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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 438 - Volume 17, New Series, May 22, 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. 438 - Volume 17, New Series, May 22, 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. 438. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



PHILOSOPHY OF LAUGHTER.


From the time of King Solomon downwards, laughter has been the subject
of pretty general abuse. Even the laughers themselves sometimes
vituperate the cachinnation they indulge in, and many of them

                     ----'laugh in such a sort,
  As if they mocked themselves, and scorned the spirit
  That could be moved to laugh at anything.'

The general notion is, that laughter is childish, and unworthy the
gravity of adult life. Grown men, we say, have more to do than to
laugh; and the wiser sort of them leave such an unseemly contortion of
the muscles to babes and blockheads.

We have a suspicion that there is something wrong here--that the world
is mistaken not only in its reasonings, but its facts. To assign
laughter to an early period of life, is to go contrary to observation
and experience. There is not so grave an animal in this world as the
human baby. It will weep, when it has got the length of tears, by the
pailful; it will clench its fists, distort its face into a hideous
expression of anguish, and scream itself into convulsions. It has not
yet come up to a laugh. The little savage must be educated by
circumstances, and tamed by the contact of civilisation, before it
rises to the greater functions of its being. Nay, we have sometimes
received the idea from its choked and tuneless screams, that _they_
were imperfect attempts at laughter. It feels enjoyment as well as
pain, but has only one way of expressing both.

Then, look at the baby when it has turned into a little boy or girl,
and come up in some degree to the cachinnation. The laughter is still
only rudimental: it is not genuine laughter. It expresses triumph,
scorn, passion--anything but a feeling of natural amusement. It is
provoked by misfortune, by bodily infirmities, by the writhings of
agonised animals; and it indicates either a sense of power or a
selfish feeling of exemption from suffering. The 'light-hearted laugh
of children!' What a mistake! Observe the gravity of their sports.
They are masters or mistresses, with the care of a family upon their
hands; and they take especial delight in correcting their children
with severity. They are washer-women, housemaids, cooks; soldiers,
policemen, postmen; coach, horsemen, and horses, by turns; and in all
these characters they scour, sweep, fry, fight, pursue, carry, whirl,
ride, and are ridden, without changing a muscle.

At the games of the young people there is much shouting, argument,
vituperation--but no laughter. A game is a serious business with a
boy, and he derives from it excitement, but no amusement. If he laughs
at all, it is at something quite distinct from the purpose of the
sport: for instance, when one of his comrades has his nose broken by
the ball, or when the feet of another make off from him on the ice,
and he comes down upon his back like a thunderbolt. On such occasions,
the laugh of a boy puts us in mind of the laugh of a hyæna: it is, in
fact, the broken, asthmatic roar of a beast of prey.

It would thus appear that the common charge brought against laughter,
of being something babyish, or childish, or boyish--something properly
appertaining to early life--is unfounded. But we of course must not be
understood to speak of what is technically called giggling, which
proceeds more from a looseness of the structures than from any
sensation of amusement. Many young persons are continually on the
giggle till their muscles strengthen; and indeed, when a company of
them are met together, the affection, aggravated by emulation,
acquires the loudness of laughter, when it may be likened, in
Scripture phrase, to the crackling of thorns. What we mean is a
regular guffaw; that explosion of high spirits, and the feeling of
joyous excitement, which is commonly written ha! ha! ha! This is
altogether unknown in babyhood; in boyhood, it exists only in its
rudiments; and it does not reach its full development till adolescence
ripens into manhood.

This train of thought was suggested to us a few evenings ago, by the
conduct of a party of eight or ten individuals, who meet periodically
for the purpose of philosophical inquiry. Their subject is a very
grave one. Their object is to mould into a science that which as yet
is only a vague, formless, and obscure department of knowledge; and
they proceed in the most cautious manner from point to point, from
axiom to axiom--debating at every step, and coming to no decision
without unanimous conviction. Some are professors of the university,
devoted to abstruse studies; some are clergymen; and some authors and
artists. Now, at the meeting in question--which we take merely as an
example, for all are alike--when the hour struck which terminates
their proceedings for the evening, the jaded philosophers retired to
the refreshment-room; and here a scene of remarkable contrast
occurred. Instead of a single deep, low, earnest voice, alternating
with a profound silence, an absolute roar of merriment began, with the
suddenness of an explosion of gunpowder. Jests, bon-mots, anecdotes,
barbarous plays upon words--the more atrocious the better--flew round
the table; and a joyous and almost continuous ha! ha! ha! made the
ceiling ring. This, we venture to say it, _was_ laughter--genuine,
unmistakable laughter, proceeding from no sense of triumph, from no
self-gratulation, and mingled with no bad feeling of any kind. It was
a spontaneous effort of nature, coming from the head as well as the
heart: an unbending of the bow, a reaction from study, which study
alone could occasion, and which could occur only in adult life.

There are some people who cannot laugh, but these are not necessarily
either morose or stupid. They may laugh in their heart, and with their
eyes, although by some unlucky fatality, they have not the gift of
oral cachinnation. Such persons are to be pitied; for laughter in
grown people is a substitute devised by nature for the screams and
shouts of boyhood, by which the lungs are strengthened and the health
preserved. As the intellect ripens, that shouting ceases, and we learn
to laugh as we learn to reason. The society we have mentioned studied
the harder the more they laughed, and they laughed the more the harder
they studied. Each, of course, to be of use, must be in its own place.
A laugh in the midst of the study would have been a profanation; a
grave look in the midst of the merriment would have been an insult to
the good sense of the company.

If there are some people who cannot laugh, there are others who will
not. It is not, however, that they are ashamed of being grown men, and
want to go back to babyhood, for by some extraordinary perversity,
they fancy unalterable gravity to be the distinguishing characteristic
of wisdom. In a merry company, they present the appearance of a Red
Indian whitewashed, and look on at the strange ways of their
neighbours without betraying even the faintest spark of sympathy or
intelligence. These are children of a larger growth, and have not yet
acquired sense enough to laugh. Like the savage, they are afraid of
compromising their dignity, or, to use their own words, of making
fools of themselves. For our part, we never see a man afraid of making
a fool of himself at the right season, without setting him down as a
fool ready made.

A woman has no natural grace more bewitching than a sweet laugh. It is
like the sound of flutes on the water. It leaps from her heart in a
clear, sparkling rill; and the heart that hears it feels as if bathed
in the cool, exhilarating spring. Have you ever pursued an unseen
fugitive through the trees, led on by her fairy laugh; now here, now
there--now lost, now found? We have. And we are pursuing that
wandering voice to this day. Sometimes it comes to us in the midst of
care, or sorrow, or irksome business; and then we turn away, and
listen, and hear it ringing through the room like a silver bell, with
power to scare away the ill spirits of the mind. How much we owe to
that sweet laugh! It turns the prose of our life into poetry; it
flings showers of sunshine over the darksome wood in which we are
travelling; it touches with light even our sleep, which is no more the
image of death, but gemmed with dreams that are the shadows of
immortality.

But our song, like Dibdin's, 'means more than it says;' for a man, as
we have stated, may laugh, and yet the cachinnation be wanting. His
heart laughs, and his eyes are filled with that kindly, sympathetic
smile which inspires friendship and confidence. On the sympathy
within, these external phenomena depend; and this sympathy it is which
keeps societies of men together, and is the true freemasonry of the
good and wise. It is an imperfect sympathy that grants only
sympathetic tears: we must join in the mirth as well as melancholy of
our neighbours. If our countrymen laughed more, they would not only be
happier, but better; and if philanthropists would provide amusements
for the people, they would be saved the trouble and expense of their
fruitless war against public-houses. This is an indisputable
proposition. The French and Italians, with wine growing at their
doors, and spirits almost as cheap as beer in England, are sober
nations. How comes this? The laugh will answer that leaps up from
group after group--the dance on the village-green--the family dinner
under the trees--the thousand merry-meetings that invigorate industry,
by serving as a relief to the business of life. Without these,
business is care; and it is from care, not from amusement, men fly to
the bottle.

The common mistake is to associate the idea of amusement with error of
every kind; and this piece of moral asceticism is given forth as true
wisdom, and, from sheer want of examination, is very generally
received as such. A place of amusement concentrates a crowd, and
whatever excesses may be committed, being confined to a small space,
stand more prominently forward than at other times. This is all. The
excesses are really fewer--far fewer--in proportion to the number
assembled, than if no gathering had taken place. How can it be
otherwise? The amusement is itself the excitement which the wearied
heart longs for; it is the reaction which nature seeks; and in the
comparatively few instances of a coarser intoxication being
superadded, we see only the craving of depraved habit--a habit
engendered, in all probability, by the _want_ of amusement.

No, good friends, let us laugh sometimes, if you love us. A dangerous
character is of another kidney, as Cæsar knew to his cost:--

                  'He loves no plays,
  As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;
  Seldom he laughs;'

and when he does, it is on the wrong side of his mouth.

Let us be wiser. Let us laugh in fitting time and place, silently or
aloud, each after his nature. Let us enjoy an innocent reaction rather
than a guilty one, since reaction there must be. The bow that is
always bent loses its elasticity, and becomes useless.



MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI.[1]


The authoress of _Woman in the Nineteenth Century_, known also in this
country by her _Papers on Literature and Art_, occupied among her own
people a station as notable as that of De Staël among the French, or
of Rahel von Ense in Germany. Mystic and transcendental as she was,
her writings teem with proof of original power, and are the expression
of a thoughtful and energetic, if also a wayward and undisciplined,
mind. One of the two compilers of these Memoirs (Emerson and W. H.
Channing) observes, that his first impression of her was that of a
'Yankee Corinna;' and such is not unlikely to be the last impression
of ordinary readers, ourselves among the number. In a letter, dated
1841, we find her saying: 'I feel all Italy glowing beneath the Saxon
crust'--an apt illustration of her mental structure and tone of
sentiment, compounded of New Worldedness, as represented by Margaret
Fuller, and of the feelings of Southern Europe, as embodied in the
Marchesa Ossoli. Without at this time pausing to review her literary
position, and her influence upon contemporary minds, we proceed to
draw from these interesting, but frequently eccentric and
extravagantly worded Memoirs, a sketch of her remarkable life-history.

Margaret Fuller was born at Cambridge-Port, Massachusetts, in May
1810. Her father was a shrewd, practical, hard-headed lawyer, whose
love for his wife 'was the green spot on which he stood apart from the
commonplaces of a mere bread-winning, bread-bestowing existence.' That
wife is described as a fair and flower-like nature, bound by one law
with the blue sky, the dew, and the frolic birds. 'Of all persons whom
I have known, she had in her most of the angelic--of that spontaneous
love for every living thing, for man, and beast, and tree, which
restores the Golden Age.'[2] Mr Fuller, in undertaking the education
of his daughter, committed the common error of excessive
stimulation--thinking to gain time by forwarding the intellect as
early as possible. He was himself a scholar, and hoped to make her the
heir of all he knew, and of as much more as might be elsewhere
attained. He was a severe and exacting disciplinarian, and permanently
marred the nervous system of his child by the system he adopted of
requiring her to recite her tasks on his return home at night, which
was frequently very late. Hence a premature development of the brain,
which, while it made her a youthful prodigy by day--one such youthful
prodigy, it has been justly said, is often the pest of a whole
neighbourhood--rendered her the nightly victim of spectral illusions,
somnambulism, &c.; checked her growth; and eventually brought on
continual headaches, weakness, and various nervous affections. As soon
as the light was removed from her chamber at night, this ill-tended
girl was haunted by colossal faces, that advanced slowly towards her,
the eyes dilating, and each feature swelling loathsomely as they came;
till at last, when they were about to close upon her, she started up
with a shriek, which drove them away, but only to return when she lay
down again. 'No wonder the child arose and walked in her sleep,
moaning all over the house, till once, when they heard her, and came
and waked her, and she told what she had dreamed, her father sharply
bade her "leave off thinking of such nonsense, or she would be
crazy"--never knowing that he was himself the cause of all these
horrors of the night.' Her home seems to have been deficient in the
charms and associations appropriate to childhood. Finding no relief
from without, her already overexcited mind was driven for refuge from
itself to the world of books. She tells us she was taught Latin and
English grammar at the same time; in Latin, which she began to read at
six years old, her father, and subsequently a tutor, trained her to a
high degree of precision, expecting her to understand the mechanism of
the language thoroughly, and to translate it tersely and
unhesitatingly, with the definite clearness of one perfectly _au fait_
in the philosophy of the classics. Thus she became imbued with an
abiding interest in the genius of old Rome--'the power of will, the
dignity of a fixed purpose'--where man takes a 'noble bronze in camps
and battle-fields,' his brow well furrowed by the 'wrinkles of
council,' and his eye 'cutting its way like the sword;' and thence she
loved to escape, at Ovid's behest, to the enchanted gardens of the
Greek mythology, to the gods and nymphs born of the sunbeam, the wave,
the shadows on the hill--delighted to realise in those Greek forms the
faith of a refined and intense childhood. Reading was now to her a
habit and a passion. Its only rival attraction was the 'dear little
garden' behind the house, where the best hours of her lonely
child-life were spent. Within the house, everything, she says, was
socially utilitarian; her books told of a proud world, but in another
temper were the teachings of the little garden, where her thoughts
could lie callow in the nest, and only be fed and kept warm, not
called to fly or sing before the time. A range of blue hills, at about
twelve miles' distance, allured her to reverie, and bred within her
thoughts _not_ too deep for tears. The books which exercised most
power over her at this period were Shakspeare, Cervantes, and
Molière--all three students of the 'natural history of man,' and
inspired by fact, not fancy; reconstructing the world from materials
which they collected on every side, not spinning from the desires of
their own special natures; and accordingly teaching her, their
open-eyed disciple, to distrust all invention which is not based on a
wide experience, but, as she confesses, also doing her harm, since the
child, fed with meat instead of milk, becomes too soon mature. For a
few months, this bookish life was interrupted, or varied, by the
presence of an English lady, whom Margaret invested with ideal
perfections as her 'first friend,' and whom she worshipped as a star
from the east--a morning-star; and at whose departure she fell into a
profound depression. Her father sought to dispel this rooted
melancholy, by sending her to school--a destiny from which her whole
nature revolted, as something alien to its innermost being and
cherished associations. To school, however, she went, and at first
captivated, and then scandalised her fellow-pupils by her strange
ways. Now, she surprised them by her physical faculty of rivalling the
spinning dervishes of the East--now, by declaiming verses, and acting
a whole _répertoire_ of parts, both laughter-raising and
tear-compelling--now, by waking in the night, and cheating her
restlessness by inventions that alternately diverted and teased her
companions. She was always devising means to infringe upon the
school-room routine. This involved her at last in a trouble, from
which she was only extricated by the judicious tenderness of her
teacher--the circumstances attending which 'crisis' are detailed at
length in her story of 'Mariana.'

Her personal appearance at this time, and for some following years, is
described by one of her friends as being that of a blooming girl of a
florid complexion and vigorous health, with a tendency to robustness,
which she unwisely endeavoured to suppress or conceal at the price of
much future suffering. With no pretensions to beauty then, or at any
time, her face was one that attracted, but baffled physiognomical art.
'She escaped the reproach of positive plainness, by her blond and
abundant hair, by her excellent teeth, by her sparkling, busy eyes,
which, though usually half-closed from near-sightedness, shot piercing
glances at those with whom she conversed, and, most of all, by the
very peculiar and graceful carriage of her head and neck.' In
conversation she was already distinguished, though addicted to
'quizzing'--the not unreasonable ground of unpopularity with her
female friends. Emerson alludes to her dangerous reputation for
satire, which, in addition to her great scholarship, made the women
dislike one who despised them, and the men cavil at her as 'carrying
too many guns.' A fragment from a letter in her sixteenth year will
illustrate her pursuits at that period:--'I rise a little before five,
walk an hour, and then practise on the piano till seven, when we
breakfast. Next, I read French--Sismondi's _Literature of Southern
Europe_--till eight; then, two or three lectures in Brown's
_Philosophy_. About half-past nine, I go to Mr Perkins's school, and
study Greek till twelve, when, the school being dismissed, I recite,
go home, and practise again till dinner, at two. Sometimes, if the
conversation is very agreeable, I lounge for half an hour over the
dessert, though rarely so lavish of time. Then, when I can, I read two
hours in Italian, but I am often interrupted. At six, I walk, or take
a drive. Before going to bed, I play or sing, for half an hour or so,
to make all sleepy, and, about eleven, retire to write a little while
in my journal, exercises on what I have read, or a series of
characteristics which I am filling up according to advice.' Greek,
French, Italian, metaphysics, and private authorship--pretty well for
a miss in her teens, and surely a promissory-note on the _bas bleu_
joint-stock company!--a note which she discharged in full when it
became due. Next year (1826), we find her studying Mme de Staël,
Epictetus, Milton, Racine, and Spanish ballads, 'with great delight.'
Anon she is engrossed with the elder Italian poets, from Berni down to
Pulci and Politian; then with Locke and the ontologists; then with the
_opera omnia_ of Sir William Temple. She pursued at this time no
systematic study, but 'read with the heart, and was learning more
from social experience than from books.' The interval of her life,
between sixteen and twenty-five, is characterised by one of her
biographers as a period of 'preponderating sentimentality, of romance
and dreams, of yearning and of passion.' While residing at Cambridge,
she suffered from profound despondency--conscious of the want of a
home for her heart. A sterner schooling awaited her at Groton, whither
her father removed in 1833. Here he died suddenly of cholera in 1835.
Now she was taught the miserable perplexities of a family that has
lost its head, and was called to tread a path for which, as she says,
she had no skill and no call, except that it must be trodden by some
one, and she alone was ready. In 1836 she went to Boston, to teach
Latin and French in an academy of local repute; and in the ensuing
year she accepted a 'very favourable offer,' to become 'lady-superior'
in an educational institution at Providence, where she seems to have
exercised an influence analogous to that of Dr Arnold at
Rugby--treating her pupils as ladies, and thus making them anxious to
prove that they deserved to be so treated.

By this time, she had attracted around her many and devoted friends.
Her conversational powers were of a high order, by common consent. Mr
Hedge describes her speech as remarkably fluent and correct; but
deriving its strength not from fluency, choice diction, wit, or
sentiment, but from accuracy of statement, keen discrimination, and a
certain weight of judgment; together with rhetorical finish, it had an
air of spontaneity which made it seem the grace of the moment: so that
he says, 'I do not remember that the vulgar charge of talking "like a
book" was ever fastened upon her, although, by her precision, she
might seem to have incurred it.' The excitement of the presence of
living persons seems to have energised her whole being. 'I need to be
called out,' are her words, 'and never think alone, without imagining
some companion. It is my habit, and bespeaks a second-rate mind.' And
again: 'After all, this writing,' she says in a letter, 'is mighty
dead. Oh, for my dear old Greeks, who talked everything--not to shine
as in the Parisian saloons, but to learn, to teach, to vent the heart,
to clear the head!' Mr Alcott of Boston considered her the most
brilliant talker of the day. Miss Martineau was fascinated by the same
charm. It is thus characterised by the author of _Representative Men_:
'Talent, memory, wit, stern introspection, poetic play, religion, the
finest personal feeling, the aspects of the future, each followed each
in full activity, and left me, I remember, enriched and sometimes
astonished by the gifts of my guest.' Her self-complacency staggered
many at first--as when she spoke, in the quietest manner, of the girls
she had formed, the young men who owed everything to her, the fine
companions she had long ago exhausted. 'I now know,' she has been
heard to say in the coolest style, 'all the people worth knowing in
America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own.' Well may Mr
Emerson talk of her letting slip phrases that betrayed the presence of
'a rather mountainous ME.' Such phrases abound in her conversation and
correspondence--mountainous enough to be a hill of offence to the
uninitiated and untranscendental. At anyrate, there was no affectation
in this; she thoroughly believed in her own superiority; her
subscription to _that_ creed was implicit and _ex animo_. Nor do we
detect affectation in her most notable vagaries and crotchets. She
loved the truth, and spoke it out--we were about to write, manfully;
and why not? At heart, she was, to use the words of an intimate and
discerning friend, a right brave and heroic woman--shrinking from no
duty because of feeble nerves. Numerous illustrations of this occur in
the volumes before us. Thus we find her going from a bridal of passing
joyfulness to attend a near relative during a formidable surgical
operation--or drawing five hundred dollars to bestow, on a New-York
'ne'er-do-weel,' half-patriot, half-author, always in such depths of
distress, and with such squadrons of enemies that no charity could
relieve, no intervention save him.

In 1839, she removed from Groton, with her mother and family, to
Jamaica Plain, a few miles from Boston; and thence, shortly, to
Cambridge and New York. Boston, however, was her _point d'appui_, and
in it she formed acquaintances of every class, the most utilitarian
and the most idealistic. In 1839, she published a translation of
Goethe's Conversations with Eckermann; in 1841, the Letters of
Bettina; in 1843, the _Summer on the Lakes_--a narrative of her tour
to Lake Superior and Michigan. During the same period she was editor
of the _Dial_, since conducted by Emerson and Ripley, and in which
appeared her papers on Goethe and Beethoven, the Rhine, the Romaic
Ballads, John Sterling's Poems, &c.

Exhausted by continuous exertion in teaching and writing for the
press, Miss Fuller, in 1844, sought refreshment and health in change
of scene; and, desiring rather new employments than cessation from
work, she accepted a liberal offer from Mr Horace Greeley of New York,
to become a regular contributor to the _Tribune_; and for that purpose
to take up her abode in his house, first spending some time in the
Highlands of the Hudson. At New York, she took an active interest,
after Mrs Fry's manner, in the various benevolent institutions, and
especially the prisons on Blackwell's Island. For more than a year she
wrote regularly for the _Tribune_, 'always freshly, vigorously, but
not always clearly.' The notice attracted by her articles insured
fresh hosts of acquaintances, and she became a distinguished character
at Miss Lynch's réunions, and at literary soirées of a similar order.
In 1846, she left her native land--for ever, as the melancholy event
proved--to join Mr and Mrs Spring in a European tour. Her letters home
contain much pleasant gossip about some of the Old-World notabilities.
Thus she records her interviews with Wordsworth in his Rydal retreat,
with Dr Chalmers, Dr Andrew Combe, Mr De Quincey, the Howitts, &c. She
visited Paris in the winter, and became acquainted with Lamennais,
Béranger, Mme Dudevant, and others. Thence, in the spring of 1847, she
went to Italy, where she remained until she embarked in 1850 on board
that doomed ship, the _Elizabeth_. As a resident in Rome, her safety
was seriously imperiled during the French siege of 1849. She was
appointed by the 'Roman Commission for the succour of the wounded,' to
the superintendence of an hospital, and all along took the liveliest
interest in the fortunes of Mazzini and the republic. She was then a
wife and a mother, having been married privately to the Marquis
Ossoli, a Roman, 'of a noble but impoverished house,' whom she
described, in a letter to her mother, as 'not in any respect such a
person as people in general would expect to find with her,' being a
man 'absolutely ignorant of books, and with no enthusiasm of
character,' but endowed with excellent practical sense, a nice sense
of duty, native refinement, and much sweetness of temper. The peculiar
circumstances attending the marriage in that country, and at that
agitated crisis, involved Margaret in numerous afflictions, and taxed
her powers of endurance to the very uttermost.

She had to suffer compulsory separation from husband and child--the
one in hourly peril of a bloody death, the other neglected and pining
away in the hands of strangers: penury, loneliness, prostrating
sickness, and treachery on the part of those around her, were
meanwhile her own lot in the land of strangers. How this season of
trial affected her character, may be inferred from the remarks of her
friend Mrs Story, then sojourning in Italy, who says, that in Boston
she had regarded Margaret as a person on intellectual stilts, with a
large share of arrogance, and little sweetness of temper; and adds:
'How unlike to this was she now!--so delicate, so simple, confiding,
and affectionate; with a true womanly heart and soul, sensitive and
generous, and, what was to me a still greater surprise, possessed of
so broad a charity, that she could cover with its mantle the faults
and defects of all about her.' Her devotion to her husband, and her
passionate attachment to her little Angelo, were exhibited in the
liveliest colour: the influence she exercised, too, by love and
sympathy, over Italians of every class with whom she came in contact,
appears of a kind more tender, chastened, and womanly than that which
previously characterised her. When the republican cause at Rome left
no hope of present restoration, Margaret found a tranquil refuge in
Florence, devoting her mornings to literary labours, and her evenings
to social intercourse with cultivated natives and a few foreign
visitors, among whom the Brownings occupied a distinguished place.
Greatly straitened in means at this time, the repose she and her
husband enjoyed at Florence, in their small and scantily-furnished
room, seems to have been peculiarly grateful to both. Soon, however,
arrangements were made for their departure to the United States; for
Margaret was heart-weary at the political reaction in Europe, and the
pecuniary expediency of publishing to advantage her chronicles of the
revolution, seconded by a yearning to see her family and friends once
more, constrained to this step.

From motives of economy, they took passage in a merchantman from
Leghorn, the _Elizabeth_, the expense being one-half what a return by
way of France would have been. The remonstrances of her acquaintance,
founded on the fatigues of a two months' voyage--the comparative
insecurity of such a bark--the exposed position of the cabin (on
deck)--and so on, were not unaided by Margaret's own presentiments.
Ossoli, when a boy, had been told by a fortune-teller, to 'beware of
the sea,' and this was the first ship he had ever set his foot in. In
a letter where she describes herself 'suffering, as never before, all
the horrors of indecision,' his wife expresses a fervent prayer that
it 'may not be my lot to lose my boy at sea, either by unsolaced
illness, or amid the howling waves; or if so, that Ossoli, Angelo, and
I may go together, and that the anguish may be brief.' That '_or if
so_' is affecting--and was realised, except, indeed, that the anguish
was _not_ brief, for it lasted twelve terrible hours--a long communion
face to face with Death! The bark sailed May 17, 1850. Captain Hasty,
'so fine a model of the New-England seaman,' inspired the passengers
with cheerful confidence, and for a few days all went prosperously.
But early in June, Captain Hasty died of confluent small-pox. The
child Angelino caught it, but recovered, and won all hearts by his
playful innocence, loving especially to be walked up and down in the
arms of the steward, who had just such a boy at home waiting his
arrival. On Thursday, July 15, the _Elizabeth_ was off the Jersey
coast: at evening-tide, a breeze sprang up, which by midnight had
become a hurricane. About four o'clock next morning, she struck on
Fire Island beach, and lay at the mercy of the maddened ocean. Mr
Channing's description of the wreck is a most picturesque narrative,
but too long for quotation. Very touching is the sketch of the Ossoli
group, remaining on board after nearly all the passengers and crew had
perished or escaped to land, which was distant only a few hundred
yards--the infant crying passionately, shivering in the wet, till
soothed and lullabied to sleep by his mother, a calm expectant of
death; and Ossoli tranquillising by counsel and prayer their
affrighted handmaid from Italy; all exchanging kindly partings, and
sending messages home, if any should survive to be their bearer.
Though persons were busy gathering into carts, on the shore, whatever
spoil was stranded, no life-boat appeared; and the few remaining on
the wreck were now fain to trust themselves to the rioting surf.
Margaret would not go alone. With her husband and attendant (Celeste),
she was just about to try the planks prepared by four seamen, and the
steward had just taken little Nino in his arms, pledged to save him or
die, 'when a sea struck the forecastle, and the foremast fell,
carrying with it the deck and all upon it. The steward and Angelino
were washed upon the beach, both dead, though warm, some twenty
minutes after. Celeste and Ossoli were caught for a moment by the
rigging, but the next wave swallowed them up. Margaret sank at once.
When last seen, she had been seated at the foot of the foremast, still
clad in her white night-dress, with her hair fallen loose upon her
shoulders.' No trace was found of her manuscript on Italy: her
love-correspondence with Ossoli was the only relic--the last memorial
of that howling hurricane, pitiless sea, wreck on a sand-bar, an idle
life-boat, beach-pirates, and not one friend!

With the exception of certain sections of laboured, writhing
wordiness, the feverish restlessness and hectic symptoms of which are
but too familiar to persons read in the literature of second-rate
transcendentalism, these volumes comprise a large amount of matter
that will well repay perusal, and portray a character of no ordinary
type--a 'large-brained woman and large-hearted man.'

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli. 3 vols. London: Bentley. 1852.

[2] Mr Fuller's Autobiography, which comprises the first sixty pages
of these Memoirs.



THE COUNTER-STROKE.


Just after breakfast one fine spring morning in 1837, an advertisement
in the _Times_ for a curate caught and fixed my attention. The salary
was sufficiently remunerative for a bachelor, and the parish, as I
personally knew, one of the most pleasantly situated in all
Somersetshire. Having said that, the reader will readily understand
that it could not have been a hundred miles from Taunton. I instantly
wrote, enclosing testimonials, with which the Rev. Mr Townley, the
rector, was so entirely satisfied, that the return-post brought me a
positive engagement, unclogged with the slightest objection to one or
two subsidiary items I had stipulated for, and accompanied by an
invitation to make the rectory my home till I could conveniently suit
myself elsewhere. This was both kind and handsome; and the next day
but one I took coach, with a light heart, for my new destination. It
thus happened that I became acquainted, and in some degree mixed up,
with the train of events it is my present purpose to relate.

The rector I found to be a stout, portly gentleman, whose years
already reached to between sixty and seventy. So many winters,
although they had plentifully besprinkled his hair with gray, shone
out with ruddy brightness in his still handsome face, and keen,
kindly, bright-hazel eyes; and his voice, hearty and ringing, had not
as yet one quaver of age in it. I met him at breakfast on the morning
after my arrival, and his reception of me was most friendly. We had
spoken together but for a few minutes, when one of the French windows,
that led from the breakfast-room into a shrubbery and flower-garden,
gently opened and admitted a lady, just then, as I afterwards learned,
in her nineteenth spring. I use this term almost unconsciously, for I
cannot even now, in the glowing summer of her life, dissociate her
image from that season of youth and joyousness. She was introduced to
me, with old-fashioned simplicity, as 'My grand-daughter, Agnes
Townley.' It is difficult to look at beauty through other men's eyes,
and, in the present instance, I feel that I should fail miserably in
the endeavour to stamp upon this blank, dead paper, any adequate idea
of the fresh loveliness, the rose-bud beauty of that young girl. I
will merely say, that her perfectly Grecian head, wreathed with wavy
_bandeaux_ of bright hair, undulating with golden light, vividly
brought to my mind Raphael's halo-tinted portraitures of the
Virgin--with this difference, that in place of the holy calm and
resignation of the painting, there was in Agnes Townley a sparkling
youth and life, that even amidst the heat and glare of a crowded
ball-room or of a theatre, irresistibly suggested and recalled the
freshness and perfume of the morning--of a cloudless, rosy morning of
May. And, far higher charm than feature-beauty, however exquisite, a
sweetness of disposition, a kind gentleness of mind and temper, was
evidenced in every line of her face, in every accent of the
low-pitched, silver voice, that breathed through lips made only to
smile.

Let me own, that I was greatly struck by so remarkable a combination
of rare endowments; and this, I think, the sharp-eyed rector must have
perceived, or he might not perhaps have been so immediately
communicative with respect to the near prospects of his idolised
grandchild, as he was the moment the young lady, after presiding at
the breakfast-table, had withdrawn.

'We shall have gay doings, Mr Tyrrel, at the rectory shortly,' he
said. 'Next Monday three weeks will, with the blessing of God, be
Agnes Townley's wedding-day.'

'Wedding-day!'

'Yes,' rejoined the rector, turning towards and examining some flowers
which Miss Townley had brought in and placed on the table. 'Yes, it
has been for some time settled that Agnes shall on that day be united
in holy wedlock to Mr Arbuthnot.'

'Mr Arbuthnot of Elm Park?'

'A great match, is it not, in a worldly point of view?' replied Mr
Townley, with a pleasant smile at the tone of my exclamation. 'And
much better than that: Robert Arbuthnot is a young man of a high and
noble nature, as well as devotedly attached to Agnes. He will, I doubt
not, prove in every respect a husband deserving and worthy of her; and
that from the lips of a doting old grandpapa must be esteemed high
praise. You will see him presently.'

I did see him often, and quite agreed in the rector's estimate of his
future grandson-in-law. I have not frequently seen a finer-looking
young man--his age was twenty-six; and certainly one of a more
honourable and kindly spirit, of a more genial temper than he, has
never come within my observation. He had drawn a great prize in the
matrimonial lottery, and, I felt, deserved his high fortune.

They were married at the time agreed upon, and the day was kept not
only at Elm Park, and in its neighbourhood, but throughout 'our'
parish, as a general holiday. And, strangely enough--at least I have
never met with another instance of the kind--it was held by our entire
female community, high as well as low, that the match was a perfectly
equal one, notwithstanding that wealth and high worldly position were
entirely on the bridegroom's side. In fact, that nobody less in the
social scale than the representative of an old territorial family
ought, in the nature of things, to have aspired to the hand of Agnes
Townley, appeared to have been a foregone conclusion with everybody.
This will give the reader a truer and more vivid impression of the
bride, than any words or colours I might use.

The days, weeks, months of wedded life flew over Mr and Mrs Arbuthnot
without a cloud, save a few dark but transitory ones which I saw now
and then flit over the husband's countenance as the time when he
should become a father drew near, and came to be more and more spoken
of. 'I should not survive her,' said Mr Arbuthnot, one day in reply to
a chance observation of the rector's, 'nor indeed desire to do so.'
The gray-headed man seized and warmly pressed the husband's hand, and
tears of sympathy filled his eyes; yet did he, nevertheless, as in
duty bound, utter grave words on the sinfulness of despair under any
circumstances, and the duty, in all trials, however heavy, of patient
submission to the will of God. But the venerable gentleman spoke in a
hoarse and broken voice, and it was easy to see he _felt_ with Mr
Arbuthnot that the reality of an event, the bare possibility of which
shook them so terribly, were a cross too heavy for human strength to
bear and live.

It was of course decided that the expected heir or heiress should be
intrusted to a wet-nurse, and a Mrs Danby, the wife of a miller living
not very far from the rectory, was engaged for that purpose. I had
frequently seen the woman; and her name, as the rector and I were one
evening gossipping over our tea, on some subject or other that I
forget, came up.

'A likely person,' I remarked; 'healthy, very good-looking, and one
might make oath, a true-hearted creature. But there is withal a
timidity, a frightenedness in her manner at times which, if I may
hazard a perhaps uncharitable conjecture, speaks ill for that smart
husband of hers.'

'You have hit the mark precisely, my dear sir. Danby is a sorry
fellow, and a domestic tyrant to boot. His wife, who is really a good,
but meek-hearted person, lived with us once. How old do you suppose
her to be?'

'Five-and-twenty perhaps.'

'Six years more than that. She has a son of the name of Harper by a
former marriage, who is in his tenth year. Anne wasn't a widow long.
Danby was caught by her good looks, and she by the bait of a
well-provided home. Unless, however, her husband gives up his corn
speculations, she will not, I think, have that much longer.'

'Corn speculations! Surely Danby has no means adequate to indulgence
in such a game as that?'

'Not he. But about two years ago he bought, on credit, I believe, a
considerable quantity of wheat, and prices happening to fly suddenly
up just then, he made a large profit. This has quite turned his head,
which, by the by, was never, as Cockneys say, quite rightly screwed
on.' The announcement of a visitor interrupted anything further the
rector might have had to say, and I soon afterwards went home.

A sad accident occurred about a month subsequent to the foregoing
conversation. The rector was out riding upon a usually quiet horse,
which all at once took it into its head to shy at a scarecrow it must
have seen a score of times, and thereby threw its rider. Help was
fortunately at hand, and the reverend gentleman was instantly conveyed
home, when it was found that his left thigh was broken. Thanks,
however, to his temperate habits, it was before long authoritatively
pronounced that, although it would be a considerable time before he
was released from confinement, it was not probable that the lusty
winter of his life would be shortened by what had happened.
Unfortunately, the accident threatened to have evil consequences in
another quarter. Immediately after it occurred, one Matthews, a busy,
thick-headed lout of a butcher, rode furiously off to Elm Park with
the news. Mrs Arbuthnot, who daily looked to be confined, was walking
with her husband upon the lawn in front of the house, when the great
burly blockhead rode up, and blurted out that the rector had been
thrown from his horse, and it was feared killed!

The shock of such an announcement was of course overwhelming. A few
hours afterwards, Mrs Arbuthnot gave birth to a healthy male-child;
but the young mother's life, assailed by fever, was for many days
utterly despaired of--for weeks held to tremble so evenly in the
balance, that the slightest adverse circumstance might in a moment
turn the scale deathward. At length the black horizon that seemed to
encompass us so hopelessly, lightened, and afforded the lover-husband
a glimpse and hope of his vanished and well-nigh despaired of Eden.
The promise was fulfilled. I was in the library with Mr Arbuthnot
awaiting the physician's morning report, very anxiously expected at
the rectory, when Dr Lindley entered the apartment in evidently
cheerful mood.

'You have been causelessly alarmed,' he said. 'There is no fear
whatever of a relapse. Weakness only remains, and that we shall
slowly, perhaps, but certainly, remove.'

A gleam of lightning seemed to flash over Mr Arbuthnot's expressive
countenance. 'Blessed be God!' he exclaimed. 'And how,' he added,
'shall we manage respecting the child? She asks for it incessantly.'

Mr Arbuthnot's infant son, I should state, had been consigned
immediately after its birth to the care of Mrs Danby, who had herself
been confined, also with a boy, about a fortnight previously.
Scarlatina being prevalent in the neighbourhood, Mrs Danby was hurried
away with the two children to a place near Bath, almost before she was
able to bear the journey. Mr Arbuthnot had not left his wife for an
hour, and consequently had only seen his child for a few minutes just
after it was born.

'With respect to the child,' replied Dr Lindley, 'I am of opinion that
Mrs Arbuthnot may see it in a day or two. Say the third day from this,
if all goes well. I think we may venture so far; but I will be
present, for any untoward agitation might be perhaps instantly fatal.'
This point provisionally settled, we all three went our several ways:
I to cheer the still suffering rector with the good news.

The next day but one, Mr Arbuthnot was in exuberant spirits. 'Dr
Lindley's report is even more favourable than we had anticipated,' he
said; 'and I start to-morrow morning, to bring Mrs Danby and the
child'----The postman's subdued but unmistakable knock interrupted
him. 'The nurse,' he added, 'is very attentive and punctual. She
writes almost every day.' A servant entered with a salver heaped with
letters. Mr Arbuthnot tossed them over eagerly, and seizing one, after
glancing at the post-mark, tore it eagerly open, muttering as
he did so: 'It is not the usual handwriting; but from her, no
doubt'----Merciful God!' I impulsively exclaimed, as I suddenly lifted
my eyes to his. 'What is the matter?' A mortal pallor had spread over
Mr Arbuthnot's before animated features, and he was glaring at the
letter in his hand as if a basilisk had suddenly confronted him.
Another moment, and the muscles of his frame appeared to give way
suddenly, and he dropped heavily into the easy-chair from which he had
risen to take the letters. I was terribly alarmed, and first loosening
his neckerchief, for he seemed choking, I said: 'Let me call some
one;' and I turned to reach the bell, when he instantly seized my
arms, and held me with a grip of iron. 'No--no--no!' he hoarsely
gasped; 'water--water!' There was fortunately some on a side-table. I
handed it to him, and he drank eagerly. It appeared to revive him a
little. He thrust the crumpled letter into his pocket, and said in a
low, quick whisper: 'There is some one coming! Not a word,
remember--not a word!' At the same time, he wheeled his chair half
round, so that his back should be towards the servant we heard
approaching.

'I am sent, sir,' said Mrs Arbuthnot's maid, 'to ask if the post has
arrived.'

'Yes,' replied Mr Arbuthnot, with wonderful mastery of his voice.
'Tell your mistress I shall be with her almost immediately, and that
her--her son is quite well.'

'Mr Tyrrel,' he continued, as soon as the servant was out of hearing,
'there is, I think, a liqueur-stand on the sideboard in the large
dining-room. Would you have the kindness to bring it me,
unobserved--mind that--unobserved by any one?'

I did as he requested; and the instant I placed the liqueur-frame
before him, he seized the brandy _carafe_, and drank with fierce
eagerness. 'For goodness' sake,' I exclaimed, 'consider what you are
about, Mr Arbuthnot: you will make yourself ill.'

'No, no,' he answered, after finishing his draught, 'It seems scarcely
stronger than water. But I--I am better now. It was a sudden spasm of
the heart; that's all. The letter,' he added, after a long and painful
pause, during which he eyed me, I thought, with a kind of
suspicion--'the letter you saw me open just now, comes from a
relative, an aunt, who is ill, very ill, and wishes to see me
instantly. You understand?'

I _did_ understand, or at least I feared that I did too well. I,
however, bowed acquiescence; and he presently rose from his chair, and
strode about the apartment in great agitation, until his wife's
bedroom bell rang. He then stopped suddenly short, shook himself, and
looked anxiously at the reflection of his flushed and varying
countenance in the magnificent chimney-glass.

'I do not look, I think--or, at least shall not, in a darkened
room--odder, more out of the way--that is, more agitated--than one
might, that one _must_ appear, after hearing of the dangerous illness
of--of--an aunt?'

'You look better, sir, than you did awhile since.'

'Yes, yes; much better, much better. I am glad to hear you say so.
That was my wife's bell. She is anxious, no doubt, to see me.'

He left the apartment; was gone perhaps ten minutes; and when he
returned, was a thought less nervous than before. I rose to go. 'Give
my respects,' he said, 'to the good rector; and as an especial
favour,' he added, with strong emphasis, 'let me ask of you not to
mention to a living soul that you saw me so unmanned as I was just
now; that I swallowed brandy. It would appear so strange, so weak, so
ridiculous.'

I promised not to do so, and almost immediately left the house, very
painfully affected. His son was, I concluded, either dead or dying,
and he was thus bewilderedly casting about for means of keeping the
terrible, perhaps fatal tidings from his wife. I afterwards heard that
he left Elm Park in a postchaise, about two hours after I came away,
unattended by a single servant!

He was gone three clear days only, at the end of which he returned
with Mrs Danby and--his son--in florid health, too, and one of the
finest babies of its age--about nine weeks only--I had ever seen. Thus
vanished the air-drawn Doubting Castle and Giant Despair which I had
so hastily conjured up! The cause assigned by Mr Arbuthnot for the
agitation I had witnessed, was doubtless the true one; and yet, and
the thought haunted me for months, years afterwards, he opened only
_one_ letter that morning, and had sent a message to his wife that the
child was well!

Mrs Danby remained at the Park till the little Robert was weaned, and
was then dismissed very munificently rewarded. Year after year rolled
away without bringing Mr and Mrs Arbuthnot any additional little ones,
and no one, therefore, could feel surprised at the enthusiastic love
of the delighted mother for her handsome, nobly-promising boy. But
that which did astonish me, though no one else, for it seemed that I
alone noticed it, was a strange defect of character which began to
develop itself in Mr Arbuthnot. He was positively jealous of his
wife's affection for their own child! Many and many a time have I
remarked, when he thought himself unobserved, an expression of intense
pain flash from his fine, expressive eyes, at any more than usually
fervent manifestation of the young mother's gushing love for her first
and only born! It was altogether a mystery to me, and I as much as
possible forbore to dwell upon the subject.

Nine years passed away without bringing any material change to the
parties involved in this narrative, except those which time brings
ordinarily in his train. Young Robert Arbuthnot was a healthy, tall,
fine-looking lad of his age; and his great-grandpapa, the rector,
though not suffering under any actual physical or mental infirmity,
had reached a time of life when the announcement that the golden bowl
is broken, or the silver cord is loosed, may indeed be quick and
sudden, but scarcely unexpected. Things had gone well, too, with the
nurse, Mrs Danby, and her husband; well, at least, after a fashion.
The speculative miller must have made good use of the gift to his wife
for her care of little Arbuthnot, for he had built a genteel house
near the mill, always rode a valuable horse, kept, it was said, a
capital table; and all this, as it seemed, by his clever speculations
in corn and flour, for the ordinary business of the mill was almost
entirely neglected. He had no children of his own, but he had
apparently taken, with much cordiality, to his step-son, a fine lad,
now about eighteen years of age. This greatly grieved the boy's
mother, who dreaded above all things that her son should contract the
evil, dissolute habits of his father-in-law. Latterly, she had become
extremely solicitous to procure the lad a permanent situation abroad,
and this Mr Arbuthnot had promised should be effected at the earliest
opportunity.

Thus stood affairs on the 16th of October 1846. Mr Arbuthnot was
temporarily absent in Ireland, where he possessed large property, and
was making personal inquiries as to the extent of the potato-rot, not
long before announced. The morning's post had brought a letter to his
wife, with the intelligence that he should reach home that very
evening; and as the rectory was on the direct road to Elm Park, and
her husband would be sure to pull up there, Mrs Arbuthnot came with
her son to pass the afternoon there, and in some slight degree
anticipate her husband's arrival.

About three o'clock, a chief-clerk of one of the Taunton banks rode up
in a gig to the rectory, and asked to see the Rev. Mr Townley, on
pressing and important business. He was ushered into the library,
where the rector and I were at the moment rather busily engaged. The
clerk said he had been to Elm Park, but not finding either Mr
Arbuthnot or his lady there, he had thought that perhaps the Rev. Mr
Townley might be able to pronounce upon the genuineness of a cheque
for L.300, purporting to be drawn on the Taunton Bank by Mr Arbuthnot,
and which Danby the miller had obtained cash for at Bath. He further
added, that the bank had refused payment, and detained the cheque,
believing it to be a forgery.

'A forgery!' exclaimed the rector, after merely glancing at the
document. 'No question that it is, and a very clumsily executed one,
too. Besides, Mr Arbuthnot is not yet returned from Ireland.'

This was sufficient; and the messenger, with many apologies for his
intrusion, withdrew, and hastened back to Taunton. We were still
talking over this sad affair, although some hours had elapsed since
the clerk's departure--in fact, candles had been brought in, and we
were every moment expecting Mr Arbuthnot--when the sound of a horse at
a hasty gallop was heard approaching, and presently the pale and
haggard face of Danby shot by the window at which the rector and
myself were standing. The gate-bell was rung almost immediately
afterwards, and but a brief interval passed before 'Mr Danby' was
announced to be in waiting. The servant had hardly gained the passage
with leave to shew him in, when the impatient visitor rushed rudely
into the room in a state of great, and it seemed angry excitement.

'What, sir, is the meaning of this ill-mannered intrusion?' demanded
the rector sternly.

'You have pronounced the cheque I paid away at Bath to be a forgery;
and the officers are, I am told, already at my heels. Mr Arbuthnot,
unfortunately, is not at home, and I am come, therefore, to seek
shelter with you.'

'Shelter with me, sir!' exclaimed the indignant rector, moving, as he
spoke, towards the bell. 'Out of my house you shall go this instant.'

The fellow placed his hand upon the reverend gentleman's arm, and
looked with his bloodshot eyes keenly in his face.

'Don't!' said Danby; 'don't, for the sake of yourself and yours!
Don't! I warn you: or, if you like the phrase better, don't, for the
sake of me and _mine_.'

'Yours, fellow! Your wife, whom you have so long held in cruel bondage
through her fears for her son, has at last shaken off that chain.
James Harper sailed two days ago from Portsmouth for Bombay. I sent
her the news two hours since.'

'Ha! Is that indeed so?' cried Danby, with an irrepressible start of
alarm. 'Why, then----But no matter: here, luckily, comes Mrs Arbuthnot
_and her son_. All's right! She will, I know, stand bail for me, and,
if need be, acknowledge the genuineness of her husband's cheque.'

The fellow's insolence was becoming unbearable, and I was about to
seize and thrust him forcibly from the apartment, when the sound of
wheels was heard outside. 'Hold! one moment,' he cried with fierce
vehemence. 'That is probably the officers: I must be brief, then, and
to the purpose. Pray, madam, do not leave the room for your own sake:
as for you, young sir, I _command_ you to remain!'

'What! what does he mean?' exclaimed Mrs Arbuthnot bewilderedly, and
at the same time clasping her son--who gazed on Danby with kindled
eyes, and angry boyish defiance--tightly to her side. Did the man's
strange words give form and significance to some dark, shadowy,
indistinct doubt that had previously haunted her at times? I judged
so. The rector appeared similarly confused and shaken, and had sunk
nerveless and terrified upon a sofa.

'You guess dimly, I see, at what I have to say,' resumed Danby with a
malignant sneer. 'Well, hear it, then, once for all, and then, if you
will, give me up to the officers. Some years ago,' he continued,
coldly and steadily--'some years ago, a woman, a nurse, was placed in
charge of two infant children, both boys: one of these was her own;
the other was the son of rich, proud parents. The woman's husband was
a gay, jolly fellow, who much preferred spending money to earning it,
and just then it happened that he was more than usually hard up. One
afternoon, on visiting his wife, who had removed to a distance, he
found that the rich man's child had sickened of the small-pox, and
that there was no chance of its recovery. A letter containing the sad
news was on a table, which he, the husband, took the liberty to open
and read. After some reflection, suggested by what he had heard of the
lady-mother's state of mind, he recopied the letter, for the sake of
embodying in it a certain suggestion. That letter was duly posted, and
the next day brought the rich man almost in a state of distraction;
but his chief and mastering terror was lest the mother of the already
dead infant should hear, in her then precarious state, of what had
happened. The tidings, he was sure, would kill her. Seeing this, the
cunning husband of the nurse suggested that, for the present, his--the
cunning one's--child might be taken to the lady as her own, and that
the truth could be revealed when she was strong enough to bear it. The
rich man fell into the artful trap, and that which the husband of the
nurse had speculated upon, came to pass even beyond his hopes. The
lady grew to idolise her fancied child--she has, fortunately, had no
other--and now, I think, it would really kill her to part with him.
The rich man could not find it in his heart to undeceive his
wife--every year it became more difficult, more impossible to do so;
and very generously, I must say, has he paid in purse for the
forbearance of the nurse's husband. Well now, then, to sum up: the
nurse was Mrs Danby; the rich, weak husband, Mr Arbuthnot; the
substituted child, that handsome boy--_my son!_'

A wild scream from Mrs Arbuthnot broke the dread silence which had
accompanied this frightful revelation, echoed by an agonised cry, half
tenderness, half rage, from her husband, who had entered the room
unobserved, and now clasped her passionately in his arms. The
carriage-wheels we had heard were his. It was long before I could
recall with calmness the tumult, terror, and confusion of that scene.
Mr Arbuthnot strove to bear his wife from the apartment, but she would
not be forced away, and kept imploring with frenzied vehemence that
Robert--that her boy should not be taken from her.

'I have no wish to do so--far from it,' said Danby with gleeful
exultation. 'Only folk must be reasonable, and not threaten their
friends with the hulks'----

'Give him anything, anything!' broke in the unhappy lady. 'O Robert!
Robert!' she added with a renewed burst of hysterical grief, 'how
could you deceive me so?'

'I have been punished, Agnes,' he answered in a husky, broken voice,
'for my well-intending but criminal weakness; cruelly punished by the
ever-present consciousness that this discovery must one day or other
be surely made. What do you want?' he after awhile added with
recovering firmness, addressing Danby.

'The acknowledgment of the little bit of paper in dispute, of course;
and say a genuine one to the same amount.'

'Yes, yes,' exclaimed Mrs Arbuthnot, still wildly sobbing, and holding
the terrified boy strained in her embrace, as if she feared he might
be wrenched from her by force. 'Anything--pay him anything!'

At this moment, chancing to look towards the door of the apartment, I
saw that it was partially opened, and that Danby's wife was listening
there. What might that mean? But what of helpful meaning in such a
case could it have?

'Be it so, love,' said Mr Arbuthnot soothingly. 'Danby, call to-morrow
at the Park. And now, begone at once.'

'I was thinking,' resumed the rascal with swelling audacity, 'that we
might as well at the same time come to some permanent arrangement upon
black and white. But never mind: I can always put the screw on;
unless, indeed, you get tired of the young gentleman, and in that
case, I doubt not, he will prove a dutiful and affectionate son----Ah,
devil! What do you here? Begone, or I'll murder you! Begone, do you
hear?'

His wife had entered, and silently confronted him. 'Your threats, evil
man,' replied the woman quietly, 'have no terrors for me now. My son
is beyond your reach. Oh, Mrs Arbuthnot,' she added, turning towards
and addressing that lady, 'believe not'----

Her husband sprang at her with the bound of a panther. 'Silence! Go
home, or I'll strangle'----His own utterance was arrested by the
fierce grasp of Mr Arbuthnot, who seized him by the throat, and hurled
him to the further end of the room. 'Speak on, woman; and quick!
quick! What have you to say?'

'That your son, dearest lady,' she answered, throwing herself at Mrs
Arbuthnot's feet, 'is as truly your own child as ever son born of
woman!'

That shout of half-fearful triumph seems even now as I write to ring
in my ears! I _felt_ that the woman's words were words of truth, but I
could not see distinctly: the room whirled round, and the lights
danced before my eyes, but I could hear through all the choking
ecstasy of the mother, and the fury of the baffled felon.

'The letter,' continued Mrs Danby, 'which my husband found and opened,
would have informed you, sir, of the swiftly approaching death of _my_
child, and that yours had been carefully kept beyond the reach of
contagion. The letter you received was written without my knowledge or
consent. True it is that, terrified by my husband's threats, and in
some measure reconciled to the wicked imposition by knowing that,
after all, the right child would be in his right place, I afterwards
lent myself to Danby's evil purposes. But I chiefly feared for my son,
whom I fully believed he would not have scrupled to make away with in
revenge for my exposing his profitable fraud. I have sinned; I can
hardly hope to be forgiven, but I have now told the sacred truth.'

All this was uttered by the repentant woman, but at the time it was
almost wholly unheard by those most interested in the statement. They
only comprehended that they were saved--that the child was theirs in
very truth. Great, abundant, but for the moment, bewildering joy! Mr
Arbuthnot--his beautiful young wife--her own true boy (how could she
for a moment have doubted that he was her own true boy!--you might
read that thought through all her tears, thickly as they fell)--the
aged and half-stunned rector, whilst yet Mrs Danby was speaking, were
exclaiming, sobbing in each other's arms, ay, and praising God too,
with broken voices and incoherent words it may be, but certainly with
fervent, pious, grateful hearts.

When we had time to look about us, it was found that the felon had
disappeared--escaped. It was well, perhaps, that he had; better, that
he has not been heard of since.



THE TAXES ON KNOWLEDGE.


To all appearance, the abolition of the taxes on the spread of
knowledge through the press is only a matter of time. The principal of
these taxes is the Excise-duty on paper, which, as we have repeatedly
urged, acts most detrimentally on the issue of a cheap class of
publications. The duty next in importance is that which is charged on
advertisements. Our belief is, that a relief from this taxation would
be a prodigious advantage to all departments of trade and commerce, as
well as to various social interests. That the sum of eighteenpence
should be exacted by the state from every person--a poor housemaid,
for example--on advertising for a situation, is, to say the least of
it, inexpressibly shabby. The stamp-duty of one penny on each
newspaper is reckoned to be the third of these taxes on knowledge.
There can be no doubt that this duty is a tax, as applied to those
newspapers which circulate in a locality without going through the
post-office; but, as matters stand, we are inclined to think that much
the larger proportion of newspapers, metropolitan and provincial,
actually are posted, either by the publishers, or by parties sending
their copies to be read at second-hand. It is not quite clear that the
remission of the stamp-duty would be an entire gain; for a postage of
a penny in sending to second, third, and fourth readers--each fresh
hand requiring to adhibit a fresh postage label--might come to a very
much more severe tax than the existing stamp. Much, however, can be
said on both sides; and we desire to let each party state its own
case.

The _British Quarterly Review_, in an able article on the Newspaper
Stamp and its proposed abolition, argues for that measure on one
particular ground--namely, its certain result in allowing of the
existence of small local papers. The writer says: 'Take the _Leeds
Mercury_, the _Manchester Guardian_, or the _Manchester Examiner_, for
example--all first-class papers, of the largest size allowed by law,
and all giving four-page supplements once a week. In spite of their
immense size, there is not one of these journals which can give a
faithful weekly record of all that is worthy of note in the forty or
fifty towns and villages by which they are surrounded, and through
which these papers circulate. An attempt, indeed, is made to give as
many "Town-Council Meetings," "Board of Guardian Proceedings,"
"Temperance Demonstrations," and "Meetings of Rate-payers"--with a due
mixture of change-ringings, friendly anniversaries, elections of
church-wardens, elections of town-councillors, elections of guardians,
offences, accidents, and crimes--as can be crammed, by rapid
abridgment, into a certain number of columns. But after all has been
done in this way that the most skilful and industrious editor, aided
by the most indefatigable sub-editor, can accomplish, or that any
reasonable newspaper reader in any of the smaller towns could possibly
require, there still remains a great number of equally important
events, which are necessarily left unnoticed altogether by the mammoth
journal, for sheer want of space, or given in a form so much abridged
as to render them of little or no value. The people of Oldham are
perhaps waiting with intense anxiety for a long and amusing account of
the "Extraordinary Scene" at the last meeting of the board of poor-law
guardians; or those of Ashton are looking forward with equal interest
to Saturday's paper, for a report of the animated debate in the
town-council on the proposed increase of two policemen for that
borough; or perhaps the news-agents of Rochdale, in anticipation of a
brisk demand, have ordered twice the usual number of papers because of
a church-rate contest, in which the vicar has been beaten by an
overwhelming majority. But the columns of the _Manchester Guardian_,
though nearly double what they were twenty years ago, are not made of
India rubber; and therefore, much as the editor may wish to give all
due latitude to Ashton, Bolton, Bury, Middleton, Oldham, Rochdale,
Stockport, or Wigan news, he is generally forced, by the pressure of
advertisements, or some other equally potent cause, to compress
everything within the narrowest limits. Whatever interest a piece of
district news may possess in its own locality, it must not be allowed
to encroach upon the space belonging to "the general reader," who buys
nine-tenths of every newspaper, and who does not care a farthing for
Rochdale or Ashton news, unless when it happens to be a very horrid
murder, or an exceedingly destructive fire. Were the stamp-duty
abolished, the large town papers would be relieved from all the
drudgery and annoyance attendant upon this department of editorial
work. There would no longer be any necessity for devoting six or eight
closely-printed columns of the paper to local news, which are not read
by one-twentieth part of those who purchase it. Each small town in
Lancashire and Yorkshire, as well as elsewhere, would have its penny
or twopenny newspaper, in which local news, local politics, and local
talent, would have fair play; while large papers, like the _Manchester
Guardian_ or the _Leeds Mercury_, would be greatly improved by the
change. They would be enabled to substitute good readable matter,
literary or political, of which there is always abundance, for the
very dull stuff which they are now obliged to give under the head of
"District News." By this improvement in character, and by the
reduction of price, in such papers as we have named, from 5d. to
3-1/2d., their circulation would be greatly increased, in spite of the
number of penny and twopenny papers which would then supply the demand
for news among that numerous portion of the working-classes who cannot
afford such a luxury at present.'

Such is a fair statement of certain advantages to be derived from the
abolition of the penny stamp, and the substitution of the penny label.
The advocates of the stamp-duty allege that, while the foregoing line
of argument may be perfectly valid, something, on the contrary, is due
to the advantage of having well-supported metropolitan newspapers as
centres of intelligence. These newspapers, say some of their
publishers, are put to vast expense for early news, foreign and
domestic; such news they at present permit every one freely to copy;
but, if a host of small country papers are to spring up, piracy of
this kind will no longer be tolerated. As newspapers go pretty much on
the principle of giving and taking in the way of intelligence, any
tendency to prosecute on the ground of piracy would, in all
probability, soon cure itself; and, therefore, we would not greatly
rely on this as a reason for maintaining an exclusiveness in the
business of newspaper publication. A more serious argument against the
creation of a host of cheap local papers, is the probable
dissemination of much petty scandal, and matter of a partially
libellous or offensive character; at the least, much bad writing.
Supposing, however, that there is a chance of literature being thus to
a certain extent deteriorated, it will not do to oppose an
improvement, if it be such, from fears of this nature. Should the
matter treated of in small local papers be sometimes of an
objectionable character, the public taste will surely go far towards
its correction; and why should not each provincial town have an
opportunity of educating writers up to the proper degree of literary
accomplishment? It is undeniable, that small towns stand in pressing
need of local channels for advertisements, and here, we think, is
their strongest ground. How much more important, in a town of 5000
inhabitants, that the principal mercer should have his fresh arrival
of goods advertised in a paper which circulates 500 copies in that
town, than in some county-town journal which sends to it only some
thirty or forty copies! A sale of growing crops must, in like manner,
be much more effectually advertised in a paper which circulates
largely in a small district, than in one which is diffused sparsely
over a large one. All this, indeed, is amply proved by the tendency
which has been shewn of late years, in Scotland at least, to set up
unstamped monthly local papers containing advertisements, and by the
comparative success which these journals have met with.

Among the arguments for such arrangements as would promote the sale of
newspapers, we see little or no stress laid upon the _educational_,
which to us appears as the very strongest of all. The interest felt in
the occurrences of the passing day is one of the most vigorous of all
intellectual appetences. Give a man ready access to a journal in which
this taste can be gratified, and his intellectual progress is certain.
The utterly uneducated, seeing the pleasure which his fellows derive
from the paper, will desire to learn to read, that he may enjoy the
like pleasure. The man just able to read will be drawn on to reflect
and judge, and in time he will desire intellectual food from books
also. The cheap newspaper thus becomes a most powerful instrument for
nursing the popular mind; and, if we consider how essential it is,
where there are free institutions, that the bulk of the people should
be enlightened, we must see what a great public end is to be served by
this simple means. A place in the apparatus is, we think, rightly
claimed by the small local newspaper, as a kind of A B C, or _first
form_, where the young and untutored mind may be entered by way of
preparation for higher studies.



THE VEGETATION OF EUROPE.


The publication of the volume, the title of which appears below,[3] is
to be regarded as additional evidence that the tendency of science in
the present day is towards wider and more comprehensive
generalisations. Many readers who may be more or less familiar with
certain species or even families of plants, will hardly have prepared
themselves for a view of the phytology of a quarter of the globe, such
as is given in outline in the interesting work now before us. The
subject is one that has been largely investigated within the past
twenty years, as may be seen in the records of the British
Association, in the transactions of learned societies, and in the
writings of numerous observers on the continent. Attempt after attempt
has been made to explain the causes of the variations and effects of
climate, their influence on vegetation, the appearance of certain
floras in localities where they might be least expected, and to
separate the natural and regular from the accidental. Different
countries have been examined and compared with each other, and many of
the differences accounted for; and in Mr Henfrey's volume we have an
acceptable _résumé_ of these various researches.

It becomes necessary, first of all, to study the influences--whether
general or special--which affect the distribution of vegetation; to
inquire into those freaks or aberrations of nature which favour in one
place the production of plants that will not grow in another, under
apparently similar circumstances; and why similar plants are found in
places widely separated. Oranges will ripen on one side the Alps, but
not on the other; grapes scarcely come to perfection out of doors in
England, while on the other side of the Channel they ripen by
thousands of acres; and several fruits which fail in our northern
counties, are grown without difficulty in Denmark in the open air.
Investigation soon shewed that temperature alone, mere heat and cold,
was insufficient to account for the phenomena; but that moisture and
dryness, the prevalence of certain winds, the chemical and physical
conditions of soil, and the constitution of the plants themselves,
would have to be considered in a proper inquiry into the subject.

Here we must notice a fact which has proved of essential service in
the study of botanical geography--namely, the discovery 'that there is
some law presiding over the distribution of plants which causes the
appearance of particular species arbitrarily--if we may so say it--in
particular places;' from which, the conclusion has been arrived at,
'that countries have become populated with plants partly by the
spreading of some special kinds from centres within those countries
where they were originally exclusively created; and while these have
spread outward into the neighbouring regions, colonists from like
centres lying in the surrounding countries have invaded and become
intermingled with the indigenous inhabitants.'

Looking at the effect of climate on vegetation, we find that as we
proceed from the north towards the south, the number and luxuriance of
plants increase in a remarkable degree, and the same result is
observable in altitude as in latitude. 'Step by step,' writes Mr
Henfrey, 'as the land rises in any mountain region, the vegetation
assumes, more and more, a polar character; and in the mountains of the
tropics, a succession of stages has been distinguished, corresponding
in the general peculiarities of the plants which clothe them, to
tracts extending horizontally, in succession, on the sea-level, from
the base of these mountains to the frozen regions within the arctic
and antarctic circles. Increase of elevation is accompanied by an
alteration of climate, bringing with it a set of conditions analogous
to those prevailing at certain distances further from the sun.
Ascending the Peak of Teneriffe, a series of regions are traversed,
one above another, displaying with the approach to the summit a
continually closer approximation in character to the polar regions,
till the traveller who left the palm, the cactus, and the thousand
varied forms of tropical vegetation at the foot, finds himself at last
among the stunted shrubs and scaly lichens, the borderers who hold the
outposts on the limits of the eternal snow.'

It might be expected that places on the same parallel of latitude
would be equal in temperature; but on tracing out the distribution of
heat over the globe, and laying it down in what are called
_isothermal_ lines on a map, most striking deviations are found to
exist, and the contour of the lines is anything but regular. The line
of greatest cold, for example, which leaves the eastern coast of
Labrador at about the 54th degree of latitude, rises six degrees as it
approaches Greenland, and strikes the coast of Lapland a little above
the 70th degree, or sixteen degrees nearer the pole than at its
starting-point--thus shewing that the northern parts of Europe have a
more genial climate than those of America. The line then curves
fifteen degrees to the south across Siberia, rises again on the
western coast of America, and falls once more as it advances towards
the east. Again, 'the isotherms of Canada pass through Iceland, across
about the middle of Norway and Sweden, St Petersburg and Kamtschatka.
Those of New York through the north of Ireland and England, twelve
degrees further north, North and Central Germany, and the Crimea. That
which leaves the United States at about 36 degrees north latitude,
crosses Southern Europe from the north of Spain to the Adriatic in a
tolerably straight line, some eight degrees further north, and then
falls south again, where the influence of the north-east polar current
is more felt, in Greece and Turkey.'

But although these are marked as lines of equal heat, it is only in
the average temperature that the equality consists; and it is clear
that a country with 80 degrees of summer heat and 20 of winter cold,
would have a very different climate from another with 60 and 40 as the
highest and lowest degrees of temperature, although the mean of the
two would be the same. And herein we have an explanation of what at
first sight appear to be anomalies: we know, for instance, 'that
plants will flourish perennially in the British isles which are killed
by the frosts of winter in places lying considerably to the south upon
the continent; thus the laurel, that bears our winters steadily in
Ireland and the west of England, and is only affected by very severe
frosts in our eastern counties, is killed by the winters of Berlin,
equally fatal to the myrtle, the fuchsia, and a host of other shrubs
which attain considerable age and size in the western portions of the
British isles. Again, Canada, which lies south of Paris, has the
climate of Drontheim, in Norway; while at New York, lying in the
latitude of Naples, the flowers open simultaneously with those of
Upsala, in Sweden. Moreover, those very countries suffering so severe
a winter's cold, enjoy a summer's heat far exceeding ours, since the
snow lies for months on parts of Germany which yet receive sufficient
heat in summer to ripen the grape and Indian corn.'

The principal modifying causes are winds and water. Islands, and
countries bordering on the ocean, have a much more equable climate
than those which lie in the interior of continents, and will have a
greater prevalence of moist south-westerly winds. The average annual
quantity of rain in the British islands is from 28 to 30 inches; on
the continent, it is less; the fall in Holland is estimated at 26
inches, and in Denmark and North Germany, at 20 inches--the greatest
fall occurring in summer and autumn, as in England. Then with respect
to winds, we find those from the west most prevalent over what Mr
Henfrey distinguishes as the north European plain, as is the case in
our country. 'The west wind blows more frequently in England than in
Denmark, more there than in Russia. The predominance is most marked in
summer; in the winter, the easterly winds are almost as frequent as
the westerly upon the continent, which is not true of the British
isles.' Sometimes, however, the south-westerly winds, which bring our
genial April showers, continue to arrive with their watery burden
until late in the summer, to the detriment or destruction of
grain-crops; and yet this same wind, losing its excessive moisture as
it sweeps onward over the continent, is highly favourable to the
husbandman in Southern Russia. The years 1816 and 1817 were cases in
point.

The meteorology of Russia affords some striking contrasts: the yearly
rain-fall in St Petersburg is 21 inches, 'and the westerly winds are
most prevalent, although not to the same extent as in Western Europe;
they are also predominant in Moscow and Kasan. In the southern
steppes, it is stated that the average of four years has given only 6
inches fall of rain, occurring in 47 days of the year; but the
irregularity is so great, that single years gave 59, 35, 39, and 53
rainy days. In 1832-3, twenty months elapsed without rain, and in some
years the quantity is only one-tenth of that which falls in wet years.
In the summer, there is no dew, and the ground dries up and cracks,
the plants withering up: 1841, not considered as a dry year, gave only
8-1/2 inches of rain; but in 1831, one of the wettest, the moisture
interfered with agriculture more than the drought does, saturating the
soil, which rests on a deep impermeable clayey formation.' In April
and May, when the snows melt, the steppe is a vast sea of mud, liable
to be hardened by occasional frosts, until, as the season advances,
myriads of crocuses, tulips, and hyacinths, cover the soil, which
perhaps a few days later will be hidden by north-east snowstorms, or
drenched by gales from the north-west. No rain falls for two months
after the middle of June, the luxuriant herbage withers more rapidly
than it grew, and, except in a few spots near the streams, the steppe
becomes a black, arid waste. Yet in some parts of these regions the
vegetation is extraordinary: 'the wormwoods and thistles grow to a
size unknown in the west of Europe; it is said that the thistle-bush,
found where these abound, is tall enough to hide a Cossack horseman.
The natives call all these rank weeds, useless for pasture, _burian_,
and, with the dry dung of the flocks, this constitutes all the fuel
they possess. One curious plant of the thistle tribe has attracted the
notice of most travellers--the wind-witch, as it is called by the
German colonists, or leap-the-field, as the Russian name may be
translated. It forms a large globular mass of light wiry branches
interlaced together, and in autumn decays off at the root, the upper
part drying up. It is then at the mercy of the autumn blast, and it is
said that thousands may sometimes be seen coursing over the plain,
rolling, dancing, and leaping over the slight inequalities, often
looking at a distance like a troop of wild horses. It is not uncommon
for twenty or thirty to become entangled into a mass, and then roll
away, as Mr Kohl says, "like a huge giant in his seven-league boots."
Thousands of them are annually blown into the Black Sea, and here,
once in contact with water, in an instant lose the fantastic grace
belonging to their dry, unsubstantial texture.'

Any one who has seen the feather-like seeds of thistles and dandelions
floating about in the air, will have little difficulty in
comprehending the effect of winds on the distribution of vegetation.
Such seeds, as Mr Henfrey observes, might readily be carried across
Europe by a powerful autumn gale, blowing steadily in one direction.
In physiological language, they belong to the _sporadic_, not to the
_endemic_ class, of which a remarkable instance is afforded in the
flea-bane (_Erigeron canadensis_), a plant which, having found its way
to this side the Atlantic only since the discovery of America, is now
a common weed on the continent of Europe. Running streams and ocean
currents also transport seeds from one locality to another. The
gulf-stream, as is well known, carries occasionally branches of trees
to the north coast of Scotland and Norway; and 'Mr Brown found that
six hundred plants collected about the river Zaire, in Africa,
included thirteen species, natives also of Guyana and Brazil. These
species mostly occurred near the mouth of the Zaire, and were of such
kind as produced fruits capable of resisting external agencies for a
long time.' Then, again, the agency of birds, of quadrupeds, and of
man, in the distribution of seeds and plants, is too important to be
overlooked, as Sir Charles Lyell has ably shewn in his _Principles of
Geology_; and there is 'a certain number of plants which seem to
accompany man wherever he goes, and to flourish best in his vicinity.
Thus, the docks, the goosefoots, the nettle, the chickweed, mallows,
and many other common weeds, seem to be universal, though unwelcome
companions to man--dogging his footsteps, affording by their presence,
even in now deserted districts, an almost certain index of the former
residence of human beings on the spot.'

From an examination of the causes affecting distribution, Mr Henfrey
passes to a survey of the characteristics of the countries of Europe,
from north to south--from the peninsula of Scandinavia to those of
Spain, Italy, and Greece. The remarkable contrast is pointed out
between the climate and cultivation of the east and west sides of the
mountains of Sweden and Norway. Barley ripens as far north as the 70th
degree, in latitudes whose mean temperature is below the
freezing-point; while in Switzerland, corn ceases to ripen at 9
degrees above the same point, and in the plateaux of South America, at
22-1/2 degrees--a fact which goes to shew, 'that the growth of grain
is much more dependent on the summer temperature than on the annual
mean. The long summer days of the polar regions afford a very brief,
but a comparatively exalted summer heat.' It is, however, only the
barley which ventures so far north: the limit of rye is 67 degrees, of
oats, 65 degrees, of wheat, 64 degrees, on the west side of the
peninsula, and from 1 to 2 degrees less on the east. In Southern
Norway, the spruce-fir ceases to grow beyond the line of 2900 feet
above the sea-level; while in Switzerland, it is commonly met with at
the height of 5500 feet, and in some situations, 7000; shewing that
the influences which affect the growth of grain do not similarly
affect that of trees--proximity of the sea decreases the summer
temperature. Again: 'In Scandinavia the tree-limit is indicated by the
birch; in the Alps, by firs. The two lower mountain zones of the
Alps, the regions of the beech and the chestnut, do not exist in the
Scandinavian mountains. Compared with the climate and tree-limits, the
cultivation of corn does not go so high in the Alps as it does toward
the north; for it ceases about with the beech in the Alps, and grazing
is the regular pursuit in the region of firs; while in Scandinavia,
the beech only goes to 59 degrees, and corn-culture to 70
degrees--that is, as far as the conifers. Corn succeeds in the latter
under a mean temperature below the freezing-point, while in the Alps
it ceases at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The cause of this is the hot
though short summer of the north. The Alps have maize and the vine,
which will not grow around the Scandinavian mountains; the meadows are
throughout richer in the Alps, and grazing is therefore much more
extensively pursued.'

The peculiarities and comparisons afforded by other countries, are not
less interesting than those we have selected, and we might multiply
instances, if space permitted. Enough, however, have been adduced to
shew that the mode of accounting for differences of vegetation is so
far satisfactory, that it appears to be in perfect accordance with
discoverable natural laws; and it is no longer a surprise or mystery
to find plants of Southern Russia and of Asia Minor on the high
table-lands of Spain; or that the effects of an unvarying temperature,
as at Quito, in the table-land of Peru, are to cause the culture of
wheat to cease at the mean temperature of Milan, and woods to
disappear at the mean of Penzance. A few remarks respecting our own
country is all that we can now find room for.

Including snow-falls, the number of rainy days in Dublin in a year is
208, in London, 178, while in Copenhagen it is not more than 134. The
number of British plants indigenous or naturalised is from 1400 to
1500, comprising mostly the vegetation of Central Europe, but
including specimens from Scandinavia and the Pyrenees. The highest
point at which grain has been known to grow, is 1600 feet above the
sea-level, at the outlet of Loch Collater, in the Highlands. In
Drumochter Pass, an elevation of 1530 feet, potatoes can scarcely be
raised; and from 1000 to 1200 feet is the more common limit of the
cereal and the esculent. On this point a statement is made, which may
be useful to cultivators in the hill districts: it is, that 'the
common brake-fern (_Pteris aquilina_), distributed throughout Britain,
is found to be limited by a line running nearly level with the limit
of cultivation, and thus affords a test, when cultivation may be
absent, where nature does not deny it success. In one sheltered spot
in the woods of Loch-na-gar, it was observed at 1900 feet; and in
another part of the same woods, at 1700 feet; but on the exposed moors
it is very seldom seen beyond 1200 feet, unless in hollows, or on
declivities facing the sun.'

In accounting for the varieties of plants in Britain, it is assumed
that, during the glacial period, when the tops of our mountains were
mere islands in a great sea, under which lay the greater part of
modern Europe, they were then peopled by the arctic and alpine
species, which now inhabit them. Then came an upheaval; a vast tract
of land rose above the water, without any break, as at present between
England and the continent; and at this period 'there appears to have
been a migration of both plants and animals from east to west, the
descendants of which still constitute the great body of the flora and
fauna of the British lowlands.' Meantime, the elevation of the former
islands into mountain summits, placed them in a temperature suited to
the perpetuation of their vegetation. Then, to account for the
presence of a Spanish flora in the west of Ireland, a bold hypothesis,
started by Professor Edward Forbes, is put forward--'that the west of
Ireland was geologically united with the north of Spain;' admitting
which, there is no difficulty in supposing the plants to have
travelled along the intervening land, which has subsequently
disappeared, and that, owing to climatic changes, the hardier sort of
plants, such as saxifrages and heaths, have alone survived.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] The Vegetation of Europe, its Conditions and Causes. By Arthur
Henfrey, F.L.S. London: John Van Voorst. 1852.



A HALF-PENNYWORTH OF NAVIGATION.


Who's for a cheap ride on what a pleasant writer calls the 'silent
highway?'--silent no longer, since the steamers have taken to plying
above Bridge at a charge which has made the surface of the Thames,
where it runs through the heart of London, populous with life, and
noisy with the clash of paddles and the rush of steam, to say
nothing of the incessant chorus of captains, engine-boys, and
gangway-men--with their 'Ease her,' 'Stop her,' 'Back her,' 'Turn
ahead,' 'Turn astarn,' 'Now, marm, with the bundle, be alive,' 'Heave
ahead there, will you?' &c., all the day long.

Come this way, my friend; here we are opposite the Adelphi Theatre,
and this is the man who used to be a black man, or else it's another,
who does duty as talking finger-post, and shews you, if you are a
stranger, how you are to get at the half-penny boat. Come, we must
dive down this narrow lane, past the 'Fox under the Hill,' a rather
long and not very sightly, cleanly, smooth, or fragrant thoroughfare;
and here, in this shed-looking office, you must pay your half-penny,
which guarantees you a passage all the way to London Bridge. Look
alive! as the money-taker recommends--the _Bee_, you see, is already
discharging her living cargo, and others are hurrying on board. The
boat won't lose time in turning round--she goes backwards and forwards
as straight as a saw, and carries a rudder at her nose as well as one
at her tail. Never mind these jolting planks, you havn't time to
tumble down--on with you! That's it: here, on this floating-pier,
manufactured from old barges, we may rest a moment, while the boat
discharges her freight, and takes on board the return cargo. You see
the landing-stage or pier is divided into two equal portions; the
people who are leaving the boat have not yet paid their fare; they
will have to disburse their coppers at the office where we paid ours,
there being but one paying-place for the two termini.

'Tis a motley company, you see, which comes and goes by the half-penny
boat. Here is a Temple barrister, with his red-taped brief under his
arm, and at his heels follows a plasterer, and a tiler's labourer with
a six-foot chimney-pot upon his shoulders. There goes a
foreigner--foreigners like to have things cheap--with a bushy black
beard and a pale face, moustached and whiskered to the eyes, and
puffing a volume of smoke from his invisible mouth; and there is a
washer-woman, with a basket of clothes weighing a hundredweight.
Yonder young fellow, with the dripping sack on his back, is staggering
under a load of oysters from Billingsgate, and he has got to wash them
and sell them for three a penny, and see them swallowed one at a time,
before his work will be done for the day--and behind him is a comely
lassie, with a monster oil-glazed sarcophagus-looking milliner's
basket, carrying home a couple of bonnets to a customer. See! there is
lame Jack, who sweeps the crossing in the borough, followed by a lady
with her 'six years' darling of a pigmy size,' whom she calls 'Little
Popps,' both hurrying home to dinner after a morning's shopping. All
these, and a hundred others of equally varied description, go off on
the landing-stage, whence they will have to pay their obolus to the
Charon of the Thames ere they are swallowed up in the living tide that
rolls along the Strand from morn to night.

Now, if we mean to go, we had better get on board, for in another
minute the deck will be covered, and we shall not find room to stand.
That's right; make sure of a seat while you may! How they swarm on
board, and what a choice sample they present of the mixed multitude of
London! The deck is literally jammed with every variety of the
pedestrian population--red-breasted soldiers from the barracks,
glazed-hatted policemen from the station, Irish labourers and their
wives, errand-boys with notes and packages, orange-girls with empty
baskets, working-men out for a mouthful of air, and idle boys out for
a 'spree'--men with burdens to carry, and men with hardly a rag to
cover them; unctuous Jews, jabbering Frenchmen, and drowsy-looking
Germans--on they flock, squeezing through the gangway, or clambering
over the bulwarks, while the little vessel rolls and lurches till the
water laves the planks on which you stand. In three minutes from her
arrival she has discharged her old cargo, and is crammed to
overflowing with a new one. 'Back, there: overloaded already!' roars
the captain. 'Let go; turn ahead; go on!'--and fiz! away we go,
leaving full half of the intending voyagers to wait for the next boat,
which, however, will not be long in coming.

'Bless me, how we roll about from side to side!' says an anxious old
lady. 'Is anything the matter with the boat, that it wabbles so?'

'Only a little krank, marm; it's all right,' says the person
addressed.

'It's all right, of course,' says another, glancing at the nervous
lady, 'whether we goes up or whether we goes down, so long as we gets
along. The _Cricket_ blowed herself up, and the _Ant_ got tired on it,
and laid down to rest herself at the bottom t'other day. Howasever, a
steamer never blows up nor goes to the bottom but once, and, please
God, 't aint goin' to be this time.'

While the old lady, unsatisfied with this genuine specimen of Cockney
philosophy, is vowing that if she once gets safe on shore, she will
never again set foot in a half-penny boat, we are already at Waterloo
Bridge. Duck goes the funnel, and we dart under the noble arch, and
catch a passing view of Somerset House. The handsome structure runs
away in our rear; the Chinese Junk, with its tawdry flags, scuttles
after it; we catch a momentary glimpse of Temple Gardens, lying in the
sunlight, where half-a-dozen children are playing on the grass; then
comes Whitefriars, the old Alsatia, the sanctuary of blackguard
ruffianism in bygone times; then there is a smell of gas, and a vision
of enormous gasometers; and then down goes the funnel again, and
Blackfriars Bridge jumps over us. On we go, now at the top of our
speed, past the dingy brick warehouses that lie under the shadow of St
Paul's, whose black dome looks down upon us as we scud along. Then
Southwark Bridge, with its Cyclopean masses of gloomy metal, disdains
to return the slightest response to the fussy splashing we make, as we
shoot impudently through. Then come more wharfs and warehouses, as we
glide past, while our pace slackens, and we stop gently within a
stone's-throw of London Bridge, at Dyers' Hall, where we are bundled
out of the boat with as little ceremony as we were bundled in, and
with as little, indeed, as it has ever been the custom to use since
ceremony was invented--which, in matters of business, is a very
useless thing.

And now, my friend, you have accomplished a half-penny voyage; and
without being a conjuror, you can see how it is that this cheap
navigation is so much encouraged. In the first place, it is cheaper
than shoe-leather, leaving fatigue out of the question; it saves a
good two miles of walking, and that is no trifle, especially under a
heavy burden, or in slippery weather. In the second place, it may be
said to be often cheaper than dirt, seeing that the soil and injury to
clothing which it saves by avoiding a two miles' scamper through the
muddy ways, would damage the purse of a decent man more than would the
cost of several journeys. These are considerations which the humbler
classes appreciate, and therefore they flock to the cheap boats, and
spend their halfpence to save their pence and their time. This latter
consideration of time-saving it is that brings another class of
customers to the boats. In order that it may be remunerative to the
projectors, every passage must be made with a regular and undeviating
rapidity; and this very necessity becomes in its turn a source of
profit, because it is a recommendation to a better class of business
men and commercial agents, to whom a saving of time is daily a matter
of the utmost importance. Hence the motley mixture of all ranks and
orders that crowd the deck.

Besides these half-penny boats, there are others which run at double
and quadruple fares; but they carry a different class of passengers,
and run greater distances, stopping at intermediate stations. They are
all remunerative speculations; and they may be said to have created
the traffic by which they thrive. They have driven the watermen's
wherries off the river almost as effectually as the railways have
driven the stage-coaches from the road; but, like them, they have
multiplied the passengers by the thousand, and have awakened the
public to a new sense of the value of the river as a means of transit
from place to place. The demand for safe, cheap, and speedy conveyance
to and from all parts of the river between London Bridge and
Battersea, and beyond, is becoming daily more urgent; and we hear that
it will shortly be met by the launching of a fleet of steam gondolas
constructed on an improved principle, combining accommodation for
enlarged numbers, with appliances calculated to insure at once
security and speed.



A LONDON NEWSPAPER IN 1667.


In a recent number of this Journal (14th February), some particulars
were given relating to a newspaper of a hundred years ago; and the
contrast--sufficiently strong--was shewn between the infant press of
that time and its developed form in our own. We propose now to make
research a century earlier, and to shew in what condition the 'fourth
estate of the realm' appeared in the early part of Charles II.'s
reign. Surely that great power was then in its very infancy and
weakness; and if the subject entered into our plan, it would be both
instructive and entertaining to trace its growth in this country from
the small beginning now before us.

We have on our table some numbers of the _London Gazette_ of 1667 to
1681; and, so far as we know, this newspaper was the only source of
information to the people of public and passing events. In the
Venetian territory, that republic issued its gazette so early as 1536.
In the days of our own Civil Wars, when matters of the last importance
were continually arising, the English newspaper commenced, each party
having one such organ. Under Cromwell, a more regular journal was
published in 1652; but it was not until Queen Anne's reign that the
_Daily Courant_ appeared each morning, and pioneered that enormous
power of our own day which disseminates perhaps 80,000,000 newspapers
annually throughout the country.

It would be curious to compare the _London Gazette_ of 1667 with the
_Times_ of 1852. In form, it is slightly larger than one leaf of this
Journal; but in type, and in appearance, it is quite equal to the
newspapers of a hundred years later. It is published 'by authority,'
and contains pithy paragraphs, void of detail and without comment,
under the headings of the different places whence the news is
brought--the first and the last paragraphs being devoted to 'home
news,' the latter dating usually from Whitehall, and supplying the
place of the Court Circular. The first number was probably issued
shortly after the Restoration, as _our_ earliest date is No. 236, from
Thursday, 17th February, to Monday, 20th February 1667. We purpose
making some extracts from these veracious records as they arise; and
first, let us view in familiar guise a historical character, better
known to us by heading charges of cavalry at Naseby--a daring
cavalier, a valiant soldier; though now we see him _en déshabille_,
and only as Prince Rupert, who, poor gentleman, has lost his pet dog!
'Lost,' says the advertisement--'lost on Friday last, about noon, a
light fallow-colored greyhound, with a sore under her jaw, and a scar
on her side; whoever shall give notice of her at Prince Rupert's
apartments in Whitehall, shall be well rewarded for their pains.' The
next month, we find the prince assisting at a launch. 'This day (3
March), was happily launched at Deptford, in presence of his majesty,
his Royal Highness Prince Rupert, and many persons of the court, a
very large and well-built ship, which is to carry 106 great guns, and
is like to prove a ship of great force and excellent service, called
_Charles the Second_.'

A little later, we find an account of the visit of 'Madam,' Duchess of
Orleans, and sister to Charles II. Her reception, her return, and her
death, follow quickly one upon another; so sudden, indeed, was her
decease, that her death was not, says history, without suspicion of
poison. 'DOVER, _May 21, 1670_.--The 15 ins., about 6 in the morning,
arrived here Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Orleans, attended,
among other persons of quality, by the Mareshal de Plessis Praslin;
her brother, Bishop of Tournay; Madam de Plessis, the mareshal's son's
lady; and the Countess of Grammont; having the day before, at about
the same hour, embarked with her train upon the men-of-war and several
yachts under the command of the Earl of Sandwich, vice-admiral of
England, &c.

'The same evening, the court was entertained with a comedy, acted by
his Royal Highnesses servants, who attend here for their diversion.'

'Yesterday was acted, by the said servants, another comedy, in the
midst whereof Madam and the rest of the ladies were entertained with
an excellent banquet.'

In the notice of 5th June, Madam embarked on her return to France. On
the 20th, she and the duke arrive at Paris; and on the 25th go to 'St
Clou.' The following is the official notice of her death:--

'WHITEHALL.--This day arrived an express from Mr Montague, His
Majesty's ambassador at Paris, with the sad news of the death of
Madam, His Majesty's only sister, to the enfinite grief and affliction
of their Majestys' and Royal Highnesses, as well for the greatness of
this loss as for the suddenness of it. She dyed at St Clou about 4 of
the clock on Munday morning, of a sudden and violent distemper, which
had seized her at 5 of the evening before, and was by her physician
taken for a kind of bilious colic.'

Confining ourselves to home news, there appears an edict from
Whitehall, commanding the Duke of York's (James II.) absence.
'WHITEHALL, _3 Mar. 1678_.--His Majesty, having thought fit to command
the Duke to absent himself, his Royal Highness and the Duchess took
leave of their majestys, and embarked this morning, intending to pass
into Holland.' But three years afterwards, he must have stood better
with the city, for in 1681 we find the lord mayor and court of
aldermen offering a reward of L.500 for the discovery of the person
who offered an indignity to the picture of his Royal Highness in the
Guildhall, to shew their deep resentment at that 'insolent and
villainous act.'

The many allusions to Algerines and pirates of all kinds, and the
audacity which seems to mark their acts, are good evidence of the
inefficient state of our navy in King Charles's reign. Witness the
following extract. 'LYME, _April 21, 1679_.--Yesterday, a small vessel
called the _William and Sarah_, bound for Holland from Morlaix, put in
here to avoid two Turks men-of-war, as he very much suspects them to
be, because he saw them chase a small vessell, who likewise escaped
them. It is reported that some of these pyrats have been as high as
the Isle of Wight, and that Sir Robert Robinson met with five of them,
whom he chased into Brest.' There are many accounts of the pirates of
Sally (Salee), and an account of an engagement with one of them by an
old collier, called the _Lisborne Merchant_, on her voyage from London
to Lisbon. The description is almost as formidable as Falstaff's with
his men of buckram, and we should have liked a little confirmatory
evidence beyond the narrator's. All our naval feelings of British
supremacy on the water would be gratified by the gallant conduct of
our trading captain.

'He had the fortune,' the account declares, 'to be set upon by the
admiral of the _Argur_, of 60 guns, and his consort of 40 guns, the
former with 700 men, and the latter with 500 men. The admiral
immediately boarded the poor merchant, who had only 25 men and 16
guns, clapping on as many men as they thought sufficient to have
mastered her. But the English entertained them with so much courage,
that they in little time cleared the ship, forcing all the Turks
overboard, with little loss besides that of the master of the ship,
one seaman, a young man who was knockt on the head.' The Turk repeated
his attack, and boarded the merchant; the 'dispute' continues for
about three glasses--the admiral assaults them the third time, but his
men are so terrified, that only 'seaven' durst adventure on board,
whereof six were killed, and the other taken prisoner. 'This done, the
Turks left her to pursue her course, wearing very eminent marks of
that encounter.'

We are at a loss what to make of this report from Dublin; but perhaps
some more learned authority can explain it: '_Dublin, April 9,
1679_.--This morning the Lord Lieutenant signed a warrant for the
pardon of Lawry, a Scotch man, minister in the county of Fermanagh,
and his five servants, for killing five notorious Tories in that
countrey, wounding two others to death, as is believed, and takeing
the eighth. The parson killed three of them with his own hand; and
while another of the Tories was going to draw the trigger of his gun
to shoot him, his hand was cut off by one of the parson's servants.'
Here, again, is a singular announcement to be published 'by
authority.' 'A warm report having been spred about of some unusual
effects of witchcraft in the province of Daleicarly, near the best
copper-mines in Suedeland, it is said several persons are sent to make
an enquiry in to the matter of fact, with power to proceed to the
punishment of such persons as shall be found guilty.' In another
number, there has been an inquiry among the Jews in Germany, who were
supposed to have sacrificed young children in their ceremonies.

The slow growth of the newspaper press from these times is very
remarkable. Even so late as sixty years since, a London paper was a
very meagre and timid affair. Before us lies a copy of the _Times_ of
1797, insignificant in size and appearance. The small modicum of news
is entirely foreign: no brilliant leaders, models of composition--no
fearless correction of abuse, or withering sarcasm of folly. The
parliamentary debates are merely alluded to as with permission, and
the simple propositions said to be advanced and seconded, disputed and
amended. How strange is the comparison suggested with the present
aspect of the _Times_, or indeed any of the London daylies! We live in
an age of wonders, and not the least of these is the well-written,
well-filled, and capacious-minded newspapers.



A SCENE IN BOSTON.


A coloured girl, eighteen years of age, a few years ago escaped from
slavery in the South. Through scenes of adventure and peril, almost
more strange than fiction can create, she found her way to Boston. She
obtained employment, secured friends, and became a consistent member
of the Methodist church. She became interested in a very worthy young
man of her own complexion, who was a member of the same church. They
were soon married. Their home, though humble, was the abode of piety
and contentment. Industrious, temperate, and frugal, all their wants
were supplied. Seven years passed away. They had two little boys, one
six, and the other four years of age. These children, the sons of a
free father, but of a mother who had been a slave, by the laws of the
Southern States were doomed to their mother's fate. These Boston boys,
born beneath the shadow of Faneuil Hall, the sons of a free citizen of
Boston, and educated in the Boston Free Schools, were, by the
compromises of the constitution, admitted to be slaves, the property
of a South Carolinian planter. The Boston father had no right to his
own sons. The law, however, had long been considered a dead-letter.
This was not to continue. The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted. It
revived the hopes of the slave-owners. A young, healthy, energetic
mother, with two fine boys, was a rich prize. She would make an
excellent mother. Good men began to say: 'We must enforce this law; it
is one of the compromises of the constitution.' Christian ministers
began to preach: 'The voice of law is the voice of God. There is no
higher rule of duty.' As may be supposed, the poor woman was
panic-stricken. Her friends gathered around her, and trembled for her.
Her husband was absent from home, a seaman on board one of the
Liverpool packets. She was afraid to go out of doors, lest some one
from the South should see her, and recognise her. One day, as she was
going to the grocery for some provisions, her quick anxious eye caught
a glimpse of a man prowling around, whom she immediately recognised as
from the vicinity of her old home of slavery. Almost fainting with
terror, she hastened home, and taking her two children by the hand,
fled to the house of a friend. She and her trembling children were hid
in the garret. In less than an hour after her escape, the officer,
with a writ, came for her arrest. It was a dark and stormy day. The
rain, freezing as it fell, swept in floods through the streets of
Boston. Night came, cold, black, and tempestuous. At midnight, her
friends took her in a hack, and conveyed her, with her children, to
the house of her pastor. Hence, after an hour of weeping, for the
voice of prayer had passed away into the sublimity of unutterable
anguish, they conveyed this mother and her children to one of the
Cunard steamers, which fortunately was to sail for Halifax the next
day. They took them in the gloom of midnight, through the
tempest-swept streets, lest the slave-hunter should meet them. Her
brethren and sisters of the church raised a little money from their
scanty means to pay her passage, and to save her, for a few days, from
starving, after her first arrival in the cold land of strangers. Her
husband soon returned to Boston, to find his home desolate, his wife
and children exiles in a foreign land. These facts need no
word-painting.--_Burritt's Bond of Brotherhood_.



THE TONGUE OF FIRE.

BY MRS NEWTON CROSLAND.


  I hear December's biting blast,
    I see the slippery hail-drops fall--
  That shot which frost-sprites laughing cast
    In some great Arctic arsenal;
  I lean my cheek against the pane,
    But start away, it is so chill,
  And almost pity tree and plain
    For bearing Winter's load of ill.

  The sombre sky hangs dark and low,
    It looks a couch where mists are born--
  A throne whence they in clusters flow,
    Or by the tempest's wrath are torn.
  I turn me to the chamber's Heart,
    Low pulsing like a vague desire,
  And strike an ebon block apart,
    Till up there springs a Tongue of Fire!

  It hath a jovial roaring tone,
    Like one rebuking half in jest--
  Yet ah! I wish there could be shewn
    The wisdom that it hath exprest--
  Or sinking to a lambent glow,
    Its arched and silent cavern seems
  A magic glass whereon to shew,
    And shape anew, our broken dreams!

  I vow the Fiery Tongue hath caught
    Quaint echoes of the passing time;
  Thus laughs it at my idle thought,
    My longing for a fairer clime:
  'So--so you'd like some southern shore,
    To gather flowers the winter through,
  As if there were on earth no more
    For busy human hands to do!

       *       *       *       *       *

  'And guard your Own!--In this, oh mark
    High duty and the world's far fate;
  Thou art poor deluged Europe's Ark,
    Her fortunes on Thy Safety wait;
  And--couching lion at her feet--
    In all her matron graces drest,
  Let free Britannia smiling greet
    Her radiant Daughter of the West!

  'The broad Atlantic flows between,
    But love can bridge the ends of earth;
  Of all the lands my race have seen,
    These two the rest are more than worth;
  Not for their skies, or fruits, or gold,
    But for their sturdy growth of Man,
  Who walks erect, and will not hold
    His life beneath a tyrant's ban.

  'Yet do not curl your lips with scorn
    That others are not great as ye;
  Your fathers fought ere ye were born,
    And died that thus it now should be!
  I tell ye, spirits walk unseen,
    Excepting by the soul's strong sight;
  Hampden and Washington, I ween,
    Are leaders yet in Freedom's fight!'

       *       *       *       *       *

  It ceased; but oh, Its words of fire
    Had dropped upon my Northman's heart,
  Rebuked a moment's vain desire,
    And slain it like a hunter's dart;
  Oh, welcome now the slippery hail,
    And welcome winter's biting blast,
  Ye braced our sires; they still prevail
    Who triumphed through the stormy past.

  And as beside the ruddy blaze
    We muse or talk of mighty things,
  In clarion tone one little phrase
    Still through the heart's deep echoes rings:
  'Our Hearths--our Homes--beyond compare!'
    Those charmèd circles whence there rise
  The steadfast souls that do and dare,
    And shape a Nation's destinies!

  There, pile the fagots high--aslant--
    And let them crackle out their hymn;
  There is no logic--that I grant--
    In wilful words of woman's whim:
  And yet I feel the links that glide
    'Twixt English Hearths and Liberty,
  And track how We--our truest pride--
    _First_ sheltered Her Divinity!

--_Ladies' Companion_.

       *       *       *       *       *

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





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