THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. 13, No. 374.] SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 1829. [PRICE 2d.
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HOLLAND HOUSE, KENSINGTON
Since the time of William III., who was the first royal tenant of the palace, Kensington has been a place of considerable interest, as the residence and resort of many celebrated men. The palace, however, possesses little historical attraction; but, among the mansions of the parish, Holland House merits especial notice.
Holland House takes its name from Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, and was built by his father-in-law, Sir Walter Cope, in the year 1607, of the architecture of which period it affords an excellent specimen. Its general form is that of an half H. The Earl of Holland greatly improved the house. The stone piers at the entrance of the court (over which are the arms of Rich, quartering Bouldry and impaling Cope) were designed by Inigo Jones. The internal decorations were by Francis Cleyne. One chamber, called the Gilt Room, which still remains in its original state, exhibits a very favourable specimen of the artist's abilities; the wainscot is in compartments, ornamented with cross crosslets and fleurs de-lis charges, in the arms of Rich and Cope, whose coats are introduced, entire, at the corner of the room, with a punning motto, alluding to the name of Rich, Ditior est qui se. Over the chimneys are some emblematical paintings, done (as the Earl of Orford observes) in a style and not unworthy of Parmegiane. The Earl of Holland was twice made a prisoner in his own house, first by King Charles, in 1633, upon occasion of his challenging Lord Weston; and a second time, by command of the parliament, after the unsuccessful issue of his attempt to restore the king, in August, 1648. The Earl, who was a conspicuous character during the whole of Charles's reign, and frequently in employments of considerable trust, appears to have been very wavering in his politics, and of an irritable disposition. In 1638, we find him retired to his house at Kensington, in disgust, because he was not made Lord Admiral. At the eve of the civil war, he was employed against the Scots; when the army was disbanded, having received some new cause of offence, he retired again to Kensington, where, according to Lord Clarendon, he was visited by all the disaffected members of parliament, who held frequent meetings at Holland House. Some time afterwards, when the civil war was at its height, he joined the king's party at Oxford; but, meeting with a cool reception, returned again to the parliament. In August 6, 1647, "the members of the parliament who were driven from Westminster by tumults, met General Fairfax at Holland House, and subscribed to the declaration of the army, and a further declaration, approving of and joining with the army, in all their late proceedings, making null all acts passed by the members since July 6." (Clarendon.)— The Earl of Holland's desertion of the royal cause, is to be attributed, perhaps, to his known enmity towards Lord Strafford; he gave, nevertheless, the best proof of his attachment to monarchy, by making a bold, though rash attempt, to restore his master. After a valiant stand against an unequal force, near Kingston upon Thames, he was obliged to quit the field, but was soon after taken prisoner, and suffered death upon the scaffold. His corpse was sent to Kensington, and interred in the family vault there, March 10, 1649. In the July following, Lambert, then general of the army, fixed his headquarters at Holland House. It was soon afterwards restored to the Countess of Holland. When theatres were shut up by the Puritans, plays were acted privately at the houses of the nobility, who made collections for the actors. Holland House is particularly mentioned, as having been used occasionally for this purpose.
The next remarkable circumstance in the history of Holland House, is the residence of Addison, who became possessed of it in 1716, by his marriage with Charlotte, Countess Dowager of Warwick and Holland. It is said that he did not add much to his happiness by this alliance; for one of his biographers, rather laconically observes, that "Holland House is a large mansion, but it cannot contain Mr. Addison, the Countess of Warwick, and one guest, Peace." Mr. Addison was appointed Secretary of State, in 1717, and died at Holland House, June 17, 1719. Addison had been tutor to the young earl, and anxiously, but in vain, endeavoured to check the licentiousness of his manners. As a last effort, he requested him to come into his room when he lay at the point of death, hoping that the solemnity of the scene might work upon his feelings. When his pupil came to receive his last commands, he told him that he had sent for him to see how a Christian could die; to which Tickell thus alludes:—
He taught us how to live; and oh! too high A price for knowledge, taught us how to die!
On the death of this young nobleman, in 1721, unmarried, his estates devolved to the father of Lord Kensington, (maternally descended from Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick.) who sold Holland House, about 1762, to the Right Hon. Henry Fox, afterwards Lord Holland, the early years of whose patriotic son, the late C.J. Fox, were passed chiefly at this mansion; and his nephew, the present Lord Holland, is now owner of the estate.
The apartments of Holland House, are, generally, capacious and well proportioned. The library is about 105 feet in length, and the collection of books is worthy of the well known literary taste of the noble proprietor. Here also are several fine busts by Nollekens, and a valuable collection of pictures by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c. two fine landscapes by Salvator Rosa, and a collection of exquisite miniatures.
The grounds include about 300 acres, of which about 63 acres are disposed into pleasure gardens, &c. Mr. Rogers, the amiable poet, is a constant visiter at Holland House; and the noble host, with Maecenas-like taste, has placed over a rural seat, the following lines, from respect to the author of the "Pleasures of Memory:"—
Here ROGERS sat—and here for ever dwell With me, those Pleasures which he sang so well.
Holland House and its park-like grounds is, perhaps, the most picturesque domain in the vicinity of the metropolis, although it will soon be surrounded with brick and mortar proportions.
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FIELD OF FORTY STEPS.
(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
I should feel obliged if you could give some account of the story attached to the Brothers' Steps, a spot thus called, which formerly existed in one of the fields behind Montague House. The local tradition says, that two brothers fought there on account of a lady, who sat by and witnessed the combat, and that the conflict ended in the death of both; but the names of the parties have never been mentioned. The steps existed behind the spot where Mortimer Market now stands, and not as Miss Porter says, in her novel of the Field of Forty Steps, at the end of Upper Montague Street. In her story, Miss Porter departs entirely from the local tradition.
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(To the Editor of the Mirror.)
Allow me permission, if consistent with the regulations of your interesting miscellany, to submit to you a literary problem. We are informed that there exists, at the present day, in Italy, a set of persons called "improvisatri," who pretend to recite original poetry of a superior order, composed on the spur of the moment. An extraordinary account appeared a short time back in a well known Scotch magazine, of a female improvisatrice, which may have met your notice. Now I entertain considerable doubt of the truth of these pretensions; not that I question the veracity of those who have visited Italy and make the assertion: they believe what they relate, but are, I conceive, grossly deceived. There is something, no doubt, truly inspiring in the air of Italy:
For wheresoe'er they turn their ravish'd eyes, Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise, Poetic fields encompass them around, And still they seem to tread on classic ground; For there the muse so oft her harp has strung, That not a mountain rears its head unsung: Renown'd inverse each shady thicket grows, And ev'ry stream in heav'nly numbers flows.
Notwithstanding this beautiful description, my scepticism will not allow me to believe in these miraculous genii.
Lord Byron mentions these improvisatri, in his "Beppo," but not in a way that leads me to suppose, he considered them capable of original poetry. Mr. Addison, in his account of Italy, says, "I cannot forbear mentioning a custom at Venice, which they tell me is peculiar to the common people of this country, of singing stanzas out of Tasso. They are set to a pretty solemn tune, and when one begins in any part of the poet, it is odds, but he will be answered by somebody else that overhears him; so that sometimes you have ten or a dozen in the neighbourhood of one another, taking verse after verse, and running on with the poem as far as their memories will carry them."
I am, therefore, inclined to think these "improvisatri" are mere reciters of the great Italian poets. It is probable that the persons who give us these extraordinary accounts of Italian genius, are unacquainted with the literature of that country, and of course cannot detect the imposition.
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In Goldsmith's poem, entitled "Retaliation," a line occurs, which is to me unintelligible, at least a part of it. That poet concludes his ironical eulogium on Edmund Burke, thus:—
"In short 'twas his fate, unemployed, or in place, sir, To eat mutton cold, and cut blocks with a razor."
The cutting blocks with a razor, I think is obvious enough, but, what is meant by eating mutton cold? I should be obliged by a solution. HEN. B.
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I'LL COME TO YOUR BALL.
(For the Mirror.)
I'll come to your Ball—dearest Emma, (I had nearly forgotten to say) Provided no awkward dilemma Should happen to keep me away: For I burn with impatience to see you, All our hopes, all our joys to recall, And you'll find I've no wishes to flee you, When next I shall come to your Ball.
Strange men, stranger things, and strange cities I have seen since I parted from you, But your beauty, your love, and your wit is A charm that has still held me true, And tho' mighty has been the temptation, Your image prevail'd over all, And I still held the fond adoration For one I must meet at the Ball.
I have knelt at the shrine of a Donna, And languish'd for months in her train, But still I was whisper'd by honour, And came to my senses again, When I thought of the vows I had plighted, And the stars that I once used to call As my witnesses—could I have slighted? Her I long to behold at the Ball.
You say that my nature is altered, "I've forgotten the how and the when, That my voice which was best when it faltered" Is rough by my converse with men: Believe me that still you will find me Of lovers the truest of all, And the spell that has bound still shall bind me, And I'll come, dearest girl, to your Ball.
I have waded through battle fields gory, To my country and honour been true, And my name has been famous in story, But dear Emma, it all was for you. I've longed when my troubles were over, Unhurt by the bay'net or ball. To forget I was ever "a rover," And claim you my bride at your Ball.
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THE SANJAC-SHERIF, OR STANDARD OF MAHOMET.
(For the Mirror.)
This standard, which is an object of peculiar reverence among the Mussulman, was originally the curtain of the chamber door of Mahomet's favourite wife. It is kept as the Palladium of the empire, and no infidel can look upon it with impunity. It is carried out of Constantinople to battle in cases of emergency, in great solemnity, before the Sultan, and its return is hailed by all the people of the capital going out to meet it. The Caaba, or black stone of Mecca is also much revered by the Turks; it is placed in the Temple, and is expected to be endowed with speech at the day of judgment, for the purpose of declaring the names of those pious Mussulmen who have really performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, and poured forth their devotions at the shrine of the prophet. INA.
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Abridged from Mr. Richards's Treatise on Nervous Disorders.
The object of eating ought not to be, exclusively, the satisfying of the appetite. It is true that the sensation of hunger admonishes us, and indeed, incites us to supply the wants of the body; and that the abatement of this sensation betokens that such want has been supplied; so far the satisfying of the appetite is a matter of consideration; but a prudent person will observe the mode in which the appetite is best satisfied, and the frame, at the same time, most abundantly nourished, for this ought to be the chief object of feeding. There is much truth in the homely adage, that "what is one man's meat is another man's poison," and a person who has been muscled will, if he wishes to enjoy his health, rigidly eschew that piscatory poison. So, also, will an individual with a bilious habit avoid fat pork; and those whose stomachs are flatulent will not inordinately indulge in vegetables. Captain Barclay, whose knowledge in such matters was as extensive as that of most persons, informs us that our health, vigour, and activity must depend upon our diet and exercise.
 We frequently hear of people being muscled; and it is generally supposed that the mischief is produced by some specifically poisonous quality in the fish. I have seen many cases, but I could discover nothing to confirm this popular opinion. In some instances, only one of a family has been affected, while all partook of the same muscles. I have known exactly the same symptoms produced by pork, lobsters, and other shell-fish, and can attribute them to nothing more than an aggravated state of indigestion.
A leading rule in diet, is never to overload the stomach; indeed, restriction as to quantity is far more important than any rule as to quality. It is bad, at all times, to distend the stomach too much; for it is a rule in the animal economy, that if any of the muscular cavities, as the stomach, heart, bowels, or bladder, be too much distended, their tone is weakened, and their powers considerably impaired.
The consideration of diet might be rendered very simple, if people would but make it so; but from the volumes which have been recently written on diet and digestion, we might gather the alarming information that nearly every thing we eat is pernicious. Far be it from me to adopt such a discouraging theory. My object is rather to point out what is good, than to stigmatize what is bad—to afford the patient, if I can, the means of comfort and enjoyment, and not to tell him of his sufferings, or of the means of increasing them.
To "eat a little and often," is a rule frequently followed, because it is in accordance with our feelings; but it is a very bad rule, and fraught with infinite mischief. Before the food is half digested, the irritable nerves of the upper part of the stomach will produce a sensation of "craving;" but, it is sufficiently evident that, to satisfy this "craving," by taking food, is only to obtain a temporary relief, and not always even that, at the expense of subsequent suffering. There can be no wisdom in putting more food into the stomach than it can possibly digest; and, as all regularity is most conducive to health, it is better that the food should be taken at stated periods. I do not by any means interdict the use of meat; on the contrary, fresh meat, especially beef and mutton, affords great nutriment in a small compass. "Remember," says Dr. Kitchiner, "that an ounce of beef contains the essence of many pounds of hay, turnips, and other vegetables;" and, we should bear in mind, also, that no meat arrives at perfection that is not full-grown. Beef and mutton are consequently better than veal or lamb, or "nice young pork." To these such vegetables may be added, as are easy of digestion, and such as usually "agree" with the individual. If, however, the stomach and bowels be very irritable, and their powers much impaired—if the tongue be dry, and its edges more than commonly red, vegetable diet ought to be considerably restricted. Peas, beans, the different kinds of greens, and all raw fruits, should be avoided, and potatoes, properly boiled, with turnips and carrots, ought to constitute the only varieties. I have seen the skins of peas, the stringy fibres of greens, and the seeds of raspberries and strawberries, pass through the bowels no further changed, than by their exposure to maceration; and it is not necessary to point out the irritation which their progress must have produced, as they passed over the excited and irritable surface of the alimentary canal.
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A SCENE IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT.
(For the Mirror.)
The crowded yachts were anchor'd in the roads, To view the contest for a kingly prize; Voluptuous beauty smil'd on Britain's lords, And fashion dazzled with her thousand dyes; And far away the rival barks were seen, (The ample wind expanding every sail) To climb the billows of the watery green, As stream'd their pennons on the favouring gale: The victor vessel gain'd the sovereign boon; The gothic palace and the gay saloon, Begemm'd with eyes that pierc'd the hiding veil, Echoed to music and its merry glee And cannon roll'd its thunder o'er the sea, To greet that vessel for her gallant sail.
Sonnets on Isle of Wight Scenery.
To those readers of the MIRROR who have not witnessed an Isle of Wight Regatta, a description of that fete may not be uninteresting. From the days assigned to the nautical contest, we will select that on which his Majesty's Cup was sailed for, on Monday, the 13th of August, 1827, as the most copious illustration of the scene; beginning with Newport, the fons et origo of the "doings" of that remembered day. Dramatically speaking, the scene High-street, the time "we may suppose near ten o'clock," A.M.; all silent as the woods which skirt the river Medina, so that to hazard a gloomy analogy, you might presume that some plague had swept away the population from the sunny streets; the deathlike calm being only broken by the sounds of sundry sashes, lifted by the dust-exterminating housemaid; or the clattering of the boots and spurs of some lonely ensign issuing from the portals of the Literary Institution, condemned to lounge away his hours in High-street. The solitary adjuncts of the deserted promenade may be comprised in the loitering waiter at the Bugle, amusing himself with his watch-chain, and anxiously listening for the roll of some welcome carriage—the sullen urchin, reluctantly wending his way to school, whilst
"His eyes Are with his heart, and that is far away;"
amidst the assemblage of yachts and boats, and dukes and lords, and oranges and gingerbread, at Cowes Regatta.
But where is all Newport? Why, on the road to Cowes, to be sure; for who dreams of staying at home on the day of sailing for the King's Cup? If the "courteous reader" will accompany us, we will descant on the scenery presented on the road, as well as the numerous vehicles and thronging pedestrians will permit us. Leaving the town-like extent of the Albany Barracks, the prospect on the left is the Medina, graced with gently gliding boats and barges, and skirted by fine woods. Opposite is the wood-embosomed village of Whippingham, from which peers the "time-worn tower" of the little church. Passing another romantic hamlet (Northwood) the river approaching its mighty mother, the sea, widens into laky breadth; and here the prospect is almost incomparable. On a lofty and woody hill stands the fine modern castellated residence of John Nash, Esq. an erection worthy of the baronial era, lifting its ponderous turrets in the gleaming sunshine; and on another elevation contiguous to the sea, is the castle of the eccentric Lord Henry Seymour, a venerable pile of antique beauty. Here the spectator, however critical in landscape scenery, cannot fail to be gratified; the blended and harmonizing shades of wood, rock, and water; the diversities of architecture, displayed in castle, cottage, and villa; the far-off heights of St. George's and St. Catherine's overtopping the valley; the fine harbour of Cowes, filled with the sails of divers countries, and studded with anchored yachts, decked in their distinguishing flags; and around, the illimitable waters of the ocean encircling the island, form an interesting coup d'oeil of scenery which might almost rival the imaginary magnificence of Arcadia.
Approaching Cowes by the rural by-road adjoining Northwood Park, the residence of George Ward, Esq. the ocean scenery is sublimely beautiful. In the distance is seen the opposite shores, with Calshot Castle, backed by the New Forest, and one side of it, divided by Southampton Water, and the woods of Netley Abbey. Here we descried the contending yachts, ploughing their way in the direction of the Needles; but as our acquaintance with the sailing regulations of the Royal Yacht Club will not admit of our awarding the precedence to one or the other, we will descend from the elevation of Northwood, amidst the din of music from the Club House, and the hum of promenaders on the beach, and ensconce ourselves in the snug parlour of "mine host" Paddy White, whom we used to denominate the Falstaff of the island. Though from the land of shillelaghs and whiskey, Paddy is entirely devoid of that gunpowder temperament which characterizes his country; and his genuine humour, ample obesity, and originality of delivery, entitle him to honourable identification with "Sir John." Now, by the soul of Momus! who ever beheld a woe-begone face at Paddy White's? Even our own, remarkable for "loathed melancholy," has changed its moody contour into the lineaments of mirth, while listening to him. View him holding forth to his auditors between the intervening whiffs of his soothing pipe, and you see written in wreaths of humour on his jolly countenance, the spirit of Falstaff's interrogatory, "What, shall I not take mine ease at mine inn?" The most serious moods he evinces are, when after detailing the local chronology of Cowes, and relating the obituary of "the bar," consisting of the deaths of dram-drinking landladies, and dropsical landlords, he pathetically relaxes the rotundity of his cheeks, and exclaims, "Poor Tom! he was a good un." But we must to the beach, and glance at the motley concourse assembled to behold the nautical contest.
Was there ever a happier scene than Cowes presented on that day? But to begin with the splendid patrons of the festival, we must turn our eyes to the elegant Club House, built at the expense of George Ward, Esq. Before it are arranged the numerous and efficient band of the Irish Fusileers, and behind them, standing in graceful groups, are many of the illustrious members of the club. That elderly personage, arrayed in ship habiliments, is the noble Commodore, Lord Yarborough; he is in conversation with the blithe and mustachioed Earl of Belfast. To the right of them is the Marquess of Anglesey, in marine metamorphose; his face bespeaking the polished noble, whilst his dress betokens the gallant sea captain. There is the fine portly figure of Lord Grantham, bowing to George Ward, Esq.; who, in quakerlike coat and homely gaiters, with an umbrella beneath his arm, presents a fine picture of a speculator "on 'Change." To the left is Richard Stephens, Esq., Secretary to the Royal Yacht Club, and Master of the Ceremonies. He is engaged in the enviable task of introducing a party of ladies to view the richly-adorned cups; and the smile of gallantry which plays upon his countenance belies the versatility of his talent, which can blow a storm on the officers of a Custom House cutter more to be dreaded than the blusterings of old Boreas. That beautiful Gothic villa adjoining the Club House, late the residence of the Marquess of Anglesey, is occupied by the ladies of some of the noble members of the club, forming as elegant and fashionable a circle as any ball-room in the metropolis would be proud to boast of. But it is time to speak of the crowd on the beach—lords and ladies—peers and plebeians—civilians and soldiers—swells and sailors—respectable tradesmen and men of no trade—coaches and carriages, and "last, not least," the Bards of the Regatta—
"Eternal blessings be upon their heads! The poets—"
singing the deeds of the contested day in strains neither Doric nor Sapphic, but in such rhythm and measure as Aristotle has overlooked in the compilation of his Poetic Rules; and to such music as might raise the shade of Handel from its "cerements." Surely the Earl of Belfast must feel himself highly flattered by the vocal compliment—
"And as for the Earl of Belfast, he's a nobleman outright, They all say this, both high and low, all through the Iley Wight."
Reverting to the aquatic scenery, the most prominent object amidst the "myriad convoy," is the Commodore's fine ship, the Falcon, 351 tons, lying out a mile and a half to sea. Contrasting her proportions with the numerous yachts around her, we might compare her commanding appearance to that of some mountain giant, seated on a precipice, and watching the trial for mastery amongst a crowd of pigmies below. Her state cabin has been decorated in a style of magnificence for a ball in the evening, at which 200 of the nobility and gentry are expected to be present. But all eyes are anxiously turned to the race. "Huzza for the Arrow," is the acclamation from the crowd; and certain enough the swift Arrow, of 85 tons, Joseph Weld, Esq., has left her opponents, even the favourite Miranda spreads all sail in vain—the Arrow flies too swiftly, outstripping the Therese, 112 tons; the Menai, 163 tons; the Swallow, 124 tons; the Scorpion, 110 tons; the Pearl, 113 tons; the Dolphin, 58 tons; and the Harriet, 112 tons. Now she nears the starting vessel, gliding swiftly round it—the cannons on the battlements of Cowes Castle proclaim the victory—the music breaks forth "with its voluptuous swell," amidst the applause of the multitude,—and his Majesty's Cup is awarded to the Arrow.
The assemblage dispersing, we will adjourn to Paddy White's, and refresh ourselves with a cup of his Bohea, rendered more agreeable by the company's critiques on the sailing match. At this moment Cowes contains half the world; and every villa, and assembly-room, and tavern, and pot-house, from the superb club-house, with its metamorphosed lords, to the Sun tap, with its boisterous barge-men, are as happy as mortals can be. Just before oar departure for Newport, we will to the harbour, and take a farewell peep of the "finish" of Cowes' Regatta. Though unwelcome night has prematurely interrupted the enjoyments of the multitude, it engenders a social pleasure to behold the numerous lights, forming almost a concentrated blaze—to hear the expiring cadence of the jovial song, excited by the second bottle—and to join in the bustle of the beach, where the company of the Falcon are embarking. But good bye to Cowes—we are already on the road to Newport; and the lateness of the hour may be conceived by the inmates of the rural inn, the Flower Pot, drawing the white curtains of each bed-room window. Reader, a word at parting. Art thou tired of the commercial monotony of the city, and wearied with its eternal aspect of brick? Has the efflorescence of thy youth been "sicklied o'er" by the wasting turmoil of the town?—leave its precincts for one month of the fervid summer, and forget thy cares and toils in the embowered Isle of Wight. Let thy taste be ever so fastidious, there it may be gratified. If thou art in love with sentimental ease and elegance, take up thy residence amongst the library-visiting fashionables at Ryde—if thou hast a taste for the terrific and sublime, thou canst meditate amidst the solemn and sea-worn cliffs of Chale, and regale thine ears with the watery thunders of the Black Gang Chine—if any veneration for antiquity lights up thy feelings, enjoy thy dream beneath the Saxon battlements of Carisbrooke, and poetize amidst the "sinking relics" of Quam Abbey—if geology is thy passion, visit the "wild and wondrous" rocks of Freshwater, where thou canst feast thine eyes with relics of the antediluvian world, and enrich thy collection with shells of every hue—if thou longest to dissolve thy heart in pastoral tears, a la Keates, adjourn to Arreton, the sweetly secluded scene of the "Dairyman's Daughter;" where thou mayest "with flowers commune;" or if thou hast the prevailing characteristics of a cheerful citizen, take up thy abode amongst the life-cherishing bon-vivants of Newport—but, above all, forego not the pleasures of a Cowes Regatta! * * H.
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MANNERS & CUSTOMS OF ALL NATIONS.
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A medical officer, in a recent letter from Hambantotti says, I have just returned from beholding a sight, which, even in this country, is of rare occurrence, viz. an elephant hunt, conducted under the orders of government. A minute description (though well worth perusal) would be far too long for a letter; I shall therefore only give you what is usually called a faint idea.
Imagine 2,000 or 3,000 men surrounding a tract of country six or eight miles in circumference, each one armed with different combustibles and moving fires; in the midst suppose 300 elephants, being driven towards the centre by the gradual and regular approach of these fires, till at last they are confined within a circle of about two miles; they are then driven by the same means into a space made by the erection of immense logs of ebony and other strong wood, bound together by cane, and of the shape (in miniature) of the longitudinal section of a funnel, towards which they rush with the greatest fury, amidst the most horrid yells on the approach of fire, of which they stand in the greatest dread. When enclosed they become outrageous, and charge on all sides with great fury, but without any effect on the strong barricado; they at last gain the narrow path of the enclosure, the extreme end of which is just large enough to admit one elephant, which is immediately prevented breaking out by strong bars laid across. To express their passion, their desperation, when thus confined, is impossible; and still more so, to imagine the facility and admirable contrivance by which they are removed and tamed. Thus it is:—A tame elephant is placed on each side, to whom the wild one is fastened by ropes; he is then allowed to pass out, and immediately on his making the least resistance, the tame ones give him a most tremendous squeeze between their sides, and beat him with their trunks until he submits; they then lead him to a place ready prepared, to which he is strongly fastened, and return to perform the same civility to the next one.
In this way seventy wild elephants were captured for the purpose of government labour. The tame elephants daily take each wild one singly to water and to feed, until they become quite tame and docile. The remaining elephants were shot by the people.
I took possession of a young one, and have got him now tied up near my door; he is quite reconciled, and eats with the greatest confidence out of my hand; he is, however, too expensive to keep long, and I fear I must eventually shoot him. Some idea of the expense may be supposed, when I tell you that in one article alone, milk, his allowance is two gallons per day.
I was at this scene with thirty other officers and their ladies, and we remained in temporary huts for nearly ten days.—Asiatic Journal.
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BRAZILIAN SLAVE TRADE.
From the Memoirs of General Miller, Second Edition.
In Brazil the slave trade is seen in some of its most revolting aspects; for there the general treatment of negro slaves is barbarous in the extreme. About thirty thousand are annually imported into Rio Janeiro alone, and perhaps an equal number in the other ports of the empire. One of the many abhorrent circumstances attending this nefarious traffic is, that, upon a vessel's arriving near the port, such slaves, as appear to be in an irrecoverable state of disease, are frequently thrown into the sea! This is done merely to evade the payment of the custom-house duty, which is levied upon every slave brought into port. Instances have occurred of their being picked up alive by coasting vessels!
Fourteen or fifteen slave ships, with full cargoes, arrived at Rio Janeiro during the six weeks that Miller remained there. One morning that he happened to breakfast on board a Brazilian frigate, the commander, Captain Sheppard, kindly lent him a boat to visit a slaver of 320 tons, which had come into port the preceding night. The master, supposing him to be in the imperial service, was extremely attentive, and very readily answered every inquiry. He said the homeward-bound passage had been tolerably fortunate, only seventy-two deaths having occurred in the cargo; and that, although thirty of the sick were then in an unsaleable plight, the owners might calculate upon sending into the market four hundred sound and well-grown Africans; a number that would yield a handsome profit.
After some further conversation, Miller requested permission to see the 'tween decks, upon which the muster accompanied him below, and pointed out the manner of securing his cargo, which was by shackling each negro by one leg to an iron bar running a midships from stem to stern, so as to form a double row, lying feet to feet. The air was so oppressively nauseating, that Miller could not remain below for more than two minutes. There was hardly a slave in the whole number who was free from festering sores, produced by constant friction from lying on the hard and unwashed decks. Some of them were bruised so dreadfully, that it was wonderful that they continued to exist. Their emaciated appearance might have led to the supposition that they had been nearly starved during the passage, did not the varied miseries to which they were subjected, sufficiently account for their fleshless forms. A great number of them were now upon deck, and clad in long woollen shirts, in order to be sent to the warehouses on shore. Miller, heartily sick of this disgusting scene, took leave of the master; but, unable to control the indignation he felt, he inveighed with great bitterness against all wretches concerned in so iniquitous a traffic, letting him know at the same time that he was not in the service of the emperor. The master, though at first taken aback by the violence of the general's invectives, soon recovered himself, and retorted in the most insolent terms of defiance, abusing the English for meddling in what he styled the legitimate commerce of Brazil. The state of the vessel was such as cannot be described, and the fetid effluvia, arising from it, offended the senses on approaching her within fifty yards. Although Miller took a warm bath immediately upon getting on shore, the stench of the slave ship haunted his nostrils for many days.
There is a long narrow street in Rio Janeiro exclusively appropriated to the negro stores. It is, in fact, the slave-bazaar. The fronts of the shops are open, and the objects for sale are seated on benches, where, strange to say, they often pass their time in singing. People wishing to become purchasers lounge up and down until they see a subject likely to suit their purpose. Miller one day put on a broad-brimmed straw hat, and walked into several of the stores, as if with a view of making a purchase. The slave venders came forward with eagerness to show off their stock, making their bipeds move about in every way best calculated to display their good points, and in much the same manner that a jockey does in showing off a horse. Those who appeared to be drowsy were made to bite a piece of ginger, or take a pinch of snuff. If these excitements did not prove sufficient to give them an air of briskness, they were wakened up by a pull of the ear, or a slap on the face, which made them look about them. Miller was so inquisitive, and his observations were so unlike those of a bona fide purchaser, that the dealers soon began to suspect he did not intend to be a customer. One of them being in consequence rather pert in his replies, Miller once more allowed his indignation to get the better of his judgment, and he abused the fellow in terms more violent, if possible, than those he had addressed to the master of the slave ship. He had some difficulty to avoid getting into a very serious squabble, as many of the other dealers came out and joined in the yell now raised against him. As he passed along the street, it was like running the gauntlet; for he was saluted by vituperations on all sides, and it was perhaps only by preserving a menacing attitude in his retreat that he prevented something more than a mere war of words. They dwelt with marked emphasis on the officious English, who, instead of attending to their own affairs, would not, they said, allow other people to gain an honest livelihood.
* * * * *
OLD CHARING CROSS.
This is one of the celebrated memorials of the affection of Edward I. for his beloved Elinor, being the cross erected on the last spot on which the body rested in the way to Westminster Abbey, the place of sepulture. This and all the other crosses were built after the designs of Cavilini; and all of them were destroyed by the zeal of the Reformers.
Our illustration is from an engraving copied from a print found in a mutilated genealogy published in 1602, relative to the Stuart family, in which were portraits of James I. and family, and a print of Old St. Paul's. Pennant, speaking of Old Charing Cross, says "from a drawing communicated to me by Dr. Combe, it was octagonal, and in the upper stage had eight figures; but the Gothic parts were not rich." The above print differs from this drawing, yet it was evidently intended to represent the same subject, "Charing Cross" being engraved at the bottom.
The site of the cross is now occupied by the Equestrian Statue of Charles I. in which the figure and symmetry of the horse are beautifully displayed. Indeed, it is said to be the most finished piece of workmanship of the kind ever produced: that of Marcus Aurelius, or the two horses on the Monte Cavallo, or Quirino at Rome not excepted.
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NOTES OF A READER.
* * * * *
Judge Hall says, "I once travelled through Illinois when the waters were high; and when I was told that Little Mary would stop me, and that to get by Big Mary was impossible, I supposed them to be attractive damsels, who, like beauteous Circe of old, amused themselves with playing tricks upon travellers. But, lo! instead of blushing, blooming, and melodious maids, I found torrents cold as ice, and boisterous as furies. Mary is too sweet a name to be thus profaned."
* * * * *
FIGHT IN A CHURCH.
Among the ecclesiastical anecdotes of the age of the Commonwealth, is a tradition still current at Bishop's Middleham, concerning their intrusive vicar, John Brabant. He was a soldier in Cromwell's army; but preferring the drum ecclesiastic to the drum military, he came with a file of troops to Middleham, to eject the old vicar. The parishioners made a good fight on the occasion, and succeeded in winning the pulpit, which was the key of the position, for their proper minister; but Brabant made a soldierly retreat into the chancel, mounted the altar, and there preached, standing, with a brace of horse-pistols at his side. Right, however, had little chance when Might ruled; and the old vicar, who had held the living forty years, was ejected.
* * * * *
SPANISH AND ITALIAN REFUGEES.
A pretty little "Garland of Miscellaneous Poems" has just been published by one of our occasional correspondents, for the Benefit of the Spanish and Italian Refugees. These poems are gracefully written, independent of the interest they ought to awaken from the profits of the sale being appropriated to a benevolent purpose. We subjoin an extract—
 Mr. W.H. Brandreth, author of "Field Flowers," &c.
THE FIELD OF BANNOCKBURN.
A fearful form from Stirling's tower Was dimly seen to bend; He look'd as though, 'mid fate's far hour, Some mighty woe he kenn'd. White was his hair, and thin with age, One hand was raised on high, The other ope'd the mystic page Of human destiny. And oft, ere shone the moon's pale ray, His eyes were seen to turn Where, in the gloomy distance, lay The plain of Bannockburn.
And fair uprose the queen of night, Shining o'er mount and main; Ben Lomond own'd her silvery light, Forth sparkled bright again. Fair, too, o'er loyal Scoone she shone, For there the Bruce had kneel'd, And, half forgetful, look'd she down On Falkirk's fatal field. For ere to-morrow's sun shall set, Stern Edward's self shall learn A lesson pride may ne'er forget, Where murmurs Bannockburn.
A voice is heard from Stirling's tower, 'Tis of that aged seer, The lover leaves his lady's bower, Yet chides her timid tear. The infant wakes 'mid wild alarms, Prayers are in vain outpour'd; The bridegroom quits his bride's fond charms, And half unsheaths his sword. Yet who may fate's dark power withstand, Or who its mandate spurn? And still the seer uplifts his hand And points to Bannockburn.
"There waves a standard o'er the brae, There gleams a highland sword; Is not yon form the Stewart, say,— Yon, Scotland's Martial Lord? Douglas, with Arran's stranger chief, And Moray's earl, are there; Whilst drops of blood, for tears of grief, The coming strife declare. Oh! red th' autumnal heath-bells blow Within thy vale, Strathearne; But redder far, ere long, shall glow The flowers of Bannockburn!
"Alas! for Edward's warrior pride, For England's warrior fame; Alas! that e'er from Thames' fair side Her gallant lances came! Lo! where De Bohun smiles in scorn,— The Bruce, the Bruce is near! Rash earl, no more thy hunter horn Shall Malvern's blue hills hear! Back, Argentine, and thou, De Clare, To Severn's banks return Health smiles in rural beauty there,— Death lours o'er Bannockburn!
"Up, up, De Valence, dream no more Of Mothven's victor fight— Thy bark is on a stormier shore, No star is thine to-night. And thou, De Burgh, from Erin's isle, Whom Eth O'Connor leads, Love's tear shall soon usurp his smile In Ulster's emerald meads. But oh! what tears will Cambria shed When she the tale shall learn— For Forth's full tide shall flow blood red, Ere long, from Bannockburn!
"But not alone shall Southron vale Lament that day of woe— Grief's sigh shall soothe each ruder gale Where Scotia's waters flow. From Corra Linn, where roars the Clyde, To Dornoch's ocean bay— From Tweed, that rolls a neutral tide, To lonely Colinsay:— But see, the stars wax faint and few, Death's frown is dark and stern— But darker soon shall rise to view Yon field of Bannockburn!"
* * * * *
Between Pittsburgh and Shawneetown, whilst "gliding merrily down the Ohio" in a keel-boat, "navigated by eight or ten of those half-horse and half-alligator gentry commonly called Ohio boatmen," Judge Hall was lulled to sweet sleep, as the rowers were "tugging at the oar," timing their strokes to the cadence:—
"Some rows up, but we rows down, All the way to Shawnee town: Pull away—pull away."
* * * * *
The following anecdote is related of Robert de Insula, or Halieland, a man of low birth, and one of the bishops of Durham:—Having given his mother an establishment suitable to his own rank, and asking her once, when he went to see her, how she fared, she answered, "Never worse!"—"What troubles thee?" said the bishop; "hast thou not men and women enough to attend thee?"—"Yea," quoth the old woman, "and more than enough! I say to one—go, and he runs; to another—come hither, fellow! and the varlet falls down on his knees;—and, in short, all things go on so abominably smooth, that my heart is bursting for something to spite me, and pick a quarrel withal!" The ducking-stool may have been a very needful piece of public furniture in those days, when it was deemed one characteristic of a notable housewife to be a good scold, and when women of a certain description sought, in the use of vituperation, that sort of excitement which they now obtain from a bottle and a glass.
* * * * *
The magnificent bishop of Durham, Antony Beke, once gave forty shillings for as many fresh herrings; and hearing someone say, "This cloth is so dear that even bishop Antony would not venture to pay for it," immediately ordered it to be brought and cut up into horse-cloths.
* * * * *
SOLIMAN "THE GREAT."
Here is a specimen of the magnificence with which this historical butcher treated his fellow-creatures:—
Among the many distinctions of Soliman's reign must be noticed the increased diplomatic intercourse with European nations. Three years after the capture of Rhodes, appeared the first French ambassador at the Ottoman Porte; he received a robe of honour, a present of two hundred ducats, and, what was more to his purpose, a promise of a campaign in Hungary, which should engage on that side the arms of Charles and his brother, Ferdinand. Soliman kept his promise. At the head of 100,000 men and 300 pieces of artillery, he commenced this memorable campaign. On the fatal field of Mohacs the fate of Hungary was decided in an unequal fight. King Lewis, as he fled from the Turkish sabres, was drowned in a morass. The next day the sultan received in state the compliments of his officers. The heads of 2,000 of the slain, including those of seven bishops and many of the nobility, were piled up as a trophy before his tent. Seven days after the battle, a tumultuous cry arose in the camp to massacre the prisoners and peasants—and in consequence 4,000 men were put to the sword. The keys of Buda were sent to the conqueror, who celebrated the Feast of Bairam in the castle of the Hungarian kings. Fourteen days afterwards he began to retire—bloodshed and devastation marking the course of his army. To Moroth, belonging to the Bishop of Gran, many thousands of the people had retired with their property, relying on the strength of the castle; the Turkish artillery, however, soon levelled it, and the wretched fugitives were indiscriminately butchered. No less than 25,000 fell here; and the whole number of the Hungarians destroyed in the barbarous warfare of this single campaign amounted to at least 200,000 souls.—Foreign Quarterly Review.
* * * * *
In 1614, there was one of the heaviest and longest snows which has ever been remembered in the north of England. The Parochial Register, of Wotton Gilbert, states that it began on the 5th of January, and continued to snow more or less every day, (the heaviest fall being on the 22nd of February,) till the 12th of March,—to the great loss of cattle, and of human life as well.
* * * * *
A GOOD BISHOP.
The great and good bishop Morton was preferred to the rectory of Long Marston, near York, four years before what is called the great plague began in that city, 1602. During this visitation, "he carried himself with so much heroical charity," says his biographer, "as will make the reader wonder to hear it." For the poorer sort being removed to the pest-house, he made it his frequent exercise to visit them with food, both for their bodies and souls. His chief errand was to instruct and comfort them, and pray for them and with them; and, to make his coming the more acceptable, he carried usually a sack of provision with him for those that wanted it. And because he would have no man to run any hazard thereby but himself, he seldom suffered any of his servants to come near him, but saddled and unsaddled his own horse, and had a private door made on purpose into his house and chamber. It was probably during this plague that the village of Simonside (in the chapelry of South Shields) was, according to tradition, so entirely depopulated, that the nearest townships divided the deserted lands. There is another tradition worthy of notice, that when the plague raged with great violence at Shields, the persons who were employed about the salt works entirely escaped the infection.
When the London mob was excited, by the movers of rebellion, against the bishop, this excellent prelate, on his way to the House of Lords, was almost torn to pieces. "Pull him out of his coach!" cried some; others, "nay he is a good man;" others, "but for all that he is a bishop!"—"I have often," says his biographer, heard him say, he believed he should not have escaped alive if a leading man among that rabble had not cried out, "Let him go and hang himself," which he was wont to compare to the words of the angel uttered by Balaam's ass. At that time he was seventy-six years of age, and, on that account, when the protesting prelates were, for this act of duty, committed to the Tower, he was remitted to the custody of the usher; and then, so little had he regarded the mammon of unrighteousness, that he had scarcely wherewith to defray the fees and charges of his confinement.
* * * * *
Pittsburgh is full of coal and smoke; in New Orleans the people play cards on Sunday; living is dear at Washington city, and codfish cheap at Boston; and Irishmen are plenty in Pennsylvania, and pretty girls in Rhode Island.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
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[We need not illustrate the force, or point the moral of the following sketch from the last number of Blackwood's Magazine. The parents of the writer were of "a serious cast," and attached to evangelical tenets, which he soon imbibed, together with an occasional tendency to gloom and nervous irritability.]
About the year 1790, at the Assizes for the county of which the town of C——r is the county town, was tried and convicted a wretch guilty of one of the most horrible murders upon record. He was a young man, probably (for he knew not his own years) of about twenty-two years of age. One of those wandering and unsettled creatures, who seem to be driven from place to place, they know not why. Without home; without name; without companion; without sympathy; without sense. Hearthless, friendless, idealess, almost soulless! and so ignorant, as not even to seem to know whether he had ever heard of a Redeemer, or seen his written word. It was on a stormy Christmas eve, when he begged shelter in the hut of an old man, whose office it was to regulate the transit of conveyances upon the road of a great mining establishment in the neighbourhood. The old man had received him, and shared with him his humble cheer and his humble bed; for on that night the wind blew and the sleet drove, after a manner that would have made it a crime to have turned a stranger dog to the door. The next day the poor old creature was found dead in his hut—his brains beaten out with an old iron implement which he used—and his little furniture rifled, and in confusion. The wretch had murdered him for the supposed hoard of a few shillings. The snow, from which he afforded his murderer shelter, had drifted in at the door, which the miscreant, when he fled, had left open, and was frozen red with the blood of his victim. But it betrayed a footstep hard frozen in the snow, and blood—and the nails of the murderer's shoe were counted, even as his days were soon to be. He was taken a few days after with a handkerchief of the old man upon his neck. So blind is blood-guiltiness.
Up to the hour of condemnation, he remained reckless as the wind—unrepenting as the flint—venomous as the blind-worm. With that deep and horrible cunning which is so often united to unprincipled ignorance, he had almost involved in his fate another vagrant with whom he had chanced to consort, and to whom he had disposed of some of the blood-bought spoils. The circumstantial evidence was so involved and interwoven, that the jury, after long and obvious hesitation as to the latter, found both guilty; and the terrible sentence of death, within forty-eight hours, was passed upon both. The culprit bore it without much outward emotion; but when taken from the dock, his companion, infuriated by despair and grief, found means to level a violent blow at the head of his miserable and selfish betrayer, which long deprived the wretch of sense and motion, and, for some time, was thought to have anticipated the executioner. Would it had done so! But let me do my duty as I ought—let me repress the horror which one scene of this dreadful drama never fails to throw over my spirit—that I may tell my story as a man—and my confession at least be clear. When the felon awoke out of the deathlike trance into which this assault had thrown him, his hardihood was gone; and he was reconveyed to the cell, in which he was destined agonizingly to struggle out his last hideous and distorted hours, in a state of abject horror which cannot be described. He who felt nothing—knew nothing—had now his eyes opened with terrible clearness to one object—the livid phantasma of a strangling death. All the rest was convulsive despair and darkness. Thought shudders at it—but let me go on,
[He visits the murderer in prison, accompanied by the clergyman.]
I undertook to pass with the murderer—his LAST NIGHT—such a last!— but let me compose myself.
* * * * *
It was about the hour of ten, on a gusty and somewhat raw evening of September, that I was locked up alone with the murderer. It was the evening of the Sabbath. Some rain had fallen, and the sun had not been long set without doors; but for the last hour and a half the dungeon had been dark, and illuminated only by a single taper. The clergyman of the prison, and some of my religious friends, had sat with us until the hour of locking-up, when, at the suggestion of the gaoler, they departed. I must confess their "good night," and the sound of the heavy door, which the gaoler locked after him, when he went to accompany them to the outer-gate of the gaol, sounded heavily on my heart. I felt a sudden shrink within me, as their steps quickly ceased to be heard upon the stone stairs—and when the distant prison door was finally closed, I watched the last echo. I had for a moment forgotten my companion.
When I turned round, he was sitting on the side of his low pallet, towards the head of it, supporting his head by his elbow against the wall, apparently in a state of half stupor. He was motionless, excepting a sort of convulsive movement, between sprawling and clutching of the fingers of the right hand, which was extended on his knee. His shrunk cheeks exhibited a deadly ashen paleness, with a slight tinge of yellow, the effect of confinement. His eyes were glossy and sunken, and seemed in part to have lost the power of gazing. They were turned with an unmeaning and vacant stare upon the window, where the last red streak of day was faintly visible, which they seemed vainly endeavouring to watch. The sense of my own situation now recoiled strongly upon me; and the sight of the wretch sitting stiffened in quiet agony, (for it was no better,) affected me with a faint sickness. I felt that an effort was necessary, and, with some difficulty, addressed a few cheering and consolatory phrases to the miserable creature I had undertaken to support. My words might not—but I fear my tone was too much in unison with his feelings, such as they were. His answer was a few inarticulate mutterings, between which, the spasmodic twitching of his fingers became more apparent than before. A noise at the door seemed decidedly to rouse him; and as he turned his head with a sudden effort, I felt relieved to see the gaoler enter. He was used to such scenes; and with an air of commiseration, but in a tone which lacked none of the firmness with which he habitually spoke, he asked the unhappy man some question of his welfare, and seemed satisfied with the head-shake and inarticulately muttered replies of the again drooping wretch, as if they were expected, and of course. Having directed the turnkey to place some wine and slight refreshments on the table, and to trim the light, he told me in a whisper, that my friends would be at the prison, with the clergyman, at the hour of six; and bidding the miserable convict and myself, after a cheering word or two, "good night," he departed—the door was closed—and the murderer and I were finally left together.
It was now past the hour of ten o'clock; and it became my solemn duty to take heed, that the last few hours of the dying sinner passed not, without such comfort to his struggling soul as human help might hold out. After reading to him some passages of the gospel, the most apposite to his trying state, and some desultory and unconnected conversation—for the poor creature, at times seemed to be unable, under his load of horror, to keep his ideas connected further than as they dwelt upon his own nearing and unavoidable execution—I prevailed upon him to join in prayer. He at this time appeared to be either so much exhausted, or labouring under so much lassitude from fear and want of rest, that I found it necessary to take his arm and turn him upon his knees by the pallet-side. The hour was an awful one. No sound was heard save an occasional ejaculation between a sigh and a smothered groan from the wretched felon. The candle burned dimly; and as I turned I saw, though I scarcely noticed it at the moment, a dim insect of the moth species, fluttering hurriedly round it, the sound of whose wings mournfully filled up the pauses of myself and my companion. When the nerves are strained to their uttermost, by such trifling circumstances are we affected. Here (thought I) there has been no light, at such an hour, for many years; and yet here is one whose office it seems to be to watch it! My spirit felt the necessity of some exertion; and with an energy, for which a few moments before I had hardly dared to hope, I poured out my soul in prayer. I besought mercy upon the blood-stained creature who was grovelling beside me—I asked that repentance and peace might be vouchsafed him—I begged, for our Redeemer's sake, that his last moments might know that untasted rapture of sin forgiven, and a cleansed soul, which faith alone can bring to fallen man—I conjured him to help and aid me to call upon the name of Christ; and I bade him put off life and forget it, and to trust in that name alone—I interceded that his latter agony might be soothed, and that the leave-taking of body and soul might be in quietness and peace. But he shook and shivered, and nature clung to the miserable straw of existence which yet floated upon the wide and dismal current of oblivion, and he groaned heavily and muttered, "No, no, no!" as if the very idea of death was unbearable, even for a moment; and "to die," even to him that must, were a thing impossible, and not to be thought of or named. And as I wrestled with the adversary that had dominion over him, he buried his shrunk and convulsed features in the covering of his miserable pallet; while his fingers twisted and writhed about, like so many scotched snakes, and his low, sick moans, made the very dungeon darker.
When I lifted him from his kneeling position, he obeyed my movement like a tired child, and again sat on the low pallet, in a state of motionless and unresisting torpor. The damp sweat stood on my own forehead, though not so cold as on his; and I poured myself out a small portion of wine, to ward off the exhaustion which I began to feel unusually strong upon me. I prevailed upon the poor wretch to swallow a little with me; and, as I broke a bit of bread, I thought, and spoke to him, of that last repast of Him who came to call sinners to repentance; and methought his eye grew lighter than it was. The sinking frame, exhausted and worn down by anxiety, confinement, and the poor allowance of a felon's gaol, drew a short respite from the cordial; and he listened to my words with something of self-collectedness—albeit slight tremblings might still be seen to run along his nerves at intervals; and his features collapsed, ever and anon, into that momentary vacuity of wildness which the touch of despair never fails to give. I endeavoured to improve the occasion. I exhorted him, for his soul's sake, and the relief of that which needed it too much, to make a full and unreserved confession, not only to God, who needed it not, but to man, who did. I besought him, for the good of all, and as he valued his soul's health, to detail the particulars of his crime, but his eye fell. That dark enemy, who takes care to leave in the heart just hope enough to keep despair alive, tongue-tied him; and he would not—even now—at the eleventh hour—give up the vain imagination, that the case of his companion might yet be confounded with his, to the escape of both—and vain it was. It had not been felt advisable, so far as to make him acquainted with the truth, that this had already been sifted and decided; and I judged this to be the time. Again and again I urged confession upon him. I put it to him that this act of justice might now be done for its own sake, and for that of the cleansing from spot of his stained spirit. I told him, finally, that it could no longer prejudice him in this world, where his fate was written and sealed, for that his companion was reprieved. I knew not what I did. Whether the tone of my voice, untutored in such business, had raised a momentary hope, I know not—but the revulsion was dreadful. He stared with a vacant look of sudden horror—a look which those who never saw cannot conceive, and which—(the remembrance is enough)—I hope never to see again—and twisting round, rolled upon his pallet with a stifled moan that seemed tearing him in pieces. As he lay, moaning and writhing backwards and forwards, the convulsions of his legs, the twisting of his fingers, and the shiverings that ran through his frame were terrible.
To attempt to rouse him seemed only to increase their violence—as if the very sound of the human voice was, under his dreadful circumstances, intolerable, as renewing the sense of reality to a reason already clouding, and upon the verge of temporary deliquium. He was the picture of despair. As he turned his face to one side, I saw that a few, but very few hot tears had been forced from his glassy and blood-shot eyes; and in his writhings he had scratched one cheek against his iron bedstead, the red discoloration of which contrasted sadly with the deathly pallidness of hue, which his visage now showed: during his struggles, one shoe had come off, and lay unheeded on the damp stone-floor. The demon was triumphant within him; and when he groaned, the sound seemed scarcely that of a human being, so much had horror changed it. I kneeled over him—but in vain. He heard nothing—he felt nothing—he knew nothing, but that extremity of prostration to which a moment's respite would be Dives' drop of water—and yet in such circumstances, any thing but a mercy. He could not bear, for a moment, to think upon his own death—a moment's respite would only have added new strength to the agony—He might be dead; but could not "—die;" and in the storm of my agitation and pity, I prayed to the Almighty to relieve him at once from sufferings which seemed too horrible even to be contemplated.
How long this tempest of despair continued, I do not know. All that I can recall is, that after almost losing my own recollection under the agitation of the scene, I suddenly perceived that his moans were less loud and continuous, and that I ventured to look at him, which I had not done for some space. Nature had become exhausted, and he was sinking gradually into a stupor, which seemed something between sleep and fainting. This relief did not continue long—and as soon as I saw him begin to revive again to a sense of his situation, I made a strong effort, and lifting him up, seated him again on the pallet, and, pouring out a small quantity of wine, gave it him to drink, not without a forlorn hope that even wine might be permitted to afford him some little strength to bear what remained of his misery, and collect his ideas for his last hour. After a long pause of returning recollection, the poor creature, got down a little of the cordial and as I sat by him and supported him, I began to hope that his spirits calmed. He held the glass and sipped occasionally, and appeared in some sort to listen, and to answer to the words of consolation I felt collected enough to offer. At this moment the low and distant sound of a clock was heard, distinctly striking one. The ear of despair is quick;—and as he heard it, he shuddered, and in spite of a strong effort to suppress his emotion, the glass had nearly fallen from his hand. A severe nervous restlessness now rapidly grew upon him, and he eagerly drank up one or two small portions of wine, with which I supplied him. His fate was now evidently brought one degree nearer to him. He kept his gaze intently and unceasingly turned to the window of the dungeon. His muttered replies were incoherent, or unintelligible, and his sunk and weakened eye strained painfully on the grated window, as if he momentarily expected to see the first streak of the dawn of that morning, which to him was to be night. His nervous agitation gradually became horrible, and his motions stronger. He seemed not to have resolution enough to rise from his seat and go to the window, and yet to have an over-powering wish or impulse to do so. The lowest sound startled him—but with this terrible irritation, his muscular power, before debilitated, seemed to revive, and his action, which was drooping and languid, became quick and angular. I began to be seized with an undefined sense of fear and alarm. In vain I combated it; it grew upon me; and I had almost risen from my seat to try to make myself heard, and obtain, if possible, assistance. The loneliness of the gaol, however, rendered this, even, if attempted, almost desperate—the sense of duty, the dread of ridicule, came across me, and chained me to my seat by the miserable criminal, whose state was becoming every minute more dreadful and extraordinary.
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Exhausted by the wearing excitement and anxiety of my situation, I had for a moment sunk into that confused absence of mind with which those who have been in similar circumstances cannot be unacquainted, when my miserable companion, with a convulsive shudder, grasped my arm suddenly. I was for a few seconds unaware of the cause of this emotion and movement, when a low, indistinct sound caught my ear. It was the rumbling of a cart, mingled with two or three suppressed voices; and the cart appeared to be leaving the gate of the dismal building in which we were. It rolled slowly and heavily as if cumbrously laden, under the paved gateway; and after a few minutes, all was silent. The agonized wretch understood its import better than I did. A gust of the wildest despair came suddenly over him. He clutched with his hands whatever met his grasp. His knees worked. His frame became agitated with one continued movement, swaying backwards and forwards, almost to falling;—and his inarticulate complaints became terrific. I attempted to steady him by an exertion of strength—I spoke kindly to him, but he writhed in my grasp like an adder, and as an adder was deaf; grief and fear had horrible possession. Myself, almost in a state of desperation—for the sight was pitiful. I at last endeavoured to awe him into a momentary quiescence, and strongly bade him at last to die like a man; but the word "Death" had to him only the effect it may be supposed to have upon a mere animal nature and understanding—how could it have any other? He tried to bear it, and could not, and uttering a stifled noise, between a yell and a moan, he grasped his own neck; his face assumed a dark red colour, and he fell into a state of stifled convulsion.
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When despair had wrought with him, I lifted him with difficulty from the floor on which he had fallen. His relaxed features had the hue of death, and his parched lips, from a livid blue, became of an ashy whiteness. In appearance he was dying; and in the agitation of the moment I poured a considerable portion of the wine which had been left with us into a glass, and, after wetting his temples, held it to his lips. He made an effort to swallow, and again revived to consciousness; and holding the vessel firmly in his hands, got down with difficulty and at intervals, the entire draught. When he found it totally exhausted, the glass fell from his hands; but he seized and held one of mine with a grasp so firm and iron-like that the contrast startled me. He seemed to be involved in a confused whirl of sensations. He stared round the cell with a wildness of purpose that was appalling; and after a time, I began to see with deep remorse, that the wine I had unguardedly given was, as is always the case, adding keenness to his agony and strength to his despair. He half rose once or twice and listened; all was silent—when, after the pause of a minute or two, a sudden fit of desperation seemed to seize upon him. He rushed to the window, and hurriedly surveying the grates, wrenched at them with a strength demoniac and superhuman, till the iron bars shook in their embedments.
From this period my recollections are vague and indistinct. I remember strongly remonstrating with the poor creature, and being pushed away by hands which were now bleeding profusely with the intense efforts of his awful delirium. I remember attempting to stop him, and hanging upon him, until the insane wretch clutched me by the throat, and a struggle ensued, during which I suppose I must at length have fainted or become insensible; for the contest was long, and while consciousness remained, terrible and appalling. My fainting, I presume, saved my life, for the felon was in that state of maniacal desperation which nothing but a perfect unresistingness could have evaded.
After this, the first sensation I can recall is that of awakening out of that state of stupor into which exhaustion and agitation had thrown me. Shall I ever forget it? The anxiety of some of my friends had brought them early to the gaol; and the unusual noises which had been heard by some of its miserable inmates occasioned, I believe, the door of the cell in which we were, to be unlocked before the intended hour. Keenly do I recollect the struggling again into painful consciousness, the sudden sense of cheering daylight, the sound of friendly voices, the changed room, and the strange looks of all around me. The passage was terrible to me; but I had yet more to undergo. I was recovered just in time to witness the poor wretch, whose prop and consolation I had undertaken to be, carried, exhausted and in nerveless horror, to the ignominious tree—his head drooping on his breast, his eyes opening mechanically at intervals, and only kept from fainting and utter insensibility by the unused and fresh morning air, which breathed in his face, as if in cruel mockery. I looked once, but looked no more.—* * * *
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A snapper up of unconsidered trifles. SHAKSPEARE.
It is said that the famous Burman General, Bundoola, who was killed at the siege of Donabew, began, before his death, to evince symptoms of Christianity. When the Mugh (a native belonging to the Chittagong frontier) who reported this interesting fact, was pressed to explain what these symptoms were, he replied, with much simplicity, that Bundoola was of his "master's caste," having acquired a relish for the enjoyment of roast beef, pork, and brandy.
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"DRY LODGINGS TO LET."
In Ireland this notice is often given by the words "Good Dry Lodgings," by which word dry, is not meant lodgings wet or damp, but without board. A dry ball is used to imply, a ball without supper.
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SHAVING IN CHURCHYARDS.
Some centuries past it was usual in England for the barbers to shave the parishioners in the churchyard, on high festivals, (as Easter, Whitsuntide, &c.) before matins. The observance of this custom was restrained in the year 1422, by a particular prohibition of Richard Flemmyng, Bishop of Lincoln.
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The Marechal Grammont having for some time besieged a fortress, the garrison of which held out obstinately, a capitulation at length took place, upon the signing of which, the governor of the fortress said, "Marechal, I will be candid with you, if I had not been bereft of a bullet to defend myself, I should not have surrendered."—"That I may not appear wanting in candour," replied the Marechal, "I must tell you that had I had any more powder, I would not have acceded to the terms of capitulation."
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A gentleman having sent a porter on a message, which he executed much to his satisfaction, had the curiosity to ask his name; being informed it was Russell, "Pray," says the gentleman "is your coat of arms the same as the Duke of Bedford's?" "As to our arms, your honour," said the porter, "I believe they are pretty much alike; but there is a deal of difference between our coats."
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LIMBIRD'S EDITION OF THE
Following Novels is already Published:
s. d. Mackenzie's Man of Feeling 0 6 Paul and Virginia 0 6 The Castle of Otranto 0 6 Almoran and Hamet 0 6 Elizabeth, or the Exiles of Siberia 0 6 The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne 0 6 Rasselas 0 8 The Old English Baron 0 8 Nature and Art 0 8 Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield 0 10 Sicilian Romance 1 0 The Man of the World 1 0 A Simple Story 1 4 Joseph Andrews 1 6 Humphry Clinker 1 8 The Romance of the Forest 1 8 The Italian 2 0 Zeluco, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Edward, by Dr. Moore 2 6 Roderick Random 2 6 The Mysteries of Udolpho 3 6 Peregrine Pickle 4 6
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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.