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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 449 - Volume 18, New Series, August 7, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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. 449 - Volume 18, New Series, August 7, 1852" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  No. 449. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._


The sultan being one day rather out of sorts, sent for his Jewish
physician, a man very eminent for skill in his profession, and not
less distinguished by his love of his own nation and his desperate
enmity to the Christians. Finding that his patient had not really much
the matter with him, and thinking a little gossip would not only be
more agreeable, but more likely to do him good, than any medicine
which could be prescribed, the doctor began to discourse on the very
familiar topic of his highness's favourite bear, which was lying at
his feet, and whose virtues and abilities he was never tired of

'You would wonder,' said the sultan, 'not only at the natural sagacity
of the creature, and the tact which he shews in a thousand different
ways, but at the amount of knowledge he has collected, and the logical
correctness with which he uses it. He is really a very knowing beast.'
The Jew politely acquiesced in all this and much more; but at length
added: 'It is well that such a clever animal is in such good hands. If
his extraordinary talents are not developed to the utmost, they are at
least not perverted and made a bad use of.'

'I hope not, indeed,' said the sultan. 'But what do you mean by his
talents not being developed? or in what way would they be likely to be
perverted in bad hands?'

'Pardon me,' said the Jew; 'I have spoken rashly before your sublime
highness--such things should not be talked of; but it is natural that,
although I know very little about them, I should consider the practice
and the purpose bad, when they belong to what I consider a bad people:
at the same time, if your sublime highness thinks fit to tolerate
them, it is not for your faithful slave to say a word about it. I
should be sorry that your sublime highness should not extend to your
Christian subjects the same toleration and paternal kindness my own
people enjoy.'

'What in the world do you mean?' said the sultan. 'What have the
Christians to do with my bear?'

'Nothing at all,' replied the Jew with great earnestness; and he
added, with a sigh, 'that is the very thing I am thankful for. It is
such a remarkable creature, that there is no saying what might come of

'Come of what?' said the sultan.

'Why,' said the Jew, in a humble and very confidential tone, 'your
sublime highness is of course aware, that among the many curious
secrets the Christians possess, they have one which enables them to
teach bears to read.'

'You don't say so?' exclaimed the sultan. 'How do they contrive it?'

'Ah,' replied the Jew with an internal shudder, 'that is more than I
can tell your sublime highness. I don't suppose that half-a-dozen of
your subjects, except themselves, are aware of the fact; and few even
among the Christians know the secret. I only obtained the little
knowledge I have by accidental circumstances, which put me upon the
inquiry; and I was a long while before I could feel perfectly certain
that they actually did the thing. _How_ they did it, and _why_, I have
never been able to learn. It is one of their greatest secrets, one of
their deepest, and therefore, I suspect, one of their most pernicious
mysteries. I do not suppose that any man among them would confess it
to save his life--not even the old patriarch, if he were put to the

'It is very strange,' said the sultan, after a pause.

'It is wonderful,' said the physician with much emphasis.

'What is the harm of it?' exclaimed the sultan abruptly after a pause.
'Why should not bears read as well as men, if they are capable of

'Most true and most wisely said,' replied the Jew. 'If they were
taught to read good books, it would probably mend their manners. But
if that were all, why should there be so much mystery about it? why
should these people do it so secretly, and deny it so stoutly?' and
again he shook his head, and shuddered. But being fully persuaded that
he had gained his point, he thought it safest to change the subject;
and accordingly he did so as soon as he had emphatically and earnestly
entreated the sultan not to say a word of the secret he had been led
to impart, or, at all events, not to let it be known that _he_ had
given any information on the subject.

When the doctor was gone, the sultan fell into a reverie on the
advantages and disadvantages of his bear learning to read. When he
went to bed, the same train of thought kept him awake; and after a
sleepless night, he sent early in the morning for the patriarch. The
venerable Mar Yusef lost no time in obeying the summons. Taking his
patriarchal staff in his hand, and followed by his two deacons with
their heads bare, and their hands crossed on their bosoms, he silently
bent his way towards the palace, pondering in his mind on all the
various things he could think of as possible causes for his being
wanted by the sultan. The sultan dismissed all his attendants; and as
soon as he and the patriarch were alone, he beckoned him to approach,
and when the aged ecclesiastic had come quite close, and again bowed,
not only out of respect, but instinctively, as one does who expects a
whisper, the sultan said in a low, earnest tone: 'You know my bear?'

'I do, please your sublime highness,' replied Mar Yusef; 'and a very
fine bear he is.'

'I know that,' answered the sultan; 'but the matter is this,' and he
lowered his voice, and increased the earnestness of his tone: 'You
must teach him to read.'

'To read!' exclaimed the patriarch, thunderstruck. 'To read! the thing
is impossible.'

'Of course, I knew you would say that,' said the sultan; 'you must do
it, however, or it will be the worse for you and for all your people.'

'Most willingly would I do that, or anything lawful, to shew my
respect for your sublime highness,' said the astonished patriarch;
'but, as I have already had the honour to observe, the thing is

'Don't tell me,' said the sultan. 'I know more about the matter than
you imagine. There is no use in trying to conceal it. I know upon
undoubted authority, that you have taught bears, and many of them, I
daresay, of less capacity than mine. I shall send him to you this
evening, and if you do not bring him back in six weeks able to read,
it will be as I have already told you--at your peril, and to the ruin
of all that belong to you. So, now, do not waste time, for I am quite
in earnest about it; but go and make preparations to receive him, for
he has been used to courteous treatment.'

This speech was accompanied by a wave of the hand, which precluded all
reply, and the troubled patriarch silently and slowly withdrew.

'My children,' said the patriarch on his way home, addressing the two
young men who were supporting him, 'the sultan has resolved to destroy
us, and all the Christians in his dominions. He is seeking occasion
against us. He does not make open war upon us; but he secretly
commands us to do what is impossible, in order that he may have a
pretext for our destruction. He requires that in six weeks we should
teach his bear to read!'

'The old brute!' exclaimed the deacon Timothy.

'My father,' said the other deacon, Titus, 'suffer me to speak.'

'Speak, my son,' replied the aged man, in a voice scarcely articulate,
while he gently withdrew his hand, and laid it on the deacon's head;
'what wouldst thou say?'

'Under favour, most dear and reverend father,' replied Titus, 'I would
say that, whatever the sultan's design may be, you should not be
discouraged; and that if you will only do one thing, which I earnestly
entreat you to do, I will cheerfully undertake all the rest, and I
doubt not that we may get clear through this difficulty.'

'What would you have me do, my son?' said the patriarch.

'Just this,' replied the deacon, 'if I may be permitted to advise: go
back to the sultan as quickly as possible, and say that, on
consideration, you are sorry that you hesitated--that you will be
happy to receive his bear--that you will do your best, and hope to
give him satisfaction in the matter.'

'What! my son,' said the patriarch, 'would you have me go to the
sultan, and undertake to teach his bear _to read_? You do not know how
difficult it is even to teach young children.' But the deacon pleaded
so earnestly, that his superior at length consented; and returning to
the palace, the patriarch signified to the sultan, that he had thought
better of the subject, and was willing to do anything in his power to
give his sublime highness satisfaction.

'No doubt you can, if you will,' said the sultan hastily, but not in
ill-humour; 'and I expect you to do it--you might as well have agreed
to it at once.'

When the patriarch was at home, seated in his armchair, with his
deacons standing on each side, and a little recovered from the fatigue
of the walk, he turned to Titus, and said: 'Well, my son, and what am
I to do now?'

'Nothing, my father,' replied the deacon cheerfully. 'You have done
all I asked you to do, and what remains I will readily undertake.'

So he made his bow, and set off to make his arrangements. He chose a
little square room up one pair of stairs in the north turret, and
parted off about a third of it with strong horizontal bars, six inches
apart. The two lowest bars were movable, and the spaces between them
left open, to admit air and light, as well as to allow the inmate to
go in and be brought out at the pleasure of his keepers; but all above
them were boarded over, except that one which was of such a height as
would be about even with the bear's head when he should stand on his
hind legs. This space was left open along the whole length of the den,
so that, in any part of it, he could very conveniently put forth his
nose far enough to look about him.

'And now,' said Titus to his comrade Timothy, when he had completed
these preparations, 'I must go to seek for a book and a desk; and if
they bring the bear before I come back, will you be so good as to see
him put in, and also to mind that the other end of the chain, which I
have padlocked to the staple in the wall, is fastened to his collar,
and is long enough to allow of his lying down comfortably in the
straw, and taking a little turn backwards and forwards, if he likes?
and don't let them give him anything to eat, and take care not to be
out of the way--that is a good fellow.'

'You may depend upon me,' said Timothy; and Titus went off to the
church, to see about a lectionary, for the bear to study, though, to
say the truth, not entirely, or even principally, with that intention;
for he did not mean that his pupil should commence that day, or the
next; and he was in no doubt which to choose among many old
lectionaries that had been laid aside. There was an immense one, with
great brass knobs and corners, out of which he had himself learned to
chant long before he could lift it, and indeed, now that he was come
to man's estate, it was as much as he could carry. This book he meant
to use; but for the present he contented himself with observing from
the window the bear coming to school in procession; and when he was
satisfied that his pupil was in safe custody, he descended from the
church-tower, and went to see after him. When he came to the door of
the apartment, he waited a moment to listen to what seemed an
interchange of anything but civilities between Timothy and his charge.
Titus called out his colleague; and, without going in himself, locked
the door, and put the key in his pocket.

'Won't you go in and look at him?' said Timothy, as they went down the
staircase together.

'Time enough,' said Titus; 'he will be better by himself just at
present. Had you much trouble in getting him in? How did he behave?'

'Rather restive,' replied Timothy; 'but we managed it among us. Should
not he have something to eat?'

'No,' said Titus; 'he has got plenty of water; he will do very well.
But now come and help me down with the old lectionary from the upper
vestry, for I don't think I can get it down that staircase myself.'
Between them the lectionary was safely brought down, and deposited,
not in the apartment, which we may now call the school-room, but in
the chamber of Titus, on a massy oak desk or lectern, which turned
upon its pedestal, and which they brought out from the patriarch's
library for the purpose.

It was well that the school-room was rather remote, and had thick
walls; for, missing his supper, the bear naturally became not only
hungry, but savage, growled in the most ferocious manner, and rampaged
about his cage like a fury. But he got nothing by it; and when he had
drunk up the water, and exhausted his powers of growling and raging,
he went to sleep. In the morning, Titus brought him merely some fresh
water and a cake of barley-bread; but in the afternoon, thinking it
was now time for his pupil--who was tolerably tame after his unwonted
exercise and fasting--to begin his studies, he brought with him the
great book he had prepared for his use, and placed it open on the
desk, which now stood before the horizontal opening between the bars
already described. All the morning had been employed in preparing the
desk and the book; and the former was now so contrived that, by means
of a screw, the latter could be raised or lowered at pleasure. The
book was no sooner placed before the opening, at the distance of a few
inches, than the bear, which was on the look-out to see what was going
forward, began to snuff and poke, and shewed a most eager desire to
reach it. In fact, all along the lines of large letters, which were
widely divided by the musical staves, the tutor, well knowing the
taste of his pupil, had stuck little figs, dates, raisins, almonds,
morsels of cake, comfits, and dried fruits; in short, all such little
sweet things as bears so particularly delight in. The book was placed
at such a height and distance, that the pupil could only reach the top
line; and the eager manner in which he cleared it, gave promise that
he would prove an apt scholar in that branch of learning. One page
only was thus prepared for him; for at that period of his education it
would have been impossible, without harsher measures than his tutor
wished to adopt, to prevent him from cross-readings, which would
greatly have blemished his scholarship. Some minor offences, such, for
instance, as inordinate efforts to begin upon a second line before he
had regularly perused the first, were punished by switching him on the
nose, turning the double desk round--in which case it presented him
with a mirror, that frightened him dreadfully--or even, in case of
perverseness, leaving him to himself, without giving him the
substantial honey-cake, which always rewarded a well-said lesson. In a
short time the parties began to understand one another, and as Titus
had prudently taken care to be known to his pupil only as a
benefactor, he soon gained his confidence. The bear who, like all his
race, had an ardent love for such dainties, found that he was welcome
to eat all he could get, if he did but do it in a decent methodical
manner. He soon learned, therefore, to take each line as it came; and,
indeed, after a short time, his instructor not only ventured to cover
the lines of the two open pages at the same time, but by enlarging the
opening in front of his cell, he put it in his pupil's power to go on
from one line to another without the book being raised; and after the
tutor had for a week or two turned the leaf when necessary, the pupil
began to shew that, if it was not done for him, he could do it for

As the time drew on, the patriarch was most anxious to know, but did
not venture to ask, how matters were going on. At length he summoned
courage, and put the question, somewhat indirectly, to Titus; and
although he received no particulars, yet he could not help feeling
comforted by the cheerful manner in which his affectionate deacon
assured him that everything was going on rightly, and that he need
have no fear for the result.

In the meantime, the sultan, though less anxious, was intensely
curious to see what would come of the matter, and frequently entered
into conversation on the subject with his physician, who was, on
somewhat different grounds, still more curious than himself. His
sublime highness, however, who could not expect from a Jew much
information respecting the secrets and mysteries of the Christians,
rather confined the discourse between them to the physiological part
of the subject, expressing his wonder--first, that bears should be
able to learn to read; and, secondly, that such a capacity was not
more frequently cultivated, asking him, withal, whether he had ever
himself heard a bear read? The doctor, in parliamentary fashion,
blinked the question; observing that as it was done by secret
practices, and no doubt for wicked purposes, it was best to say as
little as possible about it. His sublime highness was not altogether
satisfied, but comforted himself with thinking that time would soon
throw light on the matter.

At length the day arrived when the bear's proficiency was to be put to
the test. The sultan was seated on a divan in his hall of audience;
his ministers and officers of state stood on either side; and behind
him knelt his Jewish physician, who assumed that position, because,
although he would not have failed, even at the hazard of his life, to
be present, yet he had no strict right to be there; and, moreover, he
did not particularly wish to be seen in the business. All were in
breathless expectation when the Christian procession entered. The
patriarch walked first, with his crosier in his hand; next came Titus,
the tutor, bowed down under the huge lectionary, which he bore upon
his back, secured by leathern straps over his shoulders; then followed
Timothy, leading by a chain the carefully-muzzled pupil. This
precaution was quite necessary; for, having been kept fasting
four-and-twenty hours, the animal was in no good-humour, and would not
have been so quietly brought in, if it had not been closely following
the favourite book. But, in fact, the only trouble which Timothy had,
was to prevent his eager charge from leaping at the volume while it
was yet on his tutor's back. The procession was closed by a porter,
bearing the desk, who, under the direction of Titus, placed it before
the sultan, at such a distance as would conveniently enable the reader
to stand between it and his sublime highness, who might thus see the
book over his favourite's shoulder. Titus himself, thus relieved of
his burden by its transfer to the desk, went round into the reader's
place, and opened the ample leaves of the lectionary; while, to the
great amusement of the sultan, Timothy was exerting his energies to
the utmost to keep back the eager pupil.

'He seems fond of his book, however,' said the sultan; 'that looks
well.' And all the circle bowed assent.

At length, having arranged the volume to his satisfaction, Titus
received his pupil from the hands of his colleague. The bear stood up
manfully to his task; but it need scarcely be said, he was sadly
disappointed when he found that, unlike itself, the beloved book
contained no sweets; not a morsel, though the often-travelled,
much-licked, and still-besmeared lines retained the well-known scent
and savour. He ran his nose over one line after another, all down the
first page, then down the second, and then somewhat impatiently turned
the leaf.

'Well,' cried the sultan, 'he certainly seems to take a great interest
in it himself; and he may understand it perfectly, for aught I know;
but I wish he would read aloud. I should like to hear him. Will you be
so good as to tell him so?' he added, addressing the patriarch.

The venerable Mar Yusef was puzzled, and, as people often do when they
are puzzled, he made a bow, but could think of nothing to say. Titus,
however, promptly dropped on his knees between the bear and the
sultan; and addressing the latter, he said: 'Your sublime highness
will hear him presently; be pleased to give him a little time. Let him
not be harshly judged, if he is a little timid and shy. This is his
first attempt in public.'

As he said this, the deacon saw the twinkle of the Jew's eye over the
sultan's shoulder. It was only for a moment, and nobody but Titus
himself knew that he had seen it at all, so intently did he seem to be
occupied in comforting and encouraging--perhaps we should say
exciting, his pupil. The bear, however, being disappointed line after
line, and page after page, and only stimulated and irritated by the
scent and the slight taste which he could get by thrusting the tip of
his tongue through his muzzle, began to growl most awfully, as he
still went on mechanically, line after line, and turned the leaves
with increased rapidity and vehemence. This continued for some time,
until the pupil was evidently getting into a passion, and the tutor
was growing rather nervous, when the sultan shewed a disposition to
speak, which Titus most thankfully interpreted as an intimation that
the experiment had been carried far enough. He instantly quieted his
pupil, not so much by the order which he gave, as by shewing him a
honey-cake, which nobody else saw, handed the chain to Timothy, and
prepared to listen.

'As I observed before,' said the sultan, 'he certainly does seem to
take a vast interest in it himself; and I daresay he understands it:
but as to his elocution, I must say that it seems to me somewhat
inarticulate.' The patriarch was puzzled again, and again he bowed,
lower than before. The Jew chuckled, and whispered something in the
sultan's ear. But Titus was not disconcerted. Falling again on his
knees, he exclaimed: 'Pardon me, your sublime highness, we consider
him a remarkably good reader, an animal of excellent parts, and a
pupil who does us great credit. It is true, as your sublime highness's
discrimination has observed, that his enunciation, even to those who
know the language, may have some appearance of indistinctness, because
he is defective in the vowel-points; but we cannot help it, for all
our books are unpointed. In this, which, indeed, we consider a matter
of little importance, we do not pretend to compete with the Jews, who
teach theirs from pointed books. If your sublime highness ever heard a
bear read more articulately than this one, it must have been one of
theirs; and if you would have your own perfected in that particular,
you must put it into their hands.' The sultan stared at the deacon;
and the Jew eyed him over the sultan's shoulder with fierce alarm. But
the hands of Titus were folded on his breast, and his head was bowed
down on his hands.

'Well,' said the sultan to the patriarch, after a pause, during which
it was obvious that some things were passing through his mind, of
which he said nothing, 'I thank you for the pains you have taken; and
although I cannot say that I quite understand the matter now, yet if I
had known six weeks ago as much as I do at present, I would not have
troubled you. If you are ever in want of any help or protection,
remember, as I shall, that you have obliged me.'

The patriarch bowed. The sultan rose and retired, resolved that his
first business should be to come to a full explanation with his
doctor; and accordingly, a summons for the Israelite was instantly
issued. Very long it seemed to the sultan--although, in fact, it was
only half an hour--before the vizier came to report, that the doctor
was nowhere to be found.

'Well,' said the sultan, 'I do not much wonder at that. I always
thought him a wise man, and he is certainly no fool to get out of the
way now. But, at the same time, let strict search be made; and also
bring me the chief rabbi.'

In the confusion occasioned by the breaking up of the company, the
tutor and his pupil--the latter of whom had naturally dropped into the
less ostentatious posture of a quadruped--were forgotten, or at least
overlooked, by the crowd of courtiers, who rushed to congratulate Mar
Yusef, or laid their heads together, to whisper their surprise or
their suspicions. Titus, therefore, having briefly given directions to
Timothy to take care that the book was removed, and to see the
patriarch home, and make an excuse for his staying behind, slipped
with his amiable charge through a side-door into the garden, where he
seated himself on a bench, while his companion stood opposite to him
on his hind legs, looking wistfully, he almost thought reproachfully,
in his face. In truth, Titus was conscious that he had tried the
temper of his pupil, and was afraid to let him loose before company,
or, indeed, to let him go into company at all, until he should have
brought him into good-humour. He had provided himself with ample means
of doing this; and having produced more than one honey-cake, and
several other good things, and laid them on the bench beside him, he
did not hesitate to unmuzzle his friend, and a merry meal they made

If the master was rendered happy by the issue of an experiment which
had been matter of such great and long anxiety, the pupil was also
raised to a state of the highest possible good-humour, by being at
once relieved from restraint and hunger. He looked cheerily about him;
seemed as if for the first time he recognised his old haunts; gamboled
through the now deserted hall and passages; and, before he had been
missed by anybody, found his way, by a short cut, to his own rug in
the sultan's apartment.

For a moment, indeed, while occupied in anticipating the explanation
which he had resolved to extort from his doctor, the sultan, like his
courtiers, had forgotten his favourite; but now the meeting was most
cordial on both sides. The sultan seemed determined to make up for his
neglect; and the favourite to shew, that neither scholarship, nor the
discipline requisite for obtaining it, had diminished his social
affections or companionable qualities.

At length the rabbi arrived. He had, indeed, been a little longer than
was necessary on the way, because he had found some means of
persuading the messenger to let him call on two or three friends as he
came along. He did not lose much time by this, however; his only
object being to ask them, to what extent they could help him in case
the loan should be very large. Satisfied on this point, and
preoccupied by the thoughts which had suggested the inquiry, he stood
before the sultan. Great, therefore, was his surprise, when his
sublime highness, instead of saying a word about money-matters,
briefly, but clearly, explained to him the nature of the business in
which his service was required.

'Your sublime highness is pleased to jest with your servant,' said the
rabbi, as soon as he could command breath enough to utter the words.

'Not at all,' replied the sultan; 'you will find me quite in earnest,
I assure you. He reads, and, I am told, reads as well as can be
expected _without_ the points; now you must teach him to read _with_

The rabbi was utterly confounded. He could only bow down his head,
wondering what the sultan could mean, and what he would say next, and
whether it would throw any light on what he had said already. So his
sublime highness continued, with some asperity: 'Do not think to
deceive me. I know all about the matter. You _can_ do it, and you had
better not hesitate; for I am in no humour to be trifled with. I gave
the Christians six weeks, and I'll give you the same. Don't answer,
but go, and he shall be sent to you.'

The unhappy rabbi returned home in a state of bewilderment. He sent
for some of his friends to consult with, most of whom were as much
surprised as he had been, when they learned the nature of the business
which had produced the summons. Only one of them, who happened to be a
friend of the missing doctor, seemed to know anything about the
matter; and he could not throw much light upon it. He could only tell
them, for their comfort, that it was a very serious affair, and they
must mind what they were about.

It would be only tiresome, if it were possible, to particularise all
the suggestions and discussions which ensued. They were still going on
when the bear arrived, and was duly installed in an apartment which
had been prepared for him, as well as it could be on such short
notice; for all agreed, that he must be treated with great care and
attention, not only in order to propitiate him, but because it might
be dangerous to let him return in worse condition than he came. So
neither trouble nor cost was spared to make him comfortable; and very
comfortable he was: supplied with every luxury, crammed with dainties,
and petted in every conceivable way. But whatever progress he might
make in the study of mankind, and in other branches of useful
knowledge, it was plain that he was making none in that particular
branch of learning for which he had been sent to school. His
instructors did not know how to deal with him. He was on easy terms
with all about him, would play with anybody, and quarrelled with
nobody; but learn he would not. When they held a book before him, he
thrust his nose into the cream-bowl; when they spoke of Pathach and
Segol, he shut one eye, and munched figs; and when, 'as a bird each
fond endearment tries,' they set up a stave which might have made the
very learned the Masorites to dance for joy, in the hope that
instinctively, or by mere love of imitation, he might be led to join
in the chorus, he only threw himself on his back, and fairly roared
them down.

Sensible of all this, and of its probable consequences, the
instructors had not been idle in another direction. They had used
their utmost endeavours to learn how the pupil had been dealt with by
his former tutor. But all their inquiries were fruitless. Titus had
kept his secret so effectually, that even Timothy knew little, if
anything, more than other people; or, in other words, more than had
been transacted before the sultan and his court. But in collecting all
such information as could be gleaned, they were indefatigable, and
were scrupulously careful to imitate everything which had been done,
not knowing what hidden virtue there might be in things apparently
trivial. They provided a great book and a desk; and did, and were
prepared to do, all that, so far as they could learn, had been done
before. And so matters went on, until the time came for them to
produce their pupil.

The sultan was led, by various considerations, to think that it would
be better to have the examination rather more private than the former
one had been; and, accordingly, at the time appointed, the rabbi and
his companions were brought into his private apartment. They had no
hope that the book and desk--which, however, they had taken care to
provide--would be wanted by their pupil; and indeed for some time past
their thoughts had been turned from any attempts at instruction, and
employed in framing an apology, in doing which they flattered
themselves that they had succeeded tolerably well.

The pupil, who had grown corpulent under his late course of treatment,
did not at first raise his lazy, half-shut eyes high enough from the
ground to see the desk and open book, which were clever imitations, if
not quite facsimiles of forms deeply impressed on his memory, and
calculated to produce very stimulating recollections. As soon as they
caught his eye, he seemed to be seized with sudden passion, dashed at
the book, and overthrew the whole concern. Fiercely did he thrust his
nose and paws between the leaves, and turn them, and tear them, and
trample them. At length, exhausted by his exertions--to say nothing of
his having previously had more exercise than usual--he waddled away to
his well-known rug, absolutely declined all invitations either to work
or play, and lay there watching the company through his half-shut
eyes, in a state of stupid repose, which those who had just watched
his effervescence did not care to interrupt.

'Well,' said the sultan to the rabbi and his friends, 'you are a
strange set of people. When I put my bear into your hands, he read
fluently, and _con amore_; and all you had to do, was to perfect his
articulation. Instead of that, you bring him back fat, stupid, and
savage, and so far from reading better, unable to read at all. It
would serve you right, if I were to hang the whole set of you, and
confiscate all your goods; but I am a merciful man, and will be
content with banishment.'

So an order was immediately issued for banishing the Jews from the
dominions of the sultan; and they all made off as fast as they could,
not knowing that their own countryman had been at the bottom of all,
or having any idea of the explanation which is here laid before the


[1] This is in substance a tradition still current among those Eastern
Christians who are 'dwellers in Mesopotamia.'


There is a certain degree of satisfaction to the inquiring mind in
knowing that, even in these days of aptness for discovering and
explaining everything, there yet remains something to be found out;
something to excite speculation and recompense research. Such a
subject is the zodiacal light, which, for nearly two centuries past,
has at different times occupied the attention of astronomers and other
observers of celestial phenomena, though it is only of late years that
the theories concerning it have acquired anything like a precise
character. Many ingenious hypotheses have been thrown out, which may
perhaps be accepted as steps towards a true explanation; and while
waiting the result of further inquiry, we shall endeavour to make our
readers acquainted with the interesting phenomenon.

The zodiacal light is a peculiar brightness, pyramidal or wedge-like
in form, seen at certain periods of the year in the eastern or western
sky, before sunrise and after sunset. Its direction is in the line of
the zodiac, whence its name--not perpendicular to the horizon, but at
a varying angle, being in the spring from 60 to 70 degrees. The base
of the wedge, which has a breadth generally of from 10 to 12 degrees,
is below, and the sides rise in a line, curving outwards, to the apex,
but so vague and diffuse as to be frequently indefinable. In our
latitudes, it is best seen at or just after the equinoxes; before
sunrise in autumn, and after sunset in spring; and becomes invisible
as twilight increases, or if the moon shines; the light even of Venus
and Jupiter is sufficient to render its discovery difficult. It is
brightest at the base, and grows fainter the further it stretches from
the horizon, vanishing entirely at the point. Unpractised observers
would be apt to overlook it altogether, and those accustomed to watch
the heavens are at times obliged to fix one eye on a dark space of
sky, while they search for the light with the other, and discover it
only by the contrast. A stratum of black cloud resting on the horizon
often affords a means of detection, as the light can then be seen
shooting from it with comparative distinctness. The soft, clear
atmosphere which usually precedes or follows rain, is very favourable
to a view of the light.

The luminous wedge varies in length with the progress of the seasons:
sometimes but little more than its point is visible; at others, it is
seen extending over a space of 120 degrees. Astronomically speaking,
the axis of the zodiacal light is said to lie in the plane of the
solar equator, with an angle of more than 7 degrees to the ecliptic,
which it consequently intersects, the points of intersection becoming
its nodes, and these nodes are the parts through which the earth
passes in March and September. The light travels forward along the
zodiacal signs from Gemini to Cancer and Leo from August to November,
keeping pace with the sun. It grows dim towards the end of November,
and fades more and more until January; but while this decrease has
been going on in the east, and in the morning, the light has presented
itself with increasing brightness in the west, and in the evening, and
pursues its course until the end of February at about the same rate of
motion. In March, it is slow, and travels through not more than one
sign, and fades in April, and is lost in May, to reappear again at the
end of summer, and perform the same route.

Lengthened twilight is not favourable to the appearance of the
zodiacal light; it can, therefore, be observed successfully in the
temperate latitudes only by patient and long-continued watching. But
in tropical regions, the deep azure of the sky, and the brief
twilight, give it a distinctness and luminosity never witnessed
elsewhere. In Egypt, we are told it is clearly 'visible every night,
except when the light of the moon is too great, from January to June;'
and in India its appearance is described as that of 'a pyramid of
faint aurora-borealis like light' usually preceding the dawn. Humboldt
tells us, that he has seen it shine with greater brightness than the
Milky Way, from different parts of the coast of South America, and
from places on the Andes more than 13,000 feet above the sea-level.

'Those who have dwelt long,' he writes, 'in the zone of palms, must
retain a pleasing remembrance of the mild radiance of this phenomenon,
which, rising pyramidally, illumines a portion of the unvarying length
of the tropical nights.' And once, during a voyage from Lima to
Mexico, he saw it in greater magnificence than ever before. 'Long
narrow clouds, scattered over the lovely azure of the sky, appeared
low down in the horizon, as if in front of a golden curtain, while
bright varied tints played from time to time on the higher clouds: it
seemed a second sunset. Towards that side of the heavens, the light
diffused appeared almost to equal that of the moon in her first

The zodiacal light can hardly fail of having been observed by
astronomers in the past ages of the world; but the earliest known
mention of it occurs in the _Britannia Baconica_, published by
Childrey in 1661. The writer says: 'There is another thing which I
recommend to the observation of mathematical men--which is, that in
February, and for a little before and a little after that month--as I
have observed for several years together--about six in the evening,
when the twilight hath almost deserted the horizon, you shall see a
plainly discernible way of the twilight, striking up towards the
Pleiads, and seeming almost to touch them. It is so observed any clear
night, but it is best _illæ nocte_. There is no such way to be
observed at any other time of the year. But what the cause of it in
nature should be, I cannot yet imagine, but leave it to further
inquiry.' The further inquiry followed soon afterwards, for Cassini,
the eminent French astronomer, having carefully observed the
phenomenon from 1683 to 1688, communicated the results to the Académie
des Sciences. Some of his views and determinations were well founded;
and from them we gather that the zodiacal light was nearly or quite
the same in his day as at present. Others also devoted considerable
attention to it, and noticed the variations in brightness in different
years, which subsequent observations have verified. Since then, it has
been made more or less a subject of investigation by modern
astronomers, and has been observed in many parts of the world; the
first observations in the southern hemisphere being those made by
Professor Smyth at the Cape of Good Hope, from 1843 to 1845. In that
latitude, the zodiacal light is best seen in spring evenings, at an
angle of 30 degrees, visible long after sunset; its opposite peak is
discernible at daybreak, but has scarcely come into view before the
rising sun overpowers it. In autumn, the reverse takes place; the best
appearance is in the morning.

To understand what is meant by the 'opposite peak,' we are to regard
the zodiacal light, of which we see only one end in our latitudes, as
a body extending all round the sun in the same form, presenting at a
distance the appearance of one of those flat elongated oval nebulæ
seen in the heavens. Its direction is at right angles to that of the
sun's rotation, a straight line drawn from either pole of the great
luminary divides it in the centre. From its outline resembling that of
a lens in section, it is frequently described as a 'cosmical body of
lenticular form.'

From this account of what the zodiacal light appears to be, we proceed
to consider what it is. Some inquirers--arguing from the 'nebular
theory,' which assumes the formation of the several planets, one after
another, from nebulous matter--have supposed the zodiacal light to be
a remnant of that matter yet unconcentrated. In this view, it may be a
nebula, brightest in the centre, as is the case with most, and fainter
towards the margin. According to Humboldt, 'we may with great
probability attribute the zodiacal light to the existence of an
extremely oblate ring of nebulous matter, revolving freely in space
between the orbits of Venus and Mars.' On several occasions he
witnessed its fluctuations, night after night, from the plains of
South America, shewing itself at times greatly collapsed or condensed,
with intermittences of vividness and faintness, in the course of a few
minutes, as is observed of the aurora. The light of the stars, of even
the fifth or sixth magnitudes, can be seen through it: the same has
been remarked of comets; and it is known also that the tails of comets
undergo frequent flashings or pulsations, so that the two phenomena
may be analogous in character. It is necessary, however, to
distinguish the fluctuations from such effects as may be produced by
movements in the lower strata of the atmosphere.

Mairan, who wrote in 1731, was of opinion that the zodiacal light
consisted of particles thrown off from the sun by its rapid rotation,
or a species of atmosphere peculiar to the central orb. Others have
supposed the luminosity to be composed of 'revolving planetary
particles,' shining by a direct or reflected light. But, according to
Professor Olmsted, of Yale College, Massachusetts, it is something
which has a motion of its own around the sun, notwithstanding that the
general steadiness of its movements had warranted the notion that it
was in some way attached to the body of the sun itself. Olmsted's
conclusions are drawn from a diligent observation of the light during
a period of six years, and are on this account, as well as from his
scientific reputation, entitled to respect. He states the light to be,
in constitution, colour, and density, similar to that of the tail of a
comet, the portion nearest the sun being brightest, and both admitting
of stars being seen through them. We may, therefore, infer it to be a
nebulous ring surrounding the sun, in the same way that the
magnificent rings of Saturn surround that planet. Of such nebulæ as
this there are from 2000 to 3000 visible in the regions of space,
compared with which the dimension of ours is insignificant: at the
same distance, and sought for with the same instruments, it would be

In one point, Professor Olmsted's views are particularly interesting,
as, out of one mysterious phenomenon, he endeavours to explain
another, and inquires: 'Whether or not the zodiacal light is the
origin of the meteoric showers of November and August, and especially
those of November?' Many readers know that for some years past great
numbers of falling-stars, or showers of meteors, have been observed
periodically in November: the fall seen in the United States in
1834--when, as is estimated, more than 240,000 stars fell as thick as
snow-flakes, in the space of nine hours--being the most remarkable
hitherto known. The explanation is, that the zodiacal light is a
nebulous body revolving round the sun, and arrives at its aphelion on
the 13th November in that part of the earth's orbit which the earth
then reaches, and, coming into contact with our atmosphere, portions
of the nebulous matter are detached, and, taking fire as they pass
through, appear to us as shooting-stars. This explanation of the
phenomenon in question is one not hastily conceived; the reasoning on
which it is founded is altogether satisfactory, as well with regard to
the movement of the nebulous matter, as to that of the earth.

Professor Olmsted, in a communication addressed to the 'American
Association for the Advancement of Science,' sums up his views as

'1. The zodiacal light, as we have found, in our inquiry into its
nature and constitution, is a _nebulous body_.

'2. It has a revolution round the sun.

'3. It reaches beyond and _lies over the earth's orbit_ at the time of
the November meteors, and makes but a small angle with the ecliptic.

'4. Like the nebulous body, its periodic time is commensurable with
that of the earth, so as to perform a certain whole number of
revolutions while the earth performs one, and thus to complete the
cycle in one year, at the end of which the zodiacal light and the
earth return to the same relative position in space. This necessarily
follows from the fact, that at the same season of the year it occupies
the same position one year with another, and the same now as when
Cassini made his observations nearly 170 years ago.

'5. In the meteoric showers of November, _the meteors are actually
seen to come from the extreme portions of the zodiacal light_, or
rather a little beyond the visible portions.'

There is much that is suggestive in this summary, and, as we said at
the commencement, the subject is one of a nature to stimulate inquiry
and research, and to lead to further explanations of cosmical
phenomena. M. Mathieson's observations, published in the _Comptes
Rendus_ of the Académie des Sciences for 1843, shew, that when tested
with the thermo-multiplier, the zodiacal light was found to radiate
heat as well as light--a fact which, if further verified, will support
the evidence in favour of an independent luminous ring.


Thus asks Mrs Kitty in _High Life Below Stairs_, to which his Grace my
Lord Duke gravely replies: 'Ben Jonson.' 'O no,' quoth my Lady Bab:
'Shakspeare was written by one Mr Finis, for I saw his name at the end
of the book!' and this passes off as an excellent joke, and never
fails to elicit the applause of the audience; but still the question
remains unanswered: Who wrote Shakspeare? a question, we humbly think,
which might be made the theme for as much critical sagacity,
pertinacity, and pugnacity, as the almost equally interesting
question, who wrote Homer? In the former case, the question is
certainly in one respect more simple, for the recognised plays and
poems that go by Shakspeare's name are--at least by far the larger
portion--unquestionably from one and the same pen; while Homer, poor,
dear, awful, august, much-abused shade! has been torn by a pack of
German wolves into fragments, which it puzzles the lore and research
of Grote and Muir to patch together again. Even Mr Grote seems
disposed to admit, that while the _Odyssey_ may pass muster as one
continuous poem, whatever was the name of the author, the greater
_Iliad_ must be broken up at least into an _Iliad_ and an _Achilleid_,
by different rhapsodists; and though Colonel Muir stands stoutly on
the other side, the restoration of the unity of Homer may, even with
us sober-minded thinkers, take ten times the years it took to capture
Troy; while with the German Mystics and Mythists, the controversy may
last till they have to open their bewildered and bewildering eyes upon
the realities of another world.

So far, therefore, the question is limited, for we are entitled to
assume, what no one at this time of day dreams of disputing, that
_Hamlet_ and his fellows are not only the productions of one mind, but
are beyond comparison the greatest productions which man's intellect,
not divinely inspired, has yet achieved. The question therefore
is--who wrote them? With the exception of Homer, who lived before the
time of written history, and Junius, who purposely and successfully
shrouded himself in obscurity, there has, perhaps, been no great
writer who has not in his life, his letters, or his sayings, more or
less identified himself with the productions of his pen. Take Walter
Scott, for instance; or Byron, or Addison, or Dryden; or, to go still
earlier, take Ben Jonson, or Kit Marlowe, or Geoffrey Chaucer, and
each and all of them have external marks by which we could assign the
authorship, even if the production had been published anonymously. Try
Shakspeare's plays by the same test, and suppose _Hamlet_, _Macbeth_,
&c., had been successively published after the fashion of Junius, and
what critic of any age would ever have ascribed them to William

This may appear uncandid and unfair. It may be said, that Shakspeare
lived in a time when letter-writing and letter-preserving were
comparatively infrequent, and that we have no right to deprive him of
his authorship, any more than we should have had to deprive Dr Johnson
of _Rasselas_, if he had not had the good-fortune of a Boswell to
record his sayings. So we humbly think it would, had Shakspeare, like
Homer, been wholly unknown, and every record of him lost; we should
then, as in the case of Homer, have judged exclusively from the
internal evidence of the works themselves, and formed a brilliant
ideal picture of what the astonishing author must have been in his
daily walk, correspondence, and conversation. But, unfortunately,
enthusiasm worked up to its pitch, sweeping the clouds for a
bird's-eye view of the high pinnacle of human greatness commensurate
with the 'local habitation and the name' of such a genius, is at once
'cabined, cribbed, confined,' by the authentic recorded whatabouts,
whenabouts, and whereabouts of William Shakspeare, actor, owner,
purchaser, and chattels and messuage devisor whilom of the Globe
Theatre, Surrey-side; item of the Blackfriars, Fleet Street; and
ultimately of Stratford-on-Avon, '_gent_,' husband of Anne Hathaway,
to whom he devises his second-best bed. On the one hand, research has
traced his life from the cradle to the grave, and by means of
tradition, legal documents, records, and inscriptions, formed a very
accurate skeleton biography; while, on the other hand, with the single
exception of Ben Jonson, to be noticed hereafter, records and even
tradition are silent upon his walk and conversation; and though his
signature has been several times disinterred, his whole
correspondence, if he ever wrote a letter, has sunk like lead beneath
the dark waters of oblivion; indeed, even the single signature as yet
discovered unconnected with business documents--namely, the 'Willme
Shakspere' on the volume of Montaigne--is not preceded by any remark
whatever, by any sentence that might give a faint echo of _Hamlet_.
Now this, to say the least, is singular to the very last degree. The
unsurpassed brilliancy of the writer throws not one single spark to
make noticeable the quiet uniform mediocrity of the man. Is it more
difficult to suppose that Shakspeare was not the author of the poetry
ascribed to him, than to account for the fact, that there is nothing
in the recorded or traditionary life of Shakspeare which in any way
connects the poet with the man? It will not do to use the common
hackneyed expression, that Shakspeare had a 'genius so essentially
dramatic, that all other writers the world has seen have never
approached him in his power of going out of himself.' Even the
inspired writers of Scripture have their style and their expressions
modified, and adapted to the peculiar idiosyncrasy and accidental
position of the respective men; and taking human nature as we find it,
we think it much easier to suppose that Shakspeare never once appears
personally in his dramas, because his interest in them was not
personal, but pecuniary. William Shakspeare, the man, was
comparatively well known. He was born in Stratford-on-Avon, of
respectable parentage; he married Anne Hathaway; had children;
apparently became unsettled; went to London to push his fortune; made
a deal of money by theatrical speculations, and by the profits of
certain plays, of which he was reputed to be the author; then retired
quietly to the country, and was heard of no more, excepting that a few
years afterwards old Aubrey states that 'Shakspeare, Drayton, and Ben
Jonson had a merry-meeting, and, it seems, drank too hard, for
Shakspeare died of a fever there contracted.' Brandish not thy dagger,
Melpomene, at this profanation! The scandal is not ours, but Aubrey's,
Shakspeare's earliest biographer, but who did not write till forty-six
years after his death. His name and signature are connected with the
buying and selling of land and theatrical shares, and such-like
commonplace transactions; and his last will and testament, with which
everybody is familiar, is as plain and prosaic as if it had been the
production of a pig-headed prerogative lawyer. Now, in all this we see
a sensible, sagacious, cautious, persevering man, who certainly was
free from the rashness and (excepting the closing scene, if old Aubrey
is to be believed) rakish extravagance too often characteristic of
genius at any time, and perhaps particularly so of Shakspeare's time.
It is apparent that Shakspeare, at least from the time the plays
commenced, never had to shift for his living: he had always money to
lend and money to spend; and we know also, that many of his
contemporaries, men with genius akin to that which produced these
plays, were in continued and utter extremity, willing to barter
exertion, name, and fame, for the daily dole that gets the daily

May not William Shakspeare--the cautious, calculating man, careless of
fame, and intent only on money-making--have found, in some furthest
garret overlooking the 'silent highway' of the Thames, some pale,
wasted student, with a brow as ample and lofty as his own, who had
written the _Wars of the Roses_, and who, with eyes of genius gleaming
through despair, was about, like Chatterton, to spend his last copper
coin upon some cheap and speedy means of death? What was to hinder
William Shakspeare from reading, appreciating, and purchasing these
dramas, and thereafter keeping his poet, as Mrs Packwood did? The mere
circumstance of his assuming them as his own, may have seemed to be
justified by his position as manager, and his regard to the interests
of the theatre; as a play by a well-known and respected favourite
would be more likely to escape hissing than one by an unknown
adventurer; and the practice once commenced must go on; for we cannot
suppose that Shakspeare could afford to deny the authorship of
_Macbeth_, if he had previously consented to father _Henry VI._, _The
Two Gentlemen of Verona_, and the _Midsummer Night's Dream_. This
assumption, we are sorry to say, smooths away many of the difficulties
that have hitherto baffled the critics. How could Shakspeare, say
they, have been able to write at all, while obviously and laboriously
employed in the active business of his profession? Where did he
acquire that all-comprehensive knowledge of nature, men, and books?
How could he paint with such exact fidelity the peculiar scenery
pertaining exclusively to the subject in question, when he can be
proved never to have left London? What time had he to tread the
'blasted heath,' or describe the aspect of Glammis Castle? How could
he accomplish all this? Why, simply, and naturally, and easily--by
affording his poet all the requisite leisure, and defraying the
expenses of all the requisite tours. And with this view, though it
cannot be proved, and is very unlikely, that Shakspeare ever was in
Scotland, yet it is most likely that the author of _Macbeth_ was; and
thus the intelligence, but not the genius, of these wonderful works
ceases to be supernatural. Again, not one single manuscript of
Shakspeare's plays or poems has ever been discovered; and certainly
the search has been as rigorous and continuous as that for the
Philosopher's Stone; while even Scott, when owning to the Novels,
found it necessary to say that almost all the manuscripts were
holograph; nor, if we do not very much mistake, is there among all the
records and traditions which have been handed to us, any statement of
Shakspeare having been seen writing, or having delivered his

Of course, the obvious answer to all this is, that such a transaction,
carried on through so many years, and having reference to works which
even in that age excited considerable admiration and attention, could
not be concealed. We may reply to this, that Shakspeare, who
apparently was liked by every one, did not conceal it from his
friends, and that they supported him in this pardonable
assumption--the members of the theatre for their own sakes, and his
other friends for his.

Take, besides, the custom of the age, the helter-skelter way in which
dramas were got up, sometimes by half-a-dozen authors at once, of whom
one occasionally monopolised the fame; and the unscrupulous manner in
which booksellers appropriated any popular name of the day, and
affixed it to their publications; and who so popular with all
playgoers of the period as the gentle, well-living Shakspeare? And his
name would better suit his friends and the then public, than any mere
recluse, unknown poet, until his name, like other myths, acquired
sanctity by age. Indeed, we fear it is not necessary to go back to
Shakspeare's time to find the practice of assumed authorship of
purchased plays, without either the reasons or the excuses which apply
to Shakspeare. Unfortunately, however, for those who claim Shakspeare
for Shakspeare, the secret was not wholly kept. Robert Greene, a
well-known contemporary, a writer of reputation, but one who led the
skeldering life peculiar to most of his class, addressed, on his
death-bed, in 1592, a warning to his co-mates not to trust to the
puppets 'that speak from our mouths.' He then goes on in these
remarkable words, which we believe every critic thinks were intended
for Shakspeare: 'Yes, trust them not; for there is an upstart crow
beautified with our feathers, that, with his tiger's heart wrapt in a
player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank
verse as the best of you; and, being an absolute _Johannes Factotum_,
is in his own conceit the only _Shake-scene_ in a country.' Again:
with this view, the disputed passages--those in which critics have
agreed that the genius is found wanting--the meretricious ornaments
sometimes crowded in--the occasional bad taste displayed--in short,
all the imperfections discernible and disputable in these mighty
dramas, are reconcilable with their being the interpolations of
Shakspeare himself on his poet's works.

The dedication of the _Venus_ and the _Lucrece_ to Lord Southampton
is, we confess, somewhat against us, for we cannot but think these
poems came from the pen that wrote _Romeo_; but, after all,
Southampton was so generous a patron, that Shakspeare might be excused
in assuming the authorship, in order to make the books (as his poems)
a better return for the thousand pounds bestowed. But if Southampton
really knew him to be the author of the dramas, how comes it that
Raleigh, Spenser, and even Bacon--all with genius so thoroughly
kindred to the author of _Hamlet_--have all ignored his acquaintance?
Raleigh and Bacon seem not to have known of his existence; while
Spenser, if he alludes to the works, takes care to avoid the name. In
short, Heywood, Suckling, Hales, and all the others who are recorded
to have spoken of Shakspeare 'with great admiration,' confine
themselves to the works, and seem personally to avoid the man--always
excepting '_Rare Ben Jonson_;' and we confess, if Ben is to be
entirely believed, Shakspeare wrote Shakspeare. But Ben, if
unsupported, is somewhat disqualified from being what the Scotch would
call a 'famous witness'--he was under the deepest pecuniary
obligations to Shakspeare, and was through life, despite the
nonsensical tradition of their quarrel, his hearty friend and
boon-companion, with 'blind affection,' as he phrases it, as seen
above, literally 'unto death,' and therefore bound by the strongest
ties to keep his secret, if secret there were. Besides, Ben can be
convicted of at least one unqualified fib on the subject. Hear how he
describes Droeshout's print of Shakspeare, prefixed to the first folio
edition of 1623:

    This figure that thou here see'st put,
    It was for gentle Shakspeare cut,
    Wherein the graver had a strife
    With nature to outdo the life.
    Oh! could he have but drawn his wit
    As well in brass, as he hath hit
    His face, &c.

Hear now Nathan Drake: 'The wretched engraving thus undeservedly
eulogised;' and Mr Steevens calls it 'Shakspeare's countenance
deformed by Droeshout'--like the sign of Sir Roger turned into the
Saracen's Head.

We might, did space allow, also allude to the celebrated 'wit-combats
at the Mermaid,' where Shakspeare's wit, when recorded, becomes truly
un-Shakspearian. Let one example suffice, stated by Capell. 'Ben' and
'Bill' propose a joint epitaph. Ben begins:

    'Here lies Ben Jonson,
    Who was once one--'

Shakspeare concludes:

    'That, while he lived, was a _slow_ thing;
    And now, being dead, is a _no_-thing.'

We doubt if Benedict would have gained Beatrice had he wooed her in
this style, and yet its tiny sparkle seems a beam of light contrasted
with the dull darkness of the rest. In fine, we maintain we have no
more direct evidence to shew that Shakspeare wrote Hamlet's soliloquy,
than we have that he wrote the epitaph on John a Coombe, the ballad on
Sir Thomas Lucy, or the epitaph to spare his 'bones' on his own
tombstone--all of which the commentators are now determined to

Assuming, then, that we have proved, to our own extreme
dissatisfaction, the probability that Shakspeare kept a poet, we are
bound to say that the intercourse between them must have been one of
almost unexampled cordiality and kindness; for seldom can we discover
anything like hostility in the poet to his employer; but there must
have been two little miffs--one of which occurred during the writing
of the _Midsummer Night's Dream_, and the other before the publication
of the _Twelfth Night_. Shakspeare, it is well known, in very early
youth, married a girl a good deal older than himself, and there is at
least no evidence to shew that, as usual, he did not repent his
choice. Now, we will admit that it was unhandsome in the poet at the
beginning of the _Dream_ to make Hermia and Lysander discourse upon
this delicate subject--

     _Hermia._ O cross! too high to be enthralled to low!

     _Lysander._ Or else misgraffèd in respect of years.

     _Her._ (_the lady._) O spite! too old to be engaged to young!

But matters were still worse, when the Duke, in the _Twelfth Night_,

    'Too old, by Heaven! Let still the woman take
    An elder than herself.'

And again:

    'Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
    Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;
    For women are as roses, whose fair flower
    Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.'

It is, we confess, very difficult to suppose that Shakspeare, with his
unquestionable good feeling, could have written this unhandsome insult
to his own wife, though it is very easy to imagine his passing it over
in a hurried perusal previous to its presentation in the green-room.

One thing at least appears certain, and not disputed--the plays
apparently rise, if we may use the expression, as the series goes on;
all at once, Shakspeare, with a fortune, leaves London, and the supply
ceases. Is this compatible with such a genius thus culminating, on any
other supposition than the death of the poet and the survival of the

Well, reader, how like you our hypothesis? We confess we do not like
it ourselves; but we humbly think it is at least as plausible as most
of what is contained in the many bulky volumes written to connect the
man, William Shakspeare, with the poet of _Hamlet_. We repeat, there
is nothing recorded in his everyday life that connects the two, except
the simple fact of his selling the poems and realising the proceeds,
and their being afterwards published with his name attached; and the
statements of Ben Jonson, which, however, are quite compatible with
his being in the secret. In fact, the only other hypothesis which we
think will serve at all, is to suppose that Shakspeare, like Mohammed,
instead of going to a garret, went to a cave, and received his _Koran_
from Gabriel; but then the mischief is, that Shakspeare is the most
readable of authors, and the _Koran_, perhaps the most unreadable
trash ever inflicted on a student--at least its translation is; and
besides, no angel of them all could ever have shewn such an
acquaintance with our (to a celestial) unkindred humanity as these
poems display. Perhaps the best and crowning hypothesis is that of
Byron about Junius:

    That what we Shakspeare call,
    Was really, truly, nobody at all.

Thus, whether Shakspeare were written by nobody or not, it seems
pretty well proved that _nobody gave_ the plays to Shakspeare; so
that, whether by inheritance, _purchase_, or divine afflatus, the man
who wrote Shakspeare was--William Shakspeare.


For persons who have never visited the tropics to form an idea of the
exceeding beauty of night in these regions, is utterly impossible. The
azure depth of the sky, illuminated by numberless stars of wondrous
brilliancy, seems, as it were, reflected in the giant foliage of the
trees, and on the dewy herbage of the mountainsides, gemmed with the
scintillations of innumerable fire-flies; while the gentle night-wind,
rustling through the lofty plantain and feathery cocoa-nut, bears upon
its breath a world of rich and balmy odours. Perhaps the scene is
still more lovely when the pale moon flings down her rays on the
chalice of the _Datura arborea_, brimming with nectareous dew--her own
most favoured flower, delicate of scent and chaste in beauty. Yet the
night of the tropics has many drawbacks: noxious, unsightly creatures
then forsake their lair, lithe snakes uncoil their glossy rings, bats
flutter in the moonbeams, and croaking frogs disturb the silence of
the hour.

In a valley of the St Andrew Mountains, in the island of Jamaica,
where we resided for a short time, we beheld in perfection this lovely
night, and experienced in an equally great degree its inconveniences.
It was indeed a favoured spot, for which nature had done her utmost.
Sublime and beautiful were there so exquisitely blended, that to
determine the leading characteristic of the scenery was impossible.
Mountains, clad to the loftiest summit in perpetual verdure; gigantic
trees, rich in blushing fruits; pensile plants, aglow with the
choicest flowers; proud-rifted rocks, pale and ghastly, as if cleft by
an earthquake; foaming cascades springing madly down the cliffs,
leaping through chasms spanned with aquatic creepers, and then
dwindling into ever-gurgling streams, that glided through ravines
curtained with verdant drapery--such were some of the details of the
picture; but how vain the endeavour to describe this redundant beauty!
A friend, who enjoyed it with a zest as keen as our own, once
remarked: 'It is like nothing in this world but one of Salvator Rosa's
pictures framed in a garland of flowers!'

This gorgeous scenery screened from our dwelling the unsightly squalor
of a negro village, which lay at a distance of a mile and a half on
the other side of an abrupt hill to our rear. It consisted merely of
some score of huts, of miserable aspect, formed of matting, stretched
on stakes stuck in the ground; and in other cases, of interwoven
bamboos, dabbed with mud, and roofed over with gigantic palm-leaves.
Each had its garden in front, of yams, cocos, and sweet potatoes. The
negroes of the village were our nearest neighbours, and we visited
them occasionally, in the hope of ameliorating their condition by
communicating to them such instruction as they were capable of
receiving; but their grotesque ideas of liberty, overweening egotism,
and marvellous superstition, together with the shortness of our stay
in their vicinity, combined to frustrate our object.

The place we occupied had been once a missionary station, and
consisted merely of a couple of chambers, a sitting-room, and a
veranda that ran round the house, which was built of an inferior
species of mahogany, and ceiled and floored with the same. The colour
of the wood, together with the fact, that all the former occupants had
fallen victims to the climate, gave the house an air of extraordinary
gloom; still, this was in some measure dissipated by the multitude of
flowers in the garden, of the kinds familiar to us in England, and
which, from the equable temperature of the mountain climate,
flourished in the open air.

Before the windows flashed a bright parterre, begirt with a thick
hedge of salvias, above which the exquisite humming-bird for ever
hovered. The hedge was intermingled with the tea-rose, white jasmine,
fuchsia, pink cactus, and bignonia; all of which, from the hardihood
of their growth, appeared indigenous. Balsams sprung like weeds, and
every conceivable variety of convolvulus flaunted in gay bands from
the shafts of ever-blossoming limes. Along the veranda, extending from
column to column, ran a drapery of nurandias, lobeas, and plumbago;
while at the end of the parterre, in close proximity, stretched the
grave-yard of the station, studded thick with white stones, recording
the names of many a once weary missionary and Christianised negro.

About a month after our arrival at Rosevale--for so was the place
called--my husband was compelled by professional duty to be absent for
a couple of days. It was the first time I had ever been left alone,
having been only recently married, and separated from my family in
England. An utter stranger in the island, my nerves were somewhat
subdued at the prospect before me; and although determined to endure
the loneliness very bravely, still it was not felt the less acutely.
There were no Europeans nearer than a distance of five miles; and
owing to the peculiar nature of the scenery, its extraordinary
stillness, and the unusual aspect of its gigantic vegetation, it was,
despite its beauty, invested to a remarkable degree with an air of
desolateness and solitude. At five in the morning, my husband set out
upon his journey, and at eight a negro came to inquire whether massa
was at home. This was an unusual circumstance; but upon hearing that
massa left home that morning, he departed, and I thought no more of
him. The weary day dragged heavily to a close, and at eight in the
evening the same negro returned, and repeated his inquiry by the light
of a lamp held by a young lad of his own race in our service. I saw
the man's face, and suffering, perhaps, from nervous irritability,
fancied I had never seen a countenance more sinister. My pulse
throbbed quickly, as the reply was given, that 'Massa wouldn't return
till the night of the ensuing day.' Here was an admission! I alone in
this wild, outlandish place, attended only by my maid, a semi-German,
semi-Irish girl, exceedingly timid, and a couple of negro servants, if
possible more cowardly: I felt my heart sink, as after uttering some
half-intelligible words, the sable visitor departed. While drinking
tea in solitude, musing on the old familiar faces of my former home,
never was the croaking of the frog so loud, the curlo's note so
shrill, the evening air so gentle. I heard the negro servants without
expressing their astonishment that, now as massa was gone, missus
wouldn't call in Miss Jane (the maid), and make her 'peak' to her;
adding--'Rosevale not good house to lib by himself in--plenty "padres"
die dere, plenty doppies (ghosts) come up dere from de grabe-yard!'
Now my dread was not of the 'doppies,' but I did fear the return of
the recent ill-favoured visitor.

Our books had not yet been forwarded from Kingston, so I had not the
solace of a favourite author; but on a shelf in the sitting-room lay
an odd volume of Missionary Reports, and the third or fourth of
Mandeville's English History, which had belonged to the former
occupant of the place. These I took from their resting-place, and
essayed to read, when, in an instant, a bat dropped from the rafters,
and fluttering round and round the lamp, cut short my studies.
Formerly, church-service was wont to be celebrated in this same room;
and for the purpose of kindling, by means of music, any latent sparks
of devotion in the minds of his sable flock, the deceased clergyman,
who had resided before us at Rosevale, had imported a seraphine, which
he played with skill, and which had never been opened since his death.
It stood as he had last touched it, at one end of the sitting-room;
and hoping to overcome my nervousness, I strove against the feelings
which had hitherto withheld me from approaching the instrument. I
seated myself before it, and began a sacred melody, when, by the
imperfect light, it seemed as if the keys were in motion. This I at
first attributed to the manner in which the light was thrown, owing to
the wheeling flight of some four or five bats that had joined the
earliest intruder in his frolics. This idea, however, was speedily
dissipated by a great cockroach crawling upon my fingers, and I
started up with a shudder, for the instrument was literally covered
with these unsightly creatures. I then paced up and down the veranda,
flooded with moonlight, till a short time past ten o'clock, when the
moon set, and I retired for the night to my chamber, where my
uneasiness was speedily overcome by sleep.

At midnight, or probably earlier, I awoke with a start: unusual sounds
were on the air; and the sinister visage of the past evening's visitor
presented itself to my disturbed imagination. I stilled my heart, and
listened. The sounds seemed to come from the negro village. I sprang
from my bed, and, approaching the window, unclosed the jalousie, and
saw a number of negroes pouring down the mountain-side--some bearing
large torches, and all yelling fearfully. On streamed the living mass;
closer and closer they approached, till their faces were distinctly
visible. They carried with them a hideous burden--a swathed and
ghastly corpse, the rigid features of which looked ghastlier still in
the lurid glare of the torch-light! This they flung, with frantic
gestures, from one to another, receiving it in their arms with a yell
and a scream, gibbering in fiendish glee, and dancing and whirling
about. Sickening at the horrid sight, I turned away, and closed the
jalousie; when, as the procession surrounded the house, my maid rushed
into the room, exclaiming: 'O ma'am, what will become of us? they are
trying to force the doors--they are coming in!'

For some time they continued seeking an entrance; but the thought of
admitting them never once crossed my imagination. At last, one among
the number suggested the inutility of any further attempt; and,
abandoning their original design, they all marched off to the
grave-yard, where they remained till dawn as it seemed in some grand
carousal. They then, as I was afterwards told, returned to the
dwelling of the deceased, laid him in his coffin, and at six in the
morning bore him to his last resting-place. This ceremonial was called
'The Feast of the Dead,' and was celebrated in order to insure a
favourable reception for their departed brother from the mouldering
occupants of the grave-yard, and to prevent the appearance of his

The deceased, it seems, had been a carpenter, and in that capacity had
worked occasionally at Rosevale, which, a few days previously to our
arrival, had been the scene of his last labours. It was thought
necessary, therefore, for the repose of his soul, that, prior to
interment, his body should be brought into the house to pay a farewell

A fellow-passenger in our voyage to Kingston related to us a similar
occurrence. He had been but a short time resident at Montego Bay, and
was, with his wife, active in disseminating Christian knowledge among
the negroes of the district. One family, more intelligent than the
rest, particularly attracted this good lady, who was much interested
in their behalf, in return for which, they attached themselves to her
most zealously. Their eldest child, a young girl of fourteen years
old, was attacked by a malady, which suddenly terminated in death; and
Mrs R---- was ignorant of the fact, till one evening, as she was
entertaining company, the corpse of the poor girl, dressed in the
latest gifts she had bestowed, was borne into the midst of the party,
to take leave of the kind benefactress, so beloved by her in life.

The dread in which the appearance of disembodied spirits is held by
the negroes is excessive, and the expedients to which they resort to
defend themselves from their intrusion are truly absurd. One of these
is to drive ten nails into the door in a pentagonal form--a very
effectual barrier; for the doppie, on beholding it, can neither
advance nor recede, but remains there literally spell-bound till the
witching-time of night is past, vainly endeavouring to reckon the
number of nails, but unable to get beyond the fifth. Another very
excellent preventive, in negro estimation, is old leather--that which
has been worn in boots or shoes is considered best. This should be
burned with horse-litter, and afterwards rubbed upon the door-posts.
'This,' to quote one of the dusky fraternity, 'make such a bad mell,
that it catch him nose; and de berry Jurabie himself would run away
from it!' I know not the extent of Satanic endurance, but for a mere
mortal to bear with it is impossible, as I once found by experience,
when it compelled me to take refuge in the bush.


The _London Gazette_, of the 3d July 1852, announced, in its weekly
report of the Bank of England, that the gold coin and bullion in the
issue department had reached the sum of L.21,742,110. It had never
reached such a sum before. But this is not all. While this vast amount
of gold already lies in the vaults of the Bank, nearly every ship from
Australia, and steamer from America, brings more of the precious

There are not wanting persons to whom this accession of treasure to
the country is a subject of panic. The annuitant dreads a depreciation
of the value of gold, equivalent, of course, to a general rise in the
price of those commodities which conduce to his comfort; or, in other
words, to a diminution of his income. The millionaire sees rivals
springing up on all sides from the mountain of gold. Many in every
class, who are at ease in their circumstances, and would fain have
things remain as they are, look with dislike on a state of things so
new, and wish that the 'diggings' in California, and the gold region
of Australia, had never been disturbed by spade or pickaxe.

If gold were not our standard of value, no such panic could exist in
any mind; but, on the contrary, the abundance of a metal so
pre-eminent in beauty and utility must be universally hailed as a
boon. Silver is now the legal tender in most countries of Europe, and
used to be so in England, till it became too abundant; but where
transactions are large, silver is too cumbrous: a man can carry L.500
in gold in his pocket, but L.500 in silver would require a horse.

The reason why these two metals form the money of the most civilised
nations, need not be gone into here at any length. 'Their qualities of
utility, beauty, and _scarcity_,' says Adam Smith, 'are the original
foundation of the high price of those metals, or of the great quantity
of other goods for which they can everywhere be exchanged. This value
was antecedent to, and independent of, their being employed as coin,
and was the quality which fitted them for that employment.'

We have printed the word _scarcity_ in italics, because that is the
point of alarm. 'If,' say the alarmists, 'gold, which has been in all
the world's annals scarce, is to become plentiful, one of the
conditions of its fitness for coin is annihilated.' To this we reply:
Scarcity is a relative term. Actual scarcity of a commodity may exist,
to all practical purposes, in the midst of an abundance of that
commodity; because scarcity is occasioned by two very different
causes--namely, limited supply and excessive demand.

An amount of gold coin which would be very large for a small
community, might be very insignificant for the use of a great and
populous nation. In August 1789, the bullion in the Bank of England
amounted only to L.8,645,860; but we think that was a larger sum for
the Bank to possess, in relation to the population and trade of
England at that period, than L.22,000,000 now.

In 1801, the population of Great Britain numbered about from ten to
eleven millions; in 1851, nearly twenty millions. Whatever quantity of
money, therefore, was necessary for the former period, a very much
larger, perhaps a double quantity--supposing an equal degree of
prosperity to exist--would be requisite in the latter.

This necessity for a larger amount of coin is obvious when regarded
only in relation to the increase of population. If population
continues at its present rate of increase, a much larger amount of
coin than we possess now, even with our L.22,000,000 of bullion in the
Bank, will be required to keep pace with its wants. But this is not
the only view of the question. The population of 1851, it must be
granted, required a larger amount of coin than that of 1801, or of any
former period in our history, supposing each period to possess an
equal amount of prosperity. But how stand the facts on this question
of prosperity? If it should appear that, while more gold is
discovered, more iron, more tin, more copper, more of every other
mineral is also found; that more wool and cotton are produced, more
corn is grown, more ships built, more houses built, more towns raised,
more countries inhabited, and last, not least, that railways begin to
intersect every country, old and new, and in combination with
steam-ships on the ocean, to facilitate the communication among them
all--then it would appear that they required a larger amount in
proportion to the population; and that if prosperity continues on the
increase, so constantly progressive will be the necessity for more
coin, that scarcity will be a term applicable to gold, in all
probability, for a long period of time.

The fact is, that the increase of commodities has been, in many
instances, far greater than the increase of population. In 1740, the
total quantity of iron made in Great Britain was 17,350 tons; in the
following hundred years, this quantity increased considerably more
than a hundredfold, being estimated at the later period at above
2,000,000 tons. In 1801, the Cornish tin-mines produced 2328 tons of
metal; it took only thirty years to double their annual amount. The
same is more than true of the copper-mines of Cornwall, which produced
in 1801, 5267 tons; and after thirty years, 11,224 tons. In 1828, the
quantity of sheep's wool imported from Australia was 1,574,186 lbs.;
in 1850, it was 39,018,228 lbs. In 1801, the coals shipped from
Newcastle were 1,331,870 tons; in fifty years more than
double--namely, 2,977,385 tons. These are only a few examples gleaned
from many of a similar description, and to them we will only add the
fact, of a kind totally new in the world's annals, that a sum
approaching to a moiety of the national debt is now invested in
railways in England alone--namely, upwards of L.350,000,000.

By a late police report, it appears that 60,000 houses have been added
to the metropolis of England in the last ten years. These would alone
form a large city, requiring much gold and silver for money and
luxury; and in this question of gold, the requisitions of luxury must
not be forgotten; they form an important item, and are commensurate
with the necessity for coin.

'When,' said Adam Smith, 'the wealth of any country increases, when
the annual produce of its labour becomes gradually greater and
greater, a quantity of coin becomes necessary, in order to circulate a
greater quantity of commodities; and the people as they can afford it,
as they have more commodities to give for it, will naturally purchase
a greater and greater quantity of plate. The quantity of their coin
will increase from necessity, the quantity of their plate from vanity
and ostentation, or from the same reason that the quantity of fine
statues, pictures, and of every other luxury and curiosity, is likely
to increase among them. But as statuaries and painters are not likely
to be worse rewarded in times of wealth and prosperity than in times
of poverty and depression, so gold and silver are not likely to be
worse paid for.'

It may, indeed, be predicted with tolerable certainty, that the
qualities of 'beauty and utility' possessed by gold will be for a long
time guarantees for its 'scarcity' whatever be its abundance. Its fine
colour and brilliancy are not its only beauties. No metal is so
ductile, so malleable, so indestructible by fire or chemical tests. It
does not rust, it scarcely tarnishes, and it admits of the most
exquisite workmanship. India alone would absorb the results of many
years' digging; and when direct steam communication commences between
it and Australia, gold will begin to flow into that great country,
with its hundred million of people, in one continued stream, to supply
their insatiable desire for it. They habitually invest their savings
in gold ornaments, which they wear on their persons; and at this day,
it is not uncommon to see the wife of a native under-secretary, whose
salary and property altogether do not amount to much more than L.300 a
year, wearing gold in this manner to the value of L.500. The treasure
of this kind possessed by the rich natives is probably extraordinary;
and so great is their desire to accumulate it, that it is impossible
to keep up a gold-currency in the country: the coin is immediately
melted down, and made into ornaments.

But whatever amount of gold is absolutely required at present as a
circulating medium, and whatever amount is likely to be absorbed by
the requirements of luxury, an amount far greater is likely to be
needed to keep pace with the increasing prospects of prosperity in
this country. Now that the restrictions on trade are nearly all
removed, Britain may become the centre of the world's commerce:
situated as she is in a temperate climate, between the Old and the New
World, her harbours never closed by ice, there is nothing to limit the
extent of her markets, nothing to check the development of her
resources, nor the division of her labour. The extraordinary impetus
given to emigration by the discovery of the gold-fields, has already
begun to create new and great countries; and every emigrant that
leaves our shores becomes a source of wealth and strength to the
mother-country, which has cast off the fetters that so long restrained
its enterprise, and is open to trade with all the world; while the
discovery of rich coal-mines in most parts of the globe, favours the
communication by steam-power between both hemispheres, and almost from
pole to pole; and while we hear of new discoveries that may make the
air a motive power instead of steam, and thus render railway transit
possible in arid deserts; and while the electric telegraph not only
connects us with the continent of Europe, but is about to cross the
Atlantic. With all these powers at command, men will not long be
confined to the narrow boundaries in which they are at present
congregated; and in comparison with future improvements in every
branch of industry, the present time may come to be regarded as one
when they were bunglers in industrial art, and mere scratchers of the
soil instead of cultivators.

And not the least important among the elements of national prosperity,
will be found an abundance of the circulating medium. ''Tis certain,'
says Hume, 'that since the discovery of the mines in America, industry
has increased in all the nations of Europe, except in the possessors
of those mines; and this may justly be ascribed, amongst other
reasons, to the increase of gold and silver. Accordingly, we find that
in every kingdom into which money begins to flow in greater abundance
than formerly, everything takes a new face--labour and industry gain
life; the merchant becomes more enterprising; the manufacturer more
diligent and skilful; and even the farmer follows his plough with
greater alacrity and attention.'

The exception of Spain alone is a curious example and warning to
nations, as shewing how the best gifts may be abused and converted
into a curse instead of a blessing; for, believing the possession of
gold and silver to be the only true wealth, they attempted to
accumulate these metals by preventing the exportation of them by
absurd restrictions; and this policy, added to her bigotry and
persecution, has left Spain to this day an example of the results of
restriction, powerless and poor, a haunt of the robber and the

An abundance of the circulating medium will always be found to be an
important element in national prosperity; and so great has been the
conviction of this fact, that a whole school of political economists
have advocated a paper-currency, in order to escape from the danger of
restriction. 'Give us,' say they, 'paper-money, the basis of which
shall be, not this scarce, restrictive gold, but the real wealth of
the country in commodities of every kind.' It was Sir Robert Peel who
explained the danger of these views, by shewing that paper-notes
issued against commodities would tend to increase the fluctuations of
the prices of those commodities. By the act of 1819, therefore, he
established that a pound sterling, or the standard, by reference to
which the value of every other commodity is ascertained, and every
contract fulfilled, should be itself fixed to be a piece of gold of a
certain weight and fineness, and that whatever paper-notes were
issued, the holder should be entitled to demand standard coined gold
in exchange for them at the Bank, at the rate of L.3, 17s. 10-1/2d. of
notes per ounce. Undertaking always to pay in coin when demanded, the
Bank was allowed to use its own discretion in the amount of notes it
might issue. Such discretion, however, was found to work badly, for
the trading community in particular; and therefore, by the act of
1844, the issue of bank-notes was limited to the certain amount of
L.14,000,000 against securities; and it was enacted that any further
issue must vary with and be equal to the amount of bullion deposited
in the coffers of the Bank. The reason why L.14,000,000 in notes
against securities was the sum fixed on, was partly that this was the
smallest sum that had been known to be in the hands of the public for
a very long period; and it is probable that numbers of these notes
will never appear again, so many being perpetually lost by fires,
shipwrecks, or carelessness. However, it is said, that only the other
day a bank-note was presented for payment, bearing the date of 1750.

'To what end,' it is sometimes argued--'since even the advocates of
gold-currency resort to paper-money as more convenient for practical
purposes--is the accumulation of treasure in the vaults of the Bank of
England? Why, after all the labour of digging it out of the earth in
the antipodes, is it buried again here? Why not coin it, and lend it
out at interest?' The remark is, of course, not unnatural, but has a
ready reply. The gold in the vaults of the Bank of England belongs,
not to the Bank, but to the holders of the bank-notes. They prefer
notes to gold to carry in their pockets, but these rags of notes have
no value in themselves; their sole value is as representatives of a
certain portion of gold. People cannot have notes and the gold
represented by the notes at the same time: they may have either that
they like. If they prefer to have gold spoons, or gold candlesticks,
or gold watches, or gold anything else; or if, as traders, they
require to make purchases in any parts of the world where their notes
would not pass current, or where those from whom they buy do not
require any commodity manufactured in this country, then they can have
their gold at the Bank any day by presenting their notes. As,
moreover, the holder of every bank-note has an equal claim, _pro
tanto_, on the bullion in the Bank coffers, the more gold there is in
them, the more will his note represent. In short, the act of 1844,
above alluded to, established the security of the Bank-of-England-note
in a way that seems perfect.

On the whole, therefore, it appears that a condition requisite to
national prosperity is in prospect for our country. Individual
exceptions there may be in the persons of annuitants, but even here
counteracting circumstances are continually at work. By improvements
in machinery, and facility of communication, the cost of production is
so much reduced as, in a greater or lesser degree, to balance the rise
of price consequent on an abundance of gold, should any such condition
of things actually occur; and an abundance of gold would undoubtedly,
as we have shewn, be favourable to all these improvements. Already,
the cost of production, or small amount of labour with which
commodities can be produced, compared with former periods, is an
important fact in all questions of income. The quantity of cotton
wool, for example, taken for consumption in the United Kingdom in
1814, was 53,777,802 lbs., and in 1849 was 775,469,008 lbs.; but its
value, which in 1814 was L.20,033,132, had only increased in 1849 to
L.26,771,432: so that fifteen times the quantity at the latter period
cost only about a third more money than the much smaller quantity in
the former. The price of cotton-yarn was 8s. 9d. per lb. in 1801, and
only 2s. 11d. in 1832, owing to improved machinery. Such examples
might be multiplied, and would increase in accelerated ratio in times
of increased prosperity. Other compensations would not be wanting. If
the actual income of an annuitant should be lowered, his taxes would
be lightened, his poor-rates perhaps abolished, his sons and daughters
able to find openings in every direction. He would not be called on
for charity; he might become enterprising and successful like his
neighbours. It is scarcely possible that individual adversity should
long co-exist with national prosperity.

A period may indeed arrive, discoveries may be in store, which may
render a change in the standard of value an absolute necessity. Such a
period, however, must be remote, and must be met by wise legislation
as it gradually approaches. Meanwhile, we see nothing to stop the
development of our resources, nor the increase of our wealth, so long
as we use our good gifts and do not abuse them.



It may be gathered from the two former papers, that I am not in
affluent circumstances; the intimation, therefore, that four distant
relations, occupying a sufficiently high position in society, intended
to dine with me, was received with a feeling the reverse of
pleasurable, both by myself and my single servant. The dining-room and
its table were so very small, that I never gave even family dinners.
Rose had no idea of waiting; and, moreover, to cook and wait at one
and the same time, is by no means an easy task for any one. I could
not bear the idea of hired waiters and cooks, and the attendant noise,
fuss, and expense. What was to be done? I thought over my dinner, but
there was no room to place it on my small table, and the apartment
would not hold a larger one conveniently. Rose could cook two dishes
very well for my solitary self, but how were her unpractised powers
equal to sending up a dinner for five persons, two of them men! It
never struck me that Madame Miau could help me in this particular
dilemma; nevertheless, as I wished to consult her about a sauce, I
unconsciously unfolded my cause of annoyance.

'I see no difficulty at all,' said the worthy widow; 'and if you will
only let me manage for you, I will answer for its all succeeding _à
merveille_; but it must be _à la Française_.'

'But the fish?'

'Oh, your fish shall come first; _soyez tranquille_.'

'Anything you please, then,' answered I, gaining comfort from her
easy, confident manner. I resolved to follow her instructions
faithfully; for I was persuaded somehow that, whether she managed well
or ill, her plan would probably be better than mine, and the result
shewed I was right.

In the middle of the table, fresh flowers in a valuable china bowl did
duty as an epergne; port and sherry--the only wines I would, or,
indeed, could present--stood at each corner; and round the bowl the
little dessert, tastefully decorated with leaves, looked well,
although consisting only of common dried fruits, preserved ginger,
oranges, and cakes. But the plate was bright, the crystal clear, the
table-cloth and napkins of the finest damask, and there was abundance
of room for sauces, glasses, plates, and all the little things we
might happen to require. As the company consisted of my private
friends, not inhabitants of our town, Madame Miau herself--attired in
a Bolognaise cap, long gold earrings, cross, fluted lace tucker up to
her collar bones, and black silk gown--condescended to wait upon and
carve for us. She had each dish and its proper accompaniments brought
by Rose to the side-table, where all was neatly divided into portions,
and handed round, one dish at a time, hot from the fire. We had,
first, ox-tail soup; second, fried soles; third, oyster _patés_;
fourth, Maintenon cutlets and cauliflower; fifth, roast lamb and
potato-ribbons; sixth, pheasant, with both bread-sauce and toast.
Tartlets and creams followed, and a cream-cheese finished the repast;
then we were left to our dessert and conversation, the latter of which
we soon resolved to terminate with our coffee in the drawing-room,
where a purer atmosphere awaited us. All went off quietly and
comfortably; no noise, no bustle, no asking will you have this or
that; everything was brought round without questioning, and
conversation was never for an instant interrupted. My fastidious
cousin, Jack Falconbridge; his foolish fine-lady sister; her
common-place lord; and her 'talented and travelled friend,' Miss
Scribbleton, expressed themselves equally pleased, although there was
nothing _recherché_, nothing expensive, nothing extraordinary. At the
rich Mr Goldscamp's, where they had dined the day before, things were,
they all agreed, very far inferior. Five or six inexperienced young
footmen jostled against each other, whilst rushing about with sauces
and condiments; the table groaned under a gorgeous display of plate,
and loads of unnecessary glass and china.

'I was,' said Miss Scribbleton, 'really quite afraid to move, lest I
should overturn or break something, and felt like a bull in a

'The cookery,' continued the Honourable John, 'was atrocious;
everything half cold, and we rose hungry, to partake of watery coffee
and lukewarm tea.'

'Ah!' sighed his sister, 'I was bored to extinction by everything and
every person.' And then followed compliments to me upon my little
unpretending entertainment, which I felt were sincere, for everything
was good of its kind, and I presented nothing that Rose could not cook
perfectly under Madame Miau's directions, except the soup and _patés_,
which the pastry-cook supplied--all was hot, and all was quiet.

I have forgotten in the above enumeration the crowning dish of all,
the Braousa, which drew down applause from the company; the
Mayonnaise, in short, which Madame Miau concocted with her own hands.
Every one thinks they can make the Mayonnaise sauce, because they find
the ingredients given in various treatises upon cookery; but there is
a secret, gastronomic reader, a very simple one; and this small secret
I shall now unfold, by which, if you try, you will see that oil,
vinegar, and egg, end in a very different result than when the usual
mode of mixing them is employed. But ere I enlighten you, let me
suggest to the Mesdames Jones and Thompsons, who will persist in
giving dinners with few servants and small means, that if they adopt
the above plan, they will better content their company, to say nothing
of saving their money, than by pursuing the accustomed mode of killing
off their acquaintance--namely, a huge 'feed' dressed by a common
cook, and served by hired waiters, who, scuffling amongst strange
plates and glasses, invariably crack many and break some.

_A Mayonnaise._--Beat the yolk of a large quite freshly-laid egg,
adding a little salt, with a teaspoonful of lemon juice: use a flat
dish and a silver fork, and beat them thoroughly well together. Then
take nearly a pint of the finest Lucca oil, which has been kept well
corked from the air, and drop _one_ drop. Keep beating the egg all the
time, and add another drop--drop by drop at a time: it will take half
an hour to do, and must be so thick as to require to be lifted by a
spoon. Prepare your cold meat, lobster, chicken without skin, veal, or
rabbit. Cut all in neat pieces, and set them round the centre of your
dish; then take the very inside hearts of two or three cabbage
lettuces, which have been well crisped in cold water, and place them
round the meat. Cut two hard-boiled eggs in quarters, and some
beet-root in strips, and place them tastefully, contrasting the
colours. Now, with a spoon cover all with the sauce, laid on thickly,
and upon it an anchovy cut in strips. Finish off with a nasturtium at
the top, and also a row all round the outward edge.

Several days having elapsed since I had seen the friend in need, who
had proved to me a friend indeed so lately, I went to ascertain
whether her unusual exertions of body and mind had not made her ill,
but was happy to find her in perfect health, seated at dinner with a
very fine gentleman, all curls, compliments, gilt chains, and
earrings, whom she introduced as 'Mon neveu Antonio'--the son of her
husband's sister, who had married an Italian, and who, like his
father, was at once cook and courier. Their dinner consisted of the
following _friture_, from M. Antonio's own private recipe-book: Have
ready, half-cooked, _1st_, thin slices of calves' liver; _2d_,
artichokes cut in half quarters or quarters, according to their size;
_3d_, cauliflower--only the _flower_, divided in small pieces; _4th_,
calves' brains, previously soaked in salt, vinegar, and water, for
twenty-four hours, cut in little bits: make a light batter, and fry
each separately of a golden brown in the right order, having the dish
in which they are to be served on a hot hearth. Cover the dish with
the liver, then the artichoke, then the brains, and, lastly, the
cauliflower, each distributed so as to decrease towards the top, which
is covered with a larger sprig of cauliflower.

Madame Miau fried beautifully, and, under her nephew's directions,
tried a pretty dish I had never before heard of--namely, the flower of
the cucumber-plant, or vegetable mallow--which is usually, and, I
believe, incorrectly, called marrow--nipped off with the little fruit
attached to it. It was dipped in butter, fried lightly, and served
quite hot.

Creams are very good, made according to the following simple,
inexpensive recipe, which is just enough to fill twelve small cups or
glasses. Take good milk sufficient to fill them, and boil it with two
ounces of grated chocolate, and six of white sugar; then beat the
yolks of six eggs, to which add slowly the chocolate-milk, turning
steadily one way. When quite mixed, pass the whole through a search,
fill your cups, and, if you have not a regular _bain-marie_, a flat
sauce-pan will do, filled to a proper height, so as not to overtop the
creams, and which must continue boiling a quarter of an hour. For a
change, instead of the chocolate, boil the milk with a pod of
_vanille_ broken in pieces, or any other flavour you may fancy.

_Spinach Cream._--Boil your spinach, and let it thoroughly drain in a
cullender; then press it through a hair-sieve with a spoon, as for
food. Take the pulp that has been pressed through the sieve, and mix
it with cream, or very good milk, and two additional yolks of eggs.
Pass the yolks of six eggs through a sieve, add six ounces of white
sugar in powder, and two table-spoonfuls of trebly-distilled orange
flower-water, and, as before mentioned, place the cups in a
_bain-marie_ for a quarter of an hour.

I requested the good-natured nephew to dress me a dish of macaroni,
which he did as follows, one of his many modes of preparing it: He
boiled it till just tender, and no more. The English cook it too much,
he said. When drained, he grated a sufficient quantity of both Gruyère
and Parmesan cheese, and alternately put upon the dish, first
macaroni, and then cheese, finishing with the cheese. Over this he
poured strong beef-gravy, in which some tomatoes had been dissolved,
and put it a few minutes in the oven, and then a few more before the
fire in a Dutch oven; but he preferred a hot hole, and to cover it
with a _four de compagne_, or cover upon which you place hot embers.
He also assured me the following sauce was better even than the

_Tomato Sauce._--Warm your tomatoes until you can skin them; beat the
pulp with finely-grated ham, onion, parsley, thyme, salt, and Lucca
oil, all as small as possible; pass through a sieve, and pour over
your macaroni. Serve hot.

Tomatoes are good skinned, the seeds taken out, and with a little
butter and finely-chopped herbs, beaten into a paste with eggs, and
fried in a light batter.

_Fried Asparagus._--Do not boil it too much, but enough to cut in
pieces and pass through a sieve; mix this with grated ham and Parmesan
cheese, and with butter make it into a paste of good consistency,
which fry in a light batter. Celery is also very nice treated in the
same way. As I like butter, as the French do, without any salt at all,
I found much difficulty in keeping quite sweet what a farmer
obligingly so prepared for me. Without water, it got bad. Made into
pats, and kept in water, it lost flavour; but Madame Miau soon put me
upon a plan by which it remained for ten days as if new churned. As
soon as I received my quantum, I had it well washed in spring-water,
for sometimes the milk had not been taken clean out of it; and then it
was put down with a spoon in a salad bowl, to which it adhered. Every
morning, fresh water, in which was dissolved a little salt, was poured
upon it, and the top _curled_ off for use with a tea-spoon or a small
shell. To the very last, it was sweet and tasteless; and I consider
this a very valuable hint, in hot weather especially.


[2] Nos. 388 and 416.


We have become so accustomed to the idea of a soul-and-body-ruining
intemperance amongst the lower portion of the working-classes, that
only some startling details connected with it make any great
impression upon us. Yet it is verily a most awful thing to exist in
the midst of enlightened, advancing England. There are 1300 beer-shops
in the borough of Manchester, besides 200 dram-shops. Thirty-nine per
cent. of the beer-shops are annually reported by the police as
disorderly. One dram-shop receives 10,000 visits weekly. In those of
Deansgate, which are 28 in number, 550 persons, including 235 women
and 36 children, were found at one time on a Saturday night. Many of
the beer-shops are a haunt of the young of both sexes among the
factory people, 'the majority with faces unwashed and hair uncombed,
dancing in their wooden clogs to the music of an organ, violin, or

A considerable number of the public-houses of Manchester have music
continually going on as an attraction. Twenty-four such houses are
open on Sunday evenings. Two of them received 5500 visitors per week
last winter. The most innocent of the favourite haunts of the people
are casinos, or music-saloons, where multitudes assemble to witness
scenic representations, feats of jugglery, tumbling, &c. Twopence is
paid for admission, and for this the value is given in refreshments,
most frequently consisting of ginger-beer. These places are
comparatively innocent, but still are far from being what is required
in that respect.[3]

It is a tremendous problem--how are we to give _innocent_ amusement to
the people? Perhaps there is none of our day more momentous. We try
the lecture, and win an audience of units out of the thousands whom we
seek to benefit. The reading-room, with penny cups of coffee, holds
out its modest charms, and does much good, but still leaves the masses
as it finds them. Something else is wanted, but it is difficult to say
what it should be. Perhaps some clever person will hit upon it by
intuition, or some ordinary one by accident, and so solve the problem.
Perhaps it will be left to the philosopher to consider the human
nature of the case, and divine what should be done. We can imagine him
saying something like this: 'Man is a creature that requires novelty,
variety, and excitement. He cannot be kept at duty continually; he
must have pleasure too. He cannot be always at work on the real; he
demands the ideal also. Even in the course of exertions which he
relishes as conducing to his material interests, he every now and then
requires a change of scene and of occupation. Something to divert the
mind from its ordinary series of ideas--something to enable us to lose
ourselves in a temporary illusion, were it only a jocular supposition
of our being something a good deal worse than we are--something, above
all, to stir the hearty laugh, which proves its being good for us by
the very help it gives to digestion--is required at frequent
intervals--all free from what tends to debase and corrupt. Such is the
theory of Amusement; and nothing which does not fulfil that theory
will be effective for its ends. Here is a perquisition somewhat more
startling than that of Xerxes, putting a prize upon a new pleasure.
Happy will be the man who can devise truly available means of
supplying this grand want in our Work-World! It is plainly for want of
some such device that the public-house thrives, and that human nature
is seen in such unlovely forms amongst the lower circles of society.'

It occurs to us, that there can be no social want which society itself
is not competent to satisfy. In the variety of the human faculties,
there are some which immediately tend to give pleasure and amusement,
and certain men possess these in a greater degree than others. The
_troubadour_, the _jongleur_, and the _joculator_, are natural
productions of all time, in a certain proportion to the bulk of their
kind. Accordingly, all through the various grades of society, we find
clever people, exhibiting a gift for music, for mirth-making, for
narration, and for dramatic effect. In the upper circles, these
voluntary and unprofessional powers form the main dependence for the
amusement of the evening. In the inferior walks of life, they are
comparatively lost for want of a fair field to work in: they only find
a vulgar and unworthy outlet in the coarse scenes of the tavern.
Suppose we address ourselves to making arrangements by which humble
society could be enabled to take advantage of the powers of amusement
which lie within itself?

We can pretend to nothing like a scheme, and perhaps so much the
better. We can imagine, however, that in certain circumstances, the
desideratum could be tolerably well supplied without much outlay or
formality. We have coffee and reading rooms already. Say that to such
an institution, we add a music and conversation room; this, as a
beginning. There, when the newspaper or book had ceased to charm, let
a group assemble, and, according as there might be power present,
enjoy itself with a tune, a song, a chorus, a recital, an elocutionary
reading, a debate on some question, or a scene from a play. Presuming
that the house is under the care of an honest, well-meaning person,
there could be little fear of impropriety of any kind as resulting
from such amusements. The amateur spirit guarantees plenty of such
volunteer effort. Let it simply be understood, as in ordinary society,
that each should do his best to promote the hilarity of the evening.
If a single room succeeded, let two be tried--one for conversation
alone, or for such games as cards and draughts (under strict
regulation, to prevent any beyond nominal stakes); while the other
served for music, and other entertainments not inferring silence. In
the long-run, there might be further additions, allowing rooms for
mutual instruction in various arts and accomplishments, sheds and
courts for out-of-doors amusements, and so on.

If such establishments were ever to reach a public character, under
what regulation should they be placed? We have no suggestion to make;
but we embrace and maintain the principle, that the more they were
understood to be under the protection of the public opinion of the
class for whose benefit they are designed, the better. The patronising
puritanism of another class would ruin everything. Let the other
classes, if called on to assist, agree to view all that went on with a
certain liberality of judgment, remembering that, although there may
be some little possibilities of abuse, the whole project is, after
all, an alternative from something infinitely worse; and in a fair
course, improvement is to be expected. It is one unfortunate
necessity of the case, that a very small abuse in a system under a
responsible administration, makes a great scandal against the
administration itself; the public not reflecting, that that
administration may be all the time tending to the repression, not the
promotion of such abuses: hence the difficulty of getting responsible
administrations in such cases at all. These, however, are difficulties
to be struggled with, not given way to.


[3] The facts here adduced are from a recent contribution of Dr J. W.
Hudson to the _Manchester Examiner_.



    There were footsteps on the Corso in the morning twilight gray,
    And gatherings in the Forum ere the rosy blush of day;
    Loud voices round the Capitol, and on the marble stair,
    A breathless crowd assembled, as for a triumph there.

    The chimes of San Giovanni, how merrily they ring!
    As if to all the city a soul of joy to bring:
    There's noise of many chariots, and sounds of trampling feet,
    Of horses with their trappings gay, and minstrels in the street.

    And the balconies, what mean they with their tapestry so fine?
    And why are garlands wreathed around the arch of Constantine?
    What mean those banners streaming bright o'er tower and glittering
    Ye ladies fair and gentlemen, that throng the streets of Rome?

    It is a day of triumph, and the brightest of its kind;
    The victory of genius and the mastership of mind;
    Corinna, the pride of Italy, descends the flower-wreathed way,
    For at the proud old Capitol she will be crowned to-day.

    Right nobly prance her snow-white steeds; behold the chariot come!
    Room, room for her, the star of all! ye citizens of Rome.
    Off with your hats, brave gentlemen! for genius is divine,
    And never hath she made her home in such a lovely shrine.

    She comes! the fair Corinna comes! 'mid thunders of acclaim,
    That rush unto the lips of all at the murmur of her name.
    Scatter sweet roses all around; fling perfumes to the air;
    And strew her path with all that breathes of beautiful and fair.

    Her car hath gained the Capitol--her foot is on the stair;
    She stands a form of matchless grace, the queen of thousands there.
    Bring forth the wreath that threw afresh a lustre round his name,
    Whose genius burned, a vestal fire, with never-dying flame.

    Whose vision pierced the mantling mists that circle round the tomb,
    Where bitter groans resound for aye amid the starless gloom;
    Who saw the cities of the blest, and with as fearless tread
    Paced through the ebon halls of hell, the mansions of the dead.

    The crown that might have cast a ray to light lone Tasso's gloom,
    But only drooped, a funeral wreath, to wither on his tomb;
    Ay, reach it down, that laurel crown, it never hath been given
    To one more rich in beauty's grace, and all the gifts of Heaven.

    Oh, it is grand, a nation's love! a people's benison,
    The homage of ten thousand hearts flung at the feet of one;
    The rapturous glow that fires the soul, and thrills through every
    At the mention of the worshipped one, the echo of her name.

    Corinna at the Capitol! Oh, what a spell comes o'er me,
    As I view the gorgeous pageantry that passeth now before me;
    But I would I knew the meaning of the tears which like a stream
    In pearly drops are shining through the rapture of her dream.

    Though laurel wreaths surround her brow, and glory lights her name,
    There is a chamber in her heart can ne'er be filled by fame;
    Lonely, amid adoring crowds, she deems, as well she may,
    The faithful love of _one_ true heart were better worth than they.

    And when the crowd is parted, and the festival is o'er,
    The many voices silent, and the music heard no more;
    She will think upon the triumph, the splendour that is gone,
    As the shadow of a dream, or the echo of a tone!


The reading of your paper on 'Railway Communication,' has given me
great pleasure: your remarks about American railways are very well in
the main, but the speed of travel is misstated, as it ranges from
forty to fifty miles an hour; unless it be an omnibus railway, like
the Haarlem, where they stop for passengers every few hundred yards.
The Hudson River Railway, which passes by our mill at Yonkers, almost
frightens my brother out of his wits by its speed, and he takes the
steam-boat now to avoid it. The trains go very fast, but it is a
superb road, and very safe, as the servants of the company, with their
flags and lanterns, line the road the whole distance. They have twenty
trains a day. The Erie Railway is also finished from New York to Lake
Erie; the traffic on this line is immense, freight often lying two
weeks before it can be put through. Its income is over three and a
half million dollars. We have only one class of passengers, except
emigrant trains: the fare generally ranges from a cent and a quarter
to two cents a mile--on some of the shorter roads, as high as three or
four cents. All the carriages are lined with mahogany and silk plush.
The locomotives on our long roads weigh from twenty to forty tons. The
fact is, that anything said about our physical development on data
collected at any one period, is quite likely to be false or absurd
within a twelvemonth. Though in the midst of it, and not one of the
excitable kind, I am often astonished at it myself. I have several
times mentioned that you would hardly know New York, or find any of
your old landmarks; and yet New York would be comparatively a mean
city, if you took away what had been built within a year. Steam-ships
shew another phase of it: three years ago, we hardly had the shadow of
one; now--and I have looked into the matter very carefully--I would
not, as a commercial speculation merely, exchange forty of the best of
our steam-ships for any other forty in the world: of course I don't
refer to war-steamers. Some of the California steam-ships are perfect
pictures in model, and put the Collins' Line into the shade. By the
way, did you ever notice their passenger-list?--from 300 to 600 at a
trip; and one vessel last year took 1125 passengers, paying very
nearly half her cost in a single trip. In the summer, they slept about
the decks like ants in a hill. A good education, including a college
one to those who have the proper capacity, is open to every poor child
in this city, free of cost. The immense sums necessary to pay for all
this, are voted by the people themselves out of their own
pocket.--_Private Letter from New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

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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