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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 427 - Volume 17, New Series, March 6, 1852
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 "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 427 - Volume 17, New Series, March 6, 1852" ***

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                      CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

  CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
  INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.


  No. 427. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 1852.   PRICE 1½ _d._



THE CHARITABLE CHUMS' BENEFIT CLUB.


The 'Mother Bunch' public-house stands modestly aside from the din,
traffic, and turmoil of a leading London thoroughfare, and retires, like
a bashful maiden, from the gaze of a crowd to the society of its own
select circle. It is situated in a short and rather narrow street,
leading from an omnibus route running north from the city to nowhere in
particular--or, if particulars must be given, to that complicated
assemblage of carts, cabs, and clothes-lines; of manure heaps and
disorganised pumps; of caged thrushes, blackbirds, and magpies; of dead
dogs and cats, and colonies of thriving rats; of imprisoned terriers and
goats let out on parole; of shrill and angry maternity and mud-loving
infancy; and of hissing, curry-combing grooms and haltered horses, to
which Londoners have given the designation of a Mews. Mr Peter Bowley,
the landlord of the 'Mother Bunch,' was the late butler of the late Sir
Plumberry Muggs; and having succeeded, on the demise of the baronet, to
a legacy of L.500, and finding himself unable any longer to resist the
charms of his seven years' comforter and counsellor, the cook,
supplemented as they were by the attractions of a legacy of the like
amount, he had united his destiny and wealth with hers in one common
cause. The name of Sir Plumberry Muggs, even though its worthy
proprietor was defunct, was still of sufficient influence to procure a
licence for his butler; and within a few months of his departure, Mr
Bowley had opened the new Inn and Tavern for the accommodation of Her
Majesty's thirsty lieges. He had congratulated himself upon the
selection of the site, and upon the suitableness of the premises to the
requirements of a good trade; and his heart swelled within him, as he
sat at the head of his own table, on the occasion of the house-warming,
dispensing with no niggard hand the gratuitous viands and unlimited
beer, which were at once to symbolise and inaugurate the hospitality of
his mansion. He had a snug bar curtained with crimson drapery, for the
convenience of those who, declining the ostentation of the public room,
might prefer to imbibe their morning-draught with becoming privacy. He
had a roomy tap-room, where a cheerful fire was to blaze the winter
through, and a civil Ganymede minister to the wants of the humblest
guest. There was a handsome parlour hung round with sporting-prints,
with cushioned seats and polished mahogany tables, where the tradesmen
of the neighbourhood might take their evening solace after the fatigues
of business; and, more than all this, he had an immense saloon on the
first floor above, calculated for social conviviality on the largest
scale, and furnished with mirrors, pictures, and an old grand-piano, a
portion of the _lares_ of the deceased Sir Plumberry Muggs.

Mr Bowley, however, soon made the unpleasing discovery, that it is one
thing to open an establishment of the kind--which had already swallowed
up two-thirds of his capital--and another thing to induce the public to
patronise it. Notwithstanding the overflow which had gathered at his
house-warming, and the numberless good wishes which had been expressed,
and toasts which had been drunk to his prosperity, yet the prosperity
did not come. Of the hundred and fifty enthusiastic well-wishers who had
done honour to his entertainment, squeezed his hand, and sworn he was a
trump, not a dozen ever entered the house a second time. Do what he
would, Bowley could not create a business; and the corners of his mouth
began visibly to decline ere the experiment had lasted a couple of
months. He made a desperate effort to get up a Free-and-easy; he had the
old piano tuned, and set an old fellow to play upon it with open
windows; exhibited a perpetual announcement of 'A Concert this Evening;'
and himself led off the harmony, to the tune of _Tally-ho_, at the top
of his voice. It was all of no avail. The half-dozen grooms who joined
in feeble chorus did not pay the expense of the gas; and he found the
Free-and-easy, without abettors, the most difficult thing in the world.
So he gave it up, and fell into a brown study, which engrossed him for a
month. He had visions of Whitecross Street before his eyes; and poor Mrs
Bowley sighed again, and sighed in vain, after the remembrance of Sir
Plumberry's kitchen, and its vanished joys. The only symptom of business
was the gathering of half-a-dozen nightly customers, who sipped their
grog for an hour or two in the parlour; and one of these, moreover, had
never paid a farthing since he had patronised the house. There were
twenty grogs scored up against him, besides a double column of beers. Mr
Bowley will put an end to that, at anyrate; so he signals the bibulous
debtor, and having got him within the folds of the crimson curtains, he
politely informs him, that credit is no part of his system of doing
business, and requests payment. Mr Nogoe, the convivial defaulter, who
is a gentleman of fifty, who has seen the world, and knows how to manage
it, is decidedly of Bowley's opinion--that, as a general rule, credit is
a bad plan; inasmuch as, so far as his experience goes in the public
line, to afford it to your customers, is the first step towards losing
it yourself. But he feels himself free to confess, that he is at the
present moment under a cloud, and that it would be inconvenient to him
to liquidate his score just then, though, of course, if Bowley insists,
&c. While Bowley is pausing to consider which will be the best way to
insist, Mr Nogoe carelessly leads the conversation to another topic, and
begins to descant upon the marvellous capabilities of the 'Mother
Bunch' for doing a first-rate trade; and hints mysteriously at the
splendid thing that might be made of it, only supposing that his friend
Bowley knew his own interest, and went the right way to work. The
landlord, who is now all ear, and who knows his own interest well
enough, pours out to his guest a glass of his favourite 'cold without,'
and seating himself opposite him at the little table, encourages him to
be more explicit. A long private and confidential conversation ensues,
the results of which are destined to change the aspect of affairs at the
'Mother Bunch.' We shall recount the process for the information of our
readers.

Next morning, Mr Bowley is altogether a new man; brisk, cheerful, and
active, he has a smile for everybody, and a joke and a 'good-morning'
even for the cobbler, who has the cure of soles in that very
questionable benefice, the Mews. He visits his tap-room guests, and
informs them of a plan which is in operation to improve the condition of
the labouring-classes, of which they will hear more by and by. He is
profoundly impressed with the sublime virtues of charity, benevolence,
brotherly love, and, as he terms it, all that sort of thing. Day after
day, he is seen in close confab with Mr Nogoe, who is now as busy as a
bee, buzzing about here, there, and everywhere, with rolls of paper in
his hand, a pen behind his ear, and another in his mouth, and who is
never absent an hour together from the 'Mother Bunch,' where he has a
private room much frequented by active, middle-aged persons of a rather
seedy cast, and where he takes all his meals at the landlord's table.
The first-fruits of these mysterious operations at length appear in the
form of a prospectus of a new mutual-assurance society, under the
designation of 'The Charitable Chums' Benefit Club;' of which Mr Nogoe,
who has undertaken its organisation, is to act as secretary and chairman
at the preliminary meetings, and to lend his valuable assistance in
getting the society into working order. Under his direction, tens of
thousands of the prospectuses are printed, and industriously circulated
among the artisans, labourers, small tradesmen, and serving-men in all
parts of the town, both far and near. Promises of unheard-of advantages,
couched in language of most affectionate sympathy, are addressed to all
whom it may concern. The same are repeated again and again in the daily
and weekly papers. A public meeting is called, and the names of
intending members are enrolled; special meetings follow, held at the
large room of the 'Mother Bunch;' the enrolled members are summoned;
officers and functionaries are balloted for and appointed; rules and
regulations are drawn up, considered, adopted, certified, and printed.
Mr Nogoe is confirmed in his double function as secretary and treasurer.
Subscriptions flow in; and, to Bowley's infinite gratification, beer and
spirits begin to flow out. The Charitable Chums, though eminently
provident, are as bibulous as they are benevolent; for every sixpence
they invest for the contingencies of the future tense, they imbibe at
least half-a-crown for the exigencies of the present. The society soon
rises into a condition of astonishing prosperity. The terms being
liberal beyond all precedent, the Charitable Chums' becomes wonderfully
popular. A guinea a week during sickness, besides medical attendance,
and ten pounds at death, or half as much at the death of a wife, are
assured for half the amount of subscription payable at the old clubs.
The thing is as cheap as dirt. The clerk has as much as he can do to
enregister the names of new applicants, and keep accounts of the
entrance-money. By way of keeping the society before the public, special
meetings are held twice a month, to report progress, and parade the
state of the funds. Before the new society is a year old, they have
nearly one thousand pounds in hand; and Bowley's house, now known far
and wide as the centre and focus of the Charitable Chums, swarms with
that provident brotherhood, who meet by hundreds under the auspices of
'Mother Bunch,' to cultivate sympathy and brotherly love, and to
irrigate those delicate plants with libations of Bowley's gin and
Bowley's beer. The Free-and-easy is now every night choke full of
wide-mouthed harmonists. The 'Concert this Evening' is no longer a mere
mythic pretence, but a very substantial and vociferous fact. The old
grand-piano, and the old, ragged player, have been cashiered, and sent
about their business; and a bran-new Broadwood, presided over by a
rattling performer, occupies their place. Bowley's blooming wife,
attended by a brace of alcoholic naiads, blossoms beneath the crimson
drapery of the bar, and dispenses 'nods and becks, and wreathed smiles,'
and 'noggins of _max_,' and 'three-outers,' to the votaries of
benevolence and 'Mother Bunch;' and the landlord is happy, and in his
element, because the world goes well with him.

When Whitsuntide is drawing near, a general meeting of the club is
convened, for the purpose of considering the subject of properties. A
grand demonstration, with a procession of the members, is resolved upon:
it is to come off upon Whit-Monday. In spite of the remonstrance of a
mean-spirited Mr Nobody--who proposes that, by way of distinguishing
themselves from the rest of the thousand-and-one clubs who will
promenade upon that occasion, with music, flags, banners, brass-bands,
big drums, sashes, aprons, and white wands, they, the Charitable Chums,
shall walk in procession in plain clothes, and save their money till it
is wanted--and in spite of five or six sneaking, stingy individuals, so
beggarly minded as to second his proposition, and who were summarily
coughed down as not fit to be heard, the properties were voted; and the
majority, highly gratified at having their own way, gave _carte-blanche_
to their officers to do what they thought right, and for the credit of
the society. Accordingly, flags and banners of portentous size, together
with sashes, scarfs, and satin aprons, all inlaid with the crest of the
Charitable Chums--an open hand, with a purse of money in it--were
manufactured at the order of the secretary, and consigned in magnificent
profusion to the care of Mr Bowley, to be in readiness for the grand
demonstration. A monster banner, bearing the designation of the society
in white letters upon a ground of flame-coloured silk, hung on the
morning of the day from the parapet of Bowley's house, and obscured the
good 'Mother Bunch,' as she swung upon her hinges, in its fluttering
folds. The procession, which went off in irreproachable style, was
followed by a dinner at Highbury Barn, at which above a thousand members
sat down to table; and after which, thanks were voted to the different
officers of the club; and, in addition thereto, a gold snuff-box, with
an appropriate inscription, was presented to Mr Nogoe, for his
unparalleled exertions in the sacred cause of humanity, as represented
by their society.

The jovial Whitsuntide soon passed away, and so did the summer, and the
autumn was not long in following; and then came the cold winds, and
fogs, and hoar-frost of November. The autumn had been sickly with
fevers, and Dr Dosem, the club's medical man, had had more cases of
typhus to deal with than he found at all pleasant or profitable,
considering the terms upon which he had undertaken the physicking of the
Charitable Chums. He was heard to say, that it took a deal of drugs to
get the fever out of them; and that, though he worked harder than any
horse, he yet lost more of his patients than he had fair reason to
expect. With nearly fifteen thousand members, the deaths in the club
became alarmingly frequent. Nogoe, as he took snuff out of his gold box,
shrugged his shoulders at the rapid disappearance of the funds, as one
ten-pound cheque after another was handed over to the disconsolate
widows. His uneasiness was not at all alleviated by the reception of a
bill of two hundred and fifty pounds for properties, &c. among which
stood his snuff-box, set down at thirty-five guineas, upon which he
knew, for he had tried, that no pawnbroker would lend ten pounds. He
called a special council of all the officers of the club, and laid the
state of affairs before them. The first thing they did, was to pass a
vote for the immediate payment of the property bills; a measure which is
hardly to be wondered at, if we take into account that they were
themselves the creditors. The treasurer handed them a cheque for the
amount; and then, apprising them that there was now, with claims daily
increasing, less than two hundred pounds in hand, which must of
necessity be soon exhausted, demanded their advice. They advised a
reissue of prospectuses and advertisements; which being carried into
effect at the cost of a hundred pounds, brought a shoal of fresh
applicants, with their entrance-money, and for the moment relieved the
pressure upon the exchequer.

But when the November fogs brought the influenza, and a hundred of the
members were thrown upon their backs and the fund at once; when it
became necessary to engage additional medical assistance; and when, in
spite of unremitting energy in the departments of prospectusing,
puffing, and personal canvassing, the money leaked out five times as
fast as it came in, then Mr Nogoe began to find his position peculiarly
unpleasant, and anything but a bed of roses. With 'fourscore odd' of
sick members yet upon the books--with five deaths and three half-deaths
unpaid--and the epidemic yet in full force, he beheld an unwholesome
December threatening a continuation of sickness and mortality, and a
balance at the banker's hardly sufficient to pay his own quarter's
salary. Again he calls his colleagues together, and states the
deplorable condition of affairs. The representatives of the five
deceased members, whom Nogoe has put off from time to time on various
ingenious pretences, having become aware of the meeting, burst in upon
their deliberations, and after an exchange of no very complimentary
remonstrances, backed by vehement demands for immediate payment, are
with difficulty induced to withdraw, while the committee enter upon the
consideration of their cases. Nogoe produces his budget, from the
examination of which it appears, that if they are paid in full, there
will remain in the hands of the bankers, to meet the demands of the
'fourscore odd' sick members, the sum of 4s. 7d. What is to be done? is
now the question. A speechification of three hours, during which every
member of the committee is heard in his turn, helps them to no other
expedient than that of a subscription for the widows, and a renewed
agitation, by means of the press and the bill-sticker, to re-establish
the funds by the collection of fresh fees and entrance-money. The
subscription, the charge of which is confided to a deputy, authorised to
collect voluntary donations from the various lodges about town, turns
out a failure: the widows, who want their ten pounds each, disgusted at
the offer of a few shillings, flock in a body to the nearest sitting
magistrate, and clamorously lay their case before his worship, who
gravely informs them, that the Charitable Chums' Benefit Society being
duly enrolled according to Act of Parliament, he can render them no
assistance, as he is not authorised to interfere with their proceedings.

In the face of this exposure, the agitation for cramming the society
down the throats of the public goes on more desperately than ever. By
this means, Mr Nogoe manages to hold on till Christmas, and then
pocketing his salary, resigns his office in favour of Mr Dunderhead, who
has hitherto figured as honorary Vice-Something, and who enters upon
office with a gravity becoming the occasion. Under his management,
affairs are soon brought to a stand-still. Notwithstanding his profound
faith in the capabilities of the Charitable Chums, and his settled
conviction that their immense body must embrace the elements of
stability, his whole course is but one rapid descent down to the verge,
and headlong over the precipice, of bankruptcy. The dismal announcement
of 'no effects,' first breathed in dolorous confidence at the bedsides
of the sick, soon takes wind. All the C.C.s in London are aghast and
indignant at the news; and the 'Mother Bunch' is nightly assailed by
tumultuous crowds of angry members, clamorous for justice and
restitution. The good lady who hangs over the doorway, in nowise abashed
at the multitude, receives them all with open arms. Indignation is as
thirsty as jollity, and to their thirst at least she can administer, if
she cannot repair their wrongs. Nogoe has vanished from the locality of
the now thriving inn and tavern of his friend Mr Peter Bowley, and in
the character of a scapegoat, is gone forth to what point of the compass
nobody exactly knows. The last account of him is, that he had gone to
the Isle of Man, where he endeavoured to get up a railway on the
Exhaustive Principle, but without effect. As for that excellent
individual, Bowley, he appears among the diddled and disconsolate Chums
in the character of a martyr to their interests. A long arrear of rent
is due to him, as well as a lengthy bill for refreshments to the various
committees, for which he might, if he chose, attach the properties in
his keeping. He scorns such an ungentlemanly act, and freely gives them
up; but as nobody knows what to do with them, as, if they were sold,
they would not yield a farthing each to the host of members, they remain
rolled up in his garret, and are likely to remain till they rot, the
sole memorials of a past glory.

The Charitable Chums' Benefit Society has fulfilled its destiny, and
answered the end of its creation. It has made the world acquainted with
the undeniable merits of 'Mother Bunch,' and encircled that modest
matron with a host of bibulous and admiring votaries; it has elevated
Bowley from the class of struggling and desponding speculators, to a
substantial and influential member of the Licensed Victuallers' Company:
it has at once vastly improved the colour of his nose and the aspect of
his bank-account; and while he complacently fingers the cash which it
has caused to flow in a continual current into his pocket, he looks
remarkably well in the character of chief mourner over its untimely
fate.



LA ROSIÈRE.


About twelve miles from Paris is situated the pretty vernal hamlet of
Maisons Lafitte. It hangs around the Château Lafitte--a princely
residence, formerly the property and dwelling of the well-known banker
of that name, but for many years past in other hands. In front of the
château, a broad avenue of greensward strikes straight away through a
thick forest, extending many miles across the country; and parallel with
the front of the building is an avenue still broader, but not so
long--La Grande Allée--wherein the various _fêtes_ of the hamlet are
celebrated, and which, moreover, forms a principal scene in the
following narrative.

Before the Revolution of 1793, the name of Gostillon was familiar as a
daily proverb to the people of Maisons. There were three or four
branches of the family living in the neighbourhood, and well known as
industrious and respectable members of the peasant class. When the
earthquake comes, however, the cottage is as much imperiled as the
palace; so the events which brought Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette to
the block, and sent panic into every court in Europe, also broke up and
dispersed the humble house of Gostillon. In the awful confusion of the
times, some were slain upon barricades; some sent hither and thither
with the army, to perish in La Vendée or elsewhere; and some fled to
seek safety and peace in foreign lands. Thus it came to pass, that at
length there were only three females in Maisons--a widow and her two
daughters--bearing the once common name. Mme Veuve Gostillon managed to
obtain a living by cultivating a small garden--the flowers and fruit
from which she sold in the markets of Paris--and by plying her needle.
Her daughters were named Julia and Cecilia, and there was the somewhat
remarkable difference of eight years between their ages.

Just as Julia had reached her fourteenth year, and little Cecilia her
sixth, a terrible misfortune happened to the industrious widow: a stroke
of paralysis deprived her of the use of her limbs, and rendered her
unable longer to maintain herself and little family by the labour of her
hands. A time of severe distress ensued for this remnant of the once
numerous and hearty family of the Gostillons; but it was only for
awhile. Julia--shrewd, spirited, and industrious--worked night and day
to perform the labour heretofore the portion of her parent, and to
liquidate the extraordinary expenses of the poor widow's sad illness,
and the derangement consequent thereupon. Steady assiduity seldom fails
of success. It was not long before she had the satisfaction of finding
matters proceeding in a somewhat straightforward manner--doctor's bills
paid; arrears of rent, such as they were, made up; and the little
business in flowers, fruit, and needle-work proceeding smoothly and
satisfactorily. There is much attractiveness in the virtue and
good-behaviour of youth; and Julia, handsome, intelligent, modest, and
sweet-tempered, soon became the favourite of all who knew her.

The peasantry of France have, from ancient times, maintained the custom
of publicly demonstrating their esteem of any young female member of a
community, who, in her progress from childhood to adolescence, or rather
to womanhood, may have given evidence of the possession of any unusual
amount of amiability and cleverness. Young girls who are deemed worthy
of public recognition as examples of virtue and industry, are waited
upon by the villagers on a fête-day, led forth, seated on a throne of
flowers, crowned with roses, blessed by the _curé_, and presented with
the honourable title of _La Rosière_. The custom is graceful and
poetical; and the world hardly presents a more charming spectacle--at
once so simple and so touching--as the installation of a _rosière_ in
some sequestered village of France. The associations connected with it
are pure and bright enough for a Golden Age. All who take part in the
little ceremony are humble people, living by their labour; the queen of
the day is queen by reason of her industry and virtue; they who do her
such becoming and encouraging homage, old and young, lead lowly and
toilsome lives, and yet have the innate grace thus to evince their
reverence for the best qualities of human nature. The pageantry of
courts, and pompous crowning of kings and queens, grand and splendid as
they are, have not such spiritual fragrance as these village
queen-makings; soft glimmerings and shinings-through of the light of a
better world--a world with which man, let conventionality disguise him
as it may, always has some sympathies.

For three years, the exemplary Julia had continued to support her
helpless parent and little sister, when, in accordance with this custom,
the good folks of the hamlet determined to shew their appreciation of
her estimable qualities at the next fête, by crowning her with roses,
and enthroning her with the usual ceremony in the Grande Allée. In the
meantime, Victor Colonne, son of the steward of the château, happened to
pay a visit to the poor widow's cottage; and thereafter he came again,
and again, and again, courting Julia Gostillon.

But Victor and Julia were not made for each other. He was thriftless,
idle, dissolute--the small _roué_ of the neighbourhood: she was careful,
industrious, virtuous. He was good-looking--of a dark, saturnine beauty,
insidiously impressive, like the dangerous charms of a tempter; she was
radiant and lustrous with the sweet graces of modesty, innocence, and
intelligence. Julia, however, young and susceptible, was for a time
pleased with his attentions. Persuasive powers of considerable potency,
and personal attractions of no mean sort, were not exerted and
prostrated at her feet entirely in vain. Ingenuous, trustful, and
inexperienced, she listened to the charmer with a yielding and delighted
ear, and was happy as long as she perceived nothing but sincerity and
love. It was but for a time, however. The Widow Gostillon liked not her
daughter's lover. Of more mature perception, of sharper skill in reading
character than her child, she conceived a deep distrust of the airy
smile and studied gallantry of Victor Colonne. She took counsel with
matrons old and circumspect as herself; made herself acquainted with
Victor's history; watched his looks, listened to his words narrowly and
scrutinisingly; and, day by day, felt more and more strongly that she
liked him not--that there was mischief in his restless eye and soft
musical voice. She communicated her fears to Julia, told her the history
of her suitor, and bade her be on her guard. Julia was startled and
distressed. These suspicions checked the brightness and little glory of
her life, and settled wanly and hazily on her soul, like damp breath on
a mirror. But they served as points of departure for daily thoughts.
Looks and words were watched, and weighed, and pondered over with
wistful studiousness; and while Victor believed his conquest to be
achieved, his increasing assurance and gradual abandonment of disguise
were alienating him from the object of his pursuit. Julia had
accompanied him on different occasions to the château; been presented to
his father; and had been seen, admired, and kindly spoken to by the
Comtesse Meurien and her daughters. Victor had lost no opportunity of
strengthening his suit by stimulating her ambition and pride; but it was
without avail. Though pleased for a time, she soon discovered that he
was cold, heartless, and even dissolute. The intimacy betwixt them was
fast relapsing into indifference, and, on her side, into dislike, when a
certain _dénouement_ of Master Victor's notorious love-makings,
accompanied by disgraceful circumstances, determined her to put an end
to it, once and for all.

'So you are determined?' exclaimed he with ill-restrained anger, as she
repeated her resolve to him for the fourth or fifth time.

'Yes: I will have nothing more to say to you,' replied she firmly.

'Then my father and his reverence the curé may lose all hopes of me!'
returned he bitterly. 'I have done much ill--I own it: I have won no
one's esteem: I have been idle, irregular, profligate. But wherefore?
Because I have had no one to care for me. Since my mother died, I have
been left to myself, with no kind hand to guide me, no kind tongue to
warn me: what wonder that youth should go astray?'

'No one to care for you!' exclaimed Julia, not without a tinge of
sarcasm. 'Do not your father and monsieur the curé do their utmost for
you?'

'The one reproves, and the other prays for me,' said Victor, with a
derisive smile; then turning to Julia, with a face in which penitence,
respect, and affection were well simulated, he exclaimed: 'but thou,
dear Julia, art the sovereign of my soul! in whose hand my fate is
placed. It is for you to shape my destiny: will you award me love or
perdition? At your bidding, no honourable deed shall be too high to mark
my obedience.'

'Then return to Marie Buren, and redeem the promise you made her,'
exclaimed Julia warmly.

'Nay, sweet Julia, if my priestess bids me turn away from heaven, I am
justified in protesting. Hope is the spring whence good and great works
flow. Bid me despair, and you bid me seek ruin.'

'Pooh! pooh!' exclaimed the young girl with contempt. 'I am plain Julia
Gostillon, who loves frankness and honour. You have neither one nor
other, and so I love you not; and again and again I repeat it, I will
have nothing more to say to you.'

Though the persevering Victor continued the colloquy, and exerted
himself to the utmost, sparing neither vows nor tears, Julia remained
firm. At last, seeing that his case was hopeless, he changed his tone
into one of sorrowful resignation--declared that honest frankness was a
great virtue, and that it was well they had discovered that their
affection was not reciprocal; and, in conclusion, begged the wearied
Julia to accompany him that night to the château for the last time, for
the purpose of explaining to his father, who might otherwise be troubled
with suspicions, that their courtship was broken off by mutual consent.
After much persuasion, Julia consented, and accordingly paid her last
visit to the château that same evening.

A few days after this occurrence, the 15th of June arrived, the day of
the fête. On the preceding evening, unknown to the good Julia, a score
of light-hearted girls were weaving garlands of flowers, and preparing
the crown of roses, in the house of neighbour Morelle; in that of
neighbour Bontemps another gay party were industriously ornamenting a
wooden throne with coverings, hangings, and cushions of
brightest-coloured flowers; and half the people of the hamlet were
thinking of Julia, and preparing bouquets, pincushions, caps, and
various little trifles, to present to her on the morrow.

In due course the morrow came. The summer sun had not risen many hours,
when troops of bright-eyed girls, lustrous with rosy cheeks, braided
hair, snow-white gowns, and streaming ribbons, went, tripping beneath
the trees, towards the cottage of Widow Gostillon. After them came bands
of youths and boys, and anon men and matrons, and the elders of the
place, till nearly all the little community was gathered round the
house. Early as it was, Julia had risen, and was at work. She had had
her own pleasant anticipations of the fête--though she had not heard
that a _rosière_ was to be crowned, much less that the honour was in
store for herself--and had intended, by commencing some hours earlier
than usual, to have done her work so much the sooner, that she might
share the pleasures of the festal day. But all thoughts of work were
quickly banished by her eager visitors, who, touched even by the fact,
that they had found her busy at the time when all were holiday-making,
embraced her, praised her, bade her prepare for coronation, wept,
laughed, chatted, clapped their hands, jumped, danced, and made such a
bustle, that Widow Gostillon, in some consternation, cried out from her
chamber to know what was the matter. And the poor widow wept, too, when
she discovered what was going on--wept solemnly in thinking over Julia's
fidelity to herself, her industry, cleverness, self-denial, sweetness,
and, as a proud mother might, of her beauty. And presently the
neighbours brought forth the poor invalid in her chair, and placed her
on a pleasant spot beneath the trees, whence she might behold the
installation. Then Julia retired with those appointed to be her
attendants--her tiring-women, the ladies of her court; and when, some
time after, she came forth, blushing and trembling, and with happy tears
upon her face, wearing her simple holiday dress of white muslin,
ornamented, in charming style, with wreaths of roses, the cries of 'Vive
la rosière!' might have been heard a long way off.

A little while, and sounds of music and of many voices filled the Grande
Allée. The long rows of booths and marquées, dancing-rooms, gymnasiums,
toy-tables, _bonbon_ tables, fruit-stalls, &c. &c. were surrounded by
busy crowds: all was activity and cheerfulness. In a large open space in
the midst, a short distance from the front of the château, the flowery
throne, gorgeous in variety and vividness of colours, was set up on a
dais on the greensward. The band of celebrants, with Julia and her train
in their midst, advanced. Little Cecilia walked by her sister's side,
hand in hand, in proud surprise. Before them, an aged peasant marched
solemnly, bareheaded save for his silver hair, carrying the crown
destined for Julia; and with him, also bareheaded, the curé. A
benediction, accompanied by a prayer that the metaphorical ceremony
might have some influence in attracting the youthful people present to
the practice and pursuit of virtue, having been uttered by the priest,
Julia was handed to the throne, and the crown of roses was placed upon
her head by the white-haired veteran. A sweet chorus was then
chanted--_Vive, vive la rosière_!--in the melodious verses of which the
signification of the ceremonial and the praises of the fête-queen were
recited.

Thus far matters had proceeded happily, when the attention of the gay
party was attracted by the apparition of a commissaire of police, who,
marching up with the aspect of a man having important and disagreeable
business to perform, exclaimed: '_Eh, bien!_ we are merry to-day! Accept
my best wishes for your enjoyment. Can you tell me, friends, where I am
likely to find a fair _demoiselle_--one Julia, daughter of Mme Veuve
Gostillon?'

'_Voila_, monsieur!' cried several, much surprised. 'Our _rosière_ is
she!'

'Ah, what a fate is mine!' muttered the worthy commissaire, much
affected, as he looked at the beautiful and rose-wreathed Julia. 'If I
had ten thousand francs, I would give them all to be spared this work:
but duty is duty. Courage! all may yet be well. Friends,' continued he,
raising his voice, 'excuse me if I interrupt you some few minutes. I
would not do it were I not bound to. It will be necessary for Mlle
Julia to accompany me to her home. I trust we shall not be absent long.'
He raised his cap, offered his arm; and Julia, amazed and frightened,
descended from her throne, and conducted him to the cottage.

'Pardon, mademoiselle,' said he, when they stood inside; 'I am
instructed to search this house.' Julia, puzzled, confounded, bowed
assent.

The commissaire proceeded, with a hasty hand, as if he wished to get the
work quickly over, to ransack drawers and boxes. Whenever one or the
other had been searched in vain, he clapped his hand to his breast and
muttered: 'God be thanked!' and appeared as if his mind were in some
measure relieved of a burden which oppressed it. At length he arrived at
Julia's chamber--here, as elsewhere, drawers and boxes seemed to present
no signs of the object sought for: the thanksgivings of the commissaire
were frequent; his cheerfulness appeared to be returning. Presently,
however, he proceeded to turn out the contents of Julia's little
reticule-basket: first came a pocket-handkerchief, on the corners of
which flowers had been wrought by Julia's needle. 'Very pretty!'
remarked the commissaire. Then appeared a number of slips of rare
plants, recently collected. 'Ah! you are a botanist?' said the
commissaire.

'They are from the conservatory of the Comte Meurien, at the château: I
meant to have planted them to-day,' said Julia.

'Who gave them to you?'

'Mme Lavine, the _femme de chambre_.'

'Ah, _diable_! I hope you have nothing else from that château?'

'I have nothing else,' replied Julia, blushing, and somewhat
discomposed, as she remembered Victor.

'What is the matter?--why are you agitated?' demanded the commissaire,
regarding her fixedly.

'It is nothing,' said poor Julia, much distressed by his stern and
scrutinising look.

'Nothing? I fear it is something! Alas! I begin to lose hope.'

'Hope of what?' asked Julia wonderingly.

'Of your innocence!' replied the commissaire sternly.

'Mon Dieu! What do you mean?'

'Ah, restez tranquille, pauvre demoiselle; nous verrons toute-suite.'
And with a shrug, he continued his investigation of the contents of the
reticule-basket. It contained a great variety of little knick-knacks,
which, with much patience, the commissaire turned out and examined, one
by one. At length he came to a little parcel, the paper-envelope of
which appeared to be part of an old letter, and was thickly covered with
writing. It was one of Victor's letters. Julia blushed again.

'What have we here?' demanded the constable.

'I forget what there is inside,' said Julia. 'I hardly knew it was
there.'

'Let us see.'

He opened two or three wrappers--the portion of the letter formed the
outside one, the others being blank white paper--and there fell out,
descending upon the table with a sharp jingle, a pair of gold bracelets,
ornamented with pearls and turquoises, a superb coral necklace, and a
diamond ring.

'Mademoiselle!' exclaimed the commissaire, whose face appeared to lose
all flexibility of expression the moment the discovery was made,
presenting now merely the stern, impassible, mechanical look of an
officer on duty, 'these are the identical articles for which I have been
searching for the last three days. Will you be good enough to change
your dress as quickly as possible, and prepare to accompany me to the
office of M. Morelle, magistrate of this district?'

At this juncture, the Widow Gostillon was conveyed back to her cottage
by some of her neighbours, with little Cecilia by her side. Entering
Julia's chamber, her young friends found her in a swoon, from which the
commissaire was assiduously endeavouring to recover her. A scene of a
most painful character ensued. Without afflicting the reader with a
recital of the agonised and indignant protestations of Julia--the anger
and affright of Widow Gostillon--the sorrow, sympathy, and amazement of
the villagers--suffice it to say, that the commissaire, in the course of
the morning, conducted Julia into the presence of the magistrate.

It appears that the articles of bijouterie found in Julia's reticule had
been missed from the chamber of Mlle Antoinette Meurien the very
morning after Julia visited Victor's father at the château. The young
lady had seen them on her toilette early the preceding evening, and had
not worn them for some days, so that she could not have lost them whilst
walking or riding. It was evident they had been abstracted. A search was
instantly commenced. The domestics were examined, and their rooms and
boxes searched, but without either finding the property or fixing
suspicion on any one of them. The police were then apprised of the
robbery. The servants of the household underwent a second and official
examination, but all earnestly declared their innocence. It being
ascertained, however, that Julia had visited the house the night on
which the property was lost, an order was issued, commanding that her
residence be searched, and that she be brought before the authorities.
Among the witnesses who proved Julia's visit to the château was Victor
Colonne. In mingled affliction and indignation, he answered the
questions put to him, and declared that she who had but lately been the
object of his ardent affection was the very soul of honour and purity. A
lengthened examination elicited from him that he had conducted Julia to
the chamber of Mlle Antoinette, for the purpose of shewing her the
superb manner in which it was furnished and decorated. She had stepped
up to the toilette, he admitted, and had surveyed herself, as was very
natural, in the glass, but it was only for a moment; he was close to her
all the time, and indeed they hardly remained in the chamber two
minutes: they entered, looked round, and retired, and that was all. It
was true, he did not keep his eyes on his companion all the time; but
had she taken anything, he could not have failed seeing the act.

A general impression prevailed among the people at the château that
Julia was innocent; that it was impossible for one so virtuous and
intelligent to commit so disgraceful and rash a theft. Indeed, the tide
of suspicion had been fast turning against Victor himself, when it
received a new direction by the discovery of the missing articles in
Julia's reticule. Another examination ensued, the distracted Julia, as
has been stated, being herself brought into the presence of the
magistrate. In intense affliction, she declared her innocence: that she
knew not how the articles had got into her reticule; she had not put
them there; did not know they were there; had, indeed, never touched
them at all. The portion of the letter in which they had been wrapped
was handed to her, and she was questioned concerning it. 'It was part of
a letter,' she said, 'which had been addressed to her by Victor
Colonne.' She remembered receiving it; but by what means it came to be
applied to its present purpose, she did not at all know. M. Morelle
sternly bade her tell the truth, and conceal nothing; it would be better
for her. In great agony, she earnestly reiterated what she had said. It
was useless; the evidence against her was too strong to be shaken by
merely her own denial. Moreover, the commissaire of police, in
delivering his evidence, laid much emphasis upon the embarrassment and
distress she had evinced whilst he was searching the little basket in
which the articles were found.

The case was on the point of being decided against her, when, by what
may be termed a providential interposition, the tables were suddenly
turned, and she was rescued from the jail, from infamy, and perhaps from
death! A young girl, one of the domestics at the château, having
examined the portion of the letter which formed a link in the
circumstantial evidence, produced from her pocket another fragment,
which exactly fitted to the first, and made the letter complete! With
much curiosity, and indeed excitement, all listened eagerly to what she
had to say. She stated that the fragment she produced, which formed the
remainder of the torn letter wrapped round the stolen articles, she had
picked up in the garden of the château, where it had been dropped by
Victor. Julia's reticule had been left on a seat under a tree; the
witness saw Victor open it, and take out a letter. He did not know she
was at hand; indeed, could not see her. He tore the letter into two
pieces: he appeared agitated. One piece of the letter dropped to the
ground, the other he did something with which she could not perceive,
and replaced in the reticule. When he was gone, she picked up the
fragment which had fallen; and seeing it was part of a love-letter, full
of warm protests, &c. she put it into her pocket, intending, she said,
to joke him about it. A few minutes more, Julia came by, took up her
reticule, and went home, declining Victor's company, though he requested
permission to escort her.

Hereupon, Victor was immediately submitted to a severe re-examination.
Aghast at the disclosure just made; abashed at the many angry eyes
directed towards him; harassed by the searching questions of the
magistrate, and the sense of guilt, his assurance and hypocrisy
completely deserted him; and, after equivocating and protesting for some
time, he sullenly confessed all. Discarded by Julia: he had attempted to
effect her ruin!

The good little Julia was almost as much overcome by the overwhelming
emotions which now possessed her, as she was at the miserable position
in which malignity had so lately placed her. Whilst Victor was being
conveyed to the jail, where he was to suffer the punishment due to his
villainy, Julia was conducted home to her now rejoicing parent, amidst
the congratulations, caresses, and praises, of troops of friends. The
day after her acquittal, the throne was again set up in the Grande
Allée, and the ovation to her industry and virtues was completed in
triumphant fashion. The Meurien family, feeling deeply the injury she
had suffered, gave their presence at her inauguration, and afterwards
did many a friendly act for her. She is now as industrious and charming,
and as much respected as ever, though no more Julia Gostillon, but
Madame Vichel--being the wife of a thriving herbalist of that name. As
for Victor, he has not been seen at Maisons since.



RAMBLES IN SEARCH OF WILD-FLOWERS.

EARLY MONTHS OF THE YEAR.


A ramble in search of wild-flowers in January would be pretty much
'labour in vain;' at least so far as that one special object was
concerned. I do not mean to say that all nature is dead at that season,
for there are mosses, lichens, and fungi to be found in abundance; but
flowers, in the ordinary meaning of the word, are not to be found,
unless we consider those brilliant frostwork flowers which we sometimes
find as such. It was a season unusually cold for Devonshire, when, with
a merry party of boys and girls, I sallied forth to see how nature
looked decked in her robe of virgin white. Hill and valley were one
sheet of 'innocent snow;' and every twig, leaf, and blade of grass;
every spray of the furze and heath; and every broad, drooping leaf of
that beautiful fern the hart's tongue (_Scolopendrium vulgare_), was
coated with hoar-frost, and sparkling in the rosy sunbeams like the
flowers in a magic garden. At Sherbrook Lake, where a rivulet of clear
water usually flows along the bottom of the ravine down to the sea,
there was now a hard mass of ice, on which our boys rushed for a passing
slide; and above, where the deeper water lies under the shadow of the
brushwood, the frost had been busy performing its frolic feats--

    'And see where it has hung th' embroidered banks
    With forms so various that no powers of art,
    The pencil, or the pen, may trace the scene!
    Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high
    (Fantastic misarrangement!) on the roof
    Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees
    And shrubs of fairyland. The crystal drops,
    That trickle down the branches, fast congealed,
    Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,
    And prop the pile they but adorned before.
    Here grotto within grotto safe defies
    The sunbeam; there, embossed and fretted wild,
    The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes
    Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain
    The likeness of some object seen before.'

From the beautiful beacon cliff--to which we eagerly toil through the
snow, and up and down the slippery hill-sides--we behold the sea as
still and smiling as in summer, and as clearly reflecting the exquisite
blue of the vault above; but each of the many little rills which the
long rains preceding the frost had caused to flow over the face of the
red cliffs, is now a stationary thread of silver, spell-bound by the
enchaining frost; and icicles, or, as old-fashioned people call them,
_aglets_, of three or four feet long, ornament the overhanging ledges,
prone to fall to the beach--far, far below--when a thaw releases them
from their present stations. But the air is so very keen that nothing
but the briskness of our walk, and the enlivenment of an occasional
spell of snow-balling, in which the seniors are tempted to join the
juniors, prevent our stagnating into 'pellucid pillars' ourselves. So
much, then, for our January ramble. The season of which I have now to
speak was most different. After unusual cold, especially after snow, it
is not uncommon to see an early spring appear, and so it was now, as
Spenser says--

    'The fields did laugh, the flowers did freshly spring,
    The trees did bud, and early blossoms bore;'

and so warm was it one day towards the end of February, and the air so
sweet, that I resolved on having 'Jack' and sallying forth in search of
wild-flowers--not flowers of frostwork, but real spring jewels.

On this excursion, I thought it expedient to take Fanny, which, though a
somewhat stubborn little beast of burden; yet so bent was I on seeing
the sweet spring-like hedges and banks, that I agreed to endure Fanny;
and at the given time on her I mounted, and after much persuasion, got
her under-weigh: the boy George bringing up the rear.

And now on we go, Fanny rather tiresome, and George rather merciless;
for when she _will_ poke her head into the hedge, and stand stock-still
to eat, or, worse still, suddenly push up against a stone-wall, to the
imminent danger of crushing my foot to pieces, he thumps and pushes her
till the echoes in Echo Lane reverberate with the unpoetical sound.
However, on we go by degrees, and find the banks everywhere rich with
fresh springing grass and deep full beds of moss, with every here and
there the pale lemon-tinted petals of the primrose just peeping through
the partial openings in their shrouding mantles of green; and there,
above us, hangs that which I had hoped to find--the catkins of the
hazel, which have been hailed by children for centuries under the names
of 'Pussy-cat's tails,' or 'Baa-lamb's tails;' and a more interesting
flower for examination as we pass onwards we can scarcely have, for its
structure is very peculiar and beautiful. We will gather a good bunch of
these pretty pendent tassel-like clusters; and see! as we break off the
stems, what a shower of gold-dust is scattered over us, and flies in all
directions through the air! So abundant is this yellow pollen beneath
the scales of the catkins, that we shall find, if we place them in our
moss-basket, that the table below them will be coated with it in the
course of an hour or two. The common hazel or nut-tree affords a fine
illustration of the structure of that division of plants to which most
of our common European trees belong, and which, from its including the
oak, is called 'the oak-tribe.' I shall not, however, expatiate on the
hazel, the pride of our old copse-banks, but look beneath its long
slender branches, and there, lurking modestly, do I see that pretty
little yellow flower, the lesser celandine (_Ficaria verna_.) Every one
knows this little early blossom by sight, if not by name. Its root is
formed of numerous clustering tubercles, or oblong knobs, with fibres.
This root is sometimes washed by the rain until these tubercles appear
above ground, when, as Loudon tells us, 'ignorant people have sometimes
been led to fancy that it rained _wheat_.' The celandine has
slightly-branched stems, two or three inches in height, on which grow
alternate stalked heart-shaped leaves, sheathed at the base, where they
sometimes contain one or two knobs like those of the root. The flowers,
which are terminal and solitary, are much like a butter-cup--of a golden
yellow, and exceedingly shining within, and tinged with green on the
outsides. 'After the flowre decays,' says Gerarde, 'there springeth up
a little fine knop or headful of seede.' This head of seed alone is left
by about May to mark where the plant grew; and even this soon dries up
and disappears. Wordsworth has thrown an interest about this plant,
which it would not otherwise have possessed, by his elegant little poem
called _The Lesser Celandine_.

Here and there, also, in the more sheltered spots, we find a blossom or
two of the pretty pink herb Robert (_Geranium Robertianum_), with its
hairy red stems, and divided leaves, and star-shaped blossoms of bright
rose-colour; or an early plant of the ground-ivy (_Glechóma hederácea_)
gemming the ground with its purple, labiate flowers on the sunny bank
beneath the underwood, luring one for a moment to believe that the sweet
purple violets were already come: vain hope! which not only the season
but the place forbids; for though I have found _white_ violets near the
scene of these excursions, in the south of England, yet I believe the
sweet-scented purple do not grow in that neighbourhood. In a late
ramble, there was a spot which I was eager to reach; for there I knew
that I should find

    'Chaste snow-drop, venturous harbinger of spring,
    And pensive monitor of fleeting years.'

This pretty well-known flower, sometimes called Fair Maid of February
(_Galanthus Nivalis_), belongs to the same natural order as the daffodil
and narcissus--the _Amaryllideæ_. Gerarde calls it 'the timely flouring
bulbous violet,' and thus graphically describes it: 'It riseth out of
the ground,' says he, 'with two small leaves flat and crested, of an
overworne greene colour, betweene the which riseth up a small and tender
stalk of two hands high; at the top whereof commeth forth of a skinny
hood a small white floure of the bignesse of a violet compact of six
leaves, three bigger and three lesser, tipped at the points with a light
greene; the smaller one fashioned into the vulgar forme of a heart, and
prettily edged about with greene; the other three leaves are longer and
sharp-pointed. The whole floure hangeth downe his head by reason of the
weak footstalk whereon it groweth. The root is small, white, and
bulbous.' It is one of the earliest flowers which appear, and may often
be seen bursting through the snow, the virgin white of its petals by no
means shamed by the lustrous purity of its cold bed. It has no calyx;
six stamens; the filaments short and hair-like; the anthers oblong, with
a bristly point, and one pistil, the style being cylindrical, and longer
than the stamens. The capsule, which is nearly globular, contains three
cells, in which are numerous globular seeds. It is found in orchards,
meadows, and the sides of hedges, and named from two Greek words
signifying 'milk' and 'a flower.'

And now we reach the orchard: but how am I to get in? There is nothing
for it but a scramble up that bank round the root of that old oak, whose
gnarled boles will afford me footing, and it will be easy to descend on
the other side; and so, with a few slips, I contrived to land in safety
among the long, tangled grass, and broken branches of apple-trees,
richly clothed with lichens, mosses, and fungi, in a spot which looked
as if untrodden by human foot for years. But that could not really have
been so, for no doubt the old trees had borne their usual crop of ruddy
apples, which had been duly housed. The value of an apple-orchard in
Devonshire--that land of delicious cider--is not a trifle, and our
farmers do not leave their orchards untrodden and uncared-for. This was,
however, sufficiently wild. But now for my snow-drops: there they wave
in thousands--

    'Like pendent flakes of vegetating snow--
    The early heralds of the infant year--'

in every stage of beauty, from the hint that a tiny spot of green and
white, bursting through the dark earth, might give, to the
fully-developed blossoms, hanging lightly on its graceful stalks, robed
in its vestal garb of white, and shedding its own peculiar fragrance on
the pure air. I gathered large supplies--enough to make me the envy of
all the lovers of spring-flowers whom I met; enough to fill my
moss-basket, and vases, and glasses without end for myself; and enough
to send a feeling of spring brightness and joy into the hearts of two or
three invalids, to whose sick-rooms I sent some of these pretty
messengers.

Somewhat draggled with the wet grass, and muddied with the slippery
hedge-bank, I at last returned to the lane where I had left Fanny.
However, there was no one but George to notice my appearance, and he was
too much taken up with the basket of fine roots which he had procured
(be sure always to take a trowel and basket with you on such
expeditions), to care how I looked; and, besides, as 'no man is a hero
to his valet,' so no lady is a fine lady to her donkey-boy; and
homewards we turned, threading our way between the overarching trees,
not as yet shewing sign of leaf; but their richly-tinted bark, varied by
mosses and lichens of different hues, and partly mantled with ivy, now
in full berry, looked almost as beautiful, as the sunbeams fell on them,
and the blue sky shone between, as they do in their summer verdure.

On we jogged, Fanny well pleased to be on her homeward course; until at
last, coming to a cross-way which would have either led us straight home
or taken us thither by a little circuit, I, lured by the desire of
seeing whether the daffodils began to shew blossom, resolved on the
latter road, not duly considering that perhaps _she_ had decided on the
former. But so it was; and, notwithstanding sundry stripes, her will
remained unsubdued, as she presently evinced. After we had gone a little
way up a lovely sunny lane--slowly indeed, for she was evidently as
perverse as she could be, yet with much enjoyment on my part--I was
gazing upwards at some delicate white clouds, which a light breeze
wafted across the face of the sky, or watching some bird in its flight,
when suddenly I felt the jogging onwards cease, a slight undulating
motion, and found that my feet were on the ground. Fanny had lain down
in the dust, and I had but to rise as I would from a low chair to be
standing quietly by her side. George dared to grin, and there were two
or three country-people who happened to be passing at the time, who were
convulsed with laughter at my expense--a laughter in which I could not
but heartily join. How much has fancy to do with such things! How grand
is the idea of a camel or an elephant meekly kneeling down to receive or
deposit its load! how dignified I should have felt had I thus descended
from one of those noble animals! whilst this mode of being deposited by
a poor little donkey made us all laugh! Truly, 'there is but a step
between the sublime and the ridiculous;' and my adventure certainly
smacked of the latter. But Fanny had conquered; and, as if with one
stroke to confirm her victory, and to rejoice over it, she suddenly
turned over on her back, cracked the girths of the old saddle, and
rolled over and over in the dust with all four legs up in the air. This
was too much for endurance; so, leaving George to readjust the saddle as
best he might, and bring home our basket of spoils, I turned back, and
sauntered homewards with my bunch of 'timely-flouring bulbous violets'
in my hand. At Kersbrook I discovered a new treasure--one which,
however, I afterwards found to be common, although it was then unknown
to me--and it was some time before I could make out what it was. I took
it for a saxifrage, but could find nothing under that head which exactly
answered to it. It was, I at last discovered, the golden saxifrage
(_Chrysosplenium oppositifolium_) or opposite-leaved sengreen, nearly
allied to the saxifrages, and of the natural order saxifrage, but not
one of them. I found it fringing the side of the brook between the wall
and the water. It grows about four or five inches high, with branched
stems bearing very succulent, kidney-shaped leaves opposite each
other--the radicle leaves on long foot-stalks, whilst those of the
stem-leaves are much shorter. The flowers, which are of a bright
greenish-yellow, grow in small umbels; and the whole plant has a
yellowish hue. The uppermost flower in general bears ten stamens, whilst
the next boasts of but eight each. Its capsules are two-beaked,
one-celled, and two-valved, the seeds numerous and roundish. It is named
from _chrysos_, 'gold,' and _splen_, 'the spleen.' There is another
specimen much like this, of which I have spoken, _Chrysosplenium
alternitifolium_; but it is larger, handsomer, and less common. In the
Vosges this plant is much used--as our own water-cress is in
England--for a salad, under the name of _Cresson de Roche_. There is a
little flower, elegant and singular in appearance, though, as its name
indicates, not one of much splendour, which resembles the golden
saxifrage, in the peculiarity of having a different number of stamens in
its crowning floret from those of the lower ones: this is the green
moschatel (_Adoxa moschatellina), adoxa_ signifying 'inglorious.' The
flowers are pale-green, in a terminal head of five florets, the upper of
which is four-cleft, and has _eight_ stamens, the other being
five-cleft, with _ten_ stamens in each. Its fragile stem and delicate
compound leaves, and the early season at which it blossoms, give
attraction to this little plant, and make it a favourite with me. The
butter-cups are not yet in bloom; but the daisies! Oh, what store of
daisies is on every bank and in every field, and what troops of baby
children, with their little baskets, sitting on the green turf and
picking them! I do love the daisy; and indeed I much fear that I should
have been found taking part with that 'merry troop' of 'ladies decked
with daisies on the plain,' of which we read in Dryden's elegant fable
of _The Flower and the Leaf_, rather than with those wiser and more
renowned who 'chose the leaf':--

    'A tuft of daisies on a flowery lay
    They saw; and thitherward they bent their way;
    To this both knights and dames their homage made,
    And due obeisance to the daisy paid.
    And then the band of flutes began to play,
    To which a lady sung a virelay:
    And still at every close she would repeat
    The burden of the song--"the daisy is so sweet."'

The structure of the daisy has been noticed in a former paper, and its
appearance needs no description. But there is one other flower which I
meet with that must not escape us, and that is that noble plant, the
butter-bur (_Tussilago petasites_), named from a Greek word signifying a
broad covering. Its leaves, the largest produced by any British plant,
are sometimes from two to three feet across, and form a shelter for
poultry and small animals from the rain. It is a composite flower of the
sub-order _Tubulifloreæ_. The large club-shaped bunch of flower comes
before the leaves are more than partially developed, and are of a
pale-purple tint, and of a most delicious fragrance, not unlike the
heliotrope. When these die off, the magnificent leaves form quite a
beautiful object in the landscape. Artists are fond of introducing them
into the foreground of their sketches, and very ornamental they are; but
they should be careful not to place them where nature never designed
they should grow, among dry hill and rock scenery, or on the
sea-coast--for they are only to be found growing in moist and shadowed
places, and usually in the vicinity of a brook, to which they form a
very apposite adornment.--But here we are at home, and there stands
Fanny at my door with her load of treasure, George having trotted her
home by a shorter cut than that which I had followed; and unless Jack or
Sam can honour me with their company the next time I go flower-picking,
I shall surely, as the Scotch say, 'ride upon shanks naiggie.'



AN EVENING IN WESTMINSTER.


In a drizzly afternoon at the close of January, we met by appointment at
a house in Westminster with a gentleman, who had kindly undertaken to
introduce us to a very remarkable institution in that part of the
metropolis. A walk of a few minutes through the plashy streets brought
us to a wide gateway, like the entrance to a brassfounder's yard. We
soon found ourselves in a narrow court, encumbered with building
materials and surrounded with plain brick structures, which appeared to
have either been recently erected, or to be undergoing some changes
designed to adapt them to new purposes. Everything looked plain and
homely, even to rudeness; but we, nevertheless, knew well that a heart
of humanity and noble intention beat under the rough exterior of the
place.

Rather less than four years ago, the teacher of a ragged school in
Westminster encountered, in the course of his professional exertions,
three or four boys who had hitherto been thieves, but now expressed a
desire to leave their evil courses. Having some reason to repose faith
in their professions, and being humbly anxious to assist them in so good
a purpose, he received them into a poor garret-lodging, hired and paid
for out of his own resources. He supported them there, taught and
trained them, making himself their friend as well as their mentor, and
in time he succeeded in getting them passages to America, where they
have since prospered. Mr Nash--for such is the name of this
philanthropist of humble life--continued his benevolent exertions and
sacrifices, till various gentlemen, hearing of what he was doing, came
to his assistance. A little money being then collected, it was found
possible to take in a greater number of boys. In short, Mr Nash became
the head of a little institution for the reclaiming of criminal and
vagrant youths, which has finally become located in the yard we have
described, under the name of the London Colonial Training Institution
and Ragged Dormitory. It is still a kind of family arrangement of Mr
Nash's own, taking its character mainly from his benevolent and
self-sacrificing efforts, although drawing pecuniary support from the
public, and ostensibly graced with a list of honorary officebearers,
with the Earl of Shaftesbury at their head.

There is a prepossessing simplicity in the whole affair. We found the
ground-floor of the new building used as a school and public room, and
the two upper floors as dormitories--nothing but brick walls whitened,
brick and deal floors--no luxury, but cleanliness and good ventilation.
The beds were mere bags of straw laid on the floor. Three plain meals
per day are given. The strictest regulations are maintained; but there
is no restraint. The inmates can leave the institution if they please.
Their coming is entirely voluntary; and, to make sure of their being
thoroughly in earnest, they are not admitted to the humble privileges of
the place, till they have lived a fortnight upon a pound of bread a day,
sleeping all the time upon bare boards. In the outer buildings, the boys
are trained to carpentry, tailoring, and shoemaking. A few are
instructed in printing: in their little office, we found one ordinary
press, besides a small one for taking proofs. They can execute
shop-bills and placards for the tradesmen in the neighbourhood, and we
received a copy of an annual report which had been printed very neatly
by them. In work, schooling, religious exercises, and walks out of doors
on the ordinary days of the week, the time passes usefully and not
disagreeably. At the end of a year, they are, if not provided with
employment at home, sent to some of the colonies with a small outfit,
generally at the expense of some benevolent individual. Lord Shaftesbury
has been particularly liberal in furnishing means for their shipment.
The inmates feel that they may now have a hope in the world. They hear
of companions who are prospering in America, and they work cheerfully on
in the faith of getting there also. Very few fail in their course, or
act dishonestly towards the institution. When one or two lately left it,
taking away things not belonging to them, the others set out in search
of them, caught them, and handed them over to the police. This shews how
their hearts are interested in the institution. They feel that Mr Nash
acts towards them in pure kindness, and they are anxious to make a
suitable return. And kindness really is the sole principle at work in
the place. One good man rules these sixty outcasts of society without
guard or assistance; without the use of punishment, beyond a temporary
restriction of meals; without, it may be said, any force whatever, but
that of his benevolent intentions.

At the time of our visit, the establishment contained about sixty
inmates. We felt a peculiar interest in visiting the room of probation.
There had been four youths in it in the morning; but one had withdrawn,
not being able to stand the severity of the test. The three remaining
youths stood up in their wretched attire, and we questioned them in
succession. They had all been thieves, and all of them had passed
through several convictions--one through no less than twenty-two. We
asked this last youth how he had come to think of retreating to the
Colonial Training-School. He said, that he knew he could not go on much
longer without being transported: he dreaded this fate. Some companions
who had been in the school, but deserted it, told him of it. They
praised the institution, as one where every kindness was shewn to
unfortunate youths, notwithstanding that they had themselves proved
unworthy of its benefits. He therefore came, determined to suffer
whatever might be inflicted upon him, rather than go back to his wicked
courses. We learned that he had been for several years a pickpocket,
residing in a low lodging-house at 1s. 9d. a week; sometimes well off,
sometimes otherwise, but always harassed by the terrors of punishment.
According to his account of the boys who live in this manner, there are
some who enjoy its freedom, and would not abandon it; but there are many
who would much rather turn from it, if an opportunity were afforded
them. We afterwards spent some time in the school-room amongst the boys;
heard them sing a hymn, and, at the request of the governor, addressed a
few words to them, chiefly suggestive of hope respecting their future
career. During the whole time, their behaviour was marked by perfect
propriety; we did not observe even an indecorous look in the whole
company.

We bade adieu to Mr Nash, with a deep sense of his heroic philanthropy,
and of the value of the lesson which he is giving as to the means of
reclaiming the desert places of society. As far as the funds supplied to
him permit, he is transforming the juvenile delinquents of the London
streets into respectable citizens, having already redeemed a hundred and
fifty-six, and either provided for them in England, or despatched them
to the colonies. One may well suppose, that in the process of
reformation much must depend upon the special character of the person
who exercises the reforming discipline. A mere routine of school
exercises, of scripture readings, of hymn singings, would go little way
with minds so vitiated by bad habits, if there were not a particular
effort made by the disciplinarian to make all work thoroughly into the
moral nature of the pupils, so as to produce a real renewal of feeling
and spirit. Even to rouse the unfortunate being from the idea with which
he is apt to start, that he is only called upon to enter on a new career
which will be better for him in a worldly point of view, and to elevate
him to the superior and only vitally serviceable idea, that he must love
goodness for its own sake, and for the love of the Author of all
goodness, is no light task. We can, therefore, imagine scarcely any
position calling for a more peculiar combination of qualities than that
of the conductor of this extraordinary seminary. It is a strong
testimony to the suitableness of Mr Nash for his functions, that they
were entered upon under the impulse of his own mind. We have further
proof of it in the good effects of his teaching, for the histories of
many young men who have passed through his hands can be traced from
authentic documents. One who emigrated to the United States so lately as
March 1850, already reports that he is earning there L.3, 12s. per week,
and has just married a young woman who had saved 300 dollars; another of
his pupils is now acting as a missionary in Australia. They write to
their former governor in the most grateful terms, and with strong
expressions of hope regarding their own future. It is interesting to
think of all this good being done by individual exertion and
self-devotion. No government interferes: there is no certain fund to be
depended on. A simple MAN, sensible of humane obligations towards the
unfortunate, comes forward and puts himself in direct intercourse with
them. They might mistake the views of a government, or of a set of
parish authorities; they might lean unduly upon any formally-appointed
fund. They cannot mistake the designs of a mere human being like
themselves, or become spoiled by indulgence in so poor a retreat. The
gratitude due by society to such a man is incalculable.

It is gratifying to think that Mr Nash does not stand alone in his
disinterested course. There is a Mr Ellis, a shoemaker in Albany Street,
Regent's Park, who, under the impulse of religious feeling for the
unfortunate, has taken a number of delinquents into his care, with a
view to reforming them. Four years ago, he began with two, to whom he
assigned certain rations. The first movement was an act of self-denial
on their part. In order to secure the admission of a companion, who
could not otherwise have been provided for, they agreed that their
rations should be divided with him; and on these terms he was admitted.
Soon after, the number was increased to fifteen; and with this number Mr
Ellis has gone on most successfully. The boys have been industrious, and
only one has been guilty of any offence. The prosperous man of the
world, who thinks himself entitled to use all his own for his own sole
gratification, will hear of these things with incredulity, and pity
Ellis and Nash as enthusiasts, who foolishly sacrifice themselves for a
whim; but we greatly doubt if the worldling's proudest or most luxurious
hour gives one-half the true satisfaction which these men enjoy in the
midst of their ragged adherents, under the blessed hope of rescuing them
from destruction in this world and the next.

The subject of juvenile delinquency is beginning to attract a good deal
of attention, for it is now clearly seen that the root of most of the
predatory crime by which the country is afflicted lies here, and till
the root is struck at, the branches will continue to flourish. It
appears that for some years the number of juvenile criminals has been
on the increase; auguring, of course, an ultimate increase in the number
of adult offenders. Some vigorous measure for the reduction of juvenile
delinquency is felt to be now required. Amidst all the alarms which it
is exciting, and amidst the expressions of hopelessness which we often
hear from those who give little attention to the subject, it is
gratifying to find, that there are some glimpses of what appears to be
the right course to be taken. First, one great point is very clearly
established--that it really is possible to reclaim juvenile criminals.
It cannot, however, be done by punishments of any kind. It is to be done
by kindness, religious influence, and industrial occupation, along with
the holding forth of a hope of transition into a better course of life.
Those who may be incredulous on this point, had better acquaint
themselves with the facts of the case. It is too little known, that
there has been a society at work for the last sixty years in England,
for the reform of juvenile offenders. It has a farm at Red Hill, near
Reigate, from which about forty youths go out every year to agricultural
labour and humble trades, in which the great bulk of them do well. The
similar institution at Mettray, near Tours, produces similar results on
a greater scale. And the simple truth at the bottom of the whole affair
is, that young thieves are, in general, deserted or orphan children, or
children driven forth to destitution by vicious parents: criminal
through circumstances, and finding no true happiness in their wicked
kind of life, a large proportion of them _desire to reform_, and will
suffer not a little in order to obtain admission to respectable society.

It has lately been shewn, that society has a strong interest of a
pecuniary nature in the reformation of juvenile delinquents. A boy or
youth continually going about as a pickpocket or petty larcenist, is a
destructive animal of somewhat formidable character. To get quit of him
at last by transportation, costs at the least calculation L.150. Now, he
can be put through the twelvemonth's course of reformation in such a
school as that which we have described, and deported as a free emigrant
to Australia (where he is welcomed), for L.25. Thus, even in an
economical light, the reforming of the youth is a great gain.
Magistrates are everywhere impressed with the hopelessness of a mere
judicial treatment of these hapless children. They come back to the dock
at almost regular intervals; severity is of no avail with a poor wretch
who, on being discharged from jail, finds all honest employment denied
to him. It is by reform alone that we can rid ourselves of this moral
pest, by which our country is disgraced.

There is but one difficulty in the case, and that is one involving
profound social questions. Shall we see criminal children taken care of,
and treated kindly, while many of the children of the honest poor are so
ill off? Shall we not, by taking these children under our care, and so
relieving parents and others of their responsibility towards them, sap
the principles of the industrious poor, leading them to desert or cast
off their children, whom they will now be sure of seeing cared for by
others? We must admit that there is much force in these queries; but it
would be wrong to allow them altogether to deter us, where the reasons
on the other side are so urgent. It may be possible, by keeping to such
individual efforts as those of Mr Nash, or to those of little
unobtrusive societies, to prevent much of the evil apprehended. And it
may also be practicable, as we find is proposed, to arrange that there
shall be a legal claim upon parents for the expenses incurred in
reforming their criminal offspring. Thus none who are not themselves
destitute, could safely leave their children to the chances of a
criminal life. It is also most desirable, that the state should limit
its interference to grants of money in proportion to the sums advanced
by private or local effort, and to the enforcing of a law for the
detention of vagrant and criminal children where it may be necessary.
Under such precautions, we think most of the advantages might be
obtained, with a much less admixture of evil than many would now be
disposed to expect.[1]


FOOTNOTES:

[1] The reader will find excellent matter on this subject in Mary
Carpenter's recent volume on Reformatory Schools, and in a 'Report of
the Proceedings of a Conference on the Subject of Preventive and
Reformatory Schools, held at Birmingham on the 9th and 10th of December
1851.'



'MEN OF THE TIME.'


A neat little volume, well filled with information, has made its
appearance under this title;[2] the object being to present sketches of
living notables--men who, in their several walks of life, tread in
advance of the general multitude in this and other countries; and from
whose actions we may learn the character and aims of the passing era.
The idea of gathering together materials of this kind, and laying the
result in an accessible form before the public, is a good one. All will
depend, however, on the manner of execution. The attempt before us,
being the first of its kind, is perhaps necessarily imperfect, and we
may expect some improvements should the work realise the expectations of
its publisher. For example, we miss the names of various men of note, to
whom England owes many acknowledgments--such as Dr Neill Arnott, Mr
Edwin Chadwick, Archibald Alison, &c.--and in several instances, also,
the sketches actually given are very deficient in attainable facts;
while there occur notices of individuals whose names can scarcely be
said to be known to the public. With these imperfections, the work is a
handy biographic compendium, full of amusing particulars, that cannot
fail to be useful in the way of reference. To provincial libraries, the
book will be a cheap and agreeable accession. As a specimen of the
manner of execution, we present the following scraps of quotation:--

'Brooke, Rajah Sir James, is a Somersetshire man, born on the 29th of
April 1803, at Combe Grove, near Bath. His father was engaged in the
civil service of the East India Company; and when of sufficient age, the
future rajah was sent to India as a cadet, and, on the Burmese war
breaking out, went to the scene of operations; entered upon active
military service; and whilst storming a stockade, received a bullet in
his chest. This wound kept him for awhile balanced between life and
death, but a strong constitution stood him in good stead, and he was
able to reach England on furlough, to seek the full restoration of his
health. When sufficiently strong, he set out on a tour through France,
Switzerland, and Italy, the languages, as well as manners and condition
of which he studied; but the longest leave of absence will expire at
last, and we find our hero, in due course, again setting out for the
East; failing, however, to reach it at once, for the ship in which he
sailed was wrecked on the Isle of Wight. In his next vessel, he was more
fortunate, and safely reached India, to resume his duties; but finding a
long official correspondence requisite to explain why a shipwreck should
have delayed an officer's return, he resigned the service of the East
India Company, and in 1830 sailed from Calcutta for China. "In this
voyage," says Captain Keppel, in his _Expedition to Borneo_, "while
going up the China seas, he saw for the first time the islands of the
Asiatic Archipelago--islands of vast importance and unparalleled
beauty--lying neglected and almost unknown. He inquired and read, and
became convinced that Borneo and the Eastern Isles afforded an open
field for enterprise and research. To carry to the Malay races, so long
the terror of the European merchant-vessel, the blessings of
civilisation, to suppress piracy, and extirpate the slave-trade, became
his humane and generous objects; and from that hour the energies of his
powerful mind were devoted to this one pursuit. Often foiled--often
disappointed, with a perseverance and enthusiasm which defied all
obstacle, he was not until 1838 enabled to set sail from England on his
darling project."' Having procured and manned a yacht, he set out on his
expedition to the Eastern seas, in spite of all sarcasms from croakers;
and 'when the news came home that he had truly engaged in the
suppression of the Malay sea-robbers, and had been rewarded by the
cession to him, by a grateful native prince, of the territory and
governorship of Sarawak--a tract embracing about 3000 square miles of
country, with a sea-board of about fifty miles--said croakers began to
think the adventurous undertaking not so wild after all. The steps by
which he became rajah of Sarawak may be here recounted. When in his
vessel, the _Royalist_, he reached the coast of that country, he found
its ruler engaged in the suppression of one of the rebellions frequent
in uncivilised regions. His aid was solicited by the Rajah Muda Hassim,
and that aid being given, secured the triumph of the authorities. Muda
being soon afterwards called by the sultan to the post of
prime-minister, suggested the making the English captain his successor
at Sarawak--a step eventually taken. The newly-acquired territory was
swampy and ill cultivated by the native Dyaks, who varied their
occupations, as tillers of the land, by excursions amongst neighbouring
villages, _in search of heads_. To rob the native of a neighbouring town
of his cranium, was regarded in much the same light as the capture of a
scalp would be amongst North American savages. Brooke saw at once that
no improvement could arise whilst murder was regarded not only as a
pleasant amusement, but to some extent as a religious duty. He declared
head-hunting a crime punishable by death to the offender. With some
trouble and much risk he succeeded to a great extent in effecting a
reform. Attacking at the same time another custom of the country--that
of piracy--he acted with such vigour, that a class of well-meaning
people at home, stimulated to some extent by the private enemies of
Brooke, accused him of wholesale butchery. The fact that the destruction
of pirates was rewarded by the English executive by the payment of what
was called "head-money," justly increased the outcry. To kill one pirate
entitled the crew of a ship-of-war to a certain prize in money--to kill
a thousand, entitled them to a thousand times the amount. This premium
on blood was wrong in principle, and the result of a wholesale slaughter
of Eastern pirates by order of Brooke, led to the very proper abolition
of the custom of paying this "head-money." The men who are entitled to
the praise of securing this amelioration of our naval system were not,
however, content with the triumph of the just portion of their case;
they sought to brand the rajah as a cruel and greedy adventurer--in
which attempt they fortunately failed. It is surely unjust to test the
acts of a man living and ruling amongst savages by the strict usages of
action acknowledged and found most proper for guidance in civilised
communities. When, after his first appointment, Rajah Brooke returned to
see his friends and to take counsel in England, he was welcomed very
warmly. He was made Knight of the Bath; invited to dine with the Queen;
found his portrait in the print-shops, and his biography in the
magazines and newspapers. The government recognised his position;
ordered a man-of-war to take him to the seat of his new settlement; gave
him the title of Governor of Labuan, with a salary of L.2000 a year,
with an extra L.500 a year as a consular agent, and afforded him the
services of a deputy-governor, also on a good salary--the hope being
that the result of all this would be the opening of a new emporium for
British trade.' To this notice might be added an expression of deep
regret that there should be any controversy as to the real nature of Sir
James Brooke's operations in the East. This scandal ought surely to be
put an end to by some distinct investigation and avowal one way or the
other.

The above notice of Sir James Brooke naturally suggests a recollection
of his relentless accuser, Joseph Hume, and we turn up the account of
that personage.

'Hume, Joseph, a Radical Reformer, whose history adds another memorable
example of perseverance raising its possessor from a humble station to
distinction. He was born at Montrose, in the year 1777. While he was
still young, his father, the master of a small trading-vessel of that
port, died, leaving his widow to bring up a numerous family. Mrs Hume,
it is related, maintained herself and her children by means of a small
earthenware business, and placed Joseph in a school of the town, where
he received an education which included instruction in the elements of
Latin. With such scanty stores of knowledge, he was apprenticed to a
surgeon of Montrose, with whom he served three years. Having attended
the prescribed lectures to the medical classes in the university of
Edinburgh, he was admitted, in 1796, a member of the College of Surgeons
in that city. India was at that time a favourite, and, indeed, almost
the only field for the young who had no other fortune than their talents
and enterprise. To India, accordingly, Mr Hume went, and entered as a
surgeon the naval service of the East India Company. He had not been
there three years, before he was placed on the medical establishment of
Bengal. Here, while increasing his professional reputation, he had the
opportunity of watching the whole operation of the machinery of the
Company's service. His quick eye soon detected the deficiencies of the
greater number of the Company's servants in command of the native
language, an acquirement so valuable in possessions such as ours. He
determined to acquire a knowledge of the dialects of India, not doubting
that a sphere of larger utility and greater emolument would open before
his efforts. The Mahratta war breaking out in 1803, Mr Hume was attached
to Major-general Powell's division, and accompanied it on its march from
Allahabad into Bundelcund. The want of interpreters was now felt, as
Hume had expected, and the commander was glad to find among his surgeons
a man capable of supplying the deficiency. He continued to discharge his
new duties without resigning his medical appointment, and managed to
combine with both the offices of pay-master and post-master of the
troops. His ability to hold direct intercourse with the natives
continued to be of immense service to him, and enabled him to hold
simultaneously a number of offices with most varied duties, such as
nothing but an unwearying frame and an extraordinary capacity could have
enabled any one person to discharge. At the conclusion of the peace, he
returned to the presidency, richer by many golden speculations, for
which a period of war never fails to offer opportunities. In 1808,
having accomplished the object for which he left his native land, he
came to England, and, after an interval of repose, determined upon
making a tour of the country, the better to acquaint himself with the
condition of its inhabitants.' After making this tour, and visiting
various continental countries, he returned to England, where he devoted
himself to a political career; and since 1812, he has for the most part
had a seat in the House of Commons. His parliamentary history since 1818
has been that of a reformer of abuses and enemy of monopoly, and he is
respected even by those who differ from him in opinion.

Our next specimen is--

'Thackeray, William Makepeace, author, was born in India, in 1811. He is
of good family, and was originally intended for the bar, of which he is
now a member. He kept seven or eight terms at Cambridge, but left the
university without taking a degree, for the purpose of becoming an
artist. After about three years' desultory practice, he devoted himself
to literature, abandoning the design of making a position as a painter,
and only employed his pictorial talents in illustration of his own
writings. For a short time, he conducted a literary and artistic review,
similar in plan to the _Athenæum_; but the new journal, although
characterised by great ability, perished in competition with established
rivals. He also, with the assistance of Dr Maginn, started a newspaper;
but this was unsuccessful. His first distinction was won as a writer in
_Fraser's Magazine_, _Punch_, and other periodicals of character. In the
latter amusing periodical appeared his _Jeames's Diary_, a clever satire
on the follies of the railway mania, exposing the hollow foundation upon
which railway fortunes and reputations were made. His _Snob Papers_,
published in the same manner, have since been collected and reprinted
with great success. His satire is as keen as that of Fielding. His
_Paris Sketch-Book_ appeared in 1840. His _Irish Sketch-Book_, with
numerous engravings drawn by the author, was published in 1845. In the
next year, appeared his _Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand
Cairo_; and in 1847, the first numbers of _Vanity Fair_ appeared, in the
proper name of their author. This, Thackeray's first fully-developed
novel, has been followed by _Arthur Pendennis_, completed in 1851. His
Christmas-book, entitled _The Kickleburies on the Rhine_, was attacked
by a writer in the _Times_; whereupon Mr Thackeray replied, in a very
unmistakable way, in a preface to the second edition of the work. The
critic fared very badly in the contest.' The charge made against Mr
Thackeray is, that he abuses the characters of the literary class with a
view apparently of catering to public prejudice. We believe that any
such imputation is entirely unfounded; and that Mr Thackeray's
observations on the infirmities of authors are due to an honest
exposition of his subject. Mr Thackeray has lately imparted much delight
by delivering lectures on the literary personages of last century; and
in this very act has gracefully raised the public estimation of living
authorcraft.

We may extract the following passages respecting the early career of Mr
Dickens:--

'Dickens, Charles, the most popular writer of his time, was born in
February 1812, at Landport, Portsmouth. His father, the late Mr John
Dickens, in the earlier part of his life, enjoyed a post in the Navy Pay
Department, the duties of which required that he should reside from time
to time in different seaports: now at Plymouth, now at Portsmouth, and
then at Sheerness. "In the glorious days" of the war with France, these
towns were full of life, bustle, and character; and the father of "Boz"
was at times fond of dilating upon the strange scenes he had witnessed.
One of his stories described a sitting-room he once enjoyed at
Blue-town, Sheerness, abutting on the theatre. Of an evening, he used to
sit in this room, and could hear what was passing on the stage, and join
in the chorus of _God save the King_, and _Britannia rules the
Waves_--then the favourite songs of Englishmen. The war being at an end,
amongst those who left the public service with a pension was the father
of our novelist. Coming to London, he subsequently found lucrative
employment for his talents on the press as a reporter of parliamentary
debates. Charles Dickens may, therefore, be said to have been in his
youth familiarised with "copy;" and when his father, with parental
anxiety for his future career, took the preliminary steps for making his
son an attorney, the dreariness of the proposed occupation fell so
heavily upon the mind of the future author, that he induced his father
to permit him to resign the law, and join the parliamentary corps of a
daily newspaper. His first engagement was on the _True Sun_, an
ultra-liberal paper, then carrying on a fierce struggle for existence,
from the staff of which he afterwards passed into the reporting ranks of
the _Morning Chronicle_. On that paper, he obtained reputation as a
first-rate man--his reports being exceedingly rapid, and no less
correct. In the columns of the _Chronicle_ he soon gave proofs of other
talents than those of a reporter; for in the evening edition of that
journal appeared the _Sketches of English Life and Character_,
afterwards collected to form the two well-known volumes of _Sketches by
Boz_, published respectively in 1836 and 1837. These at once attracted
considerable notice, and obtained great success; and the publisher of
the collected edition, anxious to make the most of the prize which had
fallen to his lot, gladly came to an arrangement with Mr Dickens and
Seymour, the comic draughtsman--the one to write, and the other to
illustrate a book which should exhibit the adventures of a party of
Cockney sportsmen. Hence the appearance of _Pickwick_, a book which made
its author's reputation and the publishers' fortune. After the work had
commenced, poor Seymour committed suicide, and Mr Hablot K. Browne was
selected to continue the illustrations, which he did under the signature
of "Phiz." Meanwhile, Mr Dickens had courted and married the daughter of
Mr George Hogarth, then, and now, a musical writer; a man of
considerable attainments, and who, in his earlier days, whilst a writer
to the Signet in Edinburgh, enjoyed the intimate friendship of Sir
Walter Scott, Jeffrey, and the other literary notables at that day
adorning the Modern Athens. The great success of _Pickwick_ brought down
upon its author demands from all sides for another work, and "Boz"
agreed to write _Nicholas Nickleby_, to be published in monthly parts.
In the prefatory notices, which give additional value to the cheap and
elegant reprint of the works of Dickens, we are indulged with slight
glimpses of his own recollections, personal and literary.' It is
unnecessary to note the titles of Mr Dickens's subsequent works, all of
which have justly obtained popularity. He has latterly entered on a path
not dissimilar to our own, and in this he has our very best wishes. The
cause of social melioration needs a union of hearts and hands.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] Bogue, London: 1852.



ARCHBISHOP WHATELY'S BOOK OF SYNONYMS.


Accuracy of language is one of the things which, in ordinary speech and
writing, is but indifferently observed. The reason, perhaps, is to be
sought, not in any general indifference to correctness or precision, but
rather in the want of some recognised authority, some specific rules or
principles, to which the use of words apparently synonymous, yet of
slightly different signification, might be distinctly and easily
referred. It is in regard to the finer shades of meaning, the subtler
touches of expression, the application of words and phrases where the
strictest exactness and perspicuity are required, that an ordinary
English style is apt to become loose and shadowy; and it is precisely
here that we are entitled to expect the severest, chastest form of
utterance. Coleridge used to complain of a general confounding of the
word 'notion' with 'idea,' and was often at great pains to point out the
distinction between the two, as also between many other words similarly
misused. Archdeacon Hare, too, has remarked upon the common
misapplication of such words as 'education' for 'instruction,'
'government' for 'administration,' 'the church' for 'the priesthood' or
'ministry;' and indeed holds that such a confounding of terms leads to
serious practical misunderstandings and confusions.[3] Any one, upon
reflection, will perceive that in the common use of these and numberless
other words, there is often a signal lack of clearness and precision,
and will hardly fail to notice that the error proceeds from a want of
due attention to the nice and peculiar meanings of words which are
vaguely presumed to have the same signification.

As a help to those who may wish to attain a somewhat more than common
correctness of style and language, Archbishop Whately has recently
published a small work on _English Synonyms_;[4] and the rapidity with
which the first edition has been disposed of leads us to infer that the
public is to some extent prepared to take an interest in the subject.
The second edition, 'revised and enlarged,' is now before us, and it is
thought that a brief glance at its contents may not be unacceptable to
some of our present readers.

The word 'synonym,' as the archbishop observes, is, in strict reality, a
misnomer. 'Literally, it implies an exact coincidence of meaning in two
or more words, in which case there would be no room for discussion; but
it is generally applied to words which would be more correctly termed
pseudo-synonyms--that is, words having a shade of difference, yet with a
sufficient resemblance of meaning to make them liable to be confounded.
And it is in the number and variety of these that, as the Abbé Girard
well remarks, the richness of a language consists. To have two or more
words with exactly the same sense, is no proof of copiousness, but
simply an inconvenience. A house would not be called well furnished from
its having a larger number of chairs and tables of one kind than were
needed, but from its having a separate article for each distinct use.
The more power we have of discriminating the nicer shades of meaning,
the greater facility we possess of giving force and precision to our
expressions. Our own language possesses great advantages in this
respect; for being partly derived from the Teutonic, and partly from the
Latin, we have a large number of duplicates from the two sources, which
are, for the most part, though not universally, slightly varied in their
meaning.

'These slight variations of meaning,' he proceeds, add to the
copiousness of the English language, by affording words of more or less
familiarity, and of greater and less force. This may easily be
understood, if we consider that the branch of the Teutonic, spoken in
England during the Anglo-Saxon period, never became extinct, but that
three-fourths of the English language at present consist of words
altered or derived from that ancient dialect; that these words usually
express the most familiar ideas--such as _man_, _house_, _land_, &c.;
and that the French terms gradually introduced, being those of a more
highly civilised people, were adapted to express the more refined ideas.
This is true even of physical objects; thus, for instance, most of the
names of the animals used for food are still Teutonic--such as _ox_,
_sheep_, _swine_, &c. The Anglo-Saxons, like the modern Germans, had no
objection to say _ox-flesh_, _sheep-flesh_, _swine's-flesh_; but the
Norman conquerors, introducing a more refined cookery, introduced with
it French words for the flesh of the animal; hence we have _beef_,
_mutton_, _pork_, &c.'

It has not been the author's design to notice _all_ the synonyms in the
language--that, as he remarks, would be an almost endless undertaking;
'but merely, after excluding technical terms, and words which do exactly
coincide, to select a few of those groups of words which are in most
frequent use, and are most liable to be confounded.' His purpose,
perhaps, will be more distinctly shewn, if we add a few more sentences
from the preface.

'Many persons,' says he, 'imagine that two words must either coincide
precisely in their meaning, so as to be, in the primary and strict sense
of the word, "synonymous," or else stand for two (more or less) distinct
_things_. Indeed, it would often be regarded as almost a truism to
assert this; but those who maintain such an opinion overlook the fact,
that two words, without exactly coinciding in sense, may nevertheless
relate to one and the same thing, regarded in _two different points of
view_. An illustration of this is afforded in the relation which exists
between the words, "inference" and "proof." Whoever justly infers,
proves; and whoever proves, infers; but the word "inference" leads the
mind from the premises which have been assumed, to the conclusion which
follows from them; while the word "proof" follows a reverse process, and
leads the mind from the conclusion to the premises. We say: "What do you
infer _from_ this?" and "How do you _prove_ that?"[5] Another
illustration may be quoted in the synonyms, "expense" and "cost." The
same article may be expensive and costly; but we speak of _expense_ in
reference to the means of the purchaser; of _cost_, in reference to the
actual value of the article.'

This work does not profess to deal much with _etymologies_; the author
thinking that any very strict attention to the _derivation_ of words, in
connection with synonyms, would only tend to confuse the subject. The
history of the origin and growth of words must undoubtedly throw light
upon their meanings; but he, nevertheless, holds the two questions to be
completely distinct and separable; and thinks that, in an inquiry into
the _actual_ and _present_ meaning of a word, the consideration of what
it originally meant may frequently lead us into error. A few suggestive
remarks are given upon this matter.

'Our question is, not what _ought_ to be, or formerly was, the meaning
of a word, but what it _now_ is; nor can we be completely guided by
quotations from Shakspeare or Milton, or even from Addison or Johnson.
Language has undergone such changes, even within the last sixty or
seventy years, that many words, at that time considered pure, are now
obsolete; while others--of which the word "mob" is a specimen--formerly
slang, are now used by our best writers, and received, like pardoned
outlaws, into the body of respectable citizens.' The standard,
accordingly, to which the author refers in the work before us, is the
sense in which a word is used by the purest writers and most correct
speakers of our own days.

The synonyms are arranged or classed according to the parts of speech to
which they belong--namely, into particles, nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
The uses of all the words are well defined, and sufficiently illustrated
by examples; a table of contents and a complete index are also added,
rendering reference to any word as easy as looking for it in a
dictionary. The table of contents, indeed, will be found to serve most
of the purposes of a vocabulary of synonyms: a glance at it will
frequently give you all the words of similar signification to the
particular one for which you may happen to require an equivalent. From
the part of the book relating to _verbs_, we take the following; the
words under notice being, _To teach, instruct, inform, educate_:--

'Of these words, the first two are often used synonymously, but they
have also a distinct meaning. "Teaching," strictly speaking, when
distinguished from instruction, is applied to the practice of an art or
branch of knowledge: instruction, to the theory. A child is, correctly
speaking, _instructed_ in the grammar of a language, and _taught_ to
speak the language. Thus, teaching may be merely mechanical; while
"instruction" implies a degree of understanding in the pupil, as well as
in the master. A child who has been _taught_ to learn lessons by rote,
without understanding them, will find difficulty in comprehending
_instruction_ in the principles of what he has learned: hence, we speak
of _teaching_ a brute, but never of _instructing_ it.

'_Information_,[6] again, is distinguished from instruction, in relation
to the truths conveyed by it. Matters of fact, made known to one who
could not have known them before, are called information: instruction
elicits new truths out of subject-matter _already_ existing in the
mind--(see Whately's _Logic_, book iv. § 1.)

'A traveller gives us information respecting foreign countries; a
metaphysician instructs us in the principles of moral
science--principles drawn from facts already known to us. The two
processes may take place at the same time: a child in learning a lesson
receives both information and instruction: he is taught things he never
knew before, and also taught to apply and make use of what he does know
already. In fact, pure mathematics is the only branch of instruction
which includes no information, as the propositions are all based on
principles previously assumed. In short, a person who is informed,
_knows_ something he did not before; one who is instructed,
_understands_ something he did not before; one who is taught, can _do_
something he could not do before.

'Education is more comprehensive than any of the other words before us.
It includes the _whole course_ of moral and intellectual teaching. One
who gives occasional lessons is not said to _educate_. To _educate_
(agreeably to its derivation, from "e-duco," not "in-duco"), includes
the _drawing out_ of the faculties, so as to teach the pupil how to
teach him_self_; which is one of the most valuable of arts.

'Moral training, considered _by itself_, is called "teaching;" this
constitutes no exception to the rule laid down, as its object is to
enable us, not to _know_, but to _do_ what is right.'--(P. 32-34.)

'Few words, perhaps, are more apt to be misapplied than the string of
adjectives treated of in the section next quoted--namely, _benevolent,
beneficent, charitable, munificent, liberal, bountiful, philanthropic_.

'Benevolent and beneficent, together with their conjugates, have
curiously diverged from their original meaning. Etymologically,
"benevolent" implied merely _wishing_ well to others, and "beneficent"
_doing_ well; _now_, "benevolent" includes both kinds of feelings and
actions, and "beneficent" is restricted to acts of kindness on a great
scale, and generally performed by some one of exalted station and
character: hence, we speak of the "beneficence" rather than the
"benevolence" of the Creator. It may perhaps be said to follow from
this, that "benevolent" draws our attention more to the character of the
agent; "beneficent," to that of the act performed--retaining, so far, a
tinge of their etymology.

'"Charitable" (when not used in reference to a mild and candid judgment
of others) seems to be restricted to one kind of benevolence--that which
consists in alms-giving.

'"Munificent" resembles "beneficent," in referring always to favours on
a large scale, and conferred by superiors; but there is this important
difference, that "beneficent" always implies some real and essential
good done, while "munificent," as its derivation implies, may be applied
equally to any _gift_, whether really useful or not. One who makes a
present of jewellery or pictures to a friend, is munificent, but would
not be called "beneficent." If he raised a distressed family from
starvation, the word "beneficent" would be more appropriate. But one who
gives largely to the public, or to some institution, is called
munificent. It seems to convey the idea of splendour. No one can be
called munificent who does not give on a large scale.

'Any one who is ready to give _freely_, as the etymology implies, on
whatever scale, is "liberal." "Bountiful," again, is stronger than
"liberal," and implies giving in abundance; it also differs from
"liberal" in being restricted to _giving_; while "liberal" is applied to
an easy style of expenditure in general; to the reverse, in short, of
"stingy," or "miserly." Many people live in a _liberal_ style, who are
very far from being "bountiful." Bountiful always seems to imply, giving
out of an ample store.

'"Philanthropic," as its etymology indicates, implies benevolence solely
in reference to the _human race_, and always to masses, not to
individuals. One who devises some plan to benefit numbers, is called
"philanthropic;" but we should not talk of "philanthropically giving a
loaf to a hungry child."'--(P. 83-85.)

As space is beginning to press, our last extract must be short: it
relates to words often enough employed indiscriminately--_imagination,
conception, fancy_. '"Imagination" and "fancy" are frequently confounded
together, but are, nevertheless, very distinct in their signification.
In the first place, "imagination" implies more of a _creative_ power
than "fancy;" it requires a greater combination of various powers, and
is therefore a higher exercise of genius. "Fancy," on the other hand, is
more an employment of ingenuity and taste, though it also requires
inventive power. Secondly, "imagination" implies a longer flight;
"fancy," rather a succession of short efforts: the one is a steady
blaze; the other, a series of sparkles. An epic poem would require an
exercise of the first; a ballad, or other lighter production, of the
last: hence, we may see that the difference between the two is, in some
measure, one of subject-matter; for the same power which we call "fancy"
when employed in a melody of Moore, would be called "imagination" in the
works of Dante or Milton. In short, the efforts of "fancy" bear the same
relation to those of "imagination" that the carving and polishing of a
gem or seal does to sculpture.

'In the third place, _wit_ may come into works of "fancy," and could not
be admitted into the province of "imagination." The same with what are
called _conceits_.

'"Conception" has something in common with imagination, but it implies
more decidedly a creative power, and is referred to something tangible
and real; whereas, in efforts of fancy and imagination, there is always
a consciousness of unreality. The province of "conception" is that which
has a real existence: hence, the productions of painters, sculptors, and
musicians, are called "conceptions." "Conception" also denotes something
framed and originated in our _own_ mind; whereas the imagination or
fancy may be acted on merely from without. The poet or writer of fiction
exercises his own conceptions, but awakens the imagination of his
readers.'

These quotations will give as general a notion of the work as can be
conveyed by a few extracts. To those among our readers who may be in
quest of such a book, we can decidedly recommend it as one that is
certain to be useful. It is by far the best of the kind that we have
ever happened to meet with; and we think that if it were universally
studied and consulted, the result would be a great improvement of
expression, both in common speech and literature.


FOOTNOTES:

[3] See _Guesses at Truth_. First series.

[4] _A Selection of English Synonyms_. Second Edition. Parker, London:
1852.

[5] See Whately's _Logic_, book iv., chap. 3, § 1, in which the above is
illustrated by the difference between the road from London to York and
the road from York to London.

[6] The nouns are used here instead of the verbs for convenience sake,
as they precisely correspond.



'CHAPTER ON CATS.'


In No. 419 of this Journal, an article with the above heading mentions
among the exports from New York to New Granada 100 _cats_. Wherever our
contributor may have picked up his intelligence, the original source is
the _New York Herald_; but, unluckily, a paper of a more practical
character--if we may judge from its title--_The Dry-Goods Reporter_,
gives the custom-house entry in full, in which the change of a single
vowel makes a prodigious difference. The entry is this: '100 _cots_--125
dollars--to Granada.'



A MARINER'S WIFE.


    'Ah me, my dream!' pale Helen cried,
      With hectic cheeks aglow:
    'Why wake me? Hide that cruel beam!
    I'll not win such another dream
      On this side heaven, I know.

    'I almost feel the leaping waves,
      The wet spray on my hair,
    The salt breeze singing in the sail,
    The kind arms, strong as iron-mail,
      That held me safely there.

    'I'll tell thee:--On some shore I stood,
      Or sea, or inland bay,
    Or river broad, I know not--save
    There seemed no boundary to the wave
      That chafed and moaned alway.

    'The shore was lone--the wave was lone--
      The horizon lone; no sail
    Broke the dim line 'twixt sea and sky,
    Till slowly, slowly one came by,
      Half ghostlike, gray and pale.

    'It was a very little boat,
      Had neither oars nor crew;
    But as it shoreward bounded fast,
    One form seemed leaning by the mast--
      And Norman's face I knew!

    'He never looked nor smiled at me,
      Though I stood there alone;
    His brow was very grave and high,
    Lit with a glory from the sky--
      The wild bark bounded on.

    'I shrieked: "Oh, take me--take me, love!
      The night is falling dread."--
    "My boat may come no nearer shore;
    And, hark! how mad the billows roar!
      Art thou afraid?" he said.

    '"Afraid! with thee?"--"The wind sweeps fierce
      The foamy rocks among;
    A perilous voyage waiteth me."--
    "Then, then, indeed, I go with thee,"
      I cried, and forward sprung.

    'All drenched with brine, all pale with fear--
      Ah no, not fear; 'twas bliss!--
    I felt the strong arms draw me in:
    If after death to heaven I win,
      'Twill be such joy as this!

    'No kiss, no smile, but aye that clasp--
      Tender, and close, and brave;
    While, like a tortured thing, upleapt
    The boat, and o'er her deck there swept
      Wave thundering after wave.

    'I looked not to the stormy deep,
      Nor to the angry sky;
    Whether for life or death we wrought,
    My whole world dwindled to one thought--
      _Where he is, there am I_!

    'On--on--through leaping waves, slow calmed,
      With salt spray on our hair,
    And breezes singing in the sail,
    Before a safe and pleasant gale,
      The boat went bounding fair:

    'But whether to a shore we came,
      Or seaward sailed away,
    Alas! to me is all unknown:
    O happy dream, too quickly flown!
      O cruel, cruel day!'

    Pale Helen lived--or died: dull time
      O'er all that history rolls;
    Sailed they or sunk they on life's waves?--
    I only know earth holds two graves,
      And heaven two blessed souls.



REMITTANCES TO AND FROM EMIGRANTS.


Within the past few years, a system of foreign exchanges has been
perfected in this country, by which the smallest sum of money can be
remitted either way across the Atlantic, with perfect security and the
greatest dispatch. Drafts are drawn as low as 1s. sterling, which are
cashed in any part of Great Britain or the United States. This, to
emigrants who wish to bring over their money without fear of loss, or to
residents here who wish to remit small sums to their relatives or
friends in Europe, to enable them to come to this country, is of vast
importance, as it guarantees them against loss; that is, when the drafts
are good. This is, therefore, the great point at issue. To obtain drafts
of undoubted credit and security is the first thing to be considered.
There are dozens of drawers on both sides of the Atlantic, all of whom
have their friends, who place more or less confidence in the character
of the bills drawn. We have no doubt they are all sound and solvent. We
know nothing now to the contrary. The drafts can be obtained in any city
in the Union, for any amount, from 1s. sterling upwards, drawn upon some
place in Europe; and drafts can be obtained in various European cities
payable in any city of the United States.--_Abridged from the New York
Herald._



FOREST-TREES.


In contemplating the length of life of one of the reverend and hoary
elders of the forest, we are apt to forget that it is not to be measured
by the standard of man or of the higher animals; for it is really not
the measure of an individual existence, but, as it were, of the duration
of an empire or a nation. A tree is a populous community, presided over
by an oligarchy, of which the flowers are the aristocracy, and the
leaves the working-classes. The life of the individual members of the
commonwealth is brief enough, but the state of which they are members,
has often a vast duration; and some of those whose ages we have referred
to, could they take cognisance of human affairs, would look with
contempt upon the instability and irregularity of human governments and
states, as compared with the unchanging order and security of their
own.--_Professor Forbes in Art-Journal._



WHISKY AND MISERY.


Whisky and misery, whichever be cause, whichever be effect, always go
together. There has been, as is well known, a failure of the
potato-crop, and consequently a famine, in the West Highlands and
Hebrides. In the island of Mull, about L.3000 of money raised in charity
was spent in the year ending October 10, 1848, for the eleemosynary
support of the people. In the same space of time, the expenditure of the
people on whisky was L.6009! We do not know how much had previously been
spent on whisky in that island; but we may judge from the fact
ascertained regarding Skye. In the year ending October 10, 1850, the sum
paid in the latter island for whisky was L.10,855--considerably more
than _double the amount expended in relief by the Destitution Fund_, and
_more than double the consumption of the same district in 1845_, the
year before the distress commenced! 'That is,' says the _Quarterly
Review_, which quotes the facts from excellent authority, 'the increased
consumption of whisky exactly tallies with the extraneous aid received;
in other words, the whole amount of charitable assistance _went in
whisky_!'

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W.S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D. N. Chambers, 55 West Nile
Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAN, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent to
MAXWELL & Co., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom all
applications respecting their insertion must be made.





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