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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 66, No. 407, September, 1849
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 66, No. 407, September, 1849" ***

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



  BLACKWOOD'S
  EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.


  NO. CCCCVII.      SEPTEMBER, 1849.      VOL. LXVI.



  CONTENTS.


  THE SCOTTISH MARRIAGE AND REGISTRATION BILLS,          263

  THE CAXTONS.--PART XVI.                                277

  AUTOBIOGRAPHY--CHATEAUBRIAND'S MEMOIRS,                292

  THE GREEN HAND.--A "SHORT" YARN.--PART IV.             305

  MORAL AND SOCIAL CONDITION OF WALES,                   326

  THE STRAYED REVELLER,                                  340

  NEW LIGHT ON THE STORY OF LADY GRANGE,                 347

  THE ROYAL PROGRESS,                                    359

  DIES BOREALES. NO. IV. CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS,      363


  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. CCCCVII.       SEPTEMBER, 1849.       VOL. LXVI.



THE SCOTTISH MARRIAGE AND REGISTRATION BILLS.


About two years ago, we found it necessary to draw the attention of
our readers to certain alterations which our Whig rulers, or at least
a section of them, proposed to make in the existing law of marriage,
as applicable to Scotland. We stated our views moderately, not
denying that in some points it might be possible to effect a salutary
change; but utterly deprecating the enforcement of a bill which was
so constructed as to uproot and destroy the ancient consuetudinal law
of the kingdom, to strike a heavy and malignant blow at morality and
religion, and which, moreover, was regarded by the people of Scotland
with feelings of unequivocal disgust. So widely spread was that feeling
amongst our countrymen, of every shade of political opinion and form
of religious faith, that we believed this ill-advised attempt, once
arrested in its progress, would be finally withdrawn. Popularity, it
was quite clear, could never be gained from persisting in a measure so
unpalatable to the whole community; nor had England, save in the matter
of Gretna-green marriages, any visible interest in the question. It is
just possible--for self-conceit will sometimes betray men into strange
extravagancies--that a few individual legislators had more confidence
in the soundness of their own opinions than in that of the opinions of
the nation; but, even if we should give them credit for such honest
convictions, it still remains a doubtful point how far individual
opinions should be allowed to override the national will. There may
be parliamentary as well as regal despotism; and we are much mistaken
if the people of Scotland are inclined to submit to the former yoke,
even at the hands of those who claim honour for their party on the
strength of traditionary denunciations of the latter. We think it is
pretty clear that no private member of parliament would have attempted
to carry through a bill, the provisions of which had been encountered
by such general opposition in Scotland. No ministry would have lent
its support to such a case of insolent coercion; and we confess we
cannot see why the crotchets, or even the convictions, of an official
are to be regarded with greater favour. In a matter purely Scottish,
it would, indeed, be gross despotism if any British cabinet should
employ its power and its interest to overwhelm the voice of Scotland,
as fairly enunciated by her representatives. That has not been done,
at least to the last unpardonable degree; yet, whilst grateful to Lord
John Russell for having, at the last moment, stopped the progress of
these bills, we may very fairly complain that earlier and more decided
steps were not taken by the premier for suppressing the zeal of his
subordinates. Surely he cannot have been kept in ignorance of the
discontent which has been excited by the introduction of these bills,
three several times, with the ministerial sanction, in both houses of
parliament? Had a bill as obnoxious to the feelings of the people of
England, as these avowedly are to the Scots, been once abandoned, it
never would have appeared again. No minister would have been so blind
to his duty, or at all events to his interest, as to have adopted the
repudiated bantling; since, by doing so, he would have inevitably
caused an opposition which could only terminate in his defeat, and
which, probably, might prove fatal to the existence of his cabinet. And
yet, in the case of these bills, we have seen three separate attempts
deliberately made and renewed--first in the House of Commons, and
afterwards in the House of Peers--to thrust upon Scotland measures
of which she has emphatically pronounced her dislike. No wonder if,
under such circumstances, when remonstrance is disregarded, and the
expression of popular opinion either misrepresented or suppressed, men
begin to question the prudence of an arrangement which confides the
chief conduct of Scottish affairs to a lawyer and judge-expectant,
whose functions are so multifarious as to interfere with their regular
discharge. No wonder if the desire of the Scottish nation to have a
separate and independent secretary of state, altogether unconnected
with the legal profession, is finding an audible voice at the
council-boards of the larger cities and towns. Of late years it has
been made a subject of general and just complaint, that the public
business of Scotland is postponed to everything else, huddled over with
indecent haste at untimeous hours, and often entirely frustrated for
the want of a parliamentary quorum. This arises from no indisposition,
on the part of the House of Commons, to do justice to the internal
affairs of the northern kingdom, but it is the natural result of
the system, which virtually leaves Scotland without an official
representative in the cabinet. Every one knows that Sir George Grey
is not only an able, but a most conscientious home-secretary; but, in
point of fact, he is home-secretary for England alone. It is impossible
to expect that, in addition to the enormous labour attendant upon the
English home administration, any man can adequately master the details
of Scottish business. The fundamental difference which exists in the
laws of the two countries would of itself prove an insurmountable
barrier to this; and consequently, like his predecessors, Sir
George Grey has no personal knowledge either of our wishes or our
requirements. He cannot, therefore, take that prominence in a Scottish
debate which his position would seem to require; and the duty which
ought to be performed by a member of the cabinet is usually intrusted
to a subordinate. In this way Scottish public business receives less
than its due share of attention, for the generality of members,
observing that cabinet ministers take little share in such discussions,
naturally enough attribute their silence to a certain degree of
indifference, and are careless about their own attendance. All this,
which involves not only scandal, but positive inconvenience, would
be cured, if a return were made to the older system, and a secretary
of state for Scotland numbered in the roll of the cabinet. The want
of such an arrangement is positively detrimental to the interests of
ministry; for, during the last session, they have assuredly gained
but few laurels from their northern legislation. Four or five bills,
purporting to be of great public importance, have been withdrawn, and
one only, which establishes a new office connected with the Court of
Session, has been graced by the royal assent. Among the lapsed bills
are those which form the subject of the present paper; but they have
not yet lost their vitality. On the contrary, we are led to infer that,
in the course of next session, they will again be introduced, in some
form or other, before parliament.

This mode of treatment is so unprecedented, that we cannot pass it
over in silence. It may not be unconstitutional, according to the
letter of the law; but if it be true, as we maintain it to be, that
the people of Scotland have already protested against these measures,
it does seem rather tyrannical that for the fourth time they should
be compelled to organise a resistance, and to make themselves heard
through petitions, lest the very absence of these should be held as
an intimation of passive acquiescence. This kind of reasoning has
actually been resorted to; and a very pregnant instance of it is to
be found in the reported speech of the Lord Advocate upon the third
reading of the Marriage Bill. "With respect to the dissenters in
Scotland, there was not a single petition from them against the bill;
_therefore they were to be taken as being in favour of it!_" This is a
notable _sequitur_. In the first place, it is quite a new doctrine to
maintain that because men do not organise meetings, or go out of their
way to petition parliament against any measure, they must therefore
be held as assenting. In the second place, it is rather a startling
thing to find that men are expected to petition in a religious rather
than in a social character. If this view be correct, no individual
Anabaptist has any right to express his political opinions unless he
petitions along with his congregation. No member of the Episcopal
Church ought to have a voice in a secular matter unless he goes along
with his diocesan. We are almost tempted to ask the question, whether
congregations in Scotland are to be regarded as mere political clubs,
or as associations for praise and worship? The town-councils of most
of the large towns of Scotland have petitioned against the bills--are
there no dissenters at any of those boards? One hundred and thirty
parishes have separately recorded their detestation of the bills,
not one parish has made the smallest demonstration in their favour,
yet, according to the logic of the Lord Advocate, those that are
silent must be held as acquiescing! It is remarkable, however, that
if these bills really tend to confer such inestimable boons upon the
people of Scotland, that stubborn race have been singularly reluctant
to acknowledge the extent of the benefit. Nay more, it is certainly
a most striking fact, that notwithstanding the religious divisions,
which are more numerous here than elsewhere, it has been impossible to
procure one isolated testimony, by an ecclesiastical body, in direct
support of these singularly unfortunate bills. Lord Campbell, in his
evidence given before the Committee of the House of Commons--of which
more anon--indicates an opinion that the clergy of the Established
Church of Scotland have been actuated in their unanimous and decided
Opposition to the Marriage Bill by the desire to preserve a monopoly
of celebrating formal marriages. If so, how is it that none of the
dissenting clergy, in whose favour this monopoly was to be broken
up, came forward in support of the measure? But the truth is, as we
shall presently show, that no such monopoly exists at all, save in
the imagination of the noble lord. By the law of Scotland, there is
no distinction in favour of any sect, and clergymen, of whatever
denomination they may be, have the right, and are in the daily
practice, of celebrating formal marriages.

"I admit," says the Lord Advocate, "that the clergymen of Scotland are
generally against this measure; but surely the house will think that,
by this time, the third year of the discussion of this bill, these
reverend gentlemen ought to have come forward with some substantial
grounds for their opposition." We must fairly confess our inability
to fathom the meaning of this remark. Two hundred and twenty-five
petitions against this bill have emanated from the Established
Church--at almost every meeting of presbytery and synod, the matter has
been fully and thoroughly discussed--the moral and political objections
to its enactment have been over and over again brought forward--yet
still, in the eyes of the learned lord, there is a want of "substantial
grounds." It is not enough, therefore, to say that a measure is
unnecessary, immoral, and impolitic--it is not enough to assign reasons
why these opinions are entertained, and to repeat them year after year.
Something more must be done, according to this remarkably liberal view,
before it becomes the duty of the legislature to give any weight to
the general remonstrance--something "substantial" is required, but no
intelligible definition has been vouchsafed of that substantiality.
Nor does the following sentence by any means tend to sharpen the edge
of our apprehension. "If they (the clergy) meant to say that they
came here to assert that they had the power or right to supersede
the interference of the legislature, they would put forward a right
in them much greater than the Church of Rome asserted, because they
took their right to interfere in reference to the rules of marriage,
on the ground that it was a sacrament, which carried with it a degree
of plausibility; and they required no witness to their marriage, or
proof of the marriage, beyond that of the parish priest who performed
the ceremony." Now, if any kind of meaning whatever is to be extracted
from this sentence, it must be taken as an inuendo that the Church of
Scotland, in petitioning against the bill, is directly or occultly
preferring some ecclesiastical claim to interfere in the celebration
of regular public marriages. The Church of Scotland asserts no claim
of the kind, nor has it ever been so much as hinted that such a right
was inherent in that body. The church does not seek to interfere with
the legislature. It neither has, nor claims ecclesiastical dominion
or preference in the matter of marriage. As a Christian communion and
a Christian church, it has entreated parliament not to pass a measure
which, justly or not, it considers as hurtful to the moral character
of the people, and in doing so, it has been actuated by no motive save
a due regard to its high and holy functions. If such considerations
as these are not sufficient to justify the right of petitioning, it
is difficult to understand why that right should be exercised at all.
Must a pounds-shillings-and-pence interest be established, before
the Church of Scotland can be allowed to approach the legislature on
such a question? In our mind, the absence of all pecuniary interest,
and the utter abnegation of any kind of ecclesiastical monopoly, are
the strongest reasons why the opinion of the Church of Scotland, in a
matter such as this, should be listened to with reverence and respect.

Having thus disposed of the church, though in a manner, we should
think, scarcely satisfactory to himself, and not at all to his
auditory, the Lord Advocate summarily remarks of the petitions
against the bill, that "as proof to be relied on of a general feeling
throughout Scotland, they were worthless and insignificant." It may be
useful for intending petitioners to know what sort of demonstration
they must be prepared to make, if they wish their remonstrances against
any government measure to pass the limits of worthlessness. It is
always advantageous to learn what is the last definition of the true
_vox populi_, in order that there be no mistake or misinterpretation of
its extent. We turn to the admirable speech of Mr M'Neill, the learned
Dean of Faculty, and we find the following analysis of the extent of
the lay opposition:--

    "An opportunity had been afforded to the counties of Scotland
    to take the measure into consideration at their annual
    meetings on the 30th April. They had done so, and, with very
    few exceptions, had petitioned against this measure; and
    of those that had not actually petitioned this year, some
    had petitioned last year; and some had contented themselves
    this year with reiterating, in resolutions passed at public
    meetings, their continued dissatisfaction with the measure.
    The county which he had the honour to represent (Argyleshire)
    had not sent up a petition; but they had, at a public meeting,
    passed resolutions, temperately, yet firmly expressed, in
    reference both to the Marriage and the Registration Bills.
    No county, he believed, had passed resolutions in favour of
    this bill. So much for the counties. Next as to the burghs.
    The burghs comprehended about one-third of the population of
    Scotland. There was an institution recognised by law called the
    Convention of Royal Burghs, and which consisted of delegates
    from all the burghs in Scotland, who assembled once a-year or
    oftener in Edinburgh, and deliberated on matters affecting
    their interests. At the convention of 1849, the matter of these
    bills was taken into consideration. They were disapproved of,
    and a petition against them was voted unanimously. Thus you
    had all, or nearly all, the counties petitioning, and you
    had the assembled delegates from all the burghs petitioning.
    Then there were separate petitions from the popularly elected
    town-councils of most of the large towns in Scotland. The
    town-councils of Edinburgh, of Dundee, of Perth, of Greenock,
    of Leith, of Inverness, of Stirling, of Kilmarnock, of St
    Andrews, of Haddington, and many others, had petitioned against
    this bill. There was also another body of persons, popularly
    elected to a great extent, and who had a very material
    interest in the probable effects of this measure, especially
    with a knowledge of the fearful extent of bastardy in some
    parts of England--he meant the parochial boards of populous
    parishes. Petitions against this measure had been presented
    from the parochial boards of many of the most populous parishes
    in Scotland--the parochial board of the city parishes of
    Edinburgh--of the great suburban parish of St Cuthberts--of
    the city of Glasgow--of the great suburban parish of the
    Barony--of the parishes of Dundee, Paisley, Greenock, Leith,
    Port-Glasgow, Campbelton, and several others."

Such is the demonstration which the Lord Advocate of Scotland, without
any counter display of opinion to back him, ventures to characterise as
worthless and insignificant! Counties, burghs, town-councils, parochial
boards, presbyteries, and General Assembly, which also represents
the opinion of the universities, all combine to denounce the hated
measure; still their remonstrance is to be cast aside as worthless and
insignificant, and as in no way representing the feeling of the people
of Scotland! A more extraordinary statement, we venture to say, was
never made within the walls of the House of Commons; but the premier
very properly refused to homologate its extravagance, and withdrew the
bill on account, as he expressly said, of the opinion that had been
expressed in the house regarding the sentiments of the Scottish people.
Indeed, as Lord Aberdeen afterwards remarked, had the bill not been
withdrawn, "representative government would become a farce; for the
whole kingdom of Scotland was universally against it."

Some of our readers may naturally wonder why so much perseverance
should be shown in this reiterated attempt to force an obnoxious bill
upon the acceptance of the nation. It is, to say the least of it,
an unusual thing to find a professing physician so clamorously and
importunately insisting upon his right to practise on the person of a
patient, who vehemently denies the existence of any bodily ailment. It
is true, that we are accustomed to hear crotchety people crying up the
efficacy of their peculiar remedies, and we admit the right even of
Paracelsus to dilate upon the value of his drugs. But the case becomes
widely different when the empiric requires that, _nolens volens_,
you shall swallow them. Such, however, for the last three sessions,
has been the conduct of the promoters of this bill; and as it is now
plain beyond all dispute that nobody wanted it, this sudden rage for
legislation becomes proportionally wonderful. Hitherto we have rather
complained of the apathy than of the over-zeal of our representatives.
Sometimes we have grumbled at their want of spirit for not watching
more closely over our immediate interests, and in not protesting
more loudly against the injustice of that neglect to which Scottish
charities, foundations, and institutions are consigned, whilst a very
different mode of treatment is adopted by government upon the other
side of the Irish Channel. But we have seldom had reason to deprecate
an excess of legislative activity, and it therefore becomes matter of
curiosity to discover the motives for the present fit.

We must premise that the Scottish Marriage and Registration Bills are
indissolubly linked together. The object of the Registration Bill
is to secure a perfect record of all births, marriages, and deaths;
and no reasonable objection can be taken to this upon the score of
principle. It is admitted on all hands that our registers are at
present defective--that is, they are not sufficiently minute to satisfy
the cravings of the scrupulous statist. To have a perfect record is
unquestionably desirable: the main objection to the scheme lies in the
expense with which it must be attended. It is not our present purpose
to examine the details of this bill, which we have nevertheless perused
with much attention. We shall therefore merely remark that it seems to
us quite possible to realise the same results with a far less expensive
machinery. The present bill would create not only a well-salaried staff
of officials in Edinburgh, but registrars in every county and town,
whose services would fall to be defrayed by local assessment; and we
need hardly say that, under present circumstances, the imposition of
any new burden, especially in the shape of direct taxation, would be
felt as an especial grievance. There is no prospect of relief from
the income and property tax, though Sir Robert Peel gave the country
a direct assurance that the measure was merely proposed to supply a
temporary deficiency. It is now quite clear that neither the right
hon. baronet, nor his successors, will ever attempt to redeem that
dishonoured pledge. The poor-rates are increasing in Scotland at a
frightful ratio, and are already so high as, in the opinion of many,
to constitute an intolerable burden. It is now evident that, in a very
short while, the inexpediency of the new system will be submitted to
a serious review, or at least that some such attempt will be made.
Other burdens are by no means decreasing, whilst the general wealth and
prosperity of the country has, within the last three years, received a
violent check. It is, therefore, not in the least surprising, if men
hesitate to accept the proffered boon of a perfect registry at the
price of a new assessment. Isolated cases of inconvenience which have
occurred, from the want of such a register, may no doubt be pointed
out; but, upon the whole, there is no general grievance, since the
means of effective registration are at present open to all who choose
to avail themselves of it. The present bill proposes to do nothing
more than to substitute imperative for voluntary registration: its
provisions are not only costly, but in some respects they are highly
penal, and therefore, for a double reason, it is regarded with general
dislike. Men do not like to be taxed for the alteration of a privilege
which is already sufficiently within their power; and they are jealous
of exposing themselves to fines, for omitting to do that which is no
duty at all, except it is made so by the force of statute. They do
not see any weight or shadow of reason in the argument, that Scotland
must necessarily have a registration act, because England has already
submitted herself to such a measure. On the contrary, they are not fond
of uniformity, because, under that pretext, many inroads have of late
years been made upon laws and institutions which hitherto have worked
well, and against which, intrinsically, it was impossible to bring
any tangible ground of complaint. Nor is it without some reason that
they view with jealousy that endless multiplication of offices which
the Whigs seem determined to effect. No doubt it is convenient for a
political leader to extend the sphere of his patronage; but the public
have, at the present time, too many stringent motives for economy,
to acquiesce in the creation of a new staff as the indispensable
consequence of every ministerial bill. They do not want to be visited
by a fresh flight of locusts, whose period of occupation is to be
everlasting, whenever it is thought expedient to make some change
in the form and not the essence of our institutions. And therefore
it is that the Registration, apart altogether from its connexion
with the Marriage Bill, has been regarded as a measure not strictly
objectionable in principle, but exceedingly ill-timed, inconvenient,
and unlikely to produce any results commensurate with the cost which it
must entail.

We believe that the above is a fair statement of the public feeling
with regard to the Registration Bill; but, notwithstanding all these
objections, it might very possibly have been carried had it stood
alone. The ministerial phalanx in the House of Commons would probably
have regarded the advantages of uniformity as a thorough answer to the
arguments which might be adduced on the other side; and English members
might naturally have been slow to discover any valid objections to
the extension of a system already in full operation within their own
domestic bounds. But the promoters of the bill had, at the very outset,
to encounter a difficulty of no ordinary weight and magnitude. That
difficulty arose from the peculiar position of the law of Scotland with
regard to marriage. There could be no mistake about births and death,
for these are distinct contingencies; but how to register marriages,
which required no legal formality at all, save consent, to render them
binding, was indeed a puzzle, which even the wisest of the innovators
could not pretend to solve. There stood the law as it had done for
ages; not demanding any ceremony to render the deliberate consent of
contracting parties binding; shielding the weaker sex against the
machinations of fraud, and interposing an effectual barrier to the
designs of the unscrupulous seducer. There it stood, so merciful in its
provisions that it left open a door to reparation and repentance, and
did not render it imperative that the birthright of the child should be
irretrievably sacrificed on account of the error of the parents. At the
same time, that law drew, or rather established, a wide distinction
in point of character between regular and irregular marriages. It
had wrought so upon the people that instances of the latter were of
comparatively rare occurrence, except, perhaps, upon the Border, which
was crossed by English parties, less scrupulous in their feelings of
decorum. Irregular marriages were discountenanced by the church, not by
the establishment only, but by every religious body; and, to constitute
a regular marriage, publication of the banns was required. No complaint
had been heard from Scotland against the law; on the contrary, it was
considered, both by jurists and by the people, as equitable in its
principle, and less liable than that of other nations to abuse in the
mode of its operation.

The existence of this law effectually interfered with the establishment
of such a system of registration as was contemplated by the reforming
Whigs. So long as it stood intact, their efforts in behalf of
uniformity, additional taxation, and increased patronage, were
hopeless; and no alternative remained save the desperate one of
deliberately smiting down the law. It was not difficult for men so
purposed and inspired to find out defects in the marriage law, for
never yet was law framed by human wisdom in which some defect could
not be detected. It was, first of all, urged, that the state of the
Scottish law gave undue encouragement to the contract of Gretna-green
marriages by fugitive English couples. The answer to that was
obvious--Pass a law prohibiting such marriages until, by residence,
English parties have obtained a Scottish domicile. That would at once
have obviated any such ground of complaint, and such a measure actually
was introduced to parliament by Lord Brougham in 1835, but never was
carried through. Next, the whole fabric of the law was assailed.
The facilities given to the contraction of irregular marriages were
denounced as barbarous and disgraceful to any civilised country. Old
cases were raked up to show the uncertainty of the law itself, and the
difficulty of ascertaining who were and who were not married persons.
According to one noble and learned authority, the time of the House of
Peers, while sitting in its judicial capacity, was grievously occupied
in considering cases which arose out of the anomalous condition of
the Scottish law with regard to marriage; and yet, upon referring
to an official return, it appeared very plainly that, for the last
seventeen or eighteen years, only six cases of declarator of marriage
or legitimacy had been brought before that august tribunal, and that
of these six, three had no connexion with the subject-matter of the
proposed bill! Lord Brougham, who entertains strong opinions on the
subject, felt himself compelled to admit, in evidence, that most of
the hypothetical abuses which might take place under the existing
system, did not, in practice, occur amongst natives and residenters in
Scotland. Lord Brougham is to this extent a Malthusian, that he thinks
minors ought to be, in some way or other, protected against the danger
of an over-hasty marriage. His lordship's sympathies are strongly
enlisted in behalf of the youthful aristocracy, more especially of
the male sex; and he seems to regard Scotland as an infinitely more
dangerous place of residence for a young man of rank and fortune than
Paris or Vienna. In the latter places, the morals may be sapped, but
personal liberty is preserved; in the former, the heir-expectant is not
safe, for at any moment he is liable to be trapped like vermin. The
red-haired daughters of the Gael, thinks Lord Brougham, are ever on the
watch for the capture of some plump and unsuspecting squire. Penniless
lads and younger sons may be insured at a reasonable rate against the
occurrence of the matrimonial calamity, but wary indeed must be the
eldest son who can escape the _perfervidum ingenium Scotarum_. This
is, no doubt, an amusing picture, and the leading idea might be worked
out to great advantage in a novel or a farce; but, unfortunately, it
is not drawn from the usual occurrences of life. Isolated cases of
hasty marriages may, no doubt, have taken place, but our memory does
not supply us with a single instance of a clandestine marriage having
been contracted under such circumstances as the above. In Scotland, a
stranger may, for the base purposes of seduction, pledge his solemn
faith to a woman, and so obtain possession of her person. If he does
so, the law most justly interferes to prevent him resiling from his
contract, and declares that he is as completely bound by the simple
interchange of consenting vows, as though he had solicited and received
the more formal benediction of the priest. Will any man gravely
maintain that in such a case the tenor of the law is hurtful to morals,
or prejudicial to the interests of society? Even if the woman should
happen to be of inferior rank in life to the intending seducer, is she
on that account to be consigned to shame, and the man permitted to
violate his engagement, and escape the consequences of his dastardly
fraud? In England, it is notorious to every one, and the daily press
teems with instances, that seduction under promise of marriage is a
crime of ordinary occurrence. We call it a crime, for though it may not
be so branded by statute, seduction under promise of marriage is as
foul an act as can well be perpetrated by man. In Scotland, seduction
under such circumstances is next to impossible. The Scottish people
are not without their vices, but seduction is not one of these; and we
firmly believe that the existing law of marriage has operated here as
an effectual check to that license which is far too common in England.
Would it be wise, then, to remove that check, when no flagrant abuse,
no common deviation even from social distinctions, can be urged against
it? If seduction does not prevail in Scotland, still less do hasty and
unequal marriages. Lord Brougham is constrained to admit that it is
most unusual for Scottish heirs, or persons possessed of large estates,
or the heirs to high honours, to contract irregular marriages when in
a state of minority. The law, in the opinion of Lord Brougham, may be
theoretically bad, but its very badness raises a protection against
its own mischiefs--it ceases, in fact, to do any harm, because the
consequences which it entails are clearly and generally understood.
We confess that, according to our apprehension, a law which is
theoretically bad, but practically innocuous, is decidedly preferable
to one which may satisfy theorists, but which, when we come to apply
it, is productive of actual evil. It requires no great stretch of legal
ingenuity to point out possible imperfections in the best law that ever
was devised by the wit of man. That is precisely what the advocates of
the present measure have attempted to do with the established marriage
law of Scotland; but when they are asked to specify the practical evils
resulting from it, they are utterly driven to the wall, and forced to
take refuge under the convenient cover of vague and random generalities.

It is said that, under the operation of the present law, persons
in Scotland may be left in doubt whether they are married or not.
This is next thing to an entire fallacy, for though there have been
instances of women claiming the married status in consequence of
a habit-and-repute connexion, without distinct acknowledgment of
matrimony, such cases are remarkably rare, and never can occur save
under most peculiar circumstances. The distinction between concubinage
and matrimony is quite as well established in Scotland as elsewhere.
Nothing short of absolute public recognition, so open and avowed
that there can be no doubt whatever of the position of the parties,
can supply the place of that formal expressed consent which is the
proper foundation of matrimony. If the consent once has been given,
if the parties have seriously accepted each other for spouses, or if
a promise has been given, _subsequente copulâ_, there is an undoubted
marriage, and the parties themselves cannot be ignorant of their mutual
relationship. It is, however, quite true that proof may be wanting.
It is possible to conceive cases in which the contract cannot be
legally established, and in which the actual wife may be defrauded
of her conjugal rights. But granting all this, why should the whole
character of marriage be changed on account of possible cases of
deficient evidence? For if this bill were to pass into law, consent
must necessarily cease to be the principal element of marriage. No
marriage could be contracted at all unless parties went either before
the priest or the registrar; and the fact of the mutual contract would
be ignored without the addition of the imposed formality. Upon this
point the commentary of Mr M'Neill seems to us peculiarly lucid and
quite irresistible in its conclusions.

    "The law of Scotland being now as heretofore, that consent,
    given in the way he had described, makes marriage--that it
    is, in the language of Archbishop Cranmer, 'beyond all doubt
    _ipsum matrimonium_'--the present bill says that henceforth
    it shall not make marriage, whatever may have followed upon
    it, unless the consent is given in presence of a clergyman, or
    by signing the register. It does not say that all marriages
    must be celebrated in presence of a clergyman; but, professing
    to recognise the principle that consent, though not given in
    presence of a clergyman, may constitute marriage, it says that
    the consent shall be of non-avail whatever may have followed
    upon it, unless it was given in the particular form of signing
    the register, and can be there pointed out. No matter how
    deliberately the consent may have been interchanged, and how
    completely susceptible of proof. No matter although the parties
    may have lived all their lives as man and wife--may have so
    published themselves to the world every day, by acts a thousand
    times more public than any entry in a register can possibly
    be--by a course of life more clearly indicating deliberate and
    continued purpose than a single entry in a register can do. All
    that shall not avail them or their families; they are to be
    denied the rights and privileges of legitimacy unless they can
    point to their names in the journal kept by the registrar. To
    borrow the language of a high authority, relied upon in support
    of the bill, 'It may be according to the law of Scotland that
    it is a complete marriage, and so it may be by the law of
    God; but if the woman is put to prove that marriage after the
    birth of children, of that she is or may be without proof.'
    _That which, by the law of Scotland and by the law of God, is
    a marriage, the people of Scotland wish to be allowed to prove
    by all the evidence of which it is susceptible._ They do not
    wish that parties should be allowed to escape from such solemn
    obligations undertaken towards each other, to their offspring,
    and to society. They are unwilling that any man should be
    enabled, with the confidence of perfect impunity, to impose
    upon an unsuspecting community, by wearing a mask of pretended
    matrimony, behind which is concealed the reality of vice. I do
    not wonder that the people of Scotland have no liking to this
    measure. There may occasionally be cases in which the proof
    of marriage is attended with difficulty; and so there may be
    with regard to any matter of fact whatever. So there may be
    in regard to the fact of marriage under the proposed bill,
    even where the marriage has been celebrated in the most solemn
    manner in presence of a clergyman. Occasional difficulty of
    proof is not a satisfactory or adequate reason for so great a
    change in the law. Certainty is desirable in all transactions,
    and is especially desirable in regard to marriage; and the
    means of preserving evidence of such contracts is also
    desirable; but although these objects are desirable, they
    should not be prized so highly, or pursued so exclusively, as
    to endanger other advantages not less valuable."

We think it is impossible for any one to peruse the foregoing
extract from the speech of the Dean of Faculty, without being
forcibly impressed by the soundness and strength of his argument.
He is not contending against registration; he simply demands that
through no pedantic desire for uniformity or precision, shall the
general principle of the law of Scotland regarding marriage be
virtually repealed. We are indeed surprised to find a lawyer of great
professional reputation attributing to the established clergy of the
Church of Scotland a desire to arrogate to themselves the functions
of the Church of Rome, whilst, in the same breath, he asks the
legislature to constitute itself into an ecclesiastical court, and to
enact new preliminaries, without the observance of which there shall
henceforward be no marriage at all. If the old principle of the law is
to be abandoned, if consent is no longer to be held as sufficient for
the contraction of a marriage, but if some further ceremony or means
of publication are thought to be essential, we have no hesitation in
saying that we would infinitely prefer the proscription and annulment
of all marriages which are not performed _in facie ecclesiæ_, with
the previous proclamation of the banns, to a hybrid measure such as
this, which neither declares marriage to be the proper subject of
ecclesiastical function, nor permits it to remain a civil contract
which may be established and proved by any mode of evidence within the
reach of either of the parties. If marriage is not a sacrament, but a
civil contract, why take it out of the operation of the common law? Why
make it null without the observance of certain civil ceremonies, unless
it is intended virtually to confer upon the legislature regulating
powers which have been claimed by none of the reformed churches,
and which, when arrogated by that of Rome, have been bitterly and
universally opposed?

Another objection to our present law of marriage has been frequently
urged, and great use has been made of it to prejudice the minds
of English members in favour of the proposed alteration. We have
already shown that there is in reality no doubt of what constitutes
a Scottish marriage; that parties so contracting know very well what
they are about, and are fully sensible of the true nature of their
obligations. If any doubt should by possibility exist, it can be set
at rest by a simple form of process--a form, however, which is never
resorted to, unless there has been gross intention to deceive on the
one part, or a most unusual degree of imprudence on the other. But it
is said that the possible existence of a private marriage may entail
the most cruel of all injuries upon innocent parties--that it is easy
for a man who has already contracted a private marriage, to present
himself in the character of an unfettered suitor, and to enter into a
second matrimonial engagement, which may be, at any moment, shamefully
terminated by the appearance of the first wife. No ordinary amount
of rhetoric has been expended in depicting the terrible consequences
of such a state of things; the misery of the deceived wife, and the
wrongs of the defrauded children, have, in their turn, been employed as
arguments against the existing marriage law of Scotland.

This is a most unfair mode of reasoning. Unless it can be shown,
which we maintain it cannot, that the law of Scotland, with regard
to matrimony, is so loose that a party may really be married without
knowing it, the argument utterly fails. Without distinct matrimonial
consent there is no marriage, and no one surely can be ignorant of
his own intention and act upon an occasion of that kind. He may try
to suppress proofs, but for all that he is married, and if, during
the lifetime of the other party, he shall contract a second marriage,
he has committed bigamy, and is guilty of a criminal offence. Lord
Campbell, in his evidence, admits that the marriage law of Scotland
has been perfectly well ascertained upon most points--that there can
be no doubt what is, and what is not, a marriage; but that the real
difficulty consists in getting at the facts. Armed with this testimony,
we may fairly conclude that unintentional bigamy is impossible; but
that bigamy, when it takes place, is the deliberate act of a party.

Bigamy is beyond all dispute a crime of a heinous nature. Its
consequences are so obviously calamitous, that no power of oratory can
make them appear greater than they are; and we should rejoice to see
any legislative measure introduced which could render its perpetration
impossible. But, unfortunately, the eradication of bigamy, like that
of every other crime, is beyond the power of statute. It may perhaps
be lessened by decreasing facilities, or by augmenting its punishment,
but we cannot see how it is to be prevented altogether by any effort of
human ingenuity. But if the marriage law of Scotland is to be assailed
upon this ground, it is incumbent upon its opponents to show that it
really tends to promote bigamy. If the wrongs so pathetically deplored
have a real existence, let us be made aware of that fact, and we shall
all of us be ready to lend our assistance towards the remedy. No paltry
scruples shall stand in the way of such a reformation, and we shall
willingly pay even for registration, if it can be made the means of
averting an actual social calamity.

But here again we find, on examination, that we are dealing with a pure
hypothesis. We are told of horrible private injuries that may occur
under the operation of a law which has been in force for centuries:
we ask for instances of those injuries; and, as in the former case,
it turns out that they have no existence save in the imagination of
the promoters of the new bills. If the present law of Scotland has a
tendency to promote bigamy, surely by this time it would have been
extremely fruitful in its results. On the contrary, we are told by
Lord Campbell that the Scots are a very virtuous people; and certainly,
in so far as bigamy is concerned, no one will venture to contradict
that opinion. One case, it appears, has occurred, in which a man of
high rank, having previously contracted a private marriage under
peculiar circumstances, married a second time, and that union was
found to be illegal. The case is a notorious one in the books and in
the records of society, and it occurred forty years ago. "About forty
years ago," said the Dean of Faculty, "a gentleman of high position in
society, so far forgot for the time what was worthy of, and due to that
position in point of honour, and truth, and observance of the law, as
to marry a lady in England, while he had a wife living in Scotland--and
so he might have done if he had had a wife living in France or Holland.
In short, he committed bigamy. And this one case of bigamy, forty years
ago, without even an allegation of any similar case since that time,
is brought forward at the present day, as a reason for now altering
the law of Scotland in regard to the constitution of marriage." The
individual in question lived and died in exile, and the case is never
quoted without expressions of deep reprobation. It is the only one
of the kind which can be brought forward; and surely it cannot be
taken as any ground for altering the established law of the country.
But does registration prevent bigamy? Unfortunately it is shown by
numerous instances in England that it does not. In that country,
registration is already established, but, notwithstanding registration,
bigamy is infinitely more prevalent there than in Scotland. It is,
indeed, impossible by any means of legislation to prevent imposition,
fraud, and crime, if men are determined to commit them. Registration
at Manchester will not hinder a heartless villain from committing
deliberate bigamy in London. The thing is done every day, and will be
done in spite of all the efforts of law-makers. Why, then, make the law
of Scotland conformable to that of England, since, under the operation
of the latter, the very grievance complained of flourishes fourfold? We
pause for a reply, and are likely to pause long before we receive any
answer which can be accepted as at all satisfactory.

Under the Scottish law, it is admitted that there is far less
seduction, and far less bigamy, than under the English law, which is
here propounded as the model. And having come to this conclusion--which
is not ours only, but that of the witnesses examined in favour of the
bill, all evidence against it having been refused--what need have we of
saying anything further? Surely there is enough on the merits of the
question to explain and justify the unanimous opposition which has been
given to the Marriage Bill by men of every shade of opinion throughout
Scotland, without exposing them to the imputation either of obstinacy
or caprice: indeed we are distinctly of opinion that the promoters of
the bill have laid themselves palpably open to the very charges which
they rashly bring against their opponents.

We cannot, however, take leave of the subject, without making a few
remarks upon the evidence of a noble and learned lord, who was kind
enough to take charge of this bill during its passage through the
upper house. Lord Campbell is not a Scottish peer, nor, strictly
speaking, a Scottish lawyer, though he is in the habit of attending
pretty regularly at the hearing of Scottish appeals. But he is of
Scottish extraction; he has sat in the House of Commons as member for
Edinburgh, and he ought therefore to be tolerably well conversant with
the state of the law. Now we presume it will be generally admitted,
that any person who undertakes to show that an amendment of the law is
necessary, ought, in the first place, to be perfectly cognisant of the
state of the law as it exists. That amount of knowledge we hold to be
indispensably necessary for a reformer, since he must needs establish
the superiority of his novel scheme, by contrasting its advantages
with the deficiencies of the prevalent system. But in reading over the
evidence of Lord Campbell, as given before the Committee of the House
of Commons, a very painful suspicion must arise in every mind, that the
learned peer is anything but conversant with the Scottish marriage law:
nay, that upon many important particulars he utterly misunderstands
its nature. Take for example the following sentence:--

    "With regard to this bill which has been introduced, I am
    very much surprised and mortified to find the grounds upon
    which it has been opposed; for it has been opposed on the
    ground that it introduces clandestine marriages into Scotland.
    I think, with deference to those who may have a contrary
    opinion, that its direct tendency, as well as its object, is
    to prevent clandestine marriages. I may likewise observe, that
    I am very sorry--being the son of a clergyman of the Church
    of Scotland--to find that it is opposed, and I believe very
    violently opposed, by the clergy of the Established Church of
    Scotland. I think that they proceed upon false grounds; _and I
    am afraid_, although I would say nothing at all disrespectful
    of a body for whom I feel nothing but respect and affection,
    _that they are a little influenced by the notion, that a
    marriage by a clergyman who is not of the Established Church,
    is hereafter to be put upon the same footing with a marriage
    celebrated by a clergyman of the Established Church_: but I
    should be glad if they would consider, that they are placed
    nearly in the same situation as the clergy of the Church of
    England, who, without the smallest scruple or repining, have
    submitted to it, because a marriage before a Baptist minister,
    or before a Unitarian minister, is just as valid now as if
    celebrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and I should trust
    that, upon consideration, they would be of opinion that their
    dignity is not at all compromised, and that their opposition to
    it may subside."

We can conceive the amazement with which a minister of the Established
Church, could he have been present at the deliberations of the select
committee, must have listened to the reasons so calmly assigned for
his opposition, and that of his brethren, to the progress of the
present bill! Never for a moment could it have crossed his mind, that a
marriage celebrated by him was of more value in the eye of the law than
that which had received the benediction of a dissenter; and yet here
was a distinct assumption that he was in possession of some privilege,
of which, up to that hour, he had been entirely ignorant. "At present,"
continued Lord Campbell, "a marriage by a dissenting clergyman, I
rather think, is not strictly regular!" Here a hint was interposed from
the chair to the following effect:--"He cannot marry without banns; he
is subject to punishment if he marries without banns?" But the hint,
though dexterously given, fell dead on the ear of the ex-chancellor of
Ireland. He proceeded deliberately to lay down the law,--"There are
statutes forbidding marriages unless by clergymen of the Established
Church."

This is, to say the least of it, a singular instance of delusion. No
such statutes are in force; they have long been repealed; and every
clergyman is free to perform the ceremony of marriage, whatever be
his denomination, provided he receives a certificate of the regular
proclamation of the banns. So that Lord Campbell, if he again girds
himself to the task, must be prepared to account on some more
intelligible grounds for the opposition which his father's brethren
have uniformly given to this bill. But, to do him justice, Lord
Campbell does not stand alone in error with regard to the present
requirements for the celebration of a regular marriage. Unless there is
a grievous error in the reported debate before us, the Lord Advocate
of Scotland is not quite so conversant with statute law as might be
expected from a gentleman of his undoubted eminence. Whilst advocating
a system which is to entail the inevitable payment of a fee to the
registrar, he at the same time considers the fee which is presently
exigible for proclaiming the banns a grievance. "He was astonished to
hear the honourable baronet opposite (Sir George Clerk) state that it
was the first time he had heard it considered a grievance, that persons
could not marry without proclamation of banns in the parish church,
by the payment of a large fee to the precentor or other officer of
the church. That had always been considered a very great grievance
by the dissenting body throughout Scotland, so far as he understood.
The members of the Episcopal communion were, however, saved from that
grievance, because they were in possession of an act of parliament,
which provided that the proclamation of banns made in their own chapel
was sufficient to authorise a clergyman to solemnise the marriage." We
should like very much indeed to know what act of parliament gives any
such dispensation from parochial proclamation to the Episcopalians.
Certain we are that the statute 10 Anne, cap. 7, confers no such
privilege; for though it _allows_ proclamation of banns to be made in
an Episcopal chapel, it at the same time enjoins, under a penalty, that
proclamation shall also be made "in the churches to which they belong
as parishioners by virtue of their residence;" and accordingly, in
practice, no Episcopalian marriage is ever celebrated without previous
proclamation of the banns in the parish church. We do not attribute
much importance to this error, though it is calculated to mislead
those who are not conversant with the law and practice of Scotland. We
were rather impressed, on reading the debate, with the circumstance,
that the old system of proclaiming by banns in the parish church was
denounced, and we therefore directed our attention the more closely to
the provisions of the bill, in order to discover the exact nature of
the new method by which it was to be superseded. The bill is singularly
ill-drawn and worded; but we comprehend it sufficiently to see that,
had it passed into law, regular marriages could have been contracted
under its sanction without any difficulty, and with no publicity at all.

The bill declares that henceforward marriage shall be contracted in
Scotland in one of the following modes, and not otherwise:--1st, By
solemnisation in presence of a clergyman; or, 2d, by registration, the
parties proposing so to marry appearing "in presence of the registrar,
and there and then signing, before witnesses, the entry of their
marriage in the register."

It is evident, however, that without some precaution for publicity,
the registrar's office would be as much a temple of Hymen as the
blacksmith's forge at Gretna-green, and accordingly, previous to
registration--that is, legal marriage--residence for fourteen days was
required; and, besides that, a written notice to the registrar, with
the names and designations of the parties, seven days previous to the
fated entry. A copy of such notice was to be affixed upon the door of
the parish church for one Sunday, and this was to be the whole of the
publication. Notwithstanding this, if the registrar chose to take the
risk of a penalty, and allow the parties to sign the register without
their having proved their residence or given notice of their intention,
the marriage was, nevertheless, to be valid and effectual.

Worse regulations, we are bound to say, never were invented. Why select
the church door? Why post up the names amidst lists of candidates
for registration, notices of roups, and advertisements of the sale
of cattle? Is not the present mode of announcing the names _within_
the church more decent than the other, and likely to attract greater
notice? But the whole thing is a juggle. The bill gives ample facility
for evasion, should that be contemplated; for it is easy to divine
that, with the whole proof in his own hand, and no check whatever
placed upon him, no registrar would be hard-hearted enough to refuse
dispensing with the preliminaries in any case where the amorous
couple were ready and willing to remunerate him for the risk of his
complaisance.

So much for marriage by registration, which, instead of throwing any
obstacle in the way of ill-advised or hasty unions, would, in effect,
have a direct tendency to increase them. But the case is absolutely
worse when we approach the other form of marriage, which was to
supersede that solemnity which is at present in every case preceded by
the formal proclamation of banns. The provisions of the bill were as
follows:--

No clergymen could solemnise a marriage, unless,

    1st. Both or one parties should have been resident for fourteen
    days within the parish in which the marriage was to take place;
    _or_,

    2d. In some other parish in Scotland: the certificate in both
    cases to be granted by the Registrar; _or_,

    3d. Unless both or one of the parties had been for a fortnight
    a member or members of the congregation resorting to the church
    or chapel in which the clergyman solemnising the marriage
    usually officiates; _or_,

    4th. Unless they had similarly attended _some other place of
    worship_; the same to be certified by the minister of such
    congregation; _or_,

    5th. Unless they could produce the registrar's certificate of a
    week's notice; _or_

    6th. Unless they had been regularly proclaimed by banns.

Such is the species of hotch-potch, which it was seriously proposed to
substitute, instead of the present clear, simple, cheap, and decent
mode of celebrating regular marriages; and it is not at all surprising
that hardly one native of Scotland could be found to raise his voice
in favour of such an enormity. So far from publicity being obtained
or increased, it would have afforded the most ample facilities for
the celebration of marriage without the slightest warning given to
the friends of either party. In reality, this pretended mode of
marriage _in facie ecclesiæ_, would have been far more objectionable
than the simple method of registration; for, in the latter case, the
registrar, if he did his duty, was bound to give some kind of notice;
in the former, none whatever was required by the clergyman. What is
a member of a congregation? Abounding as Scotland is in sects, we
apprehend that any one who pays for a sitting in any place of worship
is entitled to that denomination. For ten shillings, or five shillings,
or half-a-crown, a seat may be readily purchased in some place of
worship; and if any one held that seat for a fortnight, he was to be
entitled, according to this bill, to ask the officiating minister
to marry him, without any further process whatever. If it should,
however, be held, that no one is a member of a congregation unless
he is in full communion, all difficulty could have been got over, by
resorting to the fourth method. The member of the Established Church
had simply to ask from his minister a certificate of his membership,
and, armed with that, he might be legally married anywhere, and by
any kind of clergyman, without the slightest notice to the public! We
confess that, when we arrived at this portion of the provisions of
the bill, we could scarcely credit the testimony of our eyesight. We
have heard it proclaimed, over and over again, by those who supported
the measure, that its principal aim was to put an end to hasty and
ill-advised marriages; and on perusing the evidence, we found Lord
Brougham most clamorous against the facilities given by the present law
of Scotland for tying the nuptial knot, without due warning afforded
to parents, more especially when young noblemen were concerned. We
look to the remedy, and we find that, without the assistance of the
registrar, marriages might, under the provisions of this bill, have
been contracted before a clergyman, at a minute's notice, without any
banns at all, and no formality, beyond payment of seat-rent for a
single fortnight in any chapel, or a certificate to the same effect!
A proposal more preposterous than this--more irreconcilable with
decency--more injurious to the interests of society and of religion, it
is really impossible to conceive; and if the language which has been
used regarding it throughout Scotland has been generally temperate, we
apprehend that the temperance has been entirely owing to a somewhat
inaccurate estimate of the full extent of its provisions. It is, in
our judgment, emphatically a bad bill; and we trust that after this,
its third defeat, it will never again be permitted to appear in either
house of parliament. Our representatives have done no more than their
duty in giving it their most strenuous opposition; and, though a few
individuals may mourn over the frustrated hopes, occasioned by the
ruthless blight of a crop of expected offices, they can look for no
sympathy from the people. We can assure Lord John Russell, that he
never acted more wisely than in refusing to force through the final
stages such unpalatable bills as these; and we hope that, in future,
he will give the Scottish people credit for understanding their own
affairs, and not suffer their deliberate and expressed opinion to be
treated with undeserved contempt, simply because it may be possible, by
"making a house," to swamp the suffrages of their representatives.



THE CAXTONS.--PART XVI.


CHAPTER XCV.

The stage-scene has dropped. Settle yourselves, my good audience;
chat each with his neighbour. Dear madam in the boxes, take up your
opera-glass and look about you. Treat Tom and pretty Sal to some of
those fine oranges, O thou happy-looking mother in the two-shilling
gallery! Yes, brave 'prentice boys, in the tier above, the cat-call
by all means! And you, "most potent, grave, and reverend seigneurs,"
in the front row of the pit--practised critics and steady old
play-goers--who shake your heads at new actors and play-wrights, and,
true to the creed of your youth, (for the which all honour to you!)
firmly believe that we are shorter by the head than those giants our
grandfathers--laugh or scold as you will, while the drop-scene still
shuts out the stage. It is just that you should all amuse yourselves in
your own way, O spectators! for the interval is long. All the actors
have to change their dresses; all the scene-shifters are at work,
sliding the "sides" of a new world into their grooves; and, in high
disdain of all unity of time as of place, you will see in the playbills
that there is a great demand on your belief. You are called upon to
suppose that we are older by five years than when you last saw us "fret
our hour upon the stage." Five years! the author tells us especially to
humour the belief by letting the drop-scene linger longer than usual
between the lamps and the stage.

Play up, O ye fiddles and kettle-drums! the time is elapsed. Stop
that cat-call, young gentleman!--heads down in the pit there! Now the
flourish is over--the scene draws up:--look before.

A bright, clear, transparent atmosphere--bright as that of the East,
but vigorous and bracing as the air of the North; a broad and fair
river, rolling through wide grassy plains; yonder, far in the distance,
stretch away vast forests of evergreen, and gentle slopes break the
line of the cloudless horizon; see the pastures, Arcadian with sheep in
hundreds and thousands--Thyrsis and Menalcas would have had hard labour
to count them, and small time, I fear, for singing songs about Daphne.
But, alas! Daphnes are rare; no nymphs with garlands and crooks trip
over those pastures.

Turn your eyes to the right, nearer the river; just parted by a low
fence from the thirty acres or so that are farmed for amusement
or convenience, not for profit--_that_ comes from the sheep,--you
catch a glimpse of a garden. Look not so scornfully at the primitive
horticulture; such gardens are rare in the Bush. I doubt if the stately
King of the Peak ever more rejoiced in the famous conservatory, through
which you may drive in your carriage, than do the sons of the Bush in
the herbs and blossoms which taste and breathe of the old fatherland.
Go on, and behold the palace of the patriarchs--it is of wood, I grant
you, but the house we build with our own hands is always a palace. Did
you ever build one when you were a boy? And the lords of that palace
are lords of the land, almost as far as you can see, and of those
numberless flocks; and, better still, of a health which an antediluvian
might have envied, and of nerves so seasoned with horse-breaking,
cattle-driving, fighting with wild blacks--chases from them and after
them, for life and for death--that if any passion vex the breast of
those kings of the Bushland, fear at least is erased from the list.

See, here and there through the landscape, rude huts like the
masters'--wild spirits and fierce dwell within. But they are tamed into
order by plenty and hope; by the hand open but firm, by the eye keen
but just.

Now, out from those woods, over those green rolling plains,
harum-scarum, helter-skelter, long hair flying wild, and all bearded as
a Turk or a pard, comes a rider you recognise. The rider dismounts, and
another old acquaintance turns from a shepherd, with whom he has been
conversing on matters that never plagued Thyrsis and Menalcas, whose
sheep seem to have been innocent of foot-rot and scab, and accosts the
horseman.

PISISTRATUS.--My dear Guy, where on earth have you been?

GUY (_producing a book from his pocket with great
triumph_.)--There! Dr Johnson's _Lives of the Poets_. I could not get
the squatter to let me have _Kenilworth_, though I offered him three
sheep for it. Dull old fellow, that Dr Johnson, I suspect; so much the
better, the book will last all the longer. And here's a Sydney paper
too, only two months old! (_Guy takes a short pipe or dodeen from his
hat, in the band of which it had been stuck, fills and lights it._)

PISISTRATUS.--You must have ridden thirty miles at the least.
To think of _your_ turning book-hunter, Guy!

GUY BOLDING, (_philosophically_.)--Ay, one don't know the
worth of a thing till one has lost it. No sneers at me, old fellow;
you, too, declared that you were bothered out of your life by those
books, till you found how long the evenings were without them. Then,
the first new book we got--an old volume of the _Spectator!_--such fun!

PISISTRATUS.--Very true. The brown cow has calved in your
absence. Do you know, Guy, I think we shall have no scab in the fold
this year? If so, there will be a rare sum to lay by! Things look up
with us now, Guy.

GUY BOLDING.--Yes; very different from the first two years.
You drew a long face then. How wise you were, to insist on our learning
experience at another man's station before we hazarded our own capital!
But, by Jove! those sheep, at first, were enough to plague a man out of
his wits! What with the wild dogs, just as the sheep had been washed
and ready to shear; then that cursed scabby sheep of Joe Timmes's, that
we caught rubbing his sides so complacently against our unsuspecting
poor ewes. I wonder we did not run away. But "_Patientia fit_,"--what
is that line in Horace? Never mind now. "It is a long lane that has no
turning" does just as well as anything in Horace, and Virgil to boot. I
say, has not Vivian been here?

PISISTRATUS.--No; but he will be sure to come to-day.

GUY BOLDING.--He has much the best berth of it. Horse-breeding
and cattle-feeding; galloping after those wild devils; lost in a forest
of horns; beasts lowing, scampering, goring, tearing off like mad
buffaloes; horses galloping up hill, down hill, over rocks, stones, and
timber; whips cracking, men shouting--your neck all but broken; a great
bull making at you full rush. Such fun! Sheep are dull things to look
at after a bull-hunt and a cattle-feast.

PISISTRATUS.--Every man to his taste in the Bush. One may make
one's money more easily and safely, with more adventure and sport,
in the bucolic department. But one makes larger profit and quicker
fortune, with good luck and good care, in the pastoral--and our object,
I take it, is to get back to England as soon as we can.

GUY BOLDING.--Humph! I should be content to live and die in
the Bush--nothing like it, if women were not so scarce. To think of the
redundant spinster population at home, and not a spinster here to be
seen within thirty miles, save Bet Goggins, indeed--and she has only
one eye! But to return to Vivian--why should it be our object, more
than his, to get back to England as soon as we can?

PISISTRATUS.--Not more, certainly. But you saw that an
excitement more stirring than that we find in the sheep had become
necessary to him. You know he was growing dull and dejected; the cattle
station was to be sold a bargain. And then the Durham bulls, and the
Yorkshire horses, which Mr Trevanion sent you and me out as presents,
were so tempting, I thought we might fairly add one speculation to
another; and since one of us must superintend the bucolics, and two of
us were required for the pastorals, I think Vivian was the best of us
three to intrust with the first; and, certainly, it has succeeded as
yet.

GUY.--Why, yes, Vivian is quite in his element--always in
action, and always in command. Let him be first in everything, and
there is not a finer fellow, nor a better tempered--present company
excepted. Hark! the dogs, the crack of the whip; there he is. And now,
I suppose, we may go to dinner.

_Enter_ VIVIAN.

His frame has grown more athletic; his eye, more steadfast and less
restless, looks you full in the face. His smile is more open; but
there is a melancholy in his expression, almost approaching to gloom.
His dress is the same as that of Pisistratus and Guy--white vest and
trowsers; loose neckcloth, rather gay in colour; broad cabbage-leaf
hat; his mustache and beard are trimmed with more care than ours. He
has a large whip in his hand, and a gun slung across his shoulders.
Greetings are exchanged; mutual inquiries as to cattle and sheep,
and the last horses despatched to the Indian market. Guy shows the
_Lives of the Poets_; Vivian asks if it is possible to get the _Life
of Clive_, or _Napoleon_, or a copy of _Plutarch_. Guy shakes his
head--says, if a _Robinson Crusoe_ will do as well, he has seen one in
a very tattered state, but in too great request to be had a bargain.

The party turn into the hut. Miserable animals are bachelors in all
countries; but most miserable in Bushland. A man does not know what
a helpmate of the soft sex is in the Old World, where women seem a
matter of course. But in the Bush, a wife is literally bone of your
bone, flesh of your flesh--your better half, your ministering angel,
your Eve of the Eden--in short, all that poets have sung, or young
orators say at public dinners, when called upon to give the toast of
"The Ladies." Alas! we are three bachelors, but we are better off
than bachelors often are in the Bush. For the wife of the shepherd I
took from Cumberland does me and Bolding the honour to live in our
hut, and make things tidy and comfortable. She has had a couple of
children since we have been in the Bush; a wing has been added to the
hut for that increase of family. The children, I daresay, one might
have thought a sad nuisance in England; but I declare that, surrounded
as one is by great bearded men, from sunrise to sunset, there is
something humanising, musical, and Christian-like, in the very squall
of the baby. There it goes--bless it! As for my other companions from
Cumberland, Miles Square, the most aspiring of all, has long left me,
and is superintendent to a great sheep-owner some two hundred miles
off. The Will-o'-the-Wisp is consigned to the cattle station, where
he is Vivian's head man, finding time now and then to indulge his old
poaching propensities at the expense of parrots, black cockatoos,
pigeons, and kangaroos. The shepherd remains with us, and does not
seem, honest fellow, to care to better himself; he has a feeling of
clanship, which keeps down the ambition common in Australia. And his
wife--such a treasure! I assure you, the sight of her smooth, smiling
woman's face, when we return home at nightfall, and the very flow
of her gown, as she turns the "dampers"[1] in the ashes, and fills
the teapot, have in them something holy and angelical. How lucky our
Cumberland swain is not jealous! Not that there is any cause, enviable
dog though he be; but where Desdemonas are so scarce, if you could but
guess how green-eyed their Othellos generally are! Excellent husbands,
it is true--none better; but you had better think twice before you
attempt to play the Cassio in Bushland! There, however, she is, dear
creature!--rattling among knives and forks, smoothing the tablecloth,
setting on the salt-beef, and that rare luxury of pickles, (the last
pot in our store), and the produce of our garden and poultry-yard,
which few Bushmen can boast of--and the dampers, and a pot of tea
to each banqueter; no wine, beer, nor spirits--those are only for
shearing-time. We have just said grace, (a fashion retained from the
holy mother country), when, bless my soul! what a clatter without,
what a tramping of feet, what a barking of dogs! Some guests have
arrived. They are always welcome in Bushland! Perhaps a cattle-buyer in
search of Vivian; perhaps that cursed squatter, whose sheep are always
migrating to ours. Never mind, a hearty welcome to all--friend or foe.
The door opens; one, two, three, strangers. More plates and knives;
draw your stools; just in time. First eat, then--what news?

Just as the strangers sit down, a voice is heard at the door--

"You will take particular care of this horse, young man: walk him
about a little; wash his back with salt and water. Just unbuckle the
saddle-bags; give them to me. Oh! safe enough, I daresay--but papers of
consequence. The prosperity of the colony depends on these papers. What
would become of you all if any accident happened to them, I shudder to
think."

And here, attired in a twill shooting-jacket, budding with gilt
buttons, impressed with a well-remembered device; a cabbage-leaf hat
shading a face rarely seen in the Bush--a face smooth as razor could
make it: neat, trim, respectable-looking as ever--his arm full of
saddle-bags, and his nostrils gently distended, inhaling the steam of
the banquet, walks in--Uncle Jack.

PISISTRATUS, (_leaping up_.)--Is it possible! _You_, in
Australia--you in the Bush!

Uncle Jack, not recognising Pisistratus in the tall, bearded man who
is making a plunge at him, recedes in alarm, exclaiming--"Who are
you?--never saw you before, sir! I suppose you'll say next that _I owe
you something_!"

PISISTRATUS.--Uncle Jack!

UNCLE JACK, (_dropping his saddle-bags_.)--Nephew!--Heaven be
praised. Come to my arms!

They embrace; mutual introductions to the company--Mr Vivian, Mr
Bolding, on the one side--Major MacBlarney, Mr Bullion, Mr Emanuel
Speck on the other. Major MacBlarney is a fine portly man, with a
slight Dublin brogue, who squeezes your hand as he would a sponge. Mr
Bullion--reserved and haughty--wears green spectacles, and gives you a
forefinger. Mr Emanuel Speck--unusually smart for the Bush, with a blue
satin stock, and one of those blouses common in Germany, with elaborate
hems, and pockets enough for Briareus to have put all his hands into at
once--is thin, civil, and stoops--bows, smiles, and sits down to dinner
again, with the air of a man accustomed to attend to the main chance.

UNCLE JACK, (_his mouth full of beef_.)--Famous beef!--breed
it yourself, eh? Slow work that cattle-feeding! (_Empties the rest of
the pickle-jar into his plate._) Must learn to go ahead in the new
world--railway times these! We can put him up to a thing or two--eh,
Bullion? (_Whispering me_,)--Great capitalist that Bullion! LOOK AT
HIM!

MR BULLION, (_gravely_.)--A thing or two! If he has
capital--you have said it, Mr Tibbets. (_Looks round for the
pickles--the green spectacles remain fixed upon Uncle Jack's plate._)

UNCLE JACK.--All that this colony wants is a few men like us,
with capital and spirit. Instead of paying paupers to emigrate, they
should pay rich men to come--eh, Speck?

While Uncle Jack turns to Mr Speck, Mr Bullion fixes his fork in a
pickled onion in Jack's plate, and transfers it to his own--observing,
not as incidentally to the onion, but to truth in general--"A man,
gentlemen, in this country, has only to keep his eyes on the look-out,
and seize on the first advantage!--resources are incalculable!"

Uncle Jack, returning to the plate and missing the onion, forestalls
Mr Speck in seizing the last potato--observing also, and in the same
philosophical and generalising spirit as Mr Bullion--"The great thing
in this country is to be always beforehand: discovery and invention,
promptitude and decision!--that's your go. 'Pon my life, one picks up
sad vulgar sayings among the natives here!--'that's your go!' shocking!
What would your poor father say? How is he--good Austin? Well?--that's
right: and my dear sister? Ah, that damnable Peck!--still harping
on the _Anti-Capitalist_, eh? But I'll make it up to you all now.
Gentlemen, charge your glasses--a bumper-toast"----

MR SPECK, (_in an affected tone_.)--I respond to the sentiment
in a flowing cap. Glasses are not forthcoming.

UNCLE JACK.--A bumper-toast to the health of the future
millionnaire, whom I present to you in my nephew and sole
heir--Pisistratus Caxton, Esq. Yes, gentlemen, I here publicly
announce to you that this gentleman will be the inheritor of all my
wealth--freehold, leasehold, agricultural, and mineral; and when I am
in the cold grave--(_takes out his pocket-handkerchief_)--and nothing
remains of poor John Tibbets, look upon that gentleman, and say, "John
Tibbets lives again!"

MR SPECK, (_chauntingly_.)--

    "Let the bumper toast go round."

GUY BOLDING.--Hip, hip, hurrah!--three times three! What fun!

Order is restored; dinner-things are cleared; each gentleman lights his
pipe.

VIVIAN.--What news from England?

MR BULLION.--As to the funds, sir?

MR SPECK.--I suppose you mean, rather, as to the railways:
great fortunes will be made there, sir; but still I think that our
speculations here will--

VIVIAN.--I beg pardon for interrupting you, sir; but I
thought, in the last papers, that there seemed something hostile in the
temper of the French. No chance of a war?

MAJOR MACBLARNEY.--Is it the wars you'd be after, young
gintleman? If me interest at the Horse Guards can avail you, bedad!
you'd make a proud man of Major MacBlarney.

MR BULLION, (_authoritatively_.)--No, sir, we won't have
a war: the capitalists of Europe and Australia won't have it. The
Rothschilds, and a few others that shall be nameless, have only got to
do _this_, sir--(_Mr Bullion buttons up his pockets_)--and we'll do it
too; and then what becomes of your war, sir? (_Mr Bullion snaps his
pipe in the vehemence with which he brings his hand on the table, turns
round the green spectacles, and takes up Mr Speck's pipe, which that
gentlemen had laid aside in an unguarded moment._)

VIVIAN.--But the campaign in India?

MAJOR MACBLARNEY.--Oh!--and if its the Ingees you'd--

BULLION, (_refilling Speck's pipe from Guy Bolding's exclusive
tobacco-pouch, and interrupting the Major_.)--India--that's another
matter: I don't object to that! War there--rather good for the money
market than otherwise!

VIVIAN.--What news there, then?

BULLION.--Don't know--haven't got India stock.

MR SPECK.--Nor I either. The day for India is over: this is
our India now. (_Misses his tobacco-pipe; sees it in Bullion's mouth,
and stares aghast!--NB.--The pipe is not a clay_ dodeen, _but a small
meerschaum--irreplaceable in Bushland._)

PISISTRATUS.--Well, uncle, but I am at a loss to understand
what new scheme you have in hand. Something benevolent, I am
sure--something for your fellow-creatures--for philanthropy and mankind?

MR BULLION, (_starting_.)--Why, young man, are you as green as
all that?

PISISTRATUS.--I, sir--no--Heaven forbid! But my--(_Uncle
Jack holds up his forefinger imploringly, and spills his tea over the
pantaloons of his nephew!_)

Pisistratus, wroth at the effect of the tea, and therefore obdurate
to the sign of the forefinger, continues rapidly, "But my uncle
_is!_--some grand national-imperial-colonial-anti-monopoly"--

UNCLE JACK.--Pooh! Pooh! What a droll boy it is!

MR BULLION, (_solemnly_.)--With these notions, which not even
in jest should be fathered on my respectable and intelligent friend
here--(_Uncle Jack bows_)--I am afraid you will never get on in the
world, Mr Caxton. I don't think our speculations will suit _you_! It is
growing late, gentlemen: we must push on.

UNCLE JACK, (_jumping up_.)--And I have so much to say to the
dear boy. Excuse us: you know the feelings of an uncle! (_Takes my arm,
and leads me out of the hut._)

UNCLE JACK, (_as soon as we are in the air_.)--You'll ruin
us--you, me, and your father and mother. Yes! What do you think I work
and slave myself for but for you and yours?--Ruin us all, I say, if
you talk in that way before Bullion! His heart is as hard as the Bank
of England's--and quite right he is, too. Fellow-creatures!--stuff! I
have renounced that delusion--the generous follies of my youth! I begin
at last to live for myself--that is, for self and relatives! I shall
succeed this time, you'll see!

PISISTRATUS.--Indeed, uncle, I hope so sincerely; and to do
you justice, there is always something very clever in your ideas--only
they don't--

UNCLE JACK, (_interrupting me with a groan_.)--The fortunes
that other men have gained by my ideas!-- shocking to think of!
What!--and shall I be reproached if I live no longer for such a set of
thieving, greedy, ungrateful knaves? No--no! Number one shall be my
maxim; and I'll make you a Croesus, my boy--I will.

Pisistratus, after grateful acknowledgments for all prospective
benefits, inquires how long Jack has been in Australia; what brought
him into the colony; and what are his present views. Learns, to his
astonishment, that Uncle Jack has been four years in the colony;
that he sailed the year after Pisistratus--induced, he says, by that
illustrious example, and by some mysterious agency or commission,
which he will not explain, emanating either from the Colonial Office,
or an Emigration Company. Uncle Jack has been thriving wonderfully
since he abandoned his fellow-creatures. His first speculation, on
arriving at the colony, was in buying some houses in Sydney, which (by
those fluctuations in prices common to the extremes of the colonial
mind--which is one while skipping up the rainbow with Hope, and at
another plunging into Acherontian abysses with Despair) he bought
excessively cheap, and sold excessively dear. But his grand experiment
has been in connexion with the infant settlement of Adelaide, of which
he considers himself one of the first founders; and as, in the rush of
emigration which poured to that favoured establishment in the earlier
years of its existence,--rolling on its tide all manner of credulous
and inexperienced adventurers,--vast sums were lost, so, of those
sums, certain fragments and pickings were easily griped and gathered
up by a man of Uncle Jack's readiness and dexterity. Uncle Jack had
contrived to procure excellent letters of introduction to the colonial
grandees: he got into close connexion with some of the principal
parties seeking to establish a monopoly of land, (which has since
been in great measure effected by raising the price, and excluding
the small fry of petty capitalists;) and effectually imposed on them,
as a man with a vast knowledge of public business--in the confidence
of great men at home--considerable influence with the English press,
&c., &c. And no discredit to their discernment, for Jack, when he
pleased, had a way with him that was almost irresistible. In this
manner he contrived to associate himself and his earnings with men
really of large capital, and long practical experience in the best mode
by which that capital might be employed. He was thus admitted into a
partnership (so far as his means, went) with Mr Bullion, who was one
of the largest sheep-owners and landholders in the colony, though,
having many other nests to feather, that gentleman resided in state
at Sydney, and left his runs and stations to the care of overseers
and superintendents. But land-jobbing was Jack's special delight; and
an ingenious German having lately declared that the neighbourhood of
Adelaide betrayed the existence of those mineral treasures which have
since been brought to day, Mr Tibbets had persuaded Bullion and the
other gentlemen now accompanying him, to undertake the land journey
from Sidney to Adelaide, privily and quietly, to ascertain the truth of
the German's report, which was at present very little believed. If the
ground failed of mines, Uncle Jack's account convinced his associates
that mines quite as profitable might be found in the pockets of the raw
adventurers, who were ready to buy one year at the dearest market, and
driven to sell the next at the cheapest.

"But," concluded Uncle Jack, with a sly look, and giving me a poke in
the ribs, "I've had to do with mines before now, and know what they
are. I'll let nobody but you into my pet scheme: you shall go shares if
you like. The scheme is as plain as a problem in Euclid,--if the German
is right, and there are mines, why, the mines will be worked. Then
miners must be employed; but miners must eat, drink, and spend their
money. The thing is to get _that_ money. Do you take?"

PISISTRATUS.--Not at all!

UNCLE JACK, (_majestically._)--A Great Grog and Store Depôt!
The miners want grog and stores, come to your depôt; you take their
money; Q.E.D! Shares--eh, you dog? Cribs, as we said at school. Put in
a paltry thousand or two, and you shall go halves.

PISISTRATUS, (_vehemently_.)--Not for all the mines of Potosi.

UNCLE JACK, (_good humouredly_.)--Well, it shan't be
the worse for you. I shan't alter my will, in spite of your want
of confidence. Your young friend,--that Mr Vivian, I think you
call him--intelligent-looking fellow, sharper than the other, I
guess,--would _he_ like a share?

PISISTRATUS.--In the grog depôt? You had better ask him!

UNCLE JACK.--What! you pretend to be aristocratic in the Bush!
Too good. Ha, ha!--they're calling to me--we must be off.

PISISTRATUS.--I will ride with you a few miles. What say you,
Vivian? and you, Guy?--

As the whole party now joined us.

Guy prefers basking in the sun, and reading the _Lives of the Poets_.
Vivian assents; we accompany the party till sunset. Major MacBlarney
prodigalises his offers of service in every conceivable department
of life, and winds up with an assurance that, if we want anything in
those departments connected with engineering--such as mining, mapping,
surveying, &c.--he will serve us, bedad, for nothing, or next to it. We
suspect Major MacBlarney to be a civil engineer, suffering under the
innocent hallucination that he has been in the army.

Mr Specks lets out to me, in a confidential whisper, that Mr Bullion
is monstrous rich, and has made his fortune from small beginnings, by
never letting a good thing go. I think of Uncle Jack's pickled onion,
and Mr Speck's meerschaum, and perceive, with respectful admiration,
that Mr Bullion acts uniformly on one grand system. Ten minutes
afterwards, Mr Bullion observes, in a tone equally confidential, that
Mr Speck, though so smiling and civil, is as sharp as a needle; and
that if I want any shares in the new speculation, or indeed in any
other, I had better come at once to Bullion, who would not deceive me
for my weight in gold. "Not," added Bullion, "that I have anything to
say against Speck. He is well enough to do in the world--a warm man,
sir; and when a man is really warm, I am the last person to think of
his little faults, and turn on him the cold shoulder."

"Adieu!" said Uncle Jack, once more pulling out his
pocket-handkerchief; "my love to all at home." And, sinking his voice
into a whisper, "If ever you think better of the grog and store depôt,
nephew, you'll find an uncle's heart in this bosom!"


CHAPTER XCVI.

It was night as Vivian and myself rode slowly home. Night in Australia!
How impossible to describe its beauty! Heaven seems, in that new
world, so much nearer to earth! Every star stands out so bright and
particular, as if fresh from the time when the Maker willed it. And the
moon like a large silvery sun;--the least object on which it shines
so distinct and so still.[2] Now and then a sound breaks the silence,
but a sound so much in harmony with the solitude that it only deepens
its charms. Hark! the low cry of a night-bird, from yonder glen amidst
the small gray gleaming rocks. Hark! as night deepens, the bark of the
distant watch-dog, or the low strange howl of his more savage species,
from which he defends the fold. Hark! the echo catches the sound, and
flings it sportively from hill to hill--farther, and farther, and
farther down, till all again is hushed, and the flowers hang noiseless
over your head, as you ride through a grove of the giant gum-trees.
Now the air is literally charged with the odours, and the sense of
fragrance grows almost painful in its pleasure. You quicken your pace,
and escape again into the open plains, and the full moonlight, and
through the slender tea-trees catch the gleam of the river, and, in the
exquisite fineness of the atmosphere, hear the soothing sound of its
murmur.

PISISTRATUS.--And this land has become the heritage of
our people! Methinks I see, as I gaze around, the scheme of the
All-beneficent Father disentangling itself clear through the troubled
history of mankind. How mysteriously, while Europe rears its
populations, and fulfils its civilising mission, these realms have been
concealed from its eyes--divulged to us just as civilisation needs the
solution to its problems; a vent for feverish energies, baffled in the
crowd; offering bread to the famished, hope to the desperate; in very
truth enabling the "New World to redress the balance of the Old." Here,
what a Latium for the wandering spirits,

    "On various seas by various tempests toss'd."

Here, the actual Æneid passes before our eyes. From the huts of the
exiles scattered over this hardier Italy, who cannot see in the future,

    "A race from whence new Alban sires shall come,
    And the long glories of a future Rome"?

VIVIAN, (_mournfully_.)--Is it from the outcasts of the
workhouse, the prison, and the transport-ship, that a second Rome is to
arise?

PISISTRATUS.--There is something in this new soil--in the
labour it calls forth, in the hope it inspires, in the sense of
property, which I take to be the core of social morals--that expedites
the work of redemption with marvellous rapidity. Take them altogether,
whatever their origin, or whatever brought them hither, they are a
fine, manly, frank-hearted race, these colonists now!--rude, not
mean, especially in the Bush--and, I suspect, will ultimately become
as gallant and honest a population as that now springing up in South
Australia, from which convicts are excluded--and happily excluded--for
the distinction will sharpen emulation. As to the rest, and in direct
answer to your question, I fancy even the emancipist part of our
population every whit as respectable as the mongrel robbers under
Romulus.

VIVIAN.--But were _they_ not soldiers?--I mean the first
Romans?

PISISTRATUS.--My dear cousin, we are in advance of those grim
outcasts, if we can get lands, houses, and wives, (though the last
is difficult, and it is well that we have no white Sabines in the
neighbourhood!) without that same soldiering which was the necessity of
their existence.

VIVIAN, (_after a pause_.)--I have written to my father, and
to yours more fully--stating in the one letter my wish, in the other
trying to explain the feelings from which it springs.

PISISTRATUS.--Are the letters gone?

VIVIAN.--Yes.

PISISTRATUS.--And you would not show them to me!

VIVIAN.--Do not speak so reproachfully. I promised your father
to pour out my whole heart to him, whenever it was troubled and at
strife. I promise you now that I will go by his advice.

PISISTRATUS, (_disconsolately_.)--What is there in this
military life for which you yearn that can yield you more food for
healthful excitement and stirring adventure than your present pursuits
afford?

VIVIAN.--_Distinction!_ You do not see the difference between
us. You have but a fortune to make, I have a name to redeem; you look
calmly on the future, I have a dark blot to erase from the past.

PISISTRATUS, (_soothingly_.)--It is erased. Five years of no
weak bewailings, but of manly reform, steadfast industry, conduct so
blameless, that even Guy (whom I look upon as the incarnation of blunt
English honesty) half doubts whether you are '_cute_ enough for "a
station"--a character already so high, that I long for the hour when
you will again take your father's spotless name, and give me the pride
to own our kinship to the world; all this surely redeems the errors
arising from an uneducated childhood and a wandering youth.

VIVIAN, (_leaning over his horse, and putting his hand on my
shoulder_.)--"My dear friend, what do I owe you?" Then recovering his
emotion, and pushing on at a quicker pace, while he continues to speak,
"But can you not see that, just in proportion as my comprehension of
right would become clear and strong, so my conscience would become also
more sensitive and reproachful; and the better I understand my gallant
father, the more I must desire to be as he would have had his son. Do
you think it would content him, could he see me branding cattle and
bargaining with bullock-drivers? Was it not the strongest wish of his
heart that I should adopt his own career? Have I not heard you say
that he would have had you too a soldier, but for your mother? I have
no mother! If I made thousands, and tens of thousands, by this ignoble
calling, would they give my father half the pleasure that he would
feel at seeing my name honourably mentioned in a despatch? No, no! you
have banished the gipsy blood, and now the soldier's breaks out! Oh
for one glorious day in which I may clear my way into fair repute, as
our fathers before us!--when tears of proud joy may flow from those
eyes that have wept such hot drops at my shame! When _she_, too, in
her high station, beside that sleek lord, may say, 'His heart was not
so vile, after all!' Don't argue with me--it is in vain! Pray, rather,
that I may have leave to work out my own way; for I tell you that, if
condemned to stay here, I may not murmur aloud--I may go through this
round of low duties as the brute turns the wheel of a mill: but my
heart will prey on itself, and you shall soon write on my gravestone
the epitaph of the poor poet you told us of, whose true disease was the
thirst of glory--'Here lies one whose name was written in water.'"

I had no answer; that contagious ambition made my own veins run
more warmly, and my own heart beat with a louder tumult. Amidst the
pastoral scenes, and under the tranquil moonlight, of the New, the
Old World, even in me, rude Bushman, claimed for a while its son. But
as we rode on, the air, so inexpressibly buoyant, yet soothing as an
anodyne, restored me to peaceful Nature. Now the flocks, in their snowy
clusters, were seen sleeping under the stars; hark, the welcome of the
watch-dogs; see the light gleaming far from the chink of the door! And,
pausing, I said aloud, "No, there is more glory in laying these rough
foundations of a mighty state, though no trumpets resound with your
victory--though no laurels shall shadow your tomb--than in forcing the
onward progress of your race over burning cities and hecatombs of men!"
I looked round for Vivian's answer; but, ere I spoke, he had spurred
from my side, and I saw the wild dogs slinking back from the hoofs of
his horse, as he rode at speed, on the sward, through the moonlight.


CHAPTER XCVII.

The weeks and the months rolled on, and the replies to Vivian's
letters came at last: I foreboded too well their purport. I knew that
my father could not set himself in opposition to the deliberate and
cherished desire of a man who had now arrived at the full strength
of his understanding, and must be left at liberty to make his own
election of the paths of life. Long after that date, I saw Vivian's
letter to my father; and even his conversation had scarcely prepared
me for the pathos of that confession of a mind remarkable alike for
its strength and its weakness. If born in the age, or submitted to
the influences, of religious enthusiasm, here was a nature that,
awaking from sin, could not have been contented with the sober duties
of mediocre goodness--that would have plunged into the fiery depths
of monkish fanaticism--wrestled with the fiend in the hermitage, or
marched barefoot on the infidel, with the sackcloth for armour--the
cross for a sword. Now, the impatient desire for redemption took a more
mundane direction, but with something that seemed almost spiritual in
its fervour. And this enthusiasm flowed through strata of such profound
melancholy! Deny it a vent, and it might sicken into lethargy, or
fret itself into madness--give it the vent, and it might vivify and
fertilise as it swept along.

My father's reply to this letter was what might be expected. It gently
reinforced the old lessons in the distinctions between aspirations
towards the perfecting ourselves--aspirations that are never in
vain--and the morbid passion for applause from others, which shifts
conscience from our own bosoms to the confused Babel of the crowd, and
calls it "fame." But my father, in his counsels, did not seek to oppose
a mind so obstinately bent upon a single course--he sought rather to
guide and strengthen it in the way it should go. The seas of human life
are wide. Wisdom may suggest the voyage, but it must first look to the
condition of the ship, and the nature of the merchandise to exchange.
Not every vessel that sails from Tarshish can bring back the gold of
Ophir; but shall it therefore rot in the harbour? No; give its sails to
the wind!

But I had expected that Roland's letter to his son would have been full
of joy and exultation--joy there was none in it, yet exultation there
might be--though serious, grave, and subdued. In the proud assent that
the old soldier gave to his son's wish, in his entire comprehension of
motives so akin to his own nature--there was yet a visible sorrow; it
seemed even as if he constrained himself to the assent he gave. Not
till I had read it again and again, could I divine Roland's feelings
while he wrote. At this distance of time, I comprehend them well. Had
he sent from his side, into noble warfare, some boy fresh to life, new
to sin, with an enthusiasm pure and single-hearted as his own young
chivalrous ardour--then, with all a soldier's joy, he had yielded a
cheerful tribute to the hosts of England; but here he recognised,
though perhaps dimly, not the frank military fervour, but the stern
desire of expiation--and in that thought he admitted forebodings
that would have been otherwise rejected--so that, at the close of
the letter, it seemed not the fiery war-seasoned Roland that wrote,
but rather some timid, anxious mother. Warnings and entreaties, and
cautions not to be rash, and assurances that the best soldiers were
ever the most prudent--were these the counsels of the fierce veteran,
who, at the head of the forlorn hope, had mounted the wall at ----, his
sword between his teeth!

But, whatever his presentiments, Roland had yielded at once to his
son's prayer--hastened to London at the receipt of his letter--obtained
a commission in a regiment now in active service in India; and that
commission was made out in his son's name. The commission, with an
order to join the regiment as soon as possible, accompanied the letter.

And Vivian, pointing to the name addressed to him, said, "Now, indeed,
I may resume this name, and, next to Heaven, will I hold it sacred! It
shall guide me to glory in life, or my father shall read it, without
shame, on my tomb!" I see him before me, as he stood then--his form
erect, his dark eyes solemn in their light, a serenity in his smile, a
grandeur on his brow, that I had never marked till then! Was that the
same man I had recoiled from as the sneering cynic, shuddered at as the
audacious traitor, or wept over as the cowering outcast? How little
the nobleness of aspect depends on symmetry of feature, or the mere
proportions of form! What dignity robes the man who is filled with a
lofty thought!


CHAPTER XCVIII.

He is gone! he has left a void in my existence. I had grown to love
him so well; I had been so proud when men praised him. My love was a
sort of self-love--I had looked upon him in part as the work of my own
hands. I am a long time ere I can settle back, with good heart, to my
pastoral life. Before my cousin went, we cast up our gains, and settled
our shares. When he resigned the allowance which Roland had made him,
his father secretly gave to me, for his use, a sum equal to that which
I and Guy Bolding brought into the common stock. Roland had raised the
sum upon mortgage; and, while the interest was a trivial deduction
from his income, compared to the former allowance, the capital was
much more useful to his son than a mere yearly payment could have
been. Thus, between us, we had a considerable sum for Australian
settlers--£4500. For the first two years we made nothing; indeed, great
part of the first year was spent in learning our art, at the station of
an old settler. But, at the end of the third year, our flocks having
then become very considerable, we cleared a return beyond my most
sanguine expectations. And when my cousin left, just in the sixth year
of exile, our shares amounted to £4000 each, exclusive of the value of
the two stations. My cousin had, at first, wished that I should forward
his share to his father, but he soon saw that Roland would never take
it; and it was finally agreed that it should rest in my hands, for
me to manage for him, send him out interest at five per cent, and
devote the surplus profits to the increase of his capital. I had now,
therefore, the control of £12,000, and we might consider ourselves very
respectable capitalists. I kept on the cattle station, by the aid of
the Will-o'-the-Wisp, for about two years after Vivian's departure, (we
had then had it altogether for five.) At the end of that time, I sold
it and the stock to great advantage. And the sheep--for the "brand"
of which I had a high reputation--having wonderfully prospered in the
meanwhile, I thought we might safely extend our speculations into new
ventures. Glad, too, of a change of scene, I left Bolding in charge
of the flocks, and bent my course to Adelaide, for the fame of that
new settlement had already disturbed the peace of the Bush. I found
Uncle Jack residing near Adelaide, in a very handsome villa, with all
the signs and appurtenances of colonial opulence; and report, perhaps,
did not exaggerate the gains he had made:--so many strings to his
bow--and each arrow, this time, seemed to have gone straight to the
white of the butts! I now thought I had acquired knowledge and caution
sufficient to avail myself of Uncle Jack's ideas, without ruining
myself by following them out in his company; and I saw a kind of
retributive justice in making his brain minister to the fortunes which
his ideality and constructiveness, according to Squills, had served
so notably to impoverish. I must here gratefully acknowledge, that I
owed much to this irregular genius. The investigation of the supposed
mines had proved unsatisfactory to Mr Bullion; and they were not fairly
discovered till a few years after. But Jack had convinced himself
of their existence, and purchased, on his own account, "for an old
song," some barren land, which he was persuaded would prove to him a
Golconda, one day or other, under the euphonious title (which, indeed,
it ultimately established) of the "Tibbet's Wheal." The suspension of
the mines, however, fortunately suspended the existence of the Grog and
Store Depôt, and Uncle Jack was now assisting in the foundation of Port
Philip. Profiting by his advice, I adventured in that new settlement
some timid and wary purchases, which I resold to considerable
advantage. Meanwhile, I must not omit to state briefly what, since my
departure from England, had been the ministerial career of Trevanion.

That refining fastidiousness,--that scrupulosity of political
conscience, which had characterised him as an independent member,
and often served, in the opinion, both of friend and of foe, to
give the attribute of _general_ impracticability to a mind that, in
all _details_, was so essentially and laboriously practical--might
perhaps have founded Trevanion's reputation as a minister, if he could
have been a minister without colleagues--if, standing alone, and
from the necessary height, he could have placed, clear and single,
before the world, his exquisite honesty of purpose, and the width
of a statesmanship marvellously accomplished and comprehensive. But
Trevanion could not amalgamate with others, nor subscribe to the
discipline of a cabinet in which he was not the chief, especially in a
policy which must have been thoroughly abhorrent to such a nature--a
policy that, of late years, has distinguished not one faction alone,
but has seemed so forced upon the more eminent political leaders, on
either side, that they who take the more charitable view of things
may, perhaps, hold it to arise from the necessity of the age, fostered
by the temper of the public--I mean the policy of _Expediency_.
Certainly not in this book will I introduce the angry elements of party
politics; and how should I know much about them? All that I have to say
is, that, right or wrong, such a policy must have been at war, every
moment, with each principle of Trevanion's statesmanship, and fretted
each fibre of his moral constitution. The aristocratic combinations
which his alliance with the Castleton interest had brought to his aid,
served perhaps to fortify his position in the cabinet; yet aristocratic
combinations were of small avail against what seemed the atmospherical
epidemic of the age. I could see how his situation had preyed on his
mind, when I read a paragraph in the newspapers, "that it was reported,
on good authority, that Mr Trevanion had tendered his resignation,
but had been prevailed upon to withdraw it, as his retirement at that
moment would break up the government." Some months afterwards came
another paragraph, to the effect "that Mr Trevanion was taken suddenly
ill, and that it was feared his illness was of a nature to preclude
his resuming his official labours." Then parliament broke up. Before
it met again, Mr Trevanion was gazetted as Earl of Ulverstone, a title
that had been once in his family--and had left the administration,
unable to encounter the fatigues of office. To an ordinary man, the
elevation to an earldom, passing over the lesser honours in the
peerage, would have seemed no mean close to a political career; but
I felt what profound despair of striving against circumstance for
utility--what entanglements with his colleagues, whom he could neither
conscientiously support, nor, according to his high old-fashioned
notions of party honour and etiquette, energetically oppose--had
driven him to abandon that stormy scene in which his existence had
been passed. The House of Lords, to that active intellect, was as the
retirement of some warrior of old into the cloisters of a convent. The
gazette that chronicled the Earldom of Ulverstone was the proclamation
that Albert Trevanion lived no more for the world of public men. And,
indeed, from that date his career vanished out of sight. Trevanion
died--the Earl of Ulverstone made no sign.

I had hitherto written but twice to Lady Ellinor during my exile--once
upon the marriage of Fanny with Lord Castleton, which took place about
six months after I sailed from England, and again, when thanking her
husband for some rare animals, equine, pastoral, and bovine, which
he had sent as presents to Bolding and myself. I wrote again after
Trevanion's elevation to the peerage, and received in due time a reply,
confirming all my impressions--for it was full of bitterness and gall,
accusations of the world, fears for the country: Richelieu himself
could not have taken a gloomier view of things, when his levees were
deserted, and his power seemed annihilated before the "Day of Dupes."
Only one gleam of comfort appeared to visit Lady Ulverstone's breast,
and thence to settle prospectively over the future of the world--a
second son had been born to Lord Castleton; to that son the earldom
of Ulverstone, and the estates held in right of its countess, would
descend! Never was there a child of such promise! Not Virgil himself,
when he called on the Sicilian Muses to celebrate the advent of a son
to Pollio, ever sounded a loftier strain. Here was one, now perchance
engaged on words of two syllables, called--

        "By labouring nature to sustain
    The nodding frame of heaven, and earth, and main,
    See to their base restored, earth, sea, and air,
    And joyful ages from behind in crowding ranks appear!"

Happy dream which Heaven sends to grandparents! rebaptism of Hope in
the font whose drops sprinkle the grandchild!

Time flies on; affairs continue to prosper. I am just leaving the bank
at Adelaide with a satisfied air, when I am stopped in the street by
bowing acquaintances, who never shook me by the hand before. They shake
me by the hand now, and cry--"I wish you joy, sir. That brave fellow,
your namesake, is of course your near relation."

"What do you mean?"

"Have not you seen the papers? Here they are."

"Gallant conduct of Ensign de Caxton--promoted to a lieutenancy on the
field"--I wipe my eyes, and cry--"Thank Heaven--it is my cousin!" Then
new hand-shakings, new groups gather round. I feel taller by the head
than I was before! We grumbling English, always quarrelling with each
other--the world not wide enough to hold us; and yet, when in the far
land some bold deed is done by a countryman, how we feel that we are
brothers! how our hearts warm to each other! What a letter I wrote home
I and how joyously I went back to the Bush! The Will-o'-the Wisp has
attained to a cattle station of his own. I go fifty miles out of my way
to tell him the news and give him the newspaper; for he knows now that
his old master, Vivian, is a Cumberland man--a Caxton. Poor Will-o'-the
Wisp! The tea that night tasted uncommonly like whisky-punch! Father
Mathew forgive us!--but if you had been a Cumberland man, and heard the
Will-o'-the Wisp roaring out, "Blue bonnets over the Borders," I think
your tea, too, would not have come out of the caddy!


CHAPTER XCIX.

A great change has occurred in our household. Guy's father is dead--his
latter years cheered by the accounts of his son's steadiness and
prosperity, and by the touching proofs thereof which Guy has exhibited.
For he insisted on repaying to his father the old college debts, and
the advance of the £1500, begging that the money might go towards his
sister's portion. Now, after the old gentleman's death, the sister
resolved to come out and live with her dear brother Guy. Another wing
is built to the hut. Ambitious plans for a new stone house, to be
commenced the following year, are entertained; and Guy has brought back
from Adelaide not only a sister, but, to my utter astonishment, a wife,
in the shape of a fair friend, by whom the sister was accompanied. The
young lady did quite right to come to Australia if she wanted to be
married. She was very pretty, and all the beaux in Adelaide were round
her in a moment. Guy was in love the first day--in a rage with thirty
rivals the next--in despair the third--put the question the fourth--and
before the fifteenth was a married man, hastening back with a treasure,
of which he fancied all the world was conspiring to rob him. His sister
was quite as pretty as her friend, and she too had offers enough the
moment she landed--only she was romantic and fastidious, and I fancy
Guy told her that "I was just made for her."

However, charming though she be--with pretty blue eyes, and her
brother's frank smile--I am not enchanted. I fancy she lost all chance
of my heart by stepping across the yard in a pair of silk shoes. If I
were to live in the Bush, give me a wife as a companion who can ride
well, leap over a ditch, walk beside me when I go forth, gun in hand,
for a shot at the kangaroos. But I dare not go on with the list of a
Bush husband's requisites. This change, however, serves, for various
reasons, to quicken my desire of return. Ten years have now elapsed,
and I have already obtained a much larger fortune than I had calculated
to make. Sorely to Guy's honest grief, I therefore wound up our
affairs, and dissolved partnership; for he had decided to pass his life
in the colony--and, with his pretty wife, who has grown very fond of
him, I don't wonder at it. Guy takes my share of the station and stock
off my hands; and, all accounts squared between us, I bid farewell to
the Bush. Despite all the motives that drew my heart homeward, it was
not without participation in the sorrow of my old companions, that I
took leave of those I might never see again on this side the grave.
The meanest man in my employ had grown a friend; and when those hard
hands grasped mine, and from many a breast that once had waged fierce
war with the world came the soft blessing to the Homeward-bound--with
a tender thought for the Old England, that had been but a harsh
step-mother to them--I felt a choking sensation, which I suspect is
little known to the friendships of Mayfair and St James's. I was forced
to get off, with a few broken words, when I had meant to part with
a long speech: perhaps the broken words pleased the audience better.
Spurring away, I gained a little eminence and looked back. There,
were the poor faithful fellows gathered in a ring, watching me--their
hats off--their hands shading their eyes from the sun. And Guy had
thrown himself on the ground, and I heard his loud sobs distinctly.
His wife was leaning over his shoulder, trying to soothe: forgive him,
fair helpmate, you will be all in the world to him--to-morrow! And
the blue-eyed sister, where was she? Had she no tears for the rough
friend who laughed at the silk shoes, and taught her how to hold the
reins, and never fear that the old pony would run away with her? What
matter?--if the tears were shed, they were hidden tears. No shame in
them, fair Ellen--since then, thou hast wept happy tears over thy
first-born--those tears have long ago washed away all bitterness in the
innocent memories of a girl's first fancy.


CHAPTER C.

(DATED FROM ADELAIDE.)

Imagine my wonder--Uncle Jack has just been with me, and--but hear the
dialogue.

UNCLE JACK.--So you are positively going back to that smoky,
fusty, old England, just when you are on your high road to a plumb. A
plumb, sir, at least! They all say there is not a more rising young man
in the colony. I think Bullion would take you into partnership. What
are you in such a hurry for?

PISISTRATUS.--To see my father, and mother, and Uncle Roland,
and----(_was about to name some one else, but stops_.)

You see, my dear uncle, I came out solely with the idea of repairing my
father's losses, in that unfortunate speculation of _The Capitalist_.

UNCLE JACK (_coughs and ejaculates_)--That villain Peck!

PISISTRATUS.--And to have a few thousands to invest in poor
Roland's acres. The object is achieved: why should I stay?

UNCLE JACK.--A few paltry thousands, when in twenty years
more, at the farthest, you would wallow in gold!

PISISTRATUS.--A man learns in the Bush how happy life can be
with plenty of employment, and very little money. I shall practise that
lesson in England.

UNCLE JACK.--Your mind's made up?

PISISTRATUS.--And my place in the chip taken.

UNCLE JACK.--Then there's no more to be said. (_Hums, haws,
and examines his nails--filbert nails, not a speck on them._) Then
suddenly, and jerking up his head. "That '_Capitalist!_' it has been on
my conscience, nephew, ever since; and, somehow or other, since I have
abandoned the cause of my fellow-creatures, I think I have cared more
for my relations."

PISISTRATUS, (_smiling, as he remembers his father's shrewd
predictions thereon_.)--Naturally, my dear uncle: any child who has
thrown a stone into a pond knows that a circle disappears as it widens.

UNCLE JACK.--Very true--I shall make a note of that,
applicable to my next speech, in defence of what they call the
"land monopoly." Thank you--stone--circle! (_Jots down notes in his
pocket-book._) But, to return to the point: I am well off now--I have
neither wife nor child; and I feel that I ought to bear my share in
your father's loss: it was our joint speculation. And your father,
good dear Austin, paid my debts into the bargain. And how cheering the
punch was that night, when your mother wanted to scold poor Jack! And
the £300 Austin lent me when I left him: nephew, that was the remaking
of me--the acorn of the oak I have transplanted. So here they are,
(added Uncle Jack with a heroical effort--and he extracted from the
pocket-book, bills for a sum between three and four thousand pounds.)
There, it is done--and I shall sleep better for it! _(With that Uncle
Jack got up, and bolted out of the room.)_

Ought I to take the money? Why, I think yes!--it is but fair. Jack must
be really rich, and can well spare the money; besides, if he wants it
again, I know my father will let him have it. And, indeed, Jack caused
the loss of the whole sum lost on _The Capitalist, &c._; and this is
not quite the half of what my father paid away. But is it not fine in
Uncle Jack! Well, my father was quite right in his milder estimate of
Jack's scalene conformation, and it is hard to judge of a man when he
is needy and down in the world. When one grafts one's ideas on one's
neighbour's money, they are certainly not so grand as when they spring
from one's own.

UNCLE JACK, (_popping his head into the room_.)--And you see,
you can double that money if you will just leave it in my hands for a
couple of years,--you have no notion what I shall make of the Tibbet's
Wheal! Did I tell you?--the German was quite right,--I have been
offered already seven times the sum which I gave for the land. But I am
now looking out for a Company: let me put you down for shares to the
amount at least of those trumpery bills. Cent per cent,--I guarantee
cent per cent! (_And Uncle Jack stretches out those famous smooth hands
of his, with a tremulous motion of the ten eloquent fingers._)

PISISTRATUS.--Ah, my dear uncle, if you repent----

UNCLE JACK.--Repent! when I offer you cent per cent, on my
personal guarantee!

PISISTRATUS, (_carefully putting the bills into his breast
coat-pocket_.) Then, if you don't repent, my dear uncle, allow me
to shake you by the hand, and say that I will not consent to lessen
my esteem and admiration for the high principle which prompts this
restitution, by confounding it with trading associations of loans,
interests, and copper mines. And, you see, since this sum is paid to my
father, I have no right to invest it without his permission.

UNCLE JACK, (_with emotion_.)--"Esteem, admiration, high
principle!"--these are pleasant words, from you, nephew.--(_Then
shaking his head and smiling._) You sly dog! you are quite right: get
the bills cashed at once. And hark ye, sir, just keep out of my way,
will you?--and don't let me coax you out of a farthing! (_Uncle Jack
slams the door, and rushes out. Pisistratus draws the bills warily
from his pocket, half-suspecting they must already have turned into
withered leaves, like fairy money; slowly convinces himself that the
bills are good bills, and by lively gestures testifies his delight and
astonishment._) SCENE CHANGES.



AUTOBIOGRAPHY--CHATEAUBRIAND'S MEMOIRS.[3]


Autobiography, when skilfully and judiciously done, is one of the
most delightful species of composition of which literature can boast.
There is a strong desire in every intelligent and well-informed mind
to be made acquainted with the private thoughts, and secret motives
of action, of those who have filled the world with their renown. We
long to learn their early history, to be made acquainted with their
first aspirations--to learn how they became so great as they afterwards
turned out. Perhaps literature has sustained no greater loss than that
of the memoirs which Hannibal wrote of his life and campaigns. From
the few fragments of his sayings which Roman admiration or terror has
preserved, his reach of thought and statesmanlike sagacity would appear
to have been equal to his military talents. Cæsar's _Commentaries_
have always been admired; but there is some doubts whether they really
were written by the dictator; and, supposing they were, they relate
almost entirely to military movements and public events, without giving
much insight into private character. It is that which we desire in
autobiography: we hope to find in it a window by which we may look into
a great man's mind. Plutarch's _Lives_ owe their vast and enduring
popularity to the insight into private character which the innumerable
anecdotes he has collected, of the heroes and statesmen of antiquity,
afford.

Gibbon's autobiography is the most perfect account of an eminent man's
life, from his own hand, which exists in any language. Independent
of the interest which naturally belongs to it as the record of the
studies, and the picture of the growth of the mind of the greatest
historian of modern times, it possesses a peculiar charm from the
simplicity with which it is written, and the judgment it displays,
conspicuous alike in what is revealed and what is withheld in the
narrative. It steers the middle channel so difficult to find, so
invaluable when found, between ridiculous vanity on the one side, and
affected modesty on the other. We see, from many passages in it, that
the author was fully aware of the vast contribution he had made to
literature, and the firm basis on which he had built his colossal fame.
But he had good sense enough to see, that those great qualities were
never so likely to impress the reader as when only cautiously alluded
to by the author. He knew that vanity and ostentation never fall to
make the character in which they predominate ridiculous--if excessive,
contemptible; and that, although the world would thankfully receive
all the details, how minute soever, connected with his immortal work,
they would not take off his hands any symptom of his own entertaining
the opinion of it which all others have formed. It is the consummate
judgment with which Gibbon has given enough of the details connected
with the preparation of his works to be interesting, and not enough to
be ridiculous, which constitutes the great charm, and has occasioned
the marked success, of his autobiography. There are few passages in
the English language so popular as the well-known ones in which he has
recounted the first conception, and final completion of his history,
which, as models of the kind, as well as passages of exquisite beauty,
we cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of transcribing, the more
especially as they will set off, by way of contrast, the faults in some
parallel passages attempted by Chateaubriand and Lamartine.

    "At the distance of twenty-five years, I can neither forget nor
    express the strong emotions which agitated my mind as I first
    approached and entered the Eternal City. After a sleepless
    night, I trod with a lofty step the ruins of the Forum. Each
    memorable spot--where Romulus stood, or Tully spoke, or Cæsar
    fell--was at once present to my eyes; and several days of
    intoxication were lost, or enjoyed, before I could descend to
    a cool and minute investigation. It was at Rome, on the 15th
    October 1764, as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol,
    while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple
    of Jupiter, that the idea of writing this Decline and Fall of
    the city first started to my mind. But my original plan was
    circumscribed to the decay of the city, rather than of the
    empire; and though my reading and reflections began to point
    towards that object, some years elapsed, and several avocations
    intervened, before I was seriously engaged in the execution of
    that laborious work."--(_Life_, p. 198, 8vo edition.)

Again, the well-known description of the conclusion of his labours:--

    "I have presumed to mark the moment of conception: I shall now
    commemorate the hour of my final deliverance. It was on the
    day, or rather night, of the 27th June 1787, between the hours
    of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last
    page, in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my
    pen, I took several turns in a _berceau_, or covered walk of
    acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake,
    and mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the
    silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all
    nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of
    joy on recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of
    my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy
    was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had taken an
    everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion; and that,
    whatever might be the future fate of my History, the life of
    the historian must be short and precarious."--(_Life_, p. 255,
    8vo edition.)

Hume's account of his own life is a model of perspicuity, modesty,
and good sense; but it is so brief that it scarcely can be called a
biography. It is not fifty pages long. The wary Scotch author was well
aware how vanity in such compositions defeats its own object: he had
too much good sense to let it appear in his pages. Perhaps, however,
the existence of such a feeling in the recesses of his breast may
be detected in the prominent manner in which he brings forward the
discouragement he experienced when the first volume of his history was
published, and the extremely limited sale it met with for some time
after its first appearance. He knew well how these humble beginnings
would be contrasted with its subsequent triumphant success. Amidst
his many great and good qualities, there is none for which Sir Walter
Scott was more admirable than the unaffected simplicity and good sense
of his character, which led him to continue through life utterly
unspotted by vanity, and unchanged by an amount of adulation from the
most fascinating quarters, which would probably have turned the head
of any other man. Among the many causes of regret which the world has
for the catastrophes which overshadowed his latter years, it is not the
least that it prevented the completion of that autobiography with which
Mr Lockhart has commenced his _Life_. His simplicity of character,
and the vast number of eminent men with whom he was intimate, as well
as the merit of that fragment itself, leave no room for doubt that he
would have made a most charming memoir, if he had lived to complete
it. This observation does not detract in the slightest degree from
the credit justly due to Mr Lockhart, for his admirable _Life_ of
his illustrious father-in-law: on the contrary, it forms its highest
encomium. The charm of that work is mainly owing to its being so embued
with the spirit of the subject, that it may almost be regarded as an
autobiography.

Continental writers of note have, more than English ones,
fallen into that error which is of all others the most fatal in
autobiography--inordinate vanity. At the head of all the delinquents
of this class we must place Rousseau, whose celebrated _Confessions_
contain a revelation of folly so extreme, vanity so excessive, and
baseness so disgraceful, that it would pass for incredible if not
proved by the book itself, which is to be found in every library. Not
content with affirming, when past fifty, that there was no woman of
fashion of whom he might not have made the conquest if he chose to
set about it,[4] he thought fit to entertain the world with all the
private details of his life, which the greater prudence of his most
indiscreet biographers would have consigned to oblivion. No one who
wishes to discredit the Genevese philosopher, need seek in the works
of others for the grounds of doing so. Enough is to be found in his
own to consign him to eternal execration and contempt. He has told us
equally in detail, and with the same air of infantine simplicity, how
he committed a theft when in service as a lackey, and permitted an
innocent girl, his fellow-servant, to bear the penalty of it; how he
alternately drank the wine in his master's cellars, and made love to
his wife; how he corrupted one female benefactress who had sheltered
him in extremity of want, and afterwards made a boast of her disgrace;
and abandoned a male benefactor who fell down in a fit of apoplexy on
the streets of Lyons, and left him lying on the pavement, deserted
by the only friend whom he had in the world. The author of so many
eloquent declamations against mothers neglecting their children, on
his own admission, when in easy circumstances, and impelled by no
necessity, consigned _five_ of his natural children to a foundling
hospital, with such precautions against their being known that he never
did or could hear of them again! Such was his vanity, that he thought
the world would gladly feed on the crumbs of this sort which fell from
the table of the man rich in genius. His grand theory was that the
human mind is born innocent, with dispositions only to good, and that
all the evils of society arise from the follies of education or the
oppression of government. Judging from the picture he has presented
of himself, albeit debased by no education but what he himself had
afforded, we should say his disposition was more corrupt than has even
been imagined by the most dark-minded and bigoted Calvinist that ever
existed.

Alfieri was probably as vain in reality as Rousseau; but he knew better
how to conceal it. He had not the folly of supposing that he could
entertain women by the boastful detail of his conquests over them. He
judged wisely, and more like a man who had met with _bonnes fortunes_,
that he would attain more effectually the object of interesting their
feelings, by painting their conquests over him. He has done this so
fully, so sincerely, and with such eloquence, that he has made one
of the most powerful pieces of biography in any language. Its charm
consists in the picture he has drawn, with equal truth and art, of
a man of the most impetuous and ardent temperament, alternately
impelled by the strongest passions which can agitate the breast--love
and ambition. Born of a noble family, inheriting a great fortune, he
exhibited an uncommon combination of patrician tastes and feelings
with republican principles and aspirations. He was a democrat because
he knew the great by whom he was surrounded, and did not know the
humble who were removed to a distance. He said this himself, after
witnessing at Paris the horrors of the 10th August.--"Je connais bien
les grands, _mais je ne connais pas les petits_." He drew the vices
of the former from observation, he painted the virtues of the latter
from imagination. Hence the absurdity and unnatural character of many
of his dramas, which, to the inhabitant of our free country, who is
familiar with the real working of popular institutions, renders them,
despite their genius, quite ridiculous. But, in the delineation of
what passed in his own breast, he is open to no such reproach. His
picture of his own feelings is as forcible and dramatic as that of any
he has drawn in his tragedies; and it is far more truthful, for it is
taken from nature, not an imaginary world of his own creation, having
little resemblance to that we see around us. His character and life
were singularly calculated to make such a narrative interesting, for
never was one more completely tossed about by vehement passions, and
abounding with melodramatic incidents. Alternately dreaming over the
most passionate attachments, and labouring of his own accord at Dante
fourteen hours a-day; at one time making love to an English nobleman's
wife, and fighting him in the Park, at another driving through
France with fourteen blood horses in harness; now stealing from the
Pretender his queen, now striving to emulate Sophocles in the energy
of his picture of the passions, he was himself a living example of the
intensity of those feelings which he has so powerfully portrayed in his
dramas. It is this variety, joined to the simplicity and candour of
the confessions, which constitutes the charm of this very remarkable
autobiography. It could have been written by no one but himself; for
an ordinary biographer would only have described the incidents of his
life, none else could have painted the vehement passions, the ardent
aspirations, from which they sprang.

From the sketches of Goethe's life which have been preserved, it is
evident that, though probably not less vain than the French philosopher
or the Italian poet, his vanity took a different direction from either
of theirs. He was neither vain of his turpitudes, like Rousseau, nor
of his passions, like Alfieri. His self-love was of a more domestic
kind; it partook more of the home-scenes of the Fatherland. No one
will question the depth of Goethe's knowledge of the heart, or the
sagacity of the light which his genius has thrown on the most profound
feelings of human nature. But his private life partook of the domestic
affections and unobtrusive rest in which it was passed, exempt alike
from the grinding poverty which too often impelled the Genevese
watchmaker's son into disgraceful actions, or the vehement passions
which drove the Italian nobleman into brilliant crimes. Hence his
biography exhibits an extraordinary mixture of lofty feelings with
puerile simplicity, of depth of views with childishness, of divine
philosophy with homely inclinations. Amidst all his enthusiasm and
effusions of sentiment, he was as much under the influence as any man
of creature comforts; and never hesitated to leave the most lofty
efforts of the muse, to participate in the substantial advantages
of rich preserves or sweet cakes. This singular mixture arose in a
great measure from the habits of his life, and the limited circle
by which, during the greater part of it, he was surrounded. Living
with a few friends in the quiet seclusion of a small German town, the
object of almost superstitious admiration to a few females by whom he
was surrounded, he became at once a little god of his own and their
idolatry, and warmly inclined, like monks all over the world, to the
innocent but not very elevating pleasures of breakfast and dinner.
Mahomet said that he experienced more difficulty in persuading his four
wives of his divine mission, than all the rest of the world besides;
and this, says Gibbon, was not surprising, for they knew best his
weaknesses as a man. Goethe thought, on the same principle, his fame
was secure, when he was worshipped as a god by his female coterie. He
had the highest opinion of his own powers, and of the lofty mission
on which he was sent to mankind; but his self-love was less offensive
than that of Rousseau, because it was more unobtrusive. It was allied
rather to pride than vanity--and though pride may often be hateful, it
is never contemptible.

From the _Life of Lord Byron_ which Moore has published, it may be
inferred that the latter acted wisely in consigning the original
manuscript of the noble poet's autobiography to the flames. Assuming
that a considerable part of that biography is taken from what the noble
bard had left of himself, it is evident that a more complete detail of
his feelings and motives of action would have done anything rather than
have added to his reputation. In fact, Moore's _Life_ has done more
than anything else to lower it. The poetical biographer had thought and
sung so much of the passions, that he had forgot in what light they
are viewed by the generality of men; he was so deeply imbued with the
spirit of his hero, that he had come to regard his errors and vices as
not the least interesting part of his life. That they may be so to that
class of readers, unhappily too extensive, who are engaged in similar
pursuits, is probably true; but how small a portion do these constitute
of the human race, and how weak and inaudible is their applause when
compared to the voice of ages! What has become of the innumerable
licentious works whose existence in antiquity has become known from
the specimens disinterred in the ruins of Herculaneum? Is there one of
them which has taken its place beside the _Lives of Plutarch_? Whatever
is fetid, however much prized at the moment, is speedily sunk in the
waves of time. Nothing permanently floats down its stream but what is
buoyant from its elevating tendency.

Boswell's _Life of Johnson_ is so replete with the sayings and thoughts
of the intellectual giant, whom it was so much his object to elevate,
even above his natural Patagonian stature, that it may be regarded
as a sort of autobiography, dictated by the sage in his moments of
_abandon_ to his devout worshipper. It is hardly going too far to say
that it is the most popular book in the English language. Johnson's
reputation now mainly rests on that biography. No one now reads the
_Rambler_ or the _Idler_--few the _Lives of the Poets_, interesting as
they are, and admirable as are the criticisms on our greatest authors
which they contain. But Boswell's _Life of Johnson_ is in everybody's
hands; you will hear the pithy sayings, the admirable reflections,
the sagacious remarks it contains, from one end of the world to the
other. The secret of this astonishing success is to be found in the
caustic tone, sententious brevity, and sterling good sense of Johnson,
and the inimitable accuracy, faithful memory, and almost infantine
simplicity of his biographer. From the unbounded admiration with which
he was inspired for the sage, and the faithful memory with which he
was gifted, he was enabled to commit to paper, almost as they were
delivered, those admirable sayings which have ever since been the
delight and admiration of the world. We almost live with the members
of the Literary Club; we hear their divers sentiments, and can almost
conceive their tones of voice. We see the gigantic form of the sage
towering above his intellectual compeers. Burke said that Johnson was
greater in conversation than writing, and greater in Boswell than
either; and it is easy to conceive that this must have been the case.
The _Life_ contains all the admirable sayings, _verbatim_ as they were
delivered, and without the asperity of tone and manner which formed
so great a blot in the original deliverer. Johnson's sayings were of
a kind which were susceptible of being accurately transferred, and
with full effect, to paper, because they were almost all reflections
on morals, men, or manners, which are of universal application, and
come home to the senses of mankind in every age. In this respect they
were much more likely to produce an impression in biography than the
conversation of Sir Walter Scott, which, however charming to those who
heard it, consisted chiefly of anecdotes and stories, great part of the
charm of which consisted in the mode of telling and expression of the
countenance, which, of course, could not be transferred to paper.

But it is not every eminent man who is so fortunate as to find a
biographer like Boswell, who, totally forgetful of self, recorded for
posterity with inimitable fidelity all the sayings of his hero. Nor
is it many men who would bear so faithful and searching an exposure.
Johnson, like every other man, had his failings; but they were those of
prejudice or manner, rather than morals or conduct. We wish we could
say that every other eminent literary man was equally immaculate, or
that an entire disclosure of character would in every case reveal
no more weaknesses or failings than have been brought to light by
Boswell's faithful chronicle. We know that every one is liable to err,
and that no man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre. But being aware of
all this, we were not prepared for the immense mass of weaknesses,
follies, and errors, which have been brought to light by the indiscreet
zeal of biographers, in the character of many of our ablest literary,
poetical, and philosophical characters. Certainly, if we look at the
details of their private lives, these men of literary celebrity have
had little title to set up as the instructors, or to call themselves
the benefactors of mankind. From the days of Milton, whose divine
genius was so deeply tarnished by the asperity of his feelings, and
the unpardonable license in controversy which he permitted to his
tongue, to those of Lord Byron, who scandalised his country and the
world by the undisguised profligacy of his private life, the biography
of literary men, with a few brilliant exceptions,--in the foremost
of which we must place Sir Walter Scott--consists in great part of a
series of follies, weaknesses, or faults, which it would be well for
their memory could they be buried in oblivion. We will not say that the
labours of their biographers have been the _Massacre of the Innocents_,
for truly there were very few innocents to massacre; but we will say
that they have, in general, done more to degrade those they intended
to elevate, than the envenomed hostility of their worst enemies. We
forbear to mention names, which might give pain to many respectable
persons still alive. The persons alluded to, and the truth of the
observation, will be at once understood and admitted by every person
acquainted with the literary history of France and England during the
last century.

Vanity and jealousy--vanity of themselves, jealousy of others--are
the great failings which have hitherto tarnished the character and
disfigured the biography of literary men. We fear it is destined
to continue the same to the end of the world. The qualities which
contribute to their greatness, which occasion their usefulness, which
insure their fame, are closely allied to failings which too often
disfigure their private lives, and form a blot on their memory,
when indiscreetly revealed in biography, either by themselves or
others. Genius is almost invariably united to susceptibility; and
this temperament is unhappily too apt to run into irritability. No
one can read D'Israeli's essay on _The Literary Character_, the most
admirable of his many admirable works, without being convinced of
that. Celebrity of any sort is the natural parent of vanity, and this
weakness is in a peculiar manner fostered in poets and romance writers,
because their writings interest so warmly the fair, who form the great
dispensers of general fame, and convey it in the most flattering form
to the author. It would perhaps be unjust to women to say that poets
and novelists share in their weaknesses; but it is certain that their
disposition is, in general, essentially feminine, and that, as they
attract the admiration of the other sex more strongly than any other
class of writers, so they are liable in a peculiar degree to the
failings, as well as distinguished by the excellencies, by which their
female admirers are characterised. We may regret that it is so: we may
lament that we cannot find poets and romancers, who to the genius of
Byron, or the fancy of Moore, unite the sturdy sense of Johnson, or
the simplicity of character of Scott; but it is to be feared such a
combination is as rare, and as little to be looked for in general life,
as the union of the strength of the war-horse to the fleetness of the
racer, or the courage of the mastiff to the delicacy of the greyhound.
Adam Smith long ago pointed out the distinction between those who serve
and those who amuse mankind; and the difference, it is to be feared,
exists not merely between the philosopher and the opera-dancer, but
between the instructors of men in every department of thought, and
those whose genius is devoted rather to the pleasing of the eye, the
melting of the feelings, or the kindling of the imagination. Yet this
observation is only generally, not universally, true; and Sir Joshua
Reynolds remains a memorable proof that it is possible for an artist
to unite the highest genius and most imaginative power of mind to the
wisdom of a philosopher, the liberality of a gentleman, the benevolence
of a Christian, and the simplicity of a child.

We are not at all surprised at the intoxication which seizes the
literary men and artists whose genius procures for them the favour
or admiration of women. Everybody knows it is the most fascinating
and transporting flattery which the mind of man can receive. But we
confess we are surprised, and that too not a little, at the _want of
sense_ which so frequently makes men even of the highest abilities mar
the influence of their own genius, and detract from the well-earned
celebrity of their own productions, by the indiscreet display of
this vanity, which the applause they have met with has produced in
their minds. These gentlemen are charmed with the incense they have
received, and of course desirous to augment it, and extend the circle
from which it is to be drawn. Well, that is their object; let us
consider what means they take to gain it. These consist too often
in the most undisguised display of vanity in their conduct, manner,
and conversation. Is this the way likely to augment the admiration
which they enjoy so much, and are so solicitous to extend? Are they
not clear-sighted enough to see, that, holding this to be their aim,
considering female admiration as the object of their aspirations, they
cannot in any way so effectually mar their desires as by permitting
the vanity, which the portion of it they have already received has
produced, to appear in their manner or conversation? Are they so
little versed in the female heart, as not to know that as self-love
acts, if not in a stronger at least in a more conspicuous way in
them than in the other sex, so there is nothing which repels them so
effectually as any display of that vanity in men which they are all
conscious of in themselves, and nothing attracts them so powerfully
as that self-forgetfulness, which, estimable in all, is in a peculiar
manner graceful and admirable when it is met with in those whom none
others can forget? Such a quality is not properly modesty--that is
the retiring disposition of those who have not yet won distinction.
No man who has done so is ignorant of it, as no woman of beauty is
insensible to her charms. It is more nearly allied to good sense, and
its invariable concomitant--a due regard for the feelings of others.
It not unfrequently exists, in the highest degree, in those who have
the strongest inward consciousness of the services they have rendered
to mankind. No man was more unassuming than Kepler, but he wrote in
reference to his great discoveries, and the neglect they at first met
with, "I may well be a century without a reader, since God Almighty
has been six thousand years without such an observer as me." Yet is
this universally felt to have been no unworthy effusion of vanity,
but a noble expression of great services rendered by one of his most
gifted creatures to the glory of the Almighty. Such men as Kepler are
proud, but not vain, and proud men do not bring their feelings so
prominently or frequently forward as vain ones; for pride rests on the
consciousness of superiority, and needs no external support; vanity
arises from a secret sense of weakness, and thirsts for a perpetual
solace from the applause of others.

It is in the French writers that this inordinate weakness of literary
men is most conspicuous, and in them it exists to such an extent
as, on this side of the Channel, to be altogether ridiculous. Every
Frenchman thinks his life worth recording. It was long ago said that
the number of unpublished memoirs which exist in France, on the war
of the League, would, if put together, form a large library. If those
relating to the war of the Revolution were accumulated, we have no
doubt they would fill the _Bibliothèque du Roi_. The number already
published exceeds almost the dimensions of any private collection of
books. The composition and style of these memoirs is for the most part
as curious, and characteristic of French character, as their number is
descriptive of their ruling passion. In the age of the religious wars,
every writer of memoirs seems to have placed himself in the first rank,
Henry IV. in the second; in that of the Revolution, the greater part
of the autobiographies scarcely disguise the opinion, that, if the
first place must be reluctantly conceded to Napoleon Buonaparte, the
second must, beyond all question, be assigned to themselves. The Abbé
de Pradt expressed the feeling almost every one entertained of himself
in France, not the sentiment of an individual man, when he said, "There
was one who overturned Napoleon, and that man was me." Most persons in
this country will exclaim, that this statement is overcharged, and that
it is incredible that vanity should so generally pervade the writers
of a whole nation. If they will take the trouble to read Lamartine's
_Confidences_ and _Raphael_, containing the events of his youth, or his
_Histoire de la Révolution de 1848_, recently published, they will find
ample confirmation of these remarks; nor are they less conspicuously
illustrated by the more elaborate _Mémoires d'Outre Tombe_ of
Chateaubriand, the name of which is prefixed to this essay.

One thing is very remarkable, and forcibly illustrates the marked
difference, in this respect, between the character of the French
and the English nation. In France all memoirs assume the form of
autobiographies: and so general is the thirst for that species of
composition that, where a man of any note has not compiled his own
life, his papers are put into the hands of some skilful bookmaker, who
speedily dresses them up, in the form of an attractive autobiography.
This was done with the papers of Brissot, Robespierre, Marshal Ney,
Fouché, and a great many others, all of which appeared with the name
of their authors, and richly stored with these private papers, though
it was morally certain that they could not by possibility have written
their own lives. In England nothing of the kind is attempted. Scarcely
any of the eminent men in the last age have left their own memoirs; and
the papers of the most remarkable of them have been published without
any attempt at biography. Thus we have the _Wellington Papers_, the
_Marlborough Papers_, the _Nelson Papers_, the _Castlereagh Papers_,
published without any autobiography, and only a slight sketch, though
in all these cases very ably done, of the author's life by their
editor. The lives of the other eminent men of the last age have been
given by others, not themselves: as that of Pitt, by Tomline and
Gifford; that of Fox, by Trotter; that of Sheridan, by Moore; that of
Lord Eldon, by Twiss; that of Lord Sidmouth, by Pellew. There is more
here than an accidental diversity: there is a difference arising from a
difference of national character. The Englishmen devoted their lives to
the public service, and bestowed not a thought on its illustration by
themselves; the French mainly thought of themselves when acting in the
public service, and considered it mainly as a means of elevation and
self-laudation to themselves.

In justice to the literary men of France, however, it must be stated
that, of late years at least, they have been exposed to an amount of
temptation, and of food for their self-love, much exceeding anything
previously seen among men, and which may go far to account for the
extraordinary vanity which they have everywhere evinced. In England,
literary distinction is neither the only nor the greatest passport
to celebrity. Aristocratic influences remain, and still possess the
deepest hold of the public mind: statesmen exist, whose daily speeches
in parliament render their names as household words. Fashion exercises
an extraordinary and almost inexplicable sway, especially over the
fairest part of creation. How celebrated soever an author may be,
he will in London soon be brought to his proper level, and a right
appreciation of his situation. He will see himself at once eclipsed by
an old nobleman, whose name is fraught with historic glory; by a young
marquis, who is an object of solicitude to the mothers and daughters
in the room; by a parliamentary orator, who is beginning to acquire
distinction in the senate house. We hold this state of things to be
eminently favourable to the right character of literary men; for it
saves them from trials before which, it is all but certain, both their
good sense and their virtue would succumb. But in Paris this salutary
check upon individual vanity and presumption is almost entirely
awanting. The territorial aristocracy is confiscated and destroyed;
titles of honour are abolished; historic names are almost forgotten
in the ceaseless whirl of present events; parliamentary orators are
in general unpopular, for they are for the most part on the side of
power. Nothing remains but the government of mind. The intellectual
aristocracy is all in all.

It makes and unmakes kings alternately; produces and stops revolutions,
at one time calls a new race to the throne, at another consigns them
with disgrace to foreign lands. Cabinets are formed out of the editors
of newspapers, intermingled with a few bankers, whom the public
convulsions have not yet rendered insolvent; prime ministers are to
be found only among successful authors. Thiers, the editor of the
_National_ and the historian of the Revolution; Guizot, the profound
professor of history; Villemain, the eloquent annalist of French
literature; Lamartine, the popular traveller, poet, and historian,
have been the alternate prime ministers of France since the revolution
of 1830. Even the great name of Napoleon cannot save his nephew from
the irksomeness of bending to the same necessity. He named Thiers
his prime minister at the time of the Boulogne misadventure, he is
caressing him now in the salons of the Elysée Bourbon. Successful
authors thus in France are surrounded with a halo, and exposed to
influences, of which in this country we cannot form a conception. They
unite in their persons the fame of Mr Fox and the lustre of Sir Walter
Scott: often the political power of Mr Pitt with the celebrity of Lord
Byron. Whether such a concentration is favourable either to their
present utility or lasting fame, and whether the best school to train
authors to be the instructors of the world is to be found in that which
exposes them to the combined influence of its greatest temptations,
are questions on which it is not necessary now to enter, but on which
posterity will probably have no difficulty in coming to a conclusion.

But while we fully admit that these extraordinary circumstances,
unparalleled in the past history of the world, go far to extenuate
the blame which must be thrown on the French writers for their
extraordinary vanity, they will not entirely exculpate them. Ordinary
men may well be carried away by such adventitious and flattering
marks of their power; but we cannot accept such an excuse from the
first men of the age--men of the clearest intellect, and the greatest
acquisitions--whose genius is to charm, whose wisdom is to instruct the
world through every succeeding age. If the teachers of men are not to
be above the follies and weaknesses which are general and ridiculous in
those of inferior capacity, where are we to look for such an exemption?
It is a poor excuse for the overweening vanity of a Byron, a Goethe, a
Lamartine, or a Chateaubriand, that a similar weakness is to be found
in a Madame Grisi or a Mademoiselle Cerito, in the first cantatrice or
most admired ballerina of the day. We all know that the professors of
these charming arts are too often intoxicated by the applause which
they meet with; we excuse or overlook this weakness from respect due
to their genius and their sex. But we know, at the same time, that
there are some exceptions to the general frailty; and in one enchanting
performer, our admiration for talents of the very highest order is
enhanced by respect for the simplicity of character and generosity of
disposition with which they are accompanied. We might desiderate in the
men who aspire to direct the thoughts of the world, and have received
from nature talents equal to the task, the unaffected singleness of
heart, and sterling good sense, which we admire, not less than her
admirable powers, in Mademoiselle Jenny Lind.

The faults, or rather frailties, we have alluded to, are in an especial
manner conspicuous in two of the most remarkable writers of France of
the present century--Lamartine and Chateaubriand. There is some excuse
for the vanity of these illustrious men. They have both acquired an
enduring fame--their names are known all over the world, and will
continue to be so while the French language is spoken on the earth; and
they have both, by their literary talents, been elevated to positions
far beyond the rank in society to which they were born, and which might
well make an ordinary head reel from the giddy precipices with which it
is surrounded. Chateaubriand powerfully aided in crushing Napoleon in
1814, when Europe in arms surrounded Paris: with still more honourable
constancy he resisted him in 1804, when, in the plenitude of his power,
he executed the Duke d'Enghien. He became ambassador to London for
the Restoration--minister of foreign affairs, and representative of
France at the Congress of Verona. He it was who projected and carried
into execution the French invasion of the Peninsula in 1823, the only
successful expedition of the Restoration. Lamartine's career, if
briefer, has been still more dazzling. He aided largely in the movement
which overthrew Louis Philippe; by the force of his genius he obtained
the mastery of the movement, "struggled with democracy when it was
strongest, and ruled it when it was wildest;" and had the glory, by his
single courage and energy, of saving the character of the revolution
from bloodshed, and coercing the Red Republicans in the very tumult
of their victory. He has since fallen from power, less from any known
delinquencies imputed to him, than from the inherent fickleness of
the French people, and the impossibility of their submitting, for any
length of time, to the lead of a single individual. The autobiography
of two such men cannot be other than interesting and instructive in the
highest degree; and if we see in them much which we in England cannot
altogether understand, and which we are accustomed to stigmatise with
the emphatic epithet "French," there is much also in them which candour
must respect, and an equitable spirit admire.

The great thing which characterises these memoirs, and is sufficient
to redeem a multitude of vanities and frailties, is the elevated and
chivalrous spirit in which they are composed. In this respect they are
a relic, we fear, of the olden time; a remnant of those ancient days
which Mr Burke has so eloquently described in his portrait of Marie
Antoinette. That is the spirit which pervades the breasts of these
illustrious men; and therefore it is that we respect them, and forgive
or forget many weaknesses which would otherwise be insupportable in
their autobiographies. It is a spirit, however, more akin to a former
era than the present; to the age which produced the crusades, more than
that which gave birth to railways; to the days of Godfrey of Bouillon,
rather than those which raised a monument to Mr Hudson. We are by no
means convinced, however, that it is not the more likely to be enduring
in the future ages of the world; at least we are sure it will be so, if
the sanguine anticipations everywhere formed, by the apostles of the
movement of the future improvement of the species, are destined in any
degree to be realised.

Although, however, the hearts of Chateaubriand and Lamartine are
stamped with the impress of chivalry, and the principal charm of their
writings is owing to its generous spirit, yet we should err greatly
if we imagined that they have not shared in the influences of the age
in which they lived, and become largely imbued with the more popular
and equalising notions which have sprung up in Europe during the last
century. They could not have attained the _political_ power which they
have both wielded if they had not done so; for no man, be his genius
what it may, will ever acquire a practical lead among men unless his
opinions coincide in the main with those of the majority by whom he
is surrounded. Chateaubriand's earliest work, written in London in
1793--the _Essai Historique_--is, in truth, rather of a republican and
sceptical tendency; and it was not till he had travelled in America,
and inhaled a nobler spirit amid the solitudes of nature, that the
better parts of his nature regained their ascendency, and his fame
was established on an imperishable foundation by the publication of
_Atala et René_, and the _Génie du Christianisme_. Throughout his
whole career, the influence of his early liberal principles remained
conspicuous: albeit a royalist, he was the steady supporter of the
freedom of the press and the extension of the elective suffrage; and
he kept aloof from the government of Louis Philippe less from aversion
to the semi-revolutionary spirit in which it was cradled, than from an
honourable fidelity to misfortune and horror at the selfish corrupt
multitude by which it was soon surrounded. Lamartine's republican
principles are universally known: albeit descended of a noble family,
and largely imbued with feudal feelings, he aided in the revolt which
overturned the throne of Louis Philippe in February 1848, and acquired
lasting renown by the courage with which he combated the sanguinary
spirit of the Red Republicans, when minister of foreign affairs. Both
are chivalrous in heart and feeling, rather than opinions; and they
thus exhibit curious and instructive instances of the fusions of the
moving principle of the olden time with the ideas of the present, and
of the manner in which the true spirit of nobility, _forgetfulness of
self_, can accommodate itself to the varying circumstances of society,
and float, from its buoyant tendency, on the surface of the most fetid
stream of subsequent selfishness.

In two works recently published by Lamartine, _Les Confidences_ and
_Raphael_, certain passages in his autobiography are given. The
first recounts the reminiscences of his infancy and childhood; the
second, a love-story in his twentieth year. Both are distinguished
by the peculiarities, in respect of excellences and defects, which
appear in his other writings. On the one hand we have an ardent
imagination, great beauty of language, a generous heart--the true
spirit of poetry--and uncommon pictorial powers. On the other, an
almost entire ignorance of human nature, extraordinary vanity, and that
susceptibility of mind which is more nearly allied to the feminine,
than the masculine character. Not but that Lamartine possesses great
energy and courage: his conduct, during the revolution of 1848,
demonstrates that he possesses these qualities in a very high degree;
but that the ardour of his feelings leads him to act and think like
women, from their impulse rather than the sober dictates of reason.
He is a devout optimist, and firm believer in the innocence of human
nature, and indefinite perfectibility of mankind, under the influence
of republican institutions. Like all other fanatics, he is wholly
inaccessible to the force of reason, and altogether beyond the reach of
facts, how strong or convincing soever. Accordingly, he remains to this
hour entirely convinced of the perfectibility of mankind, although he
has recounted, with equal truth and force, that it was almost entirely
owing to his own courage and energy that the revolution was prevented,
in its very outset, from degenerating into bloodshed and massacre;
and a thorough believer in the ultimate sway of pacific institutions,
although he owns that, despite all his zeal and eloquence, the whole
provisional government, with himself at its head, would on the 16th
April have been guillotined or thrown into the Seine, but for the
determination and fidelity of three battalions of the _Garde Mobile_,
whom Changarnier volunteered to arrange in all the windows and avenues
of the Hotel de Ville, when assailed by a column of thirty thousand
furious revolutionists.

Chateaubriand is more a man of the world than Lamartine. He has passed
through a life of greater vicissitudes, and been much more frequently
brought into contact with men in all ranks and gradations of society.
He is not less chivalrous than Lamartine, but more practical; his style
is less pictorial but more statesmanlike. The French of all shades
of political opinion agree in placing him at the head of the writers
of the last age. This high position, however, is owing rather to the
detached passages than the general tenor of his writings, for their
average style is hardly equal to such an encomium. He is not less vain
than Lamartine, and still more egotistical--a defect which, as already
noticed, he shares with nearly all the writers of autobiography in
France, but which appears peculiarly extraordinary and lamentable in
man of such talents and acquirements. His life abounded with strange
and romantic adventures, and its vicissitudes would have furnished a
rich field for biography even to a writer of less imaginative powers.

He was born on the 4th September 1768--the same year with Napoleon--at
an old melancholy chateau on the coast of Brittany, washed by the
waves of the Atlantic ocean. His mother, like those of almost all
other eminent men recorded in history, was a very remarkable woman,
gifted with a prodigious memory and an ardent imagination--qualities
which she transmitted in a very high degree to her son. His family was
very ancient, going back to the year 1000; but, till illustrated by
Francois René, who has rendered it immortal, the Chateaubriands lived
in unobtrusive privacy on their paternal acres. After receiving the
rudiments of education at home, he was sent at the age of seventeen
into the army; but the Revolution having soon after broken out, and
his regiment revolted, he quitted the service and came to Paris, where
he witnessed the horrors of the storming of the Tuileries on the 10th
of August, and the massacre in the prisons on 2d. September. Many of
his nearest relations--in particular his sister-in-law, Madame de
Chateaubriand, and sister, Madame Rozambo--were executed along with
Malesherbes, shortly before the fall of Robespierre. Obliged now to
fly to England, he lived for some years in London in extreme poverty,
supporting himself by his pen. It was there he wrote his earliest and
least creditable work, the _Essai Historique_. Tired of such an obscure
and monotonous life, however, he set out for America, with the Quixotic
design of discovering by land journey the North-west passage. He failed
in that attempt, for which, indeed, he had no adequate means; but he
dined with Washington, and in the solitudes of the Far West imbibed
many of the noblest ideas, and found the subjects of several of the
finest descriptions, which have since adorned his works. Finding that
there was nothing to be done in the way of discovery in America, he
returned to England. Afterwards he went to Paris, and there composed
his greatest works, _Atala et René_ and the _Génie du Christianisme_,
which soon acquired a colossal reputation, and raised the author to the
highest pinnacle of literary fame.

Napoleon, whose piercing eye discerned talent wherever it was to be
found, now selected him for the public service in the diplomatic line.
He gives the following interesting account of the first and only
interview he had with that extraordinary man, in the saloon of his
brother Lucien:--

    "I was in the gallery when Napoleon entered; his appearance
    struck me with an agreeable surprise. I had never previously
    seen him but at a distance. His smile was sweet and
    encouraging; his eye beautiful, especially from the way
    in which it was overshadowed by the eyebrows. He had no
    charlatanism in his looks, nothing affected or theatrical in
    his manner. The _Génie du Christianisme_, which at that time
    _was making a great deal of noise_, had produced its effect
    on Napoleon. A vivid imagination animated his cold policy; he
    would not have been what he was if the Muse had not been there;
    reason in him worked out the ideas of a poet. All great men are
    composed of two natures--for they must be at once capable of
    inspiration and action,--the one conceives, the other executes.

    "Buonaparte saw me, and knew me I know not how. When he moved
    towards me, it was not known whom he sought. The crowd opened;
    every one hoped the First Consul would stop to converse with
    him; his air showed that he was irritated at these mistakes.
    I retired behind those around me; Buonaparte suddenly raised
    his voice, and called out, "Monsieur de Chateaubriand." I then
    remained alone in front; for the crowd instantly retired, and
    re-formed in a circle around us. Buonaparte addressed me with
    simplicity, without questions, preamble, or compliments. He
    began speaking about Egypt and the Arabs, as if I had been
    his intimate friend, and he had only resumed a conversation
    already commenced betwixt us. 'I was always struck,' said
    he, 'when I saw the Scheiks fall on their knees in the
    desert, turn towards the east, and touch the sand with their
    foreheads. What is that unknown thing which they adore in
    the east?' Speedily then passing to another idea, he said,
    'Christianity! the _Idealogues_ wished to reduce it to a system
    of astronomy! Suppose it were so, do they suppose they would
    render Christianity little? Were Christianity only an allegory
    of the movement of the spheres, the geometry of the stars, the
    _esprits forts_ would have little to say: despite themselves,
    they have left sufficient grandeur to _l'Infame_.'[5]

    "Buonaparte immediately withdrew. Like Job in the night, I felt
    as if a spirit had passed before me; the hairs of my flesh
    stood up. I did not know its countenance; but I heard its voice
    like a little whisper.

    "My days have been an uninterrupted succession of visions.
    Hell and heaven continually have opened under my feet, or over
    my head, without my having had time to sound their depths, or
    withstand their dazzling. I have met once, and once only, on
    the shores of the two worlds, the man of the last age, and the
    man of the new--Washington and Napoleon--I conversed a few
    moments with each--both sent me back to solitude--the first by
    a kind wish, the second by an execrable crime.

    "I remarked that, in moving through the crowd, Buonaparte cast
    on me looks more steady and penetrating than he had done before
    he addressed me. I followed him with my eyes.

    'Who is that great man who cares not
    For conflagrations?'"[6]--(Vol. iv. 118-121.)


This passage conveys a just idea of Chateaubriand's Memoirs: his
elevation of mind, his ardent imagination, his deplorable vanity. In
justice to so eminent a man, however, we transcribe a passage in which
the nobleness of his character appears in its true lustre, untarnished
by the weaknesses which so often disfigure the character of men of
genius. We allude to his courageous throwing down the gauntlet to
Napoleon, on occasion of the murder of the Duke d'Enghien:--

    "Two days before the fatal 20th March, I dressed myself, before
    taking leave of Buonaparte, on my way to the Valais, to which
    I had received a diplomatic mission; I had not seen him since
    the time when he had spoken to me at the Tuileries. The gallery
    where the reception was going on was full; he was accompanied
    by Murat and his aide-de-camp. When he approached me, I was
    struck with an alteration in his countenance: his cheeks were
    fallen in, of a livid hue; his eyes stern; his colour pale;
    his air sombre and terrible. The attraction which had formerly
    drawn me towards him was at an end; instead of awaiting, I
    fled his approach. He cast a look towards me, as if he sought
    to recognise me, moved a few steps towards me, turned, and
    disappeared. Returned to the Hôtel de France, I said to several
    of my friends, 'Something strange, which I do not know, must
    have happened: Buonaparte could not have changed to such a
    degree unless he had been ill.' Two days after, at eleven in
    the forenoon, I heard a man cry in the streets--'Sentence
    of the military commission convoked at Vincennes, which has
    condemned to the pain of DEATH Louis Antoine Henri
    de Bourbon, born 2d August 1772 at Chantilly.' That cry
    fell on me like a clap of thunder: it changed my life as it
    changed that of Napoleon. I returned home, and said to Madame
    de Chateaubriand--'The Duke d'Enghien has just been shot.' I
    sat down to a table and began to write my resignation--Madame
    de Chateaubriand made no opposition: she had a great deal of
    courage. She was fully aware of my danger: the trial of Moreau
    and Georges Cadoudal was going on: the lion had tasted blood:
    it was not the moment to irritate him."--(Vol. iv. 228-229.)

After this honourable step, which happily passed without leading to
Chateaubriand's being shot, he travelled to the East, where he visited
Greece, Constantinople, the Holy Land, and Egypt, and collected
the materials which have formed two of his most celebrated works,
_L'Itinéraire à Jerusalem_, and _Les Martyrs_. He returned to France,
but did not appear in public life till the Allies conquered Paris in
1814, where he composed with extraordinary rapidity his famous pamphlet
entitled _Buonaparte and the Bourbons_, which had so powerful an effect
in bringing about the Restoration. The royalists were now in power,
and Chateaubriand was too important a man to be overlooked. In 1821 he
was sent as ambassador to London, the scene of his former penury and
suffering; in 1823 he was made Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in that
capacity projected, and successfully carried through, the expedition to
Spain which reseated Ferdinand on the throne of his ancestors; and he
was afterwards the plenipotentiary of France at the congress of Verona
in 1824. He was too liberal a man to be employed by the administration
of Charles X., but be exhibited an honourable constancy to misfortune
on occasion of the Revolution of 1830. He was offered the portfolio of
Foreign Affairs if he would abstain from opposition; but he refused
the proposal, made a last noble and eloquent speech in favour of his
dethroned sovereign in the Chamber of Peers; and, withdrawing into
privacy, lived in retirement, engaged in literary pursuits, and in the
composition or revising of his numerous publications, till his death,
which occurred in June 1848.

Such a life of such a man cannot be other than interesting, for it
unites the greatest possible range and variety of events with the
reflections of a mind of great power, ardent imagination, and extensive
erudition. His autobiography, or _Mémoires d'Outre Tombe_, as it is
called, was accordingly looked for with great interest, which has
not been sensibly diminished by the revolution of 1848, which has
brought a new set of political actors on the stage. Four volumes only
have hitherto been published, but the rest may speedily be looked
for, now that the military government of Prince Louis Napoleon has
terminated that of anarchy in France. The three first volumes certainly
disappointed us: chiefly from the perpetual and offensive vanity which
they exhibited, and the number of details, many of them of a puerile
or trifling character, which they contained. The fourth volume,
however, from which the preceding extracts have been taken, exhibits
Chateaubriand, in many places, in his original vigour; and if the
succeeding ones are of the same stamp, we propose to return to them.



THE GREEN HAND.

A "SHORT" YARN. PART IV.


"You must surely be tired by this time, ma'am, of this long-winded
yarn of mine?" said the commander of the Gloucester to the elder of
his fair listeners, next evening they met with the evident expectation
of hearing further; "but after all, this must be dull work for you at
present, so I daresay you are amused with anything by way of a change."

----Well, one morning when Westwood and I went on deck, it was a stark
staring calm; as dead as a mill-pond, save for the long winding heave
that seemed to come miles up out of the stale blue water, and get tired
with the journey--from the horizon to us in one lazy coil, and on
every side, just serving to jerk the wheel a spoke back and forward,
with nobody at it. The very bits of pumpkin-paring and fat which the
cook had thrown overboard the night before, lay still alongside, with
an oily track oozing round about them from the 'slush,'[7]--the sails
hanging from the yards, up and down, like clothes on a screen--and when
you looked over the side away from the sun, you saw your own face, like
a fellow's that had been long drowned, peering back at you as it were
round the keel--in fact, there you scarce knew where the water _was_.
Somehow or other the ship kept sheering round, by little and little,
till, although one had chosen a shady spot, all of a sudden the blazing
sun came right into his eyes; or the single streak of white cloud
laying behind you, to starboard, a while after stuck itself before your
face from the very opposite quarter--you fancying, too, you had your
eye the whole time on the same bit of water. Being lost in a wood or a
fog was nothing to it, especially with the sun at noon drawn up right
overhead, so that you couldn't look aloft, and staring down into the
sea out of a pool of bright light; "like one tremendously keen little
eye," as some of the passengers said, "examining a big blind one."
"Why," put in one of the "writers," "I fear he wants to take the _mote_
out of his brother's eye,--this vessel, that is to say!" "Hang it, I
hope not!" said Winterton, rather alarmed. "He promises well to do it,
then," said another young civilian, "but I wish he'd take the _beam_
out of his own, first--ha, Smythe?" However, few men have the spirit to
laugh at little in a calm near the Line, so Smythe gave no more than a
sickly grin, while Westwood looked the clergyman very properly.

Both passengers and crew, all of us that could swim, gave wistful looks
now and then alongside at the water, hot as it seemed, for a bathe;
just floating up, as it were, with the mere huge size of it, under
a dazzle of light, and so blue and smooth you could'nt see a hair's
breadth below; while, a bit off, the face of it, and the very air,
appeared to dance and quiver like little streams of glass. However,
all thoughts of bathing were put out of your head when you saw the
black three-cornered affair, with a rake aft, somewhat like the end
of a scythe, that went steering slowly round us; then cruising hither
and thither, till its infernal horn was as dry as the deck; and at
times driving straight off, as if it ran in a groove through the level
surface, when back again it came from the other side, creeping lazily
towards us, till it sank with a light _tip_, and a circle or two on
the blue water. The hook and chain were hanging up and down over the
taffrail, with the piece of rank pork looking green in the shadow near
the rudder, where you read the white figures of her draught as plain
as in dock; but the shark, a fifteen-feet customer, if he was an inch,
was too knowing to have touched it. "Pity he's gone, Collins," said
Ford to me, after we had watched him at last out of sight; "wasn't
there any plan of catching him, I wonder! Now we shall have a bathe
though, at any rate." "Gone?" said I, "he won't leave us in a hurry,
if we don't leave _him_!" "Poh, man!" said Ford, "I tell you he's
tired out and gone away!" Five minutes after, Ford was leaning over
the quarter, and wiping his face, while he fanned himself with his
straw-hat, which fell out of his hand into the water. He had got over
into the mizen-chains to throw a line round it, when he gave a loud
shriek, and jumped in-board again. Two or three fathoms of green came
up from the keel, balancing on a pair of broad fins under Ford's hat,
and a big round snout touched it; then a dozen feet of white belly
gleamed in the water, the hat gave a gulp as it was drawn down, and
a few small air-bells rose to the top. "He prefers some flavours to
others you see, Ford," said I. "'Tis the second hat I've seen you
lose: I hope your head won't be in the _third_; but you mariners, you
see----," however Ford had bolted to his cabin. On turning round I
perceived Miss Hyde with the General's lady under the awning on the
other side, where the old lady leant against a cushion, with her hands
crossed, and her bonnet-strings loose--though a strapping raw-boned
Irishwoman she was--and kept Miss Hyde's maid fanning her from behind
with a large feather _punkah_. The old lady had started at Ford's
cry, and gave a look round at me, half fierce and half order-wise, as
if she expected to know what was the matter at once. "Only my friend
lost his hat, ma'am," said I, stepping forward. "These cadets are so
taygious, my dear!" said she to the young lady, falling back again
without the least other notice of me. "They plague the life of me, but
the brigadier can't drill them as he would if this were a troop-ship--I
wish he could, for the sake of the profession!--now, my dear, d_h_o
kape out of the s-hun!" However I stuck where I was, fancying I caught
the slightest bit of an arch twinkle in the corner of the young lady's
eye, though she didn't look at me. "Keep going, can't ye!" said the
old lady crossly to the maid. "No, ma'am, indeed!" said the girl,
glancing over to her young mistress, "I'm ready to drop!" "Send up
papa's kitmagar, then, Wilkins," said Miss Hyde; and the girl went off
toward the gallery stair, muttering she "hoped she didn't come--here to
be--made a black Indian slave of--at least to an old"--the remainder
being lost in the stair. As I leant on the rail-netting, behind the
old lady, I happened to tread on her fat pug-dog's tail, whereupon the
ugly brute made its teeth meet without farther notice in the small
of my leg, after which it gave a yelp, and ran beneath the chairs.
"What's that, Die?" exclaimed its mistress: "good hivens! is that
same griffin here yet, my dear! Hadn't he ayven the spirit to take a
hint?--I say, was it _you_ hurt Dianny, young man?" "Oh, dear! no,
ma'am, not for the world!" said I, looking at my trousers, hard as the
thing was to stand, but thinking to smooth her over, though I was'nt
quite up to the old Irishwoman, it turned out. "Ha! ha! so she bit
you?" said she, with a flash of her hawk's-eye, and leaning back again
coolly: "If he'd only kicked poor Die for it under my chair, now, I'd
have forgiven him; but he hadn't ayven the heart at the time to drop
her a curse,--and _I_ thinking all the while, too, by the luke of his
eye, he was from the county Clare! My heart warms to the county Clare
always, because, although I'm not Irish myself, you know, I'd once a
schoolfellow was born in it--without counting all my relations! Oh, the
smooth spalpeen!" continued she, harder than before, glancing at me as
I looked all abroad from one to the other;--"listen, niver you let that
fellow spake to you, my dear! he's too----." But here I walked quietly
off, to put the poop's length betwixt me and the talking old vixen,
cursing her and her dog both, quite enough to have pleased her Irish
fancy.

On the quarterdeck, the Judge and the General seemed to enjoy the heat
and quiet, sitting with their feet up before the round-house, and
smoking their long red-twisted hookahs, while they watched the wreaths
of smoke go whirling straight up from the bowls to the awning, and
listened to the faint bubble of it through the water in the bottles,
just dropping a word now and then to each other. A tall thin "native"
servant, with long sooty hair hanging from his snow-white turban,
stood behind the Judge's chair, bolt upright, with his arms folded, and
twice as solemn as Sir Charles himself: you saw a stern-window shining
far abaft, through one of the round-house doors, and the fat old fellow
of a _consumah_[8] busy laying the cloth for tiffin, while the sole
breath of air there was came out of there-away.

Suddenly eight bells struck, and every one seemed glad of something
new; the Judge's _consumah_ came out salaaming to say tiffin was
ready; the cuddy passengers went below for wine-and-water and biscuit;
and the men were at dinner. There being nothing to take care of on
deck, and the heat of course getting greater, not a soul staid up but
myself; but I preferred at the moment lighting a cheroot, and going
up aft to see clear of the awnings. The cockatoo had been left on
the poop-rail, with his silver chain hitched round one of the mizen
back-stays, where it shifted from one leg to the other, hooked itself
up the back-stay as far as it could go, then hurried down again, and
mused a bit, as wise as Solomon,--then screamed out at the top of its
voice--"Tip--tip--pr-r-retty cacka--tip-poo--cok-ka--whee-yew-ew-ew!"
finishing by a whistle of triumph fit to have split one's ears, or
brought a gale of wind--though not on account of skill in its books, at
any rate. Again it took to swinging, quietly head-down, at a furious
rate, and then slewed upright to plume its feathers, and shake the pink
tuft on its head. No sooner had I got up the stair, however, than, to
my perfect delight, I saw Violet Hyde was still sitting aft, and the
old Irishwoman gone; so I stepped to the taffrail at once, and, for
something to be about, I hauled tip the shark-hook from astern. The
moment I caught her eye, the young lady smiled--by way of making up,
no doubt, for the old one. "How _very_ lonely it is!" said she, rising
and looking out; "the ship almost seems deserted, except by us!" "By
Jove! I almost wish it were," thought I. "A dead calm, madam," I said,
"and likely to hold--the under-swell's gone quite down, and a haze
growing." "Are we sure _ever_ to leave this spot then?" asked she,
with a slight look of anxiety. "Never fear it, ma'am," said I; "as
soon as the haze melts again, we're near a breeze I assure you--only,
by the length of the calm and the heat together, not to speak of our
being so far to east'ard, I'm afraid we mayn't get rid of it without
a gale at the end to match." "Indeed?" said Miss Hyde. The fact was,
Westwood and I had been keeping a log, and calculated just now we were
somewhere to south-eastward of Ascension; whereas, by the captain and
mate's reckoning, she was much farther to west. "I never thought the
sea could appear so awful," said she, as if to herself--"much more than
in a storm." "Why, madam," said I, "you haven't exactly seen one this
voyage--one needs to be close-hauled off the Cape for that." Somehow
or other, in speaking to _her_, by this time I forgot entirely about
keeping up the sham cadet, and slipped into my own way again; so all
at once I _felt_ her two dark-blue eyes looking at me, curiously.
"How!--why," exclaimed she suddenly, and then laughing, "you seem to
know all about it!--why, you speak--have you been studying sea affairs
so thoroughly, sir, with your friend, who--but I _do_ think, now, one
can scarcely _trust_ to what you have said?" "Well--why--well," said
I, fiddling with the shark-hook, "I don't know how it is, but I feel
as if I must have been at sea some time or other before;--you wouldn't
suppose it, ma'am, but whenever I fix my eyes on a particular rope, I
seem almost to know the name of it!" "And its _use_, too?" asked she,
merrily. "I shouldn't wonder!" said I; "perhaps I was _born_ at sea,
you know, ma'am?" and I gave a side-look to notice how she took it.
"Ah! perhaps!" said Miss Hyde, laughing; "but do you know one sometimes
fancies these things; and now I think of it, sir, I even imagined for
a moment I had seen _yourself_ before!" "Oh," said I, "that couldn't
be the case; I'm sure, for my part, I should recollect clear enough
if I'd seen--a--a _lady_ anywhere! I think you said something of
the kind, ma'am, that night of the last squall--about the water and
the clouds, ma'am, you remember?" The young lady looked away, though
a notion seemed to flash through her mind. "Yes," said she, "that
terrible rain--_you_ were----" "Washed into the lee-scuppers," said I,
indifferently, for I didn't want her to suspect it was _I_ that had
kissed her hand in the dark as I carried her in. "I hope Sir Charles
and yourself got in safe, madam?" However, she was watching the water
alongside, and suddenly she exclaimed--"Dear! what a pretty little
fish!" "By heavens!" said I, seeing the creature with its sharp nose
and blue bars, as it glanced about near the surface, and then swam
in below the ship's bilge again, "that's one of the old villain's
pilots--he's lying right across our keel! I wish I could catch that
shark!" The pork was of no use for such an old sea-lawyer, and I cast
a wistful eye on the Irishwoman's fat pug-dog stretched asleep on her
shawl by the bulwark; she was far gone in the family way, and, thought
I, "he'd take _that_ in a trice!" I even laid out some marline from
a stern-locker, and noticed how neatly one could pass the hook under
her belly round to the tail, and seize her so snugly on, muzzled and
all; but it was no go, with the devil to pay afterwards. All of a
sudden I heard somebody hawking and spitting above the awning forward,
near where the cockatoo kept still trying to master his own name.
"The Yankee, for a thousand!" thought I, "is Daniel trying to walk
along the spanker-boom!" Next, someone sung out, "Hal-loo-oo-oo!" as
if there was a tomahawk over him, ready to split his brain. Miss Hyde
looked alarmed, when the Scotch mate, as I thought, roared, "Shiver
my tops'ls!" then it was a sailor hailing gruffly, "Bloody Capting
Brown--bloody Capting Brown, damn your--Capting Brown!" "Somebody
drunk aloft!" thought I, walking forward to see; when a funny little
black head peeped round the awning, with a yellow nose as sharp as
a marlinspike, and red spectacles, seemingly, round its keen little
eyes; then, with a flutter and a hop, the steward's pet Mina-bird came
down, and lighted just under the cockatoo. "Ha!" said I, laughing,
"it's only Parson Barnacle!" as the men called him--a sooty little
creature scarce bigger than a blackbird, with a white spot on each
wing, and a curious pair of natural glasses on his head, which they
kept in the forecastle and taught all sorts of "jaw," till they swore
he could have put the ship about, took kindly to tar, and hunted the
cockroaches like a cat. No doubt he was glad to meet his countryman
the cockatoo, but Tippoo stuck up his crest, swelled his chops, and
looked dreadfully frightened; while the Mina-bird[9] cocked his head
on one side, gave a knowing wink as it were, though all the time as
grave with his spectacles as a real parson. "How's her head?" croaked
he, in a voice like a quarter-master's, "blowing hard!" "Damn Capting
Brown!" and hopped nearer to the poor cockatoo, who could stand it no
longer, but hooked himself up the backstay as fast as possible, out of
sight, the chain running with him: and just as I swung myself clear of
the awning to run aloft for a catch of it, out flew Parson Barnacle to
the end of the crojack-yard, while the cockatoo gave a flap that loosed
the kitmagar's lubberly hitch, and sent him down with his wings spread
on the water. At another time it wouldn't have cost me a thought to go
head-foremost after him, when I heard his young mistress exclaiming,
"Oh, poor dear Tippoo will be drowned!" but recollecting our hungry
green friend on the other side, I jumped down for the end of a rope to
slip myself quietly alongside with. However, at the very moment, Tom
the man-o'-war's man happening to come up from the fore-hatchway to
throw something overboard, and seeing Miss Hyde's cockatoo, off went
his shoes and jacket at once, and I heard the splash as he struck the
water. I had scarce time to think, either, before I saw Mick O'Hooney's
red head shoot up on deck, and heard him sing out, "Man overboard, be
the powers, boys! Folly my lader! Hurroo!" and over he sprang. "Here's
dip," said another, and in half a minute every man that could swim was
floundering in the smooth water alongside, or his head showing as it
came up,--pitching the cockatoo to each other, and all ready to enjoy
their bathe; though, for my part, I made but one spring to the ship's
starboard quarter, to use the only chance of saving the thoughtless
fellows from a bloody fate to some of them. I knew the shark would
be cautious at first, on such a sudden to-do, and I had marked his
whereabouts while the men were all well toward the bows; and "hang
it!" thought I, seeing the old woman's fat pug in my way, "Dianny,
or die-all; I bear no malice, but you must go for it, my beauty!" As
quick as thought, I made one turn of marline round her nose, took off
the pork, and lashed her fast on to the hook all standing, in spite of
her squeaks; then twisted the lady's shawl round the chain for a blind
to it, and flung the whole right over the larboard quarter, where I
guessed the old fellow would be slewing round astern to have a lookout
before he went fairly in chase. I watched the line sink slowly with the
weight over the gunwale for half a minute, afraid to let him see my
head, and trembling for fear I should hear a cry from one of the men;
when jerk went the rope clear of a belaying-pin as he ran off with his
bait. I took a quick turn to hook him smartly in the throat, and then
eased off again till the "cleets" brought him up with a "surge" fit to
have parted the line, had it not been good new three-inch rope--though,
as it was, the big Indiaman would soon have sheered stern-round to the
force of it, if he'd only pulled fair. The young lady stood noticing
what I did, first in a perplexed sort of way, and then with no small
surprise, especially when the shark gave every now and then a fiercer
tug, as he took a sweep astern: by this time, however, everybody was on
deck in a crowd, the passengers all in a flurry, and half of the men
scrambling up from alongside to tail on to the line, and run him out
of water. So away they went with it full speed towards the bows, as
soon as the ladies were out of the way--dragging two or three cadets
back foremost, head over heels, down the poop stair--till, in spite of
his tugging, the shark's round snout showed over the taffrail, with
the mouth wide open under his chin, as it were, and one row of teeth
laid flat behind another, like a comb-maker's shop. A running bowline
passed round his handsome waist, then another pull, and over he came on
the poop, floundering fourteen feet long, and flourishing his tail for
room, till the carpenter chopped it across, in a lucky moment, with his
axe.

All hands gathered round the shark to see him cut up, which was as good
as a play to them, becalmed as we were; when, to my no small dismay, I
heard Mrs Brigadier Brady's loud voice asking where her dog was; and
the Brigadier himself, who seemed more afraid of his wife than anybody
else, kept poking about with his red-faced English butler to find the
animal. "For godsake," said he, in a half whisper, twenty times over,
"haven't ye seen Mrs Brady's dog, any of ye?--she'll rout the ship
inside out for it, captain, if we don't soon ase her mind!" However, I
knew only Miss Hyde was aware who caught the shark, and as she didn't
appear to have told, why of course I kept all fast, myself. "Here's
a 'baccy-box!" sung out the big old boatswain, standing astride over
the tail, while the cook and his black mate ripped away from the tail
up. "Hand over, if ye please, sir," said 'ugly' Harry, it's mine's,
Mr Burton!" Harry gave it a wipe on his knee, and coolly bit a quid
off the end of his lost pigtail. The next thing was Ford's hat, which
no one claimed, so black Sambo clapped it on his woolly head. "What's
that you've got there now, Sambo?" said the boatswain, "out with it,
my lad!" "Golly!" chuckled the nigger, rolling the whites of his eyes
and grinning like mad; "oh sar, misser Barton! dis 'ere shark riglar
navligator! I 'clare to you, sar, um got chr'ometer aboard! Oh gum!
berry much t'ink dis you own lost silber tickler, misser Barton!"
"Bless me, so it is, my lad!" said the boatswain, as the black handed
him a silver watch as big as a turnip, and he looked at the cook, who
was busy fumbling with his knife. "Sorry as you was _taxed_ with
it, doctor!"[10] said he, doubtfully,--"well I'm blowed, though!--it
only goes an hour and a-half,--and here it's a-ticking yet!" Here a
burst of laughter went round, and somebody sung out, "Maybe the ould
pawn-broking Judas of a shark winded it up, hisself, jist to mark the
time o' his 'goin' off the hooks'!" "I say, doctor!" hailed another,
"too bloody bad, an't it though, to cut up _yer uncle_?" "Ha! ha! ha!"
cried the cadets and writers, looking at the Scotch surgeon, "d'ye hear
that, doctor? I wouldn't stand it! They say you ain't particular in
Edinbro', though! Some rum mistakes happened there, eh, doctor?" The
Scotchman got into a passion at this, being the worst cut they could
give any fellow from a country where they were famous for kindred and
body-snatching at once--but all of a sudden there was a "Hulloo! Shiver
my taw'sels! What's this? Let's see!" and the whole poopful of us were
shoving together, and jumping on each other's shoulders to have a look.
"Well, we-ell!" said the old boatswain, as he peered curiously into
the mess of shark's bowels--"I'll be d----d!" "The likes o' that now!"
croaked the old sailmaker, lifting up his two hands, "tan't lucky, Mr
Burton!" "My eye! them's not young _sharks_, anyhow!" said one of the
men. "What's t'ou think they be, mun," said the north-country Chips,
"but litter o' yoong blind poops? an' here's t' ou'd un, see, as deed's
mutton! Dang him, but some un's got an' baited t' hook wi't, there's
nou't else in 's guts!" The whole poop was one roar of laughing, when
Mrs Brady's pug was found delivered of four pups, inside the shark,
since she went overboard, and two of 'em alive; the news ran fore and
aft in a moment. "_Took short_ she's been, Jack!" said one. "Beats
the profit Joney!" "I say, 'mate, them whelps is born twice over.
Blessed if my Sal at home, now, wouldn't give a year's 'lotment for one
on 'em!" "Poor devil!" said one of the writers, "she must have been
sadly in want of a lying-in hospital!" "Look out, all hands of ye!"
cried some one, "there's the old girl herself coming on deck! sharp's
the word!" And away we scuttled right and left, some aloft, and some
down one poop-ladder, as Mrs Brady, with the Brigadier and his butler
after her, came fuming up the other. The black made one spring over
the quarter as soon as he saw her; but the Irish topman, Mick, slipped
his foot amongst the shark's blood, and rolled on his back, while the
old bo'sun made stand in the thick of it behind. "Saze the villains, I
charge ye, Brigadier!" screamed Mrs Brady, though he and his manservant
only kept dodging the boatswain round a sort of a quagmire of blood and
grease, while the old vixen caught Mick by his red hair and whiskers.
"Where's my dog, ye murdering spalpeen?" said she, panting for breath,
"what have ye done with my Dianny, ye monsther? Spake, or I'll----"
"Be the holy elaven thousand, yer ladyship!" said Mick, "an' it's
_lost_ did ye think she wor! isn't there _five_ of 'em back! Whisper!
yer ladyship's riv'rence,--she's _laid in_, poor craythure, an'----"
"_Oh!_ you Irish thief!" roared Mrs Brady, hitting him a slap as he
tried to rise, that sent him down again, "is it _that_ you'd say
to----" "No, thin'," sung out Mick, rubbing his ear, and guarding with
one arm,--"rest her sowl! but I'm innycint! Av _that_'ll plase, mim,
och an' I'll swear she died a vargin ----" Tug came both Mrs Brady's
hands through his hair, while the butler caught a kick in the stomach
from Mick's foot. "Murther!" gasped the poor fellow, "sure an' I dun'
know she was ayven a faym'le; bad luck t'ye, 'mates, give uz a hand.
Och, an' is this the road ye thrate a counthryman, mim?" "_Me_ your
countryman! ye bogtrottin' wretch ye!" screamed the old fury, her
brogue getting worse the more she heated,--"take _that_!--don't rise,
if ye dare!" "Faix thin, yer ladyship darlin'," said O'Hooney, grinning
in spite of his hard usage, "I tould a lie,--och, lave some o' me
hair!--murther intirely! I'm----" All the time none of us could stir
for sheer laughing, but seeing poor Mick like to fare hard with the old
vixen, who was near as big as himself, and as strong as a horse, I
whispered to the men to run round and let go the poop awning--so down
it came, with a few buckets of water in it, over the five of them; and
you just saw Mrs Brady's sharp elbow through the canvass, lifted for
the next slap, when we had her all fast, struggling like a cat in a
bag, while O'Hooney and the boatswain crept out below. "D----d breeze
that we've had!" said the bo'sun, shaking himself on the forecastle.
"Couldn't ye've bowsed over on the old jade's pitticuts, Mick?" said
one of his shipmates, "and capsized her all standing?" "Sorra fut you'd
stir, yourself, 'mate," said he, wiping his face, "wid such a shay
grinnydeer! she'd manhandle ye as asy's twurl a mop!"

After all this you may suppose one didn't weary even of the calm. As
soon as the decks were clear, most of us took tea on the poop, for
fear of meeting the Brigadier's lady below, every one holding his cup
ready for a start. Rollock the planter, who had slept and swung in his
cot half the day, was like to split his sides when he heard the story:
by the way, I believe both the little pups lived and throve on goats'
milk, and the men called one of them 'Young Jonah,' though he had so
much of the terrier that the old lady disowned him. It was quite dark,
and cool for a night near the Line, though not a ripple stirred, and I
staid after the rest to smoke a cigar, stopping every now and then near
the aftermost bull's-eye, that shone through the deck, and thinking of
Lota. "By Jove!" thought I, "she hasn't said a word of it. Think of
having a secret, almost, with _her_!" After all, though, I felt well
enough I might as soon hope for the Emperor of China's daughter as
for such a creature, unless something wonderfully strange fell out:
deucedly in love as I was, I wasn't puppy enough to fancy I'd ever
succeed by mere talk; "but here's for a bold heart and a weather-eye!"
I thought; "and if these can do it, I _will_!" said I aloud, when some
one clapped me on the shoulder. "Well, Tom, are you there?" said I,
thinking it was Westwood. "Why," answered old Rollock, laughing, "not
so far wrong, my boy,--but as it's thirty years since any one called
me so, I thought you _were_, for a moment!--meditating, eh?" "Only a
cigar before bed-time--will you have one, sir?" "Ah--well," said the
planter, "I'll take a light, at least--queer life this, eh? Shouldn't
know this _was_ water, now--more like train-oil! Looks _junglish_ a
little under the stars yonder." "Nothing but the haze come down,"
said I; "'tis clear enough aloft, though,--look out for squalls ere
long!" "As your friend Ford would have it,"--said Rollock; "but how a
lad of your spirit can manage to stand this so well, I can't think!"
"Deyvilish dull, sir!" said I, with a lazy drawl, "but can't be helped,
you know." Come, come, now, don't mend it by copying poor Winterton,"
chuckled Rollock; "you're no fool, Collins, so don't pretend to be.
I say though, Collins my boy," continued he, rather gravely, "there
is one really soft piece I begin to notice in you lately--I fear
you're falling in love with that girl!" "_I_, sir!" said I; "dear
me! what makes you--" "My dear boy," went on the kind-hearted old
fellow, "I take an interest in you; no lad of your stuff practises all
this tomfoolery without something under it, and I see you've _some_
serious meaning or other. Did you know her before?" "Oh--why--not
exactly," I dropped out, taken rather short. "I see, I see!" he went
on; "but I tell you what, Collins, a cadet can do nothing madder
than marry at first landing; she had better be a cold-hearted flirt,
after all--though, God knows, no man can say what _that_ does but one
that's--felt it! I--I mean I _knew_--a young fellow that went out as
ambitious as you can be, and he--" Here the planter's voice shook a
little, and he stopped, puffing at his cheroot till the short end of
it just lighted up his hook nose and part of his big white whiskers
in the dark, only you saw his eye glistening too. "Devil take it!"
thought I, "who'd have expected the old boy to be so sharp, though."
"Well but, Collins," said he at last, "just you enter heart and soul
into your profession; I'd stake my life you'll rise, who knows how
far--get your captain's pay even, _then_ you may think of it--that is,
if she--" "Why," said I, "d'ye suppose the Judge would--" "_Judge!_"
exclaimed Mr Rollock, "when--worse and worse! weren't we talking of
pretty little Kate Fortescue? My _dear_ boy, you don't intend to say
you mean Miss Hyde! I left _that_ to your first officer, as they call
him!--why, that young girl will be the beauty of Calcutta." At this I
fancied some one else gave a whistle near us. "Of course, sir," said I,
raising my voice, "you didn't suppose me such a fool." In fact, Miss
Fortescue, had never entered my head at all. "Something strange about
_you_, Collins!" I said the planter, a little shortly; "you puzzle me,
I must say." As we turned to go below, I heard somebody walk down the
poop-ladder, and then the mate's voice sting out from the binnacle to
"strike eight bells!"

The calm was as dead as ever next morning, and, if possible, hotter
than before--not a rope changed aloft, nor a cloth in the sails moved;
but it was pretty hazy round us, which made the water a sort of pale
old-bottle blue, that sickened you to look at; and a long dipping and
drawling heave gradually got up as if there were blankets on it; the
ship, of course, shifting round and round again slowly, like a dog
going to lie down, and the helm getting every now and then a sudden
jolt. Near noon it cleared up with a blaze of light, as it were; the
sole difference at first being, that what looked like melting lead
before, now turned into so many huge bright sheets of tin, every bend
of it as good as flashing up thousands of needles in your eyes. A good
deal surprised we were, however, shortly after, to find there was a
sail in sight, another square-rigged vessel, seemingly standing up on
the horizon six or seven miles off. Being end on to us at the time,
though every glass in the ship was brought to bear on her, 'twas hard
to say what she was; then she and we went bobbing and going up and down
with a long round heave between us, slowly enough, but always at cross
purposes, like two fellows see-sawing on a plank over a dyke. When she
was up, we were down, and we just caught sight of her royal, no bigger
than a gull on the water; yerk went our rudder, and next time she
seemed to have vanished out of the glasses altogether, till we walked
round to the other side, and made her out again under the awning on
the opposite beam. At length she lifted broad to us for a moment or
two, showing a long pale sort of hull with a red streak, apparently
without ports, and brig-rigged, though the space betwixt her two masts
was curious for that kind of craft. "Wonderful light-sparred for her
size that brig, sir," said the third officer, dropping his glass. "Ay,
so she is, Mr Small," replied Captain Williamson: "what would you call
her, then? You've as good knowledge of craft as any man, Mr Small, I
think." "Why," said the old mate, screwing his eye harder for a long
look, "I'd say she's--not a cruiser, Captin Williamson--no, nor a
Greenock Indyman--nor a--" "Oh!" said Finch, "some African timberer
or other, I daresay, Small." "Well, Mr Finch," said the third mate,
handing him the glass, "mayhap you'll just say yourself, sir." "No,
no, Mr Small," said the captain; "I'd trust to you as soon as any
man, sir, in a matter of the kind." "Why, the hull of her's wonderful
Yankee-like, sir," said Small again; "I'm thinking they've been and
_squared_ her out of a schooner--and a d----d bad job of it, sir! Bless
us! what a lean-headed pair o'taups'ls, too,--as high as our fore one,
sir." Suddenly the old mate gave his thigh a slap, and laid down his
glass on the capstan: "Lord, sir!" said he, "that's the thing; she's
nothing more nor less but a John Crapeau, Captain Williamson!" "I
daresay you're right, Mr Small," said the skipper, taking the glass;
"just so,--ay, ay,--I thought it myself!" "Pity old Nap's boxed up
yonder then, sir," said the first officer, rubbing his hands and
pointing to eastward, where he thought St Helena was: "why, sir, we
should have the peppering of the Frenchman; I don't suppose we'd need
to care though she were twice the size--and what's more, we want fresh
water before seeing the Cape, sir!" "Well," said the old skipper,
laughing, "that is the worst of it, Finch! As for spirit, you've as
much as any man, Mr Finch, and I _do_ think we'd know how to take the
weather-hand of him--eh?" "I'll be bound we should!" said Finch,
laughing too. As for the Frenchman, both Westwood and I had made him
out by his rig at once, thanks to man-o'-war practice; but we smiled to
each other at the notion of making a prize of Monsieur, under Finch's
management, with not a gun that could have been used for half a day,
and everything else at sixes and sevens.

In a little while it was proposed amongst the cadets, hot as the calm
was, to make a party to go and see the French vessel. Ford of course
was at the head of it. Winterton thought they would no doubt have
plenty of champagne on board, and some others, who could row, wanted
to try their hands. Accordingly the captain's gig was got ready, a
sort of awning rigged over it, and two or three of them got in; when
one, who was Miss Fortescue's cousin, persuaded her to join, if Mr
Rollock would come. Then the Brigadier, being rather a goodhumoured
man, said he should like to face the French once more, and Daniel
Snout shoved himself in without asking by your leave. One of the men
was sent to take charge; and as there was room still, I was just going
to jump in too, for the amusement of it, when Mrs Brady hurried to
the taffrail with her parasol up, and said, if the Brigadier went,
she should go as well,--in fact, the old woman's jealousy of her rib
was always laughably plain. "Hang it! then," thought I, "catch me
putting myself in the same boat with _her_! the same ship is enough,
in all conscience!" So away they were lowered off the davits, and
began pulling in tolerable style for the brig, a couple of hours'
good work for such hands at mid-day, smooth water as it was. "Now,
gentlemen," said the first officer briskly, as we looked after, them
dipping over the long bright blue heave--"now, gentlemen, and ladies
also, if they please, we'll have another party as soon as the men get
their dinner--give these gentlemen a full hour's law, we'll overhaul
them. See the larboard quarter-boat clear, Jacobs." It was just the
least possible hazy again behind the brig in the distance, and as the
Judge stood talking to his daughter on the poop, I heard her say, "Is
the other vessel not coming nearer already, papa? See how much more
distinct its sails are this moment--there!--one almost observes the
white canvass!" "Pooh, Lota child!" answered Sir Charles, "that cannot
be--'tis perfectly calm, don't you know?" In fact, however, Lota
showed a sailor's eye for air, and I was noticing it myself; but it
was _only_ the air made it look so. "All! now," exclaimed she again,
"'tis as distant as ever! That must have been the light:" besides, the
brig had been lifting on a wide swell. "I beg pardon, Sir Charles,"
said the mate, coming up and taking off his cap, "but might I use the
freedom--perhaps yourself and Miss Hyde would like to visit the French
brig?" The Judge looked at his daughter as much as to ask if she would
like it. "Oh yes! so much!" exclaimed she, her bright eyes sparkling,
"shall we? No, the deuce! Not _I_!" said Sir Charles: "I shall take
my siesta. Quite safe, sir--eh?" "Oh, quite safe, Sir Charles!" said
Finch, "a dead calm, sir--I'll take the utmost care you may be sure,
Sir Charles--as safe as the deck, sir!" "Oh, very well," replied the
Judge, and he walked down to see after his tiffin. The young lady was
going down the quarter-gallery stair, when I caught my opportunity
to say--"I hope you'll excuse it, Miss Hyde, ma'am--but I _do_ trust
you'll not risk going in the boat so far, just now!" Half a minute
after I spoke, she turned round, and looked at me with a curious sort
of expression in her charming face, which I couldn't make out,--whether
it was mischievous, whether it was pettish, or whether 'twas
inquisitive. "Dear me!" said she, "why--do you--" "The weather might
change," I said, looking round about, "and I shouldn't wonder if it
did--or a swell might get up--or--" "I must say, Mr--Mr Collins," said
she, laughing slightly, "you are very gloomy in anticipating--almost
timorous, I declare! I wonder how you came to be so weather-wise! But
why did you not advise--poor Mrs Brady, now?" I couldn't see her face
as she spoke, but the tone of the last words made me feel I'd have
given worlds to look round and see what it was like at the moment.
"Perhaps, ma'am," said I, "you may remember the _rain_?" "Well, we
shall see, sir!" replied she, glancing up with a bright sparkle in her
eye for an instant, but only toward the end of the spanker-boom, as it
were; and then tripping down the stair.

I kept watching the gig pull slowly toward the brig in the distance,
and the cutter making ready on our quarter, till the men were in, with
Jacobs amongst them; where they sat waiting in no small glee for the
mate and his party, who came up a few minutes after: and I was just
beginning to hope that Violet Hyde had taken my advice, when she and
another young lady came out of the round-house, dressed for the trip,
and the captain gallantly handed them in. "My compliments to the French
skipper, Mr Finch," said the captain, laughing, "and if he an't better
engaged, happy to see him to dinner at two bells[11] in the dog-watch,
we'll make it!" "Ay, ay, sir," said Finch. "Now then!-all ready?"
"Smythe's coming yet," said a "writer." "We can't wait any longer for
him," replied the mate; "ease away the falls, handsomely, on deck!"
"Stop," said I, "I'll go, then!" "Too late, young gentleman," answered
the mate, sharply, "you'll cant us gunnel up, sir!--lower away, there!"
However, I caught hold of a rope and let myself down the side, time
enough to jump lightly into her stern-sheets the moment they touched
the water. The officer stared at me as he took the yokelines to steer,
but he said nothing, and the boat shoved off; while Miss Hyde's blue
eyes only opened out, as it were, for an instant, at seeing me drop
in so unceremoniously; and her companion laughed. "I shouldn't have
supposed you so nimble, Mr Collins!" said the writer, looking at
me through his eye-glass. "Oh," said I, "Ford and I have practised
climbing a good deal lately." "Ha! ha!" said the civilian, "shouldn't
be surprised, now, if your friend were to take the navigation out of
Mr Finch's hands, some day!" "Bless me, yes, sir!" said Finch, with a
guffaw, as he sat handling the lines carelessly, and smiling to the
ladies, with his cap over one ear; "to be sure--ha! ha! ha!--it's
certain, Mr Beveridge! Wouldn't you take the helm here, sir?" to me.
"Oh, thank you, no, sir!" replied I, modestly, "I'm not quite so far
_yet_--but we've got a loan of Hamilton Moore and Falconer's Dictionary
from the midshipmen, and mean to--" "No doubt you'll teach us a trick
or two yet!" said Finch, with a sneer. "Now, for instance," said I
coolly, "aloft yonder, you've got the _throat halliards_ jammed in the
block with a gasket, and the mizen-topsail cluelines rove wrong-side
of it, which Hamilton Moore distinctly--" "Hang the lubber that did
it, so they are!" exclaimed the mate, looking through the spy-glass we
had with us. "Now you've your _jibs_ hauled down, sir," continued I,
"and if a squall came on abeam, no doubt they'd wish to shorten sail
from _aft_, and keep her away--however, she would broach-to at once,
as Hamilton Moore shows must--" "You and Hamilton Moore be ----; no
fear of a squall just now, at any rate, ladies," said he. "Stretch
out, men--let's head upon Mr Ford and his gig, yet!" Terribly hot it
was close to the water, and so stifling that you scarce could breathe,
while the long glassy swell was far higher than one thought it from the
ship's deck; however, we had an awning hoisted, and it refreshed one a
little both to hear the water and feel it below again, as the cutter
went sliding and rippling over it to long slow strokes of the oars;
her crew being all man-o'-war's-men, that knew how to pull together
and take it easy. The young ladies kept gazing rather anxiously at the
big old Seringapatam, as she rose and dropped heavily on the calm,
amused though they were at first by a sight of their late home turning
"gable" on to us, with her three masts in one, and a white straw hat or
two watching us from her taffrail; whereas, ahead, they only now and
then caught a glimpse of the brig's upper canvass, over a hot, hazy,
sullen-looking sweep of water as deep-blue as indigo--with six hairy
brown breasts bending before them to the oars, and as many pair of
queer, rollicking, fishy sort of eyes fixed steadily on their bonnets,
in a shame-faced, down-hill kind of way, like fellows that couldn't
help it. In fact, I noticed a curious grin now and then on every one
of the men's faces, and a look to each other, when they caught sight
of myself, sitting behind the mate as he paid off his high-flying
speeches; Jacobs, again, regarding me all the while out of the whites
of his eyes, as it were, in a wooden, unknowing fashion, fit to have
made a cat laugh--seeing he never missed his mark for one moment, and
drew back his head at every pull with the air of a drunk man keeping
sight of his waistcoat buttons. By the time we were half-way, the
swell began to get considerable, and the mate stepped up abaft to look
for the gig. "Can't see the boat yet," said he; "give way there, my
lads--stretch out and bend your backs! there's the brig!" "Hal-lo!"
exclaimed he again, "she's clued up royals and to'gallants'ls! By
heavens! there go her tops'ls down too! Going to bend new sails,
though, I daresay, for it looks clear enough there." "The ship's run up
a flag aft, sir," said Jacobs. "The--so she has," said Finch, turning
round; "recall signal! What's wrong? Sorry _we_ can't dine aboard the
French vessel this time, ladies!" said he--"extremely _so_--and the
griffins there after all, too. I hope you won't be disappointed in any
great measure, Miss Hyde--but if _you_ wished it now, Miss, I'd even
_keep_ on, and--" The young lady coloured a little at this, and turned
to her companion just as I remembered her doing from the dragoon in
the ball-room. "Do you not think, Miss Wyndham," said she, "_we_ ought
not to wish any officer of the ship should get reproved, perhaps, on
_our_ account?" "Oh dear no," said Miss Wyndham; "indeed, Mr Finch,
you had better go back, if the captain orders you." "Hold on there
with your larboard oars, you lubbers!" sang out Finch, biting his lip,
and round we went pulling for the Indiaman again; but by this time the
swell was becoming so heavy as to make it hard work, and it was soon
rarely we could see her at all; for nothing gets up so fast as a swell,
sometimes, near the Line; neither one way nor the other, but right up
and down, without a breath of wind, in huge smooth hills of water,
darker than lead, not a speck of foam, and the sky hot and clear.
'Twas almost as if a weight had been lifted from off the long heaving
calm, and the whole round of it were going up dark into the sky, in
one weltering jumble, the more strange that it was quiet: sweep up it
took the boat, and the bright wet oar-blades spread feathering out for
another stroke to steady her, let alone making way; though that was
nothing to the look of the Indiaman when we got near. She was rolling
her big black hull round in it as helpless as a cask; now one side,
then the other, dipping gunwale to in the round swell that came heaping
up level with her very rail, and went sheeting out bright through the
bulwarks again the masts jumping, clamps and boom-irons creaking on
the yards, and every sail on her shaking, as her lower yardarms took
it by turns to aim at the water--you heard all the noise of it, the
plunge of her flat broadside, the plash from her scuppers, the jolts of
her rudder, and voices on board; and wet you may swear she _was_ from
stem to stern. "Comfortable!" thought I; "we've come home too soon of
a washing-day, and may wait at the door, I fear!" "Oh dear," exclaimed
the three griffins, "how are we to get in!" and the young ladies looked
pale at the sight. The mate steered for her larboard quarter without
saying a word, but I saw he lost coolness and got nervous--not at all
the man for a hard pinch: seemingly, he meant to dash alongside and
hook on. "If you do, sir," said I, "you'll be smashed to staves;" and
all at once the ship appeared almost over our heads, while the boat
took a send in. I looked to Jacobs and the men, and they gave one long
stroke off, that seemed next heave to put a quarter of a mile between
us. "D----d close shave that," said the bowman. "Begs pardon, sir,"
said Jacobs, touching his hat, with his eyes still fixed past the mate,
upon me; "hasn't we better keep steadying off, sir, till such time as
the swell--" "Hold your jaw, sirrah," growled Finch, as he looked ahead
still more flurried; "there's a _squall_ coming yonder, gentlemen, and
if we don't get quick aboard, we may lose the ship in it! Pull round,
d'ye hear there." Sure enough, when we lifted, there was the French
brig clear out against a sulky patch of dark-gray sky, growing in as
it were far off behind the uneven swell, till _it_ began to pale; the
Indiaman's topsails gave a loud flap out, too, one after the other, and
fell to the mast again. Suddenly I caught the glance of Violet Hyde's
eyes watching me seriously as I sat overhauling the Indiaman for a
notion of what to do, and I fancied the charming girl had somehow got
nearer to me during the last minute or two, whether she knew it or not:
at any rate the thought of protecting such a creature made all my blood
tingle. "Never fear, ma'am," said I, in a half whisper; when Finch's
eye met mine, and he threw me a malicious look, sufficient to show what
a devil the fellow would be if ever he had occasion; however, he gave
the sign for the men to stretch out again, and high time it was, as
the Indiaman's maintopsail made another loud clap like a musket-shot.
Still he was holding right for her _quarter_--the roll the ship had on
her was fearful, and it was perfect madness to try it; but few merchant
mates have chanced to be boating in a Line swell, I daresay: when just
as we came head on for her starboard counter, I took the boat's tiller
a sudden shove with my foot, as if by accident, that sent us sheering
in close under her _stern_. The bowman prized his boat-hook into the
rudder-chains, where the big hull swung round us on both sides like an
immense wheel round its barrel, every stern-window with a face watching
us--though one stroke of the loose rudder would have stove us to bits,
and the swell was each moment like to make the men let go, as it hove
us up almost near enough to have caught a hand from the lower-deck.
"For godsake steady your wheel," said I; "hard a-port!" while the mate
was singing out for a line. "Now, up you go," said I to Jacobs in
the hubbub, "look sharp, and send us down a whip and basket from the
boom-end, as we did once in the Pandora, you know!" Up the rope went
Jacobs like a cat, hand over hand; and five minutes after, down came
the "basket" over our heads into the boat, made out of a studding-sail
and three capstan-bars, like a big grocer's scale dangling from the
spanker-boom. The mate proposed to go up first with Miss Hyde, but she
hung back in favour of her companion; so away aloft went Miss Wyndham
and he, swinging across the Indiaman's stern as she rolled again, with
a gantline to steady them in--Finch holding on to the whip by one hand,
and the other round the young lady, while my blood crept at the thought
how it might have been Lota herself! As soon as it came down again,
she looked for a moment from me to Jacobs, when Captain Williamson
himself shouted over the taffrail, "Sharp, sharp there! the squall's
coming down! she'll be up in the wind! let's get the helm free!" and
directly after I found myself swinging twenty feet over the water with
Violet Hyde, as the ship heeled to a puff that filled the spanker, and
rose again on a huge swell, gathering steerage way, while every bolt
of canvass in her flapped in again at once like thunder. I felt her
shudder and cling to me--there was one half minute we swung fairly
clear of the stern, they stopped hoisting,--and I almost thought I'd
have wished that same half minute half a day; but a minute after she
was in the Judge's arms on the poop; the men had contrived to get the
cadets on board, too, and the boat was dragging astern, with the line
veered out, and her crew still in it baling her out.

I fixed my eyes at once, breathless as we of the boat-party were, on
the weather-signs and the other vessel, which everybody on the poop
was looking at, as soon as we were safe, and our friends in the gig
had to be thought of. The short top-swell was beginning to soften in
long regular seas, with just air enough aloft to give our light sails a
purchase on it, and put an end to the infernal clatter; but the vapour
had gathered quicker than you could well fancy behind the brig in the
distance, so that she looked already a couple of miles nearer, rising
up two or three times on as many huge swells that shone like blue
glass, while she steadied herself like a tightrope dancer on the top of
them, by a studding-sail set high from each side. On the far horizon
beyond her, you'd have thought there was a deep black ditch sunk along
under the thickening blue haze, as it stretched out past her to both
hands, till actually the solid breast of it seemed to shove the brig
bodily forward over the oily-like water, every spar and rope distinct;
then the fog lifted below as if the teeth of a saw came spitting
through it, and we saw her bearing down toward us--cloud, water, and
all, as it were--with a white heap of foam at her bows. "Brace up
sharp, Mr Finch!" said the old skipper hastily, "and stand over to meet
her. Confound this! we _must_ have these people out of that brig in a
trice! we shall soon have a touch of the Horse Latitudes, or my name's
not Richard Williamson--ay, and bid good-bye to 'em, too, I think!"

For a quarter of an hour or so, accordingly, we kept forging slowly
ahead, while the brig continued to near us. No one spoke, almost--you
heard the lazy swash of the water round our fore-chains, and the
stillness aboard had a gloomy enough effect, as one noticed the top of
the haze creep up into round vapoury heads upon the sky, and felt it
darkening aloft besides. We were scarce three quarters of a mile apart,
and could see her sharp black bows drip over the bright sheathing,
as she rolled easily on the swell, when the Indiaman suddenly lost
way again, sheered head round, and slap went all her sails from the
royals down, as if she had fired a broadside. Almost the next moment, a
long, low growl ran muttering and rumbling far away round the horizon,
from the clouds and back to them again, as if they had been some huge
monster or other on the watch, with its broad grim muzzle shooting
quietly over us as it lay; the brig dipped her gilt figurehead abeam of
us, and then showed her long red streak; the swell sinking fast, and
the whole sea, far and wide coming out from the sky as dark and round
as the mahogany drum-head of the capstan.

"Bless me, Small," said the Captain, "but I hope they've not knocked
a hole in my gig--ay, there _they_ are, I think, looking over the
brig's quarter; but don't seem to have a boat to swim! Get the cutter
hauled alongside, Mr Stebbing," continued he to the fourth mate,
"and go aboard for them at once--confounded bothering, this! Mind
get my gig safe, sir, if you please--can you _parley-voo_, though,
Mr Stebbing?" "Not a word, sir," said the young mate, a gentlemanly,
rather soft fellow, whom the other three all used to snub. "Bless me,
can't we muster a bit o' French amongst us?" said the skipper; "catch a
_monshoor_ that knows a word of English like any other man--'specially
if they've a chance of keeping my gig!" "Well, sir," said I, "I'll
be happy to go with the officer, as I can speak French well enough!"
"Thank ye, young gentleman, thank ye," said he, "you'll do it as well
as any man, I'm sure--only look sharp, if you please, and bring my gig
with you!" So down the side we bundled into the cutter, and pulled
straight for the brig, which had just hoisted French colours, not old
"three-patches," of course, but the new Restoration flag.

I overhauled her well as we got near, and a beautiful long
schooner-model she was, with sharp bows, and a fine easy-run hull from
stem to stern, but dreadfully dirty and spoilt with top-bulwarks, as if
they meant to make her look as clumsy as possible; while the brig-rig
of her aloft, with the ropes hanging in bights and hitches, gave her
the look of a hedge-parson on a race-horse: at the same time, I counted
six closed ports of a side, in her red streak, the exact breadth and
colour of itself. Full of men, with a long gun, and schooner-rigged,
she could have sailed round the Indiaman in a light breeze, and mauled
her to any extent.

They hove us a line out of the gangway at once, the mate got up her
side as she rolled gently over, and I followed him: the scene that met
our eyes as soon as we reached her deck, however, struck me a good deal
on various accounts. We couldn't at first see where Mr Rollock and
his party might be, for the shadow of a thick awning after the glare
of the water, and the people near the brig's gangway--but I saw two
or three dark-faced, very French-like individuals, in broad-brimmed
straw hats and white trousers, seemingly passengers; while about
twenty Kroomen and Negroes, and as many seamen with unshaven chins,
ear-rings, and striped frocks, were in knots before the longboat,
turned keel up amidships, careless enough, to all appearance, about
us. One of the passengers leant against the mainmast, with his arms
folded over his broad chest, and his legs crossed, looking curiously
at us as we came up; his dark eyes half closed, the shadow of his
hat down to his black mustache, and his shirt-collar open, showing
a scar on his hairy breast; one man, whom I marked for the brig's
surgeon, beside him; and another waiting for us near the bulwarks--a
leathery-faced little fellow, with twinkling black eyes, and a sort
of cocked hat fore-and-aft on his cropped head. "_Moi_, Monsieur,"
said he, slapping his hand on his breast as the mate looked about him,
"oui, je suis capitaine, monsieur." "Good-day, sir;" said Stebbing,
"we've just come aboard for our passengers--and the gig--sir, if you
please." "Certainement, monsieur," said the French skipper, bowing
and taking a paper from his pocket, which he handed to the mate, "I
comprind, sare--monsieur le capitaine d' la fregatte Anglaise, il nous
demande nos--vat you call,--_peppares_--voilà! I have 'ad le honneur,
messieurs, to be already sarch by vun off vos _crusoes_--pour des
_esclaves_! vous imaginez _cela_, messieurs!" and here the worthy
Frenchman cast up his hands and gave a grin which seemed meant for
innocent horror. "_Slaifs! chez_ le brigantin Louis Bourbon, Capitaine
Jean Duprez? _Non!_" said he, talking away like a windmill, "de
Marseilles à l'Isle de France, avec les vins choisis----" "You mistake,
monsieur," said I, in French; "the ship is an Indiaman, and we have
only come for our _friends_, who are enjoying your wine, I daresay,
but we must----" "Comment?" said he, staring, "_what_, monsieur?
have de gotness to----" Here the mustached passenger suddenly raised
himself off the mast, and made one stride between us to the bulwarks,
where he looked straight out at the Indiaman, his arms still folded,
then from us to the French master. He was a noble-looking man, with
an eye I never saw the like of in any one else, 'twas so clear,
bold, and prompt,--it actually went _into_ you like a sword, and I
couldn't help fancying him in the thick of a battle, with thousands of
men and miles of smoke. "Duprez," said he, quickly, "je vous le dis
encore--debarquez ces miserables!--nous _combattrons_!" "Then, mon
ami," said the surgeon, in a low, cool, determined tone, stepping up
and laying a hand on his shoulder, "aussi, _nous couperons les ailes
de l'Aigle_, seulement!--Hush, mon ami, restrain this unfortunate
madness of yours!--c'est bien malapropos, à present!" and he whispered
something additional, on which the passenger fell back and leant
against the main-mast as before. "Ah!" said the French master, shaking
his head, and giving his forehead a tap, "le pauvre homme-la! He
has had a coup-de-soleil, messieurs, or rather of the _moon_, you
perceive, from sleeping in its rays! _Ma foi!_" exclaimed he, on my
explaining the matter, "c'est pos-_sible_?--we _did_ suppose your
boat intended to visit us, when evidently deterred by the excessive
undulation!--My friends, resign yourselves to a misfort--" "Great
heavens! Mr Stebbing," said I, "the boat is _lost_!" "By George! what
_will_ the captain say, then!" replied he; however, as soon as I
told him the sad truth, poor Stebbing, being a good-hearted fellow,
actually put his hands to his face and sobbed. All this time the brig's
crew were gabbling and kicking up a confounded noise about something
they were at with the spare spars, and in throwing tarpaulins over
the hatches; for it was fearfully dark, and going to rain heavy; the
slight swell shone and slid up betwixt the two vessels like oil, and
the clouds to south-westward had gathered up to a steep black bank,
with round coppery heads, like smoke over a town on fire. "Will you
go down, messieurs," said the Frenchman, politely, "and taste my _vin
de_--" "No, sir," said I, "we must make haste off, or else--besides,
by the way, we couldn't, for you've got all your hatches battened
down!" "Diable, so they are!" exclaimed he, "_par honneur_, gentlemen,
I regret the occasion of--ha!" Just before, a glaring brassy sort
of touch had seemed to come across the face of the immense cloud;
and though every thing, far and wide, was as still as death, save
the creaking of the two ships' yards, it made you think of the last
trumpet's mouth! But at this moment a dazzling flash leaped zig-zag out
of it, running along from one cloud to another, while the huge dark
mass, as it were, tore right up, changing and turning its inside out
like dust--you saw the sea far away under it, heaving from glassy blue
into unnatural-like brown--when crash broke the thunder over our very
heads, as if something had fallen out of heaven, then a long bounding
roar. The mad French passenger stood up, walked to the bulwarks, and
looked out with his hand over his eyes for the next; while the young
mate and I tumbled down the brig's side without further to do, and
pulled fast for the ship, where we hardly got aboard before there was
another wild flash, another tremendous clap, and the rain fell in one
clash, more like stone than water, on sea and decks. For half-an-hour
we were rolling and soaking in the midst of it, the lightning hissing
through the rain, and showing it glitter; while every five minutes
came a burst of thunder and then a rattle fit to split one's ears.
At length, just as the rain began to slacken, you could see it lift
bodily, the standing sheets of it drove right against our canvass and
through the awnings,--when we made out the French brig with her jib,
topsails, and boom-mainsail full, leaning over as she clove through
it before the wind. The squall burst into our wet topsails as loud as
the thunder, with a flash almost like the lightning itself, taking us
broad abeam; the ship groaned and shook for a minute ere gathering way
and falling off, and when she rose and began to go plunging through
the black surges, no brig was to be seen: every man on deck let his
breath out almost in a cry, scarce feeling as yet but it was equal
to losing sight for ever of our late shipmates, or the least hope of
them. The passengers, ladies and all, crowded in the companion-hatch
in absolute terror, every face aghast, without thinking of the rain
and spray: now and then the sulky crest of a bigger wave would be
caught sight of beyond the bulwarks, as the sea rose with its green
back curling over into white; and you'd have said the shudder ran down
into the cabin, at thought of seeing one or other of the lost boat's
crew come weltering up from the mist and vanish again. I knew it was
of no use, but held on in the weather mizen-rigging, and looked out
to westward, against a wild break of light which the setting sun made
through the troughs of the sea; once and again I could fancy I saw the
boat lift keel up, far off betwixt me and the fierce glimmer. "Oh,
do you see them? _do_ you not see it yet!" was passed up to me over
and over, from one sharp-pitched voice to another; but all I could
answer was to shake my head. At last, one by one, they went below;
and after what had happened, I must say I could easily fancy what a
chill, dreary-like, awful notion of the sea must have come for the
first time on a landsman, not to speak of delicate young girls fresh
from home: at sight of the drenched quarterdeck leaning bare down to
leeward, the sleet and spray battering bleak against the round-house
doors, where I had seen Miss Hyde led sobbing in, with her wet hair
about her face; then the ship driving off from where she had lost
them, with her three strong lower-masts aslant into the gale, ghastly
white and dripping--her soaked sheets of canvass blown gray and stiff
into the rigging, and it strained taut as iron; while you saw little
of her higher than the tops, as the scud and the dark together closed
aloft. Poor Miss Fortescue's mother was in fits below in her berth--the
two watches were on the yards aloft, where no eye could see them,
struggling hard to furl and reef; so altogether it was a gloomy enough
moment. I stayed awhile on deck, wrapped in a peacoat, keeping my
feet and hanging on, and thinking how right down in earnest matters
_could_ turn of a sudden. I wasn't remarkably thoughtful in these days,
I daresay, but there did I keep, straining my eyes into the mist to
see I couldn't tell what, and repeating over and over again to myself
these few words out of the prayer-book, "In the midst of life we are in
death," though scarce knowing what I said.

However, the Indiaman's officers and crew had work enough in managing
her at present: after a sunset more like the putting out of him than
anything else, with a flaring snuff and a dingy sort of smoke that
followed, the wind grew from sou'west into a regular long gale, that
drove the tops of the heavy seas into the deadlights astern, rising
aft out of the dark like so many capes, with the snow drifting off
them over the poop. At midnight, it blew great guns, with a witness;
the ship, under storm staysails and close-reefed maintopsail, going
twelve knots or more, when, as both the captain and mate reckoned, we
were near St Helena on our present course, and to haul on a wind was
as much as her spars were worth: her helm was put hard down and we
lay to for morning, the ship drifting off bodily to leeward with the
water. The night was quite dark, the rain coming in sudden spits out
of the wind; you only heard the wet gale sob and hiss through the bare
rigging into her storm-canvass, when the look-out men ahead sung out,
"Land--land close to starboard!" "Bless me, sir," said the mate to the
captain, "it's the Rock --well that we _did_--" "Hard up! hard up with
the helm!" yelled the men again, "it's a _ship_!" I ran to the weather
main-chains and saw a broad black mass, as it were, rising high abeam,
and seeming to come out from the black of the night, with a gleam or
two in it which they had taken for lights ashore in the island. The
Seringapatam's wheel was put up already, but she hung in the gale,
doubtful whether to fall off or not; and the moment she _did_ sink
into the trough, we should have had a sea over her broadside fit to
wash away men, boats, and all--let alone the other ship bearing down
at twelve knots. "Show the _head_ of the _fore-topmast-staysail_!"
shouted I with all my strength to the forecastle, and up it went
slapping its hanks to the blast--the Indiaman sprang round heeling
to her ports on the next sea, main-topsail before the wind, and the
staysail down again. Next minute, a large ship, with the foam washing
over her cat-heads, and her martingale gear dripping under the huge
white bowsprit, came lifting close past us--as black as shadows aloft,
save the glimmer of her main-tack to the lanterns aboard--and knot
after knot of dim faces above her bulwarks shot by, till you saw her
captain standing high in the mizen-chains, with a speaking trumpet.
He roared out something or other through it, and the skipper sung out
under both his hands, "Ay, ay, sir!" in answer; but it turned out after
that nobody knew what it was, unless it might be as I thought, "_Where_
are you going?" The minute following, we saw her quarter-lanterns like
two will-o'-the-wisps beyond a wave, and she was gone--a big frigate
running under half her canvass, strong though the gale blew.

"Why, Mr Finch," said Captain Williamson, as soon as we had time to
draw breath, "who was _that_, bid show the fo'topmast-stays'l--'twan't
_you_?" "No," said the mate, "I'd like to know who had the hanged
impudence to give orders here without--" "Well now, Finch," continued
the old skipper, "I'm not sure but that was our only chance at the
moment, sir; and if 'twas one of the men, why I'd pass it over, or
even give him an extra glass of grog in a quiet way!" No one could say
who it was, however; and, for my part, the sight of the frigate made
me still more cautious than before of letting out what Westwood and I
were: in fact, I couldn't help feeling rather uneasy, and I was glad
to hear the superstitious old sailmaker whispering about how he feared
there was no luck to be looked for, when "drowned men and _ghostesses_
began to work the ship!" The first streak of dawn was hardly seen, when
a sail could be made out in it, far on our lee bow, which the officers
supposed to be the frigate; Westwood and I, however, were of opinion it
was the French brig, although by sunrise we lost sight of her again.
Every one in the cuddy talked of our unfortunate friends, and their
melancholy fate; even Ford and Winterton were missed, while old Mr
Rollock had been the life of the passengers. But there was naturally
still more felt for the poor girl Fortescue; it made all of us gloomy
for a day or two; though the fresh breeze, and the Indiaman's fast
motion, after our wearisome spell of a calm, did a great deal to bring
things round again. Westwood was greatly taken up with my account
of the brig and her people, both of us agreeing there was somewhat
suspicious about her, though I thought she was probably neither more
nor less than a slaver, and he had a notion she was after something
deeper: what that might be, 'twas hard to conceive, as they didn't
appear like pirates. One thing, however, we _did_ conclude from the
matter, that the brig couldn't have been at all inclined for visitors;
and, in fact, there was little doubt but she _would_ actually refuse
letting the boat aboard, if they reached her; so in all likelihood
our unhappy friends had been swamped on that very account just as the
squall came on. When this idea got about the ship, of course you may
suppose neither passengers nor crew to have felt particularly amiable
towards the French vessel; and if we had met her again, with any good
occasion for it, all hands were much inclined to give her a right-down
thrashing, if not to make prize of her as a bad character.

"Well, Tom," said I to Westwood one day, "I wish these good folks
mayn't be disappointed, but I do suspect this blessed mate of ours
will turn out to have run us into some fine mess or other with his
navigation! Did you notice how _blue_ the sky looked this morning, over
to eastward, compared with what it did just now where the sun _set_?"
"No," said Westwood, "not particularly; but what of that?" "Why, in the
Iris," replied I, "we used always to reckon that a sign, hereabouts,
of our being near the _land_! Just you see, now, to-morrow morning, if
the dawn hasn't a hazy yellow look in it before the breeze fails; in
which case, 'tis the African coast to a certainty! Pity these 'Hyson
Mundungo' men, as Jack calls them, shouldn't have their eyes about 'em
as well as on the log-slate! I daresay, now," continued I, laughing,
"you heard the first mate bothering lately about the great variation of
the compass here? Well, what do you suppose was the reason of it--but
that sly devil of a kitmagar shoving in his block for grinding curry,
under the feet of the binnacle, every time he was done using it! I saw
him get a kick one morning from the man at the wheel, who chanced to
look down and notice him. Good solid iron it is, though painted and
polished like marble, and the circumcised rascal unluckily considered
the whole binnacle as a sort of second Mecca for security!" "Hang the
fellow!" said Westwood, "but I don't see much to laugh at, Ned. Why,
if you're right, we shall all be soaked and fried into African fever
before reaching the Cape, and we've had misfortunes enough already!
Only think of an exquisite creature like Miss----" "Oh," interrupted I,
fancying Master Tom began lately to show sufficient admiration for her,
"betwixt an old humdrum, and a conceited fool like that, what could
you expect? All I say is, my dear parson, stand by for a pinch when it
comes."

On going down to tea in the cuddy, we found the party full of
spirits, and for the first time there was no mention of their lost
fellow-passengers, except amongst a knot of cadets and writers rather
elevated by the Madeira after dinner, who were gathered round the
reverend Mr Knowles, pretending to talk regretfully of his Yankee
friend, Mr Daniel Snout. "Yes, gentlemen," said the missionary, who was
a worthy, simple-hearted person, "in spite of some uncouthness--and
perhaps limited views, the result of defective education--he was an
excellent man, I think!" "Oh certainly, certainly!" said a writer,
looking to his friends, "and the one thing needful you spoke of
just now, sir, I daresay he had it always in his eye, now?" "Mixed,
I fear," replied the missionary, "with some element of worldly
feeling--for in America they _are_ apt to make even the soul, as well
as religious association, matter of commerce--but Mr Snout, I have
reason to be assured, had the true welfare of India at heart--we had
much interesting conversation on the subject." "Ah!" said the sharp
civilians, "he was fond of getting information, was poor Daniel!
Was that why he asked you so many questions about the Hindoo gods,
Mr Knowles?" "He already possessed much general knowledge of their
strange mythology, himself," answered the missionary, "and I confess
I was surprised at it--especially, as he confessed to me, that that
gorgeous country, with its many boundless capabilities, should have
occupied his thoughts more and more from boyhood, amidst the secular
activity of modern life--even as it occurred unto myself!" Here the
worthy man took off his large spectacles, gave them a wipe, and put
them on again, while he finished his tea. "Before this deplorable
dispensation," continued he again, "he was on the point of revealing
to me a great scheme at once for the enlightenment, I believe, of that
benighted land, and for more lucrative support to those engaged in it.
I fear, gentlemen, it was enthusiasm--but I have grounds for thinking
that our departed friend has left in this vessel many packages of
volumes translated into several dialects of the great Hindu tongue--not
omitting, I am convinced, the best of books." "Where!" exclaimed
several of the cadets, rather astonished, "_well!_ poor Snout can't
have been such a bad fellow, after all!" "All hum!" said the writer,
doubtfully, "depend upon it. I should like, now, to have a peep at
Jonathan's bales!" "I myself have thought, also," said the missionary,
"it would gratify me to look into his apartment--and were it permitted
to use one or two of the volumes, I should cheerfully on our arrival in
Bom----" "Come along!" said the cadets,--"let's have a look!--shouldn't
wonder to see Daniel beside his lion yet, within! or hear 'guess I
aint.'" "My young friends," said the missionary, as we all went along
the lighted passage, "such levity is unseemly;" and indeed the look
of the state-room door, fastened outside as the steward had left it
before the gale came on, made the brisk cadets keep quiet till the
lashing on it was unfastened--'twas so like breaking in upon a ghost.
However, as it chanced, Mr Snout's goods had got loose during her late
roll, and heaped down to leeward against the door--so, whenever they
turned the handle, a whole bundle of packages came tumbling out of the
dark as it burst open, with a shower of small affairs like so many
stones after them. "What's all this!" exclaimed the cadets, stooping
to look at the articles by the lamp-light, strewed as they were over
the deck. The reverend gentleman stooped too, stood straight, wiped his
spectacles and fixed them on his nose, then stooped again; at length
one long exclamation of surprise broke out of his mouth. They were
nothing but little ugly images, done in earthenware, painted and gilt,
and exactly the same: the writer dived into a canvass package, and
there was a lot of a different kind, somewhat larger and uglier. Every
one made free with a bale for himself, shouting out his discoveries to
the rest. "I say Smythe, this is Vishnu, it's marked on the corner!"
D----n it, Ramsay, here's Brahma!" "Ha! ha! ha! if _I_ havn't got
Seeva!" "I say, what's this though?" screamed a young lad, hauling at
the biggest bale of all, while the missionary stood stock upright,
a perfect picture of bewilderment--"_Lo!_" being all he could say.
"What can '_Lingams_' be, eh?" went on the young griffin, reading the
mark outside--"'_Lingams_--extra fine gilt, Staffordshire--70 Rs. per
doz.--D. S. to Bombay,'--what may _Lingams_ be?" and he pulled out a
sample, meant for an improvement on the shapeless black stones reckoned
so sacred by Hindoo ladies that love their lords, as I knew from seeing
them one morning near Madras, bringing gifts and bowing to the Lingam,
at a pretty little white temple under an old banian-tree. For my part,
I had lighted on a gross or so of gentlemen and ladies with three heads
and five arms, packed nicely through each other in, cotton, but inside
the state-room. At this last prize, however, the poor missionary could
stand it no longer; "Oh! oh!" groaned he, clapping his hand to his
head, and walking slowly off to his berth; while, as the truth gleamed
on the cadets and us, we sat down on the deck amidst the spoil, and
roared with laughter like to go into fits, at the unfortunate Yankee's
scheme for converting India."[12] "Well--hang me!" said a writer, as
soon as he could speak, "but this _is_ a streak beyond the Society for
Diffusing Useful Knowledge!" "Every man his own priest,--ha! ha! ha!"
shouted another. "I say, Smythe," sung out a cadet, "just fancy--ha!
ha! 'D. Snout and Co'--ho! ho! ho! you know it's too rich to enjoy by
ourselves. '_My_thullogy store,' Bombay, near the cathedral!" "Cheap
Bramahs, wholesale and retail--eh? families supplied!" "By George! he's
a genius lost!" said Smythe, "but the parson needn't have broken with
him for that,--I shouldn't wonder, now, if they had joined partnership,
but Daniel might have thought of mining all their heads with gunpowder
and percussion springs, so that the missionary could have gone round
afterwards and blown up heathenism by a touch!" The noise of all this
soon brought along the rest of the gentlemen, and few could help
laughing. When the thing got wind on deck, however, neither the old
skipper nor the men seemed to like it much: what with the notion of the
ship's being taken, as it were, by a thousand or two of ugly little
imps and Pagan idols, besides bringing up a drowned man's concerns, and
'yawhawing,' as they said, into his very door,--it was thought the best
thing to have them all chucked over board next morning.

'Twas a beautifully fine night, clear aloft, and the moon rising large
on our larboard bow, out of a delicate pale sort of haze, as the ship
headed south'ard with the breeze; for I marked the haze particularly,
as well as the colour of the sky that lay high over it like a deep-blue
hollow going away down beyond, and filling up with the light. There
was no living below for heat, and the showers of cockroaches that went
whirring at the lamps, and marching with their infernal feelers out,
straight up your legs; so, fore and aft, the decks were astir with us
all. Talk of moonlight on land! but even in the tropics you have to see
it pouring right down, as it was then, the whole sky full of it aloft
as the moon drew farther up; till it came raining, as it were, in a
single sheet from one bend of the horizon to another: the water scarce
rippling to the breeze, only heaving in long low swells, that you heard
just wash her bends; one track brighter than the rest, shining and
glancing like a looking-glass drawn out, for a mile or so across our
quarter, and the ship's shadow under her other bow. You saw the men far
forward in her head, and clustered in a heap on the bow-sprit-heel,
enjoying it mightily, and looking out or straight aloft as if to polish
their mahogany faces, and get their bushy whiskers silvered; while the
awnings being off the poop, the planks in it came out like so much
ivory from the shade of the spanker, which sent down a perfect gush
of light on, every one moving past. For the air, again, as all the
passengers said, it was balmy; though for my part--perhaps it might be
a fancy of mine--but now and then I thought it sniffed a little too
much _that_ way, to be altogether pleasant in the circumstances.

Of course, no sooner had I caught sight of Sir Charles Hyde than I
looked for his daughter, and at last saw some one talking to a young
lady seated near the after-gratings, with her head turned round
seaward, whom it didn't require much guessing for me to name. Not
having seen her at all since the affair of the boats, I strolled
aft, when I was rather surprised to find that her companion was Tom
Westwood, and they seemed in the thick of an interesting discourse. The
instant I got near, however, they broke it off; the young lady turned
her head--and never, I'd swear, was woman's face seen fairer than I
thought hers at that moment--when the bright moonlight that had seemed
trying to steal round her loose bonnet and peep in, fell straight down
at once from her forehead to her chin, appearing, as it were, to dance
in under her long eyelashes to meet her eyes; while one mass of her
brown hair hung bright in it, and white against the shadow round her
cheek, that drew the charming line of her nose and lip as clear as the
horizon on the sky! The very moment, in fact, that a bitter thought
flashed into my mind--for to my fancy she looked vexed at seeing me,
and a colour seemed mounting up to her cheek, even through the fairy
sort of glimmer on it. _Could_ Tom Westwood have been acting no more
than the clerical near such a creature? and if a fellow like him took
it in his head, what chance had _I_? The next minute, accordingly, she
rose off her seat, gave me a slight bow in answer to mine, and walked
direct to the gallery stair, where she disappeared.

"We were talking of that unlucky adventure the other day," said
Westwood, glancing at me, but rather taken aback, as I thought. "Ay?"
said I, carelessly. "Yes," continued he; "Miss Hyde had no idea you and
I were particularly acquainted, and seems to think me a respectable
clergyman; but I must tell you, Ned, she has rather a suspicious
opinion of yourself!" "Oh, indeed!" said I, sullenly. "Fact, Ned," said
he; "she even remembers having seen you before, somewhere or other--I
hope, my dear fellow, it wasn't on the stage?" "Ha! ha! how amusing!"
I said, with the best laugh I could get up. "At any rate, Collins," he
went on, "she sees through your feigned way of carrying on, and knows
you're neither griffin nor land-lubber, but a sailor; for I fancy this
is not the first time the young lady has met with the cloth! What do
you suppose she asked me now, quite seriously?" "Oh, I couldn't guess,
of course," replied I, almost with a sneer; "pray don't--" "Why, she
inquired what could be the design of one concealing his profession
so carefully; and actually appearing to be on a secret understanding
with some of the sailors! Directly after, she asked whether that brig
mightn't really have been a pirate, and taken off the poor general,
Miss Fortescue, and the rest?" "Ah," said I, coldly, "and if I might
venture to ask, what did you--" "Oh, of course," replied Westwood,
laughing, "I could only hide my amusement, and profess doubts, you
know, Ned!" "Deuced good joke, Mr Westwood," thought I to myself, "but
at least you can't weather on _me_ quite so innocently, my fine fellow!
I didn't _think_ it of him, after all! By heaven, I did _not_!" "By
the bye, Collins," exclaimed Westwood in a little, as he kept his eye
astern, "there's something away yonder on our lee-quarter that I've
been watching for these last ten minutes--what do you think it may be?
Look! just in the tail of the moonshine yonder!" What it might be, I
cared little enough at the time; but I did give a glance, and saw a
little black dot, as it were, rising and falling with the long run of
the water, apparently making way before the breeze. "Only a bit of
wood, I daresay," remarked I; "but whatever it is, at any rate the
drift will take it far to leeward of us, so you needn't mind." Here we
heard a steward come up and say to the first officer, who was waiting
with the rest to take a lunar observation, that Captain Williamson had
turned in unwell, but he wanted to hear when they found the longitude:
accordingly, they got their altitude, and went on making, the
calculations on deck. "Well, steward," said the mate, after a little
humming and hawing, "go down and tell the captain, in the meantime,
about _five east_; but I think it's a good deal over the mark--say I'll
be down myself directly."

"A deuced sight _below_ the mark, rather!" said I, walking aft again,
where Westwood kept still looking out for the black dot. "You'll see
it nearer, now, Ned," said he; "more like a negro's head, or his hand,
than a bit of wood--eh?" "Curious!" I said; "it lies well up for our
beam, still--_'spite_ of the breeze. Must be a shark's back-fin, I
think, making for convoy." In ten minutes longer, the light swell in
the distance gave it a lift up fair into the moonshine; it gleamed for
a moment, and then seemed to roll across into the blue glimmer of the
sea. "By Jove, Collins," said Westwood, gazing eagerly at it, "'tis
more like a bottle, to _my_ sight!" We walked back and forward, looking
each time over the taffrail, till at length the affair in question
could be seen dipping and creeping ahead in the smooth shining wash
of the surface, just like to go bobbing across our bows and be missed
to windward. "Crossing our hause I _do_ declare!-- Hanged if _that_
ain't fore-reaching on us, with a witness!" exclaimed the two of us
together: "and a _bottle_ it _is!_" said Westwood. I slipped down the
poop-stair, and along to the forecastle, where I told Jacobs; when two
or three of the men went out on the martingale-stays, with the bight
of a line and a couple of blocks in it, ready to throw round this said
floating oddity, and haul it alongside as it surged past. Shortly
after we had it safe in our hands; a square-built old Dutchman it was,
tight corked, with a red rag round the neck, and crusted over with
salt--almost like one of Vanderdecken's messages home, coming up as it
did from the wide glittering sea, of a tropical moonlight night, nine
weeks or so after leaving land. The men who had got it seemed afraid of
their prize, so Westwood and I had no difficulty in smuggling it away
below to our berth, where we both sat down on a locker and looked at
one another. "What poor devil hove this overboard, I wonder, now," said
he; "I daresay it may have knocked about, God knows how long, since
_his_ affair was settled." "Why, for that matter, Westwood," replied
I, "I fancy it's much more important to find there's a strong easterly
current hereabouts just now!"[13] Here Westwood got a cork-screw,
and pulled out the cork with a true parson-like gravity: as we had
expected, there was a paper tacked to it, crumpled up and scrawled over
in what we could only suppose was _blood_.

"'No. 20,'" read he,--"what does that mean?" "The twentieth bottle
launched, perhaps," said I, and he went on--"'For Godsake, if you find
this, keep to the south-west--we are going that way, we think--we've
fallen amongst regular Thugs, I fear--just from the folly of these
three--(they're looking over my shoulder, though)--we are not
ill-treated yet, but kept below and watched--yours in haste--' What
this signature is I can't say for the life of me, Ned; no date either!"
"Did the fellow think he was writing by post, I wonder," said I, trying
to make it out. "By the powers! Westwood, though," and I jumped up,
"that bottle _might_ have come from the Pacific, 'tis true--but what if
it were old Rollock after all! _Thugs_, did you say? Why, I shouldn't
wonder if the jolly old planter were on the hooks still. _That_
rascally brig!" And accordingly, on trying the scrawl at the end, over
and over, we both agreed it was nothing but T. ROLLOCK!



MORAL AND SOCIAL CONDITION OF WALES.[14]


We have before us a valuable and interesting work on a portion of the
British dominions much visited but little known, and one which is
satisfactory, not only from the good feeling and taste it evinces on
the part of its author, but also from its setting at rest a question
that was lately much agitated, and to which we at the time adverted in
our pages for May 1848. Sir Thomas Phillips has taken up the cudgel, or
rather the pen, to defend the honour of his beloved country, and has
acquitted himself well of the task, partly in combating real opponents,
partly in knocking down men of straw. The book, however, comes so
far late of its subject as that the interest felt upon it had been
gradually subsiding. No very mighty grievance could be alleged by our
hot-blooded Cambrian brethren; many hard words and blustering speeches
had been uttered throughout the length and breadth of Wales, and a sort
of Celtic agitation had been got up by sundry ladies and gentlemen,
not much connected with the country. The nation at large, however,
had not paid great attention to it; the British lion did not show any
indication to lash his sides into foam with his magnanimous tail; the
storm in a tea-cup was left to itself: oil had been floating on the
face of the troubled waters; and though a few disappointed persons
had tried to revive a little excitement, for the sake of "having
their names before the public," peace was again reigning throughout
Cambria's vales, and her people were following their own simple
occupations, unknowing and unknown. Sir Thomas Phillips, however, with
a most patriotic motive, determined to fire one shot more against his
country's traducers; and thus, while concocting a final reply to the
"Blue Books,"--as they are commonly called in the Principality--found
himself led on and on, from page to page, and chapter to chapter,
until, instead of a pamphlet, he has produced a thick volume of six
hundred pages, and has compiled what may be termed a complete apology
for Wales.

Our readers will very likely remember that certain Reports on the state
of education in Wales, printed by order of the House of Commons, gave
immense offence to all who had got ever so little Welsh blood in their
veins. We reviewed these very reports, and gave our opinions on Welsh
education at considerable length; and therefore we do not open Sir
Thomas Phillips' pages with the intention of reverting to that part of
the subject, though the author, in compiling it, seems to have had the
education of his countrymen principally in view.

We consider, however, that a work written by a gentleman, known for
his forensic abilities and literary pursuits, upon a large portion of
this island, and purporting to be a complete account of its moral and
social condition, must form a suitable topic for review and discussion.
Our readers will not repent our introducing it to their notice: we can
at once assure them that it will amply repay the trouble--if it be a
trouble at all--of perusing it. The style is graceful and yet nervous;
the whole tone and colour of the thoughts of the author show the
gentleman; while the general compilation and discussion of the facts
collected prove Sir Thomas Phillips to have the mind and the abilities
of a statesman.[15] Another, and a more important reason, however,
why this work will be acceptable to many of our readers, is that it
touches upon various questions which, at times like the present, are
of vital importance to the welfare, not of Wales only, but of the
British empire; and that it proves the existence of feelings in the
Principality--mentioned by us on a previous occasion--which ought to be
brought before the notice of the public, and commented upon. This is
the task which we reserve for ourselves after reviewing more in detail
the work of the learned author; for Wales _may_ become a second Ireland
in time, if neglected, or it _may_ continue to be a source of permanent
strength to the crown, if properly treated and protected. The existence
of such a state of things is hinted at in the preface--an uncommonly
good one, by the way, and dated, with thorough Cambrian spirit, on _St
David's Day_, if not from the top of Snowdon, yet from the more prosaic
and less mountainous locality of the Inner Temple. The author's words
are--

    "Amongst the mischievous results which the temper and spirit of
    the reports have provoked in Wales, I regard with discomfort
    and anxiety a spirit of isolation from England, to which
    sectarian agencies, actively working through various channels,
    have largely ministered. In ordinary times this result might
    be disregarded; but at a period of the world's history when
    the process of decomposition is active amongst nations, and
    phrases which appeal to the sympathies of race become readily
    mischievous, it behoves those very excellent persons, who claim
    Wales for the Welsh, to consider whether they are prepared
    to give up England to the English, and to relinquish the
    advantages which a poor province enjoys by its union with a
    rich kingdom. For generations, Welshmen have been admitted to
    an equal rivalry with Englishmen, as well in England as in
    those colonial possessions of the British crown, which have
    offered so wide a field for enterprise, and secured such ample
    rewards to provident industry; and, whether at the bar or in
    the senate, or in the more stirring feats of war, they have
    obtained a fair field, and have won honourable distinction.
    There are offices in the Principality, the duties of which
    demand a knowledge of the Welsh language, and for them such
    knowledge should be made a condition of eligibility, in the
    same manner as a knowledge of English would be required, under
    analogous circumstances, in England. In the law these offices
    will be few, and probably confined to the local judges; as it
    will not be seriously proposed that, in our assize courts, the
    pleadings of the advocate, and the address of the judge, shall
    be delivered in the Welsh language; and even in the courts
    of quarter-sessions, which are composed of local magistrates
    most of whom were born and reside in the country, but few of
    those gentlemen could address a jury in their own tongue. A
    remedy for the inconvenience occasioned by an ignorant or
    imperfect acquaintance, on the part of the people, with the
    language employed in courts of justice, must be looked for in
    that instruction in the English language which is intended to
    be provided for all, and which is necessary to qualify men to
    appear as witnesses, or to serve as jurors, in courts wherein
    the proceedings are conducted in that tongue. The difficulties
    arising from language are principally felt in the Church:
    and it seems a truism to affirm, that where Welsh is the
    ordinary language of public worship, and the common medium of
    conversation, the language should be known to those who are
    to teach and exhort the people, and to withstand and convince
    gainsayers. The nomination of foreign prelates to English
    sees before the Reformation, occasioned great dissatisfaction
    in the minds of the English clergy, and tended to alienate
    them from the papacy; and yet men who are prompt to recognise
    that grievance, are insensible to the effect produced on the
    Welsh clergy, by their general exclusion from the higher
    offices of the Church. The ignorance of Welsh in men promoted
    to bishoprics in Wales, may be more than compensated for by
    the possession of other qualifications; and a rigid exclusion
    from the episcopal office in the Principality of every man
    who is unacquainted with the language of the people, might be
    inconvenient, if not injurious, to the best interests of the
    Church. The selection, however, for the episcopal office of men
    conversant with the language of the country, when otherwise
    qualified to bear rule in the Christian ministry, would give a
    living reality to the episcopate in the Principality, and might
    materially aid in bringing back the people into the fold of the
    Church."

The difference of language is here made the principal grievance
between the Saxon and Celtic population; and it is certainly one
of the principal, though not the main, nor the only, cause of the
unpleasantness and unsettledness of feeling that exists in Wales
towards England and English people. Where two languages exist, it is
impossible but that national distinctions should exist also; and as the
traditions of conquest, and the hereditary consciousness of political
inferiority, are some of the last sentiments that abandon a vanquished
people, so it is probable that the Welsh will remain a distinct people
for more centuries to come than we care to count up. We do not know but
that, to a certain extent, it may be a source of strength to England
that it should be so, though it will undoubtedly be a cause of weakness
and division to Wales. Nevertheless, the difficulty is not so great
as may be at first sight supposed. In adverting to this part of the
subject, Sir Thomas Phillips observes--

    "When Edward the First conquered the country, and subjected
    the natives to English rule, he was deeply sensible of the
    difficulty which now paralyses education commissioners, and
    he dealt with it in a manner characteristic of the monarch
    and the times. Of him Carlyle would say, he was a real man,
    and no sham; and did not believe in any distracted jargon
    of universal rose-water in this world still so full of sin.
    Accordingly, he gathered all the Welsh bards together, and
    put them to death; and Hume, a philosophic and ordinarily not
    a cruel historian, says this policy was not absurd. English
    legislation, between the conquest of the country by Edward
    the First and its incorporation with England by Henry the
    Eighth, was characterised by a deliberate and pertinacious
    endeavour to extirpate the language and subjugate the spirit
    of the inhabitants. By laws of the Lancastrian princes, (whose
    usurpation was long resisted by the Welsh people,) 'rhymers,
    minstrels, and other Welsh vagabonds,' were forbidden to burden
    the country; the natives were not permitted to have any house
    of defence, to bear arms, or to exercise any authority; and
    an Englishman, by the act of marrying a Welsh woman, became
    ineligible to hold office in his adopted country. By statutes
    of Henry the Eighth, it was enacted, that law proceedings
    should be in the English tongue; that all oaths, affidavits,
    and verdicts, should be given and made in English; and that no
    Welsh person, 'who did not use the English speech' should hold
    office within the King's dominions. Even at the Reformation,
    which secured the sacred volume to Englishmen 'in their own
    tongue wherein they were born,' the revelation to man of God's
    will was not given to Welshmen in a language understood by the
    people. In 1562, however, provision was made for translating
    the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer into the British or
    Welsh tongue, by an act which declared that the most and
    greatest part of the Queen's loving subjects in Wales did not
    understand the English tongue, and therefore were utterly
    destitute of God's holy Word, and did remain in the like, or
    rather more, darkness and ignorance than they were in the time
    of papistry, and required that not only a Welsh, but also an
    English, Bible and Book of Common Prayer should be laid in
    every church throughout Wales, there to remain, that such
    as understood them might read and peruse the same; and that
    such as understood them not might, by conferring both tongues
    together, the sooner attain to the knowledge of the English
    tongue.

    "Nearly six centuries have elapsed since the first Edward
    crossed the lofty mountains of North Wales, which, before
    him, no King of England had trodden, and in the citadel of
    Caernarvon received the submission of the Welsh people; and
    more than three centuries have passed away since the country
    was incorporated with, and made part of, the realm of England;
    and although, for so long a period, English laws have been
    enforced, and the use of the Welsh language discouraged, yet,
    when the question is now asked, what progress has been made
    in introducing the English language? the answer maybe given
    from Part II. of the Reports of the Education Commissioners,
    page 68. In Cardiganshire, 3000 people out of 68,766 speak
    English.[16] The result may be yet more strikingly shown by
    saying that double the number of persons now speak Welsh who
    spoke that language in the reign of Elizabeth."

It is a mistaken idea to suppose that the Welsh language is hard to be
acquired,--the very reverse of this is the fact,: there is probably
no spoken language of Europe, not derived from the Latin, which may
be so soon or so agreeably acquired as the Welsh. A good knowledge of
it, so as to enable the learner to read and write it currently, may be
attained certainly within a year by even a moderately diligent student;
and the power of conversing in it with ease and fluency is to be gained
within the course of perhaps a couple of years. The language is daily
studied more and more by persons not connected with the Principality,
and acquired by them; nay, what is a remarkable fact, next to the
galaxy of the Williamses,[17] the best Welsh scholar of the present
day is Dr Meyer, the learned German librarian at Buckingham Palace;
while Dr Thirlwall, the present bishop of St David's, has made himself,
with only a few years' study, as good a Welsh scholar as he had long
before been a German one. We believe that, if the present system of
education be steadily carried out, with its consequent developments,
in the Principality, the two languages, English and Welsh, will become
_equally_ familiar to those who may be born in the second generation
from the present day; and that the inhabitants of Wales, becoming
thoroughly _bilingual_--for we do not anticipate that they will abandon
their ancient tongue--this apparent obstacle to a more complete
amalgamation of interests between the two races will be entirely
removed. One thing is certain, that the aptitude of Welsh children to
learn English, of the purest dialectic kind, is very remarkable--and
that the desire to acquire English is prevalent amongst all the people.

We confess that we should be sorry to see any language impaired, much
less forgotten: they constitute some of the great marks which the
Almighty has impressed upon the various tribes of his children--not
lightly to be neglected nor set aside. They form some of the surest
grounds of national strength and permanence; and they are some of
those old and venerable things which, as true conservatives, we are by
no means desirous to see obliterated or injured. As, however, it is
obviously impossible that the whole literature of the Anglo-Saxon race
should be translated into Welsh, it is essential to the Cambrians that
they should no longer hesitate as to qualifying themselves for reading,
in its own tongue, that literature which is exercising so great an
influence over a large portion of the globe; and the possession of the
two languages will tend to elevate the character, as well as to remove
the prejudices, of the people that shall take the trouble to acquire
them.

The social condition of Wales is gone into by the author at some
length; but he confines his observations principally to the
manufacturing and mining population of Glamorgan and the southern
counties. Upon this part of the subject he has compiled much valuable
information which, though not exactly new, tells well in his work when
brought into a focus and reasoned upon. He introduces the subject
thus:--

    "The social condition of the inhabitants is influenced by
    the configuration of the country, for the most part abrupt,
    and broken into hill and valley; the elevation of the upper
    mountain ranges, which are the loftiest in South Britain, and
    the large proportion of waste and barren land; the humidity
    of the climate; the variety and extent of the mineral riches
    in certain localities; and the great length of the sea-coast,
    forming numerous bays and havens; and thus there is presented
    much variety in the occupation, and remarkable contrasts in
    the means of subsistence and habits of life, of the people.
    Monmouthshire, Glamorganshire, and the southern extremity
    of Breconshire, are the seat of the iron and coal trades.
    In the western part of Glamorganshire, around Swansea, and
    in the south-eastern corner of Carmarthenshire, copper ore,
    imported from Cornwall, as well as from foreign countries, is
    smelted in large quantities; and the same neighbourhood is
    the seat of potteries, at which an inexpensive description of
    earthenware is made. Coal, in limited quantities, and of a
    particular description, is exported from Carmarthenshire and
    Pembrokeshire; and lead ore and quarries of slate are worked in
    Cardiganshire. In North Wales, considerable masses of people
    are collected around the copper mines of Anglesey; amidst the
    slate quarries opened in the lofty mountains of Caernarvonshire
    and Merionethshire, as well as in some of the sea-ports of
    those counties; amongst the lead mines of Flintshire, and the
    coal and iron districts, which extend from the confines of
    Cheshire, through Flintshire and Denbighshire, to the confines
    of Merionethshire; and in those parts of Montgomeryshire,
    on the banks of the Severn, where flannel-weaving prevails.
    Formerly, the woollen cloths and flannels with which the
    people clothed themselves were manufactured throughout the
    country, at small mills or factories placed on the margin
    of mountain streams, which furnished the power or agency
    necessary for carrying on the process; but the growth of the
    large manufacturing establishments in the north of England
    and Scotland, and the substitution of cotton for wool in
    various articles of clothing, have uprooted many of the native
    factories, and reduced to very small dimensions the once
    important manufacture of homemade cloths and flannels. The
    larger portion of the industrial population of North Wales, and
    of the counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen, Radnor, and Pembroke,
    in South Wales, is engaged in agriculture. It consists, for the
    most part, of small farmers--a frugal and cautious race of men,
    employing but few labourers, and cultivating, by means of their
    own families and a few domestic servants, the lands on which
    they live.

    "In times of mining and manufacturing prosperity, the
    productions of the agricultural and pastoral districts find
    ready purchasers, at remunerating prices, at the mining and
    manufacturing establishments, to which they are conveyed from
    distant places; and the surplus labour of the agricultural
    districts finds profitable employment at the mines, factories,
    and shipping ports, where a heterogeneous population is
    collected from every part of the kingdom. The wages of labour
    are, nevertheless, very low, in the agricultural portions
    both of North and South Wales; and are probably lower in the
    western counties of South Wales, and in some districts of
    North Wales, than in any other part of South Britain. The
    Welsh farmer presents, however, a stronger contrast than even
    the Welsh labourer to the same class in England. He occupies
    a small farm, employs an inconsiderable amount of capital,
    and is but little removed, either in his mode of life, his
    laborious occupation, his dwelling, or his habits, from the
    day-labourers by whom he is surrounded; feeding on brown bread,
    often made of barley, and partaking but seldom of animal food.
    The agricultural and pastoral population is, for the most
    part, scattered in lone dwellings, or found in small hamlets,
    in passes amongst the hills, on the sides of lofty mountains,
    or the margin of a rugged sea-coast, or on lofty moors, or
    table-land; and oftentimes this population can be approached
    only along sheep-tracks or bridle-paths, by which these
    mountain solitudes are traversed.

    "Whilst, however, such is the condition of a wide area of
    the Principality, there is found in particular districts, of
    which mention has been already made, a population congregated
    together in large numbers, which has grown with a rapidity of
    which there is scarcely another example--not by the gradual
    increase of births over deaths, but by immigration from
    other districts, as well of Wales and England, as of Ireland
    and Scotland also. That immigration is not constant in its
    operation and regular in its amount, but fluctuating, or
    abruptly suspended; and in times of adversity, which frequently
    recur, men, drawn hither by the prospect of high wages, however
    short-lived such prosperity may prove, migrate in search of
    employment to other districts, or are removed to their former
    homes. In the iron and coal districts of South Wales, these
    colonies are collected at two points--the mountain sides, at
    which the minerals are raised, and the shipping ports, at which
    the produce of the mines is exported."

It appears that the total value of shipments from the counties of
Monmouth, Glamorgan, and Carmarthen, in metals and minerals, during the
year 1847 was, in round numbers, as follows:--

  Iron,       £4,000,000
  Copper,      2,000,000
  Coal,          800,000
  Tin plate,     400,000
              ----------
              £7,200,000
              ----------

The copper specified above is not copper found in Wales, but that which
is brought to Swansea, and other ports of Glamorgan and Carmarthen, for
the purpose of being smelted, and then reshipped for various parts of
the world, principally to France and South America. This trade gives
occupation to a large population in those districts, and it forms one
of the few branches of British manufactures, in which no very great
fluctuations have been experienced during the last few years. It is,
indeed, estimated that more than three-fourths of all the copper used
on the face of the globe is smelted in the South-Welsh coal-field.
But how prosperous soever may have been the condition of the great
capitalists and iron-masters in South Wales, it does not appear that,
with two or three bright exceptions, they have done much to ameliorate
the condition of the people in their employment,--and even, in the
present unsettled state of the world, the influence upon their hearts,
of the metals they deal in, may be but too evidently seen. We find a
most ingenious and important passage in Sir T. Phillips' work upon
this subject, full of sound philosophy and excellent feeling. He
observes:--

    "The wilderness, or mountain waste, has been covered with
    people; an activity and energy almost superhuman characterise
    the operations of the district; wealth has been accumulated by
    the employer; and large wages have been earned by the labourer.
    Thus far the picture which has been presented is gratifying
    enough; but the more serious question arises--How have the
    social and moral relations of the district been influenced
    by the changes which it has witnessed? May it not be said
    with truth, that the wealth of the capitalist has ordinarily
    ministered to the selfish enjoyments of the possessor, whilst
    the ample wages earned in prosperous times by the labourer
    have been usually squandered in coarse intemperance, or
    careless extravagance? Prosperity is succeeded periodically by
    those seasons of adversity to which manufacturing industry is
    peculiarly exposed; when the labourer, whose wants grew with
    increased means, experiences positive suffering at a rate of
    wages on which he would have lived in comfort, had he not been
    accustomed to larger earnings. Crowded dwellings, badly-drained
    habitations, constant incitements to intemperance, and, above
    all, association with men of lawless and abandoned character,
    (who so frequently resort to newly-peopled districts,) are
    also unfavourable elements in the social condition of this
    people. To those influences may be added, the absence of a
    middle class, as a connecting link between the employer and
    the employed; the neglect of such moral supervision on the
    part of the employers as might influence the character of
    their workmen; and the want of those institutions for the
    relief of moral or physical destitution--whether churches,
    schools, almshouses, or hospitals--which characterise our older
    communities. Wealth accumulated by the employer is found by
    the side of destitution and suffering in the labourer--often,
    no doubt, the result of intemperance and improvidence, but
    not seldom the effect of those calamities against which no
    forethought can adequately guard; and when no provision is
    made for the relief of physical or moral suffering, by a
    dedication to God's service, for the relief of His creatures,
    of any portion of that wealth, to the accumulation of which
    by the capitalist the labourer has contributed, it will be
    manifest that the social and political institutions of our land
    are exposed to trials of no ordinary severity in these new
    communities.

    "We live in times of great mental and moral activity. In
    the year which has now reached its close, changes have been
    accomplished, far more extensive and important than are
    usually witnessed by an entire generation of the sons of men;
    and around and about us opinions may be discerned, which
    involve, not merely the machinery of government, but the very
    framework of society: and these opinions are not confined
    to the closets of the studious, but pervade the workshop
    and the market, and interest the men who fill our crowded
    thoroughfares. In former ages, as well as in other conditions
    than the manufacturing in our own times, social inequalities
    may have presented themselves, or may still exist, great
    as those which characterise, in our own age, the seats of
    manufacturing labour; and the lord and vassal of the feudal
    system may have exhibited, and the squire and the peasant of
    some of our agricultural districts may still present, as wide
    a disparity of condition, as exists at this day between the
    master manufacturer and the operative; but the antagonism of
    interests, whether real or apparent, between the manufacturer
    and the operative, is altogether unlike that simple disparity
    of condition which may have perplexed former serfdom, or may
    excite wonder in the agricultural mind of our own age. To the
    eyes and the contemplations of the serf, as of the peasant,
    the lord or the squire was the possessor of wide and fertile
    lands, which he had inherited from other times, and which
    neither serf nor peasant had produced, but which both believed
    would minister to their necessities, whether in sickness or
    in poverty, because neither the castle-gate nor the hall-door
    had ever been closed against their tales of suffering and woe.
    Neither the ancient serf, nor the modern peasant, witnessed
    that rapid accumulation of wealth, which is so peculiarly
    the product of our manufacturing system, and saw not, as the
    operative does, fortunes built up from day to day, which he
    regards as the creation of his sweat and labour--and at once
    the result and the evidence of a polity which fosters capital
    more than industry, and regards not the poverty with which
    labour is so often associated. Different ages and conditions
    produce different maxims. The modern manufacturer is not a
    worse (he may be, and often is, a better) man than the ancient
    baron, but he has been brought up in a different philosophy.
    By him, the operative is well-nigh regarded as a machine,
    from whom certain economical results may be obtained--who is
    free to make his own bargains, and whose moral condition is a
    problem to be solved by himself, because, for that condition,
    no duty attaches to his employer, who has contracted with
    him none other than an economical relation. Yet, is there
    not danger that, in pursuing with logical precision, and
    with the confidence of demonstrated truths, the doctrines
    of political economy, we may forget duties far higher than
    any which that science can teach--duties which man owes
    to his fellow, and which are alike independent of capital
    and labour? It is no doubt true, that men who earn large
    wages, whilst blessed with health and strength, and in full
    employment, ought to make provision for sickness, old age, or
    want of work; but suppose that duty neglected, even then the
    obligation attaches to the employer to care for those of his
    own household. In old communities, too, the proportion must
    ever be large of those who, in prosperity, can barely provide
    for their bodily wants, and, in adversity, experience the
    bitterness of actual want in some of its sharpest visitations.
    To the humble-minded Christian, who has been accustomed
    to consider the gifts of God, whether bodily strength, or
    mental power, or wealth, or rank and influential station, as
    talents intrusted to him, as God's steward, for the good of
    his fellow-creatures--afflicting, indeed, is the spectacle of
    wealth, rapidly accumulated by the agency of labour, employed
    only for self-aggrandisement, with no fitting acknowledgment,
    by its possessor, of the claims of his fellow-men.

    "In our new and neglected communities, Chartism is found in
    its worst manifestations--not as an adhesion to political
    dogmas, but as an indication of that class-antagonism which
    proclaims the rejection of our common Christianity, by denying
    the brotherhood of Christians. This antagonism originated,
    as great social evils ever do, in the neglect of duty by the
    master, or ruling class. They first practically denied the
    obligation imposed on every man who undertakes to govern or
    to guide others, whether as master or ruler, to care for, to
    counsel, to instruct, and, when necessary, to control those
    who have contracted with him the dependent relation of servant
    or subject; and from that neglect of duty has sprung up, and
    been nourished in the subject, or dependent class, impatience
    of restraint, discontent with their condition, a jealousy,
    often amounting to hatred, of the classes above them, and a
    desire, first to destroy to the base, and then to reconstruct
    on different principles, the political and social systems
    under which they live. Thus will it ever be, as thus it ever
    has been, throughout the world's history; and the violation or
    neglect of duty, whether by nations or individuals, in its own
    direct and immediate consequences, works out the appropriate
    national or individual punishment; and those who sow the wind,
    will surely reap the whirlwind--it may be, not in their own
    persons, but in the visitation of their children's children."

Notwithstanding the lamentable prevalence of diseased political and
moral feeling among a certain portion of the inhabitants of South
Wales, it is certain that the primitive simplicity of character by
which the Welsh nation is still distinguished, tends in a great degree
to keep them from the commission of those crimes which attract the
serious notice of the law. In most of the counties of Wales, the
business on the crown side at the assizes is generally light, sometimes
only nominal; and the general condition of the public mind may be
fairly judged of from the following table of criminal returns for
1846:--

  Convictions--                                                }
    England,                               17,644, or 1 in  850}
    Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire,         250, or 1 in 1200}
    11 counties of North and South Wales,     250, or 1 in 3000} O
                                                               } f
  Executions--                                                 }
    England,                                    6,             } t
    Wales,                                   None.             } h
                                                               } e
  Transportations--                                            }
    England,                               2801, or 1 in   5300} p
    Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire,        29, or 1 in 10,000} o
    11 Welsh counties,                       25, or 1 in 30,000} p
                                                               } u
  Imprisonments above a year--                                 } l
   England,                                322, or 1 in    4500} a
   Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire,        10, or 1 in  30,000} t
   11 Welsh counties,                        2, or 1 in 350,000} i
                                                               } o
  Imprisonments not above a year--                             } n
   England,                                14,515, or 1 in 1000} .
   Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire,          211, or 1 in 1500}
   11 Welsh counties,                         223, or 1 in 3300}

    "The comparative rarity of crime in the eleven Welsh counties
    is represented by 1 offence to 3000 of the population;
    and the absence of serious crimes by the small number of
    transportations, namely, 25, or 1 in 30,000; and still more
    remarkably, by the large proportion of the offenders whose
    punishment did not exceed a year's imprisonment, namely, 223
    out of 250, leaving 27 as the number of all the criminals
    convicted in a year, in eleven counties, whose punishment
    exceeded a year's imprisonment."

The accusation that was brought forward in the unfortunate Blue Books
against the chastity of the Welsh women, and which was the _real_ cause
of the hubbub made about them, we dismiss from our consideration. It
arose from a misapprehension of the degree of criminality implied by
the prevalence of an ancient custom, which exists not in Wales only,
but we rather think amongst the peasants of the whole of Europe, and
certainly as widely in England as in Wales. Whether existing in other
nations or not, the Welsh press, (generally conducted by Englishmen, be
it observed,) and the pseudo-patriots of Wales, a noisy empty-headed
class, made a great stir about it, and declaimed violently: they
did not, however, adduce a single solid argument in disproof of the
accusation. There is one fact alone which is quite sufficient to
explain the accusation and to remove the stain: bastardy is not less
common than in England, but prostitution is almost unknown; the common
people do not consider that to be a crime before marriage, which after
it they look upon as a heinous enormity. Such is their code of national
morals: whether right or wrong, they abide by it pretty consistently;
and they appear to have done so from time immemorial. They mean no
harm by it, and they look upon it as venial: this is the state of the
national feeling, and it settles the question.

We now turn to the chapters that refer to the religious condition of
the country, which is treated of by the author at full length, though
our own comments must be necessarily brief. He gives a luminous account
of the rise and progress of modern dissent in Wales; from which,
however, we give the highly improbable statement, that the actual
number of _members_ of dissenting congregations, of all denominations
in Wales, amounted to only 166,606 in 1846, with 1890 ministers. We
should rather say that, whatever the gross population of the country
may be at the present moment, there is not more than one person out of
ten, who have arrived at years of discretion, belonging _altogether_ to
the church; and we infer the fulness of dissenting chapels, not only
from the crowds that we have seen thronging them, on all occasions, but
also from the thinness of the congregations at church. For the Welsh
are eminently an enthusiastic, and we might almost say, a religious
people: they are decidedly a congregational people; and as for staying
at home on days of public worship, no such idea ever yet entered a true
Welshman's head. We think that the author must have been misinformed on
this head, and that the numbers should rather be the other way--100,000
out of 900,000 being a very fair proportion for the members of the
church.

For all this there are good and legitimate reasons to be found, not
only in what is adduced in this work on the church establishment, but
also in the current experience of every man of common observation
throughout the Principality. The wonder is, not that dissent should
have attained its present height, but that the church should have
continued to exist at all, amidst so many abuses, so much ignorance,
so much neglect, and such extraordinary apathy--until of late days--on
the part of her rulers. The actual condition of the church in Wales may
be summed up in a few words--it is that of the church in Ireland: only
those who differ from it are Protestants instead of Roman Catholics.
Let us quote Sir Thomas Phillips again:--

    "We have now passed in review various influences by which
    the church in Wales has been weakened. We have seen the
    religious edifices erected by the piety of other times, and
    with the sustentation of which the lands of the country have
    been charged, greatly neglected, whilst the lay officers,
    on whom the duty of maintaining those buildings in decent
    condition was imposed, are sometimes not appointed, or, if
    appointed, make light or naught of their duties: we have seen
    ecclesiastical officers, specially charged with the oversight
    of the churches, not required to exercise functions which have
    been revived by recent legislative enactments: we have found a
    clergy, with scanty incomes, and a want of decent residences,
    ministering in a peculiar language, with which the gentry have
    most commonly an imperfect and often no acquaintance--even
    where it is the language of public worship--influences which
    lower the moral and intellectual standard of the clergy,
    by introducing into holy orders too large a proportion of
    men, whose early occupations, habits, and feelings, do not
    ordinarily conduce to maintain the highest standard of conduct,
    and who (instead of forming, as in England, a minority of the
    whole body, and being elevated in tone, morally and mentally,
    by association with minds of higher culture) compose the
    large majority of the clergy of the Principality. It cannot,
    then, be matter of surprise, if amongst those men some should
    be found who (not being received on a footing of equality
    into the houses of the gentry, over whom they exercise but
    little influence) again resume the habits from which they
    were temporarily rescued by an education itself imperfect,
    and, selecting for daily companionship uneducated men, are
    either driven for social converse to the village alehouse,
    or become familiarised with ideas and practices unsuited to
    the character, injurious to the position, and destructive to
    the influence of the Christian pastor. Nor could we wonder,
    if even the religious opinions and well-meant activity of the
    more zealous among persons thus circumstanced, were to borrow
    their tone and colour from the more popular influences by which
    they are surrounded, rather than from the profounder and more
    disciplined theology of the church of which they are ministers.
    We have found the ecclesiastical rulers of this clergy and
    chief pastors of the people, as well as many other holders
    of valuable church preferment, to consist often of strangers
    to the country, ignorant alike of the language and character
    of the inhabitants, by many of whom they are regarded with
    distrust and dislike; unable to instruct the flock committed to
    their charge, or to teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine,
    or to preach the word, or to withstand and convince gainsayers,
    in the language familiar to the common people of the land.
    Finally, we have seen the church, whilst she compassed sea and
    land to gain one proselyte from the heathendom without, allow
    a more deplorable heathendom to spring into life within her
    own borders; and the term baptised heathens, instead of being
    a contradiction in terms, has become the true appellation
    of thousands of men and women in this island of Christian
    profession and Christian action. Nevertheless the Welsh are
    not an irreligious people; and whilst the religious fabrics of
    dissent are reared up by the poor dwellers of their mountain
    valleys, in every corner in which a few Christian men are
    congregated, and these buildings are thronged by earnest-minded
    worshippers, assembled for religious services in the only
    places, it may be, there dedicated to God's glory, the feeling
    must be ever present, 'Surely these men and women might
    have been kept within the fold of the church.' A supposed
    excitability in the Cambro-Briton, a love for extemporaneous
    worship, and an impatience of formal services, have been
    represented as intractable elements in the character of this
    people. Even if such elements exist, it does not follow that
    they might not have received a wholesome direction; while,
    unfortunately, their action now finds excuse in the neglect
    and provocation which alone render them dangerous. The church
    in Wales has been presented in her least engaging aspect; her
    offices have been reduced to the baldest and lowest standard;
    and whilst no sufficient efforts have been employed to make
    the beauty of our liturgical services appreciated by the
    people, neither has any general attempt been made to enlist,
    in the performance of public worship, their profound and
    characteristic enjoyment of psalmody, by accustoming them to
    chant or sing the hymns of the church."

All the abuses of ecclesiastical property seem to have flourished
in the land of Wales, as in a nook where there was no chance of
their being ever brought to light;--more than one-half of the
income of the church, for parochial purposes, totally alienated;
the bishops and other dignitaries totally asleep, and exercising no
spiritual supervision; pluralities and non-residence prevailing to a
great extent; the character of the clergy degraded; the gentry and
aristocracy of the land starving the church, and giving it a formal,
not a real support;--how can any spiritual system flourish under such
an accumulation of evils? The true spirit of the church being dead, a
reaction on the part of the people inevitably took place; and it is
hardly going too far to say, that had it not been for the efforts of
dissenters, "progressing by antagonism," Christianity would by this
time have fallen into desuetude within the Principality.

It is a very thorny subject to touch upon, in the present excitable
state of the world, and therefore we refrain; but we would earnestly
solicit the attention of our readers to the pages of Sir Thomas
Phillips,--himself one of the very few orthodox churchmen still left
in Wales,--for a proof of what we have asserted; and should they still
doubt, let them try an excursion among the wilds of the northern,
or the vales of the southern division of the country, and they will
become full converts to our opinion. Things, however, in this respect
are mending--the church has at length stirred, abuses are becoming
corrected, the ecclesiastical commissioners have done justice in
several cases--and in none more signally than in the extraordinary
epitome of all possible abuses, shown by the chapter of Brecon--abuses
existing long before the Reformation, but increased, like many others,
tenfold since that period. The church has never yet had fair play
in the country, for she has never yet done herself--_much less her
people_--justice; so that what she is capable of effecting among the
Cambrian mountains cannot yet be predicated. We fondly think, at times,
that all these evils might be abolished; but this is not the place
for such a lengthy topic: we have adverted to the state of things as
they have hitherto existed in the Principality, chiefly with the view
of showing their influence upon the peculiar political and ethnical
condition of the people, which it is our main object to discuss. We
will content ourselves with observing, that Sir Thomas Phillips'
remarks on this subject, and on the connexion of the state with the
education of the country, are characterised by sound religious feeling,
and a true conservative interpretation of the political condition of
the empire.

On a calm view of the general condition of Wales, we are of opinion
that the inhabitants, the mass of the nation, are as well off, in
proportion to the means of the country itself, to the moderate
quantity of capital collected in the Principality, and the number
of resident gentry--which is not very great--as might have been
fairly expected; and that it is no true argument against the national
capabilities of the Welsh, that they are not more nearly on a level
with the inhabitants of some parts of England. The Welsh inhabit
a peculiar land, where fog and rain, and snow and wind, are more
prevalent than fine working weather in more favoured spots of this
island. A considerable part of their land is still unreclaimed and
uncultivated--their country does not serve as a place of passage for
foreigners. Visitors, indeed, come among them; but, with the exception
of the annual flocks of summer tourists, and the passengers for Ireland
on the northern line of railroad, they are left to themselves without
much foreign admixture during a great portion of each year. The mass
of the gentry are neither rich nor generous: there are some large and
liberal proprietors, but the body of the gentry do not exert themselves
as much as might be expected for the benefit of their dependants; and
hence the Welsh agriculturist lacks both example and encouragement.
That the cultivation of the land, therefore, should be somewhat in
arrear, that the mineral riches of the country should be but partially
taken advantage of, and that extensive manufactures should rarely exist
amongst the Welsh, ought not to form any just causes of surprise: these
things will in course of time be remedied of themselves. The main evil
that the Welsh have to contend against is one that belongs to their
blood as a Celtic nation; and which, while that blood remains as much
unmixed as at present, there is no chance of eradicating. We allude to
that which has distinguished all Celtic tribes wherever found, and at
whatever period of their history--we mean their national indolence and
want of perseverance--the absence of that indomitable energy and spirit
of improvement which has raised the Anglo-Saxon race, crossed as it
has been with so many other tribes, to such a mighty position in the
dominion of the world.

This absence of energy is evident upon the very face of things, and
lies at the bottom of whatever slowness of improvement is complained
of in Wales. It is the same pest that infests Ireland, only it exists
in a minor degree; it is that which did so much harm to the Scottish
Highlands at one period of their history; and it is a component cause
of many anomalies in the French character, though in this case it
is nearly bred out. One of the most striking evidences and effects
of it is the dirt and untidiness which is so striking and offensive
a peculiarity of Welsh villages and towns--that shabby, neglected
state of the houses, streets, and gardens, which forms such a painful
contrast the moment you step across the border into the Principality.
In this the Welsh do not go to the extremes of the Irish: they are
preserved from that depth of degradation by some other and better
points of their character; but they approach very closely to the want
of cleanliness observable in France--and the look of a Welsh and a
French village, nay, the very smell of the two places, is nearly
identical. A Welsh peasant, amidst his own mountains, if he can get a
shilling a-day, will prefer starving upon that to labouring for another
twelvepence. A farmer with £50 a-year rent has no ambition to become
one of £200; the shopkeeper goes on in the small-ware line all his
life, and dies a pedlar rather than a tradesman. There are brilliant
and extraordinary exceptions to all this, we are well aware; nay, there
are differences in this respect between the various counties,--and
generally the southern parts of Wales are as much in advance of the
northern, in point of industry, as they are in point of intellect
and agricultural wealth. It is the general characteristic of this
nation--and it evidences itself, sometimes most disagreeably, in the
want of punctuality, and too often of straightforward dealing, which
all who have any commercial or industrial communications--with the
lower and middle classes of the Welsh have inevitably experienced.
It is the vice of all Celtic nations, and is not to be eradicated
except by a cross in the blood. Joined with all this, there is a mean
and petty spirit of deceit and concealment too often shown even in
the middle classes; and there is also the old Celtic vice of feud
and clanship, which tends to divide the nation, and to impede its
advancement in civilisation. Thus the old feud between North and South
Wales still subsists, rife as ever; the northern man, prejudiced,
ignorant, and indolent, comes forth from his mountains and looks down
with contempt on the dweller in the southern vales, his superior in
all the arts and pursuits of civilised life. Even a difference of
colloquial dialects causes a national enmity; and the rough Cymro of
Gwynedd still derides the softer man from Gwent and Morganwg. All these
minor vices and follies tend to impair the national character--and they
are evidences of a spirit which requires alteration, if the condition
of the people is to be permanently elevated. On the other hand, the
Welsh have many excellent qualifications which tend to counteract
their innate weaknesses, and afford promise of much future good: their
intellectual acuteness, their natural kindliness of heart, their
constitutional poetry and religious enthusiasm, their indomitable love
of country--which they share with all mountain tribes--all these good
qualities form a counterbalance to their failings, and tend to rectify
their national course. Take a Welshman out of Wales, place him in
London or Liverpool, send him to the East Indies or to North America,
and he becomes a banker of fabulous wealth, a merchant of illimitable
resources, a great captain of his country's hosts, or an eminent
traveller and philosopher; but leave him in his native valley, and he
walks about with his hands in his pockets, angles for trout, and goes
to chapel with hopeless pertinacity. Such was the Highlander once; but
his shrewd good sense has got the better of his indolence, and he has
come out of his fastnesses, conquering and to conquer. Not such, but
far, far worse is the Irishman; and such will he be till he loses his
national existence. St Andrew is a better saint than St David, and St
David than St Patrick; but they all had the same faults once, and it is
only by external circumstances that any amelioration has been produced.

It is a fact of ethnology, that while a tribe of men, kept to itself
and free from foreign admixture, preserves its natural good qualities
in undiminished excellence through numerous ages, all its natural vices
become increased in intensity and vitality by the same circumstances of
isolation. Look at the miserable Irish, always standing in their own
light; look at the Spaniards, keeping to themselves, and stifling all
their noble qualities by the permanence of their national vices; look
at the tribes of Asia, doomed to perpetual subjection while they remain
unmixed in blood. Had the Saxons remained with uncrossed blood, they
had still been stolid, heavy, dreaming, impracticable Germans, though
they had peopled the plains of England; but, when mixed with the Celts
and the Danes, they formed the Lowland Scots, the most industrious and
canniest chields in the wide world: fused with the Dane and Norman,
and subsequently mixed with all people, they became Englishmen--_rerum
Domini_--like the Romans of old. It may be mortifying enough to
national pride, but the fact is, nevertheless, patent and certain, that
extensive admixture of blood commonly benefits a nation more than all
its geographical advantages.

It is our intimate conviction of the truth of this fact, so clearly
deducible from the page of universal history, and especially from the
border history of England and Wales, that shows us, _inter alia_, how
false and absurd is the pretended patriotism of a small party among the
gentry and clergy of Wales who have lately raised the cry of "Wales for
the Welsh!" and who would, if they could, get up a sort of agitation
for a repeal of the Norman conquest! There are sundry persons in Wales
who, principally for local and party purposes, are trying to keep the
Welsh still more distinct from the English than they now are,--who try
to revive the old animosities between Celt and Saxon,--who pretend that
Englishmen have no right even to settle in Wales,--and who, instead
of promoting a knowledge of the English language, declaim in favour
of the exclusive maintenance of the Welsh. These persons, actuated
by a desire to bring themselves forward into temporary notoriety,
profess, at the same time, by an extraordinary contradiction, to be
of the high Conservative party, and amuse themselves by thwarting the
Whigs, and abusing the Dissenters, to the utmost of their power. They
are mainly supported--not by the Welsh of the middle classes, who
have their separate hobby to ride, and who distrust the former too
much to co-operate with them--but by English settlers in Wales, and
on its borders, who, in order to make for themselves an interest in
the country, pander to the prejudices of a few ambitious twaddlers,
and get up public meetings, at which more nonsense is talked than any
people can be supposed gullible enough to swallow. This spirit exists
in the extreme northern portion of Wales, in Flintshire, Denbighshire,
and Caernarvonshire; and on the south-eastern border of the country,
in Monmouthshire, more than in any other district. It is doomed to
be transient, because it is opposed, not less to the wishes and the
good sense of the mass of the people, than to the views and policy of
the nobles and leading gentry of the Principality. One or two radical
M.P.s, a few disappointed clergymen, who fancy that their chance of
preferment lies in abusing England, and a few amateur students of
Welsh literature, who think that they shall thereby rise to literary
eminence, constitute the clique, which will talk and strut for its
day, and then die away into its primitive insignificance. But, by
the side of this unimportant faction, there does exist, amongst the
working classes and the lower portion of the middle orders, a spirit
of radicalism, chartism, or republicanism,--for they are in reality
synonymous terms,--which is doing much damage to the Principality,
and which it lies easily within the power of the upper classes to
extinguish,--not by force, but by kindness and by example.

It has been one of the consequence of dissent in Wales--not intended,
we believe, by the majority of the ministers, but following inevitably
from the organisation of their congregations,--that a democratic spirit
of self-government should have arisen among the people, and have
interwoven itself with their habits of thought and their associations
of daily life. The middle and lower classes, separated from the upper
by a difference of language, and alienated from the church by its
inefficiency and neglect, have thrown themselves into the system of
dissent,--that is, of self-adopted religious opinions, meditated
upon, sustained, and expounded in their own native tongue, with all
the enthusiasm that marks the Celtic character. The gulf between the
nobles and gentry of Wales on the one side, and the middle and lower
classes on the other, was already sufficiently wide, without any new
principle of disunion being introduced; but now the church has become
emphatically the church of the upper classes alone,--the chapel is the
chapel of the lower orders--and the country is divided thereby into
two hostile and bitterly opposed parties. On the one hand are all the
aristocratic and hierarchic traditions of the nation; on the other
is the democratic self-governing spirit, opposed to the former as
much as light is to darkness, and adopted with the greater readiness,
because it is linked to the religious feelings and practices of the
vast majority of the whole people. Dissent and democratic opinions
have now become the traditions of the lower orders in Wales; and every
thing that belongs to the church or the higher orders of the country,
is repulsive to the feelings of the people, because they hold them
identical with oppression and superstition. The traditions of the
conquest were quite strong enough,--the Welshman hated the Englishman
thoroughly enough already; but now that he finds his superiors all
speaking the English tongue, all members of the English church, he
clings the more fondly and more obstinately to his own self-formed,
self-chosen, system of worship and government, and the work of reunion
and reconciliation is made almost impossible. In the midst of all this,
the church in Wales is itself divided into high and low, into genteel
and vulgar; the dignitaries hold to the abuses of the system,--and
some, less burdened with common sense than the rest, gabble about
"Wales and the Welsh," as if any fresh fuel were wanted to feed the
fire already burning beneath the surface of society!

Even at the present moment, chartism is active in Wales: Mormonites
and Latter-day Saints still preach and go forth from the Principality
to the United States, (fortunately for this country;) and unprincipled
itinerant lecturers on socialism, chartism, and infidelity, are now
going their circuits in Wales, and obtaining numerous audiences.[18]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] A damper is a cake of flour baked without yeast, in the ashes.

[2] "I have frequently," says Mr Wilkinson, in his invaluable work upon
South Australia, at once so graphic and so practical, "been out on a
journey in such a night, and, whilst allowing the horse his own time
to walk along the road, have solaced myself by reading in the still
moonlight."

[3] _Mémoires d'Outre Tombe._ Par M. le VICOMTE DE CHATEAUBRIAND. 4
vols. Paris, 1846-9.

[4] "Il y a peu des femmes, même dans le haut rang, dont je n'eusse
fait la conquête si je l'avais enterprise."--Biogiaphie _Universelle_,
xxxix. 136.

[5] Alluding to the name _l'Infame_, given by the King of Prussia,
D'Alembert, and Diderot, in their correspondences, to the Christian
religion.

[6] Dante.

[7] Cook's grease.

[8] East-Indian steward.

[9] _Mina-bird_, or Grakle; a frequent pet in homeward-bound East
Indiamen, and singular for its mimetic faculty; but impudent, and, from
educational disadvantages, not particularly select in its expressions:
appearance as described by the lieutenant.

[10] Familiar metonomy, at sea, for the ship's cook.

[11] Five o'clock, P.M.

[12] It is here due to the credit of our friend the captain, who was
not unusually imaginative for a sailor, to state, that this speculation
as a commercial one, is strictly and literally a _fact_, as the
Anglo-Indian of Calcutta can probably testify. The bold and all but
poetical catholicity of the idea could have been reached, perhaps, by
the 'progressing' American intellect alone, while Staffordshire, it is
certain, furnished its realisation: the investment, it is nevertheless
believed, proved eventually unprofitable.

[13] Currents are designated from the direction they run _towards_;
winds, the quarter they blow _from_.

[14] _Wales: the Language, Social Condition, Moral Character, and
Religious Opinions of the People considered in their relation to
Education._ By Sir THOMAS PHILLIPS. 1 vol. 8vo, pp. 606. London: 1849.

[15] For the information of those among our readers who may not be
aware of the fact, it will be well to mention that Sir Thomas Phillips
was knighted for having, as mayor of Newport, in Monmouthshire, aided
so materially in suppressing the Chartist riots that took place there
in 1839.

[16] "In Breconshire, the proportion of persons who speak English is
much larger; but a considerable number of these are immigrants from
England to the iron works; whilst, in Radnorshire, the great bulk of
the population is not Celtic, and English is all but universal."

[17] The leading scholars and authors of Wales are all named Williams:
viz. Archdeacon Williams, and the Revs. Robert Williams, John Williams,
Rowland Williams, Charles Williams, and Morris Williams--none of them
relations!

[18] It is only a short time since that Vincent, of London notoriety,
made a successful visit to South Wales, lecturing in the Baptist
chapels, wherever he went, on the Claims of the Age, on the Rights of
Woman, on the Claims of Labour, and the other usual clap-trap subjects.
At Swansea, though it is a poor compliment to the good sense of its
inhabitants, he actually succeeded in getting one of his meetings
presided over by a gentleman who had once been mayor of the town,
and he lined his pockets at the expense of not a few persons calling
themselves respectable, and pretending to be people of discernment. The
lecturer, in his hand-bills posted on the walls of Swansea and Tenby,
called himself simply Henry Vincent; but in the smaller towns, such
as Llanelly and Caermarthen, he gave himself out as Henry Vincent,
_Esquire_!

Most of the leading gentry and nobility of Wales are, strange to
say, dabblers in Whiggism and amateur radicalism; many of the M.P.s
are to be found on the wrong side in the most disgraceful divisions:
the corporations of the country are of an unsatisfactory character,
and disaffection prevails extensively in many of the chief towns. We
believe that a great deal of all this has arisen from the folly, the
neglect, the bad example, and the non-residence of the natural leaders
of the Principality. Welsh landlords, like Irish--though not so bad as
the latter--are uncommonly unwilling to loosen their purse-strings,
except for their own immediate pleasures. Scores of parishes have no
other representative of the upper classes in them than a half-educated
and poorly paid resident clergyman: agents and lawyers ride it roughly
and graspingly over the land; the people have few or no natural leaders
within reach; they pay their rents, but they get little back from
them, to be spent in their humble villages. Their only, and their best
friend, as they imagine, is their preacher--one of themselves, elected
by themselves, _deposable_ by themselves. They come in contact with a
_sharp_ lawyer, a drunken journalist, a Chartist lecturer, a Latter-day
Saint--can the result be wondered at?

As long as the patriotism of the Welsh gentry and clergy consists, as
it now, too often, does, in frothy words, and an absence of deeds--in
the accepting of English money and in abusing England--in playing
the Aristocrat at home, and the Whig-radical-liberal in public--so
long will disaffection continue in the Principality, and the social
condition of the people remain unimproved. The only thing that
preserves Wales from rapidly verging to the condition of Ireland, is
the absence of large towns with their contaminating influences, and the
purely agricultural character of the greatest portion of the people.
But even the mountaineer and the man of the plain may be corrupted
at last, and he may degenerate into the wretched cottier--the poor
slave, not of a proud lord, but of a profligate republic. It is from
this lowest depth that we would wish to see him rescued; for in the
peasantry the ultimate hope of the country is involved quite as much
as in the upper classes; and until the latter set the example, by
actually putting their shoulders to the wheel, throwing aside their
political tamperings with the worst faction that divides the state,
and especially by encouraging the introduction of English settlers
into all corners of the country,--we shall not see the social and
moral condition of Wales such as it should be. Let the nobles and
gentry spend their incomes _in_ the country, not _out_ of it; let
them live even amid their mountains, and _mix_ with their people; let
them improve the towns by introducing English tradesmen as much as
possible; let them try to get up a spirit of industry, perseverance,
and cleanliness throughout the land;--so shall they discomfit the
Chartists, and convert the democrats into good subjects. Let the clergy
reform the discipline of the Welsh church; let them alter the financial
inequalities and abuses that prevail in it, to an almost incredible
extent; and let them, by their doctrines and practice, emulate the good
qualities of their professional opponents;--so shall they empty the
meeting-houses, and thaw the coldness of Independentism or Methodism
into the warmth of union and affectionate co-operation. Let every
Welshman, while he maintains intact and undiminished the real honour
of his country, join with his Saxon neighbour, imitating his good
qualities, correcting his evil ones by his own good example; and let
their children, mingling in blood, obliterate the national distinctions
that now are mischievously sought to be revived;--so shall the union of
Wales with England remain unrepealed, and the common honour of the two
countries, distinct yet conjoined, be promoted by their common weal.



THE STRAYED REVELLER.[19]


The other evening, on returning home from the pleasant hospitalities of
the Royal Mid-Lothian Yeomanry, our heart cheered with claret, and our
intellect refreshed by the patriotic eloquence of M'Whirter, we found
upon our table a volume of suspicious thinness, the title of which
for a moment inspired us with a feeling of dismay. Fate has assigned
to us a female relative of advanced years and a curious disposition,
whose affection is constantly manifested by a regard for our private
morals. Belonging to the Supra-lapsarian persuasion, she never loses an
opportunity of inculcating her own peculiar tenets: many a tract has
been put into our hands as an antidote against social backslidings; and
no sooner did that ominous phrase, _The Strayed Reveller_, meet our
eye, than we conjectured that the old lady had somehow fathomed the
nature of our previous engagement, and, in our absence, deposited the
volume as a special warning against indulgence in military banquets.
On opening it, however, we discovered that it was verse; and the first
distich which met our eye was to the following effect:--

    "O Vizier, thou art old, I young,
    Clear in these things I cannot see.
    My head is burning; and a heat
    Is in my skin, which angers me."

This frank confession altered the current of our thought, and we
straightway set down the poet as some young roysterer, who had indulged
rather too copiously in strong potations, and who was now celebrating
in lyrics his various erratic adventures before reaching home. But a
little more attention speedily convinced us that jollity was about
the last imputation which could possibly be urged against our new
acquaintance.

One of the most painful features of our recent poetical literature, is
the marked absence of anything like heartiness, happiness, or hope. We
do not want to see young gentlemen aping the liveliness of Anacreon,
indulging in praises of the rosy god, or frisking with supernatural
agility; but we should much prefer even such an unnecessary exuberance
of spirits, to the dreary melancholy which is but too apparent in their
songs. Read their lugubrious ditties, and you would think that life had
utterly lost all charm for them before they have crossed its threshold.
The cause of such overwhelming despondency it is in vain to discover;
for none of them have the pluck, like Byron, to commit imaginary
crimes, or to represent themselves as racked with remorse for murders
which they never perpetrated. If one of them would broadly accuse
himself of having run his man through the vitals--of having, in an
experimental fit, plucked up a rail, and so caused a terrific accident
on the South-Western--or of having done some other deed of reasonable
turpitude and atrocity, we could understand what the fellow meant by
his excessively unmirthful monologues. But we are not indulged with
any full-flavoured fictions of the kind. On the contrary, our bards
affect the purity and innocence of the dove. They shrink from naughty
phrases with instinctive horror--have an idea that the mildest kind of
flirtation involves a deviation from virtue; and, in their most savage
moments of wrath, none of them would injure a fly. How, then, can we
account for that unhappy mist which floats between them and the azure
heaven, so heavily as to cloud the whole tenor of their existence? What
makes them maunder so incessantly about gloom, and graves, and misery?
Why confine themselves everlastingly to apple-blossoms, whereof the
product in autumn will not amount to a single Ribston pippin? What has
society done to them, or what can they possibly have done to society,
that the future tenor of their span must be one of unmitigated woe?
We rather suspect that most of the poets would be puzzled to give
satisfactory answers to such queries. They might, indeed, reply, that
misery is the heritage of genius; but that, we apprehend, would be
arguing upon false premises; for we can discover very little genius to
vindicate the existence of so vast a quantity of woe.

We hope, for the sake of human nature, that the whole thing is a
humbug; nay, we have not the least doubt of it; for the experience of
a good many years has convinced us, that a young poet in print is a
very different person from the actual existing bard. The former has
nerves of gossamer, and states that he is suckled with dew; the latter
is generally a fellow of his inches, and has no insuperable objection
to gin and water. In the one capacity, he feebly implores an early
death; in the other, he shouts for broiled kidneys long after midnight,
when he ought to be snoring on his truckle. Of a morning, the Strayed
Reveller inspires you with ideas of dyspepsia--towards evening, your
estimate of his character decidedly improves. Only fancy what sort of a
companion the author of the following lines must be:--

    "TO FAUSTA.

    Joy comes and goes: life ebbs and flows,
              Like the wave.
    Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.
      Love lends life a little grace,
      A few sad smiles: and then,
      Both are laid in one cold place,
              In the grave.

    Dreams dawn and fly: friends smile and die,
              Like spring flowers.
    Our vaunted life is one long funeral.
      Men dig graves with bitter tears,
      For their dead hopes; and all,
      Mazed with doubts, and sick with fears,
              Count the hours.

    We count the hours: these dreams of ours,
              False and hollow,
    Shall we go hence and find they are not dead?
      Joys we dimly apprehend,
      Faces that smiled and fled,
      Hopes born here, and born to end,
              Shall we follow?"

It is impossible to account for tastes; but we fairly confess, that if
we thought the above lines were an accurate reflex of the ordinary mood
of the author, we should infinitely prefer supping in company with the
nearest sexton. However, we have no suspicion of the kind. An early
intimacy with the writings of Shelley, who in his own person was no
impostor, is enough to account for the composition of these singularly
dolorous verses, without supposing that they are any symptom whatever
of the diseased idiosyncrasy of the author.

If we have selected this poet as the type of a class now unfortunately
too common, it is rather for the purpose of remonstrating with him on
the abuse of his natural gifts, than from any desire to hold him up to
ridicule. We know not whether he may be a stripling or a grown-up man.
If the latter, we fear that he is incorrigible, and that the modicum
of talent which he certainly possesses is already so perverted, by
excessive imitation, as to afford little ground for hope that he can
ever purify himself from a bad style of writing, and a worse habit of
thought. But if, as we rather incline to believe, he is still a young
man, we by no means despair of his reformation, and it is with that
view alone that we have selected his volume for criticism. For although
there is hardly a page of it which is not studded with faults apparent
to the most common censor, there are nevertheless, here and there,
passages of some promise and beauty; and one poem, though it be tainted
by imitation, is deserving of considerable praise. It is the glitter of
the golden ore, though obscured by much that is worthless, which has
attracted our notice; and we hope, that by subjecting his poems to a
strict examination, we may do the author a real service.

It is not to be expected that the first essay of a young poet should
be faultless. Most youths addicted to versification, are from an early
age sedulous students of poetry. They select a model through certain
affinities of sympathy, and, having done so, they become copyists for a
time. We are far from objecting to such a practice; indeed, we consider
it inevitable; for the tendency to imitate pervades every branch of
art, and poetry is no exception. We distrust originality in a mere boy,
because he is not yet capable of the strong impressions, or of the
extended and subtile views, from which originality ought to spring.
His power of creating music is still undeveloped, but the tendency to
imitate music which he has heard, and can even appreciate, is strong.
Most immature lyrics indicate pretty clearly the favourite study of
their authors. Sometimes they read like a weak version of the choric
songs of Euripides: sometimes the versification smacks of the school
of Pope, and not unfrequently it betrays an undue intimacy with the
writings of Barry Cornwall. Nor is the resemblance always confined to
the form; for ever and anon we stumble upon a sentiment or expression,
so very marked and idiosyncratic as to leave no doubt whatever of its
paternity.

The same remarks apply to prose composition. Distinctions of style
occupy but a small share of academical attention; and that most
important rhetorical exercise, the analysis of the Period, has fallen
into general disregard. Rules for composition certainly exist, but they
are seldom made the subject of prelection; and consequently bad models
find their way into the hands, and too often pervert the taste, of the
rising generation. The cramped, ungrammatical style of Carlyle, and the
vague pomposity of Emerson, are copied by numerous pupils; the value of
words has risen immensely in the literary market, whilst that of ideas
has declined; in order to arrive at the meaning of an author of the
new school, we are forced to crack a sentence as hard and angular as a
hickory-nut, and, after all our pains, we are usually rewarded with no
better kernel than a maggot.

The _Strayed Reveller_ is rather a curious compound of imitation.
He claims to be a classical scholar of no mean acquirements, and a
good deal of his inspiration is traceable to the Greek dramatists. In
certain of his poems he tries to think like Sophocles, and has so far
succeeded as to have constructed certain choric passages, which might
be taken by an unlettered person for translations from the antique. The
language, though hard, is rather stately; and many of the individual
images are by no means destitute of grace. The epithets which he
employs bear the stamp of the Greek coinage; but, upon the whole, we
must pronounce these specimens failures. The images are not bound
together or grouped artistically, and the rhythm which the author has
selected is, to an English ear, utterly destitute of melody. It is
strange that people cannot be brought to understand that the genius and
capabilities of one language differ essentially from those of another:
and that the measures of antiquity are altogether unsuitable for modern
verse. It is no doubt possible, by a Procrustean operation, to force
words into almost any kind of mould; a chorus may be constructed,
which, so far as scanning goes, might satisfy the requirements of a
pedagogue, but the result of the experiment will inevitably show that
melody has been sacrified in the attempt. Now melody is a charm without
which poetry is of little worth; we are not quite sure whether it
would not be more correct to say, that without melody poetry has no
existence. Our author does not seem to have the slightest idea of this,
and accordingly he treats us to such passages as the following:--

    "No, no, old men, Creon I curse not.
            I weep, Thebans,
      One than Creon crueller far,
    For he, he, at least by slaying her,
    August laws doth mightily vindicate:
    But thou, too bold, headstrong, pitiless,
    Ah me! honourest more than thy lover,
            O Antigone,
    A dead, ignorant, thankless corpse."

      "Nor was the love untrue
      Which the Dawn-Goddess bore
      To that fair youth she erst,
      Leaving the salt-sea beds
    And coming flush'd over the stormy frith
      Of loud Euripus, saw:
      Saw and snatch'd, wild with love,
      From the pine-dotted spurs
      Of Parnes, where thy waves,
      Asopus, gleam rock-hemm'd;
    The Hunter of the Tanagroean Field.
      But him, in his sweet prime,
      By severance immature,
      By Artemis' soft shafts,
      She, though a goddess born,
    Saw in the rocky isle of Delos die.
      Such end o'ertook that love,
      For she desired to make
      Immortal mortal man,
      And blend his happy life,
      Far from the gods, with hers:
    To him postponing an eternal law."

We are sincerely sorry to find the lessons of a good classical
education applied to so pitiable a use; for if, out of courtesy, the
above should be denominated verses, they are nevertheless as far
removed from poetry as the Indus is from the pole. It is one thing
to know the classics, and another to write classically. Indeed, if
this be classical writing, it would furnish the best argument ever yet
advanced against the study of the works of antiquity. Mr Tennyson, to
whom, as we shall presently have occasion to observe, this author is
indebted for another phase of his inspiration, has handled classical
subjects with fine taste and singular delicacy; and his "Ulysses" and
"OEnone" show how beautifully the Hellenic idea may be wrought out
in mellifluous English verse. But Tennyson knows his craft too well
to adopt either the Greek phraseology or the Greek rhythm. Even in
the choric hymns which he has once or twice attempted, he has spurned
halt and ungainly metres, and given full freedom and scope to the
cadence of his mother tongue. These antique scraps of the _Reveller_
are farther open to a still more serious objection, which indeed is
applicable to most of his poetry. We read them, marking every here
and there some image of considerable beauty; but, when we have laid
down the book, we are unable for the life of us to tell what it is all
about. The poem from which the volume takes its name is a confused kind
of chaunt about Circe, Ulysses, and the Gods, from which no exercise
of ingenuity can extract the vestige of a meaning. It has pictures
which, were they introduced for any conceivable purpose, might fairly
deserve some admiration; but, thrust in as they are, without method
or reason, they utterly lose their effect, and only serve to augment
our dissatisfaction at the perversion of a taste which, with so much
culture, should have been capable of better things.

The adoption of the Greek choric metres, in some of the poems, appears
to us the more inexplicable, because in others, when he descends
from his classic altitudes, our author shows that he is by no means
insensible to the power of melody. True, he wants that peculiar
characteristic of a good poet--a melody of his own; for no poet is
master of his craft unless his music is self-inspired: but, in default
of that gift, he not unfrequently borrows a few notes or a tune from
some of his contemporaries, and exhibits a fair command and mastery
of his instrument. Here, for example, are a few stanzas, the origin
of which nobody can mistake. They are an exact echo of the lyrics of
Elizabeth Barrett Browning:--

      "Are the accents of your luring
      More melodious than of yore?
      Are those frail forms more enduring
      Than the charms Ulysses bore?
      That we sought you with rejoicings,
      Till at evening we descry,
      At a pause of siren voicings,
    These vext branches and this howling sky?

    Oh! your pardon. The uncouthness
      Of that primal age is gone,
      And the kind of dazzling smoothness
      Screens not now a heart of stone.
      Love has flushed those cruel faces;
      And your slackened arms forego
      The delight of fierce embraces;
    And those whitening bone-mounds do not grow.

    'Come,' you say; 'the large appearance
      Of man's labour is but vain;
      And we plead as firm adherence
      Due to pleasure as to pain.'
      Pointing to some world-worn creatures,
      'Come,' you murmur with a sigh:
      'Ah! we own diviner features,
    Loftier bearing, and a prouder eye.'"

High and commanding genius is able to win our attention even in its
most eccentric moods. Such genius belongs to Mrs Browning in a very
remarkable degree, and on that account we readily forgive her for some
forced rhyming, intricate diction, and even occasional obscurity of
thought. But what shall we say of the man who seeks to reproduce her
marvellous effects by copying her blemishes? Read the above lines,
and you will find that, in so far as sound and mannerism go, they are
an exact transcript from Mrs Browning. Apply your intellect to the
discovery of their meaning, and you will rise from the task thoroughly
convinced of its hopelessness. The poem in which they occur is entitled
_The New Sirens_, but it might with equal felicity and point have
been called _The New Harpies_, or _The Lay of the Hurdy-Gurdy_. It
seems to us a mere experiment, for the purpose of showing that words
placed together in certain juxtaposition, without any regard to their
significance or propriety, can be made to produce a peculiar phonetic
effect. The phenomenon is by no means a new one--it occurs whenever
the manufacture of nonsense-verses is attempted; and it needed not the
staining of innocent wire-wove to convince us of its practicability.
Read the following stanza--divorce the sound from the sense, and then
tell us what you can make of it:--

      "With a sad majestic motion--
      With a stately slow surprise--
      From their earthward-bound devotion
      Lifting up your languid eyes:
      _Would you freeze my louder boldness,
      Humbly smiling as you go?_
      One faint frown of distant coldness
    Flitting fast across each marble brow?"

What say you, Parson Sir Hugh Evans? "The tevil with his tam; what
phrase is this--_freeze my louder boldness_? Why, it is affectations."

If any one, in possession of a good ear, and with a certain facility
for composing verse, though destitute of the inventive faculty, will
persevere in imitating the style of different poets, he is almost
certain at last to discover some writer whose peculiar manner he can
assume with far greater facility than that of others. The _Strayed
Reveller_ fails altogether with Mrs Browning; because it is beyond his
power, whilst following her, to make any kind of agreement between
sound and sense. He is indeed very far from being a metaphysician, for
his perception is abundantly hazy: and if he be wise, he will abstain
from any future attempts at profundity. But he has a fair share of
the painter's gift; and were he to cultivate that on his own account,
we believe that he might produce something far superior to any of his
present efforts. As it is, we can merely accord him the praise of
sketching an occasional landscape, very like one which we might expect
from Alfred Tennyson. He has not only caught the trick of Tennyson's
handling, but he can use his colours with considerable dexterity. He is
like one of those second-rate artists, who, with Danby in their eye,
crowd our exhibitions with fiery sunsets and oceans radiant in carmine;
sometimes their pictures are a little overlaid, but, on the whole, they
give a fair idea of the manner of their undoubted master.

The following extract will, we think, illustrate our meaning. It is
from a poem entitled _Mycerinus_, which, though it does not possess the
interest of any tale, is correctly and pleasingly written:--

    "So spake he, half in anger, half in scorn,
    And one loud cry of grief and of amaze
    Broke from his sorrowing people; so he spake,
    And turning, left them there; and with brief pause,
    Girt with a throng of revellers, bent his way
    To the cool regions of the grove he loved.
    There by the river banks he wandered on,
    From palm-grove on to palm-grove; happy trees,
    Their smooth tops shining sunwards, and beneath
    Burying their unsunn'd stems in grass and flowers;
    Where in one dream the feverish time of youth
    Might fade in slumber, and the feet of Joy
    Might wander all day long and never tire:
    Here came the king, holding high feast, at morn
    Rose-crown'd; and ever, when the sun went down,
    A hundred lamps beam'd in the tranquil gloom
    From tree to tree, all through the twinkling grove,
    Revealing all the tumult of the feast,
    Flush'd guests, and golden goblets, foam'd with wine,
    While the deep burnish'd foliage overhead
    Splinter'd the silver arrows of the moon."

This really is a pretty picture; its worst, and perhaps its only fault,
being that it constantly reminds us of the superior original artist.
Throughout the book indeed, and incorporated in many of the poems,
there occur images to which Mr Tennyson has a decided right by priority
of invention, and which the _Strayed Reveller_ has "conveyed" with
little attention to ceremony. For example, in a poem which we never
much admired, _The Vision of Sin_, Mr Tennyson has the two following
lines--

    "And on the glimmering limit, far withdrawn,
    God made himself an awful rose of dawn."

This image is afterwards repeated in the _Princess_. Thus--

                    "Till the sun
    Grew broader toward his death and fell, and all
    The rosy heights came out above the lawns."

Young Danby catches at the idea, and straightway favours us with a
copy--

    "When the first rose-flush was steeping
    All the frore peak's awful crown."

The image is a natural one, and of course open to all the world, but
the diction has been clearly borrowed.

Not only in blank verse but in lyrics does the Tennysonian tendency
of our author break out, and to that tendency we owe by far the
best poem in the present volume. "The Forsaken Merman," though the
subject is fantastic, and though it has further the disadvantage of
directly reminding us of one of Alfred's early extravaganzas, is
nevertheless indicative of considerable power, not only of imagery
and versification, but of actual pathos. A maiden of the earth has
been taken down to the depths of the sea, where for years she has
resided with her merman lover, and has borne him children. We shall
let the poet tell the rest of his story, the more readily because
we are anxious that he should receive credit for what real poetical
accomplishment he possesses, and that he may not suppose, from our
censure of his faults, that we are at all indifferent to his merits.

        "Children dear, was it yesterday
        (Call yet once) that she went away?
        Once she sate with you and me,
        On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
        And the youngest sate on her knee.
    She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well,
    When down swung the sound of the far-off bell.
    She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea.
    She said, 'I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
    In the little gray church on the shore to-day.
    'Twill be Easter-time in the world--ah me'
    And I lose my poor soul, Merman, here with thee.'
    I said, 'Go up, dear heart, through the waves,
    Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves.'
    She smil'd, she went up through the surf in the bay.
        Children dear, was it yesterday?

        "Children dear, were we long alone?
    'The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan.
    Long prayers,' I said, 'in the world they say.
    Come,' I said, and we rose through the surf in the bay.
    We went up the beach, by the sandy down
    Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-wall'd town.
    Through the narrow pav'd streets, where all was still,
    To the little gray church on the windy hill.
    From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,
    But we stood without in the cold-blowing airs.
    We climbed on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,
    And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes.
    She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:
    'Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here.
    Dear heart,' I said, 'we are long alone,
    The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan.'
    But, ah, she gave me never a look,
    For her eyes were sealed to the holy book.
    'Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door.'
        Come away, children, call no more.
        Come away, come down, call no more.

          "Down, down, down,
          Down to the depths of the sea.
    She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
        Singing most joyfully.
    Hark, what she sings; 'O joy, O joy,
    For the humming street, and the child with its toy.
    For the priest, and the bell, and the holy well.
        For the wheel where I spun,
        And the bless'd light of the sun.'
        And so she sings her fill,
        Singing most joyfully,
        Till the shuttle falls from her hand,
        And the whizzing wheel stands still.
    She steals to the window, and looks at the sand;
        And over the sand at the sea;
        And her eyes are set in a stare;
        And anon there breaks a sigh,
        And anon there drops a tear,
        From a sorrow-clouded eye,
        And a heart sorrow-laden,
        A long, long sigh,
    For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden,
        And the gleam of her golden hair."

Had the author given us much poetry like this, our task would,
indeed, have been a pleasant one; but as the case is otherwise, we
can do no more than point to the solitary pearl. Yet it is something
to know that, in spite of imitation, and a taste which has gone far
astray, this writer has powers, which, if properly directed and
developed, might insure him a sympathy, which, for the present, must
be withheld. Sympathy, indeed, he cannot look for, so long as he
appeals neither to the heart, the affections, nor the passions of
mankind, but prefers appearing before them in the ridiculous guise of
a misanthrope. He would fain persuade us that he is a sort of Timon,
who, despairing of the tendency of the age, wishes to wrap himself up
in the mantle of necessity, and to take no part whatever in the vulgar
concerns of existence. It is absolutely ridiculous to find this young
gentleman--after confiding "to a Republican friend" the fact that he
despises

    "The barren, optimistic sophistries
    Of comfortable moles, whom what they do
    Teaches the limit of the just and true,
    And for such doing have no need of eyes,"--

thus favouring the public in a sonnet with his views touching the
onward progress of society:--

    "Yet, when I muse on what life is, I seem
    Rather to patience prompted, than that proud
    Prospect of hope which France proclaims so loud--
    France, famed in all good arts, in none supreme.
    Seeing this vale, this earth, whereon we dream,
    Is on all sides o'ershadowed by the high
    Uno'erleap'd mountains of necessity,
    Sparing us narrower margin than we deem.
    Nor will that day dawn at a human nod,
    When, bursting through the network superpos'd
    By selfish occupation--plot and plan,
    Lust, avarice, envy--liberated man,
    All difference with his fellow-man compos'd,
    Shall be left standing face to face with God."

What would our friend be at? If he is a Tory, can't he find work enough
in denouncing and exposing the lies of the League, and in taking up the
cudgels for native industry? If he is a Whig, can't he be great upon
sewerage, and the scheme of planting colonies in Connaught, to grow
corn and rear pigs at prices which will not pay for the manure and the
hogs'-wash? If he is a Chartist, can't he say so, and stand up manfully
with Julian Harney for "the points," whatever may be their latest
number? But we think that, all things considered, he had better avoid
politics. Let him do his duty to God and man, work six hours a-day,
whether he requires to do so for a livelihood or not, marry and get
children, and, in his moments of leisure, let him still study Sophocles
and amend his verses. But we hope that, whatever he does, he will not
inflict upon us any more such platitudes as "Resignation," addressed
"to Fausta" or any sonnets similar to that which he has written in
_Emerson's Essays_. We tender our counsel with a most sincere regard
for his future welfare; for, in spite of his many faults, the _Strayed
Reveller_ is a clever fellow; and though it cannot be averred that,
up to the present time, he has made the most of fair talents and a
first-rate education, we are not without hope that, some day or other,
we may be able to congratulate him on having fairly got rid of his
affected misanthropy, his false philosophy, and his besetting sin of
imitation, and that he may yet achieve something which may come home to
the heart, and secure the admiration of the public.



NEW LIGHT ON THE STORY OF LADY GRANGE.


Before we offer our readers some new light on this renowned mystery,
it is necessary that we should give them, in a sentence, the briefest
possible outline of the oft-told tale, so far as it has been hitherto
known. John Erskine, Lord Grange, a judge of the Court of Session, and
a leader of the ultra-religious party in Scotland, was married to the
daughter of that Chiesley of Dalry who had shot the Lord President in
the High Street of Edinburgh, for giving a decision against him. The
marriage was a very unhappy one. The pious leader of a religious party
was scandalised in various ways, obliged to live separate from his
wife, and subjected to many outrages from her. At length her death was
announced, her funeral was duly attended, and the widower preserved the
decorous silence of one to whom death has brought relief from what is
generally counted a calamity.

This occurred in January 1732. The lapse of nearly nine years had
almost consigned the remembrance of the unfortunate woman to oblivion,
when strange rumours gained circulation, that she who was believed
to be dead and buried was living in bondage in the distant island
of St Kilda. The account she subsequently gave of her adventures,
bore, that one night in her solitary lodging she was seized by some
Highlanders, whom she knew to be retainers of Lord Lovat, and conveyed
away, gagged and blindfolded, in the arms of a man seated in a sedan
chair. It appears that she was kept in various places of confinement,
and subjected to much rough usage, in the Low Country. At length she
was conveyed north-westward, towards the Highland line. She passed
through the grim solitudes of Glencoe, where recent murder must have
awakened in the captive horrible associations, on to the western part
of Lord Lovat's country, where any deed of tyranny or violence might be
committed with safety. Thence she was transferred to the equally safe
country of Glengarry, and, after crossing some of the highest mountains
in Scotland, was shipped on the wild Loch Hourn, for ever darkened by
the shadow of gigantic mountains falling on its narrow waters. She
was kept for some time on the small island of Heskir, belonging to
Macdonald of Sleat, and was afterwards transferred to the still more
inaccessible St Kilda, which has acquired a sort of celebrity from
its connexion with her strange history. In 1741, when a communication
from the captive had, through devious courses, reached her friends in
Edinburgh, an effort was made to release her; but it was baffled by her
transference to another place of confinement, where she died in 1745.

Little did the old judge imagine, at the time when he had so
successfully and so quietly got rid of his domestic curse--when the
mock funeral had been performed, the family condolences acted over,
and the victim safely conveyed to her distant prison, that on some
future day the public, frantic with curiosity, would tear to pieces
the covering of his great mystery, and expose every fragment of it to
the admiring crowd. It was but a simple matter in the eyes of those
who were concerned in it. The woman was troublesome--her husband was
a judge, and therefore a powerful man--so he put her out of the way.
Nor was he cruel or unscrupulous, according to the morality of the
circle in which he lived, in the method he adopted to accomplish his
end. He had advisers about him, who would have taken a shorter and a
more effectual plan for ridding themselves of a troublesome woman,
wife or not, and would have walked forth into the world without being
haunted by any dread that rumours of remote captivities might rise up
to disturb their peace. Indeed, when we remember the character of the
instruments to whom Lord Grange committed the kidnapping and removal of
his wife, it is only wonderful that they had patience enough to carry
out so long and troublesome an operation; and that they did not, out of
regard to themselves and to their employer, put a violent termination
to the career of their troublesome charge, and send her at once to
where the weary are at rest. Had this been her fate, the affair of
Lady Grange would have been one of secondary interest. Such things
were too easily accomplished in those days. The chances would have
been greatly against a discovery, and if it took place, equally great
against the conviction and punishment of the offenders, unless the lady
had a more powerful party at her back than the daughter of Chiesley the
murderer would be likely to command. It would have created, so far as
it was known, great excitement, and some little horror at the time, but
it would have speedily sunk to the level of the ordinary contents of
the criminal records, and would never have bequeathed to the ensuing
century an object which antiquarians have hunted out as religiously and
zealously as if it had involved the fate of Europe.

In fact, Lord Grange was what was called in his day "a discreet man."
He wished to avoid scandal, and bore a character for religious zeal,
which appears to have been on occasion a very serious burden not easily
borne. He dreaded scandal and notoriety, and therefore he shrouded his
great act of iniquity in the most profound secrecy. Moreover, he kept
a conscience--something that, like Rob Roy's honesty, might be called
a conscience "after a kind." He said pretty accurately of himself in
his _Diary_--"I have religion enough to spoil my relish and prosecution
of this world, and not enough to get me to the next." We may probably
believe that, even if he could have performed the deed with perfect
secrecy and safety, so far as this world is concerned, he would not
have murdered his wife, his conscience recoiling at the dreadful
crime--his fear of the world causing him to shrink from exposure.
Urged by these two conflicting motives, he adopted the expedient of
the secret removal to a desolate and distant spot, believing that he
had surrounded the whole project with a deep and impenetrable cloud of
mystery. Never was human foresight more signally set at naught. It was
this very machinery of intense mystery that, by ministering to one of
the cravings of the human imagination, has made the incident one of the
most notorious of human events. It is almost satisfactory to know that
this dreaded notoriety visited the hoary tyrant, for after he had for
nine years enjoyed in secret the success of his plot, and kept his fair
fame with the world, we find him, when legal proceedings were commenced
against him, bitterly saying that "strange stories were spread all
over the town of Edinburgh, and made the talk of coffee-houses and
tea-tables, and sent, as I have ground to apprehend, to several other
places of Great Britain."[20] One may notice, too, in the following
discontented mumblings, the bitterness with which he contemplated the
divulging of the secret,--it is in a letter to the imprisoned lady's
champion, Mr Hope of Rankeillor.

    "Any of the smallest discretion will see what a worthy part
    _he_ acts towards me and mine, and many others, and even
    towards the person pretended to be cared for, who, in such
    an occasion, begins by spreading through Great Britain
    strange stories, unexamined and unvouched, and not so much
    as communicated to us concerned; and next, when offered
    satisfaction, yet proceeds to fix such on public records, and
    to force others to bring on record sad and proved truths, which
    he himself knows and formerly has acknowledged to be truths,
    and that ought for ever to be sunk. This cannot be construed to
    be anything but an endeavour to fix, as far as in him lies, a
    lasting blot on persons and families. The first was defamation,
    and the next would be the same, under a cover of a pretended
    legal shape, but in itself more atrocious. One cannot doubt
    that this is a serious thing to many more than me, and cannot
    but be laid to heart."[21]

The text from which we are at present discoursing, is a bundle of
confidential letters from Lord Grange, printed in the _Miscellany of
the Spalding Club_, and not the least valuable and curious of the
many contributions made by that useful and spirited institution, to
the elucidation of Scottish history and manners. At the foot of the
high conical hill of Bennochie, in a small group of forest trees,
there nestles one of those quaint small turreted mansions of old
French architecture so frequently to be seen in the north of Scotland.
The owner of this mansion was an Erskine; he was related to Erskine
of Grange, and it so happened that this relative was the person in
whose ear he poured his secret sorrows, as a disappointed and morbid
politician. Such confidential outpourings are not the most interesting
of communications, even when one has the fortune to be so far connected
with the wailer as to be the chosen vessel into which he pours the
anguish of his heart. Some of these letters are portentous--they
are absolute pamphlets--in their spirit as yellow and mildewed with
discontent, as their outward aspect may have been by the cold damp
air of Bennochie, when they were discovered in the worm-eaten chest.
It requires a little zeal to peruse the whole series; but, unless we
are greatly deceived, we think we can present our readers with a few
plums picked out of the mass, which they may find not unacceptable.
And here, by the way, let us observe, how great a service is done by
those who ransack the repositories of our old Scottish houses, and
make their contents accessible to the public. We are convinced that in
dusty garrets, in vaults, in musty libraries, and crazy old oak-chests,
there is still an almost inexhaustible wealth of curious lore of
this description. The correspondence of the old Scottish families is
generally far more interesting than that of English houses of the same
rank. Since the civil wars of the seventeenth century, England may be
said to have been internally undisturbed, and no private papers contain
matters of state, save those of the great families whose ancestors have
been high in office. But in Scotland, the various outbreaks, and the
unceasing Jacobite intrigues, made almost all the country gentlemen
statesmen--made too many of them state offenders. The Essex squire, be
he ever so rich, was still but the lord of a certain quantity of timber
and oxen, grass and turnips. The Highland laird, be he ever so poor,
was a leader of men--a person who had more or less the power of keeping
the country in a state of war or danger--a sort of petty king reigning
over his own people. Hence, while the letters of the last century
one might pick up in a comfortable old English mansion, would relate
to swing-gates and turnpike roads, game preserves and tithes, those
found hidden behind the wainscoat of a gaunt old cheerless Scottish
fortalice, would relate to risings at home, or landings from abroad--to
the number of broadswords and targets still kept in defiance of the
Arms Act--to communications received through French Jesuits, or secret
missions "across the water."[22]

We believe that the passages from these documents, on which we are now
to comment, in the first place exhibit to us pretty plainly the motive
of Lord Grange for the deportation of his wife; and, in the second
place, prove that he entertained designs of a similar character against
another female with whom he was nearly connected.

When Lady Grange's strange history was first communicated to the
public, it was believed that the cause of her abduction was not merely
her violent temper, but her possession of certain secrets which would
enable her to compromise the safety of her husband and his friends, by
proving their connexion with the Jacobite intrigues of the period. The
view more lately taken of the mystery, has been that she was merely
a mad woman, and that her abduction, with all its laborious mystery,
was only an attempt to accommodate the judge with a resource in which
Scotland was then deficient--a lunatic asylum for insane relatives.
Though, as we shall presently see, his confidential communications give
other and darker revelations, this was the light in which Lord Grange
wished the matter to be viewed, after his plot had been discovered; and
in his controversial letter to Mr Hope, already referred to, he gives
an account of her frantic outbreaks, which certainly affords a picture
of one likely to have been a most distressing partner in life to a
grave judge, having a few secrets to conceal which required him to be
peculiarly circumspect in his walk; and holding a high, but a rather
precarious position, in the opinion of the religious world. After
stating that she had agreed to a separation, he continues--

    "Then it was hoped that I and the children (who she used
    to curse bitterly when they went dutifully to wait on her)
    would be in quiet; but she often attacked my house, and from
    the streets, and among the footmen and chairmen of visitors,
    cried and raged against me and mine, and watched for me in the
    streets, and chased me from place to place in the most indecent
    and shameless manner, and threatened to attack me on the bench,
    which, dreading she would do every time I went to it, made my
    duty there very heavy on me, lest that honourable Court of
    Session should be disturbed and affronted on my occasion. And
    not content with these, and odd and very bad contrivances about
    the poor children, she waited on a Sunday's afternoon that my
    sister, Lady Jane Paterson, with my second daughter, came out
    of the Tron Church, and on the street, among all the people,
    fell upon her with violent scolding and curses, and followed
    her so down Merlin's Wynd, till Lady Jane and the child near
    the bottom of it got shelter from her and being exposed to the
    multitude in a friend's house. You also know, and may well
    remember, that before you and the rest advised the separation,
    and till she went from my house, she would not keep herself in
    that part of it (the best apartment) which was assigned her,
    but abused all in the family, and when none were adverting,
    broke into the room of ane old gentlewoman, recommended to me
    for housekeeper, and carried off and destroyed her accompts,
    &c., and committed outrages, so that at length I was forced to
    have a watch in my house, and especially in the night time, as
    if it had been in the frontier of an enemy's country, or to be
    spoiled by robbers."[23]

This was doubtless the truth, but not the whole truth. Founding
apparently on these statements, which are Lord Grange's vindication of
himself, the editor of the collection of letters says--"The letters
now printed must considerably impair the mystery of the reasons which
led to the abduction of Lady Grange. They may be held conclusively
to refute the supposition that the affair had any connexion with the
political intrigues of the period." On the contrary, we cannot read
the confidential portion of the correspondence without feeling that
it almost conclusively establishes the fact, that the affair _had_ a
"connexion with the political intrigues of the period;" and that the
reason why so many people of rank and political influence aided the
plot, why the removal was conducted with so much secrecy, and the place
of seclusion was so remote and inaccessible, was because Lady Grange
was possessed of dangerous secrets, which compromised her husband and
his friends. The general tone of the letters, and their many cautious
and mysterious, yet unmistakeable references to the proceedings of
friends across the water, show that the judge confided to the owner of
the old mansion at the foot of Bennochie some things which it would be
dangerous for an enemy to know. But we shall cite just one passage,
which we consider sufficient of itself to support our position. It is
taken from a letter dated 22d March 1731, just ten months before his
wife was seized and carried off. There is something very peculiar in
the structure of the letter; and, whether in pursuit of some not very
appreciable joke, or to waylay the penetration of any hostile party
who, might take the liberty of opening the packet on its journey, the
writer speaks of himself during the most curious and important part
of it, in the third person. Talking of a very difficult and hazardous
project in which he is about to be engaged, he thus passes a neat
commendation on himself,--"but I am sure he never yet was frightened
from what was right in itself, and his duty towards his friends, by his
own trouble or danger, and he seems as little frighted now, as ever in
his life." He then approaches the subject of his wife's character and
intentions, like a man treading on the verge of a frightful pitfall.
"I have found that, in such a case, there is no bounds set to such
mischief, and it is pushed on though it should go the length of your
utter ruin, _and of Tyburn itself, or the Grassmarket_,"--the one being
the place where the gibbet of London, the other where that of Edinburgh
stood. From such portentous associations he passes immediately to his
wife and her proceedings. To make the passage more distinct, we fill
up the names, of which the letter contains only the first and last
letters; it will be remarked that he still assumes the third person,
and that he himself is the person about to depart for London.

"Then I am told that Lady Grange is going to London. She knows nothing
of _his_ going, nor is it suspected here, nor shall be till the day
before he goes off, and so she cannot pretend it is to follow him. She
will certainly strive to get access to Lady Mary Wortley, Lady Mar's
sister, (whom she openly blesses for her opposition to our friends,)
and to all where her malice may prompt her to hope she can do hurt to
us. You will remember with what lying impudence she threatened Lord
Grange, and many of his friends, with accusations of high treason and
other capital crimes, and spoke so loud of her accusing directly by a
signed information to Lord Justice-Clerk, that it came to his ears,
and she was stopped by hearing he said, that, if the mad woman came
to him, he would cause his footmen turn her down stairs. What effect
her lies may have, where she is not so well known, and with those who,
from opposition to what Lord Grange is about, may think their interest
to encourage them, one cannot certainly know; but _if proper measures
be not fallen on against it, the creature may prove troublesome_; at
any rate, this whole affair will require a great deal of diligence,
caution, and address."[24]

He talks of her as mad: and so far as passion and the thirst of
vengeance make people mad, she undoubtedly was so. He speaks of
her intended accusations as lies--that is, of course, a convenient
expression to use towards them. But what is very clearly at the bottom
of all the trepidation, and doubt, and difficulty, is, that she might
be able, mad and false as she was, to get facts established which
called up very ugly associations with Tyburn and the Grassmarket. A
minute incident stated in the common histories of the affair, that
Lady Grange planned a journey to London for the purpose of taking her
accusation to the fountain-head of political power, is confirmed by
this extract. It may easily be believed that, among Grange's official
colleagues--some of whom had also their own secrets to keep--the
lady's frantic accusations met with little encouragement. The
Justice-Clerk referred to in the extract, Adam Cockburn of Ormiston,
was, like Grange himself, a great professed light of the church, and
what sort of interview he would have held with the furious lady, may
be inferred from the character given of him by a contemporary,--"He
became universally hated in Scotland, where they called him the curse
of Scotland; and when ladies were at cards, playing the nine of
diamonds, commonly called 'the curse of Scotland,' they called it the
Justice-Clerk. He was, indeed, of a hot temper, and violent in all his
measures."[25]

In the old narratives of the affair, it is stated that Grange felt his
position to be the more dangerous, as some letters had been intercepted
tending to inculpate him with the Jacobites on the Continent. It is
singular that this should also be pretty satisfactorily proved by
the present correspondence. It will be remembered that Grange was a
brother of the Earl of Mar, whose prominence in the affairs of 1715 had
driven him into exile. A strong attachment to this unfortunate man is,
on the whole, the most pleasing feature in the character of the more
cautious and more fortunate judge. It was natural that the brothers
should keep up a correspondence, and quite as natural that Sir Robert
Walpole should be particularly anxious to discover what they said to
each other. Grange conducted some negotiations with the government for
his brother's pardon and restoration, and we find him defeated in his
aim, and receiving some very significant hints about the nature of his
correspondence.

"Sir Robert told me in wrath that he would have nothing to do with Lord
Mar, that he had dealt ill with him, and he should not have his pardon;
and he would by no means give me any reason for it, but Lord Townsend
did, whom they had stirred up; for he in anger told me Sir Robert had
intercepted his letters to me with very odd things in them, injurious
to Sir Robert and his friends.... Soon after this, Ilay, with cloudy
looks, began to make insinuations of some discoveries against me too,
and at length told me that Sir Robert said that he had also intercepted
bad letters of mine to Lord Mar, but confessed they were not directed
to Lord Mar, and neither subscribed by me nor in my hand of write, but
that by the contents they knew them to be mine to Lord Mar. I answered
that they might assert what they pleased of letters said to be directed
to me, and which they owned I had never seen, but that I must know of
letters wrote by myself, and that I ever wrote any such was a damned,
villainous, malicious lie; and let Sir Robert or any else be the
asserter of it, whoever did assert it, was a liar."[26]

This is a very successful outbreak of virtuous indignation, and does
considerable credit to its author, as a pupil of that school of which
his dear friend Lord Lovat was the undoubted head.

We cannot help considering that it is a question of some historical
interest and importance whether the abduction of Lady Grange was or
was not a measure adopted for political reasons, and that the letters
before us, by finally deciding the question, throw an important light
on the political state of Scotland in the early part of the eighteenth
century. If we suppose that the lady was carried under circumstances
of such profound mystery, and by the agency of some conspicuous and
distinguished personages, to the distant island of St Kilda, merely
because she was a lunatic who required to be in custody, we only see
that many important and sagacious people were taking a very complex
and cumbrous method of accomplishing what might have been done with
ease; for in those days, few would have troubled themselves about the
wretched woman, if her husband had chosen to keep her in any place of
confinement, telling the neighbourhood that she was insane. But when we
find that the Jacobite party in Scotland were powerful enough to kidnap
a person obnoxious to them, and keep her for nine years in a place to
which the laws of the realm and the authority of the crown nominally
extended, but where their own power was the real operative authority,
we have a very formidable notion of the strength and compactness of the
Jacobite union during Walpole's apparently powerful ministry.

The correspondence of Lord Grange admits its reader to a species
of confidential intercourse with him, which can scarcely be called
agreeable. It exhibits one of the most disgusting of all the moral
diseases--the rankling of the arrow of disappointment in the heart
of a defeated political schemer. It is not the man of brave and
bold designs baffled, or the utopian enthusiast disappointed of the
fulfilment of his golden dreams, or the adherent of one absorbing
political idea looking at it lying broken to pieces at his feet: in
all of these there is a dash of noble and disinterested sentiment, and
the politician defeated in his conflict with the world has still the
consolation of an honest if mistaken heart, into which he can retire
without the sting of self-reproach. But all Grange's disappointments
were connected with paltry schemes of personal aggrandisement. Fawn and
flatter as he might, Sir Robert Walpole, and his Scottish coadjutor
Ilay, knew him and distrusted him, and, when he came to court them,
gave him but fair words, and sometimes not even that. With Sir Robert
he carried on an unequal war. Believing that he could scourge the
minister in parliament, while he was a judge of the Court of Session,
he resolved to obtain a seat, and thereupon the all-powerful minister
at once checkmated him, by carrying an act to prohibit judges of the
Court of Session from holding seats in the House of Commons--it was a
less invidious proceeding than the dismissal of his lordship from the
bench would have been, and it had the appearance of being dictated
by a desire for the public good. Grange preferred the senate to the
bench, and resigned his judgeship, but he never achieved political
eminence. In the mean time he acquired Dr Johnson's desideratum of an
honest hatred towards his enemy, and indeed hatred appears to have been
the only honest ingredient in his character. He expressed it so well
towards Walpole, that we must quote his confidential opinion of that
mighty statesman:--

    "An insolent and rapacious minister, who has kept us under
    the expense of war in time of peace, yet hindered us to
    fight to vindicate our trade, so grossly violated by Spanish
    robberies, and when we could have put a stop to it, and
    corrected them without drawing upon us the arms of any other
    nation, maintained his hollow and expensive peace by ridiculous
    contradictory treaties, trying us to take part in all the
    quarrels of Europe, and sometimes to be on both sides, and at
    the same time allowing confederacies to go on so powerful, and
    which we are not of, that now when a war is breaking out we
    know not where to turn us; laying plots to devour the land by
    new swarms of officers of the revenue, to put the merchants'
    stocks in the possession of these vermin, and trade under
    their power, &c., as by that most damned excise scheme; openly
    protecting the frauds and villains that plunder the stocks
    and ruin multitudes, and must sink the kingdom; plundering
    the revenue, and using all his art, and power, and bribes
    to stop all inquiry into, or the least amendment of these
    things, either by parliament or otherwise; openly ridiculing
    all virtue and uprightness; enhancing all power to himself
    and his brother, and suffering almost none else to do or know
    anything; barefaced and avowed bribing of members of parliament
    and others, and boasting of it; heaping up immense wealth to
    himself and his most abject profligate creatures of both sexes,
    while the public treasure and trade of the nation is ruined;
    suffering and encouraging these locusts to get large bribes,
    and giving considerable employment at their recommendation,
    while men of merit and service, and of the best families and
    interest, are neglected or abused, employing insignificant
    brutes or the greatest rogues, and favouring almost none but
    such; maltreating and insulting all whom his rascals and jades
    complain of. But the list is too long to go through with
    here."[27]

Grange thought at one time that he had great claims on Walpole, and
Lord Ilay; and he seems to have very diligently performed one class
of duties which politicians sometimes think sufficient to establish
a claim for reward--he had been an indefatigable petitioner for
ministerial favours. We have heard somewhere of a story of a political
economist, who during a long walk is pestered by an Irish beggar, who
asks his honour just to give him a sixpence, "for the love of God." The
economist turns round to argue the matter: "I deny," says he, "that I
would be showing my love to the Deity by giving an idle rascal like you
money; if you can state any service you have ever done to me worth the
sixpence, you shall have it."--"Why, then," says the mendicant thus
appealed to, "haven't I been keeping your honour in discourse this
half hour?" Such seems to have been the character of Grange's claim on
the ministry--he kept them in unceasing "discourse" as a petitioner.
Not that he did not profess some claims of another kind. "During all
this time," he says, "I ran their errands and fought their battles
in Scotland." Nor did he fail sometimes to allude to his services
as a religious professor, so ill-requited, that he taunts Ilay with
having "already effectually interposed for Tom (now Baron) Kennedy,
who had been Queen's advocate, and obnoxious to all the Presbyterian
party, _which I was not_." And how was he rewarded for all this
running errands, fighting battles, and being religious enough not to
be obnoxious? "Ilay showed me no countenance, and Argyle shunned to
see me.... He [Ilay] never speaks nor writes to me of any business,
but to shame me (as you have seen) about my own: and, these three or
four years past, has visibly to all the world drawn off by degrees from
all familiarity with me, and has dropped me even from his conversation
about trifles or mirth. I could give you many strong instances of
this." Here is an incident told with a pathos sufficient to move a
whole antechamber to tears:--

    "Before I came from London in November last, he bade me wait
    on Sir Robert at his levee. I told him I had always done so,
    but was not in the least noticed, or had so much as a smile
    or a gracious nod from him. But said he, 'I promise you I'll
    tell him to take particular notice of you, and to assure you of
    favour, and that he will do for you: which (said his lordship)
    will make my game more easy when I ask anything for you;' and
    he bid me come to him that he might carry me to the levee in
    his coach. This was done, and I set myself in Sir Robert's eye
    in the front of the crowd that surrounded him, and Ilay was
    by and looking on. Sir Robert came and went by me without the
    least regard. Ilay slipt into another room; and, that I might
    not wait longer in so silly a figure, I made up without being
    called to the great knight; and told him I came to testify my
    respect, and ask his commands for Scotland. His answer, with a
    very dry look, and odd air was, 'I have nothing to say to you,
    my lord. I wish you a good journey.' I saw Ilay afterwards, and
    he said there was nothing in it. Sir Robert had only forgot,
    and I am sure (said he) he will do for you what I desired
    him."[28]

In the sequel he exclaims, "Can such usage be bore, even by the spirit
of a poor mouse!"--deeming probably that its endurance by a _rat_ was
quite out of the question.

It is singular enough to find from these revelations of Lord Grange's
character and habits, that while he was plotting the abduction of one
mad woman, he was busily engaged in attempting the release of another.
Yes, as a first step, he was intending to release her; but there are
a few hints, slight in themselves, but wonderfully suggestive when
they are associated with his wife's history, showing us that his
ultimate intention was to make a second victim. In this scheme he was
defeated by a spirit less crafty but more audacious than his own--by
no less renowned a person than Lady Mary Wortley Montague, whose
name has already been mentioned as "openly blessed" by Lady Grange
for her "opposition to our friends," meaning the Jacobites. We have
among the papers the history of the baffled attempt--at least one
side of the history, and, when shaken free of the dust of Grange's
prolix grumblings, it is infinitely amusing. The intended victim in
this instance was Lady Mar, Lady Mary's sister, the wife of Grange's
brother. Lady Mar was insane, and in some shape or other committed
to the guardianship of her sister. There were some pecuniary matters
depending on the question of her detention or release, so vaguely
hinted at that it is not easy to discover their nature. It would appear
that Lady Mar was allowed by the favour of the court, and probably
through the interest of her relatives, a jointure of £500 a-year over
the estates which were forfeited from her husband. Lord Mar was then
living in poverty abroad; and Lord Grange was inclined to think that
this sum would be better administered by himself and his friends than
by Lady Mary. Looking at the £500 from his own side, he of course saw
Lady Mary on the other, and judged that her motives were as parallel
to his own as the one jaw of a shark is to the other--so he says,
"Lady Mar, they say, is quite well; and so as in common justice she
can no longer be detained as a lunatic; but she is obstinately averse
to appearing in chancery, that the sentence may be taken off. Her
sister probably will oppose her liberty, for thereby she would lose,
and Lord Mar in effect gain, £500 yearly: and the poor lady, being
in her custody, and under her management, had need to be very firmly
recovered, for the guardian may at present so vex, tease, and plague
her, that it would turn anybody mad."[29]

It was believed that if Lady Mar were released from Lady Mary Wortley
Montague's influence, means might be taken for so arranging matters
that her husband should participate in her jointure. There was another
matter, however, in which Grange himself had a more particular prospect
of pecuniary advantage. Lady Mar appears to have had a beneficiary
interest in a lease of a house in Whitehall, forming part of the
royal demesne. An arrangement seems to have been made by which,
during her incapacity from insanity, her own term was conveyed to her
brother-in-law, Lord Grange, while he at the same time obtained a
reversion of the lease in his own favour. He had, it appears, sold his
whole interest in the property--both the lease he had obtained from
Lady Mar's guardians and his own reversionary interest. He was now,
therefore, in endeavouring to procure the release of Lady Mar, on the
ground of her restoration to sanity, about to enable her to revoke the
transference that had been made to him of her own share in the lease.
In his own words, "On Lady Mar's being at freedom, the assignment of
her lease to Lord Grange becomes void, and so does the sale he has
made of it; and in that sale the lease to Lady Mar was valued at £800
sterling, which will be lost by the avoidance of it." Such is the
danger; and now, in a very brief continuation of the quotation, let us
observe the way in which it was to be met, for, considering who was
the writer, it is really well worthy of observation. "Were Lady Mar in
her freedom, _in right hands, she would ratify the bargain_, but if in
her sister's, probably she will not." Such was the plot; she was to be
restored to her freedom that she might be put "in right hands,"--in
hands in which there was no chance of her refusing what might be
demanded. But there was a lion in the way, or rather a lioness, as
we shall see. Lord Grange's anticipations of Lady Wortley Montague's
operations is not the least remarkable of his revelations. It is "the
power within the guilty breast" working as in Eugene Aram's dream.
What Lady Mary suspected it were difficult to say, but he who ventured
to predict her suspicions spoke from his own guilty conscience--spoke
as the kidnapper and secret imprisoner. We pray attention to the
remarkable expressions with which the following quotation closes:--

    "May not an artful woman impose on one in such circumstances,
    and whose mind cannot yet be very firm? And this is the more to
    be feared, because at the beginning of her illness the sister
    said loudly, and oftener than once to Lord Grange himself,
    that her husband's bad usage had turned her [Lady Mar] mad.
    Supposing, then, the sister tell and persuade her to this
    purpose: 'You see your husband's friends quite neglect you.
    Lord Erskine, though in the place, seldom comes near you.
    How easy were it for Lord Grange to have made you a visit on
    hearing you are so well. Surely it became the fellow to pay you
    that regard, and he would have done it had he any kindness for
    you; and, if the husband had, he would have laid such commands
    on his son and brother which they could not have resisted. Now,
    you may get your freedom, but can you again trust yourself in
    their hands? Quite separated from your father's and mother's
    friends, and from your country, _locked up in Scotland or
    foreign parts, and wholly in their power_, what can you expect?
    Your friends here could give you no relief, and you should be
    wholly at the barbarous mercy of those whose sense get not
    sufficiently the better of their hatred or contempt, as to make
    them carry with seeming respect to you till they get you in
    their power. _What will they not do when they have you?_"[30]

Such are Lord Grange's "imaginary conversations" of Lady Mary
Wortley--like many others, a more accurate reflection of the thoughts
habitually dwelling in the writer's own mind, than of those of the
person in whose name they are uttered. And then, in continuation, he
paints the formidable effect of the imaginary pleading--"Such things
to a woman so lately of a disturbed brain, constantly inculcated by
so near a relation whom she only sees, and her creatures, and depends
on her entirely for the time--what may they not produce? And if they
have their effect, then the consequences are these: the lady being
at freedom legally, but _de facto_ still under her sister's absolute
government, the bargain about her jointure becomes void, and thereby
she (or rather the sister) gets more by £500 sterling yearly, and our
friend has nothing at all." Then follows the statement about the lease;
and the meaning of the whole is, that Lady Mar, as a free woman, would
be entitled to live with her sister, and dispose of her own property,
unless she were put in the "right hands" to make her "ratify" any
desired bargain.

The interchange of compliments between the parties, when they came to
actual conflict, is extremely instructive. "She concluded with rage,"
says the judge, "that we were both rascals, with many other ridiculous
things." But perhaps more people will think her ladyship's penetration
was not more ridiculously at fault on this than on other occasions.
Horace Walpole left an unfavourable testimony to her treatment of her
sister, when he alluded to "the unfortunate Lady Mar, whom she treated
so hardly when out of her senses." Pope caught up the same charge in
the insinuation--

    "Who starves a sister, or denies a debt."

Lord Grange, for his own part, has the merit, when characterising his
opponent, of a coincidence with the illustrious poet--at least in the
bestowal of an epithet. Every one remembers Pope's--

    "Avidien and his wife, no matter which;
    For him you call a dog, and her a ----."

It is satisfactory to find, on the most palpable evidence, that Lord
Grange had sufficient poetical genius to supply this rhyme, though
whether his poetic powers went any farther, we are unable, and perhaps
no one will ever be able, to determine.

We must quote, unmutilated, one of Grange's conflicts with Avidien's
wife. Though the scene be roughly described, it has an interest, from
the unscrupulous vehemence of the principal actors, and the eminence
of the little group, who cluster round it like a circle of casual
passengers round the centre of disturbance, where the wife and the
brother-bacchanalian compete, on the pavement, for the possession of
some jovial reveller, whose half-clouded mind remains vibrating between
the quiet comforts of home and the fierce joys of the tavern. There is
something affecting in the vacillating miseries of the poor invalid--we
wonder how much of the cruel contest can be true; for, that it is all
true, it is impossible to believe--yet Lady Mary could be violent, and
she could be hard, when she was attacked or baffled; and she had a
rough and unscrupulous nature to combat with, in the historian of their
warfare.

    "Lady Mary, perceiving how things were like to go, did what I
    was always afraid of, and could not possibly prevent: she went
    in rage to her poor sister, and so swaggered and frightened
    her, that she relapsed. While she was about that fine piece of
    work, Lord Erskine happened to go to Lady Mar's; and in his
    presence Lady Mary continued to this purpose with her sister:
    'Can you pretend to be well? Don't you know you are still mad?
    You shan't get out of my custody; and if Lord Grange and his
    confederates bring you before Lord Chancellor, I'll make you,
    in open court, in presence of the world, lay your hand on the
    Gospel, and swear by Almighty God, whether you can say you are
    yet well. Your salvation shall be at stake; for, remember,
    perjury infers damnation--your eternal damnation.' So soon as
    I was informed of this, I assured my lady (and so did others,)
    that in law no such oath could be put to, her, and that Lady
    Mary had only said so to fright her. But so strong was the
    fright, that nothing we could say was able to set her right
    again. And Lady Mary, having thus dismounted her came again
    and coaxed her, and (as I found by diverse instances) strove
    to give her bad impressions of her family, and everybody but
    Lady Mary's sweet self. Yet next day Lady Mar went and dined
    at Mr Baillie's in town, and there saw a deal of company, and
    behaved very well. And Dr Arbuthnot, who, among others, saw
    her there, said he thought her very well; and had not the turn
    happened you will presently hear of, he and Dr Monro (son to
    Mr Monro who, at the Revolution, was Principal of Edinburgh
    College, and is now physician to Bedlam,) and Dr Mead, were
    to have gone to her with me next day and afterwards, that
    they might have vouched her condition before the chancellor.
    I believed it best for me not to be at Mr Baillie's, that all
    might appear as it was, free and natural, and not conducted by
    any art of mine; only I went thither about seven at night, and
    found her in a room with Ladies Harvey, Binning, Murray, Lady
    Grizzel Baillie, and others. She was behaving decently, but
    with the gravity of one that is wearied and tired. Mr Baillie
    himself, and the other gentlemen and ladies, (a great many
    being in the next room,) now and then joined us, and she seemed
    not in anything discomposed, till the conversation turned on
    her sister's late insult, which, it was visible, gave a shock
    to her, and disconcerted her; and when Lady Murray and I went
    home with her to Knightsbridge, she was so dumpish that she
    scarcely said one word. When I went to her next day, I saw how
    strongly Lady Mary's physic wrought, and dissipated her poor
    returning senses. She had before urged me earnestly to proceed
    faster than was fit, to get her before the chancellor, and do
    everything needful for her liberation, that she might go to her
    husband and family. But now she told me she would not for the
    world appear before the chancellor, and that neither she nor
    any other must make oath as to her recovery, (at this time,
    indeed, it had been a very bold oath); and that she preferred
    her soul's salvation to all things. And, among other things,
    she said, what a dismal condition shall I be in if, after
    all, the chancellor send me back under Mary's government; how
    shall I pass my time after such an attempt? In short, she was
    bambouzled, and frighted quite. But that her head was really
    turned by Lady Mary's threats of damnation, farther appeared
    by this instance: Lady Grizzel Baillie and Lady Murray having
    gone to take leave of her, (their whole family is gone to Spa,)
    when I saw her next day, she gravely told me that Lady Murray
    was no more her friend, having endeavoured, when taking leave,
    to deprive her of all the comfort left her--the hope of heaven.
    And though (said she) I was bred to the Church of England,
    and she to that of Scotland, yet merely the difference is not
    so great that she must pronounce me in a state of damnation:
    and she asked me seriously, what Lady Murray had said to me
    about her being damned? Never in my life, madam, answered I,
    did she or any London lady speak to me about salvation or
    damnation; but I'm sure my Lady Murray loves you as her sister,
    and heartily wishes your happiness here and hereafter. Then
    she gave me a sealed letter to Lady Murray, begging me to
    deliver it and bring an answer. I read it with Lady Murray.
    It was long, and all expostulatory why she pronounced her to
    be damned; and said many odd things. Lady Murray's answer was
    the proper one--short and general, but very kind, which I
    also delivered; and Lady Mar said no more to me on that head.
    Before she took this turn, perceiving her so vapourish and
    easily disconcerted, I would not venture to put the case wholly
    on perfect recovery, but stated it also as I really thought
    it--viz., recovered from all that could properly be called
    lunacy, yet exceeding weak, and apt to be overturned. And I had
    prepared a memorial in law on that supposition, which I was
    to have laid before Mr Talbot, solicitor-general, and other
    counsel, the very day she took this wrong turn; but thereupon
    stopt altogether. At parting, she appeared to me as one who,
    fearing to provoke a worse fate by attempting to be better, sat
    down in a sort of sullen despairing, content with her present
    condition, which she (justly) called misery. Thus seemed she to
    be as to any sense that remained with her; but all her sense
    was clouded, and, indeed, fancies which now perplexed her brain
    were, like the clouds, fleeting, inconstant, and sometimes in
    monstrous shapes."[31]

We have no more of this affair until the lapse of several months,
when the judge, at the very moment of apparent victory, is routed by
his watchful antagonist. He had obtained possession of Lady Mar--she
was on her way to Scotland, "in right hands," but had not crossed the
border. This was in 1733, a few months after Lady Grange had been
safely conveyed to the grim solitudes of Hesker. Surely some bird of
the air had whispered the matter to Lady Mary; for her measures were
prompt and stern, and they draw from the baffled plotter many hard
expressions and insinuations. "But on the road, she [Lady Mar] was
seized by Lord Chief-Justice's warrant, procured on false affidavit
of her sister Lady Mary, &c., and brought back to London--declared
lunatic, and by Lord Chancellor (whose crony is Mr Wortley, Lady Mary's
husband) delivered into the custody of Lady Mary, to the astonishment
and offence even of all the English, (Sir Robert among the rest;) and
Ilay pretended to be angry at it, yet refused to give me that relief by
the king in council, which by law was undoubtedly competent."[32]

The people with whom his London connexion brought the judge in contact,
display a gathering of dazzling names in the firmament of fashion
and wit. Bolingbroke, Windham, and "the courtly Talbot" are casually
mentioned. Grange says in passing, "I am acquainted with Chesterfield."
He has something to say of "sweet Lepel," the "wife of that Lord Hervey
who last winter wrote the pamphlet against Mr Pulteney, and on Mr
Pulteney's answer, fought with him and was wounded." Arbuthnot, and the
prince of classical collectors, Richard Mead, mix with the ordinary
actors of the scene. Young Murray, not then a crown lawyer--but
sufficiently distinguished for wit, eloquence, and fashionable
celebrity, to have called forth the next to immortal compliments of
Pope--_must_ have been one of the brilliant circle; and in the early
period of his intercourse with his brother's sister-in-law, accident
would be strangely against him, if he did not sometimes meet in the
ordinary circle the pale distorted youth, with noble intellectual
features and an eye of fire, whose war of wit and rancour with "furious
Sappho" left the world uncertain whether to laugh with their fierce
wit, or lament the melancholy picture of perverted genius, exhibited by
a hatred so paltry yet so unquenchable.

In his autobiographical revelations, the economical old judge leaves
some traces of his consciousness that his journeys from Merlyn's Wynd
to Whitehall were a decided transition from the humble to the great
world. He thus describes one of these journeys, in the letter already
cited, in which he gratified his humour by talking of himself in the
third person.

    "Lord G. is now pretty well acquainted with the ways there; his
    personal charges, he is sure, will be small in comparison; he
    will not be in expensive companies or houses, but when business
    requires it; nor at any diversion but what he finds necessary
    for keeping up the cheerfulness of his own spirit, and the
    health of his body. He wears plain and not fine clothes.
    When there last he kept not a servant, but had a fellow at
    call, to whom he gave a shilling a-day such days as he was to
    be at court or among the great, and must have a footman as
    necessarily as a coat on his back or a sword by his side. He
    never was nice and expensive in his own eating, and less now
    than ever; for this winter he has quite lost the relish of
    French claret, the most expensive article in London. He is to
    travel without a servant, for whom he knows not any sort of use
    on the road, and only has a post-boy, whom he must have, had he
    twenty servants of his own; and so he travelled last year."[33]

Strange indeed were the social extremes between which this journey
lay. At the one end we see the brilliant assemblages of the most
brilliant age of English fashion. The rays of the wax-lights glitter
back from stars and sword-hilts, diamond buttons and spangles.
Velvet coats, huge laced waistcoats, abundant hoops, spread forth
their luxurious wealth--the air is rich and thick with perfumed
powder--the highest in rank, and wealth, and influence are there, so
are the first in genius and learning. Reverse the picture, and take
the northern end of the journey. In an old dark stone house, at the
end of a dismal alley, Lovat's ragged banditti throttle a shrieking
woman--a guilty cavalcade passes hurriedly at night across the dark
heath--next opens a dreary dungeon in a deserted feudal fortalice--a
boat tosses on the bosom of the restless Atlantic--and the victim is
consigned to the dreary rock, where year follows year, bringing no
change with it but increasing age. The contrast is startling. Yet,
when we read Lady Grange's diary and Lady Mary Wortley's letters
together, they leave one doubtful whether most to shudder at the
savage lawlessness of one end of the island, or the artificial vices
that were growing out of a putrid civilisation in the other.



THE ROYAL PROGRESS.


Question--"What is a King?" Answer--"A monster who devours the human
race." Such was a part of the catechism taught to all the children of
France during the first fervour of the Revolution in 1789. "I wonder
the people should die of want," said a princess during the dreadful
famine of 1774; "for my part, if I was one of them, I should live on
beef-steaks and porter, rather than perish." Such are the feelings
with which the members of the same community, children of the same
family, unhappily sometimes come to regard each other during periods
of democratic excitement, or mutual estrangement. Ignorance, worked
on by falsehood, and misled by ambition, is the main cause of this
fatal severance. Nothing removes it so effectually as bringing them
together. So natural are the feelings of loyalty to the human heart, so
universally do they spring up when the falsehood which has smothered
them is neutralised by the evidence of the senses, that it may be
considered as one of the greatest evils which can afflict society, when
circumstances occur which keep sovereigns aloof from their people, and
one of the greatest blessings when they can rejoin each other. Of this,
a signal example occurred on the return of the royal family of France
from the fatal journey to Varennes, when Barnave, who had been sent
down with Petion, as one of the most vehement and stern republicans,
to bring them back to Paris, was so impressed with the philanthropic
benevolence of the King, and so melted by the heroic magnanimity of
the Queen, that he became thenceforward one of the most faithful
defenders of the royal cause. "How often," says Thiers, in recounting
this remarkable conversion, "would factions the most inveterate be
reconciled, if they could meet and read each other's hearts!"

The sudden change often produced in the general mind, by the veil of
ignorance and prejudice being withdrawn, which had concealed from
them the real character of their rulers, is not to be ascribed merely
to the lustre of royalty, or the dazzling of the public gaze by the
magnificent pageants which, on such occasions, generally surround it.
It arises mainly from a different cause: it is allied to the generous
affections--it springs from the feelings planted by the Author of
nature in the human heart, to bind society together. It is often seen
most strongly when the royal pageants are the most unpretending, and
the royal personages, laying aside their previous state, mingle almost
without distinction, save from the superior grace of their manners,
with the ordinary citizens. It is more like the irresistible gush
of affection which overspreads every heart, when the members, long
severed, of a once united family are reassembled; or when the prodigal
returns to his father's home, only the more dear from the events which
had estranged him from it.

It is sometimes said that loyalty is an instinctive principle, meant
to supply the place of reason before the intellectual faculties
have grown to their full strength among a people, but unnecessary,
and which gradually dies out, when society, under the direction of
self-government, has come to be regulated by the rational faculties.
There never was a greater mistake; and every day's experience may
convince us that it is not only false, but directly the reverse of
the truth. The time will never come, when the aid of loyalty will not
be required to bind society to its chief: and if the time should ever
come that its generous influence is no longer felt, it may safely be
concluded that the sun of national prosperity has set, and that a night
of darkness and suffering is at hand. Mankind cannot be attached, save
in a passing moment of fervour, to an abstract principle, or a vast
community without a head, or something which may supply its want to the
senses. The aid of individuals or localities is required to concentrate
and keep alive the patriotic affections, where they are not centred on
an individual sovereign. What the Acropolis was to Athens, the Capitol
to Rome, St Mark's to Venice, that the sovereign is to a monarchical
community, and so it will remain to the end of the world. All the
fervour of the Revolution could not supply in France the want of one
chief, till Napoleon concentrated the loyal affections on himself. The
real enemy to loyalty is not reason, but selfishness. It dies away, not
under the influence of enlarged education, but under that of augmented
corruption; and till that last stage of national decay has arrived, its
flame will only burn the more steadily from reason adding the fuel by
which it is to be fed.

If any doubt could be entertained, by a well-informed mind, of the
incalculable importance of loyalty, as the chief and often the only
bond which holds society together, it would be removed by two events
which have occurred in our own times,--the Moscow invasion, and the
steadiness of England during the mind-quake of 1848. On the first
occasion, this sacred principle defeated the mightiest armament ever
assembled by the powers of intellect against the liberties of mankind;
on the last, it preserved unshaken and unscathed the ark of the
constitution in the British islands, amidst the deluge which had shaken
the thrones of almost all the other European monarchies. In these two
examples, where two states in the opposite extremes of infancy and
civilisation were successively rescued from the most appalling dangers,
amidst the ruins of all around them, by the influence of this noble
principle, we may discern the clearest proof of its lasting influence
upon man, and of the incalculable blessings it is fitted to confer,
not less in the most enlightened than the most unenlightened ages of
society. But for it, the social institutions of Great Britain would
have been overturned on the 10th April 1848, and England, with all
its education, civilisation, and habits of freedom, would have been
consigned to destruction by a deluge of civilised barbarians, compared
to whom, as Macaulay has well said, those that followed the standard of
Attila or Alaric were humane and temperate warriors. Hence we may learn
how wonderfully loyalty is _strengthened_, instead of being weakened,
by the progress of knowledge and the spread of civilisation in a really
free community; and what force that noble principle acquires when,
to the generous enthusiasm which binds the unlettered warrior to his
chief, is added the determination of freemen to defend a throne which
all feel to be the keystone in the arch of the national fortunes.

It is a fortunate, perhaps it would be nearer the truth to say a
providential circumstance, that a QUEEN, during the late eventful
years, has been on the throne of the British empire. Had a king been
there, still more one of unpopular manner or retired habits, when all
the thrones of Europe were falling around us, the event might have been
very different, and England, with all its glories, have been sunk in
the bottomless pit of revolution. The feelings of loyalty to a Queen,
especially if she is young and handsome, and unites the virtues to
the graces of her sex, are very different from those which, under the
most favourable circumstances, can be awakened in favour of a king.
The natural gallantry of man, the feelings of chivalry, the respect
due to the softer sex, are mingled in overwhelming proportions with
the abstract passions of loyalty when a young and interesting woman,
endowed with masculine energy, but adorned with feminine beauty,
surrounded by the husband of her choice and the children of her love,
is seen braving the risks and enduring the fatigues of a journey
through lands recently convulsed by civil dissension, solely to win
the love of her subjects, to heal the divisions of the great family of
which she forms the head.

History affords numerous examples of the far greater power, in periods
of intestine troubles, queens have than kings in winning the affections
or calming the exasperation of their subjects. Despite all her errors,
notwithstanding her faults, Queen Mary exercised a sway over a large
part of her subjects which no man in similar circumstances could have
done. Austria would have been crushed by the arms of France and Bavaria
in 1744, but for the chivalrous loyalty which led the Hungarian nobles
to exclaim in a transport of generous enthusiasm, "Moriamur pro _Rege_
nostro, Maria Theresa."

    "Fair Austria spreads her mournful charms,
    The Queen, the beauty, sets the world in arms."

And it is doubtful if all the fervours of the Reformation could have
enabled England to withstand the assault of the Catholic league, headed
by Spain in the time of Philip II., if in defence of the nation had
not been joined the chivalrous loyalty of a gallant nobility to their
queen, as well as the stern resolution of a Protestant people in behalf
of their religion and their liberties.

But the passion of loyalty, as all other passions, requires aliment
for its support. Like love, it can live on wonderfully little hope,
but it absolutely requires some. A look, a smile, a word from a
sovereign, doubtless go a great way; but entire and long-continued
absence will chill even the warmest affections. It is on this account
that royal progresses have so important an influence in knitting
together the bonds which unite a people to their sovereign. They have
one inestimable effect--they make them known to each other. The one
sees in person the enthusiastic affection with which the sovereign is
regarded by the people, the latter the parental interest with which the
people are regarded by their sovereign. Prejudices, perhaps, nourished
by faction or fostered by party, melt away before the simple light of
truth. A few hours of mutual intercourse dispels the alienation which
years of separation, and the continued efforts of guilty ambition
during a generation, may have produced. The generous affections spring
up unbidden, when the evidence of the senses dispels the load of
falsehood by which they had been restrained. Mutual knowledge produces
mutual interest; and the chances of success to subsequent efforts to
bring about an estrangement are materially lessened, by the discovery
of how wide had been the misapprehension which had formerly existed,
and how deep the mutual affection which really dwelt in the recesses of
the heart, and was now brought to light by the happy approximation of
the sovereign and her people.

It was a noble spectacle to behold a young Queen, at a time when
scarce a monarch in Europe was secure on his throne, setting out
with her illustrious consort and family to make a royal progress
through her dominions, and selecting for the first place of her visit
the island which had so recently raised the standard of rebellion
against her government, and for the next the city which had first in
the empire responded to the cry of treason raised in Paris, on the
overthrow of the throne of Louis Philippe. Nor has the result failed
to correspond, even more happily than could have been hoped, to the
gallant undertaking. If it be true, as is commonly reported, that
our gracious sovereign said, "She went to Ireland to _make_ friends,
but to the Land of Cakes to _find_ them," she must by this time have
been convinced that the generous design has, in both islands, proved
successful beyond what her most enthusiastic friends could have dared
to hope. Who could have recognised, in the multitudes which thronged
to witness her passage through Cork, Dublin, and Belfast, and the
universal acclamations with which she was everywhere received by all
classes of her subjects, the chief cities of an island long torn by
civil dissension, and which had only a year before broken out into
actual rebellion against her government? Who could have recognised
in the youthful sovereign visiting the public buildings of Dublin,
like a private peeress, without any of the state of a Sovereign, and
chiefly interested with her royal consort in the institutions devoted
to beneficence, the Head of a Government whom _The Nation_ had so long
represented as callous to all the sufferings of the people? And during
the magnificent spectacle of the royal progress through Glasgow, where
five hundred thousand persons were assembled from that great city,
and the neighbouring counties, to see their Queen--and she passed for
three miles through stately structures, loaded with loyalty, under
an almost continued archway of flags, amidst incessant and deafening
cheers--who could have believed he was in a city in which democratic
revolt had actually broken out only eighteen months before, and the
walls had all been placarded, on the day when London was menaced, with
treasonable proclamations, calling on the people to rise in their
thousands and tens of thousands against the throne? And how blessed
the contrast to the condition of Scotland when her _last Queen_ had
been in that neighbourhood, and the towers of Glasgow cathedral looked
down on Morton issuing from the then diminutive borough, to assail, in
the immediate vicinity at Langside, the royal army headed by Mary, and
drive her to exile, captivity, and death.[34]

We are not foolish enough to expect impossibilities from the Queen's
visit,--how splendid and gratifying soever its circumstances may have
been. We know well how many and deep-rooted are the social evils
which in both islands afflict society, and we are not so simple as to
imagine that they will be removed by the sight of the Sovereign, as
the innocent peasants believe that all physical diseases will be cured
by the royal touch. We are well aware that the impression of even the
most splendid pageants is often only transitory, and that sad realities
sometimes return with accumulated force after they are over, from the
contrast they present to imaginative vision. Still a step, and that,
too, a most important one, has been taken in the right direction. If
great, and, in some respects, lasting good has been done--if evils
remain, as remain they ever will, in the present complicated condition
of society, and the contending interests which agitate its bosom--one
evil, and that the _greatest of all_, is lessened, and that is an
estrangement between the People and their Sovereign. Crimes may return;
but the recurrence of the greatest of all, because it is the parent
of all others--high treason--is for a time, to any extent at least,
rendered impossible. The most sacred and important of all bonds, that
which unites the sovereign and her subjects, has been materially
strengthened. The most noble of all feelings, the disinterested
affection of a people to their Queen, has been called into generous and
heart-stirring action. The "unbought loyalty of men, the cheap defence
of nations," is _not_ at an end. And if the effect of the Royal Visit
were only that, in the greatest cities of her dominions, our gracious
sovereign, in an age unusually devoted to material influences, has
succeeded, by the sweetness and grace of her manners, in causing the
hearts of some hundred thousands of her subjects to throb with loyal
devotion, and, for a time at least, supplanted the selfish by the
generous emotions--the effect is not lost to the cause of order and
the moral elevation of her people.



  Dies Boreales.

  No. IV.

  CHRISTOPHER UNDER CANVASS.


  SCENE--_The Pavilion_.

  TIME--_One_ P.M.

  BULLER--SEWARD--TALBOYS--NORTH.


TALBOYS.

Here he is--here he is! I traced him by Crutch-print to the Van--like
an old Stag of Ten to his lair by the Slot.

SEWARD.

Thank heaven! But was this right, my dear sir?

BULLER.

Your Majesty ought not thus to have secreted yourself from your
subjects.

SEWARD.

We feared you had absconded--abdicated--and retired into a Monastery.

BULLER.

We have all been miserable about you since an early hour in the
morning--invisible to mortal eye since yester bed-going gong--regal
couch manifestly unslept in--tent after tent scrutinised as narrowly
as if for a mouse--Swiss Giantess searched as if by custom-house
officers--no Christopher in the Encampment--what can I compare it
to--but a Bee-hive that had lost its Queen. The very Drones were in a
ferment--the workers demented--dismal the hum of grief and rage--of
national lamentation and civil war.

NORTH.

Billy could have told you of my retreat.

SEWARD.

Billy was in a state of distraction--rushed to the Van--and, finding it
empty, fainted.

NORTH.

Billy saw me in the Van--and I told him to shut the spring smartly--and
be mum.

BULLER.

Villain!

NORTH.

Obedience to orders is the sum-total of Duty. Most of the men seem
tolerably sober--those whom despair had driven to drink have been sent
to sleeping-quarters--the Camp has recovered from its alarm--and is fit
for Inspection by the General Commanding the Forces.

SEWARD.

But have you breakfasted, my dear sir?

NORTH.

Leave me alone for that. What have you all been about?

TALBOYS.

We three started at Five for Luib, in high glee.

NORTH.

What! in face of my prediction? Did I not tell you that in that dull,
dingy, dirty, ochre sunset--in that wan moon and those tallow-candle
stars--I saw the morning's Deluge.

BULLER.

But did you not also quote Sir David Brewster? "In the atmosphere in
which he lives and breathes, and the phenomena of which he daily sees,
and feels, and describes, and measures, the philosopher stands in
acknowledged ignorance of the laws which govern it. He has ascertained,
indeed, its extent, its weight, and its composition; but though he
has mastered the law of heat and moisture, and studied the electric
agencies which influence its condition, he cannot predict, or even
approximate to a prediction, whether on the morrow the sun shall shine,
or the rain fall, or the wind blow, or the lightning descend."

NORTH.

And all that is perfectly true. Nevertheless, we weather-wise and
weather-foolish people--not Philosophers but Empirics--sailors
and shepherds--with all our eyes on the lower and the higher
heavens--gather up prognostications of the character of the coming
time--an hour or a day--take in our canvass and set our storm-jib--or
run for some bay where the prudent ship shall ride at anchor, as
safe and almost as motionless as if she were in a dry-dock; or off
to the far hill-side to look after the silly sheep--yet not so silly
either--for there they are, instinctive of a change, lying secured
by that black belt of Scotch-Firs against the tempest brewing over
Lockerby or Lochmaben--far from the loun Bilholm Braes!--You Three,
started at Five o'clock for Luib?

TALBOYS.

I rejoice we did. A close carriage is in all weathers detestable--your
vehicle should be open to all skyey influences--with nothing about it
that can be set up or let down--otherwise some one or other of the
party--on some pretence or other--will be for shutting you all in. And
then--Farewell, Thou green Earth--Thou fair Day--and ye Skies! It had
apparently been raining for some little time----

NORTH.

For six hours, and more heavily, I do think, than I ever heard it rain
before in this watery world. Having detected a few drops in the ceiling
of my cubiculum, I had slipt away to the Van on the first blash of the
business--and from that hour to this have been under the Waterfall--as
snug as a Kelpie.

TALBOYS.

In we got--well jammed together--a single gentleman, or even two,
would have been blown out--and after some remonstrances with the old
Greys, we were off to Luib. Long before we were nearly half-way up the
brae behind the Camp, Seward complained that the water was running
down his back--but ere we reached the top, that inconvenience and
every other was merged. The carriage seemed to be in a sinking state,
somewhere about Achlian; and rolling before the rain-storm--horses we
saw none--it needed no great power of imagination to fear we were in
the Loch. At this juncture we came all at once close upon--and into--an
appalling crash, and squash, and splash--a plunging, rushing, groaning,
and moaning, and roaring--which for half-a-minute baffled conjecture.
The Bridge--you know it, sir--the old Bridge, that Seward was never
tired of sketching--going--going--gone; down it went--men, horses, all,
at the very parapet, And sent us with a _jaup_ in among the Woods.

NORTH.

Do you mean to say you were on the Bridge as it sunk?

TALBOYS.

I know nothing about it. How should I? We were in the heart of the
Noise--we were in the heart of the Water--we were in the heart of the
Wood--we, the vehicle, the horses--the same horses, I believe, that
were standing behind the Camp when we mounted--though I had not seen
them distinctly since, till I recognised them madly galloping in their
traces up and down the foaming banks.

NORTH.

Were you all on this side of the River?

TALBOYS.

Ultimately we were--else how could we have got here? You seem
incredulous, sir. Mind me--I don't say we were on the Bridge--and
went down with it. It is an open question--and in the absence of
dispassionate witnesses must be settled by probabilities. Sorry that,
though the Driver saved himself, the Vehicle in the mean time should be
lost--with all the Rods.

NORTH.

They will be recovered on a change of weather. How and when got ye back?

TALBOYS.

On horseback. Buller behind Seward--myself before a man who
occasionally wore a look of the Driver. I hope it was he--if it was
not--the _Driver_ must have been drowned. We had now the wind--that is,
the storm--that is, the hurricane in our faces--and the animals every
other minute wheeled about and stood rooted for many minutes to the
road, with their tails towards Cladich. My body had fortunately lost
all sensation hours before we regained the Camp.

NORTH.

Hours! How long did it take you to accomplish the two miles?

TALBOYS.

I did not time it; but we entered the Great Gate of the Camp to the
sound of the Breakfast Bagpipes.

SEWARD.

As soon as we had changed ourselves--as you say in Scotland----

TALBOYS.

Let's bother Mr North no more about it. With exception of the Bridge,
'tis not worth talking of--and we ought to be thankful it was not
Night. Then what a delightful feeling of security now, sir, from
all intrusion of vagrant visitors from the Dalmally side! By this
time communication must be cut off with Edinburgh and Glasgow--_via_
Inverary--so the Camp is virtually insulated. In ordinary weather,
there is no calling the Camp our own. So far back as yesterday only,
8 English--4 German--3 French--29 Italian--1 Irish, all Male, many
mustached--and from those and other countries, nearly an equal number
of Female--some mustached too--"but that not much."

NORTH.

Impossible indeed it is to enjoy one hour's consciousness of secure
solitude, in this most unsedentary age of the world.--Look there. Who
the deuce are you, sir? Do you belong to Cloud-land--and have you made
an involuntary descent in the deluge? Or are you of the earth earthy?
Off, sir--off to the back premises. Enter the Pavilion at your peril,
you Phenomenon. Turn him out, Talboys.

TALBOYS.

Then I must turn out myself. I stepped forth for a moment to the
Front----

NORTH.

And have in that moment been transmogrified into the Man of the Moon. A
false alarm. But methinks you might have been satisfied with the Bridge.

TALBOYS.

It is clearing up, sir--it is clearing up--pails and buckets, barrels
and hogsheads, fountains and tanks, are no longer the order of the day.
Jupiter Pluvius is descending on Juno with moderated impetuosity--is
restricting himself to watering pans and garden engines--there is
reason to suspect, from the look of the atmosphere, that the supplies
are running short--that in a few hours the glass will be up to
Stormy--and hurra, then, for a week of fine, sunshiny, shadowy, breezy,
balmy, angling Weather! Why, it is almost fair now. I do trust that
we shall have no more of those dry, dusty, sandy, gravelly days,
so unlike Lochawe-side, and natural only in Modern Athens or the
Great Desert. Hark! it is clearing up. That is always the way with
thorough-bred rain--desperate spurt or rush at the end--a burst when
blown--dead-beat----

SEWARD.

Mr North, matters are looking serious, sir.

NORTH.

I believe there is no real danger.

SEWARD.

The Pole is cracking----

TALBOYS.

Creacking. All the difference in the world between these two words. The
insertion of the letter E converts danger into safety--trepidation into
confidence--a Tent into a Rock.

BULLER.

I have always forgot to ask if the Camp is insured?

NORTH.

An insurance was effected, on favourable terms, on the Swiss Giantess
before she came into my possession--the Trustees are answerable for the
Van--the texture of the Tents is tough to resist the Winds--and the
stuff itself was re-steeped during winter in pyroligneous acid of my
own invention, which has been found as successful with canvass as with
timber. Deeside, the Pavilion and her fair Sisterhood are impervious
alike to Wet and Dry Rot--Fire and Water.

TALBOYS.

You can have no idea, sir, of the beautiful running of our Drains. When
were they dug?

NORTH.

Yestreen--at dusk. Not a field in Scotland the worse of being
drained--my lease from Monzie allows it--a good landlord deserves
a good tenant; and though it is rather late in the year for such
operations, I ventured on the experiment--partly for sake of the field
itself, and partly for sake of self-preservation. Not pioneers, and
miners, and sappers alone--the whole Force were employed under the
Knave of Spades--open drains meanwhile--to be all covered in--with
tiles--ere we shift quarters.

TALBOYS.

A continuance of this weather for a day or two will bring them up in
shoals from the Loch--Undoubtedly we shall have Eels. I delight in
drain-angling. Silver Eels! Gold Fish! You shall be wheeled out, my
dear sir, in Swing, and the hand of your own Talboys shall disengage
the first "Fish, without fins" from the Wizard's Hook.

SEWARD.

And he shall be sketched by his own Seward, in a moment of triumph, and
lithographed by Schenck for the forthcoming Edition of Tom Stoddart.

BULLER.

And his own Buller shall make the chips fly like Michael Angelo--and
from the marble block evolve a Christopher Piscator not unworthy a
Steele--or a Macdonald.

NORTH.

Lay aside your tackle, Talboys, and let us talk.

TALBOYS.

I am never so talkative as over my tackle.

BULLER.

Lay it aside then, Talboys, at Mr North's request.

TALBOYS.

Would, my dear sir, you had been with me on Thursday, to witness the
exploits of this GRIESLY PALMER. Miles up Glensrae, you come--suddenly
on the left--in a little glen of its own--on such a jewel of a
Waterfall. Not ten feet tall--in the pleasure-grounds of a lowland
mansion 'twould be called a Cascade. But soft as its voice is,
there is something in it that speaks the Cataract. You discern the
Gaelic gurgle--and feel that the Fountain is high up in some spot
of greensward among heather-hills. Snow-white it is not--almost as
translucent as the pool into which it glides. You see through it the
green ledge it slides over with a gentle touch--and seeking its own
way, for a few moments, among some mossy cones, it slips, without
being wearied, into its place of rest, which it disturbs not beyond
a dimple that beautifies the quivering reflection of the sky. A few
birch-trees--one much taller than the rest--are all the trees that are
there--but that sweetest of all scents assures you of the hawthorn--and
old as the hills--stunted in size--but full-leaved and budded as if
in their prime--a few hawthorns close by among the clefts. But why
prattle thus to you, my dear sir?--no doubt you know it well--for what
beautiful secret in the Highlands is unknown to Christopher North?

NORTH.

I do know it well; and your description--so much better than I could
have drawn--has brought it from the dimmer regions of memory, "into the
study of imagination."

TALBOYS.

After a few circling sweeps to show myself my command of my gear, and
to give the Naiad warning to take care of her nose, I let drop this
GRIESLY PALMER, who alighted as if he had wings. A Grilse!
I cried--a Grilse! No, a Sea-trout--an Amber Witch--a White Lady--a
Daughter of Pearl--whom with gentle violence and quick despatch I
solicited to the yellow sands--and folding not my arms, as is usual
in works of fiction, slightly round her waist--but both hands, with
all their ten fingers, grasping her neck and shoulders to put the fair
creature out of pain--in with her--in with her into my Creel--and again
to business. It is on the First Victim of the Day, especially if, as
in this case, a Bouncer, an angler fondly dwells in reminiscence--each
successive captive--however engrossing the capture--loses its distinct
individuality in the fast accumulating crowd; and when, at close of
day, sitting down among the broom, to empty and to count, it is on the
First Victim that the angler's eye reposes--in refilling, it is the
First Victim you lay aside to crown the treasure--in wending homewards
it is on the First Victim's biography you muse; and at home--in the
Pavillon--it is the First Victim you submit to the critical ken of
Christopher--

BULLER.

Especially if, as in this case, she be a Bouncer.

NORTH.

You pride yourself on your recitation of poetry, Talboys. Charm us with
the finest descriptive passage you can remember from the British Poets.
Not too loud--not too loud--this is not Exeter Hall--nor are you about
to address the Water-witch from the top of Ben-Lomond.

TALBOYS.

      "But thou, Clitumnus! in thy sweetest wave
      Of the most living crystal that was e'er
      The haunt of river nymph, to gaze and lave
      Her limbs where nothing hid them, thou dost rear
      Thy grassy banks, whereon the milk-white steer
      Grazes; the purest god of gentle waters!
      And most serene of aspect, and most clear;
      Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughters--
    A mirror and a bath for Beauty's youngest daughters!

      "And on thy happy shore a Temple still,
      Of small and delicate proportion, keeps,
      Upon a mild declivity of hill,
      Its memory of thee; beneath it sweeps
      Thy current's calmness; oft from out it leaps
      The finny darter with the glittering scales,
      Who dwells and revels in thy glassy deeps;
      While, chance, some scatter'd water-lily sails
    Down where the shallower wave still tells its bubblin-tales.

      "Pass not unblest the Genius of the place!
      If through the air a zephyr more serene
      Win to the brow, 'tis his; and if ye trace
      Along his margin a more eloquent green,
      If on the heart the freshness of the scene
      Sprinkle its coolness, and from the dry dust
      Of weary life a moment lave it clean
      With Nature's baptism,--'tis to him ye must
    Pay orisons for this suspension of disgust."

NORTH.

Admirably said and sung. Your low tones, Talboys, are earnest and
impressive; and you recite, like all true lovers of song, in the spirit
of soliloquy, as if you were yourself the sole listener. How I hate
Spouting. Your elocutionist makes his mouth a _jet d'eau_--and by his
gestures calls on all the auditors to behold the performance. From the
lips of the man who has music in his soul, the words of inspiration
flow as from a natural fountain, for his soul has made them its
own--and delights to feel in their beauty an adequate expression of its
own emotions.

TALBOYS.

I spoke them, to myself--but I was still aware of _your_ presence, my
dear sir.

NORTH.

The Stanzas are fine--but are they the finest in Descriptive Poetry?

TALBOYS.

I do not say so, sir. Any request of yours I interpret liberally,
and accede to at once. Finer stanzas there may be--many; but I took
them because they first came to heart. "Beautiful exceedingly" they
are--they may not be faultless.

NORTH.

Sir Walter has said--"Perhaps there are no verses in our language of
happier descriptive power than the two stanzas which characterise the
Clitumnus."

TALBOYS.

Then I am right.

NORTH.

Perhaps you are. Scott loved Byron--and it is ennobling to hear one
great Poet praising another: yet the stanzas which so delighted our
Minstrel may not be so felicitous as they seemed to be to his moved
imagination.

TALBOYS.

Possibly not.

NORTH.

In the First Stanza what do we find?, An apostrophe--"Thou Clitumnus,"
not yet quite an Impersonation--a few lines on, an Impersonation of the
Stream--

      "----the purest God of gentlest waters!
    And most serene of aspect, and most clear."

What is gained by this Impersonation? Nothing. For the qualities here
attributed to the River-God are the very same that had already been
attributed to the water--purity--serenity--clearness. "Sweetest wave of
the most living crystal"--affects us just as much--here I think more
than the two lines about the God. And observe, that no sooner is the
God introduced than he disappears. His coming and his going are alike
unsatisfactory--for his coming gives us no new emotion, and his going
is instantly followed by lines that have no relation to his Godship at
all.

TALBOYS.

Why--why--I really don't know.

NORTH.

I have mildly--and inoffensively to all the world--that is, to all us
Four--shown one imperfection; and I think--I feel there is another--in
this Stanza. "The sweetest wave of the most living crystal" is visioned
to us in the opening lines as the haunt "of river nymph, to gaze and
lave her limbs where nothing hid them,"--and we are pleased; it is
visioned to us, in the concluding line, as "the mirror and the bath for
Beauty's youngest daughters "--and we are not pleased; or if we are,
but for a moment--for it is, as nearly as may be, the same vision over
again--a mirror and a bath!

TALBOYS.

But then, sir--

NORTH.

Well?

TALBOYS.

Go on, sir.

NORTH.

I am not sure that I understand "Beauty's youngest daughters."

TALBOYS.

Why, small maidens from ten to twelve years old, who in their innocent
beauty may bathe without danger, and in their innocent self-admiration
may gaze without fear.

NORTH.

Then is the expression at once commonplace and obscure.

TALBOYS.

Don't say so, sir.

NORTH.

Think you Byron means the Graces?

TALBOYS.

He does--he does--the Graces sure enough--the Graces.

NORTH.

Whatever it means--it means no more than we had before. A descriptive
Stanza should ever be progressive, and at the close complete. To
my feeling, "slaughters" had better been kept far away from the
imagination as from the eyes. I know Byron alludes here to the
Sanguinetto of the preceding Stanza. But he ought not to have alluded
to it--the contrast is complete without such reference--between the
river we are delighting in and the blood-named torrent that has passed
away. Why, then, force such an image back, upon us--when of ourselves
we should never have thought of it, and it is the last image we should
desire to see?

TALBOYS.

Allow me a few minutes to consider----

NORTH.

A day. Will you be so good, Talboys, as tell me in ten words the
meaning of--in the next Stanza--"keeps its memory of Thee"?

TALBOYS.

I will immediately.

NORTH.

To my mind--angler as I am--

TALBOYS.

The Prince of Anglers.

NORTH.

To my mind, two lines and a half about Fishes are here too much--"finny
darter" seems conceited--and "dwells and _revels_" needlessly
strong--and the _frequent rising_ of "finny darters with the glittering
scales" to me seems hardly consistent with the solemn serenity inspired
by the Temple, "of small and delicate proportion" "keeping its memory
of Thee,"--whatever that may mean;--nor do I think that a poetical mind
like Byron's, if fully possessed in ideal contemplation with the beauty
of the whole, would have thought so much of such an occurrence, or
dwelt upon it with so many words.

TALBOYS.

I wish that finny darters with the glittering scales had oft leaped
from out thy current's calmness, Thou Glenorchy, yesterday--but not a
fin could I stir with finest tackle and Double-Nothings.

NORTH.

That is no answer, either one way or another, to my gentle demur to
the perfection of the stanzas. The "scattered water-lily" may be well
enough--so let it pass--with this ob, that the flower of the water-lily
is not easily separated from its stalk--and is not, in that state,
eligible as an image of peace.

TALBOYS.

It is of beauty.

NORTH.

Be it so. But, is "scattered" the right word? No. A water-lily to be
_scattered_ must be _torn_--for you scatter many, not one--a fleet, not
a ship--a flock of sheep, not one lamb. A solitary water-lily--broken
off and drifting by, has, as you said, its own beauty--and Byron
doubtlessly intended that--but he has not said it--he has said the
reverse--for a "scattered" water-lily is a dishevelled water-lily--a
water-lily no more--a dispersed or dispersing multitude of leaves--of
what had been a moment before--a Flower.

TALBOYS.

The image pleases everybody--take it as you find it, and be content.

NORTH.

I take it as I find it, and am not content; I take it as I don't find
it, and am. Then I gently demur to "still tells its bubbling tales." In
Gray's line--

    "And pore upon the brook that babbles by,"

the word "babbles" is the right one--a mitigated "brawling"--a
continuous murmur without meaning, till you give it one or many--like
that of some ceaseless female human being, pleasantly accompanying
your reveries that have no relation to what you hear. Her blameless
babble has that effect--and were it to stop, you would awake. But
Byron's "shallower wave still tells its _bubbling tales_"--a tale is
still about something--however small--and pray what is that something?
Nothing. "Tales," then, is not the _very_ word here--nor will
"bubbling" make it so--at best it is a prettyism rather than Poetry.
The Poet is becoming a Poetaster.

TALBOYS.

I shall never recite another finest descriptive passage from the whole
range of our British Poets--during the course of my life--in this
Pavilion.

NORTH.

Let us look at the Temple.

TALBOYS.

Be done, I beseech you, sir.

NORTH.

Talboys, you have as logical--as legal a head as any man I know.

TALBOYS.

What has a logical or legal head to do with Byron's description of the
Clitumnus?

NORTH.

As much as with any other "Process." And you know it. But you are in a
most contradictory--I had almost said captious mood, this forenoon--and
will not imbibe genially----

TALBOYS.

Imbibe genially--acids--after having imbibed in the body immeasurable
rain.

NORTH.

Let us look at the Temple. "A Temple still" might mean a still temple.

TALBOYS.

But it doesn't.

NORTH.

A Poet's meaning should never, through awkwardness, be ambiguous.
But no more of that. "Keeps its Memory of Thee" suggests to my mind
that the Temple, dedicated of old to the River-God, retains, under
the new religion of the land, evidence of the old Deification and
Worship. The Temple survives to express to us of another day and
faith, a Deification and worship of Thee--Clitumnus--dictated by the
same apprehension of thy characteristic Beauty in the hearts of those
old worshippers that now possesses ours looking on Thee. Thou art
unchanged--the sensitive and imaginative intelligence of Thee in man is
unchanged--although times have changed--states, nations--and, to the
eyes of man, the heavens themselves! If all this be meant--all this is
not said--in the words you admire.

TALBOYS.

I cannot say, as an honest man, that I distinctly understand you, my
dear sir.

NORTH.

You understand me better than you understand Byron.

TALBOYS.

I understand neither of you.

NORTH.

The poetical thought seems to be here--that the Temple rises up
spontaneously on the bank--under the power of the Beautiful in the
river--a permanent self-sprung reflexion of _that_ Beautiful--as
indeed, to imagination, all things appear to create themselves!

TALBOYS.

You speak like yourself now, sir.

NORTH.

But look here, my good Talboys. The statue of Achilles may "keep
its memory"--granting the locution to be good, which it is not--of
Achilles--for Achilles is no more. Sink--in a rapture of thought--the
hand of the artist--think that the statues of Achilles _came of
themselves_--as unsown flowers come--for poets to express to all
ages the departed Achilles. They keep--as long as they remain
unperished--"their memory of Achilles"--they were from the beginning
voluntary and intentional conservators of the Memory of the Hero. But
_Clitumnus is here_--alive to this hour, and with every prospect of
outliving his own Temple. What do you say to that?

TALBOYS.

To what?

NORTH.

Finally--if that reminiscence of the Heathen deification, which I
first proposed, was in Byron's mind--and he means by "still keeps
its memory of Thee" memory of the River-God--and of the Worship of
the River-God--then all he says about the mere natural river--its
leaping fishes, and so forth, is wide of his own purpose--and what is
worse--implies an absurdity--a reminiscence--not of the past--but of
the present.

TALBOYS.

If all that were submitted to me for the Pursuer, in Printed Papers--I
should appoint answers to be given in by the Defender--within seven
days--and within seven days after that--give judgment.

NORTH.

Keep your temper, Mr Testy. As I have no wish to sour you for the
rest of the day, I shall say little about the Third Stanza. "Pass not
unblest the Genius of the Place," would to me be a more impressive
prayer, if there were more _spirituality_ in the preceding stanzas--and
in the lines which follow it; for the Genius of the Place has been
acting, and continues to act, almost solely on the Senses. And who
is the Genius of the Place? The River-God--he to whom the Gentile
worship built that Temple. But Byron says, most unpoetically, "along
his margin"--along the margin of the Genius of the Place! Then, how
flat--how poor--after "the Genius of the Place"--"_the freshness of
the Scene_"--for the freshness of _the Scene_ bless the genius of
_the Place_! Is that language flowing, from the emotion of a Poet's
heart? And the last line spoils all; for he, whom we are to bless--the
River-God--or the Genius of the Place--has given the heart but a
"moment's" cleanness from dry dust--but a moment's, and no more! And
never did hard, coarse Misanthropy so mar a Poet's purpose as by
the shocking prose that is left grating on our souls--"_suspension
of disgust_!" So, after all this beauty--and all this enjoyment of
beauty--well or ill painted by the Poet--you _must pay orisons_ to the
River-God or the Genius--whom you had been called onto _bless_--for a
mere momentary suspension of disgust to all our fellow-creatures--a
disgust that would return as strong--or stronger than ever--as soon as
you got to Rome.

TALBOYS.

I confess I don't like it.

NORTH.

"MUST!" There are NEEDS of all sorts, shapes, and
sizes. There is terrible necessity--there is bitter necessity--there is
grinding necessity--there is fine--delicate--loving--playful necessity.

TALBOYS.

Sir?

NORTH.

There are MUSTS that fly upon the wings of devils--Musts
that fly upon the wings of angels--Musts that walk upon the feet
of men--Musts that flutter upon the wings of Fairies.--But I am
dreaming!--Say on.

TALBOYS.

I think the day's clearing--let us launch Gutta Percha, Buller, and
troll for a Ferox.

NORTH.

Then fling that Tarpaulin over your Feather-Jacket, on which you plume
yourself, and don't forget your Gig-Parasol, Longfellow--for the
rain-gauge is running over, so are the water-butts, and I hear the Loch
surging its way up to the Camp. The Cladich Cataract is a stunner. Sit
down, my dear Talboys. Recite away.

TALBOYS.

No.

NORTH.

Gentlemen, I call on Mister Buller.

BULLER.

      "The roar of waters!--from the headlong height
      Velino cleaves the wave-worn precipice;
      The fall of waters! rapid as the light
      The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss;
      The hell of waters! where they howl and hiss,
      And boil in endless torture; while the sweat
      Of their great agony, wrung out from this
      Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet
    That gird the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,

      "And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
      Returns in an unceasing shower, which round,
      With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain,
      Is an eternal April to the ground,
      Making it all one emerald:--how profound
      The gulf! and how the giant element
      From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
      Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent
    With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent

      "To the broad column which rolls on, and shows
      More like the fountain of an infant sea
      Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes
      Of a new world, than only thus to be
      Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly
      With many windings, through the vale;--Look back:
      Lo! where it comes like an eternity,
      As if to sweep down all things in its track,
    Charming the eye with dread,--a matchless cataract,

      "Horribly beautiful! but on the verge,
      From side to side, beneath the glittering morn,
      An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge,
      Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn
      Its steady dyes, while all around is torn
      By the distracted waters, bears serene
      Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn;
      Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene,
    Love watching Madness with unalterable mien.'"

NORTH.

In the First Stanza there is a very peculiar and a very striking
form--or construction--The Roar of Waters--The Fall of Waters--The Hell
of Waters.

BULLER.

You admire it.

NORTH.

I do.

TALBOYS.

Don't believe him, Buller. Let's be off--there is no rain worth
mentioning--see--there's a Fly. Oh! 'tis but a Red Professor dangling
from my bonnet--a Red Professor with tinsy and a tail. Come, Seward,
here's the Chess-Board. Let us make out the Main.

NORTH.

The four lines about the Roar and the Fall are good----

TALBOYS.

Indeed, sir.

NORTH.

Mind your game, sir. Seward, you may give him a Pawn. The next
four--about Hell--are bad.

TALBOYS.

Indeed, sir.

NORTH.

Seward, you may likewise give him a Knight. As bad as can be. For there
is an incredible confusion of tormented and tormentor. They howl, and
hiss, and boil in endless torture--they are suffering the Pains of
Hell--they are in Hell. "But the sweat of their great agony is wrung
out from this their Phlegethon." Where is this their Phlegethon? Why,
this their Phlegethon is--themselves! Look down--there is no other
river--but the Velino.

BULLER.

Hear Virgil--

    "Moenia lata, videt, triplici circumdata muro,
    Quæ rapidus flammis ambit torrentibus amnis
    Tartareus Phlegethon, torquetque sonantia saxa."

No Phlegethon with torrents of fire surrounding and shaking Byron's
Hell. I do not understand it--an unaccountable blunder.

NORTH.

In next stanza, what is gained by

                            "How profound
    The gulf! and how the giant element
    From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound"?

Nothing. In the First Stanza, we had the "abyss," "the gulf," and the
agony--all and more than we have here.

SEWARD.

Check-mate.

TALBOYS.

Confound the board!--no, not the board--but Hurwitz himself could not
play in such an infernal clatter.

NORTH.

Buller has not got to the word "infernal" yet, Phillidor--but he will
by-and-by. "Crushing the Cliffs"-crushing is not the right word--it
is the wrong one--for not such is the process--visible or invisible.
"_Downward_ worn" is silly. "Fierce footsteps," to my imagination, is
tame and out of place--though it may not be to yours;--and I thunder
in the ears of the Chess-players that the first half of the next
stanza--the third--is as bad writing as is to be found in Byron.

TALBOYS.

Or in North.

NORTH.

Seward--you may give him likewise a Bishop--

                          "Look back:
    Lo! where it comes like an Eternity!"

I do not say that is not sublime. If it is an image of
Eternity--sublime it must be--but the Poet has chosen his time badly
for inspiring us with that thought--for we look back on what he had
pictured to us as falling into hell--and then flowing diffused "only
thus to be parents of rivers that flow gushingly with many windings
through the vale"--images of Time.

    "As if to sweep down all things in its track,"

is well enough for an ordinary cataract, but not for a cataract that
comes "like an Eternity."

TALBOYS.

    "Charming the eye with dread--a matchless cataract,
    Horribly beautiful."

SEWARD.

One game each.

TALBOYS.

Let us go to the Swiss Giantess to play out the Main.

NORTH.

In Stanza Fourth--"But _on the verge_," is very like nonsense--

TALBOYS.

Not at all.

NORTH.

The Swiss Giantess is expecting you--good-bye, my dear Talboys. Now,
Buller, I wish you, seriously and calmly, to think on this image--

    "An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge,
    Like Hope upon a death-bed."

Did Hope--could Hope ever sit by _such_ a death-bed! The infernal
surge--the hell of waters--the howling--the hissing--the boiling
in endless torture--the sweat of the great agony wrung out--and
more of the same sort--_these image the death-bed_. Hope has sat
beside many a sad--many a miserable death-bed--but not by such
as this; and yet, here, such a death-bed is hinted at as not
uncommon--in a few words--"like Hope upon a death-bed." The simile
came not of itself--it was sought for--and had far better have been
away. There is much bad writing here, too--"unworn"--"unshorn"
--"torn"--"dyes"--"hues"--"beams"--"torture _of the scene_"--epithet
heaped on epithet, without any clear perception, or sincere
emotion--the Iris changing from Hope upon a death-bed to Love watching
Madness--both of which I pronounce, before that portion of mankind
assembled in this Tent, to be on the FALSETTO--and wide from
the thoughts that visit the suffering souls of the children of men
remembering this life's greatest calamities.

SEWARD.

Yet throughout, sir, there is Power.

NORTH.

Power! My dear Seward, who denies it? But great Power--true poetical
Power--is self-collected--not turbulent though dealing with
turbulence--in its own stately passion dominating physical nature in
its utmost distraction--and in her blind forces seeing a grandeur--a
sublimity that only becomes visible or audible to the senses, through
the action of imagination creating its own consistent ideal world
out of that turmoil--making the fury of falling waters appeal to our
Moral Being, from whose depths and heights rise emotions echoing all
the tones of the thundering cataract. In these stanzas of Byron, the
main Power is in the Cataract--not in the Poetry--loud to the ear--to
the eye flashing and foaming--full of noise and fury, signifying not
much to the soul, as it stuns and confounds the senses--while its more
spiritual significations are uncertain, or unintelligible, accepted
with doubt, or rejected without hesitation, because felt to be false
and deceitful, and but brilliant mockeries of the Truth.

TALBOYS.

Spare Byron, who is a Poet--and castigate some popular Versifier.

NORTH.

I will not spare Byron--and just because he is a Poet. For popular
Versifiers, they may pipe at their pleasure, but aloof from our
Tents--chirp anywhere but in this Encampment; and if there be a
Gowdspink or Yellow-hammer among them, let us incline our ear kindly to
his chattering or his yammering, "low doun in the broom," or high up
on his apple-tree, in outfield or orchard, and pray that never naughty
schoolboy may harry his nest.

SEWARD.

Would Sir Walter's Poetry stand such critical examination?

NORTH.

All--or nearly so--directly dealing with War--Fighting in all its
branches. Indeed, with any kind of Action he seldom fails--in
Reflection, often--and, strange to say, almost as often in description
of Nature, though there in his happier hours he excels.

SEWARD.

I was always expecting, during that discussion about the Clitumnus,
that you would have brought in Virgil.

NORTH.

Ay, Maro--in description--is superior to them all--in the Æneid as
well as in the Georgics. But we have no time to speak of his Pictures
now--only just let me ask you--Do you remember what Payne Knight says
of Æneas?

SEWARD.

No, for I never read it.

NORTH.

Payne Knight, in his _Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of
Taste_--a work of high authority in his own day, and containing
many truths vigorously expounded, though characterised throughout
by arrogance and presumption--speaks of that "selfish coldness with
which the Æneas of Virgil treats the unfortunate princess, _whose
affections he had seduced_," and adds, that "Every modern reader
of the Æneid finds that the Episode of Dido, though in itself the
most exquisite piece of composition existing, weakens extremely the
subsequent interest of the Poem, it being impossible to sympathise
either cordially or kindly with the fortunes or exertions of a hero who
sneaks away from his high-minded and much-injured benefactress in a
manner so base and unmanly. When, too, we find him soon after imitating
all the atrocities, and surpassing the utmost arrogance, of the furious
and vindictive Achilles, without displaying any of his generosity,
pride, or energy, he becomes at once mean and odious, and only excites
scorn and indignation; especially when, at the conclusion, he presents
to Lavinia a hand stained with the blood of her favoured lover, whom
he had stabbed while begging for quarter, and after being rendered
incapable of resistance." Is not this, Seward, much too strong?

SEWARD.

I think, sir, it is not only much too strong, but outrageous; and that
we are bound, in justice to Virgil, to have clearly before our mind his
own Idea of his Hero.

TALBOYS.

To try that Æneas by the rules of poetry and of morality; and if we
find his character such as neither our imagination nor our moral sense
will suffer us to regard with favour--to admire either in Hero or
Man--then to throw the Æneid aside.

BULLER.

And take up his Georgics.

TALBOYS.

To love Virgil we need not forget Homer--but to sympathise with Æneas,
our imagination must not be filled with Achilles.

SEWARD

Troy is dust--the Son of Thetis dead. Let us go with the Fugitives and
their Leader.

TALBOYS.

Let us believe from the first that they seek a Destined Seat--under
One Man, who knows his mission, and is worthy to fulfil it. Has Virgil
so sustained the character of that Man--of that Hero? Or has he, from
ineptitude, and unequal to so great a subject--let him sink below our
nobler sympathies--nay, unconscious of failure of his purpose, as Payne
Knight says, accommodated him to our contempt?

SEWARD.

For seven years he has been that Man--that Hero. One Night's Tale
has shown him--as he is--for I presume that Virgil--and not Payne
Knight--was his Maker. If that Speech was all a lie--and the Son
of Anchises, not a gallant and pious Prince, but a hypocrite and a
coward--shut the Book or burn it.

TALBOYS.

Much gossip--of which any honest old woman, had she uttered the half of
it, would have been ashamed before she had finished her tea--has been
scribbled by divers male pens--stupid or spritely--on that magnificent
Recital. Æneas, it has been said, by his own account, skulked during
the Town Sack--and funked during the Sea Storm. And how, it has been
asked, came he to lose Creusa? Pious indeed! A truly pious man, say
they, does not speak of his piety--he takes care of his household gods
without talking about Lares and Penates. Many critics--some not without
name--have been such--unrepentant--old women. Come we to Dido.

NORTH.

Be cautious--for I fear I have been in fault myself towards Æneas for
his part in that transaction.

TALBOYS.

I take the account of it from Virgil. Indeed I do not know of any
scandalous chronicle of Carthage or Tyre. A Trojan Prince and a
Tyrian Queen--say at once a Man and a Woman--on sudden temptation and
unforeseen opportunity--SIN--and they continue to sin. As
pious men as Æneas--and as kingly and heroic too, have so sinned far
worse than that--yet have not been excommunicated from the fellowship
of saints, kings, or heroes.

SEWARD.

To say that Æneas "seduces Dido," in the sense that Payne Knight uses
the word, is a calumnious vulgarism.

TALBOYS.

And shows a sulky resolution to shut his eyes--and keep them shut.

SEWARD.

Had he said that in the Schools at Oxford, he would have been plucked
at his Little-go. But I forget--there was no plucking in those
days--and indeed I rather think he was not an University Man.

NORTH.

Nevertheless he was a Scholar.

SEWARD.

Not nevertheless, sir--notwithstanding, sir.

NORTH.

I sit corrected.

SEWARD.

Neither did Infelix Elissa seduce him--desperately in love as she
was--'twas not the storm of her own will that drove her into that fatal
cave.

TALBOYS.

Against Venus and Juno combined, alas! for poor Dido at last!

SEWARD.

Æneas was in her eyes what Othello was in Desdemona's. No Desdemona
she--no "gentle Lady"--nor was Virgil a Shakspeare. Yet those
remonstrances--and that raving--and that suicide!

TALBOYS.

Ay, Dan Virgil feared not to put the condemnation of his Hero into
those lips of fire--to let her winged curses pursue the Pious
Perfidious as he puts to sea. But what is truth--passion--nature from
the reproachful and raving--the tender and the truculent--the repentant
and the revengeful--the true and the false Dido--for she had forgot and
she remembers Sychæus--when cut up into bits of bad law, and framed
into an Indictment through which the Junior Jehu at the Scottish Bar
might drive a Coach and Six!

SEWARD.

But he forsook her! He did--and in obedience to the will of heaven.
Throughout the whole of his Tale of Troy, at that fatal banquet, he
tells her whither, and to what fated region, the fleet is bound--he is
not sailing under scaled orders--Dido hears the Hero's destiny from
the lips of Moestissimus Hector, from the lips of Creusa's Shade.
But Dido is deaf to all those solemn enunciations--none so deaf as
those who will not hear; the Likeness of Ascanius lying-by her on her
Royal Couch fired her vital blood--and she already is so insane as to
dream of lying ere long on that God-like breast. He had forgot--and
he remembers his duty--yes--his duty; according to the Creed of his
country--of the whole heathen world--in deserting Dido, he obeyed the
Gods.

TALBOYS.

He sneaked away! says Knight. Go he must--would it have been more
heroic to set fire to the Town, and embark in the General Illumination?

SEWARD.

Would Payne Knight have seriously advised Virgil to marry Æneas, in
good earnest, to Dido, and make him King of Carthage?

BULLER.

Would they have been a happy Couple?

SEWARD.

Does not our sympathy go with Æneas to the Shades? Is he unworthy to
look on the Campos Lugentes? On the Elysian Fields? To be shown by
Anchises the Shades of the predestined Heroes of unexisting Rome?

TALBOYS.

Do we--because of Dido--despise him when first he kens, on a calm
bright morning, that great Grove on the Latian shore near the mouth of
the Tiber?

    "Æneas, primique duces, et pulcher Iulus,
    Corpora sub ramis deponunt arboris altæ,
    Instituuntque dapes."

SEWARD.

But he was a robber--a pirate--an invader--an usurper--so say the Payne
Knights. Virgil sanctifies the Landing with the spirit of peace--and
a hundred olive-crowned Envoys are sent to Laurentum with such
peace-offerings as had never been laid at the feet of an Ausonian King.

TALBOYS.

Nothing can exceed in simple grandeur the advent of Æneas--the
reception of the Envoys by old Latinus. The right of the Prince to the
region he has reached is established by grant human and divine. Surely
a father, who is a king, may dispose of his daughter in marriage--and
here he must; he knew, from omen and oracle, the Hour and the Man.
Lavinia belonged to Æneas--not to Turnus--though we must not severely
blame the fiery Rutulian because he would not give her up. Amata,
in and out of her wits, was on his side; but their betrothment--if
betrothed they were--was unhallowed--and might not bind in face of Fate.

BULLER.

Turnus was in the wrong from beginning to end. Virgil, however, has
made him a hero--and idiots have said that he eclipses Æneas--the same
idiots, who, at the same time, have told us that Virgil could not paint
a hero at all.

TALBOYS.

That his genius has no martial fervour. Had the blockheads read the
Rising--the Gathering--in the Seventh Æneid?

NORTH.

Sir Walter himself had much of it by heart--and I have seen the
"repeated air" kindle the aspect, and uplift the Lion-Port of the
greatest War-Poet that ever blew the trumpet.

SEWARD.

Æneas at the Court of Evander--that fine old Grecian! There he is a
Hero to be loved--and Pallas loved him--and he loved Pallas--and all
men with hearts love Virgil for their sakes.

TALBOYS.

And is he not a Hero, when relanding from sea at the mouth of his own
Tiber, with his Etrurian Allies--some thousands strong? And does he
not then act the Hero? Virgil was no War-Poet! Second only to Homer, I
hold--

SEWARD.

An imitator of Homer! With fights of the Homeric age--how could he help
it? But he is, in much, original on the battle-field--and is there in
all the Iliad a Lausus, or a Pallas?--

BULLER.

Or a Camilla?

SEWARD.

Fighting is at the best a sad business--but Payne Knight is offensive
on the cruelty--the ferocity of Æneas. I wish Virgil had not made him
seize and sacrifice the Eight Young Men to appease the Manes of Pallas.
Such sacrifice Virgil believed to be agreeable to the manners of the
time--and, if usual to the most worthy, here assuredly due. In the
final Great Battle,

    "Away to heaven, respective Lenity,
    And fire-eyed Fury be my conduct now."

BULLER.

Knight is a ninny on the Single Combat. In all the previous
circumstances regarding it, Turnus behaved ill--now that he must fight,
he fights well: 'tis as fair a fight as ever was fought in the field of
old Epic Poetry: tutelary interposition alternates in favour of either
Prince: the bare notion of either outliving defeat never entered any
mind but Payne Knight's: nor did any other fingers ever fumble such
a charge against the hero of an Epic as "Stabbing while begging for
quarter"--but a momentary weakness in Turnus which was not without its
effect on Æneas, till at sight of _that Belt_, he sheathed the steel.

TALBOYS.

Payne works himself up, in the conclusion of the passage, into an
absolute maniac.

NORTH.

Good manners, Talboys--no insult--remember Mr Knight has been long dead.

TALBOYS.

So has Æneas--so has Virgil.

NORTH.

True. Young gentlemen, I have listened with much pleasure to your
animated and judicious dialogue. Shall I now give Judgment?

BULLER.

Lengthy?

NORTH.

Not more than an hour.

BULLER.

Then, if you please, my Lord, to-morrow.

NORTH.

You must all three be somewhat fatigued by the exercise of so much
critical acumen. So do you, Talboys and Seward, unbend the bow at
another game of Chess; and you, Buller, reanimate the jaded Moral
Sentiments by a sharp letter to Marmaduke, insinuating that if he don't
return to the Tents within a week, or at least write to say that he and
Hal, Volusene and Woodburn, are not going to return at all, but to join
the Rajah of Sarawak, the Grand Lama, or Prester John--which I fear
is but too probable from the general tone and tenor of their life and
conversation for some days before their Secession from the Established
Camp--there will be a general breaking of Mothers' hearts, and in his
own particular case, a cutting off with a shilling, or disinheriting
of the heir apparent of one of the finest Estates in Cornwall. But I
forget--these Entails will be the ruin of England. What! Billy, is that
you?

BILLY.

Measter, here's a Fish and a Ferocious.

TALBOYS.

Ha! what Whappers!

BULLER.

More like Fish before the Flood than after it.

SEWARD.

After it indeed! During it. What is Billy saying, Mr North? That
Coomerlan' dialect's Hottentot to my Devonshire ears.

NORTH.

They have been spoiled by the Doric delicacies of the "Exmoor
Courtship." He tells me that Archy M'Callum, the Cornwall Clipper, and
himself, each in a cow-hide, having ventured down to the River Mouth
to look after and bale Gutta Percha, foregathered with an involuntary
invasion of divers gigantic Fishes, who had made bad their landing on
our shores, and that after a desperate resistance they succeeded in
securing the Two Leaders--a Salmo Salar and a Salmo Ferox--see on snout
and shoulder tokens of the Oar. Thirty--and Twenty Pounders--Billy
says; I should have thought they were respectively a third more. No
mean Windfall. They will tell on the Spread. I retire to my Sanctum for
my Siesta.

TALBOYS.

Let me invest you, my dear sir, with my Feathers.

BULLER.

Do--do take my Tarpaulin.

SEWARD.

Billy, your Cow-hide.

NORTH.

I need none of your gimcracks--for I seek the Sanctum by a
subterranean--beg your pardon--a Subter-Awning Passage.


SCENE II.

SCENE--_Deeside._

TIME-_Seven_ P.C.

NORTH--BULLER--SEWARD--TALBOYS.

NORTH.

How little time or disposition for anything like serious Thinking,
or Reading, out of people's own profession or trade, in this Railway
World! The busy-bodies of these rattling times, even in their leisure
hours, do not affect an interest in studies their fathers and their
grandfathers, in the same rank of life, pursued, even systematically,
on many an Evening sacred from the distraction that ceased with the
day.

TALBOYS.

Not all busy-bodies, my good Sir--think of----

NORTH.

I have thought of them--and I know their worth--their liberality and
their enlightenment. In all our cities and towns--and villages--and in
all orders of the people--there is Mind--Intelligence, and Knowledge;
and the more's the shame in that too general appetence for mere
amusement in literature, perpetually craving for a change of diet--for
something new in the light way--while anything of any substance, is,
"with sputtering noise rejected" as tough to the teeth, and hard of
digestion--however sweet and nutritious; would they but taste and try.

SEWARD.

I hope you don't mean to allude to Charles Dickens?

NORTH.

Assuredly not. Charles Dickens is a man of original and genial
genius--his popularity is a proof of the goodness of the heart of the
people;--and the love of him and his writings--though not so thoughtful
as it might be--does honour to that strength in the English character
which is indestructible by any influences, and survives in the midst of
frivolity, and folly, and of mental depravations, worse than both.

SEWARD.

Don't look so savage, sir.

NORTH.

I am not savage--I am serene. Set the Literature of the day aside
altogether--and tell me if you think our conversation since dinner
would not have been thought _dull_ by many not altogether uneducated
persons, who pride themselves not a little on their intellectuality and
on their full participation in the Spirit of the Age?

TALBOYS.

Our conversation since dinner DULL!! No--no--no. Many poor
creatures, indeed, there are among them--even among those of them who
work the Press--pigmies with pap feeding a Giant who sneezes them away
when sick of them into small offices in the Customs or Excise;--but
not one of our privileged brethren of the Guild--with a true ticket to
show--but would have been delighted with such dialogue--but would be
delighted with its continuation--and thankful to know that he, "a wiser
and a better man, will rise to-morrow morn."

SEWARD.

Do, my dear sir--resume your discoursing about those Greeks.

NORTH.

I was about to say, Seward, that those shrewd and just observers, and
at the same time delicate thinkers, the ancient Greeks, did, as you
well know, snatch from amongst the ordinary processes which Nature
pursues, in respect of inferior animal life, a singularly beautiful
Type or Emblem, expressively imaging to Fancy that bursting disclosure
of Life from the bosom of Death, which is implied in the extrication
of the soul from its corporeal prison, when this astonishing change
is highly, ardently, and joyfully contemplated. Those old festal
religionists--who carried into the solemnities of their worship the
buoyant gladsomeness of their own sprightly and fervid secular life,
and contrived to invest even the artful splendour and passionate human
interest of their dramatic representations with the name and character
of a sacred ceremony--found for that soaring and refulgent escape of
a spirit from the dungeon and chains of the flesh, into its native
celestial day, a fine and touching similitude in the liberation of a
beautiful Insect, the gorgeously-winged, aérial Butterfly, from the
living tomb in which Nature has, during a season, eased and urned its
torpid and death-like repose.

SEWARD.

Nor, my dear sir, was this life-conscious penetration or intuition
of a keen and kindling intelligence into the dreadful, the desolate,
the cloud-covered Future, the casual thought of adventuring Genius,
transmitted in some happier verse only, or in some gracious and
visible poesy of a fine chisel; but the Symbol and the Thing symbolised
were so bound together in the understanding of the nation, that in the
Greek language the name borne by the Insect and the name designating
the Soul is one and the same--ΨΥΧΗ.

NORTH.

Insects! They have come out, by their original egg-birth, into an
active life. They have crept and eaten--and slept and eaten--creeping,
and sleeping, and eating--still waxing in size, and travelling on
from fitted pasture to pasture, they have in not many suns reached
the utmost of the minute dimensions allotted them--the goal of their
slow-footed wanderings, and the term, shall we say--_of their life_.

SEWARD.

No! But of that _first period_, through which they have made some
display of themselves as living agents. They have reached _this_ term.
And look at them--now.

NORTH.

Ay--look at them--now. Wonder on wonder! For now a miraculous instinct
guides and compels the creature--who has, as it were, completed one
life--who has accomplished one stage of his existence--to entomb
himself. And he accordingly builds or spins himself a tomb--or he
buries himself in his grave. Shall I say, that she herself, his
guardian, his directress, Great Nature, _coffins_ him? Enclosed in a
firm shell--hidden from all eyes--torpid--in a death-like sleep--_not
dead_--he waits the appointed hour, which the days and nights bring,
and which having come--his renovation, his resuscitation is come. And
now the sepulture no longer holds him! Now the prisoner of the tomb
has right again to converse with embalmed air and with glittering
sunbeams--now, the reptile that _was_--unrecognisably transformed from
himself--a glad, bright, mounting creature, unfurls on either side
the translucent or the richly-hued pinions that shall waft him at his
liking from blossom to blossom, or lift him in a rapture of aimless
joyancy to disport and rock himself on the soft-flowing undulating
breeze.

SEWARD.

My dearest sir, the Greek in his darkness, or uncertain twilight of
belief, has culled and perpetuated his beautiful emblem. Will the
Christian look unmoved upon the singular imaging, which, amidst the
manifold strangely-charactered secrets of nature, he finds of his own
sealed and sure faith?

NORTH.

No, Seward. The philosophical Theologian claims in this likeness more
than an apt simile, pleasing to the stirred fancy. He sees here an
ANALOGY--and this Analogy he proposes as one link in a chain
of argumentation, by which he would show that Reason might dare to win
from Nature, as a Hope, the truth which it holds from God as revealed
knowledge.

SEWARD.

I presume, sir, you allude to Butler's Analogy. I have studied it.

NORTH.

I do--to the First Chapter of that Great Work. This parallelism, or
apprehended resemblance between an event continually occurring and
seen in nature, and one unseen but continually conceived as occurring
upon the uttermost brink and edge of nature--this correspondency,
which took such fast hold of the Imagination of the Greeks, has, as
you know, my dear friends, in these latter days been acknowledged by
calm and profound Reason, looking around on every side for evidences or
intimations of the Immortality of the Soul.

BULLER.

Will you be so good, sir, as let me have the volume to study of an
evening in my own Tent?

NORTH.

Certainly. And for many other evenings--in your own Library at home.

TALBOYS.

Please, sir, to state Butler's argument in your own words and way.

NORTH.

For Butler's style is hard and dry. A living Being undergoes a
vicissitude by which on a sudden he passes from a state in which he
has long, continued into a new state, and with it into a new scene of
existence. The transition is from a narrow confinement into an ample
liberty--and this change of circumstances is accompanied in the subject
with a large and congruous increment of powers. They believe this who
believe the Immortality of the Soul. But the fact is, that changes
bearing this description do indeed happen in Nature, under our very
eyes, at every moment; this method of progress being universal in her
living kingdoms. Such a marvellous change is literally undergone by
innumerable kinds, the human animal included, in the instant in which
they pass out from the darkness and imprisonment of the womb into
the light and open liberty of this breathing world. Birth has been
the image of a death, which is itself nothing else than a birth from
one straightened life into another ampler and freer. The ordering of
Nature, then, is an ordering of Progression, whereby new and enlarged
states are attained, and, simultaneously therewith, new and enlarged
powers; and all this not slowly, gradually, and insensibly, but
suddenly and _per saltum_.

TALBOYS.

This analogy, then, sir, or whatever there is that is in common to
_birth_ as we _know_ it, and to _death_ as we _conceive_ it, is to be
understood as an evidence set in the ordering of Nature, and justifying
or tending to justify such our conception of Death?

NORTH.

Exactly so. And you say well, my good Talboys, "justifying or
tending to justify." For we are all along fully sensible that a
vast difference--a difference prodigious and utterly confounding to
the imagination--holds, betwixt the case _from_ which we reason,
_birth_--or that further expansion of life in some breathing kinds
which might be held as a _second birth_--betwixt these cases, I say,
and the case _to_, which we reason, DEATH!

TALBOYS.

Prodigious and utterly confounding to the imagination indeed! For in
these physiological instances, either the same body, or a body changing
by such slow and insensible degrees that it seems to us to be the same
body, accompanies, encloses, and contains the same life--from the first
moment in which that life comes under our observation to that in which
it vanishes from our cognisance; whereas, sir, in the case to which we
apply the Analogy--our own Death--the life is supposed to survive in
complete separation from the body, in and by its union with which we
have known it and seen it manifested.

NORTH.

Excellently well put, my friend. I see you have studied Butler.

TALBOYS.

I have--but not for some years. The Analogy is not a Book to be
forgotten.

NORTH.

This difference between the case from which we reason, and the case to
which we reason, there is no attempt whatever at concealing--quite the
contrary--it stands written, you know, my friend, upon the very Front
of the Argument. This difference itself is the very motive and occasion
of the Whole Argument! Were there not _this difference_ between the
cases which furnish the Analogy, and the case to which the Analogy is
applied--had we certainly known and seen a Life continued, although
suddenly passing out from the body where it had hitherto resided--or
were _Death_ not the formidable disruption which it is of a hitherto
subsisting union--the cases would be identical, and there would be
nothing to reason about or to inquire. There _is_ this startling
difference--and accordingly the Analogy described has been proposed by
Butler merely as a first step in the Argument.

TALBOYS.

It remains to be seen, then, whether any further considerations can be
proposed which will bring the cases nearer together, and diminish to
our minds the difficulty presented by the sudden separation.

NORTH.

Just so. What ground, then, my dear young friends--for you seem and
are young to me--what ground, my friends, is there for believing
that the Death which we _see_, can affect the living agent which we
do not see? Butler makes his approaches cautiously, and his attack
manfully--and this is the course of his Argument. I begin with
examining my present condition of existence, and find myself to be a
Being endowed with certain Powers and Capacities--for I act, I enjoy, I
suffer.

TALBOYS.

Of this much there can be no doubt; for of all this an unerring
consciousness assures me. Therefore, at the outset, I hold this one
secure position--that I exist, the possessor of certain powers and
capacities.

NORTH.

But that I do now before Death exist, endued with certain powers and
capacities, affords a presumptive or _primâ facie_ probability that
I shall after death continue to exist, possessing these powers and
capacities--

BULLER.

How is that, sir?

NORTH.

You do well to put that question, my dear Buller--a _primâ facie_
probability, unless there be some positive reason to think that death
is the "destruction" of Me, the living Being, and of these my living
Faculties.

BULLER.

A presumptive or _primâ facie_ probability, sir? Why does Butler say so?

NORTH.

"Because there is in every case a probability that _all_ things will
continue as we experience they are, in _all_ respects, except those in
which we have some reason to think they will be altered."

BULLER.

You will pardon me, sir, I am sure, for having asked the question.

NORTH.

It was not only a proper question, but a necessary one. Butler wisely
says--"This is that kind of Presumption or Probability from Analogy,
expressed in the very word CONTINUANCE, which seems our only natural
reason for believing the course of the world will continue to-morrow,
as it has done so far as our experience or knowledge of history can
carry us back." I give you, here, the Bishop's very words--and I
believe that in them is affirmed a truth that no scepticism can shake.

TALBOYS.

If I mistake not, sir, the Bishop here frankly admits, that were we not
fortified against a natural impression, with some better instruction
than unreflecting Nature's, the spontaneous disposition of our Mind
would undoubtedly be to an expectation that in this great catastrophe
of our mortal estate, We Ourselves must perish; but he contends--does
he not, sir?--that it would be a blind fear, and without rational
ground.

NORTH.

Yes--that it is an impression of the illusory faculty, Imagination,
and not an inference of Reason. There would arise, he says, "a general
confused suspicion, that in the great shock and alteration which we
shall undergo by death, We, _i.e._ our living Powers, might be wholly
destroyed;"--but he adds solemnly, "there is no particular distinct
ground or reason for this apprehension, so far as I can find."

TALBOYS.

Such "general confused suspicion," then, is not justified?

NORTH.

Butler holds that any justifying ground of the apprehension that,
in the shock of death, I, the living Being, or, which is the same
thing, These my powers of acting, enjoying, and suffering, shall be
extinguished and cease, must be found either in "the reason of the
Thing" itself, or in "the Analogy of Nature." To say that a legitimate
ground of attributing to the sensible mortal change a power of
extinguishing the inward life is to be found in the Reason of the
Thing, is as much as to say, that when considering the essential nature
of this great and tremendous, or at least dreaded change, Death, and
upon also considering _what_ these powers of acting, of enjoying, of
suffering, truly _are_, and _in what manner_, absolutely, they subsist
in us--there does appear to lie therein demonstration, or evidence,
or likelihood, that the change, Death, will swallow up such living
Powers--and that _We_ shall no longer _be_.

TALBOYS.

In short, sir, that from considering _what_ Death is, and _upon what_
these Powers and their exercise depend, there is _reason_ to think,
that the Powers or their exercise will or _must_ cease with Death.

NORTH.

The very point. And the Bishop's answer is bold, short, and decisive.
We cannot _from_ considering what Death is, draw this or any other
conclusion, _for we do not know what Death is_! We know only certain
effects of Death--the stopping of certain sensible actions--the
dissolution of certain sensible parts. We can draw no conclusion, for
we do not possess the premises.

SEWARD.

From your Exposition, sir, I feel that the meaning of the First Chapter
of the Analogy is dawning into clearer and clearer light.

NORTH.

Inconsiderately, my dear sir, we seem indeed to ourselves to know what
Death is; but this is from confounding the Thing and its Effects.
For we see effects: at first, the stoppage of certain sensible
actions--afterwards, the dissolution of certain sensible parts. But
_what_ it is that has happened--_wherefore_ the blood no longer
flows--the limbs no longer move--_that_ we do not see. We do not
see it with our eyes--we do not discern it by any inference of our
understanding. It is a _fact_ that seems to lie shrouded for ever from
our faculties in awful and impenetrable mystery. That fact--the produce
of an instant--which has happened _within, and in the dark_--that fact
come to pass, in an indivisible point of time--that stern fact--ere
the happening of which the Man was alive--an inhabitant of this
breathing world--united to ourselves--our Father, Brother, Friend--at
least our Fellow-Creature--by the happening, _he_ is gone--is for ever
irrecoverably sundered from this world, and from us its inhabitants--is
DEAD--and that which lies outstretched before our saddened
eyes is only his mortal remains--a breathless corpse--an inanimate,
insensible clod of clay:--Upon that interior _sudden_ fact--_sudden_,
at last, how slowly and gradually soever prepared--since the utmost
attenuation of a thread is a thing totally distinct from its ending,
from its becoming no thread at all, and since, up to that moment,
there was a possibility that some extraordinary, perhaps physical
application might for an hour or a few minutes have rallied life, or
might have reawakened consciousness, and eye, and voice--upon that
elusive _Essence_ and _self_ of Death no curious searching of ours
has laid, or, it may be well assumed, will ever lay hold. When the
organs of sense no longer minister to Perception, or the organs of
motion to any change of posture--when the blood stopped in its flow
thickens and grows cold--and the fair and stately form, the glory
of the Almighty's Hand, the burning shrine of a Spirit that lately
rejoiced in feeling, in thought, and in power, lies like a garment
done with and thrown away--"a kneaded clod"--ready to lose feature and
substance--and to yield back its atoms to the dominion of the blind
elements from which they were gathered and compacted--_What is Death_?
And what grounds have we for inferring that an event manifested to us
as a phenomenon of the Body, which alone we touch, and hear, and see,
has or has not reached into the Mind, which is for us Now just as it
always was, a Thing utterly removed and exempt from the cognisance and
apprehension of our bodily senses? The Mind, or Spirit, the unknown
Substance, in which Feeling, and Thought, and Will, and the Spring of
Life were--was united to this corporeal frame; and, being united to
it, animated it, poured through it sensibility and motion, glowing
and creative life--crimsoned the lips and cheeks--flashed in the
eye--and murmured music from the tongue;--_now_, the two--Body and
Soul--are _disunited_--and we behold one-half the consequence--the
Thing of dust relapses to the dust;--we dare to divine the other half
of the consequence--the quickening Spark, the sentient Intelligence,
the Being gifted with Life, the Image of the Maker, in Man, has,
reascended, has returned thither whence it came, into the Hand of God.

SEWARD.

If, sir, we were without light from the revealed Word of God, if we
were left, by the help of reason, standing upon the brink of Time,
dimly guessing, and inquiringly exploring, to find for ourselves the
grounds of Hope and Fear, would your description, my dear Master, of
that which has happened, seem to our Natural Faculties impossible?
Surely not.

NORTH.

My dear Seward, we have the means of rendering some answer to that
question. The nations of the world have been, more or less, in the
condition, supposed. Self-left, they have borne the burden of the
dread secret, which for them only the grave could resolve; but
they never were able to sit at rest in the darkness. Importunate
and insuppressible desire, in their bosoms, knocked at the gate of
the invisible world, and seemed to hear an answer from beyond. The
belief in a long life of ages to follow this fleet dream--imaginary
revelations of regions bright or dark--the mansions of bliss or of
sorrow--an existence to come, and often of retribution to come--has
been the religion of Mankind--here in the rudest elementary shape--here
in elaborated systems.

SEWARD.

Ay, sir; methinks the Hell of Virgil--and his Elysian Fields are
examples of a high, solemn, and beautiful Poetry. But they have a much
deeper interest for a man studious, in earnest, of his fellow-men.
Since they really express the notions under which men have with serious
belief shadowed out for themselves the worlds to which the grave is a
portal. The true moral spirit that breathes in his enumeration of the
Crimes that are punished, of the Virtues that have earned and found
their reward, and some scattered awful warnings--are impressive even to
us Christians.

NORTH.

Yes, Seward, they are. Hearken to the attestation of the civilised
and the barbarous. Universally there is a cry from the human heart,
beseeching, as it were, of the Unknown Power which reigns in the Order
and in the Mutations of Things, the prolongation of this vanishing
breath--the renovation, in undiscovered spheres, of this too brief
existence--an appeal from the tyranny of the tomb--a prayer against
annihilation. Only at the top of Civilisation, sometimes a cold and
barren philosophy, degenerate from nature, and bastard to reason, has
limited its sullen view to the horizon of this Earth--has shut out and
refused all ulterior, happy, or dreary anticipation.

SEWARD.

You may now, assured of our profound attention--return to Butler--if
indeed you have left him----

NORTH.

I have, and I have not. A few minutes ago I was expounding--in my
own words--and for the reason assigned, will continue to do so--his
argument. If, not knowing what death is, we are not entitled to
argue, from the nature of death, that this change must put an end
to Ourselves, and those essential powers in our mind which we are
conscious of exerting--just as little can we argue from the nature of
these powers, and from their manner of subsisting in us, that they are
liable to be affected and impaired, or destroyed by death. For what do
we know of these powers, and of the conditions on which we hold them,
and of the mind in which they dwell? Just as much as we do of the great
change, Death itself--that is to say--NOTHING.

TALBOYS.

We know the powers of our mind solely by their manifestations.

NORTH.

But people in general do not think so--and many metaphysicians have
written as if they had forgot that it is only from the manifestation
that we give name to the Power. We know the fact of Seeing, Hearing,
Remembering, Reasoning--the feeling of Beauty--the actual pleasure
of Moral Approbation, the pain of Moral Disapprobation--the
state--pleasure or pain of loving--the state--pleasure or pain
of hating--the fire of anger--the frost of fear--the curiosity
to know--the thirst for distinction--the exultation of conscious
Power--all these, and a thousand more, we know abundantly: our
conscious Life is nothing else but such knowledge endlessly
diversified. But the POWERS themselves, which are thus exerted--what
_they_ are--_how_ they subsist in us ready for exertion--of this we
know--NOTHING.

TALBOYS.

We know something of the Conditions upon which the exercise of these
Powers depends--or by which it is influenced. Thus we know, that for
seeing, we must possess that wondrous piece of living mechanism, the
eye, in its healthy condition. We know further, that a delicate and
complicated system of nerves, which convey the visual impressions from
the eye itself to the seeing power, must be healthy and unobstructed.
We know that a sound and healthy state of the brain is necessary to
these manifestations--that accidents befalling the Brain totally
disorder the manifestations of these powers--turning the clear
self-possessed mind into a wild anarchy--a Chaos--that other accidents
befalling the same organ suspend all manifestations. We know that sleep
stops the use of many powers--and that deep sleep--at least as far as
any intimations that reach our waking state go--stops them all. We know
that a nerve tied or cut stops the sensation--stops the motory volition
which usually travels along it. We know how bodily lassitude--how
abstinence--how excess--affects the ability of the mind to exert its
powers. In short, the most untutored experience of every one amongst us
all shows bodily conditions, upon which the activity of the faculties
which are seated in the mind, depends. And within the mind itself
we know how one manifestation aids or counteracts another--how Hope
invigorates--how Fear disables--how Intrepidity keeps the understanding
clear--

NORTH.

You are well illustrating Butler, Talboys. Then, again, we know that
_for Seeing_, we must have that wonderful piece of living mechanism
perfectly constructed, and in good order--that a certain delicate
and complicated system of nerves extending from the eye inwards, is
appointed to transmit the immediate impressions of light from this
exterior organ of sight to the percipient Mind--that these nerves
allotted to the function of seeing, must be free from any accidental
pressure; knowledge admirable, curious, useful; but when all is done,
all investigated, that our eyes, and fingers, and instruments, and
thoughts, can reach--_What_, beyond all this marvellous Apparatus of
seeing, is _That which sees_--what the percipient _Mind_ is--that is
a mystery into which no created Being ever had a glimpse. Or what is
that immediate connexion between the Mind itself, and those delicate
corporeal adjustments--whereby certain _tremblings_, or other momentary
changes of state in a set of nerves, upon the sudden, turn into
Colours--into Sight--INTO THE VISION OF A UNIVERSE.

SEWARD.

Does Butler say all that, sir?

NORTH.

In his own dry way perhaps he may. These, my friends, are Wonders into
which Reason looks, astonished; or, more properly speaking, into which
she looks not, nor, self-knowing, attempts to look. But, reverent and
afraid, she repeats that attitude which the Great Poet has ascribed to
"brightest cherubim" before the footstool of the Omnipotent Throne, who

    "Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes."

TALBOYS.

For indeed at the next step beyond lies only the mystery of
Omnipotence--that mystery which connects the world, open and known to
us, to the world withheld and unknown.

NORTH.

The same with regard to Pleasure and Pain. _What_ enjoys Pleasure or
suffers Pain?--all that is, to our clearest, sharpest-sighted science,
nothing else but darkness--but black unfathomable night. Therefore,
since we know not what Death itself is--and since we know not what this
Living Mind is, nor what any of its powers and capacities are--what
conclusion, taken in the nature of these unknown subjects, can we
possibly be warranted in drawing as to the influence which this unknown
change, Death, will exert upon this unknown Being--Mind--and upon its
unknown faculties and sensibilities?--None.

SEWARD.

Shall unknown Death destroy this unknown Mind and its unknown
capacities? It is just as likely, for anything that Reason can see,
that it will set them free to a larger and more powerful existence. And
if we have any reason upon other grounds to expect this--then by so
much the more likely.

NORTH.

We know that this Eye and its apparatus of nerves no longer shall serve
for _seeing_--we know that these muscles and their nerves shall no
longer serve for _moving_--we know that this marvellous Brain itself
no longer shall serve, as we are led to believe that it now serves,
for _thinking_--we know that this bounding heart never again shall
throb and quicken, with all its leaping pulses, with joy--that pain
of this body shall never again _tire_ the mind, and that pain of this
mind shall never again _tire_ this body, once pillowed and covered up
in its bed of imperturbable slumber. And there ends our knowledge.
But that this Mind, which, united to these muscles and their nerves,
sent out vigorous and swift motions through them--which, united to
this Brain, compelled this Brain to serve it as the minister of its
thinkings upon this Earth and in this mode of its Being--which, united
to this Frame, in it, and through it, and from it, felt for Happiness
and for Misery--that this Mind, once _disunited_ from all these, its
instruments and servants, shall therefore perish, or shall therefore
forego the endowment of its powers, which it manifested by these
its instruments--of that we have no warranty--of that there is no
probability.

TALBOYS.

Much rather, sir, might a probability lie quite the other way. For if
the structure of this corporeal frame places at the service of the
Mind some five or six senses, enabling it, by so many avenues, to
communicate with this external world, this very structure shuts up the
Mind in these few senses, ties it down to the capacities of exactness
and sensibility for which _they_ are framed. But we have no reason
at all to think that these few modes of sensibility, which we call
our external senses, are _all_ the modes of sensibility of which our
spirits are capable. Much rather we must believe that, if it pleased,
or shall ever please, the Creator to open in this Mind, in a new world,
new modes of sensation, the susceptibility for these modes is already
there for another set of senses. Now we are confined to an eye that
sees distinctly at a few paces of distance. We have no reason for
thinking that, united with a finer organ of sight, we should not see
far more exquisitely; and thus, sir, our notices of the dependence in
which the Mind now subsists upon the body do of themselves lead us to
infer its own self-subsistency.

NORTH.

What we are called upon to do, my friends, is to set Reason against
Imagination and against Habit. We have to lift ourselves up above
the limited sphere of sensible experience. We have to _believe_ that
something more _is_ than that which we see--than that which we know.

TALBOYS.

Yet, sir, even the facts of Mind, revealed to us living in these
bodies, are enough to show us that more is than these bodies--since
we feel that WE ARE, and that it is impossible for us to regard these
bodies otherwise than as _possessions of ours_--utterly impossible to
regard them as Ourselves.

NORTH.

We distinguish between the acts of Mind, inwardly exerted--the acts,
for instance, of Reason, of Memory, and of Affection--and acts of
the Mind communicating through the senses with the external world.
But Butler seems to me to go too far when he says, "I confess that
in sensation the mind uses the body; but in reflection I have no
reason to think that the mind uses the body." But, my dear friends,
I, Christopher North, think, on the contrary, that the Mind uses
the Brain for a thinking instrument; and that much thought fatigues
the Brain, and causes an oppressive flow of the blood to the Brain,
and otherwise disorders that organ. And altogether I should be
exceedingly sorry to rest the Immortality of the Soul upon so doubtful
an assumption as that the Brain is not, in any respect or sort, the
Mind's Organ of Thinking. I see no need for so timid a sheltering of
the argument. On the contrary, the simple doctrine, to my thought, is
this--The Mind, as we know it, is implicated and mixed up with the
Body--_throughout_--in all its ordinary actions. This corporeal frame
is a system of organs, or Instruments, which the Mind employs in a
thousand ways. They are its _instruments_--all of them are--and none
of them is itself. What does it matter to me that there is one more
organ--the Brain--for one more function--thinking? Unless the Mind were
in itself a seeing thing--that is, a thing able to see--it could not
use the Eye for seeing; and unless the Mind were a thinking thing, it
could not use the Brain for thinking. The most intimate implication
of itself with its instruments in the functions which constitute our
consciousness, proves nothing in the world to me, against its essential
distinctness from them, and against the possibility of its living
and acting in separation from them, and when they are dissolved. So
far from it, when I see that the body chills with fear, and glows
with love, I am ready to call fear a cold, and love a warm passion,
and to say that the Mind uses its bodily frame in fearing and in
loving. All these things have to do with manifestations of my mind
to itself, Now, whilst implicated in this body. Let me lift myself
above imagination--or let my imagination soar and carry my reason on
its wings--I leave the body to moulder, and I go sentient, volent,
intelligent, whithersoever _I_ am called.

TALBOYS.

It seems a timidity unworthy of Butler to make the distinction. Such a
distinction might be used to invalidate his whole doctrine.

NORTH.

It might--if granted--and legitimately. But the course is plain, and
the tenor steadfast. As a child, you think that your finger is a part
of yourself, and that you feel with it. Afterwards, you find that
it can be cut off without _diminishing you_: and physiologists tell
you, and you believe, that it does not feel, but sends up antecedents
of feeling to the brain. Am I to stop anywhere? Not in the body. As
my finger is no part of Me, no more is my liver, or my stomach, or
my heart--_or my brain_. When I have overworked myself, I feel a
lassitude, distinctly local, in my brain--_inside of my head_--and
therewithal an indolence, inertness, inability of thinking. If
reflection--as Butler more than insinuates--hesitatingly says--is
independent of my brain and body, whence the lassitude? And how did
James Watt get unconquerable headaches with meditating Steam-engines?

TALBOYS.

It is childish, sir, to stagger at degrees, when we have admitted the
kind. The Bishop's whole argument is to show, that the thing in us
which feels, wills, thinks, is distinct from our body; that I am one
thing, and my body another.

NORTH.

Have we SOULS? If we have--they can live after the
body--cannot perish with it; if we have not--wo betide us all!

SEWARD.

Will you, sir, be pleased to sum up the Argument of the First Chapter
of the Analogy?

NORTH.

No. Do you. You have heard it--and you understand it.

SEWARD.

I cannot venture on it.

NORTH.

Do you, my excellent Talboys--for you know the Book as well as I do
myself.

TALBOYS.

That the Order of Nature shows us great and wonderful changes, which
the living being undergoes-and arising from beginnings inconceivably
low, to higher and higher conditions of consciousness and action;--That
hence an exaltation of our Powers by the change Death, would be
congruous to the progress which we have witnessed in other creatures,
and have experienced in ourselves;--That the fact, that before Death
we possess Powers of acting, and suffering, and enjoying, affords
a _primâ facie_ probability that, after Death, we shall continue
to possess them; because it is a constant presumption in Nature,
and one upon which we constantly reason and rely, speculatively and
practically, that all things will continue as they are, unless a cause
appear sufficient for changing them;--But that in Death nothing appears
which should suffice to _destroy_ the Powers of Action, Enjoyment,
and Suffering in a Living Being;--For that in all we know of Death we
know the destruction of parts _instrumental_ to the Uses of a Living
Being;--But that of any destruction reaching, or that we have reason
to suppose to reach the Living Being, we know nothing;--That the Unity
of Consciousness persuades us that the Being in which Consciousness
essentially resides is one and indivisible--by any accident, Death
inclusive, indiscerptible;--That the progress of diseases, growing till
they kill the mortal body, but leaving the Faculties of the Soul in
full force to the last gasp of living breath, is a particular argument,
establishing this independence of the Living Being--the Spirit--which
is the Man himself--upon the accidents which may befall the perishable
Frame.

NORTH.

Having seen, then, a Natural Probability that the principle within
us, which is the seat and source of Thought and Feeling, and of such
Life as can be imparted to the Body, will subsist undestroyed by the
changes of the Body--and having recognised the undoubted Power of the
Creator--if it pleases Him--indefinitely to prolong the life which He
has given--how would you and I, my dear Friends, proceed--from the
ground thus gained--and on which--with Butler--we take our stand--to
speak farther of reasons for believing in the Immortality of the Soul?

SEWARD.

I feel, sir, that I have already taken more than my own part in
this conversation. We should have to inquire, sir, whether in His
known attributes, and in the known modes of His government, we could
ascertain any causes making it probable that He will thus prolong our
existence--and we find many such grounds of confidence.

NORTH.

Go on, my dear Seward.

SEWARD.

If you please, sir, be yours the closing words--for the Night.

NORTH.

The implanted longing in every human bosom for such permanent
existence--the fixed anticipation of it--and the recoil from
annihilation--seem to us intimation vouchsafed by the Creator of His
designs towards us;--the horror with which Remorse awakened by sin
looks beyond the Grave, partakes of the same prophetical inspiration.
We see how precisely the lower animals are fitted to the places which
they hold upon the earth, with instincts that exactly supply their
needs, with no powers that are not here satisfied--while we, as if out
of place, only through much difficult experience can adapt ourselves to
the physical circumstances into which we are introduced--and thus, in
one respect, furnished below our condition, are, on the other hand, by
the aspirations of our higher faculties, raised infinitely above it--as
if intimating that whilst those creatures _here_ fulfil the purpose of
their creation, _here_ we do not--and, therefore, look onward;--That
whilst our other Powers, of which the use is over, decline in the
course of nature as Death approaches, our Moral and Intellectual
Faculties often go on advancing to the last, as if showing that they
were drawing nigh to their proper sphere of action;-That whilst the
Laws regulating the Course of Human Affairs visibly proceed from a
Ruler who favours Virtue, and who frowns upon Vice, yet that a just
retribution does not seem uniformly carried out in the good success
of well-doers, and the ill success of evil-doers--so that we are led
on by the constitution of our souls to look forward to a world in
which that which here looks like Moral Disorder, might be reduced into
Order, and the Justice of the Ruler and the consistency of His Laws
vindicated;--That in studying the arrangements of this world, we see
that in many cases dispositions of Human affairs, which, upon their
first aspect, appeared to us evil, being more clearly examined and
better known, resulted in good--and thence draw a hope that the stroke
which daunts our imagination, as though it were the worst of evils,
will prove, when known, a dispensation of bounty--"Death the Gate of
Life," opening into a world in which His beneficent hand, if not nearer
to us than here, will be more steadily visible--no clouds interposing
between the eyes of our soul and their Sun;--That the perplexity which
oppresses our Understanding from the sight of this world, in which the
Good and Evil seem intermixed and crossing each other, almost vanishes,
when we lift up our thoughts to contemplate this mutable scene as a
place of Probation and of Discipline, where Sorrows and Sufferings
are given to school us to Virtue--as the Arena where Virtue strives
in the laborious and perilous contest, of which it shall hereafter
receive the well-won and glorious crown;--That we draw confidence in
the same conclusions, from observing how closely allied and agreeing
to each other are the Two Great Truths of Natural Religion, the Belief
in God and the Belief in our own Immortality; so that, when we have
received the idea of God, as the Great Governor of the Universe, the
belief in our own prolonged existence appears to us as a necessary
part of that Government; or if, upon the physical arguments, we have
admitted the independent conviction of our Immortality, this doctrine
appears to us barren and comfortless, until we understand that this
continuance of our Being is to bring us into the more untroubled
fruition of that Light, which here shines upon us, often through mist
and cloud;--That in all these high doctrines we are instructed to rest
more securely, as we find the growing harmony of one solemn conviction
with another--as we find that all our better and nobler Faculties
co-operate with one another--and these predominating principles carry
us to these convictions--so that our Understanding then first begins
to possess itself in strength and light when the heart has accepted
the Moral Law;--But that our Understanding is only fully at ease, and
our Moral Nature itself, with all its affections, only fully supported
and expanded, when both together have borne us on to the knowledge of
Him who is the sole Source of Law--the highest Object of Thought--the
Favourer of Virtue--towards whom Love may eternally grow, and still be
infinitely less than His due--till we have reached this knowledge, and
with it the steadfast hope that the last act of this Life joins us to
Him--does not for ever shut us up in the night of Oblivion;--And we
have strengthened ourselves in inferences forced upon us by remembering
how humankind has consented in these Beliefs, as if they were a part
of our Nature--and by remembering farther, how, by the force of these
Beliefs, human Societies have subsisted and been held together--how
Laws have been sanctioned, and how Virtues, Wisdom, and all the good
and great works of the Human Spirit have, under these influences, been
produced;--Surely GREAT IS THE POWER of all these concurrent
considerations brought from every part of our Nature--from the
Material and the Immaterial--from the Intellectual and Moral--from the
Individual and the Social--from that which respects our existence on
this side of the grave, and that which respects our existence beyond
it--from that which looks down upon the Earth, and that which looks up
towards Heaven.


_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._


FOOTNOTES:

[19] _The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems._ By A. London: 1849.

[20] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. 58.

[21] Ibid. 62-3.

[22] We remember once in such a house--it was a rainy day, and for
the amusement of the inmates a general rummage was made among old
papers--that in a corner of a press of a law library were found a
multitude of letters very precisely folded up, and titled--they had a
most business-like and uninteresting appearance, but on being examined
they were found to consist of the confidential correspondence of the
leaders of the Jacobite army in 1745. Their preservation was accounted
for by the circumstance that an ancestor of the owner of the house was
sheriff of the county at the period of the rebellion. He had seized
the letters; but, finding probably that they implicated a considerable
number of his own relations, he did not consider himself especially
called on to invite the attention of the law officers of the crown
to his prize; while, on the other hand, the damnatory documents were
carefully preserved, lest some opportunity should occur of turning
them to use. They are now printed in a substantial quarto, under the
patronage of one of the book clubs.

[23] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. 60.

[24] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. 6.

[25] _Houston's Memoirs_, 92.

[26] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. 34-5.

[27] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. p. 57.

[28] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. p. 46.

[29] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, iii. 4.

[30] Ibid. p. 6.

[31] _Miscellany of the Spalding Club_, pp. 17-20.

[32] _Houston's Memoirs_, p. 31.

[33] Ibid. p. 8.

[34] It is a curious coincidence, that the _first man_ whom her Majesty
met with and addressed, when she landed in Glasgow, was the _Earl of
Morton_, the lineal descendant of the ruthless baron whose arms then
proved so fatal to her beautiful and unfortunate ancestress.


[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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