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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 309 - New Series, Saturday, December 8, 1849
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 309 - New Series, Saturday, December 8, 1849" ***

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[Illustration: CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.

NO. 310. NEW SERIES.      SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1849.      PRICE 1½_d._]



KNOWLEDGE.


It was for a long time the custom to recommend knowledge to the
attention of the people by depicting the material advantages and
pleasures incident to its pursuit. Glowing and attractive pictures were
exhibited of the career and progress of meritorious and successful
persons, who had been elevated by their intelligence to positions of
consideration and distinction. Universal history and biography were
ransacked to furnish instances of a persevering and well-rewarded
prosecution of knowledge 'under difficulties;' and the general mind
was invited to contemplate and reflect on these, as worthy exemplars
for its imitation. The inference, moreover, that was almost uniformly
intended to be drawn, was such a one as was naturally acceptable to
the crude and undisciplined understanding--the obvious purpose of all
such representations being to stimulate the energies and enterprise of
the ambitious, by the offer or indication of material rewards, and to
make intelligence respected and desirable for the sake of its sensible
compensations.

There might perhaps be reasons adducible to justify the employment of
such incitements, as there may doubtless be circumstances under which
the cultivation of knowledge might, for a time, be more effectually
advanced by means of interested considerations, than by an appeal to
motives more strictly rational, and accordant with a disinterested
reverence for its spiritual worth and dignity. There are evidently
stages of human progress when a regard for their personal interests
has a more powerful efficacy in urging men into improvement, than
any of the finer influences of which they are susceptible, or which
an advanced culture would probably awaken. Thus, as an exoteric or
introductory intimation of the value and desirableness of knowledge,
it may not be amiss to attract a people, otherwise indisposed to its
acquirement, by an exhibition of the conventional advantages and
distinctions which it may contribute, more or less successfully,
to realise. And though it cannot be allowed that the culture of
the intellect is to be subordinated to the acquisition of any of
the temporal benefits of life, yet inasmuch as an increase of
intelligence and sagacity may be reasonably applied to the promotion
of such comforts and conveniencies as tend to enhance the rational
satisfactions of existence, it is not to be questioned that the latter
may be innocently, and even serviceably, urged upon the attention,
as reasons and motives for stimulating the slothful or indifferent
mind to an appropriate activity, whensoever higher and worthier
considerations may have been found to be ineffectual, or are in any
likelihood of being imperfectly apprehended. The sole condition needful
to be observed by those who thus endeavour to promote the education
and enlightenment of the people, is a clear and firm persuasion in
themselves that such a method of interesting men in the pursuits of
literature or science, can only be considered as initiatory, and
preparatory to something higher, and that at last knowledge must stand
recommended to the mind by its own intrinsic charms, and by its grand
and native tendency to further a man's spiritual advancement.

It is scarcely to be doubted that the oversight of this has greatly
contributed to occasion the failure of many of those popular schemes
and institutions which have had for their object the intellectual
improvement of the people. Starting with the flattering assumption that
literary and scientific information possessed the power of raising men
to social consequence, it was presently perceived that the result was
not answerable to the expectations which had been excited, and that the
more generally intelligence was spread, the greater was the competition
for the advantages in view, and the less the chance of attaining them.
By being taught to regard their education as a means or process whereby
they might be more readily and securely inducted into positions of
emolument and honour, not only were the people misdirected with respect
to the real and authentic signification of manly culture, but even the
inducements held out as the encouragements of their efforts were found
to end mainly in disappointment. The generality were not, and could not
be enriched, nor very sensibly elevated in the estimation of the world;
they did not usually attain to what they had been taught to aim after,
which was, in most cases, antecedence of their fellow-men, distinction
and exalted notice in the eyes of accredited respectability. The
conditions of society to which they were subjected limited most of
them to their old employments and pursuits, and it only occasionally
happened that a man's personal fortunes were very materially promoted
by the intelligence he had gained through studious exertion. If, by
some favourable concurrence of circumstances, one might chance to
attain eminence, or realise any considerable share of the substantial
possessions of life, for every individual thus fortunate, there has
probably been a thousand whose efforts were utterly unproductive
of any such success. Upon the whole, it is evident that the more
universally the benefits of instruction are extended among a people,
the casual prizes which were formerly accessible to rare examples of
ability and intelligence become less and less easy of attainment, and
have an eventual tendency to become distributed altogether without
reference to that intellectual superiority which, when education was
less general, more invariably commanded them. The peculiar distinctions
which knowledge is competent to confer must be looked for in other
directions than those which are supposed to lead to the acquisition
of wealth or mere conventional reputability--must be sought, indeed,
among the inner laws and necessities of the human mind. The power which
we ascribe to intelligence must be exercised for ends and objects which
have hitherto been too commonly overlooked, and the purposes and aims
of education will need to be more intimately adjusted to the essential
demands of character.

A notorious consequence of the popular instruction most prevalent
within the last twenty years, has been the elicitation of a certain
superficial cleverness, valuable principally for marketable or
ostentatious purposes, and no more indicative of intellectual elevation
than the frivolous accomplishment of rope-dancing. It is for the most
part an affair of memory, a mere mechanical agility, expertness in
acts of routine; and in its superior developments takes most commonly
the shape of a keen vulpine perspicacity, which may very readily
be cultivated independently of any coincident development of the
reflective reason or the moral attributes. The practical understanding,
being trained into separate activity, and exercised apart from its
constitutional connection, may obviously be used like an implement,
in subordination to the propensities or the will, and for the
accomplishment of purely selfish, or even discreditable ends. Thus,
while it is perfectly true that a liberal and complete education--using
the word in its largest and strictly philosophical significance--is the
sole and certain means of human elevation, it is not to be denied that
very considerable acquisitions of information, and much intellectual
ability and shrewdness, may subsist together with a manifest
unscrupulousness or depravity of disposition. And hence it is evident
that the power of knowledge is good or evil according as it is used;
and so long as its cultivation is enjoined out of motives involving a
primary regard to worldly advantages and promotions, there will never
be wanting persons to pursue it out of mercenary, and in other respects
questionable considerations. The entire grounds of the common advocacy
of education must be abandoned; we must ascend from the low places of
expediency and selfish benefit to the nobler platform of that universal
and inborn necessity in man, which demands a circular and simultaneous
culture of his whole nature--that essential and inward law of being
whose perfect and successful development shall be answerable to the
destination contemplated in the origin and intention of the human
constitution.

The true reason for individual cultivation is undoubtedly to be sought
for in the native requirements of the soul. The essential worth
of knowledge lies not so much in its adaptations to our temporal
conveniencies or ambition, as in the service it performs in promoting
spiritual enlargement. What we more especially understand by education
is a progressive process whereby the intellectual and moral powers
are expanded and developed to the extent of their capabilities,
and directed towards objects of action and speculation which have
a tendency to advance the effectual wellbeing of the individual--a
wellbeing whose character is not to be determined arbitrarily by
opinion, or considered as consisting in conditions accordant with
mere conventional preconceptions of mortal happiness, but one which
pre-exists as an ideal prefigurement in human nature. That only is a
right and sufficient education which aims at the perfect culture of the
man--which, as far as is possible with objective limitations, educes
and invigorates his latent aptitudes and gifts, to the end that he
may employ them in a manner which is consistent with the pure idea of
his own being. The consideration to be kept continually in view is,
what is a man by natural capacity destined to become?--what heights of
intellectual and moral worth is he capable of attaining to?--and, on
the whole, what courses of discipline and personal exertion are most
suitable, as the means of raising him to that condition wherein he
will most admirably fulfil the design of his creation? To instruct and
educate him with respect to this design is the highest and ultimate
purpose of all knowledge. It has thus a grander aim than the mere
promotion of the conveniencies of our material life. Prosecuted with
reference to this loftier end, it is exalted into the appropriate guide
of a man's endeavours--acquainting him with the laws and relations
of his existence, and shaping for him the authentic course of his
sublunary conduct.

It is accordingly obvious, that in order to obtain its lasting and most
prizable advantages, the pursuit of knowledge must be entered on and
followed as a _duty_. A man must esteem his personal culture as the
noblest end of his existence, and accept his responsibility in regard
to it as the most paramount of obligations. To this one pre-eminent
aim all other aims and aspirings must be held as inconsiderable and
subordinate. Let him know, and lay earnestly to heart, that all his
efforts at cultivation are to be everlasting in their results--fruitful
for ever in blessed consequences to himself and to the world, or
otherwise miserably and perpetually abortive, according to the
character and spirit of his activity. All learning and experience have
an intimate and natural respect to the progressive perfection of the
human soul. The original idea of a man--what he individually ought
to _be_ and _do_--that is the basis whereon he is to found and build
up his entire being. He must therefore prosecute knowledge with a
reverent and religious earnestness, strive diligently to comprehend the
relations in which he stands to God and his fellow-men, and sedulously
endeavour to fulfil his true and peculiar destination, which is, to
make his temporal existence correspondent with the inner laws of his
own soul, and to leave behind it in the spiritual world an imperishable
and eternal consequence.

This view of the intrinsic worth and significance of knowledge must
be admitted to be far more exalting and salutary to the mind than
any which has reference exclusively or principally to its agency in
simply secular affairs. It leads a man inevitably to respect the
integrity and rightful exercise of his capacities, by discountenancing
all employment of them which might tend in anyway to invalidate or
impair the natural supremacy of the moral sentiment. Considered as the
power whereby he may cultivate and enlarge his being, knowledge is
invested with a lofty and perennial momentousness, which cannot, and
may not, be disregarded without derogation to our highest interests
as human and spiritual intelligences. It is indeed a revelation, in
all its manifold departments, of that vital and sustaining element of
things which is designated Truth, and whereon every effort that can
reasonably be expected to be lastingly successful is most intimately
dependent. As man liveth not by bread alone, but by every gracious word
that proceedeth from the mouth of God, by every just and everlasting
law which He has established for the guidance and edification of
mankind, so assuredly is it of primary concern to men to be qualified
to interpret those sublime utterances, and to apprehend their import
and significancy, in relation to the aims and hopes of life. This is
the great and inestimable excellency of knowledge, that it acquaints
us with something of the reality and nature of the mysterious frame
of things wherein we live, and are necessitated constantly to work,
and unfolds for us the laws and reasons of that obedience which we are
constrained to yield to the established economy wherewith our existence
and essential welfare are connected. The highest and most binding
obligation for us to know anything at all, is our natural need of
intellectual enlightenment--the soul's unquestionable necessity for an
intimacy with Truth, and the joy and satisfaction which it finds in its
contemplation. And thus it is that all knowledge is eminently sacred,
as being the stream through which a human mind draws insight from the
central source of all intelligence; as being that which informs us of
self-subsistent Law and Power, and consciously connects us with their
reality and operations. That baneful divorce between intelligence
and holiness which a sceptical and frivolous age has so disastrously
effected, will need to be set aside as altogether founded on a serious
mistake; and indeed men are already beginning to apprehend that no
pure faith can be sustained, no sound or abiding virtue inculcated and
established, which is not deeply grounded in that mental certainty and
assurance which clear, indisputable knowledge alone can furnish.

Let knowledge, then, be recognised as a primary indispensability for
the mind, the natural and appropriate inheritance of every human
soul; and let us esteem it as a sufficient and authentic plea for
its universal dissemination, that it is ever needful for the soul's
health and welfare; and condescend not to demand it on any inferior
pretext. If there is one right of man more essentially sacred than
another, it is his right to as complete and perfect an education as
his own capacity, and the attainments and adaptations of the age he
lives in, are adequate to supply him with; and again, if there is one
human duty more paramount and obligatory than the rest, it is that
which enjoins upon a man the use of his best energies and efforts to
advance himself in intellectual and moral vigour, and to turn every
talent and capability most honestly to account; since upon the depth
and extent of his own inward force will depend the essential worth of
his subsequent performances. The rational enlargement of the individual
is indeed the one great end of life. Nothing has so high a claim on
us as the cultivation of ourselves. 'It is most true,' as a vigorous
and thoughtful modern writer has remarked--'it is most true, and most
fitting to be said to many in our day, that a man has no business to
cut himself off from communion with so rich and manifold a world as
ours, or arbitrarily to harden and narrow his life on any of the sides
on which it is open and sensitive. But it is also no less necessary,
and perhaps in this time more required to urge, that a man's first
vocation is to be a man--a practical, personal being, with a reasonable
and moral existence, which must be kept strong, and in working order,
at all expense of pleasure, talent, brilliancy, and success. It is easy
to lose one's self, or, as the Scripture has it, one's own soul, in the
midst of the many and glittering forms of good which the world offers,
and which our life apprehends: but to know any of these as realities,
it is necessary to begin by being real in our own human ground of will,
conscience, personal energy. Then will the world also begin to be real
for us; and we may go on through eternity mining deeper and deeper,
and in endless diversities of direction, in a region of inexhaustible
realities.'[1]

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Sterling's Sayings and Essayings.



WORLDLY WISDOM.

A TALE.


Mr and Mrs Davenant especially prided themselves on their worldly
wisdom and on their strong good sense--excellent qualities undoubtedly,
but susceptible of being carried to an injurious excess. If it be
true that in our faults lie the germ of virtues, no less true is it
that almost every virtue is capable of being exaggerated into vice.
Thus was it with the Davenants: in their code everything was made
subservient to _worldly wisdom_: all their own and their friends'
actions were measured by that standard; consequently every generous
aspiration was checked, every noble, self-denying action decried, if
it could not be reconciled to their ideas of wisdom. In course of time
Mr and Mrs Davenant grew cold-hearted, calculating, and selfish; and
as their fortunes flourished, more and more did they exult in their
own wisdom, and condemn as foolish and Quixotic everything charitable
and disinterested. To the best of their power they brought up their
children in the same principles, and they succeeded to admiration with
their eldest daughter, who was as shrewd and prudent as they could
wish. Mrs Davenant would often express her maternal delight in her
Selina: there never was a girl possessing such strong good sense--such
wisdom. Some people might have thought that in Miss Selina's wisdom
the line was somewhat faint that divided it from mere cunning; but
mothers are rarely very quick-sighted with regard to their children's
faults, and Mrs Davenant never saw the difference.

With their other daughter they were not so successful. When Lucy
Davenant was but five years old, a relation of her mother's, a maiden
lady residing in Wales, had, at her own earnest request, adopted
the younger daughter. Miss Moore was very rich, and her fortune was
entirely at her own disposal, so Mr and Mrs Davenant at once acceded to
her request, never doubting that she would make Lucy her heiress. Lucy
remained with Miss Moore till that lady died; but although she left her
nothing in her will but a few comparatively valueless mementos, she
owed more to her care and teaching than thousands could repay. Under
the influence of her precepts, and the admirable example she afforded,
Lucy became generous, unselfish, open-hearted, and truthful as the day.
But her parents, unhappily, were blind to these virtues, or rather they
deemed that, in possessing them, their child was rather unfortunate
than otherwise. Lucy was utterly astonished when she came home from
Wales after her kind friend's death, at the strange manner and stranger
conversation of her parents and her sister. Her father had accompanied
her from Pembrokeshire, and he had scarcely spoken a word to her during
the whole of the journey; but, in the innocence of her heart, she
attributed this to his grief at the loss of his relation. But when she
arrived at her father's house in the city of B----, where he was the
principal banker, she could not avoid perceiving the cause. Her mother
embraced her, but did not pause to gaze on her five-years-absent child;
and as she turned to her sister Selina, she heard her father say, 'Lucy
hasn't a farthing in the will.'

'You don't mean it?' cried Mrs Davenant. 'Why, how in the world, child,
have you managed?' turning to Lucy. 'Did you offend Miss Moore in
anyway before she died?'

'Oh no, mamma,' murmured Lucy, weeping at the thought of her aunt's
illness and death thus rudely conjured up.

'Then what is the reason?' began her mother again; but Mr Davenant
raised a warning finger, and checked her eager inquiries. He saw that
Lucy had no spirit at present to reply to their questions, so he
suffered the grieved girl to retire to rest, accompanied by her sister;
but with Selina, Lucy was more bewildered than ever.

'My dear Lu,' said that young lady, as she brushed her hair, 'what is
the meaning of this mysterious will? We all thought you would be Miss
Moore's heiress.'

'So I should have been,' sobbed Lucy; 'but'----

'But what? Don't cry so, Lucy: what's past can never be recalled,' said
Selina oracularly; 'and as you're not an heiress'----

'Oh, don't think I am vexed about _that_,' said Lucy, indignant at the
idea, and drying her eyes with a determination to weep no more. 'I have
no wish to be an heiress: I am very glad, indeed, I am not; and I would
rather, much rather, not be enriched by the death of any one I love.'

'Very romantic sentiments, my dear Lu, but strangely wanting in common
sense. All those high-flown ideas were vastly interesting and becoming,
I daresay, among your wild Welsh mountains; but when you come into
the busy world again, it is necessary to cast aside all sentiment and
romance, as you would your old garden-bonnet. But, seriously, tell me
about this will: how did you miss your good-fortune?'

'Miss Moore had a nephew, a barrister, who is striving very hard to
fight his way at the bar: he has a mother and two sisters entirely
depending on him, and they are all very poor. All my aunt's property is
left to him.'

'Well, but why at least not shared with you?'

'I did not want it, you know, Selina, so much as they do. I have a
home, and papa is rich, and so'----

'And so, I suppose, you very generously besought Miss Moore not to
leave her fortune to you, but to her nephew?' said Selina with a
scornful laugh.

'No, no; I should not have presumed to speak on the subject to my kind,
good aunt. But one day before she had this last attack of illness she
spoke to me about my prospects, and asked me if papa was getting on
very well, and if he would be able to provide for me when I grew up'----

'And I've no doubt in the world,' interrupted Selina, staring with
excessive wonderment in her sister's face, 'that you innocently replied
that he would?'

'Of course, sister,' replied Lucy calmly; 'I could say nothing else,
you know; for when I came to see you five years ago, papa told me that
he meant to give us both fortunes when we married.'

'And you told Miss Moore this?'

'Certainly. She kissed me when I told her,' continued Lucy, beginning
to weep again as all these reminiscences were summoned to her mind,
'and said that I had eased her mind very much, her nephew was very
poor, and her money would do him and his family great service; and it
is never a good thing for a young girl to have much money independent
of her parents, my aunt said; and I think she was quite right.'

'Well,' said Selina, drawing a long breath, 'for a girl of nineteen
years and three months of age I certainly do think you are the very
greatest simpleton I ever saw.'

'Why so?' inquired Lucy in some surprise.

'Why, for telling your aunt about the fortune you would have: you might
have known that she would not make you her heiress if you were rich
already.'

'But she asked me the question, Selina.'

'That was no reason why you should have answered as you did.'

'How could I have answered otherwise after what papa had told me?'

Lucy was imperturbable in her simplicity and guilelessness. Selina
turned from her impatiently, despairing of ever making her comprehend
how foolishly she had behaved.

The next morning Mr and Mrs Davenant were informed by their eldest
daughter of Lucy's communications to her respecting Miss Moore's
property. Selina was surprised to find that they exhibited no signs of
great anger or disappointment, but contented themselves with inveighing
against Lucy's absurd simplicity, and her fatal deficiency in worldly
wisdom.

'Not that it matters so _very_ much this time,' said Mrs Davenant
philosophically; 'for it appears that the amount of Miss Moore's
fortune was very much exaggerated. Still, Lucy might as well have had
her three thousand pounds as Arthur Meredith; and it grieves me--the
entire affair--because it shows how very silly Lucy is in these
matters. She sadly wants common sense I fear.'

Similar verdicts were pronounced with regard to poor Lucy almost every
hour in the day, until she would plaintively and earnestly inquire,
'What _could_ mamma mean by worldly wisdom?' Certainly it was a branch
of knowledge which poor Miss Moore, with most unpardonable negligence,
had utterly neglected to instil into her young relative's mind. But
though it was greatly to be feared that Lucy would _never_ possess
wisdom, according to her mother's definition of the word, she could
not avoid, as in course of time she became better acquainted with the
principles and practices of her family, perceiving _what_ it was that
her parents dignified by so high-sounding a name. It made her very
miserable to perceive the system of manœuvring that daily went on with
regard to the most trivial as well as the more important affairs of
life. She could not help seeing that truth was often sacrificed for the
mere convenience of an hour, and was never respected when it formed an
obstacle to the execution of any plan or arrangement.

She felt keenly how wrong all this was, but she dared not interfere.
On two or three occasions, when she had ventured, timidly and
respectfully, to remonstrate on the subject, she had been chidden
with undue violence, and sent sad and tearful to her own room. With
Selina she was equally unsuccessful; only, instead of scolding, her
lively, thoughtless sister contented herself with laughing loudly,
and contemptuously affecting to pity her 'primitive simplicity and
ignorance.'

'It's a thousand pities, Lu, that your lot was not cast in the Arcadian
ages. You are evidently formed by nature to sit on a green bank in
shepherdess costume, twining flowers round your crook, and singing
songs to your lambs. Excuse me, my dear, but positively that's all
you are fit for. I wonder where I should be if I possessed your very,
_very_ scrupulous conscience, and your infinitesimally nice notions
of right and wrong? I daresay you'd be highly indignant--excessively
shocked--if you knew the little _ruse_ I was forced to resort to in
order to induce cross old Mrs Aylmer to take me to London with her last
year. Don't look alarmed; I'm not going to tell you the whole story;
only remember there _was_ a ruse.'

'Surely, Selina, you don't exult in it?' said Lucy, vexed at her
sister's air of triumph.

'Wait a minute. See the consequences of my visit to London, which, had
I been over-scrupulous, would never have taken place. Had I been _too_
particular, I should not have gone with Mrs Aylmer--should not have
been introduced to her wealthy and fashionable friends--should not have
met Mr Alfred Forde--_ergo_, should not have been engaged to be married
to him, as I have at present the happiness of being.'

'My dear Selina,' said Lucy timidly, but affectionately, laying her
hand upon her arm, and looking up into her face, 'are you sure that it
is a happiness? Are you quite sure that you _love_ Mr Forde?'

Selina frowned--perhaps in order to hide the blush that she could not
repress--and then peevishly shook off her sister's gentle touch.

'No lectures, if you please,' she said, turning away. 'Whatever my
feelings may be with regard to my future husband, they concern no one
but him and myself. Be assured I shall do my duty as a wife far better
than half the silly girls who indulge in hourly rhapsodies about their
love, devotion, and so forth.'

Lucy sighed, but dared not say more on the subject. She was aware that
Selina classed her with the 'silly girls' she spoke of. Some time
before, when her heart was bursting with its own weight of joy and
love, Lucy had been fain to yield to the natural yearning she felt for
some one to whom she could impart her feelings, and had told her sister
of her own love--love which she had just discovered was returned.
What an icy sensation she experienced when, in reply to her timid
and blushing confession, Selina sneered undisguisedly at her artless
ingenuousness, and 'begged to know the happy individual's name!' And
when she murmured the name of 'Arthur Meredith,' with all the sweet,
blushing bashfulness of a young girl half afraid of the new happiness
that has arisen in her heart--and almost fearing to whisper the beloved
name even to her own ears--how crushing, how cruel was the light laugh
of the other (a girl, too, yet how ungirlish!), as she exclaimed half
in scorn, half in triumph, 'I thought so! No wonder Miss Moore's legacy
was so easily resigned. I did not give you credit, Lu, for so much
skill in manœuvring.' Lucy earnestly and indignantly disclaimed the
insinuation; but Selina only bade her be proud of her talents, and
not feel ashamed of them; and she could only console herself by the
conviction that, in her inmost heart, Selina did not 'give her credit'
for the paltriness she affected to impute to her.

A short time afterwards, Arthur Meredith presented himself at B----,
and formally asked Mr Davenant's consent to his union with Lucy. The
consent was granted conditionally. Arthur was to pursue his profession
for two years, at the end of which time, if he was in a position to
support Lucy in the comfort and affluence she had hitherto enjoyed,
no further obstacle should be placed in the way of their marriage.
Arthur and Lucy were too reasonable not to perceive the justice of
this decision, and the young barrister left B---- inspirited by the
consciousness that on himself now depended his own and her happiness.

The time passed peacefully and happily with Lucy even after he was
gone. She heard from him frequently; and his letters were always
hopeful, sometimes exulting, with regard to the prospect which was
opening before him. Selina used to laugh at her when she received one
of those precious letters, and ran away to read it undisturbed in her
own room. Little cared she for the laugh--she was too happy; and if
she thought at all about her sister's sneers or sarcasms, it was to
pity her, sincerely and unfeignedly, that she could not comprehend
the holiness of the feeling she mocked and derided. Selina's destined
husband meanwhile was absent on the continent. He had an estate in
Normandy, and was compelled to be present during the progress of some
improvements. On his return they would be married, and Selina waited
till then with considerably less patience and philosophy than Lucy
evinced. Fifty times a day did she peevishly lament the delay; but not,
alas! from any excess of affection to the man she was about to marry:
it was always _apropos_ of some small inconvenience or privation that
she murmured. If she had to walk into the town, she would sigh for
the time 'when, as Mrs Forde, she would have a carriage at her own
exclusive command;' or if she coveted some costly bauble, the name
of Alfred was breathed impatiently, and a reference to 'pin-money'
was sure to follow. The marriage might have taken place by proxy with
singular advantage: if Mr Forde had sent a cheque on his banker for
half the amount of his income, Miss Selina would have married it with
all the complacency in the world!

Mr Davenant's worldly affairs at this juncture were not in such a
prosperous state as a man of his wisdom had a right to expect. In
fact he was involved in considerable difficulties, from which he
scarcely saw a way of extricating himself, when most fortunately,
as he averred, an old uncle of his, from whom he had what is called
'expectations,' voluntarily proposed visiting him at B----. The night
before his arrival, the _wise_ portion of the Davenant family sat in
solemn conclave, discussing the proper method of turning this visit to
account. Lucy sat in a corner, silent and unnoticed, quietly sewing,
while the family council went on.

Of course Mr Davenant never thought for an instant of pursuing the
truthful and straightforward course of stating his difficulties to his
relation, and honestly asking him for assistance.

'If old Atkinson suspected my affairs were in the disorder in which
they unfortunately are,' said Mr Davenant gravely, 'he would instantly
alter his will, and leave the considerable sum, which I know he intends
for me, to some one who is not so _imprudent_, as I suppose he would
call it, as I have been. I shall not easily forget his anger when my
Cousin John ran into debt, and applied to him for the money to save
him from prison. He gave him the money; but you'll see John wont have
a sixpence more: so much for being candid and sincere, as the silly
fellow said to me.'

At length it was arranged that Mr Davenant should ask his uncle to lend
him L.5000, in order to make a singularly-profitable investment which
was then open.

'I shall tell him,' said Mr Davenant, 'that I could easily command the
money without troubling him, by calling in part of my capital, but that
I scarcely think that a prudent course at the present juncture, because
I expect soon to be called upon to pay the girls' marriage portions. He
will be pleased at my _prudence_, and the last thing he will suspect
will be that I really need the money: so that will do excellently.'

'Dear papa,' ventured Lucy, bent on making one attempt to induce him
to adopt the simpler course of conduct--'dear papa, are you sure this
is really your most politic plan? Would it not be _safer_ to tell Mr
Atkinson your position, and ask him to assist you? Indeed--indeed--the
_truth_ is the best and surest policy.'

'Doubtless,' said her father contemptuously, 'my _candid_ Cousin John
found it so, and will find it so when Mr Atkinson's will is read and
he sees his name is struck out. Leave me alone, child; you understand
nothing of such things--you haven't the least idea of worldly wisdom.'

Thus was poor Lucy always repulsed when she attempted to advise. She
could only comfort herself with the hope that one day perhaps her
parents would think and act differently.

Mr Atkinson came the next day: he was a cheerful, pleasant-looking,
silver-haired old man, and was cordial and affectionate to the whole
family. Sincere and truthful himself, he was perfectly unsuspicious
of deceit or design in others. Thus everything promised well for Mr
Davenant's plan, more especially as the old man had rapidly become much
attached to the two girls: Selina, with her liveliness and spirit,
amused; and Lucy, gentle, and ever anxious for the comfort of all about
her, interested him.

On the fourth day, therefore, Mr Davenant commenced operations. He
alluded to a particular foreign railway, the shares of which were
then much below par, but which were certain, at a future and no very
distant period, to arrive at a considerable premium. He said that
he would willingly invest L.5000 in these shares, certain that in a
short time he should quadruple the sum, if it were not for the payment
of his girls' marriage portions, for which he should soon be called
on. And after a great deal of preparatory 'beating about the bush,'
he _candidly_, as he said, asked his uncle if he would lend him this
L.5000 for twelve months.

Mr Atkinson looked grave, which his nephew observing, _he_ looked grave
also.

'You see, Samuel,' said the old man, 'if it were really to do you a
service, you should have the money. If your _business_ required it--if
you were in temporary embarrassment, and needed these thousands to help
you out of it--_they should be yours_; but'----

He paused, and fixed his eyes on the ground in deep thought. Mr
Davenant started, and coloured as he listened; and involuntarily
he thought of poor Lucy's slighted advice. Her earnest words,
'Indeed--indeed--the _truth_ is the best and surest policy,' rung
clearly in his ears, and he felt now that she was _right_: but it
was too late now (or at least _he_ thought so) to repair his error,
and return to the straight path. He had made a point, ever since his
uncle's arrival, of boasting to him of his improved prospects, of the
solid basis on which his fortune stood, and of the flourishing state of
his business. He could not now retract all he had said, and lay bare
his difficulties--his necessities. Besides, even now perhaps that would
not be _prudent_: old Atkinson might be but _trying_ him after all. Mr
Davenant's little moment of right feeling soon passed away, and he was,
alas! 'himself again' by the time his uncle again began to speak.

'I don't like these speculations, Samuel,' said he; 'they are dangerous
things: if once you get involved in them, you never know when to
leave off: besides, they distract your attention from more legitimate
objects: your business might suffer. The business of a man prone to
speculate in matters he is unused to deal with rarely flourishes.'

Mr Davenant inwardly acknowledged the truth of these remarks. It was by
_speculation_ that he was brought to his present embarrassments; but he
said nothing.

'Take my advice, Sam,' continued Mr Atkinson, placing his hand
impressively on his nephew's arm, 'and have nothing to do with these
railways. Whether you gain or lose by them, they distract your
attention, you see, from your business, and so you lose one way at all
events. Don't meddle with them.'

Mr Davenant felt it imperative to make one grand effort more.

'Nay, my dear uncle,' he said smiling, 'whether you can accommodate me
with this sum or not, it's of no use trying to persuade me out of my
scheme. I am determined to invest the money, but shall not afterwards
trouble myself more about it. I shall purchase the shares; and whether
I eventually make or lose money by them, I shall not worry myself
respecting them. At a fitting opportunity I shall turn them into money
again, and whatever they produce is (but this is _entre nous_, you
understand) to be divided equally between my two girls.'

Mr Atkinson's face brightened. 'Oh, I begin to see, he exclaimed; 'I
perceive--it is for your two dear children. You are a good fellow,
Davenant: forgive me that I misinterpreted your object. Certainly, if
ever speculation is justifiable, it would be in such a case,' continued
the old man in a ruminative tone; 'and you shall not lose your object,
Sam; your girls shall have the chance; the L.5000 shall be invested,
and they shall have whatever it may produce. Don't you trouble
yourself; don't in the least embarrass or inconvenience yourself in
order to raise this sum; leave it to me--leave it to me: I'll arrange
it for the dear girls' sake.'

Mr Davenant, never doubting that a cheque for L.5000 would soon be
forthcoming, was profuse in his acknowledgments, and the uncle and
nephew parted mutually satisfied--the one to enjoy his matitutinal
walk, the other to exchange congratulations with his wife, and receive
proper praise for his successful diplomacy.

Still, he could not but wonder, and feel somewhat uncomfortable, as the
day appointed for Mr Atkinson's departure drew nigh, and he had yet
heard nothing of the L.5000. At length he grew so very apprehensive,
that it had been forgotten, or that something would interfere with his
possession of it, that as the money was becoming every day of more
vital importance to his interests, he ventured again to speak to his
uncle on the subject. His first words were checked; and the old man, by
rapidly speaking himself, prevented his saying more.

'Rest easy--rest easy,' said he; 'it is all right: I haven't forgotten
anything about the affair, I can assure you. You shall hear from me on
the subject after I get home; meanwhile make your mind _quite_ easy.
The girls shall have their railway shares, Sam; don't worry yourself.'

With this Mr Davenant was fain to be content; yet it was not without
sundry uncomfortable feelings of doubt and perplexity that he watched
his uncle enter his travelling-carriage, and waved his hand to him,
as two post-horses rapidly whirled him away from B----. A fortnight
passed, and excepting a hasty letter, announcing his safe arrival in
Gloucestershire, nothing was heard from Mr Atkinson. Mr Davenant's
creditors were clamorous, and would no longer be put off; a complete
exposure of his affairs appeared inevitable; and in this extremity he
wrote to his uncle, saying that he wished to purchase the shares in the
---- Railway immediately, as it was a desirable opportunity, and every
day might render it less advantageous. Therefore he intreated him to
enclose a draft for the amount, that he might forward it to his broker,
and obtain the shares.

By return of post an answer arrived:--

'MY DEAR SAM,' ran the letter, 'you need not be so very impatient. I
was only waiting till the whole affair was concluded to write to you. I
have heard this morning from the broker I have employed. The purchase
of the shares is concluded, and very advantageously I think. Your dear
girls may expect, I think, pretty fortunes in time; but don't _say a
word about it to them_, in case of disappointment. I've transacted
the whole business without you, because I don't want you to turn your
thoughts from your own affairs, and, more or less, your attention would
have been distracted from them by dabbling in these railway matters.
I've managed it all very well. The broker I employ is, I am told, an
honest, trustworthy fellow, and I have given him orders to _sell out_
when the shares are at what he considers a fair premium. So you will
have nothing to do with the matter, you see, which is what I wish, for
I fear you are rather disposed to speculate; and if once you get into
the way of these railways, perhaps you may be led on further than you
originally intended. And you needn't be disappointed; for instead of
_lending_ you the money, I _give it_ to the two dear girls, and all
that may accrue to it when these shares are sold. I hope it will be a
good sum: they have my blessing with it; but, as I said before, don't
_say a word to them_ till you give them the money. Enclosed are the
documents connected with the shares.--Yours faithfully,

    SAMUEL ATKINSON.'

Poor Mr Davenant! This letter, with the enclosed documents (which he
had fondly hoped were cheques for the L.5000)--documents utterly
useless of course to him to aid him in his present difficulties--this
letter drove him to despair. Mrs Davenant and Selina were likewise
confounded: Lucy, by her father's express request, was not informed of
their defeated plans.

But matters now grew worse with Mr Davenant, and bankruptcy was looming
in the distance. His affairs were now more involved than ever; and even
the L.5000, had he obtained it, would not now have availed to restore
his sinking credit. In this dilemma he proposed raising money on the
security of the railway shares, but here Selina showed the result of
her education in _worldly wisdom_.

'Nonsense, papa,' was her dutiful remark in reply to this suggestion;
'it will do you no good, you know, and only render me and Lucy poorer.
I am of age; and as the shares are mine, you can't sell them, you
know,' she added in some confusion; for even her selfishness could not
quite supply her with a proper amount of _nonchalance_ in thus speaking
to her father.

'I can sell them with your permission, of course?' said Mr Davenant,
hardly comprehending the full extent of her meaning.

'Yes, I know. But you see, papa, it's bad enough for me as it is: I
shall not have the fortune I was always taught to expect; and really,
as it wont do you any real good, I think I should be very unwise to let
you sell them.'

'You refuse your permission then?' exclaimed the father. Selina
bowed her head, and left the room. Mr Davenant clasped his hands in
anguish, not at the failure of this last hope, but at the agonizing
ingratitude of his favourite child, and wept; and while he yet groaned
aloud in his misery, Lucy entered the room. It is always a sad thing
to behold a man weep; but to Lucy, who now, for the first time in
her life, beheld her father under the influence of feeling, it was a
great and painful shock. But it is one of the first instincts of woman
to console, and in a moment she was kneeling by his side, her arms
wound about his neck, her tears mingling with his. All his harshness
to her--the little affection he had ever shown her--the many times
her love had been repulsed--all was forgotten; she only remembered
that he was her father, and in trouble, and either of these ties was
sufficient to insure her affectionate sympathy. Mr Davenant felt deeply
the ingratitude of Selina; but yet more intensely did the tenderness
of his youngest child cut him to the soul. It was a lesson which he
never forgot; and from that day he was a better, if not, according
to his former creed, a _wiser_ man. He told Lucy the whole story of
the railway shares, and his impending ruin. Lucy intreated him to use
_her_ portion of the shares immediately; and though his recent grief
had humbled him, and rendered him less selfish--and he was unwilling
to take advantage of her generosity--yet as she assured him that she
would never accept the money which was originally intended for his use,
he at length consented. But the tide of ruin was not to be so easily
stemmed, and the stricken man and his bewildered wife now patiently
listened to their only remaining daughter; for Selina had gone with
some friends, and with her 'shares' in her pocket, to Normandy, there
to join Mr Forde, and be married to him before he became aware that his
bride's father was a ruined man. Lucy advised her father to go to Mr
Atkinson, tell him the _whole truth_, and intreat his assistance. 'He
is so kind-hearted, dear papa, that he _will_ do what you want: he will
lend you sufficient money to relieve you from these embarrassments, and
then you will do very well.'

Mr Davenant clung to this hope like a drowning man to a frail plank. He
set off instantly for Gloucestershire. With what intense anxiety Mrs
Davenant and Lucy awaited his return may be imagined. They received
no letter from him; but three days after his departure he returned,
looking pale, weary, and hopeless.

Mr Atkinson had died a few days before he had arrived at his house.
He had been present at the reading of the will, which was dated only
a month back. In it he bequeathed the bulk of his property to that
same 'candid Cousin John' whose _wisdom_ Mr Davenant had so decried.
'Because,' said the will, 'I have reason to know that he is in
difficulties; and as he has a wife and family depending on him, he
must need the money more than my other nephew, Samuel Davenant, whom
I visited a short time since for the express purpose of seeing if his
affairs were prosperous. I have reason to suppose that they are so, and
that any increase to his means, so far from adding to his prosperity,
would induce him to speculate, and perhaps so lose all he has acquired
by years of industry. Therefore I revoke a former bequest to him of
L.20,000, and bequeath it instead to my third nephew, George Charles
Atkinson,' &c. &c.

'You were right, Lucy!' exclaimed Mr Davenant penitently; 'the truth
_is_ the safest, surest policy.'

Fortitude and perseverance were among the virtues of both Mr Davenant
and his wife. They met their difficulties steadily and firmly, and
got ultimately through them with credit. But they were now too old to
commence life anew, and gladly availed themselves of the affectionate
intreaty of Lucy and her husband--for Arthur Meredith was now a
flourishing barrister--to take up their house with them.

Selina was not happy in her marriage. Her husband's large property was
all imaginary; he was, in fact, a ruined spendthrift; and all they had
to subsist on after they were married was the money arising from those
oft-named railway shares. Selina could not reproach her husband for
deceiving her, for she had deceived him. Not till they had been three
weeks wedded did Mr Forde know that his bride's father was ruined, and
that he need expect no marriage portion further than that she already
had. 'Had you told me the truth,' he said to her, when one day she
reproached him with his poverty, 'I would have told _you_ the truth.
But I thought you would be a rich woman, and that your fortune would be
sufficient to support us both.' Selina could not reply.

Mr and Mrs Davenant, when they contrast the melancholy accounts of
the end of Selina's scheming with the happy married life of their
younger daughter, cannot but own how superior was the _wisdom_ of the
latter; and they now cordially acknowledge the veracity of that golden
sentiment of one of our modern sages--'One who is always _true_ in the
great duties of life is nearly always wise.'



THE TAMARIND-TREE.


Everybody knows the agreeable tamarind preserve we receive from the
West Indies; everybody has occasionally produced by its aid a cooling
and welcome beverage; and everybody (at least in Scotland) has
conferred, by its means, upon the insipid gruel recommended for a cold
a finely-acidulated taste. Everybody likewise knows that the tamarind
is pretty largely employed in our Materia Medica, and that its effect,
when eaten uncompounded, is gently aperient: but for all that, very few
persons are acquainted with certain curious particulars connected with
the tree which produces this popular fruit.

The tamarind-tree is one of the _fabaceæ_, or order of leguminous
plants; 'an order,' says Lindley, 'not only among the most extensive
that are known, but also one of the most important to man, whether
we consider the beauty of the numerous species, which are among the
gayest-coloured and most graceful plants of every region, or their
applicability to a thousand useful purposes.' To give an idea of the
wide extension of this order, we may say that it includes the acacia,
the logwood and rosewood of commerce; the laburnum, the furze, and the
broom; the bean, pea, vetch, clover, trefoil, indigo, gum-arabic, and
other gums and drugs. There are two species of tamarinds--the East
and the West Indian--exhibiting some considerable difference, more
especially in the pods, which are much shorter in the latter species,
and the pulp less rich and plentiful. In the West Indies, the shell is
removed, and the legume preserved, by being placed in jars intermixed
with layers of sugar; or else the vessel is filled up with boiling
sugar, which penetrates to the bottom. The Turks and Arabs use this
fruit, prepared either with sugar or honey, as an article of food; and
for its cooling properties it is a favourite in journeys in the desert.
In Nubia it is formed into cakes, baked in the sun; and these are
afterwards used in producing a cooling drink. In India, likewise, it is
used both as food and drink; but there it is never treated with sugar,
but merely dried in the sun. When eaten as food, it is toasted, soaked
in water, and then boiled, till the taste, it is said, resembles that
of the common bean.

In India the tamarind-tree is a very beautiful object, its spreading
branches flinging even with their tiny leaves an extensive shade. In
one season its pretty straw-coloured flowers refresh the eye; and in
another its long brown pods, which are shed plentifully, afford a more
substantial refreshment to the traveller. The Hindoos, however, prize
it chiefly as a material for cleaning their brass vessels, although
they likewise use it as a condiment for their curries and other dishes,
and likewise make it into pickles and preserves. For the last-mentioned
purpose a red variety is the most esteemed, both the timber and the
fruit being of a sanguine hue. The tamarind, however, is chiefly
planted by the roadside, or on the rising banks of a tank; and in the
lower parts of Bengal, where it grows in the natural forests of the
Sunderbunds, it is the most common kind of firewood, being never used
for any more dignified purpose. The native never chooses this beautiful
tree, as he does the palm, the neem, or the mourungosh, to overshadow
his hut; and it is never admitted into the mango groves sacred to the
gods, although the silk-cotton and the mouwha are not forbidden that
consecrated ground.

But the prejudice goes further still. No _khitmutgar_, or cook, will
hang a piece of meat on a tamarind-tree: he believes that meat thus
exposed does not keep well, and that it becomes unfit for salting. A
traveller, though very willing to eat of the fruit, will not unload
his pack or rest under its branches; and a soldier, tired as he may be
with a long march, will rather wander farther on than pile his arms in
its shade. There is an idea, in fact, at least in Bengal, that there
is something unlucky or unhealthy, some antique spell or some noxious
vapour, surrounding this beautiful tree; although we are not aware that
science has yet discovered that there is anything really hurtful in its
exhalations.

Another strange notion connected with the tamarind-tree is thus
mentioned by a correspondent:--'Often have I stood as a youngster
gazing with astonishment at a couple of bearers belabouring a large
knotty root, of some eight feet in girth, with their axes, making the
chips fly off in every direction; which, upon picking up, I used to
find covered over with unintelligible scribbles, which the bearers
gravely told me was the writing of the gods.'

Here we have our tree in a new light: this outcast from the sacred
groves is inscribed with holy characters! Who shall interpret their
meaning? Are they like the mark set upon the forehead of Cain? Or is
the legend intended as a perpetual consolation under the prejudices and
indignities of men? All we know is, that the white fir-like grains of
the tamarind wood are written over in an unknown tongue by means of a
small thread-like vein of a black colour.

There is a similar superstition connected with another Indian tree, the
kulpa briksha, or silver-tree, so called from the colour of the bark.
The original kulpa, which now stands in the garden of the god Indra in
the first heaven, is said to have been one of the fourteen remarkable
things turned up by the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons.
But however this may be, the name of Ram and his consort Seeta is
written upon the silvery trunks of all its earthly descendants! Colonel
Sleeman, when travelling in Upper India, had the curiosity to examine
many of these trees on both sides of the road; and sure enough the name
of the incarnation of Vishnu mentioned was plainly enough discernible,
written in Sanscrit characters, and apparently by some supernatural
hand--'that is, there was a softness in the impression, as if the
finger of some supernatural being had traced the characters.' The
traveller endeavoured to argue his attendants out of their senses; but
unluckily he could find no tree, however near or distant, without the
names; the only difference being in the size of the letters, which in
some cases were large, and in others small. At length he observed a
kulpa in a hollow below the road, and one on a precipice above, both in
situations accessible with such difficulty, that he was sure no mortal
scribe would take the trouble to get at them. He declared confidently
his opinion that the names would not be found on these trees, and it
was proved that he was right. But this was far from affecting the
devout faith of his Hindoo followers. 'Doubtless,' said one, 'they have
in some way or other got rubbed off; but God will renew them in His
own time.' 'Perhaps,' remarked another, 'he may not have thought it
necessary to write at all upon places where no traveller could decipher
them.' 'But do you not see,' said the traveller, losing patience,
'that these names are all on the trunk within reach of a man's hand?'
'Of course they are,' replied they, 'since the miracle could not be
distinguished by the eyes of men if they were written higher up!'

A shrub called the trolsee is a representation of the same goddess
Seeta, and is every year _married_ with great ceremony to a sacred
stone called Saligram, a rounded pebble supposed to represent the good
Vishnu, of whom Ram was an incarnation. On one occasion described, the
procession attending this august ceremony consisted of 8 elephants,
1200 camels, and 4000 horses, all mounted and elegantly caparisoned.
Above 100,000 persons were present at this pageant, at which the little
pebble was mounted on the leading elephant, and thus carried in state
to his tree goddess. All the ceremonies of a Hindoo marriage were gone
through, and then the god and goddess were left to repose together till
the next season in the temple of Sudora.

Indian trees, however, it must be said, are, from all accounts, much
more worthy of the honours of superstition than those of less fervid
climes. A traveller mentions an instance of the 'sentient principle'
occurring among the denizens of an Indian forest. Two trees, he tells
us, of different kinds, although only three feet apart, had grown to
the height of fifty or sixty feet, when one of them took the liberty of
throwing out a low branch in such a way as to touch the trunk of his
neighbour, and thus occasion much pain and irritation. 'On this the
afflicted tree in turn threw out a huge excrescence, which not only
enveloped the offending branch, but strangled it so completely as to
destroy it utterly; the ends of the deadened boughs projecting three
or four feet beyond the excrescence, while the latter was carried on a
distance of three feet across to the shaft of the tree, so as to render
all chances of its future movement wholly impossible!' This appears to
our traveller to display as much forethought and sagacity as taking up
an artery for aneurism, or tying splints round a broken bone.

But in a country where trees are the objects of such veneration,
and where those that are neither holy nor sagacious are admitted
without scruple to the best arborical society, how comes it that the
beautiful, the umbrageous, and the beneficent tamarind is looked upon
as the outlaw of the plantation, the pariah of the forest? This is a
very puzzling circumstance, and one that, in the present state of our
knowledge, we can only set down to the caprice and ingratitude of man.



TRACINGS OF THE NORTH OF EUROPE.

CHRISTIANIA TO LAURGAARD.


A land journey of 334 English miles, which usually occupies five or six
days, was now before me. The road passes along one of the finest as
well as most extensive valleys in Norway, and is further distinguished
by crossing the celebrated range of mountains called the Dovre Field
[Dovre pronounced _Dovra_], which may be called the backbone of the
country, as the Grampian range is that of the Scottish Highlands. Along
this road, as usual, there is a series of stations, but none of them is
of so high a character as to present the luxury of wheaten bread. One
of my duties, therefore, on the last day of my stay in Christiania, was
to obtain a bag of biscuits for use on the way. Being anxious to secure
a passage in a steamer which was to leave Trondheim on the 18th July, I
allowed seven days for the journey, and started at one o'clock on the
11th, thus allowing an extra day for any accidental delay upon the road.

The first two or three stages being across certain intermediate
valleys, we have much up-hill and down-hill work along roads by no
means good. It was pitiable to see the little heavy-laden carts of
the peasantry toiling up the steep ascents, each with its forked pike
trailing behind it, on which to rest the vehicle, while the horse
should stop a few minutes at a time to recover breath and strength.
Many were conducted by women; and I could not but admire the hardy,
independent air of these females, as they sat, whip in hand, urging
their steeds along, though, as might be expected from such a rough
out-of-door life, their figures exhibit little of the attractions
of their sex. At many places I found rock-surfaces with dressings
generally in a north and south direction, being that of the valleys.
It is not unworthy of remark that two of the rivers are crossed by
modern wooden bridges, where a pontage is paid; and these were the only
charges approaching to the character of a toll to which I was subjected
throughout the whole of my travels in Scandinavia. Of the valleys,
one is full of sandy, a second of clay terraces, marking some decided
difference in the former submerged condition of the two districts. On
passing into a third at Trygstad, we find a vast plateau composed of
clay below and pure sand above, bearing magnificent pine-forests, and
which extends, without any intermission, to the foot of the Miösen
Lake. It would be a curious study to any native geologist to examine
this formation, and to trace its source, and the circumstances under
which it was deposited. There are remarkable generalities about
such things. Instructed by what I had seen in Scotland, as soon as
I observed the valley filled with sand up to a certain height a few
miles below where I knew a lake to be, I mentally predicted that this
formation would terminate at the foot of the lake, and that there would
be no terraces on the hill-sides above that sheet of water. Such proved
to be the case.

A short stage before reaching the foot of the Miösen Lake, we pass
one of those objects so extraordinary in Norway--a country mansion;
that is to say, a handsome house adapted for the residence of a family
in affluent circumstances. It is called Eidsvold, and was once the
property of a family named Anker, but now belongs to the public, in
consequence of the interesting distinction conferred on it in 1814,
when a national assembly sat here and framed the constitution under
which the country is now so happily placed. The purchase of this house
by a national subscription is an agreeable circumstance, as it marks
that deep and undivided feeling which the Norwegian people entertain
regarding their constitution--a feeling perhaps more important than
the character of the constitution itself, as it is what mainly secures
its peaceful working. This constitution has now stood for thirty-five
years, with a less amount of dissent and dissatisfaction on the part
of the people than has happened in the case of any other experiment
of the same kind in modern Europe. It is entitled to be regarded as
a successful experiment; and, as such, of course may well be viewed
with some interest by the rest of Europe, especially at a time when so
many political theories are on their trial, and so few seem likely to
stand good. The main fact is the election, every three years, of a body
called the Storthing, which separates itself into an Upper and Lower
House, enacts and repeals laws, and regulates all matters connected
with the revenue. The royal sanction is required for these laws; but
if the people are bent upon any measure disapproved of by the king,
they have only to re-introduce and pass it in two more successive
Storthings, when it would become law without the royal assent. Thus
the Norwegians may be said, in Benthamian language, to _minimise_
the monarchical principle. But how is the Storthing constituted? The
right of voting depends on a low property qualification. The qualified
voters in small districts elect persons called election-men, who again
meet by themselves, and elect, usually, but not necessarily, out of
their own number, representatives of larger districts, who in turn
form the Storthing, the whole numbers of which are somewhat under
a hundred. It is a system of universal suffrage, exclusive only of
the humblest labouring-class. It may be said to be a government of
what we call the middle-classes, and all but a pure democracy; but
it is essential to observe that the bulk of the people of Norway are
of the kind which we recognise as a middle-class, for of hereditary
nobility they have none, and the non-electors are a body too humble in
circumstances, and too well matched in numbers by the rest, to have
any power for good or evil in the case. There are other important
considerations: land is held in Norway, not upon the feudal, but the
_udal_ principle, which harmonises much better with democratic forms;
there being no right of primogeniture, estates are kept down at a
certain moderate extent; in the general circumstances of the country,
there can be no massing of wealth in a few hands, and therefore little
of that species of influence. The apparently ultra-liberal system of
Norway being thus adapted to many things more or less peculiar to the
country, it may have attained a success here which it would not obtain
elsewhere, or at least not till a proper groundwork had been laid in
social arrangements. This is a proposition which seems to derive much
support from recent political failures in Germany, Italy, and, shall
we add, France? The abrupt decreeing of a democratic constitution, in
supersession of a government which has been absolute for centuries,
is seen to be an absurdity, though one, perhaps, which nothing but
experiment could have demonstrated.

It was still far from night when I arrived at Minde, at the foot of the
Miösen Lake. This sheet of water, sixty-three English miles in length,
terminates here in a curve formed in the sandy plateau, through which
its waters have made for themselves a deep trench. The little inn
nestles under the steep bank on the west side of the outlet, commanding
from its back-windows a view along the lake. As the point where the
river must be ferried, and whence the steamers start on their course
along the lake, it is a place of some importance. It has even been
proposed to have a railway from Christiania to Minde, and the ground
has been surveyed by Mr Robert Stephenson; but this is not likely to be
realised for some years to come. I found the porch of the inn filled
with guests enjoying their pipes; two or three of them were officers,
and one of these, I was told, had the duty of superintending the post
stations of a certain district. Amongst others was one of those dirty
young men of the student genus who are so prevalent on the continent;
travelling with only a little satchel slung from their shoulders,
and thus evidently unprovided with so much as a change of linen or
a set of night-clothes, yet always sure to be found lugging along a
tobacco-pipe half as big as themselves, together with a formidable
pouch of tobacco depending from a button-hole. The inn consisted of two
floors, in the lower of which was a good-sized public room, gay with
prints of the royal family and such-like; from this on one side went
off two bedrooms; on the other adjoined a kitchen, and other family
apartments. Stables, sheds, and storehouses of various denominations
stood near by, so as to form what Allan Ramsay calls a rural square.
It was a comfortable establishment, and the females who conducted it
were respectable-looking people. There was also a landlord, who was
always coming in, apparently under an anxiety to do something, but
never did it. I had a good meal served up in the public room, and
enjoyed the evening scene on the lake very greatly, but found the
occasional society of the other guests in this apartment disagreeable,
in consequence of their incessant smoking, and their habit of frequent
spitting upon the floor. It is seldom that I find associates in inns
who come up to my ideas of what is right and proper in personal habits.
The most of them indulge, more or less, in devil's tattooing, in
slapping of fingers, in puffing and blowing, and other noises anomalous
and indescribable, often apparently merely to let the other people in
the room know that they are there, and not thinking of anything in
particular. Few seem to be under any sense of the propriety of subduing
as much as possible all sounds connected with the animal functions,
though even breathing might and ought to be managed in perfect silence.
In Norway the case is particularly bad, as the gentlemen, in addition
to everything else, assume the privilege of smoking and spitting in
every room of every house, and even in the presence of ladies.[2] To
a sensible and wellbred person all such things are as odious as they
are unnecessary. It is remarkable throughout the continent how noisily
men conduct themselves. They have not our sense of quietness being
the perfection of refined life. At Minde a gentleman over my head
made an amount of noise with his luggage and his personal movements
which astonished me, for it created the idea of a vast exertion being
undergone in order to produce it, as if it had been thought that there
was some important object to be served by noise, and the more noise the
better.

I had intended to proceed next morning by the steamer along the lake,
but I had been misinformed as to the days of sailing, and found it
necessary to spend my reserve day at Minde. It was less of a hardship
to me than it might have been to others, as I found more than enough
of occupation in examining the physical geography of the district.
The sandy plain runs up to the hills on both sides at an exceedingly
small angle of inclination, and perfectly smooth. On the east side,
near a place called Œvre, there is, close to the hills, a stripe of
plain of higher inclination, and composed of gravel, so that the whole
is exceedingly like that kind of sea-beach which consists partly of
an almost dead flat of sand, and partly of a comparatively steep
though short slope of gravel, adjoining to the dry land. That the
sea did once cover this plain, and rise against the gravel slope, I
could have no doubt: the whole aspect of the objects spoke of it.
There were also terraces in the valley below, indicating pauses in the
subsidence (so to speak) of the sea. It was of some importance, since
the point formerly reached by the sea could here be so clearly marked,
to ascertain how high that point was above the present sea-level. My
measurements, which were conducted with the level and staff, using
the lake as a basis, set it down as just about 656 feet above the
sea, being, as it chances, the height of an ancient sea-terrace at
Bardstadvig, on the west coast of Norway, and also that of certain
similar terraces in Scotland.[3] This coincidence may be accidental,
but it is worthy of note, as possibly a result of causes acting to a
general effect, more especially as it is not in this respect quite
solitary.

The dinner presented to me on the day of my stay at Minde might be
considered as the type of such a meal bespoken at a tolerable country
inn in Norway. It consisted of a dish of fried trout from the lake,
with melted butter-sauce, and something like Yorkshire pudding to
take with it: no more animal food, but a dish of cream prepared in a
manner resembling _trifle_, and accompanied by a copious supply of
an over-luscious warm jelly; finally, a salad. It is common in small
Norwegian inns to put down, with one dinner-like dish, a large bowl of
what we call in Scotland _lappered milk_, but bearing a creamy surface,
along with sugar: it seems to be a favourite regale with the natives;
but I never could get into a liking for it. In the clear warm day which
I spent in the Minde inn, the lake presented a beautiful placid scene;
a boat was now and then seen rowing lazily across its mirror-like
surface; but more generally nothing studded the silver sheet but the
image of a passing summer cloud.

In my rambles to-day I saw many of the peasantry, and the interiors of
a few of their houses. The women are poor-looking creatures, dressed in
the most wretched manner. They want the smart taste seen even among the
poorest young females farther south, as is particularly evidenced in
their head-dress, which consists merely of a coarse handkerchief tied
under the chin--a sort of apology for a hood rather than a head-dress.
There are great differences in the interiors of the peasants' houses;
but certainly many of them are miserable little cabins. As yet, I see
few symptoms of a prosperous life for the labouring-class in Norway. It
is different with the peasant proprietors or yeomen, called _bonder_ in
their own country. The house of a _bonde_ is a long, double-storeyed,
wooden house, painted a dull red or yellow, with gauze window-curtains,
and very neatly furnished within. The life of this class--the leading
class of Norwegian society--seems generally comfortable, though not
to the degree which is alleged in the glowing pages of Mr Laing; for
they are very often embarrassed by debt, mostly incurred in order to
pay off the claims of brothers and sisters to their inheritance. At
present, the labouring-class are leaving Norway in considerable numbers
to settle in America. There is one particular district in Wisconsin
which they flock to, and which, I am told, contains at least 6000 of
these poor people. A government officer, whom I conversed with at
Christiania, says it is owing to the superabundant numbers of the
people. The land, he alleges, has been brought to the utmost stretch of
its productive power. Meanwhile, to use his expression, there is _trop
du mariage_: the food being insufficient for the constantly-increasing
numbers, they must needs swarm off. There is a like emigration of the
humbler class of peasantry from Sweden. Thus we see that equally in
the simple state of things which prevails in Scandinavia, and in the
high-wrought system of wealthy England, there is but a poor life for
the hireling unskilled labourer. Nowhere does it afford more than a
bare subsistence; often scarcely gives this.

The weather was now becoming very warm, while, with the increasing
latitude, the day was sensibly lengthening. On the evening of the
12th of July I went to bed at ten o'clock under a single sheet, with
the window fully up, and read for an hour by the natural light. Next
morning at six I went on board the Jernbarden steamer, and was speedily
on my way along the Miösen Lake. A raft behind contained my own and
another carriage. It proved a pleasant day's sailing, though there
is nothing very striking in the scenery of the lake. The gentlemen
sauntered about, or sat upon deck, constantly smoking from their long
pipes. There were a few ladies, who seemed not at all discomposed by
the smoke, or any of its consequences. A tall old general of infantry,
in a dark cloak, exhausted I know not how many pipes, and his servant
seemed to have little to do but to fill the tube afresh from a _poke_
of chopped tobacco not much less than a nose-bag. Notwithstanding
these barbarian practices, there is a vast amount of formal politeness
among the native gentlemen and ladies; there is an incessant bowing
and taking off of hats; and whenever one is to leave the vessel, he
bids adieu to the company, though he perhaps never met one of them
before. The captain could converse in English, as is the common case
in steamers throughout Norway and Sweden, this gift being indeed held
as an indispensable qualification for the appointment. I had also some
conversation with the engineer, an intelligent German, who had been
some years in England. Along with these circumstances, the idea that
the engines had been made in Glasgow caused me to feel more at home on
the Miösen Lake than I could have expected. We had, however, a more
tedious voyage than usual, in consequence of the drag upon the vessel's
movements which we carried behind us, and we consequently did not reach
the landing-place beneath the town of Lillehammer till four o'clock.

This being the only town between Christiania and Trondheim, I was
desirous of stopping at it; but we had left ourselves barely enough
of time to reach the station of a steamer at the foot of a second and
smaller lake a few miles onward, by which I hoped to make out a hundred
miles of travelling before we should sleep, and thus leave myself
comparatively at ease about the remainder of the journey. I therefore
reluctantly drove through this pleasant-looking little place. Soon
after leaving Lillehammer, the hills, which as yet had been low and
rather tame, became steep and rough. We pass along the left bank of the
_Laug_, a large, fierce, and rapid stream, of that green colour which
indicates an origin among snow-clad mountains. My journey might now
have been described by a line from a Scottish poet--'By Logan's streams
that run sae deep'--for, by the usual affix of the article _en_, the
name of this river is sounded Logan, and thus is identical with a
name attached to more than one stream in Scotland.[4] Nor is this, by
the way, a solitary case. The river which enters the sea at Trondheim
is the Nid, identical with the Nith of Dumfriesshire fame. Even the
generic name for a river in Norway, _elv_, or, with the article,
_elven_, appears in our numerous tribe of Elvans, Alwynes, Allans,
Evans, and Avons.

About a couple of miles before reaching Mosshuus, the first station
from Lillehammer, we meet a steep rough barrier, which crosses the
valley, curving outwards from the hill-face towards the river, and
leaving only a narrow space between itself and the opposite hills for
the stream to pass. On mounting to the top, we find that it has a flat
surface of considerable extent. It is composed of blocks of stone of
all sizes, up to that of a cottage, mixed with a pale clay. Presently
another such mass appears, in a terrace-like form, on the opposite bank
of the river. A very little reflection, aided by the recollection of
some Swiss observations of the preceding summer, enabled me to detect
in these strange objects the fragments of an ancient _moraine_. A
glacier had once poured down the valley, terminating at this place, and
here depositing the loose materials which it had carried along with
it from the higher grounds. Such loose materials come to form what is
called the terminal _moraine_ of the glacier. Norway must have then
had a much colder climate than now, for there is not permanent snow in
this district except upon the tops of the mountains--though in Western
Norway there are still glaciers which descend almost to the level of
the sea. On an improved temperature becoming prevalent, the glacier of
the Logan valley had shrunk back, leaving its moraine as a memorial of
the point it had once reached. In connection with this object, it is
important to remark that the exposed rock-surfaces in the bottom, and
a little way up the sides of the valley, are smoothed; but the higher
parts of the hill-sides are extremely rough and angular, and have
evidently never been subjected to the action of ice. So far there is a
difference between this glen and the southern parts of the country. In
the latter, where the eminences are low, the ice has passed over hill
and vale in its own proper direction. Any ice that has been here has,
on the contrary, followed the direction of the valley, forming in it
one local and limited stream.

While Quist waited for fresh horses at Mosshuus, I walked on before to
examine the country. I found the rocks to be of a schistous character,
generally having their sharp angular sides presented to the road. The
contrast which they presented to the smoothed surfaces lower down, and
to the general surface of Sweden and Southern Norway, was striking, and
such as to leave no doubt that the one set of objects had been exempted
from a mechanical agency which had powerfully affected the other.
Amidst the thin woods of pine and birch which clothed the hill-sides I
found abundance of the wild strawberry, and made my acquaintance with
this pleasant fruit for the first time. Here and there were piles of
cut wood, and the woodman's stroke sounded through the glades. The
declining sun threw the one side of the valley into deep shade, and
brought out the other into equally strong light. Now and then a wain
was heard moving up the steep parts of the road, cheered by the voices
of a rustic cortège, whose red cowls would have been keenly appreciated
by the eye of a painter. It was a beautiful scene, and a beautiful
season--one of those opportunities which the heart sometimes finds to
fall in upon itself in perfect satisfaction and repose. I was glad,
however, when, after what I thought a too long delay, my carriage made
its appearance. We pushed rapidly on towards the bottom of the lake,
and were fortunate enough to reach it just as the steamer was about to
move off, about nine o'clock.

It was a small and plainly-furnished vessel, which seemed to have
exceedingly little custom, for there were not more than three other
passengers; and as I only paid about 1s. 8d. for myself, servant, and
carriage, the general receipts must be very small. The vessel is,
however, conducted on so economical a principle, that comparatively few
passengers must suffice to make it pay. A chatty old gentleman, who
seemed to be the sole or chief owner, took me down to the engine-room,
and showed me the pile of wood required for one of its voyages (sixteen
English miles); it measured a fathom each way, and cost 4s. 6d.
English! A good-looking, middle-aged woman, attended by a daughter, was
there to furnish refreshments, and I supped at an expense ludicrously
trifling. While light served, the view from the deck was fine, the
immediate banks of the lake presenting slopes of intense green, divided
into small farms, each provided with its snug little suite of wooden
buildings; while over these spaces rose the dark, steep mountains,
shaggy with rock and scrub. A little before midnight we arrived at
the landing-place under Elstad station, which is situated pretty far
up the hill-side, and to which it was necessary to send for horses to
take up the carriage. Walking on before, I soon found myself at the
house, but had some difficulty in attracting attention, as the inmates
were all in bed. After a little trouble, a stout lass came and bustled
about for the preparation of a couch in a very plain upper chamber, and
I consigned myself to Morpheus with all possible despatch, as it was
necessary that I should be on the road at an early hour on the morrow.

Rising between six and seven, I found Elstad picturesquely situated
on a prominence commanding extensive views of the valley. The house
is black with age: the date 1670 appears by the door-check, showing
that these wooden edifices are more durable than might be supposed.
There is, however, no observable difference between this and more
modern houses as regards the internal arrangements or the size of the
apartments. All such things are stereotyped in Norway. We started
at seven, and had a fine morning drive along the valley, which is
enlivened by some cataracts of the river, and by the inpouring of
two fierce side streams--the Vola and Fyre. At Oden, while they were
procuring fresh horses, I obtained breakfast with some difficulty,
using some tea of my own, but indebted to the house for sugar, eggs,
and butter. The charge for all, besides Quist's breakfast, was a
mark (9½d.); and it probably would have been less if I had not been
regarded as an Englishman. In the space between this station and the
next, at a place called Toostamona (spelt as pronounced), I found a
detrital barrier across the valley, very much like that at Mosshuus,
but so little charged with large blocks, that I felt doubtful whether
it was a second moraine, the mark of a second position of the skirt
of the glacier, or the spoils of some side stream, the product of a
later though still ancient time. Things are now becoming very simple.
The internal economy of the stations is manifestly getting more rude.
When, after a stage is done, I give, at Quist's dictation, four or five
skillings to the man who has come to take back the horses--and four or
five skillings are only about three-halfpence--the poor fellow takes
off his cowl, thrusts a huge coarse hand into the carriage to shake
mine, and utters his 'Tak, tak' (thanks, thanks) with an _empressement_
beaming in his honest visage which affects while it amuses me, it being
impossible to see a fellow-creature so profoundly gratified by anything
so trifling, without at once seeing that his share of the comforts of
life must be small indeed, and feeling contrite at the recollection of
the very slight impression which blessings incomparably greater make
upon myself.

At Sletsvig occurs an undoubted ancient moraine, exactly like that
at Mosshuus, being composed of huge angular blocks mixed with clayey
matter. As it lies opposite a side valley, which here comes in from the
west, it may have been a product of that valley; though I am inclined
to regard it rather as the accumulation left by the glacier of the
Logan vale after it had shrunk up to this point. On the inner side,
looking up the main valley, there is a bed of sand, evidently laid down
by water, and which it seems allowable to regard as the memorial of a
time when this moraine served as a barrier, confining the waters of
the river in the form of a lake. In this part of the valley there is a
system of irrigation extensively practised by means of wooden troughs
laid down along the hill-sides. The cheapness of the material makes
it of course highly available. On my journey to-day I met few persons
of any kind: amongst these were children offering little platefuls of
the wild strawberry for sale. A couple of skillings for a plateful was
evidently received as a great prize. Owing apparently to a change in
the stratification, the valley makes a rectangular bend at _Viig_--a
word, by the way, expressive of a _bend_, being identical with Wick,
which so often occurs in Britain in names of places signifying a bay.
The Viig station, which is a superior one, is said to contain in its
walls some of the timbers of the house in which St Olaf was born--a
fact strange if true, seeing that this saint, who was a king of Norway,
lived in the tenth century.

Having sent on no forebud to-day, I experienced some delay at each
station while fresh horses were procuring from the neighbouring
farmers. Leaving Quist to bring on the carriage from Solheim, I walked
forward to examine at leisure the scene of a remarkable historical
event in which some countrymen of mine were concerned. Above the
junction of a tributary from the west, the valley of the Logan becomes
still more contracted than formerly. The hill-side, steep to an unusual
degree, and rough with large blocks fallen from above, descends to the
left bank of the river, leaving no level stripe to form a road. The
public road is, in fact, by a preference of circumstances, conducted
along the hill-face fully a hundred feet above the stream. In the
year 1612, when the king of Denmark and Norway was at war with the
king of Sweden, a Colonel Mönnichhofen was despatched to Scotland
to hire troops for the assistance of the latter sovereign. He, with
1400 men, landed near Trondheim, and after an ineffectual attempt to
surprise that city, made his way through Norway by Stordalen into
Sweden. A second party of 900 men, under Colonel George Sinclair,
landed a fortnight later at Romsdalen, and endeavoured to pass into
Sweden by a different path. As all regular troops had been draughted
away from Norway to fight the king of Denmark's battles, there seemed
little likelihood of any difficulty being encountered on the march.
The peasantry, however, became exasperated by the extortion of free
provisions, and those of three parishes in this district assembled for
the purpose of opposing the Scotch. According to a Norwegian ballad,
which has been spiritedly translated by David Vedder--

    ----'the news flew east, the news flew west,
      And north and south it flew;
    Soon Norway's peasant chivalry
      Their fathers' swords they drew.

    The beacons blazed on every hill,
      The fiery cross flew fast;
    And the mountain warriors serried stood,
      Fierce as the northern blast....

    The boors of Lessie, Vaage, and Froen,
      Seized axe, and scythe, and brand--
    "Foredoomed is every felon Scot
      Who stains our native land!"'[5]

A guide in the interest of the peasants conducted the Scottish party
towards the narrow defile which has been described. The peasants
themselves were gathered in force on the mountains above. As it was
impossible for them to see what was going on in the pass, they caused
a man mounted on a white horse to pass to the other side of the
river, and move a little way in front of the advancing enemy, that
they might know when he was near at hand. At the same time a girl was
placed on the other side of the Logan, to attract the attention of
the Scots by sounding her rustic horn. When the unfortunate strangers
had thus been led to the most suitable place, the boors tumbled down
huge stones upon them from the mountain-top, destroying them, to use
their own expression, like potsherds. Then descending with sword
and gun, they completed the destruction of the Scots. There is a
romantic story, which seems far from likely, that Sinclair had been
accompanied on this occasion by his wife. It is added that a young
lady of the neighbourhood, hearing of this, and anxious to save an
innocent individual of her own sex, sent her lover to protect the
lady in the impending assault. Mrs Sinclair, seeing him approach,
and mistaking his object, shot him dead. Some accounts represent the
immediate destruction of the Scottish party as complete, excepting only
that two men escaped. One more probable states that sixty were taken
prisoners, and kept by the peasants till next spring, when, provisions
failing, and the government making no movement in the matter, the poor
captives were put into a barn and murdered in cold blood, only two
escaping, of whom one survived to be the progenitor of a family still
dwelling in these wilds. Such were the circumstances of the bloody
affair of Kringelen, to commemorate which a little wooden monument has
been erected on the wayside, at the precise spot where the Scottish
party was surprised. The grave of Sinclair is also pointed out in the
neighbouring churchyard of Quham. An inspection of the scene of the
massacre gives a thrilling sense of the utterly desperate circumstances
of the Scottish troops when beset by the Norwegian boors. One looks
round with horror on the blocks scattered along the hill-side, every
one of which had destroyed a life. 'Now all is peaceful, all is still,'
on the spot where this piece of savage warfare was acted, save that
which only marks the general silence--the murmur of the river. Resting
here for a while, I could not but enter a mental protest against the
triumphant spirit with which the affair is still referred to by the
Norwegians, seeing that the assailants fought at such advantage, not
to speak of the safety in which they fought, that nothing but the
grossest misconduct could have failed to give them a victory. The
grace of a generous mercy would have been worth twice their boast. I
walked on about a mile to a hamlet where there is a sort of rustic
museum, devoted to keeping certain relics of the Scottishmen. In the
inner chamber of a little cottage a woman showed me, ranged along a
wall, five matchlocks, two of them very long, two Highland dirks, a
broadsword, a spur, two powder flasks, the wooden tube of a drum, and
a small iron-hooped box. The sight of these objects so near the scene
of the slaughter helps wonderfully to realise it; and it is impossible
for a Scotsman at least to look on them without emotion. I thought,
however, of the mercy of Providence, which causes the waves of time to
close over the most terrible and the most distressing things, sweeping
away all the suffering--exhaling calamity, as it were, into air--and
leaving only perhaps a few tangible objects to remind us by association
that 'such things were.'

In the evening I arrived at Laurgaard, where it was necessary to spend
the night.

    R. C.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] I am told that these habits do not exist in good society at
Christiania.

[3] The greatest summer height of the Miösen Lake is 430 feet; the
winter height, 410. Finding the level at this time ten feet below the
mark considered as that of highest water, I considered the lake as
being now 420 feet above the sea.

[4] Laug in Norwegian signifies _water_. It is a generic term here
specially applied.

[5] See Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, September 1837, where the original
ballad is also given.



LONDON GOSSIP.


    _November, 1849._

The long vacation is over--cholera has flown away, or gone into
winter quarters--the raising of blinds and unclosing of shutters in
stylish streets indicate the return of families whose absence has
been prolonged by fears of contagion--business, long stagnant, is
reviving--street-traffic is resuming its wonted density--the new Lord
Mayor has 'showed' himself, as of old--the November fogs are entombing
us in their fuliginous darkness--all of which, whether fact, figure,
or fancy, is an intimation that we are in the advent of another London
season.

Butchers and bakers are of course busy under the influx of mouths,
and not they alone, for booksellers are 'looking up,' and making
proclamation of literary supplies. Some famous names are already
announced--Guizot, Grote, and Lord Campbell in matters of history;
Washington Irving in a trio of biographies of individuals so opposite
in character--Washington, Mohammed, Goldsmith--as to make one imagine
that Knickerbocker must have written all three at once, on the
principle that change of work is as good as play. Reprints are in
force; travels and adventures are not lacking; while fiction is as
copious as ever, or more so, for we are promised a re-publication
of the works of two well-known writers of romance in shilling and
eighteenpenny volumes. Quite a boon this for travelling readers who
love the exciting, and patronise railway libraries. Besides these,
there is the usual inundation of pocket-books, almanacs, _et id genus
omne_, which for a time urges printing-presses into preternatural
activity. 'Cooking up an almanac,' as the old song has it, must be a
profitable business: the 'throwing off' of that delightful periodical
vouched for by 'Francis Moore, physician,' to the extent of hundreds of
thousands, is divided among three of our 'city' printers--no small item
in the Christmas bill. The wide sale of a work relying on credulity
for its success is no compliment to the intelligence of the age; yet,
as I myself know, there are hundreds of people, especially in rural
districts, who would rather give up fifty pages of their Bible, than
forego the almanac with its annual prognostications. Power-presses are
kept constantly at work for weeks to supply the multifarious demand.

Among other literary gossip is Fredrika Bremer's visit to the United
Stales. Perhaps the contrast to Scandinavian manners which she will
there perceive, may have the effect of giving her a new inspiration,
which by and by will awaken the sympathies of thousands on both sides
of the Atlantic and in Northern Europe. Talking of the United States,
reminds me that Mr Bancroft has taken up his residence in New York, and
intends to devote himself to the completion of his history, in which,
like our own Macaulay, he may possibly win higher honours, and effect
more lasting good, than in active political life.

You have heard of the sultan's generosity towards a celebrated French
writer. A large tract of land in the vicinity of Smyrna has been
granted by his highness to M. de Lamartine, and it is said the author
of a 'Voyage en Orient' will go out to take possession. A fact highly
honourable to M. de Lamartine has lately come to my knowledge, and
as it illustrates a point of character, I may communicate it. You
are aware that the extemporised minister of foreign affairs has been
compelled to sell his family estate of Macou to satisfy his creditors.
Some of our members of the Peace Congress proposed, on their return
home, to get up a subscription on this side the Channel, which should
enable them to purchase the paternal acres, and restore them to their
late owner. M. de Lamartine was written to on the subject, but declined
to accept the proffered generosity, being 'determined to rely solely on
his own literary exertions for the re-establishment of his affairs.'
Such a resolution is worthy of all respect.

Some very curious and instructive facts have come to light in the
evidence taken before the late parliamentary committee on public
libraries; and the 'blue book' in which that is reproduced is one of
the most valuable that have of late been published 'by authority.'
Certain results come out which are said to make unfavourably against
our country. For instance, the proportion of books in public libraries
to every hundred of the population is, in Great Britain and Ireland,
63; while Russia and Portugal show from 76 to 80; Belgium, Spain,
and Sardinia, 100; France, 129; Italy, 150; Austria and Hungary,
167; Prussia, 200; Sweden and Norway, 309; Denmark, 412; some of the
smaller German states, 450. There has been a good deal of talk about
this; but those who point to British deficiencies omit to inquire
whether the books in countries so liberally furnished are really read
by the people. The presence of books does not necessarily imply much
reading; and if it were possible to poll real readers, there is reason
to believe that the balance would be on the other side. We Britons are
a domestic race; we like to see books on our own shelves, and to read
them at home. It does not follow that a comparatively small number of
public books betokens a deficient number of readers.

With the return of short days and long nights come the season's
pursuits, pleasures, and recreations. Our twenty-two theatres are doing
somewhat in the way of amusement: casinos, saloons, bowling-alleys (an
importation from the United States), and exhibitions, are getting into
full swing. Music--concerts and oratorios--is liberally furnished, of
good quality, and at little cost. The improvement of public taste in
the matter of sweet sounds within the past two or three years is not
less striking than gratifying. But with the decline of coarseness, care
must be taken to avoid the creation of a censorious fastidiousness:
a willingness to be amused is by no means an unfavourable trait of
character.

Mechanics' Institutes are publishing their programmes, and in several
of these there are also signs of improvement. A course of fifteen or
twenty lectures on as many different subjects is no longer considered
as the most improving or desirable. Real instruction is not to be
conveyed by such means; and now two or three suitable topics are to be
chosen, and each discussed in a series of four, five, or six lectures.
In this way we may hope that hearers will be able to carry home with
them clear and definite ideas, instead of the meagre outline hitherto
furnished.

Apropos of lectures: a striking characteristic of the time must not be
overlooked. The attempts recently made towards a just acknowledgment
and recognition of the worth and _status_ of the working-classes
in society have aroused similar efforts here in the metropolis. To
mention only one instance: a course of lectures to working-men is to
be delivered during the month of November, by gentlemen whose name
and character are a guarantee for the value of their teachings. The
subjects are--On the advantages possessed by the working-classes for
their social advancement--On the importance of this advancement to
the nation at large--On the franchise as a public trust--and On the
favourable influence of religion on the intelligence, liberty, virtue,
and prosperity of states. Each lecture, after having been given at the
London Mechanics' Institute, Chancery-Lane, will be repeated the same
week at Finsbury. The topics are good ones; and if the working-classes
do really feel an upward tendency, now is the time to prove it.

Another fact which I must not forbear to notice is the 'Evening
Classes for Young Men in London,' first set on foot last winter by
several public-spirited clergymen and others. A few passages from
the prospectus will not only explain the objects, but serve as a
guide to those who may wish to bestir themselves in similar efforts
in other places. 'The range of subjects,' thus it proceeds, 'will
be nearly the same as that adopted at King's College London; but,
generally speaking, of a more elementary character, so as to suit the
requirements of young men whose time is otherwise much engaged. All
young men of the metropolis and suburbs are admissible on producing a
note of introduction from a clergyman, a subscriber, or a respectable
householder, and paying 2s. 6d. per term for each class.... The year of
study will be divided into three terms--Michaelmas, Lent, and Trinity;
that is from October to July, with short vacations at Christmas and
Easter. A record of the attendance of pupils will be kept in each
class: certificates of regular attendance can be obtained; and these
may be found very useful in after-life, as indicative of steadiness of
conduct, and of a wise application of leisure time.' There is a liberal
spirit in this programme, which is no unimportant essential towards a
realisation of the promoters' aim. As soon as twenty young men in any
part of the metropolis unite to form a class, a teacher is appointed
for them. For the present (Michaelmas) term there are more than forty
such classes, the subjects of study being Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French,
English; history, general, Scriptural, and ecclesiastical; natural
philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, drawing, writing, and singing.
When I tell you that Dr M'Caul conducts the Hebrew, and the Rev. C.
Mackenzie the Greek class, you will be able to form a fair idea of the
value of the instruction imparted. Besides the weekly class-lesson, a
lecture, free to all the members, is given on two evenings of the week.
Those who have long laboured to prove the rectifying and elevating
influence of education, will take courage from the facts which I have
here set down.

After this long discourse about learning and literature, I may turn to
a few minor subjects of gossip. One is the Westminster improvements:
the new line of street by which it is proposed to connect the royal
palace at Pimlico and Belgravia with the grand centre of law and
legislation, is now laid open nearly in its whole length. It is to
be 80 feet wide; and with a view doubtless to its becoming the royal
route, a good breadth of building-land has been reserved on each side.
The making of this avenue has removed a mass of squalid dwellings,
nests of filth and fever, which is of course a public benefit; but it
is hard to imagine what becomes of the late squalid occupants; one can
only suppose that they force themselves into dismal districts already
too thickly peopled. Southey discovered the 'lost tribes,' and a few
others, in London; and it would not be difficult to find a Dismal Swamp
here as well as in Virginia.

Besides this, there is again talk of a new bridge at Westminster, to
be built a little lower down the stream than the present unsightly
structure, by which means a better view than at present will be
obtained of the nine-acre legislatorial palace. We shall perhaps
learn something definite on this pontine business when Sir John
Burgoyne's report comes out. Meantime a 'lion' is not lacking; for
sight-seers go to look at Mr Hope's new mansion at the corner of Dawn
Street, Piccadilly. It is a magnificent building, in the Renaissance
style, and makes one long to see whole streets of such architectural
innovations on the dreary uniformity of West-end thoroughfares. With
slight exceptions, the whole of the works have been executed by foreign
workmen. Some silver-plate for the dining-rooms was 'on view' at the
last exhibition by the Society of Arts, and was greatly admired by
those who love revivals of ancient art.

Of course you have heard of the dismissal of the first Sewers'
Commission, and the appointment of a new one, with Lord Ebrington as
chairman? we must hope not without an intention of _real_ work. The
call for competing drainage-plans was answered by not less than 148
projects being sent in, among which no single one is found efficient;
the schemes, in fact, comprise all sorts of possibilities and
impossibilities. A good many are mere modifications or reproductions
of the plan proposed by Mr J. Martin many years ago, which included
a continuous sewer on each side of the Thames from Vauxhall to
Rotherhithe, to be surmounted by a terrace to serve as a public
thoroughfare. Could this noble scheme be realised, Londoners would
have what has long been a desideratum--a river promenade. Cleaning
of streets and water-supply come in as part of the same subject: in
some parishes bands of 'street orderlies,' as they are called, have
been set to work. They wear a broad-brimmed, black-glazed hat, and a
blue blouse, and in appearance remind one of the 'cantonniers' who
work on the roads in France. The orderlies are provided with a broom
and shovel, and remove all litter as fast as it accumulates. So well
do they do their work, that crossing-sweepers are not needed in their
districts. As regards water, it is a prime subject of discussion at
present, and it is to be hoped that something will come of it. Several
schemes are advocated: to bring water from the Thames at Henley, some
thirty miles distant; to tap Bala Lake, and so introduce the pure
element from North Wales; to bore Artesian wells. If Bala will give
us all we want, in name of the Naiads let us have it! for those who
are learned in subterrane matters declare the Artesian supply to be
an impossibility, and we don't want to drink the out-poured refuse of
Reading or Henley. At all events, the Duke of Wellington has authorised
the sinking of an Artesian well within the precincts of the Tower,
that the garrison may, for once in their lives, know the taste of good
water. It will be a proud day for Cockneydom when it ceases to drink
the superflux of sewers and cesspools!

Touching miscellaneous matters, there is the machine for making
envelopes lately invented at Birmingham, where it was exhibited to
several members of the British Association. It is constructed on the
pneumatic principle, is beautifully simple and effective, and can be
produced at a cost of L.25. You are to imagine the prepared sheets
of which the envelopes are to be formed placed in a small chamber or
receptacle, upon which a bellows-box descends, lifts off the upper
sheet, transfers it to a mould, which gives the size, and pinches the
corners; then, instead of metallic thumbs to rub down each angular
flap, a blast of air enters and effects the purpose; away goes the
envelop to be gummed, and drops finished into the receiver, at a
rate, it is said, exceeding anything yet accomplished. Then there are
Professor Schroeter's experiments on phosphorus, producing what he
calls the 'allotropic condition.' In few words, when exposed to light
and heat of different temperatures, phosphorus undergoes remarkable
changes; no real chemical alteration takes place, yet there seems
to be an entire conversion into other substances. One effect of the
modifications is to render the manipulation of phosphorus harmless
without destroying its properties; and the professor, more fortunate
than scientific men generally, has received a liberal sum from a
Birmingham manufacturer as the price of his discovery. And _last_, what
think you of a mechanical leech, to supersede the little black snake
which so often makes patients shudder? A scientific instrument with
such a name has been invented by M. Alexander, a civil engineer in
Paris. It has been tried in some of the hospitals, and according to the
reports, is a more effectual leech than the natural one.

In a former 'gossip' I mentioned Dr Mantell and his iguanodon: he (the
doctor, not the reptile) has a batch of new 'Wonders of Geology.' An
arm-bone of a _saurian_, nearly five feet in length, the original
possessor of which must have been as much larger than the iguanodon as
the latter is than a modern crocodile: the monster is to be called the
_Colosso-saurus_. In addition there is a 'consignment' of _dinornis_
bones from New Zealand, still further exemplifying the gigantic scale
of pre-Adamite creation. They will doubtless be brought before the
public in some of the doctor's popular lectures.

The return of Sir James Ross and Sir John Richardson from the Arctic
regions without any intelligence of Franklin and his adventurous
band of explorers has created both surprise and pain. Sir James, it
appears, was driven home by ice-drifts against his will and against
his instructions, and the consequence will be another expedition next
spring, should nothing in the meantime be heard of Sir John Franklin
by way of Behring's Straits or Russia. Notwithstanding the sums already
lavished on these next to useless expeditions, a search must still be
made for the party who have now been four years exposed to polar frosts.



A CHEAP CLASS OF RAILWAYS.


A short time ago (October 13) we took occasion, in speaking of the
present railway system, to hint at the possibility of constructing
a class of useful railways, auxiliary to the great lines, at a very
moderate expense. Our observations have drawn the attention of the
conductors of 'Herapath's Railway Journal' to the subject, which is
discussed by them in two able articles (Nov. 3 and 10), of which we
take the liberty of offering an analysis, along with some general
remarks.

The first thing noticed by Herapath is the unnecessarily large cost
at which most of the existing railways have been constructed. While
the railway mania lasted, cost was of inferior consideration. In the
inordinate hurry of the moment, engineers gave only a rapid glance
at the proposed route; they thought nothing of tunnelling hills and
crossing deep valleys, rather than go a mile or two out of their way;
and then, to avoid local opposition, or to promote local jobbing in
land, enormous sums were recklessly promised or expended. 'To show how
lines are projected,' says Herapath, 'we remember that there was one
for which a bill was actively and zealously prosecuted in parliament
in the eventful year 1845, which tunnelled and cut nearly all the way
from Liverpool to Leeds. From the extent of its works, this line,
though not a very long one, would have taken fifteen or twenty years
to make. At the head of this hopeful project was an engineer ranking
high amongst the talents of the day, a gentleman who had made one of
our longest railways, and in support of it as a feasible project it
numbered amongst its directors or committeemen gentlemen of the first
respectability. It narrowly escaped the sanction of the legislature,
which would no doubt have been granted had not a strong opposition
been raised to it by parties interested in a competing line. But
even where there is opposition to expose merits and demerits, it
is not always that parliament can be depended upon to sanction the
better of two lines proposed; the best line remains most likely
undiscovered by engineers. In the case of the Brighton line, of three
proposed, parliament actually selected the worst, the most expensive,
and the shortest only by a trifling distance. There was a route
proposed, which, passing through a natural gap in the hills, avoided
the necessity of tunnelling, and the enormous outlay and permanent
inconvenience consequent upon it. This superior route parliament
discountenanced, and favoured the present long-tunnelled and costly
line.' The parliamentary expenses, caused by the opposition of rival
companies and landowners, told also most seriously on the initiatory
cost of the lines. 'There probably never was a bill passed without
having to encounter great opposition, because there probably never was
a bill for a railway prosecuted in quiet ordinary times. There must
be, it would seem, a _mania_ to bring forth railways, and then all the
world comes out with railway schemes. It is opposition which engenders
expense; and a mania is the hotbed for the raising of opposition. One
of our railway companies had to fight so hard for their bill, that
they found, when at length they reached the last stage--namely, that
of receiving the royal assent--that their parliamentary expenses had
mounted up to half a million of money. Half a million of money spent
in barely acquiring from parliament the _right_ of making a line of
railway which is to confer a benefit on the nation! Such is the fact.
Without opposition, the same bill would have been passed into an act at
a cost not worth naming by the side of that enormous sum.'

The result of all this was, that the cost of constructing railways
went far beyond what was warranted by prospects of traffic; and in
point of fact, had the traffic not turned out to be greater than was
contemplated by the projectors, scarcely a railway in the country
would ever have paid a shilling of profit. The usual expense of
construction and putting in working order--all outlays included--was
L.30,000 to L.40,000 per mile; some lines were executed at L.20,000
per mile; but in several instances the cost was as high as L.300,000
per mile. The mere parliamentary expenses of some lines were L.5000
per mile; and a railway got well off at L.1000 per mile for expenses
of this nature. But the primary cost of railways is only one element
of calculation as respects the chances of profit: another large item
is the expense of working. It is now discovered that a railway cannot
be worked, to be at all efficient, under the present heavy locomotive
system, at a less cost than L.700 per mile per annum. 'Several branch
lines owned by wealthy companies,' says Herapath, 'do not receive
more than L.500 per mile per annum, while the expense of working them
cannot be less than L.700 per mile per annum. Here the loss is L.200
per mile per annum in addition to the loss of the capital expended' for
construction. 'The [present] locomotive railway system is of too costly
a character to admit of every town having its railway. It is too costly
in _working_ as well as in _construction_. A vast number of places have
not traffic sufficient to support railways, though the capital cost of
them should be nothing. The working of trains is too expensive to allow
of any profit being derived from the traffic conveyed.'

The announcement of these truths brings us to the consideration of
a new and cheaper kind of railway system. It will naturally occur
to every one that there are towns and districts which might find a
paying traffic for some species of thoroughfare superior to what is
afforded by a common road. A road is a general pathway on which so many
cart-loads of stones are laid down to be ground to mud annually, at
great labour to horses, and no small pain and loss of time and money
to passengers. The way they are supported by toll-bar exactions is in
itself a pure barbarism. It is not an advance beyond the rudest stage
of social economy. We pity towns that are cut off from the general
intercourse of the world by so miserable a class of thoroughfares;
and the question we propound is--whether something better, yet not so
stupendous as ordinary railways, could be brought into operation? We
think there could; yet only provided certain concessions were made. The
following is what we propose:--

Railways to be constructed with only one line. The rails to be of a
somewhat lighter make than those ordinarily employed. The routes to
be accommodated, as far as possible, to the nature of the country.
Tunnels, deep cuttings, high embankments, and expensive viaducts, to
be avoided. The best levels to be chosen, even although the route
should be some miles divergent. No sidings of any kind, so that local
superintendence to shift points would be altogether avoided. Small
locomotives, of not more than ten-horse power, to be employed. Light
omnibuses for passengers, and light wagons for goods, only to be used.
On the supposition that the lines of this nature shall be made only of
from ten to twenty miles in length (larger lines not being immediately
contemplated), there ought on no account to be more than one locomotive
in use: if there were a second, it should only be as a reserve in
case of accidents. This rule for locomotives to form a main feature
in the whole plan. The locomotive, with its one or two omnibuses for
passengers, or its short train of wagons, or with omnibuses and wagons
mixed, to be kept almost constantly going. Instead of standing during
long intervals doing nothing, with its steam ineconomically escaping,
and its driver idle, let it be on the move, if necessary, the whole
twenty-four hours. As soon as it comes in at one terminus, let it
return to the other. Let it, in short, do all the work that is to be
done; and as by this means there can be only one train at a time in
operation, so there can never be any collisions, and sidings would
be useless. The speed to be regulated according to circumstances.
Trains with coal, lime, or other heavy articles, may go at the rate of
six or eight miles an hour; those with passengers may proceed at an
accelerated rate of twelve to fifteen miles, which we anticipate to be
a sufficient maximum speed for railways of this kind, and more would
not be expected. The width or gauge might be that commonly employed,
and the lines might be in connection with the existing railways. But we
would not consider it indispensable for the light trains here spoken of
to run into the main lines. It might be proper to run the same wagons
on both; but the shifting of passengers would be of less importance.
At present, people shift into stage-coaches at certain stations, and
they would have no greater trouble in shifting into the omnibuses on
the single branch lines. To leave nothing untried as regards saving
in the working expenses, it might be preferable to have no station
clerks. Stations need only be covered sheds, to afford shelter from the
weather; and instead of a class of clerks and porters fixed to a spot,
a conductor to sell tickets, and a porter as an assistant, might travel
with every train.

Such are the leading features of a plan for establishing cheap
railways. If no fallacy lurk under our calculations, the expense
of working such lines would be comparatively small. The number of
attendants would be on the most moderate scale, and so likewise would
be the amount of the engines and carriages in active operation.
Possibly, in some instances, horse-power would be preferable to that of
steam; but on this point it is needless to say much, for the question
would be determined by circumstances. Herapath seems to indicate that
horse-power might be deemed sufficient in the first instance. He
observes, 'It is probable that on railways of the character recommended
for local purposes the average traction would be about one-tenth of
the common road traction. One horse on a local railway would therefore
draw as much as ten on a common road, perhaps more. But even this gives
a great advantage over the common road. Horses, in the room of the
heavy locomotives now in use, would effect great saving, in carrying
a limited amount of traffic, in working, as well as in the repairs of
the permanent way. Should the traffic of these local lines increase
much, it may then become advisable to put on light locomotives equal
to the duty. Improvements are every day being made in the locomotive;
and it is highly probable that in course of time we shall have light
locomotives fit for the working of branch lines, where there is but a
meagre supply of traffic, and where the expense of the giant locomotive
now in use cannot be borne.'

The only matters remaining to be discussed are the mode and cost
of construction. It may be as well to say at once, that unless the
landowners and general inhabitants of a district cordially concur in
establishing such lines, they cannot be made, and the whole project
falls to the ground. It must be regarded in every instance as assumed,
that the parties locally interested wish for the lines, and will
earnestly, and without selfishness, promote their execution. It
will, we believe, be very generally found that on a line of ten to
twenty miles in length there are not more than six to eight principal
landowners. We could mention instances in which lines would go six
miles over one person's property. In a variety of cases the lines might
run for certain distances alongside the public roads, so as to cause
the least possible damage to property or general amenity. In any case,
supposing that nothing more than the fair price of the land taken is
to be paid for--no contest in parliament, and no great works to be
attempted--it is reasonable to conclude that the first cost of the
lines would be little more than a tenth of what is ordinarily charged.
According to Herapath--'instead of L.30,000, L.40,000, or L.50,000 a
mile, the cost of a town's or landowner's branch line, constructed on
the above principle, would only be a few thousands--probably as low
as L.2000, L.3000, or L.4000 a mile. The expense, however, would vary
according to the nature of the country to be traversed. Where the
ground is flat and sound (not boggy) the expense would be lightest.
But in each case an estimate could ascertain--not to a nicety, but
nearly--what a line would cost. We should advise that, prior to
entering upon the construction of a line, the parties should carefully
estimate the cost of construction, the charges for working--say by
horses--and thus see, before they commenced, that there was no chance
of their being on the wrong side. We imagine that lines constructed and
worked so cheaply as these would be, would pay well; in dividend far
outrival their more costly connections, the great locomotive lines.
A wide field is here opened for legitimate and safe speculation; for
benefiting all parties, if it be only properly carried out. To raise
funds for this purpose, the townspeople and landowners could form
themselves into partnerships or companies. We have no doubt they would
amply benefit their pockets in a direct manner, by the profitable
return such a railway would make upon its capital, as well as obtain
railway communications which would enhance the value of their estates
and the importance of their towns.'

With these explanations, the subject may be left in the hands of
the public. Only one obstacle seems to present itself--and that is
the present disheartened condition of the country respecting all
railway schemes whatever. On this account projects such as we speak
of would have a difficulty in obtaining a hearing. At the same time,
the penalties of neglecting opportunities must be borne in mind. To
conclude in the words of Herapath:--'The local parties interested in
lines of this description should not delay directing their attention
to the subject; for while they are waiting and dreaming, the trade
of their towns may permanently pass away from them, and centre in
places provided with railway accommodation. Trade remains with a place
for a long time after another place has possessed itself of superior
advantages for carrying it on; but when it _has_ passed away, owing to
neglect to retain it, it is almost impossible to regain it. Certainly,
it may be said, the sooner the inhabitants of isolated places in want
of railway communication bestir themselves in this matter, the better
for their own interests. In self-defence they will be called upon in
the course of years to do so; when they find their trade slipping
through their fingers they _must_ have railways; and as railway
companies will never be allowed to do it for them, they must needs make
the lines themselves. Is it not better to set about this work before it
is a matter of necessity, before they lose their business, and before
others take it away? To our mind there is not a doubt of the propriety
of local parties attending to this notice at once; not in haste, but
with deliberate judgment, reviewing the local position in which they
stand, the capability of forming a cheap line, and the advantages of it
both directly and indirectly to themselves.'

    W. C.



CURIOUS PECULIARITY IN THE ELEPHANT.


The Bombay Times notices a paper by Dr Impey in the 'Transactions of
the Bombay Medical and Physical Society,' containing an account of
the rise of a malignant pustule from contact with the flesh of a dead
elephant. It furnishes a curious new fact in the natural history of the
animal. 'It is so seldom,' says the Bombay Times, 'that tame elephants
amongst us die from natural causes, or under such circumstances as
permit of dissection, that this peculiarity of the carcase has not,
we believe, till now been described, though perfectly well known to
the natives. A baggage elephant accompanying the third troop of horse
artillery having died on the march betwixt Mhow and Poona at the
commencement of the hot season of 1846, the elephant was cut up by some
of the artillerymen and attendants, under the supervision of Dr Impey,
to see, if possible, to determine the cause of its death. The _mochee_
was ordered to work amongst the rest, but could not be induced to touch
the carcase until he had smeared his hands and arms with oil, assigning
as the reason of his aversion the certainty of disease supervening, and
its liability periodically to attack those who had once suffered from
it. This at the time was heartily ridiculed; but the laugh was on the
mochee's side when every man employed in the dissection but himself
was two days afterwards attacked with acute disease. The character of
this was at first purely local: the pain felt like that arising from
the bite of a venomous insect; it was accompanied by slight local
inflammation. This soon extended, and became a sore. These deepened to
the bone, and extended on all sides, manifesting a remarkable degree of
sluggishness and inactivity. Fever accompanied the earlier symptoms,
exhibiting a remittent type, and being most severe towards the evening.
After a fortnight, secondary fever appeared, and three weeks elapsed
before the sores could be healed up. The patient had by this time
become emaciated, sallow, and enervated, so that active dietetic
measures required to be taken for his restoration.'



DIG DEEP TO FIND THE GOLD.


    Dost thou seek the treasures hidden
      Within earth's rocky bed,
    The diamond for beauty's tresses,
      Gems for the queenly head?
    'Tis not on the dewy surface
      That they their rays unfold,
    But far in the distant hollows--
      Dig deep to find the gold.

    Dost thou long thy fields should brighten
      With golden harvest ears,
    And thy pastures yield in verdure
      Riches for coming years?
    Then dream not that while you linger
      Earth's bounty you'll behold;
    But _strive_, and win her treasures--
      Dig deep to find the gold.

    Dost thou sigh for wealth of knowledge,
      The riches of ages past,
    And o'er the bright world of science
      Thy longing glances cast?
    With love and zeal undaunted,
      Seek for the wealth untold,
    In the soul-lit mines of genius
      Dig deep to find the gold.

        C. T.



SCOTLAND IN ENGLAND.


The great annual Caledonian Ball is soon to come off with its
accustomed splendour; the Scottish National pastimes and fêtes are
to be celebrated under the most influential auspices; and the [late]
Scotch Lord Mayor continues to keep up the national character for
hospitality with unwonted liberality and _éclat_. A Scotch nobleman
has won the Derby, an achievement surpassing, in the estimation of
the Cockneys, all the exploits of Lord Gough. Another Scotch nobleman
has added the splendid territory of the Five Rivers to the British
empire in India; and a third is wisely, and ably, and approvingly,
suppressing rebellion in Canada. Two Scotch noblemen made the best
speeches, _pro_ and _con_, on the Navigation-laws. The temporary
absence from illness of one Scotch member (Hume) from the Commons is
generally lamented. Scotch music is heard and applauded in the streets
despite of the _dilettanti_ and tramontane attractions of Alboni and
Lablache; and Scotch steamers are universally allowed to be the finest
models of marine architecture in the river. From the stone bridges
over the Thames--nearly all built [of Scotch stones] by Scotchmen--you
are perpetually reminded of the genius of James Watt. Scotch banking
is getting more into vogue, and is trenching on the originally Scotch
organised Bank of England. Scotch cakes, Scotch shortbread, Scotch
gingerbread, Edinburgh buns, and Selkirk bannocks, Scotch whisky,
ale, salmon, herrings, haddocks, and oats, maintain their accustomed
supremacy. Scotch plaids and tartans are in the windows of every
clothier, draper, and tailor's shop; and you scarcely meet a smart
female in the streets without some part at least of her person being
decorated in tartan array. In the printshop windows you see the
departure of the 'Highland Drove'--the Illicit Still on the mountain
side--the Stag at Bay--the Lassie herding Sheep, in juxtaposition
with her Majesty the Queen and her Court at the Coronation.--_London
Correspondent of Inverness Courier._

[Might we be permitted to add, in the most delicate way possible, that
little is now read but Scotch periodicals! The only thing which seems
to keep patriotically at home is Scotch sectarianism.]


       *       *       *       *       *

Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh. Also sold by
    D. CHAMBERS, 20 Argyle Street, Glasgow; W. S. ORR, 147 Strand,
    London; and J. M'GLASHAN, 21 D'Olier Street, Dublin.--Printed
    by W. & R. CHAMBERS, Edinburgh.





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