A Voyage to the Moon
George Tucker

Part 3 out of 4

which such surplus can support. What they thus give, if the proprietor
retains the land himself, you may regard as the extraordinary profits of
agricultural labour, or rent, if paid to any one to whom he transfers
this benefit. This is precisely our present situation."

There was no denying this statement of facts: but I could not help
exclaiming,--"Surely there is nothing certain in the universe; or
rather, truth is one thing in the moon, and another thing on the earth."


_Farther account of Okalbia--The Field of Roses--Curious superstition
concerning that flower--The pleasures of smell traced to association, by
a Glonglim philosopher._

Though I felt some reluctance to abuse the patience of this polite and
intelligent magistrate, I could not help making some inquiry about the
jurisprudence of his country, and first, what was their system of

"We have no capital punishment," says he; "for, from all we learn, it is
not more efficacious in preventing crime, than other punishments which
are milder; and we prefer making the example to offenders a lasting one.
But we endeavour to prevent offences, not so much by punishment as by
education; and the few crimes committed among us, bring certain censure
on those who have the early instruction of the criminal. Murders are
very rare with us; thefts and robbery perhaps still more so. Our
ordinary disputes about property, are commonly settled by arbitration,
where, as well as in court, each party is permitted to state his case,
to examine what witnesses and to ask what questions he pleases."

"You do not," said I, "examine witnesses who are interested?"

"Why not? The judges even examine the parties themselves."

I then told him that the smallest direct interest in the issue of the
controversy, disqualified a witness with us, from the strong bias it
created to misrepresent facts, and even to misconceive them.

He replied with a smile,--"It seems to me that your extreme fear of
hearing falsehood, must often prevent you from ascertaining the truth.
It is true, that wherever the interest of a witness is involved, it has
an immediate tendency to make him misstate facts: but so would personal
ill-will--so would his sympathies--so would any strong feeling. What,
then, is your course in these cases?"

I told him that these objections applied to the credibility, and not to
the competency, of witnesses, which distinctions of the lawyers I
endeavoured to explain to him.

"Then I think you often exclude a witness who is under a small bias, and
admit another who is under a great one. You allow a man to give
testimony in a case in which the fortune or character of his father,
brother or child is involved, but reject him in a case in which he is
not interested to the amount of a greater sum than he would give to the
first beggar he met. Is it not so?"

"That, indeed, may be the operation of the rule. But cases of such
flagrant inconsistency are very rare; and this rule, like every other,
must be tried by its general, and not its partial effects."

"True; but your rule must at least be a troublesome one, and give rise
to a great many nice distinctions, that make it difficult in the
application. All laws are sufficiently exposed to this evil, and we do
not wish unnecessarily to increase it. We have, therefore, adopted the
plan of allowing either party to ask any question of any witness he
pleases, and leave it to the judges to estimate the circumstances which
may bias the witness. We, in short, pursue the same course in
investigating facts in court that we pursue out of it, when no one forms
a judgment until he has first heard what the parties and their friends
say on the subject."

On my return home, I repeated this conversation to a lawyer of my
acquaintance, who told me that such a rule of evidence might do for the
people in the moon, but it certainly would not suit us. I leave the
matter to be settled by more competent heads than mine, and return to my

I farther learnt from this intelligent magistrate, that the territory of
the Happy Valley, or Okalbia, is divided into forty-two counties, and
each county into ten districts. In each district are three magistrates,
who are appointed by the legislature. Causes of small value are decided
by the magistrates of the district; those of greater importance, by the
county courts, composed of all the magistrates of the ten districts; a
few by the court of last court, consisting of seven judges. The
legislature consists of two houses, of which the members are elected
annually, three from each county for one branch, and one member for the
other. No qualification of property is required either to vote, or to be
eligible to either house of the legislature, as they believe that the
natural influence of property is sufficient, without adding to that
influence by law; and that the moral effects of education among them,
together with a few provisions in their constitution, are quite
sufficient to guard against any improper combination of those who have
small property. Besides, there are no odious privileges exclusively
possessed by particular classes of men, to excite the envy or resentment
of the other classes, and induce them to act in concert.

"Have you, then, no parties?" said I.

"Oh yes; we are not without our political parties and disputes; and we
sometimes wrangle about very small matters--such as, what amount of
labour shall be bestowed on the public roads--the best modes of
conducting our schools and colleges--the comparative merits of the
candidates for office, or the policy of some proposed change in the
laws. Man is made, you know, of very combustible materials, and may be
kindled as effectually by a spark falling at the right time, in the
right place, as when within reach of a great conflagration."

The women appeared here to be under few restraints. I understood that
they were taught, like our sex, all the speculative branches of
knowledge, but that they were more especially instructed, by professed
teachers, in cookery, needlework, and every sort of domestic economy; as
were the young men in the occupations which require strength and
exposure. They have a variety of public schools, and some houses for
public festivals, but no public hospitals or almshouses whatever, the
few cases of private distress or misfortune being left for relief to the
merits of the sufferer and the compassion of individuals.

After passing a week among this singular and fortunate people, whom we
every where found equally amiable, intelligent, and hospitable, we
returned to Alamatua in the same way that we had come; that is, in a
light car, drawn by four large mastiffs. When we had recovered from the
fatigues of the journey, and I had carefully committed to paper all that
I had learnt of the Okalbians, the Brahmin and I took a walk towards a
part of the suburbs which I had not yet seen, and where some of the
literati of his acquaintance resided. The sun appeared to be not more
than two hours high (though, in fact, it was more than fifty); the sky
was without a cloud, and a fresh breeze from the mountains contributed
to make it like one of the most delightful summer evenings of a
temperate climate.

We carelessly rambled along, enjoying the balmy freshness of the air,
the picturesque scenery of the neighbouring mountains, the beauty or
fragrance of some vegetable productions, and the oddity of others,
until, having passed through a thick wood, we came to an extensive
plain, which was covered with rose-bushes. The queen of flowers here
appeared under every variety of colour, size, and species--red, white,
black, and yellow--budding, full-blown, and half-blown;--some with
thorns, and some without; some odourless, and others exhaling their
unrivalled perfume with an overpowering sweetness. I was about to pluck
one of these flowers, (of which I have always been particularly fond,)
when a man, whom I had not previously observed, stepping up behind me,
seized my arm, and asked me if I knew what I was doing. He told us that
the roses of this field, which is called Gulgal, were deemed sacred, and
were not allowed to be gathered without the special permission of the
priests, under a heavy penalty; and that he was one of those whose duty
it was to prevent the violation of the law, and to bring the offenders
to punishment.

The Brahmin, having diverted himself a while with my surprise and
disappointment, then informed me, that the rose had ever been regarded
in Morosofia, as the symbol of female purity, delicacy, and sweetness;
which notion had grown into a popular superstition, that whenever a
marriage is consummated on the earth, one of these flowers springs up in
the moon; and that in colour, shape, size, or other property, it is a
fit type of the individual whose change of state is thus commemorated.

"What, father," said I, "could have given rise to so strange an

"I know not," said he; "but I have heard it thus explained:--That the
roses generally spring up, as well as blow, in the course of their long
nights, during which the earth's resplendent disc is the most
conspicuous object in the heavens; which two facts stand, in the opinion
of the multitude, in the relation of cause and effect. Attributing,
then, the symbolical character of the rose to its tutelary planet, they
regard the earth in the same light as the ancients did the chaste Diana,
and believe that she plants this her favourite flower in the moon,
whenever she loses a votary. The priesthood encourage this superstition,
as they have grafted on it some mystical rites, which add to their power
and profit, and which one of our Pundits thinks has a great resemblance
to the Eleusinian mysteries. There is, however, my dear Atterley, little
satisfaction in tracing the origin of vulgar superstitions. They grow up
like a strange plant in a forest, without our being able to tell how the
seed found its way there. It is generally believed in the east, that the
moon, at particular periods of her revolution round the earth, has a
great influence in causing rain; though every one must see, that,
notwithstanding such influence must be the same in every part of the
earth, it is invariably fair in one place, at the very time that it is
rainy in another. Nay, we may safely aver that there is not a day, nor
an hour, in the year, in which it is not dry and rainy, cloudy and
clear, windy and calm, in hundreds of places at once."

I told the Brahmin that the same opinion prevailed in my country. That
the vulgar also believe the moon, according to its age, to have
particular effects on the flesh of slaughtered animals; and that all
sailors distinguish between a wet and a dry day, according to the
position of the crescent.

We then inquired of the warden of this flowery plain, if he had ever
remarked any difference in the number of roses which sprung up in a
given period of time. He said he thought they were more numerous about
five and twenty or thirty years ago, than he had ever seen them before
or since. With that exception, he said, the number appeared to be nearly
the same every year.

The Brahmin happening to be in one of those pleasant moods which are
occasionally experienced by amiable tempers, even when under the
pressure of sorrow and age, now amused himself in pointing out the
flowers which probably represented the different nations of the earth;
and when he saw any one remarkably small, pale and delicate, he insisted
that it belonged to his own country; which point, however, I, not
yielding to him in nationality, warmly contested. I would here remark,
that as the rose is called _gul_ in the Persian language and the ancient
Sanscrit, the name of this field furnished another argument in support
of the Brahmin's hypothesis of the origin of the moon.

While thus oblivious of the past, and reckless of the future, we were
enjoying the present moment in this _badinage_, and I was extolling the
odour of the rose, as beyond every other grateful to the olfactory
nerves of man, a lively, flippant little personage came up, and accosted
the Brahmin with the familiarity of an acquaintance. My companion
immediately introduced me to him, and at the same time gave me to
understand that this was the great Reffei, one of the most distinguished
literati of the country. Although his eye was remarkably piercing, I
perceived in it somewhat of the wildness which always characterizes a
Glonglim. He was evidently impatient for discussion; and having informed
himself of the subject of my rhapsody when he joined our party, he
vehemently exclaimed,--"I am surprised at your falling in with that
popular prejudice; while it is easy to show, that but for some feeling
of love, or pity, or admiration, with which the rose happens to be
associated--some past pleasure which it brings to your recollection, or
some future pleasure which it suggests,--any other flower would be
equally sweet. You see the rose a very beautiful flower; and you have
been accustomed, whenever you saw and felt its beauty, to perceive, at
the same time, a certain odour. The beauty and the odour thus become
associated in your mind, and the smell brings along with it the pleasure
you feel in looking at it. But the chief part of the gratification you
receive from smelling a rose, arises from some past scene of delight of
which it reminds you; as, of the days of your innocence and childhood,
when you ran about the garden--or when you were decorated with
nosegays--or danced round a may-pole, (this is rather a free
translation)--or presented a bunch of flowers to some little favourite."
He said a great deal more on the subject, and spoke so prettily and
ingeniously, as almost to make a convert of me; when, on bringing my
nose once more to the flower, I found in it the same exquisite
fragrance as ever.

"Why do we like," he continued, "the smell of a beef-steak, or of a cup
of tea, except for the pleasure we receive from their taste?"

I mentioned, as an exception to his theory, the codfish, which is
esteemed a very savoury dish by my countrymen, but which no one ever
regarded as very fragrant. But he repelled my objection by an ingenious
hypothesis, grounded on certain physiological facts, to show that this
supposed disagreeable smell was also the effect of some early
associations. I then mentioned to him assafoetida, the odour of which I
believed was universally odious. He immediately replied, that we are
always accustomed to associate with this drug, the disagreeable ideas of
sickness, female weakness, hysterics, affectation, &c. Unable to
continue the argument, I felt myself vanquished. I again stooped to the
flower, and as I inhaled its perfume, "Surely," said I to myself, "this
rose would be sweet if I were to lose my memory altogether:" but
recollecting the great Reffei's argument, I mentally added thanks to
divine philosophy, which always corrects our natural prejudices.


_Atterley goes to the great monthly fair--Its various exhibitions;
difficulties--Preparations to leave the Moon--Curiosities procured by
Atterley--Regress to the Earth._

The philosopher, not waiting to enjoy the triumph of victory, abruptly
took his leave, and we, refreshed and delighted with our walk, returned
home. Our landlord informed us that we had arrived in good time to
attend the great fair, or market, which regularly takes place a little
before the sun sinks below the horizon. Having taken a short repast,
while the Brahmin called on one of his acquaintance, I sallied forth
into the street, and soon found myself in the bustling throng, who were
hastening to this great resort of the busy, the idle, the knavish, and
the gay; some in pursuit of gain, and some of pleasure; whilst others
again, without any settled purpose, were carried along by the vague
desire of meeting with somewhat to relieve them from the pain
of idleness.

The fair was held in a large square piece of ground in one of the
suburbs, set apart for that purpose; and on each of its four sides a
long low building, or rather roof, supported on massy white columns,
extended about six hundred yards in length, and was thirty yards wide.
Immediately within this arcade were arranged the finer kinds of
merchandise, fabrics of cotton or silk, and articles of jewelry,
cutlery, porcelain, and glass. On the outside were provisions of every
kind, vegetable and animal, flesh, fish, and fowl, as well as the
coarser manufactures. At no great distance from this hollow square,
(which was used exclusively for buying and selling,) might be seen an
infinite variety of persons, collected in groupes, all engaged in some
occupation or amusement, according to their several tastes and humours.
Here a party of young men were jumping, or wrestling, or shooting at a
mark with cross-bows. There, girls and boys were dancing to the sound of
a pipe, or still smaller children were playing at marbles, or amusing
themselves with the toys they had just purchased. Not far from these, a
quack from one scaffold was descanting on the virtues of his medicines,
whilst a preacher from another was holding forth to the graver part of
the crowd, the joys and terrors of another life; and yet farther on, a
motley groupe were listening to a blind beggar, who was singing to the
music of a sort of rude guitar. Here and there curtains, hanging from a
slight frame of wood-work, veiled a small square from the eyes of all,
except those who paid a nail for admittance. Some of these curtained
boxes contained jugglers--some tumblers--some libidinous pictures--and
others again, strange birds, beasts, and other animals. I observed that
none of the exhibitions were as much frequented as these booths; and I
was told that the corporation of the city derived from them a
considerable revenue. Amidst such an infinite variety of objects, my
attention was so distracted that it could not settle down upon any one,
and I strolled about without object or design.

When I had become more familiar with this mixed multitude of sights and
sounds, I endeavoured to take a closer survey of some of the objects
composing the medley. The first thing which attracted my particular
notice, was a profusion of oaths and imprecations, which proceeded from
one of the curtained booths. I paid the admittance money to a
well-dressed man, of smooth, easy manners, and entered. I found there
several parties paired off, and engaged at different games; but, like
the rest of the bystanders, I felt myself most strongly attracted
towards the two who were betting highest. One of these was an elderly
man, of a tall stature, in a plain dress; the other was a short man, in
very costly apparel, and some years younger. For a long time the scales
of victory seemed balanced between them; but at length the tall man, who
had great self-possession, and who played with consummate skill, won the
game: soon after which he rose up, and making a graceful, respectful bow
to the rest of the company, he retired. Not being able to catch his eye,
so intent was he on his game, I felt some curiosity to know whether he
was a Glonglim; but could not ascertain the fact, as some of whom the
Brahmin inquired, said that he was, while others maintained that he was
not. His adversary, however, evidently belonged to that class, and, when
flushed with hope, reminded me of the feather-hunter. At first he
endeavoured, by forced smiles, to conceal his rage and disappointment.
He then bit his lips with vexation, and challenged one of the bystanders
to play for a smaller stake. Fortune seemed about to smile on him on
this occasion; but one of the company, who appeared to be very much
respected by the rest, detected the little man in some false play, and
publicly exposing him, broke up the game. I understood afterwards, that
before the fair was over, the gamester avenged himself for this injury
in the other's blood: that he then returned to the fair, secretly
entered another gambling booth, where he betted so rashly, that he soon
lost not only his patrimonial estate, which was large, but his acquired
wealth, which was much larger. Having lost all his property, and even
his clothes, he then staked and lost his liberty, and even his teeth,
which were very good; and he will thus be compelled to live on soups for
the rest of his life.

I saw several other matches played, in which great sums were betted,
great skill was exhibited, and occasionally much unfairness practised.
There was one man in the crowd, whose extraordinary good fortune I could
not but admire. He went about from table to table, sometimes betting
high and sometimes low, but was generally successful, until he had won
as much as he could fairly carry; after which he went out, and amused
himself at a puppet-show, and the stall of a cake-woman, with whom he
had formerly quarrelled, but who now, when she learnt his success, was
obsequiously civil to him. I did not see that he manifested superior
skill, but still he was successful; and in his last great stake with a
young, but not inexpert player, he won the game, though the chances were
three to two against him. "Surely," thought I, "fortune rules the
destinies of man in the moon as well as on the earth."

On looking now at my watch, I found that I had been longer a witness of
these trials of skill and fortune, than I had been aware; and on leaving
the booth, perceived that the sun had sunk behind the western mountains,
and that the earth began to beam with her nocturnal splendour. Those who
had come from a distance, were already hurrying back with their carts;
and here and there light cars, of various forms and colours, and drawn
by dogs, were conveying those away whose object had been amusement. Some
were snatching a hasty meal; and a few, by their quiet air, seemed as if
they meant to continue on the spot as long as the regulations permit,
after sunset, which is about twenty of our hours. I found the Brahmin at
home when I returned, and I felt as much pleased to see him, as if we
had not seen each other for many months.

As the shades of night approached, my anxiety to return to my native
planet increased, and I urged my friend to lose no time in preparing for
our departure. We were soon afterwards informed that a man high in
office, and renowned for his political sagacity, proposed to detain us,
on the ground that when such voyages as ours were shown to be
practicable, the inhabitants of the earth, who were so much more
numerous than those of the moon, might invade the latter with a large
army, for the purposes of rapine and conquest. We farther learnt that
this opinion, which was at first cautiously circulated in the higher
circles, had become more generally known, and was producing a strong
sensation among the people.

The Brahmin immediately presented himself before the council of state,
to remove the impression. He pointed out to them the insurmountable
obstacles to such an invasion, physical and moral. He urged to them that
the nations of the earth felt so much jealousy and ill-will towards one
another, that they never cordially co-operated in any enterprise for
their common interest or glory; and that if any one nation were to send
an army into the moon, such a scheme of ambition would afford at once a
temptation and pretext for its neighbours to invade it. That his country
had not the ability, and mine had not the inclination, to attack the
liberties of any other: so far from that, he informed them, on my
authority, that we were in the habit of sending teachers abroad, to
instruct other nations in the duties of religion, morals, and humanity.
He entered into some calculations, to show that the project was also
impracticable on account of its expense; and, lastly, insisted that if
all other difficulties were removed, we should find it impossible to
convince the people of the earth that we had really been to the moon. I
have since found that the Brahmin was more right in his last argument,
than I then believed possible.

I am not able to say what effect these representations of the Brahmin
would have produced, if they had not been taken up and enforced by the
political rival of him who had first opposed our departure; but by his
powerful aid they finally triumphed, and we obtained a formal permission
to leave the moon whenever, we thought proper.

As we meant to return in the same machine in which we came, we were not
long in preparing for our voyage. We proposed to set out about the
middle of the night; and we passed the chief part of the interval in
making visits of ceremony, and in calling on those who had shown us
civility. I endeavoured also, to collect such articles as I thought
would be most curious and rare in my own country, and most likely to
produce conviction with those who might be disposed to question the fact
of my voyage. I was obliged, however, to limit myself to such things as
were neither bulky nor weighty, the Brahmin thinking that after we had
taken in our instruments and the necessary provisions, we could not
safely take more than twenty or thirty pounds in addition.

Some of my lunar curiosities, which I thought would be most new and
interesting to my countrymen, have proved to be very familiar to our men
of science. This has been most remarkably the case with my mineral
specimens. Of the leaves and flowers of above seventy plants, which I
brought, more than forty are found on the earth, and several of these
grow in my native State. With the insects I have been more successful;
but some of these, as well as of the plants, I am assured, are found on
the coasts of the Pacific, or in the islands of that ocean; which fact,
by the way, gives a farther support to the Brahmin's hypothesis.

Besides the productions of nature that I have mentioned, I procured some
specimens of their cloth, a few light toys, a lady's turban decorated
with cantharides, a pair of slippers with heavy metallic soles, which
are used there for walking in a strong wind, and by the dancing girls to
prevent their jumping too high. As this metal, which gravitates to the
moon, is repelled from the earth, these slippers assist the wearer here
in springing from the ground as much as they impeded it in the moon, and
therefore I have lent them to Madame ----, of the New-York Theatre, who
is thus enabled to astonish and delight the spectators with her
wonderful lightness and agility.

But there is nothing that I have brought which I prize so highly as a
few of their manuscripts. The Lunarians write as we do, from left to
right; but when their words consist of more than one syllable, all the
subsequent syllables are put over the first, so that what we call _long
words_, they call _high_ ones: which mode of writing makes them more
striking to the eye. This peculiarity has, perhaps, had some effect in
giving their writers a magniloquence of style, something like that which
so laudably characterises our Fourth of July Orations and Funeral
Panegyrics: that composition being thought the finest in which the words
stand highest. Another advantage of this mode of writing is, that they
can crowd more in a small page, so that a long discourse, if it is also
very eloquent, may be compressed in a single page. I have left some of
the manuscripts with the publisher of this work, for the gratification
of the public curiosity.

Having taken either respectful or affectionate leave of all, and got
every thing in readiness, on the 20th day of August, 1825, about
midnight we again entered our copper balloon, if I may so speak, and
rose from the moon with the same velocity as we had formerly ascended
from the earth. Though I experienced somewhat of my former sensations,
when I again found myself off the solid ground, yet I soon regained my
self-possession; and, animated with the hope of seeing my children and
country, with the past success of our voyage, and (I will not disguise
it,) with the distinction which I expected it would procure me from my
countrymen, I was in excellent spirits. The Brahmin exhibited the same
mild equanimity as ever.

As the course of our ascent was now less inclined from the vertical line
than before, in proportion as the motion of the moon on its axis, is
slower than that of the earth, we for some hours could see the former,
only by the light reflected from our planet; and although the objects on
the moon's surface were less distinct, they appeared yet more beautiful
in my eyes than they had done in the glare of day. The difference,
however, may be in part attributed to my being now in a better frame of
mind for enjoying the scene. As our distance increased, the face of the
moon became of a lighter and more uniform tint, until at length it
looked like one vast lake of melted silver, with here and there small
pieces of greyish dross floating on it. After contemplating this lovely
and magnificent spectacle for about an hour, I turned to the Brahmin,
and reminded him of his former promise to give me the history of his
early life. He replied, "as you have seen all that you can see of the
moon, and the objects of the earth are yet too indistinct to excite much
interest, I am not likely to have a more suitable occasion;" and after a
short pause, he began in the way that the reader may see in the
next chapter.


_The Brahmin gives Atterley a history of his life._

"I have already informed you that I was born at Benares, which, as you
know, is a populous city on the banks of the Ganges, and the most
celebrated seat of Hindoo science and literature. My father was a priest
of Vishun, of a high rank; and as his functions required him to live
within the precincts of the Pagoda, he was liberally maintained out of
its ample revenues. I was his only son, and according to the usage of
our country, was destined to the same holy calling. At an early age I
was put under a private tutor, and then sent to one of the schools
attached to the Pagoda. Upon what little matters, my dear Atterley, do
our fortunes, and even our characters depend! Had I been sent to another
school, the whole destiny of my life would have been changed.

"I was in my twelfth year when I entered this school, which contained
from thirty to forty boys about my age. The cleverest of these was Balty
Mahu, who, like myself, belonged to the higher order of Brahmins. He
took the lead, not only in the exercises within the school, but in all
the sports and pastimes out of it. Nature, however, had not been equally
kind to him in temper and disposition. He was restless, ambitious,
proud, vindictive, and implacable. He could occasionally, too, practise
cunning and deception; although anger and violence were more congenial
to his nature.

"It soon appeared that I was to be his rival in the school, and from
that moment he cordially hated me. The praises that had previously been
lavished on him by the teacher, were now shared by me, and most of the
boys secretly rejoiced to see his proud spirit humbled. In our sports I
was also his successful competitor. Nature had given me an excellent
constitution; and though I had not a very robust frame, I could boast of
great agility and flexibility of limbs. When the sun had descended
behind the mountain which screened our play-ground from his evening
rays, we commonly amused ourselves in foot-races, and other pastimes, of
which running was an important part. In this exercise I had no equal. I
could also jump higher and farther than any boy in school, except one,
and that one was not Balty Mahu.

"His ill-will was not slow in manifesting itself. He took every occasion
of contradicting me: sometimes indulged in sly sneers at my expense, and
now and then even attempted to turn me into open ridicule. I always
replied with spirit; but I found such contests as disagreeable to me as
they were new. One evening, under the pretext that I had purposely
jostled him in running, he struck me, and we fought. Although he was
probably stronger than I, as he was heavier and older, my suppleness
enabled me to get the better of him in a wrestle; and I got him under
me, when the master, attracted by the shouts of the boys, made his
appearance. He separated and reproved us, and sent us off in disgrace to
our respective rooms. From that time Balty Mahu treated me with more
outward respect than before; but I believe he hated me with more rancour
than ever.

"I had now become the general favourite of the boys. The school was,
indeed, divided into parties, but mine was much the strongest; and of
those who adhered to my rival, very few seemed cordially to dislike me.
Though this state of things was very annoying to me, it proved
advantageous in one respect, as it made me more diligent in my studies,
lest I should furnish my rival with an occasion of triumphing ever me;
so that I owe a part of what I gained to the enmity of my rival.

"When I had reached my sixteenth year, I was removed to the college in
Benares. This is commonly a very interesting event in the life of a
youth, as it reminds him that he is drawing near the period of manhood,
and leaves him more a master of his actions. But on the present occasion
my pleasure had two drawbacks: I could not but feel the contrast between
the warm and confiding attachment of my late school-fellows, and the
coldness and reserve of my new companions. Yet the most disagreeable
circumstance was, that I here met with my former rival, Balty Mahu. He
had entered the college about a month before me, and, aware of my
intention, had spared no pains, as I afterwards learnt, of prejudicing
the students against me.

"After a few months, however, our relative standing was the same here as
it had been at the school. I gradually overcame the prejudices of the
students, and gained their good will, while he was always giving offence
by his meddlesome disposition and overbearing manners: yet his talents
and force of character always procured him a few followers, whom he
managed as he pleased. Of their aid he made use to gratify his
malevolence towards me, for this feeling had grown with his growth, and
now seemed to be the master passion of his breast. I was able to trace
the result of their machinations every where. Sometimes it was intimated
to the teachers that I had been assisted in my exercises; at others,
that I had infringed the college rules, or had put false reports in
circulation, or had neglected some of the many ceremonies required by
our religion. This was their favourite, as well as the most efficient
mode of attack, as in these respects there was some colour for their

"In my early childhood I had been spared, by the tenderest of mothers,
from many of the ablutions practised by the Hindoos, under the belief
that they would be injurious to my constitution, which, though healthy,
had never been robust. A foundation was thus laid with me for habitual
remissness in these ceremonies; and after I grew up, I persuaded myself
that they were of less importance than they were deemed by my
countrymen. My chief delight had ever been in books; and although, when
engaged in active pursuits, I took a lively interest in them for the
time, I always returned to my first love with unabated ardour.

"Some of these accusations, being utterly groundless, I was able to
disprove; but the few that were true I endeavoured to excuse, and thus,
by their admission, credit was procured for their most unfounded
calumny. These petty transgressions, (for I cannot even now regard them
as sins,) industriously reported and artfully exaggerated, did me
lasting injury with all the most pious of our caste. The charitable
portion, indeed, were merely estranged from me; but the more bigoted
part began to regard me with aversion and horror.

"In one of our vacations, my father allowed me to visit a brother of
his, who lived in the country, about thirty miles from Benares. My uncle
had two sons, of nearly my own age, and several daughters. With the
former I rode, played chess, and engaged in such sports as are not
forbidden to my profession; but my female cousins I seldom saw, as they
rarely left their Zenana, into which I was not permitted to enter. I was
of an age to be desirous of becoming better acquainted with my female
cousins, especially after I learnt that they then had as guests, a lady
and her daughter, who had come to pass some weeks here during the
absence of her husband, then employed in some public mission to
Calcutta. But it was only now and then that I had been able to catch a
transient and distant view of these females, during the first week after
my arrival; and the little I saw, served but to increase my curiosity.
Chance, however, soon afforded me the means of gratifying it.

"An important festival in our calendar was now approaching, and
preparations were made to celebrate it in various modes, and, amongst
others, by a fight between a _royal_ tiger and an elephant. For several
days all was bustle and confusion in my uncle's family. Howdahs, newly
gilded and painted, were provided for the elephants--new caparisons for
the horses--new liveries for the attendants--cloth and silk, of the
richest dyes and hues, united with a profusion of gold and silver
ornaments, to dazzle the eye with their varied splendour. This was one
of those exhibitions, which those who were intended for the priesthood,
were prohibited from attending. I confess, when I witnessed these showy
and costly preparations, and pictured to myself the magnificent scene
for which they were intended--those formidable animals contending in
mortal conflict--the thousands of gaily dressed spectators, gazing in
breathless anxiety,--I repined at my lot, and regretted I had not been
born in a condition which, though of less dignity, would not have cut me
off from some of the most exquisite pleasures of life. At length the
important day arrived, and I found my mortification so acute, that I
determined to withdraw myself, as much as I could, from a scene that I
could not witness without pain. Among my acquirements at college, was a
knowledge of your language; and I had now begun to take the liveliest
interest in its beautiful fictions, which I greatly preferred to ours,
as being more true to nature, and as exhibiting women in characters at
once lovely, pure, and elevated. I was then reading "The Vicar of
Wakefield," and had reached the middle of that interesting tale, on the
morning of the festival, when my tranquillity was interrupted in the way
I have mentioned. Accordingly, taking my book and English dictionary, I
retired to a small summer-house at the foot of the garden, and
determined to remain there till the cavalcade had set out. It was some
time before I could fix my attention on what I read; but after a while,
the interest the book had previously excited returned, and I became at
length so engrossed by the incidents of the story, as to forget the
festival, the procession, the tiger, and the elephant, as much as if
they had never before entered my head.

"After some hours passed in this intellectual banquet, I waked from my
day dream, and I thought again of the spectacle with a feeling bordering
on indifference. I walked towards the house, where all appeared to be
still and silent as a desert. I entered it, and of the forty or fifty
menials belonging to it, not one was to be seen. Those who were not in
attendance on the family, had sought some respite from their ordinary
labours. The Zenana then caught my eye, and I felt irresistibly impelled
to enter it. I used great caution, however, looking around me in every
direction as I proceeded there. I found the same silence and desertion
as in the other parts of the mansion. I passed through a sitting-room
into a long gallery, with which the bed-chambers of the ladies
communicated. The doors were all open, and the whole interior of their
apartments exhibited so strange a medley of unseemly objects, and such
utter disorder, as materially to affect my opinion of female delicacy,
and to damp my desire of becoming acquainted with my cousins. I passed
on, with a feeling of disappointment bordering on disgust, when I came
to a room which went far to redeem the character of the sex in my
estimation. Here all was neatness and propriety: every thing was either
in place, or only enough out of it to indicate the recent occupation of
the room, or to show the taste or talent of the occupant; such as a book
left half open at one end of an ottoman, and a piece of embroidery at
the other. The flowers too, which decorated the room, showed by their
freshness that they had not long left their beds. I could not help
stopping to survey a scene which accorded so well with my previous
notions of female refinement. At the end of the gallery was a veranda,
facing the east, and surrounded by lattices. In this were a number of
flower-pots, arranged with the same air of neatness and taste as had
been conspicuous in the chamber. I entered it, for the purpose of
looking into the flower-garden, with which it communicated; and on
approaching the lattice, I saw, seated in an alcove not far from the
veranda, a face and form that struck me as being the most beautiful I
had ever beheld. I remained for some time riveted to the spot, but soon
found myself irresistibly impelled to get a nearer view of the lovely
object. With as light a step and as little noise as possible, I
descended into the garden from the veranda, and approaching the alcove
on the side where its foliage was thickest, I found that the beauty, of
which I had before thought so highly, did not appear less on a closer
survey. The vision on which I gazed in silent rapture, a maiden, who,
though she had apparently attained her full stature, did not seem to be
more than thirteen or fourteen years of age. Her eyes had the brightness
and fulness of the antelope's, but, owing to their long silken lashes,
were yet more expressive of softness than of spirit; and at this time
they evinced more than usual languor. She was in a rich undress, and was
apparently an invalid. Her long raven locks hung with careless grace,
partly behind, and partly over, a neck that might have served as a model
for the sculptor. She was looking wistfully on a bunch of flowers in her
hand, which I felt pleasure in recognising to be the same I had seen on
the piece of embroidery. I feared to advance, lest I should give
offence; but I felt also unable to retreat. I fancied I saw one of those
lovely and dignified females which the writers in your language describe
so well. But a sudden movement of the fair damsel to get up, bringing me
full in her view, she started back with alarm and surprise, and in a
moment afterwards her cheek, which had been before pale, almost to
European whiteness, was deeply suffused. I respectfully approached her,
and inquired if she was one of my cousins. She answered in the negative;
said she was on a visit to the family, to whom she was related: added
that she had not expected to see any one in the garden; but this was
said as if she meant rather to apologise for her undress, than to
reproach me for my intrusion. These remarks were uttered with a
propriety and sweetness that won upon me yet more than her beauty. I
then, in return, assured her that I had not supposed any of the family
had remained at home, when I strolled to this part of the mansion. I
begged she would not regard me with the formality of a stranger; and
insisted that, as she was the cousin of my relation, she was also mine.
To this ingenious argument she answered with so much good sense, and at
the same time, so much gentleness and artlessness, that I thought I
could have listened to her for ever. While I spoke, she continued to
move on. I entreated to know if she was satisfied with my apology;
repeated that I had not meant to intrude on her privacy. She mildly
replied that she was. I then asked permission to call her cousin. She
said she should not object, if it would gave me pleasure. It was, my
dear Atterley, her ineffable sweetness of disposition, and of manners so
entirely free from pride, coquetry, or affectation, in which this lovely
creature excelled all other women, yet more than in beauty and grace. I
then inquired when I should again see my lovely cousin. She replied, "I
walk in the great garden sometimes with my companions, when their
brothers are away; but the girls will not think it proper to walk when
you are there." Perceiving that I looked chagrined, she added: "It is
said, you know, that the light from mens' eyes is yet worse for womens'
faces than the light of the sun;" and she blushed as if she had said
something wrong. I stammered out I know not what extravagant compliment
in reply, and entreated that I might have an opportunity of seeing and
conversing with her sometimes: to which she promptly answered that she
should not object, if her mother approved it. I inquired why she had not
attended the exhibition; when I learnt from her, that, as she had been
slightly indisposed the day before, and her mother being unwilling she
should expose herself to the heat of the weather and the crowd, she had
been left under the care of her nurse; but that finding herself better,
she had permitted her attendants to walk over the grounds, while she
amused herself in embroidery; and that she had come into the garden to
get a fresh supply of the flowers she was working.

"She had by this time approached a small gate, which communicated with
the apartments on the ground-floor of the Zenana; when, turning to me,
she said, "You can return the way you came, but I must leave you here;"
and, making a slight bow, she sprung like a young fawn through the gate,
and was out of sight in a moment.

"You may wonder, my dear Atterley, that I should remember all these
minute circumstances, after the lapse of more than forty years; but
every incident of that day is as fresh in my memory as the occurrence of
yesterday. To this single green spot in my existence, my mind is never
tired of returning.

"I continued for some time in a sort of dreaming ecstasy; but as soon as
I collected my thoughts, I began to devise some scheme by which I could
again have the happiness of seeing and conversing with the lovely
Veenah. My brain had before that time teemed with ambitious projects of
distinguishing myself; sometimes as a priest--sometimes as a writer; and
occasionally I thought I would bend all my efforts to rouse my
countrymen to throw off the ignominious yoke of Great Britain. But this
short interview had changed the whole current of my thoughts. I had now
a new set of feelings, opinions, and wishes. My mind dwelt solely upon
the pleasures of domestic life--the surpassing bliss of loving and of
being beloved.

"When the cavalcade returned in the evening, its gaudy magnificence,
which I would not permit myself even to see in the morning, I now
regarded with cold indifference; nay, more, I congratulated myself on
having missed the exhibition, though a few hours before I had deemed
this privation one of the misfortunes of my life.

"The next day I went to the garden betimes; and as it communicated with
the shrubbery and grounds attached to the Zenana, and the males of the
family occasionally entered it when the ladies were not present, I
prevailed on the gardener to grant me admission, under the pretext of
gathering some uncommonly fine mangoes, which were then ripe. I went to
the several spots where I had first seen Veenah--where I had conversed
with her--where I had parted from her; and they each had some secret and
indescribable charm for me. I fear, Atterley, I fatigue you. The
feelings of which I speak, are fully known only to the natives of warm
climates, and to those but once in their lives."

I assured him that he was mistaken; that the emotions he described, were
the same in all countries, and at all times, and begged him to proceed.

"I repeated my visit," he continued, "several times the same day, under
any pretext I could invent--to gather an orange, or other fruit--to
pluck a rose--to frighten away mischievous birds--to catch the
unobstructed breeze, or sit in a cooler shade; in which artifices I
played a part that had before been foreign to my nature. I was
disappointed, however, in my wishes. I thought, indeed, I once saw some
one in the veranda, looking through the lattice into the garden, but the
figure soon disappeared.

"On the following day I had the satisfaction to hear my young companions
propose to go on a fishing party, an amusement in which, by the rules of
my caste, I was not allowed to partake. They had scarcely left the house
before I flew to the garden with a book in my hand, and passing as
before to the shrubbery, I buried myself in a close thicket at one end
of it. I remained there from the morning till late in the afternoon,
without refreshment of any kind; and such was the intensity of my
emotion, that I did not feel the want of it. At length, a little before
sunset, I saw Veenah and her three cousins enter the garden. I soon
contrived to show myself, with my book in my hand. I approached, bowed
to them all, but to Veenah last; and although my cousins showed surprise
at seeing me in their garden, at this time, they did not seem
displeased. I felt very desirous, I could not tell why, to conceal my
feelings from every person except her who was the object of them. I
forced a conversation with my two eldest cousins, who were modest
pleasing girls, and then with an embarrassed air addressed a few words
to Veenah and her companion, the youngest of my cousins. Occasionally I
would stray off from them as if I was about to leave them, and then
suddenly return. In one of these movements, I perceived that Veenah and
her associate had separated from the others, and strolled to a distant
part of the garden. I soon joined them as if it were by accident,
entered into conversation with them alternately, and of course only one
half of that which I either heard or said proceeded from the heart or
found its way thither. I know not if Veenah expected to see me, but she
was dressed with unusual care. We had not been conversing many minutes
before the eldest sister beckoning to them, they bid me good night and
returned to the house.

"To the same sort of management I had recourse every day, and seldom
failed to see and converse with Veenah, sometimes in company with all
her cousins, but oftener with Fatima, the youngest. By dividing my
attentions among them all, I succeeded for a while in concealing from
them the object of my preference; but the sex are too sharp-sighted to
be long deceived in these matters. As soon as I perceived that my secret
was discovered, I endeavoured to make a friend of Fatima, in which I was
successful. After this our meetings were more frequent, and what was of
greater importance, they were uninterrupted. Fatima, who was one of the
most generous and amiable girls in the world, would often take Veenah
out to walk, when her sisters were otherwise engaged; at which times she
was perpetually contriving, under some little pretext, to leave us
alone. We were not long in understanding each other; and when I urged
our early marriage, she ingenuously replied, that I had her consent
whenever I had her father's, and that she hoped I could obtain that; but
added, (and she trembled while she spoke) she did not know his views
respecting her. In the first raptures of requited affection, what lover
thinks of difficulties? In obtaining Veenah's heart I believed that all
mine were at an end, and my time was passed in one dream of unmixed
delight. Oh! what happiness I enjoyed in these interviews--in seeing
Veenah--in gazing on her lovely features--in listening to her
sentiments, that were sometimes gay and thoughtless, sometimes serious
and melancholy, but always tender and affectionate,--and now and then,
when not perceived, in venturing to take her hand. These fleeting joys
are ever recurring to my imagination, to show me what my lot might have
been, and to contrast it with its sad reverse!

"The time now approached for Veenah and her mother to return to Benares.
On the evening before they set out, Fatima contrived for us a longer
interview than usual. It was as melancholy as it was tender. But in the
midst of my grief, at the prospect of our separation, I recollected that
we were soon to meet again in the city; while Veenah's tears, for she
did not attempt to disguise or suppress her feelings, seemed already to
forebode that our happiness was here to terminate.

"When about to part, we exchanged amaranths I took her hand to bid her
adieu, and, without seeming to intend it, our lips met, and the first
kiss of love was moistened with a tear. Pardon me, Atterley, nature will
have her way."--And here the venerable man wept aloud.

I availed myself of this interruption to the narrative, to propose to my
venerable friend to take some refreshment. Having partaken of a frugal
repast, and invigorated ourselves, each with about four hours sleep, the
Brahmin thus resumed his story.


_The Brahmin's story continued--The voyage concluded--Atterley and the
Brahmin separate--Atterley arrives in New--York._

"I was not slow to follow Veenah to the city, and as had been agreed
upon, had to ask the consent of her father to our union, as soon as I
had obtained the approbation of my own. Here I met with a difficulty
which I had not expected. My partial father had formed very high hopes
of my future advancement, and thought that an early marriage, though not
incompatible with my profession, or a successful discharge of its
duties, would put an end to my ambition, or at all events, lessen my
exertions. He first urged me to postpone my wishes, till I had completed
my college course, and had by travelling seen something of the world.
But finding me immoveable on this point, he then suggested that I might
meet with serious obstacles from Veenah's father, whom he represented as
remarkable both for his avarice and his bigotry; that consequently he
was likely to dispose of his daughter to the son-in-law who could pay
most liberally for her; and that the imputations which had been cast on
my religious creed, would reach his ears, if they had not already done
so, and be sure to prejudice him against me.

"These last considerations prevailed on me to defer my application to
Shunah Shoo, until the suspicions regarding my faith had either died
away, or been falsified by my scrupulous observance of all religious
duties. My excellent mother, who at first had entered into my feelings
and seconded my views, readily acquiesced in the good sense of my
father's advice.

"My next object was to communicate this to Veenah. I accordingly sat
down, and wrote a full account of all that had occurred, and folding up
the packet, hurried to the opposite quarter of the town where Shunah
Shoo lived. It was then in the dusk of the evening, and I was fearful it
was too late for me to be recognised; but after I had taken two or three
turns in the street, I saw the white amaranth I had given Veenah,
suspended by a thread from the lattice of an upper window. I immediately
held up the packet, and soon afterwards a cord was let down from the
same lattice to the ground. To this I hastily fastened the paper, and
passed on to avoid observation. The next evening you may be sure I was
at the same spot. The little amaranth again announced that I was
recognised; and as soon as we were satisfied that no one was observing
us, the cord let down one letter and took up another. Veenah's pen had
given an expression to her feelings, that her tongue had never ventured
to do before. She moreover commended my course--besought me to be
prudent--and above all, to do nothing to offend her father.

"The first letter which a lover receives from his mistress, is a new era
in his life. Again and again I kissed the precious paper, and almost
wore it out in my bosom. We afterwards improved in this mode of
intercourse, and, by various preconcerted signals, were able to carry on
our correspondence altogether in the night. Not a day passed that we did
not exchange letters, which, though they contained few facts, and always
expressed the same sentiments, still repeated what we were never tired
of hearing. To the moment at which I was to receive a letter from
Veenah, my thoughts were continually and anxiously turned: and it now
seems to me as if our passion was inflamed yet more by this sort of
intercourse, than by our personal interviews. I am convinced it wrought
more powerfully upon our imaginations. In the mean time I continued my
daily attendance at college, though my studies were utterly neglected,
one single object absorbing all my thoughts and feelings.

"I know not whether the evident change in my habits induced my old
enemy, Balty Mahu, to observe my motions. But so it was, that one
moonlight night I thought I was watched by some person; and on the
following night an individual of the same figure, and whom I now
suspected to be Balty Mahu, came suddenly from a cross street, and
passed near me. A few evenings afterwards, instead of a letter, I
received a scrap of paper from Veenah, on which was written the
following words:--

"We are discovered. Balty Mahu, who is my relative and your enemy, has
been here. He has persuaded my father that you are an unbeliever. I am
denied pen and ink. If you cannot convince my father of his error, O!
pity, and try to forget, your unhappy VEENAH."

"This writing was indistinctly traced with a burnt stick, on a blank
leaf torn out of a book. In the first moment of indignation, I felt
disposed to seek Balty Mahu, the great enemy of my life, and wreak my
vengeance on him for all his persecutions; but the conviction that such
a course would extinguish the last spark of hope, restrained me. I then
determined to see Shunah Shoo, and endeavour to remove his prejudices. I
accordingly called on him at his own house: but after he had heard my
vindication, (to which he evidently gave no credit,) he coolly told me
that he meant to dispose of his daughter in another way. The words fell
like ice upon my heart. I expostulated; and, offensive as was his
haughty air, even had recourse to entreaty. But he, in a yet harsher
manner, told me that he must be permitted to manage his own affairs in
his own way; and added, that he did not wish to be longer prevented from
attending to them. I was compelled to retire, with my heart almost as
full of hatred for the father, as of love for the child.

"On the same night, I again betook myself to the street in which Shunah
Shoo lived, but not by the ordinary route. I cautiously approached his
house. All was stillness and quiet: no light appeared to be burning in
Veenah's room, nor indeed in any other part of the house. I hence
concluded that they had now deprived her of light, as well as of pen and
ink. I continued in the street until near morning, straining my eyes and
ears in the hope of catching something that would give me intelligence
concerning her. Often, in the course of that painful suspense, did I
fancy I heard a noise at the lattice in Veenah's apartment, or in some
other part of the mansion; and once I persuaded myself I saw a light:
but these illusions served only to aggravate my disappointment. The next
morning, before I had left my room, my father informed me that Shunah
Shoo, with his family, had left Benares early the preceding evening; but
whither they had gone, he had not learnt.

"I rose, and immediately set about discovering their course; but all I
could learn was, that they had embarked in one of the passage-boats
which ply on the Ganges, and that Shunah had taken his palanquins and
many of his servants with him: and, as Balty Mahu had suddenly absented
himself from college at the same time, I did not doubt that he had aided
in executing the plan which he had also probably formed. My father, who
saw what I suffered, spared no pains to discover the place of their
retreat; but our endeavours were all ineffectual.

"At the end of three months, in which time my anxiety increased rather
than diminished, the mystery was dispelled. It was now trumpeted through
the city, that Shunah Shoo had returned to Benares in great pomp,
accompanied by a wealthy Omrah of a neighbouring district, to whom he
had given, or rather sold, his daughter. The news came upon me like a
clap of thunder. My previous state of suspense was happiness compared
with what I now felt, when I knew she was in the arms of another. In the
first transports of my grief and rage, I could have freely put to death
the father, daughter, husband, and myself. I was particularly desirous
of seeing Veenah, and venting on her the bitterest reproaches. Unjust
that I was! Her sufferings were not inferior to mine; but she had not,
like me, the privilege of making them known. I soon found that
Hircarrahs, in the pay of Balty Mahu, watched all my motions; and if I
had attempted any scheme of vengeance, its execution would have been

"After my first transports had subsided into deep and settled grief, my
love and tenderness for Veenah returned in full force. I endeavoured to
get a sight of her, and thought I should be comparatively happy if I
could converse with her, as formerly, though she was the wife of
another. After a short time, my uncle's family came to Benares, on a
visit to my father and to Shunah Shoo. By the aid of my indulgent
mother, who was seriously alarmed for what she saw I suffered, I was
able to see Fatima, and to make her the bearer of a letter to Veenah,
complaining of her breach of faith, and soliciting an interview. She
verbally replied to it through Fatima; and stated, in her justification,
that she was hurried from Benares to a town on the river, whence she was
rapidly transported to the castle of Omrah, who had not long before lost
his wife, and who was more than four times her age. That notwithstanding
the notions of filial obedience in which she had been brought up, and
the severity with which her father had ever exercised his authority, she
had resisted his commands on this occasion, and would have preferred
death to marrying the Omrah--nay, would have inflicted it on herself;
but that finding her unyielding after all their exertions, they had
effected their purpose by a deception which they had practised on her,
wherein it seemed that I had unconsciously concurred; for, by means of
an intercepted letter of mine to Fatima, in which, hopeless of learning
the place of Veenah's retreat, I had expressed an intention of visiting
England; and, by the farther aid of some dexterous forgeries, calculated
to impose on more experienced minds than hers, they succeeded in
persuading her that I had actually set out for Europe, with an intention
of never returning. That entertaining no doubt of this intelligence
--hopeless of ever seeing me again, and indifferent to every
thing besides, she had been led an unresisting victim to the altar.

"Such was the vindication which she considered it just to make me. But
all the entreaties of Fatima--all my letters, impassioned as they were,
appealing at once to her generosity, humanity, and love,--could not
prevail on her to grant me an interview.

"'Tell him,' said she, 'that heaven has forbid it, and to its decrees we
are bound to submit. I am now the wife of another, and it is our duty to
forget all that is past. But if this be possible, my heart tells me it
can be only by our never meeting!'

"In saying this, she wept bitterly; but at the same time exacted a
promise from Fatima, that she would never mention the subject to her
again. Finding her thus inexorable, I fell into a settled melancholy,
and my health was visibly declining. The Europeans consider the natives
of Hindostan to be feeble and effeminate; but the soul, that which
distinguishes man from brutes, acts with an intensity and constancy of
purpose of which they can furnish no examples.

"How long I could have withstood the corrosive effects of my hopeless
passion, irritated as it was by my being in the vicinity of its
object--by hearing perpetually of her beauty, and sometimes catching a
glimpse of it,--I know not; but the Omrah, after a few months spent with
his father-in-law, returned with his bride to his castle in the country.
Yielding now to the wishes of my anxious parents, I consented to travel.
I was at first benefited by the exercise and change of scene; but after
a while, my melancholy returned, and my health grew worse. Though
indifferent to life itself, and all that it now promised, I exerted
myself for the sake of my parents, especially of my mother, who suffered
so acutely on my account: but I carried a barbed arrow in my heart, and
the greater the efforts to extract it, the more they rankled the wound.

"After spending more than a year in travelling, first through the
mountainous district of our country, and then along the coast, and
finding no change for the better, I determined to try the effect of a
sea voyage. I accordingly embarked at Calcutta, in a coasting vessel
that was bound to Madras. At this time I had wasted away to a mere
skeleton, and no one who saw me, believed I could live a month. Such,
indeed, were my own impressions. In the letter which I wrote to my
parents, I endeavoured to prepare them for the worst. When, after a long
voyage, we reached Madras, my health was evidently improved; but a piece
of intelligence I here received, had perhaps a still greater effect I
learnt that Balty Mahu, who had kept himself concealed from me before I
left Benares, had lately visited Madras, on a travelling tour. This news
operated on me like a charm. The idea of avenging myself on the author
of all my calamities, infused new life into my exhausted frame, and from
the moment that I determined to pursue him, I felt like another man.

"You must not, however, suppose that I even then entertained the purpose
of taking away my enemy's life. No, I could not bring my mind exactly to
that; but I had a vague, undefined hope, that if we met, some new
provocation on his part would afford me just occasion for avenging
myself on all; so ingenious, my dear friend, is the sophistry of
the passions.

"I lost no time in setting out on the track of Balty Mahu, and, ere many
days, overtook him at a small town which he had left just as I entered
it, but not before he had received, through his servant, notice of my
arrival. My wary enemy, who had little expected to see me here, and who
had travelled as much to keep out of my way as to see the country,
conjectured my purpose, from the consciousness of what he had done to
provoke it. Thus, while we both appeared to others to be merely making a
tour of Hindostan, it was soon known to both of us, that my chief
purpose was to pursue him, and his to elude my pursuit. In the ardour,
as well as exercise of the chase, my health mended rapidly, but I was no
nearer the object of my pursuit; for, although I travelled somewhat
faster than Bally Mahu, as he wished to avoid the appearance of flying
from me, he sometimes contrived to put me on a wrong track. In this way
I was once led to travel towards the coast, while he proceeded in an
opposite direction to Benares, where he considered he would be most safe
from my vengeance, and where the restraints both of religion and law
would be more likely to operate on me than in a foreign district.

"My usual practice, on arriving at any town, was to endeavour to learn
if Balty Mahu had passed through it; if so, when and in what direction;
and to get the information, if possible, without seeming to seek it. On
one of these occasions, I heard from a party of merchants that the Omrah
Addaway, whose health had been declining for some time, had gone to
Benares, for the benefit of medical advice; that his disease, however,
had become more serious; and that it was generally thought it would soon
occasion his death. What a train of new thoughts, hopes, and desires,
did this intelligence excite in me! At first, influenced by the custom
of my country, which prohibits widows from marrying again, I thought
only of the pleasure of Veenah's society, which I should, of course, be
permitted to enjoy, when duty no longer forbade it; but my imagination
kindling in its course, I soon pictured her to myself as my wife. The
usages which stood in the way of our union, appeared to me barbarous and
absurd, and I thought that, banishment from my country, with Veenah,
would be infinitely better than any other condition of life without her.
These new-born visions so entirely absorbed me, that Balty Mahu was
entirely forgotten, or remembered only as we think of an insect which
had stung us an hour before. I travelled on at a yet more rapid rate
than I had done; and, without stopping on the road to make inquiries, I
heard enough to satisfy me that the Omrah could not long survive. When
within something more than ten leagues of Benares, I called, about
twilight, at a small inn, and meant, after refreshing myself with a few
hours' rest, to proceed on my journey. Two travellers were there, who
had just left Benares, and had taken up their quarters for the night.
They soon fell into conversation about the place they had left, when the
mention of Shunah Shoo's name excited my attention.

"'What a shame,' said one, 'that he should have sacrificed that
beautiful young creature to the rich old Omrah, when she had so good an
offer as Gurameer, the Brahmin Gafawad's only son.'

"'And is it not strange,' said the other, 'that a woman so young and
beautiful, should be content to follow to the grave one who is old
enough to be her grandfather, and whom she once loathed? But I suppose
that that old miser, Shunah Shoo, is at the bottom of it; and, as he
deprived her of the man she loved, he has compelled her to sacrifice
herself to the one she hates, that he may have her jewels and wealth.'

"'For that matter,' said the first, 'though Shunah Shoo is bad enough
for any thing where money is in the way, yet it is said that Veenah goes
to the funeral pile of her own accord. She has never seemed to set any
value on life since her marriage; and after she heard of Gurameer's
death, she has never been seen to smile. Poor young man!'--And here they
launched out into a strain of panegyric, which is often bestowed on the
dead; but I heeded only the first part of their discourse. Had it not
been nearly dark, they must have discovered the force of the feelings
which then agitated me. I trembled from head to foot, and, though
burning with impatience to obtain from them farther particulars, it was
some moments before I could trust myself to speak. At length I asked
them when the Suttee would take place; and was answered by one of them,
that it would certainly be performed on the following day; and that he
had seen the funeral pile himself. Without any farther delay, I set out
immediately for the city, and reached it in as short a time as a jaded
horse could carry me.

"I came in sight of Benares the next morning, from a hill which
overlooks it from the east. The sun was just rising, and pouring a flood
of light ever the city, the river, and the surrounding country. Never
was contrast greater than between my present feelings, and those which
the same spectacle had formerly excited. I now sickened at the prospect,
which once would have set my heart bounding with joy. I pressed on in
desperate haste, scarcely, however, knowing what I did, being at once
overpowered with fatigue, loss of sleep, and harassing emotions. I still
had to travel a circuitous course of some two or three miles; and when I
reached the city, its crowded population was already in motion: a great
multitude of women, of the lower order, with alarm and expectation
strongly depicted in their faces, were to be seen mingling in the crowd,
and pressing on in the same direction. I would have proceeded
immediately to my father's house, but for the fear of being too late.
Alighting, therefore, from my horse, I gave him in charge to my servant,
whom I sent to inform my parents of my arrival, and to request my father
to meet me at the Suttee. I then joined the mixed multitude, which now
thronged the streets. Occupied, as my thoughts were, with the scene I
was about to witness, and with fears for its issue, they were often
interrupted with remarks made in the crowd, in which Veenah's name or
mine were mentioned--some lamenting her cruel fate, others pitying mine;
but all condemning and execrating Shunah Shoo. Fortunately I was not
recognised by any whom I saw. When we reached the spot selected for the
sacrifice, the crowd that had there assembled, was not so great as to
prevent our getting near the funeral pile; but the numbers continued to
augment, until nothing could be seen from the slight eminence on which I
stood, but one dense mass of heads, all looking one way, and expressing
the intense interest they felt. At length a murmur, like that of distant
thunder, ran through the crowd: a passage was, with some difficulty,
effected through the multitude by the officers in attendance, and the
wretched Veenah made her appearance, supported by her own father on one
side, and an uncle on the other--pale enough to be taken for an
European--emaciated indeed, but still retaining the same exquisite beauty
of features and symmetry of form. She moved with the air of one who was
utterly indifferent to the concerns of this world, and to the awful fate
which awaited her. She turned her head on hearing the sound of my voice,
and, seeing me, shrieked out, "He lives! he lives!" but immediately
afterwards fainted in the arms of her supporters: at the same moment I
was forcibly held back by some of the attendants, and a number of the
bystanders rushed in between us, and intercepted my view. I heard my
name now repeated in every direction by the multitude--some calling out
to the priests to desist, and others to proceed. I struggled to
extricate myself, and passion lent me momentary strength; but it was
insufficient. After a short interval, I distinctly heard Veenah
imploring them to spare her. I called to the Brahmins who held her, to
leave her to herself. I endeavoured to rouse the multitude; but they
took the precaution to drown our voices, by the musical instruments
which are used on these occasions. Four of these monsters I saw
profaning the name of religion, by forcibly placing their victim on the
pile, under the show of assisting her to mount it; and there held her
down, beside the dead body of her husband, until, by cords provided for
the purpose, she was prevented from rising. I besought--I threatened--I
raved;--but all thoughts and minds were engrossed by the premature fate
of one so young and beautiful, and I was unheeded.

"Among the relatives who pressed around the funeral pile, I saw Balty
Mahu; and indignation for a moment got the better of grief. The pile was
now lighted, and in a moment all was hidden in smoke. I sickened at the
sight, and was obliged to turn away. Even then I heard, or thought I
heard, the dying shrieks of the victim, amid the groans and cries, and
the thousand shouts that rent the air! The pile and its contents being
now enveloped in flame, my keepers set me free, when, by an impulse of
frenzy, I rushed' to the pile, to make a last vain effort to rescue
Veenah, or to share her fate; but was stopped by some of the bystanders,
who called my act a profanation.

"'Yes,' said Balty Mahu, 'he has always been a scoffer of our religion.'
As soon as these words reached my ears, with the quickness of thought I
snatched a cimeter from the hands of one of the guards, and plunged it
in his breast. Of all that happened afterwards, my recollection is very
confused. I was rudely seized, and hurried to prison. My father was
coming to meet me, when he was informed of the fatal deed. I remember
that my coolness, or rather stupor, was in strong contrast with the
violence of his emotion. He accompanied me to prison, and continued with
me that night.

"It is not easy to take the life of one of my caste in India; and, by
dint of the exertions of my friends, in spite of the influence of Shunah
Shoo, and the family of the Omrah, I was pardoned, on condition of doing
penance, which was, that I should never live in a country in which the
religion of Brahmin prevailed, and should not again look at, or converse
with, any woman for two minutes together. Ere this took place, my
excellent mother, unable to withstand the shocks she had received from
my supposed death, my misfortunes, and my crime, died a martyr to
maternal affection. Wishing to conform to the sentence, and to be as
near my father as I could, I removed to the kingdom of Ava, where, you
know, they are followers of Buddha. Here I continued as long as my
father lived, which was about six years. In this period, time had so
alleviated my grief, that I began to take pleasure in the cultivation of
science, which constituted my chief employment.

"After my father's death, I indulged a curiosity I had felt in my youth,
of seeing foreign countries; and I visited China, Japan, and England.
During my residence in Asia, I had discovered lunarium ore in the
mountain near Mogaun; and this circumstance, many years afterwards, when
I determined to rest from my labours, induced me to settle in that
mountain, as I have before stated. I have occasionally used the metal to
counterbalance the gravity of a small car, by which I have profited, by
a favourable wind, to indulge the melancholy satisfaction of looking
down on the tombs of my parents, and of the ill-fated Veenah:
approaching the earth near enough, in the night, to see the sacred
spots, but not enough to violate the religious injunctions of my caste;
to avoid which, however, it was sometimes necessary for me to go across
Hindostan to Arabia or Persia, and there wait for a change of wind
before I could return: and it was these excursions which suggested to
the superstitious Burmans that my form had undergone a temporary
transformation. When such have been the woes of my life, you can no
longer think it strange, Atterley, that I delayed their painful recital;
or that, after having endured so much, all common dangers and
misfortunes should appear to me insignificant."

* * * * *

The venerable Brahmin here concluded his narrative, and we both remained
thoughtful and silent for some time; he, apparently absorbed in the
recollections of his eventful life; and I, partly in the reflections
awakened by his story, and partly in the intense interest of revisiting
my native earth, and beholding once more all who were dear to me.
Already the extended map beneath us was assuming a distinct and varied
appearance; and the Brahmin, having applied his eye to the telescope,
and made a brief calculation of our progress, considered that
twenty-four hours more, if no accident interrupted us, would end our
voyage; part of which interval I passed in making notes in my journal,
and in contemplating the different sections of our many-peopled globe,
as they presented themselves successively to the eye. It was my wish to
land on the American continent, and, if possible, in the United States.
But the Brahmin put an end to that hope, by reminding me that we should
be attracted towards the Equator, and that we had to choose between
Asia, Africa, and South America; and that our only course would be, to
check the progress of our car over the country of greatest extent,
through which the equinoctial circle might pass. Saying which, he
relapsed into his melancholy silence, and I betook myself once more to
the telescope. With a bosom throbbing with emotion, I saw that we were
descending towards the American continent. When we were about ten or
twelve miles from the earth, the Brahmin arrested the progress of the
car, and we hovered over the broad Atlantic. Looking down on the ocean,
the first object which presented itself to my eye, was a small
one-masted shallop, which was buffeting the waves in a south-westerly
direction. I presumed it was a New England trader, on a voyage to some
part of the Republic of Colombia: and, by way of diverting my friend
from his melancholy reverie, I told him some of the many stories which
are current respecting the enterprise and ingenuity of this portion of
my countrymen, and above all, their adroitness at a bargain.

"Methinks," says the Brahmin, "you are describing a native of Canton or
Pekin. But," added he, after a short pause, "though to a superficial
observer man appears to put on very different characters, to a
philosopher he is every where the same--for he is every where moulded by
the circumstances in which he is placed. Thus; let him be in a situation
that is propitious to commerce, and the habits of traffic produce in him
shrewdness and address. Trade is carried on chiefly in towns, because it
is there carried on most advantageously. This situation gives the trader
a more intimate knowledge of his species--a more ready insight into
character, and of the modes of operating on it. His chief purpose is to
buy as cheap, and to sell as dear, as he can; and he is often able to
heighten the recommendations or soften the defects of some of the
articles in which he deals, without danger of immediate detection; or,
in other words, his representations have some influence with his
customers. He avails himself of this circumstance, and thus acquires the
habit of lying; but, as he is studious to conceal it, he becomes wary,
ingenious, and cunning. It is thus that the Phenicians, the
Carthagenians, the Dutch, the Chinese, the New-Englanders, and the
modern Greeks, have always been regarded as inclined to petty frauds by
their less commercial neighbours." I mentioned the English nation.

"If the English," said he, interrupting me, "who are the most commercial
people of modern times, have not acquired the same character, it is
because they are as distinguished for other things as for traffic: they
are not merely a commercial people--they are also agricultural, warlike,
and literary; and thus the natural tendencies of commerce are mutually

We afterwards descended slowly; the prospect beneath us becoming more
beautiful than my humble pen can hope to describe, or will even attempt
to portray. In a short time after, we were in sight of Venezuela. We met
with the trade-winds, and were carried by them forty or fifty miles
inland, where, with some difficulty, and even danger, we landed. The
Brahmin and myself remained together two days, and parted--he to explore
the Andes, to obtain additional light on the subject of his hypothesis,
and I, on the wings of impatience, to visit once more my long-deserted
family and friends. But before our separation, I assisted my friend in
concealing our aerial vessel, and received a promise from him to visit,
and perhaps spend with me the evening of his life. Of my journey home,
little remains to be said. From the citizens of Colombia, I experienced
kindness and attention, and means of conveyance to Caraccas; where,
embarking on board the brig Juno, captain Withers, I once more set foot
in New York, on the 18th of August, 1826, after an absence of four
years, resolved, for the rest of my life, to travel only in books, and
persuaded, from experience, that the satisfaction which the wanderer
gains from actually beholding the wonders and curiosities of distant
climes, is dearly bought by the sacrifice of all the comforts and
delights of home.


* * * * *


Anonymous Review of _A Voyage to the Moon_

Reprinted from the American Quarterly Review No. 5 (March 1828), 61-88.

ART. III.--_A Voyage to the Moon: with some account of the Manners
and Customs, Science and Philosophy, of the People of Morosofia and
other Lunarians_: By JOSEPH ATTERLEY. New-York: Elam Bliss, 1827.
12mo. pp. 264.

It is somewhat remarkable, that perhaps the _only_ "Voyages to
the Moon," which have been published in the English tongue, should
have been the productions of English bishops:--the first forming a
tract, re-published in the Harleian Miscellany, and said to have been
written by Dr. Francis Goodwin, Bishop of Landaff, (who died in 1633,)
and entitled "_The Man in the Moon, or the discourse of a voyage
thither_, by Domingo Gonsales,"--and the second written in 1638, by
Dr. John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, under the title of "_The
Discovery of a New World, or a Discourse tending to prove, that 'tis
probable there may be another habitable world in the Moon, with a
discourse concerning the possibility of a passage thither."_ These
two works differ in several essential particulars:--in Dr. Goodwin's,
we have men of enormous stature and prodigious longevity, with a
flying chariot, and some other slight points of resemblance to the
Travels of Gulliver:--whilst Bishop Wilkins's is intended honestly and
scientifically to prove, "that it is possible for some of our
posterity to find out a conveyance to this other world; and, if there
be inhabitants there, (which the Bishop, satisfactorily to himself,
settles,) to have commerce with them!" From the first of these, Swift
has derived many hints in his voyage to Laputa, and improved them into
those humorous and instructive allusions, which have caused the
reputation of the author of the _"Travels of Gulliver"_ to be
extended to every portion of the civilized globe. Since the appearance
of this celebrated satire, no one sufficiently comprehensive to lash
the follies of the age--the _quicquid agunt homines_--has made
its appearance: we have had numerous ephemeral productions, inflicting
severe castigations upon particular vices or absurdities; but the
visionary conceits of the many, constantly promulgated in the
progressive advancement of human knowledge, although legitimate
objects of censure, have not, since the time of Swift, been embodied
into one publication.

The evident aim of the author of the Satirical Romance before us, is
to fulfil for the present age, what _Swift_ so successfully
accomplished for that which has passed by:--to attack, by the weapons
of ridicule, those votaries of knowledge, who may have sought to avail
themselves of the universal love of novelty amongst mankind, to acquire
celebrity; or who may have been misled by their own ill-regulated
imaginations, to obtrude upon the world their crude and imperfect
theories and systems, to the manifest retardation of knowledge:--an
effect, too, liable to be induced in a direct ratio with the degree
of talent and ingenuity by which their views may have been supported.
Several of these may always be more successfully attacked by ridicule
than by reason; inasmuch as they are, in this way, more likely to become
the subjects of popular animadversion; and many, who could withstand
the serious arguments of their fraternity, cannot placidly endure their
ridicule. Satire has, indeed, often done more service to the cause of
religion and morality than a sermon, since the remedy is agreeable,
whilst it at the same time communicates indignation or fear:--

"Of all the ways that wisest men could find,
To mend the age and mortify mankind,
Satire, well writ, has most successful prov'd.
And cures, because the remedy is lov'd."

To produce, however, the full effect, satire must possess a certain
degree of impartiality, and be levelled in all instances at the vices
or follies, and not at the man. The first sketch of Gulliver's Travels
occurs in the proposed Travels of Martinus Scriblerus, devised in that
pleasing society where most of Swift's miscellanies were planned. Had
the work, however, been executed under the same auspices, it would
probably, as Sir Walter Scott has suggested,[1] "have been occupied by
that personal satire, upon obscure and unworthy contemporaries, to
which Pope was but too much addicted. But when the Dean mused in
solitude over the execution of his plan, it assumed at once a more
grand and a darker complexion. The spirit of indignant hatred and
contempt with which he regarded the mass of humanity; his quiet and
powerful perception of their failings, errors, and crimes; his zeal
for liberty and freedom of thought, tended at once to generalize,
while it embittered, his satire, and to change traits of personal
severity for that deep shade of censure which Gulliver's Travels throw
upon mankind universally." Most of the sentiments which impressed
Swift, seem also to have been felt by the unknown author of the work
before us: it is not, however, free from personal allusions; but they
are all conveyed in so good natured a manner, as to satisfy the reader
that the author has been solicitous to animadvert only on the vices of
the individual; and in no part of the work is there the slightest
evidence of prejudice or venom.

The pseudo _Joseph Atterley_, the hero of the narrative, was born
in Huntingdon, Long-Island, on the 11th of May, 1786. He was the son
of a seafaring individual, who, by means of the portion he received by
his wife, together with his own earnings, was enabled to quit that
laborious occupation, and to enter into trade; and, after the death of
his father-in-law, by whose will he received a handsome accession to
his property, he sought, in the city of New-York, a theatre better
adapted to his enlarged capital. "He here engaged in foreign trade,
and partaking of the prosperity which then attended American commerce,
gradually extended his business, and finally embarked in the then new
branch of traffic to the East Indies and China; he was now generally
respected both for his wealth and fair dealing; was several years a
director in one of the insurance offices; was president of the society
for relieving the widows and orphans of distressed seamen; and, it is
said, might have been chosen alderman, if he had not refused, on the
ground that he did not think himself qualified."

Our hero was, at an early age, put to a grammar school of good repute,
in his native village, and, at seventeen, was sent to Princeton, to
prepare himself for some profession; during his third year at that
place, in one of his excursions to Philadelphia, he became enamoured
"with one of those faces and forms, which, in a youth of twenty, to
see, admire, and love, is one and the same thing;" and was united to
the object of his affections, on the anniversary of his twenty-first
year. This event gave him a distaste for serious study; and, long
before this, he had felt a sentiment, bordering on contempt, for
mercantile pursuits; he therefore prevailed upon his father to
purchase him a neat country seat in the vicinity of Huntingdon. Here,
seventeen happy years glided away swiftly and imperceptibly, when
death, by depriving him of the partner of his felicity, prostrated all
his hopes and enjoyments. For the purpose of seeking for that relief
to the feelings, which variety can best afford, he now determined to
make a voyage; and, as one of his father's vessels was about to sail
for Canton, embarked on board of her, and left Sandyhook on the 5th
day of June, 1822. From this period, until the 24th of October, their
voyage was comparatively agreeable; but when off the mouths of the
Ganges, one of those hurricanes, well known to the experienced
navigators of the eastern seas, struck the ship, and rendered her so
leaky, that the captain considered it advisable to make for the
nearest port; the leak, however, increasing rapidly, and finding
themselves off a coast, which the captain, by his charts, pronounced
to be a part of the Burman empire, and in the neighbourhood of Mergui,
on the Martaban coast, they hastily threw their clothes, papers, and
eight casks of silver, into the long-boat; and, before they were fifty
yards from the ship, had the melancholy satisfaction to see her go

"It was a little after mid-day when we reached the town, which is
perched on a high bluff, overlooking the coasts, and contains about a
thousand houses, built of bamboo, and covered with palm leaves. Our
dress, appearance, language, and the manner of our arrival, excited
great surprise among the natives, and the liveliest curiosity; but
with these sentiments some evidently mingled no very friendly
feelings. The Burmese were then on the eve of a rupture with the East
India Company, a fact which we had not before known; and mistaking us
for English, they supposed, or affected to suppose, that we belonged
to a fleet which was about to invade them, and that our ship had been
sunk before their eyes, by the tutelar divinity of the country. We
were immediately carried before their governor, or chief magistrate,
who ordered our baggage to be searched, and finding that it consisted
principally of silver, he had no doubt of our hostile intentions. He
therefore sent all of us, twenty-two in number, to prison, separating,
however, each one from the rest. My companions were released the
following spring, as I have since learnt, by the invading army of
Great Britain; but it was my ill fortune (if, indeed, after what has
since happened, I can so regard it) to be taken for an officer of high
rank, and to be sent, the third day afterwards, far into the interior,
that I might be more safely kept, and either used as a hostage or
offered for ransom, as circumstances should render advantageous."

Our hero was transported very rapidly in a palanquin, for thirteen
successive days, when he reached Mozaun, a small village delightfully
situated in the mountainous district between the Irawaddi and Saloon
rivers, where he was placed under the care of an inferior magistrate,
who there exercised the chief authority. By submissive and respectful
behaviour, he succeeded in ingratiating himself so completely with his
keeper, that he was regarded more as one of his family, than as a
prisoner; and was allowed every indulgence, consistently with his safe
custody. It had been one of his favourite recreations, to ascend a
part of the western ridge of mountains, which rose in a cone, about a
mile and a half from the village, for the purpose of enjoying the
enchanting scenery that lay before him, and the evening breeze, which
possesses so delicious a degree of freshness in tropical climates.
Here he became acquainted with a personage, of whom, as he exerted an
important influence over the future conduct of our hero, it is of
consequence that the reader should acquire early information:--

"In a deep sequestered nook, formed by two spurs of this mountain,
there lived a venerable Hindoo, whom the people of the village called
the Holy Hermit. The favourable accounts I received of his character,
as well as his odd course of life, made me very desirous of becoming
acquainted with him; and, as he was often visited by the villagers, I
found no difficulty in getting a conductor to his cell. His character
for sanctity, together with a venerable beard, might have discouraged
advances towards an acquaintance, if his lively piercing eye, a
countenance expressive of great mildness and kindness of disposition,
and his courteous manners, had not yet more strongly invited it. He
was indeed not averse to society, though he had seemed thus to fly
from it; and was so great a favourite with his neighbours, that his
cell would have been thronged with visiters, but for the difficulty of
the approach to it. As it was, it was seldom resorted to, except for
the purpose of obtaining his opinion and counsel on all the serious
concerns of his neighbours. He prescribed for the sick, and often
provided the medicine they required--expounded the law--adjusted
disputes--made all their little arithmetical calculations--gave them
moral instruction--and, when he could not afford them relief in their
difficulties, he taught them patience, and gave them consolation. He,
in short, united, for the simple people by whom he was surrounded, the
functions of lawyer, physician, schoolmaster, and divine, and richly
merited the reverential respect in which they held him, as well as
their little presents of eggs, fruit, and garden stuff.

"From the first evening that I joined the party which I saw clambering
up the path that led to the Hermit's cell, I found myself strongly
attached to this venerable man, and the more so, from the mystery
which hung around his history. It was agreed that he was not a
Burmese. None deemed to know certainly where he was born, or why he
came thither. His own account was, that he had devoted himself to the
service of God, and in his pilgrimage over the east, had selected this
as a spot particularly favourable to the life of quiet and seclusion
he wished to lead.

"There was one part of his story to which I could scarcely give
credit. It was said that in the twelve or fifteen years he had resided
in this place, he had been occasionally invisible for months together,
and no one could tell why he disappeared, or whither he had gone. At
these times his cell was closed; and although none ventured to force
their way into it, those who were the most prying could hear no sound
indicating that he was within. Various were the conjectures formed on
the subject. Some supposed that he withdrew from the sight of men for
the purpose of more fervent prayer and more holy meditation; others,
that he visited his home, or some other distant country. The more
superstitious believed that he had, by a kind of metempsychosis, taken
a new shape, which, by some magical or supernatural power, he could
assume and put off at pleasure This opinion was perhaps the most
prevalent, as it gained a colour with these simple people, from the
chemical and astronomical instruments he possessed In these he
evidently took great pleasure, and by then means he acquired some of
the knowledge by which he so often excited their admiration.

"He soon distinguished me from the rest of his visiters, by addressing
questions to me relative to my history and adventures, and I, in turn,
was gratified to have met with one who took an interest in my
concerns, and who alone, of all I had here met with, could either
enter into my feelings or comprehend my opinions. Our conversations
were earned on in English, which he spoke with facility and
correctness We soon found ourselves so much to each other's taste,
that there was seldom an evening that I did not make him a visit, and
pass an hour or two in his company

"I learned from him that he was born and bred at Benares, in
Hindostan, that he had been intended for the priesthood, and had been
well instructed in the literature of the east That a course of
untoward circumstances, upon which he seemed unwilling to dwell, had
changed his destination, and made him a wanderer on the face of the
earth That in the neighbouring kingdom of Siam he had formed an
intimacy with a learned French Jesuit, who had not only taught him his
language, but imparted to him a knowledge of much of the science of
Europe, its institutions and manners That after the death of this
friend, he had renewed his wanderings, and having been detained in
this village by a fit of sickness for some weeks, he was warned that
it was time to quit his rambling life. This place being recommended to
him, both by its quiet seclusion, and the unsophisticated manners of
its inhabitants, he determined to pass the remnant of his days here,
and, by devoting them to the purposes of piety, charity, and science,
to discharge his duty to his Creator, his species, and himself, 'for
the love of knowledge,' he added, 'has long been my chief source of
selfish enjoyment'"

The acquaintance between Atterley and the Brahmin, ripened by degrees,
into that close friendship, which a congeniality of tastes and
sentiments, under proper opportunities, never fails to engender.
Atterley's visits to the hermitage, became more and more frequent, for
upwards of three years, during which period, the Brahmin had
occasionally thrown out obscure hints, that the time would come, when
our hero should be restored to liberty, and that he had an important
secret which he would one day communicate. About this period, one
afternoon in the month of March, when Atterley repaired, as usual, to
the hermitage, he found the Brahmin dangerously ill of a pleuritic
affection, and apprehensive that the attack might prove fatal--

"Sit down," said he, "on that block, and listen to what I shall say to
you Though I shall quit this state of being for another and a better,
I confess that I was alarmed at the thought of expiring, before I had
an opportunity of seeing and conversing with you I am the depository
of a secret, that I believe is known to no other living mortal I once
determined that it should die with me, and had I not met with you, it
certainly should But from our first acquaintance, my heart has been
strongly attracted towards you, and as soon as I found you possessed
of qualities to inspire esteem as well as regard, I felt disposed to
give you this proof of my confidence Still I hesitated I first wished
to deliberate on the probable effects of my disclosure upon the
condition of society I saw that it might produce evil, as well as
good, but on weighing the two together, I have satisfied myself that
the good will preponderate, and have determined to act accordingly
Take this key, (stretching out his feverish hand,) and after waiting
two hours, in which time the medicine I have taken will have either
produced a good effect or put an end to my sufferings, you may then
open that blue chest in the corner It has a false bottom On removing
the paper which covers it, you will find the manuscript containing the
important secret, together with some gold pieces, which I have saved
for the day of need--because--(and he smiled in spite of his
sufferings)--because hoarding is one of the pleasures of old men. Take
them both, and use them discreetly."

Atterley quitted the cell, and waited with feverish expectation for
the termination of the allotted two hours, when, to his inexpressible
delight, he found, on re-entering the cell, that not only did the
Brahmin breathe, but that he slept soundly; and, in the course of an
hour, he awoke, almost restored to health. This event, however, was
the occasion of a more early disclosure of the Brahmin's important
secret, but not until he had recovered his ordinary health and

"I have already told you, my dear Atterley, that I was born and
educated at Benares, and that science is there more thoroughly
understood and taught than the people of the west are aware of. We
have, for many thousands of years, been good astronomers, chymists,
mathematicians, and philosophers. We had discovered the secret of
gunpowder, the magnetic attraction, the properties of electricity,
long before they were heard of in Europe. We know more than we have
revealed, and much of our knowledge is deposited in the archives of
the castle to which I belong, but, for want of language generally
understood and easily learnt, (for these records are always written in
the Sanscrit, that is no longer a spoken language,) and the diffusion
which is given by the art of printing, these secrets of science are
communicated only to a few, and sometimes even sleep with their
authors, until a subsequent discovery, under more favourable
circumstances, brings them again to light.

"It was at this seat of science that I learned, from one of our sages,
the physical truth which I am now about to communicate, and which he
discovered, partly by his researches into the writings of ancient
Pundits, and partly by his own extraordinary sagacity. There is a
principle of repulsion as well as gravitation in the earth. It causes
fire to rise upwards. It is exhibited in electricity. It occasions
water-spouts, volcanoes, and earthquakes. After much labour and
research, this principle has been found embodied in a metallic
substance, which is met with in the mountain in which we are, united
with a very heavy earth, and this circumstance had great influence in
inducing me to settle myself here.

"This metal, when separated and purified, has as great a tendency to
fly off from the earth, as a piece of gold or lead has to approach it.
After making a number of curious experiments with it, we bethought
ourselves of putting it to some use, and soon contrived, with the aid
of it, to make cars and ascend into the air. We were very secret in
these operations, for our unhappy country having then recently fallen
under the subjection of the British nation, we apprehended that if we
divulged our arcanum, they would not only fly away with all our
treasures, whether found in palace or pagoda, but also carry off the
inhabitants, to make them slaves in their colonies, as their
government had not then abolished the African slave trade.

"After various trials and many successive improvements, in which our
desires increased with our success, we determined to penetrate the
aerial void as far as we could, providing for that purpose an
apparatus, with which you will become better acquainted hereafter. In
the course of our experiments, we discovered that this same metal,
which was repelled from the earth, was in the same degree attracted
towards the moon, for in one of our excursions, still aiming to ascend
higher than we had ever done before, we were actually carried to that
satellite, and if we had not there fallen into a lake, and our machine
had not been water-tight, we must have been dashed to pieces or
drowned. You will find in this book," he added, presenting me with a
small volume, bound in green parchment, and fastened with silver
clasps, "a minute detail of the apparatus to be provided, and the
directions to be pursued in making this wonderful voyage. I have
written it since I satisfied my mind that my fears of British rapacity
were unfounded, and that I should do more good than harm by publishing
the secret. But still I am not sure," he added, with one of his faint
but significant smiles, "that I am not actuated by a wish to
immortalize my name; for where is the mortal who would be indifferent
to this object, if he thought he could attain it? Read the book at
your leisure, and study it."

Here, by the way, we may remark, that the kind of vehicle best adapted
for conveyance through the aerial void, has been a weighty stumbling
block to authors, from the time of the eagle-mounted Ganymede, to that
of Daniel O'Rourke; or of the wing furnished Daedalus and Icarus, to
that of the flying Turk in Constantinople, referred to by Busbequius;
or of the flying artist of the happy valley, in Rasselas. When
Trygaeus was desirous of reaching the Gods, he erected, we are told, a
series of small ladders--[Greek: epeita lepta klimakia]--but receiving
a severe contusion on the head, from their downfall, he ingeniously
had recourse to a scheme of flying through the air, on a colossal
variety of those industrious but not over-delicate insects, the
_Scarabaeus Carnifex_--the only insect, notwithstanding, according
to Aesop, privileged to ascend to the habitations of the gods--

[Greek: monos peteinoon eis theous aphigmenos.[2]]

Most of the stories of Pegasi and Hippogriffs, and of flying chariots,
from that of Phaeton downwards to Astolfo's,[3] were evidently
intended by their authors as mythical; not so, however, with Bishop
Wilkins;--he boldly avers, for several reasons which he keeps to
himself, and for others not very comprehensible to us, which he
details "seriously and on good grounds," "that it is possible to make
a flying chariot, in which a man may sit, and give such a motion unto
it, as shall convey him through the air; and this perhaps might be
made large enough to carry divers men at the same time, together with
food for their _viaticum_, and commodities for traffic." "It is
not," lucidly continues the Bishop, "the bigness of any thing in this
kind, that can hinder its motion, if the motive faculty be answerable
thereunto. We see a great ship swims as well as a small cork; and an
eagle flies in the air, as well as a little gnat. This engine may be
contrived from the same principles by which Archytas made a wooden
dove, and Regiomontanus a wooden eagle. I conceive it were no
difficult matter, (if a man had leisure,) to show more particularly
the means of composing it"!--which want of leisure in the credulous
Bishop, our readers will regret with us, especially those inventive
geniuses, who, like the projector in the reign of George I., published
a scheme for manufacturing pine plank from pine saw-dust, or the still
more ingenious undertaker of later times, who proposed to make _pine
plank_ out of _oak_ saw-dust, by the mere addition of a little

Again, Swift's flying Island of Laputa is a phenomenon so opposed to
all scientific probability, and so directly at variance with natural
laws, that it loses in interest in a direct ratio with the violence it
does to our feelings. Nor is the mode of conveyance imagined by
Voltaire less incongruous than that of Swift. When Micromegas, ah
inhabitant of Sirius, whose adventures were evidently suggested by
those of Gulliver, accompanied by an inhabitant of Saturn, leaves the
latter planet, they are, in the first place, made to leap upon the
Ring of Saturn, which they find tolerably flat, "comme l'a fort bien
devine un illustre habitant de notre petit globe:" thence they go from
moon to moon, and a comet passing close to one of these, they throw
themselves upon it, with their attendants and instruments. In their
course, they fall in with the satellites of Jupiter, and pass on to
Jupiter itself, where they remain for a year; but what becomes of the
comet in the mean time, we are not informed! Leaving Jupiter, they
"coast" along the planet Mars, and finally reach the earth, where they
resolve to disembark. Accordingly "ils passerent sur la queue de la
comete; et trouvant une aurore boreale toute prete, ils se mirent
dedans, et arriverent a terre sur le bord septentrional de la Mer

The vehicle, however, has not formed the sole obstacle to those
projectors:--the _viaticum_, especially the food, has been a
difficulty not readily got over. Before Bishop Wilkins alludes to his
flying chariot, he remarks, that even if men could fly, the swiftest
of them would probably be half a year in reaching the end of his
journey; and hence a problem would arise, "how it were possible to
tarry so long without sleep or diet?" Of the former obstacle, however,
he quickly disposes,--"seeing we do not then spend ourselves in any
labour, we shall not, it may be, _need_ the refreshment of sleep:
but if we do, we cannot desire a softer bed than the air, where we may
repose ourselves firmly and safely as in our chambers"! Of the latter
he finds somewhat more difficulty in disposing,--"and here it is
considerable, that, since our bodies will then be devoid of gravity
and other impediments of motion, we shall not at all spend ourselves
in any labour, and so, consequently, not much need the reparation of
diet, but may perhaps live altogether without it, as those creatures
have done, who, by reason of their sleeping for many days together,
have not spent any spirits, and so not wanted any food; which is
commonly related of serpents, crocodiles, bears, cuckoos, swallows,
and such like. To this purpose, Mendoca reckons up divers strange
relations, as that of Epimenides, who is storied to have slept
seventy-five years; and another of a rustic in Germany, who, being
accidentally covered with a hay-rick, slept there for all the autumn
and the winter following, without any nourishment Or, if we must needs
feed upon something else, why may not smells nourish us? Plutarch, and
Pliny, and divers other ancients, tell us of a nation in India, that
lived only upon pleasing odours; and it is the common opinion of
physicians, that these do strangely both strengthen and repair the
spirits. Hence was it that Democritus was able, for divers days
together, to feed himself with the mere smell of hot bread.[5] Or, if
it be necessary that our stomachs must receive the food, why then it
is not impossible that the purity of the etherial air, being not mixed
with any improper vapours, may be so agreeable to our bodies, as to
yield us sufficient nourishment," with many other arguments of the
like nature. The Bishop ultimately, however, severs the knot, by the
suggestion of his flying chariot, which he makes large enough (for,
_ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute!_) to carry not only food
for the _viaticum_ of the passengers, but also commodities for
their traffic!

Infinitely more ingenuity did the great comic poet of antiquity
display, when he selected the _Scarabaeus;_ as the food which had
already served the purposes of digestion with the Rider, was still
capable of affording nutrition to the animal:--

nun d'att'an autos kataphagoo ta sitia.
toutoisi tois autoisi touton chortasoo[6]]

Now all these schemes, ingenious as they may be, are objectionable for
the same reasons as the flying Island of Laputa--their glaring
violation of verisimilitude, and many of them of possibility. In these
respects, that of the author of the work before us is liable to less
objection: he only resorts to an extension of avowed physical
principles; and if we could suppose a substance, which, instead of
gravitating towards the earth, is repelled from it and attracted
towards the moon, (certainly a difficult "_premier pas_,") the
remainder of the machinery, for reaching that luminary, would not be
inconsistent with probability or the known laws of physics.

But, to return to the narrative:--The Brahmin having given Atterley a
description of some of the remarkable objects which he met with, in
his voyage to the moon; expressed his anxiety to repeat it, for the
purpose of ascertaining some facts about which he had been
speculating, as well as of removing the incredulity with which, he
could not but perceive, his story had impressed his hearer,
notwithstanding his belief in the Hermit's integrity; when Atterley
eagerly caught at the proposal. Their preparations, however, required
time as well as considerable skill, not only for the construction of
the vehicle, but also to avoid suspicion and interruption from the
Governor of Mergui,--and the priesthood, who possessed the usual
Oriental superstition and intolerance.

For the construction of their apparatus they had recourse to an
ingenious artificer in copper and other metals, whose child the
Brahmin had been instrumental in curing of a chronic disease, and in
whose fidelity as well as good will they could securely rely.

"The coppersmith agreed to undertake the work we wanted done, for a
moderate compensation, but we did not think it prudent to inform him
of our object, which he supposed was to make some philosophical
experiment. It was forthwith arranged that he should occasionally
visit the Hermit, to receive instructions, as if for the purpose of
asking medical advice. During this interval my mind was absorbed with
our project; and when in company, I was so thoughtful and abstracted,
that it has since seemed strange to me that Sing Fou's suspicions that
I was planning my escape were not more excited. At length, by dint of
great exertion, in about three months every thing was in readiness,
and we determined on the following night to set out on our perilous

"The machine in which we proposed to embark, was a copper vessel, that
would have been an exact cube of six feet, if the corners and edges
had not been rounded off. It had an opening large enough to receive
our bodies, which was closed by double sliding pannels, with quilted
cloth between them. When these were properly adjusted, the machine was
perfectly air-tight, and strong enough, by means of iron bars running
alternately inside and out, to resist the pressure of the atmosphere,
when the machine should be exhausted of its air, as we took the
precaution to prove by the aid of an air pump. On the top of the
copper chest and on the outside, we had as much of the lunar metal
(which I shall henceforth call _lunarium_) as we found by
calculation and experiment, would overcome the weight of the machine,
as well as its contents, and take us to the moon on the third day. As
the air which the machine contained, would not be sufficient for our
respiration more than about six hours, and the chief part of the space
we were to pass through was a mere void, we provided ourselves with a
sufficient supply, by condensing it in a small globular vessel, made
partly of iron and partly of lunarium, to take off its weight. On my
return, I gave Mr. Jacob Perkins, who is now in England, a hint of
this plan of condensation, and it has there obtained him great
celebrity. This fact I should not have thought it worth while to
mention, had he not taken the sole merit of the invention to himself,
at least I cannot hear that in his numerous public notices he has ever
mentioned my name.

"But to return. A small circular window, made of a single piece of
thick clear glass, was neatly fitted on each of the six sides. Several
pieces of lead were securely fastened to screws which passed through
the bottom of the machine as well as a thick plank. The screws were so
contrived, that by turning them in one direction, the pieces of lead
attached to them were immediately disengaged from the hooks with which
they were connected. The pieces of lunarium were fastened in like
manner to screws, which passed through the top of the machine; so that
by turning them in one direction, those metallic pieces would fly into
the air with the velocity of a rocket. The Brahmin took with him a
thermometer, two telescopes, one of which projected through the top of
the machine, and the other through the bottom; a phosphoric lamp, pen,
ink, and paper, and some light refreshments sufficient to supply us
for some days.

"The moon was then in her third quarter, and near the zenith: it was,
of course, a little after midnight, and when the coppersmith and his
family were in their soundest sleep, that we entered the machine. In
about an hour more we had the doors secured, and every thing arranged
in its place, when, cutting the cords which fastened us to the ground,
by means of small steel blades which worked in the ends of other
screws, we rose from the earth with a whizzing sound, and a sensation
at first of very rapid ascent, but after a short time, we were
scarcely sensible of any motion in the machine, except when we changed
our places."

After the apprehensions of Atterley, occasioned by the novelty and
danger of his situation, had partly subsided, he was enabled, with
mingled awe and admiration, to contemplate the magnificent spectacle
beneath him. As the earth turned round its axis, during their ascent,
every part of its surface came successively under view. At nine
o'clock, the whole of India was to the west of them; its rivers
resembling small filaments of silver, and the Red Sea a narrow plate
of the same metal. The peninsula of India was of a dark, and Arabia of
a light, grayer green, and the sun's rays striking on the Atlantic,
emitted an effulgence dazzling to the eyes. On looking, some time
afterwards, through the telescope, they observed the African
Continent, at its northern edge; fringed, as it were, with green;
"then a dull white belt marked the great Sahara or Desert, and then it
exhibited a deep green to its most southern extremity." The Morea and
Grecian Archipelago now fell under their telescope, and gradually the
whole Mediterranean, and Arabian Gulf--the great media separating
Africa from Europe and Asia; "the political divisions of these
quarters of the world were of course undistinguishable, and few of the
natural were discernible by the naked eye. The Alps were marked by a
white streak, though less bright than the water." By the aid of the
glass they could just discern the Danube, the Nile, and "a river which
empties itself into the Gulf of Guinea," and which Atterley took to be
the Niger; but the other streams were not perceptible. The most
conspicuous object of the solid part of the globe was the great
Desert; the whole of Africa, however, appeared of a brighter hue than
either Asia or Europe.

"I was struck too, with the vast disproportion which the extent of the
several countries of the earth bore to the part they had acted in
history, and the influence they had exerted on human affairs. The
British islands had diminished to a speck, and France was little
larger, yet, a few years ago it seemed, at least to us in the United
States, as if there were no other nations on the earth. The Brahmin,
who was well read in European history, on my making a remark on this
subject, reminded me that Athens and Sparta had once obtained almost
equal celebrity, although they were so small as not now to be visible.
As I slowly passed the telescope over the face of Europe, I pictured
to myself the fat, plodding Hollander--the patient, contemplative
German--the ingenious, sensual Italian--the temperate Swiss--the
haughty, superstitious Spaniard--the sprightly, self-complacent
Frenchman--the sullen and reflecting Englishman--who monopolise nearly
all the science and literature of the earth, to which they bear so
small a proportion. As the Atlantic fell under our view, two faint
circles on each side of the equator, were to be perceived by the naked
eye. They were less bright than the rest of the ocean. The Brahmin
suggested that they might be currents; which brought to my memory Dr.
Franklin's conjecture on the subject, now completely verified by this
circular line of vapour, as it had been previously rendered probable
by the floating substances, which had been occasionally picked up, at
great distances from the places where they had been thrown into the
ocean. The circle was whiter and more distinct, where the Gulf Stream
runs parallel to the American coast, and gradually grew fainter as it
passed along the Banks of Newfoundland, to the coast of Europe, where,
taking a southerly direction, the line of the circle was barely
discernible. A similar circle of vapour, though less defined and
complete, was perceived in the South Atlantic Ocean."

By degrees the travellers saw one half of the broad expanse of the
Pacific, which glistened like quicksilver or polished steel, and
subsequently the middle of the Pacific lay immediately beneath them;
the irregular distribution of land and water on the globe, the expanse
of Ocean here, being twice as large as in any other part, gives
occasion to some amusing discussions on the various theories of


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