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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 445 - Volume 18, New Series, July 10, 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. 445 - Volume 18, New Series, July 10, 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. 445. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, JULY 10, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



ECONOMY IN DISTRIBUTION.


We had lately occasion to proceed by an omnibus from a country town to
a station on a railway, by which we were to return to the city where
we have our customary abode. On arriving at the station, we learned
that we should have to wait an hour for an _up_ train, the omnibus
being timed in relation to a _down_ one, which was about to pass. Had
this arrangement been the only one readily practicable, in the case,
we should have felt it necessary to submit uncomplainingly to the loss
of our hour; but it really was not so. We had come in one of three
omnibuses, none of which had more than two or three passengers. Why
should not one have come at this hour with _down_ passengers, and
another come an hour later with _up_ ones, thus by the same trouble
giving more accommodation? We found that the three omnibuses are run
by so many hotels, and that an arrangement for general convenience was
impossible, as it might have interfered with the hotel business. On
the continent, the government would have ordered matters otherwise:
with us, the genius of _laissez faire_ permits them to be as we
describe.

It is in the same part of the country that a system exists amongst
bakers, which we described many years ago in these pages. There are
three towns, triangularly arranged, about ten miles from each other.
One or more bakers in each has a van, in which he sends bread every
day to the other two. As there is no witchcraft in the making of
bread, it might be as well for the inhabitants of each town to be
supplied by the bakers of their own place exclusively, and then the
expense of the carriage would be saved. Such, however, is the keenness
of competition in the case, that each baker strives to get supporters
in the neighbouring towns, and willingly pays for van, horse, and
driver in order to retain their custom. We presume each van goes
thirty miles a day, and that there is not much less than 2000 miles of
this unprofitable travelling weekly in connection with the three
towns.

Any one who has a sincere respect for the principle of untrammelled
industry, must lament to see these its abuses or drawbacks. But our
commercial world is full of such anomalies. The cause is readily
traced in the excessive number of persons engaged in the various
trades. Not many years ago, the number of bakers in a town known to
us, of the same size as one of those above referred to, was fourteen,
while everybody acknowledged that four might have sufficed. In such
circumstances, it is not wonderful that expedients like that of the
van are resorted to, notwithstanding that it can only diminish the
aggregate of profit derived by an already starving trade.

Few persons who walk along a street of nicely-decorated and apparently
well-stocked shops, have the slightest conception of the hollowness of
many of the appearances. The reality has been tested in part by the
income-tax inquisition, which shews a surprising number of
respectable-looking shops not reaching that degree of profit which
brings the owner within the scope of the exaction. It may be that some
men who are liable, contrive to make themselves appear as not so; but
this cannot be to such an extent as greatly to affect the general
fact. In the assessing of the tax, no result comes out oftener than
one of this kind: Receipts for the year, L.2200; estimated profit at
15 per cent., L.330; deductions for rent of shop, taxes, shopmen's
wages, and bad debts, L.193; leaving, as net profit, L.137. The
commissioners are left to wonder how the trader can support his family
in a decent manner upon so small a return, till they reflect that
possibly a son brings in a little as a shopman, or a daughter as a
day-governess; or that possibly an old female relative lives with the
family, and throws her little income into the general stock. It is,
after all, a fact capable of the clearest demonstration, that a vast
number of shopkeepers' families maintain decent appearances upon an
income below that enjoyed by many artisans--what goes, in the one
case, for the decent appearances, being enjoyed in substantial
comforts in the other, or else misapplied, to the degradation of body
and mind.

The evil primarily lies in an erroneous distribution of industry.
Where twenty men offer themselves to do a duty to society for which
three are sufficient, it cannot be good for any party; whereas, were
the extra seventeen to apply themselves to other departments of the
labour required for all, it would be better times for the whole
twenty. The light, easy, and pleasant occupations are those most apt
to be beset by superfluous hands. Shopkeeping is generally easy, and
often pleasant; hence the excessive number of individuals applying
themselves to it. In the difficulties of the case, conspicuousness of
situation, extravagant decoration, and abundant advertising, are
resorted to, as means of obtaining a preference. Many, to help out
profits, resort to tricks and cheating. The expense thus incurred,
above what is necessary, in distributing certain goods, must be
enormous. To bring most articles to the hands of the consumer should
be a simple business. Every member of the public must feel that his
clothes will be as good, coming from a wareroom on a third floor at
L.30 a year, as from a flashy corner shop which costs L.300. He will
feel that to make him buy a new hat when he needs one, it is not
necessary that an advertising van should be continually rumbling along
the streets. His tea and sugar from the nearest grocer cannot be any
better because of there being fifty other grocers within two miles of
his residence, and forty of these not required. Yet, by reason of the
great competition in nearly all trades, these vast expenses, which do
nothing for the public, are continually incurred. Means misapplied are
means lost. The community is just so much the poorer. And we must
pronounce the superfluous shopkeepers, those who live by the rents of
fine shops, and those who are concerned in the business of advertising
beyond what is strictly necessary for the information of the public,
as incumbrances on the industry of the country.

One unfortunate concomitant of competition is, that it prompts in the
individual trader an idea which places him in a false position towards
the general interest. It is the general interest that all things fit
for use should be abundant; but when a man is concerned in producing
any of those things, he sees it to be for his immediate interest that
they should be scarce, because what he has to sell will then bring a
greater price. It is the general interest that all useful things
should be produced and distributed as cheaply as possible; but each
individual producer and distributer feels that the dearer they are, it
is the better for him. It is thus that a trade comes to regard itself
as something detached from the community; that a man also views his
peculiar trading interest as a first principle, to which everything
else must give way. It might, indeed, be easily shewn, that whatever
is good for the whole community, must be in the long-run beneficial to
each member. He either cannot look far enough for that, or he feels
himself unable to dispense with the immediate benefit from that which
is bad for the public. In short, each trade considers the world as
living for it, not it as living for the world--a mistake so monstrous,
that there is little reason to wonder at the enormous misexpenditure
to which it gives rise.

The idea essentially connected with these false positions, that
_because_ there are certain persons in a trade in a particular place,
they _ought_ to be there, and that the primary consideration regarding
them is how to enable them to continue living by that trade--as if
they were fixed there by some decree of Providence--is one of the most
perverse and difficult to deal with in political economy. The
assertion of any principle ruling to the contrary purpose, seems to
the multitude of superficial thinkers as a kind of cruelty to the
persons, the severity of the natural law being, by an easy slide of
thought, laid to the charge of the mere philosopher who detects and
announces its operation. In reality, those are the cruel people who
would contentedly see a great number of their fellow-creatures going
on from year to year in a misery, which, being brought upon themselves
by ignorance, and the want of a right spirit of enterprise, can only
be banished or lessened by their being rightly informed, and induced
to enter upon a proper course.

If there were a right knowledge and just views of these subjects
diffused through the community, a man would be ashamed to enter upon a
business in which a sufficient number of persons was already engaged,
knowing that he was thereby trifling with his time and fortunes, and
perhaps encouraging in himself a love of ease, or some other desire
which he was not entitled to gratify. He would rather go to some new
country, where he might eat in rough independence the rewards of an
actual toil. What is really required, however, is not that men should
leave their own country, but enter upon such pursuits there as may
preserve an equal instead of an unequal distribution of industry
throughout the various fields in which there is something to be done
for the general advantage. Distribution should be less a favourite
department, and production more so. With more producers and fewer
distributers, the waste we have endeavoured to describe would be so
far saved, and there would be fewer miserable people on the earth.

Even amidst all the delusions which prevail upon the subject, it is
curious to observe that there is a strong current towards a
rectification of what is amiss. The interests of the individual, which
produce so much fallacy, after all bring a correction. The active,
original-minded tradesman, seeing that, with an ordinary share of the
entire business of his department, he can scarcely make bread and
butter, bethinks him of setting up a leviathan shop, in which he may
serve the whole town with mercery at a comparatively small profit to
himself, looking to large and frequent returns for his remuneration.
The public, with all its sentimentalisms, never fails to take the
article, quality being equal, at the lowest price, and accordingly the
leviathan dealer thrives, while nearly all the small dealers are
extirpated. Now this is a course of things which produces partial
inconveniences; but its general effect is good. It lessens the cost of
distribution for the consumer, and it decides many to take to new and
more hopeful courses, who otherwise might cling to a branch of
business that had become nearly sapless. Underselling generally has
the same results. When in a trade in which distribution usually costs
43 per cent., one man announces himself as willing to lessen this by
15 or 20 per cent., his conduct is apt to appear unbrotherly and
selfish to the rest; but the fact is, that for goods of any kind to
cost 43 per cent., in mere distribution, is a monstrosity; and he who
can in any measure lessen that cost, will be regarded by the community
as acting in the spirit of a just economy, and as deserving of their
gratitude. These may be considered as the rude struggles of
competition towards a righting of its own evils. The public sees two
selfishnesses working in the case, and it naturally patronises that
which subserves its own interest.

The waste arising from an over-costly system of distribution, will
probably lead to other correctives of even a more sweeping kind than
that of underselling, or the setting up of leviathan shops. For the
greater number of the articles required for daily use, men begin to
find that a simple co-operative arrangement is sufficient. A certain
number agree to combine in order to obtain articles at wholesale
prices; after which a clerk, shopman, and porter suffice to distribute
them. They thus save, in many trades, as much as 15 per cent. So far
from their being under any peculiar disadvantage as to the quality of
the articles, they are rather safer than usual in that respect; and
indeed a freedom from the danger of getting adulterated or inferior
goods is one of the recommendations of the system. It would probably
extend more rapidly, were it not for the difficulties attending the
law of partnership, which, however, will in all likelihood be speedily
removed.

We make these remarks on distribution mainly in the hope of saving
individuals from entering upon a career in which, not being truly
useful to their fellow-creatures, they have little to expect of good
for themselves. At present, shopkeeping is limited by what an able
writer of the day calls the _bankruptcy check_;[1] that is, men go
into it, and remain in it, while they can just barely sustain
themselves, not regarding that they do not and cannot thrive, and that
they are only adding to a mass of idleness already burdensome to the
community. What we desire is, to see men so far enlightened in the
principles of economy, that they will be at least less apt to rush
into fields where their help is not wanted. We wish to assist in
creating a public opinion on this subject, which, fixing on
shopkeeping in such circumstances the odium of a masked idleness, will
tend to send the undecided into courses of real activity and
serviceableness; thus securing their own good by the only plan which
can be safely depended upon--that of first securing the good of the
entire community.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Mr F. O. Ward.



THE VENDETTA.


In the morning, we were off the coast of Sardinia, steaming rapidly
along for the Straits of Bonifacio. The night had been tranquil, and
the morning was more tranquil still; but no one who knew the
capricious Mediterranean felt confident of continued fair weather.
However, at sea the mind takes little thought for the morrow, or even
for the afternoon; and as we sat in the warm shade of the awning,
looking out to the purple horizon in the east, or to the rocky and
varied coast to the west, I felt, and if the countenance be not
treacherous, all felt that it was good even for landsmen to be moving
over waters uncrisped except by the active paddles, beneath a sky all
radiant with light. My companions were chiefly Levant merchants, or
sallow East Indians; for I was on board the French packet _Le Caire_,
on its way from Alexandria, of Egypt, to Marseille.

I had several times passed the Straits, each time with renewed
pleasure and admiration. It would be difficult to imagine a
scene more wild and peculiar. After rounding the huge rock of
Tavolara--apparently a promontory running boldly out into the sea, but
in reality an island, we are at once at the mouth of the Straits. The
mountains of Corsica, generally enveloped in clouds, rise above the
horizon ahead, and near at hand a thousand rocks and islands of
various dimensions appear to choke up the passage. The narrow southern
channel, always selected by day, is intricate, and would be dangerous
to strangers; and indeed the whole of the Straits are considered so
difficult, that the fact of Nelson, without previous experience,
having taken his fleet through, is cited even by French sailors as a
prodigy.

On one of the rocky points of the Sardinian coast, I observed the
ruins of a building, but so deceptive is distance, I could not at
first determine whether it had been a fortress or a cottage. I asked
one of the officers for his telescope; and being still in doubt,
questioned him as I returned it. He smiled and said: 'For the last
five or six years, I have never passed through the Straits by day
without having had to relate the story connected with that ruin. It
has become a habit with me to do so; and if you had not spoken, I
should have been compelled, under penalty of passing a restless night,
to have let out my narrative at dinner. You will go down to your berth
presently; for see how the smoke is weighed down by the heavy
atmosphere upon the deck, and how it rolls like a snake along the
waters! What you fancy to be merely a local head-wind blowing through
the Straits, is a mistral tormenting the whole Gulf of Lions. We shall
be tossing about presently in a manner unpleasant to landsmen; and
when you are safely housed, I will come and beguile a little time by
relating a true story of a Corsican Vendetta.'

The prophecy was correct. In less than a quarter of an hour, _Le
Caire_ was pitching through the last narrows against as violent a gale
as I ever felt. It was like a wall of moving air. The shores, rocks,
and islands were now concealed by driving mist; and as the sea widened
before us, it was covered with white-crested waves. Before I went
below, a cluster of sails ahead was pointed out as the English fleet;
and it was surmised that it would be compelled to repeat Nelson's
manoeuvre, as Sardinia and Corsica form a dangerous lee-shore.
However, the atmosphere thickened rapidly; and we soon lost sight of
all objects but the waves amidst which we rolled, and the phantom-like
shores of Corsica.

The officer joined me, and kept his promise. By constant practice, he
had acquired some skill in the art of telling at least this one story;
and I regret that I do not remember his exact words. However, the
following is the substance of his narrative:--Giustiniani and
Bartuccio were inhabitants of the little town of Santa Maddalena,
situated on the Corsican side of the Straits. They were both sons of
respectable parents, and were united from an early age in the bonds of
friendship. When they grew up, Giustiniani became clerk in a very
humble mercantile establishment; whilst Bartuccio, more fortunate,
obtained a good place in the custom-house. They continued on excellent
terms till the age of about twenty-one years, when an incident
occurred, that by making rivals of them, made them enemies.

Giustiniani had occasion to visit the city of Ajaccio, and set out in
company with a small party mounted upon mules. Bartuccio went with him
to the crest of the hill, where they parted after an affectionate
embrace. The journey was fortunately performed; in about a month
Giustiniani was on his way back, and reached without incident, just as
night set in, a desolate ravine within a few leagues of Santa
Maddalena. Here a terrific storm of wind and rain broke upon the
party, which missed the track, and finally dispersed; some seeking
shelter in the lee of the rocks, others pushing right and left in
search of the path, or of some hospitable habitation. Giustiniani
wandered for more than an hour, until he descended towards the plain,
and, attracted by a light, succeeded at length in reaching a little
cottage having a garden planted with trees. The lightning had now
begun to play, and shewed him the white walls of the cottage streaming
with rain, and the drenched foliage that surrounded it. Guided by the
rapidly succeeding gleams, he was enabled to find the garden gate,
where, there being no bell, he remained for some time shouting in
vain. The light still beamed gently through one of the upper windows,
and seemed to tell of a comfortable interior and cosy inmates.
Giustiniani exerted his utmost strength of voice, and presently there
was a movement in the lighted chamber--a form came to the window; and,
after some delay, the door of the house was opened, and a voice asked
who demanded admittance at that hour, and in such weather. Our
traveller explained, and was soon let in by a quiet-looking old
gentleman, who took him up stairs into a little library, where a good
wood-fire was blazing. A young girl of remarkable beauty rose as he
entered, and received him with cordial hospitality. Acquaintance was
soon made. Giustiniani told his little story, and learned that his
host was M. Albert Brivard, a retired medical officer, who, with his
daughter Marie, had selected this out-of-the-way place for economy's
sake.

According to my informant, Giustiniani at once fell in love with the
beautiful Marie, to such an extent that he could scarcely partake of
the supper offered him. Perhaps his abstinence arose from other
reasons--love being in reality a hungry passion in its early
stage--for next day the young man was ill of a fever, and incapable of
continuing his journey. M. Brivard and his daughter attended him
kindly; and as he seemed to become worse towards evening, sent a
messenger to Maddalena. The consequence was, that on the following
morning Bartuccio arrived in a great state of alarm and anxiety; but
fate did not permit him again to meet his friend with that whole and
undivided passion of friendship in his breast with which he had
quitted him a month before. Giustiniani was asleep when he entered the
house, and he was received by Marie. In his excited state of mind, he
was apt for new impressions, and half an hour's conversation seems not
only to have filled him with love, but to have excited the same
feeling in the breast of the gentle girl. It would have been more
romantic, perhaps, had Marie been tenderly impressed by poor
Giustiniani when he arrived at night, travel-stained and drenched with
rain, in the first fit of a fever; 'but woman,' said the sagacious
narrator, as he received a tumbler of grog from the steward, 'is a
mystery'--an opinion I am not inclined to confute.

In a few days, Giustiniani was well enough to return to his home,
which he reached in a gloomy and dissatisfied state of mind. He had
already observed that Bartuccio, who rode over every day professedly
to see him, felt in reality ill at ease in his company, spoke no
longer with copious familiarity, and left him in a few minutes,
professing to be obliged to return to his duty. From his bed, however,
he could hear him for some time after laughing and talking with Marie
in the garden; and he felt, without knowing it, all the pangs of
jealousy: not that he believed his friend would interfere and dispute
with him the possession of the gem which he had discovered, and over
which he internally claimed a right of property, but he was oppressed
with an uneasy sentiment of future ill, and tormented with a
diffidence as to his own powers of pleasing, that made him say adieu
to Marie and her father with cold gratitude--that seemed afterwards to
them, and to him when reflection came, sheer ingratitude.

When he had completely recovered his strength, he recovered also to, a
certain extent his serenity of mind. Bartuccio was often with him, and
never mentioned the subject of Marie. One day, therefore, in a state
of mingled hope and love, he resolved to pay a visit to his kind host;
and set out on foot. The day was sunny; the landscape, though rugged,
beautiful with light; a balmy breeze played gently on his cheek. The
intoxication of returning strength filled him with confidence and joy.
He met the old doctor herborising a little way from his house, and
saluted him so cordially, that a hearty shake of the hand was added to
the cold bow with which he was at first received. Giustiniani
understood a little of botany, and pleased the old man by his
questions and remarks. They walked slowly towards the house together.
When they reached it, M. Brivard quietly remarked: 'You will find my
daughter in the garden,' and went in with the treasures he had
collected. The young man's heart bounded with joy. Now was the time.
He would throw himself at once at Marie's feet, confess the turbulent
passion she had excited, and receive from her lips his sentence of
happiness, or---- No, he would not consider the alternative; and with
bounding step and eager eye, he ran over the garden, beneath the
orange and the myrtle trees, until he reached a little arbour at the
other extremity.

What he saw might well plunge him at once into despair. Marie had just
heard and approved the love of Bartuccio, who had clasped her, not
unwilling, to his breast. Their moment of joy was brief, for in
another instant Bartuccio was on the ground, with Giustiniani's knee
upon his breast, and a bright poniard glittered in the air. 'Spare
him--spare him!' cried the unfortunate girl, sinking on her knees. The
accepted lover struggled in vain in the grasp of his frenzied rival,
who, however, forbore to strike. 'Swear, Marie,' he said, 'by your
mother's memory, that you will not marry him for five years, and I
will give him a respite for so long.' She swore with earnestness; and
the next moment, Giustiniani had broken through the hedge, and was
rushing franticly towards Santa Maddalena.

When he recovered from his confusion, Bartuccio, who, from his
physical inferiority, had been reduced to a passive part in this
scene, endeavoured to persuade Marie that she had taken an absurd
oath, which she was not bound to abide by; but M. Brivard, though he
had approved his daughter's choice, knew well the Corsican character,
and decreed that for the present at least all talk of marriage should
be set aside. In vain Bartuccio pleaded the rights of an accepted
lover. The old man became more obstinate, and not only insisted that
his daughter should abide by her promise, but hinted that if any
attempt were made to oppose his decision, he would at once leave the
country.

As may well be imagined, Bartuccio returned to the city with feelings
of bitter hatred against his former friend; and it is probable that
wounded pride worked upon him as violently as disappointed passion. He
was heard by several persons to utter vows of vengeance--rarely
meaningless in that uncivilised island--and few were surprised when
next day the news spread that Giustiniani had disappeared. Public
opinion at once pointed to Bartuccio as the murderer. He was arrested,
and a careful investigation was instituted; but nothing either to
exculpate or inculpate him transpired, and after some months of
imprisonment, he was liberated.

Five years elapsed. During the first half of the period, Bartuccio was
coldly received by both M. Brivard and his daughter, although he
strenuously protested his innocence. Time, however, worked in his
favour, and he at length assumed the position of a betrothed lover, so
that no one was surprised when, at the expiration of the appointed
time, the marriage took place. Many wondered indeed why, since
Giustiniani had disappeared, and was probably dead, any regard was
paid to the extorted promise; whilst all augured well of the union
which was preceded by so signal an instance of good faith. The
observant, indeed, noticed that throughout the ceremony Bartuccio was
absent and uneasy--looking round anxiously over the crowd assembled
from time to time. 'He is afraid to see the ghost of Giustiniani,'
whispered an imprudent bystander. The bridegroom caught the last word,
and starting as if he had received a stab, cried: 'Where, where?' No
one answered; and the ceremony proceeded in ominous gloom.

Next day, Bartuccio and his young wife, accompanied by M. Brivard,
left Santa Maddalena without saying whither they were going; and the
good people of the town made many strange surmises on the subject. In
a week or so, however, a vessel being wrecked in the Straits,
furnished fresh matter of conversation; and all these circumstances
became utterly forgotten, except by a few. 'But this drama was as yet
crowned by no catastrophe,' said the officer, 'and all laws of harmony
would be violated if it ended here.' 'Are you, then, inventing?'
inquired I. 'Not at all,' he replied; 'but destiny is a greater
tragedian than Shakspeare, and prepares _dénouements_ with superior
skill.' I listened with increased interest.

The day after the departure of the married couple, a small boat with a
shoulder-of-mutton sail left the little harbour of Santa Maddalena a
couple of hours before sunset, and with a smart breeze on its quarter,
went bravely out across the Straits. Some folks who were accustomed to
see this manoeuvre had, it is true, shouted out to the only man on
board, warning him that rough weather was promised; but he paid no
heed, and continued on his way. If I were writing a romance, if,
indeed, I had any reasonable space, I would keep up the excitement of
curiosity for some time, describe a variety of terrific adventures
unknown to seamen, and wonderful escapes comprehensible only by
landsmen, and thus make a subordinate hero of the bold navigator. But
I must be content to inform the reader, that he was Paolo, a servant
of Giustiniani's mother, who had lived in perfect retirement since her
son's disappearance, professing to have no news of him. In reality,
however, she knew perfectly well that he had retired to Sardinia, and
after remaining in the interior some time, had established himself in
the little cottage, the ruins of which had attracted my attention. The
reason for his retirement, which he afterwards gave, was that he might
be enabled to resist the temptation to avenge himself on Bartuccio,
and, if possible, conquer his love for Marie. He no longer entertained
any hope of possessing her himself; but he thought that at least she
would grow weary of waiting for the passage of five years, and would
marry a stranger--a consummation sufficiently satisfactory, he
thought, to restore to him his peace of mind. Once a month at least he
received, through the medium of the faithful Paolo, assistance and
news from his mother; and to his infinite discomfiture learned, as
time proceeded, that his enemy, whilom his friend, was to be made
happy at last. His rage knew no bounds at this; and several times he
was on the point of returning to Santa Maddalena, to do the deed of
vengeance from which he had hitherto refrained. However, he resolved
to await the expiration of the five years.

Paolo arrived in safety at the cottage some time after dark, and
communicated the intelligence both of the marriage and the departure
of the family. To a certain extent, both he and the mother of
Giustiniani approved the projects of vengeance entertained by the
latter, but thought that the honour of the family was sufficiently
cleared by what was evidently a flight. Paolo was disappointed and
puzzled by the manner of the unfortunate recluse. Instead of bursting
out into furious denunciations, he became as pale as ashes, and then
hiding his face in his hands, wept aloud. His agony continued for more
than an hour; after which he raised his head, and exhibited a serene
brow to the astonished servitor. 'Let us return to Santa Maddalena,'
he said; and they accordingly departed, leaving the cottage a prey to
the storms, which soon reduced it to ruins, and will probably erelong
sweep away every trace.

Giustiniani reached his mother's house unperceived, and spent many
hours in close conversation with his delighted parent. He did not,
however, shew himself in the town, but departed on the track of the
fugitives the very next day. He traced them to Ajaccio, thence to
Marseille, to Nice, back to Marseille, to Paris, but there he lost the
clue. Several months passed in this way; his money was all spent, and
he was compelled to accept a situation in the counting-house of a
merchant of the Marais, and to give up the chase and the working out
of the catastrophe he had planned for his Vendetta.

A couple of years afterwards, Giustiniani had occasion to go to one of
the towns of the north of France--Lille, I believe. In its
neighbourhood, as my narrator told me--and on him I throw the whole
responsibility, if there seem anything improbable in what is to
come--the young man was once more overtaken by a storm, and compelled
to seek refuge in a cottage, which the gleams of the lightning
revealed to him. This time he was on foot, and after knocking at the
door, was admitted at once by a young woman, who seemed to have been
waiting in the passage for his arrival. She was about to throw herself
into his arms, when suddenly she started back, and exclaimed: 'It is
not he!' Taking up a candle, which she had placed on the floor, she
cast its light on her own face and that of the stranger, who had
remained immovable, as if petrified by the sound of her voice.
'Madam,' said he, brought to himself by this action, 'I am a stranger
in these parts, overtaken by the storm, and I beg an hour's
hospitality.'

'You are welcome, sir,' replied Marie, the wife of Bartuccio, for it
was she; but she did not at the moment recognise the unfortunate man
who stood before her.

They were soon in a comfortable room, where was M. Brivard, now
somewhat broken by age, and a cradle, in which slept a handsome boy
about a year old. Giustiniani, after the interchange of a few
words--perhaps in order to avoid undergoing too close an examination
of his countenance--bent over the cradle to peruse the features of the
child; and the pillow was afterwards found wet with tears. By an
involuntary motion, he clutched at the place where the poniard was
wont to be, and then sat down upon a chair that stood in a dim corner.
A few minutes afterwards, Bartuccio came joyously into the room,
embraced his wife, asked her if she was cold, for she trembled very
much--spoke civilly to the stranger, and began to throw off his wet
cloak and coat. At this moment the tall form of Giustiniani rose like
a phantom in the corner, and passions, which he himself had thought
smothered, worked through his worn countenance. Brivard saw and now
understood, and was nailed to his chair by unspeakable terror, whilst
Bartuccio gaily called for his slippers. Suddenly Marie, who had
watched every motion of the stranger, and, with the vivid intuition of
wife and mother, had understood what part was hers to play, rushed to
the cradle, seized the sleeping child, and without saying a word,
placed it in Giustiniani's arms. The strong-passioned man looked
amazed, yet not displeased, and, after a moment's hesitation, sank on
his knees, and embraced the babe, that, awaking, curled its little
arms round his head----

A tremendous crash aloft interrupted the well-prepared peroration of
the narrator; and, to say the truth, I was not sorry that a sail was
carried away, and one of our boats stove in at this precise moment,
for I had heard quite enough to enable me to guess the conclusion of
the history of this harmless Vendetta.



WRECK-CHART AND LIFE-BOATS.


Many of our readers are probably aware that Prince Albert, in his
capacity of president of the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and
Commerce, suggested that lectures should be delivered on the results
of the different classes of the Great Exhibition, by gentlemen
peculiarly qualified by their several professions and pursuits. This
suggestion has been admirably carried out; but we propose at present
to direct attention only to one of the twenty-four lectures in
question--namely, that on life-boats, by Captain Washington, R. N.;
our individual calling in early life having been such as to enable us
to understand thoroughly the technical details, and judge of the
accuracy of the views and opinions propounded by the gallant and
intelligent lecturer.[2]

First, we will speak of the wreck-chart of the British islands
prefixed to the lecture. Round the entire coast is a prodigious number
of _black dots_, of two kinds--one a simple round dot, and the other
having a line drawn through it. They all point out the locality of
shipwrecks during the year 1850, and the latter dot shews the wreck to
have been total. The English coasts are most thickly dotted, but this
is to be expected from the greater proportion of shipping; next in the
scale is Ireland, and then Scotland, which has comparatively few black
dots, the densest portion being on the west coast, from Ayr to Largs,
where we count eleven, nine indicating total wrecks. In the Firth of
Forth there are but three, one total. A sprinkling of dots is seen
among the Eastern Hebrides, but not so many as one would expect.
Turning to England, we count about forty-five wrecks in the Bristol
Channel alone, by far the greater number being total. On the Goodwill
Sands there are fourteen, all total but one. On the Gunfleet Sands
there are nine, four total. They are numerous on the Norfolk and
Lincolnshire coasts, especially off Yarmouth and the Washway. On the
Welsh coast, particularly around Beaumaris, Holyhead, &c., the number
is very great. In the firth leading to Liverpool, we count no less
than twenty-one, of which twelve are total. On the north coast of
England the numbers are appalling. Off Hartlepool are fifteen, eight
being total. Off Sunderland are twelve, all total but three. Off
Newcastle are fifteen, eight total. Ah, that fearful, iron-bound coast
of Northumberland! We have hugged it close in calm weather, with a
fair breeze, and the views we caught of its shores made us shudder to
think of what would befall a vessel on a stormy night and the shore
alee. The following is the awful summary of 1850:--'The wrecks of
British and foreign vessels on the coasts and in the seas of the
United Kingdom were 681. Of these, 277 were total wrecks; sunk by
leaks or collisions, 84; stranded and damaged so as to require to
discharge cargo, 304; abandoned, 16. Total wrecks, &c., 681; total
lives lost, 784.'

Certain peculiar marks on this chart indicate the spots where
life-boats are kept. In the vicinity of Liverpool we count no less
than seven, and not one too many; but in many parts of the coast,
where numerous wrecks occur, there are none. In all England there are
eighty life-boats; in Ireland, eight; in Scotland, eight. A most
portentous note on the chart informs us, that '_about one-half of the
boats are unserviceable!_' Think of Scotland, with its rocky seaboard
of 1500 miles: only eight life-boats, and some of these 'quite
unserviceable!' The boats at St Andrews, Aberdeen, and Montrose, have
saved eighty-three lives; and the rockets at eight stations,
sixty-seven lives. 'Orkney and Shetland are without any provision for
saving life; and with the exception of Port Logan, in Wigtonshire,
where there is a mortar, the whole of the west coast of Scotland, from
Cape Wrath to Solway Firth--an extent of 900 miles, without including
islands--is in the same state.' With regard to the chief distribution
of English life-boats, there is one to every eight miles on the
Northumberland coast; one to every ten miles in Durham and Yorkshire;
one to fifteen miles in Lincolnshire; and one to five miles in Norfolk
and Suffolk--a fact which, the lecturer well observes, is highly
creditable to the county associations of the two last counties. But
'from Falmouth round the Land's End, by Trevose Head to Hartland
Point, an extent of 150 miles of the most exposed sea-coast in
England, there is not one really efficient life-boat.' On the Welsh
coasts are twelve boats, some very defective. At the five Liverpool
stations are nine good boats, 'liberally supported by the dock
trustees, and having permanent boats' crews.' These Liverpool boats
have, during the last eleven years, assisted 269 vessels, and brought
ashore 1128 persons. As to the Isle of Man, situated in the track of
an enormous traffic, with shores frequently studded with wrecks, we
are told that there is not a single life-boat; for the four boats
established there by Sir William Hillary, Baronet, 'have been allowed
to fall into decay, and hardly a vestige of them remains!' The paltry
eight life-boats for the whole Irish coast of 1400 miles are stated to
be likewise inefficient.

On the whole, it appears to us that the present number of efficient
life-boats is not more than one-fourth of what ought to be constantly
kept ready for immediate service. Only think of the amount of wrecks
occurring occasionally in a single gale: On the 13th January 1843, not
less than 103 vessels were lost on the British coasts. In 1846, nearly
forty vessels were driven ashore in Hartlepool Bay alone. In the month
of March 1850, the wrecks on our coasts were 134; in the gale of the
25th and 26th September 1851, the number wrecked, stranded, or damaged
by collision, was 117; and in January of the present year, the number
was 120. The above are the numbers actually ascertained; but it is
well known that _Lloyd's List_ is an imperfect register, although at
present the best existing.

A secondary mode of communicating with a stranded vessel is by firing
rockets with a line attached to them, by which means a hawser may be
drawn from the ship and fastened to the shore. Mortars are likewise
used for the same purpose; the latter plan having been invented by
Sergeant Bell, and first tried in 1792. Bell's plan was very greatly
improved by Captain Manby; and all the mortars now in use for the
purpose are called after him. Mr Dennett, of the Isle of Wight, first
introduced the rocket-plan in 1825. Rockets or mortars, or both, are
kept at most of the coast-guard stations; but in numerous cases were
found worthless on trial, owing to the lines breaking, or the rockets
being old and badly made. Nevertheless, at twenty-two stations, 214
lives have been saved by them. The evil is, that neither rockets nor
mortars are of any use unless the wreck lies within a short distance
of the shore; for the maximum range attained is only 350 yards, and in
the teeth of a violent wind, often not above 200 to 300 yards. If a
ship, therefore, is stranded on a low shelving shore, she is almost
certain to be beyond the range of the life-rocket or of Manby's
mortar. The main reliance, therefore, is the life-boat, and to it we
return.

The Duke of Northumberland recently offered a reward for the best
model of a life-boat. This offer was responded to by English, French,
Dutch, German, and American boat-builders; and the amazing number of
280 models and plans was sent in. About fifty of the best of these
were contributed by the duke to the Great Exhibition; and he had also
a report and plans and drawings of them printed, of which he
distributed 1300 copies throughout the world. Baron Dupin, chairman of
the Jury of Class VIII., thus summed up the award of the jury
concerning them:--'These models figure among the most valuable
productions in our Great Exhibition, and furnish an example of
liberality in the cause of humanity and practical science never
surpassed, if ever equalled. Such are the motives from which we have
judged his Grace the Duke of Northumberland worthy of receiving the
Council Medal.'

The inventor of life-boats, as is well known, was Henry Greathead, of
South Shields, in 1789. His boat was 30 feet long, with 10 feet
breadth of beam, 3-1/4 feet depth of waist, stem and stern alike
nearly 6 feet high, and pulled ten oars (double-banked.) A cork lining
went fore and aft 12 inches thick, on the inside of the boat, from the
floor to the thwarts; and outside was a cork fender, 16 inches deep, 4
inches wide, and 21 feet long. 'She could not free herself of water,
nor self-right in the event of being upset.' She was launched in 1790,
and in the year 1802, the inventor was rewarded by the Society of Arts
with its gold medal and fifty guineas; and parliament voted him
L.1200, 'in acknowledgment of the utility of his invention.' Many
presumed improvements and modifications of the original boat have been
effected, with more or less success. James Beeching, a Yarmouth
boat-builder, has carried off the prize offered by the duke, and we
may therefore suppose his was the best of the models submitted.
Captain Washington thus describes Beeching's model sent to the
Exhibition: 'It may be seen from the model of that boat, that from her
form she would both pull and sail well in all weathers; would have
great stability, and be a good sea-boat. She has moderately small
internal capacity under the level of the thwarts for holding water,
and ample means for freeing herself readily of any water that might be
shipped; she is ballasted by means of water admitted into a tank or
well at the bottom after she is afloat; and by means of that ballast
and raised air-cases at the extremities, she would right herself in
the event of being upset. It will thus be seen, that this model
combines most of the qualities required in a life-boat; and the boat
which has since been built after it, and is now stationed at Ramsgate,
is said to answer her purpose admirably.'

M. Lahure, of Havre, sent a full-sized boat of _iron_; and Mr Francis,
of New York, also sent a model life-boat of corrugated galvanised
iron. Captain Washington thinks, that if metal is used at all, it
should be copper in preference to any other. For our own part, we can
only say, that we have helped to build boats, though not life-boats,
and we have helped likewise to man boats, but we should like to have
good sound timber beneath our feet in preference to any metal
whatever; and we should prefer cork for the floating substance to
air-tight cases, or copper tubing, or any of the other contrivances
that have been adopted to give buoyancy to a swamped boat. Air-cases
are very liable to leak, or may be stove in by the sea, or be crushed
by coming in contact with the wreck or rocks, but cork can never be
injured. And as to metal air-cases, it was found on opening the sides
of a life-boat at Woolwich Dockyard, that her copper tubes, supposed
to be air-tight, were corroded into holes; for copper will corrode
when in contact with sea-water, especially when alternately wet or
dry, as is the case in life-boats.

We cannot here follow Captain Washington through his critical and
technical details, but we think it right to express our strong
suspicion, that the much-lauded _self-righting_ power of certain new
life-boats is obtained only at the cost of greater liability to upset.
Doubtless a boat can be made to right herself after a capsize, but
this really seems to us something like locking the stable-door when
the steed is stolen; for even if she rights the very instant after
upsetting, three-fourths of the crew are almost certain to perish. We
think it far more important to construct a boat that will hardly
capsize at all, than to build one that will right itself _after_
capsizing; for we repeat our opinion, that the latter boat will prove
liable to upset just in proportion to her capability of self-righting.

Many fatal accidents have happened to life-boats; and the details of
some mentioned by the lecturer are peculiar and interesting. On the
coast of Northumberland, in 1810, one of Greathead's boats, after
saving several crews of fishing-cobles, was returning to the shore,
when a heavy sea overwhelmed her, and by its sheer weight and force
broke her in two, and the whole of the crew, thirty-four in number,
perished. In 1820, Greathead's original life-boat, after saving the
crew of the ship _Grafton_, at Shields, struck on a rock, and swamped;
nevertheless, the brave old boat--although she had not the boasted
power of self-righting--preserved her centre of gravity, and brought
both crews to land. At Scarborough, in 1836, the life-boat, in going
out to a vessel, turned completely end over end, 'shutting up one of
the crew inside, where he remained in safety, getting fresh air
through the tubes in the bottom, and was taken out when the boat
drifted, bottom upwards, on the beach: ten lives were lost.' In 1841,
the life-boat at Blyth, Northumberland, capsized, and ten men were
drowned. At Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, in 1843, the life-boat
capsized, three men remaining under her bottom, while others got upon
it. The accident was seen from the shore, and five men put off in a
coble, fitted with air-cases like a life-boat; but she almost
immediately turned end over end, and two men were drowned. The
life-boat herself drifted ashore, and the three men under her bottom
were saved. In all, twelve lives were lost. But the most lamentable
disaster that ever befell a life-boat was at South Shields, on
December 4, 1849, when twenty-four men, all pilots, went off to rescue
the crew of the _Betsy_, stranded on Herd Sand. 'The boat had reached
the wreck, and was lying alongside with her head to the eastward, with
a rope fast to the quarter, but the bow-fast not secured. The
shipwrecked men were about to descend into the life-boat, when a heavy
knot of sea, recoiling from the bow of the vessel, caught the bow of
the boat and turned her up on end, throwing the whole crew and the
water into the stern-sheets. The bow-fast not holding, the boat drove
in this position astern of the vessel, when the ebb-tide, running
rapidly into her stern, the boat completely turned end over end, and
went on shore bottom up. On this occasion, twenty out of
twenty-four--or double the proper crew--were drowned under the boat.
On seeing the accident, two other life-boats immediately dashed off
from North and South Shields, saved four of the men, and rescued the
crew of the _Betsy_.' It is added, that the life-boats have been in
constant use at Shields since Greathead first launched his boat there
in 1790, and excepting the above accident, no life has ever been lost
in them, or from want of them. Between 1841 and 1849, they saved 466
lives. But good is frequently educed from evil, and it was this very
disaster at Shields that induced the Duke of Northumberland to offer a
premium for the best life-boat; and his Grace has now, with princely
liberality, undertaken to place a well-built life-boat at each of the
most exposed points of the coast of his own county, with rockets or
mortars at every intermediate station.

As to dimensions, the existing life-boats are of three classes: from
20 to 25 feet long, from 25 to 30 feet, and from 30 to 36 feet. Some
are only 18 feet long, and on thinly-inhabited coasts are the best, as
unless a regular crew is provided, it is often difficult to man a
large boat--at least efficiently. The largest boats are used at
Caistor and Corton, in Norfolk, and are 40 to 45 feet long, weigh from
four to five tons, and cost L.200 to L.250 each. They are said to be
admirable vessels of the kind, and well manned. The 36 feet boat is
used at Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Deal, &c., and always goes off under
sail. The 30 feet boat is used at Liverpool, Shields, Dundee, &c.; and
one of those at Liverpool brought sixty people ashore on one occasion.
Some of the models sent to the Exhibition were of boats that did not
weigh more than half a ton; but we fully agree with the lecturer, that
a boat so light as that would never be able to pull out to sea in a
head-wind. A life-boat ought to possess a certain weight, or momentum,
or it will be driven back by the winds, or sucked back by the sea,
like a feather.

It is exceedingly desirable that all life-boats should have regularly
trained crews, for an ordinary sailor or fisherman is by no means
competent to do properly the duty of a life-boatman. The cockswain,
especially should be well trained.

Captain Washington remarks, that 'a careful examination of the returns
of wrecks by the Coast-guard officers, forcibly impresses on the mind
the painful conviction, that the greater part of the casualties that
occur are not occasioned by stress of weather, but that they are
mainly attributable to causes within control, and to which a remedy
might be applied.' This has long been our own opinion, and we have
again and again expressed it. 'Wherever the boats have been looked
after, and the crews well trained, as at Liverpool, Shields, and on
the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk, the most signal success has
rewarded their exertions. The first step is to insure a safe and
powerful life-boat, and this, we feel confident, has been
accomplished; the next is to build a sufficient number of such boats,
place them where required, organise and train the crews, and provide
for their supervision and maintenance.... There seems no reason why a
very few years should not see a life-boat stationed at each of the
exposed points on the most frequented parts of the coasts of the
United Kingdom; by means of which--with the blessing of Divine
Providence upon the endeavours of those who undertake the work--the
best results to the cause of humanity may confidently be anticipated.'


FOOTNOTES:

[2] Published by Bogue, Fleet Street.



THE SALONS OF PARIS.


News has just reached us from Paris of the death of Madame Sophie Gay.
She was a writer of the half-historical, half-sentimental school of
French fiction, of which Madame de Genlis, the Duchess d'Abrantes, and
Madame de Souza were specimens more or less worthy; but in ease and
grace, Madame Gay was superior to all we have mentioned. It is, in our
minds, very affecting to witness the last lights of the ancient salons
of Paris dropping out one by one. Mme Gay has herself, in a single
volume published in 1837, entitled _Salons Célèbres_, left us a very
beautiful picture of them as they were in their prime. We have
translated--abridging, however, as we went--the opening chapters of
this work, and may add a notice of more modern salons, as given by the
lively pen of Mme Emile de Girardin--_née_ Delphine Gay--daughter of
Mme Sophie. The reader will judge whether the fashionable Frenchmen
and Frenchwomen have really profited much by the storms and tempests
that have gone over their heads. To be sure, Mme de Girardin's
pictures were given twelve years ago; but we believe they would
require little change, at least up to the conclusion of the Orleans
reign in 1848. The volume from which these last extracts are made, is
entitled _Lettres Parisiennes_. It has all the wit and talent of the
cleverest of fashionable Frenchwomen. The tone is sometimes extremely
good--better than we were led to expect; but the picture it presents
is about as mournful a one as pictures of French frivolity usually
are. We will, however, leave them to make their own impression. First,
then, for Mme Sophie Gay and the ancient _salons_.

Now that the empire of the salons, she observes, has passed away with
that of women, it would be difficult to convey to our youthful France
an idea of the influence which certain of these were wont to exercise,
in state affairs and in the choice of men in power. To have a salon is
far from an easy thing; a crowd of people may, and do every day, give
concerts and balls in their gilded apartments, and yet they may never
have salons. Essential conditions are required which can rarely be
found in conjunction. The most important of all is the talent and
character of the lady who does the honours. Without being old, she
must have passed the age in which a woman is chiefly spoken of for her
prettiness or her dress, and be at that point of time when a woman's
mind may rule over the self-love of a man more than her youthful
attractions enabled her to rule over his heart.

Rank and fortune were important items, not quite indispensable,
however; for Mme du Deffand was poor, and Mme Geoffrin was the wife of
a manufacturer. In the salons of these two women edicts were framed,
and academicians reared; but the questions discussed there were not
nearly of the importance of those to which Mme de Staël's salon gave
rise. It was essential that the mistress of the house should have a
decided and superior taste in a variety of ways; also a total absence
of those little, envious feelings which might have tended to exclude
the fashionable woman or successful author. She must know how to bear
enemies in her presence, to place talents according to their worth, to
shew the tiresome the way to the door--things which require address
and courage.

The salon of Mme de Staël, during three different periods of her life,
took considerable modification from the changes of the time; but it
was always the same in power, if not in brilliancy.

Under the first Revolution, it was the scene of most momentous
deliberations. Barnave, Talleyrand, Lameth, Dupont, Boissy d'Anglas,
Portalis, Chénier, Roederer, and Benjamin Constant, discussed at the
place of familiar meeting many a half-formed decree, and many
important state nominations. The only member of the Directory who
visited there was Barras; and it was a common saying, that every visit
cost him a good deed; for Mme de Staël never slackened in her
intercessions for the victims of the tribunals. She infused courage
into the hearts of those who were pleaders for them. Through her
means, Talleyrand was recalled, and even named minister of foreign
affairs. 'He wanted some help,' she said, 'in order to arrive at
power, but none to enable him to keep it when gained.' Her sagacity
was at fault, if she persuaded herself that the returned
emigrant-priest would bring harmony into public counsels. On these
evenings, pregnant with deeds both evil and good, it was said that
some very foul conspiracies were concocted, and some of these were
directly imputed to Mme de Staël; but she earnestly denied the truth
of such surmises. Her salon, not herself, was guilty. Most generously
did she exert herself in behalf of those who suffered after such
conspiracies; but some one was heard to say: 'She is a good woman, but
would push any of her friends into the water for the delight of
fishing them up again with her own tackle.'

When the Consulate was established, Mme de Staël's salon empire was
watched by the rising influence of the day with a jealous eye. It was
certainly a turbulent scene. Very bitter were the complaints of the
men of the Revolution. They had risked so much; they had fought so
courageously for liberty! They saw the disorders of the time, but they
could not bear to lose all the fruits of their toil; and Garat and
Andrieux, Daunon and Benjamin Constant, urged on by the eloquence of
Mme de Staël, framed powerful appeals on these occasions for the
morrow. Bonaparte could not tolerate this. His power was too recently
gained--his projects too unripe. In vain did the friends of Mme de
Staël say, that a _salon_ could never be dangerous to a rule like his.
'It is not a salon,' said he; 'it is a club.' It was, in fact, the
antagonism between mind and physical force. The First Consul had said
before, of the orators of the Tribune: 'I have no time to answer these
refractory speechifiers: they _do_ nothing but perplex all things;
they must be silenced.' And one great point of attack was Mme de
Staël's salon. It was necessary she should abdicate her throne. A
sentence of banishment condemned the brilliant lady to lay down the
sceptre. Exiled to Geneva, surrounded by friends, sharing her father's
lot, occupied with her daughter's education, she had, it may be
thought, plenty of objects: she was unquestionably the first literary
woman in Europe, too, and as such, Geneva was as her salon, where she
received the homage of royalty and talent. Yet, a true Frenchwoman,
unable to bear separation from the peculiar atmosphere in which she
had been reared, she pined after it--pined still more for the friends
who visited her only to be partakers of her exile; and so she passed
the whole period of the Napoleon dynasty.

Meanwhile, in the interval between the banishment of Mme de Staël and
her return, the most captivating mistress of a Paris salon appears to
have been Mme de Beaumont. She was the daughter of M. de Montmorin,
the minister of foreign affairs, who had immediately followed Necker.
She married early, and not happily. She lived with her father,
separated from her husband, and was intrusted to transcribe some of
the very important correspondence between Mirabeau and the court. In
the Reign of Terror, her father, and it is thought others of her
family, fell by the guillotine; but she herself was spared, even
against her will. She retired for awhile into the country, visiting
among her friends, who did all they could to console her. She was the
object of the strongest attachment on the part of Châteaubriand,
Joubert, Fontanes, Molé, and many others; and when, once more, quiet
and order were restored, even at the sacrifice of much of liberty, she
came to Paris again. Her old friends rallied about her, her spirits
seemed to revive for awhile, and her salon was for a year or two a
scene of remarkable enjoyment. One who truly appreciated her, and who
was worthy to be himself the centre of a social circle--M. Joubert,
the author of some beautiful thoughts on literature and divers other
subjects--thus tenderly commemorates the evenings to which we have
alluded: 'Peaceful society! where none of those disuniting pretensions
which spoil enjoyment could come; where acknowledged talent was not
divorced from good temper; where praise was given to whatever was
praiseworthy; where nothing was thought of but what was really
attractive. Peaceful society! whose scattered members can never unite
again without speaking of her who was the connecting link that brought
them all together.'

To our minds, there seems something unique and infinitely touching in
this bursting out, though but for a short time, of the slumbering
fires of an older society, from underneath the heaps of hard and alien
material which had gone far to extinguish every spark of gentleness
and refinement. The relics of families--their hearts still bleeding
from their wounds--came to forget, if possible, the terrible past, and
indulge their quiet hopes for the future. Very soon, indeed, the dream
was dispelled; the tyranny proved to some unbearable; and some it
vanquished in their highest part--their inward conscience--making them
subservient when they might have shunned the danger altogether. But
while the quiet interval lasted, it was like an Indian summer,
prolonging the intellectual and tasteful beauty which was soon to be
overwhelmed by the vulgar splendours of the Empire.

The greatest loss this circle could have had was the first. Mme de
Beaumont died at Rome in 1804--attended only by Châteaubriand--who has
given an account of the closing scene in his memoirs, and thenceforth
it does not appear that the same society reassembled.

But another and third edition of the salon, under Mme de Staël, was
witnessed at the Restoration. Hitherto we have sketched from Mme
Sophie Gay's pictures. At this period, she declares herself unable to
bear the mortification of mingling with the public of Paris: she could
not see the Cossacks without shuddering. She shut herself up in her
house, and knew what passed only through the kindness of friends, who
wrote narratives for her amusement of any remarkable incidents they
might note. Among these communications, Mme Sophie Gay has preserved
one from the Marquis de Custine, and she has given it as a faithful
picture of one of the last of Mme de Staël's soirées in Paris.

'I am just returned, and will not go to bed without telling you what
has most amused me--not that _amused_ is the right word, for Mme de
Staël's salon is more than a scene of amusement: it is a glass in
which is reflected the history of the time. What we see and hear there
is more instructive than books, more exciting than many comedies....

'You know that the Duke of Wellington was to visit her this evening
for the first time. I went in good time; she was not yet in the room:
several others were also waiting--such as the Abbé de Pradt, Benjamin
Constant, La Fayette. They were conversing; I remained in one corner,
as if listening to them.... At length Mme de Staël came in. "I am
late," she said; "but it is not my fault. I was invited to dine
at----, and was obliged to go." A great many of the guests were come:
all were looking for the hero of the evening--we had seen him only as
part of a show, now we wanted to hear him converse. At length he
entered. The nobleness of his figure and simplicity of his manners
produced a most agreeable impression on us. His pride, as it ought,
has nearly the grace of timidity. Mme de Staël, impressed by a style
and manner so little like that of our countrymen, said: "He carries
his glory as if it were a nothing." Then, by a quick recall of
patriotism, she whispered in my ear: "One must admit, however, that
nature never made a great man at less expense." It seemed to me that
the whole man was portrayed in these brief remarks.

'You would suppose, after this _début_, that we had a very pleasant
evening: you shall judge. The Duke had not reached the end of the
salon, when the Abbé de Pradt fastened on him, and actually forced him
to listen for at least three-quarters of an hour, while he expressed
his ideas--the ideas of the Abbé de Pradt!--upon military tactics.
Conceive the wrath of Mme de Staël, and the annoyance of everybody
there! M. Schlegel said, that he could fancy he was listening to that
rhetorician who pronounced a discourse on the art of war to Hannibal.

'This remark did not make amends for the nuisance of hearing in good
French what we all knew before, when what we wanted was to listen to
new things, in a foreign accent. Among the very few words which the
English general was allowed to put in, I caught one sentence which
struck me. While the abbé took breath, or coughed, the warrior had
just time to tell us, that the most awful day in the life of a
commander is that in which he has gained a battle; because, before
having passed a night on the ground, and being assured on the morrow
of the departure of the enemy, the conqueror cannot even know whether
he is not conquered.

'Everything has its cost in this world, and if every man told us his
secret, we should see that the most dazzling triumphs are paid for at
their full price. However that may be, I thought there was sense and
good taste in the Duke's remark. It seemed as if he tried to make us
forgive him for exciting our curiosity so much.

'Many people went away discouraged by the bad manners of M. de Pradt.
The hero himself was thinking of a retreat, when Mme de Staël came to
release him from the ambuscade into which he had fallen. She retained
him near the door, and there was a grave conversation on the English
constitution. Mme de Staël could not reconcile the idea of political
liberty, with the prevalence of servile forms remaining in the
individual relationships of a society so jealous of that liberty as
England.

'"Language and aristocratic customs do not annoy people living in a
country that is really free," said the Duke. "We use these unimportant
formulæ in compliment to the past, and preserve our ceremonies as we
keep a memorial, even when it has lost its primitive destination."

'"But is it true," asked Mme de Staël, "that your lord chancellor
speaks to the king on his bended knee during the opening address or
sitting of parliament?"

'"Yes; quite true."

'"How _does_ he do it?"

'"He speaks to him kneeling, as I have told you."

'"But how?"

'"Must I shew you? You _will_ have it!" answered the Duke; and he
threw himself at the feet of our Corinna.

'"I wish everybody could see him," cried Mme de Staël.

'And everybody there did applaud with one accord. I would not answer
for the same unanimity of approbation among the same people after they
had reached the foot of the staircase.

'Everybody went away, only I stayed two hours with the mistress of the
house and M. Schlegel, whose anger against the abbé did not wear out.
These two hours Mme de Staël's conversation enchanted me, proving how
much there is to attach us in one who can live at one and the same
time so near and yet so far above the world.... I might pass many
evenings in recounting in detail the conversation of this evening.
There is more than matter for a book in a two hours' talk with Mme de
Staël. I had better go to bed, that I may be able to tell you
to-morrow all I can only leave you to guess at now.'[3]

And now we come to a later period, and Mme Sophie Gay shall give place
to her lively and clever daughter Delphine, Mme Emile Girardin.

'Parisian society,' she writes, 'now, in 1839, offers the strangest
aspect that ever was seen--a mixture of luxury and rudeness, English
propriety and French negligence, political absurdities and
revolutionary terrors, of which it is hard to form a just conception.
The luxury of the salons is truly Eastern, not only the salons,
indeed, but the anterooms: an anteroom in a handsome hotel is more
richly adorned than the most beautiful drawing-room of the provincial
prefecture. There, footmen more or less powdered--for there are rebels
who choose to wear so little powder, that you would rather take them
for millers, in livery, than for servants of the anteroom--these
self-styled powdered lackeys offer you a great book, bound in velvet,
with the corners bronzed and gilt, in which you are asked to write
your name. If the lady of the house is visible, you are pompously
ushered into the sanctuary--that is to say, into the second salon or
parlour, or closet, or _atelier_, whichever best assorts with the
pretensions of the lady. A dog darts upon you, barks, makes a show of
biting you; he is quieted, submits, and regains his purple cushion,
growling. Dogs are very much in fashion: together with the fire,
flowers, an old aunt, and two toadies, they make up part of the living
accompaniments of a genteel salon. As you are an elegant person, of
course you are ill-dressed: your coat is dusty, your boots speckled
with mud, your hair uncombed, you exhale a strong odour of tobacco. At
first glance, such things seem rather disagreeable, common, and
inelegant. No such thing: this is exactly the most fashionable style
we have; it seems to say: "I have just dismounted from the finest
horse in Paris. I am a man of fashion, of that distinguished position
in society, that I can go in a morning to call on a duchess, _dressed
like a highwayman_."

'On the other hand, the mistress of the house is charming. One must do
women the justice to say, that they never take a pride in ugliness;
that they never make elegance to consist in appearing to the greatest
possible disadvantage. The woman whom you are visiting, then, is
dressed in the best taste. A beautiful lace cap covers her light hair;
she wears a soft figured Gros do Naples; her stockings are of
exquisite fineness; her shoes irreproachable (we doubt not they bear
the mark of either Gros or Müller); her Valenciennes cuffs are
irresistible: everything betokens care and fastidious nicety. The
freshness of her appearance is a satire on the negligence of yours.
One cannot comprehend why this elegant woman should have prepared
herself in so costly a manner to receive this man; and in the evening,
really the contrast is greater still. Young men no longer wear
stockings when they go into a party; yet they dare not just yet
present themselves in boots; and therefore they come in _brodequins_,
like students. We are in the age of the _juste-milieu_; and this is
appropriate enough. The _brodequin_ is in its right place half-way
between shoes and boots. These ill-dressed men are surrounded by women
blazing in jewels and diamonds, coronets and diadems. It is impossible
to believe that such differently dressed beings can be of the same
country and station in society; and yet they are all talking and
chirping together: and what conversation! what a conflict of subjects!
what an inexplicable picture of forethought and thoughtlessness! or
rather of apathy!

'"And do you also believe in a revolution, M. de P----?" inquires a
charming princess, spreading out her fan.

'"Certainly, madame; and I hope we shall have one sooner than some may
think."

'"What! monsieur--you make me tremble."

'"Can you, then, be afraid of a revolution which will bring about what
you wish for?"

'"No; but we shall have some cruel moments to pass through."

'"Some may; but not everybody."

'"Bah! revolutions make no selection; and then, when once the scaffold
is set up"----

'"How fast you travel, madame: in our day we shall never bear with
scaffolds. The days of Terror will never return!"

'"I think with M. de P----," chimes in a young dandy, playing with a
Chinese ape on the table: "I rather look for civil war."

'"I do not expect it; we have not energy enough for a civil war." ...

'"But you will have household assassinations, probably, if that will
be any comfort."

'"And then, the pillage of Paris!"

'"Pillage!"

'"Certainly." And every one cries:

'"Oh, well, if there is pillage, I will be in it."

'"I shall come to your house, madame," says one. "I shall carry away
this beautiful vase."

'"And I, the plate."

'"And I, the charming portrait."

'"I have no fixed idea yet. I shall come to your house to-morrow,
madame, to choose," &c.

'"All this will be very amusing; and yet, when the day comes, I shall
not be sorry to be in Italy."

'"Well, let us set out, then."

'"Not yet, but soon. I will warn you when it is best to go." And so
they talk on of all these horrible things, half buried under canopies
of _lampas_, surrounded by flowers, by the light of thousands of
wax-candles burning in golden lustres; and these women, who foresee
such great catastrophes--tragical events, which may divide them from
all they love, from parents, from friends--have beautiful dresses,
with trimmings from England, and make the prettiest little gestures
while speaking. It is because in France vanity is so deeply rooted
that it leads to indifference. Presumption stands in lieu of courage.
They believe in disasters, but only for others: they never seem to
expect them for themselves.'

So much for national character. If all this be a truthful picture, and
really we see no reason for doubt, it does but add another to the many
proofs of the springing elasticity of that element of light-hearted
short-sightedness which is so proverbially characteristic of the
French. But we will say no more, for our paper has already exceeded
the limits we had assigned to it; and the things that _are_ must ever
prevail in our pages over those that have been.


FOOTNOTES:

[3] Perhaps the reader of the above will partake our own feeling of
surprise at one circumstance which it records. How happened it, that
the accomplished lady of a Parisian salon could not shield her chief
guest, and all her guests, from the impertinence of one among them? To
us this seems incomprehensible, and excites our suspicion that Mme de
Staël could not have been among those mistresses of the science of
tact, of whom elsewhere Mme Gay speaks. The whole charm of the evening
was here allowed to be spoiled.



THE OLD CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF SCOTLAND.


The father of mental philosophy, Aristotle, begins his work on ethics
by telling us, that nothing exists without some theory or reason
attached to it. The following out of this view leads to
classification--that great engine of knowledge. We see things at first
in isolated individuality or confused masses. Investigation teaches us
to separate them into groups, which have some common and important
principle of unity, though each individual of the group may be
different from the others in detail. Thus we arrive at the great
classifications of natural science, with which every one is more or
less familiar. But the works of men have their classification too, for
in human effort like causes produce like effects. Most people know
what schools of poetry, painting, and music are. In architecture, we
know, too, that there are great divisions--such as classic and Gothic.
But many have yet to learn how far classification may go; and it is a
new feature to have the peculiar national architecture of Scotland
separated from that of England, and its peculiarities traced to
interesting national events and habits. The common observer is apt to
think that all buildings are much alike, or that each is alone in its
peculiarities. Before classification can take place, there must be a
collection and comparison of leading characteristics; and this is not
easily accomplished with the edifices scattered over a whole country.
It may be said that it was never done for Scotland, until Mr Billings
completed his great series of engravings of the baronial and
ecclesiastical antiquities of Scotland.

Taking the former--the baronial--for our text, we find ourselves now
for the first time in a condition to discover the leading features of
the Scottish school of architecture, and to connect it with the
history of Scotland. We know that until the wars of Wallace and Bruce,
the two countries, England and Scotland, could scarcely be said to be
entirely separated; at all events, they did not stand in open
hostility to each other. Endless animosities, however, naturally
followed a war in which the one country tried to enslave the other,
and where the weaker only escaped annihilation by a desperate
struggle. It is not unnatural, therefore, to expect that the habits of
the two countries diverged from each other as time passed on; and this
process is very distinctly shewn in the character of the edifices used
by the barons and lairds of Scotland. A very few of the oldest
strongholds resemble those of the same period in England. The English
baronial castle of the thirteenth century generally consisted of
several massive square or round towers, broad at the base, and
tapering upwards, arranged at distances from each other, so that lofty
embattled walls or curtains stood between them, making a ground-plan
of which the towers formed the angles. The doors and windows were
generally in the Gothic or pointed style of architecture, and the
vaulted chambers were frequently of the same. There are not above
three or four such edifices in Scotland. The most complete, perhaps,
is the old part of Caerlaverock, in Dumfriesshire; another fine
specimen is Dirleton, in East Lothian; and to these may be added
Bothwell, in Clydesdale, and Kildrummie, in Aberdeenshire.

This style was long followed in England. It is known as the baronial,
and architects in all parts of the country, when building a modern
mansion in the castellated manner, have invariably followed it. It is
easy to see, however, that it was early abandoned in Scotland, the
people not taking their forms of architecture from a nation with which
they had no connection but that of hostility. The first species of
national baronial architecture to which they resorted was a very
simple one, characteristic of an impoverished people. It consisted of
little more than four stone walls, forming what in fortification is
called a blockhouse. The walls were extremely thick, with few
apertures, and these suspiciously small. But these old towers or keeps
were not without some scientific preparations for defence. In the more
ancient baronial castles, the large square or round towers at the
angles served to flank the walls or curtains between them; that is,
supposing an enemy to be approaching the main gate, he could be
attacked on either side from the towers at the angles. To serve the
same purpose, the Scottish keeps had small bastions or turrets at the
corners, which, projecting over the wall, flanked it on each face. The
simple expedient here adopted is at the root of all the complex
devices of fortification. The main thing is just to build a strong
edifice, and then, by flanking outworks, to prevent an enemy from
getting up to it. In other respects, these square towers were scarcely
to be considered peculiarly Scottish. They are to be found in all
parts of the world--along the Wall of China; in the Russian steppes;
in Italy, where they are sometimes remains of republican Rome; and in
Central India. They constitute, in fact, the most primitive form of a
fortified house.

When we come a century or two later, the difference between the
English and Scottish styles becomes more distinct and interesting.
Almost every one is acquainted with that beautiful style of building
called in England the Tudor or Elizabethan, with its decorated
chimneys, its ornamented gables, and large oriel or bow windows. It is
not well suited for defence, and denotes a rich country, where private
warfare has decayed. This class of edifice is rarely, if at all, to be
found north of the border; but much as it is to be admired, a
contemporary style sprang up in Scotland entirely distinct from it,
yet, in our opinion, quite fitted to rival it in interest and beauty.
It was derived, in some measure, from Flanders, but chiefly from
France. The Scots naturally looked to their friends as an example,
rather than to their enemies. Many of the Scottish gentry made their
fortunes in the French service, and when they came home, naturally
desired to imitate, on such a scale as they could afford, the châteaux
of their allies and patrons. The state of the country, too, made it a
more suitable pattern than the Tudor style. France was still a country
of feudal warfare--so was Scotland; and it was necessary in both to
have defence associated with ornament. The chief peculiarity of this
new style was, the quantity of sharp-topped turrets, which form a sort
of crest to the many details of the lower parts of the buildings.
These are not solely ornamental; they succeeded the bastions of the
old square towers, and served the same purpose. Among the secondary
peculiarities of these buildings, may be counted an extremely rich and
profuse ornamentation of the upper parts--probably the only portions
out of the way of mischief. Indeed, the edifice is sometimes a mere
square block for two or three storeys, while it is crowned, as it
were, with a rich group of turrets and minarets, gables, window-tops,
ornamented chimneys, and gilded vanes. In many instances, the great
square block of older days received this fantastic French termination
at a later time--as, for instance, the famous castle of Glammis, in
Strathmore.

It almost appears as if this style, which has its own peculiar
beauties, had been adopted out of a national antagonism to the
contemporary style in England. The Tudor architecture has always a
horizontal tendency, spreading itself out in broad open screens or
wall-plates, diversified by occasional angular eminences--as, for
instance, in the tops of the decorated windows. But in the
Gallo-Scottish style everything tends to the perpendicular, not only
in the long, narrow shapes of the buildings themselves, and their
tall, spiral turrets, but in the many decorations which incrust them.
This decoration has an extremely rich look, from the quantity of
breaks, and the absence of bare wall or long straight lines. Thus, to
save the uniform plainness of the straight gable-line, it is broken
into small gradations called 'crow-steps.' Every one who looks at old
houses in Scotland must be familiar with this feature, and must have
noticed its picturesqueness. It appears to have been derived from the
Flemish houses, where, however, the steps or terraces are much larger,
and not so effective, since, instead of merely breaking and enriching
the line of the gable, they break it up, as it were, into separate
pieces.

The Scottish style has not, indeed, slavishly adopted any foreign
model. It is, as we have remarked, chiefly adopted from the French;
but it has characteristics and beauties of its own. No one, we
believe, had any conception of their extent and variety, until they
were brought to light by the artistic labours of Mr Billings. In some
instances, to bring out the full effect of the ornamental parts of
these buildings without overloading his picture with the more cumbrous
plain stone-work, he brings forward, by some artistic manoeuvre, the
crest of the building, as if the spectator saw it from a scaffold or a
balloon level with the highest storey. The effect of the rich
Oriental-looking mass of decoration thus concentrated is extremely
striking, and one is apt to ask, if it is possible that the country so
often characterised as bare, cold, and impoverished, could have
produced these gorgeous edifices. Their number and distribution
through the most remote parts of the land are equally remarkable.
Among Mr Billings's specimens, we have, in the southern part of
Scotland, Pinkie, near Musselburgh; Auchans and Kelburn, in Ayrshire;
Newark, on the Clyde; Airth and Argyle's Lodging, in Stirling. Going
northward, we come to Elcho and Glammis, and to Muchalls and Crathes,
in Kincardineshire. It is remarkable, that the further north we go,
the French style becomes more conspicuous and complete. Many of the
finest specimens are to be found in Aberdeenshire. Fyvie Castle, which
was built for a Scottish chancellor--Seton, Earl of Dunfermline--is
almost a complete French château of the sixteenth century, such as the
traveller may have seen in sunny Guienne or Anjou; and there it stands
transplanted, like an exotic, among the bleak hills of the north. It
is only natural to find in connection with such a circumstance, that
Seton received his education in France, and passed a considerable part
of his life there. Whether from such an example or not, the
Aberdeenshire lairds seem to have been all ambitious of possessing
French châteaux; and thus in the county of primitive rock, where there
is certainly little else to remind us of French habits or ideas, we
have some admirable specimens of that foreign architectural school in
Castle Fraser, Craigievar, Midmar, Tolquhon, Dalpersie, and Udny.
Nearer Inverness, we have Balveny, Castle-Stewart, and Cawdor.

The same foreign influence is exhibited in our street architecture,
some specimens of which are engraved in the work to which we have
referred.[4] Every one knows that the lofty Scottish edifices with
common stairs--houses built above each other, in fact--give our large
towns a character totally different from those of England; but it is
equally clear that the practice was derived from France, where it is
still in full observance literally among all classes, since the
different social grades occupy separate floors of the same edifices.
In the _coup d'état_ of 1851, it will be remembered, that in making
the arrests of the leading men supposed to be inimical to Louis
Napoleon, one of the difficulties--as the affair took place at
midnight--was to know the floors in which they lived; for these great
statesmen and generals inhabited houses with common stairs.

We have here discussed one special feature of Mr Billings's work, on
account of the remarks which it suggests; but it is only right to
mention, before parting with it, that it contains engravings of every
thing that is remarkable in the ancient architecture of Scotland,
whether it be called civil and baronial or ecclesiastical. Certainly,
the remains of antiquity in North Britain were never previously so
amply and completely illustrated. Nor is it without reason, that some
contemporary critics have maintained this to be the most entire
collection of the sort which any nation possesses. The chief merits of
the views consist in their accuracy and effect. They are wonderfully
clear and minute, so that every detail of the least importance is
brought out as distinctly as in a model, while this is accomplished
without sacrifice of their artistic effect as pictures.


FOOTNOTES:

[4] Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland. By William
Burn and W. Billings. 4 vols. 4to. Blackwoods, Edinburgh.



AMERICAN HONOUR.


About seventy-five years ago, there was at Charleston, in South
Carolina, a family consisting of several members. It belonged to the
middle class--that is to say, contained barristers, bankers,
merchants, solicitors, and so on--all of them animated, at least so
far as appears, by a high sense of honour and integrity. But noble
sentiments are no certain guarantee against poverty. One of the
members of the family in question became embarrassed, borrowed L.1000
of one of his relatives, but was soon after seized with paralysis,
and, having kept his bed five years, died, leaving behind him a widow
with several children. He could bequeath them no property, instead of
which they received as their inheritance high principles, and a strong
affection for the memory of their father. The widow also was, in this
respect, perfectly in harmony with her sons. By dint, therefore, of
prudence, industry, and economy, they amassed among them the sum of
L.400, which they rigidly appropriated to the repayment of a part of
their father's debt. The old man had, indeed, called them together
around his death-bed, and told them that, instead of a fortune, he
left them a duty to perform; and that if it could not be accomplished
in one generation, it must be handed down from father to son, until
the descendants of the B----s had paid every farthing to the
descendants of the S----s.

While matters stood in this predicament, the creditor part of the
family removed to England, and the debtors remained at Charleston,
struggling with difficulties and embarrassments, which not only
disabled them from paying the paternal debt, but kept them perpetually
in honourable poverty. Of course, the wish to pay in such minds
survived the ability. It would have been to them an enjoyment of a
high order to hunt out their relatives in England, and place in their
hands the owing L.600. This pleasure, which they were destined never
to taste, often formed the subject of conversation around their
fireside; and the children, as they grew up, were initiated into the
mystery of the L.600.

But that generation passed away, and another succeeded to the
liability; not that there existed any liability in law, for though a
deed had been executed, it had lapsed in the course of time, so that
there was really no obligation but that which was the strongest of
all--an uneradicable sense of right. Often and often did the B----s of
Charleston meet and consult together on this famous debt, which every
one wished, but no one could afford, to pay. The sons were married,
and had children whom it was incumbent on them to support; the
daughters had married, too, but their husbands possibly did not
acquire with their wives the chivalrous sense of duty which possessed
the breast of every member, male and female, of the B. family, and
inspired them with a wish to do justice when fortune permitted.

It would be infinitely agreeable to collect and peruse the letters and
records of consultations which passed or took place between the
members of this family on the subject of the L.600. These documents
would form the materials of one of the most delightful romances in the
world--the romance of honour, which never dies in some families, but
is transmitted from generation to generation like a treasure above all
price. When this brief notice is read in Charleston, it may possibly
lead to the collection of these materials, which, with the proper
names of all the persons engaged, should, we think, be laid before the
world as a pleasing record of hereditary nobility of sentiment.

After the lapse of many years, a widow and her three nephews found
themselves in possession of the necessary means for paying the family
debt. Three-quarters of a century had elapsed. The children and the
children's children of the original borrower had passed away; but the
honour of the B. family had been transmitted intact to the fourth
generation, and a search was immediately commenced to discover the
creditors in England. This, however, as may well be supposed, was no
easy task. The members of the S. family had multiplied and separated,
married and intermarried, become poor and wealthy, distinguished and
obscure by turns, changed their topographical as well as their social
position, and disappeared entirely from the spot they had occupied on
their first arrival from America.

But honour is indefatigable, and by degrees a letter reached a person
in Kensington, who happened to possess some knowledge of a lady of the
S. family, married to a solicitor practising with great success and
distinction in London. When the letter came to hand, she at first
doubted whether it might not be a sort of grave hoax, intended to
excite expectation for the pleasure of witnessing its disappointment.
However, the English solicitor, accustomed to the incidents of life,
thought there would at least be no harm in replying to the letter from
Charleston, and discovering in this way the real state of the affair.

Some delay necessarily occurred, especially as the B. family in
America were old world sort of people, accustomed to transact business
slowly and methodically, and with due attention to the minutest
points. But at length a reply came, in which the writer observed, that
if a deed of release were drawn up, signed by all the parties
concerned in England, and transmitted to America, the L.600 should
immediately be forwarded for distribution among the members of the S.
family. Some demur now arose. Some of the persons concerned growing
prudent as the chances of recovering the money appeared to multiply,
thought it would be wrong to send the deed of release before the money
had been received. But the solicitor had not learned, in the practice
of his profession, to form so low an estimate of human nature. He
considered confidence in this case to be synonymous with prudence, and
at anyrate resolved to take upon himself the entire responsibility of
complying with the wishes of the Americans. He accordingly drew up the
necessary document, got it signed by as many as participated in his
views, and sent it across the Atlantic, without the slightest doubt or
hesitation. There had been something in the rough, blunt honesty of Mr
B----'s letter that inspired in the man of law the utmost reliance on
his faith, though during the interval which elapsed between the
transmission of the deed and the reception of an answer from the
States, several of his friends exhibited a disposition to make
themselves merry at the expense of his chivalry. But when we consider
all the particulars of the case, we can hardly fail to perceive that
he ran no risk whatever; for even if the debt had not legally lapsed,
the people who had retained it in their memory through three
generations--who had from father to son practised strict economy in
order to relieve themselves from the burden--who had, with much
difficulty and some expense, sought out the heirs of their creditor in
a distant country, could scarcely be suspected of any inclination to
finish off with a fraud at last.

Still, if there was honour on one side, there was enlarged confidence
on the other; and in the course of a few months, the American mail
brought to London the famous L.600 due since before the War of
Independence. The business now was to divide and distribute it. Of
course, each of the creditors was loud in expressions of admiration of
the honour of the B. family, whose representative, while forwarding
the money, asked with much simplicity to have a few old English
newspapers sent out to him by way of acknowledgment. For his own part,
however, he experienced a strong desire to behold some of the persons
to whom he had thus paid a debt of the last century; and he gave a
warm and pressing invitation to any of them, to come out and stay as
long as they thought proper at his house in Charleston. Had the
invitation been accepted, we cannot doubt that Brother Jonathan would
have acted as hospitably in the character of host as he behaved
honourably in that of debtor. It would have been a pleasure, we might
indeed say a distinction, to live under the same roof with such a man,
whose very name carries us back to the primitive times of the colony,
when Charleston was a city of the British Empire, and English laws,
manners, habits, and feelings regulated the proceedings and relations
of its inhabitants. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the London
solicitor will some day drop in quietly upon his friend in Charleston,
to smoke a cigar, and discuss old times with him. He will in that case
probably fancy himself chatting with a contemporary of Rip Van Winkle.
Doubtless there are thousands of such men in the States, where
frequently everything that is estimable in the English character is
cultivated with assiduity.

How the property was distributed among the S. family in England, we
need not say. Each surviving individual had his or her share. The
solicitor was only connected with them by marriage; but with good old
English ideas of uprightness and integrity, he was fully able to
appreciate the Charleston lawyer's sentiments. He would have done
exactly the same himself under similar circumstances; and therefore,
had the sum been tens of thousands instead of hundreds, it could not
be said to have fallen into bad hands. Whether the transaction above
noticed has led or not to a continued correspondence between the
families, we are unable to say; but we think the creditors in England
would naturally have felt a pleasure in exchanging intelligence from
time to time with their worthy debtors in Charleston. These things,
however, are private, and therefore we do not intend to trench upon
them.



THE PARLOUR AQUARIUM.


It is not many years since Mr Ward first drew the attention of
botanists to the cultivation of plants in closely-glazed cases; but
the most sanguine dreams of the discoverer could not then have
foretold the many useful purposes to which the Wardian Case has become
applicable, nor the important influence which it was destined to
obtain in promoting the pleasant pursuits of gardening and botany. The
Wardian Case has been instrumental in diffusing a love of these
pursuits among all classes of society. It has opened up to those whose
pursuits confine them within the limits of the city's smoke-cloud, a
means whereby they may obtain 'a peep at nature, if they can no more.'
Far removed from green fields and leafy woods, they may, for instance,
enjoy their leisure mornings in watching one of the most beautiful
phenomena of vegetable development--the evolution of the circinate
fronds of the fern; a plant in every respect associated with elegance
and beauty. This kind of gardening has, therefore, become of late
years one of the most fashionable, while at the same time one of the
most pleasant sources of domestic amusement.

An interesting companion to the Wardian Case has lately been presented
in the Aquatic Plant Case, or Parlour Aquarium, due to the ingenuity
of Mr Warington, and which has for its object, as its name indicates,
the cultivation of aquatic or water plants. It may be described as a
combination of the Wardian Case and the gold-fish globe, the object
being to illustrate the mutual dependence of animal and vegetable
life. Mr Warington has lately detailed his experiments. 'The small
gold-fish were placed in a glass-receiver of about twelve gallons'
capacity, having a cover of thin muslin stretched over a stout copper
wire, bent into a circle, placed over its mouth, so as to exclude as
much as possible the sooty dust of the London atmosphere, without, at
the same time, impeding the free passage of the atmospheric air. This
receiver was about half-filled with ordinary spring-water, and
supplied at the bottom with sand and mud, together with loose stones
of limestone tufa from Matlock, and of sandstone: these were arranged
so that the fish could get below.... A small plant of _Vallisneria
spiralis_ was introduced, its roots being inserted in the mud and
sand, and covered by one of the loose stones, so as to retain the
plant in its position.... The materials being thus arranged, all
appeared to go on well for a short time, until circumstances occurred
which indicated that another and very material agent was required to
perfect the adjustment.' The decaying leaves of the vallisneria
produced a slime which began to affect the fish injuriously: this it
was necessary to get quit of. Mr Warington introduced five or six
snails (_Limnea stagnalis_), 'which soon removed the nuisance, and
restored the fish to a healthy state; thus perfecting the balance
between the animal and vegetable inhabitants, and enabling both to
perform their functions with health and energy. So luxuriant was the
growth of the vallisneria under these circumstances, that by the
autumn the one solitary plant originally introduced had thrown out
very numerous offshoots and suckers, thus multiplying to the extent of
upwards of thirty-five strong plants, and these threw up their long
spiral flower-stems in all directions, so that at one time more than
forty blossoms were counted lying on the surface of the water. The
fish have been lively, bright in colour, and appear very healthy; and
the snails also--judging from the enormous quantities of gelatinous
masses of eggs which they have deposited on all parts of the receiver,
as well as on the fragments of stone--appear to thrive wonderfully,
affording a large quantity of food to the fish in the form of the
young snails, which are devoured as soon as they exhibit signs of
vitality and locomotion, and before their shell has become hardened.'

In remarking upon the result of his experiments, Mr Warington
observes: 'Thus we have that admirable balance sustained between the
animal and vegetable kingdoms, and that in a liquid element. The fish,
in its respiration, consumes the oxygen held in solution by the water
as atmospheric air, furnishes carbonic acid, feeds on the insects and
young snails, and excretes material well adapted as a rich food to the
plant, and well fitted for its luxuriant growth. The plant, by its
respiration, consumes the carbonic acid produced by the fish,
appropriating the carbon to the construction of its tissues and
fibres, and liberates the oxygen in its gaseous state to sustain the
healthy functions of the animal life; at the same time that it feeds
on the rejected matter, which has fulfilled its purposes in the
nourishment of the fish and snail, and preserves the water constantly
in a clean and healthy condition. While the slimy snail, finding its
proper nutriment in the decomposing vegetable matter and minute
confervoid growth, prevents their accumulation by removing them; and
by its vital powers converts what would otherwise act as a poison into
a rich and fruitful nutriment, again to constitute a pabulum for the
vegetable growth, while it also acts the important part of a purveyor
to its finny neighbours.'[5] This perfect adjustment in the economy of
the animal and vegetable kingdoms, whereby the vital functions of each
are permanently maintained, is one of the most beautiful phenomena of
organic nature.

The Parlour Aquarium affords valuable, we might say invaluable,
facilities to the naturalist in the prosecution of his researches. The
botanist can now conveniently watch the development of aquatic plants
under conditions _not_ unnatural, throughout the entire period of
their existence, from their germination to the production of flowers
and the perfection of seeds; and we are in hopes that much of the
obscurity that invests many aquatic vegetables will in consequence be
cleared up. The zoologist is perhaps even more indebted to the
invention. The habits, not only of the fishes, but of the mollusca,
can be accurately studied under natural conditions, and many important
facts of their history ascertained and illustrated. The water-beetles
and other aquatic insects will also come in for a share of attention.

In concluding his paper in the _Garden Companion_ (i. p. 7), Mr
Warington states, that he is at present attempting a similar
arrangement with a confined portion of sea-water, employing some of
the green sea-weeds as the vegetable members of the circle, and the
common winkle or whelk to represent the water-snails. In a Report of
the Yorkshire Naturalist's Club, November 5, 1851,[6] we observe it
stated, that Mr Charlesworth read an extract from a letter from a
gentleman in America, detailing some successful experiments on keeping
marine molluscs alive in sea-water for months; but our inquiries have
not been successful in eliciting any further information on the
subject.

Experiments of our own have led to the conclusion, that some families
of aquatic plants are altogether unsuitable for the Parlour
Aquarium--such as, potamogeton, chara, &c., which very soon
communicate a putrescent odour to the water in which they are grown,
rendering it highly disagreeable in a sitting-room.


FOOTNOTES:

[5] _Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society_, iii, 52.

[6] _Naturalist_, vol. i. 239.



A WEDDING DINNER.


The English are often reproached with love of good cheer, and
certainly if foreigners were to judge of us from the manner in which
we celebrate our Christmas, we cannot wonder at their supposing
'biftik' to be necessary to our happiness. But high feasting has not
in any age been confined to the English, and perhaps the following
account, translated from an old chronicle, of a wedding-dinner given
by the Milanese, in 1336, to our Duke of Clarence, son of Edward III.,
may prove not unamusing or unsuggestive.

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, was the widower of Elizabeth of
Ulster, and his second wife, Zolante, was the sister of Giovanni
Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. The latter nuptials were celebrated
at Milan with great pomp. The most illustrious personages were invited
from every part of Europe; tournaments, balls, and other diversions,
occupied the guests, who were all furnished with splendid apartments,
till the whole company being assembled, Giovanni Galeazzo conducted
the newly-married couple from the church to his palace. In one immense
hall were laid out a hundred tables for the most distinguished guests,
including the mightiest princes in Italy, the most beautiful women,
and the most celebrated characters of the age; among whom we must not
omit to mention Francesco Petrarca. Other tables were placed in the
adjoining apartments. Seneschals, in the most sumptuous dresses,
brought in the massive dishes of gold and silver. The cup-bearers
performed their duties on horseback, galloping round the hall and
handing the choicest wines in costly vases of gold, silver, or
crystal. This custom of servants waiting at table on horseback appears
singular in our time, but it serves to give an idea of the splendour
of other days and the enormous size of the apartments. It also tends
to explain why most of the noble mansions still extant from the time
of which we speak, instead of a staircase, have a gradual ascent of
bricks, generally leading to a hall of large dimensions. And
frequently we see evident tokens that flights of steps have been
substituted in later times.

The banquet consisted of eighteen courses; and between each course
presents of various kinds were offered to the bridegroom, or
distributed by him; so that before the dinner had ended, Lionel had
presented every individual around him with some article of value,
besides 600 richly embroidered garments which he had given to the
mimes and players engaged for the occasion.

Here follows a formal account of the dinner, but we must economise our
space. The first course consisted of young pigs, gilded, with flames
issuing from their mouths; the second, of hares and pike, likewise
gilded; the third, of gilded veal and trout; the fourth, of
partridges, quails, and fish, all gilded; the fifth, of ducks, small
birds, and fish, all gilded; the sixth, of beef, capons with
garlic-sauce, and sturgeon; the seventh, of veal and capons with
lemon-sauce; the eighth, of beef-pies, with cheese and sugar, and
eel-pies with sugar and spices; the ninth, of meats, fowl and fish in
jelly (potted, we presume); the tenth, of gilded meats and lamprey;
the eleventh, of roast kid, birds, and fish; the twelfth, of hares and
venison, and fish with vinegar and sugar; the thirteenth, of beef and
deer, with lemon and sugar; the fourteenth, of fowls, capons, and
tench, covered with red and green foil; the fifteenth, of pigeons,
small birds, beans, salt tongues, and carp; the sixteenth, of rabbits,
peacocks, and eels roasted with lemon; the seventeenth, of sour milk
and cheese; and the eighteenth, of fruits of the rarest and most
expensive kinds.

At each of these courses the duke received a separate gift--beginning
with a pair of _leopards_, with velvet collars and gilded buckles.
Then followed numberless braces of pointers, greyhounds, setters, and
falcons, all with trappings and ornaments of silk, gold, and pearls;
dozens of breastplates, helmets, lances, shields, saddles, and
complete suits of armour, enriched with silver, gold, and velvet;
numerous pieces of cloth of gold and satin; horses by half-dozens,
with saddles and trappings highly ornamented; twelve beautiful
milk-white oxen; 'a vest and cowl embroidered with pearls,
representing various flowers; a baronial mantle and cowl lined with
ermine, and richly embroidered with pearls; a large ewer of massive
silver, four waistbands of wrought silver (now called filigrane); a
clump of diamonds and rubies, with a pearl of immense value in the
centre; and a variety of specimens of the choicest wines and most
elegant confectionary.'

In those times, there was little refinement of taste, and the culinary
art was probably in its infancy. Hence we find the dishes in quality
and number rather suited to satisfy the appetites of huntsmen than the
delicate palate of a courtier of our day. Sugar and spices were used
in profusion, perhaps because they were scarce and expensive, rather
than on account of their flavour. Fowls were coloured red or green;
while meat, and such other solid eatables as could only be boiled or
roasted, were gilt all over. The expense of such an entertainment must
have been immense; and when we add, that the value of most of the
gifts was vastly greater than at present, and that, besides the
presents to the bridegroom, Giovanni Galeazzo gave away 150 beautiful
horses, and his kinsman, Bernabo, jewels and golden coins to a large
amount, the whole sum disbursed on this occasion would appear so
enormous as to make one doubt whether a petty sovereign could really
afford such ostentatious prodigality. But when we consider that the
flourishing state of the commerce of Italy attracted thither all the
wealth of Europe, we are no longer surprised at an expenditure which,
however great, might at that time have been borne not by a reigning
duke of Milan or Florence alone, but even by many citizens of the
various Italian republics.

During the repast, an innumerable crowd of jesters, mimes, and
trick-players of all sorts, amused the company with their gambols; and
such was the noise produced by trumpets, drums, and other martial
instruments, by the vociferation of the performers and the applause of
the spectators, that no single voice could be heard; and a
contemporary historian compares it to the wild roar of a tempestuous
sea.



SAVINGS-BANKS IN RUSSIA.


Until the year 1825, no kind of savings-bank existed in Russia. The
farmers and peasants, residing for the most part in remote and
scattered habitations, were accustomed to keep their little store of
money in common earthen-pots buried in the ground, whence it was not
unfrequently stolen. It also often happened that, owing to the sudden
illness or death of the owner, the place of concealment was unknown to
any one; thus the savings were lost, and much family trouble and
difficulty arose. In March 1825, a truly patriotic young merchant,
Frederick Hagedom, junior, of Libau, in Courland, perceived the
advantage of savings-banks in other countries of Europe, and the
disadvantages of the system pursued by his poor countrymen. He
resolved, therefore, to institute a savings-bank in Libau. The
patronage of the governor-general was obtained, and one of the
magistrates of the town appointed superintendent: Frederick Hagedom
and two other gentlemen were chosen directors. The public of the town
soon testified their approbation of the good work, by bringing in
their silver rubles and copper kopecks at the appointed hours--namely,
from five to seven every Saturday evening, and at two periods of the
year daily--from the 1st to the 12th of June and December. The
peasants, however, did not display the same alacrity and confidence as
indeed was to be expected. Their kind benefactor perceiving this,
wrote and circulated a short pamphlet in the Lettish language of the
country, explaining the intention, object, and advantages of the new
savings-bank. This convinced the ignorant country-people that their
old way of keeping their money, even if safe, was not profitable. The
pastors of the village churches also took occasion to speak to their
people on the subject, being persuaded, like the benevolent founders
of the savings-bank, that it was a plan which could not fail to
improve the moral and religious character of the peasantry. These
exertions did not fail to produce the desired effect.

To accommodate the country-people who came from a distance, it was
soon found advisable to open the savings-bank for their attendance
daily from twelve to one--the Saturday evenings being reserved for the
inhabitants of the town. All classes now became desirous of taking
advantage of the savings-bank, and brought in silver rubles and
kopecks, instead of keeping them hoarded and useless.

A sum under five rubles receives no interest--is merely saved and
kept--which is, however, no slight benefit to the poor peasant. Above
that sum, 4 percent, interest is paid. The owner is at liberty to
withdraw the principal at will. The tables published in 1845, after
twenty years' existence, afford a most satisfactory and interesting
result. The increase of members who partake of the benefits has
steadily advanced. One-third of the number are inhabitants of Libau,
the remainder are from the country. A very important gain was also
perceived to arise from the system: a large portion of the silver
rubles and Albert-dollars paid in, had evidently been for many years
kept entirely out of circulation, buried in pots in the earth, and
consequently in such a condition, that it was often necessary to have
the coin carefully cleaned, before it was fit to be sent out into
circulation again. Besides the pecuniary advantage, the improvement in
the character of the people has been remarkable. The savings-bank has
strengthened in a singular degree the love of order, industry, and
temperance. How many cheerful hopes and anticipations are connected
with savings! It has been ascertained, both in England and France,
that since the establishment of savings-banks in those countries, no
criminal has ever been found to have been a member of one. How true a
benefactor to his country has the young merchant Hagedom proved
himself to be! May he live long to direct the savings-bank of his
native town of Libau! And, to conclude with the words of the last
report of the institution: 'May a gracious Providence continue to
prosper this first and oldest institution of the kind in the empire of
Russia, and preserve this institution, so highly beneficial to the
economical and moral state of the people, in its full prosperity, to
future generations!'[7]


FOOTNOTES:

[7] Communicated by a lady, as translated from a pamphlet published in
Russia.



CALORIC SHIPS


The idea of substituting a new and superior motive-power for steam
will no doubt strike many minds as extravagant, if not chimerical. We
have been so accustomed to regard steam-power as the _ne plus ultra_
of attainment in subjecting the modified forces of nature to the
service of man, that a discovery which promises to supersede this
agency will have to contend with the most formidable preconceptions as
well as with gigantic interests. Nevertheless, it may now be predicted
with confidence, that we are on the eve of another great revolution,
produced by the application of an agent more economical and
incalculably safer than steam. A few years hence we shall hear of the
'wonders of caloric' instead of the 'wonders of steam.' To the
question: 'How did you cross the Atlantic?' the reply will be: 'By
caloric of course!' On Saturday, I visited the manufactory, and had
the privilege of inspecting Ericsson's caloric engine of 60
horse-power, while it was in operation. It consists of two pairs of
cylinders, the working pistons of which are 72 inches in diameter. Its
great peculiarities consist in its very large cylinders and pistons,
working with very low pressure, and in the absence of boilers or
heaters, there being no other fires employed than those in small
grates under the bottoms of the working cylinders. During the eight
months that this test-engine has been in operation, not a cent has
been expended for repairs or accidents. The leading principle of the
calorie engine consists in producing motive-power by the employment of
the expansive force of atmospheric air instead of that of steam; the
force being produced by compression of the air in one part of the
machine, and by its dilatation by the application of heat in another
part. This dilatation, however, is not effected by continuous
application of combustibles, but by a peculiar process of transfer, by
which the caloric is made to operate over and over again--namely, the
heat of the air escaping from the working cylinder at each successive
stroke of the engine, is transferred to the cold compressed air,
entering the same; so that, in fact, a continued application of fuel
is only necessary in order to make good the losses of heat occasioned
by the unavoidable eradiation of the heated parts of the machine. The
obvious advantages of this great improvement are the great saving of
fuel and labour in the management of the engine, and its perfect
safety. A ship carrying the amount of coal that the Atlantic steamers
now take for a single trip, could cross and recross the Atlantic twice
without taking in coal; and the voyage to China or to California could
be easily accomplished by a caloric ship without the necessity of
stopping at any port to take in fuel. Anthracite coal being far the
best fuel for this new engine, we shall no longer have to purchase
bituminous coal in England for return-trips. On the contrary, England
will find it advantageous to come to us for our anthracite. A slow
radiating fire without flame is what is required, and this is best
supplied by our anthracite. The _Ericsson_ will be ready for sea by
October next, and her owners intend to take passengers at a reduced
price, in consequence of the reduced expenses under the new
principle.--_Boston Transcript._



VIOLETS:

SENT IN A TINY BOX.


    Let them lie--ah, let them lie!
      Plucked flowers--dead to-morrow;
    Lift the lid up quietly,
    As you'd lift the mystery
      Of a buried sorrow.

    Let them lie--the fragrant things,
      All their souls thus giving;
    Let no breeze's ambient wings
    And no useless water-springs
      Mock them into living.

    They have lived--they live no more;
      Nothing can requite them
    For the gentle life they bore,
    And up-yielded in full store
      While it did delight them.

    Yet, I ween, flower-corses fair!
      'Twas a joyful yielding,
    Like some soul heroic, rare,
    That leaps bodiless forth in air
      For its loved one's shielding.

    Surely, ye were glad to die
      In the hand that slew ye,
    Glad to leave the open sky,
    And the airs that wandered by,
      And the bees that knew ye;

    Giving up a small earth-place
      And a day of blooming,
    Here to lie in narrow space,
    Smiling in this smileless face
      With such sweet perfuming.

    O ye little violets dead!
      Coffined from all gazes,
    We will also smile, and shed
    Out of heart-flowers withered
      Perfume of sweet praises.

    And as ye, for this poor sake,
      Love with life are buying,
    So, I doubt not, ONE will make
    All our gathered flowers to take
      Richer scent through dying.



CHINESE LAUNDRY IN CALIFORNIA.


What a truly industrious people they are! At work, cheerfully and
briskly, at ten o'clock at night. Huge piles of linen and
under-clothing disposed in baskets about the room, near the different
ironers. Those at work dampening and ironing--peculiar processes both.
A bowl of water is standing at the ironer's side, as in ordinary
laundries, but used very differently. Instead of dipping the fingers
in the water, and then snapping them over the clothes, the operator
puts his head in the bowl, fills his mouth with water, and then blows
so that the water comes from his mouth _in a mist_, resembling the
emission of steam from an escape-pipe, at the same time so directing
his head that the mist is scattered all over the piece he is about to
iron. He then seizes his flat iron. This invention beats the 'Yankees'
all to bits. It is a vessel resembling a small, deep, metallic
wash-basin, having a highly-polished flat bottom, and a fire
continually burning in it. Thus they keep the iron hot, without
running to the fire every five minutes and spitting on the iron to
ascertain by the 'sizzle' if it be ready to use. This ironing machine
has a long handle, and is propelled without danger of burning the
fingers by the slipping of the 'ironing rag.' Ladies who use the
ordinary flat irons will appreciate the improvement.--_Marysville
(California) Herald._

       *       *       *       *       *

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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