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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February, 1852
Author: - To be updated
Language: English
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                                 Harper’s

                           New Monthly Magazine

                    No. XXI.—February, 1852.—Vol. IV.



CONTENTS


Public Life Of Benjamin Franklin. By Jacob Abbott.
Napoleon Bonaparte. The Syrian Expedition. By John S. C. Abbott.
Great Objects Attained By Little Things.
The Sublime Porte.
The Curse Of Gold. A Dream.
Maurice Tiernay, The Soldier Of Fortune.
Anecdotes And Aphorisms.
A Curious Page Of Family History.
The Ass Of La Marca.
The Legend Of The Weeping Chamber.
An Old Maid’s First Love.
The Poison-Eaters.
A Child’s History Of King John’s Reign. By Charles Dickens.
My Novel; Or, Varieties In English Life.
The Orphan’s Dream Of Christmas.
What Christmas Is In The Company Of John Doe. By Charles Dickens.
What Christmas Is, As We Grow Older. By Charles Dickens.
Helen Corrie.—Leaves From The Note-Book Of A Curate.
The Good Old Times In Paris.
Vision Of Charles XI.
Street-Scenes Of The French Usurpation.
What Becomes Of The Rind?
Mazzini, The Italian Liberal.
Chewing The Buyo. A Sketch Of The Philippines.
Sketch Of Suwarow.
Monthly Record of Current Events.
   United States.
   South America.
   Europe.
Editor’s Table.
Editor’s Easy Chair.
Editor’s Drawer.
Literary Notices
A Leaf from Punch
Fashions for February.
Footnotes



PUBLIC LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.(1) BY JACOB ABBOTT.


                    [Illustration: Benjamin Franklin.]

Benjamin Franklin entered upon his career as a public man when very near
the middle of the active portion of his life. His history, therefore,
naturally divides itself into two equal portions, each entirely distinct
from the other. Until the age of about thirty-five he was simply a
Philadelphia mechanic, discharging his duties, however, in that capacity
so gracefully and with such brilliant success, as to invest industry, and
frugality, and all the other plain and unpretending virtues of humble life
with a sort of poetic charm which has been the means of commending them in
the most effectual manner, to millions of his countrymen. At length,
having accomplished in this field a work equal to the labor of any
ordinary life-time, he was by a sudden shifting of the scene in the drama
of his life, as it were, withdrawn from it, at once and entirely, and
ushered into a wholly different sphere. During all the latter half of his
life he was almost exclusively a public man. He was brought forward by a
peculiar combination of circumstances into a most conspicuous position; a
position, which not only made him the object of interest and attention to
the whole civilized world, but which also invested him with a controlling
power in respect to some of the most important events and transactions of
modern times. Thus there lived, as it were, two Benjamin Franklins,
Benjamin Franklin the honest Philadelphia printer, who quietly prosecuted
his trade during the first part of the eighteenth century, setting an
example of industry and thrift which was destined afterward to exert an
influence over half the world—and Benjamin Franklin the great American
statesman, who flourished in the last part of the same century, and
occupied himself in building and securing the foundations of what will
perhaps prove the greatest political power that any human combination has
ever formed. It is this latter history which is to form the subject of the
present article.

It is remarkable that the first functions which Franklin fulfilled in
public life were of a military character. When he found that his thrift
and prosperity as a citizen, and the integrity and good sense which were
so conspicuous in his personal character, were giving him a great
ascendency among his fellow men, he naturally began to take an interest in
the welfare of the community; and when he first began to turn his
attention in earnest to this subject, which was about the year 1743, there
were two points which seemed to him to demand attention. One was, the want
of a college in Philadelphia; the other, the necessity of some means of
defense against foreign invasion. Spain had been for some time at war with
England, and now France had joined with Spain in prosecuting the war. The
English colonies in America were in imminent danger of being attacked by
the French forces. The influence of the Friends was, however, predominant
in the colonial legislature, and no vote could be obtained there for any
military purposes; though the governor, and a very considerable part of
the population, were extremely desirous that suitable preparations for
defending the city should be made.

There was thus much diversity of sentiment in the public mind, and many
conflicting opinions were expressed in private conversation; but every
thing was unsettled, and no one could tell what it was best to undertake
to do.

Under these circumstances Franklin wrote and published a pamphlet entitled
Plain Truth, placing the defenseless condition of the colony in a strong
light, and calling upon the people to take measures for averting the
danger. This pamphlet produced a great sensation. A meeting of the
citizens was convened. An enrollment of the citizens in voluntary
companies was proposed and carried by acclamation. Papers were circulated
and large numbers of signatures were obtained. The ladies prepared silken
banners, embroidering them with suitable devices and presented these
banners to the companies that were formed. In a word, the whole city was
filled with military enthusiasm. The number of men that were enrolled as
the result of this movement was ten thousand.

                     [Illustration: Silken Banners.]

Such a case as this is probably wholly without a parallel in the history
of the world, when the legislative government of a state being held back
by conscientious scruples from adopting military measures for the public
defense in a case of imminent danger, the whole community rise voluntarily
at the call of a private citizen, to organize and arm themselves under the
executive power. There was, it is true, very much in the peculiar
circumstances of the occasion to give efficiency to the measures which
Franklin adopted, but there are very few men who, even in such
circumstances, would have conceived of such a design, or could have
accomplished it, if they had made the attempt.

The officers of the Philadelphia regiment, organized from these
volunteers, chose Franklin their colonel. He however declined the
appointment, considering himself, as he said, not qualified for it. They
then appointed another man. Franklin, however, continued to be foremost in
all the movements and plans for maturing and carrying into effect the
military arrangements that were required.

Among other things, he conceived the idea of constructing a battery on the
bank of the river below the town, to defend it from ships that might
attempt to come up the river. To construct this battery, and to provide
cannon for it, would require a considerable amount of money; and in order
to raise the necessary funds, Franklin proposed a public lottery. He
considered the emergency of the crisis, as it would seem, a sufficient
justification for a resort to such a measure. The lottery was arranged,
and the tickets offered for sale. They were taken very fast, for the whole
community were deeply interested in the success of the enterprise. The
money was thus raised and the battery was erected. The walls of it were
made of logs framed together, the space between being filled with earth.

The great difficulty, however, was to obtain cannon for the armament of
the battery. The associates succeeded at length in finding a few pieces of
old ordnance in Boston which they could buy. These they procured and
mounted in their places on the battery. They then sent to England to
obtain more; and in the mean time Franklin was dispatched as a
commissioner to New York, to attempt to borrow some cannon there, to be
used until those which they expected to receive from England should
arrive. His application was in the end successful, though the consent of
Governor Clinton, to whom the application was made, was gained in a
somewhat singular way. “At first,” says Franklin, “he refused us
peremptorily; but at dinner with his council, where there was great
drinking of Madeira wine, as the custom of the place then was, he softened
by degrees, and said he would lend us _six_. After a few more bumpers he
advanced to _ten_; and at length he very good-naturedly conceded
_eighteen_.”

                        [Illustration: Gun Guard.]

The pieces thus borrowed were eighteen pounders, all in excellent order
and well mounted on suitable carriages. They were soon transported to
Philadelphia and set up in their places on the battery, where they
remained while the war lasted. A company was organized to mount guard
there by day and night. Franklin himself was one of this guard, and he
regularly performed his duty as a common soldier, in rotation with the
rest. In fact, one secret of the great ascendency which he acquired at
this time over all those who were in any way connected with him, was the
unassuming and unpretending spirit which he manifested. He never sought to
appropriate to himself the credit of what he did, but always voluntarily
assumed his full share of all labors and sacrifices that were required.

The members of the society of Friends were very numerous in Philadelphia
at this time, and they held a controlling influence in the legislature.
And inasmuch as the tenets of their society expressly forbade them to
engage in war or war-like operations of any kind, no vote could be
obtained in the legislature to provide for any military preparations. The
Friends, however, were not disposed to insist so tenaciously upon their
views as to be unwilling that others should act as they saw fit. It was
even thought that many of them were willing to encourage and promote the
measures which Franklin was pursuing for the defense of the province, so
far as they could do so without directly violating their professed
principles by acting personally in furtherance of them.

Various instances occurred of this tacit acquiescence on the part of the
Friends in the defensive preparations which were going forward. It was
proposed for example that the fire-company which has already been alluded
to, should invest their surplus funds in lottery tickets, for the battery.
The Friends would not _vote_ for this measure, but a sufficient number of
them absented themselves from the meeting to allow the others to carry it.
In the legislature moreover, they would sometimes grant money “_for the
king’s use_” the tacit understanding being that the funds were to be
employed for military purposes. At one time, before the question of
appropriating the surplus funds of the fire company was disposed of,
Franklin had an idea—which he proposed to one of his friends—of
introducing a resolution at a meeting of the company, for purchasing a
_fire-engine_ with the money. “And then,” said he, “we will buy a _cannon_
with it, for no one can deny that that is a _fire-engine_.”

                     [Illustration: Indian Bonfire.]

Soon after this Franklin went as a commissioner from the government, to
make a treaty with a tribe of Indians at Carlisle, in the interior of
Pennsylvania. On the night after the treaty was concluded, a great uproar
was heard in the Indian camp, just without the town. The commissioners
went to see what was the matter. They found that the Indians had made a
great bonfire in the middle of the square around which their tents were
pitched, and that all the company, men and women, were around it,
shouting, quarreling and fighting. The spectacle of their dark colored
bodies, half naked, and seen only by the gloomy light of the fire, running
after and beating one another with firebrands, accompanied by the most
unearthly yellings, presented a dreadful scene. The frenzy of the people
was so great that there was no possibility of restraining it, and the
commissioners were obliged to retire and leave the savages to themselves.

                             [Illustration.]

After this Franklin returned to Philadelphia and devoted his attention to
a variety of plans for the improvement of the city, in all of which his
characteristic ingenuity in devising means for the accomplishment of his
plans, and his calm and quiet, but efficient energy in carrying them into
effect, were as conspicuous as ever. One of the first enterprises in which
he engaged was the founding of a hospital for the reception and cure of
sick persons. The institution which he was the means of establishing has
since become one of the most prominent and useful institutions of the
country. He caused a petition to be prepared and presented to the
Assembly, asking for a grant from the public funds in aid of this
undertaking. The country members were at first opposed to the plan,
thinking that it would mainly benefit the city. In order to diminish this
opposition, Franklin framed the petition so as not to ask for a direct and
absolute grant of the money that was required, but caused a resolve to be
drawn up granting the sum of two thousand pounds from the public treasury
on condition that the same sum should previously be raised by private
subscription. Many of the members were willing to vote for this, who would
not have voted for an unconditional donation; and so the vote was passed
without much opposition.

After this the private subscriptions went on very prosperously; for each
person who was applied to considered the conditional promise of the
Assembly as an additional motive to give, since every man’s donation would
be doubled by the public grant, if the required amount was made up. This
consideration had so powerful an influence that the subscriptions soon
exceeded the requisite sum. Thus the hospital was founded.

                       [Illustration: Poor Woman.]

Franklin interested himself also in introducing plans for paving, sweeping
and lighting the streets of the city. Before this time the streets had
been kept in very bad condition. This was the case, in fact, at that
period, in almost all cities—in those of Europe as well as those of
America. In connection with this subject Franklin relates an incident that
occurred when he was in London, which illustrates very strikingly both the
condition of the cities in those days, and the peculiar traits of
Franklin’s character. It seems that he found one morning at the door of
his lodgings a poor woman sweeping the pavement with a birch broom. She
appeared very pale and feeble, as if just recovering from a fit of
sickness. “I asked her,” says Franklin, “who employed her to sweep there.”
“Nobody,” said she, “but I am poor and in distress, and I sweeps before
gentlefolks’ doors and hopes they will give me something.”

Instead of driving the poor woman away, Franklin set her at work to sweep
the whole street clean, saying that when she had done it he would pay her
a shilling. She worked diligently all the morning upon the task which
Franklin had assigned her, and at noon came for her shilling. This
incident, trifling as it might seem, led Franklin to a long train of
reflections and calculations in respect to the sweeping of the streets of
cities, and to the formation of plans which were afterward adopted with
much success.

In the year 1755, Franklin became connected with the famous expedition of
General Braddock in the western part of Pennsylvania, which ended so
disastrously. A new war had broken out between the French and the English,
and the French, who had long held possession of Canada, and had gradually
been extending their posts down into the valley of the Mississippi, at
length took possession of the point of confluence of the Monongahela and
Alleghany rivers, where Pittsburg now stands. Here they built a fort,
which they called Fort Du Quesne. From this fort, as the English allege,
the French organized bands of Indians from the tribes which lived in the
neighborhood, and made predatory incursions into the English colonies,
especially into Pennsylvania. The English government accordingly sent
General Braddock at the head of a large force, with instructions to march
through the woods, take the fort, and thus put an end to these incursions.

General Braddock landed with his troops at a port in Virginia, and thence
marched into Maryland on his way to Pennsylvania. He soon found himself in
very serious difficulty, however, from being unable to procure wagons for
the transportation of the military stores and other baggage which it was
necessary to take with the army in going through such a wilderness as lay
between him and fort Du Quesne. He had sent all about the country to
procure wagons, but few could be obtained.

In the mean time the Assembly at Philadelphia made arrangements for
Franklin to go to Maryland to meet General Braddock on his way, and give
him any aid which it might be in his power to render. They were the more
inclined to do this from the fact that for some time there had been a good
deal of disagreement and contention between the colony of Pennsylvania and
the government in England, and they had heard that General Braddock was
much prejudiced against the Assembly on that account. They accordingly
dispatched Franklin as their agent, to proceed to the camp and assure
General Braddock of the desire of the Assembly to co-operate with him by
every means in their power.

Franklin found when he reached the camp, that the general was in great
trouble and perplexity for want of wagons, and he immediately undertook to
procure them for him. He accordingly took a commission from the general
for this purpose, and went at once to Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, and
there issued circulars which he sent to all the farmers in the country,
inviting them to bring their wagons to Lancaster, and offering them
advantageous terms for the hire of them. These measures were perfectly
successful. The wagons came in, in great numbers, and an abundant supply
was speedily obtained. This success was owing partly to Franklin’s
sagacity in knowing exactly where to send for wagons, and what sort of
inducements to offer to the farmers to make them willing to bring them
out, and partly to the universal respect and confidence that was felt
toward him personally, which led the farmers to come forward readily at
_his_ call and on _his_ promise, when they would have been suspicious and
distrustful of any offers which Braddock could have made them through any
of the English officers under his command. A train of one hundred and
fifty wagons, and two hundred and fifty carrying horses were very soon on
their way to the camp.

Encouraged by the success of these measures, Franklin conceived of another
plan to promote the comfort and welfare of Braddock’s army. He procured a
grant of money from the Assembly to be applied to purchasing stores for
the subaltern officers, who, as he had learned, were very scantily
supplied with the articles necessary for their comfort. With this money he
purchased a supply of such commodities as he judged would be most useful
in camp, such as coffee, tea, sugar, biscuit, butter, cheese, hams, &c.,
and dividing these stores into parcels, so as to make one for each officer
in the army, he placed the parcels upon as many horses, and sent them to
the camp. The supply intended for each officer made a load for one horse.

                      [Illustration: Supply Horse.]

Notwithstanding all these efforts, however, to promote the success of
Braddock’s expedition, it was destined, as is well known, to come to a
very disastrous end. Braddock allowed himself to fall into an ambuscade.
Here he was attacked by the Indians with terrible fury. The men stood
their ground as long as possible, but finally were seized with a panic and
fled in all directions. The wagoners—men who had come from the
Philadelphia farms in charge of the wagons that had been furnished in
answer to Franklin’s call—in making their escape, took each a horse out of
his team, and galloped away, and thus the wagons themselves and all the
provisions, ammunition, and military stores of every kind, fell into the
hands of the enemy. Braddock himself was wounded, nearly half of the
troops were killed, and the whole object of the expedition was completely
frustrated. The wounded general was conveyed back about forty miles to the
rear, and there, a few days afterward, he died.

                    [Illustration: Braddock’s Escape.]

Of course a feeling of great alarm was awakened throughout Pennsylvania as
the tidings of this disaster were spread abroad. Every one was convinced
that some efficient measures must at once he adopted to defend the country
from the incursions of the French and Indians on the frontier. There was,
however, a very serious difficulty in the way of taking such measures.

This difficulty was, an obstinate quarrel which had existed for a long
time between the governor and the Assembly. The governor was appointed in
England, and he represented the views and the interests of the English
proprietors of the colony. The Assembly were elected by the people of the
colony, and of course represented their interests and views. Now the
proprietors had instructed the governor to insist that _their_ property
should not be subject to taxation; and to refuse his assent to all bills
for raising money unless the property of the proprietors should be
exempted. On the other hand the colonists maintained that the land
belonging to the proprietors was as justly subject to taxation as any
other property; and they refused to pass any bills for raising money
unless the property of the proprietors was included. Thus nothing could be
done.

This dispute had already been long protracted and both parties had become
somewhat obstinate in their determination to maintain the ground which
they had respectively taken. Even now when the country was in this
imminent danger, it was some time before either side would yield, while
each charged upon the other the responsibility of refusing to provide the
means for the defense of the country.

At length, however, a sort of compromise was made. The proprietors offered
to contribute a certain sum toward the public defense, and the Assembly
consented to receive the contribution in lieu of a tax, and passed a law
for raising money, exempting the proprietors’ land from being taxed. The
sum of sixty thousand pounds was thus raised, and Franklin was appointed
one of the commissioners for disposing of the money.

A law was also enacted for organizing and arming a volunteer militia; and
while the companies were forming, the governor persuaded Franklin to take
command of the force, and proceed at the head of it to the frontier.
Franklin was reluctant to undertake this military business, as his whole
life had been devoted to entirely different pursuits. He, however,
accepted the appointment, and undertook the defense of the frontier.

There was a settlement of Moravians about fifty or sixty miles from
Philadelphia, at Bethlehem, which was then upon the frontier. Bethlehem
was the principal settlement of the Moravians, but they had several
villages besides. One of these villages, named Gnadenhütten, had just been
destroyed by the Indians, and the whole settlement was in great alarm.
Franklin proceeded to Bethlehem with his force, and having made such
arrangements and preparations as seemed necessary there, he obtained some
wagons for his stores, and set off on a march to Gnadenhütten. His object
was to erect a fort and establish a garrison there.

                             [Illustration.]

It was in the dead of winter, and before the column had proceeded many
miles a violent storm of rain came on, but there were no habitations along
the road, and no places of shelter; so the party were obliged to proceed.
They went on toiling heavily through the mud and snow.

They were of course in constant danger of an attack from the Indians, and
were the more apprehensive of this from the fact that on such a march they
were necessarily in a very defenseless condition. Besides, the rain fell
so continually and so abundantly that the men could not keep the locks of
their muskets dry. They went on, however, in this way for many hours, but
at last they came to the house of a solitary German settler, and here they
determined to stop for the night. The whole troop crowded into the house
and into the barn, where they lay that night huddled together, and “as
wet,” Franklin says, “as water could make them.” The next day, however,
was fair, and they proceeded on their march in a somewhat more comfortable
manner.

They arrived at length at Gnadenhütten, where a most melancholy spectacle
awaited them. The village was in ruins. The country people of the
neighborhood had attempted to give the bodies of the murdered inhabitants
a hurried burial; but they had only half performed their work, and the
first duty which devolved on Franklin’s soldiers was to complete the
interment in a proper manner. The next thing to be thought of was to
provide some sort of shelter for the soldiers; for they had no tents, and
all the houses had been destroyed.

There was a mill near by, around which were several piles of pine boards
which the Indians had not destroyed. Franklin set his troops at work to
make huts of these boards, and thus in a short time his whole army was
comfortably sheltered. All this was done on the day and evening of their
arrival, and on the following morning the whole force was employed in
commencing operations upon the fort.

The fort was to be built of palisades, and it was marked out of such a
size that the circumference was four hundred and fifty-five feet. This
would require four hundred and fifty-five palisades; for the palisades
were to be formed of logs, of a foot in diameter upon an average, and
eighteen feet long. The palisades were to be obtained from the trees in
the neighborhood, and these trees were so tall that each tree would make
three palisades. The men had seventy axes in all, and the most skillful
and able woodmen in the company were immediately set at work to fell the
trees. Franklin says that he was surprised to observe how fast these axmen
would cut the trees down; and at length he had the curiosity to look at
his watch when two men began to cut at a pine. They brought it down in six
minutes; and on measuring it, where they had cut it off, Franklin found
the diameter of the tree to be fourteen inches.

While the woodmen were cutting the palisades a large number of other
laborers were employed in digging a trench all around the circumference of
the fort to receive them. This trench was made about three feet deep, and
wide enough to receive the large ends of the palisades. As fast as the
palisades were cut they were brought to the spot, by means of the wagon
wheels which had been separated from the wagon bodies for this purpose.
The palisades were set up, close together, in the trench, and the earth
was rammed in around them; thus the inclosure of the fort was soon
completed.

A platform was then built all around on the inside, for the men to stand
upon to fire through the loop holes which were left in the palisades
above. There was one swivel gun, which the men had brought with them in
one of the wagons. This gun they mounted in one corner of the fort, and as
soon as they had mounted it they fired it, in order, as Franklin said, to
let the Indians know, if any were within hearing, that they had such
artillery.

There _were_ Indians within hearing it seems; several bands were lurking
in the neighborhood, secretly watching the movements of Franklin’s
command. This was found to be the case a short time after the fort was
completed, for when Franklin found his army securely posted he sent out a
party of scouts to explore the surrounding country to see if any traces of
Indians could be found. These men saw no Indians, but they found certain
places on the neighboring hills where it was evident that Indians had been
lurking to watch the proceedings of the soldiers in building the fort.
Franklin’s men were much struck with the ingenious contrivance which the
Indians had resorted to, in order to escape being observed while thus
watching. As it was in the depth of the winter it was absolutely necessary
for them to have a fire, and without some special precaution a fire would
have betrayed them, by the light which it would emit at night, or the
smoke which would rise from it by day. To avoid this, the Indians, they
found, had dug holes in the ground, and made their fires in the bottoms of
the holes, using charcoal only for fuel, for this would emit no smoke.
They obtained the charcoal from the embers, and brands, and burnt ends of
logs, which they found in the woods near by. The soldiers found by the
marks on the grass around these holes that the Indians had been accustomed
to sit around them upon the edges, with their feet below, near the fire.

The building and arming of such a fort, and the other military
arrangements which Franklin made on the frontier produced such an
impression upon the Indians that they gradually withdrew, leaving that
part of the country in a tolerably secure condition. Soon after this
Franklin was summoned by the governor to return to Philadelphia, as his
presence and counsel were required there. He found on his arrival that he
had acquired great fame by the success of his military operations. In fact
quite a distinguished honor was paid to him, soon after this time, on the
occasion of his going to Virginia on some public business. The officers of
the regiment resolved to escort him out of the town, on the morning when
he was to commence his journey. He knew nothing of this project until just
as he was coming forth, when he found the officers at the door, all
mounted and dressed in their uniforms. Franklin says that he was a good
deal chagrined at their appearing, as he could not avoid their
accompanying him, though if he had known it beforehand he should have
prevented it.

                        [Illustration: Departure.]

While Franklin was thus acquiring some considerable military renown in
America, he was becoming quite celebrated as a philosopher on the
continent of Europe. It seems that some years before, the library society
of Philadelphia had received some articles of electrical apparatus from
England, and Franklin had performed certain experiments with them which
led him to believe, what had not been known before, that lightning was an
electrical phenomenon. He wrote some account of his experiments, and of
the views which they had led him to entertain, and sent it to the person
from whom the library society had received the apparatus. These papers
attracted much attention, and were at length laid before the Royal Society
of London, and soon afterward published in the transactions of the
Society. In this form they were seen by a distinguished French
philosopher, the Count de Buffon, who caused them to be be translated into
the French language and published at Paris. By this means the attention of
the whole scientific world was called to Franklin’s speculations, and as
the correctness of his views was fully established by subsequent
investigations and experiments, he acquired great renown. He was elected a
member of the various scientific societies, and the Royal Society of
London sent him a magnificent gold medal.

                     [Illustration: Count de Buffon.]

This medal was brought to America to be delivered to Franklin by a new
Governor, Captain Denny, who was about this time appointed over the colony
of Pennsylvania. The course of public business had often brought Franklin
and the former governor into conflict with each other; for the governor,
as has already been said, represented the interests of the English
proprietors of the colony, while Franklin espoused very warmly the cause
of the people. The governor often sent messages and addresses to the
Assembly censuring them for the course of proceeding which they had
followed in reference to taxing the proprietors’ lands, and the Assembly
often appointed Franklin to draw up suitable replies. The new governor
seems to have been pleased with having the medal intrusted to his charge,
as he intended in commencing his administration, to do all in his power to
propitiate Franklin, so as to secure the great influence which the
philosopher had now begun to wield in the province, in his favor.

When Governor Denny arrived at Philadelphia and entered upon the duties of
his office, he determined on giving a great entertainment to the people of
Philadelphia, and to take that occasion for presenting Franklin with his
medal. This he accordingly did; and he accompanied the presentation with
an appropriate speech, in which he complimented Franklin in a very
handsome manner for his scientific attainments, and spoke in flattering
terms of the renown which he was acquiring in Europe. After the dinner, he
took Franklin aside into a small room, leaving the general company still
at the table, and entered into conversation with him in respect to the
affairs of the province and the contemplated measures of his
administration. He had been advised, he said, by his friends in England,
to cultivate a good understanding with Franklin, as a man capable of
giving him the best advice, and of contributing most effectually to making
his administration easy. He said a great deal about the friendly feeling
toward the colony which was entertained by the proprietors, and about the
advantage which it would be to all concerned, and to Franklin in
particular, if the opposition which had been made to the proprietor’s
views should be discontinued, and harmony restored between them and the
people of the colony.

                   [Illustration: Franklin and Denny.]

During all this time while the governor was plying his guest with these
flatteries and promises, he was offering him wine and drinking his health;
for the people at the dinner table, when they found that the governor did
not return, sent a decanter of Madeira and some glasses into the room
where he and Franklin were sitting. All these civilities and
blandishments, however, on the part of the governor seem to have been
thrown away. Franklin replied with politeness, but yet in such a manner as
to evince a full determination to adhere faithfully to the cause of the
colonists, in case any farther encroachments on their rights should be
attempted.

In fact the breach between the people of the colony and the proprietors in
England soon began to grow wider, under the administration of the new
governor, than they had ever been before, until at length it was decided
to send Franklin to England to lay a remonstrance and petition against the
proceedings of the proprietors, before the king. Franklin accordingly took
passage on board of a packet which was to sail from New York.

A great many embarrassments and delays, however, supervened before he
finally set sail. In the first place, he was detained by certain
negotiations which were entered into between Governors Loudoun of New
York, and Denny of Philadelphia on the one part, and the Philadelphia
Assembly on the other, in a vain attempt to compromise the difficulty,
until the packet in which he had taken passage had sailed, carrying with
her all the stores which he had laid in for the voyage. Next, he found
himself detained week after week in New York by the dilatoriness and
perpetual procrastination of Governor Loudoun, who kept back the packets
as they came in, one after another, in order to get his dispatches
prepared. He was always busy writing letters and dispatches, but they
seemed never to be ready; so that it was said of him by some wags that he
was like the figure of St. George upon the tavern signs, “who though
always on horseback never rides on.”

                     [Illustration: St. George Sign.]

After being detained in this way several weeks, it was announced that the
packets were about to sail, and the passengers were all ordered to go on
board. The packets proceeded to Sandy Hook, and there anchored to wait for
the governor’s final dispatches. Here they were kept waiting day after day
for about six weeks, so that at last the passengers’ stores were consumed,
and they had to obtain a fresh supply; and one of the vessels became so
foul with the incrustation of shells and barnacles upon her hull, that she
required to be taken into dock and cleaned. At length, however, the fleet
sailed, and Franklin, after various adventures, arrived safely one foggy
morning at Falmouth in England.

                        [Illustration: The Ship.]

The vessel narrowly escaped shipwreck on the Scilly Islands as they were
approaching the town of Falmouth. Although the wind was not violent, the
weather was very thick and hazy, and there was a treacherous current
drifting them toward the rocks as they attempted to pass by the island and
gain the shore. There was a watchman stationed at the bow, whose duty it
was to keep a vigilant look-out. This watchman was called to from time to
time by an officer on the deck, “Look out well before there,” and he as
often answered “Ay, ay;” but he neglected his duty, notwithstanding, being
probably half asleep at his station; for suddenly all on deck were alarmed
by an outcry, and looking forward they saw the light-house which stood
upon the rocks, looming up close before them. The ship was immediately
brought round by a kind of manœuvre considered very dangerous in such
circumstances, but it was successful in this case, and thus they escaped
the impending danger. The passengers were all aware of the peril they were
in, and many of them were exceedingly alarmed. In fact, the shipmaster and
the seamen considered it a very narrow escape. If the ship had gone upon
the rocks, the whole company would probably have perished.

It was Sunday morning and the bells were ringing for church when the
passengers landed. Franklin with the others went to church immediately,
with hearts full of gratitude to God, as he says, for the deliverance
which they had experienced. He then went to his inn and wrote a letter to
his family giving them an account of his voyage.

                    [Illustration: Franklin Writing.]

A few days after this he went up to London, and began to devote himself to
the business of his agency.

He found, however, that he made very slow progress in accomplishing his
object, for the ministry were so much engaged with other affairs, that for
a long time he could not obtain a hearing. He however was not idle. He
wrote pamphlets and articles in the newspapers; and every thing that he
wrote was of so original a character, and so apposite, and was moreover
expressed with so much terseness and point, that it attracted great
attention and acquired great influence.

In fact, Franklin was distinguished all his life for the genius and
originality which he displayed in expressing any sentiments which he
wished to inculcate upon mankind. One of the most striking examples of
this is the celebrated Parable against persecution of which he is
generally considered the author; it is as follows:

                 [Illustration: Abraham and the Old Man.]


    And it came to pass after these things, that Abraham sat in the
    door of his tent, about the going down of the sun.

    2. And behold, a man, bowed with age, came from the way of the
    wilderness, leaning on a staff.

    3. And Abraham arose and met him, and said unto him, “Turn in, I
    pray thee, and wash thy feet, and tarry all night, and thou shalt
    arise early on the morrow, and go on thy way.”

    4. But the man said, “Nay, for I will abide under this tree.”

    5. And Abraham pressed him greatly; so he turned, and they went
    into the tent, and Abraham baked unleavened bread, and they did
    eat.

    6. And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not God, he said unto
    him, “Wherefore dost thou not worship the most high God, Creator
    of heaven and earth?”

    7. And the man answered and said, “I do not worship the God thou
    speakest of, neither do I call upon his name; for I have made to
    myself a god, which abideth alway in mine house, and provideth me
    with all things.”

    8. And Abraham’s zeal was kindled against the man, and he arose
    and fell upon him, and drove him forth with blows into the
    wilderness.

    9. And at midnight God called unto Abraham, saying, “Abraham,
    where is the stranger?”

    10. And Abraham answered and said, “Lord, he would not worship
    thee, neither would he call upon thy name; therefore have I driven
    him out from before my face into the wilderness.”

    11. And God said, “Have I borne with him these hundred ninety and
    eight years, and nourished him, and clothed him, notwithstanding
    his rebellion against me; and couldst not thou, that art thyself a
    sinner, bear with him one night?”


                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

This parable, the idea of which Franklin probably obtained from some
ancient Persian books, he wrote out and committed to memory, and he used
to amuse himself sometimes by opening the Bible, and repeating the parable
as if he were reading it from that book; and he found, he said, that very
few auditors were sufficiently acquainted with the contents of the sacred
volume to suspect the deception.

He often expressed the sentiments which he wished to inculcate, in some
unusual and striking form, as in this instance. His conversation assumed
somewhat the same character, so that wherever he was, his sayings and
doings always attracted great attention.

In respect to this parable on persecution, although it is generally
considered as the production of Franklin, it was never really claimed as
such by him. In fact, Franklin himself did not publish it. It was
published without his knowledge, by a friend of his in Scotland, the
celebrated Lord Kames, who inserted it in a volume of his writings, saying
it was “furnished to him” by Franklin. Lord Kames resided in Scotland, and
Franklin became acquainted with him during a visit which he made to that
country in the summer of 1759. Lord Kames became very greatly interested
in Franklin’s character, and a warm friendship and constant correspondence
was kept up between the two philosophers for many years, as long, in fact,
as Lord Kames lived; for Franklin was the survivor.

                     [Illustration: Mrs. Stevenson.]

Franklin’s residence while he was in London was in Craven-street, near the
Strand, at the house of a Mrs. Stevenson. This house is still commemorated
in the London Guide Books, among other places of historical interest in
the metropolis, on account of its having been the home of the
distinguished philosopher so long. Franklin lived on very friendly terms
with Mrs. Stevenson and her family, while he remained in her house, and he
interested himself in the studies and instruction of her daughter. At the
same time he kept up a constant and familiar correspondence with his wife
and family at home. One of his sons was with him during his residence in
England having accompanied him when he came over. His friends were very
desirous that he should send for his wife to come to England too, and more
especially his daughter Sally, who was a very attractive and agreeable
young lady, just arrived to years of woman-hood. One of Franklin’s most
intimate friends, Mr. Strahan, a member of Parliament, wrote to Mrs.
Franklin very urgently requesting her to come to England with her
daughter. Franklin himself, however, seems not to have seconded this
proposition very strongly. He knew, in the first place, that his wife had
an irresistible repugnance to undertaking a sea voyage, and then he was
continually hoping that the long and weary negotiations in which he was
engaged would be brought soon to an end, so that he could return himself
to his native land.

At length, after an infinite variety of difficulties and delays, the
object for which Franklin had been sent to England was in the main
accomplished. It was decided that the lands of the proprietors should be
taxed as well as the property of the colonists. There were several other
measures which he had been desirous of securing, which he found then
impracticable. Still his object in the main was accomplished, and the
Assembly were well satisfied with what he had done. He accordingly
concluded to return to America.

He left England about the end of August, in 1762, in company with ten sail
of merchant ships under convoy of a man-of-war. They touched at Madeira on
the passage, where they were very kindly received by the inhabitants, and
Franklin was very much interested in the observations which he made on the
island and its productions. After remaining on the island for a few days,
and furnishing the ships with provisions and refreshments of all kinds,
the ships sailed again. They proceeded southward until they reached the
trade winds, and then westward toward the coast of America. All this time
the weather was so favorable, and the water was so smooth, that there were
very few days when the passengers could not visit from ship to ship,
dining with each other on board the different vessels, which made the time
pass very agreeably; “much more so,” as Franklin said, “than when one goes
in a single ship, as this was like traveling in a moving village with all
one’s neighbors about one.”

He arrived at home on the 1st of November, after an absence of between
five and six years. He found his wife and daughter well—the latter, as he
says, grown to quite a woman, and with many amiable accomplishments,
acquired during his absence. He was received too with great distinction by
the public authorities and by the people of Philadelphia. The Assembly
voted him twelve thousand pounds for his services, and also passed a vote
of thanks, to be presented to him in public by the Speaker. His friends
came in great numbers to see him and congratulate him on his safe return,
so that his house for many days was filled with them. Besides these public
and private honors bestowed upon himself, Franklin experienced an
additional satisfaction also at this time on account of the distinction to
which his son was attaining. His son had been appointed Governor of New
Jersey just before his father left England, and he remained behind when
his father sailed, in order to be married to a very agreeable West India
lady to whom he had proposed himself, with his father’s consent and
approbation. The young governor and his bride arrived in Philadelphia a
few months after Franklin himself came home. Franklin accompanied his son
to New Jersey, where he had the pleasure of seeing him warmly welcomed by
people of all ranks, and then left him happily established in his
government there.

Soon after this Franklin, who still held the office of postmaster for the
colonies, turned his attention to the condition of the post-office, and
concluded to make a tour of inspection with reference to this business in
all the colonies north of Philadelphia. He took his daughter with him on
this journey, although it was likely to be a very long and fatiguing one.
He traveled in a wagon, accompanied by a saddle horse. His daughter rode
on this horse for a considerable part of the journey. At the beginning of
it she rode on the horse only occasionally; but, as she became accustomed
to the exercise, she found it more and more agreeable, and on the journey
home she traveled in this manner nearly all the way from Rhode Island to
Philadelphia.

                   [Illustration: Travelling by Wagon.]

Not long after this time new Indian difficulties occurred on the
frontiers, which called for the raising of a new military force to
suppress them. A law was accordingly proposed in the Assembly for
providing the necessary funds for this purpose by a tax. And now it was
found that the question which Franklin had been sent to Europe to arrange,
namely, the question of taxing the proprietary lands had not, after all,
been so definitely settled as was supposed. The language of the law was
this: “The uncultivated lands of the proprietaries shall not be assessed
higher than the lowest rate at which any uncultivated lands belonging to
the inhabitants shall be assessed;” and on attempting to determine the
practical application of this language, it was found to be susceptible of
two interpretations. The Assembly understood it to mean that the land of
the proprietaries should not be taxed higher than that of any of the
inhabitants, _of the same quality_. Whereas the governor insisted that the
meaning must be that none of the proprietaries’ land should be taxed any
higher than the lowest and poorest belonging to any of the inhabitants.
The language of the enactment is, perhaps, susceptible of either
construction. It will certainly bear the one which the governor put upon
it, and as he insisted, in the most absolute and determined manner, upon
his view of the question, the Assembly were at length compelled to yield;
for the terrible danger which impended over the colony from the Indians on
the frontier would not admit of delay.

The people of the colony, though thus beaten in the contest and forced to
submit, were by no means disposed to submit peaceably. On the contrary a
very general feeling of indignation and resentment took possession of the
community, and at length it was determined to send a petition to the King
of Great Britain, praying him to dispossess the proprietaries of the power
which they were so obstinately determined on abusing, and to assume the
government of the colonies himself, as a prerogative of the crown. The
coming to this determination on the part of the colony was not effected
without a great deal of debate, and political animosity and contention,
for the governor of course had a party on his side, and they exerted
themselves to the utmost to prevent the adoption of the petition. It was,
however, carried against all opposition. The Speaker of the Assembly
however, refused to sign the bill when it was passed, and he resigned his
office to avoid the performance of this duty, an act which would of course
greatly please the proprietary party. The majority of the Assembly then
elected Franklin Speaker, and he at once signed the bill. This proceeding
made Franklin specially obnoxious to the proprietary party, and at the
next election of members of the Assembly they made every possible effort
in Franklin’s district to prevent his being chosen. They succeeded.
Franklin lost his election by about twenty-five votes out of four
thousand. But though the proprietary interest was thus the strongest in
Franklin’s district, it was found when the new Assembly came together that
the party that was opposed to them was in a majority of two-thirds; and in
order to rebuke their opponents for the efforts which they had made to
defeat Franklin in his district, they immediately passed a vote to send
him to England again, as a special messenger, to present the petition
which they had voted, to the king.

                         [Illustration: Church.]

The animosity and excitement which attended this contest was of course
extreme, and the character and the whole political course of Franklin,
were assailed by his enemies with all the violence and pertinacity that
characterize political contests of this kind at the present day. Franklin,
however, bore it all very good-naturedly. Just before he sailed, after he
had left Philadelphia to repair to the ship, which was lying some distance
down the river, he wrote a very affectionate letter to his daughter to bid
her farewell and give her his parting counsels. “You know,” said he, in
this letter, “that I have many enemies, all, indeed, on the public account
(for I can not recollect that I have in a private capacity given just
cause of offense to any one whatever), yet they are enemies, and very
bitter ones; and you must expect their enmity will extend in some degree
to you, so that your slightest indiscretions will be magnified into
crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is,
therefore, the more necessary for you to be extremely circumspect in all
your behavior, that no advantage may be given to their malevolence.” Then
followed various counsels relating to her duty to her mother, her general
deportment, her studies, and her obligations to the church. The church
with which Franklin was connected was of the Episcopal denomination, and
he took a great interest in its prosperity; though he manifested the same
liberality and public spirit here as in all the other relations that he
sustained. At one time, for example, it was proposed by certain members of
the congregation to form a sort of colony, and build a new church in
another place. A portion of the people opposed this plan as tending to
weaken the mother church, but Franklin favored it, thinking that in the
end the measure would have a contrary effect from the one they
apprehended. He compared it to the swarming of bees, by which, he said,
the comfort and prosperity of the old hive was increased, and a new and
flourishing colony established to keep the parent stock in countenance.
Very few persons, at that period, would have seen either the expediency or
the duty of pursuing such a course in respect to the colonization of a
portion of a church: though now such views are very extensively
entertained by all liberal minded men, and many such colonies are now
formed from thriving churches, with the concurrence of all concerned.

                [Illustration: Assembled upon the wharf.]

But to return to the voyage. Franklin was to embark on board his ship at
Chester, a port situated down the river from Philadelphia, on the confines
of the State of Delaware. A cavalcade of three hundred people from
Philadelphia accompanied him to Chester, and a great company assembled
upon the wharf, when the vessel was about to sail, to take leave of their
distinguished countryman and wish him a prosperous voyage. The crowd thus
assembled saluted Franklin with acclamations and cheers, as the boat which
was to convey him to the vessel slowly moved away from the shore. The day
of his sailing was the 7th of November, 1764, about two years after his
return from his former visit.

The voyage across the Atlantic was a prosperous one, notwithstanding that
it was so late in the season. Franklin wrote a letter home to give his
wife and daughter an account of his voyage, before he left the vessel. On
landing he proceeded to London, and went directly to his old landlady’s,
at Mrs. Stevenson’s, in Craven-street, Strand. When the news of his safe
arrival reached Philadelphia, the people of the city celebrated the event
by ringing the bells, and other modes of public rejoicing. The hostility
which had been manifested toward him had operated to make him a greater
favorite than ever.

Franklin now began to turn his attention toward the business of his
agency. He had not been long in England, however, before difficulties grew
up between the colonies and the mother country, which proved to be of a
far more serious character than those which had been discussed at
Philadelphia. Parliament claimed the right to tax the colonies. The
colonies maintained that their own legislatures alone had this right, and
a long and obstinate dispute ensued. The English government devised all
sorts of expedients to assess the taxes in such a way that the Americans
should be compelled to pay them; and the Americans on their part met these
attempts by equally ingenious and far more effectual contrivances for
evading the payment. For a time the Americans refused to use any British
commodities, in order that the people of England might see that by the
persisting of the government in their determination to tax the colonies,
they would lose a very valuable trade. Franklin joined in this effort,
insomuch that for a long time he would not make purchases in England of
any articles to send home to his family. At length the difficulty was in
some measure compromised. One of the most obnoxious of the acts of
Parliament for taxing America was repealed, and then for the first time
Franklin purchased and sent home to his wife and daughter quite a trunk
full of dresses—silks, satins, and brocade—with gloves, and bottles of
lavender water, and other such niceties to fill the corners. He told her,
in the letter which he sent with this trunk, that, as the Stamp Act was
repealed, he was now willing that she should have a new gown.

                        [Illustration: The Gown.]

In fact the great philosopher’s attention was attracted at this time in
some degree to the effect of dress upon his own personal appearance, for
on making a visit to Paris, which he did toward the close of 1767, he says
that the French tailor and perruquier so transformed him as to make him
appear twenty years younger than he really was.

                  [Illustration: Twenty Years Younger.]

Franklin received a great deal of attention while he was in Paris, and he
seems to have enjoyed his visit there very highly. The most distinguished
men in the walks of literature and science sought his society, for they
all knew well his reputation as a philosopher; and many of them had read
his writings and had repeated the experiments which he had made, and which
had awakened so deep an interest throughout the whole learned world.
Franklin received too, many marks of distinction and honor from the public
men of France—especially from those who were connected with the
government. It was supposed that they had been watching the progress of
the disputes between England and her colonies, and secretly hoping that
these disputes might end in an open rupture; for such a rupture they
thought would end in weakening the power of their ancient rival.
Sympathizing thus with the party in this contest which Franklin
represented, they naturally felt a special interest in him. Franklin was
presented at court, and received into the most distinguished society in
the metropolis.

After a time he returned again to England, but he found when he arrived
there that the state of things between the English government and the
American colonies was growing worse instead of better. Parliament insisted
on its right “to bind the colonies,” as their resolve expressed it, “in
all cases whatsoever.” The Americans, on the other hand, were more and
more determined to resist such a claim. Parliament adopted measures more
and more stringent every day, to compel the colonies to submit. They
passed coercive laws; they devised ingenious modes of levying taxes; they
sent out troops, and in every possible way strengthened the military
position of the government in America. The colonists, on the other hand,
began to evince the most determined spirit of hostility to the measures of
the mother country. They held great public assemblages; they passed
violent resolves; they began to form extensive and formidable combinations
for resisting or evading the laws. Thus every thing portended an
approaching conflict.

Franklin exerted all his power and influence for a long time in attempting
to heal the breach. He wrote pamphlets and articles in the newspapers in
England defending, though in a tone of great candor and moderation, the
rights of America, and urging the ministry and people of England not to
persist in their attempts at coercion. At the same time he wrote letters
to America, endeavoring to diminish the violence of the agitation there,
in hopes that by keeping back the tide of excitement and passion which was
so rapidly rising, some mode of adjustment might be found to terminate the
difficulty. All these efforts were, however, in vain. The quarrel grew
wider and more hopeless every day.

About this time the administration of the colonial affairs for the English
government was committed to a new officer, Lord Hillsborough, who was now
made Secretary of State for America; and immediately new negotiations were
entered into, and new schemes formed, for settling the dispute. Two or
three years thus passed away, but nothing was done. At length Lord
Hillsborough seems to have conceived the idea of winning over Franklin’s
influence to the side of the English government by compliments and
flattering attentions. He met him one morning in Dublin, at the house of
the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, where he paid him special civilities, and
invited him in the most cordial manner to visit him at his country mansion
at Hillsborough, in the north of England. Franklin was then contemplating
a journey northward, and in the course of this journey he stopped at
Hillsborough. He and his party were received with the greatest attention
by his lordship, and detained four days, during which time Franklin was
loaded with civilities.

If these attentions were really designed to make Franklin more manageable,
as the representative of the colonies in the contest that was going on,
they wholly failed of their object; for in the negotiations which
followed, Franklin continued as firm and intractable as ever. In fact, not
long after this, he came directly into conflict with Lord Hillsborough
before the Board of Trade, when a certain measure relating to the
colony—one which Lord Hillsborough strongly opposed, and Franklin as
strenuously advocated—was in debate. At last after a long contest Franklin
gained the day; and this result so changed his lordship’s sentiments
toward Franklin that for some time he treated him with marked rudeness. At
one time Franklin called to pay his respects to Lord Hillsborough on a day
when his lordship was holding a levee, and when there were a number of
carriages at the door. Franklin’s coachman drove up, alighted, and was
opening the carriage for Franklin to dismount, when the porter came out,
and in the most supercilious and surly manner rebuked the coachman for
opening the door of the carriage before he had inquired whether his
lordship was at home; and then turning to Franklin he said, “My lord is
_not_ at home.”

                [Illustration: Franklin and Hillsborough.]

Lord Hillsborough, however, recovered from his resentment after this, in
the course of a year; and at length on one occasion his lordship called
upon Franklin in his room, and accosted him in a very cordial and friendly
manner, as if no difficulty between them had ever occurred.

In the mean time the determination in America to resist the principle of
the supremacy of Parliament over the colonies, became more and more
extended. A disposition was manifested by the several colonies to combine
their efforts for this end, and one after another of them sent out
commissions to Franklin to act as their agent, as well as agent for
Pennsylvania. Things went on in this way until a certain tragical affair
occurred in Boston, known generally in American accounts of these events
as the Boston massacre, which greatly increased the popular excitement
among the people of the colonies.

This massacre, as it was called, was the shooting of some persons in a
crowd in State-street in Boston, by the British soldiers. It originated
thus: A company of boys one day undertook to burn effigies of certain
merchants who persisted in importing British goods and secretly selling
them, thus taking sides as it were against their countrymen in the contest
that was going on. While doing this a man whom they considered a spy and
informer came by; and the boys, in some way or other, became involved in a
quarrel with him. The man retreated to his house; the boys followed him
and threw snow-balls and pieces of ice at the house when he had gone in.
The man brought a gun to the window and shot one of the boys dead on the
spot.

                     [Illustration: Boston Massacre.]

This of course produced a very intense excitement throughout the city. The
soldiers naturally took part with those supposed to favor British
interests; this exasperated the populace against them, and finally, after
various collisions, a case occurred in which the British officer deemed it
his duty to order the troops to fire upon a crowd of people that were
assembled to taunt and threaten them, and pelt them with ice and snow.
They had been led to assemble thus, through some quarrel that had sprung
up between a sentinel and one of the young men of the town. In the firing
three men were killed outright, and two more were mortally wounded. The
killing of these men was called a massacre, and the tidings of it produced
a universal and uncontrollable excitement throughout the provinces.

                      [Illustration: Lord Chatham.]

In proportion, however, as the spirit of resistance to British rule
manifested itself in America, the determination became more and more firm
and decided on the part of the British government not to yield. It is a
point of honor with all governments, and especially with monarchical
governments, not to give way in the slightest degree to what they call
rebellion. There were, however, a few among the British statesmen who
foresaw the impossibility of subduing the spirit which was manifesting
itself in America, by any force which could be brought to bear upon so
distant and determined a population. Lord Chatham was one of these; and he
actually brought forward in Parliament, in 1775, just before the
revolution broke out, a bill for withdrawing the troops from Boston as the
first step toward a conciliatory course of measures. Franklin was present
in Parliament, by Chatham’s particular request, at the time when this
motion was brought forward. In the speech which Lord Chatham made on this
occasion, he alluded to Franklin, and spoke of him in the highest terms.
The motion was advocated too, by Lord Camden, another of the British
peers, who made an able speech in favor of it. On the other hand it was
most violently opposed by other speakers, and Franklin himself was
assailed by one of them in very severe terms. When the vote came to be
taken, it was lost by a large majority; and thus all hope of any thing
like a reconciliation disappeared.

                       [Illustration: Lord Camden.]

A great variety of ingenious devices were resorted to from time to time to
propitiate Franklin, and to secure his influence in America, in favor of
some mode of settling the difficulty, which would involve submission on
the part of the colonies. He was for example quite celebrated for his
skill in playing chess, and at one time he was informed that a certain
lady of high rank desired to play chess with him, thinking that she could
beat him. He of course acceded to this request and played several games
with her. The lady was a sister of Lord Howe, a nobleman who subsequently
took a very active and important part in the events of the revolution. It
turned out in the end that this plan of playing chess was only a manœuvre
to open the way for Franklin’s visiting at Mrs. Howe’s house, in order
that Lord Howe himself might there have the opportunity of conferring with
him on American affairs without attracting attention. Various conferences
were accordingly held between Franklin and Lord Howe, at this lady’s
house, and many other similar negotiations were carried on with various
other prominent men about this time, but they led to nothing satisfactory.
In fact, the object of them all was to bring over Franklin to the British
side of the question, and to induce him to exert his almost unlimited
influence with the colonies to bring them over. But nothing of this sort
could be done.

                        [Illustration: Mrs. Howe.]

Ten years had now passed away since Franklin went to England, and it began
to appear very obvious that the difficulties in which his mission had
originated, could not be settled, but would soon lead to an open rupture
between the colonies and the mother country. Franklin of course concluded
that for him to remain any longer in England would be of no avail. He had
hitherto exerted all his power to promote a settlement of the dispute, and
had endeavored to calm the excitement of the people at home, and restrain
them from the adoption of any rash or hasty measures. He now, however,
gave up all hope of a peaceable settlement of the question, and returned
to America prepared to do what lay in his power to aid his countrymen in
the approaching struggle.

It was in May, 1775, that Franklin arrived in Philadelphia, just about the
time that open hostilities were commenced between the colonies and the
mother country. Though he was now quite advanced in age, being about
seventy years old, he found himself called to the discharge of the most
responsible and arduous duties. A Continental Congress had been
summoned—to consist of delegates from all the colonies. Franklin was
elected, on the next day after his arrival, as a member of this body, and
he entered at once upon the discharge of the duties which his position
brought upon him, and prosecuted them in the most efficient manner. In all
the measures which were adopted by Congress for organizing and arming the
country, he took a very prominent and conspicuous part. In fact so high
was the estimation in which he was held, on account of his wisdom and
experience, and the far-reaching sagacity which characterized all his
doings, that men were not willing to allow any important business to be
transacted without his concurrence; and at length, notwithstanding his
advanced age, for he was now, as has been said, about seventy years old,
they proposed to send him as a commissioner into Canada.

The province of Canada had not hitherto evinced a disposition to take part
with the other colonies in the contest which had been coming on, and now
Congress, thinking it desirable to secure the co-operation of that colony
if possible, decided on sending a commission there to confer with the
people, and endeavor to induce them to join the general confederation.
Franklin was appointed at the head of this commission. He readily
consented to accept the appointment, though for a man of his years the
journey, long as it was, and leading through such a wilderness as then
intervened, was a very formidable undertaking. So few were the facilities
for traveling in those days that it required five or six weeks to make the
journey. The commissioners left Philadelphia on the 20th of March, and did
not reach Montreal until near the end of April. In fact after commencing
the journey, and finding how fatiguing and how protracted it was likely to
be, Franklin felt some doubt whether he should ever live to return; and
when he reached Saratoga he wrote to a friend, saying that he began to
apprehend that he had undertaken a fatigue which at his time of life might
prove too much for him; and so he had taken paper, he said, to write to a
few friends by way of farewell.

He did, however, safely return, after a time, though unfortunately the
mission proved unsuccessful. The Canadians were not disposed to join the
confederation.

At length early in the spring of 1776 the leading statesmen of America
came to the conclusion that the end of the contest in which they were
engaged must be the absolute and final separation of the colonies from the
mother country, and the establishment of an independent government for
America. When this was resolved upon, a committee of five members of
Congress, namely Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Sherman, and Livingston, were
appointed a committee to prepare a declaration of independence. The
original resolution, on the basis of which the appointment of this
committee was made, was as follows:

“Resolved, That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free
and independent states, and that all political connection between them and
Great Britain is, and of right ought to be totally dissolved.”

                      [Illustration: The Committee.]

This resolution was first proposed and debated on the 8th of June. Some of
the provinces were however found to be not quite prepared for such a
measure, and so the debate was adjourned. The vote was finally taken on
the 1st of July, and carried by a majority of nine out of thirteen
colonies. Pennsylvania and South Carolina were against it; Delaware was
divided; and New York did not vote, on account of some informality in the
instructions of her delegates.

In the mean time the committee had proceeded to the work of drawing up the
declaration of independence. Jefferson was appointed to write the
document, and he, when he had prepared his draft, read it in committee
meeting for the consideration of the other members. The committee approved
the draft substantially as Jefferson had written it, and it was
accordingly reported to Congress and was adopted by the vote of all the
colonies.

For by the time that the final and decisive vote was to be taken, the
delegates from all the colonies had received fresh instructions from their
constituents, or fresh intelligence in respect to the state of public
sentiment in the communities which they represented, so that at last the
concurrence of the colonies was unanimous in the act of separation; and
all the members present on the 4th of July, the day on which the
declaration was passed, excepting one, signed the paper; thus making
themselves individually and personally responsible for it, under the awful
pains and penalties of treason.

In connection with these discussions in relations to the declaration of
independence, a curious instance is preserved of the tone of good humor
and pleasantry which always marked the intercourse which Franklin held
with others, even in cases where interests of the most momentous
importance were concerned. When Jefferson had read his draft in the
presence of the committee, the several members had various suggestions to
make, and amendments to propose, as is usual in such cases; while the
author, as is also equally usual, was very sensitive to these criticisms,
and was unwilling to consent to any changing of his work. At length
Jefferson appearing to be quite annoyed by the changes proposed, Franklin
consoled him by saying that his case was not quite so bad, after all, as
that of John Thompson, the hatter. “He wrote a sign,” said Franklin, “to
be put up over his door, which read thus, ‘_John Thompson makes and sells
hats for ready money_.’ On showing his work to his friends they one and
all began to amend it. The first proposed to strike out ‘for ready money,’
since it was obvious, he said, that if a hatter sold hats at all he would
be glad to sell them for ready money. Another thought the words ‘makes and
sells hats,’ superfluous—that idea being conveyed in the word ‘hatter;’
and finally a third proposed to expunge the ‘hatter,’ and put the figure
of a hat after the name, instead, which he said would be equally well
understood, and be more striking. Thus the composition was reduced from
‘John Thompson, hatter, makes and sells hats for ready money,’ to simply
‘John Thompson,’ with the figure of a hat subjoined.” The whole story was
perhaps fabricated by Franklin on the spot, for the occasion. It answered
its purpose, however, perfectly. Jefferson laughed, and his good-humor was
restored.

In the mean time during the summer of 1776 the hostile operations which
had been commenced between the new government and the parent state were
prosecuted on both sides with great vigor. Great Britain however did not
yet give up all hope of persuading the revolted provinces to return. The
English government sent out Lord Howe with instructions to communicate
with the leading men in America and endeavor to effect some accommodation
of the difficulty. When Lord Howe arrived in this country he attempted to
open communications with the Americans through Franklin, but insuperable
difficulties were encountered at the outset. Lord Howe could only treat
with the American authorities as private persons in a state of rebellion,
and the offers he made were offers of _pardon_. The American government
indignantly rejected all such propositions. In a letter which he wrote in
reply to Lord Howe Franklin says, “Directing pardons to be offered to the
colonies, who are the very parties injured, expresses indeed that opinion
of our ignorance, baseness, and insensibility, which your uninformed and
proud nation has long been pleased to entertain of us: but it can have no
other effect than that of increasing our resentment.” Of course all hope
of an accommodation was soon abandoned, and both parties began to give
their whole attention to the means for a vigorous prosecution of the war.

                             [Illustration.]

The American government soon turned their thoughts to the subject of
forming some foreign alliance to help them in the impending struggle; and
they presently proposed to send Franklin to France to attempt to open a
negotiation for this purpose with the government of that country. Franklin
was now very far advanced in life and his age and infirmities would
naturally have prompted him to desire repose—but he did not decline the
duty to which he was thus called; and all aged men should learn from his
example that they are not to consider the work of life as ended, so long
as any available health and strength remain.

Franklin arrived in Paris in the middle of winter in 1776. He traveled on
this expedition wholly as a private person, his appointment as
commissioner to the court of France having been kept a profound secret,
for obvious reasons. He however, immediately entered into private
negotiations with the French ministry, and though he found the French
government disposed to afford the Americans such indirect aid as could be
secretly rendered, they were not yet willing to form any alliance with
them, or to take any open ground in their favor. While this state of
things continued, Franklin, of course, and his brother commissioners could
not be admitted to the French court; but though they were all the time in
secret communication with the government, they assumed the position at
Paris of private gentlemen residing at the great capital for their
pleasure.

Notwithstanding his being thus apparently in private life, Franklin was a
very conspicuous object of public attention at Paris. His name and fame
had been so long before the world, and his character and manners were
invested with so singular a charm, that he was universally known and
admired; all ranks and classes of people were full of enthusiasm for the
venerable American philosopher. Pictures, busts, and medallions of the
illustrious Franklin were met on every hand. He was received into the very
highest society, being welcomed by all circles with the greatest
cordiality and interest.

                        [Illustration: In Paris.]

At length, after the lapse of about a year, the progress of the Americans
in making good their defense against the armies of the mother country was
so decided, that it began to appear very probable that the independence of
the country would be maintained, and the French government deemed that it
would be safe for them to enter into treaties of commerce and friendship
with the new state. This was accordingly done in February, 1778, though it
necessarily involved the consequence of a war with England.

When these treaties were at length signed, Franklin and the two other
commissioners were formally presented at court, where they were received
by the French monarch as the acknowledged representatives of an
independent and sovereign power, now for the first time taking her place
among the nations of the earth. This was an event in the life of Franklin
of the highest interest and importance, since the open negotiations of the
American government by France made the success of the country, in its
effort to achieve its independence, almost certain, and thus it was the
seal and consummation of all that he had been so laboriously toiling to
accomplish for fifty years. For we may safely say that the great end and
aim of Franklin’s life, the one object which he kept constantly in view,
and to which all his efforts tended from the beginning to the end of his
public career, was the security of popular rights and popular liberty
against the encroachments of aristocratic prerogative and power; and the
establishment of the independence of these United States, which he saw
thus happily settled at last, sealed and secured this object for half the
world.

As soon as the event of the acknowledgment of the independence of the
United States of America, by the French government transpired, the whole
subject of the conflict between the late colonies and the mother country
assumed a new aspect before mankind. The British government became now
more desirous than ever to contrive some means of settling the dispute
without entirely losing so important a portion of their ancient dominion.
A great many applications were made to Franklin, by the secret agents of
the British government, with a view of drawing off the Americans from
their alliance with the French, and making a separate peace with them.
Franklin, however, would listen to no such proposals, but on the contrary,
made them all known to the French government.

Another consequence of the recognition of American independence was that a
large number of young French gentlemen desired to proceed to America and
join the army there. Many of them applied to Franklin for commissions—more
in fact than could possibly be received. Among those who were successful
was the Marquis de La Fayette, then a young man, who came to this country
with letters of recommendation from Franklin, and who afterward
distinguished himself so highly in the war.

                       [Illustration: La Fayette.]

After this, Franklin remained in France for several years, at first as
commissioner, and afterward as minister plenipotentiary of the government
at the French court, during all which time the most arduous and the most
responsible public duties devolved upon him. He concluded most important
negotiations with other foreign powers. He received of the French
government and transmitted to America vast sums of money to be used in the
prosecution of the war. He conferred with various other commissioners and
embassadors who were sent out from time to time from the government at
home. In a word, there devolved upon him day by day, an uninterrupted
succession of duties of the most arduous and responsible character.

                     [Illustration: Printing Office.]

It is a curious illustration of the manner in which the tastes and habits
of early life come back in old age, that Franklin was accustomed at this
time, for recreation, to amuse himself with a little printing office,
which he caused to be arranged at his lodgings—on a small scale it is
true—but sufficiently complete to enable him to live his youth over again,
as it were, in bringing back old associations and thoughts to his mind by
giving himself up to his ancient occupations. The things that he printed
in this little office were all trifles, as he called them, and were only
intended for the amusement of his friends; but the work of producing them
gave him great pleasure.

The time at length arrived when England began to conclude that it would be
best for her to give up the attempt to reduce her revolted colonies to
subjection again; and negotiations for peace were commenced at Paris, at
first indirectly and informally, and afterward in a more open and decided
manner. In these negotiations Franklin of course took a very prominent
part. In fact the conclusion and signing of the great treaty of peace
between Great Britain and the United States, by which the independence of
this nation was finally and fully acknowledged, was the last crowning act
of Franklin’s official career. The treaty was signed in 1783, and thus the
work of the great statesman’s life was ended. His public life, in fact,
began and ended with the beginning and the end of that great protracted
struggle by which the American nation was ushered into being. His history
is then simply the history of the establishment of American independence;
and when this work was achieved his duty was done.

Soon after the peace was made, Franklin prepared to take leave of France,
in order to return to his native land. He had contemplated a tour over the
continent before going back to America, but the increasing infirmities of
age prevented the realization of this plan. When the time arrived for
leaving Paris, almost all the rank, fashion, and wealth of the city
gathered around him to bid him farewell. He was borne in the queen’s
palanquin to Havre, and accompanied on the journey by numerous friends.
From Havre he crossed the channel to Southampton, and there took passage
in the London packet for Philadelphia.

The voyage occupied a period of forty-eight days, at the end of which time
the ship anchored just below Philadelphia. The health-officer of the port
went on board, and finding no sickness gave the passengers leave to land.
The passengers accordingly left the ship in a boat, and landed at the
Market-street wharf, where crowds of people were assembled, who received
Franklin with loud acclamations, and accompanied him through the streets,
with cheers and rejoicings, to his door.

In a word, the great philosopher and statesman, on his return to his
native land, received the welcome he deserved, and spent the short period
that still remained to him on earth, surrounded by his countrymen and
friends, the object of universal respect and veneration. But great as was
the veneration which was felt for his name and memory then, it is greater
now, and it will be greater and greater still, at the end of every
succeeding century, as long as any written records of our country’s early
history remain.



NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.(2) THE SYRIAN EXPEDITION. BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.


Though, after the Battle of the Pyramids, Napoleon was the undisputed
master of Egypt, still much was to be accomplished in pursuing the
desperate remnants of the Mamelukes, and in preparing to resist the
overwhelming forces which it was to be expected that England and Turkey
would send against him. Mourad Bey had retreated with a few thousand of
his horsemen into Upper Egypt. Napoleon dispatched General Desaix, with
two thousand men, to pursue him. After several terribly bloody conflicts,
Desaix took possession of all of Upper Egypt as far as the cataracts.
Imbibing the humane and politic sentiments of Napoleon, he became widely
renowned and beloved for his justice and his clemency. A large party of
scientific men accompanied the military division, examining every object
of interest, and taking accurate drawings of those sphinxes, obelisks,
temples, and sepulchral monuments, which, in solitary grandeur, have
withstood the ravages of four thousand years. To the present hour, the
Egyptians remember with affection, the mild and merciful, yet efficient
government of Desaix. They were never weary with contrasting it with the
despotism of the Turks.

               [Illustration: The Escape from the Red Sea.]

In the mean time Napoleon, in person, made an expedition to Suez, to
inspect the proposed route of a canal to connect the waters of the
Mediterranean with the Red Sea. With indefatigable activity of mind he
gave orders for the construction of new works to fortify the harbor of
Suez, and commenced the formation of an infant marine. One day, with quite
a retinue, he made an excursion to that identical point of the Red Sea
which, as tradition reports, the children of Israel crossed three thousand
years ago. The tide was out, and he passed over to the Asiatic shore upon
extended flats. Various objects of interest engrossed his attention until
late in the afternoon, when he commenced his return. The twilight faded
away, and darkness came rapidly on. The party lost their path, and, as
they were wandering, bewildered among the sands, the rapidly returning
tide surrounded them. The darkness of the night increased, and the horses
floundered deeper and deeper in the rising waves The water reached the
girths of the saddles, and dashed upon the feet of the riders, and
destruction seemed inevitable. From this perilous position Napoleon
extricated himself, by that presence of mind, and promptness of decision,
which seemed never to fail him. It was an awful hour and an awful scene.
And yet, amidst the darkness and the rising waves of apparently a
shoreless ocean, the spirit of Napoleon was as unperturbed as if he were
reposing in slippered ease upon his sofa. He collected his escort around
him, in concentric circles, each horseman facing outward, and ranged in
several rows. He then ordered them to advance, each in a straight line.
When the horse of the leader of one of these columns lost his foothold,
and began to swim, the column drew back, and followed in the direction of
another column, which had not yet lost the firm ground. The radii, thus
thrown out in every direction, were thus successively withdrawn, till all
were following in the direction of one column, which had a stable footing.
Thus escape was effected. The horses did not reach the shore until
midnight, when they were wading breast deep in the swelling waves. The
tide rises on that part of the coast to the height of twenty-two feet.
“Had I perished in that manner, like Pharaoh,” said Napoleon, “it would
have furnished all the preachers of Christendom with a magnificent text
against me.”

England, animated in the highest degree by the great victory of Aboukir,
now redoubled her exertions to concentrate all the armies of Europe upon
Republican France. Napoleon had been very solicitous to avoid a rupture
with the Grand Seignor at Constantinople. The Mamelukes who had revolted
against his authority had soothed the pride of the Ottoman Porte, and
purchased peace by paying tribute. Napoleon proposed to continue the
tribute, that the revenues of the Turkish Empire might not be diminished
by the transfer of the sovereignty of Egypt from the oppressive Mamelukes
to better hands. The Sultan was not sorry to see the Mamelukes punished,
but he looked with much jealousy upon the movements of a victorious
European army so near his throne. The destruction of the French fleet
deprived Napoleon of his ascendency in the Levant, and gave the
preponderance to England. The agents of the British government succeeded
in rousing Turkey to arms, to recover a province which the Mamelukes had
wrested from her, before Napoleon took it from the Mamelukes. Russia also,
with her barbaric legions, was roused by the eloquence of England, to rush
upon the French Republic in this day of disaster. Her troops crowded down
from the north to ally themselves with the turbaned Turk, for the
extermination of the French in Egypt. Old enmities were forgotten, as
Christians and Mussulmans grasped hands in friendship, forgetting all
other animosities in their common hatred and dread of Republicanism. The
Russian fleet crowded down from the Black Sea, through the Bosphorus, to
the Golden Horn, where, amidst the thunders of artillery, and the
acclamations of the hundreds of thousands who throng the streets of
Constantinople, Pera, and Scutari, it was received into the embrace of the
Turkish squadron. It was indeed a gorgeous spectacle as, beneath the
unclouded splendor of a September sun, this majestic armament swept
through the beautiful scenery of the Hellespont. The shores of Europe and
Asia, separated by this classic strait, were lined with admiring
spectators, as the crescent and the cross, in friendly blending, fluttered
together in the breeze. The combined squadron emerged into the
Mediterranean, to co-operate with the victorious fleet of England, which
was now the undisputed mistress of the sea. Religious animosities the most
inveterate, and national antipathies the most violent were reconciled by
the pressure of a still stronger hostility to those principles of popular
liberty which threatened to overthrow the despotism both of the Sultan and
the Czar. The Grand Seignor had assembled an army of twenty thousand men
at Rhodes. They were to be conveyed by the combined fleet to the shores of
Egypt, and there effect a landing under cover of its guns. Another vast
army was assembled in Syria, to march down upon the French by way of the
desert, and attack them simultaneously with the forces sent by the fleet.
England, and the emissaries of the Bourbons, with vast sums of money
accumulated from the European monarchies, were actively co-operating upon
the Syrian coast, by landing munitions of war, and by supplying able
military engineers. The British Government was also accumulating a vast
army in India, to be conveyed by transports up the Red Sea, and to fall
upon the French in their rear. England also succeeded in forming a new
coalition with Austria, Sardinia, Naples, and other minor European states
to drive the French out of Italy, and with countless numbers to invade the
territory of France. Thus it would be in vain for the Directory to attempt
even to send succors to their absent general. And it was not doubted that
Napoleon, thus assailed in diverse quarters by overpowering numbers, would
fall an easy prey to his foes. Thus suddenly and portentously peril
frowned upon France from every quarter.

Mourad Bey, animated by this prospect of the overthrow of his victorious
foes, formed a widespread conspiracy, embracing all the friends of the
Mamelukes and of the Turks. Every Frenchman was doomed to death, as in one
hour, all over the land, the conspirators, with scimitar and poniard,
should fall upon their unsuspecting foes. In this dark day of accumulating
disaster the genius of Napoleon blazed forth with new and terrible
brilliance.

But few troops were at the time in Cairo, for no apprehension of danger
was cherished, and the French were scattered over Egypt, engaged in all
plans of utility. At five o’clock on the morning of the 21st of October,
Napoleon was awoke from sleep by the announcement that the city was in
revolt, that mounted Bedouin Arabs were crowding in at the gates, that
several officers and many soldiers were already assassinated. He ordered
an aid immediately to take a number of the Guard, and quell the
insurrection. But a few moments passed ere one of them returned covered
with blood, and informed him that all the rest were slain. It was an hour
of fearful peril. Calmly, fearlessly, mercilessly did Napoleon encounter
it. Immediately mounting his horse, accompanied by a body of his faithful
Guards, he proceeded to every threatened point. Instantly the presence of
Napoleon was felt. A perfect storm of grape-shot, cannon-balls, and
bomb-shells swept the streets with unintermitted and terrible destruction.
Blood flowed in torrents. The insurgents, in dismay, fled to the most
populous quarter of the city. Napoleon followed them with their doom, as
calm as destiny. From the windows and the roofs the insurgents fought with
desperation. The buildings were immediately enveloped in flames. They fled
into the streets only to be hewn down with sabres and mown down with
grape-shot. Multitudes, bleeding and breathless with consternation, sought
refuge in the mosques. The mosques were battered down and set on fire, and
the wretched inmates perished miserably. The calm yet terrible energy with
which Napoleon annihilated “the murderers of the French,” sent a thrill of
dismay through Egypt. A large body of Turks, who had surprised and
assassinated a party of the French, intrenched themselves in a small
village. Their doom was sealed. The next day a long line of asses, heavily
laden with sacks, was seen entering the gates of Cairo. The mysterious
procession proceeded to the public square. The sacks were opened, and the
ghastly, gory heads of the assassins were rolled upon the pavements. The
city gazed upon the spectacle with horror. “Such,” said Napoleon, sternly,
“is the doom of murderers.” This language of energetic action was awfully
eloquent. It was heard and heeded. It accomplished the purpose for which
it was uttered. Neither Turk nor Arab ventured again to raise the dagger
against Napoleon. Egypt felt the spell of the mighty conqueror, and stood
still, while he gathered his strength to encounter England, and Russia,
and Turkey in their combined power. What comment shall be made upon this
horrible transaction. It was the stern necessity of diabolical war. “My
soldiers,” said Napoleon, “are my children.” The lives of thirty thousand
Frenchmen were in his keeping. Mercy to the barbaric and insurgent Turks
would have been counted weakness, and the bones of Napoleon and of his
army would soon have whitened the sands of the desert. War is a wholesale
system of brutality and carnage. The most revolting, execrable details are
essential to its vigorous execution. Bomb-shells can not be thrown
affectionately. Charges of cavalry can not be made with a meek and lowly
spirit. Red-hot shot, falling into the beleagured city, will not turn from
the cradle of the infant, or from the couch of the dying maiden. These
horrible scenes must continue to be enacted till the nations of the earth
shall learn war no more.

Early in January, Napoleon received intelligence that the vanguard of the
Syrian army, with a formidable artillery train, and vast military stores,
which had been furnished from the English ships, had invaded Egypt, on the
borders of the great Syrian desert, and had captured El Arish. He
immediately resolved to anticipate the movement of his enemies, to cross
the desert with the rapidity of the wind, to fall upon the enemy unawares,
and thus to cut up this formidable army before it could be strengthened by
the co-operation of the host assembled at Rhodes.

Napoleon intended to rally around his standard the Druses of Mount
Lebanon, and all the Christian tribes of Syria, who were anxiously
awaiting his approach, and having established friendly relations with the
Ottoman Porte, to march, with an army of an hundred thousand auxiliaries,
upon the Indus, and drive the English out of India. As England was the
undisputed mistress of the sea, this was the only point where Republican
France could assail its unrelenting foe. The imagination of Napoleon was
lost in contemplating the visions of power and of empire thus rising
before him.

                 [Illustration: The Dromedary Regiment.]

For such an enterprise the ambitious general, with an army of but ten
thousand men, commenced his march over the desert, one hundred and fifty
miles broad, which separates Africa from Asia. The Pacha of Syria, called
Achmet the _Butcher_, from his merciless ferocity, was execrated by the
Syrians. Napoleon had received delegations from the Christian tribes
entreating him to come for their deliverance from the most intolerable
oppression, and assuring him of their readiness to join his standard. The
English, to divert the attention of Napoleon from his project upon Syria,
commenced the bombardment of Alexandria. He understood the object of the
unavailing attack, and treated it with disdain. He raised a regiment of
entirely a new kind, called the dromedary regiment. Two men, seated back
to back, were mounted on each dromedary; and such was the strength and
endurance of these animals, that they could thus travel ninety miles
without food, water, or rest. This regiment was formed to give chase to
the Arab robbers who, in fierce banditti bands, were the scourge of Egypt.
The marauders were held in terror by the destruction with which they were
overwhelmed by these swift avengers. Napoleon himself rode upon a
dromedary. The conveyance of an army of ten thousand men, with horses and
artillery, across such an apparently interminable waste of shifting sand,
was attended with inconceivable suffering. To allay the despair of the
soldiers, Napoleon, ever calm and unagitated in the contemplation of any
catastrophe however dreadful, soon dismounted, and waded through the
burning sands by the side of the soldiers, sharing the deprivations and
the toils of the humblest private in the ranks. Five days were occupied in
traversing this forlorn waste. Water was carried for the troops in skins.
At times portions of the army, almost perishing with thirst, surrendered
themselves to despair. The presence of Napoleon, however, invariably
reanimated hope and courage. The soldiers were ashamed to complain when
they saw their youthful leader, pale and slender, and with health
seriously impaired, toiling along by their side, sharing cheerfully all
their privations and fatigues. The heat of these glowing deserts, beneath
the fierce glare of a cloudless sun, was almost intolerable. At one time,
when nearly suffocated by the intense heat, while passing by some ruins, a
common soldier yielded to Napoleon the fragments of a pillar, in whose
refreshing shadow he contrived, for a few moments, to shield his head.
“And this,” said Napoleon, “was no trifling concession.” At another time a
party of the troops got lost among the sand hills and nearly perished.
Napoleon took some Arabs on dromedaries, and hastened in pursuit of them.
When found they were nearly dead from thirst, fatigue, and despair. Some
of the younger soldiers, in their frenzy, had broken their muskets and
thrown them away. The sight of their beloved general revived their hopes,
and inspired them with new life. Napoleon informed them that provisions
and water were at hand. “But,” said he, “if relief had been longer
delayed, would that have excused your murmurings and loss of courage? No!
soldiers, learn to die with honor.”

After a march of five days they arrived before El Arish, one of those
small, strongly fortified military towns, deformed by every aspect of
poverty and wretchedness, with which iron despotism has filled the once
fertile plains of Syria. El Arish was within the boundaries of Egypt. It
had been captured by the Turks, and they had accumulated there immense
magazines of military stores. It was the hour of midnight when Napoleon
arrived beneath its walls. The Turks, not dreaming that a foe was near,
were roused from sleep by the storm of balls and shells, shaking the walls
and crushing down through the roofs of their dwellings. They sprang to
their guns, and, behind the ramparts of stone, fought with their
accustomed bravery. But after a short and bloody conflict, they were
compelled to retire, and effected a disorderly retreat. The garrison, in
the citadel, consisting of nearly two thousand men, were taken prisoners.
Napoleon was not a little embarrassed in deciding what to do with these
men. He had but ten thousand soldiers with whom to encounter the whole
power of the Ottoman Porte, aided by the fleets of England and Russia.
Famine was in his camp, and it was with difficulty that he could obtain
daily rations for his troops. He could not keep these prisoners with him.
They would eat the bread for which his army was hungering; they would
demand a strong guard to keep them from insurrection; and the French army
was already so disproportionate to the number of its foes, that not an
individual could be spared from active service. They would surely take
occasion, in the perilous moments of the day of battle, to rise in revolt,
and thus, perhaps, effect the total destruction of the French army.
Consequently, to retain them in the camp was an idea not to be entertained
for a moment. To disarm them, and dismiss them upon their word of honor no
longer to serve against the French, appeared almost equally perilous.
There was no sense of honor in the heart of the barbarian Turk. The very
idea of keeping faith with infidels they laughed to scorn. They would
immediately join the nearest division of the Turkish army, and thus swell
the already multitudinous ranks of the foe, and even if they did not
secure the final defeat of Napoleon, they would certainly cost him the
lives of many of his soldiers. He could not supply them with food, neither
could he spare an escort to conduct them across the desert to Egypt. To
shoot them in cold blood was revolting to humanity. Napoleon, however,
generously resolved to give them their liberty, taking their pledge that
they would no longer serve against him; and in order to help them keep
their word, he sent a division of the army to escort them, one day’s
march, toward Bagdad, whither they promised to go. But no sooner had the
escort commenced its return to the army, than these men, between one and
two thousand in number, turned also, and made a straight path for their
feet to the fortress of Jaffa, laughing at the simplicity of their
outwitted foe. But Napoleon was not a man to be laughed at. This merriment
soon died away in fearful wailings. Here they joined the marshaled hosts
of Achmet the Butcher. The bloody pacha armed them anew, and placed them
in his foremost ranks, again to pour a shower of bullets upon the little
band headed by Napoleon. El Arish is in Egypt, eighteen miles from the
granite pillars which mark the confines of Asia and Africa. Napoleon now
continued his march through a dry, barren, and thirsty land. After having
traversed a dreary desert of an hundred and fifty miles, the whole aspect
of the country began rapidly to change. The soldiers were delighted to see
the wreaths of vapor gathering in the hitherto glowing and cloudless
skies. Green and flowery valleys, groves of olive-trees, and wood-covered
hills, rose, like a vision of enchantment, before the eye, so long weary
of gazing upon shifting sands and barren rocks. Napoleon often alluded to
his passage across the desert, remarking that the scene was ever
peculiarly gratifying to his mind. “I never passed the desert,” said he,
“without experiencing very powerful emotions. It was the image of
immensity to my thoughts. It displayed no limits. It had neither beginning
nor end. It was an ocean for the foot of man.” As they approached the
mountains of Syria, clouds began to darken the sky, and when a few drops
of rain descended, a phenomenon which they had not witnessed for many
months, the joy of the soldiers was exuberant. A murmur of delight ran
through the army, and a curious spectacle was presented, as, with shouts
of joy and peals of laughter, the soldiers, in a body, threw back their
heads and opened their mouths, to catch the grateful drops upon their dry
and thirsty lips.

But when dark night came on, and, with saturated clothing, they threw
themselves down, in the drenching rain, for their night’s bivouac, they
remembered with pleasure the star-spangled firmament and the dry sands of
cloudless, rainless Egypt. The march of a few days brought them to Gaza.
Here they encountered another division of the Turkish army. Though headed
by the ferocious Achmet himself, the Turks were, in an hour, dispersed
before the resistless onset of the French, and all the military stores,
which had been collected in the place, fell into the hands of the
conqueror. But perils were now rapidly accumulating around the adventurous
band. England, with her invincible fleet, was landing men, and munitions
of war and artillery, and European engineers, to arrest the progress of
the audacious and indefatigable victor. The combined squadrons of Turkey
and Russia, also, were hovering along the coast, to prevent any possible
supplies from being forwarded to Napoleon from Alexandria. Thirty thousand
Turks, infantry and horsemen, were marshaled at Damascus. Twenty thousand
were at Rhodes. Through all the ravines of Syria, the turbaned Musselmans,
with gleaming sabres, were crowding down to swell the hostile ranks,
already sufficiently numerous to render Napoleon’s destruction apparently
certain. Still unintimidated, Napoleon pressed on, with the utmost
celerity, into the midst of his foes. On the 3d of March, twenty-three
days after leaving Cairo, he arrived at Jaffa, the ancient Joppa. This
place, strongly garrisoned, was surrounded by a massive wall flanked by
towers. Napoleon had no heavy battering train, for such ponderous machines
could not be dragged across the desert. He had ordered some pieces to be
forwarded to him from Alexandria, by small vessels, which could coast near
the shore. But they had been intercepted and taken by the vigilance of the
English cruisers. Not an hour, however, was to be lost. From every point
in the circumference of the circle, of which his little band was the
centre, the foe was hurrying to meet him. The sea was whitened with their
fleets, and the tramp of their dense columns shook the land. His only hope
was, by rapidity of action, to defeat the separate divisions before all
should unite. With his light artillery he battered a breach in the walls,
and then, to save the effusion of blood, sent a summons to the commander
to surrender. The barbarian Turk, regardless of the rules of civilized
warfare, cut off the head of the unfortunate messenger, and raised the
ghastly, gory trophy, upon a pole, from one of the towers. This was his
bloody defiance and his threat. The enraged soldiers, with extraordinary
intrepidity, rushed in at the breach and took sanguinary vengeance. The
French suffered very severely, and the carnage, on both sides, was awful.
Nothing could restrain the fury of the assailants, enraged at the wanton
murder of their comrade. For many hours a scene of horror was exhibited in
the streets of Jaffa, which could hardly have been surpassed had the
conflict raged between fiends in the world of woe. Earth has never
presented a spectacle more horrible than that of a city taken by assault.
The vilest and the most abandoned of mankind invariably crowd into the
ranks of an army. Imagination shrinks appalled from the contemplation of
the rush of ten thousand demons, infuriated and inflamed, into the
dwellings of a crowded city.

Napoleon, shocked at the outrages which were perpetrated, sent two of his
aids to appease the fury of the soldiers, and to stop the massacre.
Proceeding upon this message of mercy, they advanced to a large building
where a portion of the garrison had taken refuge. The soldiers were
shooting them as they appeared at the windows, battering the doors with
cannon-balls, and setting fire to the edifice, that all might be consumed
together. The Turks fought with the energies of despair. These were the
men who had capitulated at El Arish, and who had violated their parole.
They now offered to surrender again, if their lives might be spared. The
aids, with much difficulty, rescued them from the rage of the maddened
soldiers, and they were conducted, some two thousand in number, as
prisoners into the French camp. Napoleon was walking in front of his tent,
when he saw this multitude of men approaching. The whole dreadfulness of
the dilemma in which he was placed flashed upon him instantaneously. His
countenance fell, and in tones of deep grief he exclaimed, “What do they
wish me to do with these men? Have I food for them—ships to convey them to
Egypt or France? Why have they served me thus?” The aids excused
themselves for taking them prisoners, by pleading that he had ordered them
to go and stop the carnage. “Yes!” Napoleon replied sadly, “as to women,
children, and old men, all the peaceable inhabitants, but not with respect
to armed soldiers. It was your duty to die, rather than bring these
unfortunate creatures to me. What do you want me to do with them?”

A council of war was immediately held in the tent of Napoleon, to decide
upon their fate. Long did the council deliberate, and, finally, it
adjourned without coming to any conclusion. The next day the council was
again convened. All the generals of division were summoned to attend. For
many anxious hours they deliberated, sincerely desirous of discovering any
measures by which they might save the lives of the unfortunate prisoners.
The murmurs of the French soldiers were loud and threatening. They
complained bitterly of having their scanty rations given to the prisoners;
of having men again liberated who had already broken their pledge of
honor, and had caused the death of many of their comrades. General Bon
represented that the discontent was so deep and general, that unless
something were expeditiously done, a serious revolt in the army was to be
apprehended. Still the council adjourned, and the third day arrived
without their being able to come to any conclusion favorable to the lives
of these unfortunate men. Napoleon watched the ocean with intense
solicitude, hoping against hope that some French vessel might appear, to
relieve him of the fearful burden. But the evil went on increasing. The
murmurs grew louder. The peril of the army was real and imminent, and, by
the delay, was already seriously magnified. It was impossible longer to
keep the prisoners in the camp. If set at liberty, it was only
contributing so many more troops to swell the ranks of Achmet the Butcher,
and thus, perhaps, to insure the total discomfiture and destruction of the
French army. The Turks spared no prisoners. All who fell into their hands
perished by horrible torture. The council at last unanimously decided that
the men must be put to death. Napoleon, with extreme reluctance, signed
the fatal order. The melancholy troop, in the silence of despair, were
led, firmly fettered, to the sand hills, on the sea-coast, where they were
divided into small squares, and mown down by successive discharges of
musketry. The dreadful scene was soon over, and they were all silent in
death. The pyramid of their bones still remains in the desert, a frightful
memorial of the horrors of war.

As this transaction has ever been deemed the darkest blot upon the
character of Napoleon, it seems but fair to give his defense in his own
words: “I ordered,” said Napoleon at St. Helena, “about a thousand or
twelve hundred to be shot. Among the garrison at Jaffa a number of Turkish
troops were discovered, whom I had taken a short time before at El Arish,
and sent to Bagdad, on their parole not to be found in arms against me for
a year. I had caused them to be escorted thirty-six miles, on their way to
Bagdad, by a division of my army. But, instead of proceeding to Bagdad,
they threw themselves into Jaffa, defended it to the last, and cost me the
lives of many of my brave troops. Moreover, before I attacked the town I
sent them a flag of truce. Immediately after, we saw the head of the
bearer elevated on a pole over the wall. Now, if I had spared them again,
and sent them away on their parole, they would directly have gone to Acre,
and have played over, for the second time, the same scene that they had
done at Jaffa. In justice to the lives of my soldiers, as every general
ought to consider himself as their father, and them as his children, I
could not allow this. To leave as a guard a portion of my army, already
reduced in number in consequence of the breach of faith of those wretches,
was impossible. Indeed, to have acted otherwise than as I did, would
probably have caused the destruction of my whole army. I, therefore,
availing myself of the rights of war, which authorize the putting to death
prisoners taken under such circumstances, independent of the right given
to me by having taken the city by assault, and that of retaliation on the
Turks, ordered that the prisoners, who, in defiance of their capitulation,
had been found bearing arms against me, should be selected out and shot.
The rest, amounting to a considerable number, were spared. I would do the
same thing again to-morrow, and so would Wellington, or any general
commanding an army under similar circumstances.” Whatever judgment
posterity may pronounce upon this transaction, no one can see in it any
indication of an innate love of cruelty in Napoleon. He regarded the
transaction as one of the stern necessities of war. The whole system is
one of unmitigated horror. Bomb-shells are thrown into cities to explode
in the chambers of maidens and in the cradles of infants, and the
incidental destruction of innocence and helplessness is disregarded. The
execrable ferocity of the details of war are essential to the system. To
say that Napoleon ought not to have shot these prisoners, is simply to say
that he ought to have relinquished the contest, to have surrendered
himself and his army to the tender mercies of the Turk; and to allow
England, and Austria, and Russia, to force back upon the disenthralled
French nation the detested reign of the Bourbons. England was bombarding
the cities of France, to compel a proud nation to re-enthrone a discarded
and hated king. The French, in self-defense, were endeavoring to repel
their powerful foe, by marching to India, England’s only vulnerable point.
Surely, the responsibility of this war rests with the assailants, and not
with the assailed. There was a powerful party in the British Parliament
and throughout the nation, the friends of reform and of popular liberty,
who sympathized entirely with the French in this conflict, and who
earnestly protested against a war which they deemed impolitic and unjust.
But the king and the nobles prevailed, and as the French would not meekly
submit to their demands, the world was deluged with blood. “Nothing was
easier,” says Alison, “than to have disarmed the captives and sent them
away.” The remark is unworthy of the eloquent and distinguished historian.
It is simply affirming that France should have yielded the conflict, and
submitted to British dictation. It would have been far more in accordance
with the spirit of the events to have said, “Nothing was easier than for
England to allow France to choose her own form of government.” But had
this been done, the throne of England’s king, and the castles of her
nobles might have been overturned by the earthquake of revolution. Alas,
for man!

Bourrienne, the rejected secretary of Napoleon, who became the enemy of
his former benefactor, and who, as the minister and flatterer of Louis
XVIII., recorded with caustic bitterness the career of the great rival of
the European kings, thus closes his narrative of this transaction: “I have
related the truth; the whole truth. I assisted at all the conferences and
deliberations, though, of course, without possessing any deliberative
voice. But I must in candor declare, that had I possessed a right of
voting, my voice would have been for death. The result of the
deliberations, and the circumstances of the army, would have constrained
me to this. War, unfortunately, offers instances, by no means rare, in
which an immutable law, of all times and common to all nations, has
decreed that private interests shall succumb to the paramount good of the
public, and that humanity itself shall be forgotten. It is for posterity
to judge whether such was the terrible position of Bonaparte. I have a
firm conviction that it was. And this is strengthened by the fact, that
the opinion of the members of the council was unanimous upon the subject,
and that the order was issued upon their decision. I owe it also to truth
to state, that Napoleon yielded only at the last extremity, and was,
perhaps, one of those who witnessed the massacre with the deepest sorrow.”
Even Sir Walter Scott, who, unfortunately, allowed his Tory predilections
to dim the truth of his unstudied yet classic page, while affirming that
“this bloody deed must always remain a deep stain upon the character of
Napoleon,” is constrained to admit, “yet we do not view it as the
indulgence of an innate love of cruelty; for nothing in Bonaparte’s
history shows the existence of that vice; and there are many things which
intimate his disposition to have been naturally humane.”

Napoleon now prepared to march upon Acre, the most important military post
in Syria. Behind its strong ramparts Achmet the Butcher had gathered all
his troops and military stores, determined upon the most desperate
resistance. Colonel Philippeaux, an emissary of the Bourbons, and a former
school-mate of Napoleon, contributed all the skill of an accomplished
French engineer in arming the fortifications and conducting the defense.
Achmet immediately sent intelligence of the approaching attack to Sir
Sydney Smith, who was cruising in the Levant with an English fleet. He
immediately sailed for Acre, with two ships of the line and several
smaller vessels, and proudly entered the harbor two days before the French
made their appearance, strengthening Achmet with an abundant supply of
engineers, artillerymen, and ammunition. Most unfortunately for Napoleon,
Sir Sydney, just before he entered the harbor, captured the flotilla,
dispatched from Alexandria with the siege equipage, as it was cautiously
creeping around the headlands of Carmel. The whole battering train,
amounting to forty-four heavy guns, he immediately mounted upon the
ramparts, and manned them with English soldiers. This was an irreparable
loss to Napoleon, but with undiminished zeal the besiegers, with very
slender means, advanced their works. Napoleon now sent an officer with a
letter to Achmet, offering to treat for peace “Why,” said he, in this,
“should I deprive an old man, whom I do not know, of a few years of life?
What signify a few leagues more, added to the countries I have conquered?
Since God has given victory into my hands, I will, like him, be forgiving
and merciful, not only toward the people, but toward their rulers also.”
The barbarian Turk, regardless of the flag of truce, cut off the head of
this messenger, though Napoleon had taken the precaution to send a Turkish
prisoner with the flag, and raised the ghastly trophy upon a pole, over
his battlements, in savage defiance. The decapitated body he sewed up in a
sack, and threw it into the sea. Napoleon then issued a proclamation to
the people of Syria: “I am come into Syria,” said he, “to drive out the
Mamelukes and the army of the Pacha. What right had Achmet to send his
troops to attack me in Egypt? He has provoked me to war. I have brought it
to him. But it is not on you, inhabitants, that I intend to inflict its
horrors. Remain quiet in your homes. Let those who have abandoned them
through fear return again. I will grant to every one the property which he
possesses. It is my wish that the Cadis continue their functions as usual,
and dispense justice; that religion, in particular, be protected and
revered, and that the mosques should continue to be frequented by all
faithful Mussulmans. It is from God that all good things come; it is he
who gives the victory. The example of what has occurred at Gaza and Jaffa
ought to teach you that if I am terrible to my enemies, I am kind to my
friends, and, above all, benevolent and merciful to the poor.”

The plague, that most dreadful scourge of the East, now broke out in the
army. It was a new form of danger, and created a fearful panic. The
soldiers refused to approach their sick comrades, and even the physicians,
terrified in view of the fearful contagion, abandoned the sufferers to die
unaided. Napoleon immediately entered the hospitals, sat down by the cots
of the sick soldiers, took their fevered hands in his own, even pressed
their bleeding tumors, and spoke to them words of encouragement and hope.
The dying soldiers looked upon their heroic and sympathizing friend with
eyes moistened with gratitude, and blessed him. Their courage was
reanimated and thus they gained new strength to throw off the dreadful
disease. “You are right,” said a grenadier, upon whom the plague had made
such ravages, that he could hardly move a limb; “your grenadiers were not
made to die in a hospital.” The physicians, shamed by the heroism of
Napoleon, returned to their duty. The soldiers, animated by the example of
their chief, no longer refused to administer to the wants of their
suffering comrades, and thus the progress of the infection in the army was
materially arrested. One of the physicians reproached Napoleon for his
imprudence, in exposing himself to such fearful peril. He coolly replied,
“It is but my duty. I am the commander-in-chief.”

                   [Illustration: The Plague Hospital.]

Napoleon now pressed the siege of Acre. It was the only fortress in Syria
which could stop him. Its subjugation would make him the undisputed master
of Syria. Napoleon had already formed an alliance with the Druses and
other Christian tribes, who had taken refuge from the extortions of the
Turks, among the mountains of Lebanon, and they only awaited the capture
of Acre to join his standard in a body, and to throw off the intolerable
yoke of Moslem despotism. Delegations of their leading men frequently
appeared in the tent of Napoleon, and their prayers were fervently
ascending for the success of the French arms. That in this conflict
Napoleon was contending on the side of human liberty, and the allies for
the support of despotism, is undeniable. The Turks were not idle. By vast
exertions they had roused the whole Mussulman population to march, in the
name of the Prophet, for the destruction of the “Christian dogs.” An
enormous army was marshaled, and was on its way for the relief of the
beleagured city. Damascus had furnished its thousands. The scattered
remnants of the fierce Mamelukes, and the mounted Bedouins of the desert,
had congregated, to rush, with resistless numbers, upon their bold
antagonist.

Napoleon had been engaged for ten days in an almost incessant assault upon
the works of Acre, when the approach of the great Turkish army was
announced. It consisted of about thirty thousand troops, twelve thousand
of whom were the fiercest and best-trained horsemen in the world. Napoleon
had but eight thousand effective men with which to encounter the
well-trained army of Europeans and Turks within the walls of Acre, and the
numerous host rushing to its rescue. He acted with his usual promptitude.
Leaving two thousand men to protect the works and cover the siege, he
boldly advanced with but six thousand men, to encounter the thirty
thousand already exulting in his speedy and sure destruction. Kleber was
sent forward with an advance-guard of three thousand men. Napoleon
followed soon after, with three thousand more. As Kleber, with his little
band, defiled from a narrow valley at the foot of Mount Tabor, he entered
upon an extended plain. It was early in the morning of the sixteenth of
April. The unclouded sun was just rising over the hills of Palestine, and
revealed to his view the whole embattled Turkish host spread out before
him. The eye was dazzled with the magnificent spectacle, as proud banners
and plumes, and gaudy turbans and glittering steel, and all the barbaric
martial pomp of the East was reflected by the rays of the brilliant
morning. Twelve thousand horsemen, decorated with the most gorgeous
trappings of military show, and mounted on the fleetest Arabian chargers,
were prancing and curveting in all directions. A loud and exultant shout
of vengeance and joy, rising like the roar of the ocean, burst from the
Turkish ranks, as soon as they perceived their victims enter the plain.
The French, too proud and self-confident to retreat before any superiority
in numbers, had barely time to form themselves into one of Napoleon’s
impregnable squares, when the whole cavalcade of horsemen, with gleaming
sabres and hideous yells, and like the sweep of the wind, came rushing
down upon them. Every man in the French squares knew that his life
depended upon his immobility; and each one stood, shoulder to shoulder
with his comrades, like a rock. It is impossible to drive a horse upon the
point of a bayonet. He has an instinct of self-preservation which no power
of the spur can overcome. He can be driven to the bayonet’s point, but if
the bayonet remains firm he will rear and plunge, and wheel, in defiance
of all the efforts of his rider to force his breast against it. As the
immense mass came thundering down upon the square, it was received by
volcanic bursts of fire from the French veterans, and horse and riders
rolled together in the dust. Chevaux-de-frise of bayonets, presented from
every side of this living, flaming citadel, prevented the possibility of
piercing the square. For six long hours this little band sustained the
dreadful and unequal conflict. The artillery of the enemy plowed their
ranks in vain. In vain the horsemen made reiterated charges on every side.
The French, by the tremendous fire incessantly pouring from their ranks,
soon formed around them a rampart of dead men and horses. Behind this
horrible abattis, they bid stern defiance to the utmost fury of their
enemies. Seven long hours passed away while the battle raged with unabated
ferocity. The mid-day sun was now blazing upon the exhausted band. Their
ammunition was nearly expended. Notwithstanding the enormous slaughter
they had made, their foes seemed undiminished in number. A conflict so
unequal could not much longer continue. The French were calling to their
aid a noble despair, expecting there to perish, but resolved, to a man, to
sell their lives most dearly.

Matters were in this state, when at one o’clock Napoleon, with three
thousand men, arrived on the heights which overlooked the field of battle.
The field was covered with a countless multitude, swaying to and fro in
the most horrible clamor and confusion. They were canopied with thick
volumes of smoke, which almost concealed the combatants from view.
Napoleon could only distinguish the French by the regular and
unintermitted volleys which issued from their ranks, presenting one steady
spot, incessantly emitting lightning flashes, in the midst of the moving
multitude with which it was surrounded. With that instinctive judgment
which enabled him, with the rapidity of lightning, to adopt the most
important decisions, Napoleon instantly took his resolution. He formed his
little band into two squares, and advanced in such a manner as to compose,
with the square of Kleber, a triangle inclosing the Turks. Thus, with
unparalleled audacity, with six thousand men he undertook to surround
thirty thousand of as fierce and desperate soldiers as the world has ever
seen. Cautiously and silently the two squares hurried on to the relief of
their friends, giving no sign of approach, till they were just ready to
plunge upon the plains. Suddenly the loud report of a cannon upon the
hills startled with joyful surprise the weary heroes. They recognized
instantly the voice of Napoleon rushing to their rescue. One wild shout of
almost delirious joy burst from the ranks. “It is Bonaparte! It is
Bonaparte!” That name operated as a talisman upon every heart. Tears of
emotion dimmed the eyes of those scarred and bleeding veterans, as,
disdaining longer to act upon the defensive, they grasped their weapons
with nervous energy, and made a desperate onset upon their multitudinous
foes. The Turks were assailed by a murderous fire instantaneously
discharged from the three points of this triangle. Discouraged by the
indomitable resolution with which they had been repulsed, and bewildered
by the triple assault, they broke and fled. The mighty host, like ocean
waves, swept across the plain, when suddenly it was encountered by one of
the fresh squares, and in refluent surges rolled back in frightful
disorder. A scene of horror now ensued utterly unimaginable. The Turks
were cut off from retreat in every direction. The enormous mass of
infantry, horse, artillery, and baggage, was driven in upon itself, in
wild and horrible confusion. From the French squares there flashed one
incessant sheet of flame. Peal after peal, the artillery thundered in a
continuous roar. These thoroughly-drilled veterans fired with a rapidity
and a precision which seemed to the Turks supernatural. An incessant storm
of cannon-balls, grape-shot, and bullets pierced the motley mass, and the
bayonets of the French dripped with blood.

Murat was there, with his proud cavalry—Murat, whom Napoleon has described
as in battle probably the bravest man in the world. Of majestic frame,
dressed in the extreme of military ostentation, and mounted upon the most
powerful of Arabian chargers, he towered, proudly eminent, above all his
band. With the utmost enthusiasm he charged into the swollen tide of
turbaned heads and flashing scimitars. As his strong horse reared and
plunged in the midst of the sabre strokes falling swiftly on every side
around him, his white plume, which ever led to victory, gleamed like a
banner over the tumultuous throng. It is almost an inexplicable
development of human nature to hear Murat exclaim, “In the hottest of this
terrible fight, I thought of Christ, and of his transfiguration upon this
very spot, two thousand years ago, and the reflection inspired me with
ten-fold courage and strength.” The fiend-like disposition created by
these horrible scenes, is illustrated by the conduct of a French soldier
on this occasion. He was dying of a frightful wound. Still he crawled to a
mangled Mameluke, even more feeble than himself, also in the agonies of
death, and, seizing him by the throat, tried to strangle him. “How can
you,” exclaimed a French officer, to the human tiger, “in your condition,
be guilty of such an act?” “You speak much at your ease,” the man replied,
“you who are unhurt; but I, while I am dying, must reap some enjoyment
while I can.”

The victory was complete. The Turkish army was not merely conquered, it
was destroyed. As that day’s sun, vailed in smoke, solemnly descended,
like a ball of fire, behind the hills of Lebanon, the whole majestic
array, assembled for the invasion of Egypt, and who had boasted that they
were “innumerable as the sands of the sea or as the stars of heaven,” had
disappeared to be seen no more. The Turkish camp, with four hundred camels
and an immense booty, fell into the hands of the victors.

This signal victory was achieved by a small division of Napoleon’s army,
of but six thousand men, in a pitched battle, on an open field. Such
exploits history can not record without amazement. The ostensible and
avowed object of Napoleon’s march into Syria was now accomplished.
Napoleon returned again to Acre, to prosecute with new vigor its siege,
for, though the great army, marshaled for his destruction, was
annihilated, he had other plans, infinitely more majestic, revolving in
his capacious mind. One evening he was standing with his secretary upon
the mount which still bears the name of Richard Cœur de Lion,
contemplating the smouldering scene of blood and ruin around him, when,
after a few moments of silent thought, he exclaimed, “Yes, Bourrienne,
that miserable fort has cost me dear. But matters have gone too far not to
make a last effort. The fate of the East depends upon the capture of Acre.
That is the key of Constantinople or of India. If we succeed in taking
this paltry town, I shall obtain the treasures of the Pacha, and arms for
three hundred thousand men. I will then raise and arm the whole population
of Syria, already so exasperated by the cruelty of Achmet, and for whose
fall all classes daily supplicate Heaven. I shall advance on Damascus and
Aleppo. I will recruit my army, as I advance, by enlisting all the
discontented. I will announce to the people the breaking of their chains
and the abolition of the tyrannical governments of the Pachas. The Druses
wait but for the fall of Acre, to declare themselves. I am already offered
the keys of Damascus. My armed masses will penetrate to Constantinople,
and the Mussulman dominion will be overturned. I shall found in the East a
new and mighty empire, which will fix my position with posterity.”

With these visions animating his mind, and having fully persuaded himself
that he was the child of destiny, he prosecuted, with all possible vigor,
the siege of Acre. But English and Russian and Turkish fleets were in that
harbor. English generals, and French engineers, and European and Turkish
soldiers, stood, side by side, behind those formidable ramparts, to resist
the utmost endeavors of their assailants, with equal vigor, science, and
fearlessness. No pen can describe the desperate conflicts and the scenes
of carnage which ensued. Day after day, night after night, and week after
week, the horrible slaughter, without intermission, continued. The French
succeeded in transporting, by means of their cruisers, from Alexandria, a
few pieces of heavy artillery, and the walls of Acre were reduced to a
pile of blackened ruins. The streets were plowed up, and the houses blown
down by bomb-shells. Bleeding forms, blackened with smoke, and with
clothing burnt and tattered, rushed upon each other, with dripping sabres
and bayonets, and with hideous yells which rose even above the incessant
thunders of the cannonade. The noise, the uproar, the flash of guns, the
enveloping cloud of sulphurous smoke converting the day into hideous
night, and the unintermitted flashes of musketry and artillery,
transforming night into lurid and portentous day, the forms of the
combatants, gliding like spectres, with demoniacal fury through the
darkness, the blast of trumpets, the shout of onset, the shriek of death,
presented a scene which no tongue can tell nor imagination conceive. There
was no time to bury the dead, and the putrefaction of hundreds of corpses
under that burning sun added appalling horrors. To the pure spirits of a
happier world, in the sweet companionship of celestial mansions, loving
and blessing each other, it must have appeared a spectacle worthy of
pandemonium. And yet the human heart is so wicked, that it can often,
forgetting the atrocity of such a scene, find a strange pleasure in the
contemplation of its energy and its heroism. We are indeed a fallen race.

There were occasional lulls in this awful storm, during which each party
would be rousing its energies for more terrible collision. The besiegers
burrowed mines deep under the foundations of walls and towers, and with
the explosion of hundreds of barrels of gunpowder, opened volcanic
craters, blowing men and rocks into hideous ruin. In the midst of the
shower of destruction darkening the skies, the assailants rushed, with
sabres and dripping bayonets, to the assault. The onset, on the part of
the French, was as furious and desperate as mortal man is capable of
making. The repulse was equally determined and fearless.

Sir Sydney Smith conducted the defense, with the combined English and
Turkish troops. He displayed consummate skill, and unconquerable firmness,
and availed himself of every weapon of effective warfare. Conscious of the
earnest desire of the French soldiers to return to France, and of the
despair with which the army had been oppressed when the fleet was
destroyed, and thus all hope of return was cut off, he circulated a
proclamation among them, offering to convey safely to France every soldier
who would desert from the standard of Napoleon. This proclamation, in
large numbers, was thrown from the ramparts to the French troops. A more
tempting offer could not have been presented, and yet so strong was the
attachment of the soldiers for their chief, that it is not known that a
single individual availed himself of the privilege. Napoleon issued a
counter proclamation to his army, in which he asserted that the English
commodore had actually gone mad. This so provoked Sir Sydney, that he sent
a challenge to Napoleon to meet him in single combat. The young general
proudly replied, “If Sir Sydney will send Marlborough from his grave, to
meet me, I will think of it. In the mean time, if the gallant commodore
wishes to display his personal prowess, I will neutralize a few yards of
the beach, and send a tall grenadier, with whom he can run a tilt.”

In the progress of the siege, Gen. Caffarelli was struck by a ball and
mortally wounded. For eighteen days he lingered in extreme pain, and then
died. Napoleon was strongly attached to him, and during all the period,
twice every day, made a visit to his couch of suffering. So great was his
influence over the patient, that though the wounded general was frequently
delirious, no sooner was the name of Napoleon announced, than he became
perfectly collected, and conversed coherently.

                     [Illustration: The Bomb-Shell.]

The most affecting proofs were frequently given of the entire devotion of
the troops to Napoleon. One day, while giving some directions in the
trenches, a shell, with its fuse fiercely burning, fell at his feet. Two
grenadiers, perceiving his danger, instantly rushed toward him, encircled
him in their arms, and completely shielded every part of his body with
their own. The shell exploded, blowing a hole in the earth sufficiently
large to bury a cart and two horses. All three were tumbled into the
excavation, and covered with stones and sand. One of the men was rather
severely wounded; Napoleon escaped with but a few slight bruises. He
immediately elevated both of these heroes to the rank of officers.

“Never yet, I believe,” said Napoleon, “has there been such devotion shown
by soldiers to their general, as mine have manifested for me. At Arcola,
Colonel Muiron threw himself before me, covered my body with his own, and
received the blow which was intended for me. He fell at my feet, and his
blood spouted up in my face. In all my misfortunes never has the soldier
been wanting in fidelity—never has man been served more faithfully by his
troops. With the last drop of blood gushing out of their veins, they
exclaimed, _Vive Napoleon_.”

The siege had now continued for sixty days. Napoleon had lost nearly three
thousand men, by the sword and the plague. The hospitals were full of the
sick and the wounded. Still, Napoleon remitted not his efforts. “Victory,”
said he, “belongs to the most persevering.” Napoleon had now expended all
his cannon-balls. By a singular expedient he obtained a fresh supply. A
party of soldiers was sent upon the beach, and set to work, apparently
throwing up a rampart for the erection of a battery. Sir Sydney
immediately approached with the English ships, and poured in upon them
broadside after broadside from all his tiers. The soldiers, who perfectly
comprehended the joke, convulsed with laughter, ran and collected the
balls as they rolled over the sand. Napoleon ordered a dollar to be paid
to the soldiers for each ball thus obtained. When this supply was
exhausted, a few horsemen or wagons were sent out upon the beach, as if
engaged in some important movement, when the English commodore would again
approach and present them, from his plethoric magazines, with another
liberal supply. Thus for a long time Napoleon replenished his exhausted
stores.

One afternoon in May, a fleet of thirty sail of the line was descried in
the distant horizon, approaching Acre. All eyes were instantly turned in
that direction. The sight awakened intense anxiety in the hearts of both
besiegers and besieged. The French hoped that they were French ships
conveying to them succors from Alexandria or from France. The besieged
flattered themselves that they were friendly sails, bringing to them such
aid as would enable them effectually to repulse their terrible foes. The
English cruisers immediately stood out of the bay to reconnoitre the
unknown fleet. Great was the disappointment of the French when they saw
the two squadrons unite, and the crescent of the Turk, and the pennant of
England, in friendly blending, approach the bay together. The Turkish
fleet brought a reinforcement of twelve thousand men, with an abundant
supply of military stores. Napoleon’s only hope was to capture the place
before the disembarkation of these reinforcements. Calculating that the
landing could not be effected in less than six hours, he resolved upon an
immediate assault. In the deepening twilight, a black and massy column,
issued from the trenches, and advanced, with the firm and silent steps of
utter desperation, to the breach. The besieged knowing that, if they could
hold out but a few hours longer, deliverance was certain, were animated to
the most determined resistance. A horrible scene of slaughter ensued. The
troops, from the ships, in the utmost haste, were embarked in the boats,
and were pulling, as rapidly as possible, across the bay, to aid their
failing friends. Sir Sydney himself headed the crews of the ships, and led
them armed with pikes to the breach. The assailants gained the summit of
the heap of stones into which the wall had been battered, and even forced
their way into the garden of the pacha. But a perfect swarm of janizaries
suddenly poured in upon them, with the keen sabre in one hand, and the
dagger in the other, and in a few moments they were all reduced to
headless trunks. The Turks gave no quarter. The remorseless Butcher sat in
the court-yard of his palace, paying a liberal reward for the gory head of
every infidel which was laid at his feet. He smiled upon the ghastly
trophies heaped up in piles around him. The chivalric Sir Sydney must at
times have felt not a little abashed in contemplating the deeds of his
allies. He was, however, fighting to arrest the progress of free
institutions, and the scimitar of the Turk was a fitting instrument to be
employed in such a service. In promotion of the same object, but a few
years before, the “tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage” had been
called into requisition, to deluge the borders of our own land with blood.
Napoleon was contending to wrest from the hand of Achmet the Butcher, his
bloody scimitar. Sir Sydney, with the united despots of Turkey and of
Russia, was struggling to help him retain it.

Sir Sydney also issued a proclamation to the Druses, and other Christian
tribes of Syria, urging them to trust to the faith of a “Christian
knight,” rather than to that of an “unprincipled renegado.” But the
“Christian knight,” in the hour of victory, forgot the poor Druses, and
they were left, without even one word of sympathy, to bleed, during ages
whose limits can not yet be seen, beneath the dripping yataghan of the
Moslem. Column after column of the French advanced to the assault, but all
were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. Every hour the strength of the
enemy was increasing. Every hour the forces of Napoleon were melting away,
before the awful storm sweeping from the battlements. In these terrific
conflicts, where immense masses were contending hand to hand, it was found
that the scimitar of the Turk was a far more efficient weapon of
destruction than the bayonet of the European.

Success was now hopeless. Sadly Napoleon made preparations to relinquish
the enterprise. He knew that a formidable Turkish army, aided by the
fleets of England and Russia, was soon to be conveyed from Rhodes to
Egypt. Not an hour longer could he delay his return to meet it. Had not
Napoleon been crippled by the loss of his fleet at Aboukir, victory at
Acre would have been attained without any difficulty. The imagination is
bewildered in contemplating the results which might have ensued. Even
without the aid of the fleet, but for the indomitable activity, courage,
and energy of Sir Sydney Smith, Acre would have fallen, and the bloody
reign of the Butcher would have come to an end. This destruction of
Napoleon’s magnificent anticipations of Oriental conquest must have been a
bitter disappointment. It was the termination of the most sanguine hope of
his life. And it was a lofty ambition in the heart of a young man of
twenty-six, to break the chains which bound the countless millions of
Asia, in the most degrading slavery, and to create a boundless empire such
as earth had never before seen, which should develop all the physical,
intellectual, and social energies of man.

History can record with unerring truth the _deeds_ of man and his _avowed
designs_. The attempt to delineate the conflicting _motives_, which
stimulate the heart of a frail mortal, are hazardous. Even the most lowly
Christian finds unworthy motives mingling with his best actions. Napoleon
was not a Christian. He had learned no lessons in the school of Christ.
Did he merely wish to aggrandize himself, to create and perpetuate his own
renown, by being the greatest and the best monarch earth has ever known?
This is not a Christian spirit. But it is not like the spirit which
demonized the heart of Nero, which stimulated the lust of Henry the
Eighth, which fired the bosom of Alexander with his invincible phalanxes,
and which urged Tamerlane, with his mounted hordes, to the field of blood.
Our Saviour was entirely regardless of self in his endeavors to bless
mankind. Even Washington, who though one of the best of mortals, must be
contemplated at an infinite distance from the Son of God, seemed to forget
himself in his love for his country. That absence of regard for self can
not be so distinctly seen in Napoleon. He wished to be the great
benefactor of the world, elevating the condition and rousing the energies
of man, not that he might obtain wealth and live in splendor, not that he
might revel in voluptuous indulgences, but apparently that his own name
might be embalmed in glory. This is not a holy motive. Neither is it
degrading and dishonorable. We hate the mercenary despot. We despise the
voluptuary. But history can not justly consign Napoleon either to hatred
or to contempt. Had Christian motives impelled him, making all due
allowance for human frailty, he might have been regarded as a saint. Now
he is but a hero.

The ambitious conqueror who invades a peaceful land, and with fire and
blood subjugates a timid and helpless people, that he may bow their necks
to the yoke of slavery, that he may doom them to ignorance and
degradation, that he may extort from them their treasures by the energies
of the dungeon, the scimetar, and the bastinado, consigning the millions
to mud hovels, penury, and misery, that he and his haughty parasites may
revel in voluptuousness and splendor, deserves the execrations of the
world. Such were the rulers of the Orient. But we can not with equal
severity condemn the ambition of him, who marches not to forge chains, but
to break them; not to establish despotism, but to assail despotic
usurpers; not to degrade and impoverish the people, but to ennoble, and to
elevate, and to enrich them; not to extort from the scanty earnings of the
poor the means of living in licentiousness and all luxurious indulgence,
but to endure all toil, all hardship, all deprivation cheerfully, that the
lethargic nations may be roused to enterprise, to industry, and to thrift.
Such was the ambition of Napoleon. Surely it was lofty. But far more lofty
is that ambition of which Christ is the great exemplar, which can bury
self entirely in oblivion.

Twenty years after the discomfiture at Acre, Napoleon, when imprisoned
upon the Rock of St. Helena, alluded to these dreams of his early life.
“Acre once taken,” said he; “the French army would have flown to Aleppo
and Damascus. In the twinkling of an eye it would have been on the
Euphrates. The Christians of Syria, the Druses, the Christians of Armenia,
would have joined it. The whole population of the East would have been
agitated.” Some one said, he would have soon been reinforced by one
hundred thousand men. “Say rather, six hundred thousand,” Napoleon
replied. “Who can calculate what would have happened! I would have reached
Constantinople and the Indies—I would have changed the face of the world.”

The manner in which Napoleon bore this disappointment most strikingly
illustrates the truth of his own remarkable assertion. “Nature seems to
have calculated that I should endure great reverses. She has given me a
mind of marble. Thunder can not ruffle it. The shaft merely glides along.”
Even his most intimate friends could discern no indications of discontent.
He seemed to feel that it was not his destiny to found an empire in the
East, and, acquiescing without a murmur, he turned his attention to other
enterprises. “That man,” said he, with perfect good-nature, speaking of
Sir Sydney Smith, “made me miss my destiny.” Napoleon ever manifested the
most singular magnanimity in recognizing the good qualities of his
enemies. He indulged in no feelings of exasperation toward Sir Sydney,
notwithstanding his agency in frustrating the most cherished plan of his
life.—Wurmser, with whom he engaged in such terrible conflicts in Italy,
he declared to be a brave and magnanimous foe; and, in the hour of
triumph, treated him with a degree of delicacy and generosity which could
not have been surpassed had his vanquished antagonist been his intimate
friend. Of Prince Charles, with whom he fought repeated and most desperate
battles in his march upon Vienna, he remarked, “He is a _good man_, which
includes every thing when said of a prince. He is incapable of a
dishonorable action.” And even of his eccentric and versatile antagonist
at Acre, Napoleon says, with great impartiality and accuracy of judgment,
“Sir Sydney Smith is a brave officer. He displayed considerable ability in
the treaty for the evacuation of Egypt by the French. He also manifested
great honor in sending immediately to Kleber the refusal of Lord Keith to
ratify the treaty, which saved the French army. If he had kept it a secret
for seven or eight days longer, Cairo would have been given up to the
Turks, and the French army would have been obliged to surrender to the
English. He also displayed great humanity and honor in all his proceedings
toward the French who fell into his hands. He is active, intelligent,
intriguing, and indefatigable; but I believe that he is half crazy. The
chief cause of the failure at Acre was, that he took all my battering
train, which was on board several small vessels. Had it not been for that
I should have taken Acre in spite of him. He behaved very bravely. He sent
me, by means of a flag of truce, a lieutenant or midshipman, with a letter
containing a challenge to me, to meet him in some place he pointed out, in
order to fight a duel. I laughed at this, and sent him back an intimation
that when he brought Marlborough to fight me, I would meet him.
Notwithstanding this, I like the character of the man. He has certain good
qualities, and, as an old enemy, I should like to see him.”

A minute dissector of human nature may discern, in this singular candor, a
destitution of earnestness of principle. The heart is incapable of this
indifference, when it cherishes a profound conviction of right and wrong.
It is undoubtedly true that Napoleon encountered his foes upon the field
of battle, with very much the same feeling with which he would meet an
opponent in a game of chess. These wars were fierce conflicts between the
kings and the people; and Napoleon was not angry with the kings for
defending strongly their own cause. There were of course moments of
irritation, but his prevailing feeling was that his foes were to be
conquered, not condemned. At one time he expressed much surprise in
perceiving that Alexander of Russia had allowed feelings of personal
hostility to enter into the conflict. A chess-player could not have
manifested more unaffected wonder, in finding his opponent in a rage at
the check of his king. Napoleon does not appear often to have acted from a
deep sense of moral obligation. His justice, generosity, and magnanimity
were rather the instinctive impulses of a noble nature, than the result of
a profound conviction of duty. We see but few indications, in the life of
Napoleon, of tenderness of conscience. That faculty needs a kind of
culture which Napoleon never enjoyed.

He also cherished the conviction that his opponents were urged on by the
same destiny by which he believed himself to be impelled. “I am well
taught,” said Dryfesdale, “and strong in the belief, that man does naught
of himself. He is but the foam upon the billow, which rises, bubbles, and
bursts, not by its own efforts, but by the mightier impulse of fate, which
urges him.” The doctrine called _destiny_ by Napoleon, and _philosophical
necessity_ by Priestley, and _divine decrees_ by Calvin, assuming in each
mind characteristic modifications, indicated by the name which each
assigned to it, is a doctrine which often nerves to the most heroic and
virtuous endeavors, and which is also capable of the most awful
perversion.

Napoleon was an inveterate enemy to dueling, and strongly prohibited it in
the army. One evening in Egypt, at a convivial party, General Lanusse
spoke sarcastically respecting the condition of the army. Junot,
understanding his remarks to reflect upon Napoleon, whom he almost
worshiped, was instantly in a flame, and stigmatized Lanusse as a traitor.
Lanusse retorted by calling Junot a scoundrel. Instantly swords were
drawn, and all were upon their feet, for such words demanded blood.
“Hearken,” said Junot, sternly, “I called you a traitor; I do not think
that you are one. You called me a scoundrel; you know that I am not such.
But we must fight. One of us must die. I hate you, for you have abused the
man whom I love and admire, as much as I do God, if not more.” It was a
dark night. The whole party, by the light of torches, proceeded to the
bottom of the garden which sloped to the Nile, when the two half
inebriated generals cut at each other with their swords, until the head of
Lanusse was laid open, and the bowels of Junot almost protruded from a
frightful wound. When Napoleon, the next morning, heard of the occurrence,
he was exceedingly indignant. “What?” exclaimed he, “are they determined
to cut each other’s throats? Must they go into the midst of the reeds of
the Nile to dispute it with the crocodiles? Have they not enough, then,
with the Arabs, the plague, and the Mamelukes? You deserve, Monsieur
Junot,” said he, as if his aid were present before him, “you richly
deserve, as soon as you get well, to be put under arrest for a month.”

In preparation for abandoning the siege of Acre, Napoleon issued the
following proclamation to his troops. “Soldiers! You have traversed the
desert which separates Asia from Africa, with the rapidity of an Arab
force. The army, which was on its march to invade Egypt, is destroyed. You
have taken its general, its field artillery, camels, and baggage. You have
captured all the fortified posts, which secure the wells of the desert.
You have dispersed, at Mount Tabor, those swarms of brigands, collected
from all parts of Asia, hoping to share the plunder of Egypt. The thirty
ships, which, twelve days since, you saw enter the port of Acre, were
destined for an attack upon Alexandria. But you compelled them to hasten
to the relief of Acre. Several of their standards will contribute to adorn
your triumphal entry into Egypt. After having maintained the war, with a
handful of men, during three months, in the heart of Syria, taken forty
pieces of cannon, fifty stands of colors, six thousand prisoners, and
captured or destroyed the fortifications of Gaza, Jaffa, and Acre, we
prepare to return to Egypt, where, by a threatened invasion, our presence
is imperiously demanded. A few days longer might give you the hope of
taking the Pacha in his palace. But at this season the castle of Acre is
not worth the loss of three days, nor the loss of those brave soldiers who
would consequently fall, and who are necessary for more essential
services. Soldiers! we have yet a toilsome and a perilous task to perform.
After having, by this campaign, secured ourselves from attacks from the
eastward, it will perhaps be necessary to repel efforts which may be made
from the west.”

On the 20th of May, Napoleon, for the first time in his life, relinquished
an enterprise unaccomplished. An incessant fire was kept up in the
trenches till the last moment, while the baggage, the sick, and the field
artillery were silently defiling to the rear, so that the Turks had no
suspicion that the besiegers were about to abandon their works. Napoleon
left three thousand of his troops, slain or dead of the plague, buried in
the sands of Acre. He had accomplished the ostensible and avowed object of
his expedition. He had utterly destroyed the vast assemblages formed in
Syria for the invasion of Egypt, and had rendered the enemy, in that
quarter, incapable of acting against him. Acre had been overwhelmed by his
fire, and was now reduced to a heap of ruins. Those vague and brilliant
dreams of conquest in the East, which he secretly cherished, had not been
revealed to the soldiers. They simply knew that they had triumphantly
accomplished the object announced to them, in the destruction of the great
Turkish army. Elated with the pride of conquerors, they prepared to
return, with the utmost celerity, to encounter another army, assembled at
Rhodes, which was soon to be landed, by the hostile fleet, upon some part
of the shores of Egypt. Thus, while Napoleon was frustrated in the
accomplishment of his undivulged but most majestic plans, he still
appeared to the world an invincible conqueror.

There were, in the hospitals, twelve hundred sick and wounded. These were
to be conveyed on horses and on litters. Napoleon relinquished his own
horse for the wounded, and toiled along through the burning sands with the
humblest soldiers on foot. The Druses and other tribes, hostile to the
Porte, were in a state of great dismay when they learned that the French
were retiring. They knew that they must encounter terrible vengeance at
the hands of Achmet the Butcher. The victory of the allies riveted upon
them anew their chains, and a wail, which would have caused the ear of
Christendom to tingle, ascended from terrified villages, as fathers and
mothers and children cowered beneath the storm of vengeance which fell
upon them, from the hands of the merciless Turk. But England was too far
away for the shrieks to be heard in her pious dwellings.

At Jaffa, among the multitude of the sick, there were seven found near to
death. They were dying of the plague, and could not be removed. Napoleon
himself fearlessly went into the plague hospital, passed through all its
wards, and spoke words of sympathy and encouragement to the sufferers. The
eyes of the dying were turned to him, and followed his steps, with
indescribable affection, as he passed from cot to cot. The seven who were
in such a condition that their removal was impossible, Napoleon for some
time contemplated with most tender solicitude. He could not endure the
thought of leaving them to be taken by the Turks; for the Turks tortured
to death every prisoner who fell into their hands. He at last suggested to
the physician the expediency of administering to them an opium pill, which
would expedite, by a few hours, their death, and thus save them from the
hands of their cruel foe. The physician gave the highly admired reply, “My
profession is to cure, not to kill.” Napoleon reflected a moment in
silence, and said no more upon the subject, but left a rear-guard of five
hundred men to protect them, until the last should have expired. For this
suggestion Napoleon has been most severely censured. However much it may
indicate mistaken views of Christian duty, it certainly does not indicate
a cruel disposition. It was his tenderness of heart, and his love for his
soldiers, which led to the proposal. An unfeeling monster would not have
troubled himself about these few valueless and dying men; but, without a
thought, would have left them to their fate. In reference to the severity
with which this transaction has been condemned, Napoleon remarked at St.
Helena, “I do not think that it would have been a crime had opium been
administered to them. On the contrary, I think it would have been a
virtue. To leave a few unfortunate men, who could not recover, in order
that they might be massacred by the Turks with the most dreadful tortures,
as was their custom, would, I think, have been cruelty. A general ought to
act with his soldiers, as he would wish should be done to himself. Now
would not any man, under similar circumstances, who had his senses, have
preferred dying easily, a few hours sooner, rather than expire under the
tortures of those barbarians? If my own son, and I believe I love my son
as well as any father does his child, were in a similar situation with
these men, I would advise it to be done. And if so situated myself, I
would insist upon it, if I had sense enough and strength enough to demand
it. However, affairs were not so pressing as to prevent me from leaving a
party to take care of them, which was done. If I had thought such a
measure as that of giving opium necessary, I would have called a council
of war, have stated the necessity of it, and have published it in the
order of the day. It should have been no secret. Do you think, if I had
been capable of secretly poisoning my soldiers, as doing a necessary
action secretly would give it the appearance of a crime, or of such
barbarities as driving my carriage over the dead, and the still bleeding
bodies of the wounded, that my troops would have fought for me with an
enthusiasm and affection without a parallel? No, no! I never should have
done so a second time. Some would have shot me in passing. Even some of
the wounded, who had sufficient strength left to pull a trigger, would
have dispatched me. I never committed a crime in all my political career.
At my last hour I can assert that. Had I done so, I should not have been
here now. I should have dispatched the Bourbons. It only rested with me to
give my consent, and they would have ceased to live. I have, however,
often thought since on this point of morals, and, I believe, if thoroughly
considered, it is always better to suffer a man to terminate his destiny,
be it what it may. I judged so afterward in the case of my friend Duroc,
who, when his bowels were falling out before my eyes, repeatedly cried to
me to have him put out of his misery. I said to him ‘I pity you, my
friend, but there is no remedy, it is necessary to suffer to the last.’ ”

Sir Robert Wilson recorded, that the merciless and blood-thirsty monster
Napoleon, poisoned at Jaffa five hundred and eighty of his sick and
wounded soldiers, merely to relieve himself of the encumbrance of taking
care of them. The statement was circulated, and believed throughout Europe
and America. And thousands still judge of Napoleon through the influence
of such assertions. Sir Robert was afterward convinced of his error, and
became the friend of Napoleon. When some one was speaking, in terms of
indignation, of the author of the atrocious libel, Napoleon replied, “You
know but little of men and of the passions by which they are actuated.
What leads you to imagine that Sir Robert is not a man of enthusiasm and
of violent passions, who wrote what he then believed to be true? He may
have been misinformed and deceived, and may now be sorry for it. He may be
as sincere now in wishing us well as he formerly was in seeking to injure
us.” Again he said, “The fact is that I not only never committed any
crime, but I never even thought of doing so. I have always marched with
the opinions of five or six millions of men. In spite of all the libels, I
have no fear whatever respecting my fame. Posterity will do me justice.
The truth will be known, and the good which I have done will be compared
with the faults which I have committed. I am not uneasy as to the result.”

Baron Larrey was the chief of the medical staff. “Larrey,” said Napoleon
to O’Meara, “was the most honest man, and the best friend to the soldier
whom I ever knew. Indefatigable in his exertions for the wounded, he was
seen on the field of battle, immediately after an action, accompanied by a
train of young surgeons, endeavoring to discover if any signs of life
remained in the bodies. He scarcely allowed a moment of repose to his
assistants, and kept them ever at their posts. He tormented the generals,
and disturbed them out of their beds at night, whenever he wanted
accommodations or assistance for the sick or wounded. They were all afraid
of him, as they knew that if his wishes were not complied with, he would
immediately come and make a complaint to me.” Larrey, on his return to
Europe, published a medical work, which he dedicated to Napoleon as a
tribute due to him for the care which he always took of the sick and
wounded soldiers. Assulini, another eminent physician, records, “Napoleon,
great in every emergence, braved on several occasions the danger of
contagion. I have seen him in the hospitals at Jaffa, inspecting the
wards, and talking familiarly with the soldiers attacked by the plague.
This heroic example allayed the fears of the army, cheered the spirits of
the sick, and encouraged the hospital attendants, whom the progress of the
disease and the fear of contagion had considerably alarmed.”

The march over the burning desert was long and painful, and many of the
sick and wounded perished. The sufferings of the army were inconceivable.
Twelve hundred persons, faint with disease, or agonized with broken bones
or ghastly wounds, were borne along, over the rough and weary way, on
horseback. Many were so exhausted with debility and pain that they were
tied to the saddles, and were thus hurried onward, with limbs freshly
amputated and with bones shivered to splinters. The path of the army was
marked by the bodies of the dead, which were dropped by the way-side.
There were not horses enough for the sick and the wounded, though Napoleon
and all his generals marched on foot. The artillery pieces were left among
the sand hills, that the horses might be used for the relief of the
sufferers. Many of the wounded were necessarily abandoned to perish by the
way-side. Many who could not obtain a horse, knowing the horrible death by
torture which awaited them, should they fall into the hands of the Turks,
hobbled along with bleeding wounds in intolerable agony. With most
affecting earnestness, though unavailingly, they implored their comrades
to help them. Misery destroys humanity. Each one thought only of himself.
Seldom have the demoralizing influences and the horrors of war been more
signally displayed than in this march of twenty-five days. Napoleon was
deeply moved by the spectacle of misery around him. One day as he was
toiling along through the sands, at the head of a column, with the blazing
sun of Syria pouring down upon his unprotected head, with the sick, the
wounded, and the dying, all around him, he saw an officer, in perfect
health, riding on horseback, refusing to surrender his saddle to the sick.
The indignation of Napoleon was so aroused, that by one blow from the hilt
of his sword he laid the officer prostrate upon the earth, and then helped
a wounded soldier into his saddle. The deed was greeted with a shout of
acclamation from the ranks. The “recording angel in heaven’s chancery”
will blot out the record of such violence with a tear.

The historian has no right to draw the vail over the revolting horrors of
war. Though he may wish to preserve his pages from the repulsive recital,
justice to humanity demands that the barbarism, the crime, and the cruelty
of war should be faithfully portrayed. The soldiers refused to render the
slightest assistance to the sick or the wounded. They feared that every
one who was not well was attacked by the plague. These poor dying
sufferers were not only objects of horror, but also of derision. The
soldiers burst into immoderate fits of laughter in looking upon the
convulsive efforts which the dying made to rise from the sands upon which
they had fallen. “He has made up his account,” said one. “He will not get
on far,” said another. And when the exhausted wretch fell to rise no more,
they exclaimed, with perfect indifference, “His lodging is secured.” The
troops were harassed upon their march by hordes of mounted Arabs, ever
prowling around them. To protect themselves from assault, and to avenge
attacks, they fired villages, and burned the fields of grain, and with
bestial fury pursued shrieking maids and matrons. Such deeds almost
invariably attend the progress of an army, for an army is ever the resort
and the congenial home of the moral dregs of creation. Napoleon must at
times have been horror-stricken in contemplating the infernal
instrumentality which he was using for the accomplishment of his purposes.
The only excuse which can be offered for him is, that it was then as now,
the prevalent conviction of the world that war, with all its inevitable
abominations, is a necessary evil. The soldiers were glad to be fired upon
from a house, for it furnished them with an excuse for rushing in, and
perpetrating deeds of atrocious violence in its secret chambers.

Those infected by the plague accompanied the army at some distance from
the main body. Their encampment was always separated from the bivouacs of
the troops, and was with terror avoided by those soldiers who, without the
tremor of a nerve, could storm a battery. Napoleon, however, always
pitched his tent by their side. Every night he visited them to see if
their wants were attended to. And every morning he was present, with
parental kindness, to see them file off at the moment of departure. Such
tenderness, at the hands of one who was filling the world with his renown,
won the hearts of the soldiers. He merited their love. Even to the present
day the scarred and mutilated victims of these wars, still lingering in
the Hotel des Invalides at Paris, will flame with enthusiastic admiration
at the very mention of the name of Napoleon. There is no man, living or
dead, who at the present moment is the object of such enthusiastic love as
Napoleon Bonaparte. And they who knew him the best love him the most.

One day, on their return, an Arab tribe came to meet him, to show their
respect and to offer their services as guides. The son of the chief of the
tribe, a little boy about twelve years of age, was mounted on a dromedary,
riding by the side of Napoleon, and chatting with great familiarity.
“Sultan Kebir,” said the young Arab to Napoleon, “I could give you good
advice, now that you are returning to Cairo.” “Well! speak, my friend,”
said Napoleon; “if your advice is good I will follow it.” “I will tell you
what I would do, were I in your place,” the young chief rejoined. “As soon
as I got to Cairo, I would send for the richest slave-merchant in the
market, and I would choose twenty of the prettiest women for myself. I
would then send for the richest jewelers, and would make them give me up a
good share of their stock. I would then do the same with all the other
merchants. For what is the use of reigning, or being powerful, if not to
acquire riches?” “But, my friend,” replied Napoleon, “suppose it were more
noble to preserve these things for others?” The young barbarian was quite
perplexed in endeavoring to comprehend ambition so lofty, intellectual,
and refined. “He was, however,” said Napoleon, “very promising for an
Arab. He was lively and courageous, and led his troops with dignity and
order. He is perhaps destined one day or other, to carry his advice into
execution in the market-place of Cairo.”

                 [Illustration: Arrival of the Courier.]

At length Napoleon arrived at Cairo, after an absence of three months.
With great pomp and triumph he entered the city. He found, on his return
to Egypt, that deep discontent pervaded the army. The soldiers had now
been absent from France for a year. For six months they had heard no news
whatever from home, as not a single French vessel had been able to cross
the Mediterranean. Napoleon, finding his plans frustrated for establishing
an empire which should overshadow all the East, began to turn his thoughts
again to France. He knew, however, that there was another Turkish army
collected at Rhodes, prepared, in co-operation with the fleets of Russia
and England, to make a descent on Egypt. He could not think of leaving the
army until that formidable foe was disposed of. He knew not when or where
the landing would be attempted, and could only wait.

One evening, in July, he was walking with a friend in the environs of
Cairo, beneath the shadow of the Pyramids, when an Arab horseman was seen,
enveloped in a cloud of dust, rapidly approaching him over the desert. He
brought dispatches from Alexandria, informing Napoleon that a powerful
fleet had appeared in the Bay of Aboukir, that eighteen thousand Turks had
landed, fierce and fearless soldiers, each armed with musket, pistol, and
sabre; that their artillery was numerous, and well served by British
officers; that the combined English, Russian, and Turkish fleets supported
the armament in the bay; that Mourad Bey, with a numerous body of Mameluke
cavalry, was crossing the desert from Upper Egypt to join the invaders;
that the village of Aboukir had been taken by the Turks, the garrison cut
to pieces, and the citadel compelled to capitulate. Thus the storm burst
upon Egypt.

Napoleon immediately retired to his tent, where he remained till 3 o’clock
the next morning, dictating orders for the instant advance of the troops;
and for the conduct of those who were to remain in Cairo, and at the other
military stations. At 4 o’clock in the morning he was on horseback, and
the army in full march. The French troops were necessarily so
scattered—some in Upper Egypt, eight hundred miles above Cairo, some upon
the borders of the desert to prevent incursions from Syria, some at
Alexandria—that Napoleon could take with him but eight thousand men. By
night and by day, through smothering dust and burning sands, and beneath
the rays of an almost blistering sun, his troops, hungry and thirsty, with
iron sinews, almost rushed along, accomplishing one of those extraordinary
marches which filled the world with wonder. In seven days he reached the
Bay of Aboukir.

It was the hour of midnight, on the 25th of July, 1799, when Napoleon,
with six thousand men, arrived within sight of the strongly intrenched
camp of the Turks. They had thrown up intrenchments among the sand-hills
on the shore of the bay. He ascended an eminence and carefully examined
the position of his sleeping foes. By the bright moonlight he saw the vast
fleet of the allies riding at anchor in the offing, and his practiced eye
could count the mighty host, of infantry and artillery and horsemen,
slumbering before him. He knew that the Turks were awaiting the arrival of
the formidable Mameluke cavalry from Egypt, and for still greater
reinforcements, of men and munitions of war, from Acre, and other parts of
Syria. Kleber, with a division of two thousand of the army, had not yet
arrived. Napoleon resolved immediately to attack his foes, though they
were eighteen thousand strong. It was indeed an unequal conflict. These
janizaries were the most fierce, merciless, and indomitable of men; and
their energies were directed by English officers and by French engineers.
Just one year before, Napoleon with his army had landed upon that beach.
Where the allied fleet now rode so proudly, the French fleet had been
utterly destroyed. The bosom of Napoleon burned with the desire to avenge
this disaster. As Napoleon stood silently contemplating the scene, Murat
by his side, he foresaw the long results depending upon the issue of the
conflict. Utter defeat would be to him utter ruin. A partial victory would
but prolong the conflict, and render it impossible for him, without
dishonor, to abandon Egypt and return to France. The entire destruction of
his foes would enable him, with the renown of an invincible conqueror, to
leave the army in safety and embark for Paris, where he doubted not that,
in the tumult of the unsettled times, avenues of glory would be opened
before him. So strongly was he impressed with the great destinies for
which he believed himself to be created, that, turning to Murat, he said,
“This battle will decide the fate of the world.” The distinguished cavalry
commander, unable to appreciate the grandeur of Napoleon’s thoughts,
replied, “At least of this army. But every French soldier feels now that
he must conquer or die. And be assured, if ever infantry were charged to
the teeth by cavalry, the Turks shall be to-morrow so charged by mine.”

The first gray of the morning was just appearing in the East, when the
Turkish army was aroused by the tramp of the French columns, and by a
shower of bomb-shells falling in the midst of their intrenchments. One of
the most terrible battles recorded in history then ensued. The awful
genius of Napoleon never shone forth more fearfully than on that bloody
day. He stood upon a gentle eminence, calm, silent, unperturbed, pitiless,
and guided, with resistless skill, the carnage. The onslaught of the
French was like that of wolves. The Turks were driven like deer before
them. Every man remembered that in that bay the proud fleet of France had
perished. Every man felt that the kings of Europe had banded for the
destruction of the French Republic. Every man exulted in the thought that
there were but six thousand French Republicans to hurl themselves upon
England, Russia, and Turkey combined, nearly twenty thousand strong. The
Turks, perplexed and confounded by the skill and fury of the assault, were
driven in upon each other in horrible confusion. The French, trained to
load and fire with a rapidity which seemed miraculous, poured in upon them
a perfect hurricane of bullets, balls, and shells. They were torn to
pieces, mown down, bayoneted, and trampled under iron hoofs. In utter
consternation, thousands of them plunged into the sea, horsemen and
footmen, and struggled in the waves, in the insane attempt to swim to the
ships, three miles distant from the shore. With terrible calmness of
energy Napoleon opened upon the drowning host the tornado of his
batteries, and the water was swept with grape-shot as by a hail-storm. The
Turks were on the point of a peninsula. Escape by land was impossible.
They would not ask for quarter. The silent and proud spirit of Napoleon
was inflamed with the resolve to achieve a victory which should reclaim
the name of Aboukir to the arms of France. Murat redeemed his pledge.
Plunging with his cavalry into the densest throng of the enemy, he spurred
his fiery steed, reckless of peril, to the very centre of the Turkish
camp, where stood Mustapha Pacha, surrounded by his staff. The proud Turk
had barely time to discharge a pistol at his audacious foe, which slightly
wounded Murat, ere the dripping sabre of the French general severed half
of his hand from the wrist. Thus wounded, the leader of the Turkish army
was immediately captured, and sent in triumph to Napoleon. As Napoleon
received his illustrious prisoner, magnanimously desiring to soothe the
bitterness of his utter discomfiture, he courteously said, “I will take
care to inform the Sultan of the courage you have displayed in this
battle, though it has been your misfortune to lose it.” “Thou mayst save
thyself that trouble,” the proud Turk haughtily replied. “My master knows
me better than thou canst.”

Before 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the whole Turkish army was destroyed.
Hardly an individual escaped. About two thousand prisoners were taken in
the fort. All the rest perished, either drowned in the sea, or slain upon
the land. Sir Sydney Smith, who had chosen the position occupied by the
Turkish army, with the utmost difficulty avoided capture. In the midst of
the terrible scene of tumult and death, the Commodore succeeded in getting
on board a boat, and was rowed to his ships. More than twelve thousand
corpses of the turbaned Turks were floating in the bay of Aboukir, beneath
whose crimsoned waves, but a few months before, almost an equal number of
the French had sunk in death. Such utter destruction of an army is perhaps
unexampled in the annals of war. If God frowned upon France in the naval
battle of Aboukir, He as signally frowned upon her foes in this terrific
conflict on the land.

The cloudless sun descended peacefully, in the evening, beneath the blue
waves of the Mediterranean. Napoleon stood at the door of his tent, calmly
contemplating the scene, from whence all his foes had thus suddenly and
utterly vanished. Just then Kleber arrived, with his division of two
thousand men, for whom Napoleon had not waited. The distinguished soldier,
who had long been an ardent admirer of Napoleon, was overwhelmed with
amazement in contemplating the magnitude of the victory. In his enthusiasm
he threw his arms around the neck of his adored chieftain, exclaiming,
“Let me embrace you, my General, you are great as the universe.”

                   [Illustration: Napoleon and Kleber.]

Egypt was now quiet. Not a foe remained to be encountered. No immediate
attack, from any quarter, was to be feared. Nothing remained to be done
but to carry on the routine of the administration of the infant colony.
These duties required no especial genius, and could be very creditably
performed by any respectable governor.

It was, however, but a barren victory which Napoleon had obtained, at such
an enormous expenditure of suffering and of life. It was in vain for the
isolated army, cut off, by the destruction of its fleet, from all
intercourse with Europe, to think of the invasion of India. The French
troops had exactly “caught the Tartar.” Egypt was of no possible avail as
a colony, with the Mediterranean crowded with hostile English, and
Russian, and Turkish cruisers. For the same reason, it was impossible for
the army to leave those shores and return to France.  Thus the victorious
French, in the midst of all their triumphs, found that they had built up
for themselves prison walls from which, though they could repel their
enemies, there was no escape. The sovereignty of Egypt alone was too petty
an affair to satisfy the boundless ambition of Napoleon. Destiny, he
thought, deciding against an Empire in the East, was only guiding him back
to an Empire in the West.

For ten months Napoleon had now received no certain intelligence
respecting Europe. Sir Sydney Smith, either in the exercise of the spirit
of gentlemanly courtesy, or enjoying a malicious pleasure in communicating
to his victor tidings of disaster upon disaster falling upon France, sent
to him a file of newspapers full of the most humiliating intelligence. The
hostile fleet, leaving its whole army of eighteen thousand men, buried in
the sands, or beneath the waves, weighed anchor and disappeared.

Napoleon spent the whole night, with intense interest, examining those
papers. He learned that France was in a state of indescribable confusion;
that the imbecile government of the Directory, resorting to the most
absurd measures, was despised and disregarded; that plots and
counter-plots, conspiracies and assassinations filled the land. He
learned, to his astonishment, that France was again involved in war with
monarchical Europe; that the Austrians had invaded Italy anew, and driven
the French over the Alps; and that the banded armies of the European kings
were crowding upon the frontiers of the distracted republic. “Ah!” he
exclaimed to Bourrienne, “my forebodings have not deceived me. The fools
have lost Italy. All the fruit of our victories has disappeared. I must
leave Egypt. We must return to France immediately, and, if possible,
repair these disasters, and save France from destruction.”

                       [Illustration: The Return.]

It was a signal peculiarity in the mind of Napoleon that his decisions
appeared to be instinctive rather than deliberative. With the rapidity of
the lightning’s flash his mind contemplated all the considerations upon
each side of a question, and instantaneously came to the result. These
judgments, apparently so hasty, combined all the wisdom which others
obtain by the slow and painful process of weeks of deliberation and
uncertainty. Thus in the midst of the innumerable combinations of the
field of battle, he never suffered from a moment of perplexity; he never
hesitated between this plan and that plan, but instantaneously, and
without the slightest misgivings, decided upon that very course, to which
the most slow and mature deliberation would have guided him. This
instinctive promptness of correct decision was one great secret of his
mighty power. It pertained alike to every subject with which the human
mind could be conversant. The promptness of his decision was only equaled
by the energy of his execution. He therefore accomplished in hours that
which would have engrossed the energies of other minds for days.

Thus, in the present case, he decided, upon the moment, to return to
France. The details of his return, as to the disposition to be made of the
army, the manner in which he would attempt to evade the British cruisers,
and the individuals he would take with him, were all immediately settled
in his mind. He called Bourrienne, Berthier, and Gantheaume before him,
and informed them of his decision, enjoining upon them the most perfect
secrecy, lest intelligence of his preparations should be communicated to
the allied fleet. He ordered Gantheaume immediately to get ready for sea
two frigates from the harbor of Alexandria, and two small vessels, with
provisions for four hundred men for two months. Napoleon then returned
with the army to Cairo. He arrived there on the 10th of August, and again,
as a resistless conqueror, entered the city. He prevented any suspicion of
his projected departure, from arising among the soldiers, by planning an
expedition to explore Upper Egypt.

One morning he announced his intention of going down the Nile, to spend a
few days in examining the Delta. He took with him a small retinue, and
striking across the desert, proceeded with the utmost celerity to
Alexandria, where they arrived on the 22d of August. Concealed by the
shades of the evening of the same day, he left the town, with eight
selected companions, and escorted by a few of his faithful guards.
Silently and rapidly they rode to a solitary part of the bay, the party
wondering what this movement could mean. Here they discovered, dimly in
the distance, two frigates riding at anchor, and some fishing-boats near
the shore, apparently waiting to receive them. Then Napoleon announced to
his companions that their destination was France. The joy of the company
was inconceivable. The horses were left upon the beach, to find their way
back to Alexandria. The victorious fugitives crowded into the boats, and
were rowed out, in the dim and silent night, to the frigates. The sails
were immediately spread, and before the light of morning dawned, the low
and sandy outline of the Egyptian shore had disappeared beneath the
horizon of the sea.



GREAT OBJECTS ATTAINED BY LITTLE THINGS.


There is nothing, however small, in nature that has not its appropriate
use—nothing, however insignificant it may appear to us, that has not some
important mission to fulfill. The living dust that swarms in clusters
about our cheese—the mildew casting its emerald tint over our
preserves—the lichen and the moss wearing away the words of grief and
honor engraved upon the tombs of our forefathers, have each their
appropriate work, and are all important in the great economy of nature.
The little moss which so effectually aroused the emotions of Mungo Park
when far away from his friends and kin, and when his spirits were almost
failing, may teach a moral lesson to us all, and serve to inspire us with
some of that perseverance and energy to travel through life, that it did
Mungo Park in his journey through the African desert. By the steady and
long-continued efforts of this fragile little plant, high mountains have
been leveled, which no human power could have brought from their towering
heights. Adamantine rocks have been reduced to pebbles; cliffs have
mouldered in heaps upon the shore; and castles and strongholds raised by
the hand of man have proved weak and powerless under the ravages of this
tiny agent, and become scenes of ruin and desolation—the habitations of
the owl and the bat. Yet who, to look upon the lichen, would think it
could do all this?—so modest that we might almost take it for a part of
the ground upon which we tread. Can this, we exclaim, be a leveler of
mountains and mausoleums! Contemplate its unobtrusive, humble course;
endowed by nature with an organization capable of vegetating in the most
unpropitious circumstances—requiring indeed little more than the mere
moisture of the atmosphere to sustain it, the lichen sends forth its small
filamentous roots and clings to the hard, dry rock with a most determined
pertinacity. These little fibres, which can scarcely be discerned with the
naked eye, find their way into the minute crevices of the stone; now,
firmly attached, the rain-drops lodge upon their fronds or membranaceous
scales on the surface, and filtering to their roots, moisten the space
which they occupy, and the little plant is then enabled to work itself
further into the rock; the dimensions of the aperture become enlarged, and
the water runs in in greater quantities. This work, carried on by a legion
ten thousand strong, soon pierces the stony cliff with innumerable
fissures, which being filled with rain, the frost causes it to split, and
large pieces roll down to the levels beneath, reduced to sand, or to
become soil for the growth of a more exalted vegetation.—This, of course,
is a work of time—of generations, perhaps, measured by the span of human
life; but, undaunted, the mission of the humble lichen goes on and
prospers. Is not this a lesson worth learning from the book of nature?
Does it not contain much that we might profit by, and set us an example
that we should do well to imitate? “Persevere, and despise not little
things,” is the lesson we draw from it ourselves, and the poorest and
humblest reader of this page will be able to accomplish great things, if
he will take the precept to himself, engrave it upon his heart, or hold it
constantly before him; depend upon it, you will gain more inspiration from
these words than from half the wise sayings of the philosophers of old.

But nature is full of examples to stimulate us to perseverance, and
beautiful illustrations of how much can be achieved by little
things—trifles unheeded by the multitude. The worms that we tread in the
dust beneath our feet, are the choicest friends of the husbandman. A tract
of land rendered barren by the incrustation of stones upon its surface,
becomes by their labors a rich and fertile plain; they loosen and throw up
in nutritious mealy hillocks the hardest and most unprofitable soil—the
stones disappear, and where all was sterility and worthlessness, is soon
rich with a luxurious vegetation. We may call to mind, too, the worm upon
the mulberry-tree, and its miles of fine-spun glistening silk; we may
watch the process of its transformation till the choice fabric which its
patient industry had produced is dyed by an infusion gained from another
little insect (the Cochineal), and then, endowed with the glory of tint
and softness of texture, it is cut into robes to deck the beauty of our
English wives and daughters. Yet, those ignorant of their usefulness would
despise these little laborers, as they do others equally valuable. The bee
and the ant, again, are instances which we may all observe—but how few
will spare five minutes to contemplate them. Yet, where is the man,
sluggard though he be, who would not shake off his slothfulness on
observing the patient industry and frugal economy of the little ant? or
where is the drunkard and spendthrift who could watch the bee, so busy in
garnering up a rich store for the coming winter—laboring while the sun
shone, to sustain them when the frost and rain, and the flowerless plants
shut out all means of gaining their daily bread; and not put his shoulder
to the wheel, and think of old age, and the clouds that are gathering in
the heavens? The worth of all the delicious sweets we have derived from
the industry of the little bee, is nothing, when compared with the value
of this moral which they teach us.

If we turn from the book of Nature and open the annals of discovery and
science, many instances of the importance of little things will start up
and crowd around us—of events which appear in the lowest degree
insignificant, being the cause of vast and stupendous discoveries. “The
smallest thing becomes respectable,” says Foster, “when regarded as the
commencement of what has advanced or is advancing into magnificence. The
first rude settlement of Romulus would have been an insignificant
circumstance, and might justly have sunk into oblivion, if Rome had not at
length commanded the world. The little rill near the source of one of the
great American rivers is an interesting object to the traveler, who is
apprised as he steps across it, or walks a few miles along its bank, that
this is the stream which runs so far, and gradually swells into so immense
a flood.” By the accidental mixing of a little nitre and potash, gunpowder
was discovered. In ancient times, before the days of Pliny, some merchants
traveling across a sandy desert, could find no rock at hand on which to
kindle a fire to prepare their food; as a substitute, they took a block of
alkali from among their heaps of merchandise, and lit a fire thereon. The
merchants stared with surprise when they saw the huge block melting
beneath the heat, and running down in a glistening stream as it mingled
with the sand, and still more so, when they discovered into what a hard
and shining substance it had been transformed. From this, says Pliny,
originated the making of glass. The sunbeams dazzling on a crystal prism
unfolded the whole theory of colors. A few rude types carved from a wooden
block have been the means of revolutionizing nations, overthrowing
dynasties, and rooting out the most hardened despotisms—of driving away a
multitude of imps of superstition, which for ages had been the terror of
the learned, and of spreading the light of truth and knowledge from the
frontiers of civilization to the coasts of darkness and barbarism. “We
must destroy the Press,” exclaimed the furious Wolsey, “or the Press will
destroy us.” The battle was fought, the Press was triumphant, and Popery
banished from the shores of Britain. The swinging of a lamp suspended from
a ceiling led Galileo to search into the laws of oscillation of the
pendulum; and by the fall of an apple the great Newton was led to unfold
what had hitherto been deemed one of the secrets of the Deity—a mystery
over which God had thrown a vail, which it would be presumption for man to
lift or dare to pry beneath. Had Newton disregarded little things, and
failed to profit by gentle hints, we should perhaps have thought so still,
and our minds would not have been so filled with the glory of Him who made
the heavens; but with these great truths revealed to our understandings,
we exclaim from our hearts, “Manifold, O God! are thy works; in wisdom
hast thou made them all.”

When the heart of the woolspinner of Genoa was sickening with “hope
deferred,” and his men, who had long been straining their eyes in vain to
catch a glimpse of land, were about to burst into open mutiny, and were
shouting fearfully to their leader to steer the vessel back again,
Columbus picked up a piece of wood which he found floating upon the
waters. The shore must be nigh, he thought, from whence this branch has
wafted, and the inference inspired the fainting hearts of his crew to
persevere and gain the hoped-for land; had it not been for this trifling
occurrence, Columbus would perhaps have returned to Spain an unsuccessful
adventurer. But such trifles have often befriended genius. Accidentally
observing a red-hot iron become elongated by passing between iron
cylinders, suggested the improvements effected by Arkwright in the
spinning machinery. A piece of thread and a few small beads were means
sufficient in the hands of Ferguson, to ascertain the situation of the
stars in the heavens. The discovery of Galvani was made by a trifling
occurrence; a knife happened to be brought in contact with a dead frog
which was lying upon the board of the chemist’s laboratory, the muscles of
the reptile were observed to be severely convulsed—experiments soon
unfolded the whole theory of Galvanism. The history of the gas-light is
curious, and illustrates our subject. Dr. Clayton distilled some coal in a
retort, and confining the vapor in a bladder, amused his friends by
burning it as it issued from a pin-hole; little did the worthy doctor
think to what purposes the principle of that experiment was capable of
being applied. It was left for Murdoch to suggest its adoption as a means
of illuminating our streets and adding to the splendor of our shops. Had
Clayton not made known his humble experiment, we probably should still be
depending on the mercy of a jovial watchman for a light to guide us
through the dark thoroughfares of the city, or to the dim glimmer of an
oil lamp to display the luxury of our merchandise.

These facts, which we have gleaned from the fields of nature and from the
annals of science, may be useful to us all. If God has instilled the
instinct of frugality into the ant, and told us, in his written word, to
go learn her ways and be wise, think you he will be displeased to observe
the same habits of economy in us, or deny us the favor of his countenance,
because we use with care the talents he has intrusted to our keeping, or
the wealth he has placed within our reach? Let not instances of the abuse
of this feeling, which spendthrifts in derision will be sure to point out
to you, deter you from saving, in times of plenty, a little for a time of
need. Avarice is always despicable—the crime of the miser is greater than
that of the spendthrift; both are extremes, both abuse the legitimate
purposes of wealth. It is equally revolting to read of two avaricious
souls, whose coffers could have disgorged ten times ten thousand guineas,
growing angry over a penny, or fretting at the loss of a farthing
rushlight; but it is a sight quite as sad and painful to observe the
spendthrift squandering in the mire the last shilling of an ample fortune,
and reducing his wife and children to beggary for ever. Save, then, a
little, although the thoughtless and the gay may sneer. Throw nothing
away, for there is nothing that is purely worthless; the refuse from your
table is worth its price, and if you are not wanting it yourself, remember
there are hundreds of your kind, your brethren by the laws of God, who are
groaning under a poverty which it would help to mitigate, and pale with a
hunger which it might help to satisfy. Where can you find your
prescriptive right to squander that which would fill the belly of a hungry
brother? A gentleman, some years ago, married the daughter of a public
contractor, whose carts carried away the dust from our habitations; he was
promised a portion with his bride, and on his nuptial day was referred to
a large heap of dust and offal as the promised dowry. He little thought,
as he received it with some reluctance, that it would put two thousand
pounds into his pocket.

To achieve independence, then, you must practise an habitual frugality,
and while enjoying the present, look forward to old age, and think now and
then of the possibility of a rainy day. Do not fancy, because you can only
save an occasional penny now, that you will never become the possessor of
pounds. Small things increase by union. Recollect, too, the precepts and
life of Franklin, and a thousand others who rose to wealth and honor by
looking after little things: be resolute, persevere, and prosper. Do not
wait for the assistance of others in your progress through life; you will
grow hungry, depend upon it, if you look to the charity or kindness of
friends for your daily bread. It is far more noble to gird up your loins,
and meet the difficulties and troubles of human life with a dauntless
courage. The wheel of fortune turns as swiftly as that of a mill, and the
rich friend who has the power, you think, to help you to-day, may become
poor tomorrow—many such instances of the mutability of fortune must occur
to every reader. If he be rich, let him take the inference to himself. If
he has plenty, let him save a little, lest the wheel should turn against
him; and if he be poor and penniless, let him draw from such cases
consolation and hope.

You are desirous of promotion in your worldly position—you are ambitious
of rising from indigence to affluence?—resist, then, every temptation that
may allure you to indolence or every fascination that may lead to
prodigality. Think not that the path to wealth or knowledge is all
sunshine and honey; look for it only by long years of vigorous and
well-directed activity; let no opportunity pass for self-improvement. Keep
your mind a total stranger to the _ennui_ of the slothful. The dove,
recollect, did not return to Noah with the olive-branch till the second
time of her going forth; why, then, should you despond at the failure of a
first attempt? Persevere, and above all, despise not little things; for,
you see, they sometimes lead to great matters in the end.



THE SUBLIME PORTE.


In offering a few remarks upon the government of Turkey, which, by common
accord, is known in Europe and the United States as “The Sublime Porte,”
it is not intended to quote history, but rather to speak of it only in
reference to the present period. It is nevertheless necessary to state
that the Turks themselves call the Turkish Empire _Mémâliki-Othmanieh_, or
the “Ottoman States” (kingdoms), in consequence of their having been
founded by Othman, the great ancestor of the present reigning sovereign,
Abd-ul-Mejid. They are no better pleased with the name of _Turk_ than the
people of the United States are, generally, with that of _Yankee_: it
bears with it a meaning signifying a gross and rude man—something indeed
very much like our own definition of it, when we say any one is “no better
than a Turk;” and they greatly prefer being known as Ottomans. They call
their language the “Ottoman tongue”—_Othmanli dilee_—though some do speak
of it as the _Turkish_.

As regards the title, “The Sublime Porte,” this has a different origin. In
the earlier days of Ottoman rule, the reigning sovereign, as is still the
case in some parts of the East, held courts of justice and levees at the
entrance of his residence. The palace of the Sultan is always surrounded
by a high wall, and not unfrequently defended by lofty towers and
bastions. The chief entrance is an elevated portal, with some pretensions
to magnificence and showy architecture. It is guarded by soldiers or
door-keepers well armed; it may also contain some apartments for certain
officers, or even for the Sultan himself; its covering or roof, projecting
beyond the walls, offers an agreeable shade, and in its external alcoves
are sofas more or less rich or gaudy. Numerous loiterers are usually found
lingering about the portal, applicants for justice; and there, in former
times, when the Ottomans were indeed _Turks_, scenes of injustice and
cruelty were not unfrequently witnessed by the passer-by.

This lofty portal generally bears a distinct title. At Constantinople it
has even grown into one which has given a name to the whole government of
the Sultan. I am not aware, however, that the custom here alluded to was
ever in force in that capital, though it certainly was in other parts of
the empire of Othman. It is not improbable that it was usual with all the
Sultans, who, at the head of their armies, seldom had any permanent fixed
residence worthy of the name of _palace_. Mahomet the Second, who
conquered Constantinople from the degenerate Greeks, may, for some time
after his entrance into the city of Constantine—still called in all the
official documents, such as “_Firmans_,” or “Royal Orders,”
_Kostantinieh_—have held his courts of justice and transacted business at
the elevated portal of his temporary residence. The term “Sublime Porte,”
in Turkish, is _Deri Alieh_, or the elevated and lofty door; the Saxon
word door being derived from the Persian _der_, or _dor_, in common use in
the Ottoman language, which is a strange mixture of Tartar, Persian, and
Arabic. The French, or rather the Franks, in their earlier intercourse
with Turkey, translated the title literally “La Sublime Porte,” and this
in English has been called, with similar inaccuracy, “The Sublime Porte.”

Long since, the Ottoman Sultans have ceased administering justice before
their palaces, or indeed any where else, in person. The office is
delegated to a deputy, who presides over the whole Ottoman government,
with the title of Grand Vezir, or in Turkish, _Véziri Azam_, the Chief
Vezir, whose official residence or place of business, once no doubt at the
portal of his sovereign, is now in a splendid edifice in the midst of the
capital. At Constantinople the Ottoman government is also called the
“Sublime Government,” _Devleti Alieh_, a word closely bordering on that of
superiority and pre-eminence claimed by the “Heavenly Government” of the
empire of China. The Sultan, in speaking of his government, calls it “My
Sublime Porte.” The Grand Vezir being an officer of the highest rank in
the empire—a Pacha, of course, in fine, _the_ Pacha—his official residence
is known in Constantinople as that of the Pacha, _Pacha Ka pousee_, _i.e._
the “Gate of the Pacha.” The chief entrance to the “seraglio” of the
former Sultans, erected on the tongue of land where once stood the
republican city of Byzantium, called the “Imperial Gate,” or the _Babi
Humayoon_, is supposed by some to have given rise to the title of “The
Sublime Porte;” but this is not correct. It may have once been used as a
court of justice, certainly as a place where justice was wont to be
executed, for not unfrequently criminals were decapitated there; and among
others, the head of the brave but unfortunate Aâli Pacha, of Yanina in
Albania, the friend of Lord Byron, was exposed there for some days
previous to its interment beyond the walls of the city.

The title of _porte_, or door, is used in Constantinople to designate
other departments of the government. The bureau of the Minister of War is
called the _Seraskier Kapousee_, or the Gate of the _Serasker_ (head of
the army); and those of the Ministers of Commerce and Police are called,
the one _Tijaret Kapousee_, and the other _Zabtieh Kapousee_. These,
however are sufficient, without mentioning any other facts, to explain the
origin and nature of the title of the Ottoman government, known as “The
Sublime Porte.”

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire is known by his subjects under the title
of _Sultân_, which word signifies a ruler; and generally as _Shevketlu
Padischah Effendimiz_, “His Majesty the Emperor our Lord;” and all foreign
governments now recognize him as an Emperor, and call him by the title of
“Imperial Majesty.” The definition of the word _Padischah_ is supposed to
be “Father of Kings,” and originally was _Peder Schah_, the first part of
it (Peder) being the origin of our Saxon word _Fâder_, or father. In his
own tongue he is called _Khan_, in Persian _Shah_, and in Arabic _Sultan_,
all meaning, _in extensu_, the same, viz. King, Sovereign, or Prince. He
reigns over one of the most extensive empires of the world, all possessed
or acquired by inheritance from his ancestors, who obtained it by
conquest.

Until the reign of the late Sultan, Mahmoud the Second, the Ottoman
sovereigns had their residence in _the_ “Seraglio” before alluded to, in
the city of Constantinople. Its high walls were not, however, sufficiently
strong to protect them against the violence of the Janizaries, and after
their destruction the remembrance of the scenes of their cruelty induced
the late and present Sultan to forsake it for the safer and more agreeable
banks of the Bosphorus. The extensive and very picturesque buildings of
the Seraglio are now left to decay; they offer only the spectacle of the
“dark ages” of Turkey, gloomy in their aspect, as in their history, and
yet occupying one of the most favored spots in the world, on which the
eyes of the traveler are fixed as by a charm in approaching the great
capital of the East, and on which they dwell with a parting feeling of
regret as he bids the magnificent “City of the Sultan” farewell.

On the Bosphorus are two splendid palaces, one on the Asiatic and the
other on the European shore. The first is called _Beylerbey_, “Prince of
Princes,” the latter _Teherâgiân_, “The Lights.” Both are beautiful
edifices, in excellent taste; and, as architecture has done in all ages,
they serve to show the advance of the people who erected them in the
noblest of the arts.

The Turkish Sultan, in theory, is a despotic sovereign, while in practice
he is a very paternal one. As the supreme head of the government, he may
exercise unlimited power; few checks exist to preserve the lives and
property of his subjects against an influence which he _might_ exercise
over them. His ancestors conquered the country, and subjugated its
inhabitants to _his_ rule with _his_ troops; consequently it all belonged
to him, and could only be possessed by _his_ gift: thus, in fact, the
empire is his, and the concessions made by him to his subjects are
free-will offerings, which are not drawn from him by compulsion on their
part, but are grants on his, in behalf of reform and civilization. The
feudal system of land-tenure was abolished by his father, and there is now
scarcely a feature of it remaining. It is several years since the present
Sultan spontaneously renounced all the arbitrary power hitherto possessed
and frequently exercised by his predecessors; at the same time he granted
all his subjects a “Charter of Rights,” called the _Hatti Sherif of
Gulkhaneh_, or imperial sacred rescript of _Gulkhaneh_, named after a
summerhouse or _Kiosckk_ within the precincts of the Seraglio, where it
was read before him by the present Grand Vezir, Rechid Pacha, in the
presence of the whole diplomatic corps, and all the ministers and other
high officers of the Ottoman government. In this charter the Sultan
conceded all the rights and privileges which could be expected from a
sovereign prince not reigning with a constitutional form of government. He
has never withdrawn any of these privileges, or resumed the power which he
then renounced. Moreover, this charter limited the power of all his
officers. The only punishments which they can now exercise are fines and
imprisonments of limited extent. None can any longer inflict the
“bastinado,” nor capital punishment for crimes of a graver nature; these
are reserved for the Councils or Boards at the capital and the chief towns
of each province. The sentences of the latter are, in all cases, subject
to the confirmation of the former, and the decrees of the Council of
State, held at the Sublime Porte, are laid before the Sultan previous to
their adoption as laws.

The present Sultan, Abd-ul-Mejid, which name is Arabic, and signifies
“Servant of the Glorious” (God), is now in his twenty-ninth year: he
succeeded his late illustrious father, Mahmoud II., in 1839, when he was
but seventeen years of age. His father had inspired him with the desire to
improve his empire and promote the welfare of his people by salutary
reforms, and frequently carried him with him to observe the result of the
new system which he had introduced into the different branches of the
public service. Previous to his accession to the throne, but little is
known of his life, or the way in which he was brought up. It may be
supposed to have been much like that of all Oriental princes. Except when
he attended his parent, he seldom left the palace. He had several sisters
and one brother, all by other mothers than his own. The former have, since
his accession, died, with the exception of one, the wife of the present
Minister of War. His brother still lives, and resides with the Sultan in
his palace. The mother of the Sultan, who was a Circassian slave of his
father, is said to be a woman of a strong mind and an excellent judgment.
She exercised much influence over her son when he ascended the throne, and
her counsels were greatly to his benefit. He entertains for her feelings
of the deepest respect, and has always evinced the warmest concern for her
health and happiness. She is a large, portly lady, yet in the prime of
life; and although she possesses a fine palace of her own, near to that of
her son, she mostly resides with him. Her revenues are derived from the
islands of Chio and Samos.

In person the Sultan is of middle stature, slender, and of a delicate
frame. In his youth he suffered from illness, and it was thought that his
constitution had been severely affected by it. His features are slightly
marked with the small pox. His countenance denotes great benevolence and
goodness of heart, and the frankness and earnestness of character which
are its chief traits. He does not possess the dignified and commanding
figure which eminently characterized his father, and in conduct is simple
and diffident. His address, when unrestrained by official forms and
ceremony, is gentle and kind in the extreme—more affable and engaging than
that of his Pachas; and no one can approach him without being won by the
goodness of heart which his demeanor indicates. He has never been known to
commit an act of severity or injustice; his purse and his hand have always
been open for the indigent and the unfortunate, and he takes a peculiar
pride in bestowing his honors upon men of science and talent. Among his
own subjects he is very popular and much beloved; they perceive and
acknowledge the benefit of the reforms which he has instituted, and he no
longer need apprehend any opposition on their part. In some of the more
distant portions of his empire, such as Albania, where perhaps foreign
influence is exerted to thwart his plans, his new system of military rule
has not yet been carried out; but it evidently soon will be, especially
when its advantage over the old is felt by the inhabitants.

The palaces of the Sultan, on both banks of the Bosphorus, though
externally showy, are very plain and simple in their interior arrangement.
They are surrounded by high walls, and guarded by soldiery. The first
block of buildings which the traveler approaches on visiting them, up the
Bosphorus, are the apartments of the eunuchs; the second his _harem_, or
female apartments; and the third those of the Sultan. Beyond this are the
offices of his secretaries, guard, and band of music, all beyond the walls
of the palace. The number of eunuchs is some sixty or eighty, and the
females in the harem about 300 to 400. The Sultan never marries; all the
occupants of his harem are slaves, and he generally selects from four to
six ladies as his favorites, who bear children to him, and who succeed to
his throne. The remainder of the females are employed as maids of honor,
who attend upon his mother, his favorites, his brother’s mother, favorite,
if he has one, and upon his children. Many hold offices in the palace, and
are charged with the maintenance of good order and regularity. Many of
them are aged females, who have been servants to his father, his mother,
and sisters, and brother, and have thus claims upon his kindness and
protection. The only males who have the right of entrance to the imperial
harem are the eunuchs, all of whom are black, and come mutilated from
Egypt. The chief of their corps is an aged “gentleman of color,”
possessing the Sultan’s confidence in an eminent degree, and in official
rank is higher than any other individual connected with the imperial
palace. The eunuchs are assigned to the service of the different ladies of
the harem, do their shopping in the bazaars, carry their messages, and
accompany them on their visits. Indeed, their duties are much like those
of well-bred gallants in our country, without any of the ambitious
feelings which animate the latter, and certainly they never aspire to the
possession of their affections. Some of them grow wealthy, possess much
property, and slaves of both sexes, but as they can have no families, the
Sultan is their legal heir. Eunuchs are possessed by many of the pachas
and other officers of rank, for the purpose of serving their wives,
sisters, and daughters: they cost four or five times as much as an
ordinary black slave, and the highest officers seldom possess more than
ten of them at once. From them much interesting information can at times
be procured relative to the most sacred and least known of the Mussulman
family system. They are generally of mild disposition, gentle and amiable;
though this is not always the case, for they sometimes are petulant,
cross, and confoundedly non-communicative.

The Sultan’s palace is peculiarly his private home, and no officers of
high rank occupy it with him. He has four private secretaries and as many
chamberlains. He has also two aids-de-camp, who are generally in command
of the body-guard, which has its quarters in the vicinity of the palace.
He seldom, however, commands their attendance; their duties are to keep
watch at the principal entrances, and to salute him or any other higher
officers who may arrive at or leave the royal residence. The secretaries
write out his orders, and the chief of their number receives all foreign
functionaries or Turkish dignitaries who visit the palace on business. One
of them is the Sultan’s interpreter, and translates articles for his
perusal from the many foreign papers received from Europe and America by
the Sultan. All official documents are sent to the chief secretary by the
different ministers of the Sublime Porte, and those received from the
foreign embassies and legations are translated there, previous to being
transmitted to the Sultan. No foreign legation ever transacts any official
business directly with the Sultan, or through the chief (private)
secretary; but the latter may be visited on matters relating to the
sovereign personally. Documents from the Sublime Porte are always
communicated through the Grand Vezir, who has a number of portfolios in
which these are placed, and he sends them to the palace by certain
functionaries charged especially with their conveyance. Of these the Vezir
possesses one key, and the Sultan, or his chief secretary, another. The
sultan passes several hours of the day, from eleven till three, in
perusing these papers, and in hearing their perusal by the private
secretary before him; and his imperial commands are traced on their broad
margin, either by his own hand in red ink (as is customary in China), or
he directs his secretary to do it for him. So very sacred are all
manuscripts coming from his pen, that these papers seldom ever leave the
bureaux to which they belong, except after his decease. It is only on such
documents that the autograph of the Sultan is ever seen.

At about three o’clock the Sultan generally leaves the palace in a
_caïque_ or barge, which, being smaller than that used for official
purposes, is called the _incognito_ (_tebdil_), and visits the edifices
that he may be erecting, calls upon his sisters, or spends the remainder
of the day at one of the many delightful nooks on the Bosphorus or Golden
Horn, where he possesses _kiosks_, or summer-houses. Sometimes he takes
with him his brother or his sons; and he is strongly attached to them. It
is said that he is having the latter instructed in the French language, in
geography and mathematics. The elder is some ten years of age, but will
not succeed his father to the throne until after the death of his uncle,
who, by Mussulman law, is next in right to the reigning Sultan.
Inheritance, in Islam lands, runs through all the brothers before it
reverts to the children of the eldest son. Females can not succeed to the
throne, and the house of Othman would consequently become extinct with its
last male representative.



THE CURSE OF GOLD. A DREAM.


Mordant Lindsay threw off the long black crape scarf and hat-band which,
in the character of chief mourner, he had that day worn at the funeral of
his wife, as he entered one of the apartments at Langford, and moodily
sought a seat. The room was spacious, and filled with every luxury which
wealth could procure or ingenuity invent to add to its comfort or its
ornament. Pictures, mirrors, silken curtains, and warm carpets; statues in
marble and bronze were scattered about in rich profusion in the saloon,
and its owner, in the deep mourning of a widower, sat there—grieving
truly—thinking deeply; but not, as might have been supposed, of the lady
who had that day been laid in the vault of his ancestors—no, he was
regretting the loss of a much brighter spirit than ever lived in her pale
proud face, or in the coldness of her calm blue eye. Mordant Lindsay was
apparently a man of past fifty; his hair was streaked with gray, though
its dark locks still curled thickly round his head; he bore on his face
the marks of more than common beauty, but time had left its traces there,
in the furrows on his brow; and even more deeply than time, care. As a
young man, he had been very handsome, richly endowed by nature with all
those graces which too often make captive only to kill; but fortune, less
generous, had gifted him but with the heritage of a good name—nothing
more—and his early life had been passed in an attempt, by his own means,
to remedy the slight she had put upon him at his birth. The object of his
ambition was gained—had been now for some years: he was wealthy, the
possessor of all the fair lands stretched out before him as far as his eye
could reach, and a rent-roll not unworthy of one in a higher station in
life. Looked up to by the poor of Langford as the lord of the manor,
courted by his equals as a man of some consequence. Was he happy? See the
lines so deeply marked on his countenance, and listen to the sigh which
seems to break from the bottom of his heart. You will find in them an
answer.

How brightly the sun shines in through the windows of the room, gilding
all around with its own radiance, and giving life and light to the very
statues! It shines even on his head, but fails in warming his bosom; it
annoys him, uncongenial as it is with his sad thoughts, and he rises and
pulls down the blind, and then restlessly wanders forth into the open air.
The day is close, for summer is still at its height, and Mordant Lindsay
seeks the shade of a group of trees and lies down, and presently he
sleeps, and the sun (as it declines) throws its shadows on nearer objects;
and now it rests on him, and as it hovers there, takes the form of that
companion of his childhood, who for long, with a pertinacity he could not
account for, seemed ever avoiding his path, and flying from him when most
anxiously pursued; and he sees again those scenes of his past life before
him dimly pictured through the vista of many years, and his dream runs
thus:

He is a child at play, young and innocent, as yet untainted by worldly
ambition, and standing by him is a beautiful figure, with long golden
hair, very bright, and shining like spun glass or the rays of the summer
sun. Her eyes seem born for laughter, so clear, so mirthful, so full of
joy, and her spotless robe flows around her, making every thing it comes
in contact with graceful as itself; and she has wings, for Happiness is
fickle and flies away, so soon as man proves false to himself and unworthy
of her. She joins the child in his gambols, and hand in hand with him
sports beside him, gathering the same flowers that he gathers, looking
through his smiling eyes as she echoes his happy laughter; and then over
meadow, past ditches, and through tangled bushes, in full chase after a
butterfly. In the eagerness of the sport he falls, and the gaudy insect
(all unconscious of being the originator of so many conflicting hopes and
fears) flutters onward in full enjoyment of the sun and the light, and
soon it is too far off to renew the chase. Tears, like dewdrops, fill the
child’s eyes, and he looks around in vain for his companion of the day.
The grass is not so green without her; even the bird’s song is discordant,
and, tired, he sadly wends his way toward home. “Oh, dear mamma!” he
exclaims, brightening up, as he sees his mother coming toward him, and
running to her finds a ready sympathy in his disappointment as she clasps
her boy to her bosom and dries his little tearful face, closely pressing
him to a heart whose best hopes are centred in his well-being. Happiness
is in her arms, and he feels her warm breath upon his cheek as she kisses
and fondles him; and anon he is as cheerful as he was, for his playmate of
the day, now returned with his own good-humor, accompanies him for all the
hours he will encourage her to remain; sometimes hiding within the purple
flower of the scented violet, or nodding from beneath the yellow cups of
the cowslip, as the breeze sends her laden with perfume back to him again.
And in such childish play and innocent enjoyment time rolls on, until the
child has reached his ninth year, and becomes the subject and lawful slave
of all the rules in Murray’s Grammar, and those who instill them into the
youthful mind. And then the boy finds his early friend (although ready at
all times to share his hours of relaxation) very shy and distant; when
studies are difficult or lessons long, keeping away until the task is
accomplished; but cricket and bat and ball invariably summon her, and then
she is bright and kind as of yore, content to forget old quarrels in
present enjoyment; and as Mordant dreamed, he sighed in his sleep, and the
shadow of Happiness went still further off, as if frightened by his grief.

The picture changes: and now more than twenty years are past since the
time when the boy first saw the light, and he is sitting in the room of a
little cottage. The glass door leading to the garden is open, and the
flowers come clustering in at the windows. The loveliness of the child has
flown, it is true, but in its place a fond mother gazes on the form of a
son whose every feature is calculated to inspire love. The short dark
curls are parted from off his sunburnt forehead, and the bright hazel eyes
(in which merriment predominates) glance quickly toward the door, as if
expecting some one. The book he has been pretending to read lies idly on
his lap, and bending his head upon his hand, his eyes had shut in the
earnestness of his reverie, he does not hear the light footstep which
presently comes stealing softly behind him. The new-comer is a young and
very pretty girl, with a pale Madonna-looking face, seriously thoughtful
beyond her years. She may be seventeen or eighteen, not more. Her hands
have been busy with the flowers in the garden, and now, as she comes up
behind the youth, she plucks the leaves from off a rose-bud, and drops
them on his open book. A slight start, and a look upward, and then (his
arms around her slight form) he kisses her fondly and often. And Happiness
clings about them, and nestles closely by their side, as if jealous of
being separated from either, and they were happy in their young love. How
happy! caring for naught besides, thinking of no future, but in each
other—taking no account of time so long as they should be together,
contented to receive the evils of life with the good, and to suffer side
by side (if God willed it) sooner than be parted. They were engaged to be
married. At present, neither possessed sufficient to live comfortably
upon, and they must wait and hope; and she did hope, and was reconciled
almost to his departure, which must soon take place, for he has been
studying for a barrister, and will leave his mother’s house to find a
solitary home in a bachelor’s chambers in London. Mordant saw himself (as
he had been then) sitting with his first love in that old familiar place,
her hand clasped in his, her fair hair falling around her, and vailing the
face she hid upon his shoulder, and even more vividly still, the
remembrance of that Happiness which had ever been attendant on them then,
when the most trivial incidents of the day were turned into matters of
importance, colored and embellished as they were by love. He saw himself
in possession of the reality, which, alas! he had thrown away for the
shadow of it, and he longed for the recovery of those past years which had
been so unprofitably spent, in a vain attempt at regaining it. The girl
still sat by him; they did not seem to speak, and throughout that long
summer afternoon still they sat, she pulling the flowers (so lately
gathered) in pieces, and he playing with the ringlets of her hair. And now
the door opens, and his mother enters, older by many years than when she
last appeared to him, but still the same kind smile and earnest look of
affection as she turns toward her son. Her hand is laid upon his arm (as
he rises to meet her), and her soft voice utters his name, coupled with
endearment. “Mordant, dearest, Edith and myself wish to walk, if you will
accompany us?” “Certainly,” is the reply, and the three set out, and the
dreamer watched their fast receding forms down a shady lane, until a turn
lost them to his sight, and the retrospective view had vanished, but
quickly to be replaced by another.

Again he sees the same youth, this time impatiently walking up and down a
close, dismal room. The furniture is smoke-dried and dusty, once red, now
of a dark ambiguous color. The sofa is of horse-hair, shining (almost
white in places) from constant friction. On the mantlepiece hangs a
looking-glass, the frame wrapped round with yellow gauze to protect it
from dirt and here and there a fly-catcher, suspended from the ceiling,
annoys the inmate of the dusky room by its constant motion. It is a
lodging-house, ready furnished, and the young man, who has not left his
home many months, is not yet accustomed to the change, and he is wearied
and unhappy. He has just been writing to Edith, and the thought of her
causes him uneasiness; he is longing to be with her again. Restlessly he
paces up and down the narrow chamber, unwilling to resume studies, by the
mastery of which he could alone hope to be with her again, until a knock
at the hall-door makes him pause and sit down; another knock (as if the
visitor did not care to be kept waiting). Mordant knew what was coming; he
remembered it all, and felt no surprise at seeing in his dream a friend
(now long since dead) enter the apartment, with the exclamation of “What,
Lindsay! all alone? I had expected to find you out, I was kept so long
knocking at your door. How are you, old fellow?” and Charles Vernon threw
himself into a chair. “We are all going to the play,” continued he, “and a
supper afterward. You know Leclerque? he will be one of the party—will you
come?” and Vernon waited for an answer. The one addressed replied in the
affirmative, and Mordant saw (with a shudder) the same figure which had
lured him on in Pleasure to seek lost Happiness, now tempting the youth
before him. The two were so like each other in outward appearance, that he
wondered not that he too was deceived, and followed her with even more
eagerness than he had ever done her more retiring sister. And then with
that gay creature ever in mind, Mordant saw the young man led on from one
place of amusement to another—from supper and wine to dice and a
gambling-table—until ruin stared him in the face, and that mind, which had
once been pure and untarnished, was fast becoming defaced by a too close
connection with vice.

Mordant was wiser now, and he saw how flimsy and unreal this figure of
Pleasure appeared—how her gold was tinsel, and her laughter but the hollow
echo of a forced merriment—unlike his own once possessed Happiness, whose
treasures were those of a contented spirit—whose gayety proceeded from an
innocent heart and untroubled conscience. Strange that he should have been
so blinded to her beauties, and so unmindful of the other’s defects; but
so it had been. Mordant sympathized with the young man as he watched him
running headlong toward his own misery; but the scene continued before
him—he had no power to prevent it—and now the last stake is to be played.
On that throw of the dice rests the ruin of the small property he has
inherited from his father. It is lost! and he beggared of the little he
could call his own; and forth from the hell (in which he has been passing
the night) rushes into the street. It wants but one stroke to complete the
wreck of heart as well as of fortune, and that stroke is not long in
coming.

Miserable, he returned to his lodgings, and alone he thought of his
position. He thought of Edith. “Love in a cottage, even could I by my own
means regain what I have lost. Pshaw! the thing is ridiculous. Without
money there can not be Happiness for her or for me.” A few months had
sadly changed _him_, who before saw it only in her society. But now the
Goddess of his fancy stands before him—her golden curls of the precious
metal he covets—her eyes receiving their brightness from its lustre, and
in his heart a new feeling asserts superiority, and he wishes to be rich.
With money to meet every want he will command her presence—not sue for it;
and Mordant remembered how, in pursuance of this ambition, gradually
cooling toward her, he had at last broken off his engagement with
Edith—how for some years, day and night had seen him toiling at his
profession, ever with the same object in view, and how at last he had
married a woman in every way what he desired: rich in gold and lands and
worldly possessions, but poor in heart compared with Edith.

The crowd jostle each other to get a nearer view of the bride as she
passes (leaning on her father’s arm) from the carriage to the church-door.
The bridegroom is waiting for her, and now joins her, and they kneel side
by side at the altar. Mordant remembers his wedding-day. He is not happy,
notwithstanding the feeling of gratified pride he experiences as he places
the ring upon the fair hand of the Lady Blanche. No emotion of a very deep
kind tinges her cheek; she is calm and cold throughout the ceremony. She
admires Mordant Lindsay very much; he was of a good family, so was she; he
very handsome and young, and she past thirty. Matches more incongruous
have been made, and with less apparent reason, and this needs no farther
explanation on her side. They are married now, and about to leave the
church. The young man turns as he passes out (amidst the congratulations
of his friends), attracted by scarcely suppressed sobs; but the cloaked
figure from whom they proceed does not move, and he recognizes her not. It
is Edith, and Mordant, as he gazes on the scene before him, sees Happiness
standing afar off, afraid to approach too near to any one of the party,
but still keeping her eyes fixed on the pale young mourner at that bridal,
who, bowed down with grief, sat there until the clock warned her to go, as
the doors were being closed. The married pair (after a month spent abroad)
settles down at Langford; and the husband—was he happy now? No, not
yet—but expecting to be from day to day, hoping that time would alter for
the better what was wanting to the happiness of his home; but time flew
on, and, regardless of his hopes, left him the same disappointed man that
it found him—disappointed in his wife, in his expectations of
children—feeling a void in his heart which money was inefficient to
supply. The drama was drawing to a close; Mordant felt that the present
time had arrived. His wife was dead, and he in possession of every thing
which had been hers, but still an anxious, unsatisfied mind prevented all
enjoyment of life; but yet one more scene, and this time Mordant was
puzzled, for he did not recognize either the place or the actors.

On a bed on one side was stretched the figure of a young woman. Her
features were so drawn and sharpened by illness, that he could not recall
them to his mind, although he had an idea that he ought to know her face.
She was very pale, and the heat seemed to oppress her, for in a languid
voice she begged the lady (who was sitting by her side) to open the
window. She rose to do so, and then Mordant saw that the scenery beyond
was not English, for hedges of myrtle and scarlet geranium grew around in
profusion, and the odor of orange flowers came thickly into the chamber of
the dying girl. Raising herself with difficulty, she called to her
companion, and then she said,

“I know I shall not now get better; I feel I am dying, and I am glad of
it. My life has been a living death to me for some years. When I am dead I
would wish to be buried in England—not here—not in this place, which has
proved a grave to so many of my countrymen. Let me find my last
resting-place, dearest mother, at home, in our own little church-yard.”

The lady wept as she promised her child to fulfill her last request, and
Mordant saw that Happiness had flown from the bed (around which she had
been hovering for some minutes) straight up to heaven, to await there the
spirit of the broken-hearted girl, who was breathing her last under the
clear and sunny sky of Madeira.

Mordant shuddered as he awoke, for he had been asleep for some time, and
the evening was closing in as he rose from the damp grass. It was to a
lonely hearth that he returned, and during the long night which followed,
as he thought of his dream and of an ill-spent life, he resolved to
revisit his early home, in the hope that amidst old scenes he might bring
back the days when he was happy. Was Edith still alive? He knew not. He
had heard she had gone abroad; she might be there still. He did not
confess it to himself, but it was Edith of whom he thought most; and it
was the hope of again seeing her which induced him to take a long journey
to the place where he had been born. The bells were ringing for some
merry-making as Mordant Lindsay left his traveling carriage, to walk up
the one street of which Bower’s Gifford boasted. He must go through the
church-yard to gain the new inn, and passing (by one of the inhabitants’
directions) through the turnstile, he soon found himself amidst the
memorials of its dead. Mordant, as he pensively walked along, read the
names of those whose virtues were recorded on their grave-stones, and as
he read, reflected. And now he stops, for it is a well-known name which
attracts his attention, and as he parts the weeds which have grown high
over that grave, he sees inscribed on the broken pillar which marks the
spot, “Edith Graham, who died at Madeira, aged 21.” And Mordant, as he
looks, sinks down upon the grass, and sheds the first tears which for
years have been wept by him, and in sorrow of heart, when too late,
acknowledges that it is not money or gratified ambition which brings
Happiness in this world, but a contented and cheerful mind; and from that
lonely grave he leaves an altered man, and a better one.



MAURICE TIERNAY, THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.(3)



Chapter LI. “Schönbrunn” In 1809.


About two months afterward, on a warm evening of summer, I entered Vienna
in a litter, along with some twelve hundred other wounded men, escorted by
a regiment of Cuirassiers. I was weak and unable to walk. The fever of my
wound had reduced me to a skeleton; but I was consoled for every thing by
knowing that I was a captain on the Emperor’s own staff, and decorated by
himself with the Cross of “the Legion.” Nor were these my only
distinctions, for my name had been included among the lists of the
“Officiers d’Elite;” a new institution of the Emperor, enjoying
considerable privileges and increase of pay.

To this latter elevation, too, I owed my handsome quarters in the “Raab”
Palace at Vienna, and the sentry at my door, like that of a field officer.
Fortune, indeed, began to smile upon me, and never are her flatteries more
welcome than in the first hours of returning health, after a long
sickness. I was visited by the first men of the army; marshals and
generals figured among the names of my intimates, and invitations flowed
in upon me from all that were distinguished by rank and station.

Vienna, at that period, presented few features of a city occupied by an
enemy. The guards, it is true, on all arsenals and forts, were French, and
the gates were held by them; but there was no interruption to the course
of trade and commerce. The theatres were open every night, and balls and
receptions went on with only redoubled frequency. Unlike his policy toward
Russia, Napoleon abstained from all that might humiliate the Austrians.
Every possible concession was made to their national tastes and feelings,
and officers of all ranks in the French army were strictly enjoined to
observe a conduct of conciliation and civility on every occasion of
intercourse with the citizens. Few general orders could be more palatable
to Frenchmen, and they set about the task of cultivating the good esteem
of the Viennese with a most honest desire for success. Accident, too,
aided their efforts not a little; for it chanced that a short time before
the battle of Aspern, the city had been garrisoned by Croat and Wallachian
regiments, whose officers, scarcely half civilized, and with all the
brutal ferocity of barbarian tribes, were most favorably supplanted by
Frenchmen, in the best of possible tempers with themselves and the world.

It might be argued, that the Austrians would have shown more patriotism in
holding themselves aloof, and avoiding all interchange of civilities with
their conquerors. Perhaps, too, this line of conduct would have prevailed
to a greater extent, had not those in high places set an opposite example.
But so it was; and in the hope of obtaining more favorable treatment in
their last extremity, the princes of the Imperial House, and the highest
nobles of the land, freely accepted the invitations of our marshals, and
as freely received them at their own tables.

There was something of pride, too, in the way these great families
continued to keep up the splendor of their households, large retinues of
servants and gorgeous equipages, when the very empire itself was crumbling
to pieces. And to the costly expenditure of that fevered interval may be
dated the ruin of some of the richest of the Austrian nobility. To
maintain a corresponding style, and to receive the proud guests with
suitable magnificence, enormous “allowances” were made to the French
generals; while in striking contrast to all the splendor, the Emperor
Napoleon lived at Schönbrunn with a most simple household and restricted
retinue.

“Berthier’s” Palace, in the “Graben,” was, by its superior magnificence,
the recognized centre of French society; and thither flocked every evening
all that was most distinguished in rank of both nations. Motives of
policy, or at least the terrible pressure of necessity, filled these
salons with the highest personages of the empire; while as if accepting,
as inevitable, the glorious ascendency of Napoleon, many of the French
_emigré_ families emerged from their retirement to pay their court to the
favored lieutenants of Napoleon. Marmont, who was highly connected with
the French aristocracy, gave no slight aid to this movement; and it was
currently believed at the time, was secretly intrusted by the Emperor with
the task of accomplishing, what in modern phrase is styled a “fusion.”

The real source of all these flattering attentions on the Austrian side,
however, was the well-founded dread of the partition of the empire; a plan
over which Napoleon was then hourly in deliberation, and to the
non-accomplishment of which he ascribed, in the days of his last exile,
all the calamities of his fall. Be this as it may, few thoughts of the
graver interests at stake disturbed the pleasure we felt in the luxurious
life of that delightful city; nor can I, through the whole of a long and
varied career, call to mind any period of more unmixed enjoyment.

Fortune stood by me in every thing. Marshal Marmont required as the head
of his Etat-major an officer who could speak and write German, and if
possible, who understood the Tyrol dialect. I was selected for the
appointment; but then there arose a difficulty. The etiquette of the
service demanded that the chef d’Etat-major should be at least a
lieutenant-colonel, and I was but a captain.

“No matter,” said he; “you are officier d’élite, which always gives brevet
rank, and so one step more will place you where we want you. Come with me
to Schönbrunn to-night and I’ll try to arrange it.”

I was still very weak and unable for any fatigue, as I accompanied the
Marshal to the quaint old palace which, at about a league from the
capital, formed the head-quarters of the Emperor. Up to this time I had
never been presented to Napoleon, and had formed to myself the most
gorgeous notions of the state and splendor that should surround such
majesty. Guess then my astonishment, and, need I own, disappointment, as
we drove up a straight avenue, very sparingly lighted, and descended at a
large door, where a lieutenant’s guard was stationed. It was customary for
the Marshals and Generals of Division to present themselves each evening
at Schönbrunn, from six to nine o’clock, and we found that eight or ten
carriages were already in waiting when we arrived. An officer of the
household recognized the Marshal as he alighted, and as we mounted the
stairs whispered a few words hurriedly in his ear, of which I only caught
one, “Komorn,” the name of the Hungarian fortress on the Danube where the
Imperial family of Vienna and the cabinet had sought refuge.

“Diantre!” exclaimed Marmont, “bad news! My dear Tiernay, we have fallen
on an unlucky moment to ask a favor! The dispatches from Komorn are, it
would seem, unsatisfactory. The Tyrol is far from quiet. Kuffstein, I
think that’s the name, or some such place, is attacked by a large force,
and likely to fall into their hands from assault.”

“That can scarcely be, sir,” said I, interrupting; “I know Kuffstein well.
I was two years a prisoner there; and, except by famine, the fortress is
inaccessible.”

“What! are you certain of this?” cried he, eagerly; “is there not one side
on which escalade is possible?”

“Quite impracticable on every quarter, believe me, sir. A hundred men of
the line and twenty gunners might hold Kuffstein against the world.”

“You hear what he says, Lefebre,” said Marmont to the officer; “I think I
might venture to bring him up?” The other shook his head doubtfully, and
said nothing. “Well, announce _me_ then,” said the Marshal; “and, Tiernay,
do you throw yourself on one of those sofas there and wait for me.”

I did as I was bade, and, partly from the unusual fatigue and in part from
the warmth of a summer evening, soon fell off into a heavy sleep. I was
suddenly awoke by a voice saying, “come along, captain, be quick, your
name has been called twice!” I sprang up and looked about; me, without the
very vaguest notion of where I was. “Where to? Where am I going?” asked I,
in my confusion. “Follow that gentleman,” was the brief reply; and so I
did in the same dreamy state that a sleep-walker might have done. Some
confused impression that I was in attendance on General Marmont was all
that I could collect, when I found myself standing in a great room densely
crowded with officers of rank. Though gathered in groups and knots
chatting, there was, from time to time, a sort of movement in the mass
that seemed communicated by some single impulse; and then all would remain
watchful and attentive for some seconds, their eyes turned in the
direction of a large door at the end of the apartment. At last this was
thrown suddenly open, and a number of persons entered, at whose appearance
every tongue was hushed, and the very slightest gesture subdued. The crowd
meanwhile fell back, forming a species of circle round the room, in front
of which this newly entered group walked. I can not now remember what
struggling efforts I made to collect my faculties, and think where I was
then standing; but if a thunderbolt had struck the ground before me, it
could not have given me a more terrific shock than that I felt on seeing
the Emperor himself address the general officer beside me.

I can not pretend to have enjoyed many opportunities of royal notice. At
the time I speak of, such distinction was altogether unknown to me; but
even when most highly favored in that respect, I have never been able to
divest myself of a most crushing feeling of my inferiority—a sense at once
so humiliating and painful, that I longed to be away and out of a presence
where I might dare to look at him who addressed me, and venture on
something beyond mere replies to interrogatories. This situation, good
reader, with all your courtly breeding and aplomb to boot, is never
totally free of constraint; but imagine what it can be when, instead of
standing in the faint sunshine of a royal smile, you find yourself
cowering under the stern and relentless look of anger, and that anger an
Emperor’s.

This was precisely my predicament, for, in my confusion, I had not noticed
how, as the Emperor drew near to any individual to converse, the others,
at either side, immediately retired out of hearing, preserving an air of
obedient attention, but without in any way obtruding themselves on the
royal notice. The consequence was, that as his Majesty stood to talk with
Marshal Oudinot, I maintained my place, never perceiving my awkwardness
till I saw that I made one of three figures isolated in the floor of the
chamber. To say that I had rather have stood in face of an enemy’s
battery, is no exaggeration. I’d have walked up to a gun with a stouter
heart than I felt at this terrible moment; and yet there was something in
that sidelong glance of angry meaning that actually nailed me to the spot,
and I could not have fallen back to save my life. There were, I afterward
learned, no end of signals and telegraphic notices to me from the officers
in waiting. Gestures and indications for my guidance abounded, but I saw
none of them. I had drawn myself up in an attitude of parade
stiffness—neither looked right nor left—and waited as a criminal might
have waited for the fall of the ax that was to end his sufferings forever.

That the Emperor remained something like two hours and a half in
conversation with the marshal, I should have been quite ready to verify on
oath; but the simple fact was, that the interview occupied under four
minutes; and then General Oudinot backed out of the presence leaving me
alone in front of his Majesty.

The silence of the chamber was quite dreadful, as, with his hands clasped
behind his back, and his head slightly thrown forward, the Emperor stared
steadily at me. I am more than half ashamed of the confession; but what
between the effect of long illness and suffering, the length of time I had
been standing, and the emotion I experienced, I felt myself growing dizzy,
and a sickly faintness began to creep over me, and but for the support of
my sabre, I should actually have fallen.

“You seem weak; you had better sit down,” said the Emperor, in a soft and
mild voice.

“Yes, sire, I have not quite recovered yet,” muttered I, indistinctly; but
before I could well finish the sentence, Marmont was beside the Emperor,
and speaking rapidly to him.

“Ah, indeed!” cried Napoleon, tapping his snuff-box, and smiling. “This is
Tiernay, then. Parbleu! we have heard something of you before.”

Marmont still continued to talk on; and I heard the words, Rhine, Genoa,
and Kuffstein distinctly fall from him. The Emperor smiled twice, and
nodded his head slowly, as if assenting to what was said.

“But his wound?” said Napoleon, doubtingly.

“He says that your Majesty cured him when the doctor despaired,” said
Marmont. “I’m sure, sire, he has equal faith in what you still could do
for him.”

“Well, sir,” said the Emperor, addressing me, “if all I hear of you be
correct, you carry a stouter heart before the enemy than you seem to wear
here. Your name is high in Marshal Massena’s list; and General Marmont
desires to have your services on his staff. I make no objection; you shall
have your grade.”

I bowed without speaking; indeed, I could not have uttered a word, even if
it had been my duty.

“They have extracted the ball, I hope?” said the Emperor to me, and
pointing to my thigh.

“It never lodged, sire; it was a round shot,” said I.

“Diable! a round shot! You’re a lucky fellow, Colonel Tiernay,” said he,
laying a stress on the title, “a very lucky fellow.”

“I shall ever think so, sire, since your Majesty has said it,” was my
answer.

“I was not a lieutenant-colonel at your age,” resumed Napoleon; “nor were
you either, Marmont. You see, sir, that we live in better times, at least,
in times when merit is better rewarded.” And with this he passed on; and
Marmont, slipping my arm within his own, led me away, down the great
stair, through crowds of attendant orderlies and groups of servants. At
last we reached our carriage, and in half an hour re-entered Vienna, my
heart wild with excitement, and burning with zealous ardor to do something
for the service of the Emperor.

The next morning I removed to General Marmont’s quarters; and for the
first time put on the golden aigrette of chef d’état-major, not a little
to the astonishment of all who saw the “boy colonel,” as, half in sarcasm,
half in praise, they styled me. From an early hour of the morning till the
time of a late dinner, I was incessantly occupied. The staff duties were
excessively severe, and the number of letters to be read and replied to
almost beyond belief. The war had again assumed something of importance in
the Tyrol. Hofer and Spechbacher were at the head of considerable forces,
which in the fastnesses of their native mountains were more than a match
for any regular soldiery. The news from Spain was gloomy: England was
already threatening her long-planned attack on the Scheldt. Whatever real
importance might attach to these movements, the Austrian cabinet made them
the pretext for demanding more favorable conditions; and Metternich was
emboldened to go so far as to ask for the restoration of the Empire in all
its former integrity.

These negotiations between the two cabinets at the time assumed the most
singular form which probably was ever adopted in such intercourse; all the
disagreeable intelligences and disastrous tidings being communicated from
one side to the other with the mock politeness of friendly relations. As
for instance, the Austrian cabinet would forward an extract from one of
Hofer’s descriptions of a victory; to which the French would reply by a
bulletin of Eugene Beauharnois, or, as Napoleon on one occasion did, by a
copy of a letter from the Emperor Alexander, filled with expressions of
friendship, and professing the most perfect confidence in his “brother of
France.” So far was this petty and most contemptible warfare carried, that
every little gossip and every passing story was pressed into the service,
and if not directly addressed to the cabinet, at least conveyed to its
knowledge by some indirect channel.

It is probable I should have forgotten this curious feature of the time,
if not impressed on my memory by personal circumstances too important to
be easily obliterated from memory. An Austrian officer arrived one morning
from Komorn, with an account of the defeat of Lefebre’s force before
Schenatz, and of a great victory gained by Hofer and Spechbacher over the
French and Bavarians. Two thousand prisoners were said to have been taken,
and the French driven across the Inn, and in full retreat on Kuffstein.
Now, as I had been confined at Kuffstein, and could speak of its
impregnable character from actual observation, I was immediately sent off
with dispatches about some indifferent matter, to the cabinet, with
injunctions to speak freely about the fortress, and declare that we were
perfectly confident of its security. I may mention incidentally, and as
showing the real character of my mission, that a secret dispatch from
Lefebre had already reached Vienna, in which he declared that he should be
compelled to evacuate the Tyrol, and fall back into Bavaria.

“I have provided you with introductions that will secure your friendly
reception,” said Marmont to me. “The replies to these dispatches will
require some days, during which you will have time to make many
acquaintances about the court, and if practicable to effect a very
delicate object.”

This, after considerable injunctions as to secrecy, and so forth, was no
less than to obtain a miniature, or a copy of a miniature, of the young
archduchess, who had been so dangerously ill during the siege of Vienna,
and whom report represented as exceedingly handsome. A good-looking young
fellow, a colonel, of two or three-and-twenty, with unlimited bribery, if
needed, at command, should find little difficulty in the mission: at
least, so Marmont assured me; and from his enthusiasm on the subject, I
saw, or fancied I saw, that he would have had no objection to be employed
in the service himself. For while professing how absurd it was to offer
any advice or suggestion on such a subject to one like myself, he entered
into details, and sketched out a plan of campaign, that might well have
made a chapter of “Gil Blas.” It would possibly happen, he reminded me,
that the Austrian court would grow suspectful of me, and not exactly feel
at ease, were my stay prolonged beyond a day or two; in which case it was
left entirely to my ingenuity to devise reasons for my remaining; and I
was at liberty to dispatch couriers for instructions, and await replies,
to any extent I thought requisite. In fact, I had a species of general
commission to press into the service whatever resources could forward the
object of my mission, success being the only point not to be dispensed
with.

“Take a week, if you like—a month, if you must, Tiernay,” said he to me at
parting; “but, above all, no failure! mind that—no failure!”



Chapter LII. “Komorn” Forty Years Ago.


I doubt if our great Emperor dated his first dispatch from Schönbrunn with
a prouder sense of elevation, than did I write “Komorn” at the top of my
first letter to Marshal Marmont, detailing, as I had been directed, every
incident of my reception. I will not pretend to say that my communication
might be regarded as a model for diplomatic correspondence; but having
since that period seen something of the lucubrations of great envoys and
plenipos, I am only astonished at my unconscious imitation of their style;
blending, as I did, the objects of my mission with every little personal
incident, and making each trivial circumstance bear upon the fortune of my
embassy.

I narrated my morning interview with Prince Metternich, whose courteous
but haughty politeness was not a whit shaken by the calamitous position of
his country, and who wished to treat the great events of the campaign as
among the transient reverses which war deals out, on this side, to-day, on
that, to-morrow. I told that my confidence in the impregnable character of
Kuffstein only raised a smile, for it had already been surrendered to the
Tyrolese; and I summed up my political conjectures by suggesting that
there was enough of calm confidence in the minister’s manner to induce me
to suspect that they were calculating on the support of the northern
powers, and had not given up the cause for lost. I knew for certain that a
Russian courier had arrived and departed since my own coming; and although
the greatest secrecy had attended the event, I ascertained the fact, that
he had come from St. Petersburg, and was returning to Moscow, where the
Emperor Alexander then was. Perhaps I was a little piqued, I am afraid I
was, at the indifference manifested at my own presence, and the little, or
indeed no importance, attached to my prolonged stay. For when I informed
Count Stadion that I should await some tidings from Vienna, before
returning thither, he very politely expressed his pleasure at the prospect
of my company, and proposed that we should have some partridge shooting,
for which the country along the Danube is famous. The younger brother of
this minister, Count Ernest Stadion, and a young Hungarian magnate,
Palakzi, were my constant companions. They were both about my own age, but
had only joined the army that same spring, and were most devoted admirers
of one who had already won his epaulettes as a colonel in the French
service. They showed me every object of interest and curiosity in the
neighborhood, arranged parties for riding and shooting, and, in fact,
treated me in all respects like a much valued guest—well repaid, as it
seemed, by those stories of war and battlefields which my own life and
memory supplied.

My improved health was already noticed by all, when Metternich sent me a
most polite message, stating, that if my services at Vienna could be
dispensed with for a while longer, that it was hoped I would continue to
reside where I had derived such benefit, and breathe the cheering breezes
of Hungary for the remainder of the autumn.

It was full eight-and-twenty years later that I accidentally learned to
what curious circumstance I owed this invitation. It chanced that the
young archduchess, who was ill during the siege, was lingering in a slow
convalescence, and to amuse the tedious hours of her sick couch, Madame
Palakzi, the mother of my young friend, was accustomed to recount some of
the stories which I, in the course of the morning, happened to relate to
her son. So guardedly was all this contrived and carried on, that it was
not, as I have said, for nearly thirty years after that I knew of it; and
then, the secret was told me by the chief personage herself, the Grand
Duchess of Parma.

Though nothing could better have chimed in with my plans than this
request, yet, in reality the secret object of my mission appeared just as
remote as on the first day of my arrival. My acquaintances were limited to
some half dozen gentlemen in waiting, and about an equal number of young
officers of the staff, with whom I dined, rode, hunted, and shot; never
seeing a single member of the Imperial family, nor, stranger still, one
lady of the household. In what Turkish seclusion they lived? when they
ventured out for air and exercise, and where? were questions that never
ceased to torture me. It was true that all my own excursions had been on
the left bank of the river, toward which side the apartment I occupied
looked; but I could scarcely suppose that the right presented much
attraction, since it appeared to be an impenetrable forest of oak;
besides, that the bridge which formerly connected it with the island of
Komorn had been cut off during the war. Of course, this was a theme on
which I could not dare to touch; and as the reserve of my companions was
never broken regarding it, I was obliged to be satisfied with my own
guesses on the subject.

I had been about two months at Komorn, when I was invited to join a
shooting party on the north bank of the river, at a place called Ercacs,
or, as the Hungarians pronounce it, Ercacsh, celebrated for the black
cock, or the auerhahn, one of the finest birds of the east of Europe. All
my companions had been promising me great things, when the season for the
sport should begin, and I was equally anxious to display my skill as a
marksman. The scenery, too, was represented as surpassingly fine, and I
looked forward to the expedition, which was to occupy a week, with much
interest. One circumstance alone damped the ardor of my enjoyment: for
some time back exercise on horseback had become painful to me, and some of
those evil consequences which my doctor had speculated on, such as
exfoliation of the bone, seemed now threatening me. Up to this the
inconvenience had gone no further than an occasional sharp pang after a
hard day’s ride, or a dull uneasy feeling which prevented my sleeping
soundly at night. I hoped, however, by time, that these would subside, and
the natural strength of my constitution carry me safely over every
mischance. I was ashamed to speak of these symptoms to my companions, lest
they should imagine that I was only screening myself from the fatigues of
which they so freely partook; and so I continued, day after day, the same
habit of severe exercise; while feverish nights, and a failing appetite,
made me hourly weaker. My spirits never flagged, and, perhaps, in this
way, damaged me seriously; supplying a false energy long after real
strength had begun to give way. The world, indeed, “went so well” with me
in all other respects, that I felt it would have been the blackest
ingratitude against Fortune to have given way to any thing like discontent
or repining. It was true, I was far from being a solitary instance of a
colonel at my age; there were several such in the army, and one or two
even younger; but they were unexceptionably men of family influence,
descendants of the ancient nobility of France, for whose chivalric names
and titles the Emperor had conceived the greatest respect; and never, in
all the pomp of Louis XIV’s court, were a Gramont, a Guise, a
Rochefoucauld, or a Tavanne more certain of his favorable notice. Now, I
was utterly devoid of all such pretensions; my claims to gentle blood,
such as they were, derived from another land, and I might even regard
myself as the maker of my own fortune.

How little thought did I bestow on my wound, as I mounted my horse on that
mellow day of autumn! How indifferent was I to the pang that shot through
me, as I touched the flank with my leg. Our road led through a thick
forest, but over a surface of level sward, along which we galloped in all
the buoyancy of youth and high spirits. An occasional trunk lay across our
way, and these we cleared at a leap; a feat, which I well saw my Hungarian
friends were somewhat surprised to perceive, gave me no trouble whatever.
My old habits of the riding-school had made me a perfect horseman; and
rather vain of my accomplishment, I rode at the highest fences I could
find. In one of these exploits an acute pang shot through me, and I felt
as if something had given way in my leg. The pain for some minutes was so
intense that I could with difficulty keep the saddle, and even when it had
partially subsided, the suffering was very great.

To continue my journey in this agony was impossible; and yet I was
reluctant to confess that I was overcome by pain. Such an acknowledgment
seemed unsoldier-like and unworthy, and I determined not to give way. It
was no use; the suffering brought on a sickly faintness that completely
overcame me. I had nothing for it but to turn back; so, suddenly affecting
to recollect a dispatch that I ought to have sent off before I left, I
hastily apologized to my companions, and with many promises to overtake
them by evening, I returned to Komorn.

A Magyar groom accompanied me, to act as my guide; and attended by this
man, I slowly retraced my steps toward the fortress, so slowly, indeed,
that it was within an hour of sunset as we gained the crest of the little
ridge, from which Komorn might be seen, and the course of the Danube, as
it wound for miles through the plain.

It is always a grand and imposing scene, one of those vast Hungarian
plains, with waving woods and golden corn-fields, bounded by the horizon
on every side, and marked by those immense villages of twelve or even
twenty thousand inhabitants. Trees, rivers, plains, even the dwellings of
the people are on a scale with which nothing in the Old World can vie. But
even with this great landscape before me, I was more struck by a small
object which caught my eye, as I looked toward the fortress. It was a
little boat, covered with an awning, and anchored in the middle of the
stream, and from which I could hear the sound of a voice, singing to the
accompaniment of a guitar. There was a stern and solemn quietude in the
scene: the dark fortress, the darker river, the deep woods casting their
shadows on the water, all presented a strange contrast to that girlish
voice and tinkling melody, so light-hearted and so free.

The Magyar seemed to read what was passing in my mind, for he nodded
significantly, and touching his cap in token of respect, said it was the
young Archduchess Maria Louisa, who, with one or two of her ladies,
enjoyed the cool of the evening on the river. This was the very same
princess for whose likeness I was so eager, and of whom I never could
obtain the slightest tidings. With what an interest that bark became
invested from that moment! I had more than suspected, I had divined the
reasons of General Marmont’s commission to me, and could picture to myself
the great destiny that in all likelihood awaited her who now, in sickly
dalliance, moved her hand in the stream, and scattered the sparkling drops
in merry mood over her companions. Twice or thrice a head of light brown
hair peeped from beneath the folds of the awning, and I wondered within
myself if it were on that same brow that the greatest diadem of Europe was
to sit.

So intent was I on these fancies, so full of the thousand speculations
that grew out of them, that I paid no attention to what was passing, and
never noticed an object on which the Hungarian’s eyes were bent in earnest
contemplation. A quick gesture and a sudden exclamation from the man soon
attracted me, and I beheld, about a quarter of a mile off, an enormous
timber-raft descending the stream at headlong speed. That the great mass
had become unmanageable, and was carried along by the impetuosity of the
current, was plain enough, not only from the zig-zag course it took, but
from the wild cries and frantic gestures of the men on board. Though
visible to us from the eminence on which we stood, a bend of the stream
still concealed it from those in the boat. To apprise them of their
danger, we shouted with all our might, gesticulating at the same time, and
motioning to them to put in to shore. It was all in vain; the roar of the
river, which is here almost a torrent, drowned our voices, and the little
boat still held her place in the middle of the stream. Already the huge
mass was to be seen emerging from behind a wooded promontory of the river
side, and now their destruction seemed inevitable. Without waiting to
reach the path, I spurred my horse down the steep descent, and half
falling, and half plunging, gained the bank. To all seeming now, they
heard me, for I saw the curtain of the awning suddenly move, and a
boatman’s red cap peer from beneath it. I screamed and shouted with all my
might, and called out “The raft—the raft!” till my throat felt bursting.
For some seconds the progress of the great mass seemed delayed, probably
by having become entangled with the trees along the shore; but now, borne
along by its immense weight, it swung round the angle of the bank, and
came majestically on, a long, white wave marking its course as it breasted
the water.

They see it! they see it! Oh! good heavens! are they paralyzed with
terror, for the boatman never moves! A wild shriek rises above the roar of
the current, and yet they do nothing. What prayers and cries of entreaty,
what wild imprecations I uttered, I know not; but I am sure that reason
had already left me, and nothing remained in its place except the mad
impulse to save them, or perish. There was then so much of calculation in
my mind that I could balance the chances of breasting the stream on
horseback, or alone, and this done, I spurred my animal over the bank into
the Danube. A horse is a noble swimmer, when he has courage, and a
Hungarian horse rarely fails in this quality.

Heading toward the opposite shore, the gallant beast cleared his track
through the strong current, snorting madly, and seeming to plunge at times
against the rushing waters. I never turned my eyes from the skiff all this
time, and now could see the reason of what had seemed their apathy. The
anchor had become entangled, fouled among some rocks or weeds of the
river, and the boatman’s efforts to lift it were all in vain. I screamed
and yelled to the man to cut the rope, but my cries were unheard, for he
bent over the gunwale, and tugged and tore with all his might. I was more
than fifty yards higher up the stream, and rapidly gaining the calmer
water under shore, when I tried to turn my horse’s head down the current;
but the instinct of safety rebelled against all control, and the animal
made straight for the bank. There was then but one chance left, and taking
my sabre in my mouth, I sprang from his back into the stream. In all the
terrible excitement of that dreadful moment I clung to one firm purpose.
The current would surely carry the boat into safety, if once free; I had
no room for any thought but this. The great trees along shore, the great
fortress, the very clouds over head, seemed to fly past me, as I swept
along; but I never lost sight of my purpose, and now almost within my
grasp. I see the boat and the three figures, who are bending down over one
that seems to have fainted. With my last effort, I cry again to cut the
rope, but his knife has broken at the handle! I touch the side of the
skiff, I grasp the gunwale with one hand, and seizing my sabre with the
other, I make one desperate cut. The boat swings round to the current, the
boatman’s oars are out—they are saved. My “thank God!” is like the cry of
a drowning man—for I know no more.



Chapter LIII. A Loss And A Gain.


To apologize to my reader for not strictly tracing out each day of my
history, would be, in all likelihood, as great an impertinence as that of
the tiresome guest who, having kept you two hours from your bed by his
uninteresting twaddle, asks you to forgive him at last for an abrupt
departure. I am already too full of gratitude for the patience that has
been conceded to me so far, to desire to trifle with it during the brief
space that is now to link us together. And believe me, kind reader, there
is more in that same tie than perhaps you think, especially where the
intercourse had been carried on, and, as it were, fed from month to month.
In such cases the relationship between him who writes and him who reads
assumes something like acquaintanceship; heightened by a greater desire on
one side to please, than is usually felt in the routine business of
everyday life. Nor is it a light reward, if one can think that he has
relieved a passing hour of solitude or discomfort, shortened a wintry
night, or made a rainy day more endurable. I speak not here of the greater
happiness in knowing that our inmost thoughts have found their echo in far
away hearts, kindling noble emotions, and warming generous aspirations,
teaching courage and hope by the very commonest of lessons; and showing
that, in the moral as in the vegetable world, the bane and antidote grow
side by side; and, as the eastern poet has it, “He who shakes the tree of
sorrow, is often sowing the seeds of joy.” Such are the triumphs of very
different efforts from mine, however, and I come back to the humble theme
from which I started.

If I do not chronicle the incidents which succeeded to the events of my
last chapter, it is, in the first place, because they are most imperfectly
impressed upon my own memory; and, in the second, they are of a nature
which, whether in the hearing or the telling, can afford little pleasure;
for what if I should enlarge upon a text which runs but on suffering and
sickness, nights of feverish agony, days of anguish, terrible alternations
of hope and fear, ending, at last, in the sad, sad certainty, that skill
has found its limit. The art of the surgeon can do no more, and Maurice
Tiernay must consent to lose his leg! Such was the cruel news I was
compelled to listen to as I awoke one morning dreaming, and for the first
time since my accident, of my life in Kuffstein. The injuries I had
received before being rescued from the Danube, had completed the mischief
already begun, and all chance of saving my limb had now fled. I am not
sure if I could not have heard a sentence of death with more equanimity
than the terrible announcement that I was to drag out existence maimed and
crippled. To endure the helplessness of age with the warm blood and daring
passions of youth, and, worse than all, to forego a career that was
already opening with such glorious prospects of distinction.

Nothing could be more kindly considerate than the mode of communicating
this sad announcement; nor was there omitted any thing which could
alleviate the bitterness of the tidings. The undying gratitude of the
Imperial family; their heartfelt sorrow for my suffering; the pains they
had taken to communicate the whole story of my adventure to the Emperor
Napoleon himself, were all insisted on; while the personal visits of the
Archdukes, and even the Emperor himself, at my sick bed, were told to me
with every flattery such acts of condescension could convey. Let me not be
thought ungrateful, if all these seemed but a sorry payment for the
terrible sacrifice I was to suffer; and that the glittering crosses which
were already sent to me in recognition, and which now sparkled on my bed,
appeared a poor price for my shattered and wasted limb; and I vowed to
myself that to be once more strong and in health I’d change fortunes with
the humblest soldier in the grand army.

After all, it is the doubtful alone can break down the mind and waste the
courage. To the brave man, the inevitable is always the endurable. Some
hours of solitude and reflection brought this conviction to my heart, and
I recalled the rash refusal I had already given to submit to the
amputation, and sent word to the doctors that I was ready. My mind once
made up, a thousand ingenious suggestions poured in their consolations.
Instead of incurring my misfortune as I had done, my mischance might have
originated in some commonplace or inglorious accident. In lieu of the
proud recognitions I had earned, I might have now the mere sympathy of
some fellow-sufferer in an hospital; and instead of the “Cross of St.
Stephen,” and the “valor medal” of Austria, my reward might have been the
few sous per day allotted to an invalided soldier.

As it was, each post from Vienna brought me nothing but flattering
recognitions; and one morning a large sealed letter from Duroc conveyed
the Emperor’s own approval of my conduct, with the cross of commander of
the Legion of Honor. A whole life of arduous services might have failed to
win such prizes, and so I struck the balance of good and evil fortune, and
found I was the gainer!

Among the presents which I received from the Imperial family was a
miniature of the young Archduchess, whose life I saved, and which I at
once dispatched by a safe messenger to Marshal Marmont, engaging him to
have a copy of it made and the original returned to me. I concluded that
circumstances must have rendered this impossible, for I never beheld the
portrait again, although I heard of it among the articles bequeathed to
the Duc de Reichstadt at St. Helena. Maria Louisa was, at that time, very
handsome; the upper lip and mouth were, it is true, faulty, and the
Austrian heaviness marred the expression of these features; but her brow
and eyes were singularly fine, and her hair of a luxuriant richness rarely
to be seen.

Count Palakzi, my young Hungarian friend, and who had scarcely ever
quitted my bedside during my illness, used to jest with me on my
admiration of the young Archduchess, and jokingly compassionate me on the
altered age we lived in, in contrast to those good old times when a bold
feat or a heroic action was sure to win the hand of a fair princess. I
half suspect that he believed me actually in love with her, and deemed
that it was the best way to treat such an absurd and outrageous ambition.
To amuse myself with his earnestness, for such had it become, on the
subject, I affected not to be indifferent to his allusions, and assumed
all the delicate reserve of devoted admiration. Many an hour have I
lightened by watching the fidgety uneasiness the young count felt at my
folly; for now instead of jesting, as before, he tried to reason me out of
this insane ambition, and convince me that such pretensions were utter
madness.

I was slowly convalescing, about five weeks after the amputation of my
leg, when Palakzi entered my room one morning with an open letter in his
hand. His cheek was flushed, and his air and manner greatly excited.

“Would you believe it, Tiernay,” said he, “Stadion writes me word from
Vienna, that Napoleon has asked for the hand of the young Archduchess in
marriage, and that the Emperor has consented?”

“And am _I_ not considered in this negotiation?” asked I, scarcely
suppressing a laugh.

“This is no time nor theme for jest,” said he, passionately; “nor is it
easy to keep one’s temper at such a moment. A Hapsburgher Princess married
to a low Corsican adventurer! to the—”

“Come, Palakzi,” cried I, “these are not words for me to listen to; and
having heard them, I may be tempted to say, that the honor comes all of
the other side; and that he who holds all Europe at his feet ennobles the
dynasty from which he selects his empress.”

“I deny it—fairly and fully deny it!” cried the passionate youth. “And
every noble of this land would rather see the provinces of the empire torn
from us, than a Princess of the Imperial House degraded to such an
alliance!”

“Is the throne of France, then, so low?” said I, calmly.

“Not when the rightful sovereign is seated on it,” said he. “But are we,
the subjects of a legitimate monarchy, to accept as equals the lucky
accidents of your Revolution? By what claim is a soldier of fortune the
peer of King or Kaiser? I, for one, will never more serve a cause so
degraded; and the day on which such humiliation is our lot shall be the
last of my soldiering;” and so saying, he rushed passionately from the
room, and disappeared.

I mention this little incident here, not as in any way connecting itself
with my own fortunes, but as illustrating what I afterward discovered to
be the universal feeling entertained toward this alliance. Low as Austria
then was—beaten in every battle—her vast treasury confiscated—her capital
in the hands of an enemy—her very existence as an empire threatened; the
thought of this insult—for such they deemed it—to the Imperial House,
seemed to make the burden unendurable; and many who would have sacrificed
territory and power for a peace, would have scorned to accept it at such a
price as this.

I suppose the secret history of the transaction will never be disclosed;
but living as I did, at the time, under the same roof with the royal
family, I inclined to think that their counsels were of a divided nature;
that while the Emperor and the younger Archdukes gave a favorable ear to
the project, the Empress and the Archduke Charles as steadily opposed it.
The gossip of the day spoke of dreadful scenes between the members of the
Imperial House, and some have since asserted that the breaches of
affection that were then made never were reconciled in after life.

With these events of state or private history I have no concern. My
position and my nationality, of course, excluded me from confidential
intercourse with those capable of giving correct information; nor can I
record any thing beyond the mere current rumors of the time. This much,
however, I could remark, that all whom conviction, policy, or perhaps
bribery inclined to the alliance, were taken into court favor, and
replaced in the offices of the household those whose opinions were
adverse. A total change, in fact, took place in the persons of the royal
suite, and the Hungarian nobles, many of whom filled the “Hautes Chargés,”
as they are called, now made way for Bohemian grandees, who were
understood to entertain more favorable sentiments toward France. Whether
in utter despair of the cause for which they had suffered so long and so
much, or that they were willing to accept this alliance with the oldest
dynasty of Europe as a compromise, I am unable to say; but so was it. Many
of the emigré nobility of France, the unflinching, implacable enemies of
Bonaparte, consented to bury their ancient grudges, and were now seen
accepting place and office in the Austrian household. This was a most
artful flattery of the Austrians, and was peculiarly agreeable to
Napoleon, who longed to legalize his position by a reconciliation with the
old followers of the Bourbons, and who dreaded their schemes and plots far
more than he feared all the turbulent violence of the “Faubourg.” In one
day, no fewer than three French nobles were appointed to places of trust
in the household, and a special courier was sent off to Gratz to convey
the appointment of maid of honor to a young French lady who lived there in
exile.

Each of my countrymen on arriving came to visit me. They had all known my
father by name, if not personally, and most graciously acknowledged me as
one of themselves, a flattery they sincerely believed above all price.

I had heard much of the overweening vanity and conceit of the
Legitimatists, but the reality far exceeded all my notions of them. There
was no pretense, no affectation whatever about them. They implicitly
believed that in “accepting the Corsican,” as the phrase went, they were
displaying a condescension and self-negation unparalleled in history. The
tone of superiority thus assumed, of course made them seem supremely
ridiculous to my eyes—I, who had sacrificed heavily enough for the Empire,
and yet felt myself amply rewarded. But apart from these exaggerated ideas
of themselves, they were most amiable, gentle-mannered, and agreeable.

The ladies and gentlemen of what was called the “Service,” associated all
together, dining at the same table, and spending each evening in a
handsome suite appropriated to themselves. Hither some one or other of the
Imperial family occasionally came to play his whist, or chat away an hour
in pleasant gossip; these distinguished visitors never disturbing in the
slightest degree the easy tone of the society, nor exacting any
extraordinary marks of notice or attention.

The most frequent guest was the Archduke Louis, whose gayety of
temperament and easy humor induced him to pass nearly every evening with
us. He was fond of cards, but liked to talk away over his game, and make
play merely subsidiary to the pleasure of conversation. As I was but an
indifferent “whister,” but a most admirable auditor, I was always selected
to make one of his party.

It was on one of the evenings when we were so engaged, and the Archduke
had been displaying a more than ordinary flow of good spirits and
merriment, a sudden lull in the approving laughter, and a general
subsidence of every murmur, attracted my attention. I turned my head to
see what had occurred, and perceived that all the company had risen, and
were standing with eyes directed to the open door.

“The Archduchess, your Imperial Highness!” whispered an aid-de-camp to the
Prince, and he immediately rose from the table, an example speedily
followed by the others. I grasped my chair with one hand, and with my
sword in the other, tried to stand up, an effort which hitherto I had
never accomplished without aid. It was all in vain—my debility utterly
denied the attempt. I tried again, but overcome by pain and weakness, I
was compelled to abandon the effort, and sink down on my seat, faint and
trembling. By this time the company had formed into a circle, leaving the
Archduke Louis alone in the middle of the room; I, to my increasing shame
and confusion, being seated exactly behind where the Prince stood.

There was a hope for me still; the Archduchess might pass on through the
rooms without my being noticed. And this seemed likely enough, since she
was merely proceeding to the apartments of the Empress, and not to delay
with us. This expectation was soon destined to be extinguished; for,
leaning on the arm of one of her ladies, the young Princess came straight
over to where Prince Louis stood. She said something in a low voice, and
he turned immediately to offer her a chair; and there was I seated, very
pale, and very much shocked at my apparent rudeness. Although I had been
presented before to the young Archduchess, she had not seen me in the
uniform of the Corps de Guides (in which I now served as colonel), and
never recognized me. She therefore stared steadily at me, and turned
toward her brother as if for explanation.

“Don’t you know him?” said the Archduke, laughing; “it’s Colonel de
Tiernay, and if he can not stand up, _you_ certainly should be the last to
find fault with him. Pray, sit quiet, Tiernay,” added he, pressing me down
on my seat; “and if you won’t look so terrified, my sister will remember
you.”

“We must both be more altered than I ever expect if I cease to remember M.
de Tiernay,” said the Archduchess, with a most courteous smile. Then
leaning on the back of a chair, she bent forward and inquired after my
health. There was something so strange in the situation: a young, handsome
girl condescending to a tone of freedom and intimacy with one she had seen
but a couple of times, and from whom the difference of condition separated
her by a gulf wide as the great ocean, that I felt a nervous tremor I
could not account for. Perhaps, with the tact that royalty possesses as
its own prerogative, or, perhaps, with mere womanly intuition, she saw how
the interview agitated me, and, to change the topic, she suddenly said:

“I must present you to one of my ladies, Colonel de Tiernay, a
countrywoman of your own. She already has heard from me the story of your
noble devotion, and now only has to learn your name. Remember you are to
sit still.”

As she said this, she turned, and drawing her arm within that of a young
lady behind her, led her forward.

“It is to this gentleman I owe my life, Mademoiselle D’Estelles.”

I heard no more, nor did she either; for, faltering, she uttered a low,
faint sigh, and fell into the arms of those behind her.

“What’s this, Tiernay!—how is all this?” whispered Prince Louis; “are you
acquainted with mademoiselle?”

But I forgot every thing; the presence in which I stood, the agony of a
wounded leg, and all, and, with a violent effort, sprung from my seat.

Before I could approach her, however, she had risen from the chair, and in
a voice broken and interrupted, said:

“You are so changed, M. de Tiernay—so much changed—that the shock
overpowered me. We became acquainted in the Tyrol, madame,” said she to
the Princess, “where monsieur was a prisoner.”

What observation the Princess made in reply I could not hear, but I saw
that Laura blushed deeply. To hide her awkwardness perhaps it was, that
she hurriedly entered into some account of our former intercourse, and I
could observe that some allusion to the Prince de Condé dropped from her.

“How strange, how wonderful is all that you tell me!” said the Princess,
who bent forward and whispered some words to Prince Louis; and then,
taking Laura’s arm, she moved on, saying in a low voice to me, “Au revoir,
monsieur,” as she passed.

“You are to come and drink tea in the Archduchess’s apartments, Tiernay,”
said Prince Louis; “you’ll meet your old friend, Mademoiselle D’Estelles,
and of course you have a hundred recollections to exchange with each
other.”

The Prince insisted on my accepting his arm, and, as he assisted me along,
informed me that old Madame D’Acgreville was dead about a year, leaving
her niece an immense fortune—at least a claim to one—only wanting the
sanction of the Emperor Napoleon to become valid; for it was one of the
estreated but not confiscated estates of La Vendée. Every word that
dropped from the Prince extinguished some hope within me. More beautiful
than ever, her rank recognized, and in possession of a vast fortune, what
chance had I, a poor soldier of fortune, of success?

“Don’t sigh, Tiernay,” said the Prince, laughing; “you’ve lost a leg for
us, and we must lend you a hand in return;” and with this we entered the
salon of the Archduchess.

Maurice Tiernay’s “Last Word And Confession.”

I have been very frank with my readers in these memoirs of my life. If I
have dwelt somewhat vain-gloriously on passing moments of success, it must
be owned that I have not spared my vanity and self-conceit, when either
betrayed me into any excess of folly. I have neither blinked my humble
beginnings, nor have I sought to attribute to my own merits those happy
accidents which made me what I am. I claim nothing but the humble
character—a Soldier of Fortune. It was my intention to have told the
reader somewhat more than these twenty odd years of my life embrace.
Probably, too, my subsequent career, if less marked by adventure, was more
pregnant with true views of the world and sounder lessons of conduct; but
I have discovered to my surprise that these revelations have extended over
a wider surface than I ever destined them to occupy, and already I tremble
for the loss of that gracious attention that has been vouchsafed me
hitherto. I will not trust myself to say how much regret this abstinence
has cost me; enough if I avow that in jotting down the past I have lived
my youth over again, and in tracing old memories, old scenes, and old
impressions, the smouldering fire of my heart has shot up a transient
flame so bright as to throw a glow even over the chill of my old age.

It is, after all, no small privilege to have lived and borne one’s part in
stirring times; to have breasted the ocean of life when the winds were up
and the waves ran high; to have mingled, however humbly, in eventful
scenes, and had one’s share in the mighty deeds that were to become
history afterward. It is assuredly in such trials that humanity comes out
best, and that the character of man displays all its worthiest and noblest
attributes. Amid such scenes I began my life, and, in the midst of similar
ones, if my prophetic foresight deceive me not, I am like to end it.

Having said this much of and for myself, I am sure the reader will pardon
me if I am not equally communicative with respect to another, and if I
pass over the remainder of that interval which I spent at Komorn. Even
were love-making—which assuredly it is not—as interesting to the spectator
as to those engaged, I should scruple to recount events which delicacy
should throw a vail over; nor am I induced, even by the example of the
wittiest periodical writer of the age, to make a “feuilleton” of my own
marriage. Enough that I say, despite my shattered form, my want of
fortune, my unattested pretension to rank or station, Mademoiselle
D’Estelles accepted me, and the Emperor most graciously confirmed her
claims to wealth, thus making me one of the richest and the very happiest
among the Soldiers of Fortune.

The Père Delamoy, now superior of a convent at Pisa, came to Komorn to
perform the ceremony; and if he could not altogether pardon those who had
uprooted the ancient monarchy of France, yet did not conceal his gratitude
to him who had restored the Church and rebuilt the altar.

There may be some who deem this closing abrupt, and who would wish for
even a word about the bride, her bouquet, and her blushes. I can not
afford to gratify so laudable a curiosity, at the same time that a lurking
vanity induces me to say, that any one wishing to know more about the
“personnel” of my wife or myself, has but to look at David’s picture, or
the engraving made from it, of the Emperor’s marriage. There they will
find, in the left hand corner, partly concealed behind the Grand Duke de
Berg, an officer of the Guides, supporting on his arm a young and very
beautiful girl, herself a bride. If the young lady’s looks are turned with
more interest on her companion than upon the gorgeous spectacle, remember
that she is but a few weeks married. If the soldier carry himself with
less of martial vigor or grace, pray bear in mind that cork legs had not
attained the perfection to which later skill has brought them.

I have the scene stronger before me than painting can depict, and my eyes
fill as I now behold it in my memory!



ANECDOTES AND APHORISMS.


As it is likely some of our readers have never read “Napier’s Life of
Montrose,” we think it may not be amiss to insert an extract descriptive
of the execution of that nobleman. It need scarcely be mentioned that this
is the famous Graham of Claverhouse, whom Sir Walter Scott has drawn with
such fine effect in one of his best novels.

It was resolved to celebrate his entrance into Edinburgh with a kind of
mock solemnity. Thus on Sunday, the 18th of May, the magistrates met him
at the gates, and led him in triumph through the streets. First appeared
his officers, bound with cords, and walking two and two; then was seen the
Marquis, placed on a high chair in the hangman’s cart, with his hands
pinioned, and his hat pulled off, while the hangman himself continued
covered by his side. It is alleged in a contemporary record, that the
reason of his being tied to the cart was, in hope that the people would
have stoned him, and that he might not be able by his hands to save his
face. In all the procession there appeared in Montrose such majesty,
courage, modesty, and even somewhat more than natural, that even these
women who had lost their husbands and children in his wars, and were hired
to stone him, were, upon the sight of him, so astonished and moved, that
their intended curses turned into tears and prayers. Of the many thousand
spectators only one, Lady Jane Gordon, Countess of Haddington, was heard
to scoff and laugh aloud. Montrose himself continued to display the same
serenity of temper, when at last, late in the evening, he was allowed to
enter his prison, and found there a deputation from the Parliament. He
merely expressed to them his satisfaction at the near approach of the
Sunday as the day of rest.

“For,” said he, “the compliment you put upon me this day was a little
tedious and fatiguing.”

Montrose told his persecutors that he was more proud to have his head
fixed on the top of the prison walls than that his picture should hang in
the king’s bed-chamber, and that far from being troubled at his legs and
arms being dispersed among the four principal cities, he only wished he
had limbs to send to every city in Christendom, as testimonies of his
unshaken attachment to the cause in which he suffered. When Sir Archibald
Johnson of Warriston, the Clerk-Register, entered the prisoner’s cell, and
found him employed, early in the morning, combing the long curled hair
which he wore according to the custom of the cavaliers, the visitor
muttered:

“Why is James Graham so careful of his locks?”

Montrose replied with a smile:

“While my head is my own, I will dress and adorn it; but when it becomes
yours, you may treat it as you please.”

Montrose, proud of the cause in which he was to suffer, clad himself, on
the day of his execution, in rich attire—“more becoming a bridegroom,”
says one of his enemies, “than a criminal going to the gallows.” As he
walked along, and beheld the instrument of his doom, his step was not seen
to falter nor his eye quail; to the last he bore himself with such
steadfast courage, such calm dignity, as had seldom been equaled, and
never surpassed. At the foot of the scaffold, a further and parting insult
was reserved for him: the executioner brought Dr. Wishart’s narrative of
his exploits and his own manifesto, to hang round his neck; but Montrose
himself assisted in binding them, and smiling at this new token of malice,
merely said:—“I did not feel more honored when his majesty sent me the
garter.”

He then asked whether they had any more indignities to put upon him, and
finding there were none, he prayed for some time, with his hat before his
eyes. He drew apart some of the magistrates, and spoke awhile with them,
and then went up the ladder in his red scarlet cassock, in a very stately
manner, and never spoke a word; but when the executioner was putting the
cord about his neck, he looked down to the people upon the scaffold, and
asked:

“How long shall I hang here?”

His head was afterward affixed to a spike at the top of the Tolbooth,
where it remained a ghastly spectacle, during ten years.

There is another execution scene, that of the courtly and enterprising
Walter Raleigh, not usually accessible to general readers.

Sir Walter Raleigh, on the morning of his execution, received a cup of
sack, and remarked that he liked it as well as the prisoner who drank of
St. Giles’s bowl in passing through Tyburn, and said, “It is good to drink
if a man might but tarry by it.” He turned to his old friend, Sir Hugh
Ceeston, who was repulsed by the sheriff from the scaffold, saying:

“Never fear but _I_ shall have a place.”

When a man extremely bald pressed forward to see Raleigh, and to pray for
him, Sir Walter took from his own head a richly embroidered cap, and
placing it on that of the aged spectator, said:

“Take this, good friend, to remember me, for you have more need of it than
I.”

“Farewell, my lords,” he exclaimed to a courtly group, who took an
affectionate leave of him; “I have a long journey before me, and must say
good-by.”

“Now I am going to God,” said he, as he reached the scaffold; and gently
touching the ax, continued, “This is a sharp medicine, but it will cure
all diseases.”

The very executioner shrunk from beheading one so brave and illustrious,
until the unintimidated knight encouraged him, saying:

“What dost thou fear? Strike, man!”

In another moment the great soul had fled from its mangled tenement.

Next shall be related the story of the Tower Ghost; “communicated by Sir
David Brewster to Professor Gregory,” and authentically recorded in
“Letters on Animal Magnetism?”

At the trial of Queen Caroline, in 1821, the guards of the Tower were
doubled; and Colonel S——, the keeper of the Regalia, was quartered there
with his family. Toward twilight one evening, and before dark, he, his
wife, son, and daughter were sitting, listening to the sentinels, who were
singing and answering one another, on the beats above and below. The
evening was sultry, and the door stood ajar, when something suddenly
rolled in through the open space. Colonel S—— at first thought it was a
cloud of smoke, but it assumed the shape of a pyramid of dark thick gray,
with something working toward its centre. Mrs. S—— saw a form. Miss S——
felt an indescribable sensation of chill and horror. The son sat at the
window, staring at the terrified and agitated party; but saw nothing. Mrs.
S—— threw her head down upon her arms on the table, and screamed. The
Colonel took a chair, and hurled it at the phantom, through which it
passed. The cloud seemed to him to revolve round the room, and then
disappear, as it came, through the door. He had scarcely risen from his
chair to follow, when he heard a loud shriek, and a heavy fall at the
bottom of the stair. He stopped to listen, and in a few minutes the guard
came up and challenged the poor sentry, who had been so lately singing,
but who now lay at the entrance in a swoon. The sergeant shook him rudely,
declared he was asleep at his post, and put him under arrest. Next day the
soldier was brought to a court-martial, when Colonel S—— appeared on his
behalf, to testify that he could not have been asleep, for that he had
been singing, and the Colonel’s family had been listening, ten minutes
before. The man declared that, while walking toward the stair-entrance, a
dreadful figure had issued from the doorway, which he took at first for an
escaped bear on its hind legs. It passed him, and scowled upon him with a
human face, and the expression of a demon, disappearing over the Barbican.
He was so frightened that he became giddy, and knew no more. His story, of
course, was not credited by his judges; but he was believed to have had an
attack of vertigo, and was acquitted and released on Colonel’s S——’s
evidence.

That evening Colonel S—— went to congratulate the man, but he was so
changed that he did not know him. From a glow of rude health in his
handsome face, he had become of the color of bad paste. Colonel S—— said
to him:

“Why do you look so dejected, my lad? I think I have done you a great
favor in getting you off; and I would advise you in future to continue
your habit of singing.”

“Colonel,” replied the sentry, “you have saved my character, and I thank
you; but as for any thing else, it little signifies. From the moment I saw
that infernal demon, I felt I was a dead man.”

He never recovered his spirits, and died next day, forty-eight hours after
he had seen the spectre. Colonel S—— had conversed with the sergeant about
it, who quietly remarked:

“It was a bad job, but he was only a recruit, and must get used to it like
the rest.”

“What!” said Colonel S——, “have you heard of others seeing the same?”

“Oh, yes,” answered the sergeant, “there are many queer, unaccountable
things seen here, I assure you, and many of our recruits faint a time or
two; but they get used to it, and it don’t hurt them.”

“Mrs. S—— never got used to it. She remained in a state of dejection for
six weeks, and then died. Colonel S—— was long recovering from the
impression, and was reluctant to speak of it; but he said he would never
deny the thing he had seen.”

What explanation Sir David Brewster has given of this singular apparition,
the present writer does not happen to know. We quote it for its
strangeness, and leave the reader to make of it what he can. We proceed
with a curious instance of mental absence:

Lessing, the German philosopher, being remarkably absent, knocked at his
own door one evening, when the servant looking out of the window, and not
recognizing him, said:

“The professor is not at home!”

“Oh, very well!” replied Lessing, composedly walking away; “I shall call
another time.”

There is an anecdote of successful coolness, of earlier date, which will
serve very well to accompany the foregoing:

Charles II., after his restoration, appears, according to custom, to have
neglected his most faithful adherent, Lord St. Albans, who nevertheless
was a frequenter of the court. One day, when a gentleman had requested an
interview of his majesty to ask for a valuable office then vacant, the
king in jest desired the Earl of St. Albans to personate him, which he did
before the whole court; but, after hearing the stranger’s petition with an
air of dignified authority, he said that the office was by no means too
great for so deserving a subject. “But,” added the earl, gravely, “I have
already conferred it on my faithful adherent, Lord St. Albans, who
constantly followed my father’s fortunes and my own, having never before
received any reward.” The king was so amused by this ready jest that he
instantly confirmed the gift to his clever representative.

But we have yet a cooler thing (though somewhat different in character)
than either of the preceding to bring forward, and which, if true, is
really one of the strangest incidents that could happen in a man’s
experience.

Barthe, a writer of French comedies, hearing that his intimate friend
Colardeau was on the point of death, instantly hastened to the sick man’s
chamber, and finding him still in a condition to listen, addressed him
thus:

“My dear friend, I am in despair at seeing you in this extremity, but I
have still one favor to ask of you; it is that you will hear me read my
’Homme Personnel.’”

“Consider,” replied the dying man, “that I have only a few hours to live.”

“Alas! yes; and this is the very reason that makes me so desirous of
knowing what you think of my play.”

His unhappy friend heard him to the end without saying a word, and then in
a faint voice, observed, that there was yet one very striking feature
wanted to complete the character which he had been designing.

“You must make him,” said he, “force a friend who is dying to listen to a
comedy in five acts.”

Our collector has treasured up two or three tolerable anecdotes of that
artfullest of “dodgers,” Talleyrand, which, though not new to every body
are likely to have a novelty for some, and there fore may bear quoting.

After the Pope had excommunicated him, he is reported to have written to a
friend, saying, “Come and comfort me; come and sup with me. Every body is
going to refuse me fire and water; we shall therefore have nothing this
evening but iced meats, and drink nothing but wine.” When Louis XVIII., at
the restoration, praised Talleyrand for his talents and influence, the
latter modestly disclaimed the compliment, but added, with an arch
significance, “There is, however, some inexplicable thing about me which
prevents any government from prospering that attempts to set me aside.”
The next is exquisitely _diplomatic_. A banker, anxious about the rise or
fall of stocks, came once to Talleyrand for information respecting the
truth of a rumor that George III. had suddenly died, when the statesman
replied, in a confidential tone, “I shall be delighted if the information
I have to give be of any use to you.” The banker was enchanted at the
prospect of obtaining authentic intelligence from so high a source; and
Talleyrand, with a mysterious air continued, “Some say the King of England
is dead; others, that he is not dead; for my own part, I believe neither
the one nor the other. I tell you this in confidence, but do not commit
me.” No better parody on modern diplomacy could easily be written.



A CURIOUS PAGE OF FAMILY HISTORY.


The Chambellans were an old Yorkshire family, which once had held a high
place among the landed gentry of the county. A knight of that family had
been a Crusader in the army of Richard Cœur de Lion; and now he lay, with
all his insignia about him, in the parish church, while others of his race
reposed in the same chancel, under monuments and brasses, which spoke of
their name and fame during their generation. In the lapse of time the
family had become impoverished, and gradually merged into the class of
yeomen, retaining only a remnant of the broad lands which had once
belonged to them. In 1744-5, the elder branch of the family, consisting of
the father, two sons, and a daughter, resided at what had once been the
mansion-house. It had been built originally in the reign of Stephen, and
was a curious specimen of different kinds of architecture, bearing traces
of its gradual transformation from the stronghold of the days when it was
no metaphor to say that every man’s house was his castle, down to the more
peaceful dwelling of lawful and orderly times, It had now become little
more than a better sort of farm-house. What had been the tilt-yard was
filled with a row of comfortable barns, cart-sheds, and hay-stacks: a low
wall of rough gray stones inclosed a small garden: a narrow gravel walk,
edged on each side with currant-trees and gooseberry-bushes, led up to the
fine old porch, embowered in the ivy and creepers which covered nearly the
whole of the building with its luxuriant growth. The old gateway at the
entrance of the yard was still surmounted with the “coat armor” of the
family, carved in stone; but the gates themselves had long ago
disappeared, and been replaced by a common wooden farm-yard gate. The
“coat armor” itself was covered with moss, and a fine crop of grass and
house-leek grew among the stones of the walls, to which it would have
communicated a desolate appearance, if the farm-yard arrangements had been
less orderly.

Halsted Hall, as it was called, was six miles from the city of York, and
stood about a mile from the main road. The only approach to it was by a
long rough lane, so much cut up by the carts and cattle that it was almost
impassable to foot-passengers, except in the height of summer or depth of
winter, when the mud had been dried up by the sun or the frost.

The father and brothers attended the different fairs and markets in the
ordinary course of business; their sister, Mary Chambellan, managed the
affairs of the house and dairy. She led a very secluded life, for they had
no neighbors, and of general society there was none nearer than the city
itself. Mary, however, had plenty of occupation, and was quite contented
with her lot. She was nearly seventeen, tall, well-formed, and with an air
of composed dignity which suited well with her position, which was of
great responsibility for so young a person. Her mother, who had been dead
rather more than a year, had been a woman of superior education and strong
character. To her Mary owed all the instruction she had ever received, and
the tinge of refinement which made her manners very superior to those of
either her father or brothers. She, however, was quite unconscious of
this, and they all lived very happily together in the old out-of-the-way
place.

It happened that, in the spring of 1745, an uncle of her mother’s, who
resided at York, was about to celebrate the marriage of one of his
daughters; Mary Chambellan, with her father and brothers, were invited to
the festivities. The father would have sent an excuse for himself and
Mary; he was getting old, and did not like to be put out of his usual
ways. The brothers, however, pleaded earnestly that their sister might
have a little recreation. Finally consent was obtained, and she went with
her brothers.

It was a very fine wedding, and a ball and supper finished the rejoicings.
Some of the officers, quartered with their regiments in York, were invited
to this ball. Among others was a certain Captain Henry Pollexfen. He was a
young man of good family in the south of England, heir to a large fortune;
and extremely handsome and attractive on his own account, independent of
these advantages.

He was, by all accounts, a type of the fine, high-spirited young fellow of
those days; good-tempered, generous, and overflowing with wild animal life
and spirits, which he threw off in a thousand impetuous extravagances. He
could dance all night at a ball, ride a dozen miles to meet the hounds the
following morning, and, after a hard day’s sport, sit down to a deep
carouse, and be as fresh and gay after it as if he had been following the
precepts of Lewis Cornaro. The women contended with each other to attract
his attentions; but although he was devoted to every woman he came near,
and responded to their universal good-will by flirting indefatigably, his
attentions were so indiscriminate, that there was not one belle who could
flatter herself that she had secured him for her “humble servant”—as
lovers were then wont to style themselves. Mary Chambellan was not,
certainly, the belle of the wedding ball-room, and by no means equal in
fortune or social position to most of the women present; but whether from
perverseness, or caprice, or love of novelty, Henry Pollexfen was
attracted by her, and devoted himself to her exclusively.

The next York Assembly was to take place in a few days; and this young
man, who did not know what contradiction meant, made Mary promise to be
his partner there. Old Mr. Chambellan, however, who thought his daughter
had been away from home quite long enough, fetched her back himself on the
following day; and Mary would as soon have dared to ask to go to the moon
as to remain to go to the assembly. Henry Pollexfen was extremely
disappointed when he found that Miss Chambellan had returned home; but he
was too much caressed and sought after to be able to think long about the
matter, and so his sudden fancy soon passed away.

In the autumn of the same year he met one of her brothers in the hunting
field. Accident threw them together toward the close of a hard day’s run;
when, in clearing a stone fence, some loose stones were dislodged, and
struck Captain Pollexfen’s horse, laming him severely. Night was coming
on; it was impossible to return to his quarters on foot; and young
Chambellan invited his fellow-sportsman to go home with him—Halsted Hall
being the nearest habitation. The invitation was accepted. Although old
Mr. Chambellan would as soon have opened his doors to a dragon; yet even
he could find no fault under the circumstances, and was constrained to
welcome their dangerous guest with old-fashioned hospitality. He soon
became so charmed with his visitor, that he invited him to return, and the
visitor gladly did so.

His almost forgotten admiration for Mary revived in full force the moment
he saw her again. He soon fell desperately and seriously in love with her.
Mary’s strong and gentle character assumed great influence over his
mercurial and impetuous disposition. That she became deeply attached to
him was nothing wonderful; she could scarcely have helped it, even if he
had not sought to win her affections.

In a short time, he made proposals of marriage for her to her father, who
willingly consented, feeling, if the truth must be told, very much
flattered at the prospect of such a son-in-law.

Henry Pollexfen then wrote a dutiful letter to his own father, telling him
how much he was in love, and how earnestly he desired permission to follow
his inclinations. Old Mr. Pollexfen had, like many other fathers, set his
heart upon his son’s making a brilliant match; and although, after
consulting the “History of Yorkshire,” where he found honorable mention
made of the Chambellan family, he could offer no objection on the score of
birth; yet he thought his son might do better. He was too wise to make any
direct opposition; on the contrary, he gave his conditional consent, only
stipulating for time. He required that twelve months should elapse before
the marriage took place, when his son would be little more than
two-and-twenty, while Mary would be not quite nineteen. He wrote paternal
letters to Mary, and polite epistles to her father. He even applied at
head-quarters for leave of absence for his son; whom he immediately
summoned up to London, where his own duties, as member of parliament,
would detain him for some time.

Under any other circumstances, Captain Pollexfen would have been delighted
with this arrangement; but, as it was, he would infinitely have preferred
being allowed to marry Mary at once. However, there was no help for it.
Old Mr. Chambellan, himself urged the duty of immediate obedience to his
father’s summons, and Pollexfen departed.

For many weeks his letters were as frequent as the post would carry them.
He was very miserable under the separation; and, much as she loved him,
Mary could not wish him to be otherwise. His regiment was suddenly ordered
abroad; the necessary hurry of preparation, and the order to join his
detachment at Canterbury without delay, rendered it quite impossible for
Captain Pollexfen to see Mary before his departure. He wrote her a tender
farewell, sent her his picture, and exhorted her to write frequently, and
never to forget him for an instant; promising, of course, everlasting
constancy for himself.

There was little chance that Mary should forget him, in that old lonely
house, without either friends or neighbors. Besides, the possibility of
ceasing to love her affianced husband never occurred to her. With Captain
Pollexfen it was different. Under no circumstances was his a character
that would bear absence unchanged; and the distraction of foreign scenes,
and the excitement of his profession, soon banished the image of Mary from
his mind. At length he felt it a great bore that he was engaged to be
married. The regiment remained sixteen months absent, and he heartily
hoped that she would have forgotten him.

Mary’s father died shortly after her lover’s departure; the family
property descended to her brothers, and she was left entirely dependent
upon them. Captain Pollexfen’s letters had entirely ceased; Mary had
received no communication for more than six months, when she saw the
return of his regiment announced, and his name gazetted as colonel. He,
however, neither came to see her, nor wrote to her, and Mary became
seriously ill. She could no longer conceal her sufferings from her
brothers. Under the impression that she was actually dying, they wrote to
her lover, demanding the cause of his silence, and telling him of her
situation. Colonel Pollexfen was conscience-stricken by this letter. He
declared to the brothers that he intended to act as became a man of honor,
and wrote to Mary with something of his old affection, revived by remorse;
excusing his past silence, begging forgiveness, and promising to go down
to see her, the instant he could obtain leave of absence.

Under the influence of this letter Mary revived; but the impression made
upon her future husband soon passed away—he daily felt less inclination to
perform his promise. He was living in the midst of fashionable society,
and was more courted than ever, since by the death of his father he had
come into possession of his fortune. He began to feel that he had
decidedly thrown himself away; and by a most unnatural transition, he
hated Mary for her claims upon him and considered himself a very ill-used
victim.

Mary’s brothers, finding that Colonel Pollexfen did not follow his letter,
nor show any signs of fulfilling his engagement, would not submit to any
more trifling. The elder made a journey to London, and demanded
satisfaction, with the intimation that the younger brother would claim the
same right when the first affair was terminated.

Colonel Pollexfen was not, of course, afraid of having even two duels on
his hands at once; he had already proved his courage too well to allow a
suspicion of that sort. His answer was characteristic. He told young
Chambellan that he was quite ready to meet both him and his brother, but
that he was under a previous engagement to marry their sister, which he
wished to perform first, as otherwise circumstances might occur to prevent
it; he should then be quite at their service, as it was his intention to
quit his bride at the church-door, and never to see her again!

The brothers, looking upon this as a pretext to evade the marriage
altogether, resolved, after some deliberation, to accept his proposal.
They had great difficulty in prevailing upon their sister to agree to
their wishes; but they none of them seriously believed that he would carry
out his threat, and Mary fancied that all danger of a duel would be
evaded. A very liberal settlement was drawn up by Colonel Pollexfen’s
direction, which he signed, and sent down to the bride’s family. On the
day appointed, Mary and her brothers repaired to the church; a traveling
chariot and four horses stood at the door. On entering, they found Colonel
Pollexfen pointing out to a friend who accompanied him the monuments
belonging to the Chambellan family. As soon as he perceived them he took
his place at the altar, and the ceremony commenced without delay. As soon
as it was concluded, he bowed with great politeness to all present, and
said, “You are all here witnesses that I have performed my engagement!”
Then, without even looking at his bride, he quitted the church, and,
accompanied by his friend, entered the carriage which was in waiting, and
drove rapidly away! Mary was carried senseless from the church, and for
several weeks continued dangerously ill.

The real strength of her character now showed itself. She made no
complaint; she did not even assume her husband’s name, but took the
appellation of Mrs. Chambellan. The settlement was returned to Colonel
Pollexfen’s lawyer, with an intimation that it would never be claimed. She
stilled the anger of her brothers, and would not endure a word to be said
against her husband. She never alluded to him herself. A great change came
over her; she did not seem to suffer nearly so much from her cruel
position as might have been expected; her melancholy and depression gave
place to a steady determination of purpose. In the brief space during
which she and her husband had stood before the altar, she had realized the
distance that existed between their positions in life. With a rare
superiority, she understood how natural it was that he should have felt no
desire to fulfill his boyish engagement; she owned in her heart that she
was not fitted to be the wife and companion of such a man as he had now
become. Had she seen all this sooner, she would have at once released him;
now she could no longer do so, and she resolved to fit herself to fill the
station to which, as his wife, she had been raised.

The brief interview before the altar had stimulated to desperation her
attachment to him: and she felt that she must win him back or die. Mary
had received very little education. In those days the education bestowed
on most women was very limited; but Mary fancied that all gentlewomen, who
moved in society, were well-informed; and her first step was to obtain
some elementary books from the master of a boy’s school at York, and
begin, with undoubting simplicity, to learn history and geography, and all
the things which she supposed every lady of her husband’s acquaintance
knew. A thirst for information was soon aroused in her; she had few
advantages and very little assistance; but her energies and perseverance
surmounted all obstacles, and she found a present reward in her labor. Her
life ceased to seem either lonely or monotonous. Still, the spirit that
worked within her was far more precious than any actual result she
obtained. She had a noble object in view; and, unconsciously to herself,
it purified her heart from all bitterness, or wounded vanity, or
impatience. A great sorrow nobly borne, is a great dignity. The very
insult which had seemed to condemn her to a wasted existence, was
transformed into a source of life and fruitfulness, by the wise humility
with which she accepted it.

Ten years passed thus, and in the matured woman of thirty, few could have
recognized the forsaken girl of nineteen. But the present only fulfilled
the promise which was then latent in her character.

All this time her husband had endeavored to forget that he was married.
Shortly after the ceremony, he went abroad with his regiment; and after
some time spent in active service, he returned to England, and quitted the
army with the brevet rank of general. He resided partly in London and
partly in Bath, leading the usual life of a man of fashion in those days,
and making himself remarkable for his brilliant extravagances.

About that time a young and beautiful actress appeared, who speedily
became the object of adoration to all the young men of fashion about town.

General Pollexfen was one of her lovers, and carried her off one night
from the theatre, when she came off the stage between the acts. He allowed
her to assume his name, and lavished a fortune upon her caprices; although
her extravagance and propensity to gambling involved him in debt.

Ten years had thus passed, when the cousin, whose marriage was mentioned
at the beginning of this story, was ordered to Bath by her physician. She
entreated Mary to accompany her, who, after some persuasion, consented. It
was a formidable journey in those days, and they were to stay some months.
They found a pleasant lodging. Mary, with some reluctance, was drawn into
society, and occasionally accompanied her cousin to the Assemblies, which
were then in high vogue.

General Pollexfen was absent from Bath when his wife arrived there. He had
been called up to London by some lawyer’s business, and calculated upon
being absent three weeks.

It so chanced, however, that the business was concluded sooner than he
expected, and that he returned to Bath without announcing his coming. He
went at once to the Assembly, and was walking through the rooms in a
chafed and irritable mood (having that night discovered the treachery of
the beautiful actress, which had long been known to every body else), when
a voice struck his ear which caused him to turn suddenly. He saw, near at
hand, a dignified and beautiful woman, who reminded him of some one he had
seen before. She turned away on perceiving him—it was Mary. She had
recognized her husband, and, scarcely able to stand, she took the arm of
her cousin, and reached the nearest seat. Her husband, forgetting every
thing else in his impatience to learn who it was who had thus startled
vague recollections, went hastily up to the Master of the Ceremonies, and
desired to be introduced to—his own wife!

By some fatality, the Master of the Ceremonies blundered, and gave the
name of Mary’s cousin. This mistake gave Mary courage; for years she had
dreamed of such a meeting, and the fear of losing the opportunity nerved
her to profit by it. She exerted herself to please him. He had been rudely
disenchanted from the graces of fine ladies, and was in a humor to
appreciate the gentle home influence of Mary’s manners; he was enchanted
with her, and begged to be allowed to follow up the acquaintance, and to
wait upon her the next morning. Permission was of course given, and he
handed Mary and her cousin to their chairs.

Mary was cruelly agitated; she had not suffered so much during the ten
preceding years; the suspense and anxiety were too terrible to endure; it
seemed as though morning would never come. Her husband was not much more
to be envied. He had discovered that she resembled the woman he had once
so much loved, and then so cruelly hated—whom he married, and deserted;
but though tormented by a thousand fancied resemblances, he scarcely dared
to hope that it could be she. The next day, long before the lawful hour
for paying morning visits, he was before her door and obtained admittance.
The resemblance by daylight was more striking than it had been on the
previous evening; and Mary’s agitation was equal to his own. His impetuous
appeal was answered. Overwhelmed with shame and repentance, and at the
same time happy beyond expression, General Pollexfen passionately
entreated his wife’s forgiveness. Mary not only won back her husband, but
regained, with a thousandfold intensity, the love which had once been
hers—regained it, never to lose it more!

The story soon became known, and created an immense sensation. They
quitted Bath, and retired to her husband’s family seat in Cornwall, where
they continued chiefly to reside. They had one son, an only child, who
died when he was about fifteen. It was an overwhelming affliction, and was
the one mortal shadow on their happiness. They died within a few weeks of
each other; their honors and estates passing to a distant branch of the
family.



THE ASS OF LA MARCA.


I. The Hog-Boy.

In the year 1530, a Franciscan was traveling on foot in the papal
territory of Ancona. He was proceeding to Ascoli; but, at that time, the
roads were bad, where there were any roads at all, and after wandering in
what appeared to be a wilderness, he lost his bearings altogether, and
came to a stand-still. A village was visible in the distance, but he was
unwilling to proceed so far to ask his way, lest it might prove to be in
the wrong direction. While listening intently, however, for some sound
that might indicate the propinquity of human beings—for the scrubby wood
of the waste, marshy land intercepted his view—he heard what appeared to
be a succession of low sobs close by. Mounting a little eminence a few
paces off, he saw a small company of hogs widely scattered, and searching
with the avidity of famine for a dinner; and rightly conjecturing that the
sounds of human grief must proceed from the swineherd, he moved on to the
nearest clump of bushes, where he saw on the other side a boy about nine
years of age, lying upon the soft ground, and endeavoring to smother his
sobs in a tuft of coarse moss, while he dug his fingers into the mud in an
agony of grief and rage. The good father allowed the storm of emotion to
sweep past, and then inquired what was the matter.

“Have you lost any of your hogs?” said he.

“I don’t know—and I don’t care,” was the answer.

“Why were you crying then?”

“Because they have been using me worse than a hog: they have been beating
me—they never let me alone; always bad names, and worse blows; nothing to
eat but leavings, and nothing to lie upon but dirty straw!”

“And for what offense are you used thus?”

“They say I am unhandy at field-work; that I am useless in the house and
the barn; that I am unfit to be a servant to the horses in the stable; and
that I can’t even keep the hogs together. They are hogs themselves—they
be! I was clever enough at home; but my father could not keep me any
longer, and so he sent me to be a farmer’s drudge, and turned me out to
the—the—hogs!” and the boy gave way to another passionate burst of grief.
The Franciscan endeavored to soothe him, and talked of submission to
Providence; but finding he could do no good he inquired the name of the
village.

“Montalto,” replied the boy, sulkily.

“Montalto? Then in what direction lies Ascoli?”

“Are you going to Ascoli?” demanded the hog-boy, suddenly, as he fixed a
pair of blazing eyes on the Franciscan’s face in a manner that made him
start. “I will show you the way,” continued he, in a tone of as much
decision as if he spoke of some mighty enterprise; and leaping to his feet
like a boy made of India-rubber, he led through the scrubby wood of the
common, kicking the hogs aside with a fierceness that drew a remonstrance
from the good father. This seemed to have the desired effect. His manner
softened instantaneously. He spoke in a mild, low voice; answered the
questions that were addressed to him with modesty and good-sense; and
astonished the Franciscan by a display of intelligence rare enough even
where natural abilities are developed by education. It was in vain,
however, that he reminded his young companion that it was time for him to
turn; the hog-boy seemed fascinated by the father’s conversation, and
always made some excuse for accompanying him a little further.

“Come, my son,” said the Franciscan at length, “this must have an end, and
here we part. There is a little trifle which I give you with my blessing,
and so God speed you!”

“I am going further,” replied the boy, quickly.

“What! to Ascoli?”

“Ay, to Ascoli—or to the end of the earth! Ah, father, if you would but
get me something to do—for I am sure you can if you will; any drudgery,
however humble—any thing in the world but tending hogs!”

“You forget my profession, my son, and that I am powerless out of it. You
would not become a monk yourself?”

“A monk! Oh! wouldn’t I? Only try me!”

“To be a monk is to toil, watch, and pray; to live meagrely, to submit to
innumerable hardships—”

“And to learn, father! to read—to think! O, what would I not submit to for
the sake of knowing what there is in books!” The boy spoke with
enthusiasm, and yet with nothing of the coarse impetuosity which had at
first almost terrified his new acquaintance. The Franciscan thought he
beheld in him the elements of a character well adapted for a religious
order; and after some further conversation, he finally consented to take
the stripling with him to Ascoli. They were now at the summit of an
eminence whence they saw that town lying before them, and the village of
Montalto hardly discernible in the distance behind. The father looked back
for a moment at his companion, in some curiosity to see how he would take
leave, probably forever, of the place of his birth. The hog-boy’s hands
were clenched as if the nails were imbedded in his flesh; and one arm,
trembling with agitation, was stretched forth in a fierce farewell. When
he turned away, the blazing eyes again flashed upon the Franciscan’s face;
but, in an instant, they softened, grew mild and tearful, and Felix—for
that was the lad’s name—followed his patron meekly into the town.

Their destination was a monastery of Cordeliers, where the ex-hog-boy was
introduced to the superior, and pleased him so much by his sensible
answers and modest demeanor, that he at once received the habit of a
lay-brother, and was set to assist the sacristan in sweeping the church
and lighting the candles. But at leisure hours he was still busier with
the dust of the schools, and the lamp of theology. The brethren taught him
the responses and grammar; but he never ceased to teach himself every
thing he could get at; so that in the year 1534, when he was only
fourteen, he was permitted to enter on his novitiate, and after the usual
probation, to make his profession. He was, in short, a monk; and in ten
years he had taken deacon’s orders, been ordained a priest, and graduated
as bachelor and doctor. Felix the hog-boy was now known as Father
Montalto.

II. The Assistant.

The world was now before the Ancona hog-boy. In his boyhood he had
suffered stripes and starvation, herded unclean animals, and almost broken
his heart with impotent, and, therefore, secret rage. In his youth he had
been the patient drudge of a convent, and passed his leisure hours in
persevering study, and the accumulation of book-knowledge. But now he was
a man, ready for his destiny, and in the midst of troublous times, when a
bold, fierce, and fearless character is sure to make its way. No more
secret sobs—no more cringing servility—no more studious solitude. Montalto
threw himself into the vortex of the world, and struck out boldly, right
and left. An impetuous and impatient temper, and haughty and dictatorial
manner, were now his prominent characteristics; and these, united as they
were with natural talent and solid acquirements, soon pointed him out for
congenial employment. The rising monk was seen and understood by the
Cardinals Carpi and Alexandrino; and by the latter he was appointed
Inquisitor-general at Venice. Here was fortune for the poor trampled boy
of Ancona! But to rest there was not his purpose. A little of the
tranquillity he knew so well how to assume, or even the mere abstinence
from violence and insult, would have retained him in his post; but,
instead of this he became harsh, stern, and peremptory to a degree that
outraged every body who came near him, and carried out the measures he
determined on with an arbitrary vehemence that bordered on frenzy. The
jealous republicans were astonished, but not terrified: the liberties of
their strange tyranny were at stake: and, at length, the Venetian magnates
rose like one man, and Father Montalto only escaped personal violence by
flight. And so he was a martyr to the cause of the church! And so all eyes
were drawn upon him, as a man ready in action, and inflexible in will. He
was now invited by the Cardinal Buon-Campagno to accompany him to Madrid
as his chaplain and inquisitorial adviser, the cardinal being sent thither
as legate from the Pope to his Catholic majesty. Montalto’s was an office
both of power and dignity, and he acquitted himself in it so zealously,
that on the legate’s recall he was offered all sorts of ecclesiastical
honors and preferment to induce him to settle in Spain. But the monk had
other aspirations. The news of the death of Pius IV. had reached Madrid,
and Montalto’s patron, Cardinal Alexandrino, would doubtless succeed to
the papal throne. He would want assistance, and, what is more, he could
repay it; and Father Montalto, rejecting the Spanish offers, hastened to
Rome. He found his friend, now Pius V., mindful of his former services,
and perhaps flattered by the reputation which his protégé had made in the
world. He was kindly received, and immediately appointed general of his
order.

And now the _ci-devant_ hog-boy set to sweep the church anew, but in a
different way. He no longer troubled himself with theological
controversies, but punished his contumacious opponents. In four years
after the accession of the new Pope he was made a bishop, and handsomely
pensioned; and in the year 1570 our adventurer was admitted into the
College of Cardinals.

Montalto was now fifty years of age, when the will is at its proudest, and
the intellectual nature smiles at the changing hair and its prophecies of
physical decay. It might be supposed that the fierce inquisitor ripened
into the stern and inflexible cardinal; but no such process of development
took place. And truly it would have been somewhat inconvenient as matters
stood; for his new associates—ranking with kings, every man of them,
hog-boy and all!—were the intellectual flower of the time, deep and
sagacious statesmen, immersed in a game of policy of which the tiara was
the prize, and qualified for the lofty contention not more by their
talents than by the blood of the Medici, the Caraffa, the Colonna, and the
Frangipani, that flowed in their veins. The wild nature of Montalto
appeared to be awed by the association into which he had thus been
elevated. It seemed as if a vision of his stripes, and his hogs, and his
besoms came back upon him, and he walked gingerly along the marble floors
of the Vatican, as if alarmed at the echo. He became mild, affable,
good-natured; his business was over in the world; he had nothing more to
do than to enjoy. Why should he concern himself with intrigues in which he
could have no possible interest? Why should he permit even his own family
to disturb his dignified repose? One of his nephews, on his way to Rome to
see his prodigious uncle and claim his favor, was murdered; but the
cardinal, so ready in former days to punish even crimes of thought,
interceded for the pardon of the assassin. The relatives who did arrive at
the Mecca of their pilgrimage he lodged at an inn, and sent them home to
their families the next day with a small present, telling them to trouble
him no more. The only promise he made for the future was that, by-and-by,
when old age and its infirmities came on, he might, perhaps, send for one
of them to nurse his declining years.

Time wore on, and his patron, Pope Pius V., died, and was buried. This was
a trouble as well as a grief to our cardinal; for, being obliged to enter
the conclave like the rest, he was asked by one and another for his vote.
How should he vote? He did not know whom to vote for. He was an obscure
and insignificant man—he was; and the rest were all so admirably
well-fitted to be Pope, that he could not tell the difference. Besides,
this was the first conclave he had been in, and in a path so much loftier
than he was accustomed to tread, he was afraid of making a false step. He
only wished he could vote for them all; but, as it was, he entreated them
to manage the affair without him. And so they did; and Cardinal
Buon-Campagno being elected, assumed the papal crown and the name of
Gregory XIII.

As for Montalto, he grew more meek, modest, and humble every day. He lived
frugally, even meanly, considering his rank, and gave the residue of his
income to the poor. He submitted patiently to all sorts of insults and
injuries, and not only forgave his enemies, but treated them with the
utmost tenderness. At this time a change appeared to take place in his
health. Violent internal pains destroyed his repose; and, although he
consulted all the doctors in Rome, and took physic from them all, he got
no better. His disease was not the less lamentable that it was nameless.
He grew thin and pale. Some said he took too much medicine. He leaned
heavily on his staff. His body was bent toward the ground: he seemed like
a man who was looking for his grave. Public prayers were offered up in the
churches for his recovery: and sometimes with so much effect, that he
appeared to be a little convalescent. At such intervals, being humble
himself, he delighted to converse with humble persons—such as the
domestics of cardinals and embassadors; and, above all things, auricular
confession, if it had not been the sick man’s duty, would have been called
his hobby. He confessed every body he could bring to his knees: his mind
became a sink through which constantly poured all the iniquities of Rome.
His brother cardinals smiled at these weaknesses. The poor man was
doubtless sinking into premature dotage. They gave him in ridicule a name,
taken from the muddy wastes of Ancona, in the midst of which he had been
picked up by the stray Franciscan: they called him THE ASS OF LA MARCA.

III. The Pope.

Time wore on in this way, till at length Gregory XIII. died. The event
took place at a perplexing moment, for never had the College of Cardinals
been so completely torn asunder by conflicting interests. There were three
powerful parties so singularly well-balanced, that each felt sure of being
able to elect the new Pope, and the poor Ass of La Marca, who was once
more obliged to join the conclave, was half-distracted with their various
claims. All they cared about was his vote; but that was important. They
were compelled, however, by tradition, to go through the form of
consulting him from time to time; and the cardinal, though never giving
way to impatience, was pathetic in his entreaties to be let alone.
According to the custom of this solemn council, each member of the holy
college was shut up in a separate room; and the messengers always found
Montalto’s door bolted. He would reply to their eminences, he said, the
moment his cough abated, the moment he felt any intermission of his
excruciating pains. But why could they not proceed to business without
him? The opinions of so insignificant a person could not at any time be
necessary; but, surely, it was inhuman to disturb a man fast sinking under
disease, and whose thoughts were fixed upon that world to which he was
hastening. The conclave sat fourteen days, and even then the votes of the
three parties were equally divided. What was to be done? The best way was
to have a nominal Pope, for the shortest possible time, so that the
struggle of the real competitors might begin anew. They accordingly
elected unanimously to the papal throne—the Ass of La Marca!

On this announcement the new monarch came instantly forth from his cell,
leaving behind him his staff, his cough, his stoop, his pains, his
infirmities, and his humility! He advanced with an erect figure, and a
firm and dignified step into the midst of the conclave, and thanked their
eminences for the honor they had conferred upon him, which he would
endeavor to merit by discharging its high functions conscientiously. As he
passed from the sacred council the _vivas_ of the people rent the air.
“Long live the Pope!” they cried: “justice, plenty, and large loaves!”
“Address yourselves to God for plenty,” was the answer: “_I will give you
justice._”

And he kept his word: ready, stern, severe, inflexible, impartial justice!
He was impatient to see the triple crown; and before preparations could be
made for his coronation, he caused the bauble to be produced, and placed
on a velvet cushion in the room where he sat. The bauble? It was no bauble
to him. It was the symbol of Power, just as he was himself the
personification of Will. It was the thought which had governed his whole
life—which had blazed even in the unconscious eyes of his boyhood. With
what memories was that long gaze filled—with what resolves. The room was
crowded with spectres of the past, and visions of the future, that met and
blended in one homogeneous character; and as Pope Sixtus V. rose from his
chair, he felt proudly that there rose with him—within him—throughout
him—the hog-boy of Montalto.

The dissimulation which was so remarkable a trait in this remarkable
character was now at an end, and only the fierceness, sternness, and
indomitable will of the man remained. He felt himself to be placed on a
height from which every thing beneath him appeared on one level. The
cardinals, with their ancient blood and accomplished statesmanship, were
no more to him than the meanest drudges in his dominions; and when they
first attempted remonstrate at his proceedings, he answered them with such
withering disdain, that the proudest of them quailed beneath his eye. He
told them distinctly that he was not only their spiritual head but their
temporal king, and that in neither capacity would he brook any
interference with his authority. It was the custom, on the accession of a
pope, for the prisoners to be manumitted in all the jails of Rome; and the
consequence of this equivocal mercy was, that these places of durance were
always full at such a time—the whole villainy of the city taking the
opportunity of committing murders, robberies, and other great crimes that
would be cheaply visited by a brief imprisonment. When Sixtus was asked,
as a matter of form, for his sanction to the discharge of the prisoners,
he peremptorily refused it. In vain the members of the holy college, in
vain the civic authorities, implored him not to set tradition at defiance:
he ordered for instant execution those legally deserving of death, and in
the case of the others, did not abate a single day of their confinement.
Even the respect paid to his own person by the populace became a crime,
since it interfered with his designs. The perpetual _vivas_ with which he
was greeted made his whereabout so public that he could not come unawares
into any suspected place, and he issued an order forbidding such
demonstrations. One day, however, two citizens were so enthusiastic in
their loyalty that they could not repress the cry of “Long live the Pope!”
which rose to their lips; whereupon the offenders were instantly laid hold
of by the orders of Sixtus, and received a hearty flogging.

This _parvenu_ pope treated with other monarchs with the unbending dignity
which might have been looked for in the descendant of a line of kings; and
in some cases—more especially that of Spain—he exhibited the
uncompromising sternness of his character. But where the interest of his
policy was not involved—where the actors in the drama of life moved in
circles that had no contact with his—he admired with all his impulsive
soul a masculine and independent spirit. So far did he carry his
admiration of our Protestant Queen Elizabeth, who was his contemporary,
that one might almost fancy the solitary monk day-dreaming of those times
when even popes were permitted a mortal bride. He is said to have given
her secret intimation of the approaching Armada of his Catholic majesty;
and when the head of the Catholic Queen of Scotland rolled under the ax of
the executioner, he is described as having emitted an exclamation of
fierce and exulting applause at this memorable exhibition of will and
power.

And so Sixtus lived, and reigned, and died—a stern, strong spirit of his
day and generation, leaving a broad trail in history, and a lasting
monument in the architectural stones of Rome. In the biography of common
men, who are swayed by changing currents of passion and circumstance, it
would be vain to attempt to explain actions and reconcile inconsistencies,
as we have done here, by viewing all their doings, and all the phases of
their character, with reference to a leading principle. But Sixtus was
governed from his birth by one great thought, though fully developed only
by the force of events—a thought as obvious in the hog-boy of Ancona, or
the drudge of the Cordeliers, as in the monk Montalto, the inquisitor, the
cardinal, and the pope.



THE LEGEND OF THE WEEPING CHAMBER.


A strange story was once told me by a Levantine lady of my acquaintance,
which I shall endeavor to relate—as far as I am able with the necessary
abridgments—in her own words. The circumstances under which she told it
were peculiar. The family had just been disturbed by the visit of a
ghost—a real ghost, visible, if not palpable. She was not what may be
called superstitious; and though following with more or less assiduity the
practices of her religion, was afflicted now and then with a fit of
perfect materialism. I was surprised, therefore, to hear her relate, with
every appearance of profound faith, the following incidents:

There is an old house in Beyrout, which, for many successive years, was
inhabited by a Christian family. It is of great extent, and was of yore
fitted for the dwelling of a prince. The family had, indeed, in early
times been very rich; and almost fabulous accounts are current of the
wealth of its founder, Fadlallah Dahân. He was a merchant; the owner of
ships, the fitter-out of caravans. The regions of the East and of the West
had been visited by him; and, after undergoing as many dangers and
adventures as Sinbad, he had returned to spend the latter days of his life
in his native city. He built, accordingly, a magnificent dwelling, the
courts of which he adorned with marble fountains, and the chambers with
silk divans; and he was envied on account of his prosperity.

But, in the restlessness of his early years, he had omitted to marry, and
now found himself near the close of his career without an heir to inherit
his wealth and to perpetuate his name. This reflection often disturbed
him; yet he was unwilling to take a wife because he was old. Every now and
then, it is true, he saw men older than he, with fewer teeth and whiter
beards, taking to their bosoms maidens that bloomed like peaches just
beginning to ripen against a wall; and his friends, who knew he would give
a magnificent marriage-feast, urged him to do likewise. Once he looked
with pleasure on a young person of not too tender years, whose parents
purposely presented her to him; but having asked her in a whisper whether
she would like to marry a withered old gentleman like himself, she frankly
confessed a preference for his handsome young clerk, Harma, who earned a
hundred piastres a month. Fadlallah laughed philosophically, and took care
that the young couple should be married under happy auspices.

One day he was proceeding along the street gravely and slowly—surrounded
by a number of merchants proud to walk by his side, and followed by two or
three young men, who pressed near in order to be thought of the company,
and thus establish their credit—when an old woman espying him, began to
cry out, “Yeh! yeh! this is the man who has no wife and no child—this is
the man who is going to die and leave his fortune to be robbed by his
servants, or confiscated by the governor! And yet, he has a sagacious
nose”—(the Orientals have observed that there is wisdom in a nose)—“and a
beard as long as my back! Yeh! yeh! what a wonderful sight to see!”

Fadlallah Dahân stopped, and retorted, smiling, “Yeh! yeh! this is the
woman that blames an old man for not marrying a young wife. Yeh! yeh! what
a wonderful sight to see!”

Then the woman replied, “O, my lord, every pig’s tail curls not in the
same direction, nor does every maiden admire the passing quality of youth.
If thou wilt, I will bestow on thee a wife, who will love thee as thou
lovest thyself, and serve thee as the angels serve Allah. She is more
beautiful than any of the daughters of Beyrout, and her name is Selima, a
name of good augury.”

The friends of Fadlallah laughed, as did the young men who followed in
their wake, and urged him to go and see this peerless beauty, if it were
only for a joke. Accordingly, he told the woman to lead the way. But she
said he must mount his mule, for they had to go some distance into the
country. He mounted and, with a single servant, went forth from the
gates—the woman preceding—and rode until he reached a village in the
mountains. Here, in a poor little house, he found Selima; clothed in the
very commonest style, engaged in making divan cushions. She was a
marvelously beautiful girl, and the heart of the merchant at once began to
yearn toward her: yet he endeavored to restrain himself, and said, “This
beautiful thing is not for me.” But the woman cried out, “Selima, wilt
thou consent to love this old man?” The girl gazed in his face a while,
and then, folding her hands across her bosom, said, “Yes; for there is
goodness in his countenance.” Fadlallah wept with joy; and, returning to
the city, announced his approaching marriage to his friends. According to
custom, they expressed civil surprise to his face; but, when his back was
turned, they whispered that he was an old fool, and had been the dupe of a
she-adventurer.

The marriage took place with ceremonies of royal magnificence; and Selima,
who passed unmoved from extreme poverty to abundant riches, seemed to
merit the position of the greatest lady in Beyrout. Never was woman more
prudent than she. No one ever knew her previous history, nor that of her
mother. Some said that a life of misery, perhaps of shame, was before
them, when this unexpected marriage took place. Selima’s gratitude to
Fadlallah was unbounded; and out of gratitude grew love. The merchant
daily offered up thanks for the bright diamond which had come to shine in
his house.

In due time a child was born; a boy lovely as his mother; and they named
him Halil. With what joy he was received, what festivities announced the
glad intelligence to the town, may easily be imagined. Selima and
Fadlallah resolved to devote themselves to his education, and determined
that he should be the most accomplished youth of Bar-er-Shâm. But a long
succession of children followed, each more beautiful than the former—some
boys, some girls; and every new-comer was received with additional delight
and still grander ceremonies; so that the people began to say, “Is this a
race of sovereigns?”

Now Halil grew up to the age of twelve—still a charming lad; but the
parents, always fully occupied by the last arrival, had not carried out
their project of education. He was as wild and untamed as a colt, and
spent more of his time in the street than in the company of his mother;
who, by degrees, began to look upon him with a kind of calm friendship due
to strangers. Fadlallah, as he took his accustomed walk with his merchant
friends, used from time to time to encounter a ragged boy fighting in the
streets with the sons of the Jew butcher; but his eyes beginning to grow
dim, he often passed without recognizing him. One day, however, Halil,
breathless and bleeding, ran up and took refuge beneath the skirts of his
mantle from a crowd of savage urchins. Fadlallah was amazed, and said, “O,
my son—for I think thou art my son—what evil hath befallen thee, and
wherefore do I see thee in this state?” The boy, whose voice was choked by
sobs, looked up into his face, and said, “Father, I am the son of the
richest merchant of Beyrout, and behold, there is no one so little cared
for as I.”

Fadlallah’s conscience smote him, and he wiped the boy’s bleeding face
with the corner of his silk caftan, and blessed him; and, taking him by
the hand, led him away. The merchants smiled benignly one to the other,
and, pointing with their thumbs, said, “We have seen the model youth!”

While they laughed and sneered, Fadlallah, humbled, yet resolved, returned
to his house, leading the ragged Halil, and entered his wife’s chamber.
Selima was playing with her seventh child, and teaching it to lisp the
word “Baba”—about the amount of education which she had found time to
bestow on each of her offspring. When she saw the plight of her eldest son
she frowned, and was about to scold him; but Fadlallah interposed, and
said, “Wife, speak no harsh words. We have not done our duty by this boy.
May God forgive us; but we have looked on those children that have bloomed
from thee, more as play-things than as deposits for which we are
responsible. Halil has become a wild out-of-door lad, doubting with some
reason of our love. It is too late to bring him back to the destiny we had
dreamt of; but he must not be left to grow up thus uncared for. I have a
brother established in Bassora; to him will I send the lad to learn the
arts of commerce, and to exercise himself in adventure, as his father did
before him. Bestow thy blessing upon him, Selima (here the good old man’s
voice trembled), and may God in his mercy forgive both thee and me for the
neglect which has made this parting necessary. I shall know that I am
forgiven if, before I go down into the tomb, my son return a wise and
sober man; not unmindful that we gave him life, and forgetting that, until
now, we have given him little else.”

Selima laid her seventh child in its cradle of carved wood, and drew Halil
to her bosom; and Fadlallah knew that she loved him still, because she
kissed his face, regardless of the blood and dirt that stained it. She
then washed him and dressed him, and gave him a purse of gold, and handed
him over to his father; who had resolved to send him off by the caravan
that started that very afternoon. Halil, surprised and made happy by
unwonted caresses, was yet delighted at the idea of beginning an
adventurous life; and went away, manfully stifling his sobs, and
endeavoring to assume the grave deportment of a merchant. Selima shed a
few tears, and then, attracted by a crow and a chuckle from the cradle,
began to tickle the infant’s soft double chin, and went on with her
interrupted lesson, “Baba, Baba!”

Halil started on his journey, and having passed through the Valley of
Robbers, the Valley of Lions, and the Valley of Devils—this is the way in
which Orientals localize the supposed dangers of traveling—arrived at the
good city of Bassora; where his uncle received him well, and promised to
send him as supercargo on board the next vessel he dispatched to the
Indian seas. What time was spent by the caravan upon the road, the
narrative does not state. Traveling is slow work in the East; but almost
immediately on his arrival in Bassora, Halil was engaged in a love
adventure. If traveling is slow, the approaches of manhood are rapid. The
youth’s curiosity was excited by the extraordinary care taken to conceal
his cousin Miriam from his sight; and having introduced himself into her
garden, beheld, and, struck by her wonderful beauty, loved her. With an
Oriental fondness, he confessed the truth to his uncle, who listened with
anger and dismay, and told him that Miriam was betrothed to the Sultan.
Halil perceived the danger of indulging his passion, and promised to
suppress it; but while he played a prudent part, Miriam’s curiosity was
also excited, and she, too, beheld and loved her cousin. Bolts and bars
can not keep two such affections asunder. They met and plighted their
troth, and were married secretly, and were happy. But inevitable discovery
came. Miriam was thrown into a dungeon; and the unhappy Halil, loaded with
chains, was put on board a vessel, not as supercargo, but as prisoner;
with orders that he should be left in some distant country.

Meanwhile a dreadful pestilence fell upon Beyrout, and among the first
sufferers was an eighth little one, that had just learned to say “Baba!”
Selima was almost too astonished to be grieved. It seemed to her
impossible that death should come into her house, and meddle with the
fruits of so much suffering and love. When they came to take away the
little form which she had so often fondled, her indignation burst forth,
and she smote the first old woman who stretched out her rough
unsympathetic hand. But a shriek from her waiting-woman announced that
another victim was singled out; and the frantic mother rushed like a
tigress to defend the young that yet remained to her. But the enemy was
invisible; and (so the story goes) all her little ones drooped one by one
and died; so that on the seventh day Selima sat in her nursery gazing
about with stony eyes, and counting her losses upon her fingers—Iskender,
Selima, Wardy, Fadlallah, Hanna, Hennenah, Gereges—seven in all. Then she
remembered Halil, and her neglect of him; and, lifting up her voice, she
wept aloud; and, as the tears rushed fast and hot down her cheeks, her
heart yearned for her absent boy, and she would have parted with worlds to
have fallen upon his breast—would have given up her life in return for one
word of pardon and of love.

Fadlallah came in to her; and he was now very old and feeble. His back was
bent, and his transparent hand trembled as it clutched a cane. A white
beard surrounded a still whiter face; and as he came near his wife, he
held out his hand toward her with an uncertain gesture, as if the room had
been dark. This world appeared to him but dimly. “Selima,” said he, “the
Giver hath taken. We, too, must go in our turn. Weep, my love; but weep
with moderation, for those little ones that have gone to sing in the
golden cages of Paradise. There is a heavier sorrow in my heart. Since my
first-born, Halil, departed for Bassora, I have only written once to learn
intelligence of him. He was then well, and had been received with favor by
his uncle. We have never done our duty by that boy.” His wife replied, “Do
not reproach me; for I reproach myself more bitterly than thou canst do.
Write, then, to thy brother to obtain tidings of the beloved one. I will
make of this chamber a weeping chamber. It has resounded with merriment
enough. All my children learned to laugh and to talk here. I will hang it
with black, and erect a tomb in the midst; and every day I will come and
spend two hours, and weep for those who are gone and for him who is
absent.” Fadlallah approved her design; and they made a weeping chamber,
and lamented together every day therein. But their letters to Bassora
remained unanswered; and they began to believe that fate had chosen a
solitary tomb for Halil.

One day a woman, dressed in the garb of the poor, came to the house of
Fadlallah with a boy about twelve years old. When the merchant saw them he
was struck with amazement, for he beheld in the boy the likeness of his
son Halil; and he called aloud to Selima, who, when she came, shrieked
with amazement. The woman told her story, and it appeared that she was
Miriam. Having spent some months in prison, she had escaped and taken
refuge in a forest in the house of her nurse. Here she had given birth to
a son, whom she had called by his father’s name. When her strength
returned, she had set out as a beggar to travel over the world in search
of her lost husband. Marvelous were the adventures she underwent, God
protecting her throughout, until she came to the land of Persia, where she
found Halil working as a slave in the garden of the Governor of Fars.
After a few stolen interviews, she had again resumed her wanderings to
seek for Fadlallah, that he might redeem his son with wealth; but had
passed several years upon the road.

Fortune, however, now smiled upon this unhappy family, and in spite of his
age, Fadlallah set out for Fars. Heaven made the desert easy, and the road
short for him. On a fine calm evening he entered the gardens of the
governor, and found his son gayly singing as he trimmed an orange tree.
After a vain attempt to preserve an incognito, the good old man lifted up
his hands, and shouting, “Halil, my first born!” fell upon the breast of
the astonished slave. Sweet was the interview in the orange grove, sweet
the murmured conversation between the strong young man and the trembling
patriarch, until the perfumed dew of evening fell upon their heads.
Halil’s liberty was easily obtained, and father and son returned in safety
to Beyrout. Then the Weeping Chamber was closed, and the door walled up;
and Fadlallah and Selima lived happily until age gently did its work at
their appointed times; and Halil and Miriam inherited the house and the
wealth that had been gathered for them.

The supernatural part of the story remains to be told. The Weeping Chamber
was never again opened; but every time that a death was about to occur in
the family, a shower of heavy teardrops was heard to fall upon its marble
floor, and low wailings came through the walled doorway. Years, centuries,
passed away, and the mystery repeated itself with unvarying uniformity.
The family fell into poverty, and only occupied a portion of the house,
but invariably before one of its members sickened unto death, a shower of
heavy drops, as from a thunder cloud, pattered on the pavement of the
Weeping Chamber, and was heard distinctly at night through the whole
house. At length the family quitted the country in search of better
fortunes elsewhere, and the house remained for a long time uninhabited.

The lady who narrated the story went to live in the house, and passed some
years without being disturbed; but one night she was lying awake, and
distinctly heard the warning shower dripping heavily in the Weeping
Chamber. Next day the news came of her mother’s death, and she hastened to
remove to another dwelling. The house has since been utterly abandoned to
rats, mice, beetles, and an occasional ghost seen sometimes streaming
along the rain-pierced terraces. No one has ever attempted to violate the
solitude of the sanctuary where Selima wept for the seven little ones
taken to the grave, and for the absent one whom she had treated with
unmotherly neglect.



AN OLD MAID’S FIRST LOVE.


I went once to the south of France for my health; and being recommended to
choose the neighborhood of Avignon, took my place, I scarcely know why, in
the diligence all the way from Paris. By this proceeding I missed the
steam-voyage down the Rhône, but fell in with some very pleasant people,
about whom I am going to speak. I traveled in the _intérieur_, and from
Lyon had no one for companion but a fussy little lady, of a certain age,
who had a large basket, a parrot in a cage, a little lapdog, a band-box, a
huge blue umbrella, which she could never succeed in stowing any where,
and a moth-eaten muff. In my valetudinarian state I was not pleased with
this inroad—especially as the little lady had a thin, pinched-up face, and
obstinately looked out of the window, while she popped about the
_intérieur_ as if she had just taken lodgings, and was putting them in
order, throwing me every now and then some gracious apology in a not
unpleasant voice. “Mince as you please, madam,” thought I; “you are a
bore.” I am sorry to add that I was very unaccommodating, gave no
assistance in the stowing away of the umbrella, and when Fanfreluche came
and placed his silken paws upon my knees, pushed him away very rudely. The
little old maid—it was evident this was her quality—apologized for her dog
as she had done for herself, and went on arranging her furniture—an
operation not completed before we got to St. Saphorin.

For some hours a perfect silence was preserved, although my companion
several times gave a short, dry cough, as if about to make an observation.
At length, the digestion of a hurried dinner being probably completed, I
felt all of a sudden quite bland and sociable, and began to be mightily
ashamed of myself. “Decidedly,” thought I, “I must give this poor woman
the benefit of my conversation.” So I spoke, very likely with that
self-satisfied air assumed sometimes by men accustomed to be well
received. To my great vexation the old maid had by this time taken
offense, and answered in a very stiff and reserved manner. Now the whole
absurdity of my conduct was evident to me, and I determined to make
amends. Being naturally of a diplomatic turn, I kept quiet for a while,
and then began to make advances to Fanfreluche. The poor animal bore no
malice, and I won his heart by stroking his long ears. Then I gave a piece
of sugar to the parrot; and having thus effected a practicable breach,
took the citadel by storm by pointing out a more commodious way of
arranging the great blue umbrella.

We were capital friends thenceforward; and I soon knew the history of
Mlle. Nathalie Bernard by heart. A mightily uninteresting history it was
to all but herself; so I shall not repeat it: suffice to say, that she had
lived long on her little income, as she called it, at Lyon, and was now on
her way to Avignon, where a very important object called her. This was no
other than to save her niece Marie from a distasteful marriage, which her
parents, very good people, but dazzled by the wealth of the unamiable
suitor, wished to bring about.

“And have you,” said I, “any reasonable hope of succeeding in your
mission?”

“_Parbleu!_” replied the old maid, “I have composed a little speech on
ill-assorted unions, which I am sure will melt the hearts of my sister and
my brother-in-law; and if that does not succeed—why, I will make love to
the _futur_ myself, and whisper in his ear that a comfortable little
income available at once, and a willing old maid, are better than a
cross-grained damsel with expectations only. You see I am resolved to make
any sacrifice to effect my object.”

I laughed at the old maid’s disinterestedness, which was perhaps greater
than at first appeared. At least she assured me that she had refused
several respectable offers, simply because she liked the independence of a
single life; and that if she had remained single to that age, it was a
sign that marriage had nothing attractive for her in itself. We discussed
the point learnedly as the diligence rolled; and what with the original
turn of my companion’s mind, the sportive disposition of Fanfreluche, and
the occasional disjointed soliloquies of Coco, the parrot, our time passed
very pleasantly. When night came, Mlle. Nathalie ensconced herself in the
corner behind her parcels and animals, and endeavored to sleep; but the
jolting of the diligence, and her own lively imagination, wakened her
every five minutes; and I had each time to give her a solemn assurance, on
my word of honor as a gentleman, that there was no particular danger of
our being upset into the Rhône.

We were ascending a steep hill next day, both had got out to walk. I have
omitted to note that it was autumn. Trees and fields were touched by the
golden fingers of the season. The prospect was wide, but I forget the
precise locality. On the opposite side of the Rhône, which rolled its
rapid current in a deepening valley to our right, rose a range of hills,
covered with fields that sloped wonderfully, and sometimes gave place to
precipices or wood-lined declivities. Here and there the ruins of some old
castle—reminiscences of feudal times—rose amid lofty crags, and traced
their jagged outline against the deep-blue sky of Provence. Nathalie
became almost sentimental as she gazed around on this beautiful scene.

We had climbed about half of the hill; the diligence was a little way
behind; the five horses were stamping and striking fire from the pavement
as they struggled up with the ponderous vehicle: the other passengers had
lingered in the rear with the conductor, who had pointed out a little
_auberge_ among some trees. We here saw a man preceding us upon the road
carrying a little bundle at the end of a stick over his shoulder: he
seemed to advance painfully. Our attention was attracted—I scarcely knew
why. He paused a moment—then went on with an uncertain step—paused again,
staggered forward, and fell on his face just as we came up. Mlle.
Nathalie, with a presence of mind that surprised me, had her
smelling-bottle out in an instant, and was soon engaged in restoring the
unfortunate traveler to consciousness. I assisted as well as I was able,
and trust that my good-will may atone for my awkwardness. Nathalie did
every thing; and, just as the diligence reached us, was gazing with
delight on the languid opening of a pair of as fine eyes as I have ever
seen, and supporting in her lap a head covered with beautiful curls. Even
at that moment, as I afterward remembered, she looked upon the young man
as a thing over which she had acquired a right of property. “He is going
our way,” said she: “let us lift him into the diligence.”

“A beggarly Parisian; yo, yo!” quoth the postillion as he passed, clacking
his long whip.

“Who will answer for his fare?” inquired the conductor.

“I will,” replied Nathalie, taking the words out of my mouth.

In a few minutes the young man, who looked bewildered and could not speak,
was safely stowed away among Nathalie’s other parcels; and the crest of
the hill being gained, we began rolling rapidly down a steep descent. The
little old maid, though in a perfect ecstasy of delight—the incident
evidently appeared to her quite an adventure—behaved with remarkable
prudence. While I was puzzling my head to guess by what disease this poor
young man had been attacked, she was getting ready the remedies that
appeared to her the most appropriate, in the shape of some excellent cakes
and a bottle of good wine, which she fished out of her huge basket. Her
protégé, made tame by hunger, allowed himself to be treated like a child.
First, she gave him a very small sip of Burgundy, then a diminutive
fragment of cake; and then another sip and another piece of cake—insisting
on his eating very slowly. Being perfectly useless, I looked quietly on,
and smiled to see the submissiveness with which this fine, handsome fellow
allowed himself to be fed by the fussy old maid, and how he kept his eyes
fixed upon her with an expression of wondering admiration.

Before we arrived at Avignon we knew the history of the young man. He was
an artist, who had spent several years studying in Paris, without friends,
without resources, except a miserable pittance which his mother, a poor
peasant woman, living in a village not far from Aix, had managed to send
him. At first he had been upheld by hope; and although he knew that his
mother not only denied herself necessaries, but borrowed money to support
him, he was consoled by the idea that the time would come when, by the
efforts of his genius, he would be able to repay every thing, with the
accumulated interest which affection alone would calculate. But his
expenses necessarily increased, and no receipts came to meet them. He was
compelled to apply to his mother for further assistance. The answer was
one word—“impossible.” Then he endeavored calmly to examine his position,
came to the conclusion that for several years more he must be a burden to
his mother if he obstinately pursued his career, and that she must be
utterly ruined to insure his success. So he gave up his art, sold every
thing he had to pay part of his debts, and set out on foot to return to
his village and become a peasant, as his father had been before him. The
little money he had taken with him was gone by the time he reached Lyon.
He had passed through that city without stopping, and for more than two
days, almost for two nights, had incessantly pursued his journey, without
rest and without food, until he had reached the spot where, exhausted with
fatigue and hunger, he had fallen, perhaps to perish had we not been there
to assist him.

Nathalie listened with eager attention to this narrative, told with a
frankness which our sympathy excited. Now and then she gave a convulsive
start, or checked a hysterical sob, and at last fairly burst into tears. I
was interested as well as she, but retained more calmness to observe how
moral beauty almost vainly struggled to appear through the insignificant
features of this admirable woman. Her little eyes, reddened with weeping;
her pinched-up nose, blooming at the point; her thin lips, probably
accustomed to sarcasm; her cheeks, with a leaden citron hue; her hair that
forked up in unmanageable curls—all combined to obscure the exquisite
expression of respect and sympathy, perhaps already of love, sparkling
from her kindled soul, that could just be made out by an attentive eye. At
length, however, she became for a moment perfectly beautiful, as, when the
young painter had finished his story, with an expression that showed how
bitterly he regretted his abandoned art, she took both his hands in hers,
and exclaimed, “No, _mon enfant_, you shall not be thus disappointed. Your
genius”—she already took for granted he had genius—“shall have an
opportunity for development. Your mother can not do what is necessary—she
has played her part. I will be a—second mother to you, in return for the
little affection you can bestow on me without ingratitude to her to whom
you owe your life.”

“My life has to be paid for twice,” said he, kissing her hand. Nathalie
could not help looking round proudly to me. It was so flattering to
receive the gallant attentions of so handsome a young man, that I think
she tried to forget how she had bought them.

In the exuberance of her hospitality, the little old maid invited both
Claude Richer and myself to spend some time in the large farm-house of her
brother-in-law. I declined, with a promise to be a frequent visitor; but
Claude, who was rather commanded than asked, could do nothing but accept.
I left them at the diligence office, and saw them walk away, the little
Nathalie affecting to support her feeble companion. For the honor of human
nature let me add, that the conductor said nothing about the fare. “It
would have been indelicate,” he said to me, “to remind Mlle. Nathalie of
her promise in the young man’s presence. I know her well; and she will pay
me at a future time. At any rate, I must show that there is a heart under
this waistcoat.” So saying, the conductor thumped his breast with simple
admiration of his own humanity, and went away, after recommending me to
the Café de Paris—indeed an excellent house.

I shall say nothing of a variety of little incidents that occurred to me
at Avignon, nor about my studies on the history of the popes who resided
there. I must reserve myself entirely for the development of Nathalie’s
romance, which I could not follow step by step, but the chief features of
which I was enabled to catch during a series of visits I paid to the
farm-house. Nathalie herself was very communicative to me at first, and
scarcely deigned to conceal her sentiments. By degrees, however, as the
catastrophe approached, she became more and more reserved; and I had to
learn from others, or to guess the part she played.

The farm-house was situated on the other side of the river, in a small
plain, fertile and well wooded. Old Cossu, the owner, was a fine jolly
fellow, but evidently a little sharp in money-matters. I was surprised at
first that he received the visit of Claude favorably; but when it came out
that a good part of his capital belonged to Nathalie, every circumstance
of deference to her was explained. Mère Cossu was not a very remarkable
personage; unless it be remarkable that she entertained the most profound
veneration for her husband, quoted his commonest sayings as witticisms,
and was ready to laugh herself into convulsions if he sneezed louder than
usual. Marie was a charming little person; perhaps a little too demure in
her manners, considering her wicked black eyes. She was soon very friendly
with Claude and me, but seemed to prefer passing her time in whispered
conversations with Nathalie. I was let into the secret that their
conversation turned principally on the means of getting rid of the
husband-elect—a great lubberly fellow, who lived some leagues off, and
whose red face shone over the garden-gate, in company with a huge nosegay,
regularly every Sunday morning. In spite of the complying temper of old
Cossu in other respects when Nathalie gave her advice, he seemed
obstinately bent on choosing his own son-in-law. Parents are oftener
correct than romancers will allow in their negative opinions on this
delicate subject, but I can not say as much for them when they undertake
to be affirmative.

I soon observed that Nathalie was not so entirely devoted to the
accomplishment of the object for which she had undertaken the journey as
she had promised; and, above all, that she spoke no more of the
disinterested sacrifice of herself as a substitute for Marie. I
maliciously alluded to this subject in one of our private confabulations,
and Nathalie, instead of being offended, frankly answered that she could
not make big Paul Boneau happy and assist Claude in his studies at the
same time. “I have now,” she said, “an occupation for the rest of my
life—namely, to develop this genius, of which France will one day be
proud; and I shall devote myself to it unremittingly.”

“Come, Nathalie,” replied I, taking her arm in mine as we crossed the
poplar-meadow, “have you no hope of a reward?”

“I understand,” quoth she, frankly; “and I will not play at cross-purposes
with you. If this young man really loves his art, and his art alone, as he
pretends, could he do better than reward me—as you call it—for my
assistance? The word has a cruel signification, but you did not mean it
unkindly.”

I looked at her wan, sallow countenance, that had begun for some days to
wear an expression of painful anxiety. At that moment I saw over a
hedge—but she could not—Claude and Marie walking in a neighboring field,
and pausing now and then to bend their heads very close together in
admiration of some very common flower. “Poor old maid,” thought I, “you
will have no reward save the consciousness of your own pure intentions.”

The minute development of this drama without dramatic scenes would,
perhaps, be more instructive than any elaborate analysis of human passions
in general; but it would require a volume, and I can only here give a mere
summary. Nathalie, in whom alone I felt particularly interested, soon
found that she had deceived herself as to the nature of her sentiments for
Claude—that instead of regarding him with almost maternal solicitude, she
loved him with an intensity that is the peculiar characteristic of
passions awakened late in life, when the common consolation is
inadmissible—“after all, I may find better.” This was her last, her only
chance of a happiness which she had declared to me she had never dreamed
of, but which in reality she had only declined because it did not present
itself to her under all the conditions required by her refined and
sensitive mind. Claude, who was an excellent fellow, but incapable of
comprehending her or sacrificing himself, never swerved from grateful
deference to her; but I could observe, that as the state of her feelings
became more apparent, he took greater care to mark the character of his
sentiments for her, and to insist with some affectation on the depth of
his filial affection. Nathalie’s eyes were often red with tears—a fact
which Claude did not choose, perhaps, to notice, for fear of an
explanation. Marie, on the contrary, became more blooming every day, while
her eloquent eyes were still more assiduously bent upon the ground. It was
evident to me that she and Claude understood one another perfectly well.

At length the same thing became evident to Nathalie. How the revelation
was made to her I do not know; but sudden it must have been, for I met her
one day in the poplar-field, walking hurriedly along with an extraordinary
expression of despair in her countenance. I know not why, but the thought
at once occurred to me that the Rhône ran rapid and deep not far off, and
I threw myself across her path. She started like a guilty thing, but did
not resist when I took her hand and led her back slowly toward the
farm-house. We had nearly reached it in silence, when she suddenly
stopped, and bursting into tears, turned away into a by-lane where was a
little bench under an elm. Here she sat down and sobbed for a long time,
while I stood by. At length she raised her head and asked me, “Do morality
and religion require self-sacrifice even to the end—even to making half a
life a desert, even to heart-breaking, even unto death?”

“It scarcely belongs to a selfish mortal to counsel such virtue,” I
replied; “but it is because it is exercised here and there, now and then,
once in a hundred years, that man can claim some affinity with the divine
nature.”

A smile of ineffable sweetness played about the poor old girl’s lips. She
wiped her eyes, and began talking of the changing aspect of the season,
and how the trees day by day more rapidly shed their leaves, and how the
Rhône had swelled within its ample bed, and of various topics apparently
unconnected with her frame of mind, but all indicating that she felt the
winter was coming—a long and dreary winter for her. At this moment
Fanfreluche, who had missed her, came down the lane barking with fierce
joy; and she took the poor little beast in her arms, and exhaled the last
bitter feeling that tormented her in these words: “Thou at least lovest
me—because I have fed thee!” In her humility she seemed now to believe
that her only claim to love was her charity; and that even this claim was
not recognized except by a dog!

I was not admitted to the secret of the family conclave that took place,
but learned simply that Nathalie pleaded with feverish energy the love
that had grown up between Marie and Claude as an insuperable bar to the
proposed marriage between Paul Boneau and her niece. Matters were arranged
by means of large sacrifices on the part of the heroic maid. Paul’s face
ceased to beam over the garden-gate on a Sunday morning; and by degrees
the news got abroad that Marie was betrothed to the young artist. One day
a decent old woman in _sabots_ came to the farm-house; it was Claude’s
mother, who had walked from Aix to see him. It was arranged that Claude
should pursue his studies a year longer, and then marry. Whether any
explanation took place I do not know; but I observed that the young man
sometimes looked with the same expression of wondering admiration I had
observed in the diligence on the little Nathalie—-more citron-hued than
ever. At length she unhooked the cage of Coco, the parrot, took
Fanfreluche under one arm and her blue umbrella under the other, and went
away in company with the whole family, myself included, every one carrying
a parcel or a basket to the diligence office. What a party that was! Every
one was in tears except Nathalie. She bore up manfully if I may use the
word; laughed, and actually joked; but just as I handed Coco in, her
factitious courage yielded, and she burst into an agony of grief. With
officious zeal I kept at the window until the diligence gave a lurch and
started; and then turning round I looked at Claude and Marie, who were
already mingling their eyes in selfish forgetfulness of their
benefactress, and said, solemnly: “There goes the best woman ever created
for this unworthy earth.” The artist, who, for an ordinary man, did not
lack sentiment, took my hand and said: “Sir, I will quarrel with any man
who says less of that angel than you have done.”

The marriage was brought about in less time than had been agreed upon.
Nathalie of course did not come; but she sent some presents and a pleasant
letter of congratulation, in which she called herself “an inveterate old
maid.” About a year afterward I passed through Lyon and saw her. She was
still very yellow and more than ever attentive to Fanfreluche and Coco. I
even thought she devoted herself too much to the service of these two
troublesome pets, to say nothing of a huge cat which she had added to her
menagerie, as a kind of hieroglyphic of her condition. “How fare the
married couple?” cried she, tossing up her cork-screw curls. “Still cooing
and billing?”

“Mademoiselle,” said I, “they are getting on pretty well. Claude, finding
the historic pencil not lucrative, has taken to portrait-painting; and
being no longer an enthusiastic artist, talks even of adopting the more
expeditious method of the Daguerreotype. In the mean time, half the
tradesmen of Avignon, to say nothing of Aix, have bespoken caricatures of
themselves by his hand. Marie makes a tolerable wife, but has a terrible
will of her own, and is feared as well as loved.”

Nathalie tried to laugh; but the memory of her old illusions coming over
her, she leaned down toward the cat she was nursing, and sparkling tears
fell upon its glossy fur.



THE POISON-EATERS.


A very interesting trial for murder took place lately in Austria. The
prisoner, Anna Alexander, was acquitted by the jury, who, in the various
questions put to the witnesses, in order to discover whether the murdered
man, Lieutenant Matthew Wursel, was a poison-eater or not, educed some
very curious evidence relating to this class of persons.

As it is not generally known that eating poison is actually practiced in
more countries than one, the following account of the custom, given by a
physician, Dr. T. von Tschudi, will not be without interest.

In some districts of Lower Austria and in Styria, especially in those
mountainous parts bordering on Hungary, there prevails the strange habit
of eating arsenic. The peasantry in particular are given to it. They
obtain it under the name of _hedri_ from the traveling hucksters and
gatherers of herbs, who, on their side, get it from the glass-blowers, or
purchase it from the cow-doctors, quacks, or mountebanks.

The poison-eaters have a twofold aim in their dangerous enjoyment: one of
which is to obtain a fresh, healthy appearance, and acquire a certain
degree of _embonpoint_. On this account, therefore, gay village lads and
lasses employ the dangerous agent, that they may become more attractive to
each other; and it is really astonishing with what favorable results their
endeavors are attended, for it is just the youthful poison-eaters that
are, generally speaking, distinguished by a blooming complexion, and an
appearance of exuberant health. Out of many examples I select the
following:

A farm-servant who worked in the cow-house belonging to —— was thin and
pale, but nevertheless well and healthy. This girl had a lover whom she
wished to enchain still more firmly; and in order to obtain a more
pleasing exterior she had recourse to the well-known means, and swallowed
every week several doses of arsenic. The desired result was obtained; and
in a few months she was much fuller in the figure, rosy-cheeked, and, in
short, quite according to her lover’s taste. In order to increase the
effect, she was so rash as to increase the dose of arsenic, and fell a
victim to her vanity: she was poisoned, and died an agonizing death.

The number of deaths in consequence of the immoderate enjoyment of arsenic
is not inconsiderable, especially among the young. Every priest who has
the cure of souls in those districts where the abuse prevails could tell
such tragedies; and the inquiries I have myself made on the subject have
opened out very singular details. Whether it arise from fear of the law,
which forbids the unauthorized possession of arsenic, or whether it be
that an inner voice proclaims to him his sin, the arsenic-eater always
conceals as much as possible the employment of these dangerous means.
Generally speaking, it is only the confessional or the death-bed that
raises the vail from the terrible secret.

The second object the poison-eaters have in view is to make them, as they
express it, “better winded!”—that is, to make their respiration easier
when ascending the mountains. Whenever they have far to go and to mount a
considerable height, they take a minute morsel of arsenic and allow it
gradually to dissolve. The effect is surprising; and they ascend with ease
heights which otherwise they could climb only with distress to the chest.

The dose of arsenic with which the poison-eaters begin, consists,
according to the confession of some of them, of a piece the size of a
lentil, which in weight would be rather less than half a grain. To this
quantity, which they take fasting several mornings in the week, they
confine themselves for a considerable time; and then gradually, and very
carefully, they increase the dose according to the effect produced. The
peasant R——, living in the parish of A——g, a strong, hale man of upward of
sixty, takes at present at every dose a piece of about the weight of four
grains. For more than forty years he has practiced this habit, which he
inherited from his father, and which he in his turn will bequeath to his
children.

It is well to observe, that neither in these nor in other poison-eaters is
there the least trace of an arsenic cachexy discernible; that the symptoms
of a chronic arsenical poisoning never show themselves in individuals who
adapt the dose to their constitution, even although that dose should be
considerable. It is not less worthy of remark, however, that when, either
from inability to obtain the acid, or from any other cause, the perilous
indulgence is stopped, symptoms of illness are sure to appear, which have
the closest resemblance to those produced by poisoning from arsenic. These
symptoms consist principally in a feeling of general discomfort, attended
by a perfect indifference to all surrounding persons and things, great
personal anxiety, and various distressing sensations arising from the
digestive organs, want of appetite, a constant feeling of the stomach
being overloaded at early morning, an unusual degree of salivation, a
burning from the pylorus to the throat, a cramp-like movement in the
pharynx, pains in the stomach, and especially difficulty of breathing. For
all these symptoms there is but one remedy—a return to the enjoyment of
arsenic.

According to inquiries made on the subject, it would seem that the habit
of eating poison among the inhabitants of Lower Austria has not grown into
a passion, as is the case with the opium-eaters in the East, the chewers
of the betel nut in India and Polynesia, and of the coco-leaves among the
natives of Peru. When once commenced, however, it becomes a necessity.

In some districts sublimate of quicksilver is used in the same way. One
case in particular is mentioned by Dr. von Tschudi, a case authenticated
by the English embassador at Constantinople, of a great opium-eater at
Brussa, who daily consumed the enormous quantity of forty grains of
corrosive sublimate with his opium. In the mountainous parts of Peru the
doctor met very frequently with eaters of corrosive sublimate; and in
Bolivia the practice is still more frequent, where this poison is openly
sold in the market to the Indians.

In Vienna the use of arsenic is of every-day occurrence among
horse-dealers, and especially with the coachmen of the nobility. They
either shake it in a pulverized state among the corn, or they tie a bit
the size of a pea in a piece of linen, which they fasten to the curb when
the horse is harnessed, and the saliva of the animal soon dissolves it.
The sleek, round, shining appearance of the carriage-horses, and
especially the much-admired foaming at the mouth, is the result of this
arsenic-feeding.(4) It is a common practice with the farm-servants in the
mountainous parts to strew a pinch of arsenic on the last feed of hay
before going up a steep road. This is done for years without the least
unfavorable result; but should the horse fall into the hands of another
owner who withholds the arsenic, he loses flesh immediately, is no longer
lively, and even with the best feeding there is no possibility of
restoring him to his former sleek appearance.

The above particulars, communicated by a contributor residing in Germany,
are curious only inasmuch as they refer to poisons of a peculiarly quick
and deadly nature. Our ordinary “indulgences” in this country are the same
in kind, though not in degree, for we are all poison-eaters. To say
nothing of our opium and alcohol consumers, our teetotallers are delighted
with the briskness and sparkle of spring-water, although these qualities
indicate the presence of carbonic acid or fixed air. In like manner, few
persons will object to a drop or two of the frightful corrosive, sulphuric
acid (vitriol), in a glass of water, to which it communicates an agreeably
acid taste; and most of us have, at some period or other of our lives,
imbibed prussic acid, arsenic, and other deadly poisons under the orders
of the physician, or the first of these in the more pleasing form of
confectionary. Arsenic is said by Dr. Pearson to be as harmless as a glass
of wine in the quantity of one-sixteenth part of a grain; and in the cure
of agues it is so certain in its effects, that the French Directory once
issued an edict ordering the surgeons of the Italian army, under pain of
military punishment, to banish that complaint, at two or three days’
notice, from among the vast numbers of soldiers who were languishing under
it in the marshes of Lombardy. It would seem that no poison taken in small
and diluted doses is immediately hurtful, and the same thing may be said
of other agents. The tap of a fan, for instance, is a _blow_, and so is
the stroke of a club; but the one gives an agreeable sensation, and the
other fells the recipient to the ground. In like manner the analogy holds
good between the distribution of a blow over a comparatively large portion
of the surface of the body and the dilution or distribution of the
particles of a poison. A smart thrust upon the breast, for instance, with
a foil does no injury; but if the button is removed, and the same momentum
thus thrown to a point, the instrument enters the structures, and perhaps
causes death.

But the misfortune is, that poisons swallowed for the sake of the
agreeable sensations they occasion owe this effect to their action upon
the nervous system; and the action must be kept up by a constantly
increasing dose till the constitution is irremediably injured. In the case
of arsenic, as we have seen, so long as the excitement is undiminished all
is apparently well; but the point is at length reached when to proceed or
to turn back is alike death. The moment the dose is diminished or entirely
withdrawn, symptoms of poison appear, and the victim perishes because he
has shrunk from killing himself. It is just so when the stimulant is
alcohol. The morning experience of the drinker prophesies, on every
succeeding occasion, of the fate that awaits him. It may be pleasant to
get intoxicated, but to get sober is horror. The time comes, however, when
the pleasure is at an end, and the horror alone remains. When the habitual
stimulus reaches its highest, and the undermined constitution can stand no
more, then comes the reaction. If the excitement could go on _ad
infinitum_, the prognosis would be different; but the poison-symptoms
appear as soon as the dose can no longer be increased without producing
instant death, and the drunkard dies of the want of drink! Many persons,
it can not be denied, reach a tolerable age under this stimulus; but they
do so only by taking warning in time—perhaps from some frightful
illness—and carefully proportioning the dose to the sinking constitution.
“I can not drink now as formerly,” is a common remark—sometimes elevated
into the boast, “I _do_ not drink now as formerly.” But the relaxation of
the habit is compulsory; and by a thousand other tokens, as well as the
inability to indulge in intoxication, the _ci-devant_ drinker is reminded
of a madness which even in youth produced more misery than enjoyment, and
now adds a host of discomforts to the ordinary fragility of age. As for
arsenic-eating, we trust it will never be added to the madnesses of our
own country. Think of a man deliberately condemning himself to devour this
horrible poison, on an increasing scale, during his whole life, with the
certainty that if at any time, through accident, necessity, or other
cause, he holds his hand, he must die the most agonizing of all deaths! In
so much horror do we hold the idea, that we would have refrained from
mentioning the subject at all if we had not observed a paragraph making
the round of the papers, and describing the agreeable phases of the
practice without mentioning its shocking results.



A CHILD’S HISTORY OF KING JOHN’S REIGN. BY CHARLES DICKENS.


At two-and-thirty years of age, John became King of England. His pretty
little nephew Arthur had the best claim to the throne; but John seized the
treasure, and made fine promises to the nobility, and got himself crowned
at Westminster within a few weeks after his brother Richard’s death. I
doubt whether the crown could possibly have been put upon the head of a
meaner coward, or a more detestable villain, if the country had been
searched from end to end to find him out.

The French King, Philip, refused to acknowledge the right of John to his
new dignity, and declared in favor of Arthur. You must not suppose that he
had any generosity of feeling for the fatherless boy; it merely suited his
ambitious schemes to oppose the King of England. So, John and the French
King went to war about Arthur.

He was a handsome boy, at that time only twelve years, old. He was not
born when his father, Geoffrey, had his brains trampled out at the
tournament; and, beside the misfortune of never having known a father’s
guidance and protection, he had the additional misfortune to have a
foolish mother (Constance by name), lately married to her third husband.
She took Arthur, upon John’s accession, to the French King, who pretended
to be very much his friend, and made him a knight, and promised him his
daughter in marriage; but, who cared so little about him in reality, that
finding it his interest to make peace with King John for a time, he did so
without the least consideration for the poor little Prince, and
heartlessly sacrificed all his interests.

Young Arthur, for two years afterward, lived quietly; and in the course of
that time his mother died. But, the French King then finding it his
interest to quarrel with King John again, again made Arthur his pretense,
and invited the orphan boy to court. “You know your rights, Prince,” said
the French King, “and you would like to be a king. Is it not so?” “Truly,”
said Prince Arthur, “I should greatly like to be a King!” “Then,” said
Philip, “you shall have two hundred gentlemen who are knights of mine, and
with them you shall go to win back the provinces belonging to you, of
which your uncle, the usurping King of England, has taken possession. I
myself, meanwhile, will head a force against him in Normandy.” Poor Arthur
was so flattered and so grateful, that he signed a treaty with the crafty
French King, agreeing to consider him his superior Lord, and that the
French King should keep for himself whatever he could take from King John.

Now, King John was so bad in all ways, and King Philip was so perfidious,
that Arthur, between the two, might as well have been a lamb between a fox
and a wolf. But, being so young, he was ardent and flushed with hope; and,
when the people of Brittany (which was his inheritance) sent him five
hundred more knights and five thousand foot soldiers, he believed his
fortune was made. The people of Brittany had been fond of him from his
birth, and had requested that he might be called Arthur, in remembrance of
that dimly-famous English Arthur, of whom I told you early in this book,
whom they believed to have been the brave friend and companion of an old
king of their own. They had tales among them about a prophet called Merlin
(of the same old time), who had foretold that their own king should be
restored to them after hundreds of years; and they believed that the
prophecy would be fulfilled in Arthur; that the time would come when he
would rule them with a crown of Brittany upon his head; and when neither
King of France nor King of England would have any power over them. When
Arthur found himself riding in a glittering suit of armor on a richly
caparisoned horse, at the head of his train of knights and soldiers, he
began to believe this too, and to consider old Merlin a very superior
prophet.

He did not know—how could he, being so innocent and inexperienced?—that
his little army was a mere nothing against the power of the King of
England. The French King knew it; but the poor boy’s fate was little to
him, so that the King of England was worried and distressed. Therefore,
King Philip went his way into Normandy, and Prince Arthur went his way
toward Mirebeau, a French town near Poictiers, both very well pleased.

Prince Arthur went to attack the town of Mirebeau, because his grandmother
Eleanor, who has so often made her appearance in this history (and who had
always been his mother’s enemy), was living there, and because his knights
said, “Prince, if you can take her prisoner, you will be able to bring the
king your uncle to terms!” But she was not to be easily taken. She was old
enough by this time—eighty—but she was as full of stratagem as she was
full of years and wickedness. Receiving intelligence of young Arthur’s
approach, she shut herself up in a high tower, and encouraged her soldiers
to defend it like men. Prince Arthur with his little army besieged the
high tower. King John, hearing how matters stood, came up to the rescue
with _his_ army. So here was a strange family-party! The boy-Prince
besieging his grandmother, and his uncle besieging him!

This position of affairs did not last long. One summer night King John, by
treachery, got his men into the town, surprised Prince Arthur’s force,
took two hundred of his knights, and seized the Prince himself in his bed.
The knights were put in heavy irons, and driven away in open carts drawn
by bullocks, to various dungeons, where they were most inhumanly treated,
and where some of them were starved to death. Prince Arthur was sent to
the castle of Falaise.

One day, while he was in prison at that castle, mournfully thinking it
strange that one so young should be in so much trouble, and looking out of
the small window in the deep dark wall, at the summer sky and the birds,
the door was softly opened, and he saw his uncle the King standing in the
shadow of the archway, looking very grim.

“Arthur,” said the King, with his wicked eyes more on the stone floor than
on his nephew, “will you not trust to the gentleness, the friendship, and
the truthfulness, of your loving uncle?”

“I will tell my loving uncle that,” replied the boy, “when he does me
right. Let him restore to me my kingdom of England, and then come to me
and ask the question.”

The King looked at him and went out. “Keep that boy close prisoner,” said
he to the warden of the castle.

Then the King took secret counsel with the worst of his nobles how the
Prince was to be got rid of. Some said, “Put out his eyes, and keep him in
prison, as Robert of Normandy was kept.” Others said, “Have him stabbed.”
Others, “Have him hanged.” Others, “Have him poisoned.”

King John, feeling that, in any case, whatever was done afterward, it
would be a satisfaction to his mind to have those handsome eyes burnt out
that had looked at him so proudly while his own royal eyes were blinking
at the stone floor, sent certain ruffians to Falaise to blind the boy with
red-hot irons. But Arthur so pathetically entreated them, and shed such
piteous tears, and so appealed to Hubert de Bourg, the warden of the
castle, who had a love for him, and was an honorable, tender man, that
Hubert could not bear it. To his eternal honor he prevented the torture
from being performed, and, at his own risk, sent the savages away.

The chafed and disappointed King bethought himself of the stabbing
suggestion next, and with his shuffling manner and his cruel face,
proposed it to one William de Bray. “I am a gentleman, and not an
executioner,” said William de Bray, and left the presence with disdain.

But it was not difficult for a king to hire a murderer in those days. King
John found one for his money, and sent him down to the castle of Falaise.
“On what errand dost thou come?” said Hubert to this fellow. “To dispatch
young Arthur,” he returned. “Go back to him who sent thee,” answered
Hubert, “and say that I will do it!”

King John very well knowing that Hubert would never do it, but that he
courageously sent this reply to save the Prince, or gain time, dispatched
messengers to convey the young prisoner to the castle of Rouen.

Arthur was soon forced from the good Hubert—of whom he had never stood in
greater need than then—carried away by night, and lodged in his new
prison: where, through the grated window, he could hear the deep waters of
the river Seine, rippling against the stone wall below.

One dark night, as he lay sleeping, dreaming perhaps of rescue by those
unfortunate gentlemen who were obscurely suffering and dying in his cause,
he was roused, and bidden by his jailer to come down the staircase to the
foot of the tower. He hurriedly dressed himself and obeyed. When they came
to the bottom of the winding stairs, and the night air from the river blew
upon their faces, the jailer trod upon his torch and put it out. Then,
Arthur, in the darkness, was hurriedly drawn into a solitary boat. And in
that boat he found his uncle and one other man.

He knelt to them, and prayed them not to murder him. Deaf to his
entreaties, they stabbed him and sunk his body in the river with heavy
stones. When the spring morning broke, the tower-door was closed, the boat
was gone, the river sparkled on its way, and never more was any trace of
the poor boy beheld by mortal eyes.

The news of this atrocious murder being spread in England, awakened a
hatred of the King (already odious for his many vices, and for his having
stolen away and married a noble lady while his own wife was living) that
never slept again through his whole reign. In Brittany, the indignation
was intense. Arthur’s own sister Eleanor was in the power of John and shut
up in a convent at Bristol, but his half-sister Alice was in Brittany. The
people chose her, and the murdered prince’s father-in-law, the last
husband of Constance, to represent them; and carried their fiery
complaints to King Philip. King Philip summoned King John (as the holder
of territory in France) to come before him and defend himself. King John
refusing to appear, King Philip declared him false, perjured, and guilty;
and again made war. In a little time, by conquering the greater part of
his French territory, King Philip deprived him of one-third of his
dominions. And, through all the fighting that took place, King John was
always found, either to be eating and drinking, like a gluttonous fool,
when the danger was at a distance, or to be running away, like a beaten
cur, when it was near.

You might suppose that when he was losing his dominions at this rate, and
when his own nobles cared so little for him or his cause that they plainly
refused to follow his banner out of England, he had enemies enough. But he
made another enemy of the Pope, which he did in this way.

The Archbishop of Canterbury dying, and the junior monks of that place
wishing to get the start of the senior monks in the appointment of his
successor, met together at midnight, secretly elected a certain Reginald,
and sent him off to Rome to get the Pope’s approval. The senior monks and
the King soon finding this out, and being very angry about it, the junior
monks gave way, and all the monks together elected the Bishop of Norwich,
who was the King’s favorite. The Pope, hearing the whole story, declared
that neither election would do for him, and that _he_ elected Stephen
Langton. The monks submitting to the Pope, the King turned them all out
bodily, and banished them as traitors.—The Pope sent three bishops to the
King, to threaten him with an Interdict. The King told the bishops that if
any Interdict were laid upon his kingdom, he would tear out the eyes and
cut off the noses of all the monks he could lay hold of, and send them
over to Rome in that undecorated state as a present for their master. The
bishops, nevertheless, soon published the Interdict, and fled.

After it had lasted a year, the Pope proceeded to his next step; which was
excommunication. King John was declared excommunicated, with all the usual
ceremonies. The King was so incensed at this, and was made so desperate by
the disaffection of his barons and the hatred of his people, that it is
said that he even privately sent embassadors to the Turks in Spain,
offering to renounce his religion and hold his kingdom of them if they
would help him. It is related that the embassadors were admitted to the
presence of the Turkish Emir, through long lines of Moorish guards, and
that they found the Emir with his eyes seriously fixed on the pages of a
large book from which he never once looked up. That they gave him a letter
from the King containing his proposals, and were gravely dismissed. That
presently the Emir sent for one of them, and conjured him, by his faith in
his religion, to say what kind of man the King of England truly was? That
the embassador, thus pressed, replied that the King of England was a false
tyrant, against whom his own subjects would soon rise. And that this was
quite enough for the Emir.

Money being, in his position, the next best thing to men, King John spared
no means of getting it. He set on foot another oppressing and torturing of
the unhappy Jews (which was quite in his way), and invented a now
punishment for one wealthy Jew of Bristol. Until such time as that Jew
should produce a certain large sum of money, the King sentenced him to be
imprisoned, and, every day, to have one tooth violently wrenched out of
his head—beginning with the double teeth. For seven days the oppressed man
bore the daily pain and lost the daily tooth; but, on the eighth, he paid
the money. With the treasure raised in such ways, the King made an
expedition into Ireland, where some English nobles had revolted. It was
one of the very few places from which he did not run away; because no
resistance was shown. He made another expedition into Wales—whence he
_did_ run away in the end: but not before he had got from the Welsh
people, as hostages, twenty-seven young men of the best families; every
one of whom he caused to be slain in the following year.

To Interdict and Excommunication, the Pope now added his last
sentence—Deposition. He proclaimed John no longer King, absolved all his
subjects from their allegiance, and sent Stephen Langton and others to the
King of France to tell him that, if he would invade England, he should be
forgiven all his sins—at least, should be forgiven them by the Pope, if
that would do.

As there was nothing that King Philip desired more than to invade England,
he collected a great army at Rouen, and a fleet of seventeen hundred ships
to bring them over. But the English people, however bitterly they hated
the King, were not a people to suffer invasion quietly.—They flocked to
Dover, where the English standard was, in such great numbers to enroll
themselves as defenders of their native land, that there were not
provisions for them, and the King could only select and retain sixty
thousand. But, at this crisis, the Pope, who had his own reasons for
objecting to either King John or King Philip being too powerful,
interfered. He intrusted a legate, whose name was Pandolf, with the easy
task of frightening King John. He sent him to the English camp, from
France, to terrify him with exaggerations of King Philip’s power, and his
own weakness in the discontent of the English barons and people. Pandolf
discharged his commission so well, that King John, in a wretched panic,
consented to acknowledge Stephen Langton; to resign his kingdom “to God,
Saint Peter, and Saint Paul”—which meant the Pope; and to hold it, ever
afterward, by the Pope’s leave, on payment of an annual sum of money. To
this shameful contract he publicly bound himself in the church of the
Knights Templars at Dover: where he laid at the legate’s feet a part of
the tribute, which the legate haughtily trampled upon. But they _do_ say,
that this was merely a genteel flourish, and that he was afterward seen to
pick it up and pocket it.

There was an unfortunate prophet, of the name of Peter, who had greatly
increased King John’s terrors by predicting that he would be unknighted
(which the King supposed to signify that he would die) before the Feast of
Ascension should be past. That was the day after this humiliation. When
the next morning came, and the King, who had been trembling all night,
found himself alive and safe, he ordered the prophet—and his son too—to be
dragged through the streets at the tails of horses, and then hanged, for
having frightened him.

As King John had now submitted, the Pope, to King Philip’s great
astonishment, took him under his protection, and informed King Philip that
he found he could not give him leave to invade England. The angry Philip
resolved to do it without his leave; but, he gained nothing and lost much;
for, the English, commanded by the Earl of Salisbury, went over, in five
hundred ships, to the French coast, before the French fleet had sailed
away from it, and utterly defeated the whole.

The Pope then took off his three sentences, one after another, and
empowered Stephen Langton publicly to receive King John into the favor of
the church again, and to ask him to dinner. The King, who hated Langton
with all his might and main—and with reason too, for he was a great and a
good man, with whom such a King could have no sympathy—pretended to cry
and to be very grateful. There was a little difficulty about settling how
much the King should pay, as a recompense to the clergy for the losses he
had caused them; but, the end of it was, that the superior clergy got a
good deal, and the inferior clergy got little or nothing—which has also
happened since King John’s time, I believe.

When all these matters were arranged, the King in his triumph became more
fierce, and false, and insolent to all around him than he had ever been.
An alliance of sovereigns against King Philip, gave him an opportunity of
landing an army in France; with which he even took a town! But, on the
French King’s gaining a great victory, he ran away, of course, and made a
truce for five years.

And now the time approached when he was to be still further humbled, and
made to feel, if he could feel any thing, what a wretched creature he was.
Of all men in the world, Stephen Langton seemed raised up by Heaven to
oppose and subdue him. When he ruthlessly burnt and destroyed the property
of his own subjects, because their lords, the Barons, would not serve him
abroad, Stephen Langton fearlessly reproved and threatened him. When he
swore to restore the laws of King Edward, or the laws of King Henry the
First, Stephen Langton knew his falsehood, and pursued him through all his
evasions. When the Barons met at the abbey of Saint Edmund’s-Bury, to
consider their wrongs and the King’s oppressions, Stephen Langton roused
them by his fervid words to demand a solemn charter of rights and
liberties from their perjured master, and to swear, one by one, on the
high altar, that they would have it, or would wage war against him to the
death. When the King hid himself in London from the Barons, and was at
last obliged to receive them, they told him roundly they would not believe
him unless Stephen Langton became a surety that he would keep his word.
When he took the Cross, to invest himself with some interest, and belong
to something that was received with favor, Stephen Langton was still
immovable. When he appealed to the Pope, and the Pope wrote to Stephen
Langton in behalf of his new favorite, Stephen Langton was deaf, even to
the Pope himself, and saw before him nothing but the welfare of England
and the crimes of the English King.

At Easter time, the Barons assembled at Stamford in Lincolnshire, in proud
array, and, marching near to Oxford where the King was, delivered into the
hands of Stephen Langton and two others, a list of grievances. “And
these,” they said, “he must redress, or we will do it for ourselves?” When
Stephen Langton told the King as much, and read the list to him, he went
half mad with rage. But that did him no more good than his afterward
trying to pacify the Barons with lies. They called themselves and their
followers, “The army of God and the Holy Church.” Marching through the
country, with the people thronging to them every where (except at
Northampton, where they failed in an attack upon the castle), they at last
triumphantly set up their banner in London itself, whither the whole land,
tired of the tyrant, seemed to flock to join them. Seven knights alone, of
all the knights in England, remained with the King; who, reduced to this
strait, at last sent the Earl of Pembroke to the Barons to say that he
approved of every thing, and would meet them to sign their charter when
they would. “Then,” said the Barons, “let the day be the 15th of June, and
the place, Runny-Mead.”

On Monday, the fifteenth of June, one thousand two hundred and fourteen,
the King came from Windsor Castle, and the Barons came from the town of
Staines, and they met on Runny-Mead, which is still a pleasant meadow by
the Thames, where rushes grow in the clear waters of the winding river,
and its banks are green with grass and trees. On the side of the Barons,
came the General of their army, ROBERT FITZ-WALTER, and a great concourse
of the nobility of England. With the King, came, in all, some
four-and-twenty persons of any note, most of whom despised him and were
merely his advisers in form. On that great day, and in that great company,
the King signed MAGNA CHARTA—the great charter of England—by which he
pledged himself to maintain the church in its rights; to relieve the
Barons of oppressive obligations as vassals of the Crown—of which the
Barons, in their turn, pledged themselves to relieve _their_ vassals, the
people; to respect the liberties of London and all other cities and
boroughs; to protect foreign merchants who came to England; to imprison no
man without a fair trial; and to sell, delay, or deny justice to none. As
the Barons knew his falsehood well, they further required, as their
securities, that he should send out of his kingdom all his foreign troops;
that for two months they should hold possession of the city of London, and
Stephen Langton of the Tower; and that five-and-twenty of their body,
chosen by themselves, should be a lawful committee to watch the keeping of
the charter, and to make war upon him if he broke it.

All this he was obliged to yield. He signed the charter with a smile, and,
if he could have looked agreeable, would have done so, as he departed from
the splendid assembly. When he got home to Windsor Castle, he was quite a
madman in his helpless fury. And he broke the charter immediately
afterward.

He sent abroad for foreign soldiers, and sent to the Pope for help, and
plotted to take London by surprise, while the Barons should be holding a
great tournament at Stamford, which they had agreed to hold there as a
celebration of the charter. The Barons, however, found him out and put it
off. Then, when the Barons desired to see him and tax him with his
treachery, he made numbers of appointments with them, and kept none, and
shifted from place to place, and was constantly sneaking and skulking
about. At last he appeared at Dover, to join his foreign soldiers of whom
numbers came into his pay; and with them he besieged and took Rochester
Castle, which was occupied by knights and soldiers of the Barons. He would
have hanged them every one; but the leader of the foreign soldiers,
fearful of what the English people might afterward do to him, interfered
to save the knights; therefore the King was fain to satisfy his vengeance
with the death of all the common men. Then he sent the Earl of Salisbury,
with one portion of his army to ravage the eastern part of his own
dominions, while he carried fire and slaughter into the northern part;
torturing, plundering, killing, and inflicting every possible cruelty upon
the people; and, every morning, setting a worthy example to his men by
setting fire, with his own monster-hands, to the house where he had slept
the last night. Nor was this all; for the Pope, coming to the aid of his
precious friend, laid the kingdom under an Interdict again, because the
people took part with the Barons. It did not much matter, for the people
had grown so used to it now, that they had begun to think about it. It
occurred to them—perhaps to Stephen Langton too—that they could keep their
churches open, and ring their bells, without the Pope’s permission as well
as with it. So they tried the experiment—and found that it succeeded
perfectly.

It being now impossible to bear the country, as a wilderness of cruelty,
or longer to hold any terms with such a foresworn outlaw of a king, the
Barons sent to LOUIS, son of the French monarch, to offer him the English
crown. Caring as little for the Pope’s excommunication of him if he
accepted the offer, as it is possible his father may have cared for the
Pope’s forgiveness of his sins, he landed at Sandwich (King John
immediately running away from Dover, where he happened to be) and went on
to London. The Scottish King, with whom many of the Northern English Lords
had taken refuge; numbers of the foreign soldiers, numbers of the Barons,
and numbers of the people, went over to him every day—King John, the
while, continually running away in all directions. The career of Louis was
checked, however, by the suspicions of the Barons, founded on the dying
declaration of a French Lord, that when the kingdom was conquered he was
sworn to banish them as traitors, and to give their estates to some of his
own Nobles. Rather than suffer this, some of the Barons hesitated; others
even went over to King John.

It seemed to be the turning point of King John’s fortunes, for, in his
savage and murderous course, he had now taken some towns and met with some
successes. But, happily for England and humanity, his death was near.
Crossing a dangerous quicksand, called the Wash, not very far from
Wisbeach, the tide came up and nearly drowned his army. He and his
soldiers escaped; but, looking back from the shore when he was safe, he
saw the roaring water sweep down in a torrent, overturn the wagons,
horses, and men that carried his treasure, and engulf them in a raging
whirlpool from which nothing could be delivered.

Cursing, and swearing, and gnawing his fingers, he went on to Swinestead
Abbey, where the monks set before him quantities of pears, and peaches,
and new cider—some say poison too, but there is very little reason to
suppose so—of which he ate and drank in an immoderate and beastly way. All
night he lay ill of a burning fever, and haunted with horrible fears. Next
day, they put him in a horse-litter, and carried him to Sleaford Castle,
where he passed another night of pain and horror. Next day, they carried
him, with greater difficulty than on the day before, to the castle of
Newark-upon-Trent; and there, on the eighteenth of October, in the
forty-ninth year of his age, and the seventeenth of his vile reign, was an
end of this miserable brute.



MY NOVEL; OR, VARIETIES IN ENGLISH LIFE.(5)



Book IX.—Initial Chapter.


Now that I am fairly in the heart of my story, these preliminary chapters
must shrink into comparatively small dimensions, and not encroach upon the
space required by the various personages whose acquaintance I have picked
up here and there, and who are now all crowding upon me like poor
relations to whom one has unadvisedly given a general invitation, and who
descend upon one simultaneously about Christmas time. Where they are to be
stowed, and what is to become of them all, Heaven knows; in the mean
while, the reader will have already observed that the Caxton family
themselves are turned out of their own rooms, sent a-packing, in order to
make way for the new comers.

And now that I refer to that respected family, I shall take occasion
(dropping all metaphor) to intimate a doubt, whether, should these papers
be collected and republished, I shall not wholly recast the Initial
Chapters in which the Caxtons have been permitted to re-appear. They
assure me, themselves, that they feel a bashful apprehension lest they may
be accused of having thrust irrelevant noses into affairs which by no
means belong to them—an impertinence which, being a peculiarly shy race,
they have carefully shunned in the previous course of their innocent and
segregated existence. Indeed, there is some cause for that alarm, seeing
that not long since in a journal professing to be critical, this _My
Novel_; _or_, _Varieties in English Life_, was misnamed and insulted as “a
Continuation of _The Caxtons_,” with which biographical work it has no
more to do (save in the aforesaid introductions to previous Books in the
present diversified and compendious narrative) than I with Hecuba, or
Hecuba with me. Reserving the doubt herein suggested for maturer
deliberation, I proceed with my new Initial Chapter. And I shall stint the
matter therein contained to a brief comment upon PUBLIC LIFE.

Were you ever in public life, my dear reader? I don’t mean, by that
question, to ask whether you were ever Lord-Chancellor, Prime-Minister,
Leader of the Opposition, or even a member of the House of Commons. An
author hopes to find readers far beyond that very egregious but very
limited segment of the Great Circle. Were you ever a busy man in your
vestry, active in a municipal corporation, one of a committee for
furthering the interests of an enlightened candidate for your native
burgh, town, or shire?—in a word, did you ever resign your private
comforts as men in order to share the public troubles of mankind? If ever
you have so far departed from the Lucretian philosophy, just look back—was
it life at all that you lived?—were you an individual distinct existence—a
passenger in the railway?—or were you merely an indistinct portion of that
common flame which heated the boiler and generated the steam that set off
the monster train?—very hot, very active, very useful, no doubt; but all
your identity fused in flame, and all your forces vanishing in gas.

And you think the people in the railway carriages care for you?—do you
think that the gentleman in the worsted wrapper is saying to his neighbor
with the striped rug on his comfortable knees, “How grateful we ought to
be for that fiery particle which is crackling and hissing under the
boiler! It helps us on a fraction of an inch from Vauxhall to Putney?” Not
a bit of it. Ten to one but he is saying—“Not sixteen miles an hour! What
the deuce is the matter with the stoker?”

Look at our friend Audley Egerton. You have just had a glimpse of the real
being that struggles under the huge copper; you have heard the hollow
sound of the rich man’s coffers under the tap of Baron Levy’s friendly
knuckle—heard the strong man’s heart give out its dull warning sound to
the scientific ear of Dr. F——. And away once more vanishes the separate
existence, lost again in the flame that heats the boiler, and the smoke
that curls into air from the grimy furnace.

Look to it, O Public Man, whoever thou art, and whatsoever thy degree—see
if thou canst not compound matters, so as to keep a little nook apart for
thy private life; that is, for _thyself_! Let the great Popkins Question
not absorb wholly the individual soul of thee, as Smith or Johnson. Don’t
so entirely consume thyself under that insatiable boiler, that when thy
poor little monad rushes out from the sooty furnace, and arrives at the
stars, thou mayest find no vocation for thee there, and feel as if thou
hadst nothing to do amidst the still splendors of the Infinite. I don’t
deny to thee the uses of “Public Life;” I grant that it is much to have
helped to carry that great Popkins Question; but Private Life, my friend,
is the life of thy private soul; and there may be matters concerned with
that which, on consideration, thou mayest allow, can not be wholly mixed
up with the great Popkins Question—and were not finally settled when thou
didst exclaim—“I have not lived in vain—the Popkins Question is carried at
last!” O immortal soul, for one quarter of an hour _per diem_—de-Popkinize
thine immortality!



Chapter II.


It had not been without much persuasion on the part of Jackeymo, that
Riccabocca had consented to settle himself in the house which Randal had
recommended to him. Not that the exile conceived any suspicion of the
young man beyond that which he might have shared with Jackeymo, viz., that
Randal’s interest in the father was increased by a very natural and
excusable admiration of the daughter. But the Italian had the pride common
to misfortune—he did not like to be indebted to others, and he shrank from
the pity of those to whom it was known that he had held a higher station
in his own land. These scruples gave way to the strength of his affection
for his daughter and his dread of his foe. Good men, however able and
brave, who have suffered from the wicked, are apt to form exaggerated
notions of the power that has prevailed against them. Jackeymo had
conceived a superstitious terror of Peschiera, and Riccabocca, though by
no means addicted to superstition, still had a certain creep of the flesh
whenever he thought of his foe.

But Riccabocca—than whom no man was more physically brave, and no man, in
some respects, more morally timid—feared the Count less as a foe than as a
gallant. He remembered his kinsman’s surpassing beauty—the power he had
obtained over women. He knew him versed in every art that corrupts, and
void of all the conscience that deters. And Riccabocca had unhappily
nursed himself into so poor an estimate of the female character, that even
the pure and lofty nature of Violante did not seem to him a sufficient
safeguard against the craft and determination of a practiced and
remorseless intriguer. But of all the precautions he could take, none
appeared more likely to conduce to safety, than his establishing a
friendly communication with one who professed to be able to get at all the
Count’s plans and movements, and who could apprise Riccabocca at once
should his retreat be discovered. “Forewarned is forearmed,” said he to
himself, in one of the proverbs common to all nations. However, as with
his usual sagacity he came to reflect upon the alarming intelligence
conveyed to him by Randal, viz., that the Count sought his daughter’s
hand, he divined that there was some strong personal interest under such
ambition; and what could be that interest save the probability of
Riccabocca’s ultimate admission to the Imperial grace, and the Count’s
desire to assure himself of the heritage to an estate that he might be
permitted to retain no more? Riccabocca was not indeed aware of the
condition (not according to usual customs in Austria) on which the Count
held the forfeited domains. He knew not that they had been granted merely
on pleasure; but he was too well aware of Peschiera’s nature to suppose
that he would woo a bride without a dower, or be moved by remorse in any
overture of reconciliation. He felt assured, too—and this increased all
his fears—that Peschiera would never venture to seek an interview himself;
all the Count’s designs on Violante would be dark, secret, and
clandestine. He was perplexed and tormented by the doubt, whether or not
to express openly to Violante his apprehensions of the nature of the
danger to be apprehended. He had told her vaguely that it was for her sake
that he desired secrecy and concealment. But that might mean any thing;
what danger to himself would not menace her? Yet to say more was so
contrary to a man of his Italian notions and Machiavellian maxims! To say
to a young girl, “There is a man come over to England on purpose to woo
and win you. For Heaven’s sake take care of him; he is diabolically
handsome; he never fails where he sets his heart,”—“Cospetto!” cried the
doctor, aloud, as these admonitions shaped themselves to speech in the
camera-obscura of his brain; “such a warning would have undone a Cornelia
while she was yet an innocent spinster.” No, he resolved to say nothing to
Violante of the Count’s intention, only to keep guard, and make himself
and Jackeymo all eyes and all ears.

The house Randal had selected pleased Riccabocca at first glance. It stood
alone, upon a little eminence; its upper windows commanded the high road.
It had been a school, and was surrounded by high walls, which contained a
garden and lawn sufficiently large for exercise. The garden doors were
thick, fortified by strong bolts, and had a little wicket lattice, shut
and opened at pleasure, from which Jackeymo could inspect all visitors
before he permitted them to enter.

An old female servant from the neighborhood was cautiously hired;
Riccabocca renounced his Italian name, and abjured his origin. He spoke
English sufficiently well to think he could pass as an Englishman. He
called himself Mr. Richmouth (a liberal translation of Riccabocca). He
bought a blunderbuss, two pair of pistols, and a huge house-dog. Thus
provided for, he allowed Jackeymo to write a line to Randal and
communicate his arrival.

Randal lost no time in calling. With his usual adaptability and his powers
of dissimulation he contrived easily to please Mrs. Riccabocca, and to
increase the good opinion the exile was disposed to form of him. He
engaged Violante in conversation on Italy and its poets. He promised to
buy her books. He began, though more distantly than he could have
desired—for her sweet stateliness awed him in spite of himself—the
preliminaries of courtship. He established himself at once as a familiar
guest, riding down daily in the dusk of evening, after the toils of
office, and retiring at night. In four or five days he thought he had made
great progress with all. Riccabocca watched him narrowly, and grew
absorbed in thought after every visit. At length one night, when he and
Mrs. Riccabocca were alone in the drawing-room, Violante having retired to
rest, he thus spoke as he filled his pipe:

“Happy is the man who has no children! Thrice happy he who has no girls!”

“My dear Alphonso!” said the wife, looking up from the wristband to which
she was attaching a neat mother-o’-pearl button. She said no more; it was
the sharpest rebuke she was in the custom of administering to her
husband’s cynical and odious observations. Riccabocca lighted his pipe
with a thread paper, gave three great puffs, and resumed.

“One blunderbuss, four pistols, and a house-dog called Pompey, who would
have made mincemeat of Julius Cæsar!”

“He certainly eats a great deal, does Pompey!” said Mrs. Riccabocca,
simply. “But if he relieves your mind!”

“He does not relieve it in the least, ma’am,” groaned Riccabocca: “and
that is the point I was coming to. This is a most harassing life, and a
most undignified life. And I who have only asked from Heaven dignity and
repose! But, if Violante were once married, I should want neither
blunderbuss, pistol, nor Pompey. And it is that which would relieve my
mind, _cara mia_;—Pompey only relieves my larder!”

Now Riccabocca had been more communicative to Jemima than he had been to
Violante. Having once trusted her with one secret, he had every motive to
trust her with another; and he had accordingly spoken out his fears of the
Count di Peschiera. Therefore she answered, laying down the work, and
taking her husband’s hand tenderly:

“Indeed, my love, since you dread so much (though I own that I must think
unreasonably) this wicked, dangerous man, it would be the happiest thing
in the world to see dear Violante well married; because, you see, if she
is married to one person, she can not be married to another; and all fear
of this Count, as you say, would be at an end.”

“You can not express yourself better. It is a great comfort to unbosom
one’s self to a wife, after all!” quoth Riccabocca.

“But,” said the wife, after a grateful kiss: “but where and how can we
find a husband suitable to the rank of your daughter?”

“There—there—there,” cried Riccabocca, pushing back his chair to the
farther end of the room: “that comes of unbosoming one’s self! Out flies
one’s secret; it is opening the lid of Pandora’s box; one is betrayed,
ruined, undone!”

“Why? there’s not a soul that can hear us!” said Mrs. Riccabocca,
soothingly.

“That’s chance, ma’am! If you once contract the habit of blabbing out a
secret when nobody’s by, how on earth can you resist it when you have the
pleasurable excitement of telling it to all the world? Vanity,
vanity—woman’s vanity! Woman never could withstand rank—never!” The Doctor
went on railing for a quarter of an hour, and was very reluctantly
appeased by Mrs. Riccabocca’s repeated and tearful assurances that she
would never even whisper to herself that her husband had ever held any
other rank than that of Doctor. Riccabocca, with a dubious shake of the
head, renewed:

“I have done with all pomp and pretension. Besides, the young man is a
born gentleman; he seems in good circumstances; he has energy and latent
ambition; he is akin to L’Estrange’s intimate friend; he seems attached to
Violante. I don’t think it probable that we could do better. Nay, if
Peschiera fears that I shall be restored to my country, and I learn the
wherefore, and the ground to take, through this young man—why, gratitude
is the first virtue of the noble!”

“You speak, then, of Mr. Leslie?”

“To be sure—of whom else?”

Mrs. Riccabocca leaned her cheek on her hand, thoughtfully: “Now, you have
told me _that_, I will observe him with different eyes.”

“_Anima mia!_ I don’t see how the difference of your eyes will alter the
object they look upon!” grumbled Riccabocca, shaking the ashes out of his
pipe.

“The object alters when we see it in a different point of view!” replied
Jemima, modestly. “This thread does very well when I look at it in order
to sew a button on, but I should say it would never do to tie up Pompey in
his kennel.”

“Reasoning by illustration, upon my soul!” ejaculated Riccabocca, amazed.

“And,” continued Jemima, “when I am to regard one who is to constitute the
happiness of that dear child, and for life, can I regard him as I would
the pleasantest guest of an evening? Ah, trust me, Alphonso—I don’t
pretend to be wise like you—but, when a woman considers what a man is
likely to prove to woman—his sincerity—his honor—his heart—oh, trust me,
she is wiser than the wisest man!”

Riccabocca continued to gaze on Jemima with unaffected admiration and
surprise. And, certainly, to use his phrase, since he had unbosomed
himself to his better half—since he had confided in her, consulted with
her, her sense had seemed to quicken—her whole mind to expand.

“My dear,” said the sage. “I vow and declare that Machiavelli was a fool
to you. And I have been as dull as the chair I sit upon, to deny myself so
many years the comfort and counsel of such a—but, _corpo di Baccho_!
forget all about rank; and so now to bed.”

“One must not holloa till one’s out of the wood,” muttered the ungrateful,
suspicious villain, as he lighted the chamber candle.



Chapter III.


Riccabocca could not confine himself to the precincts within the walls to
which he condemned Violante. Resuming his spectacles, and wrapped in his
cloak, he occasionally sallied forth upon a kind of outwatch or
reconnoitring expedition—restricting himself, however, to the immediate
neighborhood, and never going quite out of sight of his house. His
favorite walk was to the summit of a hillock overgrown with stunted
brushwood. Here he would seat himself musingly, often till the hoofs of
Randal’s horse rang on the winding road, as the sun set, over fading
herbage, red and vaporous, in autumnal skies. Just below the hillock, and
not two hundred yards from his own house, was the only other habitation in
view—a charming, thoroughly English cottage, though somewhat imitated from
the Swiss—with gable ends, thatched roof, and pretty projecting casements,
opening through creepers and climbing roses. From his height he commanded
the gardens of this cottage, and his eye of artist was pleased, from the
first sight, with the beauty which some exquisite taste had given to the
ground. Even in that cheerless season of the year, the garden wore a
summer smile; the evergreens were so bright and various, and the few
flowers still left, so hardy and so healthful. Facing the south, a
colonnade, or covered gallery, of rustic woodwork had been formed, and
creeping plants, lately set, were already beginning to clothe its columns.
Opposite to this colonnade there was a fountain which reminded Riccabocca
of his own at the deserted Casino. It was, indeed, singularly like it: the
same circular shape, the same girdle of flowers around it. But the jet
from it varied every day—fantastic and multiform, like the sports of a
Naïad—sometimes shooting up like a tree, sometimes shaped as a
convolvulus, sometimes tossing from its silver spray a flower of
vermilion, or a fruit of gold—as if at play with its toy like a happy
child. And near the fountain was a large aviary, large enough to inclose a
tree. The Italian could just catch a gleam of rich color from the wings of
the birds, as they glanced to and fro within the net-work, and could hear
their songs, contrasting the silence of the free populace of air, whom the
coming winter had already stilled.

Riccabocca’s eye, so alive to all aspects of beauty, luxuriated in the
view of this garden. Its pleasantness had a charm that stole him from his
anxious fear and melancholy memories.

He never saw but two forms within the demesnes, and he could not
distinguish their features. One was a woman, who seemed to him of staid
manner and homely appearance; she was seen but rarely. The other a man,
often pacing to and fro the colonnade, with frequent pauses before the
playful fountain, or the birds that sang louder as he approached. This
latter form would then disappear within a room, the glass door of which
was at the extreme end of the colonnade, and if the door were left open,
Riccabocca could catch a glimpse of the figure bending over a table
covered with books.

Always, however, before the sun set, the man would step forth more
briskly, and occupy himself with the garden, often working at it with good
heart, as if at a task of delight; and, then, too, the woman would come
out, and stand by, as if talking to her companion. Riccabocca’s curiosity
grew aroused. He bade Jemima inquire of the old maid-servant who lived at
the cottage, and heard that its owner was a Mr. Oran—a quiet gentleman,
and fond of his book.

While Riccabocca thus amused himself, Randal had not been prevented,
either by his official cares or his schemes on Violante’s heart and
fortune, from furthering the project that was to unite Frank Hazeldean and
Beatrice di Negra. Indeed, as to the first, a ray of hope was sufficient
to fire the ardent and unsuspecting lover. And Randal’s artful
representation of Mrs. Hazeldean’s conversation with him, removed all fear
of parental displeasure from a mind always too disposed to give itself up
to the temptation of the moment. Beatrice, though her feelings for Frank
were not those of love, became more and more influenced by Randal’s
arguments and representations, the more especially as her brother grew
morose, and even menacing, as days slipt on, and she could give no clew to
the retreat of those whom he sought for. Her debts, too, were really
urgent. As Randal’s profound knowledge of human infirmity had shrewdly
conjectured, the scruples of honor and pride, that had made her declare
she would not bring to a husband her own incumbrances, began to yield to
the pressure of necessity. She listened already, with but faint
objections, when Randal urged her not to wait for the uncertain discovery
that was to secure her dowry, but by a private marriage with Frank escape
at once into freedom and security. While, though he had first held out to
young Hazeldean the inducement of Beatrice’s dowry as reason of
self-justification in the eyes of the Squire, it was still easier to drop
that inducement, which had always rather damped than fired the high spirit
and generous heart of the poor Guardsman. And Randal could conscientiously
say, that when he had asked the Squire if he expected fortune with Frank’s
bride, the Squire had replied, “I don’t care.” Thus encouraged by his
friend and his own heart, and the softening manner of a woman who might
have charmed many a colder, and fooled many a wiser man, Frank rapidly
yielded to the snares held out for his perdition. And though as yet he
honestly shrank from proposing to Beatrice or himself a marriage without
the consent, and even the knowledge of his parents, yet Randal was quite
content to leave a nature, however good, so thoroughly impulsive and
undisciplined, to the influences of the first strong passion it had ever
known. Meanwhile, it was so easy to dissuade Frank from even giving a hint
to the folks at home. “For,” said the wily and able traitor, “though we
may be sure of Mrs. Hazeldean’s consent, and her power over your father,
when the step is once taken, yet we can not count for certain on the
Squire—he is so choleric and hasty. He might hurry to town—see Madame di
Negra, blurt out some compassionate, rude expressions which would wake her
resentment, and cause her instant rejection. And it might be too late if
he repented afterward—as he would be sure to do.”

Meanwhile Randal Leslie gave a dinner at the Clarendon Hotel (an
extravagance most contrary to his habits), and invited Frank, Mr.
Borrowwell, and Baron Levy.

But this house-spider, which glided with so much ease after its flies,
through webs so numerous and mazy, had yet to amuse Madame di Negra with
assurances that the fugitives sought for would sooner or later be
discovered. Though Randal baffled and eluded her suspicion that he was
already acquainted with the exiles (“the persons he had thought of were,”
he said, “quite different from her description;” and he even presented to
her an old singing-master, and a sallow-faced daughter, as the Italians
who had caused his mistake), it was necessary for Beatrice to prove the
sincerity of the aid she had promised to her brother, and to introduce
Randal to the Count. It was no less desirable to Randal to know, and even
win the confidence of this man—his rival.

The two met at Madame di Negra’s house. There is something very strange,
and almost mesmerical, in the _rapport_ between two evil natures. Bring
two honest men together, and it is ten to one if they recognize each other
as honest; differences in temper, manner, even politics, may make each
misjudge the other. But bring together two men, unprincipled and
perverted—men who, if born in a cellar, would have been food for the hulks
or gallows—and they recognize each other by instant sympathy. The eyes of
Franzini, Count of Peschiera, and Randal Leslie no sooner met, than a
gleam of intelligence shot from both. They talked on indifferent
subjects—weather, gossip, politics—what not. They bowed and they smiled;
but, all the while, each was watching, plumbing the other’s heart; each
measuring his strength with his companion; each inly saying, “This is a
very remarkable rascal; am I a match for him?” It was at dinner they met;
and, following the English fashion, Madame di Negra left them alone with
their wine.

Then, for the first time, Count di Peschiera cautiously and adroitly made
a covered push toward the object of the meeting.

“You have never been abroad, my dear sir? You must contrive to visit me at
Vienna. I grant the splendor of your London world; but, honestly speaking,
it wants the freedom of ours—a freedom which unites gayety with polish.
For as your society is mixed, there are pretension and effort with those
who have no right to be in it, and artificial condescension and chilling
arrogance with those who have to keep their inferiors at a certain
distance. With us, all being of fixed rank and acknowledged birth,
familiarity is at once established. Hence,” added the Count, with his
French lively smile—“hence, there is no place like Vienna for a young
man—no place like Vienna for _bonnes fortunes_.”

“Those make the paradise of the idle,” replied Randal, “but the purgatory
of the busy. I confess frankly to you, my dear Count, that I have as
little of the leisure which becomes the aspirer to _bonnes fortunes_ as I
have the personal graces which obtain them without an effort;” and he
inclined his head as in compliment.

“So,” thought the Count, “woman is not his weak side. What is?”

“_Morbleu!_ my dear Mr. Leslie—had I thought as you do some years since, I
had saved myself from many a trouble. After all, Ambition is the best
mistress to woo; for with her there is always the hope, and never the
possession.”

“Ambition, Count,” replied Randal, still guarding himself in dry
sententiousness, “is the luxury of the rich, and the necessity of the
poor.”

“Aha,” thought the Count, “it comes, as I anticipated from the first—comes
to the bribe.” He passed the wine to Randal, filling his own glass, and
draining it carelessly: “_Sur mon âme, mon cher_,” said the Count, “luxury
is ever pleasanter than necessity; and I am resolved at least to give
ambition a trial—_je vais me réfugier dans le sein du bonheur
domestique_—a married life and a settled home. _Peste!_ If it were not for
ambition, one would die of ennui. Apropos, my dear sir, I have to thank
you for promising my sister your aid in finding a near and dear kinsman of
mine, who has taken refuge in your country, and hides himself even from
me.”

“I should be most happy to assist in your search. As yet, however, I have
only to regret that all my good wishes are fruitless. I should have
thought, however, that a man of such rank had been easily found, even
through the medium of your own embassador.”

“Our own embassador is no very warm friend of mine; and the rank would be
no clew, for it is clear that my kinsman has never assumed it since he
quitted his country.”

“He quitted it, I understand, not exactly from choice,” said Randal,
smiling. “Pardon my freedom and curiosity, but will you explain to me a
little more than I learn from English rumor (which never accurately
reports upon foreign matters still more notorious), how a person who had
so much to lose, and so little to win, by revolution, could put himself
into the same crazy boat with a crew of hare-brained adventurers and
visionary professors.”

“Professors!” repeated the Count; “I think you have hit on the very answer
to your question; not but what men of high birth were as mad as the
_canaille_. I am the more willing to gratify your curiosity, since it will
perhaps serve to guide your kind search in my favor. You must know, then,
that my kinsman was not born the heir to the rank he obtained. He was but
a distant relation to the head of the house which he afterward
represented. Brought up in an Italian university, he was distinguished for
his learning and his eccentricities. There, too, I suppose, brooding over
old wives’ tales about freedom, and so forth, he contracted his
_carbonaro_, chimerical notions for the independence of Italy. Suddenly,
by three deaths, he was elevated, while yet young, to a station and honors
which might have satisfied any man in his senses. _Que diable!_ what could
the independence of Italy do for _him_! He and I were cousins; we had
played together as boys; but our lives had been separated till his
succession to rank brought us necessarily together. We became exceedingly
intimate. And you may judge how I loved him,” said the Count, averting his
eyes slightly from Randal’s quiet, watchful gaze, “when I add, that I
forgave him for enjoying a heritage that, but for him, had been mine.”

“Ah, you were next heir?”

“And it is a hard trial to be very near a great fortune, and yet just to
miss it.”

“True,” cried Randal, almost impetuously. The Count now raised his eyes,
and again the two men looked into each other’s souls.

“Harder still, perhaps,” resumed the Count, after a short pause—“harder
still might it have been to some men to forgive the rival as well as the
heir.”

“Rival! How?”

“A lady, who had been destined by her parents to myself, though we had
never, I own, been formally betrothed, became the wife of my kinsman.”

“Did he know of your pretensions?”

“I do him the justice to say he did not. He saw and fell in love with the
young lady I speak of. Her parents were dazzled. Her father sent for me.
He apologized—he explained; he set before me, mildly enough, certain
youthful imprudences or errors of my own, as an excuse for his change of
mind; and he asked me not only to resign all hope of his daughter, but to
conceal from her new suitor that I had ever ventured to hope.”

“And you consented?”

“I consented.”

“That was generous. You must indeed have been much attached to your
kinsman. As a lover I can not comprehend it; perhaps, my dear Count, you
may enable me to understand it better—as a man of the world.”

“Well,” said the Count, with his most _roué_ air, “I suppose we _are_ both
men of the world?”

“_Both!_ certainly,” replied Randal, just in the tone which Peachum might
have used in courting the confidence of Lockit.

“As a man of the world, then, I own,” said the Count, playing with the
rings on his fingers, “that if I could not marry the lady myself (and that
seemed to me clear), it was very natural that I should wish to see her
married to my wealthy kinsman.”

“Very natural; it might bring your wealthy kinsman and yourself still
closer together.”

“This is really a very clever fellow!” thought the Count, but he made no
direct reply.

“_Enfin_, to cut short a long story, my cousin afterward got entangled in
attempts, the failure of which is historically known. His projects were
detected—himself denounced. He fled, and the Emperor, in sequestrating his
estates, was pleased, with rare and singular clemency, to permit me, as
his nearest kinsman, to enjoy the revenues of half those estates during
the royal pleasure; nor was the other half formally confiscated. It was no
doubt his Majesty’s desire not to extinguish a great Italian name; and if
my cousin and his child died in exile, why, of that name, I, a loyal
subject of Austria—I, Franzini, Count di Peschiera, would become the
representative. Such, in a similar case, has been sometimes the Russian
policy toward Polish insurgents.”

“I comprehend perfectly; and I can also conceive that you, in profiting so
largely, though so justly, by the fall of your kinsman, may have been
exposed to much unpopularity—even to painful suspicion.”

“_Entre nous, mon cher_, I care not a stiver for popularity; and as to
suspicion, who is he that can escape from the calumny of the envious? But,
unquestionably, it would be most desirable to unite the divided members of
our house; and this union I can now effect, by the consent of the Emperor
to my marriage with my kinsman’s daughter. You see, therefore, why I have
so great an interest in this research?”

“By the marriage articles you could no doubt secure the retention of the
half you hold; and if you survive your kinsman, you would enjoy the whole.
A most desirable marriage; and, if made, I suppose that would suffice to
obtain your cousin’s amnesty and grace?”

“You say it.”

“But even without such marriage, since the Emperor’s clemency has been
extended to so many of the proscribed, it is perhaps probable that your
cousin might be restored?”

“It once seemed to me possible,” said the Count, reluctantly, “but since I
have been in England, I think not. The recent revolution in France, the
democratic spirit rising in Europe, tend to throw back the cause of a
proscribed rebel. England swarms with revolutionists; my cousin’s
residence in this country is in itself suspicious. The suspicion is
increased by his strange seclusion. There are many Italians here who would
aver that they had met with him, and that he was still engaged in
revolutionary projects.”

“Aver—untruly.”

“_Ma foi_—it comes to the same thing; _les absents ont toujours tort_. I
speak to a man of the world. No; without some such guarantee for his
faith, as his daughter’s marriage with myself would give, his recall is
improbable. By the heaven above us, it shall be _impossible_!” The Count
rose as he said this—rose as if the mask of simulation had fairly fallen
from the visage of crime—rose tall and towering, a very image of masculine
power and strength, beside the slight bended form and sickly face of the
intellectual schemer. Randal was startled; but, rising also, he said,
carelessly,

“What if this guarantee can no longer be given? what if, in despair of
return, and in resignation to his altered fortunes, your cousin has
already married his daughter to some English suitor?”

“Ah, that would indeed be, next to my own marriage with her, the most
fortunate thing that could happen to myself.”

“How? I don’t understand!”

“Why, if my cousin has so abjured his birthright, and forsworn his rank—if
this heritage, which is so dangerous from its grandeur, pass, in case of
his pardon, to some obscure Englishman—a foreigner—a native of a country
that has no ties with ours—a country that is the very refuge of levelers
and Carbonari—_mort de ma vie_—do you think that such would not annihilate
all chance of my cousin’s restoration, and be an excuse even to the eyes
of Italy for formally conferring the sequestrated estates on an Italian?
No; unless, indeed, the girl were to marry an Englishman of such name and
birth and connection as would in themselves be a guarantee (and how in
poverty is this likely?), I should go back to Vienna with a light heart,
if I could say, ‘My kinswoman is an Englishman’s wife—shall her children
be the heirs to a house so renowned for its lineage, and so formidable for
its wealth?’ _Parbleu!_ if my cousin were but an adventurer, or merely a
professor, he had been pardoned long ago. The great enjoy the honor not to
be pardoned easily.”

Randal fell into deep but brief thought. The Count observed him, not face
to face, but by the reflection of an opposite mirror. “This man knows
something; this man is deliberating; this man can help me,” thought the
Count.

But Randal said nothing to confirm these hypotheses. Recovering from his
abstraction, he expressed courteously his satisfaction at the Count’s
prospects either way. “And since, after all,” he added, “you mean so well
to your cousin, it occurs to me that you might discover him by a very
simple English process.”

“How?”

“Advertise that if he will come to some place appointed, he will hear of
something to his advantage.”

The Count shook his head. “He would suspect me, and not come.”

“But he was intimate with you. He joined an insurrection; you were more
prudent. You did not injure him, though you may have benefited yourself.
Why should he shun you?”

“The conspirators forgive none who do not conspire; besides, to speak
frankly, he thought I injured him.”

“Could you not conciliate him through his wife—whom—you resigned to him.”

“She is dead—died before he left the country.”

“Oh, that is unlucky! Still, I think an advertisement might do good. Allow
me to reflect on that subject. Shall we now join Madame la Marquise?”

On re-entering the drawing-room, the gentlemen found Beatrice in full
dress, seated by the fire, and reading so intently that she did not remark
them enter.

“What so interests you, _ma sœur_?—the last novel by Balzac, no doubt?”

Beatrice started, and, looking up, showed eyes that were full of tears.
“Oh, no! no picture of miserable, vicious Parisian life. This is
beautiful; there is _soul_ here.”

Randal took up the book which the Marchesa laid down; it was the same that
had charmed the circle at Hazeldean—charmed the innocent and
fresh-hearted—charmed now the wearied and tempted votaress of the world.

“Hum,” murmured Randal; “the Parson was right. This is power—a sort of a
power.”

“How I should like to know the author! Who can he be—can you guess?”

“Not I. Some old pedant in spectacles.”

“I think not—I am sure not. Here beats a heart I have ever tried to find,
and never found.”

“Oh, _la naïve enfant_!” cried the Count; “_comme son imagination s’égare
en rêves enchantés_. And to think that, while you talk like an Arcadian,
you are dressed like a princess.”

“Ah, I forgot—the Austrian embassador’s. I shall not go to-night. This
book unfits me for the artificial world.”

“Just as you will, my sister. I shall go. I dislike the man, and he me;
but ceremonies before men!”

“You are going to the Austrian Embassy?” said Randal. “I too shall be
there. We shall meet.” And he took his leave.

“I like your young friend prodigiously,” said the Count, yawning. “I am
sure that he knows of the lost birds, and will stand to them like a
pointer, if I can but make it his interest to do so. We shall see.”



Chapter IV.


Randal arrived at the embassador’s before the Count, and contrived to mix
with the young noblemen attached to the embassy, and to whom he was known.
Standing among these was a young Austrian, on his travels, of very high
birth, and with an air of noble grace that suited the ideal of the old
German chivalry. Randal was presented to him, and after some talk on
general topics, observed. “By the way, Prince, there is now in London a
countryman of yours, with whom you are doubtless familiarly acquainted—the
Count di Peschiera.”

“He is no countryman of mine. He is an Italian. I know him but by sight
and by name,” said the Prince, stiffly.

“He is of very ancient birth, I believe.”

“Unquestionably. His ancestors were gentlemen.”

“And very rich.”

“Indeed! I have understood the contrary. He enjoys, it is true, a large
revenue.”

A young _attaché_, less discreet than the Prince, here observed, “Oh,
Peschiera!—Poor fellow, he is too fond of play to be rich.”

“And there is some chance that the kinsman whose revenue he holds may
obtain his pardon, and re-enter into possession of his fortunes—so I hear,
at least,” said Randal artfully.

“I shall be glad if it be true,” said the Prince, with decision; “and I
speak the common sentiment at Vienna. That kinsman had a noble spirit, and
was, I believe, equally duped and betrayed. Pardon me, sir; but we
Austrians are not so bad as we are painted. Have you ever met in England
the kinsman you speak of?”

“Never, though he is supposed to reside here; and the Count tells me that
he has a daughter.”

“The Count—ha! I heard something of a scheme—a wager of that—that
Count’s—a daughter. Poor girl! I hope she will escape his pursuit; for, no
doubt, he pursues her.”

“Possibly she may already have married an Englishman.”

“I trust not,” said the Prince, seriously; “that might at present be a
serious obstacle to her father’s return.”

“You think so?”

“There can be no doubt of it,” interposed the _attaché_, with a grand and
positive air; “unless, indeed, the Englishman were of a rank equal to her
own.”

Here there was a slight, well-bred murmur and buzz at the doors; for the
Count di Peschiera himself was announced; and as he entered, his presence
was so striking, and his beauty so dazzling, that whatever there might be
to the prejudice of his character, it seemed instantly effaced or
forgotten in that irresistible admiration which it is the prerogative of
personal attributes alone to create.

The Prince, with a slight curve of his lip at the groups that collected
round the Count, turned to Randal and said, “Can you tell me if a
distinguished countryman of yours is in England—Lord L’Estrange?”

“No, Prince—he is not. You know him?”

“Well.”

“He is acquainted with the Count’s kinsman; and perhaps from him you have
learned to think so highly of that kinsman?”

The Prince bowed, and answered as he moved away. “When a man of high honor
vouches for another he commands the belief of all.”

“Certainly,” soliloquized Randal, “I must not be precipitate. I was very
nearly falling into a terrible trap. If I were to marry the girl, and
only, by so doing, settle away her inheritance on Peschiera!—How hard it
is to be sufficiently cautious in this world!”

While thus meditating, a member of Parliament tapped him on the shoulder.

“Melancholy, Leslie! I lay a wager I guess your thoughts.”

“Guess,” answered Randal.

“You were thinking of the place you are so soon to lose.”

“Soon to lose!”

“Why, if ministers go out, you could hardly keep it, I suppose.”

This ominous and horrid member of Parliament, Squire Hazeldean’s favorite
county member, Sir John, was one of these legislators especially odious to
officials—an independent ’large-acred’ member, who would no more take
office himself than he would cut down the oaks in his park, and who had no
bowels of human feeling for those who had opposite tastes and less
magnificent means.

“Hem!” said Randal, rather surlily. “In the first place, Sir John,
ministers are not going out.”

“Oh, yes, they will go. You know I vote with them generally, and would
willingly keep them in; but they are men of honor and spirit; and if they
can’t carry their measures, they must resign; otherwise, by Jove, I would
turn round and vote them out myself!”

“I have no doubt you would, Sir John; you are quite capable of it; that
rests with you and your constituents. But even if ministers did go out, I
am but a poor subaltern in a public office. I am no minister—why should I
go out, too?”

“Why? Hang it, Leslie, you are laughing at me. A young fellow like you
could never be mean enough to stay in, under the very men who drove out
your friend Egerton!”

“It is not usual for those in the public offices to retire with every
change of Government.”

“Certainly not; but always those who are the relations of a retiring
minister—always those who have been regarded as politicians, and who mean
to enter Parliament, as of course you will do at the next election. But
you know that as well as I do—you who are so decided a politician—the
writer of that admirable pamphlet! I should not like to tell my friend
Hazeldean, who has a sincere interest in you, that you ever doubted on a
question of honor as plain as your A, B, C.”

“Indeed, Sir John,” said Randal, recovering his suavity, while he inly
breathed a dire anathema on his county member, “I am so new to these
things, that what you say never struck me before. No doubt you must be
right; at all events, I can not have a better guide and adviser than Mr.
Egerton himself.”

“No, certainly—perfect gentleman, Egerton! I wish we could make it up with
him and Hazeldean.”

RANDAL (sighing).—“Ah, I wish we could!”

SIR JOHN.—“And some chance of it now; for the time is coming when all true
men of the old school must stick together.”

RANDAL.—“Wisely, admirably said, my dear Sir John. But pardon me, I must
pay my respects to the embassador.”

Randal escaped, and, passing on, saw the embassador himself in the next
room, conferring in a corner with Audley Egerton. The embassador seemed
very grave—Egerton calm and impenetrable, as usual. Presently the Count
passed by, and the embassador bowed to him very stiffly.

As Randal, some time later, was searching for his cloak below, Audley
Egerton unexpectedly joined him.

“Ah, Leslie,” said the minister with more kindness than usual, “if you
don’t think the night air too cold for you, let us walk home together. I
have sent away the carriage.”

This condescension in his patron was so singular that it quite startled
Randal, and gave him a presentiment of some evil. When they were in the
street, Egerton, after a pause, began—

“My dear Mr. Leslie, it was my hope and belief that I had provided for you
at least a competence; and that I might open to you, later, a career yet
more brilliant. Hush! I don’t doubt your gratitude; let me proceed. There
is a possible chance, after certain decisions that the Government have
come to, that we may be beaten in the House of Commons, and of course
resign. I tell you this beforehand, for I wish you to have time to
consider what, in that case, would be your best course. My power of
serving you may then probably be over. It would, no doubt (seeing our
close connection, and my views with regard to your future being so well
known)—no doubt, be expected that you should give up the place you hold,
and follow my fortunes for good or ill. But as I have no personal enemies
with the opposite party—and as I have sufficient position in the world to
uphold and sanction your choice, whatever it may be, if you think it more
prudent to retain your place, tell me so openly, and I think I can
contrive that you may do it without loss of character and credit. In that
case, confine your ambition merely to rising gradually in your office,
without mixing in politics. If, on the other hand, you should prefer to
take your chance of my return to office, and so resign your own; and,
furthermore, should commit yourself to a policy that may then be not only
in opposition, but unpopular, I will do my best to introduce you into
parliamentary life. I can not say that I advise the latter.”

Randal felt as a man feels after a severe fall—he was literally stunned.
At length he faltered out,

“Can you think, sir, that I should ever desert your fortunes—your
party—your cause?”

“My dear Leslie,” replied the minister, “you are too young to have
committed yourself to any men or to any party, except, indeed, in that
unlucky pamphlet. This must not be an affair of sentiment, but of sense
and reflection. Let us say no more on the point now; but, by considering
the _pros_ and the _cons_, you can better judge what to do, should the
time for option suddenly arrive.”

“But I hope that time may not come.”

“I hope so too, and most sincerely,” said the minister, with deliberate
and genuine emphasis.

“What could be so bad for the country?” ejaculated Randal. “It does not
seem to me possible, in the nature of things, that you and your party
should ever go out!”

“And when we are once out, there will be plenty of wiseacres to say it is
out of the nature of things that we should ever come in again. Here we are
at the door.”



Chapter V.


Randal passed a sleepless night; but, indeed, he was one of those persons
who neither need, nor are accustomed to much sleep. However, toward
morning, when dreams are said to be prophetic, he fell into a most
delightful slumber—a slumber peopled by visions fitted to lure on, through
labyrinths of law, predestined chancellors, or wreck upon the rocks of
glory the inebriate souls of youthful ensigns—dreams from which Rood Hall
emerged crowned with the towers of Belvoir or Raby, and looking over
subject lands and manors wrested from the nefarious usurpation of
Thornhills and Hazeldeans—dreams in which Audley Egerton’s gold and
power—rooms in Downing-street, and saloons in Grosvenor-square—had passed
away to the smiling dreamer, as the empire of Chaldæa passed to Darius the
Median. Why visions so belying the gloomy and anxious thoughts that
preceded them should visit the pillow of Randal Leslie, surpasses my
philosophy to conjecture. He yielded, however, passively to their spell,
and was startled to hear the clock strike eleven as he descended the
stairs to breakfast. He was vexed at the lateness of the hour, for he had
meant to have taken advantage of the unwonted softness of Egerton, and
drawn therefrom some promises or proffers to cheer the prospects which the
minister had so chillingly expanded before him the preceding night. And it
was only at breakfast that he usually found the opportunity of private
conference with his busy patron. But Audley Egerton would be sure to have
sallied forth—and so he had—only Randal was surprised to hear that he had
gone out in his carriage, instead of on foot, as was his habit. Randal
soon dispatched his solitary meal, and with a new and sudden affection for
his office, thitherward bent his way. As he passed through Piccadilly, he
heard behind a voice that had lately become familiar to him, and, turning
round, saw Baron Levy walking side-by-side, though not arm-in-arm, with a
gentleman almost as smart as himself, but with a jauntier step and a
brisker air—a step that, like Diomed’s, as described by Shakspeare—


    “Rises on the toe;—that spirit of his
    In aspiration lifts him from the earth.”


Indeed, one may judge of the spirits and disposition of a man by his
ordinary gait and mien in walking. He who habitually pursues abstract
thought, looks down on the ground. He who is accustomed to sudden
impulses, or is trying to seize upon some necessary recollection, looks up
with a kind of jerk. He who is a steady, cautious, merely practical man,
walks on deliberately, his eyes straight before him; and even in his most
musing moods, observes things around sufficiently to avoid a porter’s knot
or a butcher’s tray. But the man with strong ganglions—of pushing, lively
temperament, who, though practical, is yet speculative—the man who is
emulous and active, and ever trying to rise in life—sanguine, alert,
bold—walks with a spring—looks rather above the heads of his
fellow-passengers—but with a quick, easy turn of his own, which is lightly
set on his shoulders; his mouth is a little open—his eye is bright, rather
restless, but penetrative—his port has something of defiance—his form is
erect, but without stiffness. Such was the appearance of the Baron’s
companion. And as Randal turned round at Levy’s voice, the Baron said to
his companion, “A young man in the first circles—you should book him for
your fair lady’s parties. How d’ye do, Mr. Leslie? Let me introduce you to
Mr. Richard Avenel.” Then, as he hooked his arm into Randal’s, he
whispered, “Man of first-rate talent—monstrous rich—has two or three
parliamentary seats in his pocket—wife gives parties—her foible.”

“Proud to make your acquaintance, sir,” said Mr. Avenel, lifting his hat.
“Fine day.”

“Rather cold, too,” said Leslie, who, like all thin persons with weak
digestions, was chilly by temperament; besides, he had enough on his mind
to chill his body.

“So much the healthier—braces the nerves,” said Mr. Avenel; “but you young
fellows relax the system by hot rooms and late hours. Fond of dancing, of
course, sir?” Then, without waiting for Randal’s negative, Mr. Richard
continued, rapidly, “Mrs. Avenel has a _soirée dansante_ on Thursday—shall
be very happy to see you in Eaton-square. Stop, I have a card;” and he
drew out a dozen large invitation cards, from which he selected one, and
presented it to Randal. The Baron pressed that young gentleman’s arm, and
Randal replied courteously that it would give him great pleasure to be
introduced to Mrs. Avenel. Then, as he was not desirous to be seen under
the wing of Baron Levy, like a pigeon under that of a hawk, he gently
extricated himself, and, pleading great haste, walked quickly on toward
his office.

“That young man will make a figure some day,” said the Baron. “I don’t
know any one of his age with so few prejudices. He is a connection by
marriage to Audley Egerton, who—”

“Audley Egerton!” exclaimed Mr. Avenel; “d—d haughty, aristocratic,
disagreeable, ungrateful fellow!”

“Why, what do you know of him?”

“He owed his first seat in parliament to the votes of two near relations
of mine, and when I called upon him some time ago, in his office, he
absolutely ordered me out of the room. Hang his impertinence; if ever I
can pay him off, I guess I shan’t fail for want of good-will!”

“Ordered you out of the room? That’s not like Egerton, who is civil, if
formal—at least to most men. You must have offended him in his weak
point.”

“A man whom the public pays so handsomely should have no weak point. What
is Egerton’s?”

“Oh, he values himself on being a thorough gentleman—a man of the nicest
honor,” said Levy, with a sneer. “You must have ruffled his plumes there.
How was it?”

“I forget now,” answered Mr. Avenel, who was far too well versed in the
London scale of human dignities since his marriage, not to look back with
a blush at his desire of knighthood. “No use bothering our heads now about
the plumes of an arrogant popinjay. To return to the subject we were
discussing. You must be sure to let me have this money next week.”

“Rely on it.”

“And you’ll not let my bills get into the market: keep them under lock and
key.”

“So we agreed.”

“It is but a temporary difficulty—royal mourning, such nonsense—panic in
trade, lest these precious minsters go out. I shall soon float over the
troubled waters.”

“By the help of a paper boat” said the Baron, laughing: and the two
gentlemen shook hands and parted.



Chapter VI.


Meanwhile Audley Egerton’s carriage had deposited him at the door of Lord
Lansmere’s house, at Knightsbridge. He asked for the Countess, and was
shown into the drawing-room which was deserted. Egerton was paler than
usual; and as the door opened, he wiped the unwonted moisture from his
forehead, and there was a quiver in his firm lip. The Countess too, on
entering, showed an emotion almost equally unusual to her self-control.
She pressed Audley’s hand in silence, and seating herself by his side,
seemed to collect her thoughts. At length she said.

“It is rarely indeed that we meet, Mr. Egerton, in spite of your intimacy
with Lansmere and Harley. I go so little into your world, and you will not
voluntarily come to me.”

“Madam,” replied Egerton, “I might evade your kind reproach by stating
that my hours are not at my disposal; but I answer you with plain truth—it
must be painful to both of us to meet.”

The Countess colored and sighed, but did not dispute the assertion.

Audley resumed. “And therefore, I presume that, on sending for me, you
have something of moment to communicate.”

“It relates to Harley,” said the Countess, as if in apology; “and I would
take your advice.”

“To Harley! speak on, I beseech you.”

“My son has probably told you that he has educated and reared a young
girl, with the intention to make her Lady L’Estrange, and hereafter
Countess of Lansmere.”

“Harley has no secrets from me,” said Egerton, mournfully.

“This young lady has arrived in England—is here—in this house.”

“And Harley too?”

“No, she came over with Lady N—— and her daughters. Harley was to follow
shortly, and I expect him daily. Here is his letter. Observe, he has never
yet communicated his intentions to this young person, now intrusted to my
care—never spoken to her as the lover.”

Egerton took the letter and read it rapidly, though with attention.

“True,” said he, as he returned the letter: “and before he does so, he
wishes you to see Miss Digby and to judge of her yourself—wishes to know
if you will approve and sanction his choice.”

“It is on this that I would consult you—a girl without rank;—the father,
it is true, a gentleman, though almost equivocally one—but the mother, I
know not what. And Harley, for whom I hoped alliance with the first houses
in England!” The Countess pressed her hands convulsively together.

EGERTON.—“He is no more a boy. His talents have been wasted—his life a
wanderer’s. He presents to you a chance of re-settling his mind, of
re-arousing his native powers, of a home beside your own. Lady Lansmere,
you can not hesitate!”

LADY LANSMERE.—“I do, I do! After all that I have hoped, after all that I
did to prevent—”

EGERTON (interrupting her).—“You owe him now an atonement: that is in your
power—it is not in mine.”

The Countess again pressed Audley’s hand, and the tears gushed from her
eyes.

“It shall be so. I consent—I consent. I will silence, I will crush back
this proud heart. Alas! it well-nigh broke his own! I am glad you speak
thus. I like to think he owes my consent to you. In that there is
atonement for both—both.”

“You are too generous, madam,” said Egerton, evidently moved, though
still, as ever, striving to repress emotion. “And now may I see the young
lady? This conference pains me; you see even my strong nerves quiver; and
at this time I have much to go through—need of all my strength and
firmness.”

“I hear, indeed, that the government will probably retire. But it is with
honor: it will be soon called back by the voice of the nation.”

“Let me see the future wife of Harley L’Estrange,” said Egerton, without
heed of this consolatory exclamation.

The Countess rose and left the room. In a few minutes she returned with
Helen Digby.

Helen was wondrously improved from the pale, delicate child, with the soft
smile and intelligent eyes, who had sate by the side of Leonard in his
garret. She was about the middle height, still slight, but beautifully
formed; that exquisite roundness of proportion, which conveys so well the
idea of woman, in its undulating, pliant grace—formed to embellish life,
and soften away its rude angles—formed to embellish, not to protect. Her
face might not have satisfied the critical eye of an artist—it was not
without defects in regularity; but its expression was eminently gentle and
prepossessing; and there were few who would not have exclaimed, “What a
lovely countenance!” The mildness of her brow was touched with
melancholy—her childhood had left its traces on her youth. Her step was
slow, and her manner shy, subdued, and timid.

Audley gazed on her with earnestness as she approached him; and then
coming forward, took her hand and kissed it.

“I am your guardian’s constant friend,” said he; and he drew her gently to
a seat beside him, in the recess of a window. With a quick glance of his
eye toward the Countess, he seemed to imply the wish to converse with
Helen somewhat apart. So the Countess interpreted the glance; and though
she remained in the room, she seated herself at a distance, and bent over
a book.

It was touching to see how the austere man of business lent himself to
draw forth the mind of this quiet, shrinking girl; and if you had
listened, you would have comprehended how he came to possess such social
influence, and how well, some time or other in the course of his life, he
had learned to adapt himself to women.

He spoke first of Harley L’Estrange—spoke with tact and delicacy. Helen at
first answered by monosyllables, and then, by degrees, with grateful and
open affection. Audley’s brow grew shaded. He then spoke of Italy; and
though no man had less of the poet in his nature, yet, with the dexterity
of one long versed in the world, and who has been accustomed to extract
evidences from characters most opposed to his own, he suggested such
topics as might serve to arouse poetry in others. Helen’s replies betrayed
a cultivated taste, and a charming womanly mind; but they betrayed also
one accustomed to take its colorings from another’s—to appreciate, admire,
revere the Lofty and the Beautiful, but humbly and meekly. There was no
vivid enthusiasm, no remark of striking originality, no flash of the
self-kindling, creative faculty. Lastly, Egerton turned to England—to the
critical nature of the times—to the claims which the country possessed
upon all who had the ability to serve and guide its troubled destinies. He
enlarged warmly on Harley’s natural talents, and rejoiced that he had
returned to England, perhaps to commence some great career. Helen looked
surprised, but her face caught no correspondent glow from Audley’s
eloquence. He rose, and an expression of disappointment passed over his
grave, handsome features, and as quickly vanished.

“Adieu! my dear Miss Digby; I fear I have wearied you, especially with my
politics. Adieu, Lady Lansmere; no doubt I shall see Harley as soon as he
returns.”

Then he hastened from the room, gained his carriage, and ordered the
coachman to drive to Downing-street. He drew down the blinds, and leaned
back. A certain languor became visible in his face, and once or twice he
mechanically put his hand to his heart.

“She is good, amiable, docile—will make an excellent wife, no doubt,” said
he murmuringly. “But does she love Harley as he has dreamed of love? No!
Has she power and energy to arouse his faculties, and restore to the world
the Harley of old? No! Meant by Heaven to be the shadow of another’s
sun—not herself the sun—this child is not the one who can atone for the
Past and illume the Future.”



Chapter VII.


That evening Harley L’Estrange arrived at his father’s house. The few
years that had passed since we saw him last, had made no perceptible
change in his appearance. He still preserved his elastic youthfulness of
form, and singular variety and play of countenance. He seemed unaffectedly
rejoiced to greet his parents, and had something of the gayety and the
tenderness of a boy returned from school. His manner to Helen bespoke the
chivalry that pervaded all the complexities and curves of his character.
It was affectionate, but respectful. Hers to him, subdued—but innocently
sweet and gently cordial. Harley was the chief talker. The aspect of the
times was so critical, that he could not avoid questions on politics; and,
indeed, he showed an interest in them which he had never evinced before.
Lord Lansmere was delighted.

“Why, Harley, you love your country, after all?”

“The moment she seems in danger—yes!” replied the Patrician; and the
Sybarite seemed to rise into the Athenian.

Then he asked with eagerness about his old friend Audley; and, his
curiosity satisfied there, he inquired the last literary news. He had
heard much of a book lately published. He named the one ascribed by Parson
Dale to Professor Moss: none of his listeners had read it.

Harley pished at this, and accused them all of indolence and stupidity, in
his own quaint, metaphorical style. Then he said—“And town gossip?”

“We never hear it,” said Lady Lansmere.

“There is a new plow much talked of at Boodle’s,” said Lord Lansmere.

“God speed it. But is not there a new man much talked of at White’s?”

“I don’t belong to White’s.”

“Nevertheless, you may have heard of him—a foreigner, a Count di
Peschiera.”

“Yes,” said Lord Lansmere; “he was pointed out to me in the Park—a
handsome man for a foreigner; wears his hair properly cut; looks
gentlemanlike and English.”

“Ah, ah! He is here then!” And Harley rubbed his hands.

“Which road did you take? did you pass the Simplon?”

“No; I came straight from Vienna.”

Then, relating with lively vein his adventures by the way, he continued to
delight Lord Lansmere by his gayety till the time came to retire to rest.
As soon as Harley was in his own room, his mother joined him.

“Well,” said he, “I need not ask if you like Miss Digby? Who would not?”

“Harley, my own son,” said the mother, bursting into tears, “be happy your
own way; only be happy, that is all I ask.”

Harley, much affected, replied gratefully and soothingly to this fond
injunction. And then gradually leading his mother on to converse of Helen,
asked abruptly—“And of the chance of our happiness—her happiness as well
as mine—what is your opinion? Speak frankly.”

“Of _her_ happiness, there can be no doubt,” replied the mother, proudly.
“Of yours, how can you ask me? Have you not decided on that yourself?”

“But still it cheers and encourages one in any experiment, however well
considered, to hear the approval of another. Helen has certainly a most
gentle temper.”

“I should conjecture so. But her mind—”

“Is very well stored.”

“She speaks so little—”

“Yes. I wonder why? She’s surely a woman!”

“Pshaw,” said the Countess, smiling, in spite of herself. “But tell me
more of the process of your experiment. You took her as a child, and
resolved to train her according to your own ideal. Was that easy?”

“It seemed so. I desired to instill habits of truth—she was already by
nature truthful as the day; a taste for Nature and all things natural—that
seemed inborn; perceptions of Art as the interpreter of Nature—those were
more difficult to teach. I think they may come. You have heard her play
and sing?”

“No.”

“She will surprise you. She has less talent for drawing; still, all that
teaching could do has been done—in a word, she is accomplished.—Temper,
heart, mind—these all are excellent.” Harley stopped, and suppressed a
sigh. “Certainly, I ought to be very happy,” said he; and he began to wind
up his watch.

“Of course she must love you?” said the Countess, after a pause. “How
could she fail?”

“Love me! My dear mother, that is the very question I shall have to ask.”

“Ask! Love is discovered by a glance; it has no need of asking.”

“I have never discovered it, then, I assure you. The fact is, that before
her childhood was passed, I removed her, as you may suppose, from my roof.
She resided with an Italian family, near my usual abode. I visited her
often, directed her studies, watched her improvement—”

“And fell in love with her?”

“Fall is such a very violent word. No; I don’t remember to have had a
fall. It was all a smooth inclined plane from the first step, until at
last I said to myself, ‘Harley L’Estrange, thy time has come. The bud has
blossomed into flower. Take it to thy breast.’ And myself replied to
myself meekly, ‘So be it.’ Then I found that Lady N——, with her daughters,
was coming to England. I asked her ladyship to take my ward to your house.
I wrote to you, and prayed your assent; and, that granted, I knew you
would obtain my father’s. I am here—you give me the approval I sought for.
I will speak to Helen to-morrow. Perhaps, after all, she may reject me.”

“Strange, strange—you speak thus coldly, thus lightly; you so capable of
ardent love!”

“Mother,” said Harley, earnestly, “be satisfied! I am! Love, as of old, I
feel, alas! too well, can visit me never more. But gentle companionship,
tender friendship, the relief and the sunlight of woman’s smile—hereafter
the voices of children—music, that, striking on the hearts of both
parents, wakens the most lasting and the purest of all sympathies: these
are my hope. Is the hope so mean, my fond mother?”

Again the Countess wept, and her tears were not dried when she left the
room.



Chapter VIII.


Oh! Helen, fair Helen—type of the quiet, serene, unnoticed, deep-felt
excellence of woman! Woman, less as the ideal that a poet conjures from
the air, than as the companion of a poet on the earth! Woman who, with her
clear sunny vision of things actual, and the exquisite fibre of her
delicate sense, supplies the deficiencies of him whose foot stumbles on
the soil, because his eye is too intent upon the stars! Woman, the
provident, the comforting—angel whose pinions are folded round the heart,
guarding there a divine spring unmarred by the winter of the world! Helen,
soft Helen, is it indeed in thee that the wild and brilliant “lord of
wantonness and ease” is to find the regeneration of his life—the rebaptism
of his soul? Of what avail thy meek, prudent household virtues, to one
whom Fortune screens from rough trial?—whose sorrows lie remote from thy
ken?—whose spirit, erratic and perturbed, now rising, now falling, needs a
vision more subtle than thine to pursue, and a strength that can sustain
the reason, when it droops, on the wings of enthusiasm and passion?

And thou thyself, O nature shrinking and humble, that needest to be
courted forth from the shelter, and developed under the calm and genial
atmosphere of holy, happy love—can such affection as Harley L’Estrange may
proffer suffice to thee? Will not the blossoms, yet folded in the petal,
wither away beneath the shade that may protect them from the storm, and
yet shut them from the sun? Thou who, where thou givest love, seekest,
though meekly, for love in return;—to be the soul’s sweet necessity, the
life’s household partner to him who receives all thy faith and
devotion—canst thou influence the sources of joy and of sorrow in the
heart that does not heave at thy name? Hast thou the charm and the force
of the moon, that the tides of that wayward sea shall ebb and flow at thy
will? Yet who shall say—who conjecture how near two hearts can become,
when no guilt lies between them, and time brings the ties all its own?
Rarest of all things on earth is the union in which both, by their
contrasts, make harmonious their blending; each supplying the defects of
the helpmate, and completing, by fusion, one strong human soul! Happiness
enough, where even Peace does but seldom preside, when each can bring to
the altar, if not the flame, still the incense. Where man’s thoughts are
all noble and generous, woman’s feelings all gentle and pure, love may
follow, if it does not precede;—and if not—if the roses be missed from the
garland, one may sigh for the rose, but one is safe from the thorn.

The morning was mild, yet somewhat overcast by the mists which announce
coming winter in London, and Helen walked musingly beneath the trees that
surrounded the garden of Lord Lansmere’s house. Many leaves were yet left
on the boughs; but they were sere and withered. And the birds chirped at
times; but their note was mournful and complaining. All within this house,
until Harley’s arrival, had been strange and saddening to Helen’s timid
and subdued spirits. Lady Lansmere had received her kindly, but with a
certain restraint; and the loftiness of manner, common to the Countess
with all but Harley, had awed and chilled the diffident orphan. Lady
Lansmere’s very interest in Harley’s choice—her attempts to draw Helen out
of her reserve—her watchful eyes whenever Helen shyly spoke, or shyly
moved, frightened the poor child, and made her unjust to herself.

The very servants, though staid, grave, and respectful, as suited a
dignified, old-fashioned household, painfully contrasted the bright
welcoming smiles and free talk of Italian domestics. Her recollections of
the happy warm Continental manner, which so sets the bashful at their
ease, made the stately and cold precision of all around her doubly awful
and dispiriting. Lord Lansmere himself, who did not as yet know the views
of Harley, and little dreamed that he was to anticipate a daughter-in-law
in the ward whom he understood Harley, in a freak of generous romance, had
adopted, was familiar and courteous, as became a host. But he looked upon
Helen as a mere child, and naturally left her to the Countess. The dim
sense of her equivocal position—of her comparative humbleness of birth and
fortunes, oppressed and pained her; and even her gratitude to Harley was
made burthensome by a sentiment of helplessness. The grateful longing to
requite. And what could she ever do for him?

Thus musing, she wandered alone through the curving walks; and this sort
of mock country landscape—London, loud and even visible beyond the high
gloomy walls, and no escape from the windows of the square formal
house—seemed a type of the prison bounds of Rank to one whose soul yearns
for simple loving Nature.

Helen’s reverie was interrupted by Nero’s joyous bark. He had caught sight
of her, and came bounding up, and thrust his large head into her hand. As
she stopped to caress the dog, happy at his honest greeting, and tears
that had been long gathering to the lids fell silently on his face, (for I
know nothing that more moves us to tears than the hearty kindness of a
dog, when something in human beings has pained or chilled us), she heard
behind the musical voice of Harley. Hastily she dried or repressed her
tears, as her guardian came up, and drew her arm within his own.

“I had so little of your conversation last evening, my dear ward, that I
may well monopolize you now, even to the privation of Nero. And so you are
once more in your native land?”

Helen sighed softly.

“May I not hope that you return under fairer auspices than those which
your childhood knew?”

Helen turned her eyes with ingenuous thankfulness to her guardian, and the
memory of all she owed to him rushed upon her heart.

Harley renewed, and with earnest, though melancholy sweetness—“Helen, your
eyes thank me; but hear me before your words do. I deserve no thanks. I am
about to make to you a strange confession of egotism and selfishness.”

“You!—oh, impossible!”

“Judge yourself, and then decide which of us shall have cause to be
grateful. Helen, when I was scarcely your age—a boy in years, but more,
methinks, a man at heart, with man’s strong energies and sublime
aspirings, than I have ever since been—I loved, and deeply—”

He paused a moment, in evident struggle. Helen listened in mute surprise,
but his emotion awakened her own; her tender woman’s heart yearned to
console. Unconsciously her arm rested on his less lightly.

“Deeply, and for sorrow. It is a long tale, that may be told hereafter.
The worldly would call my love a madness. I did not reason on it then—I
can not reason on it now. Enough; death smote suddenly, terribly, and to
me mysteriously, her whom I loved. The love lived on. Fortunately,
perhaps, for me, I had quick distraction, not to grief, but to its inert
indulgence. I was a soldier; I joined our armies. Men called me brave.
Flattery! I was a coward before the thought of life. I sought death: like
sleep, it does not come at our call. Peace ensued. As when the winds fall
the sails droop—so when excitement ceased, all seemed to me flat and
objectless. Heavy, heavy was my heart. Perhaps grief had been less
obstinate, but that I feared I had cause for self-reproach. Since then I
have been a wanderer—a self-made exile. My boyhood had been ambitious—all
ambition ceased. Flames, when they reach the core of the heart, spread,
and leave all in ashes. Let me be brief: I did not mean thus weakly to
complain—I to whom heaven has given so many blessings! I felt, as it were,
separated from the common objects and joys of men. I grew startled to see
how, year by year, wayward humors possessed me. I resolved again to attach
myself to some living heart—it was my sole chance to rekindle my own. But
the one I had loved remained as my type of woman, and she was different
from all I saw. Therefore I said to myself, ’I will rear from childhood
some young fresh life, to grow up into my ideal.’ As this thought began to
haunt me, I chanced to discover you. Struck with the romance of your early
life, touched by your courage, charmed by your affectionate nature, I said
to myself, ’Here is what I seek.’ Helen, in assuming the guardianship of
your life, in all the culture which I have sought to bestow on your docile
childhood, I repeat, that I have been but the egotist. And now, when you
have reached that age, when it becomes me to speak, and you to listen—now,
when you are under the sacred roof of my own mother—now I ask you, can you
accept this heart, such as wasted years, and griefs too fondly nursed,
have left it? Can you be, at least, my comforter? Can you aid me to regard
life as a duty, and recover those aspirations which once soared from the
paltry and miserable confines of our frivolous daily being? Helen, here I
ask you, can you be all this, and under the name of—Wife?”

It would be in vain to describe the rapid, varying, indefinable emotions
that passed through the inexperienced heart of the youthful listener, as
Harley thus spoke. He so moved all the springs of amaze, compassion,
tender respect, sympathy, childlike gratitude, that when he paused, and
gently took her hand, she remained bewildered, speechless, overpowered.
Harley smiled as he gazed upon her blushing, downcast, expressive face. He
conjectured at once that the idea of such proposals had never crossed her
mind; that she had never contemplated him in the character of wooer; never
even sounded her heart as to the nature of such feelings as his image had
aroused.

“My Helen,” he resumed, with a calm pathos of voice, “there is some
disparity of years between us, and perhaps I may not hope henceforth for
that love which youth gives to the young. Permit me simply to ask, what
you will frankly answer—Can you have seen in our quiet life abroad, or
under the roof of your Italian friends, any one you prefer to me?”

“No, indeed, no!” murmured Helen. “How could I?—who is like you?” Then,
with a sudden effort—for her innate truthfulness took alarm, and her very
affection for Harley, child-like and reverent, made her tremble, lest she
should deceive him—she drew a little aside, and spoke thus:

“Oh, my dear guardian, noblest of all human beings, at least in my eyes,
forgive, forgive me if I seem ungrateful, hesitating; but I can not, can
not think of myself as worthy of you. I never so lifted my eyes. Your
rank, your position—”

“Why should they be eternally my curse? Forget them, and go on.”

“It is not only they,” said Helen, almost sobbing, “though they are much;
but I your type, your ideal!—I!—impossible! Oh, how can I ever be any
thing even of use, of aid, of comfort, to one like you!”

“You can, Helen—you can,” cried Harley, charmed by such ingenuous modesty.
“May I not keep this hand?”

And Helen left her hand in Harley’s, and turned away her face, fairly
weeping. A stately step passed under the wintry trees.

“My mother,” said Harley L’Estrange, looking up, “I present to you my
future wife.”

(To Be Continued.)



THE ORPHAN’S DREAM OF CHRISTMAS.


It was Christmas Eve—and lonely,
  By a garret window high,
Where the city chimneys barely
  Spared a hand’s-breadth of the sky,
Sat a child, in age—but weeping,
  With a face so small and thin,
That it seem’d too scant a record
  To have eight years traced therein.

Oh, grief looks most distorted
  When his hideous shadow lies
On the clear and sunny life-stream
  That doth fill a child’s blue eyes,
But _her_ eye was dull and sunken,
  And the whiten’d cheek was gaunt,
And the blue veins on the forehead
  Were the penciling of Want.

And she wept for years like jewels,
  Till the last year’s bitter gall,
Like the acid of the story,
  In itself had melted all;
But the Christmas time returned,
  As an old friend, for whose eye
She would take down all the pictures
  Sketch’d by faithful Memory,—

Of those brilliant Christmas seasons,
  When the joyous laugh went around;
When sweet words of love and kindness
  Were no unfamiliar sound
When, lit by the log’s red lustre,
  She her mother’s face could see,
And she rock’d the cradle, sitting
  On her own twin brother’s knee:

Of her father’s pleasant stories;
  Of the riddles and the rhymes,
All the kisses and the presents
  That had mark’d those Christmas times.
’Twas as well that there was no one
  (For it were a mocking strain)
To wish _her_ a merry Christmas,
  For _that_ could not come again.

How there came a time of struggling,
  When, in spite of love and faith,
Grinding Poverty would only
  In the end give place to Death;
How her mother grew heart-broken,
  When her toil-worn father died,
Took her baby in her bosom,
  And was buried by his side:

How she clung unto her brother
  As the last spar from the wreck,
But stern Death had come between them
  While her arms were around his neck
There were _now_ no loving voices;
  And, if few hands offered bread,
There were none to rest in blessing
  On the little homeless head.

Or, if any gave her shelter,
  It was less of joy than fear;
For they welcom’d Crime more warmly
  To the selfsame room with her.
But, at length they all grew weary
  Of their sick and useless guest;
She must try a workhouse welcome
  For the helpless and distressed.

But she pray’d; and the Unsleeping
  In his ear that whisper caught;
So he sent down Sleep, who gave her
  Such a respite as she sought;
Drew the fair head to her bosom,
  Pressed the wetted eyelids close,
And with softly-falling kisses,
  Lulled her gently to repose.

Then she dreamed the angels, sweeping
  With their wings the sky aside,
Raised her swiftly to the country
  Where the blessed ones abide:
To a bower all flushed with beauty,
  By a shadowy arcade,
Where a mellowness like moonlight
  By the Tree of Life was made:

Where the rich fruit sparkled, star-like,
  And pure flowers of fadeless dye
Poured their fragrance on the waters
  That in crystal beds went by:
Where bright hills of pearl and amber
  Closed the fair green valleys round,
And, with rainbow light, but lasting,
  Were there glistening summits crown’d

Then, that distant-burning glory,
  ’Mid a gorgeousness of light!
The long vista of Archangels
  Could scarce chasten to her sight.
There sat One; and her heart told her
  ’Twas the same, who, for our sin,
Was once born a little baby
  “In the stable of an inn.”

There was music—oh, such music!—
  They were trying the old strains
That a certain group of shepherds
  Heard on old Judea’s plains;
But, when that divinest chorus
  To a softened trembling fell,
Love’s true ear discerned the voices
  That on earth she loved so well.

At a tiny grotto’s entrance
  A fair child her eyes behold,
With his ivory shoulders hidden
  ’Neath his curls of living gold;
And he asks them, “Is she coming?”
  But ere any one can speak,
The white arms of her twin brother
  Are once more about her neck.

Then they all come round her greeting;
  But she might have well denied
That her beautiful young sister
  Is the poor pale child that died;
And the careful look hath vanished
  From her father’s tearless face,
And she does not know her mother
  Till she feels the old embrace.

Oh, from that ecstatic dreaming
  Must she ever wake again,
To the cold and cheerless contrast——
  To a life of lonely pain?
But her Maker’s sternest servant
  To her side on tiptoe stept;
Told his message in a whisper,——
  And she stirred not as she slept!

Now the Christmas morn was breaking
  With a dim, uncertain hue,
And the chilling breeze of morning
  Came the broken window through;
And the hair upon her forehead,
  Was it lifted by the blast,
Or the brushing wings of Seraphs,
  With their burden as they pass’d?

All the festive bells were chiming
  To the myriad hearts below;
But that deep sleep still hung heavy
  On the sleeper’s thoughtful brow.
To her quiet face the dream-light
  Had a lingering glory given;
But the child _herself_ was keeping
  Her Christmas-day in Heaven!



WHAT CHRISTMAS IS IN THE COMPANY OF JOHN DOE. BY CHARLES DICKENS.


I have kept (among a store of jovial, genial, heart-stirring returns of
the season) some very dismal Christmasses. I have kept Christmas in
Constantinople, at a horrible Pera hotel, where I attempted the
manufacture of a plum-pudding from the maccaroni-soup they served me for
dinner, mingled with some Zante currants, and a box of figs I had brought
from Smyrna; and where I sat, until very late at night, endeavoring to
persuade myself that it was cold and “Christmassy” (though it wasn’t),
drinking Levant wine, and listening to the howling of the dogs outside,
mingled with the clank of a portable fire-engine, which some soldiers were
carrying to one of those extensive conflagrations which never happen in
Constantinople oftener than three times a day. I have kept Christmas on
board a Boulogne packet, in company with a basin, several despair-stricken
females, and a damp steward; who, to all our inquiries whether we should
be “in soon,” had the one unvarying answer of “pretty near,” to give. I
have kept Christmas, when a boy, at a French boarding-school, where they
gave me nothing but lentils and _bouilli_ for dinner, on the auspicious
day itself. I have kept Christmas by the bed-side of a sick friend, and
wished him the compliments of the season in his physic-bottles (had they
contained another six months’ life, poor soul!) I have kept Christmas at
rich men’s tables, where I have been uncomfortable; and once in a
cobbler’s shop, where I was excessively convivial. I have spent one
Christmas in prison. Start not, urbane reader! I was not sent there for
larceny, nor for misdemeanor: but for debt.

It was Christmas-eve; and I—my name is Prupper—was taking my walks abroad.
I walked through the crowded Strand, elate, hilarious, benignant, for the
feast was prepared, and the guests were bidden. Such a turkey I had
ordered! Not the prize one with the ribbons—I mistrusted that; but a
plump, tender, white-breasted bird, a king of turkeys. It was to be boiled
with oyster-sauce; and the rest of the Christmas dinner was to consist of
that noble sirloin of roast beef, and that immortal cod’s head and
shoulders! I had bought the materials for the pudding, too, some half-hour
previously: the plums and the currants, the citron and the allspice, the
flour and the eggs. I was happy.

Onward, by the bright grocers’ shops, thronged with pudding-purchasers!
Onward, by the book-sellers’, though lingering, it may be, for a moment,
by the gorgeous Christmas books, with their bright binding, and brighter
pictures. Onward, by the pastry cooks’! Onward, elate, hilarious, and
benignant, until, just as I stopped by a poulterer’s shop, to admire the
finest capon that ever London or Christmas saw, a hand was laid on my
shoulder!

“Before our sovereign lady the Queen”—“by the grace of God,
greeting”—“that you take the body of Thomas Prupper, and him safely
keep”—“and for so doing, this shall be your warrant.”

These dread and significant words swam before my dazzled eyelids, dancing
maniac hornpipes on a parchment slip of paper. I was to keep Christmas in
no other company than that of the once celebrated fictitious personage,
supposed to be the familiar of all persons similarly situated—JOHN DOE.

I remember with horror, that some fortnight previously, a lawyers’s clerk
deposited on my shoulder a slip of paper, which he stated to be the copy
of a writ, and in which her Majesty the Queen (mixed up for the nonce with
John, Lord Campbell) was pleased to command me to enter an appearance
somewhere, by such a day, in order to answer the plaint of somebody, who
said I owed him some money. Now, an appearance had not been entered, and
judgment had gone by default, and execution had been obtained against me.
The Sheriff of Middlesex (who is popularly, though erroneously, supposed
to be incessantly running up and down in his bailiwick) had had a writ of
_fieri facias_, vulgarly termed a _fi. fa._ against my goods; but hearing,
or satisfying himself by adroit espionage, that I had _no_ goods, he had
made a return of _nulla bona_. Then had he invoked the aid of a more
subtle and potential instrument, likewise on parchment, called a _capias
ad satisfaciendum_, abbreviated in legal parlance into _ca. sa._, against
my body. This writ he had confided to Aminadab, his man; and Aminadab,
running, as he was in duty bound to do, up and down in his section of the
bailiwick, had come across me, and had made me the captive of his bow and
spear. He called it, less metaphorically, “nabbing me.”

Mr. Aminadab (tall, aquiline-nosed, oleaginous, somewhat dirty; clad in a
green Newmarket coat, a crimson velvet waistcoat, a purple satin neckcloth
with gold flowers, two watch-guards, and four diamond rings)—Mr. Aminadab
proposed that “something should be done.” Would I go to White-cross-street
at once I or to Blowman’s, in Cursitor-street? or would I just step into
Peele’s Coffee-house for a moment? Mr. Aminadab was perfectly polite, and
indefatigably suggestive.

The capture had been made in Fleet-street; so we stepped into Peele’s, and
while Mr. Aminadab sipped the pint of wine which he had obligingly
suggested I should order, I began to look my position in the face.
Execution taken out for forty-five pounds nine and ninepence. _Ca. sa._, a
guinea; _fi. fa._, a guinea; capture, a guinea; those were all the costs
as _yet_. Now, some days after I was served with the writ, I had paid the
plaintiff’s lawyer, on account, thirty pounds. In the innocence of my
heart, I imagined that, by the County Court Act, I could not be arrested
for the balance, it being under twenty pounds. Mr. Aminadab laughed with
contemptuous pity.

“We don’t do business that way,” said he; “we goes in for the whole lot,
and then you pleads your set-off, you know.”

The long and the short of the matter was, that I had eighteen pounds,
twelve shillings, and ninepence, to pay, before my friend in the purple
neckcloth would relinquish his grasp; and that to satisfy the demand, I
had exactly the sum of two pounds two and a half-penny, and a gold watch,
on which a relation of mine would probably advance four pounds more. So, I
fell to writing letters, Mr. Aminadab sipping the wine and playing with
one of his watch-chains in the meanwhile.

I wrote to Jones, Brown, and Robinson—to Thompson, and to Jackson
likewise. I wrote to my surly uncle in Pudding-lane. Now was the time to
put the disinterested friendship of Brown to the test; to avail myself of
the repeated offers of service from Jones; to ask for the loan of that
sixpence which Robinson had repeatedly declared was at my command as long
as he had a shilling. I sealed the letters with an unsteady hand, and
consulted Mr. Aminadab as to their dispatch. That gentleman, by some feat
of legerdemain, called up from the bowels of the earth, or from one of
those mysterious localities known as “round the corner,” two sprites: one,
his immediate assistant; seedier, however, and not jeweled, who carried a
nobby stick which he continually gnawed. The other, a horrible little man
with a white head and a white neckcloth, twisted round his neck like a
halter. His eye was red, and his teeth were gone, and the odor of rum
compassed him about, like a cloak. To these two acolytes my notes were
confided, and they were directed to bring the answers like lightning to
Blowman’s. To Blowman’s, in Cursitor-street, Chancery-lane, I was bound,
and a cab was straightway called for my conveyance there-to. For the
matter of that, the distance was so short, I might easily have walked, but
I could not divest myself of the idea that every body in the street knew I
was a prisoner.

I was soon within the hospitable doors of Mr. Blowman, officer to the
Sheriff of Middlesex. His hospitable doors were double, and, for more
hospitality, heavily barred, locked, and chained. These, with the
exceptions of barred windows, and a species of grating-roofed yard
outside, like a monster bird-cage, were the only visible signs of
captivity. Yet there was enough stone in the hearts, and iron in the
souls, of Mr. Blowman’s inmates, to build a score of lock-up houses. For
that you may take my word.

I refused the offer of a private room, and was conducted to the
coffee-room, where Mr. Aminadab left me, for a while, to my own
reflections; and to wait for the answers to my letters.

They came—and one friend into the bargain. Jones had gone to Hammersmith,
and wouldn’t be back till next July. Brown had been disappointed in the
city. Robinson’s money was all locked up. Thompson expected to be locked
up himself. Jackson was brief, but explicit: he said he “would rather
not.”

My friend brought me a carpet-bag, with what clothes I wanted in it. He
advised me, more over, to go to Whitecross-street at once, for a sojourn
at Mr. Blowman’s domicile would cost me something like a guinea per diem.
So, summoning Mr. Aminadab, who had obligingly waited to see if I could
raise the money or not, I announced my intention of being conveyed to jail
at once. I paid half-a-guinea for the accommodation I had had at Mr.
Blowman’s; I made a pecuniary acknowledgment of Mr. Aminadab’s politeness;
and I did not fail to remember the old man in the white halter and the
spirituous mantle. Then, when I had also remembered a red-headed little
Jew boy, who acted as Cerberus to this Hades, and appeared to be
continually washing his hands (though they never seemed one whit the
cleaner for the operation), another cab was called, and off I went to
Whitecross-street, with a heart considerably heavier than a paving stone.

I had already been three hours in captivity, and it was getting on for
eight o’clock. The cab was proceeding along Holborn, and I thought,
involuntarily, of Mr. Samuel Hall, black and grimy, making his progress
through the same thoroughfares, by the Oxford Road, and so on to Tyburn,
bowing to the crowd, and cursing the Ordinary. The foot-pavement on either
side was thronged with people at their Christmas marketing, or, at least,
on some Christmas business—so it seemed to me. Goose Clubs were being held
at the public houses—sweeps for sucking-pigs, plum-puddings, and bottles
of gin. Some ladies and gentlemen had begun their Christmas rather too
early, and were meandering unsteadily over the flag-stones. Fiddlers were
in great request, being sought for in small beershops, and borne off
bodily from bars, to assist at Christmas Eve merry-makings. An immense
deal of hand-shaking was going on, and I was very much afraid, a good deal
more “standing” than was consistent with the strict rules of temperance.
Every body kept saying that it was “only once a year,” and made that an
apology (so prone are mankind to the use of trivial excuses!) for their
sins against Father Mathew. Loud laughter rang through the frosty air.
Pleasant jokes, innocent “chaff,” passed; grocers’ young men toiled
lustily, wiping their hot faces ever and anon; butchers took no rest;
prize beef melted away from very richness before my eyes; and in the midst
of all the bustle and jollity, the crowding, laughing, drinking, and
shouting, I was still on my unvarying way to Whitecross-street.

There was a man resting a child’s coffin on a railing, and chattering with
a pot-boy, with whom he shared a pot of porter “with the sharp edge taken
off.” There are heavy hearts—heavier perchance than yours, in London, this
Christmas Eve, my friend Prupper, thought I. To-morrow’s dawn will bring
sorrow and faint-heartedness to many thousands—to oceans of humanity, of
which you are but a single drop.

The cab had conveyed me through Smithfield Market, and now rumbled up
Barbican. My companion, the gentleman with the crab-stick (to whose care
Mr. Aminadab had consigned me), beguiled the time with pleasant and
instructive conversation. He told me that he had “nabbed a many parties.”
That he had captured a Doctor of Divinity going to a Christmas, a
bridegroom starting for the honeymoon, a colonel of hussars in full fig
for her Majesty’s drawing-room. That he had the honor once of “nabbing”
the eldest son of a peer of the realm, who, however, escaped from him
through a second-floor window, and over the tiles. That he was once
commissioned to “nab” the celebrated Mr. Wix, of the Theatres Royal. That
Mr. Wix, being in the act of playing the Baron Spolaccio, in the famous
tragedy of “Love, Ruin, and Revenge,” he, Crabstick, permitted him, in
deference to the interests of the drama, to play the part out, stationing
an assistant at each wing to prevent escape. That the delusive Wix
“bilked” him, by going down a trap. That he, Crabstick, captured him,
notwithstanding under the stage, though opposed by the gigantic Wix
himself, two stage carpenters, a demon, and the Third Citizen. That Wix
rushed on the stage, and explained his position to the audience, whereupon
the gallery (Wix being an especial favorite of theirs) expressed a strong
desire to have his (Crabstick’s) blood; and, failing to obtain that, tore
up the benches; in the midst of which operation the recalcitrant Wix was
removed. With these and similar anecdotes of the nobility, gentry, and the
public in general, he was kind enough to regale me, until the cab stopped.
I alighted in a narrow, dirty street; was hurried up a steep flight of
steps; a heavy door clanged behind me; and Crabstick, pocketing his small
gratuity, wished me a good-night and a merry Christmas. A merry Christmas:
ugh!

That night I slept in a dreadful place, called the Reception ward, on an
iron bedstead, in a room with a stone floor. I was alone, and horribly
miserable. I heard the Waits playing in the distance, and dreamed I was at
a Christmas party.

Christmas morning in Whitecross-street Prison! A turnkey conducted me to
the “Middlesex side”—a long dreary yard—on either side of which were doors
leading into wards, or coffee-rooms, on the ground floor, and by
stone-staircases, to sleeping-apartments above. It was all very cold, very
dismal, very gloomy. I entered the ward allotted to me, Number Seven,
left. It was a long room, with barred windows, cross tables and benches,
with an aisle between; a large fire at the further end; “Dum spiro,
spero,” painted above the mantle-piece. Twenty or thirty prisoners and
their friends were sitting at the tables, smoking pipes, drinking beer, or
reading newspapers. But for the unmistakable jail-bird look about the
majority of the guests, the unshorn faces, the slipshod feet, the barred
windows, and the stone floor, I might have fancied myself in a large
tap-room.

There was holly and mistletoe round the gas-pipes; but how woeful and
forlorn they looked! There was roast-beef and plum-pudding preparing at
the fire-place; but they had neither the odor nor the appearance of free
beef and pudding. I was thinking of the cosy room, the snug fire, the
well-drawn curtains, the glittering table, the happy faces, when the
turnkey introduced me to the steward of the ward (an officer appointed by
the prisoners, and a prisoner himself) who “tables you off,” _i.e._, who
allotted me a seat at one of the cross-tables, which was henceforward mine
for all purposes of eating, drinking, writing, or smoking; in
consideration of a payment on my part of one guinea sterling. This sum
made me also free of the ward, and entitled to have my boots cleaned, my
bed made, and my meals cooked. Supposing that I had not possessed a guinea
(which was likely enough), I should have asked for time, which would have
been granted me; but, at the expiration of three days, omission of payment
would have constituted me a defaulter; in which case, the best thing I
could have done would have been to declare pauperism, and remove to the
poor side of the prison. Here, I should have been entitled to my
“sixpences,” amounting in the aggregate to the sum of three shillings and
sixpence a week toward my maintenance.

The steward, a fat man in a green “wide-awake” hat, who was incarcerated
on remand for the damages in an action for breach of promise of marriage,
introduced me to the cook (who was going up next week to the Insolvent
Court, having filed his schedule as a beer-shop keeper). He told me, that
if I chose to purchase any thing at a species of every-thing-shop in the
yard, the cook would dress it; or, if I did not choose to be at the
trouble of providing myself, I might breakfast, dine, and sup at his, the
steward’s, table, “for a consideration,” as Mr. Trapbois has it. I acceded
to the latter proposition, receiving the intelligence that turkey and
oyster-sauce were to be ready at two precisely, with melancholy
indifference. Turkey had no charms for me now.

I sauntered forth into the yard, and passed fifty or sixty
fellow-unfortunates, sauntering as listlessly as myself. Strolling about,
I came to a large grating, somewhat similar to Mr. Blowman’s bird-cage, in
which was a heavy gate called the “lock,” and which communicated with the
corridors leading to the exterior of the prison. Here sat, calmly
surveying his caged birds within, a turnkey—not a repulsive, gruff-voiced
monster, with a red neckerchief and top boots, and a bunch of keys, as
turnkeys are popularly supposed to be—but a pleasant, jovial man enough,
in sleek black. He had a little lodge behind, where a bright fire burned,
and where Mrs. Turnkey, and the little Turnkeys lived. (I found a direful
resemblance between the name of his office, and that of the Christmas
bird.) His Christmas dinner hung to the iron bars above him, in the shape
of a magnificent piece of beef. Happy turnkey, to be able to eat it on the
outer side of that dreadful grating! In another part of the yard hung a
large black board, inscribed in half-effaced characters, with the
enumerations of divers donations, made in former times by charitable
persons, for the benefit in perpetuity of poor prisoners. To-day, so much
beef and so much strong beer was allotted to each prisoner.

But what were beef and beer, what was unlimited tobacco, or even the
plum-pudding, when made from prison plums, boiled in a prison copper, and
eaten in a prison dining-room? What though surreptitious gin were carried
in, in bladders, beneath the under garments of the fairer portion of
creation; what though brandy were smuggled into the wards, disguised as
black draughts, or extract of sarsaparilla? A pretty Christmas market I
had brought my pigs to!

Chapel was over (I had come down too late from the “Reception” to attend
it); and the congregation (a lamentably small one) dispersed in the yard
and wards. I entered my own ward, to change (if any thing could change)
the dreary scene.

Smoking and cooking appeared to be the chief employments and recreations
of the prisoners. An insolvent clergyman in rusty black, was gravely
rolling out puff-paste on a pie-board; and a man in his shirt-sleeves,
covering a veal cutlet with egg and bread-crum, was an officer of
dragoons!

I found no lack of persons willing to enter into conversation with me. I
talked, full twenty minutes, with a seedy captive, with a white head, and
a coat buttoned and pinned up to the chin.

Whitecross-street, he told me (or Burdon’s Hotel, as in the prison slang
he called it), was the only place where any “life” was to be seen. The
Fleet was pulled down; the Marshalsea had gone the way of all
brick-and-mortar; the Queen’s Prison, the old “Bench,” was managed on a
strict system of classification and general discipline; and
Horsemonger-lane was but rarely tenanted by debtors; but in favored
Whitecross-street, the good old features of imprisonment for debt yet
flourished. Good dinners were still occasionally given; “fives” and
football were yet played; and, from time to time, obnoxious attorneys, or
importunate process-servers—“rats” as they were called—were pumped upon,
floured, and bonneted. Yet, even Whitecross-street, he said with a sigh,
was falling off. The Small Debts Act and those revolutionary County Courts
would be too many for it soon.

That tall, robust, bushy-whiskered man, (he said) in the magnificently
flowered dressing-gown, the crimson Turkish smoking cap, the velvet
slippers, and the ostentatiously displayed gold guard-chain, was a
“mace-man:” an individual who lived on his wits, and on the want of wit in
others. He had had many names, varying from Plantagenet and De Courcy, to
“Edmonston and Co.,” or plain Smith or Johnson. He was a real gentleman
once upon a time—a very long time ago. Since then, he had done a little on
the turf, and a great deal in French hazard, roulette, and _rouge et
noir_. He had cheated bill-discounters, and discounted bills himself. He
had been a picture-dealer, and a wine-merchant, and one of those
mysterious individuals called a “commission agent.” He had done a little
on the Stock Exchange, and a little billiard-marking, and a little
skittle-sharping, and a little thimble-rigging. He was not particular.
Bills, however, were his passion. He was under a cloud just now, in
consequence of some bill-dealing transaction, which the Commissioner of
Insolvency had broadly hinted to be like a bill-stealing one. However, he
had wonderful elasticity, and it was to be hoped would soon get over his
little difficulties. Meanwhile, he dined sumptuously, and smoked cigars of
price; occasionally condescending to toss half-crowns in a hat with any of
the other “nobs” incarcerated.

That cap, and the battered worn-out sickly frame beneath (if I would have
the goodness to notice them) were all that were left of a spruce,
rosy-cheeked, glittering young ensign of infantry. He was brought up by an
old maiden aunt, who spent her savings to buy him a commission in the
army. He went from Slowchester Grammar School, to Fastchester Barracks. He
was to live on his pay. He gambled a year’s pay away in an evening. He
made thousand guinea bets, and lost them. So the old _denouement_ of the
old story came round as usual. The silver dressing-case, got on
credit—pawned for ready money; the credit-horses sold; more credit-horses
bought; importunate creditors in the barrack-yard; a letter from the
colonel; sale of his commission; himself sold up; then Mr. Aminadab, Mr.
Blowman, Burdon’s Hotel, Insolvent Court, a year’s remand; and, an after
life embittered by the consciousness of wasted time and talents, and
wantonly-neglected opportunities.

My informant pointed out many duplicates of the gentleman in the
dressing-gown. Also, divers Government clerks, who had attempted to
imitate the nobs in a small way, and had only succeeded to the extent of
sharing the same prison; a mild gray-headed old gentleman who always
managed to get committed for contempt of court; and the one inevitable
baronet of a debtor’s prison, who is traditionally supposed to have eight
thousand a year, and to stop in prison because he likes it—though, to say
the truth, this baronet looked, to me, as if he didn’t like it at all.

I was sick of all these, and of every thing else in Whitecross-street,
before nine o’clock, when I was at liberty to retire to my cold ward. So
ended my Christmas-day—my first, and, I hope and believe, my last
Christmas-day in prison.

Next morning my welcome friend arrived and set me free. I paid the
gate-fees, and I gave the turnkeys a crown, and I gave the prisoners
unbounded beer. I kept New Year’s day in company with a pretty cousin with
glossy black hair, who was to have dined with me on Christmas-day, and who
took such pity on me that she shortly became Mrs. Prupper. Our eldest boy
was born, by a curious coincidence, next Christmas-day—which I kept very
jovially, with the doctor, after it was all over, and we _didn’t_ christen
him Whitecross.



WHAT CHRISTMAS IS, AS WE GROW OLDER. BY CHARLES DICKENS.


Time was, with most of us, when Christmas-day encircling all our limited
world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound
together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped every
thing and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture
shining in our bright young eyes, complete.

Time came, perhaps, all so soon! when our thoughts overleaped that narrow
boundary; when there was some one (very dear, we thought then, very
beautiful, and absolutely perfect) wanting to the fullness of our
happiness; when we were wanting too (or we thought so, which did just as
well) at the Christmas hearth by which that some one sat; and when we
intertwined with every wreath and garland of our life that some one’s
name.

That was the time for the bright visionary Christmases which have long
arisen from us to show faintly, after summer rain, in the palest edges of
the rainbow! That was the time for the beatified enjoyment of the things
that were to be, and never were, and yet the things that were so real in
our resolute hope that it would be hard to say, now, what realities
achieved since, have been stronger!

What! Did that Christmas never really come when we and the priceless pearl
who was our young choice were received, after the happiest of totally
impossible marriages, by the two united families previously at
daggers-drawn on our account? When brothers and sisters in law who had
always been rather cool to us before our relationship was effected,
perfectly doted on us, and when fathers and mothers overwhelmed us with
unlimited incomes? Was that Christmas dinner never really eaten, after
which we arose, and generously and eloquently rendered honor to our late
rival, present in the company, then and there exchanging friendship and
forgiveness, and founding an attachment, not to be surpassed in Greek or
Roman story, which subsisted until death? Has that same rival long ceased
to care for that same priceless pearl, and married for money, and become
usurious? Above all, do we really know, now, that we should probably have
been miserable if we had won and worn the pearl, and that we are better
without her?

That Christmas when we had recently achieved so much fame; when we had
been carried in triumph somewhere, for doing something great and good;
when we had won an honored and ennobled name, and arrived and were
received at home in a shower of tears of joy; is it possible that _that_
Christmas has not come yet?

And is our life here, at the best, so constituted that, pausing as we
advance at such a noticeable mile-stone in the track as this great
birthday, we look back on the things that never were, as naturally and
full as gravely as on the things that have been and are gone, or have been
and still are? If it be so, and so it seems to be, must we come to the
conclusion, that life is little better than a dream, and little worth the
loves and strivings that we crowd into it?

No! Far be such miscalled philosophy from us, dear Reader, on
Christmas-day! Nearer and closer to our hearts be the Christmas spirit,
which is the spirit of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge
of duty, kindness, and forbearance! It is in the last virtues especially,
that we are, or should be, strengthened by the unaccomplished visions of
our youth; for who shall say that they are not our teachers to deal gently
even with the impalpable nothings of the earth!

Therefore, as we grow older, let us be more thankful that the circle of
our Christmas associations and of the lessons that they bring, expands!
Let us welcome every one of them, and summon them to take their places by
the Christmas hearth.

Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy, to your
shelter underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet.
Welcome, old projects and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among
the steadier lights that burn around us. Welcome, all that was ever real
to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to
Heaven! Do we build no Christmas castles in the clouds now? Let our
thoughts, fluttering like butterflies among these flowers of children,
bear witness! Before this boy, there stretches out a Future, brighter than
we ever looked on in our old romantic time, but bright with honor and with
truth. Around this little head on which the sunny curls lie heaped, the
graces sport, as prettily, as airily, as when there was no scythe within
the reach of Time to shear away the curls of our first-love. Upon another
girl’s face near it—placider but smiling bright—a quiet and contented
little face, we see Home fairly written. Shining from the word, as rays
shine from a star, we see how, when our graves are old, other hopes than
ours are young, other hearts than ours are moved; how other ways are
smoothed; how other happiness blooms, ripens, and decays—no, not decays,
for other homes and other bands of children, not yet in being nor for ages
yet to be, arise, and bloom, and ripen to the end of all!

Welcome, every thing! Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was,
and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your
places round the Christmas fire, where what is sits open-hearted! In
yonder shadow, do we see obtruding furtively upon the blaze, an enemy’s
face? By Christmas-day we do forgive him! If the injury he has done us may
admit of such companionship, let him come here and take his place. If
otherwise, unhappily, let him go hence, assured that we will never injure
nor accuse him.

On this day, we shut out nothing!

“Pause,” says a low voice. “Nothing? Think!”

“On Christmas-day, we will shut out from our fireside, nothing.”

“Not the shadow of a vast city where the withered leaves are lying deep?”
the voice replies. “Not the shadow that darkens the whole globe? Not the
shadow of the City of the Dead?”

Not even that. Of all days in the year, we will turn our faces toward that
city upon Christmas-day, and from its silent hosts bring those we loved,
among us. City of the Dead, in the blessed name wherein we are gathered
together at this time, and in the Presence that is here among us according
to the promise, we will receive, and not dismiss, thy people who are dear
to us!

Yes. We can look upon these children-angels that alight, so solemnly, so
beautifully, among the living children by the fire, and can bear to think
how they departed from us. Entertaining angels unawares, as the Patriarchs
did, the playful children are unconscious of their guests; but we can see
them—can see a radiant arm around one favorite neck, as if there were a
tempting of that child away. Among the celestial figures there is one, a
poor mis-shapen boy on earth, of a glorious beauty now, of whom his dying
mother said it grieved her much to leave him here, alone, for so many
years as it was likely would elapse before he came to her—being such a
little child. But he went quickly, and was laid upon her breast, and in
her hand she leads him.

There was a gallant boy, who fell, far away, upon a burning sand beneath a
burning sun, and said, “Tell them at home, with my last love, how much I
could have wished to kiss them once, but that I died contented and had
done my duty!” Or there was another, over whom they read the words,
“Therefore we commit his body to the dark!” and so consigned him to the
lonely ocean, and sailed on. Or there was another who lay down to his rest
in the dark shadow of great forests, and, on earth, awoke no more. O shall
they not, from sand and sea and forest, be brought home at such a time!

There was a dear girl—almost a woman—never to be one—who made a mourning
Christmas in a house of joy, and went her trackless way to the silent
City. Do we recollect her, worn out, faintly whispering what could not be
heard, and falling into that last sleep for weariness? O look upon her
now! O look upon her beauty, her serenity, her changeless youth, her
happiness! The daughter of Jairus was recalled to life, to die; but she,
more blest, has heard the same voice, saying unto her, “Arise forever!”

We had a friend who was our friend from early days, with whom we often
pictured the changes that were to come upon our lives, and merrily
imagined how we would speak, and walk, and think, and talk, when we came
to be old. His destined habitation in the City of the Dead received him in
his prime. Shall he be shut out from our Christmas remembrance? Would his
love have so excluded us? Lost friend, lost child, lost parent, sister,
brother, husband, wife, we will not so discard you! You shall hold your
cherished places in our Christmas hearts, and by our Christmas fires; and
in the season of immortal hope, and on the birthday of immortal mercy, we
will shut out nothing!

The winter sun goes down over town and village; on the sea it makes a rosy
path, as if the Sacred tread were fresh upon the water. A few more
moments, and it sinks, and night comes on, and lights begin to sparkle in
the prospect. On the hill-side beyond the shapelessly diffused town, and
in the quiet keeping of the trees that gird the village-steeple,
remembrances are cut in stone, planted in common flowers, growing in
grass, entwined with lowly brambles around many a mound of earth. In town
and village, there are doors and windows closed against the weather, there
are flaming logs heaped high, there are joyful faces, there is healthy
music of voices. Be all ungentleness and harm excluded from the temples of
the Household Gods, but be those remembrances admitted with tender
encouragement! They are of the time and all its comforting and peaceful
reassurances; and of the history that reunited even upon earth the living
and the dead; and of the broad beneficence and goodness that too many men
have tried to tear to narrow shreds.



HELEN CORRIE.—LEAVES FROM THE NOTE-BOOK OF A CURATE.


Having devoted myself to the service of Him who said unto the demoniac and
the leper, “Be whole,” I go forth daily, treading humbly in the pathway of
my self-appointed mission, through the dreary regions, the close and
crowded streets, that exist like a plague ground in the very heart of the
wealthy town of L——.

They have an atmosphere of their own, those dilapidated courts, those
noisome alleys, those dark nooks where the tenements are green with damp,
where the breath grows faint, and the head throbs with an oppressive pain;
and yet, amid the horrors of such abodes, hundreds of our fellow-creatures
act the sad tragedy of life, and the gay crowd beyond sweep onward,
without a thought of those who perish daily for want of the bread of
eternal life. Oh! cast it upon those darkened waters, and it shall be
found again after many days. There we see human nature in all its unvailed
and degraded nakedness—the vile passions, the brutal coarseness, the
corroding malice, the undisguised licentiousness. Oh, ye who look on and
abhor, who pass like the Pharisee, and condemn the wretch by the wayside,
pause, and look within: education, circumstances, have refined and
elevated your thoughts and actions; but blessed are those who shall never
know by fearful experience how want and degradation can blunt the finest
sympathies, and change, nay, brutalize the moral being.

How have I shuddered to hear the fearful mirth with whose wild laughter
blasphemy and obscenity were mingled—that mockery of my sacred profession,
which I knew too well lurked under the over-strained assumption of
reverence for my words, when I was permitted to utter them, and the shout
of derision that followed too often my departing steps, knowing that those
immortal souls must one day render up their account; and humbly have I
prayed, that my still unwearied zeal might yet be permitted to scatter
forth the good seed which the cares and anxieties should not choke, nor
the stony soil refuse!

Passing one evening through one of those dilapidated streets, to which the
doors, half torn from their hinges, and the broken windows, admitting the
raw, cold, gusty winds, gave so comfortless an aspect, I turned at a
sudden angle into a district which I had never before visited. Through the
low arch of a half-ruined bridge, a turbid stream rolled rapidly on,
augmented by the late rains. A strange-looking building, partly formed of
wood, black and decaying with age and damp, leaned heavily over the
passing waters; it was composed of many stories, which were approached by
a wooden stair and shed-like gallery without, and evidently occupied by
many families. The lamenting wail of neglected children and the din of
contention were heard within. Hesitating on the threshold, I leant over
the bridge, and perceived an extensive area beneath the ancient tenement;
many low-browed doors, over whose broken steps the water washed and
rippled, became distinguishable. As I gazed, one of them suddenly opened,
and a pale haggard woman appeared, shading a flickering light with her
hand. I descended the few slippery wooden steps leading to the strange
abodes, and approached her. As I advanced, she appeared to recognize me.

“Come in, sir,” she said hurriedly; “there is one within will be glad to
see you;” and, turning, she led me through a winding passage into a dreary
room, whose blackened floor of stone bore strong evidence that the flood
chafed and darkened beneath it.

In an old arm-chair beside the rusty and almost fireless grate, sat, or
rather lay, a pale and fragile creature, a wreck of blighted loveliness.

“Helen,” said the woman, placing the light on a rough table near her,
“here is the minister come to see you.”

The person she addressed attempted to rise, but the effort was too much,
and she sank back, as if exhausted by it. A blush mantled over her cheek,
and gave to her large dark eyes a faint and fading lustre. She had been
beautiful, _very_ beautiful; but the delicate features were sharpened and
attenuated, the exquisite symmetry of her form worn by want and illness to
a mere outline of its former graceful proportions; yet, even amid the
squalid wretchedness that surrounded her, an air of by-gone superiority
gave a nameless interest to her appearance, and I approached her with a
respectful sympathy that seemed strange to my very self.

After a few explanatory sentences respecting my visit, to which she
assented by a humble yet silent movement of acquiescence, I commenced
reading the earnest prayers which the occasion called for. As I proceeded,
the faint chorus of a drinking song came upon my ears from some far
recesses of this mysterious abode; doors were suddenly opened and closed
with a vault-like echo, and a hoarse voice called on the woman who had
admitted me; she started suddenly from her knees, and, with the paleness
of fear on her countenance, left the room. After a moment’s hesitating
pause, the invalid spoke in a voice whose low flute-like tones stole upon
the heart like aerial music.

“I thank you,” she said, “for this kind visit, those soothing prayers. Oh,
how often in my wanderings have I longed to listen to such words! Cast
out, like an Indian pariah, from the pale of human fellowship, I had
almost forgotten how to pray; but you have shed the healing balm of
religion once more upon my seared and blighted heart, and I can weep glad
tears of penitence, and dare to hope for pardon.”

After this burst of excitement, she grew more calm, and our conversation
assumed a devotional yet placid tenor, until she drew from her bosom a
small packet, and gave it to me with a trembling hand.

“Read it, sir,” she said; “it is the sad history of a life of sorrow. Have
pity as you trace the record of human frailty, and remember that you are
the servant of the Merciful!”

She paused, and her cheek grew paler, as if her ear caught an unwelcome
but well-known sound. A quick step was soon heard in the passage, and a
man entered, bearing a light; he stood a moment on the threshold, as if
surprised, and then hastily approached us. A model of manly beauty, his
haughty features bore the prevailing characteristics of the gipsy
blood—the rich olive cheek, the lustrous eyes, the long silky raven hair,
the light and flexible form, the step lithe and graceful as the leopard’s;
yet were all these perfections marred by an air of reckless
licentiousness. His attire, which strangely mingled the rich and gaudy
with the worn and faded, added to the ruffianism of his appearance; and as
he cast a stern look on the pale girl, who shrank beneath his eye, I read
at once the mournful secret of her despair. With rough words he bade me
begone, and, as the beseeching eye of his victim glanced meaningly toward
the door, I departed, with a silent prayer in my heart for the betrayer
and the erring.

A cold drizzling rain was falling without, and I walked hastily homeward,
musing on the strange scene in which I had so lately mingled. Seated in my
little study, I drew my table near the fire, arranged my reading-lamp, and
commenced the perusal of the manuscript confided to my charge. It was
written in a delicate Italian hand upon uncouth and various scraps of
paper, and appeared to have been transcribed with little attempt at
arrangement, and at long intervals; but my curiosity added the links to
the leading events, and I gradually entered with deeper interest into the
mournful history.

“How happy was my childhood!” it began. “I can scarcely remember a grief
through all that sunny lapse of years. I dwelt in a beautiful abode,
uniting the verandas and vine-covered porticoes of southern climes with
the substantial in-door comforts of English luxury. The country around was
romantic, and I grew up in its sylvan solitudes almost as wild and happy
as the birds and fawns that were my companions.

“I was motherless. My father, on her death, had retired from public life,
and devoted himself to her child. Idolized by him, my wildest wishes were
unrestrained; the common forms of knowledge were eagerly accepted by me,
for I had an intuitive talent of acquiring any thing which contributed to
my pleasure; and I early discovered that, without learning to read and
write, the gilded books and enameled desks in my father’s library would
remain to me only as so many splendid baubles; but a regular education, a
religious and intellectual course of study, I never pursued. I read as I
liked, and when I liked. I was delicate in appearance, and my father
feared to control my spirits, or to rob me of a moment’s happiness. Fatal
affection! How did I repay such misjudging love!

“Time flowed brightly on, and I had already seen sixteen summers, when the
_little cloud_ appeared in the sky that so fearfully darkened my future
destiny. In one of our charitable visits to the neighboring cottages, we
formed an acquaintance with a gentleman who had become an inhabitant of
our village; a fall from his horse placed him under the care of our worthy
doctor, and he had hired a small room attached to Ashtree farm, until he
recovered from the lingering effects of his accident. Handsome, graceful,
and insinuating in his address, he captivated my ardent imagination at
once. Unaccustomed to the world, I looked upon him as the very ‘mould of
form;’ a new and blissful enchantment seemed to pervade my being in his
presence and my girlish fancy dignified the delusion with the name of
love? My father was delighted with his society; he possessed an
inexhaustible fund of anecdotes and strange adventures, was an excellent
musician, and had the agreeable tact of accommodating himself to the mood
of the moment. He was a constant visitor, and at length became almost
domesticated in our household. Known to us by the name of Corrie, he spoke
of himself as the son of a noble house, who, to indulge a poetic
temperament, and a romantic passion for rural scenery, had come forth on a
solitary pilgrimage, and cast aside for a while what he called the iron
fetters of exclusive society. How sweet were our moonlight ramblings
through the deep forest glens; how fondly we lingered by the Fairies’ Well
in the green hollow of the woods, watching the single star that glittered
in its pellucid waters! And, oh, what passionate eloquence, what romantic
adoration, was poured forth upon my willing ear, and thrilled my
susceptible heart!

“Before my father’s eye he appeared gracefully courteous to me, but not a
word or glance betrayed the passion which in our secret interviews
worshiped me as an idol, and enthralled my senses with the ardency of its
homage. This, he told me, was necessary for my happiness, as my father
might separate us if he suspected that another shared the heart hitherto
exclusively his own. This was my first deception. Fatal transgression! I
had departed from the path of truth, and my guardian angel grew pale in
the presence of the tempter. Winter began to darken the valleys; our
fireside circle was enlivened by the presence of our accomplished guest.
On the eve of my natal day, he spoke of the birth-day fetes he had
witnessed during his Continental and Oriental rambles, complimented my
father on the antique beauty and massy richness of the gold and silver
plate which, rarely used, decorated the sideboard in honor of the
occasion; and, admiring the pearls adorning my hair and bosom, spoke so
learnedly on the subject of jewels, that my father brought forth from his
Indian cabinet my mother’s bridal jewels, diamonds, and emeralds of
exquisite lustre and beauty. I had never before seen these treasures, and
our guest joined in the raptures of my admiration.

“ ‘They will adorn my daughter,’ said my father, with a sigh, as he closed
the casket, and retired to place it in its safe receptacle.

“ ‘Yes, my Helen,’ said my lover, ‘they shall glitter on that fair brow in
a prouder scene, when thy beauty shall gladden the eyes of England’s
nobles, and create envy in her fairest daughters.’

“I listened with a smile, and, on my father’s return, passed another
evening of happiness—my last!

“We retired early, and oh, how bright were the dreams that floated around
my pillow, how sweet the sleep that stole upon me as I painted the
future—an elysium of love and splendor! I was awakened by a wild cry that
rang with agonizing horror through the midnight stillness: it was the
voice of my father. I sprang hastily from my couch, threw on a wrapper,
seized the night-lamp, and hurried to his chamber. Ruffians opposed my
entrance; the Indian cabinet lay shattered on the floor, and I beheld my
father struggling in the fierce grasp of a man, who had clasped his throat
to choke the startling cry. With maniac force I reached the couch, and,
seizing the murderous hand, called aloud for help. The robber started with
a wild execration, the mask fell from his face, and I beheld the features
of Gilbert Corrie!...

“When I recovered consciousness, I found that I had suffered a long
illness—a brain fever, caused, the strange nurse said, by some sudden
shock. Alas, how dreadful had been that fatal cause! Sometimes I think my
head has never been cool since; a dull throb of agony presses yet upon my
brow; sometimes it passes away; my spirits mount lightly, and I can laugh,
but it has a hollow sound—oh, how unlike the sweet laughter of by-gone
days!...

“We were in London. My apartments were sumptuous: all that wealth could
supply was mine; but what a wretch was I amid that scene of splendor! The
destroyer was now the arbiter of my destiny. I knew his wealth arose from
his nefarious transactions at the gaming-table. I knew my father was dead;
the severe injuries he had received on that fatal night and the mysterious
disappearance of his daughter had laid him in his grave. Gilbert Corrie
was virtually his murderer, yet still I loved him! A passion partaking of
delirium bound me to his destiny. I shrank not from the caress of the
felon gamester—the plague-stain of sin was upon me—the burning plow-shares
of the world’s scorn lay in my path, and how was the guilty one to dare
the fearful ordeal? For fallen woman there is _no return;_ no penitence
can restore her sullied brightness; the angel-plumes of purity are
scattered in the dust, and never can the lost one regain the Eden of her
innocence. The world may pity, may pardon, but never more _respect;_ and,
oh, how dreadful to mingle with the pure, and feel the mark of Cain upon
your brow!...

“A change came suddenly upon Gilbert. There was no longer the lavish
expenditure, the careless profusion: his looks and tone were altered. A
haggard expression sat upon his handsome features, and the words of
endearment no longer flowed from his lips; a quick footstep beneath the
window made him start, strange-looking men visited him, his absences were
long, his garments often changed: the vail was about to be lifted from my
_real_ position.

“One night he entered hastily, snatched me from the luxurious fauteuil on
which I rested, and led me, without answering my questions, to a
hackney-coach. We were speedily whirled away, and I never again beheld
that home of splendor. By by-paths we entered a close and murky street,
the coach was discharged, I was hurried over a dark miry road, and,
passing through a court-yard, the gate of which closed behind us, was led
without ceremony into a wretched apartment, thronged with fierce,
ill-looking men, seated round a table well supplied with wines and ardent
spirits. Our entrance was hailed with shouts. Gilbert was called by the
name of ‘noble captain’ to the head of the table, and I was suffered
disregarded to weep alone. I seated myself at length by the blazing fire,
and then first knew the real horrors of my destiny.

“From their discourse I gathered that Gilbert had committed extensive
forgeries, and had that night escaped the pursuit of justice. Bumpers of
congratulation were drunk; plans of robberies discussed, and the gipsy
captain chosen as the leader of the most daring exploits contemplated.

“Since that night, how fearful have been my vicissitudes! Sometimes, as
the splendidly-dressed mistress of private gambling-rooms, I have received
the selected dupes in a luxurious boudoir, decoying the victims by
fascinating smiles into the snare laid for them by Gilbert and his
associates. Sometimes, encamping with the wild gipsy tribe in some hidden
dell or woodland haunt, where their varied spoils were in safe keeping.
Anon, the painted and tinseled queen of an itinerant show, where Gilbert
enacted the mountebank, and by the brilliance of his fascinating eloquence
drew into his treasury the hard-earned savings of the rustic gazers.

“To all those degredations have I submitted, and now, oh, now, more than
ever, has the iron entered into my soul! He has ceased to love me. I have
become an encumbrance; my beauty has faded from exposure and neglect. I
have sunk beneath his blows, have writhed beneath the bitterness of his
sarcasms, his brutal jests, his scornful mockery of my penitence and
tears. I have endured the agony of hunger while he rioted with his
companions in profligate luxury; and yet, if the old smile lights up his
countenance, the old look shines forth from his lustrous eyes, he is again
to me the lover of my youth, and the past is a hideous dream. Oh, woman’s
heart, how unfathomable is thy mystery!”

The manuscript here ended abruptly. How sad a moral might be drawn from
the history of this unfortunate! What rare gifts of mind and beauty had
the want of religion marred and blighted! Had the Sun of Righteousness
shone upon that ardent heart, its aspirations had been glorious, its
course


          “Upward! upward!
    Through the doubt and the dismay
    Upward! to the perfect day!”


What mournful tragedies are ever around us, flowing on with the perpetual
under-current of human life, each hour laden with its mystery and sorrow,
sweeping like dim phantoms through the arch of time, and burying the
fearful records in the oblivion of the abyss beyond! How few of the
floating wrecks are snatched from the darkening tide!

I returned the next day to the dwelling of Helen, but it was shut up, and
in the day-time appeared as if long deserted. To all inquiries, the
neighbors answered reluctantly that it had long been uninhabited, and that
its last occupants had been a gang of coiners, who were now suffering the
penalty of transportation. I often visited the same district, but all my
after-search was in vain, and the fate of Helen Corrie still remains an
undiscovered mystery.



THE GOOD OLD TIMES IN PARIS.


The world, since it was a world at all, has ever been fond of singing the
praises of the good old times. It would seem a general rule, that so soon
as we get beyond a certain age, whatever that may be, we acquire a high
opinion of the past, and grumble at every thing new under the sun. One
cause of this may be, that distance lends enchantment to the view, and
that the history of the past, like a landscape traveled over, loses in
review all the rugged and wearisome annoyances that rendered it scarcely
bearable in the journey. But it is hardly worth while to speculate upon
the causes of an absurdity which a little candid retrospection will do
more to dissipate than whole folios of philosophy. We can easily
understand a man who sighs that he was not born a thousand years hence
instead of twenty or thirty years ago, but that any one should encourage a
regret that his lot in life was not cast a few centuries back, seems
inexplicable on any rational grounds. The utter folly of praising the good
old times may be illustrated by a reference to the wretched condition of
most European cities; but we shall confine ourselves to the single case of
Paris, now one of the most beautiful capitals in the world.

In the thirteenth century the streets of Paris were not paved; they were
muddy and filthy to a very horrible degree, and swine constantly loitered
about and fed in them. At night there were no public lights, and
assassinations and robberies were far from infrequent. At the beginning of
the fourteenth century public lighting was begun on a limited scale; and
at best only a few tallow candles were put up in prominent situations. The
improvement, accordingly, did little good, and the numerous bands of
thieves had it still pretty much their own way. Severity of punishment
seldom compensates the want of precautionary measures. It was the general
custom at this period to cut off the ears of a condemned thief after the
term of his imprisonment had elapsed. This was done that offenders might
be readily recognized should they dare again to enter the city, banishment
from which was a part of the sentence of such as were destined to be
cropped. But they often found it easier to fabricate false ears than to
gain a livelihood away from the arena of their exploits; and this measure,
severe and cruel as it was, was found inefficient to rid the capital of
their presence.

Among the various adventures with thieves, detailed by an author
contemporaneous with Louis XIII., the following affords a rich example of
the organization of the domestic brigands of the time, and of the wretched
security which the capital afforded to its inhabitants:

A celebrated advocate named Polidamor had by his reputation for riches
aroused the covetousness of some chiefs of a band of brigands, who
flattered themselves that could they catch him they would obtain
possession of an important sum. They placed upon his track three bold
fellows, who, after many fruitless endeavors, encountered him one evening
accompanied only by a single lackey. Seizing fast hold of himself and
attendant, they rifled him in a twinkling; and as he had accidentally left
his purse at home, they took his rich cloak of Spanish cloth and silk,
which was quite new, and of great value. Polidamor, who at first resisted,
found himself compelled to yield to force, but asked as a favor to be
allowed to redeem his mantle. This was agreed to at the price of thirty
pistoles; and the rogues appointed a rendezvous the next day, at six in
the evening, on the same spot, for the purpose of effecting the exchange.
They recommended him to come alone, assuring him that his life would be
endangered should he appear accompanied with an escort. Polidamor repaired
to the place at the appointed hour, and after a few moments of expectation
he saw a carriage approaching in which were seated four persons in the
garb of gentlemen. They descended from the vehicle, and one of them,
advancing toward the advocate, asked him in a low voice if he were not in
search of a cloak of Spanish cloth and silk. The victim replied in the
affirmative, and declared himself prepared to redeem it at the sum at
which it had been taxed. The thieves having assured themselves that he was
alone, seized him, and made him get into the carriage; and one of them
presenting a pistol to his breast, bade him hold his tongue under pain of
instant death, while another blindfolded him. As the advocate trembled
with fear, they assured him that no harm was intended, and bade the
coachman drive on.

After a rapid flight, which was yet long enough to inspire the prisoner
with deadly terror, the carriage stopped in front of a large mansion, the
gate of which opened to receive them, and closed again as soon as they had
passed the threshold. The robbers alighted with their captive, from whose
eyes they now removed the bandage. He was led into an immense saloon,
where were a number of tables, upon which the choicest viands were
profusely spread, and seated at which was a company of gentlemanly-looking
personages, who chatted familiarly together without the slightest
demonstration of confusion or alarm. His guardians again enjoined him to
lay aside all fear, informed him that he was in good society, and that
they had brought him there solely that they might enjoy the pleasure of
his company at supper. In the mean while water was served to the guests,
that they might wash their hands before sitting at table. Every man took
his place, and a seat was assigned to Polidamor at the upper and
privileged end of the board. Astonished, or rather stupefied at the
strange circumstances of his adventure, he would willingly have abstained
from taking any part in the repast; but he was compelled to make a show of
eating, in order to dissemble his mistrust and agitation. When the supper
was ended and the tables were removed, one of the gentlemen who had
assisted in his capture accosted him with polite expressions of regret at
his want of appetite. During the interchange of courtesies which ensued,
one of the bandits took a lute, another a viol, and the party began to
amuse themselves with music. The advocate was then invited to walk into a
neighboring room, where he perceived a considerable number of mantles
ranged in order. He was desired to select his own, and to count out the
thirty pistoles agreed upon, together with one for coach-hire, and one
more for his share of the reckoning at supper. Polidamor, who had been
apprehensive that the drama of which his mantle had been the occasion
might have a very different _dénouement_, was but too well pleased to be
quit at such a cost, and he took leave of the assembly with unfeigned
expressions of gratitude. The carriage was called, and before entering it
he was again blindfolded; his former conductors returned with him to the
spot where he had been seized, where, removing the bandage from his eyes,
they allowed him to alight, presenting him at the same moment with a
ticket sealed with green wax, and having these words inscribed in large
letters, “_Freed by the Great Band_.” This ticket was a passport securing
his mantle, purse, and person against all further assaults. Hastening to
regain his residence with all speed, he was assailed at a narrow turning
by three other rascals, who demanded his purse or his life. The advocate
drew his ticket from his pocket, though he had no great faith in it as a
preservative, and presented it to the thieves. One of them, provided with
a dark lantern, read it, returned it, and recommended him to make haste
home, where he at last arrived in safety.

Early in the seventeenth century the Parisian rogues availed themselves of
the regulations against the use of snuff to pillage the snuff-takers. As
the sale of this article was forbidden by law to any but grocers and
apothecaries, and as even they could only retail it to persons provided
with the certificate of a medical man, the annoyance of such restrictions
was loudly complained of. The rogues, ever ready to profit by
circumstances, opened houses for gaming—at that period almost a universal
vice—where “snuff at discretion” was a tempting bait to those long
accustomed to a gratification all the more agreeable because it was
forbidden. Here the snuff-takers were diligently plied with wine, and then
cheated of their money; or, if too temperate or suspicious to drink to
excess, they were unceremoniously plundered in a sham quarrel. To such a
length was this practice carried, that an ordinance was at length issued
in 1629, strictly forbidding all snuff-takers from assembling in public
places or elsewhere, “_pour satisfaire leur goút_!”

The thieves of the good old times were not only more numerous in
proportion to the population than they are at present, but were also
distinguished by greater audacity and cruelty.—They had recourse to the
most diabolical ingenuity to subdue the resistance and to prevent the
outcries of their victims. Under the rule of Henry IV. a band of brigands
arose, who, in the garb, and with the manners of gentlemen, introduced
themselves into the best houses under the pretext of private business, and
when alone with the master, demanded his money at the dagger’s point. Some
of them made use of a gag—a contrivance designated at the period the
_poire d’angoisse_. This instrument was of a spherical shape, and pierced
all over with small holes; it was forced into the mouth of the person
intended to be robbed, and upon touching a spring sharp points protruded
from every hole, at once inflicting the most horrible anguish, and
preventing the sufferer from uttering a single cry. It could not be
withdrawn but by the use of the proper key, which contracted the spring.
This device was adopted universally by one savage band, and occasioned
immense misery not only in Paris, but throughout France.

An Italian thief, an enterprising and ingenious rogue, adopted a singular
expedient for robbing women at their devotions in church. He placed
himself on his knees by the side of his intended prey, holding in a pair
of artificial hands a book of devotion, to which he made a show of the
most devout attention, while with his natural hands he cut the watch or
purse-string of his unsuspecting neighbor. This stratagem, favored by the
fashion, then general, of wearing mantles, met with great success, and of
course soon produced a host of clumsy imitators, and excited the vigilance
of the police, who at length made so many seizures of solemn-faced
devotees provided with wooden kid-gloved hands, that it fell into complete
discredit, and was at last abandoned by the profession.

Cunning as were the rogues of a past age, they were liable to capture like
their modern successors. A gentleman having resorted to Paris on business,
was hustled one day in the precincts of the palace, and robbed of his
well-filled purse. Furious at the loss of a considerable sum, he swore to
be avenged. He procured a clever mechanic, who, under his directions,
contrived a kind of hand-trap for the pocket, managed in such a manner as
to preclude the possibility of an attempt at purse-stealing without
detection. Having fixed the instrument in its place, impatient for the
revenge he had promised himself, he sallied forth to promenade the public
walks, mingled with every group, and stopped from time to time gazing
about him with the air of a greenhorn. Several days passed before any
thing resulted from his plan; but one morning, while he was gaping at the
portraits of the kings of France in one of the public galleries, he finds
himself surrounded and pushed about, precisely as in the former instance;
he feels a hand insinuating itself gently into the open snare, and hears
immediately the click of the instrument, which assures him that the
delinquent is safely caught. Taking no notice, he walks on as if nothing
had happened, and resumes his promenade, drawing after him the thief, whom
pain and shame prevented from making the least effort to disengage his
hand. Occasionally the gentleman would turn round, and rebuke his
unwilling follower for his importunity, and thus drew the eyes of the
whole crowd upon his awkward position. At last, pretending to observe for
the first time the stranger’s hand in his pocket, he flies into a violent
passion, accuses him of being a cut-purse, and demands the sum he had
previously lost, without which he declares the villain shall be hanged. It
would seem that compounding a felony was nothing in those days; for it is
upon record that the thief, though caught in the act, was permitted to
send a messenger to his comrades, who advanced the money, and therewith
purchased his liberty.

The people were forbidden to employ particular materials in the
fabrication of their clothing, to ride in a coach, to decorate their
apartments as they chose, to purchase certain articles of furniture, and
even to give a dinner-party when and in what style they chose. Under the
Valois régime strict limits were assigned to the expenses of the table,
determining the number of courses of which a banquet should consist, and
that of the dishes of which each course was to be composed. Any guest who
should fail to denounce an infraction of the law of which he had been a
witness, was liable to a fine of forty livres; and officers of justice,
who might be present, were strictly enjoined to quit the tables of their
hosts, and institute immediate proceedings against them. The rigor of
these regulations extended even to the kitchen, and the police had the
power of entry at all hours, to enforce compliance with the statutes.

But it was during the prevalence of an epidemic that it was least
agreeable to live in France in the good old times. No sooner did a
contagious malady, or one that was supposed to be so, make its appearance,
than the inhabitants of Paris were all forbidden to remove from one
residence to another, although their term of tenancy had expired, until
the judge of police had received satisfactory evidence that the house they
desired to leave had not been affected by the contagion. When a house was
infected, a bundle of straw fastened to one of the windows warned the
public to avoid all intercourse with the inmates. At a later period two
wooden crosses were substituted for the straw, one of which was attached
to the front door, and the other to one of the windows in an upper story.
In 1596 the provost of Paris having learned that the tenants of some
houses infected by an epidemic which was then making great ravages, had
removed these badges, issued an ordinance commanding that those who
transgressed in a similar manner again should suffer the loss of the right
hand—a threat which was found perfectly efficient.

By an ordinance of 1533, persons recovering from a contagious malady,
together with their domestics, and all the members of their families, were
forbidden to appear in the streets for a given period without a white wand
in their hands, to warn the public of the danger of contact.—Three years
after, the authorities were yet more severe against the convalescents, who
were ordered to remain shut up at home for forty days after their cure;
and even when the quarantine had expired, they were not allowed to appear
in the streets until they had presented to a magistrate a certificate from
the commissary of their district, attested by a declaration of six
house-holders, that the forty days had elapsed. In the preceding century
(in 1498) an ordinance still more extraordinary had been issued. It was at
the coronation of Louis XII., when a great number of the nobles came to
Paris to take part in the ceremony. The provost, desiring to guard them
from the danger of infection, published an order that all persons of both
sexes, suffering under certain specified maladies, should quit the capital
in twenty-four hours, _under the penalty of being thrown into the river_!



VISION OF CHARLES XI.


We are in the habit of laughing incredulously at stories of visions and
supernatural apparitions, yet some are so well authenticated, that if we
refuse to believe them, we should, in consistency, reject all historical
evidence. The fact I am about to relate is guaranteed by a declaration
signed by four credible witnesses; I will only add, that the prediction
contained in this declaration was well known, and generally spoken of,
long before the occurrence of the events which have apparently fulfilled
it.

Charles XI. father of the celebrated Charles XII. was one of the most
despotic, but, at the same time, wisest monarchs, who ever reigned in
Sweden. He curtailed the enormous privileges of the nobility, abolished
the power of the Senate, made laws on his own authority; in a word, he
changed the constitution of the country, hitherto an oligarchy, and forced
the States to invest him with absolute power. He was a man of an
enlightened and strong mind, firmly attached to the Lutheran religion; his
disposition was cold, unfeeling, and phlegmatic, utterly destitute of
imagination. He had just lost his queen, Ulrica Eleonora, and he appeared
to feel her death more than could have been expected from a man of his
character. He became even more gloomy and silent than before, and his
incessant application to business proved his anxiety to banish painful
reflections.

Toward the close of an autumn evening, he was sitting in his dressing-gown
and slippers, before a large fire, in his private apartment. His
chamberlain, Count Brahe, and his physician, Baumgarten, were with him.
The evening wore away, and his Majesty did not dismiss them as usual; with
his head down and his eyes fixed on the fire, he maintained a profound
silence, weary of his guests, and fearing, half unconsciously, to remain
alone. The count and his companion tried various subjects of conversation,
but could interest him in nothing. At length Brahe, who supposed that
sorrow for the queen was the cause of his depression, said with a deep
sigh, and pointing to her portrait, which hung in the room,

“What a likeness that is! How truly it gives the expression, at once so
gentle and so dignified!”

“Nonsense!” said the king, angrily, “the portrait is far too flattering;
the queen was decidedly plain.”

Then, vexed at his unkind words, he rose and walked up and down the room,
to hide an emotion at which he blushed. After a few minutes he stopped
before the window looking into the court; the night was black, and the
moon in her first quarter.

The palace where the kings of Sweden now reside was not completed, and
Charles XI. who commenced it, inhabited the old palace, situated on the
Ritzholm, facing Lake Modu. It is a large building in the form of a
horseshoe: the king’s private apartments were in one of the extremities;
opposite was the great hall where the States assembled to receive
communications from the crown. The windows of that hall suddenly appeared
illuminated. The king was startled, but at first supposed that a servant
with a light was passing through; but then, that hall was never opened
except on state occasions, and the light was too brilliant to be caused by
a single lamp. It then occurred to him that it must be a conflagration;
but there was no smoke, and the glass was not broken; it had rather the
appearance of an illumination. Brahe’s attention being called to it, he
proposed sending one of the pages to ascertain the cause of the light, but
the king stopped him, saying, he would go himself to the hall. He left the
room, followed by the count and doctor, with lighted torches. Baumgarten
called the man who had charge of the keys, and ordered him, in the king’s
name, to open the doors of the great hall. Great was his surprise at this
unexpected command. He dressed himself quickly, and came to the king with
his bunch of keys. He opened the first door of a gallery which served as
an ante-chamber to the hall. The king entered, and what was his amazement
at finding the walls hung with black.

“What is the meaning of this?” asked he.

The man replied, that he did not know what to make of it, adding, “When
the gallery was last opened, there was certainly no hanging over the oak
paneling.”

The king walked on to the door of the hall.

“Go no further, for heaven’s sake,” exclaimed the man; “surely there is
sorcery going on inside. At this hour, since the queen’s death, they say
she walks up and down here. May God protect us!”

“Stop, sire,” cried the count and Baumgarten together, “don’t you hear
that noise? Who knows to what dangers you are exposing yourself! At all
events, allow me to summon the guards.”

“I will go in,” said the king, firmly; “open the door at once.”

The man’s hand trembled so that he could not turn the key.

“A fine thing to see an old soldier frightened,” said the king, shrugging
his shoulders; “come count, will you open the door?”

“Sire,” replied Brahe, “let your Majesty command me to march to the mouth
of a Danish or German cannon, and I will obey unhesitatingly, but I can
not defy hell itself.”

“Well,” said the king, in a tone of contempt, “I can do it myself.”

He took the key, opened the massive oak door, and entered the hall,
pronouncing the words “With the help of God.” His three attendants, whose
curiosity overcame their fears, or who, perhaps, were ashamed to desert
their sovereign, followed him. The hall was lighted by an innumerable
number of torches. A black hanging had replaced the old tapestry. The
benches round the hall were occupied by a multitude, all dressed in black;
their faces were so dazzlingly bright that the four spectators of this
scene were unable to distinguish one among them. On an elevated throne,
from which the king was accustomed to address the assembly, sat a bloody
corpse, as if wounded in several parts, and covered with the ensigns of
royalty; on his right stood a child, a crown on his head, and a sceptre in
his hand; at his left an old man leant on the throne; he was dressed in
the mantle formerly worn by the administrators of Sweden, before it became
a kingdom under Gustavus Vasa. Before the throne were seated several
grave, austere looking personages, in long black robes. Between the throne
and the benches of the assembly was a block covered with black crape; an
ax lay beside it. No one in the vast assembly appeared conscious of the
presence of Charles and his companions. On their entrance they heard
nothing but a confused murmur, in which they could distinguish no words.
Then the most venerable of the judges in the black robes, he who seemed to
be their president, rose, and struck his hand five times on a folio volume
which lay open before him. Immediately there was a profound silence, and
some young men, richly dressed, their hands tied behind their backs,
entered the hall by a door opposite to that which Charles had opened. He
who walked first, and who appeared the most important of the prisoners,
stopped in the middle of the hall, before the block, which he looked at
with supreme contempt. At the same time the corpse on the throne trembled
convulsively, and a crimson stream flowed from his wounds. The young man
knelt down, laid his head on the block, the ax glittered in the air for a
moment, descended on the block, the head rolled over the marble pavement,
and reached the feet of the king, and stained his slipper with blood.
Until this moment surprise had kept Charles silent, but this horrible
spectacle roused him, and advancing two or three steps toward the throne,
he boldly addressed the figure on its left in the well-known formulary,
“If thou art of God, speak; if of the other, leave us in peace.”

The phantom answered slowly and solemnly, “King Charles, this blood will
not flow in thy time, but five reigns after.” Here the voice became less
distinct, “Woe, woe, woe to the blood of Vasa!” The forms of all the
assembly now became less clear, and seemed but colored shades: soon they
entirely disappeared; the lights were extinguished; still they heard a
melodious noise, which one of the witnesses compared to the murmuring of
the wind among the trees, another to the sound a harp string gives in
breaking. All agreed as to the duration of the apparition, which they said
lasted ten minutes. The hangings, the head, the waves of blood, all had
disappeared with the phantoms, but Charles’s slipper still retained a
crimson stain, which alone would have served to remind him of the scenes
of this night, if indeed they had not been but too well engraven on his
memory.

When the king returned to his apartment, he wrote an account of what he
had seen, and he and his companions signed it. In spite of all the
precautions taken to keep these circumstances private, they were well
known, even during the lifetime of Charles, and no one hitherto has
thought fit to raise doubts as to their authenticity.



STREET-SCENES OF THE FRENCH USURPATION.


A writer in Dickens’s Household Words gives a graphic sketch of a visit to
Paris during the recent usurpation of Louis Napoleon, and of the scenes of
butchery which occurred in the streets. On arriving in Paris, he says,
every thing spoke of the state of siege. The newspapers were in a state of
siege; for the Government had suspended all but its own immediate organs.
The offices of the sententious “Siècle,” the mercurial “Presse,” the
satiric “Charivari,” the jovial “Journal pour Rire,” were occupied by the
military; and, to us English, they whispered even of a park of artillery
in the Rue Vivienne, and of a government proof-reader in the
printing-office of “Galignani’s Messenger,” striking out obnoxious
paragraphs by the dozen. The provisions were in a state of siege, the milk
was out, and no one would volunteer to go to the _crêmiers_ for more; the
cabs, the _commissionnaires_ with their trucks, were besieged; the very
gas was slow in coming from the main, as though the pipes were in a state
of siege. Nobody could think or speak of any thing but this confounded
siege. Thought itself appeared to be beleaguered; for no one dared to give
it any thing but a cautious and qualified utterance. The hotel was full of
English ladies and gentlemen, who would have been delighted to go away by
the first train on any of the railways; but there might just as well have
been no railways, for all the good they were, seeing that it was
impossible to get to or from the termini with safety. The gentlemen were
valorous, certainly—there was a prevalence of “who’s afraid?” sentiments;
but they read the French Bradshaw earnestly, and gazed at the map of Paris
with nervous interest—beating, meanwhile, the devil’s tattoo. As for the
ladies, dear creatures, they made no secret of their extreme terror and
despair. The lone old lady, who is frightened at every thing, and who will
not even travel in an omnibus with a sword in a case, for fear it should
go off, was paralyzed with fear, and could only ejaculate, “Massacre!” The
strong-minded lady of a certain age, who had longed for the “pride, pomp,
and circumstance of glorious war,” had taken refuge in that excellent
collection of tracts, of which “The Dairyman’s Daughter,” is one; and gave
short yelps of fear whenever the door opened. Fear, like every other
emotion, is contagious. Remarking so many white faces, so much subdued
utterance, so many cowed and terrified looks, I thought it very likely
that I might get frightened, too. So, having been up all the previous
night, I went to bed.

I slept; I dreamt of a locomotive engine blowing up and turning into the
last scene of a pantomime, with “state of siege” displayed in colored
fires. I dreamt I lived next door to an undertaker, or a trunk-maker, or a
manufacturer of fire-works. I awoke to the rattle of musketry in the
distance—soon, too soon, to be followed by the roar of the cannon.

I am not a fighting man. “’Tis not my vocation, Hal.” I am not ashamed to
say that I did _not_ gird my sword on my thigh, and sally out to conquer
or to die; that I did not ensconce myself at a second floor window, and
pick off _à la Charles IX._, the leaders of the enemy below.—Had I been
“our own correspondent,” I might have written, in the intervals of
fighting, terrific accounts of the combat on cartridge paper, with a pen
made from a bayonet, dipped in gunpowder and gore. Had I been “our own
artist,” I might have mounted a monster barricade—waving the flag of
Freedom with one hand, and taking sketches with the other. But being
neither, I did not do any thing of the kind. I will tell you what I did: I
withdrew, with seven Englishmen as valorous as myself, to an apartment,
which I have reason to believe is below the basement floor; and there, in
company with sundry _carafons_ of particular cognac, and a large box of
cigars, passed the remainder of the day.

I sincerely hope that I shall never pass such another. We rallied each
other, talked, laughed, and essayed to sing; but the awful consciousness
of the horror of our situation hung over us all—the knowledge that within
a few hundred yards of us God’s image was being wantonly defaced; that in
the streets hard by, in the heart of the most civilized city of the world,
within a stone’s throw of all that is gay, luxurious, splendid, in Paris,
men—speaking the same language, worshiping the same God—were shooting each
other like wild beasts; that every time we heard the sharp crackling of
the musketry, a message of death was gone forth to hundreds; that every
time the infernal artillery—“nearer, clearer, deadlier than before”—broke,
roaring on the ear, the ground was cumbered with corpses. Glorious war! I
should like the amateurs of sham fights, showy reviews, and scientific
ball practice, to have sat with us in the cellar that same Thursday, and
listened to the rattle and the roar. I should like them to have been
present, when venturing up during a lull, about half-past four, and
glancing nervously from our _porte-cochère_, a regiment of dragoons came
thundering past, pointing their pistols at the windows, and shouting at
those within, with oaths to retire from them. I should like the young
ladies who waltz with the “dear Lancers,” to have seen _these_ Lancers, in
stained white cloaks, with their murderous weapons couched. I should like
those who admire the Horse Guards—the prancing steeds, the shining casques
and cuirasses, the massive epaulets and dangling sabres, the trim
mustache, irreproachable buckskins, and dazzling jack-boots—to have seen
these cuirassiers gallop by: their sorry horses covered with mud and
sweat; their haggard faces blackened with gunpowder; their shabby
accoutrements and battered helmets. The bloody swords, the dirt, the
hoarse voices, unkempt beards. Glorious war! I think the sight of those
horrible troopers would do more to cure its admirers than all the orators
of the Peace Society could do in a twelve-month!

We dined—without the ladies, of course—and sat up until very late; the
cannon and musketry roaring meanwhile, till nearly midnight. Then it
stopped—

To recommence again, however, on the next (Friday) morning. Yesterday they
had been fighting all day on the Boulevards, from the Madeleine to the
Temple. To-day, they were murdering each other at Belleville, at La
Chapelle St. Denis, at Montmartre. Happily the firing ceased at about nine
o’clock, and we heard no more.

I do not, of course, pretend to give any account of what really took place
in the streets on Thursday; how many barricades were erected, and how they
were defended or destroyed. I do not presume to treat of the details of
the combat myself, confining what I have to say to a description of what I
really saw of the social aspect of the city. The journals have given full
accounts of what brigades executed what manœuvres, of how many were shot
to death here, and how many bayoneted there.

On Friday at noon, the embargo on the cabs was removed—although that on
the omnibuses continued; and circulation for foot passengers became
tolerably safe, in the Quartier St. Honoré, and on the Boulevards. I went
into an English chemist’s shop in the Rue de la Paix, for a bottle of
soda-water. The chemist was lying dead up-stairs, shot. He was going from
his shop to another establishment he had in the Faubourg Poissonière, to
have the shutters shut, apprehending a disturbance. Entangled for a moment
on the Boulevard, close to the Rue Lepelletier, among a crowd of
well-dressed persons, principally English and Americans, an order was
given to clear the Boulevard. A charge of Lancers was made, the men firing
their pistols wantonly among the flying crowd; and the chemist was shot
dead. Scores of similar incidents took place on that dreadful Thursday
afternoon.—Friends, acquaintances of my own, had friends, neighbors,
relations, servants, killed. Yet it was all accident,
chance-medley—excusable, of course. How were the soldiers to distinguish
between insurgents and sight-seers? These murders were, after all, but a
few of the thorns to be found in the rose-bush of glorious war!

From the street which in old Paris times used to go by the name of the Rue
Royale, and which I know by the token that there is an English
pastry-cook’s on the right-hand side, coming down; where in old days I
used (a small lad then at the Collège Bourbon) to spend my half-holidays
in consuming real English cheesecakes, and thinking of home—in the Rue
Royale, now called, I think, Rue de la République; I walked on to the
place, and by the Boulevard de la Madeleine, des Italiens, and so by the
long line of that magnificent thoroughfare, to within a few streets of the
Porte St. Denis. Here I stopped, for the simple reason that a hedge of
soldiery bristled ominously across the road, close to the Rue de Faubourg
Montmartre, and that the commanding officer would let neither man, woman,
nor child pass. The Boulevards were crowded, almost impassable in fact,
with persons of every grade, from the “lion” of the Jockey Club, or the
English nobleman, to the pretty grisette in her white cap, and the
scowling, bearded citizen, clad in blouse and _calotte_, and looking very
much as if he knew more of a barricade than he chose to aver. The houses
on either side of the way bore frightful traces of the combat of the
previous day. The Maison Doré, the Café Anglais, the Opéra Comique,
Tortoni’s, the Jockey Club, the Belle Jardinière, the Hôtel des Affaires
Etrangères, and scores, I might almost say hundreds of the houses had
their windows smashed, or the magnificent sheets of plate-glass starred
with balls; the walls pockmarked with bullets: seamed and scarred and
blackened with gunpowder. A grocer, close to the Rue de Marivaux, told me
that he had not been able to open his door that morning for the dead
bodies piled on the step before it. Round all the young trees (the old
trees were cut down for former barricades in February and June, 1848), the
ground shelves a little in a circle; in these circles there were pools of
blood. The people—the extraordinary, inimitable, consistently inconsistent
French people—were unconcernedly lounging about, looking at these things
with pleased yet languid curiosity. They paddled in the pools of blood;
they traced curiously the struggles of some wounded wretch, who, shot or
sabred on the curbstone, had painfully, deviously, dragged himself (so the
gouts of blood showed) to a door-step—to die. They felt the walls, pitted
by musket bullets; they poked their walking-sticks into the holes made by
the cannon-balls. It was as good as a play to them.

The road on either side was lined with dragoons armed _cap-a-pié_. The
poor tired horses were munching the forage with which the muddy ground was
strewn; and the troopers sprawled listlessly about, smoking their short
pipes, and mending their torn costume or shattered accoutrements.
Indulging, however, in the _dolce far niente_, as they seemed to be, they
were ready for action at a moment’s notice. There was, about two o’clock,
an _alerte_—a rumor of some tumult toward the Rue St. Denis. One solitary
trumpet sounded “boot and saddle;” and, with almost magical celerity, each
dragoon twisted a quantity of forage into a species of rope, which he hung
over his saddle-bow, crammed his half-demolished loaf into his holsters,
buckled on his cuirass; then, springing himself on his horse, sat
motionless: each cavalier with his pistol cocked, and his finger on the
trigger. The crowd thickened; and in the road itself there was a single
file of cabs, carts, and even private carriages. Almost every moment
detachments of prisoners, mostly blouses, passed, escorted by cavalry;
then a yellow flag was seen, announcing the approach of an ambulance, or
long covered vehicle, filled with wounded soldiers; then hearses; more
prisoners, more ambulances, orderly dragoons at full gallop, orderlies,
military surgeons in their cocked hats and long frock coats, broughams
with smart general officers inside, all smoking.

As to the soldiers, they appear never to leave off smoking. They smoke in
the guard-room, off duty, and even when on guard. An eye-witness of the
combat told me that many of the soldiers had, when charging, short pipes
in their mouths, and the officers, almost invariably, smoked cigars.

At three, there was more trumpeting, more drumming, a general backing of
horses on the foot-passengers, announcing the approach of some important
event. A cloud of cavalry came galloping by; then, a numerous and
brilliant group of staff-officers. In the midst of these, attired in the
uniform of a general of the National Guard, rode Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.

I saw him again the following day in the Champs Elysée, riding with a
single English groom behind him; and again in a chariot, escorted by
cuirassiers.

When he had passed, I essayed a further progress toward the Rue St. Denis;
but the hedge of bayonets still bristled as ominously as ever. I went into
a little tobacconist’s shop; and the pretty _marchande_ showed me a
frightful trace of the passage of a cannon ball, which had gone right
through the shutter and glass, smashed cases on cases of cigars, and half
demolished the little tobacconist’s parlor.

My countrymen were in great force on the Boulevards, walking arm and arm,
four abreast, as it is the proud custom of Britons to do. From them, I
heard, how Major Pongo, of the Company’s service, would certainly have
placed his sword at the disposal of the Government in support of law and
order, had he not been confined to his bed with a severe attack of
rheumatism: how Mr. Bellows, Parisian correspondent to the “Evening
Grumbler,” had been actually led out to be shot, and was only saved by the
interposition of his tailor, who was a sergeant in the National Guard; and
who, passing by, though not on duty, exerted his influence with the
military authorities, to save the life of Mr. Bellows; how the Reverend
Mr. Faldstool, _ministre Anglican_, was discovered in a corn-bin, moaning
piteously: how Bluckey, the man who talked so much about the Pytchley
hounds, and of the astonishing leaps he had taken when riding after them,
concealed himself in a coal-cellar, and lying down on his face, never
stirred from that position from noon till midnight on Thursday (although
I, to be sure, have no right to taunt him with his prudence): how,
finally, M’Gropus, the Scotch surgeon, bolted incontinently in a cab, with
an immense quantity of luggage, toward the _Chemin-de-fer du Nord_; and,
being stopped in the Rue St. Denis, was ignominiously turned out of his
vehicle by the mob; the cab, together with M’Gropus’s trunks, being
immediately converted into the nucleus of a barricade:—how, returning the
following morning to see whether he could recover any portion of his
effects, he found the barricades in the possession of the military, who
were quietly cooking their soup over a fire principally fed by the
remnants of his trunks and portmanteaus; whereupon, frantically
endeavoring to rescue some _disjecta membra_ of his property from the
wreck, he was hustled and bonneted by the soldiery, threatened with
arrest, and summary military vengeance, and ultimately paraded from the
vicinity of the bivouac, by bayonets with sharp points.

With the merits or demerits of the struggle, I have nothing to do. But I
saw the horrible ferocity and brutality of this ruthless soldiery. I saw
them bursting into shops, to search for arms or fugitives; dragging the
inmates forth, like sheep from a slaughter-house, smashing the furniture
and windows. I saw them, when making a passage for a convoy of prisoners,
or a wagon full of wounded, strike wantonly at the bystanders, with the
butt-ends of their muskets, and thrust at them with their bayonets. I
might have seen more; but my exploring inclination was rapidly subdued by
a gigantic Lancer at the corner of the Rue Richelieu; who seeing me stand
still for a moment, stooped from his horse, and putting his pistol to my
head (right between the eyes) told me to “_traverser_!” As I believed he
would infallibly have blown my brains out in another minute, I turned and
fled. So much for what I saw. I know, as far as a man can know, from
trustworthy persons, from eye-witnesses, from patent and notorious report,
that the military, who are now the sole and supreme masters of that
unhappy city and country, have been perpetrating most frightful
barbarities since the riots were over. I know that, from the Thursday I
arrived, to the Thursday I left Paris, they were daily shooting their
prisoners in cold blood; that a man, caught on the Pont Neuf, drunk with
the gunpowder-brandy of the cabarets, and shouting some balderdash about
the _République démocratique et sociale_, was dragged into the Prefecture
of Police, and, some soldiers’ cartridges having been found in his pocket,
was led into the court-yard, and there and then, untried, unshriven,
unaneled—shot! I know that in the Champ de Mars one hundred and fifty-six
men were executed; and I _heard_ one horrible story (so horrible that I
can scarcely credit it) that a batch of prisoners were tied together with
ropes like a fagot of wood; and that the struggling mass was fired into,
until not a limb moved, nor a groan was uttered. I know—and my informant
was a clerk in the office of the Ministry of War—that the official return
of insurgents killed was _two thousand and seven_, and of soldiers
_fifteen_. Rather long odds!

We were in-doors betimes this Friday evening, comparing notes busily, as
to what we had seen during the day. We momentarily expected to hear the
artillery again, but, thank Heaven, the bloodshed in the streets at least
was over; and though Paris was still a city in a siege, the barricades
were all demolished; and another struggle was for the moment crushed.

The streets next day were full of hearses; but even the number of funerals
that took place were insignificant, in comparison to the stacks of corpses
which were cast into deep trenches without shroud or coffin, and covered
with quicklime. I went to the Morgue in the afternoon, and found that
dismal charnel-house fully tenanted. Every one of the fourteen beds had a
corpse; some, dead with gunshot wounds; some, sabred; some, horribly
mutilated by cannon-balls. There was a _queue_ outside of at least two
thousand people, laughing, talking, smoking, eating apples, as though it
was some pleasant spectacle they were going to, instead of that frightful
exhibition. Yet, in this laughing, talking, smoking crowd, there were
fathers who had missed their sons; sons who came there dreading to see the
corpses of their fathers; wives of Socialist workmen, sick with the almost
certainty of finding the bodies of their husbands. The bodies were only
exposed six hours; but the clothes remained—a very grove of blouses. The
neighboring churches were hung with black, and there were funeral services
at St. Roch and at the Madeleine.

And yet—with this Golgotha so close; with the blood not yet dry on the
Boulevards; with corpses yet lying about the streets; with five thousand
soldiers bivouacking in the Champs Elysées; with mourning and lamentation
in almost every street; with a brutal military in almost every
printing-office, tavern, café; with proclamations threatening death and
confiscation covering the walls; with the city in a siege, without a
legislature, without laws, without a government—this extraordinary people
was, the next night, dancing and flirting at the Salle Valentino, or the
Prado, lounging in the _foyers_ of the Italian Opera, gossiping over their
_eau-sucrée_, or squabbling over their dominoes outside and inside the
cafés. I saw Rachel in “Les Horaces;” I went to the _Variétés_, the _Opéra
Comique_, and no end of theatres; and as we walked home at night through
lines of soldiers, brooding over their bivouacs, I went into a restaurant,
and asking whether it had been a ball which had starred the magnificent
pier-glass before me, got for answer, “Ball, sir!—cannon-ball, sir!—yes,
sir!” for all the world as though I had inquired about the mutton being in
good cut, or asparagus in season!

So, while they were shooting prisoners and dancing the Schottische at the
Casino; burying their dead; selling _breloques_ for watch-chains in the
Palais Royal; demolishing barricades, and staring at the caricatures in M.
Aubert’s windows; taking the wounded to the hospitals, and stock-jobbing
on the Bourse; I went about my business, as well as the state of siege
would let me. Turning my face homeward, I took the Rouen and Havre
Railway, and so, _viâ_ Southampton, to London. As I saw the last cocked
hat of the last gendarme disappear with the receding pier at Havre, a
pleasant vision of the blue-coats, oil-skin hats, and lettered collars of
the land I was going to, swam before my eyes; and, I must say that,
descending the companion-ladder, I thanked Heaven I was an Englishman. I
was excessively sea-sick, but not the less thankful; and getting at last
to sleep, dreamed of the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus. I wonder how
_they_ would flourish amidst Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Musketry!



WHAT BECOMES OF THE RIND?


Of all the occupations that exercise the ordinary energies of human
beings, the most abstracting is that of sucking an orange. It seems to
employ the whole faculties for the time being. There is an earnestness of
purpose in the individual so employed—an impassioned determination to
accomplish what he has undertaken—that creates a kindred excitement in the
bystanders. His air is thoughtful; his eye severe, not to say relentless;
and although his mouth is full of inarticulate sounds, conversation is out
of the question. But the mind is busy although the tongue is silent; and
when the deed is accomplished, the collapsed spheroid seems to swell anew
with the ideas to which the exercise had given birth. One of these ideas
we shall catch and fix, for occurring as it did to ourselves, it is our
own property: it was contained in the question that rose suddenly in our
mind as we looked at the ruin we had made—What becomes of the rind?

And this is no light question; no unimportant or merely curious pastime
for a vacant moment. In our case it became more and more serious; it clung
and grappled, till it hung upon our meditations like the albatross round
the neck of the Ancient Mariner. Only consider what a subject it embraces.
The orange, it is true, and its congener the lemon, are Celestial fruits,
owing their origin to the central flowery land; but, thanks to the
Portuguese, they are now domesticated in Europe, and placed within the
reach of such northern countries as ours, where the cold prohibits their
growth. Some of us no doubt force them in an artificial climate, at the
expense of perhaps half a guinea apiece; but the bulk of the nation are
content to receive them from other regions at little more than the cost of
apples. Now the quantity we (the English) thus import every year from the
Azores, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, and other places, is about 300,000
chests, and each of these chests contains about 650 oranges, all wrapped
separately in paper. But beside these we are in the habit of purchasing a
large quantity, entered at the custom-house by number, and several
thousand pounds’ worth, entered at value; so that the whole number of
oranges and lemons we consume in this country may be reckoned modestly at
220,000,000! Surely, then, it is not surprising that while engaged in the
meditative employment alluded to, we should demand with a feeling of
strong interest—What becomes of the rind?

Every body knows that Scotch marmalade uses up the rinds of a great many
Seville oranges, as well as an unknown quantity of turnip skins and stalks
of the bore-cole, the latter known to the Caledonian manipulators of the
preserve as “kail-custocks.” Every body understands also, that not a few
of the rinds of edible oranges take up a position on the pavement, where
their mission is to bring about the downfall of sundry passers-by thus
accomplishing the fracture of a not inconsiderable number—taking one month
with another throughout the season—of arms, legs, and occiputs. It is
likewise sufficiently public that a variety of drinks are assisted by the
hot, pungent rinds of oranges and lemons as well as by the juice; but
notwithstanding all these deductions, together with that of the great
quantity thrown away as absolute refuse, we shall find a number of rinds
unaccounted for large enough to puzzle by its magnitude the Statistical
Society. This mystery, however, we have succeeded in penetrating, and
although hardly hoping to carry the faith of the reader along with us, we
proceed to unfold it: it is contained in the single monosyllable, _peel_.

Orange-peel, lemon-peel, citron-peel—these are the explanation: the
last-mentioned fruit—imported from Sicily, Madeira, and the Canary
Islands—being hardly distinguishable from a lemon except by its somewhat
less acid pulp and more pungent rind. Even a very careless observer can
hardly fail to be struck at this season by the heaps of those candied
rinds displayed in the grocers’ windows; but the wildest imagination could
not guess at any thing so extravagant as the quantity of the fruit thus
used; and even when we learn that upward of 600 _tons of peel_ are
manufactured in the year, it is a hopeless task to attempt to separate
that prodigious bulk into its constituent parts. Six hundred tons of
candied peel! of a condiment employed chiefly if not wholly, in small
quantities in the composition of puddings and cakes. Six hundred
tons—12,000 hundredweights—1,344,000 pounds—21,504,000 ounces! But having
once got possession of the fact, see how suggestive it is. Let us lump the
puddings and cakes in one; let us call them all puddings—plum-puddings of
four pounds’ weight. We find, on consulting the best authorities—for we
would not presume to dogmatize on such a subject—that the quantity of peel
used in the composition of such a work is two ounces; and thus we are led
to the conclusion that we Britishers devour in the course of a year
10,752,000 full-sized, respectable plum-puddings, irrespective of all such
articles as are not adorned and enriched with candied peel.

Citrons intended for peel are imported in brine, but oranges and lemons in
boxes. All are ripe in December, January, and February; but as it would be
inconvenient to preserve so vast a quantity at the same time, the juice is
squeezed out, and the collapsed fruit packed in pipes, with salt and
water, till wanted. When the time for preserving comes, it is taken from
the pipes, and boiled till soft enough to admit of the pulp being scooped
out; then the rind is laid in tubs or cisterns, and melted sugar poured
over it. Here it lies for three or four weeks; and then the sugar is
drained away, and the rind placed on trays in a room constructed for the
purpose. It now assumes the name of “dried peel,” and is stored away in
the original orange and lemon boxes, till wanted for candying.

The other constituents of a plum-pudding add but little testimony on the
subject of number. We can not even guess the proportion of the 170,000
lbs. of nutmegs we receive from the Moluccas, and our own possessions in
the Malay Straits, which may be thus employed; nor how much cinnamon
Ceylon sends us for the purpose in her annual remittance of about 16,000
lbs.;(6) nor what quantity of almonds is abstracted, with a similar view,
from the 9000 cwts. we retain for our own consumption from the
importations from Spain and Northern Africa. Currants are more to our
purpose—for that small Corinth grape, the produce of the islands of Zante,
Cephalonia, and Ithaca, and of the Morea, which comes to us so thickly
coated with dust that we might seem to import vineyard and all—belongs,
like the candied peel, almost exclusively to cakes and puddings. Of this
fruit we devour in the year about 180,000 cwts. Raisins, being in more
general use—at the dessert, for instance, and in making sweet wine—are in
still greater demand; we can not do with less than 240,000 cwts of them.
They are named from the place where they grow—such as Smyrna or Valencia;
or from the grape—such as muscatel, bloom, or sultana; but the quality
depends, we believe, chiefly on the mode of cure. The best are called
raisins of the sun, and are preserved by cutting half through the stalks
of the branches when nearly ripe, and leaving them to dry and candy in the
genial rays. The next quality is gathered when completely ripe, dipped in
a lye of the ashes of the burned tendrils, and spread out to bake in the
sun. The inferior is dried in an oven. The black Smyrna grape is the
cheapest; and the muscatels of Malaga are the dearest.

With flour, sugar, brandy, &c., we do not propose to interfere; for
although the quantities of these articles thus consumed are immense, they
bear but a small proportion to the whole importations. Eggs, however, are
in a different category. Eggs are essential to the whole pudding race; and
without having our minds opened, as they now are, to the full greatness of
the plum-pudding, it would be difficult for us to discover the rationale
of the vast trade we carry on in eggs. In our youthful days, when, as yet,
plum-puddingism was with us in its early, empirical state, we used to
consider “egg-merchant” a term of ridicule, resembling the term
“timber-merchant,” as applied to a vender of matches. But we now look with
respect upon an egg-merchant, as an individual who manages an important
part of the trade of this country with France and Belgium; not to mention
its internal traffic in the same commodity. It strikes us, however, that
on this subject the Frenchman and Belgian are wiser in their generation
than ourselves. We could produce our own eggs easily enough if we would
take the trouble; but rather than do this we hire them to do it for us, at
an expense of several scores of thousands sterling in the year. They, of
course, are very much obliged to us, though a little amused no doubt at
the eccentricity of John Bull; and with the utmost alacrity supply us
annually with about 90,000,000 eggs. John eats his foreign pudding,
however—he is partial to foreign things—with great gravity, and only
unbends into a smile when he sees his few chickens hopping about the
farm-yard, the amusement of his children, or the little perquisite,
perhaps, of his wife. He occasionally eats a newly-laid egg, the date of
its birth being carefully registered upon the shell; thinks it a very
clever thing in him to provide his own luxuries; and is decidedly of
opinion that an English egg is worth two of the mounseers’. His neglect of
this branch of rural economy, however, does not prevent his wondering
sometimes how these fellows contrive to make the two ends of the year
meet, when he himself finds it so difficult a matter to get plums to his
pudding.

What becomes of the rind? We have shown what becomes of the rind. We have
shown what apparently inconsiderable matters swell up the commerce of a
great country. A plum-pudding is no joke. It assembles within itself the
contributions of the whole world, and gives a fillip to industry among the
most distant tribes and nations. But it is important likewise in other
respects. Morally and socially considered, its influence is immense. At
this season of the year, more especially, it is a bond of family union,
and a symbol of friendly hospitality. We would not give a straw for that
man, woman, or child, in the frank, cordial circles of Old English life,
who does not hail its appearance on the table with a smile and a word of
welcome. Look at its round, brown, honest, unctuous face, dotted with
almonds and fragrant peel, surmounted with a sprig of holly, and radiant
amid the flames of burning brandy! Who is for plum-pudding? We are, to be
sure. What a rich perfume as it breaks on the plate! And this fragrant
peel, so distinguishable amid the exhalations! ha! Delaeioucious!—_that’s_
what becomes of the rind!



MAZZINI, THE ITALIAN LIBERAL.


Giuseppe Mazzini is descended from a highly honorable family, and of
talented and respectable parentage; his father was an esteemed physician,
and also professor of anatomy at the University in Genoa, his native city.
His mother is still living, an excellent and dignified lady, as proud of
her Giuseppe, as Madame Letitia was of her Napoleon.

When young, Mazzini was remarkably handsome, and will be deemed so now in
his mature years, by all who, in the expression of his countenance, his
dark intelligent eye, and expansive intellectual forehead, can overlook
the deep, we may say premature furrows, traced in that forehead by the
never resting labors of a mind of indomitable activity, the constantly
renewing anxieties of a generous heart for the welfare of the human race;
and above all for that oppressed portion of it which claimed his earliest
sympathies, as his compatriots, his brothers, alike in the wrongs they
labored under, and their determined resolution to combat with them in
every shape, and to win in the contest, either a glorious victory, or an
honorable death. The youth of Mazzini was spent in witnessing the
struggles of his country for liberty. The fruitlessness of all these
struggles, the conviction they carried with them in their repeated
defeats, that there was something radically wrong in their organization,
or in the manner in which they were carried out, only excited ardent
desires in him to trace the evil to its root, and point out the remedy
accordingly: his genius naturally bent toward studies,


    “High passions and high actions best describing,”


concentrated all its energies upon the situation of Italy, and on the
means of rescuing her from the despotism that preyed upon her very vitals,
and rendered even the choicest gifts of nature, with which she is so
abundantly endowed, not merely nugatory, but an absolute disadvantage and
a curse.

The revolution in France of July, 1830, communicated an electric flame
throughout Italy, which in the ensuing year kindled insurrections in
Modena, Parma, and other departments: the light of victory hovered over
them for a moment, but for a moment only. Aid had been hoped for from the
Citizen King, but in his very outset Louis Philippe evinced the political
caution which marked his reign. Austria, reassured by the conviction she
felt of his determination to remain neuter in the struggles of others for
the same freedom which had placed himself upon a throne, again advanced
upon the cities she had evacuated; the insurgents disappointed,
bewildered, paralyzed, offered no further resistance, and again all was
wrapped in the gloom of despotism. Then came its invariable attendant
denunciations, imprisonments, exile, to all who were suspected of a love
of liberty, whether it had impelled them to deeds, or only influenced
their words.

Mazzini, though a very young man at this period, was already known in
Italy as an author. He had published a weekly literary Gazette, at Genoa,
in 1828, called the “_Indicatore Genovese,_” but this journal being
strangled, ere the year was out, under the double supervision of a civil
and an ecclesiastical censorship, he began another at Leghorn under the
title of the “_Indicatore Livornese_” which in a few months succumbed
under the same fate. He then beguiled his forced inactivity with
furnishing an admirable essay on European literature, and other
contributions, to the “_Antologia di Firenze_,” but the review was made
the subject of a prosecution, soon after its commencement, at the
instigation of the Austrian government, and was finally suppressed. Under
these circumstances it was not likely that Mazzini would escape the fate
of his party. He was put under arrest, along with many others, though it
should seem that the strongest accusation which could be brought against
him was that he indulged in habits of thinking; for when his father went
to the governor of the city to inquire what offense his son had committed,
that could authorize his arrest, the worthy functionary, who appears
himself to have belonged to the _Dogberry_ faction, could only allege that
the young man was “in the habit of walking every evening in the fields and
gardens of the suburbs, alone, and wrapped in meditation;” wisely adding,
as his own comment on the matter, “What on earth can he have at his age to
think about? we do not like so much thinking on the part of young people,
without knowing the subject of their thoughts.”

Mazzini and his companions were tried at Turin by a commission of
Senators, embodied for the purpose; they were all acquitted for want of
any evidence against them, of evil acts or intentions: nevertheless
Mazzini, notwithstanding this virtual acknowledgment of his innocence, was
treated with the severity due only to convicted guilt, and detained five
months in solitary imprisonment, in the fortress of Savona; a tyrannical
act of injustice, not likely to turn the current of his thoughts, or to
cure him of his meditative propensities. At length his prison doors were
reluctantly opened to him—he was free to depart, but not to remain in
Italy; accordingly he took refuge in France, along with a crowd of exiles
under similar circumstances, and it was there, in June 1831, that the
fruits of his long-nursed musings burst forth, in his address to Charles
Albert of Savoy, “_A Carlo Alberto di Savoia un Italiano_,” on the
accession of that prince to the throne of Sardinia. This address has been
justly termed by Mariotti, “a flash of divine eloquence, such as never
before shone over Italy. His companions in misfortune gathered in
adoration, and bent before his powerful genius. Ere the year had elapsed,
he became the heart and soul of the Italian movement. He was the ruler of
a state of his own creation—the king of Young Italy.”

Eager to turn his popularity, alike with his abilities, to the best
account for his country, Mazzini now established himself at Marseilles, as
the editor of a journal to which he gave the name of “_La Giovine
Italia_,” as the expression of his favorite theory of intrusting the great
cause of Italian liberty to the young, the ardent, the hopeful; and
moreover the unpledged and therefore unfettered; rather than to those who,
grown old under a timid, temporizing policy, endeavored in vain to
disentangle themselves from the net of foreign diplomacy; and who, while
they flattered themselves they were endeavoring to rescue their country
from slavery, were in fact still themselves the slaves of high-sounding
names, and veered round with all the changing views of those who bore
them.

Anxious to enlist in his cause the finest talents of the day, Mazzini
invited many persons of acknowledged reputation and ability to contribute
to his journal; among them the venerable and justly celebrated Sismondi,
author of the “History of the Italian Republics,” and many other works of
importance. Sismondi willingly complied, for he loved the high-minded
character of the young Italian, and was glad to share in his literary
labors, in order that he might be able occasionally to rein in, with a
gentle yet judicious hand, the too impetuous spirit which, in fearlessly
endeavoring to overleap every obstacle that stood before it, overlooked
the destruction that might await an error of calculation: he therefore
immediately replied, “If by my name, my example, I can be useful to that
Italy which I love as if it were my own country, which I shall never cease
to serve, to the very utmost of my ability, and for which I shall never
cease to hope, then most willingly do I promise you my co-operation.”

The generous ardor of the Genevese _Economiste_ was not more pleasing to
behold than the filial deference of the young republican; for Sismondi
spared neither remonstrance nor advice, where he thought the interests of
his young colleague, or of the sacred cause in which he was embarked,
likely to be endangered by his precipitancy. But neither arguments nor
advice had any power over the fixed idea in Mazzini’s mind that Italian
liberty was to spring forth from the Italian people, and that Italy,
formerly free in her numerous republics, would, after five hundred years
of slavery, become free again in one, alone and indivisible. Meanwhile his
journal extended its circulation and its influence: supplied through the
channel of an active correspondence with abundant information of all that
was going on in the peninsula, he astonished and excited the public more
and more every day, by the facts he laid before them; he unvailed the
cruelties of the tribunals in Romagna, of the government in Modena, of the
police in Naples; he brought forth the unhappy prisoners from their cells,
and portrayed them in every varied attitude of their sufferings, with a
vividness that thrilled the compassionate with horror, and worked the
ardent up to rage. It would be difficult for us in our own present state
of _press_ and _post_, to imagine the possibility of our counties
remaining days and weeks in ignorance of what was passing among each
other. Yet so it was in the Italian provinces: under the lynx-eyed
vigilance of government officials and spies, the public journals contained
little more than details of church ceremonies, or the local affairs of
petty municipalities: pamphlets were unknown, and news of a political kind
traveled slowly and uncertainly from mouth to mouth, always in dread of
some listening ear being ready to catch the words as they floated in the
air. Hence the transactions in Romagna and Naples were long unknown to
upper Italy; the excitement therefore that the appearance of Mazzini’s
journal must have occasioned, revealing as it did facts upon facts
calculated to inspire even the most indifferent with a thirst for
vengeance, may easily be imagined, but the modes by which it found
circulation under every obstacle are more difficult to comprehend. It is
scarcely necessary to say how strictly it was prohibited throughout Italy;
the possession of it was denounced as a crime, to be punished with three
years of the galleys, besides the possessor being subjected for the
remainder of his days to the suspicion of being connected with
revolutionary factions. The smugglers, albeit accustomed to danger and
little susceptible of fear, refused to have any thing to do with it;
nevertheless its distribution was effected far and wide; copies were
dispatched from Marseilles, by merchant vessels, in parcels directed to
persons at places fixed upon for the purpose of receiving them; they thus
reached the Committees of “Young Italy” in each city, and were by them
transmitted to the subscribers, that is to say, to every one conjoined to
the cause; thus the Society itself remained in the shade, while the
journal, passed from hand to hand, was every where eagerly perused. In
many places it was left, in the obscurity of evening, upon the thresholds
of the shops, and at the doors of the theatres, _cafés_, and other
frequented places. Never was a periodical paper edited with such marvelous
activity, or circulated with such unshaken courage. The leaders risked
their heads in its service, and not one of them hesitated so to do. In the
same manner has the clandestine press at Rome, since the reinstatement of
the priestly government, fearlessly pursued its task of exposing the
cruelties, injustice, and meanness of that government in its every act—and
the cardinals have not unfrequently had to go to breakfast, with what
appetite they might, after finding on their tables a sheet, of which the
ink had not had time to dry, wherein their unworthy deeds were set forth
and commented upon, in the accents of all others strangest to “ears
polite”—that is to say, of _truth_.

The effect of “_La Giovine Italia_” upon the public mind became more and
more developed every day. Genoa and Alexandria were the first to show its
influence. Turin, Chamberry, and Lombardy followed. Central Italy, crushed
for the moment, remained passive; but the flag of republicanism was
unfurled, it only waited the moment to lift it up, and that moment came,
every way, too soon. The government of Charles Albert was the first to
take hostile measures against Young Italy. It saw that the influence of
the party was beginning to spread in the army; and it immediately pointed
its cannons against Genoa; three persons were executed in that city, three
at Chamberry, and six at Alexandria; while Austria stocked her favorite
fortress of Speilberg with such as were objects of suspicion, but against
whom no charge could be substantiated. These rigorous measures struck
terror through the peninsula, and instantly stopped the propagandism of
the journal; still hundreds of emigrants, fearful of being compromised,
poured in from Italy, and the police redoubled its vigilance in watching
over their proceedings. But a step backward was what Mazzini never could
take; he looked his dangers full in the face, and tempted fate, not only
for himself, but, unhappily, for his colleagues also. The sufferings of
his party seemed to call upon him for vengeance, and he sought it by
joining himself to a Polish committee, and projecting the attempt upon
Savoy, in 1833.

It is a singular fact in the moral history of man, that in the course of
his life he almost invariably falls into some error, or commits some
fault, which he has either condemned, or suffered from, in others. This
appears to have been notoriously the case in this ill-planned,
ill-organized, ill-conducted expedition. It was planned in a secret
society, whereas Mazzini had always advocated open appeals to the people;
he had always inculcated distrust of heads of parties, and he intrusted
the command of the troops to General Romarino, a Pole, He had insisted
upon the necessity of whole provinces rising _en masse_, if a revolution
was to be effected, and he saw General Romarino set out from Geneva, to
carry Savoy, with a handful of men. Mazzini himself, with his utmost
efforts, scarcely got together five hundred followers, of whom not one
half were Italians; and it was with difficulty that they, tracked every
where by the police, succeeded in rallying at the small village of
Annemasse, to the amount of two hundred; when lo! Romarino, who had always
shown himself wavering and undecided, turned his back upon them, even
before they had cast eyes upon the enemy—and thus in one single day did
Mazzini see vanish at once, the hopes and toils of two years of incessant
labor and anxiety. In vain he plied his pen still more vigorously, and
called around him “Young Switzerland,” “Young Poland,” “Young France,” and
even “Young Europe” at large; few responded to his ardent voice: the
Moderates, taking advantage of his discomfiture, and appealing to the
selfish prudence of all parties, under the plausible argument of trusting
in moral force, turned, for the time, the tide of popular opinion, and
Mazzini, banished from France, proscribed in Switzerland, and sentenced to
death in Italy, sought an asylum in England, where he betook himself to
the literary pursuits which had formed the delight of his younger years,
and to the benevolent endeavor of improving the moral state of the humbler
classes of his countrymen whom he found scattered about in London;
particularly of the poor organ boys, whom, sold by venal parents to sordid
masters, or lured from their beautiful native scenes by fallacious
representations, he beheld lost in ignorance, enslaved in vice, and
suffering under every species of ill-treatment and destitution. His
founding an evening school for these unfortunate outcasts was a mortal
offense in the eyes of the Roman Catholic priests of every
denomination—for a layman to presume to instruct the ignorant, and to hold
out a hand to the helpless, was, in their eyes, an unpardonable crime; and
they strove to vilify all his acts by connecting them with covert designs
of exciting anarchy and rebellion, even in the land that had afforded him
a refuge. Nevertheless, the blameless tenor of his domestic life, the
magnanimity with which he bore his disappointments and his trials, and the
respect in which he was held both for his talents and his private
character, which no calumny has ever yet been able to impugn, would have
insured him as undisturbed a tranquillity as his anxiety for his country,
ever throbbing in his breast, could have permitted him, had he not
suddenly been brought forth to public notice, by the English government
committing a flagrant act of injustice toward him, which the more it
endeavored to explain and vindicate, the more odium it brought upon
itself—we allude to the opening of Mazzini’s letters at the General
Post-Office in 1844, by order of Lord Aberdeen and the _Right Honorable_
Sir James Graham, at the instigation of Austrian jealousies and fears. The
disgraceful disclosures that were brought forward on that occasion, will
be fresh in the memory of many of our readers.

The stirring events of Italy in 1847, naturally turned all the thoughts
and hopes of Mazzini again to his country, and to the heightening, by his
presence, the effect of his doctrines, so long, so ardently preached. But
we must be brief; we shall, therefore, pass over intervening steps, and
behold him in Rome—Rome proclaimed a republic, Rome, at that moment,
promising to realize all the most glorious visions of his youth, all the
most thoughtfully-revolved theories of his matured powers. He was elected
on the 3d of March, 1849, a deputy in the National Assembly, by 8982
votes, being nearly one thousand ahead of seven other candidates elected
at the same time, consequently at the top of the poll. On the 31st of the
same month, the dissolution of the Executive Committee was decreed by the
Constituent Assembly, and the government of the republic appointed to be
intrusted to a Triumvirate, “with unlimited powers.” The citizens chosen
for this important office were Carlo Armellini, Giuseppe Mazzini, and
Aurelio Saffi. How wisely, temperately, and benevolently they acquitted
themselves of the task assigned them, under the most complicated and
trying circumstances that ever legislators had to struggle with, is known
to all. The contrast of their conduct with that of the Cardinal
Triumvirate that succeeded them, will live in the page of impartial
history, to the honor of the representatives of the People, the disgrace
of the representatives of the Church.

It is needless to say that on the entrance of the French into Rome,
Mazzini, with his illustrious colleagues, and many other distinguished
patriots, prepared to quit it. Again he found an asylum in England, and
again he betook himself to the furtherance of the cause to which all his
faculties are devoted, to the emancipation of Italy. “Twenty years,” he
says, in the preliminary note to his pamphlet recently published,
entitled, “The Charge of Terrorism in Rome, during the Government of the
Republic, refuted by Facts and Documents”—“Twenty years, attended with the
usual amount of cares, woes, and deceptions, have rolled around me since
my first step in the career. But my soul is as calm, my hands are as pure,
my faith is as unshaken, and bright with hope for my awakened country, as
in my young years. With these gifts one may well endure with a smile such
little annoyances as may arise from such writers as Mr. Cochrane, and Mr.
Macfarlane.” We should think so!

The first publication of Mazzini’s that attracted notice after his return
to England, was his “Letter to Messrs. De Tocqueville and De Falloux,
Ministers of France.” It excited universal interest. The simple truth of
its statements, which no sophistry of the parties to whom it was addressed
could deny, the justice of its reproaches, the manly sentiments it set
forth, gained it the sympathy of all persons of candor and liberal views,
and added a deeper tinge of shame on the conduct, if not on the cheek, of
the President, by whose command the unjust, inconsistent, and we may add
barbarous attack upon Republican Rome was made by Republican France.

From the moment that Mazzini set his foot again upon English ground, as a
refugee himself, he turned his thoughts toward the sufferings of his
fellow-refugees, who still gathered around him with unshaken devotedness
and admiration. By his exertions a committee was formed for “The Italian
Refugee Fund.” A touching address was inserted by it in the leading
journals, wherein, after briefly setting forth the claims of the Italian
refugees upon the compassion of the public, it proceeded: “It is not the
only sorrow of the Italian exiles that a noble cause is, for the time
being, lost. Proscribed and driven from their watch over the beautiful
country of their birth and their affections, they seek a refuge here in
England, almost the only free land where they may set foot. Hunted by
their and the world’s enemies, forlorn and penniless, reduced to
indigence, bereft of almost all that makes life dear, and bringing nothing
from the wreck beyond the Mediterranean Sea, but hope in the eternal might
of the principles they have upheld, the Committee appeals in their behalf
to Englishmen, for present help, that they may not die of want, where they
have found a home.”

Mazzini’s next care was, to found a “Society of the Friends of Italy,” the
objects of which are, by public meetings, lectures, and the press, to
promote a correct appreciation of the Italian question, and to aid the
cause of the political and religious liberty of the Italian people.

Of Mazzini’s private character we believe there is, among those who know
him, but one opinion, that he is the soul of honor, candid and
compassionate in his nature, and of almost woman’s tenderness in his
friendships and attachments. “I have had the honor,” says Thomas Carlyle,
“to know Mr. Mazzini for a series of years, and whatever I may think of
his practical insight and skill in worldly affairs, I can with great
freedom testify to all men, that he, if I have ever seen one such, is a
man of genius and virtue; a man of sterling virtue, humanity, and
nobleness of mind; one of those rare men, numerable, unfortunately, but as
units in this world, who are worthy to be called Martyr souls.” Equally
honorable to him is the testimony of M. Lesseps, the French Envoy to the
Roman Republic, in the Memoir of his Mission: “I fear the less making
known here the opinion I had of Mazzini, with whom I was already in open
strife, namely, that during the whole series of our negotiations, I had
but to congratulate myself on his loyalty, and the moderation of his
character, which have earned for him all my esteem.... Now that he has
fallen from power, and that he seeks, doubtless, an asylum in a foreign
land, I ought to render homage to the nobleness of his sentiments, to his
conviction of his principles, to his high capacity, and to his courage.”

The man who can win, from the depths of disappointment and adversity, such
a tribute from one politically opposed to him, must have something very
extraordinary in himself—and such a man is Mazzini. The faults alleged
against him are his enthusiasm, which leads him into rash and precipitant
measures, and his indomitable will; or, we would rather call it, his
unconquerable tenacity of purpose, which is deaf to argument, and spurns
control; but it is only his political character that is liable to these
charges. His virtues are all his own. When he was in office at Rome he
gave the whole of the salary allotted to him to the hospitals, stating
that his own private income, though moderate, was sufficient for his
wants; and never does distress, in any shape that he may have the power to
alleviate, appeal to him in vain. Had he not concentrated all his
abilities, all his energies upon the one grand object of his life, the
independence of his country, he would have been as eminent in the field of
literature, as he is in that of politics. He writes with equal facility
and elegance in the French and English languages as in his own, and his
beautiful memoir of Ugo Foscolo, his essay upon Art in Italy, in his
review of Grossi’s “Marco Visconti,” and many other admirable
contributions to periodical literature, sufficiently prove that if the
peculiar aspect of the times in which he has lived had not impelled him
into public life, he would have found abundant resource in more retired
pursuits, for his own enjoyment, and the benefit of society.



CHEWING THE BUYO. A SKETCH OF THE PHILIPPINES.


With a population of 3,000,000—part of which has been for centuries the
colony of a European power—and producing many of the tropical products of
commerce, the Philippine Isles remain almost as much a _terra incognita_
as China or Japan!

These islands offer a striking illustration of the adage, that “knowledge
is power.” They illustrate the power of civilized man to subdue his savage
fellow. For ages have a few thousand Spanish merchants been enabled to
hold one-third of the native inhabitants in direct and absolute slavery;
while more than another third has acknowledged their sway by the payment
of tribute. The remaining fraction consists of wild tribes, who, too
remote from the seat of commerce and power to make them an object of
conquest, still retain their barbarian independence.

But it has ever been the policy of Spain to shut up her colonies from the
intrusion of foreign enterprise—the policy of all nations who retrograde,
or are hastening toward decay. This is the true reason why so little has
been written about the Philippines and their inhabitants, many of whose
customs are both strange and interesting. Perhaps not the least singular
of these is that which forms the subject of our sketch—_Comer el Buyo_
(Chewing the Buyo).

The buyo is a thing composed of three ingredients—the leaf of the
buyo-palm, a sea-shell which is a species of periwinkle, and a root
similar in properties to the _betel_ of India. It is prepared thus: the
leaves of the palm, from which it has its name, are collected at a certain
season, cut into parallelograms, and spread upon a board or table with the
inner cuticle removed. Upon this the powdered root and the shell, also
pulverized, are spread in a somewhat thick layer. The shell of itself is a
strong alkali, and forms a chief ingredient in the mixture. After having
been exposed for some time to the sun, the buyo-leaf is rolled inwardly,
so as to inclose the other substances, and is thus formed into a regular
cartridge, somewhat resembling a cheroot. Thus prepared, the buyo is ready
for use—that is, to be eaten.

In order that it may be carried conveniently in the pocket, it is packed
in small cases formed out of the leaves of another species of the
palm-tree. Each of these cases contains a dozen cartridges of the buyo.

Buyo-eating is a habit which must be cultivated before it becomes
agreeable. To the stranger, the taste of the buyo is about as pleasant as
tobacco to him who chews it for the first time; and although it is not
followed by the terrible sickness that accompanies the latter operation,
it is sure to excoriate the tongue of the rash tyro, and leave his mouth
and throat almost skinless. Having once undergone this fearful
matriculation, he feels ever afterward a craving to return to the
indulgence, and the appetite is soon confirmed.

In Manilla every one smokes, every one chews buyo—man, woman, and child,
Indian or Spaniard. Strangers who arrive there, though repudiating the
habit for awhile, soon take to it, and become the most confirmed
buyo-eaters in the place. Two acquaintances meet upon the _paseo_, and
stop to exchange their salutations. One pulls out his _cigarrero_, and
says: “Quiere a fumar?” (“Will you smoke?”) The other draws forth the
ever-ready buyo-case, and with equal politeness offers a roll of the
buyos. The commodities are exchanged, each helping himself to a cartridge
and a cigarrito. A flint and steel are speedily produced, the cigars are
lit, and each takes a bite of buyo, while the conversation is all the
while proceeding. Thus three distinct operations are performed by the same
individual at the same time—eating, smoking, and talking! The juice
arising from the buyo in eating is of a strong red color, resembling
blood. This circumstance reminds us of an anecdote which is, I believe,
well authenticated, but at least is universally believed by the people of
Manilla. Some years ago a ship from Spain arrived in the port of Manilla.
Among the passengers was a young doctor from Madrid, who had gone out to
the Philippines with the design of settling in the colony, and pushing his
fortune by means of his profession. On the morning after he had landed,
our doctor sallied forth for a walk on the paseo. He had not proceeded far
when his attention was attracted to a young girl, a native, who was
walking a few paces ahead of him. He observed that every now and then the
girl stooped her head toward the pavement, which was straightway spotted
with blood! Alarmed on the girl’s account, our doctor walked rapidly after
her, observing that she still continued to expectorate blood at intervals
as she went. Before he could come up with her, the girl had reached her
home—a humble cottage in the suburbs—into which she entered. The doctor
followed close upon her heels; and summoning her father and mother,
directed them to send immediately for the priest, as their daughter had
not many hours to live.

The distracted parents, having learned the profession of their visitor,
immediately acceded to his request. The child was put to bed in extreme
affright, having been told what was about to befall her. The nearest
_padré_ was brought, and every thing was arranged to smooth the journey of
her soul through the passes of purgatory. The doctor plied his skill to
the utmost; but in vain. In less than twenty-four hours the girl was dead!

As up to that time the young Indian had always enjoyed excellent health,
the doctor’s prognostication was regarded as an evidence of great and
mysterious skill. The fame of it soon spread through Manilla, and in a few
hours the newly-arrived physician was beleaguered with patients, and in a
fair way of accumulating a fortune. In the midst of all this some one had
the curiosity to ask the doctor how he could possibly have predicted the
death of the girl, seeing that she had been in perfect health a few hours
before. “Predict it!” replied the doctor—“why, sir, I saw her spit blood
enough to have killed her half a dozen times.”

“Blood! How did you know it was blood?”

“How? From the color. How else!”

“But every one spits red in Manilla!”

The doctor, who had already observed this fact, and was laboring under
some uneasiness in regard to it, refused to make any further concessions
at the time; but he had said enough to elucidate the mystery. The thing
soon spread throughout the city; and it became clear to every one that
what the new _medico_ had taken for blood, was nothing else than the red
juice of the buyo, and that the poor girl had died from the fear of death
caused by his prediction!

His patients now fled from him as speedily as they had congregated; and to
avoid the ridicule that awaited him, as well as the indignation of the
friends of the deceased girl, our doctor was fain to escape from Manilla,
and return to Spain in the same ship that had brought him out.



SKETCH OF SUWAROW.


The most able military commander that Russia has produced was in person
miserably thin, and five feet one inch in height. A large mouth, pug nose,
eyes commonly half shut, a few gray side locks, brought over the top of
his bald crown, and a small unpowdered queue, the whole surmounted by a
three-cornered felt hat ornamented with green fringe, composed the “head
and front” of Field-marshal Suwarow; but his eyes, when open, were
piercing, and in battle they were said to be terrifically expressive. When
any thing said or done displeased him, a wavy play of his deeply-wrinkled
forehead betrayed, or rather expressed, his disapproval. He had a
philosophical contempt for dress, and might often be seen drilling his men
in his shirt sleeves. It was only during the severest weather that he wore
cloth his outer garments being usually of white serge turned up with
green. These were the most indifferently made, as were his large, coarsely
greased slouching boots; one of which he very commonly dispensed with,
leaving his kneeband unbuttoned, and his stocking about his heel. A huge
sabre and a single order completed his ordinary costume; but on grand
occasions his field-marshal’s uniform was covered with badges, and he was
fond of telling where and how he had won them. He often arose at midnight,
and welcomed the first soldier he saw moving with a piercing imitation of
the crowing of a cock, in compliment to his early rising. It is said that
in the first Polish war, knowing a spy was in the camp, he issued orders
for an attack at cock-crow, and the enemy expecting it in the morning,
were cut to pieces at nine at night—Suwarow having turned out the troops
an hour before by his well-known cry. The evening before the storm of
Ismail, he informed his columns—“To-morrow morning, an hour before
daybreak, I mean to get up. I shall then dress and wash myself, then say
my prayers, and then give one good cock-crow, and capture Ismail.” When
Ségur asked him if he never took off his clothes at night, he replied,
“No! when I get lazy, and want to have a comfortable sleep, I generally
take off one spur.” Buckets of cold water were thrown over him before he
dressed, and his table was served at seven or eight o’clock with
sandwiches and various messes which Duboscage describes as “_des ragouts
Kosaks detestables_;” to which men paid “the mouth honor, which they would
fain deny, but dare not,” lest Suwarow should consider them effeminate. He
had been very sickly in his youth, but by spare diet and cold bathing had
strengthened and hardened himself into first-rate condition.



MONTHLY RECORD OF CURRENT EVENTS.



United States.


Public attention, during the month, has been mainly fixed upon Kossuth, in
his addresses to the various portions of the people of the United States
with whom he is brought in contact. After the banquet given to him,
December 16th, by the New York Press, noticed in our last Record, Kossuth
remained in New York until Tuesday, the 23d. The Bar of New York gave him
a public reception and banquet on the 18th, at which he made a speech
devoted mainly to the position, that the intervention of Russia in the
affairs of Hungary was a gross violation of the law of nations, deserving
the name of piracy; and that the United States was bound alike in interest
and in duty, to protest against it. He conceded fully that if such a
protest should be made, and treated with contempt, the United States would
be bound in honor to enforce it by war. At the same time he declared his
conviction that there was not the slightest danger of war, and entered
into some historical details to show that Russia would never interfere in
Hungarian affairs, until she was assured that England and the United
States would not resist her.—At the dinner, speeches were made by several
prominent members of the bar. Judge Duer, after a long and very eloquent
eulogy of Kossuth and his cause, was going on to reply to his argument in
favor of the interference of this country for the protection of
international law, but the company refused to allow him to proceed.—On the
20th, in the afternoon, Kossuth addressed a large company of ladies
assembled to meet him, in a speech of exquisite beauty and touching
eloquence. He also delivered an address at the church of the Rev. H. W.
Beecher, in Brooklyn, in which he spoke of the question of religious
liberty, as it is involved in the Hungarian struggle.—During his stay in
New York he was waited on by a great number of deputations from different
sections of the country, and from different classes of the community, who
all made formal addresses to him which were answered with wonderful
pertinence and tact.

On the 23d he left for Philadelphia, and had a public reception the next
day in the old Hall where independence was declared in 1776. His speech
was merely one of thanks. He was entertained at a public dinner in the
evening, and at another on the evening of Friday, the 26th. His speech on
the latter occasion was devoted mainly to the usurpation of Louis
Napoleon, which he regarded as having been dictated by the absolute powers
of Europe, and as certain to end in his destruction. The struggle in
Europe between the principles of freedom and despotism would only be
hastened by this act, and he appealed earnestly to the United States for a
decision, as to whether they would protest against Russian intervention in
Hungarian affairs.

On the 27th he went to Baltimore, where he was most enthusiastically
received. In the evening he made a speech of an hour and a half to the
citizens at the hall of the Maryland Institute, in which he set forth the
connection between Hungary and the rest of Europe, and the reasons why the
United States could not remain indifferent to struggles for liberty in any
part of the world.

On Tuesday, the 30th, he went to Washington, and was received at the cars
by the Senate Committee. Very soon after his arrival he was waited upon by
Mr. Webster, and a great number of other distinguished persons. He also
received a deputation from the Jackson Democratic Association, and one
from the clergy, making to the addresses of both pertinent replies. On
Wednesday, the 31st, he was received by President Fillmore at the
Executive Mansion. In a brief and admirable address he expressed his
fervent thanks for the interest taken by the United States in his
liberation from captivity and in the cause he represented, and for the
action of the President himself in connection with it. He referred, with
warm satisfaction to the declaration in the President’s Message, that the
people of this country could not remain indifferent when the strong arm of
a foreign power is invoked to stifle public sentiment and to repress the
spirit of freedom in any country. The President replied very briefly,
saying that the policy of this country had been long settled, and that his
own sentiments had been freely expressed in his Message; and his language
upon those points would be the same in speaking to foreign nations as to
our own—On Wednesday, the 7th, he was formally invited into both Houses of
Congress. In the evening he was present at a public dinner given to him by
a large number of members of Congress, and other distinguished persons.
His speech on that occasion was a terse and most eloquent sketch of the
position of his country—of its relation to the principles of liberty, and
of the influence upon Europe of the history and example of the United
States. To give that influence its full weight, it was necessary that the
nations of Europe should be left free to manage their own concerns.—Mr.
Webster, on this occasion, also made a long and eloquent speech,
expressing the highest appreciation of Kossuth, his country and his cause,
and declaring his belief that Hungary was admirably fitted for
self-government, and his wish for the speedy establishment of her
independence. He said he would not enter upon any discussion of the
principles involved in this question as it is now presented, because he
had already and repeatedly expressed his views in regard to them.
Referring to his speech upon the Greek Revolution in 1823, and to his
letter to the Austrian Chargé, M. Hulsemann, he said he was prepared to
repeat them word for word and to stand by every thing he had said on those
occasions. General Cass also made an eloquent speech avowing his full and
most cordial assent to the doctrine that the United States ought to
interfere to prevent Russian intervention against the independence of
Hungary. Senator Douglass also expressed his concurrence in these views,
but said he would not go for joining England in any such protest until she
would do justice to Ireland.

Kossuth left Washington on the 12th of January, for Annapolis, where he
remained when this Record was closed.

In Congress no public business of importance had been transacted. Both
Houses spent several days in debating the subject of Kossuth’s reception.

The Legislature of New York met at Albany on Tuesday, the 6th of January.
The Assembly was organized by electing J. C. Heartt, Speaker, and R. W.
Sherman, Clerk—both Whigs. In the Senate, Ira P. Barnes, Democrat, was
elected clerk. The Message of Governor Hunt was sent in on the same day.
He states the aggregate debt of the State at $21,690,802, which the
sinking funds provided will pay off in seventeen years. The aggregate
taxable property of the State is set down at $1100,000,000. The canal
revenues of the last year were $3,722,163: after meeting all
constitutional obligations there remained of this, the sum of $964,432
applicable to the completion of the Canals. The funds devoted to school
purposes amount to $6,612,850. The number of children taught during the
year was 726,291 and the amount expended in teachers’ wages, was
$1,432,696. The whole number of insane persons in the state is 2506;
convicts in the State prisons, 1714. Referring to national topics, the
Message regrets the feelings of hostility sometimes evinced between
different sections—saying that “the Constitution having wisely left the
States free to regulate their domestic affairs, the dissimilarity in their
local institutions furnishes no just ground for mutual complaints and
reproaches.” He trusts that the spirit of disunion and that of fanaticism
will both exhaust themselves without endangering the stability of our
national institutions. Considering at some length the condition and
prospects of the African race in this country, he warmly commends to favor
the scheme of colonization, and the societies formed to carry it out.

The Legislature of Pennsylvania organized at Harrisburgh, on the 6th. In
the House, John S. Rhey, Democrat, was chosen Speaker, receiving 54 out of
88 votes. In the Senate, Mr. Muhlenberg, Democrat, was elected. The
Message of Governor Johnston states that the Commonwealth was never in a
more prosperous condition. The amount of the public debt is $40,114,236,
having been reduced over $700,000 during the last three years, without
retarding any of the interests, or useful plans of the State.

Henry Clay, in a letter dated Dec. 17, and addressed to the General
Assembly of Kentucky, resigns his seat in the Senate of the United States,
the resignation to take effect from the first Monday in September, 1852,
He states that he accepted the office only to aid in settling those
questions which threatened to disturb the peace of the country; and that
object having been accomplished, he wishes to enable the present Assembly
to choose his successor. In the Kentucky Legislature, Archibald Dixon,
(Whig) was elected Senator, on the 30th of December, to fill the vacancy
thus created.

The Library of Congress, kept in the Capitol at Washington, was nearly
destroyed by fire on the 24th December. About 35,000 volumes were burned,
20,000 being saved. A great number of very valuable paintings, medals, &c.
&c., were also destroyed. The cost of the library has not been far from
$200,000.

Hon. JOEL R. POINSETT, long known as a prominent public man in the United
States, died at his residence in Statesburg, S.C., December 12, aged 73.
He was born in South Carolina, educated under the late President Dwight at
Greenfield, Conn., and then sent abroad where he spent five years in study
and travel. Returning home he studied law, but soon repaired again to
Europe, where he visited Russia, and became a special favorite with the
Emperor Alexander, who constantly asked him questions about the
institutions of the United States, and who once said to him, “If I were
not an Emperor, I would be a Republican.” In 1808, he was sent by
President Madison on public business to South America. On his return,
during the war, he was taken prisoner. In 1821 he was elected to Congress
from the Charleston district. In 1822 he was sent to Mexico by President
Monroe, to obtain information concerning the government under Iturbide, in
which he was very successful. He was subsequently appointed Minister to
Mexico, by Mr. Adams, and remained there until 1829. Returning home he
served in the State Senate and in 1836 entered President Van Buren’s
cabinet as Secretary of War. After retiring from that post, the remainder
of his life was spent in literary pursuits.

Professor MOSES STUART, for many years connected with Andover Theological
Seminary, and widely known for Biblical learning, died January 4th, aged
71. He was born at Wilton, Connecticut, March 26, 1780, and, after
graduating at Yale College in 1799, acted as tutor in that institution for
two or three years. In 1806, he was settled as a pastor in New Haven, and
was elected Professor of Sacred Literature in Andover Theological Seminary
in 1810—a post which he filled ably and acceptably until his death. He has
left voluminous and valuable works.

From CALIFORNIA we have intelligence to Dec. 15th. New and extensive
deposits of gold have been found near Auburn, in the northern, and at
Mariposa, in the southern mines; the lack of rain had caused the yield of
gold from them to be small. The aggregate product of all the mines during
November was estimated at twenty per cent. less than during the previous
month. Several projects of railroads through different sections of the
State were under discussion, and the route between San Francisco and San
José was being surveyed. The agricultural resources of the State continued
to be developed with steady progress. Farming operations had already
commenced. Several murders had been perpetrated in various sections. As an
evidence of the prosperity of San Francisco, it is stated that seven large
steamers were to leave that port, within a week, for different ports on
the Pacific and Australia. The Indians have again been committing
frightful ravages among the American settlements on the Colorado. The
various tribes upon the southeastern border, known to be disaffected, have
given unmistakable signs of revolt. Juan Antonio, who had been prominent
as an Indian leader, had been forming a league of several tribes, with
intent to attack the towns of San Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara.
Three skirmishes had also taken place with the Yumas, on the Colorado, in
which several Americans were killed. Great uneasiness prevailed among the
inhabitants of the menaced districts. The latest advices represent the
danger as less menacing than was feared. Gen. Conde, with 80 troops of the
Mexican Boundary Commission, was at Tuson on the 20th Oct., and would
leave next day for the Gila.

From OREGON, our news is to Dec. 6, and is encouraging. The difficulties
with the Coquille Indians, which had caused the loss of many lives, had
been settled. Coal had been found in considerable quantities at Port
Orford. The U. S. Coast Survey party were engaged in determining the
latitude and longitude of that point, and had completed a map of the
harbor. The rainy season had commenced, and the rivers were rising.

From UTAH we have the official report made by the Judges to the President
of the United States, concerning the condition of the Territory. They
state that they were compelled to leave by the hostile and seditious
sentiments of the Governor, Brigham Young; and they give a detailed
statement of his proceedings. They represent polygamy as common there, and
the courts as powerless to punish any offenses. The delegate from that
Territory in Congress complains of the report, as calculated to do
injustice to the inhabitants. He demands an investigation into the
charges.

From the SANDWICH ISLANDS we have news that the Expedition from
California, which was noticed in our last record as being suspected of
questionable designs, proves to be entirety innocent. It is said that they
were invited over by the King, who desired to have a body of Americans
there, in case his proposal for annexation to the United States should be
accepted. They had arrived at Honolulu, and engaged peaceably in various
pursuits. Some of the English residents evinced uneasiness at their
arrival. A resolution had been adopted in Parliament, declaring that the
demands of France were so unjust as to warrant the King, in case of
necessity, in putting the Islands under the protection of some friendly
power, and pledging the support of the nation to whatever he might think
it proper to do.

From MEXICO we have intelligence to the 20th of December. A riot occurred,
in consequence of rumored misconduct of the French Consul, in importing
goods without paying the duties upon them. Several persons were killed.
News had been received of the success of the government troops who were
sent to oppose Caravajal’s second attempt at insurrection in the northern
departments. Congress closed its extra session on the 14th of December;
the President, in his speech, said he should have been very glad to
congratulate them upon the realization of important reforms, but he could
not do so. No new sources of unhappiness, however, had arisen, and
financial matters had been put upon such a basis, that the next Congress
could solve existing difficulties. Harmony prevailed between the State and
the Central Governments; the army had preserved the nationality of the
country, when it was threatened on the frontier. The foreign relations of
the republic were declared to be entirely satisfactory. Preparations had
already been made for electing members of a new Congress, Subsequent
accounts received from the northern departments, give the details of the
success of the Government troops there. Caravajal was defeated, with a
loss of sixty or seventy;—but he had not been apprehended, and at the
latest advices, was expecting reinforcements.



South America.


From SOUTH AMERICA the news is not very decisive. _Uraguay_, however, is
completely emancipated from the control of Rosas. Oribe’s army is
disbanded, his officers have retired to Buenos Ayres, and he himself has
retired to private life. Urquiza had left the Montevidean territory with
part of his troops, on board Brazilian transports, for Entre Rios, from
which he intended to march to Buenos Ayres. The Brazilian army remained in
Uraguay, to support the actual government.——In _Chili_, according to
latest advices, the revolution noticed some time since, was evidently
extending itself more and more. By accounts received at Lima, December 1,
Gen. Cruz, the leader of the insurgents, was at Chillan, with 3000 men,
having had several engagements with the government troops under
Ex-President Bulnes. Col. Carrera had been defeated by the government
forces. At Valparaiso a riot occurred on the 28th of November. The mob
attacked the barracks, procured arms, and fortified themselves in the
Square. They were attacked by the troops under Governor-General Blanco,
and dispersed after half an hour’s engagement, in which 80 were killed.
The agitation had subsided.——In _Bolivia_ every thing was quiet.——In _New
Grenada_ a law has been passed, declaring the whole slave population to be
free after January 1, 1852. General Herrara had returned from his visit to
the southern provinces, where he had put down all the attempts at
insurrection.



Europe.


From GREAT BRITAIN the political news is important. On Monday, the 22d of
December, Lord PALMERSTON resigned his position as Foreign Secretary and
ceased to be a member of the Cabinet. Earl GRANVILLE was appointed his
successor. The cause of this rupture has not been officially announced.
The leading papers, however, ascribe it to a difference of opinion, which
had risen to decided hostility, between Lord Palmerston and his
colleagues, in regard to foreign affairs. The encouragement which the
Foreign Secretary gave to KOSSUTH is mentioned among the grounds of
difference: but the _Times_, which is likely to be well-informed, asserts,
that the subject of distinct and decisive difference was the French
usurpation. It says that Lord Palmerston approved decidedly of the step
taken by LOUIS NAPOLEON; whereas, the rest of the Cabinet were inclined to
censure it. The same authority says that several of the European
governments have warmly remonstrated with England, for allowing political
refugees to make that country the scene of plots against the peace of the
countries they had left. It adds, however, that this was not among the
causes of dissension,—Lord GRANVILLE is thirty-seven years old, and has
been attached to the English legation in Paris. It will be remembered that
he was Chairman of the Council of the Great Exhibition last year. He is a
man of considerable ability and diplomatic skill. It is not supposed,
however, that he will make his predecessor’s place good as a debater in
the House of Commons.

Of other news from Great Britain, there is not much. A large company of
London merchants waited upon Lord JOHN RUSSELL on the 9th, to complain of
gross mismanagement and inefficiency, on the part of the Commissioners of
Customs, and asking the appointment of a Select Committee of
Investigation. The Minister replied to many of the complaints, declaring
them to be unjust, and declined to say that he would move for a Committee.
The whole matter, however, should receive his attention.

A public dinner was given at Manchester, on the 9th, to Mr. R. J. WALKER,
formerly American Secretary of the Treasury. In his speech on the
occasion, Mr. W. elaborately argued the question of Free Trade, saying
that he was in favor of a still farther reduction of the American duties,
and calling upon the English to aid them by reducing the duties on tobacco
and other imports of American growth. Referring to recent events in
France, he avowed his apprehension that a man who had proved himself a
traitor, an insurgent, and a military usurper, would not rest content at
home, but that England herself was in danger from the progress of
despotism upon the Continent. Whenever such a struggle for freedom should
be waged in England, he promised them the support of the United States.

In IRELAND a good deal of interest has been excited by the return of
emigrants from America. In many cases they were returning for their
families—in others, from disappointment and unfitness for work in the
United States.——A Mr. Bateson, manager of the great estates of Lord
Templeton, in the county of Monoghan, was shot at, and then beaten with
bludgeons, so that he died, by three men in the street; the act was in
revenge for some evictions he had made against dishonest tenants.

In SCOTLAND a very large meeting was held in Edinburgh on the 9th, to
protest against the grant to Maynooth College. In the course of the
debates it was stated that 540 petitions, with 307,278 names, had been
sent in against the grant. A resolution was adopted, promising to use
every possible effort to “procure the passage of a bill for the entire
repeal of said grant” at the next session of Parliament.

The events of the month in France have been of transcendent interest. The
Constitution has been abolished, the National Assembly dissolved, martial
law proclaimed, and the Republic transformed into a Monarchy, elective in
name but absolute in fact.

This change was effected by violence on the morning of Tuesday, December
2d. Our Record of last month noticed the dissensions between the President
and the Assembly, and the refusal of the latter to abolish the law
restricting suffrage, and the failure of its attempt to obtain command
over the army. A law was also pending authorizing the impeachment of the
President in case he should seek a re-election in violation of the
provisions of the Constitution. During the night of Monday the 1st,
preparations were made by the President for destroying all authority but
his own. He wrote letters to his Ministers announcing to them that he had
made up his mind to resist the attempt of his enemies to sacrifice him,
and that, as he did not wish them to be compromised by his acts, they had
better resign. The hint of course was taken, and they sent in letters of
resignation at once. The principal streets of Paris were occupied by
strong bodies of troops at about 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning; and before
that hour all the leading representatives and military men whom Louis
Napoleon knew to be opposed to his designs, were arrested and committed to
prison. Detachments of the police, accompanied by portions of the guard,
visited their houses, and arrested Generals Cavaignac, Changarnier, De
Lamoricière, Bedeau, and Leflo, Colonel Charras, MM. Thiers, Lagrange,
Valentine, Panat, Michel (de Bourges), Beaune, Greppo, Miot, Nadaud, Roger
(du Nord), and Baze. They were immediately transferred to the Chateau of
Vincennes, and subsequently removed to Ham; with the exception of M.
Thiers, who was taken to the prison of Mazas. General Changarnier was
arrested at his own house at 4 o’clock in the morning. Several other
representatives were with him at the time, and were also taken into
custody. Gen. C. attempted to harangue the troops who were sent to arrest
him, but they refused to listen to him. At the same time that the above
arrests were made, commissaries of police were dispatched to the offices
of the public journals to suspend some, and regulate the course of others.
In the morning the walls of Paris were found to be placarded with a
decree, in the following terms: “In the name of the French people, the
President of the Republic decrees: 1. The National Assembly is dissolved.
2. Universal suffrage is re-established; the law of the 31st May is
repealed. 3. The French people are convoked in their communes from the
14th to the 21st December. 4. The state of siege is decreed in the whole
of the first military division. 5. The Council of State is dissolved. 6.
The Minister of the Interior is charged with the execution of this
decree.—Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.” At a later hour an appeal to the people
was issued by the President, and posted upon the walls. It declared that
he had dissolved the Assembly, which was attacking his power, and
compromising the peace of France. He had faithfully observed the
Constitution, but it was his duty to baffle the perfidious plans of those
who were seeking to overturn the Republic. He accordingly appealed to the
people. He would not consent longer to hold a power ineffective for good:
if they wished him to continue in his post, they must give him the means
of fulfilling his mission, which was to close the era of revolutions. He
submitted to them the basis of a new Constitution, providing: 1. A
responsible head named for ten years. 2. Ministers dependent on the
Executive power alone. 3. A Council of State, to propose laws and discuss
them. 4. A legislative body discussing and voting laws, named by universal
suffrage. 5. A second assembly, formed of all the illustrious of the
country. He asked them to vote for or against him on this basis. If he did
not obtain a majority, he would give up power. A proclamation to the army
was issued in a similar manner. He told the soldiers that he counted on
them to cause to be respected the sovereignty of the nation, of which he
was the legitimate representative. He reminded them of the insults that
had been heaped upon them, and called upon them to vote as citizens, but
as soldiers to obey. He was alone responsible: it was for them to remain
immovable within the rules of discipline.

As soon as these events were generally known, a portion of the members of
the Assembly, two hundred in number, assembled at the residence of M.
Daru, one of the Vice Presidents of the Assembly. They there decided to go
to their usual place of meeting, but they were refused admission by an
armed guard. Returning to M. Daru’s house, they were about commencing a
session, when a message arrived from Gen. Lauriston, inviting them to the
Mairie of the 10th arrondissement, and saying that he was prepared to
defend them against all violence. They accordingly repaired thither,
organized, and after due deliberation declared the conduct of Louis
Napoleon to be illegal, and in violation of the Constitution, and decreed
his deposition, in accordance with Art. 68 of that instrument. They also
by a decree freed the officers of the army and navy, and all public
functionaries, from their oaths of obedience to him, and convoked the High
Court of Justice to judge him and his Ministers. The Court did attempt to
meet during the day, but was dispersed. The decree was signed by all the
members of Assembly present. After this had been done the building was
found to be surrounded by troops, to whom M. Berryer announced the
deposition of the President and the appointment of General Oudinot,
commander-in-chief of all the troops of Paris. The announcement was coldly
received, and officers and troops immediately entered the room and
dispersed the Assembly. About 150 of the members were afterward arrested
and committed to prison for attempting to meet in some other place; after
a day’s confinement they were released. Meantime, the most perfect quiet
prevailed throughout Paris. No attempt at resistance was made, and the
decrees were read and commented on with apparent indifference. The streets
and public places were crowded with troops. Dispatches were sent to the
departments and were answered by full assurances of assent.

On Wednesday morning was published a list of one hundred and twenty
persons appointed by the President as a Consultative Commission, selected
because Louis Napoleon “wished to surround himself with men who enjoy, by
a just title, the esteem and confidence of the country.” Of these over
eighty refused to serve. During the same morning, indications of
discontent began to be apparent. At about 10 o’clock, M. Baudin, one of
the representatives of the people, made his appearance on horseback, in
official dress and with a drawn sword, in the Rue St. Antoine. He was
followed by several others, and strove to arouse the people to resistance.
Considerable groups collected, and a fragile barricade was erected. Troops
soon came up from opposite directions and hemmed them in. The groups were
soon dispersed, and M. Baudin, and two other representatives were killed
on the spot. Great numbers of troops continued to arrive, and the whole
section was speedily occupied by them. On Thursday morning, appearances of
insurrection began to be serious. Barricades were erected in several
streets. At 12 o’clock the Boulevards were swept by troops, artillery was
brought up, and wherever groups of people were seen they were fired upon.
It is now known that police officers encouraged the building of barricades
in order to give the troops a chance to attack the people. Buildings were
battered with cannon, and scores of respectable people were killed at
their windows. Throughout the day the troops behaved in the most brutal
manner, bayoneting, shooting, and riding over every body within reach.
Great numbers of innocent persons were killed in this manner. It would be
impossible to give within our limits a tithe of the interesting incidents
of the day, illustrating the spirit that prevailed. It is pretty clearly
ascertained that the object of the government was to strike terror into
all classes, and that for this purpose the troops had been instructed to
show no quarter, but to kill every body that threatened resistance. Many
of the soldiers were also intoxicated. ’Order’ was in this manner
completely restored by evening. But over two thousand people were killed.

From the departments, meantime, came news of resistance. In the frontier
districts of the southeast particularly—the whole valley of the Rhone, in
fact the whole region from Joigny to Lyons, including several departments,
the rural population rose in great strength against the usurpation. There
was very hard fighting in the Nievre, in the Herault, and in the frontier
districts of the Sardinian and Swiss Alps: and in many places the contest
was distinguished by sad atrocities. In the course of two or three days,
however, all resistance was quelled.

Preparations were made for the election. The army voted first, and of
course its vote was nearly unanimous in favor of Louis Napoleon. The
popular election was to take place on Saturday and Sunday, the 20th and
21st of December. The simple question submitted was, whether Louis
Napoleon should remain at the head of the state ten years, or not. No
other candidate was allowed to be named. Louis Napoleon directed the
Pantheon to be restored to its original use as a church, and thereby, as
well as by other measures, secured the support of the Catholics. Count
Montalembert published a long letter, urging all Catholics throughout
France to vote in his favor. The election was conducted quietly—the
government discouraging as much as possible the printing and distributing
of negative votes. The returns have been received from 68 out of the 86
departments, and these give, in round numbers, 5,400,000 _yes_, and
600,000 _no_. His majority will probably be nearly 7,000,000, which is
more than he obtained in 1848.

The London papers state that a correspondence had passed between the
governments of England and France upon the subject of Louis Napoleon’s
usurpation, in which the former urged a full and explicit declaration of
the President’s intentions, and views, as necessary to satisfy the English
people in regard to what had already taken place. The replies are said to
have been evasive and unsatisfactory. It is stated, also, that Louis
Napoleon had directed a circular letter to be prepared, addressed to the
various governments of Europe, assuring them of his pacific disposition,
and saying that the step he had taken was necessary for the protection of
France against the enemies of order.

Marshal Soult died on the 20th of December at his chateau of Soult-berg.
He was born March 29,1769—the same year with Napoleon, the Duke of
Wellington, Cuvier, Chateaubriand, and Walter Scott, and was 82 years old
at the time of his death. He entered the army in 1785, and was
subsequently attached to the staff of Gen. Lefebvre. He took part in all
the campaigns of Germany until 1799, when he followed Massena into
Switzerland and thence to Genoa, where he was wounded and taken prisoner.
Set at liberty after the battle of Marengo, he returned to France and
became one of the four colonels of the guard of the Consuls. When the
empire was proclaimed in 1804 he was made Marshal of France. He
subsequently commanded the army in Spain, and in 1813 was made
Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Guard. When Napoleon first landed from
Elba he issued a proclamation against him, but soon after became one of
his warmest adherents. He was afterward the firm supporter of Louis
Philippe, as Minister of War and President of the Council, from which he
retired in 1847 to private life. He was the last representative of the
imperial era of France.

From AUSTRIA the only news is of new arrests and new restrictions. A
number of persons in Hungary, including the mother and the sisters of
Kossuth, had been arrested merely on suspicion at Pesth: and a subsequent
account announces the death of his mother. The prisoners were removed to
Vienna. The military governor of Vienna has forbidden the papers hereafter
to publish the names of any persons that may be arrested, or to mention
the fact of their arrest, on the ground that it “interferes with judicial
proceedings.” The government, it is said, has notified the English
government, that measures will be taken to prevent Englishmen from
traveling in Austria, if Austrian refugees continue to be received and
fêted in England.—The financial embarrassments of the government still
continue.—It is stated that Prince Schwarzenberg has avowed the intention
of the Austrian government to sustain Louis Napoleon in the course he has
taken—not that his legitimate right to the position he holds is conceded,
but because he is acting on the side of order.

From SPAIN we have intelligence that the Queen has pardoned all the
American prisoners proceeding from the last expedition against Cuba,
whether in Spain fulfilling their sentence or still in Cuba. The decree
announcing this was dated Dec. 9, and alleged the satisfactory conduct and
assurances of the American government as the ground of this clemency.—The
Spanish Minister, Don Calderon de la Barca, had been honored with the
Grand Cross of Charles II. as a reward for his conduct, and Señor Laborde,
the Spanish Consul at New Orleans, was to resume his post.—Immediately
after receiving news of the _coup-d’état_ in Paris, the Spanish Congress
was indefinitely prorogued by the royal authority. A princess was born on
the 20th of December.

In TURKEY the question of Russian predominance has again been raised, by
the demand of the French, upon the Turkish government, for the control of
the Holy Sepulchre, which, they allege, was guaranteed to them by treaty
in 1740. Through the agency of their Minister, the French had succeeded in
procuring an admission of the binding force of the treaty: but just then
the Russian Minister presented a demand that the Holy Sepulchre should
still remain in the hands of the Greek Church. This remonstrance caused
the Porte to hesitate: and the affair is still undecided.

From CHINA and the EAST news a month later has been received. From Bombay
intelligence is to Nov. 17. A very severe hurricane occurred in and around
Calcutta on the 22d of October, and caused great damage to the shipping as
well as to houses: a great many persons were killed. Hostilities have
again broken out between the English and the natives at Gwalior. Troops
had been sent out upon service, but no engagements are reported.—In
consequence of rival claimants to the throne, a fearful scene of anarchy
and blood is commencing in Affghanistan. Many of the Hindoo traders and
other peacable inhabitants have fled from the country, and were putting
themselves under British protection.—An extensive fire occurred in Canton,
Oct. 4, destroying five hundred houses and an immense amount of property.
The intelligence of the Chinese rebellion was very vague, and the movement
had ceased to excite interest or attract attention.



EDITOR’S TABLE.


The Value of the Union.—In our periodical rounds, we have arrived at the
month which numbers in its calendar the natal day of Washington. What
subject, then, more appropriate for such a period than the one we have
placed at the head of our editorial Table? “_The Value of the Union_”—in
other words, the value of our national Constitution? Who shall estimate
it? By what mathematical formula shall we enter upon a computation
requiring so many known and unknown forces to be taken into the account,
and involving results so immense in the number and magnitude of their
complications? No problem in astronomy or mechanics is to be compared with
it. As a question of science, the whole solar system presents nothing more
intricate. It is not a “problem of three bodies,” but of thirty; and these
regarded not merely in their internal dynamical relations, but in their
moral bearings upon an outer world of widely varied and varying forces.

In the computations of stocks and dividends, and the profit and loss of
commercial partnerships, the process is comparatively clear. The balance
is ever of one ascertained kind, and expressed in one uniform circulating
medium. There is but one standard of value, and, therefore, the methods of
ordinary arithmetic are sufficient. But in this estimate, which the most
ordinary politician sometimes thinks himself perfectly competent to make,
there enter elements that the highest analysis might fail to master. This
is because the answer sought presents itself under so many aspects, and in
such a variety of relations.

“_The Value of the Union._”—We have forgotten who first employed the
ill-omened expression, but it has set us thinking in how many ways it may
be taken, and how many different kinds of value may be supposed to enter
into such a calculation.

And first—for our subject is so important as to require precision—we may
attempt to consider the value of our national Constitution as A WORK OF
ART. This is a choice term of the day—a favorite mode of speech with all
who would affect a more than ordinary elevation of thought and sentiment.
Profound ideas are sought in painting, statuary, and architecture. The
ages, it is said, speak through them, and in them. The individual minds
and hands by which they receive their outward forms, are only
representative of deeper tendencies existing in the generic humanity. In
the department of architecture, especially, some of the favorite writers
of the age are analyzing the elements of its ideal excellence. The
perfection of an architectural structure is its rhythm, its analogy, its
inward harmonious support, its outward adaptedness to certain ends, or the
expression of certain thoughts, or the giving form and embodiment to
certain emotions—in other words, what may be called its artistic logic.
Whether this be all true, or whether there is much cant and affectation
mingled with it, still may we say that, in the best sense in which such an
expression has ever been employed of statuary or architecture, is our
Federal Constitution a high and glorious _work of art_; and if it had no
other value, this alone would make it exceedingly precious in the eyes of
all who have a taste for the sublimity and beauty of order, who love the
just and true, and who regard the highest dignity and well-being of our
humanity as consisting in a right appreciation of these ideas. One of the
most popular and instructive works of the day is Ruskin on the different
styles of architecture. Would it be thought whimsical to compare with this
the Letters of Madison and Hamilton on the Federal Constitution? We refer
to the well-known work entitled The Federalist, and on whose profound
disquisitions the pillars of our government may be said to rest. Yes,
_there_, we boldly affirm it, _there_, is to be found the true τὸ
καλόν—there is architectural and constructive rhythm. There is analogy of
ideas, there is harmony of adaptation, there is unity of power. There is
both statistical and dynamical beauty—the beauty of rest, the beauty of
strength in repose, the beauty of action in harmonious equilibrium. There
is that which gives its highest charm to music, the perception of ratios,
and ideas, and related chords, instead of mere unmeaning sounds. There is
that which makes the enchantment of the picture, the exquisite blending of
colors, the proper mingling of light and shade, the perspective adjustment
of the near and the remote. There are all the elements of that high
satisfaction we experience in the contemplation of any dramatic act, or of
any structure, real or ideal, in which there is a perfect arrangement of
mutually supporting parts, and a perfect resolution of mutually related
forces, all combined with harmonious reference to a high and glorious end.

Irrespective, then, of its more immediate social and political utilities,
there is a high value in our Federal Constitution when viewed thus in
reference solely to its artistic excellence. We may thus speak of its
worth _per se_, as a model of the τὸ καλόν, just as we would of that of a
picture, or a temple, or an anthem. But even in this aspect it has its
higher utilities. Is there no value in the elevating effect it must ever
have upon those who have intellect enough to comprehend what we have
called its artistic logic, and soul enough to feel the harmonizing
influence of its artistic beauty? Will not a people reason better who have
ever before them a work which has been the result of so much philosophical
and scientific thought? Will not their moral taste be purified, and their
love of the true and the beautiful be increased, in proportion as their
minds enter truly into the harmony of such a structure? Is it a mere fancy
to suppose that such a silent yet powerful educating influence in our
Constitution may be more effectual, on many minds, than any direct
restraining power of special statutes?

This train of thought is tempting, and suggests a great variety of
illustrations, but we can not dwell on them. If the man who should
maliciously cause the destruction of a splendid cathedral, who should set
fire to St. Peter’s or St. Paul’s, or who should wantonly mar a
master-piece of Power or Canova—if such a one, we say, would justly be
visited with the execration of the civilized world, of how much sorer
punishment should he be thought worthy who should traitorously conspire
the death of our American Union, or even think of applying the torch to
the glorious structure of our Federal Constitution? Even to speak lightly
of its value should be regarded as no ordinary treason. But let us come
down to what many would regard a more practical and utilitarian view of
the matter.

AS AN EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD.—What arithmetic shall estimate the value of
our Union and of our political institutions in this respect? This is the
second element in our computation; although in view of the present
condition of mankind it might even seem entitled to the first and highest
place. Between the wild surgings of radicalism and the iron-bound coast of
despotism, what hope for the nations if the fairest and strongest ship of
constitutional liberty part her anchors, only to be engulfed in the
yawning vortex on the one side, or dashed to pieces against the rocks on
the other? When will the experiment ever be tried under fairer auspices?
When may we again expect such a combination of favoring circumstances,
propitious providences, moral and religious influences, formative ideas,
and historical training as have all concurred in building up the fabric
which some would so recklessly destroy? If after the preparation of
centuries—if after all our claims to a higher Christianity, a higher
civilization, a higher science—if after all our boasts of progress, and of
the Press, and of the capacity of man for self-government—the result of it
all should be a dissolution of our political and national existence before
one generation of its founders had wholly passed away, what can we
expect—we earnestly ask every serious reader deeply to ponder this most
plain and practical question—what can we expect of the frivolous French
infidelity, or the deeper, and therefore far more dangerous German
pantheism, or the untaught serfdom of Austria and Russia? It may, perhaps,
be said, that the mere dissolution of our Union would not involve any such
eventful issue. It is only a temporary expedient (it might be maintained),
not belonging to the essence of our nationality, and the real sovereignty,
or sovereignties would not be impaired by its loss. Our State governments
would remain, and other lesser confederacies might be formed, if political
exigencies should require them. This suggests the _third aspect_ under
which we would consider the problem that has presented itself for our
editorial contemplations.

_The Value of our Union_ as THE KEY-STONE OF STATE AUTHORITY, and of all
that may be legitimately included under the idea of State sovereignty. Who
shall estimate it in this respect? We are too much inclined to regard our
general government, as in some respects, a foreign one, as something
outside of our proper nationality, as an external band, or wrapper, that
may be loosened without much danger, rather than what it really is, or, at
least has become in time, a _con-necting_, interweaving, all-pervading
principle, constituting not merely a _sum_ of adjacent _parts_, but a
_whole_ of organic _membership_; so that a severance would not leave
merely disintegrated fractions, possessing each the same vitality it would
have had, or might once have had, if there had never been such membership.
The wound could not be inflicted without a deep, and, perhaps, deadly
injury, not only to the life of the whole, as a whole, but to the vital
forces through which the lower and smaller sections of each several member
may have been respectively bound into political unities. It is true, our
general government had a peculiar origin, and stands, _in time_,
subsequent to the State authorities. It might seem, therefore, to some, to
derive its life from them, instead of being itself a proper fountain of
vitality. This is _chronologically_ true; but such an inference from it
would be _logically_ false, and could only proceed from a very superficial
study of the law of political organisms. Whatever may have been the origin
of the parts, or the original circumstances of their union, we must now
regard the body that has grown out of them as a living organic whole,
which can not suffer without suffering throughout. It is _alive all over_,
and you can put the amputating knife in no place without letting out some
of the life-blood that flows in each member, and in every fibre of each
member. It had, indeed, its origin in the union of the parts, but its
vital principle has modified the parts, and modified their life, so that
you can not now hurt it, or kill it, without producing universal pain and
universal death. Nor was such union either arbitrary or accidental. Our
general political organization was as naturally born out of the
circumstances in which we were placed, as our several State polities grew
out of the union of the feeble and varied sources in which they had their
historical origin. The written Constitution declarative of the national
coalescence (or _growing together_) only expressed an _effect_, instead of
constituting a cause.

To change our metaphor, for the sake of varied and easy illustration, we
may say, that the Federal Constitution, though last in the actual order of
construction, has come to be the key-stone of the whole arch. It can not
now be taken out but at the risk of every portion crumbling into atoms.
The State interest may have been predominant in the earlier periods, but
generations have since been born under the security of this arch, and a
conservative feeling of nationality has been growing up with it. In this
way our general government, our State governments, our county or district
governments, our city corporations, the municipal authorities of our towns
and villages, have become _cemented_ together into one grand harmonious
whole, whose coherence is the coherence of every part, and in which no
part is the same it would, or might have been, had no such interdependent
coherence ever taken place. It becomes, therefore, a question of the most
serious moment—What would be the effect of loosening this key of the arch?
Could we expect any stone to keep its place, be it great or small? In
other words, have we any reason to believe that such an event would be
succeeded by two, or three, or a few confederacies, still bound together,
or might we not rather expect a universal dissolution of our grand
national system?

And would it stop here? The charm once broken, would the wounded feeling
of nationality find repose in our State governments, or would they, too,
in their turn, feel the effects of the same dissolving and decomposing
process? These, also, are but creations of law, and compacts, and
historical events, and accidents of locality, in which none of the present
generation had any share, and which have brought all the smaller political
powers within certain boundaries to be members of one larger body politic,
with all the irregularities and inequalities it may geographically
present. What magic, then, in the bond that holds together the smaller
parts composing New York, or Virginia, or Massachusetts, or South
Carolina, which is not to be found in the national organization? What
sacred immutability in the results giving rise to the one class of
political wholes that does not exist in the other? Such questions are
becoming already rife among us, and let the healthful charm of our greater
nationality be once lost, they would doubtless multiply with a rapidity
that might startle even the most radical. The doctrine may not be
intended, but it would logically and inevitably result from much of our
most popular oratory on the inherent right of self-government, that any
part of any separate State might sever its connection with the whole, or
might form a union with any contiguous territory, whenever it might seem
to the majority of such part to be for their interest, or to belong to
their abstract right to make such secession or annexation. There is,
however, an extreme to which the principle may be carried, even beyond
this. The tendency to what is called individualism, or the making all
positive legislation dependent for its authority upon the higher law of
the individual sanction, would soon give a practical solution to the most
disorganizing theories that now exist as germs in the idea expressed by
that barbarous but most expressive term _come-outer-ism_. And this
suggests the next and closely related aspect of our important problem.

There is, in the fourth place, the value of the national Constitution as
THE GRAND CONSERVATOR OF ALL LOWER LAW, and of all lower political rights
whatever. No law of the State, of the city, of the family, of the school,
no contract between man and man, no prescriptive right, no title to
property, no exclusive domain in land, no authority over persons, could
fail to be weakened by a wound inflicted on the all-conserving law of our
higher nationality. There are none of these but what are even now
demoralized, and seriously affected in their most inner sanctions, by the
increasing practice of speaking lightly of a bond so sacred. What right
has he to the possession of his acres who counsels resistance to one law
of the land, and, in so doing, strikes at the very life of the authority
by which he holds all he calls his own? It must be true of human, as well
as of the Divine law, that he who offends in one point is guilty of all.
The severence of one link breaks the whole chain. There is no medium
between complete submission to every constitutional ordinance, or rightful
and violent revolution against the whole political system. But if such
inconsistency can be charged on him who claims the right of property in
land, although that, too, is beginning to be disputed, with how much more
force does it press on the man who asserts property, or—if a less odious
term is preferred—authority, in persons? We do not dispute his claim. It
comes from the common source of all human authority, whether of man over
man, or of man to the exclusion of man from a challenged domain. But
certainly _his_ title can have no other foundation than the political
institutions of the country maintained in all their coherent integrity;
and, therefore, he who asserts it should be very conservative, he should
be very reverent of law in all its departments, he should be very tender
of breaking Constitutions, he should hold in the highest honor the
decisions of an interpreting judiciary. He should, in short, be the very
last man ever to talk of revolution, or nullification, or secession, or of
any thing else that may in the least impair the sacredness or stability of
constitutional law.

Call government, then, what we will, social compact, divine institution,
natural growth of time and circumstances—conceive of it under any
form—still there is ever the same essential idea. It is ever one absolute,
earthly, sovereign power, acting, within a certain territory, as the
sanction and guaranty of all civil or political rights, in other words, of
all rights that can not exist without it. There may be many intermediate
links in the chain, but it is only by virtue of this, in the last appeal,
that one man has the exclusive right to the house in which he lives, or to
the land which he occupies. Hence alone, too, are all the _civil_ rights
of marriage and the domestic relations. The family is born of the state.
On this account, says Socrates, may it be held that _the law has begotten
us_, and we may be justly called its sons. There is the same idea in the
maxim of Cicero, _In aris et focis est respublica_; and in this thought we
find the peculiar malignity of that awful crime of treason. It is a
_breach of trust_, and, in respect to government, of the most sacred
trust. It is the foulest parricide. It is aiming a dagger at that civic
life from which flows all the social and domestic vitality. The notion, in
feudal times, had for its outward type the relation of lord and
dependent—of service and obedience on the one hand, and protection on the
other. The form has changed, but the essential idea remains, and ever must
remain, while human government exists on earth. He who breaks this vital
bond, he who would seek to have the protection to his person and his
property, while he forfeits the tenure of citizenship, he is the
_traitor_. And hence arises the essential difference between treason and
mobbism. The man who is guilty of the former not only commits violence,
but means by that violence to assail the very existence through which
alone he himself may be said to exist as a citizen, or member of a living
political organism. There is no more alarming feature of the times than
the indifference with which men begin to look upon this foul, unnatural
crime, and even to palliate it under the softened title of “political
offenses,” or a mere difference in political opinions. To punish it is
thought to savor only of barbarism and a barbarous age. If we judge,
however, from the tremendous consequences which must result from its
impunity, ordinary murder can not be named in the comparison. If he who
takes a single life deserves the gallows, of how much sorer punishment
shall he be thought worthy who aims at the life of a nation—a nation, too,
like our own, the world’s last hope, the preservation of whose political
integrity is the most effectual means of INTERVENTION we can employ in
favor of true freedom in every other part of the globe.

And this brings us to our fifth measure of value, but we can only briefly
state it. The world has seen enough of despotism. It is probable, too,
that there will be no lack of lawless popular anarchy. In this view of
things, how precious is every element of constitutional liberty! How
important to have its lamp ever trimmed and burning, as a guide to the
lost, a bright consolation of hope to the despairing! Only keep this light
steadily shining out on the dark sea of despotism, and it will do more for
the tossing and foundering nations than any rash means of help that,
without any avail for good, may only draw down our own noble vessel into
the angry breakers, and engulfing billows of the same shipwreck.



EDITOR’S EASY CHAIR.


Even yet the talk of LOUIS NAPOLEON, and of that audacious action which in
a day transmuted our thriving sister republic, with her regularly-elected
President, and her regularly-made—though somewhat tattered—Constitution,
into a kind of anomalous empire, with only an army, and a Bonaparte to
hold it together—is loud, in every corner of the country. It has seemed
not a little strange, that the man, at whom, three years ago, every one
thought it worth his while to fling a sneer, should have gathered into his
hands, with such deft management, the reins of power, and absolutely
out-manœuvred the bustling little THIERS, and the bold-acting CAVAIGNAC.

Old travelers are recalling their recollection of the spruce looking
gentleman, in white kids, and with unexceptionable beaver, who used to
saunter with one or two mustached companions along Pall-Mall; and who,
some three months after, in even more _recherche_ costume, used to take
his morning drive, with four-in-hand, upon the asphalte surface of the
Paris avenues. There seemed really nothing under cover of his finesse in
air and garb which could work out such long-reaching strategy as he has
just now shown us.

Belabor him as we will, with our honest republican anathemas, there must
yet have been no small degree of long-sightedness belonging to the man who
could transform a government in a day; and who could have laid such finger
to the pulse of a whole army of Frenchmen, as to know their heart-bound to
a very fraction.

The truth is, the French, with the impulse of a quick-blooded race, admire
audacity of any sort; and what will call a shout, will, in nine cases out
of ten, call a welcome. It is not a little hard for a plain,
matter-of-fact American to conceive of the readiness with which the French
army, and all the myrmidons of that glowing republican power, shift their
allegiance—as obedient as an opera chorus to the wink of the _maestro_.

We can ourselves recall the memory of a time when that CHANGARNIER, who is
now a lion in fetters, held such rule over Paris military and Paris
constabulary, that a toss of his thumb would send half the representatives
to prison; and now, there is not so much as a regiment who would venture a
wail for his losses. This offers sad comment on the “thinking capacity” of
bayonets!

What shall we suppose of these hundred thousand scene-shifters in the red
pantaloons? Are they worked upon merely by the Napoleonic champagne to a
change of views; or are they tired of a sham Republic, and willing to take
instead a sham Empire; or have they grown political economists, with new
appreciation of government stability, and a long-sighted eagerness to
secure tranquillity? Or, is not the humbler truth too patent, that their
opinions herd together by a kind of brute sympathy, and are acted upon by
splendor—whether of crime or of munificence; and, moreover, is it not too
clear that those five hundred thousand men who prop the new dynasty with
bayonets, are without any sort of what we call moral education, and rush
to every issue like herds of wild bison—guided solely by instinct?

And would not a little of that sort of education which sets up
school-houses, and spreads newspapers, and books, and Harper’s Magazines
like dew over the length and the breadth of our land, do more toward the
healing of that sick French nation, than the prettiest device of
Constitution, or the hugest five-sous bath-house? Ah, well-a-day, we shall
have little hope for _la belle France_, UNTIL HER ARMY SHOWS INTELLIGENCE,
and HER STATESMEN HONESTY.

We can hardly give this current topic the go-by, without bringing to our
reader’s eye a happy summing up of suppositions in the columns of Punch,
and if our listener will only read Congressional for Parliamentary, and
the _Bentons_ and the _Casses_ for the _Grahames_ and the _Gladstones_, he
may form a very accurate idea of a _Napoleon-Mr.-Fillmore_.

Suppose the head of the Executive, or the Minister for the time being,
were to take it into his head one morning to abolish the Houses of
Parliament.—Suppose some of the members elected by large constituencies
were to think it a duty to go and take their seats, and were to be met at
the doors by swords and bayonets, and were to be wounded and taken off to
prison for the attempt.—Suppose the Minister, having been harassed by a
few Parliamentary debates and discussions, were to send off to Newgate or
the House of Correction a few of the most eminent members of the
Opposition, such as the Disraelis, the Grahames, the Gladstones, the
Barings, and a sprinkling of the Humes, the Wakleys, the Walmsleys, the
Cobdens, and the Brights.—Suppose the press having been found not to agree
with the policy of the Minister, he were to peremptorily stop the
publication of the _Times_, _Herald_, _Chronicle_, _Post_, _Advertiser_,
_Daily News_, _Globe_, &c., &c., and limit the organs of intelligence to
the Government _Gazette_, or one or two other prints that would write or
omit just what he, the Minister, might please.—Suppose, when it occurred
to the public that these measures were not exactly in conformity with the
law, the Minister were to go or send some soldiers down to Westminster
Hall, shut up the Courts, send the Lord Chancellor about his business, and
tell Lords Campbell, Cranworth, and all the rest of the high judicial
authorities, to make the best of their way home.—Suppose a few Members of
Parliament were to sign a protest against these proceedings; and suppose
the documents were to be torn down by soldiers, and the persons signing
them packed off to Coldbath Fields or Pentonville.—Suppose all these
things were to happen with a Parliament elected by Universal Suffrage, and
under a Republican form of Government[.]—And lastly—Suppose we were to be
told that this sort of thing is liberty, and what we ought to endeavor to
get for our own country;—Should we look upon the person telling us so, as
a madman, or a knave, or both? and should we not be justified in putting
him as speedily, and as unceremoniously as possible—outside our doors?

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

In our last EASY chat with our readers, we sketched in an off-hand way the
current of the KOSSUTH talk; and we hinted that our enthusiasm had its
fevers and chills; so far as the talk goes, a chilliness has come over the
town since the date of our writing—an unworthy and ungracious chill—but
yet the natural result of a little over-idolatry. As for Congressional
action, no apology can be found, either in moderation or good sense, for
the doubtful and halting welcome which has been shown the great Hungarian.

The question of Government interference in his national quarrel was one
thing; but the question of a welcome to a distinguished and suffering
stranger was quite another. The two, however, have been unfortunately
mingled; and a rude and vulgar effort has been made to prejudge his
mission, by affronting him as a guest. We may be strong enough to brave
Russia, and its hordes of Cossacks; but no country is strong enough to
trample on the laws of hospitality We see the hint thrown out in some
paper of the day, that the slackened sympathy for KOSSUTH, in Washington,
is attributable mainly to the influence of the diplomatic circles of that
city. We fear there may be a great deal of truth in this hint: our
enthusiasm finds volume in every-day chit-chat, and dinner-table talk; it
lives by such fat feeding as gossip supplies; and gossip finds its
direction in the salons of the most popular of entertainers.

Washington has a peculiar and shifting social character—made up in its
winter elements of every variety of manner and of opinion. This manner and
these opinions, however, are very apt to revolve agreeably to what is
fixed at the metropolis; and since the diplomatic circles of the capital
are almost the only permanent social foci of habit and gossip, it is but
natural there should be a convergence toward their action. The fact is by
no means flattering; but we greatly fear that it is pointed with a great
deal of truth.

Our readers will observe, however, that we account in this way only for
the slackened tone of talk, and of salon enthusiasm; nor do we imagine
that any parlor influences whatever of the capital can modify to any
considerable degree, either legislative, or moral action.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Of Paris, now that she has fallen again into one, of her political
paroxysms, there is little gayety to be noted. And yet it is most
surprising how that swift-blooded people will play the fiddle on the
barricades! Never—the papers tell us—were the receptions at the Elysée
more numerously attended, and never were the dresses richer, or the jewels
more ostentatiously displayed.

Some half dozen brilliant _soirées_ were, it seems, on the _tapis_ at the
date of Louis Napoleon’s manœuvre; the invitations had been sent, and upon
the evenings appointed—a week or more subsequent to the turn of the magic
lantern—the guests presented themselves before closed doors. The occupants
and intended hosts were, it seems, of that timid class living along the
Faubourg St. Honoré and the Faubourg St. Germain, who imagined themselves,
their titles, and their wealth, safer under the wing of King Leopold of
Belgium, than under the shadow of the new-feathered eagle. A thriving
romance or two, they say, belonged to the quiet movements of the Republic.
Thus, the papers make us a pleasant story out of CAVAIGNAC and his
prospective bride, Mademoiselle ODIER. And if we furbish up for the
reading of our country clients, we venture to say that we shall keep as
near the truth as one half of the letter-writers.

For two or three years, it seems that General Cavaignac has been a
constant visitor at the house of the rich banker, M. ODIER, He was
regarded as a friend of the family, and wore the honors of a friend; that
is to say, he had such opportunities of conversation, and for attention in
respect to the daughter of the house, as is rarely accorded to Paris
ladies in their teens. The General looks a man of fifty—he may be less;
but he has a noble carriage, a fine face, and a manner full of dignity and
gentleness. The pretty blonde (for Mlle. Odier is so described), was not
slow to appreciate the captivating qualities of the General. Moreover,
there belonged to her character a romantic tinge, which was lighted up by
the story of the General’s bravery, and of the dauntless way in which he
bore himself through the murderous days of June. In short, she liked him
better than she thought.

The General, on the other hand, somewhat fixed in his bachelor habitude,
and counting himself only a fatherly friend, who could not hope, if he
dared, to quicken any livelier interest—wore imperturbably the dignity and
familiarity of his first manner.

One day—so the story runs—conversation turned upon a recent marriage, in
which the bridegroom was some thirty years the lady’s senior. The General
in round, honest way, inveighed against the man as a deceiver of
innocence, and avowed strongly his belief that such inequality of age was
not only preposterous, but wicked.

Poor Mademoiselle Odier!—her fond heart feeding so long blindly on hope,
lighted by romance and love, could not bear the sudden shock. She grew
pale—paler still, and, to the surprise of the few friends who were
present—fainted.

Even yet the General lived in ignorance; and would perhaps have died in
ignorance, had not some kind friend made known to him the state of Mlle[.]
Odier’s feelings. The General was too gallant a man to be conquered in
loving; and the issue was, in a week, an acknowledged troth of the
banker’s daughter with the General Cavaignac.

Upon the evening preceding the change of the Republic, they were
together—father, daughter, and lover—at the first presentation of a new
play. The marriage was fixed for the week to come. But in view of the
unsettled state of affairs, the General advised a postponement. The next
morning he was a prisoner, on his way to Ham.

He wrote—the gossips tell us—a touching letter to Mademoiselle Odier,
giving up all claim upon her, as a prisoner, which he had so proudly
boasted while free, and assuring her of his unabated devotion.

She wrote—the gossips tell us—that he was dearer to her now than ever.

So the matter stands; with the exception that Cavaignac has been freed,
and that the day of marriage is again a matter of consultation.

May they have a long life, and a happy one—longer and happier than the
life of the Republic!

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The drawing of the “Lottery of Gold” was _the event_ of Paris which
preceded the _coup-d’état_. Some seven millions of tickets had been sold
at a franc each; and the highest prize was, if we mistake not, a sum equal
to a hundred thousand dollars. Interest was of course intense; and the
National Circus, where the lots were drawn, was crowded to its utmost
capacity. The papers give varying accounts as to the fortunate holder of
the ticket drawing the first prize, one account represents her as a poor
washerwoman, and another, as a street porter. A story is told of one poor
fellow who, by a mistaken reading of one figure, imagined himself the
fortunate possessor of the fortune. He invited his friends to a feast, and
indulged in all sorts of joyous folly. The quick revulsion of feeling,
when the truth appeared, was too much for the poor fellow’s brain, and he
is now in the mad-house.

Another equally unfortunate issue is reported of a poor seamstress, who
had spent the earnings of years, amounting to six or seven hundred francs,
upon the chance of a prize, and drew—nothing. She, too, has lost both
money and mind. The affair, however, has had the fortunate result of
taming down wild expectancies, and of destroying the taste for such labor
hating schemes of profit. It were devoutly to be hoped, that a little of
the distaste for moneyed lotteries, would breed a distaste in the French
mind for political lotteries.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

As for affairs at home, they budge on in much the old fashion. The town is
not over-gay—partly through fatigues of last winter, which are not yet
wholly forgotten—partly through a little Wall-street depletion, and partly
through the ugly weather, which has sown catarrhs and coughs with a very
liberal hand.

Poor Jenny Lind—true to her native tenderness of heart, has yielded up the
closing scenes of what would have been a glorious triumph, to the grief at
a mother’s death. She goes away from us mourning, and she leaves behind
her a nation of mourners!

The opera is to tinkle in our ears again—with the symphony of Steffanone,
Benedetti, and the rest. The town takes music quietly this winter, and the
old fashion of listening has almost grown into a habit of appreciation.
The town is building up into a Paris-sided company of streets; and the
seven stories of freestone and marble will soon darken down Broadway into
a European duskiness of hue. The street lights glimmer on such nights as
the almanac tells no story of the moon; and on other nights we draggle as
we may, between clouds and rain—consoling ourselves with the rich city
economy, and hopeful of some future and freer dispensation—of gas.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

For want of some piquancy, which our eye does not catch in the French
journals, we sum up our chit-chat with this pleasant whim-wham of English
flavor:

My man Davis is a bit of a character. If he’s not up to a thing or two, I
should like to know who is. I am often puzzled to know how a man who has
seen so much of life as he has should condescend to have “no objection to
the country,” and to take service with a retired linen-draper, which I am.
I keep a dog-cart, and, not being much of a whip, Davis generally drives.
He has some capital stories; at least I think so; but perhaps it is his
manner of telling them; or perhaps I’m very easily pleased. However,
here’s one of them.

HOW MR. COPER SOLD A HORSE.

“Mr. Coper, as kept the Red Lion Yard, in —— street, was the best to sell
a horse I ever know’d, sir; and I know’d some good ’uns, I have; but he
_was_ the best. He’d look at you as tho’ butter wouldn’t melt in his
mouth, and his small wall-eyes seemed to have no more life in ’em than a
dead whiting’s. My master, Capt. ——, stood his hosses there, and, o’
course, I saw a good deal of Mr. Coper. One day a gent came to look at the
stable, and see if he could buy a hoss. Coper saw in a minute that he knew
nothing about horseflesh, and so was uncommon civil. The first thing he
showed him was a great gray coach-hoss, about seventeen hands and a inch,
with a shoulder like a Erkilus.”

“I suppose you mean Hercules?”

“I suppose I do, sir. The gent was a little man so, o’ course, the gray
was taken in agen, and a Suffolk Punch cob, that ’ud a done for a bishop,
was then run up the yard. But, lor! the little gent’s legs ’ud never have
been of any use to him; they’d a’ stuck out on each side like a
curricle-bar—so he wouldn’t do. Coper showed him three or four others—good
things in their way, but not at all suited to the gent. At last Coper says
to him, with a sort of sigh, ‘Well, sir, I’m afear’d we shan’t make a deal
of it to-day, sir; you’re very particular, as you’ve a right to be, and
I’ll look about, and if I can find one that I think ’ll do, I’ll call on
you.’ By this time he had walked the gent down the stable to opposite a
stall where was a brown hoss, fifteen hands or about, ‘Now there ’ud be
the thing to suit you, sir,’ says he, ‘and I only wish I could find one
like him.’ ‘Why can’t I have him?’ says the gent. ‘Impossible,’ says
Coper. ‘Why impossible?’ says the gent. ‘Because he’s Mrs. Coper’s hoss,
and money wouldn’t buy him of her; he’s perfect, and she knows it.’
‘Well,’ says the gent, getting his steam up, ‘I don’t mind price’ ‘What’s
money to peace of mind?’ says Coper. ‘If I was to sell that hoss, my
missis would worry my life out.’ Well, sir, the more Coper made a
difficulty of selling the hoss, the more the gent wanted to buy, till at
last Coper took him to a coach-hus, as tho’ to be private, and said to him
in a whisper, ‘Well, tell you what I’ll do: I’ll take ninety pounds for
him; perhaps he’s not worth that to every body, but I think he is to you,
who wants a perfect thing, and ready-made for you.’ ‘You’re very kind,’
said the gent, ‘and I’ll give you a check at once.’ ‘But, mind,’ says
Coper, ‘you must fetch him away at night; for if my missus saw him going
out of the yard, I do believe she’d pull a life-guardsman off him. How I
shall pacify her I don’t know! Ninety pounds! why, ninety pounds won’t pay
me for the rows; leave alone the hoss!’

“The gent quite thought Coper was repenting of the bargain, and so walked
away to the little countin’-house, and drew a check for the money. When he
was gone, I burst out a-laughin’; because I know’d Mrs. Coper was as mild
as a bran-mash, and ’ud never a’ dared to blow up her husband; but Coper
wouldn’t have it—he looked as solemn as truth. Well, sir, the horse was
fetched away that night.”

“But why at night, Davis?”

“Because they shouldn’t see his good qualities all at once, I suppose,
sir; for he’d got the Devonshire coat-of-arms on his off knee.”

“Devonshire coat-of-arms?”

“Yes, sir; you see Devonshire’s a very hilly country, and most of the
hosses down there has broken knees, so they calls a speck the Devonshire
coat-of-arms. Well, sir, as Mrs. Coper’s pet shied at every thing and
nothing, and bolted when he warn’t a-shieing, the gent came back in about
a week to Coper.

“ ‘Mr. Coper,’ says he, ‘I can’t get on with that hoss at all—perhaps I
don’t know how to manage him; he goes on so odd that I’am afraid to ride
him; so I thought, as he was such a favorite with Mrs. Coper, you should
have him back again.’

“ ‘Not if you’d give me ninety pounds to do it,’ says Coper, looking as
tho’ he was a-going to bite the gent.

“ ‘Why not?’ says the gent.

“ ‘I wouldn’t go through what I have gone through,’ says Coper, hitting
the stable-door with his fist enough to split it, ‘not for twice the
money. Mrs. Coper never left off rowing for two days and nights, and how I
should a’ stopped her, I don’t know, if luck hadn’t stood my friend; but I
happened to meet with a hoss the very moral of the one you’ve got, only
perhaps just a leetle better, and Mrs. C. took to him wonderful. I
wouldn’t disturb our domestic harmony by having that hoss of yourn back
again, not for half the Bank of England.’ Now the gent was a very
tender-hearted man, and believed all that Coper told him, and kept the
hoss; but what he did with him I can’t think, for he was the wiciousest
screw as ever put his nose in a manger.”



EDITOR’S DRAWER.


We placed on record, not long since in the “Drawer,” two or three
anecdotes of the pomposity and copied manners of New England negroes, in
the olden time. Here is another one, that seems to us quite as laughable
as the specimens to which we have alluded. It is not quite certain, but
rather more than probable, that the minister who takes a part in the story
was the same clergyman who said, in conversation with a distinguished
Puritan divine, that he could “write six sermons a week and make nothing
of it.” “Precisely!” responded the other; “you _would_ make _just_ nothing
of your sermons!” But to the story.

There were a good many colored people in Massachusetts many years ago, and
one of them, an old and favorite servant, was held by a clergyman in one
of the easternmost counties of the State. His name was Cuffee; and he was
as pompous and imitative as the CÆSAR, whose master “libbed wid him down
on de Plains,” in Connecticut. He presumed a good deal upon his age and
consequence, and had as much liberty to do as he pleased as any body in
the house. On the Sabbath he was always in the minister’s pew, looking
around with a grand air, and, so far as appearances went or indicated,
profiting as much by his master’s rather dull preaching as any of the
congregation around him who were pretending to listen.

One Sunday morning Cuffee noticed that several gentlemen in the
neighborhood of his master’s pew had taken out their pencils, and were
taking notes of the discourse; either because it was more than usually
interesting, or because they wished it to be seen by the parson that they
_thought_ it was. Cuffee determined that he would follow the example thus
set him; so in the afternoon he brought a sheet of paper and pen and
ink-horn to church with him. His master, looking down from his pulpit into
his pew, could hardly maintain his gravity, as he saw his servant “spread
out” to his task, his great red tongue out, and one side of his face
nearly touching the paper. Cufee applied himself vigorously to his notes,
until his master had come to his “sixteenth and lastly,” and “in view of
this subject we remark, in the eighth and last place,” &c., knowing
nothing all the while, and caring just as little, about the wonderment of
his master, who was occasionally looking down upon him.

When the minister reached home, he sent for Cufee to come into his study.

“Well, Cuffee,” said he, “what was that I saw you doing in meeting this
afternoon?”

“Me, massa?—w’at was _I_ a-doin?”

“Yes, Cuffee; what was that you were about, in stead of listening to the
sermon?”

“I was a-listenin’ _hard_, massa, and I was _takin’ notes_.”

“You taking notes!” exclaimed the minister.

“Sartain, massa; all de oder gem’men take notes too.”

“Well, Cuffee, let us _see_ your notes,” said his master.

Hereupon Cuffee produced his sheet of paper. It was scrawled all over with
all sorts of marks and lines; worse than if a dozen spiders, escaped from
an ink-bottle, had kept up a day’s march over it. It would have puzzled
Champollion himself to have unraveled its mysteries.

The minister looked over the notes, as if with great attention, and at
length said,

“Why, Cuffee, this is all nonsense!”

“E’yah! e’yah!” replied Cuffee; “I t’ought so myse’f, all de time you was
a-preachin’! Dat’s a fac’! E’yah! e’yah!”

The minister didn’t tell the story himself, being rather shy about the
conclusion. It leaked out, however, through Cuffee, one day, and his
master “never heard the last of it.”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

In a play which we once read, there is a physician introduced, who comes
to prescribe to a querulous, nervous old gentleman. His advice and
directions as to what he is to do, &c., greatly annoy the excitable old
man; but his _prescriptions_ set him half crazy. He calls to the servant
in a voice like a Stentor—although a moment before he had described that
organ as “all gone, doctor—a mere penny-whistle”—and ordered him to “kick
the doctor down stairs, and pay him at the street-door!” “Calls himself
one of the ‘_faculty_?’ ” growled the old invalid, after the physician had
left in high dudgeon, and vowing vengeance; “calls himself one of the
faculty; stupid old ass! with his white choker and gold-headed cane, and
shrugs, and sighs, and solemn looks: ‘faculty!’—why he hasn’t _got_ a
faculty! never _had_ a faculty!” We thought, at the time of reading this,
of an anecdote which had lain for years in our “Drawer,” of the British
actress, in one of the provincial towns of England, who was preparing to
enact the solemnly tragic character of “Jane Shore,” in the historical and
instructive drama of that name, which is richly worth perusal, for the
lesson which it teaches of the ultimate punishment of vice, even in its
most seductive form. The actress was in her dressing-room, preparing for
the part, when her attendant, an ignorant country girl, informed her that
a woman had called to request of her two orders for admission, to witness
the performance of the play, her daughter and herself having walked four
miles on purpose to see it.

“Does she _know_ me?” inquired the lady.

“Not at all; leastways she _said_ she didn’t,” replied the girl.

“It is very strange!” said the lady—“a most extraordinary request! Has the
good woman got her _faculties_ about her?”

“I think she _have_, ma’am,” responded the girl, “for I see her have
summat tied up in a red silk handkercher!”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

One seldom meets with a truer thing than the following observations by a
quaint and witty author upon what are termed, less by way of “eminence,”
perhaps, rather than “notoriety,” _Great Talkers_:—“Great Talkers not only
do the least, but generally _say_ the least, if their words be weighed
instead of reckoned.” He who labors under an incontinence of speech seldom
gets the better of his complaint; for he must prescribe for himself, and
is very sure of having a fool for his physician. Many a chatterbox might
pass for a shrewd man, if he would keep his own secret, and put a
drag-chain now and then upon his tongue. The largest minds have the
smallest opinion of themselves; for their knowledge impresses them with
humility, by showing them the extent of their ignorance, and the discovery
makes them taciturn. Deep waters are still. Wise men generally talk
little, because they think much. Feeling the annoyance of idle loquacity
in others, they are cautious of falling into the same error, and keep
their mouths shut when they can not open them to the purpose. The smaller
the _calibre_ of the mind, the greater the _bore_ of a perpetually open
mouth. Human heads are like hogsheads—the emptier they are, the louder
report they give of themselves. I know human specimens who never think;
they only _think_ they think. The clack of their word-mill is heard, even
when there is no wind to set it going, and no grist to come from it. A
distinguished Frenchman, of the time of Cardinal Richelieu, being in the
antechamber of that wily statesman, on one occasion, at the time that a
great talker was loudly and incessantly babbling, entreated him to be
silent, lest he might annoy the cardinal.

“Why do you wish me not to speak?” asked the chatterbox; “I talk a good
deal, certainly, but then I talk well.”

“_Half_ of that is true!” retorted the sarcastic Frenchman.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

It is getting to be a rather serious business for a man to stand up, in
these modern days, in a court of justice as a witness. What with
impertinent questions of all sorts, and the impudent “bullyragging” of
counsel, he is a fortunate and self-possessed man if he is not nearly at
his wits’ end before he comes off from that place of torture, a
witness-stand. “Moreover, and which is more,” as Dogberry would say, when
he _comes_ off, he has not escaped; for now the reporters take him up; and
in a little paragraph, inclosed in brackets, we hear somewhat of his
character, personal appearance, &c., something after the following
fashion:

“[Mr. Jenkins is a small, restless, fidgety man, with little black eyes,
one of which has a remarkable inward inclination toward the nose, which
latter feature of his face turns up slightly, and indicates, by its color,
the influence upon it of alcoholic fluids. He is lame of one leg, and wore
a drab roundabout. As he left the stand, we observed a patch on the north
side of his pantaloons, which evidenced ‘premeditated poverty.’ Mr.
Jenkins was an extremely willing witness.”]

If the witness is so fortunate as to escape the foregoing species of
counsel, he may fall into the hands of _another_ description; namely, the
ambitious young advocate, who, as “the _learned_ counsel,” considers it
incumbent upon him to use high-sounding words, in order to impress both
the jury and the witness with the extent of his legal acquirements, and
the depth of his erudition generally.

Such a “counsel” it was, who, some years ago, in Albany, had assumed the
management of the defense in a case of assault and battery which had
occurred in that good old Dutch city. The witness, a not over-clear-headed
Irishman, was placed upon the stand, where he was thus interrogated:

“Your name, you say, is Maloney?”

“Yes, Si-r-r; Maloney is me name, and me mother’s name that bore me; long
life to her in the owld counthry!”

“We don’t wish to hear any thing of the ‘ould counthry,’ Mr. Maloney,”
said the “witty” counsel “Mr. Maloney, do you know my client?”

“Sir?” asked Mr. Maloney, in a monosyllable.

“Do you know _this_ man?” pointing to his client[.]

“Yes, Sir-r-r, I seen him wance-t.”

“Well, Mr. Maloney, did you see that man, that individual sitting at your
right hand, did you see him raise his muscular arm, and endeavor to arouse
the passions and excite the fears of my client?”

“Sir?” again asked the witness.

“The Court will please note the hesitancy of the witness. Let me ask you
the _second_ time, Mr. Maloney, did you have an uninterrupted view, were
your optics undimmed, when the plaintiff by your side, the individual in
question, raised his muscular arm, and with malice prepense and murder
aforethought, assaulted the person of my client, in violation of the laws
of the country _and_ of the State of New York?”

“Sir?” said the witness, inquiringly, for the third time.

“Would it not be well, Mr. ——,” suggested the justice upon the bench to
the “learned counsel,” “to put your question to the witness in simpler and
more direct terms?”

“_Perhaps_ so, your honor. The witness is either very stupid or very
designing. Well then, Mr Maloney, you see that man, the plaintiff there,
don’t you?”

“Sure, I sees that man plain enough foreaninst me here, but I didn’t know
he was a _plaintiff_. He might ha’ been a tinker, for all _I_ knew about
it.”

“Well, Mr. Maloney, you see him _now_, at least. Now, sir, do you see
_this_ man, my client?” laying his hand upon the defendant’s shoulder.

“Bedad I _do_, yer honor; I’m not a mole nor a bat, yer honor.”

“Very well, Mr. Maloney. Now, Mr. Maloney, did you see _that_ man strike
_this_ man?”

“I _did_, yer honor, and knock him flat. Faix! but ’twas a big blow! ’Twas
like the kick ov a horse!”

“Your question is answered, Mr. Counsel,” said the magistrate, “and your
testimony is now in.”

Dryden’s lesson, that “it needs all we know to make things _plain_,” is
somewhat illustrated by this actual occurrence.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Many a disciple of Lavater and of Spurzheim will tell you that physiology
and phrenology are each, and of themselves, infallible tests of character.
But, as Robert Burns sings:


    “The best-laid schemes of mice and men
    Gang aft aglee:”


a fact which was very humorously illustrated at the recent trial of the
Michigan railroad conspirators. A man entered the crowded court-room one
day, during the progress of the long-protracted trial, and looking eagerly
around, asked of a by-stander which were the prisoners? A wag, without
moving a muscle, pointed to the jury-box, and said.

“_There_ they are, in that box!”

“I _thought_ so!” said the inquirer, in a whisper. “What a set of
gallows-looking wretches they are! If there’s any thing in physiology and
phrenology, they _deserve_ hanging, any how!”

The jury were all “picked men” of that region!

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

It is a good many years ago now, since we laughed a good hour by
“Shrewsbury Clock” at the following description, by the hero of a native
romance bearing his name, of the manner and bearing of New York Dry Goods
“Drummers.” The scene succeeds the history of the hero’s first
acquaintance with a “drummer;” who, mistaking him for a country “dealer,”
had given him his card on board of a steamboat, taken him to his hotel in
town, sent him his wine, given him tickets to the theatre, and requested
him to call at his store in Hanover-square, where it was his intention to
turn these courtesies to profitable account. On a bright pleasant morning,
accordingly, our hero visits the store, where Mr. Lummocks, the drummer,
receives him with open arms, and introduces him to his employer. But we
will now let him tell the story in his own words; and DICKENS has seldom
excelled the picture:

“He shook me heartily by the hand, and said he was really delighted to see
me. He asked me how the times were, and offered me a cigar, which I took,
for fear of giving offense, but which I threw away the very first
opportunity I got.

“ ‘Buy for cash, or on time?’ he asked.

“I was a little startled at the question, it was so abrupt; but I replied,
‘For cash.’

“ ‘Would you like to look at some prints, major?’ he inquired.

“ ‘I am made obliged to you,’ I answered; ‘I am very fond of seeing
prints.’

“With that he commenced turning over one piece of calico after another,
with amazing rapidity.

“ ‘There, major—very desirable article—splendid style—only two-and-six:
cheapest goods in the street.’

“Before I could make any reply, or even guess at his meaning, he was
called away, and Mr. Lummocks stepped up and supplied his place.

“ ‘You had better buy ’em, colonel,’ said Mr. Lummocks; ‘they will sell
like hot cakes. Did you say you bought for cash?’

“ ‘Of _course_,’ I said, ‘if I buy at all.’

“He took a memorandum out of his pocket, and looked in it for a moment.

“ ‘Let me see,’ said he, ‘Franco, Franco—what did you say your firm was?
Something and Franco, or Franco and Somebody? The name has escaped me.’

“ ‘I have no firm,’ I replied.

“ ‘O, you haven’t, hain’t ye? all alone, eh? But I don’t see that I’ve got
your first name down in my “tickler.” ’

“ ‘My first name is Harry,’ said I.

“ ‘Right—yes—I remember,’ said Mr. Lummocks, making a memorandum; ‘and
your references, colonel, who did you say were your references?’

“ ‘I have no reference,’ I replied; ‘indeed I know of no one to whom I
could refer, except my father.’

“ ‘What—the old boy in the country, eh?’

“ ‘My father is in the country,’ I answered, seriously, not very well
pleased to hear my parent called the ‘Old Boy.’

“ ‘Then you have no _city_ references, eh?’

“ ‘None at all: I have no friends here, except yourself.’

“ ‘Me!’ exclaimed Mr. Lummocks, apparently in great amazement. ‘Oh,
oh!—but how much of a bill do you mean to make with us, captain?’

“ ‘Perhaps I may buy a vest-pattern,’ I replied, ‘if you have got some
genteel patterns.’

“ ‘_A vest-pattern!_’ exclaimed Mr. Lummocks; ‘what! haven’t you come down
for the purpose of buying goods?’

“ ‘No, sir,’ I replied: ‘I came to New York to seek for employment; and as
you had shown me so many kind attentions, I thought you would be glad to
assist me in finding a situation.’

“Mr. Lummock’s countenance underwent a very singular change when I
announced my reasons for calling on him.

“ ‘Do you see any thing that looks _green_ in there?’ he asked, pulling
down his eyelid with his forefinger.

“ ‘No, sir, I do not,’ I replied, looking very earnestly into his eye.

“ ‘Nor in _there_, either?’ said he, pulling open his other eye.

“ ‘Nothing at all, sir,’ I replied, after a minute examination.

“ ‘I guess _not!_’ said Mr. Lummocks; and without making any other answer,
he turned on his heel and left me.

“ ‘Regularly sucked, eh, Jack?’ asked a young man who had been listening
to our conversation.

“ ‘Don’t mention it!’ said Mr. Lummocks; ‘the man is a fool.’ ”

Our friend was about to demand an explanation of this strange conduct,
when the proprietor came forward and told him that he was not a retailer
but a _jobber_, and advised him, “if he wanted a vest-pattern, to go into
Chatham-street!”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

He must have been a good deal of an observer, and something of a
philosopher also, who wrote as follows, in a unique paper, some fifteen
years ago:

“Man is never contented. He is the fretful baby of trouble and care, and
he will continue to worry and fret, no matter how pretty are the
playthings that are laid before him to please him. He will sometimes fret
because he can _find nothing to fret about_. I’ve known just such men
myself. If he were bound to live in this world forever, he would fret
because he couldn’t leave and go to another, ‘just for a change;’ and now,
seeing that sooner or later he _must_ go, and no mistake, he frets like a
caged porcupine, and thinks he would like to live here always. The fact
is, he don’t know _what_ he wants.

“I’ve seen about enough of this world myself. For forty years I’ve been
searching every nook and corner for some pleasant spring of happiness,
instead of which I have only found a few flood-swollen streams, bearing
upon their surface innumerable bubbles of vanity, _and all along by their
margins nests of young humbugs are continually being hatched_. I have
drunk of these waters nigh unto bursting, and have always departed as dry
as a cork.

“In fact, I’ve been kicked about like an old hat, nearly used up by the
flagellations of Old Time, and am now feeling the way with my cane down to
the silent valley. But, yet, I’m happy—‘happy as a clam at high water.’ I
sleep like a top, but I don’t eat as much as I used to. Oh! it is a
blessed thing to lie down at night with a light stomach, and a lighter
conscience! You ought to _see_ me sleep sometimes! The way I ‘take it easy
is a caution to children!’ ”

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It may not be new, but whether new or not, it is worthy of being repeated
to our readers, the beautiful reply of a little lad to an English bishop,
who said to him, one day, “If you will tell me where GOD is, I’ll give you
an orange.” “If you will tell me where HE is _not_,” promptly responded
the little fellow, “I will give you _two!_” Better than all earthly logic
was the simple faith of this trusting child.

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Here is an awful “fixed fact” for snuff-takers! Perhaps the “Statistics of
Snuff and Sneezing” may yet form a part of some remote census of these
United States:

“It has been very exactly calculated, that in forty years, two entire
years of the snuff-taker’s life are devoted to tickling his nose, and two
more to the sonorous and agreeable processes of blowing and wiping it,
with other incidental circumstances!”

How about “Statistics of Chewing?”—the time employed in selecting,
inserting, rolling, and ejecting the quid?—the length of the yellow lines
at the corners of the mouth, in the aggregate?—the lakes of saliva,
spirted, squirted, spit, sprinkled, and drizzled? We commend the pregnant
theme to some clever American statist. Ah! well would it be if we be
stowed half the time in making ourselves agreeable, that we waste in
rendering ourselves offensive to our friends!

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The late lamented JOHN SANDERSON, the witty author of “The American in
Paris,” speaking of Père La Chaise, says: “A Frenchman, who enjoys life so
well, is, of all creatures, the least concerned at leaving it. He only
wishes to be buried in the great Parisian burying-ground; and often
selects his marble of the finest tints for his monument, and has his
coffin made, and his grave dug in advance.” A lady told the author, with
great _empressement_, that she had rather _not die at all_, than to die
and be buried any where except in Père La Chaise!



LITERARY NOTICES


Harper and Brothers have published an edition of LAYARD’s _Popular Account
of Discoveries at Nineveh_, being an abridgment of his large work on the
same subject, by the author himself. In this edition, the principal
Biblical and historical illustrations are introduced into the narrative.
No changes on any material points of opinion or fact are made in the
narrative, as more recent discoveries have confirmed the original
statements of the author. The present form of the work will no doubt be
highly acceptable to the public. With as much condensation as was admitted
by the nature of the subject, and at a very moderate expense, the curious
researches of Mr. Layard are here set forth, throwing an interesting light
on numerous topics of Biblical antiquity, and Oriental customs in general.

_Memoirs of the Great Metropolis_, by F. SAUNDERS (published by G. P.
Putnam), is not only a convenient and instructive guide-book for the
traveler in England, but contains numerous literary allusions and
reminiscences, illustrating the haunts of celebrated authors. The writer
is evidently familiar with his subject from personal observation; he is at
home in the antique nooks and corners of the British capital; and, at the
same time, making a judicious use of the best authorities, he has produced
a volume filled with valuable information, and a variety of amusing
matter. We advise our friends who are about packing up for a European tour
to remember this pleasant book, and if it should not be able to alleviate
the misery of sea-sickness, it will at least prepare them for an
intelligent examination of the curiosities of London.

_Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons_, by IK. MARVEL. (Published by Charles
Scribner.) A new volume in the same vein of meditative pathos, and quaint,
gentle humor as the delightful “Reveries of a Bachelor,”—perhaps, indeed,
bearing too great an affinity with that unique volume to follow it in such
rapid succession. The daintiest cates most readily produce a surfeit, and
it is not strange that the pure Hyblæan sweetness of these delicious
compositions should pall upon the sense by a too luxurious indulgence.
With a writer of less variety of resource than Ik. Marvel, it would not be
worth while to advance such a criticism; but we are perverse enough to
demand of him not only pre-eminence in a favorite sphere, but a more
liberal taste of other qualities, of which we have often had such pleasant
inklings.

In this volume we have the “Dreams” of the Four Seasons, Boyhood, Youth,
Manhood, and Age, in which the experience of those epochs is set forth in
a soft, imaginative twilight, diversified with passages of felicitous
description, and with genuine strains of tender, pathetic beauty, which
could come only from the heart of genius. His home-life in the country is
a perpetual source of inspiration to Ik. Marvel, in his highest and best
creations. He describes rural scenes with a freshness and veracity, which
is the exclusive privilege of early recollections. In this respect, “the
child is father to the man.” His pages are fragrant with the clover-fields
and new hay, in which he sported when a child. With feelings unworn by the
world, he lives over again the “dreams of his youth,” which are so richly
peopled with fair and sad visions, drawing an abundant supply of materials
for his exquisite imagination to shape, and reproducing them in forms that
are equally admirable for their tenderness and their truth. What a
striking contrast does he present to those writers who trust merely to
fancy without the experience of life—whose rural pictures remind you of
nature as much as the green and red paint of an artificial flower reminds
you of a rose.

In the Dedication of this volume to Washington Irving, the author
gracefully alludes to the influence of that consummate master in enabling
him to attain the “facility in the use of language, and the fitness of
expression in which to dress his thoughts,” which any may suppose to be
found in his writings. This is a beautiful testimony, alike honorable to
the giver and the receiver. The frankness with which the acknowledgment is
made, shows a true simplicity of purpose, altogether above the sphere of a
weak personal vanity. And the contagious action of Mr. Irving’s literary
example on susceptible, generous minds can scarcely be overrated. The
writers now on the stage are more indebted to that noble veteran than they
are apt to remember, for the polished refinement of expression which he
was the first to make the fashion in this country. They may indeed
discover no more resemblance between Mr. Irving’s style and their own,
than there is between that of Mr. Irving and Ik. Marvel. In this case, we
confess, we should not have suspected the relation alluded to by the
latter. We trace other and stronger influences in the formation of his
style than the example of Mr. Irving. But the beneficial effect of a great
master of composition is not to be estimated by the resemblance which it
produces to himself. The artist does not study the works of Raphael or
Michael Angelo in order to imitate their characteristics. His purpose is
rather to catch the spirit of beauty which pervades their productions, and
to learn the secret of method by which it was embodied. In like manner,
the young writer can not yield himself to the seductive charm of Mr.
Irving’s golden periods, and follow the liquid, melodious flow of his
enchanting sentences, without a revelation of the beautiful mysteries of
expression, and a new sense of the sweetness and harmony of the language
which he is to make his instrument. He may be entirely free from conscious
imitation, but he has received a virtue which can not fail to be
manifested in his own endeavors. If he be a man of original genius, like
Ik. Marvel, he may not indicate the source from which his mind has derived
such vigorous impulses; but his obligation is no less real; though instead
of reproducing the wholesome leaves on which his spirit has fed, he weaves
them into the shining and comely robes that are at once the dress and the
adornment of his own thoughts.

_Florence Sackville_ (Harper and Brothers), is the title of a highly
successful English novel, dedicated to the poet Rogers. In the form of an
autobiography, the heroine relates the incidents of her life, which are
marked by a great variety of experience, including many passages of
terrible suffering and tragic pathos. The story is sustained with uncommon
power; the characters in the plot are admirably individualized; showing a
deep insight into human nature, and a rare talent for depicting the
recondite workings of passion. A lofty and pure religious sentiment
pervades the volume, and deepens the effect of the thrilling narrative.

_Clovernook_, by ALICE CAREY. (Published by Red field). The author of this
series of rural sketches enjoys a well-earned reputation as a poet of
uncommon imaginative power, with a choice and expressive diction. Her
specimens of prose-writing in this beautiful volume will serve to enhance
her literary fame. They consist of recollections of Western life,
described with great accuracy of detail, and embellished with the natural
coloring of a picturesque fancy. Few more characteristic or charming books
have recently issued from the American press.

A new edition of that quaint, ingenious allegory, _Salander and the
Dragon_, by FREDERIC WILLIAM SHELTON, has been published by John S.
Taylor. We are glad to find that the originality and fine moral painting
of this remarkable work have found such just appreciation.

_The First Woman_ is the title of an instructive essay on the female
character, by Rev. GARDINER SPRING. It is written with clearness and
strength, and contains several passages of chaste eloquence. The author
would establish the position of woman on the old platform, without
yielding to the modern outcry for the extension of her rights. (Published
by M. W. Dodd).

A volume of _Select Poetry for Children and Youth_, with an Introduction,
by TRYON EDWARDS, D.D., is published by M. W. Dodd. It is based upon an
English selection of acknowledged merit, but with important additions and
improvements by the American editor. Excellent taste is shown in its
preparation, and it must prove a welcome resource for the mental
entertainment of the family circle.

_The Sovereigns of the Bible_, by ELIZA R. STEELE (published by M. W.
Dodd), describes, in simple narrative style, the influence of monarchy in
the political history of the chosen nation. Closely following the Old
Testament account, it is in a great measure free from the tawdry finery,
gingerbread work, and German-silver splendor which shine with such
dazzling radiance in many modern attempts to improve the style of the
sacred records.

_The Snow-Image and Other Twice-told Tales_, by NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.
(Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields). This collection of stories is
introduced with a racy preface, giving a bit of the author’s literary
autobiography. The volume is not inferior in interest to its fascinating
predecessors.

_Summerfield; or, Life on a Farm_, by DAY KELLOGG LEE. (Auburn: Derby and
Miller). This volume belongs to an order of composition which requires a
true eye for nature, a genial sympathy with active life, and a happy
command of language for its successful execution. The present author
exhibits no ordinary degree of these qualities. His book is filled with
lively pictures of country life, presented with warmth and earnestness of
feeling, and singularly free from affectation and pretense. It finely
blends the instructive with the amusing, aiming at a high moral purpose,
but without the formality of didactic writing. We give a cordial welcome
to the author, and believe that he will become a favorite in this
department of composition. The volume is issued in excellent style, and
presents a very creditable specimen of careful typography.

_The Podesta’s Daughter and other Poems_, by GEO. H. BOKER. (Philadelphia:
A. Hart). The principal poem in this volume is a dramatic sketch, founded
on Italian life in the Middle Ages. It is written with terseness and
vigor, displaying a chaste and powerful imagination, with an admirable
command of the appropriate language of poetry. The volume contains several
miscellaneous pieces, including snatches of songs and sonnets, which
evince a genuine artistic culture, and give a brilliant promise on the
part of the youthful poet.

_What I Saw in New York_, by JOEL H. ROSS, M.D. (Auburn: Derby and
Miller). A series of popular sketches of several of the principal objects
of interest in our “Great Metropolis.” The author has walked about the
streets with his eyes wide open, noticing a multiplicity of things which
are apt to escape the negligent observer, and has described them in a
familiar conversational tone, which is not a little attractive. Strangers
who are visiting New York for the first time will find an abundant store
of convenient information in this well-filled volume—and all the better
for the agreeable manner in which it is conveyed.

A useful volume for the emigrant and traveler, and for the student of
geography as well, has been issued by J.H. Colton, entitled _Western
Portraiture_, by DANIEL S. CURTIS. It contains a description of Wisconsin,
Illinois, and Iowa, with remarks on Minnesota, and other Territories. In
addition to the valuable practical information which it presents in a
lucid manner, it gives several curious pictures of social life and natural
scenery in the West. No one who wishes to obtain a clear idea of the
resources of this country should fail to consult its very readable pages.

One of the most important London publications of the present season,
_Lectures on the History of France_, by Sir JAMES STEPHEN, is just issued
by Harper and Brothers in one elegant octavo volume. They were delivered
before the University of Cambridge, and comprise a series of brilliant,
discursive commentaries on the salient points of French history, from the
time of Charlemagne to that of Louis XIV. Of the twenty-four Lectures
which compose the volume, three are devoted to the “Power of the Pen in
France,” and discuss in a masterly style, the character and influence of
Abeilard, Bernard, Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, and other eminent French
writers. Apart from its valuable political disquisitions, no recent work
can compare with this volume as a contribution to the history of
literature.

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Among the works in preparation by Messrs. Black is a _Memoir of the late
Lord Jeffrey_, by his friend Lord COCKBURN. This biography will possess
peculiar interest, from Lord Jeffrey’s literary position as one of the
originators, and for so many years editor of the _Edinburgh Review_. His
connection with Byron, originating in fierce hostility, and terminating in
warm friendship, as well as his connection with many other distinguished
men, and the grace of his epistolary style, will also impart an
interesting character to its contents.

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Mr. JERDAN is proceeding rapidly with his _Autobiography and
Reminiscences_, the commencement of which will relate to the youth of some
of the highest dignitaries of the law now living, and the sequel will
illustrate, from forty years of intimacy, the character and acts of George
Canning, and nearly all the leading statesmen, politicians, _literati_,
and artists, who have flourished within that period.

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It is reported that Lord BROUGHAM is beguiling his sick leisure at Cannes,
with the composition of a work to be entitled, _France and England before
Europe in 1851_, a social and political parallel of the two foremost
nations of the world.

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An English _Memoir of the Last Emperor of China_ is announced from the pen
of Dr. GUTZLAFF, the lately-deceased and well-known missionary to that
strange empire, from which intelligent tidings are always welcome.

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A second edition is printing of CARLYLE’S _Life of Sterling_. His first
book the fine _Life of Schiller_, took some five-and-twenty years to
attain the second-editionship, which is bestowed upon his latest book
after as many days.

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A second edition is under way of the Rev. CHARLES KINGSLEY’S glowing
novel, _Yeast_, which is regarded by many as the best of all his books,
dealing as it does with the rural scenes and manners which are familiar to
him at first-hand.

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The last announcement of a new work in the department of history or
biography is that of a forthcoming Life of Admiral BLAKE, “based almost
entirely on original documents,” by Mr. HEPWORTH DIXON, the biographer of
JOHN HOWARD and WILLIAM PENN, and the delineator of London prisons. Mr.
Dixon has a taste for the selection of “safe” subjects, and ROBERT BLAKE
is surely one of the “safest” that could be chosen. The Nelson of the
Commonwealth, without Nelson’s faults and frailties.

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An elegant translation of CHARLES DICKENS’S works, well got up, and well
printed, is being published in Copenhagen. The first part commences with
_David Copperfield_, from the pen of Herr MOLTKE.

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The collected poems of D. M. MOIR, the “Delta” of _Blackwood_, lately
deceased, are announced by the Messrs. Blackwood, with a memoir by THOMAS
AIRD. “Delta” was an amiable and benevolent surgeon, at Musselburgh, a
little fishing village, a few miles east of Edinburgh, and had nothing
about him of the conceit which a little literary fame generally begets in
the member of a trifling provincial circle. Whether his musical and rather
melancholy verses will be long remembered is doubtful; but a tolerably
enduring reputation is probably secured to his _Mansie Wauch_, a genial
portraiture of a Scottish village-original, in its way quite as racy,
though not so caustic, as GALT’S best works in the same line. Mr. Thomas
Aird, his biographer, is the editor of a Dumfries newspaper, and himself a
man of original genius. D. M. Moir, by the way, ought not to be confounded
with his namesake and fellow contributor to _Blackwood_, GEORGE MOIR, the
Edinburgh advocate, a man of much greater accomplishment, the translator
of SCHILLER’S _Wallenstein_, and author of the _Fragments from the History
of John Bull_, a satire on modern reform, in the manner of Dean SWIFT’S
_Tale of a Tub_.

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The Council of King’s College, London, have appointed Mr. JAMES STEPHEN,
son of Sergeant Stephen, author of the _Commentaries_, to the
Professorship of English Law and Jurisprudence, vacant by the resignation
of Mr. Bullock.

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At Belfast, the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics has been, by the Lord
Lieutenant, assigned to Dr. JAMES M’COSH, a minister of the Free Church of
Scotland, author of one of the most profound works that have appeared of
late years—_The Method of the Divine Government, Physical and Moral._

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Mr. HAYWARD, the translator of Faust, has written to _The Morning
Chronicle_ to insist on the improbability that there is any truth in a
paragraph which has been going the round of the papers, and which
described the late convert to Catholicism, the fair and vagrant Ida,
Countess von HAHN-HAHN, as parading herself in the streets of Berlin in
the guise of a haggard penitent, literally clad in sackcloth and ashes!

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Lord MAHON, in the last volume of his _History of England_ that has been
published, has a good deal to say upon Junius, and his decision upon that
vexed topic will be heard with interest: “But who was Junius?... I will
not affect to speak with doubt when no doubt exists in my mind. From the
proofs adduced by others, and on a clear conviction of my own, I affirm
that the author of Junius was no other than Sir Philip Francis.” The
_Literary Gazette_ also says, “We are as much convinced that Sir Philip
Francis was Junius as that George III. was king of Great Britain.”

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In an elaborate article on the intellectual character of KOSSUTH, the
_London Athenæum_ remarks, “Of the minor merits of this remarkable man,
his command of the English language is perhaps that which creates the
largest amount of wonder. With the exception of an occasional want of
idiom, the use of a few words in an obsolete sense, and a habit of
sometimes carrying (German fashion) the infinitive verb to the end of a
sentence—there is little to distinguish M. Kossuth’s English from that of
our great masters of eloquence. Select, yet copious and picturesque, it is
always. The combinations—we speak of his words as distinct from the
thoughts that lie in them—are often very happy. We can even go so far as
to say that he has enriched and utilized our language; the first by using
unusual words with extreme felicity, the latter by proving to the world
how well the pregnant and flexible tongue of Shakspeare adapts itself to
the expression of a genius and a race so remote from the Saxon as the
Magyar.”

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The Chancellorship of the Dublin University, vacant by the death of the
King of Hanover, has been conferred on Lord JOHN GEORGE BERESFORD, the
primate of Ireland.

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The Scotch Journals announce the death of one whose name is familiar to
many of the scholars of this country, Mr. GEORGE DUNBAR, professor of
Greek Literature in the University of Edinburgh.

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The Rev. Dr. SADLEIR, Fellow and Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, died
suddenly on the 14th of December, He was a man of liberal views and
charitable feelings, and although in a society not remarkable for
catholicity of spirit, his advocacy of all measures of progress and
freedom was uniform and zealous. He was appointed to the provostship by
the Crown in 1837.

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Among recent deaths of literary men, we note that of BASIL MONTAGUE, best
known as the editor of the works of Lord Bacon. He was an illegitimate son
of the famous Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, by the
unfortunate Miss Reay, who was assassinated in 1779, by the Rev. Mr.
Hackman, her betrothed lover. The tragic story is told in all the London
guide-books, as well as in collections of celebrated trials. Mr. Basil
Montague studied for the law, and rose to a high standing in the
profession. He was called to the bar by the Honorable Society of Gray’s
Inn, in 1798. On the _Law of Bankruptcy_ he published some valuable
treatises, the reputation of which gained him a commissionership. With
Romilly and Mackintosh he worked diligently for the mitigation of the
severity of the penal code. On capital punishments he wrote several
pamphlets, which attracted much public notice. Besides his edition of
_Bacon_, with an original biography, he published _Selections from Taylor,
Hooker, Hall, and Bacon_. He died at Boulogne, on the 27th of November, in
the 82d year of his age.

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From France we can expect no more literature for some time, and we must
think ourselves fortunate that GUIZOT’S two new works reached us before
“society was saved,” as the man says who has earned the execration of the
world. These two works are _Etudes Morales_ and _Etudes sur les Beaux
Arts_. The former contains essays on Immortality, on the state of Religion
in modern society, on Faith, and a lengthy treatise on Education. The
second is interesting, as showing us Guizot criticising Art.

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A curious work, entitled, _Les Murailles Revolutionnaires_ (Revolutionary
Walls), has been published in Paris. It contains the proclamations,
decrees, addresses, appeals, warnings, denunciations, remonstrances,
counsels, professions of faith, plans of political reconstruction, and
schemes of social regeneration, which were stuck on the walls of Paris in
the first few months’ agitated existence of the Revolution of 1848. At
that time the dead walls of _la grande ville_ presented an extraordinary
spectacle. They were literally covered with placards of all sizes, all
shapes, all colors, all sorts of type, and some were even in manuscript.
Several times in the course of a day was the paper renewed; and so
attractive was the reading it offered to every passer-by, that it not only
put an end to the sale of books, but nearly ruined circulating libraries
and _salons de lecture_, in which, for the moderate charge of from two to
five sous, worthy citizens are accustomed to read the journals. LOUIS
NAPOLEON has changed all that. Among other wondrous decrees that have
issued from his barracks, is “Bill-Stickers Beware!” The usurper sees
danger in the very poles and paste of an _afficheur_!

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There is in Paris, under the sole direction of an ecclesiastic, the Abbé
MIGNE, an establishment embracing a printing office, stereotype foundry,
and all other departments of book manufacture, which has in course of
publication a complete series of the chief works of Catholic literature,
amounting to 2000 volumes, and the prices are such that the mass of the
clergy of that faith may possess the whole.

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LAMARTINE has given us the third and fourth volumes of his _Histoire de la
Restauration_; BARANTE, the third volume of his _Histoire de la
Convention_, bringing the narrative down to 1793. THIERRY announces a new
edition of his works; and ALEXANDRE DUMAS has commenced his _Mémoires_ in_
La Presse_.

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The most striking of French novels, or of any novels recently published,
is the _Revenants_ (“Ghosts”), of ALEXANDRE DUMAS the younger, which
exceeds in cleverness, ingenuity, and absurdity all the novels put
together of his prolific parent himself. The heroes and heroines of the
_Revenants_ are those of three of the most celebrated tales of last
century, GOETHE’S _Werther_, BERNARDIN ST. PIERRE’S _Paul and Virginia_,
and the Abbé PREVOST’S _Manon L’Escaut_. The book opens with a description
of a visit paid by MUSTEL, a German professor, to his old pupil BERNARDIN
SAINT-PIERRE, now living at Paris in the sunshine of the fame procured to
him by the publication of _Paul and Virginia_.

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It has been remarked that the name of BONAPARTE is unlucky to literature,
for they do not understand that, to flourish, literature requires freedom.
No king or emperor, if he had all the gold of Peru, could nowadays do as
much for literature as the public; and, to please the public, it must be
completely free. “Now,” writes the Paris correspondent of the _Literary
Gazette_, “if the illustrious Monsieur Bonaparte can make good his
position in France, he _must_ be a despot. On no other ground could he
stand for a week—it is _aut Cæsar aut nullus_ with him. And,
unfortunately, unlike most despots, he has no taste whatever for
literature—he never, it is said, read fifty lines of poetry in his life,
and can not even now wade through half-a-dozen pages of prose without
falling asleep.”

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SILVIO PELLICO, so famous for his works, his imprisonments, and
sufferings, is now in Paris.

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Three novels are announced by a German authoress, CAROLINA VON
GÖHREN—_Ottomar_, _Victor, and Thora_, and _Glieder einer Kelte_. The
authoress (whose real name is Frau von ZÖLLNER) is a lady of noble family,
who has married a man of “no family,” and has _not_ died of the
_mésalliance_. She is well known in the best circles of Dresden, and has
lately taken to fill her leisure with writing novels, which she does with
considerable skill. Her compatriot HAHN-HAHN, by her languid airs of
haughty aristocracy, seems to have roused the scorn of Frau von ZÖLLNER,
who attacks her with great spirit. The new writer commands the sympathy of
English readers by her good, plain common sense, and the moral tendency of
her books.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The scientific literature both of Germany and England is about to be
enriched by a translation of OERSTED’S chief work, “The Soul in Nature.”
COTTA, of Stuttgard and Tübingen, is to publish the one, and Mr. BOHN the
other.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

A German translation is announced of the lately deceased Danish poet,
OEHLENSCHLAGER’S _Autobiographical Reminiscences_. Oehlenschlager has an
old reputation in this country as the author of the fine-art drama,
“Correggio,” and of a still finer theatrical version of the Arabian
Nights’ tale, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” both of which were
introduced to the public a quarter of a century ago in _Blackwood’s
Magazine_. During his lifetime, he published a portion of his
autobiography, which was very interesting and unaffected; and we can
predict a fair popularity to the now completed work.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Of German fictions, the one that has made the most noise lately is the
long-announced novel by WOLFGANG MENZEL, the well-known historian,
journalist, and critic, entitled _Furore: Geschichte eines Mönchs und
einer Nonne aus dem dreissigjährigen Kriege_ (“Story of a Monk and a Nun
from the period of the Thirty Years’ War”), which the German critics
praise as a lively and variegated picture of that period of turmoil and
confusion.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

HEINE’S new work, _Romanzero_, has been prohibited at Berlin, and the
copies in the booksellers, shops confiscated. The sale of eight thousand
copies before it was prohibited is a practical assurance of its brilliant
success. Gay, sarcastic, and poetic, it resembles all his previous works
in spirit, though less finished in form. His _Faust_ turns out to be a
Ballet, with Mephistopheles metamorphosed into a Danseuse! In the letter
which concludes the work there is much interesting matter on the _Faust
Saga_, and its mode of treatment.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The people of Leipzig have just had their “Schiller-fest,” or Schiller’s
festival, in honor of the great national poet and tragedian. Schiller was,
indeed, a native of Würtemberg, and he lived in Mannheim and Weimar. But
Germany, which has no metropolis, enjoys a great many _capitals_: and as
the ancients had a god of the sun, the moon, and the various
constellations, so do the Germans have a capital of poetic art, another of
music, another of painting, and so on. Leipzig is, or pretends to be, the
great literary metropolis, and in this capacity the good city holds an
annual festival in honor of Schiller. On the present occasion there was a
public dinner, with pompous speeches by Messrs. Gutzkow, Bothe, and Apel,
while in the Leipzig theatre Shakspeare’s “Macbeth” was given in
Schiller’s adaptation to the German stage.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The Berlin journals announce the arrival in that city of Doctor ZAHN, so
well known for his researches in Pompeii and Herculaneum. His work thereon
is one of the most important archæological productions extant. He has
passed not fewer than twenty-five years of his life among those ancient
ruins.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The foreign obituary includes the name of Dr. MEINHOLD—a name which will
live in connection with _The Amber Witch_ and with the singular
circumstances attending the reception of that powerful tale.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The English admirers of HUMBOLDT’S _Kosmos_ will be glad to learn that an
important addition has been made to the commentaries on that great work,
by Herr Bronne’s “Collection of Maps for the Kosmos.” The first series,
containing six plates, has just been published by Krais and Hoffmann, at
Stuttgardt. These six plates are to be followed by thirty-six others, and
contain the planetary, solar, and lunar systems, the plain globes, and the
body of the earth, and the elevations of its surface, with a variety of
diagrams, and a set of explanatory notes.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

An intelligent and appreciative German, SIEGFRIED KUPPER, has been
attracted by the fine simplicities and interests of the popular poetry of
Servia, and has woven together, out of the lays which commemorate the
Achilles-Ulysses-Hercules-Leonidas of Servia, _Lazar, der Serbenczar. Ein
Helden-gedicht_ “Lazar, the Czar of the Serbs. A Heroic poem.” “Among the
earliest announcers of the beauty of the Servian popular poetry,” says the
_London Literary Journal_, “was THERESA JAKOB, the daughter of the
well-known German Professor, and now for many years married to the
American Dr. ROBINSON, the author of _Biblical Researches in Palestine_.
This lady (a translation of whose History of the Colonization of America
we lately reviewed) published, five-and-twenty years ago, some translated
specimens of Servian song, which quite took captive the heart of old
GOETHE, whose praises introduced them to the notice of educated Europe.
Other Germans, and even some Frenchmen, followed in the same direction;
and our own BOWRING’S _Specimens of Servian Poetry_, is probably familiar
to many readers. With the growing importance of the Slavonian tribes, a
new interest attaches to their copious literature; and to any enterprising
young _litterateur_, in quest of an unexplored field of research, we would
recommend the poetry, recent and ancient, of the Slavonic races.”

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The Council of the Shakspeare Society have received a very welcome and
unexpected present, in the shape of a translation of Shakspeare, in twelve
volumes 8vo., into Swedish verse. This laborious work has been
accomplished by Professor HAGBERG, of the University of Lund, and it was
transmitted through the Swedish Minister resident in London.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

A Signor ANTONIO CACCIA, an Italian exile, sends from the freer press of
Leipzig, a book of practical and philosophic travel: _Europa ed America.
Scene della Vita dal 1848 al 1850_ (“Europe and America, Scenes from Life
in both hemispheres during the years 1848-50”), which contains, besides a
notice of California, a good many useful hints to travelers.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

The librarian of the Emperor of Russia has purchased, for the Imperial
Library, a complete collection of all the pamphlets, placards,
caricatures, songs, &c, published at Berlin during the revolutionary
movement of 1848.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Dr. SMITH, bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, has sent to the library of the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a Chinese work _On the
Geography and History of Foreign Nations_, by SEU-KE-YU, Governor of the
province of Fokeen. Seu-ke-yu is a man of high official station, a
distinguished scholar, and very liberal in his views. He commences the
geographical part of his book with a statement of the spherical form of
the earth, as opposed to the universal belief in China of its being a vast
level area, of which the Celestial Empire occupies the central and most
considerable part. Numerous maps illustrate the text, being tolerably
correct copies from European atlases, the names given in Chinese
characters. The work is in six volumes, very well printed, and instead of
binding, each part is contained in a wooden case, ingeniously folding, and
fastened with ivory pins.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

When the department of the Ministry of Public Instruction was created some
four or five years ago in Constantinople, it became apparent that there
existed a great desideratum of Moslem civilization, necessary to be
supplied as soon as possible—a Turkish Vocabulary and a Turkish Grammar
compiled according to the high development of philology. The Grammar has
now been published; being compiled by Fuad Effendi, _mustesher_ of the
Grand Vizier, a man known for his high attainments—assisted by Ahmed
Djesvid Effendi, another member of the Council of Instruction. The work
has been printed at Constantinople, and translations will be made into
several languages: the French edition being now in preparation by two
gentlemen belonging to the Foreign Office of the Sublime Porte, who have
obtained a privilege of ten years for its sale.

                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Among the new works just out, we notice a Spanish translation of TICKNOR’S
_History of Spanish Literature_, by Don PASCUAL DE GAYANGOS y DON ENRIQUE
DE VEDIA (_con adiciones y notas criticas_), Mr Ticknor having
communicated some notes and corrections to the two translators, who have
added from their own stores.



A LEAF FROM PUNCH


                             [Illustration.]

A Horrible Business. MASTER BUTCHER.—“Did you take Old Major Dumblebore’s
Ribs to No. 12?” BOY.—“Yes, Sir.” MASTER BUTCHER.—“Then, cut Miss Wiggle’s
Shoulder and Neck, and hang Mr. Foodle’s Legs till they’re quite tender.”


                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐



Rather Too Much Of A Good Thing.


We see advertised some “Crying Dolls.” We must protest against this new
kind of amusement. Just as if the real thing was not enough, but we are to
have an addition to an evil, that is already sufficiently “crying” in
every household. We wish the inventor of this new toy (which might be
called “the Disturber of the Peace of Private Families”) to be woke up
regularly in the middle of the night, for the next twelve months to come,
by one of his own “Crying Dolls,” and then he will be able to see how he
likes it. Let one of the Dolls also be “Teething;” for we should not be
astonished now to hear of “Teething Dolls,” and “Coughing and Choking
Dolls,” with other infantine varieties, and then the punishment of this
“monster in human form” will be complete. Dr. Guillotine perished by the
instrument he invented. The inventor of the “Crying Dolls” deserves a
similar fate. He should be shut up with all his toys in “full cry,” until,
like Niobe, the crying was the death of him, and he was turned, by some
offended mythological deity, into the “great pump,” of which his invention
proclaims him to be the effigy.



Mrs. Baker’s Pet.


                             [Illustration.]

Mrs. Baker, feeling lonely during her husband’s absence at his business,
has purchased a dog in the streets for a Pet. The animal has been brought
home, and Mrs. BAKER has been for some time anxiously awaiting the arrival
of the husband to dinner, to introduce him to her new favorite. The
gentleman’s latch key has been heard in the door, and Cook has received
orders to dish the dinner. Mr. BAKER, Mrs. BAKER, MARY the Servant, and
SCAMP the Pet meet at the door of the dining-room. SCAMP commences an
infuriated assault of barks and springs, meant for the inoffensive and
astonished BAKER, but which have all the appearance of being directed
against MARY, who is entering at the moment with the dinner-plates. MARY
drops the plates, smashing two, and begins screaming. SCAMP, excited by
the row, redoubles his barks, and bounds to and fro on the door mat. Mr.
BAKER, who has heard nothing of the dog, is naturally indignant at the
reception, and commences an assault upon him with his umbrella. Mrs.
BAKER, who feels that the reputation of her Pet is at stake, endeavors to
soothe him by ordering him to “Lie down, and be a good dog;” but SCAMP is
insensible to the power of moral suasion. A domestic representation of the
old play of “Family Jars,” takes place; the leading parts by Mr. and Mrs.
BAKER “for the first time;” the orchestra under the direction of MARY and
SCAMP. The performance lasts till bed-time; when the gentleman insists
that the dog shall pass the night in the yard. This does not meet SCAMP’S
approbation, and he expresses his discontent, by a serenade under the
windows of Mr. and Mrs. BAKER’S bedroom, which lasts the whole night, and
consists in running up and down the howling scale, winding up with a
prolonged shake in C above the line. The performance is enlivened by the
perpetual raising of the windows from the neighbors’ houses, and an
occasional crash in Mr. BAKER’S yard, which is accounted for the next day
by the appearance of half a score of boot-jacks of various sizes and
patterns.



FASHIONS FOR FEBRUARY.


                             [Illustration.]

              FIGURES 1 AND 2.—WALKING AND IN-DOOR DRESSES.


FIGURE 1.—WALKING DRESS.—The bonnet is made of terry velvet; the brim is
very open at the sides, so as to show the face well, and comes forward at
top. The crown is not very deep; it is covered in the first place with a
piece of terry velvet, the shape of which resembles a hood, trimmed with
black lace two and a half inches wide, and hanging over the curtain. The
curtain reaches very high, and falls almost straight, with scarcely any
fullness. It is edged all round with lace about an inch wide. Two felted
feathers spring from between the hood and the crown, one toward the right,
the other toward the left, and entwined together. The inside of the front
is trimmed with narrow velvet ribbons and black lace. The sides at the
cheeks are filled with bunches of pink volubilis, and loops of black
velvet. These bunches of flowers hang down the front with two velvet ends.

Mantle and dress of cloth trimmed with velvet; the mantle is rounded
behind and very full. It belongs to the Talma style. The neck is
terminated by a little upright collar barely an inch in height, which
rises a little on the cravat. The front is closed by three little bands
with two button-holes, which are fastened over velvet buttons. The front
corners are cut square, but rather sloping, so as to form a point. An inch
from the edge a velvet ribbon two inches wide is sewed on flat.

FIGURE 2.—IN-DOOR DRESS.—The head-dress is a Louis XV. puff, made of white
blond, satin and velvet ribbons, set on the head. The top consists of two
cross bands of ribbon. The round part is formed of two rows of blond
flutes. Each of these rows is ornamented with bows of No. 1 velvet. The
first row violet, the second yellow. Large bunches of loops of wide satin
ribbon, violet and yellow, fill the sides and hollows of the bands; on
each side full ribbons which are placed across the head.

Black vest with lappets. This garment sits very close; the skirts are open
at the sides and behind, but lap over each other. Satin piping all round
the edges. The front is trimmed with two small satin pipings, like frogs,
each terminating with a satin button. These sleeves have an elbow, are
short, and end in a cuff, opened up the side, and trimmed with three small
flaps in satin piping.

Waistcoat of yellow valencias buttoning up straight, with small buttons of
the same.

Skirt of silk cloth, is very full, but the plaits are pressed down and
kept flat on the hips so as not to swell out, or raise the lappets. These
last can be made to sit well by making them lie smooth on the hips.
Chemisette composed of two rows of embroidered muslin, fluted and kept up
by a satin cravat, tied like a gentleman’s. Three ample rows of
embroidered muslin, form the trimming of the under-sleeve.

                             [Illustration.]

                         FIGURE 3.—EVENING DRESS.


EVENING DRESS.—Head-dress of hair only, with a diamond comb. The hair is
parted down the middle, and drawn back square from the forehead on each
side. One large plat of hair is laid round the top of the head. The back
hair is done up in plats and torsades twisted together. The comb is put in
straight, and stands rather high. A cashmere _Orientale_. This short
garment is cut straight and not hollowed at the waist; it reaches several
inches below the hips; the sides are slit up; the sleeves are wide at
bottom and open in front. A band of gold lace, about an inch wide, is laid
flat all round, about half an inch from the edge, and the same on the
sleeves. Two buttons of silk and gold each fasten a small cord ending in a
handsome tassel, surmounted by small bows of silk and gold of various
sizes. This cord is tied in front. The openings of the sleeves and sides
are trimmed in the same manner. The lining is white satin.

Dress of white lutestring. Body low and square, trimmed with several rows
of white blond. The top of the skirt is plain for a depth of six or seven
inches, and all the lower part is trimmed with vandyked blond flounces.
The flounces are very light.

FULL-DRESS FOR HOME.—The cap is a Louis XV. _fanchon_ of _Alençon_ lace.
There are two tufts of various flowers on each side; they lie on the bands
of hair which are waved and thrown back.

                             [Illustration.]

                      FIGURE 4.—FULL-DRESS FOR HOME.


Waistcoat of black watered silk; festooned edges, high behind, open in
front. A row of _Alençon_ lace sewed on flat projects beyond the edge all
round the waistcoat. _Basquine_ of terry velvet, trimmed with a broad
satin ribbon and plaid velvet of bright colors. The sleeve, wide at
bottom, is open behind and trimmed the same. The trimming is drawn in very
fine gathers in the middle; the quilled edges are loose.

The skirt of terry velvet like that of the basquine, is trimmed with five
flounces lying one on the other. On these flounces are sewed satin ribbons
and plaid velvet bands, the top one No. 12, the two others, No. 16, the
bottom one No. 22. These ribbons are sewed flat on the flounce, which is
not gathered in that part; the gathers of the flounces are preserved
between the flat parts. The interval between the ribbons is equal to twice
their width. The under-sleeves follow the shape of the others, and have
two rows of _Alençon_ lace.

We have nothing new to report respecting the Bloomer costume. The
following clever parody of Hamlet’s soliloquy, is quite ingenious:


    To wear or not to wear the Bloomer costume, that’s the question.
    Whether ’tis nobler in us girls to suffer
    The inconveniences of the long-skirt dress,
    Or cut it off against these muddy troubles,
    And, by the cutting, end them. ’Tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To don the pants:—
    The pants! perchance the boots! Ay, there’s the rub.
    For in those pants and boots what jeers may come,
    When we have shuffled off these untold skirts
    Must give us pause. There’s the respect
    That makes calamity of so long a custom,
    For who could bear the scoffs and jeers of boys—
    The old maid’s scandal—the young man’s laughter—
    The sidelong leers, and derision’s mock,
    The insolent press, and all the spurns
    We Bloomers of these boobies take!
    Who would the old dress wear,
    To groan and toil under the weary load,
    But that the dread of something after it—
    Of ankles large, of crooked leg, from which
    Not all escape, puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather wear the dress we have
    Than turn out Bloomers.



FOOTNOTES


    1 Entered according to Act of Congress.

    2 Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by Harper
      and Brothers, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the
      Southern District of New York.

    3 Concluded from the January Number.

    4 Arsenic produces an increased salivation.

    5 Continued from the January Number.

    6 This is from McCulloch; but the home-consumption duty was lowered in
      1842, from 6d. to 3d. per lb., and the consumption is now in all
      probability much greater.





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