HotFreeBooks.com
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, No. - 580, Supplemental Number
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse

THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 20, NO. 580.] SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER. [PRICE 2d.



* * * * *



SPIRIT OF THE ANNUALS FOR 1833.



THE PICTURESQUE ANNUAL.

This is certainly one of the most splendid works of the kind ever produced in this or any other country. This is high but not unmerited praise; as the reader will believe when we tell him, that it contains twenty-six large plates, from drawings by Stanfield, engraved by first-rate artists, and superintended by Mr. Charles Heath. They are all, strictly speaking, PICTURESQUE scenes, chosen with great skill, and with right understanding of the Picturesque. The literary portion consists of Travelling Sketches on the Rhine, and in Belgium, and in Holland, by Mr. Leitch Ritchie. The plates are, of course, intended as illustrations to the letter-press; but it is too evident, that the latter has been written to the plates. However, that matters not, for the twenty-six engravings are amply worth twenty-one shillings, the cost of the volume. The author's share is lively and jaunty, and of the most here-and-there description. We only intend to quote the portion accompanying the Engraving on the annexed page.[1]

ST. GOAR, (on the Rhine).

"We now arrived at St. Goar, and the ruins of the castle of Rheinfels: but here the pen gives willing place to the pencil. In the view, the town and river are seen through an arch, in such a way as to convey a complete idea of what we call the Lakes of the Rhine. In entering St. Goar by the gate of the Rhine, a stranger of these every-day times thinks of nothing but being bothered about his passport. It was once very different. A traveller of any consideration, who visited the town for the first time, was asked by the functionary, 'Sir, My Lord, or Sir Knight'—as it happened—'with what do you please to be baptized, wine or water?'—'With wine,' of course was the answer, if the respondent happened to be a man of any kind of good sense or virtuous habits; and, after being commanded to prepare himself for the ceremony, by giving alms to the poor, he was straightway led by his sponsors to the Fleur de Lys. In this ancient hostelrie, the neophyte was seated amidst the assembled brethren, a brazen crown placed on his head, and the rules of the Order of the Collar read to him. A huge goblet of silver was then presented to him, filled to the lip with wine, and this he was commanded to drain to the health of the Emperor; a second was emptied to the honour of the Landgrave of Hesse; and a third gurgled salutation to the company. The same ceremony was gone through by the sponsors; and the name of the baptized being duly entered in the register of the Order, a second collection was made for the poor, and he was permitted to continue his way into the town. If, instead of wine, the misguided individual desired baptism with water, he was justly punished for the immorality, by a bucket of the insipid element being tumbled over his head. This Order, it is said, had its origin in the reconciliation at St. Goar of the two sons of Charlemagne; which was doubtless accompanied by much out-pouring of wine, and in memory whereof they hung up at the gates a brazen collar."

This is the second volume of the Picturesque Annual. The Public are stated, in its preface, to have contributed from ten to twelve thousand guineas to the support of last year's volume; and we are inclined to think, that, in his next, the Editor will have the gratification of reporting still more munificent patronage: for, if guineas be somewhat less abundant than twelve months since, the disposition to foster British art, and a liberal appreciation of its merits, has been and is on the increase; and, though the proverb be somewhat musty, "Where there is a will," &c.

[1] Copied by permission of the Proprietor.

* * * * *

THE BOOK OF BEAUTY.

[This is a title of no small pretension. It is in certain respects ill chosen, though it may, in some degree, denote the exquisite triumphs which art has here accomplished. The Illustrations consist of eighteen portraits of every order of beauty, of variety enough to realize Sir Philip Sidney's aphorism, that "whatsoever is liked, to the liker is beautiful." But here all must be liked; therefore all are beautiful. The very names would make out a sort of court-roll of Venus, and the book itself the enchanting effect of the goddess' embroidered girdle, which had the gift of inspiring love. This charm will doubtless ensure the volume hundreds of possessors. The names of a few of the galaxy will give the reader a faint idea of their charms, unless the reader accord with Juliet's somewhat peevish "What's in a name." Thus, we find Julia, the queen of sentimentality; Belinda, gay and sparkling; Madeline, the early prey of despair; Lolah, languishing amid Eastern magnificence; the Orphan, pencilled in the very simplicity of nature, and finely contrasted with the coquetry of art; Theresa, the very type of romance; Geraldine, Meditation, the Bride, and Lucy Ashton. But we must not omit the heroine of our extract—with tall, etherial form, raven ringlets, and pearly eyes—such charms as would attune the wise man to another Song of Beauty.

The letter-press of the volume is too in the type of beauty—from the chastely-elegant pen of Miss Landon. It consists of tales and sketches, lights and shadows, such as none but her accomplished pen could tell or harmonize. Here is probably the best illustration—]

THE ENCHANTRESS. (By herself.)

You see in me, "the only living descendant of those Eastern Magi to whom the stars revealed their mysteries, and spirits gave their power. Age after age did sages add to that knowledge which, by bequeathing to their posterity, they trusted would in time combat to conquer their mortality. But the glorious race perished from the earth, till only my father was left, and I his orphan child. Marvels and knowledge paid his life of fasting and study. All the spirits of the elements bowed down before him; but the future was still hidden from his eyes, and death was omnipotent. His power of working evil had no bounds, but his power of good was limited; and yet it was good that he desired. How dared he put in motion those mighty changes, which seemed to promise such happiness on earth, while he was ignorant of what their results might be? and of what avail was the joy he might pour out on life, over whose next hour the grave might close, and only make the parting breath more bitter from the blessings which it was leaving behind?"

I was no unworthy daughter of such a sire; I advanced in these divine studies even to his wish, and looked to the future with a hope which many years had deadened in himself, but from which I caught an omen of ultimate success. Alas! he mastered not his destiny: I have said before, his ashes are in yonder urn. A few unwholesome dews on a summer night were mightier than all his science. For a time I struggled not with despair; but youth is buoyant, and habit is strong. Again I pored over the mystic scroll—again I called on the spirits with spell and with sign. Many a mystery was revealed, many a wonder grew familiar; but still death remained at the end of all things, as before. One night I was on the terrace of my tower. Above me was the deep, blue sky, with its stars—worlds filled, perchance, with the intelligence which I sought. On the desert below was the phantasm of a great city. I looked on its small and miserable streets, where hunger and cold reigned paramount, and man was as wretched as if flung but yesterday on the earth, and there had been as yet no time for art to yield its assistance, or labour to bring forth its fruit. I gazed next on scenes of festivity, but they were not glad; for I looked from the wreath into the head it encircled, and from the carcanet of gems to the heart which beat beneath—and I saw envy, and hate, and repining, and remorse. I turned my last glance on the palace within its walls; but there the purple was spread as a pall, and the voice of sorrow and the cry of pain were loud on the air. I bade the shadows roll away upon the winds, and rose depressed and in sorrow. I was not alone: one of those glorious spirits, whose sphere was far beyond the power of our science, whose existence we rather surmised than knew; stood beside me.

From that hour a new existence opened before me. I loved, and I was beloved—love, to which imagination gave poetry, and mind gave strength, was the new element added to my being. Alas! how little do the miserable race to which I belong know of such a feeling. They blend a moment's vanity, a moment's gratification, into a temporary excitement, and they call it love. Such are the many, and the many make the wretchedness of earth. And yet your own heart, Leoni, and that of my gentle cousin, may witness for my words, there are such things as truth, and tenderness, and devotion in the world; and such redeem the darkness and degradation of its lot. Nay, more, if ever the mystery of our destiny be unravelled, and happiness be wrought out of wisdom, it will be the work of love.

It matters little to tell you of my blessedness; but my very heart was filled with the light of those radiant eyes, which were to me what the sun is to the world. Yet one dark shadow rested on my soul, beyond even their influence. Death had been the awful conqueror with whom my race had so often struggled, and to whom they had so often yielded. A mortal, I loved an immortal, and the fear of separation was ever before me; yet a long and happy time passed away before my fear found words.

It was one evening we were floating over the earth, and the crimson cloud on which we lay was the one where the sun's last look had rested. Its gleam fell on a small nook, while all around was fast melting into shade. Still it was a sad spot which was thus brightened—it was a new made grave. Over the others the long grass grew luxuriantly, and speckled, too, by many small and fragrant flowers; but on this, the dark-brown earth had been freshly turned up, and the red worm, writhed restlessly about its disturbed habitation. Some roses had been scattered, but they were withered; their sweet leaves were already damp and discoloured. All wore the present and outward signs of our eternal doom—to perish in corruption.

The shadows of the evening fell, deepening the gloom into darkness—the one last, bright ray had long been past, when a youth came from the adjacent valley. That grave but yesterday received one who was to have been his bride—his betrothed from childhood, for whose sake he had been to far lands and gathered much wealth, but who had pined in his absence and died. He flung himself on the loathsome place, and the night-wind bore around the ravings of his despair. Wo for that selfishness which belonged to my mortality! I felt at that moment more of terror than of pity! I thought of myself: Thus must I, with all my power, my science, and loved by one into whose sphere death comes not, even thus must I perish! True, the rich spices, the perfumed woods, the fragrant oils, which would feed the sacred fire of my funeral pyre, would save my mortal remains from that corruption which makes the disgust of death even worse than its dread. A few odoriferous ashes alone would be left for my urn. Yet not the less must I share the common doom of my race—I must die!

"Nay, my beautiful!" said the voice, which was to me as the fiat of life and of death, so utterly did it fill my existence: "why should we thus yield to a vague terror? Listen, my beloved! I know where the waters of the fountains of life roll their eternal waves—I know I can bear you thither and bid you drink from their source, and over lips so hallowed death hath no longer dominion. But, alas! I know not what may be the punishment. Like yourselves, the knowledge of our race goes on increasing, and our experience, like your own, hath its agonies. None have dared what I am about to dare, and the future of my deed is even to me a secret. But what may not be borne for that draught which makes my loved one as immortal as my love!"

I gazed on the glorious hope which lighted up his radiant brow, and I said to him, "Give me an immortality which must be thine." Worlds rolling on worlds lay beneath our feet when we stood beside the waters of life. A joyful pride swelled in my heart. I, the last and the weakest of my race, had won that prize which its heroes and its sages had found too mighty for their grasp. A sound, as of a storm rushing over ocean, startled me when I stooped to drink, the troubled waves rose into tumultuous eddies, their fiery billows parted, and from amid them appeared the dark and terrible Spirit of Necessity. The cloud of his awful face grew deeper as it turned on me. "Child of a sinful and a fallen kind!" said he, and he spoke the language most familiar to my ear, which yet sounded like that of another world, "who have ever measured by their own small wisdom that which is infinite—drink, and be immortal! Be immortal, without the wisdom or the power belonging unto immortality. Drink!"

I shrunk from the starry waters as they rose to my lip, but a power stronger than my will compelled me to their taste. The draught ran through my veins like ice. Slowly I turned to where my once-worshipped lover was leaning. The same change had passed over both. Our eyes met, and each looked into the other's heart, and there dwelt hate—bitter, loathing, and eternal hate. I had changed my nature; I was no longer the gentle, up-looking mortal he had loved. I had changed my nature; he was no longer to me the one glorious and adored being. We gazed on each other with fear and abhorrence. The dark power, whose awful brow was fixed upon us like Fate, again was shrouded in the kindling waters. By an impulse neither could control, the Spirit and I flung ourselves down the steep, blue air, but apart and each muttering, "Never! never!" And that word "never" told our destiny. Never could either feel again that sweet deceit of happiness, which, if it be a lie, is worth all truth. Never more could each heart be the world of the other.

Our feelings are as little in our power as the bodily structure they animate. My love had been sudden, uncontrollable, and born not of my own will—and such was my hate. As little could I master the sick shudder his image now called up, as I could the passionate beating of the heart it had once excited. I stood alone in my solitary hall—I gazed on the eternal fire burning over the tomb of my father, and I wished it were burning over mine. For the first time I felt the limitations of humanity. The desire of my race was in me accomplished—I was immortal! and what was this immortality? A dark and measureless future. Alas! we had mistaken life for felicity! What was my knowledge? it only served to show its own vanity; what was my power, when its exercise only served to work out the decrees of an inexorable necessity? I had parted myself from my kind, but I had not acquired the nature of a spirit. I had lost of humanity but its illusions, and they alone are what render it supportable. The mystic scrolls over which I had once pored with such intenseness, were now flung aside; what could they teach me? Time was to me but one great vacancy; how could I fill it up, who had neither labour nor excitement? I set me down mournfully, and thought of the past. Why, when love is perished, should its memory remain? I had said to myself, so long as I have life, one deep feeling must absorb my existence. A change—and that too of my own earnest seeking—had passed over my being; and the past, which had been so precious, was now as a frightful phantasm. The love which alters, in its inconstancy may set up a new idol, and worship again with a pleasant blindness; but the love which leaves the heart with a full knowledge of its own vanity and nothingness,—which saith, The object of my passion still remains, but it is worthless in my sight—never more can I renew my early feeling—I marvel how I ever could have loved—I loathe, I disdain the weakness of my former self;—ah, the end of such love is indeed despair!

"Do you mark yonder black marble slab, which is spread as over a tomb? It covers the most silvery fountain that ever mirrored the golden light of noon, or caught the fall of the evening dew, in an element bright as themselves. The radiant likeness of a spirit rests on those waters. I bade him give duration to the shadow he flung upon the wave, that I might gaze on it during his absence. The first act of my immortality was to shut it from my sight. There must that black marble rest for ever."

[By the way, the ancients are excellent judges of beauty. Socrates calls beauty (we dare not use the contemptible it,) a short-lived tyranny: Xenophon says "Fire burns only when we are near it; but a beautiful face burns and inflames, though at a distance: Plato calls beauty a privilege of nature: Theophrastus (arch fellow,) a silent cheat: Theocritus, (cunning elf,) a delightful prejudice; Carneades, a solitary kingdom, (which he doubtless would keep to himself): Domitian says that nothing is more grateful, (not even killing flies); Aristotle affirms that beauty is better than all the letters of recommendation in the world: Homer, that it is a glorious gift of nature; and Ovid calls beauty a favour bestowed by the gods, which this same Ovid shows the gods to have been jealous of among mortals." Certainly the moderns do not wage war for a beautiful woman, as did the ancients: we fear they would rather fight for an old castle.

To conclude, if, as Steele tells us, "to make happy is the true empire of beauty;" why, buy the Book of Beauty, to be sure.]

* * * * *

THE COMIC OFFERING

[MISS SHERIDAN presents us with her third volume of ladye mirth, as heretofore, over-flowing with fun and patter, and sprinkled with some sixty or seventy Cuts—many of them, to use a critical term, of "spirited design." Probably, the most humorous tale among the fifty is—]

THE FLYBEKINS, OR THE FIRE-ESCAPE.

The Flybekins were distant connexions of the great Lord B., living "genteelly" in the west of England: and Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin were the only adult members of the family at the period of the incident which gave rise to this anecdote. It happened once that these "country cousins" were possessed with an uncontrollable desire to enter within the hitherto unapproached circle of London fashion and gaiety in which their noble relatives moved with such distinction. Every thing was propitious in furtherance of the meditated scheme: the spring was approaching, London filling, the country emptying, and the children could all go to school. A few weeks "in Town, just to see what was going on," would be fully worth the journey, especially as it would afford an opportunity for them to commence an acquaintance with their magnificent relation. And as the boys were growing up, it might be serviceable to their interests to tighten the bonds of connexion a little, which had, from lapse of time, and want of intercourse, become somewhat loosened. There is an old saying—"where there is a will, there is always a way."—In a short time Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin, being bent on the measure, argued themselves into a belief of the projected visit being nothing short of an imperative moral duty.

When matters had gone thus far, a hint was dropped in the drawing-room, which immediately reached the "domestic department," and very soon spread through the village,—as the smallest stone falling into water creates successive circles around the spot where it fell, each increasing in circumference. Accordingly, the Flybekins were the centre of attraction on the following Sunday, after morning service. Hearty congratulations, and ardent wishes for a pleasant trip, with various commissions, pressed upon them. The newest fashions were promised to be brought down, and the village milliner looked forward to a glorious triumph over all her rivals in the trade about the country. The happy pair were on the pinnacle of provincial glory; he was expected to return with the true state of foreign affairs, and the nation, from the intercourse he would enjoy with the peer; she was expected to import news of operas, plays, music, novels, writers, balls, routs, drawing-rooms and dresses, from her intercourse with the peeress.

In all the pleasure to which they looked forward there was but one draw-back, viz. a most extraordinary dread of London fires at night: and this originated in the frequent occurrence in their county paper of paragraphs headed "Another alarming conflagration: many lives lost!"—put in either to aid the Insurance office, or fill the paper. As our rustic pair had never visited the metropolis, they did not know but Leadenhall Street and Hyde Park, Lambeth and Portland Place, might all be close neighbours; therefore, however distant the different fires might be, they fancied they all occurred nearly in the same place; and from the time Mr. and Mrs. Flybekins resolved to visit Town, scarcely a night passed in which they did not start in terror from their dreams, screaming "Fire, Fire!"

All was hurry and preparation at "the Lodge," until the anticipated arrival of the "Barnstaple Sociable," one morning at the door, summoned the ambitious pair, and on the fourth day of their departure from Devonshire, they were duly set down at the White Horse Cellar, for road-making had not then received the magic touch of Macadam. The next day was occupied in searching for, and entering, suitable lodgings; and the following day, having hired a carriage, which their unpractised eyes considered most elegant in style and equipment, they sallied forth, armed with a card-case, and a long list of commissions, the practised horses going at the full rate of six miles an hour.

A friendly and familiar visit over, to some Devonshire friends in Devonshire Place, they essayed next to discharge the now almost dreaded call of state; for that which, contemplated at a distance, imparted joy and hope, when at hand possessed something of awe mingled with these feelings. Arrived in Grosvenor-square, after sidling along the gutter close by the foot pavement, the distance of two or three houses, and with a little preliminary tug of the reins, the coachman drew up opposite the door of No. ——. Two powdered lackeys in rich livery were peering through the long narrow windows on each side of the door, and anticipated the intention of the diminutive, bandy footman, of knocking, (that is, if he could have reached the knocker.) To the question of "Lord and Lady B. at home?" a negative answer was delivered; they were gone to the country, but were expected back to dinner. A card was then handed in, inscribed in the neatest, spider-pattern handwriting of Mrs. Flybekin: and they drove off to pursue the agreeable pastime of shopping and going through part of the list of commissions, vivenda and agenda, with which they were provided.

As the Flybekins drove along the streets, the words "PATENT FIRE-ESCAPES," in large letters, upon the front of a tall house, attracted their attention, and roused all their latent fears of London fires, with accounts of which the newspapers so frequently teemed. A fire-escape would impart security to sleep, and might be taken down into the country. Accordingly the check string was pulled, the manufactory entered, the machines inspected, an economical one selected by each: and in an hour after their arrival at home to dinner, the fire-escapes were duly mounted in one of the front bed-room windows.

Their evening meal being finished at the barbarous hour of nine, the Flybekins began to yawn over the events of the past day, and the prospective engagements of the morrow. The excitements of the morning in the crowded London streets, had completely tired the rustic couple, who being susceptible of no farther excitement, sought repose at this early hour, and were both soon wrapt in deep sleep. Leaving them to enjoy their repose, we return to Grosvenor-square. The noble pair returned to a family dinner, and on entering the house, read, with strained eyeballs, the card deposited that morning by the Flybekins, and with some such an expression of countenance as one may be supposed to assume in discovering something in a drawer more than was anticipated. "Umph!" said the peer, "the Flybekins in town! what could have brought them up so far from the country?" "Something that will not detain them long, I hope;" dryly answered Lady B. "Yet, we must take some notice of these country cousins," said the peer: "Let us invite them to a family dinner." "Well, if we must,"—said the Countess shrugging her shoulders—and with that the subject dropped for the time.

Now it is quite clear that however brilliant might have been the prospects of the Flybekins, the peer and his lady wished them any where but in London; and, rather than invite them to Grosvenor-square to dinner, the former would have been glad to be let off with a writership for one of the sons in India.

Their carriage was ordered at ten, to convey them to the Duchess of R.'s party, and Lord B. proposed to make a friendly call upon their relations before waiting on Her Grace. Accordingly thither they drove, accompanied by two footmen bearing flaming flambeaux, the custom of the great in those days, when the town was not so well lighted as in the present age. The signs of this custom are indeed still to be seen in the extinguishers attached to the railings in front of many houses, which served for the footmen to extinguish their lights.

Meantime the Flybekins slept on, not dreaming of the honour intended them, and were as sound asleep as Duncan in Macbeth's castle, when a long thundering rap at the door startled them amid their slumbers. The diminutive, bandy footman had gone home with the coachman and horses, the landlady and her family had followed the example of the lodgers; and before any one could rise to unbar and open the door, to ascertain the cause of such an unusual alarm, a second louder and longer rap had been made upon it, and which awoke the sleepers to an instinctive idea that the house was on fire; a notion confirmed by the strong glare of red light reflected against their windows, and illuminating the apartment, as the footmen impatiently shook thousands of sparks from the flambeaux.

As Bonaparte observed upon another occasion, "From the sublime to the ridiculous is but one step." So it was with the Flybekins. From the most sublime repose they hurried into the ridiculous fire-escapes, in the full conviction that the lower part of the house was on fire; and without waiting to dress, or inquire into the real state of affairs, they gave the signal-word "Now!" and both descended in all the freshness of their fears to the pavement before the door!

The wondering lord and lady, and still more wondering footmen, glared upon the apparition before them with the most inexplicable amazement, totally at a loss to conceive the cause of such a novel reception. The terrified pair were, like Othello, "perplexed in the extreme," when they found themselves, instead of being in the confusion of a fire, deposited beneath the windows of a magnificent carriage, attended by footmen with white torches, and a full dressed lady and gentleman inquiring after them, and the meaning of the extraordinary descent. A few minutes served to explain the mal a propos mistake; the detected pair sought refuge in the hall of the house, with some such feeling as our first parents experienced when they had tasted the fatal apple in the garden of Eden. The carriage rolled away with the tittering coachman and footmen, and the ill-suppressed mirth of their master and mistress, who quickly disseminated the story throughout the fashionable throng of the party whither they were bent, and which remained for the rest of the season a standing joke wherever Lord and Lady B. appeared.

Humbled and confused, the unhappy Flybekins could not retrieve the blunder they had committed, and prudently resigned all their ambitious schemes. So they returned to Devonshire with the unlucky fire-escapes, sincerely regretting they had ever been tempted to purchase them. But, although the disaster had got wind, and with various versions had reached even into Devonshire, they were much consoled by the following narration of it which appeared in the county paper, in a light most favourable to their interests and reputation, although totally devoid of truth in almost every particular.

The flaming paragraph ran thus:—"We understand that Mr. and. Mrs. Flybekin of ——— in this county, while upon a visit to their noble relatives, Lord and Lady B. in London, narrowly escaped being burnt to death. The devouring element almost destroyed the lower part of the family mansion in Grosvenor-square, over which the lady and gentleman slept, who had retired early to bed, and who by the accidental return of Lord and Lady B. from a party, were awakened only just in time to effect their retreat by means of a fire-escape, fortunately attached to their bed-room window. We are informed that the fire occurred in consequence of the footmen, appointed to sit up for their master and mistress, having fallen asleep, leaving a lighted candle in the room. Mr. and Mrs. Flybekin escaped, with the loss of all their clothes but what they hurried on in the confusion, and were conveyed to a neighbouring hotel by their noble relatives, where they received succour for the night."

But unhappily for the Flybekins, the naked truth at length forced its way into Devonshire, and the true statement of the matter was circulated as above related, and now handed down to their posterity.

Thus, the best version of their story only placed them, "out of the fire into the frying pan," and the unlucky fire-escapes merely saved them from the fear of being badly burnt, in order that they might all the rest of their lives be well roasted!

There is considerable humour and ingenuity in the following lines, introducing the names of London booksellers, and their nominal fitness for publishing certain books:—

* * * * *

"WHAT'S IN A NAME?"

Long hail! to Longman, and his longer Co., Pride of our city's Pater Noster Row; Thy trade forego in novel trash romantic, And treat the world to something more gigantic.

Let Underwood all essays sell on trees, On shrubs, or growth of brushwood if he please; All works on brewing leave to Mr. Porter,— To Boosey—temperance, for his firm supporter.

Leave to friend Bull all works on horned cattle, While Reid will teach the youthful mind to prattle; Give Bohn—anatomy; give Mason sculpture; Gardiner's engrafted upon horticulture.

For valuation-tables on the price of laud, Why should we seek, since Byfield is at hand; For works on draining either bog or fen, In Marsh and Moore we have a choice of men.

Give Sherwood tales of merry men, who stood— Firm to their robbing—around Robin Hood. Ogle takes optics,—Miller, works on grain,— Ridgway, on railroads,—Surgery with Payne.

Hail! Pic-a-dilly Hatchard, thy vocation Should be prolific, for 'tis incubation; Thy pious care brought Egley into note, And still on Gosling some folks say you dote.

But to my plan.—To make the dull ones plod well, Books for the use of schools, give Mr. Rodwell; And works on painting should you ever lack, You need but brush to either Grey or Black.

From Cowie works on vaccination fetch, Pedestrian tours from Walker, or from Stretch; And if in search of wonders you should range, Where can you seek them better than from Strange.

The suff'ring climbing boys our pity claim, To aid their interest—Suttaby, I'd name; And as they're oft of churchyard-terrors slaves, Print works to cure them, O! Moon, Boys, and Graves.

For plans of bridges Arch would be the best; For stairs and steps on Banister I'd rest; All that relates to church or chapel holy, I vote that such be Elder's business solely.

Sustenance on diet surely ought to treat; Joy gives us human happiness complete: Tilt will all works on tournament enhance, The law—Oh! that of course I leave to Chance,

Priestly and Chappell may divide theology, Hookham and Roach the angling and ichthyology; And for Phrenology, what need of rumpus, One for his Nob will do—so take it, Bumpus!

* * * * *

SPINNING-WHEEL SONG.

BY MISS MITFORD.

Fair Janet sits beside her wheel; No maiden better knew To pile upon the circling reel An even thread and true; But since for Rob she 'gan to pine, She twists her flax in vain; 'Tis now too coarse,—and now too fine,— And now—'tis snapt in twain!

Robin, a bachelor profest, At love and lovers laughs, And o'er the bowl with reckless jest, His pretty spinster quaffs; Then, whilst all sobbing, Janet cries "She scorns the scornful swain!" With angry haste her wheel she plies, And—snaps the thread again!

[The Publishers have obligingly enabled us to present the reader with three of the smartest Cuts. The fun of these Cuts requires neither note nor comment.

Altogether, we may recommend the Offering as a really comic companion.]



THE AMULET

[Is decidedly an improvement upon former years, and, taken altogether, plates, prose, and poetry, is the best book of the present season. The Editor, Mr. Hall, has judiciously maintained the original feature of his plan—that of "considering attractive tales and beautiful poems, however, essential to the interest and variety of the volume, as secondary to that which conveyed information and led to improvement." He then proceeds to enumerate a few of the papers to which he particularly refers, which have appeared in former volumes of the Amulet; as Dr. Walsh's Essay on Coins and Medals, illustrating the progress of Christianity: accounts of the American Christians at Constantinople, and of the Chaldean Christians, and a visit to Nicaea, by the same author: the Rev. Robert Hall's Essay on Poetry and Philosophy: Mr. Coleridge's Travels in Germany: An Essay on French Oaths, by Miss Edgeworth: the Rev. W.S. Gilly's Narrative of the Albigenses: Mr. Ellis's Account of the Austral Islands: Dr. Walsh's Account of the Aborigines of Canada; and Mr. Macfarlane's Visit to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. These papers are entitled to special mention, and we think the Editor justified in his estimate of them. In the volume for the present year we have two contributions of this class; an Essay on Sneezing, a learned paper, by Dr. Walsh; and the following]

* * * * *

HISTORY OF THE HOLY CROSS.[2]

By Lord Mahon.

The supposed discovery of a religious relic, and the miracles attending it, are events so common in Roman Catholic legends as to deserve but little attention, even on the ground of curiosity; but the real changes and vicissitudes of one of these relics, for twelve centuries after its discovery, may perhaps excite some interest, more especially as its singular adventures, very distant in time, and recorded by different writers, have never yet been brought together, and formed into one connected narrative.

In the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, his mother Helena, when almost an octogenarian, undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her pious zeal was particularly directed to the search of the holy sepulchre, and of the cross on which Jesus Christ had suffered; and, according to her own judgment: at least, she was successful in both. A vision, or perhaps a dream, disclosed the place of the Holy Sepulchre; the three crosses were found buried near it, and that of the Saviour is said to have been distinguished from the others by its healing powers on the sick, and even restoring a corpse to life. This discovery caused great and general rejoicing throughout Christendom.[3] The spot was immediately consecrated by a church, called the New Jerusalem, and of such magnificence that the celebrated Eusebius is strongly inclined to look upon its building as the fulfilment of the prophecies in the Scriptures for a city of that name.[4] A verse of the sibyl was also remembered or composed, which, like all predictions after the event, tallied in a surprising manner with the holy object so happily revealed. The greater share of the Cross was left at Jerusalem, set in a case of silver, and the remainder was sent to Constantine, who, in hopes of securing the prosperity and duration of his empire, enclosed it within his own statue on the Byzantine Forum. The pilgrims also, who thronged to Jerusalem during a long course of years, were always eager, and often successful, in obtaining a small fragment of the cross for themselves; so that at length, according to the strong expression of St. Cyril, the whole earth was filled with this sacred wood. Even at present, there is scarcely a Roman Catholic cathedral which does not display some pretended pieces of this relic; and it has been computed, with some exaggeration, that were they all collected together, they might prove sufficient for building a ship of the line. To account for this extraordinary diffusion of so limited a quantity, the Catholic writers have been obliged to assert its preternatural growth and vegetation, which the saint already quoted ingeniously compares to the miracle of the loaves and fishes.[5] That the guardians of this cross at Jerusalem should have had recourse to such evident and undoubted falsehood, should, I think, very much increase our doubts whether the Cross itself was genuine, and whether the old age and credulity of Helena, may not have been grossly imposed upon. Where we see one fraud, we may justly suspect another. From this period, however, the history of this fragment of wood may be clearly and accurately traced during the twelve succeeding centuries.

In spite of its frequent partitions, the Holy Cross, say the monkish writers, thus remained undiminished at Jerusalem, receiving the homage of innumerable pilgrims, until the year 614, when that city was besieged and taken by the Persians. Their barbarous fanaticism reduced to ruins or burnt to the ground nearly all the sacred buildings, and made a great slaughter of the Christians, in which they are said to have been actively assisted by the resident Jews.[6] The bishop and the relic in question were removed into Persia, and continued in that country fourteen years, until the victories of the Emperor Heraclius led to an honourable peace, in which the restoration of this most precious treasure was expressly stipulated. During its captivity it had happily escaped the pollution of infidel hands; the case which contained it was brought back, unopened, to Jerusalem, and Heraclius himself undertook a journey in order to replace it in its former station on Mount Calvary. The prelude to this religious ceremony was a general massacre of the Jews, which the emperor had long withstood, but at length granted to the earnest and renewed entreaties of the monks of Alsik. The fact itself, and all its details, are so disgraceful to the parties concerned, that I would gladly reject it as false or overcharged, did it not rest on the authority of a patriarch of Alexandria.[7] Heraclius then, attended by a solemn procession, but laying aside his diadem and purple, bore the Cross on his own shoulders towards the holy sepulchre. An officer was appointed to its peculiar care, with the title of STAUROPHULAX;[8] and the anniversary of this event, the 14th September, is still celebrated in the Greek Church as a festival, under the name of the Exaltation of the Cross.

The relic did not long continue in the place to which the valour and piety of Heraclius had restored it, but was doomed to undergo still further vicissitudes of fortune. Only eight years afterwards (A.D. 636,) an army of Arabs, the new and fervent proselytes of Mahomet, invaded Palestine. At the battle of Yermuck, the imperial forces were totally routed, and Heraclius, downcast and dismayed, returned to Constantinople, bearing with him, as a source of consolation, the invaluable fragment, whose alleged miraculous powers were never exerted for its own protection.[9] It is rarely that, when a sovereign despairs of success, his subjects have the courage (it would, perhaps, be termed the disloyal presumption) to prolong their resistance; but the inhabitants of Jerusalem were animated by religious zeal and local associations, and did not, till after a doubtful siege of several months, yield the holy city to the Saracens. The event soon justified the prudent foresight of Heraclius in removing the Cross from the danger of Mahometan masters. The Caliph of Omar experienced some difficulties in the construction of a mosque at Jerusalem: he immediately supposed those difficulties to be supernatural, and, by the advice of the Jews, destroyed a great number of the neighbouring crosses; so that it seems certain that the wood of the real crucifixion could still less have escaped the effects of his ignorant fanaticism.[10] At Constantinople, on the contrary, it was preserved with the utmost veneration in the metropolitan church of St. Sophia, and the honours paid to it are attested and described by the father of English historians.[11] Never, but on the three most solemn festivals of the year, was its costly case unclosed. On the first day, it received the adoration of the emperor and principal officers of state; on the next, the empress and chief ladies repeated the same ceremony; and the bishops and clergy were admitted on the third. While exposed to view on the altar, a grateful odour pervaded the whole church, and a fluid resembling oil distilled from the knots in the wood, of which the least drop was thought sufficient to cure the most inveterate disease. This precious fluid is also mentioned by Pope Gregory, the Great, in one of his letters to Leontius. "I have received your present," writes the Pope, "some oil of the Holy Cross and some wood of aloes, of which the one confers blessing by its very touch, and the other, when burnt, diffuses a pleasant perfume."[12]

In a period of several centuries, during which this relic remained at Constantinople we find it occasionally mentioned in the annals of the time. It was on the Holy Cross that Heracleonas swore to cherish and defend his nephew;[13] it was to the same fragment that the son of Justinian the Second clung for protection, in the revolution which hurled his father from the throne;[14] and we might entertain more respect for the superstition of the Greeks, if the supposed sanctity of this relic had produced either the observance of the oath, or the safety of the suppliant. At length, in the year 1078, the object of this narrative recommenced its travels. A wealthy citizen of Amalfi, whose name is not recorded, had long felt a wish to exchange active life for the cloister, and had selected the monastery of Casinum as the place of his future retirement. Being present in the Eastern capital during the tumultuous deposition of Michael the Seventh, he perceived in the general confusion a favourable opportunity for appropriating this precious fragment to himself. His zeal did not forget at the same time to secure the golden case, richly embossed with jewels, which contained it, and both were laid as a welcome offering before the shrine of St. Benedict, at Casinum.[15] The good fathers must have felt no little pride when strangers beheld, in their secluded and obscure retreat, a relic which a long succession of the most illustrious princes had gloried in possessing.

The next place to which we can trace the Cross is Palestine, during the crusades, to which it had doubtless been conveyed for the purpose of restoring it to its more ancient and appropriate station, at Jerusalem. In, that country it was exposed to frequent hazards, as the crusaders appear to have been in the habit of bearing it in the van of their armies, when marching against the Mussulmans, hoping by its presence amongst them to secure the victory. One of their battles against the forces of Saladin by no means fulfilled their expectations, and in the course of it the sacred relic itself was unfortunately severed; one half of it being captured by the enemy, and most probably destroyed.[16] This untoward accident, however, by no means impaired their veneration for the remaining fragment; and, at the commencement of the thirteenth century, it is again recorded as taking the field with the King of Hungary and the Duke of Austria.[17] From these it passed into the hands of their brother crusaders, the Latin sovereigns of Constantinople; and thus, by a singular train of circumstances, a change of dynasty restored this precious relic to the people which had so long enjoyed its possession. It does not, however, appear to have received the full measure of its ancient veneration, and a new Crown of Thorns, alleged to be that of the passion, held at this period a far higher rank with the public.

In the year 1238, the pressure of poverty and impending ruin compelled the Emperor Baldwin the Second, to sell what the piety of St. Louis, King of France, induced him as eagerly to purchase.[18] A very considerable sum was given in exchange for the holy wood and on its arrival in Paris, it was deposited by King Louis in a chapel which he built on this occasion. There, the Cross remained for above three hundred years, until at length, on the 20th of May, 1575, it disappeared from its station. The most anxious researches failed in tracing the robber, or recovering the spoil, and the report which accused King Henry the Third of having secretly sold it to the Venetians may be considered as a proof of the popular animosity rather than of royal avarice.[19] To appease in some degree the loud and angry murmurs of his subjects, Henry, the next year, on Easter day, announced that a new Cross had been prepared for their consolation, of the same shape, size, and appearance as the stolen relic, and asserted, most probably with perfect truth, that in Divine powers, or claim to religious worship, it was but little inferior to its model. "The people of Paris," says Estoile, an eye-witness of this transaction, "being very devout, and easy of faith on such subjects" (he is speaking of the sixteenth century,) "gratefully hailed the restoration of some tangible and immediate object for their prayers." Of the original fragment I can discern no further authentic trace; and here, then, it seems to have ended its long and adventurous career.

Before I conclude, I ought, perhaps, to make some mention of the pretended nails of the passion, which were obtained by Constantine the Great at the same time with the cross. He melted a part of them into a helmet for himself; and the other part was converted into a bridle for his horse, in supposed obedience to a prophetic text of Zechariah: "In that day shall there be upon the bells (bridles) of the horses, holiness unto the Lord."[20] Yet, though the helmet alone might appear to have required all the nails which could possibly be employed in a crucifixion, it is not unusual in southern Europe to meet with fragments of old iron, for which the same sacred origin is claimed. Thus, for instance, at Catania, in Sicily, I have seen one of these nails, which is believed to possess miraculous powers, and exhibited only once a year with great solemnity. There is another in a private oratory of the Escurial; and I was surprised in observing in the same case a relic of Sir Thomas a Becket. All the nails, from the time of Constantine, are rejected as spurious by Cardinal Baronius;[21] yet a former Pope had expressed his belief in their authenticity;[22] and the ingenious idea of miraculous vegetation might have been easily applied to them. But to trace the other parts of this real or fabulous history, and more especially their insertion in the Iron crown of Lombardy, would require, though scarcely deserve, a separate essay.

[2] Read before the Royal Society of Literature, but since altered by the author.

[3] For the discovery of the cross, compare Theodoret, lib. i. c. 18; Socrates, lib. i. c. 17; and Sozomen, lib. ii. c. 1, &c.

[4] De Vita Constant, lib. iii. c. 33.

[5] St. Cyril ap. Baronium, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 326, No. 50. One whole epistle of St. Paulinis of Nola (the eleventh) is also devoted to this subject.

[6] The participation of the Jews is positively asserted by Eutychius (Annal. vol. ii. p. 212,) but doubted by Theophanes (Chronograph, p. 252:) [Greek: os phasi tines], are his words.

[7] Eutychius, Annal, vol. ii. p. 242-247.

[8] Ducange, Gloss. Med. Graec., p. 1437.

[9] Theophanes, Chronograph. p. 280.

[10] Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 643. No. 1-4.

[11] Bede, Op. vol. iii. p. 370. Ed. Colon. Agripp. 1688.

[12] Epist, lib. 7. indict, i. ep. 34.

[13] Nicephor. Constantinopolit. p. 20.

[14] Theophanes, Chronograph. p. 318.

[15] Chronicon Casinense, lib. iii. c. 55.

[16] There is some account of its recovery by a Genoese, but it is clouded with miracles. He walked over the sea, as over dry land, &c. See Muraturi, Dissert. 58. vol. v. p. 10, ed. 1741.

[17] See Raynaldus, Aunual. Eccles. A.D. 1217, No. 39, and Pagi, Critic. A.D. 1187, No. 4.

[18] See Dupleix, Historic de France, vol. ii. p. 257. ed. 1634. The original authority is Nangis (Annales de St. Louis, p. 174. ed. 1761.) Rigord, who speaks of the sale of this relic to Philip Augustus, appears to be guilty of a fable or anachronism, in which he was follow by Raynaldus, Annal. Eccles. A.D. 1205, No. 60.

[19] See L'Estoile, Journal de Henri III., vol. i. p. 125, 161, ed. 1744.

[20] Zech. ch. xiv. ver. 20.

[21] Annal. Eccles. A.D. 326. No. 54.

[22] See a Letter from Innocent VI. ap. Raynald Annal. Eccles. A.D. 1354. No. 18.

* * * * *

[To this class likewise belongs a Pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, from the accomplished pen of Contarini Fleming. The lighter papers are tinged with a high moral feeling; and we do not think that better evidence will be found than in the following of Mrs. Hall's contributions.]

THE TRIALS OF GRACE HUNTLEY.

[This tale occupies nearly fifty pages. It so teems with moral pathos and touching beauty, that we are at a loss to abridge it throughout so as to preserve that acquaintance with the finest feelings of our nature, which marks every page with sterling value. We, therefore, only adopt the conclusion, and attempt a leading thread of the story. Grace is the daughter of a village schoolmaster. She loves "not wisely, but too well," "Joseph Huntley, the handsomest youth in the retired village of Craythorpe." The father consents to their union. The real character of the husband appears early; his fond love soon dwindles to painful neglect: how truly does the writer observe, "the rapidity with which love may glide from the heart of man is a moral phenomenon for which it would puzzle philosophers to account. The brief space of a few months not unfrequently converts the devoted into the unkind, or to a delicate mind still worse—the neglectful husband." The wayward Huntley breaks off church-going; he refuses Grace his company, and we find her first solitary walk since her marriage thus touchingly referred to: "almost every tree certainly every stile she passed—was hallowed by some remembrance connected with the playmate of her childhood—the lover of her early youth—the husband of her affections." When, she looked on the dew dancing amid the delicate tracery of the field spider's web—when the joyous whistle of the gay blackbird broke upon her ear—gazing silently on all that was really fresh and beautiful in nature—she felt that, instead of warming, it fell chilly upon her heart. And yet all was as usual—the bright sun, and the smiling landscape. Why, then, was she less cheerful? She was alone! No one she loved was by her side, to whom to say, "How beautiful!" Joseph gets into debt, and upon Grace offering to sacrifice a favourite article of dress to enable him to keep a "promise to pay," we find the following exquisite paragraph: "there is something so commanding, so holy, in virtue, that, though the wicked may not imitate, they cannot withhold from it their admiration." As Huntley looked upon his wife, he thought she never appeared so lovely. Some of the affection of earlier and purer years returned warmly to his heart; and as he kissed her, words of happier import broke from his lips—"God bless you, Grace! I am a sad scoundrel, and that's the truth." Joseph deserts her, and in less than eight years after their marriage, her little family are entirely dependent upon her for support. The husband returns, and sets the eldest boy to rob his mother; the villany of the father is reproved by Grace, meekly but firmly. Joseph takes the boy under his guidance, and becoming acquainted with "John and Sandy Smith, (two poachers,) who lived together in a wretched hut on the skirt of Crayton Common," he soon initiates the little fellow into crime. After a storming quarrel with his wife—]

That night, as latterly had been his custom, he sallied forth about eight o'clock, leaving his home and family without food or money. The children crowded round their mother's knee to repeat their simple prayers, and retired, cold and hungry, to bed. It was near midnight ere her task was finished; and then she stole softly into her chamber, having first looked upon and blessed her treasures. Her sleep was of that restless heavy kind which yields no refreshment. Once she was awakened by hearing her husband shut the cottage-door; again she slept, but started from a horrid dream—or was it indeed reality! and had her husband and her son Abel quitted the dwelling together? She sprang from her bed, and felt on the pallet—Gerald was there; again she felt—she called—she passed into the next room—"Abel, Abel, my child! as you value your mother's blessing speak!" There was no reply. A dizzy sickness almost overpowered her senses. Was her husband's horrid threat indeed fulfilled? and had he so soon taken their child as his participator in unequivocal sin? She opened the door, and looked out upon the night; it was cold and misty, and her sight could not penetrate the gloom. The chill fog rested upon her face like the damps of the grave. She attempted to call again upon her son, but her powers of utterance were palsied—her tongue quivered—her lips separated yet there came forth no voice, no sound to break the silence of oppressed nature. Her eyes moved mechanically towards the heavens—they were dark as the earth; had God deserted her?—would he deny one ray, one little ray of light, to lead her to her child? Why did the moon cease to shine, and the stars withhold their brightness? Should she never again behold her boy, her first-born? Her heart swelled, and beat within her bosom. She shivered with intense agony, and leaned her throbbing brow against the door-post, to which she had clung for support. Her husband's words rang in her ears—"One by one shall your children be taken from you to serve my purposes!" Through the dense fog she fancied that he glared upon her in bitter hatred—his deep-set eyes flashing with demoniac fire, and his smile, now extending, now contracting, into all the varied expressions of triumphant malignity! She pressed her hand on her eyes to shut out the horrid vision, and, a prayer, a simple prayer, rose to her lips. Like oil upon the troubled waters, it soothed and composed her spirit. She could not arrange, or even remember, a form of words; but she repeated, again and again, the emphatic appeal, "Lord, save me, I perish!" until she felt sufficient strength to enable her to look again into the night. As if hope had set its beacon in the sky, calmly and brightly the moon was now shining upon her cottage. With the sudden change, at once the curse and blessing of our climate, a sharp east wind had set in, and was rolling the mist from the canopy of heaven. Numerous stars were visible, where, but five minutes before, all had been darkness and gloom. The shadow passed from her soul; she gazed steadily upwards; her mind regained its firmness; her resolve was taken. She returned to her bed-room, dressed, and, wrapping her cloak closely to her bosom, was quickly on her way to the Smiths' dwelling, on Craythorpe Common.

The solitary hut was more than two miles from the village; the path leading to it broken and interrupted by fragments of rocks, roots of furze, and stubbed underwood, and, at one particular point, intersected by a deep and brawling brook. Soon after Grace had crossed this stream, she came in view of the cottage, looking like a misshapen mound of earth; and, upon peering in at the window, which was only partially lined by a broken shutter, Covey, the lurcher, uttered, from the inside, a sharp muttering bark, something between reproof and recognition. There had certainly been a good fire, not long before, on the capacious hearth, for the burning ashes cast a lurid light upon an old table, and two or three dilapidated chairs. There was also a fowling-piece lying across the table; but it was evident none of the inmates were at home; and Grace walked slowly, yet disappointedly, round the dwelling, till she came to the other side, that rested against a huge mass of mingled rock and clay, overgrown with long tangled fern and heather. She climbed to the top, and had not been many minutes on the look-out ere she perceived three men rapidly approaching from the opposite path. As they drew nearer, she saw that one of them was her husband; but where was her son? Silently she lay among the heather, fearing she knew not what—yet knowing she had much to fear. The chimney that rose from the sheeling had, she thought, effectually concealed her from their view, but in this she was mistaken; for, while Huntley and one of the Smiths entered the abode, the other climbed up the mound. She saw his hat within a foot of where she rested, and fancied she could feel his breath upon her cheek as she crouched, like a frightened hare, more closely in her form. However, he surveyed the spot without ascending further, and then retreated muttering something about corbies and ravens, and, almost instantly, she heard the door of the hut close. Cautiously she crept down from her hiding-place; and, crawling along the ground with stealth and silence, knelt before the little window, so as to observe, through the broken shutter, the occupation of the inmates. The dog alone was conscious of her approach; but the men were too seriously engaged to heed his intimations of danger.

[She sees all that the three are about, is convinced that her son will be lost, and forms her resolution:]

"Then there is hope for my poor child!" she thought, "and I can—I will save him!" With this resolve, she stole away as softly and as quickly as her trembling limbs would permit. The depredators revelled in their fancied security. The old creaking table groaned under the weight of pheasant, hare, and ardent spirits; and the chorus of a wild drinking-song broke upon her ear as returning strength enabled her to hasten along the rude path leading to Craythorpe.

The first grey uncertain light of morning was visible through the old churchyard trees as she came within sight of her cottage. She entered quietly, and saw that Abel had not only returned, but was sleeping soundly by his brother's side.

Grace set her house in order—took the work she had finished to her employer—came back, and prepared breakfast, of which her husband, having by this time also returned, partook. Now he was neither the tyrant whose threat still rung in her ears, nor the reckless bravo of the common; he appeared that morning, at least so his wife fancied, more like the being she had loved so fondly, and so long.

"I will sleep, Grace," he said, when their meal was finished—"I will sleep for an hour; and to-morrow we shall have a better breakfast." He called his son into the bed-room, where a few words passed between them. Immediately after this Grace went into the little chamber to fetch her bonnet. She would not trust herself to look upon the sleeper, but her lips moved as if in prayer; and even her children still remember, that, as she passed out of the cottage-door, she had a flushed and agitated appearance.

"Good morning, Mrs. Huntley," said her old neighbour, Mrs. Craddock; "Have you heard the news? Ah! these are sad times—bad people going—"

"True, true!" replied poor Grace as she hurried onwards; "I know—I heard it all."

Mrs. Craddock looked after her, much surprised at her abruptness.

"I was coming down to you, Grace," said her father, standing so as to arrest her progress; "I wished to see if there was any chance of the child Abel's returning to his exercises. As this is a holiday, I thought—"

"Come with me," interrupted Grace, "come with me, father, and we will make a rare holiday."

She hurried the feeble old man along the road leading to the rectory, but returned no answer to his inquiries. The servant told her, when she arrived at her destination, that his master was engaged—particularly engaged—could not be disturbed—Sir Thomas Purcel was with him; and, as the man spoke, the study-door opened, and Sir Thomas crossed the hall.

"Come back with me, sir," exclaimed Grace Huntley, eagerly: "I can tell you all you want to know."

The Baronet shook off the hand she had laid upon his arm as if she were a maniac.

Grace appeared to read the expression of his countenance. "I am not mad, Sir Thomas Purcel," she continued, in a suppressed tremulous voice; "not mad, though I may be so soon. Keep back these people, and return with me. Mr. Glasscott knows I am not mad."

She passed into the study with a resolute step, and held the door for Sir Thomas to enter. Her father followed also, as a child traces its mother's footsteps, and looked around him, and at his daughter, with weak astonishment. One or two of the servants, who were loitering in the hall, moved as if they would have followed.

"Back, back, I say!" she repeated; "I need no witnesses—there will be enough of them soon. Mr. Glasscott," she continued, closing the door, "hear me, while I am able to bear testimony, lest weakness—woman's weakness—overcome me, and I falter in the truth. In the broom-sellers' cottage, across the common, on the left side of the chimney, concealed by a large flat stone, is a hole—a den; there much of the property taken from Sir Thomas Purcel's last night is concealed."

"I have long suspected these men—Smith, I think, they call themselves. Yet they are but two. Now, we have abundant proof, that three men absolutely entered the house."

"There was a third," murmured Grace, almost inaudibly.

"Who?"

"My—my—my husband!" and, as she uttered the word, she leaned against the chimney-piece for support, and buried her face in her hands.

The clergyman groaned audibly;—he had known Grace from her childhood, and felt what the declaration must have cost her. Sir Thomas Purcel was cast in a sterner mould.

"We are put clearly on the track, Mr. Glasscott," he said, "and must follow it forthwith; yet there is something most repugnant to my feelings in finding a woman thus herald her husband to destruction."

"It was to save my children from sin!" exclaimed Grace, starting forward with an energy that appalled them all: "God in heaven, whom I call to witness, knows, that though I would sooner starve than taste of the fruits of his wickedness, yet I could not betray the husband of my bosom to—to—I dare not think what!—I tried, I laboured to give my offspring honest bread. I neither asked nor received charity; with my hands I laboured, and blessed the Power that enabled me to do so. If we are poor, we will be honest, was my maxim, and my boast. But he—my husband—returned; he taught my boy to lie—to steal! and when I remonstrated—when I prayed, with many tears, that he would cease to train our—ay, our child for destruction, he mocked—scorned—told me, that, one by one, I should be bereaved of my children if I thwarted his purposes; and that I might seek in vain for them through the world, until I saw their names recorded in the book of shame!—Gentlemen, this was no idle threat. Last night, Abel was taken from me—"

"I knew there must have been a fourth," interrupted Sir Thomas, coldly; "we must have the boy also secured."

The wretched mother, who had not imagined that any harm could result to her son, stood as if a thunderbolt had transfixed her; her hands clenched and extended—her features rigid and blanched—her frame perfectly erect, and motionless as a statue. The schoolmaster, during the whole of this scene, had been completely bewildered, until the idea of his grandchild's danger or disappearance, he knew not which, took possession of his mind; and, filled with the single thought his faculties had the power of grasping at a time, he came forward to the table at which Mr. Glasscott was seated, and respectfully uncovering his grey hairs, his simple countenance presenting a strong contrast to the agonized iron-bound features of his daughter, he addressed himself to the worthy magistrate: "I trust you will cause instant search to be made for the child Abel, whom your reverence used kindly to regard with especial favour."

He repeated this sentence at least half a dozen times, while the gentlemen were issuing orders to the persons assembled for the apprehension of the burglars, and some of the females of the family were endeavouring to restore Grace to animation. At last Sir Thomas Purcel turned suddenly round upon Abel Darley, and, in his stentorian tone, bawled out, "And who are you?"

"The schoolmaster of Craythorpe, so please you, sir—that young woman's father—and one whose heart is broken!"

So saying, he burst into tears; and his wail was very sad, like that of an afflicted child. Presently there was a stir among the little crowd, a murmur—and then two officers ushered in Joseph Huntley and his son.

He walked boldly up to the magistrate's table, and placed his hand upon it, before he perceived his wife, to whom consciousness had not yet returned. The moment he beheld her he started back, saying, "Whatever charge you may have against me, gentlemen, you can have none against that woman."

"Nor have we," replied Sir Thomas; "she is your accuser!"

The fine features of Joseph Huntley relaxed into an expression of scorn and unbelief. "She appear against me! Not—not if I were to attempt to murder her!" he answered firmly.

"Grace!" exclaimed her father joyfully, "here is the child Abel—he is found!" and seizing the trembling boy, with evident exultation, led him to her. The effect of this act of the poor simple-minded man was electrical. The mother instantly revived, but turned her face from her husband; and, entwining her son in her arms, pressed him closely to her side. The clergyman proceeded to interrogate the prisoner, but he answered nothing, keeping his eyes intently fixed upon his wife and child. In the mean time, the officers of justice had been prompt in the execution of their duty; the Smiths were apprehended in the village, and the greater portion of the property stolen from Sir Thomas Purcel was found in the hut where Grace had beheld it concealed.

When the preparations were sufficiently forward to conduct the unfortunate men to prison, Joseph Huntley advanced to his wife. The scornful as well as undaunted expression of his countenance had changed to one of painful intensity; he took her hand within his, and pressed it to his lips, without articulating a single syllable. Slowly she moved her face, so that their eyes encountered in one long mournful look. Ten years of continued suffering could not have exacted a heavier tribute from Grace Huntley's beauty. No language can express the withering effects of the few hours' agony. Her husband saw it.

"'Twas to save my children!" was the only sentence she uttered, or rather murmured; and it was the last coherent one she spoke for many weeks. Her fine reason seemed overwhelmed. It was a sight few could witness without tears. The old father, tending the couch of his afflicted daughter, would sit for hours by her bedside, clasping the child Abel's hand within his, and every now and then shaking his head when her ravings were loud or violent.

[We add the conclusion.]

It might be some fifteen years after these distressing events had agitated the little village of Craythorpe, that an elderly woman, of mild and cheerful aspect, sat calmly reading a large volume she supported against the railing of a noble vessel, that was steering its course from the shores of "merrie England" to some land far over the sea. Two gentlemen, who were lounging on the quarter-deck arm-in-arm, frequently passed her. The elder one, in a peculiarly kind tone of voice, said, "You bear the voyage well, dame."—"Thank God! yes, sir."—"Ah! you will wish yourself back in Old England before you are landed six weeks."—"I did not wish to leave it, sir; but my duty obliged me to do so."

The gentlemen walked on.

"Who is she?" inquired the younger.

"A very singular woman. Her information transported for life a husband whom she loved, notwithstanding his coldness and his crimes. She had at that time three children, and the eldest had already become contaminated by his father's example. She saw nothing but destruction for them in prospective, her warnings and intreaties being alike unregarded. So she made her election—sacrificed the husband and saved the children!"

"But what does she here?"

"Her eldest son is now established in a small business, and respected by all who know him. Her second boy, and a father, whom her misfortunes reduced to a deplorable state of wretchedness, are dead. Her daughter, a village belle and beauty, is married to my father's handsome new parish-clerk; and Mrs. Huntley having seen her children provided for, and by her virtues and industry made respectable in the Old World, is now on her voyage to the New, to see, if I may be permitted to use her own simple language, 'whether she can contribute to render the last days of her husband as happy as the first they passed together.' It is only justice to the criminal to say, that I believe him truly and perfectly reformed."

"And on this chance she leaves her children and her country?"

"She does. She argues, that as the will of Providence prevented her from discharging her duties together, she must endeavour to perform them separately. He was sentenced to die; but, by my father's exertions, his sentence was commuted to one of transportation for life; and I know she has quitted England without the hope of again beholding its white cliffs."

[Miss Landon has contributed a few poetical pieces of great merit; and the Editor, the "simple story" of an Emigrant in verse, full of truth and nature. The Author of the Corn Law Rhymes has two pieces.

The Illustrations are nearly unexceptionable. Seven of them are from pictures by Lawrence; Newton's Gentle Student has supplied the Frontispiece; and Wilkie's Theft of the Cap, one of the most pleasing of the well arranged selection.]

* * * * *

THE FRIENDSHIP'S OFFERING.

[Edited by a poet of no mean merit, has a golden flood of minor pieces in verse, many of them of great beauty and touching sweetness, and nearly all above the usual calibre of such contributions to Annual literature. The prose tales are by Miss Mitford, Mr. J.B. Fraser, Derwent Conway, and by Leitch Ritchie: that by the latter is perhaps the best in the volume; it has a serio-ludicrous interest which is very amusing.

The pieces number upwards of sixty; and as the prose are too lengthy for our columns, we take a slight sprinkling of the poetical flowers:—]

THE ARMADA,

A FRAGMENT,—BY T.B. MACAULAY.

Attend, all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise, I tell of the thrice famous deeds she wrought in ancient days, When that great fleet invincible against her bore in vain The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts of Spain. It was about the lovely close of a warm summer's day, There came a gallant merchant ship full sail to Plymouth bay; Her crew hath seen Castille's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's isle, At earliest twilight, on the waves lie heaving many a mile. At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace; And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close in chase. Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along the wall; The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgcumbe's lofty hall; Many a light fishing bark put out to pry along the coast; And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland many a post. With his white hair unbonneted the stout old sheriff comes; Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the drums; His yeomen, round the market-cross, make clear an ample space, For there behoves him to set up the standard of her Grace. And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells, As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon swells. Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancien crown, And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down. So stalked he when he turned to flight, on that famed Picard field, Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Caesar's eagle shield: So glared he when at Agincourt in wrath he turned to bay, And crushed and torn beneath his claws the princely hunters lay. Ho! strike the flag-staff deep, sir knight: ho! scatter flowers, fair maids: Ho! gunners, fire a loud salute; ho! gallants draw your blades: Thou sun, shine on her joyously: ye breezes waft her wide: Our glorious SEMPER EADEM,—this banner of our pride. The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold, The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold: Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea;— Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be. From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford bay, That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day: For swift to east and swift to west the warning radiance spread; High on St. Michael's mount it shone, it shone on Beachy Head. Far on the deep the Spaniards saw, along each southern shire, Cape beyond cape, in endless rage, those twinkling points of fire: The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves; The rugged miners poured to war from Mendip's sunless caves. O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew; He roused the Shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu. Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town; And ere the day three hundred horse had met on Clifton down. The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night, And saw o'erhanging Richmond-hill the streak of blood-red light. Then bugle's note and cannon's roar the death-like silence broke, And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke. At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires: At once the wild alarum clashed from all her reeling spires: From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear; And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer: And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet, And the broad stream of flags and pikes dashed down each roaring street: And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din. As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in: And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath, the warlike errand went, And roused in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent. Southward from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those bright couriers forth; High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the north. And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still, All night from tower to tower they sprang;—they sprang from hill to hill, Till the proud peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales, Till like volcanoes flared to heaven the stormy hills of Wales, Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height. Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light; Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane, And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain; Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent, And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent; Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile, And the red glare on Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlise.

* * * * *

THE TORNADO.

AN AFRICAN SKETCH,—BY THOMAS PRINGLE.

Dost thou love to list the rushing Of the tempest in its might? Dost thou joy to see the gushing Of the torrent at its height? Hasten forth ere yet the gloaming Waneth wildly into night, While the troubled sea is foaming With a strange phosphoric light.

Lo, the sea-fowl, loudly screaming, Seeks the shelter of the land; And a signal light is gleaming Where yon vesel nears the strand: Just at sun-set she was lying All-becalmed upon the main; Now, with sails in tatters flying, She to sea-ward beats—in vain!

* * * * *

Now the forest trees are shaking, Like bullrushes in the gale; And the folded flocks are quaking 'Neath the pelting of the hail. From the jungle-cumbered river Comes a growl along the ground; And the cattle start and shiver, For they know full well the sound.

'Tis the lion, gaunt with hunger. Glaring down the darkening glen; But a fiercer Power and stronger Drives him back into his den: For the fiend TORNADO rideth Forth with FEAR, his maniac bride. Who by shipwrecked shores abideth, With the she-wolf by her side.

Heard ye not the Demon flapping His exulting wings aloud? And his mate her wild hands clapping From yon scowling thunder-cloud? By the fireflaucht's gleamy flashing The doomed vessel ye may spy, With the billows o'er her dashing— Hark (Oh God!) that fearful cry!

Seven hundred human voices In that shriek came on the blast! Ha! the Tempest-Fiend rejoices— For all earthly aid is past! White as smoke the surge is showering O'er the cliffs that sea-ward frown, While the greedy gulph, devouring, Like a dragon sucks them down.

The Plates are excellent: two or three fancy portraits beam with loveliness; Christ entering Jerusalem, engraved by E.J. Roberts, from Martin, is a sublime scene of "the glorious city of God;" and Corfu and the Bridge of Alva, from drawings by Purser, maintain the promising excellence of his pencil.

* * * * *

Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London, sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; CHARLES JUGEL, Francfort; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

THE END

Home - Random Browse