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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 64, No.394, August, 1848
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 64, No.394, August, 1848" ***

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Transcriber's note:

Spelling and punctuation are sometimes erratic. A few obvious
misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling
and typesetting conventions have been retained. Accents are
inconsistent, and have not been standardised.

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.



BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCXCIV.        AUGUST, 1848.        VOL. LXIV.



CONTENTS.


  LIFE IN THE "FAR WEST." PART III.                          129

  ART--ITS PROSPECTS. CLEGHORN'S ANCIENT AND MODERN ART      145

  KAFFIRLAND.                                                158

  THE CAXTONS. PART V.                                       171

  MODERN TOURISM.                                            185

  EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE.                               190

  THE BLUE DRAGOON.                                          207

  LAURELS AND LAUREATES.                                     220

  THE HORSE-DEALER.                                          232

  SKETCHES IN PARIS.                                         248


                        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 WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.



LIFE IN THE "FAR WEST."

PART III.


La Bonté and his companions proceeded up the river, the Black Hills on
their left hand, from which several small creeks or feeders swell the
waters of the North Fork. Along these they hunted unsuccessfully for
beaver "sign," and it was evident that the spring hunt had almost
entirely exterminated the animal from this vicinity. Following Deer
Creek to the ridge of the Black Hills, they crossed the mountain on to
the waters of the Medicine Bow, and here they discovered a few lodges,
and La Bonté set his first trap. He and old Luke finding "cuttings"
near the camp, followed the "sign" along the bank until the practised
eye of the latter discovered a "slide," where the beaver had ascended
the bank to chop the trunk of a cotton wood, and convey the bark to
its lodge. Taking a trap from "sack," the old hunter after "setting"
the "trigger," placed it carefully under the water, where the "slide"
entered the stream, securing the chain to the stem of a sappling on
the bank; while a stick, also attached to the trap by a thong, floated
down the stream, to mark the position of the trap, should the animal
carry it away. A little farther on, and near another "run," three
traps were set; and over these Luke placed a little stick, which he
first dipped into a mysterious-looking phial which contained his
"medicine."[1]

  [1] A substance obtained from a gland in the scrotum of the beaver,
  and used to attract that animal to the trap.

The next morning they visited the traps, and had the satisfaction of
finding three fine beaver secured in the first three they visited, and
the fourth, which had been carried away, they discovered by the
floatstick, a little distance down the stream, with a large drowned
beaver between its teeth.

The animals being carefully skinned, they returned to camp with the
choicest portions of the meat, and the tails, on which they most
luxuriously supped; and La Bonté was fain to confess that all his
ideas of the superexcellence of buffalo were thrown in the shade by
the delicious beaver tail, the rich meat of which he was compelled to
allow was "great eating," unsurpassed by "tender loin" or "boudin," or
other meat of whatever kind he had eaten of before.

The country where La Bonté and his companions were trapping, is very
curiously situated in the extensive bend of the Platte which encloses
the Black Hill range on the north, and which bounds the large expanse
of broken tract known as the Laramie Plains, their southern limit
being the base of the Medicine Bow Mountains. From the north-western
corner of the bend, an inconsiderable range extends to the westward,
gradually decreasing in height until they reach an elevated plain,
which forms a break in the stupendous chain of the Rocky Mountains,
and affords their easy passage, now known as the Great, or South Pass.
So gradual is the ascent of this portion of the mountain, that the
traveller can scarcely believe that he is crossing the dividing ridge
between the waters which flow into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,
and in a few minutes can fling a stick into two neighbouring streams,
one of which would be carried thousands of miles, which the eastern
waters traverse in their course to the Gulf of Mexico, the other,
borne a lesser distance, to the Gulf of California.

The country is frequented by the Crows and Snakes, who are at
perpetual war with the Shians and Sioux, following them often far down
the Platte, where many bloody battles have taken place. The Crows are
esteemed friendly to the whites; but when on war expeditions, and
"hair" their object, it is always dangerous to fall in with Indian
war-parties, and particularly in the remote regions of the mountains,
where they do not anticipate retaliation.

Trapping with tolerable success in this vicinity, as soon as the
premonitory storms of approaching winter warned them to leave the
mountains, they crossed over to the waters of Green River, one of the
affluents of the Colorado, intending to winter at a rendezvous to be
held in "Brown's Hole"--an enclosed valley so called, which, abounding
in game, and sheltered on every side by lofty mountains, is a
favourite wintering-ground of the mountaineers. Here they found
several trapping bands already arrived; and a trader from the Uintah
country, with store of powder, lead, and tobacco, prepared to ease
them of their hardly earned peltries.

In bands numbering from two to ten, and singly, the trappers dropped
into the rendezvous; some with many pack-loads of beaver, others with
greater or less quantity, and more than one came in on foot, having
lost his animals and peltry by Indian thieving. Here were soon
congregated many mountaineers, whose names are famous in the history
of the Far West. Fitzpatrick and Hatcher, and old Bill Williams, with
their bands, well-known leaders of trapping parties, soon arrived.
Sublette came in with his men from Yellow Stone, and many of Wyeth's
New Englanders were there. Chábonard with his half-breeds, Wahkeitchas
all, brought his peltries from the lower country; and half-a-dozen
Shawanee and Delaware Indians, with a Mexican from Taos, one
Marcellin, a fine strapping fellow, the best trapper and hunter in the
mountains, and ever first in the fight. Here, too, arrived the
"Bourgeois" traders of the "North West"[2] Company, with their
superior equipments, ready to meet their trappers, and purchase the
beaver at an equitable value; and soon the encampment began to assume
a busy appearance when the trade opened.

  [2] The Hudson's Bay Company is so called by the American trappers.

A curious assemblage did the rendezvous present, and representatives
of many a land met there. A son of _La belle France_ here lit his pipe
from one proffered by a native of New Mexico. An Englishman and a
Sandwich islander cut a quid from the same plug of tobacco. A Swede
and an "old Virginian" puffed together. A Shawanee blew a peaceful
cloud with a scion of the "Six Nations." One from the Land of Cakes--a
canny chiel--sought to "get round" (in trade) a right "smart" Yankee,
but couldn't "shine."

The beaver went briskly, six dollars being the price paid per lb. in
goods--for money is seldom given in the mountain market, where
"beaver" is cash for which the articles supplied by the traders are
bartered. In a very short time peltries of every description had
changed hands, either by trade, or gambling with cards and betting.
With the mountain men bets decide every question that is raised, even
the most trivial; and if the Editor of _Bell's Life_ was to pay one of
these rendezvous a winter visit, he would find the broad sheet of his
paper hardly capacious enough to answer all the questions which would
be referred to his decision.

Before the winter was over, La Bonté had lost all traces of civilised
humanity, and might justly claim to be considered as "hard a case" as
any of the mountaineers then present. Long before the spring opened,
he had lost all the produce of his hunt and both his animals, which,
however, by a stroke of luck, he recovered, and wisely "held on to"
for the future. Right glad when spring appeared, he started from
Brown's Hole, with four companions, to hunt the Uintah or Snake
country, and the affluents of the larger streams which rise in that
region and fall into the Gulf of California.

In the valley of the Bear River they found beaver abundant, and
trapped their way westward until they came upon the famed locality of
the Beer and Soda Springs--natural fountains of mineral water,
renowned amongst the trappers as being "medicine" of the first order.

Arriving one evening, about sundown, at the Beer Spring, they found a
solitary trapper sitting over the rocky basin, intently regarding, and
with no little awe, the curious phenomenon of the bubbling gas. Behind
him were piled his saddles and a pack of skins, and at a little
distance a hobbled Indian pony was feeding amongst the cedars which
formed a little grove round the spring. As the three hunters
dismounted from their animals, the lone trapper scarcely noticed their
arrival, his eyes being still intently fixed upon the water. Looking
round at last, he was instantly recognised by one of La Bonté's
companions, and saluted as "Old Rube." Dressed from head to foot in
buckskin, his face, neck, and hands appeared to be of the same
leathery texture, so nearly did they assimilate in colour to the
materials of his dress. He was at least six feet two or three in his
mocassins, straight-limbed and wiry, with long arms ending in hands of
tremendous grasp, and a quantity of straight black hair hanging on his
shoulders. His features, which were undeniably good, wore an
expression of comical gravity, never relaxing into a smile, which a
broad good-humoured mouth could have grinned from ear to ear.

"What, boys," he said, "will you be simple enough to camp here,
alongside these springs? Nothing good ever came of sleeping here, I
tell you, and the worst kind of devils are in those dancing waters."

"Why, old hos," cried La Bonté, "what brings you hyar then, and camp
at that?"

"This niggur," answered Rube solemnly, "has been down'd upon a sight
too often to be skeared by what can come out from them waters; and
thar arn't a devil as hisses thar, as can 'shine' with this child, I
tell you. I've tried him onest, an' fout him to clawin' away to
Eustis,[3] and if I draws my knife agin on such varmint, I'll raise
his hair, as sure as shootin'."

  [3] A small lake near the head waters of the Yellow Stone, near which
  are some curious thermal springs of ink-black water.

Spite of the reputed dangers of the locality, the trappers camped on
the spot, and many a draught of the delicious sparkling water they
quaffed in honour of the "medicine" of the fount. Rube, however, sat
sulky and silent, his huge form bending over his legs, which were
crossed, Indian fashion, under him, and his long bony fingers spread
over the fire, which had been made handy to the spring. At last they
elicited from him that he had sought this spot for the purpose of
"_making medicine_," having been persecuted by extraordinary ill luck,
even at this early period of his hunt,--the Indians having stolen two
out of his three animals, and three of his half-dozen traps. He had,
therefore, sought the springs for the purpose of invoking the fountain
spirits, which, a perfect Indian in his simple heart, he implicitly
believed to inhabit their mysterious waters. When the others had, as
he thought, fallen asleep, La Bonté observed the ill-starred trapper
take from his pouch a curiously carved red stone pipe, which he
carefully charged with tobacco and kinnik-kinnik. Then approaching the
spring, he walked three times round it, and gravely sat himself down.
Striking fire with his flint and steel, he lit his pipe, and, bending
the stem three several times towards the water, he inhaled a vast
quantity of smoke, and, bending back his neck and looking upwards,
puffed it into the air. He then blew another puff towards the four
points of the compass, and emptying the pipe into his hand, cast the
consecrated contents into the spring, saying a few Indian "medicine"
words of cabalistic import. Having performed the ceremony to his
satisfaction, he returned to the fire, smoked a pipe on his own hook,
and turned into his buffalo robe, conscious of having done a most
important duty.

In the course of their trapping expedition, and accompanied by Rube,
who knew the country well, they passed near the vicinity of the Great
Salt Lake, a vast inland sea, whose salitrose waters cover an extent
of upwards of one hundred and forty miles in length, by eighty in
breadth. Fed by several streams, of which the Big Bear River is the
most considerable, this lake presents the curious phenomenon of a vast
body of water without any known outlet. According to the trappers, an
island, from which rises a chain of lofty mountains, nearly divides
the north-western portion of the lake, whilst a smaller one, within
twelve miles of the northern shore, rises six hundred feet from the
level of the water. Rube declared to his companions that the larger
island was known by the Indians to be inhabited by a race of giants,
with whom no communication had ever been held by mortal man; and but
for the casual wafting to the shores of the lake of logs of gigantic
trees, cut by axes of extraordinary size, the world would never have
known that such a people existed. They were, moreover, white, as
themselves, and lived upon corn and fruits, and rode on elephants, &c.

Whilst following a small creek at the south-west extremity of the
lake, they came upon a band of miserable Indians, who, from the fact
of their subsisting chiefly on roots, are called the Diggers. At first
sight of the whites, they immediately fled from their wretched huts,
and made towards the mountain; but one of the trappers, galloping up
on his horse, cut off their retreat, and drove them like sheep before
him back to their village. A few of these wretched creatures came into
camp at sundown, and were regaled, with such meat as the larder
afforded. They appeared to have no other food in their village but
bags of dried ants and their larvæ, and a few roots of the yampah.
Their huts were constructed of a few bushes of grease-wood, piled up
as a sort of breakwind, in which they huddled in their filthy skins.
During the night, they crawled up to the camp and stole two of the
horses, and the next morning not a sign of them was visible. Now La
Bonté witnessed a case of mountain law, and the practical effects of
the "lex talionis" of the Far West.

The trail of the runaway Diggers bore to the north-west, or along the
skirt of a barren waterless desert, which stretches far away from the
southern shores of the Salt Lake to the borders of Upper California.
La Bonté, with three others, determined to follow the thieves, recover
their animals, and then rejoin the other two (Luke and Rube) on a
creek two days' journey from their present camp. Starting at sunrise,
they rode on at a rapid pace all day, closely following the trail,
which led directly to the north-west, through a wretched sandy
country, without game or water. From the appearance of the track, the
Indians must still have been several hours ahead of them, when the
fatigue of their horses, suffering from want of grass and water,
compelled them to camp near the head of a small water-course, where
they luckily found a hole containing a little water, and whence a
broad Indian trail passed, apparently frequently used. Long before
daylight they were again in the saddle, and, after proceeding a few
miles, saw the lights of several fires a short distance ahead of them.
Halting here, one of the party advanced on foot to reconnoitre, and
presently returned with the intelligence that the party they were in
pursuit of had joined a village numbering thirty or forty huts.

Loosening their girths, they permitted their tired animals to feed on
the scanty herbage which presented itself, whilst they refreshed
themselves with a pipe of tobacco--for they had no meat of any
description with them, and the country afforded no game. As the first
streak of dawn appeared in the east, they mounted their horses, after
first examining their rifles, and moved cautiously towards the Indian
village. As it was scarcely light enough for their operations, they
waited behind a sandhill in the vicinity, until objects became more
distinct, and then, emerging from their cover with loud war-whoops,
they charged abreast into the midst of the village.

As the frightened Indians were scarcely risen from their beds, no
opposition was given to the daring mountaineers, who, rushing upon the
flying crowd, discharged their rifles at close quarters, and then,
springing from their horses, attacked them knife in hand, and only
ceased the work of butchery when nine Indians lay dead upon the
ground. All this time the women, half dead with fright, were huddled
together on the ground, howling piteously; and the mountaineers
advancing to them, whirled their lassos round their heads, and
throwing the open nooses into the midst, hauled out three of them, and
securing their arms in the rope, bound them to a tree, and then
proceeded to scalp the dead bodies. Whilst they were engaged in this
work, an old Indian, withered and grisly, and hardly bigger than an
ape, suddenly emerged from a rock, holding in his left hand a bow and
a handful of arrows, whilst one was already drawn to the head. Running
towards them, and almost before the hunters were aware of his
presence, he discharged an arrow at a few yards' distance, which
buried itself in the ground not a foot from La Bonté's head as he bent
over the body of the Indian he was scalping; and hardly had the whiz
ceased, when whirr flew another, striking him in his right shoulder.
Before the Indian could fit a third arrow to his bow, La Bonté sprang
upon him, seized him by the middle, and spinning the pigmy form of the
Indian round his head, as easily as he would have twirled a tomahawk,
he threw him with tremendous force on the ground at the feet of one of
his companions, who, stooping down, coolly thrust his knife into the
Indian's breast, and quickly tore off his scalp.

The slaughter over, without casting an eye to the captive squaws, the
trappers proceeded to search the village for food, of which they stood
much in need. Nothing, however, was found but a few bags of dried
ants, which, after eating voraciously of, but with wry mouths, they
threw aside, saying the food was worse than "poor bull." They found,
however, the animals they had been robbed of, and two more
besides,--wretched half-starved creatures; and on these mounting their
captives, they hurried away on their journey back to their companions,
the distance being computed at three days' travel from their present
position. However, they thought, by taking a more direct course, they
might find better pasture for their animals, and water, besides saving
at least half a day by the short cut. To their cost, they proved the
truth of the old saying, that "a short cut is always a long road," as
will be presently shown.

It has been said that from the south-western extremity of the Great
Salt Lake a vast desert extends for hundreds of miles, unbroken by the
slightest vegetation, destitute of game and water, and presenting a
cheerless expanse of sandy plain, or rugged mountain, thinly covered
with dwarf pine or cedar, the only evidence of vegetable life. Into
this desert, ignorant of the country, the trappers struck, intending
to make their short cut; and, travelling on all day, were compelled to
camp at night, without water or pasture for their exhausted animals,
and themselves ravenous with hunger and parched with thirst. The next
day three of their animals "gave out," and they were fain to leave
them behind; but imagining that they must soon strike a creek, they
pushed on until noon, but still no water presented itself, nor a sign
of game of any description. The animals were nearly exhausted, and a
horse which could scarcely keep up with the slow pace of the others
was killed, and its blood greedily drunk; a portion of the flesh being
eaten raw, and a supply carried with them for future emergencies.

The next morning two of the horses lay dead at their pickets, and one
only remained, and this in such a miserable state that it could not
possibly have travelled six miles further. It was, therefore, killed,
and its blood drunk, of which, however, the captive squaws refused to
partake. The men began to feel the effects of their consuming thirst,
which the hot horse's blood only served to increase; their lips became
parched and swollen, their eyes bloodshot, and a giddy sickness seized
them at intervals. About mid-day they came in sight of a mountain on
their right hand, which appeared to be more thickly clothed with
vegetation; and arguing from this that water would be found there,
they left their course and made towards it, although some eight or ten
miles distant. On arriving at the base, the most minute search failed
to discover the slightest traces of water, and the vegetation merely
consisted of dwarf piñon and cedar. With their sufferings increased by
the exertions they had used in reaching the mountain, they once more
sought the trail, but every step told on their exhausted frames. The
sun was very powerful, the sand over which they were floundering deep
and heavy, and, to complete their sufferings, a high wind was blowing
it in their faces, filling their mouths and noses with its searching
particles.

Still they struggled onwards manfully, and not a murmur was heard
until their hunger had entered the _second stage_ attendant upon
starvation. They had now been three days without food, and three
without water; under which privation nature can hardly sustain herself
for a much longer period. On the fourth morning, the men looked
wolfish, their captives following behind in sullen and perfect
indifference, occasionally stooping down to catch a beetle if one
presented itself, and greedily devouring it. A man named Forey, a
Canadian half-breed, was the first to complain. "If this lasted
another sundown," he said, "some of them would be 'rubbed out;' that
meat had to be 'raised' anyhow; and for his part, he knew where to
look for a feed, if no game was seen before they put out of camp on
the morrow; and meat was meat, anyhow they fixed it."

No answer was made to this, though his companions well understood him:
their natures as yet revolted against the last expedient. As for the
three squaws, all of them young girls, they followed behind their
captors without a word of complaint, and with the stoical indifference
to pain and suffering, which alike characterises the haughty Delaware
of the north and the miserable stunted Digger of the deserts of the
Far West. On the morning of the fifth day, the party were sitting
round a small fire of piñon, hardly able to rise and commence their
journey, the squaws squatting over another at a little distance, when
Forey commenced again to suggest that, if nothing offered, they must
either take the alternative of starving to death, for they could not
hope to last another day, or have recourse to the revolting extremity
of sacrificing one of the party to save the lives of all. To this,
however, there was a murmur of dissent, and it was finally resolved
that all should sally out and hunt; for a deer-track had been
discovered near the camp, which, although it was not a fresh one,
proved that there must be game in the vicinity. Weak and exhausted as
they were, they took their rifles and started for the neighbouring
uplands, each taking a different direction.

It was nearly sunset when La Bonté returned to the camp, where he
already espied one of his companions engaged in cooking something over
it. Hurrying to the spot, overjoyed with the anticipations of a feast,
he observed that the squaws were gone; but, at the same time, thought
it was not improbable they had escaped during their absence.
Approaching the fire, he observed Forey broiling some meat on the
embers, whilst at a little distance lay what he fancied was the
carcass of a deer.

"Hurrah, boy!" he exclaimed, as he drew near the fire. "You've 'made'
a 'raise,' I see."

"_Well_, I have," rejoined the other, turning his meat with the point
of his butcher knife. "There's the meat, hos--help yourself."

La Bonté drew the knife from his scabbard, and approached the spot his
companion was pointing to; but what was his horror to see the yet
quivering body of one of the Indian squaws, with a large portion of
the flesh butchered from it, and part of which Forey was already
greedily devouring. The knife dropped from his hand, and his heart
rose to his throat.

The next day he and his companion struck the creek where Rube and the
other trapper had agreed to await them, and whom they found in camp
with plenty of meat, and about to start again on their hunt, having
given up the others for lost. From the day they parted, nothing was
ever heard of La Bonté's two companions, who doubtless fell a prey to
utter exhaustion, and were unable to return to the camp. And thus
ended the Digger expedition.

It may appear almost incredible that men having civilised blood in
their veins could perpetrate such wanton and cold-blooded acts of
aggression on the wretched Indians, as that detailed above; but it is
fact that the mountaineers never lose an opportunity of slaughtering
these miserable Diggers, and attacking their villages, often for the
purpose of capturing women, whom they carry of, and not unfrequently
sell to other tribes, or to each other. In these attacks neither sex
nor age is spared; and your mountaineer has as little compunction in
taking the life of an Indian woman, as he would have in sending his
rifle-ball through the brain of a Crow or Blackfoot warrior.

La Bonté now found himself without animals, and fairly "afoot;"
consequently nothing remained for him but to seek some of the trapping
bands, and hire himself for the hunt. Luckily for him, he soon fell in
with Roubideau, on his way to Uintah, and was supplied by him with a
couple of animals; and thus equipped, started again with a large band
of trappers, who were going to hunt on the waters of Grand River and
the Gila. Here they fell in with another nation of Indians, from which
branch out the innumerable tribes inhabiting Northern Mexico and part
of California. They were in general friendly, but lost no opportunity
of stealing horses or any articles left lying about the camp. On one
occasion, being camped on a northern affluent of the Gila, as they sat
round the camp-fires, a volley of arrows was discharged amongst them,
severely wounding one or two of the party. The attack, however, was
not renewed, and the next day the camp was moved further down the
stream, where beaver was tolerably abundant. Before sundown a number
of Indians made their appearance, and making signs of peace, were
admitted into the camp.

The trappers were all sitting at their suppers over the fires, the
Indians looking gravely on, when it was remarked that now would be a
good opportunity to retaliate upon them for the trouble their
incessant attacks had entailed upon the camp. The suggestion was
highly approved of, and instantly acted upon. Springing to their feet,
the trappers seized their rifles, and commenced the slaughter. The
Indians, panic-struck, fled without resistance, and numbers fell
before the death-dealing rifles of the mountaineers. A chief, who had
been sitting on a rock near the fire where the leader of the trappers
sat, had been singled out by the latter as the first mark for his
rifle.

Placing the muzzle to his heart, he pulled the trigger, but the
Indian, with extraordinary tenacity of life, rose and grappled with
his assailant. The white was a tall powerful man, but, notwithstanding
the deadly wound the Indian had received, he had his equal in strength
to contend against. The naked form of the Indian twisted and writhed
in his grasp, as he sought to avoid the trapper's uplifted knife. Many
of the latter's companions advanced to administer the _coup-de-grâce_
to the savage, but the trapper cried to them to keep off: "If he
couldn't whip the Injun," he said, "he'd go under."

At length he succeeded in throwing him, and, plunging his knife no
less than seven times into his body, tore off his scalp, and went in
pursuit of the flying savages. In the course of an hour or two, all
the party returned, and sitting by the fires, resumed their suppers,
which had been interrupted in the manner just described. Walker, the
captain of the band, sat down by the fire where he had been engaged in
the struggle with the Indian chief, whose body was lying within a few
paces of it. He was in the act of fighting the battle over again to
one of his companions, and was saying that the Indian had as much life
in him as a buffalo bull, when, to the horror of all present, the
savage, who had received wounds sufficient for twenty deaths, suddenly
rose to a sitting posture, the fire shedding a glowing light upon the
horrid spectacle. The face was a mass of clotted blood, which flowed
from the lacerated and naked scalp, whilst gouts of blood streamed
from eight gaping wounds in the naked breast.

Slowly this frightful figure rose to a sitting posture, and, bending
slowly forward to the fire, the mouth was seen to open wide, and a
hollow gurgling--owg-h-h--broke from it.

"H----!", exclaimed the trapper--and jumping up, he placed a pistol to
the ghastly head, the eyes of which sternly fixed themselves on his,
and pulling the trigger, blew the poor wretch's head to atoms.

The Gila passes through a barren, sandy country, with but little game,
and sparsely inhabited by several different tribes of the great nation
of the Apache. Unlike the rivers of this western region, this stream
is, in most parts of its course, particularly towards its upper
waters, entirely bare of timber, and the bottom, through which it
runs, affords but little of the coarsest grass. Whilst on this stream,
the trapping party lost several animals from the want of pasture, and
many more from the predatory attacks of the cunning Indians. These
losses, however, they invariably made good whenever they encountered a
native village--taking care, moreover, to repay themselves with
interest whenever occasion offered.

Notwithstanding the sterile nature of the country, the trappers,
during their passage up the Gila, saw with astonishment that the arid
and barren valley had once been peopled by a race of men far superior
to the present nomade tribes who roam over it. With no little awe they
gazed upon the ruined walls of large cities, and the remains of
houses, with their ponderous beams and joists, still testifying to the
skill and industry with which they were constructed: huge ditches and
irrigating canals, now filled with rank vegetation, furrowed the
plains in the vicinity, marking the spot where once the green waving
maize and smiling gardens covered what now was a bare and sandy
desert. Pieces of broken pottery, of domestic utensils, stained with
bright colours, every where strewed the ground; and spear and
arrow-heads of stone, and quaintly carved idols, and women's ornaments
of agate and obsidian, were picked up often by the wondering trappers,
examined with child-like curiosity, and thrown carelessly aside.[4]

  [4] The Aztecs are supposed to have built this city during their
  migration to the south; there is little doubt, however, but that the
  region extending from the Gila to the Great Salt Lake, and embracing
  the province of New Mexico, was the locality from which they
  emigrated.

A Taos Indian, who was amongst the band, was evidently impressed with
a melancholy awe, as he regarded these ancient monuments of his fallen
people. At midnight he rose from his blanket and left the camp, which
was in the vicinity of the ruined city, stealthily picking his way
through the line of slumbering forms which lay around; and the
watchful sentinel observed him approach the ruins with a slow and
reverential gait. Entering the mouldering walls, he gazed silently
around, where in ages past his ancestors trod proudly, a civilised
race, the tradition of which, well known to his people, served but to
make their present degraded position more galling and apparent.
Cowering under the shadow of a crumbling wall, the Indian drew his
blanket over his head, and conjured to his mind's eye the former power
and grandeur of his race,--that warlike people who, forsaking their
own country for causes of which not the most dim tradition affords a
trace, sought in the fruitful and teeming valleys of the south for a
soil and climate which their own lands did not afford; and displacing
the wild and barbarous hordes which inhabited the land, raised there a
mighty empire, great in riches and civilisation, of which but the
vague tradition now remains.

The Indian bowed his head and mourned the fallen greatness of his
tribe. Rising, he slowly drew his tattered blanket round his body, and
was preparing to leave the spot, when the shadow of a moving figure,
creeping past a gap in the ruined wall, through which the moonbeams
were playing, suddenly arrested his attention. Rigid as a statue, he
stood transfixed to the spot, thinking a former inhabitant of the city
was visiting, in a ghostly form, the scenes his body once knew so
well. The bow in his right hand shook with fear as he saw the shadow
approach, but was as tightly and steadily grasped when, on the figure
emerging from the shade of the wall, he distinguished the form of a
naked Apache, armed with bow and arrow, crawling stealthily through
the gloomy ruins.

Standing undiscovered within the shadow of the wall, the Taos raised
his bow, and drew an arrow to the head, until the other, who was
bending low to keep under cover of the wall, and thus approach the
sentinel, standing at a short distance, seeing suddenly the
well-defined shadow on the ground, rose upright on his legs, and,
knowing escape was impossible, threw his arms down his sides, and,
drawing himself erect, exclaimed, in a suppressed tone, "Wa-g-h!"

"Wagh!" exclaimed the Taos likewise, but quickly dropped his arrow
point, and eased the bow.

"What does my brother want," he asked, "that he lopes like a wolf
round the fires of the white hunters?"

"Is my brother's skin not red?" returned the Apache, "and yet he asks
a question that needs no answer. Why does the 'medicine wolf' follow
the buffalo and deer! For blood--and for blood the Indian follows the
treacherous white from camp to camp, to strike blow for blow, until
the deaths of those so basely killed are fully avenged."

"My brother speaks with a big heart, and his words are true; and
though the Taos and Pimo (Apache) black their faces towards each
other, (are at war,) here, on the graves of their common fathers,
there is peace between them. Let my brother go."

The Apache moved quickly away, and the Taos once more sought the
camp-fires of his white companions.

Following the course of the Gila to the eastward, they crossed a range
of the Sierra Madre, which is a continuation of the Rocky Mountains,
and struck the waters of the Rio del Norte, below the settlements of
New Mexico. On this stream they fared well; besides trapping a great
quantity of beaver, game of all kinds abounded, and the bluffs near
the well-timbered banks of the river were covered with rich gramma
grass, on which their half-starved animals speedily improved in
condition.

They remained for some weeks encamped on the right bank of the stream,
during which period they lost one of their number, who was shot with
an arrow whilst lying asleep within a few feet of the camp-fire.

The Navajos continually prowl along that portion of the river which
runs through the settlements of New Mexico, preying upon the cowardly
inhabitants, and running off with their cattle whenever they are
exposed in sufficient numbers to tempt them. Whilst ascending the
river, they met a party of these Indians returning to their mountain
homes with a large band of mules and horses which they had taken from
one of the Mexican towns, besides several women and children, whom
they had captured, as slaves. The main body of the trappers halting,
ten of the band followed and charged upon the Indians, who numbered at
least sixty, killed seven of them, and retook the prisoners and the
whole cavallada of horses and mules. Great were the rejoicings when
they entered Socorro, the town from whence the women and children had
been taken, and as loud the remonstrances, when, handing them over to
their families, the trappers rode on, driving fifty of the best of the
rescued animals before them, which they retained as payment for their
services. Messengers were sent on to Albuquerque with intelligence of
the proceeding; and as there were some troops stationed there, the
commandant was applied to to chastise the insolent whites.

That warrior, on learning that the trappers numbered less than
fifteen, became alarmingly brave, and ordering out the whole of his
disposable force, some two hundred dragoons, sallied out to intercept
the audacious mountaineers. About noon one day, just as the latter had
emerged from a little town between Socorro and Albuquerque, they
descried the imposing force of the dragoons winding along a plain
ahead. As the trappers advanced, the officer in command halted his
men, and sent out a trumpeter to order the former to await his coming.
Treating the herald to a roar of laughter, on they went, and, as they
approached the soldiers, broke into a trot, ten of the number forming
line in front of the packed and loose animals, and, rifle in hand,
charging with loud whoops. This was enough for the New Mexicans.
Before the enemy were within shooting distance, the gallant fellows
turned tail, and splashed into the river, dragging themselves up the
opposite bank like half-drowned rats, and saluted with loud peels of
laughter by the victorious mountaineers, who, firing a volley into the
air, in token of supreme contempt, quietly continued their route up
the stream.

Before reaching the capital of the province, they struck again to the
westward, and following a small creek to its junction with the Green
River, ascended that stream, trapping _en route_ to the Uintah or
Snake Fork, and arrived at Roubideau's rendezvous early in the fall,
where they quickly disposed of their peltries, and were once more on
"the loose."

Here La Bonté married a Snake squaw, with whom he crossed the
mountains and proceeded to the Platte through the Bayou Salado, where
he purchased of the Yutes a commodious lodge, with the necessary
poles, &c.; and being now "rich" in mules and horses, and all things
necessary for _otium cum dignitate_, he took unto himself another
wife, as by mountain law allowed; and thus equipped, with both his
better halves attired in all the glory of fofarraw, he went his way
rejoicing.

In a snug little valley lying under the shadow of the mountains,
watered by Vermilion Creek, and in which abundance of buffalo, elk,
deer, and antelope fed and fattened on the rich grass, La Bonté raised
his lodge, employing himself in hunting, and fully occupying his
wives' time in dressing the skins of the many animals he killed. Here
he enjoyed himself amazingly until the commencement of winter, when he
determined to cross to the North Fork and trade his skins, of which he
had now as many packs as his animals could carry. It happened that he
had left his camp one day, to spend a couple of days hunting buffalo
in the mountain, whither the bulls were now resorting, intending to
"put out" for Platte on his return. His hunt, however, had led him
farther into the mountains than he anticipated, and it was only on the
third day that sundown saw him enter the little valley where his camp
was situated.

Crossing the creek, he was not a little disturbed at seeing fresh
Indian sign on the opposite side, which led in the direction of his
lodge; and his worst fears were realised when, on coming within sight
of the little plateau where the conical top of his white lodge had
always before met his view, he saw nothing but a blackened mass
strewing the ground, and the burnt ends of the poles which had once
supported it.

Squaws, animals, and peltry, all were gone--an Arapaho mocassin lying
on the ground told him where. He neither fumed nor fretted, but
throwing the meat off his pack animal, and the saddle from his horse,
he collected the blackened ends of the lodge poles and made a
fire--led his beasts to water and hobbled them, threw a piece of
buffalo meat upon the coals, squatted down before the fire, and lit
his pipe. La Bonté was a true philosopher. Notwithstanding that his
house, his squaws, his peltries, were gone "at one fell swoop," the
loss scarcely disturbed his equanimity, and before the tobacco in his
pipe was half smoked out, he had ceased to think of his misfortune.
Certes, as he turned his apolla of tender loin, he sighed as he
thought of the delicate manipulations with which his Shosshone squaw,
Sah-qua-manish, was wont to beat to tenderness the toughest bull
meat--and missed the tending care of Yute Chil-co-thē, or the "reed
that bends," in patching the holes worn in his neatly fitting
mocassin, the work of her nimble fingers. However, he ate and smoked,
and smoked and ate, and slept none the worse for his mishap; thought,
before he closed his eyes, a little of his lost wives, and more
perhaps of the "Bending Reed" than Sah-qua-manish, or "she who runs
with the stream," drew his blanket tightly round him, felt his rifle
handy to his grasp, and was speedily asleep.

As the tired mountaineer breathes heavily in his dream, careless and
unconscious that a living soul is near, his mule on a sudden pricks
her ears and stares into the gloom, from whence a figure soon emerges,
and with noiseless steps draws near the sleeping hunter. Taking one
look at the slumbering form, the same figure approaches the fire and
adds a log to the pile; which done, it quietly seats itself at the
feet of the sleeper, and remains motionless as a statue. Towards
morning the hunter awoke, and, rubbing his eyes, was astonished to
feel the glowing warmth of the fire striking on his naked feet, which,
in Indian fashion, were stretched towards it; as by this time, he
knew, the fire he left burning must long since have expired. Lazily
raising himself on his elbow, he saw a figure sitting near it with the
back turned to him, which, although his exclamatory wagh was loud
enough in all conscience, remained perfectly motionless, until the
trapper rising, placed his hand upon the shoulder: then, turning up
its face, the features displayed to his wondering eye were those of
Chilcothē, his Yuta wife. Yes, indeed, the "reed that bends" had
escaped from her Arapaho captors, and made her way back to her white
husband, fasting and alone.

The Indian women who follow the fortunes of the white hunters are
remarkable for their affection and fidelity to their husbands, the
which virtues, it must be remarked, are all on their own side; for,
with very few exceptions, the mountaineers seldom scruple to abandon
their Indian wives, whenever the fancy takes them to change their
harems; and on such occasions the squaws, thus cast aside, wild with
jealousy and despair, have been not unfrequently known to take signal
vengeance both on their faithless husbands and the successful beauties
who have supplanted them in their affections. There are some
honourable exceptions, however, to such cruelty, and many of the
mountaineers stick to their red-skinned wives for better and for
worse, often suffering them to gain the upper hand in the domestic
economy of the lodges, and being ruled by their better halves in all
things pertaining to family affairs; and it may be remarked, when once
the lady dons the unmentionables, she becomes the veriest termagant
that ever henpecked an unfortunate husband.

Your refined trappers, however, who, after many years of bachelor
life, incline to take to themselves a better half, often undertake an
expedition into the settlements of New Mexico, where not unfrequently
they adopt a very "Young Lochinvar" system in procuring the required
rib; and have been known to carry off, _vi et armis_, from the midst
of a fandango in Fernandez, or El Rancho of Taos, some dark-skinned
beauty--with or without her own consent is a matter of unconcern--and
bear the ravished fair one across the mountains, where she soon
becomes inured to the free and roving life which fate has assigned
her.

American women are valued at a low figure in the mountains. They are
too fine and "fofarraw." Neither can they make mocassins, or dress
skins; nor are they so schooled to perfect obedience to their lords
and masters as to stand a "lodge poleing," which the western lords of
the creation not unfrequently deem it their bounden duty to inflict
upon their squaws for some dereliction of domestic duty.

To return, however, to La Bonté. That worthy thought himself a lucky
man to have lost but one of his wives, and the worst at that. "Here's
the beauty," he philosophised, "of having two 'wiping sticks' to your
rifle; if the one break whilst ramming down a ball, still there's
hickory left to supply its place." Although, with animals and peltry,
he had lost several hundred dollars' worth of "possibles," he never
groaned or grumbled. "There's redskin will pay for this," he once
muttered, and was done.

Packing all that was left on the mule, and mounting Chil-co-thē on
his buffalo horse, he shouldered his rifle and struck the Indian trail
for Platte. On Horse Creek they came upon a party of French[5]
trappers and hunters, who were encamped with their lodges and Indian
squaws, and formed quite a village. Several old companions were
amongst them; and, to celebrate the arrival of a "camarade," a
splendid dog-feast was prepared in honour of the event. To effect
this, the squaws sallied out of their lodges to seize upon sundry of
the younger and plumper of the pack, to fill the kettles for the
approaching feast. With a presentiment of the fate in store for them,
the curs slunk away with tails between their legs, and declined the
pressing invitations of the anxious squaws. These shouldered their
tomahawks and gave chase; but the cunning pups outstripped them, and
would have fairly beaten the kettles, if some of the mountaineers had
not stepped out with their rifles and quickly laid half-a-dozen ready
to the knife. A cayeute, attracted by the scent of blood, drew near,
unwitting of the canine feast in progress, and was likewise soon made
_dog_ of, and thrust into the boiling kettle with the rest.

  [5] Creoles of St Louis, and French Canadians.

The feast that night was long protracted; and so savoury was the stew,
and so agreeable to the palates of the hungry hunters, that at the
moment when the last morsel was being drawn from the pot, and all were
regretting that a few more dogs had not been slaughtered, a
wolfish-looking cur incautiously poked his long nose and head under
the lodge skin, and was instantly pounced upon by the nearest hunter,
who in a moment drew his knife across the animal's throat, and threw
it to a squaw to skin and prepare it for the pot. The wolf had long
since been vigorously discussed, and voted by all hands to be "good as
dog."

"Meat's meat," is a common saying in the mountains, and from the
buffalo down to the rattlesnake, including every quadruped that runs,
every fowl that flies, and every reptile that creeps, nothing comes
amiss to the mountaineer. Throwing aside all the qualms and
conscientious scruples of a fastidious stomach, it must be confessed
that _dog-meat_ takes a high rank in the wonderful variety of cuisine
afforded to the gourmand and the gourmet by the prolific "mountains."
Now, when the bill of fare offers such tempting viands as buffalo
beef, venison, mountain mutton, turkey, grouse, wildfowl, hares,
rabbits, beaver and their tails, &c., &c., the station assigned to
"dog" as No. 2 in the list can be well appreciated--No. 1, in delicacy
of flavour, richness of meat, and other good qualities, being the
flesh of _panthers_, which surpasses every other, and all put
together.

"Painter meat can't 'shine' with this," says a hunter, to express the
delicious flavour of an extraordinary cut of "tender loin," or
delicate fleece.

La Bonté started with his squaw for the North Fork early in November,
and arrived at the Laramie at the moment that the big village of the
Sioux came up for their winter trade. Two other villages were encamped
lower down the Platte, including the Brulés and the Yanka-taus, who
were now on more friendly terms with the whites. The first band
numbered several hundred lodges, and presented quite an imposing
appearance, the village being laid out in parallel lines, the lodge of
each chief being marked with his particular totem. The traders had a
particular portion of the village allotted to them, and a line was
marked out which was strictly kept by the soldiers appointed for the
protection of the whites. As there were many rival traders, and
numerous _coureurs des bois_, or peddling ones, the market promised to
be brisk, the more so as a large quantity of ardent spirits was in
their possession, which would be dealt with no unsparing hand to put
down the opposition of so many competing traders.

In opening a trade a quantity of liquor is first given "on the
prairie,"[6] as the Indians express it in words, or by signs in
rubbing the palm of one hand quickly across the other, holding both
flat. Having once tasted the pernicious liquid, there is no fear but
they will quickly come to terms; and not unfrequently the spirit is
drugged, to render the unfortunate Indians still more helpless.
Sometimes, maddened and infuriated by drink, they commit the most
horrid atrocities on each other, murdering and mutilating in a
barbarous manner, and often attempting the lives of the traders
themselves. On one occasion a band of Sioux, whilst under the
influence of liquor, attacked and took possession of a trading fort of
the American Fur Company, stripping it of every thing it contained,
and roasting the trader himself over his own fire during the process.

  [6] "On the prairie," is the Indian term for a free gift.

The principle on which the nefarious trade is conducted is this, that
the Indians, possessing a certain quantity of buffalo robes, have to
be cheated out of them, and the sooner the better. Although it is
explicitly prohibited by the laws of the United States to convey
spirits across the Indian frontier, and its introduction amongst the
Indian tribes subjects the offender to a heavy penalty; yet the
infraction of this law is of daily occurrence, and perpetrated almost
in the very presence of the government officers, who are stationed
along the frontier for the very purpose of enforcing the laws for the
protection of the Indians.

The misery entailed upon these unhappy people by the illicit traffic
must be seen to be fully appreciated. Before the effects of the
poisonous "fire-water," they disappear from the earth like "snow
before the sun;" and knowing the destruction it entails upon them, the
poor wretches have not moral courage to shun the fatal allurement it
holds out to them, of wild excitement and a temporary oblivion of
their many sufferings and privations. With such palpable effects, it
appears only likely that the illegal trade is connived at by those
whose policy it has ever been gradually but surely to exterminate the
Indians, and by any means extinguish their title to the few lands they
now own on the outskirts of civilisation. Certain it is that large
quantities of liquor find their way annually into the Indian country,
and as certain are the fatal results of the pernicious system, and
that the American government takes no steps to prevent it. There are
some tribes who have as yet withstood the great temptation, and have
resolutely refused to permit liquor to be brought into their villages.
The marked difference between the improved condition of these, and the
moral and physical abasement of those tribes which give way to the
fatal passion for drinking, sufficiently proves the pernicious effects
of the liquor trade on the unfortunate and abused aborigines; and it
is matter of regret that no philanthropist has sprung up in the United
States to do battle for the rights of the Red man, and call attention
to the wrongs they endure at the hands of their supplanters in the
lands of their fathers.

Robbed of their homes and hunting-grounds, and driven by the
encroachments of the whites to distant regions, which hardly support
their bare existence, the Indians, day by day, are gradually
decreasing before the accumulating evils, of body and soul, which
their civilised persecutors entail upon them. With every man's hand
against them, they drag on to their final destiny; and the day is not
far distant when the American Indian will exist only in the traditions
of his pale-faced conquerors.

The Indians who were trading at this time on the Platte were mostly of
the Sioux nation, including the tribes of Burnt-woods, Yanka-taus,
Pian-Kashas, Assinaboins, Oglallahs, Broken Arrows, all of which
belong to the great Sioux nation, or La-cotahs, as they call
themselves, and which means cut-throats. There were also some
Cheyennes allied to the Sioux, as well as a small band of Republican
Pawnees.

Horse-racing, gambling, and ball-play, served to pass away the time
until the trade commenced, and many packs of dressed robes changed
hands amongst themselves. When playing at the usual game of "_hand_,"
the stakes, comprising all the valuables the players possess, are
piled in two heaps close at hand, the winner at the conclusion of the
game sweeping the goods towards him, and often returning a small
portion "on the prairie," with which the loser may again commence
operations with another player.

The game of "hand" is played by two persons. One, who commences,
places a plum or cherry-stone in the hollow formed by joining the
concaved palms of the hands together, then shaking the stone for a few
moments, the hands are suddenly separated, and the other player must
guess which hand now contains the stone.

Large bets are often wagered on the result of this favourite game,
which is also often played by the squaws, the men standing round
encouraging them to bet, and laughing loudly at their grotesque
excitement.

A Burnt-wood Sioux, Tah-tunga-nisha, and one of the bravest chiefs of
his tribe, when a young man, was out on a solitary war expedition
against the Crows. One evening he drew near a certain "medicine"
spring, where, to his astonishment, he encountered a Crow warrior in
the act of quenching his thirst. He was on the point of drawing his
bow upon him, when he remembered the sacred nature of the spot, and
making the sign of peace, he fearlessly drew near his foe, and
proceeded likewise to slake his thirst. A pipe of kinnik-kinnik being
produced, it was proposed to pass away the early part of the night in
a game of "hand." They accordingly sat down beside the spring, and
commenced the game.

Fortune favoured the Crow. He won arrow after arrow from the
Burnt-wood brave; then his bow, his club, his knife, his robe, all
followed, and the Sioux sat naked on the plain. Still he proposed
another stake against the other's winnings--his scalp. He played, and
lost; and bending forward his head, the Crow warrior drew his knife
and quickly removed the bleeding prize. Without a murmur the luckless
warrior rose to depart, but first exacted a promise from his
antagonist, that he would meet him once more at the same pot, and
engage in another trial of skill.

On the day appointed, the Burnt-wood sought the spot, with a new
equipment, and again the Crow made his appearance, and they sat down
to play. This time fortune changed sides, and the Sioux won back his
former losses, and in his turn the Crow was stripped to his skin.

Scalp against scalp was now the stake, and this time the Crow
submitted his head to the victorious Burnt-wood's knife; and both the
warriors stood scalpless on the plain.

And now the Crow had but one single stake of value to offer, and the
offer of it, he did not hesitate to make. He staked his life against
the other's winnings. They played; and fortune still being adverse, he
lost. He offered his breast to his adversary. The Burnt-wood plunged
his knife into his heart to the very hilt; and, laden with his spoils,
returned to his village, and to this day wears suspended from his ears
his own and enemy's scalp.

The village presented the usual scene of confusion as long as the
trade lasted. Fighting, brawling, yelling, dancing, and all the
concomitants of intoxication, continued to the last drop of the
liquor-keg, when the reaction after such excitement was almost worse
than the evil itself. During this time, all the work devolved upon the
squaws, who, in tending the horses, packing wood and water from a long
distance, had their time sufficiently occupied. As there was little or
no grass in the vicinity, the animals were supported entirely on the
bark of the cotton-wood; and to procure this, the women were daily
engaged in felling huge trees, or climbing them fearlessly, chopping
off the upper limbs,--springing like squirrels from branch to branch,
which, in their confined costume, appeared matter of considerable
difficulty.

The most laughter-provoking scenes, however, were, when a number of
squaws sallied out to the grove, with their long-nosed,
wolfish-looking dogs harnessed to their _travées_ or trabogans, on
which loads of cotton-wood were piled. The dogs, knowing full well the
duty required of them, refuse to approach the coaxing squaws, and, at
the same time, are fearful of provoking their anger by escaping and
running off. They, therefore, squat on their haunches, with tongues
hanging out of their long mouths, the picture of indecision, removing
a short distance as the irate squaw approaches. When once harnessed to
the travée, however, which is simply a couple of lodge-poles lashed on
either side of the dog, with a couple of cross-bars near the ends to
support the freight, they follow quietly enough, urged by bevies of
children, who invariably accompany the women. When arrived at the
scene of their labours, the reluctance of the curs to draw near the
piles of cotton-wood is most comical. They will lie down stubbornly at
a little distance, whining their uneasiness, or sometimes scamper off
bodily, with their long poles trailing after them, pursued by the
yelling and half frantic squaws.

When the travées are laden, the squaws take the lead, bent double
under loads of wood sufficient to break a porter's back, and calling
to the dogs, which are urged on by the buffalo-fed urchins in rear,
take up the line of march. The curs, taking advantage of the helpless
state of their mistresses, turn a deaf ear to their coaxings, lying
down every few yards to rest, growling and fighting with each other,
in which encounters every cur joins, the _mêlée_, charging pell-mell
into the yelping throng; upsetting the squalling children, and making
confusion worse confounded. Then, armed with lodge-poles, the squaws,
throwing down their loads, rush to the rescue, dealing stalwart blows
on the pugnacious curs, and finally restoring something like order to
the march.

"Tszoo--tszoo!" they cry, "wah, kashne, ceitcha--get on, you devilish
beasts--tszoo--tszoo!" and belabouring them without mercy, start them
into a gallop, which, once effected, they generally continue till they
reach their destination.

The Indian dogs are, however, invariably well treated by the squaws,
since they assist materially the everyday labours of these patient
overworked creatures, in hauling firewood to the lodge, and, on the
line of march, carrying many of the household goods and chattels which
otherwise the squaw herself would have to carry on her back. Every
lodge possesses from half-a-dozen to a score,--some for draught and
others for eating,--for dog meat forms part and parcel of an Indian
feast. The former are stout, wiry animals, half wolf half sheep-dog,
and are regularly trained to draught; the latter are of a smaller
kind, more inclined to fat, and embrace every variety of the genus
cur. Many of the southern tribes possess a breed of dogs entirely
divested of hair, which evidently have come from South America, and
are esteemed highly for the kettle. Their meat, in appearance and
flavour, resembles young pork, but far surpasses it in richness and
delicacy of flavour.

The Sioux are very expert in making their lodges comfortable, taking
more pains in their construction than most Indians. They are all of
conical form: a framework of straight slender poles, resembling
hop-poles, and from twenty to twenty-five feet long, is first erected,
round which is stretched a sheeting of buffalo robes, softly dressed,
and smoked to render them watertight. The apex, through which the ends
of the poles protrude, is left open to allow the smoke to escape. A
small opening, sufficient to permit the entrance of a man, is made on
one side, over which is hung a door of buffalo hide. A lodge of the
common size contains about twelve or fourteen skins, and contains
comfortably a family of twelve in number. The fire is made in the
centre immediately under the aperture in the roof, and a flap of the
upper skins, is closed or extended at pleasure, serving as a cowl or
chimney-top to regulate the draught and permit the smoke to escape
freely. Round the fire, with their feet towards it, the inmates sleep
on skins and buffalo rugs, which are rolled up during the day, and
stowed at the back of the lodge.

In travelling, the lodge-poles are secured half on each side a horse,
and the skins placed on transversal bars near the ends, which trail
along the ground,--two or three squaws or children mounted on the same
horse, or the smallest of the latter borne in the dog travées. A set
of lodge-poles will last from three to seven years, unless the village
is constantly on the move, when they are soon worn out in trailing
over the gravelly prairie. They are usually of ash, which grows on
many of the mountain creeks, and regular expeditions are undertaken
when a supply is required, either for their own lodges, or for trading
with those tribes who inhabit the prairies at a great distance from
the locality where the poles are procured.

There are also certain creeks where the Indians resort to lay in a
store of kinnik-kinnik, (the inner bark of the red, willow,) which
they use as a substitute for tobacco, and which has an aromatic and
very pungent flavour. It is prepared for smoking by being scraped in
thin curly flakes from the slender saplings, and crisped before the
fire, after which it is rubbed between the hands into a form
resembling leaf-tobacco, and stored in skin bags for use. It has a
highly narcotic effect on those not habituated to its use, and
produces a heaviness sometimes approaching stupefaction, altogether
different from the soothing effects of tobacco.

Every year, owing to the disappearance of the buffalo from their
former haunts, the Indians are necessitated to encroach upon each
other's hunting-grounds, which is a fruitful cause of war between the
different tribes. It is a curious fact, that the buffalo retire before
the whites, while the presence of Indians in their pastures appears in
no degree to disturb them. Wherever a few white hunters are
congregated in a trading port, or elsewhere, so sure it is that, if
they remain in the same locality, the buffalo will desert the
vicinity, and seek pasture elsewhere; and in this, the Indians affirm
the wah-keitcha, or "bad medicine," of the pale-faces is very
apparent; and ground their well-founded complaints of the
encroachments made upon their hunting-grounds by the white hunters.

In the winter, many of the tribes are reduced to the very verge of
starvation--the buffalo having passed from their country into that of
their enemies, when no other alternative is offered them, but to
remain where they are and starve, or follow the game into a hostile
region, entailing a war and all its horrors upon them.

Reckless, moreover, of the future, in order to prepare robes for the
traders, and procure the pernicious fire-water, they wantonly
slaughter vast numbers of buffalo cows every year, (the skins of which
sex only are dressed,) and thus add to the evils in store for them.
When questioned on this subject, and such want of foresight being
pointed out to them, they answer, that however quickly the buffalo
disappears, the Red man "goes under" in greater proportion; and that
the Great Spirit has ordained that both shall be "rubbed out" from the
face of nature at one and the same time,--"that arrows and bullets are
not more fatal to the buffalo than the small-pox and fire-water to
them, and that before many winters' snows have disappeared, the
buffalo and the Red man will only be remembered by their bones, which
will strew the plains."--"They look forward, however, to a future
state, when, after a long journey, they will reach the happy
hunting-grounds, where buffalo will once more blacken the prairies;
where the pale-faces daren't come to disturb them; where no winter
snows cover the ground, and the buffalo are always plentiful and fat."

As soon as the streams opened, La Bonté, now reduced to but two
animals and four traps, sallied forth again, this time seeking the
dangerous country of the Blackfeet, on the head waters of the Yellow
Stone and Upper Missouri. He was accompanied by three others, a man
named Wheeler, and one Cross-Eagle, a Swede, who had been many years
in the western country. Reaching the fork of a small creek, on both of
which appeared plenty of beaver sign, La Bonté followed the left-hand
one alone, whilst the others trapped the right in company, the former
leaving his squaw in the company of a Sioux woman, who followed the
fortunes of Cross-Eagle, the party agreeing to rendezvous at the
junction of the two forks as soon as they had trapped to their heads
and again descended them. The larger party were the first to reach the
rendezvous, and camped on the banks of the main stream to await the
arrival of La Bonté.

The morning after their return, they had just risen from their
blankets, and were lazily stretching themselves before the fire, when
a volley of firearms rattled from the bank of the creek, and two of
their number fell dead to the ground, at the same moment that the
deafening yells of Indians broke upon the ears of the frightened
squaws. Cross-Eagle seized his rifle, and, though severely wounded,
rushed to the cover of a hollow tree which stood near, and crawling
into it, defended himself the whole day with the greatest obstinacy,
killing five Indians outright, and wounding several more. Unable to
drive the gallant trapper from his retreat, the savages took advantage
of a favourable wind which sprang up suddenly, and fired the long and
dried-up grass which surrounded the tree. The rotten log catching fire
at length compelled the hunter to leave his retreat, and, clubbing his
rifle, he charged amongst the Indians, and fell at last pierced
through and through with wounds, but not before two more of his
assailants had fallen by his hand.

The two squaws were carried off, and, shortly after, one was sold to
some white men at the trading ports on the Platte; but La Bonté never
recovered the "Bending Reed," nor even heard of her existence from
that day. So once more was the mountaineer bereft of his better half;
and when he returned to the rendezvous, a troop of wolves were
feasting on the bodies of his late companions, and of the Indians
killed in the affray, of which he only heard the particulars a long
time after from a trapper, who had been present when one of the squaws
was offered at the trading post for sale, and who had recounted the
miserable fate of her husband and his companions on the forks of the
creek, which, from the fact of that trapper being the leader of the
party, is still called La Bonté's Creek.

Nevertheless, he continued his solitary hunt, passing through the
midst of the Crow and Blackfeet country; encountering many perils,
often hunted by the Indians, but escaping all; and speedily loading
both his animals with beaver, he thought of bending his steps to some
of the trading rendezvous on the other side of the mountains, where
employés of the Great Northwest Fur Company meet the trappers with the
produce of their hunts, on Lewis's fork of the Columbia, or one of its
numerous affluents, and intending to pass the winter at some of the
company's trading posts in Oregon, into which country he had never yet
penetrated.



ART--ITS PROSPECTS. CLEGHORN'S ANCIENT AND MODERN ART.[7]


  [7] _Ancient and Modern Art, historical and critical._ By GEORGE
  CLEGHORN, Esq. 2 vols. Blackwoods. 1848.

As the age in which Shakspeare wrote, had he not been in existence,
would still have been remarkable on account of its dramatic writers,
so the Cinque Cento is equally distinguished as the era of the arts.
Yet has no very satisfactory cause been assigned for the direction of
the human mind to these particular pursuits at these precise periods;
for, simultaneously in countries differing in climate, governments,
and manners, have the requisite men of genius arisen.

It might be easier to account for the depression than the rise of the
noblest arts. Of this we shall presently speak; aware, at the same
time, how ungracious will be the words which will admit of a decadence
among ourselves. When we boast of our "enlightened age," it would not
be amiss that we stay for a moment our pride, look back, and consider
how much we have absolutely lost; in how much we are inferior. Every
age seems destined to do its own work, which it does nearly to the
perfection of its given art or science. Succeeding ages are destined
rather to invent new than to improve upon the old. What has been done,
becomes an accumulated wealth that Time deposits ever, and passes on
to continual work to add fresh materials, and stock the world with the
means of general improvement and happiness. There is always
progression, but it is a progression of invention; the destined works
are too vast, too infinite to allow a long delay in the advancement of
any one accomplishment. It is rapidly completed; we are scarcely
allowed time to stand and wonder; we must pass on to perform something
new. Yet, if such attained thing shall be lost, or nearly so, the
power to create it again may be again given; but it works _de novo_,
adapting itself to the new principle which has rendered the
reproduction advantageous, if not necessary. Thus, for instance, in
the ages which we are pleased to call dark, to what magnitude and what
exactness of beauty did not architecture reach, and that in a
particularly inventive style--the Gothic--borrowing not from what had
before been, and which had been held perfect, a style upon which we do
not now even hope to improve, but content ourselves with admiring and
copying. Thus it should seem that where any thing like a practical
continuance of an art has been permitted, the entirely new direction
it has taken would show that invention, required for the age, was the
object, and that, too, bounded by a limit. "For this purpose have I
raised thee up," would appear to be the text upon which the histories
of the arts, as of every thing human, may be considered the comment.

It is to the total loss of ancient art that mankind are indebted for
its revival, its re-discovery, as it were; for little or nothing was
left from which, as from an old stock, art was to begin.

The new Christian principle created a new mind, to which there was
little consonant in what was known, however imperfectly, of ancient
works. Hence what is termed revival might, with more aptitude of
expression, be called the re-discovery.

Had art been uninterruptedly continued from the days of Apelles, it
would probably have degenerated to its lowest state. The destruction,
the altogether vanishing away of the former glory, was essential to
the rise of the new. All was nearly obliterated. Of the innumerable
statues of which Greece was plundered by the Romans, but six were to
be found--five of marble, and one of brass--in the city of Rome, at
the beginning of the fifteenth century; so that art may be said to
have been defunct. The decadence of architecture seems also to have
been required for the originating the Gothic, for the inventing
altogether a new style, which had no prototype. It was necessary to
the establishing the Christian principle operatively, that the mind
should be wrested powerfully from former and antagonistic ideas. And
this could scarcely have been effected had any thing like a continual,
an important succession of vigorous life in these arts been allowed.

It seems to have been the work of a great guiding will, that the way
should be prepared for renovation, by the almost entire loss or
mutilation of the greatest works of former periods, and by the veil of
ignorance which victorious barbarism spread before all eyes, that they
should not distinguish through that cloud the remnant of a glory which
was too great to be altogether destroyed. The very language which
spoke of it was a buried charm, that the oblivion might be more
perfect. And not until the now grown Christian mind required the
re-discovery of art, was that tongue loosened. The revival of ancient
literature and the birth of new art were simultaneous. With the
latter, at least, it was more than a sleep from which it arose--it was
from a death, with all the marks of its corruption.

We do not mean to assert that art rose at once full-grown, as Pallas
from the head of Jove. It had undoubtedly its progression; but it did
not grow from an old stock; and hence it did grow and arose unimpeded
and unchoked by an unwholesome exuberance, to the greatest splendour
and glory. Whether there can be again any new principle which will
require new inventions, it would be almost presumptuous to consider;
but we do feel assured that should it be so, there will not be an
adaptation of present means to it, but that the wing of oblivion must
have to sweep over, overshadow, and obliterate the present
multifarious form and body of art. The fine arts are not like the
exact sciences, always progressing from accumulative knowledge towards
their final and sure establishment of truth; on the contrary, their
great truths recede further from view, as knowledge is accumulated,
and practice, deteriorates by example. Science is truth to be dug out
of the earth, as it were; a precious ore, not strictly ours, but by
and for our use. The fine arts are in a far greater degree ours, for
they are of the mind's creation; they are the product of a faculty
given, indeed, but given to create and not to gather, and dig up
ready-made for our purpose; they are of that faculty which has given
the name to the poet, as altogether the maker. They give that to the
world which it never could have received by any accumulation of fact
and knowledge. Take away the individual genius, the inventive, the
creating mind of the one man, the Homer, the Dante, the Shakspeare,
the Michael Angelo, the Raffaelle, and the whole product is
annihilated; we cannot even conceive of its existence, know of no mine
wherein to dig, no facts, no knowledge out of which it can grow. That
creating power may, indeed, turn all existing things to its use, all
facts and all knowledge; but it commands and is not governed by
them--is a power in no degree dependant on them, which would still be,
though they existed not--a power which, if it exhausted worlds, would
invent new for its purpose. To whom, then, are such powers given? for
what purpose?--and are they of a gift deteriorated in its use and
abuse? Alas! they are still of the "corruptible," and cannot, in our
present state, "put on incorruption." They are, however, of the mind,
which may be purified and strengthened, or corrupted and degraded.

They effect in a great degree, and suitably to the age's requirement,
their purpose. Corrupted from the ardour and sincerity of their first
passion, and by the admission, little by little, of what is vicious,
and yet which, we must confess, has its beauty; their very aim becomes
changed, less large by subdivision, and less sure by confusion and
uncertainty of aim, until all purpose be lost, in a low satisfaction
in mere dexterity and mindless imitation. And what shall stay art in
such downward way of decadence? Can a strong impulse be given to
it--for there is no strength but the mind's strength? It is not
patronage, but purpose, which is wanted. What shall revivify the
passion that gave it earnestness,--the sincerity, the trust in itself,
the confidence in its own high-mindedness, the sense of the importance
of its objects, and the true glory of their pursuit? We have our fears
that we are doing much to multiply artists, and degrade art. We
distribute patronage in so many streams, by our art-unions, that no
full fertilising current is visible. We make a pauperism, and stamp it
with the disgrace of the beggarly contribution; we, pauperise the
mind too, by the demand for mean productions, and by circulating, as
the choicest specimens of British art, engravings which tend utterly
to the deterioration of the public taste. Perhaps there is nothing
more frightfully injurious in the present state of art, than this ever
putting before the public eye things in themselves bad, and mostly
bad, where badness is more surely fatal, in purpose. It is far easier
for good taste and for good art, in practice, to arise out of a blank,
out of nothing, than out of an exuberance of bad examples. These
things tend to vitiate the pure. The great daily accumulation of
inferior works, low in character, and deficient in artistic knowledge
and skill, that are ever thrust before the public eye, are doing much
mischief. They are poisoning and vitiating the ground from which taste
should spring. We are not educating in art, but against art. We are
teaching to admire things which, were it possible to keep what is bad
from the public eye, would disgust as soon as seen. And even where the
exhibition is in no other respect vicious, it is too often vicious
from the total absence of any high purpose. For lack of object, we
look to some mere mechanical prettinesses; and by habit learn first to
look for, and then to work for, nothing more. When the great men of
other days, whose names we have now so constantly in our mouths,
dedicated themselves to art, they did it with all their soul. They had
the earnestness of a passion; and what they did not, as we should now
say, well, technically viewing some of their early works, they did to
express some strong and some worthy feeling. And as they advanced in
technical skill, still they ever thought a certain dignity and
importance were essential to their works. The public mind had not yet
felt satiety. But in time the progeny of art multiplied. The trading
multitude had to entice purchasers, and to persuade them that their
novelties were at least more pleasing, if the aim was not so high. The
new lamps were cried up above the old. Thus they first created a bad
taste, and then pandered to it. Cold conventionalities took the place
of feeling; even beauty was studied more for low sense, than for its
moral, and intellectual expression. Art was smothered by her own
children. The brood has been too numerous, and the productions as
variable as the brood. They who would do great things were they
allowed, are not allowed. The lower fascinations have taken possession
of the public mind. Patronage runs to the little, and the greatest
encouragement is to those who will provide the market with the
cheapest, if not the best wares. Artists must live as well as other
people. They cannot, if they would, sacrifice themselves to work out
great and noble ideas, for which there is no demand; and for this
state of things they are themselves in no small degree to blame. It is
their own cry for patronage that has raised these art-unions: the
patronage has been raised, but who gets it? They (like the national
guard in Paris) have been superseded by their own inferior workmen.
And what shall remedy all this superfœtation? First, let pains be
taken properly to educate in art the public eye, and the public mind.
We rejoice to know that, while we are writing, a society is forming,
similar to the Cambden Society, for the publication of all important
works on art, whether old or original, and for having the finest
productions of art engraved, in whatever country they are to be found.
As good taste is the object, so care will be taken that nothing of a
deteriorating character will be admitted; and works will be produced
which, in the present state of general feeling, private speculation
would scarcely venture upon. The works will, we are given to
understand, chiefly be distributable among the members of the society;
but some, thought to be particularly well adapted to give a better
direction to the public taste, will be generally purchasable.

This society is of great promise--if it succeeds at all, it will
succeed eminently, and we believe it must succeed. It will, we have
some hope drive the low, the meaningless things of the day out of the
field. We are, as a nation, really ignorant of art. We know it not, as
it has been. We want to see the public eye acquainted, through good
engravings, with the numerous fine frescos that cannot be generally
known in any other way. Whatever tends to the real advancement of art
will obtain the solicitous attention of this society.

The Fine Arts Commission affords another means of remedying the evils
that are besetting the profession, and through them the public taste.
We do not like the Government competition system. We go further--we do
not like the Government, we mean the Commission, constituting
themselves judges and purveyors. This is not the way to make great
men. The man of genius shrinks from the competition system; nay, he
fears or doubts the judgment of his judges. Perhaps he feels that he
is himself the best judge; and if he has a just confidence in himself,
he ought to feel this. He will not like the check of too much
dictation as to subjects, composition, or any of the detail. We are
persuaded that it would be far wiser, both for the public and for art,
that the commissioners should studiously select their man, without
competition, not for some one or more pictures, but for a far wider
range. There will be still competition enough for proper ambition in
the number still to be employed. Raffaelle had the Vatican assigned to
him, and that at an early age; so would we gladly see a large portion
given to one man, and let the whole be of his one mind, and let him
have his assistants if he please. Let him be dominant, and if he has
within him a power, it will come out; and it cannot be difficult to
find a few men of sense and vigour; and even though they have not as
yet shown great powers, it does not follow that they have them
not--trust to what they have, and more will grow. But we have some
even now capable of performing beautiful works to do honour to the
nation. We should rejoice to see their secretary released from the
clerkship of his office, and set to work seriously with his hand and
his superintending mind. We would impress this upon the consideration
of the commissioners as an indisputable truth, that if they select a
man of genius, they select one superior to themselves--one who is to
teach, not to be taught by them--and one with whose arrangements,
after their selection, they should by no means interfere. And
supposing the worst, that they have actually made an unfortunate
choice--what then? They have made an experiment at no very great cost,
and may obliterate whatever is a disgrace. The works of other painters
were obliterated in the Sistine Chapel to make room for Michael
Angelo. Nor was there any hesitation in destroying the labours of
previous artists, and even the suspended operations of his old master,
Perugino, that the whole space might be open to the genius of the
youth Raffaelle. It is whole, entire responsibility that makes great
men. Throw upon the persons you select the whole weight, and thereby
give them the benefit of all the glory; and whatever be their powers,
you tax them to the utmost. We would have them by no means interfered
with, any more than we would cripple the commander of our armies
abroad with the petty counsels and restrictions of bureau-manufacture.
Nor should they be too strictly limited as to time, nor subjected to
the continual questionings of an ungenerous impatience. Let the trust
be conferred upon them as an honour which they are to wear and enjoy,
not as a notice of their servility, but of their freedom. That trust
is less likely to be abused the more generously it is given. To fulfil
it then, becomes an ambition; and the daily habit of this higher
feeling, by making the given work the all in all of life, renders the
men more fit for it. Let the nation, expecting liberality from the
"Liberal Arts," bestow it--hold out high rewards, leave the artists in
all respects unshackled; and, the intention of a work being approved
of, let not the time it is to occupy be in the stipulation. And it
would be well to look to the promise of the young as well as actual
performances; for the power to do will grow. Of thirty-eight
competitors convened at Florence, Lorenzo Ghiberti, only twenty-three
years of age, was chosen to execute the celebrated doors; the work
occupied forty years of his life. The work is immortal, if human work
can be; and obtained this eulogium from Michael Angelo, that "they
were worthy of being the gates of Paradise." He conferred honour upon
his city, and received such as was worthy the city to bestow. "His
labours were justly appreciated, and ably rewarded by his fellow
citizens, who, besides granting him whatever he demanded, assigned him
a portion of land, and elected him Gonfaloniere, or chief magistrate
of the state. His bust was afterwards placed in the baptistery." Was
the confidence, the full trust, in the power of the young Raffaelle
misplaced? What wonders did he not perform in his too short life! Had
he lived longer, he would without question have reached the highest
honours his country had to bestow.

One word more on this subject of generosity--of national generosity.
We seem to think it a great thing to bestow a knighthood upon an
artist of eminence here and there, yet give not the means of keeping
the dignity from conspicuous shame, of maintaining a decent
hospitality among his brethren artists, by which much general
improvement might evidently arise. All our real substantial honours
are conferred upon soldiers and lawyers. They have estates publicly
given, and are raised to the peerage; yet it is doubtful if one man of
genius, in literature and the arts, does not deserve better of his
country, and confer upon it more glory, than any ten of the other more
favoured professions: and more than this, the name of one such genius
will be remembered, perhaps with some sense of the disgrace of
neglect, when all the others are forgotten. Let a lawyer be but a
short period of his life upon the woolsack, he will find means to
raise to himself a fortune, and retire back upon private life with an
annual pension of thousands; while the man of genius in arts and
literature is too often left in old age uncheered by any
acknowledgment, and perhaps weighed down to death by embarrassments,
from which a delighted, improved, and at the same time an ungrateful
country will not relieve him. A government should know that it is for
the crown to honour a profession, and thereby to make it worthy the
honour. We live in a country where distinctions do much, and are worse
than profitless without adequate means to sustain them. It would be
well if sometimes selections were made in other directions than the
law and army, and if our peerage were not unfrequently radiated with
the glory of genius. Why should a barren baronetcy have been conferred
on the author of Waverley? Had he been a conqueror in fifty battles,
could he have conferred more benefit than he has conferred upon his
country? Why is it that there is always in our government a jealousy
of literature and the arts? There has not been a decent honour
bestowed on either since the reign of the unfortunate Charles. Poets,
painters, and sculptors, it is vulgarly thought, are scarcely
"alendi," and certainly "non saginandi." The arts might at least be
given a position in our universities. This, as a first step, would do
much,--it would tend, too, mainly to raise the public taste, which is
daily sinking lower and lower. We should be glad to see Mr Eastlake
made professor of painting at Oxford, with an adequate establishment
there to enable him not only to lecture, but to teach more practically
by design, in the very place of all others in the kingdom where there
is most in feeling congenial with art. We mention Mr Eastlake, not
making an invidious distinction, but because his acquirements in
literature, and his valuable contributions to it, seem most readily to
point to him as a fit occupant for the professor's chair. We have
repeatedly, in the pages of _Maga_, insisted upon the importance of
establishing the fine arts in our universities, and at one time
entertained a hope that the Taylor Legacy would have taken this
direction. We are not, however, sorry altogether that it did not do
so, for it would surely be more advantageous that such a movement
should begin with the Government. It would remedy, too, more evils
than one; it would give an occupation of mind, congenial with their
academic studies, to our youth, and preserve them from a dangerous
extravagance both of purse and of opinions. The hopes, however, of any
thing really advantageous to the fine arts arising from our
Government, unless very strongly urged to it, are small. They do not
seem inclined at all to favour the profession; they would look upon it
as solely addicted to the labour of the hand with a view to small
profits--a portion of which profits, too, upon some strange principles
of the political economists, they would appropriate to the nation as
a fine, the penalty of genius. One would imagine, from the proposition
of the Board of Trade to take 10 per cent from subscriptions to
art-unions for the purchasing pictures for the National Gallery, that
they considered the epithet "fine" so appropriated to the arts as
intended originally to suggest a tax. They would not allow the
profession a free trade. Whatever is obtained by exhibiting works of
artists, should be as much their property as would the product of any
other manufacture be the property of the respective adventurers, and
the art-union subscriptions are undoubtedly a portion of these
profits. What, in common justice, have the public to do with them? The
proposed scheme is a step towards communism, and may have been
borrowed from the French provisional seizure of their railroads. With
equal justice might they require that every butcher and baker and
tailor should give a portion of his meat, his bread, and his cloth to
feed and clothe our army and navy; and this not as of a common
taxation, but as an extra compliment and advantage to these trades.
There is a great deal too much here of the beggarly utilitarian view.
We advocate not the cause of art-unions--we think them perfectly
mischievous, and would gladly see them suppressed; but surely to
invite and tempt the poor artists to paint their twenty and
five-and-twenty pound pictures, and coolly to take 10 per cent out of
their pockets to purchase to yourself a gallery of art, is not very
consonant to our general ideas of what is due to the liberal arts. The
liberality is certainly not reciprocal.

Nor, indeed, when we view the state of our National Gallery,
considering the building as well as what it contains, can we be
induced to think that the Government are very much in earnest in their
profession of a desire to raise its importance. The National Gallery
has its committee, and there is the Commission of Fine Arts. The
former like not a questioning Parliament, and have not sufficient
confidence in themselves to disregard the uncomplimentary
animadversions of a critical press; and so the National Gallery
advances not. The latter appear to treat art too much as a taxable
commodity, and as having a right to levy specimens, and take for the
public the profit of them, when they are required to cater for any
national works. We do not, however, doubt their sincere desire to
promote the arts; but we do doubt if they are perfectly alive to the
real importance of the work they have to do, and fear their efforts
are rendered less useful by the number and conflicting tastes of the
members. Divisions and subdivisions of responsibility terminate too
frequently in many little things which, put together, do not make one
great one.

However deficient, or however faulty in our taste, there seems to be
at the present moment a more general desire to become acquainted with
art and its productions in former ages. Publications of historical and
critical importance are not wanting; but it is singular that the
prevailing patronage is little influenced as yet by the knowledge
received. From whatever cause it may arise, the fact is manifest that
we have not a distinct School of Art. It might be quite correct to
assert, that there is no characteristic school, not one founded on a
principle--a principle distinguished from former influences--in any
country of Europe. We do not even except the German schools; for able
though the men be and honoured, they show no symptom of an inventive
faculty, which can alone make a school. They are as yet in their
imitative state--in that of revival. They are in the trammels of an
artistic superstition. They have no one great and new idea to realise.
They make their commencement from art, not from mind--forgetful of
this truth, that art cannot grow out of art: for, if good, it seduces
the mind into mere imitation, which soon becomes effect; if bad, it
incapacitates from conceiving the beautiful. Art cannot grow out of
art; it may progress from its inferior to its better state, till the
idea of its principle has been completed. It must then begin again
from a new--from an idea not yet embodied--or it will inevitably
decline, from the causes named, to mediocrity.

It does not at all follow, in this rise of new art--or, if we please,
revival of art--that there shall be at first a consciousness of
working upon a new principle, or a positive purpose to deviate (for
such a purpose would be but a vagary and extravagance, relying on no
principle:) there must be some want of the day strongly felt, some
feeling to be embodied, some impress of the times to be stamped and
made visible. Hence alone can arise a new principle of art; and it is
one that cannot be preconceived, it must have its birth without
forethought, and possibly without a knowledge that it exists; it may
be in the artist's mind, an unconscious purpose working through the
conscious processes of art. The age in which we live has a strong
desire to _know_ all about art, as to advance in knowledge of every
kind; but has it in itself one characteristic feeling, one strong
impulse, favourable to art, such as will make genius start up, as it
were, from his slumber and his dream, and do his real work? Nor can
this be prophesied of; for, if it could, it would exist somewhere, at
least in the mind of the prophet. It is like the statue existing in
the block; but it is the hand of time, under direction that we wot not
of, that must be cutting it away. Nor is it fair, for any lack in one
power of mind, to underrate the age in which we live. It may be great
in another power to do a destined work; that work done, another may be
required, and another power be developed, in which art may be the
required means to the more perfect vivifying a new principle. The
genius of our day is too busy in the world's doings, in striving to
advance utility, to have leisure, or to take an interest in the ideal
and poetical. A great poetry it is indeed in itself, with all its
mighty engines, working with iron arms more vast and powerful than
fable could imagine of Brontes and Steropes, and all the huge
manufacturers of thunderbolts for an Ideal Jove. Reality has outgrown
fiction,--has become the "_major videri_,"--is doing a sublime
work--one, too, in which poetry of high cast is inherent, through
hands and means most unpoetical. Mind is there, thought is there,
worthy of all the greatness of man's reputation for sagacity or
invention, and gigantic energy; the reaching to and grasping the large
powers of nature, and adding them to his own body, thus becoming,
unconscious of the poetic analogy, a Titan again. This age is, after
all, doing a great deed. Let the dreamer, the versifier, the searcher
after visible beauty, the painter, the statuary, incapacitated as they
all generally are from the knowledge of what we term the business of
life, consider coolly, without prejudice for his art, and against what
more commonly meets him in some interrupting and ungracious form,
reality, the machinery of governments, the science of banking, the law
of markets, and the innumerable detail of which he seldom thinks, but
without the establishment of which he would not be allowed to
think,--by which he lives his daily life; let him trace any one
manufacture through all its successive ingenuities to its great uses
and its great results. Let him travel a few hundred miles on a
railroad, and note how all is ordered, with what precision all
arrangements are made and conducted, and what a world it is in itself,
moving through space like a world, and set in motion and stayed by the
hand of one of his own Saxon blood; and then, in idea, transferring
himself from his own work, and his pride of his own art, let him ask
himself if he sees not something beyond, quite extraneous to himself,
a great thing effected, which he never could have conceived nor have
executed; and then let him say if there be not even in this our
working world, a great and living poetry, a magnificent thought
realised, a principle brought out, worthy an age; and then let him be
content for a while that his own particular capacity should for a time
be in abeyance, to great purposes inoperative, unproductive of the
world's esteem. It may be that he will but have to wait for his
season. His time may come again. Some new principle in the world's
action, with possibly a secret and electric power, may reach him,
enter his own mind, and set at large all his capacities, and make them
felt; for that principle, whatever it is to be, will be electric, too,
in the general mind. It may arise naturally out of the present state
of things. Now, our schoolless art, like what has once been a mighty
river, with all its tributary streams, has wandered into strange and
lower lands, and been enticed away through innumerable small channels,
still fertilising, in a more homely and modest way, many countries,
but losing its own distinctive character and name. The streams will
never flow back and unite again, but some of them, in this earth's
shifts and changes, may again become rivers, and bear a rich
merchandise into the large ocean, and so enrich the world. If we think
upon the distinct characteristics of schools, we must be struck with
this, that before each one was known, established, and confirmed in
public opinion, it could not have been generally imagined and
preconceived. It is altogether the creation of gifted genius. We
acknowledge the setting up a great truth, of which we had not a
glimpse until we see it worked out, and standing before us manifest.
It is ours by natural adoption, not by a universal instinctive
invention. So that it is a presumption of our weakness to believe, as
some do, that the arena of art is limited, and every part occupied;
and that, for the future, nothing is left but a kind of copying and
imitation. Who is to set limit to the powers of mind? We can imagine a
dogmatist of this low kind, before Shakspeare's day, in admiration of
the Greek drama, laying down the laws of the unities as irrefragable,
and that the great volume of the drama was closed with them. And some
such opinions have been set forth by our Gallic neighbours, and
maintained with no little pertinacity. We must have been Shakspeares
to have preconceived his drama. How, for ages, was poetry limited! the
epic, as it were, closed! His age knew nothing of Milton before
Milton. It was a new principle coming dimly through troubadours and
romances, that shone forth at length Homerically, but with a
difference, in Marmion, and indeed all Sir Walter Scott's poetry,
which, if it be linked to any that has preceded it, must be referred
to the most remote, to that of Homer himself; so that let no man say
that the world of fact and possibility is shut against art. The great
classic idea, the deification, the worship of beauty, was completed by
the ancients. There was a long rest, a sleep, without a dream of a new
principle; but it came, and art awakened to its perception. Giotto,
Della Robbo, the old Siennese school, Beato Angelico, Pisani,
Donatello, evolve the Christian idea. Perugino, weak in faith, turns
art towards earth, and leads Rafaelle to strive for a new beautiful;
and Michael Angelo for the powerful--the former humanising the divine,
the latter, if not deifying, gigantising humanity--not in the antique
repose, but incorporeal energy--the whole dignity of man, as imagined
in his personal condition. This was the characteristic of the
Florentine school--as, after Perugino, or commencing with him,
intellect, united with grace and beauty, became the characteristic of
the Roman. But grace and beauty are dangerously human. The religious
mind, in reverential contemplation, felt awe above humanity, and
feared to invest divinity with corporeal charm. Even in heathen art,
the great Athenian goddess affects not grace, but stands in a severe
repose, so unlike rest, the beautiful emblem of weakness. Grace and
beauty became dangerous qualities when applied to Christian devotional
art. The followers of Perugino, who thought them essential, were not
at first aware to what degree they were deteriorating the great
principle of their school, and how they were rendering art too human
for their creed. Woman--by the gift of nature, beauty personified--by
more close and accurate study of her perfections, ceased to be an
object of real worship, as her fascinations were felt. Even Raffaelle
was under an unadoring influence. His madonnas often detract much from
the idolatry which his church laboured to confirm. We must not wonder,
then, if after him we find humanity in woman even dethroned from her
higher and almost majestic state of heavenly purity--though
legitimatised as an object of worship, the "mother of God," in that
higher sanctity than it was possible to set up man, in his most
saintly apotheosis, (for the boldest mind would necessarily be shocked
at the idea of bestowing a divine paternity on man, even if his
religion forbade it not.) Woman, in her real beauty, superseded the
ideal; and, from condescending to represent inferior saints and
conventual devotees, reassumed at length her more earthly empire, and
threw around fascinations which rather tended to dissipate than to
encourage religious sentiment. The divinity of art, which had deigned
to shine with sacred lustre beneath and through the natural veil of
modesty, indignantly withdrew, when that veil was rudely cast aside by
the undevotional hands of her not less skilful but more deteriorated
professors.

The Venetian school, with a truly congenial luxury of colour, evolved
the idea of civil polity, in all its connexions with religion, with
judicature, with manners, commerce, societies, dignities, triumphs; a
large field, indeed, but one in which the great civic idea was the
characteristic, running through every subject. Even the nude, before
considered as most eligible in the display of art, yielded to civic
dress and gorgeous ornament. What other ideas remain to be evolved?
The world does not stand still--art may for a time. We must wait till
some genius awaken us.

There is, we repeat, no modern school among us; art is pursued to an
extent unprecedented, but without any fixed serious purpose, in all
its multifarious forms, and with an ability sufficient to show that
some moving cause is alone wanted. We progress in skill, in precision
and clearness; but the hand is little directed by the mind. Our
exhibition walls abound with talent, but are for the most part barren
of genius: and surely this must continue to be the case, while the
public mind is in its unpoetic, its utilitarian state, and shall look
to art for its passing charm only as a gentle recreation, an idle
amusement. If there is any tendency to a school, it is unfortunately
to one which is most in opposition to that pure school which found,
and cherished, and idealised the sanctity of female beauty.

We know not if it should be considered an escape or not; but certainly
there was, in the earlier period of English art, one man of
extraordinary genius, who, vigorously striking out a great moral idea,
might have been the founder of a new school. We mean Hogarth. He was,
however, too adventurously new for the age, and left no successor; nor
is even now the greatness of his genius generally understood. He has
been classed with "painters of drolls;" yet was he the most tragic
painter this country--we were about to say, any country--has produced.
We are not prepared to say it is a school we should wish to have been
established; but we assert that the genius of Hogarth incurred for us
the danger. His works stand unique in art--that which can be said,
perhaps, of the works of no other painter that ever existed, and
obtained a name. We had written so far, when we were willing to see
what a modern writer says of this great man; and we are happy to find
his views in so great a degree coincide with our own. We make the
follow-extract from Cleghorn's 2d volume of _Ancient and Modern Art_;
a work, indeed, that, when we took up the pen, it was our purpose to
speak of more largely, and to which we mean to devote what further
space may be allowed for this paper:--

"To Hogarth, on the other hand, M. Passavant awards that justice which
has been denied to him by his countrymen. Hogarth is of all English
painters, and, perhaps, of all others, the one who knew how to
represent the events of common life with the most humour, and, at the
same time, with rare and profound truth. This truth of character is,
however, visible not only in his conception of a subject, but is
varied throughout in the form and colour of his figures in a no less
masterly manner." "Hogarth [continues Mr Cleghorn] stands alone as an
artist, having had no predecessors, rivals, nor successors. He is the
more interesting, too, as being the first native English artist of
celebrity. Yet a tasteless public was unable to appreciate his merits;
and he was driven to the necessity of raffling his pictures for small
sums, which only partially succeeded. In spite of the sneers of Horace
Walpole that he was "more a writer of comedy with his pencil than a
painter," and the epigrammatic saying of Augustus Von Schlegel, that
'he painted ugliness, wrote on beauty, and was a thorough bad
painter,' he was a great and original artist, both painter and
engraver, whose works, coming home to every man's understanding and
feelings, and applicable to every age and country, can never lose
their relish and interest. They are chiefly known to the public by
his etchings and engravings, which, however, convey a very imperfect
idea of the beauty and expression of the original paintings." We only
object to stress laid upon his humour, which is not his, or at least
his only, characteristic. He was a great dramatist of human life;
humour was the incidental gift, tragedy the more essential. Who had
more humour, more wit than Shakspeare, and who was ever so tragic, or
so employed his humour as to set it beside his most tragic scenes,
with an effect that made the pathos deeper? In such a sense was
Hogarth "comic." His "Marriage à la Mode" is the deepest of tragedies.

We turn to Mr Cleghorn's two interesting and very useful volumes. They
give a compendious, yet, for general use and information, sufficiently
elaborate view of architecture, sculpture, and painting, from their
very origin to their present condition. We know of no work containing
so complete a view. If we are disposed at all to quarrel with his
plan, it is that in every branch he comes down to too late a time. And
as it is always the case with writers who find themselves committed to
the present age, he evidently finds himself encumbered with the detail
which this part of his plan has forced upon him. In matter it will be
often found that the present age overpowers all preceding, when even
it is vastly inferior in importance. Nor is it very easy to avoid a
bias in speaking of contemporaries; nor can a writer safely depend
upon his own judgment when he looks too nearly and intimately on men
and their works, and fears the giving offence by omissions, or by too
qualified praise. His divisions into schools, with general remarks on
each at the end, give a very clear view, when taken together, of the
history of these arts; and we are rejoiced to see them--architecture,
sculpture, and painting--thus in a manner linked in history, as they
were formerly in the minds and genius of the greatest men. In this he
follows the good course led by Vasari. In his account of the Flemish
and Dutch schools, there is a strange omission of the early Flemish
painters preceding and subsequent to the Van Eycks, to the time of
Rubens; nor is the influence which the brothers Van Eyck had upon art
sufficiently discussed. We propose at some future day to treat more at
length on this subject, and to make extracts from Michiel's very
interesting little volume, his "Peintres Brugeois." Even in the short
account of Van Eyck's invention, Mr Cleghorn is somewhat careless, in
the omission of one important little word, _sue_, in his extract from
Vasari, who does not exactly describe the invention as "the result of
a mixture or vehicle composed of linseed oil or nut oil, _boiled up
with other mixtures_," but "_with other mixtures of his own_." Vasari
says, "e aggiuntevi altre _sue_ misture fece la vernice," &c.

In the following remarks on Greek sculpture we find something
consonant to the ideas we have ventured to express:--

"A remarkable difference is observable in the female ideal, the result
of that refined delicacy and purity of taste evinced on all occasions
by the Greeks. They neither increased the stature, nor heightened the
contours of their heroines and goddesses, convinced that in so doing
they must have sensibly impaired the beauty, modesty, and delicacy of
the sex. In this the Greek sculptors conformed to the rule inculcated
by Aristotle, and uniformly observed in the Greek tragedy, never to
make woman overstep the modesty of the female character. The Medicean
Venus is but a woman, though perhaps more beautiful than ever woman
appeared on earth. Another peculiarity is very striking. While a great
proportion of the male statues, whether men, heroes, or gods, were
naked, or nearly so, those of the other sex, with the exception of the
Venuses, Graces, and Hours, were uniformly draped from head to foot.
Even the three Graces by Socrates, described by Pausanias as
decorating the entrance to the Acropolis, were clothed in imitation of
the more ancient Graces." As to this exception of the Venuses and
Graces, Mr Cleghorn seems to have in some degree misapprehended the
passage relating thereto in Pausanias, who distinctly says that he
knows not who first sculptured or painted them naked, but it was after
the time of Socrates. These Graces of Socrates, by the bye, may be
the φιλαι, of whom he speaks in his dialogue with Theodota,
who, he says, will not let him rest day nor night.

The number of nude Venuses would, it may be suspected, scarcely
justify the elegant compliment in the epigram in the Anthologia--

  "Γυμνην ειδε Παρις με και Ανχισης και
        Αδωνις,
    Τους τρεις οιδα μονους; Πραξιτελης δε
          ποθεν?"

  Paris, Anchises, and Adonis--Three,
  Three only, did me ever naked see:
  But this Praxiteles--when, where did He?

Our author censures the school of Bernini, we should have thought
justly, remembering much that has been said on the subject of the
unfitness of the ponderous material to represent light action, if we
had not seen the Xanthian marbles brought to this country by Sir
Charles Fellowes, and now deposited in the British Museum. The female
statues that stood in the Tomb Temple are exquisite, and perhaps equal
to any Grecian art, yet are they represented with flying drapery. It
is difficult to make a rule which some bold genius shall not subvert.

Most authors on art think it necessary to descant upon liberty, as
most favourable to its advancement. It is difficult to define what
liberty is, so that every example may be disputed. If we take the age
of Pericles, when the wonders of Phidias were achieved, we must not
forget that Phidias himself was treated by the Athenians with such
indignity that he left them, and deposited his finest work at Corinth.
The republic suspected him of thieving the gold, and he had the
precaution, knowing his men, to weigh the metal, and work it so as to
be removable. We must not forget that Pericles, who fortunately in a
manner governed Athens, was obliged to plead on his knees for the life
of Aspasia, whose offence was her superior endowments. When Alexander
subjugated Greece, art still flourished. Nor was it crushed even in
the wars and revolts and subjugations by Cassander, after the death of
Alexander. We should not say that the Augustan age was exactly the age
of liberty, but it was the age of literature. The easier solution may
be, "Sint Mæcenates, non deerunt Marones." Munificent patronage will
often raise what that state which passes under the name of liberty
will often destroy.

"In the most favoured periods of the fine arts, we find patronage
either dispensed by the sovereign, the state, or the priesthood; or,
if a commonwealth, by the rulers who had the revenues at their
command. Possessing taste and knowledge themselves, and appreciating
the importance and dignity of art, they selected the artists whom they
deemed best fitted for the purpose. The artists, again, respected and
consulted their patrons, between whom there reigned a mutual
enthusiasm, good understanding, and respect. Such were Pericles,
Alexander the Great, Julius Cæsar, Augustus, Hadrian, Francis I. of
France, Julius II., Lorenzo and Leo X. of the Medici, the nobles and
rulers of the different Italian cities and commonwealths, the Roman
Catholic church and clergy, Charles I. of England, Louis XIV. of
France--and in our own times the late and present kings of Prussia,
the King of Bavaria, Louis Philippe of France, and--it is gratifying
to add--Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Great Britain. But,
indispensable as national patronage is, it can have no sure or
permanent foundation, unless it be likewise supported by the
aristocracy and wealthy classes. Instead of emanating, as in the
continental states, from the sovereign and government, patronage in
Great Britain may be said to have originated with the middle ranks,
and to have forced its way up to the higher classes, and even to the
government itself."

There are interesting yet short chapters on mosaic, tapestry, and
painted glass; subjects now demanding no little public attention,
coming again as we are to the taste for decoration. The ladies of
England will be pleased to find their needle-work so seriously
considered. Happy will it be if their idleness leads to a better and
employed industry. Due praise is bestowed upon Miss Linwood, whose
works are ranked with the Gobelin tapestry. We remember seeing many
years ago an invention that promised great things--painting, if it may
be so called, in wool work. It was the invention of Miss Thompson,
and was exhibited, and we believe not quite fairly--much mischief
having been done to the pictures by pulling out parts, either for
wanton mutilation, or to see the manner of the working. Whether from
disgust arising from this circumstance, or at the little encouragement
shown to it, the invention seems to have dropped. Yet was the effect
most powerful, more to the life than any picture, in whatever
material; and from the size of the works produced by the hands of one
person, we should judge that it is capable of rapid execution. We have
a vivid recollection of a copy from a picture by Northcote, figures
size of life, and of the head of Govartius, in the National Gallery.
We are not without hope that this slight notice may recall a very
effective mode of copying, at least, if not of producing, original
works.

Of painted glass, it is remarked,--

"The earliest notice of its existence is in the age of Pope Leo III.,
about the year 800. It did not, however, come into general use till
the lapse of some centuries. The earliest specimens differ entirely
from those of a later date, being composed of small pieces stained
with colour during the process of manufacture, and thus forming a
species of patchwork, or rude mosaic, joined together with lead, after
being cut into the proper shapes." Mr Cleghorn omits to say that this
more perfect invention of painting on one piece various tints and
colours, and regulating gradations of burning, was effected and
brought to perfection by the same extraordinary man to whom the world
is indebted for the invention of oil painting, Van Eyck. From the
discoveries of this extraordinary man, or rather these extraordinary
brothers, Van Eyck, must be dated the advance in the arts, both on
glass and in oil-colours, which brought to both the perfection of
colouring.

The wonderful splendour added to design upon glass, which was so
eminently practised at Venice, without doubt supplied to the Venetian
school an aim which it could not have had under the old tempera
system, but which the new oil invention of Van Eyck sufficiently
placed within its reach.

Yet, in one view, we may hence date the corruption of art. The
severity of fresco was superseded by the new fascination, and somewhat
of dignity was lost as beauty was more decidedly established. As very
much of the splendour of glass painting was thus introduced in oil,
the greater facility of more correctly representing nature, and
embodying ideas by degrees of opacity, so gave the preference to
oil-painting, that not only the old tempera and fresco were soon
neglected, but painting on glass itself, as if it had done its work,
and transferred its peculiar beauty, lost much of its repute, and, in
no very long time, the processes to which it owed its former glory.

Mr Cleghorn remarks--"Within a few years it has been much cultivated
in Great Britain; and the intended application to the decoration of
the Houses of Parliament will materially conduce to its improvement
and extension." It is unquestionably an art of the greatest importance
in decoration. It has a charm peculiarly its own. It dignifies, it
solemnises by its own light, and is capable of affecting the mind so
as particularly to predispose it to the purposes of architecture. It
encloses a sanctuary, excluding the very atmosphere of the outer
world. There is the impression and the awe of truth under the
searching and embracing light, that should make the utterance of a
falsehood the more mean, even sacrilegious. The art that can have this
power, nor is this its only, though its greater power, is surely to be
cultivated and encouraged extensively. There is now more attention
paid to the architecture and decoration of our churches, and a taste
has sprung up for monumental windows. We cannot resist, therefore, the
temptation to offer a few remarks upon the subject, now that so many
mistaken views are taken as to the proper application of this
beautiful art.

There seems to be a false idea abroad that the painted window is to be
predominant, not assistant to the general impression which the
architecture intends. In reality it loses, not gains, power by setting
up for itself. And, even in colours, it is not to vie with shop
display of colours "by the piece," nor to set forth all its powers at
once in a full glare and blaze, and too often without other object
and meaning than to display flags of strong unmixed colours. A painted
window should be a whole, and have no one colour predominant, but be
of infinite depths and degrees of tint and tone with one tendency. Nor
should it aim at picture-making, however it may be adapted to the
emblematical. It should never affect the absolutely real--the picture
illusion: it is altogether of a world of thought and imagination
belonging rather to the inner mind of the spectator than to his
ordinary thought or vision. The very difficulty of the early
manufacture was an advantage to it, for great brilliancy has resulted
from the crossings and hatchings of the leaden fastenings; and now
that we are enabled to hang up, as it were, flags of colour, the
effect of those subduing subdivisions is gone.

There is such a thing, so to speak, as the genius of a material. That
genius, in the case of glass-painting, is not for picture. Surely Sir
Joshua Reynolds made a great mistake when, in his window for New
College, he designed, as for canvass, a picture, and that for the most
part without colour, which the genius of the material required. Nor by
the largeness of his figures, and of the whole as a design, did he
assist, or indeed at all agree with, the character of the
architecture. In such instances many and small parts should make one
whole, both for the advantage of the real magnitude of the particular
work, and that the magnitude of the architecture be not lessened--a
method, indeed, which the Gothic architecture studiously followed, in
which even minute design and detail give largeness to all the leading
lines. Daylight is never to be seen--an imaginary light is the all in
all. In this respect it should be like a precious stone, which is best
seen in all its infinite depths, in shade, out of all common glare. In
the best specimens of old glass-painting the positive and strong
colours were few, and in small spaces, and adjoining them was a
frequent aiming at those which were almost opaque,--even black and
greens, browns and purples, bordering on black. And if emblematic
subjects were represented, they were in many compartments, as if the
window were a large history-book with its many pages--a world of
curious emblems, no one obtrusive. It is bad taste to fill up a whole
window with even Raffaelle's Transfiguration; either a picture or a
large design is out of place, and dissonant to the genius of the art.
One of the worst specimens of painted window is that in the Temple,
all self-glorifying, painted as a savage would paint himself, in flags
of colour as crude as possible. The genius of the art is for
innumerable subdivisions, none obtruding, lest there be no whole. It
should be of the light of a brighter world subduing itself, veiling
its glory, and diffusing itself in mystic communication with the inner
mind; and like that mind, one in feeling with all its varied depths of
thought. Colour and transparency are the means of this beautiful art;
but these, as they are very powerful require great judgment and
determination of purpose in the use. The interwoven gold in the old
tapestries was more effectually to separate the character of the
material from the too close imitation of nature or the picture; so on
the transparent material of glass, the crossing, and sometimes
quaintly formed lead lines, always marked, answer the same purpose. Mr
Cleghorn is too sparing of remarks and information on the art of
painting on glass, which we the less regret, as we are shortly to have
before the public the carefully gathered knowledge upon this subject
from the pen and research of Mrs Merrifield. His chapter on tapestry
is more full and interesting. We have not seen the specimens of a new
kind invented by Miss King. It will be a boon to the public if, in its
adoption, it supersedes, with a better richness, the Berlin work, at
which ladies are now so unceasingly and so tastelessly employed. The
_Art-Union_ speaks highly of the invention. It is curious that, in
modern times, a Raffaelle tapestry should be destroyed to get at the
gold. The anecdote is characteristic of the equally infidel French of
1798 and of the Jew--excepting that the Jew was ignorant of its value.
Mr Cleghorn thus speaks of the celebrated cartoon tapestries--"They
were sent to be woven at Arras, under the superintendence of Barnard
Van Orlay and Michael Coxes, who had been some years pupils of
Raffaelle. Two sets of these interesting tapestries were executed; but
the deaths of Raffaelle and the pontiff, and the intestine troubles,
prevented them being applied to their intended destination. They were
carried off by the Spaniards during the sack of Rome in 1526-7, and
restored by the French general, Montmorency. They were first exhibited
to the public by Paul IV. in front of the Basilica of St Peter's, on
the festival of Corpus Domini, and again at the Beatification: a
custom that was continued throughout part of the last century, and has
again been resumed. _The French took them in 1798, and sold them to a
Jew at Leghorn, who burned one of them--Christ's Descent into
Limbus--to extract the gold with which it was interwoven._"

There is so much information in these little volumes, that were we to
notice a small part of the passages which we have marked with the
pencil, we should unduly lengthen this paper, which we can by no means
be allowed to do. We here pause, intending, however, shortly to resume
the pen on the subject of art, which now offers so many points of
interest.



KAFFIRLAND.[8]


  [8] _Five Years in Kaffirland, with Sketches of the Late War in that
  Country._ Written on the Spot. By HARRIET WARD. Two vols. London,
  1848.

_The Cape and its Colonists, with Hints to Settlers, in 1848._ By
GEORGE NICHOLSON, Jun., Esq., a late Resident. London, 1848.

_Three Years' Cruise in the Mozambique Channel, for the Suppression of
the Slave Trade._ By LIEUT. BARNARD, R.N. London, 1848.

It is always with fresh interest that we address ourselves to the
perusal of books relating to Great Britain's colonial possessions. The
subject, daily increasing in importance, has the strongest claims upon
our attention. In presence of a rapidly augmenting population, and of
the prodigious progress of steam and machinery, the question naturally
suggests itself--and more so in England than in any other country--how
employment and support shall be found for the additional millions of
human beings with which a few years (judging of the future from the
past) will throng the surface of a country already densely and
superabundantly populated? The problem, often discussed, has not yet
been satisfactorily solved. Without broaching the complicated question
of over-population and its antidotes, without attempting to decide
when a country is to be deemed over-populated, we may assert, without
fear of contradiction, that emigration is the simplest and most direct
remedy for the state of plethora into which a nation must sooner or
later be brought by a steady annual excess of births over deaths. It
is a remedy to which more than one European state will ultimately be
compelled to resort, however alleviation may previously be sought by
temporising and theoretical nostrums, more palatable, perhaps, to the
patient, but inadequate, if not wholly inefficacious and
charlatanical. And, after all, emigration is no such insupportable
prescription for a very ugly malady. Doubtless much may be said upon
the cruelty of making exile a condition of existence; but sympathy on
this score may also be carried too far, and degenerate into drivel. At
first sight the decree appears cruel and tyrannical, until we
investigate its source, and find it to proceed from no earthly
potentate, but from that omniscient Being whose intention it never was
that men should crowd together into nooks and corners, when vast
continents and fruitful islands, untenanted save by beasts of the
field, or by scanty bands of barbarians, woo to their shores the
children of labour and civilisation. Love of country, admirable as an
incentive to many virtues, may be pushed beyond reasonable limits. It
is so, we apprehend, when it prompts men to pine in penury and
idleness upon the soil that gave them birth, rather than seek new
fields for their industry and enterprise in uncultivated and vacant
lands. What choice of these is afforded by England's vast and
magnificent colonies! The emigrant may select almost his degree of
latitude. And where Britannia's banner waves, and her laws are
paramount, and the honest, kindly Anglo-Saxon tongue is the language
of the land, there surely needs no great effort of imagination for a
Briton to think himself still at home, though a thousand leagues of
ocean roll between him and his native isle.

Excepting that they all more or less refer to the British possessions
at the Cape of Good Hope, it were difficult to find three books more
distinct from each other in character than those whose titles we have
assembled at the foot of last page. An ex-settler, an accomplished
lady, and a shrewd sailor, have selected the same moment for the
publication of their African experiences. As in gallantry bound, we
give the precedence to the lady. Mrs Harriet Ward, wife of a captain
of the 91st regiment of foot, is a keen-witted, high-spirited person;
and, like most of her sex when they espouse a cause, a warm partisan
of the feelings and opinions of those she loves and admires. She is an
uncompromising assailant of the system pursued at the Cape, especially
as regards our treaties with the Kaffirs, whom she very justly
denounces as perfidious, bloody, and unclean savages, untameable, she
fully believes, and with whom Whig officials and negotiators have been
ridiculously lenient and confiding. Although some of her views are
rather sweeping and severe, she is certainly right in the main. And we
honour her for her heartiness in denouncing the nauseous humbug of the
pseudo-philanthropists, whose manœuvres have had a most prejudicial
effect upon our South African possessions, and have given to persons
in this country notions completely erroneous concerning the rights and
wrongs of the Kaffir question. But whilst blaming the administration
of the colony, she finds the country itself fair and excellent and of
great resource. Herein she differs from her contemporary, Mr George
Nicholson, junior. This gentleman, lately a settler at the Cape,
cannot be too highly lauded for the volume with which he has favoured
the public. We are not quite sure, however, that the public will think
as highly of it as we do. Our admiration is founded on the consistency
of its tone; upon the steady, well-sustained grumble kept up
throughout. The preface at once prepossessed us in favour of what was
to follow. Intended, doubtless, as a dram of bitters to assist in the
digestion of the subsequent sour repast, it consists of general
depreciation of other works regarding the Cape, and especially of one
by "a Mr Chase"--of sneers at "stay-at-home wiseacres" and hollow
theorists--and of a vague accusation brought against certain colonial
residents of "fomenting the warlike propensities of the neighbouring
barbarians, to secure their own ends," grievously to the detriment and
prejudice of their fellow-colonists. "The peculiar bent," says Mr
Nicholson, "of each author's mind has, in general, been so far allowed
to predominate as to exclude the hope of forming a correct estimate of
the capabilities of the soil, climate, and other interesting features
of this extensive country, by a perusal of their works." Could the
author of "The Cape and its Colonists" read his book with somebody
else's eyes, he would discover that his own "peculiar bent has been
allowed to predominate," and that the consequences have been of the
most gloomy description. Mr Nicholson is evidently a disappointed,
man. Either by his fault or misfortune, by the force of circumstances
or his own bad management, his attempt to establish himself thrivingly
at the Cape resulted unsatisfactorily; and this sufficiently accounts
for the general tint of blue so conspicuous in his retrospective
sketch of the scene of his mishaps. The particular spot where these
occurred was a considerable tract of land (called a farm) in the
district of Graaf Reinet, to arrive at which he steamed from Cape
Town, where he had landed from England, to Port Elizabeth in Algoa
Bay. The dismal aspect of this bay painfully affected him. He "had
read some of the glowing descriptions given of this part of the
country, by persons whose interest it is to entice over settlers by
any means, even the most dishonest, in order to have the benefit of
plucking them afterwards. It is true that I had not believed the El
Dorado stories so current of this and other colonies, but my
expectations had been raised sufficiently high to make the
disappointment at the really desolate appearance of the place,
perfect." The apparent desolation is accompanied by substantial
disadvantages, which Mr Nicholson complacently enumerates. Water is
scarce and brackish; there are no vegetables or fruit within twenty
miles; hardly forage for a team of oxen; the town is built on sand, of
which unceasing clouds are hurled by prevalent strong winds in the
face of all comers. No wonder that the new settler, evidently
indisposed to be easily pleased, made his escape as quickly as
possible from so dreary a neighbourhood. Shipping himself, family, and
chattels in an ox-waggon, he joyfully quitted Port Elizabeth on a
splendid morning of the African autumn--that is to say, about the end
of March or beginning of April, and set out for his property, over a
road which he describes as a fair sample of Cape causeways, "nothing
more than a series of parallel tracks made by the passage of waggons,
from time to time, through the sand and jungle." Finding little to
notice on his way, he takes the opportunity of having a fling at the
missionaries, whom he describes as doing much harm, although actuated,
as he is willing to believe, by the best of intentions. The stations
serve as the headquarters of the idlest and most vagabond portion of
the coloured population, who have only to affect a Christian
disposition to find ready acceptance and refuge. "No sooner is a
Hottentot, or other coloured servant, discontented or hopelessly lazy,
than off he flies to the nearest station, where he can indulge in the
greatest luxury he knows of--that of sleeping either in the sun or
shade as his inclination may lead him, with the occasional variation
of participating in the singing and praying exercises of the regular
inhabitants of the place." If the zealous propagators of Christianity,
who thus encourage the natural idleness of the natives, were
successful in their attempts at conversion, it might be accepted as
some compensation for the temporal evils and inconvenience they aid to
inflict on a colony where servants are scarce and bad. But this is far
from being the case. Mr Nicholson assures us (and we readily believe
him) that it is very rare to find an individual whose moral conduct
has been improved by a residence at a missionary station, and that for
his part he prefers the downright heathen to the imperfect convert.
Few of these coloured Christians have any distinct idea of the creed
they profess; when able, which is seldom, to answer questions
concerning its first principles, their replies are parrot-like and
unintelligent. Against the general character of the missionaries
nothing can be said; but they are throwing away time, and their
employers are wasting money which might be employed to far greater
advantage in England, or in other countries whose inhabitants, equally
in want of religious instruction, are more capable of receiving and
comprehending it than are the stolid aborigines of the Cape of Good
Hope. Mr Nicholson does not dwell upon the subject of missionary
labours in Africa, but compresses at the close of a chapter his
opinions, which are sound and to the purpose. Mrs Ward says nothing on
the matter, and we ourselves are not disposed to dilate upon it,
having already often taken occasion to expose the folly of the system
that sends preachers and biblemongers to the remotest corners of the
earth when such scope for their labours exists at home. Let us return
to George Nicholson, his trials and tribulations.

These were manifold; and he makes the most of them. No encouraging
signs or omens cheered his progress through the land, bidding his
heart beat high with hope. At two days' journey from Port Elizabeth he
halted for the night at a farm belonging to an Englishman of
independent property, who received him hospitably, but assured him
that sheep-breeding was a hopeless speculation, owing to the bad
pasturage, to the bushy tangled nature of the country, and to the
hyenas, there called wolves, who are most destructive. As he
proceeded, pasturage improved, but other plagues were apparent. In
some places water was as scarce as in an Arabian desert, and as much
prized--collected in pits and husbanded with the utmost care. "The
maps of the colony indicate rivers of the most encouraging description
in this part of the country. But the district itself presents only a
series of dry water-courses, leaving evident traces of their
capability of containing water for some hours after storms." These
sandy and deceitful gullies intersect "a frightful country, which can
only be described as a succession of low undulations, covered with
large shingles, between which the most debauched-looking stunted tufts
of the poisonous and prickly euphorbia, with here and there a
magnificent scarlet-headed aloe, forced their way." We are at a loss
to know what the ex-colonist here means by the epithet "debauched-looking,"
unless he intends some obscure allusion to the thirsty and
disreputable aspect of the brambles, remote as they were from the
vicinity of any water except one spring of "Harrowgate, which, to
judge from the nasty effluvium it produced, must have been possessed
of rare healing qualities." The severe droughts are the destruction of
the settlers, entailing terrible losses and often total ruin, and
their pernicious effects are aggravated by flights of locusts. These
the farmers do what they can to keep off by smoky fires and other
means, sometimes with success; but even when the insect cloud pass
over a field without ravaging it, they leave a memento of their
transit in the shape of innumerable eggs. In due time the young
generation come forth, and being wingless cannot be driven away, but
hop about and ravage every thing till their wings grow, and a gale of
wind takes them off to fresh pasturage. Mrs Ward's description of a
flight of locusts is remarkably striking, and given with a vigour of
phrase not often found in the productions of a female pen.

     "The first two years of our sojourn here, the locusts
     devastated the land. The prophet Joel describes this
     dreadful visitation as 'like the noise of chariots on the
     tops of mountains,' 'like the noise of a flame of fire that
     devoureth the stubble,' as 'a strong people set in battle
     array;' and any one who has ridden through a cloud of
     locusts must admit the description to be as true as it is
     sublime. On one occasion, at Fort Peddie, the cloud,
     flickering between us and the missionary station, half a
     mile distant, dazzled our eyes, and veiled the buildings
     from our sight; at last it rose, presenting its effects in
     some acres of barren stubble, which the sun had lit up in
     all the beauty of bright green a few hours before. Verily,
     the heavens seemed to tremble, and the sky was darkened by
     this 'great army,' which passed on, 'every one on his way,'
     neither 'breaking their ranks nor thrusting one another.' So
     they swept on, occupying a certain space between the heavens
     and the earth, and neither swerving from the path, extending
     the mighty phalanx, nor pausing in the course: the noise of
     their wings realising the idea of a 'flaming blast,' and
     their whole appearance typifying God's terrible threat of a
     'besom of destruction.'

     "'They shall walk every one in his path!' Nothing turns them
     from it. And if the traveller endeavours to force his way
     through them with unwonted rapidity, he is sure to suffer. I
     have ridden for miles at a sharp gallop through their
     legions, endeavouring to beat them of with my whip, but all
     to no purpose! Nothing turns them aside, and the poor horses
     bend down their heads as against an advancing storm, and
     make their way as best they can, snorting and writhing under
     the infliction of sharp blows on the face and eyes, which
     their riders endeavour to evade with as little success. You
     draw a long breath after escaping from a charge of locusts;
     and looking around you, you exclaim with the prophet, 'The
     land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a
     desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape
     them!'"[9]

      [9] _Five Years in Kaffirland_, vol. ii. p. 167-8.

Mr Nicholson's location included a tolerable house with mud floors and
reed ceilings, and thirty-five thousand acres of mountain and plain,
having the reputation of one of the best farms in the district. The
cost of this was about £2000; and the property was calculated to
maintain five or six thousand sheep, four hundred oxen, besides
horses. There were four small springs, allowing the cultivation of
about sixteen acres of good soil. Mr Nicholson, not wishing to
overburden the land, bought only three thousand sheep, with cattle in
proportion, and began the life (described by him as most discouraging
and unprofitable) of a Cape of Good Hope sheep-farmer. Melancholy
indeed is the account he gives of the profits and losses of that
occupation. In the first place, high wages and good keep are scarcely
sufficient inducement to the lazy Hottentots to take service; and when
they are prevailed upon, they are scarce worth having. They are sent
to the hills with the flocks, which they have to protect from beasts
of prey, always on the look-out for a bit of straggling mutton. They
themselves, however, are conspicuous for their rapacity, and by no
means remarkable for honesty; and doubtless many a stray sheep is
debited to the hyenas, of whose disappearance the Hottentots could
give a very good account. The wild animals, however--panthers,
jackals, hyenas, and, in some districts, lions--are amongst the
settler's worst foes. These prowling carnivora preclude the
possibility of leaving sheep out of doors after dark; and, even when
penned, the fleecy family can hardly be considered safe. "In stormy
weather," saith Nicholson, "my walled pens, although well bushed at
top, and above six feet high, did not sufficiently protect me from
great losses by the hyenas, which, on such occasions, would often jump
over and kill sheep, and often carry one off in their mouths." This
latter feat is rather astounding; but no matter, let us pass on to the
next grievances of the unfortunate settler and sheep-farmer,
grievances not peculiar to himself, but shared by all whose evil star
guides them to the land of locusts and hyena. The diseases of sheep
are numerous and fatal--scab, consumptive wasting, inflammation of the
lungs, violent inflammatory epidemics, poisonous bushes and
hailstones, drought and thunderbolts. "I recollect one of my
neighbours losing upwards of three hundred valuable sheep in a few
minutes from the effects of a hailstorm. Another farmer, living at no
great distance from me, lost fifteen hundred sheep in one season from
drought; and on my own farm, shortly before I became possessed of it,
four hundred sheep were destroyed by lightning in a moment." Doubtless
such mishaps as these do occur, but there is something particularly
painful in Mr Nicholson's lugubrious style of piling them up, without
intermixture of the smallest crumb of comfort for any unhappy
individuals planning emigration to the Cape. Did he but vaunt the
tender haunches and juicy saddles, the fine and profitable wool
yielded by the remnant of these afflicted flocks! But touching the
mutton he is mute; and as regards the produce of the fleeces, he
pledges himself that, under the most favourable circumstances, they
never yield more than four per cent on the value of the flock--a small
enough remuneration, as it appears to us, unlearned, we confess, in
ways of woollen. But we have not yet got to the worst of the story.
Supposing a farmer fortunate, and that his flocks escape the
multifarious evils above enumerated--that they are spared by the
lightning's blast, the big hailstones, the inflammatory epidemic, and
all the rest of it. Not upon that account may he rub his hands in
jubilation, and reckon upon a good clip and high prices. He gets up
one morning and finds his sheep converted into goats, or something
little better. "Woolled sheep have a natural tendency to deterioration
in this climate; and in a few generations, notwithstanding the
greatest care, the wool begins to show a tendency to assimilate itself
to the hairy nature of the coat, which, is the natural covering of the
indigenous animal." So that, upon the whole, Mr Nicholson inclines to
prefer goats to sheep, as stock, if properly attended to, and the
utmost possible numbers kept. The profit is made out of the skin, fat,
and flesh, and "those carcasses not required for food, might be boiled
down for tallow." He perhaps overlooks, in this calculation, "the
scarcity and bad quality of the fuel, composed of the dung dug out of
the sheep pens, and stacked for the purpose." The present system,
however, evidently does not answer, judging from his statement that
there is not "one sheep-farmer in the Eastern Province (depending on
the profits of his farm) who is either contented with the results of
his farming, or is not grievously indebted to his storekeeper, except
among the old-established and primitive Dutch families, who spend no
money in manufactures, and have but little to spend, had they the
habit." Is it unfair to argue, from this paragraph, the absence, on
the part of the English colonists, of that frugal simplicity of living
essential in a new country? A man settling in a country like the Cape,
should be prepared to resign not only luxuries, but many things which
in Europe are deemed positive necessaries of life, but which, in the
forest and prairie, may well be dispensed with. We infer, from certain
passages in Mr Nicholson's book, that he and his fellow-colonists were
rather above their position, too addicted to the comforts of England
to submit to the privations of Africa, and that they augmented their
expenses by procuring alleviations which their primitive Dutch
neighbours cheerfully dispensed with. The Dutchmen, Mr Nicholson tells
us, spend no money in manufactures. Then the English settlers' wives
were evidently quite out of their element in the bush, or as occupants
of houses mud-floored and roofed with reeds. "I have never," says Mr
Nicholson, "seen an English woman in the colony, at all raised above
the very poorest, who did not complain bitterly of the inconvenience
she endured when living on a farm; and I really know nothing more
affecting than the sight of the often elegant-minded and well-educated
sheep-farmer's wife struggling with the drudgery of her situation, and
repining fruitlessly at the deceptive accounts which had induced her
husband to seek his fortune in South Africa." Here we, perhaps, have a
clue to one cause of the jaundiced view the ex-settler takes of things
at the Cape. The impossibility of obtaining the requisite domestic
servants drove Mrs Nicholson from the sheep-farm in Graaf Reinet to
the more agreeable residence of Cape Town, at a distance of eight
hundred miles; and thenceforward her husband divided his time, as best
he could, between domestic and farming duties. This seems an
uncomfortable state of things. The want of the master's eye must have
been sadly felt at the farm during his visits to Cape Town, and he
must have lost much time and some patience in weary eight-hundred-mile
journeys, performed, for the most part, on horseback.

The Kaffir war is, of course, a prominent subject in the three books
before us. We find least of it in that of Lieutenant Barnard, whose
narrative is chiefly of things at sea, and most in Mrs Ward's volumes,
which consist principally of details of that unsatisfactory contest.
Mrs Ward and Mr Nicholson concur in attributing to Whig
mal-administration, and to the unwise treaties of Sir Andries
Stockenstrom, the numerous disasters that of late years have afflicted
the Cape, and the bloody and inglorious struggle that has cost this
country upwards of three millions sterling. Here, again, is to be
traced the hand and mischief-making tongue of the pseudo-philanthropists.
By those tender-hearted gentry was the original impulse given to the
series of changes which have done so much towards the ruin of a
prosperous colony. First came a scream about the ill-treated
Hottentots. These were certainly often ill-used by their Dutch
masters, but that was surely no reason for emancipating them, by one
summary ordinance, from every species of restraint. This, however, was
the course adopted; and forthwith the Hottentot, by nature one of the
most indolent of animals, spurned work, and took to idleness and
dram-drinking. Since that fatal day, the race has degenerated and
dwindled, and no doubt it will ultimately become extinct. Having thus,
greatly to the detriment and inconvenience of the colonists, procured
the Hottentots liberty, or rather license, the sympathisers extended
their charitable exertions to Kaffirland. What pretext existed for
this new crusade does not exactly appear, but its result was even more
mischievous than their interference with the Hottentots. The Kaffirs
were told of grievances they previously never had dreamed of, they
were rendered unsettled and dissatisfied, (greedy and rapacious they
already were,) and at last they poured into the colony, sweeping off
the flocks and herds, murdering the peaceable settler, and setting the
flaming brand to his roof-tree. This incursion, the ruin of
thousands, at an end, the colonists set to work to repair damages,
hoping for peace and a return of prosperity, when a new calamity came
upon them. Mrs Ward shall describe it.

     "Suddenly there was a voice, which went through all the
     countries of the known earth, crying aloud, 'Let the slave
     be free!' Societies sent forth their ragged regiments, with
     banners on which the negro was depicted as an interesting
     child of nature, chained and emaciated, whilst a ruffian
     beside him held the lash over his head. 'The people' really
     imagined that the sugar plantations were worked by lanky
     negroes, handcuffed one to another. Elderly ladies, who
     abused their neighbours over their bohea, rejoiced in the
     prospect of 'emancipation and cheap sugar,' and the people,
     the dear 'people,' expected to get it for nothing. The Dutch
     were quite ready to listen to the voice that cried 'shame'
     at the idea of seizing our fellow-creatures, packing them
     like herrings in slave-ships, and bartering them in the
     market. But how to set about the remedy should have been
     considered. The chain was broken, and the people of England
     hurraed to their hearts' content. Meanwhile, what became of
     the slave? If he was young and vicious, away he went--he was
     his own master. He was free--he had the world before him
     where to choose. Whether true or false, he was persuaded he
     had been ill used. So, whilst his portrait, with a broken
     chain, sleek limbs, eyes uplifted to heaven, and hands
     clasped in speechless gratitude, was carried about the
     streets of our manufacturing towns in England, (where there
     was more starvation in one street than among the whole of
     the South African slave population,) the original of the
     picture was squatted beside the Kaffir's fire, thinking his
     meal of parched corn but poor stuff after the palatable
     dishes he had been permitted to cook for himself in the
     boer's or tradesman's kitchen."[10]

      [10] _Five Years in Kaffirland_, vol. i. pp. 35-6.

And the frugal, hard-working Dutchmen, an excellent ingredient in the
population of a young country, finding themselves deprived of their
slaves, insufficiently compensated, and in fifty ways prejudiced and
inconvenienced by the clumsy and injudicious manner in which the
emancipation had been carried out, brooded over the injustice done
them, and began to migrate across various branches of Orange river
towards the north-east corner of the colony, and finally beyond its
boundary, preferring constant warfare with the Kaffirs, entailed upon
them by the change, to submission to the new and vexatious ordinances,
and to the enactments of the Stockenstrom treaties. These were in the
highest degree absurd, although their framer was rewarded by a pension
and title, as if he had done the state some service, instead of having
actually been the main cause of the last Kaffir war. A ridiculous
report got abroad, credited largely by stay-at-home philanthropists,
and heartily laughed at by all who had any real knowledge of the
subject, that the Kaffirs were a mild, peaceable, and ill-used
people--in Exeter-Hall phrase, "a pastoral and patriarchal race." "It
was imagined," says Mr Nicholson, "that they possessed a strong sense
of honour and probity, and only desired to be guaranteed from the
tyranny of the colonists, (poor lambs!); and a determination was
accordingly come to, to make treaties with the chiefs, the performance
of which could only be secured by their honourable observance of what
was detrimental to the interests of themselves and their people, as
they understood it." Now the truth of the matter is, that a more
vicious and treacherous race than the Kaffirs would be sought in vain
upon the face of the inhabited earth. They unite every evil quality.
"The stalwart Kaffir," says Mrs Ward, "with his powerful form and air
of calm dignity, beneath which are concealed the deepest cunning and
the meanest principles. Some call the Kaffir brave. He is a thief, a
liar, and a beggar, ready only to fight in ambush; and although, to
use the common expression, he 'dies game,' his calmness is the result
of sullenness." Cunning is the most prominent characteristic of this
pleasing savage. "It makes them," says Lieutenant Barnard, "fully
aware of the humanity of the English character, which prevents us from
killing an unarmed man; so, when they find themselves taken unawares,
they throw their arms into the bush, pretend to be friendly Kaffirs,
and, in all probability, fire on our troops when they get to a
convenient distance." It also taught them, during the former war, that
they had no chance against Europeans unless they could procure
firearms; to have time to get these, they joyfully concluded a treaty,
and would have done so on far less favourable terms, never intending
to abide by them. But those made were not sufficiently stringent to
keep even civilised borderers in check. Some were laughed at, others
evaded, whilst a third class defeated their own object. Here is the
twenty-fourth article, as a sample of the last-named sort:--"If any
person being in pursuit of criminals or depredators, or property
stolen by them, shall not overtake or recover the same before he shall
reach the said line, (colonial boundary;) and provided he can make
oath that he traced the said criminals, &c., across a particular spot
on said line; that the property, when stolen, was properly guarded by
an armed herdsman; that the pursuit was commenced immediately after
such property was stolen; that, if the robbery was committed in the
night, the property had been (when stolen) properly secured in kraals,
(folds,) stables, or the like; and that the pursuit, in such case, was
commenced (at latest) early next morning, such person shall be at
liberty to proceed direct to the _pakati_, (Kaffir police!") and (we
abridge the _verbiage_) to make his affidavit and continue his
pursuit, "_provided he do not go armed, or accompanied by armed
British subjects_." Was there ever any thing more absurd than the
formalities here prescribed for the recovery of property from a set of
cattle-lifters, in comparison with whom a Scottish borderer of the
olden time was a man of truth and conscience, and a respecter of
neighbours' rights? It explains, if it does not quite justify, the
fierce personal attack made by Nicholson the sheep-farmer upon the
negotiator of such foolish treaties, whom he designates pretty
plainly, without positively naming him. Mrs Ward, too lady-like and
well-bred to descend to personalities--save in the case of Kaffirs,
whom at times she does most lustily vituperate--contents herself with
blaming acts without attacking individuals. The wily Kaffirs, with
whom theft is a virtue, were not slow to discover the facilities
afforded them, and stole cattle to a greater extent than ever.
Persuaded, moreover, that such regulations could be prompted only by
the weakness of the framers, they looked forward with glee to
overrunning the entire colony at their leisure. They only waited till
they should have sufficient muskets and cartridges. These they easily
obtained; there was no lack of unpatriotic white traders ready and
willing to supply them. This done, the warwhoop was raised, and
hostilities recommenced,--the Kaffirs confident of victory. There had
been so much parleying and lawyers'-work with them, threats had so
often been uttered and so seldom carried out, that the savages had
formed an immense idea of their own consequence and power. Whilst the
hollow peace lasted, their constant and imperious cry was "_Bassila!_"
Give!--when the mask of friendship was thrown aside, they burst into
the colony, desolating in their progress as a swarm of locusts; and if
assailed by the scanty forces that could at first be brought against
them, they plunged into the tangled bush, and, with levelled gun and
assegai, shouted "_Izapa!_" Come on! From the evidence of Mrs Ward's
own pages, we think she hardly does them justice in classing them with
poltroons. They appear to have made good fight on many occasions. And
if the white feather be so conspicuous an ornament in their savage
head-dress, on what ground can she claim such great credit for the
troops that overcame them, and talk of the war as one "not so noble in
its details as those of the days of Napoleon, but far more glorious in
its results." Here she evidently writes from the heat and impulse of
the moment, as she does in some other parts of her book. To this we do
not object, but rather prefer it to the cautious and circumspect
manner in which most writers, especially male ones, would have
extolled the deeds of the South African army, whose sole opportunities
of distinction were in petty skirmishes with undisciplined and naked
barbarians. Not that the Kaffirs could be considered as foes of the
most contemptible class. With a monkey-like faculty of imitation,
they caught up smatterings of European tactics. "Day by day," we
quote Mr Barnard, "they get more expert in the use of fire-arms, and
are observant of our least movements, that I have heard officers
describe their throwing out skirmishers as quite equal to our own
manœuvres." They also attempt stratagems, often with success. It is
a common trick with them to ensnare small parties of the enemy by
leaving a few cattle grazing at the edge of a thicket, in which they
conceal themselves, and when their opponents approach, issue forth and
assail them. In this manner were entrapped Captain Gibson and Dr
Howell, of the Rifles, and the Honourable Mr Chetwynd, who, as
new-comers to the colony, were not up to the hackneyed decoy. The
Kaffirs, on the other hand, are too cunning to be often taken
unawares, although we read of a few successful surprises in Mrs Ward's
chronicle of the campaign. Colonel Somerset, the gallant commander of
the Cape mounted Rifles, is the hero of one of these, upon which Mrs
Ward dwells with peculiar complacency. A small division of troops had
halted to bivouac, when an officer's horse ran away, and carried him
over a hill, past a "clump of Kaffirs" six hundred strong. Reining in
with great difficulty, he dashed back and made his report. What ensued
is described in appropriate style by our martial and dashing
authoress.

     "Colonel Somerset lifted his cap from his head, gave three
     hearty cheers and shouted, 'Major Gibsone, (7th Dragoon
     Guards,) return carbines, draw swords, charge!' 'Hurrah!'
     was echoed back; and on they dashed, dragoons, Cape corps,
     burghers, Hottentots, and Fingos. They found the enemy up
     and in position. Such a mêlée! The cavalry dashed through
     the phalanx of Kaffirs, and for want of more cavalry to
     support them, dashed back again! A Hottentot soldier, one of
     the sturdy Cape corps, having two horses given him to take
     care of, charged unarmed, save his sword, and with a horse
     in each hand. There was great slaughter amongst the
     enemy.... Such Kaffirs as could not escape fell down
     exhausted and cried for mercy: there was a great deal of
     cunning in this,--they would have stabbed any one who
     approached near enough to them to offer a kind word. They
     had all had enough, however, of meeting a combined force of
     dragoons and Cape corps, and no doubt the latter tried to
     surpass themselves. Those gallant little Totties are an
     untiring and determined band. How little do we know in
     England of the courage and smartness of the Hottentot!"

A very wholesome lesson for the Kaffirs, two hundred of whom were
killed, and a good many more wounded, but rather an inglorious victory
for regular cavalry--so, at least, it strikes us, when we contemplate,
in one of Mrs Ward's illustrations, a parcel of naked monsters, more
like Mexican apes than men, howling and capering, and hurling javelins
at an advancing party of infantry. Any "phalanx" formed by these
uncouth barbarians, would be, we should think, of a very loose
description, and not likely to oppose much resistance to the charge of
her Majesty's 7th Dragoon Guards, backed by the mounted Rifles, who in
spite of black skin, diminutive stature, and cucumber shanks, are
admitted on all hands to be very efficient light cavalry--the best,
probably, for warfare against savages. It were well, perhaps, to
increase their numbers; or at any rate, if cavalry _must_ be sent out
from England, it were surely advisable to select it of the lightest
description. Dragoon guards are excellent in their place, first-rate
fellows to oppose to helmeted Frenchmen or Germans; but the Cape is by
no means their place, and Kaffirs are not cuirassiers. It is like
hunting weasels with wolf-hounds; the very size and power of the dogs
impede them in the pursuit of their noxious and contemptible prey.
There is one point of difference, however, and by no means in favour
of the dragoons; weasels do not carry loaded muskets, which Kaffirs
habitually do, firing them off whenever occasion offers, from behind
bushes, out of wolf-holes, or from any other sequestered and sheltered
position, where it is impossible for the heavy six-foot-long dragoon
guardsmen to get at them. Red jackets, glittering accoutrements, and
tall figures make up a capital mark for the bullet of a lurking foe;
and the unfortunate warriors go perspiring through the bush, with the
thermometer at 120° in the shade, cursing the Kaffirs, but rarely
catching them, their clattering scabbards betraying their approach,
and their lofty helmets visible, leagues off, to the keen-eyed savage.
Local corps--the native article--are unquestionably the proper thing
at the Cape; the patient Hottentot and plucky Fingo bear heat, hunger,
and fatigue far better than the beef-fed Englishman. "The Hottentot
will smile quietly when there is neither food nor water, and draw his
girdle of famine[11] tighter round his waist, and travel on under the
sun uncomplainingly." The Fingos, when hard run for rations, sometimes
eat the bullock-hide shields that form part of their defensive
equipment. These Fingos, by the way, are rather remarkable fellows.
The word _Fingo_ means slave, and for a long period the tribe that
bore the name were in worse than Egyptian bondage. They were the serfs
of the pitiless Kaffirs, until Sir Benjamin de Urban rescued them. "On
the 7th May," says Sir James Alexander, in his sketches of Western
Africa, "I witnessed a most interesting sight, and one which causes
this day to be of immense importance in the annals of South Africa. It
was no less than the flight of the Fingo nation, seventeen thousand in
number, from Amakose bondage, guarded by British troops, and on their
way across the Kei, to find a new country under British protection."
Although an indolent race, fond of basking in the sun, and who will
not even hunt until driven to it by hunger, they fought bravely during
the last war, proving themselves, in many engagements, better men than
their former taskmasters, who to this day never speak of them but as
their "dogs." Fingo costume, as described by Mrs Ward, is rather
original than civilised. They ornament their heads with jackals'
tails, ostrich plumes, beads, wolves' teeth, &c. Across their
shoulders is the skin of a beast, around their waist a kilt of monkey
tails, and they bear enormous shields, on which they sometimes beat
time as on a drum. "They will lie down on the watch for hours, and
imitate the cries of animals to attract the attention of the Kaffirs,
who find themselves encountered by creatures of their own mould,
instead of the wolf or the jackal, as they expected. Sometimes, on the
other hand, the Kaffirs will encircle the Fingos, and dance round
them, yelling frightfully--now roaring like a lion, now hissing like a
serpent; but it is seldom the Kaffirs conquer the Fingos, unless the
latter are inferior in numbers." Notwithstanding their monkified
manœuvres, the Fingos have been found very useful. Nay, the very
Bushmen, (the real aborigines of South Africa,) of which diminutive
and miserable race specimens were recently exhibited in England, were
availed of as allies during the war--a detachment of them, armed with
poisoned arrows, accompanying the British forces. This may appear
rather derogatory to British humanity, but all is fair when Kaffirs
are the foe. The cruelties of these savages exceed belief. Mrs Ward
regales us with a few of their barbarous exploits, and details the
tortures inflicted on the unhappy wretches who fell into their hands.
A soldier of the 91st regiment, caught straggling, was flayed alive,
the little children being permitted, by way of a treat, to assist in
tormenting him. Another was burned to death. We find no account of
quarter ever being given. And Kaffir impudence equals Kaffir cruelty.
When they found themselves getting the worst of the fight, after
sustaining a reverse of unusual severity, they would coolly send
ambassadors to the British to know "why war was made upon them," and
to request permission to "plant their corn" in peace.

  [11] Fingos, Kaffirs, and Hottentots, make use of a band or
  handkerchief, drawn tightly round the body, to deaden the pain of
  hunger; as the gnawing agony of famine increases, the ligature is
  tightened accordingly.--_Five Years in Kaffirland_, vol. i., p. 102.

     "After the affair at Fort Peddie, Stock, a T'Slambie chief,
     sent messengers to complain of _our attacks upon him_, when
     he, too, was 'sitting still,' and only wished to be allowed
     to 'watch his father Eno's grave!' Very pathetic indeed!
     This would sound most pastoral and poetical in Exeter Hall.
     Stock _was_, no doubt, 'sitting still' beside 'his father's
     grave,' but his people were at work, plundering, burning,
     murdering, torturing, and mutilating the troops and
     colonists, _whilst_ he 'sat still' and approved. He should
     have protected that sacred spot, and kept the neighbourhood
     of Fort Peddie clear of marauders."[12]

      [12] _Five Years in Kaffirland_, vol. i. p. 304.

Mrs Ward writes like a man. We mean this in no uncomplimentary sense;
on the contrary. Her clear, natural, and lively style has a masculine
vigour and concision; her opinions are bold and decided. To those she
emits upon the subject of the colony and its prospects, we are
inclined to attach considerable weight. Women are keen observers, and
Mrs Ward is evidently no ordinary woman, but a person of great energy
and penetration. We more willingly rely on the observations made
during her marches and countermarches, in her equestrian rambles and
at outquarters, than on the croaking experiences of our friend the
sheep-farmer. A soldier's daughter and wife--a life of change,
hardship, and danger, has quickened her perceptions and ripened her
judgment.

     "When I read the miserable account from Ireland of its past
     year's woe, and the wretched prospect for the next, I long
     to hear of ships making their way to Algoa Bay, with
     emigrants from that country. Some have arrived within the
     last few weeks, and employment and provision have been met
     with at once. Under another system, affording protection to
     the settler, this country will afford a refuge to the
     starving population of Ireland. Well might Sir Henry
     Pottinger be struck with the capabilities and resources of
     this fine colony, as he travelled through it. Here is a vast
     and fertile space, comparatively free, at this moment, from
     the murderous heathen.... An industrious population, located
     in sections, would be the best protection for the country;
     and a well-organised militia, or police force, might be
     formed from those who are likely to die of cold and famine
     at home. Until such locations can be established, more
     troops will be required; the country we have added to our
     possessions must be held by might, and to do this, a living
     wall, bristling with arms, is necessary.

     "The village of Bathurst, in the district of Lower Albany,
     may be said to defend itself to its best ability. This
     pretty settlement has risen and flourished under the patient
     labour of emigrants, sent thither in 1820, chiefly through
     the instrumentality of the Duke of Newcastle. The labourer,
     the mechanic, the unthriving tradesman, the servant without
     work, may not only find employment, but are absolutely
     wanted here. The former may plant his three, and sometimes
     four crops of potatoes in the year, to say nothing of other
     produce, and manifold resources of gain and comfort. It is
     singular that, whilst our fellow creatures in Great Britain,
     in 1847, were suffering from the failure of their crops, the
     gardens of corn, pumpkin, &c., in Kaffirland, were more than
     usually productive.

     "The miserable mechanics from our crowded manufacturing
     districts may here earn six shillings a-day with ease; the
     ruined tradesman of England, with a jail staring him in the
     face, will meet a welcome here, where opposition in trade is
     required, to promote industry, honesty, and civility; and
     the youths of Ireland, instead of arming themselves for
     rebellious purposes, may, in this colony, serve their Queen
     honourably, by protecting their fellow creatures from the
     aggressions of the savage."[13]

      [13] _Ib._, vol. ii. p. 191-2.

Favourable and encouraging accounts, contrasting strongly with Mr
Nicholson's melancholy reports! That gentleman's book, if read and
credited, is of itself enough to stop emigration to the country
whither Mrs Ward thus strongly advocates it. And we must bear in mind,
moreover, that the colonial districts of the Cape include the least
fertile and valuable portion of South Africa. The finest pastures and
most healthy tracts are held by Hottentots, Kaffirs, and Fingos.
Savages, experience teaches us, recede and dwindle on the advance of
the white man. Increase the population of the Cape Colony, and in due
time the colonists will push their way. But Mr Nicholson strongly
objects to such increase, and holds it unwise and impracticable. We
cannot repeat, even in a compressed form, all the gloomy statements of
his eighth chapter, but will just glance at one or two of its points.
In the first place, in the country which, as Mrs Ward maintains, would
receive "the starving population of Ireland," and be the better for
their arrival, so long as they were willing to work, Mr Nicholson can
only make room for one thousand of the humbler classes of emigrants.
This, he opines, "would be the greatest number who could obtain
employment suited to the capacities and habits of decent labouring
people." They are to be principally female house-servants, cooks,
housemaids, and nurses; and with respect to the few out-door labourers
he is disposed to admit, those, he tells us, "would succeed best who,
without having previously followed any particular occupation so
closely as to be almost unfitted for any other, can, as the term is,
'turn their hands to any thing.'" Married men, in his opinion, should
not go out at all. These are certainly singular doctrines, rather
contrary to received notions concerning emigration, as well as to Mrs
Ward's opinions. As to persons of a superior class going out to take
farms, expecting to live upon their produce, Mr Nicholson treats the
idea as utterly visionary and chimerical. Such persons must possess an
independent income, in addition to what it may be necessary to invest
in a farm. The question then is, how do the Dutch manage? since the
"late resident" admits the superior success and contentedness found
amongst the Boërs, and which were far more evident before the
wealthiest and most intelligent of them had left the colony, to seek
at Port Natal refuge from foolish legislation, and from the
slave-emancipating absurdities of the philanthropists. May not an
answer be found in the following extract?--"It must be admitted that a
British population is of more intrinsic value than a colonial Dutch
one; but then the latter has, by long experience, been taught _to
moderate hopes and necessities within a compass little in accordance
with the go-a-head notions of the present race of Englishmen of all
classes of society_." Of course if "fast men" go out to settle at the
Cape, with Captain Harris's book of South African sports and a case of
rifles and fowling-pieces for chief baggage, and with expectations of
finding in the bush grand-pianos for their wives, and rocking-horses
for their first-born, they are likely to be exceedingly discontented
on discovering hard work and many privations to be the necessary
conditions of life in a new country. But Mr Nicholson is evidently not
one of those easily-pleased persons, who put up with present
disagreeables in hopes of a more prosperous future. To be sure, he
denies the possibility of any amount of energy, knowledge, and
industry procuring the emigrant a settled and comfortable position.
"When all this energy must be expended in an often vain effort to
prevent loss, or to overcome difficulties, the control of which will
only have a conservative, and not a progressive effect on the
settler's circumstances, its constant exercise soon sickens, and the
consequences will be despair and misery." We should put more faith in
these deplorable accounts, were they supported by the evidence of
other writers on the subject; but we know of none who partake Mr
Nicholson's dismal views, at least to any thing like the same extent.
And his whole book breathes a spirit of discontent and depreciation
that makes us regard it with distrust, as the splenetic effusion of a
man soured by ill success. With him, from Dan to Beersheba, all is
barren; or, if exceptional fertility here and there prevails, it is
neutralised by an accumulation of evils.

     "The farmer is, in this country, always checkmated, as it
     were, by the natural order of things: luxuriant-looking
     pasturage is of poisonous quality, and the more wholesome
     kinds scanty in quantity, and liable to be fatally
     diminished by dry seasons. Crops of corn and all kinds of
     vegetables grow most abundantly, and are cultivated at but
     little expense, in most parts of Albany; frequent and heavy
     losses in wheat crops, however, may be expected from the
     'rust,' and less frequent and more partial destruction from
     the attacks of locusts. When a large general yield of grain
     occurs, it must be sold at a very low figure, as there is
     great difficulty in preserving it for better prices, for
     want of granaries and barns, which would be too expensive to
     erect, and would, after all, but ineffectually guarantee it
     from the attacks of the numerous animals and insects which
     swarm in this climate. If sold for a good price in such a
     season, to persons inhabiting other districts where the
     crops may have failed, the expenses of transport would form
     a serious item of deduction from the general profit."[14]

      [14] _The Cape and its Colonists_, p. 114.

May we be a breakfast for hippopotami, if there is a possibility of
pleasing George Nicholson, junior, Esq.! Here is a catalogue of
calamities! How he baffles the unfortunate settler at every turn with
some fresh and inevitable disaster! When grass abounds, it is
poisonous, and, when wholesome, there is none of it! The rust and the
locust conspire to destroy the wheat: when it escapes both, it must be
sold for next to nothing, because it is not worth while building barns
to store it. And if a Cape farmer _were_ extravagant enough to build a
granary, insects and animals would empty it for him! Insects, animals,
and reptiles certainly are the curse of the country--certain
descriptions of them, at least. Snakes are very abundant, and nearly
all deadly in their bite. In the fertile district of Zwellendam they
abound, and frequently occasion severe loss by biting the sheep.
Amongst the beasts of prey, lions are getting thinned by the guns of
Boërs, settlers, and English officers; the jackals and hyenas are
cowardly creatures, and fly from man, but play the mischief with the
flocks. The rhinoceros is an ugly customer when provoked, but far less
so than he would be were his sight better, and his difficulty in
turning his stiff carcass less. The lumbering hippopotamus abounds in
most of the rivers, and is shot from the banks by huntsmen hidden
amongst the bushes; he is sometimes also taken in pitfalls, with a
sharp stake at the bottom, which impales any unfortunate animal
chancing to fall in. His teeth are more valuable than elephant ivory,
and his flesh--especially the fat, which, when salted, eats like
bacon--is greatly esteemed by both colonists and natives. The plains
are in some places infested by colonies of small animals, rather
larger than the squirrel, and obnoxious to the horseman, "who form a
kind of warren in the softer and more sandy portions of the plain,
which break in with the horse, and bury him up to his shoulders in the
dust and rubbish, amongst which the rider is pretty sure of finding
himself on his back." But if dangerous beasts and troublesome vermin
are too plentiful in the colony, this annoyance is compensated by an
extraordinary abundance of useful and profitable animals. Numerous
varieties of the stag and antelope overrun the plains. Mr Nicholson,
whom we suspect of a more decided predilection for the sportsman's
double-barrel than for the crook and tar-barrel of the sheep-farmer,
speaks in the highest terms of field-sports at the Cape, although,
faithful to his system of flying off from a subject almost as soon as
he touches upon it, he gives few details, hinting diffidence in
approaching that subject after Harris's famous book. The little he
does say impresses us with the idea of a glorious supply of venison
and other choice meats. We read of twenty thousand antelopes in sight
at one time; of a column of spring-bucks (a variety of the same
family) fifteen miles in length, and so closely packed, that nine fell
at one discharge from a large gun. The extensive forest of the
Zitikama, which supplies the colony with timber, abounds in buffalo,
boar, and antelope, in pheasants, partridges, and guinea-fowl. The
keen sportsman, not wedded to the pleasures of a city, will find
abundant pastime and recreation in so gamy a land as this; and, when
wearied by the monotonous occupations of his farm, may, almost without
losing sight of browsing herds and drowsy Hottentots, pleasantly
beguile an hour by stalking a "blesbok" or circling a bustard--the
latter process consisting in riding round the birds in large but
decreasing circles, which evolution, if skilfully performed, causes
them to lie close till the horse walks them up. Such is the
manœuvre advocated and practised by Mr Nicholson, who, having at
last left off grumbling, and begun to be amusing, prematurely closes
his very brief volume, as if afraid of writing himself into good
humour on his favourite subject of sporting, and of retracting some
portion of his previous depreciation of a colony which, with due
deference for his opinion and verdict, we persist in considering a
land of great promise to frugal, hardy, and industrious emigrants.



THE CAXTONS.--PART V.


CHAPTER XV.

In setting off the next morning, the Boots, whose heart I had won by
an extra sixpence for calling me betimes, good-naturedly informed me
that I might save a mile of the journey, and have a very pleasant walk
into the bargain, if I took the footpath through a gentleman's park,
the lodge of which I should see about seven miles from the town.

"And the grounds are showed too," said the Boots, "if so be you has a
mind to stay and see 'em. But don't you go to the gardener, he'll want
half-a-crown; there's an old 'oman at the lodge, who will show you all
that's worth seeing,--the walks and the big cascade--for a tizzy. You
may make use o' my name," he added proudly, "Bob, boots at the Lion.
She be a _h_aunt o' mine, and she minds them that come from me
pertiklerly."

Not doubting that the purest philanthropy actuated these counsels, I
thanked my shockheaded friend, and asked carelessly to whom the park
belonged?

"To Muster Trevanion, the great parliament man," answered the Boots.
"You has heard o' him, I guess, sir?"

I shook my head, surprised, every hour, more and more, to find how
very little there was in it.

"They takes in the _Moderate Man's Journal_ at the Lamb; and they say
in the tap there that he's one of the cleverest chaps in the House o'
Commons," continued the Boots in a confidential whisper. "But we takes
in the _People's Thunderbolt_ at the Lion, and we knows better this
Muster Trevanion: he is but a trimmer,--milk and water,--no
_h_orator,--not the right sort,--you understand?"

Perfectly satisfied that I understood nothing about it, I smiled, and
said, "Oh yes;" and, slipping on my knapsack, commenced my adventures;
the Boots bawling after me, "Mind, sir, you tells _h_aunt I sent you!"

The town was only languidly putting forth symptoms of returning life,
as I strode through the streets; a pale sickly unwholesome look on the
face of the slothful Phœbus had succeeded the feverish hectic of
the past night; the artisans whom I met glided past me, haggard and
dejected; a few early shops were alone open; one or two drunken men,
emerging from the lanes, sallied homeward with broken pipes in their
mouths; the bills stuck on the walls, with large capitals, calling
attention to "Best family teas at 4s. a-lb.;" "the arrival of Mr
Sloman's caravan of wild beasts," and Dr Do'ems "Paracelsian Pills of
Immortality," stared out dull and uncheering from the walls of
tenantless dilapidated houses in that chill sunrise which favours no
illusion. I was glad when I had left the town behind me, and saw the
reapers in the corn-fields, and heard the chirp of the birds. I
arrived at the lodge of which the Boots had spoken: a pretty rustic
building half concealed by a belt of plantations, with two large iron
gates for the owner's friends, and a small turn-stile for the public,
who, by some strange neglect on his part, or sad want of interest with
the neighbouring magistrates, had still preserved a right to cross the
rich man's domains, and look on his grandeur, limited to compliance
with a reasonable request mildly stated on the notice-board, "to keep
to the paths." As it was not yet eight o'clock, I had plenty of time
before me to see the grounds, and, profiting by the economical hint of
the Boots, I entered the lodge, and inquired for the old lady who was
_h_aunt to Mr Bob. A young woman, who was busied in preparing
breakfast, nodded with great civility to this request, and hastening
to a bundle of clothes which I then perceived in the corner, she
cried, "Grandmother, here's a gentleman to see the cascade."

The bundle of clothes then turned round, and exhibited a human
countenance, which lighted up with great intelligence as the
grand-daughter, turning to me, said with simplicity--"She's old,
honest cretur, but she still likes to earn a sixpence, sir;" and
taking a crutch-staff in her hand, while her grand-daughter put a
neat bonnet on her head, this industrious gentlewoman sallied out at a
pace which surprised me.

I attempted to enter into conversation with my guide; but she did not
seem much inclined to be sociable, and the beauty of the glades and
groves which now spread before my eyes reconciled me to silence.

I have seen many fine places since then, but I do not remember to have
seen a landscape more beautiful in its peculiar English character than
that which I now gazed on. It had none of the feudal characteristics
of ancient parks, with giant oaks, fantastic pollards, glens covered
with fern, and deer grouped upon the slopes; on the contrary, in spite
of some fine trees, chiefly beech, the impression conveyed was that it
was a new place--a made place. You might see ridges on the lawns which
showed where hedges had been removed; the pastures were parcelled out
in divisions by new wire-fences; young plantations, planned with
exquisite taste, but without the venerable formality of avenues and
quincunxes, by which you know the parks that date from Elizabeth and
James, diversified the rich extent of verdure; instead of deer, were
short-horned cattle of the finest breed--sheep that would have won the
prize at an agricultural show. Every where there was the evidence of
improvement--energy--capital; but capital clearly not employed for the
mere purpose of return. The ornamental was too conspicuously
predominant amidst the lucrative, not to say eloquently--"The owner is
willing to make the most of his land, but not the most of his money."

But the old woman's eagerness to earn sixpence had impressed me
unfavourably as to the character of the master. "Here," thought I,
"are all the signs of riches; and yet this poor old woman, living on
the very threshold of opulence, is in want of a sixpence."

These surmises, in the indulgence of which I piqued myself on my
penetration, were strengthened into convictions by the few sentences
which I succeeded at last in eliciting from the old woman.

"Mr Trevanion must be a rich man," said I.

"O ay, rich eno'!" grumbled my guide.

"And," said I, surveying the extent of shrubbery or dressed ground
through which our way wound, now emerging into lawns and glades, now
belted by rare garden trees, now (as every inequality of the ground
was turned to advantage in the landscape) sinking into the dell, now
climbing up the slopes, and now confining the view to some object of
graceful art or enchanting nature:--"And," said I, "he must employ
many hands here--plenty of work, eh!"

"Ay, ay--I don't say that he don't find work for those who want it.
But it aint the same place it wor in my day."

"You remember it in other hands, then?"

"Ay, ay! When the Hogtons had it, honest folk! My goodman was the
gardener--none of these set-up fine gentlemen who can't put hand to a
spade."

Poor faithful old woman!

I began to hate the unknown proprietor. Here clearly was some mushroom
usurper who had bought out the old simple hospitable family, neglected
its ancient servants, left them to earn tizzies by showing waterfalls,
and insulted their eyes by his selfish wealth.

"There's the water, all sp_i_l't--it warn't so in my day," said the
guide.

A rivulet, whose murmur I had long heard, now stole suddenly into
view, and gave to the scene the crowning charm. As, relapsing into
silence, we tracked its silvan course, under dipping chestnuts and
shady limes--the house itself emerged on the opposite side--a modern
building, of white stone, with the noblest Corinthian portico I ever
saw in this country.

"A fine house, indeed," said I. "Is Mr Trevanion here much?"

"Ay, ay--I don't mean to say that he goes away altogether, but it aint
as it wor in my day, when the Hogtons lived here all the year round in
their warm house, not that one."

Good old woman, and these poor banished Hogtons! thought I: hateful
parvenu! I was pleased when a curve in the shrubberies shut out the
house from view, though in reality bringing us nearer to it. And the
boasted cascade, whose roar I had heard for some moments, came in
sight.

Amidst the Alps, such a waterfall would have been insignificant, but
contrasting ground highly dressed, with no other bold features, its
effect was striking, and even grand. The banks were here narrowed and
compressed; rocks, partly natural, partly no doubt artificial, gave a
rough aspect to the margin; and the cascade fell from a considerable
height into rapid waters, which my guide mumbled out were "mortal
deep."

"There wor a madman leapt over where you be standing," said the old
woman, "two years ago last June."

"A madman! why," said I, observing, with an eye practised in the
gymnasium of the Hellenic Institute, the narrow space of the banks
over the gulf which veiled the falls--"Why, my good lady, it need not
be a madman to perform that leap."

And so saying, with one of those sudden impulses which it would be
wrong to ascribe to the noble quality of courage, I drew back a few
steps, and cleared the abyss. But when, from the other side, I looked
back at what I had done, and saw that failure had been death, a
sickness came over me, and I felt as if I would not have re-leaped the
gulf to have become lord of the domain.

"And how am I to get back?" said I, in a forlorn voice, to the old
woman, who stood staring at me on the other side--"Ah, I see there is
a bridge below."

"But you can't go over the bridge; there's a gate on it; master keeps
the key himself. You are in the private grounds now. Dear--dear! the
Squire would be so angry if he knew. You must go back; and they'll see
you from the house! Dear me! dear--dear! What shall I do? Can't you
leap back agin?"

Moved by these piteous exclamations, and not wishing to subject the
poor old lady to the wrath of a master, evidently an unfeeling tyrant,
I resolved to pluck up courage and re-leap the dangerous abyss.

"Oh yes--never fear," said I, therefore. "What's been done once ought
to be done twice, if needful. Just get out of my way, will you?"

And I receded several paces over a ground much too rough to favour my
run for a spring. But my heart knocked against my ribs. I felt that
impulse can do wonders where preparation fails.

"You had best be quick then," said the old woman.

Horrid old woman! I began to esteem her less. I set my teeth, and was
about to rush on, when a voice close beside me said--

"Stay, young man; I will let you through the gate."

I turned round sharply, and saw close by my side, in great wonder that
I had not seen him before, a man, whose homely (but not working) dress
seemed to intimate his station as that of the head-gardener, of whom
my guide had spoken. He was seated on a stone under a chestnut-tree,
with an ugly cur at his feet, who snarled at me as I turned.

"Thank you, my man!" said I joyfully. "I confess frankly that I was
very much afraid of that leap."

"Ho! Yet you said what can be done once can be done twice."

"I did not say it _could_ be done, but _ought_ to be done."

"Humph! that's better put."

Here the man rose--the dog came and smelt my legs; and then, as if
satisfied with my respectability, wagged the stump of his tail.

I looked across the waterfall for the old woman, and, to my surprise,
saw her hobbling back as fast as she could.

"Ah!" I said I laughing, "the poor old thing is afraid you'll tell her
master--for you're the head-gardener, I suppose? But I'm the only
person to blame. Pray say that, if you mention the circumstance at
all;" and I drew out half-a-crown, which I proffered to my new
conductor.

He put back the money with a low "Humph!--not amiss." Then, in a
louder voice, "No occasion to bribe me, young man; I saw it all."

"I fear your master is rather hard to the poor Hogtons' old servants."

"Is he? Oh! humph--my master. Mr Trevanion you mean?"

"Yes."

"Well, I dare say people say so. This is the way," and he led me down
a little glen away from the fall.

Every body must have observed, that after he has incurred or escaped
a great danger, his spirits rise wonderfully--he is in a state of
pleasing excitement. So it was with me. I talked to the gardener _à
cœur ouvert_, as the French say: and I did not observe that his
short monosyllables in rejoinder all served to draw out my little
history--my journey, its destination; my schooling under Dr Herman,
and my father's great book. I was only made somewhat suddenly aware of
the familiarity that had sprung up between us, when, just as, having
performed a circuitous meander, we regained the stream and stood
before an iron gate, set in an arch of rock-work, my companion said
simply--"And your name, young gentleman? What's your name?"

I hesitated a moment; but having heard that such communications were
usually made by the visitors of show places, I answered--"Oh! a very
venerable one, if your master is what they call a bibliomaniac--Caxton."

"Caxton!" cried the gardener with some vivacity. "There is a
Cumberland family of that name--"

"That's mine; and my Uncle Roland is the head of that family."

"And you are the son of Augustine Caxton?"

"I am; you have heard of my dear father, then?"

"We will not pass by the gate now. Follow me--this way;" and my guide,
turning abruptly round, strode up a narrow path, and the house stood a
hundred yards before me ere I had recovered my surprise.

"Pardon me," said I; "but where are we going, my good friend?"

"Good friend--good friend! Well said, sir. You are going amongst good
friends. I was at college with your father. I loved him well. I knew a
little of your uncle too. My name is Trevanion."

Blind young fool that I was! The moment my guide told his name, I was
struck with amazement at my unaccountable mistake. The small,
insignificant figure took instant dignity; the homely dress, of rough,
dark broadcloth, was the natural and becoming deshabille of a country
gentleman in his own demesnes. Even the ugly cur became a Scotch
terrier of the rarest breed.

My guide smiled good-naturedly at my stupor; and patting me on the
shoulder, said--

"It is the gardener you must apologise to, not me. _He_ is a very
handsome fellow, six feet high."

I had not found my tongue before we had ascended a broad flight of
stairs under the portico; passed a spacious hall, adorned with statues
and fragrant with large orange-trees; and, entering a small room, hung
with pictures, in which were arranged all the appliances for
breakfast, my companion said to a lady, who rose from behind the
tea-urn, "My dear Ellinor--I introduce to you the son of our old
friend Augustine Caxton. Make him stay with us as long as he can.
Young gentleman, in Lady Ellinor Trevanion think that you see one whom
you ought to know well--family friendships should descend."

"My host" said these last words in an imposing tone, and then pounced
on a letter-bag on the table, drew forth an immense heap of letters
and newspapers, threw himself into an arm-chair, and seemed perfectly
forgetful of my existence.

The lady stood a moment in mute surprise, and I saw that she changed
colour, from pale to red, and red to pale, before she came forward
with the enchanting grace of unaffected kindness, took me by the hand,
drew me to a seat next to her own, and asked so cordially after my
father, my uncle, my whole family, that in five minutes I felt myself
at home. Lady Ellinor listened with a smile (though with moistened
eyes, which she wiped every now and then) to my _naïve_ details. At
length she said--

"Have you never heard your father speak of me--I mean of us--of the
Trevanions?"

"Never," said I bluntly; "and that would puzzle me, only my dear
father, you know, is not a great talker."

"Indeed! He was very animated, when I knew him," said Lady Ellinor,
and she turned her head and sighed.

At this moment there entered a young lady, so fresh, so blooming, so
lovely, that every other thought vanished out of my head at once. She
came in singing, as gay as a bird, and seeming to my adoring sight
quite as native to the skies.

"Fanny," said Lady Ellinor, "shake hands with Mr Caxton, the son of
one whom I have not seen since I was little older than you, but whom I
remember as if it were but yesterday."

Miss Fanny blushed and smiled, and held out her hand with an easy
frankness which I in vain endeavoured to imitate. During breakfast, Mr
Trevanion continued to read his letters and glance over the papers,
with an occasional ejaculation of "Pish!" "Stuff!"--between the
intervals in which he mechanically swallowed his tea, or some small
morsels of dry toast. Then rising with the suddenness which
characterised his movements, he stood on his hearth for a few moments
buried in thought; and now that a large brimmed hat was removed from
his brow, and the abruptness of his first movement, with the
sedateness of his after pause, arrested my curious attention, I was
more than ever ashamed of my mistake. It was a care-worn, eager, and
yet musing countenance, hollow-eyed, and with deep lines; but it was
one of those faces which take dignity and refinement from that mental
cultivation which distinguishes the true aristocrat, viz., the highly
educated, acutely intelligent man. Very handsome might that face have
been in youth, for the features, though small, were exquisitely
defined; the brow, partially bald, was noble and massive, and there
was almost feminine delicacy in the curve of the lip. The whole
expression of the face was commanding but sad. Often, as my experience
of life increased, have I thought to trace upon that expressive visage
the history of energetic ambition curbed by a fastidious philosophy
and a scrupulous conscience; but then all that I could see was a
vague, dissatisfied melancholy, which dejected me I knew not why.

Presently he returned to the table, collected his letters, moved
slowly towards the door, and vanished.

His wife's eyes followed him tenderly. Those eyes reminded me of my
mother's, as, I verily believe, did all eyes that expressed affection.
I crept nearer to her, and longed to press the white hand that lay so
listless before me.

"Will you walk out with us?" said Miss Trevanion, turning to me. I
bowed, and in a few minutes I found myself alone. While the ladies
left me, for their shawls and bonnets, I took up the newspapers which
Mr Trevanion had thrown on the table, by way of something to do. My
eye was caught by his own name; it occurred often, and in all the
papers. There was contemptuous abuse in one, high eulogy in another;
but one passage, in a journal that seemed to aim at impartiality,
struck me so much as to remain in my memory; and I am sure that I can
still quote the sense, though not the exact words. The paragraph ran
somewhat thus:--

"In the present state of parties, our contemporaries have not
unnaturally devoted much space to the claims or demerits of Mr
Trevanion. It is a name that stands unquestionably high in the House
of Commons; but, as unquestionably, it commands little sympathy in the
country. Mr Trevanion is essentially and emphatically _a member of
parliament_. He is a close and ready debater; he is an admirable
chairman in committees. Though never in office, his long experience of
public life, his gratuitous attention to public business, have ranked
him high among those practical politicians from whom ministers are
selected. A man of spotless character and excellent intentions, no
doubt, he must be considered; and in him any cabinet would gain an
honest and a useful member. There ends all we can say in his praise.
As a speaker, he wants the fire and enthusiasm which engage the
popular sympathies. He has the ear of the House, not the heart of the
country. An oracle on subjects of mere business, in the great
questions of policy he is comparatively a failure. He never embraces
any party heartily; he never espouses any question as if wholly in
earnest. The moderation on which he is said to pique himself, often
exhibits itself in fastidious crotchets, and an attempt at
philosophical originality of candour, which has long obtained him the
reputation of a trimmer with his enemies. Such a man circumstances may
throw into temporary power; but can he command lasting influence? No:
let Mr Trevanion remain in what nature and position assign as his
proper part,--that of an upright, independent, able member of
parliament; conciliating sensible men on both sides, when party runs
into extremes. He is undone as a cabinet minister. His scruples would
break up any government; and his want of decision--when, as in all
human affairs, some errors must be conceded to obtain a great
good--would shipwreck his own fame."

I had just got to the end of this paragraph when the ladies returned.

My hostess observed the newspaper in my hand, and said, with a
constrained smile, "Some attack on Mr Trevanion, I suppose?"

"No," said I, awkwardly; for, perhaps, the paragraph that appeared to
me so impartial, was the most galling attack of all. "No, not
exactly."

"I never read the papers now--at least what are called the leading
articles--it is too painful: and once they gave me so much
pleasure--that was when the career began, and before the fame was
made."

Here Lady Ellinor opened the window which admitted on the lawn, and in
a few moments we were in that part of the pleasure-grounds which the
family reserved from the public curiosity. We passed by rare shrubs
and strange flowers, long ranges of conservatories, in which bloomed
and lived all the marvellous vegetation of Africa and the Indies.

"Mr Trevanion is fond of flowers?" said I.

The fair Fanny laughed. "I don't think he knows one from another."

"Nor I either," said I: "that is, when I fairly lose sight of a rose
or a hollyhock."

"The farm will interest you more," said Lady Ellinor.

We came to farm buildings recently erected, and no doubt on the most
improved principle. Lady Ellinor pointed out to me machines and
contrivances, of the newest fashion, for abridging labour, and
perfecting the mechanical operations of agriculture.

"Ah, then, Mr Trevanion is fond of farming."

The pretty Fanny laughed again.

"My father is one of the great oracles in agriculture, one of the
great patrons of all its improvements; but, as for being fond of
farming, I doubt if he knows when he rides through his own fields."

We returned to the house; and Miss Trevanion, whose frank kindness had
already made too deep an impression upon the youthful heart of
Pisistratus the Second, offered to show me the picture-gallery. The
collection was confined to the works of English artists; and Miss
Trevanion pointed out to me the main attractions of the gallery.

"Well, at least Mr Trevanion is fond of pictures!"

"Wrong again," said Fanny, shaking her arch head. "My father is said
to be an admirable judge; but he only buys pictures from a sense of
duty--to encourage our own painters--a picture once bought, I am not
sure that he ever looks at it again!"

"What does he then--" I stopped short, for I felt my meditated
question was ill-bred.

"What does he like then? you were about to say. Why, I have known him,
of course, since I could know any thing; but I have never yet
discovered what my father does like. No--not even politics, though he
lives for politics alone. You look puzzled; you will know him better
some day, I hope; but you will never solve the mystery--what Mr
Trevanion likes."

"You are wrong," said Lady Ellinor, who had followed us into the room,
unheard by us. "I can tell you what your father does more than
like--what he loves and serves and illustrates every hour of his noble
life--justice, beneficence, honour, and his country. A man who loves
these may be excused for indifference to the last geranium or the
newest plough, or even (though that offends you more, Fanny) the
freshest masterpiece by Landseer, or the latest fashion honoured by
Miss Trevanion."

"Mamma!" said Fanny, and the tears sprang to her eyes.

But Lady Ellinor looked to me sublime as she spoke, her eyes kindled,
her breast heaved. The wife taking the husband's part against the
child, and comprehending so well what the child felt not, despite its
experience of every day, and what the world would never know, despite
all the vigilance of its praise and its blame, was a picture, to my
taste, finer than any in the collection.

Her face softened as she saw the tears in Fanny's bright hazel eyes:
she held out her hand, which her child kissed tenderly, and
whispering, "'Tis not the giddy word you must go by, mamma, or there
will be something to forgive every minute,"--glided from the room.

"Have you a sister?" asked Lady Ellinor.

"No."

"And Trevanion has no son," she said, mournfully. The blood rushed to
my cheeks. Oh, young fool, again! We were both silent, when the door
was opened, and Mr Trevanion entered.

"Humph," said he, smiling as he saw me--and his smile was charming,
though rare. "Humph, young sir, I came to seek for you--I have been
rude, I fear: pardon it--that thought has only just occurred to me, so
I left my blue books, and my amanuensis hard at work on them, to ask
you to come out for half-an-hour--just half-an-hour, it is all I can
give you--a deputation at One! You dine and sleep here of course?"

"Ah, sir! my mother will be so uneasy if I am not in town to-night."

"Pooh!" said the member, "I'll send an express."

"Oh, no indeed; thank you."

"Why not?"

I hesitated. "You see, sir, that my father and mother are both new to
London: and, though I am new too, yet they may want me--I may be of
use." Lady Ellinor put her hand on my head, and sleeked down my hair
as I spoke.

"Right, young man, right: you will do in the world, wrong as that is.
I don't mean that you'll _succeed_, as the rogues say--that's another
question; but, if you don't rise, you'll not fall. Now, put on your
hat and come with me; we'll walk to the lodge--you will be in time for
a coach."

I took my leave of Lady Ellinor, and longed to say something, about
compliments to Miss Fanny; but the words stuck in my throat, and my
host seemed impatient.

"We must see you soon again!" said Lady Ellinor kindly, as she
followed us to the door.

Mr Trevanion walked on briskly and in silence--one hand in his bosom,
the other swinging carelessly a thick walking-stick.

"But I must go round by the bridge," said I, "for I forgot my
knapsack. I put it off when I made my leap, and the old lady certainly
never took charge of it."

"Come, then, this way. How old are you?"

"Seventeen and a half."

"You know Latin and Greek as they know them at schools, I suppose."

"I think I know them pretty well, sir."

"Does your father say so?"

"Why, my father is fastidious; however, he owns that he is satisfied
on the whole."

"So am I, then. Mathematics?"

"A little."

"Good."

Here the conversation dropped for some time. I had found and
restrapped the knapsack, and we were near the lodge, when Mr Trevanion
said, abruptly, "Talk, my young friend: talk, I like to hear you
talk--it refreshes me. Nobody has talked naturally to me these last
ten years."

The request was a complete damper to my ingenuous eloquence: I could
not have talked naturally now for the life of me.

"I made a mistake, I see," said my companion, good-humouredly,
noticing my embarrassment. "Here we are at the lodge. The coach will
be bye in five minutes: you can spend that time in hearing the old
woman praise the Hogtons and abuse me. And hark you, sir, never care
three straws for praise or blame--leather and prunella! praise and
blame are _here_!" and he struck his hand upon his breast, with almost
passionate emphasis. "Take a specimen. These Hogtons were the bane of
the place; uneducated and miserly; their land a wilderness, their
village, a pig-stye. I come, with capital and intelligence; I redeem
the soil, I banish pauperism, I civilise all around me: no merit in
me--I am but a type of capital guided by education--a machine. And yet
the old woman is not the only one who will hint to you that the
Hogtons were angels, and myself the usual antithesis to angels. And
what is more, sir, because that old woman, who has ten shillings
a-week from me, sets her heart upon earning her sixpences--and I give
her that privileged luxury--every visitor she talks with goes away
with the idea that I, the rich Mr Trevanion, let her starve on what
she can pick up from the sight-seers. Now, does that signify a jot?

"Good-bye. Tell your father his old friend must see him; profit by his
calm wisdom: his old friend is a fool sometimes, and sad at heart.
When you are settled, send me a line to St James's Square, to say
where you are.

"Humph! that's enough."

Mr Trevanion wrung my hand, and strode off.

I did not wait for the coach, but proceeded towards the turn-stile,
where the old woman, (who had either seen, or scented from a distance,
that tizzy of which I was the impersonation)--

      "Hush'd in grim repose, did wait her morning prey."

My opinions as to her sufferings, and the virtues of the departed
Hogtons, somewhat modified, I contented myself with dropping into her
open palm the exact sum virtually agreed on. But that palm still
remained open, and the fingers of the other clawed hold of me as I
stood, impounded in the curve of the turn-stile, like a cork in a
patent cork-screw.

"And threepence for Nephy Bob," said the old lady.

"Threepence for nephew Bob, and why?"

"'Tis his parquisites when he recommends a gentleman. You would not
have me pay out of my own earnings: for he _will_ have it, or he'll
ruin my bizness. Poor folk must be paid for their trouble."

Obdurate to this appeal, and mentally consigning Bob to a master whose
feet would be all the handsomer for boots, I threaded the stile and
escaped.

Towards evening I reached London. Who ever saw London for the first
time and was not disappointed? Those long suburbs melting indefinably
away into the capital, forbid all surprise. The Gradual is a great
disenchanter. I thought it prudent to take a hackney coach, and so
jolted my way to the ---- hotel. I found my father in a state of great
discomfort in a little room, which he paced up and down like a lion
new caught in his cage. My poor mother was full of complaints--for the
first time in her life, I found her indisputably crossish. It was an
ill time to relate my adventures. I had enough to do to listen. They
had all day been hunting for lodgings in vain. My father's pocket had
been picked of a new India handkerchief. Primmins, who ought to know
London so well, know nothing about it, and declared it was turned
topsy-turvy, and all the streets had changed names. The new silk
umbrella, left for five minutes unguarded in the hall, had been
exchanged for an old gingham with three holes in it.

It was not till my mother remembered, that if she did not see herself
that my bed was well aired, I should certainly lose the use of my
limbs, and therefore disappeared with Primmins and a pert chambermaid,
who seemed to think we gave more trouble than we were worth--that I
told my father of my new acquaintance with Mr Trevanion.

He did not seem to listen to me till I to got to the name _Trevanion_.
He then became very pale, and sat down quietly. "Go on," said he,
observing I stopped to look at him.

When I had told all, and given him the kind messages with which I had
been charged by husband and wife, he smiled faintly; and then, shading
his face with his hand, he seemed to muse, not cheerfully, perhaps,
for I heard him sigh once or twice.

"And Ellinor," said he at last, without looking up. "Lady Ellinor, I
mean--she is very, very----"

"Very what, sir?"

"Very handsome still?"

"Handsome! Yes, handsome, certainly; but I thought more of her manner
than her face. And then Fanny, Miss Fanny is so young!"

"Ah!" said my father, murmuring in Greek the celebrated lines of
which Pope's translation is familiar to all.

    "Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,
    Now green in youth, now withering on the ground."

"Well, so they wish to see me. Did Ellinor, Lady Ellinor say that, or
her--her husband?"

"Her husband certainly--Lady Ellinor rather implied than said it."

"We shall see," said my father. "Open the window, this room is
stifling."

I opened the window, which looked on the Strand. The noise--the
voices---the tramping feet--the rolling wheels became loudly audible.
My father leant out for some moments, and I stood by his side. He
turned to me with a serene face. "Every ant on the hill," said he,
"carries its load, and its home is but made by the burdens that it
bears. How happy am I!--how I should bless God! How light my burden!
how secure my home!"

My mother came in as he ceased. He went up to her, put his arm round
her waist and kissed her. Such caresses with him had not lost their
tender charm by custom: my mother's brow, before somewhat ruffled,
grew smooth on the instant. Yet she lifted her eyes to his in soft
surprise. "I was but thinking," said my father apologetically--"how
much I owed you, and how much I love you!"


CHAPTER XV.

And now behold us, three days after my arrival, settled in all the
state and grandeur of our own house in Russell Street, Bloomsbury: the
library of the Museum close at hand. My father spends his mornings in
those _lata silentia_, wide silences, as Virgil calls the world beyond
the grave. And a world beyond the grave we may well call that land of
the ghosts, a book collection.

"Pisistratus," said my father, one evening as he arranged his notes
before him, and rubbed his spectacles. "Pisistratus, a great library
is an _awful_ place! There, are interred all the remains of men since
the Flood."

"It is a burial-place!" quoth my Uncle Roland, who had that day found
us out.

"It is an Heraclea!" said my father.

"Please, not such hard words," said the Captain, shaking his head.

"Heraclea was the city of necromancers, in which they raised the dead.
Do I want to speak to Cicero? I invoke him. Do I want to chat in the
Athenian market place, and hear news two thousand years old? I write
down my charm on a slip of paper, and a grave magician calls me up
Aristophanes. And we owe all this to our ancest----"

"Brother!"

"Ancestors, who wrote books--thank you."

Here Roland offered his snuff-box to my father, who, abhorring snuff,
benignly imbibed a pinch, and sneezed five times in consequence: an
excuse for Uncle Roland to say, which he did five times, with great
unction, "God bless you, brother Austin!"

As soon as my father had recovered himself, he proceeded, with tears
in his eyes, but calm as before the interruption--for he was of the
philosophy of the Stoics:--

"But it is not _that_ which is awful. It is the presuming to vie with
these 'spirits elect:' to say to them, 'Make way--I too claim place
with the chosen. I too would confer with the living, centuries after
the death that consumes my dust. I too'--Ah, Pisistratus! I wish Uncle
Jack had been at Jericho, before he had brought me up to London, and
placed me in the midst of those rulers of the world!"

I was busy, while my father spoke, in making some pendent shelves for
these "spirits elect;" for my mother, always provident where my
father's comforts were concerned, had foreseen the necessity of some
such accommodation in a hired lodging-house, and had not only
carefully brought up to town my little box of tools, but gone out
herself that morning to buy the raw materials. Checking the plane in
its progress over the smooth deal, "My dear father," said I, "if at
the Philhellenic Institute I had looked with as much awe as you do on
the big fellows that had gone before me, I should have stayed, to all
eternity, the lag of the Infant Division--"

"Pisistratus, you are as great an agitator as your namesake," cried my
father, smiling. "And so, a fig for the big fellows!"

And now my mother entered in her pretty evening cap, all smiles and
good humour, having just arranged a room for Uncle Roland, concluded
advantageous negotiations with the laundress, held high council with
Mrs Primmins on the best mode of defeating the extortions of London
tradesmen; and, pleased with herself and all the world, she kissed my
father's forehead as it bent over his notes; and came to the
tea-table, which only waited its presiding deity. My Uncle Roland,
with his usual gallantry, started up, kettle in hand, (our own urn,
for we had one, not being yet unpacked;) and having performed, with
soldier-like method, the chivalrous office thus volunteered, he joined
me at my employment, and said--

"There is a better steel for the hands of a well-born lad than a
carpenter's plane--"

"Aha! uncle--that depends--"

"Depends! what on?"

"On the use one makes of it.--Peter the Great was better employed in
making ships than Charles XII. in cutting throats."

"Poor Charles XII.!" said my uncle sighing pathetically--"a very brave
fellow!"

"Pity he did not like the ladies a little better!"

"No man is perfect!" said my uncle sententiously. "But seriously, you
are _now_ the male hope of the family--you are now--" my uncle
stopped, and his face darkened. I saw that he thought of his son, that
mysterious son! And looking at him tenderly, I observed that his deep
lines had grown deeper, his iron-gray hair more gray. There was the
trace of recent suffering on his face; and though he had not spoken to
us a word of the business on which he had left us, it required no
penetration to perceive that it had come to no successful issue.

My uncle resumed--"Time out of mind, every generation of our house has
given one soldier to his country. I look round now: only one branch is
budding yet on the old tree; and--"

"Ah! uncle. But what would _they_ say? Do you think I should not like
to be a soldier? Don't tempt me!"

My uncle had recourse to his snuff-box; and at that moment,
unfortunately perhaps for the laurels that might otherwise have
wreathed the brows of Pisistratus of England, private conversation was
stopped by the sudden and noisy entrance of Uncle Jack. No apparition
could have been more unexpected.

"Here I am, my dear friends. How d'ye do--how are you all? Captain de
Caxton, yours heartily. Yes, I am released, thank heaven! I have given
up the drudgery of that pitiful provincial paper. I was not made for
it. An ocean in a teacup! I was indeed--little, sordid, narrow
interests--and I, whose heart embraces all humanity. You might as well
turn a circle into an isolated triangle."

"Isosceles!" said my father, sighing as he pushed aside his notes, and
very slowly becoming aware of the eloquence that destroyed all chance
of further progress that night in the great book. "Isosceles triangle,
Jack Tibbets--not isolated."

"Isosceles or isolated, it is all one," said Uncle Jack, as he rapidly
performed three evolutions, by no means consistent with his favourite
theory of 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number:'--first, he
emptied into the cup which he took from my mother's hands, half the
thrifty contents of a London cream-jug; secondly, he reduced the
circle of a muffin, by the abstraction of two triangles, to as nearly
an isosceles as possible; and thirdly, striding towards the fire,
lighted in consideration of Captain de Caxton, and hooking his
coat-tails under his arms, while he sipped his tea, he permitted
another circle peculiar to humanity wholly to eclipse the luminary it
approached.

"Isolated or isosceles, it is all the same thing. Man is made for his
fellow creatures. I had long been disgusted with the interference of
those selfish Squirearchs. Your departure decided me. I have concluded
negotiations with a London firm of spirit and capital, and extended
views of philanthopy. On Saturday last I retired from the service of
the oligarchy. I am now in my true capacity of protector of the
million. My prospectus is printed--here it is in my pocket.--Another
cup of tea, sister, a little more cream, and another muffin. Shall I
ring?" Having disembarrassed himself of his cup and saucer, Uncle Jack
then drew forth from his pocket a damp sheet of printed paper. In
large capitals stood out "The ANTI-MONOPOLY GAZETTE, or POPULAR
CHAMPION." He waved it triumphantly before my father's eyes.

"Pisistratus", said my father, "look here. This is the way your Uncle
Jack now prints his pats of butter.--A cap of liberty growing out of
an open book! Good! Jack, good! good!"

"It is Jacobinical!" exclaimed the Captain.

"Very likely," said my father; "but knowledge and freedom are the best
devices in the world, to print upon pats of butter intended for the
market."

"Pats of butter! I don't understand," said Uncle Jack.

"The less you understand, the better the butter will sell, Jack," said
my father, settling back to his notes.


CHAPTER XVI.

Uncle Jack had made up his mind to lodge with us, and my mother found
some difficulty in inducing him to comprehend that there was no bed to
spare.

"That's unlucky," said he. "I was no sooner arrived in town than I was
pestered with invitations; but I refused them all, and kept myself for
you."

"So kind in you! so like you!" said my mother; "but you see--"

"Well, then, I must be off and find a room; don't fret, you know I can
breakfast and dine with you, all the same; that is, when my other
friends will let me. I shall be dreadfully persecuted." So saying,
Uncle Jack re-pocketed his prospectus, and wished us good-night.

The clock had struck eleven; my mother had retired; when my father
looked up from his books, and returned his spectacles to their case. I
had finished my work, and was seated over the fire, thinking now of
Fanny Trevanion's hazel eyes--now, with a heart that beat as high at
the thought, of campaigns, battle-fields, laurels, and glory; while,
with his arms folded on his breast and his head drooping, Uncle Roland
gazed into the low clear embers. My father cast his eyes round the
room, and after surveying his brother for some moments, he said almost
in a whisper--

"My son has seen the Trevanions. They remember us, Roland."

The Captain sprang to his feet, and began whistling; a habit with him
when he was much disturbed.

"And Trevanion wishes to see us. Pisistratus promised to give him our
address: shall he do so, Roland?"

"If you like it," answered the Captain, in a military attitude, and
drawing himself up till he looked seven feet high.

"I _should_ like it," said my father mildly. "Twenty years since we
met."

"More than twenty," said my uncle, with a stern smile; "and the season
was--the fall of the leaf!"

"Man renews the fibre and material of his body every seven years,"
said my father; "in three times seven years he has time to renew the
inner man. Can two passengers in yonder street be more unlike each
other, than the soul is to the soul after an interval of twenty years?
Brother, the plough does not pass over the soil in vain, nor care over
the human heart. New crops change the character of the land; and the
plough must go deep indeed before it stirs up the mother-stone."

"Let us see Trevanion," cried my uncle: then, turning to me, he said,
abruptly, "what family has he?"

"One daughter."

"No son?"

"No."

"That must vex the poor foolish ambitious man. Oho! you admire this Mr
Trevanion much, eh? Yes; that fire of manner, his fine words, and
bold thoughts were made to dazzle youth."

"Fine words, my dear uncle!--fire! I should have said, in hearing Mr
Trevanion, that his style of conversation was so homely, you would
wonder how he could have won such fame as a public speaker."

"Indeed!"

"The plough has passed there," said my father.

"But not the plough of care: rich, famous, Ellinor his wife, and no
son!"

"It is because his heart is sometimes sad, that he would see us."

Roland stared first at my father, next at me.

"Then," quoth my uncle, heartily, "in God's name let him come. I can
shake him by the hand, as I would a brother soldier. Poor Trevanion!
Write to him at once, Sisty."

I sat down and obeyed. When I had sealed my letter, I looked up, and
saw that Roland was lighting his bed candle at my father's table; and
my father, taking his hand, said something to him in a low voice. I
guessed it related to his son, for he shook his head, and answered in
a stern hollow voice, "Renew grief if you please--not shame. On that
subject--silence!"


CHAPTER XVII.

Left to myself in the earlier part of the day, I wandered, wistful and
lonely, through the vast wilderness of London. By degrees I
familiarised myself with that populous solitude. I ceased to pine for
the green fields. That active energy all around, at first saddening,
became soon exhilarating, and at last contagious. To an industrious
mind nothing is so catching as industry! I began to grow weary of my
golden holiday of unlaborious childhood, to sigh for toil, to look
around me for a career. The University, which I had before anticipated
with pleasure, seemed now to fade into a dull monastic prospect: after
having trod the streets of London, to wander through cloisters was to
go back in life. Day by day, my mind grew sensibly within me; it came
out from the rosy twilight of boyhood--it felt the doom of Cain, under
the broad sun of man.

Uncle Jack soon became absorbed in his new speculation for the good of
the human race, and, except at meals, (whereat, to do him justice, he
was punctual enough, though he did not keep us in ignorance of the
sacrifices he made, and the invitations he refused, for our sake,) we
seldom saw him. The Captain, too, generally vanished after breakfast;
seldom dined with us; and it was often late before he returned. He had
the latch-key of the house, and let himself in when he pleased.
Sometimes (for his chamber was next to mine) his step on the stairs
awoke me; and sometimes I heard him pace his room with perturbed
strides, or fancied that I caught a low groan. He became every day
more care-worn in appearance, and every day the hair seemed more gray.
Yet he talked to us all easily and cheerfully; and I thought that I
was the only one in the house who perceived the gnawing pangs over
which the stout old Spartan drew the decorous cloak.

Pity, blended with admiration, made me curious to learn how these
absent days, that brought nights so disturbed, were consumed. I felt
that if I could master his secret, I might win the right both to
comfort and to aid.

I resolved at length, after many conscientious scruples, to endeavour
to satisfy a curiosity, excused by its motives.

Accordingly, one morning, after watching him from the house, I stole
in his track, and followed him at a distance.

And this was the outline of his day. He set off at first with a firm
stride, despite his lameness--his gaunt figure erect, the soldierly
chest well thrown out from the threadbare but speckless coat. First,
he took his way towards the purlieus of Leicester Square; several
times, to and fro, did he pace the isthmus that leads from Piccadilly
into that reservoir of foreigners, and the lanes and courts that start
thence towards St Martin's. After an hour or two so passed, the step
became more slow; and often the sleek napless hat was lifted up, and
the brow wiped. At length he bent his way towards the two great
theatres, paused before the play-bills, as if deliberating seriously
on the chances of entertainment they severally proffered, wandered
slowly through the small streets that surround those temples of the
muse, and finally emerged into the Strand. There he rested himself for
an hour at a small cook-shop; and, as I passed the window, and glanced
within, I could see him seated before the simple dinner, which he
scarcely touched, and poring over the advertisement columns of the
_Times_. The _Times_ finished, and a few morsels distastefully
swallowed, the Captain put down his shilling in silence, received his
pence in exchange, and I had just time to slip aside as he reappeared
at the threshold. He looked round as he lingered, but I took care he
should not detect me; and then struck off towards the more fashionable
quarters of the town. It was now the afternoon, and, though not yet
the season, the streets swarmed with life. As he came into Waterloo
Place, a slight figure buttoned up across the breast, like his own,
cantered by on a handsome bay horse--every eye was on that figure.
Uncle Roland stopped short, and lifted his hand to his hat; the rider
touched his own with his fore-finger, and cantered on,--Uncle Roland
turned round and gazed.

"Who," I asked, of a shop-boy just before me, who was also staring
with all his eyes--"who is that gentleman on horseback?"

"Why, the Duke, to be sure," said the boy, contemptuously.

"The Duke?"

"Wellington--stu-pid!"

"Thank you," said I meekly. Uncle Roland had moved on into Regent
Street, but with a brisker step: the sight of the old chief had done
the old soldier good. Here again he paced to and fro; till I, watching
him from the other side the way, was ready to drop with fatigue, stout
walker though I was. But the Captain's day was not half done. He took
out his watch, put it to his ear, and then, replacing it, passed into
Bond Street, and thence into Hyde Park. There, evidently wearied out,
he leant against the rails, near the bronze statue, in an attitude
that spoke despondency. I seated myself on the grass near the statue
and gazed at him: the park was empty compared with the streets, but
still there were some equestrian idlers and many foot-loungers. My
uncle's eye turned wistfully on each: once or twice, some gentleman of
a military aspect (which I had already learned to detect) stopped,
looked at him, approached and spoke; but the Captain seemed as if
ashamed of such greetings. He answered shortly, and turned again.

The day waned--evening came on--the Captain again looked at his
watch--shook his head, and made his way to a bench, where he sat
perfectly motionless; his hat over his brows, his arms folded; till
uprose the moon. I had tasted nothing since breakfast; I was famished,
but I still kept my post like an old Roman sentinel.

At length the Captain rose, and re-entered Piccadilly; but how
different his mien and bearing! languid, stooping, his chest sunk--his
head inclined--his limbs dragging one after the other, his lameness
painfully perceptible. What a contrast in the broken invalid at night,
from the stalwart veteran of the morning!

How I longed to spring forward to offer my arm! but I did not dare.

The Captain stopped near a cab-stand. He put his hand in his
pocket--he drew out his purse--he passed his fingers over the
net-work; the purse slipped again into the pocket, and as if with a
heroic effort, my uncle drew up his head, and walked on sturdily.

'Where next?' thought I. 'Surely home! No, he is pitiless.'

The Captain stopped not till he arrived at one of the small theatres
in the Strand; then he read the bill, and asked if half-price was
begun. "Just begun," was the answer, and the Captain entered. I also
took a ticket and followed. Passing by the open doors of a refreshment
room, I fortified myself with some biscuits and soda water. And in
another minute, for the first time in my life I beheld a play. But the
play did not fascinate me. It was the middle of some jocular
after-piece, roars of laughter resounded round me. I could detect
nothing to laugh at, and sending my keen eyes into every corner, I
perceived at last, in the uppermost tier, one face as saturnine as my
own. _Eureka!_ It was the Captain's! 'Why should he go to a play if he
enjoys it so little?' thought I: 'better have spent a shilling on a
cab, poor old fellow!'

But soon came smart-looking men, and still smarter-looking ladies,
around the solitary corner of the poor Captain. He grew fidgety--he
rose--he vanished. I left my place, and stood without the box to watch
for him. Down stairs he stumped--I recoiled into the shade; and after
standing a moment or two, as in doubt, he entered boldly the
refreshment room, or saloon.

Now, since I had left that saloon, it had become crowded, and I
slipped in unobserved. Strange was it, grotesque, yet pathetic, to
mark the old soldier in the midst of that gay swarm. He towered above
all like a Homeric hero, a head taller than the tallest; and his
appearance was so remarkable, that it invited the instant attention of
the fair. I, in my simplicity, thought it was the natural tenderness
of that amiable and penetrating sex, ever quick to detect trouble, and
anxious to relieve it, that induced three ladies, in silk attire--one
having a hat and plume, the other two with a profusion of ringlets--to
leave a little knot of gentlemen with whom they were conversing, and
to plant themselves before my uncle. I advanced through the press to
hear what passed.

"You are looking for some one, I'm sure," quoth one familiarly,
tapping his arm with her fan.

The Captain started. "Ma'am, you are not wrong," said he.

"Can I do as well?" said one of those compassionate angels, with
heavenly sweetness.

"You are very kind, I thank you: no, no, Ma'am," said the Captain,
with his best bow.

"Do take a glass of negus," said another, as her friend gave way to
her. "You seem tired, and so am I. Here, this way;" and she took hold
of his arm to lead him to the table. The Captain shook his head
mournfully; and then, as if become suddenly aware of the nature of the
attention so lavished on him, he looked down upon these fair Armidas
with a look of such mild reproach--such sweet compassion--not shaking
off the hand in his chivalrous devotion to the sex, which extended
even to all its outcasts--that each bold eye fell abashed. The hand
was timidly and involuntarily withdrawn from the arm, and my uncle
passed his way.

He threaded the crowd, passed out at the farther door, and I, guessing
his intention, was in waiting for his steps in the street.

"Now home at last, thank heaven!" thought I. Mistaken still! My uncle
went first towards that popular haunt, which I have since discovered
is called "the Shades;" but he soon re-emerged, and finally he knocked
at the door of a private house, in one of the streets out of St
James's. It was opened jealously, and closed as he entered, leaving me
without. What could this house be? As I stood and watched, some other
men approached,--again the low single knock,--again the jealous
opening, and the stealthy entrance.

A policeman passed and repassed me. "Don't be tempted, young man,"
said he, looking hard at me: "take my advice, and go home."

"What is that house, then?" said I, with a sort of shudder at this
ominous warning.

"Oh, you know."

"Not I. I am new to London."

"It is a hell," said the policeman--satisfied, by my frank manner,
that I spoke the truth.

"God bless me,--a what! I could not have heard you rightly?"

"A hell; a gambling-house!"

"Oh!" and I moved on. Could Captain Roland, the rigid, the thrifty,
the penurious, be a gambler? The light broke on me at once; the
unhappy father sought his son! I leant against the post, and tried
hard not to sob.

By-and-by, I heard the door open: the Captain came out and took the
way homeward. I ran on before, and got in first, to the inexpressible
relief both of father and mother, who had not seen me since breakfast,
and who were in equal consternation at my absence. I submitted to be
scolded with a good grace. "I had been sight-seeing, and lost my way;"
begged for some supper, and slunk to bed; and five minutes afterwards
the Captain's jaded step came wearily up the stairs.



MODERN TOURISM.[15]


  [15] _Eastern Life, Past and Present._ By HARRIET MARTINEAU.

The merits of the railroad and the steam-boat have been prodigiously
vaunted, and we have no desire to depreciate the advantages of either.
No doubt they carry us from town to town with greater rapidity than
our fathers ever dreamt of; and instead of the "High-flyer coach,
averaging ten miles an hour," whirl us over fifty. No doubt they are
convenient for the viator who desires to reach America in a fortnight,
or for the Queen's messenger who must be in Paris within the next
twelve hours. No doubt they are first-rate inventions for an
elopement, a fugitive debtor, or a banished king. But, they have
afflicted our generation with one desperate evil; they have covered
Europe with Tourists, all pen in hand, all determined not to let a
henroost remain undescribed, all portfolioed, all handbooked, all
"getting up a Journal," and all pouring their busy nothings on the
"reading public," without compassion or conscience, at the beginning
of the "season."

That the ignorant should write ignorantly, that professional
sight-hunters should go sight-hunting to the ends of the earth, that
minds born for nothing but scribbling should scribble to their last
drop of ink or blood, can neither surprise nor irritate; but that they
should publish, is the crime.

If we are told that this is but a harmless impertinence after all, we
reply--No, it does general mischief; it spoils all rational travel; it
disgusts all intelligent curiosity; it repels the student, the
philosopher, and the manly investigator, from subjects which have been
thus trampled into mire by the hoofs of a whole tribe of travelling
bipeds, who might rejoice to exchange brains with the animals which
they ride.

No sooner does the year shake off its robe of snow, and the sun begin
to glimmer again, than the whole tribe are in motion; no matter where,
all places are alike to their pens--the North Pole or the Antarctic.
One of them thinks America an unexhausted subject, and we find her
instantly on board the good ship Columbia, flying in the teeth of wind
and tide, to caricature New York. Another puts on her wings for that
unknown spot called Vienna; sends in her card to nobles and ministers;
caricatures them too; talks of faces which she had never seen,
describes fêtes to which she would never have been admitted, and
quotes conversations which she never heard. Another takes a sweep of
the French coast, and showers us with worn-out romance and modern
vapidity, till we are sick of the art of printing, and long for the
return of that happy period when the chief occupations of the fair sex
were cookery and samplers. To all this, however, there _are_
exceptions; some of the sex, modest, well-informed, and capable of
informing others, indulge the world, from time to time, with works
which "it would not willingly let die." But our _horror_ is the
professional tourist; the woman who runs abroad to forage for
publication; reimports her baggage, bursting with a periodical
gathering of nonsense; and with a freight of folly, at once empty as
air and heavy as lead, discharges the whole at the heads of a
suffering people.

Miss Martineau, however, deserves to stand in another category. She is
a lively writer; if she seldom enlightens the reader of her pages, she
seldom sends him to sleep; she prattles amusingly; and by the help of
Wilkinson and Lane for the antique, and her own ear-trumpet and
spectacles for the modern, she makes out of an Egyptian ramble a very
readable book. And this book is by no means a superfluity; for,
excepting Palestine, there is no country on earth which possesses so
strong an interest for the Biblical student; or will, within a few
years, possess so strong an interest for the whole political world.
France, Russia, and Italy, are probably at this moment alike
speculating on the changes which threaten Egypt. The death of Mehemet
Ali cannot be far off. Ibrahim is sickly. The succession of eastern
dynasties is the reverse of regular; and if by any chance war were
lighted up at one end of the Mediterranean, it would be sure to burst
out at the other. Egypt would be the prize of battle. To England the
possession would be of little value; she has colonies enough, and she
certainly will not be guilty of the crime of usurpation; but it will
be of first-rate importance to her that Egypt shall not fall into the
hands of a hostile power; for she cannot suffer her road to India to
be barred up. Her natural policy would be to see it restored to the
Ottoman. But how long will the Ottoman himself last? A Russian fleet
at the mouth of the Bosphorus, with a Russian army encamped on the
plains of Adrianople, would settle the occupancy in a week. In the
mean time, France keeps up a powerful army in Algeria; and the
question is, which would be first in the race for Alexandria? We
observe that Ibrahim is building fortifications, and concentrating his
strength on the sea-side; and the sagacity of this gallant son of a
gallant father must often look to the sands of the Libyan desert, and
listen for the sounds of the trumpet from the shores of Cyreniaca.

Miss Martineau is lady-president of the gossip school; and it is one
of the especial characters of that school, to think that every trivial
occurrence of their lives merits the attention of mankind. She thus
informs us of the first _idea_ of her journey.

"In the autumn of 1846, I left home for, as I supposed, a few weeks,
to visit some of my family and friends. At Liverpool, I was invited by
my friends, Mr and Mrs Richard V. Yates, to accompany them in their
proposed travels in the East. At Malta, we fell in with Mr Joseph C.
Ewart, who presently joined our party, and remained with us till we
reached Malta on our return. There is nothing that I do not owe to my
companions for their unceasing care. They permitted me to read to them
my Egyptian Journal. There was not time for the others." All this is
in the purest style of gossipry. Her first views of Africa belong to
the same style. On a "lurid evening in November," she saw a something,
which, however, was _not_ the African shore, but an island. At last,
however she saw a headland, a sandy shore, a tower; but even this was
_not_ Egypt. So she steamed on, until certain signs gave the
presumption that Alexandria lay in the distance. She "expected" to
have arrived at noon, but was detained until twilight! All those
things might have happened to her if she had been sitting in a bathing
machine any where between Brighton and Dover,--the Martello supplying
the place of the Arab tower, to considerable advantage. She then
followed the route of the million, the Cairan canal, Cairo, and the
Nile, up to the Cataracts.

She has a picturesque pen, and describes well; her art being to strike
off the first impression on her mind, with the first impression on her
eye. One of her fellow-travellers had asked her whether she would wish
to have the first glimpse of the Pyramids; she made her way through
the passengers to the bows of the boat, and there indulged herself
with her triumph over the "careless talkers."

"In a minute, I saw them, emerging from behind a sandhill. They were
very small, for we were still twenty-five miles from Cairo. But there
could be no doubt about them for a moment, so sharp and clear were the
light and shadow on the two sides which we saw. I had been assured
that I should be disappointed in the first sight of the Pyramids. And
I had maintained that I could not be disappointed, as of all the
wonders of the world this is the most literal, and to a dweller among
mountains, like myself, the least imposing. I now found both my
informant and myself mistaken. So far from being disappointed, I was
filled with surprise and awe; and so far from having anticipated what
I saw, I felt as if I had never before looked on any thing so new, as
those clear, vivid masses, with their sharp blue shadows, standing
firm and alone in their expanse of sand. In a few minutes they
appeared to grow wonderfully larger, and they looked lustrous and most
imposing in the evening light. This impression of the Pyramids was
never fully renewed. I admired them every evening from my window at
Cairo, and I took the surest means of convincing myself of their
vastness, by going to the top of the largest; but this first view of
them was the most moving, and I cannot think of it now without
emotion."

It is remarkable that, after some thousand years of ancient inquiry,
and at least a century of keen and even of toilsome research, by
modern scholarship, the world knows little more of the Pyramids than
it knew, when the priesthood kept all the secrets of Egypt. By whom
they were built, for what, or when, have given birth to volumes of
researches; but to those questions no answers have been given worth
the paper they cost in answering. Whether they were built by Israelite
slaves or by Asiatic invaders, for sacrifice or for sepulture, or for
both, or for the glory of individual kings, or for the memory of
dynasties, or for treasure-houses, or for astronomical purposes, or
for the mere employment of the multitude--workhouses having probably
found their origin in Egypt--or for the rough ostentation of royal
power: all are points undetermined since the travels of Herodotus. But
that they must have cost stupendous toil, there is full evidence--the
great Pyramid covering thirteen acres; exhibiting a mass of stone
equal to _six_ Plymouth break-waters, and rising to a height of 479
feet, or 15 feet higher than St Peter's spire, and 119 higher than St
Paul's.

But this style of monstrous building perplexes as much by its general
diffusion, as by the magnitude of its several instances. We find it
not only in Egypt, where the Pyramids spread for _seventy_ miles along
the western shore of the Nile, and once evidently clustered like Arab
tents, but in Upper Egypt and Nubia: they are to be found also in
Mesopotamia. The Birs Nimrod, (the temple of Belus,) and the Mujelibè,
near Babylon, were evidently built on the pyramidal plan, if not
actual pyramids. They have been found in India. They have been found
even on the other side of the Atlantic; and the largest in the world
is the pyramid of Cholula, in Mexico, covering an area of more than
forty-seven acres, or above _three_ times the base of the greatest
Egyptian pyramid. All the pyramids, in both Asia, Africa, and America,
have the sides facing the cardinal points, excepting those of
Nubia,--an exception probably arising from the rudeness of the people.
In many of those pyramids, remnants of the dead, and bones of the
lower animals, have been found; but both may have been placed there
for purposes of superstition. The resistance of the pyramidal form to
the effects of climate has been surmised as the origin of the choice;
but the equatorial countries of the East know little of the weather
which, among us, destroys public constructions. It is at least
possible, that a form so little adapted to dwelling, or to any of the
common uses of life, or even to the direct purposes of sepulture, may
have been chosen, from its resemblance to the shape of flame kindled
on a large scale. The Egyptians chiefly buried their dead in
catacombs. The pyramid was undoubtedly borrowed from the East; and,
like the obelisk--also an Eastern memorial, whose general uselessness
still perplexes inquiry--may have been an emblem of that worship of
fire, which ascends to so remote an antiquity, was the worship of the
early East, and was, we are strongly inclined to believe, the general
worship of the apostate antediluvian world.

There is no country on earth which more curiously substantiates the
saying of the wisest of kings, that "there, is nothing new under the
sun," than Egypt. Every art of European life, and even of European
luxury, finds its delineation among the tombs; every incident of
society, whether serious or trifling, has its record on those
subterranean walls; we find every occupation, every enjoyment, every
national festivity, and every sport, from the nursery up to the
assemblage of the wrestler, the runner, and the dancer, in short, the
whole course of public and private existence, three thousand years
ago, is revealed and revived for the intelligence and admiration of
the nineteenth century of the Christian era. Why those miscellanies of
life should be in tombs, where they must have been shut up from the
living eye--why such labour of delineation, why such incongruity of
subject to the place, why such cost lavished on designs in the grave,
are all problems, which must remain beyond human answer, but which
render Egypt the most interesting of all dead nations to the living
world. Are those wonders, those intimations of greater wonders, those
achievements of the arts, fully explored? Certainly not. We quite
agree with Miss Martineau, that the most fortunate boon for Europe
would be some mighty van or ventilator, which will blow away all the
sands of Egypt. What a scene would then be opened!

"One statue and sarcophagus, brought from Memphis, was buried 130 feet
below the surface. Who knows but that the greater part of old Memphis,
and of other glorious cities, lies almost unharmed beneath the sand?
Who can say what armies of sphinxes might start up on the banks of the
river, or come forth from the hill-sides of the interior, when the
cloud of sand had been wafted away? The ruins which we now go to study
might then occupy only eminences, while below might be miles of
colonnade, temples intact, and gods and goddesses safe in their
sanctuaries!"

If this is the language of enthusiasm, there can be no question that
barbarism and time have covered a large portion of the old glories of
Egypt from the eye of man; and that, while what remains for the view
of the traveller is mutilated and worn away, the much finer portion
may be reserved for the triumph of the investigator spade in hand.

One of the best features of the book is the dexterity with which those
tomb-pictures are interpreted by Miss Martineau's narrative. Every one
knows, that the majority of those pictures, though often brilliantly
coloured, exhibit nothing but isolated or ill-placed figures, of the
rudest outline, and the most ungainly attitudes. They have a meaning;
yet to ascertain that meaning, and combine their action, demands
considerable imaginative skill. We have a clever instance of this art
in the description of one of the tombs.

The writer sees, in one compartment, the master of a family. He is
evidently opulent--a man of large possessions--a landlord; he has his
people round him--ploughing, sowing, harrowing, reaping, thrashing,
winnowing.

But the landlord is also a sportsman; he has round him game, geese,
and fish. He is also a man of luxury; he has a barge on the river, and
a pavilion built upon it. He is also a man of hospitality; there is a
banquet, with the master and his wife in a great chair; every lady has
a flower in her hand; a monkey is tied to the host's chair; and there
are musicians with a harp and the double pipe. But there is also a
final scene; the host dies, the banquets are no more, his _mummy_ is
in the consecrated boat, which is to carry him over the river of
death, and which deposits him in the land unknown.

All this is ingenious and probable, and if Miss Martineau had confined
herself to the picturesque, had sported her fancies in Egypt alone,
and never ventured beyond the Red Sea, we might close the book, giving
it all the praise due to an original and lively narrative. But when
she plays the theologian, we must stop, as we wish that she had done.

On leaving Egypt, her party turn their faces towards the Wilderness;
and here the pen of the rash writer rambles away into lucubrations,
neither consistent with the facts of history, nor suitable to the
feelings of the scene. She begins by manufacturing a romance for
Moses. She first tells us that he was "of the priestly _caste_," a
matter rendered utterly improbable by the declaration of Scripture,
that "by _faith_, when he was come to years, he refused to be called
the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God." She then proceeds to tell us a great many
things, of which Moses has told us nothing: for example, that in the
desert, which she regards as a place peculiarly "fruitful of
meditation," (we doubt whether it produces much of this fruit among
the Bedouins,) Moses and "_Mahomet after him_" (valuable
companionship!) learned from the Past how to prophesy of the future.

"There," says Miss Martineau, "as Moses sat under the shrubby palm,
and its moist rock, did the Past come at the call of his instructed
memory, and tell him how those mighty Egyptians had been slaves, as
his Hebrew brethren now were," &c., and came to the conclusion (by no
means an unnatural one in any case of slavery,) "that the Hebrews must
be _removed_ and educated, before they could be established." We then
arrive at the confidential part of the story.

"In following up this course of speculation, he was led to perceive a
_mighty truth_, which appears to have been known to no man before
him,--the truth that all ideas are the common heritage of all men. (!)...
As the images crossed him in his solitude, of the religious feasts
of the Egyptians, the gross brute-worship into which they had sunk,
&c., he conceived the brave purpose, the noblest enterprise, I
believe, on record, of admitting every one of Jehovah's people to the
fullest possible knowledge of them."

Of all these meditations not an iota is mentioned in the Scriptures.
The story, however, goes on: Moses decided that the people must be
removed. It does not tell us _how_. But it was done. Three millions of
slaves were torn from the grasp of a king, at the head of an army of
six hundred chariots and horsemen. But the grand difficulty arose--if
they must be educated, where was to be the national school? who to be
their tutors? Moses _meditated_ again, and the difficulty vanished. He
had known the Arabs of the Wilderness long. Miss Martineau tells us
that he knew their honour, their virtues, their "_comparative_ piety!"
&c., &c.; and he determined to make them the teachers of his
Egyptianised people. In this fortunate expedient, she forgot, and
probably did not know, that those sons of desert simplicity,
hospitality, piety, and so forth, were the Amalekites, one of the most
ferocious tribes of earth, the savage borderers of Sinai; who no
sooner saw the advance of the Israelites than, instead of teaching
them the "virtues," they made a desperate _foray_ on them, and would
have butchered the whole population if they had not been beaten by a
miracle.

We are also entirely left in the dark, in this theory, as to the means
by which the nation were subsisted for forty years in the Wilderness,
where the thousandth part of their number could never since have
subsisted for as many days; how they swept before their undisciplined
crowd the armies of Palestine, stormed their fortresses, and took
possession of their land; how they acquired the most perfect system of
legislation in the ancient world; how they formed a religion
unrivalled in purity, truth, and sanctity; how they conceived a
ceremonial which was almost wholly a prophecy, the revelation of a
mightier than Moses to come, the pledge of a more comprehensive
religion, and the dawn of that triumph of truth over falsehood, which
was to be the hope, the consolation, and ultimately the glory of
mankind.

Need we remind the Christian, that the Scriptures account for all
those mighty things by the power and the mercy of the God of Israel
alone; that Moses was simply an instrument in the hand of Providence;
that so far from meditating in the desert, plans of Jewish liberation,
he was even a reluctant instrument. Every part of his character and
condition repelled the very idea of his acting from himself. He was
eighty years old; he had been forty years without seeing the face of
his countrymen; his bold spirit had been so much changed by time, as
to render him the "meekest" of men; and even when the miracle of the
Divine presence was before him, he pleaded his unfitness for the task,
and at length yielded only to the repeated command of Jehovah.

Willingly acquitting the writer of these volumes of all evil
intention, we regret that she should have touched on Palestine at all.
Whatever weakness there may be in her lucubrations on Moses, it is
fully matched by her lucubrations on what she calls "Bibliolatry." But
we shall not follow her rambles through subjects on which no mind
ought to look but with a sense of the narrowness of human faculties,
and with an humble and necessary solicitation for that loftier
enlightenment which is given only to the humble heart. The knowledge
of Scripture is to be attained only by the sincere search after truth,
by natural homage in the presence of Infinite Wisdom, and by the
intelligent exertion of mind, and the faithful gratitude, which alike
rejoice in obeying the revealed will of Heaven.



EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE.

A RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW.


In the spring of the year 1815, a youth of sixteen, Lewis Rellstab by
name, whom death had recently deprived of his father, left the Berlin
academy, where he was pursuing, with much success, the study of music,
to enter the Prussian army as a volunteer. Napoleon's return from Elba
had just called Germany to arms; and the rising generation, emulous of
their elder brethren, whose scars and decorations recalled the
glorious campaign of 1813, flocked to the Prussian banner. But young
Rellstab's moral courage and patriotic zeal exceeded his physical
capabilities. Recruiting officers shook their heads at his delicate
frame, and inspecting surgeons refused to pass him as able-bodied.
Rejected, he still persevered, entered a military school, and in due
time became officer of artillery. Leaving the service in 1821, he
fixed himself at Berlin, and applied diligently to literary pursuits.
He was already known as the author of songs of fair average merit,
some of which are popular in Germany to the present day; but now he
took up literature as a profession, stimulated to industry by loss of
fortune in an unlucky speculation. Of great perseverance and active
mind, he essayed his talents in various departments of the
belles-lettres, in journalism, polemics, and criticism. As a musical
critic, he ranks amongst the best. One of his early works, a satirical
tale entitled, "Henrietta, or the Beautiful Singer," was disapproved
by the authorities, and procured him several months' imprisonment in
the fortress of Spandau. At a later period, his systematic and
incessant opposition to Spontini the composer, from whose appointment
as director of the Berlin opera he foretold the ruin of the German
school of music, procured him other six weeks of similar punishment.
He has managed several newspapers in succession, and, in the intervals
of his editorial labours, has produced a number of tales and novels,
three sketchy volumes entitled "Paris and Algiers," and a tragedy
called "Eugene Aram." Simultaneously with these various occupations,
he has found time to form some excellent singers for the German stage,
and to advocate, with unwearying and successful zeal, the adoption of
railroads in Germany. With such accumulated avocations, it is not
surprising if his writings sometimes exhibit that lengthiness and
verbal superfluity, the usual consequence of hurried composition and
imperfect revision. Some of his best-conceived and most original tales
lose power from prolixity: his good materials, too, often lack
arrangement, and are encumbered with inferior matter. Still, he is one
of the few living German novelists whose works rise high above the
present dull, stagnant level of the light literature of his country.
It is not now our intention minutely to analyse Mr Rellstab's general
literary abilities, or to criticise the twenty compendious volumes
forming the latest edition of his complete works. We propose confining
ourselves to one novel, which we consider his masterpiece, as it also
is his longest and most important work, and the one most popular in
Germany. Notwithstanding the faults we have glanced at, we hold "1812"
the best novel of its class that for a long time has appeared in the
German language. Its historical and military chapters would, by their
fidelity and spirit, give it high rank in whatever tongue it had been
written. And the blemishes observable in its more imaginative and
romantic portions are chargeable less upon the author than upon the
foibles of the school and country to which he belongs.

It is a strong argument, were any needed, in favour of the superiority
of the English literature of the day over that of Germany, that twenty
English novels are translated into German for every German one that
appears in English. To say nothing of high class books which are
dished up in the Deutsch with incredible rapidity, (of Mr Warren's
last work, three translations appeared within a few days after it was
possible the original could have reached Germany,) all our more
prolific and popular English novelists receive the honours of
Germanisation. Not a catalogue of a German library or bookseller but
exhibits the names of Messrs Marryat, Dickens, James, Ainsworth,
Lever, &c., occupying the high places--exalted at the tops of columns,
in all the glory of Roman capitals; and truly not without reason, when
compared with most of the gentry that succeed and precede them. Their
works appear in every possible form,--detached, in "complete
editions," in "choice collections of foreign literature," even in
monthly parts, when so published in England. Authors who have written
less, or anonymously, or who are less known, must often be content to
forego the immortalisation of a Leipsic catalogue, although their
books will not the less be found there, sometimes with the bare
notification that they are from English sources; at others,
unceremoniously appropriated by the translator as results of his own
unaided genius. Equal liberties are taken with the romantic literature
of France and Sweden. Very different is the state of things in
England. A translation from the German, unless it be of a short tale
in a periodical, is a thing almost unknown--certainly of rare
occurrence. Miss Bremer's poultry-yard romances, and Christian
Andersen's novels, reached us through a German medium, but are
originally Scandinavian. The only other recent translations of novels,
in amount and volume worth the naming, are those from the French of
Sue, Dumas, and Co., amusing gentlemen enough; but the circulation of
whose works had, perhaps, just as well been confined to those capable
of reading them in the original. The German literature of the last
twenty years has yielded little to the English translator, or rather
has been little made use of; for, without entertaining a very exalted
opinion of its value and merit, it were absurd to suppose that some
good things might not be selected from the hundreds of novels, tales,
and romances, that each successive year brings forth in a country
where any man who can hold a pen, and is acquainted with orthography,
deems himself qualified for an author, and where an astonishingly
large proportion of the population act upon this conviction. Mr
Rellstab's "1812" is one of the few ears of wheat worthy of extraction
from the wilderness of tares and stubble. Its great length, which
might, however, have been advantageously curtailed, has, perhaps,
proved an obstacle to its translation. Moreover, it is but partially
known, even amongst the very limited number of English persons
(chiefly ladies) addicted to German reading. Of one thing we are
convinced,--that a book of equal merit appearing in England is certain
of prompt and reiterated reproduction in Germany; not only in the
language of that country, but in those piratical reprints which give
in an eighteen-penny duodecimo the contents of three half-guinea
post-octavos.

It is quite natural that Mr Rellstab, whose youthful predilections
were so strongly military, who himself wore the uniform during his
first six years of manhood, and who was contemporary, at the age when
impressions are strongest, of the gigantic wars waged by Napoleon in
Spain, Germany, and Russia, should recall with peculiar pleasure, at a
later period of his life, the martial deeds with which in his boyhood
all men's mouths were filled; that he should select them as a subject
for his pen, dwell willingly upon their details, and bestow the utmost
pains upon their illustration. His original plan of an historical
romance was far more comprehensive than the one to which he finally
adhered. He proposed employing as a stage for his actors all the
European countries then the theatre of war. This bold plan gave great
scope for contrast, allowing him to exhibit his personages, chiefly
military men, engaged alternately with the Cossack and the
Guerilla--alternately broiling under the sun of Castile, and frozen in
Muscovy's snows. But the project was more easily formed than executed;
and Mr Rellstab soon found (to use his own words) that he had taken
Hercules' club for a plaything. The mass was too ponderous to wield;
to interweave the entire military history of so busy a period with the
plot of a romance, entailed an army of characters and a series of
complications difficult to manage; and that might have ended by
wearying the reader. Convinced that his design was too ambitious, he
reduced it; limiting himself to the Russian campaign--itself no trifle
to grapple with. This plan he successfully carried out. He had hoped
to do so, he says, in three volumes, but was compelled to extend his
limits, and fill four. The necessity is not obvious. In our opinion,
"1812" would gain by compression (especially of the first half) within
the limits originally proposed. Although some well-drawn and
well-sustained characters are early introduced, and although the
reader obtains, in the very first chapter, a mystery to ruminate,
whilst of incident there is certainly an abundance, the real
fascination of the book resides in the account of the advance to
Moscow, of the conflagration of the city, and the subsequent retreat.
The great power and truthfulness with which these events are depicted,
convey the impression that the writer was an eyewitness of the scenes
he so well describes. As this was not the case, we cannot doubt that
Mr Rellstab obtained much information from some who made that terrible
campaign. He acknowledges his great obligation to Count Segur's
remarkable history.

As regards Mr Rellstab's plot, its ingenuity is undeniable, and, in
fact, excessive. More ingenious than probable, the coincidences are
too numerous and striking; the artist's hand is too visible. The
characters are too obliging in their exits and entrances; ever
vanishing and reappearing just at the right moment, and meeting each
other in the most unexpected and extraordinary manner. It is difficult
to lose sight of the wires; the movements of the puppets are
manifestly strained for the exhibitor's convenience. One never feels
sure who is the hero of the book; the young German most prominent in
its earlier portion, and who is intended for the principal character,
is a tame youth, and cuts quite a secondary figure in the latter
volumes. His friend Bernard, a joyous artist, whom circumstances
convert into a private soldier, and his commander the Polish Colonel
Rasinski, a worthy comrade of the heroic Poniatowsky, are much more
lifelike and interesting. The mysteries of the tale, and the
difficulties which of course beset the paths of the various pairs of
lovers, are pretty well cleared up and dispelled at the end of the
third volume. The fourth, which includes the worst portion of the
retreat, is perhaps the most interesting; partly for the very reason
that we have got rid of the private entanglements of the principal
personages, who are seen grouped together, and, including a lady,
struggling against the frightful hardships and dangers of that
unparalleled military disaster. It will give an idea of the tangled
nature of Mr Rellstab's plot and under-plots (all finally unravelled
with considerable cleverness) to state, that in the foremost row stand
five gentlemen and three ladies; that each of the ladies is beloved,
at one period or other of the story, by at least two of the gentlemen,
who, on the other hand, are all five bosom friends, and, in this
capacity, make the most magnanimous sacrifices of love to friendship.
Manifestly, the only way of getting out of such a fix, is to kill
freely, which Mr Rellstab accordingly does, the retreat from Moscow
affording him fine opportunities, whereof he unsparingly avails
himself. The closing chapter shows us the very numerous _dramatis
personæ_ reduced to two happy couples, dwelling, turtle-dove fashion,
in a garden near Dresden, and to an elderly Polish lady, on the wing
for America. Having thus told the end--a matter of very slight
importance to the interest of the book--we will take a glance at the
commencement.

The opening scene introduces us to a young German, who, after twelve
months passed in Italy at the conclusion of his academical studies, is
on his way back to his native land. The entrance of Napoleon's armies
is once more converting Northern Germany into a vast camp, and Ludwig
Rosen is hurrying homewards to the protection of his sister and
widowed mother, then living in retirement at Dresden. Upon his journey
to Italy, a year previously, he had encountered in the valley of Aosta
a party of travellers, to one of whom, a young and very lovely woman,
he restored a bracelet she had dropped upon the highway. Although this
led to no acquaintance or intercourse beyond the exchange of a few
sentences, the beauty of the foreigner (for such she certainly was,
although of what country it was hard to decide,) had left a very
strong impression upon the young man's memory and imagination. During
his residence in Italy he sought her every where, but in vain. He
could not trace her route; ignorant of her name, he knew not for whom
to inquire. Once more upon the threshold of Italy, about to quit the
romantic land where her image had so often filled his daydreams, he
pauses at the outskirts of Duomo d' Ossola, the last Italian town, to
take a fond and final look at the paradise he is on the point of
leaving. Travelling on foot, his motions depend but on his own
caprice, and he leaves the high-road to ascend an adjacent hillock,
commanding a fine view. The blast of a post-horn and crack of whips
break in upon his meditations, and an open travelling carriage rolls
rapidly along the causeway. In one of two women who occupy it, Rosen
thinks he recognises his incognita, but before he can reach the road,
the vehicle is in the town. It is evening, and Rosen, persuaded the
travellers will halt for the night at Duomo d' Ossola, hurries after
them to the open square where the guardhouse and the principal inn are
situated. The carriage stands at the door of the latter, but fresh
horses are being harnessed, and the youth's hopes of passing the night
under the same roof with the lady of his thoughts, and of improving
his very slight acquaintance with her, begin to vanish in vapour. An
unexpected incident again gives them consistence:--

"A large circle of idlers had collected round the travellers. An
officer, issuing from the guardhouse, a paper in his hand, made his
way through the crowd and approached the carriage-door: on his
appearance the young lady got out, and took a few steps to meet him.
The officer bowed and addressed her with great courtesy; but his
manner, and the deprecating shrug of his shoulders, indicated
inability to comply with some wish she had expressed. Ludwig drew
nearer; but as the lady--of whose identity with her he sought he grew
each moment more convinced--had her face turned from him, he made the
circuit of the crowd to obtain a sight of her countenance. Heavens, it
was herself! Her features were paler and more anxious than at their
last meeting, and a tear trembled in her beauteous blue eye. Yielding
to an irresistible impulse, Ludwig approached her, resolved, at risk
of offence, to greet the lovely being whose apparition had gladdened
his entrance into the glorious land he now was quitting, and to remind
her of the moment of their first meeting and too speedy separation. He
was encouraged to this step by beholding her unaccompanied, save by an
old servant seated upon the box, and by an elderly woman, to all
appearance an attendant, or humble companion. He hastily stepped
forward out of the crowd, which had fallen a little back. As he did
so, the lady's glance met his, and so sudden and joyful a glow
over-spread her features, that he could not for an instant doubt her
recognition of him. He was about to salute and address her, when, with
startling haste, she exclaimed in French, 'Here is my brother!' and
hurried to meet him. Before Ludwig, astounded at what he took for an
extraordinary mistake, had time to utter a word, she continued in
Italian, and in a loud tone, so that all around might hear and
understand, 'Thank God, brother, you are come at last!' Then, in a
rapid whisper, and in German, 'I am lost,' she said, 'if you deny me.'
With prompt decision, she turned to the officer, took the paper from
his hand and presented it to Ludwig. 'This gentleman would not admit
the regularity of our passport because you were not present,' said
she, reverting to the French language. 'See what trouble you give us,
dear brother, by your romantic partiality for byways! You are Count
Wallersheim,' she whispered in German.

"Startled and confounded as Ludwig was by this strange adventure, he
retained sufficient presence of mind to understand that it was in his
power to render important service to the beautiful woman who stood
anxious and tearful before him. Readily taking his cue, his reply was
prompt. 'Be not uneasy, dear sister,' he said, 'I will explain to the
gentleman.' He turned to the Frenchman, and in order to gain time and
some insight into the circumstances of the case, 'I must beg you,
sir,' he said 'to repeat your objections to our passport. Ladies have
little experience in such matters.' 'I have now,' replied the officer
'not the slightest objection to make. You are set down in the passport
as the companion of the countess your sister and yet you were not with
her. The passport was, consequently, not in order. The countess
certainly told me you had left her only for a short time, to ramble on
foot, and that you would rejoin her beyond the town; but at frontier
places, like Duomo d' Ossola, our orders are so strict that I should
have been compelled to detain the young lady till you made your
appearance. Rest assured, however, count, that I should, have held it
my duty to have had you sought upon the road to Sempione, to inform
you of the obstacle to your sister's progress. I strongly advise you
to remain with the countess so long as you are in this district, or
you will inevitably encounter delay and annoyance. Once over the Swiss
frontier, you are out of our jurisdiction, and travelling is easier.'

"Ludwig stood mute with astonishment, whilst the old servant got off
the box,--took from him, without observation, the light travelling
pouch that hung on his shoulder,--laid it in the carriage, and asked
him if he would be pleased to get in. Scarce conscious of what he
said, he gave the officer his hand, and uttered a few polite words.
The servant put down the carriage steps,--the gallant Frenchman
assisted the lady, who had muffled herself in her veil, to ascend
them,--bowed low, and repeated his wishes for their pleasant journey.
Ludwig, almost without knowing what he was about, took his place by
the side of the enigmatical fair one, whose duenna had discreetly
transferred herself to the opposite seat, and the carriage rattled
through the streets."

Once out of town, the mysterious stranger greets Ludwig as her
deliverer; and, before they cross the frontier, she has confided to
him as much as she proposes at that time to reveal of her exceptional
position. This does not, however, amount to a disclosure of her
family, name, or even of her country. She bids him call her
Bianca,--but with that he must rest content; and he is unable to
conjecture, from the slight accent with which she speaks German, or
from the language, to him unknown, in which she converses with her
companions, to what nation she belongs. She intimates that her destiny
is connected with the political events of the period,--that more than
her own life is in peril,--and accepts his enthusiastic offer to
sustain his assumed character, and to escort her, as her brother, to
Germany. Her companions are her _gouvernante_ and an old trusty
servant, and she would travel in safety were they the sole sharers of
her secret. But, unfortunately, a fourth person possesses it, who
accompanied her as far as Milan, under the name of Count
Wallersheim,--endeavoured to abuse the fraternal intimacy to which he
was admitted, and was indignantly repulsed. Bianca took an opportunity
to leave him behind, and is well assured that out of revenge he turned
traitor. The pursuers must already be upon her track,--each moment an
order for her arrest may overtake her. And she does not conceal from
Ludwig that, by accompanying her, he runs a heavy risk. This the
enamoured youth despises,--insists on acting as her champion and
defender, and keeps his seat in her carriage. That night they
encounter various perils on the Simplon; and, finally, are locked up
by an avalanche in a mountain gallery, whence they are not extricated
till morning. In the course of the night's adventures, Ludwig obtains
ground to suspect the existence of nearer ties between his two female
companions than those of mistress and servant. The excitement and
anxiety of the time, however, prevent his dwelling upon this
suspicion: the carriage is patched up, and the party reach Brieg, in
the Valais, where they are compelled to pause whilst their vehicle is
put in better repair. Whilst Bianca reposes, Ludwig strolls out of the
town. At about a mile from it, on his return, he is overtaken by a
horseman at full gallop, followed, at an interval of a few hundred
yards, by a second cavalier, and by a carriage at a pace nearly as
rapid. This headlong speed strikes Ludwig as remarkable. Before he has
time to reflect on its possible cause, he is addressed, in French, by
the first horseman.

"'Do you belong to Brieg, sir?'

"'No,' replied Ludwig. 'I am a traveller, and have just rambled out of
the town.'

"'Can you tell us if a carriage and four, with two ladies and a
gentleman, and a servant on the box, has arrived there?'

"Ludwig was on the point of answering No, when the post-chaise came up
and stopped. It contained a civilian and a French officer. The former
leaned out of the window, and repeated the horseman's question. This
gave Ludwig, who could not doubt the inquiries had reference to
Bianca, time to devise a safe answer. He remembered that the
post-house was at the commencement of the town, and that persons in
haste would be likely to change horses there without going to the inn
at all. This decided his reply.

"'Certainly,' said he quickly, 'such a carriage arrived some hours ago
with a broken axle, I believe, which was mended here. But about a
quarter of an hour back, just as I left the town, the strangers
resumed their journey.'

"'The devil!' exclaimed the man in the carriage: 'which road did they
take?'

"'The only one they could take, by Sion to Geneva,' replied Ludwig.
'You see it yonder, following the bank of the Rhone.'

"'Can we not cut across?' inquired the traveller hastily.

"'To be sure,' said the postilion, answering for Ludwig; 'just below
this we can turn sharp to the left; and if your Excellencies are not
afraid to ford the Rhone, even though the water should come into the
carriage a little, we avoid the town altogether, and save a good
half-hour. If your Excellencies allow me to take that road, never fear
but I will overtake the travellers. They must now just be passing
through yonder wood, otherwise we should see their carriage on the
highway.'

"'Is the cross-road dangerous?'

"'Not a bit. Only a little rough. In an hour at most we will catch
them, if your Excellencies will bear me harmless for passing the post
station.'

"'That will I,' replied the officer in the carriage; 'and what is
more, you shall have the twenty gold napoleons I promised you if you
caught the fugitives before they reached Brieg. Now on, and at speed.'

"The carriage dashed forward, the horsemen galloping on either side."

The above short extracts contain what may be termed the root of the
story, whence arise and branch forth a host of subsequent adventures.
The misdirection given by Ludwig to Bianca's pursuers, exercises,
especially, an extraordinary influence on his subsequent fortunes. In
the first instance, however, it gives the lady time to escape on foot
from the inn. Her two attendants, who are in fact her father and
mother, Russian nobles in disguise, join her at a place appointed
without the town, and Ludwig is to do the same, but misses his way,
and is unable to find the fugitives. Already deeply in love with the
interesting stranger, he is in despair at thus losing her; the more so
as he is still ignorant of her name, and his chances of tracing her
are even smaller than a year previously. After long but fruitless
search, he pursues his journey northwards in company with three Polish
officers, Rasinski, Jaromir, and Boleslaw, with whom he becomes
acquainted at an inn, and is soon very intimate. The Poles are on
their way to Dresden, to join Napoleon, then daily expected there, to
open the Russian campaign. The new friends travel for some time in
company. At Heidelberg an acquaintance puts a newspaper into Ludwig's
hand, and calls his attention to a singular advertisement. It is a
letter from Bianca to her unknown deliverer, couched in terms
intelligible to him alone, thanking him, expressing regret at their
sudden departure, and a wish that they may again meet, but giving no
clue by which to find her. More deeply in love than ever, he proceeds
to Dresden, where his invalid mother, and his beautiful sister Marie,
an enthusiast for German nationality and freedom, welcome the wanderer
with delight. There he also meets his friend Bernard, just returned
from a tour in England and northern Europe. On a pleasure excursion
with a party of ladies and Polish officers, Ludwig is seen and
recognised by the man whom he had misdirected in the Valais. This is a
Frenchman, named Beaucaire, formerly secretary to Bianca's father, now
the confidant and tool of Baron de St Luces, one of Napoleon's most
trusted agents,--half diplomatist, half policeman, with a dash of the
spy. Beaucaire has Ludwig arrested; Bernard and one of the Poles
rescue him by the strong hand from the gensdarmes, who are taking him
to prison. But although at liberty he is still in the greatest peril.
The police seek him every where. It appears that Bianca's father is a
most important secret agent of Russia; that when flying from Italy he
had with him papers of the greatest weight and value, and that death
is the doom of Ludwig for aiding his escape. Bernard, who has become
implicated by the vigorous assistance he rendered his friend, is
liable to the same severe punishment. They apply to Colonel Rasinski
for advice and succour. The best he is able to do for them is to
enlist them in his regiment of Polish lancers, and pack them off to
the depot at Warsaw. Under assumed names, and in the ranks of an army
of six hundred thousand men, disguised also in the coarse garb of
private dragoons, detection appears all but impossible. To console
them as much as may be for this separation from friends and country,
to share in a campaign with which they as Germans cannot sympathise,
and to the cheerful endurance of whose hardships they are stimulated
neither by patriotism nor ambition, Rasinski attaches the two friends
to his person as orderlies; and throughout their whole period of
service they associate, when off duty, on terms of perfect equality
and intimacy, with him and the captains Jaromir and Boleslaw. The
incident of the enlistment is rather forced. There is no apparent
reason why Rasinski should detain his friends in his regiment after
its uniform had served the purpose of escape from Dresden. Once
smuggled out of the city, it was most natural to let them resume their
civilian character, and seek concealment in a foreign country, if
necessary, till the danger was over, and till they and their offences
had been forgotten in the stirring events and perpetual changes of the
times. This of course would not have answered Mr Rellstab's purpose;
but he should have given more cogent reasons for the continuance in
the service of two men, one of whom declares that he holds the gallows
or the galleys as agreeable alternatives as the life of a private
sentinel.

The merest outline, the most skeleton-like sketch of the plots and
under-plots of "1812" would fill a long article, and prove, upon the
whole, dry and of small interest. Nor is it, we have already said, by
any means our opinion that the plot is the best part of Mr Rellstab's
romance. By giving its details, we should be doing less to exhibit his
talent, and to interest our readers, than by proceeding at once to the
extraction and translation of one or two of its many remarkable scenes
and passages.

During the advance of the French army into Russia, when the French
Emperor, eager to engage the enemy, had the mortification of seeing
them constantly recede on his approach, steadily avoiding an action,
Polish Jews were frequently employed as spies, and sent forward to
watch and report the movements of a foe whose plan of campaign even
Napoleon's genius was unable to penetrate. The invasion of Russia, and
anticipated triumph of the French host, were hailed with delight by
the great mass of the Polish nation, who considered their liberation
from the Muscovite yoke, and the re-establishment of Polish
nationality, to be quite certain when once Napoleon took the field on
their behalf. But these feelings of patriotic exultation were not
partaken by the Jews of Poland, at least not to an extent that
rendered them proof against the allurements of Russian gold. As usual,
the guileless Israelites were at the service of the best bidder.
Russian rubles and French crowns were equally welcome to their
insatiable souls and fathomless pockets.

After crossing the Dnieper, Count Rasinski, whose knowledge of the
people, language, and country, caused him to be frequently consulted
by the Emperor, sent forward a Lithuanian Jew to ascertain if the
enemy were concentrating their forces, and likely to make a stand.

"Towards three in the morning, and in profound darkness, the spy
reappeared in the bivouac. Bernard had just awakened and stirred up
the fire, when the strange figure of the Israelite, stealing
noiselessly along, (wariness and caution had become his second
nature,) entered the circle of light cast by the flames. Like a
prowling and mischievous sorcerer, he suddenly stood before Bernard,
who started at this strange and unexpected apparition. A black robe,
confined at the waist by a leathern girdle, draped his meagre person;
a red and pointed beard descended low upon his breast; his pale,
wizened countenance peered forth from out a mass of tangled hair; his
gray eyes had a cunning and malicious twinkle. A constrained smile
distorted his lips, as he accosted Bernard in Jewish dialect.

"'Young gentleman! Tell me quick where my lord colonel sleeps. I am in
haste to speak with him, young gentleman!'

"'The fellow looks like the devil changed into a fox,' muttered
Bernard to himself. 'So they have not hanged you, eh, Isaac?'

"'Father Abraham! what is that for a question, young gentleman? D'ye
think old Isaac would have lived so long, had he not known to keep his
neck out of a coil of hemp? But take me to my lord colonel: it's in
great haste!'

"'Come, son of Abraham,' said Bernard, parodying the Jewish mode of
speaking; 'set thy shoe-soles upon the tracks of my feet, so shalt
thou come to the presence of him whose gold thou covetest. Forward!'
And, winding his way through the groups of weary soldiers who lay
sleeping round the watch-fires, he guided the old spy to the spot
where Rasinski, wrapped in his cloak, reposed upon a little straw. The
colonel's watchful ear warned him of the approach of strange
footsteps; he was roused in an instant, and looked keenly into the
surrounding darkness.

"'Ha, friend Isaac!' he cried; 'well, what news? Are they of weight?'

"The Jew nodded mysteriously, and drew the count aside. Bernard would
have returned to his fire, but Rasinski signed to him to remain. The
count spoke long and low with his Hebrew emissary, and listened with
the strongest interest, as it seemed, to the report of the latter. The
spy's countenance each moment assumed a more important expression, and
was lighted up, even at shorter intervals, by his false and repulsive
smile, as he saw that Rasinski appeared satisfied with the
intelligence he brought.

"'Accursed Judas!' quoth Bernard to himself. 'I could not put faith in
that villanous physiognomy, though the fox's snout of it were to guide
me into paradise. And yet Rasinski is a judge of men; that there is no
denying.'

"Isaac had made his report; he stood submissively before Rasinski, and
awaited his orders with the deepest humility. The colonel produced his
purse; the Jew's visage was lighted up with joy; lust of gold gleamed
in his eyes. But when he clutched in his extended palm a handful of
gold pieces, he broke out into fulsome expressions of delight and
gratitude.

"'God of Abraham!' he cried, endeavouring to seize and kiss Rasinski's
hand, 'bless my dear benefactor, who saves me from perishing in these
days of war and misery! Hunger would rend the poor Jew's entrails,
till he howled like the starving wolf in winter, did not you, noble
sir, deign generously to relieve him.'

"By word and gesture Rasinski commanded silence. The Jew turned to
depart, pulling out at the same time a small leathern bag, wherein to
stow his gold. With this empty bag he unintentionally drew out a
purse, whose strings had got entangled with those of the bag, and
which fell heavily to the ground. Visibly alarmed, Isaac stooped to
pick it up, but Bernard, who had observed his countenance by the
fire-light, conceived a sudden suspicion, and sprang forward with a
like intention. The grass being high, and the light not falling on
that spot, both men felt about for a few moments in vain. At last
Bernard seized the prize.

"'Give it here, my dear young gentlemans,' cried Isaac eagerly; 'it is
my small and hard-earned savings. Now-a-days nothing is safe, except
what one carries with one. Give it me, I entreat!'

"The anxious tone and hasty gestures, with which he spoke these words,
not only strengthened Bernard's suspicions, but also attracted the
attention of Rasinski.

"'Humph! heavy,' said Bernard, significantly; 'very heavy. Nothing
less than gold there, I expect.'

"Rasinski approached.

"'Heaven bless you!' cried Isaac, 'a little silver and copper, nothing
more. Perhaps an old ducat or two amongst it.' And he hastily extended
his arm to seize his property. Bernard drew back his hand, held the
purse to the fire-light and loudly exclaimed--'Silver? copper? What I
see through the meshes is gold, and that of the brightest!'

"'Show it here!' said Rasinski, stepping quickly forward. Bernard,
laughing, handed him the purse; the Jew dared not object, but he
trembled visibly, and expostulated in a humble and cringing tone.
'Most generous sir!' he said; 'it is the trifle I have rescued from
the exactions and calamities of war. You will not rob a helpless old
man of his little all.'

"'Rob!' repeated Rasinski, disdainfully. 'Am I a marauder? But you
will not make me believe,' he continued, in an accent of menace, 'that
this gold has been long in your possession. Think you I do not know
what a Jew of your sort can save in Lithuania? A likely tale, indeed,
that whilst passing as a spy, from one camp to the other, you carry
this treasure on your person! Ten foot under ground in the thickest
forest, you still would not think it safe. And why deny it to be gold?
Where are the silver and copper amongst these fire-new ducats?
Confess, Jew--whence have you this gold?'

"Isaac trembled in every limb.

"'What would you of me, most gracious lord count?' stammered he. 'How
should old Isaac possess other gold than what he has saved during his
sixty years of life? Where should he bury it? Where has he land to dig
and delve at his pleasure? And if I wished to conceal that I have
saved a few ducats, sure it is no crime in times like these?'

"'Miserable subterfuges!' replied Rasinski. 'Here, take your gold--I
desire it not. But mark my words! molten I will have it poured down
thy lying throat, if thou hast deceived me in this matter! These
ducats look like the guerdon of weightier information than you have
brought me. If you have betrayed aught to the enemy, if our present
plan miscarries, tremble, for your treachery shall meet a fearful
reward!'

"The Jew stood with tottering knees and pale as death; suddenly he
prostrated himself at Rasinski's feet, his face distorted by an agony
of terror.

"'Pardon! mercy!' he exclaimed.

"'Justice!' sternly replied Rasinski. 'Let his person be searched for
papers.'

"An officer and two soldiers seized the Jew, dragged him to the next
fire, and bade him strip from head to foot. In a few moments it was
done. Gown and hose, shoes and stockings, were examined, without any
thing being found. Even a cut through the shoe-soles brought nothing
to light. Meanwhile Isaac stood shivering in his shirt, following with
anxious glances each movement of the soldiers. As each portion of his
dress passed muster and was thrown aside, his countenance cleared and
brightened.

"'As sure as Jehovah dwells above us!' he exclaimed, 'I am an innocent
old man. Give me back my money and my clothes, and let me home to my
hut!'

"'There, put on your rags!' cried a corporal, throwing him his
breeches. Isaac caught them, but at the same moment the soldier threw
him his gown in the same unceremonious way. It fell over the Jew's
face, enveloping him in its folds. Seeing this, the mischievous
corporal seized one end of the loose garment, and pulled it backwards
and forwards over the head of Isaac, who staggered to and fro, blinded
and confused, but still struggling violently and crying out for mercy.
Rasinski was on the point of checking this horse-play, when the Jew
stumbled and fell, thus disentangling himself from the gown, which
remained in his tormentor's hands. But to the utter dismay of the
Israelite, and simultaneously with his robe, a wig was dragged from
his head, leaving him completely bald. At first nobody attached
importance to the circumstance, and the soldiers laughed at this
climax of the Jew's misfortunes, when Bernard's quick eye detected
upon the ground a scrap of paper, which had been concealed between
scalp and wig. He clutched at it; but was forestalled by Isaac, who,
in all haste, caught it up and threw it into the blazing watch-fire,
where it instantly disappeared in a flake of tinder. This suspicious
incident gave rise to a new investigation. The Jew denied every thing:
he swore by the God of his fathers he knew of no letter, and had
thrown nothing into the fire, but had merely picked up his
handkerchief. Upon examining his head, however, it appeared that the
hair had been recently shaved off, and that Isaac had no real occasion
for a wig. Here again the wary Jew was ready with his justification.

"'God of mercy!' he cried, 'what I have done for your service proves
my perdition. When, driven by need and hunger, I undertook your
dangerous commission, I bethought me how I could best be useful to
you. Could I tell what duties you would require of me? Had I not even
heard that they consisted in carrying letters and papers, skilfully
concealed? Therefore did I break the law by laying a razor on my head!
And now I am punished for my sin. But is it for you Christians to
condemn me, because I have transgressed to do your pleasure?'

"Spurred by the fear of death, Isaac continued in this strain with
irrepressible volubility; and there was no denying that his excuses
and reasons were plausible enough. Nevertheless, Rasinski found strong
grounds for suspicion. He ordered the Jew to be kept in custody, and
that, when the regiment went out, he should follow on a spare horse.

"'If I see by the enemy's movements,' said he to the Jew as he was led
away, 'that he has notice of our project, you are ripe for the
gallows, and shall not escape it. If there is no evidence of your
treason, you shall be free to get yourself hung elsewhere, for beyond
Liady you will be useless, seeing that the Russians do not tolerate
your blood-sucking race in their land; the only good trait I am
acquainted with in their character. Away with you--let him be well
guarded."'

During a scamper after the Cossacks upon the following day, Isaac
makes his escape, to reappear at the close of the retreat under very
startling and horrible circumstances. At last Napoleon, who, ever
since he crossed the Niemen, had expected battle, and who was furious
at the retrograde tactics of the Russians, met at Smolensko the first
serious resistance of his cautious and astute foe. Hitherto every
thing had been of evil presage: nature seemed combined with man to
check his progress, and discourage his ambition. His first arrival on
the banks of the Niemen was marked by a fall from his horse; a
terrible storm welcomed him upon the Russian territory; in crossing
the first Russian river, the Wilna, a squadron of Polish horse, sent
to find a ford, were swept away by the current. Bridges were cut,
roads deserted, even the defiles protecting Wilna unguarded, but not
an enemy was visible, save now and then a few wild Cossacks,
stragglers from the Russian rear-guard. On the other hand, the French
suffered from hunger and fatigue; provisions were scarce, the men
discouraged; discipline grew lax, villages were plundered and burned;
tales circulated in the ranks of the army, of young soldiers, new to
privations, and disheartened by a long perspective of suffering, who
turned aside upon the road and blew out their brains with their
muskets. Already baggage-waggons and munition-carts, open and empty,
strewed the plain, as in rear of a discomfited and retreating army;
thousands of horses had died from feeding on green corn. All these
misfortunes, before a blow had been struck, almost before a shot had
been fired! Such disastrous inactivity was more destructive than the
fiercest opposition; and no wonder Napoleon longed to meet one of
those stubborn stands which he well knew the Russian troops would
make, so soon as their leaders permitted them. The first of any
importance was made at Smolensko. In the previous doubts and delays
there is evidently fine scope for a historical romance-writer,--and Mr
Rellstab busies himself with the events of the campaign, neglecting
for a while the progress of his novel. We then obtain a peep into
Russia, and are introduced to the castle of Count Dolgorow, Bianca's
father. Preparations are making for the young Countess's marriage with
Prince Ochalskoi, a marriage repugnant to her feelings, (for she still
cherished a tender recollection of Ludwig,) but into which she is in a
manner coerced by her parents. On her wedding day she receives a
letter, left by her nurse in care of her confessor, not to be
delivered to her till after marriage, by which she learns that she is
not the Dolgorow's daughter; that her mother was a German lady, who
died a few days after her birth, and that her adoption by the Count
had, for motive, that an inheritance depended on his wife having
children, which, after many years' marriage, were still denied him.
Bianca, with whom a sense of filial duty had powerfully weighed when
consenting to become the wife of a man she disliked, is in despair at
finding how unnecessarily she has sacrificed herself. But the ceremony
is over, and she has no alternative but resignation to her lot. That
same evening, however, the castle, which is in the vicinity of
Smolensko, is surprised by Rasinski, who, under cover of the darkness,
has forded the Dnieper with his horsemen. On the threshold of the
bridal chamber, Ochalskoi is startled by pistol-shots. The alarm-bell
rings, the confusion is terrific. The principal tenants of the castle
escape into the adjacent forest, but, in covering the retreat,
Ochalskoi is mortally wounded. From Smolensko, Russian troops hurry
out to repel the Poles, and Rasinski recrosses the river with his
regiment, in whose ranks rides Ludwig, little suspecting how near he
has been to the mistress of his heart. Having thus obligingly killed
off the husband, before he had _de facto_ become entitled to the name,
Mr Rellstab evidently intends ultimately rewarding the sufferings of
Bianca, and the constancy of her German lover. There is still a slight
difficulty in the way of this desirable consummation. Bernard,
Ludwig's faithful friend, has also a hankering after the lady, whom he
has seen in a London theatre, and surreptitiously sketched. He
sacrifices himself to friendship, and is rewarded by the discovery
that Bianca is his sister. Whereupon he finds out that he is in love
with Marie, Ludwig's sister, and she, who has been wooed by Rasinski,
and whose sole objection to the gallant Pole is the fact of his
fighting in the French ranks, favours the suit of Bernard, whose
temporary service under the tricolor was the consequence of his
affection for her brother, and who atones his brief alliance with
Frenchmen by taking a gallant part against them in the subsequent
campaigns of 1813-15. Here, however, we are again anticipating--jumping
from the middle of the second to the end of the fourth volume. We will
presently retrace our steps for an extract or two. Just after the
fight at Smolensko, which the Russians abandoned in the night, and the
French took possession of on the 18th August, Ludwig receives a letter
informing him of his mother's death, and is plunged into the deepest
distress. We mention this incident, which, although its immediate
cause is connected with the plot of the book, is, upon the whole,
unimportant, merely because it gives us an opportunity of referring to
a practice common amongst foreign writers, especially amongst German
ones, and which occurs in "1812" more frequently than we should have
expected to have found it in the production of a writer usually so
manly as Mr Rellstab. We allude to the exorbitant allowance of hugging
and kissing that goes on between the male characters of the romance.
We have no objection to any decent amount of osculation, so long as
the parties are of different sexes; we can even pardon the rather too
warmly-coloured scenes in the bride's apartment near Smolensko, and in
the boudoir or _clapier_--or whatever we are to call it--of
Mademoiselle Françoise Alisette, the French singing woman. (Mr
Rellstab, by the way, is particularly given to having his billing and
cooing done where 'cannons are roaring and bullets are flying,' amidst
death-wounds and conflagration.) But we cannot abide, or read with
common patience, even though we know it to be mere fiction,--for
surely no men wearing boots, breeches, a soldier's coat, and sword on
hip, ever descended to such Sporus-like familiarities,--an account of
soldiers kissing and slabbering each other like a set of sentimental
school-girls parting for the holidays. Bernard the painter, a very
worthy fellow, and efficient man-at-arms, and withal a bit of a cynic,
departs from his natural character, and falls at once a hundred per
cent in our estimation, when we read of his imprinting "a soft
brother's kiss upon Ludwig's lips." Having done this, however, he
announces his resolution to avoid for the future softness of all
kinds, and to stand "like a veteran pilot, cold and calm amidst the
storm of fate." Nevertheless, when Ludwig learns his mother's decease,
we find the artist relapsing into the nasty weakness, clasping his
friend in his arms, and pressing "a long kiss upon his lips." The same
sort of maudlin is of frequent recurrence throughout the book.
Formerly very prevalent upon the Continent, the practice of embracing
amongst men is sensibly on the decline, or rather it has become
modified, for the most part, into a sort of meaningless hug,
compounded of a clasp round the body, and a grin over the shoulder.
There is no harm in this, if it amuse the actors, or is in any way
gratifying to their feelings. The last time we saw the ceremony gone
through, by a couple of bearded big-paunched Frenchmen, we thought
they looked rather conscious of the absurdity of the exhibition, and
more than half ashamed of it. Any thing beyond this, any thing like
contact of chins, lips, cheeks, or mustaches, is nauseous, and
degrades any male animal of the genus _homo_, superior in moral
dignity to a French man-milliner, or a German student drunk with beer.
Let not, however, our rightful disgust be misinterpreted. There are
kisses that are hallowed in history. Such was the kiss of Hardy upon
the cheek of Nelson.

The affair of Smolensko, bloody though it was, was a trifling skirmish
compared with the terrible battle of the Borodino, excellently well
described by Mr Rellstab. This was a profitless battle--nay, a
disastrous one--to the victors, whose numerical loss rather exceeded
that of the vanquished; and the Russians, little ruffled by their
defeat, might almost have renewed the strife the following day, had it
so pleased them. Another such victory would have been the ruin of the
French. But it did not accord with Russian tactics to give them
another chance. The invaders' doom awaited them there, where they
anticipated safety and repose--in the ancient city of the Czars,
imperial Moscow. The insignificant spoils of the action that had cost
them so much blood, made it evident to the French host that the
triumph was but nominal. What were a few hundred prisoners, and
four-and-twenty guns, after such a tremendous day's slaughter? "It is
the sun of Austerlitz!" Napoleon, with his accustomed clap-trap, had
said upon the morning of the fight. Like that of Austerlitz, the sun
set upon a victory; but how different in its results! "Let your
descendants," said Napoleon, in one of his unrivalled and
spirit-stirring proclamations, "make it their chief boast that their
ancestors fought in that great battle before the walls of Moscow!" How
few who shared in that day's perils and glories ever returned to their
native land, to boast the exploits or bewail the mishaps of the most
unfortunate campaign the world's military history can show! The action
of the Borodino, claimed as a victory by the French, although in
reality a drawn battle, inspired Napoleon's host with no feelings of
exultation. The losses were too tremendous--the advantages too
problematical. Still, the fight--or rather the voluntary retreat of
the Russians during the following night--opened the road to Moscow,
and this gave fresh spirits to the army: not that they rejoiced and
triumphed at occupying the second capital of Russia, but because they
well knew that Moscow was a further stage upon the only road by which
they would be permitted to return to France, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland--to all the eight or ten countries, in short, of whose
inhabitants the armed multitude was made up. Moscow was to be their
winter-quarters, their place of refuge, rest, and solace, after great
hardships and sufferings. They of course expected they would have to
fight for the city, but in this they did less than justice to Russian
hospitality. They found the dwelling swept, the fires laid, and all
ready for lighting. Mr Rellstab powerfully describes the aspect of the
deserted city, when entered by Murat at the head of his cavalry.

"The streets through which they passed made a strange impression:
alive with the clang of war, they yet were deadly still, for the
houses on either hand stood like silent tombs, whence no sound or sign
of life proceeded. Not a single chimney smoked. The cupolas of the
cathedral glittered in shining gold, encircled with wreaths of green;
the pillars of palaces towered in lofty magnificence. But the glories
of this noble architecture resembled the dismal finery of a corpse
laid out in state for a last melancholy exhibition, so mute, so rigid
was all it enclosed. This mixture of the wanton splendour of life with
the profound stillness and solitude of death was so painful, that it
oppressed the hearts of those rough warriors, who as yet, however,
were far from suspecting the terrible truth.

"For two hours the troops had perambulated this stony desert, in whose
labyrinthine mazes they became ever more deeply involved. Their
progress was of the slowest, for the King of Naples, still refusing to
believe what each moment rendered more apparent, was in constant
expectation of a surprise, and could not banish the idea that the foe
cunningly inveigled him into this confused and treacherous network of
streets and lanes, in order the better suddenly to assail him. He
therefore sent strong detachments into every side street, to seek the
enemy supposed to lurk there. None was detected. A dreadful stillness
reigned in the huge city, where erst the din of traffic deafened every
ear. There was heard but the dull, hollow hoof-tramp of the horses,
and the jar of the weapons, dismally reverberated from the tall, dead
walls; so that, when the column halted, complete silence spread like a
shroud over the awe-stricken host. For the soldier was infected with
the gloom of the scene, so that, although entering the hostile
capital, no cry of victory or shout of joy escaped him; but grave and
silent, scrutinising with astonished eye the surrounding edifices, in
vain quest of a trace of life, he entered the metropolis of the old
Czars.

"Now the walls and pinnacles of the Kremlin rose in dark majesty above
the intruders' heads. For the first time a refreshing sound was
heard--a confused jumble of human voices and warlike stir. It was a
party of the inhabitants, collected in a dark swarm round a train of
carts conveying provisions and wounded men, who had not been soon
enough got out of the city. A few Cossacks, left behind to escort
them, spurred their active little horses and quickly disappeared in
the maze of streets, uninjured by the bullets sent after them.
Suddenly from the Kremlin, at whose doors the French had now arrived,
issued a horrible uproar of howling voices. Rasinski, at the noise of
the firing, had galloped to the head of the column, followed by
Bernard, to ascertain its cause; and even his manly heart, long
accustomed to sounds and perils of every description, beat quicker at
the ghastly tumult. His eye followed the direction given by his ear,
and he beheld, upon the Kremlin's walls, a group of hideous figures,
both men and women, furiously gesticulating, and evidently resolved to
defend the entrance to the holy fortress. The women's tangled and
dishevelled hair, the wild bristling beards of the men, the distorted
features and frantic gestures of all, their horrible cries, and rags,
and filth, and barbarous weapons, composed a picture frightful beyond
expression. 'What!' cried Rasinski, with a start, 'has hell sent
against us its most hideous demons?'--'Are they men or spectres?'
inquired the shuddering Bernard. Again the grisly band set up their
wild and horrid shriek, and shots were fired from the wall into the
compact mass of soldiers. The King of Naples waved a white
handkerchief in sign of truce, and called to Rasinski to tell the
people in their own language that no harm should be done to them if
they abandoned their useless and desperate opposition. Rasinski rode
forward; but scarcely had he uttered the first word of peace, when his
voice was drowned in a horrid yell, whilst the women furiously beat
their breasts and tore their hair. Once more Rasinski called to them
to yield. Thereupon a woman of colossal stature, whose loosened hair
fell wildly on her shoulders, sprang upon a turret of the wall. 'Dog!'
she cried, 'with my teeth will I rend thee, like a hungry wolf her
prey! Robber! thou shalt be torn like the hunter who despoils the
she-bear of her cubs! Curse upon ye, murderers of our sons and
husbands! Curse upon ye, spoilers of our cities! A triple curse upon
the godless crew, who defile our holy altars, and scoff the Almighty
with a devil's tongue! Woe shall be your portion, worse your
sufferings than those of the damned in the sulphur-pit! Curses,
eternal curses upon ye all!'

"Rasinski shuddered. This menacing figure, although fearful to behold,
excited not loathing. Wide robes of black and gray shrouded the person
of the Pythoness; a blood-red cloth, half cap, half turban, was twined
around her head. Her grizzled hair fluttered in the wind, her
glittering eye rolled wildly in its orbit, whilst her open mouth
poured forth curses, and her upraised hands appealed to heaven to
fulfil them.

"Summoning all his strength, Rasinski once more shouted, in his
lion-like voice--

"'Madmen! do you reject mercy?'

"Another wild howl, accompanied with threatening gestures, drowned his
words. By a sign he warned the King that all was in vain, and Murat
gave orders to burst open the door. The artillery was already
unlimbered, and three shots, whose thunder resounded fearfully in the
empty city, crashed through the barrier, which broke and shivered at
the shock. As it opened, a dense throng of the mad Russians streamed
out, and dashed headlong into the French ranks. The invaders would
fain have spared them, for they were too few to prompt a powerful foe
to needless bloodshed; but the fanatical patriotism of the
unfortunates made mercy impossible. Like ferocious beasts, they threw
themselves upon their foes, thinking only of destroying all they
could. One raging madman, armed with a tree-branch, fashioned into a
huge club, struck down two Frenchmen, and with a few agile leaps was
close to the King of Naples--as usual foremost in danger--when
Rasinski sprang forward and cut at him with his sabre. But the blow
fell flat; with the fury of a goaded hound, the wounded man sprang
upon the Count, dragged him with giant strength from his saddle,
hurled him to the ground, and threw himself upon him. In a moment
Bernard was off his horse, and, grappling the lunatic, who strove to
throttle Rasinski, pulled him violently backwards. A French officer
sprang to his assistance. With the greatest difficulty they unlocked
the fierce grasp in which the Russian held Rasinski; and when this was
done the wretch gnashed his teeth, and strove to use them on his
prostrate opponent. But Rasinski had now an arm at liberty, and when
his furious foe advanced his head to bite, he struck him with his
clenched fist so severe a blow in the mouth, that a thick dark stream
of blood gushed over his breast and face. Nevertheless, the barbarian
yielded not, but made head against the three men with all the
prodigious strength of his muscular body, until the bullet from the
pistol of a dragoon, who coolly put the muzzle to his breast and shot
him through the heart, laid him lifeless on the ground."

Convinced at last that the city is theirs without opposition, the
French take up their quarters. Rasinski establishes himself with his
friends in a spacious palace, full of corridors, staircases, and long
suites of rooms, reminding us in some degree of one of Mrs Radcliffe's
castles. Here some well-managed scenes occur. Voices and footsteps are
heard, and Ludwig has a dream "that is not all a dream," in which
Bianca appears to him, warning of danger, and bidding him fly. As
token of her real presence, she leaves him a bracelet--the same by
picking up which he first made her acquaintance--and a letter, a
mysterious sort of missive, like that by which the gunpowder plot was
discovered, in which she hints at danger underground. Rasinski, who
has been disturbed by a dark figure passing through his room, at which
he fires a pistol without effect, institutes a search through the
palace. In the cellars they are met by a smell of sulphur, and
presently the building shakes with the explosion of a mine. They hurry
up to their apartments, and find them full of smoke. Just then the
stillness of the night is broken by shouts of fire, and by sounds of
drums and trumpets. Moscow is in flames.

And now begins, with the commencement of Mr Rellstab's third volume,
the prodigious retreat from Moscow to Paris. It occupies six books out
of the sixteen into which "1812" is divided; and however the interest
of the other ten may occasionally be found drawn out and flagging, it
must be admitted that these six are of intense and enthralling
interest. From a rising ground near Moscow, Rasinski and his friends
obtained a bird's-eye view of the retreating multitude, just as,
encumbered with spoil, exasperated by unwonted reverse and
disappointment, their blood, impoverished by previous privations, now
inflamed to fever by brief but furious excesses in the palaces and
wine-cellars of the Russian nobles, they started upon their weary
march.

"In three broad streams the enormous mass of men and baggage poured
across the fields, issuing forth in inexhaustible numbers from the
ruins of Moscow, whilst the head of the column disappeared in the blue
and misty distance. And besides this main body, the plain to the right
and left was covered with scattered horsemen and pedestrians.

"'What is to become of it all?' said Rasinski, gazing down on the
throng. 'How is an army to move with such baggage? Fortunately the
first charge of Cossacks will rid us of at least half the encumbrance.
What blind greediness has presided at the collection of the spoil! How
many have laden themselves with useless burdens, under which they are
destined to sink!'

"'I shall be much surprised,' said Jaromir, 'if the Emperor does not
have the entire plunder burned so soon as we get into the open
country.'

"'Not he,' replied Rasinski. 'He will not deprive the soldier, who has
plodded wearily over two-thirds of Europe, of the recompense of
oft-promised booty. But my word for it, before this day is over, the
fellows will of themselves begin to throw their ballast overboard. See
yonder, those two men, they look like officer's servants. Have they
not gone and harnessed themselves to a hand-cart, and now draw their
load wearily after them! Not six hours will their strength endure; but
blinded by avarice, they forget the eight hundred leagues that lie
between this and Paris. And yonder lines of heavy-laden carts, how
long will their axles hold? And if one breaks, whence is it to be
replaced? It is as much as the artillery can do to supply their
deficiencies. The Emperor looks ill-pleased at all this encumbrance,
but he leaves it to time to teach them the impossibility of their
undertaking. There is a waggon down! do you see? one who will leave at
half-a-league from Moscow all that he had probably reckoned upon
conveying to Paris.'

"The cart which Rasinski saw upset was overloaded with plunder; an
axle had broken, and it lay in the middle of the road, stopping the
passage. There was an instant check in the whole column. From the rear
came angry cries of 'Forward!' for all felt that the utmost exertion
was necessary to make way through the throng and bustle. The very
density of the crowd impeded movement, so that an accident diminishing
the number of carts was a matter of self-gratulation to the others. As
the broken vehicle could not immediately move on, and there was no
room to turn it aside, the driver of one of the following carts called
out to clear it away at any rate. 'Throw the lumber out of the road!
every one for himself here! we cannot wait half the day for one man.
Lend a hand, comrades; unharness the horses, and pitch the rubbish
into the fields'. Instantly, twenty, thirty, fifty arms were extended
to obey the suggestion. In vain the owner of the cart stormed and
swore, and strove to defend his property. In two minutes he was
surrounded on all sides; and not only was the cart pillaged of all it
contained, but the horses were unharnessed, the wheels taken off, and
the body of the vehicle broken up and thrown aside; so that the road
was once more clear. The howling fury of the plundered man was drowned
in the scornful laughter of the bystanders; no one troubled his head
about the matter, or dreamed of affording assistance to the despoiled
individual, who might consider himself fortunate that his horses were
left him.

"'If this happens on the first day's march, at the gates of Moscow,'
observed Rasinski, 'what is to be expected when an enemy threatens
these heavy-laden masses? Yonder marauder has saved nothing but his
pair of lean horses. The others may think themselves lucky if they
save as much from the first feint-attack of half a hundred Cossacks!
The fellow now howling and cursing is the luckiest of them all; for he
is the first relieved from his useless drudgery. This very day he will
have abundant opportunity to laugh and scoff in his turn, perhaps at
his spoilers themselves. And before a week is over, he will bless his
stars that he has been saved the profitless toil. The difference is
merely that he loses to-day what others will lose to-morrow and the
day after: of all these thousands not one will ultimately profit by
his booty.'

"The prognostications of the experienced soldier were speedily
verified. The track of the French army was marked first by abandoned
spoils, then by the bodies of the spoilers. Napoleon's soldiers were
little accustomed to retreats, and seemed to imagine that, now they
had condescended to commence one, the enemy would show his surprise
and respect by abstaining from molesting them. Such at least is the
only plausible way of explaining the infatuation that loaded with the
most cumbersome plunder the multitude of men who, on the 16th
September 1812, turned their backs upon the blazing turrets of Moscow.
Nothing was too clumsy or heavy to be carried off; but ultimately
nothing was found portable enough to be carried through the fatigues
and dangers of the winter march. Baggage and superfluous
munition-carts were soon left behind, and the horses taken for the
artillery; for which purpose, before reaching Smolensko, every second
man in the cavalry was deprived of his charger. Although winter had
not yet set in, there were frosts every night, and the slippery roads
trebled the fatigues of the attenuated and ill-shod horses. After a
short time, every means of transport, not monopolised by the guns, was
required by the sick, wounded, and weary; and nobody thought of
possessing more baggage than he could carry with him. And even the
trophies selected in Moscow by Napoleon's order, to throw dust in the
eyes of the Parisians,--splendid bronze ornaments from the palaces,
outlandish cannon, (the spoils of Russia in her eastern wars,) and the
cross of St Ivan, wrenched from the tower of the Kremlin,--were sunk
in a lake by the roadside. Soon snow was the sole pillow, and
horse-flesh the best nourishment, of the broken and dispirited army.

"At Smolensko, Ludwig and Bernard, when seeking in the storehouses of
the depot a supply of shoes for the regiment, suddenly find themselves
face to face with their old enemies, Beaucaire and the Baron de St
Luces, who have them arrested as spies of Russia. Prevented from
communicating with Rasinski, who is suddenly ordered off and compelled
to march without them, they undergo a sort of mock examination in the
gray of the morning, and are led out of the town to be shot. The place
appointed for their execution is a snow-covered hillock, a few hundred
yards from the walls, and close to the extremity of a thick pine wood.
They are escorted by thirty men, and an escape appears impossible.
Nevertheless Bernard, hopeful and energetic, despairs not of
accomplishing it, and communicates his intentions to Ludwig.

"Seizing a favourable moment, Bernard suddenly knocked down the two
foremost soldiers, sprang from amongst his guards, and shouting to
Ludwig to follow, bounded like a roebuck towards the forest. He had
cleared the way for Ludwig, who, prepared for the signal, availed
himself of the opening, and sped across the snowy field. The soldiers
stood astounded. 'Fire!' cried the officer; and a few obeyed the
order, but already several were in full pursuit of the fugitives,
preventing the others from firing, lest they should shoot their
comrades. Seeing this, all threw down their muskets and joined in the
chase. Ludwig sought to keep near Bernard, in order not to sever his
fate from that of his trusty friend. But the number of their pursuers
soon forced them to take different directions. The hunted and the
hunters were alike impeded by the snow, which had been blown off the
steep side of the hillock, but lay in thick masses on the table-land,
and at every step the feet sank deep. Already Ludwig saw the dusky
foliage of the pines close before him, already he deemed himself to
have escaped his unjust doom, when suddenly he sunk up to the hips,
and, by his next movement, up to the breast in the snow, which had
drifted into a fissure in the earth. In vain he strained every muscle
to extricate himself. In a few seconds his pursuers reached him,
grappled him unmercifully, and pulled him out of the hole by his arms
and hair.

"Ill treated by the soldiers, driven forward by blows from fists and
musket butts, Ludwig was dragged, rather than he walked, to the place
appointed for his death. Even the scornful gaze with which Beaucaire
received him was insufficient to give him strength to enjoy in the
last moments of his life an inward triumph over that contemptible
wretch. But he looked anxiously around for Bernard, to see whether he
again was the companion of his melancholy lot. He saw him not; he
evidently was not yet captured. The hope that his friend had finally
effected his escape, comforted Ludwig, although he felt that death,
now he was alone to meet it, was harder to endure than when he was
sustained by the companionship of the gallant Bernard.

"He was now again at the post, to which two soldiers secured him with
musket-slings, his arms behind his back, as though they feared fresh
resistance. The sergeant stepped up to him, a handkerchief in his
hand.

"'I will bandage your eyes, comrade,' said he, compassionately; 'it is
better so.'

"In the first instance Ludwig would have scorned the bandage, but now
he let his kind-hearted fellow-soldier have his way. Suddenly it
occurred to him that he might make the sergeant the bearer of his last
earthly wishes.

"'Comrade,' said he, as the man secured the cloth over his eyes, 'you
will not refuse me a last friendly service. So soon as you are able,
go to Colonel Rasinski, who commands our regiment; tell him how I
died, and beg him to console my sister. And if you outlive this war,
and go to her in Warsaw or Dresden, and tell her that'--

"He was interrupted by several musket-shots close at hand.

"'Are those for me, already?' cried Ludwig,--for the sergeant had let
go the handkerchief, now secured round his head, and had stepped
aside. For sole reply Ludwig heard him exclaim--'The devil! what is
that?' and spring forward. At the same time arose a confused outcry
and bustle, and again shots were fired just in the neighbourhood, one
bullet whistling close to Ludwig's head. He heard horses in full
gallop, whilst a mixture of words of command, shouts, clash of steel
and reports of fire-arms resounded on all sides. 'Forward!' cried the
voice of the sergeant. 'Close your ranks! fire!'

"A platoon fire from some twenty muskets rang in Ludwig's ear; he
imagined the muzzles were pointed at him, and an involuntary tremor,
made his whole frame quiver. But he was still alive and uninjured. The
complete darkness in which he found himself, the bonds that prevented
his moving, the excitement and tension of his nerves, caused a host of
strange wild ideas to flit across his brain. Hearing upon the left the
stamp of hoofs and shouts of charging horsemen, he thought for a
moment that Rasinski and his men had come to deliver him. Then,
however, he heard the howling war-cry of the Russians. A 'hurrah' rent
the air. The contending masses rushed past him; the smoke of powder
whirled in his face; cries, groans, and clatter of weapons were all
around him. He was in the midst of the fight; in vain he strove to
break his bonds, that he might tear the bandage from his eyes; he
continued in profound obscurity. 'Is it a frightful dream?' he at last
gasped out, turning his face to heaven. 'Will none awake me, and end
this horrible suffering?'

"But no hand touched him, and little by little the tumult receded, and
was lost in the distance.

"Thus passed a few minutes of agonising suspense; Ludwig writhed in
his fetters; a secret voice whispered to him, that could he burst them
he yet might be saved, but they resisted his utmost efforts. Then he
again heard loud voices, which gradually approached accompanied by
hurried footsteps. On a sudden a rough hand tore the cloth from his
eyes.

"Thunderstruck, he gazed around. Three men with long beards, whom he
at once recognised as Russian peasants, stood before him, staring at
him with a mixture of scorn and wonder. On the ground lay several
muskets and the bodies of two French soldiers. Ludwig saw himself in
the power of his enemies, whom a strange chance had converted into his
deliverers."

Beaucaire and St Luces were also in the hands of the Russians, in
whose unfriendly care we for the present leave both them and Ludwig,
to recur, at a future day, to this interesting romance.



THE BLUE DRAGOON;[16]

A STORY OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, FROM THE CRIMINAL RECORDS OF
HOLLAND.


  [16] The following singular story of circumstantial evidence is
  compressed from a collection of criminal trials, published at
  Amsterdam under the title "Oorkonden uit de Gedenkschriften van het
  Strafregt, en uit die der menschlyke Mishappen; te Amsterdam. By J. C.
  Van Kersleren, 1820." Notwithstanding the somewhat romantic complexion
  of the incidents, it has been included as genuine in the recent German
  collection, _Der Neue Pitaval_. 7 Band.

In the town of M----, in Holland, there lived, towards the close of
the last century, an elderly widow, Madame Andrecht. She inhabited a
house of her own, in company with her maid-servant, who was nearly of
the same age. She was in prosperous circumstances; but, being in
delicate health and paralysed on one side, she had few visitors, and
seldom went abroad except to church or to visit the poor. Her chief
recreation consisted in paying a visit in spring to her son, who was
settled as a surgeon in a village a few miles off. On these occasions,
fearing a return of a paralytic attack, she was invariably accompanied
by her maid, and, during these visits, her own house was left locked
up, but uninhabited and unwatched.

On the 30th June 17--, the widow returning to M---- from one of these
little excursions, found her house had been broken open in her
absence, and that several valuable articles, with all her jewels and
trinkets, had disappeared. Information was immediately given to the
authorities, and a strict investigation of the circumstances took
place without delay.

The old lady had been three weeks absent, and the thieves of course
had had ample leisure for their attempt. They had evidently gained
access through a window in the back part of the house communicating
with the garden, one of the panes of which had been removed and the
bolts of the window forced back, so as to admit of its being pulled
up. The bolts of the back-door leading into the garden had also been
withdrawn, as if the robbers had withdrawn their plunder in that
direction. The other doors and windows were uninjured; and several of
the rooms appeared to have been unopened. The furniture, generally,
was untouched; but the kitchen utensils were left in confusion, as if
the robbers had intended removing them, but had been interrupted or
pursued.

At the same time it was evident they had gone very deliberately about
their work. The ceiling and doors of a heavy old press, the drawers of
which had been secured by strong and well constructed locks, had been
removed with so much neatness that no part of the wood-work had been
injured. The ceiling and doors were left standing by the side of the
press. The contents, consisting of jewels, articles of value, and fine
linens, were gone. Two strong boxes were found broken open, from which
gold and silver coin, with some articles of clothing, had been
abstracted. The value of the missing articles amounted to about two
thousand Dutch guldens. The house, however, contained many other
articles of value, which, singularly enough, had escaped the notice of
the thieves. In particular, the greater part of the widow's property
consisted of property in the funds, the obligations for which were
deposited, not in the press above-mentioned, but in an iron chest in
her sleeping-room. This chest she had accidentally removed, shortly
before her departure; placing it in a more retired apartment, where it
had fortunately attracted no attention.

The robbery had, apparently, been committed by more than one person;
and, it was naturally suspected, by persons well acquainted with the
house, and with the circumstances of its inhabitants. The house
itself, which was almost the only respectable one in the
neighbourhood, was situated in a retired street. The neighbouring
dwellings were inhabited by the poorer classes, and not a few of the
less reputable members of society. The inner fosse of the town, which
was navigable, flowed along the end of the garden through which the
thieves had, apparently, gained admittance, being separated from the
garden only by a thin thorn hedge. It was conjectured that the thieves
had made their way close to the hedge by means of a boat, and from
thence had clambered over into the garden, along the walks and
flower-beds of which foot-marks were traceable.

The discovery of the robbery had created a general sensation, and the
house was surrounded by a crowd of curious idlers, whom it required
some effort on the part of the police to prevent from intruding into
the premises. One of them only, a baker, and the inhabitant of the
house opposite to that of the widow, succeeded in making his way in
along with the officers of justice. His acquaintances awaited his
return with impatience, trusting to be able, from his revelations, to
gratify their curiosity at second-hand. If so, they were disappointed,
for, on his exit, he assumed an air of mystery, answered equivocally,
and observed, that people might suspect many things of which it might
not be safe to speak.

In proportion, however, to his taciturnity was the loquaciousness of a
woolspinner, Leendert Van N----, the inhabitant of the corner house
next to that of the widow. He mingled with the groups who were
discussing the subject; dropped hints that he had his own notions as
to the culprits, and could, if necessary, give a clue to their
discovery. Among the crowd who were observed to listen to these
effusions, was a Jew dealer in porcelain, a suspected spy of the
police. Before evening, the woolspinner received a summons to the
town-house, and was called upon by the burgomaster for an explanation
of the suspicious expressions he had used. He stammered, hesitated,
pretended he knew of nothing but general grounds of suspicion, like
his neighbours; but being threatened with stronger measures of
compulsion, he at last agreed to speak out, protesting, at the same
time, that he could willingly have spared persons against whom he had
no grudge whatever, and would have been silent for ever, if he had
foreseen the consequence of his indiscretion.

The substance of his disclosure was to this effect:--Opposite the
German post-house, at the head of the street in which the woolspinner
lived, there was a little alehouse. Nicholas D---- was the landlord. He
was generally known among his acquaintances, not by his baptismal or
family name, but by the appellation of the Blue Dragoon, from having
formerly served in the horse regiment of Colonel Van Wackerbarth,
which was popularly known by the name of the Blues. About two years
before, he had become acquainted with and married Hannah, the former
servant of Madame Andrecht, who had been six years in that situation,
and possessed her entire confidence. Unwilling to part with her
attendant, and probably entertaining no favourable notion of the
intended husband, Madame Andrecht had long thrown impediments in the
way of the match, so that the parties were obliged to meet chiefly at
night, and by stealth. Nicholas found his way into the house at night
through the garden of his acquaintance the woolspinner, and across the
hedge which divided it from Madame Andrecht's. Of these nocturnal
visits the woolspinner was at first cognisant, but, fearful of getting
into a scrape with his respectable neighbour, he was under the
necessity of intimating to the bold dragoon, that if he intended to
continue his escalades, he must do so from some other quarter than his
garden. Nicholas obeyed apparently, and desisted; but, to the surprise
of the woolspinner, he found the lovers continued to meet not the less
regularly in Madame Andrecht's garden. One evening, however, the
mystery was explained. The woolspinner, returning home after dark, saw
tied to a post in the canal, close by Madame Andrecht's garden, one of
those small boats which were generally used by the dragoons for
bringing forage from the magazine; and he at once conjectured that
this was the means by which the dragoon was enabled to continue his
nocturnal assignations. With the recollection of this passage in the
landlord's history was combined a circumstance of recent occurrence,
trifling in itself, but which appeared curiously to link in with the
mode in which the robbery appeared to have been effected. Ten days
before the discovery of the housebreaking, and while the widow was in
the country, the woolspinner stated that he found, one morning, a
dirty-coloured handkerchief lying on the grass bank of the fosse, and
exactly opposite his neighbour's garden. He took it up and put it in
his pocket, without thinking about it at the time. At dinner he
happened to remember it, mentioned the circumstance to his wife,
showed her the handkerchief, and observed jestingly, "If Madame
Andrecht were in town, and Hannah were still in her service, we should
say our old friend the Blue Dragoon had been making his rounds and had
dropt his handkerchief." His wife took the handkerchief, examined it,
and exclaimed, "In the name of wonder, what is that you say? Is not
Hannah's husband's name Nicholas D----?" pointing out to him at the
same time the initials N. D. in the corner. Both, however, had
forgotten the circumstance till the occurrence of the robbery
naturally recalled it to the husband's mind.

The woolspinner told his story simply; his conclusions appeared
unstrained: suspicion became strongly directed against the Blue
Dragoon, and these suspicions were corroborated by another
circumstance which emerged at the same time.

During the first search of the house, a half-burnt paper, which seemed
to have been used for lighting a pipe, was found on the floor, near
the press which had been broken open. Neither Madame Andrecht nor her
maid smoked; the police officers had no pipes when they entered the
house; so the match had in all probability been dropped on the ground
by the housebreakers.

On examination of the remains of the paper, it appeared to have been a
receipt, such as was usually granted by the excise to innkeepers for
payment of the duties on spirits received into the town from a
distance, and which served as a permit entitling the holder to put the
article into his cellars. The upper part of the receipt containing the
name of the party to whom it was granted was burnt, but the lower part
was preserved, containing the signature of the excise officer, and the
date of the permit: it was the 16th March of the same year. From these
materials it was easy to ascertain what innkeeper in the town had, on
that day, received such a permit for spirits. From an examination of
the excise register, it appeared that on that day Nicholas D---- had
received and paid the duties on several ankers of Geneva. Taken by
itself, this would have afforded but slender evidence that he had been
the person who had used the paper for a match, and had dropped it
within Madame Andrecht's room; but, taken in connexion with the
finding of the handkerchief, and the suspicious history of his
nocturnal rambles which preceded it, it strengthened in a high degree
the suspicions against the ex-dragoon.

After a short consultation, orders were issued for his apprehension.
Surprise, it was thought, would probably extort from him an immediate
confession. His wife, his father--a man advanced in years--and his
brother, a shoemaker's apprentice, were apprehended at the same time.

A minute search of the house of the innkeeper followed; but none of
the stolen articles were at first discovered, and indeed nothing that
could excite suspicion, except a larger amount of money than might
perhaps have been expected. At last, as the search was on the point of
being given up, there was found in one of the drawers a
memorandum-book. This was one of the articles mentioned in the list of
Madame Andrecht's effects; and, on inspection, there could be no doubt
that this was the one referred to--for several pages bore private
markings in her own handwriting, and in a side-pocket were found two
letters bearing her address. Beyond this, none of the missing,
articles could be traced in the house.

The persons apprehended were severally examined. Nicholas
D---- answered every question with the utmost frankness and unconcern.
He admitted the truth of the woolspinner's story of his courtship, his
nightly scrambles over the hedge, and his subsequent visits to his
intended by means of the forage-boat. The handkerchief he admitted to
be his property. When and where he had lost it he could not say. It
had disappeared about six months before, and he had thought no more
about it. When the pocket-book which had been found was laid before
him, he gave it back without embarrassment, declared he knew nothing
of it, had never had it in his possession, and shook his head with a
look of surprise and incredulity when told where it had been found.

The other members of his household appeared equally unembarrassed:
they expressed even greater astonishment than he had done, that the
pocket-book, with which they declared themselves entirely
unacquainted, should have been found in the place where it was. The
young wife burst out into passionate exclamations: she protested it
was impossible; or if the book was really found on the spot, that it
was inexplicable to her how it came there. The Saturday before, (her
apprehension having taken place on a Thursday,) she had brushed out
the press from top to bottom--had cleared out the contents, and
nothing of the kind was then to be found there.

The behaviour of the married pair and their inmates made, on the
whole, a favourable impression on the judge who conducted the inquiry.
Their calmness appeared to him the result of innocence; their
character was good; their house was orderly and quiet, and none of the
articles of value had been discovered in their possession. True, they
might have disposed of them elsewhere; but the articles were numerous,
and of a kind likely to lead to detection. Why should they have
preserved the comparatively worthless article found in the drawer,
instead of burning or destroying it? Why, above all, preserve it in a
spot so likely to be discovered, if they had so carefully made away
with every trace of the rest?

Still unquestionable suspicions rested on the landlord. The thieves
must have been well acquainted with Madame Andrecht's house; and this
was undeniably his position. His handkerchief, found on the spot about
the time of the robbery; the half-burned match dropped on the
premises; the pocket-book found in his own house--these, though not
amounting to proof, scarcely seemed to admit of an explanation
absolutely consistent with innocence.

In this stage of the inquiry, a new witness entered upon the scene. A
respectable citizen, a dealer in wood, voluntarily appeared before the
authorities, and stated that his conscience would no longer allow him
to conceal certain circumstances which appeared to bear upon the
question, though, from an unwillingness to come forward or to appear
as an informer against parties who might be innocent, he had hitherto
suppressed any mention of them.

Among his customers was the well-known carpenter, Isaac Van C----, who
was generally considerably in arrears with his payments. These arrears
increased: the wood-merchant became pressing: at last he threatened
judicial proceedings. This brought matters to a point. A few days
before the discovery of the robbery at Madame Andrecht's, the
carpenter made his appearance in his house, and entreated him to delay
proceedings, which he said would be his ruin, by bringing all his
creditors on his back. "See," said he, "in what manner I am paid
myself," putting a basket on the table, which contained a pair of
silver candlesticks and a silver coffee-pot. "One of my debtors owes
me upwards of sixty guldens: I have tried in vain to get payment, and
have been glad to accept of these as the only chance of making any
thing of the debt. From the silversmiths here I should not get the
half the value for them: I must keep them by me till I go to
Amsterdam, where such things are understood; but I shall leave them
with you in pledge for my debt." The wood-merchant at first declined
receiving them, but at length, thinking that it was his only prospect
of obtaining ultimate payment, he yielded, and the articles remained
in his hands.

A few days afterwards, the robbery became public; the list of the
silver articles contained a coffee-pot and candlesticks; and the
wood-merchant, not doubting that the articles pledged had formed part
of the abstracted effects, had felt himself compelled to make known
the way in which they had been obtained, and to place them in the
hands of the officers of justice. He meant, he said, to convey no
imputation against the carpenter, but it would be easy to learn from
his own lips who was the debtor from whom the articles had come.

The court ordered the basket with the plate to be placed, covered,
upon the table, and sent forthwith for the carpenter. He arrived in
breathless haste, but seemed prepared for what followed, and without
waiting for the interrogatories of the judge, he proceeded with his
explanation.

Pressed by his creditor the wood-merchant, the carpenter, in his turn,
proceeded to press his own debtors. Among these was the Blue Dragoon,
Nicholas D----, who was indebted to him in an account of sixty guldens
for work done on his premises. Nicholas entreated for delay but the
carpenter being peremptory, he inquired whether he would not take some
articles of old silver plate in payment, which, he said, had belonged
to his father, and had been left to him as a legacy by an old lady in
whose family he had been coachman. It was at last agreed that the
carpenter should take the plate at a certain value as a partial
payment, and it was accordingly brought to his house the same evening
by the dragoon. The latter advised him, in the event of his wishing to
dispose of the plate, to take it to Amsterdam, as the silversmiths of
the place would not give him half the value for the articles. The
carpenter asked him why he had not carried it to Amsterdam himself.
"So I would," he answered, "if you had given me time. As it is, give
me your promise not to dispose of it here--I have my own reasons for
it."

If this statement was correct--and there seemed no reason to doubt the
fairness of the carpenter's story--it pressed most heavily against the
accused. He was thus found in possession of part of the stolen
property, and disposing of it, under the most suspicious
circumstances, to a third party.

He was examined anew, and the beginning of his declaration
corresponded exactly with the deposition of the carpenter. The latter
had worked for him: he was sixty guldens in his debt. He was asked if
he had paid the account: he answered he had not been in a condition to
do so. He was shown the silver plate, and was told what had been
stated by the carpenter. He stammered, became pale, and protested he
knew nothing of the plate; and in this statement he persisted in the
presence of witnesses. He was then shown the gold which had been found
in his house. It belonged, he said, not to himself, but to his
father-in-law.

This part of the statement, indeed, was confirmed by the other inmates
of his family; but, in other respects, their statements were
calculated to increase the suspicions against him. Nicholas, for
instance, had stated that no part of his debt to Isaac, had been
paid--that in fact he had not been in a condition to do so--while the
other three members of the household, on the contrary, maintained that
a few months before he _had_ made a payment of twenty guldens to
Isaac, expressly to account of this claim. Nicholas became vastly
embarrassed when this contradiction between his own statement and the
evidence of the witnesses was pointed out to him. For the first time
his composure forsook him--he begged pardon for the falsehood he had
uttered. It was true, he said, that he had counted out twenty guldens,
in presence of the members of his family, and told them it was
intended as a payment to account of Isaac's claim; but the money had
not been paid to his creditor. He had been obliged to appropriate it
to the payment of some old gambling debts, of which he could not
venture to inform his wife.

This departure from truth on the part of the accused had apparently
but slender bearing on the question of the robbery; but it excited a
general doubt as to his statements, which further inquiry tended to
confirm. The carpenter, anxious to remove any suspicion as to the
truth of his own story, produced a sort of account-book kept by
himself, in which, under the sale of 23d June, there was the following
entry,--"The innkeeper, Nicholas D----, has this day paid me the value
of thirty guldens in old silver." The housekeeper and apprentice of
the carpenter also deponed that they had been present on one occasion
when the dragoon had proposed that their master should take the silver
in payment.

If, on the one hand, the innkeeper had handed over to the carpenter
the silver plate, it was plain he was either the thief or the
receiver: if he had not done so, the carpenter had not only been
guilty of a calumnious accusation, but the suspicion of a guilty
connexion with the robbery became turned against himself. All
presumptions, however, were against the innkeeper. He had admittedly
been guilty of a decided falsehood as to the payment,--he could not or
would not give the names of any one of those to whom his gambling
debts had been paid, as he alleged,--and the fact that he had brought
the plate to the carpenter's was attested by three creditable
witnesses.

The general opinion in the town was decidedly against him. The utmost
length that any one ventured to go, was, to suggest that his
relations, who had been apprehended along with him, might be innocent
of any participation in his guilt; though, being naturally anxious to
save him, they might somewhat have compromised the truth by their
silence, or their statements.

The dragoon was removed from his provisional custody to the prison pf
the town; the others were subjected to a close surveillance, that all
communication between them might be prevented. As all of them,
however, persisted in the story, exactly as it had at first been told,
stronger measures were at length resorted to. On the motion of the
burgomaster, as public prosecutor, "that the principal party accused,
Nicholas D----, should be delivered over to undergo the usual
preparatory process for compelling confession," namely the torture,
the court, after consideration of the state of the evidence,
unanimously issued the usual warrant against him to that effect. Some
pitied him, though none doubted his guilt. The general impression in
the town was, that the courage of the innkeeper would soon give way,
and that, in fact, he would probably confess the whole upon the first
application of the torture.

The preparations were complete--the torture was to take place the next
day, when the following letter, bearing the post-mark of Rotterdam,
was received by the court,--

"Before I leave the country, and betake myself where I shall be beyond
the reach either of the court of M---- or the military tribunal of the
garrison, I would save the poor unfortunate persons who are now
prisoners at M----. Beware of punishing the innkeeper, his wife, his
father, and brother, for a crime of which they are not guilty. How the
story of the carpenter is connected with theirs, I cannot conjecture.
I have heard of it with the greatest surprise. The latter may not
himself be entirely innocent. Let the judge pay attention to this
remark. You may spare yourselves the trouble of inquiring after me. If
the wind is favourable, by the time you read this letter I shall be on
my passage to England.

                                        "JOSEPH CHRISTIAN RUHLER,

"Former Corporal in the Company of Le Lery."

The court gladly availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by
this letter to put off the torture. At first sight it did not appear a
mere device to obtain delay. A company under Captain Le Lery was in
garrison in the town; in that company there was a corporal of the name
of Ruhler, who some weeks before had deserted and disappeared from his
quarters. All inquiries after him since had proved in vain. The court
subsequently learned from the report of the officer in command, that
he had disappeared the evening before the day when the news of the
robbery became public. He had been last seen by the guard in the
course of the forenoon before his disappearance. Some connexion
between the events appeared extremely probable.

But a new discovery seemed suddenly to demolish the conclusions
founded on the letter. It had been laid before the commanding officer,
who at once declared the handwriting was counterfeited; it was not
that of Ruhler, which was well known, nor had it the least resemblance
to it. The evidence of several of his comrades, and a comparison of
the handwriting with some regimental lists, undoubtedly in the
handwriting of Ruhler, proved this beyond a doubt.

The letter from Rotterdam thus was merely the device of some unknown
friend or confederate, and probably resorted to only to put off the
punishment of the accused. How indeed, if Ruhler was really implicated
in the robbery, should he have thus cast suspicion upon himself? If
his object had been merely to preserve the innkeeper and his friends
from the torture, he would have assumed some other name. In all
probability, therefore, some third party, implicated in the robbery,
had availed himself of the accidental disappearance of the corporal to
throw the suspicion of the robbery upon him, and to exculpate the
guilty parties, who, if brought to the torture, might be induced to
disclose the names of all their associates. To prevent this was
probably the object of the letter. This, at least, was the prevailing
opinion.

The strongest efforts were now made to discover the true writer of the
letter; and mean time the torture was put off, when two other
important witnesses made their appearance on the stage. Neither had
the least connexion with the other; nay, the circumstances which they
narrated appeared in some respects contradictory, and while they threw
light on the subject in one quarter, they only served to darken it in
another.

A merchant in the town, who dealt in different wares, and lived in the
neighbourhood of Madame Andrecht's house, had been absent on a journey
of business during the discovery of the robbery, and the course of the
subsequent judicial proceedings. Scarcely had he returned and heard
the story of the robbery, when he voluntarily presented himself next
morning before the authorities, for the purpose, as he said, of making
important revelations, which might have the effect of averting
destruction from the innocent. In the public coach he had already
heard some particulars of the case, and had formed his own
conjectures; but since his return, these conjectures had with him
grown into convictions, and he had not closed an eye from the
apprehension that his disclosures might come too late. Had he returned
sooner, matters would never have reached this length.

At the time when the robbery must have taken place, he had been in the
town. The carpenter, Isaac Van C----, called upon him one day, begging
the loan of the boat, which he was in the custom of using for the
transport of bales and heavy packages to different quarters of the
town. The boat generally lay behind the merchant's house, close to his
warehouse, which was situated on the bank of the town fosse already
alluded to. Isaac assured him he would require the boat only for a
night or two, and would take care that it was returned in the morning
in good condition. To the question why he wanted the boat at night,
he, after some hesitation, returned for answer, that he had engaged to
transport the furniture of some people who were removing, and who had
their own reasons for not doing so in daylight, implying that they
were taking French leave of their creditors. "And you propose to lend
yourself to such a transaction," said the merchant, peremptorily
refusing the loan of the boat. The carpenter interrupted him: assured
him he had only jested; that his real object was only to amuse himself
in fishing with some of his comrades; and that he had only not stated
that at first, as the merchant might be apprehensive that the
operation would dirty his boat. The merchant at last yielded to the
continued requests of the carpenter, and agreed to lend him the boat,
but upon the express condition that it should be returned to its place
in the morning. In this respect the carpenter kept his word; when the
merchant went to his warehouse in the morning, he saw the carpenter
and his apprentice engaged in fastening the boat. They went away
without observing him. It struck him, however, as singular, that they
appeared to have with them neither nets nor fishing-tackle of any
kind. He examined the boat, and was surprised to find it perfectly
clean and dry, whereas, if used for fishing, it would probably have
been found half-filled with water, and dirty enough. In this
particular, then, the carpenter had been detected in an untruth. The
boat had not been fastened to its usual place; the merchant jumped
into it for that purpose, and from a crevice in the side he saw
something protruding; he took it out; it was a couple of silver forks
wrapped in paper. Thus the carpenter's first version of the story--as
to the purpose for which he wanted the boat,--was the true one after
all. He _had_ been assisting some bankrupt to carry off his effects.
Angry at having been thus deceived, the merchant put the forks in his
pocket, and set out forthwith on his way to Isaac's. The carpenter,
his apprentice, and his housekeeper, were in the workshop. He produced
the forks. "These," said he, "are what you have left in my boat. Did
you use these to eat your fish with?"

The three were visibly embarrassed. They cast stolen glances upon one
another; no one ventured to speak. The housekeeper first recovered her
composure. She stammered out,--"that he must not think ill of them;
that her master had only been assisting some people who were leaving
the town quietly, to remove their furniture and effects." As the
transaction was unquestionably not of the most creditable character,
this might account for the visible embarrassment they betrayed; when
he demanded, however, the names of the parties whose effects they had
been removing, no answer was forthcoming. The carpenter at last told
him he was not at liberty to disclose them then, but that he should
learn them afterwards. All three pressingly entreated him to be silent
as to this matter. He was so; but in the mean time made inquiry
quietly as to who had left the town, though without success. Shortly
after, his journey took place, and the transaction had worn out of
mind, till recalled to his recollection on his return, when he was
made aware of the whole history of the robbery; and forthwith came to
the conclusion, that there lay at the bottom of the matter some
shameful plot to implicate the innocent, and to shield those whom he
believed to be the true criminals, namely, Isaac Van C----, his
apprentice, and housekeeper, the leading witnesses, in fact, against
the unfortunate dragoon.

The criminal proceedings, in consequence of these disclosures, took a
completely different turn. The merchant was a witness entirely above
suspicion. True, there was here only the testimony of one witness,
either to the innocence of the dragoon, or the guilt of the carpenter;
but the moral conviction to which his statement gave rise in the mind
of the judge was so strong, that he did not hesitate to issue an
immediate order for the arrest of the carpenter and his companions,
before publicity should be given to the merchant's disclosures. No
sooner were they apprehended, than a strict scrutiny was made in the
carpenter's house.

This measure was attended with the most complete success. With the
exception of a few trifles, the whole of the effects which had been
abstracted from Madame Andrecht's, were found in the house. The
examination of the prisoners produced a very different result from
those of Nicholas and his comrades. True, they denied the charges, but
they did so with palpable confusion, and their statements abounded in
the grossest contradictions of each other and even of themselves. They
came to recriminations and mutual accusations; and, being threatened
with the torture, they at last offered to make a full confession. The
substance of their admissions was as follows:--

Isaac Van C----, his apprentice, and his housekeeper, were the real
perpetrators of the robbery at Madame Andrecht's. Who had first
suggested to them the design, does not appear from the evidence. But
with the old lady's house and its arrangements they were as fully
acquainted as the dragoon. The apprentice, when formerly in the
service of another master, had wrought in it, and knew every corner of
it thoroughly. They had borrowed the boat for the purpose of getting
access across the canal into the garden, and used it for carrying off
the stolen property, as already mentioned. On the morning when the
robbery became public, the master and the apprentice had mingled with
the crowd to learn what reports were in circulation on the subject.
Among other things, the apprentice had heard that the woolspinner's
wife had unhesitatingly expressed her suspicions against the Blue
Dragoon. Of this he informed his comrades, and they, delighted at
finding so convenient a scapegoat for averting danger from themselves,
forthwith formed the infernal design of directing, by every means in
their power, the suspicions of justice against the innkeeper.

The apprentice entered the drinking-room of the innkeeper, and called
for some schnaps, at the same time asking for a coal to light his
pipe. While the innkeeper went out to fetch the coal, the apprentice
took the opportunity of slipping the widow's memorandum-book, which he
had brought in his pocket, betwixt the drawers. He succeeded, and the
consequences followed as the culprits had foreseen: the house was
searched, the book found, and, in the eyes of many, the dragoon's
guilt established.

If these confessions were to be trusted, the dragoon and his family
seemed exculpated from any actual participation in the robbery. Still,
there were circumstances which these confessions did not clear up;
some grave points of doubt remained unexplained. That the carpenter
had himself pledged the silver plate with the wood-merchant, without
having received it from Nicholas, was now likely enough; he had
accused him, probably, only to screen himself. But how came Nicholas's
handkerchief to be found by the side of the hedge? How came the excise
receipt, which belonged to him, to be used as a match by the thieves?
The carpenter and his comrades declared that as to these facts they
knew nothing; and as they had now no inducement to conceal the truth,
there could be no reasonable doubt that their statement might, in
these particulars, be depended upon.

The suspicion again arose that other accomplices must be concerned in
the affair; and the subject of the letter from the corporal who had
deserted, became anew the subject of attention. If not written by
himself, it might have been written by another at his suggestion, and
in one way or other it might have a connexion with the mysterious
subject of the robbery.

In fact, while the proceedings against the carpenter and his
associates were in progress, an incident had occurred, which could not
fail to awaken curiosity and attention with regard to this letter. The
schoolmaster of a village about a league from the town presented
himself before the authorities, exhibited a scrap of paper on which
nothing appeared but the name Joseph Christian Ruhler, and inquired
whether, shortly before, a letter in this handwriting and subscribed
with this name, had not been transmitted to the court? On comparing
the handwriting of the letter with the paper exhibited by the
schoolmaster, it was unquestionable that both were the production of
the same hand.

The statement of the schoolmaster was this,--

In the village where he resided, there was a deaf and dumb young man,
named Henry Hechting, who had been sent by the parish to the
schoolmaster for board and education. He had succeeded in imparting to
the unfortunate youth the art of writing; so perfectly, indeed, that
he could communicate with any one by means of a slate and
slate-pencil which he always carried about with him. He also wrote so
fair a hand, that he was employed by many persons, and even sometimes
by the authorities, to transcribe or copy writings for them. Some time
before, an unknown person had appeared in the village, had inquired
after the deaf and dumb young man in the schoolmaster's absence, and
had taken him with him to the alehouse to write out something for him.
The unknown had called for a private room, ordered a bottle of wine,
and, by means of the slate, gave him to understand that he wanted him
to make a clean copy of the draft of a letter which he produced.
Hechting did so at once without suspicion. Still, the contents of the
letter appeared to him of a peculiar and questionable kind, and the
whole demeanour of the stranger evinced restlessness and anxiety. When
he came, however, to add the address of the letter, "To Herr Van der
R----, Burgomaster of M----," he hesitated to do so, and yielded only
to the pressing entreaties of the stranger, who paid him a gulden for
his trouble, requesting him to preserve strict silence as to the whole
affair.

The deaf and dumb young man, when he began to reflect on the matter,
felt more and more convinced that he had unconsciously been made a
party to some illegal transaction. He at last confessed the whole to
his instructor, who at once perceived that there existed a close
connexion between the incident which had occurred and the criminal
procedure in the noted case of the robbery. The letter of the corporal
had already got into circulation in the neighbourhood, and was plainly
the one which his pupil had been employed to copy. The schoolmaster,
at his own hand, set on foot a small preliminary inquiry. He hastened
to the innkeeper of the village inn, and asked him if he could
recollect the stranger who some days before had ordered a private room
and a bottle of wine, and who had been for some time shut up with the
deaf and dumb lad. The host remembered the circumstance, but did not
know the man. His wife, however, recollected that she had seen him
talking on terms of cordial familiarity with the corn-miller,
Overblink, as he was resting at the inn with his carts. The
schoolmaster repaired on the spot to Overblink, inquired who was the
man with whom he had conversed and shaken hands some days before at
the inn; and the miller, without much hesitation, answered, that he
remembered the day, the circumstance, and the man, very well: and that
the latter was his old acquaintance the baker, H----, from the town.
The schoolmaster hastened to lay these particulars before the
authorities.

How, then, was the well-known baker, H----, implicated in this affair,
which seemed gradually to be expanding itself so strangely? The facts
as to the robbery itself seemed exhausted by the confessions of the
carpenter and his associates. They alone had broken into the
house--they alone had carried off and appropriated the stolen
articles. And yet, if the baker was entirely unconnected with the
matter, what could be his motive for mixing himself up with the
transaction, and writing letters, as if to avert suspicion from those
who had been first accused? Was his motive simply compassion? Was he
aware of the real circumstances of the crime, and its true
perpetrators? Did he know that the Blue Dragoon was innocent? But if
so, why employ this mysterious and circuitous mode of assisting him?
Why resort to this anxious precaution of employing a deaf and dumb lad
as his amanuensis? why such signs of restlessness and apprehension,--such
anxious injunctions of silence? Plainly the baker was not entirely
innocent: this was the conviction left on the minds of the judges; for
it was now recollected that this baker was the same person who, on the
morning when the robbery was detected, had contrived to make his way
into the house along with the officers of justice. It was he who had
lifted from the ground the match containing the half-burnt receipt,
and handed it to the officers present. His excessive zeal had even
attracted attention before. Had he, then, broken into the house
independently of the carpenter? Had he, too, committed a robbery--and
was he agitated by the fear of its detection? But all the stolen
articles had been recovered, and all of them had been found with the
carpenter. The mystery, for the moment, seemed only increased; but it
was about to be cleared up in a way wonderful enough, but entirely
satisfactory.

While the schoolmaster and the miller Overblink were detained at the
Council-Chamber, the baker H---- was taken into custody. A long and
circumstantial confession was the result, to the particulars of which
we shall immediately advert. From his disclosures, a warrant was also
issued for the apprehension of the woolspinner, Leendert Van N---- and
his wife--the same who had at first circulated the reports and
suspicions against the dragoon; and who had afterwards given such
plausible, and, as it appeared, such frank and sincere information
against him before the court. Both had taken the opportunity of making
off: but the pursuit of justice was successful--before evening they
were brought back and committed to prison.

The criminal procedure now proceeded rapidly to a close, but it
related to a quite different matter from the robbery. This third
association of culprits, it appeared, had as little to do with the
carpenter and his comrades as these had with the dragoon and his
inmates. But for the housebreaking, in which the persons last arrested
had no share, the real crime in which they were concerned would, in
all human probability, never have seen the light.

The following disclosures were the result of the confessions of the
guilty, and of the other witnesses who were examined.

On the evening of the 29th June, there were assembled in the low and
dirty chamber of the woolspinner, Leendert Van N----, a party of
cardplayers. It has already been mentioned that this quarter of the
town was in a great measure inhabited by the disreputable portion of
the public--only a few houses, like those of Madame Andrecht, being
occupied by the better classes. The gamblers were the Corporal Ruhler,
of the company of Le Lery, then lying in garrison in the place, the
master baker H----, and the host himself, Leendert Van N----. The
party were old acquaintances; they hated and despised each other, but
a community of interests and pursuits drew them together.

The baker and corporal had been long acquainted; the former baked the
bread for the garrison company, the latter had the charge of receiving
it from him. The corporal had soon detected various frauds committed
by the baker, and gave the baker the choice of denouncing them to the
commanding officer, or sharing with him the profits of the fraud. The
baker naturally chose the latter, but hated the corporal as much as he
feared him; while the latter made him continually feel how completely
he considered him in his power.

A still deadlier enmity existed between the corporal and the
woolspinner and his wife. The latter had formerly supplied the
garrison with gaiters and other articles of clothing, and he had
reason to believe that the corporal had been the means of depriving
him of this commission, by which he had suffered materially. But the
corporal had still a good deal in his power; he might be the means of
procuring other orders, and it was necessary, therefore, to suppress
any appearance of irritation, and even to appear to court his favour.

Such an association as that which subsisted among these comrades,
where each hates and suspects the other, and nothing but the tie of a
common interest unites them, can never be of long duration. The moment
is sure to arrive when the spark falls upon the mine which has been so
long prepared, and the explosion takes place, the more fearful the
longer it has been delayed.

These worthy associates were playing cards on the evening
above-mentioned: they quarrelled; and the quarrel became more and more
embittered. The long-suppressed hatred on the part of the baker and
the woolspinner burst forth. The corporal retorted in terms equally
offensive; he applied to them the epithets which they deserved. From
words they proceeded to blows, and deadly weapons were laid hold of on
both sides. But two male foes and a female fury, arrayed on one side,
were too much even for a soldier. The corporal, seized and pinioned
from behind by the woman, fell under the blows of the woolspinner. As
yet the baker had rather hounded on the others than actually
interfered in the scuffle; but when the corporal, stretched on the
ground, and his head bleeding from a blow on the corner of the table,
which he had received in falling, began to utter loud curses against
them, and to threaten them all with public exposure--particularly that
deceitful scoundrel the baker--the latter, prompted either by fear or
hatred, whispered to the woolspinner and his wife that now was the
time to make an end of him at once; and that if they did not, they
were ruined.

The deadly counsel was adopted: they fell upon the corporal; with a
few blows life was extinct; the corpse, swimming in blood, lay at
their feet. The deed was irrevocable; all three had shared in it; all
were alike guilty, and had the same reason to tremble at the terrors
of the law. With the body still warm at their feet, they entered into
a solemn mutual engagement to be true to each other; to preserve
inviolable secrecy as to the crime; and to extinguish, so far as in
them lay, every trace of its commission.

On the night of the murder, they had devised no plan for washing out
the blood, and removing the body, which of course required to be
disposed of, so that the disappearance of Ruhler might cause no
suspicion. The terrors of conscience, and the apprehension of the
consequences of their crime, had too completely occupied their minds
for the moment. The next morning, however, they met again at the
woolspinner's house to arrange their plans. Suddenly a noise was heard
in the street,--it was the commotion caused by the news of the
discovery of the robbery at Madame Andrecht's. The culprits stood pale
and confounded. What was more probable than that an immediate search
in pursuit of the robbers, or of the stolen articles, would take place
into every house of this suspected and disreputable quarter. The
woolspinner's house was the next to that which had been robbed; the
flooring was at that moment wet with blood; the body of the murdered
corporal lay in the cellar. Immediate measures must be resorted to, to
stop the apprehended search, till time could be found for removing the
body.

The object, then, was to give to the authorities such hints as should
induce them to pass over the houses of the baker and the woolspinner.
The woolspinner's wife had the merit of devising the infernal project
which occurred to them. The Blue Dragoon was to be the victim. A
robbery had taken place. Why might he not have been the criminal? He
had often scaled the hedge--had often entered the house at night
during his courtship. But then a corroborating circumstance might be
required to ground the suspicion. It was supplied by the possession of
a handkerchief which he had accidentally dropt in her house, and which
she had not thought it necessary to restore to him. It might be placed
in any spot they thought fit, and the first links in the chain of
suspicion were clear.

The invention of the baker came to the aid of the woolspinner's wife.
One token was not enough; a second proof of the presence of the
dragoon in Madame Andrecht's house must be devised. The baker had, one
day, been concluding a bargain with a peasant before the house of the
dragoon. He required a bit of paper to make some calculation, and
asked the host for some, who handed him an old excise permit, telling
him to make his calculations on the back. This scrap of paper the
baker still had in his pocket-book. This would undoubtedly compromise
the dragoon. But then it bore the name and handwriting of the baker on
the back. This portion of it was accordingly burnt; the date and the
signature of the excise officer were enough for the diabolical purpose
it was intended to effect. It was rolled up into a match, and
deposited by the baker (who, as already said, had contrived to make
his way along with the police into the house) upon the floor, where he
pretended to find it, and deliver it to the authorities.

The machinations of these wretches were unconsciously assisted by
those of the carpenter and his confederates. The suspicion which the
handkerchief and the match had originated, the finding of the
pocket-book within the house of the dragoon appeared to confirm and
complete,--an accidental concurrence of two independent plots, both
resorted to from the principle of self-preservation, and having in
view the same infernal object.

But this object, so far as concerned the baker and the woolspinner,
had been too effectually attained. They had wished to excite suspicion
against Nicholas, only with the view of gaining time to remove the
corpse, and efface the traces of the murder. This had been
effected--their intrigue had served its purpose; and they could not
but feel some remorse at the idea that an innocent person should be
thereby brought to ruin. The strange intervention of chance--the
finding of the pocket-book, the accusation by the carpenter, filled
them with a secret terror; they trembled: their consciences again
awoke. The thought of the torture, which awaited the unfortunate
innkeeper, struck them with horror. It was not the ordinary fear of
guilty men, afraid of the disclosures of an accomplice--for the
dragoon knew nothing, he could say nothing to compromise them,--it was
a feeling implanted by a Divine power, which seemed irresistibly to
impel them to use their endeavours to avert his fate.

They met, they consulted as to their plans. A scheme occurred to them
which promised to serve a double purpose,--by which delay might be
obtained for Nicholas, while at the same time it might be made the
means of permanently ensuring their own safety. To resuscitate the
murdered Corporal Ruhler in another quarter, and to charge him with
the guilt of the robbery, might serve both ends. It gave a chance of
escape to Nicholas: it accounted for the disappearance of the
corporal. Hence the letter which represented him as alive, as the
perpetrator of the robbery, and as a deserter flying to another
country; which they thought would very naturally put a stop to all
further inquiry after him.

But their plan was too finely spun, and the very precautions to which
they had resorted, led, as sometimes happens, to discovery. If they
had been satisfied to allow the proposed letter to be copied out by
the woolspinner's wife, as she offered, to be taken by her to
Rotterdam, and put into the post, suspicion could hardly have been
awakened against them: the handwriting of the woman, who had seldom
occasion to use the pen, would have been unknown to the burgomaster or
the court. The deaf and dumb youth, to whom they resorted as their
copyist, betrayed them: step by step they were traced out,--and,
between fear and hope, a full confession was at last extorted from
them.

Sentence of death was pronounced against the parties who had been
concerned in the housebreaking as well as in the murder, and carried
into effect against all of them, with the exception of the
woolspinner's wife, who died during her imprisonment. The woolspinner
alone exhibited any signs of penitence.



LAURELS AND LAUREATES.


A young lady of Thessaly, celebrated for her beauty and modesty, was
admired by a dissolute young gentleman, a native of the erratic isle
of Delos. This roving blade was of high birth and consummate address,
yet the nymph was more than coy; she turned from him with aversion,
and when he would have pressed his suit, she took to her heels along
the banks of the Peneus. The audacious lover darted after her, as a
greyhound in pursuit of a hare; and the fugitive, perceiving that she
must lose the race, implored the gods to screen her. The breath of the
pursuer was fanning her "back hair;" his hands stretched forth to stop
her; but as he closed them, instead of the prize that he expected to
secure, he embraced an armful of green leaves. The hunter had lost his
game in a thicket of bay or female laurel. Inconsolable, he shed some
natural tears; but having a conceit in his misery, he twined a branch
of the laurel into a wreath, and placed it on his head in memorial of
his misadventure. A glance at himself in the nearest pool of the river
told him that the glossy ornament was becoming to his fine complexion;
and the youth, being a poet and pretty considerably a coxcomb, wore
one ever after; and it has been the custom ever since to adorn the
brows of all great poets, and of some small ones, with sprigs of
laurel.

    "Tis sung in ancient minstrelsy
      That Phœbus wont to wear
    The leaves of any pleasant tree
      Around his golden hair;
    Till Daphne, desperate with pursuit
      Of his imperious love,
    At her own prayer transform'd, took root--
      A laurel in the grove.

    Then did the Penitent adorn
      His brow with laurel green;
    And mid his bright locks, never shorn,
      No meaner leaf was seen;
    _And poets sage through every age
      About their temples wound
    The bay._"

So sings our living laureate; and this authentic anecdote, familiar to
every schoolboy who studies ancient history in Ovid, shows that the
coronation of poets was customary long before the age of Homer; and
coeval, as it were, with poetry itself. The disappointed lover of
Daphne, the first poet, was also the first laureat, and placed the
crown on his head with his own hands, as many poets have done since,
with a frank Napoleon-like self-appreciation. Having afterwards
quarrelled with his father, and been expelled from home for sundry
extravagancies, he returned with his lyre and laurel into Thessaly,
the land of his first love--_primus amor Phœbi, Daphne Peneia_--and
for nine years served a prince of that country in the double capacity
of poet and shepherd. Thus, though the exact date is not ascertained,
the original tenure of the honourable office of poet-royal is pretty
clearly traced to Apollo himself.

But if we proceed from Apollo, our chapter on laureates will be longer
than the tail of a comet. We must apply our wise saws to comparatively
modern instances, hardly glancing for a moment even as far back as the
age of Augustus, to observe that, of his two laurelled favourites,
Virgil and Horace, the latter loftily maintains the dignity of the
poet's position, when, in his Ode to Lollius, he shows that the
alliance between poetic and regal or heroic power, was mutually
important from the earliest ages. Kings, wise and great, flourished
before Agamemnon, but are utterly forgotten:

    "Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
    They had no poet, and they died:
    In vain they schemed, in vain they bled!
    They had no poet, and are dead."

Petrarch is, perhaps, the first eminent poet, among Christians, whose
genius is indisputably associated with the laurel crown, which was
conferred on him with all form, at Rome, by authority of the king,
senate, and people, _in especial token of his quality of poet_. But
the laurel was conspicuously the type of his fame in that character.
His mistress was a laurel in name, and a Daphne in nature, if we give
credence to his melodious complaints of her coldness. Many persons
have doubted the very existence of Laura as any thing but an
Apollonic laurel, or poetical abstraction of glory, almost too subtle
for analysis by metaphysics. We have no such doubt of her materiality;
for, over and above all other evidence, there are many passages in
those songs and sonnets, that tell of a love, in the poet at least,
which, though ever refined, was not all spiritual. In the same way,
Dante's Beatrice has been pronounced an incorporeal creation,--a
vision of theology, though in his _Vita Nuova_ he expressly declares
who she was, where and when she was born, her age and his own, when he
first met her, and the year and the day, and the very hour, when she
died. Milton read them both truly, and recognised in their writings
the language of the human heart, and the truth of human passion
undebased by a particle of grossness. Speaking of the laureate
fraternity of poets, and of his own early partiality for the elegiac
writers, he nobly says: "Above them all, I preferred the two famous
renowners of Beatrice and Laura, who never write but in honour of them
to whom they devote their verse, displaying sublime and pure thoughts
without transgression." After that lofty encomium from such authority,
may we venture to observe that among the laureates of Italy there is
one still greater poet than the Recluse of Avignon? We do not say a
greater man, for the popular reputation of Petrarch, resting as it
does on his accomplishment of verse, is not perhaps founded on the
strongest of his claims to admiration. But Tasso, too, was a formally
laureated bard. And his chaplet was unwithered in the dungeon, to
which the cruellest Turk among the desecrators of Jerusalem would
hardly have condemned him, for merely presumptuous aspirations after a
bright ornament of his harem. Tasso's eulogium, in his grand epic, of
the Christian prince who afterwards became his jailer, is an immortal
reprobation of the unfeeling tyrant. The wrongs of genius are avenged
even by its praise, which, when thus proved to have been undeserved,
is satire undisguised. Petrarch and Tasso appear to be the only
distinguished laureates of Italy. The rest were mere versifiers, for
the most part fluent and insipid. But some Italian poets were
complimented with the laurel in Germany, where the poetical college,
founded at Vienna by Maximilian I., produced few native laureates
worthy of the honour. Yet "the Emperors of Germany," says D'Israeli,
who condemned the Abbé Resnel's memoir on the subject, "retained the
laureateship in all its splendour. The selected bard was called _Il
Poeta Cesareo_. Apostolo Zeno, as celebrated for his erudition as for
his poetic powers, was succeeded by that most enchanting poet
Metastasio,"--of whom, by-the-by, Sir James Mackintosh has also
written in enthusiastic commendation; not, however, for his felicity
as a poet, but for the deep and well-digested critical learning
displayed in his prose treatise on Aristotle's Art of Poetry. "The
French," continues Mr D'Israeli,--and we quote what he borrows from
Resnel, because, though they do not tell us much, scarcely any other
persons have hitherto told us any thing to the purpose on this
matter,--"the French never had a poet-laureate, though they had royal
poets, for none were ever solemnly crowned. The Spanish nation, always
desirous of titles of honour, seem to have known that of the laureate;
but little information concerning it can be gathered from their
authors." We fear there must have been something suggestive of the
hard, dry, see-saw of the _turpis asella_ in the tone of the Spanish
laureates; for Sancho Panza, in his tender consolation to his ass
Dapple, when they had both tumbled into the quarry, says, "_Yo prometo
de ponerte una corona de laurel en la cabeza que no parezcas sino un
laureado poeta, y de darte los piensos dobados._" "I promise to give
thee double feeds, and to place a crown of laurel on thy head, that
thou mayest look like a poet-laureate."

But our main business is with the laureates of England; and the origin
of their office is sufficiently obscure, and not the less worthy of
consideration for the antiquity that such obscurity implies. It has
certainly been associated with our monarchical institutions from very
early times; and, for that reason alone, if for no other, we should be
disposed, in this antimonarchical fever of the day, to respect the
loyalty of the office, however little respect may have been due to
some who have held it, and however higher than the office is every
true poet, "whose mind to him a kingdom is," and who possesses a
royalty of his own, wider than that of Charlemagne. We do not know
that the poets cited in the Saxon Chronicle were rhymers more inspired
by the mead of the court than of the cloister; but the supposition is
not improbable,--for we do know the fondness of Alfred for the
gleeman's craft, and that he, "lord of the harp and liberating spear,"
was himself a gleeman; nor are we unmindful that King Canute honoured
verse-men, and that he could even improvise an accordant rhyme, still
extant, to the holy chant of the monks of Ely, as his bargemen rowed
him down the Ouse, under the chapel wall. It is not apparent that
_trouvères_ followed William of Normandy to Sussex _officially_, or
celebrated his triumph over Harold,--for the story of Taliefer is
hardly a case in point, and we do not hear much about the northern
trouvères till somewhat later, though some writers will have it that
they are of older standing than the troubadours of the south of
France. We do not imagine that William Rufus patronised harmony more
intellectual than the blast of the hunting-horn. But so early at least
as the twelfth century, in the reign of Richard, "the heart of courage
leonine," as Wordsworth calls him, we have a king's versifier in the
person of Gulielmus, of whom little is known, except that he produced
a poem on the crusade of this romantic, poetical, bones-breaking
Richard,--a prince whose Gothic blood (for it must be remembered that
he was of the restored Saxon line) might seem to have been tinged with
orientalism by some unaccountable process; for, even before his
embarkation on his adventure with his red-cross knights, his character
exhibited a strange combination of the stout and somewhat obtuse
doggedness of the bandog, and the lordliness of the lion--a mixture of
Saxon homeliness and Saracenic magnificence. The strength of thews and
sinews, and the prowess of mere animal courage, (vulgar glories, for
the most part, looked at with civilised eyes,) wear an aspect of
redeeming generosity in Richard, that still recommends him to us as a
hero of romance, worthy of minstrel praise, in spite of his ferocious
temper, his demerits as a son, and his indomitable wrong-headedness as
a prince. The poem of Gulielmus is not extant, but it must have been
interesting if he possessed any genius. Richard's rough warfare with
the Soldan, his marriage with Berengaria, and his delivery from the
dungeon of the base Duke of Austria, were subjects as pregnant as any
of the adventures of Hercules, an idol of hero-worship whom he in some
respects resembles. In King John's reign, the poets seem to have been
against the king, and in favour of the opposing barons. Whether he
consoled himself with the stipendiary services of a court poet, we do
not discover. Throughout his long and troubled reign he seems to have
been pelted with lampoons.

In the year 1251, reign of Henry III., the King's versifier was
requited by an annual pension of 100 shillings--not such a very
niggardly stipend as it now sounds, if we compare the value of money
in those times with the price of commodities. In the two following
reigns we find a poet-royal of some repute in Robert Baston. He was a
Carmelite monk, and attained the dignity of prior of the convent of
that order at Scarborough. Bishop Bale (in his _Illustrûm Majoris
Britanniæ Scriptorum Summarium_) says that Baston was a laureated poet
and public orator at Oxford, which Wood denies. But Bale might have
had access to information which could no longer be authenticated in
Anthony's time; for Bale, though he lived to be Edward the Sixth's
Bishop of Assory, and a prebendary of the Cathedral of Canterbury,
where he died and was buried, had himself been a Carmelite friar.
"Great confusion," observes Warton, "has entered into the subject of
the institution of poets-laureate, on account of the degrees in
grammar, which included rhetoric and versification, anciently taken in
our universities, particularly at Oxford, on which occasion a wreath
of laurel was presented to the new graduate, who was afterwards
usually styled Poeta Laureatus. These scholastic laureations, however,
seem to have given rise to the appellation in question. With regard
to the poet-laureate of the Kings of England, he is undoubtedly the
same that is styled the king's versifier in the thirteenth century.
But when or how that title commenced, and whether this officer was
ever formally crowned with laurel at his first investiture, I will not
pretend to determine, after the researches of the learned Seldon have
proved unsuccessful. It seems probable that at length those only were
in general invited to this appointment who had received academical
sanction, and had merited a crown of laurel in the universities for
their abilities in Latin composition, particularly Latin
versification. Thus the king's laureate was nothing more than a
graduated rhetorician, employed in the king's service." Warton adds an
opinion, which seems well founded, "that it was not customary for the
royal laureate to write in English till the Reformation had begun to
diminish the veneration for the Latin tongue, or rather till the love
of novelty, and a better sense of things, had banished the pedantry of
monastic erudition, and taught us to cultivate our native language."
It is true, that neither before nor after the Conquest was there any
lack of rhymers in the vulgar tongue, whether Saxon or Norman, or
mixed; and they would be the popular poets, but not exactly the poets
in fashion at court. At all events, the fashion of writing _court_
poems in low Latin began early and continued long; and we suspect that
the Anglo-Saxon gleemen, whom the monkish historians call _joculatores
regis_, were for the most part mere merrymen, as their monkish
_sobriquet_ implies--jugglers, dancers, fiddlers, tumblers. Berdic,
the king's fool, is styled _Joculator Regis_ in Doomsday Book. Some of
these retainers, no doubt, could both compose ballads and sing them,
suiting the action to the word, and they might occasionally amuse the
court with their songs; but the authentic poet for state occasions was
the Latin verse-maker. We say this with all due love and regard for
our ballad-singers, old and modern, from King Alfred to Alfred
Tennyson; and remembering, too, that we have two good sets-offs
against Harry Hotspur's sneer at "metre ballad-mongers,"--one in Sir
Philip Sidney's declaration that the ballad of the Percy hunt in
Cheviotdale stirred his heart like the sound of a trumpet; and
another, in the fact that one of the most illustrious of modern
Percys, the Bishop of Dromore, owes his well-deserved popular
reputation to nothing else than his industry, talent, and good taste
in editing the _Reliques of Ancient English Poetry and Old Heroic
Ballads_.

Robert Baston, from whom we have digressed, was not a ballad-monger,
but a Latin versifier _ex officio_. Edward I., in his expedition to
Scotland in 1304, took Baston with him, that he might be an
eye-witness of his triumph over this country, and celebrate it in
Latin verse. Hollinshed comments on this fact as a strong proof of
Edward's presumption and overweening confidence in himself; but the
censure is not strikingly pertinent, for at this period a poet was a
stated officer in the royal retinue, when the monarch went to war. The
haughty old king's discomfiture, after all his successes in this
favourite enterprise, was as mortifying, but not so comical as the
disastrous issue of the campaign to his poet. The jolly prior had not
done chanting one of his heroics in honour of Edward's siege of
Stirling, when he was pounced on by a foray of Scots, and carried away
into durance; nor was this the worst of the misadventure, for, with a
shrewdly balancing humour, they obliged him to pay his ransom in
verse, and only released him when he had recorded the praises of his
captors and their cause. He does not appear to have been much inspired
by the subject; for Hector Boece says that he made, "rusty verses" in
praise of the Scots; and rusty enough they were, if they all resembled
the initial line as it is quoted--

         "De planta cudo metrum cum carmine nudo."

The poem must have stood in more awkward antagonism with "De
Strivilniensi Obsidione," which is extant in Fordun, than Waller's
panegyric on Cromwell does face to face with his eulogium on Charles
II. We doubt whether the monk had so witty an apology for his double
tongue as the courtier; but he had a better excuse, for he said,
"_Actus me invito, factus, non est meus actus_." There is both rhyme
and reason in that. The stubbornness of the Scots, which was at last a
choke-pear to Edward, seems to have stimulated the poet almost as much
as it exasperated the king. For, besides the siege of Stirling, we
find on the list of Baston's productions one entitled "De Altero
Scotorum Bello," and another "De Scotiæ guerris Variis." Baston
survived his master, the broken _Malleus Scotorum_, only three years.
It is uncertain whether he retained his office after the accession of
Edward the Second; but, if so, death had released him from duty before
that prince's invasion of this country in 1314. Otherwise he would
probably have had to pay another visit to the ominous neighbourhood of
Stirling Castle, at a risk, if he escaped a deadlier chance, of being
captured by the Bruce himself, and of having a caged poet's leisure to
meditate a threnodia for Bannockburn. Boece, in Bellenden's version,
asserts that this was actually the case,--that it was "Edward the
Second, who, by vain arrogance, as if the Scotch had been sicker in
his hands, brought with him ane Carmelite monk to put his victory in
versis; that the poet was taken in this field of Bannockburn, and
commandit by King Robert the Bruce to write as he saw, in sithement of
his ransom." There is also among the political songs published by the
Camden Society, a wretched transcript (from the Cotton. MSS.) of a
wretched piece of raving on this very battle, also attributed to
Baston,--(and announced, we suppose by an error of the press, as
written in the reign of Edward the Third.) But we are inclined to
believe that Baston died about four years before that great day for
Scotland. We do not, however, undertake to settle the point. We have
no certain accounts of Baston's successor.

It is asserted by writers not incautious, that Gower and Chaucer were
laureates; and we are unwilling to doubt it, though the authority is
far from conclusive. Chaucer, born about 1328, the second year of
Edward the Third's reign, died in 1400. It is certain that he was
liberally patronised, and gratified with lucrative appointments by
Edward. It is recorded, too, that he was employed on foreign missions
of trust; that on one occasion he was an envoy to Genoa, and that he
then visited Petrarch at Padua; and as the arguments for and against
the probability of this interview are pretty nearly balanced, we are
not bound to deny ourselves the pleasure of believing it. Froissart,
as well as Hollinshed and Barnes, bears testimony to Chaucer's having
been one of a mission to the court of France, in the last year of
Edward's reign; but it is not clear, nor even at all deducible from
the nature of the public employments, and the character of Edward,
that it was his poetical merit which promoted him to the royal
confidence in matters of business.

Gower, born, it is supposed, somewhat earlier than Chaucer, died two
years later, in 1402, and had been blind for the last two or three
years of his life. Bale makes Gower _equitem auratum et poetam
laureatum_; but Winstansley says he was neither laureated nor
hederated, but only rosated, having a chaplet of four roses about his
head on his monumental stone in St Mary Overy's Church, Southwark. His
"_Confessio Amantis_" is said to have been prompted by the command of
Richard the Second, who, chancing to meet him on the Thames, invited
him into his gilded barge,--

    "While proudly riding o'er the azure realm,
    Youth at the prow, and pleasure at the helm,"

enjoined him to "book something new." In the three next reigns of the
line of Lancaster, Henry the Fourth, Henry the Fifth, and Henry the
Sixth, a period of sixty-two years, we hardly know what became of the
court poets, or whether there were any. Musicians were liberally
privileged as palace servants by Henry the Fourth, but his reign was
unfavourable to the minstrel art. Henry the Fifth was partial to
minstrelsy, and rewarded it generously; but we find no report of a
laureat poet. In Henry the Sixth's time, boys were pressed into the
minstrel service of the court; but it is not recorded that any one was
made a poet by virtue of royal kidnapping. They were instructed in
music for the solace of his majesty.

To Edward the Fourth, the first king of the line of York, John Kay, as
"his Majesty's humble Laureate," dedicated a History of Rhodes.

The wars of the Roses seem almost to have silenced the nightingales.
But no sooner was contention terminated by the union of Henry of
Lancaster with the heiress of York, than a rivalry sprang up for the
office of king's poet. In the year 1486, the next after the coronation
of Henry the Seventh, and shortly after his marriage, that king, by an
instrument _Pro Poeta Laureato_, of which a copy is preserved in
Rymer's Fœdera, granted to Andrew Bernard, poet-laureate, a salary
of fifteen marks, until he should obtain some equivalent appointment.
This was no very munificent grant. But Henry the Seventh was not
addicted to liberality out of his own exchequer. He afterwards found
means to reward him with ecclesiastical preferments; and his prodigal,
but still more selfish successor, gratified him in the same way.
Bernard, who was a native of Toulouse, and an Augustine monk, obtained
many preferments in England; and was besides not only poet-laureate,
but historiographer to the king, and preceptor in grammar to Prince
Arthur. The preceptorship, however honourable, was perhaps not worth
much on the score of emolument. All the pieces now to be found in his
character of laureate are in Latin. Among these are, "An Address to
Henry the Eighth, for the most Auspicious Beginning of the Tenth Year
of his Reign;" "A New-Year's Offering for the Year 1515;" and "Verses
wishing Prosperity to his Majesty's Thirteenth Year, 1522." He left
many prose pieces, written in his quality of historiographer to both
monarchs, particularly a Chronicle of the Life and Achievements of
Henry the Seventh to the taking of Perkin Warbeck. And here occurs a
little difficulty in the reconcilement of dates, when we are told that
Skelton also was poet-laureate to Henry the _Seventh_ and his son: for
it has been shown that Bernard was alive in 1522, if not later.
Skelton was laureated at Oxford about 1489, three years after the date
of the recorded grant to the _poet-laureate_, Andrew Bernard. We more
than half suspect that Skelton, though a graduated university
laureate, was never poet-laureate to either king at all, except as a
sort of volunteer, licensed by his own saucy consent. Puttenham
expressly says, that "Skelton usurped the name of poet-laureate, being
indeed but a rude railing rimer, and all his doings ridiculous." It is
stated that Skelton, having, a few years subsequent to his laureation
at Oxford, been permitted to wear his laurel publicly at Cambridge
also, was further privileged by Henry the Seventh to wear some
particular dress, or additional ornament to his dress. Henry the
Seventh was not much given to jesting, or we should infer that it was
a badge appropriate to the king's fool; for Skelton, though an able
man, was, like Leo the Tenth's arch-poet Querno, who was crowned
laureate for the joke's sake, ambitious of the fool's honours. He was
a buffoon even in the pulpit.

Skelton directed his ribaldry especially against the mendicant friars
and the formidable Wolsey. We can easily imagine how these audacities
were not intolerable to the "Defender of the Faith," even in the
plenitude of the cardinal's power; and how he might have tolerated his
assumption of the character of court-poet, so long as the spurious
laureate's sallies did not trench on the sovereign's personal dignity.
Skelton, like his quondam royal pupil, was already a reformer in his
way, and not long before his death, which occurred June 21, 1529, just
before the downfall of Wolsey, he used a strange argument against the
celibacy of the priesthood; he excused himself for having openly lived
with a concubine, because he considered her as his wife! Erasmus, the
caustic censor of the vices of the clergy, praised Skelton's learning
and wit, probably from sympathy with his application of them, bolder,
though far less dignified than his own, to the same objects of satire;
but "the glory of the priesthood and the shame," could hardly have
admitted the validity of such an apology from the Vicar of Dallyng, a
vowed celibate priest.

We must return for a moment to Bernard. This poet-laureate had a
notable subject to begin with in the union of the Two Roses. How he
treated it we have no means of judging, as the performance is not in
existence; and though it has perished, it would be unfair, perhaps, to
assume that his freshest effort on an event that might have quickened
the slowest fancy, was not superior to his later exercises, on
occasions of weaker interest, such as are preserved in the Cottonian
Library, and that of New College, Oxford. Of all the events in the
history of the British monarchy, there is one subject, and probably
one only, of those that could come within the range of a court-poet's
province, of equal national importance, and equally poetical quality
with the marriage of Henry the Seventh--that is, the marriage of his
daughter, Margaret, to James the Fourth of Scotland; and even those of
our "constant readers" who, to their loss, may know nothing of William
Dunbar but what they have read in former pages of this magazine, must
know that the court of Scotland, at the time of the celebration of
these nuptials, possessed a poet worthy of the subject, for they
cannot have forgotten his inspired vision on the Thistle and the Rose.
In the one case the wounds of England were closed after long wars of
disputed succession, as desolating as any intestine wars on record: in
the other, two nations, jealous neighbours, and till then implacable
enemies, formed an alliance that promised to be lasting, and which
finally effected more than it had promised, by the consolidation of
the two thrones into one. On the head of the Scottish great-grandson
of the English Margaret, the double crown was secure from the
casuistry of jurists. Neither Elizabeth of York, nor her daughter, was
a happy wife. Henry the Seventh proved cold and ungrateful as a
husband; James the Fourth faithless; but we have nothing to do here
with the domestic infelicity of those ill-used princesses, except as
it shows that the court-poets, who predicted so much happiness for
them, were not infallible _Vates_. Poets, on such occasions, are
prophets of hope only. And as to the struggles and disasters that
followed, the glowing vision of Dunbar was luckily as impassive to the
shadows of coming events (Flodden Field, and Fotheringay, and the
scaffold at Whitehall, and the rout on the Boyne water) as were the
quondam visions and religious meditations of Lamartine in the days of
Charles Dix to the shadows of the barricades, and the prestige of the
Hotel de Ville.

We do not find that the young successor of England's royal Blue-beard
had a poet-laureate. Queen Mary, though a learned and accomplished
lady, had no such an appendage to her state. Heywood was her favourite
poet; he had consoled her with honest praise in the days when it was
the fashion of courtiers to neglect her. On his presenting himself at
her levee, after her accession, "Mary asked him," says the chronicler
of queens, "what wind has blown you hither?" He answered, "Two special
ones--one of them to see your Majesty." "Our thanks for that," said
Mary; "but the other?" "That your Majesty might see me." He used to
stand by her side at supper, and amuse her with his jests--not a very
dignified employment for a poet--but he was a player, and being
accustomed to play many parts, did not decline that of Double to
Mary's female Fool, Jane. He appears, however, to have been her
life-long solace. He had ministered to her diversion in her childhood,
with a company of child-players, whom Shakspeare calls "little
eye-asses"--(callow hawks)--and in her long illness he was frequently
sent for, and, when she was able to listen to recitation, he repeated
his verses, or superintended performances for her amusement.

Malone insists that Queen Elizabeth, too, had no poet-laureate; yet
Spenser is by other writers as confidently preferred to that post, and
Daniel is said to have officially succeeded him. Spenser's "Gloriana"
and "Dearest Dread," though abundantly shrewd and sagacious, and
though somewhat of a scholar and a wit, and sufficiently vain of her
own poor rhymes, had no true perception or appreciation of the art
divine of poesy. The most eminent dramatic genius the world ever saw
was as moderately encouraged as any inferior playhouse droll might
have been. She could laugh at Falstaff and Dame Quickly, and stimulate
that humour in the author: and, to use her sister's words to Heywood,
"our thanks for that." Edmund Spenser, also, was less indebted to her
own taste, or even to her enormous appetite for flattery, than to Sir
Philip Sidney's enlightened friendship, and to his introduction to her
by Sir Walter Raleigh, for such favours as he received. These,
however, were not small; and neither the Fairy Queen herself,
(gigantic fairy!) nor her sage counsellor Cecil, is justly responsible
for the unhappiness of Spenser. His pension of £50 a-year was but a
portion of the emoluments he derived from court interest. That
pension, which he received till his death in 1598, was no doubt an
annuity assigned him as Queen's poet, though the title of laureate is
not given in his patent, nor in that of his two immediate successors,
Daniel and Ben Jonson. So far Malone is accurate.

Daniel's laudatory verse, whether he volunteered it or not, was
acceptable to King James, and rewarded by a palace appointment. He was
Gentleman Extraordinary, and one of the grooms to Queen Anne of
Denmark. He was on terms of social intimacy with Shakspeare, Marlow,
and Chapman, as well as with persons of higher social rank; and he had
the honour to be tutor to the famous Anne Clifford, Countess of
Pembroke, who caused a cenotaph to be erected to his memory at
Beckington, near Frome, in his native county. He died in 1619.

The masques and pageants of his successor, Ben Jonson, prove that he
held no sinecure from either of his royal masters; but in Charles the
First he at least served a prince who could respect genius, and
remember that the labourer is worthy of his hire. Jonson received, "in
consideration of services of wit and pen already done to us and our
father, and which we expect from him," £100 a-year and a tierce of
Spanish canary, his best-beloved Hippocrene, out of the royal cellars
at Whitehall.

On his decease, 1637, William Davenant was appointed poet-laureate,
_by patent_, through the influence of Henrietta Maria, though her
husband had intended the reversion for Thomas May. This man was so
disgusted that, forgetting many former obligations to Charles, who had
a high and just opinion of his talents, he soon after turned traitor,
and attached himself to the Roundheads. Davenant proved himself worthy
of the preference, not only by his poetry, but by his steadfast
gallant loyalty. He was son of an innkeeper at Oxford, but is said to
have rather sanctioned a vague rumour that attributed his paternity to
Shakspeare. At ten years of age he produced his first poem, a little
ode in three sextains, "In remembrance of Master William Shakspeare."
The first stanza has some feeling in it, the other two are puerile
conceits, clever enough for so young a boy. When his sovereign was in
trouble, he volunteered into the army, and was soon found eligible to
no mean promotion. He was raised to the rank of lieutenant-general of
ordnance, under the Duke of Newcastle, and was knighted for his
services at the siege of Gloucester. His "Gondibert," begun in exile
at Paris, was continued in prison at Cowes Castle, though he daily
expected his death-warrant. But he was removed to the Tower of London
to be tried by a high commission; and it is believed that his life was
saved by the generous intervention of Milton, whom he subsequently
repaid in kind, by softening the resentment of the restored government
against him. Davenant, though perhaps a man of irregular life, and
though, as a dramatist and playhouse manager, he proved any thing but
allegiant to Shakspeare, and was active in communicating a depraved
taste, was yet a man of brave, honest, and independent mind. It is
curious that he should not only have disappointed May of the laurel
when living, but that it should have been his chance to take his place
in Poet's Corner when dead. The Puritans had erected a pompous tomb to
May, which was savagely enough removed by the returned royalists. Near
the same spot, in Westminster Abbey, is the monument to Davenant.

The Usurpation was not without its poets of far loftier reach than
May, though he, too, was no dwarf. It would have been ridiculous in
Cromwell to appoint a poet-laureate. The thing was impossible, though
the flatteries of his kinsman, Waller, show that it was not the want
of a subservient royalist gentleman of station, as well of talent,
that made it so. Andrew Marvel, though he wrote such vigorous verse on
Cromwell's victories in Ireland, would hardly have accepted the
office, and what other Puritan would? But without the form, the
Protector of the commonwealth had the reality in his Latin secretary,
to whom Marvel was assistant. The lineal heir of the most ancient race
of kings might have been proud of such a poet. The greatness of Milton
might be a pledge to all ages of the greatness of Cromwell,
unchallenged even by those who most detest grim Oliver of Hungtindon
for "Darwent stream with blood of Scots imbrued," and "Worcester's
laureate wreath." Here it is the poet who confers on the conqueror a
laurel crown, of which the imperishable leaves, green as ever bard or
victor wore, mitigate, though they do not hide, the evil expression on
the casque-worn brow of the _senex armis impiger_, and give it a
dignity that might abate the stoutest loyalist's abhorrence, but for
one fatal remembrance, which forbids him to exclaim,

           "_Nec sunt hi vultus regibus usque truces._"

Sir William Davenant, who recovered the laureateship at the
Restoration, and retained it till his death in 1668, was succeeded by
Dryden. Glorious John, although he had hastily flattered Richard
Cromwell's brief authority by an epicede on Oliver, was not rejected
by the merry monarch, who could laugh at poets' perjuries as lightly
as at those of lovers. During that disgraceful reign, the poet made it
no part of his vocation and privilege to check the profligate humours
brought into fashion by the court.

    "Unhappy Dryden! in all Charles' days,
    Roscommon only boasts unspotted lays."

At the revolution of 1688, the laureate was discrowned, as well as
King James; and he condescended to revenge himself by Macflecnoe on
his substitute Shadwell, as if he had not beforehand administered
sufficient chastisement to that miserable Og, in the bitter satire
with which he supplied Tate for the second part of Absolom and
Achitophel. One might pity Shadwell under the lash of such an enemy as
Dryden, if his writings either in verse or prose entitled him to a
grain of respect. Charles, sixth Earl of Dorset--himself an elegant
wit and indifferent versifier, but the descendant and representative
of a very illustrious poet, Sackville, the first Earl, author of the
noble "Induction to a Mirror for Magistrates"--vindicated his
recommendation of Shadwell to the poet-laureateship, "not because he
was a poet, but an honest man." We suppose he meant that he had not
oscillated between Popery and Reformation like Dryden, and that he was
more honest, also, in a political sense, and less liable to suspicion
as an adherent of the expelled monarch's heartless daughter, and her
Dutch husband, the hero of the Boyne and Glencoe. But, in another and
not unimportant sense, Shadwell was far from honest; for he was
notorious for the ribaldry of his conversation. It has been asserted,
while that fact was admitted, that, as an author before the public, he
was a promoter of morality and virtue. Nothing can be more untrue. Of
his many comedies, there is none which is not as rife in pollution as
any of the grossest plays of the time. But their boasted humour is
physic for the bane; for it is distilled "from the dull weeds that
grow by Lethe's side." His comedies are five-act farces of wearisome
vulgarity, and, though suffered in their day, were destined, as Pope
leniently expresses it in the Dunciad,

    "Soon to that mass of nonsense to return,
    Where things destroyed are swept to things unborn."

In "The Royal Shepherdess," however, a play in blank verse, altered by
Shadwell from Fountain of Devonshire, there are some fine lines, so
far above any thing known to be Shadwell's that we readily take him at
his word in his preface, where, modest for once, he invites the
reader, if he finds any thing good in the play, to set it down to Mr
Fountain. The following lines are a favourable specimen,
notwithstanding the _breeding barrenness_:--

    "No more, no more must we scorn cottages;
    Those are the rocks from whence our jewels come.
    Gold breeds in barren hills; the brightest stars
    Shine o'er the poorer regions of the north."

Still better, where a king, in a vicious attempt upon an innocent
girl, has compelled her consent to a meeting at night. The queen,
apprised of the design, personates the intended victim, and appeals to
his conscience with an effect that he thus describes:--

    "She only whisper'd to me, as she promised,
    Yet never heard I any voice so loud:
    And though the words were gentler far than those
    That holy priests do speak to dying saints,
    Yet never thunder signified so much."

The songs in this piece are all by Shadwell, except, as he declares,
the last but one, which is Fountain's, and the only one not below
mediocrity. Shadwell had also the impudence to alter and corrupt
"Timon of Athens," and to produce the farrago on the stage as an
improvement on the original. In the dedication he says, "It has the
inimitable hand of Shakspeare in it; yet I can truly say, I have made
it into a play." This "tun of man and kilderkin of wit" was admitted
to a tomb in Westminster Abbey, an honour (?) said to have been denied
to the remains of a noble poet, the author of "Don Juan." Yet Shadwell
had also produced a "Don Juan." His tragedy of "The Libertine," the
same hero, is ten times more indecent than the most objectionable
parts of Byron's poem. But it is, indeed, also less noxious, for it
has not a single attractive grace of fancy or feeling. A print of
Shadwell, prefixed to Tonson's edition of his works, ludicrously bears
out Dryden's description of the outer man. He looks like an alehouse
Bacchus, or rather like one of those carnal cherubs whom the French
call _anges bouffis_--his cheeks bulging out as if they were stuffed
with apples from the forbidden tree. He died in December 1692, and was
succeeded by

Nahum Tate, the psalmodist. Every one knows what sort of poet he was,
and how the harp of Israel is but a Jew's harp in the hands of Tate
and Brady. Yet some passages in his second part of "Absolom and
Achitophel" are not such feeble mimicries of the tone of his friend,
Dryden, as might have been expected from so poor a performer. The
praise of Asaph, glorious John himself, is pleasing. It concludes with
these lines:--

    "While bees in flowers rejoice, and flowers in dew,
    While stars and fountains to their course are true,
    While Judah's throne and Sion's rock stand fast,
    The song of Asaph, and the fame, shall last."

At his death in 1715, a year after the accession of George the First,
the withering laurel recovered a little lustre on the brow of Nicholas
Rowe, the translator of Lucan, and the pathetic dramatist of "The Fair
Penitent," and "Jane Shore." His occasional verses were, of course,
very respectable; and his only signal failure was when he attempted
comedy. After the banter he incurred for his play of "The Biter," he
was so sensible that he was the biter bit, that he excluded it from
his works, and made no second venture of the kind. Yet the man who
could move an audience to tears, and who had so little command of
their sympathies when he tried his powers of wit on them, was any
thing but a lachrymist by temperament. When Spence observed that he
should have thought "the tragic Rowe too grave to write such things."
Pope answered, "He! why, he would laugh all the day long! He would do
nothing but laugh!" He survived the acquisition of the laurel only
three years, dying at the age of forty-five.

Laurence Eusden, "a parson much bemused in beer," stumbled into his
place, just in time to elaborate, _singultu laborare_, the Coronation
Ode for George the Second. A specimen or two of his loyal suspirations
may be as welcome as a hundred.

    "Hail, mighty Monarch! whose desert alone
    Would, without birthright, raise thee to a throne!
    _Thy virtues shine peculiarly nice.
    Ungloom'd with a confinity to vice._"

Lord Hervey's "Memoirs of the Court of George the Second," recently
made public, are an edifying exposition of the "peculiarly nice"
virtues here extolled.

    "What strains shall equal to thy glories rise,
    First to the world, and borderer on the skies?"

The conjuror who can make out the meaning of the last line may be able
to answer the question. In his joy for a George the Second, the
inspired bard dries up his tears for George the First:--

    "How exquisitely great! who canst inspire
    Such joy that Albion _mourns no more thy sire_!
    A dull, fat, thoughtless heir unheeded springs
    From a long _slothful_ line of _restive_ kings:
    But when a stem, with fruitful branches crown'd,
    Has flourish'd, in each various branch renown'd,
    His great forerunners when the last outshone,
    Who could a brighter hope, or even as bright a son?"

He ends with a kick at the Stuarts:

    "Avaunt, degenerate _grafts_, or spurious breed!
    'Tis a George only can a George succeed."

If Charles Edward had known that, he might have saved himself a good
deal of trouble.

Eusden died at his rectory in Lincolnshire in 1730. Colley Cibber wore
the laurel with unblushing front for twenty-seven years from that
date. His annual birth-day and new-year odes for all that time are
treasured in the _Gentleman's Magazine_. They are all so bad, that his
friends pretended that he made them so on purpose. Dr Johnson,
however, often asserted, from his personal knowledge of the man, that
he took great pains with his lyrics, and thought them far superior to
Pindar's. The Doctor was especially merry with one ultra-Pindaric
flight which occurs in the Cibberian "Ode for the New-Year 1750."

    "Through ages past the muse preferr'd
    Her high-sung hero to the skies;
    Yet now reversed the rapture flies,
    And Caesar's fame sublimes the bard.
    _So on the towering eagle's wing
    The lowly linnet soars to sing._
        Had her Pindar of old
        Known her Cæsar to sing,
    More rapid his raptures had roll'd;
    But never had Greece such a king!"

So proud was Cibber of that marvellous image of the linnet and eagle,
that he repeated it in the "Natal Ode for 1753." In his last "New-year
Ode," too, 1757, he again scolds Pindar for his sluggishness--

          "Had the lyrist of old
          Had our Cæsar to sing,
    More rapid his numbers had roll'd;
    But never had Greece such a king,
    No, never had Greece such a king!"

Those effusions are truly incomparable. Not only are they all bad, but
not one of them in twenty-seven years contains a good line. Yet he
was, happily for himself, more impenetrable to the gibes of the wits
than a buffalo to the stings of mosquitoes. Of the numerous epigrams
twanged at him, here is one from the _London Magazine_ for 1737.

"ON SEEING TOBACCO-PIPES LIT WITH ONE OF THE LAUREATE'S ODES.

    "While the soft song that warbles George's praise
    From pipe to pipe the living flame conveys,
    Critics who long have scorn'd must now admire,
    For who can say his ode now wants its fire?"

Dr Johnson honoured him with another, equally complimentary to Cibber
and his Cæsar.

    "Augustus still survives in Maro's strain,
    And Spenser's verse prolongs Eliza's reign;
    Great George's acts let tuneful Colley sing,
    For nature form'd the poet for the king."

Yet Cibber, the hero of the Dunciad, was not a dunce, except in his
attempts at verse; even Pope, who calls him "a _pert_ and _lively_
dunce," epithets rather incongruous, admits the merit of his "Careless
Husband." His Apology for his own Life, too, is no mean performance;
some passages in it are both judicious and eloquent, particularly his
criticisms on Nokes and Betterton, and on acting in general. Though
the most wretched of poetasters, he was an abler prose writer than
half of his critics.

At his death, the laureateship was offered to Gray, with an exemption
from the duty of furnishing annual odes, but he refused the office, as
having been degraded by Cibber. It was then given, on the usual terms,
to William Whitehead, who won even the approbation of Gray for the
felicity with which he occasionally performed his task. What now
appears most noticeable in Whitehead's odes is his prolonged and
ludicrous perplexity about the American war. At the first outbreak he
is the indignant and scornful patriot, confident in the power of the
mother country, and threatening the rebels with condign punishment.
As they grow more and more obstinate, he becomes the pathetic
remonstrant with those unnatural children, and coaxes them to be good
boys. When any news of success to the British arms has arrived, he
mounts the high horse again, and gives the Yankees hard words, but not
without magnanimous hints that the gates of mercy are not quite closed
to repentance. Reverses come, and he consoles the king. Matters grow
worse, and he is at his wit's-end. At last the struggle is over; he
accommodates himself to the unpleasant necessity of the case, and
sings the blessings of peace and concord.

Laureate odes, good or bad, are always fair game for squibs. Whitehead
had his share of ridicule, but he had more courage than Gray, who was
so painfully afflicted by the parodies of Lloyd and Coleman, that he
almost resolved to forswear poetry. Whitehead retorted on his
assailants with easy good-humour, in "An Apology for all Laureates,
past, present, and to come," beginning,

    "Ye silly dogs, whose half-year lays
    Attend, like satellites, on Bays,
    And still with added lumber load
    Each birth-day and each new-year ode,
    Why will ye strive to be severe?
    In pity to yourselves forbear;
    Nor let the sneering public see
    What numbers write far worse than he."

and ending,

    "To Laureates is no pity due,
    Encumber'd with a thousand clogs?
    I'm very sure they pity you,
    Ye silliest of silly dogs."

The next laureate, Thomas Warton, the historian of English poetry, is
too well known and appreciated to require any lengthened notice here.
In 1747 and 1748 he held the appointment of _laureated_ poet, to which
he was inaugurated, according to the ancient custom, in the
common-room of Trinity College, Oxford. His duty was to celebrate a
lady chosen as lady patroness, and Warton performed his task crowned
with a wreath of laurel. In 1757, he was elected professor of poetry,
as his father had formerly been in the same university. On the demise
of Whitehead in 1785, the laureateship was conferred on him by command
of George the Third. He was quizzed as his predecessor had been, and,
like him, laughed at the jesters; and he gradually turned their scoffs
to approbation by his equanimity and the merit of his performances.
Warton had not only the wit to be diverted by probationary odes in
mockery of his own, which he valued at less than they were worth, but
he had temper to endure the malignant scurrility of Ritson, in
reference to more important labours, with no severer remark than that
he was a _black-lettered dog_. A portion of his later days was devoted
to a labour of love--an edition of the juvenile poems of Milton, with
copious notes. Though of sedentary college habits, and a free liver,
he enjoyed vigorous health to the age of 62: he then broke down. He
went to Bath with the gout, and returned, as he thought, in an
improved condition. The evening of May 20, 1790, he passed cheerfully
in the common-room, but, before midnight, he was stricken with
paralysis, and the next day he was a corpse.

Henry James Pye, who was of a family of which the founder is stated to
have come to England with the Conqueror, was likewise representative,
by the female line, of the patriot Hampden. In 1784, he was returned
to parliament as member for Berkshire. But the expense of the contest
ruined him, and he was obliged to sell his estate; and even the
slender salary of a laureate was not unacceptable when it fell in his
way. Besides his official odes, he produced numerous works, epic,
dramatic, and lyric, and also published several translations, and a
corrected edition of Francis's Horace. The reader will be content if
we pass all these with the remark that he was a respectable writer, a
good London police-magistrate, and an honourable gentleman in a less
equivocal sense than the parliamentary style. As factor of annual odes
for the court, he was, of course, scurvily used by the wags. The joke
on "Pindar, Pye, et parvus Pybus," was once in every body's mouth. He
died in 1813, and was succeeded by

Robert Southey, who held the office for thirty years; and this
prolonged tenure of it, still longer than Cibber's, by a man of
unimpeachable worth and distinguished genius, is a happy set-off
against the disgrace which frightened Gray, and made him refuse it.
The concession proposed to Gray, that he should write only when and
what he chose, was also virtually, though not formally, yielded to
Southey. "The performance of the annual odes," he says, "had been
suspended from the time of George the Third's illness in 1810, and
fell completely into disuse. Thus terminated a custom more honoured in
the breach than the observance." How is it that we have yet no
biography of Southey? It is rumoured that his only surviving son, the
Reverend Cuthbert Southey, has one in preparation. We hope that the
report is true, and that it will contain abundance of his father's
delightful letters, and be published soon. _Bis dat qui cito
dat_,--that is, not that a book should be got up in a hurry, but that,
after a delay of five years, the reasonable expectation of Robert
Southey's admirers and regretters should be now promptly gratified.

We began with the earliest of laureates and the latest,--Apollo and
the venerable Wordsworth,--and with them we will conclude. In a snug
nook, sheltered from the north and east winds by Helvellyn, and
Fairfield, Wordsworth has for many years cultivated his own laurels
with success, till he is absolutely imbowered in them. The original
slip, from which all this throng of greenery has sprung, is said to
have been a cutting from a scion of the bay-tree planted by Petrarch
at the tomb of Virgil, which tree was unquestionably derived from the
undying root of that which supplied leaves for the garland of Apollo,
and assuaged the divinity of his brow, when, as we reminded the reader
at our outset on this ramble, he hired himself as poet-laureate to
King Admetus, on a daily stipend of a hornful of milk.



THE HORSE-DEALER--A TALE OF DENMARK.

BY CHRISTIAN WINTHER.


The King of Sweden, Charles X., lay with his army before Copenhagen.
His generals, the young Prince of Sulzbach and Count Steenbock,
besieged the city, and his troops showed themselves worthy sons of the
famous Thirty Years' War. The system of cruelty and extortion that had
characterised their Polish and German campaigns was renewed in
Denmark, and with the greater fierceness that national antipathy
served at once as pretext and stimulus to the soldier's lust of blood
and plunder. And thus was it that upon the island of Funen scenes were
enacted, whose frightful record, handed down by history, now appears
scarcely credible. Men and women, priests and laymen, old and young,
the humble and the illustrious, were subjected to the grossest
ill-treatment, either to extort money, or as punishment for not
possessing it. Amongst the Danes themselves mutual fear and mistrust
existed; for individuals were not wanting who, through fear, or in
hope of profit, played openly or secretly into the hands of the enemy.
And, to add to the desolation the Swedes brought with them, the
inhabitants had scarcely yet recovered the ravages of a pestilence,
which had disappeared from their shores but a few years previously.
Whether it was the king's absence from the island, or a notion in the
Swedes' mind that they would soon have to leave the country, which
rendered the soldiery so unbridled in their excesses, certain it is,
that the scourge of war made itself more severely felt than ever
towards the end of the year 1659. The doubtful sort of succour
afforded by the Dutch fleet was chiefly confined to Zealand, and it
was small consolation to the people of Funen to see the proud ships of
the rich republic cruising in the Belt and Cattegat. The scanty
intelligence from the capital, which in summer some bold boatman
occasionally brought over, was not always to be relied upon, seldom or
never satisfactory, and ceased altogether when winter came, and dark
and stormy nights rendered the navigation between the islands
impracticable for small craft.

At a moderate distance from the town of Nyeborg, on the east coast of
Funen, stands the village of Vinding, one of whose richest
inhabitants, at the time of the Swedish occupation, was a certain Thor
Hansen. He had a son, called, of course, Hans Thorsen--for in that
country the names of the peasants are like a pair of gloves, which,
when turned inside out, change their places, so that the right becomes
the left and the left the right; and with this transposition names are
handed down from generation to generation, never becoming out of
fashion. In Thor Hansen's house dwelt a young girl, a distant relative
of his own; and although Christina's sole dowry was her pretty
cherry-cheeked countenance, and her comely healthy person, he had
preferred her to all others for his daughter-in-law. Many might marvel
at such a choice, especially those who know that the Danish peasant is
at least as proud of his hide of land and nook of garden as the noble
of his wide estates, or the wealthy merchant of his well-stored
warehouses, and that marriages, unsuitable in a pecuniary point of
view, are as rare in that country as in any other in the world. But on
this head Thor Hansen thought differently from his fellows. He saw
that Christina was a smart active girl, who, young though she was, had
kept his house after his wife's death with all care and industry, had
milked his cows, cooked his oatmeal, and spun his flax. As to the son
Hans, of nothing in the world was he more desirous than to get
Christina for his wife; and Christina, when father and son opened
their minds to her, could scarcely answer for joy. Thus all were
agreed, and the old man already thought of making over his land to his
son, and of settling down to pass the rest of his days in peace and
the chimney corner. The wedding-day was fixed, the fish and saffron
for the soup were purchased, when suddenly the Swede arrived. This
unexpected and unwelcome intrusion disturbed the plans of many. With
lamentation throughout the land, few thought of joy and merry-making;
and a wedding, essentially the most joyous of festivals, would have
been out of keeping with the universal misery. Partly influenced by a
feeling of this kind, and partly by other circumstances, old Thor
Hansen resolved to postpone the projected marriage, and the young
people silently acquiesced.

Amidst the general misery and suffering, Thor Hansen might be
considered highly favoured, as compared with many others. For sergeant
Jon Svartberg, of the first regiment of Finland horse, who had
quartered himself upon the best house in the village, namely, upon
that of Hansen, was milder-mannered and of gentler heart than the
majority of his brethren in arms. Not but that he did honour to his
military schooling in Germany and Poland, and resembled a bear far
oftener than a lamb: he required much, and exacted it rigorously; but
still there was a limit to his demands, and when these were complied
with, the persons he was quartered upon had not to fear the wanton
torments and ill treatment which drive the oppressed to despair. The
smart young sergeant certainly deemed himself the first person in the
house, and expected to be treated as such; but, that conceded, he
asked no more. He stood up for what he considered his rights, and no
one must infringe upon them. One quality he had, which perhaps
contributed to soften and humanise his nature--he was a devoted
admirer of the gentler sex. Nor was he deficient in the qualities that
frequently find favour with women. A handsome well-grown fellow with
golden hair, and a fresh complexion, somewhat weathered by campaigns;
his lofty leathern helmet, his blue facings and broad yellow
bandelier, with brightly burnished buckles, his tall boots and
jingling spurs, became him well; in manner he was frank and joyous,
and when he laughed, which was often and loud, a row of ivory teeth
showed themselves beneath his light brown beard, and his blue eyes had
a bold and amorous sparkle. Confident in these various recommendations,
which had perhaps already, in other countries, procured him the favour
of the fair, Svartberg cherished the notion of his invincibility, and
flattered himself he had but to appear to overcome all rivals and
conquer all hearts. That he had completely gained that of Christina,
and that it was ready at any moment to beat the chamade and surrender
at discretion, he did not for an instant doubt. To say nothing of his
personal recommendations, he had never, during the whole time he had
been master in Thor Hansen's house, seen the least sign of a rival.
This arose from the circumstance that Hans and Christina had kept
their engagement a secret from the soldier, as if some instinct or
internal voice had told them that his acquaintance with it might prove
for them the source of great vexation and suffering. To maintain the
disguise, however, was no easy or pleasant task. Many consider it a
very hard case when two lovers are prevented seeing each other as
often as they wish but how much more painful must it be to have to
feign coldness in presence of a third person, and on his account? The
young people felt that the innocent familiarities of betrothed lovers
would have been highly displeasing to the enamoured Swede,--and deeply
enamoured he was, as none, having eyes, could fail to see. So Hans and
Christina were fain to be on their guard, except at such hours as the
sergeant was on duty, or when they worked together in farm or garden.
When Svartberg was at home, he was continually after Christina--paying
her compliments, cutting jokes, taking her by the chin, catching her
round the waist and making her waltz round the room, stealing her
slippers as she sat spinning, and playing other witty pranks of a
similar kind.

It was a November evening, and for those acquainted with that season
in the island of Funen, it is unnecessary to say that the night was a
rough one. The gale drove black masses of clouds across the sky, and
roared and whistled through the small thicket, composed of a score of
venerable oak trees mingled with hazel bushes, that grew at a short
distance from Thor Hansen's little garden. At that time there was
still a great deal of oak and beach timber in the neighbourhood of
Nyeborg, of which now scarce a vestige remains; and this small group
of trees, bounded on the north by a rivulet, lay within the limits of
the old man's farm. Although the night was dreary and cheerless out of
doors, it was warm and snug in Thor Hansen's cottage. Thor himself sat
on one side the huge fireplace, comfortably sunk in an old cushioned
chair; opposite to him Christina had taken her station, and was busy
with her distaff. Between them hung a large four-cornered iron
lantern; and upon the end of a bench Hans had seated himself, in such
a position that he could conveniently throw his arm round the young
girl's waist. Moreover, his cheek rested upon her shoulder, and in
this agreeable attitude he kept up an incessant whispering, only
interrupting the stream of his volubility to snatch an occasional kiss
from her ruddy cheek.

"But how know you all that, Hans?" said the maiden, who for some time
had listened with deep attention to her lover's words. "Who told you?"

"Not so loud, darling!" replied Hans; "I do not want the old man to
hear it yet: the thing is uncertain, and the result still more so. My
father becomes each day more anxious, so that I am almost uneasy lest
in his terror he should himself throw you into the arms of the
accursed Swede, if things looked dangerous."

"The _accursed_ Swede?" repeated Christina; "he deserves not the word
at your hands. He _has_ done us much service, and no harm. When I
think of my uncle's two poor girls, and of the many others who have
shared their lot, I deem myself most lucky, and so should you, that
our roof covers so gentle a foe."

"Certainly," replied Hans. "God knows, I do think myself lucky, and
wish Svartberg no manner of harm in the main, but, on the contrary,
every thing that is good, save and except yourself. But listen
further. I fell in this afternoon with a couple of peasants from the
plain; they had stopped at the public-house to bait, and had been
doing work for Count Steenbock. Whilst the dragoons, whom they
accompanied with their carts, sat and drank in the tavern, I got into
discourse with these two men. I had noticed them whispering together,
and looking carefully about them, and felt sure there was something
up,--something they knew of, and which the Swede did not. I questioned
the oldest of them, and at last he told me that the rumour of powerful
and speedy succour was abroad in the country: he had his information
more particularly from Martin Thy; he had seen him not far from the
Odensee, standing at a forge, and bargaining with Swedish officers
about a horse."

"Martin Thy, say you?" cried Christina; "he is sick in bed."

"Never mind that, darling! You don't know Martin; he can be sick and
well at the same time, just as he pleases. At this moment his health
is as good as yours; and if this red cheek does not lie, you are as
fresh as a fish. Or have my kisses made your cheek so red? Come, let
me kiss the other."

"Nonsense, Hans! be quiet; the old man hears you," whispered
Christina, warding off with her arm the threatened salutation.

"What is that about Martin Thy?" inquired Thor Hansen from beyond the
fire. Without waiting an answer to his question, he sat up in his
chair, and anxiously listened. "What is that?" he said. "Who comes at
this hour of night? Svartberg it cannot be; his guard is not yet over.
Run out, Hans, and see who it is."

The son left the room, and in the moment of silence that ensued the
yard-dog barked loudly, and the tramp and neigh of a horse were heard.
After brief delay, Hans re-entered the apartment, accompanied by
another man.

"Yes, yes, Hans," said the stranger; "you are a very good lad, but
that is a matter I understand better than you do. Black Captain is as
good a beast as a horseman need wish to cross."

"May be," replied Hans; "but at present he is lame, if not hip-shot."

"Thank ye, friend," replied the stranger, warmly. "I expect you are a
judge. A trifle weary and footsore he may be. He has had a heavy day's
work, and drags a little with one leg. But no matter. The peace of God
and a good evening to this house," continued he, turning to Thor
Hansen and taking his hand. "Dog's-weather this," he added, as he
knocked the water from his broad-brimmed round hat till it streamed
over the floor, and passed both hands over his thick eyebrows and
black bushy hair. "I am wet to the very skin, and as stiff and weary
as an old plough-horse that can no longer follow the furrow. With your
permission!"--and so saying, he seated himself by the table, on the
end of the wooden bench. He was a little, broad-shouldered man, with
an unusual quantity of long hair upon his head, and with small lively
black eyes, shaded by projecting brows. He wore a peasant's jerkin of
coarse brown woollen stuff, and carried his whip, the end of whose
lash was tied to the handle, slung across his broad back, as a fowler
carries his gun.

"Whence so late, Martin Thy?" quoth Thor Hansen, with a curious glance
at the new-comer.

"Direct from Middelfahrt," replied the horse-dealer in a suppressed
voice. "I would speak with Sergeant Svartberg before I go to bed, and
therefore have I ridden straight up here. The worshipful sergeant is
doubtless at home?" he added, but with an expression of countenance as
if he wished the contrary. On receiving the assurance that Svartberg
was out, and not expected back for two or three hours, Martin Thy
peeped cautiously into the best bed-chamber, which the Swede occupied,
then into the kitchen and court; and having at last fully satisfied
himself that the person he inquired about was really absent, he pulled
his whip over his head, and threw it violently down upon the floor.

"I may speak then, and tell you the news," he said, thrusting both
hands into the breast of his doublet, and standing, with his short,
strong legs apart, colossus-fashion, in the middle of the floor. "I
went to Middelfahrt in a lucky hour. Every face was joyful, and every
mouth full of reports of a great and immediate succour, with which we
should drive the Swedes out of the country; and on this side the
Odensee I heard the Swedes themselves talk of it. For my part I have
not a doubt about the matter, and my information is of the best. I
was up there, bargaining with the Swedish Rittmeister Kron for his
gray mare, and doctoring one of his troop-horses which had broken its
fore-foot, and I heard the gossip of the grooms and soldiers, and all
manner of curious stories."

"Of course," said Thor Hansen, shaking his head incredulously; "if
lies were Latin, I too might turn preacher."

The horse-jockey looked Hansen hard in the face, whilst the young
people exchanged signs of intelligence.

"I tell you what it is, neighbour," continued Thy; "I am a tolerably
well-broken nag, and can keep a straight road of my own. There's no
shying or stumbling in me--I go a steady even trot, and aint vicious,
so you may take my word when I give it. Yes," added he, slowly and
significantly, and with a glance at Christina, "it might well happen
that others besides yourself found cause to repent your mistrust."

At these words the old man grew thoughtful, and listened attentively.

"Have you not heard of the many pretty country lasses made to serve
this year at Raskenbjerg, when young Count Magnus lay there in
quarters? Know ye not how it fared there with your own wife's nieces?
If you fancy they left the place as they went to it, you are mightily
mistaken. The Swede does not handle such wares so tenderly. Count
Magnus has his spies every where--he well knows whom to choose for
such work; your house may have its turn. The girl has a comely face
and a white neck, a smart walk and a bright eye, and those are hard to
hide at this time, and in this island."

"Nonsense!" said Thor Hansen. "More noise than mischief. And who would
do us so ill a turn?"

"I name no names," replied the horse-dealer. "You know him as well as
I do. But I have a means of protecting you and Christina from him, and
all other blood-hounds of his breed. If you are wise you will avail
yourself of it. Give her me to wife. And when any look after her, tell
them she is Martin Thy's betrothed, and you will soon see the
difference! What boots it that I wear silver buttons on my doublet,
and may soon wear gold ones? what avails it that I own fields and
garden, cows and horses, if I have not a nice young wife to share my
prosperity? She will be well cared for, and as comfortable as if she
lay in Abraham's bosom."

"He is old enough, certainly," muttered Hans with a smile.

"Hans, my boy, just run out and give Black Captain a handful of hay,
will you? Go, my son, go." Hans obeyed, and Martin continued, "I have
only this to tell you; beware of the sergeant! Trust him not!
Svartberg means the maiden no good. Do not ask how I know it, but the
fact is certain. Do as you like, however. If you have courage to risk
it, you are right to do so."

"Ay, but what would poor Hans say?" quoth the old man musingly.

"Hans!" cried the horse-dealer, much surprised; "I thought it was all
off, long ago, between Hans and Christina. They never whinny after
each other, and she seems ready to lash out whenever he comes near
her." He paused for a minute, and then drew Thor Hansen aside, and
spoke to him in an under tone. "It is only for appearance sake," said
he; "you don't suppose I am serious? A rusty old roadster like myself
would never suit to run in harness with so frisky a filly. What say
you, my child? Will you not for a while make believe to be Martin
Thy's sweetheart?"

"Have done with such nonsense," said the young girl, repulsing the
jockey's advances. He ran round the room after her, caught, and would
have kissed her, but she slipped through his hands like an eel, and
made for the kitchen. Just then the door opened, and Sergeant
Svartberg, who had entered the court unheard, strode into the room,
his heavy steel spurs jingling at every step. The sort of scuffle
between the young girl and the horse-dealer attracted his notice.

"What's up now, in the devil's name?" he cried, taking off his heavy
helmet.

"Nothing, sergeant," replied Martin Thy, in no way disconcerted. "A
very small matter, at least. I wanted to steal the first kiss from my
bride that is to be, and she would not allow it."

"Your bride, fat-paunch!" cried Svartberg in extreme wonderment; "what
the devil is all this? This will never do. Harkye, old currycomb, no
one has a right to take any thing here, not so much as a kiss, without
my leave. D'ye hear that?"

"Gently, gently," retorted Martin Thy in a jesting tone; "I am
certainly a mere David in comparison with such a Goliath as you, but I
am more active than I look--can jump higher than any one would
think--high enough, perhaps, to catch you by the flaxen curls upon
your forehead, if you meddle with the best horse in my stable. But you
can take a joke, sergeant dear?" concluded he, with a sly side-glance
at the Swede.

"No, no, jockey, not I indeed,--you are a deal too cunning for
me,--one never finds you where one leaves you. When I sent for you the
other day for my horse, they said you were sick, but it seems you were
on the road. Where have you been?"

"Westward," replied the horse-dealer quietly, "on my own honest
business. I came home this evening, and the first person I cared to
see was my little girl here--besides that, I have a word or two to say
to the worshipful sergeant."

"To me? Come then, and be quick about it, and have a care that my
sabre does not take a fancy to speak a word or two to your shoulders."
And with this uncivil warning, Svartberg took the little man by the
collar, and pushed him before him into the adjoining room.

Thor Hansen and the young people had listened in silence to this short
and sharp dialogue. Out of prudence they abstained from interrupting
the horse-dealer, although his bold assertions were not very pleasing
to them. Now they stood embarrassed and attentive, trying to catch
something of what passed in the next apartment,--but without success,
for the Swede and his companion spoke in low tones and in short broken
sentences. In a short time the two men returned to the sitting-room,
the horse-dealer's countenance wearing its usual sly quick expression;
the tall sergeant with less decision in his gait, and with a mixture
of vexation and mistrust upon his features. When Martin Thy took his
leave and departed, he followed him with a sort of constrained
courtesy as far as the courtyard, and did not re-enter the house till
the horse's hoofs were heard trotting along the narrow road.

Meanwhile the father and son had gone out to fodder the cattle. With
folded arms Svartberg walked for a while up and down the room. On a
sudden he stopped short in front of Christina, who sat spinning, as
usual, and gazed at her long and tenderly. At last he broke silence.

"Fye upon you, my pretty Christina!" he said; "you surely do not
seriously mean to throw yourself away on yon black-bearded monster?"

"You must not take for earnest all Martin Thy says," replied the
maiden, blushing; "you know what a strange creature he is."

"Oh certainly," replied the soldier in a sharper tone, "I know
devilish well what he is, and I also know what I am myself. Better I
certainly might be; but you, Christina, your father and all belonging
to you, know well that I am none of the worst."

"That we do, Svartberg,--you have been a help and protection so long
as you have dwelt in our house; and, without you, Heaven knows how it
might have fared with us."

"Once for all, then, Christina, tell me how I stand with you; for
curse me if I can make out. You know I love you,--I have never
concealed it, and I did think you looked kindly upon me; but here
comes this pot-bellied horse-dealer, and says you are to marry him!
Tell me honestly, is it true?"

Whilst the young girl, with natural bashfulness, hesitated to reply to
this home-question, the sergeant seated himself by her side, and, in
his softest tones and sweetest words, told her how ardently he loved
her. He strove to rouse her gratitude by reminding her of the
beneficial influence of his presence in the house, how he had defended
and saved her and hers from the plunder and ill-treatment they would
otherwise inevitably have suffered. In glowing colours he depicted
the happy and prosperous life they would lead together, if she would
follow him to Sweden when his term of service expired. He had a farm
in Dalecarlia, he said, and she should be his wife and its mistress.
Then he drew from his finger a broad gold ring, with his name upon it,
and endeavoured, but in vain, to prevail upon her to accept it. And
many times he asked, with mournful earnestness, if what Master Thy had
told him were true; betraying in his manner, each time he mentioned
the name of this man, previously so indifferent to him, an unusual
reserve and circumspection. At last, as Christina, although with eyes
full of tears, still persisted in her silence, he rose from his seat.

"I have opened my whole heart to you, Christina," said he, "and I have
too good an opinion of you to suppose for an instant you would,
without compulsion, prefer that little punchy hedgehog of a Jutlander
to a gallant Swede and smart soldier like myself. Perhaps you are
afraid of your father? or of your dwarf of a bridegroom? If so, I
promise you efficient protection. I have at Raskenbjerg"--here the
young girl looked up from her work with a terrified glance,--"a good
comrade, who has married a country-woman of yours. With your consent,
I will conduct you thither, and there you shall remain, in all safety,
until we leave the country;--and that will not be long," added he,
sinking his voice, and with a cautious glance around him.

The mere name of Raskenbjerg had upon Christina an effect of which
Svartberg never dreamed. She thought with a shudder of the tales she
had often heard related, and to which the horse-dealer had so recently
referred. She remembered the blunt cordiality with which Martin Thy
had promised her protection, and suspected Svartberg of evil designs,
which he proposed carrying out by craft rather than by violence. Full
of this idea, she told the sergeant plainly that she really was
betrothed to Martin Thy, entreated him to show himself as generous in
this matter as he had always previously been, and declared firmly and
positively she would adhere to her promise. She ventured even to tell
him, he must have a very poor opinion of her if he thought to lead her
astray by honeyed words and fine manners. All this she said to the
young Swede in plain language, and in tones earnest, although gentle;
and the whole expression of her countenance and manner gave evidence
of so much strength of will that Svartberg, after having once or twice
more passionately conjured her to tell him the truth about Martin
Thy--betraying, each time he mentioned the name, the same kind of
confused manner as before--grasped helm and sabre, and with an
exclamation of disappointment and vexation, hurried into his
apartment.

It had rained and blown the entire night, the sky was gray and dreary,
the first glimpse of dawn scarce appeared in the east. Christina had
milked the cows, but still she lingered in the stable awaiting her
lover. Her heart was very heavy; the peace and safety in which the
family had hitherto lived seemed suddenly to have fled, and that she
should be the innocent cause of its departure forced many a sigh from
her gentle bosom. She had not waited long when there was a cautious
tap at the back-door leading into the field; she opened it quickly,
and Hans entered. Christina threw her arms round his neck.

"At last, dear Hans!" said she tenderly: "how anxiously I have waited
for you!"

"I come from the horse-dealer's," replied Hans, breathing short, like
one who had made speed. "He was in bed and fast asleep, and was almost
angry with me for awaking him. He told me, however, that he had heard,
God knows from whom, that Danish troops had attempted a night-landing
near Nyeborg, but had been prevented by the storm, and had sailed
northwards. He pretends also that Danish and German reinforcements are
off the west coast of the island. With respect to you, and the
proposal he made last night, he maintains it is the only safe means of
escaping Svartberg's designs. Whether the offer was serious or sham,
he would not distinctly say: it was no business of mine, he said; it
might be joke, or it might be earnest. And when I solemnly swore to
him that I would endure neither the one nor the other, he laughed at
me, and bid me go home and let him go to sleep. As I stole through the
village, the trumpeters blew the alarm, and the troopers began to
mount. So we are not safe here; the sergeant may surprise us at any
moment."

And having concluded his parting narrative, Hans prepared to quit his
mistress for the day. So engrossed were the young people by a long
farewell kiss, that they were unaware of the entrance of sergeant
Svartberg, till he had gazed at them for some seconds in a state of
seeming petrifaction.

"Hell and the devil!" was the profane exclamation of the gallant
sergeant, on recovering his powers of speech. "Pretty work this, by my
honour! So so, my coy beauty," continued he, his lips trembling, his
cheeks pale, his eyes ominously flashing, and with bitter irony in his
voice, "is it the custom in this country to marry two husbands, one
young and the other old? Now I know the meaning of your shyness, and
what your intentions are; oh! I see through the whole conspiracy. But
wait a bit, I'll pay you all off. Hallo! Olof and Peter!" cried he to
two dragoons in the stable-yard, "dismount, and tie this younker upon
the ammunition-waggon you have to take to Nyeborg."

Whilst the bearded horsemen got out of their saddles to obey their
sergeant's commands, the latter turned once more to the trembling
Christina.

"So this was your game, my charmer!" said he scornfully. "Have you
already forgotten what you told me last evening, when you had me
sighing like an old woman? I never felt so soft in my life, not since
my mother first laid me in the cradle, with a pap-spoon in my mouth.
Ha! it shall be the last time I waste fair words when force will gain
my end. No, no!" he shouted, as Christina, with tearful eyes and
speechless with grief, extended her clasped hands in supplication,
"you won't get him off, I can tell you, not if you were an angel from
heaven. Why don't you intercede for your other lover, the old one? No,
no, neither mercy nor pardon."

"Ah! sergeant, be not so cruel; let the lad go," exclaimed a voice
behind Svartberg. "Surely you are not going to turn restive! You kick
out a little, but I am certain a mouthful of hay will pacify you.
Come, a word with you!"

The horse-dealer, for he it was, took the angry Swede by the
bandelier, and Svartberg followed him, although with manifest
unwillingness, to the further side of the court. Here Martin Thy
deliberately unbuttoned his brown doublet and three or four
waistcoats, produced, from the inmost recesses of his attire, a small
greasy leather book, and thence extracted a scrap of parchment. This
he placed before the eyes of the sergeant, following the lines with
his finger as Svartberg read, and pausing now and then at particular
words, as if they were talismanic characters, intended to allay the
soldier's irritation. This, whatever they were, they appeared to do.
More calmly, but with a harsh and sullen expression of countenance,
and like a man yielding with an ill grace to a power he dares not
resist, Svartberg approached Hans Thorsen, who stood in gloomy silence
between the two dragoons.

"Let the fellow go," he cried, "and to horse! You tell me we shall not
come back, Thy. I neither know nor care how you learned it, but
remember I make you responsible for both of them. If I do return, I
will claim both her and him at your hands, and God help you if they
are not forthcoming."

He spoke thus whilst tightening his horse's girths, and when he turned
his head the horse-dealer had already disappeared. With a muttered
oath, Svartberg sprang into the saddle, and, without bestowing another
glance upon the young people, galloped out of the court, quite
forgetting to bequeath Christina one of those graceful salutations
with which it was his wont to bid her adieu.

Field-marshal Shack had landed his troops without accident at
Kjerteminde, and Lieutenant-general Eberstein, with equal good
fortune, had got his little army on shore at Middelfahrt. The young
prince of Sulzbach at first advanced against the latter general; but
then, afraid of being cut off and surrounded by the former, he changed
his plan, and drew back his whole forces to a stronger position at
Nyeborg. The entire Swedish army lay either in this town, or encamped
in its front; their previous quarters were vacant. Consequently, in
the village of Vinding all was still and quiet as in the grave. It was
evening. Thor Hansen and his son had betaken themselves to the tavern,
where a great number of peasants, retainers of the lord of the soil,
travellers, and others, were assembled, discussing the latest news.
These seemed important, judging from the noise and excitement that
prevailed: all spoke at once, none listened, and, as if all danger
were now over, none troubled their heads about what passed out of
doors. But in the little room at Thor Hansen's house, Christina sat at
work, full of melancholy thoughts. She certainly understood little
about the march of events and prospects of the country, but love and
sorrow had so far quickened her perceptions of political matters, that
she foresaw much evil to herself and Hans if the Swedes got the upper
hand. Another of her subjects of meditation was the strange influence
the horse-dealer exercised over Svartberg. Upon what was it founded?
Would it last? And, even if it did, and she was thereby delivered from
the sergeant's importunities, might not Martin Thy press his own
claims--claims which her own and her father's consent, admitted to
Svartberg, and whereon was based the protection they enjoyed, rendered
in some sort valid? These, and similar reflections, always ending in
fears for Hans, drew bitter tears from her eyes, and so absorbed her
mind that she was as unconscious as the noisy party at the tavern of
what occurred without. Suddenly the latch was lifted, the house-door
gently opened, and Svartberg stood before her.

"You weep, dearest!" he said, as he slowly approached the table beside
which Christina sat, whilst an expression of mingled irony and grief
passed across his martial features; "do those precious tears flow,
perchance, for me? By the cross! how pale and moist are those pretty
cheeks."

"What would you, sergeant?" said the maiden, recovering from her first
surprise, and in accents of deep affliction. "Do you come to renew
your recent cruelty, or to atone for it?"

"What I would?" replied the sergeant. "You know, Christina, that my
heart is not a hard one, but quite the contrary, soft as can be, and
you it is, my angel, who have made it so. Frankly and plainly,
however, do I tell you, that without you it will harden again, ay, as
marble. Without you I cannot live: you must away with me on the
instant!"

"Alas, Svartberg, have I not already told you I am betrothed to Martin
Thy!" cried the alarmed maiden anxiously.

"Pshaw!" cried Svartberg, "you do not expect me to swallow that fable?
All lie and deception, as sure as there is a God in heaven. I have
long seen through the old fox, but now I know him, and he shall not
stand long in any body's way. As to any harm he may have told you of
me, the knave lies in his throat."

"Svartberg!" exclaimed Christina, terrified at the increasing
vehemence of the Swede's tone and manner, "you have power----"

"Ha!" interrupted the soldier, "that have I, and know how to use it.
Christina, I cannot exist without you--by the living God I cannot! and
though you were betrothed to Sweden's king, to me you must
belong--mine you shall be! I have here," he continued, in a hurried
and passionate whisper, "two comrades, and a cart to convey you to
Nyeborg. I shall soon have served my time, and then will I take you
home to my old mother in Dalecarlia, and there you shall live like a
queen, or my name is not Jon Svartberg! Come! every moment is
precious!"

The stalwart sergeant seized the fainting girl by the waist, raised
her in his arms, regardless of her feeble struggles, and hurried to
the door. Just then a loud uproar arose outside the house. Svartberg
started, laid Christina in an arm-chair, and listened. The noise
increased; shouts and cries, and two pistol-shots, reached his ear;
and then Hans Thorsen and Martin Thy, followed by a legion of rustics
armed with axes and hay-forks, poured into the room through both its
doors. Surprised, but no way disconcerted, by their sudden appearance
and menacing mien, the sergeant, with a military eye for a good
position, retreated into a corner, where the oak table served him as
barricade, and laid hand upon a pistol in his belt. Either on account
of the great odds against him, or through fear of injuring Christina,
or because consciousness of evil-doing robbed him of his usual
decision, he did not use the weapon, however, but preferred flight to
a contest whose issue could hardly have been advantageous to him.
Springing actively upon the long bench below the window, and still
keeping his face to the enemy, he set his heavily-booted leg against
the casement, which gave way, and fell with a clatter and jingling
into the garden. Then, with his favourite exclamation, "Ha! in the
devil's name!" he swung himself, light as a bird, through the opening.
A peasant, on sentry below, essayed to seize him, but was prostrated
by a blow that might have felled an ox; and the fugitive sped through
the garden, his accoutrements rattling as he ran, and indicating the
direction he took. All this while the peasants were not idle: some
followed him through the window, others through the door; and as it
was nearly full moon and the sky tolerably clear, the foremost
distinctly saw him run across the meadow, and disappear amongst the
oaks. With all speed they surrounded the little thicket; some lining
the banks of the stream bounding it to the north, whilst others made
diligent search amongst the trees and brushwood. Far and near their
voices were heard, shouting to each other encouragement and inquiries.
"Have you got him? Is he there? He has not crossed the stream. Look
out, lads! Cut him down, wherever you find him!" And cut down the
Swede undoubtedly would have been, had he been found; but to find him
was the great difficulty. Not a bush large enough to shelter a rabbit
but was beaten by the peasants, furious at the disappointment of their
revenge on one of the detested tyrants who so long had oppressed them.
Even the branches of the trees, although stripped of their leaves by
the chill autumn wind so as scarcely to afford concealment, did not
escape examination. But all was in vain. It seemed as though the earth
had swallowed the missing man. He had disappeared and left no trace.
When at last convinced of this, the boors gazed at each other in
astonishment and vexation, not unmingled with dismay. The devil--so
some of them muttered--had helped his own. At last Hans Thorsen,
convinced of the inutility of further research, prevailed on a few of
the most resolute to keep guard round the wood, and returned home to
look for his father and comfort his mistress.

Although Sergeant Svartberg had never implicitly believed Martin Thy's
story of his intended marriage with Christina, the horse-dealer had
found means to inspire him with a certain respect, which prevented his
pursuing his object with open violence. His passion for the maiden,
inflamed by unexpected resistance, had made him resolve, especially
when the scene in the cow-house put him upon the trail of the truth,
to employ every means to attain his end. Hans he despised as a peasant
lout, and felt himself in no way obliged to respect his claims, or
consider his rights. Were Christina once his, he trusted to win, by
redoubled tenderness, a heart which he believed--perhaps
rightly--harboured no particular repugnance towards him. He was
overjoyed, therefore, when he received orders to take two dragoons,
and fetch a couple of ammunition waggons left behind in Vinding; and
he promised himself he would make good use of this favourable
opportunity of carrying out his designs upon Thor Hansen's pretty
kinswoman. Out of precaution, he avoided riding through the village,
and took a circuitous route to Hansen's house. Before arriving there,
however, he was compelled to pass some stables where Martin Thy was
wont to keep horses, of which he sometimes had a great number on hand.
Cunning Martin, whom nothing escaped, was looking through a hole in
the stable wall, and recognised, notwithstanding the evening gloom,
Jon Svartberg's big-boned mare. Suspecting mischief, he hurried to the
tavern, and proposed to surprise the uninvited guests; the peasants
joyfully assented, and at once sallied forth, heated with liquor and
with thirst of revenge. The scene just described was the result.

But that very night the bold boors were doomed to experience the evil
consequences of their exploit. Intimidated by the crowd of assailants,
the two dragoons took to flight, leaving the sergeant to take care of
himself. They hurried back to the camp, and made report to their
captain of the evening's events. The captain, unwilling to lose a
daring and useful subordinate, instantly despatched another sergeant
to Vinding, with a stronger party, and with orders to fetch the
waggons, to rescue Svartberg, or, should violence have been done him,
to arrest the murderers. Fortunately, the approach of the troopers was
observed sufficiently soon for old Hansen and Christina to find a
hiding-place; but, in facilitating their escape, Hans was so unlucky
as to fall into the hands of the Swedes, who hurried him off to Count
Steenbock's quarters at Nyeborg.

Early the following morning, Christina donned her holiday attire, put
on a clean cap, a pair of yellow leathern gloves, and her best apron,
and, without telling the old man a word of her intentions, took the
road to Nyeborg. She thought not of the dangers besetting her path:
she thought only of sharing her lover's fate, should she find it
impossible to rescue him; and bitterly reproached herself for having
consented to separate from him. Mournfully, and with eyes red from
weeping, she hurried along the rain-soaked road, when she heard the
tramp of hoofs behind her, and looked round in alarm. It was Martin
Thy, mounted upon Black Captain, to whose tail two other horses were
tied. When near enough to recognise Christina, he drew rein with an
exclamation of astonishment, and inquired whither she was going. She
briefly told him her destination, and the object of her journey. He at
first tried to dissuade her from prosecuting the latter, representing
the many dangers to which she exposed herself, and without a chance of
benefit, seeing that none would listen to her entreaties and
representations. Finding his advice and remonstrances unattended to by
the faithful and loving girl, he suddenly sprang from his horse. "You
shall not go afoot, at any rate," he cried, "so long as Martin Thy has
a horse belonging to him, on whose back you can sit. You shall have a
ride on Black Captain for once in your life at least. You see, my
lamb," continued he, throwing the right stirrup over the horse's neck
and tightening the girths--"you see what a soft-mouthed beast I am; I
may be ridden any where with a plain snaffle by those who know me.
Come, I will help you up." He placed her in the saddle, detached the
other horses from Captain's tail, clambered with considerable
difficulty upon the bare back of one of them, and set off at a trot.

"Only see," said he, "if we do not resemble Mary and old Joseph, in
the picture upon the lid of my box at home. To be sure, Black Captain
is no jackass; and indeed," he added, with a sly smile, "there is
another difference besides that."

It was a chilly morning; the wind blew keen and cutting from the
coast, and the air was clear and transparent; so that from afar the
travellers discerned the Swedish tents, shimmering snow-white in the
sunshine. Before they had proceeded much farther, the murmur of the
camp became audible, like the hum from a stack of bee-hives. On
reaching the outposts they were challenged; but the horse-dealer
stooped his head and whispered a word in the ear of the vidette, who
forthwith allowed him and his companion free passage, and they
proceeded through the southern portion of the Swedish camp, towards
the farm-house where Steenbock had his quarters. Preoccupied by her
grief, Christina did not observe how completely at home Martin Thy
seemed to be. Every body knew him, and he found his way without
assistance through the canvass mazes of the camp. When close to the
general's quarters, the travellers' progress was for a moment delayed
by a crowd of people following two soldiers, who escorted a prisoner
into the house. From her lofty seat upon the back of Black Captain,
Christina saw over the heads of the throng, and in the captive
recognised her lover, with hands bound behind his back. With a cry of
grief, she sprang unaided from the saddle, and pressed through the
crowd. Wonder at her boldness, and compassion for her evident
affliction, procured her a passage, and, after some effort, she
succeeded in penetrating to the hall where the court-martial was held.
The case was probably prejudged by the Swedish officers, who made no
scruple to sacrifice a peasant, whether innocent or guilty, by way of
example and warning to the disaffected. But the trial, and the threats
for which it gave opportunity, might probably, they thought, throw
light upon the fate of Sergeant Svartberg, and account for his
mysterious disappearance--besides eliciting the names of the
accomplices in the murder of which, there could be small doubt, he had
been a victim. The sergeant was respected and beloved by his comrades
and superiors, and dissatisfaction was apprehended if his fate did not
receive due investigation.

The court-martial was over. All that could be extracted from Hans
Thorsen amounted to no more than was already known. Svartberg had
attempted to carry off his mistress, and he and others had interfered
to frustrate his design. He gave a plain narrative of the wonderful
disappearance of the sergeant, and did not conceal his regret that the
ravisher had thus escaped his vengeance. To the tears and entreaties
of Christina the court naturally paid small attention, and she was at
last compelled by threats to cease her importunity. Sentence was
passed; the president of the court stood up, and gave orders to the
provost-marshal to carry out the prisoner's doom by hanging him in
front of the camp. In the extremity of despair, Christina cast her
eyes over the crowd which filled the room to the very doorway, seeking
succour where she expected none, when suddenly she perceived Martin
Thy, who stood in a corner, with folded arms and immovable features,
watching the proceedings. The sight of the horse-dealer was a gleam of
hope to the unhappy girl.

"Help us!" she cried, hurrying to him with clasped hands--"for the
blessed Saviour's sake, help us if you can!"

"Ay, but what shall I get by that, my lamb?" replied Martin in a
suppressed voice. "I give nothing for nothing, and like to gain by my
bargains. Do you still remember what you lately told Svartberg? Keep
your word to me, and I will see what I can do."

The peril was pressing, and Christina beside herself with sorrow.
Distracted by fears for her lover, whom the soldiers were already
leading away to execution, she promised all that was asked of her. The
horse-dealer gave a satisfied nod, and advanced slowly and with a
certain air of importance to the green table around which some members
of the court still sat, whilst others had risen and were about to
depart. Making as low a bow as his fat, thickset figure was capable
of, he respectfully begged a hearing. The officers looked at him with
surprise; Hans, recognising the voice, turned his face towards him,
whilst his escort lingered a moment, as if to indulge their prisoner
with a last glance at a friendly face.

"What is your business?" abruptly demanded the president of the
court-martial. "Have you aught new to communicate touching this
affair?"

"A single word, with your excellency's permission," replied Martin
Thy; and, approaching the Count, he whispered something in his ear.
Steenbock took a step backwards, and looked keenly in the
horse-dealer's face, examining him for a few seconds attentively, and
without speaking. Then beckoning him into a corner of the room, where
they could not be overheard, he exchanged a few sentences with him,
and cast his eyes over some papers produced by the horse-dealer. This
done, the two men returned to the table.

"I think, therefore, with due submission to your excellency," said the
horse-dealer in more decided tones, "that the truth is most likely to
be got at in the manner I suggest. If the sergeant has been murdered,
this lad was certainly not his only assassin. Upon the other hand, if,
as I think more probable, Svartberg is in some place of concealment,
the punishment of the prisoner would but increase his danger. And that
the worshipful sergeant has sunk into the earth or ascended to heaven,
vanishing so as to leave no trace--that, of course, is a fable my
horses would laugh at."

"Well, well, jockey," said the Count, loud enough for all in the room
to hear, "if you undertake to throw light upon the business, I will
make over the prisoner to you, it being well understood you become
responsible for him: the girl, too, must appear, should I require her
presence. And remember, you cannot deceive me without risking your own
neck. Enough! you are answerable for them both."

"With my life!" replied the horse-dealer, again bowing low, "so soon
as I am out of the camp. Until then, I crave an escort."

The protection demanded was accorded, and its necessity was fully
proved by the savage glances cast at Hans by the Swedish soldiery, as
he and his companions passed through the camp. Once beyond its
boundary, Martin Thy conducted Christina to her home, and Hans to his
own house; and after exacting from both a solemn oath not to endanger
his life by flight, saddled a fresh horse and rode away.

The next day, the memorable 14th of November, witnessed the defeat of
the Swedes and the triumph of the Danish arms; and upon the day
afterwards, the whole Swedish army, shut up in Nyeborg, surrendered to
the victors. The Prince of Sulzbach and Count Steenbock had run the
gauntlet through the Dutch fleet, and escaped to Corsor, where they
met any thing but a flattering reception from King Charles Gustavus.
Delivered from their merciless foe, and once more under Danish
government, the inhabitants of Funen again raised their heads, and
resumed their former habits and occupations. Gradually things fell
into the old routine: vexatious losses were forgotten in the comforts
and security of peace; fugitives returned home; friends and relatives,
long severed, again met; news were received of many reported dead, and
the fate of others, whom the demon of war had really devoured, was
accurately ascertained. But of Martin Thy, the horse-dealer, not a
word was heard. Since the day that he had rescued Hans Thorsen from
the jaws of death, none of his relatives or neighbours had seen him;
no intelligence, save faint and improbable rumours, had been obtained
concerning him. Hans, when the enemy had quitted the country, (as he
and every body else fondly believed for ever,) held himself absolved
from his oath, and returned to his father's house at Vinding. There he
undertook to persuade Christina that a promise forced from her, by the
most cruel necessity, was not so binding that, under certain
circumstances, it might not be broken; and, moreover, that it could
not absolve her from her more ancient vows plighted to himself. But
all the arguments of the impatient young lover, although supported by
those of his father, who was desirous, before he died, to behold the
happiness of his children, failed for some time to convince the
maiden's sound sense and grateful heart. At last their persuasions and
representations, powerfully aided by her love for Hans, induced her to
fix a certain period, at the expiration of which, if Martin Thy did
not in the interval appear to maintain his claim, she would become the
wife of her younger suitor. Although vexed at the delay, Hans was
compelled to consent to it; and for the satisfaction of Christina's
conscience, two months were allowed to elapse. Then, the horse-dealer
not appearing, the wedding was celebrated with the customary festivity
and rejoicing.

At the marriage-feast the conversation naturally turned upon the
events of the previous year, and, amongst other names and persons
brought under discussion, Martin Thy was mentioned. Unobservant or
regardless of the confusion manifest on the faces of both bride and
bridegroom, half a score persons immediately exclaimed--"Ay, what has
become of Thy, the punchy horse-dealer?" "Whither has the scamp
betaken himself?" asked others. One of the company, an elderly man,
whose words obtained deference and attention, replied to these
questions to the following effect: Martin Thy, he said, was
unquestionably one of the many spies employed by Charles Gustavus, and
many of whom were intrusted by him with very considerable powers. For
that king, reckoning on other means than the mere force of arms for
the subjugation of the country, employed numerous agents, chosen from
all ranks and classes, to ascertain the state of feeling amongst the
people. Soldiers, pilots, pedlars, artisans, peasants, and students,
took his wages for these dishonourable services. The horse-dealer,
however,--so the speaker affirmed,--either conscience-stricken after
taking the money of the Swedish government, or finding it agreeable
and convenient to eat from two platters at one time, had also accepted
from the Danish authorities a passport and secret instructions. On the
occasion of the murder of a Swedish sergeant in the vicinity of
Nyeborg, he had come in contact with officers of high rank, some of
whom having reason, in spite of his cunning and plausibility, to
mistrust his honesty, instituted investigations which resulted in his
being sent handcuffed, with two other gentlemen of the same kidney, to
Corsor, where, without further form of trial, they were all three
hung. Other accounts said that Martin Thy had got off with the mere
fright, having succeeded, by means of a small file, concealed in his
bushy hair, in cutting his prison bars and making his escape. The
guests, however, were unanimously of opinion that this was a mere
postponement of his doom, and that to-morrow morning a tree in the
Danish woods might serve as a gallows for Martin Thy. The conversation
still ran upon this subject, when a young lad who waited at table
whispered something in the ear of the bridegroom. The latter rose from
table with an air of surprise and uneasiness, and slipped out of the
house. The messenger conducted him to the wood-store, where a
stranger, desirous of speaking with him, awaited his coming. Upon
entering the ill-lighted shed, Hans Thorsen beheld a pale thin little
man, clothed in squalid rags, and reclining, as if overcome with
fatigue and exhaustion, upon a pile of chopped wood. The stranger
arose, and with a limping step advanced to meet Hans. It was Martin
Thy. But how changed within a few short weeks! His comfortable
corpulence had disappeared, his cheeks were hollow and colourless, his
long hair hung matted and uncombed about his ears, his doublet was
travel-stained and tattered. It was scarce possible to recognise the
once jovial well-conditioned horse-dealer. Hans Thorsen lifted up his
hands in astonishment.

"Martin Thy!" he exclaimed in a tone of mingled vexation and
compassion, "whence come you, in heaven's name, and what means this
wretched plight?"

"You hardly know me again, Hans," said the horse-dealer, with somewhat
of his former gaiety in his voice. "I am not surprised at it. I look
just like an old horse who has been turned out to pass his winter in
the woods. My paunch quite gone--left behind in yonder dry hole at
Corsor," continued he with a smile, whilst with both hands he
displayed his vest, which hung about him like a sack. "You want to
know my business here?--never vex thyself about that, lad! I do not
come to trespass on your manor. There are plenty here would drive me
away, did I wish to stay. Tell your little wife (for I know this is
your wedding-day) not to fret herself, for Martin Thy releases her. I
know she will be glad to hear that. Of money I have plenty, ragged as
I look; but I crave a service of you, for old acquaintance sake--'tis
the last, perhaps. Lend me a horse, for I have not a leg to stand on.
I will leave it in your uncle's care at Aastrup, near Faaborg: I
myself shall not return. It matters little whether my fodder grows in
Germany or Funen; and there are stables every where."

The good-natured heart of Hans Thorsen melted within him, as he
contemplated the woful plight of the unlucky little man, and the
constrained indifference and joviality of manner with which he
endeavoured to carry off his misfortunes. His mind at ease about
Christina, he thought only of comforting the man to whom he owed his
life. He brought him beer and brandy, bread and beef, offered him a
complete change of clothes, and pressed him earnestly to accept a pair
of large silver buckles, which he took from his own shoes. But Martin
Thy refused every thing, smiled in reply to the condolences of Hans,
saddled the horse himself, cordially pressed the young man's hand, and
galloped out of the court. Hans gazed after him till a turn of the
road hid horse and rider from his view, and then returned into the
house, to dissipate by a whisper the last shadow of doubt and anxiety
that still clouded the happiness, and weighed upon the gentle heart,
of Christina Thorsen.

From that day no word was heard in Funen of Martin Thy the
horse-dealer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nearly a century and a half had elapsed since the incidents above
narrated. It was the month of July in one of the last years of the
eighteenth century. The day had been oppressively hot, but in the
afternoon a storm and shower had cooled and lightened the air. The
minister at Vinding had a stranger stopping with him. This was a young
gentleman from Copenhagen, whose pale thoughtful countenance told of
assiduous toil in the paths of learning, and of late vigils by the
study-lamp. Notwithstanding the elegance of his attire, and the
courtly arrangement of his hair--gathered together upon his nape into
a tail, according to the fashion of the day--the thorough Danish cut
of his features, and a certain homely plainness of mien, seemed to
indicate plebeian descent, and to warrant a conjecture that his
father's hand had been more familiar with the plough-handle than with
general's baton or magistrate's wand. His speech also, notwithstanding
the advantages of an excellent education, was tinged with the accent
of the province in which he then found himself. He had journeyed from
the capital to his native place, for the purpose of examining whatever
relies of antiquity there existed, and of discovering, if possible,
some hitherto unknown. Not a Runic stone, or moss-grown font, or
battered chalice, cracked bell, or stained window, not a tombstone or
altar-piece, could escape his searching eye and investigating finger.
Besides these mute memorials of ancient days, he interested himself
greatly in the old rhymes and legends still current in Funen. To aid
him in the collection of these, and in his other antiquarian
researches, he had applied to the right man. The venerable minister
was in every way as enthusiastic an admirer as the student of the
vestiges of old days; and having besides some knowledge of music,
which his companion did not possess, he would sing with great unction,
in a voice somewhat cracked but not disagreeable, strange wild ballads
about Sivard, and Varland, and Vidrick, and of the good horse
Skimming, and of King Waldemar and his queen Dagmar; whilst the young
man stood by, his hand in his breast, and his eyes upon the ground,
listening and musing.

"The rain is quite over," said the old clergyman, turning to the
student; "let us go into the garden, for the sultry air is not yet out
of the house. See here, how dry it is beneath these chestnut trees,
notwithstanding the pelting shower we have had; and mark how the drops
patter from leaf to leaf above our heads! A severe storm this has
been. At one time, I thought our church was struck by lightning: I am
sure the thunderbolt fell very near the steeple. But see yonder, what
a splendid rainbow! It looks exactly as if it had one foot in my
meadow. Let us sit here awhile, my dear young friend: the bench is
quite dry. Ah! how fragrant smells the tobacco in the fresh open air!
But you do not appreciate it. You prefer a Danish ditty to all the
aromatic vapours of the noble Nicotian herb."

And to gratify his young guest, the minister struck up the beautiful
Danish air--"_Jeg gik mig ud en Sommerdag at höre_"--beating the time
with his long pipe-stick of Hungarian cherry. The eyes of the
sensitive student were already dim with tears, when the plaintive song
was interrupted by the clergyman's fair-haired daughter, who, came
bounding down the garden.

"Father, John has come, and wants to speak to you."

"Which John?" asked the minister.

"John Thorsen," replied the young lady. "Shall I send him to you?"

"No, child, I will go to him. I know what he wants. It is about his
son's christening. Excuse me for a moment, my friend."

In less than five minutes the clergyman returned.

"Are you disposed for a short walk?" he said: "I must visit one of my
parishioners. I may, perhaps, have an opportunity to show you
something more worthy your antiquarian attention than the legend of St
Matthew and his fountain."[17]

  [17] A mineral spring in the parish of Vinding, dedicated to St
  Matthew by the monks of a neighbouring convent, which existed there
  previously to the Reformation.

The two men took hat and stick and followed the peasant, who led them
through the village to his little farm, across a garden and a small
meadow, till he stopped before a knoll of ground, and turned to his
companions.

"Your reverence must know," said he, "that here upon the hillock, and
round about, an oak copse formerly grew, for which reason we still
call the field 'Oak Meadow,' although no one now living remembers any
oaks here save yonder old one, cloven by this day's lightning. It was
quite hollow, but that could not be seen till now. If your reverence
will take the trouble to come up the knoll--stay, give me your hand, I
will help you."

"Thank you, my son," said the minister, "I can do without assistance."

And the worthy man gently ascended the little eminence. One half of
the huge oak still stood erect, surmounted by rich green foliage--the
other moiety had been riven away by the lightning's power--and the
whole interior of the tree was exposed to view like an open cupboard.
It was melancholy to behold this forest monarch thus rent and
overthrown, his verdant crown defaced and trailing in the dust. But
this reflection found no place in the minds of either clergyman or
student--their attention was engrossed by a variety of objects that
lay in a confused heap in the cavity of the oak. Upon near examination
these proved to consist of the remains of a human skeleton, which, to
judge from the position of the bones, must have stood upright in the
tree, its arms extended upwards. A pair of large iron spurs, several
nails and brass buckles, a long sword, nearly consumed by rust, pieces
of iron and brass belonging to a dragoon's helmet, some coins of the
reign of Charles Gustavus, and finally a broad gold finger-ring, were
also discovered. Upon the last the initials J. S. were plainly
legible; and on the hilt of the sword, as on some of the fragments of
metal, were the letters F.R.F.D., standing for First Regiment Finland
Dragoons.

Although it was at once evident that these relics had not the age
requisite to give them value in antiquarian eyes, the student and his
venerable friend did not the less examine them with strong interest.
On their way to the oak, the minister and Johann Thorsen had told
their companion the story of the Swedish sergeant, and his wonderful
disappearance. The tradition was current amongst the peasantry, and
some details of it were still in existence in an old vestry register.
That day's storm had cleared up the marvel, and explained the
mystery,--there could be no doubt that the skeleton discovered in the
oak was that of poor Svartberg. The letters upon the sabre and
buckles, and especially those upon the gold ring, sufficiently proved
this; the latter unquestionably stood for Jon Svartberg. It was
evident that the young Swede, pursued by those from whom he had little
mercy to expect, and impeded in running by the weight of his
accoutrements had climbed the oak for safety, and had slipped down
into the hollow, between whose narrow sides he got closely wedged, and
was thence unable to extricate himself. There he remained immured
alive in a living sarcophagus; and there upon every one of seven-score
succeeding springs, the deceitful oak (like Dead-Sea apples, all
freshness without and rottenness within) had put forth, above his
mouldering remains, a wreath of brilliant green.

Upon the same Sunday on which little Thor Hansen was christened in the
church of Vinding, Svartberg's remains were consigned to consecrated
ground. John Thorsen and the student stood beside his grave: the old
minister threw earth upon his ashes and wished him good rest. Some
sorry jesters in the village-tavern opined he would need it, after
being, so long upon his legs.



SKETCHES IN PARIS.


So fleeting are the scenes of revolutionary history--so phantasmagoric
are they in their character, as well from their quickly evanescent
nature as from their wild and startling effect--so rapid are the
changes that every day, and almost every hour, produce, that before
they can be well sketched they have flitted away from before the eyes,
to be replaced by others as strange and startling. Those that have
been hastily transferred to the note-book are gone as soon as traced:
those that follow upon the next leaf grow pale, however high and bold
their colouring, by the side of the still more vivid picture that is
placed in contrast the next day. The interest of the present swallows
up that of the past: that of the future will shortly devour the
interest of the present. In no country is the difficulty of seizing
the revolutionary physiognomy before it changes, and stamping it in
permanent daguerreotype, more sensible than among the easily excited,
and consequently ever-changeful French--in no place on the earth more
than in that fickle and capricious city, the capital of revolutionised
France. There, more than elsewhere, the scenes of revolution have the
attribute of dissolving views. They are before your eyes at one
moment: as you still gaze, they change--they run into other colours
and other forms,--they have given way to a complete transformation.
Such scenes have all the effect of the flickering, uncertain, and
varying phantom pictures of the _mirage_ of the desert: and this
effect, so observable in the outward state of things,--in the aspect
of the streets, in the tumult, or the sulky calm, in the rapidly
rolling panorama of the day, changed in all its objects and its
colours on the morrow,--is just as remarkable in moral influences, in
the enthusiasm of one hour, which becomes execration in the next; in
the hope, the fear, the confidence, and the despair. This is true, and
perhaps even to a greater extent, in men, as well as things or deeds.
Have we not seen so lately the hero, the idol, the demigod of one
moment, become, by a sudden and almost unconnected transition, the
object of hatred, suspicion, and mistrust, at another? On such
occasions the dissolving views have scarcely time to dissolve.

Nothing, then, is a more difficult or a more thankless task, than to
sketch scenes of a revolutionary time among such a rapidly
self-revolutionising people. Scarcely is the scene sketched, but it is
superseded by one of newer, and consequently more powerful interest;
its effect has faded utterly away; it is old, _rococo_,
unsatisfactory: the new one alone claims every eye, and the tribute of
all emotions. With such fearful express-train hurry and dash does
history rush along, that the history of yesterday seems already
"ancient" history, and the tale of the last hour "a tale of other
times," no longer fit to command a thought, or excite a sensation; or,
at best, it may be said to belong only to those grubbing antiquaries
in political considerations, who live out of the whirling movement of
their age. On those who linger among such scenes, this feeling is so
powerfully impressed that they seem to themselves to grow old with
frightful rapidity, and to have lived ten years at least in as many
days.

Thus, in opening a Parisian Sketch-book, in which many a scene has
been traced during the last few months, the feeling that the sketches
therein hastily made are already too old, too "flat, stale, and
unprofitable," to please the novelty-craving public eye,--that even
the latest, while being exhibited, may be thrown into the shade by
newer and more vivid scenes, which would afford subjects for fresher
pictures,--deters from their exhibition. But still there _may be_ some
of those grubbing antiquaries in revolutionary history, who may not be
sorry to have a specimen of "old times" in the shape of a vignette or
two drawn upon the spot, although it was done yesterday, or even the
day before, placed within his hands; and so the Sketch-book shall be
opened, and turned over at hap-hazard, and a few sketches of
revolutionary Paris offered to public gaze.

See! first of all we fall upon a rapid tracing or two of scenes from
those wild abysses, in which have sunk industry, trade, confidence,
and principle--the _ateliers nationaux_. The pencil of a moral
Salvator Rosa is alone worthy to paint them! But great breadth of
light and shade, and powerful colouring, must not be sought for in a
scrap of a vignette. Perhaps we have not stumbled so utterly _malà
propos_ upon these pictures; for since the _ateliers nationaux_ were
so intimately connected with the pretexted causes, and the fearful
organisation, of the bloody insurrection in the latter end of June,
they may be supposed, as events go rattling on, to belong to the
"middle ages" of the past French revolutionary history, and not to be
so positively lost already in its "dark ages" as to have become
utterly uninteresting.

The sketch is taken in the park of Monceaux, at the western extremity
of the capital. The old trees stand there pretty nearly as they did,
although some have been cut down or torn up, no one can well say why,
unless it may have been from a spirit of devastation for devastation's
sake; the old clumps, and the grass-plots, although sadly worn, are
still there; but how different is the aspect of the spot from that
which might have been sketched last year in the same sweet
spring-tide! The calm and the make-believe rurality are gone. Where
nurse-maids and children gambolled on the greensward, or a couple of
lovers lingered so near the tumult of the capital, and yet so secluded
and unobserved, or the dreamer lounged to dream at ease, although the
roar of the great city still rang in his ears, is now a scene of
confusion and disorder. A herd of miserable, or idle and reckless men,
have been there got together; and the spot has been allotted as one of
the newly constituted revolutionary national workshops. "Workshops!"
what irony in the word! Work there is none for the wretched men to do;
profit there is none, at the very best, to expect from it. The
impoverished and harassed country is burdened with new taxes, to keep
the dangerous and disorderly in a seeming state of quiet; the fears of
a government, or even its treacherous designs, call for funds from all
the country to pay this herd of men, who prefer eating the bread of
idleness as their due--for have not they been told that they are the
masters, and that the country must support them?--to earning their
bread by the sweat of their brow, when they are enabled to do it: and
all this sacrifice shall not hereafter avert the danger anticipated by
those fears.

The first impression conveyed by the scene is that, some how or other,
we have been suddenly transported into the "back woods" of a
Transatlantic settlement. A few huts of wood are knocked up in
different parts under the trees, for the use of those paid
superintendents who have nothing to superintend, and who only aid in
fostering the passions of the wild men whom they are vainly said to
have under their command, and in organising into revolutionary bands,
to work the will of a disappointed and frantic party, a host of
half-savage beings, disorganised to every social tie. The hundreds of
half-dressed men who are grouped hither and thither, with instruments
of labour in their hands, might be supposed, were they really employed
upon any exertion, to be the settlers, occupied in effecting a
clearance. Some even might be taken, from their wild looks and wilder
gestures, for a few of the last remnants of the aboriginal savages,
who had just sold the heritage of their fathers for deep draughts of
the "fire-water." But when we look more nearly to the details in the
composition of the picture, we shall find component parts of it
perfectly exceptional, and peculiarly belonging to the circumstances
of the place and of the day. Some of the men in the groups, it is
true, bear all the air of sturdy workmen, although they are
demoralised by their position of real idleness, that "root of all
evil," and disgusted with having their energies employed upon
"make-believe" work. "Make-believe" indeed! for children could
scarcely be seduced into the fantasy that they were really doing any
labour of positive utility. Some again are strong men, capable of
bearing exertion as settlers or forest clearers; but they are not the
men of the "woods and wilds." Those hands plunged down into the deep
pockets of their full trowsers, without the least show of willingness
to work; those heads tossed back, that sharp cunning roll of the evil
eye, that leer, that sardonic grin, that mouth carelessly pursed up to
whistle, all betray the common city-thief, who knows not why he should
not share in the bounty of the country to the idle and disorderly,
particularly when his own trade thrives so ill in these days of the
patrollings and marchings, and drummings about the streets, by night
as well as day, of the national guards: among those faces, also, we
may find the dark scowl of the branded felon and the murderer. But
look at those pale puny men, with their lank hair and scanty beards!
How out of place they seem in these "backwoods" of civilisation! How
miserably they hang their heads, and look upon the earth! They are the
poor weavers, and fabricators of jewellery, and makers of all kinds of
articles of luxury, whose trade is closed to them by the ruin caused
to all wealth and luxury by the revolution, and who are out of employ.
They are real objects of charity: and they are true objects of pity
also, as they thus stand, unable and unwilling to work at their
useless trades, and brood over their misery, and think of their wives
and babes, for whom they, who might have before earned a decent
livelihood, must now beg, from a nation's reckless charity, a scanty
subsistence. Poor woe-begone wretches! they have cursed the revolution
in the bitterness of their hearts; although by a strange but not
uncommon revulsion of feeling, they will throw themselves, perhaps,
soon into the arms of their enemy, and espouse, in despair, its
wildest, bloodiest doctrines, with the hope that any change, however
desperate, may tend to relieve them from their utter misery, but to
find out, at last, that they have plunged into a still more fearful
abyss. Look! in that corner, beneath that further clump of trees, are
some who have thrown themselves gloomily upon the ground, to dream of
a gloomy future; or lean their backs against the stems, to raise their
eyes despairingly to heaven; or see! perhaps they laugh wildly, to
affect a gaiety far from their hearts. Poor fellows! The deity they
have worshipped is thrown down from the high pedestal on which they
had put her up aloft, or one is replaced by another, wearing a
hideously coarse red cap of liberty; their fair dream, in which they
lived, has flown, with its bright rainbow colours, and left before
them nothing but a naked, rugged, hideous reality; the poetry, as well
as the necessary materialism of their lives, have been cut off at
once; the pleasant sward, on which they trod forward, "with daisies
pied," has terminated on a sudden, upon an abyss formed by the
unexpected convulsion of an earthquake. Their divinity was Art; she
has fled with a sob before the advance of coarse democracy, that
proclaims her a useless and foolish idol. Their dream was the worship
in the temple of Art; the temple has fallen to the ground, and the
rainbow coruscations of its altar have vanished. The path which was to
lead on to fame and fortune has abruptly terminated. There is no hand
to foster the neglected and degraded deity; the poor artists, who were
just commencing their career, are now reduced to penury: for the most
part, these poor orphan children of art are penniless--almost
houseless; they have been forced to lay aside the brush for the spade
or pick-axe--the brightly-coloured pallet for the dull earth; and now
they brood here, in the _ateliers nationaux_, over their fantasies
flown and their real misery--happy even that they can receive the
national pittance to prevent them from starving. Look to those young
men, sprinkled here and there in the groups--boys, they are almost
sometimes--with their thin delicate mustaches, and their hair arranged
with some coquetry of curl, even in the midst of their disorder, and
in spite of the _blouse_ with which their attire is covered. Look at
their hands! they are white and delicate--they are not used to handle
the implements of labour. If they work, the drops of perspiration
trickle over their pale faces like tears which _will_ find a passage,
even if the eyes refuse to let them go. They have been evidently used,
the weak boys, to a certain degree of luxury, and their harsh
occupation is repugnant to their feelings. They are young lads from
the many shops of the luxuries of manufacture of every kind in
formerly flourishing Paris, which have now closed in consequence of
the ruin and desolation that has fallen upon trade. Those who have not
shut up entirely, have discharged the greater part of their former
servitors, who now are turned adrift in hundreds upon the _pavé_ of
Paris, and know not how or where to seek their bread. Those hands have
been accustomed to handle the velvet, the satin, and the lace, and
shrink back from the contact of the rough wood and cutting stone: but
starve they cannot, and they add to the wild motley crew of the
_ateliers nationaux_. Those discontented affected faces are those of
young actors, and singers also, improvident to a proverb, who have
been left exposed to the rude buffetings of the world by the failure
of several of the theatres, which have not been able to meet the
necessities of revolutionary times, when even Parisians--even
theatrical Parisians--desert the theatres for the club-rooms, and
which have closed their bankrupt doors. What a change, again, from the
illusion of the glittering dress, and the lighted scene, and the
heart-fluttering applause, to the stern realities of poverty and
labour. Among such men as these are young rising authors also, who
have thrown aside the uncertain resource of the pen for the scanty but
sure return of public charity, with a pretence of labour. The
_ateliers nationaux_ have become the only salvation, in the suspension
of literature as well as art, of the poor poet or novelist who does
not dip his pen in the black gall of ultra-republican democracy, and
earn a scanty subsistence as journalist in one of the "thousand and
one" new violent republican journals of the day--for such a one alone
can find his reader and his profit. But such figures as these among
the groups are the bright lights, sad as they may be, of the picture.
The greatest mass of the herd of so-called workmen consists of those
accustomed to labour and to hardship, or of those who have been inured
to play all parts, and fill all situations, by long acquaintance with
all the necessities of crime.

What a strange scene these pensioners of the republican government
form!--stranger still when the nature of the supposed work upon which
they are believed to be engaged is considered. It is not by any means
the half of the assembled herd, however, that makes any show of
working at all. See! several hundreds of men are moving backwards and
forwards, with wheelbarrows, over the more vacant spaces of the now
desolate-looking park; they move from a hole to a heap, from a heap to
a hole. At the one, men are lazily making a pretext of digging up the
earth--at the other, of shovelling it upon a mound. To what purpose?
To none whatever. When the heap begins to grow too big not to be added
to without exertion, it is again demolished; the earth is wheeled off
elsewhere; another heap of earth is made upon another spot, or the
hole that has been made is again filled. It is the endless task of the
Danaïdes, condemned to fill a bottomless tun, on which they are
engaged; or it is that of the web of Penelope, undone as soon as done:
but it is without the advantage of the punishment of the one, or of
the purpose of the other. But see, in the back-ground, a party have
grown ashamed of the futile absurdity of the employment upon which
they are vainly engaged. In order to give a faint and frivolous
colouring to their acceptation of their wages of idleness, they have
thrown down their misused implements, and, like a party of
school-boys, they have put their so-called superintendents into their
wheelbarrows, and are wheeling them up and down amidst shouts and
cries, and yells of the hideous Ca Ira. This, however, is but poor
sport in comparison with the recreation that many of the national
workmen permit themselves, for the good of the nation.

For instance, those knots of men which stand here and there, in thick
encircling masses, whence issues the sound of many voices of
declamation, of shouts, or of murmurs--and where now and then heads
may be seen of eager and wildly-gesticulating orators, who have
mounted upon the bottoms of upturned wheel-barrows in order to
spout--have formed themselves into _al fresco_ clubs, in which they,
the masters and arbiters of the destinies of the country, as they have
been taught to believe themselves, are settling the affairs of the
nation according to their own views, or rather according to the
frantic opinions instilled into them as a poisonous draught, rushing
like fire through their veins, and disturbing and corrupting the whole
system, by the violent demagogic orators of a furious disappointed
party, whom they imitate second-hand, and naturally caricature, if
possible, to a still greater excess of anarchist doctrine. Listen to
them! under the hot-bed fostering influence of the _ateliers
nationaux_, or rather of their instigators and supporters, they have
got far beyond Louis Blanc, the high-priest of the one deity of the
Republican trinity, _Egalité_, and his utopian talent-levelling
theories for the organisation of labour. Listen to the declamations
that come rolling forth from these crowds. They are illustrative of
communistic doctrines to the utmost limits of communism. The
declaration that all property in land is a spoliation of the people,
and a crying iniquity--that the soil of the earth belongs to the
community, to the nation at large; that it must all be confiscated,
seized, and placed in the hands of the _Res publica_, to be
administered for the public good; that the profits of its culture must
be distributed equally amongst all--is but the A B C of the long
alphabet of communistic principles, which they proclaim in the name of
humanity, and to the advantage of themselves. It is needless to run
through every letter. The omega--the great O--which is to prove the
result of all their declamations, is, that if the National Assembly
does not decree this general confiscation, they will take up arms
against it; that they have once made the stones of the street rise at
their command, and that they will make them rise again, when the time
shall come, to do once more their bidding. And how have they kept
their word? The blood-red standard of that fantastic vision of blood,
the _République Sociale et Démocratique_, the Republic of spoliation
and destruction, is raised aloft in the _ateliers nationaux_, to be
planted hereafter upon the deadly barricades of June. And round these
open conspiracies, under the sky of heaven, and in the face of men,
see, there stand the brigadiers, and superintendents and masters put
over them by the government, with their hands in their pockets; and
they listen and applaud. Look, also, at the furious frown of the
orator on the wheel-barrow, in the midst of his yelling companions of
the national workshops. How he knits his brows, and rolls his eyes,
with a tiger aspect! This is all "make-believe" again; for he thinks
it necessary for an "only true and pure" republican to make a terrible
face, to the alarm and terror of all supposed aristocrats. Republicans
did it, and were painted so in former days; and, to be a real
republican, he must do the same: and his associates follow his
example, and frown, and roar, and denounce like himself. All this is
playing a part. But when they have learned by heart the part that they
are rehearsing now, under yon trees, in the transmogrified park of
Monceaux, they will play it as their own to the life--nay, to the
death! If we were to approach that fellow in the _blouse_ there, who
is lying on his back on a hillock, reposing from his fatigues of doing
nothing, and _jerking_ lazy puffs of blue-white smoke into the pure
spring air from the short clay-pipe that almost seems to grow out of
his mass of beard, we may get perhaps to some comprehension of the
tenets of the _braves ouvriers_ of the _ateliers nationaux_; for,
after all, although we are gentlemen, and he weens himself our lord
and master, he looks like a _bon homme_, and he may condescend to
expound to us his principles of "liberty, equality, and fraternity,"
upon the best-avowed communist, socialist, and ultra-republican
system. Let us ask him who are the people? It is we--we who have
nothing, and are not rascally thievish proprietors--we are the people;
and the sovereignty of the people belongs to us, he will tell you. If
you insinuate to him that, according to the laws of equality, you
ought to have your own little share of this sovereignty, he will
reply--No such thing--you are not of the people, you are, a
_bourgeois_, a _mange-tout_, an _accapareur_, a _riche_, a _fainéant_
(what is _he_ doing?) an _aristocrate_: this last word is the climax
of the terms of objurgation. Endeavour to explain to him, or to convey
by inuendo, that "aristocrats," in all languages, mean those who
pretend alone and exclusively to the exercise of the sovereignty of a
country, he will scowl upon you with contempt, and, without deigning
to analyse your definition, will again declare that you lie if you
pretend to be of the people, which is sovereign, and not you.

The picture is a fanciful, and not an unpicturesque one. There is a
wildness about the bearded haggard faces, and the disconsolate looks;
there is colour enough in the blue _blouses_, the red cravats, the
blood-red scarfs of the brigadiers, and the uniforms of the young men
of the schools, who superintend: the background of the old trees, with
the log-huts peeping out from among them, is well disposed. The
greensward is below--the clear blue spring sky above. There is
brightness enough about the picture; but dark and gloomy are the
passions smouldering within the hearts of those men--passions that
find vent now in short hasty ebullitions, like puffs of steam let off
from a safety-valve, in their political declamations, but that shortly
will burst out in terrific explosion, and cover Paris with devastation
and destruction.

Let us open the Sketch-book once more, at a picture again representing
one of these same _ateliers nationaux_, after a change in the
government of the country. The National Assembly has met. Several of
the more experienced and far-seeing members of that confused body have
seen the misery of this filthy sore upon the body of the commonwealth;
they have probed the ulcering wound; they have foreseen, like good
political doctors, that gangrene and mortification of the whole social
state of France, and death, to all its last chances of life in
prosperity, must result from such a state of things. They have
denounced the whole corrupted system with energy. The government has
confessed the misery and the danger of the national workshops, as they
were constituted: it has promised that they shall be entirely
reorganised, that the tares of evil men shall be sundered from the
wheat of good and honest, but suffering workmen; that some shall be
draughted off, that the works shall be made useful and productive,
that the superintendents shall be replaced; the chiefs, suspected of
encouraging sedition and insurrectionary tendencies, removed; the
abuses in the administration of the funds rectified. Much has been
promised: and, until the needy workmen can be removed into the
provinces, in order to be employed upon railroads and canals, and
other great public works, or, where it is possible, upon labours
congenial to their education, the Assembly has consented to close its
eyes, and hope that the dangerous _ateliers nationaux_ are gradually
acquiring a healthier and more prosperous aspect.

Let us turn, then, to a sketch of the workshops in their reorganised
state. We seek it out with more cheerful hopes; and, in order to
change the background of our picture, let us look in the direction of
the eastern outskirts of Paris, and investigate the scene presented by
the national workshops upon the little plain of St Maur. Before we
arrive there, however, we shall fall upon another sketch, which is not
without its characteristic traits, as illustrative of the history of
revolutionising Paris. Those masses of towers that rise from the midst
of walls surrounded by moats, not far from the roadside, and are
flanked and backed by the low trees of thick woods at a little
distance, belong to the fortress of Vincennes. Within these towers,
connected with many a dark page of French history, are confined those
frantic and disappointed demagogues, who on the 15th of May
endeavoured to overthrow the Assembly, constituted by universal
suffrage as the sovereign power of the country, and to substitute
their own regime of tyranny and terror in its place. There sit the
moody Barbés, whose ideas of republicanism go no further than constant
subversion of "what _is_;" and the cold-blooded and cunning, but
ferocious Blanqui, that strange mixture in character, as well as in
physiognomy, of the fox and the wolf; there mourns Albert, so lately
one of the autocratic rulers of the country--the workman who, not
content with his temporary power, helped to plot its return under
bloody auspices. There are many others of those furious
ultra-republicans, who dreamed of founding a government upon pillage,
and supporting it by the guillotine. Those towers, in fact, contain
the leaders upon whom a furious party counts, as the master-spirits
who are to lead it on to power. Their liberation from confinement is
the dream of the party: in every _émeute_ with which the streets of
Paris has been almost daily, or rather nightly, animated, the cry has
been, "_Vive Barbés!_" in the fearful insurrection and the civil
conflicts of June, the name of Barbés was the rallying cry. Long
before that period of terrific memory, the government knew that plots
were constantly being laid for the surprise of the fortress, and the
liberation of the prisoners. When, led on by the chiefs of the ultra
clubs, a band of so-called _ouvriers_ waited upon the minister of the
interior, to inform him that an immense monster fraternity banquet was
to be held in the forest of Vincennes on a certain day,--they were met
by the reply of the minister, that no day could be better chosen,
inasmuch as he had appointed that very day for a grand review, on the
same spot, of all the troops of Paris, who would thus have an
opportunity of fraternising with their "brethren of the workshops."
The monster banquet was, consequently, never held,--or rather it was
held in the streets of Paris; and the people banquetted upon carnage,
and blood, and the still quivering limbs of the unhappy _Gardes
Mobiles_. But that dread hour is not yet come, at the time the sketch
is taken. Aware of the designs of the conspirators, the government has
sent reinforcements to protect the fortress of Vincennes. The whole
forest around is now a camp. In the midst looms the donjon, with its
towers and walls, a dark and gloomy prison house: the cannon is on the
battlements; the garrison is on duty, as if the fortress were at that
moment in a state of siege; and, strikingly contrasting with this
stern spectre of stone, is the scene presented by the wooded environs.
It partakes of the camp and the fair. The whole place is beleaguered
with troops. But if you look among the trees, you will see the tents
gleaming forth from among the green. Pickets are scattered here and
there; now you see a body of troops of the line drawn up under arms;
there again they are reposing upon the grass, or playing among
themselves. At intervals comes up the white smoke of a fire, at which
the mid-day meal of the soldiers is being cooked, from among the
trees; then _improviso al fresco_ kitchens are glimmering, and
crackling, and smoking heavily in all directions. The jaunty
_vivandières_, in their short blue petticoats, their tight red jacket
boddices, and their little boots, with hats, bearing tricolor-cockades,
stuck jauntily on the sides of their heads, are serving out wine to
red-epauletted and red-breeched soldiers under the green branches,
from their little painted barrels; and booths there are in every
direction, with canvass coverings, gleaming out from the low forest,
where there are wine and cider venders, and where sausages and other
savoury dainties are being fired by little hand-stoves upon the
ground. Venders of pamphlets and newspapers, all for one sou, are
there also in herds, to tempt the young soldiers to buy their
ultra-republican literary wares; and there may be a deeper purpose
than mere speculation in the movements of some of the herd. Petty
merchants there are also moving about, with every imaginable article
of petty merchandise; ragged men with cracked voices, old women, and
children of both sexes, are among these speculators upon the scanty
purses of the military. The scene is gay and diversified, but it is
sadly confused; and above all, when its component parts, and their
various details be considered, it tells a sad tale of a city close by,
given up to all the miseries of opposition, hatred, suspicion,
mistrust, and active conspiracy.

Pass we on, then, to the picture of the reorganised national
workshops,--of the reorganisation of which so much boast has been made
by members of the government: we come to it at last, having only
turned over, on our way, a leaf containing another sketch, which
caught our eye in passing.

The scene is devoid of all the picturesque accessories of the park of
Monceaux. It represents one of those desert, chalky, open space, that
so violently offend the eye in the environs of Paris. In the distance
are suburb houses, and scaffoldings of unfinished buildings, and heaps
of stone, and mounds of earth,--all is dry, harsh, barren, desolate;
it is glaring and painful to the sense in the bright sunlight; it is
dreary, muddy, more desolate and offensive still in the time of rain.
The sun, however, is bright and hot enough now, when the sketch is
taken, about the middle of June. The brains of the thousand and nine
workmen, who have been collected in the middle space of the picture,
are seething probably beneath that hot sun, and fermenting to
desperate schemes. What a pandemonium is represented by this desolate
little plain, occupied by the reorganised national workmen. If they
have been reorganised, it is only to worse confusion. They are more
reckless, more lazy, more noisy, more insubordinate than ever. Those
alone are quiet who lie snoring on their bulks in the sunshine; but
they will wake ere long, and to active and bloody work, I trow. Yonder
is a group employed, as if the welfare of the nation depended upon it,
in the interesting and instructive game of _bouchon_, or of throwing
_sous_ at a cork; all their energies and their activity, engaged to
earn their pay, are occupied in this work. They are merry and
thoughtless, however; but wait! their merriment is but for the moment,
and bloody thoughts will be awakened in them before long, under the
pernicious influence of those who are allowed to wander among them,
and instil poison in their ears. Look! there are jovial fellows
reeling about under the influence of strong drink,--they have already
thrown away all disguise--they cry "_Vive Barbés! Vive la République
Démocratique et Sociale! A bas tout le monde!_" They at least show
that they are ripe for revolt. Some brandish their spades in their
hands--for here again is the same pretence of work, and of wheeling
earth from one heap to another--and shout the Marseillaise in hideous
chorus, or the "_Mourir pour la patrie_;" and anon they change their
song to the Ca Ira of fearful memory; for the other republican ditties
are not advanced enough for the bold would-be heroes of the "Red
Republic." Here is one squatting under a bare hillock of earth, and
piping all alone, in melancholy tone, upon a clarionet; but his
musical efforts are as miserably out of time and tune, as are his
seeming bucolics under the circumstances. Another has got upon a
mound, and is fiddling to a set of fellows who are dancing the horrid
Carmagnole, with gestures and faces that need only the pikes, with
trunkless heads on them, of the old revolution, to make the scene
complete. But the scene _will be completed soon_; bayonets shall bear
heads upon their points, and the Carmagnole shall be danced behind
barricades around mutilated bodies. "_Vivent les Ateliers Nationaux!_"
Look at that group who are lowering darkly among themselves, and hold
on to each others' _blouses_ in the energy of their suppressed and
whispered converse. See! there is another there upon the plain, and
there again another such a crowd. They look like conspirators,--and in
truth conspirators they are, communicating to each other the plans for
the approaching insurrection. And this passes in open day, and we may
be there to witness and even to hear; and the whole city shakes its
head, and in vague apprehension expects the crisis that is about to
come. And yet it will be said by ministers, and ministerial agents,
that the national workshops are reorganised,--yes, reorganised to
bloodshed and revolt! And no means will be taken by the government to
control or suppress--it will not even attempt to stem--the torrent it
has wilfully dammed up in these organised clubs of sedition. None now
even deign to make a show of working, or, if the overseers come by and
shake their heads, they take up their spades, and digging up a little
earth, fling it, laughing in confident impunity, upon the back of the
superintendent as he turns away. In the hands of such men as these,
the pickaxes and spades have the air of the weapons of a murderous
crew; and how soon will they not be used to aid them to purposes of
murder! And this scene of confusion, and reckless effrontery, is
sketched from the life at one of the national workshops in their
_reorganised_ state. Bright it is not, but it might shame one of
Callot's most wild and turbulent pictures, such as he alone has shown
how to etch.

Connected with such scenes as these, in as far as they tended to
produce the last stirring sketches with which the Parisian Sketch-book
was filled in the month of June, are others, which can only be
fleetingly turned over. There is the large dingily lighted club-room,
with its dark tribune, its president and secretaries and accolytes,
dressed in blue smocks, with blood-red scarfs and cravats--its fiery
orators denouncing the _bourgeois_ to the hatred of the working
classes, and instilling division, rancour, battle to the death between
classes, with violent gesture and frowning brow; and its benches and
galleries filled with a fermenting crowd, that yells and clamours, and
applauds the sentiment of "hatred and death" to the _bourgeois_. It is
no uninteresting, although a heart-wearying _chiaro-oscuro_ scene,
with its strong lights and dark shades--albeit, in its moral as well
as its material aspect, the lights are few, the shades many, and dark
to utter blackness. Connected with the same _suite_ of subjects, also,
is the nature of the small room in the crooked streets of the _Cité_,
or the suburb, with a table spread with papers, around which sit
bearded full-faced men, discussing sternly, as may be seen by the
scanty lamplight that illumines those haggard physiognomies; it is the
room of the conspirators of the "Red Republic," or of the
revolutionary agents to be despatched throughout the country, and into
other lands, to propagandise the doctrine of destruction to all that
_is_. But this scene must surely be a fancy sketch. Connected, also,
is that black sketch of a cellar, in which are concealed arms, guns,
pistols, lead, cartridges, barrels of powder, that have evidently
fallen into the hands of subversive anarchist conspirators, by means
of the connivance, treachery, or at least culpable negligence of those
placed in power by the sovereign Assembly, and that have been conveyed
thither hidden in wood, in bales, in sacks, amidst provisions.
Connected, also, are many other gloomy vignettes. The scribbler in the
small room, writing with a sneer of bitterness upon his lip, and the
stamp of overflowing bile on his pale face, writing with the red cap
of liberty on his head, as if to inspire his brains with visions of
all the horrors of a past revolution, glancing now and then, for a
hint, at the portraits of Marat and Robespierre, which decorate his
room, and grasping, now and then, the pistols on the table by his
side, as if to instil the smell of powder and the breath of murder
into the very lines he writes;-and again, the printing press worked by
the light of the dying candle;--and again, in the hazy morning, the
figure of the newspaper vender, swaggering down the boulevard, and
skreeching out, with hoarse voice, the "True Republic," or the
"People's Friend;" and of the deluded workman, who leans, after his
morning dram, against a post, and sucks in the revolutionary poison of
those prints, more deadly and damning to his mind, and more fatal to
his future existence, than the dram is deleterious to his health, and
pernicious to his future life; and prepares his mind for the bayonet
and the gun-barrel, by which he means to destroy all those detested,
and, his paper tells him, detestable beings, who have toiled to
possess any wealth, while he possesses nothing;--and again, by night,
the meeting of the man in power and the discontented conspirator, in
the well-appointed apartment, where a hideous deed of treachery is to
be plotted; or of the wavering workman--who fears he is about to
plunge into greater misery, and yet hopes the realisation of the false
promises made him--standing, still uncertain, to listen to the voice
of the tempting instigator to rebellion under the gas lamp at the
obscure street corner, on a drizzling night. All these are sketches
connected with the past ones of the national workshops, and with those
to come; they lead on to the last in the dark series, irresistibly,
inevitably: but as most of them must necessarily be fancy sketches,
and not "taken from the life," let them be turned over hurriedly with
but a glance.

And those that follow--what a confused mass of startling subjects they
offer! See here! the bands of united men assembling by night, and
marching silently through the sleeping streets; then shouting and
tossing up their arms in open defiance; then the rising barricades,
all bristling with bayonets; then the national guards and troops
pouring through the streets; the smoke of the firing; the mass of
uniforms mounting the barricades; the tottering falling men; the
confusion; the bodies strewn hither and thither, of wounded and dead;
the struggle, hand to hand upon the barricades, of the _blouse_ with
the uniform of the national guard,--fury and hatred between fellow
countrymen in each face; the cavalry dashing down the boulevards; the
cannon rapidly dragged along; the tottering houses battered down; and
then the biers slowly borne upon sad men's shoulders, supporting the
dying or the dead; the carts filled with corpses; the wounded, upon
straw littered down on the pavement, attended by the doctor in his
common black attire, contrasting with the pure white cap and pinners
of the _sœur de charité_; the uniforms, now smeared with blood and
blackened by smoke, mingling with the long dark dress and falling
white collar of the administering priest. See! now again, in the midst
of the carnage and uproar and smoke, the young soldier of the day, the
_Garde Mobile_, borne on the shoulders of his comrades, and waving in
his hand the banner which he has wrested with valour from the hands of
the insurgents on the barricade; and women, even in the midst of the
terror and dismay, fling down flowers from the windows upon the heads
of these young defenders of their country--the perfume of the flower
mingling with the scent of stifling powder-smoke and the rank taint of
blood. See again! there is a cessation of the combat for a time; the
weary national guards are returning from the place of action. What a
picture does the vista of the boulevards present! Those who have any
knowledge of others passing by, stop them to fall upon the neck of a
familiar face, and embrace it in grateful thankfulness that even a
scarcely known acquaintance is saved from the frightful carnage that
has taken place; and men ask for their friends, and heads are shaken;
some have fallen, others return not; and in all the windows and the
doors are agonised female faces; and women rush out to scream for
husbands, fathers, and brothers, and follow those who they think can
tell them of their fate in frantic entreaty along the pavement; and
others sit more calmly at doorways, and watch, picking lint, in sad
apprehension for the future, and silently moistening, with their tears
of agonising uncertainty, that work which but too soon may be
moistened with blood. How dark, and yet how stirring, how exciting,
and yet how heart-rending, are these scenes! Then comes a sketch of a
subject that may hereafter be used for many a historical picture. See!
that fine old prelate, with his honest and firm face, and his white
hair contrasting with his dark brow: he is borne along, first in the
arms of confused and mingled men, insurgents and defenders of order
mixing in one common cause; then, upon a hastily constructed litter.
He lies in his episcopal robes: his face is mild and calm, although he
suffers pain; his words are words of Christian forgiveness and
heavenly hope, although he has been treacherously assassinated with
the words of peace and Christian charity in his venerable mouth; and
tears stream from the eyes of armed men, and trickle down their
beards; and fellows with fierce faces and gloomy brows kneel to kiss
his hand, that now grows colder and colder as he is borne, a victim
and a martyr, over the barricades of death, and sobs of remorse and
grief are heard among the infernal and battle-stained masses that line
his path. Is there then still a feeling of noble generosity among the
savages who form the great herd of the city which boasts itself to be
the most civilised in the world,--as if civilisation were indeed at so
low an ebb of retrograde tide? So there is still a sentiment of
religion among the mass of France? Or is this but the theatrical
display of men who live only in theatrical emotions, and will act a
part before the eyes of their fellow actors, even if it be to the
death? It might almost be supposed so--for now the dying prelate is
carried by, and gone--the moment for the display of emotions is past:
it is gone with that form. See! they are again with the musket on
their shoulder--the knife in the hand of women and children! The
scene is again, once more, one of smoke and carnage, and yells of
execration and blood.

And now again come other scenes of men scouring along the outskirt
plains of Paris. The insurgents are vanquished: the people of the Red
Republic fly, and leave traces of the colour of their appalling banner
in trails of blood; and there are pictures of soldiers and national
guards running to the chase, and shooting down the hunted men like
rabbits in an affrighted warren.--God have mercy on them all!

We turn over the leaves of the Sketch-book. It is over! The cannon no
longer fills the streets with the smoke of the battle-field. Ruined
houses compose a scene of hideous desolation in all the further
eastern and northern streets of Paris. Affrighted inhabitants begin to
crawl out of their houses. Windows are reopened. There is the air of
relief from terror upon many a face--and yet how sad an air of grief
and consternation pervades every scene in the vast city. The sun is
shining brightly and hotly over the capital: there is a flood of light
and heavenly love and brightness poured down upon the streets; but it
only calls up still more reekingly to heaven the vapour of the blood,
that goes up like an accusing spirit. How sadly, too, the bright
summer air, and its broad cheering lights upon the white houses and
the gilded balconies, contrast with the pale forms of the wearied and
wounded men who crawl about, and with the weeping women who sit
beneath the porchways, and with the coffins incessantly borne
along--not one, or two, or three, but twenty or thirty each hour--and
with the crape upon the arms of the men in uniform, or upon the hats,
and with the convulsed faces of the wounded and dying, who lie upon
their beds of down in the richly furnished apartment, or on the
pallets of the hospital, as they shine into the windows of the wounded
and dying. Bright as is the day of June, never was sadder scene
witnessed in any capital: civil war has never raged more furiously
within a city's walls since men conglomerated together in cities for
mutual advantage and protection. How many hearts have ached! how many
tears have been shed! how many wives are widows! how many children
fatherless! how many affianced girls, with fondly beating hearts, will
see the face of him they love in life no more! Oh, splendid sun of
June! what a mockery thou seemest to be in these pictures of this dark
Parisian scrap-book!

But the sun is shining still, and the little birds are twittering
merrily upon the house-tops, and the caged canaries chirp at windows,
and perchance there is the merry laugh of children. All these things
heed not the terror and desolation of the city. It is shining
still--into huge churches also, where thick masses of straw are
littered down, and the wounded lie in hundreds to overflowing--into
courts, where again is scattered straw, and again groan wounded and
dying--upon street-side pavements, where again are strewn these sad
beds of the victims of civil contention, excited by the most frantic
of delusions--and through narrow windows, into prison vaults and
palace cellars, where are crowded together masses of prisoners, who,
for the most part, regret not the part they have played in the scenes
of blood, and sit gloomily upon the damp stone, brooding over schemes
of vengeance upon the detested _bourgeois_, should they escape, and
the Red Republic ever be triumphant! It is shining still; and every
where it shines, it smiles upon misery: it seems to mock the doomed
unhappy city.

But there are still stirring, striking, unaccustomed scenes limned in
the Parisian Sketch-book. Paris has been declared in a state of siege
by the military autocrat, into whose hands the salvation of the
capital and the country from utter anarchy has been given. The scenes
of marching men and torrents of bayonets coming down the broad
boulevards, and sentinels at street corners, and patrols, and military
manœuvres, and galloping dragoons, and of drums beaten from
daybreak until late into the night, are nothing new to Paris: such
scenes have been traced upon its Sketch-book again and again, for the
last four disastrous months. But Paris has gone further now. See! in
these sketches it represents one vast camp. All along the broad vast
vista of the boulevards are whole regiments bivouacking: the horses
of the cavalry are stabled upon straw along the pavements, or around
the triumphal arches; arms are piled together at street corners: some
sleep upon the straw, while others watch as if in battle array. The
shops are still shut, although pale faces look from windows; and the
grateful inhabitants shower blessings upon those who have saved the
terrified people from the horrors of the Red Republic, the pillage,
and the guillotine; and ladies bring out food and wine from the
houses; and none think that they can find words enough to express
their gratitude, and praise the heroism of their defenders. Alas!
those who fought in that evil desperate cause showed equal heroism,
equal courage, still more reckless rage! What a strange scene it is,
this scene sketched in the streets! The closing scene of a
battle-field of unexampled carnage amidst a peaceful population--the
soldier and the tenderly nurtured lady placed side by side amidst the
wounded and the weary! the mourning of the bereaved family upon the
same spot with the first emotion of victory! Since the agitated and
disturbed city of Paris has existed, it has witnessed many wild and
strange scenes in its bloody and tormented history, but none perhaps
so glaring in their strange contrasts as these which have been last
painted in its Sketch-book. All over Paris similar pictures may be
limned. In the Place de la Concorde is again a camp, again piled arms
and cannon, and littered beds of straw, and cooking fires, and groups
of men in uniform, in all the various attitudes of the camp and
battle-field; and in the glittering Champs Elysées are tents and
temporary stabling, and horses, and assembled troops; and beneath the
fine trees of the garden of the Tuileries are grouped, in similar
fashion, battalions of the national guards of the departments, who
have hurried up to the defence of Paris, and who bivouac, night as
well as day, beneath the summer sky, in the once royal gardens. All
these scenes are strange and most picturesque, and would be even
pleasant ones, could the heart forget its terror and its grief--could
the sight of the uniforms, the muskets, and the bayonets be severed
from the sorrow and the despair, the bloodshed and the crime. In all
these scenes Paris has lost its usual aspect, to become a fortress and
a camp. The civil dress is rarely visible--the uniform is on almost
every back. The carriage and the public vehicle are rare in these
sketches; the dashing officer on horseback, the mounted ordnance, the
galloping squadrons, take their place. That thin man, with his slim
military waist, his long thin bronzed face, his thick mustaches and
tufted beard, and his dark, somewhat heavy, eyes gleaming forth from
beneath a calm but stern brow, who is riding at the head of a
brilliant staff, is General Cavaignac, the military commander of the
hour, the autocrat into whose hands the National Assembly of France
has confided its destinies. Although, when he removes his plumed hat
to salute those who receive him now with enthusiastic acclamations, he
exhibits a head partially bald, yet his general air is that of a man
in the full vigour of his best years, in the full active use of his
lithy form. See! at the head of another mounted group is a still
younger man of military command. His face is fuller and handsomer; and
his thick mustaches give him a rough bold look, which does not,
however, detract from his prepossessing appearance. This is the young
General de Lamoricière, also of African fame. He is now minister at
war. There are others, also, of the heroes of Algeria, who have not
fallen in the street combat, in which so many, who had earned a
reputation upon the open battle-field, received death by the hands of
their fellow-countrymen. In every sketch are to be seen, as prominent
figures, these military rulers of the destinies of France, which a few
days have again changed so rapidly. We cannot look upon their striking
portraits in these sketches, without asking ourselves how long Cæsar
and Anthony may be content to rule the country hand-in-hand, or how
soon the jealousy of the young generals may not be turned against each
other, and they may not leave the country once more a prey to the
dangers of a bloody faction; or which, if not more than one, may not
fall a victim to the treachery of a vanquished party's vengeance by
assassination? The leaves of the book are blank as regards the future.
No one can venture to trace even the slightest outline upon them, with
the assurance that it may hereafter be filled up as it has been drawn:
and yet that those blank leaves must and will be filled with startling
pictures once again, no one can doubt. How far will these young
generals supply the most prominent figures in them? together, or
sundered in opposition? The hand of fate is ready to trace those
sketches; but never was that hand more hidden in the dark cloud of
unfathomable mystery. The blank leaves of the album, in which the
observing and self-regulating man keeps a daily journal of his doings
and his thoughts, are always awful to contemplate: no thinking man can
look upon them without asking himself what words, for good or for ill,
may be recorded on them. But how far more awful still is the book of
fate, upon the leaves of which are to be sketched the stirring scenes
of a revolutionary city's history, so intimately connected with a
country's destiny! and no one can tell what they may be.

The last sketch in the Parisian Sketch-book, as it is now filled
up--now in the middle of the month of July (for others may be painting
even as these lines are traced)--is the dark monster hearse containing
the bodies of those who have fallen in the cause of order--the
black-behung altar in that _Place_, which has lost its name of Concord
and Peace, to take the more suitable one of "Revolution"--the
catafalk--the burning candelabras--the black-caparisoned horses that
drag the funeral-car--the black draperied columns of the
Madeleine--the authorities in mourning attire--the long
procession--the sprinkled clouds of burning incense from the waved
censers--and the widow's tears.

Such a picture of mocking pomp in desolate sorrow closes well the long
suite of sketches with which the Parisian Sketch-book has been filled
during the _first phase_ of the French revolution. The curtain has
fallen at the end of the first act, upon a _tableau_ befitting the
dark scenes which have been so fearfully enacted in it. The curtain
will rise again--again will bloody scenes, probably, be enacted upon
that troubled stage of history,--again will harrowing sketches,
probably, be drawn in the Parisian Sketch-book. Those which we have
now recorded have been selected from among thousands, because they
form a suite, as natural in their course, as fatally inevitable, as
any suite of pictures in which the satirising artist painted the
natural course of a whole life. From the fallacious promises, and the
foolish or culpable designs, that occasioned the establishment of
those nurseries of discontent, disorder, and conspiracy, the _ateliers
nationaux_,--the steps through the club-room, the rendezvous of the
conspirators, the furious journalist's office, to the sedition, the
insurrection, the carnage, the civil war, the murder, the terror, and
the mourning catafalk, have followed as they could not but follow. It
is only the first series, however, that is closed here. There can be
little doubt but that similar consequences will again follow, as
similar causes still exist; and that the red banner of the so-called
"social and democratic republic" will again wave,--and perhaps before
long,--a prominent object in the scenes of the _Parisian Sketch-book_.


       _Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._





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