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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 66, No 409, November 1849
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 66, No 409, November 1849" ***

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generously made available by The Internet Library of Early
Journals.)



BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCCIX.      NOVEMBER, 1849.      VOL. LXVI.



CONTENTS.


  THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION,                              519

  MY PENINSULAR MEDAL. BY AN OLD PENINSULAR. PART I.,       539

  DISENCHANTMENT. BY DELTA,                                 563

  ACROSS THE ATLANTIC,                                      567

  PEACE AND WAR AGITATORS,                                  581

  THE FRENCH NOVELS OF 1849,                                607

  DIES BOREALES. NO. V. CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS,          620

  EDINBURGH:
  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & 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.

BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCCIX.     NOVEMBER, 1849.      VOL. LXVI.



THE TRANSPORTATION QUESTION.


The great question of SECONDARY PUNISHMENTS has now been settled by
experience, so far as the mother country is concerned. It is now known
that imprisonment has no effect whatever, either in deterring from
crime, or in reforming criminals. Government, albeit most unwilling to
recur to the old system of transportation, has been compelled to do so
by the unanimous voice of the country; by the difficulty of finding
accommodation for the prodigious increase of prisoners in the jails
of the kingdom; and by the still greater difficulty, in these days of
cheapness and declining incomes, of getting the persons intrusted with
the duty of providing additional prison accommodation, to engage in the
costly and tedious work of additional erections. An order in council
has expressly, and most wisely, authorised a return to transportation,
under such regulations as seem best calculated to reform the convicts,
and diminish the dread very generally felt in the colonies, of being
flooded with an inundation of crime from the mother country. And the
principal difficulty felt now is, to find a colony willing to receive
the penal settlers, and incur the risks thought to be consequent on
their unrestricted admission.

It is not surprising that government should have been driven from the
ruinous system of substituting imprisonment for transportation; for
the results, even during the short period that it was followed out,
were absolutely appalling. The actual augmentation of criminals was the
least part of the evil; the increase of serious crimes, in consequence
of the hardened offenders not being sent out of the country, but
generally liberated after eighteen months' or two years' confinement,
was the insupportable evil. The demoralisation so strongly felt and
loudly complained of in Van Diemen's Land, from the accumulation of
criminals, was rapidly taking place in this country. The persons tried
under the aggravation of previous convictions in Scotland, in the three
last years, have stood as follows:--

                                 Under aggravation
  Years.      Total convicted.     of previous
                                   convictions.
  1846            2936                858
  1847            3569               1024
  1848            3669               1043

  --_Parliamentary Reports_, 1846-48.

So rapid an increase of crimes, and especially among criminals
previously convicted, sufficiently demonstrates the inadequacy of
imprisonment as a means either of deterring from crimes, or reforming
the criminals. The same result appears in England, where the rapid
increase of criminals sentenced to transportation, within the same
period, demonstrates the total inefficacy of the new imprisonment
system.

                        Transported.
  Years.    England and Wales.    Scotland.
  1846             2805              352
  1847             2896              456
  1848             3251              459

And of the futility of the hope that the spread of education will
have any effect in checking the increase of crime, decisive proof
is afforded in the same criminal returns; for from them it appears
that the number of educated criminals in England is above twice, in
Scotland _above three times and a half that of the uneducated_,--the
numbers, during the last three years, being as follows:--

  |      |    ENGLAND AND WALES.   |        SCOTLAND.       |
  |Years.|            |            |            |           |
  |      |  Educated. |Uneducated. |  Educated. |Uneducated.|
  +------+------------+------------+------------+-----------+
  |1846  |   16,963   |   7,698    |    3,155   |    903    |
  |1847  |   19,307   |   9,050    |    3,562   |  1,048    |
  |1848  |   20,176   |   9,691    |    3,985   |    911    |

  --_Parliamentary Returns_, 1846-8.

Nay, what is still more alarming, it distinctly appears, from the
same returns, that the proportion of educated criminals to uneducated
is _steadily on the increase_ in Great Britain. Take the centesimal
proportions given in the last returns for England--those of 1848:--

  | Degrees of |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Instruction.|1839.| 1840.|1841.|1842.|1843.|1844.|1845.|1846.|1847.|1848.|
  +------------+-----+------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  |Unable to   |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |read or     |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |write,      |33.53| 33.32|33.21|32.35|31.00|29.77|30.61|30.66|31.39|31.93|
  |            |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Imperfectly,|53.48| 55.57|56.67|58.32|57.60|59.28|58.34|59.51|58.59|56.38|
  |            |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Well,       |10.07|  8.29| 7.40| 6.77| 8.02| 8.12| 8.38| 7.71| 7.79| 9.83|
  |            |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Superior,   | 0.32|  0.37| 0.45| 0.22| 0.47| 0.42| 0.37| 0.34| 0.28| 0.27|
  |            |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |Not         |     |      |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |ascertained,| 2.60|  2.45| 2.27| 2.34| 2.91| 2.41| 2.30| 1.78| 1.60| 1.59|

  --_Parliamentary Returns for England_, 1848, p. 12.

The great increase here is in the criminals who have received an
_imperfect education_, which class has increased as much as that of the
totally uneducated has diminished. Unhappily, imperfect education is
precisely the species of instruction which alone, in the present days
of cheapened production and diminishing wages, the great body of the
poor are able to give to their children.

Mr Pearson, M.P., who has paid great attention to this subject, and
whose high official situation in the city of London gives him such
ample means of being acquainted with the practical working of the
criminal law, has given the following valuable information in a public
speech, which every one acquainted with the subject must know to be
thoroughly well founded:--

     "In the year 1810, which is the earliest account that we possess
     in any of our archives, the number of commitments, of assize
     and sessions cases, was 5146. In the year 1848, the number of
     commitments for sessions and assize cases was 30,349. Population
     during that period had increased but 60 per cent, whilst the
     commitments for crime had increased 420 per cent. I should not be
     candid with this assembly if I did not at once say, that there
     are various disturbing circumstances which intervene, during
     that period, to prevent the apparent increase of commitments
     being the real estimate of the actual increase. There was the
     transition from war to peace. We all know, that from the days
     of Hollingshed, the old chronicler, it has been said that war
     takes to itself a portion of the loose population, who find
     in the casualties of war, its dangers, rewards and profligate
     indulgences, something like a kindred feeling to the war made upon
     society by the predatory classes. Hence we find that, when war
     ceases, a number of that class of the community are thrown back on
     the honest portion of society, which, during the period of war,
     had been drained off. Besides this, there are other co-operating
     causes. There is the improved police, the constabulary, rural
     or metropolitan, who undoubtedly detect many of those offences
     which were formerly committed with impunity. There is also the
     act of parliament for paying prosecutors and witnesses their
     expenses, which led to an increased number of prosecutors in
     proportion to the number of crimes actually detected. These
     circumstances have, no doubt, exercised a considerable influence
     over the increase in the commitments; but after having for 35
     years paid the closest attention to the subject, having filled,
     and still filling, a high office in regard to the administration
     of the law in the city of London, I am bound to say, that, making
     full deduction from the number which every feeling of anxiety
     to raise the country from the imputation of increasing in its
     criminal character dictates--after making every deduction, I am
     bound with shame and humility to acknowledge, that it leaves a
     very large amount of increase in the actual, the positive number
     of commitments for crime. Sir, this is indeed a humiliating
     acknowledgment; but happily the statistics of this country,
     in other particulars, warrant us in drawing comfort from the
     conviction, that even this fact affords no true representation of
     the state of the moral character of the people--no evidence of
     their increasing degradation of character or conduct, in anything
     like the proportion or degree that those statistics would appear
     to show. I appeal to history--I appeal to the recollection of
     every man in this assembly, who, like myself, has passed the
     meridian of life, whether society has not advanced in morals as
     well as in arts, science, and literature, and everything which
     tends to improve the social character of the people. Let any man
     who has read not our country's history alone, but the tales and
     novels of former times--and we must frequently look to them,
     rather than to the records of history, for a faithful transcript
     of the morals of the age in which they were written,--let any man
     recur to the productions of Fielding and of Smollett, and say
     whether the habits, manners, and morals of the great masses of our
     population are not materially improved within the last century.
     Great popular delusions prevail as to the causes of the increase
     of commitments for criminal offences in this country, which I deem
     it to be my duty to endeavour to dispel. Some ascribe the increase
     to the want of instruction of our youth, some to the absence of
     religious teaching, some to the increased intemperance, and some
     to the increased poverty of the people. I assert that there is no
     foundation for the opinions that ascribe the increase of crime to
     these causes. If the absence of education were the cause of crime,
     surely crime would be found to have diminished since education
     has increased. For the purpose of comparing the present and past
     state of education, for its influence upon the criminal statistics
     of the nation, I will not go back to the time when the single
     Bible in the parish was chained to a pillar in the church; or when
     the barons affixed their cross to documents, from inability to
     write their names. I refer to dates, and times, and circumstances
     within our own recollection. In the year 1814 the report of the
     National Society says, there were only 100,000 children receiving
     the benefit of education. Now there are above 1,000,000 under that
     excellent institution, besides the tens of thousands and hundreds
     of thousands who are receiving education under the auspices of the
     Lancasterian Society Schools. But some may say that the value of
     education is not to be estimated by numbers. Well then, I reject
     numbers, if you please, and try it by its quality. I ask any man
     who listens to me if he does not know that the national schools,
     and other gratuitous establishments in this country, now give
     privileges in education which children in a respectable condition
     of life could hardly obtain, such was the defective state of
     instruction in this country, 40 or 50 years ago. (Cheers.) No man,
     therefore, can say that the increase of crime is attributable
     to the absence of education. If it were so, with education
     increased 800 per cent during the last 30 years, crime would have
     diminished, instead of increased, 400 per cent."--_Times_, Aug.
     28, 1849.

The immense _expense_ with which the maintenance of such prodigious
numbers of prisoners in jail is attended, is another most serious
evil, especially in these days of retrenchment, diminished profits,
and economy. From the last Report of the Jail Commissioners for
Scotland--that for 1848--it appears that the average cost of each
prisoner over the whole country for a year, after deducting his
earnings in confinement, is £16, 7s. 6d. As this is the cost after
labour has been generally introduced into prisons, and the greatest
efforts to reduce expense have been made, it may fairly be presumed
that it cannot be reduced lower. The average number of prisoners
constantly in jail in Scotland is now about 3500, which, at £16,
7s. 6d. a-head, will come to about £53,000 a-year.[1] Applying this
proportion to the 60,000 criminals, now on an average constantly
in confinement in the two islands,[2] the annual expense of their
maintenance cannot be under a million sterling. The prison and county
rates of England alone, which include the cost of prosecutions, are
£1,300,000 a-year. But that result, enormous as it is in a country
in which poor-rates and all local burdens are so rapidly augmenting,
is but a part of the evil. Under the present system a thief is
seldom transported, at least in Scotland, till he has been three
or four years plying his trade; during which period his gains by
depredations, and expenses of maintenance, cannot have averaged less
than £25 yearly. Thus it may with safety be affirmed, that every thief
transported from Scotland _has cost the country, before he goes, at
least £100_; and that has been expended in training him up to such
habits of hardened depravity, that he is probably as great a curse
to the colony to which he is sent, as he had proved a burden to that
from which he was conveyed. _Sixteen pounds_ would have been the cost
of his transportation in the outset of his career, when, from his
habits of crime not being matured, he had a fair chance of proving an
acquisition, instead of a curse, to the place of his destination.

As the question of imprisonment or transportation, so far as Great
Britain and Ireland are concerned, is now settled by the demonstrative
evidence of the return of a reluctant government to the system which
in an evil hour they abandoned, it may seem unnecessary to go into
detail in order to show how absolutely necessary it was to do so;
and how entirely the boasted system of imprisonment, with all its
adjuncts of separation, silence, hard labour, and moral and religious
instruction, has failed either in checking crime, or producing any
visible reformation in the criminals. No one practically acquainted
with the subject ever entertained the slightest doubt that this would
be the case; and in two articles directed to the subject in this
magazine, in 1844, we distinctly foretold what the result would be.[3]
To those who, following in the wake of prelates or philanthropists,
how respectable soever, such as Archbishop Whately, who know
nothing whatever of the subject except from the fallacious evidence
of parliamentary committees, worked up by their own theoretical
imaginations, we recommend the study of the Tables below, compiled
from the parliamentary returns since the imprisonment system began, to
show to what a pass the adoption of their rash visions has brought the
criminal administration of the country.[4]

It is not surprising that it should be so, and that all the pains
taken, and philanthropy wasted, in endeavouring to reform criminals
in jail in this country, or hindering them from returning to their
old habits when let loose within it, should have proved abortive.
Two reasons of paramount efficacy have rendered them all nugatory.
The first of these is, that the theory regarding the possibility of
reforming offenders when in prison, or suffering punishment in this
country, is wholly erroneous, and proceeds on an entire misconception
of the principles by which alone such a reformation can in any case be
effected. In prison, how solitary soever, you can work only on the
_intellectual_ faculties. The _active_ powers or feelings can receive
no development within the four walls of a cell, for they have no
object by which they can be called forth. But nine-tenths of mankind
in any rank, and most certainly nineteen-twentieths of persons bred as
criminals, are wholly inaccessible to the influence of the intellect,
considered as a restraint or regulator of their passions. If they had
been capable of being influenced in that way, they would never have
become criminals. Persons who fall into the habits which bring them
under the lash of the criminal law, are almost always those in whom,
either from natural disposition, or the unhappy circumstances of early
habits and training, the intellectual faculties are almost entirely in
abeyance, so far as self-control is concerned; and any development they
have is only directed to procuring gratification for, or furthering the
objects of the senses. To address to such persons the moral discipline
of a prison, however admirably conducted, is as hopeless as it would be
to descant to a man born blind on the objects of sight, or to preach to
an ignorant boor in the Greek or Hebrew tongue. Sense is to them all in
all. Esau is the true prototype of this class of men; they are always
ready to exchange their birthright for a mess of pottage.

No length of solitary confinement, or scarce any amount of moral
or religious instruction, can awaken in them either the slightest
repentance for their crimes, or the least power of self-control when
temptation is again thrown in their way. They regard the period of
imprisonment as a blank in their lives--a time of woful monotony
and total deprivation of enjoyment, which only renders it the more
imperative on them, the moment it is terminated, to begin anew with
fresh zest their old enjoyments. Their first object is to make up
for months of compulsory sobriety by days of voluntary intoxication.
At the close of a short period of hideous _saturnalia_, they are
generally involved in some fresh housebreaking or robbery, to pay for
their long train of indulgence; and soon find themselves again immured
in their old quarters, only the more determined to run through the
same course of forced regularity and willing indulgence. They are
often able to feign reformation, so as to impose on their jailors,
and obtain liberation on pretended amendment of character. But it is
rarely if ever that they are really reclaimed; and hence the perpetual
recurrences of the same characters in the criminal courts; till the
magistrates, tired of imprisoning them, send them to the assizes or
quarter-sessions for transportation. Even then, however, their career
is often far from being terminated in this country. The keepers of the
public penitentiaries become tired of keeping them. When they cannot
send them abroad, their cells are soon crowded; and they take advantage
of a feigned amendment to open the prison doors and let them go. They
are soon found again in their old haunts, and at their old practices.
At the spring circuit held at Glasgow in April 1848, when the effects
of the recent imprisonment mania were visible,--out of 117 ordinary
criminals indicted, no less than _twenty-two_ had been sentenced to
transportation at Glasgow, for periods not less than seven years,
_within the preceding two years_; and the previous conviction and
sentence of transportation was charged as an aggravation of their new
offence against each in the indictment.

The next reason which renders imprisonment, in an old society and
amidst a redundant population, utterly inefficacious as a means of
reforming criminals is, that, even if they do imbibe better ideas
and principles during their confinement, they find it impossible on
their liberation to get into any honest employment, or gain admission
into any well-doing circle, where they may put their newly-acquired
principles into practice. If, indeed, there existed a government or
parochial institution, into which they might be received on leaving
prison, and by which they might be marched straightway to the nearest
seaport, and there embarked for Canada or Australia, a great step
would be made towards giving them the means of durable reformation.
But as there is none such in existence, and as they scarcely ever are
possessed of money enough, on leaving prison, to carry them across
the Atlantic, they are of necessity obliged to remain in their own
country--and that, to persons in their situation, is certain ruin.
In new colonies, or thinly-peopled countries, such as Australia or
Siberia, convicts, from the scarcity of labour, may in general be
able to find employment; and from the absence of temptation, and the
severance of the links which bound them to their old associates, they
are often there found to do well. But nothing of that sort can be
expected in an old and thickly-peopled country, where the competition
for employment is universal, and masters, having the choice of honest
servants of untainted character, cannot be expected to take persons who
have been convicted of crimes, and exposed to the pollutions of a jail.

Practically speaking, it is _impossible_ for persons who have been
in jail to get into any honest or steady employment in their own
country; and if they do by chance, or by the ignorance of their
employers of their previous history, get into a situation, it is ere
long discovered, by the associates who come about them, where they
have been, and they speedily lose it. If you ask any person who has
been transported in consequence of repeated convictions, why he did
not take warning by the first, the answer uniformly is, that he could
not get into employment, and was obliged to take to thieving, or
starve. Add to this that the newly-reformed criminal, on leaving jail,
and idling about, half starved, in search of work, of necessity, as
well as from inclination, finds his way back to his old residence,
where his character is known, and he is speedily surrounded by his
old associates, who, in lieu of starving integrity, offer him a life
of joyous and well-fed depravity. It can hardly be expected that
human virtue, and least of all the infant virtue of a newly-reformed
criminal, can withstand so rude a trial. Accordingly, when the author
once asked Mr Brebner, the late governor of the Glasgow bridewell, what
proportion of formed criminals he ever knew to have been reformed by
prison discipline, he answered that the proportion was easily told,
for _he never knew one_. And in the late debate in parliament on
this subject, it was stated by the Home Secretary, Sir George Grey,
that while the prison discipline at Pentonville promised the most
cheering results, it was among those trained there, and _subsequently
transported_, that the improvement was visible; for that no such
results were observed among those who, after liberation, were allowed
to remain in this country.

But while it is thus proved, both by principle and experience, that the
moral reformation of offenders cannot be effected by imprisonment, even
under the most improved system, in this country, yet, in one respect,
a very great amelioration of the prisoner's habits, and extension of
his powers, is evidently practicable. It is easy _to teach a prisoner
a trade_; and such is the proficiency which is rapidly acquired by the
undivided attention to one object in a jail, that one objection which
has been stated to the imprisonment system is, that it interferes
with the employment of honest industry out of doors. No one can walk
through any of the well-regulated prisons in Great Britain without
seeing that, whatever else you cannot do, it is easy to teach such
a proficiency in trade to the convicts as may render them, if their
depraved inclinations can be arrested, useful members of society, and
give them the means of earning a livelihood by honest industry. Many
of them are exceedingly clever, evince great aptitude for the learning
of handicrafts, and exert the utmost diligence in their prosecution.
Let no man, however, reckon on their reformation, because they are thus
skilful and assiduous: turn them out of prison in this country, and
you will soon see them drinking and thieving with increased alacrity,
from the length of their previous confinement. It is evidently not
intellectual cunning, or manual skill, or vigour in pursuit, which
they in general want--it is the power of directing their faculties to
proper objects, when at large in this country, which they are entirely
without, and which no length of confinement, or amount of moral and
religious instruction communicated in prison, is able to confer upon
them. Here then is one great truth ascertained, by the only sure guide
in such matters--_experience_--that while it is wholly impossible to
give prisoners the power of controlling their passions, or abstaining
from their evil propensities, when at large, by any amount of prison
discipline, it is always not only possible, but easy, to communicate to
them such handicraft skill, or power of exercising trades, as may, the
moment the wicked dispositions are brought under control, render them
useful and even valuable members of society.

Experience equally proves that, though the moral reformation of
convicts in this country is so rare as, practically speaking, to be
considered as impossible, yet this is very far indeed from being the
case when they are removed to a distant land, where all connexion
with their old associates is at once and for ever broken; where an
honest career is not only open, but easy, to the most depraved, and a
boundless supply of fertile but unappropriated land affords scope for
the exercise of the desire of gain on legitimate objects, and affords
no facilities for the commission of crime, or the acquisition of
property, by the short-hand methods of theft or robbery. Lord Brougham,
in a most able work, which is little known only because it runs counter
to the prejudices of the age, has well explained the causes of this
peculiarity:--

     "The new emigrants, who at various times continued to flock to
     the extensive country of America, were by no means of the same
     description with the first settlers. Some of these were the
     scourings of jails, banished for their crimes; many of them
     were persons of desperate fortunes, to whom every place was
     equally uninviting; or men of notoriously abandoned lives, to
     whom any region was acceptable that offered them a shelter from
     the vengeance of the law, or the voice of public indignation.
     But a change of scene will work some improvement upon the most
     dissolute of characters. It is much to be removed from the scenes
     with which villany has been constantly associated, and the
     companions who have rendered it agreeable. It is something to
     have the leisure of a long voyage, with its awakening terrors, to
     promote reflection. Besides, to regain once more the privilege
     of that good name, which every unknown man may claim until he is
     tried, presents a powerful temptation to reform, and furnishes
     an opportunity of amendment denied in the scenes of exposure and
     destruction. If the convicts in the colony of New Holland, though
     surrounded on the voyage and in the settlement by the companions
     of their iniquities, have in a great degree been reclaimed by
     the mere change of scene, what might not be expected from such
     a change as we are considering? But the honest acquisition of a
     little property, and its attendant importance, is, beyond any
     other circumstance, the one most calculated to reform the conduct
     of a needy and profligate man, by inspiring him with a respect
     for himself and a feeling of his stake in the community, and
     by putting a harmless and comfortable life at least within the
     reach of his exertions. If the property is of a nature to require
     constant industry, in order to render it of any value; if it
     calls forth that sort of industry which devotes the labourer to
     a solitary life in the open air, and repays him not with wealth
     and luxury, but with subsistence and ease; if, in short, it is
     property in land, divided into small portions and peopled by
     few inhabitants, no combination of circumstances can be figured
     to contribute more directly to the reformation of the new
     cultivator's character and manners."[5]

In addition to these admirable observations, it may be stated, as
another, and perhaps the principal reason why transportation, when
conducted on proper principles, is attended with such immediate and
beneficial influences on the moral character of the convict, that it
places him in situations where scope is afforded for the development
of the _domestic and generous affections_. A counterpoise is provided
to self. It is the impossibility of providing such a counterpoise
within the four walls of a cell--the extreme difficulty of finding
it, in any circumstances in which a prisoner can be placed, on his
liberation from jail in his own country, which is the chief cause of
the total failure of all attempts to work a moral reform on prisoners,
when kept at home, by any, even the most approved system of jail
discipline. But that which cannot be obtained at home is immediately,
on transportation, found in the colonies. The criminal is no longer
thrown back on himself in the solitude of a cell--he is not surrounded
by thieves and prostitutes, urging him to resume his old habits, on
leaving it. The female convict, on arriving in New South Wales, is
almost immediately married; ere long the male, if he is industrious
and well-behaved, has the means of being so. Regular habits then come
to supplant dissolute--the natural affections spring up in the heart
with the creation of the objects on which they are to be exercised. The
solitary tenant of a cell--the dissolute frequenter of spirit-cellars
and bagnios, acquires _a home_. The affections of the fireside begin to
spring up, because a fireside is obtained.

Incalculable is the effect of this change of circumstances on the
character of the most depraved. Accordingly it is mentioned by Mr
Cunningham, in his very interesting _Account of New South Wales_, that
great numbers of young women taken from the streets of London, who have
resisted all efforts of Christian zeal and philanthropy in Magdalene
Asylums or Penitentiaries at home, and embark for New South Wales in
the most shocking state of depravity, become sensibly improved in their
manners, and are not unfrequently entirely reformed by forming, during
the voyage, _temporary connections with sailors_, to whom, when the
choice is once made, they generally remain faithful: so powerful and
immediate is the effect of an approach even to a home, and lasting
ties, on the female heart.[6] The feelings which offspring produces are
never entirely obliterated in the breast of woman. It has been often
observed, that though dissolute females generally, when they remain at
home, find it impossible to reform their own lives, yet they rarely, if
they have the power, fail to bring up their children at a distance from
their haunts of iniquity. So powerful is the love of children, and the
secret sense of shame at their own vices, in the breasts even of the
most depraved of the female sex.

It has been proved, accordingly, by experience, on the very largest
scale, not only that the reformation of offenders, when transported
to a colony in a distant part of the world, takes place, if they
are preserved _in a due proportion of numerical inferiority to
the untainted population_, to an extent unparalleled in any other
situation; but that, when so regulated, they constitute the _greatest
possible addition to the strength, progress, and riches of a colony_.
From official papers laid before parliament, before the unhappy
crowding of convicts in New South Wales began, and the gang-system was
introduced, it appears that between the years 1800 and 1817--that is,
in seventeen years--out of 17,000 convicts transported to New South
Wales, no less than _six thousand had, at the close of the period,
obtained their freedom from their good conduct, and had earned among
them, by their free labour, property to the amount of £1,500,000_! It
may be safely affirmed that the history of the world does not afford
so astonishing and gratifying an instance of the moral reformation of
offenders, or one pointing so clearly to the true system to be pursued
regarding them. It will be recollected that this reformation took place
when 17,000 convicts were transported in seventeen years--that is, on
an average, 1000 a-year only--and when the gang-system was unknown, and
the convict on landing at Sidney was immediately assigned to a free
colonist, by whom he was forthwith marched up the country into a remote
situation, and employed under his master's direction in rural labour or
occupations.

And that the colony itself prospers immensely from the forced labour of
convicts being added, _in not too great proportions_, to the voluntary
labour of freemen, is decisively proved by the astonishing progress
which Australia has made during the last fifty years; the degree in
which it has distanced all its competitors in which convict labour
was unknown; and the marvellous amount of wealth and comfort, so much
exceeding upon the whole that known in any other colony, which now
exists among its inhabitants. We say upon the whole, because we are
well aware that in some parts of Australia, particularly Van Diemen's
Land, property has of late years been most seriously depreciated in
value--partly from the monetary crisis, which has affected that
distant settlement as well as the rest of the empire, and partly from
the inordinate number of convicts who have been sent to that one
locality, from the vast increase of crime at home, and the cessations
of transportation to Sidney;--a number which has greatly exceeded the
proper and salutary proportion to freemen, and has been attended with
the most disastrous results. But that the introduction of convicts,
when not too depraved, and kept in due subordination by being in a
_small minority compared to the freemen_, is, so far from being an
evil, the greatest possible advantage to a colony, is decisively proved
by the parliamentary returns quoted below, showing the comparative
progress during a long course of years of Australia, aided by convict
labour, and the Cape of Good Hope and Canada, which have not enjoyed
that advantage. These returns are decisive. They demonstrate that the
progress of the convict colonies, during the last half century, has
been three times as rapid as that of those enjoying equal or greater
advantages, to whom convicts have not been sent; and that the present
state of comforts they enjoy, as measured by the amount per head of
British manufactures they consume, is also triple that of any other
colony who have been kept entirely clear from the supposed stain, but
real advantages, of forced labour.[7]

Accordingly, the ablest and best-informed statistical writers and
travellers on the Continent, struck with the safe and expeditious
method of getting quit of and reforming its convicts which Great
Britain enjoys, from its numerous colonies in every part of the
world, and the want of which is so severely felt in the Continental
states, are unanimous in considering the possession of such colonies,
and consequent power of unlimited transportation, as one of the very
greatest social advantages which England enjoys. Hear what one of the
most enlightened of those writers, M. Malte-Brun, says on the subject:--

     "England has long been in the habit of disposing of its wicked
     citizens in a way at once philosophic and politic, by sending them
     out to cultivate distant colonies. It was thus that the shores
     of the Delaware and the Potomac were peopled in America. After
     the American war, they were at a loss where to send the convicts,
     and the Cape of Good Hope was first thought of; but, on the
     recommendation of the learned Sir Joseph Banks, New South Wales
     obtained the preference. The first vessel arrived at Botany Bay on
     the 20th January 1788, and brought out 760 convicts, and according
     to a census taken in 1821, exhibited the following results in
     thirty-three years, viz.--

  Free settlers, men, women
  and children                 23,254
  Convicts                     13,814
                               ------
                               37,068"

In 1832, that population had risen to 40,000 souls.[8] In 1821, there
were in the colony 5000 horses, 120,000 horned cattle, and 350,000
sheep. It consumed, at that period, 8,500,000 francs' (£340,000) worth
of English manufactures, being about £8, 10s. a-head, and exported to
Europe about £100,000 worth in rude produce.

     "Great division of opinion has existed in France, for a long
     course of years, on the possibility of diminishing the frequency
     of the punishment of death, as well as that of the galleys; but
     a serious difficulty has been alleged in the expense with which
     an establishment such as New South Wales would cost. It is worthy
     of remark, however, that from 1789 to the end of 1821, England
     had expended for the transport, maintenance, and other charges
     of 33,155 convicts, transported to New South Wales, £5,301,023,
     being _scarce a third_ of what the prisoners would have cost in
     the prisons of Great Britain, without having the satisfaction of
     having changed into useful citizens those who were the shame and
     terror of society.

     "When a vessel with convicts on board arrives in the colony,
     the men who are not married in it, are permitted to choose a
     wife among the female convicts. At the expiration of his term
     of punishment, every convict is at liberty to return to his own
     country, at his own expense. If he chooses to remain, he obtains
     a grant of land, and provisions for 18 months: if he is married
     the allotment is larger, and an adequate portion is allowed for
     each child. Numbers are provided with the means of emigration
     at the expense of government; they obtain 150 acres of land,
     seed-corn, and implements of husbandry. It is worthy of remark
     that, thanks to the vigilance of the authorities, the transported
     in that colony lose their depraved habits; that the women
     become well behaved and fruitful; and that the children do not
     inherit the vices of their parents. These results are sufficient
     to place the colony of New South Wales _among the most noble
     philanthropic institutions in the world_. After that, can any one
     ask the expense of the establishment?"--MALTE-BRUN, _Géographie
     Universelle_, xii. 194-196.

But here a fresh difficulty arises. Granting, it will be said, that
transportation is so immense a benefit to the mother country, in
affording a safe and certain vent for its criminals; and to the
colonies, by providing them with so ample a supply of forced labour,
what is to be done when they will not receive it? The colonies are
all up in arms against transportation; not one can be persuaded,
on any terms, to receive these convicts. When a ship with convicts
arrives, they begin talking about separation and independence, and
reminding us of Bunker's Hill and Saratoga. The Cape shows us with
what feelings colonies which have not yet received them view the
introduction of criminals; Van Diemen's Land, how well founded their
apprehensions are of the consequences of such an invasion of civilised
depravity. This difficulty, at first sight, appears not only serious
but insurmountable. On a nearer examination, however, it will be found
that, however formidable it may appear, it could easily be got over;
and that it is entirely owing to the true principles of transportation
having been forgotten, and one of the first duties of government
neglected by our rulers for the last thirty years.

It is very remarkable, and throws an important light on this question,
that this horror at the influx of convicts, which has now become so
general in the colonies as to render it almost impossible to find a
place where they can with safety be landed, is entirely of _recent_
origin. It never was heard of till within the last fifteen or twenty
years. Previous to that time, and even much later, transportation was
not only regarded by the penal colonies without aversion, but with the
utmost possible complacency. They looked to a series of heavy assizes
in Great Britain with the same feelings of anxious solicitude, as the
working classes do to a good harvest, or the London tradesman to a
gay and money-spending season. Spirits never were so high in Sidney,
speculation never so rife, property never so valuable, profits never so
certain, as when the convict ships arrived well stored with compulsory
emigrants. If any one doubts this, let him open the early numbers of
the _Colonial Magazine_, and he will find them filled with resolutions
of public meetings in New South Wales, recounting the immense
advantages the colony had derived from the forced labour of convicts,
and most earnestly deprecating any intermission in their introduction.
As a specimen, we subjoin a series of resolutions, by the Governor
and Council of New South Wales, on a petition agreed to, at a public
meeting held in Sidney, on 18th February 1838.

     _Resolutions of the Legislative Council, New South Wales, 17th
     July 1838._

     4. _Resolved._--That, in opinion of this council, the numerous
     free emigrants of character and capital, including many officers
     of the army and navy, and East India Company's service, who have
     settled in this colony, with their families, together with a
     rising generation of native-born subjects, constitute a body of
     colonists who, in the exercise of the social and moral relations
     of life, are not inferior to the inhabitants of any other
     dependency of the British crown, and are sufficient to impress a
     character of respectability upon the colony at large.

     5. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, the rapid
     and increasing advance of this colony, in the short space of
     fifty years from its first establishment, in rural, commercial,
     and financial prosperity, proves indisputably the activity,
     the enterprise, and industry of the colonists, and is wholly
     incompatible with the state of society represented to exist here.

     6. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, the strong
     desire manifested by the colonists generally, to obtain moral and
     religious instruction, and the liberal contributions, which have
     been made from private funds, towards this most essential object,
     abundantly testify that the advancement of virtue and religion
     amongst them is regarded with becoming solicitude.

     7. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, if
     transportation and assignment have hitherto failed to produce all
     the good effects anticipated by their projectors, such failure
     may be traced to circumstances, many of which are no longer in
     existence, whilst others are in rapid progress of amendment.
     Amongst the most prominent causes of failure may be adduced the
     absence, at the first establishment of the colony, of adequate
     religious and moral instruction, and the want of proper means of
     classification in the several gaols throughout the colony, as well
     as of a sufficient number of free emigrants, properly qualified to
     become the assignees of convicts, and to be intrusted with their
     management and control.

     8. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, the great
     extension which has latterly been afforded of moral and religious
     instruction, the classification which may in future be made in the
     numerous gaols now in progress of erection, upon the most approved
     principles of inspection and separation, the most effectual
     punishment and classification of offenders in ironed gangs,
     according to their improved system of management--the numerous
     free emigrants now eligible as the assignees of convicts, and
     the accumulated experience of half a century--form a combination
     of circumstances, which renders the colony better adapted at the
     present, than at any former period, to carry into effect the
     praiseworthy intentions of the first founders of the system of
     transportation and assignment, which had no less for its object
     reformation of character than a just infliction of punishment.

     9. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, no system
     of penal discipline, or secondary punishment, will be found at
     once so cheap, so effective, and so reformatory, as that of
     well-regulated assignment--the good conduct of the convict, and
     his continuance at labour, being so obviously the interest of the
     assignee; whilst the partial solitude and privations, incidental
     to a pastoral or agricultural life in the remote districts of the
     colony, (which may be made the universal employment of convicts,)
     by effectually breaking a connexion with companions and habits of
     vice, is better calculated than any other system to produce moral
     reformation, when accompanied by adequate religious instruction.

     10. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, many men
     who, previously to their conviction, had been brought up in habits
     of idleness and vice, have acquired, by means of assignment,
     not only habits of industry and labour, but the knowledge of a
     remunerative employment, which, on becoming free, forms a strong
     inducement to continue in an honest course of life.

     11. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, the sudden
     discontinuance of transportation and assignment, by depriving the
     colonists of convict labour, must necessarily curtail their means
     of purchasing crown lands, and, consequently, the supply of funds
     for the purpose of immigration.

     12. _Resolved._--That, in the opinion of this council, the produce
     of the labour of convicts, in assignment, is thus one of the
     principal, though indirect means, of bringing into the colony
     free persons: it is obvious, therefore, that the continuance of
     emigration in any extended form, must necessarily depend upon the
     continuance of the assignment of convicts.[9]

It is not surprising that they viewed, at this period, the
transportation system in this light; for under it they had made
advances in population, comfort, and riches, unparalleled in any other
age or country of the world.

How, then, has it happened that so great a change has come over the
views of the colonists on this subject; and that the system which
they formerly regarded, with reason, as the sheet-anchor of their
prosperity, is now almost universally looked to with unqualified
aversion, as the certain forerunner of their destruction? The answer
is easy. It is because transportation, as formerly conducted, _was
a blessing_, and because, as conducted of late years, it _has
become a curse_, that the change of opinion has arisen in regard to
it. The feelings of the colonists, in both cases, were founded on
experience--both were, in the circumstances in which they arose,
equally well founded, and both were therefore equally entitled to
respect and attention. We have only to _restore the circumstances_ in
which the convicts were a blessing, to revive the times in which their
arrival will be regarded as a boon. And to effect this, can easily be
shown not only to be attended with no difficulty, but only to require
the simultaneous adoption by government of a system of punishment
at home, and of voluntary emigration at the public expense abroad,
attended with a very trifling expense, and calculated to relieve,
beyond any other measure that could by possibility be devised, the
existing distress among the labouring classes of Great Britain and
Ireland.

To render the introduction of penal labour into a colony an advantage,
three things are necessary. 1st, that the convicts sent out should be
for the most part instructed in some simple rural art or occupation,
of use in the country into which they are to be transplanted. 2d, that
they should in general be _beginners in crime_, and a small number of
them only hardened in depravity. 3d, what is most important of all,
that they should be preserved in a _due proportion_, never exceeding
_a fourth or a fifth_ to the free and untainted settlers. Under these
conditions, their introduction will always prove a blessing, and will
be hailed as a boon. If they are neglected, they will prove a curse,
and their arrival be regarded as a punishment.

Various circumstances have contributed, of late years, to render the
convict system a dreadful evil, instead of, as formerly, a signal
benefit to the colonies. But that affords no ground for despair; on the
contrary, it furnishes the most well-grounded reason for hope. We are
suffering under the effects of an erroneous regimen, not any inherent
malady in the patient. Change this treatment, and his health will soon
return.

It is well known that the greatest pains have of _late years_ been
taken, in this country, to instruct prisoners in jail in some
useful handicraft; and that, so far has this been carried, that our
best-regulated jails are more in fact great houses of industry. The
general penitentiary at Pentonville, in particular, where the convicts
sentenced to transportation are trained, previous to their removal to
the penal settlements, is a perfect model of arrangement and attention
in this important respect. But it is equally well known that it is only
of _late_ years that this signal reform has come into operation; and
we have the satisfaction of knowing that already its salutary effects
have been evinced, in the most signal manner, with the convicts sent
abroad. Previous to the year 1840, scarcely anything was done on any
considerable scale, either to teach ordinary prisoners trades in jail,
to separate them from each other, or to prepare them, in the public
penitentiaries, for the duties in which they were to be engaged,
when they arrived at their distant destination. The county jails,
now resounding with the clang of ceaseless occupation, pursued by
prisoners in their separate cells, then only re-echoed the din of riot
and revelling in the day-rooms where the idle prisoners were huddled
together, and beguiled the weary hours of their captivity by stories
of perpetrated crime, or plans for its renewal the moment they got out
of confinement. But the ideas of men are all formed on the experience
of facts, or the thoughts driven into them, for a considerable time
back. The present universal horror at transportation is founded on the
experience of the prisoners with which, for a quarter of a century, New
South Wales had been flooded, from the idle day-rooms or profligate
hulks of Great Britain. Some years must elapse before the effects of
the improved discipline received, and laborious habits acquired, in the
jails and penitentiaries of the mother country, produces any general
effect on public opinion in its distant colonies.

The relaxation of the severity of our penal code at home, during the
last thirty years, however loudly called for by considerations of
justice and humanity, has undoubtedly had a most pernicious influence
on the _class of convicts_ who have, during that period, been sent to
the colonies. In so far as that change of system has diminished the
frequency of the infliction of the punishment of death, and limited,
practically speaking, that dreadful penalty to cases of wilful and
inexcusable murder, it must command the assent of every benevolent and
well-regulated mind. But, unfortunately, the change has not stopped
there. It has descended through every department of our criminal
jurisprudence, and come in that way to alter much for the worse _the
class of criminals_ who of late years have been sent to the penal
colonies. The men who were formerly hanged are now for the most part
transported; those formerly transported are now imprisoned; and those
sent abroad have almost all, on repeated occasions, been previously
confined, generally for a very long period. As imprisonment scarcely
ever works any reformation on the _moral_ character or habits of a
prisoner, whatever improved skill in handicraft it may put into his
fingers, this change has been attended with most serious and pernicious
effect on the character of the convicts sent to the colonies, and gone
far to produce the aversion with which they are now everywhere regarded.

It has been often observed, by those practically acquainted with the
working of the transportation system in the colonies, that the Irish
convicts were generally the best, and the Scotch, beyond all question,
the worst who arrived. This peculiarity, so widely different from, in
fact precisely the reverse of, what has been observed of the _free_
settlers from these respective countries, in every part of the world,
has frequently been made the subject of remark, and excited no little
surprise. But the reason of it is evident, and, when once stated,
perfectly satisfactory. The Scotch law, administered almost entirely by
professional men, and on fixed principles, has long been based on the
principle of transporting persons only who were deemed irreclaimable in
this country. Very few have been sent abroad for half a century, from
Scotland, who had not either committed some very grave offence, or
been four or five times, often eight or ten times, previously convicted
and imprisoned. In Ireland, under the moderate and lenient sway of
Irish county justices, a poacher was often transported who had merely
been caught with a hare tucked up under his coat. Whatever we may think
of the justice of such severe punishments for trivial offences, in the
first instance, there can be but one opinion as to its tendency to
lead a much better class of convicts from the Emerald Isle, than the
opposite system did from the shores of Caledonia. Very probably, also,
the system of giving prisoners "repeated opportunities of amendment,"
as it is called in this country--but which, in fact, would be more
aptly styled "renewed opportunities for depravity"--has, from good but
mistaken motives, been carried much too far in Scotland. Be this as it
may, nothing is more certain than that the substitution of a race of
repeatedly convicted and hardened offenders, under the milder system
of punishment in Great Britain, during the last twenty years, for one
comparatively uninitiated in crime, such as were formerly sent out, has
had a most pernicious effect on the character of the convicts received
in the colonies, and the sentiments with which their arrival was
regarded.

But by far the most powerful cause, which has been in operation for
above a quarter of a century, in destroying the beneficial effects
of the system of transportation, and substituting the worst possible
consequences in their stead, has been the sending out of convicts _in
too great a proportion to the free population_, and the consequent
necessity for substituting the _gang for the assignment system_. This
is a matter of the very highest, indeed of paramount importance; and
it may safely be affirmed that, unless a remedy is found for it, all
efforts made to render the system of transportation palatable to the
colonies will prove nugatory. Fortunately the means of remedying
that evil are not only easy, but, comparatively speaking, cheap,
and perfectly efficacious; and they promise, while they remedy the
above-mentioned evil, to confer, in other respects, signal benefits
both on the colonies and the mother country.

New South Wales was originally selected, and not without sufficient
reasons, as the place for the establishment of penal colonies,
because the distance of it from the mother country, and the length of
the voyage, rendered it a very difficult matter either for runaway
convicts, or those who had served their time, to get home again. Once
sent out, you were, in the great majority of cases, clear of them for
ever. This circumstance was no disadvantage, but rather the reverse, to
the colony, and certainly a very great advantage to the parent state,
as long as the number of convicts annually sent out was inconsiderable,
and the whole convict population formed a small minority to the number
of free settlers. When the whole number committed a-year in England was
4500, and in Scotland under 100, as it was in Great Britain in 1804 or
1805, the settlement of convicts on the distant shores of Australia
worked well. They were glad to get the 300 or 400 annually sent out;
they were benefited by their forced labour; and the free settlers
were in sufficient numbers to keep them with ease in subjection, and
prevent their habits from contaminating those of the free inhabitants
of the colony. But when the commitments from Great Britain and Ireland
had risen to 50,000 or 60,000 a-year, and the convicts sent out to
3000 or 4000 annually, as they have done for some years past, the case
was entirely altered. The polluted stream became much too large and
powerful for the land it was intended to fertilise; it did more harm
than good, and became the object of uniform and undisguised aversion.

The _distance_ of Australia from the mother country, which formerly had
been so great an advantage to both parties, now became the greatest
possible evil; because it prevented, at the time this great influx
of convicts was going on, the immigration of freemen from preserving
anything like a due proportion to it. When the convicts rose to 2000
and 3000 yearly, the free settlers should have been raised to 8000 or
10,000 annually. This would have kept all right; because the tainted
population would have been always in a small minority compared to the
virtuous; order would have been preserved by the decided majority of
the well-disposed; and the assignment system, the parent of so much
good, still rendered practicable by the ceaseless extension of free
settlers in the wilds of nature. But the distance of Australia rendered
this impracticable, when the emigration of freemen was left to its own
unaided resources. Steam navigation contributed powerfully to throw it
into the back-ground for all but the very highest class of emigrants.
The voyage to Australia is one of fourteen thousand miles; it takes
from five to six months, must still be performed by sailing vessels,
and costs about £16 a-head for the ordinary class of emigrants. That
to America is one of three thousand miles; it takes from a fortnight
to three weeks, is performed by great numbers of steam as well as
sailing vessels, and costs from £3 to £4 a-head for the same class of
passengers.[10]

These facts are decisive, and must always continue so, against the
choice of Australia, as the place of their destination, by the great
bulk of ordinary emigrants. Several young men of good family, indeed,
tempted by the high profits generally made there in the wool trade, and
the boundless facilities for the multiplication of flocks which its
prairies afforded, have settled there, and some have done well. But of
ordinary labourers, and persons to do the work of common workmen, there
has always been felt a very great deficiency, for this simple reason,
that they could not afford the expense of the voyage. The settlers were
almost entirely of the better class, and they were in no proportion at
all to the number of the convicts. This distinctly appears, not only
from the extravagant wages paid to shepherds and common labourers,
generally not less than five or six shillings a-day, but from the very
limited number of emigrants, even during the distress of the last
three years, when the voluntary emigration had reached two hundred and
fifty thousand annually from the British islands, who have gone to our
colonies in New South Wales.[11]

This unhappy turn of affairs has been attended with a double
disadvantage. In the first place, the vast increase in the number
of convicts sent to Sydney, compared with the small number of free
settlers, has for a long time past rendered the continuance of the
assignment system impossible; and _the gang system_, to take off and
embody the surplus numbers, became in a manner a matter of necessity.
The manners of the colony, its habits, its prospects, its morality,
have been seriously damaged by this change. The emancipated convicts
who have made money, known by the name of "canary birds," have pressed
upon the heels, and come to excite the jealousy, of the free settlers.
The accumulation of convicts in the lower walks of life has checked the
immigration of free labour, perpetuated the frightful inequality of the
sexes, and led to the most lamentable disorders. The gang system, of
necessity introduced, because free settlers did not exist to take the
convicts off under the assignment system, perpetuated in the colony the
vices of the hulks, the depravity of the galleys. The whole benefits of
transportation to the convicts, their whole chances of amendment, are
lost, when, instead of being sent to rural labour in the solitude of
the woods and the prairies, they are huddled together, in gangs of four
or five hundred, without hope to counterbalance evil propensities, or
inducement to resist the seduction of mutual bad example. These evils
were so sensibly felt, and led to such energetic representations to the
government at home, that at length the colony was pacified, but at the
same time its progress checked, by an order in council in 1837, that
no more convicts, for a limited time, should be sent to Sydney or its
dependencies.

But this only shifted the seat of the evil, and augmented its
intensity. The convicts, now swelled to above four thousand a-year,
could not be kept at home; they required to be sent somewhere, and
where was that place to be? Van Diemen's Land was selected, being the
most southernly portion of New Holland, and of course the farthest
removed from this country; and thither nearly the _whole convicts_ of
Great Britain and Ireland, soon above thirty-five hundred annually
in number, were sent for several years. The consequence of this
prodigious influx of criminals into an infant colony, so far removed
from the parent state that it cost £20 a-head to send a common labourer
there--and of course no free emigration in proportionate numbers could
be expected without public aid--might easily have been anticipated.
Government did nothing to encourage the simultaneous settlement of
free settlers in that distant land, thus flooded with convicts, or so
little as amounted to nothing. The consequence was, that, ere long,
_three-fifths_ of the inhabitants of the colony were convicts. Every
one knows, none could have failed to anticipate the consequences. The
morals of the settlement, thus having a majority of its inhabitants
convicts, were essentially injured. Crimes unutterable were committed;
the hideous inequality of the sexes induced its usual and frightful
disorders; the police, how severe and vigilant soever, became unable
to coerce the rapidly-increasing multitude of criminals; the most
daring fled to the woods, where they became bush-rangers; life became
insecure; property sank to half its former value. So powerful, and
evidently well-founded, were the representations made on the subject to
the legislature, that it became evident that a remedy must be applied;
and this was done by an order in council in 1844, which suspended
entirely for two years the transportation of _male_ convicts to the
colonies. That of females was still and most properly continued, in the
hope that, by doing so, the inequality of the sexes in Australia might
in some degree be corrected.

But this measure, like all the rest, not being founded on the right
principle, has entirely failed. The accumulation of offenders in the
British islands, from the stoppage of the usual vent by which they were
formerly carried off, soon became insupportable. The jails were crowded
to suffocation; it was ere long found to be necessary to liberate many
persons, transported seven years, at the expiration of two, to make way
for new inmates. The liberated convicts were soon back in their old
haunts, and at their old practices; and the great increase of _serious_
crimes, such as robberies, burglaries, and murders, demonstrated that
the public morals in the great towns were rapidly giving way, under the
influence of that worst species of criminals--returned convicts. The
judges both of Great Britain and Ireland, in common with every person
practically acquainted with the subject, and who had daily proofs,
in the discharge of their important official duties, of the total
failure of the imprisonment system, were unanimous in recommending a
return to transportation. All the temporary expedients adopted, such
as Gibraltar, Bermuda, &c., soon failed from the rapid increase of
convicts, who greatly exceeded all the means left of taking them off.
Government became convinced that they had made a step in the wrong
direction; and they most wisely took counsel from experience, and
determined to resume the practice of sending convicts abroad. But, on
the threshold of the renewed attempt, they were met by the refusal
of the colonies to take them. The Cape is almost in rebellion on the
subject; and in despair of finding a willing colony, it is said they
have in contemplation to send them to be roasted under the White
Cliffs, and increase the already redundant population of Malta.

It is not necessary to do any such thing. The solution of the
transportation question is easy, the method to be followed perfectly
efficacious. Government have only _to commence the discharge_ of
one of their most important social duties to get rid of all their
difficulties, and render the immigration of criminals, as it was
in time past, as great a blessing to the colonies, and as ardently
desired, as of late years it has been a curse, and earnestly deprecated.

Transportation is a blessing to a colony when the convicts are kept
in a minority, perhaps in a fourth or a fifth of the community to
which they are sent, and when they are not hardened in crime, and all
instructed in some useful trade. In such circumstances, they are the
greatest possible addition to its strength, riches, and progress, and
will always be gladly received.

Transportation is a curse when the convicts sent out are so numerous,
and the free settlers so few, that the former forms a large proportion
of the community compared to the latter, and when their habits are
those of hardened irreclaimable criminals, instead of youthful novices
in crime. If they become a majority, certain ruin may be anticipated to
the colony thus flooded with crime.

The difficulties which now beset the transportation question have all
arisen from our having pursued a course, of late years, which rendered
the settlement of convicts a curse instead of a blessing, as it was
at first, when the system was directly the reverse. To render it a
blessing again, we have only to restore the circumstances which made
it so formerly--sending out the convicts when not completely hardened
in depravity, and in such a proportion to the free settlers as to
keep them a _small minority_ to the free and untainted part of the
community. The immigration of convicts to our colonies is like that of
the Irish into western Britain: everything depends on the proportion
they bear to the remainder of the population. They are very useful if
a fourth; they can be borne if they are a third; but let them become
a majority, and they will soon land the country in the condition of
Skibbereen or Connemara.

We cannot diminish the numbers of convicts transported; on the
contrary, woful results have made us aware that it should be materially
increased. Experience has taught us, also, that voluntary unaided
emigration cannot enable the free settlers in Australia to keep pace
with the rapid increase of crime in the British islands. What, then,
is to be done? The answer is simple: Discharge in part the vast duty,
so long neglected by government, of providing, at the public expense,
for the emigration of a certain portion of the _most indigent_ part of
the community, who cannot get abroad on their own resources, and SETTLE
THEM IN THE SAME COLONY WITH THE CONVICTS. Do this, and the labour
market is lightened at home; the convicts are kept in a small minority
abroad; the colony, thus aided by the combined virtue and penal labour
of the mother country, is secured of prosperity and rapid progress; and
its rate of increase will soon induce the other colonies to petition
for a share of the prolific stream.

At present, there are, or at least should be, above 5000 criminals
annually transported from the British islands.[12] The cost of settling
a free labourer in Australia is about £16 a-head. To send 16,000 free
labourers with these 5000 criminals would cost just £256,000 a-year:
call it £300,000 yearly, to make room for the probable increase of
criminals, from the growing necessities or depravity of the mother
country, and provide for the extra and unavoidable expenses of an
infant establishment, and the transportation question is at once
solved, a great relief is afforded to the distressed labourers of the
parent state, and a certain market for our manufactures provided,
which will double every two or three years, as long as the system is
continued.

Let government, by an order in council, propose these terms to the
colonies, and we shall see if any of them will refuse them. If none
will close with them, let them at once establish a new colony on these
principles, in some unoccupied part of New Holland. In twelve months,
there will be a race for who is to get a share of the fertilising
stream. Sixteen thousand free settlers, and five or six thousand
convicts, annually sent to any colony, would cause its numbers to
double every two, and its prosperity to triple in value every three
years. Everything would go on in a geometrical progression. It would
soon rival California in progress and reputation. Capital would rapidly
follow this scene of activity and progress. Moneyed men are not slow
in discovering where labour is plentiful and comparatively cheap, and
where their investments are doubled in amount and value every two or
three years. A colony thus powerfully supported by the parent state
would soon distance all its competitors: while the Cape, New Zealand,
and Australia were slumbering on with a population doubling every ten
years, from the tardy and feeble support of free emigrants on their
own resources, the establishment thus protected would double in two
or three. Voluntary emigrants would crowd to the scene of activity,
progress, and opulence. The 20,000 persons annually sent out would
immediately become consumers of our manufactures to the extent of
£150,000 a-year:[13] and this rate would be doubled the very next
year! At the end of five or six years, it would amount to £800,000 or
£900,000 annually. What a relief at once to the manufacturers of Great
Britain, now labouring so severely under the combined effect of foreign
competition and a declining home market, and the starving peasantry of
Ireland, where half a million of stout labourers--admirable workmen
in a foreign country, though wretched ones in their own--are pining
in hopeless destitution, a burden upon their parishes, or flocking in
ruinous multitudes to Liverpool and Glasgow.

But where is the £300,000 to come from? The Chancellor of the Exchequer
has no money; taxation has reached its limits; and loans are out of
the question. What! have free trade and a restricted currency, then,
so quickly prostrated the resources of the country, that the nation
which, in 1813, with eighteen millions of inhabitants, at the close
of a twenty years' costly war, raised £72,000,000 by taxation, and
£80,000,000 by loan, cannot now, with thirty millions, for so very
important an object, after thirty-three years of unbroken peace, muster
up £300,000 a-year? A shilling a gallon on the 6,259,000 gallons of
whisky annually consumed in _Scotland alone_, in demoralising the
community, would provide the requisite sum, and tend to equalise the
ruinous exemption which Scotland now enjoys in the manufacture of that
attractive and pernicious liquor. A similar duty on the 12,000,000
gallons annually consumed in England, would raise double the sum. But
if government, despite the £100,000,000 we were promised by free trade,
cannot afford £300,000 a-year for this vital object, let it be laid on
the counties as part of the prison or county rates. A little reflection
would soon show every person of sense in the country, that its amount
could speedily be saved in prison and poor rates.

Simultaneously with this change, an alteration, equally loudly called
for, should take place in the administration of our criminal law at
home. The present system of inflicting short imprisonments at first,
and reserving long imprisonments and transportation for criminals who
have plied their trade of pillage for two or three years, should be
abolished. Imprisonment should consist of three kinds:--1. A very
short imprisonment, perhaps of a week or ten days, for the youngest
criminals and a first trifling offence, intended to terrify merely. 2.
For a second offence, however trivial--or a first, if considerable,
and indicating an association with professional thieves--a long
imprisonment of _nine months or a year_, sufficient _to teach every
one a trade_, should invariably be inflicted. 3. The criminal who
has been thus imprisoned, and taught a trade, should, when next
convicted, be _instantly transported_. In this way a triple advantage
would be gained. 1. The immense number of prisoners now constantly
in confinement in the British islands would be materially lessened,
and the prison-rates proportionally relieved. 2. The cost of now
maintaining a convict in one of the public penitentiaries, to prepare
him for transportation, not less than £17 or £18, would be almost
entirely saved; he would be prepared for it, in the great majority
of cases, by his previous imprisonment. 3. The character and habits
of the convicts sent out would be materially improved, by getting
comparatively young and untainted men for penal labour, instead of
old offenders, who have learned no other trade than that of thieving.
To the country it would undoubtedly save £60 or £80 on each criminal
transported, by removing him at the commencement of his career, when
his reformation was possible, instead of waiting till its close, when
he had lived for three or four years in flash-houses and prisons at
the public expense, paid in depredations or prison rates, and acquired
nothing but habits which rendered any change of character abroad
difficult, if not impossible. The prisons would become, instead of mere
receptacles of vice, great houses of industry, where the most dangerous
and burdensome part of our population would be trained for a life of
industry and utility in the colonies.

For a similar reason, the great object in poor-houses, houses of
refuge, hospitals, and other institutions where the destitute poor
children are maintained at the public expense, or that of foundations
bequeathed by the piety of former times, should be to prepare the
young of both sexes, by previous education, for the habits and duties
of colonists; and, when they become adults, to _send them abroad at
the expense of the public or the institution_. Incalculable would be
the blessings which would ensue, both to the public morals and the
public expenditure, from the steady adoption of this principle. It
is a lamentable fact, well known to all practically acquainted with
this subject, that a large proportion of the orphan or destitute boys,
educated in this manner at the public expense, in public institutions,
become thieves, and nearly all the girls prostitutes. It could not
be otherwise with young creatures of both sexes, turned out without
a home, relation, or friend, shortly after the age of puberty, into
the midst of an old and luxurious community, overloaded with labour,
abounding in snares, thickly beset with temptations. Removed to
Australia, the Cape, or Canada, they might do well, and would prove as
great a blessing in those colonies, where labour is dear, women wanted,
and land boundless, as they are a burden here, where labour is cheap,
women redundant, and land all occupied. Every shilling laid out in the
training the youth of both sexes in such situations, for the duties of
colonial life, and sending them to it when adults, would save three in
future prison or poor rates. A pauper or criminal, costing the nation
£15 or £20 a-year, would be converted into an independent man living on
his labour, and consuming £7 or £8 worth yearly of the manufactures of
his native country.

The number of emigrants who now annually leave the British shores, is
above 250,000![14] No such migration of mankind is on record since
the days when the Goths and Vandals overthrew the Roman empire, and
settled amidst its ruins. It might naturally have been supposed that
so prodigious a removal of persons, most of them in the prime of
life, would have contributed in a material degree to lighten the
market of labour, and lessen the number of persons who, by idleness or
desperation, are thrown into habits of crime. But the result has been
just the reverse; and perhaps nothing has contributed so powerfully to
increase crime, and augment destitution among the labouring classes
of late years, as this very emigration. The reason is evident. It is
for the most part _the wrong class which has gone abroad_. It is the
employer, not the employed; the holders of little capitals, not the
holders of none. Left to its own unaided resources, emigration could
be undertaken only by persons possessed of some funds to pay their
passage. It took £100 to transport a family to Australia; £20 or £30
to America. The destitute, the insolvent, the helpless, could not get
away, and they fell in overwhelming and crushing multitudes on the
parish funds, county rates, and charity of the benevolent at home.
Labour became everywhere redundant, because so many of the employers
of labour had gone away. The grand object for all real lovers of their
country now, should be to induce government or the counties to provide
means for the emigration, on a large scale, of destitute _labourers_,
chained by their poverty to the soil. About 150,000 persons have
annually emigrated from Ireland for the last three years, carrying
with them above half its agricultural capital; and the consequence is,
that in many districts the land is uncultivated, _and the banknotes
in circulation, which, in 1846, were £7,500,000, have sunk in August
1849 to £3,833,000_![15] The small cultivators, the employers of the
poor, have disappeared, and with them their capital--leaving only
to the owners of land a crowd of starving, unemployed labourers, to
consume their rents. A million of such starving labourers now oppress
the industry of Ireland. Such is the result of agitation at home, and
free trade in emigration abroad. The American papers tell us, that
each of these starving Irishmen, if strong and healthy, is worth 1000
dollars to the United States. Free-trade emigration can never send them
out--it can transport only those who can pay. A large increase of penal
emigration, coupled with such a proportionate influx, at the public
expense, of free settlers, as would prevent it from becoming an evil,
at once solves the transportation question, and is the first step in
the right direction in that of Emigration.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] _Prison Report 1848_, p. 73.

[2] In 1848, the number committed for serious offences was 73,770.

[3] See the "Increase of Crime, and Imprisonment, and Transportation,"
_Blackwood's Magazine_, May and July 1844, vol. lv. p. 532, and vol.
lvi. p. 1.

[4] Table showing the number of commitments for serious offences in the
undermentioned years in England, Scotland, and Ireland:--

  |Years. | England. | Scotland. | Ireland.  | Total. |
  +-------+----------+-----------+-----------+--------+
  | 1837  |  23,612  |   3,126   |  24,804   | 51,542 |
  | 1838  |  23,094  |   3,418   |  25,723   | 52,235 |
  | 1839  |  24,443  |   3,409   |  26,392   | 54,244 |
  | 1840  |  27,187  |   3,872   |  23,833   | 54,892 |
  | 1841  |  27,760  |   3,562   |  20,776   | 52,118 |
  | 1842  |  31,309  |   4,189   |  21,186   | 56,684 |
  | 1843  |  29,591  |   3,615   |  20,126   | 53,332 |
  | 1844  |  26,542  |   3,577   |  19,448   | 49,565 |
  | 1845  |  24,309  |   3,537   |  16,696   | 44,542 |
  | 1846  |  25,107  |   2,901   |  18,492   | 46,500 |
  | 1847  |  28,833  |   4,635   |  31,209   | 64,677 |
  | 1848  |  30,349  |   4,909   |  38,522*  | 73,770 |

  --_Parliamentary Returns_, 1842-8.

* Irish Rebellion.



[5] BROUGHAM'S _Colonial Policy_, i. 61, 62.

[6] CUNNINGHAM'S _New South Wales_, i. 262.

[7] Table showing the annual exports of British manufactures to the
undermentioned Colonies, from 1828 to 1846.

  |      |    Canada, &c.    |     The Cape,     |   Australia,  |
  |Years.| Without Convicts. | Without Convicts. | With Convicts.|
  +------+                   |                   |               |
  |1828  |   £1,691,044      |    £218,849       |   £443,839    |
  |1829  |    1,581,723      |     257,501       |    310,681    |
  |1830  |    1,857,133      |     330,036       |    314,677    |
  |1831  |    2,089,327      |     257,245       |    398,471    |
  |1832  |    2,075,725      |     292,405       |    466,328    |
  |1833  |    2,092,550      |     346,197       |    558,372    |
  |1834  |    1,671,069      |     304,382       |    716,014    |
  |1835  |    2,158,158      |     326,921       |    696,345    |
  |1836  |    2,732,291      |     482,315       |    835,637    |
  |1837  |    2,141,035      |     488,811       |    921,568    |
  |1838  |    1,992,457      |     623,323       |  1,336,662    |
  |1839  |    3,047,671      |     464,130       |  1,679,390    |
  |1840  |    2,847,913      |     417,091       |  2,004,385    |
  |1841  |    2,947,061      |     384,574       |  1,269,351    |
  |1842  |    2,333,525      |     369,076       |    916,164    |
  |1843  |    1,751,211      |     502,577       |  1,211,815    |
  |1844  |    3,076,861      |     420,151       |    744,482    |
  |1845  |    3,555,954      |     648,749       |  1,201,076    |
  |1846  |    3,308,059      |     480,979       |  1,441,640    |

  --PORTER'S _Parliamentary Tables_, 1846, p. 121.

  Exports, per head, to the following countries in 1836.

  |                             |              |             |Proportion|
  |                             |  Population. |   Exports.  | per head.|
  |                             |              +-------------+----------+
  |United States of America,    |  14,000,000  | £12,425,605 | £0 17 6  |
  |Canada, &c.,                 |   1,500,000  |   2,739,291 |  1 16 0  |
  |British West India Islands,  |     900,000  |   3,786,453 |  3 12 0  |
  |Australia,                   |     100,000  |     835,637 |  8 14 0  |

  --PORTER'S _Parliamentary Tables_.



[8] It now (1849) exceeds 200,000 souls.

[9] _Colonial Magazine_, i. 431, 433.

[10] While we write these lines, the following advertisement, which
appeared in the _Times_ of Oct. 10, will illustrate this vital
difference:--

"EMIGRATION.--The undersigned are prepared to forward intending
emigrants to every colony now open for colonisation, at the following
rates of passage-money:--To Sydney, £15; Melbourne, £15; Adelaide,
£15; Swan River, £20; Van Diemen's Land, £20; New Zealand, £18; Cape
of Good Hope, £10; Natal, £10; California, £25; New York, £2, 10s.;
Philadelphia, £2, 10s.; New Orleans, £3.--HARRISON & CO.--_11 Union
Street, Birmingham._"

[11] Emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland to Australia and New
Zealand:--

  1830,     1,242    1836,      3,124    1842,     8,534
  1831,     1,561    1837,      5,054    1843,     3,478
  1832,     3,733    1838,     14,021    1844,     2,229
  1833,     4,093    1839,     15,726    1845,       830
  1834,     2,800    1840,     15,850    1846,     2,227
  1835,     1,860    1841,     32,625

--PORTER'S _Parliamentary Tables_, 1846, p. 236.

[12] Sentenced to be transported--

          England.    Scotland.    Ireland.    Total.
  1846,    2805         352          753       3810
  1847,    2896         456         2185       5537
  1848,    3251         459         2678*      6388

  * Rebellion.

--_Parliamentary Returns_, 1846-8.

[13] At the rate of £7, 14s. a-head--the present rate in Australia.

[14] Viz.:--1847, 258,000; 1848, 248,000; 1849, understood to be still
larger.--_Parliamentary Reports._

[15] See _Dublin University Magazine_, October 1849, p. 372.



MY PENINSULAR MEDAL.

BY AN OLD PENINSULAR.


PART I.--CHAPTER I.

On the evening of the 13th of February last, I was sitting in my
library, at my residence in ---- Square, when a double knock at the
door announced the postman. Betty presently entered, bringing, not as
I anticipated, a letter or two, but a small packet, which evidently
excited her curiosity, as it did mine.

The first thing upon the said packet that caught my eye was a large
seal of red wax--the royal arms!--then, above the direction, "On Her
Majesty's service!"--just beneath, the word, "Medal!" Yes, the medal
that I had earned five-and-thirty years before, in the hard-fought
fight on the hill of Toulouse--long expected, it was come at last!
And, let me tell you, a very handsome medal, too; well designed, well
executed; and accompanied with a very civil letter, from that old
soldier, and true soldier's friend, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, the military
secretary. This letter being, no doubt, precisely the same as hundreds
of "Old Peninsulars" have by this time received, I presume I am guilty
of no breach of confidence in here transcribing it for the benefit of
my readers:--

  "Horse-Guards, 31st January 1849.

     "Sir,--I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief to transmit to you
     the Medal and Clasps graciously awarded to you by her Majesty
     under the general order of the first of June 1847. I have the
     honour to be, &c.

  "FITZROY SOMERSET."

As I never attempt to describe my own feelings, except such as are
describable, I shall not relate what I now felt on the receipt of this
much desired, anxiously expected medal. But this I will say;--long live
the Queen! long live Queen Victoria! God bless her! Oh, it was a kind
thought: it was a gracious act. It comes to cheer the heart of many an
old soldier, and of many a middle-aged gentleman like myself, who got
nothing but honour and aching bones for his share in the Peninsular
glories; and now has something that he can add to the archives of his
family, and leave to those who come after him. "Graciously awarded to
you by her Majesty:" Yes; and I feel it as much so, as if her Majesty's
own gracious hands had placed it in mine. And, if ever she wants
defenders, so long as this arm can wield--but enough: romance would be
out of place.

After the delivery of the medals had been proceeding for some time, I
was coming, one morning, out of the Horse-Guards, when I met old Major
Snaffle, who had just got his. The major belongs to that class who are
known in the army by the name of "grumblers;" and, having been knocked
down by the wind of a shot at the Trocadero, having been brought away
in the last boat but nineteen from Corunna, having seen the battle of
Salamanca from the top of a tree, having been seized with the ague but
an hour before the storming of Badajoz, having again been very ill in
the south of France from eating unripe grapes, having regularly drawn
his pay and allowances, and never having been absent from his regiment
on sick leave when he could not get it, now justly deems himself a very
ill-used man, because more has not been done for him. "Well, major,"
said I, "I wish you joy. So you have got your medal at last." "Yes,"
growled the major, or rather grunted, "at last I _have_ got it. Long
time, though, six-and-thirty years--long time to wait for half-a-crown."

My own profession, at present, is very different from that of arms.
Nor can I presume, having been in but one general action, to rank with
those brave old fire-eaters of the Peninsular army, whose medals with
_many_ clasps--bar above bar--tell of six, seven, eight, critical
combats or more, in which they took a part under the illustrious
Wellington, in Portugal, in Spain, in the south of France. By the bye,
how I should like to see the Duke's own medal! What a lot of bars HE
must have!--what a glorious ladder, step rising above step in regular
succession, when he sits down to soup in his field-marshal's coat! But
I was going to say--to return from great things to small--so far from
being able to claim high military honours for myself, though serving
under his Grace's orders in the Peninsular war, I was not there at all
in a strictly military capacity. Yet as, from this very circumstance,
I had opportunities of seeing scenes, characters, and incidents,
connected with the British army, of a different kind from those
described by other writers on the subject, I am induced, by the arrival
of my medal, to place on record a short narrative of my personal
adventures in the Peninsula and south of France.

Yet, ere I commence the yarn, a word, one word, for the honoured dead.
Many, who came home safe from the Peninsula, fell at Waterloo. Others
were borne from the western ports of Europe across the Atlantic, to
be marks for Kentucky riflemen and New England bushfighters. Of the
survivors, multitudes upon multitudes have gradually dropped off; and
those who now remain, of the legions that conquered at Vimeira, at
Vittoria, and at Orthes, to receive her Majesty's gracious gift, are
probably fewer in number than those who are gone. One "Old Peninsular"
I have heard of, in whose own family and connexions, had all lived,
there would have been fourteen or fifteen claimants of the medal. He is
now, if he still survives, the only one left. In my own connexions we
should have made seven; and now, besides myself, there remains only one
venerable uncle, who is comfortably located in a snug berth in Canada.
There was my honoured father, who received the thanks of parliament
for his services at Corunna, and pounded the French batteries at
Cadiz. There was my cousin, Tom Impett, of the 53d, whom I found with
a musket-ball in his leg two days after the battle of Toulouse, in a
house full of wounded men and officers. He died in Canada. There was
another venerable uncle, as kind an uncle as ever breathed, and as
honest a man as ever lived. He died, to his honour, far from rich,
after having been personally responsible for millions upon millions
of public money, the sinews of war, all paid away in hard cash for
our Peninsular expenses. He was generally known at headquarters
by a comical modification of his two Christian names. There was
Captain, afterwards Colonel B----, of the Royal Engineers, a quiet,
mild-tempered man, with military ardour glowing in his breast--the
man of education and the gentleman. We met near the platform of
St Cyprien; and he had the kindness to entertain me with a calm
disquisition on the fight, while we were both in the thick of it. He
had his share of professional employment in the Peninsular sieges, and
got a bad wound or two; but lived to fortify Spike Island, and was at
length lost at sea. And then there was colonel H----, who commanded a
Portuguese brigade with the rank of brigadier-general--an extraordinary
composition of waggery, shrewdness, chivalry, and professional talent.
He came down to Lisbon while I was there, on his way to England, quite
worn out with hard service and the effect of his wounds, or, as he told
us himself, "unripped at every seam." He died not many days after, on
his passage to England.

Now for myself. I commenced keeping my terms at Trinity College,
Cambridge, in the year 1809, the seventeenth of my age. A college
life was not altogether my own choice; for nearly all the males of my
family, for three generations, had served or were serving their country
either in the army, navy, or marines, to the number of some ten or
twelve; and I myself had always looked forward to wearing the king's
uniform. Moreover, as the Peninsular war had already commenced when I
went to college, and I had learned at school the use of the broadsword
and small sword, had been drilled, and could handle a musket, my
thoughts often turned to military scenes, especially when I read in
the daily journals of victories won, first by Sir Arthur Wellesley,
then by Lord Wellington. But, once at Cambridge, I caught the fever of
academic emulation. My cousin B---- (brother of the Captain B---- above
mentioned,) had been senior wrangler, and had given me some useful
hints as to the mode of reading with effect; I read hard, obtained a
Trinity scholarship in my first year, first class the same year, ditto
the second year, and stood fair for a place among the wranglers. But
now my health broke; not, however, from hard living, but from hard
study. I was compelled to give up; and, not choosing to read for a
middling degree after having been booked for a high one, determined to
go out among the hoys. Now my penchant for military adventure returned
with full force. I was miserably out of health, with an excellent
constitution--in proof of which I always found that I lost ground by
nursing, but gained by a rough open-air life. A campaign or two would
be just the thing for me. And I beg to offer this suggestion to growing
young gentlemen who are sickly, and consequently hipped, as I was.
If, with rough living--that is, with much moving about, and constant
exposure to the atmosphere--you grow worse, I can give you no comfort;
you are a poor creature, take all the care of yourself you can. But
if, with the same kind of life, you grow better, stronger, stouter,
heartier, saucier, depend upon it, you have some stamina. This was my
case. I saw that a sedentary life was not the life I was made for; an
active life was the life for me; and my thoughts dwelt more and more on
the Peninsula. I rubbed up my French, procured a Gil Blas in Spanish,
ditto in Portuguese, a Portuguese and a Spanish grammar, and, for a
sick man, made wonderful progress in all the three languages.

But, alas! there was a hitch. I was an only son, and an only
child--intended for the _law_! My dear father had already made me
a present, while at school, of Fortescue _De Laudibus_; and I had
already gobbled up a portion of that excellent work--for I was always
an omnivorous reader--and had digested it too. And then what would my
dear mother say, if I talked to her about going to be shot at for the
benefit of my health? It was a delicate point to manage, and how to
manage it I knew not.

In the long vacation of 1812, which closed my third year at Trinity
College, Cambridge, I brought matters to an explanation. My father's
ship, the----, 74, was then in the Downs, and we had lodgings on Walmer
beach. I stated my desire to enter the army, and my firm conviction
that nothing else would restore my shattered constitution. But my
father was inflexible, my mother answered all my arguments, and I saw
that I had no chance.

But when one way of gaining an object fails, another sometimes presents
itself. My two uncles, of whom I have spoken, were already in the
Peninsula, both of them in the same department, the senior at the head
of it, with the privilege of occasionally nominating his own clerks.
Their friends in England heard from them now and then; and I saw a
letter from my senior uncle to a particular old crony of his own, who
had influential connexions, asking him why he did not come out to the
army with the rank of A. D. P. M. G.,[16] instead of staying at home,
and eating roast pig for supper.

Like all the hipped, a miserable race, I was constantly thinking
about myself; and now a happy thought struck me. As to parliamentary
interest, to be sure I had none. Besides, being under one-and-twenty,
I was not of an age to aspire to an officer's rank, in a department of
so much responsibility as the paymaster-general's; therefore, the above
standing of assistant-deputy, which put an epaulet on the shoulder at
once, was not to be thought of. But then, if Buonaparte would only have
the kindness to keep us in hot water two or three years longer, I might
rise to the said rank by previous good conduct in the office of clerk,
and that my uncle could get me at once.

I again broke ground with my honoured parents. My father assured me
that, if I went to Lisbon, where he had been stationed with his ship,
I should find it a hell upon earth: though I afterwards learned that
he had contrived to spend a tolerably happy life there. "And as to
your being attached to headquarters, and following the movements of
the army, I," said he, "have seen quite enough of service ashore to
be able to tell you that you will be soon sick of that." But, to cut
the story short, my dear mother now began to incline to my view of the
subject. To be sure a clerkship was not exactly what they had thought
of for me--but it might lead to something better--no man's education
was complete without a tour on the Continent--the usual tour through
France, Italy, and the south of Germany, was rendered impossible by
the war--and where, in all Europe, could a young man travel, except
in Spain and Portugal? Fighting, and paying those who fought, were
different things--I might keep out of the way of bullets, and yet
contrive to see the world. In short, these arguments prevailed. A
letter was written out to my uncle, begging him to write a letter to
the head office in London, nominating me as one of his clerks for
Peninsular service. I went back to Cambridge, attacked Spanish and
Portuguese with renewed ferocity, took my degree of A. B., and returned
home in the early part of 1813, just in time to meet a letter from the
best of uncles, stating that he had written to the home authorities,
and was anxiously expecting my valuable assistance in the Peninsula.

Nothing was now wanting but the nomination from London. That anxious
month! Morning after morning I watched for the postman's knock; and,
at every such summons, it was myself that opened the door to him. But
great bodies move slowly, and official dignity delights to announce
itself by tardiness of action. At length the wished-for communication
arrived; a letter, "On His Majesty's Service," of no common magnitude;
a seal of correspondent amplitude; and an intimation, in terms of
stately brevity, that I was appointed a clerk of the military chest
attached to the Peninsular army, and was to attend at the office in
London to receive my instructions.

During that month the bustle of preparation, in our usually quiet
domicile, had been immense. Stockings sufficient to set up a Cheapside
hosier, shirts enough for a voyage to India, flannel commensurate
with a visit to the North Pole--everything, in short, that could be
thought of, was prepared for the occasion with kind and provident care.
I said farewell, reached London, reported myself, got my orders and
an advance, booked my place for Falmouth, and found myself the same
evening a passenger to Exeter by the fast coach.

In those times, the journey from London to Falmouth by the fast coach
was a light off-hand affair of two nights and two days. We reached
Exeter on the second night, and there I was allowed the indulgence
of three hours' bed, till the Falmouth coach was ready to start. As
part of the said three hours was occupied in undressing and dressing,
and part also in saying my prayers, I entered the new vehicle far
more disposed for sleep than for conversation. But there I found,
to my consternation, a very chatty passenger, perfectly _fresh_! He
was a man of universal information--in short, a talented individual,
and an intellectual character; had his own ideas upon morals,
politics, theology, physics, metaphysics, and general literature; was
particularly anxious to impart them; and was travelling to obtain
orders in the rum and hollands line. Ah, what a night was that! Oh the
dismal suffering which a prosy talker inflicts on a weary head! Of all
nuisances, the most unconscious is the bore. I do think the Speaker of
the House of Commons is the most ill-used man in the three kingdoms.
Reflect: he must not only hear--he must _listen_! And then think what
a time!--hour after hour, and day after day! For a period amounting,
in the aggregate, to no small portion of the life of man, must that
unfortunate victim of British institutions sit and hearken to

    "Now a louder, now a weaker,
    Now a snorter, now a squeaker;
    How I pity Mr Speaker!"

Some portion of such suffering I myself was now compelled to endure,
by my communicative friend in the Falmouth coach. To be sure, it
was only a single proser; but then there was variety in one. He
commenced by a few remarks on the weather, by which he introduced a
disquisition on meteorology. He then passed, by an easy transition,
to the question of secondary punishments; glanced at the theory of
gravitation; dwelt for some time on heraldry; touched on hydrostatics;
was large on logarithms; then digressed on the American war; proposed
emendations of our authorised version; discussed the Neptunian theory;
and at length suspended his course, to inform me that I was decidedly
the most agreeable fellow-traveller he had ever met with. The fact
is, I was sitting up all this time in the corner of the coach, in a
state of agony and indignation indescribable, meditating some mode
of putting a stop to the annoyance, and mentally seeking a solution
to the question--What right has a very stupid person to make your
brain a thoroughfare for his stupid ideas, especially when you would
particularly like to go to sleep? He mistook my silence for attention,
and thought he was appreciated. This went on till daylight--continued
to breakfast-time--proceeded during breakfast--ceased not when we
had re-entered the coach-talk, talk, talk, _de omnibus rebus et
quibusdam aliis_--still the same stream of stuff. That long, that
dreary journey from Exeter to Falmouth! The soft lull of somnolency
came at length to my relief; and I began to nod my assent, much to my
tormentor's gratification. But presently I was dead asleep; and, most
unfortunately, my head dropped forward into the pit of his stomach.
The breath, knocked out of his body, escaped with a gasp, like an
Indian's "ugh!" In a moment I was broad awake, and made a thousand
apologies, which he politely accepted, and renewed the thread of his
discourse. Again, I dropped off; and again my head dropped forward.
Another "ugh!" another ocean of apologies, another resumption of the
endless yarn. The other passengers, two sedate and remarkably silent
gentlemen of Falmouth, in broad-brimmed hats and drab coats of a
peculiar cut, had each his weather-eye open, and began to enjoy the
joke amazingly. Gradually, once more, the incessant clack subsided in
my ears to a pleasing hum; I was off; the cervical, dorsal, and lumbar
muscles once more lost their tension beneath the narcotic influence of
incessant sound; and my drowsy head gave a pitch as before, with the
same results--"ugh!"--apologies unlimited--ditto accepted--and more
yarn. The Quakers--I beg their pardon, the "Friends"--are, you must
know, eminently humourists. This, please to take notice, arises from
their superior intelligence, and high degree of mental culture; the
result of which is high susceptibility. You might now have seen, in
our two fellow-travellers in the Falmouth coach, what you would see
nowhere but in their "connexion"--two men ready to die of laughing,
and each looking as grave as a judge. For a few miles it went on.
Talk--sleep--head pitched into bread-basket--"ugh!"--pungent and
profound regrets--regrets accepted--talk recommenced--and so on with a
perpetual _da capo_. At length the most gifted of gratuitous lecturers
began to perceive that he was contributing to the amusement of the
party in a way that he had not intended, and grew indignant. But I
pacified him, as we drove into Falmouth, by politely soliciting a card
of his house; stepped out of the coach into the coffee-room of the
hotel, out of the coffee-room into bed as soon as it was ready, and
made up for two sleepless nights by not coming down to breakfast till
two o'clock the next day.

The Lisbon packet was not to sail for a week. My extra baggage arrived
in due time by the heavy; and I occupied the interval, as best I
could, in a pedestrian survey of the environs of Falmouth, walks to
Truro, Pendennis Castle, &c. I was much delighted with clouted cream,
and gave the landlady an unlimited order always to let me have a john
dory for dinner, when there was one in the market. N.B.--No place like
Falmouth for john dories. Clouted cream always ask for, when you go
into the West--very good with tea, not bad with coffee; and _mem._,
unimpeachable with apple-pie.

The packet, that was to have the honour of conveying me from Falmouth
to Lisbon, was a little tub of a gun-brig, yclept the Princess
Wilhelmina. Judging from her entire want of all the qualities requisite
for the service on which she was employed, I presume she must have
obtained the situation through some member of parliament. Her captain
was laid up with the gout; and we were to be commanded by the mate, who
turned out to be a Yankee, and an ugly customer; but more of him anon.
At the same hotel where I had established my _habitat_, was a military
party, three in number, waiting, like myself, for the sailing of the
packet; yet not, like myself, men fresh in the service, but all three
regular "Peninsulars"--men who had returned on leave from the British
army, and were now about to join, in time for the opening of the
campaign. They had established themselves in a front drawing-room on
the first floor, seemed very fond of music, and had good voices. But as
they always sang together, and each sang his own song, it was not easy
to determine the vocal powers of each. The coffee-room was quite good
enough for me; and there I had the honour of forming the acquaintance
of another fellow-voyager that was to be--a partner in a large London
house in the Manchester line, whom, to avoid personality, I beg leave
to distinguish by the name of Gingham. He had many of the peculiarities
of Cockneyism, and some that were entirely his own; but I found him a
very pleasant companion, and we perambulated the town and neighbourhood
in company.


CHAPTER II.

My first chapter brought me, on my way to Portugal, as far as the
Royal Hotel, Falmouth. At this stage of my travels, I must beg to
detain the reader for a short space; for here it is that I may be
said to have had my seasoning; here, in fact, I obtained my first
introduction to military society, and to military life, as it prevailed
at the British headquarters in the Peninsula. This advantage I gained
by falling in with the party of "Peninsulars" already mentioned, who
were on their way out, like myself. I must also make my readers better
acquainted with my friend Gingham, whom I hope they will not dislike
on further knowledge. Gingham and I afterwards campaigned in company.
I must premise that he had a touch of romance; and, as I afterwards
discovered, had not been brought up as a merchant.

It was the early spring of 1813: a year big with events of import to
Spain, to France, to England, and, in fact, to the whole of Europe. On
leaving London by the fast coach, we had bowled away over frozen roads.
But at Falmouth, the trees were budding in the hedgerows, the sun
was shining, the birds were singing; while the soft air stole gently
by, and, whispering, sportively saluted us as it passed, like some
coy nymph invisible--that idea was Gingham's--the sky was clear, and
the haze danced in the sunshine on the distant hills--Gingham again.
Towards the afternoon, it generally fell calm. The capacious harbour,
smooth as glass, though gently undulating at its entrance, with the
swell of the Atlantic that rolled lazily in, bore on its bosom not only
the tub-like Princess Wilhelmina and her Yankee mate, but many a noble
vessel of ampler tonnage, that showed no water-line in the transparent
and silent mirror on which it floated, and seemed to hang suspended
between earth and heaven, motionless in the sun-lit and misty ether.

A very odd fish was that Gingham. We enjoyed our walks amazingly. He
was going out to Lisbon in a large way, on a mission of mercantile
speculation, with full authority from his firm to do anything and
everything, whether in the way of contracts for the army, buying up
commissariat bills, engaging in monetary transactions, or, above
all--for that was his chief object--forming a Peninsular connexion, and
opening a new market for British goods. His was, indeed, a voyage of
enterprise and of discovery; not, however, his first. His manners were
precise. He was a higgler in little things, but had large ideas, and
lots of gentlemanly feeling. Like many other Cockneys of those days,
he was always dressed, and always conscious of being dressed. His hat
was white, with the exception of the interior green of the brim, which
matched with his spectacles. His gloves were white, his unmentionables
were white, and so was his waistcoat. His white cravat was tied before
in a sort of pilot-balloon, or white rosicrucian puff. His hair also
was pomatum'd, and powdered white. His very pigtail, all but the narrow
silk ribbon that held it together, was white. His coat was not white,
but a light pepper-and-salt, approaching to white. On the whole, there
was so much white in his general appearance, that on board the packet
he at once received the name of "the white man." He was generally
well-informed, but particularly so in matters of commerce. Our intimacy
increased rapidly, and I afterwards, indeed very soon, found the
advantage of it. He was naturally of a communicative disposition,
while he had much to communicate that was worth knowing. In me he
found a willing hearer; for I was glad to receive any kind of useful
information. With the prospect before us of a campaign in common, we
soon knocked up a sort of friendship.

Gingham could do the handsome thing. Two days before our embarkation
he insisted on my dining with him--taking my chop with him, he called
it--in return for half a beefsteak, which he had accepted from me at
breakfast, his own being delayed. I entered the coffee-room at the
appointed hour; but was ushered up stairs into a private room with
some degree of ceremony by the waiter, who, I observed, had on gloves,
knees, silk stockings, and pumps.

Gingham was there. He had ordered a regular spread. We sat down. The
landlord, who had not hitherto made himself visible, emerged on this
festive occasion, brought in the soup, bowed, and retired. Gingham said
grace. The soup excellent: it was turtle! "Capital turtle!" said I;
"had no idea that anything half so good was to be had in all Falmouth."
"Always take a small stock when I travel," said Gingham; "got a
dozen three-quart cases from Cornhill. Just found room for it in my
travelling store-closet." "Travelling store-closet!" thought I: "what a
capital fellow to campaign with!"

Soup removed. Re-enter landlord, attended by waiter. John dory, in
compliment to me, splendid. Large soles, fried. "I despise the man that
boils a sole," said Gingham. It was despicable, I admitted. "My dear
sir," said he, "allow me to lay down a principle, which you will find
useful as long as you live. With _boiled_ fish--turbot, for instance,
or john dory--always take sauce. You did quite right, in allowing me to
help you to sauce just now. But with _fried_ fish, at least with fried
sole--this, for instance--never, never permit sauce or melted butter to
be put upon your plate." It was a manoeuvre to get me to try the sole,
after the john dory. "Fried sole without butter?" said I. "Try it my
way," said Gingham, helping me: "take some salt--that's right--now put
to that a modicum of cayenne--there--a little more--don't be afraid
of putting enough--cayenne, though hot, is not heating, like common
pepper--now mix them well together with the point of your knife." I
obeyed implicitly. "Now then," said Gingham, with a look of exultation,
"TRY THAT." I tried it; and owned that I had never known, till then,
the right way of eating fried sole. It was excellent, even after the
john dory. Try it, only try it, the first time a fried sole appears on
the dinner table, under which are your legs.

A peculiar sound at the side-table now announced that he of the pumps
was opening a bottle of champagne. Up to that moment we had managed to
put up with Madeira, which was the fashionable dinner wine in those
days. N.B.--Good wine to be got at Falmouth. It comes direct from
abroad, not viâ _London_.

Fish removed. Door opens. Though rejoicing in those days in a very
fair appetite, I was rather alarmed, after such a commencement of our
humble meal, at the thought of what might be coming. But Gingham had
a delicacy of taste, which never overdid things. Enter once more
the landlord, bearing an elegant little saddle of Dartmoor mutton,
and audibly whispering to the waiter, "Boiled fowls and tongue to
follow." I commenced this history with a resolution to conceal nothing;
therefore, away with reserve: both mutton, fowls, and tongue were
excellent. "A little more Madeira, Mr Y--," said Gingham. The currant
jelly had distasted my mouth. I merely put the glass to my lips, and
set it down again. Gingham observed, and at once discovered the reason.
"Take a mouthful of potato," said Gingham, "the hottest you can find in
the dish." My taste was restored. Table cleared again. I hoped the next
_entrée_ would be the cheese and celery.

During the short armistice, Gingham, who delighted to communicate
useful knowledge, resumed the subject of the potato. Like all merchants
who pay frequent visits to the Peninsula--and Gingham had been there
often--he was knowing in wines, and in everything vinous. "Yes," said
he, "nothing like a mouthful of hot potato to make you taste wine.
There are lots of things besides, but none equal to that. The invention
is my own."

"Then," replied I, "I presume you use it at Oporto and Xeres, when you
make purchases?"

"Why, not exactly that neither," said he. "The worst of it is, it makes
all wine relish alike, bad as well as good. Now, in buying wine, you
want something to distinguish the good wine from the bad. And for this
purpose--" The landlord and waiter reappeared.

"Sorry, Mr Y--, there is no game," said Gingham. "Fine jack hare in the
larder this morning, but rather late in the season. Wouldn't have it.
Can you finish off with one or two light things in the French way?"

"My dear sir, my dear sir!"

The table was this time covered with such a display of _pâtisserie_,
macaroni, and made dishes, as would have formed of itself a very
handsome _petit souper_ for half-a-dozen people. Gingham wanted me to
try everything, and set me an example.

The whole concluded, and the cloth about to be removed, "Mr Gingham,"
said I, "you said grace before dinner, and I think _I_ ought to
say grace now." The waiter drew up reverently with his back to the
sideboard, adjusted his neckcloth, and tightened with his right hand
the glove upon his left.

We sat sipping our wine, and nibbling at a very handsome dessert. I
wanted to know more about distinguishing good wine from bad.

"I have made large purchases of wine on commission," said Gingham,
"for private friends; and that, you know, is a delicate business, and
sometimes a thankless one. But I never bought a bad lot yet; and if
they found fault with it, I wouldn't let them have it--kept it myself,
or sold it for more in the market."

"You were just on the point," said I, "of mentioning a method of
distinguishing good wine from bad."

"Well," replied he, "those fellows there, on the other side of the
Bay of Biscay, have methods innumerable. After all, taste, judgment,
and experience must decide. The Oporto wine-merchants, who know what
they are about, use a sort of silver saucer, with its centre bulging
upwards. In this saucer they make the wine spin round. My plan is
different."

"I should like to know it," said I.

"Well, sir," said he, "mix with water--two-thirds water to one-third
wine. Then try it."

"Well?"

"If there is any bad taste in the wine, the mixing brings it out. Did
you never notice in London, even if the port or sherry seems passable
alone, when you water it the compound is truly horrid, too nauseous to
drink?"

"The fact is, though a moderate man, I am not very fond of watering
wine."

"The fact is," continued Gingham, "there is very little good wine
to be got in London, always excepting such places, for instance, as
the Chapter. When you return, after having tasted wine in the wine
countries, you will be of my opinion. Much that you get is merely poor
wine of the inferior growths, coloured, flavoured, and dressed up with
bad brandy for the London market. That sort comes from abroad. And much
that you get is not wine at all, but a decoction; a vile decoction,
sir; not a drop of wine in its composition. That sort is the London
particular." I felt that I was receiving ideas.

"Now, sir," said Gingham, "my cold-water test detects this. If what you
get for wine is a decoction, a compound, and nothing but a compound, no
wine in it, then the water--about two-thirds to one-third--detects the
filthy reality. Add a lump or two of sugar, and you get as beastly a
dose of physic as was ever made up in a doctor's shop."

"Just such a dose," I replied, "as I remember getting, now you mention
it, as I came down here by the fast coach, at an inn where I asked, by
way of a change, for a glass of cold white-wine negus. The slice of
lemon was an improvement, having done duty before in a glass of gin
punch."

"Shouldn't wonder," said Gingham. "And if what you buy for port or
sherry be not absolutely a decoction, but only inferior wine made
up, then the water equally acts as a detective. For the dilution has
the effect of separating, so to speak, the respective tastes of the
component parts--brings them out, sir; and you get each distinct. You
get, on the one hand, the taste of the bad brandy, harsh, raw, and
empyreumatic: and you get, on the other hand, the taste of the poor,
paltry wine, wretched stuff, the true _vinho ordinario_ flavour, that
makes you think at once of some dirty roadside Portuguese _posada_,
swarming with fleas."

"But what if you water really good wine?"

"Why, then," said Gingham, "the flavour, though diluted, is still the
flavour of good wine."

"I should like," said I, "to be knowing in wines."

Seeing in me a willing learner, he was about to open. But at this
moment the mail drove into the yard of the hotel; and, knowing that
Gingham was always ravenous for the London journals on their first
arrival, I insisted on our going down into the public room, taking a
cup of coffee, and reading the papers. We had talked about wines; but,
being neither of us topers, had taken only a moderate _quantum suff._,
though all of the best kind. Gingham, out of compliment to me, wished
to prolong the sitting. But, knowing his penchant for a wet newspaper,
I was inflexible. We rose from the table.

I felt that I had been handsomely entertained, and that something
handsome ought to be said. The pleasing consciousness, however, of
having eaten a good dinner, though it excited my finest feelings, did
not confer the faculty of expressing them. I began:

"Sir, Mr Gingham; I feel we ought not to leave this room, till I have
expressed the emotions--" Then, taking a new departure, "Really, sir,
your kind hospitality to a comparative stranger--"

"Well, sir," said Gingham, laughing, "I will tell you how it was. Do
you remember your first breakfast in the coffee-room, the day after
your arrival by the mail? I was present, and enjoyed it amazingly."

"Oh, sir! oh, sir!" said I, a _leetle_ taken aback; "really I was
enormously hungry. In fact I had eaten nothing during my two days'
previous journey; and was so sleepy on my arrival, that I got to bed as
fast as I could, without thinking of ordering supper. And when I came
down next morning, or rather afternoon, why, to tell you the truth, I
made it breakfast and dinner in one; and perhaps I did seem a little
savage in my first onset on the Falmouth--"

"No, NO, NO!" exclaimed Gingham, interrupting me. "That was not it. No,
NO, NO! far from it. My dear sir, you merely disposed of two or three
plates of ham and eggs; then a few muffins, with about half-a-dozen
basins of tea. After that--let me see--after that, to the best of my
recollection--after that, you took nothing, no, nothing, but the mutton
chops. No, sir, it was not the quantity. I have often made as hearty a
meal myself; and, if we campaign together, I trust we shall often make
as hearty a meal together. Nothing like campaigning for an appetite.
No, sir; that was not it. It was your manner of taking it."

"My manner of taking it? Really! And pray what did you see in my manner
of taking it?"

"Sir," said Gingham, with emotion, "I know this house. I have long
used this house. Everything in this house is good. The accommodation
is good. The attendance is good. The wine is good. The dinners are
good. The breakfasts are good. Now, sir, I have seen some persons
conduct themselves in this house in a manner that filled me with scorn,
disgust, and indignation. They arrive by the London mail, sir, as you
did, and go to bed. In the morning they come down into the public room,
and order breakfast. They breakfast, not like you, my dear sir, very
moderately, but enormously. That I could forgive; after a long journey
it is excusable. But, sir, what I cannot tolerate is this: They find
fault with everything. The tea is bad; the coffee is bad. They take up
the silver cream-jug; examine the clouted cream; smell to it--yes, sir;
they actually smell to it--and smelling to anything, I need not say, is
as great a _bêtise_ as a man can commit at table--ask the waiter what
he means by bringing them such stuff as that; and, before they have
done, gobble up the whole, and perhaps call for more."

"Call for more? Why, that, I think, is exactly what I did."

"Yes, my dear sir," said Gingham, "you enjoyed it; and you took a
pretty good lot of it; but you did not find fault with it. Not so the
people I am talking of. The fact is, sir, we Londoners have a great
idea of keeping up our dignity. These persons wish to pass for people
of importance; and they think importance is announced by finding
fault. Item, they are enormously, indecently hungry, and fully intend
to make a breakfast for two, but wish to do it surreptitiously. On
the arrival of the beefsteak, they turn round the dish, and look at
it contemptuously, longing, all the while, to fall to. Yes, sir, they
turn round the dish two or three times; then stick their fork into the
steak, and turn it over and over; perhaps hold it up, suspended by a
single prong, and examine it critically; and end all by pushing away
their plate, drawing the dish into its place, and bolting the whole
beefsteak, without taking time to masticate. Sir, there was a man in
that coffee-room this morning, who grumbled at everything, and ate like
a dog. In short, they clear the table of eatables and drinkables; then
call the waiter, and reproach him, with a savage look, for bringing
them a tough beefsteak; and, in a plaintive voice, like ill-used men,
inquire if there is any cold meat-pie."

I owned, from personal observation in the public room, to the general
correctness of this sketch.

"Now you, sir," continued Gingham, "enjoyed your breakfast, and made a
good one; but found fault with nothing; because, I presume, there was
nothing to find fault with. I like to see a man enjoy his meals. And if
he does, I like to see him show it. It is one of the tokens by which I
judge of character. Your conduct, my dear sir, commanded my respect.
Shall I say more? It won my esteem. Then and there my resolution was
formed, to invite you, at the first convenient opportunity, to partake
of my humble hospitality."

It was too much. I extended my fist. A shaking of hands, of some
continuance--cordial on my part, and evidently so on Gingham's, by the
pain I felt in my shoulder.

"Well, sir," said Gingham, "I had already learned that you were a
passenger for the Peninsula. I was a passenger for the Peninsula; and,
as we were to sail together, and probably to campaign together, I
resolved to introduce myself. I said, this lad--I beg your pardon, this
youth--excuse me, this gentleman, this young gentleman--for I guess you
have some ten years the advantage of me in that respect--this gentleman
is, like myself, bound for the headquarters of the Peninsular army. I
know something of campaigning; he knows nothing. We campaign together."

"Well now," said I, "that is just what I should like amazingly."

Gingham now took the initiative, and put forth his paw. Again we
tackled, and, in the true pump-handle style, so dear to Englishmen,
expressed mutual cordiality: only that this time, being better
prepared, I reversed the electric stream, and brought tears into
Gingham's eyes. He sung out, "Oh!" and rubbed his arm.

"The rest," said Gingham, "is easily told. After breakfast you walked
out into the court-yard, lit a cigar, and stood on the steps. I lit
another, followed, and had the pleasure of making your acquaintance."

I gave audible expression to my profound self-congratulations.

"Allow me, however, to add," said Gingham, "you raised yourself greatly
in my esteem by asking the waiter for a red herring. The request
evinced a superiority to vulgar prejudices. Your way of putting it,
too, was in perfect good keeping: for you did not commit yourself by
_ordering_ a red herring; but asked whether you could have one in
the coffee-room. Believe me, I was pained, when he stated that red
herrings were not permitted; and could but admire your self-denial, in
accepting, as a substitute, the mutton-chops."

We adjourned to the public room.

Gingham had entertained me hospitably and handsomely. Yet this was
the same Gingham who, when I made him take part of my beefsteak at
breakfast, because his own was delayed, proposed that we should desire
the waiter to tell the landlady to charge only half a beefsteak to me,
and half a beefsteak to him, Gingham. My rejection of this proposal was
the immediate occasion of the dinner, at which the reader has just been
present.

While we were eviscerating the papers, fresh from London, Gingham
leaned over the table, with the air of a man who had something
important to communicate. He looked me earnestly in the face.

"Mr Y----," said he, "what do you say--to a red herring--this
evening--for supper?"

"Thank you. You must excuse me. Nothing more to-night, but one cup
of coffee, and perhaps a cigar. Not even an anchovy toast. I really
couldn't."

"Well, then," said Gingham, "to-morrow at breakfast. We will engage a
room up stairs, and ask leave of nobody. I have brought down a small
barrel from London--always take some when I visit the Peninsula--get
them in Lower Thames Street. You will pronounce them excellent."

The offer was too good to be declined.

Next morning we ordered breakfast up stairs. Indeed, a fire had been
lit in one of the parlours, by Gingham's directions; and there I found
him, with the table laid, and the herrings ready for cooking. Gingham
had secured a small Dutch oven; not with the design of _baking_ the
herrings--no, no, he knew better than that--but to keep them hot when
done. The doing he reserved to himself, on the plea of experience. I
was not to assist, except in eating them.

"Do you understand cookery, Mr Y--?" said Gingham.

I ingenuously owned my deficiency in that branch of education, which is
no part of the Cambridge curriculum.

"Three months at headquarters," said he, "will make you an excellent
cook."

It so happened that the parlour, in which we had located ourselves for
the purpose of cooking our herrings, was not that in which we had dined
the day before, but one adjoining the larger apartment occupied by the
three military gentlemen, with whom we were to cross the Bay of Biscay.
A boarding, removable at pleasure, was the only separation between the
two rooms. We had not yet become acquainted.

Shortly after I joined Gingham, two of the three entered their
parlour; presently the third followed. They rang the bell, and ordered
breakfast, all in high good humour, and talking incessantly. We were
not listeners, but could not help hearing every word that was said.

"Good blow-out that, yesterday."--"Pity we didn't know of it sooner;
might as well have dined with them."--"Turtle, too."--"'Pon your
honour?"--"Turtle, and lots of champagne. Caught the waiter swigging
off the end of a bottle in the passage."--"Who are they?"--"Don't
know; can't make them out. Both going out with us in the packet,
though."--"Think I remember seeing the white fellow at Cadiz; almost
sure I did; and afterwards again at Madrid. Always wore his hair in
that way, well floured and larded, except when it was too hot, and
combed down straight on each side of his ugly face."--"What a nose!
Prodigious! A regular proboscis."--"Yes, and all on one side, like the
rudder of a barge."--"Let me tell you, a very good thing; for if it
was straight, it would be always in his way."--"Always in his way? Why
it would trip him up when he walked."--_Omnes_, "Ha, ha, ha."--"Going
with us, do you say? Hope he don't snore. Why, such a _tromba_ as that
would keep a whole line-of-battle ship awake."--"Bet you a dollar he's
blind of one eye."--"Done." "Done. Book it, major."--"I'll trouble
you for a dollar. He does walk a little sideways, but it isn't his
eye."--"What is it, then? One-eyed people always walk sideways."--"Why,
I'll tell you, now. It's a principle which most people observe through
life."--"What principle?"--"Guess."--"Come, tell us, old fellow. None
of your nonsense."--"D'ye give it up?"--"Yes, I give it up. Come, tell
us."--"Follow your nose."--_Omnes_, "Ha, ha, ha."--"Capital! capital!
That's the best we've had for some time. Follow your nose! Capital!
Ha, ha, ha."--"Well, that's it, depend upon it. Other people follow
their noses by walking straight forward. That white fellow walks
sideways, but still follows his nose."--"No, no, major. Your theory is
fallacious. When he walks his nose points backwards. His nose points
over his left shoulder, and he walks right shoulders forward." I looked
at Gingham, and laughed. Gingham was looking rather grave, and feeling
his nose. "No, no. I tell you he walks _left_ shoulders forward."--"Bet
you a dollar."--"Done."--"Done. Book it, major."--"I'll trouble you
for a dollar. Saw him this morning, all in a bustle. Took particular
notice of his nose."--"Who is the young chap?"--"Oh, he's a regular
Johnny Newcome, that's evident."--"Johnny Newcome? Yes; but I wish he
wasn't such a chap for john dories. Price in the market is doubled."
Gingham laughed and looked at me. "Suppose he's a sub going out to
join his regiment."--"No, no. Got such lots of baggage. No regimental
officer would be ass enough to take such a heap of trunks. Load for
three mules."--"He'll soon knock up. Those long fellows always knock
up."--"Shouldn't wonder if he gets the fever next autumn. Then what
will his mammy say?"--"Well, but what did they dine about? Thousand
pities we did not join them."--"Oh, I suppose it was something of a
parting feed; taking leave of Old England, you know: toasting Miss
Ann Chovy, Miss Mary Gold, Miss Polly Anthus, and all that kind of
thing."--"Hang it all; a good dinner for eight people; thousand pities
we missed it."

By this time, our cookery was proceeding in due course. Two splendid
bloaters, whole, lay extended where chestnuts are roasted; while two
more, split open, hung suspended from a large toasting-fork, held
by Gingham, who told me to look and learn, but not to meddle. With
a clear bright fire, they soon began to spit. Nor was there wanting
another token of our operations. For now the savoury odour of four red
herrings, simultaneously under a brisk process of culinary preparation,
diffused itself through the apartment, and no doubt through the whole
hotel, from the cellar to the attics. The effect on our friends in the
next room was instantaneous. Conversation ceased. Then there was a deal
of sniffing--then audible whispering and suppressed laughter--then
again, a dead silence. Gingham and I exchanged looks. "We _must_ be
acquainted," said Gingham, quietly; "and the sooner the better." I
saw he had made up his mind, and was prepared for what was about to
take place. Then the conversation was heard a little louder, but not
distinguishable. There was evidently a council of war. Much laughter.
Then, audibly spoken, "Are you fond of herrings?"--"Very; capital for
breakfast."--"So am I, very; that is, of _red_ herrings. _Fresh_,
can't endure them."--"Nor I; they have such a horrid SMELL. But a
bloater,--often dined off them up the country; didn't we, major?"--"Oh
yes, lots of times. But you were moderate. Never could manage above
half-a-dozen at a sitting."--"Ring for the waiter."--"No, no; nonsense.
Major M--, YOU." After a moment's pause, one of the party left the
room; walked, apparently to the end of the passage; then walked
back again; opened our door; entered, and politely apologised for
the mistake. He was a middle-aged, well-built, gentlemanly-looking
man, with _bonhomie_ beaming in his countenance, and came at once to
business. His eye dropped upon the herrings.

"Beg ten thousand pardons. Oh! I see it's _here_. We perceived that
bloaters were frying somewhere in the house, and thought we should like
to try a few. Will you have the kindness to inform me where they can be
procured? Didn't know there was a single bloater in all Falmouth."

I, in my simplicity, thought the major was really asking for
_information_, and was going to tell him of several shops where I had
seen bloaters; but Gingham was too quick for me.

"Here is a barrel-full," said Gingham, pointing to the corner of the
room. "Shall be most happy to supply you and your friends with any
quantity. Do me the favour to accept of two or three dozen."

"Oh no, sir," said Major M--, drawing up, as if he had been
misunderstood. The major was playing a higher game. "Couldn't think of
such a thing. Thought you had procured them in the town."

"Indeed, sir," said Gingham, "I don't think the town contains their
equals. They are from London direct. Always take a small barrel with me
when I visit the Peninsula. Get them in Lower Thames Street."

"Really, a most excellent idea," said Major M--. "I wish I had done the
same. Well, I think I never will return to headquarters again without
taking a barrel of red herrings." The Major cast a sort of domesticated
look about the room, as if he felt quite at home with us.

"Go it, Major!" said an opening in the partition, _sotto voce_.

"Come, Major," said Gingham, "I see you and the gentlemen your
companions are old campaigners. So am I. Suppose we waive ceremony. You
see we have got our cooking apparatus all ready. Suppose--do us the
favour--excuse the shortness of the invitation--I shall be delighted,
and so will my friend here, if you and your party will oblige us with
your company to breakfast."

"Yes, yes, Major," said the crevice, as before. "Yes, Major, yes," said
another crevice.

"Really, sir," said the Major, with an admirably assumed look of polite
embarrassment, and turning a deaf ear to his two prompters behind the
scenes--"really, sir, I hardly know how to thank you sufficiently for
your obliging invitation. But--shall we not intrude? You meant to
breakfast in private. You have, perhaps, business? Matters to arrange,
preparatory to the voyage?"

"None in the world, sir," said Gingham, "till after breakfast. Our only
business here is to cook our bloaters and eat them, which we could not
do in the public room below. Do, pray, oblige us by negotiating this
little affair, Major, and persuade your friends to favour us with their
company."

The Major, in fact, was negotiating already; and a capital negotiator
he made. He might, had he pleased, have walked off, at an earlier stage
of the proceedings, with a whole pile of herrings; and even that, at
college, we should have thought a capital _coup_. But the Major was not
so green.

"Well, sir, since you are so very pressing, I shall have the pleasure
of communicating to my comrades your kind invitation; and I presume,"
he added, bowing politely to me, "I may also have the honour of saying,
the invitation of your friend, Captain Y--."

I bowed in return, too much taken by surprise to disclaim the rank so
unexpectedly conferred; and a little sore at being saluted "captain,"
by the same voice which I had heard, just before, proclaiming aloud,
that if I was a regimental officer I was an ass. The Major bowed again;
backed out of the room, still bowing, and closed the door.

The remaining negotiation was not of long continuance. His two
friends were already in the passage, hard by the entrance of our
apartment. A dead silence--one irrepressible burst of laughter,
instantly hushed--again dead silence--a tap at the door--door opened by
Gingham--and enter THE THREE PENINSULARS.

I really could not help admiring the perfectly free and easy, but at
the same time quiet, self-possessed, and gentlemanly style of their
_entrée_, and of their bearing during the first few moments of our
interview. Gingham expressed his gratification; was happy to see them.
Advancing on their right flank, taking up a central position, and then
facing to the left, "Allow me," said the major, "to avail myself of
my brief priority of acquaintance, and to introduce--Captain Gabion,
of the Royal Engineers," (bowing, on both sides)--"and Mr Commissary
Capsicum," (more bowing,)--"half-brothers, I need not say--the family
likeness is so striking." Gingham presented Mr Y--. Mr Y--(booby!)
presented Gingham.

"Not very striking that family likeness, though," thought I, of
course taking seriously what the wag of a major spoke with perfect
seriousness. The captain of the Engineers was a pale-looking man,
buttoned up to the chin in his regulation frock-coat, rather above
the common height, air military and symmetrical. Education had traced
on his countenance the lines of thought; and, in short, his whole
appearance was a little aristocratic, and what we now call _distingué_.
His "half-brother," the commissary, on the contrary, who appeared at
least twelve years his senior, was a short, pursy, puffy man; with
a full, rubicund, oleaginous, and pimpled visage; a large, spongy,
purple blob of a nose, its broad lower extremity pendulous, and
slightly oscillatory when he moved; a humorous twinkle in his eye,
which was constantly on the range in search of fun; two black, bushy
tufts for eyebrows; his hair distributed over his ample pericranium in
large detached _flocks_, each flock growing a way of its own, and no
two alike; coat flying open; waistcoat open, all but the two bottom
buttons; a bull neck, with very little cravat; and a profuse display
of shirt and frill. His shirt and frill, imperfectly closed, revealed
his grizzly chest; while his nether extremities were set off to great
advantage by a pair of tight blue kerseymere pantaloons with a scarlet
stripe; and something--I suppose, as bustles were not then the fashion,
it must have been his tailors' clumsiness--imparted a peculiar breadth
and bulge to the tail of his coat. He wore splendid gaiters of bright
nankeen, with mother-of-pearl buttons. No ceremony when gentlemen meet.
We were all quite at home in a moment.

There was a little hitch. All the party were quite of one mind and
will, in the project and purpose of cooking and eating bloaters. But
how were five cooks to cook at one fire?

We all saw it together. I looked at the partition. "Better unship
that," said the commissary. The commissary, I soon saw, was, by common
consent, the commanding officer of the party. We went to work; and in
no time the partition was cleverly removed, and stowed away on one
side. We thus made our small parlour a large one, with the additional
advantage of two fires instead of one for our culinary operations.
Gingham, meanwhile, had slipped out of the room; but returned in a few
minutes, looking quite innocent. He had been absent to some purpose,
as the result shortly proved. We now found full employment with the
herrings, roasting and toasting. Gingham, the captain, and the major,
at the larger fire; I and Mr Commissary Capsicum at the other.

Gingham, when he left the room, had given his order; a _carte blanche_
to the whole establishment to extemporise as handsome a breakfast as
circumstances would permit, with a special caveat against delay.

Enter the waiter, with a tray, and a large tablecloth.--Previous
set-out transferred from the table to the tray, and placed on the
sideboard.--Two tables run into one--fresh tablecloth laid.--Exit
waiter.

Enter waiter again, with plates, cups and saucers, knives, forks, and
spoons, basin, two sugar-basins--in short, all the apparatus of a
breakfast-table.--The whole laid, in the twinkling of an eye.--Exit
waiter.

Enter waiter a third time, with a large tray--bread, (varieties,)
butter, water-cresses, ham, tongue, cold fillet of veal, cold chicken,
cold pigeon-pie, all the cold eatables.--Boots handed in from the
door a large block of quince marmalade, on a silver salver.--Boots
handed in small jars: potted shrimps, pickled oysters, pot of Scotch
honey, strawberry jam, other jams.--Boots handed in one larger jar,
a Portuguese conserve, _quartos de marmelas_. (N. B. quinces cut up
into lumps, and boiled in Brazilian sugar. Portuguese beat all the
world in sweetmeats, and _quartos de marmelas_ beat all the rest.)
I guessed Gingham had given the landlady the key of his travelling
store-chest.--Boots handed in milk, cream, clouted cream. Boots handed
in two splendid brass kettles of boiling water, one of which waiter
placed on each fire.--Exit waiter.

A temporary pause. During this lull, the utmost energies of the
house were in exercise below, to provide with despatch the remaining
_matériel_ of our humble meal. I observed, from time to time, that he
of the commissariat eyed the preparations with peculiar benignity. It
was all in his way, as I subsequently had the pleasure of experiencing,
among the sources of the Adour and the Garonne. "Ever been with the
army?" said he.--"Never," said I; "but hope to be soon."--"Hope you'll
often dine with me. But don't spoil that fine bloater. There, hold it a
little further from the fire. Red herring should be toasted, not burnt
to death. Done, when the backbone is crisp; not before. But should not
be done quickly, like murder in Shakspeare. Do it slowly, my dear sir;
do it slowly. If you do it fast, you burn all the flavour out of it." I
saw he was a connoisseur.

Yet--stupid, conceited, arrogant young coxcomb--so inexperienced was I
then, so indignant at the shadow of interference, so unaccustomed to
anything that bore the least semblance of control, I inwardly curled at
even these valuable and truly philanthropic suggestions--thought it all
exceedingly odd, and took it for dictation.

Lots of bloaters were now toasted or roasted, and prepared for eating.
Just as we were ready, for the fourth time enter waiter, bringing eggs,
coffee-pot, two tea-pots, (tea and coffee ready,) muffins, hot buttered
rolls, &c., &c., &c. But among the _etceteras_ I really must pause,
to specify a certain delicate sort of round west-country breakfast
cake--piles of which were also brought in, buttered and smoking hot.
Gingham whispered the waiter, "Keep on bringing _them_."

Gingham, with his usual judgment, had prohibited anything hot in the
shape of chops, steaks, cutlets, grills, rashers, or even kidneys. It
was a herring breakfast; and he excluded what would only have divided
the appetite, and interfered with the bloaters.

We made a capital breakfast. Everything was excellent. The pile of
breakfast cakes received perpetual accessions, but never gained in
height. The bloaters, however, were the staple of our meal; and
Gingham's barrel suffered a considerable reduction. As we were all
sensible people, or wished to appear so, there was very little talk;
and what there was referred to the important business in hand. At
length it was clear that we had breakfasted. Gingham was beginning to
recommend the knick-knackeries--jams, pickled oysters, marmalade. Each
seemed disposed to pause, yet none had quite left off. Our guests were
evidently telegraphing, and exchanging looks of approval, when--

Enter the waiter once more, bringing, upon a silver tray, two curiously
shaped bottles cased in a sort of wicker-work, with glasses. A splendid
Italian liqueur! It was sipped, approved, tossed off with wonderful
despatch. One by one we gradually leaned back in our chairs, and the
bottles began to move round, as if spontaneously. That is, I cannot
exactly say I saw any one pass them; but from time to time, first here,
first there, I noticed a little finger pointing to the ceiling; a
movement which certainly had something to do with the progress of the
bottles. We sat, sipped, and chatted. Our breakfast was an accomplished
fact.

"Hear, hear, hear!" Mr Commissary Capsicum was on his legs. Knuckles
rapped; glasses jingled; "Hear, hear, hear!"--The telegraphic
communications of his two friends had intimated to him their wishes:
the unexpected bonus of the liqueur, coming in at the last, had
awakened, in his own bosom, its most benevolent emotions: he rose to
acknowledge our hospitality; and in his friends' name, as well as in
his own, to invite us that day to dinner.

His address I shall not attempt to report. It was brief, well-bred, and
well-expressed; had several good points, and was heard with immense
applause. He invited us to dinner; gave Gingham's health and mine; and
concluded by observing that, "conscious that he had not made a neat and
appropriate speech, he begged leave," (filling, and suiting the action
to the word,) "to drink long life and prosperity to us, in a neat and
appropriate bumper." Considering it was our first meeting, I did think
_that_ was a little broad.

Gingham returned thanks, and gave the health of Major M--, R.A. Major
M-- returned thanks.

I returned thanks, and gave the health of Captain Gabion, R.E.

Captain Gabion returned thanks, sat down, and rose a second time, but
was anticipated by Gingham again, who gave the health of Mr Commissary
Capsicum.

Mr Commissary Capsicum returned thanks.

With respect to the dinner, it would not do. It was our last day before
sailing; Gingham had whole reams of letters to write; I also had
matters to attend to; we pleaded the circumstances, and begged to be
excused. Our friends saw the difficulty, and reluctantly accepted our
apologies.

There was a moment's pause. Then all three rose from the table at once,
again thanked us politely for our hospitality, and withdrew to their
private apartments. Shortly after, looking out of the window, I saw
them walking down the street, all arm in arm, and each puffing a cigar.

Gingham stood pensive by the fire, his elbow on the mantelpiece, his
head leaning on his hand.

"I fear," said I, "your exertions to entertain your guests have wearied
you."

He made no reply. I went up to him. He seemed to awake as from a
reverie.

"Hang it!" said Gingham, in a plaintive tone, "there _should_ have been
some mashed potatoes."

"Never mind, my dear sir--excellent breakfast; everything went off
capitally. I, for one, enjoyed it amazingly."

"Yes," said Gingham, mournfully; "but, to make the thing complete,
there _should_ have been some mashed potatoes with the bloaters.
Had I only known of it in time! By the bye," added he, "I thought
once or twice, you did not seem entirely at your ease. Nothing more
gentlemanly, my dear sir, than your general manner. But at times, it
struck me, you did appear a little--a little--stiffish. You must get
rid of that before we reach headquarters."

"Well," said I, "I'll tell you. That 'captain' stuck in my gizzard.
There's the truth. Coupled with what we heard previously, and Major
M--must have known that we heard it, it was just the same as calling me
a donkey to my face."

"Oh, that's nothing," said Gingham. "Don't distress yourself about such
trifles as that."

"To tell you the truth," said I, "the whole thing appeared to me a
little too free and easy. Here were you and I preparing to take a quiet
breakfast, when those three guerilla fellows, with their off-hand
Peninsular manners, actually took us by storm, made a most ferocious
attack on your barrel of herrings, sunk it one-third, drank up your
two bottles of liqueurs, and civilly wished us good morning. Now, when
I was at college, to be sure we were merry enough, no etiquette, no
ceremony there. But then there was a certain gentlemanly feeling, which
forbade vulgar familiarity in any shape. And as to people that assumed,
or made free, I always kept them at arm's length."

"Well, Mr Y--," said Gingham, "I see plainly how it is. Follow my
advice. If you can't take a joke, resign your appointment, forfeit your
money, and return to London. You'll find it awkward enough living among
military men on actual service."

"I trust," said I, "by adhering to my invariable rule, never to offer a
deliberate insult, but at the same time never to brook one, go where I
will, I shall be fortunate enough to escape disagreeable rencontres."

"Nonsense!" said Gingham, looking very serious, and speaking quite
in a sharp and peremptory tone--"nonsense!" Then softening a little,
"Rencontres, my dear sir? Rencontres? Nothing of the kind. Rencontres?
You talk like a militia officer. Rencontres? You'll soon dismiss all
that kind of thing from your thoughts, after you have seen two or
three rencontres with the French. Rencontres? No, no; no field of
forty footsteps at headquarters. Rencontres? It would be a perfect
absurdity, where men have the chance of being shot gratis every day of
their lives, without going out of the way for it. Rencontres? No; I did
not mean that. What I meant to say was this: you would infallibly be
made a general butt. Rencontres? Why, Mr Y--, if you show any nonsense
of that sort, you'll be tormented to death. Rencontres? Oh, what lots
of fun they'll take out of you! Meanwhile, think yourself fortunate
that you are now getting a seasoning. I am truly glad, for your sake,
that you have had the opportunity here at Falmouth, and will have the
opportunity on your passage out, of seeing something of military men
and modes before you join. You may, and probably will, be dubbed, on
your arrival, a Johnny Newcome. But, at any rate, you will not be a
Johnny Raw."

Gingham closed the conference by walking to the other end of the room,
and steadfastly contemplating his own beautiful physiognomy in the
glass. During our conversation, his hand had frequently visited his
nose. He now stood opposite the mirror, slewing his head first this
way, then that, and at length broke silence:--

"Well, I was not aware of it; but I do think that my nose is a little
crooked."

"I presume," said I, "you have no sisters?"

"I have none," replied Gingham.

"Nor are you, I apprehend, a married man?"

"There, alas, you are right again," said Gingham; "but what has that to
do with it?"

"Your wife, or your sisters, if you had any, would have told you that
you have a very crooked nose."

"Well, but," said Gingham, "there's my mother. My dear mother never
told me that my nose was crooked."

"Your mother, probably, is totally unconscious of the fact; and,
should she hear any one else assert such a thing, would deny it most
strenuously."

"Nay, but," said Gingham, "though I have neither sister nor wife, and
supposing my dear mother to be blind to my personal defects, I have--in
short, Mr Y--, before I left London, I took a tender leave of her whom
I hope to persuade, on my next return from the Peninsula, to accept the
hand and the heart of a Gingham. SHE did not tell me that my nose was
crooked. She mentioned various obstacles to our union; but she never
mentioned _that_."

"Then," said I, "depend upon it, she means to have you. And depend upon
this, too; she will tell you your nose is crooked when you have made
her Mrs Gingham, if she does not tell you so before."

"As to my walking sideways," said Gingham, "that's a palpable fiction."

"Here," said I, "come to this extremity of the room, and place yourself
opposite the glass." He came, and placed himself accordingly.

"Now walk straight down upon, the glass, keeping your eye fixed upon
your reflected nose."

"What nose? Which nose?" said Gingham, in a state of obvious alarm. "Do
you mean the nose in my face?"

"I mean your nose in the glass." He walked as I had directed.

"Well, really," said Gingham, it's extraordinary; it's very curious.
When I walk and look at my nose in the glass, it appears quite straight
again--just as it ought to be, in the middle of my face."

"That's just it," said I. "Then you walk sideways. Depend upon it, if
you walked straight, your nose would appear crooked."

He repeated the experiment again, and again, muttering to himself,
"Very remarkable, very curious; quite a natural phenomenon."

"Don't distress yourself about your nose," said I; "it is a good enough
nose, in magnitude respectable, though not strictly rectilinear. Make
yourself easy; and say, with Erasmus, 'Nihil me poenitet hugeous
nasi.'"


CHAPTER III.

Where Gingham got his classical knowledge, I had not at this time
ascertained. Certain it is, he was a very fair classic. But there was
one dreadful drawback to his character, and, in a man of his gravity,
a strange one: I mean his offensive, horrid practice of making most
atrocious Latin puns. A pun in English he viewed with utter contempt.
It stirred his bile. No English pun escaped his lips. But for a Latin
pun, he scrupled not to lay under contribution even the first-rate
Latin poets, Virgil, Ovid--nay, his favourite author, Horace; and if I,
influenced by bad example, was weak enough, in an unguarded moment, to
commit the same offence, he stole my puns, and made them again as his
own.

On the eve of our embarkation we strolled forth, after an early
dinner, for a parting view of the sunset from the castle. Walking
up town, we met the man of rum, the sleep-murdering Macbeth of the
mail-coach. Still he was talking--for want of company, talking to
himself. But his eyes were set, half-closed, and dim; his aspect was
peculiarly meditative, and his course curvilinear. He had taken on
board _plus æquo_ of his own samples. Perceiving our approach, he
gave a lurch to clear us. But his legs, being not altogether under
management, brought him exactly in the direction which he sought
to shun; his stomach, which had already suffered so many assaults
in the coach, most unfortunately impinged upon my elbow; and again
it was "ugh!" His gummy eyes expanded, and gleamed on us like two
fresh-opened oysters. Awhile he gazed with drunken gravity; then,
turning round, bent over the roadside gutter, as if about to tumble
in, and jocosely imitated the operation of drawing a cork. His organs
of vision then assumed a slow movement of horizontal oscillation, and
gradually settled on a pastry-cook's shop over the way. Towards this
point he directed his zigzag approaches, recommencing his agreeable
conference with himself, in terms of which we could catch only the
words--"Archimedes--screw--pneumatic chemistry--soda water--pop!" He
left with us the odour of a very bad cigar, which led Gingham to remark
that he was "backy plenus" in more senses than one.

The influence of bad example is dreadful. Emerging from the town in
our way to the castle, we met a merry party, male and female, all
equestrians save some six or eight, who occupied the interior and
exterior of a post-chaise. Gingham, who saw into a thing at once,
pronounced them a wedding party; and a buxom dame, who was mounted on
a lively little west country galloway, the bride. "Pony subit conjux,"
said I. "Yes," said Gingham; "but if that dear lady rides so near the
carriage, oh! oh! oh! she will infallibly be capsized! 'Pony sub curru
nimium propinqui!'" We reached the hill in time, saw a glorious sunset,
and returned to letter-writing, and a light supper on hashed duck.

As Gingham appears more than once upon the stage in the course of
my Peninsular adventures, and I should really be sorry to annoy the
reader, as much as I was annoyed myself, with his perpetual and
abominable perversions of classic latinity, I beg leave to dispose
of this part of the subject at once, before we get to sea. Suffice
it to say, then, that in the spring of the year 1838, just a quarter
of a century after the period of which I am now writing, I once more
left London for Falmouth, _en route_ to Lisbon, though with an object
far different from that of my voyage now to be recorded, and in a far
different capacity. Science, in these five-and-twenty years, had done
wonders; and I had secured my passage in London, not by a miserable tub
of a sailing packet, but by a well-found and fast Peninsular steamer.
The day before the steamer was to start from Falmouth, I walked down to
the water's side to take a view of her. On the quay stood Gingham. By
one of those strange coincidences which sometimes happen in life, we
had again met at Falmouth, and were again to cross the Bay of Biscay in
company. I recognised him: he did not recognise me. Time had somewhat
changed his look, his dress very little. Its predominant aspect was
still white. His nose, too, was unmistakeable. Perceiving at once that
he was, like myself, a passenger to the Peninsula, I availed myself of
the freedom conceded in such cases, and commenced a conversation by
some remark on the steamer.

"I presume, sir," said he, "you are a passenger?"

"Yes, Mr Gingham, and so are you. Glad to meet you." He stared, but
admitted the fact.

"But, sir," said he, "you have the advantage of me."

"Well, well," said I, "you'll find me out to-morrow on board the
Guadalquivir. Fine ship that. To-morrow, you know, as Horace said, when
he was off by the steamer:-'Cras, ingins! iterabimus æquor!"

The effect was instantaneous. Gingham did not speak, he shouted:--"Dine
with me: I have got a john dory."

We walked off to the town--I rubbing my shoulder, which Gingham shook,
when he shook my hand--he, for a few paces, thoughtful and silent. I
expected a burst of sentiment.

"By the bye," said Gingham, "while your hand was in, you might just
as well have quoted the _other_ line, for that, also, refers to our
voyage."

"The other line?"

"Yes, the other line. Don't you see that pair of rooks flying over the
harbour?"

"Rooks fly in droves. I see no rooks."

"Right," said he; "they are a couple of crows."

"But the line from Horace, referring to our voyage?"

"Not only referring to it," said Gingham, "but highly encouraging. 'Nil
desperandum two crow duce, et auspice two crow."

"Gingham, you are incorrigible."

To reach the street from the water's side we had to pass through a
narrow passage, and there met the stewardess of the steamer, who was
going on board. She stalked along in clogs on tiptoe, her left hand
gathering up, behind, her cloak, gown, petticoat, &c., while her right
hand bore an umbrella one size larger than a parasol, and a reticule
one size less than a pannier; emerging from which pannier appeared
the ugly mug of an enormous Portuguese red ram cat, the pet of the
stewardess, and the constant companion of her Peninsular voyages.

"My cat inter omnes," said Gingham.

       *       *       *       *       *

But I have rambled, and am a quarter of a century wide of the mark.
The period of which I have now to write, the important period to which
my present narrative refers, is not the more recent year, 1838, but
the remoter year, 1813, glorious in the annals of England; the year
that saw the commencement of Napoleon's downfall; the year of triumph
and rout beneath the walls of Vittoria; the year of a still sterner
and equally successful conflict at St Sebastian; the year, too, that
furnished a name for a princess of a royal line, that QUEEN VICTORIA
who, in her high estate and royal clemency, remembered and rewarded the
long-forgotten and long unrecompensed heroes of those bygone times.
In the early spring of that year, 1813, I was there at Falmouth, a
raw youth, launched on the wide world in search of adventure, burning
to reach the headquarters of the Peninsular army, fully capable of
making a fool of myself when I got there, and anxiously waiting for
the sailing of the Princess Wilhelmina gun-brig, which, for want of a
better, performed the office of Lisbon packet. It was well for me that,
at Falmouth, I had already fallen into friendly hands.

On the morning of our embarkation, March the--th, 1813, Gingham went
early on board the packet, for his personal baggage was bulky and
various, to see to its stowage--part in his berth, part in the hold.
It was settled between us that he was to return ashore, that we were
to breakfast together at the hotel, and afterwards go off together to
the packet, which was still lying in the harbour, and was to sail about
noon.

I waited breakfast for Gingham, but no Gingham came. At length I
received a long note from him, dated on board the packet. It began by
stating that an attempt had been made to impose upon him, and that he
was determined not to stand it. The attempted imposition, as I learned
from him afterwards, was this:--

Gingham walked down from the hotel to the water's side, and engaged a
boat, which was to take him on board the packet for eighteen-pence;
he, Gingham, understanding thereby, according to the tenor of many
previous bargains at the same rate of payment, that he was to be taken
on board, and put on shore again. On this, however, the last day of
our abode at Falmouth, the two boatmen, thinking they might safely try
it on, and conjecturing also that Gingham's time might possibly be too
valuable to be wasted in discussion, determined to take a different
view of the subject, and exact a second fare for landing him. The boat
reached the packet, Gingham went on board, the boatmen made fast to
a harbour-buoy, and waited the result. Gingham went below, made his
arrangements, came on deck, and hailed his boat to take him ashore. The
elder boatman civilly touched his hat, and remarked, with a winning
smile, that they hadn't been paid "nuffin" for bringing him _on board_.
Gingham replied, that he should pay as usual when they had got back to
the quay. The boatman, courteous as before, again touched his hat, and
answered, simpering, "Beg your pardon, sir, but this ear last day, when
the peckit's hoff, jeddlemen hol-ways pays bode ways, cumin aboard,
and goon back again." "Oh, do they?" said Gingham, and walked down
into the cabin, where he quietly wrote his note to me, in a hand that
beat copperplate; and breakfasted upon sea biscuit, junk, and ship's
cocoa, the steward not having yet got off his stock of groceries for
the voyage. Everybody on board knew Gingham, and he had no difficulty
in getting his note brought ashore in the ship's boat, without the
knowledge of the two 'longshore fellows, who were riding at the buoy,
and who still thought they had the best of the bargain--as it is a rule
in harbour, or at any rate was in those days, that no private passenger
by a packet passed or repassed except by 'longshore boats. Gingham was
now all right, and did not care one farthing for the boatmen; for he
already had the bulk of his things on board, he was on board himself,
and his note advised me respecting his remaining matters ashore. He
continued below, having resolved, as he told me afterwards, to keep the
boatmen waiting alongside till the packet was off, and then give them
ninepence. Meanwhile he sent up, by the steward, an injunction to the
people on deck, who enjoyed not a little the false position of the two
boatmen, not on any account to let them come on board.

Gingham's note to me, which was, as I have already intimated, a
beautiful specimen of commercial penmanship, was to the following
effect:--That he was detained on board by his determination to resist
a gross imposition; that the laundress had still in her keeping a
small quantity of his linen, which she was to bring to the hotel about
breakfast-time; that he had settled with the servants that morning;
and that the landlady was indebted to him in the sum of two shillings,
he having paid his bill the night before, in which bill was included
the charge of two shillings for a cold-meat breakfast, which he should
not take; that he requested me to get back the two shillings from
the landlady; that he would also thank me to receive the linen from
the laundress, see that it was correct per invoice, (washing-bill, I
presume,) check her account, liquidate it, and bring the linen on board
with me.

Meanwhile a circumstance arose, which was of great moment in itself,
and gave Gingham a further advantage in his affair with the two
Falmouth lads. An extra mail for Lisbon had arrived from London,
sent off by despatch to catch the packet before she sailed; and, by
management of Gingham's partners, who were influential people, brought
Gingham letters on a matter of some importance. These letters were
taken off to Gingham by a trusty drab-coated Falmouth "Friend," in
another 'longshore boat, and rendered it absolutely requisite that he
should go ashore, and perhaps defer his voyage. The packet at this
time was surrounded with boats and bustle, the two boatmen still
fast to the buoy; and Gingham had no difficulty in returning ashore
by the boat which brought off his mercantile friend, without being
observed by them. In fact, they were half asleep, still secure, as they
thought, of their victim, and affording no small sport to the crew of
the packet, who saw how things were going. I shall only mention here,
that the communication, received by Gingham from London, related to
a grand financial speculation, an idea of his own, having reference
to the monetary transactions at headquarters, which were very large,
and as well conducted as circumstances permitted, but attended with
great difficulties, and considerable loss to the British government.
Gingham's plan would have been backed by private capital to any amount.
It was knocked on the head by the peace of 1814: but I have more to say
about it hereafter.

True to her time, the laundress arrived at the hotel; not bringing, as
Gingham had described it, a small quantity of linen, but attended by
a man with a barrow, wheeling two large buck-baskets, each piled with
an immense heap of shirts, white inexpressibles, white double-breasted
dimity waistcoats,--in short every thing white,--a stock for a voyage
to China. On the interior of the collar of one of the said white
double-breasted dimity waistcoats, I noticed the cypher G G!--No.
                                                         37
1 of the fourth dozen! So profuse was Gingham in his provision for the
habiliment of his own elegant exterior. I settled with the laundress,
engaged the barrow-man to go off with me in charge of the linen, and
take back the baskets, finished my breakfast, paid my bill, and went on
board. Such was my first embarkation for the Peninsula. Little dreaming
that there was a spoke in my wheel, and that some time was still to
elapse between my departure from Falmouth and my arrival at the British
headquarters, I had longed for the day of the packet's sailing. But
now, when the wished-for moment had arrived, a lot of little things,
coming upon me at the last, quite put it out of my head that I was
quitting my native land, and about to enter on new scenes, mingle
with strangers, embark in active life, and master--where alone they
could be mastered, on their vernacular soil--two ancient, expressive,
and kindred languages, which I had conned rudimentally on the banks
of Cam. Nor did I dream that I went to earn a prospective claim to a
Peninsular Medal; and jot down mental memoranda, still vividly legible,
of all I heard and saw, for the information and amusement of readers
then unborn. "Gooin' off to the peckit, sir? Here, Bill, hand the
jeddleman's boxes." Then, when we were half way to the brig,--"Wherry
'ot on the worter, sir. Ope you'll be ginnerous a little hextry for the
luggidge, sir. Wherry dry work pullin', sir."

Gingham, when I reached the packet, was not on board. The cause of his
absence was explained to me by the steward, who assisted in stowing
away the contents of the two buck-baskets in Gingham's berth. During
this operation, the steward, who fully participated in the antipathy
to 'longshore boatmen common to his class, communicated to me, with no
small glee, the occurrences of the morning; and begged me to take a
sight, when I went on deck, of the two expectant gentlemen at the buoy.
There they were, sure enough, very much at their ease--quite satisfied
that Gingham would want to be taken ashore again before the packet
sailed, that theirs was the boat that must take him, and that they had
the game in their own hands.

On deck I met our three breakfast guests of the day before. They
greeted me cordially, made many inquiries after Gingham, and introduced
me, as a particular old crony of theirs, to Staff-Surgeon Pledget, who
had arrived by the mail overnight, and was also a passenger to Lisbon,
on his return to the British army. I soon began to perceive that it was
a standing rule with my three new acquaintances, regular "Peninsulars,"
to extract fun from even the most common incidents--in fact, from
everybody and everything. Staff-Surgeon Pledget, as able a man in his
profession as any staff-surgeon attached to the Peninsular army, was
matter-of-fact personified; and the dignified cordiality with which
he received an old crony of _theirs_, evidently afforded the three
hoaxers extraordinary sport. Major M---- did the presentation with
perfect coolness and amenity. Gammon was his element. Mr Commissary
Capsicum winked his eye in the richest style of comedy, and nearly made
me spoil all by laughing. Captain Gabion looked gravely on, and laughed
internally. His sides shook, his elbows twitched, and his countenance
wore its usual expression of melancholy.

Presently after was seen approaching a man-of-war's boat, pulling at
the steady rate, which indicated that it conveyed an officer of rank.
The boat came alongside with a graceful sweep; twelve oars stood
upright, as if by magic; and a tall, military-looking man, who had
lost an arm, rose, politely took leave of the lieutenant in charge of
the boat, ascended the ship's side, with the aid of his single hand,
faster than some people perform the same difficult operation with two,
and stood on deck. This was the brave Colonel ---- of the cavalry,
who was going out with us to rejoin his regiment. He had lost his
arm at Oporto, on that memorable occasion when the French, to their
astonishment, found the British army on _their_ side of the Douro; and
when the British army, too, quite surprised at finding itself, as if by
magic, on the _opposite_ bank of a broad, deep, and rapid river, and
struck with admiration at the bold conception and skilful execution
which had effected the transition under the enemy's nose, with one
consent dubbed its illustrious leader "Old Douro." By that title,
from that time forward, he was commonly known at headquarters: and is
it not a glorious one, so won, and so conferred, and truly worthy of
descending in his family? On that occasion, I was told, Colonel ----
charged through the enemy at the head of his regiment, and, as one good
turn deserves another, thought he might as well charge back again. It
was in this second charge that he lost his arm.

Arrived on deck, the colonel made a somewhat semicircular bow to all
of us, and immediately recognised Major M----. His valet followed him,
and presently went below. The next moment, the colonel began to take a
first view of the vessel, and turned from us for that purpose. Captain
Gabion, first nudging Mr Commissary Capsicum, whispered Major M----,
"Come, major, give us the colonel." The major, having an arm too many,
in a twinkling whipped one behind him, stepped to the gangway, and did
the colonel's first appearance to the life. To execute the colonel's
recognition of himself, for want of a better substitute, he advanced,
with the colonel's three military strides, to _me_. I, carried away by
the drollery of the scene, so far forgot myself that I did the major.
This caused a general laugh; the colonel turned round, and caught me
and the major bowing, grimacing, and shaking hands. He saw at once what
had been going on, and laughed too. But the major wished to shift the
responsibility. "That Pledget," said he, "keeps us in a constant roar."
Mr Staff-Surgeon Pledget looked a little surprised. When the major
gave us the colonel's horizontal salutation to the company assembled,
Pledget took it all in earnest, and bowed in return.

One other arrival followed. A shore boat came off, having four more
passengers--a lady, two gentlemen, and a female attendant. One of the
said gentlemen, an Irishman, was the lady's brother: she, in face
and form, a perfect specimen of Irish beauty; he, both in person
and in feature, all that might be expected in the brother of such a
sister. In this respect he presented a remarkable contrast to their
fellow-passenger, who was a young Irish officer of the East India
Company's navy, and, what made it more remarkable, the accepted
swain, as we afterwards had every reason to conclude, of his fair
countrywoman. How shall I describe this lovely youth? His head was
large; his face prodigiously large and _flat_; his features were
ludicrously diminutive. Fancy a full moon seen broad and white through
a Shetland mist--in short, a full moon of putty; then fancy, stuck
exactly in the centre of this moon, the little screwed-up pug face of a
little ugly monkey, and you have him to a T. His two little twinkling
eyes, deep sunk beneath the beetling brow of his prominent and massive
forehead, and in such close proximity that nothing separated them but
the bridge of his nose, were constantly and inquisitively on the
move. The nose itself was too insignificant to merit a description.
Yet it was not exactly what is called a squashed nose, but a nose
without a nib. It conveyed to you, indeed, the painful impression that
some unfeeling barber had sliced off its extremity, and left the two
unprotected nostrils staring you full in the face, like the open ports
of a ship. His ears were like an elephant's,--large, loose, thin,
flat, and un-hemmed. His mouth, like that described by a distinguished
authoress, "had a physiognomy of its own." Not very observable when
quiescent, in speaking it became curiously expressive, and, at times,
enormously elongated or strangely curvilinear. It had also, under the
same circumstances, another peculiarity. It was a travelling mouth:
yes, it travelled. When it talked, it was constantly shifting its
position, not only up and down, but sideways and obliquely. In the
utterance of a single sentence, it would traverse the whole extent of
his face. It was now high, now low; now on this side, now on that.
It ranged, at will, the whole breadth of his countenance from ear to
ear; so that at times he was all mouth on one side of his face, and no
mouth on the other. This gave him the additional advantage, that his
profile could maintain a dialogue with you, as well as another man's
full face. When conversing with his lady-love, side by side at the
dinner-table, he never turned to look at her--he had no need. Viewing
her with one eye, like a duck, in tones of deferential tenderness he
addressed her from the cheek that was nearest hers. His perfectly
well-bred deportment, nay, elegance of manner, his inexhaustible fund
of good humour, and amusing waggery, did not, I am sorry to say,
prevent his acquiring, and bearing during the voyage, the name of
Joey: allusive, I presume, to the feats of mouth performed in those
days by the far-famed Grimaldi. The malevolent suspicion, that a title
so derogatory was any suggestion of mine, I scorn to notice. To this,
however, I do confess, that, ere we had been four-and-twenty hours at
sea, as a slight token of my profound veneration for the stateliest
and the loveliest of Erin's daughters, I proposed, and it was carried
unanimously, that she should bear the name of Juno. And, the colonel
having pronounced her brother a perfect Apollo, I also proposed,
and it was also carried unanimously, that we should call him Mr
Belvidere. But I am anticipating. On the practice of giving sobriquets,
so common at headquarters, much remains to be said hereafter. As
to the maid-servant, she was a quiet little Irishwoman of about
five-and-thirty, in a duffle cloak with pink bows, snug straw bonnet
neatly tied under her chin with a pink ribbon, and snow-white cotton
stockings, exhibiting a rather broad instep, which led me to conjecture
that she had not always worn shoes. Her mistress called her Kitty, and
that name she was allowed to keep, as no one on board thought he could
improve it.

It is time to get to sea. Gingham, where are you? what are you about?
We shall be off, and leave you behind. Noon, our hour of sailing, was
now near at hand. The anchor was hove short; the sails were shaking in
the wind; the skipper came on board; the foresail was then set; still
there was no Gingham. Those talented individuals, the two boatmen,
still supposing Gingham was on board, were getting a little uneasy.
They were now wide awake, and anxiously peering at the ship with
their hands over their eyes, watching every one that came on deck,
but watching in vain. Their uneasiness evidently increased, as our
remaining time diminished; till at length, as the town clock struck
twelve, the capstan was manned. The anchor was then hove to the tune of
"Off she goes," performed on a single fife in admirable time, marked by
the tread of many feet. The flood-tide was beginning to make; but we
didn't care for that, as we had wind enough from the north-east, and
to spare. Other sails were now set, and we were beginning to get way;
while I was intently eyeing the shore, expecting to see Gingham shove
off, and perfectly sure he would come, because he had taken no steps
for the re-landing of his baggage.

But I did not look in the right direction. Gingham, detained to the
last moment, and then, having settled all things to his satisfaction,
at liberty to prosecute his voyage, had made his arrangements with his
usual judgment. It was a near thing though. He put off from a part of
the town lower down than the quay from which he usually embarked, so
as to cut in upon us as we glided down the harbour; and was within a
few fathoms of the ship before I saw him. He was then standing upright
in his boat, completely absorbed in a London paper, but with one hand
waving his umbrella, without looking up, to stop the ship. Stopping
the ship was out of the question. Indeed, I fancied the skipper would
have been glad to go without him. The boat, coming end on, and not very
cleverly handled by the Falmouth fellows, bumped against the side of
the ship, which, as she was now under way, they were afraid of missing
altogether; and the shock almost pitched Gingham and his umbrella into
the water. He came on board amidst general laughter, and the hearty
greetings of such of the passengers as knew him--none heartier than
mine. "How his green spectacles would have frightened the fishes!" said
Mr Commissary Capsicum to Captain Gabion. "Don't joke on such a serious
subject," replied the captain; "had he gone over, we should have
quitted England without getting a sight of the last London newspaper."

The two worthies, who, still expecting to see Gingham emerge from
the cabin, had so long waited for him in vain, were by this time in
an awkward predicament. When the ship first began to move, they had
no resource but to unmoor from the buoy, out oars, and pull away in
company. But this, it was soon clear, would not do. The ship was
getting more and more way, and, had they pulled their hearts out, would
soon have left them astern; when, as their only chance, they pulled
close alongside, and made free with a rope's end that was dragging
through the water. This one of them held, after giving it a turn round
a bench; while the other kept off the boat from the ship's side by
means of the boat-hook. While they were being thus dragged through the
water, each, as he could, from time to time touching his hat, each
beseechingly simpering, each saying something that nobody could hear,
and both anxiously looking for Gingham on deck, to their great surprise
they saw him come alongside in another boat, as I have already related;
and, before they could say Jack Robinson, he was on board.

After our first greetings, I called Gingham's attention to the
disagreeable position of our two friends, who were still holding on
alongside, and dragging through the water. Indeed, I was disposed to
hold an argument with him on the subject, and thought a different view
might be taken of their case. "No, no," said Gingham; "this is the
first time any Falmouth man has ever attempted to impose upon me, and I
mean it to be the last."

The breeze, no unusual circumstance in such localities, stiffened
as we approached the entrance of the harbour, where the high land
closes in, and the sea-way is comparatively narrow; and, meeting the
swell which came tumbling in from the ocean with the flood-tide,
knocked up a little bit of an ugly ripple. The situation of the two
boatmen was becoming every moment more awkward. We were now going six
knots, (through the _water_, mind you, not _making_ six knots--that,
against such a current, was quite beyond our tubby little Wilhelmina's
capabilities;) the ripple was gradually becoming nastier; the boatmen,
still touching their hats from time to time, still blandly smiling, and
still making unheard but pathetic appeals to Gingham's generosity, did
not like to let go till they had got _something_; and I really thought
the end must be, that their boat would be swamped alongside. At length,
Gingham put an end to the farce, by screwing up ninepence in a bit of
paper, and throwing it into the boat, telling them it was threepence
more than they deserved. They then let go; and we left them poppling up
and down, like a cork, in the broken water, and scuffling about in the
bottom of the boat for the scattered coin.

FOOTNOTES:

[16] For the benefit of the uninitiated,
assistant-deputy-paymaster-general; A. A. D. P.
M. G., acting-assistant-deputy-paymaster-general;
a long title, but not so long, by four syllables,
as that of the letter-carrier of a certain German
war-office--Ober-kriegsversammlungrathsverhandlungpapieraufhebergehülfe.



DISENCHANTMENT.

BY DELTA.


    I.

    Although from Adam stained with crime,
    A halo girds the path of time,
    As 'twere things humble with sublime,
        Divine with mortal blending,
    And that which is, with that which seems,--
    Till blazoned o'er were Jacob's dreams
    With heaven's angelic hosts, in streams,
        Descending and ascending.

    II.

    Ask of the clouds, why Eden's dyes
    Have vanished from the sunset skies?
    Ask of the winds, why harmonies
        Now breathe not in their voices?
    Ask of the spring, why from the bloom
    Of lilies comes a less perfume?
    And why the linnet, 'mid the broom,
        Less lustily rejoices?

    III.

    Silent are now the sylvan tents;
    The elves to airy elements
    Resolved are gone; grim castled rents
        No more show demons gazing,
    With evil eyes, on wandering men;
    And, where the dragon had his den
    Of fire, within the haunted glen,
        Now herds unharmed are grazing.[17]


    IV.

    No more, as horror stirs the trees,
    The path-belated peasant sees
    Witches, adown the sleety breeze,
        To Lapland flats careering:[18]
    As on through storms the Sea-kings sweep,
    No more the Kraken huge, asleep,
    Looms like an island, 'mid the deep,
        Rising and disappearing.

    V.

    No more, reclined by Cona's streams,
    Before the seer, in waking dreams,
    The dim funereal pageant gleams,
        Futurity fore-showing;
    No more, released from churchyard trance,
    Athwart blue midnight, spectres glance,
    Or mingle in the bridal dance,
        To vanish ere cock-crowing.[19]

    VI.

    Alas! that Fancy's fount should cease!
    In rose-hues limn'd, the myths of Greece
    Have waned to dreams--the Colchian fleece,
        And labours of Alcides:--
    Nay, Homer, even thy mighty line--
    Thy living tale of Troy divine--
    The sceptic scholiast doubts if thine,
        Or Priam, or Pelides!

    VII.

    As silence listens to the lark,
    And orient beams disperse the dark,
    How sweet to roam abroad, and mark
        Their gold the fields adorning:
    But, when we think of where are they,
    Whose bosoms like our own were gay,
    While April gladdened life's young day,
        Joy takes the garb of mourning.

    VIII.

    Warm gushing thro' the heart come back
    The thoughts that brightened boyhood's track;
    And hopes, as 'twere from midnight black,
        All star-like re-awaken;
    Until we feel how, one by one,
    The faces of the loved are gone,
    And grieve for those left here alone,
        Not those who have been taken.

    IX.

    The past returns in all we see,
    The billowy cloud, and branching tree;
    In all we hear--the bird and bee
        Remind of pleasures cherish'd;
    When all is lost it loved the best,
    Oh! pity on that vacant breast,
    Which would not rather be at rest,
        Than pine amid the perish'd!

    X.

    A balmy eve! the round white moon
    Emparadises midmost June,
    Tune trills the nightingale on tune--
        What magic! when a lover,
    To him, who now, gray-haired and lone,
    Bends o'er the sad sepulchral stone
    Of her, whose heart was once his own:
        Ah! bright dream briefly over!

    XI.

    See how from port the vessel glides
    With streamered masts, o'er halcyon tides;
    Its laggard course the sea-boy chides,
        All loath that calms should bind him;
    But distance only chains him more,
    With love-links, to his native shore,
    And sleep's best dream is to restore
        The home he left behind him.

    XII.

    To sanguine youth's enraptured eye,
    Heaven has its reflex in the sky,
    The winds themselves have melody,
        Like harp some seraph sweepeth;
    A silver decks the hawthorn bloom,
    A legend shrines the mossy tomb,
    And spirits throng the starry gloom,
        Her reign when midnight keepeth.

    XIII.

    Silence o'erhangs the Delphic cave;
    Where strove the bravest of the brave,
    Naught met the wandering Byron, save
        A lone, deserted barrow;
    And Fancy's iris waned away,
    When Wordsworth ventured to survey,
    Beneath the light of common day,
        The dowie dens of Yarrow.

    XIV.

    Little we dream--when life is new,
    And Nature fresh and fair to view,
    When throbs the heart to pleasure true,
        As if for naught it wanted,--
    That, year by year, and ray by ray,
    Romance's sunlight dies away,
    And long before the hair is gray,
        The heart is disenchanted.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] A clearer day has dispelled the marvels, which showed themselves
in heaven above and in earth beneath, when twilight and superstition
went hand in hand. Horace's

    "Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas,
    Nocturnos Lemures, portentaque Thessala,"

as well as Milton's

    "Gorgons, Hydras, and Chimæras dire,"

have all been found wanting, when reduced to the admeasurements of
science; and the "sounds that syllable men's names, on sands, and
shores, and desert wildernesses," are quenched in silence, or only
exist in what James Hogg most poetically terms

    "That undefined and mingled hum,
    Voice of the desert, never dumb."

The inductive philosophy was "the bare bodkin" which gave many a
pleasant vision "its quietus." "Homo, naturæ minister," saith Lord
Bacon, "et interpres, tantum facit et intelligit, quantum de naturæ
ordine se vel mente observaverit: nec amplius scit nec potest."--_Nov.
Organum_, Aph. I.

The fabulous dragon has long acted a conspicuous part in the poetry
both of the north and south. We find him in the legends of Regnar
Lodbrog and Kempion, and in the episode of Brandimarte in the second
book of the Orlando Inamorato. He is also to be recognised as the huge
snake of the Edda; and figures with ourselves in the stories of the
Chevalier St George and the Dragon--of Moor of Moorhall and the Dragon
of Wantley--in the Dragon of Loriton--in the Laidley Worm of Spindleton
Heugh--in the Flying Serpent of Lockburne--the Snake of Wormieston,
&c. &c. Bartholinus and Saxo-Grammaticus volunteer us some curious
information regarding a species of these monsters, whose particular
office was to keep watch over hidden treasure. The winged Gryphon is
of "auld descent," and has held a place in unnatural history from
Herodotus (_Thalia_, 116, and _Melpomene_, 13, 27) to Milton (_Paradise
Lost_, book v.)--

    "As when a Gryphon, through the wilderness,
    With wingèd course, o'er hill or moory dale,
    Pursues the Arimaspian," &c.



[18] Of the many mysterious chapters of the human mind, surely one of
the most obscure and puzzling is that of witchcraft. For some reason,
not sufficiently explained, Lapland was set down as a favourite seat of
the orgies of the "Midnight Hags." When, in the ballad of "The Witch
of Fife," the auld gudeman, in the exercise of his conjugal authority,
questions his errant spouse regarding her nocturnal absences without
leave, she is made ecstatically to answer,

    "Whan we came to the Lapland lone,
    The fairies war all in array;
    For all the genii of the North
    War keepyng their holyday.
    The warlocke man and the weird womyng,
    And the fays of the woode and the steep,
    And the phantom hunteris all were there,
    And the mermaidis of the deep.
    And they washit us all with the witch-water,
    Distillit fra the moorland dew,
    Quhill our beauty bloomit like the Lapland rose,
    That wylde in the foreste grew."

  _Queen's Wake_, Night 1st.

"Like, but oh how different," are these unearthly goings on to
the details in the Walpurgis Night of Faust (Act v. Scene 1.) The
"phantom-hunters" of the north were not the "Wilde Jäger" of Burger, or
"the Erl-king" of Goethe. It is related by Hearne, that the tribes of
the Chippewas Indians suppose the northern lights to be occasioned by
the frisking of herds of deer in the fields above, caused by the hallo
and chase of their departed friends.

[19] It is very probable, that the apparitional visit of "Alonzo the
Brave" to the bridal of "the Fair Imogene," was suggested to M. G.
Lewis, by the story in the old chronicles of the skeleton masquer
taking his place among the wedding revellers, at Jedburgh Castle, on
the night when Alexander III., in 1286, espoused as his second queen,
Joleta, daughter of the Count le Dreux. These were the palmy days of
portents; and the prophecy uttered by Thomas of Ercildoune, of the
storm which was to roar

    "From Ross's hills to Solway sea,"

was supposed to have had its fulfilment in the death of the lamented
monarch, which occurred, only a few months after the appearance of the
skeleton masquer, by a fall from his horse, over a precipice, while
hunting between Burntisland and Kinghorn, at a place still called "the
King's Wood-end."

Wordsworth appears to have had the subject in his eye, in two of the
stanzas of his lyric, entitled _Presentiments_,--the last of which runs
as follows:--

    "Ye daunt the proud array of war,
    Pervade the lonely ocean far
        As sail hath been unfurled,
    For dancers in the festive hall
    What ghostly partners hath your call
        Fetched from the shadowy world."

  --_Poetical Works_, 1845, p. 176.

The same incident has been made the subject of some very spirited
verses, in a little volume--_Ballads and Lays from Scottish
History_--published in 1844; and which, I fear, has not attracted the
attention to which its intrinsic merits assuredly entitle it.



ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.[20]


Another book from the active pen of our American acquaintance, the able
seaman. The question having been raised whether Mr Herman Melville
has really served before the mast, and has actually, like the heroine
of a well-known pathetic ballad, disfigured his lily-white fingers
with the nasty pitch and tar, he does his best to dissipate all such
doubts by the title-page of his new work, on which, in large capitals,
is proclaimed that _Redburn_ is "_The Sailor-boy Confessions and
Reminiscences of the son of a gentleman in the merchant service_;" and,
collaterally, by a dedication to his younger brother, "_now a sailor
on a voyage to China_." An unmerited importance has perhaps been given
to the inquiry whether Mr Melville's voyages were made on quarterdeck
or on forecastle, and are genuine adventures or mere Robinsonades. The
book, not the writer, concerns the critic; and even as there assuredly
are circumstances that might induce a youth of gentle birth and
breeding to don flannel shirt, and put fist in tar-bucket as a merchant
seaman, so the probably unpleasant nature of those circumstances
precludes too inquisitive investigation into them. We accept Mr
Melville, therefore, for what he professes to be, and we accept his
books, also, with pleasure and gratitude when good, just as we neglect
and reject them when they are the contrary. _Redburn_, we are bound
to admit, is entitled to a more favourable verdict than the author's
last previous work. We do not like it so well as _Typee_ and _Omoo_;
and, although quite aware that this is a class of fiction to which one
cannot often return without finding it pall, by reason of a certain
inevitable sameness, we yet are quite sure we should not have liked it
so well as those two books, even though priority of publication had
brought it to a palate unsated with that particular sort of literary
diet. Nevertheless, after a decided and deplorable retrogression, Mr
Melville seems likely to go a-head again, if he will only take time and
pains, and not over-write himself, and avoid certain affectations and
pedantry unworthy a man of his ability. Many of the defects of _Mardi_
are corrected in _Redburn_. We gladly miss much of the obscurity and
nonsense that abound in the former work. The style, too, of this one
is more natural and manly; and even in the minor matter of a title, we
find reason to congratulate Mr Melville on improved taste, inasmuch as
we think an English book is better fitted with an English-sounding name
than with uncouth dissyllables from Polynesia, however convenient these
may be found for the purposes of the puff provocative.

_Redburn_ comprises four months of the life of a hardy wrong-headed
lad, who ships himself on board a trading vessel, for the voyage from
New York to Liverpool and back. As there is no question of shipwreck,
storm, pirates, mutiny, or any other nautico-dramatic incidents, during
Wellingborough Redburn's voyage out and home; and as the events of his
brief abode in England are neither numerous nor (with the exception
of one rather far-fetched episode) by any means extraordinary, it is
evident that a good deal of detail and ingenuity are necessary to
fill two volumes, on so simple and commonplace a theme. So a chapter
is devoted to the causes of his addiction to the sea, and shows how
it was that childish reminiscences of a seaport town, and stories of
maritime adventure told him by his father, who had many times crossed
the Atlantic, and visions of European magnificence, and, above all,
the frequent contemplation of an old-fashioned glass ship which stood
in his mother's sitting-room, and which is described with considerable
minuteness, and some rather feeble attempts at the facetious--how all
these things combined had imbued young Wellingborough with a strong
craving after salt water. Other circumstances concurred to drive him
forth upon the world. He hints at family misfortunes. His father had
been a merchant at New York, in a flourishing business. Things were now
less prosperous. "Some time previous, my mother had removed from New
York to a pleasant village on the Hudson river, where we lived in a
small house, in a quiet way. Sad disappointments in several plans which
I had sketched for my future life; the necessity of doing something for
myself, united to a naturally roving disposition, had now conspired
within me to send me to sea as a sailor." And yet it would appear
that he might have done better than plunge thus recklessly into the
hardships and evil associations of a merchantman's forecastle; for he
more than half admits that he was erring and wilful, and that he had
kind relatives and sympathising patrons, who would have put him in the
way of earning a living otherwise. Redburn, however, seems to have
been in some respects as precocious as in others we shall presently
find him simple and inexperienced. A mere boy, adversity had already
converted him into a misanthrope, at an age when most lads are as yet
without plans for their future, and know not disappointment in any
more important matters than a treat to the play, or an extra week's
holiday. The forwardness of the rising generation is remarkable enough
in England, and has been amusingly hit off by one of our cleverest
caricaturists. In America, therefore, which notoriously goes a-head of
the old country in most particulars, and whose inhabitants lay claim to
an extraordinary share of railroad and earthquake in their composition,
boyish precocity is possibly still more remarkable; and one must not
wonder at finding Master Redburn talking in misanthropic vein of the
world's treatment of him, how bleak and cheerless everything seemed,
and how "the warm soul of him had been flogged out by adversity."
This, at an age when the stinging memory of the schoolmaster's taws
must still have been tolerably vivid about the seat of his breeks,
seems rather absurd to begin with. It was under the influence of such
feelings, however, that this infant Timon left his home to cast his
lot upon the wide waters. His friends were evidently either very angry
with him or very poor; for they allowed him to depart with but one
dollar in his pocket, a big shooting-jacket with foxes' heads on the
buttons, and a little bundle, containing his entire kit, slung at the
end of the fowling-piece which his good-natured elder brother pressed
upon him at parting. Thus equipped, he tramps of to the steamer that
is to carry him down the Hudson, early on a raw morning, along a muddy
road, and through a drizzling rain. The skyey influences will at
times affect even the most stoical, and the dismal aspect of external
nature makes Master Redburn revert to his blighted prospects--how his
soul is afflicted with mildew, "and the fruit which, with others, is
only blasted after ripeness, with him is nipped in the first blossom
and bud." The blight he complains of is evidently of a most virulent
description, for it "leaves such a scar that the air of Paradise might
not erase it." As he has just before told us how, whilst walking along,
his fingers "worked moodily at the stock and trigger" of his brother's
rifle, and that he had thought this was indeed "the proper way to
begin life, with a gun in your hand," we feel, upon hearing him croak
so desperately, some apprehension for his personal safety, and think
his brother would have done as well to have kept his gun. On this last
point we quite make up our minds, when we shortly afterwards find him
levelling the weapon at the left eye of a steamboat passenger who is so
imprudent as to stare at him, and bullying the steward for demanding
the fare, (which is two dollars, whereas Redburn has but one,) and
looking cat-a-mounts at his less needy fellow-voyagers, because they
have the rudeness to enjoy their roast beef dinner, whilst he has had
the improvidence to leave home without even a crust in his wallet. It
seems the author's aim to start his hero in life under every possible
circumstance of disadvantage and hardship; and to do this, he rather
loses sight of probability. At last, however, Redburn reaches New York,
with gun and bundle, foxes' heads and shooting-jacket, and hastens to
visit a friend of his brother's, to whom he is recommended. A kind
welcome, good supper, and warm bed, go some way towards dissipating his
ill humour; and next morning the friend accompanies him to the docks
to seek a ship. But none of his brother's kindnesses prosper him. The
gun, as we have seen, has already led him to the verge of homicide,
the foxes' heads are yet to be the source of innumerable vexations;
and Mr Jones, a silly young man, does more harm than good, by taking
the direction of Redburn's affairs, and acting as his spokesman with
Captain Riga, of the regular trader, _Highlander_, then loading for
Liverpool.

     "We found the captain in the cabin, which was a very handsome one,
     lined with mahogany and maple; and the steward, an elegant-looking
     mulatto, in a gorgeous turban, was setting out, on a sort of
     sideboard, some dinner-service which looked like silver, but it
     was only Britannia ware highly polished. As soon as I clapped my
     eye on the captain, I thought to myself he was just the captain
     to suit me. He was a fine-looking man, about forty, splendidly
     dressed, with very black whiskers and very white teeth, and what I
     took to be a free frank look out of a large hazel eye. I liked him
     amazingly."

The scene that ensues is quietly humorous, and reminds us a good deal
of Marryat, in whose style of novel we think Mr Melville would succeed.
The upshot of the conference is that Redburn ships as a boy on board
the Highlander. By vaunting his respectability, and the wealth of his
relations, his injudicious friend furnishes Riga with a pretext for
withholding the customary advance of pay; and although the sale of the
fowling-piece to a Jew pawnbroker produces wherewith to purchase a red
woollen shirt, a tarpaulin hat, and jack-knife, Redburn goes on board
but slenderly provided. His reception is not very cheering.

     "When I reached the deck, I saw no one but a large man in a large
     dripping pea-jacket, who was calking down the main-hatches.

     "'What do you want, Pillgarlic?' said he.

     "'I've shipped to sail in this ship,' I replied, assuming a little
     dignity to chastise his familiarity.

     "'What for--a tailor?' said he, looking at my shooting-jacket.

     "I answered that I was going as a 'boy;' for so I was technically
     put down on the articles.

     "'Well,' said he, 'have you got your traps aboard?'

     "I told him I didn't know there were any rats in the ship, and
     hadn't brought any 'trap.'

     "At this he laughed out with a great guffaw, and said there must
     be hay-seed in my hair.

     "This made me mad; but, thinking he must be one of the sailors who
     was going in the ship, I thought it wouldn't be wise to make an
     enemy of him, so only asked him where the men slept in the vessel,
     for I wanted to put my clothes away.

     "'Where's your clothes?' said he.

     "'Here in my bundle,' said I, holding it up.

     "'Well, if that's all you've got,' he cried, 'you'd better chuck
     it overboard. But go forward, go forward to the forecastle; that's
     the place you live in aboard here.'

     "And with that he directed me to a sort of hole in the deck of the
     bow of the ship; but looking down, and seeing how dark it was, I
     asked him for a light.

     "'Strike your eyes together and make one,' said he, 'we don't have
     any lights here.' So I groped my way down into the forecastle,
     which smelt so bad of old ropes and tar, that it almost made me
     sick. After waiting patiently, I began to see a little; and,
     looking round, at last perceived I was in a smoky-looking place,
     with twelve wooden boxes stuck round the sides. In some of these
     boxes were large chests, which I at once supposed to belong to the
     sailors, who must have taken that method of appropriating their
     'bunks,' as I afterwards found these boxes were called. And so it
     turned out.

     "After examining them for a while, I selected an empty one, and
     put my bundle right in the middle of it, so that there might be no
     mistake about my claim to the place, particularly as the bundle
     was so small."

The ship is not to sail till the next day; the crew are not yet aboard;
there is no mess, and Redburn has no money. He passes a wretched
night in his evil-smelling bunk, and next morning is crawling about
the deck, weak from hunger, when he is accosted by the first mate,
who curses him for a lubber, asks his name, swears it is too long to
be handy, rebaptizes him by that of _Buttons_, and sets him to clean
out the pig-pen, and grease the main-topmast. Having accomplished
these savoury duties, and narrowly escaped falling overboard from
his unwonted elevation, Redburn is ordered to the quarterdeck,
where the men are divided into watches, and he falls to the lot of
his friend the first mate, who tries hard to get rid of him to Mr
Rigs, the second mate; but Mr Rigs refuses the tyro, even as a free
gift. Redburn now gets sea-sick, and, when ordered on deck to stand
the first night-watch, from eight o'clock to midnight, he, feeling
qualmish, requests one of the sailors to make his excuses very civilly
to the chief mate, for that he thinks he will go below and spend the
night in his bunk. The sailor, a good-natured Greenlander, laughs at
his simplicity, and doctors him with a canikin of rum and some ship
biscuits, which enable him to get through his watch. Minute incidents
of this kind, reflections, reminiscences, and thoughts of home, occupy
many chapters; and, at times, one is inclined to think they are dwelt
upon at too great length: but, as before hinted, it is necessary to do
something to fill two volumes. A slight inconsistency strikes us in
this first portion of the book. Redburn, a sharp enough lad on shore,
and who, it has been seen, is altogether precocious in experience
of the world's disappointments, seems converted, by the first sniff
of salt water, into as arrant a simpleton as ever made mirth in a
cockpit. Mr Melville must surely have had Peter Simple in his head,
when describing "Buttons" at his first deck-washing. "The water began
to splash about all over the decks, and I began to think I should
surely get my feet wet, and catch my death of cold. So I went to the
chief mate and told him I thought I would just step below, till this
miserable wetting was over; for I did not have any waterproof boots,
and an aunt of mine had died of consumption. But he only roared out
for me to get a broom, and go to scrubbing, or he would prove a worse
consumption to me than ever got hold of my poor aunt." Now Redburn,
from what has previously been seen of him, was evidently not the lad to
care a rush about wet soles, or even about a thorough ducking. On the
Hudson river steamer, he had voluntarily walked the deck in a dreary
storm till soaked through; and his first night on board the Highlander
had been passed uncomplainingly in wet clothes. He has borne hunger
and thirst and other disagreeables most manfully, and the impression
given of him is quite that of a stubborn hardy fellow. So that this
sudden fear of a splashing is evidently introduced merely to afford Mr
Melville opportunity of making a little mild fun, and is altogether
out of character. Equally so is the elaborate _naiveté_ with which
Redburn inquires of a sailor whether, as the big bell on the forecastle
"hung right over the scuttle that went down to the place where the
watch below were sleeping, such a ringing every little while would not
tend to disturb them, and beget unpleasant dreams." The account of
his attempts at intimacy with the captain, although humorous enough,
is liable to a similar objection; and, in so sharp a lad, such simple
blunders are not sufficiently accounted for by ignorance of sea usages.
His recollection of the bland urbanity with which Captain Riga had
received him and Mr Jones, when they first boarded the Highlander,
induces him to believe that he may reckon on sympathy and attention
in that quarter, when bullied by the rough sailors, and abused by the
snappish mate. He had vague ideas of Sunday dinners in the cabin, of an
occasional lesson in navigation, or an evening game at chess. Desirous
to realise these pleasant visions, but observing that the captain takes
no notice of him, and altogether omits to invite him aft, Buttons, as
he is now universally called on board the trader, thinks it may be
expected that he, the younger man, should make the first advances. His
pig-sty and chicken-coop cleanings have not greatly improved the aspect
of his clothes, or the colour of his hands; but a bucket of water gets
off the worst of the stains, and a selection from his limited wardrobe
converts him into a decent enough figure for a forecastle, although
he still would not have excited much admiration in Broadway or Bond
Street.

     "When the sailors saw me thus employed, they did not know what
     to make of it, and wanted to know whether I was dressing to go
     ashore. I told them no, for we were then out of sight of land, but
     that I was going to pay my respects to the captain. Upon which
     they all laughed and shouted, as if I were a simpleton; although
     there seemed nothing so very simple in going to make an evening
     call upon a friend. When some of them tried to dissuade me, saying
     I was green and raw; but Jackson, who sat looking on, cried out
     with a hideous grin--'Let him go, let him go, men; he's a nice
     boy. Let him go; the captain has some nuts and raisins for him.'
     And so he was going on, when one of his violent fits of coughing
     seized him, and he almost choked.... For want of kids, I slipped
     on a pair of woollen mittens, which my mother had knit for me to
     carry to sea. As I was putting them on, Jackson asked me whether
     he shouldn't call a carriage; and another bade me not forget
     to present his best respects to the skipper. I left them all
     tittering, and, coming on deck, was passing the cook-house, when
     the old cook called after me, saying I had forgot my cane."

The Jackson here referred to is a prominent character in the book, an
important personage amongst the inmates of the Highlander's forecastle.
He was a yellow-visaged, whiskerless, squinting, broken-nosed ruffian,
and his head was bald, "except in the nape of his neck and just behind
the ears, where it was stuck over with short little tufts, and looked
like a worn-out shoe-brush." He claimed near relationship with General
Jackson, was a good seaman and a great bully, and, although physically
weak, and broken down by excess and disease, the other sailors gave
way to, and even petted him. He had been at sea ever since his early
childhood, and he told strange wild tales of his experiences in
many lands and on many distant seas, and of perils encountered in
Portuguese slavers on the African coast, and of Batavian fevers and
Malay pirates, and the like horrible things, which composed, indeed,
all his conversation, save when he found fault with his shipmates, and
cursed, and reviled, and jeered at them--all of which they patiently
endured, as though they feared the devil that glared out of "his deep,
subtle, infernal-looking eye." All who have read _Omoo_, (the best
of Mr Melville's books,) will remember that the author is an adept
in the sketching of nautical originals. Jackson is by no means a bad
portrait, and doubtless he is "founded on fact;" although much of his
savage picturesqueness may be attributed to the clever pencil of his
former shipmate. Riga is another good hit. The handsome captain, with
the fine clothes and the shining black whiskers, who spoke so smooth
and looked so sleek when his craft lay moored by New York quay, is
altogether another sort of character when once the anchor is up. Seamen
never judge a captain by his shore-going looks. Tyrants and martinets
afloat are often all simper and benevolence across a mahogany plank
ashore. But certainly there never was a more thorough metamorphosis
than a four-and-twenty hours' sail produced in Captain Riga. His
glossy suit and gallant airs disappeared altogether. "He wore nothing
but old-fashioned snuff-coloured coats, with high collars and short
waists, and faded short-legged pantaloons, very tight about the knees,
and vests that did not conceal his waistbands, owing to their being so
short, just like a little boy's. And his hats were all caved in and
battered, as if they had been knocked about in a cellar, and his boots
were sadly patched. Indeed, I began to think he was but a shabby fellow
after all, particularly as his whiskers lost their gloss, and he went
days together without shaving; and his hair, by a sort of miracle,
began to grow of a pepper and salt colour, which might have been owing,
though, to his discontinuing the use of some kind of dye while at sea.
I put him down as a sort of impostor." This the captain certainly
is, and ultimately proves to be something worse, for he swindles
poor Buttons and another unfortunate "boy" out of their hard-earned
wages, and proves himself altogether a far worse fellow than the rough
mate, whose first salutation is often a curse or a cuff, but who,
nevertheless, has some heart and humanity under his coarse envelope. Of
various other individuals of the ship's company sketches are given, and
prominent amongst these is the dandy mulatto steward, called Lavender
by the crew, from his having been a barber in New York. Following the
example of the captain, whose immediate dependant he is, Lavender, when
at sea, lays by his gorgeous turban, and sports his wool, profusely
scented with the residue of his stock in trade. "He was a sentimental
sort of darky, and read the _Three Spaniards_ and _Charlotte Temple_,
and carried a lock of frizzled hair in his vest pocket, which he
frequently volunteered to show to people, with his handkerchief to
his eyes." It must have been sympathy of race, not congeniality of
disposition, that made cronies of Lavender and the methodistical
black cook. Thompson, the sable Soyer of the _Highlander_, was known
as the Doctor, according to the nautical practice of confounding the
medical and the gastronomical professions. He is a capital portrait,
scarcely caricatured. On a Sunday morning, "he sat over his boiling
pots, reading out of a book which was very much soiled, and covered
with grease spots, for he kept it stuck into a little leather strap,
nailed to the keg where he kept the fat skimmed off the water in which
the salt beef was cooked." This book was the Bible, and what with
the heat of the five-feet-square kitchen, and his violent efforts to
comprehend the more mysterious passages of scripture, the beads of
sweat would roll off the Doctor's brow as he sat upon a narrow shelf,
opposite the stove, and so close to it that he had to spread his legs
out wide to keep them from scorching. During the whole voyage he was
never known to wash his face but once, and that was on a dark night,
in one of his own soup-pots. His coffee, by courtesy so called, was a
most extraordinary compound, and would not bear analysis. Sometimes
it tasted fishy, at others salt; then it would have a cheesy flavour,
or--but we abridge the unsavoury details with which Redburn disgusts us
upon this head. Sambo's devotional practices precluded due attention
to his culinary duties. For his narrow caboose he entertained a warm
affection. "In fair weather he spread the skirt of an old jacket before
the door by way of a mat, and screwed a small ringbolt into the door
for a knocker, and wrote his name, 'Mr Thompson,' over it, with a bit
of red chalk." The old negro stands before us as we read; cooking,
praying, perspiring, and with all the ludicrous self-sufficiency of
his tribe. Mr Melville is very happy in these little touches. Max
the Dutchman is another original. Although married to two highly
respectable wives, one at Liverpool and the other at New York, at sea
he is quite an old bachelor, precise and finical, with old-fashioned
straight-laced notions about the duties of sailor boys, which he tries
hard to inculcate upon Redburn. Upon the whole, however, Red Max, as he
is sometimes called--his shirt, cheeks, hair, and whiskers being all
of that colour--is tolerably kind to the youngster, in whose welfare
he occasionally shows some little interest. Jack Blunt, to whose
description the author devotes the greater part of a chapter, is not
quite so happy a hit--rather overdone--overloaded with peculiarities.
Although quite a young fellow, his hair is turning gray, and, to
check this premature sign of age, he thrice in the day anoints his
bushy locks with _Trafalgar Oil_ and _Copenhagen Elixir_, invaluable
preparations retailed to him by a knavish Yankee apothecary. He is also
greatly addicted to drugging himself: takes three pills every morning
with his coffee, and every now and then pours down "a flowing bumper of
_horse salts_." Then he has a turn for romance, and sings sentimental
songs, which must have had an odd enough sound from the lips of one
whose general appearance is that of "a fat porpoise standing on end;"
and he believes in witchcraft, and studies a dream-book, and mutters
Irish invocations for a breeze when the ship is becalmed, &c., &c.
Rather much of all this, Mr Melville, and not equal, by a long chalk,
to what you once before did in the same line. As we read, we cannot
help a comparison with some former pencillings of yours, which,
although earlier made, referred to a later voyage. Involuntarily we
are carried back to the rat-and-cockroach-haunted hull of the crazy
little Jule, and to the strange collection of originals that therein
did dwell. We think of bold Jermin and timid Captain Guy, and, above
all, of that glorious fellow Doctor Long-Ghost. We remember the easy
natural tone, and well-sustained interest of the book in which they
figured; and, desirous though we are to praise, we are compelled to
admit that, in _Redburn_, Mr Melville comes not up to the mark he
himself has made. It is evident that, on his debut, he threw off the
rich cream of his experiences, and he must not marvel if readers have
thereby been rendered dainty, and grumble a little when served with the
skim-milk. _Redburn_ is a clever book, as books now go, and we are far
from visiting it with wholesale condemnation; but it certainly lacks
the spontaneous flow and racy originality of the author's South Sea
narration.

To proceed, however. "_Redburn grows intolerably flat and stupid over
some outlandish old guide-books._" Such is the heading of Chapter
XXX.; and, from what Mr Melville says, we do not, in this instance,
presume to differ. We are now in Liverpool. Much of what Redburn
there sees, says, and does, will be more interesting to American than
to English readers, although to many even of the latter there will
be novelty in his minute account of sailor life ashore--of their
boarding-houses, haunts, and habits; of the German emigrant ships,
and the salt-droghers and Lascars, and of other matters seemingly
commonplace, but in which his observant eye detects much that escapes
ordinary gazers. We ourselves, to whom the aspect and ways of the
great trading city of northern England are by no means unfamiliar,
have derived some new lights from Redburn's account of what he there
saw. Clergymen of the Church of England, we are informed, stand up on
old casks, at quay corners, arrayed in full canonicals, and preach
thus, _al fresco_, to sailors and loose women. Paupers are allowed to
linger and perish unaided, almost in the public thoroughfare, within
sight and knowledge of neighbours and police. Curious, seemingly, of
the horrible, Redburn visits the dead-house, where he sees "a sailor
stretched out, stark and stiff, with the sleeve of his frock rolled
up, and showing his name and date of birth tattooed upon his arm. It
was a sight full of suggestions: _he seemed his own head-stone_." We
would implore Mr Melville to beware of a fault by no means uncommon
with a certain school of writers at the present day, but into which
it would be unworthy a man of his ability to fall. We refer to that
straining for striking similes, at the expense of truth and good
taste, of which he has here furnished us with a glaring example. A
dead sailor's name is tattooed upon his arm; _therefore_--mark the
consequence--he seems his own head-stone. How totally inapt is this;
how violent and distorted the figure! Such tricks of pen may, by a
sort of tinsel glitter, dazzle for a moment superficial persons,
who weigh not what they read; but they will never obtain favour, or
enhance a reputation with any for whose verdict Mr Melville need care.
Neither will he, we apprehend, gain much praise, that is worth having,
for such exaggerated exhibitions of the horrible as that afforded in
chapter VI. of his second volume. Passing through Lancelott's Hey,
a narrow street of warehouses, Redburn heard "a feeble wail, which
seemed to come out of the earth.... I advanced to an opening, which
communicated downwards with deep tiers of cellars beneath a crumbling
old warehouse; and there, some fifteen feet below the walk, crouching
in nameless squalor, with her head bowed over, was the figure of what
had been a woman. Her blue arms folded to her livid bosom two shrunken
things like children, that leaned towards her, one on each side. At
first I knew not whether they were dead or alive. They made no sign;
they did not move or stir; but from the vault came that soul-sickening
wail." We cannot quite realise the "opening" in question, but take
it for granted to be some sufficiently dreary den, and are only
puzzled to conjecture how, considering its depth, the woman and
children got there. Redburn himself seems at a loss to account for it.
This, however, his compassionate heart tarried not to inquire; but,
perceiving the poor creatures were nearly dead with want, he hurried
to procure them assistance. In an open space hard by, some squalid
old women, the wretched _chiffonières_ of the docks, were gathering
flakes of cotton in the dirt heaps. To these Redburn appealed. They
knew of the beggar-woman and her brats, who had been three days in
the pit or vault, with nothing to eat, but they would not meddle in
the matter; and one hag, with an exaggerated morality that does not
sound very probable, declared "Betsy Jennings deserved it, for she had
never been married!" Turning into a more frequented street, Redburn
met a policeman. "None of my business, Jack," was the reply to his
application. "I don't belong to that street. But what business is it of
yours? Are you not a Yankee?"

"Yes," said I; "but come, I will help you to remove that woman, if you
say so."

"There now, Jack, go on board your ship, and stick to it, and leave
these matters to the town."

Two more policemen were applied to with a like result. Appeals to
the porter at an adjacent warehouse, to Handsome Mary the hostess,
and Brandy Nan the cook at the Sailors' boarding-house, were equally
fruitless. Redburn took some bread and cheese from his dinner-room,
and carried it to the sufferers, to whom he gave water to drink in his
hat--descending with great difficulty into the vault, which was like
a well. The two children ate, but the woman refused. And then Redburn
found a dead infant amongst her rags, (he describes its appearance
with harrowing minuteness,) and almost repented having brought food to
the survivors, for it could but prolong their misery, without hope of
permanent relief. And on reflection, "I felt an almost irresistible
impulse to do them the last mercy, of in some way putting an end to
their horrible lives; and I should almost have done so, I think, had
I not been deterred by thought of the law. For I well knew that the
law, which would let them perish of themselves, without giving them
one sup of water, would spend a thousand pounds, if necessary, in
convicting him who should so much as offer to relieve them from their
miserable existence." The whole chapter is in this agreeable style, and
indeed we suppress the more revolting and exaggerated passages. Two
days longer, Redburn informs us, the objects of his compassion linger
in their foul retreat, and then the bread he throws to them remains
untasted. They are dead, and a horrible stench arises from the opening.
The next time he passes, the corpses have disappeared, and quicklime
strews the ground. Within a few hours of their death the nuisance
has been detected and removed, although for five days, according to
Redburn, they had been allowed to die by inches, within a few yards
of frequented streets, and with the full knowledge and acquiescence
of sundry policemen. We need hardly waste a comment on the more than
improbable, on the utterly absurd character, of this incident. It will
be apparent to all readers. Mr Melville is, of course, at liberty to
introduce fictitious adventure into what professes to be a narrative
of real events; the thing is done every day, and doubtless he largely
avails of the privilege. He has also a clear right to deal in the
lugubrious, and even in the loathsome, if he thinks an occasional
dash of tragedy will advantageously relieve the humorous features of
his book. But here he is perverting truth, and leading into error the
simple persons who put their faith in him. And, from the consideration
of such misguidance, we naturally glide into the story of Master
Harry Bolton. Redburn had been at Liverpool four weeks, and began to
suspect that was all he was likely to see of the country, and that he
must return to New York without obtaining the most distant glimpse
of "the old abbeys, and the York minsters, and the lord mayors, and
coronations, and the maypoles and fox-hunters, and Derby races, and
dukes, and duchesses, and Count d'Orsays," which his boyish reading
had given him the habit of associating with England,--when he one
day made acquaintance, at the sign of the Baltimore Clipper, with "a
handsome, accomplished, but unfortunate youth, one of those small but
perfectly-formed beings who seem to have been born in cocoons. His
complexion was a _mantling brunette_, feminine as a girl's; his feet
were small; his hands were white; and his eyes were large, black, and
womanly; and, poetry aside, his voice was as the sound of a harp." It
is natural to wonder what this dainty gentleman does in the sailors'
quarter of Liverpool, and how he comes to rub his dandified costume
against the tarry jackets of the Clippers' habitual frequenters.
On these points we are presently enlightened. Harry Bolton was born
at Bury St Edmunds. At a very early age he came into possession of
five thousand pounds, went up to London, was at once admitted into
the most aristocratic circles, gambled and dissipated his money in a
single winter, made two voyages to the East Indies as midshipman in
a Company's ship, squandered his pay, and was now about to seek his
fortune in the New World. On reaching Liverpool, he took it into his
head, for the romance of the thing, to ship as a sailor, and work his
passage. Hence his presence at the docks, and his acquaintance with
Redburn, who, delighted with his new acquaintance, prevails on him to
offer his services to Captain Riga of the Highlander, who graciously
accepts them.

     "I now had a comrade in my afternoon strolls and Sunday
     excursions; and as Harry was a generous fellow, he shared with
     me his purse and his heart. He sold off several more of his fine
     vests and trousers, his silver-keyed flute and enamelled guitar;
     and a portion of the money thus furnished was pleasantly spent in
     refreshing ourselves at the roadside inns, in the vicinity of the
     town. Reclining side by side in some agreeable nook, we exchanged
     our experiences of the past. Harry enlarged upon the fascinations
     of a London life; described the curricle he used to drive in Hyde
     Park; gave me the measurement of Madame Vestris' ankle; alluded
     to his first introduction, at a club, to the madcap Marquis of
     Waterford; told over the sums he had lost upon the turf on a Derby
     day; and made various but enigmatical allusions to a certain Lady
     Georgiana Theresa, the noble daughter of an anonymous earl."

Even Redburn, inexperienced as he is in the ways of the old
country, is inclined to suspect his new friend of "spending funds
of reminiscences not his own,"--that being as near an approach as
he can make to accusing the he-brunette with the harp-like voice of
telling lies--until one day, when passing a fashionable hotel, Harry
points out to him "a remarkable elegant coat and pantaloons, standing
upright on the hotel steps, and containing a young buck, tapping his
teeth with an ivory-headed riding-whip." The buck is "very thin and
limber about the legs, with small feet like a doll's, and a small,
glossy head like a seal's," and presently he steps to "the open window
of a flashing carriage which drew up: and, throwing himself into an
interesting posture, _with the sole of one boot vertically exposed,
so as to show the stamp on it--a coronet_--fell into a sparkling
conversation with a magnificent white satin hat, surmounted by a regal
marabout feather, inside." The young gentleman with the seal's-head
and the coroneted-boot, is, as Harry assures Redburn, whilst dragging
him hastily round a corner, Lord Lovely, a most particular "old chum"
of his own. "Sailors," Redburn somewhere observes, "only go _round_
the world without going _into_ it; and their reminiscences of travel
are only a dim recollection of a chain of tap-rooms surrounding the
globe, parallel with the equator." This being the case, we would
have him abstain from giving glimpses of the English aristocracy,
his knowledge of which seems to be based upon the revelations of
Sunday newspapers, and upon that class of novels usually supposed to
be written by discarded valets-de-chambre. But we are not let off
with this peep at a truant fashionable. Mr Bolton, having found a
purse, or picked a pocket, or in some way or other replenished his
exchequer, rigs out Redburn in a decent suit of clothes, and carries
him off to London, previously disguising himself with false whiskers
and mustaches. Enchanted to visit the capital, Redburn does not
inquire too particularly concerning these suspicious proceedings,
but takes all for granted, until he finds himself "dropped down in
the evening among gas-lights, under a great roof in Euston Square.
London at last," he exclaims, "and in the West End!" If not quite in
the West End, he is soon transported thither by the agency of a cab,
and introduced by his friend into a "semi-public place of opulent
entertainment," such as certainly exists nowhere (at least in London)
but in our sailor-author's lively imagination. The number of this
enchanted mansion is forty, it is approached by high steps, and has a
purple light at the door. Can any one help us with a conjecture? The
following passage we take to be good of its kind: "The cabman being
paid, Harry, adjusting his whiskers and mustaches, _and bidding me
assume a lounging look, pushed his hat a little to one side_, and then,
locking arms, we sauntered into the house, myself feeling not a little
abashed--it was so long since I had been in any courtly society."
A pair of tailors strutting into a casino. It would seem there are
cockneys even in America. The "courtly society" into which the Yankee
sailor boy and his anomalous acquaintance now intrude themselves is
that of "knots of gentlemanly men, seated at numerous Moorish-looking
tables, supported by Caryatides of turbaned slaves, with cut decanters
and taper-waisted glasses, journals, and cigars before them." We regret
we have not room for the description of the magnificent interior, which
is a remarkable specimen of fine writing; but we must devote a word to
the presiding genius of the mysterious palace, were it only for the
sake of a simile indulged in by Redburn. At the further end of the
brilliant apartment, "behind a rich mahogany turret-like structure, was
a very handsome florid old man, with snow-white hair and whiskers, and
in a snow-white jacket--_he looked like an almond-tree in blossom_."
Enshrined in mahogany turrets, and adorned by so imaginative a pen,
who would suspect this benign and blooming old sinner of condescending
to direct waiters and receive silver. Nevertheless these, we are told,
are his chief duties--in short, we are allowed to suppose that he is
the steward of this club, hell, tavern, or whatever else it is intended
to be. Bolton speaks a word to the almond tree, who appears surprised,
and they leave the room together. Redburn remains over a decanter of
pale-yellow wine, and catches unintelligible sentences, in which the
words _Loo_ and _Rouge_ occur. Presently Bolton returns, his face
rather flushed, and drags away Redburn, not, as the latter hoped, for
a ramble, "perhaps to Apsley House, in the Park, to get a sly peep
at the old Duke before he retired for the night," but up magnificent
staircases, through rosewood-doors and palatial halls, of all which
we have a most florid, high-flown, and classical description. Again
Bolton leaves him, after being very oracular and mysterious, and giving
him money for his journey back to Liverpool, and a letter which he is
to leave at Bury, should he (the aforesaid Bolton) not return before
morning. And thereupon he departs with the almond-tree, and Redburn is
left to his meditations, and hears dice rattle, has visions of frantic
men rushing along corridors, and fancies he sees reptiles crawling over
the mirrors, and at last, what with wine, excitement, and fatigue, he
falls asleep. He is roused by Harry Bolton, very pale and desperate,
who draws a dirk, and nails his empty purse to the table, and whistles
fiercely, and finally screams for brandy. Now all this sort of thing,
we can assure its author, is in the very stalest style of minor-theatre
melodrama. We perfectly remember our intense gratification when
witnessing, at country fairs in our boyish days, a thrilling domestic
tragedy, in which the murderer rushes on the stage with a chalked face
and a gory carving-knife, howling for "Brandy! Brandy!!" swallows a
goblet of strong toast and water, and is tranquillised. But surely Mr
Melville had no need to recur to such antiquated traditions. Nor had
he any need to introduce this fantastical gambling episode, unless it
were upon the principle of the old cakes of roses in the apothecary's
shop--to make up a show. We unhesitatingly qualify the whole of this
London expedition as utter rubbish, intended evidently to be very fine
and effective, but which totally misses the mark. Why will not Mr
Melville stick to the ship? There he is at home. The worst passages of
his sea-going narrative are better than the best of his metropolitan
experiences. In fact, the introduction at all of the male brunette is
quite impertinent. Having got him, Mr Melville finds it necessary to
do something with him, and he is greatly puzzled what that is to be.
Bolton's character is full of inconsistencies. Notwithstanding his two
voyages to the East Indies, and his great notion of "the romance" of
working his passage as a common sailor, when he comes to do duty on
board the Highlander he proves himself totally ignorant of nautical
matters, and is so nerveless a mariner that, on ascending a mast, he
nearly falls into the sea, and nothing can induce him again to go
aloft. This entails upon him the contempt and ill-treatment of his
officers and shipmates, and he leads a dog's life between Liverpool and
New York. "Few landsmen can imagine the depressing and self-humiliating
effect of finding one's self, for the first time, at the beck of
illiterate sea-tyrants, with no opportunity of exhibiting any trait
about you but your ignorance of everything connected with the sea-life
that you lead, and the duties you are constantly called on to perform.
In such a sphere, and under such circumstances, Isaac Newton and Lord
Bacon would be sea-clowns and bumpkins, and Napoleon Buonaparte be
cuffed and kicked without remorse. In more than one instance I have
seen the truth of this; and Harry, poor Harry, proved no exception."
Poor Harry, nervous, effeminate, and sensitive, was worried like a hare
by the rude sea-dogs amongst whom he had so imprudently thrust himself.
His sole means of propitiating his tormentors was by his voice, and
"many a night was he called upon to sing for those who, through the
day, had insulted and derided him." Amidst his many sufferings, Redburn
was his only comforter, and at times, of an evening, they would creep
under the lee of the long-boat and talk of the past, and still oftener
of the future; for Harry referred but unwillingly to things gone by,
and especially would never explain any of the mysteries of their London
expedition, and had bound Redburn by an oath not to question him
concerning it. He confessed, however, that his resources were at end;
that besides a chest of clothes--relics of former finery--he had but
a few shillings in the world; and, although several years his senior,
he was glad to take counsel of the sailor boy as to his future course
of life, and what he could do in America to earn a living, for he was
determined never to return to England. And when Redburn suggested that
his friend's musical talents might possibly be turned to account, Harry
caught at the idea, and volunteered the following curious information:--

     "In some places in England, he said, it was customary for two
     or three young men of highly respectable families, of undoubted
     antiquity, but unfortunately in lamentably decayed circumstances,
     and threadbare coats--it was customary for two or three young
     gentlemen, so situated, to obtain their livelihood by their
     voices; coining their silvery songs into silvery shillings. They
     wandered from door to door, and rang the bell--_Are the ladies
     and gentlemen in?_ Seeing them at least gentlemanly-looking,
     if not sumptuously apparelled, the servant generally admitted
     them at once; and when the people entered to greet them, their
     spokesman would rise with a gentle bow, and a smile, and say, _We
     come, ladies and gentlemen, to sing you a song; we are singers,
     at your service._ And so, without waiting reply, forth they burst
     into song; and, having most mellifluous voices, enchanted and
     transported all auditors; so much so, that at the conclusion of
     the entertainment they very seldom failed to be well recompensed,
     and departed with an invitation to return again, and make the
     occupants of that dwelling once more delighted and happy."

Should it not be added that these errant minstrels of ancient
family, decayed circumstances, and courtly manners, had their faces
lamp-blacked, and carried bones and banjos, and sang songs in negro
slang with gurgling choruses? Some such professors we have occasionally
seen parading the streets of English towns, although we are not aware
of their being customarily welcomed in drawing-rooms. We ask Mr Herman
Melville to explain to us his intention in this sort of writing. Does
it contain some subtle satire, imperceptible to our dull optics? Does
he mean it to be humorous? Or is he writing seriously? (although that
seems scarcely possible,) and does he imagine he is here recording
a common English custom? If this last be the case, we strongly urge
him immediately to commence a work "On the Manners and Customs of the
British Isles." We promise him a review, and guarantee the book's
success. But we have not quite done with Harry Bolton, and may as
well finish him off whilst our hand is in. Objections being found to
troubadourising in New York, the notion of a clerkship is started,
Harry being a good penman; and this brings on a discussion about
hands, and Redburn utterly scouts the idea of slender fingers and
small feet being indicative of gentle birth and far descent, because
the half-caste paupers in Lima are dainty-handed and wee-footed, and
moreover, he adds, with crushing force of argument, a fish has no feet
at all! But poor Harry's tender digits and rosy nails have grievously
suffered from the pollution of tar-pots, and the rough contact of
ropes, and oftentimes he bewails his hand's degradation, and sighs for
the palmy days when it handed countesses to their coaches, and pledged
Lady Blessington, and ratified a bond to Lord Lovely, &c. &c. All which
is abundantly tedious and commonplace, and will not bear dwelling upon.

Part of the Highlander's cargo on home-voyage was five hundred
emigrants, to accommodate whom the "between-decks" was fitted up with
bunks, rapidly constructed of coarse planks, and having something
the appearance of dog-kennels. The weather proved unfavourable, the
voyage long, the provisions of many of the emigrants (who were chiefly
Irish) ran short, and the consequences were disorder, suffering, and
disease. Once more upon his own ground, and telling of things which
he knows, and has doubtless seen, Mr Melville again rises in our
estimation. His details of emigrant life on board are good; and so is
his account of the sailors' shifts for tobacco, which runs short, and
of Jackson's selfishness, and singular ascendency over the crew. And
also, very graphic indeed, is the picture of the steerage, when the
malignant epidemic breaks out, and it becomes a lazar-house, frightful
with filth and fever, where the wild ignorant Irishmen sat smoking
tea leaves on their chests, and rise in furious revolt, to prevent
the crew from taking the necessary sanitary measures of purification,
until at last favourable breezes came, and fair mild days, and fever
fled, and the human stable (for it was no better) was cleansed, and the
Highlander bowled cheerily onwards, over a pleasant sea, towards the
much-desired haven. Two incidents of especial prominence occur during
the voyage--one at its outset, the other near its close. Whilst yet
in the Prince's Dock, three drunken sailors are brought on board the
Highlander by the crimps. One of them, a Portuguese, senseless from
intoxication, is lowered on deck by a rope and rolled into his bunk,
where the crimp tucks him in, and desires he may not be disturbed till
out at sea. There he lies, regardless of the mate's angry calls, and
seemingly sunk in a trance, until an unpleasant odour in the forecastle
arouses attention, and Jackson discovers that the man is dead. Yet the
other sailors doubt it, especially when, upon Red Max holding a light
to his face, "the yellow flame wavered for a moment at the seaman's
motionless mouth. But then, to the silent horror of all, two threads
of greenish fire, like a forked tongue, darted out from between the
lips; and in a moment the cadaverous face was crawled over by a swarm
of wormlike flames. The lamp dropped from the hand of Max, and went
out, which covered all over with spires and sparkles of flame, that
faintly crackled in the silence; the uncovered parts of the body burned
before us, precisely like a phosphorescent shark in a midnight sea."
Spirit-drinking, the seaman's bane, had made an end of Miguel the
Portuguese. What shocked Redburn particularly, was Jackson's opinion
"that the man had been actually dead when brought on board the ship;
and that knowingly, and merely for the sake of the month's advance,
paid into his hand upon the strength of the bill he presented, the
body-snatching crimp had shipped a corpse on board the Highlander."
The men trembled at the supernatural aspect of the burning body, but
reckless Jackson, with a fierce jeer, bade them hurl it overboard,
which was done. Jackson knew not how soon the waves were to close over
his own corpse. Off Cape Cod, when the smell of land was strong in the
nostrils of the weary emigrants, orders were given, one dark night, in
a stiff breeze, to reef topsails; and Jackson, who had been deadly ill
and off duty most part of the voyage, came upon deck, to the surprise
of many, to do his duty with the rest, by way of reminder, perhaps, to
the captain, that he was alive and expected his wages. Having pointed
pretty freely to Mr Melville's defects, it is fair to give an example
of his happier manner.

     "At no time could Jackson better signalise his disposition to
     work, than upon an occasion like the present; which generally
     attracts every soul on deck, from the captain to the child in the
     steerage.

     "His aspect was damp and deathlike; the blue hollows of his
     eyes were like vaults full of snakes, [another of Mr Melville's
     outrageous similes]; and, issuing so unexpectedly from his dark
     tomb in the forecastle, he looked like a man raised from the dead.

     "Before the sailors had made fast the reef-tackle, Jackson
     was tottering up the rigging; thus getting the start of them,
     and securing his place at the extreme weather end of the
     topsail-yard--which is accounted the post of honour. For it was
     one of the characteristics of this man, that, though when on duty
     he would shy away from mere dull work in a calm, yet in tempest
     time he always claimed the van, and would yield it to none; and
     this, perhaps, was one cause of his unbounded dominion over the
     men.

     "Soon we were all strung along the main-topsail yard; the ship
     rearing and plunging under us, like a runaway steed; each man
     griping his reef-point, and sideways leaning, dragging the sail
     over towards Jackson, whose business it was to confine the reef
     corner to the yard.

     "His hat and shoes were off; and he rode the yard-arm end, leaning
     backward to the gale, and pulling at the earing-rope like a
     bridle. At all times, this is a moment of frantic exertion with
     sailors, whose spirits seem then to partake of the commotion
     of the elements, as they hang in the gale, between heaven and
     earth--and then it is, too, that they are the most profane.

     "'Haul out to windward!' coughed Jackson with a blasphemous cry,
     and he threw himself back with a violent strain upon the bridle
     in his hand. But the wild words were hardly out of his mouth when
     his hands dropped to his side, and the bellying sail was spattered
     with a torrent of blood from his lungs.

     "As the man next him stretched out his arm to save, Jackson fell
     headlong from the yard, and, with a long seethe, plunged like a
     diver into the sea.

     "It was when the ship had rolled to windward; which, with the long
     projection of the yard-arm over the side, made him strike far out
     upon the water. His fall was seen by the whole upward-gazing crowd
     on deck, some of whom were spotted with the blood that trickled
     from the sail, while they raised a spontaneous cry, so shrill
     and wild, that a blind man might have known something deadly had
     happened.

     "Clutching our reef-points, we hung over the stick, and gazed down
     to the one white, bubbling spot, which had closed over the head of
     our shipmate; but the next minute it was brewed into the common
     yeast of the waves, and Jackson never arose. We waited a few
     moments, expecting an order to descend, haul back the foreyard,
     and man the boat; but instead of that, the next sound that greeted
     us was, 'Bear a hand, and reef away, men!' from the mate."

If it be possible (we are aware that it is very difficult) for an
author to form a correct estimate of his own productions, it must
surely have struck Mr Melville, whilst glancing over the proof-sheets
of _Redburn_, that plain, vigorous, unaffected writing of this sort
is a far superior style of thing to rhapsodies about Italian boys and
hurdy-gurdies, to gairish descriptions of imaginary gambling-houses,
and to sentimental effusions about Harry Bolton, his "Bury blade,"
and his "Zebra," as he called him--the latter word being used, we
suppose, to indicate that the young man was only one remove from a
donkey. We can assure Mr Melville he is most effective when most simple
and unpretending; and if he will put away affectation and curb the
eccentricities of his fancy, we see no reason for his not becoming a
very agreeable writer of nautical fictions. He will never have the
power of a Cringle, or the sustained humour and vivacity of a Marryat,
but he may do very well without aspiring to rival the masters of the
art.

_Redburn_ is not a novel; it has no plot; the mysterious visit to
London remains more or less an enigma to the end. But having said so
much about Harry Bolton, the author deems it expedient to add a tag
touching the fate of this worthy, whom Redburn left in New York; in
charge of a friend, during his own temporary absence, and who had
disappeared on his return. For years he hears nothing of him, but then
falls in, whilst on a whaling cruise in the Pacific, with an English
sailor, who tells how a poor little fellow, a countryman of his, a
gentleman's son, and who sang like a bird, had fallen over the side of
a Nantucket craft, and been jammed between ship and whale. And this is
Harry Bolton. A most lame and impotent conclusion, and as improbable a
one as could well be devised, seeing that a sailor's life was the very
last the broken down gambler was likely to choose, after his experience
of his utter incapacity for it, and after the persecution and torments
he had endured from his rude shipmates on board the Highlander.

When this review of his last work meets the eye of Mr Herman Melville,
which probably it will do, we would have him bear in mind that, if
we have now dwelt upon his failings, it is in the hope of inducing
him to amend them; and that we have already, on a former occasion,
expended at least as much time and space on a laudation of his merits,
and many undeniable good qualities, as a writer. It always gives us
pleasure to speak favourably of a book by an American author, when we
conscientiously can do so. First, because Americans, although cousins,
are not _of the house_; although allied by blood, they are in some
sort strangers; and it is an act of more graceful courtesy to laud
a stranger than one of ourselves. Secondly, because we hope thereby
to encourage Americans to the cultivation of literature--to induce
some to write, who, having talent, have not hitherto revealed it; and
to stimulate those who have already written to increased exertion
and better things. For it were false modesty on our part to ignore
the fact, that the words of Maga have much weight and many readers
throughout the whole length and breadth of the Union--that her verdict
is respectfully heard, not only in the city, but in the hamlet, and
even in those remote back-woods where the law of Lynch prevails. And,
thirdly, we gladly praise an American book because we praise none but
good books, and we desire to see many such written in America, in the
hope that she will at last awake to the advantages of an international
copyright. For surely it is little creditable to a great country to see
her men of genius and talent, her Irvings and Prescotts, and we will
also say her Coopers and Melvilles, publishing their works in a foreign
capital, as the sole means of obtaining that fair remuneration which,
although it should never be the sole object, is yet the legitimate and
honourable reward of the labourer in literature's paths.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] _Redburn: his First Voyage._ By HERMAN MELVILLE, author of
_Typee_, _Omoo_, and _Mardi_. 2 vols. London, 1849.



PEACE AND WAR AGITATORS.


If the experience of the last twelve months has not opened the eyes
of the most inveterate of Mr Cobden's quondam admirers to the real
quality of their idol, we very much fear that such unhappy persons
are beyond the reach of the moral oculist. From the first moment of
his appearance upon the political stage, while yet unbe-praised by
Peel, and unrewarded by that splendid testimonial, accorded unto him
by judicious patriots, one moiety of whom have since done penance for
their premature liberality in the _Gazette_, we understood the true
capabilities of the man, and scrupled not to say that a more conceited
personage never battered the front of a hustings. Some excellent but
decidedly weak-minded people were rather offended with the freedom of
our remarks upon the self-sufficient Cagliostro of free trade, in whose
powers of transmutation they were disposed to place implicit reliance
and belief. The Tamworth certificate, which we shrewdly suspect its
author would now give a trifle to recall, was founded on as evidence
sufficient to condemn our obstinate blindness and illiberality; for who
could doubt the soundness of an opinion emanating from a statesman who
was just then depositing, in a mahogany wheelbarrow, the first sod,
raised with a silver spade, on a railway which, when completed, was to
prove a perfect California to the shareholders? It is not impossible
that, at this moment, some of the shareholders may be on their way
to the actual California--having found, through bitter experience,
that some kinds of diggings are anything but productive, and having
learned that elderly orators, who make a practice of studying the
gyrations of the weather-cock, may be sometimes mistaken in their
calculations. Matters fared worse with us, when it was bruited through
the trumpet of fame, that, in every considerable capital of Europe,
multitudes had assembled to do homage to the apostle of the new era.
Our compassionate friends, possibly deeming us irretrievably committed
to folly, put on mourning for our transgression, and ceased to combat
with our adversaries, who classed us with the worst of unbelievers.
One facetious gentleman proposed that we should be exhibited in a
glass-case, as a specimen of an extinct animal; another, indulging
in a more daring flight of fancy, stigmatised us as a cankerworm,
gnawing at the root of the tree of liberty. We fairly confess that
we were pained at the alienation of friends whom we had previously
considered as staunch as the steel of Toledo: as for our foemen, we,
being used to that kind of warfare, treated them with consummate
indifference. Yet not the less, on that account, did we diligently
peruse the journals, which, from various lands, winged their way
to the table of our study, each announcing, in varied speech, that
Richard Cobden was expatiating upon the blessings of free-trade and
unlimited calico to the nations. These we had not studied long, ere
we discovered that, upon one or two unfortunate points, there was a
want of understanding between the parties who thus fraternised. The
foreign audiences knew nothing whatever about the principles which the
orator propounded; and the orator knew, if possible, still less of the
languages in which the compliments of the audiences were conveyed. In
so far as any interchange of ideas was concerned, Mr Cobden might as
well have been dining on cold roast monkey with the King of Congo and
his court, as with the bearded patriots who entertained him in Italy
and Spain. His talk about reciprocity was about as distinct to their
comprehension, as would have been his definition of the differential
calculus; nevertheless their shoutings fell no whit less gratefully
on the ear of the Manchester manufacturer, who interpreted the same
according to his own sweet will, and sent home bragging bulletins to
his backers, descriptive of the thirst for commercial interchange which
raged throughout Europe, and of the pacific tendencies of the age.
Need we remind our readers of what followed? Never had unfortunate
prophet been possessed by a more lying and delusive demon. The words
were hardly out of his mouth, before the thunderstorm of revolution
broke in all its fury upon France, and rolled in devastating wrath
over every kingdom of the Continent. Amongst the foremost agents in
this unholy work were the friends and entertainers of Mr Cobden, for
whose tranquil dispositions he had been foolish enough to volunteer a
pledge. How he must have cursed "my friend Cremieux," when he found
that unscrupulous gentleman giving the lie to all his asseverations!
No man, unless cased in a threefold covering of brass, could have
held up his head to the public, after so thorough and instantaneous
an exposure of his miserable fallacies. But our Richard is not to be
easily put down. No one understands the trade of the agitator better;
for, when baffled, put to silence, and covered with ridicule on one
topic, he straightway shifts his ground, and is heard declaiming on
another. It is his misfortune that he has been compelled to do this
rather frequently, for in no one single instance have events realised
his predictions. Free trade, which was to make every man rich, has
plunged the nation in misery. Reciprocity, for all practical purposes,
is an obsolete word in the dictionary. The Continental apostles of
commercial exchange have been amusing themselves by cutting each
others' throats, and hatching villanous schemes for the subversion of
all government; nor has one of them a maravedi left, to expend in the
purchase of calico. The colonies are up in arms against the policy of
the mother country. Undismayed by these failures, still the undaunted
Cobden lifts up his oracular voice, advocating in turn the extension
of the suffrage, the abolition of standing armies, financial reform,
and what not. It matters not to him that, on each new attempt, the
rotten tub on which he takes his stand is either kicked from under his
feet, or goes crashing down beneath the weight of the husky orator--up
he starts from the mire like a new Antæus, and, without stopping to
wipe away the unsavoury stains from his visage, holds forth upon a
different text, the paragon of pertinacious preachers. We could almost
find it in our hearts to be sorry that such singular pluck should go
without its adequate reward. But a patriot of this stamp is sure to
become a nuisance. However numerous his audience may be at first, they
are apt to decline when the folly of the harangue is made patent to
the meanest capacity, and when current events everlastingly combine
to expose the nature of the imposture. The popularity of Cobden, for
some time back, has been terribly on the wane. Few and far between are
his present political ovations; and even men of his own class begin to
consider him a humbug. We are given to understand that, in a majority
of the commercial rooms, the first glass of the statutory pint of wine
is no longer graced with an aspiration for his prosperity and length
of years; and some ungrateful recreants of the road now hint, that to
his baleful influence may be attributed the woful diminution of orders.
That exceedingly mangy establishment, ycleped the Free-trade Club,
of which he was the father and founder, has just given up the ghost;
and great is the joy of the denizens of St James's Square at being
relieved from the visitations of the crew that haunted its ungarnished
halls. Ordinary men might be disheartened by a succession of such
reverses--not so Cobden. Like an ancient Roman, he gathers his calico
around him, and announces to a gratified world that he is ready to
measure inches with the Autocrat of all the Russias!

Cobden is fond of this kind of feat. About a year ago he put out the
same challenge to the Duke of Wellington and the Horse Guards, just
as we find it announced in the columns of _Bell's Life in London_,
that Charles Onions of Birmingham is ready to pitch into the Champion
of England for five pounds aside, and that his money is deposited at
the bar of the Pig and Whistles. But even as the said champion does
not reply to the defiance of the full-flavoured Charles, so silent
was He of the hundred fights when Richard summoned him to the field.
Failing this meditated encounter, our pugnacious manufacturer next
despatches a cartel to Nicholas, and no response having arrived from
St Petersburg, he magnanimously professes himself ready to serve out
the house of Hapsburg! Really there is no setting bounds to the valour
or the ambition of this vaunting Achilles, who, far stronger than his
prototype, or even than the fabled Hercules, states that he can crumple
up kingdoms in his hand as easily as a sheet of foolscap. We stand
absolutely appalled at the temerity of unappeasable Pelides.

Our readers are probably aware that, for some time past, there has
been an attempt to preach up a sort of seedy Crusade, having for
its ostensible object the universal pacification of mankind. With
such an aim no good man or sincere Christian can quarrel. Peace and
good-will are expressly inculcated by the Gospel, and even upon lower
grounds than these we are all predisposed in their favour. So that,
when America sent us a new Peter the Hermit, in the shape of one
Elihu Burritt, heretofore a hammerer of iron, people were at a loss
to comprehend what sort of a mission that could be, which, without
any fresh revelation, was to put the matter in a clearer light than
was ever exhibited before. We care not to acknowledge that we were
of the number of those who classed the said Elihu with the gang of
itinerant lecturers, who turn a questionable penny by holding forth to
ignorant audiences upon subjects utterly beyond their own contracted
comprehension. Nor have we seen any reason to alter our opinion since;
for the accession of any amount of noodles, be they English, French,
Dutch, Flemish, or Chinese, can in no way give importance to a movement
which is simply and radically absurd. If the doctrines and precepts
of Christianity cannot establish peace, cheek aggression, suppress
insubordination, or hasten the coming of the millennium, we may be
excused for doubting, surely, the power of Peace Congresses, even when
presided over by so saintly a personage as Victor Hugo, to accomplish
those desirable ends. We do not know whether Alexander Dumas has as yet
given in his adhesion. If not, it is a pity, for his presence would
decidedly give additional interest to the meetings.

Even on the score of originality, the founders of the Peace
Associations cannot claim any merit. The idea was long ago struck out,
and promulgated, by that very respectable sect the Quakers; and though
in modern times some of that fraternity, John Bright for example, have
shown themselves more addicted to wrangling than befits the lamb-like
docility of their profession, we believe that opposition to warfare is
still their leading tenet. We can see no reason, therefore, why the
bread should be so unceremoniously taken from the mouth of Obadiah. If
the ingenious author of _Lucretia Borgia_ and _Hans of Iceland_ wishes
to become the leader of a great pacific movement, he ought, in common
justice, to adopt the uniform of the existing corps. He certainly
should treat the promenaders of the Boulevards to a glimpse of the
broad-brimmed hat and sober drab terminations, and conform to the
phraseology as well as the habiliments of the followers of William Penn.

It may be questionable whether, if the experiment of free trade had
succeeded, Elihu would have obtained the countenance of so potent
an auxiliary as Cobden. Our powers of arithmetic are too limited to
enable us, at this moment, to recall the precise amount of additional
annual wealth which the member for the West Riding, and the wiseacres
of _The Economist_, confidently predicted as the necessary gain to
the nation; it was something, the bare mention of which was enough
to cause a Pactolus to distil from the chops of a Chancellor of the
Exchequer, especially if he belonged to the Whig persuasion, and was,
therefore, unaccustomed to the miracle of a bursting revenue. But as no
such miracle ensued; and as, on the contrary, Sir Charles Wood was put
to his wit's end--no very formidable stretch--to diminish a horrible
deficit by the sale of rope-ends, rusty metal, and other material which
was classed under the head of government stores, it was clearly high
time for our nimble Cobden to shift his ground. Accordingly he fell
foul of the army, which he would fain have insisted on disbanding;
and this move, of course, brought him within the range of the orbit
already occupied by the eccentric Elihu.

It is not very easy to attain to a distinct understanding of the means
which the Peace Association proposed to adopt, for carrying out this
benevolent scheme. Most of the gentlemen who have already figured at
their debates are so excessively muddleheaded, that it seems impossible
to extract from their speeches the vestige of a distinct idea. This
much, however, after diligent study, we have gathered, that it is
proposed to substitute arbitration in place of war, and to render that
mode of arrangement almost necessary by a general European disarmament.
Nothing could tally better with the views of Cobden. A higher principle
than that of mere retrenchment is thus brought to bear upon his darling
scheme of wiping off the army and the navy; and we must needs confess
that, to a considerable proportion of the population of modern Europe,
the scheme must be extremely palatable.

Standing armies, we are told, are of no earthly use in the time of
peace, and their expense is obviously undeniable. If peace could be
made universal and perpetual, there would be an end of standing armies.
The best means for securing perpetual peace is to do away with standing
armies, because without standing armies there would be no facilities
for war. This is the sort of argument which we are now asked to accept;
but, unfortunately, we demur both to the premises and the conclusion.
Indeed, in a matter of this kind, we utterly repudiate the aid of
logic, even were it a great deal more scientifically employed. That of
the free-traders is, if possible, worse than their arithmetic, though,
a year or two ago, they were ready to have staked their existence on
the infallibility of the latter.

The experience of the last eighteen months has given us all some
tangible proof of the advantages of standing armies. Setting aside the
Denmark affair, and also the occupation of Rome, there has been one
aggressive war waged in Europe by sovereign against sovereign. That
war, we need hardly say, was commenced by Charles Albert of Sardinia,
who, basely and perfidiously availing himself of the intestine
difficulties of Austria, attempted to seize the opportunity of making
himself master of Lombardy. We need not recapitulate the history of
that campaign, so glorious to the veteran Radetsky, and so shameful
to his unprincipled opponent: but it is well worth remarking, that
the whole of the sympathies of Mr Cobden and his radical confederates
are enlisted on the side of the Italian insurgents; and that, with
all their professed horror for war, we never hear them attribute the
slightest blame to the Sardinians for having marched in hostile array
across the frontier of a friendly power. Nor is this all. In every
case where the torch of insurrection has been lighted, we find the
advocates of peace clamorous in their approbation of the movement.
Without knowledge, without judgment, without anything like due
consideration either of the provocation given on the one side, or the
license claimed on the other, they have invariably lent their voices to
swell the revolutionary cry, and backed the drunken populace in their
howl against order and government. Whoever was loyal and true has been
branded as a ruffian and a murderer. Assassination, when it proceeded
from the mob, was in their eyes no offence at all. Some of them,
employing terms which we never thought to have heard an Englishman
utter, have rather chuckled over the spectacle of nobles, priests, and
statesmen stabbed, shot down, hewn with axes, or torn limb from limb by
savages, whose atrocity was not equalled by that of the worst actors in
the early French Revolution,--and have not been ashamed to vindicate
the authors of such hideous outrage.

Aggressive war we deprecate, to say the least of it, as strongly
as any peace orator who ever spouted from a platform; but we by no
means think that peace, in the catholic sense of the word, can be at
all endangered by the maintenance of standing armies. So far as the
military establishment of Great Britain is concerned, we have already
had occasion, in a former paper, to show that it is barely sufficient
for the occupation of our large and numerous colonies, and greatly
inferior in proportion to that of any other country in Europe. We
certainly do not intend to resume that discussion, because the sense
of the nation has unequivocally condemned the pragmatic fools who
provoked it; and even the Whigs, who coquetted with them, have seen the
folly of their ways, and are not likely, in a hurry, to attempt any
numerical reduction. But we go a great deal farther. We maintain, that
without the assistance of the standing armies throughout Europe during
the late critical juncture, anarchy would now have been triumphant, and
civilisation have received a check so terrible, that ages might have
elapsed before we could have recovered from its effects. Revolution
is incalculably a greater disaster than war; and the higher the point
of civilisation to which a nation has attained before it permits the
democratic flame, smothering beneath the surface of all society, to
burst out into fury, the more dangerous and difficult to extinguish
must be the conflagration. But for the regular army of France, red
republicanism would now be triumphant, and a new Reign of Terror
have begun. The armies and discipline of Prussia alone preserved
the Rhenish provinces and the Palatinate from anarchy, plunder, and
devastation; and, failing those of Austria, Vienna would have been a
heap of ashes. Ultra-democrats, in all ages, have exclaimed against
standing armies as instruments of tyranny for suppressing and overawing
the people, and they have argued that such a force is incompatible
with free institutions. Such declamation is perfectly natural, both
now and heretofore, when we reflect who the individuals are that use
it. No class of persons are more bitter against the police than the
professional thieves. To them the constable's baton also is an emblem
of intolerable tyranny, because it interferes with those liberal ideas
regarding the distribution of property which have been philosophically
expounded and reduced to ethics by certain sages of the socialist
school. The democrat hates the soldier, because he considers him an
obstacle in the way of that political regeneration which is merely
another word for the institution of a reign of terror.

We do not, however, think it necessary to enter into any elaborate
exposition of the idleness of the peace movement. So long as the
gentlemen who have gratuitously constituted themselves a congress
exhibit so much common sense as to retain the semblance of consistency,
we should hardly feel ourselves called upon to interfere in any way
with their arrangements. We should be the last people in the world to
grudge to Mr Ewart, or any other senator of such limited calibre, the
little notoriety which he may chance to pick up by figuring in Paris as
a champion of pacific fraternity. The paths towards the Temple of Fame
are many and devious; and if a man feels himself utterly wanting in
that intellectual strength which is necessary for attaining the summit
by the legitimate and beaten road, he is certainly entitled to clamber
up to any odd pinnacle from which he can make himself, for a moment,
the object of observation. In minor theatres, it is not uncommon to
find a broken-down tragedian attempting to achieve some popularity in
a humble line, by jumping as Harlequin through a clock, or distorting
his ochre-coated visage by grinning magnanimously as the clown. To such
feats no fair exception can be taken; and we doubt not that a roar of
laughter, proceeding from the throats of the most ignorant assemblage
of numskulls, is as grateful to the ears of the performer as would
be the applause of the most enlightened and fastidious audience. We
believe that, in the case of the Congress, audience and orators were
extremely well suited to the capacity of each other. The people of
Paris, who drank in the rolling periods of the pacificators, were
exceedingly amused with the exhibition; and testified their delight, by
greeting the reproduction of the farce, in the shape of a Vaudeville at
the Théâtre des Variétés, with unextinguishable shouts of laughter!

Neither shall we make any comment upon the singularity of the time
selected for these demonstrations. The members of the Congress
expressly set forth, that it was their desire to impress upon the
governments of Europe the folly of maintaining large establishments,
and we presume that they entertained some reasonable hope that their
remonstrances might at least be heard. We need scarcely point out to
our readers the eminent fitness of the present juncture for carrying
these views into effect. We have great faith in the extent and power
of human idiocy, but we hardly supposed that any body of men could
have been congregated, possessed of so much collective imbecility as
to conceive that this was a proper moment for securing the conviction,
or enlisting the sympathies of any government in their scheme. We are,
however, forced to conclude, that a good many of them are sincere; and,
believing this, our regard for their honesty rises in a corresponding
ratio with the decline of our respect for the measure of their
intellects. It would probably be unjust and wrong to confound some of
these simple souls with men of the stamp of their new ally, who use
their association merely as a means for the promulgation of part of
their political opinions, but who, in reality, are so far from being
the friends of peace, that they seem bent upon using their utmost
efforts to involve the whole of Europe in a new and desolating war.
While, therefore, we drop for the present any further notice of the
proceedings of the Peace Congress, we feel it our imperative duty to
trace the steps of Mr Cobden since, arrayed in sheep's clothing, he
chose to make his appearance in the midst of that innocent assembly.

Whatever sympathy may have been shown in certain quarters towards the
Italian insurgents, that feeling has been materially lessened by the
awful spectacles afforded by insurgent rule. We are, in this country,
a great deal too apt to be carried into extravagance by our abstract
regard for constitutional freedom. We forget that our own system has
been the gradual work of ages; that the enlightenment and education of
the people has invariably preceded every measure of substantial reform;
and that it is quite possible that other nations may not be fitted to
receive like institutions, or to work out the social problem, without
more than British restraint. Arbitrary government, being quite foreign
to our own notions, is invariably regarded by us with dislike; and our
decided impulse, on the appearance of each new insurrection, is to
attribute the whole of the blame to the inflexibility of the sovereign
power. So long as this feeling is merely confined to expression of
opinion at home, it is comparatively, though not altogether, harmless.
Undue weight is attached abroad to the articles of the press,
enunciated with perfect freedom, but certainly not always expressing
the sense of the community; and foreign statesmen, unable to appreciate
this license, have ere now taken umbrage at diatribes, which, could
the matter be investigated, would be found to proceed from exceedingly
humble sources. So long, however, as our government professed and acted
upon the principles of non-interference, there was little likelihood
of our being embroiled in disputes with which we had no concern,
simply on account of liberal meetings, tavern speeches, or hebdomadal
objurgations of despotism.

The real danger commenced when a government, calling itself liberal,
began to interfere, most unjustifiably and most unwisely, with the
concerns of its neighbours. Powerless to do good at home, the Whigs
have ever shown themselves most ready to do mischief abroad; and
probably, in the whole history of British diplomacy, there stands
recorded no transaction more deplorable, from first to last, than the
part which Lord Palmerston has taken in the late Italian movements.
It is the fashion to laud the present Foreign Secretary as a man
of consummate ability; nor is it possible to deny that, so far as
speech-making is concerned, he certainly surpasses his colleagues.
We were almost inclined to go farther, and admit that no one could
equal him in dexterity of reading official documents, so as to mystify
and distort their meaning; but were we to assign him pre-eminence
in this department, we should do signal injustice to Earl Grey, who
unquestionably stands unrivalled in the art of coopering a despatch.
Ability Lord Palmerston certainly has, but we deny that he has shown
it in his late Italian negotiations. Restless activity is not a proof
of diplomatic talent, any more than an appetite for intrigue, or a
perverse obstinacy of purpose. Men of the above temperament have, in
all ages, been held incompetent for the duties of so delicate and
difficult a station as that of minister of foreign affairs; and yet
who will deny that the whole course of our recent diplomatic relations
with the south of Europe, has been marked by an unusual display of
restlessness, obstinacy, and intrigue? Public men must submit to have
their labours judged of by their fruits; it is the penalty attached
to their high office, and most righteously so, since the destinies of
nations are committed to their hands. Lord Palmerston may possibly
have thought that, by dictating to the governments of Italy the nature
of the relations which, in his opinion, ought to subsist between
them and their subjects, he was consulting the honour and advantage
of England, fulfilling his duty to the utmost, and providing for
the maintenance of the public tranquillity of Europe. We say it is
possible that such was his thought and intention; but, if so, surely
never yet did a man, possessing more than common ability, resort to
such extraordinary means, or employ such incapable agents. Of all the
men who could have been selected for such a service, Lord Minto was
incalculably the worst. We have nothing whatever to say against that
nobleman in his private capacity; but, throughout his whole public, we
cannot say useful, career, he has never, on one occasion, exhibited a
spark even of ordinary talent, and it is more than questioned by many,
whether his intelligence rises to the ordinary level. Through accident
and connexion he has been thrust into state employment, and has never
rendered himself otherwise remarkable than for a most egregious
partiality for those of his family, kindred, and name. And yet this
was the accredited agent sent out by Lord Palmerston to expound the
intentions and views of Great Britain, not only to the sovereigns of
Italy, but also to their revolted subjects.

We say nothing of the diplomatic employment of such a representative as
Mr Abercromby, at the court of Turin. The correspondence contained in
the Blue Books laid before parliament, shows how singularly ignorant
that minister was of the real posture of affairs in Italy; how eagerly
he caught at every insinuation which was thrown out against the good
faith and pacific policy of Austria; and how completely he was made
the tool and the dupe of the revolutionary party. It is enough to
note the fruits of the Palmerstonian policy, which have been, so far
as we are concerned, the utter annihilation of all respect for the
British name in Italy, insurrections, wild and wasting civil war, and,
finally, the occupation of Rome by the French. Whatever may be thought
of the prudence of this latter move, or whatever may be its remote
consequences, this at least is certain, that, but for Oudinot and his
army, the Eternal City would have been given up as a prey to the vilest
congregation of ruffians that ever profaned the name of liberty by
inscribing it on their blood-stained banners. To associate the cause
of such men with that of legitimate freedom is an utter perversion
of terms; and those who have been rash enough to do so must stand
convicted, before the world, of complete ignorance of their subject. No
pen, we believe, could adequately describe the atrocities which were
perpetrated in Rome, from the day when Count Rossi fell by the poniard
of the assassin, on the steps of the Quirinal palace, down to that on
which the gates were opened for the admittance of the besieging army.
Not the least of Popish miracles was the escape of Pius himself, who
beheld his secretary slain, and his bodyguard butchered by his side.
Of these things modern liberalism takes little note: it hears not
the blood of innocent and unoffending priests cry out for vengeance
from the pavement; it makes no account of pillage and spoliation, of
ransacked convent, or of harried home. It proclaims its sympathy aloud
with the robber and the bravo, and is not ashamed to throw the veil of
patriotism over the enormities of the brigand Garibaldi!

When, therefore, not only a considerable portion of the press of this
country, but the government itself, is found espousing the cause of
revolution in the south of Europe, we need not be surprised if other
governments, at a period of so much danger and insecurity, regard
Great Britain as a renegade to the cause of order. Our position at
present is, in reality, one of great difficulty, and such as ought
to make us extremely cautious of indulging in unnecessary bravado.
The state of our financial affairs is anything but encouraging. We
are answerable for a larger debt than any other nation of the world;
and our economists are so sensible of the weight of our burdens, that
they would fain persuade us to denude ourselves even of the ordinary
means of defence. Our foreign exports are stationary; our imports
immensely increasing; our home market reduced, for the present, to a
state of terrible prostration. Free trade, by destroying the value
of agricultural produce, has almost extinguished our last hope of
restoring tranquillity to Ireland, and of raising that unhappy country
to the level of the sister kingdoms. It is in vain that we have
crippled ourselves to stay the recurring famine of years, since our
statesmen are leagued with famine, and resolute to persevere in their
iniquity. The old hatred of the Celt to the Saxon is still burning
in the bosoms of a large proportion of the misguided population of
Ireland; and were any opportunity afforded, it would break forth as
violently as ever. So that, even within the girdle of the four seas,
we are not exactly in that situation which might justify our provoking
unnecessary hostility from abroad. So far we are entirely at one with
the Peace Congress. When we look to the state of our colonies, the
prospect is not more encouraging. Through Whig misrule, our tenure of
the Canadas has become exceedingly precarious. The West Indies are
writhing in ruin; and even the inhabitants of the Cape are rampant,
from the duplicity of the Colonial Office. Our interest is most
clearly and obviously identified with the cause of order; for, were
Britain once actively engaged in a general war, it is possible that
the presence of her forces would be required in more than a single
point. Of the final result, in the event of such a calamity, we have no
doubt, but not the less, on that account, should we deeply deplore the
struggle.

Such being our sentiments, it is with considerable pain that we feel
ourselves called upon to notice as strong an instance of charlatanism
and presumption as was ever exhibited in this country. Fortunately,
on this occasion, the offender has gone so far that no one can be
blind to his delinquencies; for, if there be any truth in the abstract
principles of the Peace Association, their last disciple has disowned
them; if the doctrines of free trade were intended to have universal
application, Richard Cobden, in the face of the universe, has entered
his protest against them. It signifies very little to us, and less to
the powers against whom he has thundered his anathemas, what Mr Cobden
thinks proper either to profess or repudiate; still, as he has been
pleased to attempt the performance of the part of Guy Fawkes, we judge
it necessary to conduct him from the coal-cellar, and to throw the
light of the lantern upon his visage, and that of his accomplices. And,
first, a word or two as to the occasion of his last appearance.

The recent Hungarian rising is by no means to be classed in the same
category with the wretched Italian insurrections. Much as it is to
be deplored that any misunderstanding should have arisen between
the Austrian cabinet and the Hungarian Diet, so serious as to have
occasioned a war; we look upon the latter body as uninfluenced by
those wild democratic notions which have been and are still prevalent
in the west of Europe. Whatever may have been the case with Kossuth,
and some of his more ambitious confederates, the mass of the Hungarian
people had no wish whatever to rise in rebellion against their king.
Their quarrel was that of a minor state to which certain privileges
had been guaranteed; against the presumed infringement of which, by
their more powerful neighbour, they first protested, and finally
had recourse to arms. Their avowed object, throughout the earlier
part of the struggle, was not to overturn, but to maintain, certain
existing institutions: and it is remarkable that, from the day on
which Kossuth threw off the mask, and renounced allegiance to his
sovereign, the Hungarians lost confidence in their leader, and their
former energy decayed. We need not now discuss the abstract justice
of the Hungarian claims; but whatever may be thought of these, we
must, in common fairness to Austria, consider her peculiar position
at the time when they were sought to be enforced. Concessions which,
during a season of tranquillity, might have been gracefully made, were
rendered almost impossible when demanded with threats, in the midst
of insurrection and revolt. It was but too obvious that the leaders
of the Hungarian movement, forgetful of their fealty to the chief of
that great empire of which their country formed a part, were bent upon
increasing instead of lessening the difficulties with which Austria was
everywhere surrounded, and eager to avail themselves of distractions
elsewhere, for the purpose of dictating insolent and exorbitant terms.
In short, we believe that the real claims of Hungary, however they may
have formed the foundation of the discontent which ripened into war,
were used by Kossuth and his colleagues as instruments for their own
ambition; and that, by throwing off the mask too precipitately, they
opened the eyes of their followers to the true nature of their designs,
and forfeited that support which the realm was ready to accord the men
who, with a single and patriotic purpose, demanded nothing more than
the recognition of the rights of their country.

It was but natural that the intervention of Russia should have been
viewed with some uneasiness in the west of Europe. Every movement
of that colossal power beyond the boundaries of its own territory
excites a feeling of jealousy, singularly disproportionate to the real
character of its resources, if Mr Cobden's estimate of these should
be adopted as the true one; and we fairly confess that we have no
desire to see any considerable augmentation made to the territorial
possessions of the Czar. But the assistance which, on this occasion,
has been sent to Austria by Russia, however much we may regret the
occasion which called the latter into activity, cannot surely be
tortured into any aggressive design. Apart from all our jealousies, it
was a magnanimous movement on the part of one powerful sovereign in
favour of a harassed ally; nor can we see how that assistance could
have been refused by Russia, without incurring the reproach of bad
faith, and running imminent risk with regard to her own dependencies.
Those active revolutionists, the Poles, whose presence behind every
barricade has been conspicuously marked and unblushingly avowed, showed
themselves foremost in all the disturbances which threatened the
dismemberment of Austria. By them the Hungarian army was principally
officered; and it now appears, from the intercepted correspondence of
their nominal chief, that the Hungarian insurrection was relied upon as
the first step for a fresh attempt towards the restoration of a Polish
kingdom. Under these circumstances, the Czar felt himself imperatively
called upon to act; and his honour has been amply vindicated by the
withdrawal of his forces after his mission was accomplished, and the
Hungarian insurrection quelled.

It would undoubtedly have been far more satisfactory to every one, if
the differences between Austria and Hungary could have been settled
without an appeal to arms; but such a settlement was, we apprehend,
utterly beyond the powers even of the Peace Congress to effect; and
the next best thing is to know that tranquillity has actually been
restored. That a great deal of sympathy should be shown for the
Hungarians, is, under the circumstances, by no means unnatural. It
is no exaggeration to say, that hardly one man out of a thousand, in
Britain, comprehends the merits of the dispute, or is able, if called
upon, to give an intelligible account of the quarrel. Such amount of
knowledge, however, is by no means necessary to qualify a platform
orator for holding forth at a moment's notice; and, accordingly,
meetings expressive of sympathy with the persecuted Hungarians
were called in many of our larger towns, and the usual amount of
rhodomontade uttered, by gentlemen who make a point of exhibiting their
elocutionary powers upon the slightest colourable pretence. Had these
meetings been held earlier, they might have been worth something. We
shall not go the length of assuring the very shallow and conceited
personages who constitute the oratorical rump, or public debating
society of Edinburgh, that their opinions are likely to be esteemed
of surpassing importance, even if they were to be heard of so far as
St Petersburg or Vienna; for their utter ignorance of the aspect of
foreign affairs is such as would excite ridicule in the bosoms of
those whom they profess to patronise and applaud. But if they really
were impressed with the notion that the claims of Hungary were of such
mighty importance, how was it that they tarried until the consideration
of all constitutional questions had been swallowed up in war--until
those who fully understood the true position of Hungary, and her
rights as legally guaranteed and defined, were forced to acknowledge
that, through the violence, treachery, and ambition of the insurgent
nobles, all hope of a pacific settlement had disappeared; and that
the best result which Europe could hope for, was the speedy quenching
of an insurrection, now broadly revolutionary and republican, and
threatening to spread still wider the devastating flames of anarchy?
The explanation we believe to be a very simple one. Most of them knew
as much of the affairs of Cappadocia as they did of those of Hungary,
and they would have been equally ready to spout in favour of either
country.

Late in July, Mr Bernal Osborne, backed by Mr R. M. Milnes, whose
knowledge of politics is about equal to his skill in the construction
of dactyls, brought forward the Hungarian question in the House of
Commons, and thereby gave Lord Palmerston an opportunity of unbosoming
himself on that branch of our European relations. His lordship's
speech, on that occasion, was very much lauded at the time; but on
referring to it now, we are somewhat at a loss to understand how it
could have given satisfaction to any one. It was, indeed, as insulting
to Austria, whose back was then supposed to be at the wall, as any
opponent of constitutional government could have desired. Alliance
was sneered at, as a mere empty word of no significance whatever:
nor can we much wonder at this ebullition, considering the manner in
which his lordship has thought proper to deal with other powers, who
attached some value to the term. This topic was, further, a congenial
one, inasmuch as it afforded the Foreign Secretary an opportunity
of gibing at his predecessor, Lord Aberdeen, whose sense of honour
does not permit him to identify the solemn treaties of nations with
folios of waste paper; and who, therefore, was held up to ridicule as
a pattern of "antiquated imbecility." But, after all this persiflage,
which could serve no purpose whatever, save that of giving vent to an
unusual secretion of Palmerstonian bile, it appeared that his lordship
was actually to do nothing at all. He regretted, just as much as we do,
and probably not more than the Austrian cabinet, that no accommodation
of differences had taken place. He said, very truly, that whatever the
result of the struggle might be, it could not strengthen the stability
of the Austrian empire; but at the same time he distinctly repudiated
all intention of interfering beyond mere passive advice, and he could
not deny the right of Austria, if it thought proper, to call in the
aid of the Russian arms. His conclusion, in short, was sound, and we
only regret that, while it was so, the tone and temper of his speech
were not equally judicious. This debate in the House of Commons was
immediately followed up by a public meeting at the London Tavern,
presided over by Mr Alderman Salomons.

We had not the good fortune to be present on that occasion; but, from
the accounts contained in the morning papers, it must have been an
assemblage of a singularly motley kind. There was a considerable muster
of Radical members of parliament; the Financial Reform and the Peace
Associations were respectively represented; Lord Nugent and Mr Milnes
stood forth as delegates from the Bards of Britain; Julian Harney and
Mr G. W. M. Reynolds headed a numerous band of Chartists; and Lord
Dudley Stuart, as a matter of course, was surrounded by a whiskered
phalanx of Poles, Hungarians, Italians, Germans, and Sicilians, each
one striving to look more patriotically ferocious than his neighbour.
The first sympathetic resolution was moved by a Quaker, and seconded
by no less a person than Richard Cobden, who had only been prevented
from attending the previous debate in the House of Commons by a
swan-hopping expedition on the Thames.

Then it was that Mr Cobden first favoured the world with some
economical views, so exceedingly novel and startling, as to excite,
even in that audience, unequivocal symptoms of incredulity. He set
out by laying it down as a general rule, that every separate state
ought to be left to the management of its own affairs, without the
interference of any foreign power whatever. "If," said he, "this had
been a question simply between Hungary and Austria, I should not have
appeared here to-day, nor indeed would it have been necessary for any
of us to have appeared here to-day. So long as the Hungarians were
left to settle their affairs with the government of Vienna, they were
perfectly competent to do it, without the interference of the citizens
of London." This is intelligible enough. So long as central governments
are merely fighting with their own dependencies, there is no room at
all, according to Mr Cobden, for interference. It matters not which
side prevails: they must be left wholly to themselves. This doctrine
could not, we think, have been very acceptable to the Poles; since it
amounts to an entire admission that Russia has a right to deal with
them at her pleasure; neither is it altogether consistent with our
ideas, or interpretation of the law of nations. But it is Cobden's
view, and therefore let it pass, to him, then, it mattered nothing
whether Goth or Hun prevailed--it was the intervention of Russia that
peremptorily called him to the platform. Now we must own, that we
cannot understand this sort of reasoning, though it may possibly be
suited to the capacities of a Manchester audience. If, as many people
no doubt conscientiously believe, Austria was trampling upon the
liberties of a brave and loyal people, not only justice, but humanity
demands that our sympathies should be enlisted on their side. We cannot
acquiesce in a doctrine which would have left the Greeks (lamentably
small sense as they have shown of the benefits of liberty) to toil on
for ever under the grievous yoke of the Ottoman: nor are we prepared
to carry our apathy to so extreme a length. The intervention of Russia
could not, by any possibility, alter the complexion of the quarrel.
It might either crush freedom, or maintain constitutional government
and the balance of power in Europe; but the principle of the contest,
whatever that might be, was declared before Russia appeared, and
according as men view it, so should their sympathies be given. The
whole question, however, as Mr Cobden put the case, turned upon Russian
interference.

If Mr Cobden's next door neighbour happened to have a dispute with
his operatives, touching the interpretation of certain points of the
Charter, and if the latter, in their zeal for enlightenment, were to
set fire to their master's premises, we apprehend that the honourable
member for the West Riding, (having neglected his own insurance,)
might blamelessly bear a hand to quench the threatening conflagration.
Further, if he were assured that the said operatives, assisted by
a gang of deserters from his own mills, were trying their hands at
an incendiary experiment, preliminary to operating upon his calico
warehouses, how could he be blamed, if he sallied to attack the rioters
in their first position? Yet, if we are permitted to compare very
great things with small, this was precisely the situation of Russia.
If she did not assist Austria, the flame would have been kindled
in her own provinces; if the Hungarian insurrection had triumphed,
Poland would have been up in arms. With the old partition of Poland
we have nothing now to do, any more than with the junction of the
Slavonic provinces with Austria. Right or wrong, these have long become
acknowledged facts in European history, and the boundary divisions
have been acquiesced in by a congress of the assembled nations. We
cannot go back upon matters of ancient right and occupation; were we
to do so, the peace of every nation in Europe must necessarily be
disturbed, and no alternative would remain, save the Utopian one of
parcelling out territory according to the language of the inhabitants.
Boundaries must be settled somehow. They were so settled, by the
consent of all the nations, at the treaty of Vienna; and our duty,
as well as our interest, is to adhere to that arrangement. Russia, by
assisting Austria, has in no way contravened any of the stipulations
of that treaty. From the moment when the Hungarian party declared
their country independent, and proclaimed a republic, a new cause
of discord and misrule was opened in the east of Europe, and the
greatest of the eastern potentates was not only entitled but forced
to interfere. It by no means follows that we, who uphold this view,
have any partiality or liking for Russian institutions. No man who
lives in a free country, like ours, can possibly sympathise with
despotism, serfism, and that enormous stretch of feudal power which
is given to a privileged class--we must regard such things with a
feeling nearly akin to abhorrence; nor can we, with our Saxon notions,
fancy existence even tolerable in such a state of society. But our
likings or disgusts cannot alter matters as they stand. We cannot force
other nations to see with our eyes, to think with our thoughts, or to
adapt their constitutions according to the measure of our accredited
standard of excellence. That amount of irresponsible and uncontrolled
action which we term freedom, presupposes the existence of a large and
general spread of intelligence throughout the community, fixed laws
of property, consolidated social relationship, pure administration of
justice, and wisdom and temperance on the part of the governed and the
governor. Such things are not the rapid results of months, or years, or
centuries. They are of slow growth, but they are the inevitable fruits
of order; and very blind and ignorant must that man be who does not
see the hand of progress at work even in the institutions of Russia.
That country emerged from barbarism later than the rest of Europe, but,
since the days of Peter the Czar, its strides towards civilisation
have been most rapid. Commerce has been established, manufactures
introduced, learning and the arts cultivated, and such a foundation
laid as, in no very long time, must perforce secure to all ranks of
the people a larger share of freedom than they are now qualified to
enjoy. Revolution cannot hasten such a state of matters, but it may
materially retard it. Foolish and short-sighted men seem to think that
revolt is a synonymous term with freedom, and, accordingly, they hail
each fresh outbreak with shouts of indiscriminate approval. They can
draw no distinction between the revolt of the barons and that of Jack
Cade in England; they are as ready to applaud Spartacus as Brutus;
they think a peasant's war as meritorious as the up-raising of the
standard of the League. They never stop to consider that freedom is a
mere relative term, and that it is worse than useless to pluck down
one form of government by violence, unless a better is to be reared in
its stead. And who can venture to say that this would have been the
case with Hungary? Who would predict it with certainty even of Poland,
were that dismembered kingdom to be restored? It is notorious that
Poland went to pieces under the weight of its elective monarchy, and
the perpetual feuds, turbulence, and tyranny of a lawless and fierce
aristocracy. No doubt, men will fight for these things--they will fight
for traditions, and bad ones too, as keenly as for the most substantial
benefits. A century ago, the Highlanders would have fought to the death
for clanship, chieftainship, heritable jurisdictions, and the right of
foray and of feud; but will any man now raise up his voice in favour
of the old patriarchal constitution? In Ireland, at this moment, we
believe that a large body of the Celts is willing to stand up for a
restoration of the days of Malachi of the Golden Collar--a form of
government which, we presume, even an O'Connell would decline. This is
just the case with our sympathisers. They take it for granted that,
because there is revolt, there must be a struggle for freedom, and they
are perfectly ready to accept, without the slightest examination, any
legend that may be coined for the nonce. Gullible as a considerable
number of the British public may be, especially that section of the
public which delights in platform oratory, we really could not have
believed that any assemblage could be so utterly ignorant, as to
receive a statement to the effect that the old constitution of Hungary
bore a close resemblance to our own!

We are tempted here to insert an extract from the works of a popular
writer regarding the constitution of Poland, because it expresses, in
excellent language, the opinions which we are attempting to set forth
in this article, and denounces the folly of those who confound the term
freedom with its just and rational application. Will the reader favour
us by perusing the following passage with attention?--when he has done
so, we shall state from whose eloquent pen it proceeded.

"Of how trifling consequence it must be to the practical minded and
humane people of Great Britain, or to the world at large, whether
Poland be governed by a king of this dynasty or of that--whether he
be lineally descended from Boleslas the Great, or of the line of the
Jagellons--contrasted with the importance of the inquiries as to the
social and political condition of its people--whether they be as
well or worse governed, clothed, fed, and lodged in the present day
as compared with any former period,--whether the mass of the people
be elevated in the scale of moral and religious beings,--whether
the country enjoys a smaller or a larger amount of the blessings of
peace; or whether the laws for the protection of life and property
are more or less justly administered. These are the all-important
inquiries about which we busy ourselves; and it is to cheat us of our
stores of philanthropy, by an appeal to the sympathy with which we
regard these vital interests of a whole people, that the declaimers
and writers upon the subject invariably appeal to us on behalf of the
oppressed and enslaved _Polish nation_--carefully obscuring, amidst the
cloud of epithets about 'ancient freedom,' 'national independence,'
'glorious republic,' and the like, the fact that, previously to the
dismemberment, the term _nation_ implied only the nobles;--that, down
to the partition of their territory, about nineteen out of every
twenty of the inhabitants were slaves, possessing no rights, civil or
political; that about one in every twenty was a nobleman--and that that
body of nobles formed the very worst aristocracy of ancient or modern
times; putting up and pulling down their kings at pleasure; passing
selfish laws, which gave them the power of life and death over their
serfs, whom they sold and bought like dogs or horses; usurping, to each
of themselves, the privileges of a petty sovereign, and denying to all
besides the meanest rights of human beings; and, scorning all pursuits
as degrading, except that of the sword, they engaged in incessant wars
with neighbouring states, or plunged their own country into all the
horrors of anarchy, for the purpose of giving employment to themselves
and their dependants." And the same writer, after remarking upon the
character and conduct of the privileged class in Poland, in language
which is just as applicable to those of the Hungarian nobles, thus
accounts for the insurrection in 1830. The Italics are his own. "_We
hesitate not emphatically to assert, that it was wholly, and solely,
and exclusively, at the instigation, and for the selfish benefit,
of this aristocratic faction of the people, that the Polish nation
suffered for twelve months the horrors of civil war, was thrown back
in her career of improvement, and has since had to endure the rigours
of a conqueror's vengeance._ The Russian government was aware of this;
and its severity has since been chiefly directed towards the nobility."
And in a note appended to the above paragraph he says, "The peasants
joined, to a considerable extent, the standard of revolt; but this was
to be expected, in consequence of the influence necessarily exercised
over them by the superior classes. Besides, patriotism or nationality
is an instinctive virtue, that sometimes burns the brightest in the
rudest and least reasoning minds; and its manifestation bears no
proportion to the value of the possessions defended, or the object to
be gained. The Russian serfs at Borodino, the Turkish slaves at Ismail,
and the lazzaroni of Naples, fought for their masters and oppressors
more obstinately than the free citizens of Paris or Washington did, at
a subsequent period, in defence of those capitals."

And who was the author of these very lucid and really excellent
remarks? We reply, RICHARD COBDEN, ESQ. The curious in such matters
will find these, and many similar passages, in a pamphlet entitled
_Russia, by a Manchester Manufacturer_, which was published in 1836,
for the purpose of showing that, on the whole, it would be an advantage
to British commerce if Russia were to lay violent hands on Turkey, and
possess herself of Constantinople!

But it is time we should return to the London Tavern meeting, where
we left Mr Cobden, this time denouncing the active interference of
Russia. Here the apostle of peace was certainly upon ticklish ground.
Large as his estimate undoubtedly is of his own influence and power,
he could hardly expect, that, because he and some other gentlemen
of inferior endowments were pleased to hold a meeting in the London
Tavern, and pass resolutions condemnatory of the conduct of the Czar,
the immediate consequence would be a withdrawal of the Russian forces.
Under such circumstances, as he must have perfectly well known, the
expression of his opinion was not worth the splinter of a rush to the
Hungarians, unless, indeed, he were prepared to follow up his words
by deeds. On the other hand, he was debarred, by some fifty public
declarations, from advocating the propriety of a war: not only upon the
general pacific principle--for that might easily have been evaded,--but
upon economical considerations connected with his darling scheme of
reducing the British navy and army, which would be clearly incompatible
with the commencement of a general European conflict. An ordinary man,
entertaining such views and sentiments, would probably have considered
himself as lodged between the horns of an inextricable dilemma. Not
so Cobden, whose genius rose to the difficulty. The experience of
a hundred platform fights had taught him this great truth, that no
proposition was too monstrous to be crammed down the public throat,
provided the operator possessed the requisite share of effrontery; and
he straightway proceeded, _secundum artem_, to exhibit a masterpiece of
his skill.

Probably not one man in all that room but had been impressed, from his
youth upwards, with a wholesome terror and respect for the magnitude of
the Russian power. That, at all events, was the feeling of the Poles,
and decidedly of the Polish champions. But in less than an instant
they were disabused. Most of our readers must have seen how a small
figure, painted on a tiny slip of glass, may, when passed through
the aperture of a magic lantern, be made to reflect the attitude and
dimensions of a giant: Cobden's trick was exactly the opposite of
this; he made the actual giant appear in the dwindled proportions of
a dwarf. "I will tell you," said he, "how we can bring moral force to
bear on these armed despots. We can stop the supplies. (Loud cheers.)
Why, Russia can't carry on two campaigns beyond her own frontiers,
without coming to Western Europe for a loan. She never has done so,
without being either subsidised by England, or borrowing money from
Amsterdam. I tell you I have paid a visit there, and I assert that they
cannot carry on two campaigns in Hungary, without either borrowing
money in Western Europe or robbing the bank at St Petersburg. (A laugh,
and a cry of 'Question.') That must be a Russian agent, a spy, for
this is the question. I know," continued our magniloquent Richard,
"that the Russian party, here and abroad, would rather that I should
send against them a squadron of cavalry and a battery of cannon, than
that I should fire off the facts that I am about to tell you. I say,
then, that Russia cannot carry on two campaigns without a loan." We
believe that the latter part of Mr Cobden's statement is tolerably
accurate, so that he need not give himself any further trouble about
the production of his indicated horse and artillery. We agree with
him that Russia might be puzzled to carry on two vigorous campaigns
without a loan; but we should be glad to know what country in Europe
is not in the same predicament? War, as everybody knows, is a very
costly matter--not much cheaper than revolution, though a good deal
more speedy in its results--and every nation which engages in it must,
perforce, liquidate the expense. Great Britain could not, any more
than Russia, go to war without a loan. In such an event, the only
difference would be that the British loan must necessarily be six or
seven times greater than that of Russia, for this simple reason, that
Russia has a large standing army levied and prepared, whereas we have
not. Now what is there to prevent Russia from negotiating a loan? The
first question, we apprehend, is the state of her finances--let us
see whether there is any symptom of approaching bankruptcy in these.
The debt of Russia, according to the most recent authorities, is
seventy-six millions, being as near as possible one tenth of our own.
Her revenue is about seventeen millions, or one-third of ours. So
far, therefore, as the mere elements of credit go, Russia would, in
the eyes of the capitalist, be the more eligible debtor of the two.
There could, we apprehend, be no possible doubt of her solvency, for,
with large resources behind, she has a mere fraction of a debt, and
her power of raising revenue by taxes has been little exercised. Our
readers will better understand this by keeping in mind, that, while
the revenue presently levied is just one-third of ours, the population
of Russia is considerably more than double that of Great Britain and
Ireland. Mr Cobden, however, accepting, as we presume he must do, the
above official facts, draws from them inferences of a very startling
character. "Don't let any one talk," said he, "of Russian resources.
It is the poorest and most beggarly country in Europe. It has not a
farthing. Last year there was an immense deficit in its income as
compared with its expenditure, and during the present financial year
it will be far worse. Russia a strong political power! Why, there
is not so gigantic a political imposture in all Europe." And again,
"Russia a strong, a powerful, and a rich country! Don't believe any
one who tells you so in future. Refer them to me." We feel deeply
obliged to Mr Cobden for the last suggestion, but we would rather,
with his permission, refer to facts. If the poorest and most beggarly
country in Europe has contrived to rear its magnificent metropolis
from the marshes of the gelid Neva, to create and maintain large and
well-equipped fleets in the Baltic and the Black seas, and to keep up
a standing army of about half a million of men, without increasing its
permanent debt beyond the amount already specified, all we shall say
is, that the semi-civilised Russian is in possession of an economical
secret utterly unknown to the statesmen of more favoured climes,
and that the single farthing in his hand, has produced results more
wonderful than any achieved by the potency of the lamp of Aladdin. But
the climax has yet to come. Waxing bolder and bolder on the strength
of each successive assertion of Russian weakness and impotency, the
Apostle of Peace assumed the attitude of defiance: "If Russia should
take a step that required England, or any other great maritime power,
like the United States, to attack that power, why, we should fall like
a thunderbolt upon her. You would in six months crumple that empire
up, or drive it into its own dreary fastnesses, as I now crumple up
that piece of paper in my hand!!!" Here is a pretty fellow for you!
This invincible fire-eater is the same man who, for the last couple
of years, has been agitating for the reduction of the army and navy,
on the ground that the whole world was in a state of the profoundest
peace, and likely so to remain! This crumpler-up and defier of empires
is the gentleman who held forth this bygone summer, at Paris, on the
wickedness of war, and on the spread of fraternity and brotherly love
among the nations! Why, if old Admiral Drake had risen from the dead,
he could not have spoken in a more warlike strain, only the temper
and tone of his remarks would have been different. A hero is bold but
temperate: a demagogue blustering and pot-valiant.

It is but right to say, that this impudent and mischievous trash,
though of course abundantly cheered by many of the poor creatures who
knew no better, did not altogether impose upon the meeting. Mr Bernal
Osborne could not find it in his conscience to acquiesce, even tacitly,
in this monstrous attempt at imposition, and accordingly, though "he
coincided in much that had been said by the member for the West Riding,
he must take the liberty to say that, in exposing the weakness of
Russia, he had gone rather too far. Forewarned was forearmed, and
let them not lay it to their hearts that the great empire was not to
be feared, but despised." And therefore, he, Mr Osborne, "would be
sorry if any man in the meeting should go away with the impression
that the monstrous Pansclavonic empire was to be thoroughly despised."
Neither did the chairman exactly approve of the line of discussion
which had been introduced by Mr Cobden. He said, with great truth,
that they had nothing to do at present with the resources of Russia;
their business being simply to consider the wrongs of Hungary, and to
give utterance to such an expression of opinion as might act upon the
British government. Mr Salomons is a practical man, and understands the
use of mob-meetings, which is to coerce and compel Whig administrations
to do precisely what the frequenters of the London Tavern desire.
Better versed, by a great deal, in monetary matters than Mr Cobden,
he knows that financial discussions are utterly out of place in such
an assemblage; and, moreover, we have a strong suspicion that the
latter part of Mr Cobden's speech, to which we are just about to refer,
must have sounded harshly in the ears of a gentleman of the Hebrew
persuasion, initiated, after the custom of his tribe, in the mysteries
of borrowing and lending. Up to this point we have considered Mr Cobden
in the united character of peace-maker and bully: let us now see how he
contrives to combine the hitherto antagonistic qualities of free-trader
and restrictionist.

Having, satisfactorily to himself, demonstrated the pitiable weakness
of Russia, and having got over the notorious fact of her large bullion
deposit, and her purchases in the British funds, by explaining that
the first is the foundation of her currency, and the second a private
operation of the Bank of St Petersburg--an establishment which,
according to his showing, is no way connected with the government--Mr
Cobden proceeded to unravel his schemes for paring the claws of the
northern Bear. It has the merit of pure simplicity. Not one penny is
henceforward to be lent to the Russian government. The capitalists of
Europe are henceforth to look, not to the security, but to the motives
of the borrowing power. If they think that the money required is to be
expended in purchasing munitions of war, in fitting out an armament, or
in any other way hostile to the continuance of peace, they are grimly
to close their coffers, shake their heads, and refuse to advance one
single sixpence, whatever be the amount of percentage offered; and this
kind of moral force, Mr Cobden thinks, would not only be effectual, but
can easily be brought into action. Let us hear him. "Now, will any one
in the city of London dare to be a party to a loan to Russia, either
directly or openly, or by agency and copartnership with any house
in Amsterdam or Paris? Will any one dare, I say, to come before the
citizens of this free country, and avow that he has lent his money for
the purpose of cutting the throats of the innocent people of Hungary?
I have heard such a project talked of. But let it only assume a shape,
and I promise you that we, the peace party, will have such a meeting
as has not yet been held in London, for the purpose of denouncing the
blood-stained project--for the purpose of pointing the finger of scorn
at the house, or the individuals, who would employ their money in such
a manner--for the purpose of fixing an indelible stigma of infamy upon
the men who would lend their money for such a vile, unchristian, and
barbarous purpose. That is my moral force. As for Austria, no one, I
suppose, would ever think of lending her money." We shall, by-and-by,
have occasion to see more of Mr Cobden in connexion with the Austrian
loan; in the mean time, let us keep to the general proposition. The
meaning of the above unadorned fustian is simply this--that no man
shall, in future, presume to lend his money without consulting the
views of Mr Cobden and his respectable confederates. This ukase--and
a magnificent one it is--was rapturously received by his audience; a
fiat of approval which we set no great store on, seeing that, in all
probability, not fifty of those excellent philanthropists could command
as many pounds for the permanent purpose of investment. But the idea
of controlling, by their sweet voices, the monetary operations of the
great banking-houses of the world, the Rothschilds, the Barings, and
the Hopes, was too delicious a hallucination not to be rewarded with a
corresponding cheer. Now, setting aside the absolute impudence of the
proposal--for we presume Mr Cobden must have known that he had as much
power to stay the flux of the tides, as to regulate the actions of the
money-lenders--what are we to think of the new principle enunciated
by the veteran free-trader? What becomes of the grand doctrine of
buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest market, without
the slightest regard to any other earthly consideration, save that
of price? Will Mr Cobden NOW venture to persuade us that he had some
mental reservation, when he propounded that ever-memorable axiom; or
that dealers in coin were to be regulated by a different code of moral
laws from that which was laid down for the use of the more fortunate
dealers in calico? We presume, that, without cotton, and blankets, and
machinery exported from this country, the slaves of Cuba could hardly
be made to work--why, then, should we not clap an embargo on these
articles, and point with the finger of scorn, disgust, and execration,
to every man who traffics in that unholy trade? And yet, if our memory
serves us right, no very long time has elapsed since we beggared our
West Indian colonies, solely to drive a larger trade in those articles
with the slave plantations, for behoof of Messrs Cobden and Co.
Slavery, we presume, is an institution not congenial to the mind of Mr
Cobden--at least we hope not, and we are sure he would not be willing
to admit it. In point of humanity, it is rather worse than war; why
not, then, let us have a strong exercise of moral force to abolish it,
by stopping the supplies? The withdrawal of our custom, for three or
four years, would effectually knock Cuba on the head. Why not try it?
We should like to see Mr Cobden's face, if such a proposition were
made in Parliament; and yet is it not as rational, and a great deal
more feasible, than the other? But it is a positive waste of time to
dwell further upon such a glaring absurdity as this. Baron Rothschild,
member-elect though he be for the city of London, will care very little
for the extended digit of Mr Cobden, and will doubtless consult his own
interest, without troubling himself about Manchester demagogues, when
the next Russian loan is proposed.

Having delivered himself of this remarkable oration, Mr Cobden very
wisely withdrew; perhaps he had a slight suspicion of the scene which
was presently to follow. The majority of the meeting consisted of
gentlemen whose notions about moral force were exceedingly vague and
general. Their strong British instincts, inflamed by the stimulus of
beer, led them to question the use of abstract sympathy, unless it was
to be followed up by action; and accordingly Mr Reynolds, a person of
some literary as well as political notoriety, thought it his duty to
give a more practical turn to the deliberations of the meeting, and
thereby cut short several interesting harangues. We quote from the
report of the _Times_ of 24th July.

     "Mr G. W. M. REYNOLDS, whose remarks were frequently followed by
     interruption and cries of 'question,' next addressed the meeting.
     He avowed his belief, that in so holy, sacred, and solemn a cause,
     England must even go to war in defence of Hungary, if necessary.
     (This assertion was received with such hearty cheering as proved
     that the speaker had expressed the sentiments of the vast body of
     the meeting.) All the moral effects of that meeting (continued Mr
     Reynolds) would be perfectly useless, unless they were prepared
     to go further. If the government would employ some of the ships
     that were now rotting in our harbours, and some of the troops now
     marching about London, that would really benefit the Hungarians.
     (Cheers.) France used to be regarded as a barrier against
     Russia, but France was no longer so, because that humbug Louis
     Napoleon (tremendous cheers--and three hearty groans for Louis
     Napoleon)--that rank impostor (continued cheering)--

     "The CHAIRMAN here interfered, and much interruption ensued.
     If anything could disturb and injure the cause which they were
     met to support, it was such remarks as they had just heard.
     ("No, no.") If he (the Chairman) were a spy of Russia, he should
     follow out the course pursued by Mr Reynolds. (Much confusion and
     disapprobation.)" #/

We really cannot see wherein the author of the _Mysteries of London_
was to blame. His proposition had, at all events, the merit of being
intelligible, which Mr Cobden's was not, and he clearly spoke the
sentiments of the large majority of the unwashed. He certainly went a
little out of his way, to denounce the President of the French Republic
as an impostor: a deviation which we regret the more, as he might have
found ample scope for such expositions without going further than
the speeches of the gentlemen who immediately preceded him. We need
not linger over the ensuing scene. Mr Duncan--"said to be a Chartist
poet"--attempted to address the meeting, but seems to have failed. We
do not remember to have met with any of Mr Duncan's lyrics, but we
have a distinct impression of having seen a gentleman of his name,
and imputed principles, at the bar of the High Court of Justiciary in
Edinburgh. But if the sacred voice of one poet was not listened to, the
same meed of inattention was bestowed upon another. The arms of Mr R.
M. Milnes were seen hopelessly gesticulating above the press; and Lord
Dudley Stuart, for once, was cut short in his stereotyped harangue. The
case was perfectly clear: Reynolds was the only man who had enunciated
a practical idea, and accordingly the voice of the meeting was
unequivocally declared for war.

We hope that the Peace Congress, and the economists, and the
free-traders, are all equally delighted with this notable exhibition
of their hero. If they are so, we certainly have no further commentary
to offer. To secure peace, Mr Cobden openly defies and challenges
Russia; to further economy, he does his best to inflame the passions of
the people, and to get up a cry for war; to vindicate free trade, he
proposes henceforward to coerce Lombard Street. Is there, in all the
history of imposture, an instance comparable to this? Possibly there
may be; but, if so, we are certain it was better veiled.

The evil luck of Mr Cobden still clung to him. Within a very short time
after this memorable meeting was held, the Hungarian armies surrendered
at discretion, and the insurrection was thoroughly quenched. Not two,
not even one complete campaign, were necessary to put an end to an
ill-advised struggle, in which the hearts of the Hungarian people were
never sincerely enlisted; and good men hoped that the sword might now
be sheathed in the eastern territories of Europe. That portion of
the press which had sympathised with the insurgents, and hailed with
frantic delight the suicidal resolution of the Hungarian chiefs to
separate themselves for ever from the house of Austria, was terribly
mortified at a result so speedy and unexpected; and did its best to
keep up the excitement at home, by multiplying special instances of
cruelty and barbarity said to have been wrought by the victors on the
persons of their vanquished foemen. That many such instances really
occurred we do not for a moment doubt. When the passions of men have
been inflamed by civil war, and whetted by a desire for vengeance,
it is always difficult for the authorities to preserve a proper
restraint. This is the case even among civilised nations; and when
we reflect that a large portion of the troops on either side engaged
in the Hungarian war, cannot with any justice be termed civilised,
it is no wonder if deeds of wanton atrocity should occur. Indeed,
late events may lead us to question how far civilisation, on such
occasions, can ever operate as a check. Who could have believed that
last year, in Frankfort, a young and gallant nobleman, whose sole
offence was, the free expressions of his opinions in a parliament
convened by universal suffrage, should have been put to death at
noonday by lingering torments, and his groans of agony echoed back by
the laughter of his brutal assassins? The names of Felix Lichnowsky
and Von Auerswaldt will surely long be remembered to the infamy of
that city which was the birthplace of Goethe, and boasted of itself
as the refined capital of the Rhenish provinces. A veil of mystery
still hangs over the circumstances connected with the assassination
of Count Latour; and though we are unwilling to give currency to a
rumour, which would entail infamy on the memory of one who has since
passed to his account, the victim of an unbridled ambition, strong
suspicions exist that a Hungarian minister was directly privy to that
act of dastardly and cruel murder. But there is no manner of doubt
at all as to the atrocities which were committed in Vienna when that
hapless city was in the hands of the red republicans and the Poles.
Pillage, murder, and violation were crimes of every-day occurrence,
and it is not wonderful if the memory of these wrongs has in some
instances goaded on the victors to a revenge which all must deplore.
As to the military executions which have taken place, we have a word
to say. The suppression of almost every revolt has been followed by
strong measures on the part of the conquerors, against those who
excited the insurrection. Our own history is full of them. Succeeding
generations, according to their estimate of the justness of the cause
which they espoused, have blamed, or pitied, or applauded the conduct
of the men who thus perilled and lost their lives; but the necessity
of such executions has rarely or never been questioned. We allude,
of course, to those who have been the leaders and instigators of the
movement, and upon whom the responsibility, and the expiation for
the blood which has been shed must fall; not to the subordinates who
ought to be, and almost always are, the proper objects of mercy. The
most ardent Jacobite, while he deplored the death, and vindicated the
principles of Lords Balmerino and Kilmarnock, never thought of blaming
the government of the day for having sent those devoted noblemen to
the block. But in their case the execution assumed the character of a
terrible national solemnity--not hastily enacted, but following after a
deliberate trial before unprejudiced judges, upon which the attention
and interest of the whole country was concentrated. And, therefore,
while posterity has been unanimous in expressing its abhorrence of the
bloody butcheries of William, Duke of Cumberland, after the battle
of Culloden, no reflection has been thrown upon the ministers of
George II. for having allowed the law to take its course against the
more prominent leaders of the rebellion, even though the sympathies
of many good men have been enlisted on the losing side. Now, we do
not hesitate to condemn most strongly the conduct of Austria on the
present occasion. No judicial process, so far as we can learn, has been
instituted against the captive chiefs, save that which is equivalent
to no process at all--the sentence of a court-martial. Except in cases
of the most absolute necessity, the functions of the soldier and the
judge ought never to be combined and confounded. When the flame of
civil war is once trodden out, the civil law ought immediately to
resume its wonted supremacy. Treason and rebellion are undoubtedly the
highest of all crimes; but, being the highest, it is therefore the more
necessary that they should be subjected to the gravest investigation;
so that in no way may the punishment inflicted, on account of a heinous
breach of the law, be mistaken, even by the most ignorant, for an act
of hurried vengeance. We may perhaps have no right to object to the
measure of the punishment. We cannot know what charges were brought,
or even substantiated against the unfortunate Hungarian leaders of
Arad. We are quite unaware what disclosures may have been laid before
the Austrian government as to the participation of Count Bathyany in
Kossuth's republican schemes. One and all of them may have been guilty
in the worst degree; one and all of them may have deserved to die;
and it is even possible that circumstances may have rendered such a
terrible example necessary, for the future preservation of order; but
the manner in which the punishment has been dealt, is, we think, wholly
indefensible. It is no answer to say, that the administration of the
laws of Austria is different from that of our own, and that we are
not entitled to apply the measure of a foreign standard. No point of
legal technicality, or even consuetude is involved; there is but one
law which, whatever be its extrinsic form, ought to regulate such a
proceeding as this--a law which, we trust, is acknowledged in Austria
as well as in Britain--the law of justice and humanity. The most
suspected criminal, when arraigned before secret and biassed judges,
loses, in the estimation of the public, half his imputed criminality.
He has not had a fair trial; and, if condemned, it is possible that
his execution may be considered rather as a case of martyrdom, than as
one of righteous punishment. A court-martial never is a satisfactory
tribunal; least of all can it be satisfactory when the object of its
inquiry arises from a civil war. The judges have seen too much of
the actual misery and ruin which has occurred to be impartial. That
propensity to vengeance, from which it can hardly be said that even the
noblest nature is altogether exempt, so nearly akin is it to righteous
indignation, is at such times unnaturally excited. The fiery zeal,
which shows so graceful in the soldier, is utterly unsuited to the
ermine; and when the ermine is thrown, as in this instance, above the
soldier's uniform, there can be very little doubt that ancient habit
and inflamed passion will supersede judicial deliberation. By acting
thus, we conscientiously believe that Austria has inflicted a serious
injury on herself. She has given to those who are her enemies a heavy
cause of argument and reproach against those who are her well-wishers;
and the immediate and not unnatural result will be an increased amount
of sympathy for the political fugitives, and a great disinclination to
canvass their true motives and their characters. Francis Joseph at the
outset of his reign will be stigmatised--most unjustly, indeed, for the
fault lies not with him--as a relentless tyrant, and all who escape
from tyranny are sure of popular though indiscriminate compassion.

We have thought it our duty to make those remarks at the present time,
because out of this Hungarian affair a question has arisen in which
we are to a certain extent implicated, and which may possibly, though
we do not think probably, be productive of most serious results. We
allude, of course, to the joint demand of Russia and Austria upon
Turkey for the surrender of the political fugitives at Widdin. In
common with the whole public press of this country, we consider such a
demand, on general grounds, to be unexampled and unjust. The abstract
right of every independent nation to afford shelter to political
fugitives, has, we believe, never been questioned; but, even had it
been doubtful, there are very many reasons, founded upon humanity
and honour, why all of us should combine to protest against a claim
so imperiously and threateningly advanced. Cases may arise, and have
arisen, where the privilege has been scandalously abused. For example,
the Baden insurgents have fled for shelter across the frontier of
Switzerland, and have there remained hatching treason, collecting
adherents, and waiting for an opportunity of renewing their treasonable
designs. In such a case, we conceive that the threatened government has
a decided right to require the sheltering country to remove or banish
those fugitives from its territory, and in the event of a refusal, to
declare that a proper _casus belli_. But this, it will be seen, is
widely different from a demand for the surrender of the fugitives; and
we presume that, in the case of the Hungarians, no allegation can be
made, that they have sought harbour, and remain in Turkey, with a view
towards renewing their attempt. Unquestionably it is quite competent
for states to enter into treaties in fulfilment of which political
fugitives must be surrendered when claimed. Such a treaty is said to
exist between Russia and Turkey; but it is clearly not applicable
in the case of such of the Hungarian refugees as have claimed the
shelter of the latter power. Russia, in this quarrel, appears only as
the ally of Austria; and she can have no right to admit the latter to
a direct participation in any of the stipulations contained in her
peculiar treaty. No Hungarian is a subject of Russia; and, therefore,
under that treaty, he cannot possibly be reclaimed. With regard to the
Polish refugees, there certainly does seem to be a difference; and we
care not to own, that we feel far less interest for them than for the
Hungarians. Their own national struggle excited throughout Europe great
sympathy and compassion. No matter what were the merits of the kind of
government which they sought to restore--no man could be cold-blooded
enough to forget that the kingdom of Poland had been violently seized
and partitioned; and though sober reason, and, in fact, good faith,
compelled us to abstain from espousing the cause of those who, by
solemn European treaty, had been confirmed as subjects but who had
risen as rebels, we yet gave our hospitality to the fugitive Poles
with a heartiness greater and more sincere than was ever accorded
on any other occasion. All ranks in this country, and in France,
combined to do them honour; and the general wish in both countries
was, not to afford them a mere temporary shelter, but to give them a
permanent habitation. For this purpose, and to fit them for industrial
employment, the British government gave an annual grant of money, and
the private subscriptions were munificent. Some of the exiles most
creditably availed themselves of the means so placed within their
reach, and have become amongst us useful and esteemed citizens. But
there were others, and the larger number, who utterly misinterpreted
this sympathy, and never would abandon their dreams of Polish
restoration. For this we cannot blame them; and we must needs allow
that they received much encouragement to persevere in those dreams from
men who ought to have been wiser. They took undue advantage of their
situation, and preferred living in idleness, though certainly not in
affluence, upon eleemosynary aid, to gaining their bread honourably by
active industry and exertion. This was certainly not the best way of
securing the affection of a practical people like the British to them
and to their cause; and the result has been, that the moral prestige
of the Poles has greatly declined in this country. We are not arguing
from inference, but from facts; for we are perfectly certain that if
the Emperor Nicholas had made his visit to London in 1834, instead of
nine or ten years later, his reception by the public would have been
materially different. Since then, the Poles have altogether forfeited
the esteem of the friends of order, by coming forward as the most
active agents and instigators of revolution all over the continent of
Europe. In France, in Italy, in Germany, and above all, in Hungary,
they have thrust themselves forward in quarrels with which they had
nothing to do, and even have violated that hospitality which was
accorded them on account of their misfortunes. It is time that they
should learn that the British public has no sympathy with unprincipled
condottieri. No amount of tyranny, inflicted by one nation, will
entitle an exile deliberately to arm himself against the constitution
of another. Foreign service--manly open service indeed is honourable,
but foreign conspiracy is, beyond all doubt, one of the basest and the
worst of crimes. Now, we are not versed enough in treaties to know
what are the exact terms of the conditions made between Russia and
Turkey. We hope, for the sake of Bem, Dembinski, and the others, that
they merely apply to the surrender of those who shall take refuge in
the neighbouring territory on account of war waged, or revolt raised,
against their sovereigns; and though, should such be the nature of the
contract, there may still be a doubt whether the Poles are entitled
to plead exemption under it, that doubt, we presume, will be given in
their favour by the sheltering power; at all events, we think it very
unlikely that any distinction will be drawn betwixt the two classes of
refugees. Still we are compelled to maintain our honest and sincere
conviction that, apart from other and greater considerations, there is
nothing in this demand of Russia and Austria, to justify us in active
interference. The demand has not been made on us; it does not refer to
British subjects; and it in no way concerns our honour. We have nothing
more to do with it, in the abstract, than if it was a demand made by
the Shah of Persia upon the Emperor of China. We beg especial attention
to this point, because we observe that some of our journalists assume
that Great Britain _and France_ will act together vigorously in
resisting the demand. Now, we hold, that, though both countries may
have a clear right to protest against such a demand, on the ground of
its being at variance with the law of nations, neither of them has the
right to make that a pretext for ulterior measures, or for resorting
to the desperate expedient of a war. The representatives of both
powers, it is said, have advised the Porte to return a firm refusal
to the demand; and, since their advice was asked, we hold that they
were clearly right in doing so. They were acting merely as assessors,
or rather as expounders of international law. But suppose that Russia
should make this declinature a _casus belli_ with Turkey,--what then?
We have in that case a most decided interest; because it is part of our
policy that Russia shall not, under any pretext whatever, lay her hand
upon the Turkish dominions, or force the passage of the Dardanelles.
Our policy may be wrong, and Mr Cobden thinks, or thought so: still we
are committed to that view; and we can hardly escape from interpreting
the conduct of Russia, if she shall persist in enforcing her demand by
dint of arms, into an overt attempt to get possession of the Turkish
territory. But France has no such interest as we have. Our reason for
disputing the possession of Turkey with Russia is a purely selfish
one. We wish to prevent the latter power from coming into dangerous
proximity with Egypt, and we have a kind of vague idea that some attack
is meditated upon our Indian provinces. It is quite possible that these
notions may be visionary or greatly exaggerated, and that Russia wants
nothing more than an open passage from the Black Sea--a right which,
if free-trade doctrines are to be held of universal application, it
does seem rather hard to deny to her. Still, such is our idea, and in
our present temper we shall probably act accordingly. But France has
no real interest at stake. She has nothing to lose, suppose Russia got
possession of Turkey to-morrow; and we are very much mistaken if she
will go to war from a mere spirit of chivalry, and in behalf of a few
refugees with whom she is in no way connected. However disturbed may
be the state of France, or however inflammable may be the minds of her
population, she has statesmen who will not suffer her to be committed
to so egregious an act of folly. If Russia perseveres in her demand to
the utmost, on Britain will fall, in the first instance at least, the
whole weight of the resistance. We agree with the _Times_, that "this
demand for the surrender of the refugees, is either a wanton outrage
for an object too trifling to be insisted on, or else it masks a more
serious intention of hostility against the Turkish empire;" but we are
not prepared to adopt the conclusion of that able journal, that "the
governments and the nations of Western Europe are resolved to oppose
that demand, even to the last extremity." On the contrary, we believe
that the opposition would be left to Great Britain alone.

We trust no apology is necessary for having wandered from our text on
a topic of so much interest; however, we ask Mr Cobden's pardon for
having left him uncourteously so long.

We were remarking that ill-luck in the way of prophecy and presentiment
still clung to Mr Cobden, even as Care is said to follow the horseman.
Hungary speedily succumbed, and Russia did not ask for a loan. Now
that the Hungarians were beaten and victory impossible, we presume
the next best thing for that unfortunate people would be to bind up
their wounds, and let them return as speedily as might be to their
usual industrial employments. Austria, at the conclusion of the
contest, finds herself largely out of pocket. She has troops whose
pay is greatly in arrear, and she has made temporary loans which
it is absolutely necessary to discharge. She might, if she were so
disposed, liquidate the claims of the first, by letting them loose
upon the conquered Hungarians, from whom they probably could still
contrive to exact a fair modicum of booty; she might pay off the
latter by resorting to wholesale confiscation, and by sweeping into
her public treasury whatever the war has left of value. But Austria
has no desire to proceed to either extremity. She knows very well that
it is not for her interest that Hungary should become a sterile waste;
and she is further aware that the best mode of securing tranquillity
for the future, is to foster industry, and to abstain from laying any
additional burden upon the already impoverished people. Therefore,
meditating no further conquest, but, on the contrary, anxious to sit
down to the sober work of reparation, Austria proposes to borrow
in the public money-markets of Europe a sum of seven millions. The
advertisement meets the eye of Mr Cobden, who straightway rose in
wrath, indited a letter to a certain Mr Edmund Fry, ordaining him to
convene a public meeting in London, for the purpose of considering
the said advertisement, and agreeing "to an address to the friends of
peace and disarmament throughout the world, on the general question of
loans for war purposes," and on the 8th October, the intrepid orator
again mounted on the platform. This time, we are sorry to remark, that
the meeting was neither so variously nor so interestingly attended
as before. The Chartists very properly thought that they had nothing
whatever to do with foreign loans; and, besides, that they had already
been regaled with an ample allowance of Mr Cobden's eloquence on the
subject. The two parliamentary poets were doubtless writing odes, and
did not come. Also there was but a poor sprinkling of M.P.'s; but Lord
Dudley Stuart was at his post, and Friend Alexander; and beyond these
twain there appeared no notable whomsoever. Mr Reynolds must have been
sadly missed.

Mr Cobden's first speech at this meeting--for the lack of orators was
such, that he was compelled to indulge his audience with two--was
a very dull and dreary affair indeed. He began first with loans in
general, and went on in his usual style of asseveration. "I say that,
as I have gone through the length and breadth of this country with Adam
Smith in my hand to advocate the principles of free trade, I can stand
here with Adam Smith also in my hand, to denounce, not merely for its
inherent waste of national wealth, not only because it anticipates
income and consumes capital, but also on the ground of injustice to
posterity, in saddling upon our heirs a debt we have no right to call
upon them to pay--the loans we have this day met to consider." It is
very hard that unfortunate Adam Smith should be made answerable for
all the eccentricities of Mr Cobden. Little did the poor man think,
whilst hammering his brains at Kirkcaldy, that their product was to
be explained at a future time, according to the sweet will of so
accomplished a commentator! Adam Smith had a great deal too much sense
to expect that wars would cease to arise, and government loans to be
contracted. His remark is not directed against loans, but against the
funding or accumulation of them, which most of us, in the present
generation, are quite ready to admit to be all evil. The remedy to
which he pointed, was the establishment of a sinking-fund to prevent
debt from accumulating; but so long as Mr Cobden's economical views are
acted on, and the currency maintained on its present basis, the idea
of a sinking-fund is altogether visionary. The evil which Adam Smith
complains of is permanent funding, not loan. There is nothing imprudent
in a man borrowing a thousand pounds from his banker, if he regularly
sets apart an annual sum out of his income for its repayment: but it is
a very different thing when he hands over the debt undiminished for his
successor to discharge.

Having preluded with this little piece of hocus, Mr Cobden came to
the point, and attempted to show that Austria was in such a state of
insolvency that it was not safe for any one to lend money to her. We
by no means object to this sort of exposition. If it be true that the
finances of the borrowing party are in a dismal state, we are none the
worse for the information; if the statement is false, it is sure to be
speedily disproved. We have no objection to concede to Mr Cobden the
possession of that almost preternatural amount of knowledge, which is
his daily and perpetual boast. When he tells us that he knows all about
the produce of the mines of Siberia, because "I have been there, and I
know what is the value of those mines"--when he speaks positively as to
the amount of specie in the vaults of the fortress of St Petersburg,
and states that he knows it--"because I have been on the spot, and
made it my business to understand these things"--and when, with regard
to the general question of Russian finance, he observes that "few
men, probably not six men in England, have had my opportunities of
investigating and ascertaining upon the best and safest authority on
the spot, where alone you can properly understand the matter, what
actually is the state of the resources of Russia,"--we listen with
a kind of awe to the words of this egotistical Exile of Siberia.
But though not six men in England are qualified to compete with him
in his knowledge of Russian affairs, we suspect that it would be no
difficult matter to find six clerks in a single banking establishment
a great deal better acquainted with the state of Austrian finance than
Mr Cobden. His object, it would appear, is less to warn the great
capitalists--who indeed may be supposed to be perfectly capable of
taking care of themselves--against the danger of handing over their
money to Austria, than to secure the poor labouring man with ten pounds
to spare, against defraudment. We were not previously aware that people
with ten pounds to spare were in the habit of investing them in the
foreign funds. We hope to heaven such is not the case, for we happen to
be acquainted with several very estimable porters and Celtic chairmen,
who have saved a little money; and, should the mania for foreign
investment have reached them, we should tremble to approach any corner
of a street where those excellent creatures are wont to linger, lest
we should be assailed with the question, "Hoo's the Peroovian four per
cents?" or, "Div ye ken if they're gaun to pay the interest on the New
Bonos Areas bonds?" We have hitherto been labouring under the delusion
that the accumulations of the working classes were safe in the British
Savings Banks, or Funds; but we are now sorry to learn from Mr Cobden
that such is not the case. "I knew myself," said Mr Cobden, "many years
ago, when resident in the city, a man who worked as a porter on weekly
wages--his family and himself being reduced to that state that they
had no other earthly dependence--and yet that man had Spanish bonds
to the nominal amount of £2000 in his pocket. They were not worth
more than waste paper, and came into the hands of poor men like this
porter, who had no experience and knowledge in such matters; and it
is to guard such poor men that I now utter the voice of warning." We
have not read anything more affecting since we perused _The Dairyman's
Daughter_. Mr Cobden does not tell us that he immediately organised a
subscription for the behoof of the wronged individual; but we think it
probable that he did so, and, if it be not too late, we shall be glad
to contribute our mite--on one condition. The next time Mr Cobden tells
this story, will he be good enough to specify the precise sum _which
the porter paid_ for those bonds? Our reason for requiring particular
information as to this point, is founded on a fact which lately came
to our knowledge, viz. that the name of a promising chimney-sweep
stands recorded in the books of a certain railway company, which shall
be nameless, as the proprietor of stock in new shares, to an amount
of nearly double that possessed by Mr Cobden's acquaintance. The
railway has not paid a single farthing of dividend, several calls are
still due, and the market price of those shares is considerably below
zero. The chimney-sweep is a steady young man, whose only failing is
an inveterate attachment to whisky: he never was in possession of
five pounds in his life, except on the day when he became the nominal
proprietor of that stock. We make Mr Cobden a present of this anecdote,
in case he should have occasion, in the course of some future crusade,
to warn labouring people against indulging in railway speculation. It
is quite as genuine and forcible an illustration as his own; and we
suspect that for one person in the position of the porter, there are at
this moment some hundreds in possession of transferred certificates,
like the chimney-sweep.

In sober sadness, it is pitiable to see a man reduced, for sheer lack
of argument, to such wretched clap-trap as this. The wildest kind of
rant about freedom and tyranny would have been more to the purpose,
and infinitely more grateful to the popular ear. Mr Cobden's estimate
of his own position and European importance is delicious. "I have no
hesitation in saying that there is not a government in Europe that is
not frowning upon this meeting!" What a mercy it is that Nicholas had
no suspicion of the tremendous influence of the man who was once rash
enough to trust himself in his dominions! We positively tremble at the
thought of what might have ensued had Mr Cobden been detected on his
visit to the Siberian mines! The governments of Europe frowning on Mr
Cobden's meeting--what a subject for the classical painter!

We need hardly trouble our readers with any remarks upon the speech
of Lord Dudley Stuart. His monomania on Continental subjects is well
known, and he carries it so far as to hazard the most extravagant
statements. For example, he set out with insinuating that this Austrian
loan was neither more nor less than a deliberate attempt at swindling,
seeing that it had not received the sanction of the Diet; "and,
consequently," said Lord Dudley, "nothing could be easier than for the
Austrian government, whenever they found it inconvenient to pay the
interest of the loan, to turn round and call those who had advanced
the money very simple people, and tell them that they ought to have
made due inquiry before parting with it. It might be said that this
would be a most extraordinary and outrageous course for any government
to adopt; but they lived in times when monarchs performed acts of the
most unusual and the most outrageous description; and it seemed almost
as if the dark ages had returned, such scenes of barbarity and cruelty
were being enacted throughout Europe, by order, and in the name of
established governments." Lord Dudley Stuart is one of those who think
that no crowned head can sit down comfortably to supper, unless he has
previously immolated a victim. His idea of the dark ages is derived
from the popular legend of Raw-head and Bloody-bones. Confiding, and it
would appear with justice, in the singular ignorance of his audience,
he went on to say:--"Certain writers and speakers were never tired of
uttering warnings against the danger of an infuriated mob. But had any
of those popular outbreaks, as they were called, ever been attended
with an amount of cruelty, rapine, and spoliation, to be named in
comparison with the deeds of the despots of Europe? At Paris, Vienna,
and Rome, for a time, power was in the hands of the people--the wild
democracy, as it was called. Where were their deeds of blood and
spoliation?" Lord Dudley Stuart might just as well have asked, where
were the victims of the guillotine during the supremacy of Robespierre.
We have known metaphysicians who could not be brought to an
acknowledgment that the continent of America has an actual existence,
or that the battle of Waterloo was ever fought, owing to what they were
pleased to style a want of sufficient evidence. Lord Dudley Stuart is
precisely in the same situation. He has patronised foreign patriots
to such an extent, that he believes every one of them to be a saint;
and if he saw with his own eyes a democrat piking a proprietor, he
would probably consider it a mere _deceptio visus_. Not that he is in
the slightest degree short-sighted, or incredulous, whenever he can
get hold of a story reflecting on the other side. On the contrary, he
favoured his audience with a minute description of several floggings
and executions, which he had, no doubt, received from his foreign
correspondents; and actually threw the blame of the apostacy of some of
his Polish protegees from the Christian faith upon the Czar! This is a
topic upon which we would rather not touch. Men have been known to deny
their Saviour for the sake of escaping from the most hideous personal
agony, but we never heard before of apostacy committed for such motives
as Lord Dudley has assigned. "Some, but very few men, whose lives had
been devoted to fighting against Russia, and whose religion seemed to
consist in that alone, lured, no doubt, by the hope of entering the
Turkish army, and again waging war against their implacable enemies,
Russia and Austria, had been induced to accept the offers of the Porte,
and to embrace Islamism." We hope it may be long before we shall be
again asked to express our sympathy for those wretched renegades from
their faith.

Mr Cobden having gathered wind, again started up; and this time he did
not confine himself to mere economical prose. We rather think that he
felt slightly jealous of the cheering which Lord Dudley Stuart's more
animated speech had elicited; for it is a well-known fact that the
majority of people would rather listen to the details of an atrocious
murder, than to a dissertation upon Adam Smith. Accordingly he came out
hot, furious, pugnacious, and withal remarkably irrelevant. Throwing
aside all consideration of the Austrian loan, he fell foul of the
Czar, whom he facetiously compared to Nebuchadnezzar. Listen to the
Apostle of peace! "The man was incapable of appreciating anything
but a physical-force argument, and he (Mr Cobden) did not think he
was departing from his peace principles, in resorting to a mode of
admonition which the nature of the animal was capable of understanding.
He surely might be excused from admonishing, if it were possible, a
wild bull, that, if he did not take care, he might run his head against
something harder even than his own skull. He therefore said, that if
the Emperor of Russia attacked us, we might hermetically seal the ports
of Russia, and there would be an end of the matter. There could be
no fighting between England and Russia. If the question were put to
a jury of twelve competent men, belonging to any maritime power, who
were perfectly indifferent to the quarrel, they would at once say that
as England and Russia could not come to collision by land, the only
question was, what naval force would be required by England to blockade
Petersburg, Archangel, Odessa and Riga for six months of the year, and
that the frost would keep up the blockade for the other six months."
But the best is yet to come. Mr Cobden is perfectly aware that the
sentiments of such an eminent European personage as himself must have
terrible weight on the Continent. When the Czar reads the report of the
speeches delivered at the London Tavern, he will burst into a paroxysm
of fury, order some hundred serfs to be instantly knouted to death, and
send for the minister of marine. When it is known at Vienna that Cobden
has declared against the Austrian loan, Francis Joseph will gnash his
teeth, and desire Jellachich, Radetsky, and Haynan to concert measures
with his brother emperor for taking vengeance for this unparalleled
affront. What, then, are we to do? Is there no danger to Great Britain
from such a combination? None--for we have a guarantee. A greater than
Nicholas has promised to stand between us and peril. People of Great
Britain! read the following paragraph, and then lie down in security
under the charge of your protecting angel.

"_If he (Mr Cobden) were told that he ran the risk of provoking these
brutal tyrants to come here and attack this country_, HE WOULD REPLY
THAT HE WAS PREPARED TO TAKE THE RISK UPON HIMSELF OF ALL THAT THEY
COULD DO!"

After this, we have not another word to say. Yes--one. Before Mr
Cobden's meeting broke up, the Austrian loan had been subscribed for to
more than the required amount.



THE FRENCH NOVELS OF 1849.


During the twelve months that have elapsed since we devoted a sheet
of Maga to a flying glance at French novels and novelists, there has
been a formidable accumulation upon our shelves of the produce of
Paris and Brussels presses. Were their merit as considerable as their
number, the regiment of pink, blue, and yellow octavos and duodecimos
would need a whole magazine to do them justice. As it is, however, a
line a volume would be too much to devote to some of them. The lull
in literature which ensued in France, on the shock of the February
revolution, has been succeeded by a revival of activity. Most of the
old stagers have resumed the quill, and a few "green hands" have
come forward. As yet, however, the efforts of the former have in few
instances been particularly happy; whilst amongst the latter, there
is no appearance worthy of note. Upon the whole, we think that the
ladies have been at least as successful as the men. Here is a trio of
tales from feminine pens, as good as anything that now lies before us.
_Hélène_, although it may not greatly augment the well-established
reputation of that accomplished authoress, Madame Charles Reybaud,
is yet a very pleasing novel, approaching in character rather to a
graceful English moral tale, than to the commonly received idea of a
French romance. It is a story of the first Revolution; the scene is in
Provence, and subsequently at Rochefort, on board ship, and in French
Guiana. The chief characters are Helen, and her father, the Count do
Blanquefort, a steadfast royalist, who traces back his ancestry to the
crusades; her lover, a plebeian and _Montagnard_; her godmother, Madame
do Rocabert, and Dom Massiot, a fanatic priest. Lovers of mysterious
intrigues, and complicated plots, need not seek them in Madame
Reybaud's novels, whose charm resides for the most part in elegance of
style, graceful description, and delicate and truthful delineation of
character. In one of her recent tales--a very attractive, if not a very
probable one--_Le Cadet de Colobrières_, she admirably sketches the
interior of a poor nobleman's dwelling, where all was pride, penury,
and privation, for appearance sake. The companion and contrast to that
painful picture, is her description of the domestic arrangements of
Castle Rocabert, where ease, placidity, and comfort reign; where the
ancient furniture is solid and handsome, the apartments commodious,
the cheer abundant; where the antiquated waiting women, and venerable
serving men, are clad after the most approved fashion of Louis the
Fifteenth's day, and disciplined in accordance with the most precious
traditions of aristocratic houses. Madame de Rocabert herself is a
fine portrait, from the old French régime. Forty years long has she
dwelt in her lonely chateau, isolated from the world, on the summit
of a cloud-capped rock. Widowed at the age of twenty of an adored
husband, she shut herself up to weep, and, as she hoped, to die.
Contrary to her expectation, little by little she was comforted; she
lived, she grew old. Time and religion had appeased her sorrow, and
dried her tears. There is a tenderness and grace in Madame Reybaud's
account of the widow's mourning and consolation, which reminds us of
the exquisite pathos and natural touches of Madame d'Arbouville. That
such a comparison should occur to us, is of itself a high compliment to
Madame Reybaud, who, however, is unquestionably a very talented writer,
and to the examination of whose collective works it is not impossible
we may hereafter devote an article. At present, we pass on to a lady of
a different stamp, who does not very often obtain commendation at our
hands; and yet, in this instance, we know not why we should withhold
approval from George Sand's last novel, _La Petite Fadette_, one of
those seductive trifles which only Madame Dudevant can produce, and
is free from the pernicious tendencies that disfigure too many of her
works. In this place we can say little about it. A sketch of the plot
would be of small interest, for it is as slight and inartificial
as well may be; and an attempt to analyse the book's peculiar charm
would lead us a length incompatible with the omnium-gatherum design
of this article. _La Petite Fadette_ is a story of peasant habits and
superstitions, and these are treated with that consummate artistical
skill for which George Sand is celebrated--every coarser tint of the
picture mellowed and softened, but never wholly suppressed. Fadette, a
precocious and clever child, and her brother, a poor deformed cripple,
dwelt with their grandmother, a beldame cunning in herbs and simples,
and who practises as a sort of quack doctress. The three are of no good
repute in the country-side; Fadette, especially, with her large black
eyes and Moorish complexion, her elf-like bearing and old-fashioned
attire, is alternately feared and persecuted by the village children,
who have nicknamed her the Cricket. But although her tongue is sharp,
and often malicious, and her humour wilful and strange, the gipsy has
both heart and head; and, above all, she has the true woman's skill
to make herself beloved by him on whom she has secretly fixed her
affections. This is the hero of the story--Landry, the handsome son
of a farmer. Love works miracles with the spiteful slovenly Cricket,
who hitherto has dressed like her grandmother, and squabbled with
all comers. Although the style of George Sand's books is little
favourable to extract, and that in this one the difficulty is increased
by the introduction of provincialisms and peasant phrases, we will
nevertheless translate the account of Fadette's transformation, and of
its effect upon Landry, upon whom, as the reader will perceive, the
charm has already begun to work.

"Sunday came at last, and Landry was one of the first at mass. He
entered the church before the bells began to ring, knowing that _la
petite_ Fadette was accustomed to come early, because she always made
long prayers, for which many laughed at her. He saw a little girl
kneeling in the chapel of the Holy Virgin, but her back was turned
to him, and her face was hidden in her hands, that she might pray
without disturbance. It was Fadette's attitude, but it was neither
her head-dress nor her figure, and Landry went out again to see if he
could not meet her in the porch, which, in our country, we call the
_guenillière_, because the ragged beggars stand there during service.
But Fadette's rags were the only ones he could not see there. He heard
mass without perceiving her, until, chancing to look again at the girl
who was praying so devoutly in the chapel, he saw her raise her head,
and recognised his Cricket, although her dress and appearance were
quite new to him. The clothes were still the same--her petticoat of
drugget, her red apron, and her linen coif without lace; but during
the week she had washed and re-cut and re-sewn all that. Her gown was
longer, and fell decently over her stockings, which were very white,
as was also her coif, which had assumed the new shape, and was neatly
set upon her well-combed black hair; her neckerchief was new, and of
a pretty pale yellow, which set off her brown skin to advantage. Her
boddice, too, she had lengthened, and, instead of looking like a piece
of wood dressed up, her figure was as slender and supple as the body
of a fine honey-bee. Besides all this, I know not with what extract of
flowers or herbs she had washed her hands and face during the week, but
her pale face and tiny hands looked as clear and as delicate as the
white hawthorn in spring.

"Landry, seeing her so changed, let his prayer-book fall, and at the
noise little Fadette turned herself about, and her eyes met his. Her
cheek turned a little red--not redder than the wild rose of the hedges;
but that made her appear quite pretty--the more so that her black eyes,
against which none had ever been able to say anything, sparkled so
brightly, that, for the moment, she seemed transfigured. And once more
Landry thought to himself:

"'She is a witch; she wished to become pretty, from ugly that she was,
and behold the miracle has been wrought!'

"A chill of terror came over him, but his fear did not prevent his
having so strong a desire to approach and speak to her, that his heart
throbbed with impatience till the mass was at an end.

"But she did not look at him again, and instead of going to run and
sport with the children after her prayers, she departed so discreetly,
that there was hardly time to notice how changed and improved she was.
Landry dared not follow her, the less so that Sylvinet would not leave
him a moment; but in about an hour he succeeded in escaping; and this
time, his heart urging and directing him, he found little Fadette
gravely tending her flock in the hollow road which they call the
_Traine-au-Gendarme_, because one of the king's gendarmes was killed
there by the people of La Cosse, in the old times, when they wished to
force poor people to pay taillage, and to work without wage, contrary
to the terms of the law, which already was hard enough, such as they
had made it."

But it is not sufficient to win Landry's heart: Fadette has much more
to overcome. Public prejudice, the dislike of her lover's family, her
own poverty, are stumbling-blocks, seemingly insurmountable, in her
path to happiness. She yields not to discouragement; and finally, by
her energy and discretion, she conquers antipathies, converts foes into
friends, and attains her ends--all of which are legitimate, and some
highly praiseworthy. The narrative of her tribulations, constancy,
and ultimate triumph, is couched in a style of studied simplicity,
but remarkable fascination. Slight as it is, a mere _bluette_, _La
Petite Fadette_ is a graceful and very engaging story; and it would be
ungrateful to investigate too closely the amount of varnish applied by
Madame Dudevant to her pictures of the manners, language, and morals of
French peasantry.

_La Famille Récour_ is the last book, by a lady novelist, to which
we shall now refer. It is the best of a series of six, intended as
pictures of French society, in successive centuries, closing with the
nineteenth. The five previous novels, which were published at pretty
long intervals, being of no very striking merit, we were agreeably
surprised by the lively and well-sustained interest of this romance,
the last, Madame de Bawr informs us, which she intends to offer to the
public. Paul Récour, the penniless nephew of a rich capitalist, is
defrauded by a forged will of his uncle's inheritance, which goes to a
worthless cousin, who also obtains the hand of a girl between whom and
Paul an ardent attachment exists. The chief interest of the tale hinges
on Paul's struggles, after an interval of deep despondency, against
poverty and the world--struggles in which he is warmly encouraged by
his friend Alfred, a successful _feuilletoniste_ and dramatic author;
and by a warmhearted but improvident physician, M. Duvernoy, whose
daughter Paul ultimately marries, out of gratitude, and to save her
from the destitution to which her father's extravagance and approaching
death are about to consign her. Paul is a charming character--a model
of amiability, generosity, and self-devotion, and yet not too perfect
to be probable. There is a strong interest in the account of his
combat with adversity, and of the tribulations arising from the folly
and thoughtlessness of his wife, and the implacable hostility of his
treacherous cousin. How the story ends need not here be told. The first
four-fifths of the book entitle it to a high place amongst the French
light literature of the year 1849; but then it begins to flag, and the
termination is lame and tame--a falling off which strikes the more
from its contrast with the preceding portion. The authoress appears,
in some degree, conscious of this defect, and prepares her readers
for it in her preface. "The second volume," she says, "was written
amidst the anguish and alarm which revolutions occasion to a poor old
woman. Although but ill-satisfied with my work, I have not courage to
recommence it. I appeal, then, to the reader's indulgence for my last
romance, happy in the consciousness that my pen has never traced a
single word which was not dictated by my lively desire to lead men to
virtue." So humble and amiable an apology disarms criticism.

Having given precedence to the ladies, we look around for some of their
male colleagues who may deserve a word. Amongst the new candidates for
the favour of romance-readers is a writer, signing himself Marquis
de Foudras, and whose debut, if we err not, was made in conjunction
with a M. de Montepin, in a romance entitled _Les Chévaliers du
Lansquenet_--a long-winded imitation of the Sue school, extremely
feeble, and in execrable taste, but which, nevertheless, obtained
a sort of circulating library success. Encouraged by this, Messrs
Foudras and Montepin achieved a second novel, upon the whole a shade
better than the first; and then, dissolving their association, set
off scribbling, each "on his own hook;" and threaten to become as
prolific, although not as popular, as the great Dumas himself. The
last production of M. de Foudras bears the not unattractive title of
_Les Gentilhommes Chasseurs_. It is a series of sporting sketches and
anecdotes, of various merit, in most of which the author--who would
evidently convince us that he is a genuine marquis, and not a plebeian
under a pseudonyme--himself has cut a more or less distinguished
figure. To the curious in the science of venery, as practised in
various parts of France, these two volumes may have some interest;
and the closing and longest sketch of the series, a tale of shooting
and smuggling adventures in the Alps, is, we suspect, the best thing
the author has written. Unless, indeed, we except his account of a
stag-hunt in Burgundy in 1785, in which he gives a most animated and
graphic account of the mishaps of a dull-dog of an Englishman, who
arrives from the further extremity of Italy to join the party of French
sportsmen. Of course Lord Henry is formal, peevish, and unpolished;
the very model, in short, of an English nobleman. Disdaining to mount
French horses, which, he politely informs his entertainer, have no
speed, and cannot leap, he has had four hunters brought from England,
upon one of which, "a lineal descendant of _Arabian Godolphin_, and
whose dam was a mare unconquered at Newmarket," he follows the first
day's hunt, by the side of a beautiful countess, by whose charms he is
violently smitten, and who rides a little old Limousin mare, of piteous
exterior, but great merit. The pace is severe, the country heavy,
the Arabian's grandson receives the go-by from the Limousin cob, and
shows signs of distress. The following passage exhibits the author's
extraordinary acquaintance with the customs and usages of the English
hunting-field,--"We were still a-head, and had leaped I know not how
many hedges, ditches, and _ravines_, when I observed that Lord Henry,
_who had refused to take either a whip or spurs_, struck repeated
blows on the flank of his horse, which, still galloping, writhed under
the pressure of its master's fist. Looking with more attention, I
presently discovered in _milord's_ hand a sharp and glittering object,
in which I recognised _one of the elegant chased gold toothpicks_ which
men carried in those days. I saw at once that poor _Coeur-de-Lion_
was done up." In spite of the toothpick, _Coeur-de-Lion_ refuses a
leap, whereupon his master hurls away the singular spur, leaps from
his saddle, draws his hunting-knife, and plunges it to the hilt in
the horse's breast!--with which taste of his quality, we bid a long
farewell to the Marquis de Foudras.

It were strange indeed if the name of Dumas did not more than
once appear on the numerous title-pages before us. We find it in
half-a-dozen different places. The amusing Charlatan, who, in the
first fervour and novelty of the republican regime, seemed disposed
to abandon romance for politics, has found time to unite both. Whilst
writing a monthly journal, in which he professes to give the detailed
history of Europe day by day--forming, as his puffs assure us, the
most complete existing narrative of political events since February
1848--he has also produced, in the course of the last twelve months,
some twenty-five or thirty volumes of frivolities. Thus, whilst with
one hand he instructs, with the other he entertains the public. For
our part, we have enjoyed too many hearty laughs, both with and at
M. Dumas, not to have all inclination to praise him when possible.
In the present instance, and with respect to his last year's tribute
to French literature, we regret to say it is quite impossible. He
has been trifling with his reputation, and with the public patience.
Since last we mentioned him, he has added a dozen volumes to the
_Vicomte de Bragelonne_, which nevertheless still drags itself along,
without prospect of a termination. A tissue of greater improbabilities
and absurdities we have rarely encountered. Certainly no one but
Alexander Dumas would have ventured to strain out so flimsy a web
to so unconscionable a length. Are there, we wonder, in France or
elsewhere, any persons so simple as to rely on his representations
of historical characters and events? The notions they must form of
French kings and heroes, courtiers and statesmen, are assuredly of
the strangest. We doubt if, in any country but France, a writer
could preserve the popularity Dumas enjoys, who caricatured and made
ridiculous, as he continually does, the greatest men whose names honour
its chronicles. Besides the wearisome adventures of Mr Bragelonne and
the eternal Musketeers, M. Dumas has given forth the first three or
four volumes of a rambling story, founded on the well-known affair
of Marie Antoinette's diamond necklace. Then he has completed the
account of his Spanish rambles, which we rather expected he would have
left incomplete, seeing the very small degree of favour with which
the first instalment of those most trivial letters was received. In
the intervals of these various labours, he has thrown off a history
of the regency, and a historical romance, of which Edward III. of
England is the hero. The latter we have not read. On French ground,
M. Dumas is sometimes unsuccessful, but when he meddles with English
personages he is invariably absurd. Finally, and we believe this closes
the catalogue--although we will not answer but that some trifle of
half-a-dozen volumes may have escaped our notice--M. Dumas, gliding,
with his usual facility of transition, from the historical to the
speculative, has begun a series of ghost-stories, whose probable length
it is difficult to foretell, seeing that what he calls the introduction
occupies two volumes. Some of these tales are tolerably original,
others are old stories dressed up _à la Dumas_. They are preceded by
a dedication to M. Dumas' former patron, the Duke of Montpensier, and
by a letter to his friend Véron, editor of the _Constitutionnel_,
theatrical manager, &c. These two epistles are by no means the least
diverting part of the book. M. Dumas, whom we heard of, twenty months
ago, as a fervid partisan and armed supporter of the republic, appears
to have already changed his mind, and to hanker after a monarchy.
Some passages of his letter to his friend are amusingly conceited and
characteristic. "My dear Véron," he writes, "you have often told me,
during those evening meetings, now of too rare occurrence, where each
man talks at leisure, telling the dream of his heart, following the
caprice of his wit, or squandering the treasures of his memory--you
have often told me, that, since Scheherazade, and after Nodier, I am
one of the most amusing narrators you know. To-day you write to me
that, _en attendant_ a long romance from my pen--one of my interminable
romances, in which I comprise a whole century--you would be glad of
some tales, two, four, or six volumes at most--poor flowers from my
garden--to serve as an interlude amidst the political preoccupations
of the moment: between the trials at Bourges, for instance, and the
elections of the month of May. Alas! my friend, the times are sad,
and my tales, I warn you, will not be gay. Weary of what I daily see
occurring in the real world, you must allow me to seek the subjects
of my narratives in an imaginary one. Alas! I greatly fear that all
minds somewhat elevated, somewhat poetical and addicted to reverie,
are now situated similarly to mine; in quest--that is to say, of the
ideal--sole refuge left us by God against reality." After striking
this desponding chord, the melancholy poet of elevated mind proceeds
to regret the good old times, to deplore the degeneracy of the age,
to declare himself inferior to his grandfather, and to express his
conviction that his son will be inferior to himself. We are sorry for
M. Dumas, junior. "It is true," continues Alexander, "that each day we
take a step towards liberty, equality, fraternity, three great words
which the Revolution of 1793--you know, the other, the dowager--let
loose upon modern society as she might have done a tiger, a lion, and
a bear, disguised in lambskins; empty words, unfortunately, which
were read, through the smoke of June, on our public monuments all
battered with bullets." After so reactionary a tirade, let M. Dumas
beware lest, in the first fight that occurs in Paris streets, a
Red cartridge snatch him from an admiring world. His moan made for
republican illusions, he proceeds to cry the coronach over French
society, unhinged, disorganised, destroyed, by successive revolutions.
And he calls to mind a visit he paid, in his childhood, to a very old
lady, a relic of the past century, and widow of King Louis Philippe's
grandfather, to whom Napoleon paid an annuity of one hundred thousand
crowns--for what? "_For having preserved in her drawing-rooms the
traditions of good society of the times of Louis XIV. and Louis XV._
It is just half what the chamber now gives his nephew for making
France forget what his uncle desired she should remember." Take that,
President Buonaparte, and go elsewhere for a character than to the
_Débit de Romans_ of Mr Alexander Dumas. How is it you have neglected
to propitiate the suffrage of the melancholy poet? Repair forthwith the
omission. Summon him to the Elysée. Pamper, caress, and consult him,
or tremble for the stability of your presidential chair! After Louis
Napoleon, comes the turn of the legislative chamber; apropos of which
M. Dumas quotes the Marquis d'Argenson's memoirs, where the courtier
of 1750 bewails the degeneracy of the times neither more nor less than
does the dramatic author of a century later. "People complain," M.
d'Argenson says, "that in our day there is no longer any conversation
in France. I well know the reason. It is that our cotemporaries daily
become less patient listeners. They listen badly, or rather they listen
not at all. I have remarked this in the very best circles I frequent."
"Now, my dear friend," argues M. Dumas, with irresistible logic, "what
is the best society one can frequent at the present day? Very certainly
it is that which eight millions of electors have judged worthy to
represent the interests, the opinions, the genius of France. It is the
chamber, in short. Well! enter the chamber, at a venture, any day and
hour that you please. The odds are a hundred to one, that you will find
one man speaking in the tribune, and five or six hundred others sitting
on the benches, not listening, but interrupting him. And this is so
true, that there is an article of the constitution of 1848 prohibiting
interruptions. Again, reckon the number of boxes on the ear, and
fisticuffs given in the chamber during a year that it has existed--they
are innumerable. All in the name--be it well understood--of liberty,
equality, and fraternity!" Rather strange language in the mouth of a
citizen of the young republic; and its oddness diminishes the surprise
with which we find, on turning the page, the captor of the Tuileries
paying his devoirs to the most presently prosperous member of the house
of Orleans. "Monseigneur," he says, to the illustrious husband of the
Infanta Louisa, "this book is composed for you, written purposely for
you. Like all men of elevated minds, you believe in the impossible,"
&c. &c. Then a flourish about Galileo, Columbus, and Fulton, and a
quotation from Shakspeare, some of whose plays M. Dumas has been so
condescending as to translate and improve. Then poor Scheherazade is
dragged in again, always apropos of "I, Alexander," and then, the
flourish of trumpets over, the fun begins and phantoms enter.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although not generally partial to tales of _diablerie_--a style which
the Germans have overdone, and in which few writers of other nations
have succeeded--we have been much amused by the story of _Jean le
Trouveur_, in which, upon the old yarn of a pact with the evil one, M.
Paul de Musset has strung a clever and spirited series of Gil-Blas-like
adventures, interspersed with vivid glimpses of historical events and
personages, with here and there a garnishing of quiet satire. "The life
of Jean le Trouveur," says the ingenious and painstaking author of
these three pleasant little volumes, "is one of those histories which
the people tell, and nobody has written.... This fantastical personage
is known in several countries, under different names. In Provence he
is called Jean l'Heureux; in Arragon, Don Juan el Pajarero--that is to
say, the Fowler or Birdcatcher; in Italy Giovanni il Trovatore. His
real name will be found in the course of the following narration.
His death was related to me in Lower Brittany, where I did not
expect to meet with him. This circumstance decided me to write his
history, uniting the various chronicles, whose connexion is evident."
That accomplished antiquarian and legendary, M. Prosper Mérimée,
would doubtless be able to tell us whether this be a mere author's
subterfuge, or a veritable account of the sources whence M. de Musset
derived the amusing adventures of John the Finder. We ourselves are not
sufficiently versed in the traditions of Provence and Italy, Arragon
and Brittany, to decide, nor is it of much interest to inquire. M. de
Musset may possibly have found the clay, but he has made the bricks
and built the house. It is a light and pleasant edifice, and does him
credit.

The main outline of the story of _Jean le Trouveur_ is soon told,
and has no great novelty. The interest lies in the varied incidents
that crowd every chapter. In the year 1699 there dwelt at Arles, in
Provence, a commander of Malta, by name Anthony Quiqueran, Lord of
Beaujeu. After an adventurous career, and innumerable valiant exploits
achieved in the wars of the Order against Turks and barbarians; after
commanding the galleys of Malta in a hundred successful sea-fights,
and enduring a long captivity in the fortress of the Seven Towers,
this brave man, at the age of nearly eighty years, dwelt tranquilly in
his castle of Beaujeu, reposing, in the enjoyment of perfect health,
from the fatigues of his long and busy life, and awaiting with seeming
resignation and confidence the inevitable summons of death. Only two
peculiarities struck the neighbours of the old knight: one of which
was, that he avoided speaking of his past adventures; the other, that
he would attend mass but at a particular convent, and that even there
he never entered the chapel, but kneeled on a chair in the porch, his
face covered with his hands, until the service was concluded. It was
supposed by many that he was bound by a vow, and that his conduct was
a mark of penitence and humiliation. And although the commander never
went to confession, or the communion table, his life was so pure, his
charities were so numerous, and he had rendered such great services to
the cause of religion, that none ventured to blame his eccentricities
and omissions. But one stormy day a little old Turk, the fashion of
whose garments was a century old, landed from a brigantine, which had
made its way up the Rhone in spite of wind, and, to the wonder of the
assembled population, approached the commander of Malta, and said to
him--"Anthony Quiqueran, you have but three days left to fulfil your
engagements." An hour later, the old knight is in the convent chapel,
assisting at a mass, which he has requested the superior to say for
him. But when the priest takes the sacred wafer it falls from his
hands, a gust of wind extinguishes the tapers, and a confused murmur
of voices is heard in the lateral nave of the church. In spite of
himself, the officiant utters a malediction instead of a prayer, and,
horror-stricken, he descends the steps of the altar, at whose foot M.
de Beaujeu lies senseless, his face against the ground. The ensuing
chapters contain the commander's confession. Long previously, when
languishing in hopeless captivity in a Turkish dungeon, he had made a
compact with a demon, by which he was to enjoy liberty and health, and
thirty years of glory and good fortune. At the end of that term he must
find another person to take his place on similar conditions, or his
soul was the property of the fiend. Scarcely was the bargain concluded,
when he doubted its reality, and was disposed to attribute it to the
delirium of fever. In the uncertainty, he studiously abstained from
the advantage of the compact, hoping thereby to expiate its sin. His
health returned, his liberty was given him, but he sought neither
glory, nor wealth, nor honours, living retired upon ten thousand
crowns a-year, the gift of the King of France and other princes, for
his services to Christendom, practising good works, and cultivating
his garden. He began to hope that this long course of virtue and
self-denial had redeemed his sin, when the warning of the demon, in the
garb of the Turkish captain, renewed his alarm, and the interrupted
mass convinced him of the graceless state of his soul. No act of
penitence, the superior now assured him, could atone his crime. Too
high-minded to seek a substitute, and endeavour to shift its penalty
upon another's shoulders, M. de Beaujeu attempts the only reparation
in his power, by bequeathing half his wealth to charities. To inherit
the other moiety, he entreats the superior to select a foundling
worthy of such good fortune. The superior is not at a loss. "I have
got exactly what you want," he says; "the chorister who answered at
the mass at which you swooned away has no relations. I picked him
up in the street on a winter's night, fourteen years ago, and since
then he has never left me. He has no vocation for the church, and you
will do a good action in restoring him to the world." The chorister
boy, who had been baptised Jean le Trouvé, is sent for, but cannot at
first be found; for the excellent reason that, hidden in the recesses
of the superior's bookcase, behind a row of enormous folios, he had
listened to all that had passed between the commander and the monk.
As soon as he can escape he repairs to the castle of Beaujeu, where
his good looks, his simplicity and vivacity, interest the old knight,
who receives him kindly, resolves to make him his heir, and sends him
back to the convent to announce his determination to the superior. The
foundling is grateful. His joy at his brilliant prospects is damped by
the recollection of the commander's confession and despair. He resolves
to astonish his benefactor by the greatness of his gratitude. The
following extract, which has a good deal of the _Hoffmannsche_ flavour,
will show how he sets about it.

In the street of La Trouille, which took its name from the fortress
built by the Emperor Constantine, dwelt a barber, who, to follow
the mode of the barbers and bath-keepers of Paris, sold wine and
entertained gamesters. Young men, sailors, merchants, and citizens
of Arles, resorted to his shop--some to transact business; others
to discuss matters of gallantry or pleasure; others, again, to seek
dupes. Of a night, sounds of quarrel were often heard in the shop, to
which the town-archers had more than once paid a visit. If a stranger
staked his coin on a turn of the cards, or throw of the dice, it was no
mere hazard that transferred his ducats to the pockets of the regular
frequenters of the house. Seated upon a post, opposite to this honest
establishment, John the Foundling watched each face that entered or
came out. After some time, he saw approaching from afar the captain of
the brigantine, with his flat turban and his great matchlock pistol.
When the Turk reached the barber's door, John placed himself before him.

"Sir stranger," said the boy, "did you not arrive here this morning
from the East, on important business which concerns the Commander de
Beaujeu?"

"_Si_," replied the Turk; "but I may also say that it is business which
concerns you not."

"You mistake," said John; "it does concern me, and I come on purpose to
speak to you about it."

"'Tis possible," said the old captain; "_ma mi non voler, mi non poter,
mi non aver tempo_."

"Nevertheless," firmly retorted John, "you must find time to hear me.
What I have to communicate to you is of the utmost importance."

"Do me the pleasure _de andar al diable_!" cried the Turk, in his
Franco-Italian jargon.

"I am there already," replied the lad; "rest assured that I know who
you are. I will not leave you till you have given me a hearing."

The old Mussulman, who had hitherto averted his head to try to break
off the conversation, at last raised his melancholy and aquiline
countenance. With his yellow eyes he fixed an angry gaze upon the
chorister, and said to him in a full strong voice:--

"Well, enter this shop with me. We will presently speak together."

There was company in the barber's shop of the Rue de la Trouille, when
little John and the captain of the brigantine raised the curtain of
checked linen which served as a door. In a corner of the apartment,
four men, seated round a table, were absorbed in a game at cards, to
which they appeared to pay extreme attention, although the stake was
but of a few miserable sous. One of the gamblers examined, with the
corner of his eye, the two persons who entered; and, seeing it was
only a lad and a Turk of mean and shabby appearance, he again gave all
his attention to the game. The master of the shop conceived no greater
degree of esteem for the new comers, for he did not move from the
stool on which he was sharpening his razors. At the further end of the
apartment a servant stood beside the fire, and stirred with a stick the
dirty linen of the week, which boiled and bubbled in a copper caldron.
A damaged hour-glass upon a board pretended to mark the passage of
time; and small tables, surrounded with straw-bottomed stools, awaited
the drinkers whom evening usually brought. Bidding the chorister to
be seated, the captain of the brigantine placed himself at one of the
tables, and called for wine for all the company. The barber hasted to
fetch a jug of Rhone wine, and as many goblets as there were persons in
the room. When all the glasses were filled, the captain bid the barber
distribute them, and exclaimed, as he emptied his own at a draft.--

"_A la salute de Leurs Seigneuries!_"

Thereupon the four gamblers exchanged significant glances, whispered a
few words, and then, as if the politeness of the Turkish gentleman had
caused them as much pleasure as surprise, they pocketed their stakes
and discontinued their game. With gracious and gallant air, and smiling
countenance, one hand upon the hip and the other armed with the goblet,
the four gentlemen approached the old Turk with a courteous mien,
intended to eclipse all the graces of the courtiers of Versailles. But
there was no need of a magnifying-glass to discern the true character
of the four companions; the adventurer was detectible at once in their
threadbare coats, their collars of false lace, and in the various
details of their dress, where dirt and frippery were ill concealed
by trick and tawdry. A moderately experienced eye would easily have
seen that it was vice which had fattened some of them, and made others
lean. The most portly of the four, approaching the Turkish gentleman,
thanked him in the name of his friends, and placed his empty glass upon
the table with so polite and kindly an air, that the Turk, touched by
his good grace, took the wine jug and refilled the four goblets to
the brim. Some compliments were exchanged, and all sorts of titles
used; so that by the time the jug was empty they had got to calling
each other Excellency. The barber, putting his mouth to the captain's
ear, with such intense gravity that one might have thought him angry,
assured him that these gentlemen were of the very first quality,
whereat the Turk testified his joy by placing his hand on his lips and
on his forehead. In proportion as mutual esteem and good understanding
augmented, the contents of the jug diminished. A second was called for;
it was speedily emptied in honour of the happy chance that had brought
the jovial company together. A third disappeared amidst promises of
frequent future meetings, and a fourth was drained amidst shaking of
hands, friendly embraces, and unlimited offers of service.

The barber, a man of taste, observed to his guests, that four jugs
amongst five persons made an uneven reckoning, which it would need the
mathematical powers of Barême duly to adjust. For symmetry's sake,
therefore, a fifth jug was brought, out of which the topers drank the
health of the king, of their Amphitryon, and of Barême, so appositely
quoted. The four seedy gentlemen greatly admired the intrepidity with
which the little old man tossed off his bumpers. Their project of
making the captain drunk was too transparent to escape any spectator
less innocent than the chorister; but in vain did they seek signs of
intoxication on the imperturbable countenance of the old Turk. In reply
to each toast and protestation of friendship, the captain emptied his
glass, and said:--

"Much obliged, gentlemen; _mi trop flatté_."

No sparkle of the eyes, no movement of the muscles, broke the monotony
of his faded visage. His parchment complexion preserved its yellow
tint. On the other hand, the cheeks of the four adventurers began to
flush purple; they unbuttoned their doublets, and used their hats as
fans. The signs of intoxication they watched for in their neighbour
were multiplied in their own persons. At last they got quite drunk. He
of the four whose head was the coolest proposed a game at cards.

"I plainly see," said the Turk, accepting, "that the _Signori n'esser
pas joueurs per habitude_."

"And how," exclaimed one of the adventurers, "did your excellency infer
from our physiognomy that incontestible truth?"

"_Perché_," replied the Turk, "on my arrival you broke off in the
middle of your game. A professed gambler never did such a thing."

They were in ecstasies at the noble foreigner's penetration, and they
called for the dice. When the captain drew forth his long purse,
stuffed with _génovèses_,[21] the four gentlemen experienced a sudden
shock, as if a thunderbolt had passed between them without touching
them, and this emotion half sobered them. The Turk placed one of the
large gold pieces upon the table, saying he would hold whatever stake
his good friends chose to venture. The others said that a _génovèse_
was a large sum, but that nothing in the world should make them flinch
from the honour of contending with so courteous an adversary. By
uniting their purses, they hoped to be able to hold the whole of his
stake. And accordingly, from the depths of their fobs, the gentlemen
produced so many six-livre and three-livre pieces, that they succeeded
in making up the thirty-two crowns, which were equivalent to the
_génovèse_. They played the sum in a rubber. The Turk won the first
game, then the second; and the four adventurers, on beholding him sweep
away their pile of coin, were suddenly and completely sobered. The
captain willingly agreed to give them their revenge. The difficulty
was to find the two-and-thirty crowns. By dint of rummaging their
pockets, the gentlemen exhibited four-and-twenty livres: but this was
only a quarter of the sum. The oldest of the adventurers then took the
buckle from his hat, and threw it on the table, swearing by the soul
of his uncle that the trinket was worth two hundred livres, although
even the simple chorister discerned the emeralds that adorned it to be
but bits of bottle-glass. Like a generous player, the old Turk made no
difficulties; he agreed that the buckle should stand for two hundred
livres, and it was staked to the extent of twenty-four crowns. This
time the dice was so favourable to the captain, that the game was not
even disputed. His adversaries were astounded: they twisted their
mustaches till they nearly pulled them up by the roots; they rubbed
their eyes, and cursed the good wine of Rhone. In the third game, the
glass jewel, already pledged for twenty-four crowns, passed entire
into the possession of the Turk. Then the excited gamblers threw upon
the table their rings, their sword-knots, and the swords themselves,
assigning to all these things imaginary value, which the Turk feigned
to accept as genuine. Not a single game did they win. The captain took
a string, and proceeded to tie together the tinsel and old iron he had
won, when he felt a hand insinuate itself into the pocket of his ample
hose. He seized this hand, and holding it up in the air--

"_Messirs_," he said, "_vous esser des coquins. Mi saper que vous aver
triché._"

"_Triché!_" cried one of the sharpers. "He strips us to the very shirt,
and then accuses us of cheating! _Morbleu!_ Such insolence demands
punishment."

A volley of abuse and a storm of blows descended simultaneously upon
the little old man. The four adventurers, thinking to have an easy
bargain of so puny a personage, threw themselves upon him to search
his pockets; but in vain did they ransack every fold of his loose
garments. The purse of gold _génovèses_ was not to be found; and
unfortunately the old Turk, in his struggles, upset the tripod which
supported the copper caldron. A flood of hot water boiled about the
legs of the thieves, who uttered lamentable cries. But it was far
worse when they saw the overturned caldron continue to pour forth its
scalding stream as unceasingly as the allegoric urn of Scamander.
The four sharpers and the barber, perched upon stools, beheld, with
deadly terror, the boiling lake gradually rising around them. Their
situation resembled that in which Homer has placed the valiant and
light-footed Achilles; but as these rogues had not the intrepid soul of
the son of Peleus, they called piteously upon God and all the saints
of paradise; mingling, from the force of habit, not a few imprecations
with their prayers. The wizened carcase of the old Turk must have
been proof against fire and water, for he walked with the streaming
flood up to his knees. Lifting the chorister upon his shoulders, he
issued, dry-footed, from the barber's shop, like Moses from the bosom
of the Red Sea. The river of boiling water waited but his departure to
re-enter its bed. This prodigy suddenly took place, without any one
being able to tell how. The water subsided, and flowed away rapidly,
leaving the various objects in the shop uninjured, with the exception
of the legs of the four adventurers, which were somewhat deteriorated.
The servant, hurrying back at sound of the scuffle, raised the caldron,
and resumed the stirring of her dirty linen, unsuspicious of the
sorcery that had just been practised. The barber and the four sharpers
took counsel together, and deliberated amongst themselves whether it
was proper to denounce the waterproof and incombustible old gentleman
to the authorities. The quantity of hot water that had been spilled
being out of all proportion with the capacity of the kettle, it seemed
a case for hanging or burning alive the author of the infernal jest.
The barber, however, assured his customers that learned physicians
had recently made many marvellous discoveries, in which the old Turk
might possibly be versed. He also deemed it prudent not lightly to put
himself in communication with the authorities, lest they should seek
to inform themselves as to the manner in which the cards were shuffled
in his shop. It was his opinion that the offender should be generously
pardoned, unless, indeed, an opportunity occurred of knocking him on
the head in some dark corner. This opinion met with general approbation.

Whilst this council of war is held, Jean and the old Turk are in
confabulation, and a bargain is at last concluded, by which the
commander's soul is redeemed, and Jean is to have five years of
earthly prosperity, at the end of which time, if he has failed to find
a substitute, his spiritual part becomes the demon's property. Two
years later we find Jean upon the road to Montpellier, well mounted
and equipped, and his purse well lined. Although but in his eighteenth
year, he is already a gay gallant, with some knowledge of the world,
and eager for adventures. These he meets with in abundance. A mark,
imprinted upon his arm by his attendant demon, causes him to be
recognised as the son of the Chevalier de Cerdagne. Thus ennobled, he
feels that he may aspire to all things, and soon we find him pushing
his fortune in Italy, attached to the person of the French Marshal de
Marchin, discovering the Baron d'Isola's conspiracy against the life
of Philip V. of Spain, and gaining laurels in the campaigns of the
War of Succession. There is much variety and interest in some of his
adventures, and the supernatural agency is sufficiently lost sight
of not to be wearisome. Time glides away, and the fatal term of five
years is within a few days of its completion. But _Jean le Trouvé_, now
_le Trouveur_, is in no want of substitutes. Two volunteers present
themselves; one his supposed sister, Mademoiselle de Cerdagne, whom
he has warmly befriended in certain love difficulties; the other a
convent gardener, whom he has made his private secretary, and whose
name is Giulio Alberoni. The demon, who still affects the form of
an old Turkish sailor, receives Alberoni in lieu of Jean, to whom,
however,--foreseeing that the young man's good fortune may be the means
of bringing him many other victims--he offers a new contract on very
advantageous terms. But Jean de Cerdagne, who is now Spanish ambassador
at Venice, with the title of prince, and in the enjoyment of immense
wealth, refuses the offer, anxious to save his soul. He soon discovers
that his good fortune is at an end. The real son of the Chevalier de
Cerdagne turns up, Jean is disgraced, stripped of his honours and
dignities, and his vast property is confiscated by the Inquisition.
The ex-ambassador exchanges for a squalid disguise his rich costume of
satin and velvet, and we next find him a member of a secret society in
the thieves' quarter of Venice. The worshipful fraternity of Chiodo--so
called from their sign of recognition, which is a rusty nail--live by
the exercise of various small trades and occupations, which, although
not strictly beggary or theft, are but a degree removed from these
culpable resources. Jean, whose conscience has become squeamish, will
accept none but honest employment. But the malice of the demon pursues
him, and he succeeds in nothing. He stations himself at a ferry to
catch gondolas with a boat-hook, and bring them gently alongside the
quay; he stands at a bridge stairs, to afford support to passengers
over the stones, slippery with the slime of the lagoons; he takes post
in front of the Doge's palace, with a vessel of fresh water and a
well-polished goblet, to supply passers-by. Many accept his stout arm,
and drink his cool beverage, but none think of rewarding him. Not all
his efforts and attention are sufficient to coax a sou from the pockets
of his careless customers. At last, upon the third day, he receives a
piece of copper, and trusts that the charm is broken. The coin proves
a bad one. His seizure by the authorities, and transportation to Zara,
relieve him of care for his subsistence. At last, pushed by misery,
and in imminent danger of punishment for having struck a Venetian
officer, Jean succumbs to temptation, and renews his infernal compact.
A Venetian senator adopts him, and he discovers, but too late, that
had he delayed for a few minutes his recourse to diabolical aid, he
would have stood in no need of it. He proceeds to Spain, where he has
many adventures and quarrels with his former secretary, Alberoni, now
a powerful minister. His contract again at an end, he would gladly
abstain from renewing it, but is hunted by the Inquisition into the
arms of the fiend. After a lapse of years, he is again shown to us
in Paris, and, finally, in Brittany, where he meets his death, but,
at the eleventh hour, disappoints the expectant demon, (who in a
manner outwits himself,) and re-enters the bosom of the church, his
bad bargain being taken off his hands by an ambitious village priest.
The book, which has an agreeable vivacity, closes with an attempt to
explain a portion of its supernatural incidents by a reference to
popular tradition and peasant credulity. Near the ramparts of the
Breton town of Guérande, an antiquary shows M. de Musset a moss-grown
stone, with a Latin epitaph, which antiquary and novelist explain each
after his own fashion.

"Let us see if you understand that, _M. le Parisien_," said the
antiquary. "Up to the two last words we shall agree; but what think you
of the _Ars. Inf._?"

"It appears to me," I replied, "that the popular chronicle perfectly
explains the whole epitaph--_Ars. Inf._ means _ars inferna_; that is
to say,--'Here reposes Jean Capello, citizen of Venice, whose body was
sent to the grave, and his soul to heaven, by infernal artifices.'"

"A translation worthy of a romance writer," said the antiquary. "You
believe then in the devil, in compact with evil spirits, in absurd
legends invented by ignorance and superstition amidst the evening
gossip of our peasants? You believe that, in 1718, a parish priest of
Guérande flew away into the air, after having redeemed the soul of this
Jean Capello. You are very credulous, M. le Parisien. This Venetian,
who came here but to die, was simply poisoned by the priest, who took
to flight; the town doctor, having opened the body, found traces of
the poison. That is why they engraved upon the tomb these syllables:
_Ars. Inf._, which signify _arsenici infusio_, an infusion of arsenic.
I will offer you another interpretation--Jean Capello was perhaps a
salt-maker, killed by some accident in our salt-works, and as in 1718
labourers of that class were very miserable, they engraved upon this
stone, to express the humility of his station, _Ars. Inf._, that is to
say, inferior craft."

"Upon my word!" I exclaimed, "that explanation is perfectly absurd.
I keep to the popular version: Jean le Trouveur was sent to heaven
by the stratagems of the demon himself. Let sceptics laugh at my
superstition, I shall not quarrel with them for their incredulity."

We see little else worthy of extract or comment in the mass of books
before us. M. Méry, whose extraordinary notions of English men and
things we exhibited in a former article, has given forth a rhapsodical
history, entitled _Le Transporté_, beginning with the Infernal
Machine, and ending with Surcouf the Pirate, full of conspiracies,
dungeons, desperate sea-fights, and tropical scenery, where English
line-of-battle ships are braved by French corvettes, and where the
transitions are so numerous, and the variety so great, that we may
almost say everything is to be found in its pages, except probability.
Mr Dumas the younger, who follows at respectful distance in his
father's footsteps, and publishes a volume or two per month, has not
yet, so far as we have been able to discover, produced anything that
attains mediocrity. M. Sue has dished up, since last we have adverted
to him, two or three more capital sins, his illustrations of which
are chiefly remarkable for an appearance of great effort, suggestive
of the pitiable plight of an author who, having pledged himself to
public and publishers for the production of a series of novels on
given subjects, is compelled to work out his task, however unwilling
his mood. This is certainly the most fatal species of book-making--a
selling by the cubic foot of a man's soul and imagination. Evil as it
is, the system is largely acted upon in France at the present day. Home
politics having lost much of the absorbing interest they possessed
twelve months ago, the Paris newspapers are resorting to their old
stratagems to maintain and increase their circulation. Prominent
amongst these is the holding out of great attractions in the way of
literary feuilletons. Accordingly, they contract with popular writers
for a name and a date, which are forthwith printed in large capitals
at the head of their leading columns. Thus, one journal promises its
readers six volumes by M. Dumas, to be published in its feuilleton, to
commence on a day named, and to be entitled _Les Femmes_. The odds are
heavy, that Alexander himself has not the least idea what the said six
volumes are to be about; but he relies on his fertility, and then so
vague and comprehensive a title gives large latitude. Moreover, he has
time before him, although he has promised in the interval to supply
the same newspaper with a single volume, to be called _Un Homme Fort_,
and to conclude the long procession of _Fantômes_, a thousand and one
in number, which now for some time past has been gliding before the
astonished eyes of the readers of the _Constitutionnel_. Other journals
follow the same plan with other authors, and in France no writer now
thinks of publishing a work of fiction elsewhere than at the foot of
a newspaper. To this feuilleton system, pushed to an extreme, and
entailing the necessity of introducing into each day's fragment an
amount of incident mystery or pungent matter, sufficient to carry the
reader over twenty-four hours, and make him anxious for the morrow's
return, is chiefly to be attributed the very great change for the worse
that of late has been observable in the class of French literature at
present under consideration. Its actual condition is certainly anything
but vigorous and flourishing, and until a manifest improvement takes
place, we are hardly likely again to pass it in review.

FOOTNOTES:

[21] A large gold coin, then worth nearly a hundred French livres.



Dies Boreales.

No. V.

CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS.

_Camp at Cladich._


SCENE--_The Pavilion._ TIME--_After breakfast._

NORTH--TALBOYS--SEWARD--BULLER.

NORTH.

I begin to be doubtful of this day. On your visits to us, Talboys, you
have been most unfortunate in weather. This is more like August than
June.

TALBOYS.

The very word, my dear sir. It is indeed most august weather.

NORTH.

Five weeks to-day since we pitched our Camp--and we have had the
Beautiful of the Year in all its varieties; but the spiteful Season
seems to owe you some old grudge, Talboys--and to make it a point still
to assail your arrival with "thunder, lightning, and with rain."

TALBOYS.

"I tax not you, ye Elements! with unkindness." I feel assured they mean
nothing personal to me--and though this sort of work may not be very
favourable to Angling, 'tis quite a day for tidying our Tackle--and
making up our Books. But don't you think, sir, that the Tent would look
nothing the worse with some artificial light in this obscuration of the
natural?

NORTH.

Put on the gas. Pretty invention, the Gutta Percha tube, isn't it? The
Electric Telegraph is nothing to it. Tent illuminated in a moment, at a
pig's whisper.

TALBOYS.

Were I to wish, sir, for anything to happen now to the weather at all,
it would be just ever so little toning down of that one constituent
of the orchestral harmony of the Storm which men call--howling.
The Thunder is perfect--but that one Wind Instrument is slightly
out of tune--he is most anxious to do his best--his motive is
unimpeachable; but he has no idea how much more impressive--how much
more popular--would be a somewhat subdued style. There again--that's
positive discord--does he mean to disconcert the Concert--or does he
forget that he is not a Solo?

BULLER.

That must be a deluge of--hail.

TALBOYS.

So much the better. Hitherto we have had but rain. "Mysterious horrors!
HAIL!"

                "'Twas a rough night.
    My young remembrance cannot parallel
    A fellow to it."

NORTH.

Suppose we resume yesterday's conversation?

TALBOYS.

By all manner of means. Let's sit close--and speak loud--else all will
be dumb show. The whole world's one waterfall.

NORTH.

Take up Knight on Taste. Look at the dog-ear.

TALBOYS.

"The most perfect instance of this kind is the Tragedy of Macbeth,
in which the character of an ungrateful traitor, murderer, usurper,
and tyrant, is made in the highest degree interesting by the sublime
flashes of generosity, magnanimity, courage, and tenderness, which
continually burst forth in the manly but ineffective struggle of every
exalted quality that can dignify and adorn the human mind, first
against the allurements of ambition, and afterwards against the pangs
of remorse and horrors of despair. Though his wife has been the cause
of all his crimes and sufferings, neither the agony of his distress,
nor the fury of his rage, ever draw from him an angry word, or
upbraiding expression towards her; but even when, at her instigation,
he is about to add the murder of his friend and late colleague to that
of his sovereign, kinsman, and benefactor, he is chiefly anxious that
she should not share the guilt of his blood:--'Be innocent of the
knowledge, dearest chuck! till thou applaud the deed.' How much more
real grandeur and exaltation of character is displayed in one such
simple expression from the heart, than in all the laboured pomp of
rhetorical amplification."

NORTH.

What think you of that, Talboys?

TALBOYS.

Why, like much of the cant of criticism, it sounds at once queer and
commonplace. I seem to have heard it before many thousand times, and
yet never to have heard it at all till this moment.

NORTH.

Seward?

SEWARD.

Full of audacious assertions, that can be forgiven but in the belief
that Payne Knight had never read the tragedy, even with the most
ordinary attention.

NORTH.

Buller?

BULLER.

Cursed nonsense. Beg pardon, sir--sink cursed--mere nonsense--out and
out nonsense--nonsense by itself nonsense.

NORTH.

How so?

BULLER.

A foolish libel on Shakspeare. Was he the man to make the character of
an ungrateful traitor, murderer, usurper, and tyrant, interesting by
sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity, courage, and tenderness,
and--do I repeat the words correctly?--of every exalted quality that
can dignify and adorn the human mind.

NORTH.

Buller--keep up that face--you are positively beautiful--

BULLER.

No quizzing--I am ugly--but I have a good figure--look at that leg, sir!

NORTH.

I prefer the other.

TALBOYS.

There have been Poets among us who fain would--if they could--have
so violated nature; but their fabrications have been felt to be
falsehoods--and no quackery may resuscitate drowned lies.

NORTH.

Shakspeare nowhere insists on the virtues of Macbeth--he leaves their
measure indeterminate. That the villain may have had some good points
we are all willing to believe--few people are without them;--nor have
I any quarrel with those who believe he had high qualities, and is
corrupted by ambition. But what high qualities had he shown before
Shakspeare sets him personally before us to judge for ourselves?
Valour--courage--intrepidity--call it what you will--Martial Virtue--

    "For brave Macbeth, (well he deserves that name,)
    Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution
    Like valour's minion,
    Carved out his passage till he faced the slave;
    And ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseam'd him from the nave to the chaps,
    And fixed his head upon our battlements."

The "bleeding Serjeant" pursues his panegyric till he grows faint--and
is led off speechless; others take it up--and we are thus--and in other
ways--prepared to look on Macbeth as a paragon of bravery, loyalty, and
patriotism.

TALBOYS.

So had seemed Cawdor.

NORTH.

Good. Shakspeare sets Macbeth before us under the most imposing
circumstances of a warlike age; but of his inner character as yet he
has told us nothing--we are to find that out for ourselves during
the Drama. If there be sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity,
and every exalted virtue, we have eyes to see, unless indeed blinded
by the lightning--and if the sublime flashes be frequent, and the
struggle of every exalted quality that can adorn the human mind, though
ineffectual, yet strong--why, then, we must not only pity and forgive,
but admire and love the "traitor, murderer, usurper, and tyrant," with
all the poetical and philosophical fervour of that amiable enthusiast,
Mr Payne Knight.

BULLER.

Somehow or other I cannot help having an affection for Macbeth.

NORTH.

You had better leave the Tent, sir.

BULLER.

No. I won't.

NORTH

Give us then, my dear Buller, your Theory of the Thane's character.

BULLER.

"Theory, God bless you, I have none to give, sir." Warlike valour, as
you said, is marked first and last--at the opening, and at the end.
Surely a good and great quality, at least for poetical purposes. High
general reputation won and held. The opinion of the wounded soldier was
that of the whole army; and when he himself says, "I have bought golden
opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their
newest gloss, not thrown aside so soon," I accept that he then truly
describes his position in men's minds.

NORTH.

All true. But we soon gain, too, this insight into his constitution,
that the pillar upon which he has built up life is Reputation, and
not Respect of Law--not Self-Respect; that the point which Shakspeare
above all others intends in him, is that his is a spirit not
self-stayed--leaning upon outward stays--and therefore--

BULLER.

Liable to all--

NORTH.

Don't take the words out of my mouth, sir; or rather, don't put them
into my mouth, sir.

BULLER.

Touchy to-day.

NORTH.

The strongest expression of this character is his throwing himself upon
the illicit divinings of futurity, upon counsellors known for infernal;
and you see what subjugating sway the Three Spirits take at once over
him. On the contrary, the Thaness is self-stayed; and this difference
grounds the poetical opposition of the two personages. In Macbeth,
I suppose a certain splendour of character--magnificence of action
high--a certain impure generosity--mixed up of some kindliness and
sympathy, and of the pleasure from self-elation and self-expansion in a
victorious career, and of that ambition which feeds on public esteem.

BULLER.

Ay--just so, sir.

NORTH.

Now mark, Buller--this is a character which, if the path of duty and
the path of personal ambition were laid out by the Sisters to be one
and the same path, might walk through life in sunlight and honour, and
invest the tomb with proud and revered trophies. To show such a spirit
wrecked and hurled into infamy--the ill-woven sails rent into shreds
by the whirlwind--is a lesson worthy the Play and the Poet--and such
a lesson as I think Shakspeare likely to have designed--or, without
preaching about lessons, such an ethical revelation as I think likely
to have caught hold upon Shakspeare's intelligence. It would seem to me
a dramatically-poetical subject. The mightiest of temptations occurs
to a mind, full of powers, endowed with available moral elements, but
without set virtue--without principles--"and down goes all before
it." If the essential delineation of Macbeth be this conflict of
Moral elements--of good and evil--of light and darkness--I see a very
poetical conception; if merely a hardened and bloody hypocrite from
the beginning, I see none. But I need not say to you, gentlemen, that
all this is as far as may be from the exaggerated panegyric on his
character by Payne Knight.

TALBOYS.

Macbeth is a brave man--so is Banquo--so are we Four, brave men--they
in their way and day--we in ours--they as Celts and Soldiers--we as
Saxons and Civilians--and we had all need to be so--for hark! in the
midst of ours, "Thunder and Lightning, and enter Three Witches."

BULLER.

I cannot say that I understand distinctly their first Confabulation.

NORTH.

That's a pity. A sensible man like you should understand everything.
But what if Shakspeare himself did not distinctly understand it?
There may have been original errata in the report, as extended by
himself from notes taken in short-hand on the spot--light bad--noise
worse--voices of Weird Sisters worst--matter obscure--manner
uncouth--why really, Buller, all things considered, Shakspeare has
shown himself a very pretty Penny-a-liner.

BULLER.

I cry you mercy, sir.

SEWARD.

_Where_ are the Witches on their first appearance, at the very opening
of the wonderful Tragedy?

NORTH.

An open Place, with thunder and lightning.

SEWARD.

I know that--the words are written down.

NORTH.

Somewhere or other--anywhere--nowhere.

BULLER.

In Fife or Forfar? Or some one or other of your outlandish, or
inlandish, Lowland or Highland Counties?

NORTH.

Not knowing, can't say. Probably.

SEWARD

    "When the Hurly Burly's done,
    When the Battle's lost and won."

What Hurly Burly? What Battle? That in which Macbeth is then engaged?
And which is to be brought to issue ere "set of sun" of the day on
which "enter Three Witches?"

NORTH.

Let it be so.

SEWARD.

                    "Upon the heath,
    There to meet with Macbeth."

The Witches, then, are to meet with Macbeth on the heath on the Evening
of the Battle?

NORTH.

It would seem so.

SEWARD.

They are "posters over sea and land"--and, like whiffs of lightning,
can outsail and outride the sound of thunder. But Macbeth and Banquo
must have had on their seven-league boots.

NORTH.

They must.

SEWARD.

    "A drum, a drum!
    Macbeth doth come."

Was he with the advanced guard of the Army?

NORTH.

Not unlikely--attended by his Staff. Generals, on such occasions,
usually ride--but perhaps Macbeth and Banquo, being in kilts, preferred
walking in their seven-league boots. Thomas Campbell has said, "When
the drum of the Scottish Army is heard on the wild heath, and when I
fancy it advancing with its bowmen in front, and its spears and banners
in the distance, I am always disappointed with Macbeth's entrance at
the head of a few kilted actors." The army may have been there--but
they did not see the Weirds--nor, I believe, did the Weirds see them.
With Macbeth and Banquo alone had they to do: we see no Army at that
hour--we hear no drums--we are deaf even to the Great Highland Bagpipe,
though He, you may be sure, was not dumb--all "plaided and plumed in
their tartan array" the Highland Host ceased to be--like vanished
shadows--at the first apparition of "those so withered and so wild in
their attire"--not of the earth though on it, and alive somewhere till
this day--while generations after generations of mere Fighting Men have
been disbanded by dusty Death.

SEWARD.

I wish to know _where_ and _when_ had been the Fighting? The
Norwegian--one Sweno, had come down very handsomely at Inchcolm with
ten thousand dollars--a sum in those days equal to a million of money
in Scotland----

NORTH.

Seward, speak on subjects you understand. What do you know, sir, of the
value of money _in_ those days in Scotland?

SEWARD.

But _where_ had been all the Fighting? There would seem to have been
two hurley-burleys.

NORTH.

I see your drift, Seward. _Time and Place_, through the First Scene of
the First Act, are past finding out. It has been asked--Was Shakspeare
ever in Scotland? Never. There is not one word in this Tragedy leading
a Scotsman to think so--many showing he never had that happiness. Let
him deal with our localities according to his own sovereign will and
pleasure, as a prevailing Poet. But let no man point out his dealings
with our localities as proofs of his having such knowledge of them as
implies personal acquaintance with them gained by a longer or shorter
visit in Scotland. The Fights at the beginning seem to be in Fife. The
Soldier, there wounded, delivers his relation at the King's Camp before
Forres. He has crawled, in half-an-hour, or an hour--or two hours--say
seventy, eighty, or a hundred miles, or more--crossing the ridge of the
Grampians. Rather smart. I do not know what you think here of Time; but
I think that Space is here pretty well done for. The TIME of the Action
of Shakspeare's Plays has never yet, so far as I know, been, in any
one Play, carefully investigated--never investigated at all; and I now
announce to you Three--don't mention it--that I have made discoveries
here that will astound the whole world, and demand a New Criticism of
the entire Shakspearean Drama.

BULLER.

Let us have one now, I beseech you, sir.

NORTH.

Not now.

BULLER.

No sleep in the Tent till we have it, sir. I do dearly love astounding
discoveries--and at this time of day, in astounding discovery in
Shakspeare! May it not prove a Mare's Nest!

NORTH.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a _prodigious_ Tragedy, because in it the
Chariot of Nemesis _visibly_ rides in the lurid thunder-sky. Because
in it the ill motions of a human soul, which Theologians account for
by referring them all to suggestions of Beelzebub, are expounded in
visible, mysterious, tangible, terrible shape and symbolisation by
the Witches. It is great by the character and person, workings and
sufferings, of Lady Macbeth--by the immense poetical power in doing
the Witches--mingling for once in the world the Homely-Grotesque and
the Sublime--extinguishing the Vulgar in the Sublime--by the bond,
whatsoever it be, between Macbeth and his wife--by making us tolerate
her and him----

BULLER.

Didn't I say that in my own way, sir? And didn't you reprove me for
saying it, and order me out of the Tent?

NORTH.

And what of the Witches?

BULLER.

Had you not stopt me. I say now, sir, that nobody understands
Shakspeare's HECATE. Who is SHE? Each of the Three Weirds is = one
Witch + one of the Three Fates--therefore the union of two incompatible
natures--more than in a Centaur. Oh! Sir! what a hand that was which
bound the two into one--inseverably! There they are for ever as the
Centaurs _are_. But the gross Witch prevails; which Shakspeare needed
for securing belief, and he has it, full. Hecate, sir, comes in to
balance the disproportion--she lifts into Mythology--and strengthens
the mythological tincture. So does the "Pit of Acheron." That is
classical. To the best of my remembrance, no mention of any such Pit in
the Old or New Statistical Account of Scotland.

NORTH.

And, in the Incantation Scene, those Apparitions! Mysterious, ominous,
picturesque--and self-willed. They are commanded by the Witches, but
under a limitation. Their oracular power is their own. They are of
unknown orders--as if for the occasion created in Hell.

North.

Talboys, are you asleep--or are you at Chess with your eyes shut?

TALBOYS.

At Chess with my eyes shut. I shall send off my move to my friend
Stirling by first post. But my ears were open--and I ask--when did
Macbeth first design the murder of Duncan? Does not everybody think--in
the moment _after_ the Witches have first accosted and left him? Does
not--it may be asked--the whole moral significancy of the Witches
disappear, unless the invasion of hell into Macbeth's bosom is first
made by their presence and voices?

NORTH.

No. The whole moral significancy of the Witches only then appears, when
we are assured that they address themselves only to those who already
have been tampering with their conscience. "Good sir! why do you start,
and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?" That question put to
Macbeth by Banquo turns our eyes to his face--and we see Guilt. There
was no start at "Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor,"--but at the word
"King" well might he start; for ---- eh?

TALBOYS.

We must look up the Scene.

NORTH.

No need for that. You have it by heart--recite it.

TALBOYS.

    "_Macbeth._ So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

    _Banquo._ How far is't call'd to Forres?--What are these,
    So wither'd, and so wild in their attire;
    That look not like the inhabitants of the earth,
    And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
    That man may question? You seem to understand me,
    By each at once her choppy finger laying
    Upon her skinny lips:--You should be women,
    And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
    That you are so.

    _Macbeth._ Speak, if you can;--What are you?

    _1st Witch._ All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

    _2d Witch._ All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

    _3d Witch._ All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter.

    _Banquo._ Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
    Things that do sound so fair?--I' the name of truth,
    Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
    Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
    You greet with present grace, and great prediction
    Of noble having, and of royal hope,
    That he seems rapt withal; to me you speak not:
    If you can look into the seeds of time,
    And say which grain will grow, and which will not;
    Speak then to me, who neither beg, nor fear
    Your favours nor your hate.

    _1st Witch._ Hail!

    _2d Witch._ Hail!

    _3d Witch._ Hail!

    _1st Witch._ Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

    _2d Witch._ Not so happy, yet much happier.

    _3d Witch._ Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
    So, all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

    _1st Witch._ Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

    _Macbeth._ Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
    By Sinel's death, I know, I am thane of Glamis;
    But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
    A prosperous gentleman; and to be king,
    Stands not within the prospect of belief,
    No more than to be Cawdor. Say, from whence
    You owe this strange intelligence? or why
    Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
    With such prophetic greeting?--Speak, I charge you.

[_Witches vanish._

    _Banquo._ The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
    And these are of them:--Whither are they vanish'd?

    _Macbeth._ Into the air, and what seem'd corporal, melted
    As breath into the wind. 'Would they had staid!

    _Banquo._ Were such things here, as we do speak about?
    Or have we eaten of the insane root,
    That takes the reason prisoner.

    _Macbeth._ Your children shall be kings.

    _Banquo._                             You shall be king.

    _Macbeth._ And thane of Cawdor too; went it not so?

    _Banquo._ To the self-same tune, and words."

NORTH.

Charles Kemble himself could not have given it more impressively.

BULLER.

You make him blush, sir.

NORTH.

Attend to that "start" of Macbeth, Talboys.

TALBOYS.

He might well start on being told of a sudden, by such seers, that he
was hereafter to be King of Scotland.

NORTH.

There was more in the start than that, my lad, else Shakspeare would
not have so directed our eyes to it. I say again--it was the start--of
a murderer.

TALBOYS.

And what if I say it was not? But I have the candour to confess, that
I am not familiar with the starts of murderers--so may possibly be
mistaken.

NORTH.

Omit what intervenes--and give us the Soliloquy, Talboys. But before
you do so, let me merely remind you that Macbeth's mind, from the
little he says in the interim, is manifestly ruminating on something
bad, ere he breaks out into Soliloquy.

TALBOYS.

              "Two truths are told,
    As happy prologues to the swelling act
    Of the imperial theme--I thank you, gentlemen.--
    This supernatural soliciting
    Cannot be ill--cannot be good:--If ill,
    Why hath it given me earnest of success,
    Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor:
    If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
    Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,
    And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
    Against the use of nature? Present fears
    Are less than horrible imaginings:
    My thought whose murder is yet but fantastical
    Shakes so my single state of man, that function
    Is smothered in surmise; and nothing is,
    But what is not."

NORTH.

Now, my dear Talboys, you will agree with me in thinking that this
first great and pregnant, although brief soliloquy, stands for germ,
type, and law of the whole Play, and of its criticism--and for clue
to the labyrinth of the Thane's character. "Out of this wood do not
desire to go." Out of it I do not expect soon to go. I regard William
as a fair Poet and a reasonable Philosopher; but as a supereminent
Play-wright. The First Soliloquy _must_ speak the nature of Macbeth,
else the Craftsman has no skill in his trade. A Soliloquy _reveals_.
That is its function. Therein is the soul heard and seen discoursing
with itself--within itself; and if you carry your eye through--up to
the First Appearance of Lady Macbeth--this Soliloquy is distinctly
the highest point of the Tragedy--the tragic acme--or dome--or
pinnacle--therefore of power indefinite, infinite. On this rock I
stand, a Colossus ready to be thrown down by--an Earthquake.

BULLER.

Pushed off by--a shove.

NORTH.

Not by a thousand Buller-power. Can you believe, Buller, that the word
of the Third Witch, "that shalt be KING Hereafter," _sows_ the murder
in Macbeth's heart, and that it springs up, flowers, and fruits with
such fearful rapidity.

BULLER.

Why--Yes and No.

NORTH.

Attend, Talboys, to the words "supernatural soliciting." What
"supernatural soliciting" to evil is there here? Not a syllable
had the Weird Sisters breathed about Murder. But now there is much
soliloquising--and Cawdor contemplates himself _objectively_--seen
busy upon an elderly gentleman called Duncan--after a fashion that so
frightens him _subjectively_--that Banquo cannot help whispering to
Rosse and Angus--

    "See how our partner's rapt!"

TALBOYS.

"My thought whose murder's yet fantastical." I agree with you, sir, in
suspecting he must have thought of the murder.

NORTH.

It is from no leaning towards the Weird Sisters--whom I never set eyes
on but once, and then without interchanging a word, leapt momentarily
out of this world into that pitch-pot of a pond in Glenco--it is, I
say, from no leaning towards the Weird Sisters that I take this view of
Macbeth's character. No "sublime flashes of generosity, magnanimity,
tenderness, and every exalted quality that can dignify and adorn the
human mind," do I ever suffer to pass by without approbation, when
coruscating from the character of any well-disposed man, real or
imaginary, however unaccountable at other times his conduct may appear
to be; but Shakspeare, who knew Macbeth better than any of us, has here
assured us that he was in heart a murderer--for how long he does not
specify--before he had ever seen a birse on any of the Weird Sisters'
beards. But let's be canny. Talboys--pray, what is the meaning of the
word "soliciting," "preternatural soliciting," in this Soliloquy?

TALBOYS.

Soliciting, sir, is, in my interpreting, "an appealing, intimate
visitation."

NORTH.

Right. The appeal is general--as that _challenge_ of a trumpet--_Fairy
Queen_, book III., canto xii., stanza 1--

    "Signe of nigh battail or got victorye"--

which, all indeterminate, is notwithstanding _a challenge_--operates,
and is felt as such.

TALBOYS.

So a thundering knock at your door--which may be a friend or an
enemy. It comes as a summoning. It is more than internal urging and
inciting of me by my own thoughts--for mark, sir, the rigour of the
word "supernatural," which throws the soliciting off his own soul upon
the Weirds. The word is really undetermined to pleasure or pain--the
essential thought being that there is a searching or penetrating
provocative--a stirring up of that which lay dead and still. Next is
the debate whether this intrusive, and pungent, and stimulant assault
of a presence and an oracle be good or ill?

NORTH.

Does the hope live in him for a moment that this home-visiting is not
ill--that the Spirits are not ill? They have spoken truth so far--ergo,
the Third "All hail!" shall be true, too. But more than that--they have
spoken _truth_. Ergo, they are not spirits of Evil. That hope dies
in the same instant, submerged in the stormy waves which the blast
from hell arouses. The infernal revelation glares clear before him--a
Crown held out by the hand of Murder. One or two struggles occur. Then
the truth stands before him fixed and immutable--"Evil, be thou my
good." He is dedicated: and passive to fate. I cannot comprehend this
so feeble debate in the mind of a good man--I cannot comprehend any
such debate at all in the mind of a previously settled and determined
murderer; but I can comprehend and feel its awful significancy in the
mind of a man already in a most perilous moral condition.

SEWARD.

The "start" shows that the spark has caught--it has fallen into a tun
of gunpowder.

TALBOYS.

The touch of Ithuriel's spear.

NORTH.

May we not say, then, that perhaps the Witches have shown no more than
this--the Fascination of Contact between Passion and Opportunity?

SEWARD.

To Philosophy reading the hieroglyphic; but to the People what? To
them they are a reality. They seize the imagination with all power.
They come like "blasts from hell"--like spirits of Plague, whose
breath--whose very sight kills.

                          "Within them Hell
    They bring, and round about them; nor from Hell
    One step, no more than from themselves, can fly."

The contagion of their presence, in spite of what we have been saying,
almost reconciles my understanding to what it would otherwise revolt
from, the _suddenness_ with which the penetration of Macbeth into
futurity lays fast hold upon Murder.

BULLER.

Pretty fast--though it gives a twist or two in his handling.

SEWARD.

Lady Macbeth herself corroborates your judgment and Shakspeare's on her
husband's character.

TALBOYS.

Does she?

SEWARD.

She does. In that dreadful parley between them on the night of the
Murder--she reminds him of a time when

                        "_Nor time nor place
    Did then adhere, and yet you would make both_;
    They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
    Does unmake you."

This--mark you, sir--must have been before the Play began!

NORTH.

I have often thought of the words--and Shakspeare himself has so
adjusted the action of the Play as that, _since the encounter with the
Weirds_, no opportunity had occurred to Macbeth for the "making of
time and place." Therefore it must, as you say, have been _before it_.
Buller, what say you now?

BULLER.

Gagged.

NORTH.

True, she speaks of his being "full of the milk of human kindness."
The words have become favourites with us, who are an affectionate and
domestic people--and are lovingly applied to the loving; but Lady
Macbeth attached no such profound sense to them as we do; and meant
merely that she thought her husband would, after all, much prefer
greatness unbought by blood; and, at the time she referred to, it is
probable he would; but that she meant no more than that, is plain from
the continuation of her praise, in which her ideas get not a little
confused; and her words, interpret them as you will, leave nothing
"milky" in Macbeth at all. Milk of human kindness, indeed!

TALBOYS.

                    "What thou would'st highly,
    That would'st thou holily; would'st not play false,
    And yet would'st wrongly win: thou'dst have great Glamis,
    That which cries, 'Thus thou must do, if thou have it;
    And that which rather thou dost fear to do
    Than wishest should be undone.'"

_That_ is her Ladyship's notion of the "milk of human kindness"! "I
wish somebody would murder Duncan--as for murdering him myself, I am
much too tender-hearted and humane for perpetrating such cruelty with
my own hand!"

BULLER.

Won't you believe a Wife to be a good judge of her Husband's
disposition?

NORTH.

Not Lady Macbeth. For does not she herself tell us, at the same time,
that he had formerly schemed how to commit Murder?

BULLER.

Gagged again.

NORTH.

I see no reason for doubting that she was attached to her husband; and
Shakspeare loved to put into the lips of women beautiful expressions of
love--but he did not intend that we should be deceived thereby in our
moral judgements.

SEWARD.

Did this ever occur to you, sir? Macbeth, when hiring the murderers who
are to look after Banquo and Fleance, cites a conversation in which
he had demonstrated to them that the oppression under which they had
long suffered, and which they had supposed to proceed from Macbeth,
proceeded really from Banquo? My firm belief is that it proceeded from
Macbeth--that their suspicion was right--that Macbeth is misleading
them--and that Shakspeare means you to apprehend this. But why should
Macbeth have oppressed his inferiors, unless he had been--long
since--of a tyrannical nature? He oppresses his inferiors--they are
sickened and angered with the world--by his oppression--he tells them
'twas not he but another who had oppressed them--and that other--at his
instigation--they willingly murder. An ugly affair altogether.

NORTH.

Very. But let us keep to the First Act--and see what a hypocrite
Macbeth has so very soon become--what a savage assassin! He has just
followed up his Soliloquy with these significant lines--

                      "Come what come may,
    _Time and the hour run through the roughest day_;"

when he recollects that Banquo, Rosse, and Angus are standing near.
Richard himself is not more wily--guily--smily--and oily; to the Lords
his condescension is already quite kingly--

                "Kind gentlemen, your pains
    Are registered where every day I turn
    The leaf to read them"--

TALBOYS.

And soon after, to the King how obsequious!

    "The service and the loyalty I owe,
    In doing it, pays itself. Your Highness' part
    Is to receive our duties; and our duties
    Are to your throne and state, children, and servants;
    Which do but what they should by doing everything
    Safe toward you love and honour."

What would Payne Knight have said to all that? This to his King, whom
he has resolved, first good opportunity, to murder!

NORTH.

Duncan is now too happy for this wicked world.

              "My plenteous joys,
    Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
    In drops of sorrow."

Invaders--traitors--now there are none. Peace is restored to the
Land--the Throne rock-fast--the line secure--

              "We will establish our estate upon
    Our eldest, Malcolm; whom we name hereafter,
    The Prince of Cumberland: which honour must
    Not, unaccompanied, invest him only,
    But signs of nobleness, like stars, shall shine
    On all deservers."

Now was the time for "the manly but ineffectual struggle of every
exalted quality that can dignify and exalt the human mind"--for a few
sublime flashes at least of generosity and tenderness, et cetera--now
when the Gracious Duncan is loading him with honours, and, better than
all honours, lavishing on him the boundless effusions of a grateful
and royal heart. The Prince of Cumberland! Ha, ha!

    "The Prince of Cumberland!--That is a step
    On which I must fall down, or else o'erleap,
    For in my way it lies."

But the remorseless miscreant becomes poetical--

                  "Stars, hide your fires!
    Let not light see my black and deep desires:
    The eye wink at the hand! yet let that be,
    Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see!"

The milk of human kindness has coagulated into the curd of inhuman
ferocity--and all this--slanderers say--is the sole work of the Weird
Sisters! No. His wicked heart--because it is wicked--believes in
their Prophecy--the end is assured to him--and the means are at once
suggested to his own slaughterous nature. No supernatural soliciting
here, which a better man would not successfully have resisted. I
again repudiate--should it be preferred against me--the charge of a
_tendresse_ towards the Bearded Beauties of the Blasted Heath; but
rather would I marry them all Three--one after the other--nay all three
at once, and as many more as there may be in our Celtic Mythology--than
see your Sophia, Seward, or, Buller, your--

BULLER.

We have but Marmy.

NORTH.

Wedded to a Macbeth.

SEWARD.

We know your affection, my dear sir, for your goddaughter. She is
insured.

NORTH.

Well, this Milk of Human Kindness is off at a hand-gallop to Inverness.
The King has announced a Royal Visit to Macbeth's own Castle. But
Cawdor had before this despatched a letter to his lady, from which
Shakspeare has given us an extract. And then, as I understand it, a
special messenger besides, to say "the King comes here to-night."
Which of the two is the more impatient to be at work 'tis hard to say;
but the idea of the murder originated with the male Prisoner. We have
his wife's word for it--she told him so to his face--and he did not
deny it. We have his own word for it--he told himself so to his own
face--and he never denies it at any time during the play.

TALBOYS.

You said, a little while ago, sir, that you believed Macbeth and his
wife were a happy couple.

NORTH.

Not I. I said she was attached to him--and I say now that the wise
men are not of the Seven, who point to her reception of her husband,
on his arrival at _home_, as a proof of her want of affection. They
seem to think she ought to have rushed into his arms--slobbered upon
his shoulder--and so forth. For had he not been at the Wars? Pshaw!
The most tender-hearted Thanesses of those days--even those that
kept albums--would have been ashamed of weeping on sending their
Thanes off to battle--much more on receiving them back in a sound
skin--with new honours nodding on their plumes. Lady Macbeth was not
one of the turtle-doves--fit mate she for the King of the Vultures.
I am too good an ornithologist to call them Eagles. She received her
mate fittingly--with murder in her soul; but more cruel--more selfish
than he, she could not be--nor, perhaps, was she less; but she was
more resolute--and resolution even in evil--in such circumstances as
hers--seems to argue a superior nature to his, who, while he keeps
vacillating, as if it were between good and evil, betrays all the time
the bias that is surely inclining him to evil, into which he makes a
sudden and sure wheel at last.

BULLER.

The Weirds--the Weirds!--the Weirds have done it all!

NORTH.

Macbeth--Macbeth!--Macbeth has done it all!

BULLER.

Furies and Fates!

NORTH.

Who make the wicked their victims!

SEWARD.

Is she sublime in her wickedness?

NORTH.

It would, I fear, be wrong to say so. But I was speaking of Macbeth's
character--not of hers--and, in comparison with him, she may seem a
great creature. They are now utterly alone--and of the two he has been
the more familiar with murder. Between them, Duncan already is a dead
man. But how pitiful--at such a time and at such a greeting--Macbeth's
cautions--

      "My dearest Love,
    Duncan comes here to-night!

    _Lady._--And when goes hence?

    _Macbeth._--To-morrow, as he purposes.

    _Lady._--Oh, never
      Shall sun that morrow see!"

Why, Talboys, does not the poor devil--

TALBOYS.

Poor devil! Macbeth a poor devil?

NORTH.

Why, Buller, does not the poor devil?

BULLER.

Poor devil! Macbeth a poor devil?

NORTH.

Why, Seward, does not the poor devil--

SEWARD.

Speak up--speak out? Is he afraid of the spiders? You know him,
sir--you see through him.

NORTH.

Ay, Seward--reserved and close as he is--he wants nerve--_pluck_--he is
close upon the coward--and that would be well, were there the slightest
tendency towards change of purpose in the Pale Face; but there is
none--he is as cruel as ever--the more close the more cruel--the more
irresolute the more murderous--for to murder he is sure to come.
Seward, you said well--why does not the poor devil speak up--speak out?
Is he afraid of the spiders?

TALBOYS.

Murderous-looking villain--no need of words.

NORTH.

I did not say, sir, there was any need of words. Why, will you always
be contradicting one?

TALBOYS.

Me? I? I hope I shall never live to see the day on which I contradict
Christopher North in his own Tent. At least--rudely.

NORTH.

Do it rudely--not as you did now--and often do--as if you were agreeing
with me--but you are incurable. I say, my dear Talboys, that Macbeth
so bold in a "twa-haun'd crack" with himself in a Soliloquy--so
figurative--and so fond of swearing by the Stars and old Mother
Night, who were not aware of his existence--should not have been thus
tongue-tied to his own wife in their own secretest chamber--should have
unlocked and flung open the door of his heart to her--like a Man. I
blush for him--I do. So did his wife.

BULLER.

I don't find that in the record.

NORTH.

Don't you? "Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men may read
strange matters." She sees in his face self-alarm at his own
murderous intentions. And so she counsels him about his face--like a
self-collected, trustworthy woman. "To beguile the time, look like the
time;" with further good stern advice. But--"We shall speak farther,"
is all she can get from him in answer to conjugal assurances that
should have given him a palpitation at the heart, and set his eyes on
fire--

                  "He that's coming
    Must be provided for; and you shall put
    This night's great business into my despatch;
    Which shall, to all our nights and days to come,
    Give solely sovereign sway and Masterdom."

There spoke one worthy to be a Queen!

SEWARD.

Worthy!

NORTH.

Ay--in that age--in that country. 'Twas not then the custom "to speak
daggers but use none." Did Shakspeare mean to dignify, to magnify
Macbeth by such demeanour? No--to degrade and minimise the murderer.

TALBOYS.

My dear sir, I cordially agree with every word you utter. Go on--my
dear sir--to instruct--to illumine--

SEWARD.

To bring out "sublime flashes of magnanimity, courage, tenderness," in
Macbeth--

BULLER.

"Of every exalted quality that can dignify and adorn the human
mind"--the mind of Macbeth in his struggle with the allurements of
ambition!

NORTH.

Observe, how this reticence--on the part of Macbeth--contrasted with
his wife's eagerness and exultation, makes her, for the moment, seem
the wickeder of the two--the fiercer and the more cruel. For the moment
only; for we soon ask ourselves what means this un-husbandly reserve
in him who had sent her _that letter_--and then a messenger to tell
her the king was coming--and who had sworn to himself as savagely as
she now does, not to let slip this opportunity of cutting his king's
throat. He is well-pleased to see that his wife is as bloody-minded as
himself--that she will not only give all necessary assistance--as an
associate--but concert the when, and the where, and the how--and if
need be, with her own hand deal the blow.

SEWARD.

She did not then know that Macbeth had made up his mind to murder
Duncan that very night. _But we know it._ She has instantly made up
hers--we know how; but being as yet unassured of her husband, she
welcomes him home with a Declaration that must have more than answered
his fondest hopes; and, therefore, he is almost mute--the few words he
does utter seem to indicate no settled purpose--Duncan may fulfil his
intention of going in the morning, or he may not; but we know that the
silence of the murderer now is because the murderess is manifestly all
he could wish--and that, had she shown any reluctance, he would have
resumed his eloquence, and, to convert her to his way of thinking,
argued as powerfully as he did when converting himself.

BULLER.

You carry on at such a pace, sir, there's no keeping up with you.
Pull up, that I may ask you a very simple question. On his arrival at
his castle, Macbeth finds his wife reading a letter from her amiable
spouse, about the Weird Sisters. Pray, when was that letter written?

NORTH.

At what hour precisely? That I can't say. It must, however, have been
written before Macbeth had been presented to the King--for there is no
allusion in it to the King's intention to visit their Castle. I believe
it to have been written about an hour or so after the prophecy of the
Weirds--either in some place of refreshment by the roadside--or in
such a Tent as this--kept ready for the General in the King's Camp at
Forres. He despatched it by a Gilly--a fast one like your Cornwall
Clipper--and then tumbled in.

BULLER.

When did she receive it?

NORTH.

Early next morning.

BULLER.

How could that be, since she is reading it, as her husband steps in,
well on, as I take it, in the afternoon?

NORTH.

Buller, you are a blockhead. There had she, for many hours, been
sitting, and walking _about_ with it, now rumpled up in her fist--now
crunkled up between her breasts--now locked up in a safe--now spread
out like a sampler on that tasty little oak table--and sometimes
she might have been heard by the servants--had they had the unusual
curiosity to listen at the door--murmuring like a stock-dove--anon
hooting like an owl--by-and-by barking like an eagle--then bellowing
liker a hart than a hind--almost howling like a wolf--and why not?--now
singing a snatch of an old Gaelic air, with a clear, wild, sweet voice,
like that of "a human!"

    "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
    What thou art promised."
                        "Hie thee hither,
    That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,
    And chastise with the valour of my tongue,
    All that impedes thee from the golden round,
    Which Fate and metaphysical aid doth seem
    To have thee crown'd withal."

BULLER.

Grand indeed.

NORTH.

It _is_ grand indeed. But, my dear Buller, was that all she had said
to herself, think you? No--no--no. But it was all Shakspeare had time
for on the Stage. Oh, sirs! The Time of the Stage is but a simulacrum
of true Time. That must be done at one stroke, on the Stage, which
in a Life takes ten. The Stage persuades _that_ in one conversation,
or soliloquy, which Life may do in twenty--you have not leisure or
good-will for the ambages and iterations of the Real.

SEWARD.

See an artist with a pen in his hand, challenged; and with a few lines
he will exhibit a pathetic story. From how many millions has he given
you--One? The units which he abstracts, represent sufficiently and
satisfactorily the millions of lines and surfaces which he neglects.

NORTH.

So in Poetry. You take little for much. You need not wonder, then, that
on an attendant entering and saying, "The King comes here to-night,"
she cries, "Thou'rt mad to say it!" Had you happened to tell her so
half-an-hour ago, who knows but that she might have received it with a
stately smile, that hardly moved a muscle on her high-featured front,
and gave a merciful look to her green eyes even when she was communing
with Murder!

NORTH.

What hurry and haste had been on all sides to get into the House of
Murder!

            "Where's the Thane of Cawdor?
    We coursed him, at the heels, and had a purpose
    To be his purveyor: but he rides well:
    And his great love, sharp as his spur, hath holp him
    To his home before us--Fair and noble Hostess,
    We are your guest to-night."

Ay, where is the Thane of Cawdor? I, for one, not knowing, can't say.
The gracious Duncan desires much to see him as well as his gracious
Hostess.

    "Give me your hand:
    Conduct me to mine host: we love him highly,
    And shall continue our graces towards him.
    By your leave, Hostess."

Ay--where's the Thane of Cawdor? Why did not Shakspeare show him to us,
sitting at supper with the King?

TALBOYS.

Did he sup with the King?

BULLER.

I believe he sat down--but got up again--and left the Chamber.

TALBOYS.

His wife seeks him out. "He has almost supped. Why have you left the
Chamber?" "Has he asked for me?" "Know ye not he has?"

NORTH.

On Macbeth's Soliloquy, which his wife's entrance here interrupts,
how much inconsiderate comment have not moralists made! Here--they
have said--is the struggle of a good man with temptation. Hearken,
say they--to the voice of Conscience! What does the good man, in this
hour of trial, say to himself? He says to himself--"I have made up my
mind to assassinate my benefactor in my own house--the only doubt I
have, is about the consequences to myself in the world to come." Well,
then--"We'd jump the world to come. But if I murder him--may not others
murder me? Retribution even in this world." Call you that the voice of
Conscience?

SEWARD.

Hardly.

NORTH.

He then goes on to descant to himself about the relation in which he
stands to Duncan, and apparently discovers for the first time, that
"he's here in double trust;" and that as his host, his kinsman, and his
subject, he should "against his murderer shut the door, not bear the
knife myself."

SEWARD.

A man of genius.

NORTH.

Besides, Duncan is not only a King, but a good King--

    "So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off."

That is much better morality--keep there, Macbeth--or thereabouts--and
Duncan's life is tolerably safe--at least for one night. But Shakspeare
knew his man--and what manner of man he is we hear in the unbearable
context, that never yet has been quoted by any one who had ears to
distinguish between the true and the false.

    "And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
    Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd
    Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
    Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
    That tears shall drown the wind."

Cant and fustian. Shakspeare knew that cant and fustian would come
at that moment from the mouth of Macbeth. Accordingly, he offers but
a poor resistance to the rhetoric that comes rushing from his wife's
heart--even that sentiment which is thought so fine--and 'tis well
enough in its way--

    "I dare do all that may become a man;
    Who dares do more is none"--

is set aside at once by--

          "What beast was it, then,
    That made you break this enterprise to me?"

We hear no more of "Pity like a naked new-born babe"--but at her horrid
scheme of the murder--

          "Bring forth men-children only!
    For thy undaunted mettle should compose
    Nothing but males!"

Shakspeare does not paint here a grand and desperate struggle between
good and evil thoughts in Macbeth's mind--but a mock fight; had there
been any deep sincerity in the feeling expressed in the bombast--had
there been any true feeling at all--it would have revived and
deepened--not faded and died almost--at the picture drawn by Lady
Macbeth of their victim--

              "When Duncan is asleep,
    Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey
    Soundly invite him,"

the words that had just left his own lips--

                            "His virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking-off,"

would have re-rung in his ears; and a strange medley--words and
music--would they have made--with his wife's

                "When in swinish sleep
    Their drenched natures lie, as in a death,
    What cannot you and I perform upon
    The unguarded Duncan?"

That is my idea of the Soliloquy. Think on it.

TALBOYS.

The best critics tell us that Shakspeare's Lady Macbeth has a
commanding Intellect. Certes she has a commanding Will. I do not see
what a commanding Intellect has to do in a Tragedy of this kind--or
what opportunity she has of showing it. Do you, sir?

NORTH.

I do not.

TALBOYS.

Her Intellect seems pretty much on a par with Macbeth's in the planning
of the murder.

NORTH.

I defy any human Intellect to devise well an atrocious Murder. Pray,
how would you have murdered Duncan?

TALBOYS.

Ask me rather how I would--this night--murder Christopher North.

NORTH.

No more of that--no dallying in that direction. You make me shudder.
Shakspeare knew that a circumspect murder is an impossibility--that
a murder of a King in the murderer's own house, with expectation
of non-discovery, is the irrationality of infatuation. The poor
Idiot chuckles at the poor Fury's device as at once original and
plausible--and, next hour, what single soul in the Castle does not know
who did the deed?

SEWARD.

High Intellect indeed!

TALBOYS.

The original murder is bad to the uttermost. I mean badly contrived.
What colour was there in colouring the two Grooms? No two men kill
their master, and then go to bed again in his room with bloody faces
and poignards.

BULLER.

If this was really a very bad plot altogether, it is her Ladyship's as
much--far more than his Lordship's. Against whom, then, do we conclude?
Her? I think not--but the Poet. _He_ is the badly-contriving assassin.
He does not intend lowering your esteem for her Ladyship's talents.
Am I, sir, to think that William himself, after the same game, would
have hunted no better? I believe he would; but he thinks that this will
carry the Plot through for the Stage well enough. The House, seeing and
hearing, will not stay to criticise. The Horror persuades Belief. He
knew the whole mystery of murder.

NORTH.

My dear Buller, wheel nearer me. I would not lose a word you say.

BULLER.

Did Macbeth commit an error in killing the two Grooms? And does his
Lady think so?

TALBOYS.

A gross error, and his Lady thinks so.

BULLER.

Why was it a gross error--and why did his lady think so?

TALBOYS.

Because--why--I really can't tell.

BULLER.

Nor I. The question leads to formidable difficulties--either way. But
answer me this. Is her swooning at the close of her husband's most
graphic picture of the position of the corpses--real or pretended?

SEWARD.

Real.

TALBOYS.

Pretended.

BULLER.

Sir?

NORTH.

I reserve my opinion.

TALBOYS.

Not a faint--but a _feint_. She cannot undo that which is done; nor
hinder that which he will do next. She must mind her own business.
Now distinctly her own business is--to faint. A high-bred, sensitive,
innocent Lady, startled from her sleep to find her guest and King
murdered, and the room full of aghast nobles, cannot possibly do
anything else but faint. Lady Macbeth, who "all particulars of duty
knows," faints accordingly.

NORTH.

Seward, we are ready to hear you.

SEWARD.

She has been about a business that must have somewhat shook her
nerves--granting them to be of iron. She would herself have murdered
Duncan had he not resembled her Father as he slept; and on sudden
discernment of that dreadful resemblance, her soul must have shuddered,
if her body served her to stagger away from parricide. On the deed
being done, she is terrified after a different manner from the doer of
the deed; but her terror is as great; and though she says--

                "The sleeping and the dead
    Are but as pictures--'tis the eye of childhood
    That fears a painted Devil--"

believe me that her face was like ashes, as she returned to the
chamber to gild the faces of the grooms with the dead man's blood.
That knocking, too, alarmed the Lady--believe me--as much as her
husband; and to keep cool and collected before him, so as to be able
to support him at that moment with her advice, must have tried the
utmost strength of her nature. Call her Fiend--she was Woman. Down
stairs she comes--and stands among them all, at first like one alarmed
only--astounded by what she hears--and striving to simulate the
ignorance of the innocent--"What, in our house?" "Too cruel anywhere!"
What she must have suffered then, Shakspeare lets us conceive for
ourselves; and what on her husband's elaborate description of his
inconsiderate additional murders. "The whole is too much for her"--she
"is perplexed in the extreme"--and the sinner swoons.

NORTH.

Seward suggests a bold, strong, deep, tragical turn of the scene--that
she faints actually. Well--so be it. I shall say, first, that I think
it a weakness in my favourite; but I will go so far as to add that I
can let it pass for a not unpardonable weakness--the occasion given.
But I must deal otherwise with her biographer. Him I shall hold to
a strict rendering of account. I will know of him what he is about,
and what she is about. If she faints really, and against her will,
having forcible reasons for holding her will clear, she must be shown
fighting to the last effort of will, against the assault of womanly
nature, and drop, vanquished, as one dead, without a sound. But the
Thaness calls out lustily--she remembers, "as we shall make our griefs
and clamours roar upon his death." She makes noise enough--takes
good care to attract everybody's attention to her performance--for
which I commend her. Calculate as nicely as you will--she distracts
or diverts speculation, and makes an interesting and agreeable break
in the conversation.--I think that the obvious meaning is the right
meaning--and _that she faints on purpose_.

NORTH.

Decided in favour of Feint.

BULLER.

You might have had the good manners to ask for _my_ opinion.

NORTH.

I beg a thousand pardons, Buller.

BULLER.

A hundred will do, North. In Davies' _Anecdotes of the Stage_, I
remember reading that Garrick would not trust Mrs Pritchard with the
Swoon--and that Macklin thought Mrs Porter alone could have been
endured by the audience. Therefore, by the Great Manager, Lady Macbeth
was not allowed in the Scene to appear at all. His belief was, that
with her Ladyship it was a feint--and that the Gods, aware of that,
unless restrained by profound respect for the actress, would have
_laughed_--as at something rather comic. If the Gods, in Shakspeare's
days, were as the Gods in Garrick's, William, methinks, would not, on
any account, have exposed the Lady to derision at such a time. But I
suspect the Gods of the Globe would not have laughed, whatever they
might have thought of her sincerity, and that she did appear before
them in a Scene from which nothing could account for her absence. She
was not, I verily believe, given to fainting--perhaps this was the
first time she had ever fainted since she was a girl. _Now_ I believe
she did. She would have stood by her husband at all hazards, had she
been able, both on his account and her own; she would not have so
deserted him at such a critical juncture; her character was of boldness
rather than duplicity; her business now--her duty--was to brazen it
out; but she grew sick--qualms of conscience, however terrible, can
be borne by sinners standing upright at the mouth of hell--but the
flesh of man is weak, in its utmost strength, when moulded to woman's
form--other qualms assail suddenly the earthly tenement--the breath is
choked--the "distracted globe" grows dizzy--they that look out of the
windows know not what they see--the body reels, lapses, sinks, and at
full length smites the floor.

SEWARD.

Well said--Chairman of the Quarter-sessions.

BULLER.

Nor, with all submission, my dear Sir, can I think you treat your
favourite murderess, on this trying occasion, with your usual fairness
and candour. All she says, is, "Help me hence, ho!" Macduff says, "Look
to the Lady"--and Banquo says, "Look to the Lady"--and she is "carried
off." Some critic or other--I think Malone--says that Macbeth shows
he knows "'tis a feint" by not going to her assistance. Perhaps he
was mistaken--know it he could not. And nothing more likely to make a
woman faint than that revelling and wallowing of his in that bloody
description.

NORTH.

By the Casting Vote of the President--_Feint_.

TALBOYS.

Let's to Lunch.

NORTH.

Go. You will find me sitting here when you come back.


SCENE II.

SCENE--_The Pavilion._ TIME--_after Lunch_.

NORTH--TALBOYS--BULLER--SEWARD.

NORTH.

Claudius, the Uncle-king in Hamlet, is perhaps the most odious
character in all Shakspeare. But he does no unnecessary murders. He has
killed the Father, and will the Son, all in regular order. But Macbeth
plunges himself, like a drunken man, into unnecessary and injurious
cruelties. He throws like a reckless gamester. If I am to own the
truth, I don't know why he is so cruel. I don't think that he takes any
pleasure in mere cruelty, like Nero--

BULLER.

What do we know of Nero? Was he mad?

NORTH.

I don't think that he takes any pleasure in mere cruelty, like Nero;
but he seems to be under some infatuation that drags or drives him
along. To kill is, in every difficulty, the ready resource that occurs
to him--as if to go on murdering were, by some law of the Universe, the
penalty which you must pay for having once murdered.

SEWARD.

I think, Sir, that without contradicting anything we said before Lunch
about his Lordship or his Kingship, we may conceive in the natural
Macbeth considerable force of Moral Intuition.

NORTH.

We may.

SEWARD.

Of Moral Intelligence?

NORTH.

Yes.

SEWARD.

Of Moral Obedience?

NORTH.

No.

SEWARD.

Moral Intuition, and Moral Intelligence breaking out, from time to
time, all through--we understand how there is engendered in him strong
self-dissatisfaction--thence perpetual goadings on--and desperate
attempts to lose conscience in more and more crime.

NORTH.

Ay--Seward--even so. He tells you that he stakes soul and body upon the
throw for a Crown. He has got the Crown--and _paid for it_. He _must_
keep it--else he has bartered soul and body--for nothing! To make his
first crime _good_--he strides gigantically along the road of which it
opened the gate.

TALBOYS.

An almost morbid impressibility of imagination is energetically
stamped, and universally recognised in the Thane, and I think, sir,
that it warrants, to a certain extent, a _sincerity_ of the mental
movements. He really sees a fantastical dagger--he really hears
fantastical voices--perhaps he really sees a fantastical Ghost.
All this in him is Nature--not artifice--and a nature deeply,
terribly, tempestuously commoved by the near contact of a murder
imminent--doing--done. It is more like a murderer a-making than a
murderer made.

SEWARD.

See, sir, how precisely this characteristic is proposed.

BULLER.

By whom?

SEWARD.

By Shakspeare, in that first Soliloquy. The poetry colouring,
throughout, his discourse, is its natural efflorescence.

NORTH.

Talboys, Seward, you have spoken well.

BULLER.

And I have spoken ill?

NORTH.

I have not said so.

BULLER.

We have all Four of us spoken well--we have all Four of us
spoken ill--and we have all Four of us spoken but so-so--now and
heretofore--in this Tent--hang the wind--there's no hearing twelve
words in ten a body says. Honoured sir, I beg permission to say that I
cannot admit the Canon laid down by your Reverence, an hour or two ago,
or a minute or two ago, that Macbeth's extravagant language is designed
by Shakspeare to designate hypocrisy.

NORTH.

Why?

BULLER.

You commended Talboys and Seward for noticing the imaginative--the
poetical character of Macbeth's mind. There we find the reason of his
extravagant language. It may, as you said, be cant and fustian--or it
may not--but why attribute to hypocrisy--as you did--what may have
flowed from his genius? Poets may rant as loud as he, and yet be honest
men. "In a fine frenzy rolling," their eyes may fasten on fustian.

NORTH.

Good--go on. Deduct.

BULLER.

Besides, sir, the Stage had such a language of its own; and I cannot
help thinking that Shakspeare often, and too frankly, gave in to it.

NORTH.

He did.

BULLER.

I would, however, much rather believe that if Shakspeare meant anything
by it in Macbeth's Oratory or Poetry, he intended thereby rather to
impress on us that last noticed constituent of his nature--a vehement
seizure of imagination. I believe, sir, that in the hortatory scene
Lady Macbeth really vanquishes--as the scene ostensibly shows--his
_ir_resolution. And if Shakspeare means _ir_resolution, I do not know
why the _grounds_ thereof which Shakspeare assigns to Macbeth should
not be accepted as the true grounds. The Dramatist would seem to me to
demand too much of me, if, _under_ the grounds which he expresses, he
requires me to discard these, and to discover and express others.

SEWARD.

I do not know, sir, if that horrible Invocation of _hers_ to the
Spirits of Murder to unsex her, be held by many to imply that she has
no need of their help?

NORTH.

It is held by many to prove that she was not a woman but a fiend. It
proves the reverse. I infer from it that she does need their help--and,
what is more, _that she gets it_. Nothing so dreadful, in the whole
range of Man's Tragic Drama, as that Murder. But I see Seward is
growing pale--we know his infirmity--and for the present shun it.

SEWARD.

Thank you, sir.

NORTH.

I may, however, ask a question about Banquo's Ghost.

SEWARD.

Well--well--do so.

TALBOYS.

You put the question to me, sir? I am inclined to think, sir, that no
real Ghost sits on the Stool--but that Shakspeare meant it as with the
Daggers. On the Stage he appears--that is an abuse.

NORTH.

Not so sure of that, Talboys.

TALBOYS.

Had Macbeth himself continued to believe that the first-seen Ghost was
a real Ghost, he would not, could not have ventured so soon after its
disappearance to say again, "And to our dear friend Banquo." He does
say it--and then again diseased imagination assails him at the rash
words. Lady Macbeth reasons with him again, and he finally is persuaded
that the Ghost, both times, had been but brain-sick creations.

                  "My strange and self-abuse
    Is the initiate fear, that wants hard use:--
    I am but young in deed."

BULLER.

That certainly looks as if he did then know he had been deceived. But
perhaps he only censures himself for being too much agitated by a real
ghost.

TALBOYS.

That won't do.

NORTH.

But go back, my dear Talboys, to the first enacting of the Play. What
could the audience have understood to be happening, without other
direction of their thoughts than the terrified Macbeth's bewildered
words? He never mentions Banquo's name--and recollect that nobody
sitting there then knew that Banquo had been murdered. The dagger is
not in point. Then the spectators heard him say, "Is this a dagger that
I see before me?" And if no dagger was there, they could at once see
that 'twas phantasy.

TALBOYS.

Something in that.

BULLER.

A settler.

NORTH.

I entirely separate the two questions--first, how did the Manager of
the Globe Theatre have the King's Seat at the Feast filled; and second,
what does the highest poetical Canon deliver. I speak now, but to the
first. Now, here the rule is--"the audience _must understand, and at
once_, what that which they see and hear means"--that Rule must govern
the art of the drama in the Manager's practice. You allow that, Talboys?

TALBOYS.

I do.

BULLER.

Rash--Talboys--rash: he's getting you into a net.

NORTH.

That is not my way, Buller. Well, then, suppose Macbeth acted for the
first time to an audience, who are to establish it for a stock-play or
to _damn it_. Would the Manager commit the whole power of a scene which
is perhaps the most--singly--effective of the whole Play--

BULLER.

No--no--not the most effective of the whole Play--

NORTH.

The rival, then, of the Murder Scene--the Sleep-Walking stands aloof
and aloft--to the chance of a true divination by the whole Globe
audience? I think not. The argument is of a vulgar tone, I confess, and
extremely literal, but it is after the measure of my poor faculties.

SEWARD.

In confirmation of what you say, sir, it has been lately asserted that
one of the two appearings at least is not Banquo's--but Duncan's. How
is that to be settled but by a real Ghost--or Ghosts?

NORTH.

And I ask, what has Shakspeare himself undeniably done elsewhere? In
Henry VIII., Queen Katherine sleeps and _dreams_. Her Dream enters,
and performs various acts--somewhat expressive--minutely contrived and
prescribed. It is a mute Dream, which she with shut eyes sees--which
you in pit, boxes, and gallery see--which her attendants, watching
about her upon the stage, do _not_ see.

SEWARD.

And in Richard III--He dreams, and so does Richmond. Eight Ghosts rise
in succession and _speak_ to Richard first, and to the Earl next--each
hears, I suppose, what concerns himself--they seem to be present in the
two Tents at once.

NORTH.

In Cymbeline, Posthumus dreams. His Dream enters--Ghosts and even
JUPITER! They act and speak; and this Dream has a reality--for Jupiter
hands or tosses a parchment-roll to one of the Ghosts, who lays it, as
bidden, on the breast of the Dreamer, where he, on awaking, perceives
it! I call all this physically strong, sir, for the representation of
the metaphysically thought.

BULLER.

If Buller may speak, Buller would observe, that once or twice both
Ariel and Prospero come forward "invisible." And in Spenser, the Dream
of which Morpheus lends the use to Archimago, is--carried.

SEWARD.

We all remember the Dream which Jupiter sends to Agamemnon, and which,
while standing at his bed's-head, puts on the shape of Nestor and
speaks;--the Ghost of Patroclus--the actual Ghost which stands at the
bed's-head of Achilles, and _is_ his Dream.

NORTH.

My friends, Poetry gives a body to the bodiless. The Stage of
Shakspeare was rude, and gross. In my boyhood, I saw the Ghosts appear
to John Kemble in Richard III. Now they may be abolished with Banquo.
So may be Queen Katherine's Angels. But Shakspeare and his Audience
had no difficulty about one person's seeing what another does not--or
one's _not_ seeing, rather, that which another does. Nor had Homer,
when Achilles alone, in the Quarrel Scene, sees Minerva. Shakspeare
and his Audience had no difficulty about the bodily representation of
Thoughts--the inward by the outward. Shakspeare and the Great Old Poets
leave vague, shadowy, mist-shrouded, and indeterminate the boundaries
between the Thought and the Existent--the Real and the Unreal. I am
able to believe with you, Talboys, that Banquo's Ghost was understood
by Shakspeare, the Poet, to be the Phantasm of the murderer's
guilt-and-fear-shaken soul; but was required by Shakspeare, the Manager
of the Globe Theatre, to rise up through a trap-door, mealy-faced and
blood-boultered, and so make "the Table full."

BULLER.

Seward, do bid him speak of Lady Macbeth.

SEWARD.

Oblige me, sir--don't now--after dinner, if you will.

NORTH.

I shall merely allude now, as exceedingly poetical treatment, to the
discretion throughout used in the SHOWING of Lady Macbeth. You might
almost say that she never takes a step on the stage, that does not
_thrill the Theatre_. Not a waste word, gesture, or look. All at the
studied fulness of sublime tragical power--yet all wonderfully tempered
and governed. I doubt if Shakspeare could have given a good account of
everything that he makes Macbeth say--but of all that She says he could.

TALBOYS.

As far as I am able to judge, she but once in the whole Play loses her
perfect self-mastery--when the servant surprises her by announcing the
King's coming. She answers, 'thou'rt mad to say it;' which is a manner
of speaking used by those who cannot, or can hardly believe tidings
that fill them with exceeding joy. It is not the manner of a Lady
to her servant who unexpectedly announces the arrival of a high--of
the highest visitor. She recovers herself instantly. 'Is not thy
master with him, who, wer't so, would have informed for preparation?'
This is a turn colouring her exclamation, and is spoken in the most
self-possessed, argumentative, demonstrative tone. The preceding words
had been torn from her; now she has passed, with inimitable dexterity,
from the dreamed Queen, to the usual mistress of her household--_to the
huswife_.

NORTH.

In the Fourth Act--she is not seen at all. But in the Fifth, lo! and
behold! and at once we know why she had been absent--we see and are
turned to living stone by the revelation of the terrible truth. I
am always inclined to conceive Lady Macbeth's night-walking as the
summit, or topmost peak of all tragic conception and execution--in
Prose, too, the crowning of Poetry! But it must be, because these are
the _ipsissima verba_--yea, the escaping sighs and moans of the bared
soul. There must be nothing, not even the thin and translucent veil
of the verse, betwixt her soul showing itself, and yours beholding.
Words which your "hearing latches" from the threefold abyss of Night,
Sleep, and Conscience! What place for the enchantment of any music
is here? Besides, she speaks in a whisper. The Siddons did--audible
distinctly, throughout the stilled immense theatre. Here music is
not--sound is not--only an anguished soul's faint breathings--gaspings.
And observe that Lady Macbeth carries--a candle--besides washing her
hands--and besides speaking prose--three departures from the severe
and elect method, to bring out that supreme revelation. I have been
told that the great Mrs Pritchard used to touch the palm with the tips
of her fingers, for the washing, keeping candle in hand;--that the
Siddons first set down her candle, that she might come forwards, and
wash her hands in earnest, one over the other, as if she were at her
wash-hand stand, with plenty of water in her basin--that when Sheridan
got intelligence of her design so to do, he ran shrieking to her, and,
with tears in his eyes, besought that she would not, at one stroke,
overthrow Drury Lane--that she persisted, and turned the thousands of
bosoms to marble.

TALBOYS.

Our dear, dear Master.

NORTH.

You will remember, my friends, her _four rhymed lines_--uttered to
herself in Act Third. They are very remarkable--

    "Nought's had, all's spent,
    Where our desire is got without content:
    'Tis safer to be that which we destroy,
    Than, by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy."

They are her only _waking_ acknowledgments of having _mis_taken life!
So--they forebode the Sleep-Walking, and the Death--as an owl, or a
raven, or vulture, or any fowl of obscene wing, might flit between the
sun and a crowned but doomed head--the shadow but of a moment, yet
ominous, for the augur, of an entire fatal catastrophe.

SEWARD.

They do. But to say the truth, I had either forgot them, or never
discovered their significancy. O that William Shakspeare!

TALBOYS.

O that Christopher North!

NORTH.

Speak so, friends--'tis absurd, but I like it.

TALBOYS.

It is sincere.

NORTH.

At last they call him "black Macbeth," and "this dead Butcher." And
with good reason. They also call her "his fiend-like Queen," which last
expression I regard as highly offensive.

BULLER.

And they call her so not without strong reason.

NORTH.

A bold, bad woman--not a Fiend. I ask--Did she, or did she not, "with
violent hand foredo her life?" They mention it as a rumour. The Doctor
desires that all means of self-harm may be kept out of her way. Yet
the impression on us, as the thing proceeds, is, that she dies of pure
remorse--which I believe. She is _visibly dying_. The cry of women,
announcing her death, is rather as of those who stood around the bed
watching, and when the heart at the touch of the invisible finger
stops, shriek--than of one after the other coming in and finding
the self-slain--a confused, informal, perplexing, and perplexed
proceeding--but the Cry of Women is formal, regular for the stated
occasion. You may say, indeed, that she poisoned herself--and so died
in bed--watched. Under the precautions, that is unlikely--too refined.
The manner of Seyton, "The Queen, my Lord, is dead," shows to me that
it was hourly expected. How these few words would _seek_ into you, did
you first read the Play in mature age! She died a natural death--of
remorse. Take my word for it--the rumour to the contrary was natural to
the lip and ear of Hate.

TALBOYS.

A question of primary import is--What is the relation of feeling
between him and her? The natural impression, I think, is, that the
confiding affection--the intimate confidence--is "there"--of a husband
and wife who love one another--to whom all interests are in common,
and are consulted in common. Without this belief, the Magic of the
Tragedy perishes--vanishes to me. "My dearest love, Duncan comes
here to-night." "Be innocent of the knowledge, _dearest Chuck_"--a
marvellous phrase for Melpomene. It is the full union--for ill
purposes--that we know habitually for good purposes--that to me tempers
the Murder Tragedy.

NORTH.

Yet believe me, my dear Talboys--that of all the murders Macbeth may
have committed, she knew beforehand but of ONE--Duncan's. The haunted
somnambulist speaks the truth--the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth.

TALBOYS.

"The Thane of Fife had a Wife." Does not that imply that she was privy
to _that_ Murder?

NORTH.

No. Except that she takes upon herself _all_ the murders that are the
offspring, legitimate or illegitimate, of that First Murder. But we
_know_ that Macbeth, in a sudden fit of fury, ordered the Macduffs to
be massacred when on leaving the Cave Lenox told him of the Thane's
flight.

TALBOYS.

That is decisive.

NORTH.

A woman, she feels for a murdered woman. That is all--a touch of
nature--from Shakspeare's profound and pitiful heart.

TALBOYS.

"The Queen, my lord, is dead." "She should have died hereafter; There
would have been a time for such a word"--Often have I meditated on the
meaning of these words--yet even now I do not fully feel or understand
them.

NORTH.

Nor I. This seems to look from them--"so pressed by outward besiegings,
I have not capacity to entertain the blow as it requires to be
entertained. With a free soul I could have measured it. Now I cannot."

TALBOYS.

Give us, sir, a commentary on the Revelations of the Sleeping Spectre.

NORTH.

I dare not. Let's be cheerful. I ask this--when you see and hear
Kemble-Macbeth--and Siddons-Macbeth--whom do you believe that you see
and hear? I affirm that you at one and the same instant--(or at the
most in two immediately successive instants--yet I believe in one and
the same instant)--_know_ that you see and hear Kemble--or if that
accomplished gentleman and admirable actor--Macready be performing the
part--then Macready;--and yet _believe_ that you see and hear Lord
Macbeth. I aver that you entertain a mixt--confused--self-contradictory
state of mind--that two elements of thought which cannot co-subsist do
co-subsist.

TALBOYS.

_De jure_ they cannot--DE FACTO they do.

NORTH.

Just so.

TALBOYS.

They co-subsist fighting, and yet harmonising--there is
half-belief--semi-illusion.

NORTH.

I claim the acknowledgment of such a state--which any one who chooses
may better describe, but which shall come to that effect--for the
lowest substratum of all science and criticism concerning POESY. Will
anybody grant me this, then I will reason with him about Poesy, for we
begin with something in common. Will anybody deny me this, then I will
not argue with him about Poesy, for we set out with nothing in common.

BULLER.

We grant you all you ask--we are all agreed--"our unanimity is
wonderful."

NORTH.

Leave out the great Brother and Sister, and take the Personated alone.
I _know_ that Othello and Desdemona never existed--that an Italian
Novelist began, and an English Dramatist ended them--and there they
are. But do I not _believe_ in their existence, "their loves and woes?"
Yes I do _believe_ in their existence, in their loves and woes--and I
hate Iago accordingly with a vicious, unchristian, personal, active,
malignant hatred.

TALBOYS.

Dr Johnson's celebrated expression, "all the belief that Poetry
claims"----

BULLER.

Celebrated! Where is it?

TALBOYS.

Preface to Shakspeare--is idle, and frivolous, and false?

NORTH.

It is. He belies his own experience. He cannot make up his mind to
admit the _irrational thought_ of belief which you at once reject
and accept. But exactly the half acceptance, and the half rejection,
separates poetry from--prose.

TALBOYS.

That is, sir, the poetical from the prosaic.

NORTH.

Just so. It is the life and soul of all poetry--the lusus--the
make-believe--the glamour and the gramarye. I do not know--gentlemen--I
wish to be told, whether I am now throwing away words upon the setting
up of a pyramid which was built by Cheops, and is only here and there
crumbling a little, or whether the world requires that the position
shall be formally argued and acknowledged. Johnson, as you reminded me,
Talboys, did not admit it.

TALBOYS.

That he tells us in so many words. Has any more versed and
profound master in criticism, before or since, authentically and
authoritatively, luminously, cogently, explicitly, psychologically,
metaphysically, physiologically, psychologically, propounded, reasoned
out, legislated, and enthroned the Dogma?

NORTH.

I know not, Talboys. Do you admit the Dogma?

TALBOYS.

I do.

NORTH.

Impersonation--Apostrophe--of the absent; every poetical motion of
the Soul; the whole pathetic beholding of Nature--involve the secret
existence and necessity of this irrational psychical state for
grounding the Logic of Poesy.

BULLER.

Go on, sir.

NORTH.

I will--but in a new direction. Before everything else, I desire, for
the settlement of this particular question, a foundation for, and some
progress in the science of MURDER TRAGEDIES.

SEWARD.

I know _properly_ two.

BULLER.

Two only? Pray name.

SEWARD.

This of Macbeth and Richard III.

BULLER.

The Agamemnon--the Choephoræ--the Electra--the Medea--

SEWARD.

In the Agamemnon, your regard is drawn to Agamemnon himself and to
Cassandra. However, it is after a measure a prototype. Clytemnestra
has in it a principality. Medea stands eminent--but then she is in the
right.

BULLER.

In the right?

SEWARD.

Jason at least is altogether in the wrong. But we must--for obvious
reasons--discuss the Greek drama by itself; therefore not a word more
about it now.

NORTH.

Richard III., and Macbeth and his wife, are in their Plays the
principal people. You must go along with them to a certain guarded
extent--else the Play is done for. To be kept abhorring and abhorring,
for Five Acts together, you can't stand.

SEWARD.

Oh! that the difference between Poetry and Life were once for all
set down--and not only once for all, but every time that it comes in
question.

BULLER.

My dear sir, do gratify Seward's very reasonable desire, and once for
all set down the difference.

SEWARD.

You bear suicides on the stage, and tyrannicides and other cides--all
simple homicide--much murder. Even Romeo's killing Tybalt in the
street, in reparation for Mercutio's death, you would take rather
differently, if happening to-day in Pall Mall, or Moray Place.

NORTH.

We have assuredly for the Stage a qualified scheme of
sentiment--grounded no doubt on our modern or every-day morality--but
specifically modified by Imagination--by Poetry--for the use of the
dramatist. Till we have set down what we _do_ bear, and why, we are not
prepared for distinguishing what we won't bear, and why.

BULLER.

Oracular!

SEWARD.

Suggestive.

NORTH.

And if so, sufficient for the nonce. Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, seems
to me to be the most that can be borne of one purely abhorrible. He
is made disgusting besides--drunken and foul. Able he is--for he won
the Queen by "witchcraft of his wit;" but he is made endurable by his
diminished proportion in the Play--many others overpowering and hiding
him.

BULLER.

Pardon me, sir, but I have occasionally felt, in course of this
conversation, that you were seeking--in opposition to Payne Knight--to
reduce Macbeth to a species of Claudius. I agree with you in thinking
that Shakspeare would not give a Claudius so large a proportion of his
drama. The pain would be predominant and insupportable.

NORTH.

I would fain hope you have misunderstood me, Buller.

BULLER.

Sometimes, sir, it is not easy for a plain man to know what you would
be at.

NORTH.

I?

BULLER.

Yea--you.

NORTH.

Richard III. _is_ a hypocrite--a hard, cold murderer from of old--and
yet you bear him. I suppose, friends, chiefly from his pre-eminent
Intellectual Faculties, and his perfectly courageous and self-possessed
Will. You do support your conscience--or traffic with it--by saying
all along--we are only conducting him to the retribution of Bosworth
Field. But, friends, if these motions in Macbeth, which look like
revealings and breathings of some better elements, are sheer and vile
hypocrisy--if it is merely his manhood that quails, which his wife
has to virilify--a dastard and a hypocrite, and no more--I cannot
abide him--there is too much of a bad business, and then I must think
Shakspeare has committed an egregious error in Poetry. Richard III. is
a bold, heroic hypocrite. He knows he is one. He lies to Man--never to
his own Conscience, or to Heaven.

TALBOYS.

What?

NORTH.

Never. There he is clear-sighted, and stands, like Satan, in open and
impious rebellion.

BULLER.

But your Macbeth, sir, would be a shuffling Puritan--a mixture of Holy
Willie and Greenacre. Forgive me----

SEWARD.

Order--order--order.

TALBOYS.

Chair--chair--chair.

BULLER.

Swing--Swing--Swing.

NORTH.

My dear Buller--you have misunderstood me--I assure you you have. Some
of my expressions may have been too strong--not sufficiently qualified.

BULLER.

I accept the explanation. But be more guarded in future, my dear sir.

NORTH.

I will.

BULLER.

On that assurance I ask you, sir, how is the Tragedy of Macbeth morally
saved? That is, how does the degree of complacency with which we
consider the two murderers not morally taint ourselves--not leave us
predisposed murderers?

NORTH.

That is a question of infinite compass and fathom--answered then only
when the whole Theory of Poesy has been expounded.

BULLER.

Whew!

NORTH.

The difference established between our contemplation of the Stage and
of Life.

BULLER.

I hardly expect that to be done this Summer in this Tent.

NORTH.

Friends! Utilitarians and Religionists shudder and shun. They consider
the Stage and Life as of one and the same kind--look on both through
one glass.

BULLER.

Eh?

NORTH.

The Utilitarian will settle the whole question of Life upon half its
data--the lowest half. He accepts Agriculture, which he understands
logically--but rejects Imagination, which he does not understand at
all--because, if you sow it in the track of his plough, no wheat
springs. Assuredly not; a different plough must furrow a different soil
for that seed and that harvest.

BULLER.

Now, my dear sir, you speak like yourself. You always do so--the
rashness was all on my side.

SEWARD.

Nobody cares--hold your tongue.

NORTH.

The Religionist errs from the opposite quarter. He brings measures
from Heaven to measure things of the Earth. He weighs Clay in the
balance of Spirit. I call him a Religionist who overruns with religious
rules and conceptions things that do not come under them--completely
distinct from the native simplicity and sovereignty of Religion in a
piously religious heart. Both of them are confounders of the sciences
which investigate the Facts and the Laws of Nature, visible and
invisible--subduing inquiry under preconception.

BULLER.

Was that the Gong--or but thunder?

NORTH.

The Gong.

TALBOYS.

I smell sea-trout.


SCENE III.

SCENE--_Deeside_. TIME--_after Dinner_.

NORTH--BULLER--SEWARD--TALBOYS.

NORTH.

One hour more--and no more--to Shakspeare.

BULLER.

May we crack nuts?

NORTH.

By all means. And here they are for you to crack.

BULLER.

Now for some of your _astounding Discoveries_.

NORTH.

If you gather the Movement, scene by scene, of the Action of this
Drama, you see a few weeks, or it may be months. There must be time
to hear that Malcolm and his brother have reached England and
Ireland--time for the King of England to interest himself in behalf of
Malcolm, and muster his array. More than this seems unrequired. But
the zenith of tyranny to which Macbeth has arrived, and particularly
the manner of describing the desolation of Scotland by the speakers
in England, conveys to you the notion of a long, long dismal reign.
Of old it always used to do so with me; so that when I came to visit
the question of the Time, I felt myself as if baffled and puzzled, not
finding the time I had looked for, demonstrable. Samuel Johnson has had
the same impression, but has not scrutinised the data. He goes probably
by the old Chronicler for the actual time, and this, one would think,
must have floated before Shakspeare's own mind.

TALBOYS.

Nobody can read the Scenes in England without seeing long-protracted
time.

      "_Malcolm._ Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there
    Weep our sad bosoms empty.

      _Macduff._              Let us rather
    Hold fast the mortal sword, and, like good men,
    Bestride our down-fallen birthdom: Each new morn,
    New widows howl; new orphans cry; new sorrows
    Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
    As if it felt with Scotland, and yell'd out
    Like syllable of dolour."

NORTH.

Ay, Talboys, that is true Shakspeare. No Poet--before or since--has in
so few words presented such a picture. No poet, before or since, has
used _such_ words. He writes like a man inspired.

TALBOYS.

And in the same dialogue Malcolm says--

    "I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
    It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash
    Is added to her wounds."

NORTH.

Go on, my dear Talboys. Your memory is a treasury of all the highest
Poetry of Shakspeare. Go on.

TALBOYS.

And hear Rosse, on his joining Malcolm and Macduff in this scene, the
latest arrival from Scotland:--

      "_Macduff._ Stands Scotland where it did?

      _Rosse._                  Alas, poor country!
    Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot
    Be call'd our mother, but our grave: where nothing,
    But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
    Where sighs and groans, and shrieks that rent the air,
    Are made, not mark'd; where violent sorrow seems
    A modern ecstasy; the dead man's knell
    Is there scarce ask'd, for who; and good men's lives
    Expire before the flowers in their caps,
    Dying, or ere they sicken."

NORTH.

Words known to all the world, yet coming on the ear of each individual
listener with force unweaken'd by familiarity, power increased by
repetition, as it will be over all Scottish breasts _in secula
seculorum_.

TALBOYS.

By Heavens! he smiles! There is a sarcastic smile on that
incomprehensible face of yours, sir--of which no man in this Tent, I am
sure, may divine the reason.

NORTH.

I was not aware of it. Now, my dear Talboys, let us here endeavour
to ascertain Shakspeare's Time. Here we have long time with a
vengeance--_and here we have short time_; FOR THIS IS THE PICTURE OF
THE STATE OF POOR SCOTLAND BEFORE THE MURDER OF MACDUFF'S WIFE AND
CHILDREN.

BULLER.

What?

SEWARD.

Eh?

NORTH.

Macduff, moved by Rosse's words, asks him, you know, Talboys, "how does
my wife?" And then ensues the affecting account of her murder, which
you need not recite. Now, I ask, when was the murder of Lady Macduff
perpetrated? Two days--certainly not more--after the murder of Banquo.
Macbeth, incensed by the flight of Fleance, goes, the morning after
the murder of Banquo, to the Weirds, to know by "the worst means, the
worst." You know what they showed him--and that, as they vanished, he
exclaimed--

    "Where are they? Gone?--Let this pernicious hour
    Stand aye accursed in the calendar!--
    Come in, without there!

    _Enter_ LENOX.

    _Len._      What's your grace's will?

    _Macb._ Saw you the weird sisters?

    _Len._                No, my lord.

    _Macb._ Came they not by you?

    _Len._      No, indeed, my lord.

    _Macb._ Infected be the air whereon they ride;
    And damn'd all those that trust them!--I did hear
    The galloping of horse: Who was't came by?

    _Len._ 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word,
    MACDUFF IS FLED TO ENGLAND.

    _Macb._          Fled to England?

    _Len._ Ay, my good lord.

    _Macb._ Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits:
    The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,
    Unless the deed go with it: from this moment,
    The very firstlings of my heart shall be
    The firstlings of my hand. And even now
    To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
    The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
    Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
    His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
    That trace his line. No boasting like a fool:
    This deed I'll do, before this purpose cool."

And his purpose does not cool--for the whole Family are murdered. When,
then, took place the murder of Banquo? Why, a week or two after the
Murder of Duncan. A very short time indeed, then, intervened between
the first and the last of these Murders. And yet from those pictures
of Scotland, painted in England for our information and horror, we
have before us a long, long time, all filled up with butchery over
all the land! But I say there had been no such butchery--or anything
resembling it. There was, as yet, little amiss with Scotland. Look at
the _linking_ of Acts II. and III. End of Act II., Macbeth is gone
to Scone--to be invested. Beginning of Act III., Banquo says, in
soliloquy, in Palace of Fores, "Thou hast it _now_." I ask, when is
_this_ NOW? Assuredly just after the Coronation. The Court was moved
from Scone to Fores, which, we may gather from finding Duncan there
formerly, to be the usual Royal Residence. "Enter Macbeth as King."
"Our great Feast"--our "solemn Supper"--"this day's Council"--all have
the aspect of new taking on the style of Royalty. "Thou hast it NOW,"
is formal--weighed--and in a position that gives it authority--at the
very beginning of an Act--therefore intended to mark time--a very
pointing of the finger on the dial.

BULLER.

Good image--short and apt.

TALBOYS.

Let me perpend.

BULLER.

Do, sir, let him perpend.

NORTH.

Banquo _fears_ "Thou play'dst most foully for it;" he goes no
farther--not a word of any tyranny done. All the style of an incipient,
_dangerous_ Rule--clouds, but no red rain yet. And I need not point
out to you, Talboys, who carry Shakspeare unnecessarily in a secret
pocket of that strange Sporting Jacket, which the more I look at it
the greater is my wonder--that Macbeth's behaviour at the Banquet, on
seeing Banquo nodding at him from his own stool, proves him to have
been _then_ young in blood.

             "My strange and self-abuse
    Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
    We are yet but young in deed."

He had a week or two before committed a first-rate murder,
Duncan's--that night he had, by hired hands, got a second-rate job
done, Banquo's--and the day following he gave orders for a bloody
business on a more extended scale, the Macduffs. But nothing here
the least like Rosse's, or Macduff's, or Malcolm's Picture of
Scotland--during those few weeks. For Shakspeare forgot what the true
time was--his own time--_the short time_; and introduced _long time
at the same time_--why, he himself no doubt knew--and you no doubt,
Talboys, know also--and will you have the goodness to tell the "why" to
the Tent?

TALBOYS.

In ten minutes. Are you done?

NORTH.

Not quite. Meanwhile--Two Clocks are going at once--which of the two
gives the true time of Day?

BULLER.

Short and apt. Go on, Sir.

NORTH.

I call that an ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY. Macduff speaks as if he knew that
Scotland had been for ever so long desolated by the Tyrant--and yet
till Rosse told him, never had he heard of the Murder of his own Wife!
Here Shakspeare either forgot himself wholly, and the short time he had
himself assigned--or, with his eyes open, forced in the _long time_
upon the _short_--in wilful violation of possibility! All silent?

TALBOYS.

After supper--you shall be answered.

NORTH.

Not by any man now sitting here--or elsewhere.

TALBOYS.

That remains to be heard.

NORTH.

Pray, Talboys, explain to me _this_. The Banquet scene breaks up in
most admired disorder--"stand not upon the order of your going--but go
at once,"--quoth the Queen. The King, in a state of great excitement,
says to her--

              "I will to-morrow,
    (Betimes I will,) unto the weird sisters:
    More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
    By the worst means, the worst: for mine own good,
    All causes shall give way; I am in blood
    Stept in so far, that, should I wade no more,
    Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

One might have thought not quite so tedious; as yet he had murdered
only Duncan and his grooms, and to-night Banquo. Well, he does go
"to-morrow and by times" to the Cave.

    "_Witch._--By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes:
    Open, locks, whoever knocks.

    _Macbeth._--How now, you secret, Black, and midnight Hags?"

It is a "dark Cave"--dark at all times--and now "by times" of the
morning! Now--observe--Lenox goes along with Macbeth--on such occasions
'tis natural to wish "one of ourselves" to be at hand. And Lenox had
been at the Banquet. Had he gone to bed after that strange Supper? No
doubt, for an hour or two--like the rest of "the Family." But whether
he went to bed or not, _then and there_ he and another Lord had a
confidential and miraculous conversation.

TALBOYS.

Miraculous! What's miraculous about it?

NORTH.

Lenox says to the other Lord--

    "_My former speeches_ have but hit your thoughts,
    Which can interpret further; only, I say,
    Things have been strangely borne: the gracious Duncan
    Was pitied of Macbeth--marry he was dead.
    _And the right valiant Banquo walked too late;
    Whom, you may say, if it please you, Fleance killed,
    For Fleance fled._"

Who told him all this about Banquo and Fleance? He speaks of it
quite familiarly to the "other lord," as a thing well known in all
its bearings. But not a soul but Macbeth, and the Three Murderers
themselves, could possibly have known anything about it! As for Banquo,
"Safe in a ditch he bides,"--and Fleance had fled. The body may,
perhaps in a few days, be found, and, though "with twenty trenched
gashes on its head," identified as Banquo's, and, in a few weeks,
Fleance may turn up in Wales. Nay, the Three Murderers may confess.
But now all is hush; and Lenox, unless endowed with second sight, or
clairvoyance, could know nothing of the murder. Yet, from his way
of speaking of it, one might imagine crowner's 'quest had sitten
on the body--and the report been in the _Times_ between supper and
that after-supper confab! I am overthrown--everted--subverted--the
contradiction is flagrant--the impossibility monstrous--I swoon.

BULLER.

Water--water.

NORTH.

Thank you, Buller. That's revivifying--I see now all objects
distinctly. Where was I? O, ay. The "other Lord" seems as warlock-wise
as Lenox--for he looks forward to times when

                  "We may again
    Give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights;
    _Free from our feasts and banquets bloody knives_."

An allusion, beyond doubt, to the murder of Banquo! A sudden thought
strikes me. Why, not only must the real, actual, spiritual, corporeal
Ghost of Banquo _sate on the stool_, but "Lenox and the other Lord," as
well as Macbeth, _saw him_.

BULLER.

Are you serious, sir?

NORTH.

So serious that I can scarcely hope to recover my usual spirits to-day.
Have you, gentlemen, among you any more plausible solution to offer?
All mum. One word more with you. Lenox tells the "other Lord"

          "From broad words, and 'cause he fail'd
    His presence at the tyrant's feast, I hear,
    MACDUFF LIVES IN DISGRACE; SIR, CAN YOU TELL
    WHERE HE BESTOWS HIMSELF?"

And the "other Lord," who is wonderfully well informed for a person
"strictly anonymous," replies that Macduff--

    "Is gone to pray the holy king, (Edward) on his aid
    To wake Northumberland, and warlike Siward."

Nay, he minutely describes Macduff's surly reception of the King's
messenger, sent to invite him to the Banquet, and the happy style of
that official on getting the Thane of Fife's "absolute, Sir, not I,"
and D. I. O.! And the same nameless "Lord in waiting" says to Lenox,
that

                    "_this report
    Hath so exasperate the king, that he
    Prepares for some attempt of war_."

I should like to know first where and when these two gifted individuals
picked up all this information? The king himself had told the Queen,
that same night, that he had _not sent_ to Macduff--but that he had
heard "by the way" that he was not coming to the Banquet--and he only
_learns_ the flight of Macduff after the Cauldron Scene--that is at end
of it:--

    "_Macbeth._ Come in, without there!

                          _Enter Lenox._

    _Lenox._ What's your Grace's will?

    _Macbeth._ Saw you the Weird Sisters?

    _Lenox._            No, indeed, my Lord.

    _Macbeth._ Infected be the air whereon they ride;
              And damn'd all those that trust them!--I did hear
              The galloping of horse: Who was't came by?

    _Lenox._ _'Tis two or three, my Lord, that bring you word_,
              MACDUFF IS FLED TO ENGLAND.

    _Macbeth._ FLED TO ENGLAND?"

For an Usurper and Tyrant, his Majesty is singularly ill-informed about
the movements of his most dangerous Thanes! But Lenox, I think, must
have been not a little surprised at that moment to find that, so far
from the _exasperated_ Tyrant having "_prepared for some attempt of
war_" with England--he had not till then positively known that Macduff
had fled! I pause, as a man pauses who has no more to say--not for a
reply. But to be sure, Talboys will reply to anything--and were I to
say that the Moon is made of green cheese, he would say--yellow--

TALBOYS.

If of weeping Parmesan, then I--of the "cheese without a tear"--Double
Gloster.

NORTH.

The whole Dialogue between Lenox and the Lord is _miraculous_. It
abounds with knowledge of events that had not happened--and _could
not_ have happened--on the showing of Shakspeare himself; but I do
not believe that there is another man now alive who knows that Lenox
and the "other Lord" are caught up and strangled in that _noose of
Time_. Did the Poet? You would think, from the way they go on, that
one ground of war, one motive of Macduff's going, is the murder of
Banquo--perpetrated since he is gone off!

TALBOYS.

Eh?

NORTH.

Gentlemen, I have given you a specimen or two of Shakspeare's way of
dealing with Time--and I can elicit no reply. You are one and all
dumbfoundered. What will you be--where will you be--when I--

BULLER.

Have announced "all my astounding discoveries!" and where, also, will
be poor Shakspeare--where his Critics?

NORTH.

Friends, Countrymen, and Romans, lend me your ears! A dazzling spell
is upon us that veils from our apprehension all incompatibilities--all
impossibilities--for he dips the Swan-quill in Power--and Power is
that which you must accept from him, and so to the utter oblivion,
while we read or behold, of them all. To go to work with such inquiries
is to try to articulate thunder. What do I intend? That Shakspeare
is only to be _thus_ criticised? Apollo forbid--forbid the Nine! I
intend Prologomena to the Criticism of Shakspeare. I intend mowing
and burning the brambles before ploughing the soil. I intend showing
where we must not look for the Art and the Genius of Shakspeare, as a
step to discovering where we must. I suspect--I know--that Criticism
has oscillated from one extreme to another, in the mind of the
country--from denying all art, to acknowledging consummated art, and no
flaw. I would find the true Point. Stamped and staring upon the front
of these Tragedies is a conflict. He, the Poet, beholds Life--he, the
Poet, is on the Stage. The littleness of the Globe Theatre mixes with
the greatness of human affairs. You think of the Green-room and the
Scene-shifters. I think that when we have stripped away the disguises
and incumbrances of the Power, we shall see, naked, and strong, and
beautiful, the statue moulded by Jupiter.


_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._



     Transcriber's Notes:


     Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
     preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

     Simple typographical and spelling errors were corrected.

     Italics markup is denoted by _underscores_.

     Bold markup is denoted by =equals=.

     Rendered the cypher on p. 559 as Gs over numerals.

     Added anchor for unanchored footnote on p. 567.





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