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Title: International Weekly Miscellany of Literature, Art, and Science — Volume 1, No. 4, July 22, 1850

Author: Various

Release date: July 29, 2004 [eBook #13053]
Most recently updated: December 15, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, William Flis, the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team and Cornell University


Of Literature, Art, and Science.

Vol. I. NEW YORK, JULY 22, 1850. No. 4.

[pg 97]


The revolutions of society are almost as sure if not as regular as those of the planets. The inventions of a generation weary after a while, but they are very likely to be revived if they have once ministered successfully to pleasure or ambition. The famous coteries in which learning was inter-blended with fashion in the golden age of French intelligence, are being revived under the new Republic, and women are again quietly playing with institutions and liberties, perhaps as dangerously as when Mesdames de Tencin, Pompadour, Geoffrin, Deffant, Poplinière and L'Espinasse assembled the destinies nightly in their drawing rooms.

The tendency to such associations is displayed also in most of our own cities. The Town and Country Club of Boston, the Wistar Parties in Philadelphia, the Literary Club in Charleston, the recent converzaziones at the houses of President Charles King of Columbia College, and others, and the well-known Saturday Evenings at Miss Lynch's, where literature and art and general speculation have for some seasons had a common center, all illustrate the disposition of an active and cultivated society, not engrossed by special or spasmodic excitements, to cluster by rules of feeling and capacity: and clusters of passion and mind are rarely for a long period inert. When they become common they are apt to assume the direction of private custom and public opinion and affairs.

In view of these things, we are sure that the readers of the International will be interested in the following translation of Professor Schlosser's brilliant survey of those bureaux d'esprit which so much distinguished society and influenced its history in Europe, from the beginning to the middle of the last century. Schlosser is a Privy Councillor and Professor of History in the University of Heidelberg. He is chiefly known in continental Europe by his great work, the History of the Eighteenth Century, and of the Nineteenth till the overthrow of the French Empire, a work which derives its value not merely from the profound and minute acquaintance of the author with the subject, from the new views which are presented and the hitherto unexamined sources from which much has been derived, but from his well-known independence of character—from the general conclusions which he draws from the comparative views of the resources, conduct, manners, institutions and literature of the great European nations, during a period unparalleled in the history of the world for the development of the physical and mental powers of mankind, for the greatness of the events which occurred, for the progress of knowledge, for the cultivation of the arts and sciences, for all that contributes to the greatness and prosperity of nations.

If we venture to bring the Parisian evening, dinner and supper parties into connection with the general history of Europe, and the ladies also at whose houses these parties took place, we can neither be blamed for scrupulous severity, nor for paradoxical frivolity. It belongs to the character of the eighteenth century, that the historian who wishes to bring the true springs of conduct and sources of action to light, must condescend even so far. It must also be borne in mind, when the clever women and societies of Paris are spoken of, that the demands of the age and progressive improvement and culture were altogether unattended to at the court of Louis XV., as well before as after the death of Cardinal Fleury, and that all which was neglected at Versailles was cultivated in Paris. The court and the city had been hitherto united in their wants and in their judgment; the court ruled education, fashion and the general tone, as it ruled the state; now, however, they completely separated. Afterward the voice of the city was raised in opposition, and the voice of this opposition became the organ of the age and of the country; but it was felt and recognized in Versailles only when it was too late. How easy it would have been then, as Marmontel had shown very clearly in his memoirs, to fetter Voltaire, who was offensive to the people, and how important this would have been for the state, will appear in the following paragraphs, in which we shall show that even the Parisian theatre, whose boards were regarded as a model by all Europe, freed itself from the influence of the court, became dependent on the [pg 98] tone-giving circles of Paris, and assumed a decidedly democratic direction.

As early as the time of Louis XIV., the court had separated itself from the learned men of the age; and at the end of the seventeenth century the houses and societies could be historically pointed out, in which judgments were pronounced upon questions of literature in the same manner as the pit became the tribunal to which plays and play-actors must appeal; we shall not, however, go back so far, but keep the later times always in our view. In those associations in which the Abbé de Chaulieu and other friends of Vendome and Conti led the conversation, literature was brought wholly under the dominion of audacious pretension and immorality, in the time of the Regency and during the minority of Louis XV. In reference to the leaders there needs no proof. What could a Philip of Orleans or his Dubois take under his protection, except what corresponded with his ideas and mode of life?

The time of the minority of Louis XV. and that of the administration of Cardinal Fleury was for several reasons highly favorable to the formation of private societies, which entertained themselves with wit and satire, and carried on a quiet but continual contest with the persons and systems which were protected by the government and the clergy. Fleury regarded everything as sinful which had the appearance of worldly knowledge, or partook of the character of jests, novels, or plays; Louis, as he grew up, showed himself quite indifferent to everything which had no connection with religious ceremonies, hunting, or handsome women. Fleury spoke and wrote in that ecclesiastical phraseology which was laughed at in the world: he favored the clergy, school learning, the tone of the times of Louis XIV.; but the spirit of the age demanded something different from this. All that was regarded with disfavor by Fleury assembled around those celebrated men, who held their reunions in Paris, and this court soon became more important to the vain than the royal one itself, and it was proved by experience that reputation and glory might be gained without the aid or protection of the court at Versailles. This no one could have previously believed, but the public soon learnt to do homage to the tone-giving scholars, to the ladies and gentlemen who fostered them, as it had formerly paid its homage to the ministers of the court. This gave to the ladies, who collected around them the celebrated men of the time (for reputation was much more the question than merit,) and who protected and entertained them, a degree of weight in the political and literary world, which made them as important in the eighteenth century as Richelieu and Colbert had been in the seventeenth.

The queen, on her part, might have been able to exercise a beneficial influence, however little power she had in other respects, when compared with the mistresses of the king; but the daughter of Stanislaus Leckzinski was a gentle, admirable woman, although somewhat narrow-minded, and wholly given up to irrational devotional exercises and bigotry. Like her father, she was altogether in the hands of the Jesuits, blindly and unconditionally their servant; such an attachment to a religious order, and such blind devotedness as hers would be quite incredible, if we did not possess her own and her father's autograph letters, as proofs of the fact. We shall present our readers with some extracts from these letters, which are preserved in the archives of the French empire, when we come to speak of the abolition of the order of Jesuits.

As to the enlightened mistresses who had much more power and influence than the queen, Pompadour seemed, as we learn from Marmontel, desirous of participating in the literature of the age and of doing something for its promotion, when she saw how important writers and the influence of the press had become; but partly because both she and the king were altogether destitute of any sense for the beautiful in literature or art, and partly because the better portion of the learned men at the time neither could nor would be pleased with what a Bernis, Düclos and Marmontel were disposed to be, who undoubtedly received some marks of favor from her. Voltaire is therefore quite right when he lays upon the court the blame of allowing the influence which literature then exercised upon the people, to be withdrawn altogether from king and his ministers, and to be transferred to the hands of the Parisian ladies and farmers-general, &c. Voltaire, in his well-known verses,1 admits, with great openness and simplicity, that he attached much importance to the applause of a court, although it neither possessed judgment nor feeling for the merits of a writer, nor for poetical beauties; and he complains at the same time that this court had neither duly estimated his tragedies nor his epic poems. It is characteristic both of the court and of Voltaire that he eagerly pressed himself forward for admission to its favor, and sought to attract attention by a work which be himself called a piece of trash, and that the court extended its approbation and applause to this miserable and altogether inappropriate piece, ('La Princesse de Navarre,') which he composed on the occasion of the Dauphin's marriage with the Infanta of Spain, whilst it entirely neglected his masterpieces.

The Paris societies had got full possession of the field of literature, and erected their tribunals before the middle of the century, whilst at Versailles nothing was spoken or thought of except amusements and hunting, Jesuits and processions, and the grossest sensuality [pg 99] prevailed. The members of the Parisian societies were not a whit more moral or decent in their behavior than those about the court at Versailles, but they carried on open war against hypocrisy, and all that was praised and approved of by the court.

We shall now proceed to mention three or four of the most distinguished of those societies, which have obtained an historical importance, not merely for the French literature and mental and moral culture of the eighteenth century, but for Europe in general, without however restraining ourselves precisely within the limits of the half century. The minute accounts which Grimm has given, for the most part affect only the later periods; we turn our attention therefore the rather to what the weak, vain, talkative Marmontel has related to us on the subject in his 'Autobiography,' because Rousseau was by far too one-sided in his notices, and drew public attention to the most demoralized and degraded members of the circle only.

The first lady who must be mentioned, is Madame de Tencin. She belonged to the period within which we must confine ourselves, and she gained for herself such a name, not only in Paris, but in all Europe, that she was almost regarded as the creator of that new literature which stood in direct and bold opposition to the prevailing taste, inasmuch as she received at her house, entertained and cherished, those who were really its originators and supporters. This lady could not boast of the morality of her early years, nor of her respect even for common propriety. She is not only notorious for having exposed, when a child, the celebrated D'Alembert, who was her natural son, and for regarding with indifference his being brought up by the wife of a common glazier as her own son; but stories still worse than even these are told of her. She enriched herself, as many others did, in the time of Law's scheme, by no very creditable means; and fell under such a serious suspicion of having been privy to the death of one of those who had carried on an intrigue with her, that she was imprisoned and involved in a criminal prosecution, from which she escaped, not through her own innocence, but by means of the powerful influence of her distinguished relations and friends.

All this did not prevent Pope Benedict XIV., who, as Cardinal Lambertini, had been often at her house, as a member of the society of men of talents who met there, from carrying on a continual intercourse with her by letter; he also sent her his picture as a testimony of kind remembrance. This lady succeeded in procuring for her brother the dignity of a cardinal, and through him had great weight with Fleury, with the court, and with the city in general; she is also known as an authoress. As we are not writing a history of literature properly speaking, we pass by her novels in silence, with this remark only, that people are accustomed to place the 'Comte de Comminges,' written by Madame de Tencin, on the same footing with the 'Princess de Clêve,' by Madame de Lafayette.

The society in the house of Madame de Tencin consisted of well-known men of learning, and some younger men of distinguished name and family; she united, in later years, a certain amiability with her care for the entertainment and recreation of those whom she had once received into her house. This society, after the death of De Tencin, assembled in the house of Geoffrin. It appears, however, that Madame de Tencin, as well as the whole fashionable world to which she belonged, could never altogether disavow their contempt for science, if indeed it be true, that she was accustomed to call her society by the indecent by-name of her ménagerie. Fontenelle, Montesquieu, Mairan, Helvetius who was then quite young and present rather as a hearer than a speaker, Marivaux and Astruc, formed the nucleus of this clever society and led the conversation. Marmontel, who was not well suited to this society, in which more real knowledge and a deeper train of thought was called for than he possessed, informs us what the tone of this society was, and speaks of their hunting after lively conceits and brilliant flashes of wit, in a somewhat contemptuous manner. Marmontel, however, himself admits, that he was only once in the society, and that in order to read his 'Aristomenes,' and that greater simplicity and good humor prevailed there than in the house of Madame Geoffrin, in which he was properly at home.

Madame de Tencin's influence upon the new literature of the opposition party, or rather upon the spirit of the age, may be best judged of from the fact, that she largely contributed to the first preparation and favorable reception of Montesquieu's "Spirit of Laws." It is certain, at least, that she bought a large number of copies and distributed them amongst her friends. Madame Geoffrin went further; the society which had previously met at Madame de Tencin's, no sooner held their reunions in her house, than she drew together the whole literary and the fashionable world, foreign ministers, noblemen and princes who were on their travels, etc. Marmontel also says, that the aged Madame de Tencin had guessed quite correctly the intentions of Madame Geoffrin, when she said, that she merely came to her house so often in order to see what part of her inventory she could afterward make useful.

Madame Geoffrin became celebrated all over Europe, merely by devoting a portion of her income and of her time to the reception of clever society. She had neither the knowledge, the mind, nor the humility of Madame de Tencin, which the latter at least affected toward the close of her life; she was cold, egotistical, calculating, and brought into her circle nothing more than order, tact and female delicacy. Geoffrin also assumed the tone of high life, which always treats men of learning, poets and artists, as if they were mantua-makers or hair-dressers; and which [pg 100] must ever value social tact and the tone which is only to be acquired in good society, higher than all studies and arts upon which any one possessed of these properties is in a condition to pass judgment without having spent any time in their investigation. Marmontel is therefore honest enough to admit that he and his friends, as well as Madame Geoffrin herself, were accustomed to make a full parade when foreign princes, ministers, and celebrated men or women dined at the house. On such occasions especially, Madame Geoffrin displayed all the charms of her mind, and called to us, "now let us be agreeable."

Geoffrin's house was the first school of bon ton in Europe: Stanislaus Poniatowsky, even after he became King of Poland, addressed her by the tender name of mother, invited her to Warsaw, and received her as a personage of high distinction. All the German courts which followed the fashion, paid correspondents in order to be made acquainted with the trifles which occupied that circle. Catherine II. had no sooner mounted the throne than she began to pay a commissioner at this literary court, and even Maria Theresa distinguished Madame Geoffrin in a remarkable manner, on her return from Poland. Besides, we are made acquainted by Marmontel, who ranked his hostess among the gods of this earth, with the anxiety and cautiousness of this lady of the world, who afterward broke altogether with the chiefs of the new literature, and most humbly did homage to the old faith, because she had never wholly forsaken her old prejudices.

The able writers of the time were used by Geoffrin only as means to promote her objects, to gain a reputation for splendor, and to glorify France. The King of Prussia sought her society, in order to refresh and cheer his mind when he was worn out with the cares and toils of government.

Madame Geoffrin opened her house regularly on Mondays for artists, and on Wednesdays for men of learning; but as she neither understood the arts nor sciences, she took part in the conversation only so far as she could do so without exposing her weak side. She understood admirably how to attract the great men to her house, to whose houses she herself very seldom went; and as long as the appearance of fashionable infidelity and of scoffing, which was then the mode in the higher circles, was necessary to this object, she carefully concealed her real religious opinions.

The weak Marmontel, who, according to his own description, was only fitted for superficial conversation and writing, boasts of the prudence, foresight and skill of his protectress, and shows how she understood the way to gain the confidence of others without ever yielding her own. This distinguished art made the house of Madame Geoffrin invaluable to the great world, and to those learned men who wished to shine in this kind of society, and to cultivate and avail themselves of it, for such people must learn above all things neither to say too much nor too little. This society, indeed, was not calculated for any length of time for a Rousseau or a Diderot. Even the great admirers of Geoffrin admit that savoir vivre was her highest knowledge, she had very few ideas with respect to anything besides; but in the knowledge of all that pertained to the manners and usage of good society, in the knowledge of men, and particularly of women, she was deeply learned, and was able to give some very useful instructions.

It would lead us too far into the history of the following period, to enumerate and characterize the members of these regular societies. It may suffice to mention, that in addition to all the guests who frequented Madame de Tencin's, all the friends of Voltaire's school, and at first also Rousseau, made a part of the society at the house of Madame Geoffrin. We have already remarked that no prince, minister, or distinguished man of all Europe came to Paris who did not visit Madame Geoffrin, and think it an honor to be invited to her house, because he there found united all that was exclusively called talent in Europe.

Kaunitz also, who was then only a courtier in Versailles, came to Madame Geoffrin's parties. He was a man who combined in a most surprising manner true philosophy and a deep knowledge of political economy, with the outward appearance of a fop and a trifler. Among the other distinguished men who lived in Paris, Marmontel names with high praise the Abbé Galliani, Caraccioli, who was afterward Neapolitan ambassador, and the Swedish ambassador, Count Creutz.

Marmontel was so much delighted with this society, even at a very advanced age, that he gives us also accounts of their evening parties: "As I was in the habit of dining with the learned and with the artists at Madame Geoffrin's, so was I also of supping with her in her more limited and select circle. At these petits soupers there was no carousing or luxuries,—a fowl, spinach and pancakes constituted the usual fare. The society was not numerous: there met together only five or six of her particular friends, or even persons of the highest rank, who were suited to each other, and therefore enjoyed themselves." It appears distinctly from the passage already quoted from Marmontel, how the high nobility on these occasions treated the learned, and how the learned demeaned themselves toward the nobility. It appears, therefore, that Rousseau was not in error when he alleged that emptiness and wantonness only were cherished in these societies, and that the literature which was then current was only a slow poison.

Madame du Deffant appeared on the stage of the great world contemporaneously with Geoffrin, and attained so high a degree of celebrity, that the Emperor Joseph paid her a visit in her advanced period of life, and thus afforded her the opportunity of paying him [pg 101] that celebrated compliment which is found related in every history of France. With respect to Deffant, however, we must not listen to Marmontel; she stood above his rhymes, his love tales, his sentimental wanton stories, and besides, he knew her only when she had become old. What we Germans name feminine and good morals formed no part of the distinction of Deffant, but talents only. Like Tencin, she was ill-reputed in her youth on account of her amours, and reckoned the Regent among her fortunate wooers; at a later period she turned her attention to literature.

Deffant brought together at her house all those persons whom Voltaire visited when he was in Paris; among these the President Hénault, and, at a later period of which we now speak, D'Alembert attracted to this circle distinguished foreigners and Frenchmen, who made any pretensions to culture and education. Deffant assumed quite a different tone among the learned from that of Geoffrin. She set up for a judge in questions of philosophy and taste, and carried on a constant correspondence with Voltaire. Among celebrated foreigners, the Englishman Horace Walpole played the same character in this house which the Swede Creutz had assumed in that of Geoffrin. Deffant and her Walpole became celebrated throughout Europe by their printed correspondence, which, on account of its smoothness and emptiness, like all books written for the great world, found very numerous readers.

Deffant, moreover, like Geoffrin. was faithless to her friends; she wished indeed to enjoy the most perfect freedom in their society, but she was unwilling that they should publish abroad this freedom. And she strongly disapproved of the vehemence with which her friends assailed the existing order of things.

When she afterward lost a considerable part of her property, and became blind, she occupied a small dwelling in an ecclesiastical foundation in Paris, but continued to receive philosophers, poets and artists in her house; and in order to give a little more life to the conversation, she invited a young lady whose circumstances were straitened to be her companion. This was Mademoiselle l'Espinasse. L'Espinasse was not beautiful, but she was young, amiable, lively, and more susceptible than we in Germany are accustomed either to allow or to pardon. Deffant, on the other hand, was witty and intelligent, but old, bitter, and withal egotistically insensible. The boldest scoffers assembled around L'Espinasse, and there was afterward formed around her a circle of her own. Deffant turned day into night, and night into day. She and the Duchess of Luxembourg, who was inseparable from her, received learned distinguished personages and foreigners, from six o'clock in the evening during the greater part of the night.

The importance in which such ladies and such societies were held, not merely in France but in all Europe, may be judged of from the fact, that the breach between Deffant and her young companion was treated in some measure as a public European event. The French minister and foreign ambassadors took part in it, and the whole literary world felt its effect. After this breach there were two tone-giving tribunals for the guidance of public opinion in matters of literature and taste, and their decisions were circulated by letter over all Europe. Horace Walpole, Hénault, Montesquieu. Voltaire, whose correspondence with Deffant has been published in the present century, remained true to her cause. D'Alembert, whose correspondence with Deffant, as well as that of the Duchess of Maine, have also been published in our century, went over to L'Espinasse. This academician, whose name and influence was next in importance to that of Voltaire, formed the nucleus of a new society in the house of L'Espinasse, and was grievously tormented by his inamorata, who pursued one plan of conquest after another when she saw one scheme of marriage after another fail of success. It appears from the whole of the transactions and consequences connected with this breach, however surprising it may be, that this formation of a new circle in Paris for evening entertainment may be with truth compared to the institution of a new academy for the promotion of European culture and refinement. The Duchess of Luxembourg, who continued to be a firm friend of Deffant, took upon herself to provide suitable apartments for the society, whilst the minister of the day (the Duc de Choiseul) prevailed upon the king to grant a pension of no inconsiderable amount to L'Espinasse.

This new circle was the point of union for all the philosophical reformers. Here D'Alembert and Diderot led the conversation; and the renowned head of the political economists, Türgot, who was afterward minister of state, was a member of this bolder circle of men who became celebrated and ill-renowned under the name of Encyclopædists. We shall enter upon a fuller consideration of the tone and taste which reigned in this assembly, as well as in the society which met in the house of Holbach, and of the history of the Encyclopædia, in the following period, and shall only now mention at the conclusion of the present, and that very slightly, some of the other clever societies of Parisians who were all in their day celebrated in Europe. It is scarcely possible for us to judge of the charm which these societies possessed in the great world. This may be best learned from their own writings and conversation, a specimen of which may be found in Marmontel's 'Memoirs,' and formed the subject of a conversation between him and the Duke of Brunswick (who fell at Jena in 1806) and his duchess.

The society of beaux esprits which met at the house of Madame de Poplinière, in the time of Madame de Tencin, was only short-lived, like the good fortune of the lady herself. In her house there assembled members of the great world who were addicted to carousing [pg 102] and debauchery, and learned men who sought to obtain their favor and approbation. The same sort of society was afterward kept up in the house of Holbach. A smaller society, which frequented the house of the farmer-general Pelletier, consisted of unmarried people, who were known as persons who indulged in malicious and licentious conversation. Collé, the younger Crébillon and Bernard, who, notwithstanding his helplessness, was called le gentil, played the chief characters in this reunion, and the Gascon nature of Marmontel, which was always forward and intrusive, helped him into this society also. Baron Holbach, who was a native of the Palatinate, and the able Helvetius who was wanton merely from vanity, brought together expressly and intentionally at a later period, around their well-spread table, all those who declared open war against religion and morality. We must, however, return to these men in the following period.

Holbach for a whole quarter of a century had regular dinner-parties on Sundays, which are celebrated in the history of atheism. All those were invited, who were too bold and too out-spoken for Geoffrin; and even D'Alembert also at a later period withdrew from their society.

Grimm, whose copious correspondence has also been published in the nineteenth century, gives minutes and notices of all the memorable sayings and doings that served to entertain and occupy the polite world in Europe. Grimm also entertained and feasted these distinguished gentlemen. He was not at that time consul for Gotha, or employed and paid by that court or the Empress Catherine to collect Parisian anecdotes, neither had he then been made a baron, but was merely civil secretary of Count von Friese. Both J.J. Rousseau and Buffon belonged at first to these societies; but the former, in great alarm, broke off all intercourse with the people who then played the first parts in Paris, and the other quietly retired.

Footnote 1: (return)

Mon Henri quatre et ma Zaïre,

Et mon Americaine Alzire,

Ne m'ont valu jamais un seul regard du roi;

J'eus beaucoup d'ennemis avec très-peu de gloire.

Les honneurs et les biens pleuvent enfin sur moi

Pour une farce de la foire.—La Princesse de Navarro.


The London Athenæum, of the 15th June, has the following remarks upon the last work of NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE:

"This is a most powerful and painful story. Mr. Hawthorne must be well known to our readers as a favorite of the Athenæum. We rate him as among the most original and peculiar writers of American fiction. There in his works a mixture of Puritan reserve and wild imagination, of passion and description, of the allegorical and the real, which some will fail to understand, and which others will positively reject,—but which, to ourselves, is fascinating, and which entitles him to be placed on a level with Brockden Brown and the author of 'Rip Van Winkle.' 'The Scarlet Letter' will increase his reputation with all who do not shrink from the invention of the tale; but this, as we have said, is more than ordinarily painful. When we have announced that the three characters are a guilty wife, openly punished for her guilt,—her tempter, whom she refuses to unmask, and who during the entire story carries a fair front and an unblemished name among his congregation,—and her husband, who, returning from a long absence at the moment of her sentence, sits himself down betwixt the two in the midst of a small and severe community to work out his slow vengeance on both under the pretext of magnanimous forgiveness,—when we have explained that 'The Scarlet Letter' is the badge of Hester Prynne's shame, we ought to add that we recollect no tale dealing with crime so sad and revenge so subtly diabolical, that is at the same time so clear of fever and of prurient excitement. The misery of the woman is as present in every page as the heading which in the title of the romance symbolizes her punishment. Her terrors concerning her strange elvish child present retribution in a form which is new and natural:—her slow and painful purification through repentance is crowned by no perfect happiness, such as awaits the decline of those who have no dark and bitter past to remember. Then, the gradual corrosion of heart of Dimmesdale, the faithless priest, under the insidious care of the husband, (whose relationship to Hester is a secret known only to themselves,) is appalling; and his final confession and expiation are merely a relief, not a reconciliation. We are by no means satisfied that passions and tragedies like these are the legitimate subjects for fiction: we are satisfied that novels such as 'Adam Blair,' and plays such as 'The Stranger,' maybe justly charged with attracting more persons than they warn by their excitement. But if Sin and Sorrow in their most fearful forms are to be presented in any work of art, they have rarely been treated with a loftier severity, purity, and sympathy than in Mr. Hawthorne's 'Scarlet Letter.' The touch of the fantastic befitting a period of society in which ignorant and excitable human creatures conceived each other and themselves to be under the direct 'rule and governance' of the Wicked One, is most skillfully administered. The supernatural here never becomes grossly palpable:—the thrill is all the deeper for its action being indefinite, and its source vague and distant."

Footnote 2: (return)

The Scarlet Letter: a Romance. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Ticknor & Co.

The Emperor Nicholas has just published an ordonnance, which regulates the pensions to which Russian and foreign actors at the imperial theaters at St. Petersburgh shall be entitled. This ordonnance divides the actors (national as well as foreign) into four classes. The first class obtains, after twenty years' service, pensions averaging from 300 to 1140 silver rubles. The others, after fifteen years' service, will receive pensions from 285 to 750 silver rubles.

[pg 103]


CHEMICALLY AND PHYSIOLOGICALLY CONSIDERED.—Each hair is a tube, containing an oil, of a color similar to its own. Hair contains at least ten distinct substances: sulphate of lime and magnesia, chlorides of sodium and potassium, phosphate of lime, peroxide of iron, silica, lactate of ammonia, oxide of manganese and margaim. Of these, sulphur is the most prominent, and it is upon this that certain metallic salts operate in changing the color of hair. Thus when the salts of lead or of mercury are applied, they enter into combination with the sulphur, and a black sulphuret of the metal is formed. A common formula for a paste to dye the hair, is a mixture of litharge, slacked lime, and bicarbonate of potash. Different shades may be given by altering the proportions of these articles. Black hair contains iron and manganese and no magnesia; while fair hair is destitute of the two first substances, but possesses magnesia.

No one ever possessed all the requisites of masculine or feminine beauty without a profusion of hair. This is one of the crowning perfections of the human form, upon which poets of all ages have dwelt with the most untiring satisfaction. However perfect a woman may be in other respects; however beautiful her eyes, her mouth, teeth, lips, nose or cheeks; however brilliant her expression, in conversation or excitement, she is positively disagreeable without this ornament of nature. The question is sometimes asked, "What will cure love?" We answer, scissors. Let the object be shorn of hair, and you may take the word of a physiologist, that the tender passion will lose its distinctiveness; it may subside into respect: it is more likely to change into a less agreeable emotion.

In man, the hair is an excellent index of character. As the beard distinguishes man from woman, so its full and luxuriant growth often indicates strength and nobleness, intellectual and physical; while a meager beard suggests an uncertain character—part masculine, part feminine. Was there ever a truly great man, or one with a generous disposition, with a thin beard and a weazen face? On the other hand, show me a man with "royal locks," and I will trust his natural impulses in almost every vicissitude. When we see a genuine man, upon whom Nature has declined to set this seal of her approval, we cannot help an involuntary emotion of admiration for the virtuous and persevering energy with which he must have overcome his destiny.

Pertinent hereto: we have read with unusual satisfaction the arguments for Beards in Dr. Marcy's Theory and Practice of Medicine and the pleasant essays in the same behalf which John Waters has printed in the Knickerbocker. Our conservatism yields before these reformers, who would bring custom to the proprieties of nature.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?—A good deal, sometimes. Thus, the truth of the adage of "give a dog a bad name," &c., has lately been exemplified in a singular manner. Eugene Sue, you may remember, causes some of the most terrible events in the Mysteres de Paris to occur in the Allée des Venves, a fine avenue in the Champs Elysees. This has had the effect of giving the unfortunate Allée—though as quiet, modest, well-behaved, moral street as need be—a detestable reputation; people have shunned it as if it were a cavern of cutthroats—those condemned to live in it have felt themselves quasi-infamous—its rents have fallen, its shops stood empty, its business has dwindled away. The owners of its houses, and its few remaining inhabitants and shopkeepers, have for months past been pestering the municipality of Paris to devise means of restoring its fallen prosperity, and removing the monstrous stigma attached to it. At last, moved by compassion, the municipality has given permission to have the name changed to "Avenue de Montaigne." The ex-Allée, says the writer who informs us of the circumstance, is in great jubilation, and is crying with enthusiasm "Je suis sauvee!"

"NAMES HIGH INSCRIBED."—It is stated that the names of nearly every distinguished man in every department of literature and science, from the remotest antiquity down to the present time, are inscribed in letters of gold on the outside of the new Bibliotheque de Sainte Geneviève, which is now rapidly approaching completion. The list is naturally one of tremendous length, and covers not less than three whole sides of the vast building. It is impossible not to admire the spirit in which it has been devised, and the impartiality with which it has been executed. Altogether, it does the highest credit to the Parisians, and especially to their municipal authorities. The names are arranged in chronological order, but without date, and without regard to the nationality of, or to the peculiar distinction achieved by the individual; thus the two last names are those of Berzelius, the Swedish savant, and Chateaubriand; and a little above them figures Walter Scott, Byron, and other English immortals. Living celebrities are of course excluded.

MR. HARTLEY, a benevolent English gentleman, directed in his will that £200 should be set apart as a prize for the best essay on Emigration, and appointed the American Minister trustee of the fund. The Vice Chancellor has decided that the bequest is void, for the reason that such an essay would encourage people to emigrate to the United States, and so to throw off their allegiance to the Queen! Another decision equally wise was made at the same time in regard to a prize for a treatise on Natural Theology. The learned Vice Chancellor regarded it as calculated to "subvert the Church."

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Recent Deaths.

ROBERT EGLESFELD GRIFFITH, M.D., died in Philadelphia, on the 27th ult., in the fifty-third year of his age. Dr. Griffith possessed fine talents; in addition to a thorough knowledge of his profession, he was familiar with most of the branches of natural science, while in botany and conchology he stood second to few in this country; and his social and moral qualities were of the highest order. He filled in succession the chairs of Materia Medica and Pharmacy in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy; of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, Hygiene, and Medical Jurisprudence in the University of Virginia. Whilst laboring in the latter station his health failed him, and he was induced to seek a winters residence in the West Indies in hopes of its restoration. It became evident, however, that his health was permanently broken, and for the last four years he has resided in his native city, Though suffering much, his energy and industry never flagged: and he has given the results of his labors in his Medical Botany and his Universal Formulary, two works which will secure him a permanent reputation. He also enriched by his annotations a number of works republished in this country, among which we may mention Christison's Dispensatory, Taylor's Medical Jurisprudence, Ryan's Medical Jurisprudence, Ballard and Garrod's Materia Medica.

F. MANSELL REYNOLDS, the eldest son of the late F. Reynolds, the dramatic author, died recently at Fontainebleau. He was long intimate with and favorably known to literary circles in England, counting such men as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Bernal, Lockhart, Hook, and many others, among his personal friends. As the editor of "Heath's Keepsake," when it started, he proved himself a person of taste and ability. He was also the author of "Miserrimus," which excited a considerable sensation when published, and of one or two other works of fiction, which, together with his contributions to several serials, displayed much variety of talent.

JOHN ROBY, author of "Traditions of Lancashire," and other works, which have been as popular as any of their class, is mentioned as one of the persons lost in the "Orion" steamer. Mr. Roby was long a banker in Rochdale, and partner of Mr. Fielden, and though an excellent man of business, his mind was deeply interested in literary pursuits and in cultivating the friendly intercourse of literary men.

Prof. CANSTATT, of the University of Erlangen, died on the 10th of March, after a long and painful illness. Dr. C. was one of the most distinguished physicians of our times, and had won for himself a lasting reputation by his work on the diseases of old age.

Original Poetry

The following graphic picture of domestic happiness in humble life, was written by Townsend Haines, Esq., late Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and now Register of the Treasury, at Washington. Mr. Haines is an eloquent and accomplished lawyer, with fine capacities for literature, to which it may be regretted that he has recently given so little attention.


I once knew a plowman, Bob Fletcher his name,

Who was old and was ugly, and so was his dame;

Yet they lived quite contented, and free from all strife,

Bob Fletcher the plowman, and Judy his wife.

As the morn streaked the east, and the night fled away

They would rise up for labor, refreshed for the day,

And the song of the lark, as it rose on the gale,

Found Bob at the plow, and his wife at the pail.

A neat little cottage in front of a grove,

Where in youth they first gave their young hearts up to love,

Was the solace of age, and to them doubly dear,

As it called up the past, with a smile or a tear.

Each tree had its thought, and the vow could impart,

That mingled in youth, the warm wish of the heart:

The thorn was still there, and the blossoms it bore,

And the song from its top seemed the same as before.

When the curtain of night over nature was spread,

And Bob had returned from the plow to his shed,

Like the dove on her nest, he reposed from all care,

If his wife and his youngsters contented were there.

I have passed by his door when the evening was gray,

And the hill and the landscape were fading away,

And have heard from the cottage, with grateful surprise,

The voice of thanksgiving, like incense arise.

And I thought on the proud, who look down with scorn,

On the neat little cottage, the grove and the thorn,

And felt that the riches and tinsels of life,

Were dross, to contentment, with Bob and his wife.

[From Dickens's Household Words.]



A lamb strayed for the first time into the woods, and excited much discussion among the other animals. In a mixed company, one day, when he became the subject of a friendly gossip, the goat praised him.

"Pooh!" said the lion, "this is too absurd. The beast is a pretty beast enough, but did you hear him roar? I heard him roar, and, by the manes of my fathers, when he roars he does nothing but cry ba-a-a!" And the lion bleated his best in mockery, but bleated far from well.

"Nay," said the deer, "I do not think so badly of his voice. I liked him well enough until I saw him leap. He kicks with his hind legs in running and, with all his skipping, gets over very little ground."

"It is a bad beast altogether," said the tiger. "He cannot roar, he cannot run, he can do nothing—and what wonder? I killed a man yesterday, and, in politeness to the new comer, offered him a bit; upon which he had the impudence to look disgusted, and say, 'No, sir, I eat nothing but grass.'"

So the beasts criticized the lamb, each in his own way; and yet it was a good lamb, nevertheless.

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Authors and Books.

E.P. WHIPPLE was the Fourth of July orator of the city of Boston. The Morning Post says, "his ability is so agile, elegant, and hilarious, that his readers generally do not discern the profundity and comprehensiveness of his nature or the progressive power of thought manifested in his writings. We await impatiently the publication of his late oration. It will be an apt opportunity, by the way, to compare Mr. E. Everett with him, each having just spoken on a similar national occasion. His level, 'fairspoken, immaculate regularity' will contrast widely with the bold, vital vigor and originality of Mr. W. No man of constitutional timidity, feeble will, and shallow thought can ever have a real right to the title of orator. Men of minds cultivated overmuch, and elaborately trained, are apt to lack central spiritual vitality, as some fruits grown to great size by art of the gardener fail of their native flavor, become insipid, and even hollow at the center."

THE "HISTORY OF RELIGION," by the celebrated John Evelyn, author of "Sylva," &c., now first published from the original MS. in the Library at Wotton, with notes by the Rev. R.M. Evanson, is among the books announced by Colburn, for the first of July. The journals, in anticipation, express some curiosity upon the subject, whether it be pedantic, orthodox, and trimming, like the author, or whether it contain any of the Chubb and Toland spirit. Two new and important works, ethically related to this, have just been issued; the one in France, called Qu'est-ce que la Religion, d'après la Nouvelle Philosophie Allemande, wherein Feuerbach's daring evolutions of Hegel's principles are translated for the benefit of those who cannot read German; the other, called The Progress of Intellect, showing the various developments of religious ideas through history.

LEIGH HUNT, it is apprehended, will be appointed laureate. The Athenæum objects, and we think very properly urges, that if the office is to be continued, it should be given to the finest living poet of her Majesty's own sex, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This appropriation of the laurel would in a manner recompense two poets by a single act.

Mr. ROBERT LEMON, of the State Paper Office, to whom we are indebted for the discovery of the MS. of Milton's Treatise on Christian Doctrine, is to be editor of an extensive publication of Calendars of the Domestic Papers in possession of the Government, from the reign of Edward the Sixth to the close of the reign of Elizabeth. The Athenæum suggests that it will be of great advantage to the literary world for its important documents illustrative of facts and manners.

Dr. GUTZLAFF, who is preaching at Berlin and Potsdam on behalf of the Chinese mission, lately introduced into the closing prayer of the service, at the garrison church at the latter place, besides the name of the King and the royal family, a supplication for his Emperor of China, and the ministers and people of that nation. Dr. Gutzlaff expresses a confident hope that the Emperor of Japan will become converted to Christianity.

MEETINGS have been held at the house of Mr. Justice Coleridge, in London, at which a committee has been formed, with the Bishop of London at its head, to initiate a subscription to do honor to the memory of the poet Wordsworth, by placing a whole length effigy of him in Westminster Abbey, and, if the funds suffice, by erecting a monument to his memory near Grassmere.

Mr. E.G. SQUIER, our Charge d'Affaires to Central America, is now in New York, and will soon publish an essay upon the antiquities of that country, similar in design, probably, to his important volume on the remains of ancient works in the valley of the Mississippi, printed for the Smithsonian Institute.

FRANCIS BOWEN, the editor of the North American Review, has been appointed Professor of History and Political Economy in Harvard College, and it is understood that the Latin Professorship, made vacant by the resignation of Dr. Beck, will be tendered to Mr. George M. Lane, now in Europe.

THE FRENCH ACADEMY has decreed to M. Emile Augier, the author of Gabrielle, the prize of seven thousand francs, for the best dramatic work inculcating principles of rectitude and morality.

CHARLES LUCIEN BONAPARTE (Prince of Canino) is now at Berlin, where he occupies himself exclusively with scientific pursuits, and the society of learned men.

THE UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM has conferred the honorary degree of M.A. on Robert Stephenson, and on Mr. Henry Taylor, the author of "Philip Van Artevelde."

JOHN G. SAXE has been elected by the Mercantile Library Association of Montreal, to deliver the poem at the opening of their winter course of lectures.

THE SULTAN of Turkey has granted to the Princess Belgioiso, for herself and the Italian emigrants, some extensive tracts of land on the gulf of Nicomedia.

THE NEW OPERA, on which M. Strakosch is now engaged, is to be called La Regina di Napoli. The plot is taken from the history of the unfortunate Queen Joana of Sicily, and abounds in scenes of dramatic interest.

[pg 106]

[From the Dublin University Magazine for July.]



Through the ornamented grounds of a handsome country residence, at a little distance from a large town in Ireland, a man of about fifty years of age was walking with a bent head, and the impress of sorrow on his face.

"Och, yer honor, give me one sixpence, or one penny, for God's sake," cried a voice from the other side of a fancy paling which separated the grounds in that quarter from a thoroughfare. "For heaven's sake, Mr. Lawson, help me as ye helped me before. I know you've the heart and the hand to do it."

The person addressed as Mr. Lawson looked up and saw a woman whom he knew to be in most destitute circumstances, burdened with a large and sickly family, whom she had struggled to support until her own health was ruined.

"I have no money—not one farthing," answered John Lawson.

"No money!" reiterated the woman, in surprise: "isn't it all yours, then?—isn't this garden yours, and that house, and all the grand things that are in it yours?—ay, and grand things they are—them pictures, and them bright shinin' things in that drawing-room of yours; and sure you deserve them well, and may God preserve them long to you, for riches hasn't hardened your heart, though there's many a one, and heaven knows the gold turns their feelin's to iron."

"It all belongs to my son, Henry Lawson, and Mrs. Lawson, and their children—it is all theirs," he sighed heavily, and deep emotion was visible in every lineament of his thin and wrinkled face.

The poor woman raised her blood-shot eyes to his face, as if she was puzzled by his words. She saw that he was suffering, and with intuitive delicacy she desisted from pressing her wants, though her need was great.

"Well, well, yer honor, many's the good penny ye have given me and the childer, and maybe the next time I see you you'll have more change."

She was turning sadly away, when John Lawson requested her to remain, and he made inquiries into the state of her family; the report he heard seemed to touch him even to the forgetfulness of his own sorrows; he bade her stop for a few moments and he would give her some relief.

He walked rapidly toward the house and proceeded to the drawing-room. It was a large and airy apartment, and furnished with evident profusion; the sunlight of the bright summer-day, admitted partially through the amply-draperied windows, lit up a variety of sparkling gilding in picture-frames, and vases, and mirrors, and cornices; but John Lawson looked round on the gay scene with a kind of shudder; he had neither gold, silver, nor even copper in his pocket, or in his possession.

He advanced to a lady who reclined on a rose-colored sofa, with a fashionable novel in her hand, and after some slight hesitation he addressed her, and stating the name and wants of the poor woman who had begged for aid, he requested some money.

As he said the words "some money," his lips quivered, and a tremor ran through his whole frame, for his thoughts were vividly picturing a recently departed period, when he was under no necessity of asking money from any individual.

"Bless me, my dear Mr. Lawson!" cried the lady, starting up from her recumbent position, "did I not give you a whole handful of shillings only the day before yesterday; and if you wasted it all on poor people since, what am I to do? Why, indeed, we contribute so much to charitable subscriptions, both Mr. Lawson and I, you might be content to give a little less to common beggars."

Mrs. Lawson spoke with a smile on her lips, and with a soft caressing voice, but a hard and selfish nature shone palpably from her blue eyes. She was a young woman, and had the repute of beauty, which a clear pink-and-white complexion, and tolerable features, with luxuriant light hair, generally gains from a portion of the world. She was dressed for the reception of morning visitors whom she expected, and she was enveloped in expensive satin and blond, and jewelry in large proportions.

John Lawson seemed to feel every word she had uttered in the depths of his soul, but he made a strong effort to restrain the passion which was rising to his lips.

"Augusta, my daughter, you are the wife of my only and most beloved child—I wish to love you—I wish to live in peace with you, and all—give me some money to relieve the wants of the unfortunate woman to whom I have promised relief, and who is waiting without. I ask not for myself, but for the poor and suffering—give me a trifle of money, I say."

"Indeed, Mr. Lawson, a bank would not support your demands for the poor people; that woman for whom you are begging has been relieved twenty times by us. I have no money just now."

She threw herself back on the sofa, and resumed her novel; but anger, darting from her eyes, contrasted with the trained smile which still remained on her lips.

A dark shade of passion and scorn came over John Lawson's face, but he strove to suppress it, and his voice was calm when he spoke.

"Some time before my son married you, I gave up all my business to him—I came to live here amongst trees and flowers—I gave up all the lucrative business I had carried on to my son, partly because my health was failing, and I longed to live with nature, away from the scenes of traffic; but more especially because I loved my son with no common love, and I trusted to him as to a second self. I [pg 107] was not disappointed—we had one purse and one heart before he married you; he never questioned me concerning what I spent in charity—he never asked to limit in any way my expenditure—he loved you, and I made no conditions concerning what amount of income I was to receive, but still I left him in entire possession of my business when he married you. I trusted to your fair, young face, that you would not controvert my wishes—that you would join me in my schemes of charity."

"And have I not?" interrupted Mrs. Lawson, in a sharp voice, though the habitual smile still graced her lips; "do I not subscribe to, I don't know how many, charitable institutions? Charity, indeed—there's enough spent in charity by myself and my husband. But I wish to stop extravagance—it is only extravagance to spend so much on charity as you would do if you could; therefore, you shall not have any money just now."

Mrs. Lawson was one of those women who can cheerfully expend a most lavish sum on a ball, a dress, or any other method by which rank and luxury dissipate their abundance, but who are very economical, and talk much of extravagance when money is demanded for purposes not connected with display or style.

"Augusta Lawson, listen to me"—his voice quivering with passion—"my own wants are very few; in food, in clothes, in all points my expenditure is trifling. I am not extravagant in my demands for the poor, either. All I have expended in charity during the few years since you came here, is but an insignificant amount as contrasted with the income which I freely gave up to my son and you; therefore, some money for the poor woman who is waiting, I shall now have; give me some shillings, for God's sake, and let me go." He advanced closer to her, and held out his hand.

"Nonsense!" cried Mrs. Lawson; "I am mistress, here—I am determined to stop extravagance. You give too much to common beggars; I am determined to stop it—do not ask me any further."

A kind of convulsion passed over John Lawson's thin face; but he pressed his hand closely on his breast, and was silent for some moments.

"I was once rich, I believe. Yes—it is not a dream," he said, in a slow, self-communing voice. "Gold and silver, once ye were plenty with me; my hands—my pockets were filled—guineas, crowns, shillings—now I have not one penny to give to that starving, dying woman, whose face of misery might soften the very stones she looks on—not one penny."

"Augusta," he said, turning suddenly toward her, after a second pause of silence, "give me only one shilling, and I shall not think of the bitter words you have just said."

"No; not one shilling," answered Mrs. Lawson, turning over a leaf of her novel.

"One sixpence, then—one small, poor sixpence. You do not know how even a sixpence can gladden the black heart of poverty when starvation is come. One sixpence, I say—let me have it quickly."

"Not one farthing I shall give you. I do beg you will trouble me no further."

Mrs. Lawson turned her back partially to him, and fixed all her attention on the novel.

"Woman! I have cringed and begged; I would not so beg for myself, from you—no: I would lie down and die of want before I would, on my own account, request of you—of your hard heart—one bit of bread. All the finery that surrounds you is mine—it was purchased with my money, though now you call it yours; and, usurping the authority of both master and mistress here, you—in what you please to call your economical management—dole out shillings to me when the humor seizes you, or refuse me, as now, when it pleases you. But, woman, listen to me. I shall never request you for one farthing of money again. No necessity of others shall make me do it. You shall never again refuse me, for I shall never give you the opportunity."

He turned hastily from the room, with a face on which the deep emotion of an aroused spirit was depicted strongly.

In the lobby he met his son, Henry Lawson. The young man paused, something struck by the excited appearance of his father.

"Henry," said the father, abruptly, "I want some money; there is a poor woman whom I wish to relieve—will you give me some money for her?"

"Willingly, my dear father; but have you asked Augusta? You know I have given her the management of the money-matters of the establishment, she is so very clever and economical."

"She has neither charity, nor pity, nor kindness; she saves from me—she saves from the starving poor—she saves, that she may waste large sums on parties and dresses. I shall never more ask her for money—give me a few shillings. My God! the father begs of the son for what was his own—for what he toiled all his youth—for what he gave up out of trusting love to that son. Henry, my son, I am sick of asking and begging—ay, sick—sick; but give me some shillings now."

"You asked Augusta, then," said Henry, drawing out his purse, and glancing with some apprehension to the drawing-room door.

"Henry," cried Mrs. Lawson, appearing at that instant with a face inflamed with anger—"Henry, I would not give your father any money to-day, because he is so very extravagant in giving it all away."

Henry was in the act of opening his purse; he glanced apprehensively to Mrs. Lawson; his face had a mild and passive expression, which was a true index of his yielding and easily-governed nature. His features were small, delicate, and almost effeminately handsome; and in every lineament a want of decision and force of character was visible.

[pg 108]

"Henry, give me some shillings, I say—I am your father—I have a just right."

"Yes, yes, surely" said Henry, making a movement to open his purse.

"Henry, I do not wish you to give him money to waste in charity, as he calls it."

Mrs. Lawson gave her husband an emphatic, but, at the same time, cunningly caressing and smiling look.

"Henry, I am your father—give me the money I want."

"Augusta, my love, you know it was all his," said Henry, going close to her, and speaking in a kind of whisper.

"My dearest Henry, were it for any other purpose but for throwing away, I would not refuse. I am your father's best friend, and your best friend, in wishing to restrain all extravagance."

"My dear father, she wishes to be economical, you know."

He dangled the purse, undecidedly, in his fingers.

"Will you give me the money at once, and let me go?" cried John Lawson, elevating his voice.

"My dear Augusta, it is better—"

"Henry, do not, I beg of you."

"Henry, my son, will you let me have the money?"

"Indeed, Augusta—"


Mrs. Lawson articulated but the one word; there was enough of energy and determination in it to make her husband close the purse he had almost opened.

"I ask you only this once more—give me the few shillings?"

John Lawson bent forward in an eager manner; a feverish red kindled on his sallow cheeks; his eyes were wildly dilated, and his lips compressed. There was a pause of some moments.

"You will not give it me?" he said, in a voice deep-toned and singularly calm, as contrasted with his convulsed face.

Henry dangled the purse again in his hand, and looked uneasily and irresolutely toward his wife.

"No, he will not give it—you will get no money to squander on poor people this day," Mrs. Lawson said, in a very sharp and decided voice.

John Lawson did not say another word; he turned away and slowly descended the stairs, and walked out of the house.

He did not return that evening. He had been seen on the road leading to the house of a relative who was in rather poor circumstances. Henry felt rather annoyed at his fathers absence; he had no depth in his affection, but he had been accustomed to see him and hear his voice every day, and therefore he missed him, but consoled himself with the thought that they would soon meet again, as it never entered his imagination that his father had quitted the house for a lengthened period. Mrs. Lawson felicitated herself on the event, and hoped that the old man would remain for some time with his relative.

The following day a letter was handed to Henry; it was from his father, and was as follows:

"TO MY SON HENRY—I have at last come to the resolution of quitting your house, which I can no longer call mine, in even the least degree. For weeks—for months—ever since you married—ever since your wife took upon herself what she calls the management of your house and purse, I have felt bound down under the weight of an oppressive bondage. I could not go and take a pound or a shilling from our common stock, as I used to do before you married, when you and I lived in one mind, and when I believed that the very spirit of your departed, your angel mother, dwelt in you, as you had, and have still, her very face and form. No, no, we had no common stock when you married. She put me on an allowance—ay, an allowance. You lived, and saw me receiving an allowance; you whom I loved with an idolatry which God has now punished; you to whom I freely gave up my business—my money-making business. I gave it you—I gave all to you—I would have given my very life and soul to you, because I thought that with your mother's own face you had her noble and generous nature. You were kind before you married; but that marriage has proved your weakness and want of natural affection. Yes, you stood at my side yesterday; you looked on my face—I, the father who loved you beyond all bounds of fatherly love—you stood and heard me beg for a few shillings; you heard me supplicate earnestly and humbly, and you would not give because your wife was not willing. Henry, I could force you to give me a share of the profits of your business; but keep it—keep it all. You would not voluntarily give me some shillings, and I shall not demand what right and justice would give me. Keep all, every farthing.

"It was for charity I asked the few shillings; you know it. You know from whom I imbibed whatever I possess of the blessed spirit of charity. I was as hard and unpitying as even your wife before your mother taught me to feel and relieve the demands of poverty. Yes, and she taught you; you cannot forget it. She taught you to give food to the starving, in your earliest days. She strove to impress your infant mind with the very soul of charity; and yesterday she looked down from the heaven of the holy departed, and saw you refusing me, your father, a few shillings to bestow on charity.

"Henry, I can live with you and your wife no more. I should grow avaricious in my old age, were I to remain with you. I should long for money to call my own. Those doled out shillings which I received wakened within me feelings of a dark nature—covetousness, and envy, and discontent—which must have shadowed the happiness of your mother in heaven to look down upon. I must go and [pg 109] seek out an independent living for myself, even yet, though I am fifty-two. Though my energies for struggling with the world died, I thought, when your mother died, and, leaving my active business to you, I retired to live in the country, I must go forth again, as if I were young, to seek for the means of existence, for I feel I was not made to be a beggar—a creature hanging on the bounty of others; no, no, the merciful God will give me strength yet to provide for myself, though I am old, and broken down in mind and body. Farewell; you who were once my beloved son, may God soften and amend your heart."

When Henry perused this letter, he would immediately have gone in search of his father, in order to induce him to return home; but Mrs. Lawson was at his side, and succeeded in persuading him to allow his father to act as he pleased, and remain away as long as he wished.

Ten years rolled over our world, sinking millions beneath the black waves of adverse fortune and fate, and raising the small number who, of the innumerable aspirants for earthly good, usually succeed. Henry Lawson was one of those whom time had lowered in fortune. His business speculations had, for a lengthened period, been rather unsuccessful, while Mrs. Lawson's expensive habits increased every day. At length affairs came to such a crisis, that retrenchment or failure was inevitable. Henry had enough of wisdom and spirit to insist on the first alternative, and Mrs. Lawson was compelled by the pressure of circumstances to yield in a certain degree; the country-house, therefore, was let, Mrs. Lawson assigning as a reason, that she had lost all relish for the country after the death of her dear children, both of whom had died, leaving the parents childless.

It was the morning of a close sultry day in July, and Mrs. Lawson was seated in her drawing-room. She was dressed carefully and expensively as of old, but she had been dunned and threatened at least half-a-dozen times for the price of the satin dress she wore. Her face was thin and pale, and there was a look of much care on her countenance; her eyes were restless and sunken, and discontent spoke in their glances as she looked on the chairs, sofas, and window-draperies, which had once been bright-colored, but were now much faded. She had just come to the resolution of having new covers and hangings, though their mercer's and upholsterer's bills were long unsettled, when a visitor was shown into the room. It was Mrs. Thompson, the wife of a very prosperous and wealthy shopkeeper.

Mrs. Lawson's thin lips wreathed themselves into bright smiles of welcome, whilst the foul demon took possession of her soul. Mrs. Thompson's dress was of the most costly French satin, whilst hers was merely British manufacture. They had been old school companions and rivals in their girlish days. During the first years of the married life of each, Mrs. Lawson had outshone Mrs. Thompson in every respect; but now the eclipsed star beamed brightly and scornfully beside the clouds which had rolled over her rival. Mrs. Thompson was, in face and figure, in dress and speech, the very impersonation of vulgar and ostentatious wealth.

"My goodness, it's so hot!" she said, loosening the fastening of her bonnet, the delicate French blond and white satin and plume, of which that fabric was composed, contrasting rather painfully at the same time with her flushed mahogany-colored complexion, and ungracefully-formed features. "Bless me, I'm so glad we'll get off to our country-house to-morrow. It's so very delightful, Mrs. Lawson, to have a country residence to go to. Goodness me, what a close room, and such a hot, dusty street. It does just look so queer to me after Fitzherbert-square."

To this Mrs. Lawson made a response as composed as she could; she would have retorted bitterly and violently, but her husband had a connection with the Thompson establishment, and for strong reasons she considered it prudent to refrain from quarreling with Mrs. Thompson. She therefore spoke but very little, and Mrs. Thompson was left at full liberty to give a lengthened detail of Mr. Thompson's great wealth and her own great profusion. She began first with herself, and furnished an exact detail of all the fine things she had purchased in the last month, down to the latest box of pins. Next, her babies occupied her for half an hour—the quantity of chicken they consumed, and the number of frocks they soiled per diem were minutely chronicled. Then her house came under consideration: she depicted the bright glory of the new ponceau furniture, as contrasted with shocking old faded things—and she glanced significantly toward Mrs. Lawson's sofas and chairs. Next she made a discursive detour to the culinary department, and gave a statement of the number of stones of lump sugar she was getting boiled in preserves, and of the days of the week in which they had puddings, and the days they had pies at dinner.

"But, Mrs. Lawson dear, have you seen old Mr. Lawson since he came home?" she said, when she was rising to depart: "but I suppose you haven't, for they say he won't have anything to do with his relations now—he won't come near you I have heard. They say he has brought such a lot of money with him from South America."

At this intelligence every feature of Mrs. Lawson's face brightened with powerful interest. She inquired where Mr. Lawson stopped, and was informed that he had arrived at the best hotel in town about three days previously, and that every one talked of the large fortune he had made abroad, as he seemed to make no secret of the fact.

A burning eagerness to obtain possession of that money entered Mrs. Lawson's soul, and [pg 110] she thought every second of time drawn out to the painful duration of a long hour, while Mrs. Thompson slowly moved her ample skirts of satin across the drawing-room, and took her departure. Mrs. Lawson dispatched a messenger immediately for her husband.

Henry Lawson came in, and listened with surprise to the intelligence of his father's return. He was taking up his hat to proceed to the hotel in quest of him, when a carriage drove to the door. Mrs. Lawson's heart palpitated with eagerness—if it should be her husband's father in his own carriage—how delightful!—that horrible Mrs. Thompson had not a carriage of her own yet, though she was always talking of it. They, Mrs. Lawson and her husband, had just been about setting up a carriage when business failed with them. She ran briskly down the stairs—for long years she had not flown with such alertness—rapid visions of gold, of splendor, and triumph seemed to bear her along, as if she had not been a being of earth.

She was not disappointed, for there, at the open door, stood John Lawson. He was enveloped in a cloak of fur, the costliness of which told Mrs. Lawson that it was the purchase of wealth; a servant in plain livery supported him, for he seemed a complete invalid.

Mrs. Lawson threw her arms around his neck, and embraced him with a warmth and eagerness which brought a cold and bitter smile over the white, thin lips of John Lawson. He replied briefly to the welcomings he had received. He threw aside his cloak, and exhibited the figure of an exceedingly emaciated and feeble old man, who had all the appearance of ninety years, though he was little more than sixty; his face was worn and fleshless to a painful degree; his hair was of the whitest shade of great age, but his eyes had grown much more serene in their expression than in his earlier days, notwithstanding a cast of suffering which his whole countenance exhibited. He was plainly, but most carefully and respectably dressed; a diamond ring of great value was on one of his fingers; the luster of the diamonds caught Mrs. Lawson's glance on her first inspection of his person, and her heart danced with rapture—Mrs. Thompson had no such ring, with all her boasting of all her finery.

"I have come to see my child before I die," said the old man, gazing on his son with earnest eyes; "you broke the ties of nature between us on your part, when, ten years ago, you refused your father a few shillings from your abundance, but—"

He was interrupted by Mrs. Lawson, who uttered many voluble protestations of her deep grief at her having, even though for the sake of economy, refused the money her dear father had solicited before he left them. She vowed that she had neither ate, nor slept, nor even dressed herself for weeks after his departure; and that, sleeping or waking, she was perpetually wishing she had given him the money, even though she had known that he was going to throw it into the fire, or lose it in any way. Her poor, dear father—oh, she wept so after she heard that he had left the country. To be sure, Henry could tell how, for two or three nights, her pillow was soaked with tears.

A cold, bitter smile again flitted across the old man's lips; he made no response to her words, but in the one look which his hollow eyes cast on her, he seemed to read the falsehood of her assertions.

"I was going to add," he said, "that though you forgot you were my son, and refused to act as my son, when you withheld the paltry sum for which I begged, yet I could not refrain from coming once more to look on my child's face—to look on the face of my departed wife in yours—for I know that a very brief period must finish my life now. I should not have come here, I feel—I know it is the weakness of my nature—I should have died amongst strangers, for the strangers of other countries, the people of a different hue and a different language, I have found kind and pitiful, compared with those of my own house."

"Oh, don't say so—don't say so—you are our own beloved father; ah, my heart clings to every feature of your poor, dear old face: there are the eyes and all that I used to talk to Henry so much about. Don't talk of strangers—I shall nurse you and attend to you night and day."

She made a movement, as if she would throw her arms around his neck again, but the old man drew back.

"Woman! your hypocritical words show me that your pitiless heart is still unchanged—that it has grown even worse. You forced me out to the world in my old age, when I should have had no thoughts except of God and the world to come; you forced me to think of money-making, when my hair was gray and my blood cold with years. Yes, I had to draw my thoughts from the future existence, and to waste them on the miserable toils of traffic, in order to make money: for it was better to do this than to drag out my life a pensioner on your bounty, receiving shillings and pence, which you gave me as if it had been your own heart's blood, though I only asked my own. Woman! the black slavery of my dependence on you was frightful; but now I can look you thanklessly in the face, for I have the means of living without you. I spent sick and sleepless days and nights, but I gained an independence; the merciful God blessed the efforts of the old man, who strove to gain his livelihood—yes, I am independent of you both. I came to see my son before I die—that is all I want."

Mrs. Lawson attempted a further justification of herself, but the words died on her lips. The stern looks of the old man silenced her.

After remaining for a short time, he rose to take his departure; but, at the earnest [pg 111] solicitations of his son, he consented to remain for a few days, only on condition that he should pay for his board and lodging. To this Mrs. Lawson made a feint of resistance, but agreed in the end, as the terms offered by the old man were very advantageous.

"I shall soon have a lodging for which no mortal is called on to pay—the great mother-earth," said the old man, "and I am glad, glad to escape from this money-governed world. Do not smile so blandly on me, both of you, and attend me with such false tenderness. There, take it away," he said, as Mrs. Lawson was placing her most comfortable footstool under his feet; "there was no attendance, no care, not a civil action or kind look for me when I was poor John Lawson, the silly, most silly old man, who had given up all to his son and his son's wife, for the love of them, and expected, like a fool as he was, to live with them on terms of perfect equality, and to have the family purse open to him for any trifling sums he wished to take. Go, go for God's sake; try and look bitterly on me now, as you did when you forced me out of your house. I detest your obsequious attentions—I was as worthy of them ten years ago, before I dragged down my old age to the debasing efforts of money-making. You know I am rich; you would worship my money in me now. Not a smiling look, not a soft word you bestow on me, but is for my riches, not for me. Ay, you think you have my wealth in your grasp already; you know I cannot live long. Thank God that my life is almost ended, and I hope my death will be a benefit to you, in softening your hard hearts."

Mrs. Lawson drew some hope from his last words, and she turned away her head to hide the joy which shone on her face.

In a few days the old man became seriously ill, and was altogether confined to his room. As death evidently approached, his mind became serene and calm, and he received the attentions which Mrs. Lawson and his son lavished on him with a silent composure, which led them to hope that he had completely forgotten their previous conduct to him.

The night on which he died, he turned to his son, and said a few words, a very few words, regarding worldly matters. He exhorted Henry to live in a somewhat less expensive style, and to cultivate a spirit of contentment without riches; then he blessed God that he was entering on a world in which he could hear no more of money or earthly possession. He remained in a calm sleep during the greater part of the night, they thought, but in the morning they found him dead.

The funeral was over, and the time was come in which the old man's will was to be opened. Mrs. Lawson had waited for that moment—she would have forcibly dragged time onward to that moment—she had execrated the long hours of night since the old man's death—she had still more anathemized the slowly passing days, when gazing furtively through a corner of the blinded window, she saw fine equipages and finely-dressed ladies passing, and she planned how she would shine when the old man's wealth would be her own. She drew glorious mental pictures of how she would burst from behind the shadowing cloud of poverty, and dazzle all her acquaintances. Her dress, her carriage, her style of living would be unique in her rank of life for taste and costliness. She would show them she had got money—money at last—more money than they all.

Now at last she sat and saw the will being opened; she felt that it was a mere formality, for the old man had none but them to whom he could leave his money; she never once doubted but all would be theirs; she had reasoned and fancied herself into the firm conviction. Her only fear was, that the amount might not be so large as she calculated on.

She saw the packet opened. Her eyes dilated, her lips became parched, her heart and brain burned with a fierce eagerness—money! money at last! uttered the griping spirit within her.

The will, after beginning in the usual formal style, was as follows:

"I bequeath to my son Henry's wife, Augusta Lawson, a high and noble gift"—Mrs. Lawson almost sprung from her seat with eagerness—"the greatest of all legacies, I bequeath to Augusta Lawson—Charity! Augusta Lawson refused me a few shillings which I wished to bestow on a starving woman; but now I leave her joint executrix, with my son Henry, in the distribution of all my money and all my effects, without any reservation, in charity, to be applied to such charitable purposes as in this, my last will and testament, I have directed."

Then followed a statement of his effects and money, down to the most minute particular. The money amounted to a very considerable sum; his personal effects he directed to be sold, with the exception of his very valuable diamond ring, which he bequeathed to the orphan daughter of the poor relation in whose house he had taken refuge, and remained for a short time, previous to his going abroad. All the proceeds of his other effects, together with the whole amount of his money, he bequeathed for different charitable purposes, and gave minute directions as to the manner in which various sums were to be expended. The largest amount he directed to be distributed in yearly donations amongst the most indigent old men and women within a circuit of ten miles of his native place. Those who were residing with their sons and their sons' wives, were to receive by far the largest relief. He appointed as trustees two of the most respectable merchants of the town, to whom he gave authority to see the provisions of his will carried out, in case his son and Mrs. Lawson should decline the duties of executorship which he had bequeathed [pg 112] to them. The trustees were to exercise a surveillance over Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, to see that the will should in every particular be strictly carried into effect. The will was dated and duly signed in the town in South America where the old man had for some years resided. A codicil, containing the bequest of the ring, with some further particulars regarding the charities, had been added a few days previous to the old man's death.

Mrs. Lawson was carried fainting from the room before the reading of the will was concluded. She was seized with violent fever, and her life was despaired of. She recovered, however, and from the verge of the eternal existence on which she had been, she returned to life with a less worldly and ostentatious nature, and a soul more alive to the impulses of kindness and charity.

HORACE VERNET, the painter, is in St. Petersburgh, and is soon expected in Vienna, where he will study the uniform, scenery, &c., in order to paint various scenes in the Hungarian war.

HARRO HARRING has escaped from Norway into England, whence he has issued a document, describing the circumstances of his departure, and protesting against the arbitrary and unjust conduct of the Norwegian Government. In this paper, which is drawn up with indignant eloquence, Harring appeals to the Norwegian Storthing of 1851, confident that he shall receive ample justice at the hands of the Representatives of Norway.

Miss H.M. WEBBER, an American, has issued a pamphlet in Brussels advocating the assumption of the male attire by her sex till they are married.

GARRIBALDI, the Italian general, is on his way to New York. He has written his "experiences," which will soon make their appearance in America, where, as in Europe, they will be eagerly read, as few men can throw so much light upon the recent important events in Italy.

Mrs. CHILD is passing the summer near Boston, and is still occupied with a book upon the History of the Religious Element in Society, which has several years engaged her attention. A new edition of her novel of The Rebels has just been published, and the degree to which it has been known is illustrated in the critical announcements of it. The Albany State Register, like other journals, seems to think it a fresh book, and observes of the writer:—"The author of Hobornok has always been a favorite with the public, though it is a long while since we have had the pleasure of welcoming anything from his pen. The present work, however, bears the impress of the talents which have always marked his writings!"

[From the Leader.]


Once in my childish days I heard

A woman's voice that slowly read,

How 'twixt two shadowy mountains sped

Four colored steeds, four chariots whirr'd.

I watched until she laid the book

On the white casement-ledge again;

My heart beat high with joyful pain

On that strange oracle to look.

Day after day I would ascend

The staircase in that large old house,

And still and timorous as a mouse

I sat and made the book my friend.

I saw the birth of seas and skies,

The first sweet woman, first brave man;

I saw how morning light began,

How faded—over Paradise.

I stood with the first Arab boy;

I saw the mother and the child,

Of Oriental vision wild,

Laugh by the well for utter joy.

I saw the youth go forth at morn,

A traveler to the Syrian land,

And in the lonely evening stand

An exile weary and forlorn.

I saw him by the roadside lay

His sunken head upon a stone,

And while he slumbered, still and lone,

A dream fell on him, fair as day.

I saw a golden ladder reach

From earth to heaven among the stars,

And up and down its gleaming bars

Trod stately angels, without speech.

What wonders did I not behold!

Dark gorgeous women, turbaned men,

White tents, like ships, in plain and glen,

Slaves, palm trees, camels, pearls, and gold.

Ah! many an hour I sat and read,

And God seemed with me all day long;

Joy murmured a sweet undersong,

I talkt with angels, with them fed.

It was an old deserted room;

There was a skylight strait above,

And the blue sky lookt thro' like love,

Softening and coloring mortal gloom.

No playmate had I, knew no game,

Yet sometimes left my book to run

And blow bright bubbles in the sun—

In after life we do the same.

That time is gone; you think me weak

That I regret that perisht time,

That I recall my golden prime

With beating heart and blushing cheek.

That Book so prized, you tell me, friend,

Is full of false and deadly tales:

You say, "a palsied world bewails

Its influence; but it soon shall end."

Thank God for that: I live for truth,

Glad to resign each rainbow sham;

But, still remembering what I am,

I praise my sweet and saintly youth

It was so genial and sincere,

My joy and wonder were so strong,

So rare and delicate a song

Young Life was singing in mine ear.

I therefore still in fancy climb

Up to that old and faded room,

Where feelings like fresh roses bloom

Over the grave of that fair time.


LORD BROUGHAM has recently been engaged in the investigation of a peculiar phenomenon which he calls the "diflection of light." The experiment itself consists in causing a ray of light to fall upon the sharp edge of a knife or on the point of a needle; the ray is thus "diflected" by the edge or point, and becomes prismatic. Lord Brougham, in addition to other curious phenomena, has discovered that the ray, when once diflected, cannot be again diflected in the same direction, but may be diflected in an opposite direction.

[pg 113]

[From the Spectator, of June 15.]


The literary success of the author of Tremaine was owing to the worldly experience and means of observation which his official position gave him; but the sole interest which he possesses in the eyes of the world arises from his success as an author. As an office-holder, he was not a mere red-tapist, but one of those able, hard-working, experienced administrative men, who really carry on the business of government, and, except in the case of rare ability and courage in a "chief," are masters of the Ministers, though want of interest, ambition, or "gift of the gab," retains them in a subordinate post. As an author, Mr. Ward's temporary success was greater than his permanent prospects. His subjects were generally large enough, he was a man of extensive reading, and his tastes took in a wide range; but he was essentially bounded by the present. His earlier works, which procured him the patronage of Pitt, and with it a seat in Parliament and office, were on the Law of Nations: and though their most attractive part related to a temporary subject, the rights of belligerents and neutrals, there was enough in that branch of the subject to secure duration; but who reads them now? how few, indeed, know of their existence? He cannot be said to have originated the serio-didactic novel, for Hannah More and others had long cultivated that field; but he brought to it, what they could not bring, a well-bred scholarship, a wide knowledge of public and private life, seen in affairs as well as society, with less of a narrow sectarian spirit: yet it may be doubted whether Tremaine some thirty years hence will be more read than Coelebs in Search of a Wife. If Mr. Ward did not found the school of fashionable novelists, he was certainly among the founders; and he infused into the best of his works, De Vere, a real knowledge of Parliamentary life, a newer and truer view of statesmen and nobles, though a little en beau, and a great variety of actual characters. The circumstance of Wentworth's supposed resemblance to Canning, and the accident of publication at a time when the official conspiracy of the novel seemed acting in Parliament, gave De Vere a success with the world at large, which its length and longwindedness might have marred. Mr. Ward's essays (generally in the form of stories) were not so successful with the public as his fictions. We think he was by nature designed for an essayist—naturally given to discuss and expound; but nature had denied him that penetrating originality of perception, that vigor of thought, and (as a consequence) that terseness of style, which are necessary to render the essay attractive and to preserve it. As Robert Plumer Ward was essentially confined to the present, so he was dependent on it; he was nothing if not in the mode, and in his later works he rather fell behind the fashion.

His life as presented in these volumes was not very remarkable or eventful. His father was a merchant at Gibraltar, and also held the post of chief clerk of the civil department of the Ordnance in that garrison: his mother was a Spanish Jewess. Robert Ward was born in London, in 1765, on a visit of the family to England; and, after an education at private schools, was sent to Oxford, in 1783. He left the University in 1787, in debt; and soon after became a student of the Inner Temple. An affection of the knee-joint sent him to Bareges: he was speedily cured; but was so attracted by the pleasures of French society, that he remained in France till the Revolution; from which he had a narrow escape.

"It happened, unfortunately for him, that another 'Ward,' of about the same age and personal appearance, had incurred the suspicion of the Republican party, at a moment when suspicion lost all its doubts, and death followed close upon the heels of certainty. To use his own words, 'I was arrested for having the same name and the same colored coat and waistcoat as another Ward, guilty of treason; was ordered without trial to Paris, to be guillotined; and only escaped by their catching the real traitor: I was, however, banished the republic, merely for my name's sake.'"

On his return to England he was called to the bar, in June 1790; and but for a singular circumstance might have passed through life as a literary barrister, with middling success in law and letters.

"He was, early in 1794, leaving his chambers in the Temple for the purpose of paying a visit in the Northern outskirts of London. Upon crossing Fleet Street he had to traverse Bell Yard; and as he passed a watchmaker's shop his attention was attracted by a placard in the window, of a very revolutionary character, convening a meeting of a certain society, that evening, at the watchmaker's. Many a man would have passed it unnoticed, or contented himself with a feeling of regret or indignation at the prevalence during that period of similar views: not so was it with young Ward; he was fresh from all the horrors which the success of such principles in a neighboring country had entailed; he at once determined to enter the watchmaker's shop and provoke a discussion with him. For two hours did the young student contest with the Republican the justice of his sentiments; for two hours did he labor to impress upon him, not only by argument but by his own experience, the horrors to which success must lead; but at the end of that time he was obliged to leave him, apparently unmoved, or at all events unconvinced. He paid his distant visit, and late in the evening returned homeward through the same alley. Desparing of success, he paid no second visit to the disputant of the morning, though he did remark with pleasure that the revolutionary placard had been withdrawn. Hardly, however, had he passed the shop twenty yards, when he heard some one running after and calling to him. He looked back and beheld the Republican watchmaker. [pg 114] The manner of the man was changed from the dogged imperturbability with which he had listened to Mr. Ward's arguments in the morning to a frank and eager confidence. 'I have called you in,' said he, 'to say I have done nothing but think over your words: I feel their truth; I shudder at the precipice on which I stood, at the evil I was about to do; and am now as anxious to communicate and prevent as I was before to conceal all our schemes.' He then communicated to him the existence of a most fearful plot against the Government, which, with his newly-awakened feelings, he longed to frustrate by immediately informing the authorities, if he who had convinced would also accompany and support him.

"They went to the Chief Magistrate, Sir Richard Ford; who attached so much importance to the communication, that the three were at once ushered into the presence of Pitt and his colleagues, assembled with Macdonald and Scott, the Attorney and Solicitor-General. The singular history was duly narrated in detail; the arguments carried on by the young Mentor, the misgivings of the Republican, and then the details of the impending danger. The countenance of Pitt was turned with interest on the young lawyer, who seemed not only to share that horror of revolutionary movements with which he was himself so strongly imbued, but who had so gallantly acted upon it. 'What was your motive, young gentleman,' he inquired, 'for thus entering the shop?' 'I, Sir,' answered young Ward, 'am not long returned from France, and have there seen in practice what sounds so fine in theory.'"

Though, according to report, Pitt was not the man to overlook rising talent or lose sight of a useful adherent, eight years elapsed before much came of this singular introduction; during which the young barrister published two books or pamphlets on the Laws of Nations, married a sister of Lady Mulgrave, and was slowly working his way at the bar. In 1802, Pitt, in a stiff enough letter, offered Mr. Ward a seat for Cockermouth, one of the Lowther boroughs; and when he returned to power, his protégé became Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, (his brother-in-law, Lord Mulgrave, being Principal Secretary,) after he had published a pamphlet in justification of Pitt's highhanded seizure of the Spanish treasure-ships. Of course he went out on the accession of All the Talents after Pitt's death; and came in again on their expulsion, as a Lord of the Admiralty, still under Lord Mulgrave. In 1812, he was moved to the Ordnance, as "Clerk." In 1823, he quitted office, withdrew from Parliament, and began novel-writing as an amusement, at fifty-eight. He died in 1846, in his eighty-second year; having lived long enough to see his son, the present Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Secretary to the Admiralty under a Whig Ministry. He was thrice married, and each time advantageously. His first wife, as we have seen, was a sister-in-law of Lord Mulgrave; the second, whom he wedded at the age of sixty-three, was the widow of Mr. Plumer of Gilston Park, which became his through the marriage; his third alliance, when he was nearly seventy, gave him the advantage of a jointure of 1,000l. per annum allowance as guardian, and a couple of mansions. His writings would lead to the notion that Robert Ward was everything tender and amiable; and so he might be as long as he was pleased; but he would seem to have had a quiet implacability, that was offended on slight grounds, and obdurate in displeasure. He quarreled with his son on account of his politics: he received some slight from an official friend and repulsed all attempts at explanation, till a letter written when Ward was seventy-two and his correspondent turned of seventy produced a reconciliation rather dry on his part. It would have been satisfactory to know that some relenting, some interest beyond a "suspicion" of the writer, had been shown on the receipt of the following manly letter, written after the publication of De Vere. After alluding to the internal traits by which he had identified the author, the anonymous correspondent continues:

"It surprises me, I confess, that the feeling, judgment, and sagacity, which sufficed to produce the work that I have been commending, should have suffered the golden opinions of me, which you entertained, to be filched and adulterated by mere traducers, whose reports the hearer's own experience could have almost refuted, and whose testimony was so obviously liable to be warped by prejudice.

"We live in a strange world. Before my feelings and dispositions had changed from wavering and transient to permanent and fixed,—before the desultory ramblings, which almost became our age, had terminated in a path, and that, I trust, a right and honorable one, and from which, with moderate allowance for human inferiority, I have not deviated since,—before my principles had attained their vigor, and generated those correct habits which it was their province to produce,—in short, while, like most young men, I might be said to have as yet 'no character at all,' I obtained your friendship. How I lost it, I have already told you. When, remains to tell you. I lost it when any fruits which my youth may have promised had appeared; lost it all at once, under circumstances scarcely more annoying to my feelings than revolting to my sense of what was right and just.

"I am not seeking to penetrate what is to me, indeed, no secret; neither do I form the unavailing wish that our expired intercourse should revive. C'en est fait. A knot which has been loosened or untied may be formed again, but this knot has been cut. Accordingly, I neither address you by your name nor subscribe my own. My hand-writing, though not disguised, is, like yourself, much changed; and, though this were not the case, you could not, after the lapse of so much time, have recognized it.

"My regard you continue to possess, though I am not certain of your title to retain it. But you have, by means of your estrangement, sustained a loss. In ceasing to entertain a feeling of esteem and cordiality toward me, you have lost that which is a source of soothing gratification to the mind in which it is cherished, and which, I flatter myself, I as well deserved to have retained with regard to me as any other of your early friends, be that other who he may. Again: [pg 115] though you have not lost a friend, (for my sentiments toward you continue friendly,) you have elected to lose the usual and not unpalatable fruits of friendship in my case: and this at a time of life (for we are much of the same age) when old friends can the less be spared, because new friendships are rarely formed.

"When our earliest meetings and the commencements of a bygone friendship are called up before me by the letter which, I scarcely know why, I am writing, I feel myself softened as well as depressed by the recollection; and, as I write farewell, it gives me pain to think that I might add to it the words—probably forever. God bless you."

There is nothing in Robert Ward's life or literary eminence to require or even justify so large a space as his nephew has bestowed upon it. Strictly speaking, indeed, the biography occupies but a small portion of these bulky volumes, which are chiefly filled with remains or correspondence; and much of that little is not distinguished for matter or character. The correspondence is indifferent. The latter portion of it is mainly devoted to literary criticism, or compliments, having for subject the author's works or those of his praisers; and is weak and flimsy to a degree. The earlier portion principally relates to politics, especially to the intrigues carried on by Canning and Malmesbury during the Addington Ministry to procure Pitt's premature return to office. To this Lord Mulgrave was judiciously opposed; and although there is nothing very new or particular in the account, and the letters are rather flat, it gives the Mulgrave version of the business. The most valuable part of the book, and which was, indeed, well worthy of separate publication, is a diary that Mr. Ward kept through a considerable portion of his official life, beginning in June 1809, and continuing with a short interruption till the death of Perceval, when it ceased till 1819; after which it was maintained to a later period than Mr. Phipps thinks it proper to publish it. This diary consists of gossip, anecdote, on dits, and confidential communications made to Mr. Ward on various occasions and at critical times, together with his own observations and reflections on affairs, or remarks on characters. As he was much in the confidence of Perceval, saw a good deal of the Duke of Wellington, (Master-General of the Ordnance during the era of the Manchester massacre and Sidmouth's spy doings,) and was continually behind the scenes, the diary is both curious and amusing. Allowance must of course be made for the writer's position as a partisan, and some of his later notions are those of the "laudator temporis acti," speaking without responsibility; but it is sufficiently interesting to raise a desire for the whole, published as a diary, and not mixed up with other matters to which it has small relation.

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

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

One portion of the diary relates to the Regency. New facts are scarcely advanced, but we think some freshness is given from the light and coloring of the author. Unless Sheridan really persuaded the Prince to throw over the Whigs, out of revenge for Whig hauteur, his Royal Highness would seem to have acted entirely from himself. The arrogance of Grey and Grenville comes out very strongly in the painting of his opponent. After all, however, it is doubtful whether they could have come in. The Tories would have been strong in Opposition; the Whigs could scarcely form a Government without the Canning votes, and the hatred with which the old Whigs regarded their leader rendered that junction impossible: what was more than all, their cowardly anti-national policy would have rendered their position one of great difficulty with the country. The fact is, that poor in point of talent as the [pg 116] Perceval Ministry was, it best represented the opinion of the country; as the Whigs now are in a similar position. Some of these points are well put in this report of a conversation in the House of Commons; which will also give an idea of the manner of the diary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He said, if the rising broke out anywhere, it would be at Glasgow and Paisley; where many rich merchants and all they supported would be sure to suffer, while no one could certainly foretell how soon it might be put down. This led him to his favorite notion, that the loyal should be taught to rely more upon themselves, and less upon the Government, in their own defense against the disloyal. It was this, he thought, that formed and kept up a national character: while every one was accustomed to rely upon the Government, upon a sort of commutation for what they paid to it, personal energy went to sleep, and the end was lost: that in England, he observed, every man who had the commonest independence, one, two, five or six hundred, or a thousand a year, had his own little plan of comfort—his favorite personal pursuit, whether his library, his garden, his hunting, or his farm, which he was unwilling to allow [pg 117] anything (even his own defense) to disturb; he therefore deceived himself into a notion that if there was a storm it would not reach him, and went on his own train till it was actually broke in upon by force. This led to supineness and apathy as to public exertion; which would in the end ruin us: the disposition therefore must be changed, by forcing them to exert themselves; which would not be if Government did everything in civil war, they nothing: hence his wish for a volunteer force. All this was exceedingly sound, and showed the reach of his reflecting mind as an observer of human nature, as well as a statesman and soldier, more than anything I have yet seen."

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

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

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

Footnote 3: (return)

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

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




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

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

Ivan Ivanovitch was a young man born and bred at Yakoutsk. His parents had given him the usual amount of tuition, and then allowed him for a time to follow the bent of his inclination. Ivan took to the chase. Passionately fond of this amusement, he had at an early age started with the Yakouta trappers, and become learned in the search [pg 118] for sables, ermines, and lynxes; could pursue the reindeer and elk on skates; and had even gone to the north in quest of seals. He thus at the age of twenty, knew the whole active part of his trade, and was aware of all the good hunting-grounds on which the Siberians founded their prosperity. But when he was called on to follow the more quiet and sedentary part of his occupation, he was not one-half so quick. His rough and rude life made town existence distasteful to him, and he evinced all that superb contempt for shop-keeping which characterizes the nomadic man, whether Red Indian, Arab, Tartar, or Siberian.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Being almost the only Russian who has lived among the Yakoutas, I know the secret [pg 119] of getting furs cheaper and easier than any one else. Beside, if I chose to take a long journey, I could find ivory in vast heaps. A tradition is current of an ivory mine in the north, which an old Yakouta told me to be truth."

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

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

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

"And you?" asked Ivan humbly.

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

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

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


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

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

On the morning of the third day Ivan felt a little puzzled about the road. He knew the general direction from the distant mountains, and he wished to avoid a vast morass. Before him was a frozen stream, and on the other side a hillock. Leaving the others to feed as well as they could, he mounted his best horse, and rode across. The ice bent under him as he went, and he accordingly rode gently; but just as he reached the middle, it cracked violently right across, and sank visibly under him. Ivan looked hurriedly round him. The ice was everywhere split, and the next minute his horse, plunging violently, fell through. Instead, however, of falling into a stream of cold water, Ivan found himself in a vast and chilly vault, with a small trickling stream in the middle, and at once recollected a not unfrequent phenomenon. The river had been frozen over when high with floods, but presently the water sinking to its ordinary level, the upper crust of ice alone remained. But Ivan had no desire to admire the gloomy, half-lit vault, [pg 120] extending up and down out of sight; but standing on his horse's back, clambered up as best he might upon the surface, leaving the poor animal below. This done, he ran to the shore, and used the well-remembered Yakouta device for extracting his steed: he broke a hole in the ice near the bank, toward which the sagacious brute at once hurried, and was drawn forth. Having thus fortunately escaped a serious peril, he resumed his search on foot, and about midday pursued his journey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kolina started back in terror and surprise, while Sakalar fixed his keen eye on the youth with sorrow and curiosity, and almost unequivocally, testified his belief that his favorite pupil in the chase was mad. But Ivan rose and bade the serving-man of the rich Yacouta bring in his boxes, and opened up his store of treasures. There was tea for Kolina; and for Sakalar, rum, brandy, [pg 121] powder, guns, tobacco, knives—all that could tempt a Yakouta. The father and daughter examined them with pleasure for some time, but presently Kolina shook her head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

All were well armed with gun, pistol, hatchet, and hunting-knife, while the girdle further supported a pipe and tobacco-pouch. They had not explained whither they were going, but the whole village knew that they must be about to undertake some perilous journey, and accordingly turned out to cheer them as they went, while several ardent admirers of Kolina were loud in their murmurs [pg 122] at her accompanying the expedition. But the wanderers soon left the plain of Miouré behind them, and entered on the delectable roads leading to the Frozen Sea. Half-frozen marshes and quagmires met them at every step; but Sakalar rode first, and the others followed one by one, and the experienced old hunter, by advancing steadily without hurry, avoided these dangers. They soon reached a vast plain three hundred miles across, utterly deserted by the human race; a desert composed half of barren rock and half of swampy quagmire, soft above, but at a foot deep solid and perpetual ice. Fortunately, it was now frozen hard, and the surface was fit to bear the horses. But for this the party must have halted and waited for a severe frost. The rivers were not frozen when large in volume, and the Aldana had to be crossed in the usual flat-bottomed boat kept for travelers. At night they halted, and with a bush and some deer-skins made a tent. Kolina cooked the supper, and the men searched for some fields of stunted half-frozen grass to let the horses graze. This was the last place where even this kind of food would be found, and for some days their steeds would have to live on a stinted portion of hay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The middle of the next day brought them to another plain not much superior to that they had passed through, but yet less miserable looking, and with the additional advantage of having yourtes here and there to shelter the traveler. The cold was now intense; and glad indeed was Ivan of the comforts of his Siberian dress, which had at first appeared so heavy. The odd figures which Kolina and Sakalar presented under it made him smile at the notion which Maria Vorotinska would have formed of her lover under a garb that doubled his natural volume. Several halts took place, and caused great delay, from the slippery state of the ice on the rivers. The unshod horses could not stand. A fire had to be lit; and when sufficient ashes were procured, it had to be spread across in a narrow pathway, and the nags led carefully along on this track—one of the many artifices required to combat the rigorous character of [pg 123] the climate. And thus, suffering cold and short commons, and making their way for days through frosty plains over ice and snow, amid deep ravines and over lofty hills, they at length reached Nijnei-Kolimsk, though not without being almost wholly knocked up, especially Kolina, who was totally unused to such fatigues.

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

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

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

[From Dickens's Household Words.]


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

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

Our German friend makes it his practice, whether he is treating of the geology of the earth, or of the manufacture of Swedish bodkins, to begin at the very beginning. He therefore commences the history of lace-making, which, he says, is, like embroidery, an art of very ancient origin, lost, like a multitude of other origins, "in the darkness of by-gone ages." It may, with truth, be said that it is the national occupation of the women of the Low Countries, and one to which they have steadily adhered from very remote times. During the long civil and foreign wars waged by the people of the [pg 124] Netherlands, while subject to Spanish dominion, other branches of Belgic industry either dwindled to decay, or were transplanted to foreign countries; but lace-making remained faithful to the land which had fostered and brought it to perfection, though it received tempting offers from abroad, and had to struggle with many difficulties at home. This Mr. Kohl explains by the fact that lace-making is a branch of industry chiefly confined to female hands, and, as women are less disposed to travel than men, all arts and handicrafts exclusively pursued by women, have a local and enduring character.

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

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

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

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

To form an accurate idea of this operation, it is necessary to see a Brabant Thread-spinner at her work. She carefully examines every thread, watching it closely as she draws it off the distaff; and that she may see it the more distinctly, a piece of dark blue paper is used as a background for the flax. Whenever the spinner notices the least unevenness, she [pg 125] stops the evolution of her wheel, breaks off the faulty piece of flax, and then resumes her spinning. This fine flax being as costly as gold, the pieces thus broken off are carefully laid aside to be used in other ways. All this could never be done by machinery. It is different in the spinning of cotton, silk, or wool, in which the original threads are almost all of uniform thickness. The invention of the English flax-spinning machine, therefore, can never supersede the work of the Belgian fine thread spinners, any more than the bobbinnet machine can rival the fingers of the Brussels lace-makers, or render their delicate work superfluous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[pg 126]

[From Bentley's Miscellany.]



"Ευδεις αλλ ου σειο λελασμενοι εσμεν!"

"Thou sleepest, but we do not forget thee!"

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

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

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

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

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

"Vergiss die treuen Todten nicht!"

"Forget not the faithful dead!"

It was in this spirit that, one day during my recent visit to Paris, I escaped from the busy idleness of that gay and ever-bustling city, to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of one whose surpassing qualities of mind, and heart, and person, had endeared her to all who knew her—whose brilliant career had been closed with awful suddenness—and whose lamented death has left a void in the circle over which she presided with such graceful urbanity, which no other can hope to fill. By a strange coincidence, it was precisely on that day, the year before, that she [pg 127] had paid me her farewell visit in London; little did either of us then foresee how and where that visit would be returned by me! The regret of parting was then softened by our mutual conviction that many meetings were in store for us in the new home she had chosen for herself in a foreign land. Alas! before many weeks had elapsed she was suddenly summoned to her eternal home! In the midst of health, and hope, and enjoyment, Death insidiously laid his icy grasp upon her; but so gently was the blow dealt, that neither sigh nor struggle marked her passage from life to immortality; and before her stunned friends could bring themselves to believe that her warm heart had indeed grown cold, the vaults of the Madeleine had received all that was left on earth of the once beautiful and gifted Marguerite Blessington.

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

"Whom Lawrence painted and whom Byron sung!"

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

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

"Io sono in pace!"

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

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

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

"Infra sepultum est

Id omne quod sepeliri potest,

Mulieris quondam pulcherrimæ.

Ingenium suum summo studio coluit,

Aliorum pari adjuvit.

Benefacta sua celare novit, ingenium non ita.

Erga omnes erat largâ bonitate,

Peregrinis eleganter hospitalis.

Venit Lutetiam Parisiorum Aprili mense,

Quarto Junii die supremum suum obiit."


Her last resting-place will not be neglected. The eye of faithful affection watches over it as vigilantly as though the dust that sleeps within were conscious of his care. But lately a sentiment of exquisite tenderness suggested the addition of its most touching and appropriate embellishment. A gentleman in the County Tipperary5 had been commissioned to send over to Chambourcy a root of ivy from Lady Blessington's birthplace to plant near her grave. He succeeded in obtaining an off-shoot from the parent stem that grows over the house in which she was born. It has been transplanted to the foot of the railing that surrounds her monument—it has taken root and spread—and thus the same ivy that sheltered her cradle will overshadow her tomb!

Footnote 4: (return)

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

Footnote 5: (return)

R. Bernal Osborne, Esq., M.P.

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

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

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

"A stupor deep his cloudy temples bound,

And when he waked he seemed as whirling round,

Or in a feeble trance he speechless lay."

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

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