's Tower, by sunshine gilded,
    That beams alike on feast or tomb.

  And on this plain, not yet benighted,
    'Mid awful ages mouldering there,
  Young hands in new-bloom flowers delighted,
    Young eyes look'd bright in sunniest air.

  Till we, Viterbo's wine-cup quaffing,
    Which fairer lips refused to grace,
  Could win by jest those lips to laughing,
    And veil'd in folly wisdom's face.

  But say, my friend, thou sage mysterious,
    What Nymph, what Muse disown'd the strain
  Which bade our heedless mirth be serious,
    And woke our ears to nobler pain?

  That region grave of plain and highland,
    With Rome's grey ruin strewn around,
  Is not a soft Calypso's island,
    Nor fades at Truth's evoking sound.

  High thoughts in words of quiet beauty
    Accord with visions grand as these,
  And song's imperishable duty
    Has holier aims than but to please.

  By word and image deeply wedded,
    By cadence apt and varied rhyme,
  To rouse the soul in sloth imbedded,
    And tune its powers to life sublime.

  By loftier shows of man's large being
    Than man's dim actual hour displays,
  To clear our eyes for purer seeing,
    And nerve the flagging spirit's gaze.

  By strains of bold heroic pleasure,
    And action strong as thought conceives,
  By many a doom-resounding measure
    That best our selfish woes relieves;

  By these to stir, by these to brighten,
    By these to lift the soul from earth,
  The Poet dares our joys to frighten,
    And thrills the dirge of lazy mirth.

  Ye Ruins, dust of empires vanish'd,
    Ye mountains, clad with countless years,
  From your great presence ne'er be banish'd
    Sad songs that live in earnest ears:

  Sad songs, the music of all sorrow,
    Profound and calm as night's blue deep:
  Accurst the dreams of any morrow
    When man will feel he cannot weep.

J.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



GOETHE


  Alas! on earth his marvels done,
    The noble German bosom lies,
  His fatherland's Athenian son,
    Amid the sage must largely rise!

  Amid the sage the generous race
    Of soaring thought and steadfast glow,
  He breathes no more who gave a grace
    To all our daily lot below.

  He gave to man's encumber'd hours
    The tuneful joys of truth serene,
  And twined our life's neglected flowers
    With nature's holiest evergreen.

  Alas! for him the soul of fire,
    For him of fancy's golden rays,
  For him whose aims ascended higher
    Than all that won a nation's praise!

  We pause and ask--Why gloom'd the grave
    For one of light so broadly mild?
  And wonder beauty could not save
    From death's deep night her eager child.

  But could the lyre be heard again,
    Its widow'd notes would seem to cry--
  In all was he a man of men,
    For them to live, like them to die.

  What life inspires 'twas his to feel,
    With ampler soul than all beside;
  What earth's bright shows to few reveal,
    His art for all expanded wide.

  With earnest heed from hour to hour,
    Through all his years of striving hope,
  He fed his lamp, its light to shower
    On paths where myriads dimly grope.

  He taught nankind by toil, by love,
    To cheer the world that must be theirs;
  And ne'er to look for peace above,
    By scorning earthly joys and cares.

  Ah! pages full of grief and fear,
    But all attuned to melody,
  Vesuvio's flame reflected clear
    In glassy seas of Napoli.

  And on that sea we seem to float
    In amber light, and catch from far,
  'Mid ocean's boundless Voice, the note
    Of girl who hymns the evening-star.

  The sweetest word, the melting tone,
    The pictured wisdom bright as day,
  And Faust's remorse, and Tasso's groan,
    And Dorothea's morning lay,

  Glad Egmont, light of Clara's eyes,
    Free Goetz, the warmth of manhood's noon,
  And Mignon, all a tune of sighs,
    And lorn Ottilia crush'd so soon.

  Ah! tale that tells the life of all
    To lovelier truth by fancy wrought,
  And songs that e'en to us recall
    The bliss a poet's vision caught!

  All these are ours, yes, all--but he.
    And who that lives can find a strain
  Of worth like his the soul to free
    From bonds of sublunary pain?

  A strain like his we vainly seek
    To sound above the singer's grave,
  A voice empower'd like his to speak
    The word our aching bosoms crave.

  That word is not--Oh! not, farewell!
    To thee whom all thy lays restore;
  But deeply longs the heart to tell
    A love thy smile accepts no more.

J.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



HYMN OF A HERMIT.


  Long the day, the task is longer;
  Earth the strong by heaven the stronger.
  Still is call'd to rise and brighten,
    But, alas! how weak the soul;
  While its inbred phantoms frighten,
    While the past obscures the whole.

  Shadows of the wise departed,
  Be the brave, the loving-hearted;
  Deathless dead, resounding, rushing,
    From the morning-land of hope
  Come, with viewless footsteps, crushing
    Dreams that make the wing'd ones grope.

  Socrates, the keen, the truthful,
  In thy hoary wisdom youthful;
  Smiling, fear-defying spirit,
    From beside thy Grecian waves,
  Teach us Norsemen to inherit
    Thoughts whose dawn is life to graves.

  Rome's Aurelius, thou the holy
  King of earth, in goodness lowly,
  From thy ruins by the Tiber,
    Look with tearless aspect mild,
  Till each agonizing fibre
    Like thine own is reconciled.

  Augustinus, bright and torrid,
  Isles of green in deserts horrid
  Once thy home, thy likeness ever!
    We with sword no less divine
  Would the good and evil sever,
    In a larger world than thine.

  Soft Petrarca, sweet and subtle,
  Weaving still, with silver shuttle,
  Moony veils for human feeling--
    Thine the radiance from above,
  Half-transfiguring, half-concealing,
    Wounds and tears of earthly love.

  Saxon rude, of thundering stammer,
  Iron heart, by sin's dread hammer
  Ground to better dust than golden,
    May thy prophecy be true.
  Melt the stern, the weak embolden;
    Teach what Luther never knew.

  Pale Spinosa, nursed in fable,
  Painted hopes and portent sable,
  Then an opener wisdom finding,
    Let thy round and wintry sun
  Chase the lurid vapour, blinding
    Souls that seek the Holy One.

  Thou from green Helvetia roaming,
  Meteor pale in misty gloaming,
  With a breast too fiercely burning;
    Generous, tuneful, frail Rousseau!
  Would that all to truth returning,
    Gave, like thee, a tear to woe!

  Eye of clear and diamond sparkle,
  Where the Baltic waters darkle,
  Lonely German seer of Reason,
    Great and calm as Atlas old;
  Through our formless foggy season,
    Short thine adamantine cold.

  Shelley, born of faith and passion,
  Nobler far than gain and fashion;
  Daring eaglet arm'd with lightning,
    Firing soon thy native nest,
  Still the eternal blaze is brightening
    Ocean where thy pinions rest.

  Heroes, prophets, bards, and sages,
  Gods and men of climes and ages,
  Conquerors of lifelong sorrow,
    Torment that ye made your throne,
  Help, Oh! help in us the morrow,
  Full of triumph like your own.

J.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE LUCKLESS LOVER


    "If aught on earth assault may bide
  Of ceaseless time and shifting tide,
    Beloved! I swear to thee
  It is the truth of hearts that love,
  United in a world above
    The moment's misty sea.

    "Oh! sweeter than the light of dawn,
  Than music in the woods withdrawn
    From clamours of the crowd,
  A new creation all our own,
  Unvisited by scoff or groan,
    Is faith in silence vow'd.

    "Two hearts by reason nobly sad,
  Nor rashly blind, nor lightly glad,
    Possess they not a bliss
  In their communion, felt and full,
  Beyond all custom's deadly rule?
    For life is only this.

    "In sighs we met, in sighs and sobs,
  Such grief as from the wretched robs
    The hope to heaven allied:
  Great calm was ours, a strength severe,
  Though wet with many a scalding tear,
    When soul to soul replied.

  "Of thy dark eyes and gentle speech,
  The memory has a power to teach
    What know not many wise.
  New stars may rise, the ancient fade,
  But not for us, my own pale maid,
    Be lost that pure surprise--

  "The pure delight, the awful change,
  Chief miracle in wonder's range,
    That binds the twain in one;
  While fear, foes, friends, and angry Fate,
  And all that wreck our mortal state
    Shall pass, like motes i' the sun.

  "In his fine frame the throstle feels
  The music that his note reveals;
    And spite of shafts and nets,
  How better is the dying bird
  Than some dumb stone that ne'er was heard,
    That arrow never threats?

  "Disdaining man, the mountains rise;
  Is love less kindred with the skies,
    Or less their Maker's will?
  The strains, without a human cause,
  Flow on, unheeding lies and laws--
    Will hearts for words be still?

  "What cliffs oppose, what oceans roll,
  What frowns o'ershade the weeping soul,
    Alas! were long to tell.
  But something is there more than these,
  Than frowns and coldness, rocks and seas:
    Until its hour--farewell!"

  So sang the vassal bard by night,
  Beneath his high-born lady's light
    That from her turret shone.
  Next morning in the forest glade
  His corpse was found. Her brother's blade
    Had cut his bosom's bone.

  What reap'd Lord Wilfrid by the stroke?
  Before another morning broke,
    She, too, was with the blest:
  And 'twas her last and only prayer,
  That her sweet limbs might slumber where
    The minstrel had his rest.

J.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



FREE TRADE AND PROTECTION

THE CORN LAWS.


It is remarkable that, while we hear so much of the advantages of free
trade, the reciprocity of them is always in _prospect_ only. By throwing
open our harbours to foreign nations, indeed, we give _them_ an immediate
and obvious advantage over ourselves; but as to any corresponding
advantages we are to gain in our intercourse with them, we are still
waiting, in patient expectation of the anticipated benefit. Our patience
is truly exemplary; it might furnish a model to Job himself. We resent
nothing. No sooner do we receive a blow on one cheek, than we turn up the
other to some new smiter. No sooner are we excluded, in return for our
concessions, from the harbours of one state, than we begin making
concessions to another. We are constantly in expectation of seeing the
stream of human envy and jealousy run out:--

  "Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis: at ille
  Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum."

We are imitating the man who made the experiment of constantly reducing
the food on which his horse is to live. Let us take care that, just as he
is learning to live on nothing, we do not find him dead in his stall.

This, however, is no joking matter. The total failure of the free trade
system to procure any, _even the smallest return_, coupled with the very
serious injury it has inflicted on many of the staple branches of our
industry, has now been completely demonstrated by experience, and is
matter of universal notoriety. If any proof on the subject were required,
it would be furnished by _Porter's Parliamentary Tables_, to which we
earnestly request the attention of our readers. The first exhibits the
effect of the reciprocity system, introduced by Mr Huskisson in Feb. 1823,
in destroying our shipping with the Baltic powers, and quadrupling theirs
with us. The second shows the trifling amount of our exports to these
countries during the five last years, and thereby demonstrates the entire
failure of the attempt to, extend our traffic with them by this gratuitous
destruction of our shipping. The third shows the progress of our whole
exports to Europe during the six years from 1814 to 1820, before the free
trade began, and from 1833 to 1839, after it had been fifteen years in
operation, and proves that it had _declined_ in the latter period as
compared with the former, despite all our gratuitous sacrifices by free
trade to augment our commerce.[12]

    [12] See No. CCCXL, _Blackwood's Magazine_, p. 261.

The free traders fully admit, and deeply deplore, as we have shown on a
former occasion, these unfavourable results; but they say that it is to be
hoped they will not continue: that foreign nations must, in the end, come
to see that they are as much interested as we are in enlightened system of
free trade; and that, meantime, it is for our interest to continue the
system; or even though it totally fails in producing any augmentation in
our exports, it is obviously for our advantage to continue it, as it
brings in the immediate benefit of purchasing articles imported at a
cheaper rate. Supposing, say they, we obtain no corresponding advantage
from other states, there is an immense benefit accrues to ourselves from
admitting foreign goods at a nominal duty, from the low price at which
they may be purchased by the British consumer. To that point we shall
advert in the sequel; in the mean time, it may be considered as
demonstrated, that the free trade system has entirely failed in procuring
for us the slightest extension of our foreign exports, or abating in the
slightest degree the jealousy of foreign nations at our maritime and
manufacturing superiority. Nor is there any difficulty in discovering to
what this failure has been owing. It arises from laws inherent in the
nature of things, and which will remain unabated as long as we continue a
great and prosperous nation.

It is related of the Lacedemonians, that while all the other citizens of
Greece were careful to surround their towns with walls, they alone left a
part open on all sides. Thus, superiority in the field rendered them
indifferent to the adventitious protection of ramparts. It is for a
similar reason that England is now willing to throw down the barriers of
tariffs, and the impediments of custom-houses; and that all other nations
are fain to raise them up. It is a secret sense of superiority on the one
side, and of inferiority on the other, which is the cause of the
difference. We advocate freedom of trade, because we are conscious that,
in a fair unrestricted competition, we should succeed in beating them out
of their own market. They resist it, and loudly clamour for protection,
because they are aware that such a result would speedily take place, and
that the superiority of the old commercial state is such, that on an open
trial of strength, it must at once prove fatal to its younger rivals. As
this effect is thus the result of permanent causes affecting both sides,
it may fairly be presumed that it will be lasting; and that the more
anxiously the old manufacturing state advocates or acts upon freedom of
commercial intercourse, the more strenuously will the younger and rising
ones advocate protection. Reciprocity, therefore, is out of the question
between them: for it never could exist without the destruction of the
manufactures of the younger state; and if that state has begun to enter on
the path of manufacturing industry, it never will be permitted by its
government.

But this is not all. If free trade must of necessity prove fatal to the
manufactures of the younger state, it as certainly leads to the
destruction _of the agriculture of the older;_ and it is this double
effect this RECIPROCITY OF EVIL, which renders it so disastrous and
impracticable an experiment for both the older and the younger community.
The reason of this has not hitherto been generally attended to; but when
once it is stated, its force becomes obvious, and it furnishes the true
answer on principle to the delusive doctrines of free trade.

Nature has established, and, as it will immediately be shown, for very
wise and important purposes, a permanent and indelible distinction between
the effect of civilization and opulence on the production of food, and on
the preparation of manufactures. In the latter, the discoveries of science,
the exertions of skill, the application of capital, the introduction of
machinery, are all-powerful, and give the older and more advanced state an
immediate and decisive advantage over the younger and the ruder. In the
former, the very reverse takes place: the additions made to productive
power are comparatively inconsiderable, even by the most important
discoveries; and as this capital and industry have in the end a powerful
effect, and always enable the power of raising food for the human race to
keep far a-head of the wants of mankind; yet this effect takes place very
slowly, and the annual addition that can be made to the produce of the
earth by such means is by no means considerable. The introduction of
thorough draining will probably increase the productive power of the soil
in Great Britain a third: scientific discovery may perhaps add another
third; but at least ten years must elapse in the most favourable view
before these effects generally take place--ere the judicious and
well-directed labours of our husbandmen have formed rivulets for the
superfluous wet of our fields, or overspread the soil with the now wasted
animal remains of our cities. But our manufactures can in a few years
quadruple their produce. So vast is the power which the steam-engine has
made to the powers of production in commercial industry, that it is
susceptible to almost indefinite and immediate extension; and the great
difficulty always felt is, not to get hands to keep pace with the demand
of the consumers, but to get a demand to keep pace with the hands employed
in the production. Manchester and Glasgow could, in a few years, furnish
muslin and cotton goods for the whole world.

Nor is the difference less important and conspicuous in the _price_ at
which manufacturing and agricultural produce can be raised in the old and
the young state. This is the decisive circumstance which renders
reciprocity between them impossible. The rich old state is as superior to
the young one in the production of manufactures, as the poor young state
is to the rich old one in that of subsistence. The steam-engine, capital,
and machinery, have so enormously increased the power of manufacturing
production, that they have rendered the old commercial state omnipotent in
the foreign market in the supply of its articles. Nothing but fiscal
regulations and heavy duties can protect the young state from ruin in
those branches of industry. Heavy taxes, high wages, costly rents, dear
rude produce, all are at once compensated, and more than compensated, by
the gigantic powers of the steam-engine. Cotton goods are raised now in
Great Britain at a fifth of the price which they were during the war. A
gown, which formerly was cheap at £2, 10s., is now sold for ten shillings.
Silks, muslins, and all other articles of female apparel, have been
reduced in price in the same proportion. Colossal fortunes have been made
by the master manufacturers, unbounded wealth diffused through the
operative workmen in Lancashire and Lanarkshire, even at these extremely
reduced prices. This is the real reason of the universal effort made by
all nations which have the least pretensions to commercial industry, of
late years to exclude, by fixed duties, our staple manufactures; of which
the President of the Board of Trade so feelingly complains, and which the
advocates of free trade consider as so inexplicable. A very clear
principle has led to it, and will lead to it. It is the instinct of
SELF-PRESERVATION.

But there is no steam-engine in agriculture. The old state has no
superiority over the young one in the price of producing food; on the
contrary, it is decidedly its inferior. There, as in love, the apprentice
is the master. The proof of this is decisive. Poland can raise wheat with
ease at fifteen or twenty shillings a quarter, while England requires
fifty. The serf of the Ukraine would make a fortune on the price at which
the farmer of Kent or East Lothian would be rendered bankrupt. The Polish
cultivators have no objection whatever to a free competition with the
British; but the British anticipate, and with reason, total destruction
from the free admission of Polish grain. These facts are so notorious,
that they require no illustration; but nevertheless the conclusion to
which they point is of the highest importance, and bears, with
overwhelming force, on the theory of free trade as between an old and a
young community. They demonstrate that that theory is not only practically
pernicious, but on principle erroneous. It involves an oblivion of the
fundamental law of nature as to the difference between the effect of
wealth and civilization on the production of food and the raising of
manufactures. It proceeds on insensibility to the difference in the age
and advancement of nations, and the impossibility of a reciprocity being
established between them without the ruin of an important branch of
industry in each. It supposes nations to be of the same genus and age,
like the trees in the larch plantation, not of all varieties and ages, as
in the natural forest. If established in complete operation, it would only
lead to the ruin of the manufactures of the younger state, and of the
agriculture of the old one. The only reciprocity which it can ever
introduce between such states is the reciprocity of evil.

Illustrations from everyday life occur on all sides to elucidate the utter
absurdity, and, in fact, total impracticapability of the system of free
trade, as applied to nations who are, or are becoming, rivals of each
other in manufacturing industry. Those who have the advantage, will always
advocate free competition; those who are labouring under impediments, will
always exclaim against them. In some cases the young have the advantage,
in others the old; but in all the free system is applauded by those in the
sunshine, and execrated by those in the shade. The fair _debutante_ of
eighteen, basking in the bright light of youth, beauty, birth, and
connections, has no sort of objection to the freedom of choice in the
ball-room. If the mature spinster of forty would divulge her real opinion,
what would it be on the same scene of competition? Experience proves that
she is glad to retire, in the general case, from the unequal struggle, and
finds the system of established precedence and fixed rank at dinner
parties, much more rational. The leaders on the North Circuit--Sir James
Scarlett or Lord Brongham--have no objections to the free choice, by
solicitors and attorneys, for professional talent; but their younger
brethren of the gown are fain to take shelter from such formidable rivals
in the exclusive employment of the Crown, the East India Company, the Bank
of England, or some of the numerous chartered companies in the country.
England is the old lawyer on the Cirucuit in manufactures--but Poland is
the young beauty of the ball-room in agriculture. We should like to see
what sort of reciprocity could be established between them. Possibly the
young belle may exchange her beauty for the old lawyer's guineas, but it
will prove a bad reciprocity for both.

It is usual for both philosophers and practical men to ascribe the
superior cheapness with which subsistence can be raised in the young state
to the old one, to the weight of taxes and of debt, public and private,
with which the latter is burdened, from which the former is, in general,
relieved. But, without disputing that these circumstances enter with
considerable weight into the general result, it may safely be affirmed
that the main cause of it is to be found in two laws of nature, of
universal and permanent application. These are the low value of money in
the rich state, in consequence of its plenty, compared with its high value
in the poor one, in consequence of its poverty, and the experienced
inapplicability of machinery or the division of labour to agricultural
operations.

Labour is cheap in the poor state, such as Poland, Prussia, and the
Ukraine, becuase guineas are few.--"It is not," as Johnson said of the
Highlands, "that eggs are many, but that pence are few." Commercial
transactions being scanty, and the want of a circulating medium
inconsiderable, it exists to a very limited extent in the country. People
do not need a large circulating medium, therefore they do not buy it; they
are poor, therefore they cannot. In the opulent and highly advanced
community, on the other hand, the reverse of all this takes place.
Transactions are so frequent, the necessities of commerce so extensive,
that a large circulating medium is soon felt to be indispensable. In
addition to a considerable amount of specie, the aid of bank-notes, public
and private, of Government securities and exchequer bills, and of private
bills to an immense ammount, bcomes necessary. McCulloch calculates the
circulating medium of Great Britain, including paper and gold, at
L.72,000,000. The bills in circulation are probably in amount nearly as
much more. A hundred and forty, or a hundred and fifty millions, between
specie, bank-notes, exchequer bills, Government securities, on which
advances are made, and private bills, constitute the ordinary circulating
medium of twenty-seven millions in the British empire. The total
circulation of Russia, with sixty millions of inhabitants, is not forty
millions sterling. The effect of this difference is prodigions. It is no
wonder, whten it is taken into account, that wages are 5-1/2d. or 6d.
a-day in Poland or the Ukraine, and 2s. or 2s. 6d. a-day in England.

The clearest proof that this is the great cause of the superior cost of
raising subsistence in the old than the young state, is afforded by the
different value which money bears in different parts of the _same_
community. Ask any housekeeper what is the difference between the expense
of living in London, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, and he will answer, that
L.1500 a-year in Edingburgh, or L.750 in Aberdeen. Yet these different
places are all situated in the same community, and their inhabitants pay
the same public taxes, and very nearly the same of local ones. It is the
vast results arising from the concentration of wealth and expediture in
one place, compared with its abstraction from others, which occasions the
difference. But if this effect is conspicuous, and matter of daily
observation, in different parts of the same compact and moderately sized
country, how much more must it obtain in regard to different countries,
situated in different latitudes and politcal circumstances, and in
different stages of wealth, civilization, and commercial opulence? Between
England for example, and Poland or the Ukraine? The difference is there
important and durable. Wheat can be raised with as good a profit to the
cultivator for sixteen shillings per quarter in Poland, as for forty-eight
shillings in England or Scotland.

This superior weight of wages, rent and all the elements of cost, in the
old, when compared with the young community, affects the manufacturer as
well as the farmer; and in some branches of manufactures it does so with
an overwhelming effect. But, generally speaking, the advantages of capital,
machinery, and the division of labour, render the old state altogether
predominant over the young one in these particulars. It would seem to be a
fixed law of nature, that the progress of society adds almost nothing to
the application of machinery to agriculture, but indefinitely to its
importance in manufactures. Observe an old man digging his garden with a
spade--that is the most productive species of cultivation; it is the last
stage of agricultural progress to return to it. No steam engines or steam
ploughs will ever rival it. But what is the old weaver toiling with his
hands, to the large steam-power mill, turning at once ten thousand
spindles? As dust in the balance. Man, by a beneficent law of his Maker,
is permanently secured in his first and best pursuit. It is in those which
demoralize and degrade, that machinery progressively encroaches on the
labour of his hands.  England can undersell India in muslins and printed
goods, manufactured in Lancashire or Lanarkshire, out of cotton which grew
on the banks of the Ganges; for England though younger in years compared
to India, is old in civilization, wealth, and power. We should like to see
what profit would be made by exporting wheat from England, raised on land
paying thirty shillings an acre of rent, by labourers paid at two
shillings a-day, to Hindostan, where rice is raised twice a-year, on land
paying five shillings an acre rent, by labourers receiving twopence a-day
each.

It is the constant operation of this law of nature which ensures the
equalization of empires, the happiness of society, and the dispersion of
mankind. To be convinced of this, we have only to reflect on the results
which would ensue if this were not the case; if no unvarying law gave man
in remote situations an advantage in raising subsistence over what they
enjoy in the centres of opulence; and agriculture, in the aged and wealthy
community, was able to acquire the same decisive superiority over distant
and comparatively poor ones, which we see daily examplified in the
production of manufactures. Suppose, for example, that in consequence of
the application of the steam-engine, capital, and machinery to the raising
of subsistence, Great Britian could undersell the cultivatiors of Poland
and the Ukraine as effectually as she does their manufacturers in the
production of cotton goods; that she could sell in the Polish market wheat
at five shillings a quarter, when they require fifteen shillings to
remunerate the cost of production. Would not the result be, that commerce
between them would be entirely destroyed; that subsistence would be
exclusively raised in the old opulent community; that mankind would
congregate in fearful multitudes round the great commercial emporium of
the world; and that the industry and progress of the more distant nations
would be irrevocably blighted? Whereas, by the operation of the present
law of nature, that the rich state can always undersell the poor one in
maufactures, and the poor one always undersell the rich one in subsistence,
those dangers are removed, a check is provided to the undue multiplication
of the species in particular situations, and the dispersion of mankind
over the globe--a vital object in the system of nature--is secured, from
the very necessities and difficulties in which, in the progress of society,
the old and wealthy community becomes involved.

These considerations point out an important limitation to which, on
principle, the doctrines of free trade must be subjected. Perfectly just
in reference to a single community, or a compact empire of reasonable
extent, they wholly fail when applied to separate nations in different
degrees of civilization, or even to different provinces of the same empire,
when it is of such an extent as to bring such different nations, in
various degrees of progress, under one common dominion. They were
suggested, in the first instance, to philosophers, by the absurd
restrictions on the commerce of grain which existed in France under the
old monarchy, and which Turgot and the Economists laboured so assiduously
to abolish. There can be no doubt that they were perfectly right in doing
so; for France is a compact, homogeneous country, in which the cost of
producing subsistence is not materially different in one part from another,
and the interests of the whole community are closely identified. The same
holds with the interchange of grain between the different provinces of
Spain, or for the various parts of the British islands. But the case is
widely different with an empire so extensive as, like the British in
modern or the Roman in ancient times, to embrace separate kingdoms, in
wholly different circumstances of climate, progress, and social condition.
Free trade, in such circumstances, must lead to a destruction of important
interests, and a total subversion of the balance of society in both the
kingdoms subjected to it. To be conviced of this, we have only to look at
the present condition of the British, or the past fate of the Roman empire.

It is the boast of our manufacturers--and such a marvel may well afford a
subject for exultation--that with cotton which grew on the banks of the
Ganges, they can, by the aid of British capital, machinery, and enterprise,
undersell, in the production of muslin and cotton goods, the native Indian
manufacturers, who work up their fabrics in the close vicinity of the
original cotton-fields. The constant and increasing export of Britsh goods
to India, two-thirds of which are cotton, demonstrates that this
superiority really exists; and that the muslin manufacturers in Hindostan,
who work for 3d. a-day on their own cotton, cannot stand the competition
of the British operatives, who receive 3s. 6d. a-day, aided as they are by
the almost miraculous powers of the steam-engine. Free trade, therefore,
is ruinous to the manufacturing interests of India; and accordingly the
Parliamentary proceedings are filled with evidence of the extreme misery
which has been brought on the native manufacturers of Hindostan by that
free importation of British goods, in which our political economists so
much and so fully exult.

The great distance of India from the British islands, the vast expense of
transporting bulky articles eight thousand miles accross the ocean, have
prevented the counterpart of this effect taking place; and the British
farmers feeling the depressing influence of the Indian plough, in like
manner as the Indian manufacturers have the ruinous competition of the
British steam-engine. But it is clear that, if India had been nearer, the
former effect would have taken place as well as the latter. If the shores
of Hindostan were within a few days sail of London and Liverpool, and the
Indian cultivators, labouring at 2d. or 3d. a-day, had been brought into
direct competition with the British farmers, employing labourers who
received two or three shillings, can there be a doubt that the British
farmers would have been totally destroyed in the struggle? The English
farmers would have been prostrated by the same cause which has ruined the
Indian muslin manufacturers. Cheap grain, the fruit of free trade, would
have demolished British agriculture as completely as cheap cotton goods,
the fruits of unlimited importation, has ruined Indian manufacturing
industry.

Is, then, commercial intercourse impossible, on terms of mutual benefit,
between states in widely different circumstatnces of commercial or
agricultural advancement; and is the only reciprocity which can exist
between them and reciprocity of evil? It is by no means necessary to rest
in so unsatisfatory a conclusion. A most advantageous commercial
intercourse to both parties may be carried on, but it must not be on the
footing of free trade. The foundation of such an intercourse should be,
that each should take, on the most favourable terms, the articles which
_it wants and does not produce_, and impose restrictions on those which
_it wants and does produce_. On this priciple, trade would be conducted so
as to benefit both countries, and injure neither. Thus England may take
from India to the utmost extent, and with perfect safety, sugar, indigo,
cotton, tea, spices, cinnamon, and the more costly species of shawls;
while India might take from England some species of cotton manufacture in
which they have no fabrics of their own, cutlery, hardware, and all of the
various luxuries of European manufacture. But a paternal and just
government, equally alive to the interests of all its provinces, how far
removed soever from the seat of power, would impose restrictions to
prevent India being deluged with British cottons, to the ruin of its
native manufactures, and to prevent Britian--if the distance did not
operate, which it certainly would, as a sufficient protection--from being
flooded with Indian grain. The varieties of climate, productions, and
wants, in different countries, are such, that commerce, regulated on these
principles, might be carried to the greatest extent consistent with the
paramount duty of providing in each state for the preservation of its
staple articles of industry.

The Roman empire in ancient times afforded the clearest demonstration of
the truth of these principles; and the fate of their vast dominion shows,
in the most decisive manner, what is the inevitable consequence to which
the free trade principles, now so strongly contended for by a party in
this country, must lead. Alison is the first modern author with whom we
are acquainted, who has traced the decline of the Roman empire in great
part to this source. In the tenth volume of his "History of Europe,"
p. 752, we find the following passage:--

  "No nation can pretend to independence which rests for any sensible
  protion of its subsistence in ordinary seasons on foreign, who may
  become hostile, nations. And if we would see a memorable example of
  the manner in which the greatest and most powerful nation may, in the
  course of ages, come to be paralysed by this cause, we have only to
  cast our eyes on imperial Rome, when the vast extent of the empire
  had practically established a free trade in grain with the whole
  civilized world; and the result was, that cultivation disappeared
  from the Italian plains, that the race of Roman agriculturists, the
  strength of the empire, became extinct, that the fields were laboured
  only by slaves and cattle. The legions could no longer be recruited
  but from foreign bands, vast tracts of pasturage overspread even the
  fields of Lombardy and the Compagna of Naples, and it was the
  plaintive confession of the Roman annalist, that the mistress of the
  world had come to depend for her subsistence on the floods of the
  Nile."

This observation has excited, as well it might, the vehement indignation
of the free trade journals. The example of the greates and most powerful
nation that ever existed being weakened, and at length ruined by a free
trade in corn, afforded too cogent an argument, and was too striking a
warning, not to excite the wrath of those who would precipitate Great
Britain into a similar course of policy. They have attacked the author,
accordingly, with unwonted asperity; and, while they admint the ruin of
Italian agriculture in the later stages of the Roman empire, endeavour to
ascribe it to the gratuitous distribution of grain to the Roman populace,
not the effect of a free importation of grain from its Egyptian and
African provinces. The vast importance of the subject has induced us to
look into the original authorities to whom Alison refers in support of his
observation, and from among them we select three--Tacitus, Gibbon, and
Michelet. Tacitus says,

  "At Hercule _olim ex Itaila_ legionibus longinquas in provincias
  commeatus portabantur, _nec nunc infecunditate laboratur_; sed Africam
  _potius et Egyptum exercemus_, navibusque et casibus vita populi
  Romani permissa est."--TACITUS, _Annal_. xii. 43.

Antiquity does not contain a more pregnant and important passage, or one
more directly bearing on the present policy of the Britsh emprire, than
this. It demonstrates: 1, That in former times Italy had been an exporting
country: "_olim_ ex Italia commeatus in longinquas provincias portabantur."
2, That at the time when Tacitus wrote, in the days of the Emperor Trajan,
it had ceased to be so, and had come to import largely from Africa and
Lybia, "sed _nunc_ Africam potius et Egyptum exercemus." 3, That this was
not the result of any supervening sterility or unfruitfulness, "nec nunc
infecunditate laboratur," but was from causes which made it more
profitable to purchase grain in the Egyptian or Lybian markets, "sed
Africam POTIUS et Egyptum exercemus."

Of the extent to which this decay of agriculture in the central
provinces of the Roman empire went, in the latter stages of its history,
we have the following striking account in the authentic pages of
Gibbon:--


  "Since the age of Tiberius _the decay of agriculture had been felt in
  Italy_; and it was a just subject of complaint that the life of the
  Roman people depended on the accidents of the winds and the waves. In
  the division and decline of the empire, _the tributary harvests of
  Egypt and Africa_ were withdrawn; the numbers of the inhabitants
  continually diminished with the means of subsistence; and the country
  was exhausted by the irretrievable losses of war, pestilence, and
  famine. Pope Gelasius was a subject of Odoacer, and he affirms, with
  strong exaggeration, that, in Emilia, Tuscany, and the adjacent
  provinces, the human species was almost extirpated."--GIBBON, vol. vi.
  c. xxxvi. p. 235.

Of the progress and extent of this decay, Gibbon gives the following
account in another part of his great work:--

  "The agriculture of the Roman provinces _was insensibly ruined_; and
  in the progress of despotism, which tends to disappoint its own
  purpose, the emperors were obliged to derive some merit from the
  forgiveness of debts, or the remission of tributes, which their
  subjects were utterly incapable of paying. According to the new
  division of Italy, the fertile and happy province of Campania, the
  scene of the early victories and of the delicious retirements of the
  citizens of Rome, extended between the sea and the Apennines, from
  the Tiber to the Silarius. Within sixty years after the death of
  Constantine, and on the evidence of an actual survey, an exemption
  was granted in favour of 330,000 English acres _of desert and
  uncultivated land, which amounted to one-eighth of the whole surface
  of the province_. As the footsteps of the barbarians had not yet been
  seen in Italy, the cause of this amazing desolation, which is
  recorded in the laws, (Cod. Theod. lxi. t. 38, l. 2,) can be ascribed
  only to the administration of the Roman emperors."--GIBBON, vol. iii.
  c. xviii. p. 87. Edition in 12 volumes.

Michelet observes, in his late profound and able History of France--

  "The Christian emperors could not remedy the growing depopulation of
  the country any more than their heathen predecessors. All their
  efforts only showed the impotence of government to arrest that
  dreadful evil. Sometimes, alarmed at the depopulation, they tried to
  mitigate the lot of the farmer, to shield him against the landlord;
  upon this the proprietor exclaimed he could no longer pay the taxes.
  At other times they abandoned the farmer, surrendered him to the
  landlord, and strove to chain him to the soil; but the unhappy
  cultivators perished or fled, _and the land became deserted_. Even in
  the time of Augustus, efforts were made to arrest the depopulation at
  the expense of morals, by encouraging concubinage. Pertinax granted
  an immunity from taxes to those who could occupy the desert lands of
  Italy, _to the cultivators of the distant provinces, and the allied
  kings_. Aurelian did the same. Probus was obliged to transport from
  Germany men and oxen to cultivate Gaul.[13] Maximian and Constantius
  transported the Franks and Germans from Picardy and Hainault into
  Italy: but the depopulation in the towns and the country alike
  continued. The people surrendered themselves in the fields to despair,
  as a beast of burden lies down beneath his load and refuses to rise.
  In vain the emperor strove, by offers of immunities and exemptions,
  to recall the cultivator to his deserted fields. Nothing could do so.
  The desert extended daily. At the commencement of the fifth century
  there was, in the _happy_ Campania, the most fertile province of the
  empire, 520,000 _jugera_ in a state of nature."--MICHELET, _Histoire
  de France_, i. 104-108.

    [13] "Arantur Gallicana rura _barbaris bobus_, et juga Germanica
    captiva praebent colla nostris cultoribus."--_Probi Epist. ad
    Senatum in Vopesio_.

Pursued to its very grave by the same deep-rooted cause of evil, the
strength of Italy, even in the last stages of its decay, was still
prostrated by the importation of grain from Egypt and Lybia. "The Campagna
of Rome," says Gibbon, "about the close of the sixth century, was reduced
to the state of _a dreary wilderness_, in which the land was barren, the
waters impure, and the air infectious. Yet the number of citizens _still
exceeded the measure of subsistence; their precarious food was supplied
from the harvests of Egypt and Lybia_; and the frequent repetitions of
famine betray the inattention of the emperors to a distant
provice."--GIBBON, vil. viii. c. xlv. 162.

Nor was this desolating scourge of foreign importation confined to Italy;
it obtained also in Greece equally with the Ausonian fields, the abode of
early riches, opulence, and prosperity. "In the later stages of the
empire," says Michelet, "Greece was almost entirely _supported by corn
raised in the fields of Podolia_," (Poland.)--MICHELET, i. 277.

Now let it be recollected that this continual and astonishing decline of
agriculture, and disappearance of the rural cultivators in the latter
stages of the Roman empire, took place in an empire which contained, as
Gibbon tells us, 120,000,000 of inhabitants, and 1600 great cities, was
3000 miles long and 2000 miles broad, contained 1,600,000 square miles,
chiefly fertile and well cultivated land, which embraced the fairest and
most fertile portions of the earth, and which had been governed for eighty
yers under the successive sway of Nerva, Adrian, Trajan, and the two
Antonines, with consummate wisdon and the most paternal spirit.[14] The
scourge of foreign war, the devastation of foreign armies, were alike
unknown; profound tranquillity pervaded every part of the empire; and a
vast inland lake, spreading its ample waters through the heart of the
dominion, afforded to all its provinces the most perfect facility of
intercourse with the metropolis and the central parts of the empire. Yet
this period--the period which Mr Hume has told us the philosophers would
select as the happiest the human race had ever known--was precisely that
during which agriculture so rapidly declined in the Italian and Grecian
fields, during which the sturdy race of free cultivators disappeared, and
the plains of Italy were entirely absorbed by pasturage, and maintained
only vast herds of cattle tended by slaves.

    [14] "Quingena viginti octo millia quadringinta duo jugera, quae
    Campania provincia, juxta inspectorum relationem, in desertis et
    squalidis locis habero dignoscitur, iisdem provincialibus
    concessum."--_Cod. Theod_. lxi. i. 2382.

What was it, then, which in an empire containing so immense a population,
and such boundless resources, drawn forth and developed under so wise and
beneficent a race of emperors, occasioned this constant and uninterrupted
decay of agriculture, and at length the total destruction of the rural
population in the heart of the empire? How did it happen that Italian
cultivation receded, as Tacitus and Gibbon tell us it did, _from the time
of Tiberius_; and equally under the wisdom of the Antonines, as the
tyranny of Nero, or the civil wars of Vitellius? Some general and durable
cause must have been in operation during all this period, which at firest
depressed, and at length totally destroyed, the numerous body of free
Italian cultivators who so long had constituted the strength of the
legions, and had borne the Roman eagles, conquering and to conquer, to the
very extremities of the habitable earth. The cause is apparent. It was the
free importation of Egyptian and Lybian grain, consequent on the extension
of the Roman dominion over their fertile fields, which effected the result.
Were England to extend its conquering arms over Poland and the Ukraine,
and, as a necessary consequence, expose the British farmer to the
unrestrained competition of Polish and Russian wheat, precisely the same
result would ensue. If the shores of Hindostan were within three or four
days' sail of the Tiber, this result would long ago have taken place. Let
Polish and Russian grain be admitted without a protecting duty into the
British harbours, as Lybian and Egyptian were into those of Italy, and we
shall soon see the race of cultivators disappear from the fields of
England as they did from those of old Rome, and the words of Tacitus will,
by a mere change of proper names, become a picture of our condition; three
hundred thousand acres will soon be reduced to a state of nature in Kent
and Norfolk, as they were in the Campania Felix. "Nec nunc infecunditate
laboramur, _Podoliam_ potius et _Scythiam_ exercemus, navibusque et
casibus vita populi _Anglici_ permissa est."

The free traders allege that the decay of agriculture in the central
provinces of the Roman empire, to which, by the concurring testimony of
all historians, the ruin of the dominion of the Caesars was chiefly owing,
is to be ascribed, not to the free importation of grain from Egypt,
Podolia, and Lybia, but to the tyranny of the emperors, the gratuitous
distribution of grain to the Roman populace, and the dreadful evils of
domestic slavery. A very slight consideration, however, must be sufficient
to show that these causes, how powerful soever in producing _general_
evils over the empire, could not have been instrumental in occasioning
those _peculiar_ and separate causes of depression, which so early began
to check, and at length totally destroyed, the agriculture of its central
provinces.

The tyranny of the Caesars, the oppression of the Proconsuls, the avarice
of the Patricians, were general evils, affecting alike every part of the
empire; or rather they were felt with more severity in the remote
provinces than the districts nearer home, in consequence of the superior
opportunities of escape which distance from the central government
afforded to iniquity, and the lesser chance of success which the
insurrection of a remote province held forth to the "wild revenge" of
rebellion. Muscovite oppression, accordingly, is more severely felt at
Odessa or Taganrog than St Petersburg; and British rule is far from being
restrained by the same considerations of justice on the banks of the
Ganges or the Indus, as on those of the Thames. The gratuitous
distribution of grain by the emperors to the populace of Rome, could never
have occasioned the ruin of the Italian _cultivators_. Supposing that the
two or three hundred thousand lazy and turbulent plebeians, who were
nourished by the bounty or fed by the terrors of the Caesars, were the
most useless, worthless, and dangerous set of men that ever existed,
(which they probably were,) that circumstance could never have uprooted
the race of cultivators from the plains of Lombardy, Umbria, or the
Campania Felix. The greatest possible good to a nation, according to the
free trader, is cheap grain, and never more so than when it is purchased
or imported from foreign growers. If this be true, the importation of the
harvests of Egypt and Africa into the Italian harbours, either by the
voluntary purchase of the Roman emperors, or the forced tribute in grain
which they exacted from those provinces, must have been the greatest
possible benefit to the Italian people. How then, if there be no mischief
in such foreign importations, is it possible to ascribe the ruin of
Italian cultivation, and with it of the Roman empire, to these forced
contributions? If the free traders have recourse to such an argument, they
concede the very point in dispute, and admit that the introduction of
foreign grain is injurious, and may in the end prove fatal, to the
agriculture and existence of a state.

Slavery, though a great evil, will as little explain the peculiar and
extraordinary decline of Italian and Grecian cultivation in the later
stages of the Roman empire. The greater part of the labour of the ancient
world, as every one knows, was conducted by means of slaves. They were
slaves who held the plough, and tilled the land, and tended the flocks,
equally in Lybia, in Campania, in Egypt, as in Umbria. Nay, the number of
freemen, at least in the days of the Roman Republic, and the earlier
periods of the empire, was incomparably _greater_ in Italy and Greece, the
abode of celebrated, powerful, and immortal republics, than in Lybia and
Egypt, which from the earliest times had been subject to the despotic sway
of satraps, kings, and tyrants. So numerous were the free citizens of Rome
in the early days of the empire, that, by the census of Claudius, we are
told by Gibbon they amounted to 6,945,000 men,[15] the greater proportion
of whom, of course, were residents in Italy, the seat of government, and
the centre of wealth, power, and enjoyment. While so great was the
multitude of free citizens which the Republic bequeathed to the empire,
resident and exercising unfettered industry in Italy, the cultivators of
Africa and Egypt were all serfs and slaves, toiling, like the West Indian
negroes, beneath the lash of a master. How, then, did it happen that the
labour of the Italian freeman was disused, and at length extinguished,
while that of the African and Egyptian slaves continued to furnish grain
for Italy down to the very latest period of the empire? We are told that
the labour of freemen is cheaper than that of slaves; and the free traders
will probably not dispute that proposition. It could not, therefore, have
been the slavery of antiquity which ruined Italian agriculture, carried on,
in part at least, by freemen; since African agriculture, the fruits
entirely of slavery, continued to flourish down to the very last days of
the Roman world.

    [15] GIBBON, chap. i. 68.

The severe taxation of the emperors is justly stated by Gibbon and
Sismondi, as well as Michelet, as a principal cause of the decline of
Italian agriculture: but very little consideration is required to show,
that this cause is inadequate to explain this ruin of cultivation in the
Italian plains, when it continued to flourish and maintain the chief
cities of the empire with food, in Egypt and Lybia. Heavy as it was, and
oppressive as it ultimately became, _it was equal_; it was the same every
where; it might, therefore, satisfactorily explain the _general_ decline
of rural industry through the empire, and doubtless had a large share in
contributing to its downfall; but it cannot explain the _particular_ ruin
of it, in the central provinces of this vast dominion, while it continued,
down to the very last moment, to flourish in its remote dependencies.

But the taxation of the empire, _when coupled with the free importation of
grain_ from these distant dependencies, does afford a most satisfactory,
and, in truth, the true explanation of the ruin of Italian and Grecian
cultivation. It was a fixed principle of Roman taxation, that the duties
allotted on a particular district should remain fixed, how much lower the
inhabitants or industry of the province might decline. When, therefore, by
the constant importation of Egyptian and African grain, raised at half the
cost at which they could produce it, the Italian cultivators were deprived
of a remunerating return, and the taxes exacted from each district
underwent no diminution, it is not surprising that the small farmers and
proprietors were ruined; that they took refuge in the industry and crowds
of cities, and that the race of freemen disappeared from the country. A
similar process is now going on in the Turkish provinces. But without
undervaluing--on the contrary, attaching full weight to this
circumstance--nothing can be clearer than that it was the ruinous
competition of foreign grain, raised cheaper than they could produce it,
which rendered the same taxation crushing on the Italian farmers, which
was borne with comparative facility in the remoter provinces, where land
was more fertile, and labour less expensive. An example, _à fortiori_,
applied to the British empire, where the free traders wish us to admit a
free importation of grain from Poland and the Ukraine, where not only is
labour cheap but taxation trifling, into the British islands, where not
only is labour dear but taxation is five times more burdensome.

And for a decisive proof that it was the superior advantages which Egypt
and Lybia enjoyed in the production of grain, and not any other causes,
which occasioned the ruin of Italian agriculture, and with it the fall of
the Roman empire, we have only to look to the condition of the Italian
fields in the last stages of the government of the Caesars. Already, in
the time of the elder Pliny, it had become a subject of complaint that the
_great properties_ were ruining Italy[16]--a sure proof, when the great
division of estates in the days of the Republic--when, literally speaking,
"every rood had its man"--that some general and irresistible cause,
affecting the remuneration of their industry, was exterminating the small
proprietors. Erelong, cultivators ceased entirely in the country, and
the huge estates of the nobles were cultivated exclusively in pasturage,
and by means of slaves. "La classe," says Michelet, "_des petits
cultivateurs peu à pee a disparu_; les grands proprietaires qui leur
succedèrent y suppleèrent par des esclaves."[17] It is recorded by Ammianus
Marcellinus, that when Rome was taken by the Goths, it contained 1,200,000
inhabitants, and was mainly supported by 1780 great families, who
cultivated their ample estates in Italy in pasturage, by means of
slaves.[18] For centuries before, the threat of blockading the Tiber had
been found to be the most effectual way of coercing the Roman populace;
and whenever it took place, famine ensued, not only in Rome, but the
Italian provinces. The diminution of its agricultural produce had, long
before, been stated by Columella at _nine-tenths_, and by Varro at
_three-fourths_, of what at one period had been raised. Yet such was the
wealth of the Roman nobles, derived from pasturage, that some of them had
L.160, 000 a-year.[19] Agriculture, therefore, was destroyed; grain was no
longer raised in Italy; Rome was wholly dependent on foreign supplies--but
pasturage was undecayed; and colossal fortunes were enjoyed by a wealthy
race of great proprietors, who managed their vast estates by means of
slaves, and had bought up and absorbed the properties of the whole free
cultivators in the country. Such was the effect--such was the result--of a
free trade in grain in ancient times.

    [16] "Verumque confitentibus _latifundia perdidere Italiam_."--PLINY,
    _Hist. Nat_.xviii. 7.

    [17] MICHELET, i. 96.

    [18] AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS, c. xvi.--See also GIBBON, vi. 264.

    [19] GIBBON, vi. 262.

The free traders seem not insensible to these inevitable results of their
favourite principles; but they meet them by describing such consequences
as rather advantageous than injurious. If England, say they, can raise
iron and cotton goods cheaper than Poland, and Poland and Russia grain
cheaper than England, then the interest of each require that they should
follow out these branches of industry, and it is impolitic to strive
against it. Let, then, England admit foreign grain on a nominal duty, and
this will in the end induce Russia and Prussia to admit English
manufactured goods on equally favourable terms; and thus the real
interests of both countries will in the end be promoted.

There are two objections to this system. In the first place, it is
impracticable if it were expedient. In the second, it is inexpedient if it
were practicable.

It is impracticable if it were expedient. Theoretical writers may coolly
discuss in their closets the total destruction of various important
branches of industry, the "absorption" of the persons engaged in them in
other pursuits, and the transference of national capital and industry from
agriculture to manufactures, and _vice versà_; but it is impossible to
effect such changes by the voluntary act of government, even in the most
despotic country. We say by the voluntary act of government; because there
is no doubt that it may be effected, though at an enormous sacrifice of
life, wealth, and happiness, by the silent and unobserved operation of the
laws of nature, which are irresistible; as was the case with the
transference of industry from agriculture to pasturage, under the effect
of free trade in grain in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, in
the later stages of the Roman empire; or from manufactures to agriculture,
from the consequences of the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in the
Italian republics in modern times. But no government, not even that of the
Czar Peter or Sultaun Mahmoud, could succeed in destroying or nipping in
the bud brances of national industry, by simple acts of the legislature or
sovereign authority, not imposed by external and irresistible authority.
The Emperor Paul tried it, and got a sash twisted about his neck,
according to the established fashion of that country, for his pains. The
Whigs tried it, and were turned out of office in consequence. All the
governments of Europe, despotic, constitutional, and democratic, meet our
concessions, in favour of free trade, by increased protection to their
manufacturers. They dare not destroy their rising commercial wealth any
more than we dare destroy our old colossal agricultural investments. The
republicans of America even exceed them in the race of tariffs and
protection. Sixty-two per cent has lately been laid on our British iron
goods in return for Sir Robert Peel's tariff; a similar duty on iron and
cotton goods, it is well known, is contemplated in the Prussian leagues in
Germany. The British government has at length, through its prime minister,
spoken out firmly in support of the existing corn-laws. The feeling of the
agricultural counties, as evinced at the late meetings, left them no
alternative. All nations, under all varieties of government, situation,
race, and political circumstances, concur in rising up to resist the
doctrines of free trade. Necessity has enlightened, experience has taught
them: a very clear motive urges them on, which is not likely to decline in
strength with the progress of time--it is the instinct of
self-preservation.

Such a system as the free traders advocate, if practicable, would be to
the last degree inexpedient.

What would be the result? Why, that one country would become wholly, or in
great part, agricultural, and the other wholly, or in great part,
manufacturing. Is this a result desirable to either? Admitting that a city
or small state, which has no territory which can furnish any considerable
proportion of the subsistence which it requires, like Holland, may do well
to attend exclusively to manufactures and commerce; or a country which, by
the rigour of nature, or the remoteness of its situation, cannot attain to
commercial or manufacturing greatness, would do well to attend exclusively
to the cultivation or productions of the earth; the question which here
occurs--Is such a system advisable or expedient for a nation which has
received from the bounty of nature the means of rising to greatness in
_both_--such as Great Britain, Russia, or Prussia? The free traders would
have England sacrifice its agriculture to its manufactures, and Russia
sacrifice its manufactures to its agriculture. Would such a system benefit
either? Would England be happier or richer, more stable or more moral, if
the already colossal amount of its manufactures were trebled; or Russia,
if its rising iron and woolen fabrics were destroyed, and its industry
confined exclusively to the slow return of agricultural labour? Is it
desirable that the zone of tall chimneys, sickly faces, brick houses, and
crowded jails, which at present spans across the whole of England and part
of Scotland, should be doubled and trebled in breadth; and the fertile
fields of Kent, Norfolk, and East Lothian, be reduced to vast unenclosed
pastures, such as overspread Italy in the later stages of the Roman
empire? Or is it desirable to Russia and Prussia that they should be for
ever chained to the labour of boors, serfs, and shepherds, and all the
vivifying and unimportant effects of commercial wealth be denied to their
exertions? Nature has designed, experience recommends, a very different
system. History tells us in all parts of the world, that it is in the
_intermixture_ of commerce and agriculture that the best security is to be
found for social happiness and advancement, and the most effectual
antidote provided to the evils with which either, when existing alone, is
so prone. Mr McCulloch has told us, that the commerce and manufactures of
Great Britain have now risen to such a prodigious height, that any further
extension of them is undesirable, and that no real patriot would have
desired them to have become so extensive as they already are. Is it
desirable, in such a state of matters, to go on increasing the same
splendid but perilous system, and to do so at the expense of the great
pillar of national wealth, security, and independence--the land of the
state?

Further, the proposed system is pernicious even with reference to the
national wealth and interests of the manufacturers themselves, as tending
to undermine the main branches of our national resources, and substitute
encouragement to an inferior, to upholding of the superior market for our
manufacturing industry.

Although in the meetings where they address the agricultural
constituencies, the free traders hold out that their measures would
benefit the manufacturers, and _not injure the agriculturists_; yet
nothing can be clearer than that this is a mere shallow pretext, put forth
to conceal their real objects and the effect of their measures, and that
the result they _really_ anticipate is as different from that as the poles
are asunder. What is the benefit they hold out to the community as an
inducement to go into their measures? Cheap grain. What is the motive
which stimulates all their efforts, and which, among themselves and in
private conversation with all men of sense, they at once admit is their
ruling object? _Reduced wages_; the hope of extending our export in
foreign countries by taking an additional quantity of their rude produce;
and diminishing the cost of production to our manufacturers by lowering
the price of food, and with it the wages of labour. The whole strength of
their case rests in these propositions. Their influence over the urban
multitudes arises solely from the continual reiteration of these alluring
hopes. If these effects are not to follow free trade and the efforts of
the League, in the name of Heaven, what good are they to do, and why do
they agitate the country and subscribe to the League fund? Sensible men do
not throw away £100,000 for nothing, for no benefit to themselves or
others. But these prospects are as fallacious as they are alluring, and so
a very few observations will demonstrate.

Considered in a _national_ point of view, if the matter is brought to this
issue, the great question is--Whether agriculture or manufactures are the
superior interests in the production of national wealth. Admitting that
the true policy for government is to protect _all_ the branches of
national industry, and stoutly contending, as we do, and ever shall do,
that the real and ultimate interests of all is the same, and cannot be
separated--the question comes to be, if one fiercely demands the sacrifice
of the other, and insists that its interests are so weighty and momentous
that all others must be sacrificed to them, which of the two thus placed
in jeopardy is the most momentous? which brings in most to the national
treasury? Now, on this point the facts are as adverse to the arguments of
the League, as on all other branches of their case.

Take the sum total of manufactures in Great Britain and Ireland,
accompanied with the sum total of agricultural production, in order to
discover which of the two is the more valuable interest--in order that it
may be discovered, if matters are brought to that issue that one or other
must be abandoned, which is to be sacrificed. The choice of a wise
government could not be doubtful, if it were necessary to make the
selection. The agricultural productions of the British islands amount to
L.300,000,000 a-year, while the sum total of manufactures of every
description is only L.180,000,000. Nor can it be said, with any degree of
truth, that the agriculture of the country is dependent for its existence
on its manufactures, and would decline if they were materially injured;
for the example of modern Italy and Flanders proves, that three centuries
_after_ a country has ceased to be the chief in manufacturing or
commercial industry, it may advance with undiminished vigour and success
in the production of agricultural riches.

But this is not all. The statistical documents which have now been
prepared with so much care by Parliament, and published by the accurate
and indefatigable Mr Porter, himself a decided free trader, demonstrate
that, of the manufacturing productions, nearly three-fourths are taken off
by the home market, and _four-fifths_ by the home and colonial market
taken together, leaving only ONE-FIFTH for _the whole foreign markets of
the world put together_--

  "The total amount of British manufactures annually produced is about
  £180,000,000 worth, of which only £47,000,000 is taken off by the
  whole external trade of the world put together, while no less than
  £133,000, 000 is consumed in the home market; and of the foreign
  consumption, fully a third is absorbed by the British Colonies, in
  different parts of the world. So that the home and colonial trade is
  to the whole foreign put together as 5 to 1. And, whle the total
  produce of manufactures is £180,000,000 annually, and of mines and
  minerals £13,776,000, the amount of agricultural produce annually
  extracted from the soil is not less than £300,000,000; or a half more
  than the whole manufactures and mines put together."

Further, if we compare the proportion purchased of our manufactures, which
is taken off by foreign nations, for the export to whom we are required to
make the sacrifice of our domestic agriculture, with what is consumed by
our own native population, whether in the British islands or in our
colonies of British descent, the difference is prodigious, and such as
might well, even for their own sake, make the Anti-corn-law League pause
in their career of violence. From the tables compiled from Porter's
_Parliamentary Tables_, and the population of the different states to whom
we export, taken from Malte Brun and Balbi, it appears, that while the
British population, whether at home or abroad, consume from £3 to £5
a-head worth of our manufactures, the foreign nations to whom we are
willing to sacrifice the British agriculturists, take off per head ONLY AS
MANY PENCE. In preferring the one to the other, therefore, we are,
literally speaking, penny wise and pound foolish.

We have shown how agriculture was ruined in the Roman empire in Italy, by
the free importation of grain from the Lybian and Egyptian provinces of
the empire. As a contrast to that woful progress, the main cause of the
destruction of the empire of the Caesars, we request the attention of our
readers to the progress of British exports in official value, which
indicates their amount from 1790 to 1840, premising that the _whole_ of
that period was one of protection to the British agriculturist; during the
first twenty years of the period, by the effects of the war--during the
last twenty-five, by the operation of the corn law and sliding scale,
introduced in 1814. We recommend the advocates of free trade to search the
annals of the world for a similar instance of progress and prosperity
flowing from, or co-existent with, the practical adoption of their
principles.

These facts, which, in truth, are altogether decisive of the present
question, point to the great source from which the errors of the free
trade party are derived, and which appears, in an especial manner, their
favourite position, that cheap prices is an unmitigated blessing, and that
the great thing to attend to is to increase our imports. Cheap prices of
grain are like the Amreeta cap in Kehama; the greatest of all blessings is
the greatest of all curses, _according as they arise from magnitude of
domestic production, or magnitude of foreign importation_. Of the first we
had an example during the five fine years in succession, from 1830 to 1835,
during which the foreign importation was practically abolished by the
abundant harvests, and consequent high duty on grain under the sliding
scale. This was a period, as all the world knows, of universal and
unexampled commercial prosperity. Of the second we had a memorable example
during the five bad years in succession, which elapsed fiom 1836 to 1840,
in the course of which the corn laws, from the effect of the same sliding
scale, and the continued low prices, were practically abolished; and
importations, at the close of the period, amounted to 2,500,000 quarters,
and, on an average of the whole, was little short of 2,000,000 of quarters.
And what was the result? The exportation of 6,000,000 of sovereigns in a
single year to buy grain; an unexampled pressure on the money market;
commercial embarrassments, long-continued, and severe beyond all former
precedent; the contraction of ten millions of additional debt in four
years, and the creation of a deficit which at length rose to the
formidable amount, in 1842, of L.4,000,000 sterling! And what first
dispelled this distress, and arrested this downward and disastrous
progress? The fine harvests of 1842--the blessed sun of its long summer,
followed by the more checkered, but also fine summer of 1843, which again
gave us plenty, derived from domestic production, and consequent general
and increasing manufacturing as well as rural prosperity.

It is in vain, therefore, to say, cheap prices are a blessing in
themselves, and the consumers at least are ever benefited by a fall in the
cost of grain. Cheap prices are a real blessing if that effect consists
with prosperity to the producer, as by improved methods of cultivation or
manufacture, or the benignity of nature in giving fine seasons. But cheap
prices are the greatest of all evils, and to none more shall the consumers,
if they are the result, not of the magnitude of domestic production, but
of the magnitude of foreign importation. It was that sort of cheap prices
which ruined the Roman empire, from the destruction of the agriculture of
Italy; it is that sort of cheap prices which has ruined the Indian weavers,
from the disastrous competition of the British steam-engine; it is that
sort of low prices which has so grievously depressed British shipping,
from the disastrous competition of the Baltic vessels under the
reciprocity system. It is in vain for the consumers to say, we will
separate our case from that of the producers, and care not, so as we get
low prices, what comes of them. Where will the consumers be, and that
erelong, if the producers are destroyed? What will be the condition of the
landlords if their farmers are ruined? or of bondholders if their debtors
are bankrupt? or of railway proprietors if traffic ceases? or of owners of
bank stock if bills are no longer presented for discount? or of the 3 per
cents if Government, by the failure of the productive industry of the
country, is rendered bankrupt? The consumers all rest on the producers,
and must sink or swim with them.

       *       *       *       *       *

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





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