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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 370, August 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 60, No. 370, August 1846" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLXX.   AUGUST, 1846.   VOL. LX.



CONTENTS.


  THE ARMY,                                        129

  MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. IV. CHARLES RUSSELL,
  THE GENTLEMAN COMMONER. CHAPTER I.,              145

  THE ROMANTIC DRAMA,                              161

  THE MINSTREL'S CURSE. FROM UHLAND,               177

  THE MINE, THE FOREST, AND THE CORDILLERA,        179

  "MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO,"                      194

  MESMERIC MOUNTEBANKS,                            223

  COOKERY AND CIVILISATION,                        238

  THE LATE AND THE PRESENT MINISTRY,               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. CCCLXX.   AUGUST, 1846.   VOL. LX.



THE ARMY.[1]


When we glance back at the bright page of British military history, so
thickly strewn with triumphs, so rarely checkered by a reverse, it seems
paradoxical to assert that the English are not a military nation. Such,
nevertheless, is the case. Our victories have been the result of no
especial fitness for the profession of arms, but of dauntless spirit and
cool stubborn courage, characterising the inhabitants of the narrow island
that breeds very valiant children. Mere bravery, however heroic, does not
of itself constitute an aptitude for the soldier's trade. Other qualities
are needful--qualities conspicuous in many European nations, but less
manifest in the Englishman. Naturally military nations are those of
France, the Highlands of Scotland, Poland, and Switzerland--every one of
them affording good specimens of the stuff peculiarly fitted for the
manufacture of soldiers. They all possess a martial bent, a taste for the
military career, submitting willingly to its hardships and privations, and
are endowed with a faculty of acquiring the management of offensive
weapons, with which for the most part they become acquainted early in
life. A system of national conscription, like that established in many
continental countries, is the readiest and surest means of giving a
military tone to the character of a people, and of increasing the civil
importance and respectability of an army. But without proceeding to so
extreme a measure, other ways may be devised of producing, as far as is
desirable, similar results.

We appeal to all intelligent observers, and especially to military men,
whom travel or residence upon the Continent have qualified to judge,
whether in any of the great European states the soldier has hitherto
obtained so little of the public attention and solicitude as in England?
Whether in any country he is so completely detached from the population,
enjoying so little sympathy, in all respects so uncared for and unheeded
by the masses, and, we are sorry to say it, often so despised and looked
down upon, even by those classes whence he is taken? Let war call him to
the field, and for a moment he forces attention: his valour is extolled,
his fortitude admired, his sufferings are pitied. But when peace, bought
by his bravery and blood, is concluded, what ensues? Houses of Parliament
thank and commend him, towns illuminate in honour of his deeds, pensions
and peerages are showered upon his chiefs, perhaps some brief indulgence
is accorded to himself; but it is a nine days' wonder, and those elapsed,
no living creature, save barrack masters, inspecting officers, and
Horse-guards authorities, gives him another thought, or wastes a moment
upon the consideration of what might render him a happier and a better
man. Like a well-tried sabre that has done its work and for the present
may lie idle, he is shelved in the barrack room, to be occasionally
glanced at with pride and satisfaction. Hilt and scabbard are, it is true,
kept carefully polished--drill and discipline are maintained; but
insufficient pains are taken to ascertain whether rust corrodes the blade,
whether the trusty servant, whose achievements have been so glorious and
advantageous, does not wear out his life in discouragement and
despondency. But this state of things, we hope and believe, is about to
change. We rejoice to see a daily increasing disposition on the part of
English legislators and of the English nation, to investigate and amend
the condition of their gallant defenders. If war is justly considered the
natural state of an army,[2] peace, on the other hand, is the best time to
moot and discuss measures likely to raise its character and increase its
efficiency.

We do not fear to be accused of advocating change for its own sake, or
what is vulgarly nicknamed Reform, in any of the institutions of this
country, whether civil or military. But we rejoice at the appearance of
books calculated to direct attention, we will not say to the abuses of the
army, but to its possible improvement. And we know no class of men better
qualified to write such books than army surgeons, whose occupations, when
attached to regiments, bring them of necessity into more frequent contact
with a greater variety of men, and to a more intimate acquaintance with
the soldier's real character and feelings, than the duties of field or
company officers in our service either exact or permit.

"To obviate the reproaches I may encounter for presuming to write upon
subjects altogether military, I may be allowed to state, that during a
quarter of a century that I served with the armies of the country, I
officiated as surgeon of three different regiments in different parts of
the world. I embarked nine times from the shores of Britain with armaments
on foreign expeditions, and out of twenty-four years' actual service, (for
the year of the peace of Amiens has to be deducted,) I spent seventeen
years, or parts of them, in other climates, passing through every grade of
medical rank, in every variety of service, even to the sister service of
the navy."--DR. FERGUSSON. _Preface._

These are the men, or we greatly err, to write books about the army. They
may not be conversant with tactics in the field, although even of those,
unless they wilfully shut both eyes and ears, they can hardly avoid
acquiring some knowledge. But on other matters connected with soldiers and
armies, they must be competent to speak, and should be listened to as
authorities. We look upon Dr Fergusson's testimony, and upon the
information--the result of his vast experience--which he gives us in
concise form and plain language, as most valuable; although some of the
changes he suggests have been accomplished, wholly or partially, since his
book was written. Mr Marshall's opportunities of personal observation
have, we suspect, been less extensive; but to atone for such deficiency,
he has been a diligent reader, and he places before us a host of military
authorities, references and statistical tables. The value of his
authorities may, perhaps, here and there be questioned; and he sometimes
gives, in the form of extracts, statements unauthenticated by a name, but
of which he does not himself seem to accept the responsibility.
Nevertheless, his book has merit, and is not unlikely to accomplish both
the objects proposed by its author,--namely, "to supply some information
respecting the constitution, laws, and usages of the army, and to excite
attention to the means which may meliorate the condition of soldiers, and
exalt their moral and intellectual character."

These are three measures whose adoption would, we fully believe, elevate
the character of the British soldier, increase his self-respect and
willingness to serve, and, consequently, his efficiency in the field and
good conduct in quarters. They will not be thought the worse of, we are
sure, because they would assimilate the organization of our army to that
of certain foreign services. The day is gone by when prejudice prevented
Englishmen from adopting improvements, merely because they were based upon
foreign example. The measures referred to, and whose adoption we would
strenuously urge, are--first, the enlistment of soldiers for limited
periods only; secondly, the total abolition of corporal punishment;
thirdly, the increase of rewards, and especially a gradual and cautious
augmentation of the number of commissions given to non-commissioned
officers. Be it understood that we recommend these changes collectively,
and not separately. They hinge upon each other, particularly the two last;
and if one of them be refused, the others may require modification.

By the British constitution, no man may sell himself to unlimited
servitude. On what grounds, then, is the practice of enlistment for life
to be justified; and can it be justified upon any, even upon those of
expediency? Ought not the thoughtless and the destitute--for under these
heads the majority of recruits must at present be ranked--rather to be
protected against themselves, and preserved, as far as may be, from the
consequences of non-reflection and of want? Such is assuredly the duty of
a just and paternal government. Very different is the practice of this
country under the present system! Influenced by a boyish caprice, or
driven by necessity, an inexperienced lad takes the shilling and mounts
the cockade. After a while he gets weary of the service; perhaps he sees
opportunities, if once more a civilian, of making his way in the world.
But weary though he be, or eagerly as he may desire to strip off the
uniform assumed hastily, or by compulsion of circumstances, no perspective
of release encourages him to patient endurance. No hope of emancipation,
so long as his health holds good, or his services are found useful, smiles
to him in the distance. After twenty-one years he _may_ obtain his
discharge, as a favour, but without pension. After twenty-five years, if
discharged at his own request, he gets sixpence a-day! Truly a cheering
prospect and great encouragement, to be liberated in the decline of life,
any trade that he had learned as a boy forgotten, and with sixpence a-day
as sole reward for having fought the battles and mounted the guards of his
country during a quarter of a century! What are the frequent results of so
gloomy a perspective? Despondency, desertion, drunkenness, and even
suicide.

The British army, its strength considered, and in comparison with the
armies of other countries, is, undeniably, a very expensive establishment,
and the necessity of economy has been urged as an argument in favour of
unlimited enlistment. The evidence both of Dr Fergusson and of Mr Marshall
goes far to prove that one more fallacious was never advanced. Innumerable
are the artifices resorted to by soldiers, under the present system, in
the hope of obtaining their discharge--artifices sometimes successful,
frequently entailing expense on the government, and at times almost
impairing the efficiency of an army. Speaking of the last war, Dr
Fergusson says,--"Artificial ulcers of the legs were all but universal
amongst young recruits, and spurious ophthalmia was organised in
conspiracy so complicated and extended, that at one time it threatened
seriously to affect the general efficiency of the forces, and was in every
respect so alarming that the then military authorities durst not expose
its naked features to the world. These are the results, and ever will be
the results, whilst human nature is constituted as it is, of service for
life." That unlimited service is the chief cause of desertion may be
proved beyond a doubt, if there be any value in the statistics of armies
as given by Mr Marshall. In the year 1839, the mean strength of the French
army was three hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred and
seventy-eight men; the number condemned for desertion was six hundred and
six. Eight hundred and eighty-one conscripts were punished for failing to
join their corps. In the same year, in our army, of which the strength
was less than one third of the French--under one hundred thousand men--the
deserters punished amounted to two thousand one hundred and ten, or nearly
one-fifth of the number of recruits annually raised. Where must we seek
the cause of so monstrous a disparity? Chiefly in the difference of the
term of service. The English soldier is by far the best paid and rationed;
most of his comforts are more cared for than those of the Frenchman; but
the latter takes his service kindly, because he knows that in six or seven
years (the period varies a little according to the arm served in) he will
be free to return to civil life, whilst still at an age to begin the world
on his own account. The following extract from the _Military Miscellany_
illustrates and confirms our present argument, that unlimited enlistment
is no saving to the country.

"I have no adequate materials to enable me to state the mean duration of
service of men who enlist for the army; but I am disposed to conjecture
that it is not much, if at all, above ten years. It has, I believe, been
ascertained, that the average length of service performed by men now on
the permanent pension list, is about fifteen or sixteen years. Upon these
grounds I conclude that enlistment for life, as a means of obtaining an
average length of service of more than from ten to twelve years, is a
fallacy; and consequently, I submit whether it would not be an advisable
measure to abolish enlistment for an unlimited period, and to adopt a
regulation whereby a soldier might have the option of being discharged
after a certain length of service, say ten years."

In estimating the average duration of service at ten to twelve years, Mr
Marshall has, we conjecture, taken into consideration the men discharged
under fifteen years' service, before which time they would not be entitled
to a pension. To the ten years' enlistment proposed by him, we should
prefer the term of seven years, fixed by Mr Wyndham's bill, passed in
1806, but rendered nugatory in 1808, by a clause in Lord Castlereagh's
Military bill, which made it optional to enlist for life, adding the
temptation of a higher bounty. The latter bait, aided by the
thoughtlessness of recruits, and by the cajolery of recruiting sergeants,
caused the engagement to be almost invariably for life. And since then,
Horse-guards' orders have been issued, forbidding recruiting officers to
accept men for limited service. According to Mr Wyndham's plan, the seven
years' engagement was to be prolonged indefinitely in war time. We should
not object to the latter arrangement, which is necessary for the safety of
the country. Nor is it when actively engaged in the field that soldiers
are likely to repine at length of service, but in the tedium of a
garrison, when no change, or prospect of one, no opportunity of
distinction, or chance of promotion, relieves the monotony of a military
existence.

There is one advantage of short enlistments that has been overlooked both
by Dr Fergusson and by Mr Marshall, but which nevertheless is, in our
opinion, an important one. It is the increased military character that it
would give to the nation, the greater number of men whom it would
familiarize with the use of arms, and render competent to use them
effectually at a moment's notice. We believe that short enlistments, and
the other improvements already referred to, and which we shall presently
speak of at greater length, would produce, in this thickly peopled
kingdom, a regular annual supply of recruits, a large proportion of them
of a very superior class to those who now offer. On the other hand, the
army, instead of being thinned by desertions, transportations, and feigned
diseases, would each year give up from its ranks a number of young and
able-bodied men, who, whilst entering upon the occupations of civil life,
would in a great measure retain their soldierly qualities, and be ready,
in case of an emergency, to stand forward successfully in defence of their
homes and families. We have long been accustomed to look upon this country
as guaranteed from invasion by her wooden walls. Noble as the bulwark is,
there is no dissembling the fact, that its efficiency has been greatly
impaired by the progress of steam, rendering it extremely difficult, in
case of a war, effectually to guard our long line of coast. And although
Europe seems now as disinclined for war as a long experience of the
blessings of peace can render her, this happy state cannot, in the nature
of things, last for ever. Let us suppose a general war, and a large body
of French troops thrown upon our shores in a night, whilst our armies were
absent on the battle fields of the Continent, or of America. The
supposition is startling, but cannot be viewed as absurd; many looked upon
its realization as certain when circumstances were far less favourable to
it than they would now be. How far would volunteers and militiamen,
hastily raised, unaccustomed to services in the field, and many of whom
had never fired a ball-cartridge in their lives,[3] be able to cope, with
any chance of success, with fifty thousand French soldiers? And admitting
that they did successfully contend, and that superior numbers and
steadfast courage--although these, without good drill and discipline, are
of little avail against a veteran army--eventually gained the day, how
much more effective would they be, and how much loss of life and injury to
the country might be avoided, did their ranks contain a fair proportion of
men trained to arms, and able to instruct and encourage their comrades?
But these are subjects so suggestive as to afford themes for volumes,
where they might be better discussed than in the scanty pages of a review.
We can only afford to glance at them, and to throw out hints for others to
improve upon.

The liability to the lash, inflicted, until very recently, even for the
least disgraceful offences, has long been thrown in the teeth of the
British soldier by his foreign brethren in arms. That infamous punishment
has been utterly disapproved and eloquently argued against by military men
of high rank and great abilities, whose enlightened minds and long
experience taught them to condemn it. The feeling of the nation is
strongly against it, the armies of other countries are seen to flourish
and improve without it, and yet it is still maintained, although gradually
sinking into disuse, and, we hope and believe, drawing near to its
abolition. Unnecessarily cruel as a punishment, ineffectual as an example
to repress crime, and stamping the indelible brand of infamy on men the
soul of whose profession should be a feeling of honour, why is it so
lovingly and tenaciously clung to? "The service would go to the
devil--could not be carried on without it--no soldiering without
flogging," is the reply of a section of officers--the minority, we
assuredly believe. "No one can doubt," says Dr Fergusson, "that for
infamous crimes there ought to be infamous punishments, and to them let
the lash be restricted." Be it so, but then devise some plan by which the
soldier, whose offence is so disgraceful as to need the most humiliating
of chastisements, shall be thenceforward excluded from the army. When he
leaves the hospital, let his discharge be handed to him. "A fine plan,
indeed!" it will be said. "Men will incur a flogging every day to get out
of the service." Doubtless they will, so long as service is unlimited. And
this is one reason why short enlistments and abolition of corporal
punishment should go together. Against desertion, transportation has
hitherto been found an ineffectual remedy. If men were enlisted for seven
years only, it would cease to be so. Few would then be sufficiently
perverse to risk five or seven years' transportation in order to get rid
of what remained of their period of service. To flog for drunkenness,
however frequent the relapse, is an absurdity, for it usually drives the
culprit to habits of increased intemperance, that he may forget the
disgraceful punishment he has suffered. In war time, when in the field
before the enemy, discipline should assume its most Spartan and inflexible
aspect. The deserter, the mutineer, the confirmed marauder, to the
provost-marshal and cord. For minor offences, there would be no difficulty
in finding appropriate punishments; such as fines, imprisonment in irons,
extra guards and pickets, fatigue-duty, and the like. No military
offenders should be punished by the cat. It is in direct opposition to the
spirit by which armies should be governed: a spirit of honour and
self-respect.

"The incorrigible deserter," says Dr Fergusson, "may be safely committed
to penal service in the West Indies or the coast of Africa; and should the
pseudo-philanthropists interfere with the cant of false humanity, let them
be told that the best and bravest of our troops have too often been sent
there, as to posts of honour and duty, from which they are hereafter to be
saved by the substitution of the criminal and the worthless. The other
nations of the Continent, who have not these outlets, conduct the
discipline of their armies without flogging; and why should not we? They,
it may be said, cultivate the point of honour. And does not the germ of
pride and honour reside as well, and better, in the breast of the British
soldier, distinguished, as he has ever been, for fidelity to his colours,
obedience to his commanders, pride in his corps, and attachment to its
very name?"

Mr Marshall's history of punishments in the army is rather to be termed
curious than useful. Agreeable it certainly cannot be considered, except
by those persons, if such there be, who luxuriate in Fox's _Book of
Martyrs_, or gloat over the annals of the Spanish Inquisition. It shows
human ingenuity taxed to the utmost to invent new tortures for the
soldier. The last adhered to, and, it may safely be said, the worst
devised, is the lash; and we need look back but a very little way to find
its infliction carried to a frightful extent. A thousand lashes used to be
no unusual award; and it sometimes happened (frequently, Mr Marshall
asserts, but this other information induces us to doubt) that a man who
had been unable, with safety to his life, to receive the whole of the
punishment at one time, was brought out again, as soon as his back was
skinned over, to take the rest. At one time there was no limit to the
number of lashes that a general court-martial might award. Mr Marshall
says, that at Amboyna, in the year 1813 or 1814, he knew three men to be
condemned to fifteen hundred lashes each. The whole punishment was
inflicted. At Dinapore, on the 12th September 1825, a man was sentenced to
nineteen hundred lashes, which sentence the commander-in-chief commuted to
twelve hundred. Such sentences, however, were in direct contradiction to
the general order of the 30th January 1807, by which "his Majesty was
graciously pleased to express his opinion, that no sentence for corporal
punishment should exceed one thousand lashes." In 1812, when the powers
of a regimental court-martial had been limited to the infliction of three
hundred lashes, "many old officers believed, and did not hesitate to say,
that such limitation would destroy the discipline of the
army."--(_Marshall_, p. 185.) We cannot put the same faith that Mr
Marshall appears to do in the outrageous narratives of some of his
authorities. It is impossible, for instance, to swallow such a tale as we
find at page 267 of the _Military Miscellany_, of seventy men of one
battalion being flogged on the line of march in one day. This, however, is
only given as an _on dit_. Equally incredible is the story quoted from the
book of a certain Sergeant Teesdale, of ten to twenty-five men being
flogged daily for six weeks for coming dirty on parade; and another, which
Mr Marshall tells, of _seventeen thousand_ lashes being for some time the
monthly allowance of a regiment in India--the said regiment being, we are
informed, treated very little worse than its neighbours. The articles of
war, as they stand at the present day, restrict the award of corporal
punishment, by a general court-martial, to two hundred lashes; by a
district court-martial, to one hundred and fifty; and by a regimental
court, to one hundred.

We would put the question to any military man--even to the strongest
advocate of flogging--what is the usual effect of corporal punishment on
the soldier? Does it make or mar him, improve his character and correct
his vices, or render him more reckless and abandoned than before? The
conscientious answer would be, we are persuaded, that seldom is a good
soldier made of a flogged man. "There is not an instance in a thousand,"
says Dr Jackson, "where severe punishment (flogging is here referred to)
has made a soldier what he ought to be; there are thousands where it has
rendered those who were forgetful and careless, rather than vicious,
insensible to honour, and abandoned to crime." But then the example is
supposed, erroneously, as we believe, to be of good operation. We cannot
admit that, to justify the practice of marking a man's shoulders with the
ineffaceable stripes of disgrace.

In speaking of corporal punishment, we have considered only its moral
effect, and have not touched on the unnecessary and unequal amount of pain
it occasions. Much might be said upon this head. "My first objection to
flogging," says Sir Charles Napier, in his treatise "_On Military Law_,"
published in 1837, "is, that it is torture,"--using the word, no doubt, in
the sense of inhumanity, and meaning that more pain than is necessary is
inflicted. Sir Charles's second objection is, that it is torture of a very
unequal infliction--varying, of course, according to the strength of the
drummers or others employed, to the rigour of the drum-major
superintending their exertions, and to other circumstances. Mr Marshall
tells us that different men suffer in very different degrees from
punishment of like severity. Tall slender men, of a sanguine temperament,
feel a flogging more severely than short, thickset ones; and instances
have been known of soldiers succumbing under a sixth part of the
punishment which others have borne and rapidly recovered from. The
presence of a surgeon is in many cases no guarantee against a fatal
result. "It is impossible to say what may be the effect of corporal
infliction with more certainty than to predict the consequences of a
surgical operation."--(_Military Miscellany_, p. 224.) "No medical officer
can answer either for the immediate or ultimate consequences of this
species of corporal punishment. Inflammation of the back, or general
fever, may occur after a very moderate infliction, and may terminate
fatally, notwithstanding the greatest diligence and attention on the part
of a well-informed and conscientious surgeon."--(_Ibid._ p. 276.) Besides
the reasons against corporal punishment above stated, Sir Charles Napier
advances and supports by argument six others equally cogent. Gustavus
Adolphus of Sweden, although he introduced into his army the species of
flogging known as the gantlope or gauntlet, rarely had recourse to it,
being persuaded that "such a disgrace cast a damp upon the soldier's
vivacity, and did not well agree with the notions which a high spirit
ought to entertain of honour." "Il ne faut point," says Kirckhoff, a
medical officer in the army of the king of the Netherlands, quoted by Mr
Marshall, "soumettre le soldat fautif à des punitions avilissantes. A quoi
bon les coups de bâton qu'on donne trop légèrement au soldat, si ce n'est
pour l'abrutir, et pour déshonorer le noble état du defenseur de la
patrie? Ce genre de punition déshonorant ne devrait être réservé qu'aux
lâches et aux traîtres; et dès qu'une fois un militaire l'aurait subi, il
faudrait l'exclure à jamais d'un ordre auquel les destins d'une nation
sont confiés; d'un ordre qui a pour base le courage, l'honneur, et toutes
les vertus généreuses."

It is singular that whilst such remarkable ingenuity has been exhibited in
devising punishments for the soldier, so very little should have been
displayed in the invention of rewards. Of these latter, the most
legitimate and desirable are pensions and promotion. We would add a
third--a military order of merit to be bestowed upon men distinguishing
themselves by acts of gallantry, or by steady good conduct. Decorations of
this kind--we are convinced of it by our observations on various foreign
services--act as a strong incentive to the soldier. There exists in this
country a prejudice against their adoption, principally because we are
accustomed to see such rewards heaped without discrimination, and with a
profusion that renders them worthless, upon the soldiers of foreign
nations. There seems a natural tendency to the abuse of such institutions,
and Napoleon might well shudder were he to rise from his grave and see his
"Star of the Brave" dangling from the buttonhole of half the pamphleteers
and national guardsmen of the French capital. In other countries the
lavish profusion with which stars, crosses, riband-ends, and rosettes are
bestowed, is enough to raise a suspicion of collusion between the royal
donors and the jewellers and haberdashers of their dominions. But even
when largely distributed, we believe them to act as a spur to the soldier.
If there is a fear of England's becoming what we find so ridiculous in
others, a country where the non-decorated amongst military men are the
exception, let great caution be used in the bestowal of such honours. We
now refer to an order of merit for the soldiers only. With officers we
have at present nothing to do; although we shall be found upon occasion
equally ready and willing to support their just claims. But they can plead
their own cause, if not effectually, at least perseveringly, as the recent
numerous letters in newspapers, and articles in military periodicals,
claiming a decoration for Peninsular services, sufficiently prove. Such a
decoration was certainly nobly deserved, but, if conceded at all, it
should be given quickly, or its existence, it is to be feared, will be
very brief. Our present business, however, is with the soldier--the humble
private, the deserving non-commissioned officer.

It is not unnatural that when tardy reflection comes to the thoughtless
lad who has sold himself to unlimited military bondage, he should be
anxious to know what provision is made for him when age or disease shall
cause his services to be dispensed with. Inquiry or reference informs him,
that should he be discharged after fourteen and under twenty-one years
service, so far disabled as to be _unable to work_--this is a
condition--he may be awarded the magnificent sum of from sixpence to
eightpence a-day! Discharged under twenty-one years' service, as disabled
for the army only, he may get a temporary pension of sixpence a-day for a
period varying from one month to five years. Discharged by indulgence
after twenty-five years, he may receive sixpence a-day. We have already
remarked on the little heed taken by civilians in this country of the
treatment and ordinances of the army. These statements will probably be
new to most of our non-military readers, many of whom, we doubt not,
entertain an absurd notion, that when a man has served his country well
and faithfully during twenty-five years, or is dismissed, as unable to
work, after fourteen years' servitude, he invariably finds a snug berth
ready for him at Chelsea, or at least has a pension awarded to him
tolerably adequate to supply him with the bare necessaries of life, and to
keep him from begging or crossing-sweeping. As to the savings of soldiers
out of their pay, facilitated though they now are by the establishment of
savings' banks in the army, they can be but exceedingly small. A soldier's
pay varies from thirteen to fifteen pence, according to the time he has
served. Deduct from this the cost of his clothing, only a portion of which
is supplied to him free of charge, and sixpence a-day for his rations of
bread and meat, and what remains will frequently not exceed threepence
a-day for tobacco, vegetables, coffee, and other small necessaries. The
great difference between the pay, rations, and pensions of soldiers and
sailors, is not generally known. Besides receiving rations far more
abundant and varied, an able seaman gets thirty-four shillings per month
of twenty-eight days, more than double the pay of a soldier under seven
years' service. Seamen have a claim of right to be discharged after
twenty-one years' service with a pension of one shilling to fourteen pence
a-day. And, besides this, it must be remembered that a sailor may enlist
for a short time, and at its expiration, or at any time that he is
discharged, employment is open to him in the merchant service. But what is
the soldier to do when dismissed from the army at forty years of age or
upwards? "A very small number of men," says Mr Marshall, "are fit after
forty years of age for the arduous duties of the service." Surely it may
be claimed for our brave fellows that a more liberal system of pensioning
be adopted. We do not lose sight of the necessity of economy in these days
of heavy taxation; and before deciding on a plan, the matter should be
well sifted and considered. But we have already expressed our conviction
that limited service would of itself in various ways produce a pecuniary
saving to the government. Adequate pensions would have other beneficial
results. Mr Marshall throws out suggestions for a new scale of pensions,
and declares his opinion, that no man who has served twenty-one years
should receive a smaller allowance than a shilling a-day.

"The more striking," he proceeds to say, "the honourable example of an old
soldier enjoying his pension, the more likely is it to contribute to
spread a military feeling in the neighbourhood. But to repay the retired
soldier by a pension inadequate to his sustenance, must have the effect of
consigning him to the workhouse, and of sinking him and the army in the
estimation of the working class of the population; destroying all military
feeling, and, whilst the soldier is serving, weakening those important
aids to discipline--the cheerfulness and satisfaction which the prospect
of a pension, after a definite period, inspires."

We now come to a branch of our subject encompassed with peculiar
difficulties, and that will be met with many objections; the present
system of disposing of commissions in the army is too convenient and
agreeable to a large and influential class of the community for it to be
otherwise. The most important part of the proposed scheme of rewards is
the bestowing of commissions upon sergeants. We are aware that, in the
present constitution of the army, much may be urged against such a plan
being carried out beyond an exceedingly limited extent. But most of the
objections would, we think, be removed by the adoption and consequences of
limited service, and by the extinction of corporal punishment. Others
would disappear before a greater attention to the education of the
soldier, and before some slight reductions in what are now erroneously
considered the necessary expenses of officers.

Constituted and regulated as the British army now is, the immediate
consequences of enlistment to the young peasant or artisan of previous
respectability is a total breach with his family. However good his
previous character, the single fact of his entering what ought to be an
honourable profession, excludes him from the society and good opinion of
his nearest friends. Former associates shun and look coldly upon him, his
female relatives are ashamed to be seen walking with him, often the door
of his father's cottage or workshop is shut on his approach. The community
in general, there is no dissembling the fact, look upon soldiers as a
degraded class, and upon the recruit as a man consigned to evil company,
to idleness and the alehouse, and perhaps to the ignominy of the lash. To
brand an innocent man as criminal is the way to render him so. Avoided and
despised, the young soldier, to whom bad example is not wanting, speedily
comes to deserve the disreputable character which the mere assumption of a
red coat has caused to be fixed upon him. So long as military service
stands thus low in the opinion of the people, the army will have to
recruit its ranks from the profligate and the utterly destitute, and the
supply of respectable volunteers will be as limited as heretofore. At
present, most young men of a better class whom a temporary impulse, or a
predilection for the service, has induced to enlist, strain every nerve,
when they awake to their real position, to raise funds for their
discharge. In this their friends often aid them; and we have known
instances of incredible sacrifices being made by the poor to snatch a son
or brother from what they looked upon as the jaws of destruction. And thus
is it that a large proportion of the respectable recruits are bought out
after a brief period of service.

Assuming limitation of service and the abolition of corporal punishment to
have been conceded, the next thing demanding attention would be the
education of the soldier. This has hitherto been sadly neglected,
strangely so at a period and in a country where education of the people is
so strongly and generally advocated. The schoolmaster is abroad, we are
told--we should be glad to hear of his visiting the barrack-room. To no
class of the population would a good plain education be more valuable than
to the soldier, as a means of filling up his abundant leisure, of
improving his moral condition, and preserving him from drunkenness and
vice. How extraordinary that its advantages should so long have been
overlooked, even by those to whom they ought to have been the most
palpable. "Of two hundred and fourteen officers," Mr Marshall writes, "who
returned answers to the following query, addressed to them by the General
Commanding in Chief, in 1834, only two or three recommended intellectual,
moral, or religious cultivation as a means of preventing crime:--'Are you
enabled to suggest any means of restraining, or eradicating the propensity
to drunkenness, so prevalent among the soldiery, and confessedly the
parent of the majority of military crimes?' A great variety of penal
enactments were recommended, but no one suggested the school master's
drill but Sir George Arthur and the late Colonel Oglander. The colonel's
words are:--'The only effectual corrective of this, as of every other
vice, is a sound and rational sense of religion. This is the only true
foundation of moral discipline. The establishment of libraries, and the
system of _adult_ schools, would be useful in this view.'" To prevent crime
is surely better than to punish it. Vast pains are taken with the merely
military education of the soldier. A recruit is carefully drilled into the
perpendicular, taught to handle his musket, mount his guards, clean his
accoutrements--converted, in short, into an excellent automaton--and then
he is dismissed as perfect, and left to lounge away, as best he may, his
numerous hours of daily leisure. He has perhaps never been taught to read
and write, or may possess those accomplishments but imperfectly. What more
natural than to encourage, and, if necessary, to compel him to acquire
them, together with such other useful scholarship as it may be desirable
for him to possess? Education would be especially valuable under a system
of limited service. The soldier, leaving the army when still a young man,
would be better fitted than before he entered it, for any trade or
occupation he might adopt. And when the lower classes found that military
service was made a medium for the communication of knowledge, and that
their sons, after seven years passed under the colours, were better able
to get through the world advantageously and creditably than when they
enlisted, the present strong prejudice against a soldier's life would
rapidly become weakened, and finally disappear. The army would then be
looked upon by poor men with large families as no undesirable resource
for temporarily providing for one or two of their sons.

It is certainly not creditable to this country, that in France, Prussia,
Holland, and even in Russia--that land of the serf and the Cossack--greater
pains are taken with the education of the soldier than in free and
enlightened England. It has become customary to compare our navy with that
of France, and when we are found to have a carronade or a cock-boat less
than our friends across the water, a shout of indignation is forthwith set
up by vigilant journalists and nervous naval officers. We heartily wish
that it were equally usual to contrast our army with that of the
French--not in respect of numbers, but of the attention paid to the
education and moral discipline of the men. Every French regiment has two
schools, a higher and a lower one. In the latter are taught reading,
writing, and arithmetic; in the former, geography, book-keeping, the
elements of geometry and fortification, and other things equally useful.
The schools are managed by lieutenants, aided by non-commissioned
officers; and sergeants recommended for commissions are required to pass
an examination in the branches of knowledge there taught. It is well known
that in the French service, as in most others, excepting the English, a
proportion of the commissions is set aside for the sergeants. In the
Prussian service there is a school in each battalion, superintended by a
captain and three lieutenants, who receive additional pay for alternately
taking a share in the instruction of the soldiers. "Non-commissioned
officers," Mr Marshall informs us, "who wish to become officers, first
undergo an examination in geography, history, simple mathematics, and the
French and German languages. At the end of another year they are again
examined in the same branches of knowledge, and also in algebra, military
drawing, and fortification. If they pass this second examination, they
become officers."

How many of the young men, who, by virtue of interest or money, enter the
British army as ensigns and cornets, would be found willing to devote even
a small portion of their time to the instruction of the soldier? Very few,
we fear. By the majority, the idea would be scouted as a bore, and as
quite inconsistent with their dignity. Extra pay, however acceptable to
the comparatively needy Prussian lieutenant, might be expected to prove an
insufficient inducement in a service where it is frequently difficult to
find a subaltern to accept the duties of adjutant. None can entertain a
higher respect than we do for the gallant spirit and many excellent
qualities of the present race of British officers; but we confess a wish
that they would view their profession in a more serious light. Young men
entering the army seemingly imagine, that the sole object of their so
doing is to wear a well-made uniform, and dine at a pleasant mess; and
that, once dismissed to their duty by the adjutant, they may fairly
discard all idea of self-instruction and improvement. But war is an art,
and therefore its principles can be acquired but by study. Our young
officers too often neglect not only their military studies, but their
mental improvement in other respects; forgetting that the most valuable
part of a man's education is not that acquired at a public school before
the age of eighteen, but that which he bestows upon himself after that
age. The former is the foundation; the latter the fabric to be raised upon
it. We have known instances of smart subs deft upon parade, brilliants in
the ball-room, perfect models of a pretty soldier from plume to boot-heel,
so supremely ignorant of the common business of life as to be unable to
write a letter without a severe effort, or to draw a bill upon their
agents when no one was at hand to instruct them in its form. It was but
the other day that an officer related to us, that, being detached on an
outpost in one of our colonies, he found himself in company with two
brother subalterns, both most anxious to make a call upon their father's
strong-box, but totally ignorant how to effect the same. Their spirit was
very willing, but their pen lamentably weak; their exchequer was
exhausted, and in their mind's-eye the paternal coffers stood invitingly
open; but nevertheless they sat helpless, ruefully contemplating oblong
slips of blank paper, until our friend, whose experience as a man of
business was somewhat greater, extricated them from their painful dilemma,
by drawing up the necessary document at _thirty days' sight_. In this
particular view, want of skill as a "pen and ink man" would probably not
be regretted by those most interested in their sons; and doubtless many
_governors_ would exclaim, as fervently as Lord Douglas in _Marmion_,

  "Thanks to St Bothan, son of mine
  Could never pen a written line!"

Seriously speaking, a graver and more studious tone is wanted in our
service. It is found in the military services of other countries. German
and French officers take their calling far more _au sérieux_ than do ours.
They find abundant time for pleasure, but also for solitude and reading,
and for attention to the improvement of the soldier. Dressing, dining, and
cigars, and beating the pavements of a garrison town with his boot-heels,
ought not to fill up the whole time of a subaltern officer. That in this
country they usually do so, will be admitted by all who have had
opportunities of observing young English officers in peace time. We could
bring hosts of witnesses in support of our assertion, but will content
ourselves with one whose competency to judge in such matters will not be
disputed. The following passages are from Major-General Sir George
Arthur's "General Observations upon Military Discipline, and the
Intellectual and Moral Improvement of both Officers and Soldiers."

"I have said that education is essential, as well as moral character, and
so it is. Look into the habits of the officers of almost every regiment in
His Majesty's service--how are they formed? Do men study at all after they
get commissions? Very far from it; unless an officer is employed in the
field, his days are passed in mental idleness--his ordinary duties are
carried on instinctively--there is no intellectual exertion. To discuss
fluently upon women, play, horses, and wine, is, with some excellent
exceptions, the ordinary range of mess conversation. In these matters lie
the education of young officers, generally speaking, after entering the
service."

"If the officers were not seen so habitually walking in the streets in
every garrison town, the soldiers would be less frequently found in
public-houses."

The influence of example is great, especially when exercised by those whom
we are taught to look up to and respect. A change in the habits of
officers will go far to produce one in those of their men. French
officers, of whom we are sure that no British officer who has met them,
either in the field or in quarters, will speak without respect, feel a
pride and a pleasure in the instruction of the soldier, and take pains to
induce him to improve his mind, holding out as an incentive the prospect
of promotion. And such interest and solicitude produce, amongst other good
effects, an affectionate feeling on the part of the soldier towards his
superiors, which, far from interfering with discipline, makes him perform
his duties, often onerous and painful, with increased zeal and good-will.
For the want of this kindly sympathy between different ranks, and of the
moral instruction which, by elevating their character, would go far to
produce it, our soldiers are converted into mere machines, unable even to
think, often forbidden so to do. We are convinced that attention to the
education of the soldier, introduced simultaneously with short enlistments
and abolition of flogging, would speedily create in the army of this
country a body of non-commissioned officers, who, when promoted, would
disgrace no mess-table in the service. With the prospect of the epaulet
before them, they would strive to improve themselves, and to become fit
society for the men of higher breeding and education with whom they hoped
one day to be called upon to associate. For, if it be painful and
unpleasant to a body of gentlemen to have a coarse and ill-mannered man
thrust upon them, it is certainly not less so to the intruder, if he
possess one spark of feeling, to find himself shunned and looked coldly
upon by his new associates. The total abolition of corporal punishment is,
we consider, a necessary preliminary to promotion from the ranks on an
extensive scale. We were told four years ago, in the House of Commons,
during a debate on the Mutiny bill, that there were then in the British
army four colonels who were flogged men. Many will remember the story
related in a recent military publication, of the old field-officer who,
one day at the mess-table, or amongst a party of his comrades, declared
himself in favour of corporal punishment, on the ground that he himself
had never been worth a rush till he had taken his cool three hundred.
During a long war, abounding in opportunities of distinction, and at a
time when the lash was the universal punishment for nearly every offence,
it is not surprising that here and there a flogged man got his commission.
But, in our opinion, not only the circumstance of having been flogged, but
the mere liability to so degrading an infliction, might plausibly be urged
as an argument against promotion from the ranks. Let the lash, then, at
once and totally disappear; replace torture by instruction, hold out
judicious rewards instead of disgraceful punishment, appeal to the sense
of honour of the man, instead of to the sense of pain of the brute; and,
repudiating the harsh traditions of less enlightened days, lay it down as
an axiom, that the British soldier can and will fight at least as well
under a mild and generous system, as when the bloody thongs of the cat are
suspended _in terrorem_ over him.

The physical as well as moral training of the soldier should receive
attention, as a means both of filling up his time, thereby keeping him
from the alehouse, and of increasing his efficiency in the field. At
present the marching qualities of our armies are very far inferior to
their fighting ones. In the latter, they are surpassed by none--in the
former, equal to few. And yet how important is it that troops should be
able to perform long and rapid marches! The fate of a campaign, the
destruction of an enemy's army, may, and often does depend upon a forced
march. At that work there is scarcely an army in Europe worth the naming,
but would beat us, at least at the commencement of a war, and until our
soldiers had got their marching legs--a thing not done in a day, or
without great loss and inconvenience by straggling. Foot-sore men are
almost as great a nuisance and encumbrance to infantry, as sore-backed
horses to dragoons. Our soldiers are better fed than those of most other
countries, and to keep them in hard and serviceable condition they require
more exercise than they get. French soldiers are encouraged to practice
athletic exercises and games; running, quoit-playing, and fencing, the
latter especially, are their constant pastimes. Most of them are expert
swordsmen, no valueless accomplishment even to the man whose usual weapons
are musket and bayonet, but one that in our infantry regiments is
frequently neglected even by those whose only arm is the sword, namely,
the officers. Surely the man who carries a sword should know how to use it
in the most effectual manner. Let old officers say on whose side the
advantage usually was in the sword duels that occurred when Paris was
occupied by the Allies, and when the French officers, maddened by their
reverses, sought opportunities of picking quarrels with their conquerors.
The adjutant of a British foot regiment informed us, that on one occasion,
not very long ago, at a review of his corps by an officer of high rank,
the latter, after applauding the performances of the regiment, expressed a
wish to see the officers do the sword exercise. In obedience to orders,
the adjutant called the officers to the front. "I suppose, gentlemen,"
said he, "that few of you know much about the sword exercise." His
assumption was not contradicted. "Probably, your best plan will be to
watch the sergeant-major and myself." And accordingly adjutant and
sergeant-major placed themselves in front of each flank, and the officers,
looking to them as fuglemen, went through their exercise with great
delicacy and tolerable correctness, to the perfect satisfaction of the
inspecting general, who probably was not disposed to be very captious. But
we are digressing from the subject of the soldier's occupations. In
France, let a military work be required--a wall, road, or
fortification--and the soldiers slip into their working dresses, and
labour at it with a good will produced by additional pay. Thus were the
forts and vast wall now surrounding Paris run up in wonderfully short time
by the exertions of the soldiery. In all German garrison towns, we
believe--certainly in all that we have visited--is found an Exercitiums
Platz, a field or plot of ground with bars, poles, and other gymnastic
contrivances, reserved for the troops, who are frequently to be seen
there, amusing themselves, and improving their strength and activity of
body. We are aware of nothing of this kind in our service, beyond a rare
game at cricket, got up by the good-nature of officers. As Dr Fergusson
truly says, "of all European troops, our own appear to be the most
helpless and listless in their quarters. Whilst the soldiers of other
nations employ their leisure hours in fencing, gymnastics, and other
exercises of strength, ours are lounging idle, or muddled, awaiting the
hour of their unvaried meal, or the drum being beat for the daily
parades." This might easily be altered. It needs but to be thought of,
which hitherto it appears not to have been. No men are naturally more
adapted and prone to manly exercises than the English. Give the soldier
the opportunity, and he will gladly avail himself of it.

Before closing this paper, a word or two on the equipment and dress of the
army will not be out of place. We are glad to find the opinions we have
long entertained on those subjects confirmed by a pithy and pointed
chapter in Dr Fergusson's book. The externals of the army have of late
been much discussed, and have undergone certain changes, scarcely
deserving the name of improvements. In regulating such matters, three
objects should be kept in view, and their pursuit never departed from;
lightness on the march, protection from the weather, ease of movement. The
attainment of these should be sought by every means; even by the
sacrifice, if necessary, of what pleases the eye. The most heavily laden,
the British soldier is in many respects the most inconveniently equipped,
of all European men-at-arms. The covering of his head, the material and
colour of his belts, the very form of the foot-soldier's overalls, cut
large over the shoe, as if on purpose to become dirty and draggled on the
march, seem selected with a view to occasion him as much uncomfort and
trouble as possible. Time was, when the soldier was compelled to powder
his hair and wear a queue and tight knee breeches, like a dancing master
or a French marquis of the _ancien régime_. For the sweeping away of such
absurdities, which must have been especially convenient and agreeable in a
bivouac; we may thank the Duke of York; but much as has been done, there
is much more to do. And first as regards the unnecessarily heavy belts,
the cumbersome and misplaced cartridge-box. Than the latter it would be
difficult to devise any thing more inconvenient, as all who have seen
British infantry in the field will admit. The soldier has to make a rapid
advance, to pursue a flying enemy, to scud across fields, leap ditches or
jump down banks when out skirmishing. At every spring or jump, bang goes
the lumbering cartridge-box against his posteriors, until he is fain to
use his hand to steady it, thereby of course greatly impeding his
progress, the swiftness and ease of running depending in great measure on
one arm, at least, being at liberty. And then the belts, what an
unnecessary mass of leather is there, all bedaubed with the fictitious
purity of chalk and water. When will the soldier cease to depend for
cleanliness upon pipe-clay, justly styled by Dr Fergusson "as absurd and
unwholesome a nuisance as ever was invented." Had the object been to give
the utmost possible trouble to the infantry-man, no better means could
have been devised than inflicting on him the belts at present used, of all
others the most easily sullied and troublesome to clean. Let a black
patent leather belt and rifleman's cartridge-box be adopted as the
regulation for the whole of the British service. Light to carry,
convenient in form, and easy to clean, it is the perfection of infantry
equipment.

There has recently been a great talk about hats, and various shocking bad
ones have been proposed as a substitute for the old top-heavy shako.
Without entering upon a subject that has already caused so much
controversy, we would point attention to the light shako worn by the
French troops in Algeria. Low, and slightly tapering in form, with a broad
peak projecting horizontally, so as to shade the eyes without embarrassing
the vision, which peaks that droop overmuch are apt to do, its
circumference is of cloth, its crown of thick leather painted white. The
general effect is good, conveying an idea of lightness and convenience,
both of which this head-dress certainly possesses; and it appears to us
that a hint might be taken from it, at any rate, for our troops in India,
and other hot climates. As to fur caps a yard high, and similar
nonsensical exhibitions, we can only say that the sooner they are done
away with, the better for the credit of those who have it in their power
to abolish such gross absurdities. With regard to coats, "I advance no
pretensions," says Dr Fergusson, "to fancy or taste in military dress, but
I ought to know what constitutes cover and protection to the human frame,
and amongst these the swallow-tailed coat of the infantry, pared away as
it is to an absurdity, holds no place. If health and protection were the
object, the coat should be of round cut, to cover the thighs as low as the
knees, with body of sufficient depth to support the unprotected flanks and
abdomen of the wearer." In the French service, frock-coats have of late
been universally adopted. We should prefer a tailed coat of greater
amplitude of skirt and depth of body than the one in present use; for it
is certain, and will be acknowledged by all who have performed marches and
pedestrian excursions, that the skirts of a frock-coat flapping against
the front of the thighs, more or less impede motion and add to fatigue.

Although the form of a soldier's dress is important, for it may make a
considerable difference in his health and comfort, its colour and
ornamental details are a very secondary consideration. It were absurd to
doubt that a British soldier would fight equally well, whatever the tint
of the cloth that covered his stalwart arm and stout heart. Strip him
to-morrow of his scarlet, and he will do his devoir as nobly in the white
jacket of the Austrian grenadier or the brown one of the Portuguese
_cazador_. Such matters, it will be said, may be left to army tailors and
pet colonels of fancy regiments, in conclave assembled. Nevertheless it is
a subject that should not entirely be passed over. Soldiers are apt to
look with disgust and contempt upon equipments that are tawdry and
unserviceable, or that give them unnecessary trouble. They should be
gravely, soberly, and usefully clad, in the garb that may be found most
comfortable and durable in the field, not in that which most flatters the
eye on a Hounslow or Hyde Park parade. Dr Fergusson is amusing enough upon
the subject of hussar pelisses and such-like foreign fooleries.

"The first time I ever saw a hussar, or hulan, was at Ghent, in Flanders,
then an Austrian town; and when I beheld a richly decorated pelisse
waving, empty sleeves and all, from his shoulder, I never doubted that the
poor man must have been recently shot through the arm; a glance, however,
upon a tightly braided sleeve underneath, made it still more
unaccountable; and why he should not have had an additional pair of richly
ornamental breeches dangling at his waist, as well as a jacket from his
shoulders, has, I confess, puzzled me from that time to the present; it
being the first rule of health to keep the upper portion of the body as
cool, and the lower as warm as possible."

The doctor further disapproves of scarlet as a colour for uniform, because
"a man clothed in scarlet exhibits the dress of a mountebank rather than
of a British warrior going forth to fight the battles of his country," and
also "because it is the worst adapted for any hard work of all the
colours, as it immediately becomes shabby and tarnished on being exposed
to the weather; and a single wet night in the bivouac spoils it
completely." Here we must differ from the doctor. The chief advantage of
scarlet, we have always considered, and we believe the same opinion to be
generally held by military men, is that it looks well longer, gets white
and shabby later, than a darker colour. The preparation of the cloth and
mode of dyeing, may, however, have been improved since Dr Fergusson's
period of service. With regard to the colour, there is a popular prejudice
in its favour, associating it as most persons do, from childhood upwards,
with ideas of glory and victory. Had our uniform been yellow for the same
period that it has been red, we should have attached those ideas to the
former colour; but that would be no reason for continuing to dress
soldiers like canary birds. Apart from association, scarlet is unmilitary,
first, because it is tawdry; and, secondly, as rendering the soldier, when
isolated, an easier mark than a less glaring colour. We doubt also, if it
would harmonize well with the black belts, which we desire to see adopted;
and on these various accounts we must give our vote in favour of the sober
blue of the Prussians, assuredly no un-British colour, and one already in
use for many of our cavalry regiments. The Portuguese troops, as they are
now uniformed, or were, when last we saw them, offer no bad model in this
respect. Blue coats and dark grey trousers are the colours of their line
regiments, and these we should like to see adopted in our service,
preserving always the green for the rifles, who ought to be ten times as
numerous as they are, as we shall discover whenever we come to a brush
with the Yankees, or with our old and gallant opponent, Monsieur
Nong-tong-paw. One would have thought that the picking off of our officers
at New Orleans, and on other occasions, and the stinging practice of
French tirailleurs during the last war, would have taught our military
rulers a lesson in this respect; but the contrary seems the case, and on
we go at the old jog-trot, heavy men, heavy equipments, and slow march,
whilst seven-eighths of the French army are practically light infantry,
and it is only the other day that they raised ten new regiments of
sharpshooters, the Chasseurs de Vincennes, or some such name, little light
active riflemen, trained to leap and to march for leagues at double quick,
and who would scamper round a ten acre field whilst a heavy British
grenadier went through his facings. The cool steadiness and indomitable
pluck of our fellows has hitherto carried the day, and will doubtless do
it again when the time comes, but it would be done with greater ease and
less loss if we could condescend to fight our enemy rather more with his
own weapons. _Fas est ab hoste doceri_, is a maxim oftener quoted than
acted upon. But to return to uniforms. The scarlet might be reserved for
the guards--it has always been a guardsman's colour--the blue given to the
line, the green kept for the rifles; black belts on rifle plan for all.
And above all, if it can be done without too great annoyance to tailors,
amateur and professional, deliver us from braided pelisses, bearskin caps,
crimson pantaloons, and all such costly and unserviceable fopperies. Spend
money on the well-being of the soldier, rather than on the smartness of
his uniform; cut down frippery, and increase comfort. Attend less to the
glitter of externals, and more to that moral and intellectual cultivation,
which will convert men now treated as machines, into reasoning and
reasonable creatures, and valuable members of society.



MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. IV.

CHARLES RUSSELL, THE GENTLEMAN-COMMONER.


CHAP. I.

"Have you any idea who that fresh gentleman-commoner is?" said I to
Savile, who was sitting next to me at dinner, one day soon after the
beginning of term. We had not usually in the college above three or four
of that privileged class, so that any addition to their table attracted
more attention than the arrival of the vulgar herd of freshmen to fill up
the vacancies at our own. Unless one of them had choked himself with his
mutton, or taken some equally decided mode of making himself an object of
public interest, scarcely any man of "old standing" would have even
inquired his name.

"Is he one of our men?" said Savile, as he scrutinized the party in
question. "I thought he had been a stranger dining with some of them.
Murray, you know the history of every man who comes up, I believe--who is
he?"

"His name is Russell," replied the authority referred to; "Charles
Wynderbie Russell; his father's a banker in the city: Russell and Smith,
you know, ---- Street."

"Ay, I dare say," said Savile; "one of your rich tradesmen; they always
come up as gentlemen-commoners, to show that they have lots of money: it
makes me wonder how any man of decent family ever condescends to put on a
silk gown." Savile was the younger son of a poor baronet, thirteenth in
descent, and affected considerable contempt for any other kind of
distinction.

"Oh!" continued Murray, "this man is by no means of a bad family: his
father comes of one of the oldest houses in Dorsetshire, and his mother,
you know, is one of the Wynderbies of Wynderbie Court--a niece of Lord De
Staveley's."

"_I_ know!" said Savile; "nay, I never heard of Wynderbie Court in my
life; but I dare say _you_ know, which is quite sufficient. Really,
Murray, you might make a good speculation by publishing a genealogical
list of the undergraduate members of the university--birth, parentage,
family connexions, governors' present incomes, probable expectations, &c.,
&c. It would sell capitally among the tradesmen--they'd know exactly when
it was safe to give credit. You could call it _A Guide to Duns_."

"Or a _History of the_ Un-_landed Gentry_," suggested I.

"Well, he is a very gentleman-like looking fellow, that Mr Russell, banker
or not," said Savile, as the unconscious subject of our conversation left
the hall; "I wonder who knows him?"

The same question might have been asked a week--a month after this
conversation, without eliciting any very satisfactory answer. With the
exception of Murray's genealogical information--the correctness of which
was never doubted for a moment, though how or where he obtained this and
similar pieces of history, was a point on which he kept up an amusing
mystery--Russell was a man of whom no one appeared to know any thing at
all. The other gentlemen-commoners had, I believe, all called upon him, as
a matter of courtesy to one of their own limited mess; but in almost every
case it had merely amounted to an exchange of cards. He was either out of
his rooms, or "sporting oak;" and "Mr C. W. Russell," on a bit of
pasteboard, had invariably appeared in the note-box of the party for whom
the honour was intended, on their return from their afternoon's walk or
ride. Invitations to two or three wine-parties had followed, and been
civilly declined. It was at one of these meetings that he again became the
subject of conversation. We were a large party, at a man of the name of
Tichborne's rooms, when some one mentioned having met "the Hermit," as
they called him, taking a solitary walk about three miles out of Oxford
the day before.

"Oh, you mean Russell," said Tichborne: "well, I was going to tell you, I
called on him again this morning, and found him in his rooms. In fact, I
almost followed him in after lecture; for I confess I had some little
curiosity to find out what he was made of."

"And did you find out?"--"What sort of a fellow is he?" asked half-a-dozen
voices at once; for, to say the truth, the curiosity which Tichborne had
just confessed had been pretty generally felt, even among those who
usually affected a dignified disregard of all matters concerning the
nature and habits of freshmen.

"I sat with him for about twenty minutes; indeed, I should have staid
longer, for I rather liked the lad; but he seemed anxious to get rid of
me. I can't make him out at all, though. I wanted him to come here
to-night, but he positively would not, though he didn't pretend to have
any other engagement: he said he never, or seldom, drank wine."

"Not drink wine!" interrupted Savile. "I always said he was some low
fellow!"

"I have known some low fellows drink their skins full of wine, though;
especially at other men's expense," said Tichborne, who was evidently not
pleased with the remark; "and Russell is _not_ a low fellow by any means."

"Well, well," replied Savile, whose good-humour was imperturbable--"if you
say so, there's an end of it: all I mean to say is, I can't conceive any
man not drinking wine, unless for the simple reason that he prefers brandy
and water, and that I _do_ call low. However, you'll excuse my helping
myself to another glass of this particularly good claret, Tichborne,
though it _is_ at your expense: indeed, the only use of you
gentlemen-commoners, that I am aware of, is to give us a taste of the
senior common-room wine now and then. They do manage to get it good there,
certainly. I wish they would give out a few dozens as prizes at
collections; it would do us a great deal more good than a Russia-leather
book with the college arms on it. I don't know that I shouldn't take to
reading in that case."

"Drink a dozen of it, old fellow, if you can," said Tichborne. "But really
I am sorry we couldn't get Russell here this evening; I think he would be
rather an acquisition, if he could be drawn out. As to his not drinking
wine, that's a matter of taste; and he is not very likely to corrupt the
good old principles of the college on that point. But he must please
himself."

"What does he do with himself?" said one of the party--"read?"

"Why, he didn't _talk_ about reading, as most of our literary freshmen do,
which might perhaps lead one to suppose he really was something of a
scholar; still, I doubt if he is what you call a reading man; I know he
belongs to the Thucydides lecture, and I have never seen him there but
once."

"Ah!" said Savile, with a sigh, "that's another privilege of yours I had
forgotten, which is rather enviable; you can cut lectures when you like,
without getting a thundering imposition. Where does this man Russell
live?"

"He has taken those large rooms that Sykes used to have, and fitted up so
capitally; they were vacant, you remember, the last two terms; I had some
thought of moving into them myself, but they were confoundedly expensive,
and I didn't think it worth while. They cost Sykes I don't know how much,
in painting and papering, and are full of all sorts of couches, and easy
chairs, and so forth. And this man seems to have got two or three good
paintings into them; and, altogether, they are now the best rooms in
college, by far."

"Does he mean to hunt?" asked another.

"No, I fancy not," replied our host: "though he spoke as if he knew
something about it; but he said he had no horses in Oxford."

"Nor any where else, I'll be bound; he's a precious slow coach, you may
depend upon it." And with this decisive remark, Mr Russell and his affairs
were dismissed for the time.

A year passed away, and still, at the end of that time--(a long time it
seemed in those days)--Russell was as much a stranger in college as ever.
He had begun to be regarded as a rather mysterious person. Hardly two men
in the college agreed in their estimate of his character. Some said he was
a natural son--the acknowledged heir to a large fortune, but too proud to
mix in society, under the consciousness of a dishonoured birth. But this
suspicion was indignantly refuted by Murray, as much on behalf of his own
genealogical accuracy, as for Russell's legitimacy,--he was undoubtedly
the true and lawful son and heir of Mr Russell the banker, of ---- Street.
Others said he was poor; but his father was reputed to be the most wealthy
partner in a wealthy firm, and was known to have a considerable estate in
the west of England. There were not wanting those who said he was
"eccentric,"--in the largest sense of the term. Yet his manners and
conduct, as far as they came within notice, were correct, regular, and
gentlemanly beyond criticism. There was nothing about him which could
fairly incur the minor charge of being odd. He dressed well, though very
plainly; would converse freely enough, upon any subject, with the few men
who, from sitting at the same table, or attending the same lectures, had
formed a doubtful sort of acquaintance with him; and always showed great
good sense, a considerable knowledge of the world, and a courtesy, and at
the same time perfect dignity of manner, which effectually prevented any
attempt to penetrate, by jest or direct question, the reserve in which he
had chosen to inclose himself. All invitations he steadily refused; even
to the extent of sending an excuse to the dean's and tutors' breakfast
parties, to their ineffable disgust. Whether he read hard, or not, was
equally a secret. He was regular in his attendance at chapel, and
particularly attentive to the service; a fact which by no means tended to
lower him in men's estimation, though in those days more remarkable than,
happily, it would be now. At lectures, indeed, he was not equally
exemplary, either as to attendance or behaviour; he was often absent when
asked a question, and not always accurate when he replied; and
occasionally declined translating a passage which came to his turn, on the
ground of not having read it. Yet his scholarship, if not always strictly
accurate, had a degree of elegance which betokened both talent and
reading; and his taste was evidently naturally good, and classical
literature a subject of interest to him. Altogether, it rather piqued the
vanity of those who saw most of him, that he would give them no
opportunity of seeing more; and many affected to sneer at him, as a
"_muff_," who would have been exceedingly flattered by his personal
acquaintance. Only one associate did Charles Russell appear to have in the
university; and this was a little greenish-haired man in a scholar's gown,
a perfect contrast to himself in appearance, whose name or college no man
knew, though some professed to recognise him as a Bible-clerk of one of
the smallest and most obscure of the halls.

Attempts were made to pump out of his scout some information as to how
Russell passed his time: for, with the exception of a daily walk,
sometimes with the companion above mentioned, but much oftener alone, and
his having been seen once or twice in a skiff on the river, he appeared
rarely to quit his own rooms. Scouts are usually pretty communicative of
all they know--and sometimes a great deal more--about the affairs of their
many masters; and they are not inclined in general to hold a very high
opinion of those among "their gentlemen" who, like Russell, are
behind-hand in the matter of wine and supper parties--their own
perquisites suffering thereby. But Job Allen was a scout of a thousand.
His honesty and integrity made him quite the "_rara avis_" of his
class--_i.e._, a _white_ swan amongst a flock of black ones. Though
really, since I have left the university, and been condemned to
house-keeping, and have seen the peculation and perquisite-hunting
existing pretty nearly in the same proportion amongst ordinary
servants--and the higher you go in society the worse it seems to
be--without a tittle of the activity and cleverness displayed by a good
college scout, who provides supper and etceteras for an extemporary party
of twenty or so at an hour's notice, without starting a difficulty or
giving vent to a grumble, or neglecting any one of his other multifarious
duties, (further than perhaps borrowing for the service of the said
supper, some hard-reading freshman's whole stock of knives, and leaving
him to spread his nocturnal bread and butter with his fingers;) since I
have been led to compare this with the fuss and fidget caused in a
"well-regulated family" among one's own lazy vagabonds by having an extra
horse to clean, or by a couple of friends arriving unexpectedly to dinner,
when they all stare at you as if you were expecting impossibilities, I
have nearly come to the conclusion that college servants, like hedgehogs,
are a grossly calumniated race of animals--wrongfully accused of getting
their living by picking and stealing, whereas they are in fact rather more
honest than the average of their neighbours. It is to be hoped that, like
the hedgehogs, they enjoy a compensation in having too thick skins to be
over-sensitive. At all events, Job Allen was an honest fellow. He had been
known to expostulate with some of his more reckless masters upon the
absurdities of their goings-on; and had more than once had a commons of
bread flung at his head, when taking the opportunity of symptoms of
repentance, in an evident disrelish for breakfast, to hint at the slow but
inevitable approach of "degree-day." Cold chickens from the evening's
supper-party had made a miraculous reappearance at next morning's lunch or
breakfast; half-consumed bottles of port seemed, under his auspices, to
lead charmed lives. No wonder, then, there was very little information
about the private affairs of Russell to be got out of Job Allen. He had
but a very poor talent for gossip, and none at all for invention. "Mr
Russell's a very nice, quiet sort of gentleman, sir, and keeps his-self
pretty much to his-self." This was Job's account of him; and, to curious
enquirers, it was provoking both for its meagreness and its truth. "Who's
his friend in the rusty gown, Job?" "I thinks, sir, his name's Smith." "Is
Mr Russell going up for a class, Job?" "I can't say indeed, sir." "Does he
read hard?" "Not over-hard I think, sir." "Does he sit up late, Job?" "Not
over-late, sir." If there was any thing to tell, it was evident Job would
neither commit himself nor his master.

Russell's conduct was certainly uncommon. If he had been the son of a poor
man, dependent for his future livelihood on his own exertions, eking out
the scanty allowance ill-spared by his friends by the help of a
scholarship or exhibition, and avoiding society as leading to necessary
expense, his position would have been understood, and even, in spite of
the prejudices of youthful extravagance, commended. Or if he had been a
hard-reading man from choice--or a stupid man--or a "saint"--no one would
have troubled themselves about him or his proceedings. But Russell was a
gentleman-commoner, and a man who had evidently seen something of the
world; a rich man, and apparently by no means of the character fitted for
a recluse. He had dined once with the principal, and the two or three men
who had met him there were considerably surprised at the easy gracefulness
of his manners, and his information upon many points usually beyond the
range of undergraduates: at his own table, too, he never affected any
reserve, although, perhaps from a consciousness of having virtually
declined any intimacy with his companions, he seldom originated any
conversation. It might have been assumed, indeed, that he despised the
society into which he was thrown, but that his bearing, so far from being
haughty or even cold, was occasionally marked by apparent dejection. There
was also, at times, a breaking out as it were of the natural spirits of
youth, checked almost abruptly; and once or twice he had betrayed an
interest in, and a knowledge of, field-sports and ordinary amusements,
which for the moment made his hearers fancy, as Tichborne said, that he
was "coming out." But if, as at first often happened, such conversations
led to a proposal for a gallop with the harriers, or a ride the next
afternoon, or a match at billiards, or even an invitation to a quiet
breakfast party--the refusal, though always courteous--and sometimes it
was fancied unwilling--was always decided. And living day by day within
reach of that close companionship which similarity of age, pursuits, and
tastes, strengthened by daily intercourse, was cementing around him,
Charles Russell, in his twentieth year, in a position to choose his own
society, and qualified to shine in it, seemed to have deliberately adopted
the life of a recluse.

There were some, indeed, who accounted for his behaviour on the ground of
stinginess; and it was an opinion somewhat strengthened by one or two
trifling facts. When the subscription-list for the College boat was handed
to him, he put his name down for the minimum of one guinea, though Charley
White, our secretary, with the happy union of impudence and "soft sawder"
for which he was remarkable, delicately drew his attention to the fact,
that no other gentleman-commoner had given less than five. Still it was
not very intelligible that a man who wished to save his pocket, should
choose to pay double fees for the privilege of wearing a velvet cap and
silk gown, and rent the most expensive set of rooms in the college.

It happened that I returned one night somewhat late from a friend's rooms
out of college, and had the satisfaction to find that my scout, in an
unusually careful mood, had shut my outer "oak," which had a spring lock,
of which I never by any chance carried the key. It was too late to send
for the rascal to open it, and I was just planning the possibility of
effecting an entrance at the window by means of the porter's ladder, when
the light in Russell's room caught my eye, and I remembered that, in the
days of their former occupant, our keys used to correspond, very much to
our mutual convenience. It was no very great intrusion, even towards one
in the morning, to ask a man to lend you his door-key, when the
alternative seemed to be spending the night in the quadrangle: so I walked
up his staircase, knocked, was admitted, and stated my business with all
proper apologies. The key was produced most graciously, and down I went
again--unluckily two steps at a time. My foot slipped, and one grand
rattle brought me to the bottom: not head first, but feet first, which
possibly is not quite so dangerous, but any gentleman who has tried it
will agree with me that it is sufficiently unpleasant. I was dreadfully
shaken; and when I tried to get up, found it no easy matter. Russell, I
suppose, heard the fall, for he was by my side by the time I had collected
my ideas. I felt as if I had skinned myself at slight intervals all down
one side; but the worst of it was a sprained ankle. How we got up-stairs
again I have no recollection; but when a glass of brandy had brought me to
a little, I found myself in an easy-chair, with my foot on a stool,
shivering and shaking like a wet puppy. I staid there a fortnight, (not in
the chair, reader, but in the rooms;) and so it was I became intimately
acquainted with Charles Russell. His kindness and attention to me were
excessive; I wished of course to be moved to my own rooms at once, but he
would not hear of it; and as I found every wriggle and twist which I gave
quite sufficiently painful, I acceded to my surgeon's advice to remain
where I was.

It was not a very pleasant mode of introduction for either party. Very few
men's acquaintance is worth the pains of bumping all the way downstairs
and spraining an ankle for: and for a gentleman who voluntarily confines
himself to his own apartment and avoids society, to have another party
chummed in upon him perforce, day and night, sitting in an armchair, with
a suppressed groan occasionally, and an abominable smell of hartshorn--is,
to say the least of it, not the happiest mode of hinting to him the evils
of solitude. Whether it was that the one of us, compelled thus against his
will to play the host, was anxious to show he was no churl by nature, and
the other, feeling himself necessarily in a great degree an intruder and a
bore, put forth more zealously any redeeming social qualities he might
possess; be this as it might, within that fortnight Russell and I became
sincere friends.

I found him, as I had expected, a most agreeable and gentlemanlike
companion, clever and well informed, and with a higher and more settled
tone of principles than is common to his age and position. But strongly
contrasted with his usually cheerful manner, were sudden intervals of
abstraction approaching to gloominess. In him, it was evidently not the
result of caprice, far less of any thing approaching to affectation. I
watched him closely, partly from interest, partly because I had little
else to do, and became convinced that there was some latent cause of grief
or anxiety at work. Once in particular, after the receipt of some letters,
(they were always opened hurriedly, and apparently with a painful
interest,) he was so visibly discomposed and depressed in spirits, that I
ventured to express a hope that they had contained no distressing
intelligence. Russell seemed embarrassed at having betrayed any unusual
emotion, and answered in the negative; adding, that "he knew he was
subject to the blues occasionally"--and I felt I could say no more. But I
suppose I did not look convinced; for catching my eyes fixed on him soon
afterwards, he shook my hand and said, "Something _has_ vexed me--I cannot
tell you what; but I won't think about it again now."

One evening, towards the close of my imprisonment, after a long and
pleasant talk over our usual sober wind-up of a cup of coffee, some recent
publication, tasteful, but rather expensive, was mentioned, which Russell
expressed a wish to see. I put the natural question, to a man in his
position who could appreciate the book, and to whom a few pounds were no
consideration--why did he not order it? He coloured slightly, and after a
moment's hesitation hurriedly replied, "Because I cannot afford it." I
felt a little awkwardness as to what to say next; for the style of every
thing round me betrayed a lavish disregard of expense, and yet the remark
did not at all bear the tone of a jest. Probably Russell understood what
was passing in my mind; for presently, without looking at me, he went on:
"Yes, you may well think it a pitiful economy to grudge five guineas for a
book like that, and indulge one's-self in such pompous mummery as we have
here;" and he pushed down with his foot a massive and beautiful silver
coffee-pot, engraved with half-a-dozen quarterings of arms, which, in
spite of a remonstrance from me, had been blackening before the fire to
keep its contents warm. "Never mind it," he continued, as I in vain put
out my hand to save it from falling--"it won't be damaged; it will fetch
just as much per ounce; and I really cannot afford to buy an inferior
article." Russell's behaviour up to this moment had been rational enough,
but at the moment a suspicion crossed my mind that "eccentricity," as
applied to his case, might possibly, as in some other cases, be merely an
euphonism for something worse. However, I picked up the coffee-pot, and
said nothing. "You must think me very strange, Hawthorne; I quite forgot
myself at the moment; but if you choose to be trusted with a secret, which
will be no secret long, I will tell you what will perhaps surprise you
with regard to my own position, though I really have no right to trouble
you with my confidences." I disclaimed any wish to assume the right of
inquiring into private matters, but at the same time expressed, as I
sincerely felt, an interest in what was evidently a weight on my
companion's mind. "Well, to say the truth," continued Russell, "I think it
will be a relief to me to tell you how I stand. I know that I have often
felt of late that I am acting a daily lie here, to all the men about me;
passing, doubtless, for a rich man, when in truth, for aught I know, I and
all my family are beggars at this moment." He stopped, walked to the
window, and returned. "I am surrounded here by luxuries which have little
right within a college's walls; I occupy a distinctive position which you
and others are supposed not to be able to afford. I never can mix with any
of you, without, as it were, carrying with me every where the
superscription written--'This is a rich man.' And yet, with all this
outward show, I may be a debtor to your charity for my bread to-morrow.
You are astonished, Hawthorne; of course you are. I am not thus playing
the hypocrite willingly, believe me. Had I only my own comfort, and my own
feelings to consult, I would take my name off the college books to-morrow.
How I bear the life I lead, I scarcely know."

"But tell me," said I, "as you have told me so much, what is the secret of
all this?"

"I will; I was going to explain. My only motive for concealment, my only
reason for even wishing you to keep my counsel, is, because the character
and prospects of others are concerned. My father, as I dare say you know,
is pretty well known as the head of the firm of Russell and Smith: he
passes for a rich man, of course; he _was_ a rich man, I believe, once;
and I, his only son and heir--brought up as I was to look upon money as a
plaything--I was sent to college of course as a gentleman-commoner. I knew
nothing, as a lad, of my father's affairs: there were fools enough to tell
me he was rich, and that I had nothing to do but to spend his money--and I
did spend it--ay, too much of it--yet not so much, perhaps, as I might.
Not since I came here, Hawthorne; oh no!--not since I found out that it
was neither his nor mine to spend--I have not been so bad as that, thank
God. And if ever man could atone, by suffering, for the thoughtlessness
and extravagance of early days, I have wellnigh paid my penalty in full
already. I told you, I entered here as a gentleman-commoner; my father
came down to Oxford with me, chose my rooms, sent down this furniture and
these paintings from town--thank Heaven, I knew not what they
cost--ordered a couple of hunters and a groom for me--those I stopped from
coming down--and, in fact, made every preparation for me to commence my
career with credit as to heir-apparent to a large fortune. Some suspicions
that all was not right had crossed my mind before: certain conversations
between my father and cold-looking men of business, not meant for my ear,
and very imperfectly understood--for it appeared to be my father's object
to keep me totally ignorant of all the mysteries of banking--an increasing
tendency on his part to grumble over petty expenses which implied ready
payment, with an ostentatious profusion in show and entertainments--many
slight circumstances put together had given me a sort of vague alarm at
times, which I shook off, as often as it recurred, like a disagreeable
dream. A week after I entered college, a letter from my only sister opened
my eyes to the truth. What I had feared was a temporary embarrassment--a
disagreeable necessity for retrenchment, or, at the worst, a stoppage of
payment, and a respectable bankruptcy, which would injure no one but the
creditors. What she spoke of, was absolute ruin, poverty, and, what was
worse, disgrace. It came upon me very suddenly--but I bore it. I am not
going to enter into particulars about family matters to you,
Hawthorne--you would not wish it, I know; let me only say, my sister Mary
is an angel, and my father a weak-minded man--I will hope, not
intentionally a dishonest one. But I have learnt enough to know that there
are embarrassments from which he can never extricate himself with honour,
and that every month, every week, that he persists in maintaining a
useless struggle will only add misery to misery in the end. How long it
may go on no one can say--but the end must come. My own first impulse was,
of course, to leave this place at once, and so, at all events, to avoid
additional expenses: but my father would not hear of it. I went to him,
told him what I knew, though not how I had heard it, and drew from him a
sort of confession that he had made some unfortunate speculations. But
'only let us keep up appearances'--those were his words--a little while,
and all would be right again, he assured me. I made no pretence of
believing him; but, Hawthorne, when he offered to go on his knees to
me--and I his only son--and promised to retrench in every possible method
that would not betray his motives, if I would but remain at college to
take my degree--'to keep up appearances'--what could I do?"

"Plainly," said I, "you did right: I do not see that you had any
alternative. Nor have you any right to throw away your future prospects.
Your father's unfortunate embarrassments are no disgrace to you."

"So said my sister. I knew her advice must be right, and I consented to
remain here. _You_ know I lead no life of self-indulgence; and the
necessary expenses, even as a gentleman-commoner, are less than you would
suppose, unless you had tried matters as closely as I have."

"And with our talents," said I.

"My talents! I am conscious of but one talent at present: the faculty of
feeling acutely the miserable position into which I have been forced. No,
if you mean that I am to gain any sort of distinction by hard reading, it
is simply what I cannot do. Depend upon it, Hawthorne, a man must have a
mind tolerably at ease to put forth any mental exertion to good purpose.
If this crash were once over, and I were reduced to my proper level in
society--which will, I suppose, be pretty nearly that of a pauper--_then_
I think I could work for my bread either with head or hands: but in this
wretchedly false position, here I sit bitterly, day after day, with books
open before me perhaps, but with no heart to read, and no memory but for
one thing. You know my secret now, Hawthorne, and it has been truly a
relief to me to unburden my mind to some one here. I am very much alone,
indeed; and it is not at all my nature to be solitary: if you will come
and see me sometimes, now that you know all, it will be a real kindness.
It is no great pleasure, I assure you," he continued, smiling, "to be
called odd, and selfish, and stingy, by those of one's own age, as I feel
I must be called; but it is much better than to lead the life I might
lead--spending money which is not mine, and accustoming myself to
luxuries, when I may soon have to depend on charity even for necessaries.
For my own comfort, it might be better, as I said before, that the crisis
came at once: still, if I remain here until I am qualified for some
profession, by which I may one day be able to support my sister--that is
the hope I feed on--why, then, this sort of existence may be endured."

Russell had at least no reason to complain of having disclosed his mind to
a careless listener. I was moved almost to tears at his story: but,
stronger than all other feelings, was admiration of his principles and
character. I felt that some of us had almost done him irreverence in
venturing to discuss him so lightly as we had often done. How little we
know the heart of others, and how readily we prate about "seeing through"
a man, when in truth what we see is but a surface, and the image conveyed
to our mind from it but the reflection of ourselves!

My intimacy with Russell, so strangely commenced, had thus rapidly and
unexpectedly taken the character of that close connexion which exists
between those who have one secret and engrossing interest confined to
themselves alone. We were now more constantly together, perhaps, than any
two men in college: and many were the jokes I had to endure in
consequence. Very few of my old companions had ventured to carry their
attentions to me, while laid up in Russell's rooms, beyond an occasional
call at the door to know how I was going on; and when I got back to my old
quarters, and had refused one or two invitations on the plea of having
Russell coming to spend a quiet evening with me, their astonishment and
disgust were expressed pretty unequivocally, and they affected to call us
the exclusives. However, Russell was a man who, if he made few friends,
gave no excuse for enemies: and, in time, my intimacy with him, and
occasional withdrawals from general society in consequence, came to be
regarded as a pardonable weakness--unaccountable, but past all help--a
subject on which the would-be wisest of my friends shook their heads, and
said nothing.

I think this new connexion was of advantage to both parties. To myself it
certainly was. I date the small gleams of good sense and sobermindedness
which broke in upon my character at that critical period of life, solely
from my intercourse with Charles Russell. He, on the other hand, had
suffered greatly from the want of that sympathy and support which the
strongest mind at times stands as much in need of as the weakest, and
which in his peculiar position could only be purchased by an unreserved
confidence. From any premeditated explanation he would have shrunk; nor
would he ever, as he himself confessed, have made the avowal he did to me,
except it had escaped him by a momentary impulse. But, having made it, he
seemed a happier man. His reading, which before had been desultory and
interrupted, was now taken up in earnest: and idly inclined as I was
myself, I became, with the pseudo sort of generosity not uncommon at that
age, so much more anxious for his future success than my own, that, in
order to encourage him, I used to go to his rooms to read with him, and we
had many a hard morning's work together.

We were very seldom interrupted by visitors: almost the only one was that
unknown and unprepossessing friend of Russell's who has been mentioned
before--his own contradictory in almost every respect. Very uncouth and
dirty-looking he was, and stuttered terribly--rather, it seemed, from
diffidence than from any natural defect. He showed some surprise on the
first two or three occasions in which he encountered me, and made an
immediate attempt to back out of the room again: and though Russell
invariably recalled him, and showed an evident anxiety to treat him with
every consideration, he never appeared at his ease for a moment, and made
his escape as soon as possible. Russell always fixed a time for seeing him
again--usually the next day: and there was evidently some object in these
interviews, into which, as it was no concern of mine, I never enquired
particularly, as I had already been intrusted with a confidence rather
unusual as the result of a few weeks' acquaintance; and on the subject of
his friend--"poor Smith," as he called him--Russell did not seem disposed
to be communicative.

Time wore on, and brought round the Christmas vacation. I thought it due
to myself, as all young men do, to get up to town for a week or two if
possible; and being lucky enough to have an old aunt occupying a very dark
house much too large for her, and who, being rather a prosy personage, a
little deaf, and very opinionated, and therefore not a special object of
attraction to her relations, (her property was merely a life-interest,)
was very glad to get any one to come and see her--I determined to pay a
visit, in which the score of obligations would be pretty equally balanced
on both sides. On the one hand, the tête-à-tête dinners with the old lady,
and her constant catechising about Oxford, were a decided bore to me;
while it required some forbearance on her part to endure an inmate who
constantly rushed into the drawing-room without wiping his boots, who had
no taste for old china, and against whom the dear dog Petto had an
unaccountable but decided antipathy. (Poor dog! I fear he was ungrateful:
I used to devil spunge biscuit, internally, for him after dinner, kept a
snuff-box more for his use than my own, and prolonged his life, I feel
confident, at least twelve months from apoplexy, by pulling hairs out of
his tail with a tweezer whenever he went to sleep.) On the other hand, my
aunt had good wine, and I used to praise it; which was agreeable to both
parties. She got me pleasant invitations, and was enabled herself to make
her appearance in society with a live nephew in her suite, who in her eyes
(I confess, reader, old aunts are partial) was a very eligible young man.
So my visit, on the whole, was mutually agreeable and advantageous. I had
my mornings to myself, gratifying the dowager occasionally by a drive with
her in the afternoon; and we had sufficient engagements for our evenings
to make each other's sole society rather an unusual infliction. It is
astonishing how much such an arrangement tends to keep people the best
friends in the world.

I had attended my respectable relation one evening (or rather she had
attended me, for I believe she went more for my sake than her own) to a
large evening party, which was a ball in every thing but the name. Nearly
all in the rooms were strangers to me; but I had plenty of introductions,
and the night wore on pleasantly enough. I saw a dozen pretty faces I had
never seen before, and was scarcely likely to see again--the proportion of
ugly ones I forbear to mention--and was prepared to bear the meeting and
the parting with equal philosophy, when the sight of a very familiar face
brought different scenes to my mind. Standing within half-a-dozen steps of
me, and in close conversation with a lady, of whom I could see little
besides a cluster of dark curls, was Ormiston, one of our college tutors,
and one of the most universally popular men in Oxford. It would be wrong
to say I was surprised to see him there or any where else, for his roll of
acquaintance was most extensive, embracing all ranks and degrees; but I
was very glad to see him, and made an almost involuntary dart forward in
his direction. He saw me, smiled, and put out his hand, but did not seem
inclined to enter into any conversation. I was turning away, when a sudden
movement gave me a full view of the face of the lady to whom he had been
talking. It was a countenance of that pale, clear, intellectual beauty,
with a shade of sadness about the mouth, which one so seldom sees but in a
picture, but which, when seen, haunts the imagination and the memory
rather than excites passionate admiration. The eyes met mine, and, quite
by accident, for the thoughts were evidently pre-occupied, retained for
some moments the same fixed gaze with which I almost as unconsciously was
regarding them. There was something in the features which seemed not
altogether unknown to me; and I was beginning to speculate on the
possibility of any small heroine of my boyish admiration having shot up
into such sweet womanhood--such changes soon occur--when the eyes became
conscious, and the head was rapidly turned away. I lost her a moment
afterwards in the crowd, and although I watched the whole of the time we
remained, with an interest that amused myself, I could not see her again.
She must have left the party early.

So strong became the impression on my mind that it was a face I had known
before, and so fruitless and tantalizing were my efforts to give it "a
local habitation and a name"--that I determined at last to question my
aunt upon the subject, though quite aware of the imputation that would
follow. The worst of it was, I had so few tangible marks and tokens by
which to identify my interesting unknown. However, at breakfast next
morning, I opened ground at once, in answer to my hostess's remark that
the rooms had been very full.

"Yes, they were: I wanted very much, my dear aunt, to have asked you the
names of all the people; but you really were so much engaged, I had no
opportunity."

"Ah! if you had come and sat by me, I could have told you all about them;
but there were some very odd people there, too."

"There was one rather interesting-looking girl I did not see dancing
much--tallish, with pearl earrings."

"Where was she sitting? how was she dressed?"

I had only seen her standing--I never noticed--I hardly think I could have
seen--even the colour of her dress.

"Not know how she was dressed? My dear Frank, how strange!"

"All young ladies dress alike now, aunt; there's really not much
distinction: they seemed all black and white to me."

"Certainly the balls don't look half so gay as they used to do: a little
colour gives cheerfulness, I think." (The good old lady herself had worn
crimson satin and a suite of chrysolites--if her theory were correct, she
was enough to have spread a glow over the whole company.) "But let me
see;--tall, with pearls, you say; dark hair and eyes?"

"Yes."

"You must mean Lucy Fielding."

"Nonsense, my dear Ma'am--I beg a thousand pardons; but I was introduced
to Miss Fielding, and danced with her--she squints."

"My dear Frank, don't say such a thing!--she will have half the
Strathinnis property when she comes of age. But let me see again. Had she
a white rose in her hair?"

"She had, I think; or something like it."

"It might have been Lord Dunham's youngest daughter, who is just come
out--she was there for an hour or so."

"No, no, aunt: I know her by sight too--a pale gawky thing, with an arm
and hand like a prize-fighter's--oh no!"

"Upon my word, my dear nephew, you young men give yourselves abominable
airs: call her a very fine young woman, and I've no doubt she will marry
well, though she hasn't much fortune. Was it Miss Cassilis, then?--white
tulle over satin, looped with roses, with gold sprigs"----

"And freckles to match: why, she's as old as"----; I felt myself on
dangerous ground, and filled up the hiatus, I fear not very happily, by
looking full at my aunt.

"Not so very old, indeed, my dear: she refused a very good offer last
season: she cannot possibly be above"--

"Oh! spare the particulars, pray, my dear Ma'am; but you could not have
seen the girl I mean: I don't think she staid after supper: I looked every
where for her to ask who she was, but she must have been gone."

"Really! I wish I could help you," said my aunt with a very insinuating
smile.

"Oh," said I, "what made me anxious to know who she was at the time, was
simply that I saw her talking to an old friend of mine, whom you know
something of, I believe; did you not meet Mr Ormiston somewhere last
winter?"

"Mr Ormiston! oh, I saw him there last night! and now I know who you mean;
it must have been Mary Russell, of course; she did wear pearls, and plain
white muslin."

"Russell! what Russells are they?"

"Russell the banker's daughter; I suppose nobody knows how many thousands
she'll have; but she is a very odd girl. Mr Ormiston is rather committed
in that quarter, I fancy. Ah, he's a very gentlemanly man, certainly, and
an old friend of the family; but that match would never do. Why, he must
be ten years older than she is, in the first place, and hasn't a penny
that I know of except his fellowship. No, no; she refused Sir John Maynard
last winter, with a clear twelve thousand a-year; and angry enough her
papa was about that, every body says, though he never contradicts her; but
she never will venture upon such a silly thing as a match with Mr
Ormiston."

"Won't she?" said I mechanically, not having had time to collect my
thoughts exactly.

"To be sure she won't," replied my aunt rather sharply. It certainly
struck me that Mary Russell, from what her brother had told me, was a
person very likely to show some little disregard of any conventional
notions of what was, or what was not desirable in the matter of matrimony;
but at the same time I inclined to agree with my aunt, that it was not
very probable she would become Mrs Ormiston; indeed, I doubted any very
serious intentions on his part. Fellows of colleges are usually somewhat
lavish of admiration and attentions; but, as many young ladies know, very
difficult to bring to book. Ormiston was certainly not a man to be
influenced by the fortune which the banker's daughter might reasonably be
credited with; if any thing made the matter seem serious, it was that his
opinion of the sex in general--as thrown out in an occasional hint or
sarcasm--seemed to border on a supercilious contempt.

I did not meet Miss Russell again during my short stay in town; but two or
three days after this conversation, in turning the corner of the street, I
came suddenly upon Ormiston. I used to flatter myself with being rather a
favourite of his--not from any conscious merit on my part, unless that,
during the year of his deanship, when summoned before him for any small
atrocities, and called to account for them, I never took up his time or my
own by any of the usual somewhat questionable excuses, but awaited my
fate, whether "imposition" or reprimand, in silence; a plan which, with
him, answered very well, and saved occasionally some straining of
conscience on one side, and credulity on the other. I tried it with his
successor, who decided that I was contumacious, because, the first time I
was absent from chapel, in reply to his interrogations I answered nothing,
and upon his persevering, told him that I had been at a very late
supper-party the night before. I think, then, I was rather a favourite of
Ormiston's. To say that he was a favourite of mine would be saying very
little; for there could have been scarcely a man in college, of any degree
of respectability, who would not have been ready to say the same. No man
had a higher regard for the due maintenance of discipline, or his own
dignity, and the reputation of the college; yet nowhere among the seniors
could the undergraduate find a more judicious or a kinder friend. He had
the art of mixing with them occasionally with all the unreservedness of an
equal, without for a moment endangering the respect due to his position.
There was no man you could ask a favour of--even if it infringed a little
upon the strictness of college regulations--so readily as Ormiston; and no
one appeared to retain more thoroughly some of his boyish tastes and
recollections. He subscribed his five guineas to the boat, even after a
majority of the fellows had induced our good old Principal, whose annual
appearance at the river-side to cheer her at the races had seemed almost a
part of his office, to promulgate a decree to the purport that boat-racing
was immoral, and that no man engaged therein should find favour in the
sight of the authorities. Yet, at the same time, Ormiston could give grave
advice when needed; and give it in such a manner, that the most
thoughtless among us received it as from a friend. And whenever he did
administer a few words of pointed rebuke--and he did not spare it when any
really discreditable conduct came under his notice--they fell the more
heavily upon the delinquent, because the public sympathy was sure to be on
the side of the judge. The art of governing young men is a difficult one,
no doubt; but it is surprising that so few take any pains to acquire it.
There were very few Ormistons, in my time, in the high places in Oxford.

On that morning, however, Ormiston met me with evident embarrassment, if
not with coolness. He started when he first saw me, and, had there been a
chance of doing so with decency, looked as if he would have pretended not
to recognise me. But we were too near for that, and our eyes met at once.
I was really very glad to see him, and not at all inclined to be content
with the short "How d'ye do?" so unlike his usual cordial greetings, with
which he was endeavouring to hurry on; and there was a little curiosity
afloat among my other feelings. So I fairly stopped him with a few of the
usual inquiries, as to how long he had been in town, &c., and then plunged
at once into the affair of the ball at which we had last met. He
interrupted me at once.

"By the way," said he, "have you heard of poor Russell's business?"

I actually shuddered, for I scarcely knew what was to follow. As
composedly as I could, I simply said, "No."

"His father is ruined, they say--absolutely ruined. I suppose _that_ is no
secret by this time, at all events. He cannot possibly pay even a shilling
in the pound."

"I'm very sorry indeed to hear it," was all I could say.

"But do you know, Hawthorne," continued Ormiston, taking my arm with
something like his old manner, and no longer showing any anxiety to cut
short our interview, "I am afraid this is not the worst of it. There is a
report in the city this morning, I was told, that Mr Russell's character
is implicated by some rather unbusinesslike transactions. I believe you
are a friend of poor Russell's, and for that reason I mention it to you in
confidence. He may not be aware of it; but the rumour is, that his father
_dare_ not show himself again here: that he has left England I know to be
a fact."

"And his daughter? Miss Russell?" I asked involuntarily--"his children, I
mean--where are they?"

I thought Ormiston's colour heightened; but he was not a man to show much
visible emotion. "Charles Russell and his sister are still in London," he
replied; "I have just seen them. They know their father has left for the
Continent; I hope they do _not_ know all the reasons. I am very sincerely
sorry for young Russell; it will be a heavy blow to him, and I fear he
will find his circumstances bitterly changed. Of course he will have to
leave Oxford."

"I suppose so," said I; "no one can feel more for him than I do. It was
well, perhaps, that this did not happen in term time."

"It spared him some mortification, certainly. You will see him, perhaps,
before you leave town; he will take it kind. And if you have any influence
with him--(he will be inclined to listen, perhaps just now, to you more
than to me--being more of his own age, he will give you credit for
entering into his feelings)--do try and dissuade him from forming any wild
schemes, to which he seems rather inclined. He has some kind friends, no
doubt; and remember, if there is any thing in which I can be of use to
him, he shall have my aid--even to the half of my kingdom--that is, my
tutorship."

And with a smile and tone which seemed a mixture of jest and earnest, Mr
Ormiston wished me good-morning. He was to leave for Oxford that night.

Of Russell's address in town I was up to this moment ignorant, but
resolved to find it out, and see him before my return to the University.
The next morning, however, a note arrived from him, containing a simple
request that I would call. I found him at the place from which he
wrote--one of those dull quiet streets that lead out of the Strand--in
very humble lodgings; his father's private establishment having been given
up, it appeared, immediately. The moment we met, I saw at once, as I
expected, that the blow which, to Ormiston, had naturally seemed so
terrible a one--no less than the loss, to a young man, of the wealth,
rank, and prospects in life to which he had been taught to look
forward--had been, in fact, to Russell a merciful relief. The failure of
that long-celebrated and trusted house, which was causing in the public
mind, according to the papers, so much "consternation" and "excitement,"
was to him a consummation long foreseen, and scarcely dreaded. It was only
the shadow of wealth and happiness which he had lost now; its substance
had vanished long since. And the conscious hollowness and hypocrisy, as he
called it, of his late position, had been a far more bitter trial to a
mind like his, than any which could result from its exposure. He was one
to hail with joy any change which brought him back to truth and reality,
no matter how rude and sudden the revulsion.

He met me with a smile; a really honest, almost a light-hearted smile. "It
is come at last, Hawthorne; perhaps it would be wrong, or I feel as if I
could say, thank God. There is but one point which touches me at all; what
do they say about my father?" I told him--fortunately, my acquaintance
lying but little among men of business, I could tell him so honestly--that
I had not heard a syllable breathed to his discredit.

"Well, well; but they will, soon. Oh! Hawthorne; the utter misery, the
curse that money-making brings with it! That joining house to house, and
field to field, how it corrupts all the better part of a man's nature! I
vow to you, I believe my father would have been an honest man if he had
but been a poor one! If he had never had any thing to do with interest
tables, and had but spent his capital, instead of trying to double and
redouble it! One thing I have to thank him for; that he never would suffer
me to imbibe any taste for business; he knew the evil and the pollution
money-handling brings with it--I am sure he did; he encouraged me, I fear,
in extravagance; but I bless him that he never encouraged me in
covetousness."

He grew a little calmer by degrees, and we sat down and took counsel as to
his future plans. He was not, of course, without friends, and had already
had many offers of assistance for himself and his sister; but his heart
appeared, for the present, firmly bent upon independence. Much to my
surprise, he decided on returning at once to Oxford, and reading for his
degree. His sister had some little property settled upon her--some hundred
and fifty pounds a-year; and this she had insisted on devoting to this
purpose.

"I love her too well," said Russell, "to refuse her: and trifling as this
sum is,--I remember the time when I should have thought it little to keep
me in gloves and handkerchiefs,--yet, with management, it will be more
than I shall spend in Oxford. Of course, I play the gentleman-commoner no
longer; I shall descend to the plain stuff gown."

"You'll go to a hall, of course?" said I; for I concluded he would at
least avoid the mortification of so palpable a confession of reduced
circumstances as this degradation of rank in his old College would be.

"I can see no occasion for it; that is, if they will allow me to change; I
have done nothing to be ashamed of, and shall be much happier than I was
before. I only strike my false colours; and you know they were never
carried willingly."

I did not attempt to dissuade him, and soon after rose to take my leave.

"I cannot ask my sister to see you now," he said, as we shook hands: "she
is not equal to it. But some other time, I hope"----

"At any other time, I shall be most proud of the introduction. By the way,
have you seen Ormiston? He met me this morning, and sent some kind
messages, to offer any service in his power."

"He did, did he?"

"Yes; and, depend upon it, he will do all he can for you in college; you
don't know him very well, I think; but I am sure he takes an interest in
you now, at all events," I continued, "and no man is a more sincere and
zealous friend."

"I beg your pardon, Hawthorne, but I fancy I _do_ know Mr Ormiston very
well."

"Oh! I remember, there seemed some coolness between you, because you never
would accept his invitations. Ormiston thought you were too proud to dine
with him; and then _his_ pride, which he has his share of, took fire. But
that misunderstanding must be all over now."

"My dear Hawthorne, I believe Mr Ormiston and I understand each other
perfectly. Good-morning; I am sorry to seem abrupt, but I have a host of
things, not the most agreeable, to attend to."

It seemed quite evident that there was some little prejudice on Russell's
part against Ormiston. Possibly he did not like his attentions to his
sister. But that was no business of mine, and I knew the other too well to
doubt his earnest wish to aid and encourage a man of Russell's high
principles, and in his unfortunate position. None of us always know our
best friends.

The step which Russell had resolved on taking was, of course, an unusual
one. Even the college authorities strongly advised him to remove his name
to the books of one of the halls, where he would enter comparatively as a
stranger, and where his altered position would not entail so many painful
feelings. Every facility was offered him of doing so at one of them where
a relative of our Principal's was the head, and even a saving in expense
might thus be effected. But this evident kindness and consideration on
their part, only confirmed him in the resolution of remaining where he
was. He met their representations with the graceful reply, that he had an
attachment to the college which did not depend upon the rank he held in
it, and that he trusted he should not be turned out of two homes at once.
Even the heart of the splenetic little vice-principal was moved by this
genuine tribute to the venerable walls, which to him, as his mistress's
girdle to the poet, encircled all he loved, or hoped, or cared for; and
had the date been some century earlier--in those remarkable times when a
certain fellow was said to have owed his election into that body to a
wondrous knack he had at compounding sherry-posset--it is probable Charles
Russell would have stepped into a fellowship by special license at once.

He had harder work before him, however, and he set stoutly to it. He got
permission to lodge out of college--a privilege quite unusual, and
apparently without any sufficient object in his case. A day or two after
his return, he begged me to go with him to see the rooms he had taken: and
I was surprised to find that although small, and not in a good part of the
town, they were furnished in a style by no means, I thought, in accordance
with the strict economy I knew him to be practising in every other
respect. They contained, on a small scale, all the appointments of a
lady's drawing-room. It was soon explained. His sister was coming to live
with him. "We are but two, now," said Russell in explanation, "and though
poor Mary has been offered what might have been a comfortable home
elsewhere, which perhaps would have been more prudent, we both thought why
should we be separated? As to these little things you see, they are nearly
all hers: we offered them to the creditors, but even the lawyers would not
touch them: and here Mary and I shall live. Very strange, you think, for
her to be here in Oxford with no one to take care of her but me; but she
does not mind that, and we shall be together. However, Hawthorne, we shall
keep a dragon: there is an old housekeeper who would not be turned off,
and she comes down with Mary, and may pass for her aunt, if that's all; so
don't, pray, be shocked at us."

And so the old housekeeper did come down, and Mary with her; and under
such guardianship, a brother and an old servant, was that fair girl
installed within the perilous precincts of the University of Oxford;
perilous in more senses than one, as many a speculative and disappointed
mamma can testify, whose daughters, brought to market at the annual
"show" at commemoration, have left uncaught those dons of dignity, and
heirs-apparent of property, whom they ought to have caught, and caught
those well-dressed and good-looking, but undesirable young men, whom they
ought not to have caught. Mary Russell, however, was in little peril
herself, and, as little as she could help it, an occasion of peril to
others. Seldom did she move out from her humble abode, except for an early
morning walk with her brother, or sometimes leaning on the arm of her old
domestic, so plainly dressed that you might have mistaken her for her
daughter, and wondered how those intensely expressive features, and
queen-like graces, should have been bestowed by nature on one so humble.
Many a thoughtful student, pacing slowly the parks or Christchurch meadow
after early chapel, book in hand, cheating himself into the vain idea that
he was taking a healthful walk, and roused by the flutter of approaching
female dress, and unwillingly looking up to avoid the possible and
unwelcome collision with a smirking nurse-maid and an unresisting
baby--has met those eyes, and spoilt his reading for the morning; or has
paused in the running tour of Headington hill, or Magdalen walk, by which
he was endeavouring to cram his whole allotted animal exercise for the day
into an hour, as that sweet vision crossed his path, and wondered in his
heart by what happy tie of relationship, or still dearer claim, his
fellow-undergraduate had secured to himself so lovely a companion; and has
tried in vain, over his solitary breakfast, to rid himself of the
heterodox notion which would still creep in upon his thoughts, that in the
world there might be, after all, things better worth living and working
for, prizes more valuable--and perhaps not harder to win--than a first
class, and living personations of the beautiful which Aristotle had
unaccountably left out. Forgive me, dear reader, if I seem to be somewhat
sentimental: I am not, and I honestly believe I never was, in love with
Mary Russell; I am not--I fear I never was or shall be--much of a reading
man or an early riser; but I will confess, it would have been a great
inducement to me to adopt such habits, if I could have ensured such
pleasant company in my morning walks.

To the general world of Oxford, for a long time, I have no doubt the very
existence of such a jewel within it was unknown; for at the hours when
liberated tutors and idle undergraduates are wont to walk abroad, Mary was
sitting, hid within a little ambush of geraniums, either busy at her work,
or helping--as she loved to fancy she helped him--her brother at his
studies. Few men, I believe, ever worked harder than Russell did in his
last year. With the exception of the occasional early walk, and the
necessary attendance at chapel and lecture, he read hard nearly the whole
day; and I always attributed the fact of his being able to do so with
comparatively little effort, and no injury to his health, to his having
such a sweet face always present, to turn his eyes upon, when wearied with
a page of Greek, and such a kind voice always ready to speak or to be
silent.

It was not for want of access to any other society that Mary Russell spent
her time so constantly with her brother. The Principal, with his usual
kindheartedness, had insisted--a thing he seldom did--upon his lady making
her acquaintance; and though Mrs Meredith, who plumed herself much upon
her dignity, had made some show of resistance at first to calling upon a
young lady who was living in lodgings by herself in one of the most
out-of-the-way streets in Oxford, yet, after her first interview with Miss
Russell, so much did her sweetness of manner win upon Mrs Principal's
fancy--or perhaps it will be doing that lady but justice to say, so much
did her more than orphan unprotectedness and changed fortunes soften the
woman's heart that beat beneath that formidable exterior of silk and
ceremony, that before the first ten minutes of what had been intended as a
very condescending and very formal call, were over, she had been offered a
seat in Mrs Meredith's official pew in St Mary's; the pattern of a
mysterious bag, which that good lady carried every where about with her,
it was believed for no other purpose; and an airing the next day behind
the fat old greys, which their affectionate coachman--in commemoration of
his master's having purchased them at the time he held that
dignity--always called by the name of the "Vice-Chancellors." Possibly an
absurd incident, which Mary related with great glee to her brother and
myself, had helped to thaw the ice in which "our governess" usually
encased herself. When the little girl belonging to the lodgings opened the
door to these dignified visitors, upon being informed that Miss Russell
was at home, the Principal gave the name simply as "Dr and Mrs Meredith:"
which, not appearing to his more pompous half at all calculated to convey
a due impression of the honour conveyed by the visit, she corrected him,
and in a tone quite audible--as indeed every word of the conversation had
been--up the half-dozen steep stairs which led to the little drawing-room,
gave out "the Master of ---- and lady, if you please." The word "master"
was quite within the comprehension of the little domestic, and dropping an
additional courtesy of respect to an office which reminded her of her
catechism and the Sunday school, she selected the appropriate feminine
from her own vocabulary, and threw open the door with "the master and
mistress of ---- if you please, Miss." Dr Meredith laughed, as he entered,
so heartily, that even Mary could not help smiling, and the "mistress,"
seeing the odds against her, smiled too. An acquaintance begun in such
good humour, could hardly assume a very formal character; and, in fact,
had Mary Russell not resolutely declined all society, Mrs Meredith would
have felt rather a pleasure in patronising her. But both her straitened
means and the painful circumstances of her position--her father already
spoken of almost as a criminal--led her to court strict retirement; while
she clung with redoubled affection to her brother. He, on his part, seemed
to have improved in health and spirits since his change of fortunes; the
apparent haughtiness and coldness with which many had charged him before,
had quite vanished; he showed no embarrassment, far less any consciousness
of degradation, in his conversation with any of his old messmates at the
gentlemen-commoners' table; and though his communication with the college
was but comparatively slight, nearly all his time being spent in his
lodgings, he was becoming quite a popular character.

Meanwhile, a change of a different kind seemed to be coming over Ormiston.
It was remarked, even by those not much given to observation, that his
lectures, which were once considered endurable, even by idle men, from his
happy talent of remark and illustration, were fast becoming as dull and
uninteresting as the common run of all such business. Moreover, he had
been in the habit of giving, occasionally, capital dinners, invitations to
which were sent out frequently and widely among the young men of his own
college: these ceased almost entirely; or, when they occurred, had but the
shadow of their former joyousness. Even some of the fellows were known to
have remarked that Ormiston was much altered lately; some said he was
engaged to be married, a misfortune which would account for any imaginable
eccentricities; but one of the best of the college livings falling vacant
about the time, and, on its refusal by the two senior fellows, coming
within Ormiston's acceptance, and being passed by him, tended very much to
do away with any suspicion of that kind.

Between him and Russell there was an evident coolness, though noticed by
few men but myself; yet Ormiston always spoke most kindly of him, while on
Russell's part there seemed to be a feeling almost approaching to
bitterness, ill concealed, whenever Ormiston became the subject of
conversation. I pressed him once or twice upon the subject, but he always
affected to misunderstand me, or laughed off any sarcastic remark he might
have made, as meaning nothing; so that at last the name was seldom
mentioned between us, and almost the only point on which we differed
seemed to be our estimation of Ormiston.



THE ROMANTIC DRAMA.


Macaulay says, that the object of the drama is the painting of the human
heart; and, as that is portrayed by the events of a whole life, he
concludes that it is by poets representing in a short space a long series
of actions, that the end of dramatic composition is most likely to be
attained. "The mixture," says he, "of tragedy and comedy, and the length
and extent of the action, which the French consider as defects, is the
chief cause of the excellence of our older dramatists. The former is
necessary to render the drama a just representation of the world, in which
the laughers and the weepers are perpetually jostling each other, in which
every event has its serious and ludicrous side. The latter enables us to
form an intimate acquaintance with characters, with which we could not
possibly become familiar during the few hours to which the unities
restrict the poet. In this respect the works of Shakspeare in particular
are miracles of art. In a piece which may be read aloud in three hours, we
see a character gradually unfold all its recesses to us. We see it change
with the change of circumstances. The petulant youth rises into the
politic and warlike sovereign. The profuse and courteous philanthropist
sours at length into a hater and scorner of his kind. The tyrant is
altered by the chastening of affliction into a pensive moralist. The
veteran general, distinguished by coolness, sagacity, and self-command,
sinks under a conflict between love strong as death, and jealousy cruel as
the grave. The brave and loyal subject passes step by step to the excesses
of human depravity. We trace his progress step by step, from the first
dawnings of unlawful ambition, to the cynical melancholy of his impenitent
remorse. Yet in these pieces there are no unnatural transitions. Nothing
is omitted; nothing is crowded. Great as are the changes, narrow as is the
compass within which they are exhibited, they shock us as little as the
gradual alterations of those familiar faces which we see every evening and
morning. The magical skill of the poet resembles that of the dervise in
the _Spectator_, who condensed all the events of seven years into the
single moment during which the king held his head under water."[4]

In this admirable passage, the principle on which the Romantic Drama
rests, is clearly and manfully stated; and it is on the possibility of
effecting the object which is here so well described, that the whole
question between it and the Greek unities depends. As we have decidedly
embraced the opposite opinion, and regard, after much consideration, the
adherence to the variety and license of the romantic drama as the main
cause of the present degraded condition of our national theatre, we have
prefaced our observations with a defence of the romantic drama by one of
its ablest advocates, and shall now state the reasons which appear to us
conclusive in favour of a very different view.

The drama is part of the great effort of mankind for the representation of
human character, passion, and event. Other sister arts--History, the
Historical Romance, the Epic poem--also aim in some degree, by different
methods, at the same object; and it is by considering their different
principles, and necessary limitations, that the real rules of the drama
will best be understood.

HISTORY, as all the world knows, embraces the widest range of human
events. Confined to no time, restricted to no locality, it professes, in a
comparatively short space, to portray the most extensive and important of
human transactions. Centuries, even thousands of years, are sometimes, by
its greatest masters, embraced within its mighty arms. The majestic
series of Roman victories may occupy the genius of one writer: the fifteen
centuries of its decline and fall be spanned by the powers of another. The
vast annals of Mahommetan conquest, the long sway of the Papal dominion,
present yet untrodden fields to future historical effort.[5] But it is
this very greatness and magnitude of his subject which presents the chief
difficulty with which the historian has to contend. With the exception of
a very few instances, such lengthened annals are necessarily occupied by a
vast variety of characters, actions, states, and events, having little or
no connexion with each other, scarce any common object of union, and no
thread by which the interest of the reader is to be kept up throughout.
Hence it is that works of history are so generally complained of as dull:
that, though they are more numerous than any other class of literary
compositions, the numbers of those generally read is so extremely small.
Enter any public library, you will see hundreds of historical works
reposing in respectable dignity on the shelves. How many of them are
generally studied, or have taken hold by common consent on the minds of
men? Not ten. Romance numbers its readers by hundreds, Poetry by fifties,
where History can with difficulty muster one. This amazing difference is
not owing to any deficiency of ability turned to the subject, or interest
in the materials of which it is formed. It can never be supposed that men
will be indifferent to the annals of their own fame, or that the
groundwork of all human invention--real event--can be wanting in the means
of moving the heart. It is the extraordinary difficulty of this branch of
composition, owing to its magnitude and complication, which is the sole
cause of the difference.

The HISTORICAL ROMANCE is founded on history, but it differs from it in
the most essential particulars, and is relieved from the principal
difficulties with which the annalist of actual occurrences has to contend.
It selects a particular period out of past time, and introduces the
characters and events most remarkable for their interest, or the deep
impress they have left on the minds of men. This is an immense advantage;
for it relieves the writer from the great difficulty with which the
general historian has to contend, and which, in ninety-nine cases out of
an hundred, proves fatal to his success. Unity in the midst of confusion
is given to his subject. Room is afforded for graphic painting, space for
forcible delineations of character. It becomes possible to awaken interest
by following out the steps of individual adventure. Though the name of
historical romance is not to be found in antiquity, the thing itself was
far from being unknown. Its most charming Histories are little other than
Historical Romance; at least, they possess its charm, because they exhibit
its unity. The _Cyropædia_ of Xenophon, the _Lives_ of Plutarch, many of
the heart-stirring _Legends_ of Livy, of the profound _Sketches_ of the
Emperors in Tacitus, are in truth historical romances under the name of
histories or biography. The lives of eminent men owe their chief charm to
the unity of the subject, and the possibility of strongly exciting the
feelings, by strictly adhering to the delineation of individual
achievement. So great is the weight of the load--crushing to the
historian--which is thus taken from the biographer or writer of historical
romance, that second-rate genius can effect triumphs in that department,
to which the very highest mind alone is equal in general historical
composition. No one would think of comparing the intellect of Plutarch
with that of Tacitus; but, nevertheless, the _Lives_ of the former will
always prove more generally attractive than the annals of the latter.
Boswell's mind was immeasurably inferior to that of Hume; but for one
reader of his _History of England_, will be found ten of the _Life of
Johnson_. Sir Walter Scott's _Life of Napoleon_ proves that he was not
altogether qualified to take a place among the great English historians;
but, to the end of the world, Richard Coeur-de-Lion, Queen Mary, and
Elizabeth, will stand forth from his canvass more clearly than either from
the rhetoric of Hume, or the eloquence of Robertson.

The EPIC POEM confines within still narrower limits the narration of human
events. As it borrows the language and is clothed with the colours of
poetry, so it is capable of rousing the feelings more powerfully than
either biography or romance, and, when crowned with success, attains a
fame, and takes a hold of the hearts of men, to which nothing in prose
composition can be compared. Elevation of thought, fervour of language,
powerful delineation of character, are its essential qualities. But all
these would prove unavailing if the one thing needful, _unity of subject_,
were awanting. It is that which is its essential quality, for that alone
lets in all the others. All the great Epic Poems which have appeared in
the world are not only devoted to one interest, but are generally
restricted in point of space and time within limits not materially wider
than those of the Greek drama. The _Iliad_ not only relates exclusively
the latter stages of the siege of Troy, but the whole period of its action
is forty-eight days--of its absorbing interest, (the time from the
storming of the Greek lines by Hector to his death by the heaven-defended
Achilles,) thirty-six hours. The _Paradise Lost_ adheres strictly to unity
both of subject and time: the previous battles of the angels is the
subject of narrative by the angel Raphael; but the time that elapses from
the convocation of the devils in Pandemonium to the expulsion of Adam and
Eve from paradise is only three days. The _Jerusalem Delivered_ has the
one absorbing interest arising from the efforts of the Christians for the
deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre; and its time is limited to a few weeks.
Virgil was so enamoured of his great predecessor that he endeavoured to
imitate, in one poem, both his great works. The _Æneid_ is an _Iliad_ and
_Odyssey_ in one. But every one must feel that it is on the episode with
Dido that the interest of the poem really rests; and that all the magic of
his exquisite pencil can scarcely sustain the interest after the pious
Æneas has taken his departure from the shores of Carthage. The _Lusiad_ of
Camoens, necessarily, from its subject, embraced wider limits; but the one
interest of the poem is as single and sustained as that of the discovery
of the new world by Columbus. If any of these writers had professed in
rhyme to give a history of a wider or more protracted subject, the
interest would have been so much diffused as to be lost. The confusion of
ideas and incidents so painfully felt by all the readers of _Orlando
Furioso_, and which the boundless fancy of Ariosto was unable to prevent,
proves that epic poetry has its limits, and that they are narrower than
either history or romance.

What epic poetry is to romance or biography, THE DRAMA is to epic poetry.
As the former selects from the romance of history its most interesting and
momentous events, and makes them the subject of brilliant description, of
impassioned rhetoric, so the latter chooses from the former its most
heart-stirring episodes, and brings them in actual dialogue and
representation before the mind of the spectator. Immense is the effect of
this concentration--still more marvellous that of the personation with
which it is attended. Imagination assumes the actual form of beings;
conception is realised. The airy visions of the past are clothed in flesh
and blood. The marvels of acting, scenery, and stage effect, come to add
to the pathos of incident, to multiply tenfold the charms of poetry. It is
impossible to conceive intellectual enjoyment carried beyond the point it
attained, when the magic of Shakspeare's thought and language was enhanced
by the power of Siddons or Kemble's acting, or is personified by the
witchery of Helen Faucit's conceptions. But for the full effect of this
combination, it is indispensable that the principles of dramatic
composition be duly observed, and the stage kept within its due limits,
more contracted in point of time and place than either romance or epic
poetry. Within those bounds it is omnipotent, and produces an impression
to which, while it lasts, none of the sister arts can pretend. Beyond
them it never fails to break down, and not only ceases to interest, but
often becomes to the last degree wearisome and exhausting. It is not
difficult to see to what this general failure of the drama, when it
outstrips its proper bounds, is owing. It arises from the impossibility of
awakening interest without attending to unity of emotion; of keeping alive
attention without continuity of incident; of making the story intelligible
without simplicity of action.

Dramatic authors, actors, and actresses, how gifted soever in other
respects, are the worst possible judges on this subject. They are so
familiar with the story, from having composed the piece themselves, or
made it the subject of frequent repetition or rehearsal, that they can
form no conception of the difficulty which nine tenths of the audience, to
whom the piece is entirely strange, experience in understanding the plot,
or acquiring any interest in the incidents or development of the piece. It
may safely be affirmed, that a vast majority of the spectators of the
dramas now habitually represented, with the exception of a few of
Shakspeare's, which have become as household words on the English stage,
never understand any thing of the story till the end of the third act, and
are only beginning to take an interest in the piece when the curtain
falls. Dramatic authors and performers would do well to ponder on this
observation; they may rely upon it that it furnishes the key to the
present degraded state of the English drama.

It is not obtuseness on the part of the audience which occasions this. So
complicated is the story, so lengthened the succession of events, in most
of our modern theatrical pieces, that the most acute understanding,
fortified by the most extensive practice, requiring alertness of
intellect, will long be at fault in comprehending them. We have seen many
a barrister famed for cross-examination unable to comprehend, till the
piece was half over, the drift of Sheridan Knowles's dramas. Is it
surprising, when this is the case, that the vast majority of the audience
complain of weariness during the representation, and that the managers of
theatres, sensible of this difficulty, are fain to eke out the proper
interest of the drama by the meretricious aids of scenery, and dancing,
and decorations?

What is constantly complained of by all classes at the theatre is, that it
is so tiresome; that the back is broken by sitting without a support; that
they cannot comprehend the story; that they do not understand what it is
all about; and that the performance is infinitely too long. This last
observation is, undoubtedly, frequently well founded: no where is the
truth of old Hesiod's maxim, that a half is often greater than the whole,
more frequently exemplified than in dramatic representations. But still
the fact of the complaint being so universally made, and equally by all
classes, is very remarkable, and pregnant with instruction, as to the
limits of the drama and the causes of the decline of its popularity so
painfully conspicuous in the British empire. No one complains of his back
being broken for want of support at a trial for murder; on the contrary,
all classes, and _especially the lowest_, will sit at such heart-stirring
scenes, without feeling fatigue, for ten, twelve, sometimes eighteen hours
consecutively. Nor can it be affirmed that this is because the interest is
real; that the life of a human being is at stake. Every day's experience
proves that fiction, when properly managed, is more interesting than
reality. The vast multitude of novels which yearly issue from the press,
the eagerness with which they are sought after by all classes, the
extraordinary extent of their circulation, sufficiently prove this. No one
complains that the best romances of Sir Walter Scott or Bulwer are too
long; on the contrary, they are generally felt to be too short; and those
who are loudest in their declamations against the intolerable fatigue of
the theatre, will sit for days together with their feet at the fire,
devouring even an indifferent novel.

The general complaint now made in Great Britain against the tedium of
theatrical representations was unknown in other ages and countries. The
passion of the Greeks for their national theatre is well known, and the
matchless perfection of their great dramatists proves to what a degree it
is capable of rousing the human mind. The French, prior to the Revolution,
were passionately fond of the drama, which was then entirely founded on
the Greek model. The decline complained of in the Parisian theatre has
been contemporary with the introduction of the Romantic school. In Italy,
it is, with the opera, the chief, almost the sole public amusement. There
is not a city with forty thousand inhabitants in the classic peninsula
that has not a theatre and opera, superior to any thing to be met with in
the British islands out of London. The theatre is in high favour in
Germany and Russia. Complaints, indeed, are frequently made, that the
drama is declining on the Continent, and the present state of the lesser
Parisian theatres certainly affords no indication that, in departing from
the old land-marks and bringing romance on the stage, they have either
preserved its purity or extended its influence. But the decline of the
theatre is far greater and more remarkable in England than in any of the
continental states. It has, indeed, gone so far as to induce a serious
apprehension among many well-informed persons, that it will cease to
exist, and the country of Shakspeare and Garrick, of Kemble and Siddons,
be left altogether without a theatre at which the legitimate drama is
represented. Such a result in a country overflowing, in its great cities
and metropolis at least, with riches, and with a population passionately
desirous of every species of enjoyment, is very remarkable, and deserving
of the most serious consideration. It may well make us pause in our
career, and consider whether the course we have been pursuing has, or has
not, been likely to lead to perfection and success in this noble and
important branch of composition.

We have stated what are the limits of the drama, and what part is assigned
to it in the general effort of the human mind to portray events, or paint
the human heart. Macaulay has explained, in the passage already quoted,
what the Romantic drama proposes to do, and the reason why, in his
estimation, it is more likely to attain its end than the more closely
fettered theatre of the Greeks. The whole question comes to be, which of
the two systems is best adapted to attain the undoubted end of all
dramatic composition, the painting of the human heart? If he is right in
the views he has so well expressed, it is very singular how it has
happened, that in a country which, for the last three centuries, has
constantly adhered to these ideas, and worked out the Romantic drama with
extraordinary zeal and vigour, dramatic representations should have been
constantly declining, so as at length to be threatened with total
extinction. This becomes the more remarkable, when it is recollected, that
in other countries, inferior in wealth, genius, and energy to Great
Britain, but where the old system had been adhered to, it continued to
flourish in undiminished vigour, and that decay in them has uniformly been
coexistent with the entry on the stage of Romantic representation. Racine,
Corneille, Voltaire in France, and Metastasio and Alfieri in Italy,
Schiller and Goethe in Germany, have nobly upheld the legitimate drama in
their respective countries. Still more extraordinary is it, if these views
be the correct ones, that while, by the marvels of one heaven-born genius,
the Romantic drama was in the days of Queen Elizabeth raised to the very
highest perfection in this country, it has since continually languished,
and cannot from his day number one name destined for immortality among its
votaries.

It is said in answer to this obvious objection to the Romantic drama,
founded on its fate in all the countries where it has been established,
that it shares in this respect only in the common destiny of mankind in
creating works of imagination; that the period of great and original
conception is the first only--that Homer was succeeded by Virgil, Æschylus
by Euripides, Dante by Tasso, Shakspeare by Pope, and that the age of
genius in all countries is followed by that of criticism.[6] There can be
no doubt that this observation is in many respects well founded; but it
affords no solution of the causes of the present degraded condition of our
national drama, nor does it explain the course it has taken in this
country. We have made a progress, but it has not been from originality to
taste, but from genius to folly. The age of Æschylus has not with us been
succeeded by that of Sophocles and Euripides, but by that of melodrama and
_spectacle_. We have not advanced from the wildness of conception to the
graces of criticism, but from the rudeness of some barbaric imagination,
to the cravings of corrupted fancy. The age of Garrick has been with us
succeeded, not by that of Roscius, but by that of Cerito; the melodrama of
the _Crusaders_, the dancing of Carlotta Grisi, have banished tragedy from
the boards trod by Kemble and Siddons. The modern dramas which have been
published, and in part appeared on the stage, have in no respect been
distinguished by more legitimate taste, or a stricter adherence to rule,
than those of Ford and Massinger, of Beaumont and Fletcher, of Jonson and
Shakspeare. They have discarded, indeed, the indecency which forms so
serious a blot on our older dramatists, but, in other respects, they have
faithfully followed out their principles. The drama still, as in earlier
days, professes to exhibit in a few hours a representation of the
principal events of a lifetime. Time and place are set at nought, as they
were by the bard of Avon, and not unfrequently the last act opens at the
distance of years, or hundreds of miles from the first. We need only
mention two of the ablest and most popular of our modern dramas--_The Lady
of Lyons_, by Bulwer, and the best of Sheridan Knowles' theatrical pieces,
for a confirmation of these observations. But no one will pretend that the
dramatic works of these writers, excellent in many respects as they are,
can be set off against the master-pieces of the Greek or French drama
which succeeded the days of Æschylus and Corneille.

Again it is said, and very commonly too, as an explanation of the
extraordinary failure of dramatic genius since the days of Queen Elizabeth
in this country, that originality and greatness can be reached only once
in the lifetime of a nation; that we have had our Shakspeare as Greece had
its Homer, and that we should be content; and that it is the necessary
effect of superlative excellence in the outset, to extinguish rivalry and
induce mediocrity in the end. The observation is plausible, and it has
been so frequently made, that it has passed with many into a sort of
axiom. But when tried by the only test of truth in human affairs--that of
experience--it entirely fails. Past history affords no countenance to the
idea, that early greatness extinguishes subsequent emulation, or that
superlative genius in one department is fatal to subsequent perfection in
it. On the contrary, it creates it. It is by the collision of one great
mind with another, that the greatest achievements of the human mind have
been effected--often the chain continues from one age and nation to
another; but it is never snapped asunder.

These considerations are fitted to cast a serious doubt on the question,
how far the true principles of the drama are those which have been
embraced by the English school, and may lead us to consider whether the
acknowledged inferiority of our tragic writers, since the time of
Shakspeare, is not in reality to be ascribed to his transcendent genius
having led them astray from the true principles of the art. It will be
considered in the sequel, to what cause _his_ acknowledged success has
been owing, and whether his finest dramas, those which chiefly retain
their popularity, are not in reality constructed on the Grecian model.
But, in the mean time, let it be considered what in reality the drama can
do, and what limits are imposed upon it, not by the arbitrary rules of
critics, but by the lasting nature of things.

The drama is restricted by the well known limits of human patience to a
representation of three hours. Experience has every where proved that the
greatest genius, both in the poet and performer, cannot keep alive
interest, or avert weariness, beyond that period. The spectators sit still
in their places the whole time. Whatever changes of scene, or external
objects to look at are introduced, the audience itself is motionless. It
is to persons thus situated, and within this time, that theatrical
representations are addressed. They expect, and with reason, to be amused
and interested in comedy, moved and melted in tragedy. It is for this they
go to the theatre, for this they pay their money. Writers and actors are
equally aware that this is the case. Then what course do the Greek and the
Romantic school respectively follow to attain this object?

Both in some respects follow the same course, or rather both make use, for
the main part, of the same materials. It is universally acknowledged, that
it is essential to the success of the drama, in all its branches, that the
plot be interesting, the characters forcible, the ideas natural, the
attention constantly kept up. In tragedy, by far its noblest department,
it is indispensable, in addition, that the feelings should be vehemently
excited in the spectators, and the human heart laid bare, by the most
violent passions, in the characters on the stage. Aristotle expressly
says, that it is the delineation of passions which is the object of
tragedy. In order to achieve this object, all are agreed, that some
permanent characters must be selected, generally from those known to
history, to whom striking and tragic events have occurred; and it is in
the delineation of the passions which those events excite, and the
interest they awaken in the breast of the spectators, that the art of the
writer consists. So far both parties are agreed; but they differ widely in
the methods which they respectively take to attain this object.

The Romantic dramatist, overstepping the bounds of time and place,
professes in three hours to portray the principal events of years--it may
be of a whole lifetime. He selects the prominent events of his hero's or
heroine's career, the salient angles, as it were, of human existence, and
brings them forward in different scenes of his brief representation. Years
often intervene between the commencement of his piece and its termination;
the spectator is transported hundreds, it may be thousands of miles by a
mere mechanical sleight of hand in the scene-shifter, or between the acts.
The drama constructed on these principles does not represent a short
period, into which the crisis, as it were, of a whole lifetime is
concentrated, but it gives sketches of the whole life itself, from the
commencement of its eventful period to its termination. The poet chooses
the most exciting scenes out of the three volumes of the historical novel,
and brings these scenes on the stage in a few hours. As the drama,
constructed on this principle, professes to portray the changes of real
life, so it admits, it is thought, of that intermixture of the serious and
the comic, which the actual world exhibits; and willingly transports the
spectator from the most highly wrought scenes of passion, the deepest
accents of woe, to the burlesque of extravagant characters, or the picture
of vulgar life. This is deemed admissible, because it is natural; and
certainly no one can have gone from the drawing-room, or the library, to
the stage-coach or the steam-boat, without seeing that it exhibits at
least a true picture of the varied phantasmagoria which existence
presents.

The Greek dramatists, and their successors in modern Europe, proceed upon
an entirely different principle. Having made their selection of the
characters and the events on which their piece is to be constructed, they
pitch upon that period in their progress in which matters were brought to
a crisis, and, for good or for evil, their destiny was accomplished.
Having done this, they portray the minutest incidents of that brief period
with the utmost care, and exert all their strength on the graphic painting
on which every artist knows the awakening of interest is almost entirely
dependent. The previous history of the principal personages is described
in dialogue at the commencement of the piece, so as to make the spectators
aware both of the great lives of the characters which are brought before
them, and of the antecedent events which had brought matters to their
present crisis. Having carried them to this point, the crisis itself is
portrayed at full length, and with all the power and pathos of which the
artist is capable. The poet does not pretend to narrate the campaign from
its commencement to its termination: he begins his piece with the
commencement of the last battle, and exerts all his strength on painting
the decisive charge. He does not give the voyage from its commencement to
its termination, with its long periods of monotonous weariness; he
confines himself to the brief and terrible scene of the ship-wreck. As the
crisis and catastrophe of life is thus alone represented, and every thing
depends on the interest excited by its development, so nothing is admitted
which can disturb the unity of the emotion, or interrupt the flow of the
sympathy which it is the great object of the piece from first to last to
awaken.

If it were _possible_ to create the same interest, or delineate character
and passion as completely, by brief and consequently imperfect sketches of
a whole lifetime, as it is by a minute and glowing representation of its
most eventful period, much might be advanced with justice in favour of the
Romantic school of the drama. Our objection is, that this is impossible;
and that the failure of the English theatre, since the time of Shakspeare,
is entirely to be ascribed to this impossibility. And the impossibility is
owing to the length of time which it requires, by narrative or
representation, to kindle that warm and glowing image, or awaken those
ardent feelings in the mind of another, upon which the emotion of taste
and the success of all the Fine Arts depend.

In the arts which address themselves to the _eye_, and through it to the
heart, it is possible to produce a very strong impression almost
instantaneously. A beautiful woman has only to be seen to be admired; a
charming landscape bursts upon the sight with immediate and almost magical
force. The impression produced by the finest objects in Europe,--the sun
setting on the Jungfrawhorn, the interior of St Peter's, the fall of
Schaffhausen, the view on the Acropolis of Athens, Constantinople from the
Seraglio point, the Bay of Naples, for example,--is such, that though seen
_only_ for a few minutes, it may almost be said seconds, an impression is
made, a picture is painted, on the mind's retina, which can never be
effaced. Painting, as it imitates external nature, so it shares in the
rapidity and, in the hands of great masters, durability of its
impressions. Sculpture and architecture have the same advantage. Yet even
in these arts, the productions of which require only to be seen to be
admired, it is well known that the impression, strong as it is at first,
is, with all persons of a cultivated mind, greatly increased by repeated
inspections. The common observation, that a fine painting or statue grows
upon you the oftener you see it, and that "Time but the impression deeper
wears," sufficiently proves that it is not at once, even in those arts
which speak at once to the eye, that the soul of the artist is transferred
to that of the spectator.

But the case is entirely different with those arts--such as history,
romance, epic poetry, or the drama--which do not at once produce a visible
object to the mind, but give descriptions or dialogues by which the reader
or spectator is required to form a _mental_ object or awaken a mental
interest of his own creation, though from the materials furnished, and
under the guidance of the genius of the artist. It is not instantaneously
that this can be done: on the contrary, it is by very slow degrees and
many successive efforts that the inward picture is created in the mind,
the absorbing interest awakened in the heart, which gives the pleasure or
rouses the sympathy which is the object of the writer to communicate. A
very little reflection will be sufficient to show that this observation is
well founded, in all the arts of narrative or description. And nothing, we
apprehend, can be clearer than that the Romantic Drama has failed because
it professes, within limits and by means which render the attempt
hopeless, to excite this interest.

Notwithstanding the well-known and proverbial dulness of history, there
are many historical works which do succeed in awakening a durable and
sometimes absorbing interest in the mind of the reader. Probably few works
professedly addressed to the imagination have awakened in many breasts so
deep and lasting an interest as the narrative of Livy, the biography of
Tacitus, the pictured page of Gibbon. Such works are almost always
complained of as dull at first: but the interest gradually waxes warmer as
the narrative proceeds; the feelings become roused on one side, or in
favour of one hero or another, in the great drama of the world; and not
unfrequently in the end the most attractive works of imagination are laid
aside for the annals of real events. But how is it that this interest is
awakened? By the study of months, sometimes of years: by an interest
produced by the reading of a whole winter by the fireside. Let any man
try, in a narrative of _long_ continued historical events, to excite a
deep interest in a space which can be read _in three hours_, and the
powers of Tacitus or Gibbon would at once fail in the attempt. It is quite
possible in that brief period to awaken the deepest interest in a single
or closely connected series of events, as a battle, a siege, a revolt, a
ship-wreck: but wholly impossible to do so with incidents scattered over a
long course of years.

The interest so generally felt in epic poetry and romance is excited in
the same way, though in a much shorter period. As the colours of these
species of composition are more brilliant, the feelings more chastened,
the events more select, the characters more prominent, the catastrophe
more rapidly brought about, than in real life, so the artist has the
means, in a much shorter period, of awakening the interest upon the growth
of which the success of his work is chiefly dependent. But nevertheless,
even there, it is by comparatively slow degrees, and by reading for a very
considerable period, that the interest is created. It is wholly impossible
to produce it, or make the story or the characters intelligible, in a few
hours. Every scholar recollects the delight with which his mind grew, as
it were, under the fire of Homer's conceptions, his taste matured under
the charm of Virgil's feelings: but no one will pretend that the intense
delight he felt could be awakened, if he had read extracts from their most
brilliant passages in a few hours; this pleasure was the feast, this
interest the growth, of weeks and months. No reader of Tasso, Milton, or
Klopstock, for the first time, would think he could acquire an interest in
the _Jerusalem Delivered_, the _Paradise Lost_, or the _Messiah_, between
tea and supper. Many of their finest passages might be read in that brief
space, and their beauty _as pieces of poetry_ fully appreciated; but it
would be wholly impossible in so short a time to awaken an interest in the
whole story, or the fate of the principal characters.--Nevertheless it
would be quite possible, in that period to excite the deepest sympathy
with some of their most striking events or episodes _taken singly_; as the
parting of Hector and Andromache, or the death of the Trojan hero, in the
_Iliad_; the love of Dido for Æneas, or the catastrophe of Nisus and
Euryalus, in the _Æneid_; the death of Clorinda, or the flight of Erminia,
in the _Jerusalem Delivered_. The reason is, that it is possible in a
short space to point a single catastrophe with such force and minuteness
as to excite the warmest sympathy, but wholly impossible to effect that
object within such limits, with a long series of consecutive events.

Again, look at the historical romance or the common novel. No one needs to
be told how deep and universal is the interest which the masterpieces in
that department awaken. Whatever may be said to the decline of the public
taste for the drama, most certainly there is no symptom of any abatement
in the general interest awakened by works of fiction; but that interest is
of comparatively slow growth. It would be impossible to produce it in a
few hours. It is excited by the reading of three evenings by the fireside.
No one would deem it possible to awaken the interest, or make the
characters intelligible, in three hours.

It is true that to the aid of six or eight chapters culled out of three
volumes, the Romantic dramatist brings the auxiliaries of acting, scenery,
and stage effect; but that adds little to the power of exciting deep
sympathy or powerful emotion. Such feelings cannot be awakened without
minute painting, and continuity of action, and they are excluded by the
very nature of the Romantic drama. That species of composition proposes to
give a picture of the principal events of a long period, as the
peristrephic panorama does of the chief scenes of a great space, as the
whole course of the Rhine or the Danube. Every one knows how inferior the
interest it excites is to those in which the whole skill of the artist and
outlay of the proprietor have been exerted on a single picture, as the
original round one of Barker and Burford. The art of panoramic painting
has signally receded, since the moving panorama has been substituted for
the fixed one. A series of galloping lithographic sketches of Italy,
however highly coloured or skilfully drawn, will never paint that lovely
peninsula like a single sunset of Claude in the bay of Naples. Claude
himself could not do so in his varied sketches, graphic and masterly as
they are. The Romantic drama is the _Liber Veritatis_; the Greek drama is
the finished Claude in the Doria Palace, or the National Gallery. Few
persons will hesitate to say which excites the strongest admiration, which
they would rather possess.

Performers on the stage are very naturally led to form an erroneous
opinion on this subject. Many of the most captivating qualities they
possess are seen at once. Physical beauty, elegance of manner, a noble
air, a majestic carriage, a lovely figure, a bewitching smile, produce
their effect instantaneously. No one needs to be told how quickly and
powerfully they speak to the heart, how warmly they kindle the
imagination. But that admiration is _personal_ to the artist; it does not
extend to the piece, nor can it overcome its imperfections. It gives
pleasure often of the very highest kind; but it is a pleasure very
different from the true interest of dramatic representation, and cannot be
relied on to sustain the interest of an audience for a long period. It is
where these powers of the performer are exerted on a drama constructed on
its true principles, that the full delight of the theatre is felt. No
talents in the performer can sustain a faulty piece. We cannot sit three
hours merely to admire the most beautiful and gifted actress that ever
trod the boards. Mental sympathy, the rousing of the feelings, is
required, and that is mainly the work of the poet.

We are the more confirmed in the opinion that these are the true
principles of dramatic composition, from observing how generally they are
applicable to the historical novel; how clearly they are illustrated by
the decided verdict of public opinion pronounced on the works of the most
popular writers in that species of composition. The two novels of Sir
Walter Scott that are most admired, are _Ivanhoe_ and _The Bride of
Lammermoor_. Well, these romances have the interest concentrated within
the narrowest limits. _The Bride of Lammermoor_ is a Greek drama in prose.
It has its simplicity of story, unity of emotion, and terrible concluding
catastrophe. _Lucia di Lammermoor_, performed with signal success in every
opera of Europe, is a proof how easily it was dramatised. It is the _only
one_ of Sir Walter's novels that, out of Scotland, where local feelings
warp the judgment, has been durably successful on the stage. The principal
events in _Ivanhoe_ are contracted within three days; the characters which
interest are only two or three in number. Look at Cooper. The great secret
of his success is the minuteness and fidelity of his painting, and the
graphic power with which heart-stirring events occurring within a very
short period are painted. In the most admired of all his novels, _The
Deerslayer_, the whole scene is laid on the borders of a single lake, and
the interest arises from the adventures of two girls on its watery bosom.
Events in _The Pathfinder_, _The Last of the Mohicans_, and _The Prairie_,
are nearly as concentrated in point of time and characters, though, as the
story depends in each on the adventures of a party on a journey, a
considerable transference of place is of course introduced. _The Promessi
Sposi_ of Manzoni has acquired a European reputation, and every reader of
it knows how entirely its interest is dependent on the unity of interest
and extraordinary fidelity and skill with which, within narrow limits, the
characters, events, and still life, are portrayed. It is the same in
history. The success of Alison's _History of Europe_ has been mainly
owing to the fortunate unity of the subject, and the dramatic character of
the events which, within the space of twenty years, were thus crowded into
the theatre of human affairs.

In those romances again, and they are many, in which great latitude in the
unities has been taken, it is very rarely that the skill of the artist has
succeeded in preventing a painful break in the interest, or cessation in
the sympathy, where any considerable transposition of place or overleaping
of time occurs. It is very frequent in James's novels to see this done;
but we believe he never yet had a reader in whom it did not excite a
feeling of regret. When a chapter begins--"We must now transport the
reader to a distant part of the country"--or "Many years after the events
detailed in the last chapter had occurred, two persons met in an hostelry
on the side of a forest," &c., we may rely upon it that, not only is the
scene changed, but the interest, for the time at least, is lost. The
pictures formed in the mind, the interest awakened in the events, the
admiration felt for the characters, are alike at an end. The chain of
sympathy is broken with the rupture of the continuity of events. The
reader's mind sets out as it were on a new track, in which the sails must
be spread, and the oars worked afresh. Everything must be done over again;
fresh pictures conjured up in the mind, new interests awakened in the
breast from the last starting-point. But it is seldom that such new
interests can supply the want of those which have been lost, or that,
where such a system is adopted, even a sustained sympathy can be
maintained throughout. We do not say that the first love is exclusive of
any other; but only that the interest is not to be transferred from one to
the other, until a considerable time has elapsed, and no small pains have
been taken. Several such dislocations of place, or violations of time,
will prove fatal to a novel, though written with the utmost ability, and
managed in other respects with the most consummate skill. Every reader of
Mr James's romances, which in many respects possess high merits, must be
sensible of the truth of this observation; and all the richness of
colouring, and fidelity in drawing, in Sir L. Bulwer's splendid historical
romance of _Rienzi_, cannot take away the painful impression produced by
the long interval which elapses between the commencement of the story,
where the characters first appear, its middle, where the real interest is
developed, and its termination, where the catastrophe occurs.

In the historical romance, however, such diffusion of the events over a
long period, though extremely difficult to be managed in consistence with
the preservation of interest in the story, is adverse to no principle;
because it is the very object of that species of mingled truth and fiction
to narrate a lengthened course of events as they affected the history of
individual men; and the only unity to which the author is restricted by
the principles of his art is the unity of interest. But the curious thing
is, that in the Romantic drama this difficulty is voluntarily undertaken
when no necessity exists for its introduction; nay, when the principles of
the art, as evinced in the works of its greatest masters, forbid its
adoption. What would the historian give to be able to dwell only on the
brilliant episodes of his period--to be permitted to throw aside the long
intervening years of monotony or prose, and dwell only on those where the
poetry of existence is brought forth? On what scenes does the romance
writer dwell with transport--where does he paint with force and minuteness
but in those incidents, generally few and far between in his volumes,
which form the fit subject of dramatic composition? The stage alone is
relieved from the necessity of portraying the prosaic adjunct to poetic
interest; the dramatist only is permitted to select the decisive
crisis--the burning incident of life--and present it with all the
additions of poetry, music, scenery, and personation. Strange that, when
thus relieved of the fetters which so grievously restrain the other
species of human narrative, he should voluntarily choose to wear them;
that when at liberty to soar on the eagle's wing, he should gratuitously
assume the camel's load.

In truth, the adoption of the Romantic style in theatrical composition,
and the tenacity with which, despite centuries of failure, it is still
adhered to by dramatic poets, is mainly to be ascribed to a secret sense
of inability to work up the simpler old drama of Greece with the requisite
force and effect. Men distrust their own powers in awaking a continued
interest for hours from one incident, or the portraying of a single
catastrophe. They are fain to borrow the adventitious aid to be derived,
as they think, from frequent changes of time and place. They rail at the
drama of Athens, as many modern artists do at the paintings of Claude
Lorraine, because they feel themselves unable to imitate them. They crowd
their canvass with objects, from a secret sense of inability to finish any
one with perfect force and fidelity. In that way they flatter themselves
that the defects of their composition will be less strongly felt, and the
audience will experience something like the enjoyment of foreign
travelling without any great trouble on the part of their conductor, on
the brilliant succession of pictures which is presented to their
intellectual vision. They forget only one thing, but it generally proves
fatal to their whole undertaking. Foreign travelling is delightful; but it
is only so when sufficient time is allowed to see the objects properly,
and take in the impression. Without this, it is little more than a
grievous fatigue, relieved by one or two splendid but fleeting pictures
painted on the mind. The drama being limited to a three hours'
representation, must portray the events of years, if it attempts it, at
railway speed. Thence it is, that no greater pleasure is in general felt
from its representations than from seeing the tops of villages or the
steeples of churches fleeting past when travelling fifty miles an hour on
the Great Western. If we would really enjoy nature, we must stop short and
sketch one of them, and then we shall feel pleasure indeed.

It is a most grievous but unavoidable consequence of this original
departure, as we deem it, from right principle in dramatic composition,
that it leads by a natural and almost unavoidable transition to all the
extravagances and meritricious aids, the presence of which has so long
been felt as the chief disgrace of the British stage. As long as the
unities of time and place are adhered to, the poet has no resource but in
the forces of character, the pathos of incident, the beauty of language.
If he does not succeed in these he is lost. But the moment that he feels
himself at liberty to change the scene or time at pleasure, there is no
end to the assistance which he will seek to derive from such adventitious
support, how foreign soever to the real interest and true principles of
his art. Frequent changes of scene, gorgeous pictures of buildings or
scenery, brilliant exhibitions of stage effect, processions, battles,
storming of castles, the clang of trumpets, the clashing of swords, the
discharge of fire-arms, are all resorted to in order to save the trouble
of thought, or conceal mediocrity of conception. It may be that such
exhibitions are very attractive, that they draw full houses of children,
or of men and women with the minds of children--no small portion of the
human race. But no one will assert that they are the drama, any more than
that name belonged to the exhibitions of lions or cameleopards in the
Roman amphitheatre. But the Romantic drama, by the unbounded latitude in
point of time, place, and incident, which it permits, opens the door to
all these substitutes for genius which the great drama, by excluding them,
kept carefully closed. Therefore it is that the corruption of taste has
been much more rapid and irremediable in the countries by which it has
been adopted, than in those in which the old landmarks were adhered to;
and that in the latter the taste for extravagance in the public, and the
degradation in the character of dramatic composition, has always been
contemporary with the introduction of the Romantic style on the theatre.

To see to what the Romantic style leads, we have only to look at the
dramatic pieces founded on the favourite works of fiction which have
recently appeared in England and France. Dramas in both countries have
been formed on the stories of the most popular novels of Scott, Bulwer,
Victor Hugo, Janin, and Eugene Sue. What success have they had? What sort
of things are they? We pass over the horrors, the indecency, adulterous
incest, and murders of the modern French drama, founded on the romances of
three popular and imaginative novelists, and come to the dramas founded on
our own great romance writers, against whom no such charges can be
brought, and the original plots of which have been constructed with the
utmost talent by the greatest master of prose fiction the world ever saw.
What has been the fate of the dramas of _Ivanhoe_, _The Antiquary_, _Guy
Mannering_, _Rob Roy_, or Sir Walter's other popular novels? With the
exception of the lowest class of Scotch audiences, who roar on the
representations of Dandie Dinmont, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, or the like, it
may safely be affirmed that they have every where proved entire failures.
The talent of a popular actress may for a time keep some of them up, as
Miss Cushman has recently done with Meg Merrilies both in the London and
provincial theatres; but left to themselves, they have every where sunk to
the ground. The reason is evident. The story is so complicated, and leaps
so from one thing to another, from a desire to skim over the whole novel,
that except to those who have the original by heart, it is absolutely
unintelligible.

It is said that the sketch of a whole lifetime, or of many years, is
essential to the true development of character, which it is the great end
of the drama to exhibit, because it is by the varied events of so long a
period that we are made acquainted with it in real life. Here again we
join issue with our opponents, and do most confidently maintain that the
Greek drama, which professes to paint the heart by the paroxysms of
passion it undergoes in the crisis of its fate, is much more likely to do
it faithfully and effectually than the Romantic, which portrays the events
of a whole lifetime. When it is said the object of the drama is to paint
the human heart, a distinction must be made. The heart may become known by
ordinary life or moments of crisis, _by custom or passion_. The novelist,
who portrays a whole life, may delineate it in the first way; but the
dramatic poet, who is limited to a representation of three hours, must of
necessity embrace the latter. But if the delineation of the heart by its
expressions or sufferings in moments of passion, when it is laid bare by
the vehemence of emotions, be the end in view, it must at once be evident
that it is much more likely to be attained by vividly and minutely
painting a single decisive crisis, with the acts and feelings to which it
gives rise, than by presenting comparatively hurried and imperfect
sketches of previous events, when the current of life ran comparatively
smoothly. Every one knows how much the character of the French church and
nobility rose during the sufferings of the Revolution; with truth was the
instrument of their execution called the "holy guillotine," from the
virtues previously unheard of which it brought to light. Could any
dramatic sketch of their previous lives paint the inmost heart of these
victims so well as one faithful portrait of their conduct in the supreme
hour? Could the mingled greatness and meanness of Napoleon's character be
so well portrayed, by a sketch of his life and impressive scenes from Lodi
to St Helena, as by a graphic delineation of his conduct in the decisive
crisis at Waterloo?

It sounds well, no doubt, to say, as Macaulay does, that the Romantic
drama exhibits all the plans of a man's life, from the ardour of generous
youth to the coolness of experienced age. This may be done in history or
romance; but it is impossible within the limits of a single
representation. It is quite enough if, in so short a space, the stage can
represent one momentous crisis with adequate power, and really paint the
heart as laid bare by its occurrence. He who knows how difficult it is to
do that in a single instance, will feel that the effect can only be
weakened by repeated draughts upon the sympathy of the audience, from the
effect of different events in the same piece. The attempt to do so
scarcely ever fails to weaken the effect of the whole piece, by
distracting the interest and confusing the idea of the spectators. If it
succeeds, the result, like the repeated demands which Matthews made on
our risible faculties, in general is to produce an effect directly the
reverse of what was intended. The comedian, by trying too often to make us
laugh, made us in the end more ready to cry; the tragedian, by trying too
often to make us cry, succeeds generally only in making us laugh.

But what, then, it is said, is to be made of Shakspeare, and how is his
transcendent and universally acknowledged greatness, while setting the
unities at defiance, to be reconciled with those principles? We accept the
challenge; we take the case of the Earl of Avon, with his deathless fame,
and maintain that his dramatic excellence not only affords no impeachment
of what has now been advanced, but furnishes its most decisive
confirmation.

When it is commonly said that Shakspeare sets the unities at defiance, and
assumed that his success has been owing to his disregarding them, the
_fact_ is not correctly stated, and the _inference_ is not logically
drawn. It is a mistake to say that the unities are always disregarded by
the great English tragedian. In many of his most popular pieces, they are
maintained nearly as strictly as they were by Sophocles; and we are aware
of not one of his dramas which is still represented with undiminished
effect on the stage, in which the principle of the unities may not
distinctly be recognised, and the long-continued success is not to be
traced to their observation.

The Greeks, as every scholar knows, took great latitude with _time_ in
their representations. The interval between one act and another, often
even the time occupied by the chaunting of the chorus, frequently was made
to cover a very considerable period, during which battles were fought, a
duel or a conspiracy broke forth, an execution took place, and the most
momentous events of the piece off the stage occurred. In place, it is
true, they were strictly limited; the scene never changed, and all the
incidents were introduced by bringing successive persons upon it. In this
respect, it may be admitted, they carried their strictness too far.
Probably it arose from the pieces being represented, for the most part, in
the open air, under circumstances when the illusion produced by a change
of scene, such as we witness at our theatres, was difficult, if not
impossible, from the audience being, for the most part, above the actors,
and the stage having no top. But to whatever cause it may have been owing,
we hold the adherence to unity of place an unnecessary and prejudicial
strictness in the Greek theatre. But a very slight deviation from it alone
seems admissible; and the unity of action or emotion seems to be the very
essence of this species of composition.

The true principle appears to be, that the place should not change to a
greater extent than the spectators _can conceive the actors to have gone
over without inconvenience within the time embraced in the
representation_. This time often extended with the Greeks to a half of, or
even a whole day, and there seems nothing adverse to principle in such
extension. Changes of scene, therefore, from one room in a palace to
another; from one part of a town to another; or even from town to a
chateau, garden, forest, or other place in its near vicinity, appear to be
perfectly admissible, without any violation of true dramatic principle.
The popular opera of the "Black Domino," to which the charming singing and
acting of Madame Thillon have recently given such celebrity at the
Haymarket, may be considered in this respect as a model of the unities
taken in a reasonable sense. The time which elapses in the piece is a
single night; the subject is the adventures which befel the heroine during
that period; the scene changes, but only to the places in the same town to
which she went during its continuance. There seems nothing inconsistent
with the production of unity of interest in such a latitude. And with this
inconsiderable expansion of the old Greek unities, it will be found that
Shakspeare's greatest plays, and those which experience has found to be
best adapted for the stage, have been constructed on the true principles.

Take for example, _Romeo and Juliet_, and _As you Like it_; perhaps the
tragedy and comedy of his composition which have most completely kept
their hold of the stage. The unities are nearly as closely observed in
both as in any drama of Sophocles. With the exception of a slight
alteration of place and scene, every thing is concentrated. The interest
and emotion, which is the great point, is maintained one and indivisible.
With the exception of Romeo's banishment to Mantua, and the scene with the
druggist there, which, after all, is but an episode, and took the hero
only two hours' drive from Verona, the place is confined to different
scenes in that town. The festive hall where the lovers first meet--the
exquisite meeting on the balcony--Father Ambrose's cell--the room where
Juliet coaxes the nurse--the garden where she parts from Romeo, when

  "Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
  Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain's top--"

the terrible scene where Juliet contemplates wakening in the tomb amidst
her ancestors' bones--the mausoleum itself, where the catastrophe occurs,
are all in the same town. The time supposed to elapse does not exceed
twenty-four hours; not more than in the _Electra_ or _Iphigenia in Aulis_
of Euripides. The interest, dependent entirely on the ardent love of
Juliet, is as much undivided as in the _Antigone_ of Sophocles. And yet we
are told Shakspeare succeeded by disregarding the unities.

Again, in _As you Like it_, the same observation holds true. Whoever
recollects the scenes of that delightful drama, must be sensible that it
is, with the single exception of the scenes of the wrestlers in the first
act, nothing but a Greek drama on the English stage. Menander or
Aristophanes would have made one of the characters recount that scene,
which is merely introductory, and introduced Rosalind and her companions
for the first time in the Forest of Arden, where the real interest of the
piece commences. A slight change of scene, indeed, occurs from one part of
the forest to another, but it is so inconsiderable as in no degree to
interfere with the unity of effect. The single interest awakened by
Rosalind's secret love and playful archness of manner is kept up undivided
throughout. So also in _The Tempest_, the unities in all the scenes which
excite sympathy are as completely preserved as ever they were on the Greek
stage; and the angelic innocence of Miranda stands forth in as striking
and undivided relief as the devotion of Antigone to sisterly affection, or
the self-immolation of Iphigenia to patriotic duty. We are well aware
there are characters of a very different kind in that drama; but the
interest is concentrated on those in which the unity is preserved. Look at
_Othello_. In what play of Euripides is singleness of interest more
completely preserved than in that noble tragedy? The haughty bearing,
conscious pride, but ardent love of the Moor; the deep love of Desdemona,
nourished, as we so often see in real life, by qualities in her the very
reverse; the gradual growth of jealousy from her innocent sportiveness of
manner, and the diabolical machinations of Iago; her murder, in a fit of
jealousy, by her despairing husband, and his self-sacrifice when the veil
was drawn from his eyes,--are all brought forward, if not with the literal
strictness of the Greek drama, at least with as much regard to unity of
time, place, and action, as is required by its principles.

We are well aware that there are many other dramas, and those, perhaps,
not less popular, of Shakspeare, in which unity of time and place is
entirely set at defiance, and in which the piece ends at the distance of
hundreds of miles, sometimes after the lapse of years, from the point
whence it commenced. _Macbeth_, _Julius Cæsar_, _Richard III._, _Henry
V._, _Hamlet_, and many others, are examples of this deviation from former
principle, and it is to the universal admiration which they excite that
the national partiality for the Romantic drama is to be ascribed. But in
all these instances it will be found--and the observation is a most
material one--that the real interest is nearly as much centralised as it
was in the Greek stage, and that it is on the extraordinary fascination
which a few scenes, or _the incidents grouped round a single event_,
possess, that the success of the piece depends. The historical tragedies
read well, just as a historical romance does, and from the same cause,
that they are looked on, not as dramas, but as brilliant passages of
history. But this has proved unable to support them on the theatre. One by
one they have gradually dropped away from the stage. Some are occasionally
revived, from time to time, in order to display the power of a particular
actor or actress, but never with any lasting success. Those plays of
Shakspeare which alone retain their hold of the theatre, are either those,
such as _Romeo and Juliet_, or _As you Like it_, in which the unities are
substantially observed, or in which the resplendent brilliancy of a few
characters or scenes, within very narrow limits, fixes the attention of
the audience so completely as to render comparatively harmless, because
unfelt, the distraction produced by the intermixture of farce in the
subordinate persons, or the violations of time and place in the structure
of the piece. But it is not to every man that the pencil of the Bard of
Avon,

  "Dipp'd in the orient hues of heaven,"

is given; and the subsequent failure of the Romantic drama, in this and
every other country, is mainly to be ascribed to succeeding writers not
having possessed his power of fixing, by the splendid colours of genius,
the attention of the spectators on a particular part of the piece.
Shakspeare disregards the unities in form; but his burning imagination
restores their operations in substance.

Take for example the most popular of the really Romantic dramas, _Macbeth_
and _Hamlet_. No one need be told how the unities are violated in the
first of these pieces: that it begins on a heath in Morayshire, where the
witches appear to the victorious Thane; that the murder of the King takes
place in the Castle of Inverness; that the usurper is slain by Macduff in
front of Dunsinnane Castle near the Tay. But none can either have read the
play, or seen it acted, without feeling that the real interest lies in the
events which occurred, and the ambitious feelings which were awakened in
Macbeth and his wife, when temptation was put in their way within their
own halls. Sophocles would have laid the scene there, and made one of the
characters narrate in the outset the appearance of the witches on the
heath, and brought Macduff to the gates of Macbeth's castle shortly after
the murder of Duncan to avenge his death. Shakspeare has not done this;
but he has painted the scenes in the interior of the castle, before and
after the murder, with such force and effect, that the mind is as much
riveted by them, as if no previous or subsequent deviation from the
unities had been introduced. _Hamlet_ begins in a strain of unparalleled
interest; had the last four acts proceeded in the same sublime style as
the first, and the filial duty devolved by the ghost on his son of
avenging his murder been discharged as rapidly as it should have been, and
as the feelings of the audience lead them to desire, it would have been
perhaps the most powerful tragedy in the world. Had Shakspeare proceeded
on the principles of the Greek drama, he would have done this, and
produced a drama as universally admired as the _Agamemnon_ of Æschylus.
But every one feels that the interest is weakened and wellnigh lost as the
play proceeds; new characters are introduced, the burlesque succeeds the
sublime, the original design is forgotten; and when the spectre appears a
second time "to whet your almost blunted purpose," his appearance is felt
to be as necessary to revive the decaying interest of the piece, as to
resuscitate the all but forgotten fervour of the Prince of Denmark.

We feel that we have committed high treason in the estimation of a large
part of our readers, by contesting the justice of the principles on which
Shakspeare proceeded in the construction of many of his dramas; and we
know that the opinions advanced are adverse to those of many, whose genius
and professional success entitle their judgment on this subject to the
very highest respect. But yet the weight of authority, if that is to be
appealed to, is decidedly in favour of the principles of the Greek being
the true ones of the drama. From the days of Aristotle to those of
Addison, the greatest critics have concurred in this opinion; and he is a
bold innovater on this subject who sets at nought the precepts of Horace
and Quintilian, forgets the example of Sophocles and Schiller, of
Euripides and Alfieri, of Corneille and Metastasio, and disregards the
decided judgment of Pope[7] and Byron. The opinion of the latter poet was
peculiarly strong in favour of the unities, and was repeatedly expressed
in his correspondence preserved in Moore's Life; although his own noble
dramas, being avowedly constructed with no view to representation, but as
a vehicle for powerful declamation or impassioned poetry, often exhibit,
especially in _Manfred_, the most glaring violations of them. Johnson
confessed that the weight of authority in favour of the Greek rules was so
great, that it required no small courage to attempt even to withstand it.
But it is not by authority that this, or any other question of taste, is
to be decided. The true test of the correctness of opinion on such matters
is to be found in experience, and the inward feelings of persons of
cultivated minds and enlarged observation. And in the preceding remarks we
have only extended to the drama, principles familiar to artists in every
other department of human imagination, and generally admitted in them, at
least, to be correct; and appealed, we trust not in vain, to the
experience gained, and the lessons learned, by those who have cultivated
the sister arts in those times with the greatest success.



THE MINSTREL'S CURSE.

FROM UHLAND. BY A. LODGE.


  A castle of the olden time, o'er subject regions wide,
  Throned on its rocky height afar looked forth in feudal pride;
  And fragrant gardens decked the plain, where lakes, with crystal sheen,
  Mirrored the pleasant sylvan glades and lawns of living green.

  Here dwelt, of jealous fears the prey, in pomp of moody state,
  A King, by realms and cities fair, and conquest's laurels great;
  His glance bespoke the tyrant soul to pity ne'er subdued;
  His words were chains and torments--his characters were blood!

  Once to these lordly towers at eve approached a tuneful pair,
  Of reverend silvery tresses one, and one with golden hair;
  The old man on a palfrey sate--his harp, the Minstrel's pride,
  He bore--his comrade, young and blithe, tripped lightly at his side.

  Thus to the youth the old man spoke--"My son, it boots to-day,
  To try our deepest melodies, our most impassioned lay;
  With cunning'st art essay the notes of blended joy and pain;
  Perchance this royal heart may own the magic of the strain."

  Soon in the pillared regal hall, amid the courtly throng
  Of belted knights and beauteous dames, they range the sons of song:--
  The King, in fearful majesty, recalled the meteor's blaze;
  His spouse, with beaming loveliness, the moonlight's gentle rays.

  The old man swept the chords--and quick, responsive to the tone,
  Through all the train each heart confessed the spell of power unknown;
  And when a clear angelic voice chimed in with youthful fire,
  'Twas like the unseen minstrelsy of some ethereal quire!

  They sang of Love's delightful spring--of the old golden time;
  Of knightly leal, and maiden's truth, and chivalry sublime;
  Of each high thought that stirs the soul informed with heavenly flame;
  Of man's exalted destinies--of freedom, worth, and fame!

  They paused:--in rapt attention hushed, the crowd had clustered near;
  The courtier smoothed the lip of scorn, the warrior dropped a tear;
  The Queen, with trembling extasy, took from her breast a rose;
  And see! at the young Minstrel's feet the guerdon flower she throws.

  "Ha!" shrieked the King--"my lieges first, with your detested lays,
  Ye have seduced--and now my Queen their witchery betrays;
  Die, tuneful minion!"--at the youth he hurled the gleaming sword,
  And from the fount of golden strains the crimson tide was poured.

  While scared, as by the lightning's flash, all stood in mute dismay,
  The boy on his loved master's breast had breathed his soul away:--
  The old man round the bleeding form his mantle wrapped with speed;
  Raised the dear victim in his arms, and bound him on his steed.

  The portals passed, he stood awhile, and gazed with tearful eyes--
  And grasped his harp--the master harp--of thousand harps the prize:
  Then frantic on a column's base he dashed the useless lyre,
  And thus the curse of Poesy spoke with a prophet's fire!

  "Woe! Woe! proud towers--dire House of blood! thy guilty courts among,
  Ne'er may the chords of harmony be waked--the voice of song;
  The tread of silent slaves alone shall echo mid the gloom,
  Till Ruin waits, and hovering fiends of vengeance shriek thy doom!

  "Woe! Woe! ye blooming gardens fair--decked in the pride of May,
  Behold this flower untimely cropped--look--and no more be gay!
  The sight should wither every leaf--make all your fountains dry,
  And bid the bright enchantment round in wasteful horror lie!

  "And thou, fell Tyrant, curst for aye of all the tuneful train--
  May blighted bays, and bitter scorn, mock thy inglorious reign!
  Perish thy hated name with thee--from songs and annals fade--
  Thy race--thy power--thy very crimes--lost in oblivion's shade!"

  The aged Bard has spoken--and Heaven has heard the prayer;
  The haughty towers are crumbling low--no regal dome is there!
  A single column soars on high, to tell of splendours past--
  And see! _'tis cracked--it nods the head_--this hour may be it's last!

  Where once the fairy garden smiled, a mournful desert lies--
  No rills refresh the barren sand--no graceful stems arise--
  From storied page, and legend strain, this King has vanished long;
  His race is dead--his power forgot:--such is the might of song!



THE MINE, THE FOREST, AND THE CORDILLERA.[8]


The silver mines of Potosi, the virgin forests, and mighty cordilleras of
South America, are words familiar and full of interest to European ears.
Countless riches, prodigious vegetable luxuriance, stupendous grandeur,
are the associations they suggest. With these should be coupled ideas of
cruelty, desolation, and disease, of human suffering and degradation
pushed to their utmost limit, of opportunities neglected, and advantages
misused. Not a bar of silver, or a healing drug, or an Alpaca fleece,
shipped from Peruvian ports to supply another hemisphere with luxuries and
comforts, but is the price of an incalculable amount of misery, and even
of blood--the blood of a race once noble and powerful, now wretched and
depraved by the agency of those whose duty and in whose power it was to
civilize and improve them. The corrupt policy of Spanish rulers, the
baneful example of Spanish colonists and their descendants, have gone far
towards the depopulation and utter ruin of the richest of South American
countries. How imprudent and suicidal has been the course adopted, will
presently be made apparent. Those who desire evidence in support of our
assertion, need but follow Dr Tschudi, as we now propose doing, into the
mining, mountainous, and forest districts of Peru.

Difficult and dangerous as a journey through the maritime provinces of
Peru undeniably is, it is mere railroad travelling when compared with an
expedition into the interior of the country. In the former case, the land
is level, and the sun, the sand, and the highwayman, are the only perils
to be encountered or evaded. But a ramble in the mountains is a succession
of hairbreadth escapes, a deliberate confronting of constantly recurring
dangers, to which even the natives unwillingly expose themselves, and
frequently fall victims. The avalanches, precipices, gaping ravines,
slippery glaciers, and violent storms common to all Alpine regions, are
here complicated by other risks peculiar to the South American mountains.
Heavy rains, lasting for weeks together, falls of snow that in a few
moments obliterate all trace of a path, treacherous swamps, strange and
loathsome maladies, and even blindness, combine to deter the traveller
from his dangerous undertaking. All these did Dr Tschudi brave, and from
them all, after the endurance of great hardship and suffering, he was
fortunate enough to escape.

At a very short distance from Lima, the traveller, proceeding eastward,
gets a foretaste of the difficulties and inconveniences in reserve for
him. Whilst riding, through the vale of Surco, or through some other of
the valleys leading from the coast to the mountains, he perceives a
fountain by the road side, and pauses to refresh his tired mule. Scarcely
is his intention manifest, when he is startled by a cry from his guide, or
from a passing Indian--"_Cuidado! Es agua de verruga!_" In these valleys
reigns a terrible disease called the _verrugas_, attributed by the natives
to the water of certain springs, and for which all Dr Tschudi's
investigations were insufficient to discover another cause. Fever, pains
in the bones, and loss of blood from cutaneous eruptions, are the leading
symptoms of this malady, which is frequently of long duration, and
sometimes terminates fatally. It seizes the Indians and lighter castes in
preference to the white men and negroes, and no specific has yet been
discovered for its cure. Mules and horses are also subject to its attacks.
In no country, it would appear from Dr Tschudi's evidence, are there so
many strange and unaccountable maladies as in Peru. Nearly every valley
has its peculiar disease, extending over a district of a few square miles,
and unknown beyond its limits. To most of them it has hitherto been
impossible to assign a cause. Their origin must probably be sought in
certain vegetable influences, or in those of the vast variety of minerals
which the soil of Peru contains.

In the mountains, the shoeing of mules and horses is frequently a matter
of much difficulty; and it is advisable for the traveller to acquire the
art, and furnish himself with needful implements, before leaving the more
civilized part of the country. Farriers are only to be found in the large
Indian villages, and it is common to ride fifty or sixty leagues without
meeting with one. In the village of San Geronimo de Surco, the innkeeper
is the only blacksmith, and Dr Tschudi, whose horse had cast a shoe, was
compelled to pay half a gold ounce (upwards of thirty shillings) to have
it replaced. This was one half less than the sum at first demanded by the
exorbitant son of Vulcan, who doubtless remembered the old Spanish
proverb, "for a nail is lost a shoe, for a shoe the horse, for the horse
the horseman."[9] The doctor took the hint, and some lessons in shoeing,
which afterwards stood him in good stead. It is a common practice in Peru,
on the sandy coast, and where the roads permit it, to ride a horse or mule
unshod for the first four or five days of a journey. Then shoes are put on
the fore feet, and a few days later on the hinder ones. This is thought to
give new strength to the animals, and to enable them to hold out longer.
On the mountain tracks, the wear and tear of iron must be prodigious, as
may be judged from the following description of three leagues of road
between Viso and San Mateo, by no means the worst bit met with by our
traveller.

"The valley frequently becomes a mere narrow split in the mountains,
enclosed between walls of rock a thousand feet high. These enormous
precipices are either perpendicular, or their summits incline inwards,
forming a vast arch; along their base, washed by the foaming waters of the
river, or higher up, along their side, winds the narrow and dangerous
path. In some places they recede a little from the perpendicular, and
their abrupt slopes are sprinkled with stones and fragments of rock, which
every now and then, loosened by rain, detach themselves and roll down into
the valley. The path is heaped with these fragments, which give way under
the tread of the heavily laden mules, and afford them scanty foothold.
From time to time, enormous blocks thunder down the precipice, and bury
themselves in the waters beneath. I associate a painful recollection with
the road from Viso to San Mateo. It was there that a mass of stone struck
one of my mules, and precipitated it into the river. My most important
instruments and travelling necessaries, a portion of my collections and
papers, and--an irreparable loss--a diary carefully and conscientiously
kept during a period of fourteen months, became the prey of the waters.
Two days later the mule was washed ashore; but its load was irrecoverably
lost. Each year numerous beasts of burden, and many travellers, perish
upon this dangerous road. Cavalry on the march are particularly apt to
suffer, and often a slip of the horse's foot, or a hasty movement of the
rider, suffices to consign both to the yawning chasm by their side. At the
inn at Viso I met an officer, who had just come from the mountains,
bringing his two sons with him. He had taken the youngest before him; the
other, a boy of ten years of age, rode upon the mule's crupper. Half a
league from Viso, a large stone came plunging down from the mountain,
struck the eldest lad, and dashed him into the stream."

Although frequently ill-treated by the Creoles, and especially by the
officers, the Indians in most parts of Peru show ready hospitality and
good-will to the solitary traveller. Those in the neighborhood of San
Mateo are an exception; they are distrustful, rough, and disobliging. When
a traveller enters the village, he is instantly waited upon by the alcalde
and regidores, who demand his passport. Has he none, he risks
ill-treatment, and being put upon a jackass and carried off to the
nearest prefect. Luckily the ignorance of the village authorities renders
them easy to deal with; it is rare that they can read. On one occasion,
when Dr Tschudi's passport was demanded, the only printed paper in his
pocket was an old playbill, that of the last opera he had attended before
his departure from Lima, and which he had taken with him as wadding for
his gun. He handed it to the Indian regidor, who gravely unfolded it,
stared hard at the words Lucia di Lammermoor, and returned it with the
remark, that the passport was perfectly in order.

Any thing more wretched in their accommodations than the _tambos_ or
village inns, can scarcely be imagined. So bad are they, that the
traveller is sometimes driven to pass the night in the snow rather than
accept of their shelter, and at the same time submit to the nuisances with
which they abound. One of these villanous hostelries, in which Dr Tschudi
several times attempted to sleep, is described by him with a minuteness
that will rather startle the squeamish amongst his readers. Vermin every
where, on the floor and walls, in the clothes of the Indian hag
officiating as hostess, even in the caldron in which a vile mixture of
potatoe water and Spanish pepper is prepared for supper. For sole bed
there is the damp earth, upon which hosts, children, and travellers
stretch themselves. Each person is accommodated with a sheepskin, and over
the whole company is spread an enormous woollen blanket. But woe to the
inexperienced traveller who avails himself of the coverings thus
bountifully furnished, swarming as they are with inhabitants from whose
assaults escape is impossible. Even if he creeps into a corner, and makes
himself a bed with his saddle-cloths, he is not secure. Add to these
comforts a stifling smoke, and other nauseous exhalations, and the gambols
of innumerable guinea-pigs, common as mice in many parts of Peru, who
caper the night through over the faces and bodies of the sleepers, and the
picture of a South American mountain inn will be as complete as it is
uninviting. But these annoyances, great though they be, are very trifles
compared to the more serious evils awaiting the traveller in the higher
regions of the Cordilleras. At about 12,600 feet above the level of the
sea, the effects of the rarefaction of the atmosphere begin to be sensibly
and painfully felt. The natives, unacquainted with the real cause of the
malady thus occasioned, and which by them is called _puna_, by the Spanish
Creoles _veta_ or _mareo_, attribute it to the exhalations of metals,
especially of antimony. Horses, not bred in the mountains, suffer greatly
from the _veta_, and frequently fall down helpless. The arrieros adopt
various cruel means for their revival, such as cutting off their ears and
tail, and slitting up their nostrils, the latter being probably the only
useful remedy, as it allows the animal to inhale a large volume of air. To
preserve them from the _veta_, chopped garlic is put into their nostrils.
With human beings, this state of the atmosphere causes the blood to gush
from the eyes, nose, and lips, and occasions faintings, blood-spittings,
vomitings, and other unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. The sensation
somewhat resembles that of sea-sickness, whence the Spanish name of
_mareo_. The malady, in its most violent form, sometimes causes death from
excessive loss of blood. Of this, Dr Tschudi saw instances. Much depends
on the general health and constitution of the persons attacked. The action
of the _veta_ is very capricious. Some persons do not experience it on a
first visit to the mountains, but suffer on subsequent ones. Another
singular circumstance is, that it is much more violent in some places than
in others of a greater altitude. This affords ground for a supposition,
that other causes, besides the diminished pressure of the atmosphere,
concur to occasion it. These as yet remain unknown. The districts in which
the _veta_ is felt with the greatest intensity, are for the most part very
metallic, and this has given rise to the Indian theory of its cause.

Another terrible scourge to the traveller in the Cordilleras is the
_surumpe_, a violent inflammation of the eye, brought on by the sudden
reflection of the sun from the snow. In those mountains the eyes are kept
continually in an irritated state by the rarefied air and cutting winds,
and are consequently unusually susceptible. Often the heavens become
suddenly overcast, and in a few minutes the yellowish-green waste is one
sheet of snow. Then out bursts the sun with overpowering splendour, a
sharp burning pain is instantly felt in the eyes, and speedily increases
to an unbearable extent. The eyes become red, the lids swell and bleed. So
violent is the agony as to cause despair and delirium. Dr Tschudi compares
it to the sensation occasioned by rubbing Spanish pepper or gunpowder into
the eyes. Chronic inflammation, even total blindness, is the frequent
consequence of the _surumpe_ in its most intense form. In the Cordilleras
it is no unusual thing to find Indians sitting by the wayside, shrieking
from pain, and unable to continue their journey. The Creoles, when they
visit the mountains, protect themselves with green spectacles and veils.

During five months of the year, from November till March, storms are of
almost daily occurrence in the Cordilleras. They commence with remarkable
punctuality between two and three in the afternoon, and continue till five
or half-past; later than this, or in the night, a storm was never known to
occur. They are accompanied by falls of snow, which last till after
midnight. The morning sun dispels the cold mist that hangs about the
mountain peaks, and in a few hours the snow is melted. "On the raging
ocean," says Dr Tschudi, "and in the dark depths of the aboriginal
forests, I have witnessed terrific storms, whose horrors were increased by
surrounding gloom and imminent danger, but never did I feel anxiety and
alarm as in Antaichahua, (a district of the Cordilleras celebrated for
storms.) For hours together flash followed flash in uninterrupted
succession, painting blood-red cataracts upon the naked precipices; the
thunder crashed, the zigzag lightning ran along the ground, leaving long
furrows in the scorched grass. The atmosphere quivered with the continuous
roll of thunder, repeated a thousand-fold by the mountain echoes. The
traveller, overtaken by these terrific tempests, leaves his trembling
horse, and seeks shelter and refuge beneath some impending rock."

The hanging bridges and _huaros_ are not to be forgotten in enumerating
the perils of Peruvian travelling. The former are composed of four thick
ropes of cow-hide, connected by a weft of cords of the same material, and
overlaid with branches, straw, and agair roots. The ropes are fastened to
posts on either side of the river; a couple of cords, two or three feet
higher than the bridge, serve for balustrades; and over this unsteady
causeway, which swings like a hammock, the traveller has to pass, leading
his reluctant mule. The passage of rivers by _huaros_ is much worse, and
altogether a most unpleasant operation. It can be effected only where the
banks are high and precipitous. A single strong rope extends from one
shore to the other, with a wooden machine, in form of a yoke, slung upon
it. To this yoke the traveller is tied, and is then drawn over by means of
a second cord. In case of the main rope breaking, the passenger by the
yoke is inevitably drowned. When rivers are traversed in this manner, the
mules and horses are driven into the water, and compelled to swim across.

But a further detail of the dangers and difficulties of travel in Peru
would leave us little space to enumerate its interesting results.
Supposing the reader, therefore, to have safely accomplished his journey
through the solitary ravines, and over the chilly summits of the
Cordilleras, we transport him at once to the Cerro de Pasco, famed for the
wealth of its silver mines. In a region of snow and ice, at an elevation
of 13,673 feet above the sea, he suddenly comes in sight of a large and
populous city, built in a hollow, and surrounded on all sides by lakes and
swamps. On the margin of eternal snows, in the wildest district of Peru,
and in defiance of the asperities of climate, Mammon has assembled a host
of worshippers to dig and delve in the richest of his storehouses.

Some two hundred and fifteen years ago, according to the legend, a small
pampa that lies south-east from Lake Lauricocha, the mother of the mighty
river Amazon, an Indian, Hauri Capcha by name, tended his master's sheep.
Having wandered one day to an unusual distance from his hut, he sought
shelter from the cold under a rock, and lighted a large fire. The
following morning he saw to his astonishment that the stone beneath the
ashes had melted and become pure silver. He joyfully informed his
employer, a Spaniard of the name of Ugarte, of this singular circumstance.
Ugarte hastened to the place, and found that his shepherd had lit upon a
vein of silver ore of extraordinary richness, of which he at once took
possession, and worked it with great success. This same mine is still
worked, and is known as _la Descubridora_, the discoverer. Presently a
number of persons came from the village of Pasco, two leagues distant, and
sought and discovered new veins. The great richness of the ore and the
increase of employment soon drew crowds to the place--some to work, others
to supply the miners with the necessaries of life; and thus, in a very
brief time, there sprung up a town of eighteen thousand inhabitants.

The ground whereon Cerro de Pasco is built is a perfect network of silver
veins, to get at which the earth has been opened in every direction. Many
of the inhabitants work the mines in their own cellars; but this, of
course, is on a small scale, and there are not more than five hundred
openings meriting, by reason of their depth and importance, the name of
shafts. All, however, whether deep or shallow, are worked in a very
senseless, disorderly, and imprudent manner--the sole object of their
owners being to obtain, at the least possible expense, and in the shortest
possible time, the utmost amount of ore. Nobody ever thinks of arching or
walling the interior of the excavations, and consequently the shafts and
galleries frequently fall in, burying under their ruins the unfortunate
Indian miners. Not a year passes without terrible catastrophes of this
kind. In the mine of Matagente, (literally, Kill-people,) now entirely
destroyed, three hundred labourers lost their lives by accident. For
incurring these terrible risks, and for a species of labour of all others
the most painful and wearisome, the Indians are wretchedly paid, and their
scanty earnings are diminished by the iniquitous truck system which is in
full operation in the mines as well as in the plantations of Peru. The
miner who, at the week's end, has a dollar to receive, esteems himself
fortunate, and forthwith proceeds to spend it in brandy. The mining
Indians are the most depraved and degraded of their race. When a mine is
in _boya_, as it is called, that is to say, at periods when it yields
uncommonly rich metal, more labourers are required, and temporarily taken
on. When this occurs in several mines at one time, the population of Cerro
de Pasco sometimes doubles and trebles itself. During the boyas, the
miners are paid by a small share in the daily produce of their labours.
They sometimes succeed in improving their shares by stealing the ore, but
this is very difficult, so narrowly are they searched when they leave the
mine. One man told Dr Tschudi how he had managed to appropriate the
richest piece of ore he ever saw. He tied it on his back, and pretended to
be so desperately ill, that the corporal allowed him to leave the mine.
Wrapped in his poncho, he was carried past the inspectors by two
confederates, and the treasure was put in safety. Formerly when a mine
yielded polvorilla, a black ore in the form of powder, but of great
richness, the miners stripped themselves naked, wetted their whole body,
and then rolled in this silver dust, which stuck to them. Released from
the mine they washed off the crust, and sold it for several dollars. This
device, however, was detected, and, for several years past, the departing
miners are compelled to strip for inspection.

Like the extraction of the ore, the purification of the silver from the
dross is conducted in the rudest and most primitive manner. The
consequence is an immense consumption of quicksilver. On each mark of
silver, worth in Lima eight and a-half dollars, or about thirty shillings,
it is estimated that half a pound of quicksilver is expended. The
quicksilver comes chiefly from Spain--very little from Idria--in iron jars
containing seventy-five pounds weight. The price of one of these jars
varies from sixty to one hundred dollars, but is sometimes as high as one
hundred and forty dollars. Both the amalgamation and separation of the
metals are so badly managed, as to occasion a terrible amount of mercurial
disease amongst the Indians employed in the process. From the
refining-houses the silver is, or ought to be, sent to Callana, the
government melting-house, there to be cast into bars of a hundred pounds
weight, each of which is stamped and charged with imposts to the amount of
about forty-four dollars. But a vast deal of the metal is smuggled to the
coast and shipped for Europe without ever visiting the Callana. Hence it
is scarcely possible to estimate the quantity annually produced. The
amount registered is from two to three hundred thousand marks--rarely over
the latter sum.

Residence in the Cerro de Pasco is highly disagreeable. The climate is
execrable; cold and stormy, with heavy rains and violent falls of snow.
Nothing less than the _auri sacra fames_ could have induced such a
congregation of human beings, from all nations and corners of the globe,
in so inhospitable a latitude. The new-comer with difficulty accustoms
himself to the severity of the weather, and to the perpetual hammering
going on under his feet, and at night under his very bed, for the mines
are worked without cessation. Luckily earthquakes are rare in that region.
A heavy shock would bury the whole town in the bosom of the earth.

Silver being the only produce of the soil, living is very dear in the
Cerro. All the necessaries of life have to be brought from a great
distance; and this, combined with the greediness of the vendors, and the
abundance of money, causes enormous prices to be demanded and obtained.
House-rent is exorbitantly high; the keep of a horse often costs, owing to
the want of forage, from two to three dollars a-day. Here, as at Lima, the
coffee and eating-houses are kept by Italians, principally Genoese. The
population of the town is the most motley imaginable; scarcely a country
in the world but has its representatives. Of the upper classes the darling
vice is gambling, carried to an almost unparalleled extent. From earliest
morning cards and dice are in full activity: the mine proprietor leaves
his counting-house and silver carts, the trader abandons his shop, to
indulge for a couple of hours in his favourite amusement; and, when the
evening comes, play is universal in all the best houses of the town. The
mayordomos, or superintendents of the mines, sit down to the gaming-table
at nightfall, and only leave it when at daybreak the bell summons them to
the shaft. Often do they gamble away their share in a boya long before
signs of one are apparent. Amongst the Indians, drunkenness is the chief
failing. When primed by spirits, they become quarrelsome; and scarcely a
Sunday or holiday passes without savage fights between the workmen of
different mines. Severe wounds, and even deaths, are the consequences of
these encounters, in which the authorities never dream of interfering.
When, owing to the richness of a boya, the Indian finds himself possessed
of an unusual number of dollars, he squanders then in the most ridiculous
manner, like a drunken sailor with a year's pay in his pocket. Dr Tschudi
saw one fellow buy a Spanish cloak for ninety-two dollars. Draping it
round him, he proceeded to the next town, got drunk, rolled himself in the
gutter, and then threw away the cloak because it was torn and dirty. A
watchmaker told the doctor that once an Indian came to him to buy a gold
watch. He handed him one, with the remark that the price was twelve gold
ounces, (two hundred and four dollars,) and that it would probably be too
dear for him. The Indian took the watch, paid for it, and then dashing it
upon the ground, walked away, saying that the thing was no use to him.

Besides the mines of Cerro de Pasco, Dr Tschudi gives us details of many
others situate in various parts of Peru. The Salcedo mine, in the province
of Puno, is celebrated for the tragical end of its discoverer. Don José
Salcedo, a poor Spaniard, was in love with an Indian girl, whose mother
promised to show him a silver vein of uncommon richness if he would marry
her daughter. He did so, and worked the vein with great success. After a
time the fame of his wealth roused the envy of the Conde de Lemos, then
viceroy of Peru. By his generosity and benevolence Salcedo had made
himself very popular with the Indians, and this served the viceroy as a
pretext to accuse him of high treason, on the ground of his stirring up
the population against the Spanish government. Salcedo was imprisoned, and
sentenced to death. Whilst in his dungeon he besought Count Lemos to send
the papers relating to his trial to the supreme tribunal at Madrid, and to
allow him to make an appeal to the king's mercy. If this request were
granted, he promised to pay a daily tribute of a bar of silver, from the
time of the ship's sailing from Callao to that of its return. In those
days the voyage from Callao to Spain and back occupied from twelve to
sixteen months. This may give an idea of the wealth of Salcedo and his
mine. The viceroy refused the condition, hung up Salcedo, (in May 1669,)
and set out for the mines. But his injustice and cruelty were doomed to
disappointment. Whilst Salcedo prepared for death, his mother-in-law and
her friends and relations betook themselves to the mine, destroyed the
works, filled it with water, and closed the entrance so skilfully that it
was impossible to discover it. They then dispersed in various directions,
and neither promises nor tortures could induce those who were afterwards
captured, to reveal the position of the mine. To this day it remains
undiscovered.

Another example of the exceeding richness of Peruvian mines is to be found
in that of San José, in the department of Huancavelica. Its owner asked
the viceroy Castro, whose friend he was, to stand godfather to his first
child. The viceroy was prevented from going himself, but sent his wife as
a proxy. To do her honour, the proprietor of San José caused a triple row
of silver bars to be placed along the whole of the distance, and it was no
short one, between his house and the church. Over this costly causeway the
vice-queen Castro accompanied the child to its baptism. On her departure
her magnificent Amphitryon made her a present of the silver road as a mark
of gratitude for the honour she had done him. Since then, the mines and
the province have borne the name of Castrovireyna. Most of the former are
now no longer worked. In the richest of them, owing to the careless mode
of mining, one hundred and twenty-two workmen were buried alive at one
time. Since then, no Indian can be prevailed upon to enter it.

The Indians have not been slow to discover how little advantage they
derive from the mining system, procuring them, as it does, small pay for
severe labour. Hence, although acquainted for centuries past with
innumerable rich veins of ore, the knowledge of which has been handed down
from father to son, they obstinately persist in keeping them secret. All
endeavours to shake this determination have hitherto been fruitless; even
the rarely failing argument of brandy in these cases loses its power. The
existence of the treasures has been ascertained beyond a doubt; but there
is not a shadow of hope that the stubborn reserved Indian will ever reveal
their locality to the greedy Creole and detested Metis. Numerous and
romantic are the tales told of this determined concealment, and of the
prudence and watchfulness of the Indians. "In the great village of
Huancayo," says Dr Tschudi, "there lived, a few years ago, two brothers,
José and Pedro Iriarte, who ranked amongst the most influential of
Peruvian miners. They knew that in the neighbouring hills veins of almost
virgin silver existed, and, with a view to their discovery, they
dispatched a young man to a village near which they suspected them to be
situate. The emissary took up his dwelling in the hut of a shepherd, with
whose daughter, after a few months' residence, he established an intrigue.
At last the young girl promised to show him a rich mine. On a certain day,
when she drove her sheep to the pasture, he was to follow her at a
distance, and to dig the spot where she should let her cloak fall. This he
did, and after very brief labour found a cavity in the earth disclosing
ore of uncommon richness. Whilst breaking out the metal, he was joined by
the girl's father, who declared himself delighted at the discovery, and
offered to help him. After some hours' labour they paused to rest, and the
old Indian handed his companion a gourd of chicha, (a fermented drink,) of
which the latter thankfully drank. Soon, however, the young man felt
himself ill, and knew that he was poisoned. Taking his wallet full of ore,
he hastened to the village, mounted his horse, and rode to Huancayo, where
he informed Iriarte of what had occurred, described the position of the
mine, and died the same night. Immediate and careful researches were of no
avail. The Indian and his family had disappeared, the mine had been filled
up, and was never discovered."

A Franciscan monk, also resident in Huancayo, a confirmed gambler, and
consequently often embarrassed for money, had gained, by his kindness, the
affections of the Indians, who constantly brought him small presents of
cheese and poultry. One day when he had lost heavily, he confided his
difficulties to an Indian, his particular gossip. The latter promised to
help him, and the next evening brought him a large sack full of the
richest silver ore. The same was repeated several times; but the monk, not
satisfied, did not cease to importune his friend to show him the place
whence he took the treasure. The Indian at last agreed to do so. In the
night-time he came, with two companions, to the dwelling of the
Franciscan, blindfolded him, put him on his shoulders, and carried him,
alternately with his comrades, a distance of some leagues into the
mountains. Here the monk was set down, and found himself in a small
shallow shaft, where his eyes were dazzled by the beauty of the silver.
When he had gazed at it long enough, and loaded himself with the ore, he
was carried back as he had been brought. On his way he unfastened his
chaplet, and from time to time let a grain drop, trusting by this means to
trace out the mine. He had been but a few hours in bed when he was
disturbed by the entrance of his guide. "Father," said the Indian,
quietly, "you have lost your rosary." And he presented him with a handful
of the beads.

This mania for concealment is not universal amongst the Peruvians, who, it
must be remembered, originally sprang from various tribes, united by the
Incas into one nation. Great differences of character and manners are
still to be found amongst them, some showing themselves as frank and
friendly towards the white men as others are mistrustful and inimical. The
principal mines that are or have been worked, were pointed out to the
Spaniards by the natives. Generally, however, the latter look upon seekers
of mines with suspicion, and they still relate with horror and disgust,
how Huari Capcha, the discoverer of the mines of Cerro de Pasco, was
thrown by Ugarte into a gloomy dungeon, where he pined away his life. Dr
Tschudi could not ascertain the authenticity of this tale, but he often
heard it told by the Indians, who gave it as a reason for concealing any
new mines they might discover.

At the pass of Antarangra, 15,600 feet above the level of the sea, Dr
Tschudi found two small lakes, scarcely thirty paces asunder. One of these
is the source of the river San Mateo, which flows westward, passes Lima
under the name of the Rimac, and discharges itself into the Pacific Ocean;
the other sends its waters through a number of small mountain lakes to the
river Pachachaca, a diminutive tributary of the mighty Amazon. The worthy
doctor confesses that he could not resist the temptation to disturb the
order of nature, by transporting a jug-full of the water intended for the
Atlantic, into the lake communicating with the Pacific. Of a more serious
cast were his reflections on the mighty power that had raised these
tremendous mountains, on whose summits sea-shells and other marine
substances testify to the fact of the ocean having once rolled over their
materials.

Between the Cordilleras and the Andes, 12,000 feet above the sea, lie the
vast tracts of desolate tableland known as the Puna, a Peruvian word
equivalent to the Spanish _despoblado_. These plains extend through the
whole length of Peru from N.W. to S.E., a distance of 350 Spanish miles,
continue through Bolivia, and run out eastward into the territory of the
Argentine republic. Their sole inhabitants are a few shepherds, who live
with their families in wretched huts, and tend large flocks of sheep,
oxen, alpacas, and llamas, to which the yellow and meagre grasses of the
Puna yield a scanty nourishment. The district is swept by the cold winds
from the Cordilleras, the climate is most inhospitable, unintermitting
snow and storm during four months of the year. A remarkable effect of the
Puna wind is the rapid drying of dead bodies. A few days suffice to
convert a dead mule into a perfect mummy, the very entrails free from
corruption. Here and there the dry and piercingly cold wind, which causes
extreme suffering to the traveller's eyes and skin, changes its
temperature, or, it were better said, is crossed by a current of warm air,
sometimes only two or three paces, at others several hundred feet, in
breadth. These warm streams run in a parallel direction to each other, and
Dr Tschudi deposes to having passed through five or six in the space of
two leagues. He noticed them particularly in the months of August and
September, and, according to his observations, their usual direction was
that of the Cordillera, namely, from S.S.W. to N.N.E. He once travelled
for several leagues in one of these currents, the width of which did not
exceed seven-and-twenty paces. Its temperature was eleven degrees of
Reaumur higher than the adjacent atmosphere. The existence of these warm
streams is in some cases permanent, for the muleteers will frequently tell
beforehand where they are to be met with. The causes of such singular
phenomena, says Dr Tschudi, are well deserving the closest investigation
of the meteorologist.

The numerous deep valleys, of greater or less extent, which intersect the
Puna, are known as the Sierra, and their inhabitants as Serranos, although
that term is also applied by the dwellers on the coast of Peru to all
natives of the interior. Here the climate is temperate, not unlike that of
the central countries of Europe; towns and villages are numerous, and the
fruitful soil brings forth abundantly, watered by the sweat of the
laborious Indians. The people are hospitable in the extreme, and the
stranger is welcome in their dwellings so long as he chooses to abide
there. They appear, however, to be as yet very far removed from
civilisation. Their favourite diversions, cock and bull fighting, are
carried on in the most barbarous manner. Their chief vice is an extreme
addiction to brandy, and even the better classes get up evening parties
for the express purpose of indulging in the fiery liquor. The ladies as
well as the men consume it in large quantities, and Dr Tschudi estimates
the average consumption at one of these jaranas, or drinking bouts, to
amount to nearly a bottle per man or woman. At a ball given in 1839, in
one of the principal towns of the Sierra, to the Chilian general
Bulnes--now president of Chili--the brandy flowed so abundantly, that when
morning came many of the dancers, both male and female, lay dead drunk
upon the floor. The sole extenuation of such disgusting excesses is the
want of education of those who commit them, and the force of habit, which
prevents them from seeing any thing disgraceful in intoxication. It is
only in society that the Serrano gets drunk. In everyday life, when
jaranas are not going on, he is a sober man.

The dramatic representations of scenes in the life of Christ, introduced
by the Spanish monks who accompanied Pizarro, with a view to the easier
conversion of the Aborigines, have long been discontinued in the larger
Peruvian cities. But in the Sierra they are still kept up, and all the
efforts of enlightened priests to suppress them, have been frustrated by
the tenacity and threats of the Indians. Dr Tschudi gives an extraordinary
description of the celebration of Good Friday. "From early dawn," he says,
"the church is crammed with Indians, who pass the morning in fasting and
prayer. At two in the afternoon a large image of the Saviour is brought
out of the sacristy and laid down near the altar, which is veiled. No
sooner does this occur than the whole congregation rush forward and
strive to touch the wounds with scraps of cotton, and then ensues a
screaming, crowding, and fighting, only to be equalled by the uproar at an
ill conducted fair, until the priests at last succeed in restoring order.
The figure of the Saviour is now attached to the cross with three very
large silver nails, and a rich silver crown is placed upon its head; on
either side are the crosses of the two thieves. The Indians gaze their
fill and leave the church, but return thither at eight in the evening. The
edifice is then brilliantly illuminated, and at the foot of the cross
stand, wrapped in white robes, four priests, the _santos varones_ or holy
men, whose office it is to take down the body of the Saviour. A short
distance off, upon a stage or scaffolding, stands the Virgin Mary, in deep
mourning, and with a white cloth round her head. In a long discourse a
priest explains the scene to the congregation, and at the close of his
sermon, turning to the _santos varones_, he says--'Ye holy men, mount the
ladders of the cross, and bring down the body of the dead Saviour!' Two of
the priests ascend with hammers, and the preacher continues--'Thou, holy
man on the right side of the Saviour, strike the first blow upon the nail
in the hand, and take it out!' The hammer falls, and the sound of the blow
is the signal for the cry of _Misericordia! Misericordia!_ repeated by
thousands of voices in tones of anguish so heart-rending, as to produce a
strangely painful impression upon the hearer. The nail is handed to a
priest at the foot of the cross, to be taken to the Virgin Mary, still
standing upon her scaffold. To her the preacher now addressed himself with
the words--'Thou, afflicted mother, approach and receive the nail that
pierced the right hand of thy blessed son!' And as the priest draws near
to the image of the Virgin, the latter, moved by a secret mechanism,
advances to meet him, receives the nail in both hands, places it in a
silver bowl, dries its eyes, and returns to its place. These movements are
repeated when the two other nails and the crown are brought down. The
whole scene has for accompaniment the unintermitting howling and sobbing
of the Indians, which redouble at each stroke of the hammer, and reaches
its apogee when the body is delivered to the Virgin, who then again begins
to weep violently. The image of Christ is laid in a coffin adorned with
flowers, and is carried by torchlight through every street of the town.
Whilst the procession makes its circuit, the Indians erect twelve arches
of flowers in front of the church door, placing between each two of them a
carpet of the like materials, the simplest and most beautiful that it is
possible to see. Each carpet is manufactured by two Indians, neither of
whom seems to trouble himself about the proceedings of his comrade; but
yet, with incredible rapidity and a wonderful harmony of operation, the
most tasteful designs grow under their hands in rich variety of colours.
Arabesques, landscapes, and animals appear as if by magic. It was highly
interesting to me to observe in Tarma, upon one of these carpets, an exact
representation of the Austrian double eagle, as the Indians had seen it on
the quicksilver jars from Idria. When the procession returns, the Virgin
Mary is carried back into the church through the arches of flowers."

The traveller in the Sierras of Peru frequently encounters plantations of
a shrub about six feet high, bearing bright green leaves, white flowers,
and scarlet berries. This is the celebrated coca tree, the comforter and
friend of the Peruvian Indian under all hardships and evil usage. Deprive
the Turk of coffee and pipe, the Chinese of opium, the sailor and soldier
of grog and tobacco, and no one of them will be so miserable as the Indian
bereft of his coca. Without it he cannot exist; it is more essential to
him than meat or drink, for it enables him to dispense with both. With his
quid of dried coca leaves in his mouth, he forgets all calamities; his
rags, his poverty, the cruelties of his taskmaster. One meal a-day
suffices him, but thrice at least he must suspend his labour to chew his
coca. Even the greedy Creoles have been compelled to give in to this
imperious necessity, and to allow their labourers a quarter or half an
hour's respite three times in the day. In mines and plantations, wherever
Indians work, this is the universal practice. Although continued as a
barbarous custom by the whites, some few of the latter are inveterately
addicted to coca chewing, which they generally, however, practise
clandestinely. The effect of this plant upon the human system is very
similar to that of certain narcotics, administered in small doses. Taken
in excessive quantities it is highly injurious; used in moderation, Dr
Tschudi inclines to think it not only harmless, but positively salutary.
The longevity of the Indians, and their power of enduring great fatigue,
and performing the hardest work upon a very scant allowance of food, are
certainly in favour of this belief. The doctor met with men of 120 and 130
years old, and he assures us that such are by no means exceedingly rare in
Peru.[10] Some of these men had chewed coca leaves from their boyhood
upwards.

Allowing their daily ration to be no more than one ounce, the consumption,
in their lifetime, would amount to the prodigious quantity of twenty-seven
hundred pounds weight. Yet they were in perfect health. The coca is
considered by the Indians to be an antidote to the _veta_, and Dr Tschudi
confirms this by his own experience. Previously to his hunting excursions
in the upper regions of the Puna, he used to drink a strong decoction of
coca leaves, and found it strengthening and a preservative from the
effects of the rarefied atmosphere. So convinced is he of its salubrious
properties, that he recommends its adoption in European navies, or at
least a trial of its effects during a Polar or some other distant
expedition. One of the chief causes of Indian hatred to the Spaniards is
to be traced in the attempted suppression by the latter of the use of
coca, during the earlier period of their domination in Peru, their sole
reason being their contempt for Indian customs, and wish to destroy the
nationality of the people. Royal decrees were fulminated against coca
chewing, and priests and governors united to abolish it. After a time, the
owners of mines and plantations discovered its utility, in giving strength
and courage to their Indian vassals; books were written in its defence,
and anti-coca legislation speedily became obsolete. Since then, several
learned and reverend writers, Jesuits and others, have suggested its
introduction into Europe, as a substitute for tea and coffee, to which
they hold it far superior. There can be little doubt that--like as tobacco
is considered to preserve armies from mutiny and disaffection--the
soothing properties of coca have saved Peru from many bloody outbreaks of
the Indian population. But even this potent and much-loved drug has at
times been insufficient to restrain the deadly hatred cherished by the
Peruvians towards their white oppressors.

The Leyes de las Indias, or code for the government of the Spanish
colonies, although in some instances severe and arbitrary, were mild and
paternal compared with their administration by the viceroys and other
officials. Amongst them were two enactments, the Mita and the
Repartimiento, intended by their propounders to civilize and improve the
Indians, but fearfully abused in practice. By the Mita, the Peruvians were
compelled to work in the mines and plantations. Every Spaniard who
possessed one of these, received from the corregidor a certain number of
Indians, to each of whom he paid daily wages, and for each of them an
annual contribution of eight dollars to the State. This plan, if fairly
and conscientiously carried out, might have been made a means of
reclaiming the Indians from barbarity and idleness. But the truck system,
unlimited and excessive time of labour, and other abuses, caused it to
produce the precisely opposite effect to that proposed by the framers of
the law. One-third only of the stipulated wage was given in money, the
remainder in European manufactures, charged at exorbitant prices; and the
Indians, unable to purchase the bare necessaries of life, were compelled
to incur debts with their employers--debts that they could never pay off,
and which rendered them slaves for their whole lives. The field labourers
were made to toil from three in the morning till an hour after sundown;
even the Sunday was no day of rest for these unfortunate helots. Such
increasing and painful exertions annually swept away thousands of Indians.
Various writers estimate at nine millions the number of those killed by
labour and accident in the mines, during the last three centuries. Dr
Tschudi does not think this an exaggeration, and calculates that three
millions more have been sacrificed in the plantations, especially in the
coca fields of the backwoods.

The Repartimiento was the distribution of European wares and luxuries by
the provincial authorities. Under this law, intended for the convenience
of the people, and to supply them with clothes and other necessaries at
fair prices, every corregidor became a sort of shopkeeper, caused all
manner of merchandise to be sent to him from the capital, and compelled
the Indian to buy. The prices affixed to the articles were absurdly
exorbitant; a needle cost a real, a worthless knife or a pound of iron a
dollar, an ell of printed calico two or three dollars. Lace, silk
stockings, and false jewellery, were forced upon the richer class. After a
short delay, the money was demanded; those who could not pay had their
goods seized, and were sold as slaves to the mines or plantations. Not
only useless objects--razors, for instance, for the beardless Indians--but
things positively injurious and inconvenient, were thrust upon the
unwilling purchasers. It will scarcely be believed that a corregidor, to
whom a commercial friend had sent a consignment of spectacles, issued an
edict, compelling all Indians, under penalty of a heavy fine, to wear
glasses at certain public festivals.

Against the abominable system of which the above abuses formed but a part,
it was to be expected that sooner or later the Indians would revolt. For
two centuries they submitted to it with wonderful patience and
long-suffering. At last, a man was found to hoist the bloody flag of
insurrection and revenge.

Juan Santos, surnamed the Apostate, was an Indian from Huamanga, and
claimed descent from Atahualpa, the last of the Incas, whom Pizarro hung.
In the year 1741, having killed a Spaniard of noble birth in a quarrel, he
fled to the woods, and there brooded over the oppression to which his
countrymen were subjected. At that time, the zealous Spanish missionaries
had made great progress in the conversion of the _Indios bravos_, a savage
and cannibal tribe, amongst whom they fearlessly ventured, undeterred by
the murder of many who had preceded them. Against these priests Santos
instigated an outbreak. He first addressed himself to the tribe of the
Campas, declared himself a descendant of the mighty Peruvian kings, and
asserted that he possessed supernatural power, that he knew all their
thoughts, and had the portrait of each of them in his heart. Then calling
the Indians to him one by one, he lifted his upper garment, and allowed
them to look in a mirror fastened upon his breast. The savages, astonished
at the reflection of their faces, conceived a great veneration for Santos,
and implicitly obeyed him. He at once led them to a general attack upon
the priests, their property, and religion. By bold and sudden assaults,
several Spanish fortified posts were taken, and the garrisons murdered. At
the fort of Quimiri, the Indians put the muskets of the slain soldiers in
a heap, set fire to them, and danced round the blazing pile. But the
surprise of the place had been so well managed, that the Spaniards had had
no time to fire even one volley, and their muskets were still loaded.
Heated by the flames, they exploded, and spread destruction amongst the
dancing savages. Churches and mission-houses were destroyed, villages
burnt, plantations laid waste; the priests were tied to the images of
saints, and thrown into the rivers. In a few weeks, the missionary
districts of middle Peru were utterly ravaged, and terror reigned in the
land. The Spaniards feared a revolt of the Sierra Indians; strong measures
were taken, forts built along the frontier, and the _bravos_ driven back
to their own territory. What became of Santos is not exactly known. Some
affirm that he united several savage tribes in a confederacy, and ruled
over them till his death. In the monastery of Ocopa, Dr Tschudi found an
old manuscript, in which was the following note:--"The monster and
apostate Juan Santos Atahualpa, after his diabolical destruction of our
missions, suffered terribly from the wrath of God. He met the fate of
Herod, and was eaten alive by worms."

Although of short duration, the insurrection headed by Santos was weighty
in its consequences. It showed the Indians their strength, and was
followed by repeated revolts, especially in Southern Peru. For want of an
able leader they all proved fruitless, until Tupac Amaru, cacique of
Tungasuca, put himself at the head of a matured and well-organized
revolution. A valid pretext for this was afforded by the corregidor of
Tinta, Don Antonio Ariaga, who in one year, 1780, made repartimientos to
the amount of three hundred and forty thousand dollars, and exacted the
money for the useless wares with cruel severity. Tupac Amaru assembled the
Indians, seized the corregidor, and hung him. This was the signal for a
general uprising in the whole of Southern Peru, and a bloody war ensued.
In April 1781, Tupac Amaru, his wife, and several of the rebel chiefs,
were made prisoners by a detachment of Spanish cavalry. They were tried at
Cuzco, found guilty, and condemned to death. The unfortunate cacique was
compelled to witness the execution of his wife, two sons, his
brother-in-law, Antonio Bastidas, and of other relations and friends. He
then had his tongue cut out, and was torn by four horses. His body was
burned, his head and limbs were stuck upon poles in different towns of the
disturbed districts. In Huancayo, Dr Tschudi met with an old Creole, who,
when a lad of sixteen, had witnessed the barbarous execution of the
cacique of Tangasuca. He described him as a tall handsome man, with a
quick piercing eye, and serious resolute countenance. He beheld the death
of his family with great emotion, but submitted without a murmur to his
own horrible fate. He was not long unavenged. His brother, his remaining
son Andres, and a daring Indian chief named Nicacatari, carried on the war
with increased vigour and ferocity, and at the head of a numerous force
threw themselves before the large fortified town of Sorrata, whither the
Spaniards from the surrounding country, trusting to the strength of the
place, had fled for safety. When Andres Tupac Amaru saw that with his
Indians, armed only with knives, clubs, and slings, he had no chance
against the powerful artillery of his foe, he caused the streams from the
neighbouring mountains to be conducted to the town, and surrounded it with
water The earthen fortifications were soon undermined, and when they gave
way the place was taken by assault. With the exception of eighty-seven
priests and monks, the whole of the besieged, twenty-two thousand in
number, were cruelly slaughtered. From Sorrata the Indian army moved
westwards, and was victorious in several actions with the Spanish troops.
Gold, however, accomplished what the sword had failed to do. Seduced by
bribes and promises, an Indian follower of Andres guided a party of
Spanish soldiers to the council house of the rebels. The chiefs were all
taken and put to death. Deprived of its leaders, the Indian army broke up
and dispersed. Innumerable executions followed, and the war was estimated
to have cost from first to last nearly a hundred thousand lives. Its only
beneficial result to the Indians was the abolition of repartimientos.

During the revolution that lost Peru to Spain, the Indians took part with
the patriots, who deluded them with promises of a monarchy, and of placing
a descendant of the Incas on the throne. Not clearly understanding the
causes of the war, the Indians frequently turned their arms against their
own allies, and killed all white men who fell into their power. Many
provinces were entirely deserted by the Creoles and Metises, in
consequence of the furious animosity of the coloured race. In Jauja, the
Indians swore they would not leave so much as a white dog or fowl alive,
and they even scratched the white paint from the walls of the houses. When
General Valdos and his cavalry crossed the river of Jauja and attacked the
Indians, the latter scorned to save themselves by flight, but threw
themselves upon the lances with cries of "_Mata me, Godo!_[11] Kill me!"
Two thousand remained upon the field, the Spaniards not ceasing to kill
till their arms were too tired to strike.

Dr Tschudi inclines to believe that sooner or later the Indians will throw
off the yoke of the effeminate and cowardly Creoles, and establish a
government of their own. Whether such a government will be able or allowed
to maintain itself, it is difficult to say; although, as the doctor
observes, why should it not, at least, as well as a negro republic in an
Archipelago peopled by the most civilized nations of Europe? Since the
separation of Peru from Spain, the Indians have made great progress in
many respects; they have been admitted into the army, have become familiar
with fire-arms and military manoeuvres, and have learned the manufacture
of gunpowder, materials for which their mountains abundantly afford. Their
hatred of the whites is bitter as ever, their feeling of nationality very
strong--their attachment to the memory of their Incas, and to their old
form of government, undiminished. In spite of long oppression, they still
possess pride and self-reliance. Besides the government forced upon them
by the Creoles, they preserve and obey their old laws. Let a leader like
Tupac Amaru appear amongst them, and there is every probability of an
Indian revolution, very different in its results to any that has yet
occurred.

Most Robinson Crusoe-like in its interest is the long chapter wherein Dr
Tschudi details his forest adventures, and we regret that we must be very
summary in our notice of it. With extraordinary courage and perseverance
the doctor and a German friend made their way to the heart of the
backwoods, built themselves a log-hut, and, despising the numerous dangers
by which they were environed, abode there for months, collecting
zoological specimens. Of the perils that beset them, Dr Tschudi's
unvarnished narrative of the daily sights and nocturnal sounds that
assailed their startled senses in those wild regions, gives a lively idea.
Indian cannibals, ferocious beasts, reptiles whose bite is instant death,
venomous insects, and even vampires, compose the pleasant population of
this district, into which these stout-hearted Europeans fearlessly
ventured. Of the beasts of prey the ounce is the most dangerous; and so
fierce and numerous has its breed become in certain districts of Peru, as
to compel the Indians to abandon their villages. We are told of one
hamlet, in the ravine of Mayunmarca, that has been desolate for a century
past on this account. The ounces used annually to decimate its
inhabitants. More perilous even than these animals, to the wanderer in the
forest, are the innumerable serpents that lurk beneath the accumulation of
dead leaves bestrewing the ground. The most deadly is a small viper about
ten inches long, the only species of the viper family as yet discovered in
South America. The virulence of its venom kills the strongest man in the
space of two or three minutes. The Indians, when bitten by it, do not
dream of seeking an antidote, but at once lie down to die. Bats are
exceedingly plentiful, and very large, some measuring nearly two feet
across the extended wings. The blood-sucker or vampire (phyllostoma) finds
its way in search of food into stables and houses. The smooth-haired
domestic animals are especially liable to its attacks. With wings half
open it places itself upon their backs, and rubs with its snout till the
small sharp teeth break the outer skin. Then it draws in its wings,
stretches itself out, and sucks the blood, making the while a gentle
movement with its body, not unlike the undulations of a busy leech. The
fanning motion of the wings described by some writers was never observed
by Dr Tschudi. Although these vampires only imbibe a few ounces of blood,
the subsequent hæmorrhage is very great, and full-grown mules sometimes
die of the exhaustion caused by their repeated attacks. One of the
doctor's beasts was only saved from such a fate by being rubbed every five
or six days with turpentine and other strong-smelling drugs, which kept
off the vampires. It has often been disputed whether these disgusting
animals attack human beings. Our traveller deposes to their doing so, and
cites an instance witnessed by himself. A bat (Ph. erythromos, Tsch.)
fixed upon the nose of an Indian who lay drunk in the court of a
plantation, and sucked his blood till it was unable to fly away. Violent
inflammation and swelling of the Indian's head were the consequences of
the trifling wound inflicted.

We must here make mention of the carbunculo, a fabulous animal, whose
existence obtains credit in most parts of Peru. Wherever he went, Dr
Tschudi heard stories of this creature, and met persons who asserted that
they had seen it. It is reported to be of the size of a fox, with long
black hair, and only to appear at night, when it glides slowly through the
bushes or amongst the rocks. When pursued, a valve or trap-door opens in
its forehead, and an extraordinarily brilliant object--believed by the
natives to be a precious stone--becomes visible, dispelling the darkness
and dazzling the pursuer. Then the forehead closes, and the creature
disappears. According to other accounts, it emerges from its lurking-place
with carbuncle displayed, and only conceals it when attacked. This strange
superstition is not of Spanish origin, but of older date than Pizarro's
invasion. Of course it has never been possible to catch or kill a specimen
of this remarkable species, although the Spaniards have used every effort
to get hold of such a creature; and in the viceroy's instructions to the
missionaries, the carbunculo was set down in the very first rank of
desiderata. Dr Tschudi vainly endeavoured to discover, with some degree of
certainty, what animal had served as a pretext for the fable.

After a four years residence in Peru, and when preparing for a journey
that was to include an investigation of all the provinces, and to last for
several years, Dr Tschudi was seized in the Cordilleras with a nervous
fever, which brought him to the brink of the grave. Upon his recovery, he
found that long repose, both of mind and body, was essential to the
complete restoration of his health. Such repose he could not be certain of
granting himself if he remained in Peru, and he therefore resolved to seek
it upon the ocean. He took ship, and reached Europe at the commencement of
1843, after an absence of five years. He greatly regrets not having
visited every part of Peru, especially the historical city of Cuzco, and
the forests of Urubamba. But his harvest of knowledge has been so rich and
abundant, that he should not, we think, begrudge the remnant of the crop
to the gleaners who may come after him.



"MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO."


CHAPTER I.

                         "Our coming
  Is not for salutation: we have business."
                                      BEN. JONSON.

On the 9th of September 1741, shortly after the hour of nightfall, a
silvery mist hung over the broad stream of the Danube, and the environs of
the city of Presburg--at that time considered the capital of Hungary--and
shrouded the earth with its grey veil; although the heavens above were
bright and clear, and the stars shone cheerily and proudly, as if no
earthly influence could damp or dull them. Before the St Michael's gate,
which opens on the side of the town the most remote from the Danube, and
on to the road leading into the interior of the country, and towards the
first low ridge of the Carpathians which skirts Presburg to the north, sat
a traveller on horseback--his ample cloak wrapped carefully about his
person, as much, it would seem, to screen him from observation, as from
the first freshness of the commencing autumn season, and his broad
three-cornered and gold-laced hat pulled down upon his brow.

He had ridden, at the brisk pace, across the stone bridge which leads over
a dry moat to the old gateway, and had suddenly checked his horse on
finding the gate closed before him.

"_Corpo di Bacco!_" he exclaimed aloud, in a tone of intense vexation.
"The gate is shut for the night--I feared as much."

"What's to be done!" he continued to murmur to himself, after a pause. "To
wake the guardian of the gate, and demand an entrance, would be to excite
attention, and subject myself, perhaps, to questionings. No, no! That,
above all, must be avoided. And yet, see him I must to-night. Time
presses. Should the devil, who has served me so well as yet, desert me
now, and take flight, the coward! before a few inches of deal board, and a
few pounds of hammered iron! Bolts and bars! _Bagatelles!_ Fortunately the
old fox has taken up his earth near the gate. If I calculate aright, the
hinder windows of his lodging must look out upon the moat; and I will try
whether I cannot come to speech of him."

"Fortuna, jade! Thou art propitious still, if yonder rays be those from
the old ivy-owl's watch-lamp!" muttered the traveller once more to
himself, as he looked towards a light, which apparently struggled to send
its gleams through the thick haze, from a low window of one of the houses
overhanging the dry moat, to the left of the gateway. "At all events, I'll
even risk the venture; and if, after all, I am out in my reckoning, and
should stumble either upon an amorous dame awaiting her adored, or a mad
student seeking the philosopher's stone--should I appear as a spirit of
love from above, or a spirit of darkness from below--_Cospetto!_ I'll play
my part to the life, and find an entrance to this cursed town, spite of
locked gates and barred posterns! The Virgin be praised! I am no schoolboy
at my first adventure."

"_Allons_, Briccone!" he cried, applying the spur to his jaded horse,
which stood reeking thickly, in the misty air, from the effects of a long
and rapid journey. "You must seek other quarters for the night, old boy!"

The animal snorted, as its head was turned once more from the gateway, and
moved unwillingly, as if endeavouring to resist the seeming attempt to
undertake any further excursion that night: but the way was not long which
it was destined to travel. Among the clay-built houses which formed the
suburb, the traveller speedily discovered the projecting whisp of hay,
announcing that the hovel, from the doorway of which it was suspended,
offered accommodation, such as it was, for man and beast. Summoning from
the interior a sleepy lad, in a dirty Hungarian costume, of full
shirt-sleeves and broad trowsers, which once had been white, and
confiding Briccone to his care, he returned to the gateway of the town.

When he again stood upon the gateway bridge, the first care of the
stranger was to stoop, and collect a quantity of small pebbles in the
hollow of his left hand. Provided with this ammunition, he approached as
near as he could towards the spot whence the light he had before remarked
proceeded.

"A curse upon this rotten mist!" he muttered. "I can see nothing. Around
and about is a fog from the devil's own caldron, as if it were cooked on
purpose to blind me; whilst the stars are twinkling above, as if they
squinted down upon my confusion, and laughed me to scorn. However, at all
ventures, have at my mark!"

With these words, he flung pebble after pebble in the direction of the
light. Several of the missiles were heard to rattle against the walls of
the house; and a few others rendered a clearer ringing sound, as if they
had struck upon glass. After a short space of time, the light disappeared
almost entirely; and a window was heard to open. The traveller raised
another pebble in his hand, with a smile upon his face, as if inclined to
take a last random shot at the head which had probably replaced the light
at the open window; but he checked his humour with a short low laugh, and
coughed to attract attention. The cough was immediately re-echoed in a
hoarse and hollow voice.

"That should be the old raven's croak," said the stranger to himself.

"Bandini!" he cried, in a low but distinct tone, through his hollowed
hands.

"Hush!" rejoined the voice from the window. "Not so loud! Is it you?"

"_Diavolo!_" replied the traveller, approaching closer to the wall of the
town, and speaking as low as possible. "Who should it be, man? But the
gate is closed; and I have no mind to expose myself to the investigations
of the gatekeeper's lantern, and all the cross-examination and
tittle-tattle that may follow."

"I waited for you with impatience," pursued his interlocutor; "and when
the gate closed for the night, placed my lamp at the window as a beacon."

"All right!" replied the other. "But what's to be done now, man?"

"Can you climb?" continued the hoarse voice.

"Like a cat or a Spanish lover," was the reply. "Perhaps I have no little
in me of the first; at all events I have often tried the trade of the
latter."

"Descend into the moat from the end of the bridge," pursued the personage
at the window. "The passage is easy. I will provide for your ascent."

Following these short instructions, the stranger returned over the bridge;
and catching from stem to stem of the few stunted trees that grew upon the
precipitous sides of the descent, he clambered, without much difficulty,
to the bottom of the steep. As he crossed the reedy and moist soil of the
moat, the noise of a falling object directed his steps towards a part of
the wall where a ladder of cords awaited him. Profiting by this aid, and
grasping, where he could, the projecting stones of the rude masonry which
formed the lower part of the house, the stranger mounted with ready
agility to the level of a window.

"You have not chosen your quarters upon the town-wall for nothing, I am
inclined to suppose, Master Bandini," he said, as he found himself in face
of a dark form at the opening to which he had arrived.

"All things have their uses," was the laconic reply, uttered with a hoarse
laugh.

In a few moments the stranger had squeezed his person adroitly through the
low window, and stood in the interior of the room.

The apartment into which he had been thus clandestinely introduced, was
faintly lighted by the single lamp which had served as a beacon; and the
rays of this lamp, as they fell upon the dark walls, half revealed, in
fantastic indistinctness, a variety of miscellaneous objects. Ranged upon
shelves on either side of the entrance door, stood a quantity of jars and
phials of different shapes, mixed with glass vessels, containing strange
serpents and lizards, and human half-born deformities, preserved in
spirits--all the _materia medica_, either for use or show, necessary for
the establishment of a druggist-physician of the day. On the opposite side
of the room, beneath the hard and slovenly pallet which served as bed,
might be half seen, from under the covering, two or three chests, the iron
clasps and fastenings of which, with their immense padlocks, seemed to
tell a tale of well-stored treasures of moneys or papers, and of other
avocations than those of doctoring and leeching. Above the bed hung the
crucifix, that necessary appendage to the dwelling of a good and pious
Catholic; but, whether by accident or design, the form of the Divine
sufferer on the cross was now turned against the wall. A table in the
middle of the room was covered with old books and papers; and before the
chair, from which the inmate of the apartment had probably risen when
surprised by the signals of his visitor, was a large volume, which he now
precipitately closed, but not, however, without being remarked by the
stranger, who smiled a significant smile upon observing this hasty
movement.

But, if the aspect of the apartment was strange, stranger still was that
of its occupier. He was a little man, at an advanced period of life, whose
spare and shrivelled form might be fancied ill-calculated to support the
large head which surmounted it. Was the head, however, ill-proportioned to
the body, still more out of proportion were the large black projecting
eyebrows, the huge eagle nose, and the swelled hanging under-lip, to the
general contour of the head. His thick black hair was closely shorn to his
skull, as if to develop more clearly these interesting features; and if
powder had been bestowed upon it, in obedience to the fashion of the
better classes of the day, it had been bestowed so sparingly, or had
assumed a colour so closely assimilated to that of dust and dirt, as to
escape the discovery of all eyes but those of a very closely investigating
naturalist. No less doubtful was the colour of the long cravat tied
loosely about his neck. His upper person was inclosed in a huge black
widely pocketed coat and lappet waistcoat, both many ells too wide for his
shrunken form; whilst his nether man disported at ease in a pair of black
pantaloons and high boots, which seemed to incase the proportions of a
skeleton. From the sleeves of the wide coat hung a pair of long dirty
begrimed hands, which, without a doubt, belonged rightfully to the owner
of the aforesaid skeleton shanks.

Far different was the appearance of his visitor. He was a tall well-formed
man, between thirty and forty years of age. His dress, which he displayed
as he threw aside his cloak, cut in the cumbrous fashion of the day, was
that of a man of pretensions to a certain rank; and his _coiffure_, with
its necessary appendage of pigtail, might be seen, in spite of his hasty
journey, to have been arranged with care, and powdered. Although his
person was prepossessing, there was, however, a certain dash of the _roué_
in his appearance, and a look of design and cunning in his dark eyes, long
fine-drawn nose, and thin lipless mouth, which would speedily have removed
the first more agreeable impression of an observer.

"All's well that ends well!" said the stranger, as he removed his hat and
cloak. "It is perhaps better, after all, that I should make my entry thus.
I have ridden hard, Master Bandini, and Briccone carried me well; but the
road was longer than I had surmised, and I had a matter or two to dispose
of on my way."

"Better late than never, noble cavaliere!" replied the man addressed as
Bandini.

"Hush! no names, man, until I be assured that we have no listeners here,"
said the cavaliere.

Without replying, the old man removed the shutters from a window, forming
a thorough light to that by which the stranger had entered, and looked out
into the winding steep descent which forms the first street of the city of
Presburg from St Michael's gate. It was faintly lighted by a lantern, but
empty of all passengers.

"How now, man!" said the stranger impatiently.

"Why! if it must be said," replied the old man, closing the shutter and
returning; "I have a lodger here, in my apartment. But he is still
without; nor will he yet return."

"A lodger!" exclaimed the other, in an angry tone--"and at such a moment!
How could you be so incautious, Bandini? This is one of your miserly
tricks: you would expose your best friends for a few miserable kreutzers
more or less."

"Live and let live, is my maxim," answered Bandini with a growl.

The stranger shrugged his shoulders with vexation.

"And who is this lodger, man?" he cried.

"Only a poor Hungarian country noble," replied Bandini in a more cajoling
tone. "A youth! a very youth! a poor unsuspecting youth! He has come, like
all the other nobles of the land, great and small, to obey the call of her
they call their _King_, to attend this Diet summoned at Presburg; and he
occupies my other rooms with his servant--a rustic!--a mere rustic!--a
rude untutored rustic!"

"It was ill done, Bandini," continued the stranger, with still evident
marks of discontent. "A lodger in the house, when you must know that I
need privacy! It was ill done, I tell you."

The old man only muttered something between his teeth by way of a reply.

"Have a care, man," resumed his visitor, "how you juggle with me in this
matter. You are richly paid by my employers for the support you give me,
and the concealment your house affords; but should evil befall us--be it
through your treachery or your imprudence, it matters not--_per Jovem_,
the evil shall fall a hundred-fold upon your own head. I swear it to you;
and you know I am a man to keep my word."

"Jehovah! here's a turmoil about the mere miserable lodging of a poor
youth!" growled the old man doggedly, although the rapid passing of a long
skeleton finger over the tip of his huge nose betrayed a certain degree of
nervous agitation.

"Master Bandini," interrupted the stranger, unheeding him, "I have a word
to speak with you--and one that nearly concerns yourself, Master
Bandini--before we proceed further in business."

"Look ye!" he pursued, in a more indifferent tone, throwing himself down
on to a chair, and crossing his legs composedly, but fixing the man called
Bandini at the same time with his keen eye. "Look ye, friend druggist,
physician, usurer, miser, secret agent, spy--or whatever other name you
bear in designation, avocation, character, or _creed_"--and he laid a
slight emphasis on the word--"there are no friends so sure as those who
are convinced we know then thoroughly--a right understanding is sympathy,
_amico mio_, and sympathy is bond and union."

The old man looked through his beetling brows at his visitor without any
evidence of trouble; but he ceased irritating the tip of his nose only to
twitch more nervously at the sleeves of his coat, as if to give himself an
air of composure and dignity by adjusting them, as a modern fop might do
by pulling up his shirt-collar.

"Think you I have forgotten," continued the stranger with a slight sneer,
"that when we first met in Italy--no matter upon what business, or to what
intent--Master Bandini bore the name of Israeli, and that, when forced to
leave that country--persecuted, as he himself would say, for some little
matter of flagrant usury, and mayhap also of a drug or two that lulled
some rich old uncle to a sleep from which he woke not, and made a
spendthrift debtor his heir--he returned to the land of his birth, I will
not say of his fathers, and, for reasons good, under another name and a
foreign guise, thinking that the name of Israel, spite of its adopted
termination, smacked somewhat too notoriously of his origin, his Jewish
origin, Master Bandini?"

The Jew druggist tossed his heavy head with an expression that, however
ill assured, was meant to say, "Well! and what then?"

"Think you I know not that, fearing the prejudices against his race might
injure the gains of his various trades, perhaps also that the name he bore
might recal reminiscences better forgotten for ever, he assumed a
Christian appellation, passed for an honest Christian man--_honest_,
humph!" added the stranger with a sniggering laugh--"and infringed the
severe laws of Hungary, which compel all of his tribe to dwell within one
prescribed street in each city, and wear one distinctive dress--laws that,
if called into execution, would bring him contumely, imprisonment,
ruin--ay ruin, Master Israeli--humph, I forgot--Bandini? Think you I have
no eyes to see yon cross ostentatiously displayed to Christian visitors,
now turned against the wall, with the contempt of one of your accursed
race--a deed in itself a crime to merit mortal punishment?"

The Jew stole a glance at the cross, and was evidently moved.

"Think you I divine not," pursued his visitor, hastily snatching from the
table the heavy book closed upon his entrance, and flinging it open upon
his knees, "that this jargon of the devil is your Hebrew book of worship,
in which Master Bandini seeks for rules of conduct for the further welfare
of his soul--if so be he have one--in the persecution and torture of
Christian men--a pretty religion, _cospetto!_--or may be, practises
sorcery?" And the stranger laughed ironically at his own suggestion.
"Think you I know not all this, Master Bandini?"

"And if the Cavaliere Caracalli knows me, what have I to fear from him?"
said the Jew sullenly, with a look of defiance.

"Ha! that would seem a threat!" answered the cavaliere haughtily. "Once
more, have a care, man, how you deal with me! What you have to fear I will
tell you, Master Bandini, rogue--all that your worst fears can
contemplate, should I have reason to believe you a traitor." And, at these
words, he sprang up from his chair, and confronted the old man, with an
evident desire to intimidate him by his movement.

The Jew druggist did not flinch; but he answered with less of defiance.

"I am no traitor--no traitor to you; and, though you know me, why should I
not serve you still? Why should we not be friends?"

"Friends! you and I!" said the cavaliere with scorn. "But no matter! This
affair of the lodger looks ill, I tell you."

"Times are bad--times are bad, noble cavaliere," stammered the Jew, in a
whining and apologetic tone. "Our contract stipulated not that I should
not strive to earn an honest livelihood where I could."

"And who prevents you, man," said the cavaliere, with a sneer, "from
earning what you please to term an honest livelihood, as far as it
interfere not with my interests? But this imprudence"----

"Heavy losses! heavy losses!" continued the old man, interrupting him, to
pursue his apology. "I have had heavy and serious losses, which I must
strive to cover by what scanty means are left me--to say naught of drugs
unpaid, and services to the rich ill recompensed and scouted. I am a needy
man. I am, indeed, a needy man." The cavaliere shrugged his shoulders.
"Ah! You feel not that, noble sir. But the God of my fathers knows that it
is true. Was there not the Illok affair, in which the poor money-lender
was cheated of his honest earnings? Did not the Count Csaki leave the
country, a bankrupt, and cause me all but utter ruin? And, worse than all,
did not the Baron Bartori, after he had made over to me his estates, in
return for moneys lent him in his need, die with the intent and purpose,
as one would say, to defraud me of my just dues? and did not his son,
without whose signature to destroy the entail, I cannot obtain possession
of my rights--the God of Israel's curse be on the Philistine laws of this
unjust country!--disappear, no one knows whither? He is an honest youth,
and a just, they say, who would not deprive a poor needy man of his own:
but he may be dead--he may be dead, without giving his precious
sign-manual; and I should be a ruined man--a ruined man--alas! alas!"

The cavaliere had borne impatiently the lamentations thus uttered as
apologies for his love of gain by the Jew money-lender: and he now broke
in upon them with disgust.

"A truce to all this comedy of woe, man! If you be shorn of a lock or two
of your ill-gotten golden fleece, we well know that it is still a full and
warm one. Come, come--no more of this!" he pursued, as the Jew continued
to squeeze alternately the skeleton fingers of each hand, as though he
pretended to be wringing them in despair. "We must to business; and since
the mischief has been done--and, mark me! it must be remedied forthwith,
and this boy driven from the house--see that the coast be clear!"

"He is from home, I tell you," was Bandini's reply; and he was continuing
to murmur, with sunken head, the words, "Heavy losses! heavy losses! Why
did he die? And were aught to happen to his son, as is likely in these
troublesome times, I were ruined--utterly ruined. Oh! heavy losses!"--when
an angry exclamation and an imperative gesture from his visitor, repeated
the order to look that they were alone and undisturbed.

The old man lighted a small hand-lamp at that which stood upon the table,
undrew the bolts that fastened the door, and left the room with sullen
look and step. He was gone for a very brief space of time; but this short
interval was employed by the stranger in turning over, with rapid hand and
scrutinizing eye, the papers which lay upon the table. He shook his head
with a sneer of indifference, as if he had found nothing worthy of his
attention, and had scarcely time to resume his seat with an air of
unconcern, when the Jew returned, and, eyeing him narrowly, advanced into
the room with that haste of suspicion and fear, which induced even the
usurer to forget his usual precautions of bolts and bars.

"There is no one in the house but ourselves," he said, with still sulky
air.

"Then seat yourself, man, and open to me your wallet of sayings and
doings; and let's see what scraps of information you may have gleaned. It
should be crammed full, ere this. Seat yourself, I say, and clear that
gloomy brow of yours," said the cavaliere with a laugh. "What has passed
since I last saw you?"

"The city is already thronged with the nobility of Hungary, convoked by
this woman, who still asserts her rights over them, in the hope that they
may aid her in her troubles;" commenced the Jew, seating himself, in
obedience to his visitor's command. "Jehovah! what a stir they make! What
moneys do they lavish upon foolish pomp! What spendthrift profusion do
they display! It curdles the very blood of a poor thrifty man within him,
to witness such insensate prodigality. But they must rue their folly. They
will need moneys; they will seek to obtain moneys of the poor druggist.
Ah!" And the usurer rubbed his hands with satisfaction; but then, seeing
the gestures of impatience displayed by his companion, he proceeded: "But
there is much discontent, I hear, among them; and, where she has not
enemies, she has lukewarm friends. They will no longer, they say, be
governed by a weak woman, who can so ill wield the reins of power, and who
has already staked and lost all the other inheritance of her father"----

"Unjustly herited--unjustly held. Forget not that, Master Bandini!"
interrupted the Italian.

"Unjustly--well, well! I am no legist to understand these things," pursued
the Jew; "only a poor thrifty physician"----

"And usurer," again broke in his companion.

Bandini smiled a sour smile, and continued:

"Call me usurer, if you will. I see no scorn in the term; and I have
turned my money-lending to account in this matter. Yes! and in your
service; although you but now called me traitor. Have I not refused moneys
to those who offered me good securities and values, and at my own loss--at
my own loss, cavaliere--because I would not deal with those who would
hazard their all in a war to aid this woman in her desperate need? And
although my friend Zachariah has lent them sums of precious metal, has it
not been upon such great interest, and at such peril to themselves, that
they cannot risk so dangerous a venture as the espousing her cause, and
upon their written engagement also--and this as by my advice, mark me,
noble cavaliere!--that they should not take up arms? Have I not done this
to serve you?--at my own loss, I say; and can you call me traitor now?"

"So far all goes well," said the Italian, unheeding the importance
attached by the Jew to the supposed services rendered. "Maria Theresa will
be foiled in her last attempt at opposition to her enemy's force, by
seeking succours from her so-called faithful Hungarians. Success, also,
has crowned my efforts in my expedition throughout the land, Master
Bandini," he pursued, raising himself from his listless posture, with a
look of animation and triumph. "The seeds of discord and discontent have
every where been sown. I have visited these proud eagles, the Hungarian
nobles, in their country-nests; and I have employed all means to turn them
from listening to the appeal of their fugitive queen. To the worldly-wise,
I have urged the ruin of war to their already troubled and impoverished
country,--to the lovers of their fatherland, the independence of Hungary,
and freedom from the House of Austria, if they will seize this opportunity
to shake off its yoke, instead of again cringing to its call,--to the man,
the weakness of submitting to a woman's sway,--to the needy and the
grasping, I have promised, and even already lavished, the bribes of
France, Spain, and Sardinia, to induce them to refuse their aid,--to the
ambitious, place, rank, orders, courtly favour from my powerful employers,
should they espouse their cause. I have studied men's characters, and read
men's minds, to turn them to my will; and although I have met with
opposition, endangered my life indeed, and risked my safety from ill-will,
yet I have so strewn my grain, that, when Maria Theresa shall appear upon
the field, she shall reap tares where she hoped to gather wheat. The cause
is lost, I tell you!"

The Jew rubbed his hands with an air of satisfaction, which seemed to show
that the profits to be divided from his association in the political
manoeuvres of his visitor were to be proportionate to the success of
these hazardous schemes, and that visions of golden reward already floated
before his eyes.

"And the opening of the Diet is still fixed for the 11th?" inquired the
Italian, after a pause, in which he had allowed his unwonted enthusiasm to
cool down to a bearing of indifference, which was more his nature.

"Yes--the day following the morrow," answered Bandini.

"Has she already made her appearance in the city?" again asked his
visitor.

"It is supposed that she is not yet here. There has been no solemn entry;
but she must be here every hour," was the reply.

"In that morrow we have as yet time for much," said the cavaliere. "I must
pursue my measures here with caution. My great scheme, of which more,
perhaps, hereafter, may be tried at any issue; and woe betide Maria
Theresa, if"--

As he uttered these words, the Italian was startled and interrupted by the
abrupt opening of the door of the apartment. The Jew turned round with
surprise, whilst his companion, checking the first involuntary movement,
which induced him to look in the same direction, buried himself in his
chair, so as to conceal himself as much as possible from the intruder.

The person who entered was a tall old man, whose erect figure and firm
step proved how little time had weighed upon his natural vigour. His
features were bold and rude, although not deficient in that species of
manly beauty which an expression of confidence and energy bestows, and
were fully displayed by the disposal of his grizzled hair, which, torn
back from his forehead, and plastered over his head with an evident
profusion of grease, descended on to his back in a long braided tail. His
dress was of that description known in other parts of Europe as the hussar
uniform, which was worn by certain of the domestics belonging to the
Hungarian nobility. The yellow braid profusely bestowed across the breast
of his jacket, and upon the pockets and sides of his tight blue
pantaloons, was of a colour that showed what good service his attire had
already seen. In his brawny hands he held his shako, as he advanced into
the room, with more of rudeness than of deference in his manner.

"Is it you, Master Farkas?" said the Jew, rising to meet him. "I did not
hear you enter."

"I opened the street door below with the pass-key you gave us," replied
the man; whilst, at these words, the cavaliere stamped his foot in anger.

"You made but little noise," resumed Bandini suspiciously.

"I suppose you were too much engaged to hear us; for I see you have a
visitor," said the old man, fixing his eyes upon the form whose back was
turned to him, and advancing familiarly further into the room.

But the Jew intercepted him.

"What do you want here, Master Farkas?"

"_Teremtette!_" said the fellow roughly. "Would you have my lord up to bed
in the dark, like a rat or a gipsy thief? I want a light."

"I will attend your master forthwith," said the Jew, taking up the
hand-lamp, and hastening to the door.

"My master, ugh! My lord, if it please or please not your worship,"
growled Farkas, preceding the landlord out of the apartment.

When the Jew returned, his visitor confronted him with angry looks.

"See to what you expose me, fellow, by your villanous meanness!" exclaimed
the cavaliere. "And, not content with harbouring vagabonds in your house,
that, for aught I know, may be spies upon us, you furnish them with
pass-keys, to surprise us when they will--to ear-wig at the doors, hear
our discourse, betray our secrets. How now, fellow, what have you to
answer?"

"I tell you that they are most innocent and unsuspecting rustics, both,"
stammered the Jew--"both master and man. There can be no danger."

"No danger!" continued the angry cavaliere. "No danger, fellow!
_Cospetto!_ this very circumstance may be my ruin! That voice, too, was
not unknown to me. I have heard it somewhere, although I know not where.
It sounded to me as the reminiscence of some past evil--a raven's croak,
announcing still more ill to come. _Santa Vergine!_ If we are lost, I will
have your life, with my own hand;" and he half drew his sword from the
scabbard.

Bandini drew back sulkily, with further protestations, deprecations, and
endeavours to mollify his visitor: but it was long before the cavaliere
could be appeased. Once he left the room and listened in the passage, and
at the young Hungarian's door. Then he descended to the street entrance,
and examined the lock: and only when convinced that the other inhabitants
of the house were still, and had probably retired to rest, did he come
back. When he returned to the Jew's room, his brow was still knitted
angrily; but, after drawing a bolt across the door, he sat down with less
of agitation.

More unfriendly words again passed between the confederates; but, after a
time, the Italian spy and the Jew money-lender were again conversing, in
lowered tones, upon the schemes of the former.


CHAPTER II

          "Underneath the grove of sycamore,
  That westward rooteth from the city's side--
  So early walking did I see your son:
  Towards him I made; but he was ware of me
  And stole into a covert of the wood."--

       *       *       *       *       *

  "Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her--
  O teach me how I should forget to think."--SHAKSPEARE.

  "Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch!"--IDEM.

On the following afternoon, the sun shone brightly; and the whole
atmosphere, in spite of the slight haze which faintly silvered the distant
hills, was imbued with that exhilarating freshness and lightness, which
sheds a poetic charm of animation, vividness, and--did it not appear a
paradox--it might be added, youth also, over an Hungarian autumn, unknown
in other European countries.

The streets of Presburg were thronged by the crowds whom the approaching
opening of the Diet, convoked by Maria Theresa, had attracted to that
city; and highly picturesque and varied was the scene composed by the
multifarious parties, pushing and thrusting along, or gathered in groups
and knots, discussing the momentous events of those troubled times,
between the rows of antique houses, which bestow upon Presburg the aspect
rather of an old town of the German Empire, than of less civilized
Hungary.

In the middle space pranced upon their richly caparisoned steeds,
glittering with the hanging trappings of that semi-oriental taste which,
although somewhat modified, still forms a striking characteristic of the
country, several of the Hungarian magnates, already attired in the
national costumes--the richly embroidered attila, or long frock-coat,
loaded with ornament--the furred cloak, clasped with glittering jewels to
the shoulder--the high flat cap of fur or velvet, displaying an egret of
rare feathers, which dashed upwards from the diamond broach--the tight
gold-braided pantaloons--the tasselled boots--their powdered hair alone
displaying, in some instances, their submission to the fashion of the day
in other countries. Thronging among them were many of the lesser nobles,
either on horseback or on foot, all dressed in the same characteristic
style, with less of richness and embroidery, according to their lesser
ranks or lesser means--each dress cut, and fashioned, and braided,
according to the taste or whim of the wearer. Now and then rumbled along a
cumbrous gilded and fantastically painted coach, swinging heavily between
its monstrous gilded wheels, and sometimes adorned upon the four corners
of its broad projecting roof with clumps of feathers, not unlike an
ancient tester-bed--the coachman in richly-laced Hungarian livery, or in
the silver-buttoned vest, hanging white sleeves, and broad white trowsers
of the peasant; but of finer stuff, gayer embroidery, and richer fringe to
the trowsers' edge, than the humbler of his class, as befitted the
elevation to which he had been raised--the six horses, loaded with studded
sparkling harness, and hanging strips of metal-behung leather, which
streamed down the flanks and shoulders. Within them sat alone the proud
dames of the Hungarian magnates, in even costlier dress than was the wont
of that period of costly and cumbrous attire--their powdered heads adorned
with the bejewelled caps of the national costume; for in those days a man,
who really deemed himself a man, disdained to show himself the lazy tenant
of these moving houses; and more especially the Hungarian, who considered
the name of horseman as synonymous with that of man, and himself as born
to be "a tamer of horses." Amidst these heavier vehicles, the light wooden
carts of the peasant-noble, ignorant of all attempt at springs, of all
harness but the rudest cords, endeavoured in vain to advance rapidly, in
obedience to the impatience of the small, meagre, but impetuous horses of
Tartar race which were lightly attached to them.

Among the crowded pedestrians was the scene still more checkered with
kaleidescope variety. Here the embroidered pantaloons, the braided
dolmans, and the feathered bonnets, were mingled with the long-fringed,
full white trowsers, the large hanging shirt-sleeves, the broad-brimmed
upturned hats--from beneath which streamed long black shaggy mane-like
locks, over dark swarthy countenances, adorned with immense hanging
moustaches--and the huge sheepskin cloaks, decorated on the exterior with
fancifully embroidered flowers, and patches of bright cloth; the jaunty,
dancing, bold, easy air of the Hungarians, all booted and spurred even to
the very children, contrasting with the slouched gait of the Sclavonians,
with their curiously sandled feet--the Croat, still attired like the
Dacian of old, thronging along with the demi-brigand of the southern
provinces, whose savage bandit aspect would have struck terror in the
streets of any more civilized land--the purple talas, and long flowing
beard of the followers of the Greek Pope, sweeping against the dark robe
of the bald monk from the neighbouring convent--the smoother, finer gown
of the richer Catholic priest brushing past the white uniform of the
Austrian grenadier, with his conical headpiece, and long powdered pigtail.

Amidst the hum of the many voices, the salutations of friends, the
laughter of some of the squeezing throng, the oaths of others, the cries
of the coachmen and the shouts of the horsemen to those who obstructed the
streets, arose, nevertheless, one unwearied and endless sound--the sound
of ringing metal--from the rattling of the universal spurs, and the
clashing of the many sabres.

But if the scene was varied, more varied still were the emotions of the
crowd--among those, at least, who were more deeply interested in the
result of the event which had called together a great part of the nation
within the walls of the city of Presburg; according as their party
feelings or private interests led them to desire that resistance should be
shown to the appeal made by her whom the Hungarians styled their "King,"
to her faithful subjects of Hungary, for succour under her distresses; or
as their enthusiasm or attachment to the House of Austria induced them to
wish that every assistance should be bestowed to enable her to restore her
fallen fortunes.

The situation of Maria Theresa was indeed desperate. Her right to the
countries inherited by her from her father Charles VI., emperor of
Germany, were contested by almost all the other states of Europe. Her
friends and allies were few; and those few seemed to have deserted her at
this critical juncture. And yet with what confidence, with what a
well-assured prospect of a glorious reign, had she mounted the throne
secured to her!

As early as the year 1713, the Emperor Charles VI. had issued, in his
privy council, a solemn ordinance, by which the female succession was
secured throughout his states, in case of the failure of male issue--an
ordinance well known in history, under the name of the "Pragmatic
Sanction." It was published throughout the Austrian states as inviolable
law, was made known to all the European courts, and by degrees guaranteed
by all, forming the ground and basis of all their treaties and alliances
with the House of Austria, and was moreover confirmed by oath by the
princes allied to the family by their intermarriage with Austrian
princesses. It was this ordinance, which only afterwards came into effect
upon the death of the Archduke Leopold, the only son of Charles VI., that
secured the right of succession to his daughter Maria Theresa, who at his
decease, which occurred in October 1740, and closed the male succession of
the House of Hapsburg, succeeded him, with the title of Queen of Hungary
and Bohemia, in these and all the other Austrian States, including, Milan,
Parma, Placentia, and the Netherlands. All these lands gave in their oath
of adherence.

In spite of the triple right, however, which gave the States of Austria to
Maria Theresa--the right of nature, the law of the Pragmatic sanction, and
the sureties given by all the European states--several powers shortly
afterwards rose to contest her heritage. The Elector of Bavaria laid claim
to the succession, in virtue of a will of the Emperor Ferdinand the First,
dated in the year 1543; Augustus of Poland, in virtue of the earlier
rights of his wife, Maria Josepha, daughter of the Emperor Joseph, the
elder brother of Charles the Sixth. The King of Spain, Philip the Fifth,
went back as far as the rights of the wife of Philip the Second, a
daughter of the Emperor Maximilian the Second, from whom he was descended
in the female line. The King of Sardinia, Charles Emmanuel, laid claim to
the duchy of Milan; and Louis the Fifteenth of France supported the
Elector of Bavaria and the King of Spain. All Europe was quickly in flames
upon the subject of the succession. Not only princes, but many private
individuals, took an eager and active part in the quarrel. But the war, at
last, broke out from an unexpected quarter. Frederic the Second of Prussia
now laid claim to four duchies in Silesia, in spite of the renunciations
of these lands frequently made by his predecessors in favour of the House
of Austria, and suddenly, in December 1740, invaded the country, which,
being almost entirely undefended, was soon completely overrun by the
Prussian army. Maria Theresa, in spite of the alliance offered her by the
King of Prussia against her other enemies, in case Silesia should be
yielded up to him, stoutly and valiantly refused all compromise, declared
herself noways disposed to dismember, in the least degree, the States left
her by her father, and bade defiance to Frederic. Her enemies now took
this opportunity to attack her. Bavaria declared war, and was supported
by France, Spain, Savoy, and Saxony. In spite of the opposition of
Cardinal Fleury, the French minister, who was favourable to the cause of
the young Queen, Louis the Fifteenth placed under the command of Marshal
Count de Belle-Isle, a large French army, which crossed the Rhine in
August 1741; whilst the Chevalier de Belle-Isle was sent from court to
court in Germany, to rouse the powers against Maria Theresa; and numerous
spies and agents were dispatched, in every direction, to undermine the
last support she might have to hope for from her few remaining allies.
Linz quickly fell into the hands of the enemy, who approached upon Vienna.
Utter ruin lay before the persecuted Queen, who was obliged to leave her
capital, and seek refuge in Hungary. And under these circumstances it was,
that she had convoked at Presburg the Diet of the four orders of the
kingdom, the opening of which now caused the city to throng with crowds of
Hungarians from all quarters of the country.

Among the mass of persons that thus swarmed in the main street of
Presburg, like ants upon the chief passage to the anthill, in seeming
confusion in which each individual atom has, nevertheless, its own purpose
and design, was a young man, whose striking personal appearance
continually attracted attention among those who crossed his path, and
caused many a head to turn and gaze after him, even in that favoured land
where beauty of the most romantic kind is common among all classes. He was
a youth of scarcely more than twenty years, as might be seen by the fresh
bloom upon his cheek, and the first down of dark moustaches which faintly
painted his upper-lip. His figure was slim, but yet his carriage had all
the bold ease of Hungarian youth; his features were regularly and
beautifully fashioned, although not of that extreme symmetry which mars
expression by its coldness; his dark-grey eyes, shaded by long black
lashes, which bestowed on them an Oriental cast, wore a look of hardihood
and languor combined, which spoke of a romantic temperament; and his
dark-brown hair, unconcealed by the fashion of the times, streamed free
and unfettered on to his neck and temples. He was attired in a sombre
dress, which well became his figure and poetic look. His braided attila
and pantaloons were of black cloth slightly relieved with velvet of the
same colour upon the cuffs and collar; and a black velvet Hungarian cap,
surmounted by a plume of black eaglet's feathers, sat boldly upon his
head. The silver-mounted belt and chains of his sabre were the only
ornaments that glittered on his dress.

Whatever the purpose of the seemingly capricious wanderings of the young
man, as he thrust obstinately and somewhat rudely through the crowds which
opposed his progress, he was not to be diverted from it by the
objurgations of some of those whom he thus elbowed on his passage, or the
commendatory remarks of others, who noticed his good mien. His eye roved
perpetually to every window at which a female form appeared; and, upon the
approach of each coach that passed, he pushed boldly forward, to obtain as
near a view as possible of its fair inmates. But he evidently sought some
one particular form, which he found not in his unwearying scrutiny; for,
as often as some fresh female face had been narrowly examined, followed
sometimes with a moment's doubt, and then abandoned, he gently shook his
head, with knitted brow, and an expression of disappointment, and, falling
back, uttered an impatient sigh.

At a short distance from the youth followed a tall old man, in the hussar
dress of an Hungarian domestic, who, in turn, pushed sturdily after him,
never losing him entirely from his sight, and utterly heedless of the
exclamations of those thrust aside, who, however they might spare their
angry comments to the handsome young noble, bestowed them with double
wrath upon his rude attendant. The look of the old man was one of
discontent, as he thus pursued the capricious movements of the youth; and
he gave vent to a continued string of muttered rough Hungarian oaths,
whilst he pushed on, and muttered such phrases as, "he is distraught--he
is utterly distraught with this silly boyish fancy!"

At length, as the dusk of approaching evening began slowly to fall upon
the streets, as the crowd gradually lessened, as no more carriages rumbled
heavily along the causeway, and as no more faces appeared at the windows,
the young man paused in his hurried walk, uttered a still deeper sigh of
disappointment, and leaning himself wearily against a doorway, sank his
head downwards, and seemed lost in painful meditation.

His old attendant approached him, and after a time, seeing that his
presence was unnoticed, and that the gloomy reverie of the young man
continued, he addressed him in a tone in which rude familiarity and
respect were strangely combined--

"Is my lord's young blood so hot, then, that he seeks to cool it by taking
up his night-quarters under this airy gateway?" But seeing that the young
man heeded him not, he muttered an inpatient "_Teremtette!_" between his
teeth, and then, plucking at his master's dress, he continued--

"Have you no orders to give me, Master Otmar?"

"None, Farkas. No, leave me!" was the only reply vouchsafed.

"Look you, Master Otmar," pursued his attendant--"You are observed
here--you are an object of attention, perhaps of mockery, to the
passers-by."

"What mean you, Farkas?" cried the young man, in a tone of displeasure.

"Nay! if my lord is angry, I have no more to say," replied Farkas, drawing
back.

"Perhaps you are right," said the young man, with a sigh; "although your
words were rude." And without further comment, he removed himself from his
reclining position, and walked away with hurried steps.

The old domestic followed rapidly, and, as they approached the St
Michael's gate, evidently expected that his young master would enter his
lodging close by; but, seeing that he still walked on, Farkas paused for a
moment, and murmured the words, "He bade me leave him. But he is utterly
distraught. He knows not what he says; he has forgotten his command ere
now; and who knows what may happen to the poor foolish boy!" And having
thus reassured his conscience upon his act of disobedience, he pursued the
young man's footsteps at a respectful distance, through the gateway, over
the bridge, and along the suburb.

Beyond lay a more open road, skirted by gardens, and enlivened here and
there by summer pavilions, belonging to some of the wealthier nobles; and,
at about a quarter of a mile from the town, stood, to the left of the
wanderers, a stately palace, built in the heavy but ornamented style of
the commencement of the same century, and backed by gardens, that
stretched out behind it to the foot of that richly wooded and romantic
ridge of low mountains which gives so peculiar a charm to the environs of
the fine old city of Presburg.

Passing through a side entrance of the court of this palace, which served
as a summer residence to the Archbishop Primate of Hungary--at that period
the Prince Immeric Esterhazy--and entering the gardens beyond, which the
liberality of the wealthy primate opened to public recreation, but which
were now empty, the young noble sauntered on, lost in meditation, through
statues of heathen divinities, which seemed ill in accordance with the
abode of a Christian bishop; and tritoned fountains, and stiff parterres,
and huge incommodious stone benches; until, reaching an alley of shady
planes and clustering chestnut-trees, he flung himself listlessly down on
the mossy bench of a shell and pebble-studded niche. The glow of the last
rays of the setting sun faintly penetrated the entrance of the avenue,
adding a still richer colour to the rich green shades of the trees, as yet
untouched by the influence of autumn; while, in the distant opening of the
dark vista, framed, as it were, by the circling trees, appeared a hazy
landscape of calm vine-covered hills, dotted with white cottages. It was a
spot peculiarly adapted to meditation and repose, the solitude of which
was enhanced, rather than disturbed, by its sole occupant--a misanthropic
stork, that with its wings folded on its back, like a sulky old gentleman
with his arms behind him, placed slowly and deliberately one foot before
the other, as it stepped on in lonely thoughtfulness.

For a time the young man sat lost in reflection; and it was not until he
at length raised his head to gaze upon a scene congenial to his feelings,
that he became aware of the form of old Farkas, standing erect against a
tree, like a sentry in his box, at no great distance from him.

"This is a persecution to which I cannot submit," he murmured to himself;
and then rising, and calling angrily to his attendant, he cried,

"Did I not bid you leave me, Farkas?"

"Leave you, my lord?" said the attendant, advancing with an air of
surprise.

"Yes, leave me. Do you hear now?"

"My duty"--continued the old man, in an expostulatory tone.

"Is to obey me."

"My attachment"----

"Becomes importunate," broke in his master, "if my footsteps are to be
thus dogged, and my solitude to be disturbed, fellow."

Farkas tossed his head, with a sigh, that perhaps might be more
appropriately termed a grunt, and moved a few steps backwards; but then,
as if unable to obey, he again lingered and returned.

"Master Otmar," he said, "call me rude, unmannered, disobedient. Bid me
leave you--yes, leave you for ever, if you will. But, out it must,
_teremtette!_ in spite of all. I cannot see you thus, and quit you,
without a word--you, your father's son. You, Master Otmar, whose heels I
was the first to spur, whom I first set on horseback to gallop alone over
the Puszta, whom I first taught a good round Hungarian oath. I could not
do it, were I to know it were the last word I spoke."

"Speak then! What have you to say?" cried Otmar, in a tone of vexed
impatience; but then, as he saw the eyes of the old man fixed in such
mournful earnestness and solicitude upon him, he seemed to repent his
harshness, and stretched out his hand, which his attendant took and kissed
with reverence, according to the custom of the country.

"Speak!" he said more mildly; "I know you love me, although sometimes you
show your love after a strange rude fashion, Farkas!"

"Are you a man, Master Otmar," began the old attendant, bluntly, "that you
should be thus cast down because you have seen a pretty face that smiled
upon you?" The young man showed evident marks of impatience at these
words; but Farkas had seized his advantage, and continued, "Is a chitfaced
woman's glance, seen only once, to break a man's bold spirit thus? You are
in love, you will tell me. That's a boy's answer to all; but"--

"Peace, foolish man! what do you know of love?" said Otmar, impatiently.

"Foolish!" echoed the old man, with a toss of the head, as if he were for
a moment inclined to argue which were the more foolish, he or his master.
"Be that as it may. Perhaps I understand little of this love, at least
now. But I remember the time I understood it better; and, _teremtette!_
that was another sort of thing. When I was in love, I danced and sprang,
and drank and swore, and flung up my cap on to the very horns of the young
moon! There was some spirit in love then! But you have saved a fair lady
from danger, as her unruly devils of horses were about to plunge her
travelling coach from the bank into the broad stream of the Danube, and
you are as cast down about it as if you had caused her death, instead of
saving her from destruction. _Eb adta!_ it is for her to whine and pine,
and lament that she sees the bright eyes of her handsome deliverer no
more; not for you, boy!"

"And with how sweet a smile! with what a dignity and grace! with what a
look of angel brightness, did she hold out her hand to thank me!" muttered
the young man to himself, as he again sank down upon the bank.

"Be a man, Master Otmar!" pursued Farkas, with more animation and
earnestness. "Call back again your energy and spirit! Where is the bold
young fellow, now, who challenged that cursed outlandish rascal, who not
long since strove to tamper with his loyalty, and throw doubts upon the
rights of our King--God bless _her_!--and pricked him, too, right through
the sword-arm, and did it well, right well?"

"And would again, Farkas!" said Otmar, raising his head proudly.

"Although, to be sure, you would not allow me to cudgel him soundly, and
beat his treacherous brains out afterwards," continued the man, with a
grim smile; "but, no matter for that, he had half his deserts, and shall
have the other half one of these days. An honest man pays his just debts."

"Leave the villain to his fate!" cried the young man with a look of scorn.

"That's right!" pursued his attendant. "Now, you are yourself again. Look
you, Master Otmar! I cannot bear to see you thus unhappy and cast down,
and all for the look of a bright eye. It goes nigh to break my heart, I
tell you." And the old man's voice began to falter with emotion.

"But I am not unhappy," said Otmar, smiling; "I am happy, very happy. Let
that re-assure you, Farkas. You tell me, be a man. Can I be a man, and not
indulge grave thoughts in these times of strife and trouble?"

The old man shook his head.

"You love me, Farkas," continued the young noble. "Let, then, the
assurance that I am far from unhappy suffice you. Now leave me, in all
earnest. I shortly will return home--Home!" he murmured to himself, "have
I a home now?"

The old attendant still lingered; but, as his master stretched forth his
hand, he again kissed it reverently, and, turning up the alley,
disappeared from sight.

"No! I am not unhappy," muttered Otmar, when he found himself alone. "Why
should I not be happy, when she smiled upon me so sweetly? But should I
not see her again? Oh no! Fate cannot be so cruel. And who was he that sat
by her side, and took her hand in his, as she again entered the coach? Her
husband--her lover, perhaps. I will not believe it. Her brother, may be.
No! I am not unhappy. I should be happy that I can place between myself
and the dark realities of life a bright barrier of fancy, of poetry, of
love--like unto those glorious painted windows in the old cathedral, which
spread out, between the inclemencies of the atmosphere without, and the
mysteries of the calm sanctuary within, the thousand glories of a thousand
colours, a radiant curtain of purple, and crimson, and gold, in such wise
that the passing cloud, with all its variations of shade, only develops
fresh treasures of harmony and beauty; and if a ray of sun bursts
forth--oh then!--it might almost seem as if, in those dazzling showers of
light and radiance, a whole celestial choir of angels descended upon the
altar! Thrice happy should I be, that, on the sanctuary of my heart,
shines such a ray of light! Yes, in the midst of the darkness of my life,"
pursued the young man to himself, still following up the same images of
his poetic fancy, "my thoughts should be as the thousand particles of dust
that may be seen to turn, and whirl, and gambol in the golden shaft of
light which streams through a peephole into a darkened prison! No, I
should not be--I am not unhappy!" And yet Otmar sighed, as he bent his
head again to the earth.

From this poetic reverie he was roused, however, by the noise of
footsteps; and, as he lifted up his head, he saw that the entrance to the
alley was darkened by the forms of three persons who were advancing
towards him. That which immediately attracted his attention, and caused
him to spring up from his seat as if struck by an electric shock which
darted through his heart, was a young female, whose features and
expression, as she approached nearer, might be seen, spite of the
gathering darkness, to be of singular beauty. She was attired in a dark
brocaded dress, the long and slim waist of which was set off by a small
hoop, in accordance with the custom of the times; a thick veil, or rather
Spanish mantilla, of similar stuff was fastened into the top of her
powdered edifice of hair, and covered her neck and shoulders; and from
beneath its folds protruded a small hand, the fingers of which rested
gently upon the arm of a young man. This second personage was dressed in
all the rich extravagance of the French fashion of the day--his long
lappeted coat, hanging waistcoat, and breeches, all laced and spangled,
and behung with knots of ribands--his three-cornered hat flung under the
arm which did not serve as support to the lady--and an embroidered
handkerchief, the perfumes of which scented the air even at a distance,
ostentatiously flourished in his hand; and if Otmar's heart beat
involuntarily at first sight of the female, it was twinged with an equally
involuntary pang of painful emotion as his eye wandered to her companion.
The group was completed by an aged man, in the plain costume of a Catholic
ecclesiastic of the day, to whom the lady turned her head to address some
remark, as he lingered somewhat behind the other personages.

The first instinctive movement of Otmar's heart had not deceived him. As
the lady approached still nearer, the lingering doubt gave way to full
conviction. It was she--she of whom he had dreamt so fondly-she whom he
had sought all day so eagerly among the crowds that thronged the city
streets! And now that she stood before him, his knees trembled, whilst his
feet seemed to be rooted to the ground, and his tongue to cleave to the
roof of his mouth. Had she passed him unnoticed where he stood, he could
not have moved to claim a look, or framed a word to address her. But, as
she drew closer to him, she checked her steps with a slight exclamation of
surprise, almost of alarm, at the sight of the half-concealed stranger in
the dusk. Her companion moved forward hastily, and, dropping her arm,
advanced his hand to his sword; but, before he could say a word, she had
in turn come forward.

"Forbear, my friend!" she said; and then, advancing to Otmar, she
continued, "I am not deceived. It is my noble rescuer. I have sought you,
sir, in vain, to tender you my thanks for your good services, if my poor
thanks, indeed, can be a recompense for service so beyond all price."

"Madam, I did but the duty of a gentleman," stammered Otmar; "and for you,
who would not----?"

"I owe you, indeed, more than thanks can pay," interrupted the young
female. "You left us so hastily, after accomplishing that deed of courage
at the risk of your own life, that I had no time to learn who was my bold
deliverer from peril. In the confusion and trouble of the moment, I
allowed you to depart; and, believe me, my heart has not ceased to
reproach me since for a seeming want of gratitude, that, the Saints of
Heaven know, was far from it."

"Oh! I am repaid, fully repaid, fair lady, by these words," interrupted
the eager youth in his turn.

"But I may still repair my error," resumed the lady. "Alas! I have little
to bestow," she continued, with a sigh, "save empty words of gratitude.
But the time may come. Let me know, at least, the name of him who has done
me such essential service."

"It were unworthy of your ears, fair lady," stammered Otmar timidly

"Again, I reclaim the favour of your name, sir," said the young female.
"You are noble; your mien proclaims it, did not the sabre by your side
attest it." And her eyes seemed to rest with satisfaction upon the figure
of the handsome youth. "You have more--you have the true nobility of
heart. You will not refuse your name to a lady who demands it."

Otmar was about to speak, when the noise of several persons advancing into
the alley with rapid steps, caused the heads of all parties to turn in
that direction. A troop of five or six men, with drawn swords, and black
masks upon their faces, rushed violently upon them.

"Seize her! It is she!" cried a tall man, who appeared the leader of the
party, as he darted forward.

A violent scream issued from the mouth of the female--exclamations of
alarm, and shouts of rescue from those of her companions. Otmar
instinctively drew his sabre with cry of rage, and the next moment all was
skirmish and confusion.

"Ruffian!" exclaimed the young Hungarian, attacking the taller mask, who
had now seized with rude grasp the hand of the female, and causing him, by
the violence of the onset, to let go his hold.

"Ha! he once more! God's curse on him!" cried the leader, parrying the
attack as best he might, whilst he endeavoured to regain possession of the
lady.

"Let her not escape! let her not escape!" he shouted again to his
followers, finding himself hardly pressed upon. "I will dispatch this
fellow, on whom I reckoned not." And he, in his turn, attacked Otmar with
fury.

Even in the midst of the skirmish, the young man could not resist seeking
the lady with his eye; and he could dimly perceive, in the darkness and
confusion, that she had taken refuge with the ecclesiastic, whilst her
companion was making desperate efforts with his French small-sword, to
keep at bay the other assailants. But his unwary solicitude had wellnigh
cost him his life. A plunge of his adversary's sword passed through his
attila, and slightly grazed his side. The next moment his own sabre
descended on to the shoulder of the man with whom he was engaged, with
sufficient effect, although the blow was evaded, to disable him for the
moment, and cause him to stagger back.

Profiting by this circumstance, Otmar rushed upon the other ravishers, and
came up at the very instant when, overpowered by numbers, the companion of
the lady had lost all power of any longer protecting her retreat, and
preventing their object of seizing on her. Attacking then with fury, and
dealing several severe wounds, he succeeded in turning their attention
chiefly to himself.

Thus desperately engaged in a most unequal combat, he heard the step and
voice of his first antagonist from behind. A dagger already gleamed over
his head, when suddenly a heavy blow resounded, and his assailant
staggered and fell to the ground. In a few moments more he had contrived
to disperse the other ruffians, who, wounded and alarmed, now took to
flight. When he turned, he found his old Farkas standing over the
prostrate body of his first foe.

"I could not leave my lord," cried the old domestic, brandishing a stout
stick: which he had snatched up. "And, _teremtette!_ I was right, whatever
you may say. But I have done for one of the rascals, _eb adta!_ and just
at the right nick too!"

"Leave him an follow me, Farkas!" cried the young man. "They may still
again assail her." And he hurried up the avenue, followed by the old man
who grunted with unwillingness at leaving the prize of his strong arm.

When they reached the open space beyond the alley, no one was visible in
the dark. The lady and her companions had disappeared. Lights, however,
were moving, in the archbishop's palace; and, at the same moment, a troop
of servants, torches in hand, was seen to issue from the lower part of the
building, attracted, probably, by the noise of the tumult.

"Where can she be? Again lost to me! Lost, perhaps, for ever!" exclaimed
Otmar.

"Shall we not secure the fellow I knocked down?" said Farkas
insinuatingly, with no small spice of pride at the thoughts of the
capture. "He may be yet alive."

"You are right," replied his master. "He was the leader of this troop of
bravoes. He may be compelled to divulge the mystery of this deed; and I
knew that voice, methinks, although as yet my recollections are confused."

With these words he hurried back into the avenue. But when master and man
had reached the spot where the body had lain, it was no longer visible.
Marks of blood and of trampling feet, two broken swords and a ragged hat,
were the only evidences that remained of the late combat.

"Gone!" cried Otmar.

"The other ruffians have returned and carried him off, _eb adta_!"
exclaimed Farkas, with intense vexation.

"Let us follow on their traces!" said the young noble. "See here! This way
through the thicket! There are marks of broken boughs." And pushing his
way through the bushes, he entered the dark wood, followed by his
attendant.

A moment afterwards the avenue was illuminated by the torches of the
domestics from the archbishop's palace.


CHAPTER III.

                   "Spirit of men,
  Thou heart of our great enterprise, how much
  I love these voices in thee!"
                                      BEN. JONSON.

  "Love is ambitious, and loves majesty."
                                      DECKER.

Upon an imposing hill, which rises from the Danube's banks, and frowns
over the city of Presburg, still stand the extensive ruins of a fine old
castle, which was destroyed by fire at the commencement of the present
century, but which, at this period of history, was generally occupied as a
residence by the rulers of Hungary, when they paid a royal visit to their
Hungarian capital; and in the large hall of state in this immense building
it was, that the Diet of the four orders of the kingdom, convoked by Maria
Theresa, had assembled on the eleventh of September--the morning following
that evening so eventful to Otmar and his young love.

At the upper end of this large apartment, a throne had been arranged for
the young Queen. In the spaces between the old portraits of the heads of
the House of Hapsburg, which adorned the walls, were now displayed
Hungarian banners. On either side of the throne, awaiting the arrival of
Maria Theresa, were several of her German ministers and household; and, as
it was well known that those immediately about her person had protested
energetically against her appeal to her Hungarian subjects, these German
servants of the Queen were regarded with no looks of good-will or sympathy
by those who filled the hall.

Upon the first step of the throne, and apart from those who surrounded it,
stood, on the right, the Count John Pallfy, the Palatin or Viceroy of the
kingdom, his handsome martial countenance, with that semi-oriental disdain
of all expression of emotion in the physiognomy, betraying none of those
anxious feelings which were natural as to the result of a crisis so
important; on the left, Count Louis Batthyani, the _Reichskanzler_ or
Chancellor. Immediately below the throne were ranged, on one side, the
bishops and prelates of the kingdom, to the number of sixty-seven, in
their rich ecclesiastical attire; on the other, the numerous magnates of
the realm, the princes, counts, and barons, to the amount of seven hundred
and eighty, glittering in all the marvellous pomp and splendour of the
Hungarian costume, and reaching in proud array far beyond the middle of
the hall--the lower part of which was thronged by a crowd of the lesser
nobles, and the deputies from the provinces, and from the royal free-towns
of Hungary. Brilliant and dazzling was the scene composed of this living
mass, with its thousand fantastic and bejewelled dresses; and wonderful to
look at the many fine energetic countenances of all ages of which it was
composed.

Among the nobles, towards the middle of the hall, stood Otmar, his
handsome face still pale from the excitement of the previous evening, and
a night passed in sleeplessness. It was in vain that he had sought to find
the trace of the ruffians who had made so strange an attempt to seize upon
the person of the mysterious object of his affections: and only late in
the night had he returned to his lodging, and striven to calm the anxiety
of his mind in a useless attempt at repose upon his couch. His brain
whirled with the confusion of his thoughts. All the past was involved in
mystery and conjecture. Who was the beautiful female, to whom he had so
quickly given all the first emotions and energies of his young heart?
Should he ever again behold her who had thus twice crossed his path, to
disappear as suddenly from before his eyes? Had she escaped the hands of
her ravishers? What had become of her? And who, again--he demanded with a
pang of bitter jealousy--was that young man who had twice been her
companion, and whom she had styled her friend? Thus agonized with a
thousand doubts and apprehensions, he could scarcely command his senses to
gaze upon the scene around, or to reflect upon the important purpose which
had called him, with the other Hungarian nobles, to that hall. The
troubles of his life, his doubtful fate, his dreary position in the world,
were all forgotten in the absorbing thoughts connected with her he loved:
all minor anxieties--such as his dismissal that morning, as he left the
house, from his poor lodging by his old landlord, in a manner which, had
he been able to think on other matters, might have appeared to him as
heartless as inconsistent--found no room in his tormented mind. The noise
of the trumpets, announcing the entry of the Queen; the opening of the
door, to the right of the throne, through which she passed; the murmur,
and partial confusion, which attended her ascending the steps, and placing
herself in presence of that crowded assembly, scarcely roused him from his
reverie.

But when he raised his eyes, he scarcely could credit their own evidence.
There she stood on high before him! The crown of St Stephen of Hungary was
on her lofty brow: the royal mantle covered her shoulders: the bejewelled
cimiter of the Hungarian kings was at her side. In her arms she held a
baby of about six months of age; in her left hand she clasped that of a
little girl. She was there in all her dazzling splendour of royal beauty.
And it was she!--she to whom his heart was given--she whom he had dared to
love!

For a moment the whole scene whirled before the eyes of Otmar: he
staggered as one struck by lightning: his pale cheek grew paler still: he
felt as if he were falling to the earth. How he found a tongue to speak,
he himself could not have told. But, with faltering voice, he turned to an
old Hungarian magnate by his side, and stammered--

"Is it possible? Is that--she--our King--is that?"

"Who should it be, _domine illustrissime_?" answered the person thus
addressed, with the Latin courtesy of the country. "Who should it be,
friend?"

Again Otmar found force to falter forth--

"And he, who has given her his hand to mount the throne--he who now stands
behind her, glittering in all the rich fancifulness of that outlandish
dress--who is _he_?"

"Humph!" replied the old Hungarian, in no very amiable tone of voice.
"That is her favourite German minister, the young Prince Kaunitz--a silly
fop! She might have better and less compromising servants about her
person, methinks. As you seem a stranger, _domine_," he pursued, unheeding
Otmar's agitation, "you may like to know that the old ecclesiastic, who
has taken the other place behind her, is our Archbishop Primate, the
Prince Emmeric Esterhazy, at whose summer palace she took up her
residence, _incognita_, on first arriving here."

"Kaunitz! her favourite minister, and she called him 'my friend!'"
muttered the young man, trembling with emotion.

"Yes! and they do say," continued his informant lightly, "that now her
husband, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, is absent with the remains of her
discomfited army, she and the young prince"--and he whispered in Otmar's
ear.

A pang of the bitterest feeling passed through the young noble's heart.
But that pang, by its very revulsion, gave him fresh energy.

"Calumny!" he exclaimed, angrily, to his companion, whom he doubted not to
be one of those disaffected to the cause of the persecuted Queen.
"Calumny!" But his voice was drowned in the loud murmur which arose on all
sides calling for silence.

Maria Theresa had risen from the throne, upon which she had seated herself
on her first entrance to calm her feelings; and she gazed, with evident
emotion, and with faltering purpose, upon the vast crowd before her. No
doubt that she saw a stern discouraging frown upon many a brow: no doubt
that she knew how deeply the seeds of discontent and disaffection had been
sown among her subjects--how great a majority was unfavourable to her
cause: and she trembled and faltered for a moment.

But the beauty, the dignity, and grace of the young Queen had already
worked their spell upon the susceptible natures of the Hungarians, who,
stern as they may be, are easily led away by enthusiastic impulses. A
flattering murmur of applause ran through the assembly.

Encouraged by this movement of sympathy, which her quickly sensitive
woman's heart felt rather than perceived, Maria Theresa lifted her head
more boldly, and advancing one step forward, with her little daughter
clinging to her dress, held forward in her arms the baby boy, whose
destinies afterwards fixed him on the imperial throne of Germany as Joseph
the Second.

All set speeches, all forms were forgotten by her in the trouble of the
moment.

"Hungarians!" she said, with quivering voice, in Latin,--"deserted by my
friends, persecuted by my enemies, attacked and oppressed by my nearest
relations, my only refuge, in my utmost need, is in your fidelity,
courage, and support. To you alone, with God, can I any longer look for
safety. To your loyalty alone can I confide the welfare of the son and
daughter of your kings. At your feet I lay my children. I come to you for
succour. Will you grant it me?"

Her voice trembled. She could not proceed. A pause ensued.

"_Vitam et sanguinem!_" responded a voice.

It was that of Otmar, who had listened, with beating heart, to the accents
of his adored Queen; whilst the blood had gradually risen into his pale
cheeks, and now flushed his animated countenance with colour.

"_Vitam et sanguinem!_" was shouted by almost every voice in the assembly,
as it caught up the cry.

"MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO!" again cried Otmar, drawing forth his sabre.

"MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO!" was re-echoed by a thousand mouths, as a
thousand sabres were waved on high, and flashed upon the air.

The enthusiastic feeling had been communicated as an electric shock
throughout the crowd. Spite of party feelings, party purpose, stern
resolves, it had proved irresistible. Before the Hungarian nobles was a
woman--a beautiful female in distress--and she their Queen! The burst of
loyal fervour was spontaneous, uncontrollable.

The bosom of Maria Theresa heaved with emotion at the sound of this wild
cry. For a moment she struggled with her feelings, strove to be a queen:
but her woman's nature gave way; and, sinking back on her throne, she
burst into tears.

The sight of this outbreak of emotion spoke again to each Hungarian heart;
and, with still wilder and louder shouts of frenzied enthusiasm, the cry
of "MORIAMUR PRO REGE NOSTRO!" rang again through the hall of the Castle
of Presburg, until the old walls trembled to their base. Tears sprang from
many of the sternest eyes, and rolled down many a withered cheek. But they
were tears of pity, admiration, and fury.

All rancour, discontent, political difference, purpose of treachery, had
been forgotten. The cause of Maria Theresa had been won!

Long it was before the tumult of the many voices ceased, or the flashing
sabres were restored to their scabbards. And when at length the murmur in
the hall was somewhat stilled, the aged archbishop advanced to the side of
Maria Theresa, who, with her eyes streaming with tears, stood up at once.
He attempted to speak in the name of the Hungarian nation in answer to her
appeal. But the old man's voice failed him; and only in broken accents,
which scarcely could be heard beyond the throne, could he utter a few
words of fervent devotion, and pray God to bless her.

In his turn also, the Palatin, Count Pallfy, stepped forward and spoke of
supplies and men. But his voice, also, was drowned in the enthusiastic
shouts which promised to the persecuted Queen the succour of the very
life's blood of her faithful Hungarians, and the aid of their fortunes to
the last florin. It could scarcely at last be heard, as the official
declaration was made of the opening of the Diet and of the sittings to be
held, at which the necessary measures to be taken to be debated.

Then again rose the shouts, as Maria Theresa attempted to thank her
faithful subjects. She could no longer speak; but she waved her hand to
them, with a graceful gesture, and a look of gratitude which betrayed the
depth of her feelings. Otmar's heart again beat tumultuously. He closed
his eyes, as if to shut out from his very heart the dangerous sight of her
who held over it so powerful a fascination. When he again looked up, she
had descended from the throne. She was gone.

Overpowered by the various conflicting feelings which had so powerfully
assailed him in the last short hour, the young noble followed
instinctively the crowd as it streamed out of the great hall; and it was
only when he found himself in a large ante-room, somewhat severed from the
general mass, that he stopped and threw himself down upon a bench near a
doorway, to collect his confused and scattered thoughts. He remained for a
time lost in a reverie, from which he was aroused by a tap upon his
shoulder.

Before him stood a boy, in a military dress, whose mien bore all the
boldness and pertness of a page.

"_Servus, domine!_" said the youth, with an impudent air.

"What want you with me?" asked Otmar sharply. "I do not know you, sir.
This is some mistake."

"It is none at all, if I read right your person," answered the boy pertly,
mustering Otmar from top to toe. "Are you not he who was last night in the
primate's garden? The description answers that of him I was bid to seek."

"I was in the primate's garden last night, of a truth," said the young
noble: "but"----

"Then follow me," continued the boy, with a nod of the head.

"Whither?"

"Where a lady calls you," laughed the page, with an impudent swagger. "A
young fellow of our age and blood needs no other bidding, methinks."

"What lady?" once more asked Otmar. But the boy only winked him to follow,
as a reply; and turning into a side-door, beckoned to him once more; and
then, seeing that the summons was obeyed, proceeded on, through several
passages and corridors, until, reaching a door, he pushed it open. Within
stood a female; and Otmar's heart, which had beat high with vague
expectations of what he himself scarce dared to divine, was suddenly
chilled, when he saw before him an elderly lady, altogether unknown to
him. But as she came forward to ask the boy whether it was the person he
was charged to seek, he became aware that it was not she into whose
presence he was to be introduced. The lady, in turn, signed to him to
follow; and after tapping gently upon an inner-door, and waiting for a
reply, opened it, and bade him enter.

The apartment into which the young noble had been thus ushered, seemed to
have been hastily fitted up with such resources of a lady's chamber as the
cumbrous and incommodious fashion of the day offered. At the upper end, in
a large high-backed chair, sat a female figure, behind whom a tirewoman
appeared in waiting.

Those hopes and expectations which, once or twice, Otmar had permitted to
float over his mind, as he had followed the page through the passages of
the castle, and had then dismissed from it as fantastic and improbable,
and yet again, in spite of his better reasonings, indulged, were now
confirmed, and still, to his dazzled sight, appeared impossible.

It was indeed Maria Theresa who sat before him.

The mantle had been disengaged from the shoulders, the cimeter ungirded
from her side, and the crown removed from her head: but she still wore the
rich dark dress, incrusted with gems, that proclaimed her royalty, but
which she needed not to stamp her "every inch" a queen. Her hair had been,
apparently, loosened by the removal of the diadem from her brow; and
powdered as it was, it fell in luxuriant ringlets over her neck and
shoulders. The glow of her recent emotion still remained upon her face,
and added to the natural grace of her beauty: and her lustrous dark-grey
eyes were still moist with her late tears.

No wonder that Otmar stood before her, doubly dazzled with her beauty as a
woman, and her majesty as a queen--bewildered that she, whom he had
presumed to love, and for whom, in spite of himself, his heart yet beat
wildly, should be his sovereign, and that he should stand thus in her
presence.

"Ah! is it you, sir--you, doubly my rescuer from evil!" said Maria
Theresa, rising from her chair, and advancing a few steps towards him.
"Welcome, to accept your Monarch's inmost thanks!" And she stretched out
her hand, which, although totally unpractised in the etiquette of courts,
Otmar, by an instinctive impulse, knelt down to kiss.

"Rise, sir!" she continued. "Were my gratitude alone to speak, it were for
me, your Queen, to kneel and kiss the hand that a second time has, through
God's providence, been the instrument of my deliverance from peril."

Otmar rose from his knees, a deep blush overspreading his handsome
countenance. The young Queen seemed to gaze upon him for a moment with
satisfaction; and then, waving her hand to her female attendant to retire,
she again addressed him.

"What can I do to serve you, sir?" she said--"you, who have thus twice
served me at the peril of your life. I am but a poor and a powerless
Queen," she continued, with a faint smile: "but a grateful heart may still
find means to recompense"----

"To live and die in your majesty's defence, is all your poor servant, who
has but done his duty to his Queen, although unknowingly, has to desire,"
was the young noble's reply.

"Nay, sir, we have too many obligations towards you," said the Queen, "to
allow ourselves to be quit thus. Can I do naught to serve you in return?"
she pursued, with a less dignified and more familiar tone. "You must not
allow so great a weight of thanks to lie upon my heart. Take pity on me!"

Otmar could with difficulty find words to speak. The tumult of his
feelings almost overpowered him, as he began to forget the queen in the
beautiful and loved woman before him. But he struggled with the impetuous
dictates of his heart.

"Madam!" he said, commanding himself, "I am a poor noble, left alone in
this wide world, almost without a friend, since my poor father's death,
which left me with involved fortunes, and without a prospect for the
future; and I was careless of life, until--until I had seen--your
majesty," he continued with emotion, whilst the blush upon the cheek of
the young Queen showed her perception that the homage paid was as much to
the woman as the monarch. "And now my only wish, as I have said, is to die
in your service and defence."

"Die! God forbid!" said Maria Theresa, with a woman's ready tear starting
to her eye. "Live, sir! and, if you will, to fight in our cause. Enter the
army. Rank shall be granted you. Your advancement shall be cared for. Live
to be again the friend and champion of the poor persecuted Queen, who
needs friends indeed, when all are set against her."

"Say not so, madam," interrupted Otmar, with fervour. "Have we not, one
and all, sworn to give our life and life's blood in your cause?"

"Yes," said the Queen, her tears now fully flowing, at the recollection of
the late scene of wild enthusiasm. "I have found friends among my
faithful, and my true--my gallant, noble Hungarians. Think you I did not
mark you, sir--you, who were the first to shout, 'For Maria Theresa we
will die!' Think you that my heart did not feel that you were, perhaps, a
third time, my friend in need? But I have enemies still. Calumny, I am
aware, miscolours my simplest actions. My very feelings may be
misinterpreted, my very tears, at this moment, in your presence,
misconstrued. Who can know what is the worth of friends better than those
who suffer from such odious attacks of enemies as I have suffered?" And
Maria Theresa clasped her hands before her eyes.

Otmar once more sank down at her feet deeply affected.

"But I must away with this weakness!" said the Queen, struggling to
recover from her agitation, and dashing away her tears with her fingers.

As she saw Otmar kneeling before her, his fine features fixed upon her
with the liveliest expression of pity and admiration, his handsome figure
bent to do homage to her loveliness and worth, her woman's feelings had
the mastery of her feelings as a queen, and, smiling upon him with a
smile, which shone all the more brightly through her tears--that smile,
with the power and fascination of which none knew better how to fetter
hearts than Maria Theresa--she hastily detached from her shoulders a
string of diamonds, and passed them over the young man's neck.

"This is no recompense, to reward your services with matters of sordid
value, sir," she said. "This is no gift to enable you to retrieve, however
slightly, your fallen fortunes. This is the chain of honour which I bestow
upon my champion and knight; for such you shall be in the eyes of the
world. Here, in Maria Theresa's chamber, you are to her the deliverer and
friend."

"Madam! my life, my heart, and soul are yours!" stammered the young man,
no longer able to control his feelings, under circumstances which made him
forget for a moment that distance which the sovereign herself seemed to
have overleapt.

Again Maria Theresa blushed slightly. In spite of her strong
understanding, her virtue, and her worth, she was not above those feelings
of coquetry which, joined to her admiration of beauty, often, especially
at an after period of her life, gave handle to the many unjust calumnies
of her traducers.

"Rise once more, my noble knight!" said the young Queen, with another
smile; "for we have dubbed you such. We will attach you to our especial
service, since such is your desire, and find a place for you in our suite;
although it be but badly paid in our state of disastrous fortune. But I
know you heed not that. I see it in that look, that would reproach me for
such a thought. You shall remain with us until you join our army," she
added with a sigh, "to fight in our cause."

"This honour, madam"--stammered Otmar, rising.

"Is not without its perils and its pains, good youth," continued Maria
Theresa. "You will have to combat envy, jealousy, ill-will within; for
such is the life of courts. Alas! I know it but too well. Without, you may
have often wearisome and dangerous services."

"None can be felt as such when it is you--your Majesty I serve," said the
young man with enthusiasm.

"I will--I do believe you, sir," replied the Queen. "I have said it once,
and I repeat it. Yours is the true nobility of heart. Ah! were they all
so--they who serve me and call themselves my friends! But enough of this!
Let your first service be to direct the search of our agents to the
discovery of the disguised enemies who made that bold attempt last night
to secure my person during my evening stroll--my poor moments of liberty!
Ah! France, I recognise there your treacherous designs! You did not know
who were your adversaries?"

"Madam," answered the young man, "I should recognise again the voice of
him who was my principal assailant; and who, if I mistake not, has already
crossed his sword with mine. But I know him not."

"I would not punish when I can forgive," said Maria Theresa, with a sigh.
"But the discovery of these complotters on my liberty, perhaps my life, is
necessary for the safety of my realm."

"If my zeal avail aught," said Otmar warmly, "their life shall pay their
treachery."

"No bloodshed, no bloodshed, as you love me, good youth!" said the Queen,
shuddering. "Blood enough is shed upon the battle-field for me and mine.
And who knows how far such blood should lie upon the conscience of a
miserable queen?--how far the Almighty will write it to her dread account
at the last great day of reckoning?" And, with that nobility of feeling
peculiar to Maria Theresa, she sank her head downwards in gloomy thought.
For a time she thus remained, as if forgetful of the presence of the young
noble; at length she again raised her head, cleared away the gloom upon
her features with a faint smile, and once more extending her hand,
said--"Now leave us, sir, but to return shortly hither. Already they may
cry scandal that I should have talked to one of such good mien so long.
But go not," she continued, as Otmar moved towards the door, "until I have
told you how my heart was pained, that the search of those who sought to
discover you, after the skirmish of last evening, was useless--how
anxiously I prayed, in the darkness of the night, that no ill might have
befallen my young, champion--how my very soul was gratified to see him in
the crowd before me, to know that he was safe! You must not think your
Queen heartless and ungrateful, sir. Now, go!"

With a wave of the hand, Maria Theresa dismissed from her presence the
young noble, who staggered from the chamber in a tempest of tumultuous
emotions.


CHAPTER IV.

  "Stand back, thou manifest conspirator:
  Thou that contrivedst to murder!"
                                      SHAKSPEARE.

  "Farewell, my lord! Good wishes, praise, and prayers,
  Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.
    Farewell, sweet madam!"
                                      _Idem._

In a small room on the first floor of the old house occupied by the Jew
druggist, sat Otmar once more, on the evening of the important day which
had decided the fortunes of Maria Theresa. He had returned to the
temporary home from which he had been so inhospitably driven, in order to
direct the removal of his scanty baggage, and the few relics that reminded
him of happier times, and the brighter days of his childhood, and which,
during the day, his old attendant had collected together.

The room was wainscoted with blackened oak, the sombre shades of which
were unrelieved by any ornament; and at a table, near the heavy
casement-window, a part of which was open, rather to admit the fading
light of day into the dark apartment than the autumn air of the chill
evening, sat the young noble, tracing slowly the lines of a letter, which
he seemed to compose with difficulty, and not without many a hesitation
and many a heavy sigh.

Upon a packed portmanteau, in the middle of the room, sat Farkas, puffing
from a short pipe small clouds of smoke, which issued in regular but
uneasy jerks from beneath his thick overhanging moustache. From time to
time he nodded his head impatiently, with a sideward movement, and
murmured between his teeth, without interrupting his employment, words
that accompanied his intermittent puffs, like the distant rumbling which
follows the smoke of the cannon on the far-off battle-field.

"_Teremtette!_" he muttered angrily. "I shall not be easy until I am quit
of this den of the old hyena, who has turned my lord out of doors like a
gipsy beggar-boy--and why? The foul fiend only knows. I should like to
wring the old ruffian's neck for him, like a carrion-crow, _eb adta_!"

At length the young noble threw down his pen.

"It is done!" he exclaimed with a sigh. "I have written to the old
advocate at Buda to send me the papers I require. I must not think on my
own fortunes. My father's honour must be saved; and my own beggary shall
be signed before I leave this country."

"Too honest by half to such rascals as those villanous cheating
money-lenders, whoever they may be, _eb adta_!" muttered Farkas again
unheard, with a vexed shrug of the shoulders.

"Is all prepared?" said Otmar, turning to his attendant.

"There is nothing but what I can take upon my own shoulders," answered the
old man with a sigh; "and they are broad enough to bear twice the
weight." And rising from his temporary seat, he jerked it on to his back.
Then seizing up another small valise in his hand, he stood ready for
departure.

"Enter the first inn, and there await my orders, whether they have room to
lodge us or no; as is not probable in the confusion of the town," said
Otmar. "I trust that I may yet find us other and better quarters for
another night; and we can seek a home for once under nature's roof,
without much detriment to our bones."

"What his lord can bear, can old Farkas also," was the attendant's sturdy
answer, and he left the room.

"Farewell then," said Otmar, gazing around him. "Farewell, my poor
chamber, the depositary of so many hopes and aspirations, regrets, sad
thoughts, and air-built castles. Visions, bright visions of beauty and of
love, have illumined thy dark walls; and they, too, have flown--flown
before a stern reality, which proclaimed them folly, madness--ay, madness!
They are gone for ever! But shall they not be followed by dreams of glory,
of renown, of smiles from her beaming eyes to thank her champion--her
friend? Yes--me, too, she has called her friend. Farewell, then, my poor
chamber! Thou hast witnessed little but my wretchedness, and yet I regret
thee; for her spirit--hers--the beautiful, the bright, the unknown--still
hovers around thee. Fare-thee-well!"

Otmar prepared to depart; but he was still lingering to send around him a
last look upon those bare walls which he had thus apostrophized, when
hasty steps were heard to mount the stair, and Farkas abruptly re-entered
the room.

"Quick, quick!" cried the old man. "I saw him coming up the street--him,
you know--that outlandish rascal, whom you fought by the inn on the
roadside, because he would have spoken ill of our Queen--God preserve
her!--the same who, if your doubts prove true, was the villain who tore
that cursed slip in your attila last night--the foul fiend confound him,
_eb adta_! I thought I had a stronger arm--old fool that I was! Quick,
quick!" And seizing Otmar's arm, he dragged him to the open window.

"It is he!" exclaimed the young noble, looking out; "the same tall form
and insolent gait. Ah! he is entering the house. Hark! he is mounting the
stair. God be praised, he falls into my very hands!"

In truth, footsteps were evidently ascending the staircase. Otmar and his
old attendant paused to listen with palpitating interest. The next moment
the door of the Jew's apartment, on the other side of the passage, was
heard to open, and a voice to exclaim, "Hello! old fox, where have you hid
yourself? Out of your hole, I say! I have to speak with you." Then the
door closed, and all was still.

"It is the same voice!" exclaimed Otmar again. "It is he who made that
foul attempt upon her liberty. Villain!" And half-drawing his sabre, he
rushed towards the door of the room.

"Down with him! down with the rascal, _teremtette_!" cried Farkas,
following his master in excitement.

"No, no!" said Otmar, checking his own first impulse, and catching the old
man's arm. "He is a traitor and a spy! It is not for me to punish; it is
for the country's laws. She bids me seek to discover him. Providence has
thrown him into my hands, and enabled me to obey her behest. She would
condemn me were I to take vengeance into my own hands."

"What!" cried Farkas, violently. "My lord has his enemy face to face, and
hesitates to defy him to the death!"

"Peace, old man!" exclaimed Otmar; "you know not what you say. Ah! I see
it all now," he continued. "He is the agent of her enemies, and is in
collusion with our doctor landlord. It is here their villainous schemes
are hatched."

"True! It was he--it must have been he," said Farkas in his turn, "who sat
with the rascally old thief, when I entered his room the night before the
last."

"Hear me, Farkas," continued the young noble. "I must away to the castle.
Maria Theresa may still be there. All shall be revealed. Watch you, at
some distance, in the street, that he leave not the house or escape us."

"Better split the cowardly villain's skull at once, _teremtette_!" cried
the old man once more, indignantly.

"Peace, I say!" said Otmar. "Follow me, and stealthily." And with these
words he left the room, followed down the stairs by his grumbling
attendant, who still muttered many an angry "_teremtette!_" between his
lips, unable to comprehend the hesitation of his young master, when so
good an opportunity was before him of taking revenge upon "such a
villainous scoundrel" as the spy.

Scarcely had they quitted the apartment, when an angle of the wainscoting,
forming the door of a partially concealed closet, opened; and the form of
the Jew money-lender--pale, trembling, and with haggard eyes--staggered
into the room.

"Jehovah! We are lost--irretreviably lost!" he exclaimed with a choked
husky voice. "Cavaliere! Cavaliere!" and he hastened, as fast as his
trembling limbs would carry him, to the door. But, in spite of his agony
and his alarm, his usual habits of caution, and perhaps of
self-appropriation also, did not forsake him, and with the words, "That
paper the young fellow wrote may tell us more!" he turned back, shuffled
to the table, snatched up the letter, which Otmar had forgotten in his
hurry, and then gained his room, where, seated, with gloomy and
discontented brow, the Italian spy waited him.

"_Diavolo!_ Where have you been hiding, Bandini? I need your aid,"
exclaimed the cavaliere, as he entered. "All is ruined, if still stronger
measures be not taken. My grand expedition of last night, which might have
secured all at a blow, has utterly failed, through the interference of a
rash young fool, who has twice crossed my path to baffle me. I myself am
wounded,"--and he pointed to a bandage, partly concealed by a scarf thrown
over his shoulder--"still confused, from a blow dealt upon my head by some
meddling ruffian. The curses of hell blight their arms, one and all! Those
traitors, too, the Hungarians, have broken every promise, to shout
_Vivat!_ to that woman; because she shed before them a few maudlin tears.
Weak fools! weak fools! and that they call enthusiasm! They promise her
supplies of men and money. My schemes are ruined--my services all
naught--your hopes of reward utterly gone, Master Bandini--utterly gone,
do you hear?--if some great _coup-de-main_ be not yet tried. There! look
not so pale and frightened, man, with that ugly wo-begone face of yours.
There are yet means that may be used."

"But we are lost--lost!" stammered the Jew, shaking in every limb, and
struggling in vain to speak.

"Lost! Not yet!" replied the Italian scornfully "whilst I have yet a head
to scheme, and a bold heart to execute."

"We are lost, I tell you. All is discovered. We are betrayed!" cried the
Jew. "That young fellow--in yonder room--alas! he knows all. We must
fly--conceal ourselves."

"How now, man?" exclaimed the cavaliere, in his turn springing up in
alarm.

"I had driven him from the house, at your desire," stammered Bandini,
panting for breath; "but he returned to seek his baggage. They had both
been absent, master and man; and I had thought to look after my own poor
goods and chattels in the room"--

"Or to that which you could lay your hands upon, old thief--I know you.
But proceed! What means this tale?" said the spy.

"Jehovah knows you speak not true!" continued the Jew. "But they came back
suddenly and unawares. I feared they might think evil of me, if they found
me there; and I concealed myself in the closet. I heard all!"

"All!--all what? Speak, man!" exclaimed the Italian furiously.

"He is the same--the same of whom you spoke just now," pursued the old
man, trembling. "He who wounded you last night. He recognised you as you
entered. He knows all. He is gone up to the castle to betray us. Oh! I am
a lost man--a lost man!" and the Jew wrung his hands bitterly.

"Betrayed!" cried the spy--"gone, to the castle! Ten thousand devils drag
him down to hell! Which way did he go? What did you hear? Speak,
man!--speak, I tell you." And he shook the old man violently by the
collar.

"He will probably mount to it by the shorter ascent, along the Jews'
street," gasped forth Bandini with difficulty.

"And is there no quicker way?" exclaimed the Italian hurriedly.

"By the lane opposite," stammered the Jew breathlessly. "Turn to the
left--mount the crooked street--you will find yourself opposite to the
garden, behind my old friend Zachariah's house. On passing through it, you
are at the upper end of the Jews' street, and near the castle plain."

"There is no time to be lost!" cried the spy, flinging his hat upon his
head. "My pistols are primed and loaded," he continued, feeling in an
inner pocket of his coat. "I shall be there before him. He must die. The
same passage will favour my escape. Ah! it is you rascal of a Jew,
villainous miser, who are the cause of all! Dearly shall you repay me
this!" And seizing the old money-lender by the throat, he nearly throttled
him, and, when he was almost black in the face, flung him with violence
into a corner of the room.

As the Italian disappeared, the old man raised himself, with difficulty,
from the ground.

"And such is the poor Jew's reward," he muttered, "from these Christian
dogs, for all his losses, and his sacrifices, and his perils! What is to
be done? If he kill the youth, I have still to fear his wrath. If he come
not in time, we are undone. Every way is danger. Shall I myself turn
informer? It is late--very late in the day--but yet it may be tried. Can I
glean nothing from this paper that may sound like fresh and genuine
information? What have we here?" he continued, rapidly scanning parts of
Otmar's letter with his eye, and murmuring its contents to himself. "'I
leave the country'--'But my father's honour must be covered'--'Send the
papers ceding the estates'--'I am resolved to sign, although it be my
utter ruin'--The name?--'Otmar, Baron Bartori.'--Merciful Jehovah!" burst
forth the Jew. "It is he! It is my young man--and I knew it not--he, whose
sign-manual is to convey to me the estates, in return for my poor moneys
lent: and, if he sign not, the heritage goes to the next male heir; and I
am frustrated of my dues. But he will be killed--die without signing. I am
a ruined man--a ruined man!" And the money-lender clasped his hands in
despair. "No, no--he must not die. Caracalli! Caracalli! touch him not!
touch him not! He must not die, ere I have his precious sign-manual. Save
him! save him! Jehovah! what shall I do? Caracalli! Caracalli!" And thus
madly shouting after the Italian, the Jew rushed from his room in a frenzy
of despair.

In addition to the great and winding carriage-road which leads up to the
summit of the hill on which stands the castle of Presburg, there is a
shorter passage to it, by a narrow tortuous street, lined with old falling
houses, and paved at intervals with terrace-like stone steps to aid the
steep ascent. To this street, in former times, the Israelites residing in
the city were restricted as a dwelling-place, incurring heavy fine and
imprisonment by daring, either openly or under a feigned name, to infringe
this severe rule: and even at the present day, although this restriction
has been removed, it is almost entirely occupied, either from habit or
from choice, by petty and most doubtful traders of the same persuasion,
and is still known under the name of the Jews' Quarter. The upper end of
this steep and winding lane is terminated, between high walls, by a large
old gateway, opening into the castle plain. And under this gateway it was,
that the Italian spy awaited his victim. He had contrived to evade the
vigilance of Farkas, by darting up a lane immediately fronting the St
Michael's gate, and now, having ascertained, by a few hasty words
interchanged with the Jew Zachariah, that no one answering the description
of the young noble had been seen to pass, he felt assured, that, by his
haste in pursuing the shorter cut from behind, he had gained an advance
upon him.

The night was fast closing in, and the Italian felt himself secure from
observation in the dark recess in which he lurked behind the gate. Aware
that by a deed of assassinating alone he could save himself from the
consequences of a revelation which not only ruined all his schemes, but
placed his life at stake, he grasped a pistol in his hand, and waited
firmly, with calmness which showed his long acquaintance with deeds of
hazard and of crime.

He had stood some time, counting with impatience the moments, until he
began to fear that the young noble had taken the longer road, when at last
the sound of footsteps struck upon his ear. Looking out from the corner of
the gateway in which he had concealed himself, he could plainly see, at
some little distance, the form of a man, resembling that of his expected
victim, mounting the stone steps of the lane between the row of walls; and
he drew back, cocked his pistol, and prepared to fire at him as he passed.
Presently hastier footsteps--those of a running man--sounded nearer. Had
he been perceived? Was his purpose divined? Was his victim about to rush
upon him? These thoughts had scarcely time to pass rapidly through his
brain, when a dark form hurried round the angle of the gateway. The
Italian's hand was on the lock. He fired.

A terrific cry, and then a groan, followed the explosion. A body fell. The
Italian bent forward. At his feet lay the form of his associate, the
miserable Jew.

"Kill him not--the sign-manual"--were the only last words that faintly met
the ear of the assassin, before the blood rushed up in torrents into the
mouth of the unhappy man, and choked his voice for ever.

Before the spy had a moment's time to recover from his surprise at the
unexpected deed he had done, another cry of "Murder! murder!" was shouted
close beside him, by a man who had run up. A strong hand grasped his arm.
It was that of his intended victim.

"Assassin!" cried Otmar. "Ah! it is again he! God's will be done!"

"_Mille diavoli!_ Have at thee yet!" exclaimed the Italian, struggling to
disengage himself with a strong effort, and staggering back.

Succeeding in the attempt, he drew his sword. The weapons of the two men
were immediately crossed. Both fought with desperation. Already a wound on
Otmar's arm had rather excited his energies than disabled him, when a
crowd was seen approaching rapidly from the direction of the castle. Some
persons detached themselves from it, and ran forward, attracted by the
previous cry of "murder," and the clash of arms. The cavaliere felt that
he was lost, if he made not a fearful effort to disengage himself at once
from his antagonist, and made a violent lunge at Otmar. The active young
noble swerved aside. The sword passed him unscathed, and the next moment
his sabre descended on to the Italian's head. With a fearful curse, the
spy staggered, reeled backward, and fell to the ground.

When the persons from the castle hurried up, they found the young noble
standing by his prostrate foe, and leaning upon his sabre--his cheek
already pale from the loss of the blood which streamed from his wound.
Before, in the confusion, much explanation could be asked or given, others
of the approaching party had come up: at an order issued, a sedan chair,
borne by eight men, was set down under the gateway; a female form issued
from it, and, in spite of the opposition of those about her, Maria Theresa
advanced through the crowd.

"What has happened? Who disturbs the peace?" she exclaimed, coming forward
with that courage she evinced on all emergencies.

"Retire, I beseech you, to your chair, madam, and allow yourself to be
carried on," said the young Prince Kaunitz, who formed one of the suite.
"This is no sight for a woman, and a queen." And he interposed his person
between his sovereign and the bodies of the Italian and the Jew.

"Permit me, prince," said Maria Theresa, waving him aside; for she had now
caught sight of the pale face of Otmar, brightly illumined by the lighted
torches which some of her attendants bore to light her on her way, upon
her evening transit from the castle to the primate's summer palace.

"You, my young champion, here!" she cried, with tones of evident anxiety,
stepping forward. "What has happened? In God's name, what is this? You are
not hurt, sir?"

"Only a scratch, so please your majesty," replied Otmar; "and happy and
proud I am that I should have gained it in your service."

"Tell me what has passed? How do I find you here? Who is this man?"
continued the young Queen, glancing slightly at the form of the prostrate
Italian.

"It is the same villain who has already dared to lay his hand upon the
sacred person of your majesty," said the young noble proudly. "Chance led
me to his discovery. I was hurrying to seek my Queen, to obey her orders.
The wretch--I know not how--was beforehand with me. He would have waylaid
me, as I must suppose. Another, who passed me at the moment, was his
victim. I attacked him; and there he lies. I know no more."

"And who is that poor man?" said Maria Theresa, pointing to the body of
the Jew.

Some of her attendants raised up the corpse.

"I recognise him," said Otmar. "He was the accomplice of that fellow.
God's justice has fallen on him by the hand of his own confederate. But
how, is still to me a mystery."

"The other still lives," exclaimed the voices of some, who had now lifted
up the form of the Italian.

"Let him be conveyed to the castle," commanded the Queen. "Every inquiry
shall be instituted in this affair. Let justice take its course upon the
spy and traitor."

The Italian was conveyed away.

"But you are hurt, noble youth. Your cheek grows paler still," cried Maria
Theresa. "Help there! Bring water! quick! He may be dying."

"It is nothing!" said Otmar, with sinking voice and failing senses. "A
little faintness! I shall be better soon. A smile from you will repay
all!"

His head whirled, and he fell back into the arms of the bystanders.

In spite of the alarm of the young Queen, a deep blush overspread her
countenance at these last words.

"Ah! should it be so!" she murmured to herself; and, after casting a long
look upon the form of the handsome youth before her, she bent her head to
the earth.

Water was quickly brought from a neighbouring house. In spite of the
increasing crowd attracted to the spot, Maria Theresa disdained not to
bathe with her own hands the temples of the fainting man. Snatching a
perfumed handkerchief from the hand of Kaunitz, she bound it tightly on
the young noble's arm. In a short time, he once more opened his eyes.
Water was given him to drink; and he again was able to stand, weakly, on
his feet.

"You--my Queen. You have deigned--to look upon your poor subject-to tend
him"--he stammered faintly, as his eyes fell upon the lovely face before
him. "You--the noble--the beautiful--the beloved"--

"Hush! hush, sir," interposed the young Queen hurriedly. "You must not
speak now. Your brain wanders. You shall be conveyed to the castle, and
tended there. As soon as you are fully recovered, a post is ready for you
with the army. You must leave us forthwith. Be brave, be gallant, be
noble, as you have ever shown yourself; and, perhaps, hereafter"--

She checked herself; with a sigh, and turned away her face.

"Yes--away from here! I must away," said Otmar. "The army, the
battle-field, glory, renown, must be my only thoughts." And, sinking his
head on his heart, he murmured lowly--

"_Moriamur pro Rege Nostro._"


CONCLUSION.

It is well known in history, that the rising of the Hungarian saved the
falling fortunes of Maria Theresa. The enthusiasm of this sensitive and
energetic people, once awakened, knew no bounds. All the country nobles,
with their followers, took up arms. Croatia alone supplied twelve
thousand men. Immense sums of money, to support the army, were offered by
the clergy; and, out of the most distant provinces, sprang up, as the
soldiers sown by the teeth of Cadmus from the earth, those countless
savage hordes, who under the name of Pandours carried terror into every
part of Europe. From the moment of the "insurrection," as it is called, of
the Hungarian nobility, the aspect of affairs began to change. The Elector
of Bavaria, who, to the grief of Maria Theresa, had received the imperial
crown of Germany, so long in the possession of the House of Hapsburg,
chiefly by the influence of French intrigues, under the name of Charles
the Seventh, was driven from his States. England and Holland were won over
to the cause of the persecuted Queen; and both, especially the former,
lent her large sums. The whole British nation was interested in her
favour. The English nobility, instigated by the Duchess of Marlborough,
offered her a subscription collected to the amount of a hundred thousand
pounds; but this sum Maria Theresa nobly refused, accepting nothing that
was not granted to her by the nation in Parliament assembled. By the
valour of Hungarian arms, the French were at length driven out of Bohemia;
and what still more contributed to the peace shortly after obtained from a
great portion of the Queen's enemies, was the result of the bloody field
of Hanau, which turned out entirely to the advantage of Maria Theresa and
her noble allies, and at which half of the _noblesse_ of France was either
killed or wounded.

It was shortly after this great battle, in which so many bold spirits fell
on either side, that a catafalk was erected at the upper end of the middle
aisle belonging to the glorious Gothic Church of St Stephen's in Vienna.
The service for the dead had been performed with pomp. The priests had
retired from the aisle. But still, upon the steps, covered with black
cloth, and illumined from above by many wax-lights, knelt two personages.
The one was a female, dressed in deep mourning, who appeared to be praying
fervently. A group of attendants, both male and female, in the attire of
the court mourning of the day, stood at a little distance from her. The
other was an old man, in a well-worn hussar dress, who had thrown himself
forward on to the upper step, upon another side of the catafalk, and had
buried his face in his hands. At length the female rose, gave a last look
at that dark mass, which concealed a coffin, and, within, a corpse; and
then, drawing her veil over her face, moved slowly towards a side-door,
followed by her attendants, with a respect paid only to a royal personage.
A crowd of beggars surrounded the door, where an Imperial carriage waited;
and distributing the contents of a heavy purse among them, the lady said,
with broken voice,

"Pray for the soul of Otmar, Baron Bartori, who died in battle for his
Queen."



MESMERIC MOUNTEBANKS.


In an age of utilitarian philosophy and materialism, we are proud to stand
forth as the champion of he Invisible World. MAGA and MAGIC are words
which we cannot dissociate from one another, either in sound or in
affection. The first was the mistress of our youth--our literary
mother--our guide and instructress in the paths of Toryism,
good-fellowship, and honour. Fain would we hope that, in maturer years, we
have rendered back to the eldest-born of Buchanan some portion of the deep
debt of gratitude which from our childhood upwards we have incurred. We
have ever striven to comport ourselves in sublunary matters as beseemeth
one who has sat at the feet of Christopher, imbibed the ethical lore of a
Tickler, and received the sublimest of peptic precepts and dietetic
instruction from the matchless lips of an Odoherty. Her creed is ours, and
no other--the bold, the true, and the unwavering--and when we die, bewept,
as we trust we shall be by many a youth and maiden of the next generation,
we shall ask no better epitaph for our monument than that selected by poor
John Keats, though with the alteration of a single word--"HERE LIETH ONE
WHOSE NAME IS WRIT IN MAGA."

Magic, however--not Maga--is the theme of our present article; nor do we
scruple at the very outset to proclaim ourselves a devout and fervent
believer in almost every known kind of diablerie, necromancy, and
witchcraft. We are aware that in the present day such confessions are very
rare, and that when made by some reluctant follower of the occult faith,
they are always accompanied with pusillanimous qualifications, and weak
excuses for adherence to opinions which, in one shape or another, pervade
the population of Christendom, and pass for current truth throughout the
extensive realm of Heathenesse. So much the better. We like a fair field
and no auxiliaries; and we are here to do battle for the memory and fair
fame of Michael Scott, Doctor Faustus, and the renowned Cornelius Agrippa.

Sooth to say, we were born and bred long before Peter Parley had
superseded the Fairy Tales, and poisoned the budding faculties of the
infancy of these realms with his confounded philosophical nonsense, and
his endless editions of _Copernicus made Easy_. Our nurserymaid, a hizzie
from the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, was a confirmed and noted believer in
dreams, omens, tatie-bogles, and sundry other kinds of apparitions. Her
mother was, we believe, the most noted spaewife of the district; and it
was popularly understood that she had escaped at least three times, in
semblance of an enormous hare, from the pursuit of the Laird of Lockhart's
grews. Such at least was the explanation which Lizzy Lindsay gave, before
being admitted as an inmate of our household, of the malignant persecution
which doomed her for three consecutive Sundays to a rather isolated, but
prominent seat in the Kirk of Dolphington Parish: nor did our worthy
Lady-mother see any reason to doubt the accuracy of the statement. For was
it not most natural that the daughter--however comely--and Lizzy was as
strapping a lass as ever danced at a kirn--of a woman who had the evil
reputation of divining surreptitious fortunes by means of the sediment of
a tea-cup--of prophesying future sweethearts in exchange for hoarded
sixpences--and of milking dry her neighbours' cows by aid of cantrips and
an enchanted hair rope--was it not most natural, we say, that the daughter
of the witch should have been looked upon with a suspicious eye by the
minister, who used annually to preach four sermons in vituperation of Her
of Endor, and by the Elders, whose forefathers had turned out doggedly for
the Covenant, and among whom still circulated strange and fantastic tales
of bodily apparitions of the Evil One to the fugitives in the muir and the
wilderness--of hideous shapes, which disturbed the gathered conventicle
by the sides of the lonely burn--of spells, which made the buff-coats of
their adversaries impenetrable as adamant to leaden bullet or the sweep of
the Cameronian steel?

Upon these testimonials, and a strong affidavit from Lizzy, that in every
other earthly matter she was innocent of the slightest peccadillo, the
Lily of Lanark was installed as mistress and governante of the Nursery. We
were then in the days of teething, and sorely tormented with our gums,
which neither for knob of poker, nor handle of kitchen-fork--the ancient
Caledonian corals--would surrender their budding ornaments. We believe,
therefore, that Lizzy Lindsay erred not materially from the path of truth
when she signalized us as "the maist fractious bairn that ever broke a
woman's heart." Night and day did we yell, with Satanic energy, from the
excruciating molar pain, and little sympathy did our tears awaken in our
pillow, as we lay in fevered anguish on the exuberant bosom of our
guardian. Fortunately for us, in these days Daffy's Elixir was a thing
unknown, else no doubt we should have received an early introduction to
dram-drinking by means of the soft carminative. The fertile genius of
Lizzy suggested a better spell for allaying our infant sorrows. Whenever
we indulged in a more than ordinary implacable fit of screeching, she
threatened us with the apparition of "the Boo-man," a hideous spectre
which was then supposed to perambulate the nurseries in the shape of
Napoleon-Bonaparte. In a very short while, no Saracen child ever became
dumber when threatened by its mother with a visit from the Melech-Ric,
than we did at the proposed coming of the dark and sanguinary phantom. For
many years afterwards we believed as sincerely in the existence of this
anthropophagus as in our own; and very nearly became a Bauldy for life,
from having been surprised on one occasion, whilst surreptitiously
investigating the contents of a jampot, by the descent of a climbing-boy
into the nursery, and the terrors of his telegraphic boo! As we grew up,
our nascent intellect received still more supernatural services from the
legendary lore of Lizzy. She taught us the occult and mysterious meaning
of those singular soot-flakes which wave upon the ribs of a remarkably
ill-pokered fire--the dark significance which may be drawn from the
spluttering and cabbaging of a candle--and the misfortunes sure to follow
the mismanagement of the sacred salt. Often, too, her talk was of the
boding death-watch--the owl which flapped its wings at the window of the
dying--and the White Dove that flitted noiselessly from the room at the
fearful, and then to us incomprehensible moment of dissolution. As
Hallowe'en approached, she told us of the mystic hempseed, of the figure
which stalled behind the enterprising navigator of the stacks, and that
awful detention of the worsted clue, which has made the heart of many a
rustic maiden leap hurriedly towards her throat, when in the dead of
night, and beneath the influence of a waning moon, she has dared to pry
into the secrets of futurity, and, lover-seeking, has dropped the ball
into the chasm of the deserted kiln.

Such being the groundwork of our mystic education, it is little wonder
that we turned our novel knowledge of the alphabet to account, by pouncing
with intense eagerness upon every work of supernatural fiction upon which
we possibly could lay our hands. We speak not now of Jack the
Giant-killer, of the aspiring hero of the Beanstalk, or the appropriator
of the Seven-leagued boots. These were well enough in their way; but not,
in our diseased opinion, sufficiently practical. We liked the fairies
better. For many a day we indulged in the hope that we might yet become
possessed of a pot of that miraculous unguent, which, when applied to the
eye, has the virtue of disclosing the whole secrets of the Invisible
World. We looked with a kind of holy awe upon the emerald rings of the
greensward, and would have given worlds to be present at the hour when the
sloping side of the mountain is opened, and from a great ball, all
sparkling with a thousand prismatic stalactites, ride forth, to the sound
of flute and recorder, the squadrons of the Elfin Chivalry. Well do we
remember the thrill of horror which pervaded our being when we first read
of the Great Spectre of Glenmore, the Headless Fiend that haunts the black
solitudes of the Rothemurchus Forest, whom to see is madness, and to meet
is inexorable death! Much did we acquire in these days of the natural
history of Wraiths and Corpse-candles-of Phantom Funerals encountered on
their way to the kirkyard by some belated peasant, who, marveling at the
strange array at such an hour, turns aside to let the grim procession
pass, and beholds the visionary mourners--his own friends--sweep past,
without sound of footfall or glance of recognition, bearing upon their
shoulders a melancholy burden, wherein, he knows, is stretched the wan
Eidolon of himself! No wonder that he takes to his bed that night, nor
leaves it until the final journey.

Not for worlds would we have left the Grange house, which was then our
summer residence, after nightfall, and, skirting the hill by the old
deserted burial-ground, venture down the little glen, gloomy with the
shade of hazels--cross the burn by the bridge above the Caldron pool--and
finally gaze upon the loch all tranquil in the glory of the stars! Not all
the fish that ever struggled on a night-line-and there were prime
two-pounders, and no end of eels, in the loch--would have tempted us to so
terrible a journey. For just below the bridge, where the rocks shot down
precipitously into the black water, and the big patches of foam went
slowly swirling round--there, we say, in some hideous den, heaven knows
how deep, lurked the hateful Water-Kelpy, whose yell might be heard,
during a spate, above the roar of the thundering stream, and who, if he
did not lure and drown the cat-witted tailor of the district, was, to say
the least of it, the most maligned and slandered individual of his race.
Even in broad day we never liked that place. It had a mischievous and
uncanny look; nor could you ever entirely divest yourself of the idea that
there was something at the bottom of the pool. Bad as was the burn, the
loch was a great deal worse. For here, at no very remote period, the fiend
had emerged from its depths in the shape of a black steed, gentle and
mild-eyed to look upon, and pacing up to three children, not ten minutes
before dismissed from the thraldom of the dominie, had mutely but
irresistibly volunteered the accommodation of an extempore ride. And so,
stepping on with his burden across the gowans--which never grew more, and
never will grow, where the infernal hoof was planted--the demon horse
arrived at the margin of the loch where the bank is broken and the water
deep, and with a neigh of triumph bounded in, not from that day to this
were the bodies of the victims found. Moreover, yonder at the stunted
thorn-trees is the spot where poor Mary Walker drowned herself and her
innocent and unchristened bairn; and they say that, at midnight when all
is quiet, you will hear the wailing of a female voice, as if the spirit of
the murdered infant were bewailing its lost estate; and that a white
figure may be seen wringing its hands in agony, as it flits backwards and
forwards along the range of the solitary loch. Therefore, though the black
beetle is an irresistible bait, we never threw a fly at night on the
surface of the Haunted Tarn.

Penny Encyclopædias, although Lord Brougham had advanced considerably
towards manhood, were not then the fashion. Information for the people was
not yet collected into hebdomadal tracts; and those who coveted the fruit
of the tree of knowledge were left to pursue their horticultural
researches at their own free will. In the days of which we write, the two
leading weekly serials were the "_Tales of Terror_" and "_The Terrific
Register_," to both of which we regularly subscribed. To our present
taste--somewhat, we hope, improved since then--the latter seems a vulgar
publication. It was neither more nor less than a _rifacciamento_ of the
most heinous and exaggerated murders, by steel, fire, and poison, which
could be culled from the records of ancient and modern villany. It was, in
short, the quintessence of the _Newgate Calendar_, powerful enough to
corrupt a nation; as a proof of which--we mention it with regret--the
servant lad who ten years ago purloined it from our library, has since
been transported for life. We even dare to back it, for pernicious
results, against the moral influence which has been since exercised by
the authors of Oliver Twist and Jack Sheppard, to both of whom the penal
colonies have incurred a debt of lasting gratitude. It is true that, in
point of sentiment, these gentlemen have the advantage of the Editor of
The Terrific Register, but he beats them hollow in the broad delinquency
of his facts. But in the Tales of Terror we possessed a real supernatural
treasure. Every horrible legend of demon, ghost, goule, gnome,
salamandrine, and fire-king, which the corrupted taste of Germany had
hatched, was contained in this precious repository. It was illustrated
also, as we well remember, by woodcuts of the most appalling description,
which used to haunt us in our sleep long after we had stolen to our bed at
half-past eleven punctually, in order that we might be drenched in slumber
before the chiming of the midnight hour--at which signal, according to the
demonologists, the gates of Hades are opened wide, and the defunct usurer
returns to mourn and gibber above the hiding-place of his buried gold.

Gradually, however, we waxed more bold; and by dint of constant study
familiarized ourselves so much with the subject, that we not only ceased
to fear, but absolutely longed for a personal acquaintance with an
apparition. The History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, which shortly
afterwards fell into our hands, inspired us with the ambition of becoming
a practical magician, and we thirsted for a knowledge of the Cabala. We
had already done a little business in the way of turnip lanterns, the
favourite necromantic implements of the ingenuous Scottish youth--hideous
in the whiteness of their vegetable teeth, and not unappalling when
dexterously placed upon the edge of the kirk-yard wall. Electric shocks
conveyed by means of the door-handles, phosphoric writings on the wall,
and the mystery of spontaneous bells, were our next chemical amusements;
nor did we desist from this branch of practice until we had received a
most sound castigation, at the recollection of which our bones still ache,
from a crusty old tutor whose couch we had strewn, not with roses, but
with chopped horse-hair.

We are old enough to recollect the first representation of _Der
Freischutz_, and it is an era in our dramatic reminiscences. Previously to
that, we had seen a Vampire appear upon the boards of the Edinburgh stage,
and after an extravagant consumption of victims throughout the course of
three acts, fall thunder-smitten by an indigo bolt through a deep and
yawning trap-door. But Zamiel, as then represented by Mr Lynch, completely
distanced the Blood-sucker. With feelings of intensest awe, we beheld the
mysterious preparations in the Wolf's Glen--the circle of skull and
bone--the magic ring of light blue that flickered round it--the brazier
with the two kneeling figures beside it--the owl on the blasted tree,
which opened its eyes and flapped its wings with true demoniacal
perseverance--and the awful shapes that appeared at the casting of every
bullet! But when, as the last of them was thrown from the mould, a crash
of thunder pealed along the stage, and lurid lightnings glared from either
wing--when the cataract was converted into blood, and the ferocious form
of Lynch stood forth as the Infernal Hunter, discharging, after the manner
of such beings, two rifles at once--our enthusiasm utterly overcame us; we
gave vent to an exulting cheer, and were conducted from the boxes in a
state of temporary insanity.

We pass over our classical studies. We were no great dab at Virgil, but we
relished Apuleius exceedingly, and considerably petrified the Rector, by
giving up, as the subject of our private reading, "_Wierus de
Proestigiis Demonum_." Our favourite philosopher was Sir Kenelm Digby,
whose notions upon sympathy and antipathy we thought remarkably rational;
so much so, that up to the present time, we recognise no other treatment
for a cut finger than a submersion of the bloody rag in vitriol and water,
and a careful unction of the knife. We lost our degree in medicine by
citing as a case in point the wonderful cure of Telephus by the
application of oxide of iron, which we held to be no specific at all,
except as obtained from the spear of Achilles. This dogma, coupled with
our obstinate adherence to the occult doctrines of Van Helmont, the only
medical writer whose works we ever perused with the slightest
satisfaction, was too much for the bigoted examinators. We were
recommended to go abroad and study homoeopathy. We did so, and we swear
by Hahnemann.

It is now some years since we received our first inkling of mesmeric
revelation. Since then, we have read almost every work which has appeared
upon the subject; and we scruple not to say that we are a profound
believer in all of its varied mysteries. In it we recognise a natural
explanation of all our earlier studies; and we hail with sincere delight
the progress of a science which reconciles us to magic without the
necessity of interposing a diabolic agency. The miracles of Apollonius of
Tyana, as related by Philostratus, become very commonplace performances
when viewed by the light of mesmerism. The veriest bungler who ever
practised the passes can explain to you the nature of that secret
intelligence which enabled the _clair-voyant_ philosopher, then at
Ephesus, to communicate the murder of Domitian to his friends at the
moment it took place at Rome. Second-sight has ceased to be a marvel: the
preternatural powers, long supposed to be confined to Skye, Uist, and
Benbecula, are now demonstrated to be universal, and are exhibited on the
platform by scores of urchins picked up at random from the gutter. Even
the Arabian Nights have become probable. Any perambulating mesmeriser can
show you scores of strapping, fellows, reduced by a single wave of his
hand to the unhappy condition of the young Prince whose lower extremities
were stone. Comus was nothing more than a common Professor of the science;
and Hermotimus a silly blockhead, who could not wake himself from his
trance in time to prevent his wife from consigning him to the funeral
pile.

The practical utility of the science is no less prodigious. Is it nothing,
think you, if you have suffered a compound fracture of the leg, so bad
that amputation is indispensable, to be relieved from all the horrors of
the operation, from the sickening sight of the basins, the bandages, and
the saw--to feel yourself sinking into a delicious slumber at the wave of
the surgeon's hand, and to wake up ten minutes afterwards an unsuffering
uniped, and as fresh as the Marquis of Anglesea? Is it nothing, when that
back-grinder of yours gives you such intolerable agony that the very
maid-servants in the attics cannot sleep o'nights because of your
unmitigated roaring--is it nothing to avoid the terrible necessity of a
conscious Tusculan disputation with Nasmith or Spence--to settle down for
a few moments into a state of unconsciousness, and to revive with your
masticators in such a condition as to defy the resistance of a navy
biscuit? Or, if you are a stingy person and repugnant to postage, do you
think it is no advantage to get gratis information about your friends in
India through the medium of your eldest son, who, though apparently
sitting like a senseless booby in your armchair, is at this moment
invisibly present in the mess-room at Hyderabad, and will express, if you
ask him, his wonder at the extreme voracity with which Uncle David devours
his curry? Why, in that boy you possess an inestimable treasure! You may
send him to Paris at a moment's notice for a state of the French funds--he
will be at St Petersburg and back again in the twinkling of an eye--and if
our own sight is failing, you have nothing to do but to clap the last
number of the Magazine below him, and he will straightway regale your
heart with the contents of the leading article.

There is a great deal of romance about Mesmerism. We have nowhere read a
more touching story than that of the two consumptive sisters who were
thrown into the Magic trance about the end of autumn, who lay folded in
each other's arms--pale lilies--throughout the whole of the dreary winter,
and awoke to life and renovated health in the joyous month of May, when
the leaves were green, the flowers in bud, and the lambkins frolicking on
the meadow! Read you ever any thing in novels so touching and pathetic as
this? Nor is the case once recounted to us by a friend of our own, a noted
mesmerizer, one whit less marvellous. In the ardent prosecution of his
art, he had cast his glamour upon a fair Parisian damsel of the name of
Leontine--we believe she was a laundress--and daily held conference with
the dormant Delphic girl. On one occasion he left her, wrapt in the
profoundest sleep, in his chamber, and proceeded to perambulate the
Boulevards on his own secular affairs. On returning, he found poor
Leontine suffused in tears; deep and stifling sobs disturbed her
utterance, nor was it until the charmer had soothed her with a few
additional passes, that she could falter out the tender reproach--"Why did
you not bring me some bonbons on the shop where you eat those three
ice-creams?" Our friend had not walked alone through Paris. The spirit of
the loving Leontine was invisibly clinging to his arm.

Now, although we make it an invariable rule to believe every thing which
we read or hear, we were not a little desirous to behold with our own eyes
an exhibition of these marvellous phenomena. But somehow or other, whilst
the papers told us of Mesmeric miracles performed in every other part of
the world, Edinburgh remained without a prophet. Either the Thessalian
influence had not extended so far, or the Scottish frame was unsusceptible
to the subtle fluid of the conjuror. One or two rumours reached us of
young ladies who had become spellbound; but on inquiring more minutely
into the circumstances, we found that there was an officer in each case,
and we therefore were inclined to think that the symptoms might be
naturally accounted for. There was, however, no want of curiosity on the
part of the public. The new science had made a great noise in the world,
and was the theme of conversation at every tea-table. Various attempts at
mesmerization were made, but without success. We ourselves tried it; but
after looking steadfastly for about twenty minutes into a pair of laughing
blue eyes, we were compelled to own that the power was not in us, and that
all the fascination had been exercised on the other side. Nobody had
succeeded, if we except a little cousin of ours--rather addicted to
fibbing--who averred that she had thrown a cockatoo into a deep and
mysterious slumber.

Great, therefore, was our joy, and great was the public excitement, when
at length a genuine professor of the art vouchsafed to favour us with a
visit. He was one of those intelligent and patriotic men who go lecturing
from town to town, inspired thereto by no other consideration than an
ardour for the cause of science. The number of them is absolutely amazing.
Throughout the whole winter, which is popularly called the lecturing
season, the dead walls of every large city in the empire are covered with
placards, announcing that Mr Tomlinson will have the honour of delivering
six lectures upon Syria, or that Mr. Whackingham, the famous Timbuctoo
traveller, will describe the interior of Africa. They are even clannish in
their subjects. The Joneses are generally in pay of the League, and hold
forth upon the iniquity of the Corn-duties. The Smiths, with laudable
impartiality, are divided between slavery and liberation, and lecture
_pro_ or _con_, as the humour or opportunity may serve. The
Macgillicuddies support the Seceding interest, and deliver facers in the
teeth of all establishments whatsoever. The Robinsons are phrenological,
the Browns chemical, and the Bletheringtons are great on the subject of
universal education for the people. To each and all of these interesting
courses you may obtain admittance for the expenditure of a trifling sum,
and imbibe, in exchange for your shilling or half-crown, a considerable
allowance of strong and full-flavoured information. Always ardent in the
cause of science, we never, if we can help it, miss one of these seducing
soirees: and we invariably find, that whatever may have been the
heterodoxy of our former opinion, we become a convert through the powerful
arguments of these peripatetic apostles of science.

Our new Xavier belonged to what is called the mesmerico-phrenological
school. He was a man of bumps as well as passes--a disciple alike of
German Spurzheim and of English Elliotson. His placard was a modest one.
It set forth, as usual; the disinterested nature of his journey, which was
to expound to the intelligent citizens of Edinburgh a few of the great
truths of mesmerism, illustrated by a series of experiments. He
studiously disclaimed all connexion with preternatural art, and ventured
to assure every visitor, that, so far as he was concerned, no advantage
should be taken of their attendance at his _Seance_ in any future stage of
their existence. This distinct pledge removed from our minds any little
scruple which we otherwise might have felt. We became convinced that the
lecturer was far too much of a gentleman to take advantage of our
weakness, and report us to the Powers of Evil; and accordingly, on the
appointed night, after a bottle or so of fortifying port, we took our way
to the exhibition-room, where Isis was at last to be revealed to our
adoring eyes.

We selected and paid for a front seat, and located ourselves in the
neighbourhood of a very smart bonnet, which had mesmerically attracted our
eye. Around us were several faces well known in the northern metropolis,
some of them wearing an expression of dull credulity, and others with a
sneer of marked derision on the lip. On looking at the platform, we were
not altogether surprised at the earliness of the latter demonstration.
There was no apparatus there beyond a few chairs; but around a sort of
semicircular screen were suspended a series of the most singular portraits
we ever had the fortune to behold. One head was graced with a mouth big
enough to contain a haggis, and a coronal of erected hair like a
hearth-brush surmounting it left no doubt in our mind that it was intended
for a representation of Terror. It was enough, as a young Indian officer
afterwards remarked, to have made a Chimpanzee miscarry. Joy was the exact
portraiture of a person undergoing the punishment of death by means of
tickling. We should not like to have met Benevolence in a dark lane: he
looked confoundedly like a fellow who would have eased you of your last
copper, and knocked you down into the bargain. As for Amativeness, he
seemed to us the perfect incarnation of hydrophobia. In fact, out of some
two dozen passions, the only presentable personage was Self-esteem, a
prettyish red-haired girl, with an expression of fun about the eyes.

In a short time the lecturer made his appearance. To do him justice, he
did not look at all like a conjuror, nor did he use any of those becoming
accessories which threw an air of picturesque dignity around the wizard of
the middle ages. We could not say of him as of Lord Gifford,

  "His shoes were mark'd with cross and spell,
  Upon his breast pentacle;
  His zone, of virgin parchment thin,
  Or, as some tell, of dead-man's skin,
  Bore many a planetary sign,
  Combust, and retrograde, and trine."

On the contrary, he was simply attired in a black coat and tweed
terminations; and his attendant imps consisted of half a dozen young
gentlemen, who might possibly, by dint of active exertion, have been made
cleaner, and whose free-and-easy manner, as they scrambled towards their
chairs, elicited some hilarious expressions from the more distant portion
of the audience.

The introductory portion of the lecture appeared to us a fair specimen of
Birmingham rhetoric. There was a great deal in it about mysterious
agencies, invisible fluids, connexion of mind and matter, outer and inner
man, and suchlike phrases, all of which sounded very deep and
unintelligible--so much so indeed, that we suspected certain passages of
it to have been culled with little alteration from the emporium of Sartor
Resartus. Meanwhile the satellites upon the platform amused themselves by
grimacing at each other, and exchanging a series of telegraphic gestures,
which proved that they were all deep adepts in the art of masonry as
practised by the youth of the Lawnmarket. The exposition might have lasted
about a quarter of an hour, when sundry shufflings of the feet gave a hint
to the lecturer that he had better stop discoursing, and proceed
incontinently to experiment. He therefore turned to the imps, who
straightway desisted from mowing, and remained mute and motionless before
the eye of the mighty master. Seizing one of them by the hands, the
operator looked steadfastly in his face. A dull film seemed to gather over
the orbs of the gaping urchin--his jaw fell--his toes quivered--a few
spasmodic jerks of the elbows showed that his whole frame was becoming
Leyden, jar of animal electricity--his arms dropped fecklessly down--few
waves across the forehead, and the Lazarillo of Dunedin was transported to
the Invisible World!

Muttered exclamations--for the sanctity of the scene was too great to
admit of ruffing--were now heard throughout the room. "Did you ever?"--"By
Jove, there's a go!"--"Lord save us! but that's fearsome!"--"I say, Bob,
d'ye no see him winking?" and other similar ejaculations caught our ear.
Presently the operator abandoned his first victim, and advanced towards
another, with the look of a rattlesnake, who, having bolted one rabbit, is
determined to exterminate the warren. The second gutter-blood succumbed.
His resistance to the mesmeric agency was even weaker than the other's:
and, indeed, to judge from the rapidity of his execution, the marvellous
fluid was now pouring in cataracts from the magic fingers of the adept. In
a very few seconds the whole of the lads were as fast asleep as dormice.

Leaving them in their chairs, like so many slumbering Cupids, the lecturer
next proceeded to favour us with a dissertation upon the functions of the
brain. Cries of "Get on!"--"Gar them speak!"--"We ken a' aboot it!"
assured him at once of the temper and the acquired information of the
Modem Athenians; so, turning round once more, he pitched upon Lazarillo as
a subject. So far as our memory will serve us, the following is a fair
report of the colloquy.

"Are you asleep, my little boy?"

"I should think sae!"

"Do you feel comfortable?"

"No that ill. What was ye speering for?"

"Ha! a cautious boy! You observe, ladies and gentlemen, how remarkably the
natural character is developed during the operation of the mesmeric
trance. An English boy, I assure you, would have given me a very different
reply. Let us now proceed to another test. You see, I take him by the
hand, and at the same time introduce this piece of lump sugar into my own
mouth. Remark how instantaneously the muscles of his face are affected. My
little fellow, what is that you are eating?"

"Sweeties."

"Where did you get them?"

"What's yeer bizziness?"

"Well, well--we must not irritate him. Let us now change the
experiment--how do you like this?"

"Fich!--proots!--Ye nastie fellie, if ye pit saut in ma mooth, I'll hit ye
a duff in the muns!"

"How! I do not understand you!"

"A dad in the haffits."

Here a benevolent gentleman, with a bald head and spectacles, was kind
enough to act as interpreter, and explained to the scientific Anglican the
meaning of the minatory term.

"Ha! our young friend is becoming a little restive. We must alter his
frame of mind. Observe, ladies and gentlemen, I shall now touch the organ
of Benevolence."

With an alacrity which utterly dumbfoundered us, the young hope of the
Crosscauseway now sprung to his feet. His hands were precipitately plunged
into the inmost recesses of his corduroys.

"Puir man! puir man!" he exclaimed with a deep expression of sympathy,
"ye're looking far frae weel! Ay, ay! a wife and saxteen weans at hame,
and you just oot o' the hospital!--Hech-how! but this is a weary warld.
Hae--it's no muckle I can gie ye, but tak it a'--tak it a'!"

So saying, he drew forth from his pockets a miscellaneous handful of
slate-pencil, twine, stucco-bowls, and, if we mistake not, gib--a
condiment much prized by the rising generation of the metropolis--all of
which he deposited, as from a cornucopia, at the feet of the delighted
lecturer.

A loud hum of admiration arose from the back-benches. Charity is a popular
virtue, as you may learn at the theatre, from the tumultuous applause of
the gallery whenever the hero of the melodrama chucks a purse at the head
of some unfortunate starveling. Two old ladies in our neighbourhood began
to whimper; and one of them publicly expressed her intention of rewarding
with half-a-crown the good intentions of the munificent Lazarillo, so soon
as the lecture was over. This seemed to inspire him with a fresh accession
of benevolence; for, the organ being still excited, he made another
desperate attempt, and this time fished up a brass button.

"Let us now," said the magician, "excite the counter organ of
Secretiveness; and, in order to give this experiment its full effect, I
shall also irritate the kindred organs of Acquisitiveness and Caution."

To our great disgust, Lazarillo instantly threw off the character of
Howard, and appeared in that of David Haggart. He was evidently mentally
prowling with an associate in the vicinity of a stall bedecked with
tempting viands, irresistible to the inner Adam of the boy.

"I say, Tam! did ye ever see sic speldrings? Eh, man--but they'd be grand
chowin! What'n rock!--and thae bonnie red-cheekit aipples! Whisht-ye,
man--bide back in the close-head, or auld Kirsty will see ye! Na--she's no
lookin' now. Gang ye ahint her, and cry oot that ye see a mad dowg, and
I'll make a spang at the stall! That's yeer sort! I've gotten a hantle o'
them. Stick them into ma pouches for fear they tumble oot, and we'll rin
doon to the King's Park and hide them at the auld dyke!"

"This boy," said the operator, "evidently imagines himself to be engaged
in an act of larceny. Such is the wonderful power of mesmerism, and such
and so varied is the peculiar idiosyncrasy of the human frame. What we
call man is a shell of virtue and of vice. In the same brain are contained
the virtues of an Aristides, and the coarse malignity of a Nero. I could
now, ladies and gentlemen, very easily procure from this lad the
restitution of his imaginary spoils, by simply exciting the organ of
Justice, which at once would prompt him to a full and candid confession.
But I shall prefer to develop the experiment, by slightly awakening the
powerful functions of Terror, an organ which we dare not trifle with, as
the consequences are sometimes calamitous. I think, however, from the
peculiar construction of this boy's head, that we may safely make the
attempt. Mark the transition."

The hair of Lazarillo bristled.

"Gosh, Tam! are ye sure naebody seed us! Wha's that wi' the white breeks
comin' down the close? Rin, man, rin--as sure's death it's the poliss! O
Lord! what will become o' ma puir mither gin they grup me! O man--let's
in! let's in! The door's fast steekit--Mercy--mercy--mercy--! Tak' yeer
knuckles oot o' ma neck, and I'll gie ye the hale o' them back. It wasna
me, it was Tam that did it! Ye're no gaun to tak us up to the office for
sic a thing as that?--O dear me--dear me--dear me!" and the voice of
Lazarillo died away in almost inarticulate moaning.

This scene had so affected the nerves of our fair neighbour in the bonnet,
that, out of common civility, we felt ourselves compelled to offer a
little consolation. In the mean time, the stern operator continued to
aggravate the terrors of poor Lazarillo, whose cup of agony was full even
to the brim, and who now fancied himself in the dock, tried, and found
guilty, and awaiting with fear and tribulation the tremendous sentence of
the law.

"O, ma lord, will ye no hae mercy on us? As true as I'm stannin' here,
it's the first time I ever stealt ony thing. O whaur's mither? Is that her
greeting outside? O, ma lord, what are ye puttin' on that black hat for?
Ye daurna hang us surely for a wheen wizzened speldrings!--O dear--O dear!
Is there naebody will say a word for me? O mercy--mercy! Wae's me--wae's
me! To be hangit by the neck till I'm deid, and me no fifteen year auld!"

"We shall now," said the operator, "conduct our young friend to the
scaffold"--

"Stop, sir!" cried the benevolent gentleman in the spectacles--"I insist
that we shall have no more of this. Are you aware, sir, that you are
answerable for the intellects of that unhappy boy? Who knows but that the
cruel excitement he has already undergone may have had the effect of
rendering him a maniac for life? I protest against any further exhibition
of this nature, which is absolutely harrowing to my own feelings and to
those of all around me. What if the boy should die?"

"Let alane Jimsy!" cried a voice from the back row. "I ken him fine; he'll
dee nane."

"I shall have much pleasure, sir," said the mesmerist, with a polite bow,
"in complying with your humane suggestion. At the same time, let me assure
you that your apprehensions are without foundation. Never, I trust, in my
hands, shall science be perverted from its legitimate object, or the
glorious truths I am permitted to display, minister in the slightest
degree to the wretchedness of any one individual of the great human
family. I shall now awaken this boy from his trance, when you will find
him wholly unconscious of every thing which has taken place."

Accordingly, he drew forth his bandana, flapped it a few times before the
eyes of Lazarillo, and then breathed lightly on his forehead. The boy
yawned, rubbed his eyes, stretched his limbs, sneezed, and then rose up.

"How do you feel?" asked the operator.

"A wee stiff--that's a.'"

"Would you like a glass of water?"

"I'd rather hae yill."

"Do you recollect what you have been doing?"

"I've been sleeping, I think."

"Nothing more?"

"Naething. What else should I hae been doing? I say--I want to gang hame."

"Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we may dismiss this boy."

Lazarillo, however, did not show any immediate hurry to depart. He
lingered for a while near that edge of the platform where the two aged
ladies were seated, as though some faint vaticination of the advent of
half-a-crown still haunted his bewildered faculties. But the profligacy of
his latter conduct had effaced all memory of the liberality with which he
first dispensed his earthly treasures. His unhallowed propensity for
speldrings had exhibited itself in too glaring colours, and each lady,
while she thought of the pilfered Kirsty, clutched her reticule with a
firmer grasp, as though she deemed that the contents thereof were not
altogether safe in the vicinity of the marvellous boy. At length, finding
that delay was fruitless, Lazarillo, _alias_ Jimsy, went his way.

The phrenological organs of the remaining lads were now subjected to
similar experiments. These were, we freely admit, remarkably interesting.
One youth, being called upon to give a specimen of his imitative powers,
took off our friend Frederick Lloyd of the Theatre-Royal to the life;
whilst another treated us to a very fair personification of Edmund Glover.
Some youths in the back gallery began to whistle and scream, and the
sounds were regularly caught up and transmitted by the slumbering mimics.
A learned Pundit, who sate on the same bench with ourselves, favoured them
with a German sentence, which did certainly appear to us to be repeated
with some slight difference of accent. A Highland divinity student went
the length of asserting that the reply was conveyed in Gaelic, which, if
true, must be allowed to throw some light upon the knotty subject of the
origin of languages. Is it possible that, in the mesmeric trance, the mind
in some cases rejects as artificial fabric all the educated
conventionality of tongues, and resumes unconsciously the original and
genuine dialect of the world? We have a great mind, at some future moment
of leisure, to indite an article on the subject, and vindicate, in all its
antiquity, the speech of Ossian and of Adam.

We shall pass over several of the same class of experiments, such as the
display of Adoration, which struck us as bordering very closely upon the
limits of profanity. In justice to the operator, we ought to mention that
they were all remarkably successful. We admired the dexterity with which
two lads, under the savage influence of combativeness, punched and squared
at each other; we were pleased with the musical talents of another boy,
who varied the words, airs, and style of his singing as the fingers of the
mesmerist wandered around the several protuberances of his cranium. In
fact, we saw before us a human organ of sound, played upon with as much
ease as a mere pianoforte. After such exhibitions as these, it was
impossible to remain a sceptic.

A grand chorus by the patients, of "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," under
the influence of some bump corresponding to Patriotism, terminated this
portion of the evening's entertainments. But all was not yet over. The
lecturer informed us that he would now exhibit the power of mesmerism over
the body, apart from the enchainment of the mental faculties--that is,
that he would produce paralysis in the limbs of a thinking and a sentient
being. We are ashamed to say that a cry of "Gammon!" arose from different
parts of the hall.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said the undaunted sorcerer, "some incredulous
persons seem to doubt my power. You shall see it with your own eyes. I
shall now proceed to waken these boys, and submit them to the new
experiment."

In the twinkling of a handkerchief they were awake and lively, and beyond
a slight complaint from the pugilists of pain in the region of the
abdomen, and a very reasonable demand on the part of the musician for
lozenges, they did not seem at all the worse in consequence of their
recent exercise. One of them was now desired to stretch out his arm. He
did so. A few passes were made along it, and he remained in the attitude
of a fakeer.

"That lad's arm," said he of the mysterious art, "is now as fixed as
marble. He cannot take it down. Can you, O'Shaughnessy?"

"The divil a bit!" replied the Hibernian, a stout and brawny villain of
some two and twenty.

"Would any gentleman like to try it?" inquired the operator.

"It's myself has no manner of objections at all!" exclaimed a stalwart
medical student, springing upon the platform, amidst a shout of general
exultation. "Hould yerself tight, Pat, my boy; for, by the powers, I'll
twist ye like an ounce of pig-tail!"

"Tear and owns!"--replied O'Shaughnessy, looking somewhat dismayed, for
the volunteer was about as stout a Connaughter as it ever was our fortune
to behold. "Tear and owns! it isn't after breaking my arm you'd be at? Och
wirra! Would ye take a dirty advantage of a decent lad, and him as stiff
as a poker?"

"I protest against this exhibition!" said the benevolent gentleman, in
whom we now recognised a Vice-President of the Fogie Club. "The shoulder
of the man may be dislocated--or there may be a fracture of the ulna--or
some other horrid catastrophe may happen, and we shall all be prosecuted
for murder!"

"And am I not here to set the bone!" demanded the student indignantly
"Give us a hould of ye, Pat, and stand firm on your pins, for I'll work ye
like a pump-handle."

So saying, he closed with O'Shaughnessy. But that wary individual, whilst
he abandoned his arm to the student, evidently considered himself under no
obligation to forego the use of his legs. He spun round and round like a
teetotum, and stooped whenever an attempt was made to draw him down, but
still the arm remained extended.

"You see, ladies and gentlemen!" said the operator, after the scuffle was
over--"You see how the power of the mesmeric fluid operates above the
exertion of physical force. This amazingly powerful young gentleman has
totally failed to move the arm one inch from its place."

"I'd move it fast enough, if he'd only stand still," replied the student.
"I'll tell you what. I look upon the whole thing as egregious humbug.
There's my own arm out, and I defy either you or Pat to bring it down!"

"Excuse me, sir," replied the mesmerist with dignity--"We do not meet here
to practise feats of strength, but to discuss a scientific question. I
appeal to this intelligent individual, who has taken so distinguished a
part in the interesting proceedings of this evening, whether I am in any
way bound to accept such a challenge."

"Certainly not--certainly not!" said the Vice-President, delighted with
this appeal to his understanding.

"You hear the remark of the gentleman, sir," said the mesmerist. "May I
now beg you will retire, and permit me to go on with the experiments?"

"Take it all your own way, then," replied the student, reluctantly
retiring from the platform; "but as sure's I am out of purgatory, that
lad's arm was no more fixed than your tongue!"

This slight episode over, the work went on accordingly. Paralysis
flourished in all its shapes. One lad was spellbound to the floor, and
could not move a yard from the spot, though encouraged to do so by an
offer of twenty pounds from the liberal and daring artist. What effect the
superadded security of the Vice-President might have had upon the
patient's powers of locomotion, we really cannot say. Another, as he
assured us, was utterly deprived of sight by a few cross passes of the
operator--a third was charmed into dumbness--whilst a fourth declared his
readiness to be converted into a pin-cushion; but was, at the intreaty of
some ladies and our benevolent acquaintance, exempted from that
metamorphosis, and merely endured, without murmuring, a few nips from the
fingers of the lecturer.

This closed the _séance_. We moved a vote of thanks to the Mesmerist for
his gratifying exertions, and then retired to our Club to meditate upon
the subject over a comfortable board of pandores. A few days afterwards,
we met our friend the young Indian officer in Prince's Street.

"I say, old fellow," quoth the Jemadar, "that was a confounded take-in the
other night."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, that magnetizing nonsense. Not a soul of then was asleep after all."

"Do you wish me to disbelieve the evidence of my own senses?"

"You may believe whatever you like; I only wish you had been with us last
Tuesday at a meeting we held in the Café. If you've got any tin about you,
and don't mind standing an ice or so at Mrs Stewart's, I'll tell you all
about it."

Our desire for truth overcame our habitual parsimony. We led the way into
the back saloon, and at a moderate expenditure became possessed of the
following particulars:--

"You see," said the Jemadar, sipping his cherry bounce, "there were a lot
of clever fellows sitting near me the other night, and I made out from
what they said that they were by no means satisfied with the whole
proceeding. Now, as I have seen a thing or two in India, where, by Jove, a
native will make a mango-tree grow out of a flowerpot before your eyes,
and bear fruit enough in a few months to keep a large family for a year in
pickles--and as I knew all about snake-charming, the singeing of tiger's
whiskers, and so forth, I thought I might be of some use to the scientific
birds; so, when the meeting broke up, I proposed an adjournment and a
tumbler. I looked about for you, but you seemed more agreeably occupied."

"You never were in a greater mistake in your life."

"Well--that's all one; but I thought so. They were quite agreeable, and we
passed a very pleasant evening. There were two or three young advocates
who went the pace in regular style, a fair sprinkling of medicos, and that
Irish student who handled the humbug on the platform; and who, let me tell
you, is little short of a perfect trump. We reviewed the whole
experiments, quite impartially, over a moderate allowance of alcohol, and
were unanimously of opinion that it was necessary, for the interests of
science, to examine into the matter more closely. One of the company
undertook to procure the attendance of some of those lads whom you saw
upon the platform; and another, who believes in mesmerism, but scouts the
idea of phrenology, was acquainted with a creditable magnetizer, who, he
said, would be sure to attend. We fixed our meeting for the second evening
afterwards, and then adjourned.

"When the appointed hour came, we mustered to the number of about thirty.
Some scientific fellows about town had got wind of the thing, and wished
to be present: to this we made no manner of objection, as it was not a
hole-and-corner meeting. Of course, we took care that the lecturer should
know nothing about it--indeed, he had left Edinburgh, for the purpose, I
suppose, of enlightening the gallant Glaswegians; so that we had nothing
to fear on the ground of secret influence. Well, sir, we elected a
President, who gave his vote in favour of the postponement of beer until
all the experiments were over, and had in the raggamuffins, who at their
own request were each accompanied by a friend. They did not look quite
easy on finding themselves introduced to such an assemblage, but native
brass prevailed--they were in for it, and they durst not recede.

"After a pretty tight examination by the President as to their former
experiences and sensations, which of course resulted in nothing, one of
the lads--the fellow who became blind--consented to be mesmerised by his
brother. The latter, a very sheepish-looking sort of journeyman, went
awkwardly through the usual flummery of passes, and then ensued this
dialogue.

"'Hoo are ye, Jock?'"

"'Man, I'm blind!'"

"'Can ye see naething?'"

"'Naething ava. It's jist a' blackness afore me. Gudesake, dinna keep us
lang this way--it's positeevely fearsome.'"

"'Gentlemen,' said the brother, 'I hope you'll no be ower lang wi' oor
Jock. Puir fallow! he's no jist a' thegether right in the nerves, and a
wee thing is eneuch to upset him. Dinna handle him roughly, sir!' he
continued, as one of our party commenced turning up his sleeves
preparatory to an ocular demonstration; 'ye manna pit your hand upon
him--it's enough to destroy the haill mesmereesin' influence, and he'll
gang into a fit. Nane but the operawtor should touch him. Gin ye want to
look into his een, I'se haud up the lids myself.'

"He did so; and sure enough he disclosed a couple of unmeaning grey
gooseberry orbs which stared perseveringly upon vacancy. A medical
gentleman approached a candle towards them without any visible effect. The
urchin was perfect in his calling. He did not even shrink at the rapid
approach of a finger.

"I was convinced in my own mind," continued the Jemadar, "that this was a
piece of absolute humbug. The anxiety of the brother to keep every person
at a distance was quite palpable, so I had recourse to stratagem to get
him out of the way. We pretended to give the boy a momentary respite, and
a proffered pot of porter proved a bait too tempting to the Argus of the
blind. In short, we got him out of the room, and then resumed our
examination of Jock, who still pled, like another Homer, to absolute want
of vision.

"'This is really very extraordinary, gentlemen,' said I, assuming the airs
of a lecturer, but getting carefully in the rear of patient. 'I am now
perfectly convinced that this boy is, by some inexplicable means, deprived
of the functions of sight. You observe that when I advance the finger of
my right hand towards his right eye--so--there is not the slightest
shrinking or palpable contraction of the iris. It is the same when I
approach the left eye--thus. If any gentleman doubts the success of the
experiment, I shall again make it on the right eye.'

"But this time, instead of probing the dexter orbit, for which he was
prepared, I made a rapid pass at the other. The effect was instantaneous.
A spasmodic twitch of the eyelid betrayed the acuteness of Jock's ocular
perception.

"'He winks, by the soul of Lord Monboddo!' cried one of my legal
acquaintances. 'I saw it perfectly plainly!'

"'Ye're leein'!' retorted Jock, whose pease-soup complexion suddenly
became flushed with crimson--"'Ye're leein'! I winkit nane. It was a flea.
Did ye no see that I winkit nane when ye pit the lancet forrard?'

"'Oh! my fine fellow!' replied the Advocate, a youth who had evidently
picked up a wrinkle or two at circuit, 'you've fairly put your foot into
it this time. Not a living soul has said a single word about a lancet, and
how could you know that this gentleman held in his hand unless you
positively saw it?'

"This was a floorer, but Jock would not abandon his point.

"'Ye dinna ken what mesmereesin' is,' he exclaimed. 'It's a shame for a
wheen muckle chaps like you to be trying yer cantrips that way on a laddie
like me. It's no fair, and I'll no stand it ony langer. Whaur's my
brither? Let me gang, I say--I'm no weel ava'!' and straightway the
miraculous boy girded up his loins, and flew swiftly from the apartment.

"Pat O'Shaughnessy was next brought forward to exhibit once more his
unparalleled feat of rigidity. Confident in the strength of his brawny
arm, the young Milesian evinced no scruples. The magnetist who had
attended, at our request--a pleasant gentlemanly person--made the usual
passes along the arm, and O'Shaughnessy stood out in the attitude of the
Pythian Apollo.

"I tried to bend his arm at the elbow, but sure enough I could not do it.
The fellow had the muscles of a rhinosceros, and defied my utmost efforts.
The magnetizer now began to exhibit another phenomenon. He made a few
passes downwards, and the arm gradually fell, as if there were some
undefinable attraction in the hand of the operator. He then reversed the
motion, and the arm slowly ascended. Being quite convinced that in this
case there was no collusion, I said a few words to the operator, who then
took his post _behind_ the giant carcase of the navigator. A friend of the
latter, who was detected dodging in front of him, was politely conducted
to the door, and in this way the experiment was tried.

"'Now sir,' said I, 'will you have the kindness to attract his arm
upwards? I am curious to see if the mesmeric principle applies equally to
all the muscles.'

"'Faix!' volunteered O'Shaughnessy, 'it does that, and no mistake. Ye
might make me hould up my fist on the other side of an oak door!'

"I am sorry for the honour of Tipperary. The operator, as had been
privately agreed on, commenced the downward passes, when, to our extreme
delight, the arm of O'Shaughnessy rose directly upwards, until his fist
pointed to the zenith!

"'Beautiful!--admirable!--miraculous!' shouted half a dozen voices.

"'Now, sir, will you try if you can take it down?'

"'The magnetiser made efforts which, if successful, would have enabled
O'Shaughnessy to count the number of his own dorsal vertebræ. He didn't
seem, however, to have any such passion for osteology. The arm gradually
declined, and at last reposed passively by his side. A general cheer
proclaimed the success of the experiment.

"'Mr Chairman,' said one gentleman, 'I move that it be recorded as the
opinion of this meeting, that the late exhibitions of mesmerism, as
exhibited in this city, were neither more nor less than a tissue of
unmitigated humbug!'

"'After what we have seen this evening,' said another, 'I do not feel the
slightest hesitation in seconding that motion.'

"'And I move,' said a third, 'that in case that motion should be carried,
we do incontinently proceed to supper.'

"So far as I recollect, there was not a dissentient voice in the room to
either proposition.

"'Axing yer pardon,' said O'Shaughnessy, advancing to the chairman, 'it's
five shillings I was promised for time and trouble, and expinces in
attending this mating. Perhaps yer honour will allow a thrifle over and
above to my friend Teddy yonder, who came to see that I wasn't bothered
all at onst?'

"'You are an impudent scoundrel, sir,' said the chairman, 'and deserve to
be kicked down stairs. However, a promise is a promise. There is your
money, and let us never see your face again.'

"'Och, long life to yese all!' said the undaunted O'Shaughnessy, 'but its
mismirism is a beautiful science! Divil a barrow have I wheeled this last
month on the North British Railway, and it isn't soon that I'll be after
doing it again. Teddy, ye sowl! let's be off to the ould place, and dhrink
good luck to the gintlemin in a noggin.'

"Such," concluded the Jemadar, "was the result of our meeting; and I can
tell you that you lost a rich treat by not hearing of it in time."

"I don't want to be disenchanted," said we. "Nothing that you have said
can shake my firm belief in mesmerism in all its stages. I allow that the
science, like every thing else, is liable to abuse, but that does not
affect my faith in the slightest degree. Have you ever read Chauncey Hare
Townshend's book? Why, my dear fellow, he has magnetized a female patient,
through mere volition alone, at the other end of the town; and I have not
the remotest doubt that it is quite possible to exercise the same powers
between Edinburgh and Madras. What a beautiful thought it is that two
lovers, separated by land and ocean, may yet exercise a sweet influence
over each other--that at a certain hour, a balmy slumber, stealing over
their frames, apprises them that their souls are about to meet in
undisturbed and tranquil union! That in a few moments, perhaps, far, far
above the galaxy"--

"Oh, confound the galaxy!" interrupted the prosaic Jemadar. "If you're
going on in that style, I shall be off at once. I have no idea of any
communication quicker than the electric telegraph; and as for your
sympathies, and that sort of rubbish, any body may believe them that
likes. I suppose, too, you believe in clair-voyance?"

"Most assuredly," we replied. "The case of Miss M'Avoy of Liverpool--of
Prince Hohenlohe, and many others"----

"Are all very wonderful, I daresay; but I should like to see the thing
with my own eyes. A friend of mine told me, no later than yesterday, that
he had been present at a meeting, held in a professional gentleman's
house, for the purpose of testing the powers of a lad said to be
clair-voyant, who was exhibited by one of those itinerant lecturers. In
addition to the usual bandages, of which there was much suspicion, a mask,
previously prepared, was put upon the face, so that all deception was
impossible. In this state, the boy, though professedly in the mesmeric
sleep, could see nothing. He fingered the cards--fumbled with the
books--but could read no more than my poodle-dog. In fact, the whole thing
was considered by every one present not only a failure, but a rank and
palpable sham; and until I have some better evidence in support of these
modern miracles, I shall take the liberty of denouncing the system as one
of most impudent imposture."

"But, my dear fellow, recollect the number of persons of rank and
station--the highly intellectual and cultivated minds which have formed a
directly opposite opinion. What say you to Van Helmont? What say you to
Michael Scott,

  'A wizard of such dreaded fame,
  That when in Salamanca's cave,
  Him listed his magic wand to wave,
  The bells would ring in Notre Dame?'

What say you to the sympathetic secrets still known to be preserved in the
monastery of Mount Carmel? What say you"--

"I say," replied the Jemadar, "that you are beginning to talk most
infernal nonsense, and that I must be off, as I have an engagement at
three to play a match at billiards. In the meantime, you'll oblige me by
settling with Mrs Stewart for the ices."



COOKERY AND CIVILISATION.[12]


It is only after passing through an ordeal cruelly insidious, tolerably
severe, and rather protracted, that we feel conscientiously entitled to
assert our ability to dine every day of every week at the Reform Club,
without jeopardy to those immutable principles which are incorruptible by
Whigs and indestructible by Rats. A sneer, perhaps, is curling with
"beautiful disdain" the lips of some Conservative Achilles. Let us nip his
complacent sense of invulnerability in the bud. To eat and to err are
equally attributes of humanity. Looking at ourselves in the mirror of
honest criticism, we behold features as unchangeable as sublunary
vicissitudes will allow.

  "Time writes no wrinkles on our azure brow."

Witness it! ye many years of wondrous alternation--of lurid tempest and
sunny calm--of disastrous rout and triumphant procession--of shouting pæan
and wailing dirge--witness the imperturbable tenor of our way! Attest it,
thou goodly array of the tomes of Maga, laden and sparkling, now as ever,
with wisdom and wit, science and fancy!--attest the unwavering fidelity of
our career! All this is very true; but the secret annals of the good can
never be free from temptations, and never are in reality unblotted by
peccadilloes. The fury of the demagogue has been our laughing-stock--the
versatility of trimming politicians, our scorn. We have crouched before
none of the powers which have been, or be; neither have we been carried
off our feet by the whirlwinds of popular passion. Yet it is difficult to
resist a good dinner. The victories of Miltiades robbed Themistocles of
sleep. The triumphs of SOYER are apt to affect us, "with a difference,"
after the same fashion.

There was, we remember, a spirit of surly independence within us on
visiting, for the first time, the "high capital" of Whiggery, where the
Tail at present

  "New rubb'd with balm, expatiate and confer
  Their State affairs."

To admire any thing was not our mood:

             "The ascending pile
  Stood fix'd her stately heighth; and straight the doors,
  Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
  Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
  And level pavement."

And as these lines suggested themselves, we recollected who the first Whig
is said to have been, and whose architectural glories Milton was
recording. We never yet heard a Radical disparage a peer of the realm
without being convinced, that deep in the pocket, next his heart, lay an
incautious hospitable invitation from the noble lord, to which a
precipitate answer in the affirmative had already been dispatched.
Analogously, in the magnificent edifice, whose tesselated floor we were
treading gingerly, it seemed to us that we surveyed an unmistakable
monument of an innate predilection for the splendours and comforts, the
pomp and the _abandon_, of a "proud aristocracy." This was before dinner,
and we were hungry. To tell all that happened to us for some hours
afterwards, would, in fact, force us to transfer to our pages more than
half of the volume which is prompting these observations. Suffice it to
say, that when we again stood on Pall-Mall, a bland philanthropy of
sentiment, embracing all races, and classes, and sects of men, permeated
our bosom. Whence came the mellowing influence, seeing that we had been,
as our custom is, very innocent of wine? Nor could it be the seductive
eloquence of the company. We had indeed been roundly vituperated in
argument by the Liberator. Oh yes! but we had been fed by the Regenerator.

To us, then, on these things much meditating--so Cicero and Brougham love
to write--many of the speculations in which we had indulged, and of the
principles which we had advocated, were obviously not quite in harmony
with the views long inculcated by us on a docile public. Suddenly the
truth flashed across and illuminated the perplexity of our ponderings. We
were aware that, early in the evening, a much milder censure than usual
upon some factious Liberal manoeuvre had passed our lips. This took
place just about the fourth spoonful of soup. The spells were already in
operation under the shape of "_potage à la Marcus Hill_." There is a
fascination even in the name of this "delicious soup"--such is the epithet
of Soyer--which our readers will better understand in the sequel. Again,
it was impossible to deny that we had hazarded several equivocal
observations in reference to the Palmerstonian policy in Syria. But it was
equally true that such inadvertencies slipped from us while laboriously
engaged in determining a delicate competition between "_John Dorée à
l'Orléannaise_" and "_saumon à la Beyrout_." A transient compliment to the
influence at elections of the famous Duchess of Devonshire was little
liable to objection, we imagined, during a playful examination of a few
"_aiguillettes de volaille à la jolie fille_." More questionable, it must
be admitted, were certain assertions regarding the Five Points, enunciated
hastily over a "_neck of mutton à la Charte_." No fault, however, had we
to find with the cutting facetiousness with which we had garnished
"_cotelettes d'Agneau à la réforme en surprise aux Champignons_." The
title of this dish was so ludicrously applicable to the consternation of
the remnants of the Melbourne ministry--the cutlets of lamb--in finding
themselves outrun in the race by mushroom free-traders, that our
pleasantry thereanent was irresistible. It was difficult, at the same
time, to justify the expression of an opinion, infinitely too favourable
to Peel's commercial policy, yielding to the allurements of a "_turban des
cailles à la financière_." And, on the whole, we smarted beneath a
consciousness that all our conversation had been perceptibly flavoured by
"_filets de bécasses à la Talleyrand_."

The result of these reflections was, simply, an alarming conviction of the
tremendous influence exercised by Soyer throughout all the workings of the
British constitution. The causes of the success of the League begin to
dawn upon us, while our gravest suspicions are confirmed by the
appearance, at this peculiar crisis, of the "Gastronomic Regenerator."
What patriotism can withstand a superabundance of untaxed food, cooked
according to the tuition of Soyer? How can public virtue keep its ground
against such a rush of the raw material, covered by such a "_batterie de
cuisine_?" Cobden and Soyer, in alliance, have given a new turn, and
terribly literal power, to the fable of Menenius Agrippa.

  "There was a time when all the body's members
  Rebell'd against the belly."

Such times are gone. The belly now has it all its own way, while

  "The kingly-crownèd head, the vigilant eye,
  The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier,
  Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,"

are conjunctly and severally cuffed, or bunged up, or broken, or stifled,
unless they are perpetually ministering to the service of the great
cormorant corporation. It is mighty well to talk of the dissolution of the
League. The testament of Cæsar, commented on by Mark Antony, was
eventually more fatal to the liberties of Rome, than the irrepressible
ambition which originally urged the arch-traitor across the Rubicon. The
"Gastronomic Regenerator," in the hands of every housewife in the country,
is merely to convert the most invincible portion of the community into a
perpetual militia of free-traders. All cooks proverbially encourage an
enormous consumption of victuals. The study of Soyer will infallibly
transform three-fourths of the empire into cooks. Consequently, the demand
for every variety of sustenance, by an immense majority of the nation,
will be exorbitant and perennial. No syllogism can be more unassailable.
We venture also to affirm that the judgment of posterity will be rigidly
true in apportioning the endurance of fame which the conflicting merits of
our great benefactors may deserve. It is far from unlikely that the
glories of a Peel may be disregarded, forgotten, and unsung, when the
trophies of a Soyer, still odorous, and unctuous, and fresh, shall be in
every body's mouth.

The "Gastronomic Regenerator" has not assumed his imposing title without a
full appreciation of the dignity of his office and the elevation of his
mission. The brief and graceful "dialogue culinaire" between Lord M. H.
and himself, illustrates the grand doctrines that man is a cooking animal,
and that the progress of cooking is the progress of civilisation. There is
something prodigiously sublime in the words of the noble interlocutor,
when he declares, "Read history, and you see that in every age, and among
all nations, the good which has been done, and sometimes the evil, has
been always preceded or followed by a copious dinner." This language, we
presume, must be considered on the great scale, as applicable to the most
solemn and momentous occurrences in the history of governments and
countries. Not that we can exclude it from individual biography.
Benevolence we have always regarded as a good sauce, and have often
observed it to be an excellent dessert. The man who tucks his napkin under
his chin immediately after conferring a benefit on a fellow-creature,
invariably manifests marvellous capabilities for digestion; and, on the
other hand, the man who has dined to his own entire satisfaction, if
solicited in the nick of time, will frequently evince an open-handed
generosity, to which his more matutine emotions would have been strangers.
But--to reverse the picture--any interruption to the near prospect of a
"copious dinner" is at all times inimical to charity; while repletion, we
know, occasionally reveals such unamiable dispositions as could not have
been detected by the most jealous scrutiny at an earlier period of the
day. Nations are but hives of individuals. We understand, therefore, the
noble lord to mean, that all the history of all the thousand races of the
globe concurrently teaches us that every great event, social or political,
domestic or foreign, involving their national weal or woe, has been
harbingered or commemorated by a "copious dinner." Many familiar instances
of this profound truth--some of very recent date--crowd into our
recollection. But we cannot help suspecting a deeper meaning to be
inherent in the enunciation of this "great fact." Copious dinners are, as
it strikes us, here covertly represented as the means of effecting the
most extensive ameliorations. To dine is insinuated to be the first step
on the highway to improvement. In the consequences which flow from dining
copiously, what is beneficial is evidently stated to preponderate over
what is hurtful, the qualifying "sometimes" being only attached to the
latter. In this respect, dinners seem to differ from men, that the evil is
more frequently "interred with their bones," while the "good they do lives
after them." This is, assuredly, ringing a dinner-bell incessantly to the
whole universe. We have ourselves, not half an hour ago, paid our quota
for participating within the last week in congratulatory festivities to
two eminent public characters. The overwhelming recurrence, in truth, of
these entertainments, drains us annually of a handsome income; and
reading, as we do daily in the newspapers, how every grocer, on changing
his shop round the corner, and every professor of dancing, on being driven
by the surges of the Utilitarian system up another flight of stairs, must,
to felicitate or soothe him, receive the tribute or consolation of a
banquet and demonstration, we hold up our hands in amazement at the
opulence and deglutition of Scotland.

What shall become of us, driven further onwards still, by the impetus of
the Gastronomic Regenerator, we dare not foretell. The whole year may be a
circle of public feasts; and our institutions gradually, although with no
small velocity, relapse into the common table of Sparta. But never,
whispers Soyer, into the black broth of Lycurgus. And so he ensnares us
into the recognition of another fundamental principle, that the simplicity
of Laconian fare night be admirably appropriate for infant republics and
penniless helots, but can afford no subsistence to an overgrown empire,
and the possessors of the wealth of the world! Thus cookery marks, dates,
and authenticates the refinement of mankind. The savage cuts his warm
slice from the haunches of the living animal, and swallows it reeking from
the kitchen of nature. The civilized European, revolting from the dreadful
repast, burns, and boils, and stews, and roasts his food into an external
configuration, colour, and substance, as different from its original
condition as the mummy of Cheops differs from the Cheops who watched, with
an imperial dilatation of his brow, the aspiring immortality of the
pyramids. Both, in acting so differently, are the slaves and the types of
the circumstances of their position. The functions in the frames of both
are the same; but these functions curiously follow the discipline of the
social situation which directs and regulates their development. The
economy of the kitchen is only a counterpart, in its simplicity or
complication, its rudeness or luxury, of the economy of the state. The
subjects of patriarchs and despots may eat uncooked horses with relish and
nourishment. The denizens of a political system whose every motion is
regulated by an intricate machinery, in which the teeth of all the myriad
wheels in motion are indented with inextricable multiplicity of confusion
into each other, perish under any nurture which is not as intricate,
complex, artificial, and confused. What a noble and comprehensive science
is this Gastronomy!

"Are you not also," says the philosophic Soyer, in the same interesting
dialogue, "of opinion with me, my lord, that nothing better disposes the
mind of man to amity in thought and deed, than a dinner which has been
knowingly selected, and artistically served?" The answer is most pregnant.
"It is my thinking so," replies Lord M. H., "which has always made me say
that a good cook is as useful as a wise minister." Behold to what an
altitude we are carried! The loaves and fishes in the hands of the Whigs,
and Soyer at the Reform Club to dress them! Let us banish melancholy, and
drive away dull care. The bellicose propensities of a foreign secretary
are happily innocuous. The rumours of war pass by us like the idle wind
which we regard not. Protocols and treaties, notes and representations,
are henceforth disowned by diplomacy. The figure of Britannia with a
stew-pan for her helmet, and a spit for a spear, leaning in statuesque
repose on a folio copy of the _Gastronomic Regenerator_,

  "Surveys mankind from China to Peru;"

and with an unruffled ocean at her feet, and a cloudless sky overhead,
smiles on the countless millions of the children of earth, chatting
fraternally together at the round table of universal peace. Bright will be
the morning of the day which sees the impress of such an image on our
currency. Of course, it will be understood that we are entirely of the
same mind, abstractly, as M. Soyer and Lord M. H. The _maître de cuisine_
appears to us unquestionably to be one of the most important functionaries
belonging to an embassy. Peace or war, which it is scarcely necessary to
interpret as the happiness or the misery of two great countries, may
depend upon a headache. Now, if it were possible, in any case, to trace
the bilious uneasiness which may have perverted pacific intentions into
hostile designs, to the unskilful or careless performance of his momentous
duties by the cook-legate, no punishment could too cruelly expiate such a
blunder. We should be inclined to propose that the brother artist who most
adroitly put the delinquent to torture, should be his successor, holding
office under a similar tenure. It may be matter of controversy, however,
at once whether such a system would work well, and whether it is agreeable
to the prevalence of those kindly feelings which it is the object of M.
Soyer, and every other good cook or wise statesman, to promulgate
throughout the human family. The publication of the _Gastronomic
Regenerator_ inspires us with better hopes. The tyro of the dripping-pan
will be no more entitled to screen himself behind his imperfect science or
neglected education, than the unlettered criminal to plead his ignorance
of the alphabet as a justification of his ignorance of the statute law,
whose enactments send him to Botany Bay. The rudiments and the
mysteries--the elementary axioms and most recondite problems--of his lofty
vocation are unrolled before him in legible and intelligible characters.
The skill which is the offspring of practice, must be attained by his
opportunities and his industry. And if

  "Fame is the spur which the clear spirit doth raise,"

it might, we trust, satiate the most ravenous appetite which ever gnawed
the bowels even of a cook, not merely to secure the tranquillity of the
universe, but to save his native land the expense of armies and fleets,
and turn the currents of gold absorbed by taxation, into the more
congenial channel of gastronomical enterprise. The majestic and
far-spreading oak springs out of the humble acorn. In future ages, the
acute historian will demonstrate how the "copious dinner" which cemented
the bonds of eternal alliance between vast and consolidated empires, whose
people were clothed in purple and fine linen, lived in habitations
decorated with every tasteful and gorgeous variety which caprice could
suggest and affluence procure, and mingled the physical indolence of
Sybaris with the intellectual activity of Athens, was but the ripe fruit
legitimately matured from the simple bud of the calumet of peace, which
sealed a hollow truce among the roving and puny lands of the naked,
cityless, and untutored Indian. So, once more, the perfectibility of
cookery indicates the perfectibility of society.

The gallantry of Soyer is as conspicuous as his historical and political
philosophy. He would not profusely "scatter plenty o'er a smiling land"
solely for the gratification of his own sex. The sun shines on woman as on
man; and when the sun will not shine, a woman's eye supplies all the light
we need. The sagacious "Regenerator" refuses to restrict to the lordly
moiety of mankind a monopoly of his beams, feeling that, when the pressure
of mortal necessity sinks his head, fairer hands than those of the
statesman or the warrior, the ecclesiastic or the lawyer, are likely to be
the conservators of his reputation. "Allow me," he remarks, "to suggest to
your lordship, that a meeting for practical gastronomical purposes, _where
there are no ladies_, is in my eyes a garden without flowers, a sea
without waves, an experimental squadron without sails."

  "Without the smile from partial beauty won,
  Say what were man?--a world without a sun!"

The harrowing picture of desolation, from the pen of M. Soyer, may be
equalled, but cannot be surpassed, by a line here and there in Byron's
"Darkness." The sentiment, at the same time, sounds oddly, as it issues
from the penetralia of a multitudinous club. Our notion has hitherto been,
that a club was an invention of which a principal object was to prove that
female society was far from being indispensable to man, and that all the
joys of domesticity might be tasted in a state of single-blessedness
beyond the precincts of home for a small annual payment. A thorough-going
club-man would very soon drive a coach and four through the Regenerator's
polite eloquence. For instance, a garden without flowers has so much the
more room for the growth of celery, asparagus, artichokes, and the like.
There could not possibly be a greater convenience than the evaporation or
disappearance of the waters of the ocean; because we should then have
railways every where, and no nausea. Sails, likewise, are not requisite
now-a-days for ships; on the contrary, steam-vessels are so evidently
superior, that the sail-maker may as well shut up his shop. The flowers of
a garden are an incumbrance--the waves of the sea are an impediment--the
sails of a ship are a superfluity. Garden, sea, and ship would be better
wanting flowers, waves, and sails. On the same principles a club is
preferable to a family fire-side, and the lot of a bachelor to the fate of
a Benedict. M. Soyer, speaking _ex cathedrâ_ from the kitchen of the
Reform Club, would find it no easy matter to parry the cogency of this
reasoning. He forgets, apparently, that he bares his breast to a most
formidable attack. What right have MEN to be Cooks? What hypocrisy it is
to regret that women cannot eat those dinners which women alone are
entitled, according to the laws of nature and the usages of Britain, to
dress! Be just before you affect to be generous! Surrender the place, and
the privileges, and the immunities, which are the heritage and birthright
of the petticoat! Hercules with a distaff was bad enough; but here, in the
vagaries and metamorphoses of heathen mythology, do you read of Hercules
with a dishclout? What would the moon say, should the sun insist on
blazing away all night as well as all day? Your comparisons are full of
poetry and humbug. A kitchen without a female cook--it _is_ like a
flowerless garden, a waveless sea, a sail-less ship. A kitchen with a male
cook--is a monster which natural history rejects, and good feeling abhors.
The rights of women are scarcely best vindicated by him who usurps the
most precious of them. There will be time to complain of their absence
from the scene, when, by a proper self-ostracism, you leave free for them
the stage which it becomes them to occupy. These are knotty matters, M.
Soyer, for digestion. With so pretty a quarrel we shall not interfere,
having a wholesome respect for an Amazonian enemy who can stand fire like
salamanders. To be candid, we are puzzled by the sprightliness of our own
fancy, and do not very distinctly comprehend how we have managed to
involve the Regenerator, whose thoughts were bent on the pale and slim
sylphs of the boudoir, in a squabble with the rubicund and rotund vestals
who watch the inextinguishable flames of THE GREAT HEARTH.

This marvellous dialogue, from which we have taken with our finger and
thumb a tit-bit here and there, might be the text for inexhaustible
annotation. It occupies no more than two pages; but, as Gibbon has said of
Tacitus, "they are the pages of Soyer." Every topic within the range of
human knowledge is touched, by direct exposition or collateral allusion.
The metaphysician and the theologian, the physiologist and the moralist,
are all challenged to investigate its dogmas, which, let us forewarn them,
are so curtly, positively, and oracularly propounded, as, if orthodox, to
need no commentary; and if heterodox, to demand accumulated mountains of
controversy to overwhelm them. For he, we believe, can hardly be deemed a
mean opponent, unworthy of a foeman's steel-pen, who has at his fingers'
ends "Mullets à la Montesquieu," "Fillets of Haddock à la St Paul,"
"Saddle of Mutton à la Mirabeau," "Ribs of Beef à la Bolingbroke,"
"Pounding Soufflé à la Mephistopheles," "Woodcock à la Staël," and "Filets
de Boeuf farcis à la Dr Johnson."

The constitution of English cookery is precisely similar to the
constitution of the English language. Both were prophetically sketched by
Herodotus in his description of the army of Xerxes, which gathered its
numbers, and strength, and beauty, from "all the quarters in the shipman's
card." That imperishable mass of noble words--that glorious tongue in
which Soyer has prudently written the "Gastronomic Regenerator," is in
itself an unequalled specimen of felicitous cookery. The dishes which
furnished the most _recherché_ dinner Soyer ever dressed, the "Diner
Lucullusian à la Sampayo," being resolved into the chaos whence they arose
in faultless proportions and resistless grace, would not disclose elements
and ingredients more heterogenous, remote, and altered from their primal
nature, than those which go to the composition of the few sentences in
which he tells us of this resuscitation of the _cæna_ of Petronius. A
thousand years and a thousand accidents, the deepest erudition and the
keenest ingenuity, the most delicate wit and most outrageous folly, have
been co-operating in the manufacture of the extraordinary vocabulary which
has enabled the Regenerator himself to concoct the following unparalleled
receipt for

     "THE CELESTIAL AND TERRESTRIAL CREAM OF GREAT BRITAIN.

     "Procure, if possible, the antique Vase of the Roman Capitol; the Cup
     of Hebe; the Strength of Hercules; and the Power of Jupiter;"

     "_Then proceed as follows:_--"

     "Have ready the chaste Vase (on the glittering rim of which three
     doves are resting in peace), and in it deposit a Smile from the
     Duchess of Sutherland, from which Terrestrial Déesse it will be most
     graceful; then add a Lesson from the Duchess of Northumberland; the
     Happy Remembrance of Lady Byron; an Invitation from the Marchioness
     of Exeter; a Walk in the Fairy Palace of the Duchess of Buckingham;
     an Honour of the Marchioness of Douro; a Sketch from Lady
     Westmoreland; Lady Chesterfield's Conversation; the Deportment of the
     Marchioness of Aylesbury; the Affability of Lady Marcus Hill; some
     Romances of Mrs Norton; a Mite of Gold from Miss Coutts; a Royal
     Dress from the Duchess of Buccleuch; a Reception from the Duchess of
     Leinster; a Fragment of the Works of Lady Blessington; a Ministerial
     Secret from Lady Peel; a Gift from the Duchess of Bedford; an
     Interview with Madame de Bunsen; a Diplomatic Reminiscence from the
     Marchioness of Clanricarde; an Autocratic Thought from the Baroness
     Brunow; a Reflection from Lady John Russell; an amiable Word from
     Lady Wilton; the Protection of the Countess de St Aulaire; a Seraphic
     Strain from Lady Essex; a poetical gift of the Baroness de la
     Calabrala; a Welcome from Lady Alice Peel; the Sylph-like form of the
     Marchioness of Abercorn; a Soirée of the Duchess of Beaufort; a
     Reverence of the Viscountess Jocelyn; and the Good-will of Lady
     Palmerston.

     "Season with the Piquante Observation of the Marchioness of
     Londonderry; the Stately Mein of the Countess of Jersey; the Trésor
     of the Baroness Rothschild; the Noble Devotion of Lady Sale; the
     Knowledge of the Fine Arts of the Marchioness of Lansdowne; the
     Charity of the Lady De Grey; a Criticism from the Viscountess of
     Melville;--with a Musical Accompaniment from the whole; and Portraits
     of all these Ladies taken from the Book of Celebrated Beauties.

     "Amalgamate scientifically; and should you find this _Appareil_
     (which is without a parallel) does not mix well, do not regard the
     expense for the completion of a dish worthy of the Gods!

     "Endeavour to procure, no matter at what price, a Virtuous Maxim from
     the Book of Education of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent; a
     Kiss from the Infant Princess Alice; an Innocent Trick of the
     Princess-Royal; a Benevolent Visit from the Duchess of Gloucester; a
     Maternal Sentiment of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge; a
     Compliment from the Princess Augusta de Mecklenbourg; the future
     Hopes of the Young Princess Mary;--

     "And the Munificence of Her Majesty Queen Adelaide.

     "Cover the Vase with the Reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty, and let
     it simmer for half a century, or more, if possible, over a Fire of
     Immortal Roses.

     "Then uncover, with the greatest care and precision, this Mysterious
     Vase; garnish the top with the Aurora of a Spring Morning; several
     Rays of the Sun of France; the Serenity of an Italian Sky; and the
     Universal Appreciation of the Peace of Europe.

     "Add a few Beams of the Aurora Borealis; sprinkle over with the
     Virgin Snow of Mont Blanc; glaze with an Eruption of Mount Vesuvius,
     cause the Star of the Shepherd to dart over it; and remove, as
     quickly as possible, this _chef-d'oeuvre_ of the nineteenth century
     from the Volcanic District.

     "Then fill Hebe's Enchanted Cup with a religious Balm, and with it
     surround this mighty Cream of Immortality;

     "Terminate with the Silvery light of the Pale Queen of Night, without
     disturbing a Ray of the Brilliancy of the brightest Queen of the
     Day."

Half a century hence, when the simmering over the roseate fire is silent,
may we, with M. Soyer, be present to gaze on the happy consummation of the
conceptions of his transcendant imagination!

The Regenerator is too conversant with universal history not to know that
his book, in crossing the Tweed northwards, approaches a people more
familiar with its fundamental principles than any other inhabitants of
these Fortunate Isles. England, for any thing we care, may deserve the
opprobrious title of perfidious Albion. Scotland--("Stands Scotland where
it did?")--was ever the firm friend of France. Ages ago, when our southern
cousins were incessantly fighting, we were constantly dining, with the
French. Our royal and noblest families were mingled by the dearest ties
with the purest and proudest blood of the adopted land of Mary. For
centuries uninterruptedly was maintained an interchange of every gentle
courtesy, and every friendly succour; and when the broadsword was not
needed to gleam in the front ranks of Gallic chivalry, the dirk never
failed to emit the first flash in the onslaughts of Gallic hospitality.
The Soyers of those times--dim precursors of the Regenerator--did not
disdain to alight on our hungry shores, and leave monuments of their
beneficence, which are grateful to this hour in the nostrils and to the
palate of prince and peasant. Nay, we shrewdly conjecture that some
time-honoured secrets still dwell with us, of which the memory has long
since perished in their birth-place. Boastful we may not suffer ourselves
to be. But if M. Soyer ever heard of, or dressed or tasted precisely as we
have dressed and tasted, what is known to us and a very limited circle of
acquaintances as "Lamb-toasty," we shall start instantly from the
penultimate habitation of Ultima Thule, commonly known as John O'Groat's
House, expressly to test his veracity, and gratify our voracity. Perhaps
he may think it would not be too polite in us to transmit him the receipt.
Not for a wilderness of Regenerators! Could we unfold to him the awful
legend in connexion with it, of which we are almost the exclusive
depositaries, the cap so lightly lying on his brow would be projected
upwards to the roof by the instantaneous starting of his hair. The Last
Minstrel himself, to whom it was narrated, shook his head when he heard
it, and was never known to allude to it again; in reference to which
circumstance, all that the bitterest malice could insinuate was, that if
the story had been worth remembering, he was not likely to have forgotten
it. "One December midnight, a shriek"--is probably as far as we can now
venture to proceed. There are some descendants of the parties, whose
feelings, even after the lapse of five hundred years, which is but as
yesterday in a Highlander's genealogy, we are bound to respect. In other
five hundred years, we shall, with more safety to ourselves, let them "sup
full of horrors."

The Gastronomic Regenerator reminds us of no book so much as the
Despatches of Arthur Duke of Wellington. The orders of Soyer emanate from
a man with a clear, cool, determined mind--possessing a complete mastery
of his weapons and materials, and prompt to make them available for
meeting every contingency--singularly fertile in conceiving, and fortunate
without a check in executing, sudden, rapid, and difficult
combinations--overlooking nothing with his eagle eye, and, by the powerful
felicity of his resources, making the most of every thing--matchless in
his "Hors-d'OEuvres"--unassailable in his "Removes"--impregnable in his
"Pièces de resistance"--and unconquerable with his "Flanks." His
directions are lucid, precise, brief, and unmistakeable. There is not a
word in them superfluous--or off the matter immediately on hand--or not
directly to the point. They are not the dreams of a visionary theorist and
enthusiast, but the hard, solid, real results of the vast experience of a
tried veteran, who has personally superintended or executed all the
operations of which he writes. It may be matter of dispute whether
Wellington or Soyer acquired their knowledge in the face of the hotter
fire. They are both great Chiefs--whose mental and intellectual faculties
have a wonderful similarity--and whose sayings and doings are
characterised by an astonishing resemblance in nerve, perspicuity, vigour,
and success. In one respect M. Soyer has an advantage over his illustrious
contemporary. His Despatches are addressed to an army which as far
outnumbers any force every commanded or handled by the Hero of Waterloo,
as the stars in the blue empyrean exceed the gas-lamps of London--an army
which, instead of diminishing under any circumstances, evinces a tendency,
we fear, of steadily swelling its ranks year by year, and day by day--a
standing army, which the strong hand of the most jealous republicanism
cannot suppress, and which the realization of the bright chimera of
universal peace will fail to disband. Before many months are gone,
thousands and tens of thousands will be marching and countermarching,
cutting and skewering, broiling and freezing, in blind obedience to the
commands of the Regenerator. "Peace hath her victories no less than those
of war." But it is not to be forgotten that if the sword of Wellington had
not restored and confirmed the tranquillity of the world, the
carving-knife of Soyer might not have been so bright.

The confidence of Soyer in his own handiwork is not the arrogant
presumption of vanity, but the calm self-reliance of genius. There is a
deal of good sense in the paragraph which we now quote:--

     "Although I am entirely satisfied with the composition, distribution,
     and arrangement of my book, should some few little mistakes be
     discovered they will be the more excusable under those circumstances,
     as in many instances I was unable to devote that tedious time
     required for correction; and although I have taken all possible care
     to prescribe, by weight and measure, the exact quantity of
     ingredients used in the following receipts for the seasoning and
     preparing of all kinds of comestibles, I must observe that the
     ingredients are not all either of the same size or quality; for
     instance, some eggs are much larger than others, some pepper
     stronger, salt salter, and even some sugar sweeter. In vegetables,
     again, there is a considerable difference in point of size and
     quality; fruit is subject to the same variation, and, in fact all
     description of food is subject to a similar fluctuation. I am far,
     however, from taking these disproportions for excuses, but feel
     satisfied, if the medium of the specified ingredients be used, and
     the receipts in other respects closely followed, nothing can hinder
     success."

It seems a childish remark to make, that all salts do not coincide in
their saltness, nor sugars in their sweetness. The principle, however,
which the observation contains within it, is any thing but childish. It
implies, that, supposing the accuracy of a Soyer to be nearly infallible,
the faith in his instructions must never be so implicit as to supersede
the testimony of one's own senses, and the admonitions of one's own
judgment. It is with the most poignant recollections that we acknowledge
the justice of the Regenerator's caution on this head. We once, with a
friend who shared our martyrdom, tried to make onion soup in exact
conformity with what was set down in an Oracle of Cookery, which a foul
mischance had placed across our path. With unerring but inflecting
fidelity, we filled, and mixed, and stirred, and watched, the fatal
caldron. The result was to the eye inexpressibly alarming. A thick oily
fluid, repulsive in colour, but infinitely more so in smell, fell with a
flabby, heavy, lazy stream, into the soup-plate. Having swallowed, with a
Laocoonic contortion of countenance, two or three mouthfuls, our
individual eyes wandered stealthily towards our neighbour. Evidently we
were fellow-sufferers; but pride, which has occasioned so many lamentable
catastrophes, made us both dumb and obdurate in our agony. Slowly and
sadly, at lengthened intervals, the spoon, with its abominable freight,
continued to make silent voyages from the platters to our lips. How long
we made fools of ourselves it is not necessary to calculate. Suddenly, by
a simultaneous impulse, the two windows of the room favoured the headlong
exit of two wretches whose accumulated grievances were heavier than they
could endure. Hours rolled away, while the beautiful face of Winandermere
looked as ugly as Styx, as we writhed along its banks, more miserably
moaning than the hopeless beggar who sighed for the propitiatory obolus to
Charon. And from that irrevocable hour we have abandoned onions to the
heroines of tragedy. Fools, in spite of all warning, are taught by such a
process as that to which we submitted. Wise men, take a hint.

"Nature, says I to myself"--Soyer is speaking--"compels us to dine more or
less once a-day." The average which oscillates between the "more" and the
"less," it requires considerable dexterity to catch. Having read six
hundred pages and fourteen hundred receipts, the question is, where are we
to begin? Our helplessness is confessed. Is it possible the Regenerator
is, after all, more tantalizing than the Barmecide? No--here is the very
aid we desiderate. Our readers shall judge of a

     "DINNER PARTY AT HOME."

     BILL OF FARE FOR EIGHT PERSONS.

     Asparagus.

     New Potatoes.

     1 SOUP.
       French Pot au Feu.

     1 FISH.
       3 Slices of Salmon en matelote.

     2 REMOVES.
       Braised Fowls with spring vegetables.
       Leg of Mutton basted with devil's tears.

     2 ENTREES.
       Lamb Cutlets with asparagus, peas.
       Salmi of Plovers with mushrooms.

     2 ROASTS.
       2 Ducklings.
       4 Pigeons barded with vine leaves.

     4 ENTREMETS.
       Orange Jelly.
       Green peas.
       Omelette, with fine herbs.
       Gooseberry Tart with cream.

     1 REMOVE.
       Iced Cake with fruits.

     "Nothing but light wine is drunk at the first course, but at the
     second my guests are at liberty to drink wines of any other
     description, intercepting them with several hors-d'oeuvres, which
     are small dishes of French pickled olives and sardines, thin slices
     of Bologna sausage, fillets of anchovies, ciboulettes, or very small
     green onions, radishes, &c.; also a plain dressed salade à la
     Français, (for which see end of the entrées, Kitchen at Home),
     fromage de brie Neufchatel, or even Windsor cheese, when it can be
     procured. The coffee and dessert I usually leave to the good taste
     and economy of my menagere."

We shall be exceedingly curious to hear how many hundred parties of eight
persons, upon reading this bill of fare in our pages, will, without loss
of time, congregate in order to do it substantial honour. Such clattering
of brass and brandishing of steel may strike a new government as
symptomatical or preparatory of a popular rising. We may therefore
reassure them with the information, that those who sit down with M. Soyer,
will have little thought of rising for a long time afterwards.

We have introduced the Gastronomic Regenerator to public notice in that
strain which its external appearance, its title, its scheme and its
contents, demand and justify. But we must not, even good-humouredly,
mislead those for whose use its publication is principally intended. To
all intents and purposes M. Soyer's work is strictly and most intelligibly
practical. It is as full of matter as an egg is full of meat; and the
household which would travel through its multitudinous lessons must be as
full of meat as the Regenerator is full of matter. The humblest, as well
as the wealthiest kitchen economy, is considered and instructed; nor will
the three hundred receipts at the conclusion of the volume, which are more
peculiarly applicable to the "Kitchen at Home," be, probably the portion
of the book least agreeable and valuable to the general community. For
example, just before shaking hands with him, let us listen to M. Soyer,
beginning admirably to discourse

     _Of the Choosing and Roasting of Plain Joints._

     "Here I must claim all the attention of my readers. Many of the
     profession will, I have no doubt, be surprised that I should dwell
     upon a subject, which appears of so little importance, saying that,
     from the plain cook to the most professed, all know how to roast or
     boil a piece of meat; but there I must beg their pardon. I will
     instance myself, for, previously to my forming any intention of
     writing the present work, I had not devoted the time necessary to
     become professionally acquainted with it, always depending upon my
     roasting cook, who had constant practice, myself only having the
     knowledge of whether or not properly done. I have since not only
     studied it closely, but have made in many respects improvements upon
     the old system, and many discoveries in that branch which I am sure
     is the most beneficial to all classes of society, (remembering, as I
     have before stated, that three parts of the animal food of this
     country is served either plain-roasted or boiled) My first study was
     the fire, which I soon perceived as too deep, consumed too much coal,
     and required poking every half hour, thus sending dust and dirt all
     over the joints, which were immediately basted to wash it off; seeing
     plainly this inconvenience, I immediately remedied it by inventing my
     new roasting fire-place, by which means I saved two hundred-weight of
     coals per day, besides the advantage of never requiring to be poked,
     being narrow and perpendicular; the fire is lighted with the greatest
     facility, and the front of the fire being placed a foot back in the
     chimney-piece, throws the heat of the fire direct upon the meat, and
     not out at the sides, as many persons know, from the old roasting
     ranges. I have many times placed ladies or gentlemen, visiting the
     club, within two feet of the fire when six large joints have been
     roasting, and they have been in perfect ignorance that it was near
     them, until, upon opening the wing of the screen by surprise, they
     have appeared quite terrified to think they were so near such an
     immense furnace. My next idea was to discontinue basting, perhaps a
     bold attempt to change and upset at once the custom of almost all
     nations and ages, but being so confident of its evil effects and
     tediousness, I at once did away with it, and derived the greatest
     benefit (for explanation, see remarks at the commencement of the
     roasts in the Kitchen of the Wealthy,) for the quality of meat in
     England is, I may say, superior to any other nation; its moist soil
     producing fine grass almost all the year round, which is the best
     food for every description of cattle; whilst in some countries not so
     favoured by nature they are obliged to have recourse to artificial
     food, which fattens the animals but decreases the flavour of the
     meat: and, again, we, must take into consideration the care and
     attention paid by the farmers and graziers to improve the stock of
     those unfortunate benefactors of the human family."

How full of milky kindness is his language, still breathing the spirit of
that predominant idea--the tranquillisation of the universe by "Copious
Dinners!" He has given up "basting" with success. Men may as well give up
basting one another. Nobody will envy the Regenerator the bloodless
fillets worthily encircling his forehead, should the aspirations of his
benevolent soul in his lifetime assume any tangible shape. But if a more
distant futurity is destined to witness the lofty triumph, he may yet
depart in the confidence of its occurrence. The most precious fruits ripen
the most slowly. The sun itself does not burst at once into meridian
splendour. Gradually breaks the morning; and the mellow light glides
noiselessly along, tinging mountain, forest, and city spire, till a
stealthy possession seems to be taken of the whole upper surface of
creation, and the mighty monarch at last uprises on a world prepared to
expect, to hail, and to reverence his perfect and unclouded majesty.



THE LATE AND THE PRESENT MINISTRY.


Our sentiments with regard to the change of policy on the part of Sir
Robert Peel and his coadjutors, were early, and we hope forcibly,
expressed. We advocated then, as ever, the principle of protection to
native industry and agriculture, not as a class-benefit, but on far deeper
and more important considerations. We deprecated the rash experiment of
departing from a system under which we had flourished so long--of yielding
to the clamours of a grasping and interested faction, whose object in
raising the cry of cheap bread, was less the welfare of the working man,
than the depression of his wages, and a corresponding additional profit to
themselves. The decline of agricultural prosperity--inevitable if the
anticipations of the free traders should be fulfilled--seems to us an evil
of the greatest possible magnitude, and the more dangerous because the
operation must be necessarily slow. And in particular, we protested
against the introduction of free-trade measures, at a period when their
consideration was not called for by the pressure of any exigency, when the
demand for labour was almost without parallel, and before the merits of
the sliding-scale of duty, introduced by Sir Robert Peel himself in the
present Parliament, had been sufficiently tested or observed. Those who
make extravagant boast of the soundness and sagacity of their leader
cannot deny, that the facts upon which he based his plan of financial
reform, were in reality not facts, but fallacies. The political Churchill
enunciated his _Prophecy of Famine_, not hesitatingly nor doubtfully, but
in the broadest and the strongest language. Month after month glided away,
and still the famine came not; until men, marvelling at the unaccountable
delay, looked for it as the ignorant do for the coming of a predicted
eclipse, and were informed by the great astrologer of the day that it was
put off for an indefinite period! Now, when another and a more beautiful
harvest is just beginning, we find that in reality the prophecy was a mere
delusion; that there were no grounds whatever to justify any such
anticipation, and that the pseudo-famine was a mere stalking-horse,
erected for the purpose of concealing the stealthy advance of free-trade.

If this measure of free-trade was in itself right and proper, it required
no such paltry accessories and stage tricks to make it palatable to the
nation at large. Nay, we go further, and say, that under no circumstances
ought the distress of a single year to be assigned as a sufficient reason
for a great fiscal change which must derange the whole internal economy
and foreign relations of the country, and which must be permanent in its
effects. There is, and can be, no such thing as a permanent provision for
exigencies. Were it so, the art of government might be reduced to
principles as unerring in their operation as the tables of an assurance
company--every evil would be provided for before it occurred, and
fluctuations become as unknown among us as the recurrence of an
earthquake. A famine, had it really occurred, would have been no apology
for a total repeal of the corn-laws, though it might have been a good
reason for their suspension. As, however, no famine took place, we take
the prophecy at its proper value, and dismiss it at once to the limbo of
popular delusions; at the same time, we trust that future historians, when
they write this chapter of our chronicles, will not altogether overlook
the nature of the foundation upon which this change has been placed.

It requires no great penetration to discover how the repeal of the
corn-laws has been carried. The leaders of a powerful party who for ten
years misgoverned the country, were naturally desirous, after an exile of
half that period, to retaste the sweets of office--and were urged
thereunto, not only by their own appetites, but by the clamour of a
ravenous crew behind them, who cared nothing for principle. While in
power, they had remained most dogmatically opposed to the repeal of the
corn-laws. Lord Melbourne denounced the idea as maniacal--he was
supported in that view by almost every one of his colleagues; nor was it
until they found themselves upon the eve of ejectment, that any new light
ever dawned upon the minds of the steadfast myrmidons of Whiggery. The
election of 1841, which turned them out of office made matters worse
instead of better. They now saw no prospect of a restoration to power,
unless they could adopt some blatant cry similar to that which formerly
brought them in. Such a cry was rather difficult to be found. Their
ignorance of finance, their mismanagement abroad, their gross bungling of
almost every measure which they touched, had made them so unpopular that
the nation at large regarded their return to office much as a sufferer
from nightmare contemplates the arrival of his nocturnal visitant.
Undeterred by scruple or by conscience, they would with the greatest
readiness have handed over the national churches to the tender mercies of
the Dissenters, if such a measure could have facilitated their recall to
the pleasant Goshen of Downing Street. It was not however, either
advisable or necessary to carry matters quite so far. Midway between them
and revolution lay the corn-law question once despised but now very
valuable as a workable engine. The original advocates of abolition were
not prime favourites with the Whigs. The leaders of that party have always
been painfully and even ludicrously particular abut their associates.
Liberal in appearance they yet bind themselves together with a thin belt
of aristocratic prejudice and though insatiable in their lust for public
applause, they obstinately refuse to strengthen their coterie by any more
popular addition. They found the corn-law question in the hands of Messrs
Cobden, Bright and Wilson--men of the people--who by their own untiring
energy and the efforts of the subsidiary League, had brought the question
prominently forward, and were fighting independent of party, a sort of
guerilla battle in support of their favourite principle. Our regard for
these gentlemen is not of the highest order, but we should do them great
injustice if we did not bear testimony to the zeal and perseverance they
have exhibited throughout. These are qualities which may be displayed
alike in a good and in an evil cause; and yet earnestness of purpose is at
all times a high attribute of manhood, and enforces the respect of an
enemy. With the constitution of the League we have at present nothing to
do. The organization and existence of such a body, for the purposes of
avowed agitation, was a fact thoroughly within the cognisance of
ministers--it was checked, and is now triumphant, and may therefore prove
the precursor of greater democratic movements.

The question of the corn-laws was, however, emphatically theirs. A body of
men, consisting almost entirely of master manufacturers, had conceived the
project of getting rid of a law which interfered materially, according to
their views, with the profit and interests of their class. Their arguments
were specious, their enthusiasm in the cause unbounded. They spared no
exertions, grudged no expense, to obtain converts; they set up gratuitous
newspapers, hired orators, held meetings, established bazars--in short
erected such a complicated machine of agitation as had never before
entered into the minds of democrats to conceive. With all this however,
their success, save for political accident, was doubtful. The leaders of
the League were not popular even with their own workmen. Some of the
simpler rules of political economy are tolerably well known among the
operative classes, and of these none is better understood than the
relationship betwixt the prices of labour and of food. Cheap bread, if
accompanied at the same time by a reduction of wages, was at best but a
questionable blessing; nor were these doubts at all dispelled by the
determined resistance of the master manufacturers to every scheme proposed
for shortening the hours of labour, and ameliorating the social as well as
the moral condition of the poor. All that the taskmaster cared for was the
completion of the daily tale. The truck system--that most infamous species
of cruel and tyrannical robbery--gave sad testimony of the extent, as well
as the meanness, of the avarice which could wring profit even from the
most degraded source, and which absolutely sought to establish, here,
within the heart of Britain, a slavery as complete and more odious than
that which is the disgrace of the American republic. It is, therefore, not
to be wondered at if the great mass of the working population regarded the
proceedings of the Anti-Corn-law League with apathy and indifference. For,
be it remarked, that the original Leaguers were by no means thorough-paced
free-traders. Their motive was to deal most summarily with every
restriction which stood in the way of their business, both as regarded
export and import, and the establishment of a lower rate of wages. For
such purposes they were ready to sacrifice every interest in the
commonwealth except their own; but they showed no symptoms whatever of
anxiety to discard restriction wherever it was felt to be advantageous to
themselves. They were, in fact, the aspiring monopolists of the country.
In their disordered imagination, the future position of Britain was to be
that of one mighty workshop, from which the whole world was to be
supplied--a commonalty of cotton, calico, and iron, with a Birmingham and
Manchester aristocracy.

Such was the position of the League at the moment when the Whigs, eager
for a gathering-cry, came forward as auxiliaries; and yet we have some
doubt as to the propriety of that latter term. They did not come as
helpers--as men who, devoted in singleness of heart to the welfare of
their country, were anxious to assist in the promotion of a measure which
the sagacity of others had discovered--but claiming a sort of divine right
of opposition, similar to that which the lion exercises when the jackal
has run down the prey. Accordingly, upon the corn-laws did the magnanimous
Whig lion place its paw, and wheeze out a note of defiance against all
interlopers whatsoever. Henceforward that question was to be a Whig one.
English agriculture was not to receive its death from the ignoble hands of
Cobden and Co.

Such was the move of the Whigs in the month of November last. A paltrier
one, in every sense of the word, was never yet attempted nor did the
simultaneous conversion of the whole party, with scarcely more than one or
two honourable exceptions, present a very creditable specimen of the
integrity of her Majesty's Opposition. They had become convinced--why or
wherefore was not stated--that "the time had now arrived" for a total
repeal of the corn-laws, and there was an end of the matter. They were
prepared to vote for it in Parliament--to go to the country with it as
their rallying-cry--to adopt it, in short, as their readiest
stepping-stone into office. The old champions of repeal--the
Leaguers--might go about their business. The conduct of the question was
now transferred into the same hands which had become imbecile and
paralysed in 1841, but which had since been renovated and invigorated by a
wholesome course of five years' banishment from office.

It is somewhat remarkable, but rather instructive, that the Whigs do not
seem to have contemplated any other financial alteration beyond the repeal
of the corn-laws. Of an equitable adjustment of clashing interests, they
appear to have had no idea. It is quite true that they had been of old
well accustomed to a deep defalcation of the public revenue, and the
probability of the recurrence of _that_ fact, may have been viewed by them
as a mere bagatelle. From vague and general protestations of economy, we
can form no proper estimate of the real nature of their plans. Economy, or
that paltry system of paring, which passes with the Whigs for such, is,
after all, a political virtue of minor import. What we require from every
administration is the adoption of such measures only as shall tend to
promote the general wealth and prosperity of the country; and, in
consequence, render more easy the payment of the national burdens. Any
fiscal change which affects the revenue, must, as a matter of course,
affect some particular class of the community. A certain yearly sum has to
be made up--no matter how--and every million which is remitted from one
source of the revenue must be supplied by another. It is this necessity
which renders the administration of our finances so difficult. Great
Britain, when she obtained her place in the foremost rank of nations, had
to pay a fancy price for that supremacy. Our system of taxation is not the
growth of a few years, but of a large tract of time, embracing periods of
enormous expenditure and of intense excitement. It is of the most complex
and artificial nature; for the reservoir of the state is filled from a
thousand separate sources, and not one of these can be cut off without
occasioning a greater drain upon the rest.

In such a state of things, it is quite natural that each particular
interest should be desirous to shift the burden from itself. This may not
be right nor proper, but it is natural; and the desire is greatly fostered
by the frequent changes which have of late been made in the financial
department, and by the alteration and adjustment of duties. The attack of
the League upon the agriculturists is a specimen of this, though upon the
largest scale; and the Whigs were quite ready to have lent it their
support, without any further consideration. That they were really and
sincerely converts to the new doctrine, we do not believe--but, if so, it
is little creditable to their understanding. The repeal of the corn-laws,
as a solitary and isolated measure, is, we maintain, an act of gross
injustice and impolicy--as part of a great financial reform, or rather
remodelment of our whole system, it may bear a different character. The
Whigs, however, in adopting it, gave no promise of an altered system. The
creed and articles of the League were ready made, and sufficient for them,
nor did they think it necessary to enlarge the sphere of their financial
relief; and so, towards the end of last year, they presented themselves in
the quality of aspirants for office.

It is to us matter of great and lasting regret, that this move was not met
by Sir Robert Peel and his cabinet with a front of determined resistance.
Whatever may be the opinions of the late premier, of Lords Aberdeen and
Lincoln, or any other members of that cabinet, on the abstract advantages
of free-trade, we still hold that they were bound, in justice to the great
body of gentlemen whose suffrages in the House of Commons had carried them
into power, to have pursued a very different course. It is in vain for
them to take shelter under their privileges or their duties as ministers
of the crown. Their official dignity by no means relieved them from the
pledges, direct or implied, in virtue of which alone they were elevated to
that position. The understanding of the country at large was broad and
clear upon the point, that the agricultural interest should not suffer
from the acts of the late administration; and it was their duty, as well
as their true interest, to have kept that confidence inviolate.

The financial plans of Sir Robert Peel have not yet been fully expounded.
Over-caution has always been his characteristic and his misfortune. It is
beyond dispute, that, in point of tact and business talent, he has no
superior; but he either does not possess, or will not exhibit, that
frankness which is necessary to make a leader not only respected but
beloved; and hence it is that he has again alienated from himself the
confidence of a large proportion of his followers. Enough, however, has
transpired to convince us that his scheme is of a much more comprehensive
nature than any which has been yet submitted. Various acts of his
administration have shown a strong tendency towards free-trade. The
establishment of the property and income tax, though apparently laid on to
retrieve the country from the effects of Whig mismanagement, seemed to us
at the time very ominous of a coming fiscal change. It organized a
machinery by means of which direct taxation, however graduated, became the
simplest method of raising the revenue; and the revision of the tariff was
doubtless another step in the same direction.

If on these foundations it was intended to rear a perfect system of
free-trade--by which we understand an abolition of all restrictions and
protections, of all duties and customs on exports and on imports--and the
substitution, for revenue purposes, of direct taxation, we think that the
country may fairly complain of having been kept most lamentably in the
dark. It is a great--nay, a gigantic plan--one which certainly would
simplify or remove many of the intricacies of government,--it might
possibly put an end, as is most desirable, to all clashing interests at
home, and might open up abroad a new and greater field to the operations
of British industry. All these are possible, nay, probable results--at the
same time we are quite justified in saying, that if so wide and important
a change was really contemplated, it was somewhat hazardous, and surely
unprecedentedly bold, to keep it all the time concealed from public
observation, and to give a different gloss and colour to the measures
devised for its advancement. In reality, a more momentous question than
this does not exist. The fortunes of every man in this country are more or
less bound up with it,--it is one of the deepest import to our colonies,
and calculated to affect the whole range of our commercial relations. We
say further, that such a measure is not one which ought to be considered
in detail--that is, brought about by the gradual abolition of different
imposts without reference to the general end--but that, if entertained, it
ought to be proclaimed at once, and carried into effect so soon as the
nation has been enabled to pronounce an opinion upon it.

Our surmises are, of course, conjectural; for hitherto Sir Robert Peel has
chosen to wear the mask of mystery, and has enunciated nothing clearly,
beyond a single statement, to the effect that the late bills for the
regulations of corn and the customs formed only a part of a larger
measure. It is to this reserve that Sir Robert owes his defeat; and we
cannot but deeply regret that he should have thought fit to persevere in
it at so serious a cost as the dismemberment of his party. We have a
strong and rooted objection to this kind of piecemeal legislation. It is,
we think, foreign to the genius of this country, which requires the
existence between the minister and his supporters of a certain degree of
confidence and reciprocity which in this case has certainly not been
accorded to the latter. The premier of Britain is not, and cannot be,
independent of the people. It is their confidence and opinion which does
practically make or mar him; and in the House of Commons, no measure
whatever ought to be proposed by a minister without a full and candid
admission of its real object, an exposition of its tendencies, and, at
least, an honest opinion of its results.

There were, we think two courses open to Sir Robert Peel and his cabinet,
either of which might have been adopted, after the issue of the Russell
manifesto, with perfect consistency. The first of these, and the manlier
one, was a steady adherence, during the existence of the present
Parliament, to the established commercial regulations. They had already
done quite enough to free them from any charge of bigotry--they had
modified the corn-duties, with the consent even of the agricultural body,
who were induced to yield to that change on the ground that thereby a
permanent settlement of the question would be effected, and a baneful
agitation discontinued. It is quite true that neither of these results
followed. The settlement was not held to be permanent; and the agitation,
as is always the case after partial concession, was rather increased than
diminished. This, however, was a cogent reason why the ministry should not
have proceeded further. Under their guidance, and at their persuasion, the
agriculturists had already made a large concession, and that easiness of
temper on their part ought not to have been seized on as a ground for
further innovation. Within the walls of Parliament the Conservative party
possessed a large majority; without, if we except the manifestations of
the League, there was no popular cry whatever against the operation of the
sliding-scale. Even with the prospect of a bad winter--an auxiliary
circumstance not unlooked for by the Whigs--Lord John Russell and his
colleagues would have had no chance whatever of unseating their political
rivals, supported as these were by the votes of the country party. Had
distress absolutely occurred, the means of remedying the more immediate
pressure of the evil were in the hands of ministers, who, moreover, would
have been cordially assisted by every one in any scheme calculated to ward
away famine from the door of the industrious and the poor. In short,
there was no political necessity for any such precipitate change.

Far better, therefore, would it have been for the late ministry had they
remained uninfluenced by the interested conversion of the Whigs. By doing
so they would have saved both character and consistency, without impairing
in the least degree the strength of her Majesty's government--an excuse
which the experience of a few mouths has shown to be utterly fallacious.
How, indeed, could it be otherwise? Was it conceivable that a change of
policy upon a point on which an immense majority of the supporters were
distinctly pledged, could _add_ to the permanent strength of the
ministry?--was no allowance to be made for irritated feelings, for broken
ties, for inevitable desertion on the part of those who believe themselves
to be wantonly betrayed? The Duke of Wellington surrendered his own
private opinion in order that her Majesty's government might be carried
on! A sentiment which might have been applauded to the echo in ancient
times but which, it must be confessed by all, is wholly inapplicable to
the notions of the century in which we live. The result has proved it. Her
Majesty's government was indeed able by joining with the Whig-Radical
faction, or rather by adopting their game to carry the corn-bill by the
most incongruous majority ever counted out in the lobby of St Stephens,
but at their very next step the day of reckoning arrived. Indeed the
presages of their coming fall was so apparent, that the Irish coercion
bill--the measure which more than any other if we may believe the tissue
of bloody and disgusting facts upon which its introduction was founded
demanded attention and despatch--was put off from day to day, lest a
hostile division upon it should oust the ministry before the corn-bill
could be carried through the House of Lords and receive the royal assent.
Had Sir Robert Peel and his supporters been wedded from their infancy
upwards to free-trade opinions--had these been the golden dreams of their
political life-principles which they had adhered to, and sworn by, through
many a long year of adversity and opposition--they could not have
manifested a more unseemly haste in seizing upon the favourable moment,
and paralysing all the efforts of the agricultural party, at a time when
their own official existence was fast drawing to its close. Public
opinion, as we are now told from a very high source, ought always to guide
a minister in the formation of his measures, irrespective of the
considerations of party. The axiom is indeed a true one, but true only
when followed out according to the letter of the constitution. Public
opinion is to be gathered neither from the voice, however loudly
expressed, of a clamant faction like the League--nor from the sentiments
enunciated by a changeable press, which shifts oftener, according to the
flow of its own proper interests, than the quicksands of the deceitful
Solway--nor even from the votes of renegades, who promised one thing upon
the hustings and promoted the reverse in Parliament--but from the
sentiments of the electors of the country, from _their_ votes and _their_
understanding, which have not been appealed to since 1841, when
deliberately and unmistakeably they pronounced in favour of protection.

This brings us to the alternative course, which, without any peril of
honesty or of honour, was open to the late ministry. We mean, a clear and
unreserved declaration of their future policy, and an appeal to the
country for its support. If Sir Robert Peel was convinced in his own mind
that the principles of protection which he had hitherto advocated were in
themselves objectionable--that the time had arrived for a great experiment
whereby the whole taxation of the realm should be remodelled, and the many
smaller sources of revenue abolished, in order to make way for a broader
and a simpler system--if, furthermore, he believed that the continuance
even of such agitation as prevailed upon the subject of the corn-laws, was
likely to become more serious and more hurtful to the general interest by
the factious declaration of the Whigs--then, he had it in his power at
once to test the opinion of the country, by offering to the crown the
alternative of his resignation or a dissolution of Parliament; and upon
obtaining the latter, to have put forth, in unambiguous language, a
statement of the policy which he intended thereafter to pursue, so that
the constituencies of the empire might fairly have chosen between
adherence to the ancient, or adoption of the novel plan. We can admit of
no excuse such as the stoppage of private business, or any other similar
impediment. These are reasons which, if just, might apply to every
dissolution of Parliament short of the statutory term; nor can they in the
present instance be brought forward, since the late government were by
their own confession seriously perplexed by the amount of railway and
other bills which this session have been crowded before Parliament, and
had sought, without discovering, some method which might check at an early
stage the flood of untoward speculation. In such a crisis as this, private
interests ought to have been as nothing in comparison with the public
good. If the choice lay between free-trade in its widest sense, and
protection, it was but common justice that the country should have had the
opportunity of making its selection. In no other way can public opinion be
gathered. At last general election the country declared for
protection--ministers since then have manoeuvred that protection away.
We were told that certain compensations were to be given; but, alas! the
ministry is no more, and compensation has perished with it. The old
balance has been disturbed, and the task of adjusting a new one--if that
indeed be contemplated--is now left to weak and incompetent hands.

Most heartily, therefore, do we regret that these great changes, which
have free-trade for their ultimate object, were commenced in the present
Parliament. Sir Robert Peel cannot but have foreseen--indeed he
acknowledged it--that the corn-bill could not be carried without a
complete disorganization of the Conservative party. In his eyes this may
seem a small matter, but we view it very differently. It has shaken, and
that to a great degree, the confidence which the people of the country
were proud to place in the declarations and sincerity of the government.
It has generated a belief, now very common, that the plain course of open
and manly dealing has been abandoned for a system of finesse; and that for
the last few months--it may be longer--the leaders of the two great
political parties have been playing a match at chess, with less regard to
the safety of the instruments they were using, than to the exhibition of
their own adroitness. Perhaps no minister of this country ever owed more
to party than Sir Robert Peel; and yet, without the excuse of strong
necessity, he has not only abandoned that party, but placed it in a false
position. The majority of the Conservatives were sent to Parliament under
clear and distinct pledges, which honour forbade them to violate. This of
the corn-laws was so far from being a discretionary question, that the
continuance or discontinuance of agricultural protection was the great
theme of the hustings at last general election, and their opinions upon
that point became the touchstone on which the merits of the respective
candidates were tried. It is worse than vain to talk of Parliamentary
freedom, and the right of honourable members to act irrespective of the
opinion of their constituents. They are neither more nor less than the
embodied representatives of that opinion; and no man of uprightness or
honour--we say it deliberately--ought to retain his seat in the House of
Commons after the confidence of his supporters is withdrawn. It is neither
fair nor honourable to taunt members with having been too free and liberal
with their pledges before they knew the policy of their leaders. All men
do not possess that happy ambiguity of phrase which can bear a double
construction, and convey one meaning to the ear of the listener, whilst
another served for the purposes of future explanation. It is not pleasant
to believe that we are moving in an atmosphere of perpetual deceit. It is
not wholesome to be forced to construe sentences against their obvious and
open meaning, or to suspect every public speaker of wrapping up equivoques
in his statement. At the last general election there was no
misunderstanding. The Conservative candidates believed that their leaders
were resolved to uphold protection; the people believed so likewise, and
in consequence they gave them a majority. Situated as the protectionists
were, they had no alternative but to act in accordance with their first
professions, and to maintain their trust inviolate.

We have no pleasure in referring to that tedious and protracted debate.
Yet this much we are bound to say, that the country party, under
circumstances of unparalleled discouragement, abandoned, nay, opposed by
their former chiefs, and deprived of the benefit which they undoubtedly
would have received from the great talents and untiring energy of Lord
Stanley--a champion too soon removed from the Lower House--did
nevertheless acquit themselves manfully and well, and have earned the
respect of all who, whatever may be their opinions, place a proper value
upon consistency. It was perhaps inevitable that in such a contest there
should have been a display of some asperity. We cannot blame those who,
believing themselves to have been betrayed, gave vent to their indignation
in language less measured than becomes the dignity of the British senate:
nor, had these displays been confined to the single question then at
issue, should we have alluded even remotely to the subject. But whilst our
sympathies are decidedly with the vanquished party--whilst we deplore as
strongly as they can the departure of the ministers from their earlier
policy at such a time and in such a manner--we cannot join with the more
violent of the protectionists in their virulent denunciations of Sir
Robert Peel, and we demur as to the policy of their vote upon the Irish
coercion bill, which vote was the immediate instrument of recalling the
Whigs to power.

Sir Robert Peel has told us that he is contented to be judged by
posterity. He is so far wise in his appeal. The opinions of contemporaries
are comparatively worthless on a matter like this, and very few of us are
really able to form an unprejudiced opinion. But, unless we are greatly
mistaken, he does not contemplate the possibility of appearing before that
tribunal in his present posture and condition. There is much yet to come
upon which he must depend, not only for a posthumous verdict, but for that
which we hope he may yet receive, an honourable acquittal from those who
are at present alienated from his side. As the foe to agricultural
protection, he can look but for sorry praise--as the financial reformer of
the whole national system, he may, though at heavy risk, become a public
benefactor. Every thing depends upon the future. He has chosen to play a
very close and cautious game. His is a style of legislation not palatable
to the nation; for he has taken upon himself too boldly the functions and
responsibilities of a dictator--he has aspired to govern the freest
country of the world without the aid of party--and he has demanded a
larger and more implicit confidence, even whilst withholding explanation,
than any minister has ever yet exacted from the representatives of the
people. The risk, however, is his. But clearly, in our opinion, it was not
the policy of the protectionists, after the corn-bill was carried and past
control, to take a nominal revenge upon their former leader, and eject him
from office by a vote inconsistent with their previous professions. By
doing so, they have relieved him of the necessity which must soon have
become imperative, of announcing the full nature of his scheme of
financial reform; they have contributed to an interregnum, possibly of
some endurance, from which we do not augur much advantage to the public
welfare; and, finally, they have in some degree relinquished the credit
and the strength of their position. From the moment the corn-bill was
carried, they should have resolved themselves into a corps of observation.
Their numbers were formidable enough to have controlled either party; and
in all future measures, whenever explanation was required, they were in a
condition to have enforced it.

The step, however, has been taken, and it is of course irremediable. All
that remains for them and for us is to watch the progress of events during
the remainder of the present Parliament--a period which, so far as we can
judge from recent disclosures, is likely to pass over without any very
marked attempts at innovation. The Whigs are at present too happy in the
resumption of office, to be actually dangerous. They are, or they profess
to be, in high good-humour. They have thrown aside for a time the besom of
Radical reform, and are now extending in place of it the olive-branch of
peace to each different section of their antagonists. We look, however, a
little below the surface, and we think that we can discover two very
cogent reasons for this state of singular placidity. In the first place,
the Whigs are in a minority in the House of Commons. Their political walk
cannot extend a yard beyond the limits of Sir Robert's sufferance; and as
the boundary line, like the Oregon, has not been clearly laid down, they
will be most cautious to avoid transgression. In the second place, they
are, as is well known, most miserably divided in opinion among themselves.
There is no kind of coherency in the councils of the present cabinet. They
cannot approach any single great question without the imminent risk of
internal discord; and it is only so long as they can remain quiescent that
any show of cordiality can be maintained among them. Accordingly, when we
look to Lord John Russell's manifestoes, we are quite delighted with their
imbecility. As a matter of course, he has put forward, in the first rank
of his declarations, the usual vague rhetoric about the social improvement
of the people, which is to be effected by the same means which the Whigs
have always used towards that desirable end--viz. by doing nothing. Then
there is the subject of education, which we must own opens up a vast field
for the exertions of government, if they will only seriously undertake it.
This, however, cannot be done without the establishment of a new
department in the state, which ought to have been created long ago--we
mean a board, with a Minister of public instruction at its head; but we
hardly expect that Lord John Russell will vigorously proceed to its
formation. Then come what are called sanatory measures, by which we
understand an improved system of sewerage, and a larger supply of water to
the inhabitants of the towns. On this point, we understand, the whole of
the cabinet are united, and we certainly rejoice to hear it. It is
certainly the first time in our experience, that a ministry has founded
its claims to public support on the ground of a promised superintendence
of drains and water-carts. Upon this topic, one of the members for
Edinburgh was extremely eloquent the other day upon the hustings. We hope
sincerely that he is in earnest, and that, for the credit of Whig
legislation, since we cannot obtain it from the municipality, our citizens
may occasionally be indulged with the sight of a sprinkled street in
summer, and that some means will be adopted for irrigating the closes,
which at present do stand most sorely in need of the sanatory services of
the scavenger. This point, then, of sewerage we freely concede to the
Whigs. Let them grapple with it manfully, annihilate all the
water-companies in the realm, and give us an unlimited supply of the pure
fresh element without restriction or assessment. They cannot be employed
more harmlessly--nay, more usefully, than in such a task. Let them also
look to the points of adequate endowment for hospitals, and the
institution of public baths and washing-houses, and for once in their
lives they shall promote measures of real importance and benefit to the
poor.

But, unfortunately, sewerage and its concomitants form but a small part of
the considerations connected with the government of this country. A
ministry may ask some popularity, but it can hardly found a claim for
permanency on the fact of its attention to drains. In the first place,
Lord John Russell and his colleagues have serious difficulties before them
in the state of the public revenue. The late fiscal changes cannot but
have the effect of causing a most serious defalcation, which must be
immediately and summarily supplied. It will not do to attribute this
defalcation to the acts of the late government, since the Whigs were not
only the cordial supporters of these measures, but were ready to have
taken the initiative. They are as much answerable as Sir Robert Peel, if,
at the end of the present year, the accounts of Exchequer shall exhibit a
large deficiency, which cannot, consistently with their own policy, be
remedied by any new indirect taxation. The moment that free-trade is
adopted as a broad principle, there can be no going back upon former
steps. There is no resource left except a direct appeal to the purse,
which may, indeed, be made by an additional income-tax, if the country are
of a temper to submit to it. But we apprehend that a good deal of
negotiation will be necessary before any such measure can be carried. The
agriculturists are not in a mood to submit to any further burdens. The
eyes of the productive classes are by this time a little opened to the
effects of foreign importation, and their trade has been already much
crippled by the influx of manufactured articles from abroad. Above all, a
strong conviction is felt, both in England and in Scotland, of the gross
injustice of the system which throws the whole burden of the direct
taxation upon the inhabitants of these two countries, whilst Ireland is
entirely free. It is a system which admits of no excuse, and which cannot
continue long. The immunities which Ireland already enjoyed were any thing
but reasons for exempting her from the operation of income-tax. It is not
a question of relative poverty, for the scale is so adjusted that no man
is taxed except according to his possession; and it does seem utterly
inexplicable, and highly unjust to the Scotsman who pays his regular
assessments, and a per centage besides upon his income of £150, that the
Irishman, in similar circumstances, should be exempt from either charge.
It was this feeling, we believe, more than any other, which rendered the
increased grant to Maynooth college obnoxious to the greater part of the
British nation; and which, setting aside all other considerations, would
at once seal the fate of any ministry that might be rash enough to propose
the endowment of the Romish clergy out of the consolidated fund. An
increased direct taxation, therefore, would, under present circumstances,
be a most dangerous experiment for the Whigs; and yet, if they do not
attempt it, how are they to make good the almost certain deficiency of the
revenue?

Probably that point may be postponed for future consideration. Sufficient
for the day is the evil thereof, and the sugar-duties are more immediately
pressing. Whether the West Indian proprietors are to receive the
_coup-de-grâce_ during the present year, or whether they are to be allowed
a further respite, seems at the present a matter of absolute uncertainty.
It is, however, merely a question of time. Free-trade cares not for the
colonies; and, indeed, whilst the work of protective abolition is going on
so rapidly both at home and abroad, no isolated interest has reason to
expect that it will be exempted from the common rule. Ireland, it seems,
is to have an extension of the franchise; and with respect to her social
grievances, Lord John Russell is hopeful that his ministry will be enabled
"to afford, not a complete and immediate remedy, _but some remedy--some
kind of improvement; so that some kind of hope may be entertained that_,
SOME TEN OR TWELVE YEARS HENCE, the country will, by the measures we
undertake, be in a far better state with respect to the frightful
destitution and misery which now prevail in that country." Here is a
precious enunciation of principles and grammar!--A complete remedy for the
Irish social grievances is avowedly out of the power of the most intrepid
of Whig politicians--a confession of which we presume Mr O'Connell will
not be slow to avail himself. But then he expects--or, to use his own
phraseology thinks--"it is _most likely_ to be in our power to afford"
_some_ remedy, _some_ kind of improvement, the nature of which is still in
embryo, but which shall be so matured that _some_ kind of hope may be
entertained, that in _some_ ten or twelve years hence the country may be
in a far better state with regard to the destitution which now prevails in
the country! Was there ever, we ask, in the whole history of oracles, any
thing more utterly devoid of meaning, more thoroughly and helplessly
vague, than the above declaration? Why, the whole hopes of the noble scion
of the house of Russell are filtered away to nothing before he has
achieved the limits of his sentence. There are four or five different
stages of trust through which we decline to follow him, being perfectly
convinced that the hope of his being likely to introduce any such
measure, is quite as improbable as the implied hope conveyed a little
further on, to the effect that he and his party may be allowed to remain
for some ten or twelve years in office, until these exceedingly musty
ideas all have resolved themselves into a tangible form.

In the mean time it is some gratification to know that the Churches are to
be spared for the present. Not that Lord John Russell has any abstract
love for these institutions--for he has no objection to Romish endowment
out of the funds of the Irish Protestant Church--but then he is quite
aware that any such move on his part would lead to his instant and
ignominious expulsion from power. Earl Grey is of a different opinion; but
the construction of the present cabinet is such, that it admits of every
possible diversity of opinion, and was, in fact, so planned by the new
premier, that the lion and the lamb might lie down together, and Radical
Ward be installed in peace by the side of Conservative Lord Lincoln and of
Sidney Herbert, about a year ago the pride of the protectionists!

There is something painfully ludicrous in Lord John's exposition of the
theories of cabinet construction. It was, as he experienced last winter,
quite impossible to bring the chiefs of his party to any thing like a
common understanding. The revelations of Mr Macaulay to his correspondent
in Edinburgh, gave any thing but a flattering picture of the unity which
then pervaded the councils of Chesham Place. It is gratifying to know,
that individuals who at that time expressed so exalted an opinion of the
intellects and temper of each other, should have met and consented to act
together in a spirit of mutual forgiveness. And we are now asked to
receive from the lips of Lord John this profound political axiom, that it
is not at all necessary that members of the same cabinet should agree in
their individual opinions. We have all heard of cabinets breaking up
through their own internal dissensions. Such a disruption, in the eyes of
Lord John, was an act of egregious folly. What was to have prevented each
man from voting according to his own opinions? On urgent questions, he
admits, they should maintain some show of unanimity; but, with all respect
for such an authority, we think he is unnecessarily scrupulous. Why
quarrel or dissolve upon any single point? Let every man vote according to
his own mind--let every question be considered an open one--and we shall
answer for the stability of the ministry. In fact, Lord John Russell has
at last discovered the political _elixir vitæ_. No disunion can break up
his administration, because disunion is the very principle upon which it
has been formed. He has sought support from all classes of men. He is so
far from disapproving of Conservative doctrines, that he absolutely has
solicited three members of the late government to hold office under him.
He asks no recantation of their former opinions, and binds them down to no
pledges for the future. Their associates, it is true, are to be men of
liberal opinions, some of them verging upon Chartism, and others avowed
ecclesiastical destructionists; but that need not deter them from
accepting and retaining office. We once knew a worthy Highland chief--a
more hospitable being never breathed--who towards the conclusion of his
third bottle, invariably lapsed into an affectionate polemical mood, and
with tears in his eyes used to put this question to his friends--"Why
can't a man be a Christian and a good fellow at the same time?" This is
just the theory of Lord John Russell. He can see no objection to diversity
of opinions, so long as the whole body of the cabinet are agreed upon one
essential point--that of holding fast by office; and surrendering it upon
no account whatever.

Accordingly, when we look narrowly into his manifesto, we find that he has
chalked out for himself a course which makes this singular coalition by no
means absolutely impossible. He will do nothing, if he can help it, which
may give offence to any body. The cabinet are to have an easy task of it.
They have nothing to do but to sit still with uplifted oars, and allow the
vessel of the state to drift quietly along with the stream. We fear,
however, that the Whig Palinurus has not taken into account the existence
of such things as shoals and sand-banks. Let him provide what crew he
pleases, the keel, unless we are sadly mistaken, will erelong be grating
upon some submerged impediment; and then he will have a fair opportunity
of testing the discipline of his motley band. Neither sewerage nor
education can well be expected to last for ever. Enormous interests are at
present placed in his charge; and these, handled and deranged as they have
been of late, will not admit of idling or inattention. There can be no
dawdling with these as with the Irish social measures. They will not stand
the postponement of some ten or twelve years; nor will Lombard Street
permit a second derangement of the financial affairs of the nation. In the
manufacturing districts, the workmen are demanding the relief of a
controlling factory bill, and on that point the cabinet is divided. The
railway system requires particular attention, less for the sake of
remedying past ministerial neglect, than of regulating future proceedings.
The affairs of the colonies may erelong require the superintendence of a
calm, temperate, and experienced head; and, finally, there is the question
of revenue and the inchoate system of free-trade. There is quite enough
work ready to the hand of the present ministry, if they only choose to
undertake it. The country party, we believe, will form an effective and a
watchful opposition, and will prove the best safeguard against any rash or
uncalled-for experiments. Situated as they now are, they have no other
functions to perform; and we would earnestly entreat of them, during the
period which must elapse between the present time and the next general
election, to bury, in so far as may be, all animosity for the past; and to
reflect seriously in what manner the changes, which are now inevitable,
may be best carried out for the benefit of the nation at large. The
artificial fabric which has been reared during many years of conquest and
successful industry, has now been deprived of its equipoise, and is fast
becoming a ruin We thought, and we still think, that it may be difficult
to find a better; but the work of demolition has already commenced, and we
must do what we can to assist in the construction of another. At all
events, we are entitled to insist upon working rigidly by plan. Let us
know what we are about to do, before we bind our hands to any partial and
one-sided measure; and, above all things, let us take care that the poorer
classes of our fellow-subjects shall not suffer privation or want of
employment during the adjusting and development of the new commercial
theories. A little time will show their actual value. Long before the
invention of the Irish social remedies, we shall be enabled to judge how
far the free-trade policy of England is likely to be reciprocated
abroad--we shall learn too, by the sure index of the balance-sheet,
whether these changes are operating towards our loss or our gain; and we
shall also have some opportunity of testing the efficiency of the present
administration. Let us, at all events, be prepared for future action; and
since we cannot altogether dismiss from our minds the political history of
the last few months, let us make it a useful lesson. It may be instructive
for future statesmen to learn how the most powerful party in this age and
country has been broken up and severed, not by any act of their own, but
by the change of policy of their leader. It may also teach then the value
of candour and of open dealing--virtues of such universal application,
that we cannot yield to doctrines which would exclude then even from the
councils of a cabinet.


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



Footnotes:

[1] _Notes and Recollections of a Professional Life._ By the late WM.
FERGUSSON, M.D., Inspector-General of Military Hospitals. Longmans: 1846.

_The Military Miscellany._ By HENRY MARSHALL, F.R.S.E., Deputy
Inspector-General of Army Hospitals. Murray: 1846.

[2] Sir Charles Napier.

[3] "The author, soon after his last return from the West Indies, at the
close of the year 1817, was induced, from the then troubled state of the
country, to join the ranks of a volunteer corps in Scotland, which was
drilled and instructed by experienced men in all manner of ways, with the
exception of the one thing needful--the firing ball--for during the whole
time he remained with them, nearly two years, that was never thought of;
and this was the case generally with the whole volunteer force of Great
Britain, as well as the militia, at least in the early part of the war.
Future wars must and will recur, and volunteer corps will again be formed;
but if they be unused to the full-charged musket, however much their first
appearance may impose, they will be found, when brought into action, of as
much use as so many Chinese. Let them not suppose that until they have
attained this skill, which it is in the power of every man to do, they are
qualified to fight the battles of their country. * * * * In their present
state, supposing two such bodies to get into collision, it would indeed be
matter of wonder to think how they could contrive to kill one another
without the aid of the cannon and other adjuncts. If they carried
broomsticks on their shoulders, instead of muskets, they would no doubt
make a sturdy fight of it; but with fire-arms which they had never been
taught to use, the battle would resemble those of the Italian republics in
the middle ages, when mailed knights fought the livelong day without
mortal casualty."--DR FERGUSSON, p. 42.

Is ball practice sufficiently attended to in our army generally? We are
inclined to doubt it. "We are economical people," says Dr Ferguson in
another place, "famed for straining at gnats and swallowing camels, and
the expense of ball cartridge is ever brought up in bar of the soldier
being in the constant habit of firing it." We should also like to see some
of our muskets replaced by rifles, an arm in which we have ever been
deficient.

[4] Macaulay's _Miscellaneous Essays_. Article _Dryden_.

[5] Ranke's _History of the Popes_ is a most valuable addition to
historical knowledge; but no one will assign it a place beside Livy or
Gibbon.

[6] Macaulay's _Essays_. Article _Dryden_.

[7]

  "Those rules of old discover'd, not devised,
  As Nature still, but Nature methodised:
  Nature, like Liberty, is but restrain'd
  By the same laws which first herself ordain'd.
    Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
  When to repress, and when indulge our flights:

      *       *       *       *       *

  Just precepts thus from great examples given,
  She drew from them what they derived from heaven."
                                      _Essay on Criticism._

[8] _Peru._ _Reiseskizzen aus den Jahren_, 1838-1842. Von J. J. VON
TSCHUDI. Volume the second.

[9] "Por un clavo se pierde una herradura, por una herradura un cavallo,
por un cavallo un caballero."

[10] Stevenson, in his work on South America, refers to the extraordinary
longevity of the Peruvian Indians. In the church register at Barranca, he
found recorded the deaths of eleven persons in the course of seven years,
whose joint ages made up 1207 years, giving an average of 110 years per
man. Dr Tschudi mentions an Indian in Jauja, still living in 1839, and who
was born, if the register and the priest's word might be believed, in the
year 1697. Since the age of eleven years he had made a moderate daily use
of coca. However old, few Indians lose their teeth or hair.

[11] _Godo_, _goth_, the nickname given by Peruvian Indians to the
Spaniards.

[12] _The Gastronomic Regenerator; a Simplified and entirely New System of
Cookery, &c._ By MONSIEUR A. SOYER, of the Reform Club. London; 1846.





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