The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, No.
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 10, No. 288.] SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
The Return of a Victorious Armament to a Greek City.
[Illustration: The Return of a Victorious Armament to a Greek City.]
SPIRIT OF "THE ANNUALS" FOR 1828.
Our readers have annually anticipated a high treat from this splendid
intellectual banquet, served up by some of the master spirits of
 We hope this epithet will not be considered ungallant--for, to
say the truth, the _ladies_ have contributed the best poetical
portion of the feast. This display of female talent has
increased in brilliancy year after year: and the _Lords_ should
look to it.
We doubt whether the comparison is refined enough for the fair
authoresses; but our fancy has led us to class their contributions to
the present feast as follow:--
_Hock--Champagne_, (_Still and Sparkling_.)
with a due proportion of _vin ordinaire_. This comparison may be
pleasant enough as after-dinner chat, but we fear our readers will
think it like cooks circulating the Bills of Fare on the morning of
Lord Mayor's Day; and lest we should incur their displeasure, we
shall proceed with our select _course_: but we are mere disposers.
* * * * *
THE LITERARY SOUVENIR.
In literary talent, as well as in graphic beauty, this elegant volume
stands first; and from it we have selected the subject of the above
engraving, accompanied by the following
ANCIENT SONG OF VICTORY.
BY MRS. HEMANS.
Fill high the bowl, with Samian wine,
Our virgins dance beneath the shade.
Lo! they come, they come!
Garlands for every shrine!
Strike lyres to greet them home;
Bring roses, pour ye wine!
Swell, swell the Dorian flute
Thro' the blue, triumphal sky!
Let the Cittern's tone salute
The Sons of Victory!
With the offering of bright blood,
They have ransomed earth and tomb,
Vineyard, and field, and flood;--
Lo! they come, they come!
Sing it where olives wave,
And by the glittering sea,
And o'er each hero's grave,--
Sing, sing, the land is free!
Mark ye the flashing oars,
And the spears that light the deep!
How the festal sunshine pours
Where the lords of battle sweep!
Each hath brought back his shield,--
Maid, greet thy lover home!
Mother, from that proud field,
Lo! thy son is come!
Who murmured of the dead?
Hush, boding voice! we know
That many a shining head
Lies in its glory low.
Breathe not those names to-day!
They shall have their praise ere long,
And a power all hearts to sway
In ever-burning song.
But now shed flowers, pour wine,
To hail the conquerors home!
Bring wreaths for every shrine--
Lo! they come, they come!
The original engraving is by Edward Goodall, from a painting by William
Linton, Esq. It is altogether a rich and glorious composition, at
this moment too, glowing with more than pictorial interest; and the
_carmen triumphale_ of the poetess is a worthy accompaniment. Among
the other engravings the frontispiece and opposite page of this work
are extremely rich and beautiful: _Psyche borne by the Zephyrs to the
Island of Pleasure_, is full of languishing beauty; _Medora_, painted
by Pickersgill and engraved by Rolls, is a delightfully placid
moonlight scene; the _Declaration_, easy and graceful: there are,
however, in our opinion, two decided failures in the volume, which,
for the credit of the artists, had better been omitted. Our present
notices of the _literary_ department must be confined to the following
THE CITY OF THE DEMONS.
_By William Maginn, Esq._
In days of yore, there lived in the flourishing city of Cairo, a Hebrew
Rabbi, by name Jochorian, who was the most learned of his nation. His
fame went over the East, and the most distant people sent their young
men to imbibe wisdom from his lips. He was deeply skilled in the
traditions of the fathers, and his word on a disputed point was decisive.
He was pious, just, temperate, and strict; but he had one vice--a love
of gold had seized upon his heart, and he opened not his hand to the
poor. Yet he was wealthy above most, his wisdom being to him the
source of riches. The Hebrews of the city were grieved at this blemish
on the wisest of their people; but though the elders of the tribes
continued to reverence him for his fame, the women and children of
Cairo called him by no other name than that of Rabbi Jochonan the miser.
None knew, so well as he, the ceremonies necessary for initiation
into the religion of Moses; and, consequently, the exercise of those
solemn offices was to him another source of gain. One day, as he walked
in the fields about Cairo, conversing with a youth on the interpretation
of the law, it so happened, that the angel of death smote the young man
suddenly, and he fell dead before the feet of the Rabbi, even while he
was yet speaking. When the Rabbi found that the youth was dead, he rent
his garments, and glorified the Lord. But his heart was touched, and
the thoughts of death troubled him in the visions of the night. He
felt uneasy when he reflected on his hardness to the poor, and he
said, "Blessed be the name of the Lord! The first good thing that
I am asked to do in that holy name, will I perform."--But he sighed,
for he feared that some one might ask of him a portion of his gold.
While yet he thought upon these things, there came a loud cry at his gate.
"Awake, thou sleeper!" said the voice; "Awake! A child is in danger of
death, and the mother hath sent me for thee that thou may'st do thine
"The night is dark and gloomy," said the Rabbi, coming to his casement,
"and mine age is great; are there not younger men than I in Cairo?"
"For thee only, Rabbi Jochonan, whom some call the wise, but whom others
call Rabbi Jochonan the miser, was I sent. Here is gold," said he, taking
out a purse of sequins--"I want not thy labour for nothing. I adjure thee
to come, in the name of the living God."
So the Rabbi thought upon the vow he had just made, and he groaned in
spirit, for the purse sounded heavy.
"As thou hast adjured me by that name, I go with thee," said he to the
man, "but I hope the distance is not far. Put up thy gold."
"The place is at hand," said the stranger, who was a gallant youth,
in magnificent attire. "Be speedy, for time presses."
Jochonan arose, dressed himself, and accompanied the stranger, after
having carefully locked up all the doors of his house, and deposited
his keys in a secret place--at which the stranger smiled.
"I never remember," said the Rabbi, "so dark a night. Be thou to me as a
guide, for I can hardly see the way."
"I know it well," replied the stranger with a sigh, "it is a way much
frequented, and travelled hourly by many; lean upon mine arm and fear
They journeyed on; and though the darkness was great, yet the Rabbi could
see, when it occasionally brightened, that he was in a place strange to
him. "I thought," said he, "I knew all the country for leagues about
Cairo, yet I know not where I am. I hope, young man," said he to his
companion, "that thou hast not missed the way;" and his heart misgave
"Fear not," returned the stranger. "Your journey is even now done," and,
as he spoke, the feet of the Rabbi slipped from under him, and he
rolled down a great height. When he recovered, he found that his
companion had fallen also, and stood by his side.
"Nay, young man," said the Rabbi, "if thus thou sportest with the grey
hairs of age, thy days are numbered. Wo unto him who insults the hoary
The stranger made an excuse, and they journeyed on some little further
in silence. The darkness grew less, and the astonished Rabbi, lifting
up his eyes, found that they had come to the gates of a city which he
had never before seen. Yet he knew all the cities of the land of Egypt,
and he had walked but half an hour from his dwelling in Cairo. So he
knew not what to think, but followed the man with trembling.
They soon entered the gates of the city, which was lighted up as if
there were a festival in every house. The streets were full of
revellers, and nothing but a sound of joy could be heard. But when
Jochonan looked upon their faces--they were the faces of men pained
within; and he saw, by the marks they bore, that they were Mazikin
[demons]. He was terrified in his soul; and, by the light of the
torches, he looked also upon the face of his companion, and, behold!
he saw upon him too, the mark that shewed him to be a Demon. The Rabbi
feared excessively--almost to fainting; but he thought it better to be
silent; and sadly he followed his guide, who brought him to a splendid
house, in the most magnificent quarter of the city.
"Enter here?" said the Demon to Jochonan, "for this house is mine.
The lady and the child are in the upper chamber;" and, accordingly,
the sorrowful Rabbi ascended the stair to find them.
The lady, whose dazzling beauty was shrouded by melancholy beyond hope,
lay in bed; the child, in rich raiment, slumbered on the lap of the
nurse, by her side.
"I have brought to thee, light of my eyes!" said the Demon, "Rebecca,
beloved of my soul! I have brought thee Rabbi Jochonan the wise, for
whom thou didst desire. Let him, then, speedily begin his office; I
shall fetch all things necessary, for he is in haste to depart."
He smiled bitterly as he said these words, looking at the Rabbi; and left
the room, followed by the nurse.
When Jochonan and the lady were alone, she turned in the bed towards him,
"Unhappy man that thou art! knowest thou where thou hast been brought?"
"I do," said he, with a heavy groan; I know that I am in a city of the
"Know, then, further," said she, and the tears gushed from eyes brighter
than the diamond, "know then, further, that no one is ever brought here,
unless he hath sinned before the Lord. What my sin hath been imports
not to thee--and I seek not to know thine. But here thou remainest
for ever--lost, even as I am lost." And she wept again.
The Rabbi dashed his turban on the ground, and tearing his hair,
exclaimed, "Wo is me! Who art thou, woman! that speakest to me thus?"
"I am a Hebrew woman," said she, "the daughter of a Doctor of the Laws
in the city of Bagdad; and being brought hither, it matters not how,
I am married to a prince among the Mazikin, even him who was sent for
thee. And that child, whom thou sawest, is our first-born, and I could
not bear the thought that the soul of our innocent babe should perish.
I therefore besought my husband to try to bring hither a priest, that
the law of Moses (blessed be his memory!) should be done; and thy fame,
which has spread to Bagdad, and lands further towards the rising of
the sun, made me think of thee. Now my husband, though great among
the Mazikin, is more just than the other Demons; and he loves me,
whom he hath ruined, with a love of despair. So he said, that the
name of Jochonan the wise was familiar unto him, and that he knew
thou wouldst not be able to refuse. What thou hast done, to give
him power over thee, is known to thyself."
"I swear, before Heaven!" said the Rabbi, "that I have ever diligently
kept the law, and walked stedfastly according to the traditions of
our fathers, from the day of my youth upward. I have wronged no man
in word or deed, and I have daily worshipped the Lord; minutely
performing all the ceremonies thereto needful."
"Nay," said the lady, "all this thou mightest have done, and more,
and yet be in the power of the Demons. But time passes, for I hear
the foot of my husband mounting the stair. There is one chance of thine
"What is that? O lady of beauty?" said the agonized Rabbi.
"Eat not, drink not, nor take fee or reward while here; and as long as
thou canst do thus, the Mazikin have no power over thee, dead or alive.
Have courage, and persevere."
As she ceased from speaking, her husband entered the room, followed by the
nurse, who bore all things requisite for the ministration of the Rabbi.
With a heavy heart he performed his duty, and the child was numbered
among the faithful. But when, as usual, at the conclusion of the ceremony,
the wine was handed round to be tasted by the child, the mother, and the
Rabbi, he refused it when it came to him, saying:--
"Spare me, my lord, for I have made a vow that I fast this day; and I will
not eat, neither will I drink."
"Be it as thou pleasest," said the Demon, "I will not that thou shouldst
break thy vow;" and he laughed aloud.
So the poor Rabbi was taken into a chamber, looking into a garden, where
he passed the remainder of the night and the day weeping, and praying
to the Lord that he would deliver him from the city of Demons. But when
the twelfth hour came, and the sun was set, the Prince of the Mazikin
came again unto him, and said:--
"Eat now, I pray thee, for the day of thy vow is past;" and he set
meat before him.
"Pardon again thy servant, my lord," said Jochonan, "in this thing. I have
another vow for this day also. I pray thee be not angry with thy servant."
"I am not angry," said the Demon, "be it as thou pleasest; I respect thy
vow;" and he laughed louder than before.
So the Rabbi sat another day in his chamber by the garden, weeping and
praying. And when the sun had gone behind the hills, the Prince of the
Mazikin again stood before him, and said:--
"Eat now, for thou must be an hungered. It was a sore vow of thine;" and
he offered him daintier meats.
And Jochonan felt a strong desire to eat, but he prayed inwardly to the
Lord, and the temptation passed, and he answered:--
"Excuse thy servant yet a third time, my lord, that I eat not. I have
renewed my vow."
"Be it so, then," said the other; "arise, and follow me."
The Demon took a torch in his hand, and led the Rabbi through winding
passages of his palace, to the door of a lofty chamber, which he
opened with a key that he took from a niche in the wall. On entering
the room, Jochonan saw that it was of solid silver--floor, ceiling,
walls, even to the threshold and the door-posts. And the curiously
carved roof, and borders of the ceiling, shone, in the torch-light,
as if they were the fanciful work of frost. In the midst were heaps
of silver money, piled up in immense urns of the same metal, even over
"Thou hast done me a serviceable act, Rabbi," said the Demon--"take of
these what thou pleasest; ay, were it the whole."
"I cannot, my lord," said Jochonan. "I was adjured by thee to come hither
in the name of God; and in that name I came, not for fee or for reward."
"Follow me," said the prince of the Mazikin; and Jochonan did so, into an
It was of gold, as the other was of silver. Its golden roof was supported
by pillars and pilasters of gold, resting upon a golden floor. The
treasures of the kings of the earth would not purchase one of the
four-and-twenty vessels of golden coins, which were disposed in six
rows along the room. No wonder! for they were filled by the constant
labours of the Demons of the mine. The heart of Jochonan was moved
by avarice, when he saw them shining in yellow light, like the autumnal
sun, as they reflected the beams of the torch. But God enabled him to
"These are thine," said the Demon; "one of the vessels which thou
beholdest would make thee richest of the sons of men--and I give thee
But Jochonan refused again; and the Prince of the Mazikin opened the
door of a third chamber, which was called the Hall of Diamonds. When
the Rabbi entered, he screamed aloud, and put his hands over his eyes;
for the lustre of the jewels dazzled him, as if he had looked upon the
noon-day sun. In vases of agate were heaped diamonds beyond enumeration,
the smallest of which was larger than a pigeon's egg. On alabaster
tables lay amethysts, topazes, rubies, beryls, and all other precious
stones, wrought by the hands of skilful artists, beyond power of
computation. The room was lighted by a carbuncle, which, from the end
of the hall, poured its ever-living light, brighter than the rays of
noontide, but cooler than the gentle radiance of the dewy moon. This
was a sore trial on the Rabbi; but he was strengthened from above, and
he refused again.
"Thou knowest me then, I perceive, O Jochonan, son of Ben-David," said
the Prince of the Mazikin; "I am a Demon who would tempt thee to
destruction. As thou hast withstood so far, I tempt thee no more. Thou
hast done a service which, though I value it not, is acceptable in the
sight of her whose love is dearer to me than the light of life. Sad has
been that love to thee, my Rebecca! Why should I do that which would make
thy cureless grief more grievous? You have yet another chamber to see,"
said he to Jochonan, who had closed his eyes, and was praying fervently
to the Lord, beating his breast.
Far different from the other chambers, the one into which the Rabbi was
next introduced, was a mean and paltry apartment, without furniture.
On its filthy walls hung innumerable bunches of rusty keys, of all sizes,
disposed without order. Among them, to the astonishment of Jochonan,
hung the keys of his own house, those which he had put to hide when
he came on this miserable journey, and he gazed upon them intently.
"What dost thou see," said the Demon, "that makes thee look so eagerly?
Can he who has refused silver, and gold, and diamonds, be moved by a
paltry bunch of rusty iron?"
"They are mine own, my lord," said the Rabbi, "them will I take, if they
be offered me."
"Take them, then," said the Demon, putting them into his hand;--"thou
may'st depart. But, Rabbi, open not thy house only, when thou returnest
to Cairo, but thy heart also. That thou didst not open it before, was
that which gave me power over thee. It was well that thou didst one
act of charity in coming with me without reward, for it has been thy
salvation. Be no more Rabbi Jochonan the miser."
The Rabbi bowed to the ground, and blessed the Lord for his escape. "But
how," said he, "am I to return, for I know not the way?"
"Close thine eyes," said the Demon. He did so, and in the space of a
moment, heard the voice of the Prince of Mazikin ordering him to open
them again. And, behold, when he opened them, he stood in the centre of
his own chamber, in his house at Cairo, with the keys in his hand.
When he recovered from his surprise, and had offered thanksgivings to
God, he opened his house, and his heart also. He gave alms to the poor,
he cheered the heart of the widow, and lightened the destitution of
the orphan. His hospitable board was open to the stranger, and his
purse was at the service of all who needed to share it. His life was
a perpetual act of benevolence; and the blessings showered upon him
by all, were returned bountifully upon him by the hand of God.
But people wondered, and said, "Is not this the man who was called Rabbi
Jochonan the miser? What hath made the change?" And it became a saying
in Cairo. When it came to the ears of the Rabbi, he called his friends
together, and he avowed his former love of gold, and the danger to which
it had exposed him; relating all which has been above told, in the
hall of the new palace that he built by the side of the river, on the
left hand, as thou goest down by the course of the great stream. And
wise men, who were scribes, wrote it down from his mouth, for the
memory of mankind, that they might profit thereby. And a venerable man,
with a beard of snow, who had read it in these books, and at whose feet
I sat, that I might learn the wisdom of the old time, told it to me.
And I write it in the tongue of England, the merry and the free, on
the tenth day of the month Nisan, in the year, according to the lesser
computation, five hundred ninety and seven, that thou may'st learn good
thereof. If not, the fault be upon thee.
* * * * *
_Written on seeing Flags and other Ensigns of War, hanging in a Country
BY ALARIC A. WATTS.
Oh! why amid this hallowed scene.
Should signs of mortal feud be found;
Why seek with such vain gauds to wean
Our thoughts from holier relics 'round?
More fitting emblems here abound
Of glory's bright, unfading wreath;--
Conquests, with purer triumphs crowned;--
Proud victories over Sin and Death!
Of these how many records rise
Before my chastened spirit now;
Memorials, pointing to the skies,
Of Christian battles fought below.
What need of yon stern things to shew
That darker deeds have oft been done?--
Is't not enough for Man to know
He lives but through the blood of ONE!
And thou, mild delegate of God,
Whose words of balm, and guiding light.
Would lead us, from earth's drear abode,
To worlds with bliss for ever bright,--
What have the spoils of mortal fight
To do with themes 'tis thine to teach?
Faith's saving grace--each sacred rite
Thou know'st to practice as to preach!
The blessings of the contrite heart,
Thy bloodless conquests best proclaim;
The tears from sinners' eyes that start,
Are meetest records of thy fame.
The glory that may grace thy name
From loftier triumphs sure must spring;--
The grateful thoughts thy worth may claim,
Trophies like these can never bring!
Then, wherefore on this sainted spot,
With peace and love, and hope imbued,--
Some vision calm of bliss to blot,
And turn our thoughts on deeds of blood,--
Should signs of battle-fields intrude:--
Man wants no trophies here of strife;
His Oriflamme--Faith unsubdued;--
His Panoply--a spotless life!
* * * * *
THE BRITISH SAILOR'S SONG.
BY ALLAN CUNNINGHAM.
Away with bayonet and with lance,
With corslet, casque and sword;
Our island king no war-horse needs,
For on the sea he's lord.
His throne's the war-ship's lofty deck,
His sceptre is the mast;
His kingdom is the rolling wave,
His servant is the blast.
His anchor's up, fair Freedom's flag
Proud to the mast he nails;
Tyrants and conquerors bow your heads,
For there your terror sails.
I saw fierce Prussia's chargers stand,
Her children's sharp swords out;--
Proud Austria's bright spurs streaming red,
When rose the closing shout.
But soon the steeds rushed masterless,
By tower and town and wood;
For lordly France her fiery youth
Poured o'er them like a flood.
Go, hew the gold spurs from your heels,
And let your steeds run free;
Then come to our unconquered decks,
And learn to reign at sea.
Behold you black and battered hulk
That slumbers on the tide,
There is no sound from stem to stern,
For peace has plucked her pride.
The masts are down, the cannon mute,
She shews nor sheet nor sail;
Nor starts forth with the seaward breeze,
Nor answers shout nor hail.
Her merry men with all their mirth,
Have sought some other shore;
And she with all her glory on,
Shall rule the sea no more.
So landsmen speak.--Lo! her top-masts
Are quivering in the sky
Her sails are spread, her anchor's raised,
There sweeps she gallant by.
A thousand warriors fill her decks;
Within her painted side
The thunder sleeps--man's might has nought
Can match or mar her pride.
In victor glory goes she forth,
Her stainless flag flies free,
Kings of the earth come and behold
How Britain reigns on sea!
When on your necks the armed foot
Of fierce Napoleon trod;
And all was his save the wide sea,
Where we triumphant rode:
He launched his terror and his strength,
Our sea-born pride to tame;
They came--they got the Nelson-touch,
And vanished as they came.
Go, hang your bridles in your halls,
And set your war-steels free:
The world has one unconquer'd king,
And he reigns on the sea!
Mr. Watts, the editor, besides the stanzas we have quoted, has
contributed indeed less than other editors, in similar works, and much
less than we could wish, for we are sincere admirers of his plaintive
muse. His preface should be read with due attention, for it is
calculated to set the public right on the _fate and merit_ of numberless
* * * * *
THE FORGET ME NOT.
The _avant-courier_ of the "Annuals" is of equal literary merit with
its precursors; but not quite equal in its engravings--The _Sisters'
Dream_, by Davenport, from a drawing by Corbould, is, however, placidly
interesting; the _Bridal Morning_, by Finden, is also a pleasing
scene; and the _Seventh Plague of Egypt_, by Le Keux, from a design by
Martin, though in miniature, is terrific and sublime. In the literary
department we especially notice the _Sun-Dial_, a pensive tale, by Delta,
but too long for extract; and the _Sky-Lark_ by the Ettrick Shepherd,
soaring with all the freshness and fancy of that extraordinary genius.
The _Sword_, a beautiful picture of martial woe, by Miss Landon, is
'Twas the battle field, and the cold pale moon
Look'd down on the dead and dying,
And the wind pass'd o'er with a dirge and a wail,
Where the young and the brave were lying.
With his father's sword in his red right hand.
And the hostile dead around him,
Lay a youthful chief: but his bed was the ground,
And the grave's icy sleep had bound him.
A reckless Rover, 'mid death and doom,
Pass'd a soldier, his plunder seeking:
Careless he stept where friend and foe
Lay alike in their life-blood reeking.
Drawn by the shine of the warrior's sword,
The soldier paused beside it:
He wrench'd the hand with a giant's strength,
But the grasp of the dead defied it.
He loosed his hold, and his English heart
Took part with the dead before him,
And he honour'd the brave who died sword in hand,
As with soften'd brow he leant o'er him.
"A soldier's death thou hast boldly died,
A soldier's grave won by it:
Before I would take that sword from thine hand,
My own life's blood should dye it.
"Thou shalt not be left for the carrion crow,
Or the wolf to batten o'er thee:
Or the coward insult the gallant dead,
Who in life had trembled before thee."
Then dug he a grave in the crimson earth
Where his warrior foe was sleeping,
And he laid him there in honour and rest,
With his sword in his own brave keeping.
* * * * *
As a relief, we quote the following characteristic sketch by Miss
A COUNTRY APOTHECARY.
One of the most important personages in a small country town is the
apothecary. He takes rank next after the rector and the attorney, and
before the curate; and could be much less easily dispensed with than
either of those worthies, not merely as holding "fate and physic" in his
hand, but as the general, and as it were official, associate, adviser,
comforter, and friend, of all ranks and all ages, of high and low, rich
and poor, sick and well. I am no despiser of dignities; but twenty
emperors shall be less intensely missed in their wide dominions, than
such a man as my friend John Hallett in his own small sphere.
The spot which was favoured with the residence of this excellent person
was the small town of Hazelby, in Dorsetshire; a pretty little place,
where every thing seems at a stand-still. It was originally built in
the shape of the letter T; a long broad market-place (still so called,
although the market be gone) serving for the perpendicular stem, traversed
by a straight, narrow, horizontal street, to answer for the top line.
Not one addition has occurred to interrupt this architectural regularity,
since, fifty years ago, a rich London tradesman built, at the west end
of the horizontal street, a wide-fronted single house, with two low
wings, iron palisades before, and a fish-pond opposite, which still
goes by the name of New Place, and is balanced, at the east end of
the street, by an erection of nearly the same date, a large square
dingy mansion enclosed within high walls, inhabited by three maiden
sisters, and called, probably by way of nickname, the Nunnery. New Place
being on the left of the road, and the Nunnery on the right, the T has
now something of the air of the italic capital T, turned up at one end
and down at the other. The latest improvements are the bow-window in the
market-place, commanding the pavement both ways, which the late brewer,
Andrews, threw out in his snug parlour some twenty years back, and where
he used to sit smoking, with the sash up, in summer afternoons, enjoying
himself, good man; and the great room, at the Swan, originally built by
the speculative publican, Joseph Allwright, for an assembly-room. That
speculation did not answer. The assembly, in spite of canvassing and
patronage, and the active exertions of all the young ladies in the
neighbourhood, dwindled away, and died at the end of two winters:
then it became a club-room for the hunt; but the hunt quarrelled with
Joseph's cookery: then a market-room for the farmers; but the farmers
(it was in the high-price time) quarrelled with Joseph's wine: then it
was converted into the magistrate's room--the bench; but the bench and
the market went away together, and there was an end of justicing: then
Joseph tried the novel attraction (to borrow a theatrical phrase) of a
billiard-table; but, alas! that novelty succeeded as ill as if it had
been theatrical; there were not customers enough to pay the marker: at
last, it has merged finally in that unconscious receptacle of pleasure
and pain, a post-office; although Hazelby has so little to do with
traffic of any sort--even the traffic of correspondence--that a saucy
mail-coach will often carry on its small bag, and as often forget to
call for the London bag in return.
In short, Hazelby is an insignificant place;--my readers will look
for it in vain in the map of Dorsetshire;--it is omitted, poor dear
town!--left out by the map-maker with as little remorse as a dropped
letter!--and it is also an old-fashioned place. It has not even a cheap
shop for female gear. Every thing in the one store which it boasts,
kept by Martha Deane, linen-draper and haberdasher, is dear and good,
as things were wont to be. You may actually get there thread made of
flax, from the gouty, uneven, clumsy, shiny fabric, ycleped whited-brown,
to the delicate commodity of Lisle, used for darning muslin. I think
I was never more astonished, from the mere force of habit, than when,
on asking for thread, I was presented, instead of the pretty lattice-wound
balls, or snowy reels of cotton, with which that demand is usually
answered, with a whole drawerful of skeins peeping from their blue papers
--such skeins as in my youth a thrifty maiden would draw into the
nicely-stitched compartments of that silken repository, a housewife, or
fold into a congeries of graduated thread-papers, "fine by degrees, and
beautifully less." The very literature of Hazelby is doled out at the
pastry cook's, in a little one-windowed shop kept by Matthew Wise. Tarts
occupy one end of the counter, and reviews the other; whilst the shelves
are parcelled out between books, and dolls, and ginger, bread. It is a
question, by which of his trades poor Matthew gains least; he is so
shabby, so threadbare, and so starved.
Such a town would hardly have known what to do with a highly informed and
educated surgeon, such as one now generally sees in that most liberal
profession. My friend, John Hallett, suited it exactly. His predecessor,
Mr. Simon Saunders, had been a small, wrinkled, spare old gentleman,
with a short cough and a thin voice, who always seemed as if he needed
an apothecary himself. He wore generally a full suit of drab, a flaxen
wig of the sort called a Bob Jerom, and a very tight muslin stock; a
costume which he had adopted in his younger days in imitation of the
most eminent physician of the next city, and continued to the time of
his death. Perhaps the cough might have been originally an imitation
also, ingrafted on the system by habit. It had a most unsatisfactory
sound, and seemed more like a trick than a real effort of nature. His
talk was civil, prosy, and fidgetty: much addicted to small scandal,
and that kind of news which passes under the denomination of
tittle-tattle, he was sure to tell one half of the town where the
other drank tea, and recollected the blancmanges and jellies on a
supper-table, or described a new gown, with as much science and
unction as if he had been used to make jellies and wear gowns in
his own person. Certain professional peculiarities might have
favoured the supposition. His mode of practice was exactly that
popularly attributed to old women. He delighted in innocent
remedies--manna, magnesia, and camphor julep; never put on a
blister in his life; and would sooner, from pure complaisance,
let a patient die, than administer an unpalatable prescription.
So qualified, to say nothing of his gifts in tea-drinking, cassino,
and quadrille (whist was too many for him), his popularity could not
be questioned. When he expired, all Hazelby mourned. The lamentation
was general. The women of every degree (to borrow a phrase from that
great phrase-monger, Horace Walpole) "cried quarts;" and the procession
to the churchyard--that very churchyard to which he had himself attended
so many of his patients--was now followed by all of them that remained
It was felt that the successor of Mr. Simon Saunders would have many
difficulties to encounter. My friend, John Hallett, "came, and saw, and
overcame." John was what is usually called a rough diamond. Imagine a
short, clumsy, stout-built figure, almost as broad as it is long,
crowned by a bullet head, covered with shaggy brown hair, sticking out
in every direction; the face round and solid, with a complexion originally
fair, but dyed one red by exposure to all sorts of weather; open
good-humoured eyes, of a greenish cast, his admirers called them hazel;
a wide mouth, full of large white teeth; a cocked-up nose, and a double
chin; bearing altogether a strong resemblance to a print which I once
saw hanging up in an alehouse parlour, of "the celebrated divine (to use
the identical words of the legend) Dr. Martin Luther."
The condition of a country apothecary being peculiarly liable to the
inclemency of the season, John's dress was generally such as might bid
defiance to wind, or rain, or snow, or hail. If any thing, he wrapt up
most in the summer, having a theory that people were never so apt to
take cold as in hot weather. He usually wore a bearskin great-coat, a
silk handkerchief over his cravat, top boots on those sturdy pillars his
legs, a huge pair of overalls, and a hat, which, from, the day in which
it first came into his possession to that in which it was thrown aside,
never knew the comfort of being freed from its oilskin--never was allowed
to display the glossy freshness of its sable youth. Poor dear hat! how its
vanity (if hats have vanity) must have suffered! For certain its owner
had none, unless a lurking pride in his own bluffness and bluntness
may be termed such. He piqued himself on being a plain downright
Englishman, and on a voice and address pretty much like his apparel,
rough, strong, and warm, fit for all weathers. A heartier person never
In his profession he was eminently skilful, bold, confident, and
successful. The neighbouring physicians liked to come after Mr. Hallett;
they were sure to find nothing to undo. And blunt and abrupt as was
his general manner, he was kind and gentle in a sick-room; only nervous
disorders, the pet diseases of Mr. Simon Saunders, he could not abide.
He made short work with them; frightened them away as one does by
children when they have the hiccough; or if the malady were pertinacious
and would not go, he fairly turned off the patient. Once or twice,
indeed, on such occasions, the patient got the start, and turned him
off; Mrs. Emery, for instance, the lady's maid at New Place, most
delicate and mincing of waiting-gentlewomen, motioned him from her
presence; and Miss Deane, daughter of Martha Deane, haberdasher,
who, after completing her education at a boarding-school, kept a closet
full of millinery in a little den behind her mamma's shop, and was by
many degrees the finest lady in Hazelby, was so provoked at being told
by him that nothing ailed her, that, to prove her weakly condition, she
pushed him by main force out of doors.
With these exceptions Mr. Hallett was the delight of the whole town, as
well as of all the farm-houses within six miles round. He just suited
the rich yeomanry, cured their diseases, and partook of their feasts;
was constant at christenings, and a man of prime importance at weddings.
A country merry-making was nothing without "the Doctor." He was "the
very prince of good fellows;" had a touch of epicurism, which, without
causing any distaste of his own homely fare, made dainties acceptable
when they fell in his way; was a most absolute carver; prided himself
upon a sauce of his own invention, for fish and game--"Hazelby sauce"
he called it; and was universally admitted to be the best compounder
of a bowl of punch in the county.
Besides these rare convivial accomplishments, his gay and jovial temper
rendered him the life of the table. There was no resisting his droll
faces, his droll stories, his jokes, his tricks, or his laugh--the most
contagious cachination that ever was heard. Nothing in the shape of fun
came amiss to him. He would join in a catch or roar out a solo, which
might be heard a mile off; would play at hunt the slipper or blind man's
buff; was a great man in a country dance, and upon very extraordinary
occasions would treat the company to a certain remarkable hornpipe,
which put the walls in danger of tumbling about their ears, and belonged
to him as exclusively as the Hazelby sauce. It was a sort of parody on a
pas seul which he had once seen at the Opera-house, in which his face,
his figure, his costume, his rich humour, and his strange, awkward,
unexpected activity, told amazingly. "The force of _frolic_ could no
farther go" than "the Doctor's hornpipe," It was the climax of jollity.
* * * * *
In his shop and his household he had no need either of partner or of
wife: the one was excellently managed by an old rheumatic journeyman,
slow in speech, and of vinegar aspect, who had been a pedagogue in
his youth, and now used to limp about with his Livy in his pocket,
and growl as he compounded the medicines over the bad latinity of the
prescriptions; the other was equally well conducted by an equally
ancient housekeeper and a cherry-cheeked niece, the orphan-daughter of
his only sister, who kept every thing within doors in the bright and
shining order in which he delighted. John Hallett, notwithstanding the
roughness of his aspect, was rather knick-knacky in his tastes; a great
patron of small inventions, such as the _improved_ ne plus ultra
cork-screw, and the latest patent snuffers. He also trifled with
horticulture, dabbled in tulips, was a connoisseur in pinks, and had
gained a prize for polyanthuses. The garden was under the especial care
of his pretty niece, Miss Susan, a grateful warm-hearted girl, who
thought she never could do enough to please her good uncle, and prove
her sense of his kindness. He was indeed as fond of her as if he had
been her father, and as kind.
Perhaps there was nothing very extraordinary in his goodness to the
gentle and cheerful little girl who kept his walks so trim and his
parlour so neat, who always met him with a smile, and who (last and
strongest tie to a generous mind) was wholly dependent on him--had no
friend on earth but himself. There was nothing very uncommon in that.
But John Hallett was kind to every one, even where the sturdy old English
prejudices, which he cherished as virtues, might seem most likely to
counteract his gentler feelings.
* * * * *
"_The Evening Song of the Tyrolese Peasants_" by Mrs. Hemans, must close
our extracts from the present volume:--
Come to the Sun-set Tree!
The day is past and gone;
The woodman's axe lies free,
And the reaper's work is done.
The twilight-star to Heaven,
And the summer-dew to flowers,
And rest to us is given
By the cool soft evening hours.
Sweet is the hour of rest!
Pleasant the wind's low sigh,
And the gleaming of the west,
And the turf whereon we lie.
When the burden and the heat
Of labour's task are o'er,
And kindly voices greet
The tired one at his door.
Come to the Sun-set Tree!
The day is past and gone;
The woodman's axe lies free,
And the reaper's work is done.
Yes: tuneful is the sound
That dwells in whispering boughs:
Welcome the freshness round,
And the gale that fans our brows.
But rest more sweet and still
Than ever night-fall gave,
Our longing hearts shall fill,
In the world beyond the grave.
There shall no tempest blow,
No scorching noon-tide heat;
There shall be no more snow,
No weary wandering feet.
And we lift our trusting eyes,
From the hills our fathers trod.
To the quiet of the skies,
To the sabbath of our God.
Come to the Sun-set Tree!
The day is past and gone:
The woodman's axe lies free,
And the reaper's work is done.
We have only room to particularize the _Boroom Slave_, by Mrs. Bowditch;
the _Magician's Visiter_, by Neele; and _Scenes in the Life of a
Favourite_; all which possess very powerful interest. Mr. Hood, too,
has two oddities--_Death in the Kitchen_, after Sterne, and the
_Logicians_, accompanied by engravings. Indeed, the literary variety
of the present _Forget Me Not_ is highly creditable to the editor, Mr.
* * * * *
To begin with the exterior, which is somewhat novel in taste, the
proprietors seem to have united the _utile cum dulci,_ by substituting
for the usual paper covering, an elegantly embossed leather binding.
This is altogether an improvement on the original plan, since the slight
coverings of silk or paper is scarcely safe out of the drawing-room or
boudoir, and some of the contributions to the "annuals" entitle them to
a higher stand. The presentation plate of the present _Offering_ is a
chaste and classical specimen of a kind of gold enamel engraving;
_The Sylph_, engraved by Humphreys, is a pleasing picture; _Virginia
Water_, from a picture by Daniell, is a delightful scene of rural
repose; a _Sculpture Group_, by Fry; a _View of Bombay_; and the
_Captive Slave_, by Finden; among the embellishments, are entitled
to our commendatory notice.
The present editor is Mr. Charles Knight, who, according to his preface,
succeeded "at an advanced period of the year to the duties which had
previously been performed by a gentleman of acknowledged taste and
ability." This may account for the imperfect state of some of the
engravings; but the apology is not so requisite for the execution of the
literary portion of the present volume. Our extracts must be short, for
we have other claimants to our attention. The _Housekeepers_, a Shandean
extract, is from one of the best prose contributors:--
There were two heavy, middle-aged merchants; they were either Dutch or
German, I know not which, but their name was Vanderclump. Most decided
old bachelors they were, with large, leathern, hanging cheeks, sleepy
grey eyes, and round shoulders. They were men not given to much speech,
but great feeders; and, when waited upon, would point clumsily to what
they wanted, and make a sort of low growl, rather than be at the trouble
to speak. These Messrs. Vanderclump were served by two tall, smooth-faced
dawdles; I never could discover which held the superior station in
the _menage_. Each has been seen trotting home from market with a basket
on her arm; each might be observed to shake a duster out of the upper
windows; each would, occasionally, carry a huge bunch of keys, or wait at
table during dinner; and, in the summer evenings, when it was not post-day,
both of them would appear, dressed alike, sitting at work at the lower
counting-house window, with the blinds thrown wide open. Both, I suppose,
It happened, one cold, foggy spring, that the younger brother, Mr. Peter
Vanderclump, left London to transact some business of importance with a
correspondent at Hamburgh, leaving his brother Anthony to the loneliness
of their gloomy house in St. Mary Axe. Week after week passed away, and
Mr. Peter was still detained at Hamburgh. Who would have supposed that
his society could have been missed? that the parlour could have seemed
more dismally dull by the absence of one of those from whom it chiefly
derived its character of dulness? Mr. Anthony took up his largest
meerchaum, and enveloped himself in its smoke by the hour; but the
volumes of smoke cleared away, and no Peter Vanderclump appeared emerging
from the mist. Mr. Anthony brought some of his heavy folios from below;
and, in their pages of interest, (no common, but often compound, interest,)
lost, for awhile, the dreary sense of loneliness. But, a question
was to be asked! Peter's solemn "yah" or "nien" was waited for in
vain. Forgetful, and almost impatient, Anthony looked up--the chair
was unoccupied which his brother had constantly filled.
Mr. Anthony began to sigh--he got into a habit of sighing. Betty and
Molly (they were soft-hearted baggages) felt for their master--pitied
their poor master! Betty was placing the supper on the table one evening,
when her master sighed very heavily. Betty sighed also, and the corners
of her mouth fell--their eyes met--something like a blush crimsoned
Betty's sleek, shining cheek, when, on raising her eyes again, her master
was still staring at her. Betty simpered, and, in her very soft, very
demure voice ventured to say, "Was there any thing she could do?" Mr.
Vanderclump rose up from his chair. Betty, for the first time, felt
awed by his approach. "Batee!" he said, "my poor Batee! Hah! you are
a goot girl!" He chucked her under the chin with his large hand. Betty
looked meek, and blushed, and simpered again. There was a pause--Mr.
Vanderclump was the first to disturb it. "Hah! hah!" he exclaimed,
gruffly, as if suddenly recollecting himself; and, thrusting both hands
into his capacious breeches-pockets, he sat down to supper, and took no
further notice of Betty that night.
The next morning, the sun seemed to have made a successful struggle with
the dense London atmosphere, and shone full in Mr. Vanderclump's face
while he was at breakfast, and set a piping bullfinch singing a tune,
which his master loved rather for the sake of old associations, than
from any delight in music. Then Lloyd's List was full of arrivals,
and the Price Current had that morning some unusual charm about it,
which I cannot even guess at. Mr. Vanderclump looked upon the bright
and blazing fire; his eye rested, with a calm and musing satisfaction,
on the light volumes of steam rising from the spout of the tea-kettle,
as it stood, rather murmuring drowsily, than hissing, upon the hob. There
was, he might have felt, a sympathy between them. They were both placidly
puffing out the warm and wreathing smoke.
He laid down his pipe, and took half a well-buttered muffin into his
capacious mouth at a bite; he washed the mouthful down, with a large
dish of tea, and he felt in better spirits. That morning he entered the
counting-house rubbing his hands.
Within an hour a crowd of huge, dusky clouds shut out the merry sunshine,
and the Hamburgh mail brought no tidings whatever of Mr. Peter. Mr.
Anthony worked himself up into a thorough ill-humour again, and swore
at his clerks, because they asked him questions. When he entered his
apartment that evening he felt more desolate than ever. Betty placed
a barrel of oysters on the table--he heeded her not;--a large German
sausage--his eyes were fixed on the ground;--a piece of Hamburgh beef
--Mr. Vanderclump looked up for an instant, and, Europa-like, his
thoughts crossed the sea, upon that beef, to Hamburgh. Gradually,
however, a genial warmth spread throughout the room, for Betty stirred
up the fire, and let down the curtains, and snuffed the dim candles;
while Molly loaded the table with bottles of divers shapes and sizes,
a basin of snow-white sugar, and a little basket of limes, of well-known
and exquisite flavour; placing, at the same time, a very small kettle of
boiling water on the fire.--"Why, Mollee! my goot girl!" said Mr.
Vanderclump, in a low and somewhat melancholy tone, (his eyes had
mechanically followed these latter proceedings,) "Mollee! that is ponch!"
--"La, sir! and why not?" replied the damsel, almost playfully. "Why
not be comfortable and cheery? I am sure"--and here she meant to look
encouraging, her usual simper spreading to a smile--"I am sure Betty and
I would do our best to make you so."
"Goot girls, goot girls!" said Mr. Vanderclump, his eyes fixed all the
while upon the supper-table--he sat down to it. "My goot girls!" said
he, soon after, "you may go down; I do not want you; you need not wait."
The two timid, gentle creatures instantly obeyed. More than an hour
elapsed, and then Mr. Vanderclump's bell rang. The two matronly maidens
were very busily employed in making a new cap. Betty rose at once; but
suddenly recollecting that she had been trying on her new and unfinished
cap, and had then only a small brown cotton skull-cap on her head, she
raised both her hands to her head to be certain of this, and then said,
"Do, Molly, there's a dear! answer the bell; for such a figure as I am,
I could not go before master, no how. See, I have unpicked this old cap
for a little bit of French edging at the back." Molly looked a little
peevish; but _her_ cap was on her head, and up stairs she went. Mr.
Vanderclump was sitting before the fire, puffing lustily from his
eternal pipe. "Take away," he said abruptly, "and put the leetle table
here." He pointed and growled, and the sagacious Molly understood. She
placed the table beside him, and upon it the punch, which he had been
drinking. "Batee, my poor Batee!" said Mr. Vanderclump, who had not yet
noticed that Betty was absent. "It is not Betty, but Molly, sir!"
replied the latter damsel, in a voice of childlike simplicity. "Hah!"
said he, apparently considering for a moment, "Hah! Batee, Mollee, all
the same! Mollee, my poor Mollee, you are a goot girl! Get up to-morrow
morning, my poor Mollee, and put on your best gown, and I will marry
you!" Molly, was, as she afterwards declared, struck all of a heap. She
gaped, and gasped with astonishment; and then a power of words were
rushing and racing up her throat to her tongue's end: a glance at her
master stopped their explosion. His hands were in his pockets, his face
towards the fire, his pipe in his mouth. "Yes, sir," she replied, humbly
and distinctly. A few tears trickled down her cheeks, as she curtseyed
low at the door, and disappeared. She knew his ways, she thought within
herself, as she walked very slowly down the stairs, and she
congratulated herself that she had not risked another word in reply.
"And now, Betty," she said, as she entered the kitchen, "I'll put the
finishing stitch to my cap, and go to bed, for master will want nothing
more to-night." She sat down quietly to work, and conversed quietly with
Betty, not disclosing a word of her new prospects, Betty, however,
observed that she took off the trimming with which her new cap had been
already half-adorned. "Why, bless me, Molly!" she cried, "you are not
going to put on that handsome white satin bow, are you?"--"Why, yes! I
think I shall," replied Molly, "for now I look at your cap, with that
there yellow riband upon it, mine seems to me quite old-maidish."
The next morning, Molly got up before her sister, and put on her best
gown and her new cap. The morning was dark and dull, and Betty was
sleepy, and Molly kept the window-curtain and the bed-curtains closely
drawn. Unsuspected, she slipped out of the chamber, her shawl and her
bonnet in her hand.
As the clock struck eight, Molly was standing beside her master before the
rails of the marriage-altar; and, not long after, she burst upon the
astonished eyes of her sister, as Mrs. Vanderclump.
* * * * *
_La Villegiatura_ is a pleasant article; but we do not think there is
much of the "love of pastoral associations" left in the English character,
and we are sorry for it. The _Rustic Wreath_, by Miss Mitford, is very
sweet; the _Cacadore_, a story of the peninsular war, is a soul-stirring
narrative; there is much pleasantry in Mrs. Hofland's _Comforts of
Conceitedness; Virginia Water_, by the editor, could hardly be written
by his fireside--it has too much local inspiration in every line;
_Auguste de Valcour_, by the author of _Gilbert Earle_, is in his usual
felicitous vein of philosophic melancholy; Miss Roberts has a glittering
_Tale of Normandy_; the _Orphans_, by the editor, is simple and pathetic;
_Palinodia_ we subjoin:--
There was a time when I could feel
All passion's hopes and fears,
And tell what tongues can ne'er reveal,
By smiles, and sighs, and tears.
The days are gone! no more, no more,
The cruel fates allow;
And, though I'm hardly twenty-four,
I'm not a lover now.
Lady, the mist is on my sight,
The chill is on my brow;
My day is night, my bloom is blight--
I'm not a lover now!
I never talk about the clouds,
I laugh at girls and boys,
I'm growing rather fond of crowds,
And very fond of noise;
I never wander forth alone
Upon the mountain's brow;
I weighed, last winter, sixteen stone,--
I'm not a lover now!
I never wish to raise a veil,
I never raise a sigh;
I never tell a tender tale,
I never tell a lie;
I cannot kneel as once I did;
I've quite forgot my bow;
I never do as I am bid,--
I'm not a lover now!
I make strange blunders every day,
If I would be gallant,
Take smiles for wrinkles, black for grey.
And nieces for their aunt;
I fly from folly, though it flows
From lips of loveliest glow;
I don't object to length of nose,--
I'm not a lover now!
The muse's steed is very fleet--
I'd rather ride my mare;
The poet hunts a quaint conceit--
I'd rather hunt a hare;
I've learnt to utter yours and you
Instead of thine and thou;
And oh! I can't endure a Blue!--
I'm not a lover now!
I find my Ovid dry,
My Petrarch quite a pill,
Cut Fancy for Philosophy,
Tom Moore for Mr. Mill;
And belles may read, and beaux may write,
I care not who or how;
I burnt my album Sunday night,--
I'm not a lover now!
I don't encourage idle dreams
Of poison or of ropes,
I cannot dine on airy schemes,
I cannot sup on hopes:
New milk, I own is very fine,
Just foaming from the cow;
But yet I want my pint of wine,--
I'm not a lover now!
When Laura sings young hearts away,
I'm deafer than the deep;
When Leonora goes to play,
I sometimes go to sleep;
When Mary draws her white gloves out,
I never dance, I vow:
"Too hot to kick one's heels about!"--
I'm not a lover now!
I'm busy now with state affairs,
I prate of Pitt and Fox;
I ask the price of rail-road shares,
I watch the turns of stocks:
And this is life! no verdure blooms
Upon the withered bough.
I save a fortune in perfumes,--
I'm not a lover now!
I may be yet what others are,
A boudoir's babbling fool;
The flattered star of bench or har,
A party's chief or tool:
Come shower or sunshine, hope or fear,
The palace or the plough--
My heart and lute are broken here,--
I'm not a lover now!
Lady, the mist is on my sight,
The chill is on my brow;
My day is night, my bloom is blight,--
I'm not a lover now!
_The First Ball_, by L.E.L. is rife and gay; which, with Mr. Croker's
_Three Advices_, are all we can spare room to point out to our readers.
* * * * *
Of this volume we have already availed ourselves. Some of the engravings
are in a vigorous and first-rate style of excellence; the binding, too,
is somewhat gay for so grave a title--being crimson silk. Our favourites
are a _Voyage Round the World_, by Montgomery, one of the best poems of
the year; _Faustus, with a Visit to Goethe; Angel Visits_, by Mrs. Hemans;
_The Departed_, by L.E.L.; and some pieces by the editor, Mr. Hall. Our
present extract is
THE LAST VOYAGE. A TRUE STORY.
_By Mrs. Opie._
We cannot fail to observe, as we advance in life, how vividly our earliest
recollections recur to us, and this consciousness is accompanied by a
melancholy pleasure, when we are deprived of those who are most tenderly
associated with such remembrances, because they bring the beloved dead
"before our mind's eye;" and beguile the loneliness of the _present_ hour,
by visions of the _past_. In such visions I now often love to indulge,
and in one of them, a journey to Y---- was recently brought before me, in
which my ever-indulgent father permitted me to accompany him, when I
was yet but a child.
As we drove through C----r, a village within three miles of Y----, he
directed my attention to a remarkable _rising_, or _conical mound of
earth_, on the top of the tower of C----r church. He then kindly
explained the cause of this singular, and _distinguishing_ appearance,
and told me the traditionary anecdote connected with it; which now, in
my own words, I am going to communicate to my readers.
It is generally supposed, that great grief makes the heart so selfishly
absorbed in its own sufferings, as to render it regardless of the
sufferings of others; but the conduct of her, who is the heroine of
the following tale, will prove to this general rule an honourable
I know nothing of her birth, and parentage, nor am I acquainted even with
her name--but I shall call her Birtha--the story goes, that she lived at
C----r, a village three miles from Y---- in N----, and was betrothed to
the mate of a trading vessel, with the expectation of marrying him, when
he had gained money sufficient, by repeated voyages, to make their union
consistent with prudence.
In the meanwhile, there is reason to believe that Birtha was not idle,
but contrived to earn money herself, in order to expedite the hour of
her marriage; and at length, her lover (whom I shall call William) thought
that there was no reason for him to continue his sea-faring life, but at
the end of one voyage more, he should be able to marry the woman of his
choice, and engage in some less dangerous employment, in his native
Accordingly, the next time that he bade farewell to Birtha, the sorrow of
their parting hour was soothed by William's declaring, that, as the next
voyage would be his last, he should expect, when he returned, to find
every thing ready for their marriage.
This was a pleasant expectation, and Birtha eagerly prepared to fulfil it.
By the time that Birtha was beginning to believe that William was on his
voyage home, her neighbours would often help her to count the days which
would probably elapse before the ship could arrive; but when they were
not in her presence, some of the experienced amongst the men used to
express a _hope_, the result of _fear_, that William would return time
enough to avoid _certain winds_, which made one part of the navigation
on that coast particularly dangerous.
Birtha herself, had, no doubt, her _fears_, as well as her _hopes_; but
there are _some_ fears which the lip of affection dares not utter, and
this was one of them.
Birtha dreaded to have her inquiries respecting that dangerous passage,
answered by "Yes, we know that it is a difficult navigation;" she also
dreaded to be told by some kind, but ill-judging friends, to "trust in
Providence;" as, by such advice, the reality of the danger would be still
more powerfully confirmed to her. This recommendation would to her have
been needless, as well as alarming; for she had, doubtless, always relied
on Him who is alone able to save, and she knew that the same "Almighty
arm was underneath" her lover still, which had hitherto preserved him
in the time of need.
Well--time went on, and we will imagine the little garden before the door
of the house which Birtha had hired, new gravelled, fresh flowers sown
and planted there; the curtains ready to be put up; the shelves bright
with polished utensils; table linen, white as the driven snow, enclosed
in the newly-purchased chest of drawers; and the neat, well chosen
wedding-clothes, ready for the approaching occasion: we will also picture
to ourselves, the trembling joy of Birtha, when her eager and sympathizing
neighbours rushed into her cottage, disturbing her early breakfast, with
the glad tidings, that William's ship had been seen approaching the
dangerous passage with a fair wind, and that there was no doubt but
that he would get over it safe, and in day-light! How sweet is it to
be the messenger and the bearer of good news, but it is still sweeter
to know that one has friends who have pleasure in communicating pleasure
But Birtha's joy was still mingled with anxiety, and she probably passed
that day in alternate restlessness and prayer.
Towards night the wind rose high, blowing from a quarter unfavourable to
the safety of the ship, and it still continued to blow in this direction
when night and darkness had closed on all around.
Darkness at that moment seemed to close also upon the prospects of Birtha!
for she knew that there was no beacon, no landmark to warn the vessel of
its danger, and inform the pilot what coast they were approaching, and
what perils they were to avoid; and, it is probable, that the almost
despairing girl was, with her anxious friends, that livelong night a
restless wanderer on the nearest shore.
With the return of morning came the awful confirmation of their worst
There was no remaining vestige of William's vessel, save the top of the
mast, which shewed where it had sunk beneath the waves, and proved that
the hearts which in the morning had throbbed high with tender hopes and
joyful expectations were then cold and still "beneath the mighty waters!"
How different now was the scene in Birtha's cottage, to that which it
exhibited during the preceding morning.
That changed dwelling was not indeed deserted, for sympathizing neighbours
came to it as before; but though many may be admitted with readiness
when it is a time for congratulation, it is only the few who can be
welcome in a season of sorrow; and Birtha's sorrow, though _quiet_, was
_deep_--while neither her nearest relative, nor dearest friend, could
do any thing to assist her, save, by removing from her sight the new
furniture, or the new dresses, which had been prepared for those happy
hours that now could never be hers.
At length, however, Birtha, who had always appeared calm and resigned,
seemed cheerful also! still she remained pale, as in the first moments
of her trial, save when a feverish flush occasionally increased the
brightness of her eyes; but she grew thinner and thinner, and her impeded
breath made her affectionate friends suspect that she was going into a
Medical aid was immediately called in, and Birtha's pleased conviction
that her end was near, was soon, though reluctantly confirmed to her,
at her own request.
It is afflicting to see an invalid rejoice in knowing that the hour of
death is certainly approaching; because it proves the depth and poignancy
of the previous sufferings: but then the sight is comforting and edifying
also. It is _comforting_, because it proves that the dying person is
supported by the only "help that faileth not;" and it is edifying, because
it invites those who behold it to endeavour to _believe_, that they
also may live and _die_ like the departing Christian.
But it was not alone the wish "to die and be with Christ," nor the sweet
expectation of being united in another world to him whom she had lost,
that was the cause of Birtha's increasing cheerfulness, as the hour of
her dissolution drew nigh. No--
Her generous heart was rejoicing in a project which she had conceived, and
which would, if realized, be the source of benefit to numbers yet unborn.
She knew from authority which she could not doubt, that had there been
a _proper landmark_ on the shore, her lover and his ship would not, in
all human probability, have perished.
"Then," said Birtha, "henceforth there shall be a land-mark on this coast!
and I will furnish it! Here at least, no fond and faithful girl shall
again have to lament over her blighted prospects, and pine, and suffer
as I have done."
She sent immediately for the clergyman of the parish, made her will,
and had a clause inserted to the following effect: "I desire that I
may be buried on the top of the tower of C----r church! and that my
grave may be made very high, and pointed, in order to render it a
perpetual land-mark to all ships approaching that dangerous navigation
where he whom I loved was wrecked. I am assured, that, had there been a
land-mark on the tower of C---- church, his ship might have escaped; and
I humbly trust, that my grave will always be kept up, according to my
will, to prevent affectionate hearts, in future, from being afflicted as
mine has been; and I leave a portion of my little property in the hands of
trustees, for ever, to pay for the preservation of the above-mentioned
grave, in all its usefulness!"
Before she died, the judicious and benevolent sufferer had the
satisfaction of being assured, that her intentions would be carried into
Her last moments were therefore cheered by the belief, that she would
be graciously permitted to be, even after death, a benefit to others,
and that her grave might be the means of preserving some of her
fellow-creatures from shipwreck and affliction.
Nor was her belief a delusive one---The conical grave in question gives so
remarkable an appearance to the tower of C----r church, when it is seen at
sea, even at a distance, that if once observed it can never be forgotten,
even by those to whom the anecdote connected with it is unknown
--therefore, as soon as it appears in sight, pilots know that they are
approaching a dangerous coast, and take measures to avoid its perils.
But if the navigation on that coast is no longer as perilous as it was,
when the heroine of this story was buried, and the tower of C----r church
is no longer a necessary land-mark, still her grave remains a pleasing
memorial of one, whose active benevolence rose superior to the selfishness
both of sorrow and of sickness; and enabled her, even on the bed of death,
to _contrive_ and _will_ for the benefit of posterity.
It is strange, but true, that the name of this humble, but privileged
being, is not on record; but many whose names are forgotten on earth,
have been, I doubt not, received and rewarded in heaven.
* * * * *
Is a new adventurer in the "annual" field, and deserves a foremost rank
as a work of art. Thus, the _Child with Flowers_, by Humphreys, after
Sir Thomas Laurence, is really fit company for the president's beautiful
picture; the _Boy and Dog_, by the same painter and engraver, is also very
fine; but the selection of both of the pictures for one volume is hardly
judicious. With _Haddon Hall_ our readers are already familiar. _Sans
Souci_, after Stothard, is a delightful scene. In the literature, almost
the only very striking composition is Sir Walter Scott's illustration of
Wilkie's painting of the baronet's own family, which, having been copied
into every newspaper, we do not reprint. For our part, we do not admire
the painting; there is too much _rank and file_ for a family group. Mr.
Hood has a _Lament of Chivalry_, in his best style; and a few _Verses
for an Album_, by Charles Lamb, are to our taste.
A LAMENT FOR THE DECLINE OF CHIVALRY.
BY THOMAS HOOD, ESQ.
Well hast thou cried, departed Burke,
All chivalrous romantic work,
Is ended now and past!--
That iron age--which some have thought
Of metal rather overwrought--
Is now all over-cast!
Ay,--where are those heroic knights
Of old--those armadillo wights
Who wore the plated vest,--
Great Charlemagne, and all his peers
Are cold--enjoying with their spears
An everlasting rest!--
The bold King Arthur sleepeth sound,
So sleep his knights who gave that Round
Old Table such eclat!
Oh Time has pluck'd the plumy brow!
And none engage at turneys now
But those who go to law!
Grim John o' Gaunt is quite gone by,
And Guy is nothing but a Guy,
Orlando lies forlorn!--
Bold Sidney, and his kidney--nay,
Those "early champions"--what are they
But _Knights_ without a morn!
No Percy branch now perseveres
Like those of old in breaking spears--
The name is now a lie!--
Surgeons, alone, by any chance,
Are all that ever couch a lance
To couch a body's eye!
Alas! for Lion-Hearted Dick,
That cut the Moslem to the quick,
His weapon lies in peace,--
Oh, it would warm them in a trice,
If they could only have a spice
Of his old mace in Greece!
The fam'd Rinaldo lies a-cold,
And Tancred too, and Godfrey bold,
That scal'd the holy wall!
No Saracen meets Paladin,
We hear of no great _Saladin_,
But only grow the small!
Our Cressys too have dwindled since
To penny things--at our Black Prince
Historic pens would scoff--
The only one we moderns had
Was nothing but a Sandwich lad,
And measles took him off:--
Where are those old and feudal clans,
Their pikes, and bills, and partizans!
A battle was a battle then,
A breathing piece of work--but men
Fight now with powder puffs!
The curtal-axe is out of date!
The good old cross-bow bends to Fate,
'Tis gone--the archer's craft!
No tough arm bends the springing yew.
And jolly draymen ride, in lieu
Of Death, upon the shaft.--
The spear--the gallant tilter's pride
The rusty spear is laid aside,
Oh spits now domineer!--
The coat of mail is left alone,--
And where is all chain armour gone?
Go ask at Brighton Pier.
We fight in ropes and not in lists,
Bestowing hand-cuffs with our fists,
A low and vulgar art!--
No mounted man is overthrown--
A tilt!--It is a thing unknown--
Except upon a cart.
Methinks I see the bounding barb,
Clad like his Chief in steely garb,
For warding steel's appliance!--
Methinks I hear the trumpet stir!
'Tis but the guard to Exeter,
That bugles the "Defiance!"
In cavils when will cavaliers
Set ringing helmets by the ears,
And scatter plumes about?
Or blood--if they are in the vein?
That tap will never run again--
Alas the _Casque_ is out!
No iron-crackling now is scor'd
By dint of battle-axe or sword,
To find a vital place--
Though certain Doctors still pretend
Awhile, before they kill a friend,
To labour through his case.
Farewell, then, ancient men of might!
Crusader! errant squire, and knight!
Our coats and customs soften,--
To rise would only make ye weep--
Sleep on, in rusty iron sleep,
As in a safety-coffin!
* * * * *
VERSES FOR AN ALBUM.
Fresh clad from Heaven in robes of white
A young probationer of light.
Thou wert, my soul, an Album bright.
A spotless leaf but thought, and care--
And friends, and foes, in foul or fair,
Have "written strange defeature" there.
And Time, with heaviest hand of all,
Like that fierce writing on the wall,
Hath stamp'd sad dates--he can't recall.
And error gilding worst designs--
Like speckled snake that strays and shines--
Betrays his path by crooked lines.
And vice hath left his ugly blot--
And good resolves, a moment hot,
Fairly began--but finish'd not.
And fruitless late remorse doth trace--
Like Hebrew lore, a backward pace--
Her irrecoverable race.
Disjointed numbers--sense unknit--
Huge reams of folly--shreds of wit--
Compose the mingled mass of it.
My scalded eyes no longer brook,
Upon this ink-blurr'd thing to look,
Go--shut the leaves--and clasp the book!--
* * * * *
THE LITERARY POCKET-BOOK.
Is this year resumed, but we think it is not so successful as, were its
previous _fasciculi_. The "_literary_" is a good epithet for its sale
among would-be authors, like the "_Gentleman's_" Magazine among a certain
class of worthies. But of what use are such articles as the following
to literary men:--_The Seasons_, by a Man of _Taste_, (like the _carte_
of a restaurateur;) _Sayings of a Man about Town; Remonstrance with J.F.
Newton; Lines on Crockford's &c._--all amusing enough in their way, but,
in a literary pocket-book, out of place, and not in good taste. The
"lists," too, the only useful portion of the volume, are, in many
instances, very incorrect. Apropos, how long has Morris Birbeck been dead?
Our Illinois friend might be alive when the editor published his last
pocket-book; but if he stands still, time does not. There is, too, an
affectation of fashion about the work which does not suit our sober taste;
but as a seasonable Christmas extract, we are induced to quote _Winter_
from the _Seasons_:--
Now is the high season of beef; beef, which Prometheus killed for us at
first, ere he filched the fire from heaven, with which to constitute it a
beef-steak--that foundation of the most delightful of clubs, and origin
of the most delightful of all memoirs of them. Nor be the sirloin, boast
of Englishmen, forgot! nor its vaunted origin; which proves that the age
of chivalry, despite of Burke, is not yet gone! Stewed beef too, and ample
round, and _filet de boeuf saute dans sa glace_, and stewed rump-steaks,
and ox-tail soup.
"Spirits of beef, where are ye? are ye all fled?"
_Henry the Eighth_.
No--when beef flies the English shores, then you may, as the immortal bard
exquisitely expresses it, "make a silken purse out of a sow's ear." But
mutton, too, invites my Muse. It is calculated that fifteen hundred
thousand sheep are annually sacrificed in London to the carnivorous taste
of John Bull. "Of roast mutton (as Dr. Johnson says) what remains for me
to say? It will be found sometimes succous, and sometimes defective of
moisture; but what palate has ever failed to be pleased with a haunch
which has been duly suspended? what appetite has not been awakened by the
fermentation that glitters on its surface, when it has been reposing for
the requisite number of hours before a fire equal in its fervency?"
We quite agree with Dr. Johnson; but a boiled leg of mutton, its whiteness
transparent through the verdant capers that decorate its candour, is not
to be despised; nor is a hash, whether celebrated as an Irish stew, or a
_hachis de mouton_, most relishing of _rifacciamenti_! Chops and garlic
_a la Francaise_ are exquisite; and the saddle, cut learnedly, is the
Elysium of a gourmand.
Now also is the time of house-lamb and of doe-venison. Now is the time of
Christmas come, and the voice of the turkey is heard in our land! This is
the period of their annual massacre--a new slaughter of the innocents!
The Norwich coaches are now laden with mortals; that, while alive, shared
with their equally intelligent townsmen, _fruges consumere nati_, the
riches of their agricultural county.
Let others talk as they will about the Greek and the Ottoman!--in cookery,
I abhor Greece, and love Turkey. And yet how inconsistent I am in my
politics! for I sometimes regard the partition of Turkey as a thing well
purchased by the sacrifice of every Ottoman in the world--would they
were all _under my feet_!--especially when I have the gout. I confess,
the dismemberment of Poland did not affect me much. A man who is much
accustomed to dismember fowls, will not care much about that of kingdoms.
Nor be the cod (a blessing on his head--and shoulders!) forgotten.
Beautifully candid, his laminae separate readily before the tranchant
silver, and each flake, covered with a creamy curd, lies ready to
receive the affusion of molten (not oiled) butter, which, with its
floating oyster-islands, seems in impatient agitation for the moment
of overflowing the alluring "white creature," as a modern poet styles it.
* * * * *
Having _transported_ the public for the term of _fourteen years_, our
readers need not be told that the present is the fifteenth volume. We
should say more in its praise had it said less in our own. In richness
and variety it is quite equal to any of its predecessors; and we promise
our readers an occasional sip of its original sweets.
* * * * *
The _Keepsake_ and the _Christmas-Box_ (the latter a _juvenile_ annual)
must stand over for an early number.
* * * * *
_Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset
House,) and sold by all Newsmen and Booksellers._
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