Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. 53, No. 331, May, 1843
Part 4 out of 6
So heart and soul, a loyal band,
Count Eberhard's band, we are!
His front the tower that guards the land,
A thunderbolt his red right hand--
His eye a guiding star!
Then take ye heed--Aha! take heed,
Ye knaves both South and North!
For many a man, both bold in deed
And wise in peace, the land to lead,
Old Swabia has brought forth!
 Of the two opening lines we subjoin the original--to the
vivacity and spirit of which it is, perhaps, impossible to do
justice in translation:--
"Ihr--Ihr dort aussen in der Welt,
Die Nasen einges pannt!"
Eberhard, Count of Wurtemberg, reigned from 1344 to 1392.
Schiller was a Swabian, and this poem seems a patriotic
effusion to exalt one of the heroes of his country, of whose
fame (to judge by the lines we have just quoted) the rest of
the Germans might be less reverentially aware.
* * * * *
TO A MORALIST.
Are the sports of our youth so displeasing?
Is love but the folly you say?
Benumb'd with the Winter, and freezing,
You scold at the revels of May.
For you once a nymph had her charms,
And oh! when the waltz you were wreathing,
All Olympus embraced in your arms--
All its nectar in Julia's breathing.
If Jove at that moment had hurl'd
The earth in some other rotation,
Along with your Julia whirl'd,
You had felt not the shock of creation.
Learn this--that Philosophy beats
Sure time with the pulse--quick or slow
As the blood from the heyday retreats,--
But it cannot make gods of us--No!
It is well, icy Reason should thaw
In the warm blood of Mirth now and then,
The Gods for themselves have a law
Which they never intended for men.
The spirit is bound by the ties
Of its jailer, the Flesh--if I can
Not reach, as an angel, the skies,
Let me feel, on the earth, as a Man.
* * * * *
Oh, Monument of Shame to this our time,
Dishonouring record to thy Mother Clime!
Hail, Grave of Rousseau! Here thy sorrows cease.
Freedom and Peace from earth and earthly strife!
Vainly, sad seeker, didst thou search through life
To find--(found now)--the Freedom and the Peace.
When will the old wounds scar? In the dark age
Perish'd the wise. Light came; how fares the sage?
There's no abatement of the bigot's rage.
Still as the wise man bled, he bleeds again.
Sophists prepared for Socrates the bowl--
And Christians drove the steel through Rousseau's soul--
Rousseau who strove to render Christians--men.
 Schiller lived to reverse, in the third period of his
intellectual career, many of the opinions expressed in the
first. The sentiment conveyed in these lines on Rousseau is
natural enough to the author of "The Robbers," but certainly
not to the poet of "Wallenstein" and the "Lay of the Bell." We
confess we doubt the maturity of any mind that can find either
a saint or a martyr in Jean Jacques.
* * * * *
FORTUNE AND WISDOM.
In a quarrel with her lover
To Wisdom Fortune flew;
"I'll all my hoards discover--
Be but my friend--to you.
Like a mother I presented
To one each fairest gift,
Who still is discontented,
And murmurs at my thrift.
Come, let's be friends. What say you?
Give up that weary plough,
My treasures shall repay you,
For both I have enow!"
"Nay, see thy Friend betake him
To death from grief for thee--
_He_ dies if thou forsake him--
Thy gifts are nought to _me_!"
* * * * *
Hark where the bells toll, chiming, dull and steady,
The clock's slow hand hath reach'd the appointed time.
Well, be it so--prepare! my soul is ready,
Companions of the grave--the rest for crime!
Now take, O world! my last farewell--receiving
My parting kisses--in these tears they dwell!
Sweet are thy poisons while we taste believing,
Now we are quits--heart-poisoner, fare-thee-well!
Farewell, ye suns that once to joy invited,
Changed for the mould beneath the funeral shade
Farewell, farewell, thou rosy Time delighted,
Luring to soft desire the careless maid.
Pale gossamers of gold, farewell, sweet-dreaming
Fancies--the children that an Eden bore!
Blossoms that died while dawn itself was gleaming,
Opening in happy sunlight never more.
Swanlike the robe which Innocence bestowing,
Deck'd with the virgin favours, rosy fair,
In the gay time when many a young rose glowing,
Blush'd through the loose train of the amber hair.
Woe, woe! as white the robe that decks me now--
The shroud-like robe Hell's destined victim wears;
Still shall the fillet bind this burning brow--
_That_ sable braid the Doomsman's hand prepares!
Weep, ye _who never fell_--for whom, unerring,
The soul's white lilies keep their virgin hue,
Ye who when thoughts so danger-sweet are stirring,
Take the stern strength that Nature gives the few
Woe, for too human was this fond heart's feeling--
Feeling!--my sin's avenger doom'd to be;
Woe--for the false man's arm around me stealing,
Stole the lull'd Virtue, charm'd to sleep, from me.
Ah, he perhaps shall, round another sighing,
(Forgot the serpents stinging at my breast,)
Gaily, when I in the dumb grave am lying,
Pour the warm wish, or speed the wanton jest,
Or play, perchance, with his new maiden's tresses,
Answer the kiss her lip enamour'd brings,
When the dread block the head he cradled presses,
And high the blood his kiss once fever'd springs.
Thee, Francis, Francis, league on league, shall follow
The death-dirge of the Lucy once so dear;
From yonder steeple, dismal, dull, and hollow,
Shall knell the warning horror on thy ear.
On thy fresh leman's lips when Love is dawning,
And the lisp'd music glides from that sweet well--
Lo, in that breast a red wound shall be yawning,
And, in the midst of rapture, warn of hell!
Betrayer, what! thy soul relentless closing
To grief--the woman-shame no art can heal--
To that small life beneath my heart reposing!
Man, man, the wild beast for its young can feel!
Proud flew the sails--receding from the land,
I watch'd them waning from the wistful eye,
Round the gay maids on Seine's voluptuous strand,
Breathes the false incense of his fatal sigh.
And there the Babe! there, on the mother's bosom,
Lull'd in its sweet and golden rest it lay,
Fresh in life's morning as a rosy blossom,
It smiled, poor harmless one, my tears away.
Deathlike yet lovely, every feature speaking
In such dear calm and beauty to my sadness,
And cradled still the mother's heart, in breaking,
The soft'ning love and the despairing madness.
"Woman, where is my father?"--freezing through me,
Lisp'd the mute Innocence with thunder-sound;
"Woman, where is thy husband?"--called unto me,
In every look, word, whisper, busying round!
For thee, poor child, there is no father's kiss.
He fondleth _other_ children on his knee.
How thou wilt curse our momentary bliss,
When Bastard on thy name shall branded be!
Thy mother--oh, a hell her heart concealeth,
Lone-sitting, lone in social Nature's All!
Thirsting for that glad fount thy love revealeth,
While still thy look the glad fount turns to gall.
In every infant cry my soul is heark'ning,
The haunting happiness for ever o'er,
And all the bitterness of death is dark'ning
The heavenly looks that smiled mine eyes before.
Hell, if my sight those looks a moment misses--
Hell, when my sight upon those looks is turn'd--
The avenging furies madden in _thy_ kisses,
That slept in _his_ what time my lips they burn'd.
Out from their graves his oaths spoke back in thunder!
The perjury stalk'd like murder in the sun--
For ever--God!--sense, reason, soul, sunk under--
The deed was done!
Francis, O Francis! league on league, shall chase thee
The shadows hurrying grimly on thy flight--
Still with their icy arms they shall embrace thee,
And mutter thunder in thy dream's delight!
Down from the soft stars, in their tranquil glory,
Shall look thy dead child with a ghastly stare;
That shape shall haunt thee in its cerements gory,
And scourge thee back from heaven--its home is there!
Lifeless--how lifeless!--see, oh see, before me
It lies cold--stiff!--O God!--and with that blood
I feel, as swoops the dizzy darkness o'er me,
Mine own life mingled--ebbing in the flood--
Hark, at the door they knock--more loud within me--
More awful still--its sound the dread heart gave!
Gladly I welcome the cold arms that win me--
Fire, quench thy tortures in the icy grave!
Francis--a God that pardons dwells in heaven--
Francis, the sinner--yes--she pardons thee--
So let my wrongs unto the earth be given:
Flame seize the wood!--it burns--it kindles--see!
There--there his letters cast--behold are ashes--
His vows--the conquering fire consumes them here:
His kisses--see--see all--all are only ashes--
All, all--the all that once on earth were dear!
Trust not the roses which your youth enjoyeth,
Sisters, to man's faith, changeful as the moon!
Beauty to me brought guilt--its bloom destroyeth:
Lo, in the judgment court I curse the boon:
Tears in the headsman's gaze--what tears?--tis spoken!
Quick, bind mine eyes--all soon shall be forgot--
Doomsman--the lily hast thou never broken?
Pale doomsman--tremble not!
 "Und Empfindung soll mein Richtschwert seyn." A line of
great vigour in the original, but which, if literally
translated, would seem extravagant in English.
 Joseph, in the original.
[The poem we have just concluded was greatly admired at the time of its
first publication, and it so far excels in art most of the earlier
efforts by the author, that it attains one of the highest secrets in
true pathos. It produces interest for the _criminal_ while creating
terror for the _crime_. This, indeed, is a triumph in art never achieved
but by the highest genius. The inferior writer, when venturing upon the
grandest stage of passion, (which unquestionably exists in the
delineation of great guilt as of heroic virtue,) falls into the error
either of gilding the crime in order to produce sympathy for the
criminal, or, in the spirit of a spurious morality, of involving both
crime and criminal in a common odium. It is to discrimination between
the doer and the deed, that we owe the sublimest revelations of the
human heart: in this discrimination lies the key to the emotions
produced by the Oedipus and Macbeth. In the brief poem before us a
whole drama is comprehended. Marvellous is the completeness of the
pictures it presents--its mastery over emotions the most opposite--its
fidelity to nature in its exposition of the disordered and despairing
mind in which tenderness becomes cruelty, and remorse for error tortures
itself into scarce conscious crime.
But the art employed, though admirable of its kind, still falls short of
the perfection which, in his later works, Schiller aspired to achieve,
viz. the point at which _Pain_ ceases. The tears which Tragic Pathos,
when purest and most elevated, calls forth, ought not to be tears of
pain. In the ideal world, as Schiller has inculcated, even sorrow should
have its charm--all that harrows, all that revolts, belongs but to that
inferior school in which Schiller's fiery youth formed itself for nobler
grades--the school "of Storm and Pressure"--(Stuerm und Draeng--as the
Germans have expressively described it.) If the reader will compare
Schiller's poem of the 'Infanticide,' with the passages which represent
a similar crime in the Medea, (and the author of 'Wallenstein' deserves
comparison even with Euripides,) he will see the distinction between the
art that seeks an _elevated_ emotion, and the art which is satisfied
with creating an _intense_ one. In Euripides, the detail--the
reality--all that can degrade terror into pain--are loftily dismissed.
The Titan grandeur of the Sorceress removes us from too close an
approach to the crime of the unnatural Mother--the emotion of pity
changes into awe--just at the pitch before the coarse sympathy of actual
pain can be effected. And it is the avoidance of reality--it is the
all-purifying Presence of the Ideal, which make the vast distinction in
our emotions between following, with shocked and displeasing pity, the
crushed, broken-hearted, mortal criminal to the scaffold, and
gazing--with an awe which has pleasure of its own--upon the Mighty
Murderess--soaring out of the reach of Humanity, upon her Dragon Car!]
* * * * *
THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE.
Blessed through love are the Gods above--
Through love like the Gods may man be;
Heavenlier through love is the heaven above,
Through love like a heaven earth can be!
Once, as the poet sung,
In Pyrrha's time, 'tis known,
From rocks Creation sprung,
And Men leapt up from stone;
Rock and stone, in night
The souls of men were seal'd,
Heaven's diviner light
Not as yet reveal'd;
As yet the Loves around them
Had never shone--nor bound them
With their rosy rings;
As yet their bosoms knew not
Soft song--and music grew not
Out of the silver strings.
No gladsome garlands cheerily
Were love-y-woven then;
And o'er Elysium drearily
The May-time flew for men;
The morning rose ungreeted
From ocean's joyless breast;
Unhail'd the evening fleeted
To ocean's joyless breast--
Wild through the tangled shade,
By clouded moons they stray'd,
The iron race of Men!
Sources of mystic tears,
Yearnings for starry spheres,
No God awaken'd then!
Lo, mildly from the dark-blue water,
Comes forth the Heaven's divinest Daughter,
Borne by the Nymphs fair-floating o'er
To the intoxicated shore!
Like the light-scattering wings of morning
Soars universal May, adorning
As from the glory of that birth
Air and the ocean, heaven and earth!
Day's eye looks laughing, where the grim
Midnight lay coil'd in forests dim;
And gay narcissuses are sweet
Wherever glide those holy feet--
Now, pours the bird that haunts the eve
The earliest song of love,
Now in the heart--their fountain--heave
The waves that murmur love.
O blest Pygmalion--blest art thou--
It melts, it glows, thy marble now!
O Love, the God, thy world is won!
Embrace thy children, Mighty One.
Blessed through love are the Gods above--
Through love like the Gods may man be;
Heavenlier through love is the heaven above,
Through love like a heaven earth can be.
Where the nectar-bright streams,
Like the dawn's happy dreams,
Eternally one holiday,
The life of the Gods glides away.
Throned on his seat sublime,
Looks He whose years know not time;
At his nod, if his anger awaken,
At the wave of his hair all Olympus is shaken.
Yet He from the throne of his birth,
Bow'd down to the sons of the earth,
Through dim Arcadian glades to wander sighing,
Lull'd into dreams of bliss--
Lull'd by his Leda's kiss
Lo, at his feet the harmless thunders lying!
The Sun's majestic coursers go
Along the Light's transparent plain,
Curb'd by the Day-god's golden rein;
The nations perish at his bended bow;
Steeds that majestic go,
Death from the bended bow,
Gladly he leaves above--
For Melody and Love!
Low bend the dwellers of the sky,
When sweeps the stately Juno by;
Proud in her car, the Uncontroll'd
Curbs the bright birds that breast the air,
As flames the sovereign crown of gold
Amidst the ambrosial waves of hair--
Ev'n thou, fair Queen of Heaven's high throne,
Hast Love's subduing sweetness known;
From all her state, the Great One bends
To charm the Olympian's bright embraces,
The Heart-Enthraller only lends
The rapture-cestus of the Graces!
Blessed through love are the Gods above--
Through love like a God may man be;
Heavenlier through love is the heaven above,
Through love like a heaven earth can be!
Love can sun the Realms of Night--
Orcus owns the magic might--
Peaceful where She sits beside,
Smiles the swart King on his Bride;
Hell feels the smile in sudden light--
Love can sun the Realms of Night.
Heavenly o'er the startled Hell,
Holy, where the Accursed dwell,
O Thracian, went thy silver song!
Grim Minos, with unconscious tears,
Melts into mercy as he hears--
The serpents in Megara's hair,
Kiss, as they wreathe enamour'd there;
All harmless rests the madding thong;--
From the torn breast the Vulture mute
Flies, scared before the charmed lute--
Lull'd into sighing from their roar
The dark waves woo the listening shore--
Listening the Thracian's silver song!--
Love was the Thracian's silver song!
Blessed through love are the Gods above--
Through love like a God may man be;
Heavenlier through love is the heaven above--
Through love like a heaven earth can be!
Through Nature blossom-strewing,
_One_ footstep we are viewing,
One flash from golden pinions!--
If from Heaven's starry sea,
If from the moonlit sky;
If from the Sun's dominions,
Look'd not Love's laughing eye;
Then Sun and Moon and Stars would be
Alike, without one smile for me!
But, oh, wherever Nature lives
Below, around, above--
Her happy eye the mirror gives
To thy glad beauty, Love!
Love sighs through brooklets silver-clear,
Love bids their murmur woo the vale;
Listen, O list! Love's soul ye hear
In his own earnest nightingale.
No sound from Nature ever stirs,
But Love's sweet voice is heard with hers!
Bold Wisdom, with her sunlit eye,
Retreats when love comes whispering by--
For Wisdom's weak to love!
To victor stern or monarch proud,
Imperial Wisdom never bow'd
The knee she bows to Love!
Who through the steep and starry sky,
Goes onward to the gods on high,
Before thee, hero-brave?
Who halves for thee the land of Heaven;
Who shows thy heart, Elysium, given
Through the flame-rended Grave?
Below, if we were blind to Love,
Say, should we soar o'er Death, above?
Would the weak soul, did Love forsake her,
E'er gain the wing to seek the Maker?
Love, only Love, can guide the creature
Up to the Father-fount of Nature;
What were the soul did Love forsake her?
Love guides the Mortal to the Maker!
Blessed through love are the Gods above--
Through love like a God may man be:
Heavenlier through love is the heaven above,
Through love like a heaven earth can be!
 "The World was sad, the garden was a wild,
And Man, the Hermit, sigh'd--till Woman smiled."
* * * * *
FANTASIE TO LAURA.
What, Laura, say, the vortex that can draw
Body to body in its strong control;
Beloved Laura, what the charmed law
That to the soul attracting plucks the soul?
It is the charm that rolls the stars on high,
For ever round the sun's majestic blaze--
When, gay as children round their parent, fly
Their circling dances in delighted maze.
Still, every star that glides its gladsome course,
Thirstily drinks the luminous golden rain;
Drinks the fresh vigour from the fiery source,
As limbs imbibe life's motion from the brain;
With sunny motes, the sunny motes united
Harmonious lustre both receive and give,
Love spheres with spheres still interchange delighted,
Only through love the starry systems live.
Take love from Nature's universe of wonder,
Each jarring each, rushes the mighty All.
See, back to Chaos shock'd, Creation thunder;
Weep, starry Newton--weep the giant fall!
Take from the spiritual scheme that Power away,
And the still'd body shrinks to Death's abode.
Never--love _not_--would blooms revive for May,
And, love extinct, all life were dead to God.
And what the charm that at my Laura's kiss,
Pours the diviner brightness to the cheek;
Makes the heart bound more swiftly to its bliss,
And bids the rushing blood the magnet seek--
Out from their bounds swell nerve, and pulse, and sense,
The veins in tumult would their shores o'erflow;
Body to body rapt--and charmed thence,
Soul drawn to soul with intermingled glow.
Mighty alike to sway the flow and ebb
Of the inanimate Matter, or to move
The nerves that weave the Arachnean web
Of Sentient Life--rules all-pervading Love!
Ev'n in the Moral World, embrace and meet
Emotions--Gladness clasps the extreme of Care;
And Sorrow, at the worst, upon the sweet
Breast of young Hope, is thaw'd from its despair.
Of sister-kin to melancholy Woe,
Voluptuous Pleasure comes, and with the birth
Of her gay children, (golden Wishes,) lo,
Night flies, and sunshine settles on the earth!
The same great Law of Sympathy is given
To Evil as to Good, and if we swell
The dark account that life incurs with Heaven,
'Tis that our Vices are thy Wooers, Hell!
In turn those Vices are embraced by Shame
And fell Remorse, the twin Eumenides.
Danger still clings in fond embrace to Fame,
Mounts on her wing, and flies where'er she flees.
Destruction marries its dark self to Pride,
Envy to Fortune: when Desire most charms,
'Tis that her brother Death is by her side,
For him she opens those voluptuous arms.
The very Future to the Past but flies
Upon the wings of Love--as I to thee;
O, long swift Saturn, with unceasing sighs,
Hath sought his distant bride, Eternity!
When--so I heard the oracle declare--
When Saturn once shall clasp that bride sublime,
Wide-blazing worlds shall light his nuptials there--
'Tis thus Eternity shall wed with Time.
In _those_ shall be _our_ nuptials! ours to share
_That_ bridenight, waken'd by no jealous sun;
Since Time, Creation, Nature, but declare
Love--in our love rejoice, Beloved One!
 Literally, "the eye beams its sun-splendour," or, "beams
like a sun." For the construction that the Translator has put
upon the original (which is extremely obscure) in the preceding
lines of the stanza, he is indebted to Mr Carlyle. The general
meaning of the Poet is, that Love rules all things in the
inanimate or animate creation; that, even in the moral world,
opposite emotions or principles meet and embrace each other.
The idea is pushed into an extravagance natural to the youth,
and redeemed by the passion, of the Author. But the connecting
links are so slender, nay, so frequently omitted, in the
original, that a certain degree of paraphrase in many of the
stanzas is absolutely necessary to supply them, and render the
general sense and spirit of the poem intelligible to the
* * * * *
TO THE SPRING.
Welcome, gentle Stripling,
Nature's darling, thou--
With thy basket full of blossoms,
A happy welcome now!
Aha!--and thou returnest,
Heartily we greet thee--
The loving and the fair one,
Merrily we meet thee!
Think'st thou of my Maiden
In thy heart of glee?
I love her yet the Maiden--
And the Maiden yet loves me!
For the Maiden, many a blossom
I begg'd--and not in vain;
I came again, a-begging,
And thou--thou giv'st again:
Welcome, gentle stripling,
Nature's darling thou--
With thy basket full of blossoms,
A happy welcome, now!
* * * * *
NATURAL HISTORY OF SALMON AND SEA-TROUT.
[_On the Growth of Grilse and Salmon_. By Mr Andrew Young,
Invershin, Sutherlandshire. (Transactions of the Royal Society
of Edinburgh. Vol. XV. Part III.) Edinburgh, 1843.]
[_On the Growth and Migrations of the Sea-Trout of the Solway_.
By Mr John Shaw, Drumlanrig. (Ibid.) Edinburgh, 1843.]
The salmon is undoubtedly the finest and most magnificent of our
fresh-water fishes, or rather of those _anadromous_ kinds which, in
accordance with the succession of the seasons, seek alternately the
briny sea and the "rivers of water." It is also the most important, both
in a commercial and culinary point of view as well as the most highly
prized by the angler as an object of exciting recreation.
Notwithstanding these and other long-continued claims upon our
consideration, a knowledge of its natural history and habits has
developed itself so slowly, that little or nothing was precisely
ascertained till very recently regarding either its early state or its
eventual changes. The salmon-trout, in certain districts of almost equal
value with the true salmon, was also but obscurely known to naturalists,
most of whom, in truth, are too apt to satisfy themselves rather by the
extension than the increase of knowledge. They hand down to posterity,
in their barren technicalities, a great deal of what is neither new nor
true, even in relation to subjects which lie within the sphere of
ordinary observation,--to birds and beasts, which almost dwell among us,
and give utterance, by articulate or intelligible sounds, to a vast
variety of instinctive, and as it were explanatory emotions:--what
marvel, then, that they should so often fail to inform us of what we
desire to know regarding the silent, because voiceless, inhabitants of
the world of waters?
But that which naturalists have been unable to accomplish, has, so far
as concerns the two invaluable species just alluded to, been achieved by
others with no pretension to the name; and we now propose to present our
readers with a brief sketch of what we conceive to be the completed
biography of salmon and sea-trout. In stating that our information has
been almost entirely derived from the researches of practical men, we
wish it to be understood, and shall afterwards endeavour to demonstrate,
that these researches have, nevertheless, been conducted upon those
inductive principles which are so often characteristic of natural
acuteness of perception, when combined with candour of mind and honesty
of purpose. We believe it to be the opinion of many, that statements by
comparatively uneducated persons are less to be relied upon than those
of men of science. It may, perhaps, be somewhat difficult to define in
all cases what really constitutes a man of science. Many sensible people
suppose, that if a person pursues an original truth, and obtains
it--that is, if he ascertains a previously unknown or obscure fact of
importance, and states his observations with intelligence--he is
entitled to that character, whatever his station may be. For ourselves,
we would even say that if his researches are truly valuable, he is
himself all the more a man of science in proportion to the difficulties
or disadvantages by which his position in life may be surrounded.
The development and early growth of salmon, from the ovum to the smolt,
were first successfully investigated by Mr John Shaw of Drumlanrig, one
of the Duke of Buccleuch's gamekeepers in the south of Scotland. Its
subsequent progress from the smolt to the adult condition, through the
transitionary state of grilse, has been more recently traced, with
corresponding care, by Mr Andrew Young of Invershin, the manager of the
Duke of Sutherland's fisheries in the north. Although the fact of the
parr being the young of the salmon had been vaguely surmised by many,
and it was generally admitted that the smaller fish were never found to
occur except in streams or tributaries to which the grown salmon had, in
some way, the power of access, yet all who have any acquaintance with
the works of naturalists, will acknowledge that the parr was universally
described as a distinct species. It is equally certain that all who have
written upon the subject of smolts or salmon-fry, maintained that these
grew rapidly in fresh water, and made their way to the sea in the course
of a few weeks after they were hatched.
Now, Mr Shaw's discovery in relation to these matters is in a manner
twofold; first--he ascertained by a lengthened series of rigorous and
frequently-repeated experimental observations, that parr are the early
state of salmon, being afterwards converted into smolts; secondly,--he
proved that such conversion does not, under ordinary circumstances take
place until the second spring ensuing that in which the hatching has
occurred, by which time the young are _two years old_. The fact is, that
during early spring there are three distinct broods of parr or young
salmon in our rivers.
1st, We have those which, recently excluded from the ova, are still
invisible to common eyes; or, at least, are inconspicuous or
unobservable. Being weak, in consequence of their recent emergence from
the egg, and of extremely small dimensions, they are unable to withstand
the rapid flow of water, and so betake themselves to the gentler eddies,
and frequently enter "into the small hollows produced in the shingle by
the hoofs of horses which have passed the fords." In these and similar
resting-places, our little natural philosophers, instinctively aware
that the current of a stream is less below than above, and along the
sides than in the centre, remain for several months during spring, and
the earlier portion of the summer, till they gain such an increase of
size and strength as enables them to spread themselves abroad over other
portions of the river, especially those shallow places where the bottom
is composed of fine gravel. But at this time their shy and
shingle-seeking habits in a great measure screen them from the
observance of the uninitiated.
2dly, We have likewise, during the spring season, parr which have just
completed their first year. As these have gained little or no accession
of size during the winter months, owing to the low temperature both of
the air and water, and the consequent deficiency of insect food, their
dimensions are scarcely greater than at the end of the preceding
October: that is, they measure in length little more than three
inches.--(N.B. The old belief was that they grew nine inches in about
three weeks, and as suddenly sought the turmoil of the sea.) They
increase, however in size as the summer advances, and are then the
declared and admitted parr of anglers and other men.
3dly, Simultaneously with the two preceding broods, our rivers are
inhabited during March and April by parr which have completed their
second year. These measure six or seven inches in length, and in the
months of April and May they assume the fine silvery aspect which
characterizes their migratory condition,--in other words, they are
converted into smolts, (the admitted fry of salmon,) and immediately
make their way towards the sea.
Now, the fundamental error which pervaded the views of previous
observers of the subject, consisted in the sudden sequence which they
chose to establish between the hatching of the ova in early spring, and
the speedy appearance of the acknowledged salmon-fry in their lustrous
dress of blue and silver. Observing, in the first place, the hatching of
the ova, and, erelong, the seaward migration of the smolts, they
imagined these two facts to take place in the relation of immediate or
connected succession; whereas they had no more to do with each other
than an infant in the nursery has to do with his elder, though not very
ancient, brother, who may be going to school. The rapidity with which
the two-year-old parr are converted into smolts, and the timid habits of
the new-hatched fry, which render them almost entirely invisible during
the first few months of their existence,--these two circumstances
combined, have no doubt induced the erroneous belief that the silvery
smolts were the actual produce of the very season in which they are
first observed in their migratory dress: that is, that they were only a
few weeks old, instead of being upwards of two years. It is certainly
singular, however, that no enquirer of the old school should have ever
bethought himself of the mysterious fate of the two-year-old parr,
(supposing them not to be young salmon,) none of which, of course, are
visible after the smolts have taken their departure to the sea. If the
two fish, it may be asked, are not identical, how does it happen that
the one so constantly disappears along with the other? Yet no one
alleges that he has ever seen parr _as such_, making a journey towards
the sea "They cannot do so" says Mr Shaw, "because they have been
previously converted into smolts."
Mr Shaw's investigations were carried on for a series of years, both on
the fry as it existed naturally in the river, and on captive broods
produced from ova deposited by adult salmon, and conveyed to
ingeniously-constructed experimental ponds, in which the excluded young
were afterwards nourished till they threw off the livery of the parr,
and underwent their final conversion into smolts. When this latter
change took place, the migratory instinct became so strong that many of
them, after searching in vain to escape from their prison--the little
streamlet of the pond being barred by fine wire gratings--threw
themselves by a kind of parabolic somerset upon the bank and perished.
But, previous to this, he had repeatedly observed and recorded the
slowly progressive growth to which we have alluded. The value of the
parr, then, and the propriety of a judicious application of our
statutory regulations to the preservation of that small, and, as
hitherto supposed, insignificant fish, will be obvious without further
 Mr Shaw's researches include some curious physiological
and other details, for an exposition of which our pages are not
appropriate. But we shall here give the titles of his former
papers. "An account of some Experiments and Observations on the
Parr, and on the Ova of the Salmon, proving the Parr to be the
Young of the Salmon."--_Edinburgh New Phil. Journ_. vol. xxi.
p. 99. "Experiments on the Development and Growth of the Fry of
the Salmon, from the Exclusion of the Ovum to the Age of Six
Months."--_Ibid_. vol. xxiv. p. 165. "Account of Experimental
Observations on the Development and Growth of Salmon Fry, from
the Exclusion of the Ova to the Age of Two
Years."--_Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh_, vol.
xiv. part ii. (1840.) The reader will find an abstract of these
discoveries in the No. of this Magazine for April 1840.
Having now exhibited the progress of the salmon fry from the ovum to the
smolt, our next step shall be to show the connexion of the latter with
the grilse. As no experimental observations regarding the future
dimensions of the _detenus_ of the ponds could be regarded as legitimate
in relation to the usual increase of the species, (any more than we
could judge of the growth of a young English guardsman in the prisons of
Verdun,) after the period of their natural migration to the sea, and as
Mr Shaw's distance from the salt water--twenty-five miles, we believe,
windings included--debarred his carrying on his investigations much
further with advantage, he wisely turned his attention to a different,
though cognate subject, to which we shall afterwards refer. We are,
however, fortunately enabled to proceed with our history of the
adolescent salmon by means of another ingenious observer already named,
Mr Andrew Young of Invershin.
It had always been the prevailing belief that smolts grew rapidly into
grilse, and the latter into salmon. But as soon as we became assured of
the gross errors of naturalists, and all other observers, regarding the
progress of the fry in fresh water, and how a few weeks had been
substituted for a period of a couple of years, it was natural that
considerate people should suspect that equal errors might pervade the
subsequent history of this important species. It appears, however, that
_marine_ influence (in whatever way it works) does indeed exercise a
most extraordinary effect upon those migrants from our upland streams,
and that the extremely rapid transit of a smolt to a grilse, and of the
latter to an adult salmon, is strictly true. Although Mr Young's labours
in this department differ from Mr Shaw's, in being rather confirmatory
than original, we consider them of great value, as reducing the subject
to a systematic form, and impressing it with the force and clearness of
the most successful demonstration.
Mr Young's first experiments were commenced as far back as 1836, and
were originally undertaken with a view to show whether the salmon of
each particular river, after descending to the sea, returned again to
their original spawning-beds, or whether, as some supposed, the main
body, returning coastwards from their feeding grounds in more distant
parts of the ocean, and advancing along our island shores, were merely
thrown into, or induced to enter, estuaries and rivers by accidental
circumstances; and that the numbers obtained in these latter localities
thus depended mainly on wind and weather, or other physical conditions,
being suitable to their upward progress at the time of their nearing the
mouths of the fresher waters. To settle this point, he caught and marked
all the spawned fish which he could obtain in the course of the winter
months during their sojourn in the rivers. As soon as he had hauled the
fish ashore, he made peculiar marks in their caudal fins by means of a
pair of nipping-irons, and immediately threw then back into the water.
In the course of the following fishing season great numbers were
recaptured on their return from the sea, each in its own river bearing
its peculiar mark. "We have also," Mr Young informs us, "another proof
of the fact, that the different breeds or races of salmon continue to
revisit their native streams. You are aware that the river Shin falls
into the Oykel at Invershin, and that the conjoined waters of these
rivers, with the Carron and other streams, form the estuary of the
Oykel, which flows into the more open sea beyond, or eastwards of the
bar, below the Gizzen Brigs. Now, were the salmon which enter the mouth
of the estuary at the bar thrown in merely by accident or chance, we
should expect to find the fish of all the various rivers which form the
estuary of the same average weight; for, if it were a mere matter of
chance, then a mixture of small and great would occur indifferently in
each of the interior streams. But the reverse of this is the case. The
salmon in the Shin will average from seventeen pounds to eighteen pounds
in weight, while those of the Oykel scarcely attain an average of half
that weight. I am, therefore, quite satisfied, as well by having marked
spawned fish descending to the sea, and caught them ascending the same
river, and bearing that river's mark, as by a long-continued general
observation of the weight, size, and even something of the form, that
every river has its own breed, and that breed continues, till captured
and killed, to return from year to year into its native stream."
We have heard of a partial exception to this instinctive habit, which,
however, essentially confirms the rule. We are informed that a Shin
salmon (recognized as such by its shape and size) was, on a certain
occasion, captured in the river Conon, a fine stream which flows into
the upper portion of the neighbouring Frith of Cromarty. It was marked
and returned to the river, and was taken _next day_ in its native stream
the Shin, having, on discovering its mistake, descended the Cromarty
Frith, skirted the intermediate portion of the outer coast by Tarbet
Ness, and ascended the estuary of the Oykel. The distance may be about
sixty miles. On the other hand, we are informed by a Sutherland
correspondent of a fact of another nature, which bears strongly upon the
pertinacity with which these fine fish endeavour to regain their
spawning ground. By the side of the river Helmsdale there was once a
portion of an old channel forming an angular bend with the actual river.
In summer, it was only partially filled by a detached or landlocked
pool, but in winter, a more lively communication was renewed by the
superabounding waters. This old channel was, however, not only resorted
to by salmon as a piece of spawning ground during the colder season of
the year, but was sought for again instinctively in summer during their
upward migration, when there was no water running through it. The fish
being, of course, unable to attain their object, have been seen, after
various aerial boundings, to fall, in the course of their exertions,
upon the dry gravel bank between the river and the pool of water, where
they were picked up by the considerate natives.
No sooner had Mr Young satisfied himself that the produce of a river
invariably returned to that river after descending to the sea, than he
commenced his operations upon the smolts--taking up the subject where it
was unavoidably left off by Mr Shaw. His long-continued
superintendence of the Duke of Sutherland's fisheries in the north of
Scotland, and his peculiar position as residing almost within a few
yards of the noted river Shin, afforded advantages of which he was not
slow to make assiduous use. He has now performed numerous and varied
experiments, and finds that, notwithstanding the slow growth of parr in
fresh water, "such is the influence of the sea as a more enlarged and
salubrious sphere of life, that the very smolts which descend into it
from the rivers in spring, ascend into the fresh waters in the course of
the immediate summer as grilse, varying in size in proportion to the
length of their stay in salt water."
 Mr Young has, however, likewise repeated and confirmed Mr
Shaw's earlier experiments regarding the slow growth of salmon
fry in fresh water, and the conversion of parr into smolts. We
may add, that Sir William Jardine, a distinguished
Ichthyologist and experienced angler, has also corroborated Mr
For example, in the spring of 1837, Mr Young marked a great quantity of
descending smolts, by making a perforation in their caudal fins with a
small pair of nipping-irons constructed for the purpose, and in the
ensuing months of June and July he recaptured a considerable number on
their return to the rivers, all in the condition of grilse, and varying
from 3lbs. to 8lbs., "according to the time which had elapsed since
their first departure from the fresh water, or, in other words, the
length of their sojourn in the sea." In the spring of 1842, he likewise
marked a number of descending smolts, by clipping off what is called the
adipose fin upon the back. In the course of the ensuing June and July,
he caught them returning up the river, bearing his peculiar mark, and
agreeing with those of 1837 both in respect to size, and the relation
which that size bore to the lapse of time.
The following list from Mr Young's note-book, affords a few examples of
the rate of growth:--
_List of Smolts marked in the River, and recaptured as Grilse on their
first ascent from the Sea._
Period of marking. | Period of recapture. | Weight when retaken.
1842. April and May. | 1842. June 28. | 4 lb.
... ... | July 15. | 5 lb
... ... | ... 15. | 5 lb.
... ... | ... 25. | 7 lb.
... ... | ... 25. | 5 lb.
... ... | ... 30. | 3-1/2 lb.
We may now proceed to consider the final change,--that of the grilse
into the adult salmon. We have just seen that smolts return to the
rivers as grilse, (of the weights above noted,) during the summer and
autumn of the same season in which they had descended for the first time
to the sea. Such as seek the rivers in the earlier part of summer are of
small size, because they have sojourned for but a short time in the
sea:--such as abide in the sea till autumn, attain of course a larger
size. But it appears to be an established, though till now an unknown
fact, that with the exception of the early state of parr, in which the
growth has been shown to be extremely slow, salmon actually never do
grow in fresh water at all, either as grilse or in the adult state. All
their growth in these two most important later stages, takes place
during their sojourn in the sea. "Not only," says Mr Young, "is this the
case, but I have also ascertained that they actually decrease in
dimensions after entering the river, and that the higher they ascend the
more they deteriorate both in weight and quality. In corroboration of
this I may refer to the extensive fisheries of the Duke of Sutherland,
where the fish of each station of the same river are kept distinct from
those of another station, and where we have had ample proof that salmon
habitually decrease in weight in proportion to their time and distance
from the sea."
 These two specimens are now preserved in the Museum of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh.
 The existence in the rivers during spring, of grilse which
have spawned, and which weigh only three or four pounds, is
itself a conclusive proof of this retardation of growth in
fresh water. These fish had _run_, as anglers say--that is, had
entered the rivers about midsummer of the preceding year--and
yet had made no progress. Had they remained in the sea till
autumn, their size on entering the fresh waters would have been
much greater; or had they spawned early in winter, and
descended speedily to the sea, they might have returned again
to the river in spring _as small salmon_, while their more
sluggish brethren of the same age were still in the streams
under the form of grilse. All their growth, then, seems to take
place during their sojourn in the sea, usually from eight to
twelve weeks. The length of time spent in the salt waters, by
grilse and salmon which have spawned, corresponds nearly to the
time during which smolts remain in these waters; the former two
returning as _clean_ salmon, the last-named making their first
appearance in our rivers as grilse.
Mr Young commenced marking grilses, with a view to ascertain that they
became salmon, as far back as 1837, and has continued to do so ever
since, though never two seasons with the same mark. We shall here record
only the results of the two preceding years. In the spring of 1841, he
marked a number of spawned grilse soon after the conclusion of the
spawning period. Taking his "net and coble," he fished the river for the
special purpose, and all the spawned grilse of 4 lb. weight were marked
by putting a peculiarly twisted piece of wire through the dorsal fin.
They were immediately thrown into the river, and of course disappeared,
making their way downwards with other spawned fish towards the sea. "In
the course of the next summer we again caught several of those fish
which we had thus marked with wire as 4 lb. grilse, grown in the short
period of four or five months into beautiful full-formed salmon, ranging
from 9 lb. to 14 lb. in weight, the difference still depending on the
length of their sojourn in the sea."
In January 1842, he repeated the same process of marking 4 lb. grilse
which had spawned, and were therefore about to seek the sea; but,
instead of placing the wire in the back fin, he this year fixed it in
the upper lobe of the tail, or caudal fin. On their return from the sea,
he caught many of these quondam grilse converted into salmon as before.
The following lists will serve to illustrate the rate of growth:--
_List of Grilse marked after having spawned, and re-captured as Salmon,
on their second ascent from the Sea._
Period of Period of Weight when Weight when
marking. recapture. marked. retaken.
1841. Feb. 18. 1841. June 23. 4 lbs. 9 lbs.
... 18. ... 23. 4 lbs. 11 lbs.
... 18. ... 25. 4 lbs. 9 lbs.
... 18. ... 25. 4 lbs. 10 lbs.
... 18. July 27. 4 lbs. 13 lbs.
... 18. ... 28. 4 lbs. 10 lbs.
March 4. July 1. 4 lbs. 12 lbs.
... 4. ... 1. 4 lbs. 14 lbs.
... 4. ... 27. 4 lbs. 12 lbs.
1842. Jan. 29. 1842. July 4. 4 lbs. 8 lbs.
... 29. ... 14. 4 lbs. 9 lbs.
... 29. ... 14. 4 lbs. 8 lbs.
March 8. ... 23. 4 lbs. 9 lbs.
Jan. 29. ... 29. 4 lbs. 11 lbs.
March 8. Aug. 4. 4 lbs. 10 lbs.
Jan. 29. ... 11. 4 lbs. 12 lbs.
During both these seasons, Mr Young informs us, he caught far more
marked grilse returning with the form and attributes of perfect salmon,
than are recorded in the preceding lists. "In many specimens the wires
had been torn from the fins, either by the action of the nets or other
casualties; and, although I could myself recognise distinctly that they
were the fish I had marked, I kept no note of them. All those recorded
in my lists returned and were captured with the twisted wires complete,
the same as the specimens transmitted for your examination."
 These two specimens, with their wire marks _in situ_, may
now be seen in the Museum of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
We agree with Mr Young in thinking that the preceding facts, viewed in
connexion with Mr Shaw's prior observations, entitle us to say, that we
are now well acquainted with the history and habits of the salmon, and
its usual rate of growth from the ovum to the adult state. The young are
hatched after a period which admits of considerable range, according to
the temperature of the season, or the modifying character of special
localities. They usually burst the capsule of the egg in 90 to 100
days after deposition, but they still continue for a considerable time
beneath the gravel, with the yelk or vitelline portion of the egg
adhering to the body; and from this appendage, which Mr Shaw likens to a
red currant, they probably derive their sole nourishment for several
weeks. But though the lapse of 140 or even 150 days from the period of
deposition is frequently required to perfect the form of these little
fishes, which even then measure scarcely more than an inch in length,
their subsequent growth is still extremely slow; and the silvery aspect
of the smolt is seldom assumed till after the expiry of a couple of
years. The great mass of these smolts descend to the sea during the
months of April and May,--the varying range of the spawning and hatching
season carrying with it a somewhat corresponding range in the assumption
of the first signal change, and the consequent movement to the sea. They
return under the greatly enlarged form of grilse, as already stated, and
these grilse spawn that same season in common with the salmon, and then
both the one and the other re-descend into the sea in the course of the
winter or ensuing spring. They all return again to the rivers sooner or
later, in accordance, as we believe, with the time they had previously
left it after spawning, early or late. The grilse have now become salmon
by the time of their second ascent from the sea; and no further change
takes place in their character or attributes, except that such as
survive the snares of the fishermen, the wily chambers of the cruives,
the angler's gaudy hook, or the poacher's spear, continue to increase in
size from year to year. Such, however, is now the perfection of our
fisheries, and the facilities for conveying this princely species even
from our northern rivers, and the "distant islands of the sea," to the
luxurious cities of more populous districts, that we greatly doubt if
any salmon ever attains a good old age, or is allowed to die a natural
death. We are not possessed of sufficient data from which to judge
either of their natural term of life, or of their ultimate increase of
size. They are occasionally, though rarely, killed in Britain of the
weight of forty and even fifty pounds. In the comparatively unfished
rivers of Scandinavia large salmon are much more frequent, although the
largest we ever heard of was an English fish which came into the
possession of Mr Groves, of Bond Street. It was a female, and weighed
eighty-three pounds. In the year 1841, Mr Young marked a few spawned
salmon along with his grilse, employing as a distinctive mark copper
wire instead of brass. One of these, weighing twelve pounds, was marked
on the 4th of March, and was recaptured on returning from the sea on the
10th of July, weighing eighteen pounds. But as we know not whether it
made its way to the sea immediately after being marked, we cannot
accurately infer the rate of increase. It probably becomes slower every
year, after the assumption of the adult state. Why the salmon of one
river should greatly exceed the average weight of those of another into
which it flows, is a problem which we cannot solve. The fact, for
example, of the river Shin flowing from a large lake, with a course of
only a few miles, into the Oykel, although it accounts for its being an
_early_ river, owing to the receptive depth, and consequently higher
temperature of its great nursing mother, Loch Shin, in no way, so far at
least as we can see, explains the great size of the Shin fish, which are
taken in scores of twenty pounds' weight. They have little or nothing to
do with the loch itself, haunting habitually the brawling stream, and
spawning in the shallower fords, at some distance up, but still below
the great basin; and there are no physical peculiarities which in
any way distinguish the Shin from many other lake born northern rivers,
where salmon do not average half the size.
 Mr Shaw, for example, states the following various periods
as those which he found to elapse between the deposition of the
ova and the hatching of the fry--90, 101, 108, and 131 days. In
the last instance, the average temperature of the river for
eight weeks, had not exceeded 33 deg..
 If we are rightly informed, salmon were not in the habit
of spawning in the rivulets which run into Loch Shin, till
under the direction of Lord Francis Egerton some full-grown
fish were carried there previous to the breeding season. These
spawned; and their produce, as was to be expected, after
descending to the sea, returned in due course, and, making
their way through the loch, ascended their native tributaries.
Leaving the country of the _Morer Chatt_ (the Celtic title of the Earls
of Sutherland) we shall now return to the retainer of the "bold
Buccleuch." We have already mentioned that Mr Shaw, having so
successfully illustrated the early history of salmon, next turned his
attention to a cognate subject, that of the sea-trout (_Salmo-trutta_?)
Although no positive observations of any value, anterior to those now
before us, had been made upon this species, it is obvious that as soon
as his discoveries regarding salmon fry had afforded, as it were, the
key to this portion of nature's secrets, it was easy for any one to
infer that the old notions regarding the former fish were equally
erroneous. Various modifications of these views took place accordingly;
but no one ascertained the truth by observation. Mr Shaw was, therefore,
entitled to proceed as if the matter were solely in his own hands; and
he makes no mention either of the "vain imaginations" of Dr Knox, the
more careful compilation of Mr Yarrell, or the still closer, but by no
means approximate calculations of Richard Parnell, M.D. In this he has
acted wisely, seeing that his own essay professes to be simply a
statement of facts, and not an historical exposition of the progress of
It would, indeed, have been singular if two species, in many respects so
closely allied in their general structure any economy, had been found to
differ very materially in any essential point. It now appears, however,
that Mr Shaw's original discovery of the slow growth of salmon fry in
fresh water, applies equally to sea trout; and, indeed, his observations
on the latter are valuable not only in themselves, but as confirmatory
of his remarks upon the former species. The same principle has been
found to regulate the growth and migrations of both, and Mr Shaw's two
contributions thus mutually strengthen and support each other.
The sea trout is well known to anglers as one of the liveliest of all
the fishes subject to his lure. Two species are supposed by naturalists
to haunt our rivers--_Salmo eriox_, the bull trout of the Tweed,
comparatively rare on the western and northern coasts of Scotland, and
_Salmo trutta_, commonly called the sea or white trout, but, like the
other species, also known under a variety of provincial names, somewhat
vaguely applied. In its various and progressive stages, it passes under
the names of fry, smolt, orange-fin, phinock, herling, whitling,
sea-trout, and salmon-trout. It is likewise the "Fordwich trout" of
Izaak Walton, described by that poetical old piscator as "rare good
meat." As an article of diet it indeed ranks next to the salmon, and is
much superior in that respect to its near relation, _S. eriox_. It is
taken in the more seaward pools of our northern rivers, sometimes in
several hundreds at a single haul; and vast quantities, after being
boiled, and hermetically sealed in tin cases, are extensively consumed
both in our home and foreign markets. But, notwithstanding its great
commercial value, naturalists have failed to present us with any
accurate account of its consecutive history from the ovum to the adult
state. This desideratum we are now enabled to supply through Mr Shaw.
On the 1st of November 1839, this ingenious observer perceived a pair of
sea-trouts engaged together in depositing their spawn among the gravel
of one of the tributaries of the river Nith, and being unprovided at the
moment with any apparatus for their capture, he had recourse to his
fowling-piece. Watching the moment when they lay parallel to each other,
he fired across the heads of the devoted pair, and immediately secured
them both, although, as it afterwards appeared, rather by the influence
of concussion than the more immediate action of the shot. They were
about six inches under water. Having obtained a sufficient supply of the
impregnated spawn, he removed it in a bag of wire gauze to his
experimental ponds. At this period the temperature of the water was
about 47 deg., but in the course of the winter it ranged a few degrees
lower. By the fortieth day the embryo fish were visible to the naked
eye, and, on the 14th January, (seventy-five days after deposition,) the
fry were excluded from the egg. At this early period, the brood exhibit
no perceptible difference from that of the salmon, except that they are
somewhat smaller, and of paler hue. In two months they were an inch
long, and had then assumed those lateral markings so characteristic of
the young of all the known _Salmonidae_. They increased in size slowly,
measuring only three inches in length by the month of October, at which
time they were nine months old. In January 1841, they had increased to
three and a half inches, exhibiting a somewhat defective condition
during the winter months, in one or more of which, Mr Shaw seems to
think, they scarcely grow at all. We need not here go through the entire
detail of these experiments. In October (twenty-one months) they
measured six inches in length, and had lost those lateral bars, or
transverse markings, which characterise the general family in their
early state. At this period they greatly resembled certain varieties of
the common river-trout, and the males had now attained the age of sexual
completion, although none of the females had matured the roe. This
physiological fact is also observable in the true salmon. In the month
of May, three-fourths of the brood (being now upwards of two years old,
and seven inches long) assumed the fine clear silvery lustre which
characterises the migratory condition, being thus converted into smolts,
closely resembling those of salmon in their general aspect, although
easily to be distinguished by the orange tips of the pectoral fins, and
other characters with which we shall not here afflict our readers.
 A complete series of specimens, from the day of hatching
till about the middle of the sixth year, has been deposited by
Mr Shaw in the Museum of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The natural economy of the sea-trout thus far approximates that of the
genuine salmon, but with the following exception. Mr Shaw is of opinion
that about one-fourth of each brood never assume the silvery lustre;
and, as they are never seen to migrate in a dusky state towards the sea,
he infers that a certain portion of the species may be permanent
residents in fresh water. In this respect, then, they resemble the
river-trout, and afford an example of those numerous gradations, both of
form and instinct, which compose the harmonious chain of nature's
perfect kingdom. In support of this power of adaptation to fresh water
possessed by sea-trout, Mr Shaw refers to a statement by the late Dr
McCulloch, that these fish had become permanent inhabitants of a loch in
the island of Lismore, Argyllshire. Similar facts have been recorded by
other naturalists, though, upon the whole, in a somewhat vague and
inconclusive manner. We have it in our power to mention a very marked
example. When certain springs were conducted, about twenty years ago,
from the slopes of the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, into that city,
which Dr Johnson regarded as by no means abundantly supplied with the
"pure element of water," it was necessary to compensate the mill-owners
by another supply. Accordingly a valley, (the supposed scene of Allan
Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd,") through which there flowed a small stream,
had a great embankment thrown across it. After this operation, of course
the waters of the upper portion of the stream speedily rose to a level
with the sluices, thus forming a small lake, commonly called the
"Compensation Pond." The flow of water now escapes by throwing itself
over the outer side of the embankment, which is lofty and precipitous,
in the form of a cataract, up which no fish can possibly ascend. Yet in
the pond itself we have recently ascertained the existence of sea-trout
in a healthy state, although such as we have examined, being young, were
of small size. These attributes, however, were all the more important as
proving the breeding condition of the parents in a state of prolonged
captivity. It is obvious that sea-trout must have made their way (in
fulfilment of their natural migratory instinct) into the higher portions
of the stream prior to the completion of the obstructing dam; and as
none could have ascended since, it follows that the individuals in
question (themselves and their descendants) must have lived and bred in
fresh water, without access to the sea, for a continuous period of
nearly twenty years. This is not only a curious fact in the natural
history of the species, but it is one of some importance in an
economical point of view. Sea-trout, as an article of diet, are much
more valuable than river-trout; and if it can be ascertained that they
breed freely, and live healthily, without the necessity of access to the
sea, it would then become the duty, as it would doubtless be the desire,
of those engaged in the construction of artificial ponds, to stock those
receptacles rather with the former than the latter.
 Mr Shaw informs us, moreover, that if those individuals
which have assumed the silvery lustre be forcibly detained for
a month or two in fresh water, they will resume the coloured
coating which they formerly bore. The captive females, he adds,
manifested symptoms of being in a breeding state by the
beginning of the autumn of their third year. They were, in
truth, at this time as old as _herlings_, though not of
corresponding size, owing to the entire absence of marine
 Another interesting result may be noticed in connexion
with this Compensation Pond. The original streamlet, like most
others, was naturally stocked with small "burn-trout," which
never exceeded a few ounces in weight, as their ultimate term
of growth. But, in consequence of the formation above referred
to, and the great increase of their productive feeding-ground,
and tranquil places for repose and play, these tiny creatures
have, in some instances, attained to an enormous size. We
lately examined one which weighed six pounds. It was not a
sea-trout, but a common fresh-water one--_Salmo fario_. This
strongly exemplifies the conformable nature of fishes; that is,
their power of adaptation to a change of external
circumstances. It is as if a small Shetland pony, by being
turned into a clover field, could be expanded into the gigantic
dimensions of a brewer's horse.
Having narrated the result of Mr Shaw's experiment up to the migratory
state of his brood, we shall now refer to the further progress of the
species. This, of course, we can only do by turning our attention to the
corresponding condition of the fry in their natural places in the river.
So far back as the 9th of May 1836, our observer noticed salmon fry
descending seawards, and he took occasion to capture a considerable
number by admitting them into the salmon cruive. On examination, he
found about one-fifth of each shoal to be what he considered sea-trout.
Wisely regarding this as a favourable opportunity of ascertaining to
what extent they would afterwards "suffer a sea change," he marked all
the smolts of that species (about ninety in number) by cutting off the
whole of the adipose fin, and three-quarters of the dorsal. At a
distance, by the course of the river, of twenty-five miles from the sea,
he was not sanguine of recapturing many of these individuals, and in
this expectation he was not agreeably surprised by any better success
than he expected. However, on the 16th of July, exactly eighty days
afterwards, he recaptured as a _herling_ (the next progressive stage) an
individual bearing the marks he had inflicted on the young sea-trout in
the previous May. It measured twelve inches in length, and weighed ten
ounces. As the average weight of the migrating fry is about three and a
half ounces, it had thus gained an increase of six and a half ounces in
about eighty days' residence in salt water, supposing it to have
descended to the sea immediately after its markings were imposed. In
this condition of herlings or phinocks, young sea-trout enter many of
our rivers in great abundance in the months of July and August.
On the 1st of August 1837--fifteen months after being marked as fry, on
its way to the sea--another individual was caught, and recognised by the
absence of one fin, and the curtailment of another. This specimen, as
well as others, had no doubt returned, and escaped detection as a
herling, in 1836; but it was born for greater things, and when captured,
as above stated, weighed two pounds and a half. "He may be supposed,"
says Mr Shaw, "to represent pretty correctly the average size of
sea-trout on their second migration from the sea." In this state they
usually make their appearance in our rivers, (we refer at present
particularly to those of Scotland,) in greatest abundance in the months
of May and June. This view of the progress of the species clearly
accounts for a fact well known to anglers, that in spring and the
commencement of summer, larger sea-trout are caught than in July and
August, which would not be the case if they were all fish of the same
season. But the former are herlings which have descended, after spawning
early, to the sea, and returned with the increase just mentioned; the
latter were nothing more than smolts in May, and have only once enjoyed
the benefit of sea bathing. They are a year younger than the others.
As herlings (sea-trout in their third year) abounded in the river Nith
during the summer of 1834, Mr Shaw marked a great number (524) by
cutting off the adipose fin. "During the following summer (1835) I
recaptured sixty-eight of the above number as sea-trout, weighing on an
average about two and a half pounds. On these I put a second distinct
mark, and again returned them to the river, and on the next ensuing
summer (1836) I recaptured a portion of them, about one in twenty,
averaging a weight of four pounds. I now marked them distinctively for
the third time, and once more returned them to the river, also for the
third time. On the following season (23d day of August 1837) I
recaptured the individual now exhibited, for the fourth time. It
then weighed six pounds." This is indeed an eventful history, and we
question if any _Salmo trutta_ ever before felt himself so often out of
his element. However, the individual referred to must undoubtedly be
regarded as extremely interesting to the naturalist. It exhibits, at a
single glance, the various marks put upon itself and its companions, as
they were successively recaptured, from year to year, on their return to
the river--viz. 1st, The absence of the adipose fin, (herling of ten or
twelve ounces in 1834;) 2dly, One-third part of the dorsal fin removed,
(sea-trout of two and a half pounds in 1835;) 3dly, A portion of the
anal fin clipt off (large sea-trout of four pounds in 1836). In the 4th
and last place, it shows, in its own proper person, as leader of the
forlorn hope of 1837, the state in which it was finally captured and
killed, of the weight of six pounds. It was then in its sixth year, and,
representing the adult condition of this migratory species, we think it
renders further investigation unnecessary.
 The specimen is preserved in the Museum of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh.
From these and other experiments of a similar nature, which Mr Shaw has
been conducting for many years, he has come to the conclusion, that the
small fry called "Orange-fins," which are found journeying to the sea
with smolts of the true salmon, are the young of sea-trout of the age of
two years;--that the same individuals, after nine or ten weeks' sojourn
in salt water, ascend the rivers as herlings, weighing ten or twelve
ounces and on the approach of autumn pass into our smaller tributaries
with a view to the continuance of their kind;--that, having spawned,
they re-descend into the sea, where their increase of size (about one
and a half pound per annum) is almost totally obtained;--and that they
return annually, with an accession of size, for several seasons, to the
rivers in which their parents gave them birth. In proof of this last
point, Mr Shaw informs us, that of the many hundred sea-trout of
different ages which he has marked in various modes, he is not aware
that even a single individual has ever found its way into any tributary
of the Solway, saving that of the river Nith.
* * * * *
PART THE LAST.
The sudden and unlooked-for appearance of James Temple threw light upon
a mystery. Further explanation awaited me in the house from which the
unfortunate man had rushed to meet instant death and all its
consequences. It will be remembered that, in the narrative of his
victim, mention is made of one Mrs Wybrow, with whom the poor girl, upon
the loss of her father and of all means of support, obtained a temporary
home. It appeared that Fredrick Harrington, a few months after his
flight, returned secretly to the village, and, at the house of that
benevolent woman, made earnest application for his sister. He was then
excited and half insane, speaking extravagantly of his views and his
intentions in respect of her he came to take away. "She should be a
duchess," he said, "and must take precedence of every lady in the land.
He was a king himself and could command it so. He could perform wonders,
if he chose to use the power with which he was invested; but he would
wait until his sister might reap the benefit of his acquired wealth." In
this strain he continued, alarming the placid Mrs Wybrow, who knew not
what to do to moderate the wildness and the vehemence of his demeanour.
Hoping, however, to appease him, she told him of the good fortune of his
sister--how she had obtained a happy home, and how grateful he ought to
be to Providence for its kind care of her. Much more she said, only to
increase the anger of the man, whose insane pride was roused to fury the
moment that he heard his sister was doomed to eat the bread of a
dependent. He disdained the assistance of Mrs Temple--swore it was an
artifice, a cheat, and that he would drag her from the net into which
they had enticed her. When afterwards he learned that it was through the
mediation of James Temple that his sister had been provided for, the
truth burst instantly upon him, and he foresaw at once all that actually
took place. He vowed that he would become himself the avenger of his
sister, and that he would not let her betrayer sleep until he had wrung
from him deep atonement for his crime. It was in vain that Mrs Wybrow
sought to convince him of his delusion. He would not be advised--he
would not listen--he would not linger another moment in the house, but
quitted it, wrought to the highest pitch of rage, and speaking only of
vengeance on the seducer. He set out for London. Mrs Wybrow, agitated
more than she had been at any time since her birth, and herself almost
deprived of reason by her fears for the safety of Miss Harrington, James
Temple, and the furious lunatic himself, wrote immediately to Emma, then
resident in Cambridge, explaining the sad condition of her brother, and
warning her of his approach--Emma having already (without acquainting
Mrs Wybrow with her fallen state) forwarded her address, with a strict
injunction to her humble friend to convey to her all information of her
absent brother which she could possibly obtain. The threatened danger
was communicated to the lover--darkened his days for a time with anxiety
and dread, but ceased as time wore on, and as no visitant appeared to
affect the easy tenor of his immoral life. The reader will not have
forgotten, perhaps, that when for the first time I beheld James Temple,
he was accompanied by an elder brother. It was from the latter, his
friend and confidant, that the above particulars, and those which follow
in respect of the deceased, were gathered. The house in which, for a
second time, I encountered my ancient college friends, was their
uncle's. Parents they had none. Of father and of mother both they had
been deprived in infancy; and, from that period, their home had been
with their relative and guardian. The conduct of one charge, at least,
had been from boyhood such as to cause the greatest pain to him who had
assumed a parent's cares. Hypocrisy, sensuality, and--for his years and
social station--unparalleled dishonesty, had characterised James
Temple's short career. By some inexplicable tortuosity of mind, with
every natural endowment, with every acquired advantage, graced with the
borrowed as well as native ornaments of humanity, he found no joy in his
inheritance, but sacrificed it all, and crawled through life a gross and
earthy man. The seduction of Emma, young as he was when he committed
that offence, was, by many, not the first crime for which--not, thank
Heaven! without some preparation for his trial--he was called suddenly
to answer. As a boy, he had grown aged is vice. It has been stated that
he quitted the university the very instant he disencumbered himself of
the girl whom he had sacrificed. He crept to the metropolis, and for a
time there hid himself. But it was there that he was discovered by
Frederick Harrington, who had pursued the destroyer with a perseverance
that was indomitable, and scoffed at disappointment. How the lunatic
existed no one knew; how he steered clear of transgression and restraint
was equally difficult to explain. It was evident enough that he made
himself acquainted with the haunts of his former schoolfellow; and, in
one of them, he rushed furiously and unexpectedly upon him, affrighting
his intended victim, but failing in his purpose of vengeance by the very
impetuosity of his assault. Temple escaped. Then it was that the latter,
shaken by fear, revealed to his brother the rise of progress of his
intimacy with the discarded girl, and, in his extremity, called upon him
for advice and help. He could afford him none; and the seducer found
himself in the world without an hour's happiness or quiet. What quails
so readily as the heartiest soul of the sensualist? Who so cowardly as
the man only courageous in his oppression of the weak? The spirit of
Temple was laid prostrate. He walked, and eat, and slept, in base and
dastard fear. Locks and bolts could not secure him from dismal
apprehensions. A sound shook him, as the unseen wind makes the tall
poplar shudder--a voice struck terror in his ear, and sickness to
recreant heart. He could not be alone--for alarm was heightened by the
speaking conscience that pronounced it just. He journeyed from place to
place, his brother ever at his side, and the shadow of the avenger ever
stalking in the rear, and impelling the weary wanderer still onward. The
health of the sufferer gave way. To preserve his life, he was ordered to
the south-western coast. His faithful brother was his companion still.
He had not received a week's benefit from the mild and grateful
climate--he was scarcely settled in the tranquil village in which they
had fixed their residence, before the old terror was made manifest, and
hunted the unhappy man away. Whilst sitting at his window, and gazing
with something of delight upon the broad and smooth blue sea--for who
can look, criminal though he be, upon that glorious sheet in summer
time, when the sky is bright with beauty, and the golden sun is high,
and not lose somewhat of the heavy sense of guilt--not glow, it may be,
with returning gush of childhood's innocence, long absent, and coming now
only to reproach and then depart?--whilst sitting there and thus, the
sick man's notice was invited to a crowd of yelling boys, who had
amongst them one, the tallest of their number, whom they dragged along
for punishment or sport. He was an idiot. Who he was none knew so well
as the pale man that looked upon him, who could not drag his eye away,
so lost was it in wonder, so transfixed with horror. The invalid
remained no longer there. Fast as horses could convey him, he journeyed
homeward; and, in the bosom of his natural protectors, he sought for
peace he could not gain elsewhere. Here he remained, the slave of fear,
the conscience-stricken, diseased in body--almost spent; and here he
would have died, had not Providence directed the impotent mind of the
imbecile to the spot, and willed it otherwise. I have narrated, as
shortly as I might, the history of my earliest college friend, as I
received it from his brother's lips. There remain but a few words to
say--the pleasantest that I have had to speak of him James Temple did
not die a hardened man. If there be truth in tears, in prayers of
penitence that fall from him who stand upon the borders of eternity--who
can gain nothing by hypocrisy, and may lose by it the priceless treasure
of an immortal soul--if serenity and joy are signs of a repentance
spoken, a forgiveness felt, then Heaven had assuredly been merciful with
the culprit, and had remitted his offences, as Heaven can, and will,
remit the vilest.
I remained in the village of Belton until I saw all that remained of the
schoolfellows deposited in the earth. Their bodies had been easily
obtained--that of the idiot, indeed, before life had quitted it. The
evening that followed their burial, I passed with William Temple. Many a
sad reminiscence occurred to him which he communicated to me without
reserve, many a wanton act of coarse licentiousness, many a warning
unheeded, laughed at, spurned. It is a mournful pleasure for the mind,
as it dwells upon the doings of the departed, to build up its own
theories, and to work out a history of what might have been in happier
circumstances--a useless history of _ifs_. "If my brother had been
looked to when he was young," said William Temple more than once, "he
would have turned out differently. My uncle spoiled him. As a child, he
was never corrected. If he wished for a toy, he had but to scream for
it. If, at school, he had been fortunate enough to contract his
friendships with young men of worth and character, their example would
have won him to rectitude, for he was always a lad easily led." And
again, "If he had but listened to the advice which, when it would have
served him, I did not fail daily and hourly to offer him, he might have
lived for years, and been respected--for many know, I lost no
opportunity to draw him from his course of error." Alas! how vain, how
idle was this talk--how little it could help the clod that was already
crumbling in the earth--the soul already at the judgment-seat; yet with
untiring earnestness the brother persisted in this strain, and with
every new hypothesis found fresh satisfaction. There was more reason for
gratification when, at the close of the evening, the surviving relative
turned from his barren discourse and referred to the last days of the
deceased. There was comfort and consolation to the living in the
evidences which he produced of his most blessed change. It was a joy to
me to hear of his repentance, and to listen to the terms in which he
made it known. I did not easily forget them. I journeyed homeward. When
I arrived at the house of Doctor Mayhew, I was surprised to find how
little I could remember of the country over which I had travelled. The
scenes through which I had passed were forgotten--had not been noticed.
Absorbed by the thoughts which possessed my brain, I had suffered myself
to be carried forward, conscious of nothing but the waking dreams. I was
prepared, however, to see my friend. Still influenced by the latent hope
of meeting once more with Miss Fairman, still believing in the happy
issue of my love, I had resolved to keep my own connexion with the idiot
as secret as the grave. There was no reason why I should betray myself.
His fate was independent of my act--my conduct formed no link in the
chain which must be presented to make the history clear: and shame would
have withheld the gratuitous confession, had not the ever present,
never-dying promise forbade the disclosure of one convicting syllable.
As may be supposed, the surprise of Doctor Mayhew, upon hearing the
narrative, was no less than the regret which he experienced at the
violent death of the poor creature in whom he had taken so kind and deep
an interest. But a few days sufficed to sustain his concern for one who
had come to him a stranger, and whom he had known so short a time. The
pursuits and cares of life gradually withdrew the incident from his
mind, and all thoughts of the idiot. He ceased to speak of him. To me,
the last scene of his life was present for many a year. I could not
remove it. By day and night it came before my eyes, without one effort
on my part to invoke it. It has started up, suddenly and mysteriously,
in the midst of enjoyment and serene delight, to mingle bitterness in
the cup of earthly bliss. It has come in the season of sorrow to
heighten the distress. Amongst men, and in the din of business, the
vision has intruded, and in solitude it has followed me to throw its
shadows across the bright green fields, beautiful in their freshness.
Night after night--I cannot count their number--it has been the form and
substance of my dreams, and I have gone to rest--yes, for months--with
the sure and natural expectation of beholding the melancholy repetition
of an act which I would have given any thing, and all I had, to forget
and drive away for ever.
A week passed pleasantly with my host. I spoke of departure at the end
of it. He smiled when I did so, bade me hold my tongue and be patient. I
suffered another week to glide away, and then hinted once more that I
had trespassed long enough upon his hospitality. The doctor placed his
hand upon my arm, and answered quickly, "all in good time--do not
hurry." His tone and manner confirmed, I know not why, the strong hope
within me, and his words passed with meaning to my heart. I already
built upon the aerial foundation, and looked forward with joyous
confidence and expectation. The arguments and shows of truth are few
that love requires. The poorest logic is the soundest reasoning--if it
conclude for him. The visits to the parsonage were, meanwhile,
continued. Upon my return, I gained no news. I asked if all were well
there, and the simple, monosyllable, "Yes," answered with unusual
quickness and decision, was all that escaped the doctor's lips. He did
not wish to be interrogated further, and was displeased. I perceived
this and was silent. For some days, no mention was made of his dear
friend the minister. He was accustomed to speak often of that man, and
most affectionately. What was the inference? A breach had taken place.
If I entertained the idea for a day, it was dissipated on the next; for
the doctor, a week having elapsed since his last visit, rode over to the
parsonage as usual, remained there some hours, and returned in his best
and gayest spirits. He spoke of the Fairmans during the evening with the
same kind feeling and good-humour that had always accompanied his
allusions to them and their proceedings, and grew at length eloquent in
the praises of them both. The increasing beauty of the young mistress,
he said, was marvellous. "Ah," he added slyly, and with more truth,
perhaps, than he suspected, "it would have done your eyes good to-day,
only to have got one peep at her." I sighed, and he tantalized me
further. He pretended to pity me for the inconsiderate haste with which
I had thrown up my employment, and to condole with me for all I had lost
in consequence. "As for himself," he said, "he had, upon further
consideration, given up all thought of marriage for the present. He
should live a little longer and grow wiser; but it was not a pleasant
thing, by any means, to see so sweet a girl taken coolly off by a young
fellow, who, if all he heard was true, was very likely to have an early
opportunity." I sighed again, and asked permission to retire to rest;
but my tormentor did not grant it, until he had spoken for half an hour
longer, when he dismissed me in a state of misery incompatible with
rest, in bed, or out of it. My heart was bursting when I left him. He
could not fail to mark it. To my surprise, he made another excursion to
the parsonage on the following day; and, as before, he joined me in the
evening with nothing on his lips but commendation of the young lady whom
he had seen, and complaint at the cruel act which was about to rob them
of their treasure; for he said, regardless of my presence or the
desperate state of my feelings, "that the matter was now all but
settled. Fairman had made up his mind, and was ready to give his consent
the very moment the young fellow was bold enough to ask it. And lucky
dog he is too," added the kind physician, by way of a conclusion, "for
little puss herself is over head and ears in love with him, or else I
never made a right prognosis."
"I am much obliged to you, sir," I answered, when Doctor Mayhew paused;
"very grateful for your hospitality. If you please, I will depart
to-morrow. I trust you will ask me to remain no longer. I cannot do so.
My business in London"----
"Oh, very well! but that can wait, you know," replied the doctor,
interrupting me. "I can't spare you to-morrow. I have asked a friend to
dinner, and you must meet him."
"Do not think me ungrateful, doctor," I answered; "but positively I must
and will depart to-morrow. I cannot stay."
"Nonsense, man, you shall. Come, say you will, and I engage, if your
intention holds, to release you as early as you like the next day. I
have promised my friend that you will give him the meeting, and you must
not refuse me. Let me have my way to-morrow, and you shall be your own
"Upon such terms, sir," I answered immediately, "it would he
unpardonable if I persisted. You shall command me; on the following day,
I will seek my fortunes in the world again."
"Just so," replied the doctor, and so we separated.
The character of Dr Mayhew was little known to me. His goodness of heart
I had reason to be acquainted with, but his long established love of
jesting, his intense appreciation of a joke, practical or otherwise, I
had yet to learn. In few men are united, as happily as they were in him,
a steady application to the business of the world, and an almost
unrestrained indulgence in its harmless pleasantries. The grave doctor
was a boy at his fireside. I spent my last day in preparing for my
removal, and in rambling for some hours amongst the hills, with which I
had become too familiar to separate without a pang. Long was our
leave-taking. I lingered and hovered from nook to nook, until I had
expended the latest moment which it was mine to give. With a burdened
spirit I returned to the house, as my thoughts shifted to the less
pleasing prospect afforded by my new position. I shuddered to think of
London, and the fresh vicissitudes that awaited me.
It wanted but a few minutes to dinner when I stepped into the
drawing-room. The doctor had just reached home, after being absent on
professional duty since the morning. The visitor had already arrived; I
had heard his knock whilst I was dressing. Having lost all interest in
the doings of the place, I had not even cared to enquire his name. What
was it to me? What difference could the chance visitor of a night make
to me, who was on the eve of exile? None. I walked despondingly into the
room, and advanced with distant civility towards the stranger. His face
was from me, but he turned instantly upon hearing my step, and I
beheld----Mr Fairman. I could scarcely trust my eyes. I started, and
retreated. My reverend friend, however, betrayed neither surprise nor
discomposure. He smiled kindly, held out his hand, and spoke as he was
wont in the days of cordiality and confidence. What did it mean?
"It is a lovely afternoon, Stukely," began the minister, "worthy of the
ripe summer in which it is born."
"It is, sir," I replied; "but I shall see no more of them," I added
_instantly_, anxious to assure him that I was not lurking with sinister
design so near the parsonage--that I was on the eve of flight. "I quit
our friend to-morrow, and must travel many miles away."
"You will come to us, Caleb," answered Mr Fairman mildly.
"Sir!" said I, doubting if I heard aright.
"Has Dr Mayhew said nothing then?" he asked.
I trembled in every limb.
"Nothing, sir," I answered. "Oh, yes! I recollect--he did--he has--but
what have I--I have no wish--no business"----
The door opened, and Dr Mayhew himself joined us, rubbing his hands, and
smiling, in the best of good tempers. In his rear followed the faithful
Williams. Before a word of explanation could be offered, the latter
functionary announced "_dinner_," and summoned us away. The presence of
the servants during the meal interfered with the gratification of my
unutterable curiosity. Mr Fairman spoke most affably on different
matters, but did not once revert to the previous subject of discourse. I
was on thorns. I could not eat. I could not look at the minister without
anxiety and shame, and whenever my eye caught that of the doctor, I was
abashed by a look of meaning and good-humoured cunning, that was half
intelligible and half obscure. Rays of hope penetrated to my heart's
core, and illuminated my existence. The presence of Mr Fairman could not
be without a purpose. What was it, then? Oh, I dared not trust myself to
ask the question! The answer bred intoxication and delight, too sweet
for earth. What meant that wicked smile upon the doctor's cheek? He was
too generous and good to laugh at my calamity. He could not do it. Yet
the undisturbed demeanour of the minister confounded me. If there had
been connected with this visit so important an object as that which I
longed to believe was linked with it, there surely would have been some
evidence in his speech and manner, and he continued as cheerful and
undisturbed as if his mind were free from every care and weighty
thought. "What can it mean?" I asked myself, again and again. "How can
he coolly bid me to his house, after what has passed, after his fearful
anxiety to get me out of it? Will he hazard another meeting with his
beloved daughter?--Ah, I see it!" I suddenly and mentally exclaimed; "it
is clear enough--she is absent--she is away. He wishes to evince his
friendly disposition at parting, and now he can do it without risk or
cost." It was a plain elucidation of the mystery--it was enough, and all
my airy castles tumbled to the earth, and left me there in wretchedness.
Glad was I when the dinner was concluded, and eager to withdraw. I had
resolved to decline, at the first opportunity, the invitation of the
incumbent. I did not wish to grieve my heart in feasting my eyes upon a
scene crowded with fond associations, to revoke feelings in which it
would be folly to indulge again, and which it were well to annihilate
and forget. I was about to beg permission to leave the table, when Dr
Mayhew rose; he looked archly at me when I followed his example, and
requested me not to be in haste; "he had business to transact, and would
rejoin us shortly." Saying these words, he smiled and vanished. I
remained silent. To be left alone with Mr Fairman, was the most annoying
circumstance that could happen in my present mood. There were a hundred
things which I burned to know, whilst I lacked the courage to enquire
concerning one. But I had waited for an opportunity to decline his
invitation. Here it was, and I had not power to lift my head and look at
him. Mr Fairman himself did not speak for some minutes. He sat
thoughtfully, resting his forehead in the palm of his hand--his elbow on
the table. At length he raised his eyes, and whilst my own were still
bent downward, I could feel that his were fixed upon me.
"Caleb," said the minister.
It was the first time that the incumbent had called me by my Christian
name. How strangely it sounded from his lips! How exquisitely grateful
it dropt upon my ear!
"Tell me, Caleb," continued Mr Fairman, "did I understand you right? Is
it true that Mayhew has told you nothing?"
"Nothing distinctly, sir," I answered--"I have gathered something from
his hints, but I know not what he says in jest and what in earnest."
"I have only her happiness at heart, Stukely--from the moment that you
spoke to me on the subject, I have acted solely with regard to that. I
hoped to have smothered this passion in the bud. In attempting it, I
believed I was acting as a father should, and doing my duty by her."
The room began to swim round me, and my head grew dizzy.
"I am to blame, perhaps, as Mayhew says, for having brought you
together, and for surrounding her with danger. I should have known that
to trifle with a heart so guileless and so pure was cruel and unjust,
and fraught with perilous consequences. I was blind, and I am punished
for my act."
I looked at him at length.
"I use the word deliberately--_punished_, Stukely. It _is_ a punishment
to behold the affection of which I have ever been too jealous, departing
from me, and ripening for another. Why have I cared to live since Heaven
took her mother to itself--but for her sake, for her welfare, and her
love? But sorrow and regret are useless now. You do not know, young man,
a thousandth part of your attainment when I tell you, you have gained
her young and virgin heart. I oppose you no longer--I thwart not--render
yourself worthy of the precious gift."
"I cannot speak, sir!" I exclaimed, seizing the hand of the incumbent in
the wildness of my joy. "I am stupified by this intelligence! Trust me,
sir--believe me, you shall find me not undeserving of your generosity
"No, Stukely. Call it not by such a name. It is any thing but that;
there is no liberality, no nobility of soul, in giving you what I may
not now withhold. I cannot see her droop and die, and live myself to
know that a word from me had saved her. I have given my consent to the
prosecution of your attachment at the latest moment--not because I
wished it, but to prevent a greater evil. I have told you the truth! It
was due to us both that you should hear it; for the future look upon me
as your father, and I will endeavour to do you justice."
There was a stop. I was so oppressed with a sense of happiness, that I
could find no voice to speak my joy or tell my thanks. Mr Fairman
paused, and then continued.
"You will come to the parsonage to-morrow, and take part again in the
instruction of the lads after their return. You will be received as my
daughter's suitor. Arrangements will be made for a provision for you.
Mayhew and I have it in consideration now. When our plan is matured, it
shall be communicated to you. There need be no haste. You are both
young--too young for marriage--and we shall not yet fix the period of
My mind was overpowered with a host of dazzling visions, which rose
spontaneously as the minister proceeded in his delightful talk. I soon
lost all power of listening to details. The beloved Ellen, the faithful
and confiding maiden, who had not deserted the wanderer although driven
from her father's doors--she, the beautiful and priceless jewel of my
heart, was present in every thought, and was the ornament and chief of
every group that passed before my warm imagination. Whilst the incumbent
continued to speak of the future, of his own sacrifice, and my great
gain--whilst his words, without penetrating, touched my ears, and died
away--my soul grew busy in the contemplation of the prize, which, now
that it was mine, I scarce knew how to estimate. Where was she _then_?
How had she been? To how many days of suffering and of trial may she
have been doomed? How many pangs may have wrung that noble heart before
its sad complaints were listened to, and mercifully answered? I craved
to be at her side. The words which her father had spoken had loosened
the heavy chain that tied me down--my limbs were conscious of their
freedom--my spirit felt its liberty--what hindered instant flight? In
the midst of my reverie Dr Mayhew entered the room--and I remember
distinctly that my immediate impulse was to leave the two friends
together, and to run as fast as love could urge and feet could carry
me--to the favoured spot which held all that I cared for now on earth.
The plans, however, of Doctor Mayhew interfered with this desire. He had
done much for me, more than I knew, and he was not the man to go without
his payment. A long evening was yet before us, time enough for a hundred
jokes, which I must hear, and witness, and applaud or I was most
unworthy of the kindness he had shown me. The business over for which Mr
Fairman had come expressly, the promise given of an early visit to the
parsonage on the following day, an affectionate parting at the garden
gate, and the incumbent proceeded on his homeward road. The doctor and I
returned together to the house in silence and one of us in partial fear;
for I could see the coming sarcasm in the questionable smile that played
about his lips. Not a word was spoken when we resumed our seats. At last
he rang the bell, and Williams answered it----
"Book Mr Stukely by the London coach to-morrow, Williams," said the
master; "he _positively must and will depart to-morrow_."
The criminal reprieved--the child, hopeless and despairing at the
suffering parent's bed, and blessed at length with a firm promise of
amendment and recovery, can tell the feelings that sustained my
fluttering heart, beating more anxiously the nearer it approached its
_home_. I woke that morning with the lark--yes, ere that joyous bird had
spread its wing, and broke upon the day with its mad note--and I left
the doctor's house whilst all within were sleeping. There was no rest
for me away from that abode, whose gates of adamant, with all their bars
and fastenings, one magic word had opened--whose sentinels were
withdrawn--whose terrors had departed. The hours were all too long until
I claimed my newfound privilege. Morn of the mellow summer, how
beautiful is thy birth! How soft--how calm--how breathlessly and
blushingly thou stealest upon a slumbering world! fearful, as it seems,
of startling it. How deeply quiet, and how soothing, are thy earliest
sounds--scarce audible--by no peculiar quality distinguishable, yet
thrilling and intense! How doubly potent falls thy witching influence on
him whose spirit passion has attuned to all the harmonies of earth, and
made but too susceptible! Disturbed as I was by the anticipation of my
joy, and by the consequent unrest, with the first sight of day, and all
its charms, came _peace_--actual and profound. The agitation of my soul
was overwhelmed by the prevailing stillness, and I grew tranquil and
subdued. Love existed yet--what could extinguish that?--but heightened
and sublimed. It was as though, in contemplating the palpable and lovely
work of heaven, all selfishness had at once departed from my breast--all
dross had separated from my best affections, and left them pure and
free. And so I walked on, happiest of the happy, from field to field,
from hill to hill, with no companion on the way, no traveller within my
view--alone with nature and my heart's delight. "And men pent up in
cities," thought I, as I went along, "would call this--_solitude_." I
remembered how lonely I had felt in the busy crowds of London--how
chill, how desolate and forlorn, and marvelled at the reasoning of man.
And came no other thoughts of London and the weary hours passed there,
as I proceeded on my delightful walk? Yes, many, as Heaven knows, who
heard the involuntary matin prayer, offered in gratefulness of heart,
upon my knees, and in the open fields, where no eye but one could look
upon the worshipper, and call the fitness of the time and place in
question. The early mowers were soon a-foot; they saluted me and passed.
Then, from the humblest cottages issued the straight thin column of
white smoke--white as the snowy cloud--telling of industry within, and
the return of toil. Now labourers were busy in their garden plots,
labouring for pleasure and delight, ere they strove abroad for hire,
their children at their side, giving the utmost of their small
help--young, ruddy, wild, and earnest workmen all! The country day is up
some hours before the day in town. Life sleeps in cities, whilst it
moves in active usefulness away from them. The hills were dotted with
the forms of men before I reached the parsonage, and when I reached it,
a golden lustre from the mounting sun lit up the lovely house with
fire--streaming through the casements already opened to the sweet and
If I had found it difficult to rest on this eventful morning, so also
had another--even here--in this most peaceful mansion. The parsonage
gate was at this early hour unclosed. I entered. Upon the borders of the
velvet lawn, bathed in the dews of night, I beheld the gentle lady of
the place; she was alone, and walking pensively--now stooping, not to
pluck, but to admire, and then to leave amongst its mates, some crimson
beauty of the earth--now looking to the mountains of rich gold piled in
the heavens, one upon another, changing in form and colour, blending and
separating, as is their wondrous power and custom, filling the maiden's
soul with joy. Her back was toward me: should I advance, or now retire?
Vain question, when, ere an answer could be given, I was already at the
lady's side. Shall I tell of her virgin bashfulness, her blushes, her
trembling consciousness of pure affection? Shall I say how little her
tongue could speak her love, and how eloquently the dropping tear told
all! Shall I describe our morning's walk, her downward gaze--my
pride?--her deep, deep silence, my impassioned tones, the insensibilty
to all external things--the rushing on of envious Time, jealous of the
perfect happiness of man? The heart is wanting for the task--the pen is
shaking in the tremulous hand.--Beautiful vision! long associate of my
rest, sweetener of the daily cares of life, shade of the heavenly
one--beloved Ellen! hover still around me, and sustain my aching
soul--carry me back to the earliest days of our young love, quicken
every moment with enthusiasm--be my fond companion once again, and light
up the old man's latest hour with the fire that ceased to burn when thou
fleed'st heavenward! Thou hast been near me often since we parted here!
Whose smile but thine has cheered the labouring pilgrim through the
lagging day? In tribulation, whose voice has whispered _peace_--whose
eye hath shone upon him, like a star, tranquil and steady in the gloomy
night? Linger yet, and strengthen and hallow the feeble words, that
chronicle our love!
It would be impossible to conceive a woman more eminently fitted to
fulfil the duties of her station, than the gentle creature whose heart
it had been my happiness and fortune to make my own. Who could speak so
well of the _daughter's_ obedience as he who was the object of her
hourly solicitude? Who could behold her tenderness, her watchfulness and
care and not revere the filial piety that sanctified the maid? The poor,
most difficult of mankind to please, the easily offended, the jealous
and the peevish, were unanimous in their loud praise of her, whose
presence filled the foulest hut with light, and was the harbinger of
good. It is well to doubt the indigent when they speak _evil_ of their
fellows; but trust them when, with one voice, _they pray for blessings_,
as they did for her, who came amongst them as a sister and a child. If a
spotless mind be a treasure in the _wife_, if simplicity and truth,
virtue and steadfast love, are to be prized in her who plights her troth
to man, what had I more to ask--what had kind nature more to grant?
Had all my previous sufferings been multiplied a hundred times, I should
have been indemnified for all in the month that followed my restoration
to the parsonage. Evening after evening, when the business of the day
was closed, did we together wander amongst the scenes that were so dear
to us--too happy in the enjoyment of the present, dwelling with pleasure
on the past, dreaming wildly--as the young must dream--of the uncreated
future. I spoke of earthly happiness, and believed it not a fable. What
could be brighter than our promises? What looked more real--less likely
to be broken? How sweet was our existence! My tongue would never cease
to paint in dazzling colours the days that yet awaited us. I numbered
over the joys of a domestic life, told her of the divine favour that
accompanies contentment, and how angels of heaven hover over the house
in which it dwells united to true love. Nor was there wanting
extravagant and fanciful discourse, such as may be spoken by the
prodigal heart to its co-mate, when none are by to smile and wonder at
"Dear Ellen," have I said, in all the fulness of my passion--"what a
life is this we lead! what heavenly joy! To be for ever only as we are,
were to have more of God's kindness and beloved care than most of
earthly creatures may. Indissolubly joined, and in each other's light to
live, and in each other's sight alone to seek those blessings wedded
feelings may bestow--to perceive and know ourselves as one--to breathe
as one the ripe delicious air--to fix on every object of our mutual love
the stamp and essence of one living heart--to walk abroad, and find glad
sympathy in all created things--this, this is to be conscious of more
lasting joy--to have more comfort in the sight of God, than they did
know, the happy parent pair, when heaven smiled on earth, and earth was
heaven, connected both by tenderest links of love."
She did not answer, when my soul ran riot in its bliss. She listened,
and she sighed, as though experience cut off the promises of hope, or as
if intimations of evil began already to cast their shadows, and to press
upon her soul!
Time flew as in a dream. The sunny days passed on, finding and leaving
me without a trouble or a fear--happy and entranced. Each hour
discovered new charms in my betrothed, and every day unveiled a latent
grace. How had I merited my great good fortune? How could I render
myself worthy of her love? It was not long before the object of my
thoughts, sleeping and waking, became a living idol, and I, a reckless
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