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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846" ***

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BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.


  NO. CCCLXIV.          FEBRUARY, 1846.          VOL. LIX.



  CONTENTS.

  SERVIA AND THE "SERVIAN QUESTION,"                          129

  THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA. PART IV.,                         149

  SOMETHING MORE ABOUT MUSIC,                                 169

  MARTHA BROWN,                                               184

  MARLBOROUGH. NO. III.,                                      195

  RECOLLECTIONS OF A LOVER OF SOCIETY,                        215

  IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST,                                      231

  A PEEP INTO THE WHIG PENNY POST-BAG,                        247

  EAST AND WEST,                                              248

  AN APOLOGY FOR A REVIEW,                                    249



  EDINBURGH:
  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

  _To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._

  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

       *       *       *       *       *

  PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



  BLACKWOOD'S
  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.



  NO. CCCLXIV.   FEBRUARY, 1846.   VOL. LIX.



SERVIA AND THE "SERVIAN QUESTION."


The principality of Servia was, a few years since, scarcely known to the
English public except as an obscure province of the Ottoman empire, into
which few travellers had penetrated; and of the population, internal
resources, &c., of which, little information existed, and little
curiosity was felt. But the singular political drama of which it has
lately been the theatre, and the patriotic resolution by which its
people, though deprived of support from their legitimate suzerain, the
Sultan, menaced by the power of Russia, and abandoned to their fate by
the other great powers of Europe, have yet succeeded in establishing
their independence, and maintaining in his place the ruler whom they had
chosen, has invested Servia with a degree of interest in the eyes of
Europe, which gives value to whatever tends to dispel our ignorance of a
country, which, by the new position it has assumed, has shown good title
to take rank as "the youngest member of the European family." A work,
therefore, which should give the same clear insight, even to a limited
extent, into the present condition and future prospects of Servia, as
was given some years since in regard to Hungary and Transylvania, by the
well-known volumes of Mr Paget, would at this time be a valuable
addition to our literature; but we are compelled to say, that this
desideratum is far from being adequately supplied by the publication now
before us. The author's descriptive powers are by no means of a high
order;--mountain and valley, castle and river, pass before us, in his
pages, without any definite impression being produced of their features
or scenery; and while page after page is filled with criticisms of the
accommodations and _cuisine_ at his different halting-places, and
verbatim reports of dialogues, on trivial subjects, between _Author_, on
the one part, and _Renegade_, _Cadi_, _Dervish_, _President_, and other
_dramatis personæ_, on the other, we look in vain for that extent and
accuracy of information which we might have expected from a traveller
who has enjoyed more than ordinary opportunities of mixing familiarly
with Servians of all ranks and degrees, from the prince to the peasant
and making himself acquainted with their feelings and national
character. The deficiency of political information would appear even
more remarkable. Though the author was personally acquainted with M.
Petronevich, one of the leaders of the National party, whom he visited
in his exile at Widdin; and though he was subsequently resident at
Belgrade for some time after the restoration of this able minister and
his colleague, M. Wucicz, to their country, scarcely an allusion escapes
him throughout, to the political movements which led either to their
banishment or their recall. As various circumstances and expressions,
however, lead us to suppose that Mr Paton's tour may have had reference
to objects which do not appear on the surface of the narrative, this
mysterious silence may not be without good reasons; and we shall deal
with him, accordingly, simply as a traveller in a hitherto untrodden
track, which we hope, erelong, to see more fully explored. Mr Paget, we
believe, is now a naturalized denizen of Transylvania: cannot he find
leisure for an excursion across the Save?

Mr Paton announces himself, in the title-page, as the author of a work
entitled "The Modern Syrians," with which it has not been our good
fortune to meet; but from the conclusion of which we presume the thread
of the present narrative is to be taken up, as he presents himself,
_sans ceremonie_, on the pier of Beyrout, preparing to embark on board
an Austrian steamer for Constantinople:--"I have been four years in the
East, and feel that I have had quite enough of it for the present." On
the third day they touched at Rhodes, "a perfectly preserved city and
fortress of the middle ages, with every variety of mediæval
battlement--so perfect is the illusion, that one wonders the warder's
horn should be mute, and the walls devoid of bowman, knight, and
squire." Though these ancient bulwarks of Christendom, within which the
White-Cross chivalry, under d'Aubusson and L'Isle-Adam, so long
withstood the might of the Osmanli, are thus briefly dismissed, Mr Paton
immediately after devotes five pages to some choice flowers of
Transatlantic rhetoric, culled from the small-talk of one of his
fellow-passengers, whom he calls "an American Presbyterian
_clergyman_"--though we grievously suspect him to have been a boatswain,
who had jumped from the forecastle to the pulpit by one of those
free-and-easy transitions not unusual in the "free and enlightened
republic." At Smyrna, he signalized his return to the "land of the
Franks," (which we had always imagined to be Europe,) by ordering a
beefsteak and a bottle of porter, and bespeaking the paper of a
Manchester traveller in drab leggings--and we at last find him safe in
Constantinople. For all that concerns the city of the Sultan, he
contents himself with referring his readers to the volumes of Mr
White--and certainly they could not have been left in better hands; and
so, "after a week of delightful repose," during which he was greatly
indebted to the hospitality of the embassy, "I embarked on board a
steamer, skirted the western coast of the Black Sea, and landed on the
following morning in Varna."

We may pass over the "delightfully keen impressions" which Mr Paton
records as produced by the contrast between the shores of Bulgaria and
the Syrian climes he had lately left; the practical result of which was,
that "a rattling blast from the Black Sea, more welcome than all the
balmy spices of Arabia," made it advisable to don a pea-jacket! The
fortifications of Varna, we are informed, were thoroughly repaired in
1843; "and from Varna to Roustchouk is three days' journey--the latter
half of the road being agreeably diversified with wood, corn, and
pasture, and many of the fields enclosed." A reference to the map will
show that this "agreeably diversified" road passes under the famous
lines of Shumla, and through many fields of fierce and stubborn fight
between Turk and Russ, in the days before the Sultan was delivered over
by his allies to his enemy, on the faith of a _military_ report from a
man who had never seen a regiment of regular troops under arms![1]--but
Mr Paton appears to consider such matters as exclusively the province
of _militaires_, and passes on at once to Roustchouk, which he found "a
fortress of vast extent; but, as it is commanded by the heights from
which I was descending, it appeared to want strength if approached from
the south. The ramparts were built with great solidity; but rusty old
dismounted cannon, obliterated embrasures, and palisades rotten from
exposure to the weather, showed that to stand a siege it must undergo a
considerable repair." Several days were devoted to a general
reconnoissance of the place; but the result was not satisfactory--"I
must say that Roustchouk pleased me less than any town of its size I had
seen in the East. The streets are dirty and badly paved, without a
single good bazar or café to kill time in, or a single respectable
edifice of any description to look at." A dinner with a Bulgarian family
led us to expect some details of domestic economy; but, in place of
this, we are regaled with the bad French of a hybrid Frank, who assured
_Author_ that Bukarest was equal to Paris or London; and when forced to
admit that he had never seen either of those capitals, covered his
retreat by maintaining that it was at least far superior to Galate and
Braila! Hearing, however, that the Defterdar, an Egyptian Turk, had
resided many years in England, and spole English fluently, Mr Paton
sought an interview; and after "taking a series of short and rapid
whiffs from my pipe," while considering the best way of breaking the
ice, opened his battery by telling the Defterdar, "that few Orientals
could draw a distinction between politics and geography; but that with a
man of his calibre and experience I was safe from misconstruction--that
I was collecting materials for a work on the Danubian provinces, and
that for any information which he might give me, consistently with his
official position, I should feel much indebted, as I thought I was least
likely to be misunderstood by stating clearly the object of ny journey,
while information derived from the fountain-head was most valuable. The
Defterdar, after commending my openness, said, 'I suspect that you will
find very little to remark in the pashalik of Silistria. It is an
agricultural country, and the majority of the inhabitants are Turks. The
Rayahs are very peaceable, and pay few taxes, considering the
agricultural wealth of the country. You may rest assured that there is
not a province of the empire better governed than the pashalik of
Silistria. We have no malcontents within the province; but there are a
few Hetarist scoundrels at Braila, who wish to disturb the tranquillity
of Bulgaria; but the Walachian government has taken measures to prevent
them from carrying their projects into execution.'"

Having thus put his readers in possession of this full, true, and
particular account, derived from exclusive official sources, of all that
is to be learned of the pashalik of Silistria, we next find Mr Paton,
after two days steaming on the Danube, at Widdin, where the exiled
Servian minister, M. Petronovich, was then resident, under the
protection of the Pasha, whose name is known to all the world as the
destroyer of the Janissaries and the defender of Shumla, the once
formidable Hussein. To this redoubted personage, now apparently verging
on eighty, Mr Paton was introduced by M. Petronevich at an evening
audience, it being contrary to etiquette to receive visits by day during
the Ramadan--and found him "sitting in the corner of the divan at his
ease, being afflicted with gout, in the old ample Turkish costume. The
white beard, the dress of the Pasha, the rich but faded carpet, the roof
of elaborate but dingy wooden arabesque, were all in perfect keeping;
and the dubious light of two thick wax candles rising two or three feet
from the floor, but seemed to bring out the picture, which carried me a
generation back to the pashas of the old school." Hussein has since
retired from his government, to enjoy the immense fortune which he has
accumulated by commercial speculations--the last specimen of the
"malignant and turbaned Turk" of former days, whose war shout was heard
under the walls of Vienna; and who will now be replaced by a
smooth-faced hybrid in fez and frock-coat, waging a paper war with the
ambassadors of the _protecting_ powers in defence of the few sovereign
rights still permitted to the Porte--such is the Pasha of the present
day! The town of Widdin found even less favour in our traveller's eyes
than Roustchouk. "Lying so nicely on the bank of the Danube, which here
makes such beautiful curves, and marked on the map with capital letters,
it ought (such was my notion) to be a place having at least one
well-built and well-stocked bazar, a handsome seraglio, and some
good-looking mosques. Nothing of the sort;"--and thus, sorely
disappointed in his reasonable expectations, he proceeded on his way in
a car drawn by two horses, which in six hours brought him to the banks
of the Timok, the river which separates Servia from Bulgaria. The
Servian population, among whom he now first found himself, struck him as
a superior race, both physically and morally, compared with those whom
he had just left, possessing a manliness of address and demeanour
unknown to the serfs of Bulgaria; and, instead of the woolly caps and
frieze clothes of the latter, the peasants wore the red fez, and were
generally dressed in blue cloth. The plough cultivation of Bulgaria was
now exchanged for the innumerable herds of swine, which form the staple
commodity of Servia, fed in the immense oak woods which cover the
country. "They form" (as Mr Paget informs us in his work on Hungary) "a
very important article of trade between Servia and Vienna; and I doubt
if Smithfield could show better shapes or better feeding than the market
of a Servian village." Continuing his route along the banks of the
Danube to New Orsova, where he crossed to the Hungarian bank, he again
posted, with "an enormously stout Wallachian matron" for a travelling
companion, to Drenkova, whence another steamer conveyed him to Semlin,
and half an hour's pull down the Danube and up the Save (the line of the
two rivers being distinctly marked at the confluence by the muddy colour
of the former, and the clearness of the latter) landed him safe at
Belgrade.

We may here mention an amusing anecdote, related in another part of the
volume, in connexion with the town of Panczova below Semlin, where "the
town-major, after swallowing countless boxes of Morison's pills died in
the belief that he had not begun to take them soon enough. The
consumption of these drugs at that time almost surpassed belief. There
was scarcely a sickly or hypochondriac person, from the Hill of Presburg
to the Iron Gates, who had not taken large quantities of them." _Mais
voilà le mot d'enigme._ "'The Anglomania,"' was the answer to a query of
the author, "'is nowhere stronger than in this part of the world.
Whatever comes from England, be it Congreve rockets or vegetable pills,
must needs be perfect. Dr Morison is indebted to his high office (!) for
the enormous consumption of his drugs. It is clear that the President of
the British College must be a man in the enjoyment of the esteem of the
government and the faculty of medicine; and his title is a passport to
his pills in foreign countries.' I laughed heartily, and explained that
the British College of Health, and the College of Physicians, were not
identical." We well remember a statement some years since among the
innumerable puffs of the arch-quack, (now gone, we believe, to that
bourn whither so many of his patients had preceded him,) that in
gratitude for the countless cures of incurable diseases by the
"Universal Vegetable Medicine," a statute of the Hygeist had been
erected in Bukarest, not in his native brass, but 'in his habit as he
lived;' and a woodcut was appended of the _ipsissimus_ Morison, with his
mustached phiz and tight frock-coat. As Bukarest is a long way off, we
held this at the time for a pious fraud; but Mr Paton's anecdote gives
it at least probability. _Vive la charlatanerie!_

The hospitality of Mr Consul-general Fonblanque, and the attentions of
the numerous friends of M. Petronevich, soon made Mr Paton quite at home
at Belgrade, where he remained till the end of the year 1843, having
arrived some time in the autumn, since the re-election of Prince
Alexander, and the exile of Petronevich, and his colleague Wucziz, took
place in July of that year. He found Belgrade much Europeanized since a
previous visit which he had paid it in 1839,--"It was then quite an
Oriental town; but now the haughty _parvenu_ spire of the cathedral, a
new and large, but tasteless structure, with a profusely gilt bell-tower
in the Russian manner, throws into the shade the minarets of the
mosques, graceful even in decay. Many of the bazar shops have been
fronted and glazed; the Oriental dress has become much rarer; and
houses, several stories high, in the German fashion, are springing up
every where." The Turkish governor was at this time Hafiz Pasha, the
unsuccessful commander at Nezib, lately appointed in the room of Kiamil,
who had been displaced at the mandate of Russia for the share he had
taken in the first election of Prince Alexander; but his jurisdiction is
now confined to the fortress and the Turkish quarter, which lies along
the Danube; the remainder of the town, lying piled street upon street up
the steep bank of the Save, being under the Servian authorities. During
his stay, Mr Paton paid frequent visits to the Pasha, whom he generally
found in an audience room overlooking the precipitous descent to the
Danube, "studying _at_ the maps: he seemed to think that nothing would
be so useful to Turkey as good roads, made to run from the principal
ports of Asia Minor, up to the depôts of the interior, so as to connect
Sivas, Tokat, Angora, Koniah, Kaiserieh, &c., with Samsoon, Tersoos, and
other ports." The ramparts of the fortress are said to be in good
condition, though "very unlike the magnificent towers it the last scene
of the _Siege of Belgrade_ at Drury-Lane,"--a piece of useful
information for play-going Cockneys--and the _Lange Gasse_, or main
street, with the palace of Prince Eugene, built during the Austrian
occupation of Servia from 1717 to 1789, is still standing, though half
choked up with bazar shops and Turkish houses. The Prince holds no
formal levees; but Mr Paton was present at a dinner given to the _corps
diplomatique_ in the palace, and was received in a saloon "with inlaid
and polished parquet; the chairs and sofas covered with crimson and
white satin damask, which is an unusual luxury in these regions; the
roof admirably painted in subdued colours, in the best Vienna style.
High white porcelain urn-like stoves heated the suite of rooms. The
Prince, a muscular, middle-sized, dark-complexioned man, with a serious
composed air, wore a plain blue military uniform;[2] the Princess, and
her _dames de compagnie_, wore the graceful native Servian costume; the
Pasha the Nizam dress, and the _Nishan Iftihar_, (diamond decoration of
his rank;) Baron Lieven, the Russian Commissioner, in the uniform of a
general, glittered with innumerable orders;[3] Colonel Philippovich, a
man of distinguished talents, represented Austria; the Archbishop, in
his black velvet cap, a large enamelled cross hanging by a massive gold
chain from his neck, sat in stately isolation; and the six feet four
inches high Garashanin, minister of the interior, conversed with Stojan
Simitch, the president of the senate, one of the few Servians in high
office who retains his old Turkish costume, and has a frame that reminds
one of the Farnese Hercules. Then what a medley of languages--Servian,
German, Russian, Turkish, and French, all in full buzz! We proceeded to
the dining-room, where the _cuisine_ was in every respect in the German
manner. When the dessert appeared, the Prince rose with a creaming glass
of champagne in his hand, and proposed the health of the Sultan,
acknowledged by the Pasha; and then, after a short pause, the health of
Czar Nicolay Paulovich, acknowledged by Baron Lieven; then came the
health of other crowned heads. Baron Lieven now rose, and proposed the
health of the Prince. The Pasha and the Princess were toasted in turn;
and then Mr Wastchenko, the Russian Consul-general, rose, and in
animated terms drank to the prosperity of Servia. The entertainment,
which commenced at one o'clock, was prolonged to an advanced period of
the afternoon, and closed with coffee, liqueurs, and chibouques, in the
drawing-room: the Princess and the ladies having previously withdrawn to
the private apartments."

At the end of the year, Mr Paton returned to England; and after an
absence of six months, returned in August 1844 to the banks of the Save,
reaching Belgrade at the moment when preparations were being made for
the triumphal reception of the patriot ministers Wuczicz and
Petronevich, who had at length been restored to their country by the
tardy intervention of England. The day of their arrival was celebrated
by a universal jubilee. Surrounded by an immense cavalcade, the exiles
paraded the streets, amid the rapturous acclamations of the multitude,
to the great portal of the cathedral, where they were received by the
Archbishop and clergy:--"They kissed the cross and the gospels, which
the Archbishop presented to them, and, kneeling down, returned thanks
for their safe restoration. The Archbishop then advanced to the edge of
the platform and began a discourse, describing the grief the nation had
experienced at their departure, the universal joy for their return, and
the hope that they would ever keep peace and union in view in all
matters of state, and that in their duties to the state they must never
forget their responsibility to the Most High. Wuczicz, dressed in the
coarse frieze jacket and boots of a Servian peasant, heard, with a
reverential inclination of the head, the discourse of the prelate, but
nought relaxed one muscle of that adamantine visage: the finer but more
luminous features of Petronevich were under the control of a less
powerful will. At certain passages his intelligent eye was moistened
with tears. Two deacons then prayed successively for the Sultan, the
Emperor of Russia, and the Prince,--and now uprose from every tongue,
and every heart, a hymn for the longevity of Wuczicz and Petronevich.
'The Solemn Song for Many Days' is the title of this sublime chant,
which is so old that its origin is lost in the obscure dawn of
Christianity in the East, and so massive, so nobly simple, as to be
beyond the ravages of time, and the caprices of convention." The town
was illuminated in the evening; and a ball was given at the new Konak or
palace, built by the exiled Prince Michael, which was attended "by all
the rank and fashion of Belgrade--senators of the old school, in their
benishes and shalwars, and senators of the new school, in pantaloons and
stiff cravats," which we agree with Mr Paton in considering as no
improvement on the graceful costume of the East. The Servian ladies,
however, have in general the good taste to retain the old national
costume; and "no head-dress that I have seen in the Levant is better
calculated to set off beauty. From a small Greek fez they suspend a gold
tassel, which contrasts with the black and glossy hair, which is laid
smooth and flat down the temple. The sister of the Princess, who was
admitted to be the handsomest woman in the room, with her tunic of
crimson velvet, embroidered in gold, and faced with sable, would have
been, in her strictly indigenous costume, the queen of any fancy ball in
old Europe."

While occupied by his preparations for a tour into the interior, Mr
Paton one day encountered "a strange figure, with a long white beard,
and a Spanish cap, mounted on a sorry horse"--this was no other than
Holman, the well-known blind traveller, whom he had last seen at Aleppo,
and who, having passed in safety, under the safeguard of his infirmity,
through the most dangerous parts of Bosnia, was now on his way to
Walachia. He instantly recognised Mr Paton's voice, and mentioned his
name on being told where he had last seen him; and after a walk on the
esplanade, in which the objects in view were described to him, while
turning his face to the different points of the compass, he appeared to
have acquired a tolerably clear idea of Belgrade. Another visitor of Mr
Paton, Milutinovich, the best living poet of Servia, on hearing the name
of Holman, (of whose wanderings in the four quarters of the globe he had
read in the _Augsburg Gazette_,) was so awe-struck at finding himself in
the presence of even a greater traveller than Robinson Crusoe, (whose
adventures Mr Paton found regarded as an authentic narrative by the
monks of Manasia,) that he reverentially kissed his beard, praying aloud
that he might return home in safety. When the day of departure
approached, "orders were sent by the minister of the interior to all
governors and employés, enjoining them to furnish me with every
assistance, and with whatever information I might require;" and all
preparations being completed, Mr Paton and his man Paul set off
horseback, like Dr Syntax and Patrick, for the highlands and woodlands
of Servia.

Shabatz (more correctly Czabacz,) a town on the Save, between forty and
fifty miles above Belgrade, and one of the few garrisons still retained
by the Turks, was the first point of destination; and reaching it on the
second day, he was hospitably received by _Gospody_ (Monsieur) Ninitch,
the government collector, to whom he had an introductory letter from the
minister Garashanin. Before the revolution, Shabatz numbered 20,000
Osmanlis, the sites of whose kiosks and gardens are still pointed out on
the _Polje_, or open space between the town and the fortress,--at
present the only Moslems are the garrison of Bosniak _Redif_ or militia,
occupying the dilapidated fortifications. It is the episcopal seat of
one of the Archbishop's three suffragans; and the author, accompanied by
his friend the collector, paid his respects to the Bishop, whom he had
previously met at Belgrade. The conversation turned principally on the
system of national education, by which, in a few years, reading and
writing will be universal among the peasantry, while the sons of the
better classes are prepared, by instruction in German, &c., for a
further course of study in the Gymnasium of Belgrade, the germ of a
future university. A proof of the taste now spreading for general
literature was afforded by the library of the Archpriest, "Jowan
Paulovich, a self-taught ecclesiastic: the room in which he received us
was filled with books, mostly Servian, but among them I perceived German
translations of Shakspeare, Young's _Night Thoughts_, and a novel of
Bulwer's." The son of this priest was studying mining engineering at the
expense of government, at Schemnitz in Hungary, a capacity in which he
may one day do good service to his country, as the great mineral riches
believed to exist in Servia are hitherto wholly unexplored. Having
completed the circuit of all the notables in Shabatz, including Luka
Lasaravich, a once redoubted lieutenant of Kara-George, and now an
octagenarian merchant, with thirteen wounds on his body, Mr Paton
prepared for a fresh start, drinking health and long life to his kind
host and hostess in a glass of _slivovitsa_, or plum brandy, the
national liqueur. But his good wishes were not destined to be fulfilled;
for within a month an abortive attempt at a rising was made by the
partisans of the exiled Obrenovich family, a troop of whom, disguised as
Austrian hussars, entered Shabatz, and shot the good collector dead as
he issued from his house to enquire the cause of the disturbance. The
attempt, however, was futile, and the whole party were taken and
executed.

The road to Losnitza, whither our traveller was now bending his way, lay
through the Banat of Matchva, a rich tract of land, with a "charmingly
accidented" chain of mountains, the Gutchevo range, in the distance.
"Even the brutes bespoke the harmony of creation; for, singular to say,
we saw several crows perched on the backs of swine!" Towards evening we
entered a region of cottages among gardens inclosed by bushes, trees,
and verdant fences, with the rural quiet and cleanliness of an English
village in the last century lighted by an Italian sunset. "In this
sylvan paradise he was encountered by a pandour, who conducted him to
the house of the _Natchalnik_, or governor of the province, a gaunt,
greyheaded follower of Kara-George, who had been selected for this post
from his courage and military experience, since the hostile
neighbourhood of the Bosniaks, on the other side the Drina, between whom
and the Servians a deadly religious and national hatred exists, rendered
it necessary to be always on the alert." But before pursuing his route
to Sokol,[4] a sky-threatening fortress, respecting which his curiosity
had been excited by the account given of it by M. Ninitch, he was
persuaded by the Natchalnik to attend a peasant festival held at the
monastery of Tronosha, to celebrate the anniversary of its consecration.
The next day, accordingly, he set off with the Natchalnik and his
companions, all gallantly armed and mounted, and in gala dresses covered
with gold embroidery; and, dashing up hill and down dale, through the
majestic forests which covered the ascent of the mountains, they arrived
in due time at Tronosha, "an edifice with strong walls, towers, and
posterns, more like a secluded and fortified manor-house in the
seventeenth century than a convent; for such establishments, in former
times, were often subject to the unwelcome visits of minor marauders."
After returning thanks for their safe arrival, according to custom, in a
chapel with paintings in the old Byzantine style, "crimson-faced saints
looking up to a golden sky," they proceeded to inspect the preparations
for the approaching fête, in a green glade running up to the foot of the
hill on which stood the monastery, and dined with the Igoumen, ([Greek:
Êgoumenoz],) or Superior, and the monks, in the refectory. The healths
of the Prince, and of Wuczicz and Petronevich, were given after dinner
as toasts--a laudable custom, which appears to be in orthodox observance
in Servia--after which a song was sung in their honour by one of the
monks, to whom Mr Paton (whose special aversion he seems to have
incurred, for some reason not exactly apparent) applies the epithet of a
"clerical Lumpacivagabundus," which we quote for the benefit of such of
our friends as may chance to be skilled in the unknown tongue. Meanwhile
the assembled peasantry outside were in the full tide of merriment; and,
on the following morning, Mr Paton was roused from slumbers, in which "I
dreamed I know not what absurdities," by a chorus of countless voices,
and, hurrying out, found the peasants he had seen the evening before,
with a large accession to their numbers, on their knees in the avenue
leading to the church, and following "the chant of a noble old hymn. The
whole pit of this theatre of verdure appeared covered with a carpet of
crimson and white; for such were the prevailing colours of the costumes.
The upper tunic of the women was a species of surtout of undyed cloth,
bordered with a design of red cloth of a finer description. The
stockings, in colour and texture, resembled those of Persia (?), but
were generally embroidered at the ankle with gold and silver thread.
When I thought of the trackless solitude of the sylvan ridges around me,
I seemed to witness one of the early communions of Christianity, in
those ages when incense ascended to the Olympic deities in gorgeous
temples, while praise to the true God rose from the haunts of the wolf,
the lonely cavern, or the subterranean vault."

After witnessing this interesting reunion of a regenerated and Christian
nation, Mr Paton took leave of the Superior, who parted from him with
the words--"God be praised that Servia has at length seen the day when
strangers come from afar to see and know the people!" and, passing
through the double ranks of the peasantry, who took leave of him with
the valediction of _Srentnj poot!_ (a good journey,) repeated by a
thousand voices, he rode on through the never-ceasing oak-forests,
broken here and there by plantations of every variety of tree, to
Krupena. Here he was received by the captain of the district at the
head of a small troop of irregular cavalry, and hospitably entertained
for the night. On the following day he started, "toiling upwards through
woods and wilds of a more rocky character than on the previous day," to
the ridge of the Gutchevo range, whence he looked down on Sokol, a
fortress still held by the Turks, and which, on its inaccessible
position, "built" (as described by M. Ninitch) "on the capital of a
column of rock," was the only one never taken by the Servians; while the
background was formed by the mountains of Bosnia, rising range over
range in the distance. They reached the valley by a narrow winding path
on the face of a precipitous descent, and entered the town; but their
visit was ill-timed. It was Ramadan; the Disdar Aga was, or was said to
be, asleep, and the castle could not be seen in his absence; and Mr
Paton's enquiries from the Mutsellim, who acted as their cicerone, as to
the height of the rock on which the citadel was built above the valley,
only made him suspected of being an engineer surveying the stronghold
with a view to its capture. After climbing up a pinnacle of rock which
overlooked the abyss, he was compelled to return _re infectâ_; "and when
we got a little way along the valley, I looked back; Sokol looked like a
little castle of Edinburgh placed in the clouds; and a precipice on the
other side of the valley presented a perpendicular stature of not less
than five hundred feet."

A few hours travelling from Sokol brought Mr Paton to Liuhovia on the
Drina, the precipitous banks of which, covered with wood, present
numerous points of picturesque beauty; but at a short distance above
this town, which is the quarantine station on the road between Belgrade
and Seraievo it ceases to form the boundary of Servia and Bosnia, being
entirely within the latter frontier. Thence ascending the valley of the
Rogaschitza, a small stream tributary to the Drina, and crossing a ridge
which parts the waters flowing into the Drina and into the Morava, he
descended into the tract watered by the Morava, the national river of
Servia; the first town in which was Ushitza, one of the fortresses still
garrisoned by the Turks, and the scene of desperate conflicts during the
war of independence. In past times it was a place of great importance,
and contained sixty thousand inhabitants, being the entrepôt of the
trade between Servia and Bosnia; but this commerce has been almost
ruined by the establishment of the quarantine; and most of the Servian
inhabitants, in consequence of a bloody affray with the Turks, have
transferred themselves to Poshega, a town at two hours' distance, and
formerly a Roman colony, of which Mr. Paton found a relic in a fragment
of a Latin inscription built into the wall of the church. From Poshega
Mr P. continued his route down the rich valley of the Morava, here
several miles wide, to Csatsak, the residence of a bishop and a
_Natchalnik_; where the old Turkish town is in process of being
superseded by a new foundation, which, "like Poshega and all these new
places, consists of a circular or square market-place, with bazar shops
in the Turkish manner, and straight streets diverging from it." Mr Paton
waited on the bishop, "a fine specimen of the church-militant; a stout
fiery man of sixty, in full furred robes, and black velvet cap," who had
been, during the rule of Milosh, an energetic denouncer of his
extortions and monopolies, and was consequently in high favour since the
change of dynasty. The cathedral (we are informed) was "a most ancient
edifice of Byzantine architecture," of which we should have been glad to
have had some particulars; but Mr Paton's remarks are confined to
complaints of the wearisome length of the mass, at which the bishop
presided, "dressed in crimson velvet and white satin, embroidered with
gold, which had cost £300 at Vienna; and as he sat in his chair, with
mitre on head and crosier in hand, looked, with his bushy white beard,
an imposing representative of spiritual authority." Taking leave of this
formidable prelate, Mr Paton proceeded to Karanovatz, in the rich plain
round which, surrounded by hills which are compared to the last
picturesque undulations of the Alps near Vicenz or Verona, the river
Ybar falls into the Morava, not far fron the ancient convent of
Zhitchka Jicha, where seven Servian kings of the Neman dynasty were
crowned, a door being broken in the wall for the entrance of each
monarch, and built up again on his departure: and here our traveller,
turning to the right, and ascending the course of the Ybar, struck
southwards into the highlands

The character of the mountains among which he now found himself, was
widely different from the picturesque oak forests of the Gutchevo range,
which he had traversed in the early part of his tour. "Tall cedars
replaced the oak and beech; the scanty herbage was covered with
hoar-frost; the clear brooks murmured chillingly down the unshaded
gullies; and a grand line of sterile peaks to the south showed me that I
was approaching the backbone of the Balkan. There is a total want of
arable land in this part of Servia, and the pasture is neither good nor
abundant; but the Ybar is the most celebrated stream in Servia for large
quantities of trout." Still ascending the steep mountain-paths, while
the scenery became wilder and wilder, they at length reached the convent
of Studenitza, one of the most ancient foundations in Servia, having
been built by Neman, the first monarch of the dynasty bearing his name,
who died in 1195. Like most monastic edifices in Servia, it is a
castellated building, with walls whose massive strength is well
calculated to resist an attack not supported by artillery; and, on
entering the wicket, Mr Paton was received "by a fat, feeble-voiced,
lymphatic-faced superior, leaning on a long staff"--from whom he could
get no other reply to all his inquiries than "_Blagodarim_, (I thank
you.") The magnificent church of white marble, one of the finest
specimens now existing of Byzantine architecture, was built in 1314 (as
an inscription imports) by Stephen Vrosh; but it had suffered severely
at different times from the bigotry of the Turks. "The curiously twisted
pillars of the outer door were sadly chipped, while noseless angels, and
fearfully mutilated lions, guarded the inner portal. Passing through a
vestibule, we saw the remains of the font, which must have been
magnificent; and, covered with a cupola, the stumps of the white marble
columns which support it are still visible. Entering the church, I saw
on the right the tomb of St Simeon, the sainted king of Servia; beside
it hung his banner with the half-moon on it, the insigni_um_(!) of the
South Slavonic nation from the dawn of heraldry; and near the altar was
the body of his son, St Stephen, the patron saint of Servia." Another
day's journey through the same rugged and sterile scenery, in a
direction due south, during which they passed the Demir-kapu, on Iron
Gate, on the bank of the Ybar, where there is only room for a single led
horse in a passage cut through the rock, brought them to the quarantine
station on the river Raska, two hours' distance from Novibazar in
Bosnia, which it was Mr Paton's intention to visit, attended by a
Servian quarantine officer.

The conversion of the Bosniaks to Islam was effected by force, on the
conquest of the country in 1463, by Mohammed II., the only instance in
the career of Turkish conquest in which the injunction of the Prophet
against compulsory proselytism has been violated; but they have always
held the faith, thus forced on them, with the zeal of renegades, and are
now the most fanatic and bigoted Moslems in the empire. The Christians
resident in their territory are subject to every species of tyranny and
maltreatment, several instances of which, related by refugees in Servia,
are given in the work before us. A Frank traveller is a sight scarcely
known; and Mr Paton soon had abundant evidence, on his approach to
Novibazar, which lies in a fertile plain about a mile and a half in
diameter, surrounded by low hills, that his visit here would be even
less favourably received than at Sokol. The gipsies, whose tents covered
the plain, and who here profess Islamism, cried furiously after them,
"See, how the Royal Servians now-a-days have the audacity to enter
Novibazar on horseback!" Youssouf Bey, the governor, was said to be
asleep in his harem, (the usual Not-at-home of an Oriental,) but, as
they afterwards ascertained, was actually afraid to receive them; and
while they were sauntering round the town, a savage-looking Bosniak
starting up, exclaimed, "Giaours, kafirs, spies! I know what you come
for!--Do you expect to see your cross one day planted on the castle?"
The threat of a complaint to the Bey only provoked fresh insolence; and,
warned by a Christian bystander that the whole town would soon be in
commotion, they prudently beat a retreat, and reached the Servian
frontier in safety.

After this narrow escape from Bosniak hospitality, Mr Paton's next
object was the Kopaunik mountain, lying a little to the south, and from
the top of which (as he had been informed at Csatsak) a panoramic view
of all Servia might be obtained; and having prevailed on the captain of
the district to accompany him, they crossed the Ybar, and reached the
summit with little difficulty, if (as seems to be implied) the whole
ascent was accomplished on horseback. "The Kopaunik is not much above
6000 English feet above the level of the sea. But it is so placed in the
Servian basin, that the eye embraces the whole breadth from Bosnia to
Bulgaria, and very nearly the whole length from Macedonia to Hungary.
When at length I stood on the highest peak, the prospect was literally
gorgeous. Servia lay rolled out at my feet. There lay the field of
Kossovo, where Amurath defeated Lasar, and entombed the ancient empire
of Servia. I mused an instant on this great landmark of European
history, and following the finger of an old peasant who accompanied us,
I looked eastwards, and saw Deligrad, the scene of one of the bloodiest
fights that preceded the resurrection of Servia as a principality. The
Morava glistened in its wide valley like a silver thread in a carpet of
green, beyond which the dark mountains of Rudnik rose to the north;
while the frontiers of Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, walled
in the prospect."

After luxuriating to his heart's content in the contemplation of this
magnificent panorama, and taking leave of his companion, Mr Paton
descended the north-eastern slope of the mountain; and lodging for the
night in a shepherd's hut, where he found an officer sent by the
Natchalnik of Krushevatz to meet him, arrived next day at Zhupa. "Here
the aspect of the country changed--the verdant hills became chalky, and
covered with vineyards, which, before the fall of the empire, were
celebrated;" and after partaking of a repast, in which choice grapes and
clotted cream (a national dish in Turkey) formed the dessert, they
pushed on in all haste, and reached Krushevatz (often marked in the maps
by its Turkish name of Aladja-Hissar) late at night. He was hospitably
received by the Natchalnik, whose wife kissed the visitor's hand on his
arrival, in compliance with the old Servian customs, now fast wearing
out, which assign to woman a social position intermediate between the
seclusion of eastern manners and the graceful precedence which she
enjoys in the west. The next morning, they walked out to inspect the
town, which was the metropolis of the Servian kingdom immediately before
its overthrow by the Turks; and which, lying as it does in the midst of
the rich vale of the Morava, which here expands into a wide and fertile
plain, extending from the foot of the mountains by which it is flanked
to the river, occupies a site well adapted for all inland capital. The
author here introduces a dissertation on the history, laws, and customs
of the ancient monarchy; but as our own business is rather with Servia
as it is, than Servia as it was, we shall pass unnoticed the glories of
the house of Neman--the warlike trophies of Stephan Dushan the Powerful,
at whose approach the Greek Emperor trembled within the walls of
Constantinople--and the tragical fate of Knes Lasar, with whom Servian
independence fell on the fatal plain of Kossovo, June 15, 1389. Of the
palace of Lasar in Krushevatz, only the gateway and the ruined walls are
now remaining; but the chapel, having been converted by the Turks into
an arsenal, is still in perfect preservation. "It is a curious monument
of the period, in a Byzantine sort of style, but not for a moment to be
compared in beauty to the church of Studenitza. Above one of the doors
is carved the double eagle, the insigni_um_ (!!) of empire; but instead
of having body to body, and wings and beaks pointed outwards, as in the
arms of Austria and Russia, the bodies are separated, and beak looks
inward to beak. The late governor had the Vandalism to whitewash the
exterior; but the Natchalnik told me, that under the whitewash fine
bricks were disposed in diamond figures between the stones. This antique
principle of tessellation, applied by the Byzantines to perpendicular
walls, and occasionally adopted and varied _ad infinitum_ by the
Saracens, is magnificently illustrated in the upper exterior of the
ducal palace of Venice."

A grand field-day against the bears and boars in the forest, with a
couple of hundred peasants as beaters, had been arranged by the
Natchalnik for his guest's amusement; but their plans were frustrated by
the unpropitious state of the weather; and as soon as it became
favourable, we find Mr Paton again in motion, ascending the eastern
branch of the Morava to Alexinate, the quarantine station on the
Bulgarian frontier, where the British govermnent has established a
_konak_ or residence for the Queen's messengers, who here await, on the
extreme verge of the sanatory system, the return of the Tartars with
despatches from Constantinople. He found it tenanted by Captain W----,
whose guest he became for several days, to his infinite
satisfaction:--"It seemed so odd, and yet was so very comfortable, to
have roast-beef, plum-pudding, sherry, brown stout, Stilton cheese, and
other insular groceries, at the foot of the Balkan. There was, moreover,
a small library, with which the temporary occupants of the konak killed
the month's interval between arrival and departure." He was compelled,
however, to tear himself from the delights of an English cuisine; and on
arriving at Tiupria, (more properly Kiupri-Ravenatz,) where he first
heard tidings of the emeute at Shabatz, and the murder of his friend the
collector Ninitch, he diverged from his route to visit the monasteries
of Ravanitza and Manasia, the former of which was the burial-place of
Lasar. But as his reminiscences of these saintly retreats are rather
convivial than antiquarian, we shall pass on at once to Svilainitza,
(the place of silk,) where he was entertained in the chateau of M.
Ressavatz, the richest man in Servia; the only chateau-residence as he
tells us, which he saw in the country. This part of Servia appears
indeed to be, as Mr Paton says--"Ressavatz quà, Ressavatz là"--since to
the patriotism and command of capital of this enlightened family, it
owes not only the introduction of the growth of silk as above-mentioned,
but the construction of an excellent macadamized road, by which Mr Paton
travelled on the following day, through a country richly cultivated and
interspersed with lofty oaks, to Posharevatz, (commonly written
Passarowitz,) where he was welcomed on his arrival by another of the
name of Ressavatz, the Natchalnik of the place. Posharevatz is
celebrated in history for the treaty there concluded in 1718, by which,
in consequence of the victories of Prince Eugene, Bosnia and Servia
passed under the dominion of Austria for twenty years, till restored to
the Porte at the peace of Belgrade in 1739: in the present day it is a
place of considerable importance, both as the capital of a province of
ninety thousand inhabitants, and the seat of a court of judicial appeal
for Eastern Servia. By the president of this court Mr Paton was
entertained at dinner, where he met all the élite of Posharevatz; "and
the president having made some punch, which showed profound acquaintance
eith the jurisprudence of conviviality, the best amateurs of Posharevatz
sung their best songs, which pleased me somewhat, for my ears had
gradually been broken into the habits of the Servian muse. Being pressed
myself to sing an English national song, I gratified their curiosity
with 'God save the Queen,' and 'Rule Britannia,' explaining that these
two songs contained the essence of English nationality; the one
expressive of our unbounded loyalty, the other of our equally unbounded
dominion." And now having extracted, to the best of our ability, the
plums from the pudding of Mr Paton's _gastronomic_ circuit of Servia, in
which, (as he cordially admits,) "by inter-_larding_ my discourse with
sundry apophthegms of _Bacon_, and stale paradoxes of Rochefaucault, I
passed current considerably above my real value," we shall here leave
him to find his way by the beaten track through Semendria, Belgrade, and
Vienna, to England. But before proceeding to the consideration of the
"Servian Question," a point scarcely touched on in the volume before us,
it will not be amiss to give a brief summary of the social condition and
internal organization of the Servian nation, on which Mr Paton gives
some valuable information in his concluding chapters.

The Servian territory extends about one hundred and seventy miles from
east to west, along the Danube and Save, the boundaries being the rivers
Timok and Drina; and one hundred miles in extreme breadth from Belgrade
to the frontier of Albania. The population, after the expulsion of the
Turks, was roughly estimated, under Milosh, as somewhat exceeding half a
million; but, from the internal peace which the country has since
enjoyed, and the plenty and prosperity which prevails among the
peasantry, there can be little doubt that it has since greatly
increased. As not more than one-sixth of the soil is supposed to be in
cultivation, there is abundance of excellent land undisposed of; as
every man, therefore, with ordinary industry can support himself and his
family, abject want and pauperism are almost unknown. The innumerable
herds of swine, which form the staple commodity of the country, both for
home consumption and export, rove freely through the oak and beech
forests which cover great part of Servia, and in which every one is at
liberty to cut as much timber as he pleases, only an inconsiderable
portion being reserved as state property for the public service. There
are no indirect taxes; and as the _poresa_, or capitation tax, paid by
each head of a family, the maximum of which is six dollars a-year, is
the only impost (except a trifling quit-rent for the land) levied by the
government, "it must be admitted," (as Mr Paton observes,) "that the
peasantry of Servia have drawn a high prize in the lottery of
existence." The harvest is a period of general festivity; all labour in
common in getting in the corn, the proprietor providing entertainment
for his industrious guests; "but in the vale of the lower Morava, where
there is less pasture and more corn, this is not sufficient, and hired
Bulgarians assist." Though in a comparatively southern latitude, the
vegetable productions are those of a more northern climate; Mr Paton
never saw an olive-tree, and the grapes and melons, though abundant, are
inferior to those of Hungary; but the plum, from which the national
liqueur, _slivovitsa_, is made, every where abounds, almost every
village having its plum-orchard. With all these means and appliances for
good living close at hand, it is evident that there is not much prospect
of a famine in Servia, till the productions of the soil fall short of
the demands of the population--a consummation which cannot happen for
many generations to come.

The national character of the Servian is compared by Mr Paton to that of
the Scotch Highlander; and it is not without strong points of
resemblance. "He is brave in battle, highly hospitable; delights in
simple and plaintive music and poetry, his favourite instruments being
the bagpipe and fiddle; unlike the Greek, he shows little aptitude for
trade; and, unlike the Bulgarian, he is very lazy in agricultural
pursuits."

In the cleanliness of their persons and houses, they present a
favourable contrast to most of the other Slavic populations; and their
personal appearance is also advantageous. "They are a remarkably tall
and robust race of men; in form and feature they bespeak strength of
body and energy of mind; but one seldom sees that thoroughbred look, so
frequently found in the poorest peasants of Italy and Greece. The women
I think very pretty. They are not so well-shaped as the Greeks; but
their complexions are fine, their hair generally black and glossy, and
their head-dress particularly graceful; and not being addicted to the
bath, like other eastern women, they prolong their beauty beyond the
average period." The spirit of nationality, and zeal for national
improvement, which pervades the population almost as one man, is
strongly marked by many incidents related in Mr Paton's pages, and one
is so remarkable that we cannot forbear quoting it. An idiot boy, to
whom he had given a glass of _slivovitza_, "taking off his greasy fez,
said, 'I drink to our prince Kara-Georgovich, and the progress and
enlightenment of the nation.' He was too stupid to entertain these
sentiments himself; but if the determination to rise were not in the
minds of the people, it would not be on the lips of an oaf in an
insignificant hamlet." Nor is the progress of intellectual development
behind this patriotic zeal for national independence in the march of
regeneration. "In the whole range of the Slavic family, no nation
possesses so extensive a collection of excellent popular poetry," with
which the British public has been in some measure made acquainted by the
translations of Dr Bowring. "The romantic beauty of their country--the
relics of a wild mythology, which has some resemblance to that of Greece
and Scandinavia--the adventurous character of the population--the
vicissitudes of guerilla warfare--are all given in a dialect which for
musical sweetness is to other Slavonic tongues what the Italian is to
the languages of Western Europe." The Servian Anthology has been
collected by Dr Wuk Stephanovich, the author of several works on
national topics; and there are several living poets, among whom,
Milutinovich, already mentioned, is reputed _facile princeps_. The only
newspaper now printed at Belgrade is the _State Gazette_, which
prudently avoids all remarks on Austrian or Russian policy; and the only
annual is the _Golubitza_, (Dove,) a miscellany in prose and verse,
neatly got up in imitation of the German Taschenbücher, and edited by M.
Hadschitch, the framer of the code of laws. In the Lyceum, lectures on
law are delivered by M. Simonovich, bred an Hungarian advocate, and
formerly editor of the _Courier_, a newspaper now discontinued; but the
study of law, as well as its practitioners, is said to be unpopular in
Servia at present; and Professor John Shafarik is an able and popular
lecturer on Slavic history, literature, and antiquities; of the latter,
there is a collection in the museum of the institution, as well as a
rich mineralogical cabinet collected by Baron Herder, and including
specimens of silver, lead, and copper ore, as well as marble, white as
that of Carrara. A Literary Society has also been formed for the
encouragement of popular literature, and the formation of a complete
dictionary of the language--the seal of which represents an uncultivated
field, with the rising sun shining on a monument bearing the arms of
Servia.

The administrative senate consists of twenty-one members, named by the
Prince for life; four of whom are ministers. Stojan Simitch, who has
been before mentioned, the present vice-president (the presidency being
an imaginary office,) is a Servian of the old school, in whom talent and
shrewdness have supplied the place of education; but the most remarkable
member of the cabinet is M. Petronevich, now minister for foreign
affairs. He was at one time in a commercial house at Trieste, and
subsequently for nine years a hostage for Servia at Constantinople--"he
is astute by nature and education, but has a good heart and a capacious
intellect; and, in the course of a very tortuous political career, has
kept the advancement of Servia constantly in view. He is one of the very
few public men in Servia, in whom the Christian and Western love of
_community_ has triumphed over the Oriental allegiance to _self_; and
this disinterestedness, in spite of his defects, is the secret of his
popularity." His partner in exile, M. Wuczicz, is now commander of the
military force and minister of the interior, in which latter office he
succeeded Garashanin; the standing army is a mere skeleton force; but
every Servian is a soldier, and bound to provide himself with arms, thus
forming a national militia, of which the effective strength is estimated
at little less than 100,000 men. The military command of each of the
seventeen provinces is vested in the Natchalnik, under whom are the
captains of the several cantons, usually three in each province; these
officers superintend the police, and report to the minister at war. As
minister of the interior, he is charged also with the superintendence of
ecclesiastical affairs, the spiritual head of which, the Archbishop of
Belgrade, though acknowledging the supremacy of the Greek Patriarch, is
virtually independent within the province; his salary, as well as that
of the three bishops and the inferior clergy, is paid by the state, that
of the primate being about £800 a-year, and of his suffragans half as
much. The administration of justice (as settled by the Sultan's _hatti
shereef_ of 1838, which may be regarded as the Servian constitution) is
vested in local courts in each province, consisting of a president and
three members, from which an appeal lies to the supreme courts of
Belgrade and Posharevatz; but reference is always made in the first
instance, in minor cases, to the _Courts of Peace_ (as they are called,)
consisting of the village magnates, with whose patriarchal arbitration
the litigants are usually satisfied, law and lawyers not being held in
high estimation. "The courts of law have something of the promptitude of
Oriental justice, without its flagrant venality;" but the salaries of
the judges are small, that of the president of the appeal court at
Belgrade not exceeding £300 a-year. But it is the financial department
that presents the most striking contrast to other European states, in
the unheard-of phenomenon of a national debt due not _from_ but _to_ the
government; the revenue so much exceeding the expenditure, that a sum of
a hundred thousand ducats has been lent to the people at six per cent,
and forms an item on the credit side of the budget! The total annual
outlay, according to the financial returns, including the tribute to the
Porte and the civil list of the Prince, (the latter equivalent to about
£20,000 English,) is 830,000 dollars; while the income reaches 887,000,
principally derived from the _poresa_, or capitation-tax paid by heads
of families, a separate tax being levied on bachelors. Such is at
present the flourishing state of the principality of Servia, "the
youngest member of the European family," the views of Russia on which,
somewhat prematurely developed by the famous "Servian question," will be
more clearly understood by a preliminary sketch of its previous history.

The political existence of modern Servia may be considered to date from
1804, in February of which year a general rising took place of the
Christian population against the Moslems, provoked by the massacres and
atrocities committed by the spahis, who held lands in the province by
military tenure, and whose chiefs had thrown off the authority of the
Pasha of Belgrade, and embraced the party of the famous Paswan-Oghlu,
Pasha of Widdin, who was then in open revolt against Selim III., as the
champion of the janissaries and the _ancien regime_, against the civil
and military reforms which the Sultan was striving to introduce. The
principal leaders of the Servians were Slavatz, (or as Mr Paton calls
him, if the same person is intended, Glavash,) and George Petrovich,
surnamed _Kara_ or _Czerni_, (black,) the son of a peasant in the
district of Kragejewatz, who afterwards migrated to Topola, which has
therefore been held by the Servians as the place whence sprung their
liberator,[5] and where an annual festival is held in his honour. He was
in his youth a _Hayduk_ or klepht; and having been forced to fly from
Servia for taking part in an unsuccessful insurrection, had served
several years in the Austrian army. His successes were at first viewed
with satisfaction by the Porte; and the obnoxious chiefs, driven to take
refuge in Belgrade, were there seized and put to death by the Pasha; but
it soon became evident that the Servians, once in arms and victorious,
would not be satisfied without complete independence. Semendria and
other fortresses fell into their hands; and Kara George, by the
unanimous voice of his countrymen, was declared _hospodar_ or prince.
The Porte now directed an invasion of Servia by a mingled force of forty
thousand Turks and Bosniaks; but the Moslem army was totally overthrown
near Shabatz, Aug. 8, 1806, by seven thousand foot and two thousand
horse under Kara George, and driven across the Drina with the loss of
their commander and many other chiefs. It was now apparent that Servia
was not to be reduced by force of arms; and conferences were opened, by
which the Sultan engaged to grant them a local and national government,
with free exercise of their religion. But the negotiation failed, from
the demands of the Porte that they should surrender their arms, and
leave the fortresses in the hands of the Turks; and while it was yet
pending, Kara George carried Belgrade with great slaughter, by a
_coup-de-main_, on the night of Dec. 13, 1806, thus completing the
expulsion of the Turks from Servia, with the exception of Szoko, (Mr
Paton's Sokol,) and a few other strongholds which still remained in
their hands.

The war which broke out in the following year between Russia and the
Porte, secured Servia against any further attacks from the Turks; and
Kara George, thus freed from apprehensions of invasion, endeavoured to
introduce some degree of order and civil organization into the country.
A sort of federal senate, to which each of the twelve districts into
which the principality was then divided sent a member, met annually at
Belgrade to regulate the finances and internal affairs of the country;
and though the freedom of their deliberations was impeded by the
presence of the _wayvodes_ or military governors, at the head of their
armed retainers, whom even the authority of Kara George was unable to
coerce, the success of their efforts to establish schools and promote
the interests of civilization, indicated a degree of enlightened policy
little to have been expected from a people but half emancipated from
Turkish bondage. Kara George, meanwhile, who had received from the
Emperor Alexander the rank of lieutenant-general, did good service to
his Russian allies; and though signally defeated in an invasion of
Bosnia, repulsed with triumphant success every attempt of the Turks to
enter Servia. But his energies were paralysed by the disaffection of the
subordinate chiefs; and when Russia, pressed by the advance of Napoleon,
concluded in 1812 the peace of Bukarest, there was only a nugatory
stipulation, in the eighth clause of the treaty, that the internal
administration should be left with the Servians, "as to the subjects of
the Sublime Porte in the islands of the Archipelago;" the fortresses to
remain in the hands of the Turks. But no sooner was the Porte relieved
from the presence of the enemy, than an overwhelming force was poured
into Servia; and Kara George, unable to resist, fled into Hungary, and
afterwards took refuge in Russia.

The character of this remarkable man is well portrayed in a despatch,
quoted by Mr Paton, of the afterwards well-known Diebitsch, who was the
confidential agent of Russia in Servia, in 1810-11:--"His countenance
shows a greatness of mind not to be mistaken; and when we consider times
and circumstances, and his want of education, we must admit that his
mind is of a masculine and commanding order. The imputation of cruelty
appears to be unjust. When the country was without the shadow of a
constitution, and when he commanded an unorganized and uncultivated
nation, he was compelled to be severe; he dared not relax his
discipline; but now that there are courts of law and legal forms, he
hands every thing over to the tribunals. He has very little to say for
himself, and is rude in his manners; but his judgments in civil affairs
are promptly and soundly formed, and to great talents he joins unwearied
industry. As a soldier, there is but one opinion of his talents,
bravery, and enduring firmness." The portrait prefixed to the present
volume, from a painting in the possession of the reigning Prince, the
duplicate of one executed for the Emperor Alexander, bears out the
character thus given of the Servian hero:--"The countenance expressed
not only intelligence, but a certain refinement, which one would
scarcely expect in a warrior peasant; but all his contemporaries agree
in representing him to have possessed an inherent superiority and
nobility of nature, which, in any station, would have raised him above
his equals."

At this juncture, when Servia lay at the mercy of the Turks, Milosh
Obrenovich appeared on the scene. He had originally been a swineherd,
and afterwards an officer of Kara George; but he now sided with the
Turks, to whom he rendered efficient aid in cutting off the other
popular leaders who still continued in arms. But the execution of
Slavatz, and other chiefs who had also made their submission, by order
of Soliman Pasha of Belgrade, showed him that his own fate was only
deferred; and, escaping into his native district of Rudnik, he once more
raised the standard of freedom. The peasantry rose _en masse_, and the
campaign was generally to the advantage of Milosh, who displayed great
bravery and military skill; but Soliman Pasha was at length recalled,
and an accommodation effected, by which Milosh became hospodar, under
the suzerainté of the Sultan, Belgrade and a few fortresses only
remaining in the hands of the Turks. As the resident Turkish population
had almost wholly disappeared during the war, Milosh was now absolute
master of the country, and was delivered from all fears of a rival, by
the death of Kara George, who, in 1817, misled by false representations,
had returned from Petersburg to Servia; but was betrayed by Milosh, and
put to death by the Turks.[6] Though unable to read or write, his rule
was marked by ability and vigour. He repressed robberies and offences
against property with merciless severity, frequently causing malefactors
to be hung to the next tree, without form of trial;--and improved the
internal communications by the formation of an excellent road through
the forests, from the Turkish frontier at Nissa to Belgrade. In his
political relations with Russia and the Porte, he steered a middle
course with consummate dexterity, constantly maintaining a good
understanding with the cabinet of St Petersburg; while, in 1830, he
succeeded in obtaining from the Sultan a firman, by which the dignity of
prince was declared hereditary in his family; and it was further
provided, that such Turks as still retained land in Servia should
dispose of their estates within a limited period, and quit the province.
Another firman, in 1833, released the Servians from the payment of
_kharaj_ (the capitation tax paid by rayahs) and all other dues and
imposts, in consideration of an annual tribute of 2,300,000 piastres
(£23,000) to be paid to the Porte; the right of levying taxes was
conceded to the Servian government, and all fortresses erected by the
Turks, since the commencement of the war in 1804, were to be rased.[7]
These concessions, which rendered the dependence of Servia on the Porte
little more than nominal, were doubtless granted through the secret
influence of Russia, whose obvious interest it was to weaken the
connexion between her destined prey and its titular suzerain; but the
despotic power thus placed in the hands of Milosh, was exercised with a
degree of arrogance and contempt of vested rights, which soon rendered
him highly unpopular. No carriage but his was allowed to appear in the
streets of Belgrade; and, while all political rights were withheld from
the people, he amassed immense wealth by arbitrary confiscations, by
levying heavy taxes and import duties, and by establishing oppressive
monopolies of articles of necessary consumption, particularly salt,
veins of which, discovered by Baron Herder near the Kopaunik mountain,
he forbade to be worked under severe penalties, in order to keep in his
own hands the importation from Walachia. The discontent of the national
party, headed by the _primates_ (as they are called) of the
municipalities, at length broke out into flame--fomented (as it was then
believed) by Russia, who was jealous of the influence acquired over
Milosh by Colonel Hodges, appointed in 1836 consul-general for England,
and with whom he was on the point of concluding a commercial treaty. A
_hatti-shereef_ at this juncture (December 1838) arrived from the Porte,
obtained (as it is said) through the advice of Colonel Hodges, and
containing a form of constitution for Servia, regulating the legal
tribunals, the functions of the ministry, &c., and ordaining the
formation of a legislative council of seventeen members, as a check on
the despotism of the Prince. But the crisis had already arrived. The
senate took the initiative, by charging Milosh with embezzlement of the
public property, and calling him to account; and, after a vain attempt
to make a stand against the popular indignation, he fled with his
treasures into Hungary. An attempt to recover his power having proved
ineffectual, he at length abdicated in favour of his son, Milan; who,
dying soon after, was succeeded by his brother, Michael, under the
guardianship of his mother, Liubitza. But the same system still
continued; and all efforts to procure any redress of grievances proving
fruitless, a general outbreak took place in September 1842, the prime
movers in which were Wucicz and Petronevich, who for several years had
been the recognised heads of the popular party. As it was found that the
few troops round the Prince were not to be depended upon, he quitted
Belgrade, accompanied by his mother and the French and English consuls,
and repaired to Semlin; and after some fruitless negotiation, the
sovereignty was declared vacant by the representatives of the nation,
with the concurrence of the Turkish governor, Kiamil Pasha.

As it was well known that the Obrenovich family had been for some time
in bad odour at Petersburg, this movement was at first universally
attributed to Russian influence; but it soon became apparent that its
only motive was the spontaneous assertion by the Servians of the rights
and liberties withheld from them; and the steps for a fresh election, in
pursuance of the provisions of the _hatti-shereefs_ were taken with
perfect order and unanimity. A firman was issued by the Sultan, in right
of his suzerainté; and the unanimous and enthusiastic choice of the
nation fell on Alexander, son of the well-remembered Kara George, who
was forthwith inaugurated in the cathedral of Belgrade, by the
Archbishop, and received from the Porte the _berat_ or patent, necessary
for his confirmation in his new dignity. His accession was officially
notified by the Ottoman ministers, to the Russian envoy at
Constantinople but this evidence of good understanding and unity of
interest between the Porte and her vassal, was a formidable and
unexpected obstacle to the sinister designs of Russia which was to be
counteracted at all hazards; and the course adopted for this purpose,
unparalleled perhaps in the annals of diplomacy, cannot be better
understood than from the able and lucid statement of Lord Beaumont in
his place in parliament, on the 5th of May following. [It must first be
well remembered that neither in the treaty of Bukarest, nor in any
subsequent convention, was a shadow of a right of _veto_, or
interference in any way in the election of a prince of Servia, conveyed
to Russia, (as in the joint nomination with the Porte of the hospodars
of the Trans-Danubian principalities,) and the only ground on which such
interference could rest, was that enunciated by Baron Lieven, with
somewhat remarkable frankness in a Russ diplomatist, to Mr Paton, that
"Servia owed her political existence solely to Russia, which gave the
latter a moral right of intervention over and above the stipulations of
treaties, to which no other power could pretend"--a statement false both
in fact and inference, since it was by their own good swords, unaided by
Russia or any other European power with either men or money,[8] that the
Servians won their freedom; and the nugatory stipulation in the treaty
of Bukarest, had been all along left a dead letter.] "Russia, neglecting
all international law, sent an agent of her own into Servia, to
investigate the internal proceedings of an independent state, and, on
receiving his report, directed that agent to state his complaints,
without consulting any other power, to the Divan. Now, he would venture
to say, that a greater or more direct insult than this, was never
offered to an independent state, and he could not conceive any act that
could be a more gross and positive violation of the treaties of
Bukarest, Akerman, and Adrianople, under which alone she could set up a
right to be informed of what passed in Servia. Though Georgevich was
elected by the people, according to the constitution of the province,
and though the validity of his election was acknowledged by the Divan,
and confirmed by the Porte, Russia demanded that the election should be
set aside; and this demand was made by that power in such an overbearing
manner, as to show to the world that Turkey was under the control of
Russia, and must act in conformity with the dictates of the Czar."

In this extremity, the Porte appealed for support to Great Britain and
Austria, two of the powers who were parties to the quintuple treaty
signed at London, July 15, 1840, for the express object of ensuring the
integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire; and the appeal was
backed by strong representations from Sir Stratford Canning, the British
ambassador at Constantinople, to his home government. But the British
government was (as Lord Palmerston observed, with much sarcastic truth,
in the House of Commons on August 15) "in the same condition in which
they had too often of late been found in foreign affairs, without any
opinion of their own on the subject, (hear;) and determined to act with
Austria, thereby risking the sacrifice of our own interests for a remote
Austrian interest in which we had no concern. Austria at first
determined to support Servia; but there came an _urgent appeal_ from
Russia; and Austria recommended Servia to yield." The nature of this
"urgent appeal" will be well understood by those who are aware of the
morbid fear entertained by Austria of Russian extension among the Slavic
populations in Hungary; and of which Russia availing herself, (as
remarked by Mr Paget,) "by exerting the influence which similarity of
language, and, in some parts, of religion, gives her over them, has
hitherto frightened Austria into doing almost any thing she likes." "The
Sultan" (continued Lord Palmerston) "was now forced to submit. He
annulled the election of Prince Georgevich; he consented to a popular
election; he recalled the two popular leaders, Wucicz and Petronevich,
to Constantinople; and even appointed a Russian general, Baron Lieven,
his commissioner, in conjunction with a Turkish officer, to go into
Servia to see his orders carried into execution."

So far Lord Palmerston; and the accuracy of the information possessed by
the British Cabinet to combat these strong facts, may be estimated, from
Sir Robert Peel's calling Prince Alexander, a man of thirty-five, and
the worthy inheritor of his father's great qualities, "an infatuated
youth"--on the authority (it is said) of a letter from Mr Fonblanque!
But we must return from the English debates to the progress of the drama
in Servia, where the commissioners found the Servians, in defiance of
the great powers, and in spite of the hopelessness of aid from
Constantinople, preparing for national resistance. The Prince refused to
abdicate, alleging that the firman by which he had been appointed had
never been revoked, and that universal anarchy would result from his
resigning the reins of government, since no _kaimakams_, or regents _pro
tempore_, had been named by the Porte--an omission which is supposed not
to have been altogether unintentional; and the whole nation rose in
commotion at the bare mention of the recall of Wucicz and Petronevich;
the crowd exclaiming, when Wucicz told them that 'the Servian forests
would not be less green were two old trees cut down, "No! a thousand
times no!" and rushing with arms in their hands to the presence of
Hafiz-Pasha, (who had been appointed on Kiamil's recall on the mandate
of Russia for his share in the revolution,) announced their
determination to maintain their prince and his counsellors; to which
Hafiz assented, no doubt, with secret gratification. While the
proceedings were thus stayed by the unexpected resolution shown by the
Servians, Russian emissaries were traversing the country in all
directions, striving in vain to stir up a revolt in favour of the
Obrenovich family, whose former partisans, it was found, were now their
strongest opponents; and inciting the Christians in Bosnia and Bulgaria
to rise against the Moslems, by the hope of obtaining independent
governments under hospodars of their own, like the other principalities.
On the other hand, the Servian population was ready to rise _en masse_
in defence of its liberties, and was further cheered by the report that
thirty thousand of the Slavic races under Austrian dominion were ready
to join them in the struggle for national freedom; while the Porte,
roused to unexpected energy by the accumulation of wrong heaped upon it,
reinforced the garrison of Belgrade with three thousand fresh troops,
and formed encampments to the amount of near one hundred thousand men at
Constantinople and Adrianople, for the ostensible purpose of overawing
the spirit of revolt among the Bulgarians. The National Assembly, which
had in the mean time met at Belgrade, declared the election of Prince
Alexander legal and valid, and refused to abrogate it; and as the agents
of Russia found that their original object could only be effected by an
invasion, an act which (even had the season left time to march an army
to the Danube) might have exceeded even the long-suffering of the other
powers who were parties to the treaty of 1840, it was resolved, for the
sake of appearances, to repair the false step as far as possible by a
show of moderation. It was accordingly announced that the principal
objections of Russia to the late election arose from the informality
with which the proceedings had been conducted; that Prince Alexander
would be admitted as a candidate, (a concession very distasteful to
Austria, who apprehended that the talent and popularity of the prince
might attract her own Slavic subjects under his rule;) and that the late
prince, Michael, should be excluded from competition. This could only
lead to one result; and Alexander, having _pro formâ_ resigned his
authority, a _hatti-shereef_ was sent from the Porte, and he was again
elected with even greater enthusiasm than before.

But Russia, though foiled in her main object, had still another move in
reserve. The _berat_, or letter-patent of the Sultan, was still
necessary for the confirmation of the new prince; and July 27, M. Titoff
(who had succeeded M. Boutenieff as Russian envoy to the Porte)
announced to the Divan the will of his master, that this important
document should be withheld till Wucicz and Petronevich, "the authors of
the late disturbances," had left the country. The ministers of the
Porte, unsupported by the ambassadors of France and England, who
remained passive, had no alternative but to yield to this audacious act
of intervention, which was communicated by Baron Lieven to the Servian
kaimakams appointed during the interregnum. "As soon as the intelligence
was spread among the people, the universal exclamation was--'We will not
suffer them to be taken from us--they are our protectors, our
benefactors;'" but submission was inevitable, and, in the middle of
August, the two ministers repaired to Widdin, where they were received
with high distinction by Hussein Pasha. They remained in exile a year,
when the interdict was withdrawn by Russia, as it is said in consequence
of British intervention, but more probably from finding, that,
notwithstanding their absence, it was impossible to stir up faction
against Prince Alexander. The circumstances of their return have been
already given from Mr Paton's account; and we can little doubt, that on
his next interview with the Prince, after his faithful counsellors had
been restored to him, "he showed no trace of that reserve and timidity
which foreigners had remarked in him a year before."

Such is the plain unvarnished account of the late transactions in
Servia, in which the true character of Russian policy, and the means by
which it is carried out, have been unveiled before the eyes of Europe in
a manner sufficient to enlighten those which are not closed in wilful
blindness. "Europe has been apprised, if she wishes to be so," (says the
_Journal des Debats_,) "that there is in the East, independent of
Turkey, a point of resistance against the encroachments of Russia;" and
this _great fact_ derives double value from that point being found in
one of those Slavic populations which it is the grand object and aim of
Russia to unite under her iron sceptre. But (in the eloquent language of
Mr Paget) "we knew that if Europe did awake, the progress of Russia was
stopped; we knew that her gigantic power would crumble away, and nothing
remain but the hatred of the world, of the injustice and cruelty by
which it had been raised."

  F. H.

     _Servia, the Youngest Member of the European Family; or, a
     Residence in Belgrade, and Travels in the Highlands and Woodlands
     of the Interior, during the Years 1843 and 1844._ By ANDREW
     ARCHIBALD PATON, Esq., Author of the "Modern Syrians."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This was the explanation actually given by Develuz, our consul at
Adrianople, of his exaggerated account of the strength of Diebitsch's
army, at the moment when Diebitsch's best hope was, that he might effect
his retreat across the Balkan with the shattered and debilitated remnant
of his troops! Yet on this authority the Sultan was recommended to yield
at discretion, and the treaty of Adrianople was signed!

[2] The present Prince, on public occasions, always wears the fez with
an aigrette of diamonds, as a recognition of the suzerainté of the
Porte; his predecessor, Michel Obrenovich, gave great offence by wearing
a cocked hat.

[3] The old Emperor, Francis of Austria, when a Russian general was to
be presented, would say, "Now bring in the northern firmament, and all
its stars."

[4] Sokol must here be a slip of the pen for Szoko. Sokol, the
birth-place of the famous Mohammed Sokolli, vizier of Soliman the
Magnificent and his two successors, is in the heart of Bosnia, near
Gradachatz.

[5] In the supplement to the _Biographie Universelle_, vol. lxi., a
strange tale is told, that Czerni George was a native of Nanci, who fled
in his youth to Servia--but this is a mere romance.

[6] Lamartine (_Voyage en Orient_) and other writers represent Kara
George as having died in confinement in an Austrian fortress, soon after
his flight in 1813-an error which has probably arisen from a confusion
between his fate and that of Alexander Hypsilantis, who headed the
insurrection in Walachia in 1821, and died in Mongatz, after three
years' imprisonment.

[7] These firmans, with the _hatti-shereef_ of 1838, &c., were printed
and laid before the House of Commons in May 1843.

[8] The contrast in this respect, between the progress and results of
the Servian and Greek revolutions, is forcibly stated in an extract from
a MS. document by Wuk Stephanovich, author of the Servian Anthology, in
Parish's _Diplomatic History of the Monarchy of Greece_.--Pp. 387-90.



THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA.

PART IV.

     "Y asi entre otras razones le dijo que no tuviese pena del suceso
     de Camila, porque sín duda la herida era ligera."--CERVANTES. _El
     Curioso Impertinente._


The unexpected and opportune appearance of Mariano Torres, at the moment
of Herrera's escape, requires a few words of explanation. When Rodil, on
the morrow of the skirmish with Zumalacarregui in the Lower Amezcoa,
evacuated that valley, he proceeded to distribute a portion of his army
amongst various garrisons; and then, with the remainder, marched to
Biscay in pursuit of Don Carlos, who, having as yet no place of security
from his enemies, was wandering about attended by a handful of
followers. Amongst the troops left in Navarre by the Christino general,
was the cavalry regiment to which Herrera and Torres belonged, and this
was ordered to the plains of the Ebro. The day after its arrival at the
town of Viana, a battalion marched in from Pampeluna, and with it came
Sergeant Velasquez, who, after his escape from the Carlists, had taken
refuge in that fortress. Great was the consternation of Torres on
learning the surprise of the escort and capture of his friend, and his
grief was warmly sympathized in by the other officers of the regiment,
with whom Herrera was a universal favourite. But Torres was not the man
to content himself with idle regrets and unavailing lamentations, and he
resolved to rescue Herrera, if it were possible, even at the hazard of
his own life. He confided his project to the colonel of his regiment,
who, with some difficulty, was induced to acquiesce in it, and to grant
him leave of absence. This obtained, he disguised himself as a private
soldier, and boldly plunged into the centre of Navarre in quest of
Zumalacarregui and his army. He had little difficulty in finding them:
he announced himself as a deserter from the Christinos, and, without
attracting unusual notice or suspicion, was enrolled in a Navarrese
battaline, which, a day or two afterwards, marched to the village where
Herrera was kept prisoner. Although by the interference of Count
Villabuena, and the dexterity of Paco and the gipsy, Mariano's daring
self-devotion was rendered superfluous, it had its uses, inasmuch as his
disappearance with Herrera prevented the slightest suspicion from
falling upon those who had really contrived and effected the escape. The
gipsy, after guiding the two friends to Salvatierra, and receiving an
ample reward from Herrera, performed the secret service with which
Zumalacarregui had charged him, returned to that general with a ready
framed excuse for the slight delay in its execution, and pocketed the
ten additional onzas promised him by Paco. The muleteer, still weak from
his wound, was the last man to be suspected; and of the Count's
participation in the affair, no one, excepting Major Villabuena, for a
moment dreamed. Don Baltasar, remembering his cousin's anxiety
concerning Herrera, certainly entertained a notion that he had in some
way or other facilitated his escape; but of this he could obtain no
proof, nor, had he been able to do so, would it have been for his own
interest to expose the Count, whom he was desirous, on the contrary, to
conciliate. It was a vague and undefined apprehension of some attempt at
a rescue, that had led him, at so late an hour on the night of the
escape, to prowl in the vicinity of Herrera's prison.

The autumn and winter of 1834 passed away without any material change in
the position of the personages of our narrative. The war continued with
constantly increasing spirit and ferocity, and each month was marked by
new and important successes on the part of the Carlists. The plains of
Vittoria, the banks of the Ebro, the mountains of central and northern
Navarre, were alternately the scene of encounters, in which the skill of
Zumalacarregui, and the zeal and intrepidity of his troops, proved an
overmatch for the superior numbers of the Christinos. In vain did the
government of the Queen Regent, persevering in spite of its many
reverses, send its best troops and most experienced generals to that
corner of the peninsula where civil strife raged: it was only that the
troops might be decimated, and the generals forfeit their former
reputation in repeated and disastrous defeats. Although the country and
climate were such as to render temporary repose in winter quarters most
desirable for the contending armies, the idea of such an indulgence was
scarcely for a moment entertained, and the winter campaign proved as
active as the summer one. The arrival of Mina to take the chief command
of the Queen's forces, and the severity of the measures he adopted,
rendered the character of the war more sanguinary and cruel than it had
been since its commencement; and although, in numerous instances, the
nearest relatives and dearest friends were fighting on contrary sides,
it became impossible for them to obtain intelligence of each other's
welfare. It was by no means surprising, therefore, that eight months
elapsed, and the spring arrived, without Herrera hearing any thing of
Count Villabuena or his daughter; and that the Count, on the other hand,
remained ignorant of the proceedings of the young man whose life he had
saved, and in whose fate he could not but feel interested, save through
the occasional rumour of some dashing exploit, by which Herrera
maintained and increased the high reputation he had early acquired in
the ranks of the Christinos. His gallantry did not go unrewarded, and
the opening of the spring campaign found him in command of a squadron,
and on the high-road to further promotion.

Whilst Herrera was thus gaining fame and honour, his rival, Major
Villabuena, had no reason to complain of his services being overlooked.
His courage was undoubted, his military skill by no means contemptible,
and these qualities had procured him a colonel's commission and a staff
appointment. But, in spite of these advantages, Don Baltasar was
dissatisfied and unhappy. His object in joining the Carlists had not
been promotion, still less a zeal for the cause, but the appropriation
to himself of the fair hand and broad lands of Rita de Villabuena. His
prospect of obtaining these, however, seemed each day to diminish. The
favour with which the Count regarded him had lasted but during the first
days of their acquaintance, and had since been materially impaired by
the discovery of various unpleasing traits in Don Baltasar's character,
and particularly by his endeavours to urge the death of Herrera in
opposition to the wishes of his kinsman. Moreover, there could be little
sympathy or durable friendship between men of such opposite qualities
and dispositions. Count Villabuena had the feelings and instincts of a
nobleman, in the real, not the conventional sense of the term: he was
proud to a fault, stern, and unyielding, but frank, generous, and
upright. Don Baltasar was treacherous, selfish, and unscrupulous. He
felt himself cowed and humbled by the superiority of the Count, whom he
began secretly to detest; and who, whilst still keeping on good, or at
least courteous, terms with his cousin, became daily more averse to his
alliance, and more decided to support Rita in her rejection of his suit.

As a natural consequence of Zumalacarregui's successes, they of the
absolutist party in Spain who had openly declared for Don Carlos, and
who, during the first year of the war, had been hunted from post to
pillar, and frequently compelled to seek concealment in caves and
forests from the pursuit of the foe, found themselves, in the spring of
1835, in possession of a considerable tract of country, including a few
fortified places. _El Lobo Caño_, the Grey-haired Wolf, as his followers
had styled Don Carlos, in allusion to his hair having become bleached on
the mountain and in the bivouac, began to collect around him the
semblance of a court; and various ladies, the wives and daughters of his
partisans, who had been in temporary exile in France, recrossed the
frontier and hazarded themselves in the immediate vicinity of the scene
of war. Amongst others, Rita de Villabuena, who had been residing with
some friends at the French town of Pau, implored, and with difficulty
obtained, her father's permission to rejoin him. A house was prepared
for her reception in the small town of Segura in Guipuzcoa, whence, in
case of need, a speedy retreat might be made to the adjacent sierras of
Mutiloa and Aralar, and here she arrived, under her father's escort,
towards the commencement of the month of May.

One of the first who hastened to pay court to the young and beautiful
heiress, was, as might be expected, Colonel Baltasar de Villabuena. But
his reception was in the highest degree discouraging, and he was able to
assure himself, that if any variation had taken place in Rita's
sentiments, it was by no means in his favour. His only remaining hope,
therefore, was in an appeal to the Count, whom he still believed to be,
for the family reasons already adverted to, desirous of a union between
Rita and himself. This appeal he resolved to take an early opportunity
of making. A valuable estate, which Rita had inherited from her mother,
lay within the tract of country already conquered by the Carlists; and
although the revenue it yielded was greatly diminished by the disturbed
state of Navarre, and the contributions levied for the carrying on of
the war, it was still sufficiently important to excite the cupidity of
Don Baltasar, and to render him doubly anxious to obtain, on any terms,
the hand of his cousin.

It was on a bright May morning, three days subsequently to Rita's
arrival at Segura, that a small train of horsemen was seen winding along
the declivitous paths that lead across the sierra of Elgua, a part of
the northern boundary of the province of Alava. The snows with which,
during the long winter, the upper portion of these mountains had been
covered, had disappeared in the warm rays of the spring sun, and
disclosed peaks of grey rock, and patches of table-land strewn with
flints, producing little besides a few Alpine plants, which, in defiance
of the scanty nourishment they found, and of the keen air that blew over
those elevated summits, boldly expanded their blossoms in the pleasant
sunshine. Lower down, and on that part of the southern side of the
mountain over which the cavalcade now proceeded, masses of forest-trees
sprang out of the more plentiful soil, and overshadowed the rocky path
that rang under the horses' feet; the dusky foliage of the fir-tree, the
brighter green of the oak, and the broad angular leaves of the sycamore,
mingling in rich variety. Now the path lay through some dried-up
water-course, half filled with loose stones, whose elevated sides, over
the edges of which the tendrils of innumerable creeping plants dangled
and swung, bounded the view on either hand; whilst overhead the
interwoven branches afforded, through their thick leafage, but scanty
glimpses of the bright blue sky. Presently, emerging from the ravine,
the road, if such it might be called, ran along the shelf of a
precipice, below which successive ranges of luxuriant foliage, varied
here and there by a projecting crag, or enlivened by the dash and
sparkle of a waterfall, continued to the level below. From the foot of
the mountains, an extensive plain stretched out to a distance of several
leagues, its smiling and fertile fields thickly sprinkled with villages
and farm-houses. To the left front rose the old Moorish castle of
Guevara; and at a greater distance, more to the westward, and near the
centre of the plain, were seen the imperfect fortifications and lofty
church-towers of the city of Vittoria.

The foremost of the horsemen, who, on the day referred to, were thus
scrambling, to the great discomfort of their steeds, down the steep and
rugged sides of the sierra, avoiding, for reasons of safety, the
high-road from Salinas to Vittoria, which lay at a league or two on
their right, was a man of middle age and tawny complexion, mounted on a
lean and uncomely, but surefooted horse, whose long tail, which, if
allowed to flow at will, would have swept the ground, was doubled up
into a sort of club, about a foot long, and tightly bound with worsted
ribands of bright and varied colours. The thick and abundant mane had
been carefully plaited, with the exception of the foremost tuft, left
hanging down between the ears, and from beneath which the wild eyes of
the animal glanced shyly at the different objects he passed, pretty much
as did those of the rider from under his bushy and projecting eye-brows.
The horseman was dressed in a loose jacket of black sheep-skin, the wool
rubbed off in many places, fastened down the front by copper clasps and
chains that had once boasted a gilding, and bound at edges with coarse
crimson velvet, which, from time and dirt, had become as dark as the
principal material of the garment. Between the loose short trousers and
the clumsy half-boots, replacing the sandals that were the customary
wear of the person described, several inches of lean and sinewy leg were
visible. A coloured handkerchief, tied round the head, and from beneath
which a quantity of shaggy black hair escaped, rusty iron spurs, with
huge jingling rowels, and a well-stuffed leathern wallet slung across
his body, completed the equipment of the horseman, in whom the reader
will perhaps already have recognised Jaime, the gipsy esquilador, now
acting as guide to the persons who followed. These consisted of Count
Villabuena and his cousin, Don Baltasar, both well mounted on powerful
chargers, and cloaked from chin to heel; for they had been early in the
saddle, and, although now in the month of May, the morning air upon the
mountains was keen and searching. They were followed, at a short
distance, by an escort of forty Carlist cavalry, strange, wild-looking
figures, whose scanty equipment, and the little uniformity of their
clothing, might have excited the derision of better provided troops; but
whose muscular forms and hardy aspect, as well as the serviceable state
of their carbines and lances, gave promise of their proving efficient
defenders and formidable foes.

Not having been bred to the profession of arms, Count Villabuena was, in
a strictly military point of view, of little use to his party; but his
intimate acquaintance with Navarre and the Basque provinces, with the
customs, feelings, and prejudices of their inhabitants, rendered him
invaluable in all administrative arrangements and combinations, and in
these he cheerfully and actively exerted himself. It was on a mission of
this nature that he was now proceeding, having left Oñate early that
morning, to attend a meeting of influential Alavese Carlists, which was
to take place at the village of Gamboa, on the north side of the plain
of Vittoria. Although the country he had to pass through was not then
occupied, and only occasionally visited, by the Christinos, an escort
was necessary; and, besides this escort, Colonel Villabuena had
volunteered to accompany his cousin. His object in so doing was to
obtain an opportunity for an uninterrupted conversation with the Count,
on the subject of his pretensions to the hand of Rita.

This conversation had taken place, and its result had been most
unsatisfactory to Don Baltasar. The Count plainly told him that it was
not his intention to force the inclinations of his daughter; and that,
as she was averse to the proposed alliance, he himself had abandoned the
idea of its taking place. A long and stormy discussion ensued, and
Baltasar accused the Count of having deceived him, and induced him to
join a cause, the ultimate triumph of which was impossible, by holding
out hopes that he never intended to realize. The Count replied by
reminding Don Baltasar, that when he had urged him to serve his rightful
monarch, and not under the banner of a usurper, the only arguments he
had used were those of loyalty and duty; and that the proposed marriage
was a private arrangement entirely contingent upon his daughter's
acquiescence. Sharp retorts and angry words followed, until the
conversation was brought to a close by the Count's checking his horse,
and allowing the escort, which had previously been at some distance
behind, to come up with them. The cousins then rode on, still side by
side, but silent, and as far apart as the narrow path would allow, the
Count haughty and indignant, Don Baltasar sullen and dogged.

Whilst this occurred in the mountains, the persons whom Count Villabuena
came to meet were assembling at the place of rendezvous in the village
of Gamboa. From various country lanes and roads, substantial-looking
men, wrapped in heavy brown cloaks, and riding punchy mountain horses,
were seen to emerge, for the most part singly, and at the careless,
deliberate pace least calculated to excite suspicion of their going to
other than their ordinary avocations. Some of these were alcaldes and
regidores from the neighbouring villages, others landed proprietors in
the vicinity. Now and then a lean, anxious priest, perched upon a high
saddle, his feet encased in clumsy wooden stirrups, his head covered
with an enormous hat, of which the brim, curled up at the sides over the
crown, projected half a yard before and behind him, came ambling into
the village, distributing his _benedicites_ amongst the peasant women
and children, who stood at the doors of the houses bowing reverently to
the _padre cura_. One man, dressed in the coarsest and commonest garb of
a labourer, came up upon an ill-looking mule, and received a loud and
joyful welcome from the persons already assembled. He was a wealthy
proprietor, whose estates lay within the Christino lines, and had been
compelled to adopt this disguise to avoid notice. The arrival of another
person, to all appearance a charcoal-burner, with grimy face and hands,
riding a ragged pony, across which a couple of sacks, black from the
charcoal they had contained, were thrown by way of saddle, was hailed
with similar demonstrations of joy. He was a rich merchant and national
guardsman from Vittoria, secretly well affected to Don Carlos.

The place where the Carlists first assembled was not in a house, but on
a paved platform, extending along one side of the large church, by which
it was masked from the view of persons approaching from the direction of
Vittoria. A sort of cloister, with stone benches beneath it, ran along
the wall of the church, and in front of the platform was a broad
greensward, used as a playground by the village children. Whilst the
Carlists grouped themselves in the cloisters, talking eagerly together,
and waiting the coming of Count Villabuena, their horses and ponies
stood saddled and bridled upon the green, held by peasant boys, and in
readiness for their owners to mount and ride away at a moment's notice,
or on the first signal of alarm. Of the mountain path by which the Count
was expected to arrive, only about a mile was visible from the platform,
after which it disappeared over the brow of a low wood-crowned eminence
that rose to the north, partially intercepting the view of the sierra.
On this eminence a peasant was stationed to watch for the Count; whilst
on the other side of the village, at a short distance upon the road to
Vittoria, another vedette was posted, to give notice of the appearance
of any of the foraging or reconnoitring parties which the Christinos not
unfrequently sent out in this direction.

It was considerably past noon, and the members of the Junta, for such
did the assembly style itself, were beginning to wax impatient for the
arrival of the Count, without whom the business for which they had met
could not be proceeded with, when the watcher upon the hill gave the
concerted signal by waving his cap in the air, uttering at the same time
one of those far-sounding cries, peculiar to the inhabitants of
mountainous regions. Upon this announcement, the Carlists descended from
the platform into the road that ran past one of its extremities, and
took their way, with grave and dignified demeanour, to the dwelling of
the priest, in which the meeting was to be held. This house, according
to custom one of the most spacious and comfortable in the village, was
situated at about musket-shot from the church, and a little detached
from the other buildings. Annexed to it was a long garden, bordering the
road, and divided from it by a low hedge; beyond the garden was a vast
and level field, and, on the eastern side of that, a tract of marshy
ground, thickly covered with a lofty growth of willow and alder trees,
extended to a considerable distance. The Carlists had traversed nearly
the whole length of the garden hedge, and the foremost of them were
close to the door of the house, when they were startled by the loud
blast of a horn, with which the peasant sentry upon the Vittoria road
had been furnished, to give the alarm if needful. They simultaneously
paused, and anxiously listened for a repetition of the sound. It came; a
third and a fourth blast were sounded, and with such hurried vehemence
of tone as denoted pressing danger. Yet the peril could scarcely be so
imminent as the quick repetition of the signal would seem to denote;
for, from the place where the vedette was posted, he would command a
view of any advancing troops nearly half an hour before they could reach
the village, and those who had aught to fear from them would have ample
time to effect their escape. But the horn continued sounding, ever
louder and louder,--the Carlists gazed at each other in dismay, and some
few made a movement towards their horses, as if to mount and fly.
Suddenly a fat and joyous-looking alcalde, whose protuberant paunch and
ruby nose were evidence of his love for the wine-skin, although the
chalky tint that had overspread his features at the first sound of
alarm, did not say much for his intrepidity, burst out into a loud
laugh, which caused his companions to stare at him in some wonder and
displeasure.

"By the blessed St. Jago!" exclaimed he, "the idiot has mistaken our
friends for our enemies. He has been looking over his shoulder instead
of before him, and has caught a sight of the Señor Conde and his escort.
See yonder."

The Carlists looked in the direction pointed out, and on the top of the
hill over which Count Villabuena was expected to approach, they saw
three horsemen standing, one of whom was sweeping the village and the
adjacent country with a field-glass, apparently seeking the cause and
meaning of the violent fanfare that had so much alarmed the respectable
Junta. Behind these three men, who were no others than the Count, his
cousin, and their guide, the lance-flags of the escort were visible,
although the soldiers themselves were still out of sight, having halted
just here arriving on the crest of the hill. The countenances of the
Carlists, which for a moment had contracted with alarm, were beginning
again to expand, as the plausibility of their companion's explanation
occurred to them, when suddenly they saw the Count and his companions
turn their horses in all haste, and disappear behind the hill. At the
same moment, and before they could guess at the meaning of this
manoeuvre, a shout was heard, a troop of Christino dragoons debouched
from behind the willow wood, deployed upon the field, and charged across
it in open order, their lances levelled,[9] and the pennons fluttering
above their horses' ears. In less time than it takes to write it, they
had crossed the field, dashed into the garden, and, breaking through the
hedge, clattered over the rough streets of the village in pursuit, of
the unfortunate priests and alcaldes, who, taken entirely by surprise,
knew not which way to run to avoid the danger that menaced them. Some
few who had time to get on horseback, scampered off, but were pursued
and overtaken by the better-mounted dragoons; others crept into houses
and stables, or flung themselves into ditches; and the majority, seeing
no possibility of escape, threw themselves on their knees, and, in
piteous accents, implored mercy. This was not refused.

"Give quarter, and make prisoners," was the command uttered in the
clear, sonorous tones of Luis Herrera, who led the party; "they are
unarmed--spare their lives."

The order was obeyed, and only one or two of the more desperate, who
produced concealed weapons, and endeavoured to defend themselves,
received trifling sabre-cuts from the exasperated dragoons.

But although Don Baltasar, on first obtaining a view of the Queen's
cavalry, and before he knew what force was approaching the village, had
retired behind the brow of the hill. It was by no means his intention to
make a precipitate retreat without ascertaining the strength of the
enemy, and endeavouring, if possible, to rescue the captive Junta.
Whilst the Count and the escort retraced their steps down the hill, and
halted in the fields upon its north side, whence they had the option of
returning to the mountains by the way they had come, or of striking off
into the high-road to Salinas and Oñate, which ran at a short distance
to their right, Colonel Villabuena and the gipsy, concealed amongst the
trees that clothed the summit of the eminence, noted what passed in the
village. They at once saw how the surprise had occurred. The Junta had
not expected an enemy to approach by any other road than that from
Vittoria, and had consequently stationed sentries in no other direction.
That such would be the case, had been foreseen by the Christinos, who
having received, through their spies, information of the intended
meeting had sent out troops upon the Pampeluna road, with orders, after
proceeding a certain distance, to strike off to the left, and, availing
themselves of the cover afforded by a large tract of wood and swamp, to
take Gamboa in rear or flank. The manoeuvre had been rapidly and
skilfully executed; and Luis Herrera, who, with his squadron, had been
sent upon this duty, arrived with one half of his men within a few
hundred yards of the village before he was perceived by the Carlist
vedette. His other troop he had detached to his right, in order that, by
making a wider sweep, they might get in rear of Gamboa, and prevent the
possible escape of any of the rebels. This detachment, ignorant of the
country, and puzzled by the numerous lanes and paths which crossed each
other in every direction, had lost its way, and was still at some
distance from the village when Herrera charged into it.

When Colonel Villabuena had made his observations, and ascertained that
the number of the enemy but little exceeded that of his own men, he rode
out of the wood and rejoined the escort, resolved to take advantage of
the Christinos being dispersed, and, unexpectant of an attack, to make a
dash at them, which, he doubted not, would be fully successful.
Previously, however, and although the Count had no military rank, it was
a matter of common courtesy, not to say of duty, to communicate with
him, and ask his consent to dispose of an escort which had been sent for
his protection. But here the sullen temper of Don Baltasar, and the
rankling irritation left by his recent altercation with his kinsman,
showed themselves. Followed by the gipsy, he rode to the front of the
lancers, who were drawn up in line, and, without addressing a syllable
to the Count, or appearing to notice his presence, gave, in a sharp
abrupt tone, the necessary words of command. The men moved off to the
left. The Count, highly sensitive on matters of etiquette, and indignant
at being treated by Don Baltasar as a person of no importance, unworthy
of being consulted, allowed the troop to march away without giving any
indication of an intention to follow or accompany it. Don Baltasar
looked round, hesitated for a moment, and then seeing that the Count
remained motionless, and took no notice of the departure of his escort,
he rode back to him.

"The enemy are few," said he, abruptly; "I shall attack them."

Count Villabuena bowed his head coldly.

"Scant measure of courtesy, colonel," said he. "Angry feelings should
not make you forget the conduct of a _caballero_."

On hearing himself thus rebuked, an expression of anger and deadly hate
overspread the sombre countenance of Don Baltasar, and he scowled at the
Count as though about to deal him a stab. But his eye sank beneath the
calm, cold, contemptuous gaze of Count Villabuena. He said nothing: and
again wheeling his charger, galloped furiously back to the head of his
men, followed, at a more deliberate pace, by his cousin. Passing swiftly
over a few fields, the little troop swept round the base of the hill,
dashed across the level, and appeared upon the road at half a mile from
the village. On obtaining a view of the latter, Don Baltasar at once saw
that he was not likely to have so cheap a bargain of the Christinos as
he had anticipated. Herrera had too much experience in this description
of warfare to be easily caught; and although, upon first entering
Gamboa, the dragoons had unavoidably dispersed in pursuit of the
fugitives, he had lost no time in reassembling them; and, whilst a few
men kept the prisoners already made, and searched the houses for others,
he himself had formed upon the road a party fully equal in number to
that commanded by Don Baltasar. Nothing daunted, however, at finding the
enemy on his guard, the Carlist colonel drew his sabre and turned to his
men.

"_A ellos!_" he cried. "At them, boys, for Spain and the King!"

The lancers replied to his words by a loud hurra, and the little party
advanced, at first at a moderate pace, in order not to blow the horses
before the decisive moment should arrive. The Count, forgetting private
animosity in the excitement and exhilaration of the moment, rode
cheerfully at the side of his cousin, and drew the sword which, although
a civilian, the perilous and adventurous life he led induced him
invariably to carry. At the same moment Herrera's trumpeter sounded the
assembly, and those of the dragoons who had dismounted hurried to their
horses. Before, however, the distance between the opposite parties had
been diminished by many yards, the blast of the Christino trumpets was
replied to by another, and, upon looking back, Don Baltasar saw a fresh
party of dragoons just appearing upon the road, about a mile in his
rear. It was the second troop of Herrera's squadron coming to the
support of their leader.

"Curse and confound them!" cried Baltasar, his face darkening with rage
and disappointment. "Halt--files about! And now, boys, legs must do it,
for they are three to one."

And he led the way back into the fields, followed by his men at a rapid
pace, but in good order.

Without a moment's delay, Herrera, leaving a few dragoons to guard the
prisoners, dashed across the country in pursuit of the Carlists. His
example was followed by Torres, who commanded the other detachment. The
fugitives had a good start, and were soon behind the hill; but the
Christino horses were fresher, and although less accustomed to climb the
mountains, in the plain they were swifter of foot. Don Baltasar, now
riding in rear of his men, cast a glance over his shoulder.

"They gain on us," said he, in a low tone, and as if to himself. "It is
impossible to reach the sierra. If we could, we should be safe. There
are positions that we could hold on foot with our carbines, where they
would not dare attack us."

"We shall never reach them," said the Count. "Let us turn and fight
whilst yet there is time."

"The bridge! the bridge!" cried the gipsy, who, notwithstanding the
gaunt appearance of his steed, had kept well up with the soldiers. "If
we gain that, we are safe. A child could pull it down."

"Right, by God!" cried Baltasar glancing in some surprise at the adviser
of an expedient which he had himself overlooked. "Spur, men, spur; but
keep together."

Every rowel was struck into the flanks of the straining, panting horses
and the Carlists rapidly neared a small river, which, rising in some of
the adjacent mountains, flowed in rear of the little hill already
referred to, and parallel to the sierra whence Count Villabuena and his
companions had recently descended. The land, for some distance on either
side of the stream, was uncultivated, covered with furze and yellow
broom, and sprinkled with trees and clumps of high bushes. Across the
river, only a few months previously, a rude but solid stone bridge had
afforded a passage; but the bridge had been broken down soon after the
commencement of the war, and the stream, which, although not more than
seven or eight yards broad, was deep, and had steep high banks was now
traversed by means of four planks, laid side by side, but not fastened
together, and barely wide enough to give passage to a bullock cart. Over
this imperfect and rickety causeway, the retreating Carlists galloped,
the boards bending and creaking beneath their horses' feet. When all had
passed, Don Baltasar flung himself from his saddle, and aided by the
gipsy and by several of his men who had also dismounted, seized the
planks, and strove, by main strength, to tear their extremities from the
clay in which they were embedded. The Christinos, who were within a
couple of hundred yards of the river, set up a shout of fury when they
perceived the intention of their enemies. By the sinewy hands of
Baltasar and his soldiers, three of the boards were torn from the earth
and flung into the stream. The fourth gave way as Herrera came up, the
first man of his party, and, regardless of the narrow footing it
afforded, was about to risk the perilous voyage. Violently curbing his
horse, he but just escaped falling headlong into the stream. A shout of
exultation from the Carlists, and the discharge of several carbines
greeted the disappointed Christinos, who promptly returned the fire;
whilst, as was usual when they came within earshot, the complimentary
epithets of "Sons of Priests," and "_Soldados de la Puta_," accompanied
by volleys of imprecations, were bandied between the soldiers on either
side of the stream.

"Is there any bridge or ford at hand?" said Baltasar hastily to the
gipsy.

"None within a quarter of a league," was the reply.

"Then we will have a shot at them."

Herrera and Count Villabuena were again opposed to each other, and each
acknowledged the other's presence by a brief smile of recognition.

A smart skirmish now began. All was smoke, noise, and confusion. The
Count rode up to his cousin, who was on the right of his men.

"Let us retire," said he. "No advantage is to be gained by this idle
skirmishing. Infantry may be at hand, and delay will endanger our
retreat."

"Not so fast," replied Baltasar; "we will empty a few saddles before we
go."

"The escort was sent for my safety," said the Count, haughtily. "You are
not doing your duty in thus risking it."

"I have not been twenty years a soldier to learn my duty from you, sir,"
said Baltasar, fiercely. "Aim at the officers, men. A doubloon for him
who picks off the captain."

Stimulated by the promised reward, several of the Carlists directed
their fire at Herrera, who was on the left of the dragoons, exactly
opposite to, and within sixty paces of, Don Baltasar. The bullets flew
thick around Luis, but none touched him, and Baltasar himself drew a
pistol from his holster to take aim at his opponent. Disgusted at his
cousin's intemperate speech and imprudent conduct, the Count
contemptuously turned his back upon him and approached the stream,
regardless that by so doing he brought himself into a cross fire of
friends and foes.

"This is useless, Herrera," said he, "draw off your men."

The words had scarcely left his lips, when his hand relinquished its
hold of the bridle, by a convulsive movement he threw himself back in
the saddle, and fell heavily to the ground, struck by a ball. A cry of
horror from Luis was echoed by one of consternation from the Carlists,
on witnessing the fall of a man whom they all loved and respected.

"Where can we cross the stream?" demanded Herrera of one of his men, who
knew the country.

"To our left there is a ford, but at some distance."

"Cease firing," cried Herrera. The trumpet sounded the necessary call,
the Christinos hastily formed up and started at a gallop in the
direction of the ford. Don Baltasar advanced to the spot where his
cousin lay prostrate. Count Villabuena was lying on his back, his teeth
set, his eyes wide open and fixed, his clenched hands full of earth and
grass. Baltasar turned away with a slight shudder.

"He is dead," said he to the subaltern of the escort. "To take the body
with us would but impede our retreat, already difficult enough. The
living must not be endangered for the sake of the dead. Forward, men!"

And, without further delay, the Carlists set off at a brisk pace towards
the mountains, which they reached before the Christinos had found and
passed the distant ford. When the dragoons arrived at the foot of the
sierra, Don Baltasar and his men were already out of sight amongst its
steep and dangerous paths; and Herrera, compelled to abandon the
pursuit, returned mournfully to the river bank, to seek, and, if it
could be found, to convey to Vittoria the body of Count Villabuena.

Leaving Herrera to his mournful duty, let us conduct our readers to an
apartment in a house on the outskirts of the town of Segura. The
interior, which was plainly but commodiously furnished, indicated
feminine tastes and occupations, breathing that perfume of elegance
which the presence of woman ever communicates. Vases of flowers decked
the sideboards; a few books, the works of the best Spanish poets, lay
upon the table; and a guitar, unstrung, it is true, was suspended
against the wall. Two persons occupied the apartment. One of them, who
was seated on a low stool at its inner extremity, near to the folding
doors that separated it from an antichamber, was a robust, ruddy-cheeked
Navarrese girl, whose abundant hair, of which the jet blackness atoned
for the coarse texture, hung in a thick plait down her back, and whose
large red fingers were busily engaged in knitting. At the other end of
the apartment, close to the open window, through which she intently
gazed, was a being of very different mould. On a high-backed elbow-chair
of ancient oak sat Rita de Villabuena, pensive and anxious, her fair
face and golden tresses seeming fairer and brighter from the contrast
with the dark quaint carving against which they reposed. Her cheek was
perhaps paler than when first we made her acquaintance; anxiety for her
lover, and, latterly, for her father, was the cause; but her beauty had
lost nothing by the change, for the shade of melancholy upon her
features seemed, by adding to the interest her expressive countenance
inspired, rather to enhance than diminish its charm. She was now
watching for her father, who had led her to expect his return at about
this time. Over the stone balustrade of her balcony, she commanded a
view of the road along which he was to approach; and upon the farthest
visible point of it, where a bend round a group of trees concealed its
continuation, her gaze was riveted. Although the Count had assured her,
before his departure, that his journey was unattended with risk, Rita's
arrival upon the scene of war was too recent for her to escape
uneasiness during his absence. Some hours before the time at which his
return could reasonably be looked for, she had taken her post at the
window, and although, at the persuasion of her attendant, a simple
country girl, recently installed as her _donçella_, she had more than
once endeavoured to fix her attention on a book, or to distract it by
some of her usual occupations, the effort had each time been made in
vain, and she had again resumed her anxious watch. In every horseman, or
muleteer, who turned the angle of the road, she thought she recognised
the guide, who, two days previously, had accompanied her father from
Segura, and her heart throbbed with a feeling of joyful relief till a
nearer approach convinced her of her error.

Could the vision of Rita de Villabuena have penetrated the copse that
bounded her view in that direction, she would have perceived, towards
four of the afternoon, not her father, alas! but another horseman,
attended by the gipsy guide, riding at a rapid pace along the road. On
reaching the trees aforesaid, however, they deviated from the track into
a lane inclosed between hedges, which led round the town, and again
joined the road on its further side. To explain this manoeuvre, it is
necessary to retrace our steps, and to follow the movements of Colonel
Villabuena after his return to Oñate on the preceding evening.

When the first excitement of the skirmish and subsequent flight had
subsided, and the detachment of Carlists, after giving their horses a
moment's breathing-time upon one of the higher levels of the sierra,
resumed their march at a more leisurely pace, the thoughts of Don
Baltasar became concentrated on the one grand object of deriving the
utmost possible advantage from the death of his cousin. By that event
the estates of the Villabuena family were now his own, those, at least,
that lay within the Carlist territory. These, however, were
comparatively of little value; and although the far more extensive ones,
that had been confiscated by the Queen's government, might possibly be
redeemed by a prompt abjuration of the cause of Don Carlos, a measure at
the adoption of which Don Baltasar was by no means so scrupulous as to
hesitate, yet even that would not fully satisfy him. He had other views
and wishes. As far as his selfish nature would admit of the existence of
such a feeling, he was deeply in love with Rita; the coldness with which
she treated him had only served to stimulate his passion; and he was
bent upon making her his at any price, and by any means. He was
sufficiently acquainted with her character to be convinced that his
prospect of obtaining her hand was any thing but improved by her
father's death and that to her the wealthy possessor of her family's
estates would be as unwelcome a wooer as the needy soldier of fortune.
He did not doubt that, after the first violence of her grief should
subside, she would return to France, where some of her mother's
relatives were resident; and that, when next he heard of her, it would
be as the bride of his fortunate rival. The picture thus conjured up
caused him to grind his teeth with fury; and he swore to himself a deep
oath that she should be his at any risk, and if, by the boldest and most
unscrupulous measures, that consummation could be brought about. A plan
occurred to him which he thought could not fail of success, and by which
the obstinacy of the self-willed girl must, he believed, be overcome. It
was a hazardous scheme, even in that unsettled and war-ridden country,
where men were too much occupied in party strife to attend to the strict
administration of justice; but Baltasar did not lack resolution, and the
prize was worth the peril. One thing he wanted; a bold and quick-witted
confederate, and him it was not so easy to find. No man had fewer
friends in his own class than Don Baltasar, and by his inferiors he was
generally detested on account of his harsh and overbearing demeanour. Of
this he was aware; and he vainly racked his brain to find a man in whom
he could confide. The details of his nefarious project were already
arranged in his mind, and only this one difficulty had yet to be
overcome; when, at two hours after dark, he entered the streets of
Oñate. Hopeless of being served for affection's sake, he was meditating
whom he could make his own by bribery, when a light from an open window
flashed across the street, and illuminated the unprepossessing profile
of Jaime the gipsy, who, in his capacity of guide, was riding in front,
and a little on one side of Colonel Villabuena. The sight of those
sinister features, on which rapacity and cunning had set their stamp,
was as a sudden revelation to Don Baltasar, to whom it instantly
occurred that the gitano was the very man he sought. The circumstance of
his belonging to a race despised, and almost persecuted, by the people
amongst whom they dwelt, was an additional guarantee against any
compunctious scruples on his part; his occupation of a spy bespoke him
at once daring and venal, and Colonel Villabuena doubted not that he
should find him a willing and useful instrument.

The soldiers filed off to their quarters; and Baltasar, after desiring
the gipsy to come to him in an hour's time, betook himself to the
posada. When Jaime had given his horse an ample feed, and groomed him
with a care that showed the value he set upon his services, he made a
hasty meal in a neighbouring taberna, and repaired to the Colonel's
quarters. His stealthy tap at the door was replied to by an impatient
"_adelante_," and he entered the room.

A scarcely tasted supper was upon the table, and Don Baltasar was pacing
the apartment, his brow knit and apparently deep in thought. On
beholding the gipsy, he arranged his features into their most amiable
expression, and advanced towards him with an assumed air of frank
good-humour.

"I have to thank you, Jaime," said he, "for your promptness and presence
of mind this morning. Had you not thought of what we all forgot, and
suggested the pulling down of the bridge, few, if any of us, would have
seen Oñate to-night. I shall report your conduct most favourably to the
General, who will doubtless reward it."

The esquilador slightly bowed his head, but, with the exception of that
movement, made no reply; nor did any expression of satisfaction at the
praise bestowed upon him light up his dark countenance.

"Meanwhile," continued Don Baltasar, "I will discharge my personal
obligation to you in a more solid manner than by mere thanks."

And he held out a handful of dollars, which, the next instant,
disappeared in one of Jaime's capacious pockets. This time a muttered
word or two of thanks escaped the lips of the taciturn esquilador.

"Whither do you now proceed?" enquired Baltasar. "Are you to rejoin the
General? What are your orders?"

"I am no man's servant," replied the gipsy, "and have no orders to
obey. When your General requires my services, we make a bargain, I to
act, he to pay. I risk my life for his gold, and if I deceive him I know
the penalty. But the service once rendered, I am my own man again."

"So then," said Baltasar, "you are not bound to Zumalacarregui; and
should any other offer you better pay for lighter service, you are free
to take it?"

"That's it," replied the gipsy.

There was a short pause, during which Colonel Villabuena attentively
scanned the countenance of Jaime, who remained impassive, and with eyes
fixed upon the ground, as though to prevent their expression from being
read. Baltasar resumed--

"Say then that I were to ensure you a large reward for the performance
of services far less dangerous than those you daily render at a less
price, would you accept or refuse the offer?"

"I must know what I am to do, and what to get," said the gipsy, this
time raising his eyes to Don Baltasar's face.

"Can you be silent?" said Baltasar.

"When I am paid for it--as the grave," was the reply.

"In short, if I understand you rightly," said the Colonel with an easy
smile, "you will do any thing at a price."

"Any thing," returned the unabashed gipsy. "It is not a small risk that
will frighten me, if the reward is proportionate."

"We shall suit one another charmingly," said Baltasar; "for what I
require will expose you to little danger, and your reward shall be of
your own fixing."

And, without further preamble, he proceeded to unfold to the gipsy the
outline of a scheme requiring his cooperation, the nature of which will
best be made known to the reader by the march of subsequent events.

The sinking sun and rapidly lengthening shadows proclaimed the approach
of evening, and Rita de Villabuena, still seated at her window, watched
for her father's arrival, when the trot of a horse, which stopped at the
door of the house, caused her to start from her seat, and hurry to the
balcony. Her anxiety was converted into the most lively alarm when she
saw the Count's gipsy guide alighting alone from his horse; a
presentiment of evil came over her, she staggered back into the room,
and sank almost fainting upon a chair. Recovering herself, however, she
was hurrying to the door of the apartment, when it opened, and Paco the
muleteer, who had lately been attached to her father as orderly, and
whom the Count had left as a protection to his daughter, made his
appearance.

"The gipsy is here, Señora," said he; "he brings news of his Excellency
the Conde."

"Admit him instantly," cried Rita, impatiently. "Where did you leave my
father?" she enquired, as the esquilador entered the room. "Is he well?
Why does he not return?"

"I left the Señor Conde at a convent near Lecumberri," replied the
gipsy.

"Near Lecumberri?" repeated Rita; "it was not in that direction he went.
He left this for the plains of Vittoria."

"He did so, Señora," answered the gipsy; "but before we were half-way to
Oñate, we were met by a courier with despatches for the Señor Conde, who
immediately turned bridle, and ordered the escort to do the same. It was
past midnight when we again reached Segura; and, not to cause alarm, we
marched round the town, and continued our route without stopping.

"And your errand now?" exclaimed Rita. The gipsy seemed to hesitate
before replying.

"The Señor Conde is wounded," said he, at last.

"Wounded!" repeated Rita, in the shrill accents of alarm. "You are not
telling truth--they have killed him! Oh, tell me all! Say, is my father
still alive?"

And, clasping her hands together, she seemed about to throw herself at
the feet of Jaime, whilst her anxious glance strove to read the truth
upon his countenance. It was a strange contrast presented by that lovely
and elegant creature and the squalid, tawny gipsy; an angel
supplicating some evil spirit, into whose power she had temporarily
fallen, might so have looked.

"The Señor Conde's wound is severe," said Jaime. "On his way yesterday
afternoon to attend a meeting of the Navarrese Junta in the valley of
Lanz, he fell in with a party of Christino cavalry, and, although his
escort repulsed them, he himself received a hurt in the skirmish."

"My father wounded and suffering!" exclaimed Rita in extreme agitation,
passing her hand over her forehead in the manner of one bewildered by
some stunning and terrible intelligence. "I will go to him instantly.
Quick, Paco, the mules! Micaela, my mantilla! We must set out at once."

The servants hurried away to obey the orders of their mistress, and
prepare for instant departure, and the gipsy was about to follow, when
Rita detained him, and overwhelmed him with questions concerning her
father's state, to all of which Jaime replied in a manner that somewhat
tranquillized her alarm, although it produced no change in her
resolution to set off immediately to join him. This, indeed, the
esquilador informed her, was her father's wish, as he found that he
should be detained some time in his present quarters by the consequences
of his wound.

Although all haste was used in the necessary preparations, the sun was
close to the horizon before Rita and her attendants left Segura, and
took the road to Lecumberri, at about two leagues from which, as Jaime
told them, and in the heart of the sierra, was situated the convent that
was their destination. The distance was not great; but, owing to the
mountains, the travellers could hardly expect to reach the end of their
journey much before daybreak. Paco, who viewed this hasty departure with
any thing but a well-pleased countenance, urged Rita to postpone setting
off till the following morning, alleging the difficult nature of the
roads they must traverse, and which led for a considerable part of the
way over a steep and almost trackless sierra. But Rita's anxiety would
brook no delay, and the little cavalcade set out. It consisted of Rita
and her waiting-maid, mounted upon mules, and of the gipsy and Paco upon
their horses; Paco leading a third mule, upon which, by the care of
Micaela, a hastily packed portmanteau had been strapped. The gipsy rode
in front; thirty paces behind him came the women, and the muleteer
brought up the rear. Jaime had betrayed some surprise, and even
discomposure, when he found that Paco was to accompany them; but he did
not venture to make any objection to so natural an arrangement.

Taking advantage of the goodness of the road, which for the first league
or two was tolerably smooth and level, the travellers pushed on for
nearly two hours at a steady amble, which, had the nature of the ground
allowed them to sustain it, would have brought them to their journey's
end much sooner than was really to be the case. The sun had set, the
moon had not yet risen, and the night was very dark. Jaime, who
continued to maintain a short interval between his horse and the mules
of Rita and her attendant, kept shifting his restless glances from one
side of the road to the other, as though he would fain have penetrated
the surrounding gloom. He was passing a thicket that skirted the road,
when a cautious "Hist!" inaudible to his companions, arrested his
attention. He immediately pulled up his horse, and, dismounting,
unstrapped the surcingle of his saddle. On perceiving this, Rita stopped
to enquire the cause of the delay, but the gipsy requested her to
proceed.

"My horse's girths are loose, Señora," said he in explanation. "Be good
enough to ride on, and I will overtake you immediately."

Rita rode on, and Paco followed, without paying any attention to so
common an occurrence as the slackening of a girth. Scarcely, however,
had he passed the gipsy some fifty paces, when the latter left his
horse, who remained standing motionless in the middle of the road, and
approached the thicket. Just within the shadow of the foremost trees, a
man on horseback, muffled in a cloak, was waiting. It was Colonel
Villabuena.

"All is well," said the gipsy; "and you have only to ride forward and
prepare for our reception."

"Who is with you?" said Don Baltasar, in a dissatisfied tone.

"The lady and her donçella, and Paco, her father's orderly."

"Fool!" cried Baltasar; "why did you let him come? His presence may ruin
my plan."

"How could I help it?" retorted Jaime. "If I had objected he would have
suspected me. He's as cunning as a fox, and did not swallow the story
half as well as his mistress. But her impatience decided it. Nothing
would serve her but setting out immediately."

"He must be disposed of," said Baltasar. "There's many a mountain
precipice between this and our destination," he added meaningly.

Jaime shook his head.

"I might do it," said he; "but if I failed, and he is a wary and active
fellow, the chances are that he would do the same kind office for me,
and return with the lady."

"Humph!" said Baltasar. "Well, he shall be cared for. And now ride on. I
shall be at the convent an hour before you. Remember to take the longest
road."

The gipsy nodded, returned to his horse, and, springing lightly into the
saddle, galloped after his companions. Don Baltasar remained a short
time longer in the thicket, and then emerging upon the road, followed
Rita and her party at a deliberate pace. From time to time he stopped,
and listened for the sound of their horses' footsteps. If he could hear
it, he halted till it became inaudible, and then again moved on. His
object evidently was to keep as near to the travellers as he could
without allowing his proximity to be suspected.

It was nearly midnight, and Rita and her companions had been for some
time amongst the mountains, when they reached a place where the road, or
rather track, they followed, split and branched off in two different
directions. Jaime, who, since they had entered the sierra, had abridged
the distance between himself and his companions, and now rode just in
front of Rita's mule, was taking the right hand path, when Paco called
out to him that the left was the shortest and best.

"You are mistaken," said Jaime abruptly, continuing in the direction he
had first taken.

But Paco would not be put off in so unceremonious a manner, and he rode
up to the gipsy. "I tell you," said he, "that I know this country well,
and the left hand road is the one to take."

"How long is it since you travelled it?" inquired Jaime.

"Only last autumn," was the reply, "and then for the twentieth time."

"Well," said the esquilador, "it may be the shortest; but if you had
ridden along it this morning, as I did, you would hardly call it the
best. The winter rains have washed away the path, and left the bare
rocks so slippery and uneven, that I could scarcely get my horse over
them in daylight, and by night I should make sure of breaking his legs
and my own neck."

"I know nothing of this convent you are taking us to," said Paco, in a
sulky tone; "but if it stands, as you tell me, to the north of
Lecumberri, this road will lengthen our journey an hour or more."

"Scarcely so much," said Jaime. "At any rate," added he doggedly, "it is
I who answer to the Count for the Señora's safety, and I shall therefore
take the road I think best."

Paco was about to make an angry reply, but Rita interfered, and the
discussion terminated in the gipsy having his own way. Three minutes
later Don Baltasar arrived at the division of the roads, paused,
listened, and heard the faint echo of the horses' hoofs upon the right
hand path. With an exclamation of satisfaction, he struck his spurs into
the flanks of his steed, and at as rapid a pace as the uneven ground
would permit, ascended the contrary road, the shortest, and, as Paco had
truly asserted, by far the best to the convent whither Rita de
Villabuena was proceeding.

Over rocks and through ravines, and along the margin of precipices, Don
Baltasar rode, threading, in spite of the darkness, the difficult and
often dangerous mountain-paths, with all the confidence of one well
acquainted with their intricacies. At last, after a long descent, he
entered a narrow valley, or rather a mountain-gorge, which extended in
the form of nearly a semicircle, and for a distance of about three
miles, between two steep and rugged lines of hill. Upon finding himself
on level ground, he spurred his horse, and passing rapidly over the
dew-steeped grass of a few fields, entered a beaten track that ran along
the centre of the valley. The moon was now up, silvering the summits of
the groups of trees with which the narrow plain was sprinkled, and
defining the gloomy peaks of the sierra against the star-spangled sky.
By its light Don Baltasar rode swiftly along, until, arriving near the
further end of the valley, he came in sight of an extensive edifice,
beautifully situated on the platform of a low hill, and sheltered to the
north and east by lofty mountains. The building was of grey stone, and
formed three sides of a square; the side that was at right angles with
the two others being considerably the longest, and the wings connected
by a wall of solid masonry, in the centre of which was an arched portal.
In front, and on one side of the convent, for such, as a single glance
was sufficient to determine, was the purpose to which the roomy
structure was appropriated, the ground was bare and open, until the
platform began to sink towards the plain; and then the sunny southern
slope had been turned to the best account. Luxuriant vineyards, a
plantation of olive-trees, and a large and well-stocked orchard covered
it, whilst the level at its foot was laid out in pasture and
corn-fields. The space between the back of the convent and the mountains
was filled up by a thick wood, affording materials for the blazing fires
which, in the winter months, the keen airs from the hills would render
highly acceptable. The forest also extended round and close up to the
walls of the right wing of the building. From the roof of the left wing
rose a lofty open tower, where was seen hanging the ponderous mass of
bronze by whose sonorous peal the pious inmates were summoned to their
devotions.

Urging his horse up the steep and winding path that led to the front of
the convent, Don Baltasar seized and pulled a chain that hung beside the
gate. The clank of a bell immediately followed, and Baltasar, receding a
little from the door, looked up at the windows. No light was visible at
any of them, and the most profound stillness reigned. After waiting for
about a minute, the Carlist colonel again rang, and he was about to
repeat the summons for a third time, when a faint gleam of light in the
court warned him that some one was afoot. Presently a small wicket in
the centre of the gate was opened, and the pinched and crabbed features
of the lay-sister who acted as portress showed themselves at the
aperture. In a voice rendered unusually shrill and querulous by vexation
at having her rest broken, she demanded who it was thus disturbing the
slumbers of the sisterhood.

"I come," said Baltasar, "to speak with your lady abbess, Doña Carmen de
Forcadell, upon matters of the utmost importance. Admit me instantly,
for my business presses."

"The lady abbess," peevishly returned the portress, "cannot be disturbed
before matins. If you choose to wait till then, I will tell her you are
here, and she will perhaps see you."

"I must see her at once," replied Baltasar, waxing wroth at this delay,
when every moment was of importance to his projects. "Tell her that Don
Baltasar is here, and she will give orders to admit me."

Whilst he spoke, the lay sister raised her glimmering lantern to the
wicket, in order to take a survey of this peremptory applicant for
admission. The view thus obtained of his features apparently did not
greatly impress her in his favour, or at any rate did not render her
more disposed to open the solid barrier between them.

"Baltasar or Benito," cried she, "it is all one to Mariquita. You may
wait till the matin bell rings. Fine times, indeed, when every thieving
guerilla thinks he may find free quarters where he pleases! No, no,
señor, stay where you are; the fresh air will cool your impatience. It
will be daybreak in an hour, and that will be time enough for your
errand, whatever it is."

It was with no small difficulty that Don Baltasar restrained his spleen
during the old woman's harangue. When it came to a close, however, and
he saw that she persisted in leaving him on the outside of the gate till
the usual hour for opening it, he lost all patience. Before the portress
could shut the wicket, close to which she was standing, he thrust his
hand and arm through it, and grasped her by her skinny throat. The lay
sister set up a yell of alarm and pain.

"Jesus Maria! _Al socorro!_ Help, help!" screamed she; the last words
dying away in a gurgling sound, as Don Baltasar tightened his hold upon
her windpipe.

"Silence, you old jade!" cried the fierce soldier in a suppressed tone,
"you will alarm the whole convent. You have the keys in your hand--I
heard them clank. Open the gate instantly, or by all the saints in
heaven, I throttle you where you stand."

The increased pressure of his fingers warned the old woman that he would
keep his word; and, yielding to so novel and convincing a mode of
argument, she made use of the keys whose jingle she had imprudently
allowed to be heard. Two heavy locks shot back, and a massive bar was
withdrawn; and when, by pushing against it, Don Baltasar had convinced
himself that the gate was open, he released the gullet of the trembling
sister, and entered the paved court. In grievous trepidation the
portress was retreating to her lodge, which stood just within the gate,
when an upper window of the convent opened, and a female voice enquired,
in commanding tones, the cause of the uproar. Don Baltasar seemed to
recognise the voice, and he rode up beneath the window whence it
proceeded.

"Carmen," said he, "is it you?"

"Who is that?" was the rejoinder, in accents which surprise or alarm
rendered slightly tremulous.

"Baltasar," replied the officer. "I must see you instantly, on a matter
of life or death."

There was a moment's pause. "Remain where you are," said the person at
the window; "I will come down to you."

The portress, finding that the intruder was known to the lady abbess,
for she it was whom Baltasar had addressed as Carmen, now refastened the
gate, and crept grumbling to her cell. Don Baltasar waited. Presently a
door in the right wing of the convent was opened, a tall female form,
clothed in flowing drapery, and carrying a taper in her hand, appeared
at it and beckoned him to enter. Tying his horse to a ring in the wall,
he obeyed the signal.

The room into which, after passing through a corridor, Colonel
Villabuena was now introduced, was one of those appropriated to the
reception of guests and visitors to the convent. The apartment was
plainly furnished with a table and a few wooden chairs; and in a recess
hung a large ebony crucifix, before which was placed a hassock, its
cloth envelope worn threadbare by the knees of the devout. But if the
room of itself offered little worthy of note, the case was far different
with the person who now ushered Don Baltasar into it. This was a woman
about forty years old, possessed of one of those marked and
characteristic physiognomies which painters are fond of attributing to
the inhabitants of southern Europe. Her age was scarcely to be read upon
her face, whose slight furrows seemed traced by violent passions rather
than by the hand of time: she had the remains of great beauty, although
wanting in the intellectual; and the expression of her face, her
compressed lips, and the fixed look of her eyes, went far to neutralize
the charm which her regular features, and the classical oval of her
physiognomy, would otherwise have possessed. The outline of her tall
figure was veiled, but not concealed, by her monastic robe, from the
loose sleeves of which protruded her long thin white hands. After
closing the door, she seated herself beside a table, upon which she
reposed her elbow, and motioned her visiter to a chair. A slight degree
of agitation was perceptible in her manner, as she waited in silence for
Don Baltasar to communicate the motive of his unseasonable arrival. This
he speedily did.

"You must do me a service, Carmen," said he. "My cousin Rita is now
within an hour's ride of this place. She comes hither expecting to find
her father. She must be detained captive."

"What!" exclaimed the abbess, "is your suit so hopeless as to render
such hazardous measures adviseable? What is to be gained by such an act
of violence? Her father will inevitably seek and discover her, and
disgrace and disappointment will be the sole result of your mad scheme."

"Her father," replied Baltasar gloomily, "will give us no trouble."

"How?--no trouble! If all be true that I have heard of Count Villabuena,
and of his affection for his only surviving child, he is capable of
devoting his life to the search for her."

"Count Villabuena," said Baltasar, "now stands before you. The father of
Rita is dead."

"Dead!" exclaimed the abbess with a start. "How and when did he die?"

"He was shot in a skirmish."

"In a skirmish!" repeated Doña Carmen. "He held no military command."

"I was escorting him with a few men to attend a junta. We were attacked
by a superior force, from which we escaped, thanks to an intervening
river. A few shots were exchanged, the Count thrust himself into the
fire, and fell."

The abbess seemed to reflect a moment, and then fixed a keen and
searching look upon the countenance of Baltasar.

"Was your loss in men severe?" said she abruptly.

"No--yes--" replied Baltasar, slightly confused. "I believe there were
several wounded. Why do you ask?"

"And the Count's death gives you the Villabuena estates?"

"It does so," answered Baltasar.

The dark penetrating eyes of the abbess still remained fixed, with a
peculiar expression of enquiry and suspicion, upon the countenance of
Colonel Villabuena. He tried at first to sustain their gaze, but was
unable to do so. He looked down, and a slight paleness came over his
features.

"I have no time to answer questions," said he, with a rough brutality of
manner which seemed assumed to veil embarrassment. "My plan is arranged,
but promptness of execution is essential to its success. Rita must be
detained here, where none will think of seeking her, till she becomes my
wife. Your power in this place is unlimited, and your word law; you will
have no difficulty in secluding her in some corner where none shall see
her but those in whom you can fully confide. Make the necessary
preparations. Each moment she may arrive."

Whilst Baltasar was speaking, Doña Carmen remained with her brow
supported on her hand, silent and sunk in reflection. She now sprang
impetuously from her chair.

"I will have naught to do with it," cried she; "you would entangle me in
a labyrinth of crime, whence the only issue would be ignominy and
punishment. You must find others to aid you in your machinations."

In his turn Baltasar rose from his seat, and, approaching the abbess,
led her back to her chair.

"Carmen," said he, in a suppressed voice, and from between his set
teeth, "is it to me that you say 'I will not?'--Carmen," he continued,
speaking low, and with his face very near to hers, "there was a time
when, for love of you and to do your bidding, I feared no punishment
here or hereafter. Have you already forgotten it? 'I hate him,' were
your words, as I sat at your feet in yon sunny Andalusian bower--'I hate
him, and in proportion to my hatred should be my gratitude to him who
rid me of his odious presence.' That night the _serenos_ found the body
of Don Fernando de Forcadell stiff and cold upon the steps of his villa.
He had had a dispute at the _monté_ table, and two men were sent to
Ceuta on suspicion of the deed. Only two persons knew who had really
done it. Ha! Carmen, only two persons!"

During this terrible recapitulation, the abbess sat motionless as a
statue, for which indeed, in her white robe and with her marble pale
complexion, she might almost have been taken. She covered her face with
her hands, and her bosom heaved so violently, that the loose folds of
drapery which shrouded it rose and fell like the waves of a troubled
ocean. When Baltasar ceased speaking she removed her hands, and
exhibited a countenance livid as that of a corpse. Her almost
preternatural paleness, the dark furrows under her eyes, and the tension
of every feature, added ten years to her apparent age.

"Is that all?" she said, in a hollow voice, to her tormentor.

     "And one of those persons," resumed the pitiless Baltasar, without
     replying to her question, "swore by earth and by heaven, and by the
     God who made them both, never to forget the service that I--that
     the other person, I would say--had rendered her, and to be ready to
     requite it whenever he should point out the way. Years have flown
     by since that day, and the feelings that united those two persons
     have long since changed; but a promise made as that one was--a
     promise sealed with blood--can never pass away till it has been
     redeemed. Carmen, I claim its fulfilment."

Baltasar paused. "Fiend!" exclaimed the abbess, "what would you of me?"

"I have already told you," said Villabuena. "It is no crime, nothing
that need alarm your conscience, recently grown so tender; but a good
deed, rather, since it will prevent the daughter of a noble house from
throwing herself away on an adventurer and a rebel, and give her hand to
him for whom her father destined it. She is as yet unaware of the
Count's death. She will learn it here, and no place fitter. Your pious
consolations will soothe her grief. I shall leave her in your
guardianship, and, when the first violence of her sorrow is over,
return, to find means of overcoming her puerile objections to my suit.
But I am a fool," exclaimed he, interrupting himself, "to lose in idle
talk time that is so precious! They must already be in sight of the
convent. Lead me to a window whence we may observe their approach, and
whilst watching for it we can make our final arrangements."

He took the hand of the abbess, and she led the way, mechanically, to
the door of an inner room. Passing through two other apartments, they
reached one at the extremity of the wing, from the window of which a
view was obtained for a considerable distance down the valley. The
prospect that presented itself to them on pausing before this window,
was so enchantingly beautiful, that it seemed to produce an effect, and
to exercise a softening influence, even upon the depraved and vicious
nature of Don Baltasar. At any rate, a full minute elapsed during which
he stood in silence and contemplation.

The view afforded by the valley in question, upon that pleasant May
morning, was indeed of almost unparalleled loveliness. The sun, which
had already risen behind the eastern hills, but not yet surmounted them,
threw its first rays across their summits, and illuminated the opposite
mountains, bathing their pinnacles in a golden glow, whilst their lower
steeps remained in comparative darkness. In the depths of the valley the
last shades of twilight still seemed to linger, and masses of thin grey
vapour rolled in billows over the rich vegetation and vivid verdure of
the fields. The most fantastic variety of form was exhibited by the
surrounding mountain wall; here it rose in turrets and towers, there
spread out into crags, then again fell in blank abrupt precipices, their
edges fringed with shrubs, the recesses of their sides sheltering
wild-flowers of the most varied hues, whose sprays and blossoms waved in
the sweet breath of morning. Equally varied, and as delicately
beautiful, were the ethereal tints of the mountain tops, to which the
cloudless sky seemed to impart a tinge of its azure. On the edge of a
ravine, midway up a mountain, were seen a few crumbling walls, and a
fragment of a broken tower, sole remains of some ancient stronghold,
which, centuries before, had frowned over the vale. The hut of a
goatherd or charcoal-burner, here and there dotted the hill-side; and at
the southern limit of the valley, just before its change of direction
took it out of sight of the convent, were visible the houses of a small
hamlet, surrounded by plantations, and half buried amidst blossoms of
the tenderest rose-colour and most dazzling white. Masses of beech and
ilex clothed the lower slopes of the mountains, and from out of their
dark setting of foliage the grey walls of the Dominican convent arose
like a pale and shadowy spectre. The fresh brightness of spring was the
characteristic of the whole scene; the year seemed rejoicing in its
youthful vigour, and to express its delight by millions of mute voices,
which spoke out of each leaf and twig that danced in the breeze. Nor
were other and audible voices wanting. The lark was singing in the sky,
the grasshopper had begun its chirp, the rills and rivulets that
splashed or trickled from the hills, gave out their indistinct murmur;
whilst, heard far above these voices of nature, the toll of the matin
bell resounded through the valley, calling the devoutly disposed to
their morning thanksgiving.

The angelus had ceased to ring when Rita and her party came in sight of
the Dominican convent, their horses and mules giving evidence, by their
jaded appearance, of having been ridden far, and over rough and painful
roads. The gipsy rode in front, vigilant and unfatigued--although he had
now been in the saddle, with little intermission, for a whole day and
night--and was followed by Rita, to whose delicate frame the long ride
had been an exertion as unusual as it was trying. But a resolute spirit
had compensated for physical weakness, and, uncomplaining, she had borne
up against the hardships of the preceding ten hours. She was pale and
harassed; her hair, uncurled by the night fogs, hung in dank masses
round her face, and her fragile form was unable to maintain its upright
position. Micaela, the waiting-maid, yawned incessantly, and audibly
groaned at each rough stumble or uncomfortable movement of her mule.
Several times during the drowsy morning hours, she had nearly fallen
from her saddle, and had to thank Paco, who had taken his station beside
her, for saving her from more than one tumble. Paco, either out of
respect to the presence of Rita, or concern for the Count's misfortune,
rode along, contrary to his custom, in profound silence, and without
indulging in any of those snatches of muleteers' songs with which it was
his wont to beguile the tedium of a march.

Upon nearing the place where she expected to find her father, Rita's
impatience to behold him, and to ascertain for herself the exact extent
of the injury he had received, increased to a feverish degree, and on
reaching the convent gate, already open for her reception, she sprang
from her mule without assistance. But she had over-rated her strength;
her limbs, stiffened by the long ride and the cold night air, refused
their service, and she would have fallen to the ground had not Paco, who
was already off his horse, given her the support of his arm. The
portress and another old lay sister were the only persons visible in the
court, and the last of these invited Rita to accompany her into the
convent. Paco held out his horse's bridle and those of the mules to
Jaime, intending to follow his young mistress, but the gipsy hesitated
to take them, and the lay sister, perceiving Paco's intention,
interposed to prevent its execution.

"You must remain here," said she; "I have no orders to admit men into
the convent, nor can I, without express orders from the lady abbess."

Paco obeyed the injunction, and the three women disappeared through a
door of the right wing of the building. They had been gone less than a
minute, when the lay sister again came forth, and, approaching the
gipsy, desired him to follow her. He did so, and Paco remained alone
with the horses.

With eager step, and a heart palpitating with anxiety, Rita followed her
guide into the convent, making, as she went, anxious enquiries
concerning her father's health. To her first question the old woman
replied by an inarticulate mumble; and upon its repetition, a brief "I
do not know; the lady abbess will see you,"--checked any further attempt
upon a person who either could not or would not give the much wished-for
information. Passing through a corridor and up a staircase, the lay
sister ushered Rita into an apartment of comfortable appearance.

"I will inform the abbess of your arrival," said she, as she went out
and closed the door.

Five minutes elapsed, and Rita, to whom this delay was as inexplicable
as her impatience to see her father was great, was about to leave the
room and seek or enquire the way to his apartment, when the abbess made
her appearance.

"Holy mother!" exclaimed Rita, advancing to meet her with clasped hands
and tearful eyes, "is my father doing well? Conduct me to him, I beseech
you."

Struck by the beauty of the fair creature who thus implored her, and
touched, perhaps, by the painful anxiety expressed in her trembling
voice, and pale and interesting countenance, Doña Carmen almost
hesitated to communicate her fatal tidings.

"I have painful intelligence for you, Señora," said she. "The Count,
your father"--

"He is wounded; I know it," interrupted Rita. "Is he worse? Oh, let me
see him!--This instant see him!"

"It is impossible," said the abbess. "The bullet that struck him was too
surely aimed. Your father is dead!"

For an instant Rita gazed at the speaker as though unable fully to
comprehend the terrible announcement, and then, with one shriek of
heartfelt agony, she sank senseless to the ground.

The shrill and thrilling scream uttered by the bereaved daughter, rang
through the chambers and corridors of the convent, and reached the ears
of Paco, who had remained in the court, waiting with some impatience for
the return of the gipsy, and for intelligence concerning the health of
the Count. Abandoning his horse, he rushed instinctively to the door by
which Rita had entered the building. It was closed, but not fastened,
and passing through it he found himself in a long corridor, traversed by
two shorter ones, and at whose extremity, through a grated window, was
visible the foliage of the forest surrounding that side of the convent.
Not a living creature was to be seen; and Paco paused, uncertain in what
direction to proceed. He listened for a repetition of the cry, but none
came. Suddenly a door, close to which he stood, was opened, and before
he could turn his head to ascertain by whom, he was seized from behind,
and thrown violently upon the paved floor of the corridor. The attack
had been so vigorous and unexpected, that Paco had no time for
resistance before he found himself stretched upon his back; but then he
struggled furiously against his assailants, who were no others than Don
Baltasar and the gipsy. So violent were his efforts, that he got the
gipsy under him, and was on the point of regaining his feet, when
Colonel Villabuena drew a pistol from the breast of his coat, and with
its but-end dealt him a severe blow on the head. The unlucky muleteer
again fell stunned upon the ground. In another minute his hands were
tightly bound, and Don Baltasar and his companion carried him swiftly
down one of the transversal corridors. Descending a flight of stone
steps, the two men with their burthen entered a range of subterranean
cloisters, at whose extremity was a low and massive door, which Don
Baltasar opened, and they entered a narrow cell, having a straw pallet
and earthen water-jug for sole furniture. Close to the roof of this
dismal dungeon was an aperture in the wall, through which a strong iron
grating, and the rank grass that grew close up to it, allowed but a
faint glimmer of daylight to enter. Placing their prisoner upon the
straw bed, Don Baltasar and Jaime took away his sabre and the large
knife habitually carried by Spaniards of his class. They then unbound
his hands, and, carefully securing the door behind them, left him to the
gloom and solitude of his dungeon.

FOOTNOTES:

[9] From an early period of the war, the Spanish dragoon regiments, both
light and heavy, were armed with the lance, that weapon being considered
the most efficient for the mountain warfare in which they were
frequently engaged.



SOMETHING MORE ABOUT MUSIC.


We mused on music some while ago; and as the subject still haunts
us--very much after the manner of an obstinate ghost that refuses to be
laid, even by the choicest Latin--we are strongly disposed to try the
effect of giving it full swing for once; and in idle mood, too idle to
oppose ourselves to its tyranny, letting it carry us whither it will, in
the hope that, in return for our complacence, it may in future suffer us
to conduct our meditations according to our own pleasure, and give that
sad and serious thought, which their merits demand, to the gravities of
this life--to corn-laws and _poor_-laws, (of all sorts!) and the Irish
question, and the debates to which all these give occasion, in reading
which we have already worn out we know not how many pairs of spectacles,
and one pair of excellent eyes; and last, not least, to the marchings
and counter-marchings of the House of Commons, in which we are deeply
interested.

With such a course of study before us, we are disposed to make the most
of our holiday; and should we chance to be a little too frisky, it must
be borne in mind that retribution is at hand, and that we shall speedily
become as solemn as ever a fool in the land, as dull as an owl bathing
its eyes in the morning sunshine, which--having overslept itself--it
takes for the full moon, and dismal enough to satisfy the most ardent
advocate of the religious duty of being miserable,--eschewing laughter
as we would the tax-gatherer, and refreshing our oppressed spirits alone
with serious jokes, and such merriment as may be presented to us under
the sanction and recommendation of a college of dissenting divines!

But our harp will be a mingled one, for so is our theme; having a
sympathy alike for our mirthful and sorrowful moments, which it alike
spiritualizes; striking the light, gleesome chord to the one, and
attuning the soul to more ethereal joy; while by its soft influence it
tones down the harshness of bitter, _unavailing_ sorrow, and woos the
heart, misanthropizing under the pangs of grief or unrequited love--pent
up in its own solitude, unpitied and uncared for--and filled with dark
thoughts, and sad sounds, and tones of plaintive winds, sighing through
the cypress and doleful yew with mournful melody around the
resting-place of the loved and lost, to submissive lamentings, and slow
stealing tears that assuage its aching anguish and tranquillize the
spirit, leading it to the hope of a brighter future, in whose dawning
beams it will, ere-long, show like "the tender grass, clear-shining
after rain"--more glistening and beautiful for the invigorating dews of
the cloud which had overhung it, and beneath whose gloom its beauty
faded away--for very trouble!

How often have we found that hard, _bitter_ mood into which the mind
under the pressure of suffering which is irremediable, and which has to
be borne alone, is so apt to decline--feeling the harder and the
bitterer for the careless, galling gaiety of all around--softened,
subdued, yea, utterly broken up by the sweet notes of "some old familiar
strain," that steal on the willing ear, freshening and exhilarating the
spirit like a breezy morning in June, when it seems a sin to be
wretched; the twittering birds on dancing boughs crying shame on us, for
what is not only wrong, but, as we begin to feel, needless--not to say
foolish; and we return from our stroll, wondering what in the world we
have done with that load on our chest with which we began our
walk--ending in a regular ramble--and which it then seemed incumbent on
us, nay, a sacred duty, to pant under for the term of our natural lives;
relieving ourselves by such sighs and groans as appeared to us the
appropriate forms of expression for all human beings under the sun--made
on purpose to be unhappy; we especially, fulfilling the end of our
creation. And as we mark the change that has passed upon us--the
bounding circulation in place of flagging energies--full, calm
breathing, instead of the slow, short respiration of sadness--with
reverent heart we bless nature, and, may we say also, nature's great
Architect, all-merciful, all-loving!

Such on us is frequently the effect of music; the heaviness of heart,
caused by the weary rubs of this rough world, or the result of a
temperament that has a constitutionally jarring string in it, is as it
were _drawn out_, and sweetness and calm-breathing tranquillity infused
in its stead; while our nerves become as the harmonious strings of a
harp, that respond in sympathy with the master chords of one with which
it is in unison, and whereon the fresh breeze of morning lightly plays,
calling forth sounds of joy and gladness. Therefore do we _love_ it,
with a warmth of affection that may perchance appear extravagant to
those whose robust, well-balanced minds, clothed with strong, healthy,
unsusceptible bodies--people who are always in good spirits, unless
there be a reason for the contrary--may render them independent of such
external influences, for we must acknowledge, that we do at times
express this our affection in somewhat unmeasured phrase, as one who
stays not accurately to calculate, and weigh with cool precision, the
virtues of a friend, thus laying ourselves open to the unmitigated
condemnation of those who soar above, (or sink below!) such sympathies.

Be it so! We are not about to enter into any vindication of ourselves;
we shall not even attempt to convince these dull souls, that it is
possible for elevated feeling, and repose and tenderness of mind, to be
indebted for their origin to such insignificant and material sources as
catgut and brass wire--and that they are not therefore to be
undervalued; though by way of illustration of the influence of matter
over spirit, we would remind them of their own humane and charitable
feelings _after_ dinner, compared with the fierce, nay, atrocious
sentiments, which their consciences convict them of having entertained,
before the pangs of their raging hunger had been appeased by that
inestimable mollifier of men's hearts and tempers. For the cause of
their insensibility to such impressions--a natural incapacity for
receiving them--it is vain to seek a remedy, however willing we might be
to apply one; but where cure is impracticable, palliatives are
frequently admissible, and we would suggest that one may be found in
this case, in the patients' treating the unhappy privation under which
they labour with greater tenderness than has been their wont, throwing
over it that veil of oblivion and charity with which they so gracefully
conceal their other defects, instead of obtruding it on public
observation, under the singular misconception of its being an admirable
feature in their character, a something of which a man ought to be
proud. Conduct like this, they may rest assured, will not fail of being
appreciated and rewarded by the corresponding delicacy with which all,
who are not utterly barbarous, invariably treat him who, by the
deprecating humility with which he seeks to conceal his deficiencies,
betrays his painful cognisance of their existence.

We are aware that this is a turning of the tables upon them which they
may not be disposed to admire--to be placed at the bar, when they
expected a seat on the Bench, and were just smoothing down their ermine,
and adjusting their wigs, in order to enter on their duties with the
greater impressiveness and dignity; but they must believe us when we
tell them, that we, too, have an opinion on this subject, to which we
must be permitted to attribute as high authority as they possibly can to
their own; and that, tried by this standard, they, being found wanting,
would inevitably have been brought up for judgment, but for a merciful
leaning, (sanctioned by legal precedent,) which prompts us rather to try
the salutary effect of admonition and good counsel, than to proceed at
once to inflict extreme penalties on the offenders--in short, that we
are not in a hanging humour, or they should swing for it!

Grim, rough Luther, laying about him with his ponderous mace, and making
giant Pope tremble in the deepest recesses of his stronghold, lest he
should grow utterly savage with his perpetual warfare--albeit a "Holy
war"--humanized and spiritualized himself with his lute--(who does not
sympathize with his unfailing "Deus noster refugium," that divine stay
of his stout heart that trembled not at men or devils!) Ken, undaunted
opponent of the tyranny of a king--meek sufferer for that monarch's
lawful rights, rose at day-dawn, or so soon as the first brief slumber
had recruited his exhausted frame, to give thanks unto the King of kings
in strains that, handed down to us, yet thrill the heart by their
fervent piety, and plain, vigorous verse, and animate it to a stricter
more manly rectitude. Herbert--saintliest of men and priests--after his
sacred toils, refreshed his spirit with "divine music;" the more
melodious to his ear, that his heart was teeming with the harmony of
that "good-will towards man," which seeks and finds its due expression
in active exertions on their behalf--disdaining not the lowliest
occasion of serving with hearty zeal the lowliest of his neighbours.
Rest assured, then, O reader! whosoever thou art, that it is not for
_thee_ to pretend to despise it!

Ponder the rather on the _power_ of that art, that could soothe the
perturbed soul of Israel's wrath-sent king--mad and moody--and even
expel the evil spirit that goaded him; and on its _dignity_--for
prophets of old, when the Divine inspiration came upon them, revealing
to their purified eyes the "vision of the Almighty," uttered their "dark
sayings upon the harp."

What a plague it sometimes is to be hag-ridden by a tune, racing through
one's head, with a never-ending always-beginningness, as though a
thousand imps were singing it in one's ears. Wherever you may be,
whomsoever with, whatsoever doing, still ring on those incessant tones
of perchance the merriest of all jigs, till--it is Sunday morning, and
you are preparing for church--you leave your house with the entire and
miserable conviction, that, seated in your pew in the very face of the
congregation-genteel sinners in silks, and satins, and feathers--you
will betray your long-concealed suffering by giving vent to that
interminable "Rory O'More," the moment you open your lips for the
emission of "All people that on earth do dwell;" so ensuring your rapid
transfer to the street, under the escort of the man with the
parti-coloured coat and black wand, whose Sabbath duties of jerking the
Sunday scholars, and rapping their heads with that authoritative cane,
are unceremoniously interfered with on your behalf. Misery and disgrace
stare you in the face, and all through an undue titillation of that part
of your sensorium that takes cognisance of musical sounds; a titillation
not to be subdued by endeavouring to direct your attention from it to
the very gravest of all subjects; nor propitiated even by audibly
chanting the offending strain, previously retiring into the furthest
corner of your coal-cellar, to prevent your unwilling profanity on
shocking the strictly conscientious ears of your household. This is
bad--and yet it is but a mild form of this morbid affection, which, in
its most intense degree, torments the sufferer from fever, (or one
stunned by some sudden and violent grief,) when certain sounds, words,
or tunes, accidentally determined, thrill through the head with the
steadiness and vehement action of the piston of a steam-engine--beat,
beat, beat!--every note seeming to fall on the excited brain like the
blow of a hammer; while, as the fever and pain increase, the more
rapidly and heavily do those torturing notes pursue their furious chase.
We well remember, under an attack of disorder in the neighbourhood of
the brain, causing severe suffering, lying--we know not how long, it
might be a thousand years for any thing we knew--singing over and over
again _in our mind_, for we were speechless with pain, the 148th psalm,
which we had just chanced to hear sung, in Brady and Tate's version, to
a new and somewhat peculiar tune. Oh, how those "dreadful whales" and
"glittering scales" did quaver and quiver in our poor head! Lying like a
log--for pain neither permitted us to stir nor groan--still rattled on,
hard and quick, the rumbling bass and shrill tenor of that most
inappropriately jubilant composition--"cherubim and seraphim," "fire,
hail, and snow," succeeding each other with a railway velocity that
there was no resisting; no sooner had we got to "stands ever fast," than
round again we went to the "boundless realms of joy," and so on, on,
on, through each dreary minute of those dreary hours, an infinity, or
perchance but twenty-four, according as time is computed by clocks or by
agonised human beings. It made a capital Purgatory; one which we have
even deemed every way adequate to those slight delinquencies of which we
may have been guilty, and which are appointed, as it is understood, to
be expiated in this way.

At times some simple air, or even a single chord of unusual, but
apparently obvious harmony, will haunt us with a peculiar sweetness,
producing a soothing, gentle sadness, as though we listened to distant
bells, whose music is borne in surges on the breeze that sways the
golden corn on a sunny Sabbath, when our pathway lies through the
undulating fields, already "white unto the harvest;" where the pleasant
rustling of the ripened grain, as it is stirred by the soft wind, is
sweet and soothing; and the gay poppy, and other less obtrusive, though
not less beautiful wild-flowers, bloom at our loitering feet. In the
power of exciting such feeling, what can equal our old English ballads?
There is an inexpressible charm in these, and we would almost give our
fingers to be able to describe that indescribable _something_, which
constitutes their peculiar fascination and power over the imagination.
Most plain, most artless, does their composition appear; like the
natural out-breathing of the heart in its sunny moments; and yet--as
with all earthly brightness--with a trace of cloud on that sunshine.
They are redolent of the "olden time;" and as they fall softly on the
ear, the antique hall, with its groined roof, and mullioned window,
glowing with rich heraldic devices, through which the many-tinted lights
fall tenderly on arch and pillar, and elaborately fretted walls, studded
with ancestral armour, rises up before us; and with the melting tones of
the lute, mingles the low, clear voice of a gentle maiden, whose small
foot and brocaded train are just seen from behind yonder deeply
sculptured oaken screen. What innocence is in that voice! and how
expressive are the chords that accompany it--less elaborate and
fantastic, perchance, than might win favour in our vitiated ears; but
natural, harmonious, full, and in exquisite subordination to the air,
which they fill up and enrich, instead of overpowering with misplaced
beauty.

And now a movement of the singer reveals still more of the quaint,
beautiful costume, with its heavy, yet graceful folds, while--aha! what
else do we see?--a plumed hat thrown carelessly on the ground; the armed
heel, glittering rapier, and slashed sleeve, just visible, betokening
that its owner is not far off, and that the lady fair has not, as we had
thought, been wasting her sweetness, either of voice or countenance, on
that comfortable-looking pet dog or caged linnet. Sing on, pretty one!
for well do gallant knights love to hear their stern deeds sung by
innocent lips; and _right well_, to listen to the strain that tells how
the heart of "lady-bright" is won by noble daring. But what means that
sudden break in the song, and the confused sweep of the strings, as
though the lute had slipped from its owner's grasp; while the masculine
paraphernalia which we had just discovered disappears altogether behind
that most impervious and curiosity-mocking screen? No great harm done,
or that light laugh had not escaped the lips so suddenly silenced; and
the offending cavalier is doubtless forgiven on the spot, as they
amicably retreat to that deep oriel, framed apparently for the express
purpose of excluding _intrusionists_ like ourselves, who would fain
follow, where, it is evident, we are marvellously little wanted! Well,
well!--maidens will be maidens, we trow, and lovemaking in the olden
time is, we suppose, after all, vastly like the same performance by more
modern actors. Leave we them to their light-heartedness:--and yet we
could linger long in this ancient chamber,

     "With quaint oak-carving lined and ceiled;"

so calm, so cool, so repose-breathing,--the shrill twitter of the
swallow the only sound now heard amid its silence; the fleecy clouds,
throwing that rich interior into alternate light and shade, as they sail
lazily along the deep blue sky--the only moving objects, save the long
wreaths of ivy, that, green as the tender buds of spring, tap lightly
against the casement, as they are swayed by the impulses of the summer
breeze. Beyond, is an old-fashioned garden--a _pleasance_, as it would
be called--and truly is it one; with its trim walks, its terraces, and
moss-grown urns, around which luxuriant creepers are entwined--its
impervious hedges--its close-shorn lawn, decked with appropriate
statues, and its yew-trees, clipped into fantastic shapes; while the
ivy-covered walls that bound it, afford a shelter from the blasts that
too often allay the sunshine of our northern climate, and render it a
spot where 'tis sweet to saunter, in idle or quiet contemplative mood,
at glowing sunset; or chaster beauty of summer evening, when the pure,
cold moon mingles her passionless lustre with the gorgeous hues that
still linger around the portals of the west--bright train of the
departing monarch that has passed to the sway of a new hemisphere!

Here could we linger in genial meditation, while from the dark pannelled
walls look down upon us lovely countenances of those who, centuries ago,
have called this _home_--portraits whose calm, meek dignity so far
transcends the more active style in which it too often pleases us
moderns to glare from our gilt frames, "looking delightfully with all
our might, and staring violently at nothing;" costume and truth being
utterly outraged,--the _roturier's_ wife mapped in the ermine of the
duchess, and perchance dandling on her maternal lap what appears to be a
dancing dog in its professional finery, but which, on closer inspection,
turns out to be an imp of a child, made a fool of by its mother and
milliner; and my lady--in inadequate garments, and a pair of wings,
flourishing as some heathen divinity or abstract virtue! Look at those
girlish features, just mantling into fairest womanhood, with their sweet
serious look, exhibiting all the self-possession of simplicity; the
drapery and other accessories natural, and in perfect keeping with the
unpretending character of the whole; and then turn to some recent
"portrait of a lady," with what toleration you may. Contrast for one
moment that fine ancestral face, dignified and unmoved as the mighty
ocean slumbering in his strength, with the eager visage of one of the
latest "batch," (cooked, without much regard to the materials, for some
ministerial exigency,) who would appear to be standing in rampant
defence of his own brand-new coronet, emulative of the well-gilt lion
which supports that miracle of ingenuity rather than research, his
brightly emblazoned coat-of-arms; whose infinitude of charges and
quarterings do honour to the inventive genius of the Herald's Office,
and are enough to make the Rouge Dragon of three centuries ago claw out
the eyes of the modern functionary.

But, oh dear, dear! where are our ballads all this while? Drifted sadly
to leeward, we fear, according to a bad habit of ours, of letting any
breeze, from whatever point of the compass it may chance to blow, fill
our sails, and float us away before it, utterly unmindful of our
original purpose and destination. Thus have we, to the tune of an old
Hall and its garniture, sailed away from that which we were
aiming--trying to find out, and describe the peculiar fascination of our
loved old ballads; flattering ourselves, perhaps, that we were escaping
a difficulty which we feared to meet.

There is a quaint cheerfulness in them, toned down with a shade--the
shadow of a shade--of the most touching melancholy, effected, we can
scarcely tell how, by an exquisitely felicitous, though but slight
introduction of the minor key, perchance but a single note or chord. But
that suffices, and it is as a sudden vision of our home, far off among
the mountains, or in the "happy valley" of our fathers, passing before
us in the gay crowded city, bringing plaintive thoughts of remembered
joys, and quietude, and childish innocence. Old ballads are like April
skies, all smiles and tears, sunshine and swift-flitting clouds, that
serve but to heighten the loveliness they concealed for a while. They
are like,--nay, we despair; none but our own Shakspeare can express what
we should vainly puzzle ourselves to describe, the essence of the "old
and antique song."

  "Mark it, Cesario; it is old and plain;
  The spinsters and the knitters in the sun
  And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
  Do use to chaunt it; it is silly sooth,
  And dallies with the innocence of love,
  Like the old age."

Ay! like gray eld fondling sunny childhood, gazing on the wavy hair, and
pure brow, and calm yet kindling eye, with a fond sad pleasure; for in
that young exulting spirit he sees the sure inheritor of his own fading
honours, the usurper of his strength, and influence, and worship,
rapidly passing away from his feeble grasp; and as he gazes, though his
lips pour willing benedictions on the unconscious supplanter, there
lingers in his heart the sorrowful, "He shall increase, but I shall
decrease."

Something akin in their sad soothing effect, are the _waits_, (dear
reader, you do not need to be told what these are? Wordsworth has
immortalized them;) simple, rude, and inharmonious as they would be in
the clear, truth-telling daylight, but strange, witching, and half
unearthly, when heard between the pauses of some fantastic dream in the
deep midnight; when,

            "All around,
  The stars are watching with their thousand eyes;"

those same stars that peered down on this earth, in "earnest gaze," on
the first act of that most awful drama, when, in "the winter wild, the
heaven-born child"--Him in whom all nations of the world were
blessed--was placed in his rude cradle at Bethlehem: in commemoration of
whose advent--and _this_ is one secret of their pathos, waking high
thoughts in the soul, too long brooding over and degrading itself with
the mean cares and hopes of this life--the humble musicians make night
tuneful, "scraping the chords with strenuous hand."

A blessing on them as they go, softening our hard, unloving hearts! In
our childhood it was one of our most cherished pleasures to
lie--half-sleeping, half-waking--listening to them, as the sounds, at
times discordant enough, though of that we recked not, rose and fell in
pleasing cadence, as the winter wind rose and fell, wafting the notes
that, faint and fainter still, at last died away in the distance.

We and our room-companion were under a solemn engagement, each to other,
to waken the little sleepy thing beside him, when the more watchful
became aware of the approach of the itinerant minstrels; and woe to the
one who had forgotten this duty! It would have required no little
"music" to soothe the "savage breast" of the aggrieved one; for--as we
are pathetically reminded by the old song--"Christmas comes but once
a-year," and so often, but no more, did we know that our chance of
hearing this seductive harmony occurred. Hence our wrath, if through the
neglect, the "breach of promise" of another, so solemnly pledged, we
missed it. And even now, dear as is the oblivion of night and dreamless
sleep to the spirit, harassed and world-worn, that in outgrowing its
child-like feelings and happiness, has, alas! also out-grown what its
increase of worldly wisdom can hardly make amends for--the child-like
purity, and intense enjoyment of simple pleasures, which marked its
earlier years--even now, weary and dull-hearted as we are become, we
would not willingly lose this delight of our happier days, although it
fall on the still darkness like wail for a departed friend, unsealing
the fount of mournful memories, whose bitter waters gush from their
stricken rock; sad as are its associations, they are of that sadness
whereby the "heart is made better."

What think ye of the drum as a musical instrument? Is there not
something magnificent in it, albeit suggestive of a distant wheelbarrow
on rough paving-stones, or heavily laden cart in the distance? This
latter, by the way,--we appeal with confidence to any musical soul
present for confirmation of our assertion--being decidedly its equal, in
effect, any day; as in our _happy_ infancy we found out to our sorrow,
from being frequently deceived by its dull booming, which our vivid
imagination at once pronounced to be its parchment representative; as we
writhed and wriggled with agony on our unhonoured bench (selected, and
adhered to, for constancy was our _forte_, chiefly on account of its
being out of the reach of the cane, and commanding a good view of the
street) in a perfect fever, poor little soul, to squirl away books and
slates, and scamper after the soldiers. Scarlet has been said to be like
the sound of a trumpet; surely then a drum must be taken as the exponent
of that ferocious mixture yclept thunder and lightning, erst dear to
country bumpkins, and rendered classical by Master Moses Primrose's
coat. It can scarcely be described as _music_, but rather as sound with
an idea in it--the connecting link between mere noise and musical
expression. Kettle-drums,

      "Whose sullen dub,
  Is like the hooping of a tub,"

we hate; and never see them in a concert-room without heartily wishing
they and their tatooer might tumble, helter-skelter, from their topmost
perch into the very lowest depth, if there be one lower than another, of
the orchestra; and thereby sustain such a compound fracture, attended by
loss of substance, as should put it out of their power, for that night
at least, to torture our fastidious ears. Being of a melancholy
temperament, we are unfortunately, at times, subject to most ludicrous
fancies; and as these ungainly instruments loom on our disgusted eye, we
cannot, for the life of us, help imagining them moulds for a couple of
enormous gooseberry puddings; and we verily pant at the idea of the sea
of melted butter, or yellow cream, requisite to mollify their
acidity--and then we laugh like a hyena at the nightmareish vision, and
so are disgraced, for it is at a "serious opera:" therefore, we repeat
it, do we hate them, cordially and perseveringly. They are horrid
things, and ought to be excommunicated. And when employed in military
bands--why, a horse looks a complete fool between a couple of these
gigantic basins, each with its long tag-rag of unmeaning velvet,
beplastered and bedizened with lace and gold, streaming from it; and the
unlucky performer perched between them, exactly like an old
market-woman, bolstered up between a brace of paniers or
milk-pails;--any thing but a fierce dragoon, or most chivalrous hussar.
But peace be to the kettle-drums,--ay, _peace be to them_, say we! and
may our ears never again be subjected to the torture of hearing Handel's
massive chorus, or Beethoven's fearfully dramatic harmony, disfigured by
their most abominable bangs, or villanous rumble-grumble.

Now all this is rank nonsense--we are fully aware of it; and it is a
most foolish, unjust prejudice of ours against drums--kettle or
otherwise, as it may please Apollo--which are most respectable members
of musical society, and good--very good--in their way; were it only as a
foil to the enchanting, inspiriting, maddening strains of the horn, the
shrill pipe, the regal trumpet, and the various other instruments of our
military music, of which we are more passionate admirers, almost ready
to follow the drum ourselves. Oh, the supreme delight of having one's
arms and legs shot off to such soul-elevating sounds, to the tune of
Rule Britannia, and somebody or other's march! "Britons strike home"
thrills through the air, and you scarcely feel that you are spitted by a
Polish lancer; a flourish of trumpets, and enter a troop of horse, that
trot briskly over you as you lie smashed by a round-shot, but heedless
of the exhibition of their unceremonious heels to your injuries, for are
you not sustained by that "point of war"--mercilessly beaten at your
elbow, without the slightest regard to the effect it may have on your
cracked head, for which you are indebted to the last trooper who spurred
his charger over you: who would care for his vulgar limbs under such
excitement? But if this part of our military economy be intended to
inspire cowards with courage, and string them up to a disregard of all
the chances of warfare, in the way of bullet and sabre, why--_why_ is
not so valuable an idea carried out to the full extent of its
requirement, and a military band instituted for the comfort and
encouragement of the patients (every whit as nervous as if they were
under arms) of Guy's Hospital? Why should not the case of poor bedfast
wretches in cap and gown, and pale faces, meet with as much
consideration as that of your clodpole in scarlet and an 'Albert hat?'
(Heaven forgive the prince for making such simpletons of our handsome
Englishmen!) Look to it, ye governors of such institutions, and look to
it, ye charitable and humane, who empty your purses into the blandly
presented plate to buy shoes and stockings for the kangaroos. Consider
the case of your afflicted countrymen, and relieve the plethora of your
coffers by providing them music, every way equal to that enjoyed by
troops going into action; music so entrancing that an arm or leg whipped
off shall, under its influence, be no object to them; and let them drink
down their odious physic to such masterly compositions of the first
artists as shall sweeten the bitterest potion, and elicit a chorus of
blessings on the taste and liberality of their munificent benefactors.
But we fear that our pleading will be vain--Englishmen, poor, sick, and
suffering, are intolerably uninteresting; not to be named on the same
day with the happy possessors of woolly locks, flat noses, and
copper-coloured skins; these being personal qualifications calculated to
excite the intense sympathies of the many whose charity neither begins
nor ends "at home." Yet, in the spirit of the little girl, who, on the
denial of her request that she might be married, substituted the more
modest one of a piece of bread and butter; if unsuccessful in this
particular, we will be content to lower our tone, and, in place of the
luxury we have recommended, simply require all whom it may concern to
give the poor--their own!--honest wages for their honest labour.

We may perhaps be accused of having a Turkish taste in music (after the
pattern of that Sultan's, who was chiefly fascinated with the jarring
process of tuning the instruments, a thing abhorred by "gods and men")
if we venture to own the strange, thrilling effect once produced on us
by the discordant, yet withal imposing clangour of some half dozen
regimental bands (all of them, mark you, playing different tunes!) which
struck up simultaneously as my Lord ----, the then commander-in-chief,
(whose spirit has since mingled with the shades of the heroes who had
preceded him, not to the hall of Odin, but we trust to a more Christian
place,) made his appearance, with his brilliant staff, on ---- Moor;
whither he came down ostensibly for the purpose of reviewing the
troops--really, to marry his nephew and heir to the grand-daughter of a
manufacturing millionnaire. (Commercial gold, or heraldic _or_, is a
good modern "tricking;" though we query whether our ancestors would have
countenanced such bad heraldry, or been content with such abatements of
honour on their old shields!)

The wild sounds streamed on the crisp morning air--'twas one of those
September days whose mature beauty rivals the budding grace of
spring--with a strange wayward beauty, a barbaric grandeur, that carried
away both our heart and ears; and we enjoyed it to the full as much as
did the steed of a military lady present, that verily danced with the
tingling delight. We had a fellow feeling with the brute, and could
ourselves, grave and sensible as we are, have pranced about in an
ecstasy of admiration, which was by no means allayed when the deep-toned
sullen music--for such it is to us--of the artillery uttered its
majestic bass to the sharp ringing fire of musketry. While, as wreath
after wreath of the light morning mist floated away before the breeze,
the glittering files and compact bristling squares, the centaur-like
cavalry, and stealthy riflemen gliding along the windings of the copse,
became apparent, stretching far into the distance; now hidden for a
moment by the rolling vapour from a discharge of firearms, then, as it
curled above them, dimming the clear sky, glancing bright in the sun,
which blithely kissed sabre and epaulet, and dancing plume, and the
knightly-looking pennoned weapon of the picturesque lancer. Truly the
scene was beautiful, and one to breathe a warlike spirit into the most
unexcitable. And we gazed in a paroxysm of admiration at the exquisite
evolutions and fierce charges that seemed as though they must bear all
before them, till this perfection of discipline came to an end, and the
long files of troops had taken their slow dusty departure; when, hot and
fagged, and with bright colours still dancing before our eyes, we
returned to our home. There, as each "pleasure has its pain," we found
that one was superinduced on ours, in the shape of a robbery of our
plate committed while we were staring ourselves out of countenance at
the gay spectacle; our faithless domestics having taken that opportunity
of indulging their own taste for the "sublime and beautiful." 'Tis to be
hoped they got enough of the "beautiful" at the show, as we indulged
them with a touch of the "sublime" (which has one of its sources in
_terror_) when we discovered our loss. But we enjoyed the review
thoroughly for all that, and are ready for another to-morrow, first
taking the precaution to "lock up all our treasure," warned by a
catastrophe which nearly reduced us to wooden spoons and hay-makers.

Military music! But to feel its power fully, let it be heard when the
exulting strains that are wont to fill the air with exuberant harmony
are saddened into the sweet, mournful, heart-breaking notes that steal
on the ear at a soldier's funeral, and the gaudy splendour of military
array has passed into the drear pomp of that most touching, most
monitory sight. Faint mournful bugle-notes are wafted fitfully on the
wind, plumes and glittering weapons glance and disappear as the
procession advances, now hidden by the hedge-rows, now flashing on the
sight, in the autumnal sun, as it winds slowly along the devious road;
louder and louder swell those short abrupt trumpet-notes as it draws
near, till the whole sad array, in its affecting beauty, is presented to
the eye. The _life in death_ that pervades the melancholy
ceremonial!--"Our brother is not dead, but sleepeth," seems written on
the impressive pageant; and we almost expect, while we gaze, to see the
deep slumber chased from the closed eyelids, and the recumbent form
start up again to claim the warlike weapons with which it was wont to be
girt, and that now lie, as if awaiting their master's grasp, in
unavailing display on the funereal pall. But a mightier than he has for
ever wrenched them from his hold, and vain the sword, the helm, the
spear, in that unequal conflict. The last contest is over, and "he is in
peace."

  "Brother, wrapp'd in quiet sleep,
  Thou hast ceased to watch and weep;
  Wipe the toil-drops from thy brow,
  War and strife are over now;
  Bow the head, and bend the knee,
  For the crown of victory."

But suppose not pathos confined to the "bugle's wailing sound," and the
sad subdued bursts of well-modulated military music--to the long files
of slow-pacing troops with reversed arms, and the riderless steed,
vainly caparisoned for the battle, that proclaim the obsequies of a
chief. We are not ashamed to confess that the tear has been wrung from
our eye by the plaintive notes of the few rude instruments that alone
lament over the poor private's simple bier--the inharmonious fife, and
the measured beats of the muffled drum; while the dull tramp of the
appointed mourners following a comrade to his obscure resting-place
falls chilly on the heart. Though even he, lowly in death as in life,
shares with his leader in the brief wild honours of a soldier's
grave--the sharp volleys of musketry pealing over his narrow home, a
strange farewell to its passionless inhabitant, on whom the sanctity of
the tomb has already passed; the unholy sound falls voiceless on his
dull ear, fast closed until

  "The last loud trumpet-notes on high
  Peal through the echoing sky,
  And cleave the quivering ground"--

breaking, with dreadful summons, "the eternal calm wherewith the grave
is bound."

"Facilis descensus!" We cannot say that we admire the hurdy-gurdy, that
synthesis of a grindstone and a Jew's-harp, yea, of all that is
detestable, musically speaking, which must have owed its origin to a
desire on the part of Jupiter _Musicus_, in a bad temper, to invent a
suitable purgatory for expiating the sins of delinquent musicians;
affording, on this supposition, an exquisite illustration of the perfect
adaptation of means to an end--one well worthy the attention of all
future writers on that subject. Independently of the nuisance of its
inexpressibly harsh-jingling tones, (as, if you were being hissed by a
quantity of rusty iron wire,) it always gives us the fidget to hear it
for the sake of poor Abel, (surely its only admirer,) grinding away for
dear life, to the extreme exacerbation of the bears growling beneath,
under the combined irritation of no supper and his abominable tinkling.
How they must have longed to gobble him up, were it only for the sake
of popping an extinguisher on the "zit zan zounds" overhead! It was the
reverse of the old tale, "no song no supper;" for they got the song,
instead of a supper on the nice plump artist, which they would have
liked much better. We wish he had stuck to his text, and persisted in
his refusal to play; for then the fate that awaited him would but have
been poetical justice for his utter and criminal want of taste--an
adequate retribution on a wretch patronising an instrument whose
demerits transcend every adjective that occurs to us at this present
moment.

But as we cannot, even in the wildest freaks of our imagination,
conceive of any one really liking the hurdy-gurdy--nay, we are prepared
to demonstrate much affection absolutely impossible--we incline to think
there must have been some corruption of this tradition in the course of
its being handed down to us, so far at least as concerns the name of the
instrument played at such a price; and on the antiquarian principle that
consonants are changeable at pleasure, and vowels go for nothing, we
take leave for hurdy-gurdy (what a vulgar sound it has!) to read flute,
violin, lute, or, in short, any other presentable musical instrument
that may chance to find the greatest favour in our eyes. A change which
has the twofold merit of saving Abel's character for taste, and
preserving so excellent a story from carrying a lie on the face of it;
and for this service of ours, we desire alike the thanks of musicians
and moralists, to whom we most respectfully present our improved
version, as suitable for circulation by the most fastidious artist, or
rigid precisian.

Mercy on us! What a rattling and clattering of doors and windows! The
windows will certainly be blown in at last, for they strain and creak
like a ship at sea; and how the wind roars and bellows in the chimney,
as if Æolus and all his noisy crew were met on a tipsy revel!
There--that last gust shook the house! It is to be hoped the chimneys
stand with their feather-edge to it, or we shall have a stack or two
about our ears in a trice. We wonder whether the cellars would be the
safest place, or, indeed, whether there is a safe place about the house
at all! We have often heard of the music of the wind, but never felt
less disposed to admire it in our life--for the gale has been howling in
our ears all day; and this last hour or two, there has been, as the
sailors say, a fresh hand at the bellows; so that we are in no humour to
sentimentalize on what is, within a few yards of us, curling the dark
waves, that, since the day in which their fluctuation was first decreed,
have swallowed up so much of what is goodly and beloved of this earth,
and that now roar as if for their prey! of which may the great God that
ruleth over the sea, as well as the dry land, disappoint their ravening
jaws! We shrink and are half appalled at their clamour, while we are on
the point of uttering a hasty vow never again to locate ourselves at the
sea-side, though it were prescribed by fifty physicians; or, at all
events, not so very near that dun mass of troubled waters, blending on
the horizon in strange confusion with the lowering, tempestuous sky. Who
could believe, as he views them in their milder mood, as we did
yesterday--lying placid as a clear lake among the mountains, wherein the
bright face of heaven is mirrored, reflecting each light cloud that
floats in the deep azure, or the many-tinted hues of evening--that anon,
lashed into foaming wrath, they should devour "rich fruit of earth, and
human kind," the gold, and the gems, and the priceless treasures wrung
from both hemispheres; and the young, the brave, the loved--the bright
locks, and the manly beauty, and the hoary head; crushing their diverse
hopes into one watery ruin, surging a wild tumultuous dirge over their
one fathomless tomb! And then, sated with destruction, smile and glisten
beneath the morning sunbeams with all the sportiveness of child-like
innocence.

No, no--speak not to us of the "music of the wind." For to us, in our
gloomy moods, it breathes but of desolation, sorrow, and suffering;
while, as the blast rises higher, its sentimental mournfulness is
mingled with painful thoughts, which press on our spirit, of the peril
in which it places so many of our fellow-creatures; and, "God help the
poor souls at sea!" rises earnestly in our heart, and even
unconsciously passes the barrier of our lips, as we retire, utterly
unsympathizing with the selfish enjoyment of those who delight to wrap
up themselves, warm and cozy, in their curtained and downy repose,
lulled to deeper slumber by the blustering cold in which others are
shivering, or, haply, contending with the winds and waves so soon to
overwhelm them. And in our more ordinary everyday humour--if it chance
to rise above what in our humble opinion ought to be its maximum, a
gentle refreshing breeze, just enough to waft sweet woodland sounds, or
ripple the quiet stream--why, it discomposes and discomforts us,
whistling, howling, and rattling among slates and chimney-tops, and
making whirligigs of the dust, in the town; and in the country,
_soughing_ among the boughs, as though the trees had got some horrible
secret which they were whispering to each other, while their long arms
lash each other as if for a wager; the whole exciting in us a most
uneasy and undefinable sensation, as though we had done something wrong,
and were every minute expecting to be found out! A sensation which might
fairly be deemed punishment sufficient for all the minor offences of
this offensive world, and which we most decidedly object to having
inflicted on us for nothing.

"The music of the wind!" Why, what can be more detestable than the wind
whistling through a key-hole? or singing its shrill melancholy song
among the straining cordage of the storm-threatened ship? Then,
uninteresting accidents happen during squally weather: hats are blown
off; coat-tails, and eke the flowing garments of the gentler sex, flap,
as if waging war with their distressed wearers; grave dignified persons
are compelled to scud along before the gale, shorn of all the
impressiveness of their wonted solemn gait, holding, perchance, their
shovel-hat firmly on with both hands; and finally, there is neither
pathos nor glory in having your head broken by a chimney-pot, or volant
weathercock. No, the wide sea is an emblem of all that is deceitful and
false, smiling most blandly when preparing to devour you; and the wind
is only one shade more respectable--nay, perchance the worse of the two;
for the waters, in the self-justifying, neighbour-condemning spirit,
apparently inherent in human nature--and for which Father Adam be
thanked--may very possibly lay the blame of their fickleness upon it,
and bring a host of witnesses into court to testify to their general
good behaviour--their calmness, and amenity, and inoffensiveness, till
exposed to the evil influence of Æolus's unruly troop--the most
wholesale agitators going, and never so happy as when raising a riot.

N.B.--The whole tribe of zephyrs, gentle airs, and evening and morning
breezes, will please to consider themselves as _not_ included under the
term _wind_; to which alone, in its common-place hectoring style, this
tirade is meant to apply.

(We hate any thing important being popped within a parenthesis, but as
the literary sin pinches us less than the immorality, we must here state
what truth requires us to say--that the above, being written during a
fit of the spleen, induced by the hubbub of winds and waters adverted
to, must be received by the candid reader with considerable allowance.)

So much for the wind, which has blown _music_ completely out of our head
for a while. What a pity we did not bethink us of placing our Æolian
harp in the window, before it had sunk into those short angry gusts
which are now alone heard--the mere dregs of the gale; and so have drawn
our inspiration from that which puffed it out! But, somehow or other,
our bright thoughts generally present themselves too late to be of any
use; and this is one in that predicament!

Some people profess to be never tired of music, but to enjoy it _à
l'outrance_, at all times and in all places. With such, we must own, we
have no sympathy. With all our _love_--not mere liking--for the art, we
still hold that it is indebted for its charm to the categories of time
and place, at least as much as its neighbours; for (but this confession
should be made in the smallest, most modest-looking type in the world)
there are both times and places when we hate it cordially, and fervently
wish that neither harmony, nor its ancestor, melody, had ever been
invented. In some such mood as made the very heavens themselves odious
and pestilential to Hamlet, does music appear to us as unlike itself, as
they really were to his crazed imagination of them; and we look forward
with malicious pleasure to the time when, if Dryden is to be
believed--but your poets are not always prophets--"music shall untune
the sky," as a period when all the miseries it has inflicted on us shall
be amply revenged by its perpetrating, or assisting at, this gigantic
mischief. 'Tis then that your first-fiddle is but impertinent
catgut--your fluent organ a vile box of whistles, fit representative of
its _Tube_-al inventor--and the sweetest pipe ever resonant with the
clear, music-breathing air of Italy, or bravely struggling against the
damper atmosphere of our humid isle, sounds harsh and shrilly in our
ears, instead of soothing our "savage breast," which seems to marshal
all its powers the more emphatically to give the poet the lie. This--now
that we are in the confessional--we are free to own--yea, it is
incumbent on us to do ourselves this justice--is only when we are in one
of our unamiable moods, luckily about as rare as snow at mid-summer, but
correspondingly chilling and shocking to the genial ones around
us,--ourselves usually most so, like quiet sunshine in November. We are,
by nature, the meekest of individuals--a "falcon-hearted dove," or
anything else, pretty and poetical, that might give the idea of our
possessing a brave heart under a most gentle exterior; but when roused,
then indeed are we a very dragon; or rather, to keep up our former
simile, (which we think a taking one, though, alas! it is not our own,)
and delineate, by one expressive phrase, a mouldering, rage kept in
check; by the constitutional cowardice on which it is superinduced--then
are we a pigeon-hearted hawk, wanting only the courage to be desperately
cross! (An impertinent friend, who has been looking over our shoulder,
suggests that ourselves, under the two above-named phrases, would be
better adumbrated by the figure of a dish of skimmed milk, and that same
milk curdled! A plague on friends, say we! the most impertinent
impertinencies that fall to our lot in this cross-cornered world are
sure to emanate from them.)

Another of our sins which--to make "a clean breast"--we must confess, is
that of fickleness in our loves; an occasional flirting with other arts
and sciences, in their turn--for we protest against the profligacy of
making love to more than one at once! We string together fearful and
unreadable lengths of iambics, and dactyles, and trochaics, and write
sonnets to the bright queen of night, beginning "O thou!" and stick fast
in the middle of sorely-laboured and at length baffling extempores to
this, that, and t'other; and, wickeder still, then we din them into the
ears of a wretched friend, who having once, in the extremity of his
courtesy, unhappily proved himself a good listener, is, for his sins,
fated to continue so to the end of the chapter--_i.e._, our interminable
rhymes; til, tired of exchanging our bad prose for worse poetry, (and
having the fear of his maledictions before our eyes,) we throw it aside
in a pet. Then comes a change over our spirit; and we dabble in
paint-pots, and flourish a palette, and are great on canvass, and in
chalks, and there is a mingled perfume of oil and turpentine in our
_studio_ (whilome study) that is to us highly refreshing, and good
against fainting; and we make tours in search of the picturesque,
climbing over stone walls, and what not, to gain some hill-top whence we
may see the sun set or the moon rise, haply getting soused in a
peat-drain for our pains--and we pencil sketches from nature, really
very like; and the blue mountains, the solemn sunsets, and purple
shadows among the woods, or falling on the tawny sands, girdling the
sea, whose blue-gray melts into the horizon, throw us into quick
ecstasies of delight that almost paralyse the adventurous hand as it
seeks, often vainly, to transfer the quick-changing loveliness to the
enduring canvass. And then we fling away our pencils in despair, and
worship, with all the devotion of which ignorance is the mother, (for we
never handled the chisel,) the serene beauty of sculpture; most
passionless, most intellectual art, breathing the repose of divinity,
the grand inaction of the All-powerful; shadowing forth in this its
perfection, sublime truth, with its faint, troubled, yet still sublime
reflection, error;--the "without passions" of Divine revelation, and its
perversion, its undue development, the unconsciousness, issuing in the
final perfection of annihilation, of Braminical deity. So are the
extremes of truth and error linked--the error depending for its
existence on its antagonist truth. Painting is objective, sculpture
subjective, throwing the mind more upon itself, to seek there the hidden
forms of grace and beauty yet unmanifested by pencil or chisel. The one
appeals more to the senses, the other to the imagination and the mind;
exciting ideas rather than presenting them. Painting, sublimate it as
you will, is still of the earth; albeit a purer one than this desolated
habitation in which the sons of Adam mourn their exile--even the
unviolated Eden; of which it is one of the fairest, tenderest
emanations, reaching forward to the angelic, yet still a child of earth
with mortality on its brow. Sculpture is of the gods, with its Titanic
majesty, and calm, celestial grace.

But next succeeds one of our hard, stern, misanthropical fits, in which
verjuice and aloes might be taken as the type of our condition, and we
propound strange heresies concerning the affections, social and
domestic; the leading one being that they are greater inlets to misery
than happiness, and that mankind would have been less wretched had they
grown up, like blades of grass, alone and separate; a cheerless
doctrine, but one which misanthropical logic legitimately deduces from
the more comprehensive one, that in this world evil is more potential
than good--more active and influential in its own nature. And we
bitterly call to mind all the treachery with which our trustfulness has
been met--our leaning on that broken reed, friendship--the placing our
whole hope and stay on some loved one who has failed us in our
extremity;--we call up (and how they throng at that call!) these gloomy
recollections, clad in all the terrors of the dark and indistinct past,
to build ourselves up in our gloomy creed. And in our utter weariness of
soul, the thought of an uninterrupted sentient existence is oppressive:
and we passionately wish that the rest of the grave might not be
vouchsafed to our body alone, but that our spirit also might sleep a
deep, tranquil sleep, until the great day of awakening. 'Tis a dreary
mood--like clouded moonlight on troubled, turbid waters! And we could
roast Love with his own torch--and we see every thing through crape
spectacles, and have no clarity for the softer, more refined emotions
and contemplations; so we plunge our head and ears into a chaos of most
musty, dusty metaphysics; and by the time we are nearly choked with
them, and have reasoned ourselves, first, out of all intercourse with an
external world, secondly, out of its existence, thirdly, out of our own,
we are right glad to be brought back to our senses, and our old love,
whom we embrace with all the ardour of reconciliation after a lover's
quarrel, and willingly yield ourselves to the humanizing effect of
music--grave or gay, as our mood may dictate, either perfect after its
kind.

Reader, should you haply be of the extreme North, has it ever chanced to
you to be present at our glorious English cathedral service? If not,
congratulate yourself on this enjoyment in reserve for you; and when you
next visit our end of the little island, pass not, we beseech you, those
Gothic towers, massive and rich, or taper spires rising majestically
above the cloistered arches, buttresses, and pinnacles, of these
monuments of the piety, consummate skill, and humility of our ancestors;
for no modern black board, with gilt letters, proclaims the name of
their founders, who have sought a simple, perchance a nameless, tomb
within the sacred walls they have reared. Pass within that lofty
doorway; and the silence, the stillness, the vastness within, awe the
heart! From the care and turmoil without, one step has placed us lonely
as in a desert;--from the surges of life to the presence of the dead,
who sleep around as if under the more immediate keeping of the Mighty
One in His holy temple! And if, entering, a solitary memorial of the
more clouded faith which they inherited from their fathers--the jewel,
dimmed by its frail setting--should meet the eye, start not, with the
pride of knowledge, from the meek petition, "Ora pro me," enscrolled
beneath that mitred effigy, worn by the thoughtless feet of the
generations passed away; but believe, and fear not to do so, that "it is
accepted according to that a man hath," and that the sincere devotion of
the heart, even when erroneously expressed, through _involuntary_
ignorance, shall not be rejected by that just Being who seeks not to
reap where He hath not sowed; but that it may come up as holy incense
before Him, when our cold, unloving, orthodox prayers, backed by our
heathenish lives, and meaner offerings on the altar of our God, shall
return, blighted and blighting, into our own bosoms. Or should you be
too petrified with pious horror at this--Popery, as with your longest,
dismalest face, you will style it--to think with any charity of those
who dwelt but in the twilight of your open day--the very verger, sleek,
round, and smiling, as he stands by you in his sake-robes, shall, in his
honest zeal, supply an antidote for the evil, moralizing on the vanity
of such supplications, and winding up his simple homily with the
significant--"Where the tree falleth, there it shall lie!" Think on
that, rigid critic, and take heed how _you_ fall!--nor, if you have the
capacity for finding "good in every thing," will you disdain to learn
the lesson of instruction, which your own heart had failed to supply,
from so lowly a source.

But you still curl your sanctimonious lip, and shrug your pious
shoulders, in intimation of your knowing vastly better than your poor,
ignorant forefathers! Ah, well--then _live_ better; that is all we have
got to say to you!

Our very parish churches are now emulating the impressive ceremonial and
exquisite musical service of the cathedral. Enter, then, with us one
that has seemed, in some degree, to revive the glory of the olden time,
when men, as they received, gave lavishly for the service of the altar;
nor meted out their offerings with the niggard hand that is moved by the
heart of this generation; unmoved, unwarmed, but boastful of its
_light_--the light of a moonbeam playing on an iceberg! There is the
long sweep of the nave, with the open chancel (not separated from the
former by the richly carved and fretted screen, which, however beautiful
in itself, mars the grand effect of the whole) leading to the altar--we
are old-fashioned people, and fear not to offend by this old-fashioned
term--whose sacred garniture glows beneath the many tints of the fine
eastern window, with its monograms and emblems, and flowing-robed
apostles, through which the mellowed summer sun shines obliquely,
throwing strange, grotesque, many-coloured shadows on the walls and
pavement; while on either side tall lancet-shaped windows, thickly
covered with heraldic devices, bear modest record to the willing service
of those whose munificence has reared the pile, and give increased light
and richness to the scene. The great western window, also covered with
armorial bearings, throws a dim, yet kindling, tint on the stone font
aptly placed beneath it, as figurative of its character--initial to that
further sacrament, meetly celebrated where the star of Him who first
blessed it proclaimed His advent to the expectant world. While
throughout the holy building, high-springing arch, and sombre aisle, and
vaulted ceiling, and curiously-wrought oaken roof; all combine to
impress the mind with awe and admiration, with thoughts of the past and
hopes for the future.

But this is not all: these are but the glories of art, worthily
employed, indeed, in the service of the temple; 'tis but the body
without the life, the soul that animates it. Return at the decline of
day, when "man, who goeth forth unto his labour even unto the evening,"
has received a respite from his ordained toil, and seeks to refresh and
elevate his spirit, wearied and worn down with the low, inevitable cares
of the day, with the mingled prayer and chant, "rising and falling as on
angels' wings," that duly, at each appointed eve, swell through the
consecrated structure, filling its concave with solemn melody. The last
flush of evening has died in the west, and the scattered worshippers are
indistinctly seen by the dim lights, which, bringing out into strong
relief the parts immediately adjacent to the massive yet graceful
pillars to which they are attached, throw the rest of the interior into
deeper gloom, brought into sharp contrast with the illuminated
portions, by intersecting arch, clustered shaft, and all the endless
intricacies of Gothic architecture; exuberant with profusely decorated
spandrils, sculptured bosses, light flying buttresses, and delicate
fan-like tracery. How beautiful and hushed is all around! Now the
stillness is broken by approaching footsteps, and the white-robed train
of priests and choristers is seen advancing along the aisle, the organ
uttering its impressive modulations to soothe the heart, and still its
tumult of worldly care and feelings, that these may not, "like birds of
evil wing," mar the sacrifice about to be offered on its unworthy altar.
And then, amid the succeeding silence, fall on the ear--ay, on the very
soul!--the words of Holy Writ, deprecating the wrath of an offended
Creator, announcing pardon to the repentant, and cleansing from the
pollution of guilt to the heart, vexed with the defilement of this evil
world, and yearning after the purity of that higher existence for which,
erst designed, the inherited frailty of its nature, and the threefold
temptations that unweariedly beset it, have rendered it unfit and
unworthy.

How clear, simple, yet most thrilling, is the enunciation of those
words! and mark the superb harmony with which, proceeding in the sacred
service, the single plaintively modulated voice of the officiating
minister is answered by the choral supplications of the assembled
worshippers--swelling out in joyous exulting tones, and dying away in
sorrowful minor cadence, as though the shadow of sin and suffering fell
on those pathways to the highest heaven, clouding the radiance unmeet
for mortal eye! And if rude tremulous notes, from some of the lowly ones
who, still habited in their garb of daily toil, kneel by our side--for,
in that house, distinctions are there none--mingle with the harmony,
they mingle not harshly, for there is melody in the heart, and it is the
voice of a brother; not the less "bone of our bone, and flesh of our
flesh," that the blessings of this life have been more sparingly
bestowed on him--perchance to crown him more abundantly with glory and
honour in that which is to come. Succeeding each other, the antiphonal
chant--venerable with the port of near eighteen centuries; yea, with the
hoar of Jewish, as well as Christian antiquity--the exuberant anthem
with its ponderous chorus, and again, the joyous, melancholy, choral
response, wherein blend the voices of childish innocence, strong
manhood, and plaintive age, hear us on to the close;--that threefold
blessing which none may hear unmoved, and whose magnitude seems to
transcend our poor belief, as we reverently bow, in awed silence, musing
on its unfathomable import; while the deep, mellow voice that pronounced
it still lingers on the ear.

How imposing is the sight! One kneeling throng around--the indistinct
light, that clothes with mysterious grace the beautiful lineaments of
the Gothic structure--the bright gleam on the white and flowing
vestments;--and the _stillness!_ broken at length by a low, sad melody,
in accordance with the subdued tone resting on all, gradually rising
into the more swelling chords of the solemn organ, that, earthly strains
though they be, seen not unmeet to mingle with those exalted ones that
have gone before--rousing the heart from its more celestial
contemplations, and by gentle transition--like a descending
dove--bringing it down from its heavenward flight to that earth with
which its present daily and active duties are concerned, the more fitly
and cheerfully performed when thus hallowed; for, be it remembered, the
preparation for that unseen world to which we are tending, is the best
preparation for our continuance in this.

But the last wave of harmony has died away in the sounding aisles; one
by one the lights are extinguished, throwing the varied beauty of arch,
and niche, and pillar, into indistinguishable and fast deepening shade;
and, last of the train, we, with heart tranquillized and elevated by the
service of that evening hour, slowly follow the departing worshippers
into the still, clear night.

  M. J.



MARTHA BROWN.

BY AN ANCIENT CONTRIBUTOR.

TO THE EDITOR OF BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE.


Sir,--It is twenty years since I first contributed to your Magazine;--it
was rather a brief article, and was not inserted in the early part of
the work. In short, it consisted of a few lines in the Obituary at the
end of the Number, and was as follows:--"Died at Bunderjumm, in the East
Indies, Thomas Sneezum, Esq., much and justly regretted by a numerous
circle of friends and acquaintances." He was my uncle, sir, and I was
his heir,--a highly respectable man, and a remarkable judge of bullocks.
He was in the Commissariat, and died worth forty thousand pounds. If you
saw his monument, on the wall of our parish church, and read his
character, you would know what a beautiful sympathy exists between a
dead uncle and a grateful nephew. I took the name of Sneezum in addition
to my own--bought an estate, and an immense number of books--and
cultivated my land and literature with the greatest care. I planted
trees--I drained meadows--and wrote books. The trees grew--the meadows
flourished--but the books never came to an end. Something always
interfered. I never could get the people in my novels disposed of. When
they began talking, they talked for ever; when they fought duels, they
were always killed; and, by the time I had got them into the middle of a
scrape, I always forgot how I had intended to get them out of it. In
history, it was very nearly the same. Centuries jostled against each
other like a railway collision. I confused Charlemagne with Frederick
Barbarossa, and the Cardinal Richelieu with M. Thiers. So, with the
exception of the article I alluded to, in your Magazine, and a few
letters on the present potato disease in the Gardener's Guide, I am a
Great Unpublished--in the same way as I understand there are a number of
extraordinary geniuses in the dramatic line, who have called themselves
the Great Unacted. I can only hope that advancing civilization will
bring better days to us both--types for me--actors for them.

At the time of the lamented death of my uncle, I was about thirty years
of age, and for ten years before that, had been sleeping partner in a
house in Liverpool; and I can honestly say I did my part of the duty to
the perfect satisfaction of all concerned. I slept incessantly--not
exactly in a house in Liverpool but in a very comfortable one--the
drawing-room floor, near the Regent's Park. Twice a-year a balance-sheet
came in, and a little ready money. I put the money carefully away in a
drawer, and threw the balance-sheet in the fire. It was a very happy
life, for I subscribed to a circulating library, and wrote the
beginnings of books continually.

One day, about six months after I was in possession of the fortune, I
heard a ring at the bell. There was something in the ring different from
any I had ever heard before--a sort of sweet, modest tingling kind of a
ring. I felt as if somebody was shaking my hand all the time; and, on
looking back on the event, I think there must be something in mesmerism
and every thing else--homoeopathy and the water cure included; for it
was certainly quite unaccountable on ordinary principles--but so it was.
The maid was very slow in answering the bell. There was another pull.
The same mysterious effects--a sort of jump--a tremor as it were, not at
all unpleasant, but very odd--so I went to the door myself; and there
fixed on me, in the most extraordinary manner, were two of the blackest
eyes I ever saw--illuminating cheeks of a dark yellow colour, and
increasing the whiteness of the most snowy teeth--the brightest,
glistenest, shiningest, teeth that can possibly be imagined. She
wore--for I may as well tell you it was a woman--she wore a flowing
white veil upon her head, the queerest petticoats, and funniest
shoes--at that time I had not seen the Chinese Collection and thought it
was Desdemona (whom I had seen Mr Kean put to death a few nights before)
"walking" in some of Othello's clothes. What she said, or if she said
any thing, I was too much astonished to make out; but she walked into my
room, smiling with her wonderful teeth, and curtsying with the
extraordinary petticoats down to the very floor--and calling me "Massa
Sib."

"My good woman," I said, "I am afraid you make a mistake. I don't know
any one of the name of Sib;" but I checked myself, for I thought she
perhaps mistook me--I wore prodigious whiskers at that time--for a
gallant colonel, whose name begins with that euphonious syllable.

"No, no--no colonel," she said; "me wants _you_--me no care for
colonels." What could she possibly want with me? I had never seen the
woman before, or any body like her, except a picture of the Queen of
Sheba when she was on a visit to Solomon. Could this woman come from
Sheba? Could she take me for--no, no--she couldn't possibly take me for
Solomon. So I was quite non-plussed.

"You no get no letter, Massa Sib, to tell you we was to come--eh?"

A letter? a letter?--I had had a hundred and fifty letters, but put them
all into a box. How was it possible for me to read such a number? and
who did she mean by _us_? How many more of then were coming?

"Massa Sib vill be so fond of him's babba--him vill"----

A dreadful thought came into my head--a conspiracy to extort money--a
declaration at Bow Street--a weekly allowance. "Woman!" I said, "what,
in heaven's name, do you mean by babba?"

"Dee little babb; it is so pretty--so like him papa."

"And whose baby is it? for I suppose it's a baby you mean, by your
chatter about a babb."

"Your's. Oh! you will so lubb it."

"Mine? you detestable impostor, I never had such a thing in all my
life."

"And here it is--oh, dee pretty dear!"

And at that moment, another woman, dressed in the same outlandish style
as herself, brought up a little round parcel, that looked like a bundle
of clothes, and, before I had time to say a word, or shut the door, or
fly, placed it in my arms; and then both the women showed their
glistening teeth, stretching from ear to ear, and screamed out in
chorus, "You vill so lubb dee babba--it is such a pretty dear!"

I stood in a state of stupefaction for some time, but the dark-visaged
visitors by no means shared my inactivity; they ran, and screamed, and
bustled; trotted down stairs, jumped up again, and filled the whole
passage; then the drawing-room; then the little bedroom behind it, with
trunks, and bags, and band-boxes, and bird-cages full of parrots, and
cloaks, and shawls; till at last, when I started from my trance--in
doing which, nearly let the baby fall--I found my whole house taken
possession of, and the two women apparently as much at home as if they
had lived with me twenty years.

I unrolled the shawls and things from the baby's face. It was an infant
about a year old, and opened its eyes as I was looking at it, and looked
so wisely and sagaciously at me in return, that I could almost believe
it knew as much of the proceeding as I did--and this it might very
easily have done, without being a miracle of premature information, for
I had not the remotest conception of what the whole thing was about. So
I laid the child on the sofa, and went to the bell to ring for a
policeman.

"Oh, don't ring him bell, ve are so comfitable here!" said one of the
women. "Yesha vill go home 'gain, and I vill habb little bed in t'oder
room, and vill sleep vid dee babb--so nice!"

"Oh, you will--will you? We'll see about that," I answered, astonished
at the woman's impudence. "I will get you and your little lump of
Newcastle"--this was an allusion to her colour--"turned out into the
street."

"Oh, Massa Moggan vill soon be here! Him wrote letter a veek since; but
him vill come to-day."

"Oh!"----

So I did not pull the bell, but looked at the two intruders just as
Macready looks at the witches in _Macbeth_; for Mr Morgan was my legal
adviser, and had been my uncle's agent, and transacted all the business
connected with the succession; and I had such confidence in him that I
never opened his letters, and had of course thrown the note they talked
of into the great wooden box that was the receptacle of all my
correspondence.

In the mean time, the baby began to squall.

"Take the brat away, and I'll tell a little bit of my mind to Mr
Morgan," I said, grinding my teeth in a horrible passion; and, in a
moment, the two women disappeared with the child, roaring and screaming,
as if they had stuck pins into it on purpose to drive me mad.

If I had been a man of a tragic turn of mind, and fond of giving vent to
the passion of a scene, I would have walked up and down the room,
striking myself on the brow or breast, and shouting, "Confusion!
distraction!" and other powerful words which Mr Kean used to deliver
with astonishing emphasis; but I had no talent for the intense, and
threw myself on the sofa, exclaiming, "Here's a pretty go!"

And a pretty go it undoubtedly was--two black women and a
saffron-coloured baby established with me, as if I had been married to a
Hottentot; and my sister-in-law, as is very often the case, had come to
attend to her nieces' morals and education.

"So! Mr Morgan, what is the meaning of all this?"

But before I had time for further exclamations, my friend Mr Morgan, who
had come quietly into the room, interrupted me----

"Hush, my dear Sneezum--you are delighted, I'm sure. A most interesting
incident--eh, Sneezum?"

"Oh! these things do all very well in a book," I began; "but, by jingo,
sir, it's a very different thing in real life; and I tell you very
fairly, I'd sooner be married at once than have all the troubles of
bringing up a set of children that I have nothing to do with."

"Children! my dear Sneezum?"

"To be sure; how do I know that some more black women mayn't come--with
some more children--till my house grows like a gallery of bronzed
figures; but I'll sell them--see if I don't; I'll pack them all on an
Italian boy's head-board, and sell them to the doctors--every one."

"You labour under a mistake, my dear Sneezum. You've got my letter?"

"Yes--I got it--but"----

"Oh, then, of course you are too happy to show such respect to the
wishes of the defunct."

"What defunct?"

"Your uncle."

"What! uncle Sneezum?" and a wonderful light seemed to break in upon my
mind.--"He sent this baby here?"

Mr Morgan nodded his head; and, being a man of great caution, he only
put his finger in a mysterious manner alongside of his nose, and said--

"Secrets in all families, Sneezum."

"Oho! well--but the women--they're ugly customers, both of them; uncle
Sneezum was no judge of beauty."

"The women! what do you mean?" said Mr Morgan.

"Ay, which of them is it? but you need hardly tell, for I should never
know which of them you meant; they're a great deal liker each other than
any two peas _I_ ever saw. Are we to call her Mrs Sneezum?"

Here Mr Morgan burst into a great laugh.

"My dear Sneezum, you are always trying to find out some wonderful scene
or other to put into one of your books. No, no--these are two nurses;
one will remain in charge of the child, the other returns immediately to
Calcutta."

"And where will the one that is to remain--where will she live?" I asked
with a fearful presentiment of something shockingly unpleasant. But
before he had time to answer, the black visage of the nurse herself
appeared at the door, smiling with more blindingly white teeth than
ever.

"We have took dee room below dis--dee babb is in dee beautiful bed, and
ve vill never leave Massa Sib--never no more--so nice!"

So I was booked, and felt it useless to complain.


CHAPTER II.

Fifteen years passed on most happily. I established myself, or rather
old Morgan established me, in my present house; he paid £25,000 for the
estate; and I have gone on, as I told you at the beginning of this
letter, cultivating my farm and my talents with the utmost care. The
little girl grew and grew till I thought she would never stop; and by
the time she was sixteen she was at least an inch taller than I was.
Many people like those prodigious women of five feet six--I'm only five
feet five myself, which I believe was the exact measurement of Napoleon;
and I must confess that when I looked on Martha Brown--that was her
name--a sort of compliment I always thought to the complexion of her
Hindoo mother--I could not imagine how she could be the child of such a
curious old-fashioned looking individual as I had heard my uncle Sneezum
was. Well, she grew tall--and grew stout--and grew clever; and if old
Morgan had been her father himself, he could not have taken more care of
her. He was always down at Goslingbury, (that's the name of my place--I
sometimes put "Park" after it; but the lawn is now in turnips, and not
the least like Blenheim,) and his wife, and his two daughters, and his
little boy--in fact, the whole family; and though, I confess, they were
always most friendly and attentive to _me_, their principal cares were
bestowed on Martha Brown. I never push myself where I perceive my
company is not greatly desired; so I went out to see the planting, or
thin the copses, or make new fences, or superintend the ploughing, or
betook myself to my study, and gave full way to the wildest flights of
fancy in my everlasting first chapters of a novel or romance.

Sir,--It was at that time--now nearly four years ago--that I began a
work which I don't believe the most hostile criticism--but I will not
boast; it will be enough to say that I consider it equal to any two
introductory chapters I ever read. The whole of the first consists in a
description of my own house--the name of course changed, and the
locality removed to another county. I give the number of the rooms, the
width of the passages, the height of ceilings, and a description of the
new lifting-hinges to the dining-room door, that raise it over the
turkey carpet, without sacrificing, as is usual, an inch of the lower
part, and leaving a great interval at the sill. The fields are also very
particularly described, and in some instances the exact measurement
given; it gives such an appearance of reality, as may be seen in
Ainsworth and others; and the second chapter is devoted, or meant to be
devoted, to the living interests of the story--the _dramatis personæ_,
as it were--with hopes, fears, griefs, and the other passions alluded to
in Collins's ode.

Mystery has an indescribable charm, which is the thing that makes me so
fond of riddles; and so I determined to have a hero or a heroine, I did
not care which, of a most unexampled kind. But how to invent an
unexampled hero, I could not imagine. Some disgusting fellow had always
done it before: even a blackamoor had been taken up--for there was that
horrid Othello; a Jew--there was Sheva; a puppy--there was Pelham; a
pickpocket--there was Jack Sheppard; and at last, as the sweet source of
mystery, and the pleasantest one to unravel, I thought I would take
myself. Yes, I would be the hero of my own book; and as to a heroine,
why, one of the Misses Morgan, or Martha Brown, or old Mrs Morgan, or
the Indian nurse, (whose name was Ayah, which is Sanscrit or Cherokee
for her situation,) any body would do. I was not at all particular; so I
began my own description.

It is amazing how little difference there is between man and man. A very
few touches judiciously applied, would make Roebuck into Wellington,
especially if Roebuck held the brush himself. Involuntarily I found my
height increasing, my _embonpoint_ diminishing, my eyes brightening, my
hair disporting in wavy ringlets over a majestic brow, till at the end
of the second page I was Theodore Fitzhedingham, twenty-five years of
age, with several grandfathers and grandmothers distinguished in history
before the Norman conquest, and a clear rent-roll of forty thousand
a-year. And yet, after all, it was my own individual self, Thomas Smith
Sneezum--not, perhaps, exactly as I was at that moment--but as I had
often and often fancied myself when I had gone through a course of
Thaddeus of Warsaws, and other chronicles of the brave and beautiful.
For, I confess, I was no wiser than other people, and it is well known
they have an amazing tendency to identify themselves with the characters
of the books they read, which perhaps accounts for the contempt that
Doctors' or Clergymen's wives in country villages entertain for any body
of the name of Snookes; and gives them so prodigious an opinion of their
own importance, that they wouldn't visit a stockbroker or flannel
manufacturer for the world. But there I was, stuck in the third page of
the second chapter--Theodore Fitzhedingham--blessed with all that
handsomeness, and rolling in all that money, and not able to move hand
or foot, or in short make the least progress towards the _dénouement_ of
the story. For, with all my study, I could not manufacture a heroine out
of any of the girls around me. Miss Letitia Morgan had false teeth--I
found it quite impossible to make a heroine of _her_; and besides, I was
not even sure of the genuineness of the long curls at the side of her
face. For, you will observe, that the beautifying process I have
mentioned above; seems strictly confined to one's own particular case.
No lying and swopping, and altering and amending, would make those long
brown artificial incisors--you saw a roll of the gold wire every time
she laughed--into a row of pearls encased in a casket of ruby. That is
my description of white teeth in red lips, and I think it is far from
bad. Then Miss Sophia was immensely tall, and immensely thin; and in the
mornings when she appeared _en negligée_, as they say in the _Morning
Post_, her clothes hung straight down in perpendicular descent, so that
she looked exactly like the canvass air funnels that you see in a
steam-boat: and there were no outs and ins, or ups and downs, about her
figure from top to toe; and I found it impossible, for a particular
reason, to supply these deficiencies by the exercise of my ingenuity in
description And that particular reason was this,--that she did it
herself. Lord! what a change took place on Miss Sophia as you saw her
gliding about the room like a half emptied pillow-case in the morning,
and the grand and _distinguée_ (_Morning Post_ again) individual that
choked up all the doorways, and occupied whole sofas, when you met her
at a party at night. Then there were such flounces and tucks, and
furbelows,--she sailed through the room enveloped in such awful
circumgyrations of muslin--so pulled in at the waist, and so inflated
every where else, that she looked--as you saw only her neck and
shoulders emerging from the enormous circle in which the rest of her was
buried--like an intrepid æronaut who has fallen by some accident through
a hole in the balloon, and you were lost in calculations of the length
of darning-needle that would be needed to reach to the _vera
superficies_. Now if I invent, I like to have the honour of the
invention entirely to myself; and I found it impracticable to extract a
heroine from seven or eight spring gauze petticoats, and a roll of
millinery below the waist, that looked like a military cloak rolled up
on the crupper of a life-guardsman's saddle. Then poor Martha Brown was
too young, and at that time too bashful, for a heroine; and besides,
there was no getting over the blot on her birth. Theodore Fitzhedingham
could never think of paying attention to the daughter of a Hindoo woman
and old Sneezum, the bullock contractor of Bunderjumm. One day I had
been at work in one of the plantations, and just as I was marking with
my hand-axe a birch tree to be felled, a thought came into my head. I
left the cross half executed, and threw the axe on the bank, hurried
home, and locked myself in the study. Pen and paper were lying before
me, and in a moment I had got deep into the introduction of my heroine.
She was an orphan thrown on Fitzhedingham's care--young, beautiful,
accomplished, but of unknown mysterious parentage--and the _dénouement_
to consist in the discovery that her father was----but I won't mention
it just now, for half the value of these things consists in the
surprise. I will give you a page or two of it, only begging you to
remark how entirely a man's style alters when he gets into a serious
work. Here I go gabbling on and on to you, without much regard to style,
or perhaps to grammar--(if there are any slips in it, have the kindness
to correct them before you show this to any one)--but the instant I take
up my pen to write a portion of my novel, I get dignified and heroic,
perhaps you will say a little stiff, but I assure you I have formed
myself on the best models. The passage I alluded to was this:--

"To all the graces of external beauty Maria Valentine de Courcy united
all the captivations of the intellect--all the attractions of the
understanding,--all the enchantments of the soul. Cast in the finest
mould of earthly loveliness--radiant in all the charms of youth, of
innocence, and of integrity--she was the loved of all approachers--the
idol of all observers--the appropriator of all affections. A little more
ethereal, she would have been a goddess--a little less celestial, she
would have been a more ordinary woman than she was. For her nature was
of too lofty a kind--her spirit of too sublimated a character--her
disposition of too beatified a placidity, to allow her to be classed
with the other individuals constituting the female sex. A period of many
years had elapsed since she first took up her residence among the proud
halls--the baronial corridors--the heraldic passages of Fitzhedingham
Castle. Winter had found her wandering in the snowy lanes--Spring had
noticed her careering in the budding meadows--Summer had beheld her
perambulating through the flowery grove--and Autumn had kept his eye on
her as she galloped her managed palfrey through the umbrageous orchard,
or skimmed in her light bark over the pellucid bosom of the silver lake.
For many years such had been her unvarying course; and if loveliness has
a charm--if innocence has an attraction--if youth has a
witchery--all--all--were concentrated in the noble figure and
exquisitely-chiselled countenance of the subject of our sketch. The
colouring of a Titian, the elasticity of a Rubens, the magnificence of a
Michael Angelo Buonaparte."--

"Sneezum, Sneezum!" cried old Morgan, kicking with all his might at the
study-door; and interrupting me before I could exactly settle how the
sentence was to be properly ended--"Come and bid poor Billy good-bye."

"Billy? who's Billy?" I thought--a little perplexed, perhaps, with the
labours of composition.

"Come; he's off this minute for Dublin, where he joins the
Trigonometrical Survey--a great honour for a fellow not six months in
the Engineers."

The old fool was talking about his son William Morgan, who had been at
Goslingbury (Park, when I get the turnips up and the grass sown) for a
month--a nice merry young man; and so clever at mathematics, and
hydraulics, and other scientific pursuits, that he had won all the
prizes at Addiscombe; and, though only a second lieutenant, was chosen
to conduct a great survey of Ireland.

"I'm coming," I said; and bundled away my description of Maria Valentine
de Courcy; and away old Morgan and I went to the lawn, where we expected
to find the soldier. But no soldier, nor any body else, was to be seen.

"His mother and sisters are making fools of themselves, I daresay," said
I, "blubbering and crying over the boy, as if he was going out to settle
in New Zealand."

"I suspect there's a good deal of crying going on," replied old Morgan;
"let us look into the summer-house at the top of the garden." So we
hurried up the grass walk; and just as we got to the door, I was in the
very act of stepping into the bower, and old Morgan close on my heels,
when a man, with a handkerchief held to his eyes, rushed distractedly
upon us, and rolled us both down the steps, as if we had been pushed by
a bull; and in a minute or so, when I came to myself; I found my heels
in a gooseberry bush, and my head tight-jammed into a flower-pot; old
Morgan had rolled over into the next bed, which was prepared for celery,
and he lay in one of the long troughs, with his hands folded across his
breast, and evidently persuaded that he was his own effigy on the top of
his own tomb. And this was all the leave-taking we had with the
engineer; for, in an agony of grief at parting from his mother, and
perhaps to hide his crying, he had hurried out blindfolded, and took no
more notice of his host and his father than if we had been a couple of
old cabbage-stalks. However, I got up as soon as I was able, and
assisted Morgan once more upon his feet. This time we proceeded more
cautiously into the summer-house; and on the bench we saw Martha Brown
sitting and sobbing with all her might, with her head on Mrs Morgan's
shoulder, and Miss Sophia holding a bottle of salts to her nose; while a
tear, every now and then, rolled slowly over the tip of her own; and
Miss Letitia chafing the sufferer's hands, and occasionally giving them
a thump, as if to guard against a fit of hysterics.

Those Hindoos are certainly beautifully made. I never saw any thing more
graceful than the recumbent figure of Martha Brown; and I think that was
the first time I remarked that she was no longer a child. Up to that
moment I had scarcely observed her size; but there she was--a regular
full-grown woman--though, I must say, she was behaving rather like an
infant, to keep whimpering and sobbing in such a ridiculous way, merely
because I had fallen down-stairs.

"What is all this?" I said; "has any body hurt the child?"

"No, no, Mr Sneezum!" exclaimed Mrs Morgan, without looking at me;
"leave her alone for a minute or two; it will soon be over."

"How do feel, dear?" enquired Miss Letitia.

"Are you any better, love?" asked Miss Sophia.

And it was very evident they gave themselves no concern about the nearly
fatal accident we had met with, which had affected poor Martha so
deeply; so I became a little warm.

"Very pretty--very pretty this--upon my word! What in heaven's name is
the matter with you all? Here has been that blundering booby William,
pushed his father and me down-stairs, and Martha seems the only one that
would care a farthing if we had both been killed."

Upon this the girl made a great effort, and lifted up her head; but the
moment her eyes rested on me she gave a great scream--wild laughter
mixed with the most dreadful sobs; and she was fairly off in an
hysterical attack.

"Why, she's worse than she was," I said; but old Morgan took me aside.

"Don't you see," he said, "that she's of a most affectionate, gentle
nature, and that William's rushing off in the way he did"--

"Ay, to be sure, and upsetting me in such a dangerous manner. Poor
thing! is it all for my sake do you think she's crying?" So I went and
took her hand, and said--"Don't cry, Martha, don't cry--I'm not a bit
hurt--so be a good girl, and don't vex yourself any more."

Upon this, Mrs Morgan looked at me as if she thought me deranged--so did
Miss Letitia--and so did Miss Sophia; and even Martha, when she looked
at me again, fell back in fresh fit, holloing "His head! his head"--and
this time it was more laughter than sobs.

"Come away--come away," said old Morgan at last; "no wonder you frighten
them all to death. What the deuce is that you've got on your head?"

And there stood I with my brows enveloped by the flower-pot.


CHAPTER III.

I saw the Morgans were making a dead set to take me in. Sometimes it was
Miss Letitia, and sometimes Miss Sophia--and always the mother. To hear
that woman talk of her daughters, you would swear that two such were
never known on earth before. Their sweetness--their temper--their
beauty--the numbers of people that were in love with them--the hosts of
rich and handsome fellows they had rejected, and the decided turn both
of them had for a quiet country life, and the society of a
well-educated, intellectual man of a certain age. She was a wonderful
woman Mrs Morgan, and I really believe she thought she was speaking the
simple truth all the time. But it wouldn't do--I judged for myself, and
never took the least notice of all her hints and boastings. I tried to
have them less about the house than they used to be; but nothing would
keep them away--they always pretended it was for the sake of Martha
Brown--a very likely story that they should trouble their heads about my
uncle's anonymous contribution to the population returns, when his
veritable nephew and heir was to be had by hook or crook. But I don't
mean any disparagement by that to the poor little girl herself--far from
it--she was the nicest creature in the world, and really not so black as
I had thought; and she was now nearly twenty-one, and played and
sung--and such an excellent critic, too! I always read my writings to
her the moment they were finished, and she never found the slightest
fault in any of them. I had left my description of Maria Valentine de
Courcy incompleted for several years--for it is a long time now since
the foolish adventure of the flower-pot first showed me that she took a
tenderer interest in me than merely that of a cousin--and I now
determined to give my second chapter the finishing touch, and consult
her on the farther conduct of the story.

"Martha," I said, "I wish you would listen for a minute or two to what
I've written."

So she sat down in my study, and worked a flower in an Ottoman square,
and was evidently prepared to listen with the utmost attention.

"It is the rest of the second chapter."

"Oh, are you only there yet? I was in hopes you had come to the end of
the story."

To the end of the story! Could the girl be hinting that I ought to tell
her my mind; for I must tell you, I had so completely got over all
prejudice about her birth, that I was strongly tempted to give an
additional proof of my veneration for my uncle's memory, by giving his
poor little orphan my name. Can she mean any thing by wishing me to come
to the end of the story?

"How do you mean to wind up?" she asked.

"Oh! in a most mysterious and surprising manner; but we haven't got near
the _dénouement_ yet. There must be a duel, of course--a
misunderstanding--and a rival."

"Oh! Theodore Fitzhedingham has no occasion to fear a rival," said
Martha, pretending to have lost the stitch.

"No! 'Pon my word that's very good of you. Do you really think that
Maria Valentine de Courcy will prefer him to every one else?"

"She will be a very foolish, a very ungrateful girl, if she doesn't--for
hasn't he loved her ever since she was a child?"

"Well, Martha, you are certainly a very nice, a very affectionate girl;
and I may as well put your mind at rest at once by telling you"--

"Sneezum! Sneezum!"

There was old Morgan again kicking at the study door, and holloing
Sneezum with all his might. I had taken Martha's hand, and was just
going to tell her to make preparations to become Mrs Sneezum in a week
or two. I let go her hand, and rushed to the door.

"What the mischief do you want?"

"Why, here's Billy come back again," he said; "won't you come and give a
welcome to poor Billy?"

"No; I be hang'd if I do. He has never apologized for pushing me down
the steps; tell him to get out of my house; I have not forgot what alarm
my accident caused to poor Martha. Don't you remember it, my dear?"

But there sat Martha--sometimes red and sometimes white--with tears in
her eyes, and her lips half open, like the picture of St Cecilia.

"There! the very recollection of it frightens her to death. Go to your
room, my dear, and I'll send this blustering fellow out of the house."

She glided out of the study without speaking a word, and I hurried to
the drawing-room, but no Billy was there. His mother and sisters were
luckily in London, so I turned angrily round on the father.

"A pretty fellow this son of yours--never one word of apology, either to
me or Martha--I won't have him roystering here at all hours, frightening
affectionate little girls with his violence."

"Who is it he has frightened?" enquired old Morgan; "who are the
affectionate girls you mean? I'm sure he has never caused the least
alarm to his sisters in his life."

"Perhaps not--perhaps not, Mr Morgan; but there is another girl that I
wouldn't have any injury done to on any account. In fact, I may as well
tell you at once, that Martha evidently expects me to provide for her
happiness, and I am going to do it."

"Well, nothing can be fairer--but how?"

"Why, as to any little blot on her birth, I don't care much about it.
Uncle was a kind friend to me, and I really think I can't do better than
give a good steady husband to his child."

"Bravo! bravo! when you have found her."

"What do you mean by--when I have found her?"

"Why, have you never read the letters?"

"No; I never read letters. They're all in the wooden box."

"Then where, when, or how, have you encountered a daughter of your
uncle?"

"Why, Martha Brown. I tell you I don't dislike a little dash of Hindoo
blood; it's like curry, and gives a flavour."

"And who is the husband you have chosen for her?"

"Myself."

Old Morgan burst into a prodigious laugh, but I was in no humour to
stand such nonsense. I got into a furious passion--he answered in an
insulting manner--and so I ordered him to get out of my house, him and
his son, and all his baggage.

"Certainly, certainly, Mr Sneezum, but you'll repent of it; and, as to
your marrying Martha, you'll just as soon marry the Princess-Royal."

When he was gone, I went in search of Martha to settle the matter at
once. There was a circular basin among the shrubs upon the lawn, with a
nymph cowering under a waterfall that fell all round her like a veil--a
very pretty ornament to the grounds--and at one side of it was a little
arbour, where I used often to sit and see the sun make rainbows out of
the spray that rose round the head of the nymph. To get to it, it was
necessary to walk on the ledge of the wall that rose a little above the
water in the basin, and this I was induced to do; for, as I was
searching for Martha, I thought I heard a voice in the arbour, and I
hurried on to tell her what I had done to old Morgan. I stept steadily
on tiptoe along the coping-stone--for I wished to surprise her--but on
getting to the opening of the arbour, a sight met my eyes that made me
lose my balance all of a sudden; and with a start of rage and
indignation, I stept backward into the pond, and was forced to battle
among the water-lilies for my life. Martha rushed from the arbour and
held out her hands in vain; but the person with her--a tall young man,
with bushy whiskers and an enormous pair of mustaches--leapt into the
basin and lifted me on to the bank, just as I had found it useless to
try any longer to rise above the broad leaves that floated on the top,
and made up my mind to give it up as a bad job. When I came to myself my
preserver was gone, but Martha was supporting my head.

"Oh, you double-faced, deceitful gipsy!" I began. "Who would have
thought you would be sitting, hand locked in hand, with a horrid fellow
like the ruffian that was with you in the bower?"

"The ruffian! My dear guardian, don't you know him?"

"How should I? I never saw the vagabond's ugly face before."

"Why, it's William Morgan--how strange you shouldn't recognise him!"

"Well, if it were twenty William Morgans, that's no reason you should
sit with your hand in his like the sign of the fire-office over our
stable-door."

"Oh, he's such an old friend! Recollect, sir, we grew up together, and
now how can you keep your anger against him? He has saved your life."

"After first startling me into the water. No, no; I'll have none of the
Morgans here. I'll go and get changed, and then I'll finish what I was
going to tell you when Morgan came to the door."

I was inflexible; I wouldn't let one of the Morgans into my house. Miss
Letitia wrote a letter of four pages, and Miss Sophia enclosed a sonnet.
Nothing would do. I resolved to keep Martha all to myself; and, for fear
of other adventures in the bower, I gave her positive orders not to
leave the house. I set people to watch her. I threatened to hang her
Ayah with my own hands, and showed her the very bough of the tree I
would do it on, if Martha was allowed to speak to any body but myself. I
resolved to marry her in a week; and, merely to prevent her being
harassed by the Morgans in the interval, I took all these precautions.
After that, I determined to pardon the whole family, and had even
prepared a letter asking them all to dinner on our wedding-day. Martha
did not seem inconsolable. Day after day passed away; and, to show how
easy I was in my mind, I went on with the last chapter of my novel,
leaving all the middle part to be filled up at my leisure.

One morning--it was last Wednesday--I went into the study, and had just
taken pen in hand, when I recollected that that was the very day I had
summoned all the labourers on the estate to resist the approach of the
levellers and engineers of a disgusting railway that was determined to
force itself right through my garden and close under the dining-room
windows. I went out to the barn--all the men were there. I gave orders
to them to warn the intruders off; if they resisted, to knock them down
without ceremony and keep them in custody till I could get them before a
magistrate. Having satisfied my mind on these points, I felt so sure of
my object being gained in both respects--that is, Martha and the
railway--that I dispatched my letter to old Morgan, inviting the whole
family to dine with me on Friday, the day I had fixed on for the
marriage. Martha sat by my side in the study, and went on with the
everlasting Ottoman square. I read to her--

"'Is it in the circle of possible events--is it a contingency to be
calculated on in the decrees of fate,' exclaimed Theodore
Fitzhedingham--(this was the finest bit out of my last chapter)--'that
the girl I have loved--the paragon I have worshipped--the angel I have
adored, is, indeed no longer the humbly born maid I thought her but the
descendant of princes--the kinswoman of emperors--the inheritrix of
kings?'

"'It certainly is far from false, nay, it is absolutely true,' returned
Maria Valentine de Courcy, with a condescending smile, 'that I am not
the person you have taken me for, but oh! beloved Theodore--faithful
Fitzhedingham, need I tell you that my love is unaltered, my affections
are unabated, my heart unchanged'"----

"Sir! sir!" cried voice at the door, "they be come." I hurried out; my
servant was armed with the poker, I seized the hall tongs as I passed
through; and on the lawn, in the coolest possible manner, were about
half a dozen fellows smoking their cigars, and occasionally looking
through a bright brass instrument upon a three-legged stand, and noting
down the result with the greatest nonchalance.

"Oho!" I cried, and rushed at the intruders, "run for the people in the
barn, Thomas. Who are you, you infernal interloping vagabonds?"

"Engineers of the Episcopal and Universal Railway Company, sir, and we
will trouble you to stand out of the way," said a tall blackguard,
scarcely deigning to look at me.

"Oh, you are, are you? Just wait a minute till my men come up, and I'll
have you and your railway ducked in the horsepond."

"Don't interrupt us, old man," replied the scientific ruffian; "if we do
any damage, charge it to the Company--we have seventy-five thousand
shares, and can afford to pay any claims."

"Here!" I cried to the men, "catch that long villain with the dwarf
telescope and take him into the house; if I don't get him six weeks of
the treadmill my name is not Tom Sneezum."

The man made a stout resistance, but at last was overpowered, and
carried into the hall. I helped to repel the others, and as they were
tolerably civil, now that the ringleader was gone, I contented myself
with walking them to the very end of my boundaries, and gave them
notice, that if they ventured to return, I would treat them exactly as I
had done their chief. This whole business did not take up more than an
hour; and before going home, I walked across to Major Slowtops, the
nearest magistrate, and luckily found him at home. He promised to
trounce the fellow handsomely when I brought him; and telling him I
would be back with the culprit and the witnesses in half an hour, I
returned in no little triumph to Goslingbury.

"Where is the vagabond?" I exclaimed, when I got into the house.

"He's been gone this hour, sir," said Thomas, hardly able to keep in a
laugh.

"Gone! who let him go?"

"Why, he ordered the carriage, sir, and him and Miss Martha is off for
London."

"Are you mad, Thomas?--what is it you're speaking of? Where is the
rascally leveller of the railway?"

"Lor', sir--don't you know? It was only Mr William at one of his tricks.
The moment he took off the spectacles we all knew him, and Miss Martha
seemed so pleased"--

"Did she?"

"Oh, yes! and Mr William--but they say he's Captain Morgan now--laughed
so. It was certainly a rare good surprise--wasn't it, sir?"

I rushed into my study. "Let her go!" I said, "the false, deceitful
Hottentot, or Hindoo, or whatever she is; she's as black as my hat, and
a disgrace to my old uncle." So I stood very quietly, brooding over my
misfortune--if a misfortune it was--and revenging myself by tearing into
a million pieces the beginning and the end of my romantic novel.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Here we are, Sneezum, my boy!" said old Morgan, on the Friday, at about
two o'clock; "I've come on before, to tell you to get into good-humour;
for perhaps you've forgotten the invitations you gave us all for
to-day."

"What has become of the young woman?" I asked, with a very disdainful
look; "my uncle's unowned little girl?"

"Do you mean William's wife?" inquired Mr Morgan; "they were married
this morning, at St George's, Hanover Square, and will take you for an
hour or two on their way to the North."

"I think, sir, as her guardian--not to say her cousin"----

"There, my dear Sneezum, you are altogether wrong; she was no relation
of your uncle. She was the daughter of a Mr Brown of the Commissariat,
and left to your uncle's charge; you, of course, succeeded to the
guardianship as his representative; but she is no more a Hindoo than you
are."

"That makes it worse, sir."

"Come, come, old Sneezum, don't keep up your anger; recollect you are
old enough to be her father, and that she likes you next in the whole
world to William. Shake hands with them, and be friends; and if you ever
had the folly to think of marrying her, keep your own secret, and nobody
will be a bit the wiser."

I thought old Morgan advised very wisely--so, if you show this to any
body, alter the names a little; for I would not have it known for the
world.--Believe me, sir, your obedient servant,

  T. S. S.



MARLBOROUGH.

NO. III.


The campaign of 1707 opened under very different auspices to the Allies
from any which had preceded it:--Blenheim had saved Germany, Ramilies
had delivered Brabant. The power of the Grande Monarque no longer made
Europe tremble. The immense advantage which he had gained in the outset
of the contest, by the declaration of the governor of Flanders for the
cause of the Bourbons, and the consequent transference of the Flemish
fortresses into his hands, had been lost. It was more than lost--it had
been won to the enemy. Brussels, Antwerp, Menin, Ath, Ostend, Ghent,
Dendermonde, Louvain, now acknowledged the Archduke Charles for their
sovereign; the states of Brabant had sent in their adhesion to the Grand
Alliance. Italy had been lost as rapidly as it had been won; the stroke
of Marlborough at Ramilies had been re-echoed at Turin; and Eugene had
expelled the French arms from Piedmont as effectually as Marlborough had
from Flanders. Reduced on all sides to his own resources, wakened from
his dream of foreign conquests, Louis XIV. now sought only to defend his
own frontier; and the arms which had formerly been at the gates of
Amsterdam, and recently carried terror into the centre of Germany, were
now reduced to a painful defensive on the Scheldt and the Rhine.

These great advantages would, in all probability, notwithstanding the
usual supineness and divisions of the Allied Powers, have led to their
obtaining signal success in the next campaign, had not their attention
been, early in spring, arrested, and their efforts paralyzed by a new
and formidable actor on the theatre of affairs. This was no less a man
than CHARLES XII. KING OF SWEDEN; who, after having defeated the
coalition of the northern sovereigns formed for his destruction,
dictated peace to Denmark at Copenhagen, dethroned the King of Poland,
and wellnigh overturned the empire of Russia--had now advanced his
victorious standards into the centre of Germany, and at the head of an
army hitherto invincible, fifty thousand strong, stationed himself at
Dresden, where he had become the arbiter of Europe, and threatened
destruction to either of the parties engaged in the contest on the Rhine
against whom he chose to direct his hostility.

This extraordinary man approached closer than any warrior of modern
times to the great men of antiquity. More nearly even than Napoleon, he
realized the heroes of Plutarch--a Stoic in pacific, he was a Cæsar in
military life. He had all their virtues, and a considerable share of
their barbarism. Achilles did not surpass him in the thirst for warlike
renown, nor Hannibal in the perseverance of his character and the
fruitfulness of his resources; like Alexander, he would have wept
because a world did not remain to conquer. Indefatigable in fatigue,
resolute in determination, a lion in heart, he knew no fear but that of
his glory being tarnished. Endowed by nature with a constitution of
iron, he was capable of undergoing a greater amount of fatigue than any
of his soldiers: at the siege of Stralsund, when some of his officers
were sinking under the exhaustion of protracted watching, he desired
them to retire to rest, and himself took their place. Outstripping his
followers in speed, at one time he rode across Germany, almost alone, in
an incredibly short space of time: at another, he defended himself for
days together, at the head of a handful of attendants, in a barricaded
house, against ten thousand Turks. Wrapt up in the passion for fame, he
was insensible to the inferior desires which usually rouse or mislead
mankind. Wine had no attractions, women no seductions for him: he was
indifferent to personal comforts or accommodations; his fare was as
simple, his dress as plain, his lodging as rude, as those of the meanest
of his followers. To one end alone his attention was exclusively
directed, on one acquisition alone his heart was set. Glory, military
glory, was the ceaseless object of his ambition; all lesser desires
were concentrated in this ruling passion; for this he lived, for this
he died.

That his military abilities were of the very highest order, may be
judged of by the fact that, with the resources of the poor monarchy of
Sweden, not at that period containing two millions of inhabitants, he
entirely defeated a coalition of Russia, Denmark, and Poland, headed by
the vast capacity and persevering energy of Peter the Great, and
numbering not less than forty millions of subjects under its various
sovereigns. Nor let it be said that these nations were rude in the
military art, and unfit to contend in the field with the descendants of
the followers of Gustavus Adolphus. The Danes are the near neighbours
and old enemies of the Swedes; their equals in population, discipline,
and warlike resources. Thirty years had not elapsed since the Poles had
delivered Europe from Mussulman bondage by the glorious victory of
Vienna, under John Sobieski, over two hundred thousand Turks. Europe has
since had too much reason to know what are the military resources of
Russia, against which all the power of Western Europe, in recent times,
has been so signally shattered; and though the soldiers of Peter the
Great were very different, in point of discipline, from those that
repelled the legions of Napoleon, yet their native courage was the same,
and they were directed by an energy and perseverance, on the part of the
Czar, which never has been exceeded in warlike annals. What then must
have been the capacity of the sovereign, who, with the resources of a
monarchy not equalling those of Scotland at this time, could gain such
extraordinary success over so powerful a coalition, from the mere force
of indefatigable energy, military ability, and heroic determination!

Charles, however, had many faults. He was proud, overbearing, and
opinionative. Like all men of powerful original genius, he was confident
in his own opinion, and took counsel from none; but, unfortunately, he
often forgot also to take counsel from himself. He did not always weigh
the objections against his designs with sufficient calmness to give them
fair play, or allow his heroic followers a practical opportunity of
crowning his enterprises with success. He had so often succeeded against
desperate, and apparently hopeless, odds, that he thought himself
invincible, and rushed headlong into the most dreadful perils, with no
other preparation to ward them off but his own calmness in danger, his
inexhaustible fecundity of resources, and the undaunted courage, as well
as patience of fatigue and privation, with which he had inspired his
followers. It is surprising, however, how often they extricated him from
his difficulties; and even in his last expedition against Russia, which
terminated in the disaster of Pultowa, he would, to all appearance, have
proved successful, if the Tartar chief, Mazeppa, had proved faithful to
his engagement. Like Hannibal, his heroic qualities had inspired a
multifarious army--_colluvies omnium gentium_--with one homogeneous
spirit, rendered them subject to his discipline, faithful to his
standard, obedient to his will. But in some particulars his private
character was still more exceptionable, and stained with the vices as
well as virtues of the savage character. Though not habitually cruel, he
was stern, vindictive, and implacable; and his government has been
stained by some acts of atrocious barbarity at which humanity shudders,
and which must ever leave an indelible stain on his memory.

Louis XIV., in his distress, was naturally anxious to gain the support
of so powerful an ally, who was now at Dresden at the head of
fifty-three thousand veteran soldiers, ready to fall on the rear of
Marlborough's army, that threatened the defensive barrier of France in
the Low Countries. Every effort, accordingly, was made to gain Charles
over to the French interest. The ancient alliance of France with Sweden,
their mutual cause of complaint against the Emperor, the glories of
Gustavus Adolphus and the thirty years' war, in which they had stood
side by side, were held forth to dazzle his imagination or convince his
judgment. The Swedish monarch appeared ready to yield to these efforts.
He brought forward various real or imaginary grounds of complaint
against the German powers, for infractions of the constitution of the
empire, of which he put himself forth as the guarantee, as heir to the
crown and fame of Gustavus Adolphus, as well as for sundry insults
alleged to have been committed against the Swedish crown or subjects.
These various subjects of complaint were sedulously inflamed by the
French agents; and the weight of their arguments was not a little
increased by the knowledge of the fact, that they were authorized to
offer Count Piper, the prime minister of Charles, 300,000 livres
(L.12,000), to quicken his movements in favour of the cabinet of
Versailles, besides bribes in proportion to the subordinate ministers of
the Swedish monarch.[10]

Marlborough, as well he might, was extremely uneasy at this negotiation,
which he soon discovered by secret information, as well as the
undisguised reluctance of the German powers to furnish the contingents
for which they were bound for the ensuing campaign. Indeed, it could
hardly be expected that the Northern powers in Germany should send their
chief disposable forces to swell Marlborough's army beyond the Rhine,
when so warlike a monarch, at the head of fifty thousand men, was in the
centre of the empire, with his intentions as yet undeclared, and exposed
to the influence of every imaginable seduction. He dispatched,
accordingly, General Grumbkow, an adroit and intelligent diplomatist,
who had been sent by the King of Prussia on a mission to the Allied
headquarters, to Dresden, to endeavour to ascertain the real intentions
of the Swedish monarch. He was not long of discovering that Charles had
assumed an angry tone towards the confederates, only in order to extract
favourable terms of accommodation from them, and that Muscovy was the
real object on which his heart was set. His despatches convey a curious
and highly interesting picture of Charles and the Swedish court and army
at this important juncture.[11] The negotiation went on for some time
with varying success; but at length matters were brought to a crisis, by
the King of Sweden declaring that he would treat with none but
Marlborough in person.

This immediately led to the English general repairing to the court of
Charles XII. at Dresden. He left the Hague on the 20th April
accordingly; and after visiting Hanover on the way, where, as usual,
there were some jealousies to appease, arrived at the Swedish camp of
Alt-Ranstadt on the 28th. The Duke drove immediately to the headquarters
of Count Piper, from whom he received the most flattering assurance of
the gratification which the Swedish monarch had felt at his arrival. He
was shortly after introduced to the monarch, to whom he delivered a
letter from the Queen of England, and at the same time addressed him in
the following flattering terms:--"I present to your Majesty a letter,
not from the chancery, but from the heart of the Queen, my mistress, and
written with her own hand. Had not her sex prevented it, she would have
crossed the sea, to see a prince admired by the whole universe. I am in
this particular more happy than the Queen, and I wish I could serve some
campaigns under so great a general as your Majesty, that I might learn
what I yet want to know in the art of war."[12]

This adroit compliment from so great and justly celebrated a commander,
produced an immediate effect on the Swedish monarch, who was
passionately desirous of military glory. His satisfaction was visible in
his countenance, and he returned a gracious answer in these terms:--"The
Queen of Great Britain's letter and your person are both very acceptable
to me, and I shall always have the utmost regard for the interposition
of her Britannic Majesty and the interests of the Grand Alliance. It is
much against my will that I have been obliged to give umbrage to any of
the parties engaged in it. I have had just cause to come into this
country with my troops; but you may assure the Queen, my sister, that my
design is to depart from hence as soon as I have obtained the
satisfaction I demand, but not till then. However, I shall do nothing
that can tend to the prejudice of the common cause in general, or of the
Protestant religion, of which I shall always glory to be a zealous
protector." This favourable answer was immediately followed by an
invitation to dine with the King, by whom he was placed on his right
hand, and honoured with the most flattering attention. In the course of
the evening the conversation turned chiefly on military matters, in
which Marlborough exerted himself with such skill and success, that he
had another long private audience of Charles; and before his departure,
that monarch even exceeded his views, and declared that there could be
no security for the peace of Europe till France was reduced to the rank
she held at the date of the treaty of Westphalia.

Though the address and abilities of Marlborough, however, had thus
removed the chief danger to be apprehended from the presence of the
Swedish monarch at Dresden, yet other matters of great delicacy remained
still for adjustment, which required all his prudence and skill to bring
to a satisfactory issue. Not the least of these difficulties arose from
the zeal of the King of Sweden for the protection of the Protestant
religion, and his desire to revive and secure the privileges granted to
the German Protestants by the treaty of Westphalia. As Marlborough
justly apprehended that the Court of Vienna might take umbrage at these
demands, and so be diverted from the objects of the Grand Alliance, he
exerted himself to the utmost to convince his Majesty that the great
object in the mean time, even as regarded the Protestant faith, was to
humble the French monarch, who had shown himself its inveterate enemy by
the atrocious persecutions consequent on the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes; and that, if this were once done, the Emperor would be unable to
prevent any stipulations being inserted in favour of the Reformed faith
in the general peace which might follow. Charles was convinced by these
arguments, which, in truth, were well-founded, and even went so far as
to propose a secret convention with England for the promotion of the
Protestant interest; a proposal which, so embarrassing at the moment
when Great Britain was in close alliance with the Emperor, Marlborough
contrived to elude with admirable dexterity. Another matter of great
delicacy was the conduct to be observed towards the dethroned King of
Poland, Augustus, who was also at Dresden, and of course viewed with the
utmost jealousy the close intimacy between Marlborough and his
formidable enemy Charles. Here, however, the diplomatic skill of the
English general overcame all difficulties, and by skilfully taking
advantage of his pecuniary embarrassments, after his territories had
been ravaged and exhausted by the Swedish forces, and engaging that the
Emperor should take a large part of his troops into his pay, he
succeeded at once in gaining over the dethroned monarch, and securing a
considerable body of fresh troops for the service of the Allies. By
these means, aided by the judicious bestowing of considerable pensions
on Count Piper and the chief Swedish ministers, paid in advance,
Marlborough succeeded in entirely allaying the storm which had
threatened his rear, and left the Saxon capital, after a residence of
ten days, perfectly secure of the pacific intentions of the Swedish
monarch, and having fully divined the intended direction of his forces
toward Moscow.[13]

The brilliant success with which this delicate and important negotiation
terminated, naturally induced a hope that vigorous operations would be
undertaken by the Allied powers, and that the great successes of the
preceding campaign would be so far improved, as to compel the Court of
France to submit to such terms as the peace of Europe, and the
independence of the adjoining States, required. It was quite the
reverse, and Marlborough had again the indescribable mortification of
seeing month after month of the summer of 1707 glide away, without one
single measure conducive to the common cause, or worthy of the real
strength of the Allied powers, having been attempted. They had all
relapsed into their former and fatal jealousies and procrastination. The
Dutch, notwithstanding the inestimable services which Marlborough had
rendered to their Republic, had again become distrustful, and authorized
their field-deputies to thwart and mar all his operations. They made no
concealment of their opinion, that their interests were now secured, and
that the blood and treasure of the United Provinces should no longer be
wasted in enterprises in which the Emperor or Queen of England alone
were concerned. They never failed accordingly to interfere when any
aggressive movement was in contemplation; and even when the Duke, in the
course of his skilful marches and countermarches, had gained the
opportunity for which he longed, of bringing the enemy to an engagement
on terms approaching to an equality, never failed to interpose with
their fatal negative, and prevent any thing being attempted. They did
this, in particular, under the most vexatious circumstances, on the 27th
May, near Nevilles, where Marlborough had brought his troops into the
presence of the enemy with every prospect of signalizing that place by a
glorious victory. A council of war forbade an engagement despite
Marlborough's most earnest entreaties, and compelled him in consequence
to fall back to Branheim, to protect Louvain and Brussels. The
indignation of the English general at this unworthy treatment, and at
the universal selfishness of the Allied powers, exhaled in bitter terms
in his private correspondence.[14]

The consequence of this determination on the part of the Dutch
field-deputies to prevent any serious operation being undertaken, was,
that the whole summer passed away in a species of armed truce, or a
series of manoeuvres so insignificant, as to be unworthy of the name
of a campaign. Vendôme, who commanded the French, though at the head of
a gallant army above eighty thousand strong, had too much respect for
his formidable antagonist to hazard any offensive operation, or run the
risk of a pitched battle, unless in defence of his own territory. On the
other hand, Marlborough, harassed by the incessant opposition of the
Dutch deputies, and yet not strong enough to undertake any operation of
importance without the support of their troops, was reduced to merely
nominal or defensive operations. The secret of this ruinous system,
which was at the time the subject of loud complaints, and appeared
wholly inexplicable, is now fully revealed by the published despatches.
The Dutch were absolutely set on getting an accession of territory, and
a strong line of barrier towns, set apart for them out of the _Austrian_
Netherlands; and as the Emperor, not unnaturally, objected to being
shorn of his territories, as a remuneration for his efforts in favour of
European independence, they resolved to thwart all the measures of the
Allied generals, in the hope that, it the end, they would in this manner
prevail in their demands with the Allied cabinets.[15]

It was not, however, in the Low Countries alone that the selfish views
and jealousies of the Allies prevented any operation of importance from
being undertaken, and blasted all the fair prospects which the brilliant
victories of the preceding campaign had afforded. In Spain, the Allies
had suffered a fearful reverse by the battle of Almanza, which in a
manner ruined the Austrian prospects in the Peninsula, and rendered some
operation indispensable, to relieve the pressure felt by the Allies in
that quarter. Peterborough, whose great military abilities had hitherto
nearly alone sustained their sinking cause in Spain, had been deprived
of his command in Catalonia, from that absurd jealousy of foreigners
which in every age has formed so marked a feature in the Spanish
character. His successor, Lord Galway, was far from possessing his
military abilities, and every thing presaged that, unless a great effort
was immediately made, the crown of Spain, the prize for which all
contended in the war, would be lost to the Allied powers. Nor was the
aspect of affairs more promising on the Rhine. The Margrave of Baden had
there died; and his army, before a successor could be appointed,
sustained a signal defeat at Stodhoffen. This disaster having opened the
gates of Germany, Marshal Villars, at the head of a powerful French
army, burst into the Palatinate, which he ravaged with fire and sword.
To complete the catalogue of disasters, the disputes between the King of
Sweden and the Emperor were again renewed, and conducted with such
acrimony, that it required all the weight and address of Marlborough to
prevent a rupture, threatening fatal consequences, from breaking out
between these powers.

Surrounded by so many difficulties, Marlborough wisely judged that the
most pressing danger was that in Spain, and that the first thing to be
done was to stop the progress of the Bourbon armies in that quarter. As
the forces in the Peninsula afforded no hopes of effecting that object,
he conceived, with reason, that the only way to make an effectual
diversion in that quarter was to take advantage of the superiority of
the Allies in Piedmont, since the decisive victory of Turin in the
preceding year, and threaten Provence with a serious irruption. For this
purpose, Marlborough no sooner heard of the disasters in Spain, than he
urged in the strongest manner upon the Allied courts to push Prince
Eugene with his victorious army across the Maritime Alps, and lay siege
to Toulon. Such an offensive movement, which might be powerfully aided
by the English fleet in the Mediterranean, would at once remove the war
from the Italian plains, fix it in the south of France, and lead to the
recall of a considerable part of the French forces now employed beyond
the Pyrenees. But though the reasons for this expedition were thus
pressing, and it afforded the only feasible prospect of bringing affairs
round in the Peninsula; yet the usual jealousies of the coalesced
powers, the moment it was proposed, opposed insurmountable objections to
its being carried into effect. It was objected to the siege of Toulon,
that it was a maritime operation, of value to England alone: the Emperor
insisted on the Allied forces being exclusively employed in the
reduction of the fortresses yet remaining in the hands of the French in
the Milanese; while Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, between whom and the
Imperialists the most violent jealousy had arisen, threatened to
withdraw altogether from the alliance, unless Eugene's army was directed
to the protection and consolidation of his dominion. The real reason of
these obstacles thrown by the Emperor in the way of these operations,
was, that he had ambitious designs of his own on Naples, and he had, to
facilitate their accomplishment, concluded a secret convention with
Louis for a sort of neutrality or understanding in Italy, which enabled
that monarch to direct the forces employed, or destined to be employed
there, to the Spanish peninsula. Marlborough's energetic
representations, however, at length prevailed over all these
difficulties; and the reduction of the Milanese having been completed,
the Emperor, in the end of June, consented to Prince Eugene invading
Provence at the head of thirty-five thousand men.[16]

The invasion of the territory of the Grande Monarque accordingly took
place, and was supported by a powerful English squadron, which, as
Eugene's army advanced into Provence by the Col di Tende, kept the
sea-coast in a constant state of alarm. No resistance, as Marlborough
had predicted, was attempted; and the Allies, almost without firing a
shot, arrived at the heights of Vilate, in the neighbourhood of Toulon,
on the 27th July. Had Eugene been aware of the real condition of the
defences, and the insubordination which prevailed in the garrison, he
might, without difficulty, have made himself master of this important
fortress. But from ignorance of these propitious circumstances, he
deemed it necessary to commence operations against it in form; and the
time occupied in the necessary preparations for a siege proved fatal to
the enterprise. The French made extraordinary efforts to bring troops to
the menaced point; and, amongst other reinforcements, thirteen
battalions and nine squadrons were detached from Vendôme's army in the
Netherlands. No sooner did Marlborough hear of this detachment, than he
concentrated his forces, and made a forward movement to bring Vendôme to
battle, to which the Dutch deputies had at length consented; but that
general, after some skilful marches and countermarches, retired to an
intrenched camp under the guns of Lille, of such strength as to bid
defiance to every attack for the remainder of the campaign. Meanwhile
the troops, converging towards Toulon, having formed a respectable array
in his rear, Eugene was under the necessity of raising the siege, and he
retired, as he had entered the country, by the Col di Tende, having
first embarked his heavy artillery and stores on board the English
fleet. But though the expedition thus failed in its ostensible object,
it fully succeeded in its real one, which was to effect a diversion in
the south of France, and relieve the pressure on the Spanish peninsula,
by giving the armies of Louis employment in the defence of their own
territory.

Marlborough led his army into winter quarters in the end of October, and
Vendôme did the same; the weather being so thoroughly broken as to
render it impossible to keep the field. He repaired first to Frankfort,
where he met the Elector of Hanover, and then to the Hague, where he
exerted himself to inspire a better feeling in the Dutch government, and
to get Eugene appointed to the supreme command in Spain: a project which
afforded the only feasible prospect of retrieving affairs in the
Peninsula, and which, if adopted, might have changed the fate and
ultimate issue of the war. Neither the Emperor nor the court of Madrid,
however, would consent to this arrangement; the former, because he
feared to lose that great general in Italy, the latter because they
feared to gain him in Spain. Marlborough, meanwhile, embarked for
England on the 7th November, where his presence had now become
indispensably necessary to arrest the progress of court and
parliamentary intrigues, which threatened to prove immediately fatal to
his influence and ascendancy.

The origin of these intrigues was to be found not merely in the asperity
of party feeling which, at that time, owing to the recent Revolution,
prevailed to a degree never before paralleled in English history, and
the peculiar obloquy to which Marlborough was exposed, owing to the part
he had taken in that transaction; but to another cause of a private
nature, but which, in all courts, and especially under a female reign,
is likely to produce important public results. During Marlborough's
absence from court, owing to his commanding the armies in Flanders, his
influence with the Queen had sensibly declined, and that of another
materially increased. Queen Anne had become alienated from her former
favourite, the Duchess of Marlborough, and, what is very remarkable, in
consequence of the growing ascendancy of a person recommended by the
duchess herself. Worn out with the incessant fatigue of attendance on
the royal person, the duchess had recommended a poor relative of her
own, named Abigail Hill, to relieve her of part of her laborious duties.
This young lady, who possessed considerable talents, and a strong desire
for intrigue and elevation, had been educated in High Church and Tory
principles, and she had not been long about the royal person before she
began to acquire an influence over the Queen's mind. Harley, whose
ambition and spirit of intrigue were at least equal to her own, was not
slow in perceiving the new source of influence thus opened up in the
royal household, and a close alliance was soon established between them.
These matters are not beneath the dignity of history; they are the
secret springs on which its most important changes sometimes depend.
Abigail Hill soon after bestowed her hand on Mr Masham, who had also
been placed in the Queen's household by the duchess, and, under the name
of MRS MASHAM, became the principal instrument in Marlborough's fall,
and the main cause of the fruit of the glorious victories of the English
general being lost by the treaty of Utrecht.

Though the ascendancy of Mrs Masham, and the treacherous part she was
playing to her benefactress, had long been evident to others, yet the
Duchess of Marlborough long continued blind to it. Her marriage,
however, opened the eyes of the duchess, and, soon after the promotion
of Davies and Blackhall, both avowed Tories, not free from the
imputation of Jacobitism, to the Episcopal bench, in opposition to the
recommendation of Marlborough and Godolphin, gave convincing proof that
their influence at court in the disposal even of the highest offices,
had been supplanted by that of the new favourite. The consequences were
highly prejudicial to Marlborough. The Whigs, who were not fully aware
of this secret influence, and who had long distrusted him on account of
his former connexion with James II., and envied him on account of his
great services to the country, and lustre at court, now joined the
Tories in bitter enmity against him. He was accused of protracting the
war for his own private purposes; and the man who had refused the
government of the Netherlands, and £60,000 a-year, lest it should breed
jealousies in the alliance, was accused of checking the career of
victory from sordid motives connected with the profits of the war. His
brother Churchill was prosecuted by Halifax and the Whigs on the charge
of neglect of duty; and the intercession of the duke, though made in
humble terms, was not so much as even honoured with a reply. The
consequences of this decline of court favour were soon apparent.
Recruits and supplies were forwarded to the army with a very scanty
hand--the military plans and proposals of the duke were either overruled
or subjected to a rigid and often inimical examination--and that
division of responsibility and weakening of power became apparent, which
is so often in military, as well as political transactions, the
forerunner of disaster.

Matters were in this untoward state, when Marlborough, in the middle of
November, returned from the Hague to London. The failure before Toulon,
the disasters in Spain, the nullity of the campaign in Flanders, were
made the subject of unbounded outcry in the country; and the most
acrimonious debates took place in Parliament, in the course of which
violent reproaches were thrown on Marlborough, and all his great
services to his country seemed to be forgotten. Matters even went so
far, that it was seriously proposed to draft fifteen thousand men from
Flanders to reinforce the armies in Spain, although it might easily be
foreseen that the only effect of this would be to drive the Dutch to a
separate peace, and lose the whole of Brabant, wrested at such an
expense of blood and treasure from the French arms. The Session of
Parliament was one incessant scene of vehement contention; but at length
the secret league of Harley with Mrs Masham and the Tories became so
apparent, that all his colleagues refused to attend a cabinet council to
which he was summoned, and he was obliged to retire. This decisive step
restored confidence between Marlborough and the Whigs, and for a time
re-established his influence in the government; but Mrs Masham's sway
over the Queen was not so easily subverted, and, in the end, proved
fatal both to his fortune and the career of glory he had opened to his
country.

Desirous of retaliating upon England the insult which the Allied armies
had inflicted upon France by the invasion of Provence, Louis XIV. now
made serious preparations for the invasion of Great Britain, with the
avowed object of re-establishing the Chevalier of St George, the heir of
James II., on the throne from which that unhappy monarch had been
expelled. Under Marlborough's able direction, to whom, as
commander-in-chief, the defensive measures were entrusted, every thing
was soon put in a train to avert the threatened danger. Scotland was the
scene where an outbreak was to be apprehended, and all the disposable
forces of the empire, including ten battalions brought over from
Flanders, were quickly sent to that country. The _habeas corpus_ act was
suspended. Edinburgh Castle was strongly garrisoned, and the British
squadron so skilfully disposed in the North Seas, that when the
Chevalier with a French squadron put to sea, he was so closely watched,
that after vainly attempting to land, both in the Firth of Forth and the
neighbourhood of Inverness, he was obliged to return to Dunkirk. This
auspicious event entirely restored Marlborough's credit with the nation,
and dispelled every remnant of suspicion with which the Whigs regarded
him in relation to the exiled family; and though his influence with the
court was secretly undermined, his power, to outward appearance, was
unbounded; and he resumed the command of the army in the beginning of
April 1708, with authority as paramount as he had enjoyed on any former
occasion.

Every thing announced a more important campaign than the preceding had
proved in the Low Countries. Encouraged by the little progress which the
Allies had made in the former campaign, Louis XIV. had been induced to
make the most vigorous efforts to accumulate a preponderating force, and
re-establish his affairs in that quarter. Vendôme's army had, by great
exertion, been raised to a hundred thousand men, and at the same time
secret communications were opened with a considerable portion of the
inhabitants in some of the frontier fortresses of Brabant, in order to
induce then on the first favourable opportunity to surrender them to the
French arms. The unpopularity of the Dutch authorities in those towns,
and the open pretensions which they put forth to wrest them from the
Emperor, and deliver them over at a general peace to the hated rule of
Protestant Holland, rendered those advances peculiarly acceptable.
Vendôme's instructions were to act on the offensive, though in a
cautious manner; to push forward in order to take advantage of these
favourable dispositions, and endeavour to regain the important ground
which had been lost during the panic which followed the battle of
Ramilies.

On their side the Allies had not been idle; and preparations had been
made for transferring the weight of the contest to the Low Countries.
The war in Italy being in a manner terminated by the entire expulsion of
the French from that peninsula, and their secret convention for a sort
of suspension of active operations with the Emperor in that quarter,
Prince Eugene had been brought to the theatre of real hostilities on the
northern frontier of France. It was agreed that two great armies should
be formed, one in Brabant under Marlborough, and the other on the
Moselle under Eugene; that the Elector of Hanover should act on the
defensive on the Rhine; that Eugene should join the English general, and
that with their united force they should force the French general to a
battle. This well conceived plan met with the usual resistance on the
part of the Allied powers, which compelled Marlborough to repair in
person to Hanover, to smooth over the objections of its Elector.
Meanwhile the dissensions and difficulties of the cabinet in London
increased to such a degree, that he had scarcely quitted England when he
was urged by Godolphin, and the majority of his own party, to return, as
the only means of saving them from shipwreck. Marlborough, however, with
that patriotic spirit which ever distinguished him, and not less than
his splendid abilities formed so honourable a feature in his character,
refused to leave the seat of war, and left his political friends to
shift for themselves as they best could. Having obtained a promise from
Eugene that he would join him before the month expired he joined the
army at Ghent on the 9th May 1708, and on the same day reviewed the
British division stationed in that city.

An event soon occurred which showed how wide-spread were the intrigues
of the French in the Flemish towns, and how insecure was the foundation
on which the authority of the Allies rested there. An accidental
circumstance led to the discovery of a letter put into the post-office
of Ghent, containing the whole particulars of a plan for admitting the
French troops into the citadel of Antwerp. Vendôme at the same time made
a forward movement to take advantage of these attempts; but Marlborough
was on his guard, and both frustrated the intended rising in Antwerp,
and barred the way against the attempted advance of the French army.
Disconcerted by the failure of this enterprise, Vendôme moved to
Soignies at the head of an hundred thousand men, where he halted at the
distance of three leagues from the Allied armies. A great and decisive
action was confidently expected in both armies; as, although Marlborough
could not muster above eighty thousand combatants, it was well known he
would not decline a battle, although he was not as yet sufficiently
strong to assume the offensive. Vendôme, however, declined attacking the
Allies where they stood, and, filing to the right to Braine la Leude,
close to the field of Waterloo, again halted in a position, threatening
at once both Louvain and Brussels. Moving parallel to him, but still
keeping on the defensive, Marlborough retired to Anderleet. No sooner
had he arrived there, than intelligence was received of a farther
movement to the right on the part of the French general, which indicated
an intention to make Louvain the object of attack. Without losing an
instant, Marlborough marched on that very night with the utmost
expedition, amidst torrents of rain, to Parc, where he established
himself in such strong ground, covering Louvain, that Vendôme, finding
himself anticipated in his movements, fell back to Braine-le-Leude
without firing a shot.[17]

Though Marlborough, however, had in this manner foiled the movement of
the French general, he was in no condition to undertake offensive
operations until the arrival of Eugene's army from the Moselle raised
his force nearer to an equality with the preponderating masses of the
enemy, headed by so able a general as Vendôme. The usual delays,
however, of the German powers, for long prevented this object being
attained. For about a month Marlborough was retained in a state of
forced inactivity from this cause, during which period he bitterly
complained, "that the slowness of the German powers was such as to
threaten the worst consequences." At length, however, the pressing
representations of the English general, seconded by the whole weight of
Prince Eugene, overcame the tardiness of the German Electors, and the
army of the Moselle began its march towards Brabant. But the Prince was
too far distant to bring up his troops to the theatre of active
operations before decisive events had taken place; and fortunately for
the glory of England, to Marlborough alone and to his army belongs the
honour of one of the most decisive victories recorded in its annals.

Encouraged by his superiority of numbers, and the assurances of support
he received from the malecontents in the Flemish towns, Vendôme, who was
both an able and enterprising general, put in execution, in the
beginning of July, a design which he had long meditated, for the purpose
of expelling the Allies from Brabant. This was by a sudden irruption to
make himself master of Ghent, with several of the citizens of which he
had established a secret correspondence. This city commands the course
of the Scheldt and the Lys, and lay in the very centre of Marlborough's
water communications; and as the fortifications of Oudenarde were in a
very dilapidated state, it was reasonable to suppose that its reduction
would speedily follow. The capture of these fortresses would at once
break up Marlborough's communications, and sever the connecting link
between Flanders and Brabant, so as to compel the English army to fall
back to Antwerp and the line of the Scheldt, and thus deprive them of
the whole fruits of the victory of Ramilies. Such was the able and
well-conceived design of the French general, which promised the most
brilliant results; and against a general less wary and able than
Marlborough, unquestionably would have obtained them.

Vendôme executed the first part of this design with vigour and success.
On the evening of the 4th July he suddenly broke up from
Braine-le-Leude, and marching rapidly all night, advanced towards Hall
and Tubise, dispatching at the same time, parties towards such towns in
that quarter as had maintained a correspondence with him. One of these
parties, by the connivance of the watch, made itself master of Ghent. At
the same time Bruges was surrendered to another party under the Count de
la Motte; the small but important fort of Plassendael was carried by
storm, and a detachment sent to recover Ghent found the gates shut by
the inhabitants, who had now openly joined the enemy, and invested the
Allied garrison in the citadel.

Marlborough no sooner heard of this movement than he followed with his
army; but he arrived in the neighbourhood of Tubise in time only to
witness their passage of the Senne, near that place. Giving orders to
his troops to prepare for battle, he put himself in motion at one next
morning, intending to bring the enemy to an immediate action. The
activity of Vendôme, however, baffled his design. He made his men, weary
as they were, march all night and cross the Dender at several points,
breaking down the bridges between Alort and Oerdegun, and the Allies
only arrived in time to make three hundred prisoners from the rearguard.
Scarcely had they recovered from this disappointment, when intelligence
arrived of the surprise of Ghent and Bruges; while, at the same time,
the ferment in Brussels, owing to the near approach of the French to
that capital, became so great, that there was every reason to apprehend
a similar disaster, from the disaffection of some of its inhabitants.
The most serious apprehensions also were entertained for Oudenarde, the
garrison of which was feeble, and its works dilapidated. Marlborough,
therefore, dispatched instant orders to Lord Chandos, who commanded at
Ath, to collect all the detachments he could from the garrisons in the
neighbourhood, and throw himself into that fortress, and with such
diligence were these orders executed that Oudenarde was secured against
a _coup-de-main_, before the French outposts appeared before it.
Vendôme, however, felt himself strong enough to undertake its siege in
form. He drew his army round it; the investment was completed on the
evening of the 9th, and a train of heavy artillery ordered from Tournay,
to commence the siege,[18] while he himself with the covering army, took
post in a strong camp at Lessines, on the river Dender.

Such was the chagrin experienced by Marlborough at these untoward
events, that he was thrown into a fever, the result of fatigue,
watching, and anxiety. His physician earnestly counselled him to leave
the camp, and retire to Brussels, as the only means of arresting his
distemper; but nothing could induce him to leave his post at such a
crisis. He continued in his tent accordingly, and the orders were issued
by Marshal Overkirk. He was greatly relieved on the 7th, by the arrival
of Prince Eugene, who, finding his troops could not come up in time, had
left his cavalry at Maestricht, and hastened in person, though without
any followers but his personal suite, to take part in the approaching
conflict. Great was the joy of Marlborough on learning the arrival of so
illustrious a general; not a feeling of jealousy crossed the breast of
either of these great men. His first words to Eugene were--"I am not
without hopes of congratulating your Highness on a great victory; for my
troops will be animated by the presence of so distinguished a
commander." Eugene warmly approved the resolution he had taken of
instantly attacking the enemy: and a council of war having been
summoned, their united opinion prevailed over the objections of the
Dutch deputies, who were now seriously alarmed for their barrier, and it
was resolved to give battle to the enemy in his position in front of
OUDENARDE.[19]

The Allies broke up at two in the morning of the 9th July, and advanced
towards the French frontiers at Lessines in four great columns. So rapid
and well ordered was the march, that before noon the heads of the
columns reached Herfilingen, fourteen miles fron Asche, whence they had
started. Bridges were rapidly thrown over the Dender, and it was crossed
early on the following morning in presence of Eugene and Marlborough,
whom the animation of the great events in progress, had, in a manner,
raised from the bed of sickness.[20] Here the duke halted, and the
troops encamped in their order of march with their right on the Dender
and their front covered by a small stream which falls into that river.
By this bold and rapid movement, Vendôme's well-concerted plan was
entirely disconcerted; Marlborough had thrown himself between the French
and their own frontier; he had rendered himself master of their
communications; and instead of seeking merely to cover his own
fortresses, threatened to compel them to fall back, in order to regain
their communications, and abandon the whole enterprise which had
commenced with such prospects of success. Vendôme was extremely
disconcerted at this able movement, and he gave immediate orders to fall
back upon Gavre, situated on the Scheldt below Oudenarde, where it was
intended to cross that river.

No sooner was this design made manifest, than Marlborough followed with
all his forces, with the double design of raising the investment of
Oudenarde, and if possible forcing the enemy to give battle, under the
disadvantage of doing so in a retreat. Anxious to improve their
advantage, the Allied generals pushed forward with the utmost
expedition, hoping to come up with the enemy when his columns and
baggage were close upon the Scheldt, or in the very act of crossing that
river. Colonel Cadogan, with a strong advanced guard, was pushed forward
by daybreak on the 11th towards the Scheldt which he reached by eleven,
and immediately threw bridges over, across which the whole cavalry and
twelve battalions of foot were immediately thrown. They advanced to the
summit of the plateau on the left bank of the river, and formed in
battle array, the infantry opposite Eynes, the cavalry extending on the
left towards Schaerken. Advancing slowly on in this regular array down
the course of the river on its left bank, Cadogan was not long of coming
in sight of the French rearguard under Biron, with whom he had some
sharp skirmishing. Meanwhile, Marlborough and Eugene were pressing the
passage at the bridges with all imaginable activity; but the greater
part of their army had not yet got across. The main body was still half
a league from the Scheldt, and the huge clouds of dust which arose from
the passage of the artillery and carriages in that direction, inspired
Vendôme with the hope that he might cut off the advanced guard which was
over the Scheldt, before the bulk of the Allied forces could get across
to their relief. With this view he halted his troops, and drew them up
hastily in order of battle. This brought on the great and glorious
action which followed, towards the due understanding of which, a
description of the theatre of combat is indispensable.

     "At the distance of a mile north of Oudenarde, is the village of
     Eynes. Here the ground rises into a species of low, but spacious
     amphitheatre. From thence it sweeps along a small plain, till it
     nearly reaches the glacis of Oudenarde, where it terminates in the
     village of Bevere. To the west the slope ascends to another broad
     hill called the Bosercanter; and at the highest point of the
     eminence stands a windmill, shaded by a lofty lime-tree, forming
     conspicuous objects from the whole adjacent country. From thence
     the ground gradually declines towards Mardlen; and the eye glancing
     over the humid valley watered by the Norken, rests on another range
     of uplands, which, gently sinking, at length terminates near Asper.
     Within this space, two small streams, descending from the lower
     part of the hill of Oycke, embrace a low tongue of land, the centre
     of which rises to a gentle elevation. The borders of these rivulets
     are crossed by frequent enclosures, surrounding the farm-yards of
     Barwaen, Chobon, and Diepenbeck. Near the source of one of these
     streams is a castellated mansion; at that of the other is the
     hamlet of Rhetelhouk, embosomed in a wooded nook. These streams
     unite at the hamlet of Scharken, and their united current flows in
     a marshy bed to the Scheldt, which it reaches near Eynes. The
     Norken, another river traversing the field, runs for a considerable
     distance parallel to the Scheldt, until, passing by Asper, it
     terminates in a stagnant canal, which joins the Scheldt below
     Gavre. Its borders, like those of the other streams, are skirted
     with coppice-wood thickets; behind are the enclosures surrounding
     the little plain. Generally speaking, this part of Flanders is even
     not merely of picturesque beauty and high cultivation, but great
     military strength; and it is hard to say whether its numerous
     streams, hanging banks, and umbrageous woods, add most to its
     interest in the eye of a painter, or to its intricacy and defensive
     character in warlike operations."[21]

As fast as the Allies got across the Scheldt, Marlborough formed them
along the high grounds stretching from Bevere to Mooreghem Mill, with
their right resting on the Scheldt. Vendôme's men stretched across the
plain, from the hill of Asper on the left, to Warreghem on the right. A
considerable body of cavalry and infantry lay in front of their position
in Eynes, of which they had retained possession since they had repulsed
Cadogan's horse. No sooner had the English general got a sufficient
number of troops up, than he ordered that gallant officer to advance and
retake that village. The infantry attacked in front, crossing the
rivulet near Eynes; while the horse made a circuit, and passing higher,
made their appearance in their rear, when the conflict was warmly going
on in front. The consequence was, that the village was carried with
great loss to the enemy, three entire battalions were cut off and made
prisoners, and eight squadrons cut to pieces in striving to make their
way across the steep and tangled banks of the Norken. This sharp blow
convinced the French leaders that a general action was unavoidable; and
though, from the vigour with which it had been struck, their remained
little hope of overpowering the Allied advanced guard before the main
body came up, yet they resolved, contrary to the opinion of Vendôme, who
had become seriously alarmed, to persist in the attack, and risk all on
the issue of a general engagement.[22]

It was four in the afternoon when the French commenced the action in
good earnest. The Duke of Burgundy ordered General Grimaldi to lead
Sistern's squadron across the Norken, apparently with the view of
feeling his way preparatory to a general attack; but when he arrived on
the margin of the stream, and saw the Prussian cavalry already formed on
the other side, he fell back to the small plain near the Mill of
Royeghorn. Vendôme, meanwhile, directed his left to advance, deeming
that the most favourable side to attack, but the Duke of Burgundy, who
nominally had the supreme command, and who was jealous of Vendôme's
reputation, countermanded this order; alleging that an impassable morass
separated the two armies in that quarter. Those contradictory orders
produced indecision in the French lines, and Marlborough, divining its
cause, instantly took advantage of it. Judging with reason that the real
attack of the enemy would be made on his left by their right, in front
of the castle of Bevere, he drew the twelve battalions of foot under
Cadogan from Heurne and Eynes, which they occupied, and reinforced the
left with them; while the bridges of the Norken were strongly occupied,
and musketeers disposed in the woods on their sides. Marlborough
himself, at the head of the Prussian horse, advanced by Heurne, and took
post on the flank of the little plain of Diepenbeck, where it was
evident the heat of the action would ensue. A reserve of twenty British
battalions, with a few guns, took post near Schaerken, and proved of the
most essential service in the struggle which ensued. Few pieces of
artillery were brought up on either side; the rapidity of the movements
on both having outstripped the slow pace at which those ponderous
implements of destruction were then conveyed.[23]

Hardly were these defensive arrangements completed, when the tempest was
upon them. The whole French right wing, consisting of thirty battalions,
embracing the French and Swiss guards, and the flower of their army,
debouched from the woods and hedges near Groemvelde, and attacking four
battalions stationed there, quickly compelled them to retreat. Advancing
then in the open plain, they completely outflanked the Allied left, and
made themselves masters of the hamlets of Barwaen and Banlaney. This
success exposed the Allies to imminent danger; for in their rear was
the Scheldt, flowing lazily in a deep and impassable current, through
marshy meadows, crossed only by a few bridges, over which retreat would
be impossible in presence of a victorious enemy; and the success against
the Allied left exposed to be cut off from their only resource in such a
case, the friendly ramparts of Oudenarde.

Anxiously observing the rapid progress of the French on his left,
Marlborough successively drew brigade after brigade from his right, and
moved them to the quarter which was now severely pressed. The hostile
lines fought with the most determined resolution. Every bridge, every
ditch, every wood, every hamlet, every inclosure, was obstinately
contested; and so incessant was the roll of musketry, that, seen from a
distance, the horizon seemed an unbroken line of fire. Hitherto
Marlborough and Eugene had remained together; but now, as matters had
reached the crisis, they separated. The English general bestowed on
Prince Eugene the command of his right, where the British battalions,
whose valour he had often praised, were placed. He himself, with the
Prussian horse on the banks of the Norken, kept the enemy's left in
check; while with his own left he endeavoured to outflank the enemy, and
retaliate upon then the manoeuvre which they had attempted against
him. This bold movement was attended with severe loss, but it proved
completely successful. Eugene was soon warmly engaged, and at first
wellnigh overpowered by the superior numbers and vehement onset of the
enemy. But Marlborough, whose eye was every where, no sooner observed
this, than he dispatched Cadogan with his twelve English battalions to
his support. Encouraged by this aid, Eugene moved forward General
Natzmer, at the head of the Prussian heavy horse and cuirassiers, to
charge the enemy's second lines near the Mill of Royeghem; while he
himself renewed the attack on their infantry near Herlehorn. Both
attacks proved successful. The enemy were expelled on the right from the
enclosure of Avelchens, and the battle restored in that quarter; while,
at the same time, their second line was drivers back into the enclosures
of Royeghem. But this last success was not achieved without a very heavy
loss; for the Prussian horse were received by so terrible a fire of
musketry from the hedges near Royeghem, into which they had pushed the
enemy's second line, that half of then were stretched on the plain, and
the remainder recoiled in disorderly flight.

Meanwhile, Marlborough himself was not less actively engaged on the
Allied left. At the head of the Hanoverian and Dutch battalions, he
there pressed forward against the hitherto victorious French right. The
vigour inspired by his presence quickly altered the state of affairs in
that quarter. Barlaney and Barwaen were soon regained, but not without
the most desperate resistance; for not only did the enemy obstinately
contest every field and enclosure, but, in their fury, set fire to such
of the houses as could no longer be maintained. Despite all these
obstacles, hovever, the English general fairly drove them back, at the
musket's point, fron one enclosure to another, till he reached the
hamlet of Diepenbeck, where the resistance proved so violent that he was
compelled to pause. His vigilant eye, however, erelong observed, that
the hill of Oycke, which flanked the enemy's extreme right, was
unoccupied. Conceiving that their right might be turned by this
eminence, he directed Overkirk, with the reserve cavalry, and twenty
Dutch and Danish battalions, to occupy it. The veteran marshal executed
this important, and, as it proved, decisive movement, with his wonted
alacrity and spirit. The wooded dells round the castle of Bevere soon
rung with musketry; the enemy, forced out of them, was driven over the
shoulder of the Bosercanter; soon it was passed, and the mill of Oycke,
and the plateau behind it, occupied by the Danish and Dutch battalions.
Arrived on the summit, Overkirk made his men bring up their left
shoulders, so as to wheel inwards, and form a vast semicircle round the
right wing of the French, which, far advanced beyond the centre, was now
thrown back, and grouped into the little plain of Diepenbeck. Observing
the effect of this movement, Marlborough directed Overkirk to press
forward his left still farther, so as to seize the passes of Mullem and
mill of Royeghem, by which the communication between the enemy's right
and centre was maintained. This order was executed with vigour and
success by the Prince of Orange and General Oxenstiern. The progress of
the extreme Allied left round the rear of the French right, was observed
by the frequent flashes of their musketry on the heights above Mullem,
down to which they descended, driving the enemy with loud cheers, which
re-echoed over the whole field of battle, before them. The victory was
now gained. Refluent from all quarters, enveloped on every side, the
whole French right was hurled together, in wild confusion, into the
plain of Diepenbeck; where seven regiments of horse, which made a noble
effort to stem the flood of disaster, was all cut to pieces or taken.

Seeing his right wing on the verge of destruction, Vendôme made a
gallant effort to rescue it. Dismounting from his horse, he led the
infantry of his left near Mullem, to the aid of their devoted comrades.
But the thick and frequent enclosures broke their array; the soldiers
were dismayed by the loud shouts of victory from their right; and when
they emerged from the enclosures; and approached the plain of
Diepenbeck, the firm countenance of the British horse, drawn up on its
edge, and the sturdy array of their infantry under Eugene, which
advanced to meet them, rendered the effort abortive. Meanwhile darkness
set in, but the battle still raged on all sides; and the frequent
flashes of the musketry on the heights around, intermingled with the
shouts of the victors, showed but too clearly how nearly the extremity
of danger was approaching to the whole French army. So completely were
they enveloped, that the advanced guard of the right under Eugene, and
the left under the Prince of Orange, met on the heights in the French
rear, and several volleys were exchanged between there, before the error
was discovered, and, by great exertions of their respective commanders,
the useless butchery was stopped. To prevent a repetition of such
disasters orders were given to the whole troops to halt where they
stood, and to this precaution many owed their safety as it was
impossible in the darkness to distinguish friend from foe. But it
enabled great part of the centre and left of the French to escape
unobserved, which, had daylight continued for two hours longer, would
have been all taken or destroyed. Their gallant right was left to its
fate; while Eugene, by directing the drums of his regiments to beat the
French _assemblée_, made great numbers of their left and centre
prisoners. Some thousands of the right slipped unobserved to the
westward near the castle of Bevere, and made their way in a confused
body toward France, but the greater part of that wing were killed or
taken. Vendôme with charateristic presence of mind formed a rearguard of
a few battalions and twenty-five squadrons, with which he covered the
retreat of the centre and left; but the remainder of those parts of the
army fell into total confusion, and fled headlong in wild disorder
towards Ghent.[24]

We have the authority of Marborough for the assertion, that "if he had
had two hours more of daylight the French army would have been
irretrievably routed, great part of it killed or taken, and the war
terminated on that day."[25] As it was, the blow struck was prodigious,
and entirely altered the character and issue of the campaign. The French
lost six thousand men in killed and wounded, besides nine thousand
prisoners and one hundred standards wrested from them in fair fight. The
Allied were weakened by five thousand men for the French were superior
in number and fought well, having been defeated solely by the superior
generalship of the Allied commanders.[26]

No sooner did daylight appear, than forty squadrons were detached
towards Ghent in pursuit of the enemy; while Marlborough himself, with
characteristic humanity, visited the field of battle, doing his utmost
to assuage the sufferings, and provide for the cure of the numerous
wounded--alike friend and foe--who encumbered its bloody expanse. Count
Lottnow was sent with thirty battalions and fifty squadrons, to possess
himself of the lines which the enemy had constructed between Ipres and
Warneton, which that officer did with vigour and success, making five
hundred prisoners. This was the more fortunate, as, at the moment they
were taken, the Duke of Berwick, with the French army from the Moselle,
was hastening up, and had exhorted the garrison to defend the lines to
the last extremity. At the same time, the corresponding Allied army,
commanded by Eugene, arrived at Brussels, so that both sides were
largely reinforced. Berwick's corps, which consisted of thirty-four
battalions and fifty-five squadrons, was so considerable, that it raised
Vendôme's army again to an hundred thousand men. With this imposing
mass, that able general took post in a camp behind the canal of Bruges,
and near Ghent, which he soon strongly fortified, and which commanded
the navigation both of the Scheldt and the Lys. He rightly judged, that
as long as he was there at the head of such a force, the Allies would
not venture to advance into France; though it lay entirely open to their
incursions, as Marlborough was between him and Paris.[27]

Encouraged by this singular posture of the armies, Marlborough strongly
urged upon the Allied council of war the propriety of relinquishing all
lesser objects, passing the whole fortified towns on the frontier, and
advancing straight towards the French capital.[28] This bold counsel,
however--which, if acted on, would have been precisely what Wellington
and Blucher did a century after, in advancing from the same country, and
perhaps attended with similar success--was rejected. Eugene, and the
remainder of the council, considered the design too hazardous, while
Vendôme with so great an army lay intrenched in their rear, threatening
their communications. It was resolved, therefore, to commence the
invasion of the territory of the Grande Monarque, by the siege of the
great frontier fortress of LILLE, the strongest and most important place
in French Flanders, and the possession of which would give the Allies a
solid footing in the enemy's territory. This, however, was a most
formidable undertaking; for not only was the place itself of great
strength, and with a citadel within its walls still stronger, but it was
garrisoned by Marshal Boufflers, one of the ablest officers in the
French service, with fifteen thousand choice troops, and every requisite
for a vigorous defence. On the other hand, Vendôme, at the head of an
hundred thousand men, lay in an impregnable camp between Ghent and
Bruges, ready to interrupt or raise the siege; and his position there
extremely hampered Marlborough in bringing forward the requisite
equipage for so great an undertaking, as it interrupted the whole water
navigation of the country, by which it could best be effected. The
dragging it up by land, would require sixteen thousand horses.
Nevertheless it was resolved to undertake the enterprise, sanguine hopes
being entertained, that, rather than see so important a fortress fall,
Vendôme would leave his intrenched camp, and give the Allies an
opportunity of bringing him again to battle on equal terms.[29]

No sooner was the undertaking resolved on, than the most vigorous
measures were adopted to carry it into execution. The obstacles which
presented themselves, however, were great indeed, and proved even more
formidable than had been at first anticipated. Every gun, every waggon,
every round of ammunition, required to be transported from Holland; and
even the nearest depôt for ordinary and military stores for the Allies,
was Brussels, situated twenty-five leagues off. Sixteen thousand horses
were requisite to transport the train which brought these stores, partly
from Maestricht, partly from Holland; and when in a line of march, it
stretched over fifteen miles. Prince Eugene, with fifty-three battalions
and ninety squadrons, covered the vast moving mass--Marlborough himself
being ready, at a moment's notice, in his camp near Menin, to support
him, if necessary. Between these two great men there existed then, as
ever, the most entire cordiality.[30] Their measures were all taken in
concord, and with such ability, that though Vendôme lay on the flank of
the line of march, which extended over above seventy miles, not a gun
was taken, nor a carriage lost; and the whole reached the camp at
Helchin in safety, on the 12th August, whither Marlborough had gone to
meet it. So marvellous were the arrangements made for the safe conduct
of this important convoy, and so entire their success, that they excited
the admiration of the French, and in no slight degree augmented the
alarm of their generals, who had hitherto treated the idea of Lille
being besieged, with perfect derision. "Posterity," says the French
annalist, Feuqueres, "will scarcely believe the fact, though it is an
undoubted truth. Never was a great enterprise conducted with more skill
and circumspection."[31]

Prince Eugene was entrusted with the conduct of the siege, while
Marlborough commanded the covering army. The former commenced the
investment of the place on the 13th August, while Marlborough remained
at Helchin, taking measures for the protection of the convoys, which
were incessantly coming up from Brussels. At length the whole were
passed, and arrived in safety in the camp before Lille, amounting to one
hundred and twenty heavy guns, forty mortars, twenty howitzers, and four
hundred ammunition waggons. Eugene's army for the siege consisted of
fifty-three battalions and ninety squadrons, in all about forty thousand
men. Marlborough's covering force was sixty-nine battalions and one
hundred and forty squadrons, numbering nearly sixty thousand men. But
the force of the French was still more considerable in the field.
Vendôme and Berwick united on the 30th, on the plain between Grammont
and Lessines, and on the 2d September advanced towards Lille with one
hundred and forty battalions and two hundred and fifty squadrons,
mustering one hundred thousand combatants, besides twenty thousand left,
under Count de la Motte, to cover Ghent and Bruges. But Marlborough had
no fears for the result, and ardently longed for a general action, which
he hoped would one way or other conclude the war. "If we have a second
action," says he, "and God blesses our just cause, this, in all
likelihood, will be our last campaign; for I think they would not
venture a battle, but are resolved to submit to any condition, if the
success be on our side; and if they get the better, they will think
themselves masters; so that, if there should be an action, it is like to
be the last this war. If God continues on our side, we have nothing to
fear, our troops being good, though not so numerous as theirs. I dare
say, before half the troops have fought, success will declare, I trust
in God, on our side; and then I may have what I earnestly wish for
quick."[32]

No sooner was Marlborough informed of the junction of Vendôme and
Berwick, than, anticipating the direction they would follow, and the
point at which they would endeavour to penetrate through, and raise the
siege, he marched parallel to the enemy, and arrived on the 4th
September at a position previously selected, having his right at
Noyelle, and his left at Peronne. So correctly had he divined the
designs of the able generals to whom he was opposed, that, within two
hours after he had taken up his ground, the united French army appeared
in his front. Notwithstanding their great superiority of forces, the
enemy, however, did not venture to attack, and the two armies remained
watching each other for the next fortnight, without any movement being
attempted on either side.[33]

Meanwhile, Eugene was actively prosecuting the siege of Lille. Trenches
were opened on the 22d, and a heavy fire was opened from eighty pieces
of cannon. On the following night, an outwork, called the Chapel of St
Magdalene, was stormed and taken. The second parallel was soon
completed, and some farther outworks carried; and the whole battering
guns having at length been mounted, a breach was effected in the salient
angle of one of the horn-works, and on the same night a lodgement was
effected. A vigorous sortie, on the 10th September, hardly retarded the
progress of the operations, and a sap was made under the covered way.
Marlborough, who visited the besiegers' lines on the 18th, however,
expressed some displeasure at the slow progress of the siege; and in
consequence, on the 20th, another assault was hazarded. It was most
obstinately resisted, but at length the assailants overcame all
opposition and bursting in, carried a demi-bastion and several adjoining
works, though with a loss of two thousand men. Great as this loss was,
it was not so severe as that of one officer who fell; for Eugene
himself, transported with ardour, had taken part in the assault, and was
seriously wounded. This grievous casualty not only gave the utmost
distress to Marlborough, but immensely augmented his labours; for it
threw upon him at once the direction of the siege, and the command of
the covering army. Every morning at break of day he was on horseback to
observe Vendôme's army; and if all was quiet in front, he rode to the
lines and directed the siege in person till evening, when he again
returned to the camp of the covering force. By thus in a manner doubling
himself, this great man succeeded in preventing any serious
inconvenience being experienced even from so great a catastrophe as
Eugene's wound, and he infused such vigour into the operations of the
siege, that, on the 23d September, great part of the tenaillons were
broken, with a large portion of the covered way. At the same time the
ammunition of the garrison began to fail so much in consequence of the
constant fire they had kept up for above a month, that Marshal Boufflers
sent intimation to Vendôme, that unless a supply of that necessary
article was speedily obtained, he should be obliged to surrender.[34]

The French generals, aware how much the fortress was straitened, were
meanwhile straining every nerve to raise the siege; but such was the
terror inspired by Marlborough's presence, and the skill with which his
defensive measures were taken, that they did not venture to hazard an
attack on the covering army. But a well-conceived project of Vendôme's,
for throwing a supply of powder into the fortress, in part succeeded;
although many of the horsemen who carried it were cut off, some
succeeded in making their way in through the Allied lines, and
considerably raised the spirits of the garrison, as well as prolonged
their means of defence. But meanwhile the ammunition of the besiegers
was falling short, as well as that of the besieged; and as the enemy
were completely masters of the communication with Brussels, no resource
remained but to get it up from Ostend. A convoy was formed there
accordingly by General Erle, and set out on the 27th September,
consisting of seven hundred waggons, escorted by General Webb with ten
thousand men. Count de la Motte instantly set out with the troops under
his command from the vicinity of Ghent, and came up with the convoy in
the defile of Wynandals. A sharp action ensued, and the French advanced
to the attack with their wonted impetuosity. But Webb's defensive
arrangements were so skilful, and the fire kept up by his troops so
vigorous, that the enemy were utterly routed; and the convoy forcing its
way, reached Menin on the following day, and entered the Allied camp,
amidst the acclamations of the whole army, on the 30th September.[35]

The safe arrival of this convoy gave new energy to the operations of the
siege; while the recovery of Eugene relieved Marlborough of half the
labour under which, to use his own words, he had been for a fortnight
"rather dead than alive." Three days after the whole tenaillon was
carried, and the troops established directly opposite the breaches of
the ramparts. Meanwhile Vendôme opened the sluices, and inundated the
country to the very borders of the dyke, so as to intercept
Marlborough's communication with Ostend, and prevent the arrival of
stores from it. But the English general defeated this device by bringing
the stores up in flat-bottomed boats from Ostend to Leffinghen, and
thence conveying them in carriages, mounted on very high wheels, to the
camp. Cadogan greatly distinguished himself in this difficult service.
Overkirk died at this critical juncture, to the great regret of
Marlborough, who could then ill spare his ardent and patriotic spirit.
Meanwhile, however, the siege continued to advance, and fifty-five heavy
guns thundered from the counterscarp on the breaches, while thirty-six
mortars swept all the works which commanded them. Finding himself unable
to withstand the assault which was now hourly expected, Boufflers, on
the 22d October, beat a parley, and capitulated; having sustained, with
unparalleled resolution, a siege of sixty days, of which thirty were
with open trenches. Penetrated with admiration at his gallant defence,
Eugene granted the French general and his brave garrison the most
honourable terms. The gates were surrendered on the 23d, and the
remainder of the garrison, still five thousand strong, retired into the
citadel,[36] where they prolonged their defence for six weeks more.

Thus had Marlborough the glory, in one campaign, of defeating, in
pitched battle, the best general and most powerful army possessed by
France, and capturing its strongest frontier fortress, the masterpiece
of Vauban, under the eyes of one hundred and twenty thousand assembled
from all quarters for its relief. He put the keystone at the same time
into this arch of glory, by again declining the magnificent offer of the
government of the Low Countries, with its appointment of sixty thousand
a-year for life, a second time pressed upon him by King Charles, from an
apprehension that such an offer might give umbrage to the government of
Holland, or excite jealousy in the Queen's government at home.[37]

FOOTNOTES:

[10] _Coxe_, III. 156. _Instructions pour le Sieur Recoux. Cardonell
Papers_.

[11] "Count Piper said, 'We made war on Poland only to subsist; our
design in Saxony is only to terminate the war; but for the Muscovite he
shall pay _les pots cassées_, and we will treat the Czar in a manner
which posterity will hardly believe.' I secretly wished that already he
was in the heart of Muscovy. After dinner he conveyed me to
headquarters, and introduced me to his Majesty. He asked me whence I
came, and where I had served. I replied, and mentioned my good fortune
in having served three campaigns under your Highness. He questioned me
much, particularly concerning your Highness and the English troops; and
you may readily believe that I delineated my hero in the most lively and
natural colours. Among other particulars, he asked me if your Highness
yourself led the troops to the charge. I replied, that as all the troops
were animated with the same ardour for fighting, that was not necessary;
but that you were every where, and always in the hottest of the action,
and gave your orders with that coolness which excites general
admiration. I then related to him that you had been thrown from your
horse, the death of your aide-de-camp Borafield, and many other things.
He took great pleasure in this recital, and made me repeat the same
thing twice. I also said that your Highness always spoke of his Majesty
with esteem and admiration, and ardently desired to pay you his
respects. He observed, 'That is not likely, but I should be delighted to
see a general of whom I have heard so much.' They intend vigorously to
attack the Muscovites, and expect to dethrone the Czar, compelling him
to discharge all his foreign officers, and pay several millions as an
indemnity. Should he refuse such conditions, the King is resolved to
exterminate the Muscovites, and make their country a desert. God grant
he may persist in this decision, rather than demand the restitution, as
some assert, of the Protestant churches in Silesia! The Swedes in
general are modest, but do not scruple to declare themselves invincible
when the King is at their head."--_General Grumbkow to Marlborough, Jan.
11 and_ 31, 1707. _Coxe_, III. 159-161.

[12] _Coxe_, III. 167-169. The authenticity of this speech is placed
beyond doubt by Lediard, who was then in Saxony, and gives it
_verbatim_.

[13] _Coxe_, III. 174-182.

[14] "I cannot venture unless I am certain of success; for the
inclinations in Holland are so strong for peace, that, if we had the
least disadvantage, it would make them act very extravagant. I must own
every country we have to do with, acts, in my opinion, so contrary to
the general good, that it makes me quite weary of serving. The Emperor
is in the wrong in almost every thing he does."--_Marlborough to
Godolphin, June 27, 1707_; _Coxe_, III. 261.

[15] _Despatches_, III. 142-207.--So much were the Dutch alienated from
the common cause at this time, and set on acquisitions of their own,
that they beheld with undisguised satisfaction the battle of Almanza,
and disasters in Spain, as likely to render the Emperor more tractable
in considering their proceedings in Flanders. "The States," says
Marlborough, "received the news of this fatal stroke with less concern
than I expected. This blow has made so little impression in the great
towns in this country, that the _generality of the people have shown
satisfaction at it rather then otherwise_, which I attribute mainly to
the aversion to the present government."--_Marlborough to Godolphin,
May_ 13, 1707. _Coxe_, III. 204.

[16] _Coxe_, III. 196-205.

[17] _Marlborough's Despatches_, IV. 49.

[18] _Desp._ IV. 95-101. _Coxe_, IV. 128-131.

[19] _Desp._ IV. 79-102. _Coxe_, IV. 130-132.

[20] "The treachery of Ghent, continual marching, and some letters I
have received from England, (from the Queen and the Duchess,) have so
vexed me, that I was yesterday in so great a fever, that the doctor
would have persuaded me to have gone to Brussels; but I thank God I am
now better, and by the next post I hope to answer your letters. The
States have used this country so ill, that I noways doubt but all the
towns in it will play us the same trick as Ghent if they have the
power."--_Marlborough to Godolphin, July 9, 1708._ _Coxe_, IV. 38.

[21] The above description of the field of Oudenarde is mainly taken
from _Coxe_, IV. 134-135; but the author, from personal inspection of
the field, can attest its accuracy.

[22] _Coxe_, IV. 140-143.

[23] _Marlborough to Count Piper, 15th July 1708.--Desp._ IV. 115.
_Coxe_, IV. 144-145.

[24] _Coxe_, IV. 146-151. _Marlborouqh to Count Piper, 16th July
1708.--Desp._ IV. 115. _Duke of Berwck's Mem._ II. 12.

[25] _Marlborough à M. De Themgue, 15th July 1708.--Desp._ IV. 111.

[26] _Desp._ IV. 111. Berwick himself states the prisoners at
9000.--_Marlborough_, II. 12. _Marlborough to the Duchess_, _July_ 16,
1708.--_Coxe_, IV. 157.

[27] _Marlborough to Lord Godolphin, July 16 and 19, 1708._--_Coxe_, IV.
158, 159.

[28] Conscious of the panic which prevailed in France, and aware that
some brilliant enterprise was requisite to prevent the Dutch from
listening to separate overtures for peace, Marlborough proposed to meet
at Lille, and penetrate by the northern frontier into the heart of
France. An expedition fitted out in England was to co-operate on the
coast. But the design of penetrating direct into France seemed too bold
even to Eugene, and, of course, encouraged strong opposition from a
government so timid and vacillating as that of Holland.--_Coxe_, IV.
165.

[29] _Marlborough to Godolphin, July 23, 1708._--_Coxe_, IV. 165.

[30] "I need not tell you how much I desire the nation may be at last
eased of a burdensome war, by an honourable peace; and no one can judge
better than yourself of the sincerity of my wishes to enjoy a little
retirement at a place you have contributed in a great measure to make so
desirable. I thank you for your good wishes to myself on this occasion.
_I dare say, Prince Eugene and I shall never differ about our
laurels._"--_Marlborough to Mr Travers_, July 30, 1708.

[31] _Coxe_, IV. 216-219.

[32] _Marlborough to Godolphin, August 30, 1708._--_Coxe_, IV. 222.

[33] _Desp_. IV. 241-260.

[34] _Desp_. IV. 260-271. _Marlborough to Godolphin, September 24,
1708._--_Coxe_, IV. 243.

[35] _Marlborough to Godolphin, October 1, 1708._--_Coxe_, IV. 254.

[36] _Desp._ IV. 271, _Marlborough to Godolphin, October 24,
1708._--_Coxe_, IV. 263, 264.

[37] "You will find me, my Prince, always ready to renew the patent for
the government of the Low Countries, formerly sent to you, and to extend
_it for your life_."--_King Charles to Marlborough, August 8, 1708._
_Coxe_, IV. 245.



RECOLLECTIONS OF A LOVER OF SOCIETY.


Many years ago, I was struck with the remark--that if any one would
write down, from week to week, the prominent events which occurred in
his time, he must make a book which many would like to read.

I took the hint; and here I give a portion of my Recollections. Not that
I have ever kept a regular Journal, a matter which I now regret; but I
have mingled a good deal in general life, I have seen nearly all the
remarkable characters of Europe in the most stirring period of the
world, and I have seen the beginning as well as the end of that most
extraordinary of all national catastrophes, the French Revolution.

At all times fond of associating with my fellow men, taking a strong
interest in public opinions, having strong opinions of my own, and
witnessing the most singular changes in almost every form of public, of
personal, and of national impressions, I have had my full share of
experience in the ways of men. And I now offer it to those who would
refresh their remembrances of memorable men, things, and times.

For the purpose of dealing in the fairest possible manner with my
readers, I have looked into the various records of those events which
might have escaped my memory. But I have not suffered them to bias
opinions conceived long since, and conceived in the spirit of sincerity.
Such is my design. It is given to the public with a perfect freedom from
all party influence; with a total avoidance of all personality; with
that calmness of retrospect which best becomes one who has no desire to
share in the passions of the world; and with that wish of the French
almanack-maker, which lies at the bottom of many a bulkier enterprise
than mine--

     "Je veux infiniment qu'on me lise."


1800.

_January 1._--The nineteenth century has commenced with one of those
events, which deserve to mark epochs. On this day the UNION Of Ireland
with England has begun. The church bells are ringing, at this moment, in
all quarters. Flags are flying on the various government establishments.
A new Imperial flag is hoisted at the Tower, and I now hear the guns
saluting it with their roar.

The last century was the era of Intrigue in politics, in war, in courts,
in every thing. In England, the Revolution at the close of the Century
before had extinguished the power of Despotism. Popery had perished
under the heel of Protestantism. The Jacobite had fled from the face of
the Williamite. The sword was seen no longer. But the strifes of party
succeeded the struggles of Religion; and Parliament became the scene of
those conflicts, which, in the century before, would have been fought in
the field.

I strongly doubt which age exhibits the national character in a more
elevated point of view. The war of Charles I. was a period of proud
feeling. It was the last burst of Chivalry. Men of rank and fortune
periled both from a sense of honour, and some of the noblest who fell on
the royal side, were as fully convinced of the royal errors as the
orators of Parliament; but their sense of honour urged them to the
sacrifice, and they freely shed their blood for a King, whose
faithlessness and folly were to be redeemed only by his martyrdom.

From the period of the Revolution, the character of the country had
changed. Still bold, sensitive, and capable of sacrifice, it had grown
more contemptuous of political romance, more clear-sighted as to public
merits, and more fixed on substantial claims. The latter part of the
seventeenth century had seen the worthless and treacherous Charles II.
brought back by the nobles and gentry of the land in a national triumph.
The middle of the eighteenth century saw the expulsion of the Pretender,
a gallant and adventurous prince, whose only adherents were the Scottish
chiefs, and whose most determined opponents were the whole multitude of
England.

France had lost her Chivalric spirit nearly a hundred years before. It
had died with Francis I. The wars of the League were wars of Chicane;
Artifice in arms, Subtlety in steel coats. The profligacy of the courts
of Louis Quatorze, and his successors, dissolved at once the morals and
the mind of France. That great country exhibited, to the eye of Europe,
the aspect of the most extravagant license, and the most rapid decay.
There lay the great voluptuary, under the general gaze; like one of its
feudal lords dying of his own debauch--lying helpless from infirmity,
surrounded with useless pomp, and in the sight of luxuries which he
could taste no more--until death came, and he was swept away from his
place among men.

Germany was unknown even in Europe, but by the military struggles of
Prussia and Austria. But the objects were trifling, and the result was
more trifling still. Prussia gained Silesia, and Austria scarcely felt
the loss, in an Empire extending from the Rhine to the Euxine. Then came
peace, lassitude, and oblivion once more. But this languid century was
to close with a tremendous explosion. A Belgian revolt was followed by a
French Revolution. The wearisome continuance of the calm was broken up
by a tornado, and when the surges subsided again, they exhibited many a
wreck of thrones flung upon the shore.

What is to be the next great change? What inscription shall be written
by the historian on the sepulchre of the coming hundred years? Will they
exhibit the recovery of the power of opinion by Kings, or the mastery of
its power by the People? Will Europe be a theatre of State intrigue, as
of old, or a scene of Republican violence? It would require a prophet to
pronounce the reality.

But I can already see symptoms of change; stern demands on the higher
classes; sullen discontents in every country; an outcry for
representative government throughout Europe. The example of France has
not been lost upon the populace; the millions of Europe, who have seen
the mob of the capital tear down the throne, will not forget the lesson.
They may forget the purchase, or they may disregard the miseries of the
purchase, in the pride of the possession. But we shall not have another
French Revolution. We shall have no more deifications of the axe, no
more baptisms in blood, no more display of that horrid and fearful
ceremonial with which France, like the ancient idolators, offered her
children to Moloch, and drowned the shrieks and groans of the dying in
the clangour of trumpets and the acclamations of the multitude. Those
scenes were too terrible to be renewed. The heart of man shrinks from
liberty obtained by this dreadful violation of all its feelings. Like
the legendary compacts with the Evil One, the fear of the Bond would
embitter the whole intermediate indulgence; and even the populace would
be startled at a supremacy, to be obtained only by means of such utter
darkness, and followed by such awful retribution.


31.--A piece of intelligence has arrived to-day, which has set all the
World of London in commotion. It is no less than a direct challenge to
our good King. Chivalry is not yet dead, as I supposed. After expulsion
from the sunny plains of Italy and Spain, it has revived among the polar
snows.

The Russian Emperor has actually published this defiance to the world,
in the St Petersburg _Gazette_. "It is said that his majesty the
Emperor, perceiving that the European powers cannot come to an
accommodation, and wishing to put an end to a war which has raged eleven
years, has conceived the idea of appointing a place, to which he will
invite the other potentates to engage together with himself in single
combat, in Lists which shall be marked out. For which purpose they shall
bring with them, to act as their esquires, umpires, and heralds, their
most enlightened ministers and able generals, as Thugut, Pitt, and
Bernstorff. He will bring, on his part, Counts Pahlen and Kutusoff."

The first impression on the appearance of this singular document was
surprise; the next, of course, was ridicule. The man must have utterly
lost his senses. He has been for some months playing the most fantastic
tricks in his capital: cutting off people's beards if they happen to
displease his taste as a barber, cutting off coat-skirts if they offend
his taste as a tailor, ordering the passers-by to pay him a kind of
Oriental homage, and threatening to send every body to Siberia. Under
such circumstances, the air of Russia is supposed to be unfavourable to
royal longevity.


The death of a singular character occurred a few days since, a
_protegée_ of Hannah More, and, as might be expected from that lady's
publishing habits, rendered sufficiently conspicuous by her pen. She was
a total stranger, apparently a German by her pronunciation of English,
yet carefully avoiding to speak any foreign language. She was first
found taking refuge under a haystack, apparently in a state of insanity,
and determined to die there. The peasantry, who occasionally brought her
food, of course soon gave her a name, and, as she was evidently a
gentlewoman, they called her the lady of the haystack. Hannah More, who
had unquestionably some humanity, though she was rather too fond of its
public exhibition, made her the heroine of a tale, and thus drew upon
her considerable notice. She was prevailed on, though with some
difficulty, to leave the haystack; and after a residence of a
considerable period in the country, supported by subscriptions, she was
removed, on its being ascertained that she was incurably insane, to an
hospital in London, where, after continuing several years, she died.

Her case excited great curiosity for the time, and every effort was made
in Germany to ascertain her family, and give some notice of her
condition. One of the most remarkable circumstances in her insanity, was
her guarded silence on the subject of her relatives. Though she rambled
into all conceivable topics, she could not be induced to give the
slightest clue to their names. The moment any attempt at their discovery
was made, all her feelings seemed to be startled; she shrank at once,
looked distressed, and became silent. Hannah More's "Tale of Woe," was
therefore a well-meant effort to attract attention to an unhappy
creature, who was determined to give no knowledge of herself to the
world.


Lord Camelford's eccentricities are well known, but the world has given
him credit for more than he deserves. He was unluckily a duellist almost
by profession, and thus as dangerous to associate with as a mad bull.
Yet I have heard traits of a generosity on his part as lavish as his
manners are eccentric. He is, however, so well known to be alert in the
use of the pistol, and to be of fiery temper, that some curious stories
are told of the alarm inspired by his presence. One of those is now
running the round of the Clubs.

Some days ago, his lordship, walking into a coffee-house, and taking up
the evening paper, began poring over its paragraphs. A coxcomb in an
adjoining box, who had frequently called to the waiter for the paper,
walked over to Lord Camelford's box, and, seeing him lay down the paper
for the moment while he was sipping his coffee, took it up, and walked
off with it without ceremony. His lordship bore the performance without
exhibiting any sign of disturbance, but waited till he saw the intruder
engaged in its paragraphs. He then quietly walked over, and with all the
eyes of the Coffeehouse upon him, snuffed out the fellow's candles, and
walked back to his own seat. The fellow, astonished and furious,
demanded the name of the person who had served him in this contemptuous
manner. His lordship threw him his card. He took it--read "Lord
Camelford" aloud--seemed petrified for a moment, and in the next
snatched up his hat, and made but one step to the door, followed by the
laugh of the whole room.

But his lordship has, like Hamlet, method in his madness. A report was
lately spread that he had resolved, in case of Horne Tooke's rejection
by the House as member for Old Sarum, that he would bring in his own
black footman. This report he resented and denied, sending a letter to
the newspapers, of which this is a fragment:--

     "A report, as preposterous as unfounded, has lately found its way
     abroad, stating that I meditated a gross and indecent insult upon
     the dignity of the legislature, by using an influence which I am
     supposed to possess, for the purpose of introducing an improper
     character into the formation of its body.

     "It becomes me to set the public right, by solemnly assuring them,
     that no such idea was ever in contemplation for one moment; and
     that I am at a loss to discover how the rumour originated; as, so
     far from being capable of harbouring a wish to add to the
     embarrassments of an unhappy and dejected people, it would be the
     pride and glory of my heart, if I had the power to place such
     persons in situations of responsibility, as, by their talents and
     integrity, might preserve our Laws and Government and
     Constitution."


The eccentricities of the unfortunate Emperor of Russia have come to
even a more rapid end than I had expected. A courier has just arrived
with the startling intelligence, that the Czar was found dead in his
chamber. The whole transaction is for the moment covered with extreme
obscurity; but it is to be feared that what the Frenchman, with equal
cleverness and wickedness, called the Russian trial by Jury, has been
acted on in this instance, and that the Russian annals have been stained
with another Imperial catastrophe.

How natural and magnificent are Shakspeare's reflections on the
anxieties that beset a crown--

  "Oh, polished perturbation! golden care,
  That keeps the ports of Slumber open wide
  To many a watchful night: O Majesty!
  When thou cost pinch thy bearer, thou dost sit
  Like a rich armour worn in heat of day,
  That scalds with safety."


If Voltaire's definition be true, that swindling is the perfection of
civilization, and that the more civilized, the more subtle we become,
England may boast of a swindler that seems to have brought the art to
its highest perfection. She is a female, not at all of the showy order,
which beguiles so many understandings through the eyes--an insignificant
and mean person, with an ordinary face, not at all exhibiting manners
superior to her appearance, yet certainly of the most superb ambition in
the art of tricking the World. Where she began her adventures first,
remains to be developed by future biography. At length she appeared in
the neighbourhood of Greenwich, and, representing herself there as an
heiress, took a handsome house, and contrived, in the usual way, to make
all the tradesmen in the neighbourhood contribute to its furnishing. By
the simplicity and plausibility of her manner, she even obtained loans
to the amount of some thousands, to set her household in motion, until
her affairs were settled. An heiress must, of course, have a carriage;
but this clever person was not content with doing things in an ordinary
way, but set up three. While her house was being prepared,--which she
ordered to be done by the first artists in their way, the walls being
painted in fresco,--she drove down to Brighton in her travelling
carriage, with four horses and two outriders. She gave an order for the
furnishing of her house to the amount of £4000, and commissioned from
Hatchett, the celebrated coachmaker, a first-rate chariot, with all
kinds of expensive mountings and mouldings, to be ready for the Queen's
birthday, when she was to be introduced at court by the wife of one of
the Secretaries of State. In the interval, she drove daily through the
West End, dropping her cards at the houses of persons of public name.
She thus proceeded for a while triumphantly; but having, in the
intoxication of her success, given the names of some persons of rank as
her relatives, inquiry was made amongst them, and the relationship being
of course disowned, suspicion was suddenly excited. Nothing could exceed
her indignation on the subject; but the tradesmen, thus rendered only
more suspicious, attempted to recover their furniture. The caption was
at last made, and bailiffs were put into the house, with the
expectation of apprehending the lady herself. However, she was adroit
enough to discover her danger, and to her house she returned no more.
Search was made after her, and it was said that she was discovered and
thrown into jail. But she suddenly disappeared; and failing her own
legacy, left to the unlucky people who had given her credit, a long
legacy of general quarrel and mutual disappointment.


When Fox was asked whether he had any faith in Political Economy, the
doctrines of which had become fashionable in his day, from the writings
of Turgot and the French school, he answered--"That it was too undefined
for his comprehension; that its views were either too large, or too
indistinct, to give his mind the feeling of certainty."

He well might say this, when no two of the modern Political Economists
agree, and when all the theories of the last age are laughed at by all
the theorists of the present. In the middle of the seventeenth century
Sir William Petty, one of the most acute, and also one of the most
practical men of his time, pronounced that the population of England
would take three hundred and sixty years to double--the fact being, that
it has doubled within about a seventh part of that period. Of London he
predicts, that its growth must finally stop in 1842; and that then its
population must amount to half the population of England. Yet London is
still growing, day by day, and yet its population scarcely exceeds a
twentieth of the whole.


The Emperor Paul, in the beginning of his reign, was a favourite with
the soldiery, whom he indulged in all possible ways, giving them money,
distributing promotion lavishly among them, and always pronouncing them
the bulwark of his throne. But when his brain began to give way, his
first experiments were with the soldiery, and he instantly became
unpopular. The former dress of the Russian soldier was remarkable alike
for its neatness and its convenience. He wore large pantaloons of red
cloth, the ends of which were stuffed into his boots; the boots were of
flexible leather, and an excellent and easy protection for the legs and
feet. He wore a jacket of red and green, with a girdle round the waist;
his head was protected by a light helmet. The whole dress thus
consisting of two garments, light, showy, and looking the true dress for
a soldier.

Paul's evil genius, which induced him to change every thing, began with
that most perilous of all things to tamper with--the army of a great
military power. He ordered the Austrian costume to be adopted. Nothing
could equal the general indignation. The hair must be powdered, curled,
and pomatumed; a practice which the Russian, who washed his locks every
day, naturally abhorred. The long tail made him the laugh of his
countrymen. His boots, to which he had been accustomed from his infancy,
and which form a distinctive part of the national costume, were to be
taken off, and to be substituted by the tight German spatterdash and the
shoe, the one pinching the leg, and the other perpetually falling off
the foot, wherever the march happened to be in the wet. The consequence
was, infinite discontent, and desertion to a great extent--a thing never
heard of in the service before.

It may be conceived with what disdain those frivolous, yet mischievous,
innovations must have been regarded by those Russian officers who had
known the reality of service. Suvaroff was then in Italy with his army.
One morning a large packet was brought to him by an Imperial courier. To
his astonishment, and the amusement of his staff, it was but models of
tails and curls. Suvaroff gave vent to a sneer, a much more fatal thing
than a sarcasm, in some Russian verses, amounting to--

  "Hair-powder is not gunpowder;
  Curls are not cannon;
  Tails are not bayonets."

The general's rough poetry was instantly popular; it spread through the
army, it travelled back to Russia, it reached the Imperial ear; the
Czar was stung by the burlesque, and Suvaroff was recalled.

Few things are more remarkable, than the slowness with which common
sense acts, even in matters which should evidently be wholly under its
guidance. It might appear that the mere necessities of war would dictate
the equipment of the soldier; namely, that it should be light, simple,
and safe, as far as is possible. Yet the equipment of the European
soldier, at the commencement of the French war, seemed to be intended
only to give him trouble, to encumber him, and to expose his personal
safety. The Austrian soldier's dress was an absolute toilette. The
Prussian, even with all the intelligence of the Great Frederic to model
it, was enough to perplex a French milliner, and to occupy the wearer
half the day in putting it off and on. The English uniform was modelled
on the Prussian, and our unlucky soldier was compelled to employ his
hours in tying his queue, powdering his hair, buttoning on his
spatterdashes, and polishing his musket-barrel. The heavy dragoons all
wore cocked hats, of all coverings of the head the most unprotecting and
the most inconvenient. The French light troops, too, all wore cocked
hats. The very colour of the royal French uniform, as well as the
Austrian, was white, of all colours the most unfitted for the rough work
of the bivouack, and also injurious, as shewing the immediate stain of
blood.

It actually took twenty years to teach the general officers of the
European armies, that men could fight without spatterdashes, that
hair-powder was not heroism, and that long tails were only an imitation
of the monkey; that muskets did not fire the worse for having brown
barrels, and that the cuirass was a better defence for the body of the
dragoon than a cloth waistcoat, however covered with embroidery. But why
shall not improvement go a little farther? Why shall not the arm of the
dragoon be a little protected as well as his body? A slight and simple
covering of steel rings would effect the purpose, and it is an important
one; for a slight wound in the arm disables him even more than a wound
in the body, unless the latter wound should be mortal at once. But why,
also, should not the foot soldier wear something equivalent to the
cuirass? The weight might be made trifling, it might be carried at the
back of his knapsack except when in actual engagement, and it would save
thousands of lives; for the most dangerous wounds are in the front, and
a wound in the abdomen is almost incurable. Five shillings' worth of
tin-plate might protect the soldier for his lifetime; and there can be
no doubt, that the consciousness of having such a protection would
render troops more efficient. Of the bravery of the British there can be
no doubt; but there can be just as little doubt, that every increase to
the personal security of troops renders them calmer under fire, and of
course fitter for obedience in the exigiencies of service. Besides, it
is a public duty to the brave men in our service, not to expose them
needlessly on any occasion; and they _are_ exposed needlessly, when they
are sent into the field without every protection which our skill can
give. But are we demanding armour for the foot soldiers? No; the armour
of the old times of Chivalry would be too heavy, and impede the activity
of those movements, of which so much of military success depends. The
defensive arms of the Roman soldier were simply a small light helmet, a
light cuirass, and greaves, or boots bound with brass. Yet with these
his average march was twenty miles a-day, carrying sixty pounds weight
of provisions and baggage on his back. The weight of his sword, his two
lances, and his intrenching tools and palisade, was not reckoned.


Buonaparte has made a Concordat with the Pope. The laughers have
attacked him in the following epigram:--

  Politique plus fin que General Eubile,
  Bien plus ambitieux que Louis dit le Grand.
  Pour être Roi d'Egypte, il croit à l'Alkoran,
  Pour être Roi de France, il croit à l'Evangile.

Our English epitaphs are often as disgraceful to the national taste, as
their levity is unsuitable to the place of the dead. I am not aware
whether this epitaph, by the most amiable of poets, Cowper, has been
preserved among his works. It is on the tomb of a Mrs Hamilton:--

  "Pause here and think--a monitory rhyme
  Demands one moment of thy fleeting time.
  Consult Life's silent clock. Thy glowing vein
  Seems it to say--'Health here has long to reign?'--
  Hast thou the vigour of thy youth? an eye
  That beams delight: a heart untaught to sigh?
  Yet fear. Youth ofttimes, healthful and at ease,
  Anticipates a day it never sees.
  And many a tomb, like Hamilton's, aloud
  Exclaims--Prepare thee for an early shroud!"

In the course of this year died three remarkable men, Lavater, Gilbert
Wakefield, and Heberden, the famous physician. Perhaps no man of his day
excited more general attention throughout Europe than John Gaspar
Lavater; and this is the more remarkable, when we recollect that he was
but a simple Swiss pastor at Zurich--minister of the church of St Peter.
When about thirty years' old, his mind was first turned to the study of
Physiognomy. He shortly after published some parts of a work on the
subject, in which he broached a new theory; viz. that the countenance
gave representative evidences of the powers and comparative vigour of
the understanding. The subject of Physiognomy had been already treated
of by the German writers; but, as Voltaire observes, the business of
German philosophy is to make philosophy inaccessible; and their
treatises had sunk into oblivion. Yet the science itself, if science it
is to be called, is so natural, so universally, however involuntarily,
practised, and frequently so useful in its practice, that its revival
became instantly popular:--a large part of its popularity, however,
being due to the novelty of Lavater's system, the animation of his
language, and that enthusiastic confidence in his discovery, which is
always amongst the most powerful means of convincing the majority of
mankind. Something also is due to the happy idea of illustrating his
conceptions by a great number of portraits, which added amusement to the
general interest of the volumes. Passion possesses great influence in
the world, and Physiognomy became the fashion. His books spread through
every part of the Continent, and nothing can be more striking than the
ardour with which they were received. If Switzerland is proud of his
popularity, the mysticism of Germany was delighted with his mysticism;
and the literary coteries of France, at whose head were all the ladies
of the court, were his most vehement disciples. Nothing was read, for a
considerable period, but the pages of Lavater. It has been said, that
scarcely a domestic would be hired without a physiognomical examination,
and reference to the pages of Lavater.

His personal conduct sustained his public popularity; his gentle
manners, his general benevolence, and his eloquence in the pulpit,
endeared him to the people. He was the most popular preacher in Zurich,
less from his abilities, than on the softness of his voice, and the
tenderness of his manner.

The objections occasionally started to his theories only increased his
hold upon the national affections. For the period he was the
physiognomical apostle of Switzerland. Some of his admirers went so far,
as to lay his quarto on the table beside the Scriptures, and regard it
as a species of Natural Revelation.

Even when the novelty lost its charm, the locality preserved his
reputation. Switzerland, in those days, was the peculiar resort of all
the leading personages of Europe; all travellers of distinction visited
the country, and generally made some stay in its cities; and all visited
Lavater. What has become of his Album, I have not heard; but its
autographs must have made it invaluable to a collector of the signatures
of eminent names.

But, whether tempted by vanity, or betrayed by original feebleness of
intellect, the harmless physiognomist at length suffered himself to
announce doctrines equally hazardous to the Religion, and the Policy, of
the Canton. The habits of the times were latitudinarian in religion, and
revolutionary in politics. Some unlucky opinions, uttered in the folly
of the hour, brought Lavater under the charge of a leaning to Rome in
the one, and to France in the other; he bore up for a while against
both. But the invasion of Switzerland by the French armies, suddenly
made him a vigorous denouncer of Republican ambition, and he was soon to
be its victim. In the storming of Zurich by Moreau, he was severely
wounded in the streets; and though he was rescued, and his wounds were
healed, he never recovered the injury. He languished, though in full
possession of his intellectual powers, until he died.

What his theology was, can scarcely be defined; but if he had not
adopted Physiognomy as the study of his life, his temperament might have
excited him to try the effect of a new Religion. He was said to have
believed in the continuance of the power of working miracles, and to
have equally believed in the modern power of exorcists. Fortunately his
talent was turned to a harmless pursuit; and he amused, without
bewildering, the minds of men.

The grand principle of his physiognomical system is, that human
character is to be looked for, not as is usually supposed, in the
movable features and lines of the face, but in its solid structure. And
he also imagined that the degree of intellectual acuteness is to be
ascertained by the same indications. But his theory in the former
instance is but feebly supported by fact; for it is by the movements of
the features that the passions are most distinctly displayed: and in the
latter, his theory is constantly contradicted by facts, for many of the
most powerful minds that the world has ever seen have been masked under
heavy countenances.

Perhaps the true limit of the Science is to be discovered by the
knowledge of its use. Every man is more or less a physiognomist. It is
of obvious importance for us to have some knowledge of the passions and
propensities of our fellow men; for these constitute the instruments of
human association, and form the dangers or advantages of human
intercourse. Thus, a countenance of ill temper or of habitual guile, of
daring violence or of brutish profligacy, warns the spectator at once.
But the knowledge of intellectual capacity is comparatively unimportant
to us as either a guide or a protection, and it is therefore not given,
but left to be ascertained by its practical operation.

Phrenology has since taken up the challenge which Physiognomy once gave
to mankind:--equally ingenious and equally fantastic, equally offering a
semblance of truth, and equally incapable of leading us beyond the
simple observation which strikes the eye. A well-formed head will
probably contain a well-formed brain; and a well-formed brain will
probably be the fittest for the operations of the intellect. But beyond
this, Phrenology has not gone, and probably will never go. The attempts
to define the faculties by their position in the structure of the bone
or the brain, have been so perpetually contradicted by fact; its
prognostics of capacity have been so perpetually defeated; and its
mistakes of character have been so constantly thrown into burlesque by
the precipitancy and presumption of its advocates--that common sense has
abandoned it altogether; it has by common consent been abandoned to
enthusiasts; and to assert its right to the name of a Science, would now
hazard the title of its advocate to rationality.


The life of Gilbert Wakefield is one among the many instances of
vigorous learning and strong intellect, made a source of misery to their
possessor by a want of common prudence. His whole life might be
characterized in three words--courage, caprice, and misfortune. After
having attained a Cambridge fellowship, acquired distinction in
classical criticism, and entered into the Church, he suddenly began to
entertain notions hostile to the liturgy, and became classical tutor of
the dissenting academy of Warrington. For ten years he laboured in this
obscure vocation, or with private pupils, now chiefly turning his
classical studies to the illustration of the New Testament. At the end
of this period, he became classical tutor of the dissenting College in
Hackney. But even Dissent could not tolerate his opinions; for a volume
which he published, tending to lower the value of public worship, gave
offence, and speedily dissolved the connexion. His classical knowledge
was now brought into more active use, and he published Annotations on
the Greek tragedies, and editions of some of the Roman poets.
Unfortunately, the popular follies on the subject of the French
Revolution tempted him to try his pen as a Pamphleteer; and a letter
written in reply to the Bishop of Llandaff, rendered him liable to a
prosecution: he was found guilty, and sentenced to an imprisonment of
two years in Dorchester jail. This imprisonment was unfortunately fatal;
for whether from his confinement, or the vexation of mind which must be
the natural consequence, his liberation found him exhausted in strength,
though still the same bold and indefatigable being which he had been
through the whole course of his wayward life. Still he had many friends,
and between the spirit of party, and the more honourable spirit of
personal regard, the large subscription of £5000 was raised for his
family. But his career was now rapidly drawing to a close. He had been
but a few months relieved from his prison, when his constitution sank
under an attack of typhus, and he died in his forty-sixth year, at an
age which in other men is scarcely more than the commencement of their
maturity--is actually the most vigorous period of all their powers; and
in an undecayed frame gives the securest promise of longevity. With all
his eccentricities, and he had many, he had the reputation of being an
amiable man.


Heberden was at the head of English Medicine in his day. He was a man of
vigorous understanding and accomplished knowledge. He began life as a
scholar, entering Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship. Adopting
physic as his profession, he continued in Cambridge for ten years; until
the usual ambition of country practitioners to be known in the
metropolis, urged him to try his fortunes in London.

The example of this able, and ultimately successful man, is not without
its value, as an encouragement to perseverance under the most
discouraging obstacles, when they happen to come in the way of
individuals of sound scholarship and substantial strength of mind.
Heberden lingered in London without success for some years; and at
length, conceiving that his ill-fortune was beyond remedy, had formed
his resolution to return to the country.

At this period some lucky chance changed his purpose. He became known;
rapidly rose into practice, and assumed the rank due to his ability.
Similar circumstances had occurred in the career of the celebrated
Edmund Burke, who was at two different periods on the point of leaving
England for America, in despair of distinction at home. The late Lord
Eldon had even given up his chambers in London, and announced his
intention of commencing as a country practitioner of the law; when, at
the suggestion of a legal friend, he made the experiment of "trying
another term." Business suddenly flowed in upon him, and the
disheartened barrister was soon floated on to the highest dignities of
his profession. Even the illustrious Wellington himself is said, at one
time, to have entertained serious thoughts of directing himself to a
civil career, and to have been prevented only by the difficulty of
finding an immediate employment. The delay gave room for the fortunate
change in his prospects, which soon made him the first officer in
Europe.

Heberden wrote a great variety of Tracts on his own science; suffered no
improvement in medicine, or public topic connected with general health,
to escape him; cultivated his original scholarship to the last; enjoyed
the friendship of the scientific world throughout his career; and
enjoyed life itself to an unusual duration, dying in his ninety-first
year.


The anxieties of Europe are, for a while, at least, at an end. The
preliminaries of peace with France were signed on October the 1st, and
yesterday the 9th, Lauriston, first aide-de-camp to Bonaparte, arrived
in town. The populace were all civility to him so were the ministers.
The French ambassador, Otto, immediately took him to Downing Street,
where he was complimented by Lord Hawkesbury. Lauriston is a general in
the Republican service, with a handsome figure, which, covered with
lace, and the showy decorations of his rank, quite enchanted the
multitude of gazers.

At the peace of 1782, the pleasantry of George Selwyn, on the arrival of
the French ambassador, a remarkably little man, was, "That France had
sent them the preliminaries of peace, by the preliminaries of an
ambassador." Whatever may be the fate of the present preliminaries, the
jest will not apply to the present envoy, who looks the soldier, and
would evidently make a dashing hussar. His progress through the streets
was, from the first, followed by acclamation. But at length it became a
kind of triumph. The zeal of the rabble, (probably under good guidance,
for the French _employés_ comprehend those little arrangements
perfectly,) determined on drawing the carriage. The harness was taken
off, the horses enjoyed a sinecure, the coachman sat in uneasy idleness
on his box, and the crowd tugged away in their best style. The
procession slowly moved through the principal streets of the West End,
till it reached the Foreign Office. After a pause there, for the
delivery of his credentials, Lauriston went to the Admiralty, where St
Vincent, the first lord, (albeit no lover of Frenchmen,) received the
stranger with a good-humoured shake of the hand, and, on parting with
him, made a little speech to the mob, recommending it to them "to take
care and not overset the carriage."

In the evening London was illuminated, and looked as brilliant as lights
and transparencies could make it. An odd incident during the day,
however, showed of what tetchy materials a great populace is made. Otto,
the French resident, in preparing his house for the illumination, had
hung in its front a characteristic motto, in coloured lamps, consisting
of the three words--"France, Concord, England." A party of sailors, who
had rambled through the streets to see the preparations for the night,
could not bring their tongues to relish this juxtaposition; which they
read as if it were, "France _conquered_ England." The mob gathered, and
were of the same opinion. Jack began to talk loud, and to speak of the
motto as a national insult. Fortunately, however, before the matter
could proceed to breaking windows, or perhaps worse, some of the envoy's
servants informed their master of the equivocal nature of his motto. The
obnoxious word was changed accordingly, and the illumination in the
evening (which was most splendid,) displayed the
motto--"France--Peace--England."


The North, too, has not been without its festivities. Alexander of
Russia has been crowned with all the pomp of a successor of Catherine,
and the Lord of an Empire five thousand miles long, and touching almost
the Tropics, and almost the Pole. Moscow, of course, was the scene. All
that barbaric pomp and European luxury could combine, was to be seen in
the displays of the double coronation of the Czar and Czarina.
Alexander, disdaining the royal habit of being drawn in a carriage,
however gilded; or remembering that he was the monarch of a nation of
horsemen, King of the Tartar world, moved in the midst of his great
lords and cavalry, mounted on a fine English charger, and was received
every where with boundless acclamations.

The memory of kings is seldom long-lived in despotic governments. But
Paul's is already extinguished, or survives only in the rejoicing of the
people to have got rid of him. His nature was not ungenerous, but his
caprice had become so intolerable, that his longer life would probably
have seen some desperate outbreak in the Empire.

The Czar is handsome, according to Russian ideas of beauty,--tall, and
well-proportioned. The people are delighted to find themselves under his
authority, and the peculiar affability of his manner to the English at
Moscow, is regarded as a pledge of the reconciliation of Russia to the
system of our politics and our trade.

Russia, more than any other monarchy, requires a powerful, direct, and
vigilant administration. The enormous extent of her territory exposes
her to perpetual abuses in her provincial governments. The barbarism of
a vast portion of her population, demands the whole capacity of an
enlightened Sovereign, to raise it in the rank of human nature.

To this hour the question is doubtful, whether Moscow ought not to have
continued the seat of government. It is true that then Russia would
probably have had no Baltic fleet. But ought she ever to have had a
Baltic fleet? Ought she to have attempted a maritime superiority, with
sea locked up in ice for six months of the year; a territory meant for a
wilderness, and incapable of becoming anything better, in which the
Russian sovereigns have condemned themselves to the life of one of their
own bears, cold, wild, and comfortless? All the stoves on earth cannot
make a St Petersburg winter endurable by any thing but a fish or a
marmozet; while Moscow offered a glorious climate, unlimited space for a
capital city, a fertile country, a fine landscape, a central position
for the head of an empire, with Europe in its front, and Asia at its
back.

The choice of St Petersburg has probably cramped the growth of Russian
power. Even Poland has only given her a desert, a kingdom scantily
cultivated, scantily peopled, discontented serfdom and a broken
frontier. Yet all may be for the best. Moscow, as the head of the
Empire, might have made her too powerful, and Europe might have seen a
Russian Gengis Khan.


The Town is ringing with an extraordinary feat of pedestrianism; the
first exploit of a young Scotchman, Barclay of Ury. He had betted £5000
that he would walk ninety miles in twenty-one and a half hours, and has
won, leaving an hour and seventeen minutes to spare.

Feats of this order have a value, as showing the powers of the human
frame. They would otherwise be merely vulgar gambling. But if it is of
importance to know the extent of the mental powers, those of the body
also have their uses; and an effeminate generation would only have to
prepare themselves by the exercises of this young gentleman, to be able
to dispense with post-chaises and the gout. The walker is but twenty-two
years old; and he has finished his exploit without any injury to his
frame, and, it may be presumed, with a considerable advantage to his
finances. All the "Sporting world," as they are named, were on the
ground, which was a measured mile, on the road between York and Hull;
lamps were erected to light the principal performer during the night. A
cottage at the road-side received him for refreshment, and change of
dress, at intervals. A militia regiment, which happened to be on its
march from Hull, halted and filed on either side of the road, with the
gallantry of sportsmen, to give him free way; and the general interest
taken in this singular performance was surprising. The only drawback was
the evident activity of his frame, and his power of endurance; for after
the first thirty miles the betting began to be wholly in his favour, and
the spirit of speculation shrunk from that period, and long before the
close no bets would be taken. From daylight, multitudes thronged to the
course. All the carriages, of which such numbers pass along this
communication between the two great northern towns, went to the side of
the road; even the mails gave way. The affair seemed national, and if
the gallant pedestrian had failed, it might have been followed by a
general mourning in the Ridings.


One of the great Histrionic Dynasty, Stephen Kemble, has lately amused
the Town by his performance of Falstaff. He exhibited the humours of the
jovial knight with skill enough to make the audiences laugh. But he was
perhaps the first actor who ever played the _fat_ knight to the life.
His remarkable corpulence qualified him to play the character without
stuffing. The good-humour of his visage was fully equalled by the
protuberance of his stomach; and if the "totus in se teres atque
rotundus" of Horace, is the poet's definition of a good man, the actor
rose to the summit of human virtue. The best prologue, since the days of
Garrick, ushered in this singular performance.

  "A Falstaff here to-night, by nature made,
  Lends to your favourite bard his pond'rous aid;
  No man in buckram he, no stuffing gear!
  No feather bed, nor e'en a pillow here!
  But all good honest flesh, and blood, and bone,
  And weighing, more or less--some _thirty_ stone.
  Upon the northern coast, by chance, we caught him:
  And hither, in a broad-wheel'd waggon, brought him;
  For in a chaise the varlet ne'er could enter,
  And no mail-coach on such a fare would venture.
  Blest with unwieldiness, at least his size
  Will favour find in every critic's eyes;
  And should his humour, and his mimic art,
  Bear due proportion to his outer part,
  As once 'twas said of Macklin in the Jew,
  'This is the very Falstaff Shakspeare drew.'
  To you, with diffidence, he bids me say,
  Should you approve, you may command his stay,
  To lie and swagger here another day.
  If not, to better men he'll leave his sack,
  And go as ballast, in a collier, back."


1802.

This French peace will not last. The parties to this unnatural wedlock
are beginning to grumble already; and this, too, when the bans are still
in every body's ears. The French, however, have begun the quarrel, by
sending out a huge fleet, with 30,000 men on board, to St Domingo. This
our minister regards as a daring exploit, which may finish by turning on
Jamaica. The negroes are every where in exultation; for they cannot be
made to believe that France intends any thing but a general
emancipation; and that her expedition, however it be apparently against
Touissaint, is sent for a general overthrow of the whites.

Long discussions have taken place between the two governments, all
ending in the usual way. France protesting her honour, and England
proclaiming her alarms; both amounting to so much paper wasted. But our
West India squadron has been reinforced; and the First Consul has found
employment for a daring soldiery, who cannot live in quiet; found
offices for some hundreds of officials, the most petitioning and
perplexing race of mankind; and found a topic for the Coffeehouses,
which he naturally thinks much better employed in talking about St
Domingo, than in criticising his proceedings at home.

Another source of grumbling between these two ill-assorted parties. At
the very Marriage feast an apple of discord has been thrown in, and that
apple is Switzerland. France will suffer but one republic, and that must
be the World. The presumption of a little pigeon-house of Republics
among the Alps insults her feelings; and all must run under the wing of
the great Republican Eagle, or be grasped by her talons. An army has
been ordered to march to Berne. The Swiss will probably resist, but they
will certainly be beaten. Republics are sometimes powerful in attack;
they are always feeble in defence. They are at best but a mob; and,
while the mob can rush on, they may trample down opposition. But a mob,
forced to the defensive, thinks of nothing but running away. The
strength of a monarchy alone can bind men together for an effectual
resistance. Switzerland will get the fraternal embrace, and be as much
fettered as St Domingo.


Who are to be the heirs of General Claude Martin? The man never knew
that he had a grandfather, and probably was as much in doubt about his
heirs. What he was himself, nobody seems to know. But this man of
obscurity has died worth half a million sterling! So much for India and
her adventurers.

When a boy, he entered into the French service. By some chance or other
he found himself in India; there offered himself to the Nabob of
Lucknow, disciplined his troops, rose to the rank of commandant of the
Rajah's troops, or some similar position, and amassed the half million.
He was a splendid distributor, however, and has given away by his will
six hundred thousand rupees--a sum large enough to buy any thing in
France but the First Consul.


Francis, Duke of Bedford, has just died. The reports vary as to the
cause. The general opinion is, that in playing rackets, or in some other
rough exercise, he overstrained himself, and produced a return of a
disease to which he had been for some years liable. The details of his
death are too painful to be entered into. The first surgical assistance
was brought down to Woburn. An operation was performed, which for some
days gave hope, but it was too late. Mortification ensued, and he died,
to the great regret of a large circle of personal friends; to the great
loss of his party, which was Whig in the highest degree; and to the
general sorrow of the country. He was a handsome man with a showy
figure, and the manners, and, what was better, the spirit of a nobleman.
He was magnificent in his household, and not less magnificent in his
sense of duty as a landlord and country gentleman. He first established
those great Agricultural Meetings by which the breed of British cattle
was so greatly improved; Agriculture took the shape of a science, and
the Agricultural interest, the true strength of a country, took its
place among the pillars of the Empire.

By a sort of fashion, the leading country gentlemen always began public
life as Whigs. And although the Bedford family had gone through every
form of politics, from the days of their founder, Russell, under Henry
the VIII., and especially in the person of the Duke of Bedford's
unpopular, but able, grandfather, the Duke espoused the party of Fox
with the devotion of an enthusiast.

He was thus brought into some unfortunate collisions with the bolder
spirits and more practised talents of the Treasury Bench; and though,
from his position in the House of Lords, secure from direct attack by
the great leaders of Government, he was struck by many a shaft which he
had neither the power to repel nor to return.

An unlucky piece of hardihood, in attacking the royal grant of a pension
of three thousand a year to the greatest writer, philosopher, and
politician of the age, Edmund Burke, provoked a rejoinder, which must
have put any man to the torture. Burke's pamphlet in defence of his
pension, was much less a defence than an assault. He broke into the
enemy's camp at once, and "swept all there with huge two-handed sway."
He traced the history of the Bedford opulence up to its origin, which he
loftily pronounced to be personal sycophancy and public spoil--the
plunder of the Abbeys, obtained by subserviency to a Tyrant. The
eloquence of this terrible castigation unhappily embalmed the scorn. And
so long as the works of this great man are read, and they will be read
so long as the language endures, the honours of Francis Duke of Bedford
will go down dismantled to posterity.

But his private character was amiable, and the closing hours of his
career were manly. On its being announced to him that an operation was
necessary, he asked only for "two hours delay to settle his affairs;"
and he occupied those two hours in writing to his brothers, and to some
friends. He then offered to submit to be bound, if the operators should
think it necessary; but they replied, "that they relied fully on his
Grace's firmness of mind." He bore the trial with remarkable fortitude.
But the disorder took an unfavourable turn, and on the third day he
expired.


The retirement of Pitt from the Ministry, has given his successor,
Addington, the honour of making the peace. But the services of the great
Master are not eclipsed by the fortunes of the follower. Addington is
universally regarded as the shadow of Pitt; moving only as he moves;
existing by his existence; and exhibiting merely in outline his reality.
Every one believes that Pitt must return to power; and those who are
inclined to think sulkily of all ministers, look upon the whole as an
intrigue, to save Pitt's honour to the Irish Roman Catholics, and yet
preserve his power. Those rumours have received additional strength from
a grand dinner given the other day in the city, on his birthday, at
which his friends mustered in great force, and his name was toasted with
the most lavish panegyric. Among the rest, a song, said to be by George
Rose, of whose claims to the laurel no one had ever heard before--was
received with great applause. Some of its stanzas were sufficiently
applicable.

  "No Jacobin rites in our fêtes shall prevail,
  Ours the true feast of reason, the soul's social flow;
  Here we cherish the friend, while the patriot we hail,
  As true to his country--as stern to her foe.
        Impress'd with his worth,
        We indulge in our mirth,
  And bright shines the planet that ruled at his birth.
  Round the orbit of Britain, oh, long may it move,
  Like the satellite circling the splendours of Jove!

  "To the name of a Pitt, in the day of the past,
  Her rank 'mid the nations our country may trace;
  Though his statue may moulder, his memory will last,
  The great and the good live again in their race;
        Ere to time's distant day,
        Our marble convey
  The fame that now blooms, and will know no decay,
  Our fathers' example our breasts shall inspire
  And we'll honour the Son as they honour'd the Sire."


The public doubts of the peace are at length settled. A note has been
sent from the Foreign Office to the Lord Mayor, announcing that the
definitive treaty had been finally settled at Amiens, on the 27th of
March, by the plenipotentiaries of England, France, Spain, and the
Batavian Republic. The treaty, as it transpires, is the source of
general cavil. It leaves to France all her conquests, while England
restores every thing except Ceylon and Trinidad; the one a Dutch colony,
and the other a Spanish; both powers having been our Allies at the
commencement of the war. The Cape is to be given back to the Dutch; but
Malta, the principal bone of contention, is to be garrisoned by a
Neapolitan force, until a Maltese garrison can be raised, and the island
is then to be declared independent, under the guarantee of all the great
powers of Europe. The French government affected to display great
reluctance to conclude even this treaty, which has thus taken six months
of negotiation since the exchange of preliminaries. At one time, orders
were sent for the Channel fleet to put to sea. Yet there can be no
question that France desired this Peace, whether as a resting time for a
fresh attack, or from the mere exhaustion of war. She had already gained
every object that she could hope to obtain by arms in her present
condition, and her natural policy was to secure what she had thus
attained. The two grand prizes of her ambition, Egypt and the command of
the Mediterranean, had been boldly aimed at, but she had lost both, and
both were now evidently hopeless. Some of those straws, too, had been
thrown up, which, if they show nothing else, show the direction of the
wind; and there were evident signs in the almost royal pomp of the First
Consul, in the appointments of officers of state for ten years, and the
constituting the Consulate an office for life; in the preparations for
the return of the emigrants, and in the superb receptions at the
Tuilleries--that Bonaparte already contemplated the last days of the
republic. To what new shape of power his ambition looks is yet only in
conjecture. But he is ambitious, daring, and unscrupulous--the idol of
the army, and the wonder of the people. He may shrink, like Cæsar, from
the diadem, or he may assume, like Cromwell, the power of a king,
without the name; but the field is open before him, and France can offer
no competition.


Darwin, the author of the "Botanic Garden," has just died at the age of
seventy-one. His death will leave a chasm, though one not incapable of
being filled up, in our didactic poetry. His "Loves of the Plants" was a
new idea, thrown into agreeable verse; and a new idea is always
popular. For a while his poem obtained great celebrity: but Nature alone
is permanent; and after the first surprise wore off, the quaintness of
his inventions, and the minute artifice of his poetic machinery,
repelled the public taste. The Linnæan system, partly indecent, and
partly ridiculous, was felt to be wholly unfitted for the blazonry of
versification; and his poem, the labour of years, sank into obscurity as
rapidly as it had risen into distinction. It is now wholly unread, and
almost wholly forgotten; yet it contains bold passages, and exhibits
from time to time happiness of epithet, and harmony of language. Its
subject degrades the poem; its casual allusions constitute its merit.
Vegetable loves must be an absurdity in any language; but Darwin's mind
was furnished with variety of knowledge, and he lavished it on his
subject with Oriental profusion. He had eloquence, but he wanted
feeling; knowledge, but he wanted taste; and invention, but he wanted
nature. The want of any one of the three would have been dangerous to
his fame as a poet, but his deficiency in the three together left him to
drop into remediless oblivion.


A curious attempt hast just shown the popular opinion of ministerial
honesty. The Attorney-General has prosecuted, and brought to conviction,
a fellow in some low trade, who, hearing that Mr Addington was prime
minister, and thinking of course that a prime minister could do all
things, sent an actual offer of £2000 to him for a place in the Customs,
on which he happened to set his heart. Unluckily for the applicant, he
was a century too late. However those matters might have been managed a
hundred years ago, less tangible means than money now rule the world.
Besides, no man who knew any thing of Addington, ever attached a
suspicion of the kind to him. Erskine made a speech in the defence, the
best that could be made on such a subject, but not the most flattering
to the vanity of his client. It was that he was a blockhead, and had no
idea of the absurdity that he was committing. Among other instances of
his ignorance, he said, that when he saw the subpoena served upon him,
he thought that it was the appointment to his place. But even his
idiotism could not save him, and the affair ended in his being sentenced
to three months' imprisonment, and £100 fine.


Christie, the auctioneer, the other day, gave a happy specimen of the
eloquence of the hammer. He is at the head of his trade, and sells all
the remarkable things. On this occasion the Pigot diamond had come into
his hands. It is a very fine brilliant, but objected to by the
connoisseurs as not having sufficient depth. It was valued at £40,000.
But at this sale the auctioneer could not raise its price above £9500,
or guineas. He then appealed to his audience, a crowd of the fair and
fashionable,--

"How unfortunate," said he, "is it, for the owners of this incomparable
production, that they should have brought it into the market in a
country so famed for female beauty as England! Here the charms of the
sex require no such additions; here the eyes of the ladies sparkle with
brilliancy which outvies all the gems of the East. In other countries
this incomparable stone would be sought as a necessary aid; here it can
be valued only as a splendid superfluity." The room rang with applause.


One of the heroes of Junius has just died; the veteran Wellbore Ellis,
Lord Mendip. This man's whole life was spent in public employments. He
was the son of an Irish bishop, whose brother--such were the curious
qualities of the time--took orders in the Popish Church, followed the
Pretender, and died a Popish bishop. Young Ellis, after an education at
Westminster and Oxford, was brought into parliament under the Pelhams,
who made him a lord of the Admiralty. Under the Newcastle administration
which followed, he was appointed to the lucrative post of Irish
vice-treasurer, which he held undisturbed through all the struggles of
the Cabinet till the Grenville administration, when he was raised still
higher, and became Secretary at War.

The Grenvilles fell; the Marquis of Rockingham brought in his friends
and Ellis was superseded in his Irish office by Colonel Barré. For five
unlucky years he continued in that Limbo of patriots, exclusion from
place. At length, the Premiership of Lord North recalled him. He again
obtained the Vice-treasurership, and in the final distress of that
unpopular administration, was for a short time raised even to the
Colonial Secretaryship. But North was driven from power, and all his
adherents fell along with him. Rockingham, the North and Fox coalition,
and Pitt, exhibited a succession of premierships, which ended in the
exclusion of the whole Whig principle, in all its shapes and shades, for
twenty years. Ellis was now growing old; he was rich; he had been a
public man for upwards of forty years; he had been fiercely abused by
the opposition writers while he continued in office, and fiercely
attacked by the government writers when in opposition. He had thus his
full share of all that public life furnishes to its subjects, and he
seemed inclined to spend the remainder of his days in quiet. But the
French Revolution came. Startled at the ruin with which its progress
threatened all property, he joined that portion of the Whigs which
allied itself with the great Minister. The Duke of Portland entered the
cabinet, and Wellbore Ellis was raised to the peerage. There his career,
not unworthily, closed; and his remaining years were given to private
society, to books, of which he had a celebrated collection, and to the
recollections of the Classics, of which he possessed an early mastery.
He was an acute and accomplished man. The fiery indignation of Junius
rather threw a light than inflicted an injury on his character. That
first of political satirists spared none; and the universal nature of
his attacks made men receive them, as they receive a heavy shower,
falling on all alike, and drenching the whole multitude together.


Bonaparte has taken the first step to a throne: he has established
nobility. The Republic having abolished all titles, a peerage was, for a
while, impossible. But he has formed a military Caste, which, without
hazarding his popularity with the Parisians, increases his popularity
with the troops, and has all the advantages of a noblesse, with all the
dependency of its members on the head of the State. He has named this
Institution the Legion of Honour. It is to consist of several classes,
the first comprehending the great officers of state, generals who have
distinguished themselves, and ancient men of science. It has sixteen
Cohorts, with palaces allotted to them in Paris and the provinces, for
the headquarters of the cohorts. Grants of land are also proposed for
the support of these officers and their residences, with distributions
and pensions for the lower ranks of the soldiery, to whom the "croix
d'honneur" is given.

Thus the old reign of titles, orders, crosses, and an established Class
of society, has begun once more; a large portion of the most influential
personages of France are thus bound to the head of the government, the
hopes of every man, however humble in soldiership or in science, are
pointed to the attainment of this public honour, as well as personal
provision, and the general purchase of power is virtually declared, with
the general consent of this versatile nation.


Ten thousand pounds have just been voted to Jenner, for his discovery of
the vaccine inoculation. The liberality of parliament was never more
rationally employed. The history of the man, and the discovery, have
been long before the public. But the most curious circumstance of the
whole is, that the facts of the disease, and the remedy, should have
remained for any one to discover in the nineteenth century. They were
known to the peasantry of Gloucestershire probably from the first days
of cow milking. That the most disfiguring of all diseases, in every
country of Europe and Asia, and the most pestilential in a large portion
of the globe, could be arrested by a disease from the udders of a cow,
seems never to have entered into human thoughts, though the fact that
those who had the vaccine disease never suffered from the smallpox, was
known to the country physicians.

But Jenner's chief merit was his fortunate conjecture, that the
infection might be propagated from one human subject to another. This
was the greatest medical discovery since that of the Circulation of the
Blood.



IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST.


CHAPTER I.

"It's all for the best, you may depend upon it," said Frank Trevelyan,
addressing his companion, Vernon Wycherley, as those two young men were
pursuing a beaten track across one of those wild wastes that form so
prevalent a feature in most of the mining districts of Cornwall.

"All for the best, indeed?" repeated Vernon interrogatively. "Can it be
all for the best to have a whole batch of poems I've been racking my
brains about for the last year and a half--and which even you yourself,
hard as you are to please, admitted were worthy of praise--to have all
these, not only rejected by every publisher I offered them to, but to be
actually returned with a recommendation to give up all idea of ever
offering them to public notice?"

"But which convinces me still more that matters have turned out for the
best; and that if your poetical effusions had been published, they would
have brought you far more ridicule than praise," thought Frank. But at
the same time, not wishing to hurt his companion's feelings, he
said--"Yet, probably, when you have again revised the manuscripts, and
bestowed some of your masterly finishing touches here and there, you
will, after all, congratulate yourself upon the source of your present
disappointment."

"That's an impossibility--an utter impossibility," returned Vernon
Wycherley--"for were I to look through them a hundred times, I should
never alter a word.----But stay--Look! look!--what is that I see? Two
ladies on horseback, I declare! who could have anticipated meeting with
such an occurrence in so outlandish a place?"

The place was by no means undeserving of the remark, being devoid of any
kind of vegetation, except some straggling heath and a few patches of
stunted gorse, which here and there sprung up amidst the rugged
spar-stones that, intermixed with rude crags of granite, were thickly
scattered over this wide waste, which, throughout its vast extent,
afforded as perfect a picture of sterility as can be well conceived.
With this brief outline of the scenery, we must next attempt to describe
the parties who were wandering over it.

Frank Trevelyan was about two-and-twenty. In figure he was rather below
the middle height, and being slightly made and with the proportions of a
tall man, he looked much less than he actually was. His features were
not handsome, but he possessed what in a man is far more important--a
highly intelligent and intellectual cast of countenance. He wore his
hair, which was light and curly, cut very close, and incipient whiskers
adorned the outline of his lower jaw. He was dressed in a gray tweed
wrapper, with trousers of the Brougham pattern, and he sported a
hat--black, but whether beaver or gossamer we are uninformed--high in
the crown, but very narrow in the brim, bearing altogether no very
remote resemblance to an inverted flower-pot.

His companion was about the same age, but the latter had made so much
better use of his growing years, as to have shot up to something more
than six feet in height; yet his figure, though slender, exhibited no
appearance of weakness. His features were passably good--the nose
perhaps rather too projecting; but his teeth were unexceptionable. He
had a clear complexion, with a good fresh colour in his cheeks, which
were still covered with the down of youth, but without imparting the
slightest appearance of effeminacy. A foraging-cap of gray woven
horse-hair, with a preposterous shade projecting out in front, covered
his head; a loose blouse enveloped the upper, whilst checkered
inexpressibles enclosed the lower man. Unlike his companion, he wore his
hair, which was rather dark, very long, both at the sides and behind;
and the rudiments of mustaches were perceptible upon his upper lip; but
whether they were to be allowed to attain a more luxuriant maturity, or
their brief existence was to be prematurely cut short by the destroying
razor, was, at the time we speak of, involved in doubt, that being a
subject which, though it engrossed much of his thoughts, the proprietor
had hitherto been unable to make up his mind upon. Each of our two
heroes bore a light kind of knapsack upon his back; their general
appearance marked them to be gentlemen, whilst their attire and
accoutrements denoted they were pursuing a pedestrian tour.

But softly! the ladies approach. See how elegantly they canter their
steeds over the only smooth piece of turf our travellers had met with
throughout the whole extent of gloomy commons they had that morning
traversed.

"Ay, that's right! Pull up in time, my lovely ones, ere you get amongst
the rascally mole-hills; and then you'll not only ride the safer, but
afford us at the same time a chance of obtaining a view of your pretty
faces," thought friend Frank; whilst similar thoughts, although perhaps
arranged in more elegant terms, were passing through the mind of his
companion. But if the curiosity of the two pedestrians was great, their
admiration proved far greater when the objects which excited those
feelings, on a nearer approach, proved to be two as lovely young women
as the most fastidious admirer of beauty could wish to gaze upon. One of
them, indeed, displayed such matchless charms to the youthful poet's
eyes, as at the very first glance to form to his excited fancy the
beau-ideal of perfect loveliness.

"What an angel!" he mentally exclaimed; "upon such a form I could
continue to gaze enraptured for"----

How long he never said, for ere he had time to give utterance to the
thought, he stumbled over one of the surrounding mole-hills, and
staggering forward several paces with extended arms, he ultimately fell
prostrate on the ground, close by the side of the innocent yet moving
cause of his misadventure, and with such force, as to bury the whole of
his countenance in the soft heavings of a similar hillock to the one he
had so inadvertently tripped over.

Luckily for him, the place his physiognomy alighted upon was of so soft
and yielding a nature, that though he stamped a perfect model of his
features in the clay, the features themselves were unimpaired, otherwise
than by the earthy colouring communicated to them by so pressing a
contact, which perfectly satisfied the fair equestrians (who had the
kindness to pull up and express their hopes that he was not seriously
hurt) that the actual damage sustained was of a very superficial nature.

"And I suppose you intend to say that this is all for the best?"
observed Vernon in rather a rueful tone, as, the ladies having ridden
on, he was attempting to rub off the dirt from his face with his pocket
handkerchief--the first wipe of which was sufficient to show him how
much the effects of his tumble had changed the natural hue of his
complexion.

"To be sure I do," answered Frank "and any man less unreasonable than
yourself would say so too."

"What! say it was all for the best for him, like an awkward booby, to
fall sprawling in the dirt, thereby making himself a laughing-stock to
that beautiful, angelic creature? Oh! only look, my dear Frank, only
look--see her--see both of them! Why, as I live, they are almost ready
to fall off the very backs of their horses from the laughter my
blundering awkwardness has excited. Oh, it's really dreadful--I must
turn my head another way. I can bear the sight of it no longer!"

"But only think how much worse it would have been if your phiz, instead
of the soft earth, had encountered one of the hard spar-stones that are
so plentifully strewed about here?"

"And supposing it had--wouldn't it have been better, at the cost of
little pain and suffering, to have excited the compassion, instead of
the laughter of that heavenly creature?"

"But hardly at the sacrifice of your nose, I should say," rejoined
Frank, "which, from the deep impression it has made in the clay, must
have been smashed flat as a pancake had it battled out the matter with
the stones."

The young poet had a great regard for his nose, and his companion's
remarks upon the subject were so palpable, that he was not only silenced
but convinced.

"I say here, my man. Here, Jan, Jan, I say," bawled out our friend
Frank, to what he was pleased to style a straw-yard savage in the
disguise of a gentleman's servant on horseback, who, whilst engaged in
the pleasant employment of munching an apple, had allowed the ladies he
was attending to canter off some distance a-head, and was then in the
act of passing, at a very moderate pace, close by our two heroes, but
pulled up his nag at the summons, and, touching his hat, replied, in the
singing accent of the western Cornishmen--" Your sarvant, gen'lmen both;
what 'ud ye plaze to have, sir?--though my name b'aint Jan, plaze yer
honours."

"What is it then?--Bill, Dick, Tom, Harry, Ben, Jim, Nic, Mike, Mathey,
or Peter?"

"Neither, maester, plaze your honour, sir," said the man, with a grin
that denoted he was entering into the humour of the thing, and who, as
well as Frank, was a bit of a wag in his way. "Timothy's my name, at
your sarvice, gen'lmen--what 'ud your honours plaze to have of I?"

"What I would have, Timothy," answered Frank, "is for you to tell me who
those two young ladies are that you are in attendance upon?"

"Maester's two dafters," replied Timothy.

"And who's maester?" asked Frank.

"The squire, to be sure," answered his man.

"And what's squire's name?" inquired Frank.

"Potts--Squire Potts," replied Timothy--at which announcement Vernon
Wycherley lifted up both eyes and hands in unfeigned amazement.

"And the young ladies?" resumed the questioner.

"Lor, sir! I ha'n't a got time to bide and tell'ee no more. See they be
'most out of sight a'ready, and I shall have to ride a brave pace to
catch mun again--and most dead wi' thest, too, I be's a'ready."

Frank, who plainly saw Timothy's drift, dived his hand into the deep
recesses of his trousers' pockets.--Timothy, who witnessed the act, not
altogether an unexpected one, drew nearer and nearer, and when close
alongside of Frank, cramming the remainder of the apple into his mouth,
he dropped the hand that had conveyed it there, as if by the merest
accident in the world, within easy reach of the interrogator's, who,
slipping into it a coin of sufficient importance, small as it was, to
raise a grin of delight in the groom's countenance, again asked him the
names of the two young ladies.

"Heerken, and I'll tell'ee," he answered. "She with the light hair and
eyes, she's Miss Bessie; and she with the dark hair and eyes, she's
called Miss Molly--that's she's name." And having so said, Timothy rode
off at a rapid pace.

"Can it be possible!" exclaimed Vernon Wycherley--"can it be possible
that so lovely a being--one who seems too beautiful to tread the
earth"----

"And so rides on horseback over it; is that what you mean?" interrupted
Frank.

"No, you know very well it is not what I mean," answered Vernon
petulantly. "My wonder is, how one so elegant could be called by such a
name as that knave uttered."

"What! Molly Potts, eh? that I believe was the name he mentioned?"
interposed Frank.

"Pshaw, nonsense!" retorted his companion; "it can't be her name. The
idea's too preposterous to be true. That insolent clown has dared to try
to hoax us; for which I promise him, if I were his master, I'd break
every bone in his good-for-nothing body. Molly Potts! It never can be
so. The thing's quite out of the question--utterly impossible!"

"Impossible or not, I don't see that it's likely to make much difference
either to you or me," observed Frank; "for the chances are, we never set
eyes upon either of them again."

"Then," said Vernon, "I almost wish that I, at least, had never set
eyes upon one of them at all. To know that such an angel moves about on
earth, and to think that I may never see her more, must ever form a
source of deep regret; and yet it seems strange--very strange--that
I--I--who have ever looked upon the fairest of the sex unmoved, should
be so struck as I was here by a mere glance."

"A very hard hit, certainly," said Frank: "I never saw a fellow more
completely floored."

"Better book that to tell again," retorted vernon; "it really is so
seldom you do say a witty thing, that it's a pity it should be lost upon
these dull moors."

"Then, unless we intend to follow the fate of my wit," resumed Frank,
"we must step out a little faster to get out of them; which we sha'n't
do under a couple of miles' walk more, I promise you."


CHAPTER II.

Frank Trevelyan's statement proved tolerably correct as to distance, for
little more than two miles brought our travellers clear of the rugged
moorlands; when, after ascending the brow of a steep hill, a sight broke
suddenly upon them, which, though unlike the scenery they had previously
passed over, presented if possible a more dreary picture. As far as the
eye could reach, nothing could be discerned but one vast wilderness of
undulating sandy hillocks, totally devoid of vegetation, except a kind
of coarse rush, which, in spite of the shifting nature of the soil, had
here and there contrived to spring up and take root; and now to add to
this cheerless aspect, the sky, which hitherto had been bright and
clear, began to lower with those dark threatening clouds which form the
sure forerunner of a heavy squall of wind and rain--no pleasant thing
for two lightly-clad pedestrians to be overtaken with in a bleak open
country on a chill November day. Even Frank, who, with his merry chat,
had latterly kept his companion's spirits alive, the latter of whom had
begun to complain both of hunger and fatigue--even Frank felt
disconcerted at the desolate prospect before him, as well as
disappointed at not discovering the mining village, containing the snug
little public-house, which he had been informed he should fall in with
at the termination of the stony moorlands. Resolved however to put the
best face he could upon the matter, our little hero assured his tall
comrade that another half hour would be sure to bring them to the
desired spot, where he was certain they would obtain both rest and
refreshment--two things they much needed--having walked on unceasingly
for several hours since their early morning's meal without having eaten
or drunk any thing, and the sun by this time had begun to sink low in
the horizon. Scarcely, however, had they crossed the narrow valley that
divided these two barren wastes from each other, and had commenced
ascending the steep beaten path that passed through the sandy desert,
than the storm, which had been previously brewing, burst forth with
relentless fury, the rain descending in torrents, accompanied by fierce
gusts of wind, that, whirling aloft the loose drifting sands, swept them
onwards in dense clouds before the gale, forming an overpowering and
blinding deluge that perplexed our tourists exceedingly.

"This is all for the best, I suppose," suggested Vernon Wycherley, who,
uncomfortable as he was, couldn't help enjoying the luxury of having a
hit at his fellow-traveller, and thus proving himself for once at any
rate to have been on the right side of the argument.

"All for the best, did you say?" replied Frank. "All for the best?--ay,
to be sure it is--though we ourselves may perhaps be too short-sighted
to see the drift of it."

"See the drift!" interposed Vernon--"See the drift! Why, we not only see
it, but feel it. The benefit to be derived from it is what I want you to
convince me of, Master Frank."

The truth of Vernon's observation was too palpable to be denied; for
both he and his companion were half-choked and nearly blinded by the
clouds of sand that, in the course they were pursuing, blew directly in
their faces, and which even the rain seemed to have no effect in
allaying; till as last the peppering became so severe, that our
travellers were actually compelled to turn their backs upon the enemy.
Hardly, however, had they done this, ere Frank joyfully exclaimed--"It
_is_ all for the best after all, and that I'll soon convince you of,
Master Vernon. Cast your piercing peepers through the thick of it, and
you'll see the very place we want to find, which, if the storm hadn't
compelled us to face to the right about, we should have passed by
without discovering, concealed as it is in the narrow gorge we have just
crossed. So cheer up, I say, old fellow, and let us both put our best
foot foremost, and see how soon we can get there."

Vernon required no further persuasion, and the desired house of
entertainment was soon reached. Here our wet and weary travellers had
the good fortune to meet with that comfort of all comforts to persons so
situated--a blazing kitchen-fire, which afforded them an opportunity of
drying their wet clothes, and at the same time to enjoy the sight of the
cookery of some tempting rashers and eggs, which, with the unequalled
accompaniment of fried potatoes, was soon after duly set out for them in
the sole parlour the house afforded, where they found a good fire had
been prepared for their reception.

"Would you like a bottle of Guinness's porter with your dinners,
gen'lmen?" asked a very pretty and tidily dressed young woman, who
waited upon them.

"To be sure we would, my pretty Mary," replied Mr Vernon Wycherley, "and
thank you for the hint into the bargain; I'm sure I should never have
dreamt of meeting with Dublin stout amidst the wilds of Cornwall."

"Us do always kip it," observed Mary.

"Then a bottle of it, if you please, my pretty girl," resumed the poet.
"Ay, that's right, out with the cork--never mind the froth, Mary--never
mind the froth."

"It is indeed prime stuff!" he added, replacing his empty glass upon the
table; "and upon my life, Frank, this is a perfect feast; and never did
I enjoy one more. Things really have turned out a great deal better than
I expected."

"Or, in other words, have turned out all for the best," observed Frank,
looking up for a moment from his plate, the contents of which had
previously absorbed his whole attention; and elevating his glass as a
signal for Mary to fill it with the tempting beverage, which she, well
understanding, instantly obeyed; and having drained every drop of it, he
resumed--"So you see, Master Vernon, you stand convicted by your own
confession, that your former doubts and misgivings were without
foundation; added to which, you can't help agreeing with me, that our
present gratification is still further enhanced by the few trivial
difficulties we just before met with."

Vernon was not inclined to concede to all his companion had just said,
and, in fact, was mentally arranging the proper language in which to
express his dissent, when a fresh arrival of piping-hot rashers turned
the current of his thoughts towards the eggs and bacon, about which,
instead of saying any thing, he quietly helped himself to, and then
handed over the dish to his friend.


"I feel rather tired with my walk to-day," observed Mr Vernon Wycherley,
who, having at last eaten to his heart's content, had pressed an extra
chair into his service, for the purpose of resting his long and wearied
legs thereupon. "Every thing here," he continued, glancing his eye
around the tidily furnished little room--"every thing here looks clean
and comfortable. I wonder if we could get accommodated with beds,
instead of having to tramp it three miles further over the sandbanks in
this uncertain weather, in order to reach our original destination at
the next village?"

"I wish we could, with all my heart," answered Frank; "and here comes
Mary with some more stout, who can tell us all about it." And so the
handmaiden was questioned accordingly, who replied, in a tone of evident
disappointment, "Lar bless ee, sir, there b'aint a bed to be had in the
whole place; fay there b'aint, I can assure ee not, if ye'd offer pounds
o' gold for 'un; for ever since Wheal Costly, just handy by here, has
turned out so rich, there's no quarters to be had for the sight of folks
that be employed about her. There's only seven beds in all this here
housen; and, besides the family, there be no less than sex-and-thirty
miners a quartering here; they takes sex out o' the seven beds, and
mistus and I and all the childer do fill the t'othern all night, and
when us do turn out, then maister and his comarade do turn in--and 'tis
the same all through town[38]--an' by ma fath an' troth, I zem there
b'aint, at this very moment, a bed without a pair in 'un for miles
round."

"But how do the folks here contrive to pig it away together six in a
bed?" inquired Mr Vernon Wycherley. "Your beds must be very large,
otherwise I should fancy such close stowage to be hardly possible."

"O na, sir, you don't onderstand," replied the maid, hardly able to
restrain herself from laughing outright at the stranger's gross
ignorance of mining habits; "not pair[39] o' six all to bed together to
one time; you da see miners do work to bal[40] eight hours to a spell,
and has sexteen to stay 'bove ground; so one and his comarade sleeps
their first eight hours 'bove ground, and then turns out for the next
pair; and so they goes on, one pair in and t'other pair out, so that
between sex on 'um, the bed's never to say quite empty."

"And can never, of course, require a warming-pan," remarked Frank.

"Lar! tha b'est a queer little chap," thought Mary; but being too polite
to say as much, she merely smiled pleasantly at the remark, as she
tripped out of the room.

"Well, as we must toddle further, it's of little use to put so grave a
face upon it, old fellow," observed Frank to his poetical friend, who
was indulging in a reverie, with his eyes fixed in vacancy towards the
burning embers in the grate.

"Eh! what?" demanded Vernon, with the usual start of an absent literary
man, whose attention is suddenly awakened. Frank repeated his previous
remark.

"My thoughts were far, far away from hence," said Mr Vernon Wycherley;
"the subject of them was my comedy, which, as you know, I intend to
offer for the prize at the Haymarket."

"Your comedy be hanged!" interrupted Frank.

"I fear that even a direr fate than that awaits it," resumed its author.
"Oh! if I had but seen _her_ before I arranged my female
characters--have carried her beauteous image in my mind, as now I
mentally behold her"--

"What! Molly Potts?" interposed Mr Frank Trevelyan, with a look of arch
innocence--such a funny look it was, as no man living but Frank himself
could possibly have given.

"Pshaw," said Vernon impatiently, "how can you find the heart to mention
her name, if such indeed it be, in that disagreeable tone and manner? It
is enough to drive away every poetic idea connected with her. If you can
only mention her name in that cold tone of contempt, I'd thank you to
hold your tongue about her altogether."

With this remark, the poet took a manuscript book from a pocket in his
blouse, and with contracted brow, he made an entry there in pencil of
some happy thought the moment had just then suggested, which occupying
some minutes, his companion in the interval walked to the window to
examine into the appearance of the weather, and perceiving that the rain
had ceased, and one bright star already twinkled in the sky, he
suggested the propriety of preparing for their immediate departure, in
order that they might get over as much of their ground as they possibly
could before dark.

Having been directed to the path they were to pursue, which was a
different one from that they had gone over when overtaken by the storm,
though apparently leading in the same direction, our travellers again
resumed their route. There was still good light when they started, and
as long as it continued--but which was a very short time--the novelty
of the surrounding desert of sand imparted some degree of interest to
the scene; but, in proportion as the darkness closed in, the spirits of
the pedestrians began to flag. Still, however, Frank strove to cheer up
his companion, who was by far the most weary and dispirited of the two,
and, as a never-failing remedy, began to talk to him about his intended
comedy--its plot, and some of the most striking scenes and characters.
The result was just as he had anticipated, and its author, who just
before had dragged himself along in moody silence, or only replied in
listless monosyllables, began to chat away upon the much-loved topic in
the most animated manner possible; and so much were both engrossed with
the subject, as not to perceive that, whilst traversing one of those
level pieces of turf that few and far between formed a kind of tiny
oasis in this desert, they had altogether missed the footpath.

Just at this unfortunate crisis it had become exceedingly dark, and the
heavy clouds fast gathering overhead promised another shower; which
promise was fulfilled even more speedily than they anticipated, and down
came the rain pouring away in hissing torrents upon our pedestrians,
who, unable to regain the lost footpath, strolled on for some time
without the remotest notion of the direction they ought to take. They
were not, however, very long in finding that they had again gotten
amongst the loose sandbanks, which, being dispersed around in steep
undulating hillocks, were exceedingly fatiguing to traverse even by
daylight; it is needless, then, to say how much this difficulty was
increased when the traveller was involved in darkness, and at the same
time ignorant of the direction he ought to pursue. Nor was this the
worst evil to which our two wanderers were exposed. A considerable
number of mines had been opened in these wastes, and though the working
of them had been abandoned for several years, yet the shafts were still
open, many of them wholly unprotected either by rail or embankment, and
the aperture being even with the surface, and not wider than the mouth
of an ordinary-sized well, no one could possibly discern his danger in a
night so dark as it then was. A more fatal snare for entrapping a
benighted traveller could scarcely have been devised. But neither Vernon
nor Frank had the remotest suspicion of this danger; or, in fact, any
fears beyond the dread of spending the night in this howling wilderness.

At last, to their great relief, the rain subsided, and the clouds
breaking away disclosed the great bear and polar star, which afforded
them an unerring point to steer by, and raised strong hopes that if the
sky remained clear, and their legs would only hold out long enough
against the excessive fatigue of scrambling over the steep hillocks,
they might, by pursuing a perfectly straight course, at last get clear
of this desert spot, and reach a better kind of country, where they
might meet with some habitation or other that would at least afford them
rest and shelter until daybreak.

Now, when matters have become very bad, any change for the better,
however slight it be, imparts some cheering influence; and the relief
our drenched pedestrians felt from the mere ceasing of the rain, and
exchanging the dull lowering sky for the clear dark-blue starlight,
proved enough to renovate their drooping hearts, and to excite them to
make the best use they could of their limbs; so that by persevering they
at last reached a part of the waste where the travelling became less
irksome, the drifting sand having, in this particular part, formed
itself into larger hills, which, in course of time, had become coated
with short grass, and thus afforded very pleasant ground to walk over.
But this relief from fatigue was attended with increased peril to the
erring wanderers, who were now in the very midst of abandoned mines,
whose shafts yawned around them in every direction, many of which they
passed almost within a hair's-breadth of, unaware of the dangers that
thus lay in their path, and only congratulating themselves on the
improved state of the ground they had to walk over.

Now Vernon Wycherley, who had been for some short time turning the
matter over in his mind, began to fancy he had found a poser for his
fellow-traveller, to whom he remarked, that however fortunate they might
consider themselves when they got out of their present difficulties,
there could be no possible advantage whatever in their having gotten
into them.

"I don't agree with you even there," said Frank; "one advantage there
will be on the score of experience, as it cannot fail to furnish us with
an accurate knowledge of what a person's sensations are when he loses
his way in a wilderness of sandbanks in a dark and stormy night in
November."

"And is that all the advantage you can point out?" interposed Mr Vernon
Wycherley.

"All? No, not one-half," resumed Frank. "Will it not supply both of us
with everlasting materials for spinning yarns to match other travellers'
tales, as well as furnish you with an endless topic for your poetic and
dramatic pen? And besides, I've no doubt there are lots of other
advantages we shall eventually derive benefit from, though they may for
ever remain hidden amongst the many mysteries that man is never designed
to know."

"You really are the most extraordinary fellow I ever met with," rejoined
Vernon, "striving, as you ever do, to cook up good of some kind or other
out of the most evil materials; and every misfortune, by some wonderful
philosophy hatched up by your ingenious brain, you pretend to convert
into a benefit. Why, old fellow, Mansel of Trinity actually told
me--mind I've only his word for it, perhaps not the best authority in
the world either--but he positively assured me, that you tried to
convince him that your being taken ill on the third day of your
examination, which was thus cut short in the middle, and which caused
you to rank far lower than you otherwise would have done amongst the
wranglers, was the most fortunate event that possibly could have
happened to you."

"And that is my firm conviction still," said Frank, with the utmost
coolness.

"What!" exclaimed Vernon in amazement, "you surely cannot be in earnest
in what you say?"

"Indeed I am," resumed Frank; "for, had I taken higher honours my dear
old governor would never have rested satisfied unless I had devoted
myself either to study of the law or politics, both of which I hate,
instead of permitting me, at some future time, to become a quiet country
parson.--But what extraordinary light is that?" he exclaimed, on
perceiving a narrow stream of fire, apparently at no great distance,
shoot up above the brow of a low hill just before them?"

"A singular kind of meteor, certainly," observed the poet. "I never saw
one like it before."

"Very like a sky-rocket; wasn't it?" observed Frank; "and a sky-rocket
I've no doubt it was; and as this happens to be the night of the 5th of
November, I dare say it proceeds from the very village to which we are
bound--an important place too, it should seem, from sporting
sky-rockets. Ah! there goes another. Huzza! we shall soon be amongst
them.--Oh! merciful Heaven!" he exclaimed, as his companion suddenly
vanished from his sight, having stepped inadvertently into the mouth of
one of those dangerous shafts we have before alluded to. A heavy sound
denoted the fearful depth to which he had been precipitated, which was
shortly followed by a loud, hollow crash, caused by a fall of some
fragments of detached earth, which, from the great depth it had to
descend, occupied several seconds ere it reached the bottom of this deep
abyss.


CHAPTER III.

Frank Trevelyan, almost petrified with horror at the dreadful
catastrophe, which there was just then sufficient light to enable him to
discern the nature of, remained for some moments riveted to the spot
from whence he had witnessed its occurrence; but soon partially
recovering his bewildered faculties, he fell upon his hands and knees,
and approaching the mouth of the shaft, called out, in a tone of
agonizing anxiety to his companion, but with scarcely a hope of being
responded to, when a faint voice, though from an awful depth, assured
him he was yet alive; but, it was to be feared, dreadfully injured; and,
in plain truth, he was in a situation of even greater danger than his
fellow-traveller was then aware of. Poor Vernon Wycherley had fallen
upwards of sixty feet perpendicularly, and had alighted on a projection
of the ground, occasioned by a drift that had been made in the workings,
which alone prevented him from being hurled to the bottom of the pit,
which was of vast depth, though partially filled with water. As it was,
his situation was so perilous, that it seemed only to add to the agony
of impending death, with a very remote prospect of deliverance. Every
thing depended upon his being able to secure himself upon the point of
ground where he then rested; and this being loosened by the force with
which he had fallen upon it, was gradually crumbling from beneath him,
every particle of which, as it gave way, splashing in the water at the
bottom of the shaft produced a deafening crash, which sound rendered him
fearfully conscious of the probability of the whole mass, upon which his
sole chance for safety depended, sinking under him, before the necessary
assistance could arrive. This it soon did to such a degree, that, in
spite of all his efforts, he gradually sank lower and lower, until,
unable longer to retain a footing, his legs were overhanging the awful
gulf, and he was rapidly sliding off, when, by a desperate effort, he
threw up his feet, so that they reached the opposite side of the shaft,
whilst his body still remained on the projecting drift, against which he
firmly planted his back, and with his feet on the opposite side, he was
thus enabled to gain a stationary position; yet, even then, the soil
continually crumbling away, rendered it doubtful how long he might be
able to retain it.

Frank Trevelyan was, however, as we before mentioned, unaware of the
full extent of his friend's peril, and only dreading the effects of what
had already occurred, he no sooner heard the welcome sound of his voice,
than, bidding him keep up a good heart, for that he plainly heard the
voices of a number of persons at no great distance, from some of whom he
should be able to procure all the aid he required. Having so said, he
started off at speed towards the spot from whence he could still hear
the humming noise of many voices, indicating an assemblage of a large
company of persons no great way off--and so towards this spot he ran at
a rapid pace, regardless of the risk he incurred in thus racing along,
as it were blindfold, in so dangerous a locality. But the fact is, a
thought of his own personal safety never once entered his head: Vernon's
accident, and its probable consequences, engrossed his every thought.
Another rocket served to show him he was taking the right direction; and
at so rapid a pace did he proceed, that the enlivening sounds of voices
became more and more distinct, when, topping the brow of the hill, a
blue light, most opportunely lighted up, disclosed to him at a very
short distance on the opposite side of the valley, a substantial
gentleman's house, in front of which a motley and mixed medley of some
couple of hundred people or more--some of them gentlemen, but the
majority consisting of miners and agricultural labourers--were
assembled, either as actors, assistants, or lookers-on, at a display of
various kinds of fire-works that was then going forward.

A sight so welcome to our little hero's hopes imparted fresh vigour to
his limbs; and he darted down the steep declivity at the imminent danger
of his neck, but happily reached the bottom in safety, just as the light
which had aided him in his descent expired, which then made every thing
appear even darker than before. Consequently, Frank, not espying the
brook that intervened betwixt himself and the object he was striving to
reach, tumbled over head and ears into one of its deepest pools; but
being a swimmer, and the stream but narrow though the pool was deep, he
soon attained the summit of the opposite bank; when a hedge, almost
close at hand, alone seemed to separate him from the people whose
assistance he was so anxious to secure. The hedge was easily clambered
over, though an impediment he had not anticipated awaited him on the
other side, in the form of a small fishpond, into which he bundled, and
so got a second ducking. But as this pond, or rather that portion of it
into which he had fallen, was not deep, he soon splashed across it, to
the amazement of the assembled party who witnessed the feat, which a
fresh blue-light, just then ignited, afforded them ample means of
doing--the heavy souse he had made in tumbling in, and the splutter he
made in floundering out again, having already attracted their attention
to the spot--which, as he seemed to have selected the very widest part
of the whole pool, was the very last of all others any one could have
suspected an entry to have been made on the premises.

Unconscious of the surprise he had thus excited, Frank Trevelyan rushed
forward into the midst of the assembled group, and seizing hold upon a
stout little old gentleman who seemed to be the leading man of the
party, endeavoured, as well as his exhausted state would permit, to
explain the fearful misadventure which had just occurred. The
intelligence excited an exclamation of horror from all who heard it.

"What a dreadful death!" exclaimed the old gentleman.

"Oh! don't say so, for heaven's sake," cried Frank--"He may be, and I
fear is, much hurt; but I trust he may yet be saved."

"Impossible!" said half a dozen voices. "Why, the shaft's hundreds of
feet deep."

"But my companion is yet far from the bottom of it," resumed
Frank--"Something or other has interposed to prevent his falling lower.
He spoke, and told me so--Oh! for mercy's sake make haste, and you may
yet preserve his life."

"What a horrible situation!" exclaimed the old gentleman; "but no time
must be lost in talking about it, or inquiring into the why or the
wherefore. So here you, Timothy, John Clarke, Harris, Tom Carpenter, run
for your lives, every man Jack of you to the farm, where you'll find
plenty rope;--and here, miners, my dear men--do you bestir
yourselves--succeed or not, I'll pay you well. Could any thing be more
fortunate?" continued the old gentleman, soliloquising to
himself--"could any thing be more fortunate than our show of fire-works
bringing all the miners of the parish about our ears; the very best
hands in the world, from woeful experience in like matters, to render
aid in an accident of this kind."

No one required to be told a second time; and almost ere the words were
out of the worthy squire's mouth, every body had dispersed here and
there to procure ropes, and whatever might be required; all of which
were collected with a celerity almost incredible; and then off started
plenty of able and willing hands, all in eager haste to accomplish the
charitable object they were bent upon.

And now we must return to poor Vernon Wycherley, whom we left pent up in
a narrow dungeon many feet beneath the surface, enveloped in darkness,
and with difficulty sustaining an irksome and even painful position, by
keeping his body jammed across, and, as it were, forming a kind of
bridge over this awful chasm; whilst the loose soil, upon whose unstable
foundation his only chance of safety depended, gradually crumbling away,
kept his attention unceasingly alive to the certain fate that awaited
him when unable longer to retain his hold; the horrors of which were
still further augmented by the deafening din that thundered forth as
each detached mass reached the water far, far below. Few men, indeed,
could have sustained a sufficient degree of self-possession to have held
on a minute under such trying circumstances; but our tall young hero was
possessed of that true kind of courage, which, though disinclined to
seek out danger for mere danger's sake, is never daunted by its
approach, however fearful or unexpected it may be; and thus he was
enabled to await his impending fate with calm resignation. Strange, too,
as it may appear, his thoughts, notwithstanding his appalling situation,
would now and then wander to common everyday matters. Even the events of
that very afternoon occurred to him, and the beauteous form he had been
so much struck with passed in fancy before his eyes. "Would she pity his
fate?" he asked himself--"alas! no--how was she to know any thing about
it? Poor Frank, too," he thought, "what can he say to my unexpected, and
probably fatal accident? I fear all his philosophy will, at least this
time, fail of convincing him;--it is _all for the best_, but better for
myself, perhaps, than him, as far as chances of being saved go; for with
his little legs, it must have been all over with him some time before
this. But, gracious Heaven! may not such a catastrophe have already
happened to him?"

The start this last thought excited had well nigh proved fatal--a large
quantity of earth became detached even by this slight movement, and at
the same time caused a change of position, which, though very slight,
was yet sufficient to produce a fresh action on the muscles, previously
cramped from the unusual strain upon then, and thereby causing so much
pain, that the sufferer was nearly relaxing his hold, the retention of
which became more arduous every moment; whilst the time thus occupied
seemed prolonged to almost tenfold the term of its ordinary duration.
Never, therefore, was sound more welcome to his ears, than the hoarse
and agitated tone with which his friend, Frank Trevelyan, shouted out to
him down the mouth of the shaft; whilst the cheers with which his reply
was hailed from several persons who had already reached the spot,
assured him that the much-wished-for relief was at hand. Nor was there,
indeed, a moment then to lose; for even during the short time it took in
adjusting the rope, and getting ready a light, with which an adventurous
miner, well skilled in such matters, was about to descend, poor Vernon's
strength was rapidly declining; and, conscious of his increasing
weakness, he called out earnestly to those above to make haste, as he
could hold on no longer, and that the ground was fast slipping away from
under him. Anxiously indeed throbbed every breast during the interval
occupied by the miner's descent, and breathless was the suspense with
which each awaited the signal to pull away again upon the rope, which
had scarcely been given, when a heavy rumbling sound, followed by a
whirring noise, and terminating in a tremendous booming crash, whose
fearful din and uproar it is impossible to describe, caused a thrill of
horror to pass through the frame of every bystander; whilst Frank,
uttering a loud cry, threw himself with his face upon the ground, and
grasped the turf in all the frenzied agony of grief, till the loud
cheers that made the welkin ring again, aroused him to a state of
consciousness, when all his grief was turned into joy by discovering the
friend whose loss he had just begun to deplore, again safely landed on
the earth's surface, and apparently but little the worse for his
extraordinary tumble.

The noise which had caused so much unnecessary alarm was produced by the
projecting mass, which, loosened by Vernon's violent descent upon it,
had given way the instant it lost the partial support caused by the
pressure of his body against it.

Fortunately for the sufferer, there was no lack of medical aid. The
village doctor, who had been present at the fire-works, had the humane,
or business-like consideration to betake himself as speedily as possible
from thence to the place where his services were so likely to be needed;
whilst the old gentleman, who had taken so active a part in the late
transaction, had himself also practised the healing art in the early
part of his life. To the gratification of all present, these two
gentlemen, after a cursory examination, reported that no bones were
broken, and that although the right wrist was sprained, and the left leg
much bruised, yet that the other injuries were of a very trifling
nature; so much so indeed, that being helped on the back of the pony
which had brought the old gentleman to the scene of action, the patient
rode without much difficulty to the mansion from whence the assistance
had been derived; and which, although then attained by a more circuitous
route than the one Frank had previously gone, was less than a mile
distant.

Nothing, indeed, could exceed the kind hospitality of the old gentleman,
who, as Frank had supposed, turned out to be the proprietor of the house
and grounds he had made his entry upon in so unusual and unexpected a
manner. Determined to act out the character of the good Samaritan to
the very letter, the squire, for so every body called him, would insist
upon taking the patient to his own house, as well as that Frank should
remain to assist in taking care of him; alleging that there was no other
place for miles around where they could be properly accommodated; and if
there was, they should not go there as long as he had a house to shelter
them. Vernon was too glad to find any kind of resting-place to refuse so
generous an offer, and it required very little pressing to induce Master
Frank Trevelyan to accept the invitation; for, somehow or other, he had
just at the very moment begun to fancy that the late occurrence was but
the commencement of a series of adventures, which a further acquaintance
with their new friend might lead to. But the reasons which induced him
to take such a fancy into his head, we must for the present forbear
mentioning.


CHAPTER IV.

Vernon Wycherley, in spite of all his late perils, enjoyed a good
night's rest, and on awakening about daylight on the following morning,
he found that, barring a little pain and a great deal of stiffness about
his sprained wrist and bruised leg, combined with slight soreness all
over, he was not much the worse for his accident, and so he told Frank,
who just at that very moment had popped his head into the room to see
how he was getting on.

"And really, friend Frank," observed the patient, "I ought to be
thankful for the snug quarters I've fallen into, as well as for my
providential and almost miraculous escape."

"Which," interrupted Frank, "your medical friends here say you must at
present think as little about as you can, and not talk about at all."

"Well, well, old fellow, their advice is doubtless very good; but it
shall not for all that prevent my indulging in feelings of thankfulness
to heaven for my deliverance."

"Not an uncomfortable room this," observed Frank, looking around it.

"Can any thing convey an air of greater comfort?" said Vernon. "There's
a look of cheerful cleanliness about it that's quite delightful; and as
for the bed, I never rested my wearied limbs before on one I liked
better."

"Ay," said Frank, "and all through the house, from attic to cellar, I'll
venture to say you'll find things just the same."

"Why, you can scarcely have had sufficient time or opportunity to
ascertain that yet, I should imagine," observed Vernon; "for, with all
the modest assurance with which you are so superabundantly blessed, you
can't have already been paul-prying, and poking that impudent nose of
yours into every hole and corner of it."

"Certainly not," answered Frank, "but I've seen quite enough to form a
pretty accurate judgment that the bulk will tally with the sample--a
conclusion I can arrive at without the aid of my nasal organ. A fact may
be ascertained without one's poking their nose to the bottom of it--a
very unsatisfactory, as well as uncertain, mode of proceeding, take my
word for it. Why, I wouldn't undertake to ascertain even the height or
depth of a molehill by so uncertain a process."

"And will you never forget that unlucky blunder of mine?" asked Mr
Vernon Wycherley.

"Never, I promise you," replied Frank.

"Well, then, if you can't forget it, I suppose you can cease talking
about it; and, by way of a more pleasing subject, suppose you tell me
something about the people here--the old gentleman, the only member of
the family I've yet seen, appears to possess a very host of
good-nature."

"And a very good-natured host he has proved," interrupted Frank.

"That's right," said Vernon;--"very well for you; so book it, to tell
again, and make the most of it."

"I shall do no such thing," rejoined Frank, "as no words I can employ
would do justice to our honest entertainer, who is without exception the
happiest and merriest little fellow I ever met with, possessing a
countenance full of mirth and good-humour, and a heart overflowing with
benevolence--a downright hearty good fellow, a thorough trump--a regular
brick, and no mistake at all about the matter, as our little friend,
Major Rodd, would say. And I say, Vernon, you've no idea what a
delightful evening I spent after I'd tuck'd you in for the night. I
never in my life met so entertaining a man before--a mere glimpse of his
good-natured face is sufficient to drive away a very legion of
blue-devils, although, by the by, those are fiends that never haunt me;
and then we had a famous spread by way of supper--jugged hare--a
woodcock--the first I've yet seen for the season--and lots of snipes."

"All of which, I dare say, you did ample justice to," interposed Mr
Vernon Wycherley.

"More than justice, friend Vernon--more than justice; for I ate the best
portion of the woodcock, in addition to a fair allowance of the jugged
hare I'd taken before--and then finished off with the snipes--the whole
being accompanied with some excellent home-brewed ale."

"Well, enough about the supper; but tell me, was there nobody but
yourself and the squire to partake of it?"

"Oh yes! the doctor staid to supper, but was obliged to start and visit
a patient who had sent for him, which compelled him to commence a five
miles' ride ere he had well time to finish his meal."

"You saw no ladies, then?"

"Yes, but I did though--that is, I saw the lady of the house; and much
as I liked master, I don't know but I liked mistress more--such a dear,
kind-hearted creature--and so good-looking, Vernon--one of the sort that
would never look old, or grow ugly, even if she lived to the age of
Methusalem. And her fondness for her old man is quite delightful--none
of your my-dearing or my-loving nonsense, or anxiety about every thing
he likes to eat and drink disagreeing with him; but good, downright,
honest, hearty affection, which was beautifully displayed in the happy
smile with which she regarded the old fellow, and witnessed how truly he
seemed to be enjoying himself. That's what I'd recommend all wives to do
who wish to preserve their good looks. A woman's beauty depends so much
upon expression, that if that's spoilt, farewell to all her charms, and
which nothing tends more to bring about than a countenance soured with
imaginary cares, instead of lighted up with thankfulness for innumerable
blessings--that's what makes half the women wither away into wrinkles so
early in life; whilst nothing renders their beauty so lasting as that
placid look of pure benevolence, which emanates from a heart full of
thankfulness to God--affection for those nearest and dearest to them,
and good-will towards all mankind."

"Thank ye, Frank--thank ye for these pretty little sentiments--very good
remarks, certainly, and true; but I think you'd better keep them to
bestow upon the future Mrs Trevelyan; I dare say you may find them
useful then. And now, have you any further news to tell me this
morning?"

"Yes, I believe I have. I was just going to tell you about the fair
ladies we met on the downs yesterday; but I've a great mind not to do
so."

"Eh? what? where?" interrupted Vernon. "Oh! do tell me--have you seen
them?"

"No," answered Frank demurely, "I haven't seen even the shadow of their
petticoats."

"Is this Squire Potts', then? eh!"

"Not impossible," rejoined Frank with most provoking coolness; "at
least," he continued, "I know nothing to the contrary, for never having
heard our worthy squire's cognomen, I see no reason why he may not be
called Potts as well as any thing else."

"Pshaw," said Vernon impatiently, "and is that all you have to tell me?
I really fancied you had heard or seen something."

"And so I have," rejoined Frank.

"Whom, then? eh! Do tell me!" demanded Vernon, eagerly.

"Timothy," replied Frank.

"Timothy!" reiterated the poet.

"Ay, Timothy, to be sure; what d'ye think of that, Mr Vernon Wycherley?"

"Why, it leads me to hope," replied that gentleman, "that we may meet
the ladies themselves ere long, or"--

No _or_ in the matter," interrupted Frank; "I've made up my mind to meet
them both at breakfast this very morning; and no mistake, as our gallant
little friend the major says--for I'm pretty certain those lovely birds
of paradise roosted last night somewhere or other about the premises."

"But as you say you've seen Timothy, haven't you been able to get any
thing out of him?"

"No," replied Frank; "for as all his business seems to be confined to
out-of-doors work, he only came once or twice into the room where we
were upon some trifling excuse or other; but, in reality, I've no doubt
to have a peep at your humble servant, whom the rogue instantly
recognised; and when no one was looking, he tipped me a sly wink of the
eye, at the same time pointing with his thumb over his shoulder, and
directing his eyes towards the ceiling, thereby indicating, as I
thought, that those I wished the most to see had already betaken
themselves to bed."

"Then I trust they were not packed off on purpose that you might not see
them?" observed the young poet.

"Quite the reverse, Vernon, I assure you, for I'm quite confident they
were so packed off in order that they mightn't see me."

"You surprise me indeed--can it be possible that one so affable and
open-hearted as our squire here appears to be, should hesitate to let
his daughters see so harmless a specimen of the human race as my
particular friend Mr Francis Trevelyan? But ah! I see how it is," Vernon
continued, and his countenance fell as he said so. "I see how it is--he
doubts our being gentlemen; a circumstance quite sufficient to account
for the absence of the young ladies."

"Don't let that notion trouble you," interposed our little hero; "your
particular friend, Mr Francis Trevelyan, as you have been pleased to
style him, has removed every unfavourable impression a first glance of
your two yards of humanity might have produced--you know the old saying,
'Show me your associates and I'll tell you what you are.'"

"Then," interposed Vernon, "the impression here must be, that I'm one of
the most impudent dogs living."

"Nothing of the kind," resumed Frank; "that is, if they judge of you by
your humble servant, whom they consider an exceedingly modest young man,
which was the sole reason the two girls were kept out of the way, and
sent off so early to bed; though by the by I'm almost ashamed to say"--

"Don't talk of your shame, Frank," interrupted Vernon, "a very different
kind of thing, though too often confounded with modesty. It's the
latter--It's your modesty--I wish to hear about."

"Why, the plain state of the case," rejoined Frank, "was, that our
good-natured friend the squire, from an imperfect knowledge of the
natural boldness of my disposition, (call it impudence, if you will,)
supposed me incapable of facing the battery of laughter my extraordinary
appearance would have exposed me to, had I come within view of his fair
daughters."

"Your appearance is queer enough at all times I must confess," observed
Vernon, "and still more so in your travelling costume; but still hardly
enough so, I should have thought, to have produced quite so powerful an
effect as you have just mentioned."

"You wouldn't say so, or have thought so, either, had you seen the
strange figure of fun I made. Just now for a moment fancy my limited
proportions enveloped in the squire's ample toggery--(who more than
makes up in breadth all he wants in height,)--only fancy me so attired
and where could you look for a more complete personification of a living
scarecrow?"

"I can fancy it all," said Vernon Wycherley, laughing exceedingly at the
idea of his companion so arrayed; "but do tell me," he continued, "what
could have induced you to put on so ridiculous a masquerade."

"What else could I do?" rejoined Frank, "unless I turned in supperless
to bed, or had it brought up to me there, neither of which suited my
inclination--for, you see, what the rain we encountered had left undone
in the drenching way, the brook I blundered over head and ears into had
completely effected; and though my subsequent souse just afterwards into
the fishpond could make me no wetter, that deficiency was amply made up
for in mud; and as I had thrown off my knapsack, I had no precise notion
where, in order that I might run all the lighter without it, which has
only just now been picked up and returned to me, and so not a dry rag of
my own to help myself to, I was right glad to rig myself out in the
squire's clothes, which, fitting me like what our friend the admiral
would say, 'purser's shirt upon a handspike,' made me look for all the
world like an unstuffed effigy of a Guy Fawkes--a figure so
superlatively ridiculous, that two light-hearted young girls, who were
unable to help wellnigh laughing themselves from off their horses' backs
at the sight of a youthful poet employing his nose as a pick-axe, could
scarcely be expected to look unmoved on so ludicrous an object as I
was."

"Spare me, Frank--spare me!" exclaimed Vernon. "How shall I be able to
remove the ridiculous association which must be connected with that
unlucky tumble?"

"The more important one you made so shortly afterwards, I'll undertake
to say, will produce the desired effect," said Frank.

"Oh! don't talk about that now, pray," interposed Vernon with a shudder,
and turning pale at the sudden recollection of his recent peril; which
Frank perceiving, and aware of the indiscretion he had so thoughtlessly
committed by alluding to, and to avert his friend's mind from dwelling
any longer upon it, he rattled on as fast as he could about various
other matters, describing in glowing terms all he had seen, heard, or
conjectured, about the place they were then in. "What a contrast," he
said, "the mere separation of a narrow valley has made between the
desolate wastes we have traversed for the last two days, and the fertile
spot where we now are, which, though deficient in timber, is beyond
measure fertile in corn, and contains, I am told, some excellent
shooting--that is partridge shooting; for a pheasant is here a kind of
_rara avis in terris_, and as little likely to be met with as the very
black swan itself; but then it's a fine country for woodcocks, whilst
the bottoms almost swarm with snipes; all of which the squire has
promised to show me in the course of the day, and for days to come, if I
feel so inclined; for he won't hear a word of our leaving for at least
ten days, or a week at the very shortest."

"But how, my dear fellow, can we accept an invitation of this kind from
an utter stranger, whom"----

"No stranger at all," interrupted Frank. "He tells me your governor is
one of his oldest and most esteemed friends; and as for myself--but
stay--hush!--hark! I hear the old gentleman's voice, and he's coming
this way too, or I'm very much mistaken."


CHAPTER V.

The squire was one of those persons who generally give audible notice of
their approach as soon as they enter their house, or pass through from
one part of it to another; and our two heroes heard him, whilst in the
act of ascending the stairs, bawling out to the ladies above that it was
high time for them to be up and moving; and hammering away at the first
door he came to, he called out--"Come, come, young ladies, wake up, wake
up--chase away your balmy slumbers, and kick Morpheus out of bed without
further ceremony.

  'Come Miss Mary,
            [_"Her loved name!" exclaimed
                Vernon within._
  All contrary,
  How does your garden grow?
  With silver bells,
  And cockle shells
  And cockles all of a row.'

"Nothing like early rising for planting the roses in your cheeks--and
if that argument," said he to himself, "won't make a young woman bundle
herself from under the bed-clothes, I don't know what will." And then he
walked on to the room in which Frank had slept, and which was the
adjoining one to Vernon's, he began to drum away upon the door there;
calling out, at the same time--"Come, Frank--Mr Trevelyan--if you intend
to have a view of the sea before breakfast, as you proposed last
evening, it's high time you should be up and stirring."

"I'm up and stirred already, sir," said Frank, popping his head out of
the adjoining room door.

"Yes; you're up to any thing, I see," said the squire, good-humouredly
extending his hand to his guest, as he entered the room; "and how's my
patient this morning?" he continued, advancing towards the bed. "Ah!" he
said, having felt Vernon's pulse, "just as I hoped, and indeed fully
expected--you couldn't possibly be doing better; a little--very little
care for a day or two, is all you seem to require. I looked in before
this morning to see how you were getting on, and found you snoring away
so comfortably, that, judging all was as it should be, I wouldn't
disturb you with my inquiries."

"Snoring!" repeated Vernon, in alarmed surprise, looking exceedingly
disconcerted, and doubting almost whether he had heard aright.

"Ay, snoring," resumed the squire; "but never mind that, my hearty
fellow--the best men snore sometimes, take my word for it; and, I dare
say, it wasn't loud enough to disturb the young ladies. It was pretty
loud, though, I must confess; but still I think it could hardly reach so
far, particularly when your door was shut."

"But I found it wide open," observed Frank, by no means ill-amused to
see how annoyed his companion was at the conviction of having snored,
and the possibility of such sounds having reached the ears of one _so
lovely_. Oh, how Vernon longed to hurl his pillow, or even any harder
missile within his reach, at the saucy little fellow's head who was
looking so provokingly pleased with his distress, and which the presence
of the squire alone restrained him from making a left-handed attempt at,
for his right was, as we before mentioned, disabled for the present by
his late accident. But Vernon was too good a judge to attempt any thing
of the kind, or show any exhibition of displeasure before his kind
entertainer who, telling him he must act as his doctor, having, as he
said, been bred to, and practised for several years in the medical
profession, examined into the state of his sprains and bruises, and told
him he would soon be all right again, but that he must be content to
spend a few hours longer in bed, where his breakfast of gruel should be
sent up to him; and then, accompanied by Frank, he took his departure.

The old gentleman, however, gave the ladies a fresh hail as he passed by
their bedroom door, to which two or three voices replied simultaneously,
but in tones far less musical than Frank expected; and it seemed to him
very different from what he had heard from the fair equestrians of the
preceding day, when they kindly expressed their hopes that the sprawling
poet had received no injury from his tumble.

"Ah! I see how it is," thought he to himself; "these pretty creatures,
like too many of their sex, have a couple of tones to their voices--one
for home, and the other for company. There's one-half of my admiration
gone already." But wishing, at the same time, to put the best
construction he could upon the matter, he tried to persuade himself that
they must have taken cold, poor things! in consequence of having been
caught in the heavy shower of the preceding day; and this it was which
had caused the hoarseness of their voices. "I have known it have that
effect before now on other people," he thought, "and why might not the
same happen to these fair damsels; who, though lovely as angels, can
scarcely escape from 'all the ills that flesh is heir to,' amongst which
a cold, attended with hoarseness, can hardly be reckoned the worst?"

FOOTNOTES:

[38] Any collection of houses, or even a single farm-house, is termed a
town in Cornwall.

[39] In Cornwall, any number beyond two is termed a pair.

[40] "Bal" signifies a mine.



A PEEP INTO THE WHIG PENNY POST-BAG.


  MY DEAR MEMBER--I send you a powerful petition,
  For absolute, instant, entire abolition.
  This question our Chamber is taking a lead in
  Composed, as you know, of the Flowers of Dunedin,
  Intelligent Druggists, rhetorical Quakers,
  Broad acres--a few--but no want of wiseacres.
  All are perfectly clear that these horrid restrictions
  Are the proximate cause of our present afflictions,
  Obstructing the bowels, as 'twere, of the nation,
  And entirely deranging our whole circulation.

  To expel these bad humours, we earnestly urge
  A dose, night and morning, of Russell's _new_ Purge;
  Not the old wishy-washy affair of the _fixture_,
  But the new out-and-out Morisonian mixture.

  In the mean time 'tis well that the Noble concoctor
  Has succeeded in ousting the family Doctor.
  Peel's a perfect old wife--twaddles on about diet,
  About exercise, air, mild aperients, and quiet;
  Would leave Nature alone to her vigour elastic,
  And never exhibit a drug that is drastic.
  Doctor Russell's the man for a good searching pill,
  Or a true thorough drench that will cure or will kill.
  For bleeding and blistering, and easy bravado,
  (Not to speak of hot water,) he passes Sangrado.
  He stickles at nothing, from simple phlebotomy,
  As our friend Sidney said, to a case of lithotomy:
  And I'll venture to say, that this latest specific,
  When taken, will prove to be no soporific.
  Might I just hint how happy 'twould make me to be
  Sole Agent down here for the great Patentee?

  _Entre nous_, what can mean these unpleasant surmises?
  I scarce know what prognosis to form of the crisis:
  And our friends, quite perplex'd at this puzzling delay,
  Can't imagine how scruples should stand in the way.
  Must the grand Opus Magnum be brought to a fix,
  Because some jarring drugs are unwilling to mix?
  His lordship, I'm certain, would cut the thing shorter,
  If he'd borrow a touch of my pestle and mortar.

  Ere we part, I must give you a hint of the truth:
  We Free Churchmen can't stomach your views of Maynooth.
  If you value your seat, as a friend I would urge ye,
  Steer clear of endowing the Catholic Clergy;
  A bolus (or bonus) so very unhallow'd
  Would in Scotland, I'm sure, not be easily swallow'd.

  By an early reply we should all be elated,
  And 'twould tell if from Windsor again it were dated.


  DEAR DRUGGIST---You've open'd your jocular vein,
  And I fain would reply in the same pleasant strain;
  But let those laugh who win--I have only to say,
  That we are--_as we were:_ and all done by Lord Grey--
  The most arrogant, wayward, capricious of men,
  (Though this last little sketch must not seem from my pen.)
  Only think of objecting that Palmerston's name
  In a fortnight would set East and West in a flame:
  About mere peace or war a commotion to make,
  When the Party's existence was plainly at stake!
  When office was offer'd, to cast it behind,
  And to talk of such trash as the good of mankind!
  It is clear, my good friend, such a crotchety prig
  Has but little pretence to the title of Whig.

  On the part I have played in this luckless transaction,
  I confess I look back with unmix'd satisfaction.
  From the first I said _this_--and 'tis pleasant to feel
  Thus at ease with one's self--"I'm for total repeal.
  Stick to that, my Lord John, and all scruples I stifle:
  Any office, or none, is to me a mere trifle;"
  (Though, of course, my dear Mac, for the purest of ends,
  I was willing to help both myself and my friends.)
  "Any office I'll take, that can give you relief--
  From the Whip of the House to Commander-in-chief."
  Oh! If all of the party had acted as I did,
  In how noble a band would Lord John have presided!

  But--"'tis best as it is:" we may grieve, yet we shouldn't:
  Peel can carry the measure--'tis certain we couldn't:
  Though we hoped, if our reign was once fairly begun,
  It might last till--we did what was not to be done.

  I think, (though thus leaving old views in the lurch,)
  We should _not_ have establish'd the Catholic Church.
  To speak for my colleagues, in me would be vanity:
  They might differ; but I should have thought it insanity.

  In the hope that our friends in Auld Reeky are "brawly,"
  I remain yours, in confidence, T. B. Mac----y.


EAST AND WEST.

  Sweet is the song, whose radiant tissue glows
    With many a colour of the orient sky;
    Rich with a theme to gladden ear and eye--
  The love-tale of the Nightingale and Rose.

  Nor speeds the lay less surely to the mark
    That paints in homely hues two neighbours sweet,
    Born on our own bleak fields, companions meet,
  The modest Mountain-daisy and the Lark.

  The fond attachments of a flower and bird!
    That things so fair a mutual bond obey,
    And gladly bask in love's delightful ray,
  Who would deny, and doubt the poet's word?

  Or who would limit love's and fancy's reign?
    Their hardy growth here springs as fresh and fair,
    Far from the sun and summer gale, as there
  Where Gul for Bulbul decks her gay domain.

  'Tis poesy, whose hands with kindly art,
    Of kindred feelings weaves this mystic band,
    To knit the Scottish to the Iranian strand,
  And reach wherever beats a human heart.



AN APOLOGY FOR A REVIEW.


It is not our general practice to review books of travels; nor, in
truth, in noticing these little volumes, do we introduce any exception
to that general rule. Under what precise category in literature they may
fall, would admit, as Sir Thomas Browne observes as to the song sung by
the Sirens, of a wide solution. Plainly, however, in the ordinary sense
of the term, travels they are not. They will form no substitute for
Murray's admirable hand-books; for on the merits or demerits of
competing hostelries, which Mr Murray justly regards as a question of
vital importance--the very be-all, and often end-all of a tour--these
volumes throw no light. In statistics they are barren enough. To the
gentlemen of the rule and square, who think that the essential spirit of
architecture can be fathomed by measurement, they will be found a blank.
And though abounding in allusions, which betray, without obtruding, an
intimate acquaintance with ancient literature, and sufficient in
congenial minds to awaken a train of memories, classic or romantic,
medieval or modern; they contain few dates, no dissertations, no
discussion of vexed questions as to the ownership of statues, baths,
temples, or circuses; or the other disputed points which have so long
been the subject of strife in the antiquarian arena. And, really, when
we consider the way in which, in the course of a century, all the old
landmarks on the antiquarian map have been broken up, and the monuments
of antiquity made to change hands; how Nibbi supersedes Winckelman, only
to be superseded in turn; how a temple is converted into a senate-house;
one man's villa into another; how Caracalla is driven from his circus to
make way for Romulus; how Peace resigns her claim to a Pagan temple to
make way for a Christian basilica of Constantine; how statues, arches,
gardens, baths, forums, obelisks, or columns, are in a constant state of
transition, so far as regards their nomenclature; and, to borrow the
conceit of Quevedo, nothing about Rome remains permanent save that which
was fugitive--namely, old Tiber himself; we rather feel grateful to the
tourist who is content to take up the last theory without further
discussion, and to spare us the grounds on which the last change of
title has been adopted. What, indeed, matters it, in so far as the
imagination is concerned, by what emperor, consul, or dictator, these
mighty remains were reared or ruined? Whether these Titanian halls first
echoed to the voices of Pagan or the chant of Christian priests? Whether
this inexplicable labyrinth of vaults and cells, and buried gardens
which overrun the Esquiline, where the work of art and nature is so
strangely melted and fused together by "the alchymy of vegetation,"
really formed part of the golden house of the monstrous Nero; or of the
baths of him, the gentlest of the Cæsars, who, when he had gone to rest
without doing a good action, regretted that he had lost a day? Equally
they remain monuments of the grandeur of the minds which gave them
birth; mysterious, suggestive--perhaps the more suggestive, the more
awakening curiosity and interest, from the very obscurity in which their
origin, purposes, or fortunes are shrouded. And if individual
associations become dim or doubtful, they merge in the clear light which
these gigantic fragments, betraying, even in ruin, their original beauty
of proportion and grandeur of conception, throw upon the lofty and
enduring character of the Roman people.

       *       *       *       *       *

These volumes, then, as we have said, will neither replace Murray, nor
form a substitute for Eustace. Neither is their interest mainly owing to
mere vivid or literal portraiture; by painting in words, as an artist
would do by forms and colours, and enrolling before us a visible
panorama, such as might present a clear image of the scenes described
here to those who had never witnessed them. Their charm--for a charm, we
trust, they will have to a considerable number of readers--arises simply
from the truth with which they seize, and the happy expression in which
they embody, _the spirit of the spot_; marking, by a few expressive
touches, the moral as well as the physical aspect of the scene, and
awakening in the reader a train of associations often novel in
conception, as well as felicitous in expression; but which appear in
general so congenial and appropriate, that we are willing to persuade
ourselves they are a reproduction of thoughts, and dreams, and fancies,
which had occurred to ourselves in contemplating the same objects. Hence
it is to those, who have already witnessed the scenes described, that
these volumes address themselves. They do not paint pictures, but revive
impressions; they call up or steady imperfectly defined images; bring
forward into light struggling memories;--and, by a union of brief
description, classic or historical allusions, picturesque and
significant epithets, and reflections hinted at, rather than wrought
out, they very successfully accomplish their object--that of realizing
to the eye of the mind that distinctive and prevailing expression which
each aspect of nature, like each movement of the human face, wears in
itself, and is calculated to awaken in others--cheerful, sombre,
majestic, or awe-inspiring, according to the nature of the scene, the
associations past and present with which it is surrounded, and the
conditions, or, as a painter would term it, accidents under which it has
been viewed.

While we say that Mr Whyte has generally been very successful in his
aim, we must not be understood to express by any means an unqualified
probation of the taste in which these volumes are conceived, or the plan
on which they are constructed. The train of reflection is _sometimes_
too obviously an afterthought--not spontaneously evoked at the moment by
the influences of the scene, but evidently devised and wrought up into
point and _apparent_ application by a subsequent process. We have dreams
which were never dreamt, and reveries which are any thing but
involuntary. There are too many Tristram Shandy transitions, sundry
cockneyisms in expression, (we use the word in a wide sense,) and one or
two jokes which make the blood run cold. Lastly, we are compelled to say
that we repose much more confidence in the writer's taste in
architecture than in painting. It is enough to say that he evinces no
feeling for the more simple and majestic compositions of Raphael; while
the powerful contrasts, and magic of light and shadow displayed by
Guercino and Tintoret, seem to exercise an undue fascination on his
mind. It is only to the injurious effect produced by these blemishes
that we can attribute the slender success with which the volumes have
been attended; for at this moment we do not recollect having seen them
noticed by any of those who assume to themselves the right of
distributing the rewards and punishments of criticism.

Let us now look at one or two of Mr Whyte's sketches of Rome, or rather
of the train of thought called up by wanderings among its ruins, tracing
the broken sweep of its ancient walls, or wandering among the stately
aqueducts and nameless tombs of its dreary Campagna.

     _Fragments of Italy and the Rhineland._ London: 1841._

     _A Pilgrim's Reliquary._ By the REV. T. H. WHYTE, M.A. London:
     1845.

     THE WALLS OF ROME.

     "I wonder whether it be the fault of mine own inattention, or the
     absence of good taste in others, that I have heard and read so
     little of the Walls of Rome! To me they rank among the few, out of
     all the Wonders of the Eternal City that have exceeded my
     expectations. Solitude, their peculiar characteristic, has great
     charms for a companionless enthusiast like myself: it is, moreover,
     a description of solitude, the very reverse of melancholy. Mile
     after mile have I repeatedly roamed along the outer Pomoerium of
     those solitary rampires, and encountered perhaps a goatherd and his
     pretty flock, the tinkle of whose bells formed the only
     accompaniment to the honey notes of the blackbird:--or, perhaps, in
     sonorous solemnity, some great Bell would suddenly boom upon the
     silence, and be taken up in various tones from a hundred quarters,
     no vestige, mean time, of Minster or Monastery being visible;
     nothing but that enormous Adamantine Circlet rearing itself into
     the sky on one side, and the gateways and walls of villas and
     vineyards occupying the other. You might fancy those tolling chimes
     belonging to some City hidden by Enchantment.

     "Still, as I have proceeded in my mood, half enjoying, half
     moralizing the scene, those hundred towers, like Titan warders
     placed around the Seven Hills, would each after each look down upon
     me from their high and silent stations; till, as I came to know
     them, they seemed to meet my gaze with the sedate and pleasant
     welcome of a venerable friend. They were the incessant associates
     of my solitude, and I was never wearied of them. Of a surety their
     vast Circuit (fifteen miles) gives ample time and space enough for
     rumination!

     "Their colossal cubits are the most perfect exemplar of
     Architectural sublimity. Their dismantled Battlements have no
     Watchman but Antiquity, no Herald but Tradition, and hear no
     clamour louder than the Church or Convent bells, or the dirge which
     the wind wails over them through the melancholy Cypress and the
     moaning Pine. The broad old belt of short flowery turf at the base,
     the Violet, the Gilliflower, and the vermilion spotted Mignonette,
     on their breast, and the chaplet of wilding shrubs upon their
     brows, give them a charm in the most common-place observation. With
     me, truant as I have been to the Classic page, it seemed a natural
     process of my desultory mind, to revert from a contemplation of
     such pensive dreamy realities of waking enjoyment as I have
     described, to visions, startling in their august grandeur, of the
     everlasting past,--visions of their great Architect, Aurelian; of
     their greater Restorer, Belisarius!

     "These monstrous walls! I cannot divest myself of a certain awe and
     fascination, as if of a supernatural appearance, which attracts and
     detains me about them; not even the Colosseum more. There seems
     something so ghastly, so spectral, in the mockery of their
     unnecessary circuit, their impregnable strength, their countless
     towers, arrogating to themselves the circumference of a day's
     journey--and all for what? To guard a city, which, once dropsied
     with grandeur, has now shrunk with the disease into comparative
     atrophy; a city, which, having boastfully demanded their aid, has
     now abandoned them for miles. It is as though one should wrap a
     triumphal robe about a corpse, or place a giant's helmet upon a
     skeleton's skull. It is no poetical figure to look upon them as an
     eternal satire upon the great littleness of empire. The melancholy
     pride of their dimensions needs not the hollow wind, which howls
     around their towers, or the wondering sun, which lingers over their
     shrubby ramparts, to proclaim in the ears of thrones and senates
     the warning of Rome's ambition, the moral of Rome's downfall! It is
     but a poor recompense to their present unhonoured solitude, that
     their melancholy battlements are emblazed at intervals with the
     pontifical escutcheons. Those triple tiaras and cross keys, so
     perpetually recurring, do not half so much consecrate as they are
     themselves consecrated by the lonely bulwarks of this desolated
     city of the Cæsars!"


THE VILLA BORGHESE.

     "With the exception of an ostentatious parade of paltry equipages,
     tarnished liveries, and wretched horses on the Corso, and a frantic
     attempt at an opera, Rome, in May, is a picturesque receptacle for
     monks, and goatherds, and nightingales, and bells. Like some
     haunted place, it appears to be beloved and frequented only by the
     apparitions of an obsolete race. Yet many minds will find it
     infinitely more congenial thus, than amidst all the popular
     splendours of its holy week.

     "Her tranquillity, nay, her very desolation, is enchanting. The
     summer's-day circuit of the Seven Hills seems all your own. You
     wander whither you will, meeting few, and disturbed by none. In
     short, the very antiquity of the place is one perpetual novelty,
     and its grave monotony a serene recreation. I write this in the
     Villa Borghese, beneath groves of acacias, redolent with odours,
     and booming with myriads of bees, the yellow hay in aromatic
     quiles, pitched like pavilions below the old red walls of Rome, and
     nightingales and blackbirds contending in gushes of ecstatic song!

     "Though not new to me, I had little conception of the intrinsic
     loveliness of the Villa Borghese till to-day. Picture to yourself a
     large village of the most variegated and romantic character;
     Church, casino, albergo, and farm, scattered amidst the turfy
     glades of a forest; and that forest composed of such trees as the
     beech, the elm, the ilex, and, above all, the sovereign pinaster,
     whose enormous trunks seem to have _condescended_ to arrange
     themselves into avenues; the most charmingly artificial glades of
     the glossiest verdure, and vistas haunted by legions of dim waning
     statues; hero or demigod, nymph or faun, for ever intermingling but
     never interfering with each other; their various places of
     rendezvous emblazed with flowers of a thousand colours, and
     flashing with fountains of the most graceful fancies possible;
     while every vista discloses some antique portico, or rotunda, or
     vestibule of those gems that men call temples! Picture these scenes
     on some such May-day as this,

        'When God hath shower'd the earth;'

     the dark evergreens rejoicing in the rain-drops, and the new-born
     leaves of silky green, transparent with the moisture, which had
     reluctantly ceased to shine on their delicate tapestries. Crown all
     this with a country palace, of lofty Italian magnificence, a
     treasure-house of antiquity, painting, and sculpture, disclosing
     the statues, frescoes, and gilding, of its noble façade and massive
     campaniles, at the extremity of its darkest grove of evergreens,
     glittering in this rainbow sunlight, and you may have some
     impression of the Villa Borghese.

     "Such silence and solemnity, that you would never dream you were
     near the busy haunt of men, were it not, that a long linked
     diapason of bells, modulated by every possible inflection of their
     lofty language, convinced you that you were basking amidst all this
     voluptuous quiet, beneath the walls of a concealed city, and that
     city--ROME!"


THE RUINS.--THE CAMPAGNA.

     "This afternoon we drove along the Via Appia Nova. The sun, rolling
     his chariot amidst a cavalcade of wild clouds, along the ruddy
     array of shattered arches, variegating the grassy plain with its
     uncouth palatial and sepulchral ruins, in ebony and gold,
     illuminated the purple and green recesses of the Sabine hills, and
     caressing with capricious fleetness their woody towers and towns,
     bequeathed to the north a calm blue vault, wherein, as in some
     regal hall of state, the dome of St Peter's, the rotunda of the
     Colosseum, the vast basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, and San
     Giovanni Laterana, that embattled sepulchre of Cecilia, and those
     lofty masses of the Pamfilipine, which hovered in the horizon like
     a feathery vapour, proclaim the illustrious domicile of Rome.

     "The Temple of the Divus Rediculus (or whatever other title it may
     rejoice in) is one of those lovely little phantasies of
     architecture that one might imagine a London citizen would have
     coveted for a summer-house. The brilliant contrast between its
     vermilion pilasters and its pale yellow wall, the delicate moulding
     of its slender bricks and the elaborate elegance of its decoration,
     not to omit its pleasing, though diminutive proportions, arising
     from the wild green turf of this melancholy region, can scarcely
     fail of affecting with at least a spark of fancy, the flattest
     spirit of this work-day world. For my own part, I should be much
     less disposed to pronounce it a temple than a tomb; and, in fact,
     the whole appearance of this wide dull tract seems eminently
     adapted to sepulchral piles. It is most melancholy, most funereal;
     and even that glorious sun, and those majestic aqueducts, soaring,
     as they do, to salute his lustre, and to emulate his glory, cannot
     efface the feeling, that such a scene, and such memorials, should
     be visited only in the gloom of a sad and stormy sky; either amidst
     the sympathetic moans of an autumnal tempest, or the waning and
     mournful glimpses of an autumnal twilight."


THE COLOSSEUM.

     "It was the twilight, that brief, that exquisite interval, which
     flings its purporoseate veil between the palace gates of day and
     night. You might have fancied it the car of Diana rolling on to
     some Olympian festival, and preceded by Venus, the only other
     planet visible in the sky. What a canopy!--Not the gaudiest
     velabrum that the ostentatious munificence of her Cæsars extended
     above its gilded cordage, ever equalled the empyrean pomp of this
     soft sky. Never could the artificial rains of perfumed water
     surpass the dewy fragrance that steals around from evening's
     thousand urns.

     "I say it was the twilight when we entered these gloomy corridors,
     whose solemn circuit uncoils its colonnades around the lordly pile;
     but before we had traversed half their extent night began her
     reign, and when we entered the arena it was difficult to say
     whether those faintly flushed skies, that single sparkling star, or
     the pallid hectic of the youthful moon produced the pathetic light
     that illuminated this enormous architecture.

     "As it now stands, the Colosseum is _indeed_ a wreck, rendered
     absolutely frightful by repair; and whether by sunlight or
     moonlight, compels you to lament the 'melancholy activity' which,
     utterly inadequate to the restoration of its pristine glory, has
     deprived it of all those adventitious ornaments, trees, and
     herbage, and a thousand beautiful flowers, which, if they could not
     conceal, at least served to soften its injuries, and which
     mitigated the desolation they were unable to repair.

     "Of course a thousand imaginations and memories hunt each other
     through one's head and heart in such a place and at such an hour as
     this, but to-night there were realities, which, where they do not
     dispel, must always reinforce such phantasies.

     "Before the steps of the great cross in the centre, garnished with
     all the emblems of the passion, knelt a respectably dressed group,
     apparently father, mother, and daughter, absorbed in a rapture of
     devotion. The lamps were lighted before the fourteen shrines, which
     Benedict the Fourteenth erected around the arena, and flung a dusky
     light upon the successive stagioni of our Saviour's sufferings, by
     which each is distinguished; and we saw a solitary peasant, in the
     dark costume of his country, evidently faint and toil-worn, rise
     from his oraisons at _one_ shrine, only to sink upon his knees
     before _another_.

     "Ah! it was at once a simple and sagacious stroke of that priestly
     sovereign, who, in these prophaned ruins, planted the Cross, and,
     by a mightier spell than the magician's wand, arrested the rapacity
     of its patrician plunderers!"

Do not sketches such as these revive for us all those feelings which
Rome awakened in ourselves, bringing back the clime, the sky, the
loneliness, the mingled feeling of grandeur and situation--the gentle
melancholy with which the eternal city impresses even the least
imaginative mind? To us they appear to embody more of the poetry of
travel than many a work which figures under the mask of poesy.

How much has been written on Venice, from Schiller and Radcliffe to
Madame de Staël and Madame Dudevant! and yet we hardly know if any one,
with the exception of the last, has more completely imbued his mind with
the peculiar spirit of Venice, or reflected its impressions with more
truth than Mr Whyte. Schiller, indeed, and Mrs Radcliffe, had never
witnessed the scenes they described; their portraiture is the result
merely of reading and description, warmed and vivified by the glow of
their own imagination. Hence the glimpses of Venice conveyed in
Schiller's beautiful fragment of the _Armenian_, are mere general
outlines--true enough so far as they go, but faintly drawn, and
destitute, as we might say, of local colour. Mrs Radcliffe's moonlight
landscapes--masques and music--exhibit with great beauty one aspect of
the city, but only one.

Very different are the Venetian _Sketches_ of Madame Dudevant. She has
drunk in the inspiration of Venice on the spot, has penetrated the very
heart of its mystery, and reproduces the impressions which an intimacy
with its peculiarities produces, with a degree of truth, force, and
poetical feeling, that impart the most captivating charm to her Venetian
_Letters_. Mr Whyte's _Fragments_ exhibit much of the same sensibility,
the same just perception of the spirit of Venice; and though they have
not that brilliancy of style which the pictures of the French authoress
possess, there is often even in this respect great beauty both of
thought and expression. Mr Whyte, indeed, took the right course to
enable him thoroughly to understand and appreciate Venice. Instead of
confining himself to the stately vision of the Grand Canal, or the
wizard magnificence of St Mark's, he seems to have habitually traced all
the lesser canals; the little Rii, which, like small veins, shoot off
from the great arteries of the Grand Canal and the Giudecca, carrying
the circulation of the Adriatic through this unique city; exploring
their high, dark, and narrow recesses, pondering on the strange
contrasts of misery and magnificence, squalid filth and luxurious
ornament, which they present side by side; and heightening the
impression thus created, by selecting all varieties of aspects, from the
bright flashing sunshine pouring down into these dark chasms, as into a
well, to the shadowy evening, the magic contrasts of moonlight, the
gloom of wind and rain howling through the balconies, driving the ocean
wave impetuously through these water-ways, and beating against their
thousand bridges; or those thunder-storms--nowhere more magnificent
than at Venice--where the gleam of the lightning forms so fearful a
contrast with the Cimmerian gloom of the canal, and the peals are
reverberated with such magnificence from those piles of masonry with
which they are lined. There is, indeed, no spectacle that can be
conceived, more impressive than some of these smaller canals,
particularly if you enter them towards sundown. You glide into a gulf of
buildings, rising high on each side--almost meeting above your
head--most of them ruinous and dilapidated, sinking by piecemeal into
the green element which they have displaced for centuries, but which,
through the slow agency of the sap and mine, is visibly resuming his
oozy empire. You pass some church with its unfinished marble face.
Again, a set of poor rickety and mean edifices follow; when suddenly you
come upon some pile of massy grandeur, looming gigantic in the twilight,
in whose colossal, but beautiful proportions, you can trace the hand of
Sammichele or Sansovino. You come nearer, and perceive the fretted
windows broken, stuffed with rags, and patched with paper; rough boards
nailed up against the gilded beams; grand portals, of which the doors
have disappeared, allowing the eye to penetrate into a dark perspective
within: perhaps a sign-board over-tops a glorious cornice of grim masks
or armorial bearings; and from latticed windows, on which Palladio had
lavished all the delicate beauty of his architecture, some flaunting and
gaudy rags are hung out to dry. You enquire what is the building, and to
whom it belongs, and you are answered: It is the palace of one of the
classic nobility of ancient Venice--now tenanted by a Hebrew, who lets
out the apartments at so many _lire_ a month!

But let Mr Whyte speak for himself.


THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.

     "The Canal Orfano, the Ponte di Sospiri! what a day to behold these
     long pictured images of darknes and terror, for the first time!
     Such a blaze of May sunshine, such a soothing repose broken by a
     few distant bells or the nearer laugh of the gay Gondoliers. I
     looked upon the narrow, immured waters under the Bridge of Sighs,
     then to the high arch that like the heavy embossed clasp of some
     old solemn book united its decorated Gothic Piles (those volumes of
     bloody Story) on either side, and instead of shuddering at
     inquisitions and racks, and Piombi and Pozzi, as in common decency
     I ought, away fled my intractable thoughts to merry England's old
     Sabbath Chimes, her village spires, village greens, village elm
     lanes, and decent peasantry.

     "Yet those high and antique abodes of venerable crime, those wild
     barbaric piles, in which old age palliates and almost hallows
     infamy! giving it somewhat the same prescriptive sanctuary as
     Milton bestows on the Palace of his Pandemonium! That cruel
     slinking flood, the only firmament the stone vaulted pits below
     were conscious of! Each looked as malignant and dangerous as they
     could, beneath the triumph of such a glorious sun; that light to
     which their aspect once was hateful, and their deeds untold.

     "My gondolier dipt his oar into the canal just under the Bridge of
     Sighs, and at half its length it was arrested by a hollow substance
     which he told me was the marble roof of the Pozzi, whose
     unfathomable tiers of dungeons stretched one under another beneath
     this dreadful water gallery. It was not here, however, that the
     secret midnight drownings took place, (as I had fancied,) but in
     that widest, deepest portion of the Canal Orfano, far out in the
     Lagoons situated between the towery Isola Servilio and the lovely
     groves and monastery of San Grazia. This murder-hole of the
     Adriatic is called Marani, and to this day it is forbidden to fish
     in its accursed depth. To-day it looks not only innocent, but
     gloriously bright.

     "I was out in the Lagoons this evening, for the purpose of visiting
     by twilight that solitary Isle of St Clements, where Monks exchange
     the voluntary seclusion for penal dungeons, (l'un vaut bien
     l'autre!) the sky glowing with its last light, lingered over its
     tall belfry and few old trees, and a sea as smooth as a crystal
     pavement slept at the base of its grim walls, all in vain;
     Campanile, Convent, Grove, and that pyramidal Powder Magazine,
     looked obdurately sullen enough to tell their own uses, had I not
     known their chronicle."


THE SMALL CANALS.

     "I thence directed my gondolier to row under the Bridge of Sighs,
     through the intricacies of the interior canals; and if ever a man
     wished to be fed to the full with solemn, ay, appalling gloom, he
     may be gratified by following my example. From the weltering
     surface of a labyrinth of channels, let him look up till it wearies
     him, to the awful roofs of the mansions, whose walls of
     immeasurable height, and scarfed with black masses of shadow and
     glaring moonlight, seem to close over his head and to barricade his
     path, as they interlace and confound each other in endless
     circuits; and he will have quite enough to kindle the torch of his
     darker imagination, even if he did not know those tremendous gulfs
     of masonry to be Venice, and those heart-sinking portals and
     windows of barbaric sculpture, the homes of her inexorable
     oligarchy. Yes, you may anticipate Naples, you may picture to
     yourself Rome, and Florence may have fulfilled much of your
     previous fancies; but no conception can prepare you for Venice.

     "What enchantment lingers still about every stone of this mourning
     city! My affection for her dismantled palaces is almost morbid.

         'Like an unrighteous and an unburied ghost,'

     do I nightly haunt that Tartarus of antique masonry, the interior
     canals of Venice, uniformly entering or departing from them by the
     Bridge of Sighs. To me their hideous height, their appalling gloom,
     (for the meridian cannot touch their waters, and the moon glides
     like a spectre over their huge parapets,) their bewildering
     intricacies, their joyless weltering floods, the countless bridges,
     each with its sculptured monster-heads yawning as if to swallow up
     the silently sweeping gondola in its arch of shadow; their deep
     dead silence only broken by the sullen plash of the oar, the dreary
     word of warning uttered by the gondoliers before turning a sharp
     angle, or the shrill rattling creak of innumerable crickets; but
     principally those old Gothic posterns with deep-ribbed archways,
     like rat-holes in proportion to the enormous piles, and their
     thresholds level with the water, some blockaded with ponderous
     doors, others developing their long withdrawn passage by a lamp,
     that not only makes darkness _visible_, but _frightful_; while
     others (as in the Martinengo palace to-night) disclose wide
     pillared halls, and stately staircases, and moonlight courts --to
     me, I say, all these attributes of the interior of Venice are
     irresistible. Were you to see these old porticos by a summer's
     daylight, you would not fail to find an old fig tree in broad leaf
     and full of fruit, or a lattice-work of vine, most pleasantly green
     in its deep court, where sun and shadow hold divided reign; while
     the hundred shaped windows of those gloomy walls are variegated
     with geranium and carnation, and perhaps a sweet dark eye fairer
     than either.

     "They are so obviously the symbols of her hollow oligarchy itself,
     which to the world and to the sun in heaven, (like the brave
     palaces on her chief canal,) displayed a gallant guise, at once
     sublime, glittering, and august; while, within, its tortuous policy
     was twisted into murky and inextricable labyrinths, of which
     Necessity, Secresy, and Suspicion, formed the keystone; where
     Danger lurked at every winding, and whose darkling portals were
     watched by Mystery, and Stratagem, and Disgrace, and Fate!

     "It is impossible to scrutinize these dread abysms of mansions,
     without experiencing that strange mixture of repugnance and
     attraction which certain spectacles are wont to call forth in
     animated nature. It is impossible to mark their melancholy and
     downfallen, yet portentous aspect, without deeming them at once the
     theatre and monument of those 'secret, black, and midnight crimes,'
     which history and tradition ascribe to the domestic, as well as to
     the state policy, of this Gehenna of fourteen centuries dominion.

        'Visendus Ater flumine languido
        Cocytus errans.'

     "Perhaps it would be difficult to conceive any thing more abhorrent
     to the soul and body of man, than the time, manner, and place, of
     death, distinguishing those executions which have rendered the
     gulfs of the Canal Orfano immemorably infamous.

     "To me, the element, in its most serene and smiling state, wears a
     look of furtive menace; and I am free to confess, that even when
     gliding on a mid-summer night over that sweetest Lake of
     Derwentwater, beneath the shadows of its moonlit isles and fair
     pavilions, I have not been without a certain sensation of
     uncomfortable awe. But what must have been the feelings of the
     victim, whether criminal or innocent, who, from this accurst
     Maranna, cast around him his last straining look of agony, and
     uttered his last cry of supplication or despair! The conviction
     that his family, parent, wife, or son, were at that hour of horror
     in profound ignorance _sometimes_ of his very absence, _often_ of
     its cause, or at least, only perplexed with conjecture, and
     _always_ unconscious of its horrible event, must have constituted
     no trifling pang in that mortal hour. Then that old familiar,
     though melancholy, water, more terrible to his feelings than the
     dreariest wilderness of ocean! For, girdling the dusky horizon,
     could he not see the domes and campaniles of Venice, perhaps the
     very lamps in his own palace windows, from whose festal saloons he
     had just been decoyed; just distant enough to be beyond the reach
     of help? but too, too near for that despairing gaze that recognized
     and bade adieu for ever at the same glance? There too were not
     those nestling lovely islands, each with its convent tower gleaming
     to the moon, and from which the sonorous bells were tolling, the
     sacred Anthems swelling for the last time on his ear! Alas! those
     chaunted masses were not for _his_ conflicting soul; yea, it would
     have a strange comfort to feel that passing bell was proclaiming to
     the world that his spirit was parting from its scarcely worn weeds!
     But no! even that miserable solace was prohibited to _him_; he was
     to be obliterated from society, and his inexorable judges had
     decreed that society was not to know that he was gone. No grave for
     his dust; no monument for his name, to palliate his faults and
     perpetuate his virtues. The ghastly element that moaned and
     shuddered under the Gondola, as if remorseful for its own
     involuntary cruelties, was to spread its weltering pall over his
     hearseless bones."


THE BELLS OF VENICE.

     "The islands constituting the Venetian Archipelago are about fifty
     in number, of various size and extremely picturesque. They were
     each of them the seat of a monastery or nunnery, till Napoleon
     came, who overthrew these saintly receptacles, converting them into
     forts, mills, public gardens, &c. In short, these islands are among
     the most beautiful contingents of this magic scene. Each has its
     graceful campanile, and its various structures of castle, convent,
     mill, or summer-house; each its due girdle of blue sea, fenced by
     walls that rise round its margent, and embroidered with groves and
     arbours of the most delightful green.

     "This evening I cruised past many of them in my gondola after
     sunset; and was particularly struck with the beauty of the large
     Isle of Murano, and its attendant San Michaele (the latter one
     entire cemetery,) whose thin tall campaniles throw up their slender
     figures in fine relief against the long wavy purple of the
     Acharnean Hills in the west, at the head of the Adriatic.

     "Night gathered round, as we floated under that prodigious monument
     of the departed majesty of the Republic, the arsenal, whose
     ramparts high and endless, and as ugly as either, lay weltering
     many a rood upon their wooden piles. Every bell in the city was
     tolling for Nones, and sang aloud to the surrounding islands, whose
     campaniles replied with sympathetic thunder, a solemn diapason of
     Corybantine brass, to my taste, wonderfully in unison with the
     funeral mole of the defunct Arsenal, the repose of the purple
     mountains, and the fainting splendour of that twinned vault and
     pavement, the opal sea and sky, smooth, soft, and bright enough for
     Juno and Amphitrite to hold a gossip, each from her own imperial
     element.

     "Probably it is to the peculiarity of its situation, that one may
     attribute the sweetly solemn melodies produced by the bells of
     Venice. Flinging their prolonged notes down those immense hollows
     of architecture, sweeping round their narrow streets, and floating
     over their liquid pavement, they derive every advantage from that
     element which always so fondly detains and dallies with music, in
     addition to the depth and power with which they are endowed, by
     those pillared and winding concaves, that, like the tubes of some
     vast organ, receive and redouble the airy strain.

     "Whatever be the case, I never felt any thing so fully coming up to
     my idea, of 'most musical, most melancholy.'"

We bid Mr Whyte adieu, in the hope that, if a second edition of these
volumes be called for, he will subject them to a very thorough
revision--connecting together many passages, which, though relating to
the same subject, are at present unnaturally disjoined--omitting much,
which, instead of heightening, interferes with the effect which it is
his object to produce--and, above all, eschewing the indulgence of
pleasantries which certainly produces no corresponding impression on his
readers.

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._





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