International Weekly Miscellany, Vol. 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850
Part 1 out of 2
Produced by Cornell University, Joshua Hutchinson, William Flis, and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY MISCELLANY
Of Literature, Art, and Science.
* * * * *
Vol. I. NEW YORK, JULY 29, 1850. No. 5.
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TEA-SMUGGLING IN RUSSIA.
The history of smuggling in all countries abounds in curiosities of
which but few ever reach the eye of the public, the parties generally
preferring to keep their adventures to themselves. There often exist,
however, along frontier lines the traditions of thrilling exploits or
amusing tricks, recounted by old smugglers from the recollections
of their own youthful days or the narratives of their predecessors.
Perhaps no frontier is so rich in these tales as that between Spain
and France, where the mountainous recesses of the Pyrenees offer
secure retreats to the half-robber who drives the contraband trade, as
well as safe routes for the transportation of his merchandise. On the
line between the Russian Empire and Germany the trade is greater in
amount than elsewhere, but is devoid of the romantic features which it
possesses in other countries. There, owing to the universal corruption
of the servants of the Russian government, the smuggler and the
custom-house officer are on the best terms with each Other and often
are partners in business. We find in a late number of the _Deutsche
Reform_, a journal of Berlin, an interesting illustration of the
extent and manner in which these frauds on the Russian revenue are
carried on, and translate it for the _International_:
"The great annual tea-burning has just taken place at Suwalki:
25,000 pounds were destroyed at it. This curious proceeding is thus
explained. Of all contraband articles that on the exclusion of which
the most weight is laid, is the tea which is brought in from Prussia.
In no country is the consumption of tea so great as in Poland and
Russia. That smuggled in from Prussia, being imported from China by
ship, can be sold ten times cheaper than the so-called caravan-tea,
which is brought directly overland by Russian merchants. This overland
trade is one of the chief branches of Russian commerce, and suffers
serious injury from the introduction of the smuggled article.
Accordingly the government pays in cash, the extraordinary premium of
fifty cents per pound for all that is seized, a reward which is the
more attractive to the officers on the frontiers for the reason that
it is paid down and without any discount. Formerly the confiscated
tea was sold at public auction on the condition that the buyer should
carry it over the frontier; Russian officers were appointed to take
charge of it and deliver it in some Prussian frontier town in order
to be sure of its being carried out of the country. The consequence
was that the tea was regularly carried back again into Poland the
following night, most frequently by the Russian officers themselves.
In order to apply a radical cure to this evil, destruction by fire was
decreed as the fate of all tea that should be seized thereafter. Thus
it is that from 20,000 to 40,000 pounds are yearly destroyed in the
chief city of the province. About this the official story is, that it
is tea smuggled from Prussia, while the truth is that it is usually
nothing but brown paper or damaged tea that is consumed by the fire.
In the first place the Russian officials are too rational to burn
up good tea, when by chance a real confiscation of that article has
taken place; in such a case the gentlemen take the tea, and put upon
the burning pile an equal weight of brown paper or rags done up to
resemble genuine packages. In the second place, it is mostly damaged
or useless tea that is seized. The premium for seizures being so
high, the custom-house officers themselves cause Polish Jews to buy
up quantities of worthless stuff and bring it over the lines for the
express purpose of being seized. The time and place for smuggling it
are agreed upon. The officer lies in wait with a third person whom he
takes with him. The Jew comes with the goods, is hailed by the officer
and takes to flight. The officer pursues the fugitive, but cannot
reach him, and fires his musket after him. Hereupon the Jew drops
the package which the officer takes and carries to the office, where
he gets his reward. The witness whom he has with him--by accident of
course--testifies to the zeal of his exertions, fruitless though they
were, for the seizure of the unknown smuggler. The smuggler afterward
receives from the officer the stipulated portion of the reward. This
trick is constantly practiced along the frontier, and to meet the
demand the Prussian dealers keep stocks of good-for-nothing tea, which
they sell generally at five silver groschen (12-1/2 cents) a pound."
* * * * *
MORE OF LEIGH HUNT.
Although a large portion, perhaps more than half, of these volumes has
been given to the world in previous publications, yet the work carries
this recommendation with it, that it presents in an accessible and
consecutive form a great deal of that felicitous portrait-painting,
hit off in a few words, that pleasant anecdote, and cheerful wisdom,
which lie scattered about in books not now readily to be met with, and
which will be new and acceptable to the reading generation which has
sprung up within the last half-score years. Mr. Hunt almost disarms
criticism by the candid avowal that this performance was commenced
under circumstances which committed him to its execution, and he tells
us that it would have been abandoned at almost every step, had these
circumstances allowed. We are not sorry that circumstances did not
allow of its being abandoned, for the autobiography, altogether apart
from its stores of pleasant readable matter, is pervaded throughout by
a beautiful tone of charity and reconcilement which does honor to the
writer's heart, and proves that the discipline of life has exercised
on him its most chastening and benign influence:--
For he has learned
To look on Nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad, music of Humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.
The reader will find numerous striking exemplifications of this spirit
as he goes along with our author. From the serene heights of old age,
"the gray-haired boy whose heart can never grow old," ever and anon
regrets and rebukes some egotism or assumption, or petty irritation
of bygone years, and confesses that he can now cheerfully accept
the fortunes, good and bad, which have occurred to him, "with the
disposition to believe them the best that could have happened, whether
for the correction of what was wrong in him, or the improvement of
what was right."
The concluding chapters contain a brief account of Mr. Hunt's
occupations during the last twenty-five years; his residence
successively at Highgate, Hampstead, Chelsea, and Kensington, and of
his literary labors while living at these places. Many interesting
topics are touched upon--among which we point to his remarks on the
difficulties experienced by him in meeting the literary requirements
of the day, and the peculiar demands of editors; his opinion of Mr.
Carlyle; the present condition of the stage, the absurd pretensions of
actors, and the delusions attempted respecting the "legitimate" drama;
the question of the laureateship, and his own qualifications for
holding that office; his habits of reading; and finally an avowal of
his religious opinions. We miss some account of Mr. Hazlitt. Surely
we had a better right to expect at the hands of Hunt a sketch of that
remarkable writer, than of Coleridge, of whom he saw comparatively
little. We also expected to find some allusion to the "Round Table," a
series of essays which appeared in the _Examiner_, about 1815, written
chiefly by Hazlitt, but amongst which are about a dozen by Hunt
himself, some of them perhaps the best things he has written: we need
only allude to "A Day by the Fire," a paper eminently characteristic
of the author, and we doubt not fully appreciated by those who know
his writings. Hunt regrets having re-cast the "Story of Rimini," and
tells us that a new edition of the poem is meditated, in which, while
retaining the improvement in the versification, he proposes to restore
the narrative to its first course.
We take leave of the work, with a few more characteristic passages.
* * * * *
A GLIMPSE OF PITT AND FOX.--Some years later, I saw Mr. Pitt in a
blue coat, buckskin breeches and boots, and a round hat, with powder
and pigtail. He was thin and gaunt, with his hat off his forehead,
and his nose in the air. Much about the same time I saw his friend,
the first Lord Liverpool, a respectable looking old gentleman, in a
brown wig. Later still, I saw Mr. Fox, fat and jovial, though he was
then declining. He, who had been a "bean" in his youth, then looked
something quaker-like as to dress, with plain colored clothes, a
broad round hat, white waistcoat, and, if I am not mistaken, white
stockings. He was standing in Parliament street, just where the street
commences as you leave Whitehall; and was making two young gentlemen
laugh heartily at something which he seemed to be relating.
* * * * *
COOKE'S EDITION OF THE BRITISH POETS.--In those times, Cooke's edition
of the British Poets came up. I had got an odd volume of Spenser; and
I fell passionately in love with Collins and Gray. How I loved those
little sixpenny numbers, containing whole poets! I doated on their
size; I doated on their type, on their ornaments, on their wrappers
containing lists of other poets, and on the engraving from Kirk. I
bought them over and over again, and used to get up select sets, which
disappeared like buttered crumpets; for I could resist neither giving
them away nor possessing them. When the master tormented me, when
I used to hate and loathe the sight of Homer, and Demosthenes, and
Cicero, I would comfort myself with thinking of the sixpence in my
pocket, with which I should go out to Paternoster Row, when school
was over, and buy another number of an English poet.
* * * * *
CHILDREN'S BOOKS: "SANDFORD AND MERTON."--The children's books
in those days were Hogarth's pictures taken in their most literal
acceptation. Every good boy was to ride in his coach, and be a lord
mayor; and every bad boy was to be hung, or eaten by lions. The
gingerbread was gilt, and the books were gilt like the gingerbread:
a "take in" the more gross, inasmuch as nothing could be plainer
or less dazzling than the books of the same boys when they grew a
little older. There was a lingering old ballad or so in favor of the
gallanter apprentices who tore out lions' hearts and astonished gazing
sultans; and in antiquarian corners, Percy's "Reliques" were preparing
a nobler age, both in poetry and prose. But the first counteraction
came, as it ought, in the shape of a new book for children. The pool
of mercenary and time-serving ethics was first blown over by the fresh
country breeze of Mr. Day's "Sandford and Merton," a production that
I well remember, and shall ever be grateful for. It came in aid of my
mother's perplexities, between delicacy and hardihood, between courage
and conscientiousness. It assisted the cheerfulness I inherited from
my father; showed me that circumstances were not to check a healthy
gaiety, or the most masculine self-respect; and helped to supply me
with the resolution of standing by a principle, not merely as a point
of lowly or lofty sacrifice, but as a matter of common sense and duty,
and a simple cooeperation with the elements natural warfare.
* * * * *
CHRIST'S HOSPITAL.--Perhaps there is not foundation in the country
so truly English, taking that word to mean what Englishmen wish it to
mean:--something solid, unpretending, of good character, and free to
all. More boys are to be found in it, who issue from a greater variety
of ranks, than in any other school in the kingdom and as it is the
most various, so it is the largest, of all the free schools. Nobility
do not go there except as boarders. Now and then a boy of a noble
family may be met with, and he is reckoned an interloper, and against
the charter; but the sons of poor gentry and London citizens abound;
and with them, an equal share is given to the sons of tradesmen of the
very humblest description, not omitting servants. I would not take
my oath, but I have a strong recollection that in my time there were
two boys, one of whom went up into the drawing-room to his father,
the master of the house; and the other, down into the kitchen to his
father, the coachman. One thing, however, I know to be certain, and it
is the noblest of all; namely, that the boys themselves (at least it
was so in my time) had no sort of feeling of the difference of one
another's ranks out of doors. The cleverest boy was the noblest, let
his father be who he might.
* * * * *
AN INTENSE YOUTHFUL FRIENDSHIP.--If I had reaped no other benefit
from Christ Hospital, the school would be ever dear to me from the
recollection of the friendships I formed in it, and of the first
heavenly taste it gave me of that most spiritual of the affections.
I use the word "heavenly" advisedly; and I call friendship the most
spiritual of the affections, because even one's kindred, in partaking
of our flesh and blood, become, in a manner, mixed up with our
entire being. Not that I would disparage any other form of affection,
worshiping, as I do, all forms of it, love in particular, which, in
its highest state, is friendship and something more. But if ever I
tasted a disembodied transport on earth, it was in those friendships
which I entertained at school, before I dreamt of any maturer feeling.
I shall never forget the impression it first made on me. I loved my
friend for his gentleness, his candor, his truth, his good repute,
his freedom even from my own livelier manner, his calm and reasonable
kindness. It was not any particular talent that attracted me to him
or anything striking whatsoever. I should say in one word, it was
his goodness. I doubt whether he ever had a conception of a tithe of
the regard and respect I entertained for him; and I smile to think
of the perplexity (though he never showed it) which he probably felt
sometimes at my enthusiastic expressions; for I thought him a kind of
angel. It is no exaggeration to say, that, take away the unspiritual
part of it--the genius and the knowledge--and there is no height of
conceit indulged in by the most romantic character in Shakspeare,
which surpassed what I felt toward the merits I ascribed to him, and
the delight which I took in his society. With the other boys I played
antics, and rioted in fantastic jests; but in his society, or whenever
I thought of him, I fell into a kind of Sabbath state of bliss; and I
am sure I could have died for him.
* * * * *
ANECDOTE OF MATHEWS.--One morning, after stopping all night at this
pleasant house, I was getting up to breakfast, when I heard the noise
of a little boy having his face washed. Our host was a merry bachelor,
and to the rosiness of a priest might, for aught I knew, have added
the paternity; but I had never heard of it, and still less expected
to find a child in his house. More obvious and obstreperous proofs,
however, of the existence of a boy with a dirty face, could not have
been met with. You heard the child crying and objecting; then the
woman remonstrating; then the cries of the child snubbed and swallowed
up in the hard towel; and at intervals out came his voice bubbling
and deploring, and was again swallowed up. At breakfast, the child
being pitied, I ventured to speak about it, and was laughing and
sympathizing in perfect good faith, when Mathews came in, and I found
that the little urchin was he.
* * * * *
SHELLEY'S GENEROSITY.--As an instance of Shelley's extraordinary
generosity, a friend of his, a man of letters, enjoyed from him
at that period a pension of a hundred a year, though he had but
a thousand of his own; and he continued to enjoy it till fortune
rendered it superfluous. But the princeliness of his disposition
was seen most in his behavior to another friend, the writer of this
memoir, who is proud to relate that, with money raised with an
effort, Shelley once made him a present of fourteen hundred pounds,
to extricate him from debt. I was not extricated, for I had not yet
learned to be careful; but the shame of not being so, after such
generosity, and the pain which my friend afterward underwent when
I was in trouble and he was helpless, were the first causes of my
thinking of money matters to any purpose. His last sixpence was ever
at my service, had I chosen to share it. In a poetical epistle
written some years after, and published in the volume of "Posthumous
Poems," Shelley, in alluding to his friend's circumstances, which
for the second time were then straitened, only made an affectionate
lamentation that he himself was poor; never once hinting that he had
himself drained his purse for his friend.
* * * * *
MRS. JORDAN.--Mrs. Jordan was inimitable in exemplifying the
consequences of too much restraint in ill-educated country girls, in
romps, in hoydens, and in wards on whom the mercenary have designs.
She wore a bib and tucker, and pinafore, with a bouncing propriety,
fit to make the boldest spectator alarmed at the idea of bringing
such a household responsibility on his shoulders. To see her when
thus attired, shed blubbering tears for some disappointment, and eat
all the while a great thick slice of bread and butter, weeping, and
moaning, and munching, and eyeing at very bite the part she meant
to bite next, was a lesson against will and appetite worth a hundred
sermons, and no one could produce such an impression in favor of
amiableness as she did, when she acted in gentle, generous, and
confiding character. The way in which she would take a friend by
the cheek and kiss her, or make up a quarrel with a lover, or coax a
guardian into good humor, or sing (without accompaniment) the song
of, "Since then I'm doom'd," or "In the dead of the night," trusting,
as she had a right to do, and as the house wished her to do, to the
sole effect of her sweet, mellow, and loving voice--the reader will
pardon me, but tears of pleasure and regret come into my eyes at
the recollection, as if she personified whatsoever was happy at that
period of life, and which has gone like herself. The very sound of the
familiar word 'bud' from her lips (the abbreviation of husband,) as
she packed it closer, as it were, in the utterance, and pouted it up
with fondness in the man's face, taking him at the same time by the
chin, was a whole concentrated world of the power of loving.
* * * * *
RESIDENCE AT CHELSEA.--REMOTENESS IN NEARNESS.--From the noise and
dust of the New Road, my family removed to a corner in Chelsea where
the air of the neighboring river was so refreshing, and the quiet of
the "no-thoroughfare" so full of repose, that, although our fortunes
were at their worst, and my health almost of a piece with them, I
felt for some weeks as if I could sit still for ever, embalmed in
the silence. I got to like the very cries in the street for making
me the more aware of it for the contrast. I fancied they were unlike
the cries in other quarters of the suburbs, and that they retained
something of the old quaintness and melodiousness which procured them
the reputation of having been composed by Purcell and others. Nor
is this unlikely, when it is considered how fond those masters were
of sporting with their art, and setting the most trivial words to
music in their glees and catches. The primitive cries of cowslips,
primroses, and hot cross buns, seemed never to have quitted this
sequestered region. They were like daisies in a bit of surviving
field. There was an old seller of fish in particular, whose cry of
"Shrimps as large as prawns," was such a regular, long-drawn, and
truly pleasing melody, that in spite of his hoarse, and I am afraid,
drunken voice, I used to wish for it of an evening, and hail it
when it came. It lasted for some years, then faded, and went out;
I suppose, with the poor old weather-beaten fellow's existence.
This sense of quiet and repose may have been increased by an early
association of Chelsea with something out of the pale; nay, remote.
It may seem strange to hear a man who has crossed the Alps talk of
one suburb as being remote from another. But the sense of distance is
not in space only; it is in difference and discontinuance. A little
back-room in a street in London is further removed from the noise,
than a front room in a country town. In childhood, the farthest local
point which I reached anywhere, provided it was quiet, always seemed
to me a sort of end of the world; and I remembered particularly
feeling this, the only time when I had previously visited Chelsea,
which was at that period of life.... I know not whether the corner I
speak of remains as quiet as it was. I am afraid not; for steamboats
have carried vicissitude into Chelsea, and Belgravia threatens it with
her mighty advent. But to complete my sense of repose and distance,
the house was of that old-fashioned sort which I have always loved
best, familiar to the eyes of my parents, and associated with
childhood. It had seats in the windows, a small third room on the
first floor, of which I made a _sanctum_, into which no perturbation
was to enter, except to calm itself with religious and cheerful
thoughts (a room thus appropriated in a house appears to me an
excellent thing;) and there were a few lime-trees in front, which in
their due season diffused a fragrance.
[Footnote 1: The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt. Two volumes. Harper &
* * * * *
LAMARTINE'S NEW ROMANCE.
The great poet of affairs, philosophy, and sentiment, before leaving
the scenes of his triumphs and misfortunes for his present visit
to the East, confided to the proprietors of _Le Constitutionel_
a new chapter of his romanticized memoirs to be published in the
_feuilleton_ of that journal, under the name of "Genevieve." This
work, which promises to surpass in attractive interest anything
Lamartine has given to the public in many years, will be translated as
rapidly as the advanced sheets of it are received here, by Mr. Fayette
Robinson, whose thorough apprehension and enjoyment of the nicest
delicacies of the French language, and free and manly style of
English, qualify him to do the fullest justice to such an author
and subject. His version of "Genevieve" will be issued, upon its
completion, by the publishers of _The International_. We give a
specimen of its quality in the following characteristic description,
of Marseilles, premising that the work is dedicated to "Mlle.
Reine-Garde, seamstress, and formerly a servant, at Aix, in Provence."
"Before I commence with the history of Genevieve, this series of
stories and dialogues used by country people, it is necessary to
define the spirit which animated their composition and to tell why
they were written. I must also tell why I dedicate this first story to
Mlle. Reine-Garde, seamstress and servant at Aix in Provence. This is
"I had passed a portion of the summer of 1846 at that Smyrna of
France, called Marseilles, that city, the commercial activity of which
has become the chief _ladder_ of national enterprise, and the general
rendezvous, of those steam caravans of the West, our railroads; a city
the Attic taste of which justifies it in assuming to itself all the
intellectual cultivation, like the Asiatic Smyrna, inherent in the
memory of great poets. I lived outside of the city, the heat of which
was too great for an invalid, in one of those villas formerly called
_bastides_, so contrived as to enable the occupants during the
calmness of a summer evening--and no people in the world love nature
so well--to watch the white sails and look on the motion of the
southern breeze. Never did any other people imbibe more of the spirit
of poetry than does that of Marseilles. So much does climate do for
"The garden of the little villa in which I dwelt opened by a gateway
to the sandy shore of the sea. Between it and the water was a long
avenue of plane trees, behind the mountain of Notre Dame de la Garde,
and almost touching the little lily-bordered stream which surrounded
the beautiful park and villa of the Borelli. We heard at our windows
every motion of the sea as it tossed on its couch and pillow of sand,
and when the garden gate was opened, the sea foam reached almost
the wall of the house, and seemed to withdraw so gradually as if to
deceive and laugh at any hand which would seek to bedew itself with
its moisture. I thus passed hour after hour seated on a huge stone
beneath a fig-tree, looking on that mingling of light and motion which
we call _the Sea_. From time to time the sail of a fisherman's boat,
or the smoke which hung like drapery above the pipe of a steamer,
rose above the chord of the arc which formed the gulf, and afforded a
relief to the monotony of the horizon.
"On working days, this vista was almost a desert, but when Sunday
came, it was made lively by groups of sailors, rich and _idle_
citizens, and whole families of mercantile men who came to bathe or
rest themselves, there enjoying the luxury both of the shade and
of the sea. The mingled murmur of the voices both of men, women and
children, enchanted with sunlight and with repose, united with the
babbling of the waves which seemed to fall on the shore light and
elastic as sheets of steel. Many boats either by sails or oars, were
wafted around the extremity of Cape Notre-Dame de la Garde, with its
heavy grove of shadowy pines; as they crossed the gulf, they touched
the very margin of the water, to be able to reach the opposite bank.
Even the palpitations of the sail were audible, the cadence of
the oars, conversation, song, the laughter of the merry flower and
orange-girls of Marseilles, those true daughters of the gulf, so
passionately fond of the wave, and devoted to the luxury of wild
sports with their native element were heard.
"With the exception of the patriarchal family of the Rostand, that
great house of ship-owners, which linked Smyrna, Athens, Syria and
Egypt to France by their various enterprises, and to whom I had been
indebted for all the pleasures of my first voyage to the East; with
the exception of M. Miege, the general agent of all our maritime
diplomacy in the Mediterranean, with the exception of Joseph Autran,
that oriental poet who refuses to quit his native region because
he prefers his natural elements to glory, I knew but few persons at
Marseilles. I wished to make no acquaintances and sought isolation
and leisure, leisure and study. I wrote the history of one revolution,
without a suspicion that the spirit of another convulsion looked over
my shoulder, hurrying me from the half finished page, to participate
not with the pen, but manually, in another of the great Dramas of
"Marseilles is however hospitable as its sea, its port, and its
climate. A beautiful nature there expands the heart. Where heaven
smiles man also is tempted to be mirthful. Scarcely had I fixed myself
in the faubourg, when the men of letters, of politics,--the merchants
who had proposed great objects to themselves, and who entertained
extended views; the youth, in the ears of whom yet dwelt the echoes
of my old poems; the men who lived by the labor of their own hands,
many of whom however write, study, sing, and make verses, come to my
retreat, bringing with them, however, that delicate reserve which is
the modesty and grace of hospitality. I received pleasure without any
annoyances from this hospitality and attention. I devoted my mornings
to study, my days to solitude and to the sea, my evenings to a small
number of unknown friends, who came from the city to speak to me of
travels, literature, and commerce.
"Commerce at Marseilles is not a matter of paltry traffic, or trifling
parsimony and retrenchments of capital. Marseilles looks on all
questions of commerce as a dilation and expansion of French capital,
and of the raw material exported and imported from Europe and Asia.
Commerce at Marseilles is a lucrative diplomacy, at the same time,
both local and national. Patriotism animates its enterprises, honor
floats with its flag, and policy presides over every departure. Their
commerce is one eternal battle, waged on the ocean at their own peril
and risk, with those rivals who contend with France for Asia and
Africa, and for the purpose of extending the French name and fame over
the opposite continents which touch on the Mediterranean.
"One Sunday, after a long excursion on the sea with Madame Lamartine,
we were told that a woman, modest and timid in her deportment, had
come in the diligence from Aix to Marseilles, and for four or five
hours had been waiting for us in a little orange grove next between
the villa and the garden. I suffered my wife to go into the house, and
passed myself into the orange grove to receive the stranger. I had
no acquaintance with any one at Aix, and was utterly ignorant of the
motive which could have induced my visitor to wait so long and so
patiently for me.
"When I went into the orange grove, I saw a woman still youthful, of
about thirty-six or forty years of age. She wore a working-dress which
betokened little ease and less luxury, a robe of striped _Indienne_,
discolored and faded; a cotton handkerchief on her neck, her black
hair neatly braided, but like her shoes, somewhat soiled by the dust
of the road. Her features were fine and graceful, with that mild
and docile Asiatic expression, which renders any muscular tension
impossible, and gives utterance only to inspiring and attractive
candor. Her mouth was possibly a line too large, and her brow was
unwrinkled as that of a child. The lower part of her face was very
full, and was joined by full undulations, altogether feminine however
in their character, to a throat which was large and somewhat distended
at the middle, like that of the old Greek statues. Her glance had the
expression of the moonlight of her country rather than of its sun.
It was the expression of timidity mingled with confidence in the
indulgence of another, emanating from a forgetfulness of her own
nature. In fine, it was the image of good-feeling, impressed as well
on her air as on her heart, and which seem confident that others are
like her. It was evident that this woman, who was yet so agreeable,
must in her youth have been most attractive. She yet had what the
people (the language of which is so expressive) call the _seed of
beauty_, that _prestige_, that ray, that star, that essence, that
indescribable something, which attracts, charms, and enslaves us. When
she saw me, her embarrassment and blushes enabled me to contemplate
her calmly and to feel myself at once at ease with her. I begged her
to sit down at once on an orange-box over which was thrown a Syrian
mat, and to encourage her sat down in front of her. Her blushes
continued to increase, and she passed her dimpled but rather large
hand more than once over her eyes. She did not know how to begin
nor what to say. I sought to give her confidence, and by one or two
questions assisted her in opening the conversation she seemed both to
wish for and to fear."
[This girl is Reine-Garde, a peasant woman, attracted by a passionate
love of his poetry to visit Lamartine. She unfolds to him much that is
exquisitely reproduced in Genevieve. The romance bids fair to be one
of the most interesting this author has yet produced.]
"Madame ----," said I to her. She blushed yet more.
"I have no husband, Monsieur. I am an unmarried woman."
"Ah! Mlle, will you be pleased to tell me why you have come so far,
and why you waited so long to speak with me? Can I be useful to you
in any manner? Have you any letter to give me from any one in your
"Ah, Monsieur, I have no letter, I have nothing to ask of you, and the
last thing in the world that I should have done, would have been to
get a letter from any of the gentlemen in my neighborhood to you. I
would not even have suffered them to know that I came to Marseilles
to see you. They would have thought me a vain creature, who sought to
magnify her importance by visiting people who are so famous. Ah, that
would never do!"
"What then do you wish to say?"
"How can that be? You should not _for nothing_ have wasted two days in
coming from Aix to Marseilles, and should not have waited for me here
until sunset, when to-morrow you must return home."
"It is, however, true, Monsieur. I know you will think me very
foolish, but ... I have nothing to tell you, and not for a fortune
would I consent that people at Aix should know whither I am gone."
"Something however induced you to come--you are not one of those
triflers who go hither and thither without a motive. I think you are
intellectual and intelligent. Reflect. What induced you to take a
place in the diligence and come to see me? Eh!"
"Well, sir," said she, passing her hands over her cheeks as if to wipe
away all blushes and embarrassment, and at the same time pushing her
long black curls, moist as they were with perspiration, beyond her
ears, "I had an idea which permitted me neither to sleep by day nor
night; I said to myself, Reine, you must be satisfied. You must say
nothing to any one. You must shut up your shop on Saturday night as
you are in the habit of doing. You must take a place in the night
diligence and go on Sunday to Marseilles. You will go to see that
gentleman, and on Monday morning you can again be at work. All will
then be over and for once in your life you will have been satisfied
without your neighbors having once fancied for a moment that you have
passed the limits of the street in which you live."
"Why, however, did you wish so much to see me? How did you even know
that I was here?"
"Thus, Monsieur: a person came to Aix who was very kind to me, for I
am the dressmaker of his daughters, having previously been a servant
in his mother's country-house. The family has always been kind
and attentive, because in Provence, the nobles do not despise the
peasants. Ah! it is far otherwise--some are lofty and others humble,
but their hearts are all alike. _Monsieur_ and the young ladies knew
how I loved to read, and that I am unable to buy books and newspapers.
They sometimes lent books to me, when they saw anything which they
fancied would interest me, such as fashion plates, engravings of
ladies' bonnets, interesting stories, like that of Reboul, the baker
of Nimes, Jasmin, the hairdresser of Agen, or _Monsieur_, the history
of your own life. They know, Monsieur, that above all things I love
poetry, especially that which brings tears into the eyes."
"Ah, I know," said I with a smile, "you are poetical as the winds
which sigh amid your olive-groves, or the dews which drip from your
"No, Monsieur, I am only a mantua-maker--a poor seamstress in ...
street, in Aix, the name of which I am almost ashamed to tell you. I
am no finer lady than was my mother. Once I was servant and nurse in
the house of M.... Ah! they were good people and treated me always as
if I belonged to the family. I too thought I did. My health however,
obliged me to leave them and establish myself as a mantua-maker, in
one room, with no companion but a goldfinch. That, however, is not the
question you asked me,--why I have come hither? I will tell you."
* * * * *
Truth is altogether ineffably, holily beautiful. Beauty has always
truth in it, but seldom unadulterated.
* * * * *
The poet's soul should be like the ocean, able to carry navies, yet
yielding to the touch of a finger.
* * * * *
BY MISS ALICE CAREY.
From the pale, broken ruins of the heart,
The soul's bright wing, uplifted silently,
Sweeps thro' the steadfast depths of the mind's heaven,
Like the fixed splendor of the morning star--
Nearer and nearer to the wasteless flame
That in the centres of the universe
Burns through the o'erlapping centuries of time.
And shall it stagger midway on its path,
And sink its radiance low as the dull dust,
For the death-flutter of a fledgling hope?
Or, with the headlong phrensy of a fiend,
Front the keen arrows of Love's sunken sun,
For that, with nearer vision it discerns
What in the distance like ripe roses seemed
Crimsoning with odorous beauty the gray rocks
Are the red lights of wreckers!
Just as well
The obstinate traveler might in pride oppose
His puny shoulder to the icy slip
Of the blind avalanche, and hope for life;
Or Beauty press her forehead in the grave,
And think to rise as from the bridal bed.
But let the soul resolve its course shall be
Onward and upward, and the walls of pain
May build themselves about it as they will,
Yet leave it all-sufficient to itself.
How like the very truth a lie may seem!--
Led by that bright curse, Genius, some have gone
On the broad wake of visions wonderful
And seemed, to the dull mortals far below,
Unraveling the web of fate, at will.
And leaning on their own creative power,
As on the confident arm of buoyant Love.
But from the climbing of their wildering way
Many have faltered, fallen,--some have died,
Still wooing from across the lapse of years
The faded splendour of a morning dream,
And feeding sorrow with remembered smiles.
Love, that pale passion-flower of the heart,
Nursed into bloom and beauty by a breath,
With the resplendence of its broken light,
Even on the outposts of mortality,
Dims the still watchfires of the waiting soul.
O, tender-visaged Pity, stoop from heaven,
And from the much-loved bosom of the past
Draw back the nestling hand of Memory,
Though it be quivering and pale with pain;
And with the dead dust of departed Hope
Choke up and wither into barrenness
The sweetest fountain of the human heart,
And stay its channels everlastingly
From the endeavor of the loftier soul.
Nay, 'twere a task outbalancing thy power,
Nor can the almost-omnipotence of mind
Away from aching bind the bleeding heart,
Or keep at will its mighty sorrow down.
And, were the white flames of the world below
Binding my forehead with undying pain,
The lily crowns of heaven I would put back,
If thou wert there, lost light of my young dream!--
Hope, opening with the faint flowers of the wood,
Bloomed crimson with the summer's heavy kiss,
But autumn's dim feet left it in the dust,
And like tired reapers my lorn thoughts went down
To the gloom-harvest of a hopeless love,
For past all thought I loved thee: Listening close
From the soft hour when twilight's rosy hedge
Sprang from the fires of sunset, till deep night
Swept with her cloud of stars the face of heaven,
For the quick music, from the pavement rung
Where beat the impatient hoof-strokes of the steed,
Whose mane of silver, like a wave of light,
Bathed the caressing hand I pined to clasp!
It is as if a song-lark, towering high
In pride of place, should stoop her sun-bathed wing,
Low as the poor hum of the grasshopper.
I scorn thee not, old man; no haunting ghost
Born of the darkness of thy perjury
Crosses the white tent of my dreaming now
But for myself, that I should so have loved!--
The sweet folds of that blessed charity,
Pure as the cold veins of Pentelicus,
Were all too narrow now to hide away
One burning spot of shame--the wretched price
Of proving traitor to the wondrous star
That with a cloud of splendor wraps my way.
And yet, from the bright wine-cup of my life,
The rosy vintage, bubbling to the brim,
Thou With a passionate lip didst drain away
And to God's sweet gift--human sympathy--
Making my bosom dumb as the dark grave,
Didst leave me drifting on the waste of life,
A fruitless pillar of the desert dust;
For, from the ashes of a ruined hope
There springs no life but an unwearied woe
That feeding upon sunken lip and cheek
Pushes its victims from mortality.
Vainly the light rain of the summer time
Waters the dead limbs of the blasted oak.
Love is the worker of all miracles;
And if within some cold and sunless cave
Thou hadst lain lost and dying, prompted not
My feet had struck that pathway, and I could,
With the neglected sunshine of my hair,
Have clasped thee from the hungry jaws of Death,
And on my heart, as on a wave of light
Have lulled thee to the beauty of soft dreams.
Weak, weak imagination! be dissolved
Like a chance snowflake in a sea of fire.
Let the poor-spirited children of Despair
Hang on the sepulchre of buried Hope
The fadeless garlands of undying song.
Though such gift turned on its pearly hinge
Sweet Mercy's gate, I would not so debase me.
Shut out from heaven, I, by the arch-fiend's wing,
As by a star, would move, and radiantly
Go down to sleep in Fame's bright arms the while
Hard by, her handmaids, the still centuries
Lilies and sunshine braided for my brow.
Angel of Darkness, give, O give me hate
For the blind weakness of my passionate love!
And if thou knowest sweet pity, stretch thy wing,
Spotted with sin and seamed with veins of fire,
Between the gate of heaven and my life's prayer.
For loving, thou didst leave me; and, for that
The lowly straw-roof of a peasant's shed
Sheltered my cradle slumbers, and that Morn,
Clasping about my neck her dewy arms,
Drew to the mountains my unfashioned youth,
Where sunbeams built bright arches, and the wind
Winnowed the roses down about my feet
And as their drift of leaves my bosom was,
Till the cursed hour, when pride was pillowed there,
Crimsoned its beauty with the fires of hell.
God hide from me the time when first I knew
Thy shame to call a low-born maiden, Bride!
Methinks I could have lifted my pale hands
Though bandaged back with grave-clothes, in that hour
To cover my hot forehead from thy kiss.
For the heart strengthens when its food is truth,
And o'er the passion-shaken bosom, trail
And burn the lightnings of its love-lit fires
Like a bright banner streaming on the storm.
The day was almost over; on the hills
The parting light was flitting like a ghost,
And like a trembling lover eve's sweet star,
In the dim leafy reach of the thick woods,
Stood gazing in the blue eyes of the night.
But not the beauty of the place nor hour
Moved my wild heart with tempests of such bliss
As shake the bosom of a god, new-winged,
When first in his blue pathway up the skies
He feels the embrace of immortality.
A little moment, and the world was changed--
Truth, like a planet striking through the dark,
Shone cold and clear, and I was what I am,
Listening along the wilderness of life
For faint echoes of lost melody.
The moonlight gather'd itself back from me
And slanted its pale pinions to the dust.
The drowsy gust, bedded in luscious blooms,
Startled, as 'twere at the death-throes of peace,
Down through the darkness moaningly fled off.
O mournful Past! how thou dost cling and cling--
Like a forsaken maiden to false hope--
To the tired bosom of the living hour,
Which, from thy weak embrace, the future time
Jocundly beckons with a roseate hand.
And, round about me honeyed memories drift
From the fair eminences of young hope,
Like flowers blown down the hills of Paradise,
By some soft wave of golden harmony,
Until the glorious smile of summers gone
Lights the dull offing of the sea of Death.
And though no friend nor brother ever made
My soul the burden of one prayer to Heaven,
I dread to go alone into the grave,
And fold my cold arms emptily away
From the bright shadow of such loveliness.
Can the dull mist where swart October hides
His wrinkled front and tawny cheek, wind-shorn,
Be sprinkled with the orange fire that binds
Away from her soft lap o'erbrimmed with flowers,
The dew-wet tresses of the virgin May?
Or can the heart just sunken from the day
Feed on the beauty of the noontide smile?--
O it is well life's fair things fade so soon,
Else we could never take our clinging hands
From Beauty's nestling bosom--never put
The red wine of love's kisses sternly back,
And feel the dull dust sitting on our lips
Until the very grass grew over us.
O it is well! else for this beautiful life
Our overtempted hearts would sell away
The shining coronals of Paradise.
In the gray branches of the oaks, starlit,
I hear the heavy murmurs of the winds,
Like the low plains of evil witches, held
By drear enchantments from their demon loves.
Another night-time, and I shall have found
A refuge from their mournful prophecies.
Come, dear one, from my forehead smooth away
Those long and heavy tresses, still as bright
As when they lay 'neath the caressing hand
That unto death betrayed me. Nay, 'tis well!
I pray you do not weep; or soon or late,
Were this sad doom unsaid, their light had filled
The empty bosom of the waiting grave.
There, now I think I have no further need--
For unto all at last there comes a time
When no sweet care can do us any good!
Not in my life that I remember of,
Could my neglect have injured any one,
And if I have by my officious love,
Thrown harmful shadows in the way of some,
Be piteous to my natural weakness, friends:
I never shall offend you any more!
And now, most melancholy messenger,
Touch my eyes gently with Sleep's heavy dew.
I have no wish to struggle from thy arms,
Nor is there any hand would hold me back.
To die, is but the common heritage;
But to unloose the clasp that to the heart
Folds the dear dream of love, is terrible--
To see the wildering visions fade away,
As the bright petals of the young June rose
Shook by some sudden tempest. On the grave
Light from the open sepulchre is laid,
And Faith leans yearningly away to heaven,
But life hath glooms wherein no light may come!
The night methinks is dismal, yet I see
Over yon hill one bright and steady star
Divide the darkness with its fiery wedge,
And sprinkle glory on the lap of earth.
Even so, above the still homes of the dead
The benedictions of the living lie.
Gatherers of waifs of beauty are we here,
Building up homes of love for alien hearts
That hate us for our trouble. When we see
The tempest hiding from us the sun's face,
About our naked souls we build a wall
Of unsubstantial shadows, and sit down
Hugging false peace upon the edge of doom.
From the voluptuous lap of time that is,
Like a sick child from a kind nurse's arms,
We lean away, and long for the far off.
And when our feet through weariness and toll
Have gained the heights that showed so brightly well,
Our blind and dizzied vision sees too late
The cool broad shadows trailing at the base.
And then our wasted arms let slip the flowers,
And our pained bosoms wrinkle from the fair
And smooth proportions of our primal years,
And so our sun goes down, and wistful death
Withdraws love's last delusion from our hearts,
And mates us with the darkness. Well, 'tis well!
* * * * *
TWO COUNTRY SONNETS.
But yester e'en the city's streets I trod
And breathed laboriously the fervid air;
Panting and weary both with toil and care,
I sighed for cooling breeze and verdant sod.
This morn I rose from slumbers calm and deep,
And through the casement of a rural inn,
I saw the river with its margins green,
All placid and delicious as my sleep.
Like pencilled lines upon a tinted sheet
The city's spires rose distant on the sky;
Nor sound familiar to the crowded street
Assailed my ear, nor busy scene mine eye;
I saw the hills, the meadows and the river--
I heard cool waters plash and green leaves quiver.
These sights and sounds refreshed me more than wine;
My pulses bounded with a reckless play,
My heart exalted like the rising day.
Now--did my lips exclaim--is pleasure mine;
A sweet delight shall fold me in its thrall;
To day, at least, I'll feel the bliss of life;
Like uncaged bird,--each limb with freedom rife--
I'll sip a thousand sweets--enjoy them all!
The will thus earnest could not be denied;
I beckoned Pleasure and she gladly came:
O'er hill and vale I roamed at her dear side--
And made the sweet air vocal with her name:
She all the way of weariness beguiled,
And I was happy as a very child!
T. ADDISON RICHARDS
* * * * *
RAMBLES IN THE PENINSULA.
BARCELONA, MAY 27, 1850.
My dear friend--I have been exceedingly pleased with what I have seen
and experienced during the time I have already spent in this handsome
and agreeable city. At present I have no traveling companion, and have
moreover only encountered one of my countrymen (with the exception of
the consuls) since my departure from Madrid, in January last. Besides,
I seldom hear the United States mentioned, never see any papers,
associate almost altogether with Spaniards, and converse chiefly in
The American Consul here (who is by the way a Spaniard) has been very
attentive and kind to me. We have taken several walks together, in
which he has pointed out to me the most notable edifices of Barcelona.
Among these is the magnificent theater called El Siceo, which is one
of the grandest in the world. It is certainly the most splendid of the
kind I have ever seen. It was built by subscription, at an expense of
about half a million of dollars, and is capable of containing nearly
six thousand persons. To my regret it is now closed. There is another
very fine theater here called El Principal, which is open every
evening. Last night I went to see the amusing opera of Don Pasquale,
by Donizetti, which was quite laudably performed. In fact I go most
every night, as I have nothing else to do, and have an excellent seat
at my disposal, with which the consul has been so kind as to favor
me. The appearance and manners of the audience are more interesting
to me than those of the stage-actors. Besides, I like to accustom my
ear to the Spanish, which I now speak with considerable fluency and
correctness. I have devoted much study to this and the French language
since I have been in Spain, and am now making some progress in the
Italian, through the Spanish. I am convinced that no man can properly
understand a people without knowing something of their language, which
is in a great degree the index of their character. Moreover it is an
indispensable condition to comfortable travel.
Among the distinguished characters in town is the famous Governor
Tacon, who so admirably conducted the affairs of state in the island
of Cuba some years since. He is staying with a particular friend of
the consul, who is an immensely wealthy man and lives in the most
princely style. I visited the house a few days since, before the
arrival of the governor, and was delighted with the splendid taste
displayed in the fresco of the ceiling, the stucco of the walls,
and indeed with every article of furniture with which the rooms
were supplied. On the parterre, or lower roof, was a little gem of a
garden, with raised beds, blooming with beautiful plants and flowers,
while in the middle was a fountain and on each side a miniature arbor
of grapes. Really, nothing could be more charming and luxurious. It
was like peeping into the bygone days of fairydom.
Barcelona is one of the best places in Spain for one to be during
the observance of remarkable festivals. The celebration of Corpus
Christi, which commences on the 30th, is said to be conducted here on
a most magnificent scale. Of this I can form some conception from the
brilliant procession which I witnessed yesterday afternoon, it being
Trinity Sunday. The procession was preceded by two men on mules, over
whose necks were strung a pair of tambours, (a kind of drum,) upon
which the men were vigorously beating. Then came a priest, bearing
a large and elaborately worked cross; after him came the body of the
procession in regular order, consisting of young priests in white
gowns, chanting as they marched; citizens in black, with white
waistcoats and without hats; little girls representing the angels, in
snowy gauze dresses with flowers, garlands, and a light azure scarf
flowing from their heads; numerous bands of music, some of them
playing solemn airs, others quick-steps and polkas; a fine display of
infantry, and after all a noble body of cavalry, on fine horses, in
striking uniform, each of them carrying a spear-topped banner in their
hands. The general appearance of this procession, (each member of
which, with the exception of the soldiers, carried a lighted candle
or torch in his hand,) marching through one of the superb but narrow
streets, while from almost every balcony was suspended a gay "trede,"
(a scarf-like awning,) either of blue, or crimson, or yellow, the
balconies themselves being crowded with clusters of bright-eyed
girls,--constituted one of the most brilliant and attractive
spectacles that I ever witnessed. Yet they tell me that the procession
of Corpus Christi will be infinitely more splendid and elaborate.
I am living here very comfortably. My rooms are pleasant and overlook
the charming Rambla. My mornings are generally spent in reading and
studying Spanish. At four o'clock my Irish friend and myself proceed
to the fine restaurant where we are accustomed to dine: here we meet
an intelligent Spanish gentleman, who completes our party, and as he
does not speak English, all conversation is conducted at the table
in the Spanish language. Dinner being over, we next visit a palverine
cafe, where we meet a number of Spanish acquaintances, with whom we
take coffee and a cigar. We all sally out together, and walk for an
hour or two, either in the environs of the city, or along their mural
terrace, overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean, closing our
promenade at length upon the crowded and animated Rambla. After the
theater, a stroll in the moonlight upon this magnificent promenade,
and as the clock strikes the hour of midnight we retire, and bathe in
the waters of oblivion till morn. My days in Spain are drawing near
their end. I am ready to leave, though I shall cast many a lingering
thought, many a fond recollection behind; and in future years, I shall
sadly recall these hours, which, I fear, can never be recalled. But
away with the enervating reflections of grief! Read nothing in the
past but lessons for the future. When you think of its pleasures,
think also of the cares they produced and the anxieties they cost
you. Behold, they are ended, and forever. Have you reaped from them
a moral, or have you been poisoned with their sting? Have you not
discovered that pleasure is a phantom, which vanishes in proportion
to the eagerness with which it is pursued? that by itself it fatigues
without satisfying--that it knows no limits or bounds to gratify
the restless and unfettered soul--that it is a _feeble soil_, which,
without the sweat of labor and the tears of sorrow, produces nothing
but the weeds of sin and the thorny briars of remorse? Have you
learned all this, and are you not a wiser and a better man? Let all
who have traveled for pleasure answer the question to themselves.
Truly your friend,
JOHN E. WARREN.
* * * * *
The Rev Henry Giles, in a lecture on "Manliness," thus designates
the four great characteristics which have distinguished mankind. "The
Hebrew was mighty by the power of Faith--the Greek by Knowledge and
Art--the Roman by Arms--but the might of the Modern Man is placed in
Work. This is shown by the peculiar pride of each. The pride of the
Hebrew was in Religion--the pride of the Greek was in Wisdom--the
pride of the Roman was in Power--the pride of the Modern Man is placed
* * * * *
Carlyle and Emerson.--They are not finished writers, but great
quarries of thought and imagery. Of the two, Emerson is much the finer
spirit. He has not the radiant range of imagination or any of the
rough power of Carlyle, but his placid, piercing insight irradiates
the depth of truth further and clearer than do the strained glances of
the latter. A higher mental altitude than Carlyle has mounted, by most
strenuous effort, Emerson has serenely assumed.
* * * * *
AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
The Literature of Supernaturalism was never more in request than since
the Seeresses of Rochester commenced their levees at Barnum's Hotel.
The journals have been filled with jesting and speculation upon the
subject,--mountebank tricksters and shrewd professors have plied their
keenest wits to discover the processes of the rappings--and Mrs. Fish
and the Foxes in spite of them all preserve their secret, or at least
are as successful as ever in persuading themselves and others that
they are admitted to communications with the spiritual world. For
ourselves, while we can suggest no explanation of these phenomena,
and while in every attempted explanation of them which we have seen,
we detect some such difficulty or absurdity as makes necessary its
rejection, we certainly could never for a moment be tempted to a
suspicion that there is anything supernatural in the matter. Such
an idea is simply ridiculous, and will be tolerated only by the
ignorant, the feeble-minded, or the insane. Still, the "knockings"
are sufficiently mysterious, and if unexposed, sufficiently fruitful
of evil, to be legitimate subjects of investigation, and he who under
such circumstances is so careful of his dignity as to disregard the
subject altogether, is as much mistaken as the gravest buffoon of
the circus. We reviewed a week or two ago "The Phantom World," just
republished by Mr. Hart; the Appletons have recently printed an
original work which we believe has considerable merit, entitled
"Credulity and Superstition;" and Mr. Redfield has in press and nearly
ready, an edition of "The Night Side of Nature," by Miss Crowe, author
of "Susan Hopley." This we believe is the cleverest performance upon
ghosts and ghost-seers that has appeared in English since the days
of Richard Glanvill; and with the others, it will be of service in
checking the progress of the pitiable superstition which has been
readily accepted by a large class of people, so peculiarly constituted
that they could not help rejecting the Christian religion for its
"unreasonableness and incredibility!"
* * * * *
"Some Honest Opinions upon Authors, Books, and other subjects," is
the title of a new volume by the late Edgar A. Poe, which Mr. Redfield
will publish during the Fall. It will embrace besides several of the
author's most elaborate aesthetical essays, those caustic personalities
and criticisms from his pen which, during several years, attracted so
much attention in our literary world. Among his subjects are Bryant,
Cooper, Pauldings, Hawthorne, Willis, Longfellow, Verplanck, Bush,
Anthon, Hoffman, Cornelius Mathews, Henry B. Hirst, Mrs. Oakes Smith,
Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Lewis, Margaret Fuller, Miss Sedgwick, and many
more of this country, beside Macaulay, Bulwer, Dickens, Horne, Miss
Barrett, and some dozen others of England.
* * * * *
Mr. Dudley Bean occupies the first two sheets of the last
_Knickerbocker_ with a very erudite and picturesque description of
the attack upon Ticonderoga by the grand army under Lords Amherst and
Howe, in "the old French War." Mr. Bean is an accomplished merchant,
of literary abilities and a taste for antiquarian research, and he is
probably better informed than any other person living upon the history
and topography of all the country for many miles about Lake George,
which is the most classical region of the United States. He has
treated the chief points of this history in many interesting papers
which he has within a few years contributed to the journals, and we
have promise of a couple of octavos, embracing the whole subject, from
his pen, at an early day. We know of nothing in the literature of our
local and particular history that is more pleasing than the specimens
of his quality in this way which have fallen under our notice.
* * * * *
Mr. William Young, the thoroughly accomplished editor of the _Albion_,
is to be our creditor in the coming autumn for two hundred songs of
Beranger, in English, with the pictorial illustrations which graced
the splendid edition of the great lyrist's works recently issued in
Paris. Mr. Young may be said to be as familiar with the niceties of
the French language as the eloquent and forcible editorials of the
_Albion_ show him to be with those of his vernacular; and he has
studied Beranger with such a genial love and diligence, that he
would probably be one of his best editors, even in Paris. In literal
truth and elaborate finish, we think his volume will show him to be
a capital, a nearly faultless, translator. But Beranger is a very
difficult author to turn into English, and we believe all who have
hitherto essayed this labor have found his spirit too evanescent for
their art. The learned and brilliant "Father Prout" has been in some
respects the most successful of them all; but his versions are not to
be compared with Mr. Young's for adherence either to the bard's own
meaning or music. In pouring out the Frenchman's champagne, the latter
somehow suffers the sparkle and bead to escape, while the former
cheats us by making his stale liquor foam with London soda. We shall
be impatient for Mr. Young's book, which will be published by Putnam,
in a style of unusual beauty.
* * * * *
Dr. Achilli, whose history, so full of various and romantic
vicissitudes, has become familiar in consequence of his imprisonments
in the Roman Inquisition, is now in London, at the head of a
congregation of Protestant Italians. He has intimated to Dr. Baird his
intention to visit this country within a few months. He resided here
many years ago.
* * * * *
Shirley, by the author of Jane Eyre, has been translated into French,
and is appearing as the _feuilleton_ of the _National_, newspaper. Mr.
LIVERMORE, one of our most learned bibliopoles, has a very interesting
article upon Public Libraries, in the last _North American Review_.
He notices in detail several generally inaccessible reports on the
libraries of Europe and this country; after referring to the number
and extent of libraries here and elsewhere, and showing that in this
respect we rank far below most of the countries of Europe, though
second to none in general intelligence and the means of common
education, he urges the institution of a large national library, and
sees in the foundation of the Smithsonian Institution a prospect that
the subject is likely to receive speedy and efficient attention.
* * * * *
PROFESSOR JOHNSON, author of the well-known work on Agricultural
Chemistry, has been delivering lectures upon the results of his recent
tour in the British Provinces and the United States, in one of which
he observed, "In New Brunswick, New England, Vermont, New Hampshire,
Connecticut, and New York, the growth of wheat has almost ceased; and
it is now gradually receding farther and farther westward. Now, when
I tell you this, you will see that it will not be very long before
America is unable supply us with wheat in any large quantity. If we
could bring Indian corn into general use, we might get plenty of it;
but I do not think that the United States need be any bug bear to
you." Prof. J. was in New York last March.
* * * * *
CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN, with Miss Hayes, the translator of George Sand's
best works, was at the last dates on a visit to the popular poetess
of the milliner and chambermaid classes, Eliza Cook, who was very ill.
Miss Cushman is really quite as good a poet as Miss Cook, though by no
means so fluent a versifier. She will return to the United States in a
few weeks to fulfill some professional engagements.
* * * * *
Rev. Mr. MOUNTFORD, an English Unitarian clergyman, who recently came
to this country, and who is known in literature and religion as the
author of the two very clever works, "Martyria" and "Euthanasia," has
become minister of a congregation at Gloucester, in Massachusetts.
* * * * *
BENJAMIN PERLEY POORE, author of "The Life and Times of Louis
Philippe," &c., invited the corps of Massachusetts Volunteers,
commanded by him in the Mexican campaign, to celebrate the anniversary
of their return, at his pleasant residence on Indian Hill Farm, in
West Newbury, last Friday.
* * * * *
Rev. WARREN BURTON, a graceful writer and popular preacher among the
Unitarians, has resigned the pastoral office in Worcester to give his
undivided attention to the advocacy of certain theories he has formed
for the moral education of the young.
* * * * *
RICHARD S. MCCULLOCH, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Princeton
College, and some time since melter and refiner of the United States
Mint, has addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, in
which he states that he has discovered a new, quick, and economical
method of refining argentiferous and other gold bullion, whereby the
work may be done in one-half the present time, and a large saving
effected in interest upon the amount refined.
* * * * *
THE LATE SIR JOSEPH BANKS lies buried in Heston Church. There is
neither inscription, nor monument, nor memorial window to mark the
place of his sepulture; even his hatchment has been removed from its
place. Surely, as President of the Royal Society, a member of so many
foreign institutions, as well as a man who had traveled so much, he
should have been thought worthy of some slight mark of respect.
* * * * *
ELIHU BURRITT is presented with the Prince of Wales in one of the
designs for medals to be distributed on the occasion of the great
Industrial Exhibition in London; and the Athenaeum properly suggests
that such an obtrusion of the "learned Blacksmith" (who has really
scarce any learning at all) is "little better than a burlesque."
* * * * *
HORACE MANN, President of the late National Convention of the friends
of education, had issued an address inviting all friendly to the
object, whether connected with and interested in common-schools,
academies, or colleges, to meet in convention at Philadelphia on the
fourth day of August next.
* * * * *
LIEUT. MAURY says that the new planet, _Parthenope_, discovered by
M. Gasparis, of Naples, has been observed at Washington, by Mr. J.
Ferguson. It resembles a star of the tenth magnitude. This is the
eleventh in the family of asteroids, and the seventh within the last
* * * * *
GEORGE WILKINS KENDALL is now in New York, having visited New
Orleans since his return from Paris. His History of the Mexican War,
illustrated by some of the cleverest artists of France, will soon be
published here and in London.
* * * * *
Mrs. FANNY KEMBLE has left this country for England, on account of the
sudden illness of her father, Charles Kemble, of whose low state of
health we have been apprised by almost every arrival for a year.
* * * * *
M. BALZAC's recent marriage, at his rather advanced period of life,
finds him, for the first time, an invalid, and serious fears are now
entertained for him, by friends and physicians.
* * * * *
ORESTES A. BROWNSON has received the degree of LL.D. from the R.C.
* * * * *
* * * * *
SARGENT S. PRENTISS, one of the most distinguished popular orators of
the age, died at Natchez, Mississippi, on the 3d inst. He was a native
of Maine, and after being admitted to the bar he emigrated to the
Southwest, where his great natural genius, with his energy and
perseverance, soon gained for him a well-deserved reputation as one
of the most successful advocates at the bar, and as one of the most
brilliant and effective speakers in all that part of the country,
where "stumping" is the almost universal practice among political
He was once elected to the House of Representatives from his adopted
State, and was excluded from his seat by the casting vote of James K.
Polk, at that time Speaker of the House. The facts in regard to the
affair, according to the _Tribune_, are substantially as follows:
In 1837, the President, Mr. Van Buren, called an Extra Session
of Congress to assemble in September of that year. The laws of
Mississippi required that the election for Congressmen for that State
for the twenty-fifth Congress should be held in November, and in
order that the State should be represented in the Extra Session, the
Governor ordered an election to be held in July for the choice of
two Congressmen "to fill the vacancy until superseded by the members
to be elected at the next regular election, on the first Monday, and
the day following, in November next." The election was held under
the authority of the Governor's proclamation, and the Democratic
candidates, Claiborne and Gholson, were elected by default. They took
their seats in the House, in which there was a decided Democratic
majority, and immediately applied themselves to the task of inducing
the House to declare that they had been duly elected not only for the
Extra Session, but for the full term of two fears following. Of course
they accomplished their object. The November Election arrived and the
Whigs nominated Prentiss and Word. The Democrats brought out Claiborne
and Gholson again, and the result was that the Whig candidates were
chosen by a triumphant majority. They received their certificates
of election from the proper authority and presented themselves at
the regular session of Congress in December, and found their seats
occupied by the brace of Democrats whom the people of Mississippi
had elected to stay at home, and after a most severe and memorable
contest, the new members presented themselves for admission at the bar
of the House, which decided readily that Claiborne and Gholson were
not entitled to their places, but instead of admitting Prentiss
and Word, by Mr. Polk's casting vote declared the seats vacant, and
referred the whole subject back to the people. During the discussion
of the question Mr. Prentiss made a speech which will be remembered
and admired as long as genius and true manly eloquence are
appreciated. Another election was held in the following month of
March, and Prentiss and Word were again returned, and this time
they were admitted to their seats. The remaining session of the
twenty-fifth Congress, Prentiss served with distinguished ability. We
believe this closed his career as a statesman. He recently removed
to New Orleans, where he continued the practice of the law, standing
always at the head of his profession.
* * * * *
THE LATE HON. NATHANIEL SILSBEE, according to the Salem, Mass.
_Gazette_, of the 16th inst., began his career soon after the breaking
out of the French revolution, and the general warfare in which all
Europe became embroiled. At this favorable point of time, Mr. S.
having finished his term of service at one of our best private schools
of instruction, under the Rev. Dr. Cutler, of Hamilton, and having
abandoned the collegiate course for which he had been prepared,
and been initiated into the forms of business and knowledge of
the counting-room, he engaged in the employ of one of our most
enterprising merchants, Hasket Derby, Esq., the leader of the vanguard
of India adventures. At the age of 18, he embarked on the sea of
fortune as clerk of a merchant vessel. On his next voyage he took the
command of a vessel, and before he arrived at the age of 21, he sailed
for the East Indies in a vessel, which, at this day, would scarcely be
deemed suitable for a coasting craft, uncoppered, without the improved
nautical instruments and science which now universally prevail,
trusting only to his dead reckoning, his eyes, and his head, not
one on board having attained to the age of his majority. He served
successively as representative in our State Legislature, as member of
Congress for six years, as State Senator, over which body he presided,
and as Senator in Congress, for nine years, with honor to himself, and
satisfaction to his constituents. In all commercial questions which
presented themselves to the consideration of Congress, while a member
of both houses, no man's opinion was more sought for and more justly
* * * * *
SEVERAL FAMOUS FRENCHMEN have left the world within a few weeks.
Quatremere de Quincy, who was in the first rank of archaeology and
aesthetics, died at the age of ninety-five; Count Mollien, the famous
financier--often a minister--at eighty-seven; Baron Meneval, so long
the private, confidential, all-trusted private secretary of Napoleon,
between seventy and eighty; Count Berenger, one of the Emperor's
Councillors and Peers, conspicuous for the independence of his spirit,
as well as administrative qualifications, was four-score and upward.
The obsequies of these personages were grand ceremonials. President
Napoleon sent his carriages and orderly officers to honor the remains
of the old servants of his uncle. This class might be thought to
have found an elixir of life, in their devotion to the Emperor or
his memory. A few of them survive, like Marshal Soult, wonders of
* * * * *
REMARKABLE WORK BY A CHINESE.
To the man of science, the philanthropist and the Christian, it will
prove a stirring incident that a work on Geography has just been
issued by a native Chinese, embracing the history and condition of
other nations. Here is a stroke, such as has never yet been dealt
against the ignorance and prejudice which has erected such a wall of
exclusiveness around three hundred millions of people. A Lieutenant
Governor is the author, and, by a commendatory preface, it is pressed
upon the notice of his countrymen by a Governor General--both of these
men high in office in the Chinese Government.
In reference to his map of the world, the writer remarks: "We knew
in respect to a Northern frozen ocean, but in respect to a Southern
frozen ocean we had not heard. So that, when Western men produced maps
having a frozen ocean at the extreme South, we supposed that they
had made a mistake in not understanding the Chinese language, and had
placed that in the South which should have been placed only in the
North. But on inquiring of an American, one Abeel, (the Missionary,)
he said this doctrine was verily true, and should not be doubted."
It is a fact full of interest that the chronology adopted in this work
is that usually received by European writers. The more prominent facts
of sacred history subsequent to the Deluge, are either alluded to, or
stated at length, much as they occur in the Scriptures.
It is interesting to us, too, that this work presents to the Chinese
a more definite and discriminating view of the different religions of
the world, than has yet appeared in the Chinese language.
Speaking of different countries of India under European sway, where
Buddhism or Paganism and Protestantism exist together, the author
does not hesitate to say that the latter is gradually overcoming the
former, "whose light is becoming more and more dim." This is a very
remarkable concession, when we consider that the individual who makes
it is probably a Buddhist himself, and represents the religion of
China as Buddhism.
It is a remarkable fact, that this work contains a more extensive and
correct account of the history and institution of Christian nations
than has ever been published before by any heathen writer in any age
of the world.
This remarkable work will introduce the "Celestials" to such an
acquaintance with "the outside barbarians" as cannot fail to give them
new ideas, remove something at least of the insane prejudice against,
and contempt of, all other nations, which has so long prevailed.
We regard it as a very important agency in preparing the way for
that Christianity which the friends of the perishing are seeking to
introduce into that benighted empire. A book by a native Chinaman,
himself high in office, and recommended by a still higher officer
of the government, the author still himself a Pagan, yet reasoning
upon the great facts of the Bible, and opening the hitherto unknown
civilized and Christian world to his countrymen--such a book cannot
but become an important pioneer in the work of pouring the light of
truth upon that dark land.--_Boston Traveler_.
* * * * *
[FROM SARTAIN'S MAGAZINE, FOR AUGUST.]
UPON THE DEATH OF FRANCES SARGENT ASGOOD.
BY ANNE C. LYNCH.
To what bright world afar dost thou belong
Thou whose pure soul seemed not of mortal birth?
From what fair realm of flowers, and love, and song,
Cam'st thou a star-beam to our shadowed earth?
What hadst thou done, sweet spirit! in that sphere,
That thou wert banished here?
Here, where our blossoms early fade and die,
Where autumn frosts despoil our loveliest bowers;
Where song goes up to heaven, an anguished cry
From wounded hearts, like perfume from crushed flowers;
Where Love despairing waits, and weeps in vain
His Psyche to regain.
Thou cam'st not unattended on thy way;
Spirits of beauty, grace, and joy, and love
Were with thee, ever bearing each some ray
Of the far home that thou hadst left above,
And ever at thy side, upon our sight
Gleamed forth their wings of light.
We heard their voices in the gushing song
That rose like incense from thy burning heart;
We saw the footsteps of the shining throng
Glancing upon thy pathway high, apart,
When in thy radiance thou didst walk the earth,
Thou child of glorious birth.
But the way lengthened, and the song grew sad,
Breathing such tones as find no echo here;
Aspiring, soaring, but no longer glad,
Its mournful music fell upon the ear;
'Twas the home-sickness of a soul that sighs
For its own native skies.
Then he that to earth's children comes at last,
The angel-messenger, white-robed and pale,
Upon thy soul his sweet oblivion cast,
And bore thee gently through the shadowy vale,--
The fleeting years of thy brief exile o'er,--
Home to the blissful shore.
* * * * *
MR. HEALEY is in Paris, engaged busily on his Webster and Hayne
picture, of which at the time of its projection, so much was said.
The canvas is some twenty feet by fourteen, and all the heads will be
portraits. It will be valuable, and must command a ready sale. Will
Massachusetts buy it for her State House, or South Carolina for her
Capitol? It would be a splendid ornament for Fanueil Hall, and not be
misplaced on the walls of the Charleston Court House.
* * * * *
MANUEL GODOY, the famous "Prince of Peace," it is mentioned in recent
foreign journals, has left Paris for Spain. The Government at Madrid
has restored a considerable part of his large confiscated estates, and
he probably has returned to enjoy a golden setting sun. He must be at
least eighty years of age.
* * * * *
MONS. LIBRI, a well known savant, member of the Institute, and a
professor of the College of France, has been charged, in Paris, with
having committed extensive thefts of valuable MSS. and broken in the
public libraries. He has persisted in proclaiming his innocence, and
is warmly defended by certain papers. An indictment was found, he did
not appear; he was tried, in his absence, for contumacy. He was found
guilty of the most extensive depredations in this way. Abstracting the
most valuable books, effacing identifying marks, sending them out of
the country to be rebound, and then selling them at costly rates. He
was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years at hard labor.
* * * * *
SKETCH OF A STREET CHARACTER OF CAIRO.--The Caireen donkey-boy is
quite a character, and mine in particular was a perfect original. He
was small and square of frame, his rich brown face relieved by the
whitewash of teeth and the most brilliant black eyes, and his face
beamed with a merry, yet roguish expression, like that of the Spanish,
or rather Moorish, boy, in Murillo's well known masterpiece, with whom
he was probably of cognate blood. Living in the streets from infancy,
and familiar with the chances of out-door life, and with every
description of character; waiting at the door of a mosque or a cafe,
or crouching in a corner of a bazaar, he had acquired a thorough
acquaintance with Caireen life; and his intellect, and, I fear, his
vices, had become somewhat prematurely developed. But the finishing
touch to his education was undoubtedly given by the European travelers
whom he had served, and of whom he had, with the imitativeness of his
age, picked up a variety of little accomplishments, particularly the
oaths of different languages. His audacity had thus become consummate,
and I have heard him send his fellows to ---- as coolly, and in as
good English, as any prototype of our own metropolis. His mussulman
prejudices sat very loosely upon him, and in the midst of religious
observances he grew up indifferent and prayerless. With this
inevitable laxity of faith and morals, contracted by his early
vagabondage, he at least acquired an emancipation from prejudice,
and displayed a craving after miscellaneous information, to which his
European masters were often tasked to contribute. Thrown almost in
childhood upon their resources, the energy and perseverance of these
boys is remarkable. My little lad had, for instance, been up the
country with some English travelers, in whose service he had saved
four or five hundred piastres, (four or five pounds), with which he
bought the animal which I bestrode, on whose sprightliness and good
qualities he was never tired of expatiating, and with the proceeds
of whose labor he supported his mother and himself. He had but one
habitual subject of discontent, the heavy tax imposed upon his donkey
by Mehemet Ali, upon whom he invoked the curse of God; a curse, it
is to be feared, uttered, not loud but deep, by all classes save the
employes of government. His wind and endurance were surprising. He
would trot after his donkey by the hour together, urging and prodding
along with a pointed stick, as readily in the burning sandy environs,
and under the noonday sun, as in the cool and shady alleys of the
crowded capital; running, dodging, striking, and shouting with all
the strength of his lungs, through the midst of its labyrinthine
obstructions.--_The Nile Boat_.
* * * * *
MENDELSSOHN'S SKILL AS A CONDUCTOR.--In the spring of 1835.
Mendelssohn was invited to come to Cologne, in order to direct the
festival. Here we met again, and thanks to his kindness, I had the
pleasure of being present at one of the general rehearsals, where
he conducted Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. It would be a matter
of difficulty to decide in which quality Mendelssohn excelled the
most--whether as composer, pianist, organist, or conductor of the
orchestra. Nobody ever knew better how to communicate, as if by an
electric fluid, his own conceptions of a work, to a large body of
performers. It was highly interesting on this occasion to contemplate
the anxious attention manifested by a body of more than five hundred
singers and performers, watching every glance of Mendelssohn's eye,
and following, like obedient spirits, the magic wand of this musical
_Prospero_. The admirable _allegretto_ in B flat, of Beethoven's
Symphony, not going at first to his liking, he remarked, smilingly,
that he knew every one of the gentlemen engaged was capable of
performing and even composing a scherzo of his own; but that _just
now_ he wanted to hear Beethoven's, which he thought had some merit.
It was cheerfully repeated. "Beautiful! charming!" cried Mendelssohn,
"but still too loud in two or three instances. Let us take it again,
from the middle." "No, no," was the general reply of the band; "the
whole movement over again for our own satisfaction;" and then they
played it with the utmost delicacy and finish, Mendelssohn laying
aside his baton, and listening with evident delight to the more
perfect execution. "What would I have given," exclaimed he, "if
Beethoven could have heard his own composition so well understood and
so magnificently performed!" By thus giving alternately praise and
blame, as required, spurring the slow, checking the too ardent, he
obtained orchestral effects seldom equaled in our days. Need I
add, that he was able to detect at once, even among a phalanx of
performers, the slightest error, either of note or accent.--_Life of
* * * * *
There is a mutual hate between the virtuous and the vicious, the
spiritual and the sensual: but the pure abhor understandingly, knowing
the nature of their antagonists, while the vile nurse an ignorant
malignity, pained with an unacknowledged ache of envy.
* * * * *
Superstition In France.--The _Courrier de la Meuse_ says: "Witchcraft
is still an object of belief in our provinces. On Sunday last, in a
village belonging to the arrondissement of Verdun, the keeper of the
parish bull forgot to lay before the poor animal at the usual hour
its accustomed allowance of provender. The bull, impatient at the
delay, made a variety of efforts to regain his liberty, and at last
succeeded. The first use he made of his freedom was to demolish a
rabbit-hutch which was in the stable. The keeper's wife, hearing a
noise, ran to the place, and as soon as she saw the bull treading
mercilessly upon the rabbits with his large hoofs, seized a cudgel and
showered down a volley of blows on the crupper of the devastator. But
not being accustomed to this rough treatment, the bull grew angry,
and fell upon his neighbors the oxen, and what with horns and hoofs,
turned the stable into a scene of terror and confusion. The woman
began to cry for help. Her cries were heard, and with some trouble
the bull was ousted from the stable, and forthwith began to butt at
everything in his path. The mayor and the adjoint of the commune were
attracted to the scene of this riot, and on witnessing the animal's
violence, declared, after a short deliberation, that the bull was a
sorcerer, or at any rate that he was possessed with a devil, and that
he ought to be conducted to the presbytery in order to be exorcised.
The authorities were accordingly obeyed, and the bull was dragged or
driven into the presence of the curate, who was requested to subject
him to the formalities prescribed in the ritual. The good priest found
no little difficulty in escaping the pressing solicitations of his
parishioners. At last, however, he succeeded; but though the bull
escaped exorcism, he could not elude the shambles. Condemned to death
by the mayor as a sorcerer, his sentence was immediately executed."
* * * * *
The Libraries At Cambridge.--There are now belonging to the various
libraries connected with the University, about 86,000 volumes beside
pamphlets, maps and prints. The Public Library contains over 57,000
volumes. The Law Library, 13,000; Divinity School, 3000; Medical
School, 1,200; Society Libraries for the Students, 10,000. There have
been added during the past year 1,751 volumes, and 2,219 pamphlets.
* * * * *
The _Birmingham Mercury_ thinks some of Lord Brougham's late
proceedings may be accounted for in part by natural vexation at
Cottenham being made an earl. "Cottenham is several years younger than
Brougham, and was his successor in the chancellorship, and yet _he_
gets an earldom, while Brougham, who was known all over the world
before Cottenham was ever heard of out of the Equity Courts, still
remains and is likely to remain a simple baron."
* * * * *
Romantic History of two English Lovers.--In the reign of Edward III.,
Robert Machim, an accomplished gentleman, of the second degree of
nobility, loved and was beloved by the beautiful Anna d'Arfet, the
daughter of a noble of the first class. By virtue of a royal warrant
Machim was incarcerated for his presumption; and, on his release,
endured the bitter mortification of learning that Anna had been
forcibly married to a noble, who carried her to his castle, near
Bristol. A friend of Machim's had the address to introduce himself to
the family, and became the groom of broken-hearted Anna, who was thus
persuaded and enabled to escape on board a vessel with her lover, with
the view of ending her days with him in France. In their hurry and
alarm they embarked without the pilot, and the season of the year
being the most unfavorable, were soon at the mercy of a dreadful
storm. The desired port was missed during the night, and the vessel
driven out to sea. After twelve days of suffering they discovered
faint traces of land in the horizon, and succeeded in making the spot
still called Machico. The exhausted Anna was conveyed on shore, and
Machim had spent three days in exploring in the neighborhood with
his friends, when the vessel, which they had left in charge of the
mariners, broke from her moorings in a storm and was wrecked on the
coast of Morocco, where the crew were made slaves. Anna became dumb
with sorrow, and expired three days after. Machim survived her but
five days, enjoining his companions to bury him in the same grave,
under the venerable cedar, where they had a few days before erected
a cross in acknowledgment of their happy deliverance. An inscription,
composed by Machim, was carved on the cross, with the request that the
next Christian who might chance to visit the spot would erect a church
there. Having performed this last sad duty, the survivors fitted out
the boat, which they had drawn ashore on their landing, and putting to
sea in the hope of reaching some part of Europe, were also driven on
the coast of Morocco, and rejoined their companions, but in slavery.
Zargo, during an expedition of discovery to the coast of Africa,
took a Spanish vessel with redeemed captives, amongst whom was an
experienced pilot, named Morales, who entered into the service
of Zargo, and gave him an account of the adventures of Machim, as
communicated to him by the English captives, and of the landmarks and
situations of the newly-discovered island.--_Madeira, by Dr. Mason_.
* * * * *
Centenary Performances in commemoration of the death-day of John
Sebastian Bach--the 28th of July--are this week to be held at Leipsic,
(where an assemblage of two thousand executants is to be convened
for the display of some of the masters greatest works,) at Berlin, at
Magdeburg, at Hamburg, and at other towns in North Germany.
* * * * *
[FROM THE LEADER.]
POETS IN PARLIAMENT.
The prominence which the "winged words" of Victor Hugo have recently
given him in the Assembly has called forth sarcastic insinuations and
bitter diatribes from all the Conservative journals. There seems to
be an intensity of exasperation, arising from the ancient prejudice
against poets. A poet treating of politics! Let him keep to
rhymes, and leave the serious business of life to us practical men,
sober-minded men--men not led away by our imaginations--men not moved
to absurdities by sentiment--solid, sensible, moderate men! Let him
play with capricious hand on the chords which are resonant to his
will; but let him not mistake his frivolous accomplishment for the
power to play upon the world's great harp, drawing from its grander
chords the large responses of more solemn themes. Let him "strike
the light guitar" as long as women will listen, or fools applaud. But
politics is another sphere; into that he can only pass to make himself
Thus reason the profound. Thus saith the good practical man, who,
because his mind is a congeries of commonplaces, piques himself on
not being led away by his imagination. The owl prides himself on the
incontestable fact that he is not an eagle.
To us the matter has another aspect. The appearance of Poets and men
of Sentiment in the world of Politics is a good symptom; for at a
time like the present, when positive doctrine can scarcely be said to
exist in embryo, and assuredly not in any maturity, the presence of
Imagination and Sentiment--prophets who endow the present with some
of the riches borrowed from the future--is needed to give grandeur
and generosity to political action, and to prevent men from entirely
sinking into the slough of egotism and routine. Salt is not meat,
but we need the salt to preserve meat from corruption. Lamartine and
Victor Hugo may not be profound statesmen; but they have at least
this one indispensable quality of statesmanship; they look beyond the
hour, and beyond the circle, they care more for the nation than for
"measures;" they have high aspirations and wide sympathies. Lamartine
in power committed many errors, but he also did great things, moved
thereto by his "Imagination." He abolished capital punishment; and he
freed the slaves; had the whole Provisional Government been formed of
such men it would have been well for it and for France.
We are as distinctly aware of the unfitness of a poet for politics, as
any of those can be who rail at Hugo and Lamartine. Images, we know,
are not convictions; aspirations will not do the work; grand speeches
will not solve the problems. The poet is a "phrasemaker"; true; but
show us the man in these days who is more than a phrasemaker! Where is
he who has positive ideas beyond the small circle of his speciality?
In rejecting the guidance of the Poet to whom shall we apply? To
the Priest? He mumbles the litany of an ancient time which falls on
unbelieving ears. To the Lawyer? He is a metaphysician with precedents
for data. To the Litterateur? He is a phrasemaker by profession. To
the Politician? He cannot rise above the conception of a "bill." One
and all are copious in phrases, empty of positive ideas as drums.
The initial laws of social science are still to be discovered and
accepted, yet we sneer at phrasemakers! Carlyle, who never sweeps out
of the circle of sentiment--whose eloquence is always indignation--who
thinks with his heart, has no words too scornful for phrasemakers and
poets; forgetting that he, and we, and they, are _all_ little more
than phrasemakers waiting for a doctrine!
There is something in the air of late which has called forth the poets
and made them politicians. Formerly they were content to leave these
troubled waters undisturbed, but finding that others now are as
ignorant as themselves, they have come forth to give at least the
benefit of their sentiment to the party they espouse. In no department
can phrasemaking prosper where positive ideas have once been attained.
Metaphors are powerless in astronomy; epithets are useless as
alembics; images, be they never so beautiful, will fail to convince
the physiologist. Language may adorn, it cannot create science. But as
soon as we pass from the sciences to social science, (or politics,) we
find that here the absence of positive ideas gives the phrasemaker the
same power of convincing, as in the early days of physical science was
possessed by metaphysicians and poets. Here the phrasemaker is king;
as the one-eyed is king in the empire of the blind. Phrasemaker for
phrasemaker, we prefer the poet to the politician; Victor Hugo to Leon
Faucher; Lamartine to Odilon Barrot; Lamennais to Baroche.
Kossuth, Mazzini, Lamartine, the three heroes of 1848, were all,
though with enormous differences in their relative values and
positions, men belonging to the race of poets--men in whom the
_heart_ thought--men who were moved by great impulses and lofty
aspirations--men who were "carried away by their imagination"--men who
were "dreamers," but whose dreams were of the stuff of which our life
* * * * *
The fine immortal spirit of inspiration that is ever living in human
affairs, is unseen and incredible till its power becomes apparent
through the long past; as the invisible but indelible blue of the
atmosphere is not seen except we look through extended space.
* * * * *
The distinction between the sensual, frivolous many, and the few
spiritual and earnest, may be stated thus--the first vaguely guess the
others to be fools, _they_ know that the former are fools.
* * * * *
[FROM THE NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.]
FRANK HAMILTON; OR, THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ONLY SON.
BY W.H. MAXWELL, ESQ.
* * * * *
"_Malvolio._ 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune."
"_Bassanio_. 'Tis not unknown to you, Antonio,
How much I have disabled my state.
By something showing a more swelling port
Than my faint means would grant continuance."
_Merchant of Venice_.
I am by birth an Irishman, and descended from an ancient family. I lay
no claim to any connection with Brian Boru, or Malichi, of the crown
of gold, a gentleman who, notwithstanding the poetical authority
of Tom Moore, we have some reason to believe during his long and
illustrious reign was never master of a crown sterling. My ancestor
was Colonel Hamilton, as stout a Cromwellian as ever led a squadron
of Noll's Ironsides to a charge. If my education was not of the
first order, it was for no lack of instructors. My father, a half-pay
dragoon, had me on the pig-skin before my legs were long enough to
reach the saddle-skirt; the keeper, in proper time, taught me to
shoot: a retired gentleman, _olim_, of the Welsh fusileers, with a
single leg and sixty pounds per annum, paid quarterly by Greenwood
and Cox, indoctrinated me in the mystery of tying a fly, and casting
the same correctly. The curate--the least successful of the lot,
poor man--did his best to communicate Greek and Latin, and my cousin
Constance gave me my first lessons in the art of love. All were able
professors in their way, but cousin Constance was infinitely the most
I am by accident an only son. My mother, in two years after she had
sworn obedience at the altar, presented her liege lord with a couple
of pledges of connubial love, and the gender of both was masculine.
Twelve years elapsed and no addition was made to the Hamiltons; when
lo! upon a fine spring morning a little Benjamin was ushered into
existence, and I was the God-send. My father never could be persuaded
that there was a gentlemanly profession in the world but one, and
that was the trade of arms. My brothers, as they grew up, entirely
coincided with him in opinion, and both would be soldiers. William
died sword in hand, crowning the great breach at Rodrigo; and Henry,
after demolishing three or four cuirassiers of the Imperial Guards,
found his last resting-place on "red Waterloo." When they were named,
my father's eyes would kindle, and my mother's be suffused with tears.
He played a fictitious part, enacted the Roman, and would persuade you
that he exulted in their deaths; but my mother played the true one,
It was an autumnal evening, just when you smell the first indication
of winter in a rarefied atmosphere, and see it in the clear curling
of the smoke, as its woolly flakes rise from the cottage chimney and
gradually are lost in the clear blue sky. Although not a cold evening,
a log fire was extremely welcome. My father, Heaven rest him! had a
slight touch in the toe of what finished him afterward in the stomach,
"James," said my lady mother, "it is time we came to some decision
regarding what we have been talking of for the last twelve months.
Frank will be eighteen next Wednesday."
"Faith! it is time, my dear Mary; the premises are true, but the
difficulty is to come at the conclusion."
"You know, my love, that only for your pension and half-pay, from the
tremendous depreciation in agricultural property since the peace, we
should be obliged to lay down the old carriage, as you had to part
with the harriers the year after Waterloo."
That to my father was a heavy hit. "It was a devil of a sacrifice,
Mary,"--and he sighed, "to give up the sweetest pack that ever man
rode to; one, that for a mile's run you could have covered with
a blanket--heigh-ho! God's will be done;" and after that pious
adjuration, my father turned down his tumbler No. 3, to the bottom.
The memory of the lost harriers was always a painful recollection, and
brought its silent evidence that the fortunes of the Hamiltons were
not what they were a hundred years ago.
"With all my care," continued my mother, "and, as you know, I
economize to the best of my judgement, and after all is done that can
be done, our income barely will defray the outlay of our household."
"Or, as we used to say when I was dragooning thirty years ago, 'the
tongue will scarcely meet the buckle,'" responded the colonel.
"I have been thinking," said my mother timidly, "that Frank might go
to the bar."
"I would rather that he went direct to the devil," roared the
commander, who hated lawyers, and whose great toe had at the moment
undergone a disagreeable visitation.
"Do not lose temper, dear James," and she laid down her knitting to
replace the hassock he had kicked away under the painful irritation
of a disease that a stoic could not stand with patience, and, as they
would say in Ireland, would fully justify a Quaker if "he kicked his
"Curse the bar!" but he acknowledged his lady wife's kind offices by
tapping her gently on the cheek. "When I was a boy, Mary, a lawyer and
a gentleman were identified. Like the army--and, thank God! that is
still intact, none but a man of decent pretensions claimed a gown, no
more than a linen-draper's apprentice now would aspire to an epaulet.
Is there a low fellow who has saved a few hundreds by retailing whisky
by the noggin, who will not have his son 'Mister Counsellor O'Whack,'
or 'Mister Barrister O'Finnigan'? No, no, if you must have Frank bred
to a local profession, make him an apothecary; a twenty pound note
will find drawers, drugs, and bottles. Occasionally he may be useful;
pound honestly at his mortar, salve a broken head, carry the country
news about, and lie down at night with a tolerably quiet conscience.
He may have hastened a patient to his account by a trifling over-dose;
but he has not hurried men into villainous litigation, that will
eventuate in their ruin. His worst offense against the community
shall be a mistaking of toothache for tic-douloureux, and lumbago for
gout--oh, d----n the gout!"--for at that portion of his speech the
poor colonel had sustained an awful twinge.
"Well," continued the dame, "would you feel inclined to let him enter
the University, and take orders?"
"Become a churchman?" and away, with a furious kick, again went the
hassock. "You should say, in simple English, make him a curate for the
term of natural life. The church in Ireland, Mary, is like the bar, it
once was tenanted by gentlemen who had birth, worth, piety, learning,
or all united to recommend him to promotion. Now it is an arena where
impure influence tilts against unblushing hypocrisy. The race is
between some shuffling old lawyer, or a canting saint. One has reached
the woolsack by political thimble-rigging, which means starting
patriot, and turning, when the price is offered, a ministerial hack.
He forks a drunken dean, his son, into a Father-in-Godship with all
the trifling temporalities attendant on the same. Well, the other
fellow is a 'regular go-a-head,' denounces popery, calculates the
millennium, alarms thereby elderly women of both sexes, edifies old
maids, who retire to their closets in the evening with the Bible in
one hand, and a brandy-bottle in the other; and what he likes best,
spiritualizes with the younger ones."
"Stop, dear James." The emphasis on the word _spiritualize_ had
alarmed my mother, who, to tell the truth, had a slight touch of the
prevailing malady, and, but for the counteracting influence of the
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