International Weekly Miscellany Of Literature, Art, and Science

Part 2 out of 2

times, together with his own observations and reflections on affairs,
or remarks on characters. As he was much in the confidence of
Perceval, saw a good deal of the Duke of Wellington, (Master-General
of the Ordnance during the era of the Manchester massacre and
Sidmouth's spy doings,) and was continually behind the scenes, the
diary is both curious and amusing. Allowance must of course be made
for the writer's position as a partisan, and some of his later
notions are those of the "laudator temporis acti," speaking without
responsibility; but it is sufficiently interesting to raise a desire
for the whole, published as a diary, and not mixed up with other
matters to which it has small relation.

The diary begins with Canning's intrigue against Castlereagh; and
Canning is occasionally brought forward in the earlier period,
and painted with a good deal of shadow, (he was then in a sort of
opposition to Perceval,) and altogether a very different personage
from the Wentworth of _De Vere_. Lord Palmerston, then a "very fine
young man," and a promising candidate for place, with no other faults,
in Mr. Ward's estimation, than what he has certainly got rid of long
since--nervousness and modesty!--also figures in the pages, and at a
critical conjuncture of his fortunes.

"Lord Palmerston came to town, sent for by Perceval. He was
so good as to confide to me that three things were offered to
him,--the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, Secretaryship at
War, or a seat at the Treasury, by way of introduction to the
seals, if he was afraid of entering upon them at once. These
offers were, however, in the alternative of there being any
of them declined by Milnes (Member for Pomfret), to whom they
were made in the first instance. Lord P. consulted me very
frankly upon them, and asked if I thought he would be equal
to the seals either in Cabinet or Parliament, particularly the
latter, where he had barely made his debut. I told him, and
was most sincere, that in common with all his friends whom I
had ever heard speak on the subject, I thought him quite equal
to them in point of capacity, but as to nerves in Parliament,
(of which he seemed most to doubt,) nobody could judge but
himself. He said, Petty (whom I had mentioned) had come
forward after having felt his way and got possession of
himself in the House, and that if he had done the same, he
perhaps would not hesitate. As it was, he inclined to the
second place, but had written to Lord Malmesbury. We walked up
to Hyde Park discussing the subject. Among other topics which
I urged, one seemed to impress him much; which was, the great
difference there would be in his situation and pretensions
upon a return to office, in the event of our going out, if
he retired as a Cabinet Minister instead of a subordinate
capacity. He allowed it much flattered his ambition, but
feared the prejudice it would occasion to his own reputation
and the interest of his friends if he failed. I left him
inclining to the Secretary at War; and admired his prudence,
as I have long done the talents and excellent understanding,
as well as the many other good qualities as well as
accomplishments, of this very fine young man."

One portion of the diary relates to the Regency. New facts are
scarcely advanced, but we think some freshness is given from the
light and coloring of the author. Unless Sheridan really persuaded
the Prince to throw over the Whigs, out of revenge for Whig hauteur,
his Royal Highness would seem to have acted entirely from himself.
The arrogance of Grey and Grenville comes out very strongly in the
painting of his opponent. After all, however, it is doubtful whether
they _could_ have come in. The Tories would have been strong in
Opposition; the Whigs could scarcely form a Government without the
Canning votes, and the hatred with which the old Whigs regarded their
leader rendered that junction impossible: what was more than all,
their cowardly anti-national policy would have rendered their position
one of great difficulty with the country. The fact is, that poor in
point of talent as the Perceval Ministry was, it best represented the
opinion of the country; as the Whigs now are in a similar position.
Some of these points are well put in this report of a conversation in
the House of Commons; which will also give an idea of the manner of
the diary.

"J.W. Ward told me what he called a bon mot, and seemed much
to enjoy, of Lady ----'s. He had said there was a difficulty
in getting people to accept of offices just now; she answered,
she thought Lord Grenville would be not unwilling to accept
them _all_ in his own person. Oh strange union, where this,
by one of their party, is thought characteristic and told
with glee! I understand, however, that Tierney has confessed
a difficulty. The Prince, it seems, wants them to accept, and
they are afraid to accept. They are therefore reduced to tell
the Prince, We would accept if it were to do ourselves good;
but not when it is inconvenient, though to do you good.
The remarkable part of the evening was a conversation with
Brand, who came over to sit by me. Though he had spoken, and
strongly, against us in the debate, he opened immediately upon
the merits of Perceval; he admired his conduct and ability
so much, that if he had ever given him a vote in his life, he
said, he would have supported him on these questions; that
his character had enabled him to commence the stand he had
made, and character had attached his party so much to him as
to continue the majority all through; that this sentiment
was not peculiar to him in the Opposition, but partaken
by many--indeed, all without exception admired him; that
this would give him extraordinary influence as the head of
an Opposition, which must give great trouble, to the new
Government when it was formed: nevertheless, he thought we
were not going out, it was too dangerous to come in; probably,
he added, laughing, the Regent will keep Perceval three months
as his father's Minister, and then 'fall so much in love with
him' (that was the expression) that he will continue him
as his own. He then entered much on the comparison between
him and Canning; the latter of whom, he said, spite of his
abilities, was discarded by all parties; that he could tell
me it was finally resolved not to admit him in the new
Government, into which some on account of those abilities
had wished to introduce him. I may say, he observed, that I
had some share in the rejection: I protested against such a
junction whenever it was talked of; I told my friends it would
ruin that without which they never could make a Government,
character; that the eyes of a great number whom they could by
no means command were upon them: I bade them look at the back
rows on the side of Opposition, and asked them if they could
count such men as Nicholson, Calvert, Halsey, Coke of Norfolk,
&c., &c., as their regular supporters, unless it was from
an esteem for their character--and if that character would
not sustain a deep wound in the outset--if, for the sake of
power, they allied themselves with a man who had deserted all
alliances he had ever made; that he had deserted them before,
after a treaty made, and had then deserted Perceval, after
endeavoring to undermine Castlereagh; his conduct to whom had
injured himself with the public in the most serious manner,
in having allowed him to retain his office and undertake that
melancholy expedition, five months after he had declared
him so incapable that he put his own resignation upon his
dismissal, that to ally with such a man could be only lowering
themselves in public esteem without gaining anything but a
hollow support. I would inform Canning myself, he added, that
this was my protest, if he asked me."

The heads of the "great Whig families," however, were more sanguine,
and hoped, or at least were occupied, to the last. Their treatment
by the Prince was characteristic; and one can fancy the magnates at
Adam's announcement in the following extract:

"What most offended them was the manner in which the Prince
announced his resolution. They were in the very act of forming
the Administration, filling offices, &c., &c., when Adam came
in from the Prince. They said they could not be disturbed;
he said he must disturb them, for he had a message from the
Prince: they replied that it was for the Prince they were at
work, for they were making the Government; Adam told them to
spare all trouble, for no Government was to be made. This was
on Friday the 1st, in the evening; and what affronted them
was, that after having had such a task committed to them, the
Prince should have presumed to take a counter resolution by
himself without first consulting them."

This is a characteristic trait of the Duke of Wellington's way of
getting through, business.

"He was fond of relating, that soon after the Duke's
appointment, he was leaving his office at the usual hour,
when, on coming out at the Park entrance, he perceived his new
chief just in the act of getting on horseback. He went up to
the Duke, and mentioned that there were some matters connected
with the department on which he would like to communicate
with him when he had time. 'No time like the present,' said
the Duke, and, at once dismissing his horse, returned with
Mr. Ward into the Ordnance Office. There, then, he remained
closeted with the Duke till past eight, listening to and
answering his pertinent queries upon manifold points connected
with the department. From that moment the Duke appeared to be
au fait of the business in hand, and ready to cope with the
details as they from time to time presented themselves."

The Duke seems to have been more alarmed at the state of the nation
about 1819 than the nature of the case justified; deceived, probably,
by the official "reports" of Messrs. Castles and Co. The following
remark, however, exhibits his penetration:

"He said, if the rising broke out anywhere, it would be
at Glasgow and Paisley; where many rich merchants and all
they supported would be sure to suffer, while no one could
certainly foretell how soon it might be put down. This led
him to his favorite notion, that the loyal should be taught
to rely more upon themselves, and less upon the Government,
in their own defense against the disloyal. It was this, he
thought, that formed and kept up a national character: while
every one was accustomed to rely upon the Government, upon a
sort of commutation for what they paid to it, personal energy
went to sleep, and the end was lost: that in England, he
observed, every man who had the commonest independence, one,
two, five or six hundred, or a thousand a year, had his own
little plan of comfort--his favorite personal pursuit, whether
his library, his garden, his hunting, or his farm, which he
was unwilling to allow anything (even his own defense) to
disturb; he therefore deceived himself into a notion that if
there was a storm it would not reach him, and went on his own
train till it was actually broke in upon by force. This led
to supineness and apathy as to public exertion; which would in
the end ruin us: the disposition therefore must be changed,
by forcing them to exert themselves; which would not be if
Government did everything in civil war, they nothing: hence
his wish for a volunteer force. All this was exceedingly
sound, and showed the reach of his reflecting mind as an
observer of human nature, as well as a statesman and soldier,
more than anything I have yet seen."

There is a curious passage touching Pitt's dying moments.

"At the time Mr. Ward accepted the post of Under-Secretary of
State, (resigning that of Welsh Judge,) it had been promised
him that the apparent risk of such a step to the future
prospects of his family should be guarded against by the grant
of a pension, to commence when he should cease to hold office.
He had been but a year in the post thus accepted, and amid
the pressure of other matters the contemplated arrangement
had never been completed. More than once in his last illness
did Pitt allude to his unfulfilled promise, and speak with
kindness of him to whom it had been made. Later on, when he
could no longer continuously articulate, he made the name
'Robert Ward' audible, and added signs for paper and ink.
His trembling hand having feebly traced a number of wandering
characters, and added what could be easily recognized as
his well-known signature, he sank back. The precious paper
(precious, whatever may have been its unknown import, as a
proof of remembrance at so solemn a moment) was afterward
handed over by the physician in attendance, Sir Walter
Farquhar, to Mr. Ward; and many a time did he declare, as he
displayed it to me, that he would give anything he valued most
in the world to be able to decipher its unformed characters."

Some posthumous compositions of Mr. Ward are appended to the Memoirs.
They consist of "characters," similar to those of Chesterfield and
other writers, and of "sketches" and essays; these last being set in
a species of framework, intended to connect them into a series. They
are not the best specimens of the author's composition; and perhaps
were hardly worth publication. Allowance is to be made, as Mr. Phipps
remarks, for their unrevised state; and revision might have removed
crudities and imparted more closeness and strength. It would not,
however, have altered their main defects; which may be summed up
by saying that they belonged to another age, without reaching the
peculiar force and finish which alone can give interest to an obsolete

[Footnote 3: Memoirs of the Political and Literary Life of Robert
Plumer Ward, Esq., Author of "The Law of Nations," "Tremaine," "De
Vere," &c. With Selections from his Correspondence, Diaries, and
unpublished Literary Remains. By the Honorable Edmund Phipps. In two
volumes. Published by Murray.]

* * * * *

THE BAGPIPE.--In Gothic sculpture and tracery angels are sometimes
portrayed practising on the bagpipe. It was occasionally used in
churches before the introduction of the organ, which occurred early
in the fifteenth century. Written music came into use about the same
time, and both were loudly denounced by many of the old school-men as
unnecessary and vain innovations.

* * * * *




Yakoutsk is one of the principal cities of Siberia, a country the
name of which excites exaggerated ideas of sterility and desolation.
Watered by rivers, which in every direction do the work of railways,
with richly-wooded mountains and valleys, with green slopes,
cultivated fields, soft meadows, gardens, and grassy islands in
the great streams, with all the common vegetables in pretty fair
abundance, with an endless source of commerce in furs and ivory,
Siberia, except in its extreme northern provinces, presents, like
most other lands, a very considerable amount of compensation for
considerable rigor of climate. Yakoutsk is a completely northern town
on the great river Lena, with wide streets and miserable huts, all of
wood, in many of which ice is still used in winter for panes of glass.
A very eminent traveler tells us that on his visit there were 4000
people living in 500 houses; with three stone churches, two wooden
ones, and a convent. It had once an antiquity to show--the ancient
Ostrog or fortress built in 1647 by the Cossacks; but which menaced
ruin more and more every day, being not of stone, but of wood, and
at last disappeared. Even here progress is observable, and wretched
cabins give way gradually to houses, some of which are even elegantly
arranged in the interior. It is a great commercial center: from the
Anubra to Behring's Straits, from the banks of the Frozen Sea to Mount
Aldana, from Okhotsk and even Kamschatka, goods are brought hither,
consisting chiefly of furs, seals' teeth and mammoths' tusks, which
afford excellent ivory, all of which are sold in the summer to
itinerant traders, who give in return powerfully-flavored tobacco,
corn and flour, tea, sugar, strong drinks, Chinese silks and cottons,
cloth, iron and copper utensils, and glass.

The inhabitants of the town are chiefly traders, who buy of the
Yakouta hunters their furs at a cheap rate, and then sell them in
a mysterious kind of fashion to the agents who come from Russia in
search of them. During the annual fair they stow up their goods in
private rooms; and here the Irkoutsk men must come and find them.
These traders are the Russian inhabitants, the native Yakoutas being
the only artisans. In this distant colony of the human race, the
new-born child of a Russian is given to a Yakouta woman to nurse, and
when old enough, learns to read and write, after which he is brought
up to the fur trade, and his education is finished.

Ivan Ivanovitch was a young man born and bred at Yakoutsk. His parents
had given him the usual amount of tuition, and then allowed him for
a time to follow the bent of his inclination. Ivan took to the chase.
Passionately fond of this amusement, he had at an early age started
with the Yakouta trappers, and become learned in the search for
sables, ermines, and lynxes; could pursue the reindeer and elk on
skates; and had even gone to the north in quest of seals. He thus at
the age of twenty, knew the whole active part of his trade, and was
aware of all the good hunting-grounds on which the Siberians founded
their prosperity. But when he was called on to follow the more quiet
and sedentary part of his occupation, he was not one-half so quick.
His rough and rude life made town existence distasteful to him, and he
evinced all that superb contempt for shop-keeping which characterizes
the nomadic man, whether Red Indian, Arab, Tartar, or Siberian.

But Ivan was told he must make his way in the world. His parents who
died before he attained to manhood, left him a small fortune in rubles
and furs, which, if he chose to be industrious and persevering, might
pave the way to the highest position in his native town. Acting on the
pressing advice of his friends, he gave up his wanderings, and went
to reside in the house of his fathers, piled up his skins and ivory,
bought new ones, and prepared for the annual fair. The merchants from
Irkoutsk, the capital, came, and Ivan, who was sharp and clever,
did a good trade. But when his furs and teeth were changed into
tea, tobacco, brandy, cloth, &c., he did not feel a whit happier.
Ivan longed for the arid hills, and lofty mountains, and pellucid
lakes--for the exciting hunt and the night bivouac, when gray-headed
Yakoutas would, with their _ganzis_--the Irish duddeen--in their
mouths, tell terrible and wonderful stories of ancient days. When
eating town fare, his stomach yearned after frozen Yakouta butter,
cut up with axes, and for _strouganina_ or frozen fish, with reindeer
brains, and other northern delicacies. And then his kind friends told
him that he wanted a wife--a possession without which, they assured
him, life was dull, adding that in her society he would cease to long
for communion with bears and savages.

Ivan believed them, and, following their advice, launched into
society--that is, he went more than usual to the noisy festivities
of the town, which form the occupation of the dull season. The good
people of Yakoutsk--like all people approaching to a savage state,
especially in northern climes--consider eating the great business of
life. Fabulous legends are told of the enormous capacity for food,
approaching that of the Esquimaux; but however this may be, certain it
is that a Yakoutsk festival was always commenced by several hours of
laborious eating and drinking of fat and oily food and strong brandy.
When the utmost limits of repletion were reached, the patriarchs
usually took to pipes, cards, and punch, while the ladies prepared
tea, and ate roasted nuts, probably to facilitate digestion. The young
men conversed with them, or roasted their nuts for them, while perhaps
a dandy would perform a Siberian dance to the music of the violin
or _gousli_, a kind of guitar. Ivan joined heartily in all this
dissipation: he smoked with the old men; he drank their punch; he
roasted nuts for the ladies, and told them wonderful stories which
were always readily listened to, except when some new fashion, which
for several years before had been forgotten in Paris--found its way
via St. Petersburgh, Moscow, and Irkoutsk, to the deserts of Siberia.
Then he was silent; for the ladies had ample subject of discourse, not
forgetting the great tea-table topic--scandal; causing the old men
to shake their heads, and declare such things were not when they were
young. Ivan, however, had one unfailing subject of popularity with
the ladies. Like most Russians who have had occasion to travel much in
cold places, he relished a cup of tea even better than the punch, as
he had learned by experience that there was more genuine warmth in the
pot than in the bowl. Most Russian officers are known to share this

Ivan had several times had his attention directed to Maria Vorotinska,
a young and rich widow, who was the admiration of all Yakoutsk. Her
husband had left her a fortune in knowledge of the fur trade and in
rubles, with a comfortable house nicely furnished, in Siberia the very
height of human felicity. It was commonly reported that Maria, young
as she was, was the best bargainer in the land. She got her skins for
less than anybody else, and sold them for a higher price. With these
qualifications, she must, it was said, prove a jewel to Ivan, who was
not a close buyer nor a hard seller. But Ivan for some time remained
perfectly insensible both to these social advantages and the great
beauty of the lady. He met her often, and even roasted her more nuts
than any one else, which was a strong case of preference; but he did
not seem caught in the fair one's toils. He neither ate, nor slept,
nor amused himself one whit the less than when he first knew her. One
evening, however, as Maria handed him his tea, with a hot cake, Ivan,
whether owing to some peculiar smile on her face, or to the domestic
idea which the act suggested, seemed certainly very much struck, and
next day formally proposed. Maria laughed, and tossed her head, and
spoke a few good-natured words; and then, without either accepting
or rejecting him, hinted something about his youth, his want of
devotion to business, and his want of fortune. Ivan, a little warmly,
declared himself to be the best hunter in Yakoutsk, and hence the
most practically-experienced of any in the trade, and then gave the
sum-total of his possessions.

"Just one quarter of what good old Vorotinska left me!" replied the
prudent Maria.

"But if I liked," replied Ivan, "I could be the richest merchant in

"How?" asked Maria a little curiously, for the mere mention of wealth
was to her like powder to the war-horse.

"Being almost the only Russian who has lived among the Yakoutas, I
know the secret of getting furs cheaper and easier than any one else.
Beside, if I chose to take a long journey, I could find ivory in vast
heaps. A tradition is current of an ivory mine in the north, which an
old Yakouta told me to be truth."

"Very likely," said Maria, to whom the existence of the fossil ivory
of the mammoth in large masses was well known; "but the _promich
lenicks_--trading companies--have long since stripped them."

"Not this," cried Ivan; "it is a virgin mine. It is away, away in
the Frozen Sea, and requires courage and enduring energy to find. Two
Yakoutas once discovered it. One was killed by the natives; the other
escaped, and is now an old man."

"If you could find that," said Maria, "you would be the first man in
Siberia, and the Czar himself would honor you."

"And you?" asked Ivan humbly.

"Ivan Ivanovitch," replied Maria calmly, "I like you better than any
man in Yakoutsk, but I should adore the great ivory merchant."

Ivan was delighted. He was a little puzzled by the character of the
lady, who, after marrying an old man for his fortune, seemed equally
desirous of reconciling her interest and her affections in a second
marriage. But very nice ideas are not those of the half-civilized, for
we owe every refinement both of mind and body to civilization, which
makes of the raw material man--full of undeveloped elements--what
cooking makes of the potato root. Civilization is the hot water
and fire which carry off the crudities, and bring forth the good

However this maybe, Ivan nursed his idea. Apart from the sudden
passion which had invaded him, he had long allowed this fancy to
ferment in his brain. During his wandering evenings, a noted hunter
named Sakalar, claiming descent from the supposed Tartar founder
of the Yakoutas, had often narrated his perilous journey on sledges
across the Frozen Sea, his discovery of an ivory mine--that is, a vast
deposit of mammoths' tusks, generally found at considerable depth in
the earth, but here open to the grasp of all. He spoke of the thing
as a folly of his youth, which had cost the life of his dearest
friend, and never hinted at a renewed visit. But Ivan was resolved to
undertake the perilous adventure, and even to have Sakalar for his


Ivan slumbered not over his project. But a few days passed before
he was ready to start. He purchased the horses required, and packed
up all the varied articles necessary for his journey, and likely to
please his Yakouta friend, consisting of tea, rum, brandy, tobacco,
gunpowder, and other things of less moment. For himself he took a
couple of guns, a pair of pistols, some strong and warm clothes, an
iron pot for cooking, a kettle for his tea, with many minor articles
absolutely indispensable in the cold region he was about to visit. All
travelers in the north have found that ample food, and such drinks as
tea, are the most effectual protection against the climate; while oily
and fat meat is also an excellent preservative against cold. But Ivan
had no need to provide against this contingency. His Yakouta friend
knew the value of train-oil and grease, which are the staple luxuries
of Siberians, Kamschatkans, and Esquimaux alike.

The first part of Ivan's journey was necessarily to the _yourte_, or
wigwam of Sakalar, without whom all hopes of reaching the goal of his
wishes were vain. He had sufficient confidence in himself to venture
without a guide toward the plain of Mioure, where his Yakouta friend
dwelt. He started at early dawn, without warning of his departure any
one save Maria, and ventured courageously on the frozen plain which
reaches from Yakoutsk to the Polar Sea. The country is here composed
of marshes, vast downs, huge forests, and hills covered with snow in
the month of September, the time when he began his journey. He had
five horses, each tied to the tail of the one before him, while Ivan
himself was mounted on the first. He was compelled to ride slowly,
casting his eyes every now and then behind to see that all was right.
At night he stretched a bearskin under a bush, lit a huge fire, cooked
a savory mess, and piling clothes over himself, slept. At dawn he
rose, crammed his kettle full of clean snow, put it over the embers,
and made himself tea. With this warm beverage to rouse him, he again
arranged his little caravan, and proceeded on his way. Nothing more
painful than this journey can be conceived. There are scarcely any
marks to denote the road, while lakes, formed by recent inundations,
arrest the traveler every half hour, compelling him to take prodigious
rounds, equally annoying and perplexing.

On the morning of the third day Ivan felt a little puzzled about the
road. He knew the general direction from the distant mountains, and he
wished to avoid a vast morass. Before him was a frozen stream, and on
the other side a hillock. Leaving the others to feed as well as they
could, he mounted his best horse, and rode across. The ice bent under
him as he went, and he accordingly rode gently; but just as he reached
the middle, it cracked violently right across, and sank visibly under
him. Ivan looked hurriedly round him. The ice was everywhere split,
and the next minute his horse, plunging violently, fell through.
Instead, however, of falling into a stream of cold water, Ivan found
himself in a vast and chilly vault, with a small trickling stream in
the middle, and at once recollected a not unfrequent phenomenon. The
river had been frozen over when high with floods, but presently the
water sinking to its ordinary level, the upper crust of ice alone
remained. But Ivan had no desire to admire the gloomy, half-lit vault,
extending up and down out of sight; but standing on his horse's
back, clambered up as best he might upon the surface, leaving the
poor animal below. This done, he ran to the shore, and used the
well-remembered Yakouta device for extracting his steed: he broke a
hole in the ice near the bank, toward which the sagacious brute at
once hurried, and was drawn forth. Having thus fortunately escaped a
serious peril, he resumed his search on foot, and about midday pursued
his journey.

A few hours brought him to the curious plain of the Mioure, where he
expected to find the camp of his friend Sakalar. Leaving an almost
desert plain, he suddenly stood on the edge of a hollow, circular in
form and six miles across, fertile in the extreme, and dotted with
numerous well-stocked fish-ponds. The whole, as may plainly be seen,
was once a lake. Scattered over the soil were the yourtes of the
Yakoutas, while cattle and horses crowded together in vast flocks.
Ivan, who knew the place well, rode straight to a yourte or cabin
apart from the rest, where usually dwelt Sakalar. It was larger and
cleaner than most of them, thanks to the tuition of Ivan and the
subsequent care of a daughter, who, brought up by Ivan's mother while
the young man wandered, had acquired manners a little superior to
those of her tribe.

This was really needful, for the Yakoutas, a pastoral people of
Tartar origin, are singularly dirty, and even somewhat coarse and
unintellectual--like all savage nations, in fact, when judged by any
one but the poet or the poetic philosopher, who, on examination,
will find that ignorance, poverty, misery, and want of civilization,
produce similar results in the prairies of America and the wilds
of Siberia, in an Irish cabin, and in the wynds and closes of
our populous cities. But the chief defect of the Yakouta is dirt.
Otherwise he is rather a favorable specimen of a savage. Since his
assiduous connection with the Russians he has become even rich, having
flocks and herds, and at home plenty of koumise to drink and horse's
flesh to eat. He has great endurance, and can bear tremendous cold. He
travels in the snow, with his saddle for a pillow, his horse-cloth for
a bed, his cloak for a covering, and so sleeps. His power of fasting
is prodigious, and his eyesight is so keen that a Yakouta one day told
an eminent Russian traveler that he had seen a great blue star eat a
number of little stars, and then cast them up. The man had seen the
eclipses of Jupiter's satellites. Like the red Indian, he recollects
every bush, every stone, every hillock, every pond necessary to find
his way, and never loses himself, however great the distance he may
have to travel.

His food is boiled beef and horse's flesh, cow's and mare's milk. But
his chief delicacy is raw and melted fat, while quantity is always
the chief merit of a repast. He mixes likewise a mess of fish, flour,
milk, fat, and a kind of bark, the latter to augment the volume. Both
men and women smoke inordinately, swallowing the vapor, as do many
dwellers in civilized lands--a most pernicious and terrible habit.
Brandy is their most precious drink, their own koumise having not
sufficient strength to satisfy them. In summer they wander about in
tents collecting hay, in winter they dwell in the yourte or hut, which
is a wooden frame, of beehive shape, covered with grass, turf, and
clay, with windows of clear ice. The very poor dig three feet below
the soil; the rich have a wooden floor level with the adjacent ground,
while rude benches all round serve as beds, divided one from the other
by partitions. The fireplace is in the middle, inclining toward the
door. A pipe carries away the smoke.

It was almost dark when Ivan halted before the yourte of Sakalar. It
was at once larger and cleaner to the eye than any of those around. It
had also numerous outhouses full of cows, and one or two men to tend
these animals were smoking their pipes at the door. Ivan gave his
horses to one of them, who knew him, and entered the hut. Sakalar, a
tall, thin, hardy man of about fifty, was just about to commence his
evening meal. A huge mass of boiled meat, stewed fish, and a sort of
soup, were ready; and a young girl about eighteen, neatly dressed,
clean, and pretty--all owing to her Yakoutsk education--was serving
the hunter.

"Spirit of the woods protect me!" shrieked the girl, spilling half of
the soup upon the floor.

"What wild horses have you seen, Kolina?" cried the hunter, who had
been a little scalded; and then seeing Ivan, added, "A Yakouta welcome
to you, my son! My old heart is glad, and I am warm enough to melt an
iceberg at the sight of you, Ivan. Kolina, quick! another platter, a
fresh mug, the best bottle of brandy, and my red pipe from Moscow!"

No need was there for the hunter to speak. Kolina, alert as a
reindeer, had sprung up from the low bench, and quickly brought forth
all their holiday ware, and even began to prepare a cake, such as Ivan
himself had taught her to make, knowing that be liked some sort of
bread with his meals.

"And where are you going?" cried Sakalar when the young man had
somewhat appeased his hunger.

"To the North Sea, in search of the great ivory mine!" said Ivan,

Kolina started back in terror and surprise, while Sakalar fixed
his keen eye on the youth with sorrow and curiosity, and almost
unequivocally, testified his belief that his favorite pupil in the
chase was mad. But Ivan rose and bade the serving-man of the rich
Yacouta bring in his boxes, and opened up his store of treasures.
There was tea for Kolina; and for Sakalar, rum, brandy, powder,
guns, tobacco, knives--all that could tempt a Yakouta. The father
and daughter examined them with pleasure for some time, but presently
Kolina shook her head.

"Ivan," said Sakalar, "all this is to tempt the poor Yakouta to cross
the wilderness of ice. It is much riches, but not enough to make
Sakalar mad. The mine is guarded by evil beings. But speak, lad, why
would you go there?"

"Let Kolina give me a pipe and I will tell my story," said Ivan; and
filling his glass, the young fur-trader told the story of his love,
and his bargain with the prudent widow.

"And this cold-hearted woman," exclaimed Kolina with emotion, "has
sent you to risk life on the horrible Frozen Sea. A Yakouta girl would
have been less selfish. She would have said, 'Stay at home--let me
have Ivan: the mammoth teeth may lie forever on the Frozen Sea!'"

"But the lad will go, and he will be drowned like a dog," said
Sakalar, more slowly, after this ebullition of feminine indignation.

"You must go with him, father," continued Kolina, with a compassionate
look at Ivan; "and as your child cannot remain alone, Kolina will go

"We will start when the horses have had five days' hay," said Sakalar
gravely--the animals alluded to being only fed when about to go a
journey--"and Kolina shall go too, for Ivan will be two years on his

Ivan listened in amazement: in the first place, at the sudden decision
and warmth of his attached friends, with whom he had dwelt twelve
years; then at the time required. He felt considerable doubts as to
the widow remaining unmarried such a time; but the explanation of
Sakalar satisfied him that it was impossible to perform the journey
even in two years. The hunter told him that they must first join the
tribes dwelling round Nijnei-Kolimsk (New-Kolimsk), where alone he
could get dogs and sledges for his journey across the Frozen Sea.
This, with the arrangements, would consume the winter. In the summer
nothing could be done. When the winter returned he must start toward
the north pole--a month's journey at least--and if he hit on the
place, must encamp there for the rest of the winter. That summer would
be spent in getting out the ivory, fattening up the dogs, and packing.
The third winter would be occupied by the journey home. On hearing
this, Ivan hesitated; but in describing the journey the spirit of the
old hunter got roused, and before night he was warm in his desire
to see over again the scenes of his youthful perils. Kolina solemnly
declared she must be of the party; and thus these experienced savages,
used to sudden and daring resolves, decided in one night on a journey
which would perhaps have been talked of half a century elsewhere
before it was undertaken.

Kolina slept little that night. In a compartment near her was one who
had since childhood been the ideal of her future. She had loved Ivan
as a playmate--she loved him as a man; and here, he whom she had
longed for all the winter, and he whom she had hoped to see once more
the next summer, had suddenly come, starting on a perilous journey
of years, to win the hand of an avaricious, but young and beautiful
widow. Kolina saw all her fairest dreams vanish, and the idol of her
heart crumble into dust. And yet she felt no ill-will to Ivan, and
never changed her resolve to be the faithful companion and attendant
of her father and his friend in their wild journey to the supposed
islands in the Frozen Sea.


The five days fixed by Sakalar for preparing for the journey were
wholly devoted to the necessary arrangements. There was much to be
done, and much to be talked of. They had to travel a long way before
they reached even the real starting-point of their adventurous voyage.
Sakalar, duly to impress Ivan with the dangers and perils of the
search, narrated once more in minute detail all his former sufferings.
But nothing daunted the young trader. He was one of those men, who,
under more favorable circumstances, would have been a Cook, a Parry,
or a Franklin, periling everything to make farther discovery in the
science of geography.

The five horses of Ivan were exchanged for others more inured to the
kind of journey they were about to undertake. There was one for each
of the adventurers and four to carry the luggage, consisting chiefly
of articles with which to pay for the hire of dogs and sledges. All
were well armed, while the dress of all was the same--Kolina adopting
for the time the habits and appearance of the man. Over their usual
clothes they put a jacket of foxes' skins and a fur-breast cover; the
legs being covered by hare-skin wrappers. Over these were stockings of
soft reindeer leather, and high strong boots of the same material. The
knees were protected by knee-caps of fur, and then, above all, was a
coat with loose sleeves and hood of double deerskin. This was not all.
After the chin, nose, ears, and mouth had been guarded by appropriate
pieces, forming together a mask, they had received the additional
weight of a pointed fur cap. Our three travelers when they took their
departure looked precisely like three animated bundles of old clothes.

All were well armed with gun, pistol, hatchet, and hunting-knife,
while the girdle further supported a pipe and tobacco-pouch. They had
not explained whither they were going, but the whole village knew that
they must be about to undertake some perilous journey, and accordingly
turned out to cheer them as they went, while several ardent admirers
of Kolina were loud in their murmurs at her accompanying the
expedition. But the wanderers soon left the plain of Mioure behind
them, and entered on the delectable roads leading to the Frozen Sea.
Half-frozen marshes and quagmires met them at every step; but Sakalar
rode first, and the others followed one by one, and the experienced
old hunter, by advancing steadily without hurry, avoided these
dangers. They soon reached a vast plain three hundred miles across,
utterly deserted by the human race; a desert composed half of barren
rock and half of swampy quagmire, soft above, but at a foot deep
solid and perpetual ice. Fortunately, it was now frozen hard, and the
surface was fit to bear the horses. But for this the party must have
halted and waited for a severe frost. The rivers were not frozen
when large in volume, and the Aldana had to be crossed in the usual
flat-bottomed boat kept for travelers. At night they halted, and with
a bush and some deer-skins made a tent. Kolina cooked the supper, and
the men searched for some fields of stunted half-frozen grass to let
the horses graze. This was the last place where even this kind of food
would be found, and for some days their steeds would have to live on a
stinted portion of hay.

On they went over the arid plain, which, however, affords nourishment
for some trees, fording rivers, floundering through marshes, and still
meeting some wretched apology for grass, when, on the third day, down
came the snow in a pelting cloud, and the whole desert changed in an
instant from somber gray to white. The real winter was come. Now all
Sakalar's intelligence was required. Almost every obvious sign by
which to find his way had disappeared, and he traversed the plain
wholly guided by distant hills, and by observing the stars at night.
This Sakalar did assiduously, and when he had once started under the
guidance of the twinkling lights of the heavens, rarely was he many
yards out at the next halt. He always chose the side of a hillock
to camp, where there was a tree or two, and half-rotten trunks with
bushes to make a huge fire.

It was nearly dawn on the fifth morning after entering the plain,
and Ivan and Kolina yet slept. But Sakalar slept not. They had
nearly reached the extremity of the horrible desert, but a new danger
occupied the thoughts of the hunter. They were now in the track of
the wild and savage Tchouktchas, and their fire might have betrayed
them. Had Sakalar been alone, he would have slept in the snow without
fire; for he knew the peril of an encounter with the independent
Tchouktchas, who have only recently been nominally brought into
subjection to Russia.

The heavy fall of snow of the two previous days rendered the danger
greater. Sakalar sat gravely upon a fallen tree--a pipe in his mouth,
and his eye fixed on the distant horizon. For some time nothing
remarkable caught his gaze; but at last he saw a number of dark
objects on the snow, galloping directly toward the camp. Sakalar at
once recognized a number of reindeer. It was the Tchouktchas on their
sledges, bounding with lightning speed along the frozen surface!

"Up!" cried the hunter. And when his companions were on their feet,
"Quick with your guns! The enemy are on us! But show a bold front, and
let them feel the weight of lead!"

Ivan and Kolina quietly took up their post, and awaited the orders
of Sakalar. No time was lost, and fortunately, for the savages were
already near, and were the next minute alighting from their sledges:
hand in hand they advanced along the snow, with their long ice
shoes, to the number of a dozen. A simultaneous discharge of the
heavy-metalled guns of the camp--one of which, that of Sakalar,
wounded the foremost man--checked their career, and they fell back
to hold a conference. It became evident at once that they had no
firearms, which removed almost all idea of danger. Ivan and Kolina
now proceeded to load the horses, and when all was ready, the whole
party mounted, and rode off, followed at a respectful distance by the
Siberian Arabs.

The travelers, however, received no further annoyance from them, and
camped the next night on the borders of the Toukyulane, at the foot of
the mountains of Verkho-Yansk. After the usual repose, they began the
severest part of the journey. Rugged rocks, deep ravines, avalanches,
snow, and ice, all were in their way. Now they rode along the edge
of frightful precipices, on a path so narrow, that one false step was
death; now they forced their way through gulleys full of snow, where
their horses were buried to their girths, and they had to drag them
out by main force. Fortunately the Siberian horse, though small, is
sturdy and indefatigable, living during a three months' journey on
faded grass and half-rotten herbage. That evening they camped on
the loftiest part of the road, where it winds through still elevated

The middle of the next day brought them to another plain not much
superior to that they had passed through, but yet less miserable
looking, and with the additional advantage of having yourtes here
and there to shelter the traveler. The cold was now intense; and glad
indeed was Ivan of the comforts of his Siberian dress, which had at
first appeared so heavy. The odd figures which Kolina and Sakalar
presented under it made him smile at the notion which Maria Vorotinska
would have formed of her lover under a garb that doubled his natural
volume. Several halts took place, and caused great delay, from the
slippery state of the ice on the rivers. The unshod horses could not
stand. A fire had to be lit; and when sufficient ashes were procured,
it had to be spread across in a narrow pathway, and the nags led
carefully along on this track--one of the many artifices required to
combat the rigorous character of the climate. And thus, suffering
cold and short commons, and making their way for days through frosty
plains over ice and snow, amid deep ravines and over lofty hills, they
at length reached Nijnei-Kolimsk, though not without being almost
wholly knocked up, especially Kolina, who was totally unused to such

They had now almost reached the borders of the great Frozen Sea. The
village is situated about eighteen degrees farther north than London,
and is nearly as far north as Boothia Felix, the scene of Captain
Ross's four years' sojourn in the ice. It was founded two hundred
years ago by a wandering Cossack; though what could have induced
people to settle in a place which the sun lights, but never warms, is
a mystery; where there is a day that lasts fifty-two English days,
and a night that lasts thirty-eight; where there is no spring and no
autumn, but a faint semblance of summer for three months, and then
winter; where a few dwarf willows and stunted grass form all the
vegetation; and where, at a certain distance below the surface, there
is frost as old as the "current epoch" of the geologist. But by way
of compensation, reindeer and elks, brown and black bears, foxes and
squirrels, abound; there are also wolves, and the isatis or polar fox;
there are swans, and geese, and ducks, partridges and snipes, and in
the rivers abundance of fish. And yet, though the population be now
so scanty, and the date of the peopling of Kolimsk is known, there was
once a numerous race in these regions, the ruins of whose forts and
villages are yet found. The population is about 5000, including the
whole district, of whom about 300 are Russians, the descendants of
Siberian exiles. They dwell in houses made of wood thrown up on the
shore, and collected by years of patience, and of moss and clay.
The panes of the windows in winter are of ice, six inches thick; in
summer, of skins. The better class are neatly and even tastefully
dressed, and are clean, which is the very highest praise that can be
given to half-civilized as well as to civilized people.

They are a bold, energetic, and industrious race. Every hour of
weather fit for out-door work is spent in fishing and hunting, and
preparing food for the winter. In the light sledge, or on skates,
with nets and spears, they labored at each of these employments in
its season. Toward the end of the long winter, just as famine and
starvation threaten the whole population, a perfect cloud of swans,
and geese, and ducks, and snipes, pour in; and man and woman, boy and
girl, all rush forth to the hunt. The fish come in next, as the ice
breaks; and presently the time for the reindeer hunt comes round.
Every minute of the summer season is consumed in laying in a stock of
all these aliments for a long and dreary season, when nothing can be
caught. The women collect herbs and roots. As the summer is just about
to end, the herrings appear in shoals, and a new source of subsistence
is opened up, Later still, they fish by opening holes in the
newly-formed ice. Nor is Kolimsk without its trade. The chief traffic
of the region is at the fair of Ostrovnoye, but Nijnei-Kolimsk has
its share. The merchants who come to collect the furs which the
adventurous Tchouktchas have acquired, even on the opposite side of
Behring's Straits, from the North American Indians, halt here, and
sell tea, tobacco, brandy, and other articles.

The long night had set in when Ivan and his companions entered
Kolimsk. Well it was they had come, for the cold was becoming
frightful in its intensity, and the people of the village were
much surprised at the arrival of travelers. But they found ready
accommodation, a Cossack widower giving them half his house.

* * * * *



The indefatigable, patient, invincible, inquisitive, sometimes
tedious, but almost always amusing German traveler, Herr Kohl, has
recently been pursuing his earnest investigations in Belgium. His book
on the Netherlands has just been issued, and we shall translate, with
abridgments, one of its most instructive and agreeable chapters;--that
relating to Lace-making.

The practical acquaintance of our female readers with that elegant
ornament, lace, is chiefly confined to wearing it, and their
researches into its quality and price. A few minutes' attention to
Mr. Kohl will enlighten them on other subjects connected with what
is to them a most interesting topic, for lace is associated with
recollections of mediaeval history, and with the palmy days of the
Flemish school of painting. More than one of the celebrated masters of
that school have selected, from among his laborious countrywomen, the
lace-makers (or, as they are called in Flanders, _Speldewerksters_),
pleasing subjects for the exercise of his pencil. The plump,
fair-haired Flemish girl, bending earnestly over her lace-work, whilst
her fingers nimbly ply the intricately winding bobbins, figure in many
of those highly esteemed representations of homely life and manners
which have found their way from the Netherlands into all the principal
picture-galleries of Europe.

Our German friend makes it his practice, whether he is treating of
the geology of the earth, or of the manufacture of Swedish bodkins,
to begin at the very beginning. He therefore commences the history
of lace-making, which, he says, is, like embroidery, an art of very
ancient origin, lost, like a multitude of other origins, "in the
darkness of by-gone ages." It may, with truth, be said that it is
the national occupation of the women of the Low Countries, and one to
which they have steadily adhered from very remote times. During the
long civil and foreign wars waged by the people of the Netherlands,
while subject to Spanish dominion, other branches of Belgic industry
either dwindled to decay, or were transplanted to foreign countries;
but lace-making remained faithful to the land which had fostered and
brought it to perfection, though it received tempting offers from
abroad, and had to struggle with many difficulties at home. This Mr.
Kohl explains by the fact that lace-making is a branch of industry
chiefly confined to female hands, and, as women are less disposed
to travel than men, all arts and handicrafts exclusively pursued by
women, have a local and enduring character.

Notwithstanding the overwhelming supply of imitations which modern
ingenuity has created, _real Brussels lace_ has maintained its value,
like the precious metals and the precious stones. In the patterns of
the best bone lace, the changeful influence of fashion is less marked
than in most other branches of industry; indeed, she has adhered with
wonderful pertinacity to the quaint old patterns of former times.
These are copied and reproduced with that scrupulous uniformity which
characterizes the figures in the Persian and Indian shawls. Frequent
experiments have been tried to improve these old patterns, by
the introduction of slight and tasteful modifications, but these
innovations have not succeeded, and a very skillful and experienced
lace-worker assured Mr. Kohl, that the antiquated designs, with all
their formality, are preferred to those in which the most elegant
changes have been effected.

Each of the lace-making towns of Belgium excels in the production of
one particular description of lace: in other words, each has what
is technically called its own _point_. The French word _point_, in
the ordinary language of needlework, signifies _stitch_; but in the
terminology of lace-making, the word is sometimes used to designate
the pattern of the lace, and sometimes the ground of the lace itself.
Hence the terms _point de Bruxelles, point de Malines, point de
Valenciennes_, &c. In England we distinguish by the name Point, a
peculiarly rich and curiously wrought lace formerly very fashionable,
but now scarcely ever worn except in Court costume. In this sort of
lace the pattern is, we believe, worked with the needle, after the
ground has been made with the bobbins. In each town there prevail
certain modes of working, and certain patterns which have been
transmitted from mother to daughter successively, for several
generations. Many of the lace-workers live and die in the same houses
in which they were born, and most of them understand and practice only
the stitches which their mothers and grandmothers worked before them.
The consequence has been, that certain points have become unchangeably
fixed in particular towns or districts. Fashion has assigned to
each its particular place and purpose; for example:--the _point de
Malines_ (Mechlin lace) is used chiefly for trimming night-dresses,
pillow-cases, coverlets, &c.; the _point de Valenciennes_
(Valenciennes lace) is employed for ordinary wear or neglige; but the
more rich and costly _point de Bruxelles_ (Brussels lace) is reserved
for bridal and ball dresses, and for the robes of queens and courtly

As the different sorts of lace, from the narrowest and plainest to the
broadest and richest, are innumerable; so the division of labor among
the lace-workers is infinite. In the towns of Belgium there are as
many different kinds of lace-workers as there are varieties of spiders
in Nature. It is not, therefore, surprising that in the several
departments of this branch of industry there are as many technical
terms and phrases as would make up a small dictionary. In their
origin, these expressions were all Flemish; but French being the
language now spoken in Belgium, they have been translated into French,
and the designations applied to some of the principal classifications
of the work-women. Those who make only the ground, are called
_Drocheleuses_. The design or pattern, which adorns this ground, is
distinguished by the general term "the Flowers;" though it would
be difficult to guess what flowers are intended to be portrayed by
the fantastic arabesque of these lace-patterns. In Brussels the
ornaments or flowers are made separately, and afterward worked into
the lace-ground; in other places the ground and the patterns are
worked conjointly. The _Platteuses_ are those who work the flowers
separately; and the _Faiseuses de point a l'aiguille_ work the figures
and the ground together. The _Striquese_ is the worker who attaches
the flowers to the ground. The _Faneuse_ works her figures by piercing
holes or cutting out pieces of the ground.

The spinning of the fine thread used for lace-making in the
Netherlands, is an operation demanding so high a degree of minute care
and vigilant attention, that it is impossible it can ever be taken
from human hands by machinery. None but Belgian fingers are skilled
in this art. The very finest sort of this thread is made in Brussels,
in damp underground cellars; for it is so extremely delicate, that
it is liable to break by contact with the dry air above ground;
and it is obtained in good condition only, when made and kept in a
humid subterraneous atmosphere. There are numbers of old Belgian
thread-makers who, like spiders, have passed the best part of their
lives spinning in cellars. This sort of occupation naturally has an
injurious effect on the health, and, therefore, to induce people to
follow it, they are highly paid.

To form an accurate idea of this operation, it is necessary to see
a Brabant Thread-spinner at her work. She carefully examines every
thread, watching it closely as she draws it off the distaff; and that
she may see it the more distinctly, a piece of dark blue paper is used
as a background for the flax. Whenever the spinner notices the least
unevenness, she stops the evolution of her wheel, breaks off the
faulty piece of flax, and then resumes her spinning. This fine flax
being as costly as gold, the pieces thus broken off are carefully
laid aside to be used in other ways. All this could never be done by
machinery. It is different in the spinning of cotton, silk, or wool,
in which the original threads are almost all of uniform thickness. The
invention of the English flax-spinning machine, therefore, can never
supersede the work of the Belgian fine thread spinners, any more
than the bobbinnet machine can rival the fingers of the Brussels
lace-makers, or render their delicate work superfluous.

The prices current of the Brabant spinners usually include a list of
various sorts of thread suited to lace-making, varying from 60 francs
to 1800 francs per pound. Instances have occurred, in which as much as
10,000 francs have been paid for a pound of this fine yarn. So high a
price has never been attained by the best spun silk; though a pound of
silk, in its raw condition, is incomparably more valuable than a pound
of flax. In like manner, a pound of iron may, by dint of human labor
and ingenuity, be rendered more valuable than a pound of gold.

Lace-making, in regard to the health of the operatives, has one great
advantage. It is a business which is carried on without the necessity
of assembling great numbers of workpeople in one place, or taking
women from their homes, and thereby breaking the bonds of family
union. It is, moreover, an occupation which affords those employed
in it a great degree of freedom. The spinning-wheel and lace-pillows
are easily carried from place to place, and the work may be done with
equal convenience in the house, in the garden, or at the street-door.
In every Belgian town in which lace-making is the staple business,
the eye of the traveler is continually greeted with pictures of
happy industry attended by all its train of concomitant virtues. The
costliness of the material employed in the work, viz., the fine flax
thread, fosters the observance of order and economy, which, as well
as habits of cleanliness, are firmly engrafted among the people. Much
manual dexterity, quickness of eye, and judgment, are demanded in
lace-making; and the work is a stimulator of ingenuity and taste;
so that, unlike other occupations merely manual, it tends to rouse
rather than to dull the mind. It is, moreover, unaccompanied by any
unpleasant and harassing noise; for the humming of the spinning-wheel,
and the regular tapping of the little bobbins, are sounds not in
themselves disagreeable, or sufficiently loud to disturb conversation,
or to interrupt the social song.

In Belgium, female industry presents itself under aspects alike
interesting to the painter, the poet, and the philanthropist. Here
and there may be seen a happy-looking girl, seated at an open window,
turning her spinning-wheel or working at her lace-pillow, whilst at
intervals she indulges in the relaxation of a curious gaze at the
passers-by in the street. Another young _Speldewerkster_, more
sentimentally disposed, will retire into the garden, seating herself
in an umbrageous arbor, or under a spreading tree, her eyes intent
on her work, but her thoughts apparently divided between it and
some object nearer to her heart. At a doorway sits a young mother,
surrounded by two or three children playing round the little table or
wooden settle on which her lace-pillow rests. Whilst the mother's busy
fingers are thus profitably employed, her eyes keep watch over the
movements of her little ones, and she can at the same time spare an
attentive thought for some one of her humble household duties.

Dressmakers, milliners, and other females employed in the various
occupations which minister to the exigencies of fashion, are confined
to close rooms, surrounded by masses of silk, muslin, &c. They are
debarred the healthful practice of working in the open air, and can
scarcely venture even to sit at an open window, because a drop of
rain or a puff of wind may be fatal to their work and its materials.
The lace-maker, on the contrary, whose work requires only her thread
and her fingers, is not disturbed by a refreshing breeze or a light
shower; and even when the weather is not particularly fine, she
prefers sitting at her street-door or in her garden, where she enjoys
a brighter light than within doors.

In most of the principal towns of the Netherlands there is one
particular locality which is the focus of lace-making industry; and
there, in fine weather, the streets are animated by the presence of
the busy work-women. In each of these districts there is usually one
wide open street which the _Speldewerkers_ prefer to all others, and
in which they assemble and form themselves into the most picturesque
groups imaginable. It is curious to observe them, pouring out
of narrow lanes and alleys, carrying with them their chairs and
lace-pillows, to take their places in the wide open street, where they
can enjoy more of bright light and fresh air than in their own places
of abode.

"I could not help contrasting," says Kohl, "the pleasing aspect of
these streets with the close and noisy workrooms in woolen and cotton
manufactories. There the workpeople are all separated and classified
according to age and sex, and marshaled like soldiers. Their domestic
and family ties are rudely broken. There chance or exigency separates
the young factory girl from her favorite companions, and dooms her to
association with strangers. There social conversation and the merry
song are drowned in that stunning din of machinery, which in the end
paralyzes even the power of thought."

Our German friend is a little hard upon factory life. Though not
so picturesque, it does not, if candidly viewed, offer so very
unfavorable a contrast to that passed by the Belgian Lace Workers.

* * * * *




"[Greek: Eudeis all ou seio lelasmenoi esmen]!"
"Thou sleepest, but we do not forget thee!"

It is too much the way of the world in this our civilized Europe
to neglect the receptacles of the dead. Those loved ones even,
whose dwellings, while living, were thronged by admiring friends,
are deserted when laid in their last narrow home. The breath once
gone,--the last sad offices performed,--the funeral pomp over,--and
the sepulchre closed,--all the requisites of affection and respect
appear to have been fulfilled, and the spot that holds the dust once
so doted upon, is forever abandoned! Witness the damp graves overgrown
with rank nettles and thorns, the degraded tombstones, the illegible
moss-covered epitaphs of our church-yards! Witness the dreary oblivion
of our over-crowded vaults, where the eye of affection has never
shed a tear, the hand of friendship never scattered a flower over
the mouldering relics they inclose! It is not that the dead are
forgotten--it is not that their memory has ceased to be dear and
sacred to their friends--but it is that the gay and the worldly-minded
shrink from the dark images called forth by the aspect of the grave;
they recoil from the idea of familiarizing themselves with the
inevitable spot where they must one day lie in "cold obstruction's
apathy;" they deem it fond folly to nourish grief by keeping before
their eyes that which perpetually reminds them of the loss they have
sustained, and thus they fly from the dwellings of the dead, and
abandon what was once dearest to them to darkness and the worm.

A tenderer and more reverent spirit prevails in the East. There the
Cities of the Dead are the constant resort of the living. The tombs of
friends and kindred are as carefully tended, as regularly visited as
their habitations were while yet they were dwellers upon earth. The
grave of a departed relative is a spot consecrated to sweet and solemn
recollections, where the followers of Mohammed love to meditate and to
pray. In the mausoleum of the Viceroys of Egypt carpets and cushions
are spread around the various tombs it contains, and once in every
week the wives and daughters of the dead repair thither and pass the
greater part of the day in contemplation and self-communion. In the
public cemeteries alms are distributed at the graves of the pious:
even the winged wanderers of the air find refreshment there, for on
each sepulchral stone a small receptacle is hollowed out to collect
the dews of heaven, where the birds, as they flutter past, may slake
their thirst. On each succeeding Sabbath fresh green branches adorn
the headstones, and vailed mourners, seated by them, keep silent
watch, in the fond belief that the lifeless occupant of the tomb is
conscious of their presence there.[4]

The loftier, purer character of our faith leads us to reject such
fancies as gross superstitions; and yet there is something touching
in them! We treasure a lock of hair--a glove--a ribbon--a flower, once
worn by an absent loved one; why should we not more tenderly treasure
the dust that has once been ennobled by enshrining the immortal
spirit of a departed friend, or deem it weakness to watch over these
mouldering relics as fondly as though they were still conscious of
our care? And surely if the enfranchised spirit is permitted to be
cognisant of that which passes upon earth--if, from those blessed
abodes whither it has winged its course, a care can be bestowed upon
the earthly coil it has thrown off, or upon the creatures of clay
who still toil and grovel here below, may we not suppose that it
contemplates with pitying complacency the clinging tenderness which
binds the hearts of the living to the ashes of the dead, the desperate
affection with which we look our last upon the lifeless form which
never more can respond to all our love and all our sorrow, and the
fond fidelity which leads us to hover round the tomb that has forever
shut it from our view?

I love to think that such may be the case; nor can I separate the
idea, weak and idle though it may be, that the souls of the departed
mourn over the neglect and abandonment of their earthly remains, _as
the first step toward forgetfulness of their memory._ To me, the
grave of a friend possesses an attraction, which, although tinged with
deepest sadness, is wholly distinct from the horror with which the
imagination so often invests it. My heart yearns to look upon the last
resting-place of those I have loved.

I would shelter those sacred spots from the beating rain, screen them
from the wintry winds, plant around them the flowers that were once
preferred by their unconscious tenants, and inscribe over the entrance
of every cemetery the beautiful line of Koerner's

"Vergiss die treuen Todten nicht!"
"Forget not the faithful dead!"

It was in this spirit that, one day during my recent visit to Paris,
I escaped from the busy idleness of that gay and ever-bustling city,
to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of one whose surpassing qualities
of mind, and heart, and person, had endeared her to all who knew
her--whose brilliant career had been closed with awful suddenness--and
whose lamented death has left a void in the circle over which she
presided with such graceful urbanity, which no other can hope to
fill. By a strange coincidence, it was precisely on that day, the year
before, that she had paid me her farewell visit in London; little did
either of us then foresee how and where that visit would be returned
by me! The regret of parting was then softened by our mutual
conviction that many meetings were in store for us in the new home she
had chosen for herself in a foreign land. Alas! before many weeks had
elapsed she was suddenly summoned to her eternal home! In the midst of
health, and hope, and enjoyment, Death insidiously laid his icy grasp
upon her; but so gently was the blow dealt, that neither sigh nor
struggle marked her passage from life to immortality; and before her
stunned friends could bring themselves to believe that her warm heart
had indeed grown cold, the vaults of the Madeleine had received all
that was left on earth of the once beautiful and gifted Marguerite

But not to remain there. A tomb was constructed for her, far from
the crowded cemeteries of the capital, in a spot which she herself
would have selected, could her wishes have been consulted. On
the confines of the quiet village of Chambourey, a league beyond
St. Germain-en-Laye, a green eminence, crowned with luxuriant
chestnut-trees, divides the village church-yard from the grounds
of the Duke de Gramont. On that breezy height, overlooking the
magnificent plain that stretches between St. Germain and Paris, a
mausoleum has been erected worthy of containing the mortal remains of
her whom genius and talent had delighted to honor--

"Whom Lawrence painted and whom Byron sung!"

A pyramid composed of large blocks of white stone, and similar in
form to the ancient monuments of Egypt, rises from a platform of solid
black granite, which has been completely isolated from the surrounding
surface by a deep dry moat, whose precipitous slopes are clothed with
softest greenest turf. A bronze railing incloses the whole, within
which has been planted a broad belt of beautiful evergreens and
flowering shrubs; and beyond these the lofty chestnut trees "wave in
tender gloom," and form a leafy canopy to shelter that lonely tomb
from the winds of heaven. Solid, simple, and severe, it combines every
requisite in harmony with its solemn destination; no meretricious
ornaments, no false sentiment, mar the purity of its design. The
genius which devised it has succeeded in cheating the tomb of its
horrors, without depriving it of its imposing gravity. The simple
portal is surmounted by a plain massive cross of stone, and a door,
secured by an open work of bronze, leads into a sepulchral chamber,
the key of which had been confided to me.

All within breathes the holy calm of eternal repose; no gloom, no
mouldering damp, nothing to recall the dreadful images of decay. An
atmosphere of peace appears to pervade the place, and I could almost
fancy that a voice from the tomb whispered, in the words of Dante's

"Io sono in pace!"

The light of the sun, streaming through a glazed aperture above
the door, fell like a ray of heavenly hope upon the symbol of man's
redemption--a beautiful copy, in bronze, of Michael Angelo's crucified
Savior--which is affixed to the wall facing the entrance. A simple
stone sarcophagus is placed on either side of the chamber, each one
surmounted by two white marble tablets, incrusted in the sloping
walls. That to the left incloses the coffin of Lady Blessington--that
to the right is still untenanted; long may it remain so!

The affection she most valued, the genius and talent she most admired,
have contributed to do honor to the memory of that gifted woman. Her
sepulchre is the creation of Alfred d'Orsay, her epitaphs are the
composition of Barry Cornwall and Walter Savage Landor. Upon the two
tablets placed over her tomb, are inscribed the following tributary

"In Memory of Marguerite Countess of Blessington, who died
on the 4th of June, 1849. In her lifetime she was loved and
admired for her many graceful writings, her gentle manners,
her kind and generous heart. Men famous for art and science,
in distant lands, sought her friendship; and the historians
and scholars, the poets, and wits, and painters of her own
country, found an unfailing welcome in her ever hospitable
home. She gave cheerfully, to all who were in need, help and
sympathy, and useful counsel; and she died lamented by many
friends. They who loved her best in life, and now lament her
most, have reared this tributary marble over her place of

* * * * *

"Infra sepultum est
Id omne quod sepeliri potest,
Mulieris quondam pulcherrimae.
Ingenium suum summo studio coluit,
Aliorum pari adjuvit.
Benefacta sua celare novit, ingenium non ita.
Erga omnes erat larga bonitate,
Peregrinis eleganter hospitalis.
Venit Lutetiam Parisiorum Aprili mense,
Quarto Junii die supremum suum obiit."


* * * * *

_Her_ last resting-place will not be neglected. The eye of faithful
affection watches over it as vigilantly as though the dust that sleeps
within were conscious of his care. But lately a sentiment of exquisite
tenderness suggested the addition of its most touching and appropriate
embellishment. A gentleman in the County Tipperary[5] had been
commissioned to send over to Chambourcy a root of ivy from Lady
Blessington's birthplace to plant near her grave. He succeeded in
obtaining an off-shoot from the parent stem that grows over the house
in which she was born. It has been transplanted to the foot of the
railing that surrounds her monument--it has taken root and spread--and
thus the same ivy that sheltered her cradle will overshadow her tomb!

[Footnote 4: The Egyptian Mahommedans believe that for some time
after death the body is conscious of its actual state, and of what is
passing immediately around it. In this persuasion, mothers will remain
days and nights near the graves of their recently buried children, _in
order that they may not feel terrified at being left alone._]

[Footnote 5: R. Bernal Osborne, Esq., M.P.]

* * * * *

A British Meteorological Society is projected, with Mr. Whitbread as
President. Its objects will be the observation and collection of all
meteorological phenomena, and the encouragement of the science in
every branch. This sort of subdivision of literary and philosophical
pursuits is very injurious, for it tends to starve a number instead of
supporting one with sufficient resources.

* * * * *

GOLDEN RULES OF LIFE.--All the air and the exercise in the universe,
and the most generous and liberal table, but poorly suffice to
maintain human stamina if we neglect other co-operatives--namely
the obedience to the laws of abstinence, and those of ordinary
gratification. We rise with a headache, and we set about puzzling
ourselves to know the cause. We then recollect that we had a hard
day's fag, or that we feasted over-bounteously, or that we stayed up
very late: at all events we incline to find out the fault, and then we
call ourselves fools for falling into it. Now, this is an occurrence
happening almost every day; and these are the points that run away
with the best portion of our life, before we find out what is for
good or evil. Let any single individual review his past life: how
instantaneously the blush will cover his cheek, when he thinks of
the egregious errors he has unknowingly committed--say unknowingly,
because it never occurred to him that they were errors until the
effects followed that betrayed the cause. All our sickness and
ailments, and a brief life, mainly depend upon ourselves. There are
thousands who practice errors day after day, and whose pervading
thought is, that everything which is agreeable and pleasing cannot be
hurtful. The slothful man loves his bed; the toper his drink, because
it throws him into an exhilarative and exquisite mood; the gourmand
makes his stomach his god; and the sensualist thinks his delights
imperishable. So we go on, and at last we stumble and break down. We
then begin to reflect, and the truth stares us in the face how much
we are to blame.

* * * * *

PROGRESS OF MILTON'S BLINDNESS.--It is now, I think, about ten years
(1654) since I perceived my vision to grow weak and dull; and, at
the same time I was troubled with pain in my kidneys and bowels,
accompanied with flatulency. In the morning, as I began to read, as
was my custom, my eyes instantly ached intensely, but were refreshed
after a little corporeal exercise. The candle which I looked at seemed
as if it were encircled by a rainbow. Not long after the sight of the
left part of the left eye (which I lost some years before the other)
became quite obscured, and prevented me from discerning any object
on that side. The sight in my other eye has now been gradually and
sensibly vanishing away for about three years; some months before it
had entirely perished, though I stood motionless, every thing which
I looked at seemed in motion to and fro. A stiff cloudy vapor seemed
to have settled on my forehead and temples, which usually occasions a
sort of somnolent pressure upon my eyes, and particularly from dinner
till evening. So that I often recollect what is said of the poet
Phineas in the Argonautics:

"A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound,
And when he waked he seemed as whirling round,
Or in a feeble trance he speechless lay."

I ought not to omit that, while I had any sight left, as soon as I
lay down on my bed, and turned on either side, a flood of light used
to gush from my closed eyelids. Then, as my sight became daily more
impaired, the colors became more faint, and were emitted with a
certain crackling sound; but at present every species of illumination
being, as it were, extinguished, there is diffused around me nothing
but darkness, or darkness mingled and streaked with an ashy brown. Yet
the darkness in which I am perpetually immersed seems always, both by
night and day, to approach nearer to a white than black; and when the
eye is rolling in its socket, it admits a little particle of light
as through a chink. And though your physician may kindle a small ray
of hope, yet I make up my mind to the malady as quite incurable; and
I often reflect, that as the wise man admonishes, days of darkness
are destined to each of us. The darkness which I experience, less
oppressive than that of the tomb, is owing to the singular goodness
of the Deity, passed amid the pursuits of literature and the cheering
salutations of friendship. But if, as it is written, man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth
of God, why may not any one acquiesce in the privation of his sight,
when God has so amply furnished his mind and his conscience with
eyes?--_Milton's Prose Works_.

* * * * *

"ONCE CAUGHT, TWICE SHY."--"Many years ago," says Mr. A. Smee, "I
caught a common mouse in a trap, and instead of consigning it to the
usual watery grave or to the unmerciful claws of the cat, I determined
to keep it a prisoner. After a short time, the little mouse made its
escape in a room attached to my father's residence in the Bank of
England. I did not desire the presence of a wild mouse in this room,
and therefore adopted means to secure him. The room was paved with
stone, and inclosed with solid walls. There was no hope for him that
he would ultimately escape, although there were abundant opportunities
for hiding. I set the trap, and baited it with a savory morsel, but
day after day no mouse entered. The poor little thing gave unequivocal
signs of extreme hunger by gnawing the bladder from one of my chemical
bottles. I gradually removed everything from the room that he could
possibly eat, but still the old proverb of "Once caught, twice shy,"
so far applied that he would not enter my trap. After many days,
visiting the apartment one morning, the trap was down, the mouse was
caught; the pangs of hunger were more intolerable than the terrors of
imprisonment. He did not, however, will the unpleasant alternative of
entering the trap until he was so nearly starved that his bones almost
protruded through his skin; and he freely took bits of food from my
fingers through the wires of the cage."--_Instinct and Reason_, just


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