The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, No.
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 20, NO. 580.] SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE ANNUALS FOR 1833.
[Illustration: ST. GOAR, (_on the Rhine._)]
THE PICTURESQUE ANNUAL.
This is certainly one of the most splendid works of the kind ever
produced in this or any other country. This is high but not unmerited
praise; as the reader will believe when we tell him, that it contains
twenty-six large plates, from drawings by Stanfield, engraved by
first-rate artists, and superintended by Mr. Charles Heath. They are
all, strictly speaking, PICTURESQUE scenes, chosen with great skill,
and with right understanding of the Picturesque. The literary portion
consists of Travelling Sketches on the Rhine, and in Belgium, and in
Holland, by Mr. Leitch Ritchie. The plates are, of course, intended as
illustrations to the letter-press; but it is too evident, that the
latter has been _written_ to the plates. However, that matters not,
for the twenty-six engravings are amply worth twenty-one shillings, the
cost of the volume. The author's share is lively and jaunty, and of the
most here-and-there description. We only intend to quote the portion
accompanying the Engraving on the annexed page.
ST. GOAR, (_on the Rhine_).
"We now arrived at St. Goar, and the ruins of the castle of Rheinfels:
but here the pen gives willing place to the pencil. In the view, the
town and river are seen through an arch, in such a way as to convey
a complete idea of what we call the Lakes of the Rhine. In entering
St. Goar by the gate of the Rhine, a stranger of these every-day times
thinks of nothing but being bothered about his passport. It was once
very different. A traveller of any consideration, who visited the town
for the first time, was asked by the functionary, 'Sir, My Lord, or Sir
Knight'--as it happened--'with what do you please to be baptized, wine
or water?'--'With wine,' of course was the answer, if the respondent
happened to be a man of any kind of good sense or virtuous habits; and,
after being commanded to prepare himself for the ceremony, by giving
alms to the poor, he was straightway led by his sponsors to the Fleur
de Lys. In this ancient hostelrie, the neophyte was seated amidst the
assembled brethren, a brazen crown placed on his head, and the rules of
the Order of the Collar read to him. A huge goblet of silver was then
presented to him, filled to the lip with wine, and this he was commanded
to drain to the health of the Emperor; a second was emptied to the
honour of the Landgrave of Hesse; and a third gurgled salutation to the
company. The same ceremony was gone through by the sponsors; and the
name of the baptized being duly entered in the register of the Order,
a second collection was made for the poor, and he was permitted to
continue his way into the town. If, instead of wine, the misguided
individual desired baptism with water, he was justly punished for the
immorality, by a bucket of the insipid element being tumbled over his
head. This Order, it is said, had its origin in the reconciliation at
St. Goar of the two sons of Charlemagne; which was doubtless accompanied
by much out-pouring of wine, and in memory whereof they hung up at the
gates a brazen collar."
This is the second volume of the _Picturesque Annual._ The Public
are stated, in its preface, to have contributed from ten to twelve
thousand guineas to the support of last year's volume; and we are
inclined to think, that, in his next, the Editor will have the
gratification of reporting still more munificent patronage: for,
if guineas be somewhat less abundant than twelve months since, the
disposition to foster British art, and a liberal appreciation of its
merits, has been and is on the increase; and, though the proverb be
somewhat musty, "Where there is a will," &c.
 Copied by permission of the Proprietor.
* * * * *
THE BOOK OF BEAUTY.
[This is a title of no small pretension. It is in certain respects ill
chosen, though it may, in some degree, denote the exquisite triumphs
which art has here accomplished. The Illustrations consist of eighteen
portraits of every order of beauty, of variety enough to realize Sir
Philip Sidney's aphorism, that "whatsoever is liked, to the liker is
beautiful." But here all must be liked; therefore all are beautiful. The
very names would make out a sort of court-roll of Venus, and the book
itself the enchanting effect of the goddess' embroidered girdle, which
had the gift of inspiring love. This charm will doubtless ensure the
volume hundreds of possessors. The names of a few of the galaxy will
give the reader a faint idea of their charms, unless the reader accord
with Juliet's somewhat peevish "What's in a name." Thus, we find Julia,
the queen of sentimentality; Belinda, gay and sparkling; Madeline, the
early prey of despair; Lolah, languishing amid Eastern magnificence;
the Orphan, pencilled in the very simplicity of nature, and finely
contrasted with the coquetry of art; Theresa, the very type of romance;
Geraldine, Meditation, the Bride, and Lucy Ashton. But we must not omit
the heroine of our extract--with tall, etherial form, raven ringlets,
and pearly eyes--such charms as would attune the wise man to another
Song of Beauty.
The letter-press of the volume is too in the type of beauty--from the
chastely-elegant pen of Miss Landon. It consists of tales and sketches,
lights and shadows, such as none but her accomplished pen could tell or
harmonize. Here is probably the best illustration--]
THE ENCHANTRESS. (_By herself._)
You see in me, "the only living descendant of those Eastern Magi to whom
the stars revealed their mysteries, and spirits gave their power. Age
after age did sages add to that knowledge which, by bequeathing to their
posterity, they trusted would in time combat to conquer their mortality.
But the glorious race perished from the earth, till only my father was
left, and I his orphan child. Marvels and knowledge paid his life of
fasting and study. All the spirits of the elements bowed down before
him; but the future was still hidden from his eyes, and death was
omnipotent. His power of working evil had no bounds, but his power of
good was limited; and yet it was good that he desired. How dared he put
in motion those mighty changes, which seemed to promise such happiness
on earth, while he was ignorant of what their results might be? and of
what avail was the joy he might pour out on life, over whose next hour
the grave might close, and only make the parting breath more bitter
from the blessings which it was leaving behind?"
I was no unworthy daughter of such a sire; I advanced in these divine
studies even to his wish, and looked to the future with a hope which
many years had deadened in himself, but from which I caught an omen of
ultimate success. Alas! he mastered not his destiny: I have said before,
his ashes are in yonder urn. A few unwholesome dews on a summer night
were mightier than all his science. For a time I struggled not with
despair; but youth is buoyant, and habit is strong. Again I pored over
the mystic scroll--again I called on the spirits with spell and with
sign. Many a mystery was revealed, many a wonder grew familiar; but
still death remained at the end of all things, as before. One night
I was on the terrace of my tower. Above me was the deep, blue sky,
with its stars--worlds filled, perchance, with the intelligence which
I sought. On the desert below was the phantasm of a great city.
I looked on its small and miserable streets, where hunger and cold
reigned paramount, and man was as wretched as if flung but yesterday
on the earth, and there had been as yet no time for art to yield its
assistance, or labour to bring forth its fruit. I gazed next on scenes
of festivity, but they were not glad; for I looked from the wreath into
the head it encircled, and from the carcanet of gems to the heart which
beat beneath--and I saw envy, and hate, and repining, and remorse.
I turned my last glance on the palace within its walls; but there the
purple was spread as a pall, and the voice of sorrow and the cry of pain
were loud on the air. I bade the shadows roll away upon the winds, and
rose depressed and in sorrow. I was not alone: one of those glorious
spirits, whose sphere was far beyond the power of our science, whose
existence we rather surmised than knew; stood beside me.
From that hour a new existence opened before me. I loved, and I was
beloved--love, to which imagination gave poetry, and mind gave strength,
was the new element added to my being. Alas! how little do the miserable
race to which I belong know of such a feeling. They blend a moment's
vanity, a moment's gratification, into a temporary excitement, and they
call it love. Such are the many, and the many make the wretchedness of
earth. And yet your own heart, Leoni, and that of my gentle cousin, may
witness for my words, there are such things as truth, and tenderness,
and devotion in the world; and such redeem the darkness and degradation
of its lot. Nay, more, if ever the mystery of our destiny be unravelled,
and happiness be wrought out of wisdom, it will be the work of love.
It matters little to tell you of my blessedness; but my very heart was
filled with the light of those radiant eyes, which were to me what the
sun is to the world. Yet one dark shadow rested on my soul, beyond even
their influence. Death had been the awful conqueror with whom my race
had so often struggled, and to whom they had so often yielded. A mortal,
I loved an immortal, and the fear of separation was ever before me; yet
a long and happy time passed away before my fear found words.
It was one evening we were floating over the earth, and the crimson
cloud on which we lay was the one where the sun's last look had rested.
Its gleam fell on a small nook, while all around was fast melting
into shade. Still it was a sad spot which was thus brightened--it was
a new made grave. Over the others the long grass grew luxuriantly,
and speckled, too, by many small and fragrant flowers; but on this,
the dark-brown earth had been freshly turned up, and the red worm,
writhed restlessly about its disturbed habitation. Some roses had been
scattered, but they were withered; their sweet leaves were already damp
and discoloured. All wore the present and outward signs of our eternal
doom--to perish in corruption.
The shadows of the evening fell, deepening the gloom into darkness--the
one last, bright ray had long been past, when a youth came from the
adjacent valley. That grave but yesterday received one who was to have
been his bride--his betrothed from childhood, for whose sake he had been
to far lands and gathered much wealth, but who had pined in his absence
and died. He flung himself on the loathsome place, and the night-wind
bore around the ravings of his despair. Wo for that selfishness which
belonged to my mortality! I felt at that moment more of terror than of
pity! I thought of myself: Thus must I, with all my power, my science,
and loved by one into whose sphere death comes not, even thus must
I perish! True, the rich spices, the perfumed woods, the fragrant oils,
which would feed the sacred fire of my funeral pyre, would save my
mortal remains from that corruption which makes the disgust of death
even worse than its dread. A few odoriferous ashes alone would be
left for my urn. Yet not the less must I share the common doom of my
race--I must die!
"Nay, my beautiful!" said the voice, which was to me as the fiat of
life and of death, so utterly did it fill my existence: "why should
we thus yield to a vague terror? Listen, my beloved! I know where the
waters of the fountains of life roll their eternal waves--I know I can
bear you thither and bid you drink from their source, and over lips so
hallowed death hath no longer dominion. But, alas! I know not what may
be the punishment. Like yourselves, the knowledge of our race goes on
increasing, and our experience, like your own, hath its agonies. None
have dared what I am about to dare, and the future of my deed is even
to me a secret. But what may not be borne for that draught which makes
my loved one as immortal as my love!"
I gazed on the glorious hope which lighted up his radiant brow, and
I said to him, "Give me an immortality which must be thine." Worlds
rolling on worlds lay beneath our feet when we stood beside the waters
of life. A joyful pride swelled in my heart. I, the last and the weakest
of my race, had won that prize which its heroes and its sages had found
too mighty for their grasp. A sound, as of a storm rushing over ocean,
startled me when I stooped to drink, the troubled waves rose into
tumultuous eddies, their fiery billows parted, and from amid them
appeared the dark and terrible Spirit of Necessity. The cloud of his
awful face grew deeper as it turned on me. "Child of a sinful and a
fallen kind!" said he, and he spoke the language most familiar to my
ear, which yet sounded like that of another world, "who have ever
measured by their own small wisdom that which is infinite--drink, and be
immortal! Be immortal, without the wisdom or the power belonging unto
I shrunk from the starry waters as they rose to my lip, but a power
stronger than my will compelled me to their taste. The draught ran
through my veins like ice. Slowly I turned to where my once-worshipped
lover was leaning. The same change had passed over both. Our eyes met,
and each looked into the other's heart, and there dwelt hate--bitter,
loathing, and eternal hate. I had changed my nature; I was no longer the
gentle, up-looking mortal he had loved. I had changed my nature; he was
no longer to me the one glorious and adored being. We gazed on each
other with fear and abhorrence. The dark power, whose awful brow was
fixed upon us like Fate, again was shrouded in the kindling waters. By
an impulse neither could control, the Spirit and I flung ourselves down
the steep, blue air, but apart and each muttering, "Never! never!" And
that word "never" told our destiny. Never could either feel again that
sweet deceit of happiness, which, if it be a lie, is worth all truth.
Never more could each heart be the world of the other.
Our feelings are as little in our power as the bodily structure they
animate. My love had been sudden, uncontrollable, and born not of my own
will--and such was my hate. As little could I master the sick shudder
his image now called up, as I could the passionate beating of the heart
it had once excited. I stood alone in my solitary hall--I gazed on the
eternal fire burning over the tomb of my father, and I wished it were
burning over mine. For the first time I felt the limitations of
humanity. The desire of my race was in me accomplished--I was immortal!
and what was this immortality? A dark and measureless future. Alas! we
had mistaken life for felicity! What was my knowledge? it only served to
show its own vanity; what was my power, when its exercise only served to
work out the decrees of an inexorable necessity? I had parted myself
from my kind, but I had not acquired the nature of a spirit. I had lost
of humanity but its illusions, and they alone are what render it
supportable. The mystic scrolls over which I had once pored with such
intenseness, were now flung aside; what could they teach me? Time was to
me but one great vacancy; how could I fill it up, who had neither labour
nor excitement? I set me down mournfully, and thought of the past. Why,
when love is perished, should its memory remain? I had said to myself,
so long as I have life, one deep feeling must absorb my existence.
A change--and that too of my own earnest seeking--had passed over my
being; and the past, which had been so precious, was now as a frightful
phantasm. The love which alters, in its inconstancy may set up a
new idol, and worship again with a pleasant blindness; but the love
which leaves the heart with a full knowledge of its own vanity and
nothingness,--which saith, The object of my passion still remains, but
it is worthless in my sight--never more can I renew my early feeling--I
marvel how I ever could have loved--I loathe, I disdain the weakness of
my former self;--ah, the end of such love is indeed despair!
"Do you mark yonder black marble slab, which is spread as over a tomb?
It covers the most silvery fountain that ever mirrored the golden light
of noon, or caught the fall of the evening dew, in an element bright
as themselves. The radiant likeness of a spirit rests on those waters.
I bade him give duration to the shadow he flung upon the wave, that
I might gaze on it during his absence. The first act of my immortality
was to shut it from my sight. There must that black marble rest for
[By the way, the ancients are excellent judges of beauty. Socrates calls
beauty (we dare not use the contemptible _it_,) a short-lived
tyranny: Xenophon says "Fire burns only when we are near it; but a
beautiful face burns and inflames, though at a distance: Plato calls
beauty a privilege of nature: Theophrastus (arch fellow,) a silent
cheat: Theocritus, (cunning elf,) a delightful prejudice; Carneades, a
solitary kingdom, (which he doubtless would keep to himself): Domitian
says that nothing is more grateful, (not even killing flies); Aristotle
affirms that beauty is better than all the letters of recommendation in
the world: Homer, that it is a glorious gift of nature; and Ovid calls
beauty a favour bestowed by the gods, which this same Ovid shows the
gods to have been jealous of among mortals." Certainly the moderns do
not wage war for a beautiful woman, as did the ancients: we fear they
would rather fight for an old castle.
To conclude, if, as Steele tells us, "to make happy is the true empire
of beauty;" why, buy the Book of Beauty, to be sure.]
* * * * *
THE COMIC OFFERING
[MISS SHERIDAN presents us with her third volume of ladye mirth,
as heretofore, over-flowing with fun and patter, and sprinkled with
some sixty or seventy Cuts--many of them, to use a critical term,
of "spirited design." Probably, the most humorous tale among the
THE FLYBEKINS, OR THE FIRE-ESCAPE.
The Flybekins were distant connexions of the great Lord B., living
"genteelly" in the west of England: and Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin were the
only adult members of the family at the period of the incident which
gave rise to this anecdote. It happened once that these "country
cousins" were possessed with an uncontrollable desire to enter within
the hitherto unapproached circle of London fashion and gaiety in which
their noble relatives moved with such distinction. Every thing was
propitious in furtherance of the meditated scheme: the spring was
approaching, London filling, the country emptying, and the children
could all go to school. A few weeks "in Town, just to see what was going
on," would be fully worth the journey, especially as it would afford an
opportunity for them to commence an acquaintance with their magnificent
relation. And as the boys were growing up, it might be serviceable to
their interests to tighten the bonds of connexion a little, which had,
from lapse of time, and want of intercourse, become somewhat loosened.
There is an old saying--"where there is a will, there is always a
way."--In a short time Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin, being bent on the measure,
argued themselves into a belief of the projected visit being nothing
short of an imperative moral duty.
When matters had gone thus far, a hint was dropped in the drawing-room,
which immediately reached the "domestic department," and very soon
spread through the village,--as the smallest stone falling into water
creates successive circles around the spot where it fell, each
increasing in circumference. Accordingly, the Flybekins were the centre
of attraction on the following Sunday, after morning service. Hearty
congratulations, and ardent wishes for a pleasant trip, with various
commissions, pressed upon them. The newest fashions were promised to be
brought down, and the village milliner looked forward to a glorious
triumph over all her rivals in the trade about the country. The happy
pair were on the pinnacle of provincial glory; _he_ was expected to
return with the true state of foreign affairs, and the nation, from the
intercourse he would enjoy with the peer; _she_ was expected to
import news of operas, plays, music, novels, writers, balls, routs,
drawing-rooms and dresses, from her intercourse with the peeress.
In all the pleasure to which they looked _forward_ there was but
one _draw-back_, viz. a most extraordinary dread of _London fires_
at night: and this originated in the frequent occurrence in their county
paper of paragraphs headed "_Another alarming conflagration: many
lives lost!_"--put in either to aid the Insurance office, or fill the
paper. As our rustic pair had never visited the metropolis, they did not
know but Leadenhall Street and Hyde Park, Lambeth and Portland Place,
might all be close neighbours; therefore, however distant the different
fires might be, they fancied they all occurred nearly in the same place;
and from the time Mr. and Mrs. Flybekins resolved to visit Town,
scarcely a night passed in which they did not start in terror from their
dreams, screaming "Fire, Fire!"
All was hurry and preparation at "the Lodge," until the anticipated
arrival of the "Barnstaple Sociable," one morning at the door, summoned
the ambitious pair, and on the _fourth day_ of their departure
from Devonshire, they were duly set down at the White Horse Cellar, for
road-making had not then received the magic touch of Macadam. The next
day was occupied in searching for, and entering, suitable lodgings; and
the following day, having hired a carriage, which their unpractised eyes
considered most elegant in style and equipment, they sallied forth,
armed with a card-case, and a long list of commissions, the practised
horses going at the full rate of six miles an hour.
A friendly and familiar visit over, to some Devonshire friends in
Devonshire Place, they essayed next to discharge the now almost dreaded
call of state; for that which, contemplated at a distance, imparted joy
and hope, when at hand possessed something of awe mingled with these
feelings. Arrived in Grosvenor-square, after sidling along the gutter
close by the foot pavement, the distance of two or three houses, and
with a little preliminary tug of the reins, the coachman drew up
opposite the door of No. ----. Two powdered lackeys in rich livery were
peering through the long narrow windows on each side of the door, and
anticipated the intention of the diminutive, bandy footman, of knocking,
(that is, if he could have reached the knocker.) To the question of
"Lord and Lady B. at home?" a negative answer was delivered; they were
gone to the country, but were expected back to dinner. A card was then
handed in, inscribed in the neatest, spider-pattern handwriting of Mrs.
Flybekin: and they drove off to pursue the agreeable pastime of shopping
and going through part of the list of commissions, vivenda and agenda,
with which they were provided.
As the Flybekins drove along the streets, the words "PATENT
FIRE-ESCAPES," in large letters, upon the front of a tall house,
attracted their attention, and roused all their latent fears of London
fires, with accounts of which the newspapers so frequently teemed.
A fire-escape would impart security to sleep, and might be taken
down into the country. Accordingly the check string was pulled, the
manufactory entered, the machines inspected, an economical one selected
by each: and in an hour after their arrival at home to dinner, the
fire-escapes were duly mounted in one of the front bed-room windows.
Their evening meal being finished at the barbarous hour of nine,
the Flybekins began to yawn over the events of the past day, and the
prospective engagements of the morrow. The excitements of the morning in
the crowded London streets, had completely tired the rustic couple, who
being susceptible of no farther excitement, sought repose at this early
hour, and were both soon wrapt in deep sleep. Leaving them to enjoy
their repose, we return to Grosvenor-square. The noble pair returned
to a family dinner, and on entering the house, read, with strained
eyeballs, the card deposited that morning by the Flybekins, and with
some such an expression of countenance as one may be supposed to assume
in discovering something in a drawer more than was anticipated. "Umph!"
said the peer, "the Flybekins in town! what could have brought them up
so far from the country?" "Something that will not detain them long, I
hope;" dryly answered Lady B. "Yet, we _must_ take some notice of
these country cousins," said the peer: "Let us invite them to a family
dinner." "Well, if we _must_,"--said the Countess shrugging her
shoulders--and with that the subject dropped for the time.
Now it is quite clear that however brilliant might have been the
prospects of the Flybekins, the peer and his lady wished them any where
but in London; and, rather than invite them to Grosvenor-square to
dinner, the former would have been glad to be let off with a writership
for one of the sons in India.
Their carriage was ordered at ten, to convey them to the Duchess of R.'s
party, and Lord B. proposed to make a friendly call upon their relations
before waiting on Her Grace. Accordingly thither they drove, accompanied
by two footmen bearing flaming flambeaux, the custom of the great in
those days, when the town was not so well lighted as in the present
age. The signs of this custom are indeed still to be seen in the
extinguishers attached to the railings in front of many houses, which
served for the footmen to extinguish their lights.
Meantime the Flybekins slept on, not dreaming of the honour intended
them, and were as sound asleep as Duncan in Macbeth's castle, when a
long thundering rap at the door startled them amid their slumbers. The
diminutive, bandy footman had gone home with the coachman and horses,
the landlady and her family had followed the example of the lodgers; and
before any one could rise to unbar and open the door, to ascertain the
cause of such an unusual alarm, a second louder and longer rap had been
made upon it, and which awoke the sleepers to an instinctive idea that
the house was on fire; a notion confirmed by the strong glare of red
light reflected against their windows, and illuminating the apartment,
as the footmen impatiently shook thousands of sparks from the flambeaux.
As Bonaparte observed upon another occasion, "From the sublime to the
ridiculous is but one step." So it was with the Flybekins. From the most
sublime repose they hurried into the ridiculous fire-escapes, in the
full conviction that the lower part of the house was on fire; and
without waiting to dress, or inquire into the real state of affairs,
they gave the signal-word "Now!" and both descended in all the freshness
of their fears to the pavement before the door!
The wondering lord and lady, and still more wondering footmen, glared
upon the apparition before them with the most inexplicable amazement,
totally at a loss to conceive the cause of such a novel reception. The
terrified pair were, like Othello, "perplexed in the extreme," when they
found themselves, instead of being in the confusion of a fire, deposited
beneath the windows of a magnificent carriage, attended by footmen with
white torches, and a full dressed lady and gentleman inquiring after
them, and the meaning of the extraordinary descent. A few minutes served
to explain the mal a propos mistake; the detected pair sought refuge
in the hall of the house, with some such feeling as our first parents
experienced when they had tasted the fatal apple in the garden of Eden.
The carriage rolled away with the tittering coachman and footmen, and
the ill-suppressed mirth of their master and mistress, who quickly
disseminated the story throughout the fashionable throng of the party
whither they were bent, and which remained for the rest of the season
a standing joke wherever Lord and Lady B. appeared.
Humbled and confused, the unhappy Flybekins could not retrieve the
blunder they had committed, and prudently resigned all their ambitious
schemes. So they returned to Devonshire with the unlucky fire-escapes,
sincerely regretting they had ever been tempted to purchase them.
But, although the disaster had got wind, and with various versions had
reached even into Devonshire, they were much consoled by the following
narration of it which appeared in the county paper, in a light most
favourable to their interests and reputation, although totally devoid
of truth in almost every particular.
The _flaming_ paragraph ran thus:--"We understand that Mr. and.
Mrs. Flybekin of ------ in this county, while upon a visit to their
noble relatives, Lord and Lady B. in London, narrowly escaped being
burnt to death. The devouring element almost destroyed the lower part
of the family mansion in Grosvenor-square, over which the lady and
gentleman slept, who had retired early to bed, and who by the accidental
return of Lord and Lady B. from a party, were awakened only just in time
to effect their retreat by means of a fire-escape, fortunately attached
to their bed-room window. We are informed that the fire occurred in
consequence of the footmen, appointed to sit up for their master and
mistress, having fallen asleep, leaving a lighted candle in the room.
Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin escaped, with the loss of all their clothes
but what they hurried on in the confusion, and were conveyed to a
neighbouring hotel by their noble relatives, where they received
succour for the night."
But unhappily for the Flybekins, the naked truth at length forced its
way into Devonshire, and the true statement of the matter was circulated
as above related, and now handed down to their posterity.
Thus, the best version of their story only placed them, "out of the fire
into the frying pan," and the unlucky fire-escapes merely saved them
from the fear of being _badly burnt_, in order that they might all
the rest of their lives be _well roasted_!
There is considerable humour and ingenuity
in the following lines, introducing the
names of London booksellers, and their nominal
fitness for publishing certain books:--
* * * * *
"WHAT'S IN A NAME?"
Long hail! to _Longman_, and his longer Co.,
Pride of our city's Pater Noster Row;
Thy trade forego in novel trash romantic,
And treat the world to something more _gigantic_.
Let _Underwood_ all essays sell on _trees_,
On _shrubs_, or growth of _brushwood_ if he please;
All works on _brewing_ leave to Mr. _Porter_,--
To _Boosey--temperance_, for his firm supporter.
Leave to friend _Bull_ all works on _horned cattle_,
While _Reid_ will teach the youthful mind to _prattle_;
Give _Bohn--anatomy_; give _Mason sculpture_;
_Gardiner's engrafted_ upon _horticulture_.
For valuation-tables on the price of laud,
Why should we seek, since _Byfield_ is at hand;
For works on draining either bog or fen,
In _Marsh_ and _Moore_ we have a choice of men.
Give _Sherwood_ tales of merry men, who stood--
Firm to their robbing--around _Robin Hood_.
_Ogle_ takes _optics,--Miller_, works on _grain_,--
_Ridgway_, on _railroads,--Surgery_ with _Payne_.
Hail! Pic-a-dilly _Hatchard_, thy vocation
Should be prolific, for 'tis _incubation_;
Thy pious care brought _Egley_ into _note_,
And still on _Gosling_ some folks say you dote.
But to my plan.--To make the dull ones plod well,
Books for the use of _schools_, give Mr. _Rodwell_;
And works on _painting_ should you ever lack,
You need but brush to either _Grey_ or _Black_.
From _Cowie_ works on _vaccination_ fetch,
_Pedestrian tours_ from _Walker_, or from _Stretch_;
And if in search of _wonders_ you should range,
Where can you seek them better than from _Strange_.
The suff'ring climbing boys our pity claim,
To aid their interest--_Suttaby_, I'd name;
And as they're oft of _churchyard-terrors_ slaves,
Print works to cure them, O! _Moon, Boys,_ and _Graves_.
For plans of bridges _Arch_ would be the best;
For stairs and steps on _Banister_ I'd rest;
All that relates to church or chapel holy,
I vote that such be _Elder's_ business solely.
_Sustenance_ on _diet_ surely ought to treat;
_Joy_ gives us _human happiness_ complete:
_Tilt_ will all works on _tournament_ enhance,
The _law_--Oh! that of course I leave to _Chance_,
_Priestly_ and _Chappell_ may divide _theology_,
_Hookham_ and _Roach_ the angling and _ichthyology_;
And for _Phrenology_, what need of rumpus,
One for his _Nob_ will do--so take it, _Bumpus_!
* * * * *
BY MISS MITFORD.
Fair Janet sits beside her wheel;
No maiden better knew
To pile upon the circling reel
An even thread and true;
But since for Rob she 'gan to pine,
She twists her flax in vain;
'Tis now too coarse,--and now too fine,--
And now--'tis snapt in twain!
Robin, a bachelor profest,
At love and lovers laughs,
And o'er the bowl with reckless jest,
His pretty spinster quaffs;
Then, whilst all sobbing, Janet cries
"She scorns the scornful swain!"
With angry haste her wheel she plies,
And--snaps the thread again!
[The Publishers have obligingly enabled us to present the reader with
three of the _smartest_ Cuts. The fun of these Cuts requires neither
note nor comment.
Altogether, we may recommend the _Offering_ as a really comic
[Illustration: (Dandy Lion.)]
[Illustration: (Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties.)]
[Illustration: _Bob in_ for Eels.]
[Is decidedly an improvement upon former years, and, taken altogether,
plates, prose, and poetry, is the best book of the present season.
The Editor, Mr. Hall, has judiciously maintained the original feature
of his plan--that of "considering attractive tales and beautiful poems,
however, essential to the interest and variety of the volume, as
secondary to that which conveyed information and led to improvement." He
then proceeds to enumerate a few of the papers to which he particularly
refers, which have appeared in former volumes of the _Amulet_; as
Dr. Walsh's Essay on Coins and Medals, illustrating the progress of
Christianity: accounts of the American Christians at Constantinople, and
of the Chaldean Christians, and a visit to Nicaea, by the same author:
the Rev. Robert Hall's Essay on Poetry and Philosophy: Mr. Coleridge's
Travels in Germany: An Essay on French Oaths, by Miss Edgeworth: the
Rev. W.S. Gilly's Narrative of the Albigenses: Mr. Ellis's Account of
the Austral Islands: Dr. Walsh's Account of the Aborigines of Canada;
and Mr. Macfarlane's Visit to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor.
These papers are entitled to special mention, and we think the Editor
justified in his estimate of them. In the volume for the present year
we have two contributions of this class; an Essay on Sneezing, a learned
paper, by Dr. Walsh; and the following]
* * * * *
HISTORY OF THE HOLY CROSS.
_By Lord Mahon._
The supposed discovery of a religious relic, and the miracles attending
it, are events so common in Roman Catholic legends as to deserve but
little attention, even on the ground of curiosity; but the real changes
and vicissitudes of one of these relics, for twelve centuries after its
discovery, may perhaps excite some interest, more especially as its
singular adventures, very distant in time, and recorded by different
writers, have never yet been brought together, and formed into one
In the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, his mother Helena,
when almost an octogenarian, undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Her pious zeal was particularly directed to the search of the holy
sepulchre, and of the cross on which Jesus Christ had suffered; and,
according to her own judgment: at least, she was successful in both.
A vision, or perhaps a dream, disclosed the place of the Holy Sepulchre;
the three crosses were found buried near it, and that of the Saviour is
said to have been distinguished from the others by its healing powers
on the sick, and even restoring a corpse to life. This discovery caused
great and general rejoicing throughout Christendom. The spot was
immediately consecrated by a church, called the New Jerusalem, and of
such magnificence that the celebrated Eusebius is strongly inclined
to look upon its building as the fulfilment of the prophecies in the
Scriptures for a city of that name. A verse of the sibyl was also
remembered or composed, which, like all predictions after the event,
tallied in a surprising manner with the holy object so happily revealed.
The greater share of the Cross was left at Jerusalem, set in a case of
silver, and the remainder was sent to Constantine, who, in hopes of
securing the prosperity and duration of his empire, enclosed it within
his own statue on the Byzantine Forum. The pilgrims also, who thronged
to Jerusalem during a long course of years, were always eager, and often
successful, in obtaining a small fragment of the cross for themselves;
so that at length, according to the strong expression of St. Cyril, the
whole earth was filled with this sacred wood. Even at present, there
is scarcely a Roman Catholic cathedral which does not display some
pretended pieces of this relic; and it has been computed, with some
exaggeration, that were they all collected together, they might prove
sufficient for building a ship of the line. To account for this
extraordinary diffusion of so limited a quantity, the Catholic writers
have been obliged to assert its preternatural growth and vegetation,
which the saint already quoted ingeniously compares to the miracle of
the loaves and fishes. That the guardians of this cross at Jerusalem
should have had recourse to such evident and undoubted falsehood,
should, I think, very much increase our doubts whether the Cross itself
was genuine, and whether the old age and credulity of Helena, may not
have been grossly imposed upon. Where we see one fraud, we may justly
suspect another. From this period, however, the history of this
fragment of wood may be clearly and accurately traced during the
twelve succeeding centuries.
In spite of its frequent partitions, the Holy Cross, say the monkish
writers, thus remained undiminished at Jerusalem, receiving the homage
of innumerable pilgrims, until the year 614, when that city was besieged
and taken by the Persians. Their barbarous fanaticism reduced to ruins
or burnt to the ground nearly all the sacred buildings, and made a
great slaughter of the Christians, in which they are said to have been
actively assisted by the resident Jews. The bishop and the relic
in question were removed into Persia, and continued in that country
fourteen years, until the victories of the Emperor Heraclius led to
an honourable peace, in which the restoration of this most precious
treasure was expressly stipulated. During its captivity it had happily
escaped the pollution of infidel hands; the case which contained it was
brought back, unopened, to Jerusalem, and Heraclius himself undertook a
journey in order to replace it in its former station on Mount Calvary.
The prelude to this religious ceremony was a general massacre of the
Jews, which the emperor had long withstood, but at length granted to the
earnest and renewed entreaties of the monks of Alsik. The fact itself,
and all its details, are so disgraceful to the parties concerned, that
I would gladly reject it as false or overcharged, did it not rest on
the authority of a patriarch of Alexandria. Heraclius then, attended
by a solemn procession, but laying aside his diadem and purple, bore
the Cross on his own shoulders towards the holy sepulchre. An officer
was appointed to its peculiar care, with the title of STAUROPHULAX;
and the anniversary of this event, the 14th September, is still
celebrated in the Greek Church as a festival, under the name of the
Exaltation of the Cross.
The relic did not long continue in the place to which the valour
and piety of Heraclius had restored it, but was doomed to undergo
still further vicissitudes of fortune. Only eight years afterwards
(A.D. 636,) an army of Arabs, the new and fervent proselytes of Mahomet,
invaded Palestine. At the battle of Yermuck, the imperial forces were
totally routed, and Heraclius, downcast and dismayed, returned to
Constantinople, bearing with him, as a source of consolation, the
invaluable fragment, whose alleged miraculous powers were never exerted
for its own protection. It is rarely that, when a sovereign despairs
of success, his subjects have the courage (it would, perhaps, be termed
the disloyal presumption) to prolong their resistance; but the
inhabitants of Jerusalem were animated by religious zeal and local
associations, and did not, till after a doubtful siege of several
months, yield the holy city to the Saracens. The event soon justified
the prudent foresight of Heraclius in removing the Cross from the danger
of Mahometan masters. The Caliph of Omar experienced some difficulties
in the construction of a mosque at Jerusalem: he immediately supposed
those difficulties to be supernatural, and, by the advice of the Jews,
destroyed a great number of the neighbouring crosses; so that it seems
certain that the wood of the real crucifixion could still less have
escaped the effects of his ignorant fanaticism. At Constantinople,
on the contrary, it was preserved with the utmost veneration in the
metropolitan church of St. Sophia, and the honours paid to it are
attested and described by the father of English historians. Never,
but on the three most solemn festivals of the year, was its costly case
unclosed. On the first day, it received the adoration of the emperor and
principal officers of state; on the next, the empress and chief ladies
repeated the same ceremony; and the bishops and clergy were admitted on
the third. While exposed to view on the altar, a grateful odour pervaded
the whole church, and a fluid resembling oil distilled from the knots in
the wood, of which the least drop was thought sufficient to cure the
most inveterate disease. This precious fluid is also mentioned by Pope
Gregory, the Great, in one of his letters to Leontius. "I have received
your present," writes the Pope, "some oil of the Holy Cross and some
wood of aloes, of which the one confers blessing by its very touch,
and the other, when burnt, diffuses a pleasant perfume."
In a period of several centuries, during which this relic remained at
Constantinople we find it occasionally mentioned in the annals of the
time. It was on the Holy Cross that Heracleonas swore to cherish and
defend his nephew; it was to the same fragment that the son of
Justinian the Second clung for protection, in the revolution which
hurled his father from the throne; and we might entertain more
respect for the superstition of the Greeks, if the supposed sanctity of
this relic had produced either the observance of the oath, or the safety
of the suppliant. At length, in the year 1078, the object of this
narrative recommenced its travels. A wealthy citizen of Amalfi, whose
name is not recorded, had long felt a wish to exchange active life for
the cloister, and had selected the monastery of Casinum as the place of
his future retirement. Being present in the Eastern capital during the
tumultuous deposition of Michael the Seventh, he perceived in the
general confusion a favourable opportunity for appropriating this
precious fragment to himself. His zeal did not forget at the same time
to secure the golden case, richly embossed with jewels, which contained
it, and both were laid as a welcome offering before the shrine of St.
Benedict, at Casinum. The good fathers must have felt no little pride
when strangers beheld, in their secluded and obscure retreat, a relic
which a long succession of the most illustrious princes had gloried
The next place to which we can trace the Cross is Palestine, during the
crusades, to which it had doubtless been conveyed for the purpose of
restoring it to its more ancient and appropriate station, at Jerusalem.
In, that country it was exposed to frequent hazards, as the crusaders
appear to have been in the habit of bearing it in the van of their
armies, when marching against the Mussulmans, hoping by its presence
amongst them to secure the victory. One of their battles against the
forces of Saladin by no means fulfilled their expectations, and in the
course of it the sacred relic itself was unfortunately severed; one half
of it being captured by the enemy, and most probably destroyed.
This untoward accident, however, by no means impaired their veneration
for the remaining fragment; and, at the commencement of the thirteenth
century, it is again recorded as taking the field with the King of
Hungary and the Duke of Austria. From these it passed into the hands
of their brother crusaders, the Latin sovereigns of Constantinople; and
thus, by a singular train of circumstances, a change of dynasty restored
this precious relic to the people which had so long enjoyed its
possession. It does not, however, appear to have received the full
measure of its ancient veneration, and a new Crown of Thorns, alleged
to be that of the passion, held at this period a far higher rank with
In the year 1238, the pressure of poverty and impending ruin compelled
the Emperor Baldwin the Second, to sell what the piety of St. Louis,
King of France, induced him as eagerly to purchase. A very
considerable sum was given in exchange for the holy wood and on its
arrival in Paris, it was deposited by King Louis in a chapel which he
built on this occasion. There, the Cross remained for above three
hundred years, until at length, on the 20th of May, 1575, it disappeared
from its station. The most anxious researches failed in tracing the
robber, or recovering the spoil, and the report which accused King Henry
the Third of having secretly sold it to the Venetians may be considered
as a proof of the popular animosity rather than of royal avarice.
To appease in some degree the loud and angry murmurs of his subjects,
Henry, the next year, on Easter day, announced that a new Cross had been
prepared for their consolation, of the same shape, size, and appearance
as the stolen relic, and asserted, most probably with perfect truth,
that in Divine powers, or claim to religious worship, it was but little
inferior to its model. "The people of Paris," says Estoile, an
eye-witness of this transaction, "being very devout, and easy of faith
on such subjects" (he is speaking of the sixteenth century,) "gratefully
hailed the restoration of some tangible and immediate object for their
prayers." Of the original fragment I can discern no further authentic
trace; and here, then, it seems to have ended its long and adventurous
Before I conclude, I ought, perhaps, to make some mention of the
pretended nails of the passion, which were obtained by Constantine the
Great at the same time with the cross. He melted a part of them into a
helmet for himself; and the other part was converted into a bridle for
his horse, in supposed obedience to a prophetic text of Zechariah:
"In that day shall there be upon the bells (bridles) of the horses,
holiness unto the Lord." Yet, though the helmet alone might appear
to have required all the nails which could possibly be employed in a
crucifixion, it is not unusual in southern Europe to meet with fragments
of old iron, for which the same sacred origin is claimed. Thus, for
instance, at Catania, in Sicily, I have seen one of these nails, which
is believed to possess miraculous powers, and exhibited only once a year
with great solemnity. There is another in a private oratory of the
Escurial; and I was surprised in observing in the same case a relic of
Sir Thomas a Becket. All the nails, from the time of Constantine, are
rejected as spurious by Cardinal Baronius; yet a former Pope had
expressed his belief in their authenticity; and the ingenious idea
of miraculous vegetation might have been easily applied to them. But
to trace the other parts of this real or fabulous history, and more
especially their insertion in the Iron crown of Lombardy, would require,
though scarcely deserve, a separate essay.
 Read before the Royal Society of Literature, but since altered
by the author.
 For the discovery of the cross, compare Theodoret, lib. i. c.
18; Socrates, lib. i. c. 17; and Sozomen, lib. ii. c. 1, &c.
 De Vita Constant, lib. iii. c. 33.
 St. Cyril ap. Baronium, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 326, No. 50. One
whole epistle of St. Paulinis of Nola (the eleventh) is also
devoted to this subject.
 The participation of the Jews is positively asserted by
Eutychius (Annal. vol. ii. p. 212,) but doubted by Theophanes
(Chronograph, p. 252:) [Greek: os phasi tines], are his words.
 Eutychius, Annal, vol. ii. p. 242-247.
 Ducange, Gloss. Med. Graec., p. 1437.
 Theophanes, Chronograph. p. 280.
 Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 643. No. 1-4.
 Bede, Op. vol. iii. p. 370. Ed. Colon. Agripp. 1688.
 Epist, lib. 7. indict, i. ep. 34.
 Nicephor. Constantinopolit. p. 20.
 Theophanes, Chronograph. p. 318.
 Chronicon Casinense, lib. iii. c. 55.
 There is some account of its recovery by a Genoese, but it is
clouded with miracles. He walked over the sea, as over dry
land, &c. See Muraturi, Dissert. 58. vol. v. p. 10, ed. 1741.
 See Raynaldus, Aunual. Eccles. A.D. 1217, No. 39, and Pagi,
Critic. A.D. 1187, No. 4.
 See Dupleix, Historic de France, vol. ii. p. 257. ed. 1634.
The original authority is Nangis (Annales de St. Louis, p. 174.
ed. 1761.) Rigord, who speaks of the sale of this relic to
Philip Augustus, appears to be guilty of a fable or anachronism,
in which he was follow by Raynaldus, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 1205,
 See L'Estoile, Journal de Henri III., vol. i. p. 125, 161,
 Zech. ch. xiv. ver. 20.
 Annal. Eccles. A.D. 326. No. 54.
 See a Letter from Innocent VI. ap. Raynald Annal. Eccles. A.D.
1354. No. 18.
* * * * *
[To this class likewise belongs a Pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, from
the accomplished pen of Contarini Fleming. The lighter papers are tinged
with a high moral feeling; and we do not think that better evidence will
be found than in the following of Mrs. Hall's contributions.]
THE TRIALS OF GRACE HUNTLEY.
[This tale occupies nearly fifty pages. It so teems with moral pathos
and touching beauty, that we are at a loss to abridge it throughout so
as to preserve that acquaintance with the finest feelings of our nature,
which marks every page with sterling value. We, therefore, only adopt
the conclusion, and attempt a leading thread of the story. Grace is
the daughter of a village schoolmaster. She loves "not wisely, but too
well," "Joseph Huntley, the handsomest youth in the retired village of
Craythorpe." The father consents to their union. The real character of
the husband appears early; his fond love soon dwindles to painful
neglect: how truly does the writer observe, "the rapidity with which
love may glide from the heart of man is a moral phenomenon for which it
would puzzle philosophers to account. The brief space of a few months
not unfrequently converts the devoted into the unkind, or to a delicate
mind still worse--the neglectful husband." The wayward Huntley breaks
off church-going; he refuses Grace his company, and we find her first
solitary walk since her marriage thus touchingly referred to: "almost
every tree certainly every stile she passed--was hallowed by some
remembrance connected with the playmate of her childhood--the lover of
her early youth--the husband of her affections." When, she looked on the
dew dancing amid the delicate tracery of the field spider's web--when
the joyous whistle of the gay blackbird broke upon her ear--gazing
silently on all that was really fresh and beautiful in nature--she
felt that, instead of warming, it fell chilly upon her heart. And yet
all was as usual--the bright sun, and the smiling landscape. Why, then,
was she less cheerful? She was alone! No one she loved was by her side,
to whom to say, "How beautiful!" Joseph gets into debt, and upon Grace
offering to sacrifice a favourite article of dress to enable him to keep
a "promise to pay," we find the following exquisite paragraph: "there is
something so commanding, so holy, in virtue, that, though the wicked may
not imitate, they cannot withhold from it their admiration." As Huntley
looked upon his wife, he thought she never appeared so lovely. Some of
the affection of earlier and purer years returned warmly to his heart;
and as he kissed her, words of happier import broke from his lips--"God
bless you, Grace! I am a sad scoundrel, and that's the truth." Joseph
deserts her, and in less than eight years after their marriage, her
little family are entirely dependent upon her for support. The husband
returns, and sets the eldest boy to rob his mother; the villany of the
father is reproved by Grace, meekly but firmly. Joseph takes the boy
under his guidance, and becoming acquainted with "John and Sandy Smith,
(two poachers,) who lived together in a wretched hut on the skirt of
Crayton Common," he soon initiates the little fellow into crime. After a
storming quarrel with his wife--]
That night, as latterly had been his custom, he sallied forth about
eight o'clock, leaving his home and family without food or money. The
children crowded round their mother's knee to repeat their simple
prayers, and retired, cold and hungry, to bed. It was near midnight
ere her task was finished; and then she stole softly into her chamber,
having first looked upon and blessed her treasures. Her sleep was of
that restless heavy kind which yields no refreshment. Once she was
awakened by hearing her husband shut the cottage-door; again she slept,
but started from a horrid dream--or was it indeed reality! and had her
husband and her son Abel quitted the dwelling together? She sprang from
her bed, and felt on the pallet--Gerald was there; again she felt--she
called--she passed into the next room--"Abel, Abel, my child! as you
value your mother's blessing speak!" There was no reply. A dizzy
sickness almost overpowered her senses. Was her husband's horrid
threat indeed fulfilled? and had he so soon taken their child as his
participator in unequivocal sin? She opened the door, and looked out
upon the night; it was cold and misty, and her sight could not penetrate
the gloom. The chill fog rested upon her face like the damps of the
grave. She attempted to call again upon her son, but her powers of
utterance were palsied--her tongue quivered--her lips separated yet
there came forth no voice, no sound to break the silence of oppressed
nature. Her eyes moved mechanically towards the heavens--they were dark
as the earth; had God deserted her?--would he deny one ray, one little
ray of light, to lead her to her child? Why did the moon cease to shine,
and the stars withhold their brightness? Should she never again behold
her boy, her first-born? Her heart swelled, and beat within her bosom.
She shivered with intense agony, and leaned her throbbing brow against
the door-post, to which she had clung for support. Her husband's words
rang in her ears--"One by one shall your children be taken from you to
serve my purposes!" Through the dense fog she fancied that he glared
upon her in bitter hatred--his deep-set eyes flashing with demoniac
fire, and his smile, now extending, now contracting, into all the varied
expressions of triumphant malignity! She pressed her hand on her eyes to
shut out the horrid vision, and, a prayer, a simple prayer, rose to her
lips. Like oil upon the troubled waters, it soothed and composed her
spirit. She could not arrange, or even remember, a form of words; but
she repeated, again and again, the emphatic appeal, "Lord, save me, I
perish!" until she felt sufficient strength to enable her to look again
into the night. As if hope had set its beacon in the sky, calmly and
brightly the moon was now shining upon her cottage. With the sudden
change, at once the curse and blessing of our climate, a sharp east
wind had set in, and was rolling the mist from the canopy of heaven.
Numerous stars were visible, where, but five minutes before, all had
been darkness and gloom. The shadow passed from her soul; she gazed
steadily upwards; her mind regained its firmness; her resolve was taken.
She returned to her bed-room, dressed, and, wrapping her cloak closely
to her bosom, was quickly on her way to the Smiths' dwelling, on
The solitary hut was more than two miles from the village; the path
leading to it broken and interrupted by fragments of rocks, roots of
furze, and stubbed underwood, and, at one particular point, intersected
by a deep and brawling brook. Soon after Grace had crossed this stream,
she came in view of the cottage, looking like a misshapen mound of
earth; and, upon peering in at the window, which was only partially
lined by a broken shutter, Covey, the lurcher, uttered, from the inside,
a sharp muttering bark, something between reproof and recognition.
There had certainly been a good fire, not long before, on the capacious
hearth, for the burning ashes cast a lurid light upon an old table, and
two or three dilapidated chairs. There was also a fowling-piece lying
across the table; but it was evident none of the inmates were at home;
and Grace walked slowly, yet disappointedly, round the dwelling, till
she came to the other side, that rested against a huge mass of mingled
rock and clay, overgrown with long tangled fern and heather. She
climbed to the top, and had not been many minutes on the look-out ere
she perceived three men rapidly approaching from the opposite path. As
they drew nearer, she saw that one of them was her husband; but where
was her son? Silently she lay among the heather, fearing she knew not
what--yet knowing she had much to fear. The chimney that rose from the
sheeling had, she thought, effectually concealed her from their view,
but in this she was mistaken; for, while Huntley and one of the Smiths
entered the abode, the other climbed up the mound. She saw his hat
within a foot of where she rested, and fancied she could feel his breath
upon her cheek as she crouched, like a frightened hare, more closely in
her form. However, he surveyed the spot without ascending further, and
then retreated muttering something about corbies and ravens, and, almost
instantly, she heard the door of the hut close. Cautiously she crept
down from her hiding-place; and, crawling along the ground with stealth
and silence, knelt before the little window, so as to observe, through
the broken shutter, the occupation of the inmates. The dog alone was
conscious of her approach; but the men were too seriously engaged to
heed his intimations of danger.
[She sees all that the three are about, is convinced that her son will
be lost, and forms her resolution:]
"Then there is hope for my poor child!" she thought, "and I can--I
_will_ save him!" With this resolve, she stole away as softly and
as quickly as her trembling limbs would permit. The depredators revelled
in their fancied security. The old creaking table groaned under the
weight of pheasant, hare, and ardent spirits; and the chorus of a wild
drinking-song broke upon her ear as returning strength enabled her to
hasten along the rude path leading to Craythorpe.
The first grey uncertain light of morning was visible through the old
churchyard trees as she came within sight of her cottage. She entered
quietly, and saw that Abel had not only returned, but was sleeping
soundly by his brother's side.
Grace set her house in order--took the work she had finished to her
employer--came back, and prepared breakfast, of which her husband,
having by this time also returned, partook. Now he was neither the
tyrant whose threat still rung in her ears, nor the reckless bravo of
the common; he appeared that morning, at least so his wife fancied,
more like the being she had loved so fondly, and so long.
"I will sleep, Grace," he said, when their meal was finished--"I will
sleep for an hour; and to-morrow we shall have a better breakfast." He
called his son into the bed-room, where a few words passed between them.
Immediately after this Grace went into the little chamber to fetch her
bonnet. She would not trust herself to look upon the sleeper, but her
lips moved as if in prayer; and even her children still remember, that,
as she passed out of the cottage-door, she had a flushed and agitated
"Good morning, Mrs. Huntley," said her old neighbour, Mrs. Craddock;
"Have you heard the news? Ah! these are sad times--bad people going--"
"True, true!" replied poor Grace as she hurried onwards; "I know--I
heard it all."
Mrs. Craddock looked after her, much surprised at her abruptness.
"I was coming down to you, Grace," said her father, standing so as to
arrest her progress; "I wished to see if there was any chance of the
child Abel's returning to his exercises. As this is a holiday, I
"Come with me," interrupted Grace, "come with me, father, and we will
make a rare holiday."
She hurried the feeble old man along the road leading to the rectory,
but returned no answer to his inquiries. The servant told her, when she
arrived at her destination, that his master was engaged--particularly
engaged--could not be disturbed--Sir Thomas Purcel was with him; and, as
the man spoke, the study-door opened, and Sir Thomas crossed the hall.
"Come back with me, sir," exclaimed Grace Huntley, eagerly: "I can tell
you all you want to know."
The Baronet shook off the hand she had laid upon his arm as if she were
Grace appeared to read the expression of his countenance. "I am not mad,
Sir Thomas Purcel," she continued, in a suppressed tremulous voice; "not
mad, though I may be so soon. Keep back these people, and return with
me. Mr. Glasscott knows I am not mad."
She passed into the study with a resolute step, and held the door for
Sir Thomas to enter. Her father followed also, as a child traces its
mother's footsteps, and looked around him, and at his daughter, with
weak astonishment. One or two of the servants, who were loitering in
the hall, moved as if they would have followed.
"Back, back, I say!" she repeated; "I need no witnesses--there will be
enough of them soon. Mr. Glasscott," she continued, closing the door,
"hear me, while I am able to bear testimony, lest weakness--woman's
weakness--overcome me, and I falter in the truth. In the broom-sellers'
cottage, across the common, on the left side of the chimney, concealed
by a large flat stone, is a hole--a den; there much of the property
taken from Sir Thomas Purcel's last night is concealed."
"I have long suspected these men--Smith, I think, they call themselves.
Yet they are but two. Now, we have abundant proof, that _three_ men
absolutely entered the house."
"There was a third," murmured Grace, almost inaudibly.
"My--my--my husband!" and, as she uttered the word, she leaned against
the chimney-piece for support, and buried her face in her hands.
The clergyman groaned audibly;--he had known Grace from her childhood,
and felt what the declaration must have cost her. Sir Thomas Purcel was
cast in a sterner mould.
"We are put clearly on the track, Mr. Glasscott," he said, "and must
follow it forthwith; yet there is something most repugnant to my
feelings in finding a woman thus herald her husband to destruction."
"It was to save my children from sin!" exclaimed Grace, starting
forward with an energy that appalled them all: "God in heaven, whom
I call to witness, knows, that though I would sooner starve than taste
of the fruits of his wickedness, yet I could not betray the husband of
my bosom to--to--I dare not think what!--I tried, I laboured to give
my offspring honest bread. I neither asked nor received charity; with
my hands I laboured, and blessed the Power that enabled me to do so.
If we are poor, we will be honest, was my maxim, and my boast. But
he--my husband--returned; he taught my boy to lie--to steal! and
when I remonstrated--when I prayed, with many tears, that he would
cease to train our--ay, _our_ child for destruction, he
mocked--scorned--told me, that, one by one, I should be bereaved of my
children if I thwarted his purposes; and that I might seek in vain for
them through the world, until I saw their names recorded in the book of
shame!--Gentlemen, this was no idle threat. Last night, Abel was taken
"I knew there must have been a fourth," interrupted Sir Thomas, coldly;
"we must have the boy also secured."
The wretched mother, who had not imagined that any harm could result
to her son, stood as if a thunderbolt had transfixed her; her hands
clenched and extended--her features rigid and blanched--her frame
perfectly erect, and motionless as a statue. The schoolmaster, during
the whole of this scene, had been completely bewildered, until the idea
of his grandchild's danger or disappearance, he knew not which, took
possession of his mind; and, filled with the single thought his
faculties had the power of grasping at a time, he came forward to the
table at which Mr. Glasscott was seated, and respectfully uncovering his
grey hairs, his simple countenance presenting a strong contrast to the
agonized iron-bound features of his daughter, he addressed himself to
the worthy magistrate: "I trust you will cause instant search to be made
for the child Abel, whom your reverence used kindly to regard with
He repeated this sentence at least half a dozen times, while the
gentlemen were issuing orders to the persons assembled for the
apprehension of the burglars, and some of the females of the family were
endeavouring to restore Grace to animation. At last Sir Thomas Purcel
turned suddenly round upon Abel Darley, and, in his stentorian tone,
bawled out, "And who are you?"
"The schoolmaster of Craythorpe, so please you, sir--that young woman's
father--and one whose heart is broken!"
So saying, he burst into tears; and his wail was very sad, like that of
an afflicted child. Presently there was a stir among the little crowd,
a murmur--and then two officers ushered in Joseph Huntley and his son.
He walked boldly up to the magistrate's table, and placed his hand upon
it, before he perceived his wife, to whom consciousness had not yet
returned. The moment he beheld her he started back, saying, "Whatever
charge you may have against me, gentlemen, you can have none against
"Nor have we," replied Sir Thomas; "she is your accuser!"
The fine features of Joseph Huntley relaxed into an expression of scorn
and unbelief. "She appear against me! Not--not if I were to attempt to
murder her!" he answered firmly.
"Grace!" exclaimed her father joyfully, "here is the child Abel--he is
found!" and seizing the trembling boy, with evident exultation, led
him to her. The effect of this act of the poor simple-minded man was
electrical. The mother instantly revived, but turned her face from her
husband; and, entwining her son in her arms, pressed him closely to her
side. The clergyman proceeded to interrogate the prisoner, but he
answered nothing, keeping his eyes intently fixed upon his wife and
child. In the mean time, the officers of justice had been prompt in the
execution of their duty; the Smiths were apprehended in the village, and
the greater portion of the property stolen from Sir Thomas Purcel was
found in the hut where Grace had beheld it concealed.
When the preparations were sufficiently forward to conduct the
unfortunate men to prison, Joseph Huntley advanced to his wife. The
scornful as well as undaunted expression of his countenance had changed
to one of painful intensity; he took her hand within his, and pressed it
to his lips, without articulating a single syllable. Slowly she moved
her face, so that their eyes encountered in one long mournful look. Ten
years of continued suffering could not have exacted a heavier tribute
from Grace Huntley's beauty. No language can express the withering
effects of the few hours' agony. Her husband saw it.
"'Twas to save my children!" was the only sentence she uttered, or
rather murmured; and it was the last coherent one she spoke for many
weeks. Her fine reason seemed overwhelmed. It was a sight few could
witness without tears. The old father, tending the couch of his
afflicted daughter, would sit for hours by her bedside, clasping the
child Abel's hand within his, and every now and then shaking his head
when her ravings were loud or violent.
[We add the conclusion.]
It might be some fifteen years after these distressing events had
agitated the little village of Craythorpe, that an elderly woman,
of mild and cheerful aspect, sat calmly reading a large volume she
supported against the railing of a noble vessel, that was steering its
course from the shores of "merrie England" to some land far over the
sea. Two gentlemen, who were lounging on the quarter-deck arm-in-arm,
frequently passed her. The elder one, in a peculiarly kind tone of
voice, said, "You bear the voyage well, dame."--"Thank God! yes,
sir."--"Ah! you will wish yourself back in Old England before you
are landed six weeks."--"I did not wish to leave it, sir; but my duty
obliged me to do so."
The gentlemen walked on.
"Who is she?" inquired the younger.
"A very singular woman. Her information transported for life a husband
whom she loved, notwithstanding his coldness and his crimes. She had at
that time three children, and the eldest had already become contaminated
by his father's example. She saw nothing but destruction for them in
prospective, her warnings and intreaties being alike unregarded. So she
made her election--sacrificed the husband and saved the children!"
"But what does she here?"
"Her eldest son is now established in a small business, and respected by
all who know him. Her second boy, and a father, whom her misfortunes
reduced to a deplorable state of wretchedness, are dead. Her daughter,
a village belle and beauty, is married to my father's handsome new
parish-clerk; and Mrs. Huntley having seen her children provided for,
and by her virtues and industry made respectable in the Old World, is
now on her voyage to the New, to see, if I may be permitted to use her
own simple language, 'whether she can contribute to render the last days
of her husband as happy as the first they passed together.' It is only
justice to the criminal to say, that I believe him truly and perfectly
"And on this chance she leaves her children and her country?"
"She does. She argues, that as the will of Providence prevented her from
discharging her duties _together_, she must endeavour to perform
them _separately_. He was sentenced to die; but, by my father's
exertions, his sentence was commuted to one of transportation for life;
and I know she has quitted England without the hope of again beholding
its white cliffs."
[Miss Landon has contributed a few poetical pieces of great merit; and
the Editor, the "simple story" of an Emigrant in verse, full of truth
and nature. The Author of the Corn Law Rhymes has two pieces.
The Illustrations are nearly unexceptionable. Seven of them are
from pictures by Lawrence; Newton's Gentle Student has supplied the
Frontispiece; and Wilkie's Theft of the Cap, one of the most pleasing
of the well arranged selection.]
* * * * *
THE FRIENDSHIP'S OFFERING.
[Edited by a poet of no mean merit, has a golden flood of minor pieces
in verse, many of them of great beauty and touching sweetness, and
nearly all above the usual _calibre_ of such contributions to
_Annual_ literature. The prose tales are by Miss Mitford, Mr. J.B.
Fraser, Derwent Conway, and by Leitch Ritchie: that by the latter is
perhaps the best in the volume; it has a serio-ludicrous interest which
is very amusing.
The pieces number upwards of sixty; and as the prose are too lengthy for
our columns, we take a slight sprinkling of the poetical flowers:--]
A FRAGMENT,--BY T.B. MACAULAY.
Attend, all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise,
I tell of the thrice famous deeds she wrought in ancient days,
When that great fleet invincible against her bore in vain
The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts of Spain.
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day,
There came a gallant merchant ship full sail to Plymouth bay;
Her crew hath seen Castille's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's isle,
At earliest twilight, on the waves lie heaving many a mile.
At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace;
And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close in chase.
Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along the wall;
The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgcumbe's lofty hall;
Many a light fishing bark put out to pry along the coast;
And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland many a post.
With his white hair unbonneted the stout old sheriff comes;
Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the drums;
His yeomen, round the market-cross, make clear an ample space,
For there behoves him to set up the standard of her Grace.
And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells,
As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon swells.
Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancien crown,
And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down.
So stalked he when he turned to flight, on that famed Picard field,
Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Caesar's eagle shield:
So glared he when at Agincourt in wrath he turned to bay,
And crushed and torn beneath his claws the princely hunters lay.
Ho! strike the flag-staff deep, sir knight: ho! scatter flowers,
Ho! gunners, fire a loud salute; ho! gallants draw your blades:
Thou sun, shine on her joyously: ye breezes waft her wide:
Our glorious SEMPER EADEM,--this banner of our pride.
The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold,
The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold:
Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea;--
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.
From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford bay,
That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day:
For swift to east and swift to west the warning radiance spread;
High on St. Michael's mount it shone, it shone on Beachy Head.
Far on the deep the Spaniards saw, along each southern shire,
Cape beyond cape, in endless rage, those twinkling points of fire:
The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves;
The rugged miners poured to war from Mendip's sunless caves.
O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew;
He roused the Shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu.
Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town;
And ere the day three hundred horse had met on Clifton down.
The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night,
And saw o'erhanging Richmond-hill the streak of blood-red light.
Then bugle's note and cannon's roar the death-like silence broke,
And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke.
At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires:
At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling spires:
From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear;
And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer:
And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad stream of flags and pikes dashed down each roaring street:
And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din.
As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in:
And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath, the warlike errand went,
And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent.
Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those bright couriers forth;
High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the north.
And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still,
All night from tower to tower they sprang;--they sprang from hill
Till the proud peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales,
Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales,
Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height.
Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light;
Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane,
And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain;
Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent,
And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent;
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlise.
* * * * *
AN AFRICAN SKETCH,--BY THOMAS PRINGLE.
Dost thou love to list the rushing
Of the tempest in its might?
Dost thou joy to see the gushing
Of the torrent at its height?
Hasten forth ere yet the gloaming
Waneth wildly into night,
While the troubled sea is foaming
With a strange phosphoric light.
Lo, the sea-fowl, loudly screaming,
Seeks the shelter of the land;
And a signal light is gleaming
Where yon vesel nears the strand:
Just at sun-set she was lying
All-becalmed upon the main;
Now, with sails in tatters flying,
She to sea-ward beats--in vain!
* * * * *
Now the forest trees are shaking,
Like bullrushes in the gale;
And the folded flocks are quaking
'Neath the pelting of the hail.
From the jungle-cumbered river
Comes a growl along the ground;
And the cattle start and shiver,
For they know full well the sound.
'Tis the lion, gaunt with hunger.
Glaring down the darkening glen;
But a fiercer Power and stronger
Drives him back into his den:
For the fiend TORNADO rideth
Forth with FEAR, his maniac bride.
Who by shipwrecked shores abideth,
With the she-wolf by her side.
Heard ye not the Demon flapping
His exulting wings aloud?
And his mate her wild hands clapping
From yon scowling thunder-cloud?
By the fireflaucht's gleamy flashing
The doomed vessel ye may spy,
With the billows o'er her dashing--
Hark (Oh God!) that fearful cry!
Seven hundred human voices
In that shriek came on the blast!
Ha! the Tempest-Fiend rejoices--
For all earthly aid is past!
White as smoke the surge is showering
O'er the cliffs that sea-ward frown,
While the greedy gulph, devouring,
Like a dragon sucks them down.
The Plates are excellent: two or three fancy portraits beam with
loveliness; Christ entering Jerusalem, engraved by E.J. Roberts, from
Martin, is a sublime scene of "the glorious city of God;" and Corfu and
the Bridge of Alva, from drawings by Purser, maintain the promising
excellence of his pencil.
* * * * *
_Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset
House,) London, sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris;
CHARLES JUGEL, Francfort; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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