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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 460 - Volume 18, New Series, October 23, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 460 - Volume 18, New Series, October 23, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

  CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
  INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.


  No. 460. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



PRESERVED MEATS AND MEAT-BISCUITS.


The many-headed public look out for 'nine days' wonders,' and speedily
allow one wonder to obliterate the remembrance of that which preceded
it. So it is with all newspaper topics, and so it has been in respect
to the preserved-meat question. We all know how great was the
excitement at the commencement of the present year on this matter.
Ships' accounts overhauled; arctic stores re-examined; canisters
opened and rejected; contracts inquired into; statements and
counter-statements published; questionings of Admiralty officials in
the two Houses of Parliament; reports published by committees;
recommendations offered for future guidance; descriptions of the
preserving processes at different establishments: all went the round
of the newspapers, and then the topic was forgotten. It deserves to be
held in remembrance, however, for the subject-matter is really
important and valuable, in respect not only to the stores for
shipping, but to the provisioning of large or small bodies of men
under various exceptional circumstances.

A few of the simple laws of organic chemistry suffice to account for
the speedy decay of dead animal substances, and for the methods
whereby this decay is retarded or prevented. In organised substances,
the chemical atoms combine in a very complex but unstable way; several
such atoms group together to form a proximate principle, such as
gluten, albumen, fibrin, &c.; and several of these combine to form a
complete organic substance. The chemical rank-and-file, so to speak,
form a battalion, and two or more battalions form the chemical army.
But it is a law in chemistry, that the more complex a substance
becomes, the less stable is its constitution, or the sooner is it
affected by disturbing influences. Hence organic substances are more
readily decomposed than inorganic. How striking, for instance, are the
changes easily wrought in a few grains of barley! They contain a kind
of starch or fecula; this starch, in the process of malting, becomes
converted into a kind of sugar; and from this malt-sugar or
transformed starch, may be obtained ale or beer, gin or whisky, and
vinegar, by various processes of fermenting and distilling. The
complex substance breaks up through very slight causes, and the simple
elements readjust themselves into new groupings. The same occurs in
animal as in vegetable substances, but still more rapidly, as the
former are more intricate in composition than the latter, and are held
together by a weaker tie.

What the 'vital principle' may be, neither chemists nor physiologists
can tell us with any great degree of clearness; but it is this vital
principle, whatever it may be, which prevents decay in a living
organic substance, however complex. When life departs, the onslaught
begins; the defender has been removed, and a number of assailants make
their appearance. _Air_, _heat_, and _moisture_ are the principal of
these; they attack the dead organism, and gradually convert it into
wholly different and inorganic compounds, such as water, carbonic
acid, ammonia, phosphuretted hydrogen, and many others. What, then,
would result if these disturbers could be warded off, one or all? It
is now pretty well ascertained, that if any one of the three--air,
heat, moisture--be absent, the decay is either greatly retarded or
indefinitely postponed; and we shall find that in all antiseptic or
preserving processes, the fundamental principle has simply such an
object in view.

Sometimes the operation of natural causes leads to the preservation of
dead animal substances for a great length of time, by excluding one
out of the above three disturbing influences. If heat be so deficient
that the animal juices become wholly frozen up, the substance is
almost proof against decay. Thus, about seventy years ago, a huge
animal was found imbedded in the ice in Siberia: from a comparison of
its skeleton with those of existing species, Cuvier inferred that this
animal must have been antediluvian; and yet, so completely had the
cold prevented putrefaction, that dogs willingly ate of the still
existing flesh. At St Petersburg, when winter is approaching, the fish
in the markets become almost like blocks of ice, so completely are
they frozen; and in this state they will remain sound for a lengthened
period. Dead poultry, and other articles of animal food, are similarly
kept fresh throughout the winter in many rigorous climates, simply by
the powerlessness of the attacking agents, when heat is not one of the
number. And that which nature effects on a large scale, may reasonably
be imitated by man on a more limited one. It is customary to pack many
kinds of provisions in ice or snow, either for keeping them in
storehouses, or for sending them to market. Thus it is with the tubs
of poultry, of veal, and of other kinds of meat, which, killed in the
country districts of Russia in autumn, are packed in snow to keep cool
till sold at market; and thus it is with much of the salmon sent from
Scotland to London. Since the supply of excellent ice from Wenham
Lake, commenced about nineteen years ago, has become so abundant and
so cheap, it is worth a thought whether the preservative powers of
cold might not advantageously be made more available in this country
than they have yet been. In the United States, housewives use very
convenient refrigerators or ice-boxes, provided with perforated
shelves, under which ice is set, and upon which various provisions
are placed: a large uncooked joint of meat is sometimes kept in one of
these boxes for weeks. Among the celebrities of the Crystal Palace,
many will recollect Masters's elegant ice-making machine, in which, by
combining chemical action with centrifugal motion, ice can be made in
a few minutes, let the heat of the weather be what it may. This
machine, and the portable refrigerators manufactured by the Wenham
Company, together with our familiar, old-fashioned ice-houses, might
supply us with much more preservative power, in respect to articles of
food, than we have hitherto practically adopted.

If, instead of watching the effects produced by abstraction of _heat_,
we direct attention to the abstraction of _moisture_, we shall find
that antiseptic or preservative results are easily obtainable. All
kinds of bacon and smoked meats belong to the class here indicated.
The watery particles are nearly or quite driven out from the meat, and
thus one of the three decomposing agents is rendered of no effect. In
some cases, the drying is not sufficient to produce the result,
without the aid of the remarkable antiseptic properties of salt;
because decomposition may commence before the moisture is quite
expelled. In many parts of the country, hams are hung within a
wide-spreading chimney, over or near a turf-fire, and where a free
current of air, as well as a warm temperature, may act upon them; but
the juices become dissipated by this rude process. Simple drying,
without the addition of salt or any condiment, is perhaps more
effectual with vegetable than with animal substances.

But it is under the third point of view that the preservative process
is more important and interesting, inasmuch as it admits of a far more
extensive application. We speak of the abstraction of _air_.
Atmospheric air affects dead organic matter chiefly through the agency
of the oxygen which forms one of its constituents; and it is
principally to insure the expulsion of oxygen that air is excluded.
The examples which illustrate the resulting effects are numerous and
varied. Eggs have been varnished so as to exclude air, and have
retained the vital principle in the chick for years; and it is a
familiar domestic practice, to butter the outside of eggs as a means
of keeping them. The canisters of preserved provisions, however, are
the most direct and valuable result of the antiseptic action by
exclusion of air. The Exhibition Jury on Class 3, in their Report on
this subject, speak thus warmly thereupon:--'It is impossible to
overestimate the importance of these preparations. The invention of
the process by which animal and vegetable food is preserved in a fresh
and sweet state for an indefinite period, has only been applied
practically during the last twenty-five years, and is intimately
connected with the annals of arctic discovery. The active measures
taken to discover a north-west passage, and to prosecute scientific
research, in all but inaccessible regions, first created a demand for
this sort of food; and the Admiralty stimulated the manufacturers to
great perfection in the art. As soon as the value of these
preparations in cold climates became generally admitted, their use was
extended to hot ones, and for the sick on board ship under all
circumstances. Hitherto they had been employed only as a substitute
for salt beef or pork at sea, and if eaten on shore, it was at first
as a curiosity merely. Their utility in hot climates, however,
speedily became evident; especially in India, where European families
are scattered, and where, consequently, on the slaughter of a large
animal, more is wasted than can be consumed by a family of the
ordinary number.'

Whatever improvements may have been introduced by later manufacturers,
the principle involved in the meat-preserving processes is nearly as
M. Appert established it forty years ago. His plan consisted in
removing the bones from the meat; boiling it to nearly as great a
degree as if intended for immediate consumption; putting it into jars;
filling up the jars completely with a broth or jelly prepared from
portions of the same meat; corking the jars closely; incasing the
corks with a luting formed of quicksilver and cheese; placing the
corked jars in a boiler of cold water; boiling the water and its
contents for an hour; and then allowing the cooling process to
supervene very gradually.

Until the recent disclosures concerning the preserved meats in the
government depôts, the extent of the manufacture, or rather
preparation, was very little known to the general public. In the last
week of 1851, an examination, consequent on certain suspicions which
had been entertained, was commenced at the victualling establishment
at Gosport. The canisters--for since Appert's time stone jars have
been generally superseded by tin canisters--contain on an average
about 10 pounds each; and out of 643 of these which were opened on the
first day's examination, no fewer than 573 were condemned as being
utterly unfit for food. On the next day, 734 were condemned out of
779; and by the fourth day, the number examined had risen to 2707, of
which only 197 were deemed fit for food. Such wretched offal had been
packed in the canisters, instead of good meat, that the stench arising
from the decomposing mass was most revolting; the examiners were
compelled to use Sir William Burnett's disinfecting fluid abundantly,
and even to suspend their labours for two or three days under fear of
infection. The canisters formed part of a supply sent in by a
contractor in November 1850, under a warrant that the contents would
remain good for five years; the filling of the canisters was
understood to have been effected at Galatz, in Moldavia, but the
contractor was in England. The supply amounted to 6000 canisters, all
of which had to be examined, and out of which only a few hundred were
found to contain substances fit for food. Instead of good meat, or in
addition to a small quantity of good meat, the examiners found lung,
liver, heart, tongue, kidney, tendon, ligament, palate, fat, tallow,
coagulated blood, and even a piece of leather--all in a state of such
loathsome putridity as to render the office of the examiners a
terrible one.

Of course nothing can be predicated from such atrocities as these
against the wholesomeness of preserved food; they prove only the
necessity of caution in making the government contracts, and in
accepting the supplies. The Admiralty shewed, during subsequent
discussions, that large supplies had been received from various
quarters for several years, for use on shipboard in long voyages and
on arctic expeditions; that these had turned out well; and that the
contractor who was disgraced in the present instance, was among those
who had before fulfilled his contracts properly. Fortunately, there is
no evidence that serious evil had resulted from the supply of the
canisters to ships; the discovery was made in time to serve as a
useful lesson in future to government officials and to unprincipled
contractors.

The jury report before adverted to, points out how cheap and
economical these preserved meats really are, from the circumstance,
that all that is eatable is so well brought into use. It is affirmed
by the manufacturers, that meat in this form supplies troops and ships
with a cheaper animal diet than salt provisions, by avoiding the
expense of casks, leakage, brine, bone, shrinkage, stowage, &c., which
are all heavy items, and entail great waste and expenditure; and by a
canister of the former being so much smaller than a cask of the
latter, in the event of one bad piece of meat tainting the whole
contents. The contents of all the cases, when opened, are found to
have lost much of the freshness in taste and flavour peculiar to
newly-killed meat; they are always soft, and eat as if overdone. As a
matter of choice, therefore, few or no persons would prefer meat in
this state to the ordinary unpacked and recently-cooked state. But the
important fact to bear in mind is, that the nutritious principles are
preserved; as nutriment, they are unexceptionable, and they are often
pleasantly seasoned and flavoured.

In the ordinary processes of preparation, as carried on in London and
other places, the tin canisters have a minute hole, through which the
air may be expelled, while the meat is simmering or boiling within;
and in the case of poultry being preserved whole, extra precautions
are necessary, to insure the expulsion of the air from the hollow
bones of the birds. Soups are more easily prepared than solid meat, on
account of the greater facility for getting rid of the confined air.
The minute air-hole in the canister is soldered down when the process
is completed.

M. Alexis Soyer, who has a notoriety in London as the prince of cooks,
and a very ingenious man--a sort of Paxton of the kitchen--wrote to
the daily journals, about the time of the disclosure at Gosport, to
offer a few suggestions. He said: 'No canister ought to contain more
than about six pounds of meat, the same to be very slightly seasoned
with bay-salt, pepper, and aromatic herbs in powder, such as bay-thyme
and bay-leaf, a small quantity of which would not be objectionable
even for invalids. No jelly should be added to the meat; the meat, and
the meat alone, should produce its own jelly. With the bones and
trimmings of the above, a good _stock_ should be made without
vegetables, well reduced and skimmed, to form a very strong
transparent demi-glaze; six-pound canisters should be filled with the
same, bearing a special mark, and one of these allowed to every dozen
of the others. This demi-glaze, when diluted in water, would make six
gallons of very good broth, with which any kind of soup could be made
in a very short time.' He also points out how the condition of the
preserved meat may be guessed by the external appearance of the
canister. If either the top or bottom of the canister be convex, like
the upper surface of a watch-glass, the contents are in a state of
decomposition; the bulging being occasioned by the gases generated
during the chemical changes. If the contents of the canister be sound,
the top and bottom will be either quite flat, or slightly concave.

The Jury on Food, at the Great Exhibition, had quite an _embarras des
richesses_; they were surrounded by hundreds of canisters of preserved
provisions, all of which they were invited to open and taste. They
say, or their reporter says, that the merits of the contributions
'were tested by a selection from each; the cases were opened in the
presence of the jury, and tasted by themselves, and, where advisable,
by associates. The majority are of English manufacture, especially the
more substantial viands; France and Germany exhibiting chiefly
made-dishes, game, and delicacies--of meat, fish, soups, and
vegetables.' It is an important fact for our colonies, that viands of
this description are as well prepared in Australia, Van Diemen's Land,
Canada, and the Cape of Good Hope, as in the mother-country. 'Animal
food is most abundant and cheap in some of those colonies. In
Australia, especially, during seasons of drought, it is wasted in
extraordinary quantities; flocks are slaughtered for the tallow alone,
and herds, for their bones and hides. Were the meat on these occasions
preserved, it cannot be doubted that it could be imported into
England, and sold at a cheaper rate than fresh meat in our
metropolitan markets, to the great benefit of the lower-classes.' This
is a statement well worth being borne in mind by some of those who are
at present dazzled with gold-digging wonders.

In respect to the preserved meats at the Great Exhibition, many were
merely cured or dried meats. From Canada, for instance, they comprised
hams, bacon, tongues, and barrels of beef and pork. Among the
miscellaneous contributions were grated beef, canisters of fresh
salmon, 'admirable boiled mutton in tin cases,' dried mullets,
'_mouton rôti_,' fish, meats preserved in a fresh state by simple
drying--on a plan practised in Switzerland--and preserved larks. Not
the least remarkable was a preserved _pig_, which reclined in all its
glory on the floor of the south-west gallery, and was a successful
example of curing on a large scale. Still more striking than this, was
the large partridge-pie, placed somewhat out of general notice in the
'Netherlands' department; a formidable pie it truly was, for it
contained 150 partridges, with truffles, and weighed 250 pounds: it
had been made a year before it was forwarded to London. But among the
contributions more immediately relating to our present subject, may be
mentioned those of Mr Gamble, which comprised, among others, a
canister of preserved boiled mutton, which had been prepared for the
arctic expedition in 1824; many such canisters were landed at Fury
Beach in Prince Regent's Inlet; they were found by Sir John Ross at
that spot in 1833 in a perfect state, and again by Sir James Ross in
1849, the meat being as sweet and wholesome as when prepared a quarter
of a century before.

The range of these preserving processes is singularly wide and varied.
If we take the trade-list of one of the manufacturers, such as that of
Messrs Hogarth of Aberdeen, and glance through it, we shall find ample
evidence of this. There are nearly twenty kinds of soups selling at
about 2s. per quart-canister. There is the concentrated essence of
beef, much more expensive, because containing the nutriment of so much
more meat; and there are, for invalids, concentrated broths of
intermediate price. There are about a dozen kinds of fish, some fresh
and some dried. There are various kinds of poultry, roast and boiled;
hare, roast and jugged; and venison, hashed and minced. There are
beef, veal, and mutton, all dressed in various ways, and some having
the requisite vegetables canistered with them, at prices varying from
l0d. to 15d. per pound. There are tongues, hams, bacon, kidneys,
tripe, and marrow; and there are cream, milk, and marmalade. Lastly,
there are such vegetables as peas, beans, carrots, turnips, cabbage,
and beet, at 6d. to 1s. per pound-canister. The canisters for all
these various provisions contain from one pound to six pounds each. It
was Messrs Hogarth, we believe, who supplied the preserved meats and
vegetables to the arctic ships under Sir E. Belcher which sailed in
the spring of 1852.

M. Brocchière, a French manufacturer, has lately extended these
economical processes so far, as to attempt to produce concentrated
food from the blood of cattle. He dries up the liquid or serous
portions of the blood, and forms into a cake, with admixture of other
substances, the coagulable portion, which contains fibrin, the source
of flesh and muscle. Unless a more delicate name could be given to
this preparation, prejudice would have some influence in depriving it
of the chance of fair play. The dry blood is in some cases combined
with a small portion of flour, and made into light dry masses, like
loaves or cakes, to be used as the basis of soups; while in other
cases it is combined with sugar, to make sweet biscuits and bon-bons.
Another kind of preserved animal fluid is the _ozmazome_, prepared by
Messrs Warriner and Soyer. This consists of the nutritious matter or
juice of meat, set free during the operation of boiling down fat for
tallow in Australia; it is afterwards concentrated, and preserved in
the form of sausages. A great amount of nutriment is thus obtained in
a portable form; when boiled with gelatine, it forms a palatable diet,
and it is also used to form a gravy for meat.

Masson's method of preserving vegetables seems to be very effective,
as applied to white and red cabbages, turnips, Brussels sprouts, and
such like. The process, as conducted in France, is very simple. The
vegetables are dried at a certain temperature (104 to 118 degrees
Fahrenheit), sufficient to expel the moisture without imparting a
burnt taste; and in this operation they lose nearly seven-eighths of
their original weight. The vegetables are then pressed forcibly into
the form of cakes, and are kept in tinfoil till required for use.
These vegetables require, when about to be eaten, rather more boiling
than those in the ordinary state. Some of the French ships of war are
supplied with them, much to the satisfaction of the crews. Dr Lindley
has stated, on the authority of a distinguished officer in the
antarctic expedition under Sir James Ross, that although all the
preserved meats used on that occasion were excellent, and there was
not the slightest ground for any complaint of their quality, the crew
became tired of the meat, but never of the vegetables. 'This should
shew us,' says Dr Lindley, 'that it is not sufficient to supply ships'
crews with preserved meats, but that they should be supplied with
vegetables also, the means of doing which is now afforded.' Generally
speaking, the flavour of preserved vegetables, whether prepared on
Masson's or on any other process, is fresher than that of the
meats--especially in the case of those which abound in the saccharine
principle, as beet, carrot, turnips, &c. The more farinaceous
vegetables, such as green peas, do not preserve so well.

One of the most remarkable, and perhaps valuable recent introductions,
in respect to preserved food, is the American _meat--biscuit_,
prepared by Mr Borden. A _biscuit-beef_ is prepared by a Frenchman, M.
Du Liscoet, resembling an ordinary coarse ship-biscuit; but this is
said to have 'an animal, salt, and not very agreeable taste.' The
American meat-biscuit, however, is prepared in a way which renders its
qualities easily intelligible. It contains in a concentrated form all
the nutriment of meat, combined with flour. The best wheaten flour is
employed, with the nutriment of the best beef, and the result is
presented for use as food in the form of a dry, inodorous, flat,
brittle cake, which will keep when dry for an unlimited period. When
required for use, it is dissolved in hot water, boiled, and seasoned
at pleasure, forming a soup about the consistence of sago. One pound
of the biscuit contains the nutritive matter--fat excepted--of five
pounds of prime beef, mixed with half a pound of wheaten flour. One
ounce of the biscuit, grated and boiled in a pint of water, suffices
to form the soup. It can also be used in puddings and sauces. The
manufacture of the meat-biscuit is located at Galveston, in Texas,
which abounds in excellent cattle at a very low price. It is said that
the meat-biscuit is not liable to heating or moulding, like corn and
flour, nor subject to be attacked by insects. The meat-biscuit was
largely used by the United States' army during the Mexican campaign;
the nutriment of 500 pounds of beef, with 70 pounds of flour, was
packed in a twenty-two-gallon cask.

Dr Lindley, as one of the jurors for the Great Exhibition, and as a
lecturer on the subject at the Society of Arts, commends the
meat-biscuit in the very highest terms. 'I think I am justified in
looking upon it,' he says, 'as one of the most important substances
which this Exhibition has brought to our knowledge. When we consider
that by this method, in such places as Buenos Ayres, animals which are
there of little or no value, instead of being destroyed, as they often
are, for their bones, may be boiled down and mixed with the flour
which all such countries produce, and so converted into a substance of
such durability that it may be preserved with the greatest ease, and
sent to distant countries; it seems as if a new means of subsistence
was actually offered to us. Take the Argentine Republic, take
Australia, and consider what they do with their meat there in times of
drought, when they cannot get rid of it while it is fresh; they may
boil it down, and mix the essence with flour--and we know they have
the finest in the world--and so prepare a substance that can be
preserved for times when food is not so plentiful, or sent to
countries where it is always more difficult to procure food. Is not
this a very great gain?' A pertinent question, which intelligent
emigrants would do well to bear in mind.



THE BUYER OF SOULS:

A Russian Story.


All over the world, the essential elements of human nature are the
same. And it is very fortunate for me that they are so, else I should
find myself in considerable difficulty in endeavouring to place before
my readers a correct picture of the little, out-of-the-way town of
Nikolsk. Making due allowances for the differences in national manners
and customs; for Nikolsk being under the dominion of his autocratic
majesty the emperor of all the Russias, instead of the mild,
constitutional government of Queen Victoria, there is no great
discrepancy between Nikolsk and any equally out-of-the-way town in
England. It has the same dearth of excitement, the same monotonous
uniformity of life; it lives in the same profound ignorance of the
great incidents that the drama of human existence is developing on the
theatre of the world at large; it has its priest, its doctor, its
lawyer, its post-office where a seal is not so sacred as it might be,
or rather where the problem of getting at the news, without breaking
the wax, has been successfully solved; it has the same thirst for
scandal, the same intense interest for the most contemptible
trivialities, the same constantly impending danger of suicide from
ennui, did not human nature adapt itself to its environments, and sink
into pettiness as naturally as though there were no such things as
towns and cities, and enlarged views of man and nature in the world:
all these it has the same as any British Little Pedlington. Then it
has its circles of social intercourse, as rigidly defined and as
intensely venerated as the rules of court precedence. The difference
in the social scale between a landowner, a tenant, a member of the
professions, a tradesman, a publican, a sweep, and a beggar, is
accurately prescribed and religiously observed--with this addition,
however, that in Nikolsk the owners of land are also owners of the
serfs upon the land, and that the numerous representatives of that
most centralised of all governments cut an important figure in the
snobberies of the place. In fine, there is one little English word
that describes Nikolsk completely, and that is--_dull_. It is
dull--beyond comprehension dull. No town in the universe can be
duller; because, from its quintessential dulness, there is but one
step to total inanition.

Thus, in Nikolsk, the ancient saying, that there is nothing new under
the sun, was daily and hourly verified. Week after week, and year
after year, the governor pillaged the people; the inspector of
charities pillaged the charities; the inspector of nuisances
sedulously avoided inspecting at all, lest, by removing them, the need
for his services should cease; the landowner ground down the serfs;
the tax-assessor ground the landowners; and everybody, in return for
the favours a paternal government showered upon them through its
immaculate representatives, cheated and defrauded that government with
a persistency and perseverance approaching the sublime. Mothers of
daughters were in despair, for in Nikolsk there were no 'nice young
men,' no eligible matches; fathers of sons despaired in their turn,
for as everybody robbed everybody, and the government robbed the
robbers, there were no heiresses; ladies wore the fashions of 1820 in
1840, under the impression that they were the newest from Paris; the
reading portion of the community were just beginning to hear of
Voltaire as a promising writer; and the general public laboured under
the fixed idea, that somewhere or other Napoleon was still prosecuting
his leviathan campaigns, happily _not_ in Russia. The only thing that
ever broke the monotony of existence was the prevalence of cholera, or
the governor essaying some loftier flight of tyranny than usual by
hanging up a score of defaulters to the revenue, or knouting a bevy of
ladies whose tongues outran their prudence.

Such being the state of affairs in Nikolsk, it will be easily
imagined, that when mine host of the Black Eagle, in a very important
and mysterious manner, announced to a select few that a singular and
eccentric stranger, rolling in money, had arrived at his hostelry,
with the intention of staying some time in Nikolsk, the news flew like
a telegraphic message, or a piece of scandal among a community of old
maids, through the place; and that in a few hours after his arrival,
nobody, from governor to serf, thought or spoke of anything or anybody
else than the mysterious stranger, who, under the name of Tchitchikof,
occupied the best suite of apartments in the Black Eagle, and, as the
landlord affirmed on oath, was eccentric to a degree, and revelled in
untold gold.

Now, whatever had been the station in society of M. Tchitchikof, his
means or his idiosyncrasy, the mere fact of his being a stranger had
been enough to make the good people of Nikolsk pounce down upon him
like a hawk on its quarry, and morally tear him to pieces with
rapacious analysis to satiate their ravenous curiosity. But as to the
fact of his being a stranger, was added the piquancy of a reputation
for eccentricity, and the irresistible recommendation of wealth, the
Tchitchikof mania spread over all ranks of society, and raged with the
fury of a tornado by the evening of the very day upon which the host
of the Eagle first delighted them with the news. In fact, so intense
was the rage regarding him, that the landlord of that hostelry reaped
a fortune from the constant drain upon his potables by inquisitive
callers, and would have assuredly ceased to dispense strong drinks for
evermore, had not the governor, in his vexation at the sequel of
Tchitchikof's visit, found some pretext to despoil him of his gains,
and a good round sum to boot. Various were the speculations as to the
occupations and antecedents of Tchitchikof, and the business that had
called him to Nikolsk. Enterprising mothers of families hoped that he
was a Cossack Coelebs in search of a wife, and began, on the strength
of the surmise, to lay plots for ensnaring him, justly considering
that a fool with money is preferable to a sage without; landowners
trembled at the idea of his being a government assessor, come to
examine into the state of the properties, and assess accordingly;
while government _employés_, knowing too well that a paternal
government does not tolerate plundering in subordinates, shuddered,
conscience-stricken, at the idea that he must be a St Petersburg
inspector, come to Nikolsk with powers of scrutiny, and equally
unlimited powers of knouting. Every class, therefore, received with
joy the assurance, that, he was simply a private gentleman of fortune,
travelling over Russia at his own sweet will. This mine host
positively stated that he had heard Tchitchikof say with his own lips.
This announcement delighted the officials and landowners, by removing
their fears of the knout and taxes, and equally delighted the
enterprising mammas, by increasing the probability of his visit being
intimately connected with matrimonial intentions. It being thus
definitely settled that there was nothing to be feared from
Tchitchikof, the good folks of Nikolsk naturally took up the next
position--that, being a stranger, and rich and eccentric, there was
something to be gained from him. The leading passions of the
Nikolskians being curiosity and avarice, their dealings with strangers
were generally twofold--to scatter their ennui for a few days, by
discovering their histories and affairs, and, where facts failed,
calling in the aid of fancy; and when there was nothing more to be
discovered or invented, to lighten their money-chests by all the
tyranny that power dare venture on, or the effrontery that cunning
could devise and execute. Their curiosity regarding Tchitchikof was
soon baffled, by discovering, like Socrates, that all they knew was,
that nothing could be known. In vain did mine host essay to pump him:
with a show of the most voluble confidence, Tchitchikof contrived
always virtually to tell nothing. In vain the postmaster looked among
the letters with a lynx eye; not one word of writing ever came to
Tchitchikof through the medium of the post. Their knowledge of him
speedily resolved itself into this: that he was a dashing, handsome
young man, of most refined and polished manners, eminently gifted with
that self-possession which is the never-failing accompaniment of
good-breeding and intercourse with what is termed good society,
elegant in dress, and, as the host of the Eagle announced, decidedly
eccentric. This eccentricity manifested itself in one way, and one
only, and that altogether incomprehensible to the greedy
Nikolskians--namely, a morbid desire to part with his money. If
Tchitchikof met a serf on the highway, he would offer him a ruble for
a stick, a cap, or any other article he wore, intrinsically not worth
a handful of corn; and when the bewildered serf hesitated, would
manifest the utmost anger and impatience until he had gained
possession of the coveted article. With possession, his value for it
ceased, and the dear purchase was generally consigned to the fire a
few minutes after it was bought. However varied his freaks might be in
detail, in spirit they were ever essentially the same; they ever
consisted in making some worthless piece of lumber an excuse for
lightening his purse of a ruble or two.

The priest of the place was the first to find a solution of
Tchitchikof's conduct. He asserted that Tchitchikof, in his love for
money, had committed some fraud or some misdeed to obtain it, and that
his conscience smiting him, he had sought ghostly solace from some
minister, by whom he had been ordered, as adequate penance, to get off
a certain portion per annum in bad bargains--thus at once doing good
to the sellers and torturing the avaricious spirit of the penitential
purchaser. To this the governor objected, with much force, that, money
being the end of human existence, the gaining of it, by any means
short of murder, must be laudable, and could sit heavily on no sane
man's conscience; but being warned by the priest, that such arguments
bordered on heresy, he shifted his ground, and maintained that
Tchitchikof was much too young and too far from death to dream of
penitence, even if he had committed such a crime; though he was
evidently too reckless and devil-may-care to leave any dash of the
miser in his composition. But the inspector of highways effectually
knocked the clerical argument on the head, by saying, that had any
priest thought it necessary, for the good of Tchitchikof's soul, that
he should part with his money, he would have taken due care that,
instead of it being squandered in Nikolsk, it had all gone to swell
the revenues of Mother Church. The inspector of the hospital finally
settled it to the satisfaction of all parties, by shewing, from
attentive observation of Tchitchikof's conduct at the hospital, that
he must be a monomaniac, whose particular insanity took the form of
philanthropy; but that, believing that a gift debases the recipient,
he dexterously contrived to _give_ his assistance under the cloak of a
purchase. Although his companions could not see how any man could be
so insane as to fancy a serf could be debased, this opinion was
unanimously adopted, and the whole community set their wits to work to
make themselves objects of charity for the nonce, and so obtain a
share in the plunder.

Space will not permit, neither would the end of our story be advanced
by, a detail of the numerous and adroit dodges the Nikolskians
invented in order to work upon Tchitchikof's supposed philanthropy.
Suffice it to say, that they were not in the least degree successful.
It seemed as though you had only to appeal directly to Tchitchikof's
charity to close up his bowels of compassion, and render him at once
callous and niggardly. Perhaps, too, as some thought, he was as acute
as he was eccentric, and could distinguish between real and feigned
distress. However it might be, it was soon remarkably clear that
Tchitchikof, madman though he was, was not to be done; and the baffled
conspirators did not hesitate to say, that, after all, he was no such
remarkable friend of his species; that he kept a keen eye on the main
chance; and if it were his gratification to do good, he made a little
go as far as it could, and was singularly blind to meritorious
poverty. Accordingly, Tchitchikof having now been a fortnight in
Nikolsk, was fast ceasing to be an object of interest, when his
eccentricity broke out in a fresh place, and there seemed some
likelihood of the children of Nikolsk, in the end, spoiling that
Egyptian.

It so happened, that at that time the landowners, or rather
serf-owners, constituted the most depressed 'interest' in that portion
of the Russian Empire. Not that they were suffering from free-trade of
any kind, or clamouring for open or disguised protection: the cause of
their depression was the prevalence of a deadly epidemic, which
reduced the number of their serfs with remorseless vigour--combined
with the tax which a paternal government levied on them, as a
consideration for its maintaining them in their humane and Christian
property. One of the principles of Russian taxation is this: that as
every individual in the empire, European or Asiatic, is the child of
the czar, owes him fealty and obedience, and receives protection,
light, and glory from him, as from a central sun, so every individual
owes in return a direct contribution to the fund by which the
czar-father supports that light and glory. This is the theory of
Russian taxation; but against its actual carrying out in fact, is
opposed the old difficulty, that from him who has nothing, nothing can
possibly be extracted; and as the poor serfs have no more means of
paying taxes than the hogs and cattle their fellow-slaves, a
considerate paternal government drops its theory, and makes the
landowner pay the poll-tax for the slaves he possesses, much as an
English gentleman pays taxes for his horses and dogs, horses and dogs
being as little able to pay tax themselves as the Russian serf. Now,
in a kind of deep irony, a serf is called a _soul_. M. K---- or M.
T---- owns so many _souls_, Miss L----'s marriage-portion was so many
_souls_, Madame B----'s dowry was a hundred _souls_; and this word
soul only applies to the male serfs--women and children being given
in, or there being only one soul per family among serfs. Well, a
landowner paying so much per soul to the government, and it being a
work of much time and trouble to take a census of souls every year, an
estimate is made at long intervals--say ten or twenty years--and the
landowner is compelled to pay accordingly till the period expires,
whether the number of his serfs increase or diminish. It is therefore
self-evident, that if the former occur--that if his serfs propagate
their species with due rapidity--the serf-owner is a clear gainer
during the interval between the soul-censuses, as he will be paying
tax for a given number, while he is actually reaping the profit of the
labour of treble or quadruple that number; while, if cholera, fever,
or any other of the ills that flesh, and especially serf-flesh, is
heir to, come and slay their thousands, the exact converse obtains,
and he will be paying tax for a certain number, while he only reaps
the profit of a third. In the latter case were the landowners of
Nikolsk. Cholera had more than decimated the serfs; the impoverished
owners regarded their unreaped fields and untilled lands and
impoverished exchequers with a sigh--a sigh which deepened into a
shudder, when they reflected how soon the collector would arrive with
his inexorable demand for soul-tax. The landed interest is in no
country, we believe, celebrated for bearing reverses with dignified
composure; and the depressed condition of the serf-owning interest was
as much noised abroad in that district, as a certain professedly
depressed interest connected with the soil has been, and is, in
another country we know of much nearer home.

About a dozen miles from Nikolsk there dwelt a widow, Madame
Korobotchka by name, who lived on her late husband's estate, and had
suffered more than her neighbours by the prevalent serf mortality.
Late one evening, when a violent storm was raging without, a stranger,
who had been surprised in the storm, demanded the shelter of Madame
Korobotchka's château till the morning; and as hospitality is a sacred
duty in Russia, his demand was not only granted, but in a few minutes
the stranger was seated as her _vis-à-vis_ at the best repast her
impoverished condition could afford.

'You appear to have a nice property here, _matouchka_,' said the
stranger, by way of opening a conversation. 'How many peasants have
you?'

'Peasants, _batiouchka_! At present, about eighty; but these are awful
times. This year, we have had a frightful loss of them. Providence
have pity on us!'

'Nevertheless, your men look well enough, and----But, pardon me--allow
me to inquire to whom I am indebted for this hospitality? I am quite
confused--arrived so suddenly and so late--I'----

'My name is Korobotchka--my paternal name Nastasie Petrovna.'

'Nastasie Petrovna! Beautiful name.'

'And you, sir?' inquired Nastasie. And then added, palpitating with
terror: 'Are you--surely not--are you--an assessor?'

'O no!' was the reply. 'My name is Tchitchikof. I am no assessor; I
travel on purely private business.'

'I see: you have come to buy. How annoying! I've just sold all my
honey to those thieves of merchants.'

'It is of no consequence. I do not buy honey.'

'Indeed! hemp, then? Dear me, and I have next to none.'

'Never mind, matouchka,' said Tchitchikof. 'My business in these parts
is different. You were mentioning that you have had many deaths here?'

'Alas, yes! eighteen souls,' said Nastasie, sighing; 'and such fine
fellows: and the worst is, I shall have to pay for them. The assessor
arrives, you must pay what he demands--pay to a soul. Eighteen die--it
is all one--you pay the same. They are frightful, they are ruinous,
these deaths!'

'Ah, Nastasie,' said Tchitchikof, 'it is the will of God: we must not
murmur against Providence! But tell me--will you let me have them?'

'Let you have what?'

'Your dead souls.'

'How can I let you have _them_?'

'Nothing easier. Sell them to me: I will give you money for them.'

'How! what! Do you want to disinter them?'

'Disinter them! what nonsense; no!' cried Tchitchikof. 'You hand them
over to me by a regular conveyance, and I pay you whatever we agree
upon for them.'

'And what will you do with them?' asked Nastasie in great surprise.

'That is my business,' said Tchitchikof.

'But you see they are dead.'

'And who, in the name of goodness, said they were living?' cried he.
'It's a misfortune for you that they are dead, isn't it? You pay the
tax for them, don't you?--and that'll half-ruin you, you say. Well, I
clear you of the tax for these eighteen dead ones--do you
understand?--not only clear you of the tax, but give fifteen rubles
into the bargain. Is that clear, or is it not?'

'No--yes--I can't tell what to say. You see, I have never sold _dead_
peasants before, and'-----

'It would be queer if you had,' cried Tchitchikof. 'Who'd buy them, do
you think? It's my humour, my whim, to have them. I gain nothing by
them--how can I?--and you gain everything. Cannot you see that?'

'Yes--but--really I don't know what to say. What puzzles me is, that
they are dead.'

'She hasn't the brains of a bullock,' exclaimed Tchitchikof
indignantly. 'Listen, matouchka. Pay attention. You pay for them as if
they were living: that will ruin you.'

'Ah, that is true indeed, batiouchka. In three months, I must pay one
hundred and fifty rubles, and bribe the assessor to boot.'

'Well, then, I save you all that trouble. I pay for these eighteen--I,
not you. When you sign the contract, I hand over the money. Do you
understand now?'

As Nastasie's cupidity excelled her stupidity, she did begin to
understand; and after a little more hesitation and explanation,
Tchitchikof drew up a formal conveyance of the eighteen souls,
precisely as though they were bodies and souls, inserting their names,
however, as a guarantee against his claiming any of Nastasie's living
stock. Nastasie signed it, Tchitchikof paid the money, and, after a
good night's rest, departed for Nikolsk, with the title-deed of the
dead souls safely in his possession.

Of course this new freak of Tchitchikof's was soon noised abroad, and
in the eyes of the Nikolskians proved two things:--_1st_, That he was
unmistakably mad, or philanthropic to a high degree; _2d_, That there
was now a prospect of gaining something by said madness or
philanthropy. Accordingly, all the serf-owners made it their business
to drop in upon Tchitchikof in a purely casual manner; and contrived,
after more or less higgling, to depart with a larger quantity of the
current coin of Russia in their possession than they possessed on
first seeking the interview. In a few days, Tchitchikof found himself
possessed of 2000 souls, at the moderate cost of 19,500 rubles. Dead
souls were getting quite a scarce article; and, on the true principles
of supply and demand, some enterprising Nikolskians were about to
import some defunct souls from a distance, when suddenly, one morning,
the host of the Eagle announced, that at dead of the previous night,
Tchitchikof had departed, bag and baggage and souls.

This sudden departure created a great sensation. All the old theories
about Tchitchikof revived; and the general opinion seemed to be, that
it was all a deep-laid scheme of some irresponsible man in authority,
the end whereof was to be suffering in some shape or other to the good
people of Nikolsk; until the inspector of the hospital, the Nikolsk
Socrates, proved clearly, by unassailable argumentation, that
Tchitchikof was mad; that his exit was in exact keeping with his
conduct during his sojourn; and that they might repose in the peace of
easy consciences, proud that they had made the most of his insanity.

Now for the _dénouement_. At St Petersburg is or was a bank
established by a paternal government for this most laudable purpose:
what with deaths, taxes, and the natural extravagance that seems to
accompany the possession of land in all countries, the Russian
landowners are often embarrassed, and were driven, before this bank
was established, to seek assistance from usurious Jews, the end of
which was frequently total ruin, and a Hebraicising of the race of
landowners, not pleasant to a Russian and a Christian czar. Therefore
this bank was established to lend money to distressed members of the
landed interest; compelled by its charter to lend 200 rubles per soul,
at a given interest and time, to every landowner who should deposit
his title-deeds with the bank. On a certain day very soon after
Tchitchikof's abrupt exit from Nikolsk, a solicitor applies at this
bank for a loan of 400,000 rubles on the security of 2000 souls. The
title-deeds are examined--found correct; the money is paid; and in a
few days afterwards M. Tchitchikof and the money are both out of the
jurisdiction of the czar.

The time for repayment arrives. The bank hears nothing of M.
Tchitchikof. A letter is sent to Nikolsk: no reply. Another of a
threatening nature: still no reply. Finally, a special agent is
despatched, and finds neither Tchitchikof nor security; but gradually
collects the particulars of his visit, as narrated above, and returns
to report progress, or no progress, to his superiors. There is nothing
for it, one would think, but to write off the 400,000 rubles as a
clear loss, and think no more of it. But a paternal government knows
better than that. It adjudges that the Nikolskians are virtually
accessaries to the fraud; apportions the loan among the sellers of the
souls, and compels repayment. So that the Nikolskians have to
conclude, in reflecting on M. Tchitchikof, not without acerbity and a
certain uncharitableness of spirit, that if he were a friend of his
species, he limited _his_ species to himself; and if he were mad,
there was a very clear and profitable method in his madness.

Meantime the principal actor in this little Russian episode, as the
Baron von Rabenstein, captivates the hearts of our English ladies at
the ball-room, and empties the pockets of our English gentlemen at the
_rouge et noir_ table in the fashionable German watering-place of
Lugundtrugbad. And without disparaging his patriotism, or natural love
of country, we believe we speak advisedly when we state, that he has
not the slightest idea of returning, within anything like a limited
period, to the territories of his autocratic majesty.



SPELLING-BOOK _VERSUS_ HORN-BOOK.


Nothing is considered a more shocking mark of defective education than
_false spelling_, or _bad spelling_, or _misspelling_--all which terms
are used to express one's spelling a word in some way which the critic
does not approve; that is, does not consider the right way. But this
is plainly assuming that there is but one right way. Begging his
pardon, is he quite certain that there must be true and false, good
and bad, right and wrong ways of spelling every word in every
language, or even in our own? It seems very doubtful. At all events,
we must, I think, tether the critic to his own particular period, and
not let him range up and down at his pleasure, condemning the past and
legislating for the future.

No doubt there is at this time a common and usual way of spelling most
words, which may claim to be called the right way, or _orthography_.
It is equally certain, that for any individual writer to depart from
that way, is anything but a mark of wisdom. At the same time, it would
not be difficult to specify a considerable number of words, of which
the spelling has only recently been made what it is, and about which,
even now, doubts may be raised.

But this is hardly worth mentioning, for it is clear that there is,
generally speaking, a mode of spelling the English language which is
followed by all well-educated persons; and as, according to
Quintilian, the _consensus eruditorum_ forms the _consuetudo
sermonis_, so this usage of spelling, adopted by general consent of
the learned, becomes a law in the republic of literature. My object is
not to insist on what is so plain and notorious, but rather to call
attention to a fact which many readers do not know, and many others do
not duly consider. I mean this fact--that three or four hundred years
ago there was no such settled rule. Not that a different mode was
recognised, but that there was no recognised mode. There was no idea
in the minds of persons who had occasion to write, that any such thing
existed, for in fact it did not exist; and the adoption of this or
that mode was a matter of taste or accident, rather than of duty or
propriety. Thus it was that the writer who spelt (or spelled, for we
have some varieties still) a word variously in different parts of the
same book or document, and even the printer whose own name appeared
one way on the title-page and another on the colophon, was not
contradicting his contemporaries or himself: he was not breaking the
law, for there was none to break--or, at least, none that could be
broken in that way. He would, perhaps, have said to the same effect,
though not so elegantly as Quintilian: 'For my part, except where
there is any established custom to the contrary, I think everything
should be written as it is sounded; for the use of letters is to
preserve sounds, and render them, as things which they have been
holding in trust, to the reader.' In short, the people of England, in
these old times, had a law of their own, though it did not manifest
itself in a fixed mode of spelling, but differed from ours, and,
indeed, was based on a very different principle. Perhaps I might say,
that they were brought up, not to the Spelling-book, but the
Horn-book.

By this, I mean that the critic of modern times has been no doubt well
drilled in the spelling-book, soundly rated if he was guilty of a
misspelling, and made to understand that it was next to impossible
for him to commit a more disgusting barbarism; while his
many-times-great-grandfather (the scholar of Lily, perhaps we might
almost say of Busby) went through no such discipline. He was, as I
have said, brought up on the horn-book.

Now, I grant that, generally, the major includes the minor; and a
man's being able to read is _prima facie_ evidence that he knows his
letters; yet it is possible that the modern many-times-great-grandson
may indulge in as much laxity respecting _letters_, as his ancestor
did with regard to _words_. Just try the experiment. Go round to
half-a-dozen printers, and ask them to print for you the first letter
of the alphabet. They will understand you, and you will understand me,
without my puzzling the workman who is to print this--if it is
printed--by naming the letter here. Apply to them, I say, successively
to print this letter for you. It is not likely that any one of them
will ask you: 'What shape will you have it?' because that is not a
technical mode of expression among printers; but if any one should do
so, you would perhaps answer with some surprise: 'Why, the right shape
to be sure. Do not you know your letters, and are not your first,
second, and third letters, and all through the alphabet, of the right
shape? Only take care that you do not make this first one in the shape
of the second, or third, or any of those which follow, for the whole
set are distinguished from one another simply and purely by their
_shape_.'

As I have said, however, if you applied to a practical man, he would
not put the question in this form. At the same time, he certainly
would put it in another. He would perhaps say: 'What type will you
have? Shall it be Roman, Italic, Black-letter, Script, or any of the
grotesque inventions of modern fancy?' You immediately become aware
that your order is too indefinite to be acted on without some further
specification. As, however, it is immaterial to you in a matter of
mere experiment, you say at once 'Roman.' Does that settle it?--not at
all: the question of form and shape is as wide open as ever. The Upper
Case and Lower Case in a printing-office differ as much as the Upper
House and Lower House in parliament or convocation. Is it to be a
great 'A,' or a little 'a?' A great 'A,' I need not tell you, though
quite the same in sound and value, is no more like a little 'a,' than
a great 'B' is like a little 'b.'

As to writing also, as well as printing--set half-a-dozen critics
separately and apart to write a capital 'A,' and see how far the
letters which they will produce agree in form and shape--I do not say
with any in the printer's stock, for not one will do that, we may be
certain, but with each other. One scribe will probably make something
like an inverted cornucopia, or wiredrawn extinguisher; and one will
cross it with a dash, and another with a loop; while another will make
a letter wholly different--something that shall look like a pudding
leaning against a trencher set on edge--something that is only a great
'A' by courtesy, being in fact nothing but an overgrown little 'a;'
bearing the same proportion to a common 'a' as an alderman does to a
common man, and looking as if it had been invented by some municipal
scribe or official whose eye was familiar with the outline of
recumbent obesity.

But notwithstanding these and many other variations, you freely allow
that each of your friends has made a capital 'A.' You do not dream of
saying that one is right, and all the rest are wrong. The taste and
the skill of their penmanship may be various, and the judgment of good
and bad goes so far, but it knows better than to go further. Your
toleration on this point is unbounded. If you can but make it out, you
say, without the least emotion of resentment or contempt: 'Mr A.
always makes _his_ Bs in this way;' and 'Mrs C. always makes her Ds in
that way.' _Their_ Bs and Ds forsooth! Yes: 'every man his own
alphabet-maker.' Why not, if you do but understand him? Right or
wrong, the fact is that, come in what shape it may, you take what
stands for 'A' to _be_ 'A,' with all the rights and qualities annexed
to that letter. Except so far as taste is concerned, you do not think
of rebuking the self-complacent type-founder, who prides himself on
having produced a new form which all the world will admit to be a
genuine 'A,' as soon as they make out that it was meant for one.

I have thought it worth while to say all this about letters, because I
believe that it will illustrate what was once upon a time nearly true
as to words. The principle of those who had occasion to write in those
early times was, so far as circumstances allowed, just opposite to
that of the modern critics who find fault with their practice. They
made that which, notwithstanding its fluctuations, we may call 'the
constant quantity' to be the sound, exactly as we do with the
multiform As and Bs just noticed. On the other hand, modern purists
consider, not altogether incorrectly as to the fact, that the notation
has somehow been settled and fixed, and they are disposed to force the
sound into conformity. 'B, y, spells by,' said Lord Byron; and what he
settled for himself, the spelling-book has settled for the rest of the
world and all the words in it.

The circumstances of those who wrote English some centuries ago, may
be considered as bearing some analogy to those of modern English
authors who have occasion to write down Oriental words in English
letters, and who are therefore obliged to make the characters which we
use represent sounds which we do not utter. Of course there can only
be an approximation. Writers feel that there is a discretion, and use
it freely. It is easy for one after another to imagine that he has
improved on the spelling of his predecessors. How many variegations
and transmogrifications has the name of one unhappy Eastern tongue
undergone since the days when Athanasius Kircher discoursed of the
Hanscreet tongue of the Brahmins? I am almost afraid to write the name
of Vishnoo, for I do not remember to have seen it in any book
published within these five years; and what it may have come to by
this time, I cannot guess. To a certain point, I think, this
progressive purification of the mode of representing Eastern sounds
has been acceptable to the world of letters; but the reading-public
have shewn that there is a point at which they may lose patience. They
not long ago decided that Haroun Alraschid, and Giafar, and Mesrour,
and even the Princess Badroulboudour, and the fair slave
Nouzhatoul-aouadat, had all 'proper names,' and refused to part with
the friends of their youth for a more correctly named set of persons
never before heard of.

This by the way, however; for the main object of these remarks is to
convey and impress the idea, that what naturally seems to us the
strange and uncouth spelling of former times, was not a proof of the
gross, untaught ignorance which it would now indicate. The purpose of
the writer in those days was, not to spell accurately words which
there was no strict rule for spelling, but to note down words in such
a way as to enable those who had not heard them to reproduce them, and
to impart their sense through the eye to those who should only see
them. One of the finest proofs and specimens of this which we possess,
is to be found in a sort of historical drama, now about three hundred
years old, written by Bishop Bale, one of the most learned men of his
time, and still existing, partly in his hand-writing, and partly in
another hand, with his autograph corrections.[1] Certainly the prelate
and the scribe between them did, as we should consider it, most
atrociously murder the king and queen's English--for I suppose it
would be hard to say how much of it belonged to Edward, and how much
to Elizabeth; and there is something quite surprising in the prolific
ingenuity with which they evade what we should consider the obvious
and natural spelling. For instance, one of the _dramatis personæ_, and
a very important one, is an allegorical person called 'Civil Order;'
but I believe that the word 'civil' thus spelled never occurs in the
whole work, though seven other modes of spelling it are to be found
there. What then? You know what the writer means by cyvill, cyvyll,
cyvyle, sivyll, syvyll, sivile, and syvile. Only say it out, and don't
be afraid. It is mere nervousness that hinders people from reading old
spelling. Clear your throat, and set off at full speed, and the top of
your voice, with the following paragraph. Do not stop to think; take
the raspers without looking at them, and you will find that you get
over the ground wonderfully:--

'The suttle munkych rewlars in furdewhodes rewled the pepell with
suttyll rewles. But some of the pepyll were sedycyows scysmatyckes,
and did puplyshe them for dysgysyd ipocryts, full of desseyvable gylle
and covytous hydolatrie of luker. And these sysmatykes could in no
wysse indewer that lords, nowther dewks, nor yet the kings mageste,
nor even the empowr, should ponnysh any vylayn. Because, say they,
peples in general, as well as peplys in particular (that is, yehe man
and his ayers), hath an aunchant and ondowghted right to do his
dessyer attonys. "Yea sewer," said a myry fellawe (for such as be
myrie will make myrye jests)--"even as good right as a pertre to yield
peres, and praty pygys to eat them."'

It is, of course, only for the spelling, or various spellings, of
these words that the bishop is responsible, they being here
arbitrarily brought together from various parts of his work merely to
form a specimen. There can be no doubt that he would have pronounced
the words 'people' and 'merry' in one uniform manner wherever they
occur; but it is curious to consider how little we can judge
respecting the pronunciation of our forefathers. Their _litera scripta
manet_; but how they vocalised it, we cannot always decide. If the
reader takes up any edition of Sternhold and Hopkins, printed less
than a hundred years ago, he may, I believe, read in Psalm lxxix--

  O God, the Gentiles do invade,
    thine heritage to spoil:
  Jerusalem an heap is made--
    thy temple they defile.

Any one who is aware how many of what are called 'vulgarisms' in
pronunciation are in fact 'archaisms,' will naturally think that the
ancient pronunciation of 'spoil,' like the modern vulgar one, was
'spile.' But if he goes to one old black letter--say that printed by
John Windet for the assignees of Richard Day in 1593--he will find in
the fourth line 'defoile;' and if he goes to another edition he may
find 'defoyle;' and he will learn that in speculating on such matters,
he must be on his guard against modernisers, and go to originals. Even
then the rhymes of our ancestors teach us much less of their
pronunciation than we might expect; and the curious glimpses which we
sometimes get from them, and from other sources, are only enough to
make us wish for more. Take, for instance, Master Holofernes's
vituperation of Don Adrian de Armado in _Love's Labour Lost_, and see
what you can make of it: 'I abhor such phantasms, such insociable and
point-devise companions, such rackers of orthography, as to speak
_dout_ fine, when he should say _doubt_; _det_, when he should
pronounce _debt_; d, e, b, t; not d, e, t; he clepeth a calf, _cauf_;
half, _hauf_; neighbour vocatur _nebour_; neigh abbreviated _ne_: this
is abominable, which we would call _abhominable_.' Such a passage is
curious, coming from one of whom it was asked: 'Monsieur, are you not
lettered?' and answered: 'Yes, yes; he teaches boys the Horn-book.'


FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Kynge Johan_, a Play in Two Parts. By John Bale. Edited for the
Camden Society by J. Payne Collier, Esq., F. S. A., from the
Manuscript of the Author in the Library of the Duke of Devonshire.
1838.



A FEW WORDS ABOUT ROOMS AND THEIR ORNAMENTS.


The sun shines brightly to-day, and his beams glance lovingly from the
flowers without to those within the room, and rest upon the 'Eve' that
stands among them; the light is toned into softness by this green
drapery, and reminds us of the leaves and tracery which peep in at the
windows. We find, in the effect of the whole, such a delicate reflex
of the nature outside, that we live with a half-conscious perception
that but a tent-like division exists between us and the birds and
blossoms in the garden. We love this room as we do few others, not for
the evidences of wealth in it, though these exist, but because the
idea regulating its arrangement is predominant through all its
details. Affection and love of beauty were present at its creation for
home-life, and worked it into harmony. All rooms might have this kind
of beauty, subject only to slight modifications from position and
wealth.

Character, in reality, has everything to do with it. Rooms tell us
much of their inhabitants. No one will doubt who remembers the stiff,
formal arrangement of the drawing-room 'at school,' where the chairs
stood in the primmest rows and couples, and the whole place breathed
such an air of strict propriety, that we doubted whether a hearty
laugh would not be unbecoming in it; or the uncomfortable, seldom
used, conventional drawing-room, which has such fine-looking,
unreadable books on its polished tables; or the cheerful tiny room of
the friend who has very little money, but very much taste, and who
hangs an engraving there, and puts flowers here, and makes a shrine
out of an ordinary garret. In some rooms, we see that life is
respectably got through in a routine of eating, sleeping,
comfort-loving; in others, that it glances to the stars, and lives
with the flowers; in others, again, that it finds out good in shady
nooks or crowded cities, and is filled with affection and
intelligence.

There are very few rooms, except among the poorest and most degraded,
that have not in them some indications of the love of beauty, which is
so universal in human nature. Influenced by the same feeling, the
cottager's wife scours her tins, arranges her little cupboard of cups
and saucers, buys barbarous delineations of 'Noah in the Ark,' or
'Christ with the Elders,' from the pedler; and the nobleman collects
around him all he thinks precious in bronze or painting. Cleanliness
and order are certainly the simplest manifestations of the love of the
beautiful in the household--the germ, which the feeling in its highest
development must include; but too many among us remain satisfied with
the lower form, and from some reason or other, fail to see the further
gratification that is possible to all. Nature, however, stimulates and
satisfies this love everywhere, and society in many directions is
following in her footsteps. Let us see what can be done in the matter.
After all, rooms must still retain the impress of the character of
their inhabitants. Yes; but there are certain general rules which all
who do arrange them would do well to remember. In the first place,
they should be well lighted, and as thoroughly ventilated as they can
be made; the eye should be pleased with their general effect; no
detail of colouring or furniture should mar it; they should be filled
with gentle relief, not uniformity of colour; and there should be as
many waving lines, instead of angles, as possible. They should contain
all things necessary to their several characters, but nothing very
superfluous; and their whole arrangement should indicate, and be
subservient to, the idea that prompted it. Above all, they should have
in them some thing, or things, to soothe the thoughts, stimulate the
fancy, and suggest something higher than the ordinary uses which they
serve. Human beings, even in the life of a day, experience many
fluctuations of mood, of joy or sadness; and there should be some
thing, if not person, in their homes, that would suggest to them mute
sympathy and comfort.

Are we sad? It is winter now, and these hyacinth bulbs are unsightly,
but spring will bring flowers to them, as time and patience will to
us. Are we glad? These roses and geraniums glow in the sunbeams, and
we rejoice together. Are we dull? That beautiful Greek form rouses us
into activity again. Are we weary of climbing, and dissatisfied with
our want of success? Turn to that Raphael, and let us remember, that
all who faint not by the way, and aspire worthily, shall at length be
transfigured in the light of truth and beauty. There are few if any
rooms that need be without some such suggestion and comfort. Nature
offers them lavishly to all who care to seek them; and first, and most
generously, her loveliest of treasures, flowers, which are the
brightest of drawing-room accessories, as well as the sweetest of
cottage adornments. Sea-weed, too--which is more difficult to get, but
when arranged with taste, is so exquisite in colour--is a sweet
remembrance of sea-side beaches and the odour of the spray. Bits of
pine-bark and fir-cones are beautiful as to colour, and bring back to
us pictures of woods gleaming in the western light, and well-known
landscapes seen through vistas of tall stems; sprays of clematis and
bryony, a group of ivy-leaves, or bunch of ripe corn, require nothing
but a little graceful arrangement to throw a light of beauty over many
a dull corner. But some of these ornaments are perishable, and can but
delight us for awhile. We must have something more permanent. Ah,
then, there are shells which still echo faintly the delicious murmur
of the waves, and reflect all the colours of sea and sky together; one
or two of them we must secure: the graceful nautilus, from whose mouth
shall hang in summer some pendent blossoms; and that Venus's ear,
which glitters in the sunbeams as it lies upon the table, and bears
the impress of spirits' wings upon its inner surface. Bronzes,
marbles, and paintings can be purchased only by the wealthy, so we
will not speak of them; we will see them as often as we can in public
galleries, and meanwhile rejoice that such fine substitutes in plaster
and engraving may become ours. These are yearly becoming more common
among us; and treasures of antique and modern art, Grecian gods, and
Italian Madonnas, may be our own household delights by the expenditure
of a few shillings. Of course, to the taste and requirements of each
individual must be left the selection of the kind and character of the
beauty he desires to have around him.

Some subjects in art are best suited for enjoyment in rooms destined
for solitary use, others for those of general resort--some touch us
peculiarly in one mood, some are welcome to us in all. Of this last
character 'St Catherine borne by Angels' is a specimen: the earth
sinks beneath them, they fly so swiftly and yet so calmly! we are in
the air too with them, and mark how small the world looks, with its
burdens of wrong and suffering, as we cleave our way through the
fields of ether up towards the stars; and that lovely one the spirits
hold so tenderly, how still and calm is every line!--she is at peace
after the storm and the agony, and for a space we lie still as she in
those angel arms. Of the same class is Raphael's 'Transfiguration,'
which is magnificent if we only contemplate the grouping of the
figures, but truly sublime in the ideas it suggests. Flaxman's
'Mercury and Pandora' likewise, elegant and graceful in the highest
degree, is peculiarly suited for generally used rooms and constant
delight. But specimens crowd into our recollection for which we have
not space. General sitting-rooms can bear a _variety_ of subject and
suggestion--they will have a variety of inhabitants or visitors; and
while bearing the impress of a certain unity, they should contain
pleasure for all, and stimuli for differing minds. We would not
habitually admit in them works of art which rouse too painful a class
of emotions. Fuseli's picture of 'Count Ugolino in Prison,' in which
the stony fixedness of despair deprives us, as we gaze, almost of the
living hope within us, we could not bear to have near us habitually.
That wonderfully beautiful marble of Francesca di Rimini and her
lover, which appeared in the Great Exhibition last year, would come
under the same law of banishment. It realised so perfectly the
hopelessness of hell, that at sight of it we swooned in spirit as
Dante did in reality. Life has so many stern realities for most of us,
that in art we need relief, and generally desire to find renewed hope
and faith through delight and gladness.

In rooms where we need care to please only ourselves, we can follow
our own tastes more entirely and freely. In them, shall we not have a
Madonna whose 'eyes are homes of silent prayer?'--a copy of De la
Roche's 'Christ,' so touching in its sad and noble serenity? or some
bust or engraving of poet or hero, which shall be to us as a
biography, never failing to stimulate us in the best direction? Or
shall we have a copy of that fine Mercury, who stands resting lightly
on the earth with one foot, and raised, outstretched arms, in the act
of ascending from it--the embodiment of aspiration? All these things
are symbols of noble thought, and they may belong to us as easily now
as a copy of Bacon or Shakspeare. Here is great cause for rejoicing.
Fantastic furniture, old china, and such-like things, will one day be
superseded in drawing-rooms, just as the old, barbarously-coloured
'Noahs' and 'Abrahams' of the cottage may now easily be by pictures in
better perspective and purer taste. Then there will be danger of
crowding rooms with good things--a great mistake also: an ornament
should have a simple background, should 'shew like metal on a sullen
ground.' Rooms, from temptations of wealth or taste, should never
become mere pretty curiosity-shops. Forbearance and self-control are
necessary in this as in all things. 'To gild refined gold' is worse
than useless.

Let us not question the need of such thought and care for mere
dwelling-places. Are not rooms the nurseries of the young spirits
among us, the resting-places of all others on their pilgrimage? And
because everything is important that influences and educates the
soul, love and thought shall work together in our homes, and create in
all details something akin to the universal harmony they should
typify.



INVESTMENTS!


What is to be done with the money which is realised in the ordinary
course of affairs, has latterly become a kind of puzzle. There it goes
on accumulating as a result of industry; but what then? A person can
but eat one dinner in the day; two or three coats are about all he
needs for the outer man; he can but live in one house at a time; and,
in short, after paying away all he needs to pay, he finds that he has
not a little over for--investment. Since our young days, this word
investment has come remarkably into use. All are looking for
investments; and as supply ordinarily follows demand, up there rise,
at periodical intervals, an amazing number of plans for the said
investments--in plain English, relieving people of their money. A few
years ago, railways were the favourite absorbents. Railways, on a
somewhat more honest principle, may possibly again have their day.
Meanwhile, the man of money has opened up to him a very comprehensive
field for the investment of his cash: he can send it upon any mission
he chooses; he may dig turf with it, or he may dig gold; he may catch
whales, or he may catch sprats, or do fifty other things; but if he
see it again after having relinquished his hold upon it, he must have
exercised more discretion than falls to the lot of the majority of Her
Majesty's lieges in their helter-skelter steeple-chasing after 20 per
cent. Our present business, however, is not with legitimate
speculation, but with schemes in which no discretion is exercised, or
by which discretion is set to sleep--in a word, with bubble
investments; and the history of many of the most promising of these
speculations may be read in the following brief and not altogether
mythical biography, of an interesting specimen which suddenly fell
into a declining way, and is supposed to have lately departed this
life.

The Long Range Excavator Rock-Crushing and Gold-Winning Company was
born from the brain of Aurophilus Dobrown, Esq., of Smallchange Dell,
in the county of Middlesex, between the hours of ten and eleven at
night on the 14th of October 1851. It was at first a shapeless and
unpromising bantling; but being introduced to the patronage of a
conclave of experienced drynurses, it speedily became developed in
form and proportion; and before it was ten days old, was formally
introduced, with official garniture, to the expectant public, by whom
it was received with general approbation and favour. The new company,
in a dashing prospectus, held forth a certain prospect of enormous
advantages to shareholders, with an entire exemption from
responsibility of every sort. The shares were a million in number, at
one pound each, without any further call--on the loose-cash principle,
and no signing of documents. Aurophilus Dobrown was chairman of the
committee of management.

The intentions of the company, as detailed at length in their eloquent
prospectus, were to invade the gold regions of the Australian
continent with a monster engine, contrived by the indefatigable
Crushcliff, and which, it was confidently expected, would devour the
soil of the auriferous district at a rate averaging about three tons
per minute. It was furnished, so the engineer averred, with a stomach
of 250 tons capacity, supplied with peristaltic grinders of steel of
the most obdurate temper, enabling it with ease to digest the hardest
granite rocks, to crush the masses of quartz into powder, and to
deposit the virgin gold upon a sliding floor underneath. The machine
was to be set in motion by the irresistible force of 'the pressure
from without,' and 1000 pounds-weight of pure gold per diem was
considered a very low estimate of its powers of production. These
reasonable expectations being modestly set forth in circulars and
public advertisements, and backed by the august patronage of the
respectable and responsible individuals above named, the Long Range
Excavator Company speedily grew into vast repute. The starving herd
encamped in Stagg's Alley, flew at once to pen, ink, and paper, and
applications for shares poured in by thousands. Referees were hunted
up, or they were not--that is no great matter. Half a million of the
shares were duly allotted; and that done, to the supreme delectation
of the stags, Mr Stickemup the broker, in conjunction with his old
friend and colleague Mr Knockemoff, fixed the price of shares by an
inaugural transaction of considerable amount, at 25 per cent. above
par, at which they went off briskly. Now were the stags to be seen
flying in every direction, eager to turn a penny before the inevitable
hour appointed for payment on the shares. It was curious to observe
the gradual wane of covetousness in the cerval mind; how, as the
fateful hour approached, their demand for profit grew small by degrees
and beautifully less. From 4s. premium per share to 3s.; from 3s. to
2s.; from 2s. to 1s.; and thence to such a thing as 9d., 8d., 7d., and
still downwards, till, as the hand of the dial verged upon the closing
stroke of the bell, they condescended to resign their Long Range
Excavators to the charge of buyers who _could_ pay for the shares they
held. The company was now fairly afloat. By the aid of

  A few clever riggers to put on the pot,
  To stir it round gently, and serve while 'twas hot,

the shares rose higher than had been expected. Aurophilus Dobrown sold
his 50,000 at a handsome premium, and realised what he was pleased
privately to term 'something substantial' by the speculation. The
public became enthusiastic on the subject of the Long Range
Excavators, and for a few short weeks they were the favourite
speculation of the market. By and by, however, a rumour began to be
whispered about on the subject of the monster-machine, the stomach of
which, it was secretly hinted, was alarmingly out of order, and
resisted all the tonics of the engineer. It was currently reported
among parties most interested, that from late experiments made,
previous to embarkation, it had been ascertained beyond a doubt, that
though the peristaltic apparatus digested pints with perfect ease, it
yet rejected quartz--a defect which it was but too plain would be
fatal to the production of gold. The effect of this rumour was most
alarmingly depressing upon the value of the shares. In a few days,
they fell 50 per cent. below par, with few buyers even at that. At
this juncture, it was discovered that one of the directors was
actively bearing the market; but the discovery was not made before
that disinterested personage, who had previously disposed of the whole
of his original allotment at a handsome premium, had secured above
10,000 new shares at a cost of about half their upset value. A
colleague openly accused him of this disgraceful traffic at a general
meeting of the directors, and declared that he had not words to
express his disgust at one who, for the sake of his own personal
profit, could condescend to depreciate the property of his
constituents. The accused retorted, and the meeting growing stormy and
abusive, ended late at night with closed doors.

A few days after, affairs again began to take a turn upwards. The
failure of the engine was declared to be an erroneous and altogether
unfounded report. It was boldly asserted, that the small model-engine
of one inch to the foot, had actually crushed several masses of Scotch
granite, and eliminated seven or eight ounces of pure metal; and these
specimens were exhibited under a glass-case in the office of the
company, in proof of their triumphant success. Now the shares rose
again as rapidly as they had lately fallen, and honourable gentlemen
who had held on, had an opportunity of turning themselves round. It is
to be supposed that some of them at least did that to their
satisfaction; at anyrate, the respectable and responsible concocters
of the Long Range Excavator Rock-Crushing and Gold-Winning Company
very soon began to turn their backs upon the public altogether. By
degrees, the whole body of directors, trustees, counsel and agents,
dwindled down to a solitary clerk paring his nails in a deserted
office. Shares at a discount of 60, 70, 80, 90 per cent. attested the
decline of the speculation. Honourable gentlemen were reported to have
gone upon their travels. The office was at first 'temporarily closed,'
and then let to the new company for Bridging the Dardanelles on the
Tubular Principle. The engine of the Long Range Excavators, according
to the last report, had foundered--but whether in the brain of
Crushcliff, the engineer, or on the Scilly Rocks, we could not clearly
make out. The only one of the original promoters who has latterly
condescended to gratify the gaze of the public, is the Baron
Badlihoff, who, a few days ago, made his appearance on the
monkey-board of an omnibus, whence he was suddenly escorted by
policeman B. 1001, to the presence of a magistrate, who
unsympathisingly transferred him to Clerkenwell Jail, for certain
paltry threepenny defalcations, due to a lapse of memory which our
shameful code persists in regarding as worthy of incarceration and
hard labour. He is now an active member of a company legally
incorporated under government sanction, for grinding the wind upon the
revolving principle. It is not precisely known when the first dividend
on the Long Range Excavators will be declared. Sanguine speculators in
the L. R. E., and the Thames Conflagration Company, expect to draw
both dividends on the same day. In the meantime, the books are safe in
the custody of Messrs Holdem Tight and Brass, of Thieves' Inn; and
ill-natured people are not wanting, who insinuate that they constitute
the only property available for the benefit of the shareholders.

Let us now take a glance at a snug little commercial bubble, blown
into being by 'highly respectable men,' a private affair altogether,
which never had a name upon 'Change, and was managed--we cannot say to
the satisfaction of all parties--by the originating contrivers,
without making any noise in the papers, or exciting public attention
in any way. We will call it, for the sake of a name, 'The Babel and
Lowriver Steam Navigation Company.' Lowriver is a pleasant, genteel
little village, which has of late years sprung suddenly into existence
on the coast of ----shire, and has been growing, for the last seven
years, with each succeeding summer, more and more a place of favourite
resort with the inhabitants of Babel. Mr Montague Whalebone took an
early liking to the place, and built a row of goodly houses by the
water-side, and a grand hotel at the end of the few stumps of pitchy
stakes dignified by the name of the pier. But the hotel lacked
customers, and the houses wanted tenants; and the whole affair
threatened to fall a prey to river-fog and mildew, when the Babel and
Lowriver Steam Navigation Company came to the rescue, and placed it
upon a permanent and expansive footing. Of the original constitution
of this snug company, it is not easy to say anything with certainty.
All we know is, that, some seven years ago, it was currently spoken of
in private circles as a capital investment for money, supposing only
that shares could be got: _that_ was the difficult thing. Large
dividends were to be realised by building four steamers, and running
them between Babel and Lowriver. Upon the neat hot-pressed prospectus,
privately and sparingly circulated--it was whispered that it was too
good a thing to go a begging--appeared the names of Erebus Carbon,
Esq., of Diamond Wharf; of Montague Whalebone, Esq., of Lowriver; of
Larboard Starboard, Esq., ship-builder; and Piston Rodd, Esq., of the
firm of Boiler & Rodd, engineers, as directors. The shares were L.20
each, liable to calls, though no calls were anticipated; and it was
reckoned an enormous favour to get them. Traffic in shares was
discountenanced: the company had no wish to be regarded as a cluster
of speculators, but rather as a band of brothers, co-operating
together for their common benefit. Of course, the necessary legal
formalities were gone through--that could not safely be dispensed
with.

In spite of the difficulty of obtaining shares, a pretty large number
of them got into the hands of the respectable portion of the public,
and the whole were soon taken up. The boats were built by Larboard
Starboard, Esq.; and the engines, as a matter of course, were put on
board by Messrs Boiler & Rodd; Erebus Carbon, Esq., supplied, at the
current rates, the necessary fuel; and at all hours of the day the
vessels ran backwards and forwards, carrying customers to Mr Montague
Whalebone's hotel, and lodgers to the new tenements, which soon began
to rise around it in all directions. Lowriver took amazingly, and rose
rapidly in public estimation; the boats filled well, and the
speculation promised great things. When, however, after several mouths
of undeviating prosperity, the shareholders began to look for some
return for their capital in the shape of a dividend, each one of them
was individually surprised by a 'call:' L.5 a share was wanted to
clear off urgent responsibilities. 'The outfitting costs had been
greater than was foreseen,' and the demands upon the shareholders were
not likely to be limited to the first call. The victims rushed, as
they were invited to do, to the office, to inspect the accounts. The
engineer was there to receive them, and, all suavity and politeness,
submitted every fact and figure to their investigation. There was
nothing to be found fault with--everything was fairly booked; but
there was a heavy balance dead against the company. The engineer
himself put a long face upon the affair, and shrugged his shoulders,
and mumbled something about having burned his own fingers, &c. After
this, reports soon got abroad very prejudicial to the value of the
investments. Then came the winter, during which few passengers
travelled to Lowriver; and with Christmas came another L.5 call.
People grew tired of paying 20 per cent. for nothing, and many
forfeited their shares by suffering them to be sold to pay the calls.
This game went on for nearly three years--all 'calls' and no
dividends; until at length it would have been difficult to find five
persons out of the original 500 who held shares in the Babel and
Lowriver Steam Navigation Company, and there was next to nobody left
to _call_ upon.

Years have rolled on since then. Lowriver has grown into a popular and
populous marine summer residence. Mr Montague Whalebone, who knew what
he was about, having bought and leased the building-ground, has become
the owner of a vast property increasing in value every day. Larboard
Starboard, Esq., is on the way to become a millionaire, and has
several new boats building for the company's service at the present
moment. Messrs Boiler & Rodd have quintupled their establishment, and
are in a condition to execute government contracts. Erebus Carbon,
Esq., has found a market in the company for hundreds of thousands of
tons of coal, and, from keeping a solitary wharf, has come to be the
owner of a fleet of colliers. At this hour, the company consists of
six individuals--the four original projectors, and a couple of old
codgers--'knowing files,' who had the penetration, in the beginning,
to see through the 'bearing dodge,' and would not be beaten or
frightened off. They paid up every call upon shares, and bought
others--and then, by shewing a bold front, asserted a voice in the
management, and crushed in to a full and fair share of the profits.
They have made solid fortunes by the speculation; while the original
shareholders, whose money brought the company into existence, have
reaped nothing but losses and vexation in return for their capital.

But enough, and more than enough, on the score of the delusive farces
which, with pretences almost as transparent as the above, are from
time to time played off for the purpose of easing the public of their
superfluous cash. Let us glance briefly at a speculation of a
different kind, no less a bubble as it proved, but one whose tragic
issues have already wrought the wreck of many innocent families, and
which, at the present moment, under the operation of the Winding-up
Act, is darkening with ruin and the fear of ruin a hundred humble
abodes. We have good reason to know its history too well; and we
shall, in as few words as possible, present the facts most important
to be known to the reader's consideration, with the view of
inculcating caution by the misfortunes of others, and shewing at the
same time how possible it is, under the present law regulating
joint-stock partnerships, for an honest man, by the most inadvertent
act, to entail misery upon himself, and destitution upon his
offspring.

It is some fifteen or twenty years ago, since a company of two or
three speculative geniuses issued a plan for establishing, in a
delightful glen situated but a few miles from a well-known Welsh port
in the Bristol Channel, a brewery upon an extensive scale. The
prospectus, as a matter of course, promised to the shareholders the
usual golden advantages. The crystal current which meandered through
the valley was to be converted into malt-liquor--so great were the
natural and artificial advantages which combined to effect that
result--at one-half the cost of such a transformation in any other
locality; and the liquor produced was to be of such exquisite relish
and potency, that all Britain was to compete for its possession. So
plausible was everything made to appear, that men of commercially
acquired fortune, of the greatest experience, and of long-tried
judgment, invested their capital in the fullest confidence of success.
Following their example, tradesmen and employers did the same; and, in
imitation of their betters, numbers of persons of the classes of small
shopkeepers and labouring-men invested their small savings in shares
in the 'Romantic Valley Brewery.' The number of joint-proprietors
amounted in all to some hundreds, holding L.20 shares in numbers
proportioned to their means or their speculative spirit. Not one in
fifty of them knew anything of the art of brewing, or had any
knowledge of the locality where the scheme was to be carried out; but
no doubt was entertained of the speedy and great success which was
promised.

The land was bought, the necessary buildings were substantially
erected, and the three principal concocters of the scheme, one of whom
was a lawyer, were appointed to manage the concern, and empowered to
borrow money in case it should be wanted, to complete the plant, and
to work it until the profits came in. They had every advantage for the
production of a cheap and superior article: labour, land-carriage, and
water-carriage, were all at a low charge in the neighbourhood; and
materials, upon the whole, rated rather under than over the average.
Year after year, however, passed away, and not a farthing of dividend
came to the shareholders; promises only of large profits at some
future period--that was all. It happened that none of the shareholders
had invested any very large sums, and this was thought a fortunate
circumstance, as none of them felt very deeply involved. The rich had
speculated with their superfluity, and they could bear to joke on the
subject of the Romantic Valley, though they shook their heads when the
supposed value of the shares was hinted at. The poor felt it more, and
some of the neediest sold their single shares or half-shares at a
terrible discount, while they would yet realise something. As time
rolled on, several of the older proprietors died off, and willed away,
with the rest of their property, the Romantic Valley Brewery shares to
their friends and relatives. A considerable number of them thus passed
from the first holders to the hands of others, one and all of whom
naturally accepted the legacies devised to them, and gave the
necessary signatures to the documents which made the shares their own.

Meanwhile, the managers went on working an unprofitable business,
borrowing money on the credit of the joint proprietors; and in the
face of all the advantages upon which they plumed themselves, plunged
deeper and deeper into debt, until, being forced to borrow at a high
rate of interest to pay for the use of former loans, they found their
credit, in the thirteenth year of their existence, completely
exhausted; and then the bubble burst at once in ruin, utter and
complete, overwhelming all who were legally connected with it, either
by original purchase, by transfer, or by inheritance. Independent
country gentlemen, west-country manufacturers, and merchants of
substantial capital, were summarily pounced upon by the fangs of the
law, and all simultaneously stripped of everything they possessed in
the world. Professional men, the fathers of families genteelly bred
and educated, were summarily bereft of every farthing, and condemned
in the decline of life to begin the world afresh. Not a few, seized
with mortal chagrin at the horrible consummation of an affair which
had never been anything but a source of loss and annoyance, sunk at
once into the grave. Others--accustomed perhaps for half a century to
the appliances of ease and luxury, and who were the owners of
hospitable mansions, the centres of genteel resort--at the present
moment hide their heads in cottages, and huts, and eleemosynary
chambers, where they wither in silence and neglect under the cold
breath of alien charity. Some, at threescore, are driven forth from a
life of indulgence and inactivity, to earn their daily bread. Young
and rising tradesmen, who had had the misfortune to inherit from a
relative or a patron but a few shares, or even a single one, saw
themselves at once precipitated into bankruptcy. One case, for which
we can personally vouch, is beyond measure distressing: a gentleman of
good fortune dying, had bequeathed to each of a large family of
daughters a handsome provision; shortly before the bursting of the
fearful bubble, the mother also died, dividing by will her own fortune
among the young ladies, and leaving to each one a few shares in the
Romantic Valley Brewery. The transference of these shares to the
several children made the whole of them liable to the extent of their
entire property; and the whole six unfortunates were actually beggared
to the last farthing, and cast upon the world to shift as they might.
To detail the domestic desolation caused by this iniquitous affair,
would require the space of a large volume. It has wrought nothing but
wretchedness and ruin to those to whom it promised unexampled
prosperity, and it is yet working still more--nor is it likely to
stop, for aught that we can see, so long as it presents a mark for
legal cupidity. All that could be got for the creditors has been
extorted long ago from the wealthier portion of the victims; but the
loans are not yet all liquidated, and the claim yet remaining
unsatisfied, is now the pretext under which the lawyers are sucking
the life-blood from the hard-working and struggling class of
shareholders, who, while industriously striving for a respectable
position, are considered worth crushing for the sake of the costs,
though they will never yield a penny towards the debt.

Besides the persons who have the settlement of affairs in their hands,
the original concocters of the company are the only persons who have
profited from its operations. They indeed ride gloriously aloft above
the ruin they have wrought. The process by which they have managed to
extract a lordly independence for themselves, from a scheme which has
resulted in the destitution and misery of every other participator, is
a mystery we do not pretend to fathom in this case--though it is one
of by no means unusual occurrence in connection with bubble-companies
of all sorts.



THE OSTRICH.


For the following particulars relative to the habits of the ostrich,
and the various modes of taking it, we are indebted to a gentleman
who spent many years in Northern Africa, and collected these
details from native sportsmen, his principal informant being
Abd-el-Kader-Mohammed-ben-Kaddour, a Nimrod of renown throughout the
Arab tribes of this region.

The ostrich country, says Ben-Kaddour, may be described as a
rectangle, of which the towns of Insalah, Figig, Sidi-Okba, and
Warklah form the angles; that is, it comprises the northern skirts of
the Saharian desert, where water and herbage are plentiful in
comparison with the arid plains of the centre. Throughout this region,
ostriches may frequently be seen travelling in pairs, or in companies
of four or five couples; but wherever there has been a recent fall of
rain, one is almost sure to find them grazing together in large
numbers, appearing at a distance like a herd of camels. This is a
favourable opportunity for ostrich-hunting, especially if the weather
is very warm; for the greater the heat, the less vigour have the birds
for prolonging the chase. It is well known, that though the ostrich
cannot raise itself into the air, it is nevertheless so swift of foot,
that it cannot be fairly run down even by the horses of this region,
which, on an emergency, are known to run 180 miles in a single day. An
ostrich-hunt is, therefore, undertaken by at least ten horsemen
together, who, being apprized of the spot where a large group are
feeding, approach with extreme caution, and form a cordon round them.
To prevent the birds from escaping from the circle thus formed, is all
they attempt, and it requires their utmost dexterity. The terrified
creatures run hither and thither; and not managing their breath as
they would do in an ordinary pursuit, they at length become exhausted,
and betray it by flapping their wings. The sportsmen now fall
deliberately upon them, and either lead them away alive, or fell them
with a blow on the head. Their first care is to remove the skin, so as
to preserve the feathers uninjured; the next is to melt down the fat,
and pour it into bags formed of the skin of the thigh and leg,
strongly tied at the lower end. The grease of an ostrich in good
condition fills both its legs; and as it brings three times the price
of common butter, it is considered no despicable part of the game. It
is not only eaten with bread, and used in the preparation of kooskoos,
and other articles of food, but the Arabs reckon it a valuable remedy
in various maladies. In rheumatic attacks, for instance, they rub it
on the part affected till it penetrates thoroughly; then lay the
patient in the burning sand, with his head carefully protected. A
profuse perspiration comes on, and the cure is complete. In bilious
disorders, the grease is lightly warmed, mixed with salt, and
administered as a potion. It acts thus as a powerful aperient, and
causes great emaciation for the time; but the patient, say the Arabs,
having been thus relieved from all the bad humours in his body,
afterwards acquires robust health, and his sight becomes singularly
good. The flesh of the ostriches, dressed with pepper and meal, forms
the supper of the sportsmen.

Ostrich-shooting is conducted in quite a different manner, and as it
is practised only or chiefly during the period of incubation, it is to
it we are principally indebted for the acquaintance which the Arabs
have gained with the habits of these singular birds.

The pairing-season is the month of August. The _reumda_ (female) is
generally shy, and the _delim_ has often to pursue the object of his
choice at full speed for four or five days, during which he neither
eats nor drinks. When, however, she has consented to be his, she never
again quits him till the young ones are reared; and the bond between
them is equally respected by all their companions: there is no
fighting about mates, as among some other gregarious species.

The period of incubation begins in the month of November, and presents
the best opportunity for shooting the ostrich. At this season, also,
the feathers are in the finest condition, though the fat is much less
abundant. Five or six sportsmen set out together on horseback, taking
with them two camels laden with provisions for a month, besides an
abundant supply of powder and ball. They search for places where rain
has lately fallen, or where pools of water occur, for in such
localities there is likely to be that plentiful herbage which never
fails to attract the ostrich. Having discovered its footprints, the
sportsmen examine them with care. If they appear only here and there
on the bare spots, they indicate that the bird has been here to graze;
but if they cross each other in various directions, and the grass is
rather trampled down than eaten, the ostrich has certainly made her
nest in the neighbourhood, and an active but cautious search for it is
commenced. If she is only making her nest, the operation may be
detected at a great distance, as it consists simply of pushing out the
sand from the centre to the circumference of a circle, so as to form a
large hole. The sand rises in dense clouds round the spot, and the
bird utters a pining cry all day long. When the nest is finished, she
cries only towards three in the afternoon. The female sits on the eggs
from morning till noon, while her mate is grazing; at noon, he takes
her place, and she goes to the pasture in her turn. When she returns,
she places herself facing her mate, and at the distance of five or six
paces from the nest, which he occupies all night, in order to defend
it from enemies, especially from the jackals, which often lie in
ambush, ready to take advantage of an unguarded moment. Hunters often
find the carcasses of these animals near ostriches' nests.

In the morning, while the reumda is sitting, the sportsmen dig on each
side of the nest, and at about twenty paces from it, a hole deep
enough to contain a man. In each of these they lodge one of their best
marksmen, and cover him up with long grass, allowing only the gun to
protrude. One of these is to shoot the male, the other the female. The
reumda, seeing this operation going forward, becomes terrified, and
runs off to join her mate; but he does not believe there is any ground
for her terror, and with somewhat ungallant chastisement, forces her
to return. If these preparations were made while the delim was
sitting, he would go after her, and neither would return. The reumda
having resumed her place, the sportsmen take care not to disturb her;
it is the rule to shoot the delim first, and they patiently wait his
return from the pasture. At noon, he takes his place as usual, sitting
with his wings outspread, so as to cover all the eggs. In this
position, the thighs are extremely prominent, and the appointed
marksman takes aim at them, because, if he succeeds in breaking them,
there is no chance of escape, which there would be if almost any other
part were wounded. As soon as he falls, the other sportsmen, attracted
by the report, run up and bleed him according to the laws of the
Koran. They hide the carcass, and cover with sand every trace of the
blood that has been shed. When the reumda comes home at night, she
appears not uneasy at the absence of her mate, but probably concluding
that he was hungry, and has gone for some supper, she takes his place
on the eggs, and is killed by the second marksman in the same way as
the delim. The ostrich is often waylaid in a similar manner at its
usual drinking-place, a good shot being concealed in a hole, whence
he fires on it. The ostrich drinks nearly every five days when there
is water; otherwise it can do without it for a much longer time.
Nothing but excessive thirst induces it ever to approach a human
habitation, and then it flies as soon as it is satisfied. It has been
observed, that whenever the flashing lightning announces an
approaching storm, it hastens towards the water. Though single birds
may often be shot on these occasions, it is a much less certain sport
than killing them on the nest, and less profitable, as in the latter
case the eggs form no contemptible part of the spoil.

The nest of an ordinary pair contains from twenty-five to thirty eggs.
But it often happens that several couples unite to hatch together: in
this case, they form a great circular cavity, the eldest couple lay
their eggs in the centre, and the others make a regular disposition of
theirs around them. Thus, if there are four younger couples, they
occupy the four angles of a square. When the laying is finished, the
eggs are pushed towards the centre, but not mixed; and when the eldest
delim begins to sit, all the rest take their places where their eggs
have been laid, the females observing similar order. These
associations are found only where the herbage is very plentiful, and
they are understood always to be family groups, the centre couple
being the parents of the rest. The younger birds lay fewer and smaller
eggs--those of one year old, for instance, have only four or five. The
period of incubation is ninety days.

In the case of several couples associated thus in the same nest, the
sportsmen do not attempt to destroy any but the old ones; for if they
were to set about making as many holes as there were ostriches, the
whole company would take fright and decamp. But perhaps it is
determined to leave them all in peaceable possession for the present,
and rather make a prey of the brood when hatched. The watching of the
nests in such cases has led to further observations. The eggs of each
pair are disposed in a heap, always surmounted by a conspicuous one,
which was the first laid, and has a peculiar destination. When the
delim perceives that the moment of hatching has arrived, he breaks the
egg which he judges most matured, and at the same time he bores with
great care a small hole in the surmounting egg. This serves as the
first food of the nestlings; and for this purpose, though open, it
continues long without spoiling, which is the more necessary, as the
delim does not break all the eggs on the same day, but only three or
four, and so on, as he hears the young ones stirring within. This egg
is always liquid, but whether by a provision of nature in its original
composition, or through the instinct of the parent-birds in avoiding
to keep it covered like the rest, is not ascertained. The young ones,
having received this their first nourishment, are immediately dried in
the sun, and begin to run about; in a few days they follow the
parent-birds to the pastures, always returning to shelter under their
wings in the nest.

The paternal affection of the delim is remarkable: he never leaves his
offspring; he faces every danger, and combats every foe in their
defence. The reumda, on the contrary, is easily terrified, and leaves
all to secure her own safety; so that it is usual to compare a man who
bravely defends his tent to a delim, and a pusillanimous soul to a
reumda. The delim finds himself more than a match for the dog, the
jackal, the hyæna, or the eagle: man is his only invincible foe; yet
he dares to wage the unequal war when the young are in danger. If the
Arabs desire to make a prey of the ral, as the young ostriches are
called, they follow their footmarks, and having nearly overtaken them,
they begin to shout; the terrified birds run to their parents, who
face about, and stand still to fight for them; so the Arabs lead away
the ral before their eyes, in spite of the bravadoes of the delim, who
then manifests the liveliest grief. Sometimes the greyhound is
employed in this sport: the delim attacks him, and while they are
fighting, the men carry off the young ones, to bring them up in their
tents.

The ral are easily tamed; they sleep under the tent, are exceedingly
lively, and play with the children and dogs. When the tents are struck
for a flitting, the pet ostriches follow the camels, and are never
known to make their escape during the migration. If a hare passes, and
the men start in pursuit of it, the ostrich darts off in the same
direction, and joins the chase. If she meets in the douar (village of
tents) a child holding any eatable thing in its hand, she lays him
gently on the ground, and robs without hurting him. But the tame
ostrich is a great thief, or rather is so voracious, it devours
everything it finds--even knives, female trinkets, and pieces of iron.
The Arab on whose authority these details are given, relates that a
woman had her coral-necklace carried off and swallowed by an ostrich;
and an officer in the African army affirms, that one of them tore off
and ate the buttons of his surtout. The ostrich is, at the same time,
exceedingly dexterous; so that she will tear a date from a man's mouth
without hurting him. The Arabs are distrustful of her, and know where
to lay the blame if, on counting their money, they find two or three
dollars missing.

It is no uncommon thing to see, at some distance from a douar, a
wearied child riding on the back of an ostrich, which carries its
burden directly towards the tent, the young Jehu holding on by the
pinions. But she would not carry too heavy a load--a man, for
instance--but would throw him on the ground with a flap of her wing.

When ostriches are taken to market in Africa, their legs are tied
almost close together with a cord, another cord attached to this one
being held in the hand.



PROGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.


The official statement of the United States' census, published at
Washington in December last, furnishes us with the means of knowing
what our American brethren have been doing in the ten years from 1840
to 1850. In that decennial period, the whole territory had increased
from 2,055,163 to 3,221,595 square miles, exclusive of the great lakes
in the interior, and deeply-indenting bays on the coast. The gross
population in June 1850, numbered 23,246,201; an increase from June
1840 of 6,176,848. Of these, 19,619,366 were whites; 3,198,298 were
slaves; and free blacks, 428,637; the increase having been
respectively, 5,423,371--711,085--42,392. The whole increase was
equivalent to 3-1/2 per cent.; while in Europe, it is not more than
1-1/2 per cent.; and if it continue as at present, the population
will, forty years hence, exceed that of England, France, Spain,
Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland put together. The deaths in the last
of the ten years were 320,194, being 1 to each 72.6, or 10 to each 726
of the inhabitants; this return is, however, supposed to involve an
error, as the mortality is less in proportion than in the most
favoured parts of Europe; whereas the reverse is generally considered
to be the fact. In the same year, 1467 slaves were manumitted, and
1011 escaped. The number of emigrants from foreign countries during
the 10 years was 1,542,850.

Among the individual states, the most populous are New York, which
numbers 3,097,394 inhabitants; Pennsylvania, 2,311,786; Ohio,
1,980,408; Virginia, 1,421,661; Massachusetts, 994,499; Indiana,
988,416; Kentucky, 982,405; Georgia, 905,999. Taking the whole 31
states, the proportion of inhabitants is 15.48 to the square mile: the
free states comprise 13,605,630, and the slave states, 9,491,759 of
population.

To supply this population, there are 2800 newspapers: 424 in the New
England states; 876 in the middle states; 716 in the southern states;
and 784 in the western states. Three hundred and fifty are _dailies_,
150 three times a week, 125 twice a week, 2000 weekly, 50 fortnightly,
100 monthly, and 25 quarterly: the aggregate circulation being
422,600,000 yearly. There is 1 periodical for every 7161 free
inhabitants.

The capital invested in manufactures, excluding the establishments
under 500 dollars of annual value, amounted to 530,000,000 dollars;
the value of raw material was 550,000,000; the amount paid for labour
(in one year we presume), 240,000,000; value of articles manufactured,
1,020,300,000; persons employed, 1,050,000. There were 1094 cotton
'establishments' in operation, which produced 763,678,407 yards of
sheeting; 1559 woollen establishments, which produced 82,206,652 yards
of cloth; 2190 iron establishments, which produced 1,165,544 tons of
iron of various kinds.

Of improved lands, there were 112,042,000 acres; of wheat, 104,799,230
bushels were grown in the last year; 591,586,053 bushels of Indian
corn; 199,532,494 pounds of tobacco; 13,605,384 tons of hay;
32,759,263 pounds of maple-sugar were made; 314,644 hogsheads of
cane-sugar of 1000 pounds each; 312,202,286 pounds of butter; and
103,184,585 pounds of cheese.



EFFECT OF THE EARTH'S ROTATION ON LOCOMOTION.


The following is from _Herapath's Journal_ on the effect of the
earth's rotation on locomotion: 'Mr Uriah Clarke, of Leicester, has
called our attention to an article in the _Mechanic's Magazine_, by
himself, on the influence of the earth's rotation on locomotion. It is
well known, that as the earth revolves on its axis once in twenty-four
hours, from west to east, the velocity of any point on its surface is
greater nearer the equator, and less further from it, in the ratio of
the cosine of the latitude. Mr Clarke says: "Some rather important
conclusions in relation to railway travelling arise out of the view
now taken. The difference between the rotative velocity of the earth
in surface-motion at London and at Liverpool is about twenty-eight
miles per hour; and this amount of lateral movement is to be gained or
lost, as respects the locomotion in each journey, according to the
direction we are travelling in from the one place to the other; and in
proportion to the speed will be the pressure against the side of the
rails, which, at a high velocity, will give the engine a tendency to
climb the right-hand rail in each direction. Could the journey be
performed in two hours between London and Liverpool, this lateral
movement, or rotative velocity of the locomotive, would have to be
increased or diminished at the rate of nearly one-quarter of a mile
per minute, and that entirely by side-pressure on the rail, which, if
not sufficient to cause the engine to leave the line, would be quite
sufficient to produce violent and dangerous oscillation. It may be
observed, in conclusion, that as the cause above alluded to will be
inoperative while we travel along the parallels of latitude, it
clearly follows, that a higher degree of speed may be attained with
safety on a railway running east and west than on one which runs north
and south." There is no doubt of the tendency Mr Clarke speaks of on
the right-hand rail, but we do not think it will be found to be so
dangerous as he says. It will be greatest on the Great Northern and
Berwick lines, and least on the Great Western.'



FOREST SCENERY OF AMERICA.


The forests between Lake Superior and the Mississippi, where the
country is very flat and wet, are composed almost entirely of black
cypress; they grow so thick that the tops get intermixed and
interlaced, and form almost a matting overhead, through which
the sun scarcely ever penetrates. The trees are covered with
unwholesome-looking mosses, which exhale a damp earthy smell, like a
cellar. The ground is so covered with a rank growth of elder and other
shrubs, many of them with thorns an inch long, and with fallen and
decayed trunks of trees, that it is impossible to take a step without
breaking one's shins. Not a bird or animal of any kind is to be seen,
and a deathlike silence reigns through the forest, which is only now
and then interrupted by the rattle of the rattlesnake (like a clock
going down), and the chirrup of the chitnunck, or squirrel. The sombre
colour of the foliage, the absence of all sun even at mid-day, and the
vault-like chilliness one feels when entering a cypress swamp, is far
from cheering; and I don't know any position so likely to give one the
horrors as being lost in one, or where one could so well realise what
a desolate loneliness is. The wasps, whose nests like great gourds
hang from the trees about the level of one's face; the mosquitoes in
millions; the little black flies, and venomous snakes, all add their
'little possible' to render a tramp through a cypress swamp
agreeable.--_Sullivan's Rambles_.



THE BETTER THOUGHT.


  The Better Thought! how oft in days
  When youthful passion fired my breast,
  And drove me into devious ways,
  Didst thou my wandering steps arrest,
  And, whispering gently in mine ear
  Thine angel-message, fraught with love,
  Check for the time my mad career,
  And melt the heart naught else could move!

  Thine was no stern and harsh rebuke;
  No 'friend's advice,' so true, so cold;
  No message wise, such as in book,
  Or by the teacher oft is told,
  Which, like the pointless arrow, falls,
  And rings perhaps with hollow sound,
  But ne'er the wanderer recalls,
  And ne'er inflicts the healing wound.

  Thy voice was gentle, winning, mild;
  Thy words told thou wert from above,
  Like those with which the wayward child
  Is wooed by a fond mother's love;
  Or like a strain of music stealing
  Across the calm and moonlit seas,
  Which moves the heart of sternest feeling,
  And wakes its deeper harmonies.

  Sweet was thy presence, welcomed guest;
  And I, responsive to thy call,
  Arose, and felt within my breast
  A power that made the fetters fall
  From off my long enthrallèd soul,
  And woke, as with a magic spell,
  Griefs which yet owned the soft control
  Of hopes that all might still be well.

  But ah, thou wast an injured guest!
  How soon departed, soon forgot,
  Were all the hopes of coming rest
  That clustered round the Better Thought--
  The tender griefs, the firm resolves,
  The yearnings after better days,
  Like transient sunlight which dissolves,
  And leaves no traces of its rays!

  Yet I despair not--through the night
  That long has reigned with tyrant sway,
  E'en now I see the opening light,
  The harbinger of coming day;
  To Heaven I now direct my prayer--
  O God of love, forsake me not!
  Grant that my waywardness may ne'er
  Quench the returning Better Thought!

  GARVALD.                         J. F.

       *       *       *       *       *

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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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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