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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 456 - Volume 18, New Series, September 25, 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. 456 - Volume 18, New Series, September 25, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL


  No. 456. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._


This lady will be ranked with the memorable persons of the age; her
enthusiastic and ceaseless endeavours to do good, the discretion and
intelligence with which she pursues her aims, and her remarkable
self-sacrifices in the cause of humanity, placing her in the category
of the Mrs Frys and other heroic Englishwomen. The history of Mrs
Chisholm's labours up to the present time is worthy of being fully

Caroline Jones, as this lady was originally called, is the daughter of
William Jones, a respectable yeoman of Northamptonshire; and when
about twenty years of age, she was married to Captain A. Chisholm of
the Madras army. Two years after this event, she removed with her
husband to India, where she entered upon those movements of a public
nature that have so eminently distinguished her. Shocked with the
depravities to which the children of soldiers are exposed in the
barrack-rooms, she rested not till she had established a School of
Industry for girls, which became eminently successful, and, under an
extended form, has continued to be of great social importance to
Madras. The pupils were taught to sew, cook, and otherwise manage
household affairs; and we are told, that on finishing their
education, they were eagerly sought for as servants, or wives, by
non-commissioned officers. In this career of usefulness, Mrs Chisholm
employed herself until 1838, when, for the benefit of her husband's
health, and that of her infant family, she left India for Australia,
the climate of which seemed likely to prove beneficial. At the end of
the year, she arrived in Sydney, where, besides attending to family
matters, there was plenty of scope for philanthropic exertion. Drawing
our information from a small work purporting to present a memoir of
Mrs Chisholm,[1] it appears that 'the first objects that came under
her notice, and were benefited by her benevolence, were a party of
Highland emigrants, who had been sent to the shores of a country where
the language spoken was to them strange and unknown, and without a
friend to assist or guide them in that path of honourable labour which
they desired. As a temporary means of relief, Mrs Chisholm lent them
money to purchase tools and wheelbarrows, whereby they might cut and
sell firewood to the inhabitants. The success of this experiment was
gratifying both to the bestower and receiver; in the one it revived
drooping hopes, the other it incited to larger enterprises of

In 1840, Captain Chisholm returned to his duties in India, leaving his
wife and family to remain some time longer in Sydney; and from this
period may be dated her extraordinary efforts for meliorating the
condition of poor female emigrants. What fell under her notice in
connection with these luckless individuals was truly appalling.
Huddled into a barrack on arrival; no trouble taken to put girls in
the way of earning an honest livelihood; moral pollution all around;
the government authorities and everybody else too busy to mind whether
emigration was rightly or wrongly conducted--there was evidently much
to be done. In January 1841, Mrs Chisholm wrote to Lady Gipps, the
wife of the governor, on the subject; tried to interest others; and
although with some doubts as to the result, all expressed themselves
interested. Much jealousy and prejudice, however, required to be
overcome. Bigotry was even brought into play. There might be some deep
sectarian scheme in the pretended efforts to serve these young and
unprotected females. We need hardly speak in the language of
detestation of this species of obstructiveness, which prevents
hundreds of valuable schemes of social melioration from being entered
into. Fortunately, Mrs Chisholm treated with scorn or indifference the
various means adopted to retard her benevolent operations. She
persevered until she had organised the Female Emigrants' Home. She
says: 'I appealed to the public for support: after a time, this appeal
was liberally met. There were neither sufficient arrangements made for
removing emigrants into the interior, nor for protecting females on
their arrival. A few only were properly protected, while hundreds were
wandering about Sydney without friends or protection--great numbers of
these young creatures were thrown out of employment by new arrivals. I
received into the Home several, who, I found, had slept out many
nights in the government domain, seeking the sheltered recesses of the
rocks rather than encounter the dangers of the streets. It was
estimated that there were 600 females, at the time I commenced,
unprovided for in Sydney. I made an offer to the government of
gratuitously devoting my time to the superintendence of a Home of
Protection for them in the town, and also to exert myself to procure
situations for them in the country.'

While making arrangements for conducting the establishment for female
emigrants, Mrs Chisholm acquired a consciousness that male emigrants
of a humble class likewise required some degree of attention. Great
numbers, for want of proper information, did not know what to do with
themselves on arrival. 'At the time labourers were required in the
interior, there were numbers idle in Sydney, supported at the expense
of the government. Things wore a serious aspect; mischief-making
parties, for some paltry gain, fed the spirit of discontent. The
Irish lay in the streets, looking vacantly, and basking in the sun.
Apart from them, Englishmen, sullen in feature, sat on gates and
palings, letting their legs swing in the air. Another group was
composed of Scotchmen, their hands thrust into their empty pockets,
suspiciously glancing at everything and everybody from beneath their
bushy eyebrows. Mrs Chisholm ventured to produce a change; she
provided for the leaders first, shewed how she desired to be the
friend of the industrious man, and went with numbers in search of
employment, far into the country. She undertook journeys of 300 miles
into the interior with families; and the further she went, the more
satisfactory was the settlement of the parties accompanying this brave
lady. "When the public had an opportunity of judging of the effect of
my system," writes Mrs Chisholm, "they came forward, and enabled me to
go on. The government contributed, in various ways, to the amount of
about L.150. I met with great assistance from the country committees.
The squatters and settlers were always willing to give me conveyance
for the people. The country people always supplied provisions. Mr
William Bradley, a native of the colony, authorised me to draw upon
him for money, provisions, horses, or anything I might require; but
the people met my efforts so readily, that I had no necessity to draw
upon him for a sixpence. At public inns, the females were sheltered,
and I was provisioned myself without charge: my personal expenses,
during my seven years' service, amounted to only L.1, 18s. 6d. As
numbers of the masters were afraid, if they advanced the money for the
conveyance by the steamers, the parties would never reach the
stations, I met the difficulty by advancing the fare, confiding in the
good feeling of the man that he would keep to his agreement, and to
the principle of the master that he would repay me. Although in
hundreds of cases the masters were then strangers to me, I only lost
L.16 by casualties. At times, I have paid as much as L.40 for
steamers, and, from first to last, in following out my system, I have
been the means of settling 11,000 souls. The largest number that ever
left Sydney under my charge, at one time, was 147; but from accessions
on the road, they increased considerably. The longest journey of this
kind occupied five weeks, three weeks of which were passed on the

One cannot but admire the enthusiasm with which all this was gone
through. The whole thing was a labour of love, and carried through, as
will be observed, not without vast personal toil, and some degree of
pecuniary outlay. Mrs Chisholm says she lost only L.16; but how few
people in her rank, and with as comparatively moderate means, would
give L.16 to promote any benevolent project whatsoever! The bulk of
mankind content themselves with contributing criticism. They applaud
or censure according as the thing looks in the eye of the world: when
money is spoken of, they keep discreetly aloof.

In her enterprise to put female emigrants on the road to fortune, Mrs
Chisholm met with some curious cases of presumption. Many applications
were made by young women who professed to be governesses, but were
utterly incompetent for the situation. Among others came one who
offered herself as a nursery governess, who, on inquiry, could neither
read nor write nor spell correctly. Another wished for the situation
of housekeeper, and with her the following dialogue took place:--'"Can
you wash your own clothes?" "Never did such a thing in my life." "Can
you make a dress?" "No." "Cook?" "No." "What _can_ you do?" "Why,
ma'am, I could look after the servants; I could direct them: I should
make an excellent housekeeper." "You are certain?" "Yes, or I would
not say so." "Do you know the quantity of the different ingredients
wanted for a beefsteak-pie of the size of that dish, and a
rice-pudding of the same size?" "O no, ma'am--that's not what I meant:
_I'd see that the servants did it!_" "But there might be great waste,
and you not know it; besides, all, or nearly all, the servants sent to
this colony require teaching."

'Nothing, observes Mrs Chisholm, but my faith in Providence, that
there must be a place fitting for every body in society, enabled me to
bear such inflictions: this faith made me labour in seeking some
suitable employment for each, and had I not possessed it, but turned
them out, their fate would have been inevitable and horrible.'

The business of attending to the 'Home,' and finding places for
everybody, was not without some pleasant excitement. Mrs Chisholm was
sometimes asked to find wives as well as servants; and as a specimen
of applications on this delicate head, she gives the following amusing
epistle, which is printed as she received it:--

'"REVEREND MADAM--I heard you are the best to send to for a servant,
and I heard our police magistrate say, it was best to leave all to
you; and so I'll just do the same, as his honour says it's the best. I
had a wife once, and so she was too good for me by the far, and it was
God's will, ma'am; but I has a child, ma'am, that I wouldn't see a
straw touch for the world; the boy's only four yeare old: and I has a
snug fifty-acre farm and a town 'lotment, and I has no debts in the
world, and one teem and four bullocks; and I'se ten head oh cattle,
and a share on eight hundred sheep, so I as a rite to a desent
servant, that can wash and cook and make the place decant; and I don't
mind what religion she bey, if she is sober and good, only I'se a
Protestant myself; and the boy I have, I promised the mother on her
death-bed should be a Catholic, and I won't, anyhow, have any
interference in this here matter. That I do like in writing nothing
else, I wouldn't, mam, on any account in the world, be bound to marry;
but I don't wish it altogether to be left out. I'll ge her fourteen
wages, and if she don't like me, and I don't like her, I'll pay her
back to Sydney. I want nothing in the world but what is honest, so
make the agrement as you like, and I'll bide by it. I sends you all
the papers, and you'l now I'm a man wot's to be trusted. I sends you
five pounds; she may get wages first, for I know some of the gals, and
the best on um, to, are not heavy we boxes; and supposing anything
should happen, I would not like it to be said she come here in rags. I
wants, also, a man and his wife; he must be willing to learn to
plough, if he don't now how, and do a good fair day's work at
anything; his wife must be a milker, and ha dustrious woman; I'll give
them as much as they can eat and drink of tea and milk, and, whatever
wages you set my name down for, I'll be bound to pay it. With all the
honer in the world, I'se bound to remain your servant till death."
There was something, remarks Mrs Chisholm, in the character of this
honest bushman, during his colonial residence, to admire; he had
gained his freedom, sent home money to his parents, and, during a long
and tedious illness of twenty months, had attended his sick wife with
patient care. Who would not get up an hour earlier to serve such a
man?--I did, for I knew that early in the morning is the _best_ time
to choose a wife. I went first into the governess-room--all asleep; I
unlocked the Home-door--some dressed, others half-dressed, some too
very cross: I have often remarked, that early in the day is the best
time to judge of a woman's temper; but I wish this to be kept a
secret. I remained half an hour in the Home; I then went through the
tents, could not suit myself, and returned. At the Home-door, I found
a girl at the wash-tub; she was at work with spirit; she was rather
good-looking, very neat and tidy. I went into my office, and
ascertained that, on board ship, her character was good. I desired the
matron never to lose sight of her conduct, and report the same to me.
Day after day passed, and I was at last fully determined to place her
within reach of my applicant in the bush--that is, in a respectable
family in his near neighbourhood; but I was able to arrange better,
for I found that, amongst the families wanting situations, there was
one related to her. I immediately engaged them as the bushman's
servants; they were a respectable couple; the man a very prudent
person. I told them to take the girl with them, and get her service
near them, and on no account to allow her to live with a bachelor. I
gave the girl three letters to respectable ladies, and she was engaged
by one the fourth day after her arrival at ----. About a fortnight
after, the bushman wrote to thank me for sending him the married
couple; and concluded by saying: "With regard to that _other_ matter,
upon my word you have suited me exactly; and as soon as our month is
up, we is to be married." I received, says Mrs Chisholm, forty-one
applications of this kind; but the above is the only girl I ever sent
into the country with a _direct_ matrimonial intention.'

That 'Providence has a place for everybody' is an axiom that cannot be
too strongly insisted on. The difficulty, however, is to know where
that place is. It will help considerably to relieve us of trouble on
this score, if we bear in mind that we are not limited in our choice
of country. If every place is filled in this old and settled
territory, by all means go away to new regions which lie invitingly
open for trial. In short, go to America, or go to Australia, and in
either of these find your proper place. There can be no doubt of your
discovering it, provided you but look for it. Great in this faith has
Caroline Chisholm laboured. First, she helped women into situations in
Australia; then she similarly helped men; next, she fell on the
expedient of bringing wives and families to join husbands who longed
for their society; and lastly, she organised plans for sending out
young women to the colony, with a view to balance the inequality of
the sexes. To execute her designs in a proper manner, she required to
know the real wants and condition of settlers; and, will it be
credited, that she set out on long and painful journeys in a covered
spring-van, and did not desist till she had gathered six hundred

In 1845, Mrs Chisholm was joined by her husband from India, and she
prepared to return to England. Five years of earnest and successful
endeavour had wonderfully altered the general opinion respecting her
operations. There was no longer any fault-finding. Jealousies had been
overcome. It was now the fashion to speak well of plans that were once
viewed with apathy or suspicion. 'In February 1846, a public meeting
was held at Sydney, for the purpose of taking into consideration the
presenting to Mrs Chisholm, then on the eve of her departure for
England, a testimonial of the estimation in which her labours on
behalf of the emigrant population were viewed by the colonists. Some
idea may be formed of the respect felt for the admirable lady, and
acknowledgment of her public services, when eight members of the
Legislative Council, the mayor of Sydney, the high-sheriff, thirteen
magistrates, and many leading merchants, formed themselves into a
committee to carry the wishes of the meeting into effect. The amount
of each subscription was limited.' In a short time 150 guineas were
raised, and presented with a laudatory address. 'Mrs Chisholm accepted
the testimonial, in order to expend it in further promoting
emigration, in restoring wives to husbands, and children to parents.
In the course of her answer, she said: "It is my intention, if
supported by your co-operation, to attempt more than I have hitherto
performed." She left Australia in 1846, bearing with her the warm
prayers of the working colonists, whose confidence and gratitude, both
bond and free, she had thoroughly secured, charged with the
self-imposed mission of representing in England the claims of those
powerless classes who have neither honour nor pensions to bestow on
their advocates.'

Since 1846, Mrs Chisholm has resided near London, and devoted herself
to the promotion of her last great scheme. This is to send emigrants
to Australia, in what are called Family Groups, under the auspices of
the Family Colonisation Loan Society. The main features of the plan
are these: suitable and well-recommended persons are enrolled as
members on paying a small fee; and they are sent out on paying
two-thirds of the passage-money--the remaining third being paid as a
loan by the society, which loan is to be repaid from wages received in
the colony. No security is required for the loan. The society reckon
on the integrity and gratitude of the emigrants, and on the principle
of associating parties into groups, the members of which exercise a
mutual supervision. A group consists of twelve adults. Friendless
young women are introduced to and grouped with families. These
introductions usually take place at Mrs Chisholm's residence once
every week, when the groups are addressed in a friendly manner, and
furnished with hints for their government on board ship.

Another important feature in these operations, is to help poor
emigrants to remit small sums to friends at home, the difficulty of
making such remittances having formerly been very considerable. To
organise a proper system of remitting, Captain Chisholm has returned
to Australia, and, according to an account given by Mrs Chisholm in a
letter to the _Times_, it appears that the system is realising all
reasonable expectation. We copy the substance of this letter as a
fitting conclusion to our sketch.

'This is the first organised attempt of enabling the English emigrants
in Australia to imitate the generous devotion of the Irish settled in
the United States. While contemplating with admiration the laborious
devotion proved by the remittance of millions sterling from the
American Irish to remove their relations from a land of low wages and
famine, I have always had a firm belief that the English emigrants in
Australia only required the opportunity to imitate the noble example,
and the "remittance-roll" is evidence of the correctness of my

'Until very recently, there have been no channels through which the
Australian settler could safely and cheaply remit small sums to

'When I was resident in Sydney, many emigrants were anxious to send
small sums to their friends "at home," and came to me with money for
that purpose; but I found that the banks charged as much for L.15 as
for L.50, and that they altogether declined to take the trouble of
remitting small amounts. On making a representation of this fact to
his excellency Sir George Gipps, he communicated with the banks
through the Colonial Secretary, and they consented to receive small
remittances from labouring people, if I personally accompanied the
depositor; but, with my other engagements, it was impossible for me to
spare many hours in the week to introducing shepherds and stockmen,
with their L.5 or L.10, to the cashiers of the banks. Many a man,
within my knowledge, has gone away on finding that he could not remit
his intended present to his relations, and spent the amount in a
drunken "spree." I therefore determined, that on my return to England,
I would endeavour to organise some plan which should render labourers
remitting their little tributes of affection to their friends nearly
as easy as posting a letter.

'As soon as the Family Colonisation Society was organised, Messrs
Coutts & Co. consented to appoint agents, and receive the remittances
due to the society. But in order to teach and encourage the labouring
colonists to take advantage of the power of remitting to England, my
husband saw that it was necessary that some one devoted to the work
should proceed to the colonies. The society was not rich enough to pay
an agent, or even to pay the expenses of an agent who would work
without salary; therefore we determined to divide our income, and
separate. My husband proceeded to the colony, to collect and remit the
loans of the society's emigrants, and the savings of those emigrants
who wished to be joined by parents, wives, children, brothers,
sisters, or other relations. I remained here to assist such relations
to emigrate in an economical, safe, and decent manner, as well as to
carry on the correspondence needful for discovering the relatives of
long-separated emigrants--often a difficult task. We determined to
work thus until the labourers' remittances should swell to such an
amount as would render it worth the attention of bankers as a matter
of business, if the society were not inclined to continue the trouble
and responsibility.

'I am happy to say, my faith in the generous and honest disposition of
British emigrants, English, Scotch, and Irish, has not been shaken,
and that I may look forward with confidence to a very early date when
the remittance connection of the Australian emigrants will be eagerly
competed for by the most respectable firms.

'My husband writes me, that the people are filled with joy at finding
that they can safely send their earnings, and secure the passage of
their friends. In seven weeks he received L.3000 in gold-dust or cash,
and confidently expects to remit L.15,000 within twelve months, and
could collect double that sum if he were able to visit the diggings.
These remittances are not only from the emigrants sent out by the
society, but from various persons of the humbler class who desire to
be joined by their relations, and wish them to come out under my ship

'It is my intention to return to Australia in the early part of next
year, and there endeavour to still further promote the reunion of
families. I have addressed this letter to your widely-spread and
influential columns, in order to call the attention of the commercial
world to the profits which may be obtained by ministering to a demand
which is arising among a humble class--in order to call the attention
of statesmen and philanthropists to a new element of peace, order, and
civilisation, more powerful than soldiers--to a golden chain of
domestic feeling, which is bridging the seas between England and
Australia. Many parents, wives, children, and brothers and sisters,
have received remittances for passages.'

More need hardly be said. As is generally known, ships are sailing
almost weekly with emigrants of the class for whom Mrs Chisholm has so
warmly interested herself; and we are glad to know from good
authority, that already large sums of the lent money have been repaid,
proving that the trust put in the honesty of the emigrants has not
been misplaced. A great scheme, auxiliary to ordinary emigration, is
therefore at work, and its usefulness is acknowledged, not only by the
press and the public at large, but by parties ordinarily less alive to
projects of social melioration--ministers of the crown. Every one may
well concur in paying honour to Caroline Chisholm!


[1] Memoirs Of Mrs Caroline Chisholm. London: Webb, Millington, & Co.


Peter Leroux was a poor ploughman in the environs of Beaugeney. After
passing the day in leading across the fields the three horses which
were generally yoked to his plough, he returned to the farm in the
evening, supped without many words, with his fellow-labourers, lighted
his lantern, and then retired to bed in a species of shed
communicating with the stables. His dreams were simple, and little
coloured with the tints of imagination; his horses were for the most
part their principal subject. On one occasion, he started from his
slumbers in the midst of his fancied efforts to lift up the obstinate
mare, which had taken it into her head to be weak in the legs; another
time, the 'old gray' had entangled his hoof in the cords of the team.
One night, he dreamed that he had just put an entirely new thong to
his old whip, but that, notwithstanding, it obstinately refused to
crack. This remarkable vision impressed him so deeply, that, on
awaking, he seized the whip, which he was accustomed to place every
night by his side; and in order thoroughly to assure himself that he
was not stricken powerless, and deprived of the most gratifying
prerogative of the ploughman, he took to smacking it violently in the
dead of the night. At this noise, all the stable was in commotion; the
horses, alarmed, neighed, and ran one against the other, almost
breaking their cords; but, with some soothing words, Peter Leroux
managed to appease all this tumult, and silence was immediately
restored. This was one of those extraordinary events of his life which
he never failed to relate every time that a cup of wine had made him
eloquent, and he found a companion in the mood to listen to him.

About the same period, dreams of quite a different kind occupied the
mind of a certain M. Desalleaux, deputy of the public prosecutor in
the criminal court of Orleans. Having made a promising _début_ in that
office only a few months previously, there was no longer any position
in the magistracy which he believed too high for his future
attainment; and the post of keeper of the seals was one of the most
frequent visions of his slumbers. But it was particularly in the
intoxicating triumphs of oratory that his thoughts would revel in
sleep, when the whole day had been given to the study of some case in
which he was to plead. The glory of the Aguesseaux, and the other
celebrated names of the great days of parliamentary eloquence,
scarcely sufficed for his impatient ambition; it was in the most
distant periods of the past--the times of the marvellous eloquence of
Demosthenes--that he delighted to contemplate the likeness of his own
ideal future. The attainment of power by eloquence; such was the idea,
the text, so to speak, of his whole life--the one object for which he
renounced all the ordinary hopes and pleasures of youth.

One day, these two natures--that of Peter Leroux, lifted scarcely one
degree above the range of the brute, and that of M. Desalleux,
abstract and rectified to the highest pitch of intellectuality--found
themselves face to face. A little contest was going on between them.
M. Desalleux, sitting in his official place, demanded, upon evidence
somewhat insufficient, the head of Peter Leroux, accused of murder;
and Peter Leroux defended his head against the eloquence of M.

Notwithstanding the remarkable disproportion of power which Providence
had placed in this duel, the accused, for lack of conclusive proofs,
would in all probability have escaped from the hands of the
executioner; but from that very scantiness in the evidence arose an
extraordinary opportunity for eloquence, which could not fail to be
singularly useful to the ambitious hopes of M. Desalleux. In justice
to himself, he could not neglect to take advantage of it.

In the next place, an unlucky circumstance presented itself for poor
Peter Leroux. Some days before the commencement of the trial, and in
the presence of several ladies, who promised themselves the pleasure
of being there to enjoy the spectacle, the young deputy had let fall
an expression of his firm confidence in obtaining from the jury a
verdict of condemnation. Every one will understand the painful
position in which he would be placed if his prosecution failed, and
Peter Leroux came back with his head upon his shoulders, to testify to
the weakness of M. Desalleux's eloquence. Let us not be too severe
upon the deputy of the public prosecutor: if he was not absolutely
convinced, it was his duty to appear so, and only the more meritorious
to utter such eloquent denunciations as for a century past had not
been heard at the bar of the criminal court of Orleans. Oh, if you
had been there to see how they were moved, those poor gentlemen of the
jury!--moved almost to tears, when, in a fine and most sonorous
peroration, he set before them the fearful picture of society shaken
to its foundations--the whole community about to enter upon
dissolution, immediately upon the acquittal of Peter Leroux! If you
had only heard the courteous eulogiums exchanged on both sides, when
the advocate of the accused, commencing his address, declared that he
could not go further without rendering homage to the brilliant powers
of oratory displayed by the deputy public prosecutor! If you had only
heard the president of the court, making the same felicitations the
text of his exordium, so well, that nothing would have persuaded you
that it was not an academical fête, and that they were not simply
awarding a prize for eloquence, instead of a sentence of death to a
fellow-creature. You would have seen, in the midst of a crowd of
'elegantly-attired members of the fair sex,' as the newspapers of the
province said, the sister of M. Desalleux, receiving the compliments
of all the ladies around her; while, at a little distance, the old
father was weeping with joy at the sight of the noble son and
incomparable orator whom he had given to the world.

Six weeks after this scene of family happiness, Peter Leroux,
accompanied by the executioner, mounted the condemned cart, which
waited for him at the door of the jail of Orleans. They proceeded
together to the Place du Martroie, which is the spot where executions
take place. Here they found a scaffold erected, and a considerable
concourse of persons expecting them. Peter Leroux, with the slow and
heavy ascent of a sack of flour going up by means of a pulley to the
top of a warehouse, mounts the steps of the scaffold. As he reached
the platform, a ray of sunlight, playing upon the brilliant and
polished steel of the instrument of justice, dazzled his eyes, and he
seemed about to stumble; but the executioner, with the courteous
attention of a host who knows how to do the honours of his house,
sustained him by the arm, and placed him upon the plank of the
guillotine. There Peter Leroux found the clerk of the court, who had
come for the purpose of reading formally the order for execution; the
gendarmes, who were charged to see that the public peace was kept
during the business about to be transacted; and the assistants of the
executioner, who, notwithstanding the ill name which has been given to
them, pointed out to him, with a complaisance full of delicate
consideration, the precise position in which to place himself under
the axe. One minute after, Peter Leroux's head was divorced from his
body, which operation was accomplished with such dexterity, that many
of those present at the spectacle asked of their neighbours if it was
already finished; and were told that it was; upon which they remarked,
that it was the last time they would put themselves so much out of the
way for so little.

Three months had passed since the head and body of Peter Leroux had
been cast into a corner of the cemetery, and, in all probability, the
grave no longer concealed aught but his bones, when a new session of
assizes was opened, and M. Desalleux had again to support a capital

The day previous, he quitted at an early hour a ball to which he had
been invited with all his family, at a château in the environs, and
returned alone to the city, in order to prepare his case for the

The night was dark; a warm wind from the south whistled drearily,
while the buzz of the gay scene that he had left seemed to linger in
his ears. A feeling of melancholy stole over him. The memory of many
people whom he had known, and who were dead, returned to his mind;
and, scarcely knowing why, he began to think of Peter Leroux.

Nevertheless, as he drew near the city, and the first lights of the
suburbs began to appear, all his sombre ideas vanished, and as soon as
he found himself again at his desk, surrounded by his books and
papers, he thought no longer of anything but his oration, which he had
determined should be even yet more brilliant than any that had
preceded it.

His system of indictment was already nearly settled. It is
singular, by the way, that French legal expression, a 'system of
indictment'--that is to say, an absolute manner of grouping an
_ensemble_ of facts and proofs, in virtue of which the prosecutor
appropriates to himself the head of a man--as one would say, 'a system
of philosophy'--that is, an _ensemble_ of reasonings and sophisms, by
the aid of which we establish some harmless truth, theory, or fancy.
His system of indictment was nearly completed, when the deposition of
a witness which he had not examined, suddenly presented itself, with
such an aspect as threatened to overturn all the edifice of his logic.
He hesitated for some moments; but, as we have already seen, M.
Desalleux, in his functions of deputy-prosecutor, consulted his vanity
at least as often as his conscience. Invoking all his powers of logic
and skill for turning words to his purpose, struggling muscle to
muscle with the unlucky testimony, he did not despair of finally
enlisting it in the number of his best arguments, as containing the
most conclusive evidence against the prisoner; but, unfortunately, the
trouble was considerable, and the night was already far advanced.

The clock had just struck three, and the lamp upon his table, burning
with a crust upon the wick, gave only a feeble light in the chamber.
Having trimmed it, and feeling somewhat excited with his labours, he
rose and walked to and fro, then returned and sat in his chair, from
which, leaning back in an easy attitude, and suspending his
reflections for awhile, he contemplated the stars which were shining
through a window opposite. Suddenly lowering his gaze, he encountered
what seemed to him two eyes staring in at him through the
window-panes. Imagining that the reflection of the lamp, doubled by
some flaw in the glass, had deceived him, he changed his place; but
the vision only appeared more distinct. As he was not wanting in
courage, he took a walking-stick, the only weapon within reach, and
opened the window, to see who was the intruder who came thus to
observe him at such an hour. The chamber which he occupied was high;
above and below, the wall of his house was perfectly perpendicular,
and afforded no means by which any one could climb or descend. In the
narrow space between himself and the balcony, the smallest object
could not have escaped him; but he saw nothing. He thought again that
he must have been the dupe of one of those hallucinations that
sometimes visit men in the night; and, with a smile, he applied
himself again to his labours. But he had not written twenty lines,
when he felt, before looking up, that there was something moving in a
corner of the chamber. This began to alarm him, for it was not natural
that the senses, one after the other, should conspire to deceive him.
Raising his eyes, and shading them with his hand from the glare of the
lamp beside him, he observed a dusky object advancing towards him with
short hops like those of a raven. As the apparition approached him,
its aspect became more terrifying; for it took the unmistakable form
of a human head separated from the trunk and dripping with blood; and
when at length, with a spring, it bounded upon the table, and rolled
about over the papers scattered on his desk, M. Desalleux recognised
the features of Peter Leroux, who no doubt had come to remind him that
a good conscience is of greater value than eloquence. Overcome by a
sensation of terror, M. Desalleux fainted. That morning, at daybreak,
he was found stretched out insensible on the floor near a little pool
of blood, which was also found in spots upon his desk, and on the
leaves of his pleadings. It was supposed, and he took care never to
contradict it, that he had been seized with a hemorrhage. It is
scarcely necessary to add, that he was not in a state to speak at the
trial, and that all his oratorical preparations were thrown away.

Many days passed before the recollection of that terrible night faded
from the memory of the deputy-prosecutor--many days before he could
bear to be alone or in the dark without terror. After some months,
however, the head of Peter Leroux not having repeated its visit, the
pride of intellect began again to counterbalance the testimony of the
senses, and again he asked himself, if he had not been duped by them.
In order more surely to weaken their authority, which all his
reasonings had not been able entirely to overcome, he called to his
aid the opinion of his physician, communicating to him in confidence
the story of his adventure. The doctor, who, by dint of long examining
the human brain, without discovering the slightest trace of anything
resembling a soul, had come to a learned conviction of materialism,
did not fail to laugh heartily on listening to the recital of the
nocturnal vision. This was perhaps the best manner of treating his
patient; for by having the appearance of holding his fancy in
derision, he forced, as it were, his self-esteem to take a part in the
cure. Moreover, as may be imagined, he did not hesitate to explain to
his patient, that his hallucination proceeded from an over-tension of
the cerebral fibre, followed by congestion and evacuation of blood,
which had been the causes of his seeing precisely what he had not
seen. Powerfully reassured by this consultation, and as no accident
happened to contradict its correctness, M. Desalleux by degrees
regained his serenity of mind, and gradually returned to his former
habits--modifying them simply insomuch that he laboured with an
application somewhat less severe, and indulged, at the doctor's
suggestion, in some of those amusements of life which he had hitherto
totally neglected.

M. Desalleux thought of a wife, and no man was more in a position than
he to secure a good match; for, without speaking of personal
advantages, the fame of his oratorical successes, and perhaps, more
still, the little anxiety which he displayed for any other kind of
success, had rendered him the object of more than one lady's ambition.
But there was in the bent of his life something too positive for him
to consent that even the love of a woman should find a place there
unconditionally. Among the hearts which seemed ready to bestow
themselves upon him, he calculated which was the particular one whose
good-will was best supported by money, useful relations, and other
social advantages. The first part of his romance being thus settled,
he saw without regret that the bride who would bring him all these,
was a young girl, witty, and of elegant exterior; whereupon he set
about falling in love with her with all the passion of which he was
capable, and with the approbation of her family, until at length a
marriage was determined upon.

Orleans had not, for a long time, seen a prettier bride than that of
M. Desalleux; nor a family more happy than that of M. Desalleux; nor a
wedding-ball so joyous and brilliant as that of M. Desalleux. That
night he thought no more of his ambition; he lived only in the
present. According to French custom, the guests remained until a late
hour. Imprisoned in a corner of the saloon by a barrister, who had
taken that opportune moment to recommend a case to him, the bridegroom
looked, from time to time, at the timepiece, which pointed to a
quarter to two. He had also remarked, that twice within a short time
the mother of the bride had approached her, and whispered in her ear,
and that the latter had replied with an air of confusion. Suddenly, at
the conclusion of a contra-dance, he perceived, by a certain
whispering that ran through the assembly, that something important was
going on. Casting his eyes, while the barrister continued to talk to
him, upon the seats which his wife and her ladies of honour had
occupied during the whole evening, he perceived that they were empty;
whereupon the grave deputy-prosecutor cutting short, as most men would
have done under the circumstances, the argument of the barrister,
advanced by a clever series of manoeuvres towards the door of the
apartment; and at the moment when some domestics entered bearing
refreshments, glided out, in the fond and mistaken belief that no one
had remarked him.

At the door of the nuptial chamber he met his mother-in-law, who was
retiring with the various dignitaries, whose presence had been
considered necessary, as well as some matrons who had joined the
_cortège_. Pressing his hand, and with a faltering voice, the mother
whispered to him a few words, and it was understood that she spoke of
her daughter. M. Desalleux, smiling, replied with some affectionate
phrases. Most assuredly in that moment he was not thinking of poor
Peter Leroux.

At the moment of closing the door of the chamber, the bride was
already abed. He remarked, what appeared to him strange, that the
curtains of her bed were drawn. The room was quite silent.

The stillness, and the strange fact of the close-drawn curtains
embarrassed him. His heart beat violently. He looked around, and
remarked her dress and all her wedding-ornaments lying around him,
with a graceful air of negligence, in various parts of the room. With
a faltering voice he called upon his bride by name. Having no reply,
he returned, perhaps to gain time, towards the door, assured himself
that it was well fastened, then approaching the bed, he opened the
curtains gently.

By the flickering light of the lamp suspended from the ceiling, a
singular vision presented itself to his eyes. Near his _fiancée_, who
was fast asleep, the head of a man with black hair was lying on the
white pillow. Was he again the victim of an error of the senses, or
had some usurper dared to occupy his place? At all events, his
substitute took little notice of him; for, as well as his wife, he was
sound asleep, with his face turned towards the bottom of the alcove.
In the moment when M. Desalleux leaned over the bed, to examine the
features of this singular intruder, a long sigh, like that of a man
awaking from slumber, broke the silence of the chamber; and at the
same time the head of the stranger turning towards him, he recognised
the face of Peter Leroux staring at him, with that very look of
stupified astonishment with which for two hours the unlucky ploughman
had listened to his brilliant discourse in the criminal court of

Perhaps, on any other occasion, the deputy-prosecutor, on finding
himself a second time visited by this horrible vision, would have
suspected that he had been guilty of some wicked action, for which he
was doomed to this persecution: his conscience, if he had taken the
trouble to cross-examine it, would have very soon told him what was
his crime, in which case, being a good Catholic, he would perhaps have
gone out and locked the door of the haunted room until morning, when
he would have immediately ordered a mass for the repose of the soul of
Peter Leroux; by means of this, and of some contributions to the fund
for poor prisoners of justice, he might, perhaps, have regained his
tranquillity of mind, and escaped for ever from the annoyance to which
he had been subjected. At such a time, however, he felt more
irritation than remorse; and he accordingly endeavoured to seize the
intruder by the hair, and drag him from his resting-place. At the
first movement that he made, however, the head, understanding his
intentions, began to grind its teeth, and as he stretched out his
hand, the bridegroom felt himself severely bitten. The pain of his
wound increased his rage. He looked around for some weapon, went to
the fireplace and seized a bar of steel which served to support the
fire-irons, then returned, and striking several times upon the bed
with all his force, endeavoured to destroy his hideous visitor. But
the head, ducking and bobbing like the white gentleman with black
spots, whom Punch has never been able to touch, dexterously slipped
aside at every blow, which descended harmlessly upon the bed-clothes.
For several minutes the furious bridegroom continued to waste his
strength in this manner, when, springing with an extraordinary bound,
the head passed over the shoulder of its adversary, and disappeared
behind him before he could observe by what way it had escaped.

After a careful search, and considerable raking in corners with the
bar of steel, finding himself at length master of the field of battle,
the deputy-prosecutor returned to the bed. The bride was still
miraculously asleep; and, to his horror, he perceived, on lifting the
coverlet, that she was lying in a pool of blood, left no doubt by the
bleeding head. Misfortunes never come alone: while seeking for a cloth
about the chamber, he struck the lamp with his forehead, and
extinguished it.

Meanwhile the night was advancing; already the window of the chamber
began to glimmer with the coming day. Furious with the obstacles which
heaven and earth seemed to set in his way, the deputy-prosecutor
determined to solve the mystery. Approaching the bed again, he called
upon his bride by the tenderest names, and endeavoured to awake her,
yet she continued to sleep. Taking her in his arms, he embraced her
passionately; but she slept on, and appeared insensible to all his
caresses. What could this mean? Was it the feint of a bashful girl, or
was he himself dreaming? It was growing lighter; and in the hope of
dispelling the odious enchantments with which he was surrounded, M.
Desalleux went to the window, and drew aside the blinds and curtains
to let in the new day. Then the unhappy lawyer perceived for the first
time why the blood refused to be dried up. Blinded by his anger in his
combat with the head of Peter Leroux, and while he had supposed
himself to be chastising his disturber, he had, in fact, been striking
the head of his unfortunate bride. The blows had been dealt so quickly
and with such violence, that she had died without a sigh, or, perhaps,
without her assailant's hearing one, in the fury of the struggle.

We leave to psychologists to explain this phenomenon; but on seeing
that he had killed his bride, he was seized with a violent fit of
laughter, which attracted the attention of his mother-in-law, who
knocked gently at the door, and desired to know the cause of the
disturbance. On hearing the voice of the mother of his wife, his
terrible gaiety increased. Running to open the door, he seized her by
the arm, and drawing her to the side of the bed, pulled back the
curtains, and revealed to her the terrible spectacle; after which his
laughter grew still more furious, until at length he sank exhausted on
the floor.

Alarmed at the shrieks of the mother, all the inmates of the house
became witnesses of the scene, the report of which spread rapidly
through the city. The same morning, upon a warrant from the
procureur-general, M. Desalleux was conducted to the criminal prison
of Orleans; and it has since been remarked, as a singular coincidence,
that his cell was the same that had been occupied by Peter Leroux up
to the day of his execution.

The end of the deputy-prosecutor, however, was a little less tragic.
Declared by the unanimous testimony of the physicians to be insane,
the man who had dreamed of moving the world with his eloquence, was
conducted to the hospital for lunatics, and for more than six months
kept chained in a dark cell, as in the good old times. At the end of
this time, however, as he appeared to be no longer dangerous, his
chains were removed, and he was subjected to milder treatment.

As soon as he recovered his liberty, a strange delusion took
possession of him, which did not leave him until he died. He fancied
himself a tight-rope dancer, and from morning to night danced with the
gestures and movements of a man who holds a balancing-rod, and walks
upon a cord.

If any one visiting the city of Orleans would take the trouble to
inquire of M. Troisétoiles, landlord of the Hôtel Aux Clés de la
Ville, in the Place du Marché, he would obtain a confirmation of the
truth of this history, together with many other facts and
circumstances, collateral and ramificatory, concerning the bride and
bridegroom, their relations and friends, which we have not thought
necessary to state. With regard, however, to the tragic event which we
have last described, M. Troisétoiles will simply relate what is known
to the world on the subject--namely, that the deputy-prosecutor, being
injured in mind by overstudy and application to business, knocked out
his wife's brains on her wedding-night. We, however, although we
decline to mention our sources of information, have been enabled to
give the private and secret history of the tragedy, for the truth of
which we are equally able to vouch.

A bookseller in Orleans, sometime afterwards, conceived the idea of
collecting and publishing a volume of the speeches which he had
pronounced during his short but brilliant oratorical career. Three
editions were exhausted successively, and not long since a fourth was


The Koh-i-noor, the great diamond that, thanks to the still greater
Exhibition, so many have seen, and so many more have heard of, is now
in the hands of skilful diamond-cutters, that, unlike the sable
beauties of Abyssinia, its charms may be augmented by a judicious
reduction in magnitude and gravity. Cut at first with the view of
preserving intact as much of the stone as possible, it never possessed
the sparkling lustre derived from the scientific disposition of the
several sides and angles, technically termed facets, of a
well-polished diamond. It is now intended to be fashioned into a
brilliant; that is, to have the form of two flattened pyramids joined
at the base, the upper pyramid much flatter than the lower one. In
England, the art of diamond-cutting has ceased to exist, but in
Holland it still maintains its ancient pre-eminence; and from thence
the cutters of the Koh-i-noor have been brought to perform an
operation, which, taking into consideration the size of the stone, had
never previously been accomplished in this country.

It is not known, with any degree of certainty, whether the ancient
inhabitants of the East had any knowledge of the art of
diamond-cutting; but it is at the same time very clear, that the
nations of the West knew nothing of it till a very late period. Even
to the latter part of the fifteenth century, the diamond was
appreciated principally for its supposed talismanic properties and its
hardness; and as that hardness prevented its hidden beauties from
being brought to light by cutting and polishing, it was regarded more
as a rare cabalistic curiosity than a precious ornament. Some
diamonds, however, whose natural form and polish were more favourable
to the development of their clouded brilliancy, foretold the splendour
they would display were it possible to cut and polish them as other
gems. Numerous attempts were made to attain this desired end, but all
in vain, until, about 1460, Louis de Berghen, a young jeweller of
Bruges, succeeded in cutting the first diamond.

The invention of the art of diamond-cutting has, like many others,
whether mythically or not, been mixed up with a love-story. Berghen,
it is said, was a poor working-jeweller, who had the audacity to fall
in love with his wealthy master's daughter. The young lady was
favourable to his suit; but on proposing to her father, the old man
reproached him for poverty, and sneeringly said, in allusion to the
supposed utter impossibility of the feat: 'When you can cut a diamond,
you may marry my daughter, but not before.' These discouraging words
induced a train of reflection in the mind of the young man. He
considered how other hard substances were cut; iron, he mentally
cogitated, is cut by steel. 'What is steel,' he exclaimed, a light
breaking upon him, 'but iron?--the diamond, then, may be cut by a
diamond.' Laying out all his available means in the purchase of two
small diamonds, he contrived, by cementing them to two pieces of wood,
to rub them against each other till they were reduced to dust. With
this dust, and a machine which he invented, he cut two facets on
another diamond, which he triumphantly exhibited to the old jeweller.
But a diamond had never previously been cut: men, wise in their
generation, had said that a diamond never could be cut; and
consequently, according to the general mode of treating inventors in
those days, a charge of sorcery was brought against the first
diamond-cutter. Berghen, thrown into prison, had abundant leisure for
deliberation. Two courses were open to him: one was to keep his
secret, and be burned as a sorcerer; the other, to clear himself of
that charge by shewing how he cut the diamond by natural means, and
thus lose the exclusive benefit of his invention, to which he
considered he was so justly entitled. He adopted neither. Fortunately,
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the ruler of Flanders, came to
hold his court in the city of Bruges, and was soon informed of the
diabolical art of the young jeweller. Charles was passionately fond of
jewels, and possessed a very large diamond. Like the Spaniard, who, if
the miracle were performed, did not care if Mohammed himself did it,
the Bold duke sent for Berghen, and commanded him to cut and polish
the large diamond, as he best could, either by aid of the Prince of
Darkness, or his own unassisted efforts. In due time the work was
completed; and Charles was so delighted with the brilliant beauty of
the previously dull stone, that he remunerated the young jeweller with
three thousand ducats. We need not inform the reader how Berghen soon
married his lady-love; but we may state that, retaining the secret of
diamond-cutting in his own family, he and his descendants acquired
immense wealth. After the death of his patron Charles, he removed to
Paris, where, for two centuries afterwards, the Berquins, as the name
was Gallicised, were the most famous jewellers of their time.

The after-history of that large diamond, the first ever cut in Europe
at least, is perhaps worthy of narration. Charles constantly carried
it with him on his own person, till at last a soldier found it beside
the duke's dead body, on the fatal battle-field of Nancy. Unconscious
of its value, the finder sold it for a crown to a priest; the priest,
equally ignorant, sold it for three ducats to a pedler; the pedler
sold it for a large sum to the Duke of Florence. From that prince it
passed into the hands of Antonio king of Portugal, who, when a refugee
in France, sold it for 70,000 francs to Nicholas de Harlay, Lord of
Sancy; thus it has since been known, in the history of precious
stones, as the Sancy Diamond. Sancy was a faithful adherent to Henry
IV. of France, and, during the civil war, was sent by that monarch to
solicit the assistance of the Swiss. Finding that nothing could be
done without money, he sent a trusty servant to Paris for the diamond,
enjoining him never to part with it in life to any one but himself.
The servant arrived in Paris, and received the diamond, but never
returned to his master. After waiting a considerable time, Sancy,
feeling confident that the man had been robbed and murdered by one of
the many hordes of robbers that then infested France, set out to
endeavour to gain some traces of him. After many adventures, he
discovered that a person answering the description of the servant had
been found, robbed and murdered, in the Forest of Dole, and had been
buried by the peasantry. Sancy immediately had the body disinterred,
and found the diamond--the faithful fellow having, in obedience to his
master's injunction, swallowed it. Sancy pawned the diamond with the
Jews of Metz, and with the money raised troops for the service of his
royal master. 'Put not your faith in princes,' is an adage as sound as
it is ancient. Henry, seated on the throne that Sancy's exertions
saved, took occasion of a petty court intrigue to ruin and disgrace
his too faithful partisan. The pledged diamond never was redeemed; it
remained in the hands of the Israelite money-lenders, till Louis XIV.
purchased it for 600,000 francs. It then became one of the
crown-jewels of France; but its vicissitudes were not over. In 1791,
when the National Assembly appointed a commission of jewellers to
examine the crown-jewels, the Sancy Diamond was valued at 1,000,000
livres. At the restoration of Louis XVIII., it was nowhere to be
found, and nothing positive has been heard of it since. But as so
well-known and large a diamond could not readily be secretly disposed
of without attracting attention in some quarter, it is shrewdly
suspected that a jewel sold in 1830, by the Prince of Peace, for
500,000 francs, to one of the wealthiest of the Russian nobility, was
the missing Sancy Diamond.

The operation of diamond-cutting is exceedingly simple, and is without
doubt performed by the cutters of the Koh-i-noor at the present time
in almost precisely the same manner as invented by Berghen. The stone
is held in the proper position by being embedded, all but the salient
angle to be cut or polished, in a solder of tin and lead. It is then
applied to a rapidly-revolving horizontal iron wheel, constantly
supplied with diamond-dust, and moistened with olive-oil. The anxious
care and caution required in this operation render it a very tedious
one: the cutting of the Koh-i-noor will last many months, and be
attended with an immense expense. A still more tedious operation,
however, is sometimes performed by diamond-cutters, when it is found
necessary to cut a stone into two parts; it is termed sawing, and is
thus managed:--The stone to be sawn is scratched across in the desired
direction by a very keen splinter of diamond, technically termed a
_sharp_. An exceedingly fine iron wire, with a small portion of
sweet-oil and diamond-dust, is then laid upon this guiding scratch;
and the workman draws the wire backwards and forwards, as we may see
blocks of stone sawn on a larger scale in the yard of the statuary.
Still greater care and attention are required in this operation than
in diamond-cutting: seven months have been occupied in sawing a
good-sized stone. Sometimes the diamond is cut by two being cemented
each upon a separate handle, and rubbed together over a box, which
catches the precious dust as it falls; but the stones thus cut are
disfigured by scratches, and must subsequently be polished upon the

For many years India supplied the rest of the world with diamonds; and
it was long supposed that they were not to be found in any other part
of the globe. The Portuguese settlers in Brazil, seeking for gold,
found a number of small stones resembling pebbles, which, from their
singularity, they kept as curiosities, using them as counters at their
card-tables. An officer, who had been removed from the Portuguese
settlements in India to serve in Brazil, suspected that these stones
were diamonds, and sent a few to Portugal. The jewellers of Lisbon,
having never seen a diamond in its unpolished state, laughed at the
idea of such rude pebbles being of any value, and so the inquiry was
for some time dropped. But the Dutch consul at Lisbon managed to
procure one of the stones, and sent it to Holland, then almost the
only country in Europe where diamond-cutting was pursued as a regular
business. The stone, in due time, was returned to the consul in the
form of a sparkling brilliant; and the Brazilian diamond-trade
immediately commenced. The European dealers in diamonds, and many
retired officers of the English and Dutch East India Companies, who,
as was customary then, had, on their return to Europe, invested a
large part of their wealth in those precious stones, fearing that a
great reduction in price would follow, were alarmed when the Brazilian
diamonds first came into the market. These interested parties
published pamphlets, warning the public against purchasing the
so-called Brazilian diamonds, stating that no diamonds were found in
the Brazils, but that the inferior class of stones was purchased in
India, sent to Brazil, and from thence imported as Brazilian diamonds.
In consequence of these false statements being repeated by persons of
rank and station, a strong prejudice existed against the Brazilian
diamond, although it is now well known to be equal in every respect to
its Indian brother. The Dutch, who then farmed the Brazilian
diamond-mines from the crown of Portugal, met this trick of trade by
another. They dug their diamonds in Brazil, brought them to Holland,
and cut them, then sent them to India, from whence they returned to
Europe as true Oriental jewels. We may add, that the anticipations of
the dealers were not verified in defiance of the great influx from
Brazil, and, later still, the discovery of the diamond in the Ural
Mountains: the price of that stone is at present as high as ever it


I do not think I shall be accused of exaggeration when I say, that the
ascent to the Brêche-de-Roland is to the Pyrenean range what the
passage of the Col de Géant is to the Alps. They are both tough
undertakings, requiring sound legs and lungs, with a happy and
powerful combination of patience, fortitude, and energy.

The difficulty of ascending to the Brêche-de-Roland does not consist
so much in its height--though this is 9537 feet--as in the nature of
the ground to be surmounted; and after I had accomplished the feat, I
no longer wondered that several persons had given in, and retraced
their steps without attaining the Brêche. Before detailing my ascent
to this wonderful place, it may be proper to state what it is like. On
the flanks of the formidable and gigantic Mont Perdu rises Mont
Marboré, from the summit of which stretches to the west a wall of rock
from 400 to 600 feet high, in most places absolutely vertical. This
huge natural wall forms the crest of the Pyrenees, and divides France
from Spain at this part of the chain. In the middle of the natural
barrier is a gap, which, when viewed from the French valley of the
Gave de Gavernie, appears like a notch made in a jaw by the loss of a
single tooth, but which is in reality a magnificent and colossal
portal, 134 feet wide and 330 feet high.

Of course, legendary lore is not at fault to account in its own
poetical manner for this natural phenomenon. According to that oracle,
the Brêche owes its origin to Roland, the brave Paladin, who, mounted
on his war-horse, in his hot pursuit of the Moors, clove with one blow
of his trusty sword Durandal a passage through this mighty wall; and
it must be admitted that the sides of the gap are so smooth, that it
requires no great stretch of the imagination to suppose that they were
fashioned in some such artistical manner. Independently of the Brêche
itself, which alone is highly deserving of a visit, the surrounding
scenery is of the most imposing and magnificent character, and the
whole, therefore, most justly ranks as one of the chief lions of the

The most usual, and by far the most advantageous starting-place, is
the village of Gavarnie, near the Cirque of that name. In my
ignorance, however, of the toilsome nature of the excursion, I started
from Luz, eighteen miles from Gavarnie, where I was sojourning.
Reader, were you ever at Luz? Sweet Luz! with its babbling crystal
brook, in which tribes of pigs undergo sanitary ablutions; and its
inn, famous for good cookery and active fleas. If you have been there,
you will not have forgotten Madame Cazean--a model of a hostess. To
her I made my wishes known respecting the ascent to the Brêche, and
begged that she would find me a guide.

In Switzerland, at such a place as Luz, surrounded by numerous
excursion points of great interest, guides would be abundant; here,
however, there are only a few, and these are obliged to pursue the
callings of agriculture and hunting to eke out a subsistence. So, when
I demanded a guide, Madame Cazean said she would send to the fields
for Jaques St Laur, who was the best guide to the Brêche. And indeed
if strength of limb and a huge sinewy frame were the chief
qualifications for the affair, Jaques, I apprehend, would have stood
unrivalled, for I never saw a more sturdy or Titanic mountaineer.

The arrangements were soon made. We were to start at four o'clock in
the morning--not a moment later: true to his promise, my burly guide
appeared before the hotel door at that hour with two ponies, and in a
few minutes we were _en route_. The morning broke gloriously. Peak by
peak, the snow-crested first, and successively those beneath, became
tinted by the rising sun, while the valleys gave evidence of
approaching day by casting off their misty mantles. It makes the old
young again, and the young to feel the blood dance yet more briskly
through their veins, to breathe such air as wraps the Pyrenees in its
balmy folds. The beauties of the valley, or rather gorge, begin at
once. Woods, alternating with precipitous rocks, mountain peaks of
great altitude and most picturesque forms, tower aloft; while below,
the eye rests upon the _gave_, now deliciously green and peaceful, and
now worming its way with agonised fury through the gorge. Many
cascades of rare beauty streamed down from the summit of the
precipices, and we were continually crossing high and narrow bridges
suspended over deep gulfs. The box luxuriates in this defile,
springing in tree-like proportions from every ledge.

Before reaching Gèdres, which is about half-way to Gavarnie, a fine,
though tantalising view of the Brêche is obtained. I gazed at the
object of my expedition with anxious eyes, wondering how I was to get
to its cloud land amidst the eternal snow-crowned Tours de Marboré;
and I longed for the wings of one of the many eagles which sailed
majestically overhead, to transport myself thither at once.

At Gèdres the view of the Marboré is lost; but there is an almost
overabundance of grand scenery in the mountains that tower to the
right and left, and the gorges are filled with foaming cascades and
flowers of wondrous beauty. Close to the cascades--so close, that they
seem on the point of being swept away--are mills, not much larger than
goodly-sized boxes, one above the other, like rows of black beads
strung upon the white torrent. These mills are primitive in their
construction, closely resembling the old hand-mill; but they grind the
corn, and what more could the best mill in Europe do?

Beyond Gèdres, a singularly grand and savage scene presents itself,
called the Peyrada or Chaos. It is an _éboulement_, or slip of masses
of gneiss which have fallen from great heights; and the ruins are so
extensive, that it seems as if an entire mountain had been shivered
to fragments. The path winds in zig-zags through a labyrinth of
blocks, among which horse and rider appear like pigmies. The mountains
increase in majesty as Gavarnie is approached--the Vignemale with its
glaciers to the west; and the Pimène to the east, ranging among the
highest. Gavarnie is a poor village, boasting one inn, in humble
keeping with the place; poor, however, as it was, I was glad to draw
bridle before the door, for we had ridden fast and furious, as my
blood-stained spurs evidenced. I was about to dismount and recruit
myself with a flask of the best wine, when Jaques peremptorily forbade
such a proceeding. There was no time to be lost; a stirrup-cup and on.
He, however, dismounted, and went into the house for ice-staffs and
_crampons_, which were kept at the inn. Provided with these, and
partially refreshed by a glass of very good wine, we hastened on our
way. The morning continued most favourable; not a cloud obscured the
outline of the mountains, and the snow-crested Marboré towered aloft,
strongly pencilled against the deep-blue sky. Wonderful animals are
the Pyrenean ponies. Small in stature, and with diminutive limbs, on
they go, over ways rough enough to puzzle a goat, rarely pausing to
pick their steps, and as rarely stumbling. The path, about half-way
between Gavarnie and the Cirque, is carried over the torrent by two
terribly narrow planks, without any manner of railing. Over this frail
bridge, not three feet wide, my guide, much to my astonishment, rode
his pony; and as my _monture_ evinced no asinine disinclination to
follow, but, on the contrary, evidently regarded the proceeding as
nothing extraordinary, I slackened my bridle, pressed my knees a
little closer to the saddle, and committed myself to my fate. The
torrent rushed at a fearfully giddy rate some twenty feet beneath, and
the roar of waters was terrific; but my steed was proof against these
things, which would have tried the nerves of a pedestrian tourist, and
passed steadily over the narrow causeway as unswervingly as if it had
been the broadest highway in France. This was the last feat of our
horses; for, after a brisk canter, we dismounted in the arena of the
Cirque, and turned the animals to graze, a girl who had accompanied us
from Gavarnie engaging to look after them. We had ridden eighteen
miles, and I doubt whether the distance was ever accomplished in less

To render the first impression of the Cirque or _oule_ more
impressive, a small projecting wall of rock marks the entry to the
gigantic amphitheatre. This passed, the end of the world seems gained:
a vast semicircle of rocks rises precipitously to the height of
between 1000 and 2000 feet. These gigantic walls are divided into
three or four steps or ledges, on each of which rests a glacier, from
which stream cascades. That to the left is 1266 feet high, and bears
the reputation of being the highest waterfall in Europe. The summit of
this wondrous amphitheatre is crowned by everlasting ice and snow,
resting on the crests of the Cylindre, so called from its shape, and
10,500 feet high. The base of this fine mountain is embedded in a huge
glacier, which gives birth to the high fall. Fit companion to the
Cylindre rises the Tours de Marboré, forming a part of Mont Perdu. Not
a scrap of vegetation breaks the ruggedness of the vast semicircle of
rocks. The floor of the Cirque is an irregular heap of rocks, with the
exception of a large heap of snow at the base of the precipices, under
which the waters of the cascades run, like the torrents beneath the
Swiss glaciers.

It was impossible to take in this sublime spectacle at once, so
overpowering were its features; and as we gazed tremblingly at the
huge Cirque, I felt as if on the eve of being crushed by its impending

Within a few yards of the most western cascade, the ascent to the
Brêche is made. Without a guide, however, the precise spot would be
exceedingly difficult to find; and from its forbidding nature, few
would be bold enough to make the essay. It is literally a rock-ladder,
and is the only locality in the wide sweep of the Cirque affording the
means of ascent. The rugged strata, which are here vertical, serve as
steps in which one can insert the toes and fingers; but as the
guidebook truly says: 'It is as abrupt as the ascent of a ladder; and
wide spaces of smooth rock often intervene without any notch or
projection offering a foothold. To those who cannot look down a sheer
precipice many hundred feet deep without a tendency to giddiness,
there is danger in this escalade, as well as in passing over some
smooth projecting shoulders of rocks.' The climb is, in truth, most
arduous--'bien pénible,' as my guide said. My _chaussure_ was sadly
against me--thin-soled boots, which doubled under me. Let no one
undertake this ascent without being strongly shod.

As we ascended, new wonders were revealed--more precipices, cascades,
and glaciers: it was literally alps on alps. The top of the great
waterfall was still far above us; and it gave me a very good idea of
its altitude, when, after more than an hour's ascent, I found that we
were still beneath the level of the glacier from whence it is
supplied. About two hours were occupied in ascending the first series
of precipices, above which patches of snow are met with. Our course
now lay through a kind of vertical gully nearly filled with snow. Up
this we scrambled, taking advantage of the hardness of the snow to
make it our path. Above us rose tremendous precipices, terminating in
jagged peaks, on which my guide with his practised eye discerned a
herd of izzards. I saw them remarkably well through my telescope,
balanced, like aërial creatures, on the giddy heights, one amongst
them evidently acting as sentinel. It was beautiful to witness their
wild attitudes, ready, at a moment's warning from their watchful
leader, to bound from crag to crag, or descend the awful precipices,
where man's foot has never been.

My guide, whose heart was evidently more in the hunting than in his
present business, became half wild with excitement at the sight of
these izzards. It was the largest herd he had seen that year, and,
with many a _sacré_, he bemoaned his fate that he should be without
his rifle; though I endeavoured to convince him that there was nothing
to regret, as he could not at the same time hunt izzards and conduct
me to the Brêche.

We now fairly lost sight of the Cirque, and were in the midst of snow
and glaciers which covered a steep, inclined about forty-five degrees.
The surmounting of this slope was a most fatiguing affair for me, as
the snow was very slippery, and it happened that I retrograded nearly
as often as I advanced. This part of the ascent occupied about an
hour. My guide now turned to the left, for the purpose of crossing a
glacier, the inclination of which is so great that it is the next
thing to impossible to ascend it. The passage over this glacier,
beyond which lies the Brêche, is by far the most dangerous part of the
undertaking. At the place where we encountered it, its breadth may be
about four hundred yards; but throughout, its inclination is such that
the slightest false step would prove fatal, for beneath are precipices
of fearful depth. Here crampons are used. I was fairly exhausted when
I came to the edge of this glacier, and despite the protestations of
my guide, who declared that there was no time to lose, I threw myself
on the snow, and would, had I been left alone, have been asleep in a
few moments.

It is customary for the few tourists who visit the Brêche to take two
guides, for the purpose of crossing this glacier in safety; and I had
cause to regret my ignorance of the practice, for although I trod most
cautiously in the notches cut by my guide, yet my limbs were so weak,
that when about half-way across, I stumbled, and for a moment gave
myself up for lost. Happily, my guide was sufficiently near to grasp
my extended arms, and shouting: 'Prenez garde! prenez garde! Courage!
courage!' he sustained me until I recovered my balance. Then it was
that I became fully aware of the mistake I had committed in making
this excursion without previous training; and I admonished Jaques in
future, to give those who desired to scale the Brêche fair warning of
the dangers and difficulties attendant upon the undertaking.

My escape was not rendered the less interesting by a story which my
guide related to me of an unfortunate traveller, who when his crampon,
by some accident, caught his trousers, lost his balance, and there
being no friendly hand to arrest him, in an instant sped down the
sloping ice with the speed of an avalanche, and was almost
instantaneously lost for ever.

It was here that Mr Paris, who was rash enough to attempt ascending to
the Brêche without a guide, was obliged to give up the task. 'The
sight of this glacier,' he observes, 'was too appalling. I could not
summon sufficient resolution to attempt the passage, which was in
distance about a quarter of a mile, and wisely, I think, abandoned it.
To understand all its terrors, the place must be seen. Once slip, and
you are gone for ever, past all human aid: the death is too frightful
for contemplation.'

Bracing my shattered nerves for the occasion, I resumed my labour,
taking care, however, to hold my guide's hand; and thus moving slowly
and cautiously, I had at length the inexpressible satisfaction of
achieving the formidable passage of this terrible glacier. The rest of
the journey was comparatively easy, though the elevation--above 9000
feet--and the steepness were trying enough. But all sense of fatigue
forsook me when the huge portal--the tiny notch as seen from
Gèdres--yawned in all its stern magnificence before me. It was a fit
reward for all my toil, and I felt that I would have willingly endured
even greater sufferings to make acquaintance with such a scene as now
met my astonished gaze.

Eager to achieve the crowning feat of my undertaking, I hastened
onwards; and with beating heart I soon stood within the jaws of the
mighty portal, through which swept the howling wind. A step more, and
I was in Spain. Glaciers slope away on each side of the wall; but all
along the front of the Brêche, on the French side, the glacier is
scooped out into a deep fosse or cavity, by the action of the sun's
rays pouring from the south through the opening. A wild world of
mountains appeared to the south, those in the foreground covered with
snow, and the more distant looming hazily over the plains of
Saragossa. And this was Spain!--wondrous land, defying description,
and in memory resembling, not realities, but fragments of tremendous
dreams. Towards France, the scene is softer. Mountains there are,
sky-piled, but there are forests too, the home of wolves

    Cruel as death, and hungry as the grave!
    Burning for blood; bony, and gaunt, and grim;

and vales of emerald, and silver streams, and gleaming lakes. But how
hope to convey anything like a faithful impression of the panorama
seen from the Brêche-de-Roland! I will not attempt it, preferring
rather to advise the reader, should he not be stricken in years, to
see it himself.

My guide produced the contents of his wallet, which, thanks to Madame
Cazean's provident forethought, were good and abundant; and having
placed the wine-flasks in the ice--there was enough at hand to ice the
great Heidelberg tun--I sat down on the ridge of the Brêche, one leg
in Spain, the other in France, and my body in amiable neutrality. Oh,
the delight of that repast! there never was so tender a fowl, never
wine so good. While thus engaged in refreshing exhausted nature, I
even forgot that the terrible glacier had to be recrossed, and the
steep snow-slopes to be descended.

The day continued faithful to its early morning promise. A bright
sun--unfelt, however, at this great elevation--poured down a flood of
light on the far-stretching glaciers and snow-fields, on which we
discerned izzards, which seemed, when in motion, like points moving in
space. These, and a few eagles, were the only living things that met
our eye. Fain would I have spent hours here, but my guide was very
properly obdurate; and having done great justice to our meal, we
prepared to descend. Before leaving the Brêche, where we remained for
about an hour and a half, he conducted me to a small cave on the
Spanish side between the Brêche and the glacier, where smugglers pass
the night, waiting for the early morning hours to descend into France.
Desperate work! and desperate must be the men engaged in it. Being
considerably recruited in strength, I found the passage of the glacier
much less arduous than it was in ascending; and having passed it in
safety, we flew down the snow inclines with delightful rapidity, in
five minutes clearing ground which cost us an hour to surmount. We
reached Gavarnie at seven o'clock, and pausing for half an hour, rode
on to Luz, where we arrived as the night closed.


Why is it that the wild _flowers_ of England have attracted so much
attention of late years, whilst the wild _fruits_ have been passed
over in silence, and allowed to bud and bloom, to ripen their fruit,
and to perish, inglorious and unnoticed? It would be difficult to give
a reply to this question; I will therefore not attempt it, but rather
invite you, my friends, to assist me in removing this reproach from
the wild-fruits of our land, and give me a little of your attention
whilst we inquire what these are, and where they grow, and examine a
little into their structure and uses, as well as into their
classification. In doing so, I think we shall find that, though
England does not indigenously afford so many or such rich fruits as
those which are the products of some other lands, yet that she
possesses several kinds which, even in their uncultivated state, are
edible, and pleasant to the taste, and some of which form the stocks
on which, by budding or grafting, many of the most valuable
productions of our gardens and orchards are established. I think that
many will be surprised to find, that the list I shall give them of
fruits indigenous in England is so long and so respectable. The plum,
the cherry, the apple and pear tribes--the raspberry, with its
allies--the gooseberry, and currant, red and black--the service-tree,
with its pleasant subacid fruit, and the abounding whortleberry and
cranberry tribes, which cover immense tracts of our hills with their
myrtle-like foliage and pretty heath-like bloom, and produce such
harvests of useful fruit freely to whoever will take the trouble of
gathering it--are surely treasures not to be despised!

It is true that in the present day, when the constantly increasing
importation both of fruit and fruit-trees, together with the wonderful
horticultural improvements which are daily taking place, have brought
richer and better kinds of fruit more or less within the reach even of
our poorest cottagers--when every little valley among the hills is
enriched with its beautiful orchards, and every farmhouse and cottage
may boast its luscious plum or cherry trees, and its row of bright
fruited raspberry or strawberry plants--when all thrifty housewives
may, at small expense, have their little store of pleasant jams and
jellies made from fruits which used to be beyond the reach of even our
island kings, and the 'sedulous bees' located on every homestead
present us with their amber sweets--we can perhaps scarcely
appreciate the real importance which must have attached to these now
comparatively worthless fruits at a time when the land on which our
most populous cities stand was covered by woods and brakes, nay, in
many places by thick, tangled forests, or wild and deep morasses. But,
even now, these fruits are treasures to the cotter and the child, as
we shall see in the course of our discussion; and even to persons of
more luxurious habits, several of those that I have named are of value
and importance. Let us first look at those which rank under the
natural order _Rosaceæ_, under which head we shall find the greatest
number of our English fruit-bearing plants. We will give a little
botanical sketch of the general characteristics of this order, as
elucidatory of what we may hereafter have to say before we proceed to
the details of any of its members. The chief of these characteristics
are, that in the order _Rosaceæ_ the calyx is in most cases formed of
five lobes, _with the petals and stamens rising from it_, the latter
being generally numerous; the ovaries are several, or solitary, each
of one cell, including, in most cases, one ovule or incipient seed--in
some cases many--the style being lateral or terminal. Most flowers
thus formed produce edible and harmless fruits. Loudon says: 'The
ligneous species, which constitute this order, include the finest
flowering shrub in the world--the rose--and trees which produce the
most useful and agreeable fruit of temperate climates--namely, the
apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, peach, and nectarine;' and he
might have included the medlar and service trees. Now, this vast order
is subdivided into several sub-orders or sections, under the first of
which are classed all whose fruit is a drupe, of which the plum and
cherry are examples. We will then take them first into our
consideration, and begin by giving an account of what is the structure
of a drupe.

That part of the carpel called the ovary, which encloses the seed,
thickens, and changes into a fleshy substance, which, as the fruit
matures, softens, and becomes a juicy, and often delicious pulp; this
is the part which we eat in the plum, cherry, apricot, peach, and all
which we call stone-fruits. The lining of the ovary at the same time
extends, and hardens into the stony case which encloses the kernel,
which kernel is the young seed enlarged and perfected. All fruits of
this formation are called drupes, as those of the apple and pear form
are called pomes, and those of the bramble, and some other tribes,
berries. Our woods supply us with two sorts of plum, both edible--the
sloe, or blackthorn (_Prunus spinosa_), and the wild bullace (_P.
institia_.) Every one knows the sloe, at least every one who has spent
any part of his youth amidst woodland scenes; but as there are some
who, having been 'all their life in populous cities pent,' know but
little of country delights, for their benefit we will describe the
growth and appearance of our plants, as well as their qualities,
obvious or hidden. The sloe is more frequently seen as a spiny shrub
than as a tree; but when the suckers are removed, and the strength of
the plant is all allowed to go into one stem, it forms a highly
characteristic small tree. In hedges, it seldom exceeds twenty feet in
height, but in woods and parks, it often attains to thirty. The wood
is hard, and takes a fine polish, but is apt to crack, and is
therefore seldom used, except for the handles of tools, and other such
purposes. It throws up very long upright shoots, which make excellent
walking-sticks; indeed, more are made from this tree throughout Europe
than from any other. The dry branches are valuable in forming hedges,
and protection for young trees, as well as for other agricultural
purposes. The bark is black, whence its name of blackthorn; the
blossoms appear before the leaves, and beautify our hedges with their
delicate whiteness during the cold month of March, when few other
shrubs send forth their blossoms; and this season is therefore called
by country-people 'blackthorn winter.' The leaves form a better
substitute for tea than any other European plant; and they have been,
and are abundantly used in the adulteration of that commodity. The
fruit is a plum about the size of a small filbert, of a dark purple
hue, coated with a most exquisite blue bloom. The flesh is of a sharp,
bitter acid, yet not unpleasant even when raw; when fully ripe, it
makes a tolerable preserve, or pudding, and the juice, when well
fermented, makes a wine not unlike new port. The sloe, as well as the
cherry, and all other plants of its tribe, contains in it a portion of
prussic acid; but the quantity is so minute, that there can be no
injury derived from the use of either the leaves or fruit of most
species. The common laurel (_Cerasus laurocerasus_) contains it in
greater quantity than any other kind, but even of this the berries may
be eaten with impunity, and are freely used by gipsies, who both eat
them raw and make them into puddings.

The other plum of our wilds is the bullace (_P. institia_), the fruit
of which differs from that of the sloe in being larger and less
bitter. It is sometimes black, but oftener yellowish and waxy,
beautifully tinted with red, and makes better pies and puddings than
the sloe, for which purposes it is often sold in the markets. In
Provence, where, as in other parts of France, this plum abounds, it is
called 'Prune sibanelle,' because, from its sourness, it is impossible
to whistle after eating it! The entire plant is used for much the same
purposes as the sloe. Old Gerard says, that its leaves are 'good
against the swelling of the uvula, the throat, gums, and kernels under
the ears, throat, and jaws.' How far modern physicians might agree in
this is doubtful; possibly they might class the prescription, as he
does some of those of his predecessors, under the head of 'old wives'
fables.' Both the plum and cherry send out from their bark a sort of
gum, which exudes freely, particularly in old and diseased trees. It
was formerly supposed to be sovereign against some diseases. The
number of varieties which have been grafted on these wild stocks is
very great. So long ago as 1597, Gerard recounts: 'I have threescore
sorts in my garden (at Holborn), all strange and rare: there be in
other places many more common, and yet yeerely commeth to our hands
others not knowne before.' The bark of both kinds of wild plum was
formerly much used in medicine, and considered equal to the Peruvian
bark in cases of intermittent fever. But we must not forget, in
recounting the _uses_ of these and other fruits, to take into our
consideration the important additions that their free growth affords
to the sources of enjoyment and amusement of our youthful population
in country districts. 'Snagging' (for sloes are called _snags_ in some
counties), nutting, blackberry picking, cherry hunting--all in their
turn form attractions to the boys and girls in our villages; and many
a merry party sallies forth into the woods on a half or whole holiday,
with satchel, bag, and basket, to enjoy the fresh air and bright
sunshine, and to leap, and jump, and rejoice in all the wild vagaries
of youth among the fresh uplands and hills, scrambling over all
obstruction--the elder climbing the old trees, and rifling them of
their spoil--the younger and less adventurous hooking down the
branches, and claiming the right of all they can collect 'by hook or
by crook.' But wo to the poor mothers who have to mend the garments in
which the onslaught has been made!--wo to the little boy or girl whose
mother has not the good sense to discern, in her child's rosy cheeks
and bright eyes, a compensation for the rags in the frock or trousers,
which is sure to be the consequence of a day spent in harrying the
shrubs and briers! But many centuries must our youth have thus
'imbibed both sweet and smart' from yielding to these woodland
attractions. May not we fancy whole herds of our little British or
Anglo-Saxon ancestors rushing forth into the almost inaccessible woods
which in those days clothed our island, their long sunny hair hanging
to the waist--for 'no man was allowed to cut his hair until he had
slaine an enemy of his country in the field, or at least taken his
armes from him'--clothed in linen, their fair skins disfigured by the
blue woad with which they were accustomed to paint themselves, and
armed with cross-bows, all as merry, as idle, and as reckless as the
children of the present century? We may fancy these little Leowulphs
and Siegfrieds, with their admiring little Edgithas and Edithas
looking on, whilst they climbed the tall trees with the agility of
wild-cats and squirrels, most proud when they could attain the richest
and ripest fruit, and but spurred on to greater enthusiasm by the
knowledge that wolves and bears were by no means rare visitors in
those pristine forests. Or we may picture to ourselves their parents
and elders, after a long summer-day spent in hunting the wild-boar,
the bear, or the more timid deer, rejoicing to slake their thirst, and
refresh themselves with the cool and pleasant, though somewhat crude
fruit, of the plum and bullace trees; and in doing so, we may perhaps
come nearer to having some just idea of their real worth, and be led
to see how graciously God adapts his gifts to the wants and
circumstances of his creatures.

The cherry is the next wild fruit which claims our attention, and of
this we find two varieties. The first, the gean-tree (_Cerasus
sylvestris_), called by the peasants in Suffolk and Cheshire,
'Merny-tree,' from the French word _merisier_, is found in most parts
of England in woods and coppices. This fruit is also called in some
countries coroon, from _corone_, a crow. Its flowers are in nearly
sessile umbels of the purest white; its leaves broadly lance-shaped
and downy beneath, pointed and serrated, with two unequal glands at
the base. The fruit is a drupe, globose, fleshy, and devoid of bloom.
Several varieties occur in this species, differing chiefly in the
colour of the fruit, which is, however, usually black. The wood is
firm, strong, and heavy. Evelyn includes it in his list of
forest-trees, and describes it as rising to a height of eighty feet,
and producing valuable timber: he says, 'if sown in proper soil, they
will thrive into stately trees, beautified with blossoms of surpassing
whiteness, greatly relieving the sedulous bees and attracting birds.'
The wood is useful for many purposes, and polishes well. Though the
cherry is now classed among the fruits native to this isle, authors
inform us that it was introduced by the Romans. Evelyn says: 'It was
680 years after the foundation of Rome ere Italy had tasted a cherry
of their own, which being then brought thither out of Pontus, did,
after 120 years, travel _ad ultimos Britannos_.' Its name is derived
from Kerasoon, the city whence it was first brought into Europe by
Lucullus; and so valuable did he consider the acquisition, that he
gave it a most conspicuous place among the royal treasures which he
brought home from the sacking of the capital of Armenia. The fruit of
the gean-tree is rather harsh till fully ripe, and then becomes
somewhat vapid and watery, yet it is very grateful to the palate after
a day's rambling in the woods; and, moreover, this wild stock is the
source whence we have, by culture, obtained the rich varieties which
now grace our gardens. The cherry is a very prolific tree. We have
heard of one, the fruit of which sold for L.5 per annum for seven
successive years; but it requires care in pruning, as it produces its
fruit generally at the points of the branches, which should therefore
never be shortened. Phillips says: 'Cherries bear the knife worse than
any other sort of fruit-trees, and we would therefore impress on the
pruner, that though the fruit was won by the sword, it may be lost by
the knife!' The other species of cherry is the bird-cherry (_Cerasus
padus_), a pretty little smooth-branched tree, with doubly-serrate,
acute leaves, and beautiful white blossoms, which grow in long-shaped
racemes, hanging in pendulous clusters, and forming an elegant
ornament to the hedges and woods in May. It grows chiefly in Scotland
and the north of England, where the peasants call the fruit, which is
small, black, and harsh, 'hagberries.' This fruit can scarcely be
called edible, but it gives an agreeable flavour to brandy; and in
Sweden and other northern countries is sometimes added to home-made
wines. There is, or was, a feast celebrated in Hamburg, called the
Feast of Cherries, in which troops of children parade the streets with
green boughs ornamented with cherries, to commemorate a triumph
obtained in the following manner:--'In 1432, the Hussites threatened
the city of Hamburg with immediate destruction, when one of the
citizens, named Wolf, proposed that all the children in the city, from
seven to fourteen years of age, should be clad in mourning, and sent
as suppliants to the enemy. Procopius Nasus, chief of the Hussites,
was so touched with this spectacle, that he received the young
suppliants, regaled them with cherries and other fruits, and promised
them to spare the city. The children returned crowned with leaves,
holding cherries, and crying "Victory!"'


                                   _September 1852._

Progress, in one or other of the many forms in which it has of late
presented itself, is now the prime subject of talk; and if the
progress be real, it would not be easy to find a more satisfactory
cause of conversation. Go-ahead people take much interest in the ocean
steam-boat question; and now that the Collins line of steamers is
supported by a grant from the United States government, double the
amount of that paid to the British line, it is said that we are to be
irrecoverably beaten in the passage of the 'ferry,' as Jonathan calls
it, between Liverpool and New York. East sailing is no doubt an
essential desideratum in these days--but what a price to pay for it! A
quarter of a million on one side the Atlantic, and half a million on
the other: as though there were not enterprise enough in either land
to undertake the work--and do it well too--without a subsidy. One
result may be safely predicated--that the winner will be the first to
give in; and the timid may comfort themselves with the assurance, that
neither national prosperity nor 'decadence' depends on the issue. A
line to run from Liverpool to Portland, in the state of Maine, is in
contemplation; and the Cunard Company are building four
screw-steamers--the _Andes_, _Alps_, _Jura_, and _Etna_--which are to
carry the mails to Chagres, as well as New York.

The first steam-collier has come into the Thames, having run the
distance from Newcastle in forty-eight hours. Forty hours, we are
told, will surface in future, when the stiffness of the new machinery
shall have worked off. She consumed eight tons of coal on the voyage,
and brought 600 tons as cargo, the whole of which was discharged in
the day, and the vessel went back for a further supply. Apart from the
facilities for loading and unloading, the certainty with which these
steamers will make the passage, will benefit the citizens of London,
by saving them from the rise in price which inevitably follows the
fall of the thermometer in December.

But with all this, our already crowded river is becoming overcrowded,
to remedy which a promising project is afoot for a new dock at
Plaistow Marshes, a few miles below London Bridge, where a fleet or
two of the ever-multiplying ships may find accommodation. The extent
is to be ninety acres, with a mile of wharfage, and nearly 200,000
feet of fireproof warehouse-room. How far this will meet the want, may
be inferred from the fact, that the tonnage of the port of London has
increased from 990,110 tons in 1828, to 2,170,322 tons in 1852. And if
an experience of three years may be relied on, the increase is to be
progressive; for of new British-built ships in 1849, the amount was
121,266 tons; in 1850, 137,530 tons; in 1851, 152,563 tons. Such an
augmentation shews, that we have nothing to fear from repeal of the
Navigation Laws; and the fruits of unrestriction are shewn in the
increased size of ships, in their improved external form, and interior
accommodation. It may be mentioned here, that the Lords of the
Admiralty have ordered that all ships' log-books sent to their
department shall be true and faithful copies, with a track-chart of
the winds experienced on the outward and homeward voyage, in addition
to the usual information. Steam-vessels are to keep a record of the
quantity of coal on board at noon each day--of the time it is
estimated to last--and of the number of miles steamed in the previous
twenty-four hours.

Railways, too, exhibit signs of progress. The gross proceeds of the
traffic for the first seven months of 1851 amounted to L.8,254,303,
while for the same portion of the present year the sum is L.8,504,002;
a result the more striking when it is remembered that last year we had
the Exhibition. The new lines opened in 1851 comprised not more than
269 miles--the smallest amount in any year since 1848--so that, at the
end of December, we had 6890 miles of railway actually opened, and
5101 miles authorised and still to be made. It is clear that the
greater portion of the latter will never be attempted, seeing that
people have really found out that railways are not exempt from the
operation of the great natural laws of supply and demand. Some of the
facts of last year's traffic are astounding: the total number of
passengers conveyed was 85,391,095--twelve millions more than in the
preceding year; and the aggregate returns amounted to L.14,997,459.
What a difference when compared with the sum paid for travel and
transport twenty years ago! In the United States, the number of miles
of railway actually open is 13,200, which, by the end of 1855, it is
expected will be increased to 18,000 or 20,000. There are 27,000 miles
of electric telegraphs, but in this estimate the five or six lines
between any two places are all counted. On one of the lines from New
York to Washington, 253,857 messages were sent in the year ending last
July, the toll for which amounted to 103,232 dollars--over L.20,000.

Notwithstanding all this material development, in some respects there
is no advance--except it be of fares, which on some lines running out
of London have been increased in accordance with 'arrangements'
between companies who seem desirous of substituting wholesale monopoly
for wholesome competition. Murmurs on every side already attest the
effects of such a change of system, and it is to be hoped that
imperative means will be found of insuring more attention than at
present to the comfort and safety of passengers. No one out of the
position of a director or shareholder can see any good reason why
English railway carriages should be less comfortably fitted up than
those of the continent. How is it that second-class carriages are to
be seen abroad with stuffed seats and padded backs, and never in
England? It cannot be that we do not pay enough for the accommodation.
We pay too much--a fact worth remembering with railway amalgamation
looming in the future; an event which must not take place without the
public coming in demonstrably as third party.

The British Association have met, and gone through their usual routine
of business, with what results--beyond the reports in the public
prints--will be best shewn by the movement of science for the next few
months. It is always something that knowledge is increased; but
whether the accumulating of fact on fact, to the neglect of
generalising those facts, be the true means thereunto, remains to be
proved. Science has been soaring in search of facts; for the committee
appointed to manage the Kew Observatory, thinking that the phenomena
of meteorology would answer further questioning, have sent up a
balloon, with instruments and observers, to make a series of
observations. The temperature was read off from highly sensitive
thermometers at each minute during the ascent, so as to ascertain the
difference of the heat of successive strata of the atmosphere, and the
rate of variation. In the first flight, the party reached the height
of 19,500 feet, and came to a temperature of 7 degrees, or 25 degrees
below the freezing-point, which, considering the state of the
temperature at the surface, was an unexpected result--in fact, an
abnormal one; and not dissimilar to that which so much astonished our
neighbours across the Channel when Barral and Bixio went up. But if it
be abnormal, as is said, it is remarkable that precisely the same
temperature was met with at about the same height on the second
ascent. Another object was, to bring down specimens of air from
different altitudes, for analysis; to try the effect of the
actinometer at great elevations; and to note the hygrometric
condition. There are to be four ascents, so as, if possible, to obtain
something like satisfactory data by repetition; and in due time,
detailed reports of the whole of the observations will be made public.

As ozone is at present attracting attention, it might have been worth
while to ascertain the proportion of this constituent in the higher
regions of the atmosphere. According to Messrs Frémy and Becquerel,
the term ozone ought to be abandoned; for, after a series of careful
experiments, they have come to the conclusion, that there is no real
transformation of matter in the production of ozone, but that it is
nothing more than 'electrified oxygen,' or oxygen in a particular
state of chemical affinity. Further research will perhaps show us
whether they or Schoenbein are in the right. At all events, the
inquiry is interesting, particularly at this time, when cholera--to
which ozone is antagonistic--is said to be again about to pay us a
visit; and seeing that the doctrine of non-contagion, put forth so
authoritatively by our General Board of Health, is disputed; and that
a certain morbific influence can be conveyed and imparted, is shewn by
abundant evidence to be alike probable and possible. What took place
lately in Poland is cited as a case in point. Excavations were being
made at Lask, near Kalisch, which laid open the cemetery where the
bodies of those who died of cholera in 1832 had been buried. All who
were engaged in the work died, and the disease spread fatally
throughout the neighbourhood. What an important question here remains
to be settled! and how is it to be settled while people are unclean
and towns undrained?

Astronomers have given good proof of activity during the present year,
by the discovery of four new planets and one new comet--two of them by
Mr Hind, who has now the merit of having discovered half a dozen of
these minor members of our planetary system. Fifty years ago, such an
achievement would have made an exalted reputation; but in these days
of keen enterprise in science, as well as in commerce, we do not think
much of finding such little worlds as those in question. If nothing
short of the marvellous is to satisfy us, who shall say that even this
will not present itself to the far-piercing ken of the new monster
telescope--refracting, not reflecting--established on Wandsworth
Common, at the cost of an amateur astronomer, for the promotion of the
celestial science? Lord Rosse has now a competitor; and with a tube of
eighty feet in length, and the power of looking direct at the distant
object, may we not hope to hear of great discoveries by means of the
new instrument? Photographers will be able to obtain what has long
been a desideratum--a large image of the moon; and the sun will
doubtless have to reveal a few more secrets concerning his physical
constitution, to say nothing of the remote and mysterious nebulæ.
Apropos of the sun, Father Secchi, of the observatory at Rome, has
been questioning the great luminary with philosophical apparatus, to
ascertain whether any difference could be detected in the heat from
different parts of its surface, and the proportion lost in its passage
through the atmosphere. He finds that the equatorial region is the
hottest; and that, as on our earth, the temperature diminishes towards
the poles: it is in the central region that spots most frequently
appear. The result of the investigations is that, after allowing for
absorption, the heat which comes to the earth corresponds in amount to
that inferred from photometric experiments, whereby the experiments
made at Paris and at Rome confirm each other.

Now that Mr Fox Talbot has so praiseworthily given up his patent right
to Talbotypes, except in the matter of portraits, the art of
photography will find itself stimulated to yet further developments;
and with free practice, many new applications of it will be
discovered. Magic-lantern slides, for instance, obtained from the
negative image, are already lowered in price, while their style and
finish are singularly beautiful. The architect of the bridge now being
built over the Neva, at St Petersburg, is turning it to account in a
very practical manner. Being an Englishman, he has had to endure much
jealousy and misrepresentation, and attempts have been made to
prejudice the authorities against him. To counteract these designs, he
takes every week photographs of the work, which distinctly shew its
progress, and these he sends to the emperor, who looks at them in a
stereoscope of the largest size, and can thus satisfy himself of the
actual condition of the bridge by means which malice or envy would not
easily falsify. If the photograph shews finished arches, of what use
will it be to deny their existence? People out of Russia may perhaps
find it worth while to try the same experiment; and before long, a new
order of 'detectives' on elevated stations, will be taking photographs
of all that passes in the streets, and pickpockets _in delicto_ will
find their offence and their likeness imprinted by one and the same
process. With such a means of detection, and all the police stations
connected by telegraphic wires, what are the thieves to do?

Manchester shews itself earnest in the cause of education, by having
established a Free Library of 16,000 volumes for reference, and 5000
for lending, and paid for it by voluntary subscription--L.800 of which
was contributed by 20,000 of the working-classes. To their honour be
it recorded! But the inhabitants have done yet more; they have made
over the library to the town-council, that it may become one of their
public institutions, and have agreed to pay a half-penny rate to
provide the necessary funds for its perpetual maintenance. May they
have their reward!

Considering that educational reform or renovation may erelong be
looked for at Oxford, in accordance with the recommendations of the
University Commission, it behoves other parts of the kingdom to be
fully awake to the importance of the subject. 'There is a spreading
conviction, that man was made for a higher purpose than to be a beast
of burden, or a creature of sense;' and it will not do to stifle this
conviction. Comprehensive endeavours must be made to educate and
enlighten; to touch the heart as well as to train the intellect. And
it must not be forgotten, that education involves very much besides
mere book-learning--the mechanical duties, namely, of everyday life.
Something of the latter is to be tried in the City Hospice and
Soup-kitchen just opened near the foot of Holborn Hill. Though fitted
up in an old house, it is a training institute of a new kind, where
individuals of both sexes will acquire useful knowledge in a practical
way, best explained by a passage from the report of the opening:

'In one portion of the educational department is an ironing-table,
provided with the necessary utensils, for the purpose of instructing
the women and girls in that necessary portion of domestic science,
from the finest description of work down to the very coarsest.
Adjoining this is a table laid out _en famille_; this also being
considered, and justly so, no unimportant branch of knowledge. In
another portion is a table prepared for a large party: every variety
of glass likely to be required being properly placed, and every napkin
being differently folded, so as to enable the ambitious neophyte to
suit the taste of all mistresses. Beyond this is a small closet, with
a window resembling those of an ordinary-sized house; and this the men
and women are both taught to clean, while the closet itself serves as
a cover for the simple operation of polishing boots and shoes. To this
succeeds a table, upon which are placed the utensils for cleaning
plate, and on another table the instruments for cleaning lamps.' Such
an establishment ought to prosper; and perhaps this one will, if the
giving away of soup for nothing, which is another part of its
functions, does not kill it. There seems something incongruous in
encouraging industry and self-reliance with one hand, and helplessness
with the other.

On the whole, it must be admitted that we are making progress, and
those who think so, may very properly talk about it. Among a large
number, the Crystal Palace becomes daily a greater subject of
importance. Soon the last portions of the famous structure will be
removed from Hyde Park, to rise in renewed beauty on the hill-slope at
Sydenham; where the restored edifice is to become a permanent object
of interest, far transcending all previous achievements in the way of

Of foreign matters which have attracted attention, there is the
remarkable fall of _grain_, not rain, in Belgium, a few weeks since,
of a kind altogether unknown in that country. Some of it has been
sown, with a view to judge of it by the plant; meanwhile, the learned
are speculating as to its origin. The Dutch, pursuing their steady
course of reclamation, have just added some hundreds of acres to their
territory on the borders of the Scheldt; and it is said that the grand
enterprise of draining the Haarlemmer-Meer is at last completed, there
being nothing now left but a small running stream across the lowest
part of the basin. The quantity pumped away in the last eight months
of 1851, averaged a little over three inches per month, a small
amount, apparently; but when it is known, that lowering the lake one
inch only took away four million tons of water, we may form a fair
idea of the importance of the work, and of the quantity lifted in the
eight months. The depth at the beginning of this year was three feet
eight inches, and this is now discharged. To have carried such a work
to a successful issue, may be ranked among the greatest of engineering

To turn to another part of the world: there is something interesting
from the Sandwich Islands. The king wishes to assimilate his
government to that of England, to guard against the casualty of a
_coup d'état_, and a small military force has been organised for
defence. The Report of the Minister of the Interior states, that 130
persons had taken the oath of allegiance within the year, of whom 66
were citizens of the United States; 31 British; 15 Chinese; and 18 of
other countries. The foreign letters received and sent numbered
24,787--more than half to the United States; besides which 31,050
domestic letters were transmitted among the group of islands. There
are 535 free-schools, of which 431 are Protestant, with 12,976
scholars, and 104 Roman Catholic, with 2056 scholars. There were 1171
marriages; and the population returns shew that the number of natives
is still slowly on the decrease, the births among them having been
2424, while the deaths were 5792.


Letters from Parma, of the 9th instant, announce that the resolution
has been taken at Vienna to deprive the Duke of Parma of the
administration of his states, and to put in a regency, of which Ward
is to be the head. The elevation of Ward affords not only a singular
instance of the mutability of human affairs, but of the tendency of
the Anglo-Saxon race, when transplanted to foreign countries, to
emerge to eminence, and surpass others by the homely but rare
qualities of common-sense and unfaltering energy. Ward was a Yorkshire
groom. The Duke of Lucca, when on a visit to this country, perceiving
the lad's merit, took him into his service, and promoted him, through
the several degrees of command in his stable, to be head-groom of the
ducal stud. Upon Ward's arrival in Italy with his master, it was soon
found that the intelligence which he displayed in the management of
the stables was applicable to a variety of other departments. In fact,
the duke had such a high opinion of Ward's wisdom, that he very rarely
omitted to consult him upon any question that he was perplexed to
decide. As Louis XII. used to answer those who applied to him on any
business, by referring them to the Cardinal d'Amboise, with the words:
'Ask George,' so Charles of Lucca cut short all applications with 'Go
to Ward.' He now became the factotum of the prince, won, in the
disturbances which preceded the revolutionary year of 1848, a
diplomatic dignity, and was despatched to Florence upon a confidential
mission of the highest importance. He was deputed to deliver to the
Grand Duke the act of abdication of the Duke of Lucca. Soon after, in
1849, when the Duke of Lucca resigned his other states to his son,
Ward became the head counsellor of this prince. Ward was on one
occasion despatched to Vienna in a diplomatic capacity. Schwarzenberg
was astonished at his capacity; in fact, the _ci-devant_ Yorkshire
stable-boy was the only one of the diplomatic body that could make
head against the impetuous counsels, or rather dictates, of
Schwarzenberg; and this was found highly useful by other members of
the diplomatic body. An English gentleman, supping one night at the
Russian ambassador's, complimented him upon his excellent ham.
'There's a member of our diplomatic corps here,' replied Meyendorff,
'who supplies us all with hams from Yorkshire, of which county he is a
native.' Ward visited England. The broad dialect and homely phrase
betraying his origin through the profusion of orders of all countries
sparkling on his breast, he rarely ventured to appear at evening
_soirées_. Lord Palmerston declared he was one of the most remarkable
men he had ever met with. Ward, through all his vicissitudes, has
preserved an honest pride in his native country. He does not conceal
his humble origin. The portraits of his parents, in their home-spun
clothes, appear in his splendid saloon of the prime-minister of
Parma.--_Newspaper paragraph._


The several kinds of plants vary exceedingly in their degrees of
longevity, some being annual, perfecting their growth within a year,
ripening their seeds and perishing; others are perennial, and continue
to grow and flourish for years and centuries. Warm and cold climates
have much influence on the duration of plants, and, in some few
instances, plants that are annual in cold climates become perennial
when transplanted into warm regions, and the contrary when
transplanted from warm to cold ones. There are some kinds of trees
that are very short-lived, as the peach and the plum; others reach a
great age, as the pear and the apple. Some kinds of forest-trees are
remarkable for their duration, and specimens are in existence
seemingly coeval with the date of the present order of things on our
globe. The oak, chestnut, and pine of our forests, reach the age of
from 300 to 500 years. The cypress or white cedar of our swamps has
furnished individuals 800 or 900 years old. Trees are now living in
England and Constantinople more than 1000 years old, of the yew,
plane, and cypress varieties; and Addison found trees of the boabab
growing near the Senegal, in Africa, which, reckoning from the
ascertained age of others of the same species, must have been nearly
4000 years of age. It may be remarked, that plants of the same variety
attain about the same age in all climates where they are
produced.--_American Courier._



Lezayre is the name of a beautiful district in the Isle of Man.

    I came to the place where my childhood had dwelt,
    To the hearth where in early devotion I knelt--
    The fern and the bramble grew wild in the hall,
    And the long grass of summer waved green on the wall:
    The roof-tree was fallen, the household had fled,
    The garden was ruined, the roses were dead,
    The wild bird flew scared from her desolate stone,
    And I breathed in the home of my boyhood--alone.

    That moment is past, but it left on my heart
    A remembrance of sadness which will not depart:
    I have wandered afar since that sorrowful day,
    I have wept with the mournful, and laughed with the gay;
    I have lived with the stranger, and drank of the rills
    Which go warbling their music on loftier hills;
    But I never forgot, in rejoicing or care,
    That mouldering hearth, and those hills of Lezayre.

    Yet droop not, my spirit! nor hopelessly mourn
    Over ills which the best and the wisest have borne:
    Though the greetings of love, and the voices of mirth,
    May for ever be hushed in the homesteads of earth;
    Though the dreams and the dwellings of childhood decay,
    And the friends whom we cherish go hasting away,
    No young hopes are scattered, no heart-strings are riven,
    No partings are known in the households of Heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

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ETYMOLOGICAL INDEX. By A. F. FOSTER, A.M. Forming one of the Volumes

*** _This School Geography has been a considerable time in
preparation, and will be found one of the most complete works of the

       *       *       *       *       *

             _Price 2s. 6d. Cloth lettered,_

CORNELIUS NEPOS. Illustrated with Copious English Notes and Prefaces.
Forming one of the Volumes of the LATIN SECTION of CHAMBERS'S

       *       *       *       *       *

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Teacher of Elocution in the Naval and Military Academy, and the
Scottish Institution for the Education of Ladies. Forming one of the

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_To be continued in Monthly Volumes._

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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