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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 433 - Volume 17, New Series, April 17, 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. 433 - Volume 17, New Series, April 17, 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. 433. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



THE DINGY HOUSE.


London is like a large company, where it is necessary for the master
or mistress of the house to introduce a great many people to each
other. Everybody in that overgrown metropolis has things within a few
doors of his residence, which, if they were suddenly described to him,
he would hear of with deep interest or extreme astonishment. There is
a plain back street near the Haymarket, bearing the title of Great
Windmill Street, in which there is a large, dingy-looking house
standing somewhat detached, and not appearing to be in the hands of
ordinary tenants. Very near this, is a distinguished haunt of gaiety,
very well whitened, and looking very smart, but which would be no
index to the character or purposes of the dingy mansion. A group of
dirty children will be found disporting at marbles or pitch-and-toss
on the paved recess in front; but neither would that scene be found in
any kind of harmony with the house itself. It is evidently a house
with a mystery.

Very few people would be found in the course of a day to pass out of
or into that house. A blind would seldom be raised. A fashionable
carriage would not once in a twelvemonth be seen rolling up to the
gloomy portals. Supposing, however, that any one were to be so curious
as to watch the house for an afternoon, he would probably see two
women in extraordinary dresses come up to the door, apparently laden
with some heavy packages, shrouded under their wide black cloaks. He
would see the door opened with some caution, and the two women would
then walk in, and be seen no more for that day. He might speculate for
hours about the business in which these women had been engaged, but in
vain. He might make inquiries in the neighbourhood, but probably with
as little result; for, in London, it must be an extraordinary family
indeed which provokes any inquiry among neighbours, and most
undoubtedly the inmates of the mansion would never think of
proclaiming what they were, or how they lived.

Having perhaps by this time excited some curiosity, we must endeavour
to satisfy it. We happened by mere chance, when spending an evening
with a friend in a distant part of the town, to hear of this house and
its tenants; and the doings and character of its inmates struck our
mind as something so extraordinary, and in some respects so beautiful,
that we resolved, if possible, to pay it a visit. We did so a few days
thereafter, under the conduct of a young friend, who kindly undertook
to smooth away all difficulties in the way of our reception. We can,
therefore, give some account of the dingy house, with a tolerable
assurance that, strange as the matter may appear, it is no more than
true.

This dingy house is possessed by ten women, chiefly natives of France,
who form a branch of a religious society of recent origin in that
country, entitled, Les Petites Soeurs des Pauvres (_Little Sisterhood
for the Poor_). They have been in this house only for a few months,
but are already fully engaged in the business to which they have
devoted themselves--which is the care and nurture of infirm and
destitute old women. The extraordinary thing is that the Sisters,
though most of them are in their education and previous habits
_ladies_, literally go about begging for the means of maintaining
these poor people. Everything is done, indeed, by begging; for on
entering the sisterhood they renounce all earthly possessions. They
have begged the means of furnishing their house, and paying their
rent, which is not an inconsiderable sum; they daily beg for the food,
clothes, and cordials required for themselves and the objects of their
charity. What is even more singular, these ladies in all respects
_serve_ the old women, wash for them, cook for them, act as their
nurses. They treat themselves less kindly, for out of the broken
victuals on which exclusively the house is supported, the old women
always get the first selection, and the ladies only the remaining
scraps. It is altogether the most striking example of self-denial and
self-devotion which has ever happened to fall under our attention in
this country.

We were received in a faded old dining-room, by a Sister whose age
surprised us, for she did not appear to be above five-and-twenty. Her
dress consisted of coarse black serge, and a linen cap, such as is
worn by poor old women in the country. She was evidently a
well-educated and refined English lady, who, under a different
impulse, might have very probably been indulging at this moment in the
gaieties of Almacks. With great courtesy, but without for a moment
departing from the serious manner in which she had first addressed us,
she conducted us through the house, and explained its various
arrangements. We were first shewn into a large hall in the rear, where
we found about thirty little beds, only a few of which were occupied,
the greater number of the inmates being able to sit up and move about
the house. Nothing could exceed the homeliness of the furniture,
though everything was remarkably clean. In another dormitory up
stairs, we found ten or twelve bedrid women, one of them within a few
months of completing the hundredth year of her age, but able to
converse. Another was a comparatively young woman, who had three
months ago had a limb amputated. A Sister, in her plain dark dress,
stood in this room, ready to attend any of the poor women. We were
next conducted to a large room, where a number of the inmates were at
dinner. They rose modestly at our entrance, and we had some difficulty
in inducing them to resume their seats. We were curious to see the
viands, knowing that they were composed solely of the crumbs from the
rich man's table, and having some idea, that as most of the Sisters
were French, there might be some skill shewn in putting these morsels
into new and palatable forms. We did not, however, find that the
dishes were superior to what might have been expected in a workhouse.
The principal article was a pudding, composed of pounded scraps and
crusts of bread, and bearing much the appearance of the oatmeal
porridge of Scotland. Ladies attend the old women at table, acting
entirely as servants do in a gentleman's dining-room, though only in
the limited extent to which such services are required at a meal so
simple. It is only after this meal is concluded, that the ladies sit
down to their own equally frugal fare. We were curious to know if they
indulge in tea, considering this as a sort of crucial test of their
self-denying principles. We were informed that the article is not
bought for them, on account of its being so expensive. Used tea-leaves
are obtained from the tables of certain families of rank, and are
found to be of service for the comfort of the more infirm women. After
the inmates are served, if any tea be left, it is taken by the ladies.

We next descended to the kitchen, and there found a young woman at
work as a cook, not a Sister, but one who may be so ere long, if she
passes her novitiate successfully. The magazine of crusts and lumps of
bread, of broken meat and cold soups, coffee and tea, which we saw
here, was a curious sight. We were also shewn the pails and baskets in
which the Sisters collect these viands. Two go forth every morning,
and make a round of several hours amongst houses where they are
permitted to apply. Meat goes into one compartment, bread into
another. A pail of two divisions keeps a variety of things distinct
from each other. Demurely pass the dark pair along the crowded
thoroughfares of the metropolis, objects of momentary curiosity to
many that pass them, but never pausing for a moment on their
charitable mission. The only approach to a smile on our conductress's
face, was when she related to us how, on their return one afternoon, a
poor woman who had lost a child, traced them to the door, and made a
disturbance there, under a belief that the cloak of one of them,
instead of covering a collection of broken meat, concealed her infant.

We were curious to trace the feelings which actuated these ladies in
devoting themselves to duties so apt to be repulsive to their class.
Viewing the whole matter with a regard to its humane results, we did
not doubt that benevolence was the impulse most concerned, directly or
indirectly, though we of course knew that a religious sanction was
essential to the scheme. In a conversation, however, with our
conductress, we could not bring her to admit that mere humanity had
anything to do with it. The basis on which they proceed is simply that
text in which Christ expresses his appreciation of those who give a
cup of cold water in his name. It is professedly nothing more than an
example of those charitable societies which arise in connection with
the Catholic faith, and in obedience to its principles, and which
require that entire renunciation of the world which to a Protestant
mind appears so objectionable. We have little doubt, nevertheless,
that a certain amount of benevolence is a necessary, though it may not
be a directly acknowledged pre-requisite for the profession; for it is
admitted that some novices find that they have not the _vocation_, and
abandon the attempt; while others, by the grace of God, are enabled to
go on. We cannot regard this idea of 'vocation' as something entirely
apart from the inherent feelings.

So far as we could understand, the Sisters regard more expressly the
value of the act of obedience to the injunction of Christ, than the
feeling from which, we would say, the injunction sprang--an error, as
we most humbly think, though one of a kind which we do not feel called
upon to discuss in the presence of results so much in accordance with
our own best feelings. We would only say, that there is something
disappointing in finding how much the whole procedure is beheld by
these self-devoting women, as reflecting on their own destinies. It
appears that their patients often grumble both at the food and the
attendance which they receive. The Sisters say, they like to meet an
ungrateful old woman, as it tries their humility and forbearance: it
makes the greater merit towards an end in which they themselves are
concerned. Now, we would put all this aside, and think only of the
divinely recommended sentiment of the text, as calculated in some
degree to make our life on earth an approach to that of its author. It
is really hypercritical, however, even to intimate these dissenting
remarks, especially when our main end is, after all, merely to bring
the public into knowledge of an extraordinary phenomenon in human
conduct, going on in an age which seems generally of so opposite a
character.

The Society of Les Petites Soeurs is, it appears, a new one, having
originated only a few years ago in the exertions of an old female
servant, who, having saved a little money, thought it could not be
better employed than in succouring the aged and infirm of her own sex.
Her idea was taken up by others of her own order, as well as by women
of superior grade. The society was formed, and establishments were
quickly set up in various parts of France. It was only in 1851 that a
detachment of the sisterhood came to England, and settled themselves
in Great Windmill Street, where, whatever be their motives, it must be
admitted they contribute in no slight degree to the alleviation of
that vast mass of misery which seems an inseparable element of large
cities. They had, at the time of our visit, forty-seven old persons
under their care.

At a subsequent period of the same day, we visited an establishment
somewhat similar at Hammersmith--at least similar in the repulsive
character of the duties, though externally much more elegant. It is
housed in a range of good buildings secluded in a garden, and is
devoted to the reception of unfortunate young women who, under
penitent feelings, wish to be restored to respectable society. The
Sisterhood of the Good Shepherd, as they are called, entertain in this
house nearly 100 such women, who, while undergoing the process of
religious and moral regeneration, employ themselves in washing, so as
to contribute to their own support. We saw the whole engaged in their
humble employment, excepting a few who were under training in a
school. At all times, in their bedrooms, at their meals, in their
work-rooms, in their play-ground, they are under the immediate eye of
some of the Sisters; but the general treatment includes as much
kindness as is consistent with the object held in view. One trait of
this kindness struck us as involving a remarkable delicacy: there is
never, from first to last, one word of reference made to their former
life. They are accepted as so many children coming to school for the
first time. Even their names are sunk out of sight, and new ones
applied. The Sisters speak of them as 'the children.' We learned that
Protestant women are welcomed, but are expected not to stand out in
inconvenient dissent from the ordinary rules of the house. We walked
into the garden under the care of the mother-superior, and saw their
little burial-ground, marked with low wooden crosses inscribed to
Laura, to Perpetua, to Mary of the Seven Dolours, and other such
names, indicating so many unfortunates who had here found a rest from
their troubles. We likewise visited the chapel, the body of which is
arranged for the use of the sisterhood; while a wing running off at
the side of the altar, and concealed from view, is provided with
seats for the penitents. The whole establishment is characterised by
remarkably good taste. There is here a more cheerful tone than in the
Great Windmill Street institution. The Sisters spoke, as usual, of
being entirely happy--that unaccountable phenomenon to a Protestant
mind.

We do not need to inform the reader, that conventual establishments
are not now so thin-sown in England as they were a few years ago, or
that they occasionally draw into their circle individuals who started
in life with very different prospects before them. The whole subject
is one worthy of some inquiry, as a feature of our social state, by no
means devoid of political importance; and it is for this very reason
that we draw attention to the subject. Instead of contemptuously
ignoring such things, let them, we say, be made known and investigated
in a calm and philosophical spirit. It is for want of a steady
comprehension of facts of the kind here adverted to, that an illusion
is kept up respecting our existing social condition. It is heedlessly
said, and every one repeats the error, that the age is a hard,
mechanical one, which shines only in splendid materialities; but is it
compatible with this notion, that there is ten times more earnest
religious feeling of one kind and another than there was thirty years
ago; that antiquities, mediæval literature and architecture, are
studied with a zeal hitherto unknown; and that such mystical writers
as Carlyle, Tennyson, and Browning, carry off the palm from all the
calm-blooded old-school men of letters? We rather think it is the most
romantic, supra-material age that has yet been seen. The resurrection
of conventual life, in some instances Catholic, in others Protestant,
appears to us as one of the facts of this unexpected reaction, which
doubtless will run its course, and then give place to something else,
though not, we trust, till out of its commixture of good and evil some
novelty hopeful for humanity has sprung.



THE LATE EMPEROR OF CHINA.


The announcement of a work by the late Dr Gutzlaff, entitled the _Life
of Taou-Kwang, late Emperor of China, with Memoirs of the Court of
Peking_,[1] excited a good deal of expectation; but for our own part,
now that the book is published, we must confess our disappointment on
finding it not a well-constructed memoir, but a volume bearing the
appearance of a collection of materials put together just as they came
to hand, with a view to re-arrangement. Declining health probably
prevented the author from perfecting his plan, and hurried his pages
to the press; death has now removed him from his labours. But a
collection of authentic historic facts is valuable, however loosely
embodied; and few writers have enjoyed such favourable opportunities
as Dr Gutzlaff for obtaining them.

Referring first to the personal history of Taou-Kwang, we find that
his education was more Tatar than Chinese. He was one of the numerous
grandchildren of the imperial house of Keelung, but without any
expectation of filling the throne, as both his mother and paternal
grandmother were inferior members of the imperial harem. The
discipline under which the royal family was trained, was of the
strictest kind. Each of the male children, on completing his sixth
year, was placed with the rest under a course of education
superintended by the state. Though eminent doctors were engaged to
instruct them in Chinese literature, yet archery and horsemanship were
considered higher accomplishments, and the most expert masters from
Mongolia and Manchooria trained them in these exercises. They were
treated as mere schoolboys, were allotted a very small income for
their maintenance, were closely confined to the apartments assigned to
them, kept in entire ignorance of passing events, and allowed little
intercourse with the court--none with the people. Not till each had
passed his twentieth year, was there any relaxation of this
discipline. Taou-Kwang was about this age when his father ascended the
throne, in consequence of the somewhat capricious appointment of
Keelung, who abdicated, and soon after died. The new emperor
surrounded himself with buffoons, playactors, and boon-companions. The
debaucheries, jealousies, and cruelties of his reign, remind us of
what we have half sceptically read of Nero and Caligula. But
Taou-Kwang kept aloof alike from the frivolities and the intrigues of
his father's court: he seemed to have no desire ungratified so long as
he had his bow and arrows, his horse and matchlock; and even after he
was unexpectedly nominated heir to the throne, in consequence of
having personally defended his father from a band of assassins, his
new expectations made no difference in his frugal and modest way of
life. The emperor at length died; it did not clearly appear by what
means, and it would perhaps have been troublesome to inquire: the
empress-dowager waived the claims of her son; and Taou-Kwang ascended
the throne without bloodshed. The luxury of the preceding reign now
gave place to sobriety and economy; though the usual ceremonies of the
court were strictly observed, they were conducted in the least
expensive manner; and the ruling passion of the monarch soon appeared
to be avarice.

Taou-Kwang had no taste either for literature or the arts; and he
jumbled together in one large magazine the beautiful pictures, clocks,
and musical instruments accumulated by his ancestors. To explain and
repair these, there had always been Europeans, chiefly Portuguese, in
attendance; and to some of these we have been indebted in times past
for memoirs of the court of Peking; but Taou-Kwang dismissed the last
of them. It is believed that an undefined dread of Western power had
much to do with this distaste for the products of its ingenuity.

The only orgies which the emperor seemed desirous of maintaining, were
feasts for the promotion of Manchoo union; on which occasions, the
Manchoos assembled to eat meat without rice--in order to maintain the
recollection of their Nimrodic origin--and to drink an intoxicating
liquor made of mare's milk. He had a favourite sequestered abode at no
great distance from the capital, where he had allowed the vegetation
to run wild and rank, in order to make it a rural retreat, instead of
an imperial park. All business was excluded from the precincts, and
here the emperor spent much of his time, wandering solitarily on foot
among the trees, amusing himself with the friends of his youth, or
sailing, with some of the ladies of his family, along the mimic
rivers.

According to traditional usage, the monarch must perform a pilgrimage
to the tombs of his ancestors. The astronomical, or rather
astrological board having ascertained the month, the day, the hour,
even the minute, when the stars would prove propitious, the cavalcade
set out. The princes of the blood, the ladies of the palace, and the
favourite ministers of the court, formed part of the train, which was
attended by at least 2000 camels. But even an emperor cannot travel
through waste and desert lands without inconvenience; and though great
preparations had been made beforehand in erecting temporary dwellings
where no villages were to be found, yet his Celestial majesty, with
his court, had often to bivouac under tents in the open air. The
people crowded in thousands to see their sovereign--a liberty which,
it is well known, may not be used in Peking, where every one must
hasten to hide his head as from the fabled Gorgon. The ancestral tombs
at Mookden, where the imperial manes repose under care of a large
garrison, were at length reached. And now Taou-Kwang became a family
man, abandoning the forms of state and the pomp of empire, and
mingling in familiar intercourse with his relatives and attendants.
Such particulars prove that we must receive at very considerable
discount the descriptions hitherto published concerning the extreme
sacredness of the emperor's person, the monotonous routine of ceremony
to which he is condemned, and the impossibility of his 'indulging in
the least relaxation from the fatiguing support of his dignity.' Turn
we now to public events.

By a series of unexpected conquests, the three largest empires in the
world have been gradually approaching each other's frontiers in Asia.
England, from the distant West, has formed military establishments
bordering on Thibet; China, from the remote East, has come to take
that country under its dominion; while Russia, the colossus of Europe,
has traversed the ice-fields of Siberia, and furnished an extensive
northern frontier to Mongolia and Manchooria, the Tatar dominions of
China. These powers, by their combined influence, keep within bounds
the lawless hordes of Asia, by whose frequent irruptions in past ages
vast regions of more civilised territory were overwhelmed, and whole
nations extirpated. The empire that effects most in this way is China,
and that with the smallest amount of means. Its frontier army is
indeed but a burlesque compared with the well-appointed warriors of
England and Russia; yet the Usbecks, Calmuks, and Kinghis are kept in
subjection. The volume before us gives some insight into the mode in
which this is accomplished.

A formidable insurrection, excited partly by religious enthusiasm,
broke out in the western parts of Chinese Tatary in 1826. An able
leader was found in Tehangir, a descendant of one of the former
princes. He proclaimed himself the deliverer of the faithful from the
infidel yoke, drew multitudes to his standard, and proceeded
victoriously from city to city. The imperial army sent to quell this
insurrection cost on an average L.23,000 of our money per day; and
though victories were, as usual, reported, there was no appearance of
the war coming to a termination. What prowess could not effect was
accomplished by bribery. The Mohammedans were themselves divided into
rival factions; and the Karatak ('black caps') were induced by Chinese
diplomacy to turn against the Altktak ('white caps'), to whom Tehangir
belonged. He was betrayed, taken to Peking, and cut to pieces in
presence of the emperor; after which, nearly the whole of Turkistan
was laid waste by fire and sword. After twenty more of the rebels had
been decapitated, the emperor enacted new laws for the country, with
the view of attaching the people to himself by the mildness of his
rule. The black caps were promoted either to offices of trust in their
own country, or to places of distinction in the Chinese army. When
Turkistan again became the seat of trouble in 1830, the emperor at
once sent 4000 camels with 2,000,000 taëls of silver (about L.700,000)
to settle matters, which was considered much wiser than to engage in a
long and expensive war. A similar policy was pursued in 1847, when a
formidable rising occurred, during which Kashgar was taken, and the
Manchoo forces routed. The Mohammedan leaders agreed to accept the
emperor's bounty; and on condition of all lives being spared, the
imperial troops were allowed to recapture Kashgar as by military
force. A splendid victory was of course announced in the _Peking
Gazette_; and in the subsequent distribution of rewards, the
diplomatist was raised ten steps above the general.

It is commonly believed that the Celestial Empire dwells in perpetual
peace within itself, as the fruit of that universal spirit of
subordination and filial obedience which is the great object of all
its institutions. Nothing, however, can be more erroneous. Not only do
the restless Tatars frequently break into revolt, but in China itself,
the extortions of the mandarins, or the occurrence of famine,
frequently excites a village, a city, or even a large district to
rebellion; and there are cases of an infuriated population actually
broiling their magistrates over a slow fire. The usual policy of
Taou-Kwang in all such cases was to send an army, but at the same time
to set the leaders at loggerheads by administering suitable bribes,
and inducing them to betray each other. In this manner, a civil war
can be brought to a speedy conclusion; and then the cruelty of the
victorious government knows no bounds. 'The treatment of political
prisoners,' says our author, 'is really so shocking as to be
incredible, if one had not been an eye-witness of these inhuman
deeds.'

The volume affords us some amusing particulars connected with the
collision with England. When the British fleet was expected in the
Chinese waters, the imperial orders were, to 'listen to no proposals,
but fire on the ships, and annihilate them at once.' To the great
emperor, it would have appeared quite ridiculous to condescend to
negotiation with so inferior a power as Britain: he had given his
orders; these must be obeyed; and his minister had himself written a
letter to Queen Victoria, that she might not plead ignorance of the
high behests of his Celestial majesty. It was not till the fleet
appeared at the mouth of the Pei-Ho, and the capital was in danger,
that Taou-Kwang deigned to seek an accommodation by means of his
smooth-tongued minister Keshen, who negotiated an armistice, promising
that all wrongs would be redressed by a commission appointed to meet
the British representatives at Canton. But as soon as the fleet turned
southward, the danger was considered visionary; and again the cry
arose to punish the insolence of the Western barbarians, as the
English were politely designated. The empress-dowager, who was never
before known to meddle with state affairs, told her son that 'the
English and Chinese could not co-exist under the canopy of heaven;
that the Celestial Empire must assert its superiority over these
barbarian robbers; and that unless he waged war to their utter
extermination, his ancestors would never acknowledge him in Hades.'
Keshen was now denounced as a traitor to his country for having come
to any terms; he was sentenced to death; and though his execution was
deferred, yet his whole property, amounting in silver alone to the
value of three millions sterling, was confiscated; his very wives were
sold by auction; and he who had been one of the richest men in the
empire, had not the means of buying himself a jacket.

Elepoo, the imperial commissioner at Ning-poo, opposite Chusan, was
also denounced. His crime was, that he had, according to the terms of
the truce, surrendered the English prisoners, notwithstanding the
counter-orders he had received to send them to Peking as trophies of
victory, to be cut to pieces according to custom. Among them was a
captain's wife, who had been wrecked, and had thus fallen into his
power. A happy thought struck some of the mandarins--that she might be
passed off as the sister of the barbarian Queen. She was accordingly
put into a cage, and carried about for exhibition; but Elepoo
delivered her from the excruciating death she would have suffered as
Queen Victoria's sister, and restored her to her countrymen. The whole
cabinet was indignant; he was summoned to appear immediately before
his exasperated sovereign, and sentenced to transportation to the
deserts of Manchooria.

When it came to fighting in earnest, and there was for the Chinese, as
we know, nothing but utter defeat, still there was no report sent to
court but of victory. But as million after million of taëls vanished,
and grandee after grandee disappeared, the emperor was obliged to be
informed of the real state of affairs, and his wrath knew no bounds.
In vain he threatened utter destruction to the barbarians, if they did
not instantly leave the coasts; in vain called on the people to arm
themselves _en masse_, and protect their lives and property: no one
stirred, and the emperor resorted to new counsellors for new plans of
defence. It was now gravely proposed, to build a fleet three times as
powerful as that of the British, and station it near Singapore and
Anjeer, to intercept the British vessels ere they reached China, and
annihilate their fleet piecemeal. The forests were to be felled to
supply materials: the only thing wanting was some English men-of-war,
to serve as models. Again, Hou-chunn, the Marshal Ney of China, was
ready to face the whole British fleet if he had but a steamer to carry
6000 men, half divers, half gunners; the divers would jump into the
water, and sink the English ships by boring large holes in them, while
the gunners would keep up an incessant fire. Striking as this plan
appeared, the emperor doubted its practicability. Imitation steamships
had been attempted already; but though they looked quite like the
foreign ones, they would not move: the paddles had to be turned like a
treadmill. Another great suggestion, was to march 300,000 men right
through the Russian territories to London, and put a stop to all
further operations by crushing the English at home!

Meanwhile, the British arms prevailed; and when the fleet reached the
first bend in the Yang-tse-kiang, there happened a solar eclipse; it
was impossible not to see that the sun of China had set for ever!

When Taou-Kwang found that the danger actually threatened his throne
and his person, he hastily packed up his effects, and prepared to fly
to some of the interior provinces; but being assured that peace might
yet be obtained, he gave _carte blanche_ for its conclusion. 'One can
form no adequate idea,' says Dr Gutzlaff, 'of the utter amazement of
the Chinese on perceiving that the "son of heaven" was not invincible;
and that he was even fallible; a revulsion of feeling took place, such
as had never been known before; and the political supremacy which
China had so proudly asserted, was humbled in the dust.'

As soon as peace was concluded, the first care of Taou-Kwang was to
punish the champions who had clamoured for war, but proved cowards in
the fight. Some had already died of grief, some had committed suicide,
and others had fled. But those who remained within the monarch's
grasp, besides many civil and military officers who had been compelled
to surrender their cities, were treated with merciless severity.
Keshen's extreme sentence was reversed, and he was made pipe-bearer to
the emperor.

A new era had now commenced. It had been proved to a demonstration,
that the mandarins were common mortals, and that the great emperor did
not sway the whole world. Democratic assemblies rose in every part of
the land; the people must be consulted where their happiness was
concerned; the citizens and peasants turned politicians; and if in any
case remonstrance failed, they proceeded, _en masse_, to the
government offices, and carried by force what was denied to courtesy.
The emperor learning these movements, instantly took the popular side;
laid all the blame on the mandarins, and superseded those who had
given offence. The taxes which had been refused, he remitted as an act
of sovereign favour; and the laws were relaxed--often to the injury of
well-disposed citizens. The people were again and again termed the
dear children of the emperor, and every member of the cabinet found
his best interest in advocating popular measures.

The rest of Taou-Kwang's reign was spent chiefly in endeavours to
improve his naval and military forces, and in fruitless struggles to
replenish the exhausted treasury of the state. His own, meanwhile, was
full to overflowing, having received immense accessions from the
confiscated property of his unsuccessful generals and degraded
ministers. He died on the 25th of February 1850, aged sixty-nine. In
his will, there appears the following notice of the English war: 'The
little fools beyond the Western Ocean were chastised and quelled by
our troops, and peace was soon made; but we presumed not to vaunt our
martial powers.'


FOOTNOTES:

[1] London: Smith, Elder, & Co.: 1852.



A GLIMPSE OF BALLYVOURNEY.


Among the various plans that have been suggested for ameliorating the
condition of Ireland, and improving the moral and social status of her
people, I know of few better calculated to produce these beneficial
results than that of opening good lines of road through wild and
uncultivated districts, and by this means facilitating the intercourse
between the inhabitants of almost unknown regions and those of more
advanced and enlightened districts. Where this has been done, in
conjunction with other local improvements, a moral regeneration has
taken place that could scarcely be credited by those who have not
witnessed the effect. In proof of what I say, I will endeavour to give
a short account of a journey I made last summer from Cork to the
far-famed Lakes of Killarney. I had performed the same journey several
years before; but I now travelled, after passing Macroom, by a road
that had been made since my last visit, through Ballyvourney, a wild
and mountainous district, formerly impassable. The territorial
improvements there are now matter of history, it having been proved
before the Commissioners of Land Inquiry, that land, valued at 3s. 9d.
per acre, had been made permanently worth L.4 per acre by a small
outlay, which, with all expenses, rent, and interest of money, was
repaid in three years.

The land had been deep turf (peat), and all but useless for
agricultural purposes. By drainage, cultivation, and irrigation,
however, it was made to produce the finest meadow grass, sold annually
by public auction for from L.4 to L.6 per acre; and sometimes it
yielded a second, and even a third crop. The great secret of this
improvement was, that the then proprietor gave his steward, who was
likewise his relation, a permanent interest in his outlay, by letting
him the land on lease for ever. In consequence of his doing so, the
very worst land, judging by the surface, has been made equal in value
to town fields; and in the progress of this work, the wildest race
perhaps in the world, have now become a civilised and industrious
people. Mr C---- has sold his interest in the improvements for
L.10,000, calculated, on the average profit of past years, at twenty
years' purchase.

When he first undertook the work, he had every difficulty to contend
with: the people were unused to labour, and so wild and savage, that
no stranger dared to settle among them. I was told that when the first
land-steward was seen at the chapel in a dress which denoted him to be
a stranger, he heard a man behind him telling another in Irish--which
he supposed to be unknown to the stranger--the part of his neck in
which he would plant a deadly wound before he got home. The steward
fortunately understood the native tongue, and quitting the chapel
before the service was over, he fled from the dangerous place.

The present civilisation and industrious habits of the people,
compared with their barbarism thirty years ago, shews that the Irish
character, when properly directed, is as capable of advancement as any
other in the world. There was at that time no road into or out of
Ballyvourney: it was in this respect like the Happy Valley. The passes
are yet in existence, and are fearful to look at, where a gentleman
from Kenmare, on his journeys to Cork, used to bring his chariot,
accompanied by a number of footmen, and unharnessing the horses, let
it down by ropes from the top of the precipice. There is another spot
of the kind on the road from Killarney to Cahersiveen and Valentia,
where on the side of the Hill of Droum, nearly precipitous from the
sea, is the track-mark of the carriage-road, if such it can be called,
where the vehicle used to be supported and dragged by men. A new road
has since been made there: the Atlantic Ocean is so directly beneath,
that a passenger may drop a stone into it as he drives along; while
Droum Hill stands perpendicularly above him. It is a most magnificent
scene; terminating with the ruins of Daniel O'Connell's birthplace.
Visitors to Ireland usually conclude their journey at Killarney; but
if they would continue their route to Caragh Lake, Blackstone, Lady
Headley's improvements, and go on through the Pass of Droum to
Valentia and Cahersiveen, they would discover that Killarney is only
the opening to a scene of grandeur and sublimity.

Mr C---- found Ballyvourney in the inaccessible state I have
described. The people held every year, on Whitsunday, a royal
faction-fight; and for this, preparation was made almost every Sunday
in the year. They fought with deadly weapons, sticks loaded with lead,
and stones. Pensioners, who were accustomed to firearms, were hired
for the occasion; but the weapon chiefly used was a short scythe, and
men may still be found bearing its mark in contracted legs and arms:
one man having Tim Halisy, his mark; another, Paddy Murphy, his mark,
indelibly inscribed on his body. They had little or no agriculture--no
wheeled cart, and scarcely even a spade. A crop of oats was a
curiosity; and when there was such a thing, the only mode of conveying
it to market was on a horse's back. Their agricultural operations were
confined to feeding cattle, and they depended on their milk and butter
for paying their rent, and purchasing the necessaries of life. Their
mode of carrying butter to Cork was curious. I have often seen crowds
of thirty, forty, or fifty men, seated on little ill-formed horses,
which had two panniers swinging on the back, containing frequently
only a single firkin of butter in one, and a stone in the other, the
man being seated between. They fed their horses on the road-side,
never entering an inn-yard; and they generally travelled by night. No
one would trust another with his property; and on their journey of
forty Irish miles, they expended no money. The scythe was their
farming-implement to cut such coarse hay as grew in the bottoms near
rivers. On Whitsunday, whoever could keep possession of a large stone
called _Carrigun na Killeagh_, was champion for the year, and the
party to which he belonged was triumphant until the next annual
battle. On one occasion, the battle was almost ended, the champion was
possessor of the stone for nearly the prescribed time; he gave one
cheer of victory, then another, and was about to give the crowning
cheer, when a signal was made to a pensioner, who had been hired for
the purpose, and placed in ambush. He fired, and the ball pierced the
conqueror's neck, without mortally wounding him. The man fell, and
while on the ground, was seen pulling the moss and grass around him,
and stuffing them into the wound, to prevent the flow of blood, that
he might again mount the rock of victory. The next day he was seen out
of doors by the doctor, for whom his wife had secretly sent; and after
much entreaty, his determination not to allow the opposite party to
know that he had been seriously hurt was overcome, and he permitted
the doctor to examine the wound, and replace the styptics of his own
providing with more scientific remedies.

Another story of the barbarism of the people was told me on my
journey. A farmer's cow had momentarily trespassed on another man's
land, one of a hostile faction. The farmer offered to pay for the
damage, but the reply he received was a shot which killed him on the
spot. His brother, who saw the catastrophe, ran to raise the victim;
but the man had already reloaded his gun, and shot the brother dead. A
third brother, having seen the two fall, ran to the succour so
quickly, that the murderer had not time to complete the reloading of
his gun; and as a crowd was collecting, he ran off. Mr C---- used
every exertion to have him taken, and for three years was
unsuccessful; until obtaining the aid of a neighbour, a petty
chieftain of a hostile clan, he at last succeeded. On the trial, one
of the men who had witnessed the murders, and whom Mr C---- called to
swear informations, denied the guilt of the accused, swore an _alibi_,
and declared that he had on the day in question sold him a cow at a
fair twenty miles distant. He was, however, convicted, and hanged on
the spot where the murders were committed. By punishments of various
kinds--transporting the most hardened, and sending others to the
treadmill--the people were at length brought into some sort of order.

Tim Halisy was Mr C----'s right-hand man--his manager, sub-agent,
&c.: he was rich in cows and sheep; and though rather advanced in
life, he married a very young girl, who had a fortune of forty cows.
By degrees, Tim grew careless, lost his office, and resolved
henceforth to enjoy a life of luxury. His habits became deteriorated;
and during the latter years of his life, a gallon of whisky was sent
for daily to the public-house; and this was put into the milk-pails,
and the cows milked into it. Upon this sustenance, Tim and his wife
lived; they spent the whole day at home drinking, and were not known
to use bread or animal food. As may be supposed, the cows soon came to
the market one by one; and Tim and his wife, after years of misery,
died in great indigence.

In the year 1822, Mr C---- commenced his local improvements. The first
thing he did was to obtain the opening of a new line of road from
Macroom to Killarney, and another to Kenmare. In the various works
connected with these, the people first learned the use of the spade
and shovel, and became inured to a continued day's work. There was now
a possibility of carrying corn to market if grown, or of bringing it
into the parish; and Mr C---- built a mill for grinding it. He also
built an inn, and induced a coach-proprietor to run his coach from
Cork to Killarney through Ballyvourney, it being a better line in
distance, level, picturesque, and beautiful--far surpassing in every
respect the old road by Millstreet. He gave sixty acres of land for a
clergyman's glebe, built a house for him, and undertook--long previous
to the late laws--the payment of the incumbent. The Board of First
Fruits built a church, but were obliged during the work to have the
protection of the military. In a very extensive culture of turnip and
corn crops; in drainage on a large scale; in the building of capacious
farm-offices; in planting the land not of an arable quality; and
latterly, in the thinning of these plantations--all under the
direction of a Scotch steward--almost unlimited employment was given;
in addition to which, the establishment of a dispensary, the constant
residence of a valuable clergyman, a station for police, and the
intercourse carried on by the daily running of two public vehicles,
have combined to render the inhabitants of Ballyvourney as industrious
and civilised as those in any part of the British islands. They have
become a quiet and peaceable race; a riot is never heard of among
them; and the Stone of Victory has long been covered with lichen,
moss, and grass. The people annually assemble at the Holy Well, and go
their rounds at the station; and the little image of St Gobnet, in
the walls of an old church, is still looked on with adoration, and
handkerchiefs thrown up to touch it, that they may bring healing
virtue to the sick. The rector's residence is closely adjacent to the
Holy Well, the station, and the image of St Gobnet, and the stone of
victory within a few feet of his hall door. Yet he can go to bed at
night without a lock to a door, or a bar to a window. Women and girls
may be found in abundance who can thin and hoe turnips in the best
manner. As good ploughmen and agriculturists in the various
departments may now be had in Ballyvourney as in most places. All
faction-fights are at an end; and although, little more than twenty
years ago, these were the weekly Sabbath occupation, they are now like
an item of an old almanac. By employing similar means, might not other
parts of this naturally fine country be equally improved, and made the
abode of a thriving and contented people?



THE DAUGHTER OF THE BARDI.

A TRUE OLD TALE.


The Via dei Bardi is one of the most ancient streets of Florence.
Long, dark, and narrow, it reaches from the extremity of the Ponte
Rubaconte to the right of the Ponte Vecchio. Its old houses look
decayed and squalid now; but in former days they were magnificent and
orderly, full of all the state of those times, being the residences of
many of the Florentine nobility. How many struggles of faction, how
many scenes of civil war, have these old houses witnessed! for in the
period of their splendour, Florence was torn by intestine feuds; from
generation to generation, Guelfs and Ghibelines, Bianchi and Neri,
handed down their bitter quarrels, private and personal animosity
mingling with public or party spirit, and ending in many a dark and
violent deed. These combatants are all sleeping now: the patriot, the
banished citizen, the timid, the cruel--all, all are gone, and have
left us only tales to read, or lessons to learn, if we can but use
them. But we are not skilled to teach a lesson; we would rather tell a
legend of those times, recalled to mind, especially at present,
because it has been chosen as the subject of a fine picture recently
finished by a Florentine artist, Benedetto Servolino.

In the Via dei Bardi stood, probably still stands, the house inhabited
by the chief of the great and noble family from whom it takes its
name--we write of the period of the fiercest struggles between the
Guelfs and Ghibelines; and the Bardi were powerful partisans of the
latter party. In that house dwelt a young girl of uncommon beauty, and
yet more uncommon character. An old writer thus describes her: 'To
look on her was enchantment; her eyes called you to love her; her
smile was like heaven; if you heard her speak, you were conquered. Her
whole person was a miracle of beauty, and her deportment had a certain
maidenly pride, springing from a pure heart and conscious integrity.'

From the troubled scenes she had witnessed, her mind had acquired
composure and courage unusual with her sex, and it was of that high
stamp that is prone to admire with enthusiasm all generous and
self-devoting deeds. Such a being, however apt to inspire love, was
not likely to be easily won; accordingly, the crowd of lovers who at
first surrounded Dianora gradually dropped off, for they gained no
favour. All were received with the same bright and beautiful smile,
and a gay, charming grace, which flattered no man's vanity; so they
carried their homage to other shrines where it might be more prized,
though by an inferior idol. And what felt Dianora when her votaries
left her? We are not told; but not long after, you might see, if you
walked along the street of the Bardi towards evening, a beautiful
woman sitting near a balcony: a frame of embroidery is before her; but
her eyes are oftener turned to the street than to the lilies she is
working. It is Dianora. But surely it is not idle curiosity that bends
her noble brow so often this way, and beams in her bright, speaking
eyes, and sweet, kind smile. On whom is it turned, and why does her
cheek flush so quickly? A youth of graceful and manly appearance is
passing her window; his name is Hyppolito: he has long cherished the
image of Dianora as Dante did that of his Beatrice. In loving her, he
loved more ardently everything that is good and noble in the world; he
shunned folly and idleness, and strove to make himself worthy of
what he believed Dianora to be. At length, one of Cupid's
emissaries--whether nurse or friend the chronicle does not tell--aided
Hyppolito in meeting Dianora. One meeting succeeded another, till she
gave him her heart, as such a true, young heart is given, with entire
confidence, and a strength of feeling peculiar to herself. But what
could they hope? Hyppolito's family were of the opposite party, and
they knew it was vain to expect from them even a patient bearing; nor
were the Bardi behind in proper feelings of hatred. What was to be
done? There was but one Dianora--but one Hyppolito in the world; so
have many wise young people thought of each other both before and
since the days of the Ghibelines; but these two might be excused for
thinking so, for many who saw them were of the same opinion. To
part--what was the world to them if they were parted? Their station,
their years, their tastes--so removed from noisy and frivolous
pleasures--their virtuous characters, seemed to point out that they
were born for each other. What divided them? One only point--the
adverse political feelings of their families. Shall they sacrifice
themselves to these? No. Thus reasoned Hyppolito; but we think the
chronicles exaggerate the virtues of Dianora's character; for how many
a girl unchronicled by fame has, before the still tribunal of her own
sense of duty to God and her parents, sacrificed her dearest hopes
rather than offend them; and this, with all her heroism, Dianora did
not, but gave up all these dear early claims for her new love.

Delays were needless, for time could do nothing to smooth their path;
so it was determined that Hyppolito should bring a ladder to Dianora's
window, and, aided by their friend, they should find their way to a
priest prepared to give them his blessing. The night appointed
came--still and beautiful as heart could wish; the stars sparkling in
the deep blue sky, bright as they may now be seen in that fair clime.
Hyppolito has reached the house; he has fixed the ladder of ropes;
there is no moon to betray him; in a minute, his light step will have
reached the balcony. But there is a noise in the street, and lights
approaching; the night-guard is passing; they have seen the ladder,
for the street is narrow. Hyppolito is down, and tries to escape--in
vain. They seize and drag him to prison. What was he doing there? What
can he reply? That he meant to enter the house, to carry something
from it, or commit some bad deed, cannot be denied. He will not betray
Dianora; it would only be to separate them for ever, and leave her
with a stained name. He yields to his fate; the proofs are
irresistible, and, by the severe law of Florence at that period,
Hyppolito must die. All Florence is in amazement. So estimable a
youth, to all outward appearance, to be in reality addicted to the
basest crimes! Who could have believed it? But he confesses; there is
no room for doubt. Pardon is implored by his afflicted friends; but no
pardon can be granted for so flagrant a crime.

Hyppolito had one consolation--his father never doubted him; if he
had, one glance of his son's clear though sad eye, and candid, open
brow, would have reassured him. He saw there was a mystery, but he was
sure it involved no guilt on Hyppolito's part. Hyppolito also believed
that his good name would one day be cleared, and that his noble
Dianora would in due time remove the stain that clouded it. He
consented to die, rather than live separated from her. Yet poor
Hyppolito was sorry to leave the world so young; and sadly, though
calmly, he arranged his small possessions, for the benefit of those he
loved, and of the poor, to whom he had always been a friend.

He slept quietly the night preceding the time fixed for his execution,
and was early ready to take his place in the sad procession. Did no
thought cross Hyppolito's clear mind, that he was throwing away, in
weak passion, a life given to him by God for noble ends? We know not;
but there he was--calm, firm, and serious. His only request was, that
the procession might pass through the street of the Bardi, which some
thought was a sign of penitence, an act of humiliation. The sad train
moves on. An old man sitting at a door rises, strains his eyes to
catch a last glimpse of Hyppolito, and then covers them in anguish,
and sinks down again. This is an old man he had saved from misery and
death. Two youths, hand in hand, are gazing with sad faces, and tears
run down their cheeks. They are orphans: he had clothed and fed them.
Hyppolito sees them, and even in that moment remembers it is he who
deprives them of a protector: but it is too late to think now; for he
is approaching the scene of his fault and the place of his punishment,
and other feelings swell in his heart. His brows are contracted; his
eyes bent on the house of the Bardi, as if they would pierce the
stones of its walls; and now they are cast down, as though he would
raise them no more on earth. But he starts, for he hears a loud
shriek, a rushing, and an opening of the crowd: they seem to be awed
by something that approaches. It is a woman, whoso violent gestures
defy opposition; she looks like a maniac just escaped from her
keepers; she has reached Hyppolito; his fettered arms move as if they
would receive her, but in vain. She turns to the crowd, and some among
them recognise the modest and beautiful daughter of Bardi. She calls
out: 'He is innocent of every crime but having loved me. To save me
from shame, he has borne all this disgrace. And he is going to death;
but you cannot kill him now. I tell you he is guiltless; and if he
dies, I die with him.'

The people stand amazed. At last there is a shout: 'It must be true!
he is innocent!' The execution is stopped till the truth is
ascertained, and Dianora's statement is fully confirmed. And who shall
paint the return from death to life of poor Hyppolito? and to such a
life! for blazoned as the story of her love had been, Dianora's
parents, considering also her firm character, subjected even the
spirit of party to the voice of affection and reason; and Hyppolito's
family, softened by sorrow, gladly embraced their Ghibeline daughter.
Whether in after-life Hyppolito and Dianora were distinguished by the
qualities they had shewn in youth, and whether the promise of
affection was realised by time and intimate acquaintance, no chronicle
remains to tell. This short glimpse of both is all that is snatched
from oblivion--this alone stands out in bright relief, to shew us they
once were; the rest is lost in the darkness of time.

The moment chosen by the artist is when Dianora rushes from her house
into the midst of the crowd, and reaches Hyppolito, surrounded by
priests and soldiers. It is easy to see to what a varied expression of
passion and action this point of the story gives rise.



A CURIOSITY IN NATURAL HISTORY.


The crustacean class of animals, of which the lobster, crab, and
shrimp are familiar examples, have this peculiarity of structure--that
their soft bodies are enclosed within a coat-of-mail formed of
carbonate and phosphate of lime. In fact, they carry their skeleton
outside their bodies, both for defence of the vital parts within, and
for the attachment of the muscles which move their limbs, and every
part of their frame. No warrior of old was ever more completely
enveloped in his hard coat-of-mail, with its jointed greaves and
overlapping scales, than is the lobster in its crustaceous covering;
with this exception, that the warrior could at pleasure unbuckle
himself from his armour, whereas the body and limbs of the crustacea
are completely incased in hollow cylinders, firmly and accurately
jointed, from which there is no such ready release. Now, as this
shelly integument envelops them from their earliest youth, and as it
does not expand and grow, the natural growth of the soft body beneath
would be entirely prevented did not nature supply a remedy of a very
curious kind--the exuviation, or periodical throwing off of the
external crust, and the formation of a larger shell-covering fitted
for the increasing growth of the animal. This is a circumstance which
has long been familiar to naturalists, and indeed the most ordinary
observer must have often remarked in the crabs and lobsters brought to
table, appearances indicative of their change of external coverings.
In the back of the edible crab, may often be noticed a red membrane
lining the inner side of the shell, but so loose as to be readily
detached. Along the greater part of its course this membrane has
already assumed a half-crustaceous consistence, and is just the
preparatory process to the old shell being thrown off by the animal.
There is another curious circumstance which has also been long
known--that crabs and lobsters can renew lost limbs. Some
misconception, however, had existed regarding the manner in which this
was effected, until the observations of the late Sir John Dalyell have
thrown more accurate light on the subject.

This most amiable and eminent zoologist, who was lost to science last
year, afforded a pleasing illustration of the solace and delight which
the pursuit of the study of nature yields to the diligent inquirer
into her mysteries. With a feeble constitution and frame of body,
which precluded his mingling in the more active pursuits of everyday
life, this sedentary philosopher collected around him examples of
minute and curious being from the depths of the ocean, from lake and
river, and for many long years found the delight of his leisure hours
in watching the habits of the animals, and in discovering and
describing many singular circumstances in the constitution of their
bodies, and the peculiar adaptations of their structure and instincts
to their modes of existence. One of his last communications to the
public, imparted with all the modesty and simplicity of true genius,
at the last meeting of the British Association in Edinburgh, was on
this subject of the exuviation of the crustacea.[2]

It appears from Sir John's observations that crustaceans begin to
throw off their shells at a very early period of their life, even in
that embryo state in which they first appear after having left the
egg, and before they have yet assumed the real form of their mature
state. During every successive exuviation in this embryo state, they
assume more and more of their perfect and established form. While the
crab is young and rapidly growing, frequent exuviations take place at
short intervals, from three to five times in the course of one year.
Previous to the change, the animal almost ceases to feed, and becomes
rather inactive; the proper time having at length arrived, exuviation
is effected in the course of a few hours, body and limbs being alike
relieved from their hard covering. Until the new shell acquires
firmness and strength, the creature is very shy, and in the state of
nature, retires into cavities below rocks or heaps of protecting
sea-weed. Sir John had kept for some time one of our smaller species
of shore-crabs (_Carcinus monas_), of medium size, of a brown colour,
with one white limb. One summer evening it was put outside the window
in a capacious glass-vessel of sea-water. In the morning a form
exactly resembling its own, only somewhat larger, lay in the vessel.
This was the same animal, which had performed exuviation, and
extricated itself from the old shell during the night. The resemblance
between both forms was complete--everything was the same, even the
white limb was seen in both. Another specimen kept was of smaller
size, the opposite extremities of the limbs being only thirteen lines
asunder; its colour was green, with three white patches on the back.
In the course of little more than a year five exuviations took place
at irregular intervals, the new shell and animal becoming larger each
time. The third shell came on uniformly green, the white spots being
entirely obliterated. On the fourth exuviation, the limbs expanded two
inches and a half. From the long slender form of the limbs of
crustacea, they are very liable to mutilation. Crabs are also a very
pugnacious family, and in their battles limbs are often snapped off.
These mutilations, however, are readily repaired; although, contrary
to what was the common belief, the restoration takes place only at the
next regular period of exuviation.

The full-grown common crab (_Cancer pagurus_) is of a reddish-brown
colour, the claws tipped black; but some of the young are naturally of
the purest white, which remains long unsullied. This does not arise
from confinement, which, according to Sir John, has no influence on
colour. 'A young white specimen of the common crab was subjected to
observation on 29th September. The body might have been circumscribed
in a circle three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and the extended
limbs by one-and-a-half inch in diameter. Its first exuviation ensued
on 8th November, the second on the 30th of April following, and the
shell then produced subsisted till 12th September, when another
exuviation took place, introducing a new shell of such transparent
white that the interior almost shone through it. All the shells were
white, and increased somewhat in size successively. This last shell of
12th September subsisted until 29th March, being 197 days, when it was
thrown off during another exuviation.'

But what was remarkable, the animal now had only the two large claws,
the other eight limbs were deficient. 'Resting on its breast as it
was, I did not at first discover the fact, that the creature presented
a strange and very uncouth aspect. However, it fed readily, and proved
very tame, though helpless; often falling on its back, and not being
able to recover itself from the deficiency of its limbs. I preserved
this mutilated object with uncommon care, watching it almost
incessantly day and night: expecting another exuviation which might be
attended with interesting consequences, I felt much anxiety for its
survivance. My solicitude was not vain. After the defective shell had
subsisted eighty-six days, its tenant meantime feeding readily, the
desired event took place in a new exuviation on 23d June. On this
occasion a new animal came forth, and in the highest perfection, quite
entire and symmetrical, with all the ten limbs peculiar to its race,
and of the purest and most beautiful white. I could not contemplate
such a specimen of nature's energies restoring perfection, and through
a process so extraordinary, without admiration. Something yet remained
to be established: was this perfection permanent, or was it only
temporary? Like its precursor, this specimen was quite tame, healthy,
and vigorous. In 102 days it underwent exuviation, when it appeared
again, perfect as before, with a shell of snowy white, and a little
red speckling on the limbs. Finally, its shell having subsisted 189
days, was succeeded by another of equal beauty and perfection, the
speckling on the legs somewhat increased. As all the shells had
gradually augmented, so was this larger than the others. The extended
limbs would have occupied a circle of four inches diameter. About a
month after this exuviation the animal perished accidentally, having
been two years and eight months under examination. It was an
interesting specimen, extremely tame and tranquil, always coming to
the side of the vessel as I approached, and holding up its little
claws as if supplicating food.'

The shrimp when in confinement becomes very tame, and readily
exuviates. The process is frequent, the integument separates entire,
and is almost colourless. In female crustaceans the roe is placed
outside the shell to which it adheres. During the period of such
adherence, the female crab, so far as observation goes, does not
change its shell--a marked provision of nature to preserve the spawn.

We may remark that other classes of animals exuviate in a similar
manner to the crustaceans. Thus serpents throw off in entire masses
their scaly coverings, even a slough from the eyes; and various
insects in their larva state are continually throwing off and renewing
their skins.


FOOTNOTES:

[2] Report of British Association, 1851. Pp. 120-122.



THE AYAH.


Owing to our constant intercourse with India, there are few among us
who are unacquainted with the word ayah. Some who live in London or
its neighbourhood may perhaps have occasionally met with one of
these sable guardian spirits, conducting one or more pale,
precocious-looking little children to their British friends; or they
may even have fallen in with a group of the tribe in Kensington
Gardens, or other public promenades, escorting their little _bâbâs_,
and herding together, like birds of a feather, attracted by the bonds
and recollections of colour, climate, caste, and language.

Ayah, in the mouth of a lisping baby, is one of the prettiest words of
the East, and is learned as soon as papa and mamma, being equally easy
of articulation. The origin of the word is probably either Portuguese
or Spanish (_aya_), although it has now become common to all classes,
Christians, Mohammedans, and Hindoos alike. The Hindostanee word for
nurse is _m[=a]m[)a]-jee_, or _daee_; the Bengalee, _doodoo_, or
_dye_.

     [Transcriber's Note: Two diacritical marks are found above
     the letter "a" in the word "mama-jee" in the previous
     sentence. They are a macron diacritic, a dash-shaped symbol
     and a breve diacritic, a u-shaped symbol. These letters are
     indicated here by the coding [=a] for a macron and [)a] for
     a breve above the letter "a".]

The ayah is frequently a fixture of long standing in a family,
descending from mother to daughter; and when this is the case, she is
no doubt a valuable possession, and is consulted in all the momentous
matters connected with the nursery. However, at the birth of the first
baby, she is of course spick-and-span new; and in comes the dusky
stranger, all pride and expectation, all hope and joy. It is fortunate
that there is no difference in young babies--that the one is as ugly a
little thing as the other--and so she is not disappointed: on the
contrary, she sees with one glance of her dark glittering eyes, which
have their source of sensation in her woman's heart, a thousand charms
that distinguish _her_ bâbâ from all the other babies in the universe.
With something akin to a mother's feelings, she takes the infant in
her arms, which seems incontinent to become a part of herself, lying
all day on her knees, and sleeping all night in her bosom; and from
that moment the nurse, the child, and the paun-box are always
together.

As the ayah is exclusively attached to the nursery, and has nothing to
do with household affairs or the laying out of money, she is generally
a favourite with the other servants, who seem to look upon her as
holding an intermediate station between them and the mistress. Should
any of them require leave of absence, for the purpose of attending a
funeral or a wedding, he applies first to the ayah; or if a little tea
is wanted for a sick wife or mother, through her also he obtains the
simple, though to him expensive, restorative. If a pedler comes to the
door with his box and bundles, he looks up, and spying the ayah in the
veranda or at the window, he calls out: 'Is anything wanted for
Mem-Sahib or the bâbâs? Tell the lady I have beautiful things to
shew.' Away trips the ayah to her mistress, and good-naturedly, or
perhaps--no, it _shall_ be good-naturedly--lays the discovery before
her that some trifle is wanted. The man is called in, and succeeds in
disposing of some of his wares, ribbons, laces, or silks; and the
ayah, besides having obliged the lady and the pedler, enjoys a small
modicum of satisfaction herself--who would grudge it?--in pocketing
the _dustôôree_--a discount of two pice, or half an anna on each
rupee.

There are ayahs of various castes. The Portuguese ayahs (Roman
Catholic Christians, born in the country) are no doubt the most
intelligent and useful; but they are more expensive than the Mussulman
and Lall Beggies, and are therefore not so frequently employed:
indeed, it is only in the neighbourhood of Calcutta that they are
procurable at all. As the Hindostanee women neither knit nor sew, they
seem to devote their energies exclusively to their infant charge. The
bâbâ is their work and their play, the exercise of their thoughts, the
substance of their dreams. He is the only book they read; and the only
expansion their minds know is from the unfolding of the pages of his
character. They are proud of that bâbâ, and proud of themselves for
being his. What a sight it is, the ayah coming in at the dessert, in
her rustling silks and transparent muslins--so stately in her
humility, so smilingly self-satisfied--surrounded by the children, and
holding in her dark, smooth, jewelled arms the son and heir of the
family, whom she presents to papa to get a bit of cake or sweetmeat!

This is a grand moment for the ayah. Are not the children _hers_? Have
they not lain upon her bosom all their little lives? And have not the
charms which she detected with the first glance of her glittering eye,
been developed under her care into the marvels now before the company?
But the more tranquil and permanent happiness of the ayah is enjoyed
while she is watching alone the opening of her buds of beauty, and
steeping their slumbering senses in the sweet wild music of her
country. I still sometimes hear in fancy her cradle-song humming in my
own Old Indian ear as I am falling asleep--although many a long year
has passed since I heard it in reality, and many a long league is now
between me and the land of the dear, good, black, comical, kindly
ayah. Let me try whether I cannot render it, even loosely, in our own
strong Anglo-Saxon tongue, from the musical, melting Hindostanee:--

    Sleep on, sleep on, my bâbâ dear!
    Thy faithful slave is watching near.
    The cradle wherein my babe I fondle,
    Is made of the rare and bright-red sandal;[3]
    And the string with which I am rocking my lord,
    Is a gay and glittering silken cord.

    Sleep on, sleep on, my bâbâ dear!
    Thy faithful slave is watching near.
    Thy father, my dear, is the jemadar
    Of a province which stretches wide and far;
    And his brother, my child, is a moonsif great,
    Who ruleth o'er many a ryot's fate.

    Sleep on, sleep on, my bâbâ dear!
    Thy faithful slave is watching near.
    Thy mother of hearts is the powerful queen,
    The loveliest lady that ever was seen;
    And there ne'er was slave more faithful, I trow,
    Than she who is rocking thy cradle now.

I have said that our ayah sometimes comes home with her charges--comes
to our home from her own. It is a bad exchange. She awakes slowly from
her dream, as she sees the rosy cheeks, full pouting lips, and round
wondering eyes, that are turned upon the dark stranger and her pale,
thin, little ones. The comparison is painful; these cherub children
have no sympathy with the lonely Hindoo; and the servants of the
house, although awed at first by her foreign aspect, and calm, stately
air, have no permanent respect for one who ranks neither with their
superiors nor with themselves. The climate, too, is as chilling as the
manners around her; her heretofore bâbâs are lords to nobody but
herself; and so, with one thing and another, she grows home-sick, her
heart yearns for her own sunny land, and she is glad--sorrowfully
glad--when at last the announcement is made, that an ayah wants to go
back to India with a family.

And in India once more, what then? Why then, the great ocean is
between her and her fledged nurslings, and she looks round for some
new objects of love and devotion. These she probably finds in another
home, another mistress, another bâbâ; her heart begins its course
anew; and the ayah lives a second life in the young lives of her
children. No joyless existence is hers, no cares without ample
compensations; but yet when I see in my own country one of these
solitary, strangely-attired, dark-skinned women, I feel attracted
towards her by an almost tearful sympathy, and have ever a kind look
and a warm, gentle word for the poor ayah.


FOOTNOTES:

[3] The red sandal-wood is more rare and valuable than the yellow.



SMALL INVESTMENTS.


The investment of small savings in land with a view to
spade-husbandry, was a few years ago brought prominently before the
working-classes. We took occasion, at the time, to warn the humbler
classes generally against projects of this kind, but without any
beneficial effect. Land-schemes, as they were called, were puffed into
popularity, and all our advices and remonstrances on the subject were
rejected with disdain. Universal ruin has followed these schemes, and
the unfortunate dupes are left to mourn their loss. Nothing is more
specious than a plan of earning an independent livelihood by
cultivating a few acres of land; but, practically, it is open to some
serious drawbacks. First, the cultivator requires to be skilled in
husbandry, and of a bodily frame to endure the fatigue of constant
out-door labour. Second, his land must be tolerably good, and situated
under a good climate. Third, the land must be close to a market,
otherwise the produce cannot be disposed of. The cultivation of a
small bit of land is in reality a kind of gardening. No horse-labour
can be employed; all is to be done by the spade. It may be possible,
therefore, to make a livelihood near a large town, where anything that
is produced--milk and butter included--will find a ready market at no
cost of transport; but in other circumstances the thing is almost
hopeless. It is a notorious fact, that the most wretched of the rural
population of this country are small cultivators, even if the land
costs next to nothing. We are aware that the small-farm system is more
successful in Belgium and Lombardy. On the reasons for this, it is
here needless to enter. We take the examples offered in Great Britain,
where it has never come up to the expectations of philanthropists.

The purchase of forty-shilling freeholds has lately been put forward
as a method of investing money by the working-classes. It is beyond
our province to speak of the political aims of this form of
investment. We can recognise a certain good in giving to a working-man
the feeling, that he is the proprietor of a house or small portion of
land yielding (along with the franchise in England) a rent of forty
shillings per annum; but, at the same time, we recognise a
corresponding evil, and we should be shrinking from our duty if we did
not mention it in distinct terms. In those localities where operatives
and others can reckon on constant remunerative employment, it may
prove a real service in many ways for them to buy a house instead of
renting one; indeed, we should highly recommend them to become the
proprietors of the dwellings which they occupy. But in places where
workmen possess no such assurance or reasonable prospect of
employment, we would as earnestly dissuade them from taking a step of
this kind. The capital of a working-man--that on which he must place
his dependence--is his labour; and this labour he ought to be in a
position to dispose of to the best advantage. On this account, he
requires, as a general rule, to hold himself in readiness to go
wherever his labour is in demand. Of all men, he has the most cause to
be a citizen of the world. He may find it his interest to remove to
localities hundreds of miles off; and therefore the fewer obstructions
to his movements, the better. Heritable property is a fixture. A man
cannot take it with him, and the sale of it, even when time is
permitted to seek out a purchaser, is attended with expense and
difficulty. No doubt the transfer of such property might and ought to
be vastly lowered in cost; but not until this is done, will it be time
for the more movable part of the working-classes to consider the
propriety of saddling themselves with the ownership of lands and
houses. Such, at least, is our opinion, after much consideration of
the subject. So many melancholy instances have we seen of working-men
being ruined by the want of power or will to leave small heritable
possessions in country towns, where employment deserted them, that we
entertain a strong feeling against this class of persons investing
their earnings in fixed property.

Upon the whole, the best thing the humbler classes can do with small
savings, is to let them accumulate as movable capital. They should
perceive that, generally speaking, a little money has few advantageous
outlets. It is only after its increase to a tolerable sum, that it can
command a good investment. A short time ago, we adverted to the vast
benefits that would accrue to the working-classes, by legalising
partnerships in commandite; for this would allow the clubbing of means
for trading purposes without chance of total loss. Another thing for
improving the resources of such classes, would be the issue of small
debentures on land, railways, and other kinds of property; these
debentures to be registered in such a manner as would admit of legal
recourse without the tedious and expensive forms now required to
enforce their liquidation. These, then, are things to be struggled for
by the humbler orders, indeed by many who ostensibly belong to classes
higher in social standing.



PLEASURES OF LITERATURE.


It may be remembered, that somewhat more than two years ago, Mr
Willmott's _Journal of Summer-time in the Country_ was noticed in
these pages. Those who, through that or any other introduction, have
since become acquainted with that exquisite little volume, will be
glad to meet the author again, in the not less charming work which he
has recently put forth, on the _Pleasures, Objects, and Advantages of
Literature_.[4] The theme itself must be naturally attractive to all
book-loving people; and we are prepared to say, that it is treated
with felicity and discrimination. We do not aver that we always concur
in the writer's judgments, or hold precisely his views of criticism;
but we are, upon the whole, very decidedly impressed with the general
force and truth of his Discourse, with the gracefulness of his
allusions and illustrations, his elegant and pointed style, and the
bland and genial temper in which he writes. The work consists of a
series of short chapters on books, authors, the circumstances in which
they wrote, the moods in which they should be read to be appreciated,
the nature and specific qualities of taste, poetry, fiction, the
drama, history, and philosophy. The author's turn of mind is chiefly
retrospective: he writes more in the spirit of the last age than of
the present. Indeed, he seems too much inclined to ignore the value of
our later literature; almost the only modern authors whom he quotes
are Hallam, Charles Lamb, and Southey; and it is evident, both from
the style and matter of the work, that the range of his reading has
been most extensive in what he terms the 'classical criticism and
biography of the eighteenth century.' This, however, we note only in
passing, and not at all in the way of condemnation; further than as it
may indicate the limitations to be expected in his tone of thought and
sentiment.

Mr Willmott, indeed, speaks disparagingly of some of the severer
studies--especially of logic and mathematics; declaring that they 'can
only be useful to a full mind,' and that, 'if they find it empty, they
leave it in the same state.' Of course, he may be allowed to have his
opinion on such a matter; but we presume it will not be very generally
adopted. We agree with him that, 'in moral impression they are
powerless;' yet we are bound to bear in mind that their _aim_ is not a
moral one; and we, furthermore, believe that, within their own scope
and province, they _may_ at least be serviceable in training and
developing the understanding. Not to dwell longer on this little
eccentricity of opinion, which is simply one of idiosyncrasy, let us
follow the author into some of the more congenial sections of his
dissertation. The following passage, on 'The three essential qualities
of an author,' seems not unsuitable for quotation:--

'Sir Philip Sidney said, that the most flying wits must have three
wings--art, meditation, exercise. Genius is in the instinct of flight.
A boy came to Mozart, wishing to compose something, and inquiring the
way to begin. Mozart told him to wait. "You composed much earlier?"
"But asked nothing about it," replied the musician. Cowper expressed
the same sentiment to a friend: "Nature gives men a bias to their
respective pursuits, and that strong propensity, I suppose, is what we
mean by genius." M. Angelo is hindered in his childish studies of art;
Raffaelle grows up with pencil and colours for playthings: one
neglects school to copy drawings, which he dared not bring home; the
father of the other takes a journey to find his son a worthier
teacher. M. Angelo forces his way; Raffaelle is guided into it. But
each looks for it with longing eyes. In some way or other, the man is
tracked in the little footsteps of the child. Dryden marks the three
steps of progress:--

                       "What the child admired,
    The youth _endeavoured_, and the man ACQUIRED."

'Dryden was an example of his own theory. He read Polybius, with a
notion of his historic exactness, before he was ten years old.
Witnesses rise over the whole field of learning. Pope, at twelve,
feasted his eyes in the picture-galleries of Spenser. Murillo filled
the margin of his school-books with drawings. Le Brun, in the
beginning of childhood, drew with a piece of charcoal on the walls of
the house. The young Ariosto quietly watched the fierce gestures of
his father, forgetting his displeasure in the joy of copying from
life, into a comedy he was writing, the manner and speech of an old
man enraged with his son.

'Cowley, in the history of his own mind, shews the influence of boyish
fancies upon later life. He compares them to letters cut in the bark
of a young tree, which grow and widen with it. We are not surprised to
hear from a school-fellow of the Chancellor Somers, that he was a
weakly boy, who always had a book in his hand, and never looked up at
the play of his companions; to learn from his affectionate biographer,
that Hammond at Eton sought opportunities of stealing away to say his
prayers; to read that Tournefort forsook his college class, that he
might search for plants in the neighbouring fields; or that Smeaton,
in petticoats, was discovered on the top of his father's barn, in the
act of fixing the model of a windmill which he had constructed. These
early traits of character are such as we expect to find in the
cultivated lawyer, who turned the eyes of his age upon Milton; in the
Christian, whose life was one varied strain of devout praise; in the
naturalist, who enriched science by his discoveries; and in the
engineer, who built the Eddystone Lighthouse.'

This accords very well with a notion of our own. We hold that men have
a tendency to follow what they are by nature best qualified to succeed
in; and that the fact ought to be regarded in the education of the
individual. Education should include the study and trial of aptitudes,
so that each may be directed to his appropriate vocation. It is true,
there are sometimes such things as 'false tendencies' to be
encountered; but these, as Goethe has shewn, may be readily detected,
inasmuch as they are plainly 'unproductive;' that is to say, the thing
aimed after does not come out as a recognisable success. False
tendencies are more easily perceived in others than in
ourselves--especially when ambition, interest, or vanity is involved
in the consideration; and on this account the difficulty, perhaps,
might not be insurmountable, if the charge of it could be committed to
a really judicious educator. But to say anything further on the
subject would be out of place at present; and, accordingly, we return
to what is more immediately before us.

'The instinct of flight,' continues our author, 'is combined with the
instinct of labour. Genius lights its own fire; but it is constantly
collecting materials to keep alive the flame. When a new publication
was suggested to Addison, after the completion of the _Guardian_, he
answered: "I must now take some time, _pour me délasser_, and lay in
fuel for a future work." The strongest blaze soon goes out when a man
always blows and never feeds it. Johnson declined an introduction to a
popular author with the remark, that he did not desire to converse
with a person who had written more than he had read.

'It is interesting to follow great authors or painters in their
careful training and accomplishing of the mind. The long morning of
life is spent in making the weapons and the armour which manhood and
age are to polish and prove. Usher, when nearly twenty years old,
formed the daring resolution of reading all the Greek and Latin
fathers, and with the dawn of his thirty-ninth year he completed the
task. Hammond, at Oxford, gave thirteen hours of the day to philosophy
and classical literature, wrote commentaries on all, and compiled
indexes for his own use.

'With these calls to industry in our ears, we are not to be deaf to
the deep saying of Lord Brooke, the friend of Sidney, that some men
overbuild their nature with books. The motion of our thoughts is
impeded by too heavy a burden; and the mind, like the body, is
strengthened more by the warmth of exercise than of clothes. When
Buffon and Hogarth pronounced genius to be nothing but labour and
patience, they forgot history and themselves. The instinct must be in
the mind, and the fire be ready to fall. Toil alone would not have
produced the _Paradise Lost_ or the _Principia_. The born dwarf never
grows to the middle size. Rousseau tells a story of a painter's
servant, who resolved to be the rival or the conqueror of his master.
He abandoned his livery to live by his pencil; but instead of the
Louvre, he stopped at a sign-post. Mere learning is only a compiler,
and does with the pen what the compositor does with the type: each
sets up a book with the hand. Stone-masons collected the dome of St
Paul's, but Wren hung it in air.'

There is, perhaps, nothing very profound or original in this, but it
is all very sensible and pleasant. Something of novelty, however, will
be observed in the extract which follows next, on 'The Influence of
Air and Situation on the Thoughts.' The consideration, at anyrate, is
curious, both under its physiological and metaphysical aspect.

'It has been a subject of ingenious speculation if country or weather
may be said to cherish or check intellectual growth. Jeremy Collier
considered that the understanding needs a kind climate for its health,
and that a reader of nice observation might ascertain from the book in
what latitude, season, or circumstances, it had been written. The
opponents are powerful. Reynolds ridiculed the notion of thoughts
shooting forth with greater vigour at the summer solstice or the
equinox; Johnson called it a fantastic foppery.

'The atmospheric theory is as old as Homer. Its laureate is
Montesquieu. The more northerly you go, he said, the sterner the man
grows. You must scorch a Muscovite to make him feel. Gray was a
convert. One of the prose hints for his noble fragment of a didactic
poem runs thus: "It is the proper work of education and government
united, to redress the faults that arise from the soil and air."
Berkeley entertained the same feeling. Writing to Pope from Leghorn,
and alluding to some half-formed design he had heard him mention of
visiting Italy, he continues: "What might we not expect from a muse
that sings so well in the bleak climate of England, if she felt the
same warm sun, and breathed the same air with Virgil and Horace?"

'When Dyer attributes the faults of his _Fleece_ to the Lincolnshire
fens, he only awakes a smile. Keats wrote his Ode to a Nightingale--a
poem full of the sweet south--at the foot of Highgate Hill. But we
have the remark of Dryden--probably the result of his own
experience--that a cloudy day is able to alter the thoughts of a man;
and, generally, the air we breathe, and the objects we see, have a
secret influence upon our imagination. Burke was certain that Milton
composed _Il Penseroso_ in the long, resounding aisle of a mouldering
cloister, or ivied abbey. He beheld its solemn gloom in the verse. The
fine nerves of the mind are braced, and the strings of the harp are
tuned, by different kinds of temperature. "I think," Warburton
remarked to Hurd, "you have often heard me say, that my delicious
season is the autumn--the season which gives most life and vigour to
my intellectual faculties. The light mists, or, as Milton calls them,
the steams that rise from the fields in one of these mornings, give
the same relief to the views that the blue of the plum gives to the
appetite."

'Mozart composed, whenever he had the opportunity, in the soft air of
fine weather. His _Don Giovanni_ and the _Requiem_ were written in a
bowling-green and a garden. Chatterton found a full moon favourable to
poetic invention, and he often sat up all night to enjoy its solemn
shining. Winter-time was most agreeable to Crabbe. He delighted in a
heavy fall of snow; and it was during a severe storm which blocked him
within doors, that he portrayed the strange miseries of Sir Eustace
Grey.'

There may be something in this supposed influence of temperature and
seasons; but there certainly is no general law observable in the
matter. Shakspeare asks--

    'Oh who can take a fire in his hand
    By thinking of the frosty Caucasus?
    Or wallow naked in December's snows
    By bare remembrance of the summer's heat?'

He might have been answered by Moore, who shut himself up in the
wintry wilds of Derbyshire to write _Lalla Rookh_--a poem breathing of
the perfumes, and glowing in the sunlight of the golden East; and by
Scott, who, in Jermyn Street, St James's, with miles of brick houses
round him, produced his famous introductions to _Marmion_, some of
which may rank with the finest descriptions of natural scenery in the
language. But the way in which people are influenced seems utterly
capricious. We know a writer who is always unfavourably affected by a
dull, still atmosphere, and whose faculties are as invariably
exhilarated by a high wind. Cloudy weather does not influence him
disagreeably if it be stormy, but calm, leaden November glooms oppress
him with a feeling bordering upon stupor. These are altogether
unproductive days with him. If authors, however, are subject in their
moods to atmospheric and other circumstantial influences, it may be
expected that readers also are to some extent possessed of a like
tendency. Mr Willmott has, accordingly, a suitable suggestive word or
two to guide them in their reading. He says:--

'A classification of authors to suit all hours and weathers might be
amusing. Ariosto spans a wet afternoon like a rainbow. North winds and
sleet agree with Junius. The visionary tombs of Dante glimmer into
awfuller perspective by moonlight. Crabbe is never so pleasing as on
the hot shingle, when we look up from his verses at the sleepy sea,
and count the

        "Crimson weeds, which spreading slow,
    Or lie like pictures on the sand below:
    With all those bright red pebbles, that the sun
    Through the small waves so softly shines upon."

'Some books come in with lamps and curtains, and fresh logs. An
evening in late autumn, when there is no moon, and the boughs toss
like foam raking its way back down a pebbly shore, is just the time
for _Undine_. A voyage is read with deepest interest in winter, while
the hail dashes against the window. Southey speaks of this delight--

    "'Tis pleasant by the cheerful hearth to hear
    Of tempests and the dangers of the deep,
    And pause at times and feel that we are safe;
    And with an eager and suspended soul,
    Woo terror to delight us."

'The sobs of the storm are musical chimes for a ghost-story, or one of
those fearful tales with which the blind fiddler in _Redgauntlet_ made
"the auld carlines shake on the settle, and the bits of bairns skirl
on their minnies out frae their beds."

'Shakspeare is always most welcome at the chimney-corner; so is
Goldsmith: who does not wish Dr Primrose to call in the evening, and
Olivia to preside at the urn? Elia affirms, that there is no such
thing as reading or writing, but by a candle; he is confident that
Milton composed the morning hymn of Eden with a clear fire burning in
the room; and in Taylor's gorgeous description of sunrise, he found
the smell of the lamp quite overpowering.... But Elia,' he says
further on, 'carried his fireside theory too far. Some people have
tried "the affectation of a book at noonday in gardens and sultry
arbours," without finding their task of love to be unlearnt. Indeed,
many books belong to sunshine, and should be read out of doors.
Clover, violets, and hedge-roses, breathe from their leaves; they are
most lovable in cool lanes, along field-paths, or upon stiles overhung
by hawthorn; while the black-bird pipes, and the nightingale bathes
its brown feathers in the twilight copse.

'The sensation is heightened when an author is read amid the scenery
or the manners which he describes--as Barrow studied the sermons of
Chrysostom in his own see of Constantinople. What daisies sprinkle the
walks of Cowper, if we take his _Task_ for a companion through the
lanes of Weston! Under the thick hedges of Horton, darkening either
bank of the field in the September moonlight, _Il Penseroso_ is still
more pensive. And whoever would feel at his heart the deep pathos of
Collins's lamentation for Thomson, must murmur it to himself, as he
glides upon the stealing wave, by the breezy lawns and elms of
Richmond.'

Our author has some judicious remarks on 'Criticism, its Curiosities
and Researches,' and is himself a critic of refined and delicate
appreciation. We certainly do not agree with him in thinking that the
literature of the last century is superior to that of the present; but
we can nevertheless admit that many of his favourite writers are
deserving of a higher and more reverent regard than is now generally
awarded them. We would quarrel with no man about his preferences;
still, we cannot hold Mr Willmott justified in such sweeping
condemnation of our current literature as he appears disposed to pass
upon it. It would seem, indeed, that in his disgust at 'the corrupted
streams of popular entertainment,' he has not cared to make himself
acquainted with the best of our modern writers. Of these he seems--if
we may judge from his total oversight of them--to have hardly a
knowledge of the names. 'He lives,' as he admits, 'among the society
of an elder age.' Here, however, he numbers 'tasteful learning with
the chiefest blessings of his home.' If he had lived in the last
century, he would probably have gone back for his idols to an earlier
one; and yet his remarks on taste and criticism are of a catholic
nature, although his just application of their canons have this
chronological boundary. We have no room, however, for his disquisition
on these elegant subjects; neither can we follow our accomplished
clergyman into his disquisitions on fiction, history, biography,
philosophy, and its pleasures, nor the 'domestic interiors' of taste
and learning. We had intended to quote some fine sentences on the
consolations of poetry, but find we have not room for them. The reader
will do well to get the book, and read them there. It is a work
altogether well worth reading. Nay, it will bear reading many times,
and even become pleasanter as one's acquaintance with it increases.
Indeed, it is not at all the kind of book to be run through rapidly,
and so disposed of; the thought and observation in it are closely
packed and methodised; and if you wish to derive any benefit, or even
pleasure from the perusal, you will need to read deliberately. We
should say the author thoroughly _enjoyed_ his work while he was
engaged in it; but the workmanship exhibits everywhere the greatest
care and patience. The same habit of mind employed in writing it will
be required in the reading. We may describe the book as being a
graceful, suggestive review of literature, considered with regard to
its enjoyments. Refined, scholarly, tolerant, and judicious in all his
tastes and sympathies, the author's influence upon other minds cannot
be otherwise than wholesome, elevating, and benignant.


FOOTNOTES:

[4] _Pleasures, Objects, and Advantages of Literature._ A Discourse,
by the Rev. Robert Aris Willmott, Incumbent of Bear Wood, Berks.
Bosworth: London.



THE MISSING SHIP.


Alexis Himkof had just taken an affectionate leave of his wife, and
stood looking after her, on the deck of the vessel to which he had
been appointed mate, and which had been fitted up for the
whale-fishery near Spitzbergen, by a merchant of the name of Jeremiah
Oxladmkof, of Mesen, a town in the province of Jesovia, in the
government of Archangel. She sailed in 1743 on her first voyage. We
can conceive how lonely the home of Alexis must have been without him.
We may be sure that his wife's last prayer at night was offered up for
his safety. We constantly hear it said, in stormy weather: 'God help
those who are at sea!' 'God help those who have friends at sea!' might
be added to the petition; for there are hearts which quail at every
gust of wind--there are thick-coming fancies, which can conjure up
tempest-tossed vessels, sweeping gales, and raging billows; and yet
the ship may at that very moment be in calm waters, or sailing with a
prosperous breeze.

The time came that there might be some account of Himkof--then, that
the vessel might be back; but no news or vessel came. Month after
month passed on, and still it came not; and then years went by, and
still there was no ship: whenever a sail was seen in the distance, the
poor wife would hasten to the shore; but still the ship she looked for
never came. With a sinking heart, she would retrace her steps
homewards; but still she came again and again, so true it is that
affection and hope are the last earthly companions that part company.
The neighbours would look at her as she passed along, and shake their
heads in pity.

The vessel, which had fourteen hands on board, had sailed on with a
fair wind for eight days. On the ninth it veered, and instead of
reaching the west of Spitzbergen, the place of rendezvous for the
vessels employed annually in the whale-fishery, it was driven eastward
of those islands. A few days brought her near one of them, known as
East Spitzbergen. When within about two English miles, she was hemmed
in by ice, and in extreme danger. In this dreadful emergency, the crew
consulted on what was best to be done. Himkof mentioned that he had
been told, some time before, that some men from Mesen, having decided
on wintering on the island, had provided themselves with timber for
building a hut, which they accordingly erected at some distance from
the shore. Being quite aware, that if they remained in their present
situation, they must inevitably perish, they determined to search for
the hut, and to winter there, if so fortunate as to find it. Himkof,
with three others, were selected to make the search. They were
provided with a musket, twelve charges of powder, a dozen balls, an
axe, a small kettle, a knife, a tinder-box and tinder, a wooden pipe
for each, some tobacco, and a bag with twenty pounds of flour. This
was as much as they could carry with safety, as they had to make their
way for two miles over loose ridges of ice, which would be still more
difficult and dangerous if they were overloaded, and it required the
utmost caution to avoid falling between these ridges, which had been
raised by the waves and driven together by the winds. The footing once
lost, inevitable destruction must follow. They had not proceeded above
an English mile, when, to their great delight, they descried the hut,
at a distance of about a mile and a half from the shore. Its length
was thirty-six feet, and its breadth and height eighteen. It consisted
of two rooms. The antechamber was about twelve feet broad, and had two
doors--one to exclude the outer air, the other by which it
communicated with the inner room, in which there was an earthen stove,
such as is commonly used in Russia. A very slight inspection sufficed
to shew that the hut had sustained great injury from the weather; but
to have found it in any condition was a subject of great joy, and they
availed themselves of its shelter for the night.

Eager to communicate the good news to their companions, they set out
early the next morning; and as they went on, they chatted cheerfully
about the stores of ammunition and provisions, and various requisites
which could be conveyed from the ship, to be stored in the hut for
winter use. They pursued their way in the highest spirits, picturing
to themselves the delight which they were about to give to their
companions. When they arrived on the shore, not a vestige of the ship
was to be seen; no track through the waters marked her path; all was
still and silent, desolate and bleak: no familiar face was seen; not
one of their comrades was left to tell the hapless tale! They stood
aghast, looking in mute despair upon the sea. The ice by which the
vessel had been hemmed in had totally disappeared. The violent storm
of the night before, they concluded, might have been the cause of this
fatal disaster; the ice might have been disturbed by the agitation of
the waves, and beaten violently against the ship, till she was
shattered to pieces; or she might, perhaps, have been carried on by
the current into the ocean, and there lost. However it might have
been, they were never to see her again. What a difference a few short
moments had made in their feelings and in their fate! They thought to
have re-entered the hut with glad companions; they returned to it the
sole inhabitants of that desolate region, disconsolate, and utterly
hopeless of ever leaving it. When they could collect their thoughts,
they were anxiously turned to the preservation of their lives, for
which it was necessary to provide some kind of sustenance. The island
abounded with reindeer, and they brought down one with every charge of
their powder. They set about devising means to repair the hut, which,
from the cracks and crevices produced by the weather, let in the
piercingly cold air in various directions. No wood, or even shrub,
grew on that sterile ground. Nothing could be more dreary than the
prospect--a bleak waste without vegetation; the high mountains with
their rock and crags; the everlasting ice and the vast masses of snow.
The very sublimity of the scene was awfully impressed with all the
marks of stern desolation and solitude. As in that cold climate wood
is not liable to decay, they joined the boards of which the hut was
constructed, with the help of their axe, very tolerably, filling up
the crevices with moss, which grows in abundance all over the island.
The poor men, like all of their country, were expert carpenters, for
it is customary with them to build their own houses. No want could
have been more dreadful than that of wood, for without firing, they
could never bear up against the intense cold.

As they strayed along the beach, they found, to their joy, a quantity
of wood which had been carried in by the tide. What they first got in
this way were parts of the wreck of vessels, and afterwards trees,
which had been uprooted by the overflowing of rivers, and borne by the
waves into the ocean; but what proved a treasure to the poor
castaways, were some boards which they discovered on the beach, with a
long iron hook, some nails of five or six inches long, and thick in
proportion, and other pieces of iron fastened in them--the sad
memorials of some shattered vessel. Kind Providence seemed to have
directed their steps where help was to be found. Just at the time when
their provisions had nearly failed, and when they were without the
means of replenishing their store, they perceived, not far from the
boards, the root of a fir-tree, which had almost taken the form of a
bow. With the help of their knife, they soon brought it into more
regular shape, but they were unprovided with a string and with arrows.
They determined, in the first instance, to make two lances, to guard
themselves against the formidable attacks of the ferocious white bear;
but without a hammer, it was impossible to form their heads, or those
of the arrows. However, by heating the iron hook, and widening a hole
which it happened to have in the centre, with the help of one of the
large nails, they inserted the handle, and a round button at one end
of the hook, made the face of the hammer. A large pebble served for an
anvil, and a pair of reindeer's horns were the tongs. Such were the
tools with which they fashioned the heads for two spears, which they
polished and sharpened on stones, and then tied them fast with strips
of reindeer-skin to thick sticks, with which they were supplied from
the branches of trees which had been wafted on shore. Thus armed, they
attacked a white bear, and after a desperate struggle, they succeeded
in killing him. They made use of the flesh for food, which they
described as being like beef; by separating the tendons, they were
supplied with filaments as fine as they pleased, which enabled them to
string their bow. Their next work was to form pieces of iron into
heads for their arrows, like the spears which they had already
manufactured. They polished and sharpened them in the same way, and
made them fast to pieces of the fir with the sinews of the white bear;
feathers of sea-fowl being tied with the filaments. They were now
equipped with a complete bow and arrows, which proved a most
serviceable acquisition, and furnished them from time to time with
reindeer to the amount of 250, besides vast numbers of the blue and
white foxes; providing them not only with food, but with clothing, as
their skins were a great defence from the coldness of the climate.

They destroyed no more than ten white bears; these animals defended
themselves with prodigious strength and fury. The first was attacked
by the sailors; the other nine were the assailants. Some of them were
so daring as to walk into the hut in search of their prey. Those among
them who were the least voracious were easily driven away, but the
more ravenous were not to be deterred; and it was not without
encountering the most imminent danger that the men escaped in the
dreadful conflicts. But they were in continual fear of being devoured,
as these ferocious animals repeated their visits to the hut, and
renewed their attacks continually. When they succeeded in slaying one,
they made use of its flesh as food, which, with that of the reindeer
and the blue and white foxes, were the only kind they could have in
that bleak region.

The want of the necessary conveniences obliged them for some time to
make use of their food without cooking. They had nothing in the way of
bread or salt. The stove within was set up after the Russian fashion,
and could boil nothing. The cold was so intense, that all the wood
they had was reserved for the stove; they had none to spare for making
a fire outside, from which they would have had but little heat, and
where they would run the risk of being attacked by the white bear.
Besides, the masses of snow which fell during the winter months, and
the heavy rains, would have made it quite impossible, for great part
of the year, to have kept a fire burning in the open air. They,
however, thought of a plan by which they were enabled to prepare some
of their food. In the summer months, they exposed part of their animal
food in the sun, and then hung it in the upper part of the hut, where
it became thoroughly dried by the smoke. This food they used as bread,
with that which they were obliged to eat half raw. By this means they
were able to keep up a constant supply of provisions. They had water
in the summer from the rills which fell from the rocks, and in winter,
they were supplied from the snows and thawed ice. Their only utensil
for holding water, and substitute for a drinking-cup, was their small
kettle.

Half of the flour had been consumed by the men with their meat; the
remaining portion was preserved for a different purpose. The dread of
their fire going out, and of the difficulty which they should find in
lighting another, without match or tinder, set their wits to work to
find means to avert so great a misfortune. They obtained from the
middle of the island a particular kind of slimy clay, which they had
observed, and of which they modelled a sort of lamp, and filled it
with the fat of the reindeer. They contrived a wick with a piece of
twisted linen. When they flattered themselves that their object was
accomplished, they met with a great disappointment, for the melting
grease ran through the lamp. To make a new one, and to fill up the
pores of the material of which it was made, was now their care. When
formed, they dried it in the air, and then heated it red-hot, in which
state they immersed it in their kettle, in a preparation of flour,
which had been boiled down to the consistence of starch. They now
tested it by filling it with melted fat, and to their infinite
delight, they found that they had succeeded in fashioning one that did
not leak. To make it still more secure, they covered the outside with
linen dipped in the starch.

In managing to have light during the dreary months of darkness, they
had attained a great object, which had been doubly desirable on
account of him who was languishing in sickness. That they might not be
wholly dependent on one lamp, of which some accident might deprive
them, they made another. In collecting such wood as had been cast on
shore for fuel, they had fortunately found some cordage and a little
oakum (the sort of hemp used for calking ships), which they turned to
great account as wicks for their lamps. When this store was consumed,
they had recourse to their shirts and drawers--a part of dress worn by
almost all Russian peasants--to supply the want. Like the sacred fire,
these lamps were never suffered to go out. As they were formed soon
after their arrival, they were kept burning without intermission for
the years they passed in their comfortless abode.

The sacrifice made of their shirts and drawers exposed them more to
the intense cold. Their shoes, boots, and other parts of their dress,
were worn out. In this emergency, it was necessary to form some plan
for defending themselves from the inclemency of the climate. The skins
of the reindeer and foxes, which they had converted into bedding, now
afforded the materials for clothing. They were submerged in fresh
water for several days, till the hair was so loosened that it was
easily removed; the leather was then rubbed with their hands till
nearly dry, then melted reindeer fat was spread over it, and then it
was again rubbed. It thus became soft, and fit for the use to which it
was to be put. Some of the skins which they wished to reserve for furs
did not undergo exactly the same process, but were merely left in
water for one day, and were then prepared in the same manner, without
removing the hair. Though now furnished with the materials for
clothing, they were without the implements necessary for making them
into articles of dress. They had neither awls for making shoes and
boots, nor needles for sewing their clothes. Their ingenuity was,
therefore, again put to the test, and was not slow in making up the
deficiency. They contrived to make both very well, out of the bits of
iron which they had collected from time to time. One of their most
difficult tasks, was to make eyes to their needles; but this they
accomplished with the help of their knife; for having ground it to a
very sharp point, and heated a kind of wire, forged for the purpose,
red-hot, they pierced a hole through one end, and by whetting and
smoothing it on stones, brought the other to a point. These needles
were astonishingly well formed, nothing being amiss with them but the
roughness of the eye, by which the thread was sometimes cut. It was
indeed surprising that they were so well made, considering the rude
instruments with which they were fashioned. Having no scissors, they
were obliged to cut out their clothes with the knife; and though this
was their first attempt at the trade of shoemaker or tailor, yet they
contrived to cut out the articles which they required with as much
precision as if they had served a regular apprenticeship to the
business. The sinews of the reindeer and bears answered for thread.
They set earnestly to their work. For summer wear, they made a sort of
jacket and trousers of the prepared skins; for winter, long fur-gowns,
with hoods, made after the fashion of those worn by the Laplanders.

The constant employment which their necessities required, and the
various difficulties which they had to overcome by ingenious
contrivance, so far from having been a misfortune, may be considered
as having been the means of preserving these poor men from sinking
under their unhappy circumstances. But accordingly as their ingenuity
had supplied their wants, and their minds became more disengaged from
expedients, their melancholy increased, and they looked round
despondingly on the sterile and desolate region where, they felt, they
were to spend the rest of their days, far away from the hearths of
home, and from early friends and companions. Even the probability of
that little circle being lessened, and, it might be, reduced to one
solitary being, was a dreadful thought: each felt that this might be
his own fate. Then the fear of all means of sustenance failing, and
the assaults of wild beasts, were dangers too glaring to be forgotten.
Alexis Himkof, who had left a wife and three children, suffered
perhaps the most from heart-yearnings after home.

They had already lost one of their companions from the effects of
scurvy; and now, when six dreary years had nearly passed, another was
taken from among them. It chanced on the 15th of August 1749, while
they were lamenting their poor companion, that they descried a vessel.
Who can describe the tumults of their feelings, the fluttering of
their hearts? Their fate hung upon a chance. Oh, if she would come to
relieve them! oh, if they could pass once more those rude barriers of
ice, and cut through those interminable waves again! But she might
pass on, and leave them to a fate rendered still more miserable by the
fallacious gleam of hope. With trembling haste they ran hither and
thither, and almost flew to light the signal-fires of distress along
the hills, and now to the beach, to wave the rude flag, formed of a
reindeer's skin fastened to a pole. What agitating hopes and fears
were crowded into that space of time, as the vessel made her way
through the waters! The signals of distress were seen--were heeded!
She comes! she comes! and now she anchors near the shore. What a day
of joy and thankfulness! But the delight of the poor mariners may be
more easily conceived than described. Their bargain with the master of
the ship--a Russian vessel--was soon made: they were to work for him
on the voyage, and they agreed to pay eighty rubles on landing. He
took them on board with all their possessions, consisting of two
thousand pounds of the lard of the reindeer in the hides of those
animals, and of the white and blue foxes, and the skins of the ten
white bears that they had destroyed. They also took with them their
bow and arrows, and all the implements which they had manufactured.
These were deposited in a bone box, made with great ingenuity, with no
tool but their knife. We have in these men a very remarkable example
of the energy which can sustain in the most trying circumstances, and
the ingenious skill which can furnish expedients, even in a region so
destitute of resources. It may well teach us to trust in that good
Providence which is indeed a present help in trouble.

They reached Archangel on the 28th of September 1749. What happy
meetings may have been anticipated!--what calamities may have been
dreaded during that voyage!--How may it have fared with those who were
left? Will they all be there, to greet with a joyful welcome? What if
Alexis' wife, worn out by suspense and anxiety, should have sunk into
an early grave?--or if one among their children should have died?--or
if the three should all have been swept away? The approaching sail had
been seen; and the one who for years had clung to a forlorn-hope, was
again at the water's edge. Alexis stood on the deck. Affection is
quick-sighted; he was instantly seen and known by his wife! All was
forgotten--all but that he was there. The distance between them, the
waves that separated them, were unheeded! Uttering a wild cry of joy,
she rushed forward to clasp him in her arms. She sprang into the
water--a little time, and she was extricated. She was insensible when
taken up. When she came to herself, she was in her husband's
arms!--their children were about them! What tears of joy were
shed!--what prayers of thankfulness were offered up!

The foregoing narrative, true in every respect, is drawn up by us from
documents issued under the authority of the Russian government. It
shews, in a convincing manner, that subsistence is by no means
impossible for sailors wrecked and icebound within the polar regions.



WILD ANIMALS IN CONFINEMENT.


Were it not that custom reconciles us to everything, a Christian
community would surely be shocked by the report, and still more by the
sight, of the sacrifice of innocent and helpless creatures--pigeons
and rabbits, for instance--to the horrible instincts of snakes, who
will not eat anything but what is alive. An account was recently given
of a night-visit to the place of confinement of these disgusting
reptiles, in which the evident horror of their intended victims,
confined in the same cages, was distinctly mentioned. The
gratification of mere curiosity does not justify the infliction of
such torture on the lower animals. Surely the sight of a stuffed
boa-constrictor ought to content a reasonable curiosity. Imagine what
would be felt if a child were subjected to such a fate, or what could
be answered if the present victims could tell their agonies as well as
feel them! Byron speaks of the barbarians who, in the wantonness of
power, were 'butchered to make a Roman holiday;' and verily the
horrors exhibited in our public gardens and menageries are something
akin to the fights of gladiators; it is the infliction of misery for
mere sport. With reference also to lions, tigers, and other ferocious
animals kept in cages--if retained at all, the space allotted them
ought to be much larger than it is, so as to allow them full room for
healthful exercise. At present, they must be wretched; and considering
also the quantity of food they consume, which might be converted to
useful purposes--though this is taking a lower view of the matter--it
is at least desirable that the number should be much smaller, and a
much greater space allowed them to exhibit their natural vivacity.
These remarks do not, of course, apply to fowls and other animals who
are allowed a sufficient share of liberty to exist in comfort, and to
whom it is not necessary to sacrifice the existence of other
creatures.--_Ogden's Friendly Observer._

[We entirely agree in reprobating the practice of placing live rabbits
and other creatures within the cages of boa-constrictors. A
recollection of a poor little rabbit cowering in the corner of one of
these cages, as if aware of its approaching fate, has haunted us for
years. No purpose of science can be answered by this constantly
recurring barbarity. Zoological Societies should be careful not to run
any risk of counteracting by such spectacles the elevated feelings
they are so well calculated to foster.--_Ed. C. E. J._]

       *       *       *       *       *

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.





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