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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 452 - Volume 18, New Series, August 28, 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. 452 - Volume 18, New Series, August 28, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  No. 452. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._


Frances Seymour had been left an orphan and an heiress very early in
life. Her mother had died in giving birth to a second child, which did
not survive its parent, so that Frances had neither brother nor
sister; and her father, an officer of rank and merit, was killed at
Waterloo. When this sad news reached England, the child was spending
her vacation with Mrs Wentworth, a sister of Mrs Seymour, and
henceforth this lady's house became her home; partly, because there
was no other relative to claim her, and partly, because amongst
Colonel Seymour's papers, a letter was found, addressed to Mrs
Wentworth, requesting that, if he fell in the impending conflict, she
would take charge of his daughter. In making this request, it is
probable that Colonel Seymour was more influenced by necessity than
choice; Mrs Wentworth being a gay woman of the world, who was not
likely to bestow much thought or care upon her niece, whom she
received under her roof without unwillingness, but without affection.
Had Frances been poor, she would have felt her a burden; but as she
was rich, there was some éclat and no inconvenience in undertaking the
office of her guardian and chaperone--the rather as she had no
daughters of her own with whom Frances's beauty or wealth could
interfere; for as the young heiress grew into womanhood, the charms of
her person were quite remarkable enough to have excited the jealousy
of her cousins, if she had had any; or to make her own fortune, if she
had not possessed one already. She was, moreover, extremely
accomplished, good-tempered, cheerful, and altogether what is called a
very nice girl; but of course she had her fault like other people: she
was too fond of admiration--a fault that had been very much encouraged
at the school where she had been educated; beauty and wealth,
especially when combined, being generally extremely popular at such
establishments. As long, however, as her admirers were only romantic
schoolfellows and calculating school-mistresses, there was not much
harm done; but the period now approached in which there would be more
scope for the exercise of this passion, and more danger in its
indulgence--Frances had reached the age of seventeen, and was about to
make her début in the world of fashion--an event to which, certain as
she was of making numerous conquests, she looked forward with great

Whilst engaged in preparations for these anticipated triumphs, Mrs
Wentworth said to her one day: 'Now that you are coming out, Frances,
I think it is my duty to communicate to you a wish of your father's,
expressed in the letter that was found after his death. It is a wish
regarding your choice of a husband.'

'Dear me, aunt, how very odd!' exclaimed Frances.

'It is rather odd,' returned Mrs Wentworth; 'and, to be candid, I
don't think it is very wise; for schemes of this sort seldom or never
turn out well.'

'Scheme! What scheme is it?' asked Frances with no little curiosity.

'Why, you must know,' answered her aunt, 'that your father had a very
intimate friend, to whom he was as much attached all his life as if he
had been his brother.'

'You mean Sir Richard Elliott. I remember seeing him and his son at
Otterby, when I was a little girl; and I often heard papa speak of him

'Well, when young Elliott got his commission, your papa, in compliance
with Sir Richard's request, used his interest to have him appointed to
his own regiment, in order that he might keep him under his eye. By
this means, he became intimately acquainted with the young man's
character, and, I suppose, as much attached to him as to his father.'

'And the scheme is, that I should marry him, I suppose?'

'Provided you are both so disposed, not otherwise; there is to be no
compulsion in the case.'

'It is a scheme that will never be realised,' said Frances; 'for, of
all things, I should dislike a marriage that had been planned in that
way. The very idea of standing in such an awkward relation to a man
would make me hate him.'

'That's why I think all such schemes better let alone,' returned Mrs
Wentworth; 'but as your father desires that I will put you in
possession of his wishes before you go into the world, I have no
choice but to do it.'

'It does not appear, however, that this Mr Elliott is very anxious
about the matter, since he has never taken the trouble of coming to
see me. Perhaps he does not know of the scheme?'

'O yes, he does; but, in the first place, he is abroad with his
regiment; and, in the second, he abstains upon principle from seeking
to make your acquaintance. So Sir Richard told me, when I met him last
year at Lady Grantley's fête. He said that his son's heart was yet
perfectly free, but that he did not think it right to throw himself in
your way, or endeavour to engage your affections, till you had had an
opportunity of seeing something of the world. The old gentleman had a
great desire to see you himself; and he would have called, but he was
only passing through London on his way to some German baths, and he
was to start the next morning.'

'And what sort of a person is this Mr Elliott?'

'I really don't know, except that his father praised him to the skies.
He's Major Elliott now, and must be about eight-and-twenty.'

'And is he the eldest son?'

'He's the eldest son, and will be Sir Henry--I think that's his
name--by and by. But he's not rich; quite the contrary, he's very poor
for a baronet; and I incline to think that is one of the reasons that
influenced your father. Being so fond of the Elliotts, he wished to
repair, in some degree, the dilapidation of their fortunes by yours.'

'So that I shall have the agreeable consciousness of being married
purely for my money. I am afraid poor dear papa's scheme will fail;
and I wish, aunt, you had never told me of it.'

'That was not left to my discretion; if it had been, I should not have
told you of it, I assure you.'

'Well, I can only hope that I shall never see Major Elliott; and if he
ever proposes to come, aunt, pray do me the favour to assure him, from
me, that it will not be of the smallest use.'

'That would be foolish till you've seen him. You may like him.'

'Never; I could not like a man whom I met under such circumstances, if
he were an angel.'

Thus, with a heart steeled against Major Elliott and his attractions,
whatever they might be, Frances Seymour made her début; and, however
brilliant had been her anticipations of success, she had the
satisfaction of finding them fully realised. She was the belle of the
season--admired, courted, and envied; and by the end of it, she had
refused at least half-a-dozen proposals. As she was perfectly
independent, she resolved to enjoy a longer lease of her liberty,
before she put it in the power of any man to control her inclinations.

Shortly after the termination of the season, some family affairs
called Mr and Mrs Wentworth to St Petersburg; and as it was not
convenient that Frances should accompany them, they arranged that she
should spend the interval in visiting some families of their own
connection residing in the country, who promised to take due charge of

The first of these, by name Dunbar, were worthy people enough, but,
unfortunately for Frances, desperately dull; and the few neighbours
they had happened to be as dull as themselves. There were neither
balls nor routs to keep up the spirits of the London belle; and a
tiresome drive of six or eight miles to an equally tiresome
dinner-party, was but a poor substitute for the gaieties which the
late season had given her a taste for.

Frances was not without resources. She was a fine musician, and played
and sang admirably; but she liked to be told that she did so. At
Dunbar House, nobody cared for music, nobody listened to her, and her
most _recherchées toilettes_ delighted nobody but her maid. She was
_aux abois_, as the French say, and had made some progress in the
concoction of a scheme to get away, when an improvement took place in
her position, from the arrival of young Vincent Dunbar, the only son
of the family. He was a lieutenant in a regiment of infantry that had
lately returned from the colonies, and had come, as in duty bound, to
waste ten days or a fortnight of his three months' leave in the dull
home of his ancestors. As he was an extremely handsome,
fashionable-looking youth, Frances, when she went down to dinner, felt
quite revived by the sight of him. Here was something to dress for,
and something to sing to; and although the young lieutenant's
conversation was not a whit above the usual standard of his class, it
appeared lively and witty when compared with that of his parents. His
small colonial experiences were more interesting than Mrs Dunbar's
domestic ones; and his account of a tiger hunt more exciting than his
father's history of the run he had had after a fox. Frances was an
equally welcome resource to him. Here was an opportunity, quite
unexpected, of displaying his most fashionable ties and most splendid
waistcoats; here was a listener for his best stories, and one who did
not repay him in kind, as his father did; and here were a pair of
bright eyes, that always looked brighter at his approach; and a pair
of pretty lips, that pouted when he talked of going away to fulfil an
engagement he had made to meet some friends at Brighton.

As was to be expected, under circumstances so propitious, the young
man fell in love--as much in love as he could be with anybody but
himself; whilst his parents did not neglect to hint, that he could not
do better than prosecute a suit which the young lady's evident
partiality justified. Pleased with the prospect of their son's making
so good a match, they even ventured one day a dull jest on the subject
in the presence of Frances--a jest which, heavy as it was, aroused her
to reflection. Flirting with a man, and angling for his admiration, is
one thing; loving and marrying him, is another. For the first, Vincent
Dunbar answered exceedingly well; but for the second, he was wholly
unfit. In spite of her little weaknesses, Frances had too much sense
not to see that the young lieutenant was an empty-headed coxcomb, and
not at all the man with whom she hoped to spend her years of
discretion--when she arrived at them--after an ample enjoyment of the
delights that youth, beauty, and wealth are calculated to procure
their possessor. Her eyes were opened, in short; and the ordinary
effect of this sort of awakening from an unworthy _penchant_--for
attachment it could not be called--ensued: the temporary liking
changed into aversion, and the attentions that had flattered her
before became hateful. In accordance with this new state of her
feelings, she resolved to alter her behaviour, in order to dissipate
as quickly as possible the erroneous impression of the family; whilst,
at the same time, she privately made arrangements for cutting short
her visit, and anticipating the period of her removal to the house of
Mrs Gaskoin, betwixt whom and the Dunbars the interval of her friends'
absence in Russia was to be divided. In spite of her stratagem,
however, she did not escape what she apprehended. Vincent's leave had
nearly expired too; and when the moment approached that was to
separate them, he seized an opportunity of making his proposals.

There is scarcely a woman to be met with in society, who does not
know, from experience, what a painful thing it is to crush the hopes
of a man who is paying her the high compliment of wishing to place the
happiness of his life in her keeping; and when to this source of
embarrassment is added the consciousness of having culpably raised
expectations that she shrinks from realising, the situation becomes
doubly distressing. On the present occasion, agitated, ashamed, and
confused, Frances, instead of honestly avowing her fault, which would
have been the safest thing to do, had recourse to a subterfuge; she
answered, that she had been betrothed by her father to the son of his
dearest friend, and that she was not free to form any other
engagement. Of course, Vincent pleaded that such a contract could not
be binding on her; but as, whilst she declared her determination to
adhere to it, she forbore to add, that were she at liberty his
position would not be improved, the young man and his family remained
under the persuasion, that this premature engagement was the only bar
to his happiness; and with this impression, which she allowed him to
retain, because it spared him and herself pain, he returned to his
regiment, whilst she, as speedily as she could, decamped to her next
quarters, armed with a thousand good resolutions never again to bring
herself into such an unpleasant dilemma.

Mrs Gaskoin's was a different sort of house to the Dunbars'. It was
not gay, for the place was retired, and Mrs Gaskoin being in ill
health, they saw little company; but they were young, cheerful, and
accomplished people, and in their society Frances soon forgot the
vexations she had left behind her. She even ceased to miss the
admiration she was accustomed to; what was amiable and good in her
character--and there was much--regained the ascendant; her host and
hostess congratulated themselves on having so agreeable an inmate as
much as she did herself on the judicious move she had made, till her
equanimity was disturbed by learning that Mr Gaskoin was expecting a
visitor, and that this visitor was his old friend and brother-officer,
Major Elliott, the person of all others, Vincent Dunbar excepted, she
had the greatest desire to avoid.

'I cannot express how much I should dislike meeting him,' she said to
Mrs Gaskoin, to whom she thought it better to explain how she was
situated. 'You must allow me to keep my room whilst he is here.'

'If you are determined not to see him, I think you had better go back
to the Dunbars for a little while,' answered the hostess; 'but I
really think you should stay, and let things take their course. If
your aversion continues, you need not marry him; but my husband tells
me he's charming; and in point of character, I know no one whom he
estimates so highly.'

But Frances objected, that she should feel so embarrassed and awkward.

'In short, you apprehend that you will appear to a great
disadvantage,' said Mrs Gaskoin. 'That is possible, certainly; but as
Major Elliott is only coming for a day or two, I think we might
obviate that difficulty, by introducing you as my husband's niece,
Fanny Gaskoin. What do you say? You can declare yourself whenever you
please, or keep the secret till he goes, if you prefer it.'

Frances said she should like it very much; the scheme would afford
them a great deal of amusement, and any expedient was preferable to
going back to Dunbar House. Neither, as regarded themselves, was it at
all difficult of execution, since they always addressed her as Fanny
or Frances; the danger was with the servants, who, however cautioned
to call the visitor by no other name than Miss Fanny, might
inadvertently betray the secret. Still, if they did, a few blushes and
a hearty laugh were likely to be the only consequences of the
disclosure; so the little plot was duly framed, and successfully
executed; Major Elliott not entertaining the most remote suspicion
that this beautiful, fascinating Fanny Gaskoin was his own _fiancée_.

Whether they might have fallen in love with each other had they met
under more prosaic circumstances, there is no saying. As it was, they
did so almost at first sight. It is needless to say, that Major
Elliott extended his visit beyond the day or two he had engaged for;
and when Mr and Mrs Gaskoin saw how matters were going, they
recommended an immediate avowal of the little deception that had been
practised, lest some ill-timed visitor should inopportunely let out
the secret, which had already been endangered more than once by the
forgetfulness of the servants: but Frances wished to prolong their
diversion till she should find some happy moment for the _dénouement_;
added to which, she had an extreme curiosity to know how Major Elliott
intended to release himself from the engagement formed by Colonel
Seymour, in which he had tacitly, if not avowedly, acquiesced. It was
certainly very flattering that her charms had proved sufficiently
powerful to make him forget it; but that he should have yielded to the
temptation without the slightest appearance of a struggle, did
somewhat surprise her, as indeed, from their knowledge of his
character, it did Mr and Mrs Gaskoin. Not that they would have
expected him to adhere to the contract, if doing so proved repugnant
either to himself or the young lady; but under all the circumstances
of the case, they would have thought his conduct less open to
exception, if he had deferred entering into any other engagement till
he had seen Miss Seymour. It was true, that he had not yet offered his
hand to his friend Gaskoin's charming niece; but neither she, nor any
one else, entertained a doubt of his intention to do so; and Frances
never found herself alone with him, that her heart did not beat high
with the expectation of what might be coming.

The progress of love affairs is no measure of time: where the
_attrait_, or magnetic rapport (for perhaps magnetism has something to
do with the mystery), is very strong, one couple will make as much way
in a fortnight as another will do in a year. In the present instance,
Major Elliott's proclivity to fall in love with Frances may have been
aided by his persuasion that she was the niece of his friend. Be that
as it may, on the thirteenth day of his visit, Major Elliott invited
his host to join him in a walk, in the course of which he avowed his
intention of offering his hand to Miss Gaskoin, provided her family
were not likely to make any serious objection to the match. 'My reason
for mentioning the subject so early is,' said he, 'that, in the first
place, I cannot prolong my visit; I have already broken two
engagements, and now, however unwillingly, I must be off: and, in the
second place, I felt myself bound to mention the subject to you before
speaking to Miss Gaskoin, because you know how I am situated in regard
to money-matters; and that I cannot, unfortunately, make such a
settlement as may be expected by her friends.'

'I don't think that will be any obstacle to your wishes,' answered Mr
Gaskoin, with an arch smile. 'If you can find Fanny in the humour,
I'll undertake to answer for all the rest. As for her fortune, she'll
have something at all events--but that is a subject, I suppose, you
are too much in love to discuss.'

'It is one there is no use in discussing till I am accepted,' returned
Major Elliott; 'and I confess that is a point I am too anxious about
to think of any other.'

'Prepare yourself,' said Mrs Gaskoin to Frances: 'Major Elliott has
declared himself to my husband, and will doubtless take an opportunity
of speaking to you in the course of the evening. Of course, now the
truth must be disclosed, and I've no doubt it will be a very agreeable
surprise to him.'

When the tea-things were removed, and Frances, as usual, was seated at
the pianoforte, and Major Elliott, as usual, turning over the leaves
of her music-book, she almost lost her breath with agitation when the
gentle closing of a door aroused her to the fact, that they were
alone. Mr and Mrs Gaskoin had quietly slipped out of the room; and
conscious that the critical moment was come, she was making a nervous
attempt to follow them, when a hand was laid on hers, and---- But it
is quite needless to enter into the particulars: such scenes do not
bear relating. Major Elliott said something, and looked a thousand
things; Frances blushed and smiled, and then she wept, avowing that
her tears were tears of joy; and so engrossed was she with the
happiness of the moment, that she had actually forgotten the false
colours under which she was appearing, till her lover said: 'I have
already, my dear Fanny, spoken on this subject to your uncle.'

'Now, then, for the _dénouement_!' thought Frances; but she had formed
a little scheme for bringing this about, which she forthwith proceeded
to put in execution.

'But, dear Henry,' she said, as, seated on the sofa hand in hand, they
dilated on their present happiness and future plans--'dear Henry,
there is one thing that has rather perplexed me, and does perplex me
still, a little--do you know, I have been told you were engaged?'

'Indeed! Who told you that?'

'Well, I don't know; but I'm sure I heard it. It was said that you
were engaged to Miss Seymour--the Miss Seymour that lives with Mrs

'Do you know her?' inquired Major Elliott, interrupting her.

'Yes, I do--a little.'

'Only a little?'

'Well, perhaps I may say I know her pretty well. Indeed, to confess
the truth, I'm rather intimate with her.'

'That is extremely fortunate,' returned Major Elliott.

'Then you don't deny the engagement?' said Frances.

'Colonel Seymour, who was my father's friend and mine, very kindly
expressed a wish, before he died, that, provided there was no
objection on either side, his daughter and I should be married; but
you see, my dearest Fanny, as there happens to be an objection on both
sides, the scheme, however well meant, is defeated.'

'On both sides!' reiterated Frances with surprise.

'Yes; on both sides,' answered he smiling.

'But how do you know that, when you've never seen Miss Seymour--at
least I thought you never had?'

'Neither have I; but I happen to know that she has not the slightest
intention of taking me for her husband.'

'Oh,' said Frances, laughing at the recollection of her own violent
antipathy to this irresistible man, who, after all, had taken her
heart by storm--'I suppose you have somehow heard that she disliked
the idea of being trammelled by an engagement to a person she never
saw, and whom she had made up her mind she could not love; but
remember, Henry, she has never seen you. How do you know that she
might not have fallen in love with you at first sight?--as somebody
else did,' she added playfully.

'Because, my dear little girl, she happens to be in love already. She
did not wait to see me, but wisely gave away her heart when she met a
man that pleased her.'

'But you're mistaken,' answered Frances, beginning to feel alarmed;
'you are indeed! I know Frances Seymour has no attachment. I know that
till she saw you--I mean that--I am certain she has no attachment, nor
ever had any.'

'Perhaps you are not altogether in her confidence.'

'O yes, I am indeed.'

Major Elliott shook his head, and smiled significantly. 'Rely on it,'
he said, 'that what I tell you is the fact; but you have probably not
seen Miss Seymour very lately, which would sufficiently account for
your ignorance of her secret. I am told that she is extremely handsome
and charming, and that she sings divinely.'

Five minutes earlier, Frances would have been delighted with this
testimony to her attractions; and would have been ready with a
repartee about the loss he would sustain in relinquishing so many
perfections for her sake; but now her heart was growing faint with
terror, and her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth. Thoughts that
would fill pages darted through her brain like lightning--dreadful
possibilities, that she had never foreseen nor thought of.

Vincent Dunbar's regiment had been in India; she knew it was one of
the _seventies_; but she had either never heard the exact number, or
she had not sufficiently attended to the subject to know which it was.
Major Elliott's regiment had also been in India; and it was the 76th.
Suppose it were the same, and that the two officers were
acquainted--and suppose they had met since Vincent's departure from
Dunbar House! The young man had occasionally spoken to her of his
brother-officers; she remembered Poole, and Wainright, and Carter; the
name of Elliott he had certainly not mentioned; but it was naturally
of his own friends and companions he spoke, not of the field-officers.
Then, when she told him that she had been betrothed by her father, she
had not said to whom; but might he not, by some unlucky chance, have
found that out? And might not an explanation have ensued!

Could Major Elliott have distinctly discovered the expression of her
features, he would have seen that it was something more than
perplexity that kept her silent; but the light fell obscurely on the
seat they occupied, and he suspected nothing but that she was puzzled
and surprised.

'I see you are very curious to learn the secret,' he said, 'and if it
were my own, you should not pine in ignorance, I assure you; but as it
is a young lady's, I am bound to keep it till she chooses to disclose
it herself. However, I hope your curiosity will soon be satisfied, for
I have ascertained that Mr and Mrs Wentworth are to be in England
almost immediately--they have been some time on the continent--and
then we shall come to a general understanding. In the meantime, my
dearest Fanny'----

But Frances, unable longer to control her agitation, took advantage of
a slight noise in the hall, to say that Mr and Mrs Gaskoin were
coming; and before he had time to finish his sentence, she started to
her feet, and rushed out of the room.

On the other side of the hall was Mrs Gaskoin's boudoir, where she and
her husband were sitting over the fire, awaiting the result of the
tête-à-tête in the drawing-room.

'Well?' said they, rising as the door opened and a pale face looked
in. 'Is it all settled?'

'Ask me nothing now, I beseech you!' said Frances. 'I'm going to my
room; tell Major Elliott I am not well; say I'm agitated--anything you
like; but remember, he still thinks me Fanny Gaskoin'----

'But, my dear girl, I cannot permit that deception to be carried any
further; it has lasted too long already,' said Mr Gaskoin.

'Only to-night!' said Frances.

'It is not fair to Major Elliott,' urged Mrs Gaskoin.

'Only to-night! only to-night!' reiterated Frances. 'There! he's
coming; I hear his step in the hall! Let me out this way!' and so
saying, she darted out of a door that led to the backstairs, and

'She has refused him!' said Mrs Gaskoin. 'I confess I am amazed.'

But Major Elliott met them with a smiling face. 'What has become of
Frances?' said he.

'She rushed in to us in a state of violent agitation, and begged we
would tell you that she is not well, and is gone to her room. I'm
afraid the result of your interview has not been what we expected.'

'On the contrary,' returned Major Elliott, 'you must both congratulate
me on my good-fortune.'

'Silly girl!' said Mr Gaskoin, shaking his friend heartily by the
hand. 'I see what it is: she is nervous about a little deception we
have been practising on you.'

'A deception!'

'Why, you see, my dear fellow, when I told Frances that you were
coming here, she objected to meeting you'----

'Indeed! On what account?'

'You have never suspected anything?' said Mr Gaskoin, scarcely
repressing his laughter.

'Suspected anything? No.'

'It has never by chance occurred to you that this bewitching niece of
mine is'----

'Is what?'

'Your betrothed lady, for example, Frances Seymour?'

Major Elliott's cheeks and lips turned several shades paler; but the
candles were not lighted, and his friends did not remark the change.

'Frances Seymour!' he echoed.

'That is the precise state of the case, I assure you;' and then Mr
Gaskoin proceeded to explain how the deception came to be practised.
'I gave into it,' he said, 'though I do not like jests of that sort,
because I thought, as my wife did, that you were much more likely to
take a fancy to each other, if you did not know who she was, than if
you met under all the embarrassment of such an awkward relation.'

During this little discourse, Major Elliott had time to recover from
the shock; and being a man of resolute calmness and great
self-possession--which qualities, by the way, formed a considerable
element in his attractions--the remainder of the evening was passed
without any circumstance calculated to awaken the suspicions of his
host and hostess, further than that a certain gravity of tone and
manner, when they spoke of Frances, led them to apprehend that he was
not altogether pleased with the jest that had been practised.

'We ought to have told him the moment we saw that he was pleased with
her; but, foolish child, she would not let us,' said Mr Gaskoin to his

'She must make her peace with him to-morrow,' returned the lady; but,
alas! when they came down to breakfast on the following morning, Major
Elliott was gone, having left a few lines to excuse his sudden
departure, which, he said, he had only anticipated by a few hours, as,
in any case, he must have left them that afternoon.

By the same morning's post there arrived a letter from Vincent Dunbar,
addressed to Miss Seymour. Its contents were as follow:--

'MY DEAREST, DEAREST FRANCES--I should have written to you ten days
ago to tell you the joyful news--you little guess what--but that I had
applied for an extension of leave _on urgent private affairs_, and
expected every hour to get it. But they have refused me, be hanged to
them! So I write to you, my darling, to tell you that it's all
right--I mean between you and me. I'm not a very good hand at an
explanation on paper, my education in the art of composition having
been somewhat neglected; but you must know that old Elliott, whom your
dad wanted you to marry, is our senior major. Well, when I came down
here to meet Poole, as I had promised--his governor keeps hounds, you
know; a capital pack, too--I was as dull as ditch-water; I was, I
assure you; and whenever there was nothing going on, I used to take
out the verses you wrote, and the music you copied for me, to look at;
and one day, who should come in but Elliott, who was staying with his
governor on the West Cliff, where the old gentleman has taken a house.
Well, you know, I told you what a madcap fellow Poole is; and what
should he do, but tell Elliott that I was going stark mad for a girl
that couldn't have me because her dad had engaged her to somebody
else; and then he shewed him the music that was lying on the table
with your name on it. So you may guess how Elliott stared, and all the
questions he asked me about you, and about our acquaintance and our
love-making, and all the rest of it. And, of course, I told him the
truth, and shewed him the dear lock of hair you gave me; and the
little notes you wrote me the week I ran up to London; for Elliott's
an honourable fellow, and I knew it was all right. And it _is_ all
right, my darling; for he says he wouldn't stand in the way of our
happiness for the world, or marry a woman whose affections were not
all his own. And he'll speak to your aunt for us, and get it all
settled as soon as she comes back,' &c. &c.

The paper dropped from poor Frances Seymour's hands. She comprehended
enough of Major Elliott's character to see that all was over. But for
the unfortunate jest they had practised on him, an explanation would
necessarily have ensued the moment he mentioned Vincent's name to her;
but that unlucky deception had complicated the mischief beyond repair.
It was too late now to tell him that she did not love Vincent; he
would only think her false or fickle. A woman who could act as she had
done, or as she appeared to have done, was no wife for Henry Elliott.

There is no saying, but it is just possible, that an entire confidence
placed in Mr Gaskoin might have led to a happier issue; but her own
conviction that her position was irrecoverable, her hopelessness and
her pride, closed her lips. Her friends saw that there was something
wrong; and when a few lines from Major Elliott announced his immediate
departure for Paris, they concluded that some strange mystery had
divided the lovers, and clouded the hopeful future that for a short
period had promised so brightly.

Vincent Dunbar was not a man to break his heart at the disappointment
which, it is needless to say, awaited him. Long years afterwards, when
Sir Henry Elliott was not only married, but had daughters coming out
in the world, he, one day at a dinner-party, sat next a pale-faced,
middle-aged lady, whose still beautiful features, combined with the
quiet, almost grave elegance of her toilet, had already attracted his
attention in the drawing-room. It was a countenance of perfect
serenity; but no observing eye could look at it without feeling that
that was a serenity not born of joy, but of sadness--a calm that had
succeeded a storm--a peace won by a great battle. Sir Henry felt
pleased when he saw that the fortunes of the dinner-table had placed
him beside this lady, and they had not been long seated before he took
an opportunity of addressing her. Her eyelids fell as she turned to
answer him; but there was a sweet, mournful smile on her lip--a smile
that awoke strange recollections, and made his heart for a moment
stand still. For some minutes he did not speak again, nor she either;
when he did, it was to ask her, in a low, gentle voice, to take wine
with him. The lady's hand shook visibly as she raised her glass; but,
after a short interval, the surprise and the pang passed away, and
they conversed calmly on general subjects, like other people in

When Sir Henry returned to the drawing-room, the pale-faced lady was
gone; and, a few days afterwards, the _Morning Post_ announced among
its departures that Miss Seymour had left London for the continent.


Bradshaw's _Continental Railway Guide_--the square, pale-yellow,
compact, brochure which makes its appearance once a month, and which
has doubled its thickness in its brief existence of five years--is
suggestive of a multitude of thoughts concerning the silent revolution
now passing over Europe. Presidents may have _coups d'état_; kings may
put down parliaments, and emperors abrogate constitutions; Legitimists
may dream of the past, and Communists of the future; but the
_railways_ are marking out a path for themselves in Europe which will
tend to obliterate, or at least to soften, the rugged social barriers
which separate nation from nation. This will not be effected all at
once, and many enthusiasts are disappointed that the cosmopolitanism
advances so slowly; but the result is not the less certain in being

Our facetious contemporary _Punch_ once gave a railway map of England,
in which the face of the land was covered with intersecting lines at
mutual distances of only a mile or two. A railway map of Europe has
certainly not yet assumed such a labyrinthine character; still, the
lines of civilisation (for so we may well term them) are becoming
closer and closer every year. The outposts of Europe, where the
Scandinavian, the Sclavonian, the Italian, and the Spaniard
respectively rule, are scanty in their exhibition of such lines; but
as we gradually approach the scenes of commercial activity, there do
railways appear in greater and greater proximity. France strikingly
exemplifies its own theory, that 'Paris is France,' by shewing how all
its important railways spring from the metropolis in six directions.
Belgium exhibits its compact net-work of railways, by which nearly all
its principal towns are accommodated. The phlegmatic Dutchman has as
yet placed the locomotive only in that portion of Holland which lies
between the Rhine and the Zuiderzee. Rhineland, from Bâle to
Wiesbaden, is under railway dominion. North Germany, within a circle
of which Magdeburg may be taken as a centre, is railed pretty thickly;
and Vienna has become a point from which lines of great length start.
Exterior to all these are solitary lines, the pioneers of the new
order of things, pointing in directions which will one day come within
the yellow covers of Bradshaw. There is one line straggling out to
Rostock; another to Stettin and Bromberg, on its way to Danzig;
another to Warsaw, on its way to meet the czar at St Petersburg;
another to Pesth, whence it will be carried through the scenes of the
late Hungarian war; another to the neighbourhood of the Adriatic;
others from Central Germany southward to the Swiss highlands, which
bar further progress; and a very modest little group in North Italy.

It is instructive to mark the steps by which these continental
railways have been brought into existence. The English practice of
undertaking all such great works, is very little understood abroad;
there is not capital enough afloat, and the commercial audacity of the
people has not yet arrived at such a high-pressure point. Almost the
whole of the railways now under notice, have been constructed either
by the governments of the respective countries, or by companies which
require some sort of government guarantee before they can obtain their

Belgium was the first continental country to follow the railway
example of England. Very soon after King Leopold was seated securely
on his throne, he initiated measures for the construction of railways
in Belgium; and a law was passed in 1834, sanctioning that compact
system which, having Mechlin as a centre, branches out in four
directions--to Liege, Antwerp, Brussels, and Ostend; and there were
also lines sanctioned to the Prussian frontier, and the French
frontier--the whole giving a length of about 247 English miles. Three
years afterwards, a law was passed for the construction of 94
additional miles of railway--to Courtrai, Tournay, Namur, and other
towns. In the western part of Belgium, the engineering difficulties
were not of a formidable character; but towards the Prussian frontier,
the bridges, cuttings, and embankments are so extensive, as to have
rendered the works far more costly than in the average of continental
railways. The Belgian Chambers provided the money, or rather
authorised the government to borrow it, year after year. The first
portion of railway was opened in 1835, and every year from thence till
1843, witnessed the opening of additional portions; until at length,
in this last-named year, all the 341 miles mentioned above were opened
for traffic. The cost varied from L.6140 per mile (near Courtrai), to
L.38,700 per mile (near Liege); the entire cost of the whole,
including working-plant, was within L.17,000 per average mile. While
these railways were progressing, private companies were formed for the
construction of other lines, to the extent of about 200 additional
miles, most of which are now open--the Namur and Liege being opened in
1851. These various railways are said to have yielded, on an average,
about 3-1/2 per cent. on the outlay.

It was of course impossible for France to see its little neighbour,
Belgium, advancing in its railway course, without setting a similar
movement on foot; but various circumstances have given a lingering
character to French railway enterprise. It was in 1837 that the short
railway from Paris through Versailles to St Germain--the first
passenger line in France--was opened. In the next following year, two
companies, aided by the government in certain ways, undertook the
construction of the railways from Paris to Rouen, and from Paris to
Orleans. The French government, having a strong taste for
centralisation in national matters, formed in 1842 that plan which has
since, with some modifications, been carried into execution. The plan
consisted in causing the great lines of communication to be surveyed
and marked out by government engineers, and then to be ceded to
joint-stock companies, to be constructed on certain conditions. There
were to be seven such lines radiating from Paris: to the Belgian
frontier; to one or more ports on the Channel; to the Atlantic ports;
to Bordeaux; to the Spanish frontier; to Marseille; and to Rhenish
Prussia. The government has had to concede more favourable conditions
to some of these companies than were at first intended, to get the
lines constructed at all. The first and second of the above lines of
communication are now almost fully opened; the third is finished to
Chartres; the fourth, to Nantes and Poitiers; the fifth, to
Chateauroux; the sixth, to Chalons, with another portion from Avignon
to Marseille; while the seventh, or Paris and Strasbourg Railway, is
that of which the final opening has been recently celebrated with so
much firing of guns, drinking of healths, blessing of locomotives, and
speechifyings of presidents. At the close of 1851, the length of
French railway opened was about 1800 miles; while the portion since
opened, or now in progress or projected, amounts to about as much
more. In the president's speech to the National Assembly in 1851 (of
course, _before_ the _coup d'état_), it was announced that the length
of French railway to be finished and opened in 1851 would be 516
kilomètres (about 320 miles); and in 1852, about 330 kilomètres (205

Prussia loves centralisation little less than France in other matters;
but in railway enterprise she has allowed mercantile competition to
have freer scope. Private companies have constructed nearly all the
Prussian railways; but in cases where the traffic appeared likely to
be small, the government has rendered aid in one of three or four
modes. The government will not permit any parallel or competing lines;
and it holds the power of purchasing the railways after a lapse of
thirty years, on certain specified terms. On this principle have been
constructed the railways which radiate from Berlin in five different
directions--towards Hamburg, Hanover, Saxony, Silesia, and the Baltic;
together with minor branches springing out of them, and also the
railways which accommodate the rich Rhenish provinces belonging to
Prussia. The Prussian railways open and at work at the close of 1851
appear to have been about 1800 miles in length.

In the heterogeneous mass of states which constitute Germany, the
railways have for the most part been constructed by, and belong to,
the respective governments. Such is the case in Baden, Hanover,
Brunswick, Würtemberg, Bavaria, and many of the petty states; and such
is also the case in the imperial dominions in Austria, Hungary,
Bohemia, Moravia, and Styria. There may be some among these lines of
railway which belong to companies, but, as a general rule, they
constitute government property. If we include Prussia and the Austrian
dominions in the general name of Germany, we find the railways very
unequally distributed. An oblong quadrangular district, measuring
about 400 miles from east to west, and 200 from north to south, and
lying eastward of the Netherlands, contains a net-work of railways
which contrast remarkably with those of east, south, and central
Germany; it includes Hamburg, Berlin, Leipsic, Dresden, Magdeburg,
Brunswick, Hanover, Bremen, and a busy knot of other important towns.
Although the various German railways twist about in more tortuous
forms than those of England--for the engineers have studied economy by
going round hills rather than through them--and although they are
broken up into many different proprietorships by passing through so
many petty states, yet there may be traced certain great lines of
communication which run nearly or entirely across the whole of
Germany. Starting from Cologne, we find one line running through
Elberfeld, Minden, Hanover, Brunswick, Berlin, to Bromberg and Posen;
another from Cologne--with a short break not yet completed in
Westphalia--to Cassel, Gotha, Weimar, Leipsic, Dresden, Breslau, and
Cracow; a third from Hamburg, through Magdeburg, Leipsic, Dresden,
Prague, Presburg, and Pesth, into the heart of Hungary; a fourth from
the Baltic at Stettin, through Berlin, Leipsic, Nürnberg, Augsburg, to
the vicinity of the Lake of Constance; and a fifth from Warsaw,
through Vienna, to the vicinity of the Adriatic. Dr Lardner has
estimated, that if we include the Netherlands and the Austrian and
Prussian dominions within the German group, the German railways at the
beginning of 1851 were about 5100 miles in length, with 3000 miles
more either in progress or decided on--making a total of between 8000
and 9000 miles. Many hundred miles of railway have been opened since
the date to which this estimate refers.

Our Bradshaw leaves us little to notice on the continent beyond the
groups of railways included under the above four systems. The Dutch
have given a curious serpentine line of railway, about 150 miles in
length, from Rotterdam through Schiedam, Delft, The Hague, Leyden,
Haarlem, Amsterdam, and Utrecht, to Arnhem--an economical mode of
linking most of the chief towns together. Holstein, the recent field
of struggle between the Danes and the Germans, has its humble quota of
about 100 miles of railway, from Altona to Glückstadt, Rendsburg, and
Kiel, connecting the German Ocean with the Baltic in a very convenient
way. Russia has a railway in its Polish dominions from Warsaw to
Cracow; a short bit from St Petersburg to Tsarkoé-soélo; portions of
the projected great lines from St Petersburg to Moscow and to Warsaw,
and a horse railway connecting the Don with the Volga. Italy has a few
bits of railway--perhaps quite as much as we could yet expect in so
strangely governed a country; one from Venice through Padua, Vicenza,
and Verona, to Mantua; another from Treviglio to Milan, Monza, and
Como; a Piedmontese line from Genoa to Alessandria and Turin; a Tuscan
web which connects Florence, Sienna, Pistoja, Lucca, Pisa, and
Leghorn, in a roundabout way; and a few miles of Neapolitan railway,
to connect Naples with Pompeii, Portici, Castel-a-mare, and Capua.
Rome, behindhand in most things, is behindhand in railways.
Switzerland has its little railway of twenty-five miles, from Zurich
to Baden. Spain has its two small lines, from Madrid to Aranjuez, and
from Barcelona to Mataro. Turkey and Greece, in the south-east;
Portugal, in the south-west; Sweden and Norway,[1] in the bleak north,
have yet to become members of the great European railway system.

In comparing all these continental railways with those of our own
country, we find many instructive differences. In the first place, the
engineering, as we lately remarked, is much less daring; there is not
so much capital at command, and the engineers, therefore, bend to
difficulties instead of cutting through them. Still, there are not
wanting engineering works of great magnitude. One such is the great
railway bridge over the Vistula, near Bromberg, the first stone of
which was laid with much form by the king of Prussia some short time
back, and which will form one link in the chain from Berlin to
Königsberg. Another is the double railway bridge over the Elbe at
Dresden, opened in April 1852, having a railway on its eastern half,
and an ordinary roadway on its western. The stupendous Cologne Bridge
will be for the future to talk about: at present, not a single railway
bridge, we believe, crosses the Rhine; so that Western Europe is, in
fact, not yet connected by the iron pathway with Eastern. Among the
many thousand miles of continental railway, there must, of course, be
numerous constructions of great skill and magnitude; but the ratio is
small compared with those of England.

Another feature, is the great prevalence of single lines of rail. In
England, there is so much wrangling against single lines, and so great
a tendency among directors to think that there _ought_ to be traffic
enough for more, that double lines prevail almost everywhere. In the
German railways, double lines are laid down only in places of great
traffic--single lines being the rule, and the others the exception.
Where there are only three or four departures per day, which is the
case on most German railways, one line, with carefully-managed
sidings, is amply sufficient. 'Express trains,' and 'first-class
trains,' and 'special trains,' and anything which disturbs the steady
jog-trot mode of proceeding, are very little known in Germany; the
general speed, including stoppages, is about twenty miles an hour.
Although the first-class fares are only a fraction above 1-1/2d. per
mile, and the second-class just over 1d., yet the Germans travel so
cheaply, and mix among each other with so little exclusiveness, that
it is said only 3-1/2 per cent. of the whole number of passengers
travel by first-class, and 74 per cent. by third-class; the ratios in
England being 14 and 46 per cent. respectively. One apparent effect of
these very low fares is, that although the railways are for the most
part cheaply constructed, the net profits are not supposed to exceed 3
per cent. on an average; but if the fares were higher, perhaps the
number of passengers would be so reduced as to lessen the net profit.

Whatever else may be the superiority of English railways over those of
the continent, assuredly it is not apparent in the _carriages_. The
public press has made an onslaught on the English railway carriages
for twenty years, but with very little success. Let those whose bones
ache with the ill-conditioned wooden seats of our second-class
carriages, think wishfully of the cushioned seats, and the
easily-opened windows shielded with sun-blinds, and the useful
hat-hooks found in many of the French second-class carriages; let
those who shiver under English arrangements, think of the hot-water
tin cases beneath the feet of the first-class French passengers; and
let those who wish to be usefully employed while travelling, think of
the little table, and the pen and ink, provided in some of the
Prussian carriages. The truth is, we spend money on magnificent
stations which ought to be expended on carriages. The cramped-up
position of passengers on English railways is much reprobated by
foreigners. In America, and in many parts of the continent, it is
customary to have carriages long, broad, and high, with an avenue down
the middle, and short seats for two persons each on either side of the
avenue; every person looks towards the engine, and there is a
plentiful supply of window on both sides. In America, these short
seats are not only cushioned, but each seat has its two elbows and its
cushioned back.

Another English annoyance, is the _ticket-taking_. If all the wrath
which is poured out on the heads of the railway directors during this
formality could take effect, they would be among the most miserable
and unfortunate of mortals. Arrived at Euston Station, we will say, by
the last train from the north--some sleepy, some hungry, and all
tired--the passengers are anxious to wend their several ways as
quickly as possible; instead of this, the train is brought to a
stand-still, the man with his bull's-eye lantern pokes his head into
one doorway after another, and all are kept waiting until all the
tickets are collected. One passenger may have dropped his ticket, and
then comes a search among the hat-boxes and carpet-bags beneath the
seats; another may have underpaid his fare, or overridden the power of
his ticket, and then occurs the fuss of paying up the difference; a
third may be sleeping weariedly in the further corner of the carriage,
and then comes the process of waking him, followed, perhaps, by a
search for the ticket in an incalculable number of pockets. All this
is nicely ill-managed! The larger size of many of the continental
carriages, and the avenue through the centre, enable the ticket-taker
to enter the carriage easily while the train is yet in motion, and to
collect the tickets by the time of arrival at the station. On one of
the Austrian railways, the carriages have an exterior gangway
extending the whole length of the train, by which a guard can obtain
easy access to all the passengers: shortly before arriving at a
station, he enters the carriages, calls out the name of the station
about to be approached, and takes the tickets of those who are to
alight at that station. There is one oddity about the railway
management abroad. In England, a railway smoker commits a high crime
and misdemeanour, for which he is frowned at by his neighbours, and
threatened by the guard; but on the continent, not only do the
passengers smoke abundantly, but we were once rather struck at seeing
a ticket-taker enter the carriage with a meerschaum in his mouth; one
passenger, whose pipe was out, asked the customary German question:
'Haben sie feuer?' and the official gave him a light accordingly. We
believe, however, that there is a wish at head-quarters to keep down
this habit of smoking on the continental railways.

There are two sources of embarrassment which the Englishman is spared
in his own country, but which press upon him in full force while
travelling by rail abroad--namely, the different kinds of distance
measurement, and the different kinds of money employed. Accustomed to
English charges varying from three farthings to threepence per mile,
he is frequently thrown out of his reckoning by the absence of miles
abroad. The French kilomètre and the German meile are not English
miles; the former equals 1093 yards, and is therefore a troublesome
fraction of an English mile; while the German meile is as long as
about four and a half English miles.

But this, however, is a minor inconvenience; for our 'Continental
Bradshaw' gives most of the measurements in English miles. Not so in
respect to the current coinage abroad. Although there was a 'railway
congress' held a few years ago, to determine on a plan for
facilitating the intercourse between country and country, yet this
plan did not go so far as to assimilate the moneys of the different
states; the tourist speedily discovers that this is the case, and he
becomes perplexed with a multiplicity of cares. So long as he is in
France or Belgium, the _franc_ (9-1/2d.), with its multiples and
submultiples, are easily managed; but when he gets beyond the Rhine,
his troubles begin. If in Holland, he has to manage with the _guilder_
(1s. 8d.) and its fractional parts in _cents_. If in the neighbourhood
of Hamburg, he has to pay by means of the _mark_ (14-1/2d.), and
certain strange-looking _schillings_ or _skillings_, of which sixteen
equal one mark. Going south and east into Prussia, he finds the ruling
coin to be the _thaler_ (3s.), divisible into thirty _groschen_. and
each of these into twelve _pfennige_; but if he be hovering in
the frontiers of Prussia and Saxony, he will find that the
_neu-groschen_ of the latter country is worth a little more than the
_silber-groschen_ of the former, and that there is some difficulty in
getting rid of either in the country of the other. Getting further
south, to the regions belonging to or adjoining Austria, he will find
his thalers and groschen no longer welcome; he has to attend to the
_florin_ (2s.), and its divisions into sixty _kreutzers_. If he
travels north-east, to the few miles of railway yet existing in
Poland, he will have to pay in _rubles_ (3s. 3d.) and _kopecks_, which
rank at 100 to the ruble. On the little Zurich and Baden Railway, the
only one yet in Switzerland, our traveller meets again with his old
acquaintance the _franc_; but this is worth 14-1/2d., instead of
9-1/2d., and, moreover, it is divided into ten _batzen_, each of which
is worth ten _rappen_. If he crosses the Alps to Austrian Italy, he
finds that his fare is reckoned in Austrian _lire_ (about 8d.) In many
cases, the different states take money from _through_ passengers in
the coin of either country; but the traveller who makes frequent
stoppages, soon finds the embarrassment of the different moneys. A
railway has lately been completed from Dresden to Prague--the capitals
of the two kingdoms of Saxony and Bohemia--along the banks of the
Elbe; it is no great distance, and yet the fees north of the frontier
are charged in _thalers_ and _neu-groschen_, while those south of it
are in _florins_ and _kreutzers_.

There have been very busy and important railway enterprises agreed
upon or discussed within the last year or two, in various parts of the
continent, which augur favourably for the future of Europe. We shall
shortly pass these in review, to shew what may possibly be the aspect
presented by the 'Continental Bradshaw' in 1862.


[1] A line of about forty-five miles, from Christiania to the end of
the Miösin Lake, is surveyed, and in course of preparation.--_Ed._


The adventures of an amateur in search of a picture, of a foundling in
search of his father, and even of a dog in search of his master, have
been severally recorded by skilful pens for the amusement of the
public. But, however entertaining or romantic these narratives may be
considered, they can hardly surpass in interest the curious history
which has just been disclosed of the adventures of an antiquary in
search of a ballad-hero. We owe our knowledge of the facts to one of a
series of _Critical and Historical Tracts_, by the Rev. Joseph Hunter,
now in course of publication. Mr Hunter is an assistant-keeper of the
public records, and is well known, by his other publications, as one
of the most laborious and most judicious elucidators of mysterious
passages in our national history. But the evidences of industry, of
minute knowledge, and of logical acuteness, contained in his little
treatise concerning 'the ballad-hero, Robin Hood,' are really
surprising. The story of an obscure outlaw, who chased deer and took
purses in a northern forest five hundred years ago, has been
investigated with the painstaking sagacity of a Niebuhr; and a strong
light has been unexpectedly thrown on the state of public sentiment
and manners existing at that period. Mr Hunter, it is proper to say,
dwells in his treatise chiefly upon results, and says little, and that
very modestly, of the labours by which they were obtained. He even
seems to fear that his subject may be considered trivial, and that he
may possibly receive 'the censure of being one who busies himself with
the mere playthings of antiquity.' Dr Percy, when he compiled his
invaluable Reliques, had similar apprehensions, which were then not
altogether groundless; but it may reasonably be hoped, that the race
of pedants, who wondered how a man of learning could be interested in
a bundle of old ballads, is now extinct.

Departing a little from the method and order observed by Mr Hunter in
his tract, we will endeavour not only to state in a condensed form the
remarkable conclusions at which he has arrived, but also to follow, as
accurately as his references will enable us to do so, the ingenious
processes of investigation which led to these results. The object of
the inquiry was to determine, in the first place, whether such a
person as Robin Hood ever existed; and, in the second place, to
ascertain who and what he was, and to what extent the ballads of which
he was the hero were based upon actual occurrences. What a vast amount
of uncertainty there was to clear up, may be inferred from the wide
differences of opinion among writers of the highest credit who
preceded Mr Hunter in this inquiry. The celebrated historian of the
Norman Conquest, M. Thierry, supposes Robin Hood to have been the
chief of a small body of Saxons, who, in their forest strongholds,
held out for a time against the domination of the Norman conquerors.
On this point, as confessedly on others, the French historian seems to
have derived his opinions from the suggestive scenes in Scott's
splendid romance of _Ivanhoe_. Another writer conjectures, that the
outlaws of whom Robin was the leader, may have been some of the
adherents of Simon de Montfort, whose partisans were pursued to
extremity after the fatal battle of Evesham, in the year 1264. Others,
still, have denied altogether the existence, at any period, of such a
person as Robin Hood. They make him either a mere hero of romance--the
'creation of some poetical mind;' or else, led by a similarity of
names, they discover in him merely one of the embodiments of popular
superstitions--a sylvan sprite, a Robin Goodfellow, or a Hudkin. Only
two years ago, a historical writer of no small acumen, Mr Thomas
Wright, published his opinion, that Robin Hood, in his original
character, was simply 'one amongst the personages of the early
mythology of the Teutonic people.'

But Mr Hunter could not concur in these views, or be satisfied with
the mode of reasoning by which they were maintained. In his opinion,
Robin Hood was neither a Saxon malcontent nor the hero of a poet's
romance; nor yet was he 'a goblin or a myth.' He was, in all
probability, exactly such a person as the popular songs described
him--an English yeoman, an outlaw living in the woods, and noted for
his skill in archery. Previous researches had proved, that many of our
old ballads are merely rhyming records of historical events. Mr Hunter
had already rescued one ballad-hero, Adam Bell, from the 'danger of
being reduced to an abstraction or a myth;' and it now remained for
him to undertake the same good office for a more renowned freebooter.

The first thing to be done was, of course, to examine carefully the
ballads themselves, and to ascertain the amount and value of the
evidence they afforded, as to the epoch and the real story of their
hero. It appeared, then, that 'three single ballads are found in
manuscript, which cannot be later than the fourteenth century.' There
is also a poem of considerable length, entitled _The Lytel Geste of
Robyn Hood_, which was printed by Winkyn de Worde, in or about the
year 1495. It is 'a kind of life' of the outlaw, and is composed of
several ballads, strung together by means of a few intermediate
stanzas, which give continuity to the story. The language of these
ballads is that of the preceding century--being, in fact, the same as
that of the ballads in manuscript. Thus the date of the songs
themselves is carried back as far as the fourteenth century. It is,
moreover, in the middle of this century that the first allusion to
Robin Hood occurs in any work of undoubted authority. In Longland's
poem, entitled _The Vision of Pierce Ploughman_, the date of which is
between 1355 and 1365, mention is made of 'rymes of Robyn Hood and
Randolph Earl of Chester,' the outlaw and the earl being apparently
both regarded as historical personages, about whom songs had been
written. It may be observed, that if the Robin Hood ballads were much
older than this date, it must be considered surprising that no earlier
allusion to them should be found, since in the subsequent century they
were referred to by many writers.

According to the story contained in the Lytel Geste, Robin Hood was at
the head of a band of outlaws, who made their head-quarters in
Bernysdale, or Barnesdale--once 'a woody and famous forest,' on the
southern confines of Yorkshire, in the neighbourhood of Doncaster,
Wakefield, and Pontefract; and who infested the woodlands and the
highways from thence as far as Sherwood and Nottingham, near which
ancient town some of their boldest exploits were performed. They slew
the king's deer, and plundered rich travellers, but spared the humble,
relieved the distressed, and were courteous to all who did not offend

    Robyn was a proude outlaw
      Whyles he walked on ground;
    So curtyse an outlaw as he was one,
      Was never none yfound.

All the ballads agree in ascribing to the outlaw chief a manly bearing
and a generous disposition, such as might be expected to distinguish a
respectable yeoman of a class somewhat above the ordinary, whom the
fortune of war had driven from his home to a lawless life in the
forest. That this was Robin Hood's condition, may be inferred from the
general language of the ballads; but the important question is,
whether any other testimony can be found to confirm this conjecture,
and to give us any definite and authentic information about the fact.
This is the question which Mr Hunter has undertaken to answer. The
clue which first catches his experienced eye, is _the name of an
English king_. One of the most remarkable adventures which the ballads
record of Robin Hood, is his meeting with the king, who induced him,
for a time, to take service in his household. The king, according to
this authority, was exasperated with Robin and his men chiefly on
account of the destruction which they had made of his deer. Finding
that it was impossible to capture the outlaw by force, the king
consented to practise a stratagem, suggested by a forester who was
well acquainted with the outlaw's habits. He disguised himself as an
abbot, and with five knights habited as monks, and a man leading
sumpter-horses, rode into the greenwood. A wealthy abbot's baggage,
and his ransom, would be just the bait most tempting to Robin and his
men. The king, as he had expected, was seized by them, and led away to
their lodge in the forest. The outlaws, however, behave courteously as
usual; and when the abbot announces that he comes from the king at
Nottingham, and brings a letter from his majesty, inviting Robin to
come to that town, the latter receives the information joyously, and
declares that 'he loves no man in all the world so well as he does his
king.' Presently the monarch discovers himself, and the outlaw chief
and his men kneel, and profess their loyalty--Robin at the same time
asking for mercy for him and his. The king grants it on condition that
Robin will leave the greenwood, and will come to court and enter his
service. We quote the following after Mr Hunter, merely modernising
the orthography:--

    'Yes, fore God!' then said our king,
      'Thy petition I grant thee,
    With that thou leave the greenwood,
      And all thy company;

    'And come home, sir, to my court,
      And there dwell with me.'
    'I make mine avow to God,' said Robin,
      'And right so shall it be:

    'I will come to your court
      Your service for to see.'

Accordingly, Robin left the greenwood and his company, entered the
king's household, went with him to the court at London, and remained
in his service for a year and three months. Having by that time become
weary of this uncongenial mode of life, he obtained permission from
the king to pay a visit to his old residence at Barnesdale. Here he
resumes once more his former way of life 'under the greenwood-tree,'
and becomes again chief of the outlaws of Barnesdale and Sherwood.

Now if, among the adventures ascribed to Robin by the old ballads,
there is one far more improbable than all the rest, and one which an
ordinary commentator would set down at once as a pure fiction of the
poet, it is certainly that which has just been related. Mr Hunter,
however, is not an ordinary commentator. If the story is a strange
one, he doubtless reflected, 'truth is stranger than fiction;' and if
it is intrinsically and evidently improbable, that is the very reason
why a poet would not have invented it. Mr Hunter, therefore, did what
no other inquirer had before thought of doing--he examined the
historical and documentary evidence which might throw light upon the
subject. The ballad, fortunately, gives the name of the king who was
concerned in this singular adventure. He is repeatedly spoken of as
'Edward, our comely king'--a phrase, by the way, which clearly implies
that the ballad was composed while the monarch was still living. This
circumstance is not noticed by Mr Hunter, but it is one of some
importance, inasmuch as a poet would hardly have ventured to introduce
the name of the reigning monarch into a purely fictitious narrative.
But there are three Edwards--the first, second, and third of the name,
among whom it is necessary to distinguish the one to whom the poet
referred. Now, according to the ballad, this 'comely king,' before he
fell in with Robin, had journeyed through the county of Lancaster:

    All the pass of Lancashire,
      He went both far and near,
    Till he came to Plumpton Park,
      He failed [missed] many of his deer.

The question then arises, which of the three Edwards did travel in
that county? To this question, Mr Hunter's researches fortunately
enable him to return a decisive answer. King Edward I. never was in
Lancashire after he became king. King Edward III. was not in
Lancashire in the early years of his reign, and probably never at all.
But King Edward II. did make a 'progress' in Lancashire, and only one.
The time was in the autumn of 1323, the seventeenth year of his reign,
and the fortieth of his age. By the dates of the royal writs, and by
other documents, Mr Hunter is enabled to trace the king's route and
his various removes on this occasion with great minuteness. He follows
him, for example, from York to Holderness; thence to Pickering, to
Wherlton Castle, to Richmond and Jervaulx Abbey, and to Haywra Park,
in the forest of Knaresborough. In this forest is situated Plumpton
Park, which is mentioned in the ballad as having been visited by the
king, who here became aware of Robin's depredations. King Edward
proceeded thence by way of Skipton, and several other towns, to
Liverpool, and, continuing his progress, arrived on the 9th of
November at Nottingham, where he remained till the 23d of that month;
and it was from Nottingham, it will be remembered, that the king set
out in disguise to look for Robin Hood.

But if the 'proud outlaw' on this occasion actually took service in
the king's household, his name would be likely to appear among those
of the royal attendants, if any list of these is preserved. This
consideration occurred to Mr Hunter. The result of his search must be
told in his own words. 'It will scarcely be believed,' he observes,
'but it is, nevertheless, the plain and simple truth, that in
documents preserved in the Exchequer, containing accounts of expenses
in the king's household, we find the name of "Robyn Hode," not once,
but several times occurring, receiving, with about eight-and-twenty
others, the pay of 3d. a day, as one of the "_valets, porteurs de la
chambre_" of the king. Whether this was some other person who chanced
to bear the same name, or that the ballad-maker has in this related
what was mere matter of fact, it will become no one to affirm in a
tone of authority. I, for my part, believe it is the same person.'
Mr Hunter then quotes the words of the original record, which
is in Norman-French. It recites the names of the twenty-four
'_portours_'--as the word is here spelled--who received pay from the
24th of March to the 21st of April 1324; and among these are the names
of 'Robyn Hod' and 'Simon Hod.' These names do not occur in any
previous document. The date of the record, it will be observed, is in
the spring of the year following that in which the king made his
progress through Lancashire, and stayed for some time at Nottingham on
his return southward.

The office of valet, or _porteur de la chambre_, in those days, was
probably similar to that of the present groom of the chamber, and if
so, was a highly respectable and confidential post. In the ballad,
Robin Hood is represented, while at court, as spending his money
freely with knights and squires. His profusion, indeed, soon exhausted
his purse, which the daily pay of 3d., however munificent it may have
been at that period, could not replenish. Robin became, observes Mr
Hunter, moody and melancholy:

    'Alas!' then said good Robin,
      'Alas, and well-a-day I
    If I dwell longer with the king,
      Sorrow will me slay.'

At last, he petitions the king for permission to pay a visit to his
chapel at Barnesdale; declaring, that for seven nights he has not been
able to sleep, nor for seven days to eat or drink, so sore is his
longing to see Barnesdale again. The king consents, but only for a
se'nnight; 'in which,' says Mr Hunter, 'I suspect a corruption, for
there was no Great Northern in those days.' Probably the leave of
absence was for seven weeks instead of days.

Now, it is remarkable, that in the Exchequer pay-lists, the new
porteur's name continues to appear (once under the form of Robert
Hood) until the 22d of November 1324. Under this date appears an
entry, which Mr Hunter has given in the original Norman-French, but
which we prefer to translate: 'Robyn Hod, heretofore one of the
porteurs, because he could no longer work, received as a gift, by
command, 5s.' After this, we are told, his name does not again appear.
The 22d of November 1324, was just a year from the time when the king
was at Nottingham, where he arrived on the 9th of November 1323. Robin
Hood, if he then took service, would have been in the royal household
about a twelvemonth. The ballad, however, makes his service last for a
year and three months. The discrepancy is not great; and it may,
perhaps, be explained by the circumstance, that when Robin left the
court, it was at first merely on leave of absence; and he would,
consequently, still regard himself as in the king's service until he
had finally determined to renounce it, which would probably not be
until at least his term of leave had expired. The remarkable
expression in the record, 'because he could no longer work,' seems, as
Mr Hunter remarks, to correspond with Robin's declarations in the
ballad, that he could neither eat, drink, nor sleep; and if he
remained longer at court, sorrow would kill him. This apparent
coincidence, the author adds, 'may be but imagination; but it looks
like a reality.' It must be admitted, that if the Robyn Hod, or Robert
Hood, of the Exchequer records be not Robin Hood the outlaw, then all
these singular agreements of names, of dates, and of circumstances,
will make together a far greater marvel than any that is to be found
in the ballad-story itself, which some sceptics would require us to

This, however, is only the commencement of Mr Hunter's researches,
which we cannot here follow in the same detail. The ballads relate
that Robin Hood, after continuing twenty-two years in the greenwood,
died--through some foul play--at the convent of Kirklees, the prioress
of which was nearly related to him. On this hint, Mr Hunter seeks to
discover, through this relationship, the original social position and
family connections of the outlaw. He finds reason for believing, that
the prioress of Kirklees at that period was a certain Elizabeth de
Staynton, a member of a family of some note, established near
Barnesdale. The Stayntons were tenants in chief of both the 'honours'
of Tickhill and Pontefract. One of them was prior of Monk Bretton, and
two were incumbents of churches in that vicinity. If Robin Hood was
nearly related to this family, the connection would raise him somewhat
above the rank of an ordinary yeoman; it might, as the author
observes, 'give him that kind of generous air in which he is invested,
and qualify him for his station among the valets of the crown.'

But if Robin Hood was a person of good condition, his name might
perhaps be found in the law-records of the local courts; and, in fact,
Mr Hunter has found, in the court-rolls of the manor of Wakefield, the
name of 'Robertus Hood,' as that of the defendant in a suit relative
to a small piece of land, in the ninth year of Edward II. He again
appears in a subsequent year, when he is described as being of
Wakefield; and the name of his wife, Matilda, is mentioned. Here is
another curious coincidence. Mr Hunter says: 'The ballad testimony
is--not the Lytel Geste, but other ballads of uncertain
antiquity--that the outlaw's wife was named Matilda, which name she
changed for Marian when she joined him in the greenwood.'

But what cause could have driven a respectable yeoman like Robin Hood,
along with so many others, apparently not much below him in rank, to
the fastnesses of the forest? It is evident that only a great civil
convulsion could have made, in one district, so large a number of
outlaws of this peculiar character. Now, the rising of the
discontented barons under the Earl of Lancaster, provoked by the
king's favouritism and misgovernment, took place in the early part of
the year 1322. By the battle of Boroughbridge, fought on the 16th of
March in that year, the insurrection was suppressed. It was punished
with great severity. The Earl of Lancaster and many of his adherents
were beheaded, and their property was confiscated. Some
offenders--probably persons who were not conspicuous in the
outbreak--escaped with heavy fines; and among these are mentioned two
members of the Staynton family, Robin Hood's supposed connections. We
may thence infer the part which he himself probably took in the
movement. From his skill with the bow, and from the personal esteem in
which he was held, it is likely that he would be a leader of the
archers in the rebel force, and would consequently be of importance
enough to become specially obnoxious to the king's party. Many
others--perhaps the whole company which followed him to the
battle--might be in the same plight. If so, it would account not only
for their outlawry, but for the goodwill with which they were regarded
by the people of their neighbourhood, who were generally favourable to
the cause of the Earl of Lancaster, and looked upon him as a martyr.
The battle of Boroughbridge, it should be observed, was fought in the
year preceding that in which the king made his progress through the
north, and rested for a fortnight at Nottingham.

Mr Hunter, in conclusion, sums up the results of his investigation in
what he cautiously styles his 'theory' concerning the career of the
famous ballad-hero. He considers that Robin Hood was one of the
'contrariantes,' or malcontents, of the reign of King Edward II., and
that he was still living in the early years of King Edward III.; but
that his birth must 'be carried back into the reign of King Edward I.,
and fixed in the decennary period, 1285 to 1295; that he was born in a
family of some station and respectability, seated at Wakefield or in
villages around; that he, like many others, partook of the popular
enthusiasm which supported the Earl of Lancaster, the great baron of
those parts, who, having attempted in vain various changes in the
government, at length broke out into open rebellion, with many
persons, great and small, following his standard; that when the earl
fell, and there was a dreadful proscription, a few persons who had
been in arms not only escaped the hazards of battle, but the arm of
the executioner; that he was one of these; and that he protected
himself against the authorities of the time, partly by secreting
himself in the depths of the woods of Barnesdale or of the forest of
Sherwood, and partly by intimidating the public officers by the
opinion which was abroad of his unerring bow, and his instant command
of assistance from numerous comrades as skilled in archery as himself;
that he supported himself by slaying the wild animals which were found
in the forests, and by levying a species of blackmail on passengers
along the great road which united London with Berwick, occasionally
replenishing his coffers by seizing upon treasure as it was being
transported on the road; that there was a self-abandonment and a
courtesy in the way in which he proceeded, which distinguishes him
from the ordinary highwayman; that he laid down the principle, that he
would take from none but those who could afford to lose, and that, if
he met with poor persons, he would bestow upon them some part of what
he had taken from the rich: in short, that in this respect he was the
supporter of the rights or supposed reasonable expectations of the
middle and lower ranks--a _leveller_ of the times; that he continued
this course for about twenty months--April 1322 to December
1323--meeting with various adventures, as such a person must needs do,
some of which are related in the ballads respecting him; that when, in
1323, the king was intent upon freeing his forests from such
marauders, he fell into the king's power; that this was at a time when
the bitter feeling with which the king and the Spencers had first
pursued those who had shewn themselves such formidable adversaries,
had passed away, and a more lenient policy had supervened--the king,
possibly for some secret and unknown reason, not only pardoned him all
his transgressions, but gave him the place of one of the _valets_,
_porteurs de la chambre_, in the royal household; which appointment he
held for about a year, when the love for the unconstrained life he had
led and for the charms of the country returned, and he left the court,
and betook himself again to the greenwood shade; that he continued
this mode of life we know not exactly how long; and that at last he
resorted to the prioress of Kirklees, his own relative, for surgical
assistance, and in that priory he died and was buried.'

These conclusions must of course be looked upon at present merely as a
series of probable suppositions. Mr Hunter does not pretend to have
placed them within the domain of authentic history. But it is by no
means unlikely, that future researches will produce evidence of the
indubitable truth of some of them. To Mr Hunter is due the credit of
having first pointed out the direction in which this evidence must be
sought, and of having, at the same time, indicated by his example the
true value of such researches in the light which they cast on the
politics and social life of the period to which they refer.



When it was determined by the French government in the spring of 1847,
to undertake several military expeditions simultaneously into the
deserts to the south of Algeria, it was my lot to accompany the column
of General Cavaignac, both in a medical and scientific capacity. The
western route, being the most difficult and dangerous, was that
assigned to him. He was to penetrate the hitherto unexplored regions
traversed by the Hamian-garabas--a powerful tribe, who could bring
2000 horsemen into the field, and among whom the various tribes that
had at different times sworn allegiance to the French government
always found willing allies whenever they chose to break their
treaties and throw off the yoke. He was to destroy every village
throughout this region that refused submission; and thus it was hoped
that the retreats of Abd-el-Kader might be cut off, and that by a
speedy termination of the war, the country might become settled, and
its commerce be restored.

We were a motley and grotesque-enough-looking caravan; for our six
battalions of infantry and four squadrons of cavalry were accompanied
by 3000 camels laden with provisions and attended by Arab drivers,
besides 500 mules carrying water-barrels, and cacolets--jointed
arm-chairs--for the sick. It was not deemed desirable to observe the
strictest military regularity in our march; so that French uniforms
and Arab burnooses, military chargers, camels of the desert, and
pack-saddled mules travelled side by side, pretty much as fancy

It was nearly three weeks before we reached the enemy's country. We
had meanwhile met with the usual adventures incident to these regions.
We had set fire to the forests of the Little Atlas Mountains, and been
obliged to raise our camp, and fly in terror from the conflagration.
We had crossed the dreary solitudes of Goor and Shott, through which
our daily march had been enlivened by songs, or beguiled by listening
to the wild legends of our Arab guides; and night after night we had
encamped, like the vagabond tribes of Sahara, either round the mouths
of wells, or without water in the open plains, each man receiving a
scanty supply from the barrels, while the beasts were left to bear
their thirst as they could. But now, after passing the basins of the
Shott, and gaining the slight elevation beyond, we entered on a tract
of desert as yet untrodden by European feet, and met with trials of a
nature the least of all expected.

The wide wastes which lay before us appeared uniform and level as far
as the eye could reach, but somewhat diversified by verdant patches of
halfa (coarse grass of the desert), and by deceitful appearances of
sheets of water, produced by the reflection of the light in the
undulating vapours rising from the burning sand. In the distance,
something like blue waves appeared: it was part of the great Atlas
chain; but close at hand, to our right, was a long line of dunes.
These eminences, smooth and sterile as marble domes, were apparently
as solid too; but we knew that, if the desert wind should blow, they
would be shaken into moving clouds of sand, overwhelming all before

Our column proceeded in silence. The soft sand yielded no echo to the
tread. Every one appeared thoughtful and abstracted. This place has
terrors even for the Arabs; they tell a thousand stories of the Pass
of Sidi-Mohammed-el-Aoori: it was there, in times remote, that great
armies were overpowered and slain by hostile bands, or destroyed by
the scarcely less merciless elements; there many travellers have
disappeared in the storm, or fallen under the hand of the murderer. It
is the 'gate' of the desert; and the tutelar genii have placed the
terrific dunes as a hieroglyphic warning to those who rashly approach.
They seem to say, 'here begins the empire of Sterility and Death;
enter if thou darest!' Doubtless the Arab tales had some influence on
our minds, increasing the well-grounded fears inspired by the natural
features of these arid wastes. Several of us mentally repeated that
melancholy line from Dante--

    Lasciate ogni speranza voi che entrate;[2]

and not a few pictured to themselves a body of troops visiting these
sands half a century later, and finding the bones of Cavaignac's army
scattered here and there over the plains.

Hitherto the atmosphere had always been perfectly clear, but now it
was thick and cold, the horizon wearing that gray, heavy aspect which
in Europe precedes a fall of snow. No one, however, ventured to
pronounce this word; it appeared an occurrence so unlikely in the
plain, at such a season and under such a latitude. What, then, was our
surprise, on awaking on the morning of the 19th of April, to find the
tents covered with a thick sheet of snow, and to see the vast expanse
of the desert white to the verge of the horizon, like the frozen
steppes of Siberia! The general ordered the camp to be raised
immediately, for the bivouac afforded very scanty materials for fire,
and he hoped there might be wood in the mountains if he could reach
them. The snow continued to fall in large flakes; the troops, anxious
and sorrowful, described a thousand circuits and made a thousand
useless turnings, for our Arab guides were utterly at fault. During
three or four months previous to the expedition, Cavaignac had been
selecting and retaining as guides whatever Saharians he could find
acquainted with that part of the desert he intended to traverse. The
Arabs are gifted with remarkable dexterity in steering without
compass, recognising a footstep imperceptible to the common eye,
scenting the water at a distance, and finding their way by marks which
would escape the most observant European. A Saharian once affirmed to
Colonel Daumas: 'I am not considered remarkably sharp-sighted, but I
can distinguish a goat from a sheep at the distance of a day's
journey; and I know some who smell the smoke of a pipe, or of broiled
meat, at thirty miles! We all know each other by the track of our feet
in the sand, for no one tribe walks like another, nor does a wife
leave the same footprint as an unmarried woman. If a hare has passed,
we know by its footprint whether it is male or female, and, in the
latter case, whether it is with young. If we see the stone of a date,
we know the particular tree that produced it.'

Our conductors, though not pretending to all this sagacity, were
nevertheless far in advance of some of us who proudly called ourselves
'old Africans,' and considered ourselves wonderfully expert in
tracking the desert paths. But now the landmarks on which they
depended had disappeared beneath the snow; and the atmosphere was so
surcharged with it, that the mountain summits could no longer be
descried. At length the guides abandoned the hopeless effort, and
declared that they had entirely lost the way, and knew not in what
direction to proceed. At this juncture, Cavaignac, remembering that
the mountains had appeared due south on the preceding evening, seized
his compass, and boldly ordered the troops in that direction. It was
the only hope; but the march became so fatiguing, and the natives gave
so little encouragement to the expectation of finding the mountains
wooded, that a halt was ordered, and a bivouac on the snowy plain.

Many were the miseries that attended this encampment. The rattling of
arms was heard on every side, for the soldiers were shivering to such
a degree that they could not hold their guns steadily. What would they
not now have given for some of the wood they had so wantonly destroyed
in the forests of the Tell! But the bivouac was not even supplied with
chiah--one of the commonest plants in Sahara, having a ligneous root,
which had hitherto served us for fuel when everything else failed.
Nothing was to be found but halfa, green, and steeped in snow; and the
most skilful kindlers succeeded only in amusing themselves for a time
with poor, little fires, that emitted more smoke than flame. The men,
of course, could not make their soup; but the general ordered them
rations of biscuit and coffee. For my own part, not being able to make
a fire of wet halfa, I was looking disconsolately at a bit of biscuit,
and a little morsel of cheese, which was to compose my dinner, when
Lieutenant N---- sent word that his fire-makers had been more
successful, and that they offered me a corner. In a few minutes, I sat
down to two boiled eggs, which appeared delicious. Meanwhile, the
night drew on. The soldier's bed out-of-doors is a sheepskin laid on
the bare ground, under a tent so small that he cannot stand upright in
it. Now, as the earth was very damp, those who did not take the
precaution of choosing a little mound, and removing a portion of the
wet soil, soon found themselves literally in the mud, and were obliged
to get up, and walk about all night.

The snow continued to fall thick and fast, the thermometer marking 7
degrees below the freezing-point during the night. Some days before,
it had been 125 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun; so that we were doomed,
as in the Purgatory of Dante--

    A sofferir tormenti caldi e geli;

from which, by the way, Milton has obviously borrowed his idea of
infernal torment:

    ---- And feel by turns the bitter change
    Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
    From beds of raging fire, to starve in ice
    Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
    Immovable, infixed, and frozen round,
    Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.

At the sound of the morning watch-gun, the camp presented a most
distressing spectacle. The Arabs and negroes of the convoy were lying
motionless in the open air, rolled in their burnooses. Many of these
poor creatures were but lightly clad, and had the lower limbs entirely
naked. They were so benumbed and stupified with cold, that they
refused to rise and load the camels; they begged to be allowed to lie
still and die in peace. The cattle also were in a sad condition, not
only from cold, but hunger; for the snow-covered ground afforded them
no pasture. As part of the provisions had been damaged, it was now
asked in dismay, what would become of the army if the beasts should
perish? The recollection of the disaster at Boo-Taleb, where the
column of General Levasseur left so many men in the snow, occurred to
the stoutest hearts. But even darker shades mingled in the prospects
of our troops; for 'General Levasseur,' said they, 'was only thirty
miles from a post occupied by French troops, and the neighbouring
tribes raised and reanimated those whom they found alive, though
benumbed on the plain; but we, in the midst of the desert, far from
any human dwelling, what will become of us? Hunger, thirst, and the
enemy, will soon finish the remains of our unfortunate army.'

But the officers are on foot, setting the example of vigorous
exertion, and striving to comfort and encourage the men; while the
calm and quiet prudence of the general inspires every one with
confidence in endeavouring to obey his orders, as the only hope of
deliverance. We begin our march: the snow is now falling only at
intervals; it lies two feet deep in the hollow plains, and above a
foot on the level and rising ground.

Some of the men, however, remained as if nailed to the soil--not only
their limbs benumbed, but their mental energies so paralysed as to be
incapable of acting on the physical; the mind inaccessible to moral
incentives, and the body insensible to the influence of outward
stimulants. By and by they found energy to beg that they might be
hoisted on the arm-chairs; but this was peremptorily refused. Since
Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, and the recent work of Dr Shrimpton on
the disaster at Boo-Taleb, every one knows the consequence of
indulging this deceitful stupor.

But we found we must do more than talk; so we set the drums and
trumpets about the ears of the sleepers, and made their comrades shake
them with all their might. It was not till after an hour's march, in
which coaxing, scolding, and pushing, stimulants to laughter and
provocatives to anger, had been incessantly employed in turn, that the
vital powers appeared to be in tolerably full play. There was one man
more obstinate than the rest, who, in order to get a place on one of
the cacolets, threatened every minute to lie down on the ground. I
slid among the ranks, and began telling one of his comrades all the
horrible stories I knew of those who, yielding to sleep in the cold,
had awaked no more; adding, with affected indifference: 'I am afraid
we shall have to leave some of our poor men as a supper for the hyenas
to-night. There are two or three of them so benumbed and stupified,
that they will perish if they halt for a single instant.' In a few
minutes, I learned that the soldier had done begging to be carried; he
said his strength was returning.

In the midst of so much human distress, it seems almost like trifling
to advert to the poor swallows. On awaking in the morning, I had found
two under my bed-cover. They allowed themselves to be taken, and
either could not, or would not fly away when I tried to banish them.
So I put them in the hood of my cloak, and allowed it to fall down my
back, while I raised over my head that of the ample burnoose which I
wear in the cold above all my other garments. The swallows travelled
thus for several hours, and gradually recovered in their warm nest.
When the sun emitted some genial rays, I took them out, and set them
free. They fluttered for some time round my horse, uttering a little
cry, which I took for an expression of gratitude before taking flight
into the mountains.

Other companies of them had taken shelter under the matted hair which
hangs from the flanks of the camel; and when the pitiless driver
persisted in dislodging them, they departed with a plaintive cry, to
seek an asylum with a camel whose driver was more hospitable. A
sentinel had found one in his pocket during the night, but it paid
dearly for its lodging--he roasted it for his supper! These poor birds
had fled from the rigours of a European winter, to find cold as severe
in the heart of Africa. Alas! how many of us felt that, like the
swallows, we had exiled ourselves to improve our fortunes, and were
now in danger of perishing. How gladly would we have resigned all our
hopes of glory and advantage for the fireside of the modest paternal

But before night we encamped in the shelter of the mountains; the
chiah, which grew in abundance around us, enabled us to kindle fires,
and a salutary reaction took place in the spirits of the troops.
According to a common practice of mine, I invited to supper the man
whose life I had saved by frightening him into exertion. After
swallowing a glass of warm wine, well sugared, and spiced with
tincture of cinnamon, he licked his lips, sucked the edges of his
glass, and said: 'Thank ye, doctor; but for you I should have been
dead,' with a naïveté which I can never forget, and which even now
mingles pleasing associations with the thoughts of those days of

The next day nearly 200 of the men were affected with partial or total
blindness. Some had merely a sensation like fatigue of the visual
organs, with heaviness, watering, and inflammation of the conjunctive
membrane. But with others the pain was acute, the eye much inflamed,
and the cornea covered with minute ulcerations. Those who were more
slightly affected, marched like persons enveloped in a cloud of smoke,
and trying to see their way out of it; they took a few steps with
their eyes shut, then half opened them with evident pain to
reconnoitre the ground before them, and quickly closed them again. But
many had for the time wholly lost their sight; they stumbled on the
tufts of halfa, and rolled on the ground, so that we were obliged to
hoist them on the cacolets. The general, in a state of much
uneasiness, called a council of such members of the military corps of
health as were found in his column. Some were of opinion that this
epidemic was occasioned by the sudden cold, others that it was
attributable to the smoke of the chiah; but the truth is, that, both
before and after this period, we had experienced nearly as great
extremes of heat by day and cold by night without any such
consequences, and that some, who had not approached the chiah fires
were as severely affected as those who had. It was concluded, with
every appearance of reason, that the real cause was the dazzling light
reflected from the snow during our march on the 20th of April. I
recollect one artilleryman, who was conducting his gun, when suddenly,
as the sun broke out afresh, he stopped, rubbed his eyes, turned his
head in every direction, and exclaimed: 'I cannot see; I am quite
blind!' Although we had not expected snow in the plains of Sahara, the
general had anticipated the effects of the reflection of light from
the sand, and the possibility of small particles of it getting into
the eyes; and with this view each man had been provided with a green
gauze veil. But the soldier dislikes anything out of his regular
routine as much as the most ignorant peasant; so when the order was
given that these veils should be worn,[3] the soldiers wore them to
be sure--in their pockets. I insisted that each man should fasten his
on his helmet, and this, too, was done; but it was allowed to fly like
a streamer behind, instead of being drawn over the eyes. Happily the
epidemic was but temporary, and none permanently suffered the loss of
sight as the punishment of his folly.


[2] All hope abandon ye that enter here.

[3] _Porter_, to carry, is the word by which the French express to
wear a thing, so that the error of Cavaignac's soldiers was somewhat
more excusable than it would have been in Englishmen.


                                                    _August 1852._

The great heat, which has been more talked about than anything else,
if it does not prove that the meteorologists, who predicted that this
summer was to bring a return of the warm cycle, were right in their
conclusions, at least coincides with their vaticinations. Not least
remarkable was the suddenness with which we plunged into it, as though
the cause which had produced a precisely similar effect in the United
States a month earlier, had slowly crossed the Atlantic for our

It follows, when 'everybody' is going out of town, that the number of
those who stay behind to talk must be greatly diminished; and to see
that the things to be talked about undergo a collapse at this season,
it is only necessary to look at the newspapers. A new actor, or an
out-door place of amusement, is treated to a whole column of
criticism, whereas, at other times, they would be dismissed in a brief
paragraph. Penny-a-liners of lively imagination, find their reports
less subjected to curtailment. Emigration comes in for a considerable
share of notice, and the statements put forth of the numbers who sail
weekly for Australia and the 'Diggins,' must be taken as decided
evidence of a desire to better their condition on the part of a large
section of the population. It is easy to foresee that thousands will
be disappointed, if they are not made of that stuff which can brave
hardship, and triumph over the wild work of pioneer colonisation. Now
and then we see accounts of unsuspecting emigrants having been deluded
and robbed by a mock 'company,' whose ships are perhaps in the moon,
for they are never seen in terrestrial seas; but with so many
facilities as now exist for getting a passage in a straightforward,
business-like way, it is not easy to understand how it is that people
should persist in giving their money to swindlers. It would appear
that to some the _verbum sap._ never suffices. Means are not lacking
for putting the unwary on their guard, among which the conferences and
group-meetings held by the indefatigable Mrs Chisholm are especially
to be commended. At these meetings, those who desire to expatriate
themselves are informed of the most economical mode of effecting their
purpose, and counselled as to what they should do during the voyage.
Whatever be the result to those who go, there are indications that the
labour-market is bettered for those who stay; in connection with which
a noteworthy fact may be mentioned, which is, that in the southern,
western, and midland counties, scarcely an Irish labourer is to be
seen; and who is there that does not remember what troops of the
ragged peasantry used to come over for haymaking and the harvest?

The lovers of the picturesque, who are apt to become migratory at this
period of the year, will be glad to hear of Earl de Grey's
announcement to the Society of British Architects, that he has
repaired Fountains' Abbey--one of the beautiful ruins for which
Yorkshire is famous--without modernising its appearance or altering
its character. It is to be hoped that so praiseworthy an attempt to
preserve a relic of the olden time from decay will find many
imitators. Pilgrims will thank his lordship for many a generation to
come. And, to leave the past to the present; metropolitan promenaders
are about to have a cause of satisfaction, for the embankment of the
Thames from Vauxhall Bridge to Chelsea Gardens is at last to be
commenced; and London will cease to be the only capital in Europe
which cannot obtain a view of its river. If the authorities could be
persuaded to extend this beneficial work through the whole length of
the city, what popularity would be theirs!

An official notice from the Post-office states, that from the first of
the present month London is to be placed on the same footing, with
respect to letters, as the rest of the country--that is, they must
either be stamped before being posted, or sent unpaid. This is a
measure which will materially diminish the labour of keeping accounts
at the central office; and the more that labour is saved, the more
will there be left to facilitate postal communication. Books and
periodicals can now be sent to most of our colonies at the rate of a
shilling a pound--a fact which those who have hitherto sent their
parcels at any one's trouble and expense but their own, will do well
to bear in mind. Ocean Penny Postage is growing into favour, and is
talked about in such a way as to shew that the project will not be
left to take care of itself.

The French are going to send a new Scientific Exploring Expedition to
South America, chiefly for researches in Brazil and Paraguay. Perhaps
the veteran Bonpland, who was so long detained by the dictator
Francia, may be induced to come home in it, as he has written to
express his desire of returning to France. And something has been said
at Washington, about sending a couple of frigates to survey the great
river Amazon, in which, as the official document states, there is a
sufficient depth of water to float a large ship at the foot of the
Andes, 1500 miles from the sea. America will surely be well known some
day. Meanwhile, we are extending our knowledge of Africa; a map of
that country is about to be published, comprising the whole region
from the equator to 19 degrees of south latitude. In this the recent
discoveries will be laid down, and we shall see Mr Galton's route of
1600 miles from Walfish Bay to Odonga, near a large river named the
Nourse, and to the country of the Ovampo, described as an intelligent
tribe of natives. We shall find also, that the snow-peaked mountains
seen by the German missionaries, and considered to be the source of
the White Nile, are not more than about 300 miles distant from the
eastern coast; and it is said that no more promising enterprise could
be undertaken, than an attempt to ascend and explore them, starting
from Mombas. Barth and Overweg were at the eastern end of Lake Tchad
when last heard from; and we are told that the slave-traders, finding
their occupation decreasing on the western coast, have lately, for the
first time, penetrated to the interior, and tempted many of the
natives to sell their children for showy European goods. Lieutenant
Macleod, of the Royal Navy, proposes to ascend the Niger in a
steam-launch, and when up the country, to cross over to, and descend
the Gambia, with a view to discover new sources of trade; and Mr
Macgregor Laird is still ready to carry a vessel up any river of the
western coast to which government may please to send him. Besides the
travellers mentioned, there are others pushing their way in different
parts of the south; and the French are not idle in the north--they
have added to our information concerning Abyssinia, and the countries
bordering on the Great Desert. But in addition to African geography,
all these explorations have added to our knowledge of African geology.
A vast portion of the interior is supposed to have been an inland sea,
of which Ngami and other lakes are the remains; fossil bones of most
peculiar character have been found, but only of terrestrial and
fresh-water animals. A name is already given to a creature of a remote
secondary period; Professor Owen, from the examination of a few
relics, pronounces it to be a _Dicynodon_. According to Sir B.
Murchison, such have been the main features of Africa during countless
ages; 'for the old rocks which form her outer fringe, unquestionably
circled round an interior marshy or lacustrine country, in which the
dicynodon flourished at a time when not a single animal was similar to
any living thing which now inhabits the surface of our globe. The
present central and meridian zone of waters, whether lakes, rivers, or
marshes, extending from Lake Tchad to Lake Ngami, with hippopotami on
their banks, are, therefore, but the great modern, residual,
geographical phenomena of those of a mesozoic age.'

The publication of special scientific works is going on under the
auspices of different European governments. The Batavian Society of
Rotterdam have just issued an elaborate illustrated Report on the best
method of improving permanently the estuary of Goedereede--a question
of considerable moment to the merchants of Rotterdam. The French
government have had a new fount of Ethiopic types cast, to enable M.
d'Abbadie to prepare a catalogue of African manuscripts. And our
Secretary of State for the Home Department has presented various
libraries and public institutions with two portly folios, entitled
_Liber Munerum Publicorum Hiberniæ, or the Establishments of Ireland,
from the Nineteenth of King Stephen to the Seventh of George IV._,
which we may accept as an addition to the _Memorials of History_,
commenced two or three years since. Then, as a private enterprise, we
have a scheme for a new edition of Shakspeare, in twenty volumes
folio, which is to be completed in six years, with all that can be
required in the way of illustration, be it archæological,
philological, historical, or exegetical. Mr Halliwell is to be the
editor; and it is said that not more than 150 copies will be printed.
Another birth for the spirit of the dust that lies in the tomb at

Research is as active as ever in France. M. Bernard, who is well known
as a physiologist and anatomist, after a careful study of the salivary
glands, finds that each of the three, common to nearly all animals,
furnishes a different secretion. The saliva from the sublingual gland
is viscous and sticky, fit to moisten the surface of substances, but
not to penetrate them, giving them a coat which facilitates their
being swallowed. That from the parotid gland, on the contrary, is thin
and watery, easily penetrates substances taken into the mouth, and
thereby favours their assimilation; while the saliva from the
submaxillary gland is of a nature between these two. These facts were
verified by soaking portions of the membrane in water, as well as by
experiments on the living subject; the liquid in which they were
soaked presented the same character as that of the secretions.

The varying of the parotid secretion with the nature of the food
taken, is considered by M. Bernard to be a proof that this secretion
is especially intended to favour mastication. A horse kept on
perfectly dry food gives out a far greater quantity than when the food
is moistened. Experiments on the dog and rabbit supplied similar
results; and, extraordinary as it may appear, the gland will secrete
saliva in the course of an hour weighing eight or ten times as much as
its own tissue. A striking example this of the rapidity with which
saliva can be separated from the blood under certain circumstances,
and of the fallacy of founding conclusions on the quantity secreted
within the twenty-four hours.

The sublingual gland is inert during mastication, and only begins to
act as swallowing commences, when it envelops or lubricates the chewed
substance with a fluid that assists its passage to the stomach. The
function of the submaxillary has much to do with taste; the fluid
which it pours out dilutes and diminishes the pungent flavour of sapid
substances, and at the same time weakens the energy of their contact.
The three organs are identical in texture, though so different in
their secretions; 'each gland,' as M. Bernard says, 'having a special
act, its function is exercised under separate and independent
influences. Notwithstanding their discharging into and mixing in the
mouth, their use remains distinct,' as above stated. To complete this
brief summary of an interesting subject, it may be added, that birds
and reptiles have but one kind of saliva, answering to the viscous in

M. Vogt, in a communication to the Académie, adds to the proofs that
what is called the spontaneous generation of certain worms, is due to
natural causes. For instance, a worm, which has no reproductive
organs, is often found in the body of the stickle-back; this worm,
however, is known to breed, but it does so only when the stickle-back
happens to be eaten by a bird; the worm is then placed in the proper
condition for development, 'for it is then only that its segments
become filled with eggs, which, egested by the bird, pass into the
bodies of other fishes;' in a way more in accordance with natural
operations than spontaneous generation.

Again, of two kinds of worms which infest human beings, the
_Bothriocephalus_ is found among the Poles, Swiss, and Dutch, while
the _Tenia_, or tape-worm, is common among the French and Germans. If,
however, the latter reside in Switzerland, they also become infested
with the first-named worm, the reason given being, that in Switzerland
liquid _excretæ_ from cesspools are largely used for manuring
vegetables, and that, in the eating of these vegetables, the eggs of
the worms are taken into the body, and become hatched by means of the
intestinal warmth. These investigations, which are to be continued,
are important, seeing that they have a bearing on the phenomena of
health and disease.

There are some curious facts, too, concerning oysters. M. Dureau de la
Malle states, that 100,000,000 of these bivalves are collected
annually from a bank off the port of Granville; and that, by a proper
course of feeding, white oysters have been converted into a much
esteemed green sort, which sell at a high price. And further, a
physician at Morlaix has succeeded in crossing a big, tough species
with one that is small and delicate, and has obtained 'hybrids of
large size and of an excellent quality.'

M. Verdeil informs the Académie, that he has proved the chlorophyll,
or resinous green colouring-matter of plants, to be 'a mixture of a
perfectly colourless fat, capable of crystallising, and of a colouring
principle which presents the greatest analogies with the red colouring
principle of the blood, but which has never yet been obtained in a
perfectly pure state.' He has isolated a quantity for experiment and
examination by a chemical process, and has added another fact to the
list of those which shew a relation between animal and vegetable
functions. It has been known for some time, that certain functions of
the liver are similar to those of certain plants.

M. Marcel de Serres shews, that marine petrifactions are not
necessarily of ancient date, for they are formed at the present day in
existing seas; that shells are now being petrified in the
Mediterranean. All that is required for the result, is the presence of
certain calcareous salts in the water; repose even is not essential,
for the process goes on below, though the surface may be stormy. These
petrifactions are not, as some suppose, to be regarded as fossils, the
latter designation belonging only to 'those organic remains which are
found in geological deposits.'

Apropos of the burning of the _Amazon_: M. Dujardin relates, that a
fire broke out a short time since in a spinning-mill at Douai. It
penetrated to the carding-room; destruction seemed inevitable, and the
engines were sent for, when it was proposed to fill the blazing room
with steam. A steam tube traversed the apartment; it was broken by a
stroke with an axe, the steam rushed out, 'and in a few minutes the
conflagration was extinguished as if by enchantment.'

Attempts are still being made towards aërial navigation. M. Prosper
Meller, of Bordeaux, proposes to construct an aërial locomotive 200
mètres in length, 62 wide, and 60 high, the form to be cylindrical,
with cone-shaped ends, as best adapted for speed. The outer case is to
be varnished leather, which is to be filled with gas, and to contain
five spherical balloons. A net, which covers the whole, is to support
sixteen helices by ropes, eight on each side; and to these two
galleries are to be attached, one for the machinery, the other for
passengers. The affair looks well on paper; but there is little risk
in saying, that the days of flying machines are not yet come, neither
is the scheme for aërial railways--a series of cables stretched from
one high building to another--to be regarded as any more promising.



    That ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
    But I pursued her with a lover's look.


    A stranger in a foreign land,
      Soft music met mine ear--
    _O Richard, O mon roi_, struck up
      In flute-notes wild and clear:
    And scarce had died that plaintive strain,
      When lo! how could it be?
    Thy thunder pealed above the tide,
      'Britannia rules the sea!'
    I knew not whence the magic came,
      But sought the distant shore,
    And there a stately pageant lay
      Unseen, undreamt before:
    A gallant vessel newly dressed
      With flags and streamers gay,
    An untried wanderer on the wing,
      To cleave an untried way.

    And joy was with the multitude,
      And gladness on the earth,
    The tongue of every living thing
      Rang with a sound of mirth.
    All that stern Wisdom could desire,
      Or Fancy fair engage--
    Danger-defying youth was there,
      And calm experienced age.
    It seemed as though earth's very best
      To that brave barque were given--
    Science for nature's mysteries,
      And childlike faith for Heaven.

    How strangely is sensation formed,
      How mingled hope and fear,
    Since Mirth herself can oft repel
      And Sadness' self endear!
    Whence is it that a sigh can soothe,
      And sweetest sounds may jar?
    Those wingèd words my thoughts had sent
      A thousand leagues afar.
    I listened to the thrilling strain,
      Unbidden tears would start,
    The sound fell lightly on the ear,
      But heavy on the heart.
    The low breath of the summer wind
      Seemed but the siren's voice,
    In vain I chid my coward fears,
      And struggled to rejoice!

    Her gallant hearts were numbered,
      Her snowy wings were set,
    Her pilot's hand was on the helm,
      But there she lingered yet.
    The ringing laugh suspended,
      The voice of mirth was hushed,
    When the twilight's holy anthem
      In a burst of music gushed.
    Warm hearts of many nations
      Were blended in that prayer,
    And the incense that went up to heaven,
      Was surely welcomed there.
    Like rain upon the thirsting earth
      Was that sweet chant to me,
    Like a cool breeze in a desert--
      Like a gale from Araby.
    And the mental clouds, late veiling
      The charm of sea and shore,
    Rolled off like mist before the sun,
      And I was sad no more.
    Slow sailed the stately vessel,
      And slowly died the strain;
    But I knew that God was with it,


Who knows not this story? Nevertheless we publish it; for even as the
hare conquered the lion, so does the Bengalee overcome the
Englishman:--A hare sat in the jungle with his wife, and he said:
'There is our king, the lion, come into the wood, and he will devour
our children.' 'No,' said the little hare, 'for I will go to confront
him, and conquer the great lion, the king of the beasts.' Then her
husband laughed, and said: 'Intellect is power; we can die but once;
let us see what you can do.' Then the little hare, taking her little
son in her paws, jumped and jumped till she came to the lion. Then she
put down her son before his face, and put her two paws together in all
humility, and said: 'Lo! king of kings, I have brought you a
nuzzurana; oblige me by eating it. Also, I have some news to give
you.' Then the lion looked at the hare's baba, and saw it was soft and
juicy, and was pleased in his soul, and laughed, and his laugh was as
the roar of the thunder of Indro. Then he asked her news, and the
little hare replied: 'You are the sovereign of the forest, but another
has come who calls himself king of the beasts, and demands tribute.'
Then the roar of the lion shook the forest, and the little hare nearly
died with fear as he asked: 'Where is the scoundrel? Can you shew him
to me?' Then the little hare leaped along with the lion till she came
to an old well. The well was nearly full, but had no wall. And she
said: 'Look, he is hiding there in fear.' Then the lion, craning his
neck, looked and saw his own shadow, and with a fearful roar, leaped
into the well. So the little hare, with a glad heart, took up her son,
and went to her husband, and said: 'Lo! intellect is power: I have
killed the lion, the king of the beasts.'--_From the Sumochar Durpun,
a Bengalee newspaper, of the 2d August 1851._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Just Published_,

_Price 2s. 6d. sewed, 3s. Cloth, lettered_,

work is now completed.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Price 6d. Paper Cover_,



To be continued in Monthly Volumes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed and Published by W. and E. 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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