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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, Number 371, September 1846
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, Number 371, September 1846" ***

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



BLACKWOOD’S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  No. CCCLXXI.      SEPTEMBER, 1846.      VOL. LX.



CONTENTS.


  MEXICO, ITS TERRITORY AND PEOPLE,                                  261

  A SUMMER DAY. BY THOMAS AIRD,                                      277

  CABRERA,                                                           293

  MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. IV. CHARLES RUSSELL, THE GENTLEMAN
    COMMONER. CONCLUSION,                                            309

  LETTERS ON ENGLISH HEXAMETERS. LETTER II.,                         327

  ALGERIA,                                                           334

  HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE AND LIVE IN IT. NO. II.,                      349

  HOW I BECAME A YEOMAN,                                             358

  THE WATER-CURE,                                                    376



  EDINBURGH:

  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

  _To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._

  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.


  PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



                        SABLONIERE HOTEL, LEICESTER SQUARE,
                            _London, July 27th, 1846_.


Messrs BLACKWOOD AND SONS,

GENTLEMEN,--Scarcely arrived in London, on my annual visit to this
capital, a fiend put into my hands a copy of Blackwood’s Edinburgh
Magazine for June 1846, in which I observe an article entitled
“_Rogues in Outline_.” The writer of this article, in a section headed
“_Birbone--Baseggio_,” has taken most unwarrantable liberties with my
character, mixing them up with some false details respecting my private
life. The latter impertinences I treat with contempt: not so the titles
applied to me of “_Old Rogue B----_” and “_Birbone Baseggio_,” with
the insinuation that I make a practice of selling modern objects for
antiques.

If your correspondent had taken the trouble to inquire of any of his
_well-informed_ countrymen at Rome or in England, he certainly never
would have committed you, or himself, by the publication of the calumny
he so wantonly seeks to inflict on my character. Luckily for me, there
are now here many respectable persons of rank and reputation who will
take a pleasure in attesting, _if necessary_, the habitual fairness
and straight-forwardness of my dealings. I expect equal fairness from
you, and that you will lose no time in affording me the reparation of a
wrong you have (I trust unconsciously) done me, by at least publishing
this letter in your next Number, giving me in the mean time an
assurance to that effect. I await your answer, and remain your obedient
servant,

                        JOSEPH BASEGGIO.



BLACKWOOD’S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  No. CCCLXXI.      SEPTEMBER, 1846.       VOL. LX.



MEXICO, ITS TERRITORY AND PEOPLE.


Man must be content to follow the steps of Providence tardily,
timidly, and uncertainly; but he can have no pursuit more worthy of
his genius, his wisdom, or his virtue. Why one half of the globe
remained hidden from the other during the four or five thousand years
after its creation, is among the questions which we may long ask
without obtaining an answer. Why the treasures, the plants, and the
animals of America should have been utterly unknown, alike to the
adventurous expeditions of Tyre and Sidon, to the nautical skill of
the Carthaginian, to the brilliant curiosity of the Greek, and to the
imperial ambition of the Roman; while their discovery was reserved
for a Genoese sailor in the fifteenth century, is a problem perhaps
inaccessible of solution by any human insight into the ways of the
Great Disposer of all things. Yet may it not be conjectured that the
knowledge was expressly withheld until it could be of practical use to
mankind; that if America had been discovered a thousand years before,
it would have been found only a vast wilderness in both its southern
and northern divisions, for it was then almost wholly unpeopled; that
with the chief interest of imperial Rome turned to European possession
or Eastern conquest, the discovery would have been nearly thrown away;
that there was hitherto no superflux of European population to pour
into this magnificent desert; and that even if Roman adventure had
dared the terrors of the ocean, and the perils of new climates, at an
almost interminable distance from home, the massacres and plunders
habitual to heathen conquest must have impeded, if not wholly broken
up, the progress of the feeble population already settling on the soil;
or perhaps trained that population to habits of ferocity like their
own, and turned a peaceful and pastoral land into a scene of slaughter
and misery?

The discovery of the American Continent flashed on the world like the
discovery of a new Creation. In reading the correspondence of the
learned at the time, the return of Columbus, and the knowledge which
that return brought, is spoken of with a rapture of language more
resembling an Arabian tale than the narrative of the most adventurous
voyage of man. The primitive races of their fellow-beings, living
in the simplicity of nature, under forests of the palm, with all
delicious fruits for their food, with gold and pearls for their toys,
and the rich treasures of new plants and animals of all species for
their indulgence and their use, were described with the astonishment
and delight of a dream of Fairy-land, or the still richer visions of
restored Paradise.

Yet, when the hues of imagination grew colourless by time, the
continents of the West displayed to the ripened knowledge of Europe
virtues only still more substantial. The contrast between the northern
and southern portions of the New World is of the most striking kind.
It is scarcely less marked than the distinction between the broken,
deeply-divided, and well-watered surface of Europe, and the broad
plains, vast mountain ranges, and few, but mighty rivers, which form
the characteristic features of Asia. In North America, we see a land of
singularly varied surface, in its primitive state, covered with forest;
with an uncertain climate; a soil seldom luxuriant, often sterile,
every where requiring, and generally rewarding human industry; watered
by many rivers, penetrated in almost every direction by navigable
streams, and traversed from north to south, an unusual direction for
rivers, by an immense stream, the Mississippi, bringing down the furs,
the produce of the north, the corn of the temperate zone, the fruits
of the tropics, and connecting all those regions with the commerce of
Europe: a natural canal, of more than two thousand miles, without a
perceptible difference of breadth, from New Orleans to the falls of St
Anthony. The Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, noble rivers, traverse the land
in a variety of directions, with courses of from fifteen hundred to two
thousand miles; and to the north of the United States, a chain of vast
inland seas, a succession of Mediterraneans, surrounded by productive
provinces, rapidly filling with a busy population.

The southern portion of the New World exhibits the plains of Tartary,
the solitary mountain range of India, the fertility of the Asiatic
soil. It, too, has its Ganges and its Indus, in the Amazon and the Rio
de la Plata; but its smaller streams are few and feeble. It has the
fiery heat of India, the dangerous exhalations of the jungle, the tiger
and the lion, though of a less daring and powerful species; and the
native, dark, delicate, timid, and indolent, as the Hindoo.

Without speaking of the contrast as perfectly sustained in all its
points, it is unquestionable that North and South America have been
formed for two great families of humankind as distinct as energy and
ease; that the North is to be possessed only as the conquest of toil,
while the South allows of the languor into whose hand the fruit drops
from the tree.

May it not also be rationally conjectured, that in the discovery
Europe and America were equally the objects of the Providential
benevolence? It was palpably the Divine will to give Europe a new and
powerful advance in the fifteenth century. Printing, gunpowder, and
the mariner’s compass, were its gifts to Europe; to be followed and
consummated in that new impulse at once to religious truth and to
social improvement, which so soon transpired in the German Reformation,
and in the commercial system of England and the continental nations.
The extension of this mighty impulse to America rapidly followed.
The first English colony was planted in North America in the reign
of Elizabeth, the great protectress of Protestantism; and the first
authentic knowledge of South America was brought to Europe by the
discoveries of Englishmen, following the route of Columbus, and going
beyond him. It is true that the intercourse of the South with the
energetic qualities and free principles of Europe was impeded by an
influence which, from its first being, has been hostile to the free
progress of the human mind. The Popedom threw its shadow over Spanish
America, and the great experiment of civilisation was comparatively
thrown away wherever the priest of Rome was paramount. The land, too,
witnessed a succession of slaughters, and the still more fearful trade
in the unfortunate natives of Africa. But the most powerful contrast
was furnished to mankind in the rapid growth of the Protestant states
of the north, in their increasing commerce, in the vigour of their
laws, in the activity of the public mind, and the ascent of their
scattered and feeble communities into the rank and the enjoyments of a
great nation.

Nor are we to speak of South America as having wholly slept during the
period since its discovery. If all the larger faculties which give
nations a place in history remained in a state of collapse under the
pressure of Spain, society had made a forward step in every province
of that great territory. The inhabitants had never relapsed into
their primitive barbarism; they had laws, commerce, manufactures, and
literature, all in a ruder degree than as developed under the vivid
activity of Europe, but all raising the provinces into a gradual
capacity of social vigour, of popular civilisation, and perhaps even of
that pure religion without which national power is only national evil.
Perhaps the cloud which has rested for so many ages over the moral
soil of South America, may have been suffered to remain until the soil
itself acquired strength for a larger product under a more industrious
generation. It is not improbable that as the gold and silver of the
South were evidently developed, in the fifteenth century, to supply the
new commercial impulse of that time of European advance, the still more
copious, and still more important, agricultural wealth of countries
overflowing with unused exuberance--the magnificent tropical fertility
of the continents beyond the ocean--may have been reserved to increase
the opulence and stimulate the ardour of a period which the Steam-boat
and the Railway have marked for a mighty change in the earth; and
in which they may be only the first fruits of scientific skill, the
promises of inventions still more powerful, the heralds of a general
progress of mankind, to whose colossal strides all the past is feeble,
unpurposed, and ineffectual.

The invasion of the Mexican territory by the army of the United States
has naturally attracted the eyes of Europe; and whether the war shall
issue in a total conquest or in a hollow peace, its results must
strongly affect the future condition of the country. Mexico must at
once take the bold attitude of an empire, or must be dis-severed,
province by province, until its very name is no more. But no country
of the western world has a position more fitted for empire. Washed
on the east by the gulf which bears its name, and on the west by the
Pacific, it thus possesses direct access to two oceans, and by them
to the most opulent regions of the globe. On the south it can dread
no rival in the struggling state of Guatemala. But the north is the
true frontier on which the battle of its existence is to be fought,
if fought at all, for beyond that barrier stretch the United States.
The extent of its territory startles European conceptions, extending
in north latitude from fifteen to forty-two degrees, and in west
longitude from eighty-seven to one hundred and twenty-five degrees.
Its surface, on a general calculation, contains about a million and a
half of square miles, or about _seven_ times the dimensions of France.
Yet, though thus approaching the equator, the climate of Mexico is in
general highly favourable to life and to the products of the temperate
zone: the incomparably larger portion of its surface being a succession
of table-lands or elevated plains, where, with the sun of the tropics
blazing almost vertically, the evenings are refreshingly cool, the
breeze is felt from the mountains or the ocean, and the days are
scarcely hotter than those of Europe.

We now glance at the principal features of the great territory.

Vera Cruz, its chief commercial city, and medium of intercourse with
Europe, is handsomely built, exhibiting the usual signs of commercial
wealth, in the stateliness of its private houses, and in the rarer
peculiarity of wide and cleanly streets. But when did commerce
build with any other consideration than that of trade? Vera Cruz is
proverbially unhealthy; a range of swamps in the vicinity loads the
summer air with fatal exhalations; and the Vomito, the name for a
rapid disease, evidently akin to the fearful Black-vomit of Africa,
requires either the most vigilant precaution, or more probably the most
fortunate chance, to escape its immediate seizure of the frame. Yet it
is said that this disease seldom attacks the natives of the city.

But the general susceptibility of the European frame to tropical
disease, is tried here in almost every shape of suffering; and typhus,
yellow fever, and almost pestilence, terribly thin the concourse of the
stranger.

Yet such is the courage of money-making in all parts of the world, that
climate is regarded as only a bugbear. The trader in Vera Cruz enters
on the campaign against “all the ills that flesh is heir to,” as if
he had a patent for life. The streets, in the trading season, exhibit
perpetual crowds; the harbour is full of masts, nestling under the
protection of St Juan d’Ulloa from the bursts of wind which sometimes
come with terrible violence from the north; and the funeral and the
festivity go on together, and without much impeding each other, in
a land which for the time exhibits the very Festino, or fête of the
Merchant, the Sailor, and the Creole.

But, when this season ends, Vera Cruz is as sad as a dungeon, as
silent as a monastery, and as sickly as an hospital. The señoras, a
race of perfectly Spanish-visaged, black-eyed, and very coquettish
beauties, sit all day drooping in their balconies, like doves upon
the housetops, perhaps longing for a hurricane, an earthquake, or any
thing which may break up the monotony of their existence. The sound of
a guitar, a passing footstep, nay, the whine of a beggar, sets a whole
street in motion, and there is a general rustling of mantillas, and a
general rush to the windows. The men bear their calamity better; the
señor, when he has once a cigar between his sallow lips, has made up
his mind for the day. Whether he stands in the sunshine or sits in the
shade--whether he wakes or sleeps, the cigar serves him for all the
exercise of his animal functions. His brain is as much enveloped in
smoke as his moustaches; his cares vanish like the smoke itself. It is
not until his cigar-box is empty, that he reverts to the consciousness
of his being an inhabitant of this world of ours.

But some are of a more aspiring disposition. They now and then glance
round upon the noble landscape which encircles their city. But they do
this with the most dexterous determination not to move a limb. Their
houses are flat-roofed; some of them have little glazed chambers on the
roofs; and there they sit with the sky above them, the mountains round
them, and the sea beneath them, dreaming away like so many dormice. One
of their American describers compares the whole well-bred population
to a colony of beavers; but, we presume, _without_ the industry of
the quadruped. Their still closer resemblance would be to a wax-work
collection on a large scale, where tinsel petticoats, woollen wigs, and
bugle eyes imitate humanity, and every thing is before the spectator
but life.

Jonathan, who thinks himself born to lay hold on every scrap of the
globe by which he can turn one cent into two, looks, of course, on
the whole shore of the gulf--towns, mines, and mountains--as his own.
He frees himself from all scruples on the subject by the obvious
convenience of the conception.

“No spot of the earth,” says one of those neighbourly persons, “will be
more desirable than the soil of Mexico for a residence, whenever it is
in possession of _our race_, with the government and laws which they
carry with them wherever they go. The march of time is not more certain
than that _this will be_, and probably at _no distant day_.”

And, on this showing, the man of “government and laws” proceeds to
“sink, burn, and destroy,” in the “great cause of humanity,” edifies
the native by grapeshot, and polishes him with the cutlass. In those
exploits of a “free and enlightened” people, our only surprise is that
diplomacy itself takes the trouble of offering any apology whatever.
The comparative powers of resistance and attack settle the conscience
of the affair in a word. The seizure is easy, and therefore why should
it not be made? The riflemen of Kentucky and the hunters of Virginia,
the squatters of Ohio and the sympathizers of Massachusets, all see
the affair in the proper light; and why should the philosopher or
the philanthropist, the man of justice or the man of religion, be
listened to on subjects so much more easily settled by the rattle of
twelve-pounders? The right of making war on Mexico has not yet found a
single defender but in the streets; not a single ground of defence but
in the roar of the rabble; not a single plea but in the convenience
of the possession. Even the American journals have given up their old
half-savage rant of universal conquest. Every drop of blood shed in a
war of aggression is sure to be avenged.

The present town is not the town of Cortes. His “Villa Rica de Vera
Cruz” (The Rich City of the True Cross) was seated six miles further
inland. But trade decided against the choice of the great soldier.
The pen, in this instance, conquered the sword a century before the
conflict began in Europe. The population of the old city slipped away
to the new and hasty hovels on the shore; and the ground consecrated by
the banner of the Spanish hero was left to the donkey and the thistle.

The visible protector of the city and harbour (it has saints
innumerable) is the island of St Juan de Ulloa, lying within 600 yards
of the mole; and on which stands the well-known fortress. Ships, of
course, pass immediately under its guns; and it is regarded as the
most powerful fortress in Mexico, or perhaps in the New World, being
now thoroughly armed. This is a different state of things from the
condition in which it was found by the French squadron in 1839. The
ramparts were then scarcely mounted, the guns were more dangerous to
the garrison than to the enemy, and of regular artillerists there
were few or none; engineers were unheard of. The French naturally did
as they pleased; achieved a magnanimous triumph over bare walls, and
plucked a laurel for the Prince de Joinville from the most barren of
all possible soils of victory; but it served for a bulletin. They would
probably now find another kind of reception, for the ramparts _have_
guns, and the guns have artillerymen.

The aspect of the Mexican coast from the sea is singularly bold. On the
north and west the waters of the Gulf wash a level shore; but on the
south all is a crescent of mountains, rising to a general height of
12,000 feet above the level of the sea; but the noblest object is the
snow-capped pinnacle of Orizaba, rising, according to Humboldt, 17,400
feet, and covered with perpetual snow from the height of 15,092. This
is a volcanic mountain, but which has slept since the middle of the
sixteenth century; what must have been its magnificence when its summit
was covered with flame!

The mode of conveyance between Vera Cruz and Mexico is chiefly by an
establishment of stage-coaches, making three journeys a-week between
the capitals. Those vehicles, originally established by an American
of the United States, are now the property of a Mexican whom they are
rapidly making rich. The horses are Mexican, and, though small, are
strong and spirited. The stage leaves Vera Cruz at eleven at night, and
arrives about three o’clock in the next afternoon at Jalapa, a distance
of about seventy miles, and a continual ascent through mountains. The
houses on the wayside are few and wretched, constructed of canes ten
feet long, fixed in the ground, and covered with palm-tree leaves.
The villages strongly resemble those of the American Indians; hovels
ten or twelve feet square, with a small patch of ground for Chillies
and Indian corn--the only difference of those original styles of
architecture being, that the northern builds with logs, the southern
with mud in the shape of bricks.

A large portion of the country between those two towns belonged to the
well-known General Santa Anna. The soil of his vast estate is fertile,
but left to its natural fertility--the General being a shepherd,
and said to have from forty to fifty thousand head of cattle in his
pastures. He also acts the farmer, and takes in cattle to graze. His
demand is certainly not high; and Yorkshire will be astonished to hear
that he feeds them at forty dollars the hundred.

The ascent of the mountain range, and the varieties of the road,
naturally keep the traveller on the _qui vive_. With the air singularly
transparent, with the brightest of skies above, and the most varied
of southern landscapes stretching to an unlimited extent below, the
eye finds a continual feast. The city of Jalapa stands on the slope,
throned on a shelf of the mountain 4000 feet above the sea, and with
4000 feet of the bold and sunny range above it. The whole horizon,
except in the direction of Vera Cruz, is a circle of mountains, and
towering above them all, at a distance of twenty-five miles, (which,
from the clearness of the air, seems scarcely the fourth part of the
distance,) rises the splendid cone of Orizaba. On the summit of the
range stands Perote, a town connected with a strong fortress, perhaps
the highest in position that the world exhibits--8500 feet above the
shore.

Height makes the difference between heat and cold every where. In
the middle of a summer which burns the blood in the human frame at
Vera Cruz, men in Perote button their coats to the chin, and sleep in
blankets. Thus winter is brought from the Poles to the Tropic, and the
Mexican shivers under the most fiery sunshine of the globe.

The next stage is Puebla--eighty miles; the road passes over a vast
plain generally without a sign of cultivation, as generally destitute
of inhabitants, and with scarcely a tree, and scarcely a stream. It
is difficult to know to what purpose this huge prairie can be turned,
except to a field of battle. As the road approaches Puebla, there
are farms erected by the town, and from which its wants are chiefly
supplied. They produce wheat, barley, and Indian corn. The only fodder
for horses is wheaten straw, but on this they contrive to “grow fat;”
we are not called on to account for the phenomenon.

But every nation loves to intoxicate itself, and the Mexican boasts
of the most nauseous invention for the purpose among the discoveries
of man. Pulque, the national beverage, is the juice of the Agave
Americana, fermented. The original process by which the fermentation is
produced is one which we shall not venture to detail; but the liquor
obtained from the section of the plant is drawn up by a rude syphon,
and poured into dressed ox-hides. The taste is mawkish, and the smell
is noisome. Yet, to the Mexican, it is nectar and ambrosia together.
Pulque is to him meat, drink, and clothing, for without it the world
has no pleasures. The most remarkable circumstance is, that it is
without strength. Thus it wants the charm of brandy, which may madden,
but which at least warms; or aquafortis, which the Pole and the Russ
are said to drink as a qualifier of their excesses in train oil; but
the Mexican would rather die, or even fight, than dispense with his
pulque; and if Santa Anna had but put his warriors on short allowance
of the national liquor before his last battle, and promised them double
allowance after it, he would probably have been, at this moment, on the
Mexican throne.

The Agave, called by the natives Maguey, is certainly an extraordinary
instance of succulency, and an unrivalled acquisition to a thirsty
population. A single plant of the Agave has been known to supply one
hundred and fifty gallons of this sap. In good land it grows to an
enormous size, the centre stem often thirty feet high, and twelve or
fifteen inches in diameter at the bottom. When the plant is in flower,
which occurs from seven to fifteen years old, the centre stem is cut
off at the bottom, and the juice is collected.

Humbolt says, that a single plant will yield four hundred and fifty-two
cubic inches of liquor in twenty-four hours, for four or five months,
which would give upwards of four hundred gallons. How curious are the
distributions of nature! All this profuse efflux of mawkish fluid would
be thrown away in any other country. But nature has given the Mexican a
palate for its enjoyment, and to him the draught is rapture.

Mexico is the land for the lovers of pumice-stone. The whole road from
Vera Cruz to the capital is covered with remnants of lava. Every plain
seems to have been burnt up by eruptions a thousand years old, or,
according to the time-table of the geologist, from ten to ten thousand
millions of years ago. With the mountain tops all on fire, and the
plains waving with an inundation of flame, Mexico must have been a
splendid, though rather an inconvenient residence, in the “olden time.”

Mexican agriculture has not yet attained the invention of an iron
ploughshare; its substitute is primitive, and wooden. It evidently
dates as far back as the times of the Dispersion. Nor, with thousands
and tens of thousands of horses, have they yet discovered that a
horse may be yoked to a plough. The Turks say, that the plague exists
only where Mahometanism is the religion, and they seem to regard the
distinction as a peculiar favour of Providence. It has been said by, or
for, the Spaniards of the present day, that no railroad exists, nor,
we presume, _can_ exist, “where the Spanish language is spoken.” The
late abortive attempts to make a railway from Bayonne to Madrid, so far
prove the incompatibility of railways with the tongue of the Peninsula.
A little effort of human presumption in Cuba, has been ventured on, in
the shape of a brief railway, which already goes, as we are informed,
at the rate of some half-dozen miles an hour. But as this is a
dangerous speed to a Spaniard, we naturally suppose that the enterprise
will be abandoned. But though the majority of the population, between
drinking pulque and smoking cigars, find their hands completely full,
one class is at least sufficiently active. Robbers in Mexico are what
pedlars used to be in England; they keep up the life of the villages,
plunder wherever they can, cheat where they cannot plunder, ride
stout horses, and lead, on the whole, a varied, and sometimes a very
gay life. One of the American travellers saw, at one of the villages
where the stage changed horses, a dashing and picturesque figure,
gaudily dressed, who rode by on a handsome horse richly caparisoned.
On inquiring if the coachman knew him, the answer was, that he knew
him perfectly well, and that he was the captain of a band of robbers,
who had plundered the stage several times since the whip and reins had
been in his hands. On the Americans urging the question, why he had not
brought the robber to punishment, the answer was, “that he would be
sure to be shot by some of the band the next time he passed the road;”
the honour of Mexican thieves being peculiarly nice upon this point. It
appeared that the dashing horseman had gone through the village on a
_reconnaissance_, but probably not liking the obvious preparations of
the travellers, had postponed the caption.

The mode of managing things in this somnolent country, is remarkable
for its tranquillity. The American who narrates the circumstance,
had taken with him from Vera Cruz four dragoons; but on accidentally
enquiring on the road into the state of their arms, he found that but
one carabine had a lock in fighting order, and even that one was not
loaded; on which he dismissed the guard, and trusted to his companions,
who were all well armed. The Mexican travellers, taking the matter in
another way, never carry arms, but prepare a small purse “to be robbed
of,” of which they are robbed accordingly. A few miles from Perote,
the road winds round a high hill, and the passengers generally get
out and walk. The Americans on this occasion had left their arms in
the carriage, but their more prudent chief immediately ordered them
to carry them in their hands, and in the course of the ascent, they
pounced upon a group of ruffians whom the driver pronounced to be
robbers; and who, but for their arms, would probably have attacked
them. In less than a month after this, five or six Americans having
left their arms in the stage at this spot, _were_ attacked, and stript
of every cent belonging to them.

It must be owned that this country has fine advantages for the
gentlemen of the road. The highway between Vera Cruz and Mexico is the
great conduit of life in the country. Nearly all the commerce goes by
that way, and ninety out of every hundred travellers pass by the same
route. The chief portion of the road is through an absolute desert. It
frequently winds up the sides of mountains, and then is bordered by
forests of evergreens, forming a capital shelter for the land pirate,
the whole being a combination of Hounslow Heath and Shooter’s Hill on a
grand scale, and making highway robbery not merely a showy but a safe
speculation, the gaming-table being the chief recruiting-office of the
whole battalion of Mercury.

The statistics of gaming might borrow a chapter from Mexico. The
passion for play is public, universal, and unbounded. It is probably
superior even to the passion for pulque. Every one plays, and plays
for all that he is worth in the world, and often for more. But he
has his resource--the road. A man who has lost his last dollar, but
who is determined to play on till he dies, lays himself under strong
temptations of coveting his neighbour’s goods. The hour when the
stages pass is known to every one; the points of the road where they
must go slowly up the hill, are familiar to all highway recollections.
Associates are expeditiously found among the loiterers, who, after
their own ruin, sit round the room watching the luck of others. The
band is formed in a moment; they take the road without delay, post
themselves in the evergreens, enjoy the finest imaginable prospect,
and breathe the most refreshing air, until the creaking of the
coach-wheels puts them on the alert. They then exhibit their weapons,
the passengers produce their little purses, the stage is robbed of
every thing portable, or convertible into cash, the band return to the
gaming-table, fling out their coin, and play till they are either rich
or ruined once more.

Some time after an adventure, such as we have described, the stage
was robbed near Puebla by a gang, all of whom had the appearance of
gentlemen. When the operation of rifling every body and every thing
was completed, one of the robbers observed--“that they must not be
looked on as professional thieves, for they were gentlemen; but having
been unfortunate at play, they were forced to put the company to this
inconvenience, for which they requested their particular pardon.”

An incident of this order occurring in the instance of a public
personage, some years before, long excited remarkable interest. The
Swiss consul had been assassinated at noonday. A carriage had driven up
to his door, out of which three men came, one in the dress of a priest.
On the doors being opened they seized and gagged the porter, rushed
into the apartment where the consul was sitting, murdered and robbed
him, and then retreated. None knew whence they came or whither they
went; but the murdered man, in his dying struggle, had torn a button
off the coat of one of the robbers, which they found still clenched
in his hand. A soldier was shortly after seen with more money than he
could account for; suspicion naturally fell upon him; his quarters
were searched, and one of his coats was found with the button torn
off. He was convicted, but relied upon a pardon through the Colonel
Yanez, chief aide-de-camp of the president Santa Anna, who was his
accomplice in the transaction. On being brought out for execution, and
placed on the fatal bench where criminals are strangled, he cried out,
“Stop, I will acknowledge my accomplices;” and he pronounced the name
of the colonel. Search was immediately made in the house of Yanez,
and a letter in cipher was found, connecting him with this and other
robberies. This letter was left in the hands of one of the judges:
he was offered a large sum to destroy it, and refused. In a few days
after he was found dead, as was supposed, by poison. The paper was then
transferred to another judge who was offered the same bribe, and who
promised to destroy it; but on conferring with his priest, though he
took the money, he shrank from the actual destruction of the document
and kept it in silence. Yanez was brought to trial, and, believing that
the paper was no longer in existence, treated the charge with contempt.
The paper was produced, and the aide-de-camp was condemned and executed.

Puebla is one of the handsomest cities in the Mexican territory. The
houses are lofty, and in good taste, and the streets are wide and clean
About six miles from the city stood Choluta, which Cortes described “as
having a population of forty thousand citizens, well clothed,” and as
it might appear, peculiarly devout according to their own style, for
the conqueror counted in it the towers of four hundred idol temples. Of
this city not a vestige remains but an immense mound of brick, on which
now stands a Romish chapel.

Beyond Puebla, cultivation extends to a considerable distance on both
sides of the road. To the right lies the republic of Tlascala, so
memorable in the history of the Spanish conquest, and once crowded
with a population of warriors. The road then runs at the foot of
Pococatapetl, the highest of the Mexican mountains, seventeen thousand
feet above the level of the sea. The capital is now approached; and
on passing over the next ridge, the first glimpse is caught of the
famous valley and city of Mexico. From this ridge Cortes had the first
view of his conquest. It must have been an object of indescribable
interest to the great soldier who had fought his way to the possession
of the noblest prize of his age. The valley of Mexico, a circuit of
seventeen hundred square miles, must then have been a most magnificent
sight, if it be true that it contained “forty cities, and villages
without number.” Time, war, and the fatal government of Spain, have
nearly turned this splendid tract into a desert. But it still has
features combining the picturesque with the grand. The valley partially
resembles the crater of an immense volcano wholly surrounded by
mountains, some of them rising ten thousand feet above the city. In the
centre of this vast oval basin is a lake, or rather a chain of lakes,
through the midst of which the road now passes for about eighteen
miles, on a raised causeway. The city stands in the north-eastern
quarter of the valley, not more than three miles from the mountains, at
an elevation of seven thousand four hundred and seventy feet, and its
position seems obviously made for the capital of an empire.

Mexico is regarded as the “stateliest city” in the New World. Its
plan was laid, and the principal portion of its public buildings are
said to have been designed, by Cortes. They bear all the impress of
a superb mind. The habitual meanness of democratical building has no
place there; the majority of the fabrics were evidently constructed
by a man to whom the royal architecture of the European nations was
familiar, and the finest houses in the city are still inhabited by the
descendants of the conqueror.

The principal square is the pride of the Mexicans, and the admiration
of travellers. It has an area of twelve acres; unluckily, this fine
space, which in England would be covered with verdant turf, shrubs,
and flowers, is covered only with pavement. But the buildings are on
a noble scale. The Cathedral fills one whole side of the square, the
Palace another, and the sites of both are memorable and historical;
the Cathedral standing on the ground where once stood the great idol
temple, and the Palace on the ground of the palace of Montezuma! The
latter building is 500 feet long, and contains the public offices,
besides the apartments of the President. The Cathedral is of striking
Gothic architecture, and after all the pressures and plunderings of the
later period, still retains immense wealth. The high altar is covered
with plates of silver, interspersed with ornaments of massive gold.
This altar is inclosed with a balustrade a hundred feet long, not less
precious than the high altar itself. It is composed of an amalgam of
gold, silver, and copper, richly flourished and figured. It is said
that an offer had been made to purchase it at its weight in silver,
giving half a million of dollars besides. Of this balustrade there
are not less in the building than 300 feet. Statues, vases, and huge
candlesticks of the precious metals, meet the eye every where; and yet
it is said that the still more precious portion of the treasure is
hidden from the popular eye. The streets are wide, and cross each other
at right angles, dividing the whole city into squares. But the Romish
habit of giving the most sacred names to common things, is acted on in
Mexico with most offensive familiarity. The names of the streets are
instances of this profanation, which has existed wherever monks have
been the masters. Thus, the Mexican will tell you that he lives in
“Jesus,” or in the “Holy Ghost.” In the Spanish navy the most sacred
names were similarly profaned; and the Santissima Trinidada (the Most
Holy Trinity) was a flag-ship in the fleet destroyed at Trafalgar. What
blasphemies and brutalities must not have been mingled with this sacred
name in the mouths of a crew!

The churches are the chief buildings in the city, some of them of great
size, and all filled with plate and other wealth. Yet the houses, even
of the most opulent families, exhibit some of the vilest habits of the
vilest southern cities of Europe. To pass over other matters, in the
whole city there is perhaps not a stable separate from the house. The
stud is on the basement story, and it may be conceived how repulsive
must be the effects of such an arrangement in the burning climate of
Mexico! The servants’ rooms are also upon this floor; and in some of
the principal houses the visitors have to pass through this row of
stables and sleeping rooms on their way to the chief apartments. In
some, too, of the larger private houses, no less than thirty or forty
families reside, each renting one or two rooms, and having a common
stair of exit to the street. This crowding of families is produced,
in the first instance, by the narrow limits of the city, which is
scarcely more than two miles in length by a mile and a half in breadth;
and in the next, by the lazy habits of their Spanish ancestry, which
still gathered them together for the sake of gossiping and idling, and
which seem every where to have had an abhorrence of cleanliness, of
fresh air, and of the sight of a field; the population thus festering
on each other, while the country round them is open, healthful, and
cheerful. The inhabitants, to the amount of two hundred thousand,
evidently prefer half suffocation in an atmosphere that tortures the
nostrils of all strangers; and are content with the dust and dimness,
the heat and the effluvia, naturally generated by a tropical sun acting
upon a crowded population.

In addition to this voluntary offence, Mexico has two natural plagues,
inundations and earthquakes. The city was once a kind of American
Venice, wholly surrounded by water, penetrated by water, and built on
piles in the water. A gigantic canal, which was tunnelled through its
mountain barrier in the beginning of the seventeenth century, partially
drained the waters of the lakes, and left it on firm ground. But the
lakes, from time to time, take their revenge; clouds of a peculiarly
ominous aspect begin to roll along the mountains, until they break down
in a deluge. Then the genius of the land of monks exhibits itself, and
all the bells in the city are rung, whether to frighten the torrent,
or to propitiate the Deity. But the rain still comes down in sheets,
and the torrents roar louder. The bells meet the enemy by still louder
peals. At length the clouds are drained, and the torrents disappear;
the bells have the praise. The city recovers its spirits, finds that
its time for being swept from the earth has not yet arrived; the sun
shines once more, and the monks have all the credit of this triumph
over Satan and Nature.

Mexico has its museum, and it contains some curiosities which could
not be supplied in any other part of the world. They are almost
wholly Mexican. The weapons found among the people at the time of
the conquest: rude lances, daggers, bows and arrows, with the native
armour of cotton, and those wooden drums which the old Spaniards seem
to have dreaded more than the arms. Among them is the Mexican “razor
sword,” a staff with four projecting blades, made of volcanic glass,
and brought to such sharpness that a stroke has been known to cut off a
horse’s head. In the museum there are some still more curious specimens
of their manufactures, paper made from the Cactus, with much of their
hieroglyphic writing on it. One of these rolls exhibits the Mexican
idea of the deluge, and among other details shows “the bird with a
branch in its claw.” It is said that they had traditions of the leading
events from the Creation to the Deluge, nearly resembling the Mosaic
history; but that from the Deluge downwards all records have escaped
them. But the museum contains more modern and more characteristic
remains. Among the rest, the armour of Cortes.

From its size, its wearer must have been a man of small stature,
and about the size of Napoleon. The armour of the brave Alvarado is
also in the museum, and is even smaller than that of Cortes; but,
as a covering of the form, both are complete. The wearer could have
been vulnerable only at the joints; the horse of the man-at-arms
was similarly protected, being in fact covered all over either with
steel or bull’s hide. The use of cannon finally put an end to the
wearing of armour, which was found to be useless against weight of
metal. It is now partially reviving in the cuirass, and unquestionably
ought to be revived among the infantry so far as covering the front
of the soldiers. The idea is childish that this would degrade the
intrepidity of the troops. The armour of knighthood did not degrade
its intrepidity; the cuirasses of our dragoons have not degraded their
intrepidity; nor will any man be the less daring from the sense that he
is less exposed to the casualties of the field.

A colossal bronze statue of Charles IV. stands in the court-yard of
the museum, but its history is of higher value than its subject; that
history being, that it was designed by one native Mexican, and cast by
another. Thus at least showing that the cultivation of the fine arts is
not impossible, even in Spanish America.

There also is the great sacrificial stone on which human victims bled,
a circular mass four feet high and eight in diameter, with figures in
relief elaborately carved on the top and sides. On this stone sixty-two
of the companions of Cortes were put to death before the eyes of their
countrymen.

The finance of Mexico becomes a matter of European importance, in a
period which should be called the “Age of Loans.” The debt in 1844 was
about one hundred millions of dollars, of which sixty millions are due
to foreigners. But the territory is evidently the richest in silver
that the world has yet seen, and possibly exceeding in mineral wealth
all the world beside, if we except the gold sands of the Ural, which
have lately teemed with such marvellous produce. Humboldt reckoned
no less than three thousand silver mines in Mexico in the year 1804.
But not one fiftieth of those mines continue to be worked, a result
caused by the distance of quicksilver in the mines of Old Spain. The
mines produce but little gold, and that little is generally found in
combination with silver. But the quantity of silver is absolutely
astonishing. The mines still continue to give a produce as large as
in any year of the last two centuries, in which Humboldt computes the
average produce at twelve millions of dollars annually. But allowing
for the quantity notoriously smuggled out of the country, besides the
eighteen millions and a half of gold and silver actually registered for
exportation, the produce may amount to twenty-four millions of dollars
yearly. This increase evidently arises from the greater tranquillity of
the country; for in the times of actual revolution, it frequently sank
to three or four millions.

The American writer from whom we have taken these calculations,
cannot help betraying the propensity of Yankeeism, by talking of the
wonders which would be done in such a country if it were once in
the possession of Jonathan. He thinks that the produce of the mines
would be “at least five times as great as it is now,” that every mine
would be worked, and that many more will be discovered. Calculating
the exports of British produce at two hundred and sixty millions of
dollars yearly, he thinks that “Mexico, if in full action, would equal
that amount in ten years.” But his words are more significant still
with respect to the relations of the United States. We are to remember
that those words were written previously to the aggression which has
just taken place against Mexico, and which the Americans pretend to be
perfectly innocent and justifiable. And also, that they are written by
an American minister. “Recent manifestation,” says this writer, “of a
rabid, not to say rapacious spirit of acquisition of territory on the
part of our countrymen, may well cause a race so inferior in all the
elements of power to tremble for the tenure by which they hold this
Eldorado. It is not often, with nations at least, that such temptations
are resisted, or that ‘danger winks on opportunity.’ I trust, however,
that our maxim ever will be, ‘noble ends by worthy means,’ and that we
may remember that wealth improperly acquired never ultimately benefited
an individual or a nation.”

Those are wise and just sentiments. But we unluckily see the practical
morality of the Americans on the subject, in the invasion of the
territory, and the slaughter of the natives.

The mineral produce is not confined to gold and silver. No country
produces larger masses of that iron which so much better deserves the
name of precious metal, if we are to estimate its value by its use. And
tin, lead, and copper are also found in large masses.

The fertility of the soil, where it receives any tolerable cultivation,
is also remarkable, and two crops may be raised in one year. But
the farmers have neither capital nor inclination to cultivate the
soil. Having no market, they have no use for their superfluity, and
therefore they raise no superfluity. A considerable portion of the
whole territory is also distributed into immense pastures of eighty or
a hundred thousand cattle, and fifteen or twenty thousand mules and
horses, the grass being green all the year round, and those animals
being left to the course of nature. Yet, except when there is a
government demand to mount the cavalry, those immense herds of horses
seldom find a purchaser, nearly all agricultural work being done by
oxen. Horses are sold at from eight to ten dollars a-piece. But the
Mexicans exhibit the old Spanish preference for mules and a pair of
handsome carriage mules will cost one thousand dollars.

Thus, in all the precious products of the earth, Mexico may stand
rivalry with the most favoured nations. It is the land of the
cochineal; it produces all the rice which is required for the food of
the people; the silk-worm might there be multiplied to any extent;
cotton can be raised in almost every province to a boundless amount.
The high grounds are covered with fine timber, and, where nothing
else is produced, bee’s-wax abounds; this is consumed chiefly in the
churches, where a part of their religion consists in keeping candles
perpetually burning. Yet the Mexican bee-masters are as careless as the
rest of their countrymen, and they do not produce wax enough for this
holy ignition, and great quantities are imported accordingly.

The history of Mexico, since the Spanish conquest, is a combination of
the histories of European sovereignty and American republicanism.

Mexico was not among the discoveries of the great Columbus, though he
approached Yucatan. That peninsula was first seen in 1517 by Cordova.
In 1519 the famous Hernan Cortes landed on the site of Vera Cruz. After
founding Villa Rica, he began his memorable march into the territory
of Montezuma, King of the Aztecs. It cost him two years of desperate
struggle to make good his ground; the Mexicans exhibited occasional
bravery, and fought with the fervour of devotees to their king and
their idols. But the novelty of the Spanish arms, the belief in an
ancient prediction that “the kingdom was to be conquered from the
sea,” and, above all, the indefatigable bravery of Cortes, finally
established the supremacy of Spain.

The great source of calamity to Spain has always been its pride. The
groundless sense of personal superiority in every thing belonging to
Spain, its religion, its government, its literature, and its people,
has, during the last four hundred years of European advance, kept Spain
stationary. The country was pronounced to be perfect, and what is
the use of trying to improve perfection? But the Spaniard pronounced
himself as perfect as the country; and, therefore, what was the use
of his adopting the inventions, habits, or intelligence of others? He
disdained them all, and therefore continued the byword of ignorance,
arrogance, and prejudice, to all nations. The troops of Cortes, and
the gallant adventurers who followed them as settlers in the Spanish
colonies, had descendants who soon began to form a powerful population.
Among those, a government possessed of common sense would have found
the natural support of the parent state. But the man of Spain scorned
to acknowledge the equality even of the Spanish blood, when born in the
colonies; and no office of trust, and no commission in the colonial
troops, could be given to a Creole. The foundation of hostility was
thus laid at once, and on it was raised a large superstructure.

Another race soon rose, the children of Spaniards by native women, the
Mestizos. They, too, were excluded from all employments. The revolt of
the United States would probably have applied the torch to this mass of
combustible matter, but for the jealousy of the two races. As the men
of Old Spain despised the Creole, the Creole despised the Mestizo. Thus
the power of Spain remained guarded by the jealousies of both.

But a new period was at hand. The infamous seizure of Spain by Napoleon
in 1808, roused both races to an abhorrence of the French name, and
a determination to separate themselves from a kingdom which could
now be regarded only as a French province. Again jealousy prevailed;
the Creoles demanded a national representation, the Spanish troops
and _employés_ a royal government. In the midst of their disputes,
a powerful enemy appeared. The Mestizos and Indians united under a
village priest, Hidalgo, and overran the country. This incursion
brought the disputants to a sense of their own peril; they collected
troops, were beaten by the bold priest, rallied for another field, beat
him, took him prisoner in the battle, and put him to death.

But the spirit of revolt had now become popular, and another priest,
Morellos, was found to head another insurrection. His talents and
intrepidity swept all before him for a period, and the “independence
of Mexico” was declared by a “national assembly” in November 1813.
But Morellos was finally unfortunate, was attacked by the Spanish
general Colleja, who seems to have been a man of military genius, was
taken prisoner, and shot. The Old Spaniards were once more masters,
and Apodaca, a man of intelligence and conduct, was sent from Spain as
viceroy.

But sudden tumults broke out in Spain itself. The “Constitution of
1820” was proclaimed, the parties in Mexico followed the example, and
a constitution strongly tending to democracy was proposed. It produced
a total dissolution of the alliance between the Creoles and the Old
Spaniards, the former demanding a government virtually independent, the
latter adhering to Spain. In the confusion, Iturbide, a young Creole
of an ancient family, and of large possessions, pushed his way into
power, and, to the astonishment of all Western republicanism, in 1822
proclaimed himself Augustin the First, _Emperor_ of Mexico.

But he instantly committed the capital fault of quarrelling with his
congress. By a rash policy he dissolved the assembly and appointed
another, composed of his adherents. But Cromwell’s boldness required
Cromwell’s abilities to sustain it. The army had been the actual givers
of the throne, and what they had given they regarded themselves as
having the right to resume. The generals revolted against Iturbide,
overthrew him, proclaimed a new constitution, and sent him to travel in
Europe on a pension!

The constitution thus formed (October 1824) was republican, and took
for its model that of the United States. Its two assemblies are a
senate and a house of representatives. The senate consisting of two
members for each state; the representatives, of two for every eighty
thousand inhabitants. All must be natives, and have landed property
to the amount of eight thousand dollars, or some trade or profession
which brings in ten thousand dollars annually. The congress sits every
year from the first of January to the middle of April. The senators
holding their seats for four years, generally; the representatives
for two. The executive is vested in a president and vice-president,
both elected by the state legislatures for four years. The ages of the
several functionaries are curiously fixed. The representative must
have attained the age of twenty-five, the senator of thirty, and the
high officers of state thirty-five.[A] The whole territory forms one
“Federal Republic, governed by one Executive,” a marked distinction
between Mexico and its model; the several states of the American Union
retaining to themselves many of the privileges which, in the Mexican,
belong to the government of the capital.

    [A] There have been some subsequent changes in these matters.

Iturbide, after a two years’ exile, whether uneasy in his fall, or
tempted by the perpetual tumults of party at home, returned to Mexico
in 1824. He was said to complain of the stoppage of his pension; but,
before his arrival, a party especially hostile to him had obtained
power, and Iturbide, with a rashness which exhibits the true Creole,
landing, without making the natural inquiry into the actual condition
of things, was instantly seized and shot. Santa Anna, who had
distinguished himself in the military service, now appealed to the
usual donor of power, the army, and, at the head of his squadrons, took
possession of the Presidentship.

In the present confusion of Mexican affairs, the recollection of Santa
Anna has been frequently brought before the mind of his nation, as the
only man fit to sustain it under the difficulties of the crisis; and
nothing can be more fully acknowledged, than that, among the successive
leaders of the country, he has had no rival in point of decision,
intelligence, and intrepidity, the qualities obviously most essential
for the time.

Santa Anna, in 1823, was unknown; he was simply a colonel in the
Mexican service. The declaration of public opinion in that year for
Republicanism, found him a zealous convert; and at the head of his
regiment he marched from Vera Cruz to meet the troops of Iturbide. He
met the Emperor’s general, Echavari, half-way to the capital, and,
after some trivial encounters, made a convert of his enemy; Echavari’s
battalions marched into Santa Anna’s camp. Iturbide, thus suddenly
stript of his troops, had no alternative but to capitulate, and go into
banishment. The Republic was proclaimed, and Santa Anna was recognised
as the deliverer of his country. But an occasion occurred in which his
military talents were to be equally conspicuous.

In 1829, a Spanish armament, with four thousand troops under General
Barrados, made its appearance off Tampico, dispatched to recover the
country for the Spanish crown. This instance of activity on the part
of Old Spain was so unexpected, that the Republic was in general
consternation. But Santa Anna took his measures with equal intelligence
and bravery. Collecting about seven hundred men hastily, crossing the
Gulf in open boats, and evading the Spanish vessels of war, he landed
within a few miles of the Spanish expedition. Barrados, unprepared for
this dashing antagonist, had gone on some rash excursion, carrying
with him three-fourths of his force; the remaining thousand were the
garrison of Tampico. Santa Anna, losing no time, assaulted the place
next morning, and after a four hours’ struggle, made the whole garrison
prisoners. But his victory had placed him in imminent danger. Barrados
rapidly returned; the Mexican general, encumbered with prisoners,
found himself in presence of triple his numbers, and with a river in
his rear. Death, or surrender, seemed the only alternatives. In this
emergency, he dexterously proposed an armistice, impressing the Spanish
general with the idea that he was at the head of an overwhelming
force--an impression the more easily made, from the apparent hardihood
of his venturing so near an army of Spanish veterans. One of his first
conditions was, that the Mexican troops should return to their own
quarters unmolested. Thus, with merely six hundred men, he escaped from
five times that number. In a few days he was joined by several hundred
men. He then commenced a vigorous and incessant attack on the Spanish
position, which was followed by the surrender of the entire corps; and
2200 Spaniards were embarked for the Havannah as prisoners of war.
Santa Anna’s force never exceeding 1500 men.

A campaign of this rank naturally placed him in a distinguished point
of public view. Yet he remained in comparative quiet on his estates
near Vera Cruz, probably on the Napoleon principle--waiting his
opportunity. It soon came; in 1841, Bustamente, the president, fell
into unpopularity; murmurs rose ominously among the troops, and Santa
Anna was summoned to head a revolution. Gathering five or six hundred
men, chiefly raw recruits, he marched on the capital. The enterprise
was singularly adventurous, for Bustamente was an experienced officer,
with 8000 men under his immediate command. Santa Anna again tried
the effect of diplomacy; the result was, that Bustamente finally
surrendered both his power and his place, and was shortly after sent
into exile.

Santa Anna now governed the country as dictator. His administration
had the rashness, but the honesty, of his Spanish origin; and Mexico,
relieved from the encumbrances of her Spanish dependence, was beginning
to enjoy the riches of her unparalleled climate and boundless
fertility, when a new enemy arose in Texas--the American settlers,
who, in the spirit of cosmopolitism, had been universally suffered to
enter the Mexican territories as inhabitants. The result was, that
they began to clamour for provincial independence. The natives were
generally tranquil; but the new-comers intrigued, harangued, and
demanded a direct alliance with the United States. The struggle has
been too recent to require recital. Santa Anna, with the rashness which
characterises his courage, rushed into this war with troops evidently
unprepared. After various skirmishes, in which the settlers suffered
severely, his undisciplined force was routed, and Santa Anna, left
alone in the field, was made prisoner in the attempt to escape. The
“Independence” of Texas followed, which was quickly exchanged for
the “Annexation” to the United States, by which its independence was
extinguished.

The “Annexation” was immediately pronounced by the Mexican government
to be a breach of that treaty by which the neighbour States were
pledged to respect the possessions of each other; and the invasion of
Mexico by an American army was the consequence. The Mexican force on
the frontier was obviously too feeble for any effective resistance; and
the American general, after some delays of movement, and divisions of
his forces, which one active officer on the defensive would have turned
to his ruin, attacked the Mexicans, drove them from their position, and
took their guns. Since that period the advance of the Americans seems
to have been checked by the difficulties of the country. Whether it is
the intention of the American commander to fight, or to negotiate, to
make a dash for the capital, or to treat for California, must be left
to be discovered by events. But Paredes, the present head of the state,
and commander of the troops, has the reputation of a brave officer,
and Santa Anna is strongly spoken of as the man whom the nation would
gladly summon to the redemption of his country.

But Mexico has one fatal feature which makes the mind despair of her
ever holding the rank of a great nation. However glaring may be the
superstition of continental Europe, it is of a feeble hue to the
extravagance of Mexican ceremonial. In those remote countries, once
guarded under the Spanish government with the most jealous vigilance
from the stranger’s eye, every ceremonial was gradually adopted, of
every shape and colour, which the deepest superstition, aided by great
wealth, the influence of a powerful hierarchy, and the zeal of a
people at once desperately ignorant and singularly fond of show, could
invent. Rome, and even Naples, were moderate, compared with Mexico. The
conveyance of the Host to the sick was almost a public pageant; its
carriage to the wife of Santa Anna was accompanied by twenty thousand
people. The feast of Corpus Christi exhibits streets through which
thirty or forty thousand people pour along, of all classes of society,
with thousands of soldiery, to swell and give military brilliancy to
the display. At the head of the pageant moves a platform, on which the
wafer is borne by the highest dignitaries of the church. Then follows,
in a similar vehicle, “Our Lady of the Remedies,” the blessed Virgin
Mother, a little alabaster doll, with the nose broken and an eye out.
This was the image of herself given by the Virgin to Cortes to revive
the valour of his soldiers after their Mexican defeat; and this the
priests profess to believe, and the populace actually do believe. The
doll’s wardrobe, with its precious stones, is valued at a million of
dollars. The doll stops all contagious diseases, and is remarkably
active in times of cholera.

Some of the popular exhibitions on Scriptural subjects are actually
too startling to be described to Christian ears. Among those is the
exhibition of the Nativity, as the especial display of Christmas eve.
Joseph enters Bethlehem with Mary; they are sitting on the same mule;
they search the city for lodgings in vain. At last they find the
stable. The rest of the exhibition, a part of which, however, passes
behind a curtain, is indescribable. And all this is done with the
highest approbation of the ecclesiastical authorities.

The anniversary of the “Miracle” of the “Virgin of Guadaloupe,” is
one of the “grand days” of the Federal Republic. The president, the
cabinet, the archbishop, and all the principal functionaries of the
state, are present, with an immense multitude of every class. A member
of Congress delivers an oration on the subject; and the Virgin and her
story are no more doubted than the history of Magna Charta. The story
thus blazoned, and thus believed, is briefly this:--

An Indian, going to Mexico one morning in the sixteenth century, saw a
female form descending from the sky. He was frightened; but the female
told him that she was the Virgin Mary, come down to be the patron of
the Mexican Indians, and ordered him to announce to the bishop that
a church must be built in the mountain where she met him. The Indian
flew to the bishop, but the prelate drove him away. The next day he met
the Virgin on the same spot, and she appointed a day to convince the
sceptical ecclesiastic. She bid him go to the summit of the mountain,
where he should find the rock covered with roses for the first time
since the Creation. He carried the roses in his apron to the bishop,
when, lo! he found that on his apron was stamped a figure of the
Virgin in a cloak of velvet spangled with stars of gold! Her proof was
irresistible, and the church was built. The original portrait is still
displayed there, in a golden frame studded with precious stones, with
the motto, _Non fecit taliter omni nationi_. (He hath not so done to
every nation; or, more significantly, to _any other_ nation.) Copies
of the miraculous picture, of more or less costliness, are to be found
in almost every house, and all have the full homage of saintship. The
Church of the Virgin, though not so large as the Cathedral, is of a
finer style, and nearly as rich; the balustrade is pure silver, and all
the candelabra, &c., are of the precious metals.

The idleness and the low class of life from which the majority of the
monks and friars are taken, make celibacy especially dangerous to
the community. The higher orders of the priesthood are comparatively
decorous; but many of them have these suspicious appendages to
a priest’s household, which are called “house-keepers,” with a
proportionate share of those equally suspicious appendages, which are
popularly called “nephews and nieces,” the whole system being one which
furnishes a large portion of the gossip of Mexican society. But on
those topics we have no wish to dwell.

Whether the American invasion will succeed in reaching Mexico, or in
obtaining Upper California, or in breaking up the Federation, are
matters still in the future. The disruption of the Federation seems to
have been already, and spontaneously begun; Yucatan is said to have
demanded independence; and the northern provinces bordering on the
United States will, in all probability, soon make the same demand. It
is obvious that the present Mexican territory is too large for the
varying, distracted, and feeble government which Mexico has exhibited
for the last quarter of a century--a territory seven times the size of
France, or perhaps ten times that size, can be governed by a central
capital only so long as the population continues scanty, powerless, and
poor. But if Mexico had a population proportionate to France, and there
is no reason for doubting its capacity of supporting such a population,
the capital would govern a territory containing little less than three
hundred millions of men; an obvious impossibility, where those men
were active, opulent, intelligent, and engaged in traffic with the
world. The example of the Chinese population is _not_ a contrary case.
There the empire was old, the throne almost sacred, the imperial power
supported by a large military establishment, the character of the
people timid, and the country in a state of mental stagnation. Yet,
even for China, great changes may be at hand.

But the whole subject is to be looked on in a more comprehensive
point of view. There _is_ a general shaking of nations. The Turk, the
Egyptian, the African, and the Chinese, have all experienced an impulse
within late years, which has powerfully influenced their whole system.
That impulse is now going westward. The immense regions beyond the
Atlantic are now commencing the second stage of that existence, of
which their discovery by Europe was the first. The language, the habits
and history, the political feelings of England, are becoming familiar
to them. They have begun their national education in the great school
of self-government, with England for their teacher; and however tardy
may be the pupilage, or however severe the events which turn the theory
into example, we have strong faith in the conception, that all things
will finally work together for good, and that a spirit of regeneration
is already sent forth on its mighty mission to the New World as to the
Old, to the “bond as to the free;” to those whom misgovernment has
enfeebled, and superstition has debased, as to those who, possessing
the original advantages of civilisation and religion, have struggled
their difficult way to increasing knowledge, truth, and freedom, and
whose progress has alike conferred on them the power, and laid upon
them the duty, of being the moral leaders of Mankind.



A SUMMER DAY.

BY THOMAS AIRD.


                                MORNING.

    Dear little Isle of ours! your very clouds,
    Ranged in the east and battlemented black,
    White flock of zenith, or, with stormy glory,
    Tumbling tumultuous o’er the western hills,
    Lend power and beauty to your pictured face,
    Relieved and deepened in its light and shade,
    Varied of dale and mountain, pleasing still
    Through all the seasons, as they come and go,--
    Blue airy Summer, Autumn brown and grave,
    Gnarled sapless Winter, and clear glinting Spring.

      Mine be the cottage, large enough for use,
    Yet fully occupied, and cheerful thus.
    Desolate he who, with his means abridged,
    And wants reduced, yet pride of property
    Still unimpaired, dwells in a narrow flank;
    Of his ancestral house, gloomily vast
    Beyond his need,--dwells with the faded ghost
    Of former greatness. There the bellied spider,
    That works in cool and silent palaces,
    Has halls his own. The labyrinthine rooms
    Seem haunted all. Mysterious laden airs
    Move the dim tapestries drearily. And shapes
    Spectral at hollow midnight beckoning glide
    Down the far corridors, and faint away.

      Up with the summer sun! Earlier at times,
    And see gray brindled dawn come up before him;
    There’s natural health, there’s moral healing in
    The hour so naked clear, so dewy cool!
    But oft I wish a chamber in the black
    Castle of Indolence, far in, where spark
    Of prying light ne’er comes, nor sound of cock
    Is heard, nor the long howl of houseless cur,
    Nor clock, nor shrill-winged gnat, nor buzzing fly
    That, by the snoring member undeterred,
    Aye settles on your nose’s tickled tip
    Tormentingly. Deep in that charmèd rest
    Laid, I could sleep the weary world away,
    Months at a time--so listless fancy thinks.

      Oh! curse of sleeplessness! Haggard and pale,
    The tyrant Nero, see him from his bed
    Wandering about, haunting the long dim halls,
    And silent stairs, at midnight, startled oft
    At his own footsteps, like a guilty thing
    Sharp turning round aghast. The palace sleeps,
    And all the city sleeps, all save its lord.
    Then looks he to the windows of the east,
    Wearily watching for the morning light,
    That comes not at his will. Down on his bed
    He flings himself again. His eyeballs ache;
    His temples throb; his pillow’s hot and hard;
    And through his dried brain thoughts and feelings drift,
    Tumultuous, unrestrained, carrying his soul
    On the high fever’s surge. The imperial world
    For one short dewy hour of healing sleep!
    Worlds cannot buy the blessing. Up he reels,
    And staggers forth. Slow-coming day at length
    Has found him thus. Its living busy forms,
    Its turms, its senators, its gorgeous guests,
    Bowing in homage from barbaric isles,
    Its scenes, its duties are to him a strange
    Phantasmagoria: Through its ghastly light
    Wildered he lives. To feel and be assured
    He yet has hold on being, with the drugs
    Of monstrous pleasures, cruelty and lust,
    He drugs his spirit; ever longing still
    For the soft hour of eve, if sleep may come
    After another day has worn him out.
    But images of black, bed-fellows strange,
    Lie down with him; drawing his curtain back,
    Unearthly shapes, and unimagined faces,
    Look in upon him, near down on his eyes,
    Nearer and nearer still, till they are forced
    To wink beneath the infliction, like a weight
    Of actual pressure, solid, heavy, felt.
    But winking hard, a thousand coloured motes
    Begin to dance confused, and central stars,
    And spots of light, welling and widening out
    In rings concentric, peopling all the blind
    Black vacancy before his burning balls.
    But soon they change to leering antic shapes,
    And dread-suggesting fiends. Dim, far away,
    Long dripping corpses, swaying in the waves,
    Slowly cast up, arise; gashed, gory throats,
    And headless trunks of men, are nearer seen,
    And every form of tragic butchery--
    The myriad victims of his power abused
    By sea and land. To give their hideousness
    Due light, a ceiling of clear molten fire,
    Figured with sprawling imps, begins to glow
    Hot overhead, casting a brazen light
    Down on the murdered crew. All bent on him,
    Near, nearer still, they swarm, they crowd, they press;
    And round and round, and through and through the rout,
    The naked Pleasures, knit with demons, dance.
    Wild whirls his brain anew. This night is as
    The last, and far more terrible. Guilt thus,
    And sleeplessness, more than perpetuate
    Each other--dreadful lineage! Let us hope,
    For human nature, that the man was mad.

      Up from your blameless sleep, go forth and meet
    The glistening morn, over the smoking lawn
    Spangled, by briery balks, and brambled lanes,
    Where blows the dog-rose, and the honey-suckle
    Hangs o’er the heavy hedge its trailing sheaf
    Of stems and leaves, tendrils and clasping rings,
    Cold dews, and bugle blooms, and honey smells,
    And wild bees swinging as they murmur there.
    The speckled thrush, startled from off the thorn,
    Shakes down the crystal drops. With spurring haste,
    The rabbit scuds across the grassy path;
    Pauses a moment--with its form and ears
    Arrect to listen; then, with glimpse of white,
    Springs through the hedge into the ferny brake.
    Or taste the freshness of the pastoral hills
    On such a morn: Light scarfs of thinning mist
    In graceful lingerings round their shoulders hang;
    New-washed and white, the sheep go nibbling up
    The high green slopes; a hundred gurgling rills,
    Sparkling with foam-bells, to your very heart
    Send their delicious coolness; hark! again,
    The cuckoo somewhere in the sunny skirts
    Of yonder patch of the old natural woods;
    With sudden iron croak, clear o’er the gray
    Summit, o’erhanging you, with levell’d flight,
    The raven shoots into the deep blue air.

      Lo! in the confluence of the mountain glens,
    The small gray ruin of an ancient kirk.
    ’Twas the first kirk, so faithful reverence tells,
    Of Scotland’s Reformation: And it drew,
    Now as before, from all the hills around
    The worshippers; till, in a richer vale,
    To suit the populous hamlet rising there,
    A larger, nearer parish church was built.
    Thus was the old one left. But there it stands,
    And there will stand till the slow tooth of Time
    Nibble it all away; for it is fenced
    Completely round, not with just awe alone,
    But superstitious fears, the abuse of awe
    In simple minds: Strange judgments, so they say,
    Have fallen on those who once or twice have dared
    To lay their hands upon its holy stones
    For secular uses, and remove its bell.
    With such excess of love--we’ll blame it not--
    Does Scotland love her Church. Be it so still
    And be its emblem still the Burning Bush!
    Bush of the wilderness! See how the flames
    Bicker and burn around it; but a low
    Soft breath of the great Spirit of Salvation
    Blows gracious by, and the dear little Bush,
    The desert Bush, in every freshened leaf
    Uncurled, unsinged in every flowery bud,
    Fragrant with heavenly dews, and dropping balsams
    Good for the hurt soul’s healing, waves and rustles,
    Even in the very heart of the red burning,
    In livelier green and fairer blossoming.

      Earth sends her soft warm incense up to heaven;
    The birds their matins sing. Joining the hymn,
    The tremulous voice of psalms from human lips
    Is heard in the free air. You wonder where,
    And who the worshippers. Behold them now,
    Down in the grassy hollow lowly seated,
    Close by the mountain burn--an old gray man,
    His head uncovered, and the Book of life
    Spread on his knee, a female by his side,
    His aged wife, both beggars by their garb,
    With frail cracked voices, yet with hearts attuned
    To the immortal harmonies of faith,
    And hope, and love, in the green wilderness
    Praising the Lord their God--a touching sight!
    High in the Heavenly House not made with hands,
    The archangels sing, angels, and saints in white,
    Striking their golden harps before the Throne;
    But, in the pauses of the symphony
    A voice comes up from Earth, the simple psalm
    Of those old beggars, heard by the Ear of God
    With more acceptance than hosannahs sung
    In blissful jubilee. ’Tis hard to think
    The people of the Lord must beg their bread;
    Yet happy they who, poor as this old twain
    On earth, like them, have laid fast titled hold
    Upon the treasures of Eternity!

      Her nest is here: But ah! the cunning thing,
    See where our White-throat, like the partridge, feigns
    A broken wing, thick fluttering o’er the ground,
    And tumbling oft, to draw you from her brood
    Within the bush. Now that’s a lie, my birdie!
    Your wing’s not broken; but we’ll grant you this,--
    The lie’s a white one, white as your own throat.
    Yet how should He who is the Truth itself,
    And whose unquestioned prompting instinct is,
    Implant deceit within your little breast,
    And make you act it, even to save your young?
    The whole creation groans for man, for sin,
    And death its consequence: We’re changed to you
    In our relations, birdie; as a part
    Of that primeval ill, we rob your nest.
    To meet this change, and in God’s own permission
    Of moral wrong, was it, that guile was given
    Even to the truest instinct of your love;
    And your deceit is our reflected sin?
    Subtle philosopher, or sound divine,
    ’Tis a grave question; can you answer it?
    The more we wonder at the curious warp
    From truth, the more we see the o’erruling law
    Of natural love in all things, which will be
    A fraud in instinct, rather than a flaw
    In care parental. Oh! how gracious good,
    That all the generations, as they rise,
    Of living things are not sustained by one
    Great abstract fiat of Benevolence;
    But by a thousand separate forms of love,
    All tremblingly alive: The human heart,
    With all its conduits and its channel-pipes,
    Warm, flowing, full, quiveringly keen and strong
    In all its tendrils and its bloody threads,
    Laying hold of its children with the fast
    Bands of a man; fish, bird, beast, reptile, insect,
    The wallowing, belching monsters of the deep,
    Down to the filmiest people of the leaf,
    Are all God’s nurses, and draw out the breast,
    Or brood for Him. Oh! what a system thus
    Of active love, of every shape and kind,
    Has been created, from the Heart of Heaven
    Extended, multiplied, personified
    In living forms throughout the Universe!

      In life’s first glee, and first untutored grace,
    With raven tresses, and with glancing eyes,
    How beautiful those children, lustrous dark,
    Pulling the kingcups in the flowery meadow!
    Born of an Indian Mother: She by night,
    An orphan damsel on her native hills,
    Looked down the Khyber Pass, with pity touched
    For the brave strangers that lay slain in heaps,
    Low in that fatal fold and pen of death.
    Sorrow had taught her mercy: Forth she went
    With simple cordials from her lonely cot,
    If she might help to save some wounded foe.
    By cavern went she, and tall ice-glazed rock,
    Casting its spectral shadow on the snow,
    Beneath the hard blue moon. Save her own feet
    Crushing the starry spangles of the frost,
    Sound there was none on all the silent hills;
    And silence filled the valley of the dead.
    Down went the maid aslant. A cliff’s recess
    Gave forth a living form. A wounded youth,
    One unit relic of that thick battue,
    Escaping death, and mastering his deep hurt,
    From out the bloody Pass had climbed thus far
    The mountain side, and rested there a while.
    The virgin near, up rose he heavily,
    Staggered into the light, and stood before her,
    Bowing for help. She gave him sweet-spiced milk,
    And led him to her home, and hid him there
    Months, till pursuit was o’er, and he was healed,
    And from her mountains he could safely go.
    But grateful Walter loved the Affghan girl,
    And would not go without her: They had taught
    Each other language: Will she go with him
    To the Isles of the West, and be his wife?
    Nor less she loved the fair-haired islander,
    And softly answered, Yes. And she is now
    His Christian wife, wondering and loving much
    In this mild land, honoured and loved of all;
    With such a grace of glad humility
    She does her duties. And, to crown her joy
    Of holy wedded life, her God has given her
    Those beauteous children, with the laughing voices,
    Pulling the kingcups in the flowery meadow.

      Our walk is o’er. But let us see our bees,
    Before we turn into our ivied porch.
    The little honey-folk, how wise are they!
    Their polity, their industry, their work,
    The help they take from man, and what they give him
    Of fragrant nectar, sea-green, clear, and sweet,
    Invest them almost with the dignity
    Of human neighbourhood, without the intrusion.
    Coming and going, what a hum and stir!
    The dewy morn they love, the sunny day,
    With showery dropping balms, liquoring the flowers
    In every vein and eye. But when the heavens
    Grow cloudy, and the quick-engendered blasts
    Darken and whiten as they skiff along
    The mountain-tops, till all the nearer air,
    Seized with the gloom, is turbid, dense, and cold,
    Back from their far-off foraging the bees,
    In myriads, saddened into small black motes,
    Strike through the troubled air, sharp past your head,
    And almost hitting you, their lines of flight
    Converging, thickening, as they draw near home;
    So much they fear the storms, so much they love
    The safety of their straw-built citadels.


                                 NOON.

      At times a bird slides through the glossy air,
    O’er the enamelled woodlands; but no chirp
    Of song is heard: All’s dumb and panting heat.
    How waste and idle are yon river sands,
    Far-stretching white! The stream is almost shrunk
    Down to the green gleet of its slippery stones;
    And in it stand the cows, switching their tails,
    With circling drops, and ruminating slow.
    A hermit glutton on a sodded root,
    Fish-gorged, his head and bill sunk to his breast,
    The lean blue heron stands, and there will stand
    Motionless all the long dull afternoon.

      But the old woods are near, with grateful glooms,
    Dells, silent grottoes, and cold sunken wells;
    There rest on mossy seats, and be refreshed:
    Thankful you toil not, at this blazing hour,
    Beneath the dog-star, in some sandy lane
    Of the strait sea-coast town, pent closely in
    With walls of fiery brick, their tops stuck o’er
    With broken pointed glass, and danders hot
    Fencing their feet, with sparse ears of wild barley
    Parched, dun, and dead amongst them; o’er your head
    The smoke of potteries, and the foundry vent
    Sending its quivering exhalation up--
    Heat more than smoke; to aggravate the whole,
    The sweltering, smothering, suffocating whole,
    The oppressive sense upon your heart of man’s
    Worst dwellings round you--smells of stinking fish,
    Torn dingy shirts, half washed, flea-spotted still,
    Hung out on bending strings at broken windows;
    Hunger, and fear, and pale disordered faces,
    Lies, drunken strife, strokes, cries, and new-coined oaths,
    All hot and rough from the red mint of hell.

      Lo! with her screwed tail cocked aloft in air,
    The cottar’s cow comes scampering clumsily.
    Her, sorely cupped and leeched, the clegs have stung
    From her propriety; and hoisting high
    Her standard of distress, this way she comes
    Cantering unwieldily, her heavy udder,
    Dropping out milk, swinging from side to side.
    Pathetic sight! So long have we been used
    To see the solemn tenor of her life,
    From calfhood to her present reverend age
    Of wrinkled front, scored horns, and hollow back,--
    Tenor unbroken, save when once or twice
    A pool of frothy blood before the smithy
    Has made her snuff, snort, paw, and toss her head,
    Wheel round and round, and slavering bellow mad:
    That blood the cadger’s horse, seized with the bots,
    When he on cobwebbed clover, raw and cold,
    Had supped, gave spouting, spinning from his neck,
    Beneath the blacksmith’s mallet and his fleam.
    Is this the cow, at home so patient o’er
    The cool sobriety of cabbage leaves,
    Hoarse cropped for her at morn, when the night-drops
    Lie like big diamonds in the freshened stock,--
    Drops broken, running, scattered, but again
    Conglobed like quicksilver, until they fall
    Shaken to earth? Is this the milky mother,
    That long has given to thankful squeezing hands,
    With such an air of steady usefulness,
    The children’s streaming food--twelve pints a day;
    And with her butter, and her cheese, and cans
    Of white-green whey, has bought the grocery goods,
    Snuff and tobacco? Oh! the affecting sight!
    Help, help, ye Shades, the venerable brute!
    But gradually subsiding to a trot,
    She takes the river with a fellow-feeling,
    And, modestly aloof to raise no strife,
    There settles down behind the stranger cows.
    Ah! Crummie, you have stolen this scampering march
    Upon the little cow-herd. Far are heard
    The opening roarings of his wondering fear,
    Nearer and nearer still, as they come on,
    Loading the noontide air. Three other friends
    Had he to feed, besides the family cow.
    Twin cushats young, the yellow hair now sparse
    In their thick gathering plumage, nestling lie
    Within his bonnet; they can snap, and strike
    With raised wing; grown vigorous thus, they need
    A larger dinner of provided peas.
    Nor less his hawk, shrill-screaming as it shakes
    Its wings for food, must have the knotted worms
    From moist cold beds below the unwholesome stone,
    That never has been raised--if he be quick
    To raise it, and can seize them ere they slink
    Into their holes, or, when half in, can draw them,
    With a long, steady, gentle, equal pull,
    Tenacious though they be, and tender stretched
    Till every rib seems ready to give way,
    Unbroken out in all their slippery length.
    These now he wandered seeking, for the ground
    Was parched, and they the surface all had left;
    And many a stone he raised, but nothing saw,
    Save insect eggs, and shells of beetles’ wings,
    Slaters, cocoons, and yellow centipedes.
    Thus was he drawn away. When he came back,
    His cow was gone. Dismayed, he looked all round.
    At last he saw, far-off on the horizon,
    Her hoisted tail. He seized his birds and ran,
    Following the tail, and as he ran he roared.
    Yonder he comes in view with red-hot face;
    Roaring the more to see old Crummie take
    The river--how shall he dislodge her thence;
    And get her home again? Oh! deep distress!

      The world is flooded with the dazzling day.
    We take the woods. Couched in the checkered skirts,
    Below an elm we lie. A sylvan stream
    Is sleeping by us in a cold still pool,
    Within whose glassy depth the little fishes
    Hang, as in crystal air. Freckled with gleams,
    ’Neath yonder hazelly bank that roofs it o’er
    With roots and moss, it slides and slips away.
    Here a ray’d spot of light, intensely clear,
    Strikes our eyes through the leaves; a sunbeam there
    Comes slanting in between the mossy trunks
    Of the green trees, and misty shimmering falls
    With a long slope down on the glossy ferns:
    Light filmy flies athwart it brightening shoot,
    Or dance and hover in the motty ray.

      We love the umbrageous Elm. Its well-crimp’d leaf,
    Serrated, fresh, and rough as a cow’s tongue,
    Is healthy, natural, and cooling, far
    Beyond the glazy polish of the bay,
    Famed though it be, but glittering hard as if
    ’Twere liquor’d o’er with some metallic wash.
    Thus pleased, laid back, up through the Elm o’erhead
    We look. The little Creeper of the Tree
    Lends life to it: See how the antic bird,
    Her bosom to the bark, goes round away
    Behind the trunk, but quaintly reappears
    Through a rough cleft above, with busy bill
    Picking her lunch; and now among the leaves
    Our birdie goes, bright glimmering in the green
    And yellow light that fills the tender tree.

      Low o’er the burnie bends the drooping Birch:
    Fair tree! Though oft its cuticle of bark
    Hangs in white fluttering tatters on its breast,
    No fairer twinkles in the dewy glade.
    Sweet is its scented breath, the wild deer loves it,
    And snuffs and browses at the budding spray.
    But far more tempting to the truant’s eyes,
    Wandering the woods, its thick excrescences
    Of bundled matted sprigs: Soft steals he on,
    To find what seems afar the cushat’s nest,
    Or pie’s or crow’s. Deceived, yet if the tree
    Is old, he seeks in its decaying clefts
    The fungous cork-wood that gives balls to boys,
    And smooth-skinn’d razor-strops to bearded men.
    Bent all on play, our little urchin next
    Peels off a bit of bark, and with his nails
    Splits and divides the many-coated rind
    To the last outer thinness; then he holds
    The silky shivering film between his lips,
    And pipes and whistles, mimicking the thrush.

      Nor less the Beauty of our natural woods
    Is useful too. What time the housewife’s pirn
    (Oh, cheerless change that stopp’d the birring wheel!)
    Whirled glimmering round before the evening fire,
    ’Twas birchen aye. And when our tough-heel’d shoes
    Have stood the tear and wear of stony hills
    Beyond our hope, we bless the birchen pegs.
    In Norway o’er the foam, their crackling fires
    Are fed with bark of birch, and there they thatch
    Their simple houses with its pliant twigs.
    At home, the virtues of our civic besoms
    Confess the birch. The Master of the School
    Is now “abroad:” Oh! may he never miss,
    Wander where’er he will, the birchen shaw,
    But cut the immemorial ferula,
    To lay in pickle for rebellious imps,
    And discipline to worth the British youth.

      The Queen can make a Duke; but cannot make
    One of the forest’s old Aristocrats.
    Behold yon Oak! What glory in his bole,
    His boughs, his branches, his broad frondent head!
    The ancient Nobleman! Not She who rules
    The kingdoms, many-isled, on which the sun
    Never goes down, with all the investiture
    Of garters, coronets, scutcheons, swords, and stars,
    Could make him there at once. Patrician! Nay,
    King of the woods, his independent realm!
    Whate’er his titled name, there let him stand,
    Fit emblem of our British constitution,
    Full constituted in the rooted Past,
    With powers, and forces, and accommodations,
    The growth of ages, not an act or work!
    Beyond this emblem of old diguity,
    And far beyond the associated thought
    Of “Hearts of Oak,” that mightiest incarnation
    Of human power that earth has ever seen--
    As when we launch’d our Nelson, and he went
    Thundering around the world, driving the foe,
    With all their banded hosts, from hemisphere
    To hemisphere, before him, by the terror
    Of his tremendous name, but overtook
    And thunder-smote them down, swept from the seas,--
    Beyond all this, the reverend Oak takes back
    The heart to elder days of holy awe.
    Such oaks are they, the hoariest of the race,
    Round Lochwood Tower, the Johnstones’ ancient seat.
    Bow’d down with very age, and rough all o’er
    With scurfy moss, and the depending hair
    Of parasitic plants, (the mistletoe,
    Be sure, is there, congenial friend of old,)
    They look as if no lively little bird
    Durst hop upon their spirit-awing heads:
    Perhaps, at midnight hour, Minerva’s bird,
    The grave, staid owl, may rest a moment there.
    But solemn visions swarm on every bough,
    Of Druid doings in old dusky time.

      When lowers the thunder cloud, and all the trees
    Stand black and still, with what a trump profound
    The wild bee wanders by! But here he is,
    Hoarse murmuring in the fox-glove’s weigh’d-down bell.
    Happy in sumner he! but when the days
    Of later autumn come, they’ll find him hanging
    In torpid stupor, on the horse-knot’s top;
    Or by the ragweed in the school-boy’s hand,
    As forth he issues, angry from his bike,
    Struck down, he’ll die--what time the urchins, bent
    On honey, delve into the solid ground:
    They seize the yellower and the cleaner comb,
    But drop it quick, when squeezing it they find
    Nought there but milky maggots; then they pick
    The darker bits, and suck them, though they be
    Wild, bitter flavoured, in their luscious strength,
    And dirty brown, and mix’d with earthen mould.
    The luckier mower in the grassy mead,
    Turns up with his scythe’s point, or with its edge,
    The foggie’s bike, a ball of soft, dry fog.
    With what a sharp, thin, acrid, pent-up buzz,
    Swarming, it lives and stirs! But when the bees
    Are all dislodged, and, circling, wheel away,
    The swain rejoices in that bright clean honey.

      Ah! there’s Miss Kitty Wren, with her cocked tail,
    Cocked like a cooper’s thumb. Miss Kitty goes
    In ’neath the bank, and then comes out again
    By some queer hole. Thus, all the day she plies
    Her quest from hedge to bank, scarce ever seen
    Flying above your head in open air.
    Unsmitten by the heat where now she is,
    She strikes into her song--Miss Kitty’s song!
    (We never think of male in Kitty’s case.)
    The song is short, and varies not, but yet
    ’Tis not monotonous; with such a pipe
    Of liquid clearness does she open it,
    And, with increasing vigour, to the end
    Go through it quite: Thus, all the year, she sings,
    Except in frost, the spunky little bird!
    On mossy stump of thorn, her curious nest
    Is often built, a twig drawn over it,
    To bind it firm; but more she loves the roof
    Of sylvan cave over-arched, where the green twilight
    Glimmers with golden light, and fox-gloves stand,
    Tall, purple-faced, her goodly beef-eaters,
    To guard and dignify her entrance-gate.
    The ballad vouches that a wee, wee bird
    Oft brings a whispered message to the ear;
    So here’s our ear, Miss Wren, (your pardon! we
    Must call you Mrs now,) pray, tell us how
    You manage, in your crowded little house,
    To feed your thirteen young, nor miss one mouth
    In its due turn, but give them all fair play?
    And here’s our other ear; say, ere you go,
    What means the Bachelor’s Nest? ’Tis oftener found
    Than the true finished one. Externally,
    ’Tis built as well; but ne’er we find within
    The cozy feathery lining for the home
    Of love parental. Is it, as some think,
    And as the name, though not precise, implies,
    Made for your husband, whosoe’er he be,
    To sleep o’nights in? Or, as others deem,
    Is it a lure to draw the loiterer’s eye
    Off from the genuine nest, not far away?
    Or, shy and nice, were you disturbed in building;
    Or by some other instinct, fine and true,
    Impelled to change your first-projected place,
    And choose a safer? This your Laureate holds.

      But here comes Robin. In our boyish days,
    We thought him Kitty’s husband. By his clear
    Black eye, he’s fit to answer for himself.
    Like her, he sings the whole year round; but she
    Is not his wife. See how he turns the head
    This way and that, peeping from out the leaves
    With curious eye, and still comes hopping nearer.
    Strong in his individual character,
    His knowing glance, his shape, his waistcoat red,
    His pipe mellifluous, and pugnacious pride,
    Darting to strike intruders from his beat,
    And other qualities, his love of man
    Is still his great peculiarity.
    The starved hedge-sparrow haunts the moistened sink,
    On gurly winter days, the bitter wind
    Ruffling her back, showing the bluer down
    Beneath her feathers freckled brown above,
    But ne’er she ventures nearer where man dwells.
    With sidelong look, bold Robin takes our floor;
    And when, as now, we rest us in the depths
    Of leafy woods, he’s with us in a trice.
    Such is the genius of red-breasted Robin.

      Along the shingly shallows of the burn,
    The smallest bird that walks, and does not hop,
    How fast yon Wagtail runs; its little feet
    Quick as a mouse’s! Thus its shaking tail
    Is kept in even balance, poised and straight.
    With hopping movements ’twould not harmonise,
    But, wagging inconveniently more,
    Mar and confound the bird’s progressive way,
    When off the wing. Wisdom Divine contrived
    The just proportions of this compromise
    Betwixt the motions of the feet and tail.
    Aloft in air, each chirrup keeping time
    With each successive undulation long,
    The Wagtail flies, a pleasant summer bird.

      A moment on the elm above our head
    Rests the Green-linnet. Wordsworth says, He “from
    The cottage-eaves pours forth his song in gushes.”
    Not so in Scotland: Here he sometimes builds
    His nest within the garden’s beechen hedge;
    But never haunts our eaves. As for his song,
    A few short notes, meagre and harsh, are all
    This somewhat spiritless and lumpish bird
    Has ever given us. Can the Master err?

      With all the short thick rowing of her wings
    The Magpie makes slow way. But her glib tongue
    Goes chattering fast enough. In yonder fir,
    The summer solstice cannnot keep her mute.
    Surely, the bird should speak: Take the young pie,
    And with a silver sixpence split its tongue,
    ’Twill speak incontinent; thus the notion runs
    From simple father down to simple son,
    In many parts. Oft in our boyhood’s days
    We’ve seen it tried; but somehow, by bad luck,
    It always happened that the poor bird died,
    When, doubtless, just upon the eve of speech.
    Sore was the splitting then, but far worse now:
    The sixpence then, worn till it lost the head
    Of George the Third, was thin as a knife’s edge,
    And fitly sharp; the coin’s now thick and dull,
    And makes the clumsier cleaving full of pain.
    As boys we feared the magpie, for ’twas held
    A bird of omen: oft ’twas seen to tear
    With mad extravagant bill the cottage thatch,
    Herald of death within: To neighbouring towns
    The schoolboy, sent on morning messages,
    Counted with awe how many pies at once
    Hopped on his road; by this he learned to know
    The various fortunes of the coming time.

      Sweet lore was yours, O Bewick! with that eye
    So keen, yet quiet, for the Beautiful,
    And for the Droll--that eye so loving large!
    Yet sweeter, Wilson, yours, as yours a range
    More ample far, watching the goings-on
    Of Nature in the boundless solitudes.
    We know no happier man than him, at once,
    With native powers, fixed from a restless youth,
    To a great work congenial, which his might
    Of conscious will has mastered ere begun;
    Life’s work, and the foundation of his fame:
    But oh! its sweetness, if in Nature’s eye
    His is the privilege to work it out!
    Such was the work of Wilson. Happy, too,
    Is Audubon. When Day, like a bright bird,
    Throughout the heavens has flown, chased by the black
    Falcon of Night, he sleeps beneath a tree;
    Upspringing with the morn, the enthusiast holds
    On his green way rejoicing: His to catch,
    And fix the creatures of the wilderness
    In pictured forms, not in the attitudes
    Of stiff convenience, but in all their play
    Of happy natural life, fearless, untamed
    By man’s intrusion, wanton, easy, free,
    Yet full of tart peculiarities,
    Freakish, and quaint, and ever picturesque,
    Their secret gestures, and the wild escapes
    From out their eyes; watching how Nature works
    Her fine frugalities of means, even there
    Where all is lavish freedom, finer still,
    The compensations of her processes,
    Throughout their whole economy of life.
    Sweet study! Oh! for one long summer day
    With Audubon in the far Western woods!

      We leave the shade, and take the open fields,
    Winding our way by immemorial paths,
    So soft and green, the poor man’s privilege:
    May jealous freedom ever keep them free!
    Such is the sultry languor of the day,
    The eye sees nothing clear. But now it rests
    On yonder sable patch--ah! yes, a band
    Of mourners gathered round a closing grave,
    In the old churchyard. How unnatural
    The black solemnity in such a day
    Of light and life! But who was he or she
    Who thus goes dust to dust? A matron ripe
    In years and grace at once for death and Heaven.
    Her aged father’s stay until he died,
    She then was wed and widowed in one year,
    And made a mother. With her infant son
    She dwelt in peace, and nourished him with love.
    Mild and sedate, upgrew the old-fashioned boy;
    And went to church with her, a little man
    In garb and gravity: you would have smiled
    To see him coming in. She lifted him
    Up to his seat beside her, drew him near,
    And took his hand in hers. There as he sate,
    Oft looked she down to see if he was sleeping;
    And drowsy half, half in the languor soft
    Of innocent trust and aimless piety,
    The child looked up into his mother’s face.
    And she looked down into his eyes, and saw
    The neighbouring window in their pupils’ balls,
    With all its panes, reflected small but clear;
    And gave his hand soft pressure with her hand,
    Still shifting, trying still to be more soft.
    God took him from her. In a holy stillness
    She dwelt concentred. Decent were her means,
    And so she changed not outwardly. No trouble
    Gave she to neighbours; but she helped them oft.
    And when she died, her grave-clothes, there they were,
    Made by her own preparing heart and hand,
    And neatly folded in an antique chest:
    Not even a pin was wanting, where, to dress
    Her body with due care, a pin should be;
    And every pin was stuck in its own place.
    Nor was all this from any hard mistrust
    Of human love, for she the charities
    Took with glad heart; but from a strength of mind
    Which stood equipped in every point for death,
    And, loving order, loved it to the end.

      The mourners all are gone. How lonely still
    The churchyard now! Here in their simple graves
    The generations of the hamlet sleep:
    All grassy simple, save that, here and there,
    Love-planted flowerets deck the lowly sod.
    Blame not that sorrowing love: ’Tis far too true
    To make of Burial one of the Fine Arts;
    Yet the sweet thought that scented violets spring
    From the loved ashes, is a natural war
    Against the foul dishonours of the grave.
    Bloom then, ye little flowers, and sweetly smell;
    Draw up the heart’s dust in your flushing hues,
    And odorous breath, and give it to the bee,
    And give it to the air, circling to go
    From life to life, through all that living flux
    Of interchange which makes this wondrous world.
    Go where it will, the dear dust is not lost;
    Found it will be in its own place and form,
    On that great day, the Resurrection Day.


                                EVENING.

      Those shouts proclaim the village school is out.
    This way and that, the children break in groups;
    Some by the sunny stile, and meadow path,
    Slow sauntering homeward; others to the burn
    Bounding, beneath the stones, and roots, and banks,
    With stealthy hand to catch the spotted trout,
    Or stab the eel, or slip their noose of hair
    Over the bearded loach, and jerk him out.
    Here on his donkey, slow as any snail
    At morn from the far farm, but, homeward now,
    Willing and fast, an urchin blithe and bold
    Comes scampering on: His face is to the tail
    In fun grotesque; stooping, with both his hands
    He holds the hairy rump; his kicking feet
    Go walloping; his empty flask of tin,
    That bore his noon of milk, quiver of life,
    And not of death, high-bounding on his back,
    Rattles the while. With many a whoop behind,
    Scouring the dusty road with their bare feet,
    In wicked glee, a squad of fellow-imps
    Come on with thistles and with nettle-wands,
    Pursuingly, intent to goad and vex
    The long-eared cuddy: He, the cuddy, lays
    His long ears back upon his neck, his head
    Lowered the while, and out behind him flings
    High his indignant heels, at once to keep
    That hurly-burly of tormentors off,
    And rid his back of that insulting rider.

      Unconscious boyhood! Oh! the perils near
    Of luring Pleasures! In the evening shade,
    Drowsy reclining, in my dream I saw
    A comely youth, with wanton flowing curls,
    Chase down the sunlit vale a glittering flight
    Of winged creatures, some like birds, and some
    Like butterflies, and moths of marvellous size
    And beauty, purple-ruffed, and spotted rich
    With velvet tippets, and their wings like flame--
    Onward they drew him to a coming cloud,
    With skirts of vapoury gold, but steaming dense
    And dark behind, close gathering from the ground:
    And on and in he went, in heedless chase.
    And straight those skirts curled inward, and became
    Part of the gloom: Compacted, solid, black,
    It has him in, and it will keep him there.
    The cloud stood still a space, as if to give
    Time for the acting of some doom within,
    Ominous, silent, grim. It moved again,
    Tumultuous stirred, and broke in seams and flaws,
    And gave me glimpses of its inner womb:
    Outdarting forkèd tongues, and brazen fins,
    Blue web-winged vampire-bats, and harpy faces,
    And dragon crests, and vulture heads obscene,
    I there beheld: Fierce were their levelled looks,
    As if inflicted on some victim. Who
    That victim was, I saw not. But are these
    The painted Pleasures which that youth pursued
    Adown the vale? How cruel changed! But where,
    And what is he? Is he their victim there?
    Heavy the cloud went passing by. From out
    Its further end I saw that young man come,
    Worn and dejected; specks and spots of dirt
    Were on his face, and round his sunken eyes;
    Hollow his cheeks, lean were his bony brows;
    And lank and clammy were the locks that once
    Played curling round his neck: The Passions there
    Have done their work on him. With trembling limbs,
    And stumbling as he went, he sate him down,
    With folded arms, upon a sombre hill,
    Apart from men, and from his father’s house,
    That wept from him; and, sitting there, he looked
    With heavy-laden eyes down on the ground.
    But the night fell, and hid him from my view.

      In yonder sheltered nook of nibbled sward,
    Beside the wood, a gipsy band are camped;
    And there they’ll sleep the summer night away.
    By stealthy holes, their ragged tawny brood
    Creep through the hedges, in their pilfering quest
    Of sticks and pales, to make their evening fire.
    Untutored things, scarce brought beneath the laws
    And meek provisions of this ancient State!
    Yet, is it wise, with wealth and power like hers,
    And such resources of good government,
    To let so many of her sons grow up
    In untaught darkness and consecutive vice?
    True, we are jealous free, and hate constraint,
    And every cognisance o’er private life;
    Yet, not to name a higher principle,
    ’Twere but an institution of police,
    Due to society, preventative
    Of crime, the cheapest and the best support
    Of order, right, and law, that not one child,
    In all this realm of ours, should be allowed
    To grow up uninstructed for this life,
    And for the next. Were every child State-claimed,
    Laid hold of thus, and thus prepared to be
    A proper member of society,
    What founts of vice, with all their issuing streams,
    Might thus be closed for ever, and at once!
    Good propagating good, so far as man
    Can work with God. Oh! this is the great work
    To change our moral world, and people Heaven.

      Would we had Christian statesmen to devise,
    And shape, and work it out! Our liberties
    Have limits and abatements manifold;
    And soon the national will, which makes restraint
    Part of its freedom, oft the soundest part,
    Would recognise the wisdom of the plan,
    Arming the state with full authority
    For such an institute of renovation.
    This work achieved at home, with what a large
    Consistent exercise of power, and right
    To hope the blessing, should we then go forth,
    Pushing into the dark of Heathen worlds
    The crystal frontiers of the invading Light,
    The Gospel Light! The glad submitting Earth
    Would cry, Behold, their own land is a land
    Of perfect living light--how beautiful
    Upon the mountains are their blessed feet!

      Through yonder meadow comes the milk-maid’s song,
    Clear, but not blithe, a melancholy chaunt,
    With dying falls monotonous; for youth
    Affects the dark and sad: Her ditty tells
    Of captive lorn, or broken-hearted maid,
    Left of her lover, but in dream thrice dreamt
    Warned of his fate, when, with his fellow-crew
    Of ghastly sailors on benighted seas
    He clings to some black, wet, and slippery rock,
    Soon to be washed away; what time their ship,
    Driven on the whirlpool’s wheel, is sent below,
    And ground upon the millstones of the sea.
    The song has ceased. Up the dim elmy lane
    The damsel comes. But at its leafy mouth
    The one dear lad has watched her entering in,
    And with her now comes softly side by side.
    But oft he plucks a leaf from off the hedge,
    For lack of words, in bashful love sincere;
    Till, in his innocent freedom bolder grown,
    He crops a dewy gowan from the path,
    And greatly daring flings it at her cheek.
    Close o’er the pair, along the green arcade,
    Now hid, now seen against the evening sky,
    The wavering, circling, sudden-wheeling bat
    Plays little Cupid, blind enough for that,
    And fitly fickle in his flights to be
    The very Boy-god’s self. Where’er may lie
    The power of arrows with the golden tips,
    That silent lad is smit, nor less that girl
    Is cleft of heart: Be this the token true:--
    Next Sabbath morn, when o’er the pasture hills
    Barefoot she comes to church, with Bible wrapped
    In clean white napkin, and the sprig of mint
    And southernwood laid duly in the leaves,
    And down she sits beside the burn to wash
    Her feet, and don her stockings and her shoes,
    Before she come unto the House of Prayer,
    With all her reverence of the Day, she’ll cast
    (Forgive the simple thing!) her eye askance
    Into the mirror of the glassy pool,
    And give her ringlets the last taking touch,
    For him who flung the gowan at her cheek
    In that soft twilight of the elmy lane.

      Pensive the setting Day, whether, as now
    Cloudless it fades away, or far is seen,
    In long and level parallels of light,
    Purple and liquid yellow, barred with clouds,
    Far in the twilight West, seen through some deep
    Embrowned grove of venerable trees,
    Whose pillared stems, apart, but regular,
    Stand off against the sky: In such a grove,
    At such an hour, permitted eyes might see
    Angels, majestic Shapes, walking the earth,
    Holding mild converse for the good of man.

      Day melts into the West, another flake
    Of sweet blue Time into the Eternal Past!

DUMFRIES, _May 18, 1846_.



CABRERA.

[_Historia de la Guerra Ultima en Aragon y Valencia, escrita par_ D. F.
CABELLO, D. F. SANTA CRUZ, y D. R. M. TEMPRADO. Madrid: 1846.]


On the twenty-seventh day of December 1806, at the collegiate town
of Tortosa in Catalonia, Maria Griño, the wife of José Cabrera, an
industrious and respectable mariner, gave birth to a son. Destined
to the church, this child, from his earliest boyhood, was the petted
favourite of his family. His parents looked to him as a staff and
support for their declining years, his sisters as a protector; and none
ventured to thwart his whims, or correct the failings of the young
student. Thus abandoned to the dictates of a disposition naturally
perverse, Ramon Cabrera led the life of a vagabond, rather than that
of a scholar and of one destined to holy orders. Avoided by the more
respectable of his classmates and townsmen, he fell amongst evil
associates, and soon became notorious for precocity of vice. The
reprimands of his superiors, the entreaties of his relatives, even
punishment and seclusion, were inefficacious to reclaim him. Disliking
books, the sole use he made of opportunities of study, was to imbibe
the abominable and sanguinary maxims of the Inquisition. The taint of
Carlism, widely spread amongst the clergy of the diocese of Tortosa,
whose bishop, Saenz, was an influential and devoted member of the
apostolical party, was speedily contracted by Cabrera. By character and
propensities better fitted for an unscrupulous military partisan than
for a minister of the gospel, for a devouring wolf than for a meek and
humble shepherd of God’s flock, no sooner was the cry of insurrection
raised in the kingdom of Arragon than he hastened to swell it with his
voice. On the 15th of November 1833 he joined Colonel Carnicer, who had
already planted on the ramparts of Morella the standard of Charles the
Fifth.

Six years have elapsed since the termination of the civil war in
Arragon and Valencia, and we should scarcely hope to interest English
readers by raking up its details. In taking the volumes named at
foot for the subject of an article, our intention is rather to give
a correct notion of the character of a man who by one party has been
extolled as a hero, by another stigmatized as a savage. A brief sketch
of his career, and a few personal anecdotes, will afford the best means
of deciding which of these epithets he may with most justice claim.

For the first sixteen months of the war, Cabrera acted as subordinate
to Carnicer, chief of the Arragonese Carlists; and during that time he
in no way distinguished himself, save by occasional acts of cruelty.
His presumption and want of military knowledge caused the loss of more
than one action--especially that of Mayals in Catalonia, in which, as
it was then thought, the Arragonese faction received its death-blow.
This unlucky encounter was followed by various lesser ones, equally
disastrous; and at the commencement of 1835, the Carlist chiefs in
the eastern provinces of the Peninsula were reduced to wander in the
mountains at the head of scanty and disheartened bands, seeking shelter
from the Queen’s troops, against whom they were totally unable to make
a stand. Furious at this state of things, and still more so at the
conduct of Carnicer, to whose lenity with the prisoners and population
he attributed their reverses, discontented also with his obscure and
subaltern position, Cabrera, who represented in Arragon the apostolical
or ultra-absolutist party, and who on that account had influential
supporters at the court of Charles the Fifth, resolved upon a bold
attempt to get rid of his chief and command in his stead. Abandoning
his post, he set out for Navarre, in company with a clever and resolute
female of considerable personal attractions, intended as a propitiatory
offering to the royal widower whose favour he was about to solicit.
On his arrival he obtained a private audience of Don Carlos, to whom
he represented himself as capable of commanding in Arragon, and of
achieving the triumph of the King’s cause. He exposed his plan of
campaign, accused Carnicer of weakness and mistaken humanity, and urged
the necessity of severe and sanguinary measures. The result of his
representations, and of the pleadings of his friends, some of whom were
the Pretender’s most esteemed counsellors, was his return to Arragon,
bearing a despatch by which Carnicer was ordered to make over his
command to Cabrera, and to present himself at headquarters in Navarre.
On the ninth of March 1835, Cabrera assumed the supreme command, and
Carnicer, in obedience to his instructions, set out for the Basque
country. On his road he fell into the hands of the Christinos, and was
shot at Miranda del Ebro.

Public opinion amongst the Carlists unhesitatingly attributed to
Cabrera the death of his former superior. Under pretence of their
serving him as guides, he had prevailed upon Carnicer to take with him
two officers whom he pointed out. These were also made prisoners; but
although the Eliot convention was not yet in existence, and quarter was
rarely given, both of them were exchanged after a very short delay.
The information received by the Christino authorities, of the route
that Carnicer was to follow, was sent from the village of Palomar on
a day when Cabrera was quartered there. Other circumstances confirmed
the suspicion of foul play, and that Carnicer had been betrayed by his
own party; and so generally was the treachery imputed to Cabrera, that
he at last took notice of the charge, and used every means to check
its discussion. So long as a year afterwards, he shot at Camarillas
the brother of one of the two officers who had accompanied Carnicer,
for having been so imprudent as to say that the latter had been sold
by Cabrera.[B] Such severity produced, of course, a directly opposite
effect to that desired by its author; for although Cabrera pretexted
other motives, its real ones were evident, and all men remained
convinced of his guilt. Subsequently the Carlist general Cabañero threw
the alleged calumny in his face in presence of several persons, and
instead of repelling it with his sword, Cabrera submitted patiently to
the imputation.

    [B] By a remarkable coincidence, this execution occurred on the
        16th of February 1836, on the same day and at the very same
        hour that Cabrera’s mother was shot at Tortosa. To this
        latter unfortunate and cruel act, which has been absurdly
        urged as a justification of Cabrera’s atrocities, further
        reference will presently be made.

Justly distrustful of those about him, Carnicer, when passing the night
in the mountains, was wont to change his sleeping place after all his
companions had retired to rest. On one occasion, in the neighbourhood
of Alacon, a soldier who had lain down upon the couch prepared for
his general, was assassinated by a pistol-shot. Cabrera was in the
encampment, and although the perpetrator of the deed was never
positively known, rumour laid the crime at his door. Whether or not the
dark suspicion was well founded, the establishment of its justice would
scarcely add a shade of blackness to the character of Ramon Cabrera.

Already, during a period of eighteen months, the kingdoms of Arragon
and Valencia had groaned beneath the calamities of civil war. Their
cattle driven, their granaries plundered, their sons dragged away to
become unwilling defenders of Don Carlos, the unfortunate inhabitants
could scarcely conceive a worse state than that of continual alarm
and insecurity in which they lived. They had yet to learn that what
they had hitherto endured was light to bear, compared to the atrocious
system introduced by the ruthless successor of Carnicer. From the
day that Cabrera assumed the command, the war became a butchery, and
its inflictions ceased to be confined to the armed combatants on
either side. Thenceforward, the infant in the cradle, the bedridden
old man, the pregnant matron, were included amongst its victims.
A mere suspicion of liberal opinions, the possession of a national
guardsman’s uniform, a glass of water given to a wounded Christino, a
distant relationship to a partisan of the Queen, was sentence of death.
The rules of civilized warfare were set at nought, and Cabrera, in
obedience to his sanguinary instincts, committed his murders not only
when they might possibly advance, but even when they must positively
injure, the cause of him whom he styled his sovereign. “Those days
that I do not shed blood,” said he, in July 1837, when waiting in the
ante-chamber of Don Carlos with Villareal, Merino, Cuevillas, and other
generals, “I have not a good digestion.” During the five years of his
command, his digestion can rarely have been troubled.

The task of recording the exploits and cruelties of Cabrera, and
the history of the war in which he took so prominent a part, has
been undertaken by three Spaniards of respectability and talent; the
principal of whom, Don Francisco Cabello, was formerly political chief
of the province of Teruel, in the immediate vicinity of Cabrera’s
strongholds. There he had abundant opportunities of gathering
information concerning the Carlist leader. In the book before us he
does not confine himself to bare assertion, but supplies an ample
appendix of justificatory documents, without which, indeed, many of the
atrocious facts related would find few believers.

The Carlist troops in Arragon and Valencia were of very different
composition from those in Navarre and Biscay. In the latter provinces,
an intelligent and industrious peasantry rose to defend certain
local rights and immunities, whose preservation, they were taught to
believe, was bound up with the success of Don Carlos. In Eastern Spain
the mass of the respectable and labouring classes were of liberal
opinions, and the ranks of the faction were swelled by the dregs and
refuse of the population. Highwaymen and smugglers, escaped criminals,
profligate monks, bad characters of every description, banded together
under command of chiefs little better than themselves, but who, by
greater energy, or from having a smattering of military knowledge,
gained an ascendancy over their fellows. In these motley hordes of
reprobates, who, after a time, schooled by experience and defeat,
were formed into regular battalions, capable of contending, with
chances of success, against equal numbers of the Queen’s troops, the
clergy played a conspicuous part. Rare were the encounters between
Christinos and Carlists, in which some sturdy friar did not lose his
life whilst heading and encouraging the latter; after every action
cowls and breviaries formed part of the spoil; scarce one of the rebel
leaders but had his clerical staff of chaplains, sharing in, often
stimulating, his cruelties and excesses. Those monks who did not openly
take the field, busied themselves in promoting disaffection amongst the
Queen’s partisans. The most subversive sermons were daily preached;
the confessional became the vehicle of insidious and treasonable
admonitions; the liberal section of the clergy was subjected to cruel
molestation and injustice. All these circumstances, added to the
scandal and discord that reigned in the convents, loudly called for
the suppression of the latter. Not only the government, which saw and
suffered from the rebellion so enthusiastically shared in and promoted
by the monks, but the very founders of the orders, could they have
revisited Spain, would have advised their abolition. The following
curious extract from the book now under review gives a striking picture
of Spanish monastic doings in the nineteenth century.

“If, in the year 1835, St Bernard could have accompanied us on our
visit to the monastery of Beruela in the Moncayo, surely he would have
been indignant, and would have chastised the monks; surely he himself
would have solicited the extinction of his order. Out of thirty monks,
very few confessed, and only two or three knew how to preach; every one
breakfasted and said mass just when he thought proper; by nine in the
morning they might be seen wandering about the neighbouring country
and gardens, or shooting small birds near the gates of the monastery;
at eleven, they assembled in a cell to play _monté_ with visitors
from the neighbouring towns and villages, winning and losing thousands
of reals. During dinner, instead of having some grave and proper book
read aloud to them, one of their number related obscene stories for the
amusement of his companions; at dessert the finest wines were served,
the monks played upon the piano, and sang indecent songs. The _siesta_
passed away the afternoon, until, towards evening, these self-denying
anchorites roused themselves from their slumbers, and resumed their
favourite amusements of birding and tale-telling. At nightfall the
green-cloth was again spread, and the cards were in full activity;
sometimes six or eight of the monks got upon their mules, and rode a
distance of two or three leagues to a ball, dressed in the height of
the fashion. The writer of these pages once asked the prior to let
him see the paintings executed by the brotherhood; he was conducted
to the apartments of the abbot, and in the most secluded of them was
shown a wretched daub, of which the subject was shamefully coarse and
disgusting. * * * Many of the women of the neighbouring village of Vera
went by the names of the monks; and so great became the scandal, that,
on one occasion, when the national guards were sent upon an expedition,
the alcalde issued an order prohibiting their wives to walk in the
direction of the monastery. One woman, who disobeyed the injunction,
was made to pay a fine, and narrowly escaped having her head shaved in
the public marketplace.”

The monks prosecuted the alcalde for this abuse of authority; but
in the course of the trial so many scandalous revelations were made
concerning them, that the over-zealous official got off with a very
light punishment. His proclamation, the sentence of the Audiencia of
Saragossa, and some other documents confirming the truth of the above
allegations against the monastery, are given in the appendix to Señor
Cabello’s book. “Certainly,” continues that gentleman, “all monasteries
were not like that of Beruela. There were many virtuous, enlightened,
and laborious monks; but if these were too numerous to be styled the
exceptions, they at any rate composed the minority.”

To return to Cabrera. His first act, upon assuming the supreme command,
was to collect the scattered remnant of Carnicer’s faction, which
amounted but to three hundred infantry and forty horsemen. With these
he commenced operations, limited at first, owing to the scanty numbers
of his band, to marauding expeditions amongst the villages, whence
he retreated to the mountains on the approach of the Queen’s forces.
His cruelties soon made him universally dreaded in the districts he
overran. To the militia especially he gave no quarter, slaying them
unmercifully, wherever he could lay hands upon them, even when they
capitulated on promise of good treatment. He was seconded by Quilez, El
Serrador, Llangostera, and other partisans, as desperate, and nearly
as bloodthirsty, as himself. With extraordinary and stupid obstinacy,
the Madrid government persisted in treating the Arragonese rebellion
as unimportant; and instead of at once sending a sufficient force for
its suppression, allowed the insurgents to gain ground, recruit their
forces, capture fortified places, and ravage the country, setting at
defiance the feeble garrisons, and gallant but unavailing efforts of
the national guard.

On the 11th of September, at day-break, Cabrera suddenly appeared in
the town of Rubielos de Mora. Believing him far away, the garrison were
taken entirely by surprise, and after a brief skirmish in the streets,
retreated to a fortified convent. Here they made a vigorous defence,
and no efforts of the Carlists were sufficient to dislodge them;
until at dawn upon the 12th, after a siege of twenty-four hours, the
Christinos perceived the points of the assailants’ pickaxes piercing
the wall that divided the convent from an adjoining house. They set
fire to the house, but unfortunately a high wind fanned the flames,
which speedily communicated to the convent. Even then the besieged
continued to defend themselves, but at last, overcome by fatigue,
hunger, and thirst, scorched, bruised, and exhausted, they accepted
the terms offered by the besiegers. Their lives were to be spared,
and they were to retain their clothes and whatever property they had
about them. Cabrera and Forcadell signed the agreement; and sixty-five
national guardsmen and soldiers of the regiment of Ciudad Real marched
out of the burning convent, and were escorted by the Carlists in the
direction of Nogueruelas. On reaching a plain near that town, known
as the Dehesa, or Pasture, Cabrera ordered a halt, that his soldiers
might eat their rations. The prisoners also were supplied with food.
The meal over, the Carlist chief formed his infantry and cavalry in
a circle, made the captives strip off every part of their clothing,
and bade them run. No sooner did they obey his order, than they were
charged with lance and bayonet, and slaughtered to a man. It was a fine
feast of blood for Cabrera and his myrmidons. On the body of one victim
twenty-six wounds were afterwards counted. When Cabrera departed, the
authorities of the adjacent town buried the bodies; but at the end of
the war, in the year 1841, upon the anniversary of the massacre, their
remains were disinterred and removed to Rubielos with much pomp and
religious ceremony.

Such were the pastimes of Cabrera, such was the faith he kept with
those who confided in his word. The barbarous execution detailed above
was one of many that occurred in the first year of his command. Up to
the month of February 1836, the number of his victims, slain after the
battle, in cold blood, often in defiance of capitulation, sometimes on
mere suspition of liberalism, amounted to one hundred and eighty-one.
This does not include murders committed on the highways and in the
mountains, but those only of which there were abundant witnesses, and
that are proved by dates and documents. Amongst the slaughtered, were
children and old men. Two lads of sixteen and seventeen years of age
were shot at Codoñera in presence of their mother. When she implored
Cabrera’s mercy, he told her that her sons should be spared if her
husband would give himself up and take their place. On hearing this
reply, worthy of a Caligula or a Nero, the unhappy woman swooned away,
and the infant at her breast fell dead from her arms as if struck by
lightning. The shock to the mother had killed the child. All these
atrocities were committed whilst Cabrera’s mother yet lived unmolested
in Tortosa.

Meanwhile the Christino general Nogueras, busied in the pursuit of the
rebels, passed his whole time in the mountains, often not entering a
town for a month together, except to get pay or shoes for his troops.
Wherever he went, he was assailed by the tears and lamentations of
bereaved wives and mothers. If he paused at Calatayud, they told him of
the death of nine national guards shot at Castejoncillo; at Caspe, the
weeping widows and orphans of five others presented themselves before
him; at Teruel he was horrified by the narrative of the massacre of
the Dehesa; when he traversed the plains of Alpuente, the Carrascal of
Yesa, where forty prisoners had been bayoneted, was pointed out to his
notice; in the Maestrazgo he found universal mourning for sixty-one
nationals, pitilessly butchered at Alcanar; in each hamlet where he
halted for the night, the authorities complained to him of the most
barbarous ill-treatment at the hands of Cabrera. Not a village did he
pass through, whose alcalde had not been brutally bastinadoed. From his
companions, his visitors, his guides, he heard continually of Cabrera’s
cruelties. In the whole district nothing, else was talked of. The sole
thought of the liberal party was how to put a period to them, and
to be avenged upon their perpetrator. The most humane and peaceable
men urged a system of reprisals, as both legitimate and likely to be
efficacious. Such a system, Nogueras, yielding to the public voice, and
enraged at the murder of two alcaldes, whom Cabrera had causelessly
shot, at last resolved to adopt. He demanded the execution of Cabrera’s
mother, in the vain hope that it would strike terror into the rebel
chief, and check his excesses. Most unhappy was the impulse to which
he yielded. The act itself was cruel and hasty; its consequences were
terrible. But such was the state of feeling in Arragon at that time,
that, until those consequences were felt, many approved the deed.
The captain-general of Arragon, Don Francisco Serrano, a man noted
for humanity and mildness, deemed the measure advisable, and even
announced it with satisfaction in a proclamation, by which he declared
a similar fate to be in reserve for Cabrera’s sisters, and for the
relatives of the other rebel chiefs, if the Carlists persisted in
their atrocities. Hitherto the whole odium of the fate of a forlorn
old woman, who perhaps deplored as much as any one the enormities
committed by her son, has rested upon Nogueras. This is hardly fair.
Ill-advised, and in a moment of just irritation, he urged a request,
too hastily complied with, speedily repented, and which, according to
the conviction of Señor Cabello, he would himself have retracted had he
not been absent from Tortosa when its accomplishment took place. A more
unfortunate act, to whomsoever it may chiefly be imputed, could not
have been devised. It was at once repudiated by the Spanish government,
by the Cortes and the nation. In the eyes of Europe, it went far to
convert Cabrera from a pitiless butcher into an injured victim. At a
distance from the theatre of war, the nine score unfortunates whom he
had massacred in cold blood were forgotten or overlooked. Pity for the
mother’s fate procured oblivion for the previous crimes of the son.
Filial affection and regret, working upon an impassioned nature, were
urged in extenuation of his subsequent excesses. His massacres became
holocausts, offered by a pious child to the manes of a murdered parent.

In Valderobles, on the 20th of February, Cabrera received intelligence
of his mother’s death. Its first result was a ferocious proclamation,
by an article of which he decreed the death of four women, one of
them the lady of a Christino colonel, then in his power. Had he shot
them at once, in the first heat of anger and heaviness of grief,
the act, however barbarous and severe, would have been palliated by
circumstances; but for seven days he dragged those unfortunate women
with him on all his marches, compelling them to wander barefoot over
the rugged Mountains of Arragon. So great were the sufferings of these
poor creatures, that even Cabrera’s aides-de-camp, albeit not very
tender-hearted, interceded for them with their chief. At last, on the
27th February, having returned to Valderobles, three of the women
were released from their misery by a violent death. This execution
was followed by many others. Seven and twenty national guards, taken
prisoners at Liria, were kept alive for two or three days, and then
massacred at Chiva. On the 17th of April, the ferryman of Olva, who
acted as spy to Cabrera, and who was shot after the war, in the year
1841, brought information to the Carlist camp that two companies of
Christino soldiers, quartered in the hamlet of Alcotas, kept but a
careless watch, and might easily be surprised. Cabrera immediately set
out, the ferryman acting as guide, and fell upon the Christinos before
they were aware of his approach. They defended themselves bravely;
but their ammunition being expended, and themselves surrounded,
they capitulated on promise of quarter. Cabrera’s chaplain, Father
Escorihuela, was the person who prevailed on them to surrender,
solemnly assuring them that their lives should be spared. A few hours
later, this same priest heard the confession of the officers previously
to their execution. To the soldiers, even the last consolations of
religion were refused. Unshriven, they were shot to the last man.

But enough of such sanguinary details. Notwithstanding a severe defeat
sustained a short time previously at Molina, Cabrera, in the spring of
1836, found himself at the head of four thousand infantry and three
hundred dragoons. He displayed extraordinary activity; improved the
organisation of his forces, and put them upon the footing of a regular
army. Owing to these ameliorations, and to the culpable negligence of
the Spanish government, who left the Army of the Centre unprovided with
the commonest necessaries for campaigning, he was now able to abandon
his former haunts in the mountains of Beceite, and to advance into the
open country. Seeing the necessity of a stronghold for his stores and
hospitals, and as a place of refuge in case of a reverse, he fixed upon
the town of Cantavieja, which, from its size, the strength of its
walls, its central position in the territory of his operations, and
especially from the difficulty of bringing artillery over the steep
and bad roads leading to it, was peculiarly suited to his purpose. He
set to work to fortify it; and in spite of the representations made to
the Madrid government by the inhabitants of the province, who foresaw
the evils that would accrue to them from its fortification, he was
allowed, without interruption or molestation, to put it in a state of
defence. The energy and skill exhibited by him at this period were
wonderfully great, and would have done honour to an older soldier. He
formed capacious hospitals, and vast depots for food and other stores;
established powder manufactories, and workshops for armourers and
tailors; and leaving a strong garrison in the place, again took the
field.

Some sharp fighting now occurred, and the Christinos had the worst of
it in several encounters; until at last the minister of war, roused
from his apathy, sent strong reinforcements to Arragon and Valencia.
Amongst others, General Narvaez, at the head of a brilliant brigade,
was detached from the army of the north, and after a rapid march of
nine days, during which he crossed nearly the whole north-eastern
corner of Spain from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, arrived
at Teruel, and commenced operations with an activity that inspired the
Arragonese with fresh hopes of a prompt termination of the war. He was
in the field, and hard upon the heels of a Carlist corps commanded by a
chief known as the Organist, when an orderly, bearing despatches from
Madrid, came up at speed. “Yonder rebels,” said Narvaez, after reading
his letters, and pointing to the enemy, “may truly say that they exist
by royal order.” The despatches directed him instantly to quit Arragon,
and pursue Gomez, who had left Biscay on his celebrated expedition to
the southern provinces of Spain.

It is significant of the little estimation in which Cabrera was held
by the generals of the Navarrese and Biscayan faction, that when
Gomez, finding himself hard pressed by the Queen’s troops, sent to
Arragon for assistance, he did not address himself to Cabrera, who
commanded in chief in that province, but to Quilez and El Serrador,
subordinate partisans. Nevertheless Cabrera joined him, not with a
body of troops, but accompanied only by his aides-de-camp and staff,
and by one of his clerical mentors, the canon Cala y Valcarcel. Gomez
treated him with great contempt, and would give him no command in his
division; but he still continued with him, and was present at the
defeat of Villarrobledo, where Diego Leon with his hussars routed
Gomez, taking the whole of his baggage, twelve hundred prisoners, and
two thousand muskets. When the Carlists occupied Cordova, Cabrera was
one of the first men in the town, which he entered with a handful of
cavalry, under the command of Villalobos, to whom he had attached
himself, and who was killed by a shot fired from a window. If Gomez
disliked Cabrera, Cabrera, on his side, heartily despised Gomez. To
have captured three thousand national guardsmen in Cordova, and not
to have shot at least a couple of thousands of them--to have spared
the fifteen hundred men composing the garrison of Almaden, were
inexcusable weaknesses in the eyes of the Arragonese leader. Moreover,
his name was omitted in the despatches and proclamations announcing
the triumphs of the division; and at this he was indignant, viewing
it as a stain upon his reputation, and a dishonour to his rank. At
last, so troublesome did he become, constantly murmuring at whatever
was done, and even conspiring to promote mutiny amongst the men, that
Gomez, in order not to shoot him, which he otherwise would have been
compelled to do, insisted upon their parting company. On the 3d of
November, Cabrera, with his staff, orderlies, and a small escort, set
out for the mountains of Toledo. His numbers increased by the accession
of some parties of Carlist cavalry, picked up on the road, he passed
through La Mancha, and made for the Ebro, intending to visit Don Carlos
at Oñate. But whilst seeking a ford, he was surprised by the cavalry
of Irribarren. The lances of Leon and the sabres of Buenvenga made
short work of it with the astonished rebels. Cabrera and a handful of
men escaped, and only paused at midnight, when exhausted by their long
flight, in the village of Arévalo. Scarcely had they taken up their
quarters, when a column of Christino infantry dashed into the place,
bayoneting all before them. Unacquainted with the localities, Cabrera
wandered about the streets, seeking an exit; and finally, favoured by
the darkness, and after receiving a stab from a knife, and another from
a bayonet, he succeeded in escaping to the neighbouring forest. Here
he was found by one of his officers, who conveyed him to the house of
a village priest, named Moron, where he was concealed and taken care
of till his wounds were healed. At the commencement of 1837 he found
himself well enough to travel, and started for Arragon, escorted by
a squadron of cavalry and a few light infantry, whom he had sent for
from the Maestrazgo. But he had been tracked by Christino spies, and
Señor Cabello, then political chief of Teruel, had information of
his route. This he communicated to the military governor, an old and
dilatory officer, who moved out with a small body of troops, intending
to surprise Cabrera at Camañas, one of his halting places, and hoping
to gain in the field the promotion which he would have done better to
have awaited within the walls of his citadel. At a village, four hours’
march from Camañas, he paused, and wasted a day in sending out spies to
ascertain the movements of the enemy. His emissaries at last returned;
but only to tell him that Cabrera had rested at Camañas from ten in the
morning till one in the afternoon, and had then continued his journey,
travelling in a wretched carriage, and escorted by a hundred sleepy
infantry, and as many horsemen, whose beasts were unshod, and half
dead with fatigue. It was too late to pursue; and thus, owing to the
sluggishness and incapacity of this officer, Cabrera escaped, probably
without knowing it, from one of the greatest risks he had yet run.

The disastrous result of the various expeditions which, under Gomez,
Garcia, and others, had left the Basque provinces for the interior of
Spain, had not yet convinced Don Carlos that his cause was unpopular.
Deceived by his flatterers, who assured him that his appearance would
every where be the signal for a general uprising in his favour, he
crossed the Ebro in the month of May with sixteen battalions and
nine squadrons. Victorious at Huesca, at Gra, in Catalonia, his army
was utterly routed by the Baron de Meer and Diego Leon; and his sole
thought then became how to recross the Ebro, and take refuge at
Cantavieja, under the wing of his faithful Cabrera. Orders were sent to
the latter chief to come and meet his sovereign. He obeyed, and by his
assistance the passage of the river was accomplished. It was shortly
before this time that Cabrera, whilst witnessing the conflagration of
a village set on fire by his command, was struck by lightning, which
killed one of his aides-de-camp, and threw him senseless from his
horse. At first it was thought that he also was dead; but bleeding
restored him, and the next day he was again in the saddle, burning,
plundering, and shooting. His atrocities at this period surpass belief,
and are too horrible to recapitulate. The curious in such matters
may find them set down in all their hideous details, in the pages of
Señor Cabello. Whether on account of his cruelties, or of his other
bad qualities, most of the Carlist generals in Arragon about this time
refused to act with him, and even loaded him with abuse. Cabañero
actually challenged him to fight--a challenge which he did not think
proper to accept. The same chief repeatedly told Don Carlos that he
would rather serve as a private soldier in the army of Navarre than as
a general under the orders of Cabrera. Quilez, who hated Cabrera as the
assassin of his friend and countryman Carnicer, published an address
to the Arragonese troops, calling upon them to leave the standard of
the vile, dissolute, and cowardly Catalonian who disgraced them by
his cruelties. He invited their attention to the ruined and miserable
condition of their province since Cabrera had commanded there, and
urged them to petition Don Carlos to give them a general more worthy
of defending his rights and leading them to victory. So high did the
quarrel run, and so widely did it spread, that the Arragonese and
Catalonian battalions were near coming to blows. Don Carlos supported
Cabrera, and Quilez and Cabañero, with their divisions, separated
themselves from the army, and went to make war elsewhere.

In the month of July there were forty thousand infantry and four
thousand cavalry in the province of Teruel; for nearly four years the
district had been devastated and plundered by the Carlists, and the
harvest was not yet ripe. Under these circumstances the troops were
half-starved. The Carlist soldiers received no bread and only half
rations of meat. Even in the towns, and for ready money, provisions
were unobtainable. The Conde de Luchana, who then commanded the
Christinos, did all that general could do, more than could be expected
of any commander--all, in short, that he was wont to do, when the
opportunity offered, for the cause of liberty and of his Queen.
Thinking that the surrounding country would not supply rations because
the impoverished government could not pay cash for them, he drew upon
his private funds, and sent a commissioner with large sums of money
to Teruel, to purchase all the corn that could be obtained. This was
so little that it did not yield two days’ rations to each soldier.
At last Espartero and his division were summoned to the defence of
Madrid, then menaced by Zaratiegui. During his absence occurred the
action of Herrera, in which General Buerens, greatly outnumbered, was
defeated with considerable loss. But this reverse was soon revenged.
Encouraged by their recent success, Don Carlos and Cabrera approached
Madrid by forced marches. Their movements had been so eccentric and
rapid that they had thrown most of the Christino generals off the
scent. Espartero was an exception. After driving away Zaratiegui, he
had returned to Arragon. He now hurried back to Madrid, and entered
its gates a few hours after the arrival of the Pretender within
sight of that city, amidst the acclamations of the national guards,
who, until then, formed the sole garrison of the capital. Don Carlos
retired, Espartero followed, came up with him on the 19th of September,
and so mauled his army that he entirely gave up his mad project of
establishing himself in Madrid, sent Cabrera back to Arragon, and
scampered off in the direction of the Basque provinces. He was followed
up by Espartero and Lorenzo, overtaken and beaten at Covarubbias and
at Huerta del Rey, and finally entered Biscay in lamentable plight,
his illusions dissipated, his hopes of one day sitting upon the throne
of his ancestors entirely destroyed. Five months had elapsed since he
left Navarre, and strange had been their vicissitudes. Surrounded in
Sanguesa by bishops, ministers, generals, and courtiers, in Espejo a
handful of _Chapel-churris_ were his sole defenders. Enthroned and
almost worshipped at Huesca in the mountains of Bronchales he had
been glad to accept the support and guidance of a shepherd. One day
holding a levee, the next he was unable to write a letter in safety.
At Barbastro he bestowed places and honours upon his adherents; at El
Pobo he had not wherewith to reward the servants who waited on him.
Strange transitions, bitterly felt! By the failure of the expedition
all his prospects were blighted. A loan, and his recognition by the
Northern powers, both promised him contingently on his entering Madrid,
were now more remote than ever. That nothing might be wanting to the
discomfiture of this ill-starred prince, even the hypocrisy of his
character was discovered and exposed. Several of his letters to the
Princess of Beira were intercepted by General Oraa, and published in
the Spanish newspapers. Although written by one professedly so devout
and austere, their contents were both trivial and licentious.

The year 1838 opened disastrously for the Christinos. The strong town
and fort of Morella fell into the hands of Cabrera. Situated on a hill
in the valley formed by the highest sierras of the Maestrazgo, and at
the point of junction of Arragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, difficult
of approach, and protected by defiles and rivers, chief town of a
corregimiento or department, and possessing considerable wealth both
agricultural and manufacturing, it was, of all others, the place most
coveted by the Carlists. For a long time previously to its capture,
an officer of the faction, Paul Alio by name, had been entrusted with
its blockade. His orders were to employ every possible means to win
over the garrison or accomplish a _coup de main_. Various attempts had
proved unsuccessful, when, at the moment that he least expected it,
he was suddenly enabled to accomplish his objects. An artilleryman, a
deserter from the castle, offered to scale the walls with twenty men,
to surprise the sentinel upon the platform, and subsequently the whole
guard. The idea was caught at; ladders were made according to the
measure which the traitor had brought of the exact height of the walls,
and on the dark and rainy night of the 25th January a party of Carlists
crept up the hill, planted and climbed the ladders, stabbed the sentry,
who was asleep in his box, overcame the guard, and fired upon the town.
In vain did the unfortunate governor, Don Bruno Portillo, endeavour to
make his way into the fort; he was repulsed and wounded, and before
morning he and the remains of the garrison were compelled to abandon
Morella. Although an old and respected officer, he was accused of
treachery, or at least of want of vigilance. The latter might perhaps
be imputed to him, but there appear to have been no sufficient grounds
for the former charge. Eager to wash out the stain upon his reputation,
he returned to Morella, when General Oraa made his unsuccessful attack
upon it a few months later, and died leading the forlorn-hope, the
first man upon the breach.

The capture of Morella was a great triumph for Cabrera, whose chief
stronghold it became. It assured him the dominion of a large and
fertile tract of country. From its towers, lofty though they were, the
banner of Isabella the Second could nowhere be descried, save on the
coasts of the Mediterranean and the distant banks of the Ebro. The
termination of the war seemed less likely than ever.

It was about a month after the surprise of Morella, that General
Cabañero, encouraged by the recent success of his party, eager for
distinction, and perhaps jealous of Cabrera’s reputation, attempted the
most daring and dashing enterprise of the whole war. He conceived the
hope of capturing in one night, and with three thousand men, a fortress
that had defended itself for two months against the best generals of
Napoleon, backed by seventy thousand veterans, and a hundred pieces of
artillery. The capital of Arragon, the heroic city of Saragossa, was
the high game at which Cabañero ventured to fly. Had he succeeded, he
would have commanded the Ebro and the communication between Navarre
and Catalonia, and might have installed Don Carlos in the palace of
Alonzo the Fifth, and of Ferdinand the Catholic. Making one march from
Alloza, a distance of four-and-twenty hours, he arrived late at night
in the environs of Saragossa. Provided with ladders by the owner of
a neighbouring country-house, who was in his confidence, he caused a
few soldiers to scale the wall, and open the gate of the Virgin de
la Carmen, through which he marched. Some _vivas_ given for Cabañero
and Carlos Quinto roused the nearest inhabitants, and preserved the
main guard from a surprise. Shots were fired, and the alarm spread.
By this time Cabañero was far into the town, posting his battalions
in the squares and open places. In every street the Carlist drums
were beating, and several houses were broken open and entered. It was
a terrible moment for the inhabitants of Saragossa. Startled from
their sleep, without chiefs to direct or previous plan to guide them,
none knew what measures to adopt. Some few ran to the public squares,
and were taken prisoners; but the majority, recovering from their
first panic, adopted the best and surest means of ridding the city of
the unexpected foe. In an instant every window was thrown open, and
bristled with the muskets of the national guards. They could not be
confident of victory, for they were totally ignorant of the number
of their enemies; but if the triumph was to be for the latter, the
Sargossans were determined that it should cost them dear. When the
much-wished-for daylight appeared, the battle ceased to be from the
balconies; the nationals, and about two hundred soldiers of various
regiments who happened to be in the town, descended to the streets, and
after a sharp but short struggle, drove out the daring intruders. The
loss of the Carlists was a thousand men, inclusive of seven hundred
prisoners; that of the Saragossans amounted to about one hundred and
twenty.

Various strange incidents occurred during this night-attack. A French
writer who visited Arragon during the civil war, relates an anecdote of
two drummers who came up with each other at midnight in the streets of
Saragossa, both plying their sticks with extraordinary vigour, but to
very different tunes.

“Why do you beat the chamade?” demanded one.

“Why do you beat to arms?” retorted the other.

“I obey my orders.”

“And I mine.”

At that moment a passing lantern lit up the Carlist boina of the one,
and the blue national guard’s uniform of the other. The drummers stared
at each other for a moment, and then, instead of drawing their swords
and setting to, which one would have thought the most natural course
to adopt, they continued their march side by side, each indulging in
his own particular rub-a-dub. The rights of the sheepskin were mutually
respected.

The results of Cabañero’s attack were a cross of honour conferred
upon the national guards, who had made so gallant a defence, and the
death of the governor, Esteller, who was assassinated by the populace
two days afterwards. His conduct during the fight had been marked by
extreme weakness, and even cowardice. He entirely lost his presence
of mind, could give no orders, and remained shut up in his house in
spite of all the efforts of his aides-de-camp and secretaries to get
him out into the street. He would not even allow his servants and
orderlies to fire from the balconies, and his windows were the only
ones in Saragossa that continued closed during that eventful night.
The next day he was imprisoned, and it was intended to bring him to
trial; but on the following morning a mob composed of the lowest of the
people repaired to his place of confinement, brought him out into the
streets and there murdered him. At the time the delinquents remained
unpunished, but seven years later, in 1845, the sons of Esteller
revived the affair, and procured the condemnation to ten years’
galleys of one Chorizo, the leader of the _marranos_, or lazzaroni of
Saragossa. Chorizo, literally Sausage, whose real name was Melchior
Luna, was a butcher by trade, and a sort of popular demagogue amongst
the lower orders of his fellow citizens. But according to Señor
Cabello, his condemnation was unjust; and instead of sharing in the
murder of Esteller, he had done his utmost to protect him, even risking
his own life to save that of the unfortunate governor. After a lapse
of seven years it was difficult to get at the real facts of the case;
and the chief effect of the trial has been to publish the pusillanimity
of General Esteller, concerning which the people of Saragossa had
previously observed a generous silence.

On the 1st of October 1838, the Christino general Pardinas, with five
battalions and a regiment of cavalry, encountered Cabrera near the town
of Maella. The forces were about equal on either side, and at first
the Christinos had the advantage. But Pardinas having thrown his left
too forward, it was cut off and surrounded. Without waiting for help
from the centre and right wing, the battalions fell into confusion
and surrendered themselves prisoners, thereby grievously compromising
the remainder of the division. Astounded at the sudden loss of one
third of his force, Pardinas made desperate efforts to preserve order;
but all was in vain, and his heroic efforts and example served but
to procure him an honourable death, thereby saving him the pain of
reporting the most unfortunate and disgraceful action of the whole war.
More than three-fifths of the division were killed or taken prisoners.
The fate of the latter could not be doubtful, for Cabrera was their
captor. Whilst still on the field of battle, with the groans of the
wounded and dying sounding in his ears, he sent an order to Major
Espinosa to kill a number of dragoons of the regiment del Rey, whom
he had made prisoners. Espinosa replied, that, the action once over,
he had forgotten how to use his lance. Cabrera, however, had little
difficulty in finding a more pliant agent. The unhappy dragoons were
stripped naked and bayoneted: Espinosa was deprived of his command and
of future opportunities of distinction. The same afternoon Cabrera shot
twenty-seven wounded, in hospital at Maella. Amongst his prisoners were
ninety-six sergeants. These he crammed into a dark and narrow dungeon,
and after a few days, proposed to them to take service in the rebel
army. They all refused, and one of them imprudently added, “Sooner die
than serve with robbers.” These words were reported to Cabrera, and
he sought to discover the man who had uttered them; but although the
other ninety-four well knew who it was, no menaces could induce them
to betray their comrade. Any one but Cabrera would have been touched
by such courage and constancy, but he only found in it a pretext
for murder. The ninety-six sergeants were shot at Horcayo. Similar
enormities now followed in rapid succession; until the exasperation in
Saragossa and Valencia became extreme, and the inhabitants tumultuously
assembled, demanding reprisals. These it was not safe to refuse.
General Mendez Vigo, commanding at Valencia, and who ventured to
deny them, was shot in the streets. Juntas were formed, and Carlist
prisoners were executed. One of these unfortunates, when marching to
his doom, was heard to exclaim, “Not to the people of Valencia, but
to the infamous Cabrera, do I ascribe my death.” There was a great
outcry made at the time, especially by persons who knew nothing of
the real facts of the case, concerning these reprisals, which were in
fact unavoidable. Cabrera’s atrocities had reached such a pitch, that
disaffection was widely spreading in Arragon and Valencia. The people,
finding themselves constantly in mourning for the death of some near
relative, murdered by his orders, murmured against the government
which could not protect them, and accused their rulers of Carlism and
treachery, of cowardice and indifference. There was danger, almost a
certainty indeed, of an insurrection, in which every Carlist prisoner
and a vast number of innocent persons would inevitably have been
sacrificed. Cabrera would listen to no proposals for exchanges, but
persisted in shooting all who fell into his hands. Without reckoning
the innumerable captives dead from hunger and cruel treatment, or those
murdered on the march and in the Carlist depots, but counting only
such as were shot and stabbed before witnesses, Cabrera had killed,
previously to his mother’s death, one hundred and eighty-one soldiers
and nationals; and seven hundred and thirty subsequently to that event,
and up to the 1st of November 1838. His subalterns had slain three
hundred and seventy more, making a total of twelve hundred and eighty.
Under these circumstances, there was nothing for it but a system of
retaliation. This, General Van Halen and the juntas adopted, and after
a very short time the good effect was manifest. The imprecations of
the Carlist prisoners, and the murmurs of his party, reached the ears
of Cabrera in tones so menacing, that he was compelled to listen. The
treaty for exchange of prisoners and cessation of reprisals, signed
by him and Van Halen, caused much discontent amongst the coffeehouse
politicians of the Puerta del Sol; but those who had experience of the
war, and who dwelt in its district, appreciated the firmness of the
Christino general, as well as the docility and true dignity with which
he signed the honourable name of a brave soldier beside that of the
assassin Count of Morella.

Anticipating an attack upon the fort of Segura, to whose possession
he attached great importance, Cabrera took measures for its defence.
For this, if the inhabitants of the town did not unite in it, a very
large garrison was necessary. Cabrera endeavoured, therefore, by great
promises, to win over the townspeople, menacing them at the same time
with the destruction of their town if they did not comply with his
wishes. They held a meeting, and its result was a declaration that
they would never take up arms against the Queen, and that sooner
than do so, they would submit to be driven from their dwellings, and
become wanderers in the woods. Cabrera took them at their word, and in
a few days the plough might have passed over the site of Segura. The
magnificent church, the public edifices, and three hundred and fifty
houses, were razed to the ground. The castle alone was preserved. The
inhabitants themselves had been compelled to accomplish the work of
destruction; and when that was done, sixteen hundred men, women, and
children emigrated to the neighbouring villages, or took shelter in the
caves and hollows of the pine forests. In this circumstance, it is hard
to say which is most striking, the barbarity of the destroyer, or the
courageous patriotism of the victims. The expected siege of the castle
soon followed, but the inclemency of the weather compelled Van Halen
to raise it. He was removed from the command, and Nogueras, who was to
succeed him, being attacked by illness, the army in Arragon remained
for a while without a competent chief. Cabrera took advantage of this,
prosecuted the war with great activity and vigour, and captured some
fortified places. Amongst others, he laid siege to Montalban, which was
desperately defended for fifty days. At the end of that time, the town
being reduced to ruins, the garrison and inhabitants evacuated it, and
retired to Saragossa. During the siege, there occurred a trait worthy
of Cabrera. The medicines for the wounded being expended, the colonel
of the national guards spoke from the walls to the Carlist general, and
begged permission to send to the nearest village for a fresh supply.
There were many wounded Carlists in the town hospital, and it was
expected, therefore, that the request would be granted. Cabrera refused
it, but, feigning compassion, advised Vicente to hoist a flag upon
the hospital, that it might be respected by the besiegers’ artillery.
The flag was hoisted, and instantly became a mark for every gun the
Carlists had. In the course of that day, sixty-six shells fell into the
hospital, killing many of the wounded, and, amongst others, thirteen
Carlist prisoners. During this siege, a young woman, two-and-twenty
years of age, Manuela Cirugeda by name, emulous of the example of
the Maid of Saragossa, served as a national guard, and fought most
valiantly, until incapacitated by illness, the result of her fatigues
and exertions.

Were it his only crime, Cabrera’s treatment of his prisoners in
the dungeons of Morella, Benifasa, and other places, would suffice
to brand him with eternal infamy. From the commencement of the war
till he was driven out of the country, twelve thousand soldiers and
two thousand national guards fell into his hands. Half of the first
named, and two-thirds of the latter, died of hunger, ill treatment,
and of the diseases produced by the stifling atmosphere of their
prisons, by the bad quality of their food, and the state of general
destitution in which they were left. Those who bore up against their
manifold sufferings only regained their liberty to enter an hospital,
incapacitated for further military service. It took months to rid them
of the dingy, copper-coloured complexion acquired in their damp and
filthy prisons, and some of them never lost it. When the prisoners
taken in the action of Herrera arrived at Cantavieja, they were
barefooted, and for sole raiment many had but a fragment of matting,
wherewith to cover their nakedness, and defend themselves from the
weather. They were thrust into a convent, and no one was allowed to
communicate with them: even mothers, who anxiously strove to convey a
morsel of bread to their starving sons, were pitilessly driven away.
Sick and squalid, they were marched off to Beceite, and on the road
more than two hundred were murdered. Those who paused or sat down,
overcome by fatigue, were disposed of with the bayonet; some fainted
from exhaustion, and had their heads crushed with large stones, heaped
upon them by their guards. The muleteers, who compassionately lent
their beasts to the wounded or dying, were unmercifully beaten. On
reaching Beceite, the daily ration of each prisoner was two ounces of
raw potatoes. After repeated entreaties of the inhabitants they were
at last allowed to leave their prison by detachments, in order to
clean the streets; and by this means they were enabled to receive the
assistance which the very poorest of the people stinted themselves and
their children to afford them. In spite of the prohibitions of the
Carlist authorities, bread, potatoes, and maize ears were thrown into
the streets for their relief. But even of these trifling supplies they
were presently deprived, for an epidemic broke out amongst them, and
they were forbidden to leave their prison lest they should communicate
it to the troops. Will it be believed that in a Christian country, and
within the last ten years, men were reduced to such extremities as to
devour the dead bodies of their companions? Such was the case. It has
been printed fifty times, and hundreds of living witnesses are ready to
attest it. When the Carlist colonel Pellicer, the savage under whose
eyes these atrocities occurred, discovered the horrible means by which
his wretched captives assuaged the pangs of hunger, he became furious,
caused the prisoners to be searched, and shot and bayoneted those who
had preserved fragments of their frightful meal. The poor creatures
thus condemned marched to death with joy and self-gratulation; those
who remained accused themselves of a similar crime, and entreated
that they also might be shot. Twelve hundred entered the prison; two
hundred left it; and of these, thirty were massacred upon the road
because they were too weak to march. In the appendix to his book, Señor
Cabello gives the diary of a survivor, an officer of the regiment
of Cordova. The cruelties narrated in it exceed belief. They are
nevertheless confirmed by unimpeachable evidence. The following extract
is from a document dated the 20th of March 1844, and signed by fifteen
respectable inhabitants of Beceite.

“During the abode of the said prisoners in this town, each day twelve
or fourteen of them died from hunger and misery. It was frequently
observed, when they were conveyed from the prison to the cemetery,
that some of them still moved, and made signs with their hands not to
bury them; some even uttered words, but all in vain--_dead or alive,
those who once left the prison were buried_, and only one instance was
known of the contrary occurring. The chaplain of a Carlist battalion
had gone to the burying-ground to see if the graves were deep enough,
and whilst standing there, _one of a pile of corpses pulled him by the
coat_. This attracted his attention, and he had the man carried to the
hospital. * * * There would be no end to our narrative if we were to
give a detailed account of the sufferings of these prisoners; so great
were they, as at last to shock even the commandant of the depot, Don
Juan Pellicer, who was heard to exclaim more than once _that he wished
somebody would blow out his brains, for he was sick of beholding so
much misery and suffering_. The few inhabitants who remained in the
town behaved well, and notwithstanding that the Carlists robbed them of
all they had, and that it was made a crime to help the prisoners, they
managed in secret to give them some relief, especially to the officers.
The facts here set down are true and certain, and of them more than a
hundred eyewitnesses still exist.”

When the war in Biscay and Navarre was happily concluded by the
convention of Vergara, the Duke de la Victoria invited Cabrera to
follow the example of the other Carlist generals, offering to him and
to the rebel troops under his command the same terms that had been
conceded to those in the Basque provinces. But the offer, generous
though it was, and undeserved by men who had made war like savages
rather than as Christians, was contemptuously spurned. Those best
acquainted with the character of Cabrera, were by no means surprised at
the refusal. They foresaw that he would redouble his atrocities, and
only yield to brute force. These anticipations were in most respects
realised.

In the months of October 1839, Espartero, with the whole army of the
North, consisting of forty thousand infantry, three thousand cavalry,
and the corresponding artillery, entered lower Arragon. Anxious to
economise the blood of his countrymen, trusting that Cabrera would open
his eyes to the inutility of further resistance, confiding also, in
some degree, in the promises of certain Carlist chiefs included in the
treaty of Vergara, and who expected by their influence to bring over
large bodies of the rebels, the Duke de la Victoria remained inactive
during the winter, merely blockading the Carlists within their lines.
Meanwhile Cabrera, debilitated by six years of anxiety and agitation,
and by the dissolute life he had led from a very early age, and preyed
upon by vexation and rage occasioned him by the convention of Vergara,
fell seriously ill, and for some time his life was in peril. Contrary
to expectation, he recovered; but sickness or reflection had unmanned
him, and it is certain that in his last campaign he displayed little
talent and less courage. Not so his subordinates. The Arragonese
Carlists fought like lions, and the final triumph of the Queen’s army
and of their distinguished leader was not achieved without a desperate
struggle.

The first appearance of spring was the signal of action for the
Christinos. Even before the inclement season had entirely passed away,
in the latter days of February 1840, Espartero attacked Segura. One
day’s well-directed cannonade knocked the fort about the ears of the
garrison, and in spite of the proverb, _Segura serà segura, ó de Ramon
Cabrera sepultura_, the place capitulated. The defence of Castellote
was longer, and extraordinarily obstinate. Pelted with shot and shell,
the walls mined and blown up and reduced to ruins, its garrison, with a
courage worthy of a better cause, still refused to surrender, hoisted a
black banner in sign of no quarter, and received a flag of truce with
a volley. The position of the castle, on the summit of a steep and
rugged rock, rendered it almost impossible to form a column of attack
and take it by assault. At last, however, this was attempted, and after
a desperate combat of an hour’s duration, and great loss on the part
of the assailants, the latter established themselves in a detached
building at the eastern extremity of the fortress. The besieged still
defended themselves, hurling down hand-grenades and masses of stone,
until at last, exhausted and overcome, they hung out a white flag. By
their obstinate defence of an untenable post, when they had no hope of
relief, they had forfeited their lives. Fortunately their conqueror was
no Cabrera.

“They were Spaniards,” said Espartero in his despatch to Madrid,
“blinded and deluded men who had fought with the utmost valour, and I
could not do less than view them with compassion.” Their lives were
spared, and the wounded were carried to the hospital in the arms of
their recent opponents.

Cabrera had sworn to die before giving up Morella, but when the time
came his heart failed him. He visited the town, harangued the garrison
and inhabitants from the balcony of his quarters, and told them that
he had come to share their fate. A day or two later he marched away,
taking with him all his particular friends and favourites, and left
Morella to take care of itself. It was the last place attacked by
Espartero. The siege lasted eleven days, but Cabrera did not come
to its relief; dissension arose amongst the garrison, and surrender
ensued. Three thousand prisoners, including a number of Carlist civil
functionaries, a quantity of artillery, ammunition, and other stores,
fell into the hands of the victors. Morella taken, the war in Arragon
was at an end.

Determined that his last act should be worthy of his whole career,
Cabrera, now upon his road to France, precipitated into the Ebro a
number of national guards, whom he carried with him as captives. Others
were shot, and some few were actually dragged across the frontier,
bound hand and foot, and only liberated by the French authorities.
Such wanton cruelty is the best refutation of the arguments of certain
writers, who have maintained that Cabrera was severe upon principle,
with the sole objects of intimidating the enemy, and of furthering the
cause of his king. On the eve of his departure from Spain, himself a
fugitive, the self-styled sovereign a captive in a foreign land, what
end, save the gratification of his insatiable thirst of blood, could be
attained by the massacre of prisoners? At last, on the sixth of July
1840, he delivered his country from the presence of the most execrable
monster that has disgraced her modern annals. On that day, at the head
of twenty battalions and two hundred cavalry, Cabrera entered France.

By superficial persons, unacquainted with facts, attempts have been
made to cast upon the whole Spanish nation the odium incurred by a
small section of it. The cruelties of Cabrera and his likes, have been
taken as an index to the Spanish character, wherein ferocity has been
asserted to be the most conspicuous quality. Nothing can be more unjust
and fallacious than such a theory. Cabrera’s atrocities were viewed and
are remembered in Spain with as deep a horror as in England or France.
Those who shared in them were a minute fraction of the population, and
even of these, many acted on compulsion, and shuddered at the crimes
they were obliged to witness and abet. Is the character of a nation
to be argued from the excesses of its malefactors, even when, banded
together and in military array, they assume the style and title of
an army? Assuredly not. The Carlist standard, uplifted in Arragon,
became a rallying point for the scum of the whole Spanish people. Under
Cabrera’s banner, murder was applauded, plunder tolerated, vice of
every description freely practised. And accordingly, escaped galley
slaves, ruined profligates, the worthless and abandoned, flocked to
its shelter. To these may be added the destitute, stimulated by their
necessities; the ignorant and fanatical, led away by crafty priests;
the unreflecting and unscrupulous, seeking military distinction where
infamy alone was to be reaped. Bad example, seduction, even force, each
contributed its quota to the army of Cabrera. From the commencement,
the war was of a very different nature in Navarre and in Arragon. Both
chiefs and soldiers were of different origin, and fought for different
ends. To Navarre repaired those men of worth and respectability who
conscientiously upheld the rights of Don Carlos; the battalions were
composed of peasants and artisans. In Arragon and Valencia, a few
desperate and dissolute ruffians, such as Cabrera, Llangostera, Quilez,
Pellicer, assembled under their orders the refuse of the jails.

“The Navarrese recruit,” says Señor Cabello, “when he set out to join
the Carlists, took leave of his friends and relatives, and even of the
alcalde of his village; the volunteer into the faction of Arragon,
departed by stealth after murdering and robbing some private enemy or
wealthy neighbour. The Biscayan Carlist, going on leave to visit his
mistress, took her at most a flower gathered in the gardens of Bilboa,
when a soldier of Cabrera revisited his home, he carried with him the
spoils of some slaughtered family or plundered dwelling. All Spain
knew Colonel Zumalacarregui; but only the lay brothers of St Domingo
de Tortosa, or the gendarmes of Villafranca, could give an account of
Cabrera or the Serrador. To treat with the former was to treat with
one who, a short time previously, had commanded with distinction the
first light infantry regiment of the Spanish army. To negotiate with
the latter was to condescend to an equality with the Barbudo or José
Maria.”[C]

    [C] Celebrated Spanish robbers.

Even in the inevitable confusion of civil war, a distinction may
and must be made between the man who takes up arms to defend a
principle, and him who makes the unhappy dissensions of his country a
stepping-stone to his own ambition, a pretext for the indulgence of the
worst vices and most unhallowed passions.



MY COLLEGE FRIENDS. NO. IV.

CHARLES RUSSELL, THE GENTLEMAN COMMONER.


CHAP. II.

It was the last night of the boat races. All Oxford, town and gown, was
on the move between Iffley and Christchurch meadow. The reading man
had left his ethics only half understood, the rowing man his bottle
more than half finished, to enjoy as beautiful a summer evening as ever
gladdened the banks of Isis. One continued heterogeneous living stream
was pouring on from St “_Ole’s_” to King’s barge, and thence across the
river in punts, down to the starting-place by the lasher. One moment
your tailor puffed a cigar in your face, and the next, just as you made
some critical remark to your companion on the pretty girl you just
passed, and turned round to catch a second glimpse of her, you trod on
the toes of your college tutor. The contest that evening was of more
than ordinary interest. The new Oriel boat, a London-built clipper, an
innovation in those days, had bumped its other competitor easily in the
previous race, and only Christchurch now stood between her and the head
of the river. And would they, could they, bump Christchurch to-night?
That was the question to which, for the time being, the coming
examination, and the coming St Leger, both gave way. Christchurch,
that had not been bumped for ten years before--whose old blue and
white flag stuck at the top of the mast as if it had been nailed
there--whose motto on the river had so long been “Nulli secundus?” It
was an important question, and the Christchurch men evidently thought
so. Steersman and pullers had been summoned up from the country, as
soon as that impertinent new boat had begun to show symptoms of being
a dangerous antagonist, by the rapid progress she was making from the
bottom towards the head of the racing-boats. The old heroes of bygone
contests were enlisted again, like the Roman legionaries, to fight the
battles of their “vexillum,” the little three-cornered bit of blue and
white silk before mentioned; and the whole betting society of Oxford
were divided into two great parties, the Oriel and the Christchurch,
the supporters of the old, or of the new dynasty of eight oars.

Never was signal more impatiently waited for than the pistol-shot
which was to set the boats in motion that night. Hark! “Gentlemen,
are--you--ready?” “No, No!” shouts some umpire, dissatisfied with the
position of his own boat at the moment. “Gentlemen, are you ready?”
Again “No, no, no!” How provoking! Christchurch and Oriel both
beautifully placed, and that provoking Exeter, or Worcester, or some
boat that no one but its own crew takes the slightest interest in
to-night, right across the river! And it will be getting dusk soon.
Once more--and even Wyatt, the starter, is getting impatient--“Are you
ready?” Still a cry of “No, no,” from some crew who evidently never
will be satisfied. But there goes the pistol. They’re off, by all
that’s glorious! “Now Oriel!” “Now Christchurch!” Hurrah! beautifully
are both boats pulled--how they lash along the water! Oriel gains
evidently! But they have not got into their speed yet, and the light
boat has the best of it at starting. “Hurrah, Oriel, its all your own
way!” “Now, Christchurch, away with her!” Scarcely is an eye turned
on the boats behind; and, indeed, the two first are going fast away
from them. They reach the Gut, and at the turn Oriel presses her rival
hard. The cheers are deafening; bets are three to one. She must bump
her! “Now, Christchurch, go to work in the straight water!” Never did
a crew pull so well, and never at such disadvantage. Their boat is
a tub compared with the Oriel. See how she buries her bow at every
stroke. Hurrah, Christchurch! The old boat for ever! Those last three
strokes gained a yard on Oriel! She holds her own still! Away they go,
those old steady practised oars, with that long slashing stroke, and
the strength and pluck begins to tell. Well pulled, Oriel! Now for it!
Not an oar out of time, but as true together as a set of teeth! But
it won’t do! Still Christchurch, by sheer dint of muscle, keeps her
distance, and the old flag floats triumphant another year.

Nearly hustled to death in the rush up with the racing boats, I panted
into the stern sheets of a four-oar lying under the bank, in which I
saw Leicester and some others of my acquaintance. “Well, Horace,” said
I, “what do you think of Christchurch now?” (I had sufficient Tory
principle about me at all times to be a zealous supporter of the “old
cause,” even in the matter of boat-racing.) “How are your bets upon
the London clipper, eh?” “Lost, by Jove,” said he; “but Oriel ought to
have done it to-night; why, they bumped all the other boats easily, and
Christchurch was not so much better; but it was the old oars coming up
from the country that did it. But what on earth is all that rush about
up by the barges? They surely are not going to fight it out after all?”

Something had evidently occurred which was causing great confusion;
the cheering a moment before had been deafening from the partisans
of Christchurch, as the victorious crew, pale and exhausted with the
prodigious efforts they had made, mustered their last strength to throw
their oars aloft in triumph, and then slowly, one by one, ascended into
the house-boat which formed their floating dressing-room; it had now
suddenly ceased, and confused shouts and murmurs, rather of alarm than
of triumph, were heard instead: men were running to and fro on both
banks of the river, but the crowd both in the boats on the river and on
shore made it impossible for us to see what was going on. We scrambled
up the bank, and were making for the scene of action, when one of the
river-officials ran hastily by in the direction of Iffley.

“What’s the matter, Jack?”

“Punt gone down, sir,” he replied without stopping; “going for the
drags.”

“Anybody drowning?” we shouted after him.

“Don’t know how many was in her, sir,” sung out Jack in the distance.
We ran on. The confusion was terrible; every one was anxious to be of
use, and more likely therefore to increase the danger. The punt which
had sunk had been, as usual on such occasions, overloaded with men,
some of whom had soon made good their footing on the neighbouring
barges; others were still clinging to their sides, or by their
endeavours to raise themselves into some of the light wherries and
four oars, which, with more zeal than prudence, were crowding to their
assistance, were evidently bringing a new risk upon themselves and
their rescuers. Two of the last of the racing eights, too, coming up to
the winning-post at the moment of the accident, and endeavouring vainly
to back water in time, had run into each other, and lay helplessly
across the channel, adding to the confusion, and preventing the
approach of more efficient aid to the parties in the water. For some
minutes it seemed that the disaster must infallibly extend itself.
One boat, whose crew had incautiously crowded too much to one side in
their eagerness to aid one of the sufferers in his struggles to get on
board, had already been upset, though fortunately not in the deepest
water, so that the men, with a little assistance, easily got on shore.
Hundreds were vociferating orders and advice, which few could hear,
and none attended to. The most effectual aid that had been rendered
was the launching of two large planks from the University barge, with
ropes attached to them, which several of those who had been immersed
succeeded in reaching, and so were towed safely ashore. Still, however,
several were seen struggling in the water, two or three with evidently
relaxing efforts; and the unfortunate punt; which had righted and
come up again, though full of water, had two of her late passengers
clinging to her gunwale, and thus barely keeping their heads above the
water’s edge. The watermen had done their utmost to be of service,
but the University men crowded so rashly into every punt that put off
to the aid of their companions, that their efforts would have been
comparatively abortive had not one of the pro-proctors jumped into
one, with two steady hands, and authoritatively ordering every man
back who attempted to accompany him, reached the middle of the river,
and having rescued those who were in most imminent danger, succeeded
in clearing a sufficient space round the spot to enable the drags to
be used, (for it was quite uncertain whether there might not still be
some individuals missing.) Loud cheers from each bank followed this
very sensible and seasonable exercise of authority; another boat, by
this example, was enabled to disencumber herself of superfluous hands,
and by their united exertions all who could be seen in the water were
soon picked up and placed in safety. When the excitement had in some
degree subsided, there followed a suspense which was even more painful,
as the drags were slowly moved again and again across the spot where
the accident had taken place. Happily our alarm proved groundless. One
body was recovered, not an University man, and in his case the means
promptly used to restore animation were successful. But it was not
until late in the evening that the search was given up, and even the
next morning it was a sensible relief to hear that no college had found
any of its members missing.

I returned to my rooms as soon as all reasonable apprehension of a
fatal result had subsided, though before the men had left off dragging,
and was somewhat surprised, and at first amused, to recognise, sitting
before the fire in the disguise of my own dressing-gown and slippers,
Charles Russell.

“Hah! Russell, what brings you here at this time of night?” said I;
“however, I’m very glad to see you.”

“Well, I’m not sorry to find myself here, I can tell you; I have been
in a less comfortable place to-night.”

“What do you mean?” said I, as a suspicion of the truth flashed upon
me--“Surely”----

“I have been in the water, that’s all,” replied Russell quietly; “don’t
be alarmed, my good fellow, I’m all right now. John has made me quite
at home here, you see. We found your clothes a pretty good fit, got up
a capital fire at last, and I was only waiting for you to have some
brandy and water. Now, don’t look so horrified, pray.”

In spite of his good spirits, I thought he looked pale; and I was
somewhat shocked at the danger he had been in--more so from the
suddenness of the information.

“Why,” said I, as I began to recall the circumstance, “Leicester and
I came up not two minutes after it happened, and watched nearly every
man that was got out. You could not have been in the water long then, I
hope?”

“Nay, as to that,” said Russell, “it seemed long enough to me, I can
tell you, though I don’t recollect all of it. I got underneath a punt
or something, which prevented my coming up as soon as I ought.”

“How did you get out at last?”

“Why, that I don’t quite remember; I found myself on the walk by King’s
barge; but they then had to turn me upside down, I fancy, to empty me.
I’ll take that brandy by itself, Hawthorne, for I think I have the
necessary quantity of water stowed away already.”

“Good heavens! don’t joke about it; why, what an escape you must have
had!”

“Well, seriously then, Hawthorne, I _have_ had a very narrow escape,
for which I am very thankful; but I don’t want to alarm any one about
it, for fear it should reach my sister’s ears, which I very much wish
to avoid, for the present at all events. So I came up to your rooms
here as soon as I could walk. Luckily, John saw me down at the water,
so I came up with him, and got rid of a good many civil people who
offered their assistance; and I have sent down to the lodgings to tell
Mary I have staid to supper with you; so I shall get home quietly, and
she will know nothing about this business. Fortunately, she is not in
the way of hearing much Oxford gossip, poor girl!”

Russell sat with me about an hour, and then, as he said he felt very
comfortable, I walked home with him to the door of his lodgings, where
I wished him good-night, and returned.

I had intended to have paid him an early visit the next morning; but
somehow I was lazier than usual, and had scarcely bolted my commons in
time to get to lecture. This over, I was returning to my rooms, when my
scout met me.

“Oh, sir,” said he, “Mr Smith has just been here, and wanted to see
you, he said, particular.”

Mr Smith? Of all the gentlemen of that name in Oxford, I thought I had
not the honour of a personal acquaintance with one.

“Mr Russell’s Mr Smith, sir,” explained John: “the little gentleman as
used to come to his rooms so often.”

I walked up the staircase, ruminating within myself what possible
business “poor Smith” could have with me, of whom he had usually
appeared to entertain a degree of dread. Something to do with Russell,
probably. And I had half resolved to take the opportunity to call upon
him, and try to make out who and what he was, and how he and Russell
came to be so intimately acquainted. I had scarcely stuck old Herodotus
back into his place on the shelf, however, when there came a gentle
tap at the door, and the little Bible-clerk made his appearance. All
diffidence and shyness had wholly vanished from his manner. There
was an earnest expression in his countenance which struck me even
before he spoke. I had scarcely time to utter the most commonplace
civility, when, without attempt at explanation or apology, he broke out
with--“Oh, Mr Hawthorne, have you seen Russell this morning?”

“No,” said I, thinking he might possibly have heard some false report
of the late accident--“but he was in my rooms last night, and none the
worse for his wetting.”

“Oh, yes, yes! I know that; but pray, come down and see him now--he is
very, very ill, I fear.”

“You don’t mean it? What on earth is the matter?”

“Oh! he has been in a high fever all last night! and they say he is
worse this morning--Dr Wilson and Mr Lane are both with him--and poor
Miss Russell!--he does not know her--not know his sister; and oh, Mr
Hawthorne, he must be _very_ ill; and they won’t let me go to him!” And
poor Smith threw himself into a chair, and fairly burst into tears.

I was very much distressed too: but, at the moment, I really believe I
felt more pity for the poor lad before me, than even apprehension for
my friend Russell. I went up to him, shook his hand, and begged him
to compose himself. Delirium, I assured him--and tried hard to assure
myself--was the usual concomitant of fever, and not at all alarming.
Russell had taken a chill, no doubt, from the unlucky business of the
last evening, but there could not be much danger in so short a time.
“And now, Smith,” said I, “just take a glass of wine, and you and I
will go down together, and I dare say we shall find him better by this
time.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you,” he replied; “you are very kind--very kind
indeed--no wine, thank you--I could not drink it: but oh! if they would
only let me see him. And poor Miss Russell! and no one to attend to him
but her!--but will you come down now directly?”

My own anxiety was not less than his, and in a very few minutes we
were at the door of Russell’s lodgings. The answer to our inquiries
was, that he was in much the same state, and that he was to be kept
perfectly quiet; the old housekeeper was in tears; and although she
said Dr Wilson told them he hoped there would be a change for the
better soon, it was evident that poor Russell was at present in
imminent danger.

I sent up my compliments to Miss Russell to offer my services in any
way in which they could be made available; but nothing short of the
most intimate acquaintance could have justified any attempt to see
her at present, and we left the house. I thought I should never have
got Smith from the door; he seemed thoroughly overcome. I begged him
to come with me back to my rooms--a Bible-clerk has seldom too many
friends in the University, and it seemed cruel to leave him by himself
in such evident distress of mind. Attached as I was to Russell myself,
his undisguised grief really touched me, and almost made me reproach
myself with being comparatively unfeeling. At any other time, I fear
it might have annoyed me to encounter as I did the inquisitive looks
of some of my friends, as I entered the College gates arm-in-arm with
my newly-found and somewhat strange-looking acquaintance. As it was,
the only feeling that arose in my mind was a degree of indignation
that any man should venture to throw a supercilious glance at him; and
if I longed to replace his shabby and ill-cut coat by something more
gentlemanly in appearance, it was for his sake, and not my own.

And now it was that, for the first time, I learnt the connexion that
existed between the Bible-clerk and the quondam gentleman-commoner.
Smith’s father had been for many years a confidential clerk in Mr
Russell’s bank; for Mr Russell’s bank it was solely, the Smith who had
been one of the original partners having died some two generations
back, though the name of the firm, as is not unusual, had been
continued without alteration. The clerk was a poor relation, in some
distant degree, of the some-time partner: his father, too, had been
a clerk before him. By strict carefulness, he had saved some little
money during his many years of hard work: and this, by special favour
on the part of Mr Russell, he had been allowed to invest in the bank
capital, and thereby to receive a higher rate of interest than he could
otherwise have obtained. The elder Smith’s great ambition--indeed it
was his only ambition--for the prosperity of the bank itself he looked
upon as a law of nature, which did not admit of the feeling of hope, as
being a fixed and immutable certainty--his ambition was to bring up his
son as a gentleman. Mr Russell would have given him a stool and a desk,
and he might have aspired hereafter to his father’s situation, which
would have assured him £250 per annum. But somehow the father did not
wish the son to tread in his own steps. Perhaps the close confinement,
and unrefreshing relaxations of a London clerk, had weighed heavily
upon his own youthful spirits: perhaps he was anxious to spare the
son of his old age--for, like a prudent man, he had not married until
late in life--from the unwholesome toils of the counting-house, varied
only too often by the still less wholesome dissipation of the evening.
At all events, his visions for him were not of annually increasing
salaries, and future independence: of probable partnerships, and
possible lord mayoralties; but of some cottage among green trees, far
away in the quiet country, where, even as a country parson, people
would touch their hats to him as they did to Mr Russell himself, and
where, when the time should come for superannuation and a pension--the
house had always behaved liberally to its old servants--his own last
days might happily be spent in listening to his son’s sermons, and
smoking his pipe--if such a thing were lawful--in the porch of the
parsonage. So while the principal was carefully training his heir
to enact the fashionable man at Oxford, and in due time to take his
place among the squires of England, and shunning, as if with a kind of
remorseful conscience, to make him a sharer in his own contaminating
speculations; the humble official too, but from far purer motives,
was endeavouring in his degree, perhaps unconsciously, to deliver his
boy from the snares of Mammon. And when Charles Russell was sent to
the University, many were the enquiries which Smith’s anxious parent
made, among knowing friends, about the expenses and advantages of an
Oxford education. And various, according to each individual’s sanguine
or saturnine temperament, were the answers he obtained, and tending
rather to his bewilderment than information. One intimate acquaintance
assured him, that the necessary expenses of an under-graduate _need_
not exceed a hundred pounds per annum: another--he was somewhat of
a sporting character--did not believe any young man could do the
thing like a gentleman under five. So Mr Smith would probably have
given up his darling project for his son in despair, if he had not
fortunately thought of consulting Mr Russell himself upon the point;
and that gentleman, though somewhat surprised at his clerk’s aspiring
notions, good-naturedly solved the difficulty as to ways and means, by
procuring for his son a Bible-clerk’s appointment at one of the Halls,
upon which he could support himself respectably, with comparatively
little pecuniary help from his friends. With his connexions and
interest, it was no great stretch of friendly exertion in behalf of an
old and trusted servant; but to the Smiths, father and son, both the
munificence which designed such a favour, and the influence which could
secure it, tended if possible to strengthen their previous conviction,
that the power and the bounty of the house of Russell came within
a few degrees of omnipotence. Even now, when recent events had so
fearfully shaken them from this delusion; when the father’s well-earned
savings had disappeared in the general wreck with the hoards of
wealthier creditors, and the son was left almost wholly dependent on
the slender proceeds of his humble office; even now, as he told me
the circumstances just mentioned, regret at the ruined fortunes of
his benefactors seemed in a great measure to overpower every personal
feeling. In the case of the younger Russell, indeed, this gratitude
was not misplaced. No sooner was he aware of the critical situation
of his father’s affairs, and the probability of their involving all
connected with him, than, even in the midst of his own harassing
anxieties, he turned his attention to the prospects of the young
Bible-clerk, whose means of support, already sufficiently narrow,
were likely to be further straitened in the event of a bankruptcy of
the firm. His natural good-nature had led him to take some little
notice of young Smith on his first entrance at the University, and
he knew his merits as a scholar to be very indifferent. The obscure
suburban boarding-school at which he had been educated, in spite
of its high-sounding name--“Minerva House,” I believe--was no very
sufficient preparation for Oxford. When the Greek and the washing are
both extras, at three guineas per annum, one clean shirt in the week,
and one lesson in _Delectus_, are perhaps as much as can reasonably be
expected. Poor Smith had, indeed, a fearful amount of uphill work, to
qualify himself even for his “little-go.” Charles Russell, not less
to his surprise than to his unbounded gratitude, inasmuch as he was
wholly ignorant of his motives for taking so much trouble, undertook to
assist and direct him in his reading: and Smith, when he had got over
his first diffidence, having a good share of plain natural sense, and
hereditary habits of plodding, made more rapid progress than might have
been expected. The frequent visits to Russell’s rooms, whose charitable
object neither I nor any one else could have guessed, had resulted in a
very safe pass through his first formidable ordeal, and he seemed now
to have little fear of eventual success for his degree, with a strong
probability of being privileged to starve upon a curacy thereafter.
But for Russell’s aid, he would, in all likelihood, have been remanded
from his first examination back to his father’s desk, to the bitter
mortification of the old man at the time, and to become an additional
burden to him on the loss at once of his situation and his little
capital.

Poor Smith! it was no wonder that, at the conclusion of his story,
interrupted constantly by broken expressions of gratitude, he wrung his
hands, and called Charles Russell the only friend he had in the world.
“And, oh! if he were to die! Do you think he will die?”

I assured him I hoped and trusted not, and with the view of relieving
his and my own suspense, though it was little more than an hour since
we had left his door, we went down again to make enquiries. The street
door was open, and so was that of the landlady’s little parlour, so we
walked in at once. She shook her head in reply to our inquiries. “Dr
Wilson has been up-stairs with him, sir, for the last hour nearly, and
he has sent twice to the druggist’s for some things, and I fancy he is
no better at all events.”

“How is Miss Russell?” I inquired.

“Oh, sir, she don’t take on much--not at all, as I may say; but she
don’t speak to nobody, and she don’t take nothing: twice I have carried
her up some tea, poor thing and she just tasted it because I begged
her, and she wouldn’t refuse me, I know--but, poor dear young lady! it
is very hard upon her, and she all alone like.”

“Will you take up my compliments--Mr Hawthorne--and ask if I can be of
any possible service?” said I, scarce knowing what to say or do. Poor
girl! she was indeed to be pitied; her father ruined, disgraced, and
a fugitive from the law; his only son--the heir of such proud hopes
and expectations once--lying between life and death; her only brother,
her only counsellor and protector, now unable to recognise or to speak
to her--and she so unused to sorrow or hardship, obliged to struggle
on alone, and exert herself to meet the thousand wants and cares of
illness, with the added bitterness of poverty.

The answer to my message was brought back by the old housekeeper,
Mrs Saunders. She shook her head, said her young mistress was very
much obliged, and would be glad if I would call and see her brother
tomorrow, when she hoped he would be better; “But oh, sir!” she added,
“He will never be better any more! I know the doctors don’t think so,
but I can’t tell her, poor thing--I try to keep her up, sir; but I do
wish some of her own friends were here--she won’t write to any body,
and I don’t know the directions”--and she stopped, for her tears were
almost convulsing her.

I could not remain to witness misery which I could do nothing to
relieve; so I took Smith by the arm--for he stood by the door
half-stupified, and proceeded back towards college. He had to mark the
roll at his own chapel that evening; so we parted at the top of the
street, after I had made him promise to come to breakfast with me in
the morning. Russell’s illness cast a universal gloom over the college
that evening; and when the answer to our last message, sent down as
late as we could venture to do, was still unfavourable, it was with
anxious anticipation that we awaited any change which the morrow might
bring.

The next day passed, and still Russell remained in the same state. He
as in a high fever, and either perfectly unconscious of all around him,
or talking in that incoherent and yet earnest strain, which is more
painful to those who have to listen to and to soothe than even the
total prostration of the reason. No one was allowed to see him; and
his professional attendants, though they held out hopes founded on his
youth and good constitution, acknowledged that every present symptom
was most unfavourable.

The earliest intelligence on the third morning was, that the patient
had passed a very bad night, and was much the same; but in the course
of an hour or two afterwards, a message came to me to say that Mr
Russell would be glad to see me. I rushed, rather than ran, down to his
lodgings, in a perfect exultation of hope, and was so breathless with
haste and excitement when I arrived there, that I was obliged to pause
a few moments to calm myself before I raised the carefully muffled
knocker. My joy was damped at once by poor Mrs Saunders’ mournful
countenance.

“Your master is better, I hope--is he not?” said I.

“I am afraid not, sir; but he is very quiet now: and he knew his poor
dear sister; and then he asked if any one had been to see him, and we
mentioned you, sir; and then he said he should like to see you very
much, and so Miss made bold to send to you--if you please to wait, sir,
I’ll tell her you are here.”

In a few moments she returned--Miss Russell would see me if I would
walk up.

I followed her into the little drawing-room, and there, very calm and
very pale, sat Mary Russell. Though her brother and myself had now so
long been constant companions, I had seen but very little of her; on
the very few evenings I had spent with Russell at his lodgings she
had merely appeared to make tea for us, had joined but little in the
conversation, and retired almost before the table was cleared. In her
position, this behaviour seemed but natural; and as, in spite of the
attraction of her beauty, there was a shade of that haughtiness and
distance of manner which we had all at first fancied in her brother,
I had begun to feel a respectful kind of admiration for Mary Russell,
tinged, I may now venture to admit--I was barely twenty at the
time--with a slight degree of awe. Her very misfortunes threw over her
a sort of sanctity. She was too beautiful not to rivet the gaze, too
noble and too womanly in her devotion to her brother not to touch the
affections, but too cold and silent--almost as it seemed too sad--to
love. Her brother seldom spoke of her; but when he did it was in a tone
which showed--what he did not care to conceal--his deep affection and
anxious care for her; he watched her every look and movement whenever
she was present; and if his love erred in any point, it was, that it
seemed possible it might be even too sensitive and jealous for her own
happiness.

The blinds were drawn close down, and the little room was very dark;
yet I could see at a glance the work which anguish had wrought upon
her in the last two days, and, though no tears were to be seen now,
they had left their traces only too plainly. She did not rise, or
trust herself to speak; but she held out her hand to me as if we had
been friends from childhood. And if thorough sympathy, and mutual
confidence, and true, but pure affection, make such friendship, then
surely we became so from that moment. I never thought Mary Russell cold
again--yet I did not dream of loving her--she was my sister in every
thing but the name.

I broke the silence of our painful meeting--painful as it was, yet
not without that inward throb of pleasure which always attends the
awakening of hidden sympathies. What I said I forget; what does one, or
can one say, at such moments, but words utterly meaningless, so far as
they affect to be an expression of what we feel? The hearts understand
each other without language, and with that we must be content.

“He knew me a little while ago,” said Mary Russell at last; “and asked
for you; and I knew you would be kind enough to come directly if I
sent.”

“Surely it must be a favourable symptom, this return of consciousness?”

“We will hope so: yes, I thought it was and oh! how glad I was! But Dr
Wilson does not say much, and I fear he thinks him weaker. I will go
now and tell him you are come.”

“You can see him now if you please,” she said when she returned; “he
seems perfectly sensible still and, when I said you were here, he
looked quite delighted.” She turned away, and, for the first time, her
emotion mastered her.

I followed her into her brother’s room. He did not look so ill as I
expected; but I saw with great anxiety, as I drew nearer his bed, that
his face was still flushed with fever, and his eye looked wild and
excited. He was evidently, however, at present free from delirium, and
recognised me at once. His sister begged him not to speak much, or ask
questions, reminding him of the physician’s strict injunctions with
regard to quiet.

“Dr Wilson forgets, my love, that it is as necessary at least for the
mind to be quiet as the tongue,” said Russell with an attempt to smile;
and then, after a pause, he added, as he took my hand, “I wanted to
see you, Hawthorne; I know I am in very great danger; and, once more,
I want to trouble you with a confidence. Nay, nothing very important;
and pray, don’t ask me, as I see you are going to do, not to tire
myself with talking: I know what I am going to say, and will try to say
it very shortly; but thinking is at least as bad for me as speaking.”
He paused again from weakness; Miss Russell had left the room. I made
no reply. He half rose, and pointed to a writing-desk on a small
table, with keys in the lock. I moved towards it, and opened it, as I
understood his gestures; and brought to him, at his request, a small
bundle of letters, from which he selected one, and gave it me to read.
It was a banker’s letter, dated some months back, acknowledging the
receipt of three hundred pounds to Russell’s credit, and enclosing the
following note:--

  “SIR,--Messrs ---- are directed to inform you of the sum of £300
  placed to your credit. You will be wrongly advised if you scruple
  to use it. If at any time you are enabled, and desire it, it may be
  repaid through the same channel.

                        “ONE OF YOUR FATHER’S CREDITORS.”

“I have never touched it,” said Russell, as I folded up the note.

“I should have feared you would not,” said I.

“But now,” he proceeded, “now things seem changed with me. I shall want
money--Mary will; and I shall draw upon this unseen charity; ay, and
gratefully. Poor Mary!”

“You are quite right, my dear Russell,” said I, eager to interrupt a
train of thought which I saw would be too much for him. “I will manage
all that for you, and you shall give me the necessary authority till
you get well again yourself,” I added in a tone meant to be cheerful.

He took no notice of my remark. “I fear,” said he, “I have not been
wise counsellor to my poor sister. She had kind offers from more than
one of our friends, and might have had a home more suited to her than
this has been, and I allowed her to choose to sacrifice all her own
prospects to mine!”

He turned his face away, and I knew that one painful thought besides
was in his mind--that they had been solely dependent on her little
income for his support at the University since his father’s failure.

“Russell,” said I gently, “this conversation can surely do no good; why
distress yourself and me unnecessarily? Come, I shall leave you now, or
your sister will scold me. Pray, for all our sakes, try to sleep; you
know how desirable it is, and how much stress Dr Wilson has laid upon
your being kept perfectly calm and quiet.”

“I will, Hawthorne, I will try; but oh, I have so much to think of!”

Distressed and anxious, I could only take my leave of him for the
present, feeling how much there was, indeed, in his circumstances to
make rest even more necessary, and more difficult to obtain, for the
mind than for the body.

I had returned to the sitting-room, and was endeavouring to give as
hopeful answers as I could to Miss Russell’s anxious inquiries as to
what I thought of her brother, when a card was brought up, with a
message that Mr Ormiston was below, and “would be very glad if he could
see Miss Russell for a few moments, at any hour she would mention, in
the course of the day.”

Ormiston! I started, I really did not know why. Miss Russell started
also, visibly; did she know why? Her back was turned to me at the
moment; she had moved, perhaps intentionally, the moment the message
became intelligible, so that I had no opportunity of watching the
effect it produced, which I confess I had an irrepressible anxiety to
do. She was silent, until I felt my position becoming awkward: I was
rising to take leave, which perhaps would have made hers even more so,
when, half turning round towards me, with a tone and gesture almost of
command, she said, “Stay!” and then, in reply to the servant, who was
still waiting, “Ask Mr Ormiston to walk up.”

I felt the few moments of expectation which ensued to be insufferably
embarrassing. I tried to persuade myself it was my own folly to think
them so. Why should Ormiston _not_ call at the Russells, under such
circumstances? As college tutor, he stood almost in the relation of
a natural guardian to Russell; Had he not at least as much right
to assume the privilege of a friend of the family as I had, with
the additional argument, that he was likely to be much more useful
in that capacity? He had known them longer, at all events, and any
little coolness between the brother and himself was not a matter, I
felt persuaded, to be remembered by him at such moment, or to induce
any false punctilio which might stand in the way of his offering his
sympathy and assistance, when required. But the impression on my mind
was strong--stronger, perhaps, than any facts within my knowledge
fairly warranted--that between Ormiston and Mary Russell there
either was, or had been, some feeling which, whether acknowledged or
unacknowledged--whether reciprocal or on one side only--whether crushed
by any of those thousand crosses to which such feelings, fragile as
they are precious, are liable, or only repressed by circumstances
and awaiting its developement--would make their meeting under such
circumstances not that of ordinary acquaintances. And once again I
rose, and would have gone; but again Mary Russell’s sweet voice--and
this time it was an accent of almost piteous entreaty, so melted and
subdued were its tones, as if her spirit was failing her--begged me to
remain--“I have something--something to consult you about--my brother.”

She stopped, for Ormiston’s step was at the door. I had naturally--not
from any ungenerous curiosity to scan her feelings--raised my eyes to
her countenance while she spoke to me, and could not but mark that
her emotion amounted almost to agony. Ormiston entered; whatever his
feelings were, he concealed them well; not so readily, however, could
he suppress his evident astonishment, and almost as evident vexation,
when he first noticed my presence: an actor in the drama for whose
appearance he was manifestly unprepared. He approached Miss Russell,
who never moved, with some words of ordinary salutation, but uttered in
a low and earnest tone, and offered his hand, which she took at once,
without any audible reply. Then turning to me, he asked if Russell were
any better? I answered somewhat indefinitely, and Miss Russell, to whom
he turned as for a reply, shook her head, and, sinking into a chair,
hid her face in her hands. Ormiston took a seat close by her, and after
a pause of a moment said,

“I trust your very natural anxiety for your brother makes you inclined
to anticipate more danger than really exists, Miss Russell: but I have
to explain my own intrusion upon you at such a moment”--and he gave me
a glance which was meant to be searching--“I called by the particular
request of the Principal, Dr Meredith.”

Miss Russell could venture upon no answer, and he went on, speaking
somewhat hurriedly and with embarrassment.

“Mrs Meredith has been from home some days, and the Principal himself
has the gout severely; he feared you might think it unkind their not
having called, and he begged me to be his deputy. Indeed he insisted on
my seeing you in person, to express his very sincere concern for your
brother’s illness, and to beg that you will so far honour him--consider
him sufficiently your friend, he said--as to send to his house for any
thing which Russell could either want or fancy, which, in lodgings,
there might be some difficulty in finding at hand. In one respect, Miss
Russell,” continued Ormiston in somewhat a more cheerful tone, “your
brother is fortunate in not being laid up within the college walls; we
are not very good nurses there, as Hawthorne can tell you, though we do
what we can; yet I much fear this watching and anxiety have been too
much for you.”

Her tears began to flow freely; there was nothing in Ormiston’s words,
but their tone implied deep feeling. Yet who, however indifferent,
could look upon her helpless situation, and not be moved? I walked to
the window, feeling terribly out of place where I was, yet uncertain
whether to go or stay; for my own personal comfort, I would sooner have
faced the collected anger of a whole common-room, called to investigate
my particular misdemeanours; but to take leave at this moment seemed
as awkward as to stay; besides, had not Miss Russell appeared almost
imploringly anxious for me to spare her a _tête-à-tête_?

“My poor brother is very, very ill, Mr Ormiston,” she said at
last, raising her face, from which every trace of colour had again
disappeared, and which seemed now as calm as ever. “Will you thank Dr
Meredith for me, and say I will without hesitation avail myself of his
most kind offers, if any thing should occur to make his assistance
necessary.”

“I can be of no use myself in any way?” said Ormiston with some
hesitation.

“I thank you, no,” she replied; and then, as if conscious that her tone
was cold, she added--“You are very kind: Mr Hawthorne was good enough
to say the same. Every one is very kind to us, indeed; but”--and here
she stopped again, her emotion threatening to master her; and Ormiston
and myself simultaneously took our leave.

Preoccupied as my mind had been by anxiety on Russell’s account, it
did not prevent a feeling of awkwardness when I found myself alone
with Mr Ormiston outside the door of his lodgings. It was impossible
to devise any excuse at the moment for turning off in a different
direction, as I felt very much inclined to do; for the little street
in which he lived was not much of a thoroughfare. The natural route
for both of us to take was that which led towards the High Street, for
a few hundred steps the other way would have brought us out into the
country, where it is not usual for either tutors or under-graduates to
promenade in cap and gown, as they do, to the great admiration of the
rustics, in our sister university. We walked on together, therefore,
feeling--I will answer at least for one of us--that it would be an
especial relief just then to meet the greatest bore with whom we had
any pretence of a speaking acquaintance, or pass any shop in which
we could frame the most threadbare excuse of having business, to cut
short the embarrassment of each other’s company. After quitting any
scene in which deep feelings have been displayed, and in which our
own have been not slightly interested, it is painful to feel called
upon to make any comment on what has passed; we feel ashamed to do
so in the strain and tone which would betray our own emotion, and we
have not the heart to do so carelessly or indifferently. I should have
felt this, even had I been sure that Ormiston’s feelings towards Mary
Russell had been nothing more than my own; whereas, in fact, I was
almost sure of the contrary; in which case it was possible that, in his
eyes, my own _locus standi_ in that quarter, surprised as I had been in
an apparently very confidential interview, might seem to require some
explanation which would be indelicate to ask for directly, and which
it might not mend matters if I were to give indirectly without being
asked. So we proceeded some paces up the little quiet street, gravely
and silently, neither of us speaking a word. At last Ormiston asked me
if I had seen Russell, and how I thought him? adding, without waiting
for a reply, “Dr Wilson, I fear from what he told me, thinks but badly
of him.”

“I am very sorry to hear you say so,” I replied; and then ventured to
remark how very wretched it would be for his sister, in the event of
his growing worse, to be left at such a time so utterly helpless and
alone.

He was silent for some moments. “Some of her friends,” he said at last,
“ought to come down; she must have friends, I know, who would come if
they were sent for. I wish Mrs Meredith were returned--she might advise
her.”

He spoke rather in soliloquy than as addressing me, and I did not feel
called upon to make any answer. The next moment we arrived at the turn
of the street, and, by what seemed a mutual impulse, wished each other
good-morning.

I went straight down to Smith’s rooms, at ---- Hall, to get him to come
and dine with me; for I pitied the poor fellow’s forlorn condition,
and considered myself in some degree bound to supply Russell’s place
towards him. A Bible-clerk’s position in the University is always
more or less one of mortification and constraint. It is true that the
same academical degree, the same honours--if he can obtain them--the
same position in after life--all the solid advantages of a University
education, are open to him, as to other men; but, so long as his
undergraduateship lasts, he stands in a very different position from
other men, and he feels it--feels it, too, through three or four of
those years of life when such feelings are most acute, and when that
strength of mind which is the only antidote--which can measure men by
themselves and not by their accidents--is not as yet matured either in
himself or in the society of which he becomes a member. If, indeed,
he be a decidedly clever man, and has the opportunity early in his
career of showing himself to be such, then there is good sense and good
feeling enough--let us say, to the honour of the University, there is
sufficient of that true _esprit du corps_, a real consciousness of the
great objects for which men are thus brought together--to ensure the
acknowledgment from all but the most unworthy of its members, that a
scholar is always a gentleman. But if he be a man of only moderate
abilities, and known only as a Bible-clerk, then, the more he is of a
gentleman by birth and education, the more painful does his position
generally become. There are not above two or three in residence
in most colleges, and their society is confined almost wholly to
themselves. Some old schoolfellow, indeed, or some man who “knows him
at home,” holding an independent rank in college, may occasionally
venture upon the condescension of asking him to wine--even to meet a
friend or two with whom he can take such a liberty; and even then, the
gnawing consciousness that he is considered an inferior--though not
treated as such--makes it a questionable act of kindness. Among the
two or three of his own table, one is the son of a college butler,
another has been for years usher at a preparatory school; he treats
them with civility, they treat him with deference; but they have no
tastes or feelings in common. At an age, therefore, which most of
all seeks and requires companionship, he has no companions; and the
period of life which should be the most joyous, becomes to him almost
a purgatory. Of course, the radical and the leveller will say at once,
“Ay, this comes of your aristocratic distinctions; they ought not to
be allowed in universities at all.” Not so: it comes of human nature;
the distinction between a dependent and an independent position will
always be felt in all societies, mark it outwardly as little as you
will. Humiliation, more or less, is a penalty which poverty must
always pay. These humbler offices in the University were founded by a
charity as wise as benevolent, which has afforded to hundreds of men of
talent, but of humble means, an education equal to that of the highest
noble in the land, and, in consequence, a position and usefulness in
after life, which otherwise they could never have hoped for. And if
the somewhat servile tenure by which they are held, (which in late
years has in most colleges been very much relaxed,) were wholly done
away with, there is reason to fear the charity of the founders would
be liable to continual abuse, by their being bestowed upon many who
required no such assistance. As it is, this occurs too often; and it
is much to be desired that the same regulations were followed in their
distribution, throughout the University, which some colleges have long
most properly adopted: namely, that the appointment should be bestowed
on the successful candidate after examination, strict regard being
had to the circumstances of all the parties before they are allowed
to offer themselves. It would make their position far more definite
and respectable, because all would then be considered honourable to a
certain degree, as being the reward of merit; instead of which, too
often, they are convenient items of patronage in the hands of the
Principal and Fellows, the nomination to them depending on private
interest, which by no means ensuring the nominee’s being a gentleman by
birth, while it is wholly careless of his being a scholar by education,
and tends to lower the general standing of the order in the University.

This struck me forcibly in Smith’s case. Poor fellow! with an
excellent heart and a great deal of sound common sense, he had neither
the breeding nor the talent to make a gentleman of. I doubt if an
University education was any real boon to him. It ensured him four
years of hard work--harder, perhaps, than if he had sat at a desk all
the time--without the society of any of his own class and habits, and
with the prospect of very little remuneration ultimately. I think he
might have been very happy in his own sphere, and I do not see how he
could be happy at Oxford. And whether he or the world in general ever
profited much by the B.A. which he eventually attached to his name, is
a point at least doubtful.

I could not get him to come and dine with me in my own college. He knew
his own position, as it seemed, and was not ashamed of it; in fact, in
his case, it could not involve any consciousness of degradation; and I
am sure his only reason for refusing my invitations of that kind was,
that he thought it possible my dignity might be compromised by so open
an association with him. He would come over to my rooms in the evening
to tea, he said; and he came accordingly. When I told him in the
morning that Russell had inquired very kindly after him, he was much
affected; but it had evidently been a comfort to him to feel that he
was not forgotten, and during the hour or two which we spent together
in the evening, he seemed much more cheerful.

“Perhaps they will let me see him to-morrow, if he is better?” he said,
with an appealing look to me. I assured him I would mention his wish to
Russell, and his countenance at once brightened up, as if he thought
only his presence were needed to ensure our friend’s recovery.

But the next morning all our hopes were dashed again; delirium had
returned as had been feared, and the feverish symptoms seemed to gain
strength rather than abate. Bleeding, and the usual remedies had been
had recourse to already to a perilous extent, and in Russell’s present
reduced state, no further treatment of the kind could be ventured upon.
“All we can do now, sir,” said Dr Wilson, “is little more than to let
nature take her course. I _have known_ such cases recover.” I did not
ask to see Mary Russell that day; for what could I have answered to
her fears and inquiries? But I thought of Ormiston’s words; surely she
ought to have some friend--some one of her own family, or some known
and tried companion of her own sex, would surely come to her at a
moment’s notice, did they but know of her trying situation. If--if her
brother were to die--she surely would not be left here among strangers,
quite alone? Yet I much feared, from what had escaped him at our last
interview, that they had both incurred the charge of wilfulness for
refusing offers of assistance at the time of their father’s disgrace
and flight, and that having, contrary to the advice of their friends,
and perhaps imprudently, taken the step they had done in coming to
Oxford, Mary Russell, with something of her brother’s spirit, had made
up her mind now, however heavy and unforeseen the blow that was to
fall, to suffer all in solitude and silence. For Ormiston, too, I felt
with an interest and intensity that was hourly increasing. I met him
after morning chapel, and though he appeared intentionally to avoid any
conversation with me, I knew by his countenance that he had heard the
unfavourable news of the morning; and it could be no common emotion
that had left its visible trace upon features usually so calm and
impassible.

From thoughts of this nature, indulged in the not very appropriate
locality of the centre of the quadrangle, I was roused by the
good-humoured voice of Mrs Meredith--“our governess,” as we used to
call her--who, with the doctor himself, was just then entering the
College, and found me right in the line of her movements towards the
door of “the lodgings.” I was not until that moment aware of her
return, and altogether was considerably startled as she addressed me
with--“Oh! how do you do, Mr Hawthorne? you young gentlemen don’t take
care of yourselves, you see, when I am away--I am so sorry to hear this
about poor Mr Russell! Is he so very ill? Dr Meredith is just going to
see him.”

I coloured up, I dare say, for it was a trick I was given to in those
days, and, in the confusion, replied rather to my own thoughts than to
Mrs Meredith’s question.

“Mrs Meredith! I really beg your pardon,” I first stammered out as a
very necessary apology, for I had nearly stumbled over her--“May I say
how very glad I am you are returned, on Miss Russell’s account--I am
sure ”----

“Really, Mr Hawthorne, it is very natural I suppose, but you gentlemen
seem to expend your whole sympathy upon the young lady, and forget the
brother altogether! Mr Ormiston actually took the trouble to write to
me about her”----

“My dear!” interposed the Principal.

“Nay, Dr Meredith, see how guilty Mr Hawthorne looks! and as to Mr
Ormiston”--“Well, never mind,” (the doctor was visibly checking his
lady’s volubility,) “I love the poor dear girl so much myself, that I
am really grieved to the heart for her. I shall go down and see her
directly, and make her keep up her spirits. Dr Wilson is apt to make
out all the bad symptoms he can--I shall try if I can’t cure Mr Russell
myself, after all; a little proper nursing in those cases is worth a
whole staff of doctors--and, as to this poor girl, what can she know
about it? I dare say she sits crying her eyes out, poor thing, and
doing nothing--_I’ll_ see about it. Why, I wouldn’t lose Mr Russell
from the college for half the young men in it--would I, Dr Meredith?”

I bowed, and they passed on. Mrs Principal, if somewhat pompous
occasionally, was a kind-hearted woman; I believe an hour scarcely
elapsed after her return to Oxford, before she was in Russell’s
lodgings, ordering every thing about as coolly as if it were in her
own house, and all but insisting on seeing the patient and prescribing
herself for him in spite of all professional injunctions to the
contrary. The delirium passed off again, and though it left Russell
sensibly weaker, so weak, that when I next was admitted to see him
with Smith, he could do little more than feebly grasp our hands, yet
the fever was evidently abated; and in the course of the next day,
whether it was to be attributed to the remedies originally used, or to
his own youth and good constitution, or to Mrs Meredith’s experienced
directions in the way of nursing, and the cheerful spirit which that
good lady, in spite of a little fussness, succeeded generally in
producing around her, there was a decided promise of amendment, which
happily each succeeding hour tended gradually to fulfil. Ormiston had
been unremitting in his inquiries; but I believe had never since sought
an interview either with the brother or sister. I took advantage of the
first conversation Russell was able to hold with me, to mention how
very sincerely I believed him to have felt the interest he expressed.
A moment afterwards, I felt almost sorry I had mentioned the name--it
was the first time I had done so during Russell’s illness. He almost
started up in bed, and his face glowed again with more than the flush
of fever, as he caught up my words.

“Sincere, did you say? Ormiston sincere! You don’t know the man as I
do. Inquired here, did he? What right has he to intrude his”----

“Hush, my dear Russell,” I interposed, really almost alarmed at his
violence. “Pray, don’t excite yourself--I think you do him great
injustice; but we will drop the subject, if you please.”

“I tell you, Hawthorne, if you knew all, you would despise him as much
as I do.”

It is foolish to argue with an invalid--but really even my friendship
for Russell would not allow me to bear in silence an attack so
unjustifiable, as it seemed to me, on the character of a man who had
every claim to my gratitude and respect. I replied therefore, somewhat
incautiously, that perhaps I did know a little more than Russell
suspected.

He stared at me with a look of bewilderment. “What do you know?” he
asked quickly.

It was too late to hesitate or retract. I had started an unfortunate
subject; but I knew Russell too well to endeavour now to mislead him.
“I have no right perhaps to say I know any thing; but I have gathered
from Ormiston’s manner, that he has very strong reasons for the anxiety
he has shown on your account. I will not say more.”

“And how do you know this? Has Mr Ormiston dared ”----

“No, no, Russell,” said I, earnestly; “see how unjust you are, in
this instance.” I wished to say something to calm him, and it would
have been worse than useless to say any thing but the truth. I saw he
guessed to what I alluded; and I gave him briefly my reasons for what I
thought, not concealing the interview with his sister, at which I had
unintentionally been present.

It was a very painful scene. When he first understood that Ormiston
had sought the meeting, his temper, usually calm, but perhaps now
tried by such long hours of pain and heaviness, broke out with bitter
expressions against both. I told him, shortly and warmly, that such
remarks towards his sister were unmanly and unkind; and then he cried,
like a chidden and penitent child, till his remorse was as painful to
look upon as his passion. “Mary! my own Mary! even you, Hawthorne, know
and feel her value better than I do! I for whom she has borne so much.”

“I am much mistaken,” said I, “if Ormiston has not learned to
appreciate her even yet more truly. And why not?”

“Leave me now,” he said; “I am not strong enough to talk; but if you
wish to know what cause I have to speak as I have done of your friend
Ormiston, you shall hear again.”

So exhausted did he seem by the excess of feeling which I had so
unfortunately called forth, that I would not see him again for some
days, contenting myself with learning that no relapse had taken place,
and that he was still progressing rapidly towards recovery.

I had an invitation to visit my aunt again during the Easter vacation,
which had already commenced, and had only been prevented from leaving
Oxford by Russell’s alarming state. As soon, therefore, as all danger
was pronounced over, I prepared to go up to town at once, and my next
visit to Russell was in fact to wish him good-by for two or three
weeks. He was already sitting up, and fast regaining strength. He
complained of having seen so little of me lately, and asked me if I
had seen his sister. “I had not noticed it until the last few days,”
he said--“illness makes one selfish, I suppose; but I think Mary looks
thin and ill--very different from what she did a month back.”

But watching and anxiety, as I told him, were not unlikely to produce
that effect; and I advised him strongly to take her somewhere for a
few weeks for change of air and scene. “It will do you both good,” I
said; “and you can draw another L.50 from your unknown friend for that
purpose; it cannot be better applied, and I should not hesitate for a
moment.”

“I would not,” he replied, “if I wanted money; but I do not. Do you
know that Dr Wilson would take no fee whatever from Mary during the
whole of his attendance; and when I asked him to name some sufficient
remuneration, assuring him I could afford it, he said he would never
forgive me if I ever mentioned the subject again. So what remains
of the fifty you drew for me, will amply suffice for a little trip
somewhere for us. And I quite agree with you in thinking it desirable,
on every account, that Mary should move from Oxford--perhaps
altogether--for one reason, to be out of the way of a friend of yours.”

“Ormiston?”

“Yes, Ormiston; he called here again since I saw you, and wished to see
me; but I declined the honour. Possibly,” he added bitterly, “as we
have succeeded in keeping out of jail here, he thinks Mary has grown
rich again.” And then he went on to tell me, how, in the days of his
father’s reputed wealth, Ormiston had been a constant visitor at their
house in town, and how his attentions to his sister had even attracted
his father’s attention, and led to his name being mentioned as likely
to make an excellent match with the rich banker’s daughter. “My father
did not like it,” he said, “for he had higher views for her, as was
perhaps excusable--though I doubt if he would have refused Mary any
thing. I did not like it for another reason: because I knew all the
time how matters really stood, and that any man who looked for wealth
with my sister would in the end be miserably disappointed. What Mary’s
own feelings were, and what actually passed between her and Ormiston,
I never asked; but she knew my views on the subject, and would, I
am certain, never have accepted any man under the circumstances in
which she was placed, and which she could not explain. I did hope and
believe, however, then, that there was sufficient high principle about
Ormiston to save Mary from any risk of throwing away her heart upon a
man who would desert her upon a change of fortune. I think he loved
her at the time--as well as such men as he can love any one; but from
the moment the crash came--Ormiston, you know, was in town at the
time--there was an end of every thing. It was an opportunity for a man
to show feeling if he had any; and though I do not affect much romance,
I almost think that, in such a case, even an ordinary heart might have
been warmed into devotion; but Ormiston--cold, cautious, calculating as
he is--I could almost have laughed at the sudden change that came over
him when he heard the news. He pretended, indeed, great interest for
us, and certainly did seem cut up about it; but he had not committed
himself, I conclude, and took care to retreat in time. Thank Heaven!
even if Mary did ever care for him, she is not the girl to break her
heart for a man who proves so unworthy of her regard. But why he should
insist on inflicting his visits upon us now, is what I cannot make out,
and what I will not endure.”

I listened with grief and surprise. I knew well, that not even the
strong prejudice which I believed Russell to have always felt against
Ormiston, would tempt him to be guilty of misrepresentation: and,
again, I gave him credit for too much penetration to have been easily
deceived. Yet I could not bring myself all at once to think so ill of
Ormiston. He had always been considered in pecuniary matters liberal
almost to a fault, that he really loved Mary Russell, I felt more
than ever persuaded; and, at my age, it was hard to believe that a
few thousand pounds could affect any man’s decision in such a point,
even for a moment. Why, the very fact of her being poor and friendless
was enough to make one fall in love with such a girl at once! So when
Russell, after watching the effect of his disclosure, misconstruing my
silence, proceeded to ask somewhat triumphantly--“_Now_, what say you
of Mr Ormiston?”--I answered at once, that I was strongly convinced
there was a mistake.

“Ay,” rejoined he with a sneering laugh; “on Ormiston’s part, you mean;
decidedly there was.”

“I mean,” said I, “there has been some misunderstanding, which time may
yet explain: I do not, and will not believe him capable of what you
impute to him. Did you ever ask your sister for a full and unreserved
explanation of what has passed between them?”

“Never; but I know that she has shunned all intercourse with him as
carefully as I have, and that his recently renewed civilities have
given her nothing but pain.” My own observation certainly tended to
confirm this: So, changing the subject--for it was one on which I had
scarce any right to give an opinion, still less offer advice, asked
whether I could do any thing for him in town; and, after exchanging
a cordial good-by with Miss Russell, in whose appearance I was sorry
to see confirmation of her brother’s fears for her health, I took my
leave, and the next morning saw me on the top of “The Age,” on my way
to town.

There I received a letter from my father, in which he desired me to
take the opportunity of calling upon his attorney, Mr Rushton, in order
to have some leases and other papers read and explained to me, chiefly
matters of form, but which would require my signature upon my coming of
age. It concluded with the following P.S.:--

“I was sorry to hear of your friend’s illness, and trust he will now do
very well. Bring him down with you at Christmas, if you can. I hear,
by the way, there is a _Miss_ Russell in the case--a very fascinating
young lady, whom you never mention at all--a fact which your mother,
who is up to all those things, says is very suspicious. All I can say
is, if she is as good a girl as her mother was before her--I knew her
well once--you may bring her down with you too, if you like.”

How very unlucky it is that the home authorities seldom approve of
any little affairs of the kind except those of which one is perfectly
innocent! Now, if I _had_ been in love with Mary Russell, the
governor would, in the nature of things, have felt it his duty to be
disagreeable.

I put off the little business my father alluded to day after day, to
make way for more pleasant engagements, until my stay in town was
drawing to a close. Letters from Russell informed me of his having left
Oxford for Southampton, where he was reading hard, and getting quite
stout; but he spoke of his sister’s health in a tone that alarmed me,
though he evidently was trying to persuade himself that a few weeks’
sea-air would quite restore it. At last I devoted a morning to call on
Mr Rushton, whom I found at home, though professing, as all lawyers do,
to be full of business. He made my acquaintance as politely as if I had
been the heir-expectant of an earldom, instead of the very moderate
amount of acres which had escaped sale and subdivision in the Hawthorne
family. In fact, he seemed a very good sort of fellow, and we ran over
the parchments together very amicably--I almost suspected he was
cheating me, he seemed so very friendly, but therein I did him wrong.

“And now, my dear sir,” continued he, as we shut up the last of them,
“will you dine with me to-day? Let me see; I fear I can’t say before
seven, for I have a great deal of work to get through. Some bankruptcy
business, about which I have taken some trouble,” he continued, rubbing
his hands, “and which we shall manage pretty well in the end, I fancy.
By the way, it concerns some friends of yours, too: is not Mr Ormiston
of your college? Ay, I thought he was; he is two thousand pounds richer
than he fancied himself yesterday.”

“Really?” said I, somewhat interested; “how, may I ask?”

“Why, you see, when Russell’s bank broke--bad business that--we all
thought the first dividend--tenpence-halfpenny in the pound, I believe
it was--would be the final one: however, there are some foreign
securities which, when they first came into the hands of the assignees,
were considered of no value at all, but have gone up wonderfully in the
market just of late, so that we have delayed finally closing accounts
till we could sell them to such advantage as will leave some tolerable
pickings for the creditors after all.”

“Had Ormiston money in Mr Russell’s bank, then, at the time?”

“Oh, yes: something like eight thousand pounds: not all his own,
though: five thousand he had in trust for some nieces of his, which
he had unluckily just sold out of the funds, and placed with Russell,
while he was engaged in making arrangements for a more profitable
investment; the rest was his own.”

“He lost it all, then?”

“All but somewhere about three hundred pounds, as it appeared at the
time. What an excellent fellow he is! You know him well, I dare say.
They tell me that he pays the interest regularly to his nieces for
their money out of his own income still.”

I made no answer to Mr Rushton at the moment, for a communication so
wholly unexpected had awakened a new set of ideas, which I was busily
following out in my mind. I seemed to hold in my hands the clue to a
good deal of misunderstanding and unhappiness. My determination was
soon taken to go to Southampton, see Russell at once, and tell him what
I had just heard, and of which I had no doubt he had hitherto been
as ignorant as myself. I was the rather induced to take this course,
as I felt persuaded that Miss Russell’s health was suffering rather
from mental than bodily causes; and, in such a case, a great deal of
mischief is done in a short time. I would leave town at once.

My purse was in the usual state of an under-graduate’s at the close of
a visit to London; so, following up the train of my own reflections, I
turned suddenly upon Mr Rushton, who was again absorbed in his papers,
and had possibly forgotten my presence altogether, and attacked him
with--

“My dear sir, can you lend me ten pounds?”

“Certainly,” said Mr Rushton, taking, off his spectacles, and feeling
in his pockets, at the same time looking at me with some little
curiosity,-- “certainly--with great pleasure.”

“I beg your pardon for taking such a liberty,” said I, apologetically;
“but I find I must leave town to-night.”

“To-night!” said the lawyer, looking still more inquiringly at me; “I
thought you were to dine with me?”

“I cannot exactly explain to you at this moment, sir, my reasons; but
I have reasons, and I think sufficient ones, though they have suddenly
occurred to me.”

I pocketed the money, leaving Mr Rushton to speculate on the
eccentricities of Oxonians as he pleased, and a couple of hours found
me on the Southampton mail.

The Russells were surprised at my sudden descent upon them, but
welcomed me cordially; and even Mary’s pale face did not prevent my
being in excellent spirits. As soon as I could speak to Russell by
himself, I told him what I had heard from Mr Rushton.

He never interrupted me, but his emotion was evident. When he did
speak, it was in an altered and humbled voice.

“I never inquired,” he said, “who my father’s creditors were--perhaps I
ought to have done so; but I thought the knowledge could only pain me.
I see it all now; how unjust, how ungrateful I have been! Poor Mary!”

We sat down, and talked over those points in Ormiston’s conduct
upon which Russell had put so unfavourable a construction. It was
quite evident, that a man who could act with so much liberality and
self-denial towards others, could have had no interested motives in his
conduct with regard to Mary Russell; and her brother was now as eager
to express his confidence in Ormiston’s honour and integrity, as he was
before hasty in misjudging him.

Where all parties are eager for explanation, matters are soon
explained. Russell had an interview with his sister, which brought
her to the breakfast table the next morning with blushing cheeks and
brightened eyes. _Her_ misgivings, if she had any, were easily set at
rest. He then wrote to Ormiston a letter full of generous apologies and
expressions of his high admiration of his conduct, which was answered
by that gentleman in person by return of post. How Mary Russell and he
met, or what they said, must ever be a secret, for no one was present
but themselves. But all embarrassment was soon over, and we were a very
happy party for the short time we remained at Southampton together;
for, feeling that my share in the matter was at an end--a share which
I contemplated with some little self-complacency--I speedily took my
departure.

If I have not made Ormiston’s conduct appear in as clear colours to
the reader as it did to ourselves, I can only add, that the late
misunderstanding seemed a painful subject to all parties, and that
the mutual explanations were rather understood than expressed. The
anonymous payment to Russell’s credit at the Bank was no longer a
mystery: it was the poor remains of the College Tutor’s little fortune,
chiefly the savings of his years of office--the bulk of which had
been lost through the fault of the father--generously devoted to meet
the necessities of the son. That he would have offered Mary Russell
his heart and hand at once when she was poor, as he hesitated to do
when she was rich, none of us for a moment doubted, had not his own
embarrassments, caused by the failure of the bank, and the consequent
claims of his orphan nieces, to replace whose little income he had
contracted all his own expenses, made him hesitate to involve the woman
he loved in an imprudent marriage.

They were married, however, very soon--and still imprudently, the
world said, and my good aunt among the rest; for, instead of waiting
an indefinite time for a good college living to fall in, Ormiston took
the first that offered, a small vicarage of £300 a-year, intending to
add to his income by taking pupils. However, fortune sometimes loves
to have a laugh at the prudent ones, and put to the rout all their
wise prognostications; for, during Ormiston’s “year of grace”--while
he still virtually held his fellowship, though he had accepted the
living--our worthy old Principal died somewhat suddenly, and regret
at his loss only gave way to the universal joy of every individual in
the college, (except, I suppose, any disappointed aspirants,) when Mr
Ormiston was elected almost unanimously to the vacant dignity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr Russell the elder has never returned to England. On the mind of such
a man, after the first blow, and the loss of his position in the world,
the disgrace attached to his name had comparatively little effect. He
lives in some small town in France, having contrived, with his known
_clever management_, to keep himself in comfortable circumstances, and
his best friends can only strive to forget his existence, rather than
wish for his return. His son and daughter pay him occasional visits,
for their affection survives his disgrace, and forgets his errors.
Charles Russell took a first class, after delaying his examination a
couple of terms, owing to his illness, and is now a barrister, with a
reputation for talent, but as yet very little business. However I hear
the city authorities had the impudence to seize some of the college
plate in discharge of a disputed claim for rates, and that Russell is
retained as one of the counsel in an action of replevin, I trust he
will begin a prosperous career, by contributing to win the cause for
the “gown.”

I spent a month with Dr and Mrs Ormiston at their vicarage in the
country, before the former entered upon his official residence as
Principal; and can assure the reader that, in spite of ten--it may be
more--years of difference in age, they are the happiest couple I ever
saw. I may almost say, the only happy couple I ever saw, most of my
married acquaintance appearing at the best only _contented_ couples,
not drawing their happiness so exclusively from each other as suits
my notion of what such a tie ought to be. Of course, I do not take my
own matrimonial experience into account; the same principle of justice
which forbids a man to give evidence in his own favour, humanely
excusing him from making any admission which may criminate himself.
Mrs Ormiston is as beautiful, as amiable, as ever, and has lost all
the reserve and sadness which, in her maiden days, over-shadowed her
charms; and so sincere was and is my admiration of her person and
character, and so warmly was I in the habit of expressing it, that
I really believe my dilating upon her attractions used to make Mrs
Francis Hawthorne somewhat jealous, until she had the happiness to make
her acquaintance, and settled the point by falling in love with the
lady herself.



LETTERS ON ENGLISH HEXAMETERS.


LETTER II.

DEAR MR EDITOR--I should like to offer you some more of my criticisms
on the hexameters which have been written in English, and, by your
good leave, will try to do so at some future time. But there are
probably some of your readers who entertain the prejudices against
English hexameters which we often hear from English critics of the last
generation. I cannot come to any understanding with these readers about
special hexameters, till I have said something of these objections
to hexameters in general. One of these objections I tried to dispose
of in a former missive; namely, that “we cannot have good hexameters
in English, because we have so few spondees.” There are still other
erroneous doctrines commonly entertained relative to this matter,
which may be thus briefly expressed;--that in hexameters we adopt a
difference of long and short syllables, such as does not regulate other
forms of English versification; and that the versification itself--the
movement of the hexameter--is borrowed from Greek and Latin poetry.
Now, in opposition to these opinions, I am prepared to show that our
English hexameters suppose no other relations of strong and weak
syllables than those which govern our other kinds of verse;--and that
the hexameter movement is quite familiar to the native English ear.

The first of these truths, I should have supposed to be, by this
time, generally acknowledged among all writers and readers of English
verse: if it had not been that I have lately seen, in some of our
hexametrists, a reference to a difference of _long_, and _short_, as
something which we ought to have, in addition to the differences of
strong and weak syllables, in order to make our hexameters perfect. One
of these writers has taken the model hexameter--

    “In the hexameter rises the fountain’s silvery column;”

and has objected to it that the first syllable of _column_ is _short_.
But, my dear sir, it is not shorter than the first syllable of
_collar_, or of the Latin _collum_! The fact is, that in hexameters,
as in all other English verses, the ear knows nothing of _long_ and
_short_ as the foundation of verse. All verse, to an English ear, is
governed by the succession of _strong_ and _weak_ syllables. Take a
stanza of Moore’s:--

   “_When_ in _death_ I shall _calm_ re_cline_,
        O _bear_ my _heart_ to my _mis_tress _dear_.
    _Tell_ her it _lived_ upon _smiles_ and _wine_,
        Of the _bright_est _hue_ while it _ling_er’d _here_.”

I have marked the strong syllables, which stand in the place of long
ones, so far as the actual _existence_ of verse is concerned; though
no doubt the _smoothness_ of the verse is promoted by having the light
syllables short also, that they may glide rapidly away. But this, I
say, though favourable to smoothness, is not essential to verse: thus
the syllable _death_, though strong, is short; _I_ and _while_, though
weak, are long.

Now this alternation, in a certain order, of strong and weak syllables,
is the essential condition of all English verse, and of hexameters
among the rest. Long and short syllables, to English ears, are
superseded in their effect by strong and weak accents; and even when
we read Greek and Latin verses, so far as we make the versification
perceptible, we do so by putting strong accents on the long syllables.
The English ear has no sense of any versification which is not thus
constructed.

I had imagined that all this was long settled in the minds of all
readers of poetry; and that all notion of syllables in English being
long, for purposes of versification, because they contain a long vowel
or a diphthong, or a vowel before two consonants, had been obliterated
ages ago. I knew, indeed, that the first English hexametrists had tried
to conform themselves to the Latin rules of quantity. Thus, as we learn
from Spenser, they tried to make the second syllable of _carpenter_
long; and constructed their verses so that they would _scan_ according
to Latin rules. Such are Surry’s hexameters; for instance:--

   “Unto a caitiff wretch whom long affliction holdeth,
    Grant yet, grant yet a look to the last monument of his anguish.”

But this made their task extremely difficult, without bringing any gain
which the ear could recognise; and I believe that the earlier attempts
to naturalize the hexameter in England failed mainly in consequence of
their being executed under these severe conditions, which prevented
all facility and flow in the expression, and gave the popular ear no
pleasure.

The successful German hexametrists have rejected all regard to the
classical rules of quantity of syllables; and have, I conceive,
shown us plainly that this is the condition of success in such an
undertaking. Take, for instance, the beginning of _Hermann und
Dorothea_:--

   “Und so sass das trauliche Paar, sich unter den Thorweg
    Ueber das wander de Volk mit mancher Bemerkung ergötgend
    Endlich aber began der wüedige Hansfrau, und sagte
    Sept! dort kommt der Prediger her; es kommt auch der Nachbar.”

The penultimate dactyls in these lines, “_unter dem_ Thorweg,”
“Be_merkung er_götgend,” “_Hansfrau und_ sagte,” “_kommt auch der_
Nachbar,” have, in the place of short syllables, syllables which
must be long, if any distinction of long and short, depending upon
consonants and dipthongs, be recognised; but yet these are good and
orderly dactyls, because in each we have a strong syllable followed by
two weak ones. If we call such trissyllable feet _dactyls_, and in the
same way describe other feet by their corresponding names in Greek and
Latin verse, _spondees_, _trochees_, and the like, we shall be able
to talk in an intelligible manner about English verse in general, and
English hexameters in particular.

And I have now to show, in the second place, that English hexameters
are readily accepted by the native ear, without any condition of
discipline in Greek and Latin verse. I do not mean to say that
hexameters have not a peculiar character among our forms of verse; and
I should like to try to explain, on some future occasion, the mode in
which the recollection of Homer and Virgil, in Greek and Latin, affects
and modifies the pleasure which we receive from hexameter poems in
German and English. But I say that, without any such reference, poems
written in rigorous hexameters will be recognised by a common reader as
easy current verse.

In order to bring out this point clearly, you must allow me, Mr Editor,
to make my quotations with _various readings_ of my own, which are
requisite to exemplify the forms of verse of which I speak.

I begin by talking of “dactylics,” in spite of the _Antijacobin_.
Dactylic measures are very familiar to our ears, and congenial to the
genius of our versification. These lines are dactylics:--

   “Oh | know ye the | land where the | cypress and | myrtle
    Are | emblems of | deeds that are | done in their | clime?”

But the lines may be also regarded as anapæstics:--

   “Oh know | ye the land | &c.
    Are em | blems of deeds | &c.
    Where the rage | of the vul | ture, the love | of the turtle,|
    Now melt | into sor | row, now mad | den to crime.|”

In all these cases, the line begins with a weak syllable; and if the
lines are regarded as dactylics, this syllable must be taken as a
fragment of foot. When the line begins with a strong syllable, the
dactylic character is more decided: as if the lines were,--

    Know ye the land of the cypress and myrtle?
    Emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?

Now, in such examples, along with the trissyllable feet, dissyllable
feet are often mixed, as their metrical equivalents: as

   “_When in_ | death I shall | _calm re_ | cline,
    O | _bear my_ | heart to my | _mistress_ | dear;
    Tell her it | lived upon | _smiles and_ | wine
    Of the | _brightest_ | hue, while it | _lingered_ | here.”

We may observe that there is, in this example, a kind of symmetry shown
in preserving the dissyllable feet always in the second place, which is
not without its effect on the ear. Some of these feet may be made two
or three syllables at pleasure, as _linger’d_ or _lingerèd_. I will add
the next stanza as a further example:--

   “Bid her not | _shed one_ | _tear of_ | sorrow,
      To | sully a | _heart so_ | brilliant and | bright;
    But | _drops of_ | _kind re_ | _membrance_ | borrow,
      To | _bathe the_ | relic from | _morn to_ | night.”

That the verse so constructed is perfectly rhythmical, we know, by the
exactness with which it lends itself to music. The musical bars would
point out the divisions, or the number at least, of the feet, if we had
any doubt upon that subject.

In order that we may the more distinctly perceive the mixture of
two kinds of feet in this example, let us reduce it entirely to
trissyllable feet, by slight changes in the expression:--

    When in my tomb I shall calmly be | lying,
      O | carry my heart to my conqueror dear:
    Tell her it liv’d upon smiles and on | nectar
      Of | brilliant hue, while it lingered here.
    Bid her not shed any token of | sorrow
      To | sully a heart so resplendant and | glowing;
    But | fountains of loving remem_ber_ance | borrow,
      To | water the relic from morning to even.

I have arranged this variation so that the incomplete feet at the end
of one line and the beginning of the next in each distich, as well as
the rest, make up a complete dactyl; and thus, the measure runs on
through each two written lines in a long line of seven dactyls and a
strong syllable. But it will be easily perceived, that if the feet had
been left incomplete at the end of each written line, the pause in the
metre would have supplied what was wanting, and would have prevented
the verse from being perceived as irregular. Thus these are still true
dactylic lines:----

    When in my tomb I shall calmly recline
    O carry my heart to my conqueror dear;
    Tell her it lived upon smiles and on wine
    Of brilliant hue, while it lingered here.

I will now arrange the same passage so as to reduce it entirely to
dissyllable feet, which alters the character of the versification.

    When in death I calm recline,
    O bear my heart to her I love;
    Say it liv’d on smiles and wine
    Of brightest hue, while here above.
    Bid her shed no tear of grief
    To soil a heart so clear and bright;
    But drops of kind remembrance give
    To bathe the gem from morn to night.

As the dissyllable feet may be divided either as dactyls or as
anapæsts, so the dissyllable feet may be divided either as trochees or
as iambuses. Thus we may scan either of these ways--

    O | bear my | heart to | her I | love,
    O bear | my heart | to her | I love.

But in this case, as in that of dissyllable feet, the metre is more
decidedly trochaic, because each line, (that is, each distich, as here
written,) begins with a strong syllable.

    _When_ in | death I | calm re | cline.

The animated trochaic character, when once given by a few lines of this
kind, continues in the movement of the verse, even when retarded by
initial iambuses; as,

    “Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
    Jest and youthful jollity:
    Quips and cranks and wanton wiles,
    Nods and becks and wreathed smiles;
    Such as dwell on Hebe’s _cheek_,
    _And_ love to live in dimple sleek,
    Sport that wrinkled care de_rides_,
    _And_ laughter holding both his sides.”

Here the weak syllables _And_, _And_, do not materially interrupt the
trochaic verse. They may be taken as completing the trochee at the end
of the preceding line.

In these verses, and in all English verses, there are no spondees, or
feet consisting of two strong syllables. No foot in English metre has
more than one strong syllable, and the weak syllables are appended to
the strong ones, and swept along with them in the current of the metre.
The equality between a trissyllable and a consecutive dissyllable foot,
which the metre requires, is preserved by adding strength to the short
syllable, so as to preserve the balance. Thus, when we say----

    _Bear_ my heart to my _mis_tress dear,

There is a strength given to _bear_, and _mis_tress, which makes them
metrically balance _carry_ and _conqueror_ in this verse,

    _Carry_ my heart to my _conqueror_ dear.

It must be observed, however, that the proportion between heavy and
light, or strong and weak, in syllables, is not always the same. When
a dissyllable foot occurs in the place of a trissyllable one, in a
metre of a generally trissyllabic character, the light syllable may
be conceived as standing in the place of two, and is therefore more
weighty than the light syllables of the trissyllabic feet. Thus, if we
say--

    “Tell her it lived upon smiles _and_ wine,”

the _and_ is more weighty than it would be, if we were to say--

    “Tell her it lived upon smiles _and on_ wine.”

And if again we say--

    “Tell her it liv’d _on_ smiles and on wine,”

the _on_ is more weighty than the same syllable in _upon_. Hence, in
these cases, _smiles and_, _lived on_, approach to spondees. But still
there is a decided preponderance in the first syllables of each of
these feet respectively.

I have hitherto considered dactylics with rhyme; of course the measure
may be preserved, though the rhyme be omitted, either at the end of the
alternate lines; as

    When in my tomb I am calmly lying,
      O bear my heart to my mistress dear:
    Tell her it liv’d upon smiles and nectar
      Of brightest hue, while it lingered here:

Or altogether; as

    Bid her not shed one tear of sorrow
      To sully a heart so brilliant and bright;
    But drops from fond remembrance gather,
      And bathe for ever the relic in these.

In the absence of rhyme, each distich is detached, and the number of
such distiches, or long lines, may be either odd or even.

I shall now take a shorter dactylic measure; and first, with alternate
rhymes.

      Tityrus, you laid along,
    In the shade of umbrageous beeches,
      Practise your pastoral song,
    As your muse in your solitude teaches.
      We from the land that we love
    From all that we value and treasure,
      We must as exiles remove:
    While, Tityrus, you at your leisure
      Make all the woods to resound
    Amaryllis’s name at your pleasure.

We see, in this example that the rhyme is a fetter to the construction.
In this case, it is necessary to have three distichs which rhyme, in
order to close the metre with the sentence.

We detach these distichs, or long lines, from each other, by rejecting
the use of rhyme between successive distichs. We might make the two
parts of the same long line rhyme thus:--

    Tityrus, you in the shadow Of chestnuts stretcht in the meadow,
    Practise your pastoral verses In strains which your oat-pipe rehearses.
    We, poor exiles, are leaving All our saving and having;
    Leaving the land that we treasure: You in the woods at your pleasure
    Make them resound, when your will is, The name of the fair Amaryllis.

But these rhymes, even if written in one long line, are really two
short lines with a double rhyme; and this measure, besides its
difficulty, is destitute of dignity and grace.

If we take the same measure, rejecting rhyme, and keep the dactylics
pure, we have such distichs as these:--

    Tityrus, you in the shade
      Of a mulberry idly reclining,
    Practise your pastoral muse
      In the strains that your flageolet utters.

But these may be written in long lines, thus:--

    Tityrus, you in the shade of a mulberry idly reclining,
    Practise your pastoral muse, in the strains that your flageolet utters;
    We from the land that we love, from our property sever’d and banish’d,
    We go as exiles away; and yet, Tityrus, you at your leisure
    Tutor the forests to ring with the name of the fair Amaryllis.

These verses are of a rhythm as familiar and distinct to the English
ear as any which our poets use. Now these are _hexameters_ consisting
each of five dactyls and a trochee,--the trochee approaching to a
spondee, as I have seen; yet still, not being a spondee, but having its
first syllable decidedly strong in comparison with the second.

The above hexameters are perfectly regular, both in being purely
dactylic, and in having the regular _cæsura_, namely the end of a word
at the beginning of the third dactyl, as--

    We from the land that we _love_
    We go as exiles _away_.

But these hexameters admit of irregularities in the same manner as
the common English measures of which we have spoken. We may have
dissyllable feet instead of trissyllable in any place in the line; thus
in the fourth--

    Tityrus, you in the shade of a _chestnut_ idly reclining.

In the third--

    Tityrus, you in the _shade of_ mulberries idly reclining.

In the second--

    Tityrus, _you in_ shadows of mulberries idly reclining.

In the first--

    _Damon_, you in the shade of a mulberry idly reclining.

We may also have a dissyllable for the fifth foot--

    Tityrus, you in the shade of a beech at your _ease re_clining.

But this irregularity disturbs the dactylic character of the verse more
than the like substitution in any other place. So long as we have a
dactyl in the fifth place, the dactylic character remains. Thus, even
if we make all the rest dissyllables--

    “Damon, you in shades of beech-trees idly reclining.”

But if the fifth foot also be a dissyllable, the measure becomes
trochaic.

   “Damon, you in shades of beech at ease reclining,
    Play your oaten pipe, your rural strains combining.”

Supposing the dactylic character to be retained, we may have
dissyllables not in one place only, but in several, as we have seen
is the case in the more common English dactylics. Now, the metre thus
produced corresponds with the heroic verse hexameters of the Greek and
Latin languages; except in this, that the English dissyllable feet are
not exactly spondees. The Greek and Latin hexameters admit of dactyls
and spondees indiscriminately, except that the fifth foot is regularly
a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee or trochee. Also, the regular cæsura
of the Greek and Latin hexameters occurs in the beginning of the third
foot, as in the English hexameters above given.

I think I have now shown that, without at all deviating from the common
forms of English metre, and their customary liberties, we arrive at a
metre which represents the classical hexameters, with this difference
only, that the spondees are replaced by trochees. And this substitution
is a necessary change; it results from the alternation of strong and
weak syllables, which is a condition of all English versification.

And thus I have, I conceive, established my second point; that
hexameters, exactly representing those of Greek and Latin verse, may
grow out of purely English habits of versification.

But at the same time, I allow that classical scholars do read and write
English hexameters with a recollection of those which they are familiar
with in Greek and Latin; and that they have a disposition to identify
the rhythm of the ancient and the modern examples, which leads them to
treat English hexameters differently from other forms of English verse.
This gives rise to some particularities of English hexameters, of which
I may have a few words to say hereafter. In the mean time, I subscribe
myself, your obedient

                        M. L.



FROM SCHILLER.


COLUMBUS

    Still steer on, brave heart! Though witlings laugh at thy emprise,
      And though the helmsmen drop, weary and nerveless, their hands.
    Westward and westward still! There land must emerge from the ocean;
      There it lies in its light, clear to the eye of thy mind.
    Trust in the power that guides: press on o’er the convex of ocean:
      What thou seek’st, were it not, yet it should rise from the waves.
    Nature with Genius holds a pact that is fixt and eternal--
      All which is promised by _this_, _that_ never fails to perform.


ODYSSEUS

    O’er all seas, in his search of home, lay the path of Odysseus,
      Scilla he past and her yell, skirted Charybdis’s whirl.
    Through the perils of land, through the perils of waves in their fury--
      Yea even Hades’ self scap’t not his devious course.
    Fortune lays him at last asleep on Ithaca’s margin,
      And he awakes, nor knows, grieving, the land that he sought.

                        M. L.



ALGERIA

[_Algeria and Tunis in 1845._ By CAPTAIN J. C. KENNEDY, 18th Royal
Irish. London: 1846.]

[_Algeria in 1845._ By COUNT ST MARIE, formerly in the French Military
Service. London: 1846.]


We have always felt a strong interest in the welfare and progress of
the French colonies in Africa. Our reasons for the same are manifold,
and must be manifest to the readers of Maga; that is to say, to
all judicious and reflecting persons conversant with the English
language. There is, indeed, much to excite sympathy and admiration in
the conduct of our neighbours to their infant settlement in the land
of the Moor and the Arab. Their treatment of the natives has been
uniformly considerate, their anxiety to avoid bloodshed painfully
intense, their military operations have been invariably successful,
and in their countless triumphs, modestly recorded in the veracious
bulletins of a Bugeaud, they have ever shown themselves generous and
magnanimous conquerors. The result of their humane and judicious
colonial administration, and of a little occasional wholesome severity
on the part of Colonel Pelissier, or some other intrepid officer,
is most satisfactory and evident. A hundred thousand men are now
sufficient to keep the ill-armed and scattered Arab tribes in a state
of perfect tranquillity. Twice or thrice in the year, it is true,
they rise up, like ill-bred savages as they are, and fiercely assault
the Europeans who have kindly volunteered, to govern their country,
and, whenever it may be possible, to civilize themselves. A few
unfortunate French detachments, outposts and colonists, are plundered
and slaughtered; but then up comes a Lamoricière or a Changarnier,
perchance the Duke of Isly himself, or a prince of the blood in person,
with thousands of bayonets and sabres; and forthwith the turbulent
Bedouins scamper across the desert in tumultuous flight, their dingy
bournouses waving in the wind, shouts of fury and exultation upon their
lips, and Frenchmen’s heads upon the points of their scimeters. As to
Abd-el-Kader, the grand instigator of these unjustifiable outbreaks,
he is a troublesome and discontented barbarian, always kicking up a
devil of a hubbub, usually appearing where least desired, but, when
wanted, never to be found. The gallant and _reverend_ gentleman--for,
besides being an emir and a general, he is a marabout or saint of the
very first chop--has caused the aforesaid Bugeaud a deal of annoyance;
and the marshal has long been desirous of a personal interview, which
hitherto has been obstinately declined. Altogether the emir is a
vexatious fellow; and it is another strong proof of French kindness and
conciliatory spirit, that although he has frequently wandered about in
very reduced circumstances, _sans_ army or friends, with a horse and a
half, and a brace of barefooted followers, (_vide_ the Paris newspapers
of any date for the last dozen years,) the French, instead of laying
hold of him and hanging him up, which of course they might easily have
done, have preferred to leave him at large. Some say that it would be
as unreasonable to expect an enthusiastic fox-hunter to waylay and
shoot the animal that affords him sport, as to look for the capture of
Abd-el-Kader at the hands of men who find pleasure and profit in the
chase, but would derive little of either from its termination. To cut
his throat would be to cut their own, and to slay the bird that lays
the golden epaulets. It is related, in a book now before us, that M.
Bugeaud, when applied to by a colonel for a column of troops to pursue
and capture the emir, replied in these terms:--“Do not forget, sir,
that to Abd-el-Kader most of your brother officers are indebted for
their chances of promotion.” Others have asserted, that if the Arab
chief is still a free denizen of the desert, it must be attributed to
his own skill, courage, and conduct; to the bravery of his troops, and
the fidelity of his adherents; and not to any merciful or prudential
scruples of his opponents. We reject this notion as absurd and
groundless. We are persuaded that French forbearance is the sole reason
that the head of Abd-el-Kader, duly embalmed by the _procédé_ Gannal,
does not at this moment grace the sideboard of the victorious Duke of
Isly, or frown grimly from the apex of the Luxor obelisk.

Having thus avowed our strong interest in the prosperity of Algeria,
we need hardly say that we read every book calculated to throw light
upon the progress and prospects of that country. The volumes referred
to at foot of the first page, had scarcely issued from the sanctuaries
of their respective publishers, when our paper-knife was busy with
their contents, and as we cut we eagerly read. We confess to have
been disappointed. Captain Kennedy’s narrative is tame, and rather
pedantic; its author appears more anxious to display his classical
and historical lore, and to indulge in long descriptions of scenery
and Arab encampments, than to give us the sort of information we
should most have appreciated and relished. As a book of travels, it
is respectable, and not unamusing; but from travellers in a country
whose state is exceptional, one has a right to expect more. We had
hoped for more copious details of the present condition and probable
result of French colonization, for more numerous indications of the
state of feeling and intercourse between the Arab tribes and their
European conquerors. These matters are but slightly touched upon. It is
true that Captain Kennedy, in his preface, avows his intention of not
entering into political discussions, and of abstaining from theories
as to the future condition of the southern coast of the Mediterranean.
We can only regret, therefore, that he has _not_ thought proper to
be more comprehensive. His opportunities were excellent, his pen is
fluent, and he evidently possesses some powers of observation. Received
with open arms and cordial hospitality by the numerous officers to
whom he had introductions, or with whom he casually became acquainted,
he has perhaps felt a natural unwillingness to probe and lay bare
the weak points of the French in Africa. Such, at least, is the
general impression conveyed to us by his book. He seems hampered by
fear of requiting kindness by censure; and, to escape the peril, has
abstained from criticism, forgetting the possible construction that
may be put upon his silence. There is certainly scope for a work on
Algeria of a less superficial character, and such a one we wish he
had applied himself to produce. From no one could it better proceed
than from a British officer of intelligence and education. We are not
disposed, however, because Captain Kennedy has not fulfilled all our
expectations, to judge with severity the printed results of his tour.
His tone is easy and gentlemanly, and we are far from crying down what
we presume to be his first literary attempt.

From the English officer we turn to the French one, whose book is of
a much more ambiguous character. Who is this Count St Marie? Whence
does he derive his countship and his melodramatic or vaudevilleish
name? Does he write in English, or is his book translated? Is he a
Frenchman as well as a French officer, a _bonâ fide_ human being,
or a publisher’s myth; a flesh and blood author, or a cloak for
a compilation? From sundry little discrepancies, we suspect the
latter; and that he is indebted for name, title, and rank, to the
ingenious benevolence of his editor. Sometimes he talks as if he were
a Frenchman; at others, in a manner to make us suppose him English.
Whatever his nation, it is strange, if he has been an officer in the
French service, that he should request information from a certain
mysterious Mr R----, whom he constantly puts forward as an authority,
on the subject of promotion in the French army, and respecting French
military decorations. The commanders of the Legion of Honour, he tells
us, wear the gold cross _en sautoir_, like the cross of St Andrew. Odd
enough that Count St Marie should be more conversant with Scottish
decorations than with French ones. Talking of Bougia, at page 203, he
remarks that “the blindness and imbecility of the French in Africa
_is_ (he might have said _are_) more perceptible there than any where
else;” and adverts to “the ruined _débarcadère_, the fragments of
which seem left only to put French negligence to shame.” We doubt if
any Frenchman would have written in this tone, especially in a book
intended for publication in England. There are many similar passages in
the volume. Yet the gallant count talks of the French consul as “_our_
consul,” and of the French troops as “_our_ columns,” the latter in the
very same paragraph in which he sneers at their victories. His style
is free from foreign idioms, but here and there occurs a peculiarity
seeming to denote a translation. A town is said to be garrisoned by
veteran troops, when the meaning evidently is, that the garrison was
a detachment of the French corps known as “the Veterans.” Although
_cent sous_ is a common term in France to express a five-franc piece,
in English we do not talk of a payment of one hundred sous. But it is
unnecessary to multiply instances. We have probably said enough to make
our readers coincide in our suspicion, that “Algeria in 1845,” by Count
St Marie, is neither fish, flesh, nor red herring, but altogether of
the composite order. It is, nevertheless, amusing and full of anecdote,
with only here and there a blunder or dash of exaggeration; and
although, as we believe, a compilation, it is tolerably correct in its
statistics and inferences. We must protest, however, against the humbug
of the system. A book that has merit may be launched under its true
colours, and kept afloat without a titled name upon the title-page.

The motives that induce the French to cling, with a tenacity which an
immense annual outlay of treasure and human life has hitherto failed
to weaken, to their African conquest, are, we believe, pretty well
appreciated, at least in this country, where colonies and colonization
are understood, and where French policy is studied by many. Algeria
is the safety-valve by which the superfluous steam of the national
character is in some measure let off; it affords a _point de mire_
for the people, occupation for the army, a subject of discussion for
the newspapers. Doubtless a large section of the French nation, or at
least of its more sensible and thinking classes, would gladly witness
the abandonment of a colony which has already cost more than there is
any probability of its yielding for years to come--more, perhaps, than
it ever will yield, either in direct or indirect advantages. But were
it proposed to give it up, the general cry would be loudly against the
measure. Not that there is a probability of the proposal being made.
The present shrewd and wary ruler of France well knows that a little
blood-letting is as essential to keep down the feverish temperament
of his people as a plaything is to occupy their thoughts and preserve
them from mischief. Algeria is at once the leech and the toy. Restless
and enterprising spirits there find the field of action they require;
those who might otherwise be busy with home politics, have their
attention diverted by battles and bulletins. The evils of protracted
and unprofitable warfare do not, in this instance, come home to the
nation in a very direct and palpable form, and therefore disgust at
the resultless strife has not yet replaced the interest and excitement
it creates. Now and then a tent or an umbrella is captured and stuck
up in the gardens of the Tuileries to be gaped and wondered at by the
Parisians. This gives a fillip to popular enthusiasm, and well-fed
national guardsmen, as they take their turn of duty at the palace
gates, look with increased respect and envy upon the Algerine schako
and bronzed visage of their fellow sentry of the line. Captain Kennedy
gives an amusing instance of the extent to which the martial ardour of
sober French citizens is sometimes carried by that stir of arms and din
of battle whose echoes are wafted to their ears from the distant shores
of the Mediterranean.

“Among the various costumes and styles of dress seen in the streets
of Algiers, none are so ridiculous as that of the European civilian,
dressed _à l’Arabe_, some fine specimens of which we saw to-day. One of
this genus, a wealthy shopkeeper from the Rue Chaussée d’Antin, had,
by his adventures a short time since, created some little amusement.
Enthusiastic on the subject of the new colony, his thoughts by day had
been for months of Algiers, and his dreams by night of bournoused
warriors, fiery steeds, and bloody yataghans. At last, determined to
see with his own eyes, he left his beloved Paris, and arrived safely in
Algiers.

“His first care was to procure a complete Arab dress, in which he
sallied forth the morning after his arrival. He came in search of
adventures, and he was soon gratified. Stalking along, he accidentally
hustled a couple of French soldiers, was sworn at, thrashed, and rolled
in the mud as a ‘Sacré cochon d’Arabe,’ lost his purse from having no
pockets in his new garments, and was nearly kicked down stairs by the
garçon of his hotel for venturing to enter his own room.

“Undismayed by these misadventures, he set out the following day,
armed to the teeth, to ride to Blidah. When, half-way there, he was
seized as a suspicious character by two Arab gendarmes, for being armed
without having a permit, and pretending not to understand Arabic;
he was disarmed and dismounted, his hands tied behind his back, and
fastened to his captor’s stirrup. He spent the night on the ground in a
wretched hut, with a handful of cuscusoo for supper, and next morning
was dragged into Algiers in broad daylight, half dead with fear and
fatigue. On being carried before the police he was instantly liberated;
and, taking advantage of the first packet, returned to France, having
seen more of life in Algeria in a few days, than many who had spent the
same number of years in the colony.”

Great must have been the discomfiture of the worthy burgher, although
he had much reason to rejoice at having encountered Arab gendarnes
and French troopers, instead of Bedouins or Kabyles, who would
hardly have let him off with a beating, a night’s imprisonment, and
a cuscusoo supper. We can imagine his delight at again finding the
asphalte of the Boulevards under his boot-soles, and the respect with
which his coffee-house gossips regarded him, as he related, over his
post-prandial _demi-tasse_, or in the intervals of his game at dominos,
the adventures of his amateur campaign, and the perils that beset the
pilgrim to Algeria. A slight traveller’s license would convert the pair
of gendarmes into a troop of hostile cavalry, and his brief detention
in the hut into a visit to the dungeons of Abd-el-Kader. His friends
would look up to him as a military authority, his wife exclaim at the
injustice that left his button-hole undecorated; and when next his
company of the national guard elected their officers, he would have but
to present himself to be instantly chosen. The laurels he had failed
to achieve in Africa would be bestowed upon him by acclamation in the
guard-room of his _arrondissement_.

In relating the well-known incident that gave rise to hostilities
between France and the Dey of Algiers, Count St Marie goes back to
the remote cause, which, by his account, was a lady. In the time of
Napoleon the Bey of Tunis had a favourite female slave, for whom he
ordered, of an Algerine Jew, a costly and magnificent head-dress. The
Jew, unable to get it manufactured in the country, wrote to Paris;
the head-dress was made, at an expense of twelve thousand francs,
and the modest Israelite charged it thirty thousand to the Bey. The
latter was too much pleased with the bauble to demur at the price,
but, not being in cash, he paid for it in corn. There chanced just
then to be a scarcity in France; the Jew sold his grain to the army
contractors, and managed so well that he became a creditor of the
French government for upwards of a million of francs. Napoleon fell,
and the Bourbons declined to pay; but the Jew contrived to interest
the Dey of Algiers in his cause, and remonstrances were addressed to
the French government. The affair dragged on for years, and at last,
in 1829, on the eve of a festival when the diplomatic corps were
admitted to pay their respects to the Dey, the latter expostulated
with the French consul on the subject of the long delay. The answer
was unsatisfactory, and the consequence was the celebrated rap with
a fan or fly-flap, which sent its giver into exile, and converted
Algeria into a French province. On visiting the Kasbah, or citadel,
at Algiers, Captain Kennedy was shown the little room in which the
insult was offered to the representative of France. It is now used as
a poultry-yard. “Singularly enough,” says the captain, “as we entered,
a cock, strutting on the deserted divan, proclaimed his victory over
some feebler rival by triumphant crow--an appropriate emblem of the
real state of affairs.” But the conquered cock is game; and although
sorely punished by his adversary’s spurs, he returns again and again to
the charge.

Within the fortress of the Kasbah were comprised the Dey’s palace,
harem, and treasury. The buildings are now greatly altered, at least
as regards their application. The private residence of the Dey has
been converted into officers’ quarters, the harem is occupied by
artillerymen, a kiosk has been arranged as an hospital, and a mosque
has become a Catholic chapel. The treasury was said to contain an
immense sum at the time of its capture by the French; but the exact
amount was never known, and various accounts have been given of the
probable disposal of the money. Captain Kennedy believes there is
little doubt that the sum of forty-three millions of francs, officially
acknowledged to have been shipped to France, was employed by the
ministers of Charles the Tenth in their vain endeavours to suppress the
revolution of 1830. Certain general officers of the invading army have
been charged with acts of appropriation; but nothing was ever proved,
and the whole rests on rumour and unsupported assertion. However the
money was got rid of, there is no doubt that a vast deal was found. The
Dey, a careless extravagant old dog, worthy of his piratical ancestors,
was any thing but minute in his record of receipts and expenditure.
He was not the man to ring his sovereign or mark his bank-notes; he
knew as much about double entry as about the Greek mythology or the
Waverley novels, and kept his accounts with a shovel and a corn-bin.
Wooden partitions divided his treasury into compartments--one for
gold, one for silver, and separating foreign and native coin; when
money was received, it was thrown in uncounted; when wanted, it was
taken out without form or ceremony of writing. “Such also was the
carelessness shown,” adds Captain Kennedy, “that, in one part, the
walls still bear the impressions of coins cast in at random, before the
inner coating of plaster had had time to dry,”--quite a realisation
of fairy tale accounts, and popular ideas of Oriental profusion and
lavish prodigality. The manner in which these heads of gold and silver
were guarded is equally curious, and completes a picture worthy of
the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. “Prior to the French occupation,”
says M. St Marie, “any attempt to penetrate into these caves was
impracticable, the approach to them being guarded by lions, tigers and
hyenas, chained up at short distances from each other.” Besides these
formidable brute body-guards, whose melodious voices must have greatly
soothed the slumbers of the fair inmates of the seraglio, the Dey had
barracks within the Kasbah for his household troops, on whose fidelity
he relied for protection from the soldiery of the regency, frequently
in a state of mutiny.

Military hospitals are of course a primary necessity in a country
where half a million of soldiers have perished during the last fifteen
years, either by disease or the sword. At Algiers there are several
establishments of the kind, one of which, situated in the gardens of
the Dey, and capable of containing five thousand sick, is particularly
worthy of notice. Large as the building is, it is insufficient in
summer and autumn to accommodate all who seek admission. The gardens
have been left as much as possible uninjured, and their orange-trees
and fountains afford cool shade and delightful freshness to the
convalescent soldiers. On the other hand, the Jardin Marengo, belonging
to Colonel Marengo, the commandant of the citadel of Algiers,
contributes its quota to the sick wards. It is cultivated, Count St
Marie informs us, by condemned soldiers, who suffer dreadfully from
the heat and from exposure to the burning sun. Scarcely a day passes
without some of the unfortunate men being conveyed to hospital,
and in many instances they never recover. The real name of Colonel
Marengo is Capon. His father distinguished himself at the battle of
Marengo, and Napoleon jestingly bestowed on him the name retained by
his son, instead of the ignoble appellation that he previously bore.
Apropos of the hospital--or it might just as well be said, _àpropos
de bottes_--the Count, who certainly never loses an opportunity of
bringing in a good story, relates one of a M. St Vincent, president of
a French learned society, who went to Africa to prosecute researches
in natural history. Eager for specimens, he was liberal in his
payments; and one day a great curiosity was brought to him in the
shape of two rats, each with a long excrescence, like the trunk of an
elephant, issuing from the top of the nose. He caught at the prize, and
immediately forwarded to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris a scientific
description of the _rat trompé_. But his letter had scarcely gone when
the excrescence became dry and dropped off; and on examination it was
found that incisions had been made above the noses of the animals, and
the tails of two other rats inserted The _rat trompé_ dwindled into a
_rat trompeur_.

After a short stay in the city of Algiers, and contemplating a return
thither, Captain Kennedy and his companion, Viscount Fielding, started
for Blidah by diligence. At about half a mile from the Kasbah, the
road--an excellent one, constructed by the troops--passes under the
walls of Fort l’Empereur, built in commemoration of a victory obtained
by the Moors in the year 1541 over the troops of Charles V. Some of
the cannon abandoned on this occasion by the Spaniards were originally
French, having been taken by the imperial army at the battle of Pavia.
The Algerines mounted them on the Kasbah, where they remained until in
1830, after an interval of three hundred and five years, they again
fell into the hands of their first possessors. The fort, which owes
its existence to a signal triumph of Algerine power, was not destined
to survive the downfall of the Crescent. Invested by the French, a
few hours’ cannonade dismounted its guns, breached its walls, and
ruined its defences. The garrison were compelled to abandon it, and
retreat into the city, with the exception of a few desperadoes, who had
sworn to perish, but never to fly before the Christians. Whilst the
French troops impatiently awaited orders for an assault, a tremendous
explosion took place; and when the dust and smoke cleared away, the
whole western face of the fort was a heap of ruins. The surrender of
the city shortly followed.

Previously to an earthquake that occurred in 1825, the town of Blidah,
situated in a fertile valley at the foot of the lesser Atlas, numbered
fifteen thousand inhabitants. Many of these perished in the ruins of
their dwellings, and the place never recovered itself; for, at the
period of the French invasion, the population was only five thousand.
Placed in the very heart of the scene of war, the diminution continued,
and the native inhabitants are now an insignificant handful. The
European population is on the increase, and the situation of the town
on the line of communication between the port of Algiers and the
country beyond the Atlas, as well as its good climate and abundance of
water, seems to mark it out as a place of future importance. In former
times it was a favourite residence of the Moors and Arabs, who called
it the New Damascus. There has been hard fighting there during the
present war, and it has thrice changed masters. It is surrounded by
luxuriant gardens and groves of orange-trees, whose fruit is said to be
the finest in the world. The plantations formerly extended quite up to
the town; but the Arabs took advantage of this to come down and pick
off the sentries, and it was found necessary to clear a large number
of acres. This impoverished many of the inhabitants, whose wealth
consisted in plantations of oranges, lemons, and olives. The town is
usually garrisoned by the Zouaves, troops originally raised amongst the
natives in imitation of our Sepoys. Soon after the formation of the
corps, however, Frenchmen were allowed and encouraged to enlist, and
of these the three battalions now principally consist. As fighting men
they enjoy the highest possible character, but in quarters they are
terrible scamps. Its gallant reputation and picturesque uniform, and
the numerous opportunities of distinction afforded to it, cause this
corps to be generally preferred by volunteers, and non-commissioned
officers often leave the line to serve as privates in the Zouaves.

At Blidah, Captain Kennedy and his friend procured horses, and with
their party strengthened by two Prussian officers, they set out for
Medeah. West of the river Chiffa they came upon another military road,
at which a battalion was then working. Men and officers were encamped
in tents, and in huts constructed of boughs. “The men employed on this
duty receive seventy-five centimes (about sevenpence) additional pay
per diem; and during the winter and spring, as the work is not hard,
it is rather preferred by the troops to garrison duty.” The system of
providing employment for the soldier, when he is not actually opposed
to the enemy, is very generally carried out by the French in their
African colony, and also in France when it is possible to be done.
Captain Kennedy evidently approves of it. At Medeah, a few minutes’
walk from the gate, are the gardens of the garrison. Each regiment or
battalion has its piece of ground, divided into lots for the different
companies, and supplying the troops with vegetables. “Here, as at
other places I have since visited, the ground in the occupation of the
troops was in a high state of culture, and superior both in produce and
neatness of arrangement to the gardens of the civilians. * * * In many
of our own colonies, and even at home, this system might be followed
with beneficial results to our troops; for, putting aside the addition
the produce would make to the comforts of the men, any employment or
amusement that would tend to keep the soldier out of the canteen or
public-house during his leisure hours, and there are many on whom it
would have that effect, must be advantageous.”

Medeah is the capital of the province of Tittery, and the head-quarters
of a subdivision of the French army, commanded by General Marey, to
whom Captain Kennedy had introductions. To these the general did all
honour, and sketched out for his guests the plan of an expedition to
the Little Sahara. A French traveller, recording his visit to Medeah,
has given the following ludicrous and melancholy account of the
caravanserais of the town. “On a déjà plusieurs cafés avec l’inévitable
billard, et deux hôtels où le travail est divisé, car l’un loge and
l’autre nourrit; les chambres n’y sont pas encore tout à-fait meublées,
et le charpentier n’a pas encore achevé l’escalier qui y monte. On y a
oublié une certaine faience très utile, mais il y a déjà des miroirs.”
This description, doubtless as true as it is characteristic, now no
longer applies. Things have improved in the last year or two; and at
the time of Captain Kennedy’s journey, the Medeah hotels were very
tolerable. But he was eager for the desert, and tarried little in
the town. Accompanied by an aide-de-camp of General Marey, who had
volunteered to do the honours of the colony, and show to the English
visitors life amongst the Bedouins, escorted also by a score of light
infantry, a party of Spahis or native cavalry, by half a dozen officers
of the garrison, several servants, and a vast number of dogs, our
travellers struck into the Arab country. The district they were about
to traverse being peopled by friendly tribes, this large attendance was
less for purposes of protection to the Englishmen than of mischief to
the wild-boars, which it was proposed to hunt. After a night passed in
an Arab tent, the battue began; and although not very successful, only
one boar being killed, the sportsmen deemed themselves well repaid for
eight hours’ walk in a broiling sun, by magnificent scenery, and the
excitement of the chase.

There is interest, although no very great novelty, in Captain Kennedy’s
narrative of his wanderings amongst the _dasheras_ and _douars_ of the
Bedouins. The douars are Arab camps, the dasheras villages, or rather
collections of huts, built of stone and mud, and roofed with branches
of trees. The walls of these miserable habitations are low; the door
does duty as sole window; for a fireplace a hole is made in the earthen
door; the furniture consists of a few mats, a corn-mill, some pots, and
a lamp. These are the dwellings of the agricultural tribes, who live
near the mountains. The pastoral tribes roam over the desert; their
tents, corn-mills, and mats, packed upon camels; and driving with them
flocks and herds of sheep, goats, and cattle. When they halt, the tents
are pitched in a circle, the opening towards the east; and at night the
animals are driven into the inclosure, for safety from robbers, and
to prevent straying. A family of Arabs will frequently wander several
days’ march from their usual abiding-place to some French garrison or
settlement, there to barter their stock for corn and European produce.
They travel by easy journeys, and halt whenever convenient, only
taking care to keep out of the way of hostile tribes. “A short time
serves to unload the camel, spread the mats, and pitch the tent. A few
handfuls of corn, ground in the mill, kneaded into a paste with water,
and baked in thin cakes on the fire, with a drink of water, or, if
they have it, milk, forms their simple meal.” Such is the abstemious
life of these sons of the desert. In the autumn, when the great fair
is held at Boghar, the advanced post of the French on the side of
the Little Sahara, several thousand people repair thither, bringing
hides, cheese, butter, and wool; also dates, skins of beasts, ostrich
feathers, and the woollen manufactures of the Arab women, received from
the interior of the country. These various products are exchanged for
honey, oil, corn, cutlery, and cotton cloths. Arms and ammunition used
to be greatly in request, but the French have prohibited that traffic.
The imports of European goods are on the increase, and Captain Kennedy
considers French trade in the north of Africa in a highly improving
state, favoured as it is by numerous roads, made or making, through
the Atlas, by the pacification of the country, and submission of the
tribes between Blidah and Boghar. How long this submission may last
must be considered doubtful. It has been induced neither by love nor
fear, but by self-interest. The more prosperous tribes, and those
located in the plain, finding Abd-el-Kader unable to protect them,
took the only means left to secure themselves from the fierce razzias
of the French, and from the ruin that these entailed. So long as they
deem it advantageous, they will doubtless be staunch to their compact;
but let then see or imagine a probable change in the fortune of the
war, and they will be found eager, as some of them have already shown
themselves, to rally once more round the standard of the Emir.

Amongst the tribes whose hospitality was shared by Captain Kennedy, the
most powerful was that of Ouled-Macktar, whose chief, Ben Douda, is
considered by the captain to afford a good type of the Arab chiefs in
the pay of France. For a long period he acted as one of Abd-el-Kader’s
lieutenants, but at a critical moment transferred his services to
the French. His people had their possessions secured to them, and he
himself received the appointment of Aga over the Arabs of the Little
Desert, with an allowance of ten per cent on the tribute paid by the
tribes under his jurisdiction. He is described as about fifty years
of age, with handsome though harsh features of the true Arab cast.
“What struck me most in his appearance, was the expression of deep
cunning strongly marked in the lines that crossed his forehead, and in
the downcast and furtive glances of the eye, observing every thing,
yet seemingly inattentive.” The Aga is very wealthy, and lives in
great luxury, comparatively to most of the Arabs. Captain Kennedy’s
party reached his camp at a fortunate moment. The douar was in an
unusual state of excitement, and great rejoicings were on foot in
honour of the marriage of the Aga’s son. The wedding-feast, consisting
of sheep roasted whole, stewed gazelle, cuscusoo, and other Bedouin
delicacies, was succeeded by some very graceless dances. Whilst the
latter proceeded, the men kept up an irregular fire of guns, pistols,
and blunderbusses, presenting their weapons at each others’ breasts,
and suddenly dropping the muzzle at the moment of pulling the trigger,
so that the charge struck the ground. As might be anticipated, this
dangerous sport did not terminate without an accident. One young savage
omitted to sink his muzzle, and sent a blank cartridge into the hip
of a comrade, knocking him over, burning his bournous, and causing an
ugly, although not a dangerous wound. “The rest of the party did not
seem to care much about it, and the wounded man’s wife, instead of
looking after her husband, rushed up to the man who had shot him, and,
assisted by some female friends, opened upon him a torrent of abuse,
with such fluency of tongue and command of language, that, after
endeavouring in vain to get in a word or two, he fairly turned tail and
walked off.”

In the douar of the Abides tribe, Captain Kennedy fell in with a
scorpion-eater. This was a disgusting-looking boy, who, being an
idiot, was looked upon by the Arabs as a saint--deprivation of
intellect constituting in their opinion a high claim to holiness.
This urchin bolted, sting and all, a fine lively scorpion upwards
of two inches long--the reptile writhing between his teeth as he
deliberately crunched it. Our traveller had heard of such exploits,
but had naturally been rather incredulous concerning the non-removal
of the sting. In this case, however, he was perfectly satisfied that
no deception was practised. The boy afterwards devoured another of the
same dangerous species of vermin. He belonged to the religious sect of
the Aisaoua, who claim the privilege of being proof against the venom
of reptiles and the effects of fire. A most extraordinary account of
a festival of this sect has been given by a French officer, of whose
narrative Captain Kennedy supplies a translation. Fortunately he does
not vouch for its veracity; so we may be permitted to disbelieve one
half and doubt the rest. M. St Marie relates some marvels of a similar
description, collected from an interpreter who had been a prisoner of
Abd-el-Kader.

The general impression made on us by Captain Kennedy’s account of
his visit to the Arab tribes, is, that the French have as yet done
little or nothing towards securing the affections and improving the
condition of the people they have subjugated. It must be acknowledged
that they have had to do with an intractable race, and one difficult
to conciliate. The old hatred and contempt of Mussulmans towards
Christians has been preserved in full force in the deserts and
mountains of Northern Africa. Centuries have done nothing to weaken
it, or to cause the followers of Mahomet to look with liking, or even
tolerance, upon the children of the Cross. The Christian is still a
dog, and the son of a dog; and even when crouching before his power
and intelligence, the Arab nurtures hopes of revenge, long deferred
but never abandoned. The French regard their conquest as secure; and
doubtless it may be rendered so by the maintenance of a powerful
military establishment; but who can foretell the time when they will
be enabled to withdraw even a portion of their present African army?
Their doing so would be a signal for revolt amongst the chiefs now in
their pay, amongst the tribes apparently most effectually humbled and
subdued. Patience and vindictiveness are distinguishing traits of the
Arab. He bides his time, but never loses sight of his object and of his
revenge. “They do not forget,” says Count St Marie, speaking of the
Arabs of the province of Oran, “that the Spaniards, weary of occupying
a territory which cost them great sacrifices, and yielded them no
advantages, abandoned their conquest after two centuries of possession.
They foresee that, one day or other, they will be rid of the French,
who have made as great a mistake as the Spaniards. The Arabs are
animated by an innate spirit of pride and independence which nothing
can subdue.” We venture no prophecies in this sense, but neither can we
predict the day when Algeria, as a colony, will become other than an
unproductive burden to its present possessors, or when it will repay
them for the blood and treasure they so liberally expend upon it.
They should beware of arguing too favourably from apparent calm and
submission on the part of the natives. The ocean is often smoothest
before a storm; the Arab most dangerous when apparently most tranquil.
Like other Orientals, he starts in an instant from torpor and indolence
into the fiercest activity. “The Arab,” says a German officer, whose
narrative of adventure in Africa has recently been rendered into
English, “lies whole days before his tent, wrapped in his bournous,
and leaning his head on his hand. His horse stands ready saddled,
listlessly hanging his head almost to the ground, and occasionally
casting sympathising glances at his master. The African might then be
supposed phlegmatic and passionless, but for the occasional flash of
his wild dark eye, which gleams from under his bushy brows. His rest
is like that of the Numidian lion, which, when satisfied, stretches
itself beneath a shady palm-tree--but beware of waking him! Like the
beasts of the desert and the forest, and like all nature in his own
land, the Arab is hurried from one extreme to the other, from the
deepest repose to the most restless activity. At the first sound of the
tam-tam, his foot is in the stirrup, his hand on his rifle, and he is
no longer the same man. He rides day and night, bears every privation,
and braves every danger, in order to make prize of a sheep or ass, or
of some enemy’s head. Such men as these are hard to conquer, and harder
still to govern: were they united into one people, they would form a
nation which would not only repulse the French, but bid defiance to
the whole world. Unhappily for them, every tribe is at enmity with
the rest; and this must ultimately lead to their destruction, for the
French have already learned to match African against African.”

The constant hostilities amongst the tribes have doubtless facilitated
their conquest; and the French still act upon the maxim of “_divide
et impera_,” as the best means to retain what they have won. As yet
little attention has been paid to more humane means of strengthening
themselves in their new possessions, and to the civilisation of the
natives. The chief plan proposed for the attainment of the latter
object, has been to subject to the conscription all Arabs born since
the occupation of the country by the French. It is very doubtful what
may be the effect of this measure should it be carried out. Will
it Frenchify the natives, and induce kindly feelings towards their
conquerors, or render them more dogged and dangerous than before? They
will, at any rate, acquire military knowledge, and an acquaintance
with the European system of warfare, which, combined with the skill in
arms and horsemanship they already possess, will render them doubly
dangerous in case of a revolt. After their seven years’ service, they
may perhaps think fit to join Abd-el-Kader, or any other leader then
warring against the French. It is want of proper discipline that has
rendered the Arab cavalry unable to compete successfully with that
of France. They charge tumultuously and with little order, each man
relying much upon himself individually, but doing little to aid the
combined effect of the mass.

Might not conversion to Christianity be made a powerful lever for
the civilisation of the tribes? They entertain a degree of respect
for the Catholic priests scarcely inferior to that shown to their
own marabouts. Abd-el-Kader has more than once released a prisoner,
without ransom, at the prayer of the Bishop of Algiers. Near the
last-named city, some French Jesuits have formed an establishment for
the education, in the Christian faith, of young Arabs and Moors. There,
as the author of “Algeria in 1845” informs us, a certain number of
youths, after being baptized, are fed, clothed, lodged, and instructed
in some trade. The French government pays little attention to this
establishment, which is supported chiefly by charitable contributions.
“It is, however, a great work of civilisation. The young pupils are
hostages in the hands of the French. It is pretty certain that their
fathers, brothers, and relations, will not join the rebels. When they
leave this establishment, they will carry with them indelible feelings
of gratitude. They will have an occupation, they will speak the French
language, and will be of the same religion as their masters.”

Exclusive of the army, Frenchmen form less than half of the European
population of Algeria. After them come Spaniards, who are very
numerous; then Maltese and Italians; and finally, a small number of
Germans, barely five per cent of the whole. The Spaniard, although
often taxed with idleness and dislike to labour, here proves himself
an industrious and valuable colonist; the Maltese travels from village
to village with his little stock of merchandise; the German tills the
ground. In the neighbourhood of Algiers, things have a very European
aspect; and the Arabs themselves, from constant intercourse with
the city, have lost much of their nationality. The appearance of a
flourishing colony is, however, confined to this district. Little
progress has as yet been made in rebuilding the other towns, although
in most of them the work of improvement is begun, and the narrow dirty
streets are being pulled down to make room for wider avenues and more
commodious houses. In some of them the only buildings as yet erected
are barracks and hospitals. The seaport town of Bona, bordering on the
regency of Tunis, is an exception. In 1832 it was reduced to ruins by
the troops of the Bey of Constantina, under command of Ben Aïssa. It is
now rebuilding on the European plan. A large square, with a fountain,
has been laid out in its centre, and several well-built streets are
completed. The town already boasts of an opera, with an Italian
company, who are assisted by amateurs, chiefly Germans, from the ranks
of the foreign legion.

The Algerine Jews attribute their first arrival in Africa to a miracle,
of which we find the following version in Count St Marie’s book. In the
year 1390, Simon-ben-Sinia, chief rabbi of Seville, and sixty of his
co-religionists were imprisoned, and condemned to die, the object being
to get possession of their wealth. On the eve of the day fixed for
their execution, Simon drew the image of a ship on his prison wall. The
drawing was miraculously changed into a real vessel, on board of which
the prisoners embarked for Algiers, where they were kindly received
by the Marabout Sidi Ben Yusef. This tradition is still an article of
faith, even with the most enlightened of the Jews. In whatever manner
they came, they have increased and multiplied, and now abound in all
the towns of Algeria. Preserving the characteristics of their race,
they differ little from their European brethren; or, if there be any
difference, it is not much in their favour. Their moral condition is
low; and although some honourable and honest men are found amongst
them, the majority are of a very different stamp. They are charitable
to their poor, and hospitable to their own people, and are generally
well conducted; but their insatiable and inherent greed leads them into
all sorts of disgraceful transactions. They have been immense gainers
by the expulsion of the Deys, under whose rule they were subjected
to much oppression and ill usage. “Their condition is now vastly
ameliorated, and I have even heard complaints of their insolence; a
very extraordinary charge against a race so tamed and broken in spirit.
The French, I fear, can place but little reliance on their courage in
occasions of danger.” The Jewish women, when young, are for the most
part strikingly handsome; and the boys are models of beauty until the
age of ten or eleven years, when their features grow coarse. Education
is confined to the males.

The taming of savage animals is no uncommon amusement amongst the
French in Algeria; and the most extraordinary and alarming pets
are encountered not only in officers’ quarters but in ladies’
drawing-rooms. At Medeah, Captain Kennedy was introduced to a
magnificent lion, the property of General Marey, Sultan by name, two
years old, and of a most amiable and docile disposition. Sultan allowed
himself to be examined and pulled about, and did not even exhibit
anger, but some annoyance when an aide-de-camp puffed a cigar in his
nostrils--a pleasantry which we are disposed to consider fool-hardy.
The only thing that excited his ire was a Scotch plaid worn by Captain
Kennedy. It was supposed that the hanging ends reminded him of an Arab
bournous, to which he had shown great aversion, having probably been
ill-treated in his infancy by the Arabs who caught him. Notwithstanding
his good temper, the general intended to get rid of him, fearing that
in the long run instinct might prove stronger than education. Besides
the lion, General Marey had an unhappy-looking eagle, and a pair of
beautiful gazelles. Count St Marie abounds in anecdotes of ferocious
beasts in a state of civilisation. One of the first acquaintances
he made in Algiers was a tame hyena, of most unamiable aspect, but
who lived in touching amity with a little dog, and did the civil for
lumps of sugar. At Bona, the count went to call upon some ladies,
and, on opening the door, beheld a brace of lions walking about the
room. He shut himself out with great precipitation, but was presently
reassured by the fair proprietresses of these singular favourites.
When he ventured into the saloon, and sat down, the lion laid his
head upon his knee, and the lioness jumped on the divan beside her
mistress. These brutes were seven years old. Lions are not very common
in Algeria. Now and then they approach the douars, greatly to the
alarm of the Arabs, who hasten to inform the French authorities, and
a battue takes place. Accidents generally happen at these lion-hunts:
Count St Marie affirms that there are always three or four lives lost,
to say nothing of wounds and other serious injuries. Whilst passing
the night in an Arab encampment at the entrance of the Bibans or Iron
Gates--the scene of much hard fighting, and of a gallant exploit of
the late Duke of Orleans--the count was roused, he informs us, in the
dead of the night, “by a noise which appeared to me like a distant peal
of thunder, repeated and prolonged by the mountain echoes. Gradually
the noise became louder. The animals sprang from their resting-places,
and the men, armed with muskets, rushed out of the tents. The oxen,
grouped themselves together, and turned their horns to the enemy;
the dogs were afraid even to bark. Presently the roaring became less
frequent and more distant; and we found that we had been saved from the
unwelcome visit of a lion, by the light of the burning brushwood on the
neighbouring hills.” The boar and the jackal are more common and less
dangerous objects of chase than the lion. Some of the rich colonists
and many of the officers are ardent sportsmen. Two of the former have
regular packs of hounds and studs of horses. Hares, rabbits, and red
partridges are very common.

The horse has greatly degenerated in Algeria, owing chiefly to the
neglect of the Arabs, who consider the choice of the dam to be alone
important, and pay no attention to the qualities of the sire. The
French government has recently established stables near Bona, with
a view to the improvement of the breed; the stud is to consist of
stallions only. There are to be similar establishments in the other
two provinces. So great is the demand for the better class of horses,
that the Arabs obtain very high prices for their stallions, which
they willingly sell, but they will not part with the mares. Every
year, therefore, it becomes more difficult to propagate a good breed.
Officers have now been sent to Tunis to make purchases, at a limit of
eighty ponds sterling for each horse. This price, Captain Kennedy says,
ought to buy the best horses in the country. Although less numerous
than formerly, splendid specimens of the Barbary Arab are still to
be met with in Algeria. Captain Kennedy describes, in glowing terms,
a magnificent charger belonging to General Marey, purchased by that
officer at a high price, and after a long negotiation, from a wealthy
chief in the south-west. M. St Marie says, that he knew a Morocco
horse to perform fifty leagues in eleven hours, without turning a hair
or showing a trace of the spur. Assuming him to speak of the common
three-mile league, or even of the old French posting league, which was
something less, this statement appears incredible. Thirteen miles and
a half an hour! Dick Turpin himself, upon his fabulous mare, would
have recoiled before such a pace sustained for such a time. The rate
of marching of the Arabs, however, from Captain Kennedy’s evidence,
is very rapid. The infantry do their fifteen or twenty leagues in
the twenty-four hours--the cavalry from thirty to forty-five--the
_meharies_ (so say the Arabs) from fifty to eighty. This is when the
tribes are on the war-path, making razzias upon each other’s flocks
and camps, when it may be supposed that they put on a little extra
steam. The mehary is an inferior race of camel, with a small hump,
and possessed of considerable strength and spirit, carrying a couple
of men. It keeps up for the whole day at about the same speed as the
ordinary trot of a horse. Its diet is herbs and date kernels. The
horses of the Sahara thrive best upon dates and milk; few of them
get barley; and they are sometimes reduced, when no other food is
obtainable, to eat cooked meat.

Amongst the most determined enemies of the French in Africa, are
to be enumerated the Kabyles, tribes dwelling in the ranges of the
Lesser Atlas, from Tunis to Morocco. Of different race from the
Arabs, they are believed to be the aboriginal inhabitants of Northern
Africa. Secure in their wild valleys, they have ever preserved their
independence. Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, all failed to
subdue them; and, although some of the tribes, whose territory is the
least inaccessible, are now partially under the rule of the French, the
maritime range, from the east of the Metidjah to Philippeville, remains
unconquered. Their numbers are inconsiderable, roughly estimated at
eighty thousand. This would give a fighting population of at most from
sixteen to twenty thousand men; but that small force has been found
efficient to preserve from foreign domination the almost impregnable
fastnesses in which they dwell. Although the tribes wage frequent war
amongst themselves, a common enemy unites them all. The attachment of
the Kabyles to their country and tribe is remarkable. Like the Swiss,
or the Spanish Galicians, they are accustomed to wander forth when
young, and seek their fortune in other lands. Kabyle servants and
labourers are found in all the towns and villages of Northern Africa.
But if they learn that their tribe is threatened or at war, they
abandon their situations, however advantageous, and hasten home, and to
arms. They are very brave, but barbarously cruel, giving no quarter,
and torturing their prisoners before cutting off their heads.

Their weapons are guns six or seven feet long, pistols, and yataghans,
chiefly of their own manufacture, and the materials for which are
found in their mountains, where they work mines of copper, lead,
and iron. In their rude way, and considering the badness of their
tools, they are tolerably ingenious. Amongst other things, they make
counterfeit five-franc pieces, sufficiently well executed to take in
the less knowing amongst the Arabs. Their industry is great, and,
besides the valleys, they cultivate the steep mountain sides, forming
terraces by means of walls, such as are seen in the vineyards on
the Rhine and in Switzerland. Possessing few horses, they usually
fight on foot; and in the plain, their untutored courage is unable
to withstand the discipline of the French troops. Their charges
are furious but disorderly; and when beaten back, they disperse to
rally again at a distance. In the mountains, where the advantages of
military organization have less weight, they are sturdy and dangerous
foes, fighting on the guerilla plan, disputing each inch of ground,
and disappearing from before their enemy only to fall with redoubled
fierceness upon his flank or rear. No foreigners can penetrate into
their country, and even Arabs run great risk amongst them. Not long
ago, Captain Kennedy informs us, a party of Arab traders, suspected by
the Kabyles of being in the French interest, were murdered to a man.
Most of them understand and speak the Arabic, but they have also a
language of their own, called the Shilla or Sherwia, whose derivation
it has hitherto been impossible to discover. They profess Islamism,
but mix up with it many superstitions of their ancestors, and ascribe
certain virtues to the symbol of the cross, which they use as a
talisman and tattoo upon their persons. “It would seem from this,”
observes Captain Kennedy, “that at least the outward forms of the
early Christians had at one period penetrated into the heart of their
mountains.” That, however, like all that relates to the early history
of the Kabyles, is enveloped in doubt and obscurity.

A barbarous practice, prevalent in Algeria before the French invasion,
is still, Count St Marie tells us, adhered to by the Kabyles. The
amputation of a limb, instead of being surgically performed, is
effected by blow of a yataghan. The stump is then dipped into melted
pitch, to stop the bleeding. The barber is the usual operator. Until
the French came, regular physicians and surgeons were unknown in
Algeria.

Besides the Zouaves already referred to, the French have raised various
other corps expressly for African service. Conspicuous amongst these
are two regiments of light cavalry, composed of picked men, and known
as the “Chasseurs d’Afrique.” They are mounted on Arab horses; and in
order to obtain a sufficient supply, each tribe has to furnish a horse
as part of its yearly tribute. The arms of the Chasseurs are carbine,
sabre, and pistols; their equipment is light; their uniform plain, and
well suited to the nature of the service. Wherever engaged, they have
greatly distinguished themselves, and are proportionably esteemed in
the army of Africa. The reputation of the Spahis stands less high.
These consist of four regiments of native cavalry, under the command of
the Arab general Yussuf, whose history, as related by M. St Marie, is
replete with romantic incident. It has been said that he is a native of
the island of Elba, and was captured, when yet a child, by a Tunisian
corsair. Sold to the Bey, he was placed as a slave in the seraglio, and
there remained until an intrigue with his master’s daughter compelled
him to seek safety on board a French brig, then about to join the fleet
destined to attack Algiers. He made the first campaign as interpreter
to the general-in-chief. His talents and heroic courage rapidly
advanced him, and when the first regiment of Spahis was raised, he
was appointed its colonel. Previously to that, he had rendered great
services to the French, especially at Bona, when that town was attacked
by Ben Aïssa. Landing from a brig of war with Captain d’Armandy and
thirty sailors, he threw himself into the citadel, then garrisoned
by the Turkish troops of Ibrahim, the former Bey of Constantina, who
professed to hold the town for the French government, but had left his
post. The Turks rose against their new leaders, and would have murdered
them, but for the energy of Yussuf, who killed two ringleaders with his
own hand, and then, heading the astounded mutineers, led them against
the besiegers, who were totally defeated. The exterior of this dashing
chief is exceedingly elegant and prepossessing. When at Paris he was
called “_le beau Yussuf_,” and caused quite a _furore_, especially
among the fair sex. His portrait may still be seen in the various
print-shops, side by side with Lamoricière, Bugeaud, and the other
“great guns” of the “_Armée d’Afrique_.”

The first Foreign Legion employed by the French in Africa was
transferred to Spain in 1835, and there used up, almost to a man.
Another has since been raised, composed of men of all countries--Poles,
Belgians, Germans of every denomination, a few Spanish Carlists, and
even two or three Englishmen; the legion, like most corps of the same
kind, is remarkable for the reckless valour and bad moral character of
its members. The Polish battalion is the best and most distinguished.
The others are not to be trusted; and only a very severe system of
punishments preserves something like discipline in their ranks, where
adventurers, deserters, and escaped criminals are the staple commodity.
Bad as they are, they are eclipsed by the condemned regiments, known
by the slang name of “Les Zephyrs” These are punished men, considered
ineligible to serve again in their former regiments, and who are
put together on the principle of there being no danger of contagion
where all are infected. A taught hand is kept over them; they are
insubordinate in quarters, but dare-devils in the field. It will easily
be imagined that the duties assigned to these convict battalions
are neither the most agreeable nor the least perilous. At present,
however, a detachment is employed on no unpleasant service, the care
of a experimental military farm, near the camp of El Arrouch, in the
district of Constantina. Here they cultivate a considerable tract of
land, both farm and garden, breed cattle, and supply the colonists
with seeds, fruit-trees, and so forth. Workshops are attached to the
farm, for the manufacture of agricultural implements. The men who
work as artisans receive three-pence, and the field labourers three
halfpence, in addition to their daily pay. “Since the commencement of
the experiment,” says Captain Kennedy, “the offences that have been
committed bear but a small proportion to those that formerly occurred
during a similar period in garrison.” In these days of reform in our
military system, might not some hints be taken from such innovations
as these? If employment is found to diminish crime amongst a troop of
convicts, it might surely be expected to do as much in regiments to
which no stigma is attached, and the vices of those members are often
solely to be attributed to idleness and its concomitant temptations.

Of few men so largely talked of, and so justly celebrated, is so
little positively known as of Abd-el-Kader. The contradictory accounts
obtained from the tribes, the narratives of prisoners, who, from their
very condition, were precluded from gathering other than partial and
uncertain information, compose all the materials hitherto afforded for
the history of this remarkable chieftain. Even his age is a matter of
doubt, and has been variously stated, although it appears probable
that he is now about forty years old. Seeing the great difficulty of
obtaining authentic information, Captain Kennedy has abstained from
nore than a brief reference to the Emir. At the period of his visit,
Abd-el-Kader was not in the field, and his whereabout was very vaguely
known--the French believing him to be “somewhere on the frontiers
of Morocco.” In the absence, therefore, of trustworthy data, and of
opportunities of personal observation, the captain says little on
the subject. His reserve is unimitated by M. St Marie, who not only
gives a detailed account of the Arab sultan, but prefixes to his book
a portrait of that personage, with whom he claims to have had an
interview. As regards the portrait, it may be as much like Abd-el-Kader
as any other of the half-dozen we have met with, no two of which bore
any similitude to each other. The account of the interview is rather
marvellous. During his stay in the city of Algiers, M. St Marie went to
breakfast with a young Belgian acquaintance, and found an Arab seated
in his friend’s room, smoking a pipe. Refreshments were offered to the
stranger, and, whilst he discussed them, the count had an opportunity
of studying his countenance. He was struck with the dignity of his
manner and deportment, and with his air of intellectual superiority,
and was given to understand that he was sheik of a tribe friendly to
the French. Breakfast over, the Arab departed. Two days afterwards,
M. St Marie met his Belgian entertainer. “You were very fortunate the
other day,” said the latter; “the Arab whom you saw, when breakfasting
with me, was no other than the Emir himself.” And he proceeded to
relate how Abd-el-Kader had entered the city with a party of peasants,
carrying some chickens, which he sold in the marketplace, to prevent
suspicion of his real character. He pledged his word to the truth of
this statement, of whose accuracy the count appears satisfied. His
readers will possibly be more incredulous. As a traveller’s story, the
“yarn” may pass muster, and is, perhaps, not much out of place in the
book where it is found. With it we conclude our notice of the rival
“Algerias.” Those who desire further details of Bedouin douars and
French encampments, of camels and Kabyles, razzias and the like, may
seek and find them in the chronicle of the English captain, and the
varied, but less authentic pages of the foreign count.



HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE AND LIVE IN IT.


NO. II.

We spent last Sunday at Figgins’s at Brixton, No. 2, Albert Terrace,
Woodbine Lane. A hearty fellow: good glass of port: prime cigar: snug
box in the garden: and a bus every five minutes at the end of the road:
a regular A.1. place for a Sunday out, and home again in an hour and
a half to our paradise at ----; but we are not going to give you our
address, or we should be pestered to death with your visits. Suffice it
to say that Figgins’s is a good specimen of a citizen’s villa _near_
London. Now, there are several kinds of villas: there is the villa
near London, and the villa not near: there is the villa in a row,
and the detached villa: there is your lodge, and your park, and your
grange, and your cottage _ornée_; and best of all, in our opinion,
there is--what is neither the one nor the other of all these--there is
the plain old-fashioned country-house:--once a cottage, then a farm,
then a gentleman’s house: irregular, odd, picturesque, unpretending,
comfortable, and convenient. But Figgins’s is a new slap-up kind of
affair; built within the last two years, and uniting in itself all
the last improvements and the most recent elegancies. He has settled
himself in a neighbourhood quite the genteelest of that genteel
district: for, though merchants and men of yesterday, so to speak,
the people of Albert Terrace show that they have respect for the good
times of yore, and they admire the character of the fine old English
gentleman: they pride themselves, moreover, on being a steady set of
people, and they show their respect for things ancient even in the
outward arrangements of their dwellings. Thus you enter each of the
twenty little gardens surrounding each of the twenty little detached
houses, through gates with Norman pillars at their sides, that would
have done honour to Durham or Canterbury; while the wooden barriers
themselves are none of your radical innovations on the Greek style, nor
any of your old impious fox-hunting five-bars, but beautiful pieces
of fretwork, copied from the stalls of Exeter Cathedral, painted so
nicely in oak, and so well varnished, that Stump the painter must
have out-stumped himself in their execution. Once within the gate,
however, and the connecting wall--capped, we ought to have said, with
a delicious Elizabethan cornice--all Gothic formality ends for the
while; and you are lost in astonishment at the serpentine meanderings,
the flowing lines, and the thousand attractions of the garden. An
ill-natured friend, who went with us, took objection at the weeping
ash, in the middle of the circular grass-plot in front of the door; but
he altered his mind in the evening, when he found the chairs ranged
under its sociable branches--and the Havannahs and sherry-coblers
crowding the little table made to fit round the central stem. ’Twas
a wrinkle that which he was not up to:--he was a Goth--a cockney.
Figgins, though a Londoner, knows what’s what, in matters of that kind;
and shows his good taste in such a practical combination of the _utile_
with the _dulce_. On either side of the house, the pathways ran off
with the most mysterious windings among the rhododendrons and lilac
bushes, and promised a glimpse of better things in the garden behind,
when we should have passed through our host’s _atrium, aula, porticus_,
and _viridarium_. Figgins’s house has its main body, or _corps de
logis_, composed of two little bits of wings, and a wee little retiring
centre--the former have their gables capped with the most elaborate
“barge-boards,” as the architects term them, all fretwork and filigree,
and swell out below into bay windows, with battlements at top big
enough for Westminster Abbey. The centre has a narrow and exceedingly
Gothic doorway, and one tiny bit of a window over it, through which no
respectably-sized mortal has any chance of getting his head: and again
over this is a goodly shield, large enough to contain the blazoned
arms of all the Figginses. The builder has evidently gone upon the
plan of making the most of his design in a small compass; but he has
committed the absurdity first of allowing subsidiary parts to become
principals, and then of making the ornaments more important than the
spaces: thus the centre is squeezed to death like a nut in a pair of
crackers, and battlements, boards, and shield “engross us whole,” by
the obtrusiveness of their size and workmanship. Nevertheless, this
façade, such as it is, struck us as beating Johnson’s house, in Paragon
Place, all to nothing: there was something like the trace of an idea
in it, there was an aim, or a pretension, at something: whereas the
other is really nothing at all, and its appearance indicates absolute
vacuity in the central cerebral regions of its inventor. Figgins has
two good rooms on the ground floor, a lobby and staircase between them,
to keep the peace between their occupants, three good bed-rooms on his
first, and four very small ones up amongst his gables: add to which,
that he boasts of what he calls his future dressing-room, but what his
wife says is to be her boudoir--we forget where--but somewhere up the
stairs. All this again is much better than the Paragon Place plan--it
shows that men recover somewhat of their natural good sense when they
get into country air.

Figgins has not got a great deal of room in his villa, it is true;
but he and his nineteen neighbours are all suitably lodged; and
when they all go up to the Bank every morning in the same omnibus,
can congratulate themselves on emerging each from his own undivided
territory; or when they all come down again in the afternoon, each in
a different vehicle--(you never meet the same faces in the afternoon
that you do in the morning trip: we know not why, but so it is, and
the fact should be signalized to the Statistical Society)--they can
each perambulate their own eighth of an acre with their hands under
their coat-tails in solemn dignity; or their wife, while awaiting their
arrival, and listening to the beef-steaks giving an extra fiz, wanders
round and round again, or, like a Virgil’s crow,

    “Secum sola magnâ spatiatur arenâ.”

If Figgins had but insisted on having the back of his residence
plastered and painted to look more natural than stone, the same as the
front--or, better still, if his ambition could have contented itself
with the plain unsophisticated original brick, we should say nothing
against his taste--’tis peculiar certainly, but he’s better off than
Johnson.

On the opposite side of Woodbine Lane, some wretch of a builder is
going to cut off the view of the Albert Terrace people all over
the narrow field, as far as the brick kilns, by erecting a row of
contiguous dwellings some three or four storeys high, besides garrets,
and they are to be in the last Attic style imported. One word is enough
for them: the man who knowingly and voluntarily goes out of town to
live in a house in a row, like those lines of things in the Clapham
Road or at Hammersmith, deserves to be sent with his house to “eternal
smash;” he is an animal below the range of æsthetics, and is not worth
remonstrating with.

One of these next days, when we take our hebdomadal excursion, we
intend going to see old Lady de Courtain at Lowlands Abbey, near ----;
you can get to it in about twenty minutes by the Great Western. It
is no abbey in reality, you know; there never was any Foundation on
the spot further than what Sam Curtain, when he was an upholsterer
in Finsbury, and before he got knighted, had laid down in the swampy
meadow which he purchased, and thus bequeathed to his widow: but it’s
all the same; it looks like an abbey;--that is to say, there are plenty
of turrets, and the windows have all labels over their heads, and there
are two Gothic conservatories, and two Gothic lodges at each of the two
Gothic gates; and there is a sham ruin at the end of the “Lake:” and if
this is not as good as a real abbey, we should like to know what is.
Old Lady de Courtain was perfectly justified in Normanizing her name
and her house:--why should she not? she had plenty of money: had she
been a man, she could have bought a seat for half a dozen boroughs,
and might even have gone a step higher; but, as it is, she has married
her eldest daughter to the eldest son of Sir Thomas Humbug, a new Whig
baronet; and she calls her house as she pleases. We applaud the old
lady’s spirit; she has two other daughters still on the stocks, and she
gives good dinners; we shall certainly go and patronize her. Comfort
for comfort, we are not quite sure but that we had rather take up our
quarters with John Bold, Esq., at Hazel House, on the top of the hill
opposite. It is quite a different-looking mansion, and yet the rooms
are laid out nearly on the same plan: in the one all is Gothic, in
the other all is classic: one is be-fretted, and be-pinnacled, and
be-shafted, and be-buttressed; but the other has a good plain Tuscan
portico, like St Paul’s in Covent-Garden--plain windows wide and high,
at enormous distances from each other--sober chimney-pots, that look
as if they were really meant to be smoked, and not a single gimcrack
or fanciful device any where about the building. It’s only a brick
house plastered, after all; but it has a certain air of ease and
comfort and respectability about it, that corresponds to a nicety with
the character of its worthy inmate. If the door were wide enough, you
might turn a coach and pair in the dining-room; there is a good, wide,
low-stepped staircase; you may come down it four-a-breast, and four
steps at a time, if you like--and if it were well behaved so to do, but
it isn’t; and your bedroom would make two of Figgins’s drawing-rooms,
lobby and all. The house always looks to us as if it would last longer
than Lady de Courtain’s; and so we think it will; just as we doubt not
but that honest John Bold’s dirty acres will be all in their proper
places when Lady de C.’s three per cents shall be down at forty-two
again, and her houses in the city shall be left empty by their bankrupt
tenants. They live, too, in a very different way, and in widely
distinct circles: at the Abbey you meet many an ex-civic notoriety,
and many a rising hope of Lombard Street: it is a perpetual succession
of dinners, dances, and picnics: at the House you are sure to be
introduced to some sober-faced, top-booted, elderly gentleman or other,
and to one or two rotund black-skirted individuals; and you find a good
horse at your service every morning, or the keeper is ready for you
in proper time and season; and sometimes the county member calls in,
or a quorum of neighbouring magistrates sit there in solemn conclave.
One is the house of to-day, the other of yesterday: one keeps up the
reminiscences of the town, and of a peculiar part of the town, rather
too strongly; the other actually smells of the country, and, though so
near the metropolis, has nothing with it in common. Their owners, when
they go to town, live, one in the Regent Park, the other in Park Lane.

Another acquaintance of ours--and this we will say that we are proud
of being known to him--dwells in an old-fashioned gloomy house at
Petersham. It is a respectable old gentleman in a brown coat, black
shorts, white waistcoat, and a pigtail; and is a member of the Royal
Society as well as of the Society of Antiquarians. The house in
question suits him, and he suits the house; it was built in the time
of that impudent intriguing Dutchman who came over here and drove out
his uncle and _beau-père_; and it accordingly possesses all the heavy
dignity of the Dutch houses of that period. The windows are pedimented
and cased with mouldings; they are lofty and sufficiently numerous;
the doorway has two cherubs flying, with cabbages and roses round the
shell that hangs over it; and the lawns are still cut square, and
have queer-shaped beds and parterres. There is something dignified
and solemn in the very bricks of the mansion, wearing as they do a
more regular and sombre hue of red than the dusty-looking things of
the present day; and when you once get into the spacious rooms, all
floored and pannelled with oak, you feel a glow of veneration for
olden times--though not for _those_ times--that you cannot define,
but which is nevertheless excessively pleasing. While sitting in the
well-stored library of this mansion, you expect to see Addison walking
in at the one door, and Swift at another; and you are not quite sure
but that you may have to meet Bolingbroke at dinner, and take a glass
of wine with Prior or Pope. There are numberless large cupboards all
over the place; you could sit inside any of the fireplaces, if the
modern grates were, as we wish them, removed: and as for opening or
slamming a door in a hurry, it is not to be done; they are too heavy;
no such impertinences can ever be tolerated in such a residence. And
then our friend himself--we could tell you such a deal about him, but
we are writing about houses, not men--you must go and get introduced
to him yourself. Let it be put down in your pocket memoranda, whenever
you hear of a house of this kind to let, either take it yourself or
recommend somebody else whom you have a regard for to do so. It is not
a handsome, stylish kind of house; but it is one of the right sort to
live in.

Very little is to be said in blame, much in praise, of the majority of
English country gentlemen’s houses; if atrocities of taste be committed
any where, it is principally near the metropolis, where people are only
half-and-half rural, or rather are of that _rus-in-urbe_ kind, that is
in its essence thoroughly cockney. There is every variety of mansion
throughout the land, every combination of style, and more often the
absence of all style at all; and in most cases the houses, at least the
better kind of them, are evidently made to suit the purposes of the
dweller rather than the architect. This ought to be the true rule of
building for all dwellings, except in the cases of those aristocratic
palaces or _châteaux_ where the public character of the owner requires
a sacrifice of private convenience to public dignity. Houses that are
constructed in accordance with the requirements of those that are to
live in them, and that are suited to the exigencies of their ground and
situation, are sure to please longer, and to gratify the taste of a
greater number of persons, than those which are the mere embodyings of
an architect’s portfolio. This, however, requires that the principles
of the architect should be allowed to vary from the strict proportions
of the classic styles;--or rather, that he should be allowed to copy
the styles of civil architecture, whether of Greece or Rome, or of
ancient Europe. The fault hitherto has been, that designers of houses
have taken all their ideas, models, and measurements from the religious
rather than the civil buildings of antiquity; and that they have
thought the capitals of the Jupiter Stator more suited to an English
gentleman’s residence than the capricious yet elegant decorations of a
villa at Pompeii. In the same way, until very lately, those who call
themselves “Gothic Architects” have been putting into houses windows
from all the cathedrals and monasteries of the country, but have seldom
thought of copying the more suitable details of the many mansions and
castellated houses that still exist. Better sense and better taste
are now beginning to prevail, and we observe excellent houses rising
around us. Of these, by far the larger proportion are in the styles of
the Middle Ages; and for this reason, that the architects who practise
in those styles have a wider field to range in for their models, and
have also more thoroughly emancipated themselves from their former
professional thraldom. There is also a very decided reaction in the
public taste in favour of the arts of the Middle Ages, or rather let
us say, in favour of a style of national architecture;--and as the
Greek and Roman styles have little to connect them with the historical
associations of an Englishman’s mind, they have fallen into comparative
disfavour. For one purely classic house now erected, there are three or
four Gothic. The worst of it is, however, that from the low state into
which architecture had fallen by the beginning of the present century,
and even for some time afterwards, there has been no sufficient space
and opportunity for creating a number of good architects adequate to
meet the demands of the public; and hence, the greatest barbarisms
are being daily perpetrated, even with the best intentions of doing
the correct thing, both on the part of the man who orders a building,
and of him who builds. Architecture is a science not to be acquired
in a day, nor by inspiration;--nor will the existence of one eminent
man in that profession immediately cause a hundred others of the
same stamp to rise up around him. On the contrary, it requires a
long course of scientific study, and of actual scientific practice;
it demands that a great quantity of traditionary precepts be kept
up, and handed down from master to pupil through many generations of
students and practitioners: it requires the accumulation of an enormous
number of good instances and examples; and in most cases it is to be
polished by long foreign travel. Now, all this cannot be accomplished
in an impromptu, off-hand manner: the profession of architecture
requires to be raised and kept up at a certain height of excellence
through many long years: it is like the profession of medicine, of
law, or the study of all scientific matters: when once the school of
architecture declines, the practice of it declines in the same ratio,
and the resuscitation of it becomes a work of considerable time. Such
a regenerating of architecture is going on amongst us: comparatively
more money is now laid out on buildings than at any preceding period
for the last hundred years: our architects are becoming more scientific
and more accomplished: the profession is occupying a higher rank than
it has lately done; and we may, therefore, hope for an increasing
proportion of satisfactory results. If only the public eye be
cultivated and refined in a similar degree, we may reasonably expect
that some beautiful and notable works will be executed.

Not, however, to launch forth into the wide question of architectural
fitness and beauty, we will confine our observations to two special
topics; one concerning the ornamentation of architectural objects, the
other concerning the materials used in private dwellings.

Thank goodness for it! but people are now beginning to see rather
further than six inches beyond their noses, and to find out that if
they adopt ornament as the starting point, and usefulness as the
goal of their architectural course, they are likely to end in the
committing of some egregious folly. Private persons are more convinced
of this truth than public ones; and the unprofessional crowd more than
professed architects. In the one case, as ornament costs dear, the
pocket puts an effectual drag on the vagaries of taste; whereas, in the
other, public money is most commonly spent without any virtual control:
and again, all architects are liable to descend to the prettinesses of
their profession rather than abide by the great qualities of properly
balanced proportion and design. A bad architect, too, is always
seeking after ornament to conceal his mistakes of construction. In
private houses, therefore, the superabundance of bad ornament that
was adopted after a period of its almost total disuse is now giving
way to a moderate employment of it; but, in public buildings, the
rage for covering blank spaces, and for getting rid of sharp edges or
corners, still continues. Persons who have not inquired practically
into the matter can hardly believe how very meagre is the stock of
ornament with which nine architects out of ten set up in their trade;
looking at what they usually employ in the Greek or Roman style,
we observe that the details are generally debased clumsy copies of
antiques, jumbled together with much incongruity, and commonly altered
in proportions. We do not apply this to capitals and bases, which are
now worked with tolerable precision, though even in these we observe
a heaviness of hand and eye that detracts greatly from their effect;
we refer more particularly to mouldings, and to the decoration of
cornices and friezes. Any one who has visited the galleries of the
Vatican, or wandered over the Acropolis of Athens, will recollect
the broad freedom and spirit with which the most graceful details
are treated, and the total absence of stiffness or heaviness in any
of the designs; whereas, whoever takes the trouble of lounging about
London must prepare his eye for that overload of thick heavy ornament
which characterises what is now called the English style. The foliage
of Greece and Italy was well worked in those countries, because the
objects represented by the architectural sculptor were familiar to
his own and to the public eye; his own eye committed no blunder, nor
would the public eye have tolerated it. In the application, too, of
the human form to sculptured ornament, the proportions and harmonies
of the body were too well known and felt to allow of any egregious
errors taking place; hence, even in the decorating a frieze, the
wonderful taste and skill of the Greek and Roman artists fully appear;
whereas, in the hands of the English sculptor, such objects are purely
mythical--he knows them only by imagination, not by reality, and he
properly designates them as “fancy objects.” Hence their clumsiness,
their heaviness, and their incongruity. In all the ordinary details of
modern common house-building, the mouldings and enrichments ordinarily
used are of a very poor description; decorators lived for a long time
on the slender stores of the puerile and meretricious embellishments
adopted from the French, and translated, if we may so say, for the use
of the English public;--they had lost the boldness and originality
which made the style of Louis XIV. tolerable, or rather agreeable;
and they had substituted in its place the poorest and the cheapest
kind of details that could be worked. Let any one go and find out a
house in London, built between 1780 and 1810, and he will instantly
remark the meagreness of which we are speaking. Grosvenor Square and
the adjacent streets abound with houses of this kind; so does Portland
Place. Carlton House was one of the most notable examples. In the stead
of this, after the war, came in a flood of Greek ornament; every thing
Roman was thrown aside; all was to be either Doric or Attic, with an
occasional admixture of the Egyptian: the Greek zig-zag, the Greek
honey-suckle and acanthus, Doric flutings and flat bands for cornices,
swarmed all over the land. Many an honest builder must have broken his
heart on the occasion, for his old ornament-books were no longer of
use; and he had, as it were, to learn his trade all over again. From
poor Batty Langley, with his five orders of Gothic architecture, who
was the type of architects towards the end of the last century, down
to Nash, Smirke, and Wilkins, who had it all their own way at the
beginning of the present, such was the commutation and revolution of
ornamental propriety. These styles were not the only ones that had to
go through changes of accessory parts, and to suffer from the caprices
of those that dressed them up for public exhibition: the revivers of
the mediæval styles, the new and old Gothic men, ran also their race
of absurdity and clumsy invention. It was long--very long, before they
could make any approach towards a proper understanding of the spirit
of their predecessors: all was to them a thorough mystery: and it is
actually only within the last ten years that any tolerable accuracy
has been attained in such matters. Norman capitals used to be put on
shafts of the 15th century, and perpendicular corbels used in early
English buildings: as for the tracery of windows, it was “confusion
worse confounded”--architects there ran quite mad. In these classes
of ornamental forms, the faults of awkward and ignorant imitators
have been equally apparent: for just as English sculptors have made
the Greek acanthus and olive twine and enwreath themselves like
Dutch cabbages and crab-trees, so the modern Gothics have made their
water-lilies, their ivy, their thistle, and their oak-leaves twist and
frizzle in præternatural stiffness--while their griffins and heraldic
monsters have ramped and regarded and displayed in the most awful and
mysterious manner. Gothic decorators, too, fell into the mistake of
over-ornamenting their objects far more than the pseudo-classical men
did: what used to be called Gothic ornament in 1820--no longer ago than
that--is now so intolerable that many an expensive building requires to
be re-erected ere it can square with the laws of common sense and good
taste. Gothic furniture-makers went wild in their peculiar art; and
there are still numberless magnificent drawing-rooms that require to
be entirely unfurnished ere their owners can lay claim to any portion
of decorative discernment. Eton Hall and Fonthill (while the latter
stood) were two notable instances of this lamentable excess of Gothic
absurdity. Windsor Castle is by no means free from blame; and in fact
there is hardly a Gothic house in England, of modern date, that does
not require the severe hand of the architectural reformer.

To hit the due medium in such matters is not easy; and the reason is,
that in architecture we are all imitators, not originators: we are all
aiming at renovating old things and restoring old buildings, rather
than at inventing new ones: and the result is, that architectural
genius and invention are thereby closely cramped and thwarted. To
imitate all the details of an old style in the closest manner is
indispensable when ancient buildings are to be restored, or when
an exact facsimile is to be produced in some new work: but for the
ornamental powers of the architect to be perpetually tied down to one
set class of forms, is to lower him to the level of a Chinese artist.

Unless we are mistaken, it appears to us that the Greeks imitated
nature in her most perfect and abstract forms of beauty: and that they,
with their successors the Romans, or rather the later Greeks, sought
for beautiful objects as adapted to architectural ornament, wherever
they could find them. They were not prevented by any traditional or
conventional proprieties from imitating and using the beautiful and the
natural wherever they might exist: all the varied forms of nature would
have come right to them had they been willing. They seem, however,
not to have taken so wide a range as we should have expected; or else
their works that have come down to us are so few in number that their
choice seems to have been rather restricted. The Middle Age architects
also took a wide or rather a free range in the forms of the vegetable
and animal world: but they worked with barbarous eyes and stiff hands;
nor till the twelfth century do they seem to have arrived at that
artistical freedom and correctness which are requisite to interpret and
to imitate the multiplex forms of the natural world. As for the human
figure, they confined themselves principally to draperied forms; and
they embued these with considerable elegance; nevertheless, through
all their operations, we trace a want of anatomical knowledge, which
not all their ready invention can conceal, and which is scarcely
compensated by the value of their sculpture, as a contemporaneous
illustration of mediæval history. Heraldry seems always to have been
a mystic and a mythic art; and hence heraldic forms have a certain
privilege of caricature and distortion from which it is in vain to try
to emancipate them.

Such being the case, it becomes a question--how should modern ornament
be composed? In the classic style, are we always to adhere to foreign
foliage, foreign animals, and mythological figures: and in the Gothic
style, are we always to preserve the same rigidity and distortion
which prevailed as long as those styles were in actual practice? We
apprehend the true rule of æsthetics in this case to be, as we implied
before, that for restorations or exact facsimiles of buildings, whether
classical or mediæval, the very form as well as the spirit of the
ornaments contemporaneously used in such buildings should be most
strictly adopted. An imitation, unless it is an exact one, is good for
nothing, as far as architecture is concerned. But should we prevail on
ourselves either to depart from these styles, or to carry out their
main principles, so as to form a national style of our own--not a fixed
one, but a style varying through different ages, suiting itself to
the social requirements of each--then we should be prepared, not only
to call in the aid of natural beauty to the fullest extent, but also
to avail ourselves of all that rich fund of form which results from
the extensive use of scientific knowledge, and the investigation of
physical curves. There is no reason why such a style, or succession
of styles, should not be formed, if the great principles of science
and utility be taken as the substructure on which imagination may
afterwards raise its enrichment: and, if ever it come into existence,
we have the unlimited expanse of the universe to range through in
search of beauty and harmony. It is impossible to say what changes the
introduction of new mathematical forms may not produce, and produce
with good effect: thus the beautiful curve of the catena would not
have been known, but for the introduction of suspension bridges. The
application of the cycloid is comparatively modern, though the curve
itself is ancient; and the grand effect of the horizontal line was not
fully known--despite of Greece and Rome--till our interminable lines
of railroad had stretched their lengths across the land. In the same
way, our more extended and more intimate knowledge of the animal and
vegetable kingdom ought to furnish us with an immense variety of new
and beautiful forms of ornament--we do not mean of mythic or fanciful
ornament, but of that highest and best kind of decoration, absolute,
and yet partial, imitation of nature. Thus, for example, have we a
blank space, extending horizontally to a long distance, which we desire
to cover with enrichments. We have our choice, either in mathematical
forms and combination of forms, such as mediæval architects might
have applied, or else we may throw along it wreaths and branches of
foliage, peopled with insect life, or enlivened by birds and animals.
A succession of simple oak-branches or laurel-leaves, or the shoots of
any other common plants, faithfully imitated, and cut into mimic life,
from the inanimate stone, would form an ornament of the most effective
kind, and would constitute a work of art, being an intelligent and
poetical interpretation of natural beauty. In the building of our
houses, why should the straight line and sections of the circle be the
only lines admissible for doors, windows, and roofs? Why should the
Greek and Roman ovolo, cavetto, and square, be the only combination
that we know of in our common mouldings? How much richer were the
architects of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, who drew with
“free hands,” and gave us such exquisite effects of light and shade!
We are firmly persuaded, that an architect, deeply imbued with the
scientific principles of his profession, and endowed, at the same time,
with the hand and the eye of a skilful artist, may cause a most happy
and useful reformation of our national architecture.

In our choice of materials for our common buildings, it appears
that we are always struggling with a deficiency of pecuniary means:
for we never yet met an architect whose skill was not thwarted, in
this respect, by the necessities of his employer. Such a man would
have built a splendid palace, only he was not allowed to use stone;
another would have made a magnificent hall, had he been able to employ
oak instead of deal. Whenever people are so situated that they are
restricted in their choice of materials, they should remember that they
are immediately limited, both in construction and in decorative forms;
and, being so limited, it becomes an absurdity in them to aim at any
thing that is unreal, any thing that is in fact beyond their means.
This has been one of the curses of all architectural and ornamental
art in modern times, that every thing has been imitative, fictitious,
sham, make-believe:--brick is stuccoed to look like stone, and fir is
painted to look like oak. It is impossible for art to flourish when
an imitative object can be accepted in the place of original ones;
for when once public taste becomes so much vitiated as to be easily
satisfied with cheap copies of the real instead of the real itself,
the productive faculties of the artist and the manufacturer take a
wrong turn, and go directly to increase rather than diminish the
evil. On architecture, the effects of a corrupted national desire for
the cheap and the easily made are peculiarly disastrous: this being
the least suited of all arts to any thing like deception, since, to
be good, it must be essentially real and true. Hence it has arisen,
that instead of being content with humble brick, and learning how
to convert that material to purposes of ornamentation, the use of
stucco and cement has become universal--materials totally unsuited to
our country and climate. The decorative portion of architecture has
fallen into the same track, and elaborate looking things in plaster,
and fifty other substances--in the production of which art has had
no share--have come to cover our ceilings and our walls. Had not,
indeed, the repairs and erection of public buildings called forth the
dormant skill of our workmen, decorative art had long since become
extinct amongst us. It may therefore be taken as a fundamental rule
in architecture, that the decorations of buildings should be made
either of the same materials as the edifices themselves, or that more
costly substances should be combined with the former, and should serve
for the decorator to exercise his skill on. Thus the combination of
stone with brick, an old-fashioned expedient, is good, because it is
justified by all the exigencies of constructive skill, and because it
is founded on common sense. Look for what effective buildings may be
thus produced at Lincoln’s Inn, the Temple, St James’s, and several
of our colleges in the universities: how intrinsically superior are
these to the flimsy shabby buildings of Regent Street and its Park:
even old Buckingham House was good in comparison with some of these.
Or go to Hampton Court and Kensington, and see how much grandeur may
be produced by proportions and well-combined decoration, without any
cement, stucco, or paint, to bedizen the walls. If a man cannot be
content to adopt plain brick with such instances as these before his
eyes, let him travel forth a little, and see what the effect of the
great brick buildings is in Holland, or the south-west of France, where
the most admirable churches and public edifices are all erected of this
material. Sculptured ornament is of course out of the question in such
a case as this: nothing but stone will bear the chisel and mallet to
produce any effect that shall satisfy the eye and the judgment of the
lover of natural beauty.

We protest strongly against all _terra-cotta_ imitations of sculptural
forms; but for geometrical figure they are allowable, and their
stiffness, if justified by sufficient solidity, will be found highly
suitable for buildings of such a kind.

Whenever the means of the employer are ample enough, let him make up
his mind to sink a little additional capital, and build a good stone
house, that shall last him and his family for a couple of centuries,
instead of a rickety edifice, that can endure for only a couple of
generations. And, in this case, let him call in the decorative aid of
the architect, to whatever amount his taste dictates. Ornament, to be
effective, need not be abundant; it should be employed sparingly rather
than the contrary; and, if kept in its proper place, and limited to
its due purposes, it will reward its owner’s eye, and will prove a
permanent source of artificial satisfaction. Good stone-work without,
and good oak-work within, will make a house that a prince may live in.
A good house, well built and well decorated, is like a good coat--there
is some pleasure in wearing it; it will last long, and look well the
whole time; it will bear reparation; and (though we cannot say the same
of any short-cut, upper Benjamin, or jacket we ever wore--we wish we
could) it will always fetch the price given for it. We have plenty of
the finest stone and timber within this snug little island of ours,
and it is entirely our own fault that we are not one of the best-built
people in the universe.



HOW I BECAME A YEOMAN.


CHAPTER I.

Had the royal army of Israel been accoutred after the colour and
fashion of the British battalions, I am quite satisfied that another
enigma would have been added by King Solomon to his special list of
incomprehensibilities. The extraordinary fascination which a red coat
exercises over the minds and optics of the fair sex, appears to me a
greater phenomenon than any which has been noticed by Goethe in his
Theory of the Development of Colours. The same fragment of ensanguined
cloth will irritate a bull, charm a viper, and bewitch the heart
of a woman. No civilian, however good-looking or clean-limbed--and
I rather pique myself upon my pins--has the ghost of a chance when
opposed in the lists of love to an officer, a mail-guard, a whipper-in,
or a postman. You may be as clever a fellow as ever coopered up an
article for the Magazine, as great a poet as Byron, in beauty an
Antinous, in wit a Selwyn, in oratory a Canning--you may dance like
Vestris, draw like Grant, ride like Alexander; and yet, with all these
accomplishments, it is a hundred chances to one that your black coat,
although fashioned by the shears and polished by the goose of Stultz,
will be extinguished by the gaudy scarlet habiliments of a raw-boned
ensign, emancipated six months ago, for the first time in his life,
from the wilderness of a Highland glen, and even now as awkward a cub
as ever presumed to plunge into the perils of a polka.

Let no man, nor woman either, consider these observations flummery or
verbiage. They are my calm deliberate opinions, written, it is true,
under circumstances of considerable irritation, but nevertheless
deliberate. I have no love to the army, for I have been sacrificed for
a dragoon. My affections have been slighted, my person vilified, my
professional prospects damaged, and my constitution fearfully shaken in
consequence of this military mania. I have made an idiot of myself in
the eyes of my friends and relatives. I have absolutely gone upon the
turf. I have lost some valuable inches of epidermis, and every bone of
my body feels at the present moment as sore as though I were the sole
survivor of a terrific railway collision. A more injured individual
than myself never mounted upon a three-legged stool, and from that high
altitude I now hurl down defiance and anathemas upon the regulars, be
they horse or foot, sappers or miners, artillery, pioneers, or marines!

It was my accursed fate to love, and love in vain. I do not know
whether it was the eye or the instep, the form or the voice, of Edith
Bogle, which first drew my attention, and finally fascinated my
regards, as I beheld her swimming swan-like down the Assembly Rooms at
the last Waverley Ball. A more beautiful representative of Die Vernon
could not have been found within the boundary of the three kingdoms.
Her rich auburn hair flowed out from beneath the crimson network which
strove in vain to confine within its folds that bright luxuriant
sea--on her brow there lay one pearl, pure as an angels tear--and oh!
sweet even to bewilderment was the smile that she cast around her, as,
resting upon the arm of the moody Master of Ravenswood, she floated
away--a thing of light--in the mazy current of the waltz! I shall not
dwell now upon the circumstances of the subsequent introduction; on the
delicious hour of converse at the supper-table; or on the whispered,
and--as I flattered myself--conscious adieux, when, with palpitating
heart, I veiled her fair shoulders with the shawl, and felt the soft
pressure of her fingers as I tenderly assisted her to her chair. I went
home that night a lovesick Writer to the Signet. One fairy form was the
sole subject of my dreams, and next morning I woke to the conviction,
that without Edith Bogle earth would be a wilderness, and even the
bowers of Paradise damp, chilly, and uncomfortable.

There is no comfort in looking back upon a period when hope was
high and unchecked. I have met with men who, in their maudlin
moments--usually towards the close of the evening--were actuated by an
impulse similar to that which compelled the Ancient Mariner to renew
his wondrous tale: and I have heard them on such occasions recount the
whole circumstances of their unfortunate wooing with voices choked by
grief, and with tears of tender imbecility. I have observed, however,
that, on the morrow succeeding such disclosures, these gentlemen
have invariably a shy and sheepish appearance, as though inwardly
conscious that they had extended their confidence too far, and rather
dubious as to the sincerity of their apparent sympathizers. Warned by
their example, I hold it neither profitable nor wise to push my own
confessions too far. If Edith gave me at the outset more encouragement
than she ought to have done--if she systematically led me to believe
that I had made an impression upon her heart--if she honoured me
with a preference so marked, that it deceived not only myself, but
others--let the blame be hers. But why should I go minutely into the
courtship of half a year? As difficult, indeed, and as futile, would it
be to describe the alternations of an April day, made up of sunshine
and of shower, of cloud and rainbow and storm--sometimes mild and
hopeful, then ominous of an eve of tempest. For a long time, I had
not the slightest suspicion that I had a rival. I remarked, indeed,
with somewhat of dissatisfaction, that Edith appeared to listen too
complacently to the commonplace flatteries of the officers who are the
habitual haunters of private ball and of public assembly. She danced
too often with Ensign Corkingham, flirted rather openly with Major
Chawser, and certainly had no business whatever to be present at a
military fête and champagne luncheon given at the Castle by these brave
defenders of their country. I was not invited to that fête, and the
circumstance, as I well remember, was the cause of a week’s coolness
between us. But it was not until Lieutenant Roper of the dragoons
appeared in the field that I felt any particular cause for uneasiness.

To give the devil his due, Roper was a handsome fellow. He stood
upwards of six feet in his boots, had a splendid head of curling black
hair, and a mustachio and whiskers to match. His nose was beautifully
aquiline, his eyes of the darkest hazel, and a perpetual smile, which
the puppy had cultivated from infancy, disclosed a box of brilliant
dominoes. I knew Roper well, for I had twice bailed him out of the
police-office, and, in return, he invited me to mess. Our obligations,
therefore, to each other might be considered as nearly equal--in
fact, the balance, if any, lay upon his side, as upon one occasion
he had won from me rather more than fifty pounds at ecarté. He was
not a bad fellow either, though a little slap-dash in his manner,
and somewhat supercilious in his cups; on which occasions--and they
were not unfrequent--he was by far too general in his denunciation
of all classes of civilians. He was, I believe, the younger son of a
Staffordshire baronet, of good connexions, but no money--in fact, his
patrimony was his commission, and he was notoriously on the outlook
for an heiress. Now, Edith Bogle was rumoured to have twenty thousand
pounds.

Judge then of my disgust, when, on my return on a rent-gathering
expedition to Argyleshire, I found Lieutenant Roper absolutely
domiciled with the Bogles. I could not call there of a forenoon on my
way from the Parliament-House, without finding the confounded dragoon
seated on the sofa beside Edith, gabbling away with infinite fluency
about the last ball, or the next review, or worsted-work, or some
similar abomination. I question whether he had ever read a single book
since he was at school, and yet there he sat, misquoting Byron to
Edith--who was rather of a romantic turn--at no allowance, and making
wild work with passages out of Tom Moore’s Loves of the Angels. How
the deuce he got hold of them, I am unable up to this day to fathom.
I suspect he had somehow or other possessed himself of a copy of the
“Beauties,” and dedicated an hour each morning to committing extracts
to memory. Certainly he never opened his mouth without enunciating some
rubbish about bulbuls, gazelles, and chibouques; he designated Edith
his Phingari, and swore roundly by the Koran and Kiebaubs. It was to me
perfectly inconceivable how any woman of common intellect could listen
to such egregious nonsense, and yet I could not disguise from myself
the consciousness of the fact, that Miss Bogle rather liked it than
otherwise.

Roper had another prodigious advantage over me. Edith was fond of
riding, an exercise to which, from my earliest years, I have had the
utmost abhorrence. I am not, I believe, constitutionally timid, and yet
I do not know almost any ordeal which I would not cheerfully undergo,
to save me from the necessity of passing along a stable behind the
heels of half a dozen stationary horses. Who knows at what moment the
concealed demon may be awaked within them? They are always either
neighing, or pulling at their halters, or stamping, or whisking their
tails, in a manner which is absolutely frightful; and it is impossible
to predict the exact moment they may select for lashing out, and, it
may be, scattering your brains by the force of a hoof most murderously
shod with half a hundred-weight of iron. The descent of Hercules to
Hades seems to me a feat of mere insignificance compared with the
cleaning out of the Augean stables, if, as I presume, the inmates were
not previously removed.

Roper, on the contrary, rode like a Centaur, or the late Ducrow. He
had several brutes, on one or other of which you might see him every
afternoon prancing along Princes Street, and he very shortly contrived
to make himself the constant companion of Edith in his daily rides.
What took place on these occasions, of course I do not know. It was,
however, quite clear to me, that the sooner this sort of thing was put
an end to the better; nor should I have cared one farthing had a civil
war broke out, if that event could have ensured to me the everlasting
absence of the pert and pestilential dragoon.

In this dilemma I resolved to make a confidante of my cousin Mary
Muggerland. Mary and I were the best possible friends, having flirted
together for five successive seasons, with intermissions, on a sort of
general understanding that nothing serious was meant, and that either
party was at liberty at any time to cry off in case of an extraneous
attachment. She listened to the history of my sorrows with infinite
complacency.

“I am afraid, George,” she said, “that you have no chance whatever: I
know Edith well, and have heard her say, twenty times over, that she
never will marry any man unless he belongs to the army.”

“Then I have been exceedingly ill-used!”

“O fie, George--I wonder at you! Do you think that nobody besides
yourself has a right to change their mind? How often, I should like to
know, have you varied your attachments during the last three years?”

“That is a very different matter, Mary.”

“Will you have the kindness to explain the difference?”

“Pshaw! is there no distinction between a mere passing flirtation and a
deep-rooted passion like mine?”

“I understand--this is the first time there has been a rival in the
case. Well--I am sorry I cannot help you. Rely upon it that Roper is
the man; and, to be plain with you, I am not at all surprised at it.”

“Mary!--what do you mean?”

“Do you really know so little of the sex as to flatter yourself that a
lively girl like Edith, with more imagination than wit, would prefer
you, who--pardon me, dear cousin--are rather a commonplace sort of
personage, to a gay young officer of dragoons? Why, don’t you see that
he talks more to her in one hour than you do in four-and-twenty? Are
not his manners more fascinating--his attentions more pointed--his
looks”----

“Upon my word, Miss Mary!” I exclaimed, “this _is_ going rather too
far. Do you mean to say that in point of personal appearance”----

“I do, indeed, George. You know I promised you to be candid.”

“Say no more. I see that you women are all alike. These confounded
scarlet coats”----

“Are remarkably becoming; and really I am not sure that in one of
them--if it were particularly well made--you might not look almost as
well as Roper.”

“I have half a mind to turn postman!”

“Not a bad idea for a man of letters. But why don’t you hunt?”

“I dislike riding.”

“You stupid creature! Edith never will marry you: so you may just as
well abandon the idea at once.”

So ended my conference with my cousin. I had made it a rule, however,
never to believe above one half of what Miss Mary Muggerland said;
and, upon the whole, I am inclined to think that was a most liberal
allowance of credulity. A young lady is not always the safest
depository of such secrets, or the wisest and most sound adviser. A
little spice of spite is usually intermingled with her counsels; and
I doubt whether in one case out of ten they sincerely wish success
to their simple and confiding clients. On one point, however, I was
inclined to think her right. Edith certainly had a decided military
bias.

I begin to think that there is more in judicial astrology than most
people are inclined to admit. To what other mysterious fount than the
stars can we trace that extraordinary principle which regulates men in
the choice of their different professions? Take half a dozen lads of
the same standing and calibre; give them the same education; inculcate
them with the same doctrines; teach them the identical catechism; and
yet you will find that in this matter of profession there is not the
slightest cohesion among them. Had I been born under the influence of
Mars, I too might have been a dragoon--as it was, Saturn, my planetary
godfather, had devoted me to the law, and here I stood a discomfited
concocter of processes, and a botcher of deeds and titles. Pondering
these things deeply, I made my way to the Parliament-House, then in the
full hum attendant upon the close of the Session. The usual groups of
the briefless were gathered around the stoves. As I happened to have a
paper in my hand, I was instantly assailed by half a dozen.

“Hallo, M’Whirter, my fine fellow--d’ye want a counsel? Set you down
cheap at a condescendence,” cried Mr Anthony Whaup, a tall barrister of
considerable facetiousness.

“I say, M’Whirter, is it a _semiplena_? Hand it over to Randolph; he
has lots of experience in that line.”

“Get out, you heretical humbug! Never mind these fellows, George. Tip,
and I’m your man,” said Randolph.

“Can any body tell me who is pleading before the Second Division just
now?” asked a youth, looking rather white in the gills.

“Old Windlass. He’s good for three quarters of an hour at least, and
then the judges have to give their opinions.”

“I’m devilish glad to hear it. I think I shall bolt.”

“Haven’t you got that case over yet, Prior?”

“No, nor sha’n’t for a week. A confounded count and reckoning, with
columns of figures as long as Anthony. Well, Scripio, how are stocks?”

“Rather shakey. What do you say to a shot at the Northerns?”

“O, hang Northerns! I burned my fingers with them a month ago,” replied
Randolph. “This seems a fine afternoon. Who’s for Musselburgh?”

“I can’t go to-day,” said Whaup. “I was tempted yesterday with a
shilling, and sold myself.”

“Who is the unfortunate purchaser?”

“Tom Hargate, crimp-general to the yeomanry.”

“I’m delighted to hear it, old fellow! We have been wanting you for
two years back in the corps. ’Gad! won’t we have fun when we go into
quarters. I say, M’Whirter--why don’t you become a yeoman?”

I started at the suggestion, which, strange to say, had never crossed
my mind before. There _was_ a way then open to me--a method left by
which I might satisfy, without compromising my professional character,
the scruples of Edith, and become a member of the military service
without abandoning the pen. The man that hesitates is lost.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I think I should rather like it. It seems a
pretty uniform.”

“Pretty!” said Randolph. “By the Lord Harry, it’s the splashest affair
possible! I’ll tell you what, M’Whirter, I’ll back you in the yeoman’s
jacket and pantaloons against the Apollo Belvidere.”

“It is regular Queen’s service, isn’t it?”

“Of course it is. Only we have no flogging.”

“That’s no great disadvantage. Well, upon my word, I have a great
mind”----

“Then, by Jove, there goes the very man! Hallo--Hargate, I say--Tom
Hargate!”

“What’s the row?”

“Here’s a new recruit for you. George M’Whirter, W.S. Book him down,
and credit me with the bounty money.”

“The Edinburgh squadron, of course,” said Hargate, presenting me with a
shilling.

“Don’t be in a hurry,” said one of my friends. “There are better
lancers than the Templars. The Dalmahoy die, but they never surrender!”

“Barnton _à la rescousse!_” cried another.

“No douking in the Dalkeith!” observed a third.

“Nonsense, boys! you are confounding him. M’Whirter and Anthony Whaup
shall charge side by side, and woe betide the insurgent who crosses
their path!” said Randolph. “So the sooner you look after your
equipments the better.”

In this identical manner was I nailed for the yeomanry.


CHAPTER II

I confess that a thrill of considerable exultation pervaded my
frame, as I beheld one morning on my dressing-table a parcel which
conscience whispered to me contained the masterpiece of Buckmaster.
With palpitating hand I cut the cord, undid the brown paper foldings,
and feasted my eyes in a trance of ecstasy upon the pantaloons, all
gorgeous with the red stripe; upon the jacket glittering with its
galaxy of buttons, and the polished glory of the shoulder scales. Not
hurriedly, but with a protracted sense of keen enjoyment, I cased
myself in the military shell, slung on the pouch-belt, buckled the
sabre, and finally adjusted the magnificent helmet on my brows. I
looked into the mirror, and hardly could recognise the counterpart of
Mars which confronted me.

“’Ods scimiters!” cried I, unsheathing my Bilboa, and dealing, with a
reckless disregard to expense, a terrific cut at the bed-post--“Let
me catch any fellow saying that the yeomanry are not a constitutional
force!”

And so I strode into the breakfast-room, where my old housekeeper was
adjusting the materials for the matutinal meal.

“Lord save us a’!” cried Nelly, dropping in her astonishment a platter
of finnans upon the floor--“Lord save us a’, and keep us frae the sin
o’ bluidshed! Dear-a-me, Maister George, can that really be you! Hae ye
turned offisher, and are ye gaun oot to fecht!”

“To be sure, Nelly. I have joined the yeomanry, and we shall turn out
next week. How do you like the uniform?”

“Dinna speak to me o’ unicorns! I’m auld enough to mind the days o’
that bluidy murderin’ villain Bony-party, wha was loot loose upon huz,
as a scourge and a tribulation for the backslidings o’ a sinfu’ land:
and, wae’s me! mony a mither that parted frae her son, maybe as bonny,
or a hantle bonnier than yoursel’, had sair een, and a broken heart,
when she heard that her laddie was streekit cauld and stiff on the
weary field o’ Waterloo! Na--for gudeness sake, dinna draw yer swurd or
I’ll swarff! O, pit it aff--pit it aff, Maister George--There’s a dear
bairn, bide at hame, and dinna gang ye a sodgerin’! Think o’ the mither
that lo’es ye, forbye yer twa aunties. Wad ye bring doun their hairs--I
canna ca’ them a’ grey, for Miss Kirsty’s is as red as a lobster--in
sorrow to the grave?”

“Why, you old fool, what are you thinking of? We are not going out to
fight--merely for exercise.”

“Waur and waur! Can ye no tak’ yir yexerceese at hame, or doun at the
Links wi’ golf’ or gang awa’ to the fishin’? Wadna that be better than
stravagin’ through the streets, wi’ a lang swurd harlin’ ahint ye,
and consortin’ wi’ deboshed dragoons, and drinkin’ the haill nicht,
and rinnin’ wud after the lasses? And if ye’re no gaun out to fecht,
what’s the use o’ye? Are ye gaun to turn anither Claverse, and burn and
hang puir folk like the wicked and bluid-thirsty troopers lang syne?
Yexerceese indeed! I wonder, Maister George, ye’re no just ashamed o’
yersel!”

“Hold your tongue, you old fool, and bring the tea-pot.”

“Fule! ’Deed I’m maybe just an auld fule to gang on clattering that
gate, for I never kent ye tak’ gude advice syne ye were a wean. Aweel!
He that will to Cupar maun to Cupar. Ye’se hae it a’ yer ain way; but
maybe we’ll see some day sune, when ye’re carried hame on a shutter wi’
a broken leg, or a stab in the wame, or bullet in the harns, whilk o’
us twa is the greater fule!”

“Confound that woman!” thought I, as I pensively buttered my roll.
“What with her Cameronian nonsense and her prophecies, she is enough to
disband a regiment.”

And, to say the truth, her last hint about a broken leg was not
altogether foreign to my own apprehensions. I had recollected of late,
with no slight uneasiness, that for this sort of service a horse was
quite as indispensable as a man; and, as already hinted, I had more
than doubts as to my own equestrian capabilities. However, I comforted
myself with the reflection, that out of the fifty or sixty yeomen whom
I knew, not one had ever sustained any serious injury; and I resolved,
as a further precaution against accident, to purvey me the very
quietest horse that could be found any where. Steadiness, I have always
understood, is the characteristic feature of the British cavalry.

My correspondence that morning was not of the legal kind. In the first
place, I received a circular from the commanding-officer, extremely
laudatory of the recruits, whose zeal for the service did them so much
credit. We were called upon, in an animated address, to maintain the
high character of the regiment--to prove ourselves worthy successors of
those who had ridden and fought before us--to turn out regularly and
punctually to the field, and to keep our accoutrements in order. Next
came a more laconic and pithy epistle from the adjutant, announcing
the hours of drill, and the different arrangements for the week; and
finally, a communication from the convener of the mess committee.

To all these I cordially assented, and having nothing better to do,
bethought me of a visit to the Bogles. I pictured to myself the
surprise of Edith on beholding me in my novel character.

“She shall see,” thought I, “that years of dissipation in a barrack
or guard-room, are not necessary to qualify a high-minded legal
practitioner for assuming his place in the ranks of the defenders of
his country. She shall own that native valour is an impulse, not a
science. She shall confess that the volunteer who becomes a soldier,
simply because the commonwealth requires it, is actuated by higher
motive than the regular, with his prospects of pay and of promotion.
What was Karl Theodore Körner, author of the Lyre and Sword, but a
simple Saxon yeoman? and yet is there any name, Blucher’s not excepted,
which stirs the military heart of Germany more thrillingly than his?
And, upon my honour, even as a matter of taste, I infinitely prefer
this blue uniform to the more dashing scarlet. It is true they might
have given us tails to the jacket,” continued I soliloquizing, as a
young vagabond who passed, hazarded a contumelious remark regarding the
symmetry of my nether person. “But, on the whole, it is a manly and a
simple garb, and Edith cannot be such a fool as not to appreciate the
motives which have led me to assume it.”

So saying, I rung the Bogles’ bell. Edith was in the drawing-room, and
there also, to my no small mortification, was Lieutenant Roper. They
were sitting together on the sofa, and I rather thought Miss Bogle
started as I came in.

“Goodness gracious! Mr M’Whirter,” cried she with a giggle--Edith
never looked well when she giggled!--“What _have_ you been doing with
yourself?”

“I am not aware, Miss Bogle, that there is any thing very
extraordinary”----

“O dear, no! I beg your pardon for laughing, but really you look so
funny! I have been so used, you know, to see you in a black coat, that
the contrast is rather odd. Pray forgive my ignorance, Mr M’Whirter,
but what _is_ that dress?”

“The uniform of the Mid-Lothian Yeomanry Cavalry, madam. We are going
into quarters next week.”

“How very nice! Do you know it is one of the prettiest jackets I ever
saw? Don’t you think so, Mr Roper?”

“Veway much so,” replied Roper, reconnoitring me calmly through his
eyeglass. “A veway handsome turn-out indeed. ’Pon my honour, I had no
idea they got up things so cleverly in the fencibles”----

“Yeomanry, if you please, Lieutenant Roper!”

“Ah, yes! Yeomanry--so it is. I say, M’Whirter, ’pon my soul, do you
know, you look quite killing! Do, like a good fellow, just march to the
corner of the room, and let us have a look at you on the other side.”

“Oh do, Mr M’Whirter!” supplicated, or rather supplemented Edith.

I felt as if I could have shot him.

“You’ll excuse me, Roper, for not going through drill just now. If you
like to come to the review, you shall see how our regiment can behave.
At any rate, we shall be happy to see you at mess.”

“Oh certainly, certainly! Veway good things those yeomanry messes.
Always a deal of claret, I believe.”

“And pray, Mr M’Whirter, what rank do you hold in that distinguished
corps?” asked Miss Bogle.

“A full private, madam.”

“Goodness gracious!--then you’re not even an officer!”

“A private of the yeomanry, Miss Bogle, is, let me inform you, totally
independent of rank. We enrol ourselves for patriotism, not for pay.
We are as honourable a body as the Archers of the Scots Guard, the
Cavaliers of Dundee, or the Mousquetaires”----

“How romantic and nice! I declare, you are quite a D’Artagnan!” said
Edith, who had just read the _Trois Mousquetaires_.

“Don’t they pay you?” said Roper. “’Pon my honour that’s too bad. If I
were you I’d memorialize the Horse Guards. By the way, M’Whirter, what
sort of a charger have you got?”

“Why, to say the truth,” replied I, hesitatingly, “I am not furnished
with a horse as yet. I am just going to look out for one at some of the
livery stables.”

“My dear friend,” said Roper, with augmented interest, “I strongly
recommend you to do nothing of the kind. These fellows will, to a dead
certainty, sell you some sort of a brute that is either touched in the
wind or dead lame; and I can tell you it is no joke to be spilt in a
charge of cavalry.”

I felt a sort of sickening sensation as I recalled the lines of
Schiller----

   “Young Piccolomini, known by his plume
    And his long hair, gave signal for the trenches;
    Himself leapt first, the regiment all plunged after.
    His charger, by a halbert gored, reared up,
    Flung him with violence off, and over him
    The horses, now no longer to be curbed”----

The fate of Max might be mine, and Edith might be left, a mournful
Thekla, to perform a moonlight pilgrimage to my grave in the solitary
churchyard of Portobello!

“Do you really think so, Roper?” said I.

“Think so! I know it,” replied the dragoon. “Never while you live trust
yourself to the tender mercies of a livery stable. It’s a regular maxim
in the army. Pray, are you a good rider?”

“Pretty--fairish--tolerable. That is, I _can_ ride.”

“Ah! I see--want of practice merely--eh?”

“Just so.”

“Well then, it’s a lucky thing that I’ve seen you. I have just the sort
of animal you want--a regular-bred horse, sound as a roach, quiet as a
lamb, and quite up to the cavalry movements. Masaniello will suit your
weight to an ounce, and you shall have him for seventy guineas.”

“That’s a very long price, Roper!”

“For Masaniello? I assure you he’s as cheap as dirt. I would not sell
him for twice the sum: only, you see, we are limited in our number, and
my father insists upon my keeping other two which he bred himself. If
you like to enter Masaniello for the races, I’ll ensure your winning
the cup.”

“Oh do, Mr M’Whirter, take Mr Roper’s advice!” said Edith. “Masaniello
is such a pretty creature, and so quiet! And then, after the week is
over, you know you can come and ride with us.”

“Won’t you take sixty, Roper?”

“Not a penny less than seventy,” replied the dragoon.

“Well, then, I shall take him at that. Pounds?”

“Guineas. Call down to-morrow forenoon at Piershill, and you shall have
delivery. Now, Miss Bogle, what do you say to a canter on the sands?”

I took my leave rather satisfied than otherwise with the transaction.
Edith evidently took a warm interest in my welfare, and her suggestion
as to future expeditions was quite enchanting. Seventy guineas, to be
sure, was a deal of money, but then it was something to be assured of
safety for life and limb. On the street I encountered Anthony Whaup.

“Well, old fellow,” quoth Anthony, “how are you getting on? Pounding
away at drill, eh?”

“Not yet.”

“Faith, you had better look sharp about it, then. I’ve been down twice
at Canonmills of a morning, and I can tell you the facings are no joke.
Have you got a horse yet?”

“Yes; a regular dragoon charger--and you?”

“A beast from Wordsworth. He’s been out regularly with the squadron for
the last ten years; so it is to be presumed he knows the manœuvres. If
not, I’m a spilt yeoman!”

“I say, Anthony--can you ride?”

“No more than yourself, but I suppose we shall contrive to stick on
somehow.”

“Would it not be as well to have a trial?” said I, with considerable
intrepidity. “Suppose we go together to the riding-school, and have an
hour or two’s practice.”

“I have no earthly manner of objection,” said Anthony. “I suppose
there’s lots of sawdust there, and the exhibition will, at any rate, be
a private one. _Allons!_” and we departed for the amphitheatre.

We enquired for a couple of peaceable hacks, which were forthwith
furnished us. I climbed up with some difficulty into the saddle, and
having submitted to certain partial dislocations of the knee and ankle,
at the hands of the master of the ring, (rather a ferocious Widdicomb,
by the way,) and having also been instructed in the art of holding the
reins, I was pronounced fit to start. Anthony, whose legs were of a
parenthetical build, seemed to adopt himself more easily to his seat.

“Now then, trot!” cried the sergeant, and away we went with a wild
expenditure of elbow.

“Toes in, toes in, gentlemen!” continued our instructor; “blowed but
you’d drive them wild if you had spurs on! You ain’t been at the
dancing-school lately, have you? Steady--steady--very good. Down your
elbows, gentlemen, if you please! them bridles isn’t pumps. Heads
up! now gallop! Bravo! very good. Screw in the knees a little. Hold
on--hold on, sir, or damme you’ll be off!”

And sure enough I was within an ace of going over, having lost a
stirrup, when the sergeant caught hold of me by the arm.

“I’ll tell you what, gents,” he said, “you’ll never learn to ride in
this ’varsal world, unless you tries it without the irons. Nothing like
that for giving a man a sure seat. So, Bill, take off the stirrups,
will you! Don’t be afeard, gentlemen. I’ll make riders of you yet, or
my name isn’t Kickshaw.”

Notwithstanding the comforting assurances of Kickshaw, I felt
considerably nervous. If I could not maintain my seat with the
assistance of the stirrups, what the mischief was I to do without
them? I looked rebelliously at Anthony’s stirrup, but that intrepid
individual seemed to have nerved himself to meet any possible danger.
His enormous legs seemed calculated by nature to embrace the body of
his charger, and he sat erect like an overgrown Bacchus bestriding a
kilderkin of beer.

“Trot, gentlemen!” and away we went. I shall never forget the agony of
that hour! The animal I rode was peculiarly decided in his paces; so
much so that at each step my _os coccygis_ came down with a violent
thump upon the saddle, and my teeth rattled in my head like dice in a
backgammon-box. How I managed to maintain my posture I cannot clearly
understand. Possibly the instinct of self-preservation proved the best
auxiliary to the precepts of Sergeant Kickshaw; for I held as tight
a hold of the saddle as though I had been crossing the bridge of Al
Sirat, with the flames of the infernal regions rolling and undulating
beneath.

“Very good, gentlemen--capital!--you’re improving vastly!” cried the
complimentary sergeant. “Nothing like the bare saddle after all--damme
but I’ll make you take a four-barred gate in a week! Now sit steady.
Gallop!”

Croton oil was a joke to it! I thought my whole vitals were flying
to pieces as we bounded round the oval building, the speed gradually
increasing, until in my diseased imagination we were going at the pace
of Lucifer. My head began to grow dizzy, and I clutched convulsively at
the pommel.

“An-tho-ny!” I gasped in monosyllables.

“Well?”

“How--do--you--feel?”

“Monstrous shakey,” replied Anthony in dissyllables.

“I’m off!” cried I; and, losing my balance at the turn, I dropped like
a sack of turnips.

However, I was none the worse for it. Had it not been for Anthony, and
the dread of his report, I certainly think I should have bolted, and
renounced the yeomanry for ever. But a courageous example does wonders.
I persevered, and in a few days really made wonderful progress. I felt,
however, considerably sore and stiff--straddled as I walked along the
street, and was compelled to resort to diachylon. What with riding and
the foot-drill I had hard work of it, and earnestly longed for the time
when the regiment should go into quarters. I almost forgot to mention
that Masaniello turned out to be an immense black brute, rather aged,
but apparently sound, and, so far as I could judge, quiet. There was,
however, an occasional gleam about his eye which I did not exactly like.

“He’ll carry you, sir, famously--no doubt of it,” said Kickshaw, who
inspected him; “and, mind my words, he’ll go it at the charge!”


CHAPTER III.

It was a brilliant July morning when I first donned my regimentals for
actual service. Dugald M’Tavish, a caddy from the corner of the street,
had been parading Masaniello, fully caparisoned for action, before
the door at least half an hour before I was ready, to the no small
delectation of two servant hizzies who were sweeping out the stairs,
and a diminutive baker’s boy.

“Tak’ a cup o’ coffee afore ye get up on that muckle funking beast,
Maister George,” said Nelly; “and mind ye, that if ye are brocht hame
this day wi’ yer feet foremost, it’s no me that has the wyte o’t.”

“Confound you, Nelly! what do you keep croaking for in that way?”

“It’s a’ ane to me; but, O man, ye’re unco like Rehoboam! Atweel ye
needna flounce at that gate. Gang yer wa’s sodgerin’, and see what’ll
come o’t. It’s ae special mercy that there’s a hantle o’ lint in the
hoose, and the auld imbrocation for broken banes; and, in case o’ the
warst, I’ll ha’e the lass ready to rin for Doctor Scouther.”

This was rather too much; so, with the reverse of a benediction on
my gouvernante, I rushed from the house, and, with the assistance
of Dugald, succeeded in mounting Masaniello, a task of no small
difficulty, as that warlike quadruped persisted in effecting a series
of peripherical evolutions.

“And when wull ye be back, and what wull ye ha’e for denner?” were the
last words shouted after me as I trotted off to the rendezvous.

It was still early, and there were not many people abroad. A few
faces decorated with the picturesque mutch, occasionally appeared
at the windows, and one or two young rascals doubtless descendants
of the disaffected who fell at Bonnymuir, shouted “Dook!” as I rode
along. Presently I fell in with several of my comrades, amongst whom I
recognised with pleasure Randolph and Anthony Whaup.

“By Jove, M’Whirter!” said the former, “that’s a capital mount of
yours. I don’t think there is a finer horse in the troop; and I say,
old chap, you sit him as jauntily as a janissary!”

“He has had hard work to do it though, as I can testify,” remarked
Anthony, whose gelding seemed to be an animal of enviable placidity. “I
wish you had seen us both at Kickshaw’s a week ago.”

“I dare say, but there’s nothing like practice. Hold hard, M’Whirter!
If you keep staring up that way, you may have a shorter ride of it than
you expect. Easy--man--easy! That brute has the mettle of Beelzebub.”

The remark was not uncalled for. We were passing at that moment before
the Bogles’ house, and I could not resist the temptation of turning
round to gaze at the window of Edith, in the faint hope that she might
be a spectator of our expedition. In doing so, my left spur touched
Masaniello in the flank, a remembrancer which he acknowledged with so
violent a caper, that I was very nearly pitched from the saddle.

“Near shave that, sir!” said Hargate, who now rode up to join us “we’ll
require to put you into the rear rank this time, where, by the way,
you’ll be remarkably comfortable.”

“I hope,” said Anthony, “I may be entitled to the same privilege.”

“Of course. Pounset, I think, will be your front rank man. He’s quite
up to the whole manœuvre, only you must take care of his mare. But here
we are at Abbey-hill gate, and just in time.”

I was introduced in due form to the officers of the squadron, with
none of whom I was previously acquainted, and was directed to take my
place as Randolph’s rear rank man, so that in file we marched together.
Before us were two veteran yeomen, and behind were Anthony and Pounset.

Nothing particular occurred during our march to Portobello sands.
Masaniello behaved in a manner which did him infinite credit, and
contributed not a little to my comfort. He neither reared nor plunged
but contented him at times with a resolute shake of the head, as if he
disapproved of something, and an occasional sniff at Randolph’s filly,
whenever she brought her head too near.

On arriving at the sands we formed into column, so that Anthony and
I were once more side by side. The other squadrons of the regiment
were already drawn up, and at any other time I should no doubt have
considered the scene as sufficiently imposing. I had other things,
however, to think of besides military grandeur.

“I say, Anthony,” said I, somewhat nervously, “do you know any thing
about these twistified manoeuvres?”

“Indeed I do not!” replied Whaup, “I’ve been puzzling my brains for the
last three days over the Yeomanry Regulations, but I can make nothing
out of their ‘Reverse flanks’ and ‘Reforming by sections of threes’?”

“And I’m as ignorant as a baby! What on earth are we to do? That big
fellow of a sergeant won’t let us stand quietly, I suppose.”

“I stick to Pounset,” said Whaup. “Whatever he does I do, and I advise
you to do the same by Randolph.”

“But what if they should ride away? Isn’t there some disgusting
nonsense about forming from threes?”

“I suppose the horses know something about it, else what’s the
use of them? That brute of yours must have gone through the
evolutions a thousand times, and ought to know the word of command by
heart--Hallo!--I say, Pounset, just take care of that mare of yours,
will ye! She’s kicking like the very devil, and my beast is beginning
to plunge!”

“I wouldn’t be Pounset’s rear-rank for twenty pounds,” said a stalwart
trooper to the left. “She has the ugliest trick of using her heels of
any mare in Christendom.”

“Much obliged to you, sir, for the information,” said Whaup,
controlling, with some difficulty, the incessant curveting of his
steed. “I say, Pounset, if she tries that trick again I’ll hamstring
her without the slightest ceremony.”

“Pooh--nonsense!” replied Pounset. “Woa, Miss Frolic--woa, lass!--she’s
the gentlest creature in the creation--a child might ride her with a
feather. Mere playfulness, my dear fellow, I assure you!”

“Rot her playfulness!” cried Anthony; “I’ve no idea of having my brains
made a batter pudding for the amusement of a jade like that.”

“Are you sure, Whaup, that you did not tickle her tail?” asked Pounset,
with provoking coolness. “She’s a rare ’un to scatter a crowd.”

“Hang me if I’d come within three yards of her if I possibly could help
it,” quoth Anthony. “If any gentleman in the neighbourhood has a fancy
to exchange places, I’m his man.”

“Threes right!” cried the commanding-officer, and we executed a
movement of which I am wholly unconscious; for, to the credit of
Masaniello be it said, he took the direction in his own mouth, and
performed it so as to save his rider from reproach.

Then came the sword exercise, consisting of a series of slashes, which
went off tolerably well--then the skirmishing, when one of our flank
men was capsized--and at last, to my great joy, we were permitted
to sit at ease; that is, as easily as our previous exertions would
allow. I then learned to appreciate the considerate attention of the
authorities in abrogating the use of pistols. In each man’s holsters
was a soda-water bottle, filled for the nonce with something more
pungent than the original Schweppe, and a cigar case. These were now
called into requisition, and a dense wreath of smoke arose along
the lines of the squadron. The officer then in command embraced the
opportunity of addressing us in a pithy oration.

“Gentlemen!” said he, “I would not be performing my duty to my Queen
and my country, (cheers,) if I did not express to you my extreme
surprise and satisfaction at the manner in which the new recruits have
gone through the preliminary drill. Upon my honour I expected that more
than one-half of you would have been spilt--a spectacle which might
possibly have been pleasing to those veteran warriors of Dalmahoy, but
which I should have witnessed with extraordinary pain. As it is, you
rode like bricks. However, it is my duty to inform you, that a more
serious trial of your fortitude is about to come. The squadrons will
presently form together, and you will be called upon to charge. Many of
you know very well how to do that already”----

“Especially the Writers to the Signet,” muttered Anthony.

“But there are others who are new to the movement. To these gentlemen,
therefore, I shall address a few words of caution; they are short
and simple. Screw yourselves tight in your saddles--hold hard at
first--keep together as you best can--think that the enemy are before
you--and go at it like blazes!”

A shout of approval followed this doughty address, and the heart of
every trooper burned with military ardour. For my own part, I was
becoming quite reconciled to the thing. I perfectly coincided with my
commanding-officer in his amazement at the adhesive powers of myself
and several others, and with desperate recklessness I resolved to test
them to the utmost. The bugle now sounded the signal to fall in. Soda
bottles and cigar cases were returned to their original concealment,
and we once more took our respective places in the ranks.

“Now comes the fun,” said Randolph, after the leading squadron had
charged in line. “Mind yourselves, boys!”

“March--trot--gallop.”

On we went like waves of the sea, regularly enough at first, then
slightly inclining to the line of beauty, as some of the weaker hacks
began to show symptoms of bellows.

“Cha--a--rge!”

“Go ahead!” cried Randolph, sticking his spurs into his Bucephalus.
Masaniello, with a snort, fairly took the bridle into his teeth, and
dashed off with me at a speed which threatened to throw the ranks into
utter confusion. As for Pounset, he appeared to be possessed with the
fury of a demon. His kicking mare sent up at every stride large clods
of sand in the teeth of the unfortunate Anthony Whaup, whose presence
of mind seemed at last to have forsaken him.

“What the mischief are you after, Whaup?” panted the trooper on his
left. “Just take your foot out of my stirrup, will you?”

“Devil a bit!” quoth Anthony “I’m too glad to get any thing to hold on
by.”

“If you don’t, you’re a gone ’coon. There!--I told you.” And the steed
of Anthony was rushing riderless among the press.

I don’t know exactly how we pulled up. I have an indistinct notion that
I owed my own arrest to Neptune, and that Masaniello was chest deep in
the sea before he paid the slightest attention to my convulsive tugs
at the bridle. Above the rush of waves I heard a yell of affright,
and perceived that I had nearly ridden over the carcass of a fat old
gentleman, who, _in puris naturalibus_, was disporting himself in the
water; and who now, in an agony of terror, and apparently under the
impression that he was a selected victim for the tender mercies of the
yeomanry, struck out vigorously for Inchkeith. I did not tarry to watch
his progress, but returned as rapidly as possible to the squadron.

By this time the shores of Portobello were crowded with habitual
bathers. There is a graceful _abandon_, and total absence of prudery,
which peculiarly characterise the frequenters of that interesting spot,
and reminds one forcibly of the manners of the Golden Age. Hirsute
Triton and dishevelled Nereid there float in unabashed proximity;
and, judging from the usual number of spectators, there is something
remarkably attractive in the style of these aquatic exercises.

The tide was pretty far out, so that of course there was a wide tract
of sand between the shingle and the sea. Our squadron was again formed
in line, when a bathing-machine was observed leisurely bearing down
upon our very centre, conveying its freight towards the salubrious
waters.

“Confound that boy!” cried the commanding-officer; “he will be among
the ranks in a minute. Sergeant! ride out, and warn the young scoundrel
off at his peril.”

The sergeant galloped towards the machine.

“Where are you going, you young scum of the earth? Do you not see the
troops before you? Get back this instant!”

“I’ll do naething o’ the kind,” replied the urchin, walloping his
bare legs, by way of encouragement, against the sides of the anatomy
he bestrode. “The sands is just as free to huz as to ony o’ ye, and
I would like to ken what richt ye have tae prevent the foulks frae
bathin’.”

“Do you dare to resist, you vagabond?” cried the man of stripes, with a
terrific flourish of his sabre “Wheel back immediately, or”---- and he
went through the first four-cuts of the sword exercise.

“Eh man!” said the intrepid shrimp, “what wull ye do? Are ye no
ashamed, a great muckle fellie like you, to come majoring, an’ shakin’
yer swurd at a bit laddie? Eh, man, if I was ner yer size, I’d gie ye a
licking mysel’. Stand oot o’ the gate, I say, an I’ll sune run through
the haill o’ ye. I’m no gaun to lose saxpence for yeer nonsensical
parauds.”

“Cancel my commission!” said the lieutenant, “if the brat hasn’t
bothered the sergeant! The bathing-machine is coming down upon us like
the chariot of Queen Boadicea! This will never do. Randolph--you and
M’Whirter ride out and reinforce. That scoundrel is another Kellerman,
and will break us to a dead certainty!”

“Twa mair o’ ye!” observed the youth with incredible nonchalance, as we
rode up with ferocious gestures. “O men, but ye’re bauld bauld the day!
Little chance the Frenchies wad hae wi’ the like o’ you ’gin they were
comin’! Gee hup, Bauldy!”

“Come, come, my boy,” said Randolph, nearly choking with laughter,
“this is all very well, but you must positively be off. Come, tumble
round, my fine fellow, and you shall have leave to pass presently.”

“Aum no gaun to lose the tide that way,” persevered the urchin. “The
sands is open to the haill o’ huz, and I’ll no gang back for nane o’
ye. Gin ye offer tae strike me, I’ll hae the haill squad o’ ye afore
the Provost o’ Portobelly, and, ma certie, there’ll be a wheen heels
sune coolin’ in the jougs!”

“By heavens! this is absolutely intolerable!” said the
sergeant--“M’Whirter, order the man in the inside to open the door, and
come out in Her Majesty’s name.”

I obeyed, as a matter of course.

“I say--you, sir, inside--do you know where you are going? Right into
the centre of a troop of the Royal Yeomanry Cavalry! If you are a
gentleman and a loyal subject, you will open the door immediately, and
desire the vehicle to be stopped.”

In order to give due effect to this remonstrance, and also to impress
the inmate with a proper sense of the consequences of interference with
martial discipline, I bestowed cut No. Seven with all my might upon
the machine. To my horror, and that of my companions, there arose from
within a prolonged and double-voiced squall.

“Hang me, if it isn’t women!” said the sergeant.

“Yer mither wull be proud o’ ye the nicht,” said the Incubus on the
atomy, “when it’s tell’t her that ye hae whanged at an auld machine,
and frichtet twa leddies to the skirlin’! Ony hoo, M’Whirter, gin
that’s your name, there’ll be half-a-croun to pay for the broken brodd!”

The small sliding-pannel at the back of the machine was now cautiously
opened.

“Goodness gracious, Mr M’Whirter!” said a voice which I instantly
recognised to be that of Edith Bogle, “is it possible that can be
you? Is it the custom, sir, of the Scottish yeomen to break in upon
the privacy of two young defenceless females, and even to raise their
weapons against the place which contains them? Fie, sir! is that your
boasted chivalry?”

“O George--go away, do! I am really quite ashamed of you!” said the
voice of my cousin, Mary Muggerland.

I thought I should have dropped from my saddle.

“Friends of yours, eh, M’Whirter?” said Randolph. “Rather an awkward
fix, I confess. What’s to be done?”

“Would the regulars have behaved thus?” cried Edith, with increased
animation. “Would _they_ have insulted a woman? Never. Begone, sir--I
am afraid I have been mistaken in you”----

“By my honour, Edith!--Miss Bogle, I mean--you do me gross injustice!
I did not know--I could not conceive that you, or Mary, or any other
lady, were in the machine, and then--consider my orders”----

“Orders, sir! There are some orders which never ought to be obeyed. But
enough of this. If you have delicacy enough to feel for our situation,
you will not protract this interview. Drive on, boy! and you, Mr
M’Whirter, if you venture to interrupt us further, never expect my
pardon.”

“Nor mine!” added Mary Muggerland.

“Who the mischief cares for yours, you monkey!” muttered I _sotto
voce_. “But Edith--one other word”----

“Don’t call me Edith, sir! This continued importunity is insufferable!
If you have any explanation to make, you must select a fitter time,”
and the sliding-pannel was instantly closed.

“Ye’ve cotched it ony hoo!” said the shrimp, with a malignant leer.
“Wauken up, Bauldy, my man, and see how cleverly ye’ll gae through
them!”

A few words of explanation satisfied our commanding-officer, and the
victorious machine rolled insultingly through the lines. I have not
spirits to narrate the further proceedings of that day. My heart was
not in the squadron; and my eyes, even when ordered to be directed
to the left, were stealthily turned in the other direction towards
two distant figures in bathing-gowns, sedulously attempting to drown
one another in fun. Shortly afterwards we dispersed, and returned to
Edinburgh. I attempted a visit of explanation, but Miss Bogle was not
at home.

I messed that evening for the first time with the squadron. Judging
from the laughter which arose on all sides, it was a merry party; but
my heart was heavy, and I could hardly bring myself to enter cordially
into the festivities. I was also rather uneasy in person, as will
happen to young cavalry soldiers. I drank, however, a good deal of
wine, and, as I was afterwards informed, recovered amazingly towards
the end of the sederunt. They also told me next morning, that I had
entered Masaniello to run for the Squadron Cup.


CHAPTER IV.

“And so you really forgive me, Edith!” said I, bending over the lady of
my love, as she sate creating worsted roses in a parterre of gossamer
canvass; “you are not angry at what happened the other day at that
unlucky encounter on the sands?”

“Have I not said already that I forgive you?” replied Edith. “Is it
necessary that I should assure you twice?”

“Charming Miss Bogle! you do not know how happy you have made me.”

“Pray, don’t lean over me so, or you’ll make me spoil my work. See--I
have absolutely put something like a caterpillar in the heart of this
rosebud!”

“Never, dearest lady, may any caterpillar prey upon the rosebud of your
happiness. How curious! Do you know, the outline of that sketch reminds
me forcibly of the countenance of Roper?”

“Mr M’Whirter!”

“Nay, I was merely jesting. Pray, Miss Bogle, what are your favourite
colours?”

“Peach blossom and scarlet; but why do you ask?”

“Do not press me for an explanation--it will come early enough. And
now, Edith, I must bid you adieu.”

“So soon? Cannot you spare a single hour from your military duties?
Bless me, how pale you are looking! Are you sure you are quite well?”

“Quite--that is to say a little shaken in the nerves or so. This
continued exertion”----

“Do you mean at mess? Mr Roper told me sad stories about your
proceedings two nights ago.”

“Oh, pooh-nonsense! You will certainly then appear at the races?”

“You may depend upon me.”

And so I took my leave.

The reader will gather from this conversation, which took place four
days after the events detailed in last chapter, that I had effectually
made my peace with Miss Bogle. For this arrangement Mary Muggerland
took much more credit than I thought she was entitled to; however,
it is of no use quarrelling with the well disposed, especially if
they are females, as, in that case, you are sure to have the worst
of it in the long run. I did not feel quite easy, however, regarding
the insinuations thrown out upon my unusually pallid appearance. The
fact is, that the last week had rather been a fast one. The mess was
remarkably pleasant, and all would have been quite right had we stopped
there. But I had unfortunately yielded to the fascinations of Archy
Chaffinch and some of the younger hands, who, being upon the loose,
resolved to make the very most of it, and the consequence was, that, to
the great scandal of Nelly, we kept highly untimeous hours. In fact,
one night I made a slight mistake, which I have not yet, and may never
hear, the last of, by walking, quite accidentally, into the house of
my next-door neighbour--a grave and reverend signior--instead of my
own, and abusing him like a pickpocket for his uncalled-for presence
within the shade of my patrimonial lobby. It therefore followed, that
sometimes of a morning, after mounting Masaniello, I had a strong
suspicion that a hive of bees had taken a fancy to settle upon my
helmet--a compliment which might have been highly satisfactory to the
infant Virgil, but was by no means suited to the nerves or taste of an
adult Writer to the Signet.

Roper had been my guest at one of the late messes. His speech in
returning thanks for the health of his regiment was one of the richest
specimens of oratory I ever had the good fortune to hear, and ought to
be embalmed for the benefit of an aspiring posterity. It ran somewhat
thus----

“I assure you, sir, that the honour you have just conferred upon ours,
is--yas--amply appweciated, I assure you, sir, by the wegular army.
It gives us, sir--yas--the hiwest gwatification to be pwesent at the
mess of such a loyal body as the South-Lothian Yeomanry Cavalry.
The distinguished services of that gallant corps, both at home and
abwoad, are such as--yas--to demand the admiwation of their country,
and--yas--in short, I feel compwetely overpowared. The bwoad banners of
Bwitain floating over land and sea--chalk cliffs of old Albion, if I
may be allowed the simile--wight hand of the service and left--wegulars
and yeomanry--and the three corners of the world may come at once in
arms, and be considewably shocked for their pains. Permit me again to
expwess my extweme thanks for the honour you have done to ours.”

Now, on that evening, as I can conscientiously vouch, Roper contrived
to deposit at least two bottles of claret beneath his belt. Any
revelations, therefore, of what took place at our hospitable board,
amounted to a gross breach of confidence, and were quite unpardonable;
more especially when our relative situations with regard to the
affections of Miss Bogle are considered. But Punic faith is the very
least that one can expect from a rival.

On the review day, the whole regiment turned out under auspices of
unusual smartness. We were to be inspected by a veteran officer of high
rank and reputation, and, under these circumstances, we all thought
ourselves bound in honour to support the credit of the corps. This was
not remarkably difficult. You will hardly see anywhere a finer-looking
set of fellows than the Mid-Lothian yeomanry, and our discipline,
considering the short period of exercise, was really praiseworthy.
In the words of our commanding-officer, he was justly proud of his
recruits, and I can answer for it, that the recruits most cordially
reciprocated the sentiment.

“Now, Anthony,” said Pounset, as we formed into line, “I shall really
be obliged to you to make less clatter with that scabbard of yours when
we charge. My mare is mad enough with the music, without having the
additional impetus of supposing that a score of empty kettles are tied
to her tail.”

“By Jove, that’s a good one!” replied Anthony. “Here have you been
bunging up my eyes and making attempts upon my ribs for the last week,
and yet you expect me to have no other earthly consideration beyond
your personal comfort! How the deuce am I to manage my scabbard when
both hands are occupied?”

“Can’t you follow the example of Prince Charles, and throw it away?”

“Thank you for nothing. But, I say, that sort of madness seems
contagious. Here’s M’Whirter’s horse performing a fandango, which is
far more curious than agreeable.”

“What’s the matter with Masaniello?” cried Archy Chaffinch; “he looks
seriously inclined to bolt.”

I had awful suspicions of the same nature. No sooner had the regimental
band struck up, than my charger began to evince disagreeable signs of
impatience; he pawed, pranced, snorted, curveted, and was utterly deaf
to the blandishments with which I strove to allay his irritability.
I was even thankful when we were put into motion preparatory to the
charge, in the belief that action might render him less restive; and
so it did for a time. But no sooner had we broke into a gallop, than I
felt it was all up with me. I might as well have been without a bridle.
The ungovernable brute laid back his ears like a tiger, and I shot past
Randolph in an instant, very nearly upsetting that judicious warrior in
my course.

Nor was I alone. Pounset’s mare, who never brooked a rival, and who,
moreover, had taken umbrage at the sonorous jolting of Anthony, was
resolved not to be outstripped; and, taking the bridle between her
teeth, came hard and heavy on my flank. The cry of “halt!” sounded
far and faint behind us. We dashed past a carriage, in which, from a
momentary glimpse, I recognised the form of Edith; while a dragoon
officer--I knew intuitively it was Roper--had drawn up his horse by the
side. They were laughing--yes! by heavens they were laughing--at the
moment I was borne away headlong, and perhaps to destruction. My sword
flew out of my hand--I had need of both to hold the reins. I shouted to
Pounset to draw in, but an oath was the only reply!

I heard the blast of the recall bugle behind us, but Masaniello only
stretched out more wildly. We splashed through the shallow pools of
water, sending up the spray behind us; and onwards--onwards we went
towards Joppa, with more than the velocity of the wind.

“Have a care, M’Whirter!” shouted Pounset. “Turn his head to the sea if
you can. There’s a quicksand right before you!”

I could as easily have converted a Mussulman. I saw before me a dark
streak, as if some foul brook were stagnating on the sands. There
was a dash, a splash, a shock, and I was catapulted over the ears of
Masaniello.

I must have lost consciousness, I believe, for the next thing I
remember was Pounset standing over me, and holding my quadruped by the
bridle.

“We may thank our stars it is no worse,” said he; “that stank fairly
took the shine out of your brute, and brought him to a stand-still. Are
you hurt?”

“Not much. But I say, what a figure I am!”

“Not altogether adapted for an evening party, I admit. But never mind.
There’s a cure for every thing except broken bones. Let’s get back
again as fast as we can, for the captain will be in a beautiful rage!”

We returned. A general acclamation burst from the squadron as we rode
up, but the commanding-officer looked severe as Draco.

“Am I to conclude, gentlemen,” said he, “that this exhibition was a
trial of the comparative merits of your horses preparatory to the
racing? Upon such an occasion as this I must say”----

“Just look at M’Whirter, captain,” said Pounset, “and then judge for
yourself whether it was intentional. The fact is, my mare is as hot as
ginger, and that black horse has no more mouth than a brickbat!”

“Well, after all, he _does_ seem in a precious mess. I am sure it was a
mere accident, but don’t let it happen again. Fall in, gentlemen.”

There was, however, as regarded myself, considerable opposition to this
order.

“Why, M’Whirter, you’re not going to poison us to death, are you?” said
Anthony Whaup. “Pray keep to the other side, like a good fellow--you’re
not just altogether a bouquet.”

“Do they gut the herrings down yonder, M’Whirter?” asked Archy
Chaffinch. “Excuse me for remarking that your flavour is rather full
than fragrant.”

“I wish they had allowed smoking on parade!” said a third. “It would
require a strong Havannah to temper the exhalations of our comrade.”

“Hadn’t you better go home at once?” suggested Randolph. “My horse is
beginning to cough.”

“Yes--yes!” cried half-a-dozen. “Go home at once.”

“And if you are wise,” added Hargate, “take a dip in the sea--boots,
helmet, pantaloons, and all.”

I obtained permission, and retired in a state of inconceivable disgust.
Towards the carriage where Edith was seated, I dared not go; and with
a big and throbbing heart I recollected that she had witnessed my
disgrace.

“But she shall yet see,” I mentally exclaimed, “that I am worthy of
her! Once let me cast this foul and filthy slough--let me don her
favourite colours--let me win the prize, as I am sure I ought to do,
and the treasure of her heart may be mine!--You young villain! if you
make faces at me again, I shall fetch you a cut over the costard!”

“Soor dook!” shouted the varlet. “Eh! see till the man that’s been
coupit ower in the glaur!”

I rode home as rapidly as possible. I throw a veil over the triumphant
ejaculations of Nelly at the sight of my ruined uniform, and the
personal allusions she made to the retreat and discomfiture of the
Philistines. That evening I avoided mess, and courted a sound sleep to
prepare me for the fatigues of the ensuing day.


CHAPTER V.

“Here is a true, correct, and particular account, of the noblemen,
gentlemen, and yeomen’s horses, that is to run this day over the course
of Musselburry, with the names, weights, and liveries of the riders,
and the same of the horses themselves!”

Such were the cries that saluted me, as next day I rode up to the
race-course of Musselburgh. I purchased a card, which among other
entries contained the following:--

  EDINBURGH SQUADRON CUP, 12 STONE.

  Mr A. CHAFFINCH’S br. g. GROGGYBOY--_Green and White Cap_.
  Mr RANDOLPH ns. b. g. CHEESER--_Geranium and French Grey_.
  Mr M’WHIRTER’S bl. g. MASANIELLO--_Peach-blossom and Scarlet_.
  Mr HARGATE ns. ch. m. LOUPOWERHER--_Fawn and Black Cap_.
  Mr POUNSET’S b. m. MISS FROLIC--_Orange and Blue_.
  Mr SHAKERLEY ns. b. g. SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION--_White body and
     Liver-coloured sleeves_.

I made my way to the stand. Miss Bogle and Mary Muggerland were there,
but so also was the eternal Roper.

“Ah, M’Whirter!” said the latter. “How do you feel yourself this
morning? None the worse of your tumble yesterday, I hope? Mere
accident, you know. Spiwited cweature Masaniello, it must be confessed.
’Gad, if you can make him go the pace as well to-day, you’ll distance
the whole of the rest of them.”

“Oh, Mr M’Whirter! I’m _so_ glad to see you!” said Edith. “How funny
you looked yesterday when you were running away! Do you know that I
waved my handkerchief to you as you passed, but you were not polite
enough to take any notice?”

“Indeed, Miss Bogle, I had something else to think of at that
particular moment.”

“You were _not_ thinking about me, then?” said Edith. “Well, I can’t
call that a very gallant speech.”

“I’ll lay an even bet,” said Roper, “that you were thinking more about
the surgeon.”

“Were you ever wounded, Mr Roper?” said I.

“Once--in the heart, and incurably,” replied the coxcomb, with a glance
at Edith.

“Pshaw! because if you had been, you would scarce have ventured to
select the surgeon as the subject of a joke. But I forgot. These are
times of peace.”

“When men of peace become soldiers,” retorted Roper.

“I declare you are very silly!” cried Edith; “and I have a good mind to
send both of you away.”

“Death rather than banishment!” said Roper.

“Well, then, do be quiet! I take _such_ an interest in your race, Mr
M’Whirter. Do you know I have two pairs of gloves upon it? So you must
absolutely contrive to win. By the way, what are your colours?”

“Peach-blossom and scarlet.”

“How very gallant! I take it quite as a compliment to myself.”

“M’Whirter! you’re wanted,” cried a voice from below.

“Bless me! I suppose it is time for saddling. Farewell,
Edith--farewell, Mary! I shall win if I possibly can.”

“Good-by!” said Roper. “Stick on tightly and screw him up, and there’s
no fear of Masaniello.”

“Where the deuce have you been, M’Whirter?” said Randolph. “Get into
the scales as fast as you can. You’ve been keeping the whole of us
waiting.”

“I’ll back Masaniello against the field at two to one,” said Anthony
Whaup.

“Done with you, in ponies,” said Patsey Chaffinch, who was assisting
his brother from the scales.

“Do you feel nervous, M’Whirter?” asked Hosier, a friend who was
backing me rather heavily. “You look a little white in the face.”

“To tell you the truth--I do.”

“That’s bad. Had you not better take a glass of brandy?”

“Not a bad idea;” and I took it.

“That’s right. Now canter him about a little, and you’ll soon get used
to it.”

I shall carefully avoid having any occasion to make use of my
dear-bought experience. I felt remarkably sheepish as I rode out upon
the course, and heard the observations of the crowd.

“And wha’s yon in the saumon-coloured jacket?”

“It’ll be him they ca’ Chaffinch.”

“Na, man--yon chield wad make twa o’ Chaffinch. He’s but a
feather-wecht o’ a cratur.”

“Wow, Jess! but that’s a bonnie horse!”

“Bonnier than the man that’s on it, ony how.”

“Think ye that’s the beast they ca’ Masonyellow?”

“I’m thinkin’ sae. That man can ride nane. He’s nae grupp wi’ his
thees.”

These were the sort of remarks which met my ears as I paced along, nor,
as I must confess, was I particularly elated thereby. Pounset now rode
up.

“Well, M’Whirter, we are to have another sort of race to-day. I half
fear, from the specimen I have seen of Masaniello, that my little mare
runs a poor chance; but Chaffinch will give you work for it--Groggyboy
was a crack horse in his day. But come, there goes the bell, and we are
wanted at the starting-post.”

The remainder of my story is short.

“Ready, gentlemen?--Off!” and away we went, Spontaneous Combustion
leading, Miss Frolic and Groggyboy next, Randolph and myself following,
and Hargate bringing up the rear on Loupowerher, who never had a
chance. After the first few seconds, when all was mist before my eyes,
I felt considerably easier. Masaniello was striding out vigorously, and
I warmed insensibly to the work. The pace became terrific. Spon. Bus.
gradually gave way, and Groggyboy took the lead. I saw nothing more
of Randolph. On we went around the race-course like a crowd of motley
demoniacs, whipping, spurring, and working at our reins as if thereby
we were assisting our progression. I was resolved to conquer or to die.

Round we came in sight of the assembled multitude. I could even hear
their excited cries in the distance. Masaniello was now running neck
and neck with Groggyboy--Miss Frolic half-a-length before!

And now we neared the stand. I thought I could see the white fluttering
of Edith’s handkerchief--I clenched my teeth, grasped my whip, and
lashed vigorously at Masaniello. In a moment more I should have been
a-head--but there was a crash, and then oblivion.

Evil was the mother that whelped that cur of a butcher’s dog! He ran
right in before Masaniello, and horse and man were hurled with awful
violence to the ground. I forgive Masaniello. Poor brute! his leg was
broken, and they had to shoot him on the course. He was my first and
last charger.

As for myself, I was picked up insensible, and conveyed home upon a
shutter, thereby fulfilling to the letter the ominous prophecies of
Nelly, who cried the coronach over me. Two of my ribs were fractured,
and for three weeks I was confined to bed with a delirious fever.

“What noise is that below stairs, Nelly?” asked I on the second morning
of my convalescence.

“’Deed, Maister George, I’m thinking it’s just the servant lass
chappin’ coals wi’ yer swurd.”

“Serve it right. And what parcel is that on the table?

“I dinna ken: it came in yestreen.”

“Give it me.”

“Heaven and earth! Wedding-cake and cards! MR AND MRS ROPER!”



THE WATER-CURE.

[_Life at the Water-Cure; or, a Month at Malvern. A Diary._ By RICHARD
J. LANE. London: 1846.]


In the biographies of the Seven Sages of Greece, some interesting
incidents have escaped even the discursive and vigilant erudition of
Bayle. All of these worthies, in fact, being original members and
perpetual vice-presidents of the Fogie Club, they were, naturally, as
prosy octogenarians as the amber of history ever preserved for the
admiration of posterity. But Thales of Miletus we imagine to have
easily outstripped his six compeers in soporific garrulity; because
an author whose name, while it would be Greek to the illiterate, is
sufficiently familiar, without being mentioned, to the scholar, and
who flourished long enough after the people of whom he speaks to
give weight to his statements, has particularly recorded, that the
Ionic philosopher was universally called by his friends, behind his
back, “Old Hygrostroma.” This euphonical and distinctive epithet we
have discovered, by dint of deep study, to mean, very literally,
“Old Wet-Blanket.” Assigning an equal value to ancient and modern
phraseology, the portrait of the Milesian, so characterised, wears an
ugly aspect. Our own martyrdom, under the relentless persecutions of
his legitimate successors, concentrates, by an instinctive process of
mental association, all their worst features in the single physiognomy
of their prototype. How many luxuriant posies of fancy and humour,
ready to burst into brilliant blossom, have irrecoverably drooped--how
many

    “Fair occasions, gone for ever by,”

of refreshing a laborious day by the evening carnival of nonsense--how
many glorious “high jinks,” _infandum renovare dolorem_, have been
stifled--beneath the dank suffocation of this water-kelpy of social
enjoyment! It is proper, therefore, in order to be just, to ascertain
whether the stigma which Thales carried about with him can be traced to
the same causes which hang similar labels round the necks of men in our
own day, or whether a term of reproach or of ridicule may not here, as
in many other instances, have been widely diverted from, or excessively
aggravated in, its original signification.

Now, it happened that the mind of the wise man was filled by a
crotchet, which absorbed all other ideas. He announced to the world
that water is the primal element, the essence, the seed, the embryo of
all matter. Every thing, throughout the whole area of the universe,
however ponderous or substantial, however complex or varied, was not
merely evolved from the liquid laboratory, but was actually part and
parcel of the radical fluid itself. Earth and fire, the azure heaven
and the golden stars, marble and brass, birds and beasts, fruits and
flowers, ay, men and women, were dew-drops, in different phases of
configuration, and different stages of condensation. Such a doctrine,
inculcated with endless iteration and intolerable prolixity, could
not but exhaust the patience of the gay and dissipated Ionians, whose
habits, we know, were far from being circumscribed by the rules and
regulations of a total abstinence society. And although, even when the
topic had become nauseously stale, a little hilarity might be excited
by the old gentleman falling easily into the trap, and answering in
harmony with his favourite theory, when tauntingly asked, if the
glowing forms before him, whose witchery of grace had passed into a
proverb, were indeed emanations from the muddy Mæander; or if the
neighbouring Latmus, where

      “the moon sleeps with Endymion,
    “And would not be wak’d,”

was no more than a pitcherful of the Ægean; or if the pyramids, whose
altitude he had measured for the wondering priests of Isis, were but
bubbles of the Nile. Still the echo of the merriment thus provoked
was faint and feeble beside the vociferous uproar which shook the
voluptuous chambers when young Anaximander, in whom Thales fondly
thought he saw a disciple, ere yet the shadow of his deluded master
had glided over the threshold, filled a ruddy bumper to the brim, and
dashed down with a shout his libation to Bacchus, in thankfulness
that at last they were rid of “Hygrostroma.” Flesh and blood could
not bear for ever “the dreadful noise of water in their ears;” and
so, most deservedly and fitly, Thales got the name of “Wet-Blanket,”
and bequeathed it, we regret to acknowledge, to an infinite line of
descendants, who, in dealing with other themes, daily and hourly, after
their own fashion, stabilitate and eclipse his renown.

From the days of Thales, which may be fixed, according to the nicest
calculations, about four-and-twenty hundred years ago, water was
generally understood to have found its level. Occasionally, no
doubt, it made vigorous spurts to revindicate its prominency, but
never mounted to the alarming flood-mark which it had reached in the
Ionic philosophy. It certainly has had little reason to complain of
the position from which it cannot be displaced. Covering entirely
three-fifths of the surface of the globe, few are the specks of land,
and these few shunned by man, where its influence is not paramount.
Permeating the vast economy of nature through its grandest and
its minutest ramifications; nursing from its myriad fountains and
reservoirs the vitality of creation; affecting and controlling the
salubrity of climates, the purity and temperature of atmospheres, the
fertility of soils; moistening the parched lips, and requickening
the energies of vegetation; bearing all the necessaries and all the
luxuries of life, all that industry can furnish or opulence procure,
into the centre of immense continents, and up to the doors of populous
cities; generating, with the help of a strong ally, the most gigantic
power which human ingenuity has ever tamed to the uses, and comforts,
and improvements of mankind; rolling the rampart of its sleepless
tides round the shores and the independence of mighty empires, and
stretching out its broad waters as the highway of amicable intercourse
between all nations, this colossal and beneficent element needs not
to aspire higher than the eminence where it must be raised by such a
contemplation of its virtues and its strength. Regarding it, however,
with a homelier eye, we cannot conceal our opinion that too many
men, women, and children, have underrated its serviceable qualities
in connexion with their personal and domestic welfare. Nor shall our
observations, desultory as they may be, conclude without some serious
reflections on this subject, applicable to our own country and our
own times; for even in the relaxing warmth and idlesse of autumn,
when nothing very grave is very palatable, we must coax our friends
to swallow a thin slice of instruction along with our jests and their
grouse. But in the mean time, casting a rapid glance from the Ionian
era, whence we started, downwards to the present century, over the
aquatic propensities which have distinguished successive generations
in the intervening ages, it can scarcely be affirmed with truth that
the efficacy of water, as an useful, agreeable, and a sanative boon
from Providence to man, has been neglected and despised. The Greeks,
the Romans, and the Orientals require no justification. Their bathing,
shampooing, and anointing have survived the downfall of thrones and the
extinction of dynasties. And if the inhabitants of less benign regions,
who must sometimes smash the ice in their tubs before commencing a
lavation, do not evince the same headlong predilection for continual
immersion and ceaseless ablution as do their kindred of the genial
South and blazing East, we confess that their apology seems to us to be
remarkably clear and satisfactory. What do we think of Scotland?--is a
query from which a sensitive patriotism, perhaps, might shrink. It does
not abash us at all. All ducklings do not plunge into the pond or the
stream exactly at the same age--one exhibiting, in this respect, a rash
precocity, while another will for a long time obstinately refuse to
acknowledge that

   “Her march is on the mountain wave,
    Her home is on the deep.”

Had Caledonia been as tardy as she is alleged to have been in the
practice of scrupulous cleanliness, we should easily have found good
reasons for defending and palliating her procrastination. But the
charge against her is absolutely a vulgar error--a popular delusion--a
senseless clamour. Take the country. Is it likely that the national
poet, who knew the customs and dispositions of our peasantry, being
one of them himself, intimately and practically, would have enumerated
among the dearest reminiscences of childhood, that

   “We twa hae paidl’t i’ the burn
    Frae mornin’ sun till dine,”

if such an occupation were not the delight of the whole rural
population? Take the town. Does there ever come down a torrent of
rain, making the streets the channels of mighty rivers, that there is
not seen instantly a colony of young Argonauts emerging, like flies
from the Tweed, out of the very water, and exploring the unknown
profundities of the gutter, as from lamp-post to lamp-post they go,
“sounding on their dim and perilous way?” Take every well-regulated
family on Saturday night. Where is the fortunate urchin who shall
escape the rude purgation of the Girzy, nor be sent to bed red as a
lobster, and clean as a whistle? Take the far-reaching seabeach from
Newhaven to Joppa. Are those tremendous scenes which have lately
riveted the gaze of a whole country on the sands of Portobello
characteristic of a people animated by a feline antipathy to moisture?
The verdict is so unquestionably for us, that we decline to adduce any
further evidence.

In short, Europe continued to maintain most amicable relations, while
Asia cultivated the closest intimacy with water, hot and cold, fresh
and salt. America is too young yet to be included in the argument; and
as for Africa, crocodiles, hippopotami, and sharks, usurp a monopoly
of the favourite pools so exclusively, that the returns of its bathing
statistics are most uncertain. In this course, matters ran on smoothly
for cycles and cycles of years, races of men following races, as waves
follow waves. Any perceptible alteration in the relative positions
of man and water, at the same time, was in the direction of stricter
and more frequent communication between them. Cleanliness became
fashionable--an event which, without snapping the connexion somewhat
loosely subsisting between the purifying element and the inferior
grades of society, rapidly and widely diffused a knowledge of its
capabilities and its amiabilities among the higher circles. Well, on
the dawn of a glorious morning, when the sun, and all the seas, lakes,
and rivers of the globe were playing at battledore and shuttle-cock
with the beams of the orb of day, water suddenly found itself, at a
bound, lifted to a pinnacle only a little beneath the summit on which
Thales of yore enthroned it. Matter, on this occasion, it was not
announced to be--but the cure of all the afflictions with which matter
could be visited. Ten thousand aromatic herbs gracefully adjusted their
petals, ere they fell, and withered into rank and noisome weeds; ten
thousand apothecaries were petrified in the act of braying poison in
their mortars, and in that attitude remain, stony remembrances of their
own villanies; physicians melted away by faculties and colleges;

    “Nations ransom’d and the world o’er-joyed”

walked once more emancipated, as Milton sings,

    “From colocynthine pains and senna tea.”

Numerous are the blunders under which humanity has reposed in
incurious apathy. The sun gamboled round the earth so long, that,
when they changed places and motions, the denizens at that moment
of our planet were cheated out of several days in their sublunary
or circumsolar career. What was that mistake in comparison with the
disastrous error of having for centuries obdurately turned their
backs on the inexhaustible laboratory in which alone health could
be bought, and perversely purchased destruction from a series of
quacks, whose infinite retails had caused more wholsale ruin than the
pernicious wrath of Pelides? “Look here upon this picture and on this.”
Declining to accede to the unpleasant request we hurry to another
phenomenon. The inestimable discovery of the Water-Cure has proved the
posthumous triumph of Old Hygrostroma. Instead of being a damper to
good-fellowship, the wet-blanket is synonimous with, and symbolical,
and productive of all that is vivacious, hilarious, obstreperous, and
jolly. A dozen of champagne is not an equivalent for the “SHEET;” and
when you are once properly “packed,” by the mere flow of your animal
spirits, and a tumbler of pure spring water, you shall “sew up” the
most potential toper and wit, whose facetiousness grows with the
consumption of his wine.

Here we perceive that our readers, by an unmistakeable twitch of the
muscles of the face, intimate their suspicions that our fidelity to the
water system is impeachable. An explanatory sentence is unavoidable.
In the month of August, we are always like Napoleon at Elba,
confident of the incorruptible attachment of our adherents, but at a
considerable distance from every one of them--certain of re-assuming,
in undiminished splendour, and amidst thunders of acclamation, our
undisputed sway on the first of September, but much at a loss a week
before our return to find a bark, however frail, in which to trust our
fortunes--projecting stupendous expeditions with invincible armies,
and, in the meanwhile, possessing not even a recruit from the awkward
squad to put through his facings. The days were insufferably hot or
unmitigably rainy. Nobody cared about news, nor did anybody send us
grouse. The Benledi steamboat was stranded with a broken back on a rock
of the Fifeshire coast; and harrowing paragraphs represented all the
railways in every direction as strewed with the “disjecta membra” of
ill-fated travellers. The thunder and lightning deafened and blinded
us, while the absence of all companionship reduced us to compulsory
dumbness. In this torpor of the soul and confusion of the intellect,
looking up with a vacant stare to the cupola, on which the firmament
was playing with inimitable rapidity a fierce prelude, we were startled
by the appearance of Mr Lane’s elegant and agreeable volume. It found
us in no very consecutive or severely logical mood. The engravings
were amusing--the writing was pleasant. Having skimmed the contents
with our customary velocity, we flung ourselves back upon the downy
slopes of our autumn ottoman, and poured forth the rhapsody which has
bewildered our friends. It could not well be otherwise. There was such
implicit faith in Mr Lane--in union with so much good feeling and
good sense--pleading his case so fervently--interesting us so much in
himself, his illness and his recovery, his relapses and his mendings,
his packing and scrubbing, his company and his talk, his walks and his
rides, his digestions and reflections, and leaving us in the end so
little convinced of the unquestionable superiority of the treatment
which had bettered him, and no doubt many others, that, assured of
there being nothing new under the sun, we took our flight back into the
olden times to recall, if we could, when water ever aspired so loftily
before in popular estimation. Icarus-like, we dropped into the bosom of
the Ægean, and were dragged up opportunely by the phantom of Thales at
Miletus.

Captivating, we admit, is the notion that water cures all diseases.
There is a grandeur in the simplicity, and a rapture in the
tastelessness of such a medicine, which its motley competitors cannot
approach. Did any one ever see physic, which, by its appearance,
infused love for it at first sight, and a vehement longing to swallow
it? Revolve how endless in variety of colour and substance are the
contents of a medicine-chest, and confess that you have not been able
to look at one of them with satisfaction. The mature mind recoils from
terrible reminiscences; and at the apparition of some single phial, a
hideous congregation of detestable tastes, starting from the crevices
of memory, will rush into the palate, and resuscitate the forgotten
tortures and trials of infancy and boyhood. To be spared all this
were “a consummation devoutly to be wished.” To know that no shock
sharper than the douche, and no draught more nauseous than half-a-dozen
tumblers of water, should ever, at the doctors hand, visit or wrack the
frame might subdue the refractory temper of patients. To throw physic
to the dogs, and be cleansed of all perilous stuff by a currycomb and a
pail, might reconcile us to be assimilated to the horse. But alas! what
do we discern in man, “the paragon of animals,” which will entitle us
to conclude that his innumerable bodily frailties can be so overcome or
expelled?

   “Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
    In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.”

Happy and painful experiences unite to prove it. It has cost the labour
and the zeal, the intense concentration of the undivided energies,
and, in memorable instances, the very lives of the erudite and the
ingenious, the sagacious and the daring, engaged in an incalculable
multiplicity of investigations, experiments, and observations, in all
ages and in all countries, to explore, and test, and confirm what is
valuable, trustworthy, and stable, in medical science. Even to-day it
may be urged that much is still obscure, indefinite, unsteady, and
liable to be overturned and dismissed by the clearer illumination of
to-morrow. Be it so. But, in spite of all the lengths to which the
objection can be pushed, there remain two points irrefragably settled
in medicine. First of all, there are certain remedies ascertained,
beyond the shadow of a doubt, to act efficaciously on certain diseases.
In the second place--and by far the most important truth for us in
this discussion--no one specific remedy has ever been discovered
which applies efficaciously to all diseases, nor to the overwhelming
majority, nay, nor to any majority of all diseases. A period of ten
years never elapses without such a panacea being broached, paraded,
and extinguished. The “impar congressus Achillei” is made manifest in
every case. At the outset, accordingly, an advertisement of the Cold
Water-Cure as a specific brands it with a suspicion which has never
been false before. To affirm that, from Galen to Abernethy, a veil of
impenetrable ignorance shrouded the vision of all physicians, which
prevented them from picking up the truth lying at their feet, is not
to be more arrogant than Holloway’s ointment, or Morrison’s pills. It
is, however, to offer a statement for our acceptation which common
sense and the practical testimony of more than two thousand years
simultaneously reject. The question truly deserves no argument. The
publication of the discovery of a panacea is sufficient. The remedy,
whatever it is, cannot be what it pretends to be; although it may be
worse or better than it is generally supposed to be. Those who have
been restored to convalescence, to buoyancy of spirits, and agility of
limbs, by cold water, are at perfect liberty to abjure and denounce
all other cures. But the chasm in the reasoning is a yawning one, over
which an adventurous leap must be taken, to stand firm on the other
side upon the conclusion that what cured Richard of dyspepsia will
deliver Thomas from typhus.

It is not incumbent on us to enumerate Mr Lane’s ailments. Blue pill
and black draught, taraxacum and galvanism, were successively repelled
by the stubborn enemy, whose entrenchments were to be neither sapped
nor stormed. In a lucky hour, “an intimate friend of Sir E. Bulwer
Lytton detailed, with generous eloquence, the great results of the
Water-Cure in many cases; and his own characteristic benevolence
prompted him to press upon me, _as a duty_, the visit of a month to
Malvern.” So there he goes. “The drive from Worcester to Malvern is
not marked by any particular beauty, except the occasional glimpses of
the hills, and the constant succession of rich orchards, at this time
luxuriant in apple blossoms.” The trifling exception to the monotony of
the landscape, which does not escape his notice, almost suggests the
_possibility_ of the patient being a little better already.

  “Here I am in the temple dedicated to Dame Nature and the Elixir
  Vitæ. The Doctor not at home, but a message that we are expected
  at a _pic-nic_ at St Anne’s Well. Too tired to go, we went to our
  comfortable double-bedded room, and, being refreshed, waited for
  the Doctor, who soon returned, and severely scrutinized me. He
  found my boy in exactly the state which he had expected, and rubbed
  his hands with delight in anticipation of the change to be wrought
  in him. To me he boldly said, ‘Give me a month, and I will teach
  you to manage yourself at home.’ At supper (eight o’clock) we were
  presented to our fellow patients, all graciously and gracefully
  welcoming the new-comers. This is the final meal of the day,
  consisting of bread in many varieties, butter, and biscuits, with
  bottles of water and jugs of milk. Tea, although allowed in some
  cases, is not encouraged. The house overlooks the beautiful Abbey
  church. The monks always knew how to avail themselves of the charms
  of situation; sheltered by the hills, and yet overlooking the
  extensive plain, and receiving the first rays of the sun--nothing
  could be more lovely.

  “Doctor examined and asked me divers questions, and then gave his
  orders to the bath attendant. To bed at ten.”

The compliment to the discrimination of the monks might not be
inappropriately transferred to Dr Wilson. There are more things in the
Water-Cure than cold water, and more than the body frequently morbid
or ill at ease in the visitors to Malvern. Lovely scenery is wholesome
food for a depressed mind.

  “_May 14._--At a little before seven came the bath attendant. He
  poured about four inches depth of water into a tin bath, five feet
  long, and directed me to get out of bed and sit in it. He then
  poured about two gallons of water on my head, and commenced a
  vigorous rubbing, in which I assisted. This is called THE SHALLOW
  BATH. After three or four minutes, I got out of the bath, and
  he enveloped me in a dry sheet, rubbing me thoroughly. All this
  friction produced an agreeable glow, and the desire to dress
  quickly and get into the air was uppermost. The same process was
  repeated with Ned; and, having each taken a tumbler of water, we
  started to mount the hill. I got as far as St Anne’s Well, with
  Ned’s help, and, drinking there, sauntered about the exquisite
  terrace walks on the hill. The fountain of St Anne’s Well is
  constantly flowing, and though varying in quantity, has never
  failed. I am told that the water is at nearly the same temperature
  in summer as in winter. In sparkling brilliancy, as well as purity,
  it is confessedly unrivalled even at Malvern, except by the water
  of the ‘Holy Well.’ A cottage, beautifully situated in the hollow
  of this eminence, encloses the fountain, where it escapes from the
  rock; the chief apartment of which is free, and open to all who
  wish to drink; but it is good taste to put down a half-crown upon
  the first visit, and inscribe a name in the book, which (with a
  ready pen) is also ‘open to all.’ From this cottage, which is I
  found a favourite place of rendezvous, paths lead by various routes
  to the highest hill called the Worcestershire Beacon, and the other
  commanding heights. We shall see, I trust.

  “Another glass of this exquisite water, and home to breakfast at
  nine. Several sorts of bread (all in perfection) and excellent
  butter; bottles of the brightest water and tumblers duly arranged
  on the table; jugs of milk for those who like it, and to whom it is
  allowed. One jug _smokes_, and the well-known fragrant flavour soon
  suggests to the nose _tea_! Surely this is irregular, or why the
  disguise? Why not a teapot?

  “The Doctor took his seat at the head of the table. In the place
  of honour on his left was the patient whose longest stay in the
  house entitled her to the distinction. (I afterwards found that
  precedence at table is arranged by this rule, subject to the
  intermixture of the gentlemen.) She is eminently gifted to grace
  her position, being more than pretty, and with tongue and manner
  to match. Next to her is a gentleman of a dissenting expression
  of countenance, then another pretty woman, a young man of
  distinguished manners, and another _very_ pretty woman, who, unlike
  the two fair patients above her, is _dark_ in all that beautifies a
  brilliant complexion.

  “Skipping over the gentleman on her left, because on this first
  morning I found nothing to remark upon, I come to my _vis-à-vis_,
  with her kindly and companionable expression (I am sure I shall
  like her;) and having mentioned our present stock of ladies on the
  opposite side, the lower part of the table is made up of gentlemen,
  one of whom presides at that end. On my side of the table, the
  upper seat is generally reserved for a visitor. I am happy to find
  in the whole party nothing distressing to look at: no lameness, no
  appearance of skin diseases, no sign-post or label to proclaim an
  aliment, no sore eyes, no ‘_eyesore_;’ nothing, in short, worse
  than an occasional pallid or invalid character, like my own; and I
  am told that all who have any palpable or disagreeable infirmity,
  are treated as out-door patients, which wholesome regulation gives
  full play to the proverbially high spirits of hydropathists, who
  almost immediately jump from a state of dejection and perverse
  brooding over their ailments, to a joyous anticipation of good,
  even on the first day of initiation into the treatment. The
  appetite, too, is always ready for the simple, wholesome meal.
  Nobody ever enjoyed a well-earned breakfast more than I on this
  morning.”

The gentleman “of a dissenting expression of countenance,” of whom
we desiderate a drawing, seems the only bit of shade in this bright
scene. We have quoted, without abridgment, the description of the
company at the table, as not unimportant, alongside of the hilarity of
hydropathists, who jump from grave to gay, “even on the first day of
initiation into the treatment.” Mr Lane will understand that we do not
at all doubt his account of his illness. He must not quarrel with us
for remarking that simple fare, regular diet, agreeable society, lots
of laughing and talking, bathing and shampooing, bracing exercise, and
enchanting natural prospects, appear admirably adapted to reinvigorate
the invalids to whom we have been introduced. It would surprise us
to be informed that the process had any where failed; and, as far as
we can judge, the prescription of the regular practitioner in London
would, without much hesitation, be in similar cases--“Go to Malvern
for a month.” Shower-baths and douches, too, may be had in the Great
Babylon, but not exactly the refreshing concomitants so vividly brought
before us by Mr Lane. Suppose we take a peep at a hydropathist’s
dinner:--

  “At the head of the table, where the Doctor presides, was the leg
  of mutton, which, I believe, is every day’s head-dish. I forget
  what Mrs Wilson dispensed, but it was something savoury, of fish. I
  saw veal cutlets--with bacon, and a companion dish, maccaroni--with
  gravy (a very delicate concoction): potatoes, plain boiled, or
  mashed and browned; spinach, and other green vegetables. Then
  followed rice pudding, tapioca, or some other farinacious ditto,
  rhubarb tarts, &c. So much for what I have heard of the miserable
  diet of water patients. The cooking of all is perfection, and
  something beyond, in Neddy’s opinion, for he eats fat!

  “After dinner, the ladies did not immediately retire, but made up
  groups for conversation, both in the dining and withdrawing room. A
  most happy arrangement this, which admits the refreshing influence
  of the society of ladies in such a house.

  “A drive had been proposed, and, by the invitation of two of the
  ladies, I joined the party.

  “Through picturesque lanes, we went to Madresfield Court, the
  seat of Lord Beauchamp (Ned on the box.) We saw the exquisite
  conservatories, the grapes in succession houses, and pineries. The
  principal furniture in this house--carpets, tapestry, &c.--were
  placed exactly as they now appear, more than fifty years ago. It
  is a very romantic place, abounding in a great variety of trees of
  magnificent growth.

  “We returned soon after seven, when I prepared to take my first
  _Sitz_ bath. It is not disagreeable, but very odd, and exhibits the
  patient in by no means an elegant or dignified attitude.

  “For this bath it is not necessary to undress, the coat only being
  taken off, and the shirt gathered under the waistcoat, which is
  buttoned upon it; and when seated in the water, which rises to the
  waist, a blanket is drawn round, and over the shoulders.

  “Having remained ten minutes in this condition (Ned and I being
  on equal terms, and laughing at each other), we dried and rubbed
  ourselves with coarse towels, and descended to supper with
  excellent appetite.”

Shall we alter or modify our observations, in consequence of this
extract? Not pausing for a reply, we wish to explain, that, in
hydropathical nomenclature, to be “half-packed” is to be put to bed,
with a wet towel placed over you, extending from shoulders to knees,
and enveloped with all the blankets, and a down-bed, with a counterpane
to tuck all in, and make it air-tight. Here is complete “packing.”

  “_May 15._--It was not the experience of the half packing that
  caused me to awake early, but a certain dread in anticipation of
  the _whole_ wet sheet; and at six the bath attendant appeared with
  what seemed a coil of linen cable, and a gigantic can of water, and
  it was some comfort to _pretend_ not to be in the least degree
  apprehensive. I was ordered out of bed, and all the clothes taken
  off. Two blankets were then spread upon the mattress, and half over
  the pillow, and the wet sheet unfolded and placed upon them.

  “Having stretched my length upon it and lying on my back, the man
  quickly and most adroitly folded it--first on one side and then on
  the other, and closely round the neck, and the same with the two
  blankets, by which time I was _warm_, and sufficiently composed to
  ask how the sheet was prepared of the proper degree of dampness. [I
  was told that being soaked well, it is held by two persons--one at
  each end, and pulled and twisted until water has ceased to drop; or
  that it may be done by one person putting it round the pump-handle,
  or any similar thing, and holding and twisting it at _both_ ends.]
  Two more doubled blankets were then put upon me, and each in turn
  tucked most carefully round the neck, and under me. Upon this the
  down bed was placed, and over all another sheet or counterpane
  was secured at all sides and under the chin, to complete this
  hermetical sealing. By this time I was sure of being fast asleep
  in five minutes, and only anxious to see Ned as comfortable, for
  he was regarding the operation with silent horror. He, however,
  plucked up, and before Bardon (the attendant) had swathed him
  completely, favoured me with his opinion, conveyed in accents in
  which a slight tremor might be detected, that ‘packing is jolly.’”

  “What occurred during a full hour after this operation neither
  man nor boy were in a situation to depose, beyond the fact that
  the sound, sweet, soothing sleep which both enjoyed, was a matter
  of surprise and delight, and that one of them, who had the less
  excuse for being so very youthful, was detected by Mr Bardon, who
  came to awake him, _smiling_, like a great fool, _at nothing_,
  if not at the fancies which had played about his slumbers. Of
  the _heat_ in which I found myself, I must remark, that it is as
  distinct from perspiration, as from the parched and throbbing glow
  of fever. The pores are open, and the warmth of the body is very
  soon communicated to the wet sheet, until, as in this my first
  experience of the luxury, a breathing--steaming heat is engendered,
  which fills the whole of the wrappers, and is plentifully shown
  in the _smoking_ state which they exhibit as they are removed:
  still it is not like a vapour bath. I can never forget the calm,
  luxurious ease in which I awoke on this morning, and looked forward
  with pleasure to the daily repetition of what had been quoted to
  me, by the uninitiated, with disgust and shuddering.

  “The softness and delicacy of the skin under the operation is very
  remarkable, and to the touch, clearly marks the difference between
  a state of perspiration or of fever.”

We wish to be informed what there is of novelty in all this procedure?
It is merely one way, out of many ways, of taking a bath. The shepherds
on our hills, long before the Water-Cure had local habitation or
name, were well aware, when their hard but faithful service made
the heather their bed, that by dipping their plaids in the stream,
and wringing them out, and then wrapping them round their bodies,
such heat was generated as they could not otherwise procure. Then
the alternation of hot bath and cold bath, followed by dry-rubbing!
The Russians and the Turks are comparatively beings of yesterday.
But what does a hydropathist undergo at Malvern, for which Galen and
Celsus had not laid down plain and ample directions? There is no
apparatus so intricate or so extensive--there is nothing done by the
hand or by machinery at a hydropathical establishment, which is not
anticipated at Pompeii, or was not familiar to those eminent ancients
whom we have named. The economy of baths was brought to more exquisite
and copious perfection by the Romans than it has been since. Vice,
luxury, gluttony, fatigue, disease, caprice, indolence, extravagant
wealth, inordinate vanity, imperial pomp, were all occupied according
to the impulse or the necessity of the individual, or of cities and
provinces, to adorn with new contrivances, or to supply the defects
of that essential furniture to the comfort of the later Roman. The
poets teem with allusions to and descriptions of the expedients used
in ministering to their effeminacy in the baths. The medical writers
have considered and discussed the whole subject of baths and bathing
with a minuteness and a comprehensiveness which leave nothing to be
learned from hydropathy now-a-days. The Greeks wanted only the enormous
riches of Rome to be cited as of tantamount authority. Galen differs
from Celsus in arranging the order according to which different baths
should be taken; but the interval between them may account for all
changes. Did it ever occur to Galen that water was a panacea? No; but
many patients were under his care, the counterparts of the sojourners
at Malvern; and that he treated them much after the fashion of Dr
Wilson, we shall accord to the later gentleman our belief. Rome, in
the reign of Commodus, was not less likely than London to send forth
sufferers whose roses would renew their bloom, and whose nerves would
regain their tension, at the bidding of rustic breezes, lively chat,
and methodical discipline.

It has seldom been our happiness to meet with a more astute lady of
her rank than the woman at the cottage at St Anne’s, who replies to Mr
Lane, when he wonders at his power to mount the steep hills,--“Indeed,
so do I, sir; but when I tell how the Water-Cure patients get strength
to come up here, after a few days, and how well they look, some
gentlefolks are _hard_ enough to say the Doctor _pays_ me to say so.”
We exonerate the woman and the Doctor.

  “_May 26._--Packed, bathed, and out as usual, but instantly turned
  _in_ again. It was raining after a fashion that, even to me, seemed
  to promise no interval or alleviation.

  “We turned into the dining room, and, pushing the seats of the
  chairs under the table, we made a clear space for walking round the
  room. Our dining-room is forty feet long; and, after a minute’s
  discussion as to our intended route, it was settled that we should
  go (by the watch) to the spring beyond the Wyche. I opened the
  windows, and Ned arranged water bottle and tumblers on the table,
  undertaking to announce our arrival at the several springs. He had
  marked the distances by the time occupied, and so we started, and
  having walked from end to end of the room--and round the table ten
  minutes, Ned called that we were at the Turnpike, and we stopped
  to drink. We then passed on, doing all sorts of small talk with
  a friend who had joined us, until we got to the Wyche and to the
  Willow Spring; then we drank again, and just having started,
  we met, at the turn of the road, Mr Townley; who came suddenly
  upon us, and joined our party cheerfully. There were frequent
  over-takings of each other, and at the corners of the paths we
  contended for the sharp angles, and carried out the rules of the
  road by passing on the proper side.

  “Mr Townley walked as well as the best of us, and was a delightful
  walking companion; full of anecdote, of solid information, and a
  quiet dry humour all his own; but we could not inoculate him with a
  love for Malvern. Enumerating the varied attractions of the place,
  I unluckily wound up with the charming _drives_; when he admitted
  that it is ‘a delightful place _to get away from_.’”

A rebel in the camp! What is to come next? Why, a revelation that the
Water-Cure system at Malvern is so old that the memory of man runneth
not to the contrary.

  “_May 27._--Packed, bathed, and out as usual. Surely the variable
  nature of our climate is a source of constant, never-failing
  interest. Here is a glorious morning, following a day that seemed
  to give no hope of a change. Walked with Sterling and Ned to the
  Holy Well at Malvern Wells, then mounting the hills to the Beacon.

  “The work published by Dr Card tells of extraordinary cures
  effected by the water of the Holy Well. The monks of old used
  to wrap in cloths steeped in this water, persons afflicted with
  leprosy or other eruptions; and (as the _Guide_ quotes) ‘make them
  lie in bed, and even _sleep_, with the wet cloths on the diseased
  parts.’

  “Why, here was an instinctive use of the ‘Wet Sheet Packing’
  of very ancient date; but _not_ (as the monks perhaps deemed)
  miraculous.”

The monks have unexpectedly got Mr Lane into a scrape. Their treatment
of their patients is in all respects the same as the hydropathic
treatment. But what is science in hydropathy is instinct in the
priesthood. It is the most singular instance of instinct ever recorded.
A controversy has long raged as to the precise approximation of animal
instinct to human reason. The line of demarcation between the instinct
of the monk and the reason of the hydropathic doctor is so faint and
slender that nobody, except a “packed” Malvern jury, with Mr Lane as
foreman, could be audacious enough to hint its existence. So the worthy
and intelligent monks not only knew how to select a charming residence,
but practised the Water-Cure several hundred years ago! What becomes
of the apt comparison between the “common fate of new revelations,”
as illustrated in the hostility of doctors which nearly ruined the
great Harvey, and the disbelief of sensible people in the virtue of
hydropathy? Hydropathy, in our view of it, is nothing new; but when it
is demonstrated that at Malvern itself it existed in former ages, its
want of success cannot with consistency be attributed to its novelty.
The originality of the system, altogether, is on a par with the
following branch of it:--

  _May 31._--“At five o’clock in walked the executioner, who was to
  initiate me into the SWEATING process. There was nothing awful in
  the commencement. Two dry blankets were spread upon the mattress,
  and I was enveloped in them, _as_ in the wet sheet, being well
  and closely tucked in round the neck, and the head raised on two
  pillows; then came my old friend, the down bed, and a counterpane,
  as before. I need not sketch this, as it is precisely like the wet
  sheet packing in appearance.

  “Not so in _luxury_. At first I felt very comfortable, but in
  ten minutes the irritation of the blanket was disagreeable, and
  endurance was my only resource--_thought_ upon other subjects
  out of the question. In half an hour, I wondered _when_ it would
  begin to act. At six, in came Bardon, to give me water to drink.
  Another hour--and I was getting into a state. I had for ten minutes
  followed Bardon’s directions, by slightly moving my hands and legs,
  and the profuse perspiration was a relief; besides, I knew that
  I should be soon _fit_ to be _bathed_, and what a tenfold treat!
  He gave me more water, and then it broke out! In a quarter of an
  hour more he returned, and I stepped, in that condition, into the
  cold bath, Bardon using more water on my head and shoulders than
  usual--more rubbing and sponging, and afterwards more vigorous
  _dry_ rubbing. I was more than pink, and hastened to get out, and
  compare notes with Sterling. We went to the Wyche. This process is
  very startling. The drinking water is to keep quiet the action of
  the heart. To plunge into cold water after _exercise_ has induced
  perspiration might be fatal, but this quiescent, passive state,
  involves no danger of any kind.”

To recur to the Roman bath is superfluous. The curious will find in
Celsus all they have read in these extracts, and much more than is
“dream’d of in your hydropathy, Horatio.” The ingenuous narrative of
Mr Lane is useful. The preposterous pretensions of the Water-Cure are
visible and palpable. There may be no harm in Malvern, so long as the
patients with whom Mr Lane makes us acquainted resort to it; although,
conscientiously, we coincide with Mr Townley in his opinion that it
must be “a delightful place to get away from.” We do not at all impugn
Dr Wilson’s medical skill, and we heartily admire his tact. There are
numbers of people who, resisting and infringing the orders of their
medical advisers at home, blindly obey the behests of the physician
at a watering-place. There are many, also, _blasés_ and out of sorts
with the racket, the whirl, and the glare of London life--or of what
is worse, a provincial burlesque of London life--to whom the gentle
influences of the balmy country air waft back the health which their
riot had almost frightened from its frail tenement. These people visit
such places as Malvern, do what they are commanded to do, spend their
hours in rational enjoyment, and go home--converts to the Water-Cure.
It is not very just, but it is very common.

And now let us state distinctly what we would really consider, and
gladly dignify, as “The Water-Cure.” For although unable to recognise
in water an universal and infallible panacea for all the ills that
flesh is heir to, we can yet bear a large testimony in its favour,
and send it out to service with the highest character. It is our
deliberate and mature conviction that the inhabitants of the Cumbraes
and the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland may, to their
own infinite advantage, fishify their flesh a great deal more than
they do at present. Our language does not embrace the full scope of
our recommendation; because the minnow and the whale, along with all
the intermediate gradations of the finny family, may probably disclaim
the reputation of water-drinkers. Internally and externally, according
to the rational views which we are about to explain, we advocate the
application of the pellucid fountain and the crystal stream. This is to
touch, we are quite aware, some of the most important questions which
can engage the attention of the philanthropy and of the legislature
of this country. It is to do so; and we hope to evince in our remarks
at once the fearlessness and the moderation which become the honest
and the practical investigation of matters affecting the moral and the
physical welfare of thousands of human beings.

In lauding water as a beverage, it is impossible to evade an expression
of opinion regarding the great movement which is represented and
embodied in the existence and diffusion of temperance societies over
the length and breadth of the land. Whatever words can be selected
of most emphatic significance, we are willing to adopt in general
approbation of that movement. We single out here no individuals for
encomium, and refuse to decorate with a preference any particular
fraternity or society. Taking, as our limits necessarily oblige us to
take, a broad survey of the principle, and the results of the principle
disclosed by experience, we cheerfully pronounce both to be positively
and undeniably good. Observe, we say temperance. Total abstinence is
a different thing altogether--an extreme which may warrant and cover
abuses as bad as drunkenness itself. No spectacle is more ludicrous
than a procession of Tee-totallers. If total abstinence is a virtue
hard to win, and accessible only to an inconsiderable minority, the
pharisaical ostentation of its vain-glory is not calculated to attract
or conciliate the overwhelming majority who feel unable to soar to its
sublimity. If, on the other hand, total abstinence is a virtue of such
easy acquisition as to imply no sacrifice either in grasping or holding
it, surely banners need not wave, nor bagpipes grunt, to celebrate
such humble and ordinary merits. The Stoics, in declaring pain to
be no evil, unconsciously proclaimed that there was no fortitude in
suffering. The citizens of Edinburgh who live guiltless of larceny
do not perambulate the streets once a-year in holiday attire to the
cadence of martial music, for the purpose of being pointed out to the
marvelling on-looker as men who never picked a pocket or broke into a
larder. Total abstinence is not an end which common sense acknowledges
to be attainable. In peculiar circumstances it may be that a sagacious
and strong mind, determined to rescue masses of his countrymen from
a degrading and destructive bondage, may begin by tearing them
violently and completely asunder from their former pernicious habits.
His ultimate hopes, however, do not rest on the permanency of this
revulsion, but on the foundation which even its temporary supremacy
enables him to plant in the understanding and in the heart, for finally
establishing better inclinations, wiser purposes, a detestation of
excess, and a love of moderation. National temperance will be the
triumphant realisation of his aspirations; and as we believe national
temperance to be practicable, so we believe it to be desirable, on
the lowest and most selfish, as well as on the loftiest and purest
grounds. As politicians, we are satisfied that the temperance of the
people is an auxiliary in securing, assisting, and facilitating good
government, little inferior to many of those invaluable institutions
for which Britons are ready to shed their life-blood. The national
tranquillity, energy, industry, and affluence, ought to be the
aggregate of the contentment, enterprise, diligence, and wealth of
each individual. Any thing, therefore, which will convince a man that
sobriety makes a happier fireside than heretofore, gives to him at
all hours of the day a cooler head and a steadier hand than he used
to have, and leaves at sunset a shilling in the purse which he could
never find there during the reckless season of his dissipation, is not
merely a direct benefit to the individual, but a substantive addition
to the resources and strength of the community. We wish to preach no
ascetic doctrines, nor to curtail the enjoyment of life of any the
least of its fair proportions. Over-fasting and over-feasting are
alike repugnant to our ideas. What we delight to see is, that hundreds
and tens of hundreds, voluntarily turning off from a road which leads
invariably to misery, poverty, and crime, are now treading a more
salubrious path, where, as they proceed, an unreproving conscience and
domestic happiness must cheer them with their blessings, and, in all
probability, worldly prosperity will reward them with its comforts.
The first part, then, of our “Water-Cure” is temperance--by which we
do not mean either that water is the only fluid which mortals shall
imbibe, or that water, even if so exclusively imbibed, is the elixir of
life. We mean a general recognition in the conduct of life, that while
intemperance is senseless, brutish, dangerous, and guilty, temperance
on the contrary--without stinting enjoyment, or balking mirth, or
fettering the freest exhilaration of his nature--secures to man at all
times, whether of relaxation or of toil, the healthful development of
his faculties, and would, in this our own country, prodigious as its
industry is, and magnificent as its achievements have been, redeem
a quantity of time and means wasted, which, rightly employed and
exerted, might elevate the social security and harmony, the political
and commercial ascendancy, the public and the private affluence,
of the British empire above the visionary splendours of an Utopian
commonwealth. Thus far we

    “Fetch our precepts from the Cynick tub,”

without fear of being accused of

    “Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence.”

The external application of our “Water-Cure” sends us plump over head
and ears into as many fathoms as you please. In the middle of the
multitudinous sea, or under the even-down deluge of a shower-bath, we
are equally at home and at ease. No misgivings of any kind restrict
our exhortation to wash and to bathe. Medical advice is so precious a
thing that we are anxious to enhance its value by its rarity. Nothing
will effect this purpose so certainly as the habitude of constant
and sensitive cleanliness among rich and poor, young and old. What
ought to be the cheapest, and what is the most thorough instrument of
cleanliness, is an abundance, an overflowing superabundance, of water.
Before judging our neighbours, we may begin by looking into matters at
home. Is it possible that the metropolis of Scotland, at any season of
any year, shall be in such a condition from want of water as to exclaim
in its agony,

    “Oh, my offence is rank!--it smells to heaven?”

Is it possible that during certain summer months, in more than one
year, of which the recollection does not dry up so readily as the
city-reservoir, water could with difficulty be procured here for love
or money? And is this the place, where the ordinary supply fails
sometimes to meet the ordinary demand, in which it was gravely and
enthusiastically proposed to erect spacious baths for the working
classes? It is infinitely discreditable that such occurrences should
have ever distressed us; but, looking forward both to what the people
themselves are attempting, and to what the government intends to do,
the necessity is apparent for an immense and immediate alteration and
improvement in the supply of water to all large and densely-populated
towns. The squabbles of companies cannot be permitted to banish
health and breed fever. Extensive sanatory measures introduced into
a city of which the water-pipes might be dry during the dog-days,
would be a repetition of the monkey’s exhibition of the beauties of
the magic-lantern, forgetting to light the lamp. The husky voice of
the public, adust with thirst, shall not be wholly inaudible. The
procrastinations of juntos cannot much longer be accumulated with the
vicissitudes of the atmosphere.

When the scheme for the erection of baths for the working classes was
first promulgated here, we individually subscribed our pittance, and
predicted its failure--and for this reason: The plan could not stand
by itself. To make a labourer, at the end of the day’s or the week’s
work, as clean and fresh as soap and hot-water, with all appliances and
means to boot, could make him, and send him to encounter in his own
dwelling and vicinity the filth and the odours of a pig-stye, was not
a very feasible proposition. But personal purification would induce
household tidiness. It might do so, if ventilation and drainage and
space were all at his command, and within his regulation. If they were
not, in what a hopeless contest he engaged! Invisible demons, on whose
invulnerable crests all his blows fell harmlessly, whose subtlety no
precaution on his part could exclude, and to whose potency his own
lustrations only made his senses more acute, would speedily quench his
new-born ardour, and probably seduce him back to the persuasion, that
for one in his position the truth lay in the proverb--“The clartier
the cosier.” We must also give him the benefit of those data which
political economists never refuse to any body--a prolific wife and
numerous progeny. A clean house of one room, open to the incursions and
excursions of seven or eight children, whose playground is the Cowgate,
or, let it be the shores--that is, the common sewers--of the Water of
Leith, is a tolerably desperate speculation. Thither, however, our
operative, radiant from his abstersion, is doomed to repair, that he
may be affronted by the muddy embraces of his infants, and oppressed by
the fragrance of his home. The project of the baths, simply as such,
although excellent in its spirit, and true in its tendency, could not,
we repeat our belief, have been productive, as an isolated effort, of
material or ending benefit. Much must go hand in hand, and step by
step, with it. Ventilation and drainage, and more ample elbow-room,
are indispensible to carry us forward successfully in the momentous
progress on which we are, earnestly, we hope, entering towards the
amelioration of the people. Nor shall we hesitate to affirm, that no
system of education can be satisfactory or complete, which shall not at
least endeavour to provide some means for extricating the offspring of
the lower classes in their tender years, when the superintendence of
father or mother is almost an impossibility for a great portion of the
day, out of the causeway and the dunghill, and if not absolutely to put
them in the way of good, at all events effectually to keep them out of
the way of harm.

Then it is that we shall clamour for water with indomitable
pertinacity. We shall demand it every where--in private houses, in
public baths, and in fountains in our streets and squares. There
can be no excuse for withholding it. Nature has not been niggardly
in her distribution among the neighbouring hills of this simple and
invaluable gift. When sums of money which stagger the most gaping
credulity are revealed so near our thresholds, and demonstrated to be
so readily available for useful purposes, it is neither presumptuous
nor irrational to expect that a few driblets from the still swelling
hoard may be dedicated to operations which, in combination with other
extraordinary conceptions and performances, may crown the present
century as more wonderful than any age, or all the ages, which it has
succeeded. Great Britain, within a little span of time, has launched
into an ocean of hazardous experiments. The voyage is more perilous,
we think, than many anticipate; but if it be otherwise, and our
forebodings are dissipated by steady sunshine and fine weather; if a
new commercial policy shall furnish more sustenance than we require,
without any detriment to native industry; if a grand system of
education is destined to fortify public intelligence, without weakening
public virtue; and if the physical condition of all ranks shall be
ultimately so comfortable as to enable them to enjoy their good dinners
and their good books, let us hope to hear, with our own ears, the
people with one acclaim cry out--“We are well-fed, well-educated,” and
“Our hands are clean!”

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



Transcriber’s Notes


Inconsistencies in punctuation and hyphenation, and possible spelling
errors, were not changed by Transcriber.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; unbalanced quotation
marks were remedied when the change was obvious, and otherwise left
unbalanced. Ambiguous end-of-line hyphens were retained.

Article sources, originally printed at the bottom of the first page of
the article, have been repositioned directly below the title of the
article and enclosed in square brackets.

Page 369: “bauld bauld” was printed that way. One other duplicated word
(“with” on page 385) was removed by Transcriber.





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