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Title: Graham's Magazine Vol XIX No. 3 September 1841

Date of first publication: 1841

Author: George Rex Graham (1813-1894), Editor

Date first posted: Jan. 30, 2021

Date last updated: Jan. 30, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20210185

This eBook was produced by: Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


Vol. XIX.      September, 1841.      No. 3.


Fiction, Literature and Articles
The Fireside
The Reefer of ’76
The Saxon’s Bridal
Misfortunes of a Timid Gentleman
Never Bet Your Head
Lame For Life, or Leslie Pierpoint
Leaves from a Lawyer’s Port-Folio
Cottage Piety
Sports and Pastimes.—The Fowling-Piece
Review of New Books
Poetry, Music and Fashion
Fragment: Written on the First Coming of Spring
The Wildwood Home
Reproof of a Bird
Oh! A Merry Life Does a Hunter Lead
The Widow’s Wealth
Why Should I Love Thee?
A Belle at a Ball
To Helen
The First Kiss of Love.
My Bonnie Blue-Eyed Lassie, O!
Latest Fashions, September, 1841

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

a young woman sits at a fire-side with two young children, a dog and a cat

W. Drummond.           Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Smillie.

The Cottage Fire-Side.

Engraved expressly for Graham’s Magazine.

a young woman and an older woman and man sit at a small round table as the young woman reads from a bible

Eng.d by H. S. Sadd N.Y.

Cottage Piety.

Engraved for Graham’s Magazine from a Picture by E. Prentice.


Vol. XIX.    PHILADELPHIA: SEPTEMBER, 1841.    No. 3.


It’s rare to see the morning bleeze

  Like a bon-fire frae the sea—

It’s fair to see the burnie kiss

  The lip o’ the flowery lea—

An’ fine it is on green hill-side,

  Where hums the bonny bee—

But rarer, fairer, finer far

  Is the Ingle-Side for me.


Glens may be gilt wi’ gowans rare,

  The birds may fill the tree,

An’ haughs hae a’ the scented ware

  That simmer growth can gie—

But the canty hearth where cronies meet,

  An’ the darling o’ our e’e—

That makes to us a warl complete—

  O the Ingle-Side for me!

Old Song.

Who does not remember this glorious old song, with its simple melody, and well-managed accompaniments that seem to chime in with every word uttered by the singer, not only upholding him in his sentiment, and illustrating his positions by all kinds of impressive flourishes, but absolutely chuckling and caracoling over the unanswerable nature of the argument? If ever accompaniment expressed a positive certainty that the words of a song were the truest words in the world, it is this very accompaniment. It takes it for granted that nobody will dispute its opinion. It is as dogmatic as Aristotle, or Bob Hobbes, but yet, unlike them in some respects, it seems always to know pretty well what it is talking about. The truth is, that there are few persons who can remain altogether unconvinced by its illustrations, or at least who can remain unpersuaded by its ingenious manner of setting them forth. We say its illustrations, for any one with half an eye can perceive that the “music is married to the immortal verse,” and that the twain are one. We speak of them conjointly when we maintain the force of the song’s illustrations. What indeed can be more forcibly “put,” as the lawyers say, (and sometimes the rhetoricians,) than the points of its thesis? What can be more slyly seducing—what can be more apt to take a body unawares than allusions to “canty hearths where cronies meet, an’ the darlins o’ our e’e?” To be sure, the case might have been better made out if the “morning bleeze” had been kept out of sight, or slurred over as a thing of no moment. Neither was it judicious to dwell upon the “flowery lea,” or the “bonny bee,” or the little “birds in the tree,” and that sort of thing. The song might have taken a hint, too, from our engraving, and said a word about a girl with blue eyes (we presume they are blue,) and auburn hair, (we know it is auburn,) and another little girl and a little boy, both with clean faces, and a dog looking wise at one side of the ingle, with a tabby cat at the other, watching chesnuts in the act of being roasted, and congratulating herself that no fabulous monkey is present to make use of her fair hand as a cat’s paw. All this the song might have forcibly introduced—but we presume it did its best, and we are obliged to it.

Still, we are not convinced. We were never convinced of anything in our lives, and never intend to be convinced, for excellent reasons. It is said there were once seven wise men—a matter which may be very well doubted. But, admitting this point, it was of course one of the seven who first promulgated the fact that every question has two sides. Late discoveries have assured us that it would be no question at all if it had not. Some questions, indeed, are trigonal, or quadrigonal, or pentagonal, or sexagonal, or septagonal, or octagonal, or nonagonal. Some even are polygonal, while others have an infinity of sides like the mathematical circle, and thus there is found to be no end to them at all, as is the case with the ordinary circle which every body understands. These latter are questions about Tariffs, and Boundary Lines, and National Banks, questions of privilege and drivel-ege, and Congressional questions of order and disorder, with other matters of that kind. Most queries, however, appear at first glance to have no more than two sides; and it is only when we get hard and fast in the middle of an argument respecting them, so that it is as wrong to go back as it is preposterous to go forward, that we perceive each of the two sides which had appeared to a cursory view so staid and so definite, branching off, like gamblers at Vingt Un, into an infinitesimal series of little divisions, each as distinct and each as perverse as the original ones. For this reason and others (reasons are as plenty as blackberries, John Falstaff to the contrary notwithstanding) for this reason and a thousand others, we keep clear of all argumentative discourses, as it is impossible to say when or where they may end. By keeping clear of them, we mean to say that we never indulge in them ourselves. Yet we like them very well in other people. Nothing amuses us more, for instance, than a young man who fancies himself a genius in the logical line, and who will take it upon himself, at a moment’s warning, to demonstrate that two and three blue beans do not make five. We could listen to him by the hour; and when at length he comes to find out that the blue-bean question, pretty much like all other questions, is one of the polygonal species with infinitesimal sides, we hardly know a more interesting object than he becomes, especially if you have not been so impolite as to interrupt him, and he has had all the discourse to himself.

Our retiring habits, in this particular, being thus understood, it will be seen at once that we have no design of arguing the point with the Old Song which we have quoted at the head of this paper. We cannot undertake to support the pretensions of the “flowery lea” against those of the “chimney corner.” In the case of hill-side versus ingle-side we beg leave to keep aloof. We do not say with the blue-bean gentlemen that there is much to be said on both sides of the question; for the truth is we perceive at a glance that the subject has a wonderful variety of aspects, each highly important and interesting, and upon every one of which we could preach a very excellent sermon if occasion required. At a first view there is only the ordinary double-sided question, whether the ingle-side be preferable to the hill-side, or the hill-side to the ingle. But then we have at once in continuation, the concomitant sub-queries whether the hill-side be a hill-side of donkey-thistle or of purple heather—whether there be sheep on it or snakes—whether it be winter or summer—whether it be a rainy day or a sun-shiny one—whether the ingle be smoky or not smoky—whether, in the latter case, we choose to be cured like bacon or be left uncured—whether wood or coal be burnt, and whether, if coal, you have any tendency to what Dr. Blunderbuzzard calls pulmonary phthisis.

Now each of these sub-queries involves a point of especial importance, and each of these points must be definitely settled, before we begin to make up our minds on the main one, and the worst of it is that each of these points, too, may be subdivided into I cannot tell how many others, all equally momentous, if not more so, and every one of them to be fully discussed and permanently decided upon, before we can do anything at all towards drawing a judicious conclusion. So that in the end we lose both our way, and our labor, and are forced, in respect to the matter of this song, to fall back upon one of those very rare questions which have really but two sides, and base our final decision upon that. This question is simply whether the lady who sings the song, be pretty or ugly. The only difficulty about this mode of forming an opinion is that the opinion itself is apt to have something of a variable character—but then it would be no fashionable opinion if it had not.

At present we decide against the lea and give judgment for “The Fireside.”





At length has come the Spring! welcome to me

Art thou, oh! wind, that journeyest to the sea!—

The south-west wind, whose warm, health-bringing plume,

Wafts odor from a wilderness of bloom;

From groves that bend with blossoms, from broad plains

Clothed in rich garments of a thousand stains—

Blue, crimson, gold, green, azure, purple flowers,

Given in profusion by the beauteous showers.

I have heard stories of thy place of birth,—

Oh! wind, that sheddest beauty on the earth!—

Which make me sad, to think my life must glide

Slowly and coldly by the Atlantic’s side.

Thine are the “happy valleys” of our land,

Shut in by mountains, and the South-sea strand;

They never feel the tyranny of frost;

Nor hail, nor snow is on their green laps tost;

For nursed by thee successive verdures spring,

And melts the sceptre of the Winter-king!





In the Edinburgh Review for July, 1840, there is an article entitled “Recent Shakspearian Literature,” very interesting to the students of the poet. It purports to be a review of about fourteen works from Tieck’s Dramaturgische Blätter, published in Breslau, 1826, to De Quincey’s Life of Shakspeare, in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 1840.

As is generally the case with similar papers in this class of the quarterlies, the article is less a review of the works enumerated in the rubric than a pouring forth of the opulence of the reviewer’s own mind, on the occasion of a brief allusion to the productions criticized. The author of it, in his estimate of Shakspeare, approaches nearer the views which posterity will probably entertain of the poet, than those which have till now characterized even the most rapturous of his admirers. The mightiest bard, not only of modern times, but by far the mightiest bard that has appeared among uninspired mortals, here begins to assume a yet higher apotheosised splendor; and, if not to rank among the constellations and the gods, like the half fabulous immortalities of the ancient world, at least to take his place in the history of mankind, as the mind which has reached the point farthest removed from brute matter.

I hope the article will be widely reprinted in our own country. Its tendency is most beneficial. We are, from necessity, in the present point of our developement, a hard working, practical, matter-of-fact people—full—too full of mere worldly occupation and excitement. Subjects in no way connected with the higher exercise of the intellect absorb the public mind. Commercial and political questions unavoidably monopolize the national sympathies. We are compelled at present to strain every nerve to make money, that the ravages of the monetary tempest which has swept like a tornado or an earthquake, or an oriental plague over our land, may be repaired. There is danger in this state of things that we entirely forego the contemplation of those subjects, which, however without temporal pecuniary profit, repay the laborer with moral purity and elevation, which soften the asperity of the passions, infuse gentleness and liberality into opinion, strengthen the spiritual part of our nature, and ennoble and dignify life—at the same time that they cheer, guide, protect and sweeten it.

There is no repose, no patient leisure and calm tranquillity in our young and rapidly growing country. There is the same difference, I mean in respect to literary and scientific pursuits, between us and some of the European communities, Germany for instance, that there was between the Israelites travelling through the desert and the same people when gathered around the temple in the holy city. I believe we, too, are undergoing a kind of forty years’ penance, in order to shake off such of the habits and opinions of our European ancestors as are wrong—six thousand years of bloody prejudices and political errors. There will come a day of prosperity, when institutions shall be no longer doubtful, national character no longer unsettled, when we shall have a fixed standard of political morals far different from any that has hitherto prevailed in the world; and when the human mind, under these more favorable circumstances, will develop itself in a new manner.

But this depends upon ourselves. Nations, like individuals, are free agents. We can go upwards or downwards; we can hail our Messiah or we can reject him; and in order that we may mount not sink in the scale of moral being, it is desirable that we should not permit ourselves to be bound down too closely and too continually to the local and temporary but exciting exigencies of the present hour, that pecuniary and political subjects should not engross too much of our attention, lest we become altogether “of the earth, earthy.” Music, poetry, painting, sculpture, eloquence and science, the fine performances of a Forrest or a Kean, have a tendency to mingle with our daily and (when too exclusively persisted in) narrowing and degrading occupations; something that turns the spirit another way, and fills, refreshes and intellectualizes the character. Such articles as that alluded to on the wonderful and still scarcely appreciated excellences of Shakspeare, will be as softening and reviving in their effects upon thousands of minds, parched and hot under the influence of merely mechanical employments, or interested and selfish impressions, as a plentiful summer shower is to nature, when burnt and withered with a long drought.

The reading of this article has turned me again for a few evenings to my most favorite author, and raised many new ideas in my mind, which is always the case when I open those fascinating pages. I propose to furnish, in several papers, some of the thoughts which crowd upon me while reading him. I cannot bear to read him alone. It is like listening to an oration from the fiery lips of Cicero in an empty hall, or hearing Channing address deserted aisles. I want a circle to share those streams of light; I want to feel that the music-waves roll to the hearts of others beside myself. It almost seems selfish to brood over delights so ethereal, to gaze on vistas so resplendent, to enter a temple so gorgeous and so vast without some one at my side to call on in the moment of rapture.

There is, moreover, in the article of the Edinburgh Review, the following extraordinary annunciation.

“But the work which we should have most pleasure in believing to represent the state of German opinions, is Dr. Ulrici’s ‘Essay on Shakspeare’s Dramatic Art, and his relation to Calderon and Goethe.’ This book seems to us to be not only one of the most solidly philosophical pieces of criticism which have issued from the Teutonic school, but on its own absolute merits, an unusually valuable contribution to the literature of Shakspeare’s works. The theory upon which the treatise rests is assuredly partial and imperfect; and also, so far as it goes beyond opinions already received, palpably unsound; but the aspect in which it presents the poet of all nations is one which has been too often overlooked among ourselves, and grossly misunderstood by some of the most celebrated of Ulrici’s countrymen. The general discussions, which make up a considerable part of the volume, we must be allowed to waive. We cannot, especially in the way of commentary on a German text-book, attempt to investigate either the essence of the drama in general, or the essential differences between the views of life suggested respectively by Christianity and Grecian Paganism. The religious test thus indicated is that to which the critic subjects both Shakspeare and the poets with whom he compares him. ‘Shakspeare’s peculiar character,’ says he, ‘consists in the greater purity and clearness, decision and completeness, with which the Christian view of life is represented in his dramas. It consists especially in this, that every where the two great elements of human life, and of the history of the world, the divine guidance and the freedom of man, stand out in their legitimate authority, in organic connexion and reciprocal action, and thus in the whole fulness of their truth and reality.’ He insists, emphatically, that he recognizes in Shakspeare’s dramas, not indeed formally taught, either theologically or ethically, but embodied in the genuine form of poetical representation, the doctrines of the universal sinfulness of man, and of divine grace in his salvation; doctrines which, as he truly adds, are altogether left out of sight in Goethe’s view of life, and by Calderon either misunderstood or unpoetically used. All this must be to many of us not a little startling; but there lies at the bottom of it a mighty truth, not merely important in itself, but bearing a close relation to the great dramatist’s cast of thought; a truth which, in one sense or other, does furnish the clue to some of the most perplexing riddles in the poet’s works. In following out his own system, Ulrici, as was to have been expected from its one-sidedness, has been led to many conclusions which cannot possibly be admitted; but fewer of these are to be attributed to the essential parts of his theory, than to the peculiar way in which he has worked it out. In several instances he has literally resolved the leading idea, in which he represents the unity of each drama to consist, in a substantive enunciation of a moral precept, an error against which he himself protests. He has erred still further in acknowledging, as he seems to do almost invariably, the principle of what has been called poetical justice—a principle not involved in his own system upon any right interpretation of it, and assuredly quite alien to the far-reaching speculations of Shakspeare. But a man who thinks of poetry as Ulrici thinks, can never write of it altogether unworthily: one who is willing to consider Shakspeare as coming up to so lofty a standard, cannot fail to entertain that reverence for genius, and truth, and goodness, which is the source of all pleasure as well as soundness in criticism; and the admirable analysis of the poet’s works which constitute the latter half of the volume, shows the writer to be fully qualified for expounding such a creed.”

Startling, indeed! but, if true, this is one of the most singular discoveries ever made in literature. We have been accustomed to hear Shakspeare praised for everything but Christianity, or, indeed, any sense of religion. He has been sometimes represented even as a kind of neutral principle, from whom flow all opinions, all creeds, all virtues, all crimes, with a facility equally indifferent to the source which sends them forth. He has been attacked sometimes as a bigot, and sometimes as an infidel; sometimes as a whig, sometimes as a democrat; but no one before, that I am aware of, ever undertook to show him forth as a great prophet of Christianity.

I have not seen the work of Dr. Ulrici, nor are the following papers devoted exclusively to a consideration of our author in this point of view, but, in several parts of them, I have so considered him. They are not written systematically. They were commenced with the intention of saying all I had to say in a single article, but the subject is so large, and grew so under my hand, that I was obliged to let my observations run into several papers, and I soon found myself, moreover, compelled not only to confine my attention principally to one tragedy, but to leave many considerations respecting that tragedy untouched.

I wish to repeat that I am by no means thoroughly acquainted with Shakspeare, and do not dream of offering any more than the mere momentary impressions which the perusal of such parts of him as I happen to read make upon me. After the great students of his works, the laborious and learned critics of different nations who have devoted years to the understanding of him, it would be presuming to attempt to throw light on him. I have only endeavored to express what I feel and see and think while reading him, and to venture here and there an examination of him upon the idea suggested by Dr. Ulrici, as it may strike a reader like myself, unacquainted with other arguments concerning it than those probabilities existing in the plays. The theory of Ulrici is so beautiful and so consonant to the lofty rank which our poet occupies, that one cannot help wishing, and scarcely believing, that it may be true. It has the force and convincingness which characterize the solution of an enigma. And, in this view, it possesses something of the solemnity of the creation itself. The creation is an enigma of which Christianity is the solution. Without that, all is vague, contradictory, dark; an existing impossibility—powerless omnipotence—fiendish generosity and love—the omnipresence of a Divinity everywhere absent—a mockery—a paradox. Christianity makes all clear and simple. It scarcely requires proof more than the solution of any other enigma. When the Divine secret is revealed, it is self-evident.

With all reverence be it advanced, the suggestion of this theory, in reference to the works of Shakspeare, has something of the same fitness. The creation of the poet was, before, in many places, dark and inexplicable; but the light shed upon him by the word Christianity makes many things clear and intelligible. It raises him to something of the magnitude of a prophet, and the most stupendous fabric of profane literature acquires a more solemn grandeur by this connection with the sacred work of God.

During Shakspeare’s life, he was, it is well known, celebrated beyond his expectations, and many of those acquainted with him and his productions thought quite beyond his merits. He was one of the fashionable poets of England; his verses were familiar to the lips of kings and queens, and himself, besides having acquired a pecuniary independence by his pen, received the highest honors, as he thought, which could be bestowed on him. He was, in short, a successful writer, and he passed away from the earth with the agreeable consciousness of having procured for himself a niche in the temple of Fame.

It is pretty certain, however that no person on the globe, at the period of his life, had any just appreciation of him. Notwithstanding the triumphant success of his career, and the high honor and opulence he attained, his real character, as such a mighty patriarch of literature, was not dreamed of either by himself or any of his contemporaries. As a mind impregnated with a fire nearly beyond the mortal sphere—as one whose birth was an event in which mankind were personally interested—who was to give a name to his age—who, at that point of his posthumous celebrity where other great men begin to recede into the shadows of the past, was to start up anew, in more living distinctness and intellectual splendor—was to pass in this apotheoside grandeur over the usually impenetrable barriers of nations and languages, and to become (like some of the universal and ever-enduring elements of nature—like light, fire or air) a constant pleasure and nutriment to the human mind—as this extraordinary, and, I may say, mysterious being—no one knew him. His full brightness was veiled not only from his contemporary friends and admirers, but, as is now universally acknowledged, from many of his most distinguished subsequent editors and commentators. The rapturous eulogies, the commendatory verses, the folios on folios written upon him—extravagant as they are—fall short of his true value. Even Johnson, Warburton, Theobald, Pope, and the rest of his commentators of the same rank, appear to have meted out to him less than the deserved measure of praise. It appears that the comparative smallness of their minds (I mean comparative with Shakspeare’s) did not permit them to comprehend the complete dimensions of the subject they had undertaken. They have all too much the air of critics, instead of humble followers and pupils. They assume a familiarity with him which their relative nature did not warrant. There is a greater difference between him and any one who has lived with him or subsequent to him, considered as two minds, than is always understood by those who even confine themselves to panegyric.

My idea of this wonderful prophet of poetry is that his intellectual dimensions are too great for any one man who ever lived to explore them by himself. He could but discover a portion of the vastness of his intelligence and contemplate one or two aspects of it. No one age could completely seize all the meaning that lies in him. It has required two centuries to place within the reach even of superior and well cultivated minds a just idea of him. He died in 1616, and he is beginning to be understood in 1840. Although aided by the accumulated Shakspearian lore of the two preceding centuries—although the most learned and greatest geniuses of the two ages have contributed the beams of their science and literature to shed light on him—although innumerable theatres in so many lands have given his plays to the world—still even yet, greatly as he is admired and studied, he is not fully appreciated. There are thousands and millions who often read his works with delight yet without understanding half their profound depth and celestial beauty—and even they who have studied him the most—who have fitted themselves for that study by their previous pursuits—who have written books upon classes of his characters, do not yet completely comprehend him. To-morrow, perhaps, the wisest among them will take up one of his plays and discover some resplendent meaning—some new beam reflected from the human heart, never known to them before. For myself I frankly confess I have never understood him. Every day I make new discoveries, and have no doubt I shall continue to do so as long as I live.

The advance of Shakspeare upon the world has been as broad, deep and steady as the on-flow of civilization itself. So much has been said and written of him that, it may be, some will turn from the title of these papers as from a thing of which there has been enough. They will mutter with Hamlet, “Something too much of this.” But I may assure them that the mere idea that they know enough of Shakspeare—that they have seen him enough and that his praise has got to be only a fashion, is sufficient to prove that they know nothing of him.

The true pupil kindles at the sound of his name—at the rustle of his robe, at the sight of his foot-mark. Whoever comes with a new idea concerning him or to speak in his praise is welcome; and so convinced is he that a part of him as yet is terra incognita that he is always on the watch for some discovery in him.

To my eye, Shakspeare is a world. I do not understand by this a mere phrase expressive of the variety and beauty of the plays, but I mean those works are morally invested with attributes resembling the physical globe. This planet is given by Providence as the abode of man’s body. A vast extent of variegated surface, when he first began to move upon it, he knew nothing about it. The dawn of it upon the human mind was that of a bright scene—a circle of land—a verdant plain. The more it was studied the more it grew in variety and size. It was found divided into wonderful compartments and the first dazzled wanderers beheld with joy and wonder the huge-rolling sea arrest their steps on one side, the ice-topped mountains towering above them on the other,—broad and winding rivers—silver lakes—fathomless caverns—and awful, sombre forests. Each age since, the adventurous step of man has wandered farther and farther, has climbed the mountain—crossed the sea—circumnavigated the globe—and found out what it is—how it hangs in the air—how it revolves around the sun and many of the secrets of its bosom. Each age since, man has occupied himself studying its nature and forming theories concerning it.

To me, Shakspeare—although they who have not closely and habitually studied him, may smile at such a hyperbolical comparison—yet to me, Shakspeare lies like this solid and wonderful globe we inhabit. He is a second nature—a new creation—a more amazing production of the inscrutable Deity who formed the shoreless sea—and built the cloud cleaving Alps and Andes. He is a significant illustration of the degree of intellectual perfection to which the human mind—so destined—so worthy to be immortal—may reach even in this sublunary sphere.

The theory of Ulrici accords exactly with my impressions of Shakspeare. Such an event as his coming—such superhuman powers of mind—such a mixture of all that is grand, terrible and profound with all that is tender—sweet, and aerial—in one brain, seems fit to be linked with a great purpose. The idea of an ever superintending Providence being in my mind, I cannot join those philosophers who find in our poet merely a colossal diamond or a chance giant—as if the same hazard which gives to the farmer an overgrown cucumber or pumpkin had dropped the rare soul of this first of human geniuses among men. To me—I repeat, he resembles the globe. I see in him always, as when I travel over any country, sweet and striking scenes. I enter him as I do a landscape or an island; looking around, above, and beneath me, and sure to find wonders and beauties. Here, the bending rose—there—the silver brook—yonder the swelling hill—and again the shadowy forest. I stop sometimes to examine the hues of a violet half withdrawn from sight by the road-side—and then I am struck at the majestic grandeur of the oak at whose root it grows. Suddenly a storm which awes and startles my soul sweeps over me—and then the broad sunshine breaks upon the glittering face of nature. These are in the foreground of Shakspeare, but this is not Shakspeare. He has far remote wonders and beauties. If I choose to travel into him, I shall come upon things new and strange. He has foreign countries and distant wonders like Rome or Jerusalem. There are even in him tracts yet untravelled, and secrets—like the Pyramids and hieroglyphics of Egypt, like the Polar seas and the central wastes of Africa—which future time will perhaps unravel, but which we do not yet understand.

The meaning of Othello has always been locked from me. I have not yet been a reader of commentators and, perhaps, some of the crowd of distinguished writers who, ever since his death, have been endeavoring to throw light on him, may have accounted for the till now inexplicable mystery of it. But I could never conceive it. Why a perfectly noble mind, should be so cruelly tortured without guilt on its own part; why a scene of innocent happiness should be thus wantonly destroyed was always an unanswerable question I asked myself on seeing or reading this, one of the greatest of his five great tragedies. The reader will find the mystery solved, by an extract, in the course of these papers.

Hamlet is yet full of unexplained mystery. Why he does not kill the bloody usurper? Why he ill treats Ophelia? Was he mad? etc. etc. etc., are long standing themes of debate.

In the Tempest, Act I. Scene 2, when Prospero is telling his history to Miranda, there is one of these little enigmas which lie in our poet like the veil sometimes thrown over the intentions of nature, known only to those who study her habitually.

  Prospero. Thy false uncle—

Dost thou attend me?

  Miranda. Sir, most heedfully.

  Pro. Being once perfected how to grant suits,

How to deny them; whom to advance, and whom

To trash for over-topping: new created

The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang’d ’em,

Or else new form’d ’em: having both the key

Of officer and office, set all hearts i’ the state

To what tune pleas’d his ear; that now he was

The ivy, which had hid my princely trunk,

And suck’d my verdure out on’t.—Thou attend’st not.

  Mira. O, good sir, I do.

  Pro. I pray thee, mark me.

I thus, neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate

To closeness, and the bettering of my mind,

With that, which, but by being so retired,

O’er-priz’d all popular rate, in my false brother

Awak’d an evil nature: and my trust,

Like a good parent, did beget of him

A falsehood, in its contrary as great

As my trust was; which had, indeed, no limit,

A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded,

Not only with what my revenue yielded,

But what my power might else exact,—like one,

Who having unto truth, by telling of it,

Made such a sinner of his memory,

To credit his own lie,—he did believe

He was indeed the duke; out of the substitution,

And executing the outward face of royalty,

With all prerogative:—Hence his ambition

Growing—Dost hear?


Now, what means the inattention of the young girl? Why does her mind wander from a history—one would suppose the most interesting revelation which could be made to her—so that her father cannot, apparently, keep her attention to the end of it? Thousands of people read and see this play without knowing that she is under the operation of a sleeping-spell, administered by her father.

Again, why is Prospero so harsh and coarse to Ariel? The most delicate creature that ever man had to do with—all gentleness—all submission, yet hear how the great and good magician uses him.

  Pro. “Thou dost forget,” etc.

  Ariel. I do not, sir.

  Pro. “Thou liest, malignant thing,” etc.


Again of Sycorax—

  Pro. This damn’d witch Sycorax,

For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible

To enter human hearing, from Argier,

Thou know’st was banished; for one thing she did

They would not take her life.


Now what was that one thing?





Oh! show a place like the wildwood home,

  Where the air is fragrant and free,

And the first pure breathings of morning come

  In a gush of melody,

As she lifts the soft fringe from her dark blue eye,

  With a radiant smile of love,

And the diamonds that over her bosom lie,

  Are bright as the gems above.


Where noon lies down in the breezy shade

  Of the glorious forest bowers,

And the beautiful birds from the sunny glade,

  Sit nodding amongst the flowers.

While the holy child of the mountain spring,

  Steals past with a murmur’d song,

And the wild bee sleeps in the bells that swing

  Its garlanded banks along.


And spotted fawns, where the vines are twin’d,

  Are dancing away the hours,

With feet as light as the summer wind

  That hardly bends the flowers.

Where day steals away with a young bride’s blush,

  To the soft, green couch of night,

And the moon throws o’er with a holy hush,

  Her curtains of gossamer light.


The seraph that hides in the hemlock dell,

  Oh! sweetest of birds is she,

Fills the dewy breeze with a trancing swell

  Of melody rich and free.

Where Nature still gambols in maiden pride

  By valley and pine-plumed hill,

Hangs glorious wreaths on each mountain side,

  And dances in every rill.


There are glittering mansions with marble walls,

  Surmounted by mighty towers,

Where fountains play in the perfumed halls,

  Amongst exotic flowers,

They are fitting homes for the haughty minds,

  Yet a wildwood home for me,

Where the pure, bright waters, the mountain winds,

  And the bounding hearts are free.





“Look forth on Nature’s face and see

  What smiles play on her blissful cheek!

In voice of love she speaks thro’ me,

  When I thy homestead, daily seek!


“Canst thou be sad while trees and flowers

  Wear looks of goodness—while each spear

Of herbage which adorns thy bowers,

  Its head so gladsomely, doth rear?


“Behold those dew-drops on each leaf,

  But think not they of sorrow tell;

They’re tears of gladness, not of grief,

  That God-ward from each petal swell.


“O’er fears of hunger brood’st thou? See

  How fare we of the wing, and those

Of floral life! Nor yet toil we

  Nor spin—and still none hunger knows.


“Raise, then, thy head! Dream not of woe,

  Who human bosoms loves to sway!

Again I bid thee look—for lo!

  All else but thee wear smiles to-day!”


Sweet bird! reprove no more;—thy song

  Shames these sad feelings in my breast,

Which it hath cherished far too long,

  As if some welcome angel-guest.


I own, if cherish’d, they too soon,

  Like fabled serpent in the breast,

Would venom only leave as boon,

  For being by a fool carest!


Of gladness speak thy notes alone—

  Of calmest self-content—and say

Plainly to hearts of sadden’d tone—

  ’Tis best to cast sad thoughts away.






“How is the night overhead?” asked Westbrook, as I came down into the mess-room, and, pushing the jug toward me, he added, “you see, we’re going to make a night of it; take a pull at the Jamaica—it’s rare stuff.”

“Misty, with a light breeze; we’ll make the land, if we keep on this course, before morning. We’ve harried the enemy’s shipping enough in the chops of the channel—I can’t see what the skipper means by running in so close to the English coast.”

“Faith! he’s after some harum-scarum prank—blowing a stray merchantman out of water in sight of land, or throwing a shot into Portsmouth by way of bravado to the fleet. Well, what need we care? A short life and a merry one—cut away at the junk, my good fellow; cut deeper—ay! that’s it, a slice like we lawyers take of our client’s money, the better half of the whole.”

“A lawyer!—what do you know of the profession?” said I.

“I was once a lawyer myself,” said he, as he transferred a huge slice of the beef into his mouth.

“A lawyer!—a land shark!—you a lawyer!” were the exclamations of astonishment which burst from every lip.

“Ay! am I the first jolly fellow who gave up a bad trade for a good one? I beg your pardon, Parker—I believe you come from a race of lawyers; but if so, it is no more than happened to myself. My friends made a land shark of me, but as nature intended me for something better, the experiment failed. My first case was enough for me, and I cut the profession, or, rather, it cut me. The court asked me to repeat an authority I had quoted, but I was so taken aback by something that had happened to me just before, and which I’ll tell you by and bye, that, for the life of me, I couldn’t call to mind a single point decided. I grew embarrassed, stammered, looked down, came to a dead halt; and at length, when I heard the spectators tittering around me, I grasped my hat, shot from the court-house, and have never entered one since without an anguish shiver. The judge said I was a fool; my client agreed with him; I never got a cent; everybody laughed at me; and so I kicked Coke and Plowden into the fire, cursed the law to my heart’s content, and took to the service in a fortnight, thinking it better to thrive on biscuit and salt junk, than to work for nothing and starve for my pains.”

“Shure, and a dacent gentleman”—said O’Shaughnessy—“would have been spoilt in making a black-gown of you, Westbrook. But it was a great mistake, that breaking down in your spache; you should have served them like my old chum, Terence McBalawhangle, thricked the tutors of Trinity.”

“How was that?” asked the mess, in a breath.

“Fath, pour us out a brimmer, and I’ll tell you the same. A nate, dacent lad, and a witty, was Terence; and many’s the time he’s made my sides ache for a week, by raison of laughing at his droll sayings, the sinner. And I thought I should have died when the tutor tould him to recite the task from the essay on the human understanding—a crusty, metaphysical work, bad cess to it. Divil a bit did Terence know of the same—he hadn’t a turn, he said, for the dry bones of Ezakiel—but he put a good face on the matter, and ran on, like a petrel over the waves, never halting even to breathe, until the tutor stopped him, and tould him there was nothing in the text-book like what he was saying. ‘Shure, and I know that,’ says Terence, without moving a muscle of his face, ‘but, you see, I didn’t agree with Mr. Locke, so I thought I’d just give ye my own sentiments.’ ”

“Your friend Terence,” said Westbrook, filling a bumper, after the roars of laughter which followed this anecdote had subsided, “ought to have had a New Jersey justice, instead of a fellow of Trinity, to mystify. He might have succeeded better.”

“Maybe they’re like old Sir Peter Beverly, of the county of Clare, one of the quorum, and never right but by mistake. Many’s the poor fellow he’s had transported becase the man was brought up before dinner, when the justice was out of humor. Shure and didn’t he send off Teague O’Daly, the brightest lad at a wake or a fair within thirty miles around, just for no other raison than becase Teague made love to his daughter’s maid?—and didn’t he refuse the testimony of Teague’s cousin, only ten removes off, becase he said the lad was suspected of staling a watch?—and when they all shwore at his injustice—the gouty porpoise—he said, with a big oath that made my hair stand on end—I was younger then ye know—‘Constable, stop that noise; here I’ve had to commit three fellows without being able to hear a word of their defence.’ ”

“Well, I can’t say I ever saw an Irish justice, O’Shaughnessy, at least not one like Sir Peter; but the justice court of New Jersey is almost a match for him.”

“How’s that?”

“Why, you see, each township has its justice, and when the county court is held, all the justices come up to the county town to preside at the trials. The court-house, however, at Skanamuctum—shove us up the jug—was always too small, and the bench especially wouldn’t hold a quarter of the judges, so that the man who got into court first secured the best seat. Sometimes, however, on a hot day, the old fellows couldn’t hold out, or else they saw a crony in the crowd whom they thought likely to treat, so that, one by one, they would drop off the bench; but as there were always a dozen or two awaiting to get on, the judges’ seats were never empty. As for knowing anything about the case—ah! this is prime!—they never pretended to it. Indeed, I’ve often seen not a single judge on the bench, when the verdict was rendered, who had been there when the trial began.”

“That beats you, O’Shaughnessy,” roared a reefer, almost suffocated with laughter, from the foot of the table.

“Bravo!” said I; “you made a good escape, Westbrook, when you gave up pleading before such Shallows—but you haven’t yet told us what happened to you to embarrass you so at your début.”

“Oh, no! I had forgot. I was just admitted, you must know, and all my friends advised me to make my maiden speech on one of the cases coming up at the next Oyer and Terminer. I looked around for some burglar, horse-thief, or other sort of rascal, for a client, but not a sinner of a one could I find willing to trust himself in my hands. I began to despair, thinking I should never have the chance to figure so again, for the celebrated Judge Traskey himself had come down special, to try a desperate case of murder, and the whole bar were itching to show off before him. He was said to be as sharp as a north-easter, and every other word was either an opinion, a growl, or a witticism. You may judge my joy, when, on walking down to the court-house, and looking very imposing in my own opinion, but scarcely daring to hope for such a God-send as a client, I heard the sheriff tell me that there was a poverty-struck sheep-stealer in the dock, who was in want of a lawyer, and would be glad to get a brisk hand for a trifle of a fee. Such a chance of making a speech wasn’t to be lost, and, thinking all the time what a sensation I should create, I asked to see the prisoner. As the sheriff couldn’t bring him out into the bar, I went into the dock. Well, I heard through the poor rascal’s story—and a long one it was—and I was just about to leave him, when I found that the sheriff had gone, in the mean time, to bring in the judge in procession, and, forgetting all about me, had left me locked in. Here was a scrape with a vengeance. To wait till the judge entered, and then sneak out of the dock, the laughing stock of the bar, was not to be thought of. What was to be done? The railing around the dock was high, and guarded by iron spikes, but over it was my only outlet, and springing up at once, I began to clamber out of the hole. At that very instant his honor entered the court-room, and the first thing that caught his eye was a man leaping the dock. ‘Sheriff, look to your prisoner,’ said he. ‘May it please your honor,’ said I, attempting to explain, and essaying to leap down, in which endeavor the spikes caught in the skirts of my coat, and I hung fast—‘may it please your honor—’ ‘It doesn’t please me, you rascal,’ said the judge, waxing angry, ‘to be bearded by a prisoner.’ ‘It’s all a mistake,’ said I, struggling to get loose, while the perspiration rolled off me, and I heard the suppressed tittering around. ‘So says every thief,’ retorted the judge, in a towering passion. ‘But I’m an attorney!’ I answered. ‘All the worse for you,’ roared his honor. ‘I’m counsel in the case!’ said I, ‘Then, if you defend yourself, you have a fool for a client,’ said the judge, beside himself with rage. At this point the mirth of the spectators could no longer be controlled, but burst forth in roars of laughter which effectually silenced my further explanations. At length the mistake was made clear to the bench, and I was suffered to be taken down. I tried to brave it out, by delivering my speech afterwards, but an unlucky mention of the word ‘mistake’ set the bar in a roar, and so completely confounded me that I talked nonsense at random, until I broke down as I told you, and, since then, I never think of a law-point without a cold sweat all over.”

“By the staff of St. Patrick! and you’re right,” said O’Shaughnessy. “Here’s confusion to lawyers, and a bumper for the girls!”

“The girls—hurrah!” sang the mess in one voice. “No heel-taps!” and it was drank enthusiastically.

“Ah! and Parker has a song on the sweet angels,” said Westbrook; “we’ll all join in the chorus.”

“The song—the song!” roared the mess.

Thus pressed, I had no escape, and taking a pull at the beaker to clear my throat, I sang the following stanzas:



     AirNancy Dawson.


Our country’s girls have azure eyes,

And tresses like the sunset skies,

And hearts to seek, nor need disguise—

  As pure as heav’n above, sir;

With voices like a seraph’s light,

And forms that swim before the sight,

And waists to tempt an anchorite—

  They are the girls to love, sir.


Though France may boast her dark brunette,

And Spain her eyes of flashing jet,

And Greece her tones you ne’er forget—

  So like the song of dove, sir—

Columbia’s maids have tones as sweet,

And cheeks where snow and roses meet:

Such lips, and then, egad! such feet!

  They are the girls to love, sir.


Oh! we are reefers bold and gay;

We brave the storm and court the fray,

Yet ne’er forget the girls away,

  However far we rove, sir.

I sometimes fancy they’re decoys

To lure us on to fancied joys;

They’ll be our ruin yet, my boys!—

  Here’s to the girls we love, sir.

The deafening chorus of the last three lines of this song, repeated by the whole mess in full voice, had scarcely died away, when the quarter-master knocked at the door, and told us that we had given chase to a strange sail, and that there would soon be hot work on deck. Before he had well finished the room was empty, and we had all sprung up the gangway.

As I stepped upon the deck, I cast my eyes naturally upwards, and, for a moment, was almost staggered at the press of sail we were carrying. My astonishment was, however, of short duration, for when I saw on our bow the distant lights of the English coast, glimmering like stars on the horizon, I knew at once that we must overtake the chase directly, or abandon her altogether. We were already in dangerous proximity to the enemy’s shores, and every minute lessened the distance betwixt them and the Fire-Fly. Yet the skipper maintained his course. The chase was a large brig, running in towards the land with every rag of her canvass strained to the utmost; while we were endeavoring to get to windward of her, and thus force her out to sea. It soon became evident that we were succeeding in our aim. Indeed I had rarely seen the little Fire-Fly do better. Before fifteen minutes, we were well in on the land side of the chase, and had every apparent chance of capturing her without the firing of a shot. Hitherto she had been doggedly silent. But finding now that we had beat her on the tack she had chosen, and seeing no chance of escape but in going off dead before the wind, and spreading the pyramid of light sails in which a brig has always the advantage of a schooner, she put her helm suddenly down, and, throwing out rag after rag, was soon seen speeding away through the twilight like a frightened bird upon the wing. At the same instant she began firing from her signal guns, to warn the coasters, if any there were, in her vicinity.

“By my faith,” said Westbrook, “she makes noise and flutter enough; one would think her a wounded gull, screaming as she flew. But her alarm guns won’t save her. See how our old growler will pick off her fancy yards—there goes one now!” and, as he spoke, a shot from our long gun cut away the maintopmast of the brig just by the cap. She fell behind at once. Another ball or two, sent with unerring aim, was attended with like success, and before twenty minutes we were ranging alongside of the chase, with our ports up, our lanterns lighted, the men at the guns, and everything, in short, prepared to pour in a broadside if the Englishman did not surrender. We saw her ensign come down as we drew alongside, but a jack was still left flying at the fore.

“Have you surrendered?” asked the skipper, leaping into the main-rigging, as we ranged up by the quarter of the foe.

There was a dogged silence of a minute, and the skipper was about waving his hand as a signal to open our fire, when a voice from the quarter-deck of the brig answered—

“We’ve hauled down our flag.”

We took possession of the chase, and found her indeed a prize. She was deeply laden with silks, but we were most pleased with a booty of specie to the amount of several hundred thousands of dollars. I never saw a more cowardly set of men than her crew. They had run below hatches, in spite of all the master could do, almost as soon as we opened our fire on them; and when we boarded her, there was no one on deck except her skipper, a surly, obstinate old Englishman, who was doggedly biting off a piece of pigtail as long as the tiller by which he stood. He told us that he had spoken, but the day before, several outward bound vessels, and that nothing was talked of along shore but the Yankee schooner that was scouring the channel, a craft that, it was whispered, was sailed on account of Davy Jones, and which it would be as impossible to escape from as from a pampero off Buenos Ayres. We could not but smile at this flattering picture of ourselves and craft. The old skipper told us, in conclusion, that no less than two men-of-war, besides the usual channel cruisers, had been despatched in pursuit of us, and he even hinted, coolly turning his quid, that he had little fear of a long imprisonment, for we would be sure to be caught before twenty-four hours should elapse.

As it would be impossible to carry off the prize, and as the conflict had doubtless been heard on shore, the skipper determined to end the adventure as boldly as he had begun it, and, accordingly, he ordered the brig to be set on fire, when we should have removed whatever of the cargo was most valuable and portable. It was accordingly done. When we filled away to leave the chase, the smoke could just be seen, curling in light wreaths up her hatchways, but she presented no other evidence of the ruin that was so soon to overtake her. Her forward sails had been left standing, and her helm lashed down, and she now lay to beautifully, drifting bodily off to leeward like a line-of-battle ship. The utter desertion of her decks, her slow, majestic movements as she rose and fell, the twilight into which she was gradually fading, and the glittering line of lights behind her, along the hostile coast, associated inseparably in our minds with ideas of danger to ourselves, contributed to form a scene as imposing as it was beautiful, and one that raised a feeling of interest in our bosoms, tinged in no slight degree with that awe which always accompanies a sensation of peril. While we gazed breathlessly, however, on the fast receding brig, dark clouds of smoke began to puff up her hatchways, and rolling heavily to leeward, settle on the face of the waters. Directly a forked tongue of flame shot up into the air, licked around her mast, and then went out as suddenly as it had appeared. Soon, however, darker masses of smoke rolled, volume on volume, up the hatchways, and directly, like a flash of lightning, the fire shot clear and high up from the hold, and catching to the shrouds, stays, and every portion of the hamper, ran swiftly across the ship, mounted up the rigging, and licking and wreathing around the spars, soon enveloped the chase in a pyramid of flame, which eddied in the breeze, and streamed like a signal banner far away to leeward. How wild and fantastic, like spirits dancing on the air, were the attitudes and shapes the fire assumed! Now the flames would blaze steadily up for a minute; now they would blow apart like whiffs of smoke; and now they would leap bodily away, in huge and riven masses, into the dense canopy of smoke to leeward. At times they would wind spirally around the hamper; again they would taper off far up into the unfathomable night. On every hand the waves had assumed the hue of fire. The heavens above were lurid. The crackling and hissing of the flames could be heard even at our distance from the brig. Millions of sparks, sent up from the blazing ship, whirled off on the wind, and showered down to leeward. Occasionally a stray spar fell simmering into the water. At length the brig fell off from her course, and drifting broadside on before the wind, came down towards us, rolling so frightfully as to jerk the flames, as it were, bodily out of her. I was still gazing spell-bound on the magnificent spectacle, when I heard an exclamation of surprise over my shoulder, and turning quickly around, I saw the skipper gazing intently over the burning ship, as if he watched for something hidden behind her. He saw my movement, and asked,

“Do you not detect a sail to windward, just in the rear of the brig? Wait till the wind whirls away the fire—there!”

There was no mistaking it. A large man-of-war, to judge by her size and rig, partially concealed by the brig, was coming down to us, with studding-sails all spread, and the English cross flying at her main.

“We are already under a press of sail—as much as we can conveniently spread,” said the skipper, as if musingly, looking aloft; “and the Englishman will have to give the brig somewhat of a berth. Ah! there comes the enemy—a frigate, as I live!”

Every one on board had by this time had their attention turned to the approaching stranger, and now, as she bore away to leave the wreck to starboard, every eye was fixed on her form. She came gallantly out from behind her fiery veil, riding gracefully on the long surges, and seeming, as her white sails reflected back the flames, more like a spectral than a mortal ship. The momentary admiration with which we gazed on her, as she emerged into view, soon, however, faded before the anxious feelings arising out of the extremity of our peril. But there was nothing to be gained by idle forebodings. The frigate was evidently gaining on us, and it became necessary to spread every inch of canvass we had, in order to escape her. Men also were sent aloft, and buckets whipped up to them, in order that our sails might be kept constantly wet; the masts were eased, the water started, every useless thing thrown overboard, and all the exertions which desperate men resort to were adopted to ensure our escape. After an agitating suspense of five minutes, we found that we were slowly drawing ahead of the frigate, and our hopes were still further raised, in a short space afterwards, by the growing thickness of the fog.

“We are not caught this time yet,” said I to Westbrook, “and now for la belle France.”

“Ay! the skipper’s had enough of such hot quarters as these, I fancy; at least, after such a haul of specie, he’ll not run any more risks if he can help it. Depend upon it, we shall be making love to the fair Parisian grisettes before a fortnight rolls overhead.”

“Not so fast, Mr. Westbrook,” said the old quarter-master, who overheard us by chance—“do you see that?” and he pointed to a rocket which that instant shot up from the deck of the frigate, and then arching over in the sky, broke into a thousand sparkles, which fell shivering to the water. “If I know anything of such sky-lighters, that bloody Englishman has a consort somewhere hereabouts—and there he is on our lee-bow, the varmint.”

We both turned around hastily as he spoke, and, sure enough, a rocket was seen streaming, comet-like, through the heavens, apparently sent up from a ship well on our lee-bow.

“By the true cross!” sung out O’Shaughnessy, at this instant, “here’s another fellow wasting his fire-works to windward. Shure, and, as the thief said to the hangman when he saw the crowd, we’re beset—ohone!”

I could scarcely contain my laughter, although by this time rockets were rising into the air on our three sides, with a rapidity which showed that we had got somewhere into the midst of the channel fleet, and that the frigate astern was telegraphing to her consorts of our whereabouts. Our situation was alarming in the extreme. Beset on all sides, we had scarcely the slightest chance of escape, our only hope, in fact, consisting in the darkness of the night, and the ignorance of our position on the part of the men-of-war ahead. For a moment—and it was the only one of the kind in his life—our skipper seemed to be at fault; and he stood near the starboard railing, with his teeth firmly clenched and his brow contracted, gazing vacantly ahead. Suddenly, however, he turned to the man at the wheel, and ordered him to bear up towards the sail on our weather bow. He then sent down into his cabin for a catalogue of the English navy, which we had taken in a prize but a few days before.

Meanwhile the frigate astern had vanished in the gathering gloom, while the man-of-war on our lee-bow was yet unseen. The enemy, however, off our weather cat-head, began to loom faint and shadowy through the fog, and just as he became distinctly defined against the horizon, we heard the roll of the drum beating to quarters, and directly beheld in our foe a heavy frigate, with her ports open and lighted, and a formidable battery frowning across the gloom. We had by this time edged away so as to bring the Englishman a point or two on our lee-bow, and now, running up the British ensign, we bore boldly towards the foe. Every one saw that a ruse was intended, though in what manner it was to be executed we were yet in doubt, and more than one of us trembled for the event. A few moments of breathless suspense brought us up to the Englishman, and as we passed on opposite tacks, and looked up at his enormous hull, and his vast batteries overshadowing us, even the stoutest heart felt a momentary flutter. The captain of the frigate stood in the mizzen rigging, looking down on our little craft, while our own skipper, with hat off, gazed up at his enemy from the quarter-deck larboard gun. It was luckily too dark to see our uniforms from the frigate’s deck.

“What craft is that?” thundered the English captain.

“The Alert, of his Britannic Majesty’s navy—Captain Sasheby,” answered the skipper. “What frigate have we had the honor of telegraphing?”

“The Achilles—Captain Norton. Come to under our lee. You were in chase; at least so we understood the lights. What has become of the enemy?—he was the same one, we suppose, who fired the vessel whose light we saw up to windward.”

“Ay! the scoundrel was the Yankee schooner, whom the admiralty has sent us down specially to overhaul. We lost her in the fog, but thought she had gone down towards you.”

“You’d better keep less away,” said the English captain. “Fill on your course again. We shall beat up on your late track, lest the Yankee may have lain to, as the safest way to get off in this fog. If we throw up three rockets successively, we shall want you to come up towards us. If we fire two guns, the rascal will be to windward; if one, to leeward.”

“Ay, ay, sir!—fill away again!” and, with a courteous wave of the hand, the two captains parted company.

During the whole of this colloquy, we had lain to at but a short distance from the quarter of the foe, and, at any moment, if our disguise had been penetrated, we could have been sunk by a single broadside. Accustomed though we were to peril, our hearts beat at this dangerous proximity, and when at length we filled away on our course, and gradually lost sight of the frigate, the relief we experienced was indescribable. We kept away, cracking on every thing we could, and for nearly an hour our cheat remained undiscovered. At the end of that time, to judge by the rockets on the windward horizon, the three frigates learned that they had been outwitted. They doubtless gave us chase, but we were now clear of the fleet, and, moreover, had some leagues start of them. Before daylight we had made the French coast, and we were safely moored, before forty-eight hours, in the harbor of Brest.





Oh! a merry life does a hunter lead!

  He wakes with the dawn of day!

He whistles his dog and mounts his steed,

  And scuds to the woods away!

The lightsome tramp of the deer he’ll mark,

  As they troop in herds along;

And his rifle startles the tuneful lark

  As he warbles his morning song!


Oh! a hunter’s life is the life for me!

  That is the life for a man!

Let others sing of the swelling sea;

  But match the woods if you can!

Then give me my gun—I’ve an eye to mark

  The deer as they bound along!

My steed and my dog, and the cheerful lark

  To warble my morning song.





Addressed to my little boy, who, on seeing me weep at pecuniary misfortunes, brought a silver piece which had been presented to him, and with tears in his eyes, said—“Mother, will this do you any good?

Nay, keep thy gift my precious boy!

  It but a drop would be

From the wide ocean of the wants

  That are oppressing me.


But blessings on the tender heart

  From whence the offering rose—

Which fain would give its ‘little all,’

  To soothe a mother’s woes!


Ah! when I gaze on thee my child,

  I feel that wealth is mine;

For gems of the “first water,” are

  Those guileless tears of thine.


’Tis thy caress, my blessed one!

  The hopes in thee bound up,

That bid my thanks ascend to Heaven

  O’er sorrow’s bitter cup.


And shall thy noble soul expand

  To manhood’s ripened years?

And will a mother’s sorrow then,

  Have power to move thy tears?


Then come——and whilst I fold thee here,

  My widowed heart is blest;

Nor would I for a fortune sell

  The “jewel” on my breast.





“Thy words, whate’er their flattering spell,

  Could scarce have thus deceived,

But eyes that acted truth so well,

  Were sure to be believed.

’Tis only on thy changeful heart

  The blame of falsehood lies.

Love lives in every other part,

  But there, alas! he dies.”


“My dear Rosa, how could you be so imprudent as to waltz with young Sabretash last night?—Colonel Middleton looked excessively annoyed:” said Mrs. Crafts to her beautiful daughter, as they sat together over their late breakfast.

“I acknowledge the imprudence of the act, mamma; but, really, I could not help it. I am heartily wearied of this perpetual restraint,” was the reply.

“I thought you were too well practised in flirtation, Rosa, to find any character too difficult for you to play.”

“Oh, it is easy enough to suit the taste of everybody, but terribly fatiguing to be obliged to play propriety and prudery so long. However, seven thousand a year is worth some trouble.”

“So, then, you count the lover as nothing?”

“I beg your pardon, mamma; the Colonel is handsome and gentlemanly—un peu passé, it is true, but still a very good-looking appendage to a fine house and a rich equipage.”

“Well, make the most of your time, Rosa; I told you I could only afford three winters in town, and this is the last, you know.”

“Don’t be alarmed, mamma; I will never return to our dull country village again. I will marry anybody before I will bury myself for life in a stupid country place, and I think Colonel Middleton is rapidly approaching Proposition Point.”

“He may steer another course, if you are not more cautious than you were last evening. I saw him in close conversation with your cousin Grace while you were dancing.”

“And so you want to make me jealous of poor cousin Grace! Ha, ha, ha! that would be too ridiculous—a little pale-faced thing, too timid to speak above her breath, and with manners as unformed as a school-girl’s! No, no, mamma, the Colonel is welcome to talk to her as much as he likes; I am not afraid.”

“But you know his taste for poetry and painting—suppose he should discover her talents for both?”

“Never fear, mamma; she is too bashful to develop the few attractions which she possesses. He dotes on music and beauty and graceful manners; is rather particular in his ideas of elegance in dress, and has many of those finikin fancies which cousin Grace could never satisfy. Indeed I mean to make use of her to forward my own views.”

“Well, well, Rosa, I dare say you can manage your own affairs; but, at the same time, I would advise you to avoid Captain Sabretash.”

“I suppose you think he has never forgiven me for my share in the affair of his sister; but I can assure you he has quite forgotten it. He is one of those butterflies of fashion who have no sting.”

“You are mistaken, Rosa; he has as much skill as yourself in acting a part, and I tell you that he never has and never will forgive you.”

“Why, then, does he haunt me so perpetually in society? Why does he seek to be my partner in the dance, and my companion on all occasions?”

“I cannot answer that question, Rosa; but I have watched him very closely, and I believe he means you no good.”

“I am not afraid of him, mamma; he is a charming beau, and his gay wit is a great relief to me after listening to the grave and somewhat heavy wisdom of the gallant Colonel.”

Possessed of great beauty, a fine figure, a graceful address, and a host of superficial accomplishments, Rosa Crafts had always managed to be the belle of every circle in which she mingled. How this éclat was obtained may be readily divined, for where there is no real dignity of character, no sincerity of heart, no firmness of principle, all tastes may be studied and adopted. But Rosa’s love of admiration had carried her beyond the limits of prudence. She pleased so generally that she never became attractive individually, and she had attained her twenty-fifth year without receiving any eligible offer of marriage. The straitened circumstances in which her widowed mother had been left, rendered a wealthy alliance necessary to the support of the style of living which Rosa had insisted upon adopting, and Mrs. Crafts began to lose patience when she found her money diminishing, her debts increasing, and her daughter verging towards an uncertain age, without any prospect of bringing their schemes to a successful issue. It was just at this juncture that Colonel Middleton came within the sphere of her attractions, and was marked as a victim destined to fulfil her matrimonial speculations. The Colonel was a man whom almost any woman might have admired, even if he had not possessed the talisman of wealth. In his youth he had been eminently handsome, and time had dealt leniently with him, for the weight of forty years had fallen so lightly upon him that it would have puzzled the wisest physiognomist to count their number on his brow. His cheek wore the rich bloom of health, his well-formed mouth still displayed the glittering pearls which had been a distinguishing beauty in his boyhood, the thick wavy masses of his dark hair fell on temples but faintly tracked by the “foot of the crow,” and his tall figure still retained its symmetry, notwithstanding a slight tendency to embonpoint. He could scarcely be ignorant of his personal advantages, but he was by no means a vain man. In his youth, he had been mortified by the belief that his handsome face was more valued than his gifted mind; and the consciousness that, whatever might be his physical merits, his intellectual gifts were of far more value, tended to make him but little sensible to the impulses of vanity. But though possessing so many spells to awaken love, and endowed with a heart singularly alive to affection, he had been destined to disappointment. His fastidious taste had never been fully satisfied, and he had reached his thirtieth year before he found a woman who could excite a deep interest in his heart. While in Europe, he met with an English gentleman who was travelling with his invalid daughter, and the beauty, the delicacy of feeling, and the gentle reserve of Laura Pendleton’s character, soon won his warmest regard. Her melancholy, the consequence, as it seemed, of fragile health, was so touching, her style of beauty was so ethereal, her manners were so full of timid gentleness, that he became deeply attached to her. Knowing the prejudices of her father, he did not venture first to avow his love to the shrinking girl, but taking advantage of her absence, he made known his wishes to Mr. Pendleton, and begged his acquiescence in his suit. He received a most flattering reply from the gratified father, and only wanted to be assured by Laura herself of his felicity, when she was suddenly taken seriously ill. He was of course denied all access to her, but her father treated him as her accepted lover, and even went so far as to decide that the marriage should take place immediately upon her recovery. When Colonel Middleton was admitted to the presence of Laura, she was still confined to her apartment, and never, from the time of his proposal to the hour when they stood before the altar to be wedded, did he see his affianced bride except in the company of her father or mother. He did not then know that there was a design in this vexatious restraint. Laura’s timidity and melancholy had evidently increased, but the sudden threatening of death at the moment of betrothment might easily account for this, and in the mean time she received her lover with her usual quiet kindness, passively suffering all his fondness, and offering no opposition when her father urged a speedy union. They were married at the house of the British Consul, and while her parents returned to their native land, the Colonel and his bride continued their sojourn in sunny Italy. It was not until months afterwards that he learned the whole truth. She had loved another—she had plighted her faith—but the authority of her parents had compelled her to break her troth, and the offer of Colonel Middleton had been made at the moment when the certainty of entire separation from the object of her affection had made her utterly regardless of her future fate. She neither accepted nor rejected him; her father managed the whole matter, and she had culpably sacrificed the peace of both by thus weakly yielding to despair. Some months after her marriage, the news of her lover’s death threw her into a paroxysm of grief and self-reproach, and taught the husband that he had won the hand only, while the heart was still another’s. Her feelings were too pure, and her mind too deeply imbued with truth, to be satisfied with the deception which her silence had practised upon her husband; and as her inert and timid temper had been the cause of her error, she determined to devote her life to its expiation. But she mistook penance for expiation. Instead of resolutely stifling her regrets for the past, and applying herself to the fulfilment of her duties—instead of remembering that duty to her husband required the oblivion of former affections—she vainly fancied that by giving herself up to sorrow, she should make a proper atonement for her fault; and she therefore sought not to check the ravages which grief was making in her health. For seven long years did the Colonel watch over the failing strength and minister to the daily comforts of her whose heart was buried in the grave of another. She esteemed him, she was grateful to him, she loved him with sisterly affection; but she remembered the thrill which a dearer voice had once sent to her heart, and because her husband could awaken none of those fervent feelings of youthful passion, she rejected the peace which might yet have grown up in the calm atmosphere of domestic life, and cherished her unhappiness like a bosom friend. She died at length in her husband’s arms, lamenting, when too late, the weakness and morbid sensibility which had led her to waste her life in pining after unsubstantial bliss, when true contentment might have been the daily companion of her existence.

It was after this sad termination of his first attachment that Colonel Middleton met with the beautiful Rosa Crafts. Younger in feelings than in years, he had never drank from the pure fount of reciprocal affection; he had been loved where he could offer no return; he had loved where no answering fondness became his reward; and though past the age of romance, he yet thirsted for the sweet waters of mutual tenderness. But with all his genius, his tact and his experience, he was a mere tyro in his knowledge of woman. No man has ever deeply understood the peculiarities of woman’s nature until the intimate communion of wedded life has given him an insight into its mysteries; no man has ever been qualified to portray the many-colored varieties of female character, unless an intelligent and amiable wife has been the mirror that reflected, or, at least, the telescope which brought near to his view the minute traits which alone can give truthfulness to the picture. The beauty of the stately Rosa had fascinated Colonel Middleton, and having ascertained, to his satisfaction, that no one occupied a prior place in her affections, he never thought of the possibility that she was incapable of loving; it never occurred to him that the temple might be unoccupied only because the portals were too narrow to admit an object of worship.

Aided by her mother, whose skill in reading character was very great, Rosa adapted herself with inimitable skill to the fancies of the rich Colonel Middleton. The little personal vanity which had lurked unsuspected in his bosom, was fanned into a gentle flame by her adroit flatteries, and could not fail to throw additional light upon the lovely woman who seemed to forget the homage due to her own charms in her admiration of her new friend. Though timid almost to nervousness when on horseback, she was ready every morning for a ride with him; though far too indolent to love walking, she never declined a ramble with the enthusiastic lover of nature; though delighting in gorgeous colors and an outré style of dress, she affected almost quaker-like simplicity as soon as she learned his taste in this respect; passionately fond of waltzing, she became a perfect prude after she heard his opinion of it; and even her habits of coquetry, which had become almost a second nature to her, were exchanged for gentle reserve and modest self-possession when his eye was upon her. But the master-stroke of policy was that which induced him to believe her endowed with intellectual gifts.

Cousin Grace, of whom Rosa had spoken so contemptuously, was the orphan daughter of Mrs. Crafts’ only sister, and for several years she had been the inmate of her aunt’s family. A small income, which she derived from her patrimony, rendered her independent, and she resided with her aunt simply because she could claim no other eligible home. But her early education had made her very unlike her present companions. Truth and piety were the leading traits of her character; industry, contentment and kindliness were the daily practice of her life. Without making any ostentatious display of her religion, she made it the rule of her conduct, and therefore it was that, though she occasionally mingled in the gay scenes in which Rosa delighted, she never allowed herself to become involved in any of the schemes of her beautiful cousin. Her kindness of heart led her to feel sincerely attached to Rosa, in spite of her faults, and her humility prevented her from dreaming of rivalship, although, if seen any where else than at the side of so brilliant a beauty, Grace might have charmed by the placid and child-like sweetness of her countenance. Her retiring manners and timid reserve in society prevented many from learning the full value of her mental gifts, but to the few who knew her intimately, she appeared a creature of rare endowments. Grace had not been blind to the arts which were practised to attract Colonel Middleton, but, looking upon him as fully qualified, both by age and experience, to take care of himself, she felt some little amusement at the manœuvres of her aunt and cousin, until a knowledge of his past history, together with the discovery of his high-toned feelings, excited a deeper interest in his welfare. Henceforth she watched the plans of her cousin with something like regret; but regret unmingled with any selfish feeling, for Grace, with all her gentleness, had a proper sense of the dignity of her sex, and did not think that marriage was absolutely essential to a woman’s respectability. The affair was still in suspense when Grace received a summons to attend a sick friend in her native village, and departed for an absence of some weeks, while Rosa remained to complete the conquest of the amiable Colonel.

One morning, on entering the parlor at his accustomed hour for their ride, Colonel Middleton found neither Mrs. nor Miss Crafts visible, and throwing himself on a sofa, he awaited their appearance. As he took his seat, he observed a book peeping from under one of the cushions. It was most judiciously placed, for had it been lying on a table, he never would have thought of opening a volume whose form and binding bore such a marvellous resemblance to an album. But the slight mystery connected with it—the fact of its being half hidden—excited his curiosity, and he busied himself in inspecting its varied pages. He found it to contain some very beautiful pencil drawings, a few exquisitely colored miniature likenesses, and various short poems. There was no name in the volume—nothing by which he could identify the owner—but he soon found that the drawings were all by one person, and he began to suspect that so delicate a pencil had been held only by a poet’s hand. He remembered some expressions which had fallen from the lips of the lovely Rosa only on the previous day; he took from his pocket-book a little note, beautifully written on rose-tinted paper, which he had received from her a short time before; he compared it with the poems; the round, clear Italian characters were the same in both, and, with a thrill of delight, the Colonel at once admitted the belief that the beautiful object of his regard was as gifted as she was lovely. Forgetting the prolonged delay of her appearance—a delay designed to afford him ample opportunity of satisfying his curiosity—his eyes wandered eagerly over the volume. He was still more charmed, however, when, on one of the last pages in the book, he met with a pencil sketch of himself. There was no mistaking the likeness; it was a most spirited head, and the features were his own. For a moment the Colonel was elated to almost boyish glee, and could scarcely refrain from pressing to his lips this precious proof of Rosa’s feelings.

At that critical moment, Mrs. Crafts and her daughter entered the room. A slight blush—a modest dropping of her fringed eyelids, betrayed the surprise of the artless Rosa as she observed the Colonel’s occupation.

“Pray, who is the author of these beautiful sketches?” he asked, as soon as he had paid his respects to the ladies.

A look of maternal pride on the one side, and of girlish diffidence on the other, was exchanged between mother and daughter, but no reply was made.

“Are the poems by the same hand as the drawings?” said he, still retaining his hold of the volume, which Rosa gently strove to take from him.

A timid “yes” was uttered by the beautiful girl, while her mother, pretending to hear a summons from an invisible servant, judiciously left the room. Colonel Middleton drew Rosa to a seat beside him, and, as he clasped her hand in his, exclaimed—

“Dear, dear Rosa, do you mean to monopolize all the choicest gifts of Heaven? Look here,” pointing, as he spoke, to his own portrait in the volume, “and tell me if I may dare to hope that your own heart was the mirror which reflected these features?”

Rosa uttered a faint cry, and, overpowered with shame, hid her face on the arm of the sofa, while her white neck was suffused with a deep red hue that might easily have been mistaken for a blush. The Colonel was overpowered; his foible was a desire to be the first and only object of affection to a woman’s heart, and he could not doubt that he had now attained his hopes. A passionate expression of his feelings and a proffer of his heart and hand were the only evidences of gratitude which he could bestow on the gentle girl. What a fine piece of acting was Rosa’s gradual return to self-possession! The blushing timidity with which she listened to his passionate tenderness, her delicate dread lest his discovery of her secretly cherished attachment should be the motive of his present offer, and, finally, the modest yet fervent abandonment of feeling with which she allowed her head to rest on his shoulder, while his arm encircled her slender form and his lip imprinted a lover’s kiss on her fair brow, would have made the fortune of a theatrical débutante. It was all settled; the album decided the affair, and Rosa Crafts was certainly destined to become Mrs. Colonel Middleton.

But, once sure of her lover, Rosa had no desire to become a wife sooner than prudence required. She could not give up old habits without an effort, and she determined to enjoy her liberty as long as possible, by deferring the period of her marriage. Colonel Middleton busied himself in refitting his beautiful villa on the banks of the Hudson, and during his temporary absences, Rosa obtained many a moment of freedom from restraint. Fortune seemed to favor the wishes of the heartless woman of the world, for ere the time fixed for their marriage had arrived, Colonel Middleton was ordered to take command of his regiment in Florida. He was too good a soldier to hesitate, whatever might have been his disappointment, and the day which should have witnessed his union with his beautiful bride, dawned upon him amid the everglades of that wild and perilous district. Rosa felt his absence as a positive relief. Nothing was easier than to write tender and beautiful letters to her distant lover—nothing more pleasant than to return to society as an affianced bride, certain of a future establishment, and privileged to seek present enjoyment.

“How can you be so attentive to that consummate flirt?” asked a friend, as Captain Sabretash returned from leading Miss Crafts to her carriage after a gay party.

“I have good reason for my conduct, Harry,” was the reply; “she has not a more devoted attendant in society than myself.”

“I know it, and therefore it is that I am surprised at your inconsistency.”

“Inconsistency, Harry! You don’t know me, or you would not think me inconsistent. Can nothing but admiration and love render one watchful? I tell you that never had that woman a lover half so devoted and so observant as myself; but it is with the keen eye of hatred that I watch her every movement; it is the spirit of vengeance which actuates my every attention.”

“It is a queer way of showing hatred. Do you mean to continue such devotion after her marriage with Colonel Middleton?”

“That marriage will never take place, Harry. Think you the noble-minded Colonel would wed her if he knew all that I could tell him? I will not oppose idle words to a lover’s passion, but I will bring him proof such as he cannot doubt of her unworthiness, and thus will I fulfil my revenge.”

Among the admirers whom Rosa drew around her during the Colonel’s absence, was one who excited her peculiar interest. The Baron de Stutenhoff was a Russian, with clear blue eyes, a profusion of long light hair, and also presumed to be in possession of a mouth, although his bushy fox-colored mustachios and untrimmed beard rendered the fact somewhat difficult of proof to those who had never seen the gentleman expand his jaws at a supper-table. He was no impostor—no Spanish barber, no French cook, no Italian mountebank disguised en marquis. The Baron de Stutenhoff was actually a Baron, privileged to wear the crosses and ribbons of several orders at his buttonhole, and bearing on his cheek a broad and not very seemly scar of a sabre-cut received in honorable combat. He had been captivated with the charms of the beautiful coquette, and she was by no means displeased with the opportunity of flirting with so distinguished a man. He became her constant attendant in society; his habits and tastes assimilated to her own far better than did those of the sensitive and gifted Colonel Middleton, and when he talked, in bad French, of his fine estates, of the rich pomp of Russian life, of the droskas, with their silver bells and lining of costly furs, Rosa could not help wishing that she had not been quite so precipitate in her acceptance of the Colonel’s proposal. Nothing would have suited her vain humor so well as becoming the wonder of some foreign capital—la belle Americaine of some distant land, where Americans were looked upon as savages. She fancied she could behold her resplendent beauty clad in the picturesque attire of a foreign clime, and winning the admiration of kings and princes in the semi-barbaric court of Russia. Her vanity led her into the same labyrinth where she had so often bewildered others, and, without confiding her feelings to her more prudent mother, she determined to mould circumstances to suit her new views of ambition. The Baron de Stutenhoff was a vain man, and of course easily led away by flattery. His title was derived from his long service in the Russian army, since, by a custom of that country, every freeman who has been in active military service during a certain term of years, receives the title of Baron by courtesy, whatever be his birth. His villages, of which he boasted so largely, consisted of a few miserable huts, occupied by some twenty or thirty serfs, which had been his patrimony, but which had long since gone out of his possession to pay gambling debts. He was a weak and ignorant man, passionately addicted to play, and, since he had been among the untitled Americans, he had learned to look upon himself as so great a man, that he doubted whether he should honor Miss Crafts with the offer of his hand, or wait for some more distinguished woman to throw herself at his feet. But Rosa was an overmatch for him in acuteness. She managed to give him an idea that she was very wealthy, and then, after bringing him as near to an absolute proposal as suited her views, she determined to take her own time to make a decision. But she was doomed to have her plans developed rather prematurely.

Some one (could it be Captain Sabretash?) informed Colonel Middleton of all that had passed since his departure, and the consequence was that the gallant soldier obtained leave of absence, and unexpectedly returned, having met on the road a most tender and devoted letter from his “ladye love.” On the evening of his arrival in New York, there was a splendid fancy ball, and, without informing any one but Captain Sabretash of his return, the Colonel determined to judge for himself of Rosa’s conduct. Accompanied by the Captain, he entered the ball-room early in the evening, and, by dint of a bribe, obtained the privilege of occupying a nook in the orchestra, from whence he could see without being seen. Almost the first person that met his eyes was his delicate and modest Rosa, whirling through the giddy waltz in the arms of the tall Russian. His auburn beard mingled with her dark tresses, as her head almost rested on his breast, and his eyes were bent with a most insulting expression upon the graceful form which reclined in his embrace. Rosa little dreamed of the fierce glance which watched her every movement as she practised her fascinating arts upon the delighted Baron. She little knew that the quick ear of another had caught the offensive and libertine words to which she had listened in silence, and excused as “only the freedom of foreign manners”—as if true gentlemen of every land did not always respect the modesty of women. She little suspected that he whom she believed to be exposed to the bullet of the lurking Indian was suffering a wound scarcely less severe in the crowded and glittering ball-room.

It was at this moment, when the proud and sensitive Colonel Middleton was fully convinced of her levity of conduct, that Captain Sabretash determined to make known to him her utter heartlessness.

“I have that to tell to which you must listen now, Colonel Middleton,” said he, when the betrayed lover would fain have deferred his communication; “now, while your eye is darting fire upon the false woman who has made you the tool of her mercenary schemes. Listen to me now, ere the voice of the syren charm you into forgetfulness of what you behold. Five years ago I had a sister—my only one—a gentle, loving creature, with little beauty, but a heart filled with every good feeling. She was wooed by one whom I esteemed and approved; she loved him, and they were betrothed to each other. But Adeline went into the country on account of my mother’s ill health, and during her absence, her lover fell into the way of Rosa Crafts. They met at a fashionable watering-place, and, though struck with her beauty, he remained proof against all her ordinary fascinations, until her pride became piqued, and she determined to make him sensible of her attractions. Some fool among her danglers offered a wager that she would not succeed; she accepted the wager, and though she knew of his engagement to another, she deliberately set herself to the task of robbing his affianced bride of his affections. When did an unprincipled woman ever will any thing which she did not accomplish if she scrupled not the means? She succeeded. Adeline was neglected, and, for a time, forgotten. She pined in solitude for the accustomed tenderness which had become the nutriment of life to her young heart, but she received it not. At length came a letter; her lover, overcome with shame and remorse, but led away by his fatal passion, wrote her a wild, incoherent letter, full of penitence and sorrow, but still designed as a renunciation of his plighted faith. He broke his engagement with Adeline, and then offered his hand to his new mistress. Need I say that Rosa Crafts rejected his love and won her wager? I was absent at the time, and when I returned Adeline was dying of consumption. I watched beside her till I saw her laid within the tomb, and then I sought for vengeance on her perjured lover. He refused to fight me. I disgraced him in the public street by personal chastisement, and then he was obliged to meet me. We fought with pistols at twelve paces—I shot him through the body.”

Captain Sabretash paused, overcome by his emotion. “Five years have passed since then,” he resumed, “and I have haunted the steps of that woman in hopes of yet seeing her humbled to the dust. Talk of harmless flirtation! My buried sister, my murdered friend, my own blood-stained hand, can bear witness to the innocence of what the world calls harmless flirtation!”

Colonel Middleton listened in silence. He felt that the Captain had uttered nothing but truth; yet when he thought of her intellectual gifts, her exquisite beauty, her inimitable grace, his heart sunk within him, for how could falsehood dwell with so much perfection?

“Ask Grace Leydon!” continued Captain Sabretash; “ask Grace Leydon if I have told you a word more than the simple, unvarnished truth.”

“How may I believe the one when thus compelled to doubt the other?” asked the Colonel.

“Doubt Grace Leydon!” exclaimed his companion, “why you might as well doubt the existence of the sun in heaven. She is all truth—all purity. Surely you must have seen enough of her vestal-like life to know that if ever there was a true-hearted woman upon earth, it is she. If Rosa Crafts had but half the mental graces and moral virtues of her cousin Grace, she would be an angel.”

Colonel Middleton did ask Grace Leydon; but not till long afterwards. His decision of character forbade him to grieve over an unworthy object, and the moment Rosa ceased to be the noble-minded being he had imagined her, he ceased to cherish his affection for her. An interview, characterized on his part by grave earnestness and sad remonstrance, and on hers by flippancy and heartlessness, terminated all intercourse between the beautiful Rosa and her high-minded lover. In less than three weeks after the rupture between them, Baron de Stutenhoff had the satisfaction of leading to the altar the “belle of the season;” but long ere the honey-moon was over, he learned, to his great chagrin, that the anticipated riches of his bride were to be found somewhere in the vicinity of his own large estates in dream-land. A quarrel was the immediate result of the discovery, and while the noble Baron betook him to the life of a “Chevalier d’Industrie,” travelling from city to city, the brilliant Rosa was compelled to return to her mother’s dull country residence in the character of a deserted wife.

Colonel Middleton did ask Grace Leydon; after he had learned that she was the true author and owner of the gifted volume which Rosa had falsely claimed, after he had awakened from his dream of beauty to a sense of purity and sincerity, after he had learned the value of a truthful spirit and a loving heart, he asked Grace Leydon to share his future lot in life, and she became his wife—his happy and noble-minded wife—carrying into the home of her husband the talents and the virtues which had been the solace and resources of her hours of loneliness.





Death came to a beautiful boy at play,

  As he sat ’mong the summer flowers,

But they seem’d to wither and die away

  In their very sunniest hours.


“I have come,” in a hollow voice, said Death,

  “To play on the grass with thee;”

But the boy look’d frighten’d, and held his breath,

  In the midst of his childish glee.


“Away, away from my flowers,” he said,

  “For I know, and love thee not”—

Death look’d at the boy, and shook his head:

  Then slowly he left the spot.


He met a maiden in girlhood’s bloom,

  And the rose on her cheek was bright,

And she shuddered, as tho’ a ghost from the tomb

  Had risen before her sight.


She stood by the brink of a fountain clear—

  In its waters her beauty view’d,

When Death, with his haggard face, drew near,

  And before the maiden stood.


“Fair damsel,” he said, with a courtly pride,

  “To thee I this goblet quaff,”

But she turned with a buoyant step aside,

  And fled with a ringing laugh.


He journey’d on, where an old man sat

  On the trunk of a worn-out tree—

A poor old man—for his held-out hat

  Was a symbol of beggary.


Death drew quite near, till the old man’s eyes

  Were raised to his wrinkled face;

With a frighten’d look of wild surprise,

  He rose from his resting-place.


“I come to succor,” Death mildly said,

  But the old man would depart—

Again he look’d, and shook his head,

  For he knew full well his mart.


“They all of them, shuddering, turn away—

  The boy in his childish glee,

The maiden young, and the old man gray:

  Yet they all shall come to me.”


And he gather’d them all, for the boy was weak—

  The old man yielded his breath—

And the rose grew pale on the maiden’s cheek,

  As she sank in the arms of Death.





There are times in England, when the merry month of May is not, as it would now appear, merely a poet’s fiction; when the air is indeed mild and balmy, and the more conspicuously so, that it succeeds the furious gusts and driving hail-storms of the boisterous March, the fickle sunshine and capricious rains of April. One of these singular epochs in the history of weather it was, in which events occurred which remained unforgotten for many a day in the green wilds of Charnwood Forest. It was upon a soft, sweet morning, toward the latter end of the month, and surely nothing more delicious could have been conceived by the fancy of the poet. The low west wind was fanning itself among the tender leaves of the new-budded trees, and stealing over the deep meadows, all redolent with dewy wild flowers, waving them with a gentle motion, and borrowing a thousand perfumes from their bosoms; the hedgerows were as white with the dense blossoms of the hawthorn, as though they had been powdered over by an untimely snow-storm, while everywhere along the wooded banks, the saffron primrose and its sweet sister of the spring, the violet, were sunning their unnumbered blossoms in the calm warmth of the vernal sunshine. The heavens, of a pure transparent blue, were laughing with a genial lustre, not flooded by the dazzling glare of midsummer, but pouring over all beneath their influence a lovely, gentle light, in perfect keeping with the style of the young scenery, and all the air was literally vocal with the notes of innumerable birds, from the proud lark, “rejoicing at heaven’s gate,” to the thrush and blackbird, trilling their full, rich chants from every dingle, and the poor linnet, piping on the spray. Nothing—no, nothing—can be imagined that so delights the fancy with sweet visions, that so enthrals the senses, shedding its influences even upon the secret heart, as a soft old-fashioned May morning. Apart from the mere beauties of the scenery, from the mere enjoyment of the bright skies, the dewy perfumes that float on every breeze, the mild, unscorching warmth—apart from all these, there is something of a deeper and a higher nature in the thoughts called forth by the spirit of the time—a looking forward of the soul to fairer things to come, an excitement of a quiet hope within, not very definite perhaps, nor easily explained, but one which almost every man has felt, and contrasted with the languid and pallid satiety produced by the full heat of summer, and yet more with the sober and reflective sadness that steals upon the mind as we survey the russet hues and the sere leaves of autumn. It is as if the newness, the fresh youth of the season, gave birth to a corresponding youth of the soul. Such are the sentiments which many men feel now-a-days, besides the painter and the poet and the soul-rapt enthusiast of nature; but those were iron days of which we write, and men spared little time to thought from action or from strife, nor often paused to note their own sensations, much less to ponder on their origin or to investigate their causes. The morning was such as we have described—the scene a spot of singular beauty within the precincts of the then royal forest of Charnwood, in Leicestershire. A deep, but narrow stream, wound in a hundred graceful turns through the rich meadow-land that formed the bottom of a small sloping vale, which had been partially reclaimed, even at that day, from the waste, though many a willow bush fringing its margin, and many a waving ash, fluttering its delicate tresses in the air, betrayed the woodland origin of the soft meadow. A narrow road swept down the hill, with a course little less serpentine than that of the river below, and crossed it by a small one-arched stone bridge, overshadowed by a gigantic oak tree, and scaled the opposite acclivity in two or three sharp sandy zigzags. Both the hill sides were clothed with forest, but still the nature of the soil or some accidental causes had rendered the wood as different as possible, for on the further side of the stream, the ground was everywhere visible covered by a short mossy turf, softer and more elastic to the foot than the most exquisite carpet that ever issued from the looms of Persia, and overshadowed by huge and scattered oaks, growing so far apart that the eye could range far between their shadowy vistas; while on the nearer slope—the foreground, as it might be called, of the picture—all was a dense and confused mass of tangled shrubbery and verdure. Thickets of old gnarled thorn-bushes, completely overrun and matted with woodbines; coppices of young ash, with hazel interspersed, and eglantine and dog-roses thick set between; clumps of the prickly gorse and plume-like broom, all starry with their golden flowrets, and fern so wildly luxuriant that in many places it would have concealed the head of the tallest man, covered the ground for many a mile through which the narrow road meandered. There was one object more in view—one which spoke of man even in that solitude, and man in his better aspect—it was the slated roof and belfry, all overgrown with moss and stonecrop, of a small wayside chapel, in the old Saxon architecture, peering out from the shadows of the tall oaks which overhung it in the far distance. It was, as we have said, very small, in the old Saxon architecture, consisting, in fact, merely of a vaulted roof supported upon four squat massy columns, whence sprung the four groined ribs which met in the centre of the arch. Three sides alone of this primitive place of worship, which would have contained with difficulty forty persons, were walled in, the front presenting one wide open arch, richly and quaintly sculptured with the indented wolf’s teeth of the first Saxon style. Small as it was, however, the little chapel had its high altar, with the crucifix and candle, its reading desk of old black oak, its font and pix and chalices, and all the adjuncts of the Roman ritual. A little way to the left might be discovered the low thatched eaves of a rustic cottage, framed of the unbarked stems of forest trees, the abode, probably, of the officiating priest, and close beside the walls of the little church a consecrated well, protected from the sun by a stone vault, of architecture corresponding to the chapel.

Upon the nearer slope, not far from the road-side, but entirely concealed from passers by the nature of the ground and the dense thickets, there were collected, at an early hour of the morning, five men with as many horses, who seemed to be awaiting, in a sort of ambush, some persons whom they would attack at unawares. The leader of the party, as he might be considered, as much from his appearance as from the deference shown to him by the others, was a tall, active, powerful man, of thirty-eight or forty years, with a bold and expressive countenance—expressive, however, of no good quality, unless it were the fiery, reckless daring which blazed from his broad dark eye, and that was almost obscured by the cloud of insufferable pride which lowered upon his frowning brow, and by the deep scar-like lines of lust and cruelty and scorn which ploughed his weather-beaten features. His dress was a complete suit of linked chain-mail, hauberk and sleeves and hose, with shoes of plaited steel and gauntlets wrought in scale, covering his person from his neck downward in impenetrable armor. He had large gilded spurs buckled upon his heels, and a long two-edged dagger, with a rich hilt and scabbard, in his belt; but neither sword nor lance, nor any other weapon of offence except a huge steel mace, heavy enough to fell an ox at a single blow, which he grasped in his right hand, while from his left hung the bridle of a tall coal-black Norman charger, which was cropping the grass quietly beside him. His head was covered by a conical steel cap, with neither crest nor plume nor visor, and mail hood falling down from it to protect the neck and shoulders of the wearer. The other four were men-at-arms, clad all in suits of armor, but less completely than their lord; thus they had steel shirts only, with stout buff breeches and heavy boots to guard their lower limbs, and iron scull caps only, without the hood, upon their heads, and leather gauntlets upon their hands; but, as if to make up for this deficiency, they were positively loaded with offensive weapons—they had the long two-handed sword of the period belted across their persons, three or four knives and daggers of various size and strength at their girdles, great battle-axes in their hands, and maces hanging at their saddle-bows. They had been tarrying there already several hours, their leader raising his eyes occasionally to mark the progress of the sun as he climbed up the azure vault, and muttering a brief and bitter curse as hour passed after hour, and those came not whom he expected.

“Danian,” he said at length, turning to the principal of his followers, who stood nearer to his person and a little way apart from the others—“Danian, art sure this was the place and day? How the dog Saxons tarry—can they have learnt our purpose?”

“Surely not—surely not, fair sir,” returned the squire, “seeing that I have mentioned it to no one, not even to Raoul, or Americ, or Guy, who know no more than their own battle-axes the object of their ambush. And it was pitch dark when we left the castle, and not a soul has seen us here; so it is quite impossible they should suspect—and hark! there goes the bell; and see, sir, see—there they come trooping through the oak trees down the hill!”

And indeed, as he spoke, the single bell of the small chapel began to chime with the merry notes that proclaim a bridal, and a gay train of harmless, happy villagers might be seen, as they flocked along, following the footsteps of the gray-headed Saxon monk, who, in his frock and cowl, with corded waist and sandalled feet, led the procession. Six young girls followed close behind him, dressed in blue skirts and russet jerkins, but crowned with garlands of white May flowers, and May wreaths wound like scarfs across their swelling bosoms, and hawthorn branches in their hands, singing the bridal carol in the old Saxon tongue, in honor of the pride of the village, the young and lovely Marian. She was indeed the very personification of all the poet’s dreams of youthful beauty; tall and slender in her figure, yet exquisitely, voluptuously rounded in every perfect outline, with a waist of a span’s circumference, wide sloping shoulders, and a bust that, for its matchless swell, as it struggled and throbbed with a thousand soft emotions, threatening to burst from the confinement of her tight-fitting jacket, would have put to shame the bosom of the Medicean Venus. Her complexion, wherever the sun had not too warmly kissed her beauties, was pure as the driven snow, while her large, bright blue eyes, red laughing lip, and the luxuriant flood of sunny golden hair, which streamed down in wild, artless ringlets to her waist, made her a creature for a prince’s, or more, a poet’s adoration. But neither prince nor poet was the god of that fair girl’s idolatry; but one of her own class, a Saxon youth, a peasant—nay, a serf—from his very cradle upward the born thrall of Hugh de Mortemar, lord of the castle and the hamlet at its foot, named, from its situation in the depths of Charnwood, Ashby in the Forest. But there was now no graven collar about the sturdy neck of the young Saxon, telling of a suffering servitude; no dark shade of gloom in his full glancing eye; no sullen doggedness upon his lip, for he was that day, that glad day, a freeman—a slave no longer—but free, free, by the gift of his noble master—free as the wild bird that sung so loudly in the forest—free as the liberal air that bore the carol to his ears. His frock of forest green and buskins of the untanned deer-hide set off his muscular, symmetrical proportions, and his close-curled short auburn hair showed a well turned and shapely head. Behind this gay and happy pair came several maids and young men, two and two, and after these an old gray-headed man, the father of the bride, and leaning on his arm an aged matron, the widowed mother of the enfranchised bridegroom.

Merrily rung the gay, glad bells, and blithely swelled up the bridal chorus as they collected on the little green before the ancient arch, and slowly filed into the precincts of the forest shrine; but very speedily their merriment was changed into dismay and terror and despair, for scarcely had they passed into the sacred building, before the knight, with his dark followers, leaped into their saddles, and thundering down the hill at a tremendous gallop, surrounded the chapel before the inmates had even time to think of any danger. It was a strange, wild contrast, the venerable priest within pronouncing even then the nuptial blessing, and proclaiming over the bright young pair the union made by God, which thenceforth no man should dissever—the tearful happiness of the blushing bride, the serious gladness of the stalwart husband, the kneeling peasantry, the wreaths of innocent flowers; and at the gate the stern, dark men-at-arms, with their scarred savage features, and their gold-gleaming harness and raised weapons. A loud shriek burst from the lips of the sweet girl, as, lifting her eyes to the sudden clang and clatter that harbingered those dread intruders, she saw and recognized upon the instant the fiercest of the Norman tyrants—dreaded by all his neighbors far and near, but most by the most virtuous and young and lovely—the bold, bad Baron of Maltravers. He bounded to the earth as he reached the door, and three of his followers leaped from their horses likewise, one sitting motionless in his war-saddle, and holding the four chargers. “Hold, priest!” he shouted, as he entered, “forbear this mummery; and thou, dog Saxon, think not that charms like these are destined to be clasped in rapture by any arms of thy low slavish race!” and with these words he strode up to the altar, seemingly fearless of the least resistance, while his men kept the door with brandished weapons. Mute terror seized on all, paralyzed utterly by the dread interruption—on all but the bold priest and the stout bridegroom.

“Nay, rather forbear thou, Alberic de Maltravers! These two are one forever—wo be to those who part them!”

“Tush, priest—tush, fool!” sneered the fierce Baron, as he seized him by the arm, and swinging him back rudely, advanced upon the terrified and weeping girl, who was now clinging to the very rails of the high altar, trusting, poor wretch, that some respect for that sanctity of place which in old times had awed even heathens, might now prevail with one whom no respect for anything divine or human had ever yet deterred from doing his unholy will.

“Ha! dog!” cried he, in fiercer tones, that filled the chapel as it were a trumpet, seeing the Saxon bridegroom lift up a heavy quarter-staff which lay beside him, and step in quietly but very resolutely in defence of his lovely wife—“Ha! dog and slave, dare you resist a Norman and a noble?—back, serf, or die the death!” and he raised his huge mace to strike him.

“No serf, sir, nor slave either,” returned the Saxon, firmly, “but a freeman, by my good master’s gift, and a landholder.”

“Well, master freeman and landholder,” replied the other, with a bitter sneer, “if such names please you better, stand back—for Marian lies on no bed but mine this night—stand back, before worse come of it!”

“I will die rather”—was the answer—“Then die! fool! die!” shouted the furious Norman, and with the words he struck full at the bare brow of the dauntless Saxon with his tremendous mace—it fell, and with dint that would have crushed the strongest helmet into a thousand splinters—it fell, but by a dexterous sleight the yeoman swung his quarter-staff across the blow, and parried its direction, although the tough ash pole burst into fifty shivers—it fell upon the carved rails of the altar and smashed them into atoms; but while the knight who had been somewhat staggered by the impetus of his own misdirected blow, was striving to recover himself, the young man sprang upon him, and grappling him by the throat, gained a short-lived advantage. Short-lived it was indeed, and perilous to him that gained—for although there were men enough in the chapel, all armed with quarter-staves, and one or two with the genuine brown bill, to have overpowered the four Normans, despite their war array—yet so completely were they overcome by consternation, that not one moved a step to aid him; the priest, who had alone showed any spark of courage, being impeded by the shrieking women, who, clinging to the hem of his vestments, implored him for the love of God to save them.

In an instant that fierce grapple was at an end, for in the twinkling of an eye, two of the men-at-arms had rushed upon him and dragged him off their lord.

“Now by the splendor of God’s brow,” shouted the enraged knight, “thou art a sweet dog thus to brave thy masters. Nay! harm him not. Raoul,”—he went on—“harm not the poor dog,”—as his follower had raised his battle axe to brain him,—“harm him not, else we should raise the ire of that fool, Mortemar! Drag him out—tie him to the nearest tree, and this good priest beside him—before his eyes we will console this fair one.” And with these words he seized the trembling girl, forcing her from the altar, and encircling her slender waist in the foul clasp of his licentious arms. “And ye,” he went on, lashing himself into fury as he continued,—“and ye churl Saxons, hence!—hence dogs and harlots to your kennels!”

No further words were needed, for his orders were obeyed by his own men with the speed of light, and the Saxons overjoyed to escape on any terms, rushed in a confused mass out of the desecrated shrine, and fled in all directions, fearful of further outrage.—Meanwhile, despite the struggles of the youth, and the excommunicating anathemas which the priest showered upon their heads, the men-at-arms bound them securely to the oak trees, and then mounting their horses, sat laughing at their impotent resistance, while with a refinement of brutality worthy of actual fiends, Alberic de Maltravers bore the sweet wife clasped to his iron breast, up to the very face of her outraged, helpless husband, and tearing open all her jerkin, displayed to the broad light the whole of her white, panting bosom, and poured from his foul, fiery lips a flood of lustful kisses on her mouth, neck, and bosom, under the very eyes of his tortured victim. To what new outrage he might have next proceeded, must remain ever doubtful, for at this very instant the long and mellow blast of a clearly winded bugle came swelling through the forest succeeded by the bay of several bloodhounds, and the loud, ringing gallop of many fast approaching.

“Ha!” shouted he, “ten thousand curses on him; here comes de Mortemar. Quick—quick—away! Here, Raoul, take the girl, buckle her tight to your back with the sword-belt, and give me your two-handed blade; I lost my mace in the chapel!—That’s right! quick! man—that’s right—now, then, be off—ride for your life—straight to the castle; we will stop all pursuit. Fare thee well, sweet one, for a while—we will conclude hereafter what we have now commenced so fairly!”

And as he spoke, he also mounted his strong charger, and while the man, Raoul, dashed his spurs rowel-deep into his horse’s flanks, and went off at a thundering gallop, the other four followed him at a slower pace, leaving the Saxons in redoubled anguish—redoubled by the near hope of rescue.

But for once villany was not permitted to escape due retribution, for ere the men-at-arms, who led the flight, had crossed the little bridge, a gallant train came up at a light canter from the wood, twenty or thirty archers, all with their long bows bent, and their arrows notched and ready, with twice as many foresters on foot, with hounds of every kind, in slips and leashes, and at their head a man of as noble presence as ever graced a court or reined a charger. He was clad in a plain hunting frock of forest green, with a black velvet bonnet and a heron’s plume, and wore no other weapon but a light hunting sword—but close behind him rode two pages, bearing his knightly lance with its long pennon, his blazoned shield, and his two-handed broadsword. It was that brave and noble Norman, Sir Hugh de Mortemar. His quick eye in an instant took in the whole of the confused scene before him, and understood it on the instant.

“Alberic de Maltravers!” he cried, in a voice clear and loud as the call of a silver trumpet, “before God he shall rue it,” and with the words he snatched his lance from the page, and dashing spurs into his splendid Spanish charger, thundered his orders out with the rapid rush of a winter’s torrent. “Bend your bows, archers,—draw home your arrows to the head! stand, thou foul ravisher, dishonored Norman, false gentleman, and recreant knight! Stand on the instant, or we shoot! Cut loose the yeoman from the tree, ye varlets, and the good priest. Randal, cast loose the bloodhounds down to the bridge across yon knoll, and lay them on the track of that flying scoundrel. Ha! they will meet us.”

And so in truth they did, for seeing that he could not escape the deadly archery, Alberic de Maltravers wheeled short on his pursuers, and shouted his war-cry—“Saint Paul for Alberic!—false knight and liar in your throat. Saint Paul! Saint Paul! charge home,”—and with the words the steel-clad men-at-arms drove on, expecting by the weight of their harness to ride down and scatter the light archery like chaff. Unarmed although he was, De Mortemar paused not—not for a moment!—but galloped in his green doublet as gallantly upon his foe as though he had been sheathed in steel. He had but one advantage—but one hope!—to bear his iron-clad opponent down at the lance point, without closing—on! they came, on!—Maltravers swinging his two-handed sword aloft, and trusting in his mail to turn the lance’s point—de Mortemar with his long spear in rest—“Saint Paul! Saint Paul!”—they met! the dust surged up in a dense cloud! the very earth appeared to shake beneath their feet!—but not a moment was the conflict doubtful.—Deep! deep! through his linked mail, and through his leathern jerkin, and through his writhing flesh, the grinded spear head shove into his bosom, and came out at his back, the ash staff breaking in the wound. Down he went, horse and man!—and down, at one close volley of the grey goose shafts, down went his three companions!—one shot clear through the brain by an unerring shaft—the others stunned and bruised, their horses both slain under them. “Secure them,” shouted Hugh, “bind them both hand and foot, and follow,”—and he paused not to look upon his slain assailant, but galloped down the hill, followed by half his train, the bloodhounds giving tongue fiercely, and already gaining on the fugitive. It was a fearful race, but quickly over!—for though the man-at-arms spurred desperately on, his heavy Norman horse, oppressed, moreover, by his double load, had not a chance in competing with the proud Andalusian of de Mortemar. Desperately he spurred on—but now the savage hounds were up with him—they rushed full at the horse’s throat and bore him to the earth—another moment, Raoul was a bound captive, and Marian, rescued by her liege lord, and wrapt in his own mantle, was clasped in the fond arms of her husband!

“How now, good priest,” exclaimed sir Hugh, “are these two now fast wedded?”

“As fast, fair sire, as the holy rites may wed them.”

“Then ring me, thou knave, Ringan, a death peal! Thou, Gilbert, and thou, Launcelot, make me three halters, quick—nay! four—the dead knight shall swing, as his villainy well merits, beside the living knaves!—Sing me a death chant, priest, for these are judged to death, unhouselled and unshriven!”

Not a word did the ruffians answer, they knew that prayer was useless, and with dark frowning brows, and dauntless bearing, they met their fate, impenitent and fearless. For Marian begged their lives in vain. De Mortemar was pitiless in his just wrath! And the spurs were hacked from the heels of the dead knight, and the base halter twisted round his cold neck, and his dishonored corpse hung up upon the very tree to which he had bade bind the Saxon bridegroom. And the death peals were sung, and the death hymn was chanted; and ere the sounds of either had died away in the forest echoes, the three marauders writhed out their villain souls in the mild air, and swung three grim and ghastly monuments of a foul crime and fearful retribution—and this dread rite consummated the Saxon’s bridal!





Why should I love thee? Thou so altered!

  So cold! so passionless! The hand

Which erst so much at parting faltered—

  The cheek which blushed at meeting—and

The eyes whose eloquent depths of jet,

  So much of silence could redeem—

They haunt me with their sweetness yet,

  But, oh! how changed they seem!


Why should I love thee, thou false-hearted?

  Thou smil’st, but smil’st no more for me!

The bloom hath not thy lip departed,

  Thy voice hath still its witchery.

But looks and words, though they bewitch me,

  Can paint no love, where love is not;

Thy very kindnesses but teach me

  How much I am forgot!


Why should I love thee? Why repine?

  Thy lip some other fond lip presses;

Thine arm some other’s arms entwine;

  Thy cheek some other cheek caresses;

And though to part with thee be sadness,

  Oh! God! how difficult to bear,

To hope to win thee now were madness!

  To love thee were despair!





Miss Merry vale is dressed with taste—

  With taste she always dresses—

A zone is round her virgin waist,

  And flowers in her tresses;

That full-blown fellow, in her curl,

Bobs with an everlasting twirl,

As, with an air like Juno’s, she

Nods to the goodly companie.

Prouder it looks than when on high

It flouted at a flaming sky;

For now, no more on thorny stem,

It graces beauty’s diadem.


Her neck is bare—her shoulders too,

  And with the cold they had been blue,

But for the flakes of mealy hue—

  The powder of the pearl—

Which, like the frost on frozen shore,

Or web of gossamer, was o’er

  The fascinating girl.

Deepest the drift in hollow places.

Thus maids forsaken by the graces,

  And thin with hope deferred—

  (I only speak from what I’ve heard;


So little of the sex I’ve seen,

I hold each one a fairy quean—)

Appear in such a garb of flour,

And talk with such continuous power,

  And try to look so dapper,

That one might think the miller’s maid

Had come, most naturally arrayed,

  And bore away the clapper.


That powder is a great transgression

  Against the rosy cheek;

It buries up the whole expression;

  It makes the eye look weak,

Unnatural the tress;

  And throws upon the brow a blight,

  As though it had grown gray with fright

At single blessedness.

Pray who would such a woman toast?

  Unless he meant to drink to one

  Long, long since with the buried gone,

And now an awful ghost?

Which, like all ghosts that earthward rove,

Must horrify the hues of love.





Book I.

No excuse is necessary for giving my autobiography to the public. It is true I am but a timid gentleman—a quiet, inoffensive sort of person, too diffident of my own powers to be celebrated, and too much averse to the bustle of the world to figure as a politician or public character of any sort; yet I cannot help thinking there are some passages in my life which will be read with profit.

I attained my eighteenth year without more reverses of fortune than usually attend a youth of romantic aspirations and of a poetic and visionary turn of mind. I was a curious mixture of boldness and timidity. My parents formerly lived in a very mountainous part of the country; and while most of my days were spent in daring exploits amidst crags and precipices, at night I trembled to meet, in the social circle of neighbors, a bright eye or a dimpled cheek. The extreme bashfulness with which I approached the other sex of my own age subjected me to a good deal of ridicule, and finally caused me, in self-defence, to ascribe my repugnance to their society to what was anything but the true cause—an intuitive hatred of womankind. And truly my conduct supported the assertion. Never was there a greater mope or a more decided book-worm. I pretended society had no charms for me. I affected to look with indifference on the most fascinating beauty. I shunned all intercourse with the daughters of the neighboring gentry. All this arose, in fact, from my excessive timidity. I never could look upon a young female, however common-place her attractions, without the utmost agitation. When I attempted to speak, I invariably blushed, and my heart beat violently. Thus unfortunately organized, I reached, as I observed before, my eighteenth year. Until this time I had kept almost entirely aloof from female society, and, as a matter of course, my heart was still my own.

For several years past I had lived in town. City life had no charms for me, but circumstances compelled me to make a virtue of necessity; and in studiously avoiding contact with the beautiful and accomplished beings who beset me on all sides, I found my leisure hours very well occupied. My parents urged upon me the necessity of mingling more in society. They assured me my awkwardness would soon give way to ease and grace if I did so, and spared no pains to show me how much depended on polished manners and a graceful demeanor. I had two sisters, accomplished and elegant. Every opportunity afforded by their extensive acquaintance and flattering popularity was at my disposal; but I could not overcome that diffidence which nature had implanted in me, and in spite of the solicitations of my family, I remained what I had always been—a timid, visionary youth.

Before the summer of my eighteenth year had passed away, I accidentally acquired the friendship of a middle aged gentleman, who had passed most of his life in the boudoir and drawing-room. Mr. Desmond was a warm-hearted, agreeable sort of person, deeply versed in books, but too good-natured to be pedantic, and too diffident to pique himself on the extent of his knowledge, which, in reality, was what prompted me to cultivate his acquaintance. At first our conversation was purely literary. I was charmed with the wonderful taste he displayed in criticising the literature of the day; but I soon found that his discrimination was not confined to topics of this nature. He discoursed fluently on scientific subjects, while with equal ease he could touch upon the tritest gossip afloat. Insensibly I found myself, a few evenings after our first meeting, listening with great delight to an exordium on the sex. I had never found any one whose sentiments respecting matters of this kind were so judicious and so happy. I felt the full force of every word he advanced in favor of cultivating the society of the amiable—the beautiful. My feelings, naturally ardent, were wrought to the highest pitch of excitement, and I fervently hoped my unfortunate temperament would not forever exclude me from the charms he so eloquently eulogised. Mr. Desmond, unlike the generality of my acquaintances, did not ridicule me. Indeed he kindly remarked, instead of regarding my excessive bashfulness as anything to my discredit, that he looked upon it as an evidence of a good heart and an amiable disposition, and trusted I would never stifle the best traits which nature had given me—a modest mien and a feeling mind. I felt exceedingly grateful for the interest he seemed to take in my welfare, and for the charitable opinion he expressed of my failings. At the same time he earnestly advised me to avoid as much as possible being too sensitive, and assured me that by pondering less, and mingling more in society, I would be not only happier, but better adapted to meet the cares of the world. Deeply impressed with the truth of this remark, I resolved to follow his advice, whatever might be the sacrifice on my part. An opportunity soon occurred. Like an unskilled skater beginning his career, I conceived it extremely fortunate that my début was to be gradual. I was invited by Mr. Desmond to spend an evening with a few of his female acquaintances. I had heard him speak of the two Miss Melvilles as very amiable girls—angelic beings—modest, witty and intelligent; but I confess these exordiums, however warm and sincere from the mouth of Mr. Desmond, did not prepossess me in favor of the young ladies so enthusiastically described. There was something, however, in one of the names that struck my fancy. Virginia—a soft, pretty name, full of love and euphony—Virginia Melville! I really thought it extremely beautiful. And Emily, too—an exquisite name, but not so charming as Virginia. Virginia Melville, I fancied, could not but be pretty—interesting, at least. With a fluttering heart, I followed my friend into the drawing-room of Mrs. Melville’s residence, where I was introduced to the young sisters. My bashfulness was entirely overcome by the admiration which their charms and conversation excited. My most extravagant anticipations relative to the beauty of Virginia Melville were fully realized. I had never seen, had never conceived, a being so perfect—so angelic. She had not reached her sixteenth year, and nothing save her intelligent mind and fine intellectual eye bespoke a more matured age. Her figure was slight—almost ethereal—yet sufficiently developed to convey the idea of a budding rose. It left an impression on the mind of the beholder, that, while nothing could then add to its captivating gracefulness—nothing make it more perfect—time, by its mellowing influence, would increase the softness of the contour, and render that which seemed unrivalled still more exquisitely, transcendently beautiful. Timidly I raised my eyes to a countenance which I shall never forget. It was characterized by all the graces of physical and intellectual beauty combined; yet ineffable as the former were, they were truly eclipsed by the superior brilliancy of the latter. I had never dreamed of features so faultless, eyes so expressive, lips so sweet, and complexion so fair and ethereal. A high, pale forehead, a beautifully formed head, long silken hair of a dark brown, falling gracefully over a damask cheek and a swan-like neck, and finely pencilled eyebrows, under which were lashes and eyes of equal brilliancy, gave the whole countenance that intellectual cast so supremely, irresistibly fascinating, when combined

      “with all youth’s sweet desires,

Mingling the meek and vestal fires

Of other worlds with all the bliss,

The fond, weak tenderness of this!”

I felt, deeply, passionately, the full influence of those charms I have so feebly attempted to describe. I felt, too—and oh! if ever that fair enchantress to whose power I have bowed—if ever she read these lines, I trust she will pardon my vanity—I felt that the being before me was formed for my happiness; that my fate depended on her; that my future career would be presided over by her image! Of all my fantasies, this may prove the most visionary; but before I moralize on future events, I must not omit a description of Emily Melville, the sister of my charmer.

Though both were extremely beautiful, no just comparison can be made between the attractions of Emily and Virginia Melville. Emily was nearly two years older than her sister, and doubtless that short space of time contributed to effect the difference which, while the family likeness was preserved, was so obvious in their style of beauty. Her figure was taller and fuller than her sister’s, and her features were characterized by an expression of serenity and loveliness truly bewitching. A superficial observer would pronounce her cold, but what appeared coldness was really mildness; and mildness was her ruling trait. There was a languid softness in her eye that contrasted beautifully with the bright, laughing eye of her sister. Hers was the eye of a Dudu—Virginia’s that of a Haidee; the one a fawn’s—the other a gazelle’s. I was not sorry to see that my friend seemed deeply interested in Miss Emily Melville. It is certainly not strange, if there is love at first sight, that there is also jealousy. I felt quite happy when I learned that, though surrounded by admirers, Virginia’s heart was untouched; and on this frail foundation I was foolish enough to build a castle. I imagined a thousand extravagant things, fully as romantic as impracticable. I fancied how happy I would be if I lived near a lonely little glen, in a charming little cottage, covered with nice little woodbines; how I would marry this lovely little maiden, and how she would be all my own, and how I would love her and be with her forever, and never say an ill-natured word to her; how we would spend our long summer evenings in rambling about a picturesque little park, which I intended to adorn with shrubs and deer; and, in short, how very, very happy we would be! how exceedingly pleasant would be our journey down the hill of life, and how we would both die together from sheer joy and old age! Oh, youth! child of fantasy, why lead’st thou into error?—why buoy us with visions which cannot be realized?

The evening passed away, and I am not quite sure that I was sorry when the hour of departure had arrived. The strange and overwhelming passion which had taken possession of my soul filled me with embarrassment, and aware that I acted ridiculously, it afforded much relief to escape. With Desmond I was abrupt, or silent and moody. I could not define my sensations, and chose rather to keep them to myself than to subject myself to any experimental advice, even from my bosom friend. Taking the earliest opportunity to get rid of him, I hurried to my room; but I could not sleep; I could not lie down. I sprang from my bed, and paced the chamber in a kind of ecstacy, absorbing but indescribable. I rushed to the window, bathed my brow in the cold moon-beams, and gazed rapturously on the spangled canopy above me. Everything looked beautiful. My breast expanded. I inhaled with delight the lucid night air, and fancied there never was a being so foolish and so happy. What an hour—what a theme for poetry! I had never written anything in verse, but what with moonshine and love, I could not fail to succeed. I opened my desk, carefully locked the door, and examined the room to be certain that none should witness my indiscretion. I then drew forth the writing instruments, and prepared to lose not a passing thought. After much difficulty I indited a line; but not another could I wrest from my distracted brain. I threw down my pen in despair, pushed my desk away, and heartily bemoaning my poetic barrenness, retired somewhat calmed to my bed. A gradual dormancy, entrancing, delightful, stole over my senses. I thought of Virginia Melville. I recalled every feature of her beautiful countenance; not a smile, not a word that had charmed me, were lost. I saw all, heard all again. Then the whole became confused. I roamed in a garden, where the hyacinth bloomed and the honeysuckle and woodbine gracefully twined round the oak, and the rose unfolded its young buds. The place was lonely—far from the haunts of man; yet the song of the linnet and the thrush enlivened its solitude, and I felt that I was not alone. And while I roamed in this Elysian garden, I espied a beautiful rose, a fairy-like rose, young and tender and blooming. And I approached it and gazed upon it, and methought it moved. I paused in wonder. I knelt me down on the green sward, and my eyes were fixed upon the rose. And I fancied it expanded to my view, and wore a beauteous form. In rapture I feasted on this fairy vision. I was silent. I felt the inadequacy of language to express my admiration; and I gazed, and my heart was full. The fairy-rose, with down-cast looks, smiled upon me. That smile betrayed it; I recognised in the disguise the features of her I loved. I was wild—enchanted. I snatched a leaf from a weeping willow, and inscribed thereon a verse. I flung it on the breeze, and it was borne to the hand of the beauteous vision. And whilst she read I trembled. A mystic veil now obscured my sight. Full of doubt, I rushed wildly from the spot. I bitterly deprecated my boldness. I imagined my love was offended. I strove to banish thought. I was unhappy. I could think of naught but the vision. Overcome with emotion, I returned to the garden. I sought the white rose. Again I gazed upon it, and again it assumed its magic form. The celestial countenance of the beauty was placid and pensive. I passionately implored forgiveness. A smile, a bewitching smile, played upon her lips, and her sparkling eyes beamed with tenderness. I rushed forward to clasp her to my bosom. The vision was no more—I held but a rose! I looked upon it and sighed. I bore it away, and cherished it as an emblem of my love. A long time seemed to elapse. I wore the rose next my heart, and thought of her I adored. “Oh!” I exclaimed, “why must this be?” I yearn to look once more upon the object of my thoughts. I can think of naught but her as I roam through life’s weary desert. Forever I think of her—forever my memory clings to the past:—

“I strive to call the vision back;

  I strive in vain, but still

The bosom chords so sweetly touched

  In plaintive tumult thrill.”

And I ask myself what is this? and my heart tells me it is love—yea! the voices of a thousand angels proclaim, It is Love!

My dream ended. With the imaginary words still ringing in my ears, I awoke. I scarcely knew whether to think myself the most happy or most miserable creature on earth. Full of conflicting emotions, I rushed out into the clear morning air. It was now early spring. The weather was cool, bracing, delightful. A delicious fragrance was wafted from the neighboring woods and fields, and I breathed freely, and felt all the vigor—the majesty of manhood. My heart was full to overflowing. I fancied the heavens, the rising sunbeams, the bustling pedestrians, all smiled upon me; and I was enchanted with the beauty of nature, the benevolence and affection of mankind. I wondered if ever such a thing as a misanthrope really existed, and my joyous heart and buoyant mind answered, no! Oh, heaven-born flame!—lit by angels, fanned into existence by the Divine hand—what art thou—

“Most sacred fyre, that burliest mightily

In living brests, ykindled first above,

Emongst th’ eternall spheres and lamping sky,

And thence poured into men, which men call Love?”

In a state of the most delightful beatitude, I rambled about during the day, my countenance irradiated with smiles, my heart bursting with the kindest feelings of humanity. Unconsciously I wandered near the dwelling of her I loved. I watched with eagerness for a glimpse of the fairy form, the bright vision of my dreams. A graceful figure glided from the door. That undulating, musical walk, those fairy-like feet, those sparkling eyes, shining like diamonds beneath a sweeping veil—oh! it could be no other—it was Virginia Melville! With intense, rapturous interest, I gazed upon her till she vanished in the distant throng. Then, indeed, I felt the bitterness of my lot. Days, mayhap weeks, were to pass before I could again feast my eyes on her charms. If the interim were to be a blank in my existence, I could bear it; but I felt that it was to be a desert. And, indeed, a most sterile one it proved. When, after a lapse of months, I look back upon the time, how slowly, painfully it wore away, I cannot conceive how I endured all the misery I suffered.

Once more I found myself in her presence. Was it a dream? Did I really behold her again? How very, very beautiful she looked! Her sparkling eyes were full of mirth and intelligence, her lips were wreathed in the most fascinating smiles; she seemed the beau-ideal of all that is graceful, elegant and spiritual, and I felt—I keenly felt—how utterly unworthy I was of one so purely angelic.

After the usual compliments of the evening, Mr. Desmond prevailed on Virginia to try her skill on the piano. With the kindest smile imaginable, she acceded to the request; and gliding gracefully into the seat, she swept her fairy fingers over notes which had never been touched by any more fair or delicate. A light, pretty air was the subject of her muse. I listened with rapture to the flowing sounds, persuaded that if I had heard more brilliant musicians perform, I had never so thoroughly enjoyed the power of music. There was a soul, combined with a precision of time and facility of execution, in Miss Melville’s playing, that thrilled upon the finest chords of my heart, like the evening zephyr on the strings of an Æolian harp.

That night I wended my way home, so completely enchanted as to act like one in a delirium. I was overwhelmed with the most delightful sensations. For hours I could not sleep, and when, at length, an ecstatic trance stole over my senses, I had dreams so heavenly, so joyous, so full of love and hope and happiness, that I fancied Paradise had no joys to equal them—no angels so bright and beautiful as Virginia. To describe my varied sensations for the next week would require volumes—volumes which, when written, would breathe nothing but passion, wild, fervent and confused.

Accompanied by my friend Desmond, I continued constantly to visit the Miss Melvilles. In the presence of Virginia I now became silent. I could not speak. My heart was too full. Words appeared weak and inexpressive; and, with my eyes forever riveted on those charms that thrilled my soul, the hours flew past—hours the most delightful that I had ever spent—hours which will ever remain a bright, sunny spot in my past career.

Nothing had yet transpired illustrative of the title I have chosen for my autobiography. All went on to my satisfaction—though I had not the slightest cause to imagine that my passion was reciprocated—and I flattered myself with the belief that for once the course of true love ran smooth. Vanity of vanities! When has the philosophy of the Bard been in error?

If the reader will be kind enough to suppose that a few months have elapsed since my introduction to the Miss Melvilles, I shall introduce him to a social group, assembled at Mrs. Melville’s residence one fine evening in the early part of summer.

First in order, both by reason of their beauty and accomplishments, were the fair members of the circle, the two Miss Melvilles, Mrs. Annah, their amiable and elegant sister, and Miss Azile, an intimate friend. As a connection existed between the latter young lady and the Miss Melvilles, which I may find it necessary to revert to on some future occasion, I shall briefly sketch her portraiture.

Miss Azile was one of those persons who, once seen, are never forgotten. Seldom did there exist a being more highly gifted in mind and person. In her form and features there was symmetry, delicacy, elegance and expression; in her mind, acuteness, power and refinement. Her eye was one through which the rays of a lofty soul brilliantly beamed; her teeth were chiselled Parian, enshrined in ruby; and her dimpled cheek and glowing complexion were bowers for grace and love. She had a mind characterized by unusual vigor. Her wit was genuine, and when she indulged in satire, all felt the keenness of a weapon which, though mercifully wielded, was, in her hands, sanguinary, irresistible.

The ungentle portion of the company comprised Mr. Martagon, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Desmond and myself. As the two former have not been mentioned before, I shall expend a few lines in their illustration.

Mr. Martagon was a gentleman who, having, during his days of juvenile indiscretion, suffered his heart to be torn and pierced by various cruel young ladies, was somewhat afflicted with the cacöethes scribendi—a disease inseparable, I believe, from blighted affection. In person he was large, rawboned—perhaps a little unwieldy; but these characteristics were made up for by a countenance unusually prepossessing. Mr. Martagon was withal a wag among the ladies, and his wit was really quite pungent and original.

Mr. Pratt was of a different cast. Being closely related to the Miss Melvilles, there was an obvious resemblance, in features and mind, between him and those young ladies. A handsome person, a countenance mild but decisive, and a highly intelligent mind, stored with much useful knowledge, formed some of those recommendations which endeared him to the one sex and caused him to be admired and esteemed by the other.

Having now, assisted by the courtesy of the reader, delineated imperfectly the chief objects of my little scene, I shall take a short respite, leaving behind me the assurance that, in my second book, much rare and amusing matter may be expected.





Helen, thy beauty is to me

  Like those Nicéan barks of yore

That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,

  The weary, wayworn wanderer bore

  To his own native shore.


On desperate seas long wont to roam,

  Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,

Thy Naiad airs, have brought me home

  To the glory that was Greece—

  To the grandeur that was Rome.


Lo! in that shadowy window-niche

  How statue-like I see thee stand,

  The folded scroll within thy hand—

Ah! Psyche, from the regions which

  Are Holy-Land!






Con tal que las costumbres de un autor,” says Don Tomas De Las Torres, in the Preface to his Amatory Poems, “sean puras y castas, importo muy poco que no sean igualmente severas sus obras”—meaning, in plain English, that, provided the morals of an author are pure, personally, it signifies nothing what are the morals of his books. We presume that Don Torres is now in Purgatory for so heterodox an assertion. It would be a clever thing, too, in the way of poetical justice, to keep him there until his “Amatory Poems” get out of print, or are laid definitively upon the shelf through lack of readers. Every fiction should have its moral; and, what is more to the purpose, our modern critics have discovered that every fiction has. These ingenious fellows demonstrate a hidden meaning in the “Antediluvians,” a parable in “Powhatan,” new views in “Cock Robin,” and transcendentalism in “Hop O’ My Thumb.” It has been proved that no man can sit down to write without a very profound design. Thus to authors in general much trouble is spared. A novelist, for example, need have no care of his moral. It is there—that is to say it is somewhere—and the moral and the critics can take care of themselves. When the proper time arrives, all that the gentleman intended, and all that he did not intend, will be brought to light, in the “Dial,” or the “Down-Easter,” together with all that he ought to have intended, and the rest that he clearly meant to intend:—so that it will all come very straight in the end.

There is no just ground, therefore, for the charge brought against me by certain ignoramuses—that I have never written a moral tale, or, in more precise words, a tale with a moral. They are not the critics predestined to bring me out, and develop my morals:—that is the secret. By and bye the “North American Quarterly Humdrum” will make them ashamed of their stupidity. In the meantime, by way of staying execution, by way of mitigating the accusations against me, I offer the sad history appended—a history about whose obvious moral there can be no question whatever, since he who runs may read it in the large capitals which form the title of the tale. I should have credit for this arrangement—a far wiser one than that of La Fontaine and others, who reserve the impression to be conveyed until the last moment, and thus sneak it in at the fag end of their fables.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum is an excellent injunction—even if the dead in question be nothing but dead small beer. It is not my design, therefore, to vituperate my deceased friend, Toby Dammit. He was a sad dog, it is true, and a dog’s death it was that he died; but he himself was not to blame for his vices. They grew out of a personal defect in his mother. She did her best in the way of flogging him while an infant—for duties to her well-regulated mind were always pleasures, and babies, like tough steaks, are invariably the better for beating—but, poor woman! she had the misfortune to be left-handed, and a child flogged left-handedly had better be left unflogged. The world revolves from right to left. It will not do to whip a baby from left to right. If each blow in the proper direction drives an evil propensity out, it follows that every thump in an opposite one knocks its quota of wickedness in. I was often present at Toby’s chastisements, and, even by the way in which he kicked, I could perceive he was getting worse and worse every day. At last I saw, through the tears in my eyes, that there was no hope of the villain at all, and one day when he had been cuffed until he grew so black in the face that one might have mistaken him for a little African, and no effect had been produced beyond that of making him wriggle himself into a fit, I could stand it no longer, but went down upon my knees forthwith, and, uplifting my voice, made prophecy of his ruin.

The fact is that his precocity in vice was awful. At five months of age he used to get into such passions that he was unable to articulate. At six I caught him gnawing a pack of cards. At seven he was in the constant habit of catching and kissing the female babies. At eight he peremptorily refused to put his signature to the Temperance pledge. Thus he went on increasing in iniquity, month after month, until, at the close of his first year, he not only insisted upon wearing Melnotte frocks, but had contracted a propensity for cursing and swearing, and for backing his assertions by bets.

Through this latter most ungentlemanly practice, the ruin which I had predicted to Toby Dammit overtook him at last. The fashion had “grown with his growth and strengthened with his strength,” so that when he came to be a man he could scarcely utter a sentence without interlarding it with a proposition to gamble. Not that he actually laid wagers—no. I will do my friend the justice to say that he would as soon have laid eggs. With him the thing was a mere formula—nothing more. His expressions on this head had no meaning attached to them whatever. They were simple, if not altogether innocent expletives—imaginative phrases wherewith to round off a sentence. When he said “I’ll bet you so and so,” nobody ever thought of taking him up; but still I could not help thinking it my duty to put him down. The habit was an immoral one, and so I told him. It was a vulgar one—this I begged him to believe. It was discountenanced by society—here I said nothing but the truth. It was forbidden by act of Congress—here I had not the slightest intention of telling a lie. I remonstrated—but to no purpose. I demonstrated—but in vain. I entreated—he smiled. I implored—he laughed. I preached—he sneered. I threatened—he swore. I kicked him, and he called for the police. I pulled his nose, and he bet me that I dared not do it again.

Poverty was another vice which the peculiar physical deficiency of Dammit’s mother had entailed upon her son. He was detestably poor; and this was the reason, no doubt, that his expletive expressions about betting seldom took a pecuniary turn. I will not be bound to say that I ever heard him make use of such figures of speech as “I’ll bet you a dollar.” It was usually “I’ll bet you what you please,” or “I’ll bet you what you dare,” or “I’ll bet you a trifle,” or else, more significantly still, “I’ll bet you my head.”

This latter form seemed to please him the best:—perhaps because it involved less risk; for Dammit had become excessively parsimonious. Had any one taken him up, his head was small, and thus his loss would be small too. But these are my own reflections, and I am by no means sure that I am right in attributing them to him. At all events, the phrase in question grew daily in favor, notwithstanding the gross impropriety of a man’s betting his brains like bank-notes:—but this was a point which my friend’s perversity of disposition would not permit him to comprehend. In the end, he abandoned all other forms of wager, and gave himself up to “I’ll bet you my head,” with a pertinacity and exclusiveness of devotion that displeased not less than it surprised me. I am always displeased by circumstances for which I cannot account. Mysteries force a man to think, and so injure his health. The truth is, there was something in the air with which Mr. Dammit was wont to give utterance to his offensive expression—something in his manner of enunciation—which at first interested, and afterwards made me very uneasy—something which, for want of a more definite term at present, I must be permitted to call queer; but which Mr. Coleridge would have called mystical, Mr. Kant pantheistical, Mr. Carlisle twistical, and Mr. Emerson hyper-fizzitistical. I began not to like it at all. Mr. Dammit’s soul was in a perilous state. I resolved to bring all my eloquence into play to save it. I vowed to serve him as Saint Patrick, in the Irish chronicle, is said to have served the snakes and toads when he “awakened them to a sense of their situation.” I addressed myself to the task forthwith. Once more I betook myself to remonstrance. Again I collected my energies for a final attempt at expostulation.

When I had made an end of my lecture Mr. Dammit indulged himself in some very equivocal behavior. For some moments he remained silent, merely looking me inquisitively in the face. But presently he threw his head to one side, and elevated his eyebrows to great extent. Then he spread out the palms of his hands and shrugged up his shoulders. Then he winked with the right eye. Then he repeated the operation with his left. Then he shut them both up very tight, as if he was trying to crack nuts between the lids. Then he opened them both so very wide that I became seriously alarmed for the consequences. Then, applying his thumb to his nose, he thought proper to make an indescribable movement with the rest of his fingers. Finally, setting his arms a-kimbo, he condescended to reply.

I can call to mind only the heads of his discourse. He would be obliged to me if I would keep my opinions within my own bosom. He wished none of my advice. He despised all my insinuations. He was old enough to take care of himself. Did I mean to say anything against his character? Did I intend to insult him? Did I take him for an idiot? Did I still think him baby Dammit? Was I a fool?—or was I not? Was I mad?—or was I drunk? Was my maternal parent aware, in a word, of my absence from the domiciliary residence? He would put this latter question to me as to a man of veracity, and he would bind himself to abide by my reply. Once more he would demand explicitly if my mother knew that I was out. My confusion, he said, betrayed me, and he would be willing to bet his head that she did not.

Mr. Dammit did not pause for my rejoinder. Turning upon his heel, he left my presence with undignified precipitation. It was well for him that he did so. My feelings had been wounded. Even my anger had been aroused. For once I would have taken him up upon his insulting wager. I would have won his little head. My maternal parent was very well aware of my temporary absence from home.

Khoda shefa midêhed—Heaven gives relief—as the Musselmen say when you tread upon their toes. It was in pursuance of my duty that I had been insulted, and I bore the insult like a man. It now seemed to me, however, that I had done all that could be required of me, in the case of this miserable individual, and I resolved to trouble him no longer with my counsel, but to leave him to his conscience and to himself. But although I forbore to intrude with my advice, I could not bring myself to give up his society altogether. I even went so far as to humor some of his less reprehensible propensities, and there were times when I found myself lauding his wicked jokes, as epicures do mustard, with tears in my eyes:—so profoundly did it grieve me to hear his evil talk.

One fine day, having strolled out together arm in arm, our route led us in the direction of a river. There was a bridge, and we resolved to cross it. It was roofed over, by way of protection from the weather, and the arch-way, having but few windows, was thus very uncomfortably dark. As we entered the passage, the contrast between the external glare, and the interior gloom, struck heavily upon my spirits. Not so upon those of the unhappy Dammit, who offered to bet me his head that I was hipped. He seemed to be in an extravagantly good humor. He was excessively lively—so much so that I entertained I know not what of uneasy suspicion. It is not impossible that he was affected with the transcendentals. I am not well enough versed, however, in the diagnosis of this disease to speak with decision upon the point; and unhappily there were none of my friends of “The Dial” present. I suggest the idea, nevertheless, because of a certain austere species of Merry-Andrewism which seemed to beset my poor friend, and caused him to make quite a Tom-Fool of himself. Nothing would serve him but wriggling and skipping about under and over everything that came in his way, now shouting out, and now lisping out, all manner of odd little and big words, yet preserving the gravest face in the world all the time. I really could not make up my mind whether to kick or to pity him. At length, having passed nearly across the bridge, we approached the termination of the foot-way, when our progress was impeded by a turnstile of some height. Through this I made my way quietly, pushing it around as is usual. But this turn would not serve the turn of Mr. Dammit. He insisted upon leaping the stile, and said he could cut a pigeon-wing over it while in the air. Now this, conscientiously speaking, I did not think he could do. The best pigeon-winger over all kinds of style, was my friend Mr. Carlyle, and as I knew he could not do it, I would not believe it could be done by Toby Dammit. I therefore told him, in so many words, that he was a braggadocio, and could not do what he said. For this I had reason to be sorry afterwards—for he straightway bet me his head that he could.

I was about to reply, notwithstanding my previous resolutions, with some remonstrance against his impiety, when I heard, close at my elbow, a slight cough, which sounded very much like the ejaculation “ahem!” I started, and looked about me in surprise. My glance at length fell into a nook of the frame-work of the bridge, and upon the figure of a little lame old gentleman of venerable aspect. Nothing could be more reverend than his whole appearance; for, he not only had on a full suit of black, but his shirt was perfectly clean and the collar turned neatly down over a white cravat, while his hair was parted in front like a girl’s, his hands were clasped pensively together over his stomach, and his two eyes carefully rolled up into the top of his head.

Upon observing him more closely, I perceived that he wore a black silk apron over his small-clothes; and this was a thing which I thought very odd. Before I had time to make any remark, however, upon so singular a circumstance, he interrupted me with a second “ahem!

To this observation of his I was not immediately prepared to reply. The fact is, remarks of this nature are nearly unanswerable. I have known a profound Quarterly Review stumped by the word “Fudge!” I am not ashamed to say that I turned to Mr. Dammit for assistance.

“Dammit,” said I, “what are you about! don’t you hear?—the gentleman says ‘ahem!’ ” I looked sternly at my friend while I thus addressed him; for, to say the truth, I felt particularly puzzled, and when a man is puzzled, he must knit his brows and look savage, or else he is pretty sure to look like a fool.

“Dammit,” observed I—although this sounded very much like an oath, than which nothing was farther from my thoughts—“Dammit,” I suggested—“the gentleman says ‘ahem!’ ” I do not attempt to defend my remark on the score of profundity; I did not think it profound myself; but I have noticed that the effect of our speeches is not always proportionate with their importance in our own eyes; and if I had shot Mr. D. through and through with a Paixhan bomb, or knocked him in the head with one of Doctor McHenry’s epics, he could hardly have been more discomfited than when I addressed him with those simple words—“Dammit, what are you about?—don’t you hear?—the gentleman says ‘ahem!’ ”

“You don’t say so?” gasped he at length, after turning more colors than a pirate runs up one after the other when chased by a man-of-war. “Are you quite sure that he said that? Well, at all events I am in for it now, and may as well put a bold face upon the matter. Here goes, then—ahem!

At this the little old gentleman seemed pleased—God only knows why. He left his station in the nook of the bridge, limped forward with a gracious air, took Dammit by the hand and shook it cordially, looking all the while straight up in his face with a countenance of the most unadulterated benignity which it is possible for the mind of man to imagine.

“I am quite sure you’ll win it, Dammit,” said he with the frankest of all smiles, “but we are obliged to have a trial, you know, for the sake of mere form.”

“Ahem!” replied my friend, taking off his coat with a deep sigh, tying a pocket-handkerchief around his waist, and producing an unaccountable alteration in his countenance by twisting up his eyes, and bringing down the corners of his mouth—“ahem!” And “ahem,” said he again, after a pause; and devil the word more than “ahem!” did I ever know him to say after that. “Aha!” thought I, without expressing myself aloud—“This is quite a remarkable silence on the part of my friend, Toby Dammit, and is no doubt a consequence of his great verbosity upon a previous occasion. One extreme induces another. I wonder if he has forgotten the many unanswerable questions which he propounded to me so fluently on the day when I gave him my last lecture? At all events he is cured of the transcendentals.”

“Ahem!” here replied Toby, just as if he had been reading my thoughts, and looking like a very old sheep in a reverie.

The old gentleman now took him by the arm, and led him more into the shade of the bridge—a few paces back from the turnstile. “My good fellow,” said he, “I make it a point of conscience to allow you this much run. Wait here till I take my place by the stile, so that I may see whether you go over it handsomely, and transcendentally, and don’t omit any flourishes of the pigeon-wing. A mere form, you know. I will say ‘one, two, three, and away.’ Mind you start at the word ‘away.’ ” Here he took his position by the stile, paused a moment as if in profound reflection, then looked down, then looked up, and, I thought, smiled very slightly, then tightened the strings of his apron, then took a long look at Dammit, then put his fore-finger to the side of his nose, and finally gave the word as agreed upon—

One—two—three—and away!

Punctually, at the word “away,” my poor friend set off in a strong gallop. The style was not very high, like Mr. Pue’s—nor yet to say very low like that of Mr. Pue’s reviewers, but upon the whole I made sure that he would clear it. And then what if he did not?—ah, that was the question—what if he did not? “What right,” said I, “had the old gentleman to make any other gentleman jump? The little old dot-and-carry-one! who is he? If he asks me to jump, I won’t do it, that’s flat, and I don’t care who the devil he is.” The bridge, as I say, was arched and covered in, in a very ridiculous manner, and there was a most uncomfortable echo about it at all times—an echo which I never before so particularly observed as when I uttered the four last words of my remark.

But what I said, or what I thought, or what I heard, occupied only an instant of time. In less than five seconds from his starting my poor Toby had taken the leap. I saw him run nimbly, and spring grandly from the floor of the bridge, cutting the most awful flourishes with his legs as he went up. I saw him high in the air, pigeon-winging it to admiration just over the top of the stile; and of course I thought it an unusually singular thing that he did not continue to go over. But the whole leap was the affair of a moment, as they always say in the crack historical novels, and before I had a chance to make any profound reflections, down came Mr. Dammit on the flat of his back on the same side of the stile from which he had started. In the same instant I saw the old gentleman limping off at the top of his speed, having caught and wrapped up in his apron something that fell heavily into it from the darkness of the arch just over the turnstile. At all this I was much astonished; but I had no leisure to think, for Mr. Dammit lay particularly still, and I concluded that his feelings had been hurt, and that he stood in need of my assistance. I hurried up to him and found that he had received what might be termed a serious injury. The truth is, he had been deprived of his head, which after a close search I could not find anywhere—so I determined to take him home, and send for the homœopathics. In the meantime a thought struck me, and I threw open an adjacent window of the bridge, when the sad truth flashed upon me at once. About five feet just above the top of the turnstile, and crossing the arch of the foot-path so as to constitute a brace, there extended a flat and sharp iron bar, lying with its breadth horizontally, and forming one of a series that served to strengthen the structure throughout its extent. With the edge of this brace it appeared evident that the neck of my unfortunate friend had come precisely in contact.

He did not long survive his terrible loss. The homœopathics did not give him little enough physic, and what little they did give him he hesitated to take. So in the end he grew worse, and at length died, a lesson to all riotous livers. I bedewed his grave with my tears, worked a bar sinister on his family escutcheon, and for the general expenses of his funeral, sent in my very moderate bill to the transcendentalists. The scoundrels refused to pay it, so I had Mr. Dammit dug up at once, and sold him for dog’s meat.





The first kiss of love, when the favor is won,

Fills the heart with pure bliss, if ’tis modestly done,

For ’tis like a brief glance from the sun’s clouded eye

Which just touches the earth and flies back to the sky.


Ah! the bliss of that moment; ’twill ever remain,

While my heart in its depths can feel pleasure or pain;

For that kiss, to my heart was like rain to the flower,

Just ready to die, till refresh’d by a shower.


The soft touch of her hand, the bright glance of her eye;

The whisper’d word spoken, the half suppress’d sigh,

May be proofs of true love, but the kiss is the token,

And pledge of a faith which may never be broken.


How fondly does memory dwell on it yet!

The scene and the hour, who can ever forget,

When reclin’d on your bosom, sustained in your arms,

You breathed out the heart long subdued by her charms?


Her kiss was the answer; so slight yet so sweet,

’Twas enough; and that moment your bliss was complete;

From the lips to each heart went a holier thrill,

Delighting and binding those hearts closer still.


That first kiss of love, when no mortal was near,

Was a sign that dispersed the last vestige of fear;

She is mine, she is mine; mine now and forever;

By those holiest ties that death only can sever.






“Is health returnless? Never more may I

  Throw by the staff on which, alas! I lean?

Is the woof woven of my destiny?

  Shall I be ne’er again what I have been?

And must the bodily anguish be combined

With the intenseness of the anxious mind?”

F. W. Thomas.

If the reader will take the trouble to look in the revised edition of the Philadelphia Directory for the year 1838, he will find recorded the name of

“Leslie Pierpoint, Gent. House No. 2-7 South Sixth St.”

At the period of which we write this was the residence of this distinguished party to our story, and still would have been but for the simple incident that has led us to write it.

It was on a cold, bleak evening, late in the autumn of that year, that Major Pierpoint (for he had once borne a commission in the National Guards—so he loved proudly to designate the militia) was seated before his cheerful grate, with the crimson curtains warmly drawn over the closed shutters. The room was partly library and partly sitting room. Rich cases filled with costly volumes adorned two of its sides, while lounges and one or two luxurious patent easy-chairs occupied the other. The floor was covered with a thick Wilton carpet that returned no sound to the foot-fall, and a hearth rug of Turkish fabric lay before the fire in the rich fleece of which the slippered feet of Mr. Leslie Pierpoint were half buried. The whole apartment wore an air of comfort and elegant ease, combined with that cheerful warmth and inviting repose which are so delightful of a wintery night. There was a large round table near the centre of the room, strewed with books, magazines, pamphlets, opened letters, &c., &c. In the midst of it stood a tall bronzed lamp that shed a soft, clear light over all. The table turned upon a pivot so that Mr. Pierpoint, without moving from the comfortable arm-chair in which he was reposing, wrapped in his brilliant Chinese robe de chambre (a present from his particular friend, Mr. Dunn), could revolve it by the slightest touch and bring within his reach any book or paper lying on the side opposite to his chair. Mr. Pierpoint was a wealthy bachelor, and, therefore, was an epicure in luxuries of this description. Bachelors, having nothing else to do but to make themselves comfortable, can carry these little personal conveniences to their perfection. Having said that Mr. Leslie Pierpoint was a bachelor, it becomes us to explain how he came to be a bachelor. He possessed a handsome person and an ample fortune—was not only well born, but a gentleman by education and cultivated tastes—and even at this period of his life, when forty-one years had passed over his head, a child might have numbered the gray hairs mingled with the fine brown locks that shaded his noble forehead. Why, then, was Leslie Pierpoint a bachelor? Let us go back twenty-years, and inquire of by-gone days.

It is the year 1808. One of the most stately mansions in Third street, then one of the most aristocratic portions of Philadelphia, is brilliantly lighted. Its gorgeous rooms are thronged by the beauty and chivalry of the city. We mingle with them also, dazzled by the flash of jewelled brows, bewildered by the beauty of the wearers, confounded by the music and moving forms, entranced, intoxicated by the whole scene of enchantment! Let us retire a little to the silence and shade of this verandah, where the moon finds its way to the marble floor through trellised vines, and where the music and the sound of dancers’ feet reach but faintly the ear. There are others here besides us who have quitted the gay scene to seek refreshment of spirits in the quiet night breeze and in the calm light of the moon. Hither approach us, leaning on each other, arm fondly linked in arm, a noble pair. How stately his carriage, yet how tenderly he bends till his lips breathe upon the cheek of the fair creature he whispers to! They pause in the shadow of the thick vines! Her eyes meet his upturned and swimming with tenderness,—his arm glides around her waist—she is pressed to his manly breast, and their lips meet! It is but for an instant—a footstep is heard! and they move on again arm in arm. His lips bend over her willing ear as they slowly promenade the verandah. She suddenly starts, and with her face receding a little from his, says, in an earnest manner:

“Indeed, Leslie, you wrong me. Nothing could change my love for you!”

“But, yet, there are circumstances which might transpire, and which might lead you to withdraw your affection, dear Clara.”

“No, no! nothing on earth. I feel I shall love you while I have a heart to love. Dear, dearest Leslie, how can you doubt me?”

“I do not doubt you, dear Clara,” he said laughing and lifting her hand to his lips. “God knows,” he earnestly added, “I should be miserable to doubt where all my hopes of happiness are centered.”

“Indeed, you should not—you ought not! What should I gain, Leslie, by transferring my love to another? Certainly not a nobler person, a finer face, a better fortune (if I may name this), a kindlier heart, or better temper. Believe me, dear Leslie, when I say you are the handsomest man I ever beheld, so that no higher degree of personal beauty could lead me from you!”

“You are a silly flatterer, child, and I half believe, fell in love with me because you thought me the ‘handsomest man you ever beheld!’ ”

“Now you are mocking me, Leslie. But I will confess that the first time I saw you promenading the ball rooms at the —— Assemblies with Miss P—— on your arm, I was struck with your stately and elegant walk. I had not seen your face, but followed you with my eye till you turned and, and—”

“Met your gaze full fixed upon mine! That was not the first time you had attracted my attention that evening, Clara. I had observed you on my first entrance, and my heart from that instant became yours.”

Leslie Pierpoint pressed her to his heart as he spoke.

“It shall ever be yours, dearest Leslie,” was the softly whispered response of the blushing girl; “nothing would turn my love from you.”

“Thank you for the pledge, dearest—I believe you. Come let us return into the rooms—our absence will be remarked.”

After Leslie had plucked a “Forget me not” and placed it in her hair, the lovers slowly returned from the verandah.

A few weeks passed, and Leslie Pierpoint had prevailed on the blushing Clara to name the day when she would redeem her pledge given in the verandah, and become wholly and irrevocably his own. It was now at hand, and Leslie counted the hours which envious Time thrust between him and his anticipated bliss. Leslie loved the chosen bride of his bosom with the most impassioned ardor. His whole heart was involved in his affection, and he had so given himself up to his passion that any revulsion promised to make him miserable. The beautiful Clara Clayton, on her part, was deeply enamored of Leslie, but it was rather with his handsome person than with his mind; for of his fortune she thought little, being equally wealthy. She was a gay, haughty, spoiled beauty, with not half heart enough to measure Leslie’s broad love, nor half mind enough to penetrate the superior powers of his intellect. But if they married, they were both likely to be happy so long as one retained her loveliness and the bewitching smile and flashing dark eyes that had captured Leslie, and the other the elegant form, air and gait which had first inspired Clara with an interest in him.

The week preceding his wedding day Leslie was commissioned a Major of Militia, and the following day he turned out for review with the battalion to which his regiment was attached. He had purchased a high spirited horse for this occasion, and had but twice mounted him previous to his appearance on parade; and though the animal evinced an indomitable spirit, and had once proven nearly unmanageable, yet these traits were regarded by the youthful officer rather as recommendations for the military service for which he destined him than as serious objections. He was, moreover, a finished horseman and well knew he could so control the fiery animal’s impatient action as to render it subservient to a more masterly display of his own horsemanship.

On the day of parade, therefore, Leslie Pierpoint made his appearance on the field, the best mounted officer in the battalion. His steed, as he pranced along, seemed to beat the air rather than the earth, so lightly he moved over the ground, so daintily he bent his slight yielding fetlocks to his rider’s weight.

“Ah, Major, a beautiful creature you have there,” said General ——, whose aide-de-camp Leslie was that day; “you outshine us all. What an eye! Will he stand fire?”

“I have not tried him, General. But a horse of his blood has no fear in him. He can never be taken by surprise.”

“Do not trust him! See!” and the General suddenly flashed his sword before his eyes.

The animal moved not from the statue-like attitude in which Leslie had reined him up beside the General.

“Very well. He may do; but I advise you, Major Leslie, to be upon your guard during the day, I don’t much like the beast’s eye. It looks devilish.”

“I have no fears, General; let him do his worst,” answered Leslie laughing, and in a moment afterwards he galloped along the line to execute an order.

During the parade the beautiful steed behaved admirably, and elicited, by the grace and swiftness of his movements, the universal admiration of every eye. At length the firing by platoon commenced. At the first discharge, he leaped bodily into the air with his rider and lit upon the ground twenty feet distant; and Leslie’s superior horsemanship only saved him from being thrown to the earth. He now sat more firmly and watched him with hand and eye. But the successive discharges of musketry, even by companies, had no further effect upon the animal, save that there was a wider dilation of the pupil of the eye and a quick erect movement of his delicately shaped ears. This favorable change not only put Leslie off his guard but made him so self confident that he resolved to ride up to a park of artillery about to be discharged, gaily betting with General ——, as he triumphantly rode past this officer, that he would not flinch even at that.

Nous verrons, Leslie,” said the General smiling. “Do not be too confident.”

With the reckless impetuosity of youth, and desirous of defending the character of his favorite horse from his military friend’s aspersions, Leslie spurred onward to the point. He drew up in the rear, within a few paces of the ordnance, and awaited the signal for their discharge. There were eight pieces of cannon and they were to be fired in rapid succession. At the first loud, sharp report, the animal sprung, with a mad leap, directly among the echoing artillery. Maddened by the reiterated peals, he dashed, with the most terrific bounds, across the line of fire and within a few feet of the muzzles of the pieces. At the discharge of the last piece he became so terrified that he threw himself headlong upon the earth and bit and pawed the ground with fury. Major Leslie, who had maintained his seat with perfect skill and coolness, fell beneath him and received his whole weight upon one of his legs and his left side. Instantly the animal ceased his struggles, and when those who hastened to Major Leslie’s assistance arrived on the spot, they discovered that the horse had broken a blood vessel and was fast bleeding to death. Leslie himself, though silent, was pale from suffering.

On extricating him, it was painfully apparent that his leg was not only broken but that his knee was crushed. He was immediately removed to his mother’s residence and the most distinguished surgical skill called in to his relief. But for many days he lay upon a bed of anguish during which, Clara, joyfully embracing the sweet privileges of a betrothed bride, watched over him like some angelic messenger of health and peace. At length he was able to change his recumbent posture for an easy-chair; but it was many weeks before he left it to attempt to walk about the chamber. The first time he did so it was with Dr. M—— on one side and Clara on the other. It was a painful effort, but two or three turns about the room were accomplished with less difficulty than had been apprehended. He walked very, very lame it is true, but that was to be expected.

“He will soon get to his feet again as well as ever, won’t he, Doctor?” asked Clara, partly to assure her own anxiety and partly to relieve the foreboding of poor Leslie, who, by the expression of his face, she saw, believed he should be lame for life.

Dr. M—— looked at Leslie, shook his head sadly and said,

“He will no doubt walk well enough in a few weeks, Miss Clayton. But then that won’t make much difference,” he added, smiling, “since he has no more conquests to make. If you should be lame, Major, you must regard it a fortunate thing to have secured so fair a bride while possessing all your natural attractions of person.”

“My God, Doctor! you talk as if you thought there was some possibility that I might be lame for life. Do tell me if this lameness I now have proceeds from physical weakness or from imperfection in the limb?”

“It is cruel to deceive you, my dear Major, though painful to tell the truth,” answered Dr. M——, after a pause that did honor to his heart; “your leg was broken in several places, producing an exceedingly difficult compound fracture. It is improbable though not impossible that the parts should ever perfectly re-unite. I fear, therefore, you must bring both religion and philosophy to your aid, and try to endure it cheerfully. This fair being who has so assiduously nursed by your pillow will help you to bear it.”

Leslie did not look up in the Doctor’s face while he spoke. His head had fallen upon the arm of his chair, and there, with his face buried in his hands, he lay still several minutes after he had ceased to speak. His chest heaved with suppressed emotion, some deep o’er-mastering feeling. At length he groaned heavily and looked up with a faint attempt to smile.

“This is a hard lot, Doctor, but I must attempt to bear it as well as I can. I am not unprepared for this announcement. I have apprehended it myself from the severe character of the injury I received.”

“You will not find it difficult, Major Leslie,” said the physician, with sympathy in his tone, “to endure even lameness. Your mind, by several weeks’ previous illness, is prepared to submit to still greater suffering if necessary. In illness we bear things, and take things we could not do in health. Nature prepares the body and Heaven the mind for all it meets with on earth. Even death is met quietly and calmly by the invalid exhausted by a lingering illness. The idea of lameness if presented to you in full health would have shocked you. I dare say you would have unhesitatingly said you preferred death to it.”

“I should have said so and thought so,” answered Leslie, earnestly.

“But you do not now. On the contrary, you have just expressed a cheerful submission to your fate. The same spirit will enable you to endure it with equanimity. Good morning! I will call in and see you once a day till you can ride out.”

The kind medical adviser then took his leave, and for a few moments after his departure the lovers remained silent. At length Leslie looked up to seek Clara’s face with a smile as if to tell her that he had schooled his spirit to submission, with a smile as if to assure her that so long as he was blessed with her love he cared not for any misfortune that Providence should see fit, in its infinite wisdom, to send. But Clara saw not the smile nor the beautiful submission expressed on his pale features. Her face was buried in her hands and turned away from him, while the heaving of her form and the sobs that broke from her surcharged heart told how deeply Leslie’s misfortune sunk into it. He was touched by her violent grief, and would have risen to approach her, but was unable to move.

“Clara,” he said, in a low, soothing tone. She made no reply but continued to be wholly absorbed in her affliction.

“Dearest Clara,” he again repeated still more tenderly, “come hither, and do not give way to grief in this manner. I care not for it; so, if these tears are shed for me, dry them and come sit by me. I assure you, that I would prefer lameness with your love to fulness and perfection of limb without it. Come and sit by me and let us converse calmly upon this subject. It will tranquilize both our minds and give us strength and patience to bear, as we should do, an ill seemingly so grievous. In the end it may prove a blessing. You ought not to mourn, for it will ensure to you, as my wife, all my society. I can name two or three brides,” he added, playfully, “that would thank Heaven for any accident that would break their husbands’ legs so that it would confine them at home with them. Come, Clara, cheer up!”

To this address from Leslie the lady made no reply save by increased weeping; and his mother entering the chamber at the moment, she embraced the opportunity to excuse herself and hurried from the room without taking her kerchief from her face, or even giving her lover look or reply.

“Poor Clara,” he sighed looking after her, “she feels this affliction most deeply. For myself I could endure it. Books, friends, and, above all, Clara’s dear society will make the time pass cheerfully. She will yet be resigned to it. How strong must be that love which shows itself by such profound and unextinguishable sorrow! Ah, mother! have you seen the Doctor?”

“Yes, dear Leslie,” she answered with emotion.

“And he has told you I shall be lame for life?”

“Alas, my dear child, alas! may Heaven give you strength and patience to bear this affliction!”

“It has, dear mother. I am perfectly resigned,” he answered calmly.

“God bless you—God be blessed!” and the mother wept in gratitude upon her son’s neck.

There was a few moments’ silence which the invalid at length broke.

“I could bear this affliction, dearest mother, without a murmur if I stood alone. But, dear Clara! She weeps as if her heart was breaking. I fear it will be the death of her—she feels so much for me. I wish you could convince her that I care nothing about it if she will not.”

Mrs. Pierpoint did not reply but shook her head gravely and sighed very heavily.

“What means that sigh, mother?” asked Leslie with surprise and a misgiving of he knew not what.

“Nothing, son. But I fear Clara’s tears are devoted rather to the shrine of her own vanity than shed upon the altar of her love.”

“How mean you, mother?” demanded Leslie, with heightened color.

“Clara Clayton, dear boy, loves herself more than she loves any body else. I have known Clara from a child. I should never have chosen her as your wife; but you loved her and there was no alternative but acquiescence. Though I approved not, I spoke not, knowing how vain a parent’s words are with children in affairs of the heart. Clara is proud that she has captivated the handsomest young man in the town whom all the young ladies were sighing for; but she loves you not, Leslie, as a true woman should love.”

“My dear mother, how you wrong the angelic girl! Has she not watched over my sick bed like a sister, yea, like a beloved and loving wife? Has she not sympathized in all my afflictions? Did she not just now quit the chamber overcome by the intensity of her grief? You wrong her, dear mother, indeed you wrong her!”

“I hope I do. Time will determine, my son.”

“But why this suspicion? What has Clara done?”

“Nothing. I judge from my knowledge of her character.”

“Then you do not know her, and have built your judgment upon a false foundation. Clara is every thing I wish her to be. Send for her, mother; I would see her. I will convince you that you are in error respecting her. But should you be right, I love her and after we are married, as I mean to be in a few weeks, we shall live very happy together, and in time I shall teach her to love me better than she loves herself.”

Mrs. Pierpoint made no answer and left the room to seek the fair subject of their conversation. In a few seconds she returned with a grave look and said that, leaving word with the footman to say to Mr. Leslie that she did not feel well, Miss Clayton had ordered the carriage and driven home.

“Poor Clara,” said Leslie with sympathy; “she is herself sick and needs quiet and repose. The painful announcement of this morning has shocked her nerves. Mother, why do you look so grave and sad—so incredulous?”

“I hope Miss Clayton had no other motive in so suddenly departing than indisposition. But, my dear Leslie, I hope she will prove herself all you hope and desire.”

“Of that I am sure, dear mother,” he answered warmly. “I only grieve that you should have conceived a prejudice against one who is so soon to become my wife and your daughter.”

“Let us speak no more upon this subject now, Leslie. You need repose.”

Mrs. Pierpoint then drew the curtains and darkened the room. The invalid threw himself back in his easy-chair and soon, yielding to the soothing influence of the soft twilight in his chamber, sunk into a refreshing sleep.

Clara Clayton sprung from the carriage as it drew up at her own door, and, without entering the parlor, hurriedly ascended to her own chamber. Closing the door, she turned the key in the lock, and then with a hand each firmly holding a string of her unloosed hair, and her mantle awry, she paced the room several minutes with a quick, nervous tread. Her brow was set and her face much flushed, and the expression it wore was grief mingled with mortified pride. Yes, Clara Clayton’s pride was humbled. She had loved Leslie Pierpoint for his personal beauty—the elegance of his figure, his high-bred air and carriage, his manly tread and distinguished appearance in the street. These first captivated her fancy, and when at length chance threw them together, his admiration of her, combined with the excellent qualities of his head and heart, inspired her with love—love such as so selfish a person was capable of feeling. She also felt flattered in the attentions of the handsomest man of the day; and it was with the triumphant reflection of how envious some score of her female rivals would feel that she surrendered her heart (as much as she had, at least,) to the blinded Leslie. So their ill-fared love went on, he loving her with the devotion of idolatry, she loving herself with no whit less self-adoration. The handsome Leslie administered to her vanity! It might all have gone on very well, however, even to matrimony, as thousands of other similar attachments have done, similar save that the cases are more frequently reversed, and the lover is, instead, the one whose vanity is administered to by the beauty of the lady! But the untoward accident that befel Leslie removed the veil! and often has he blessed his stars for it. A broken leg is, doubtless, a much less affair than a broken manly heart!

Clara Clayton continued to pace her room in vexed and troubled thought. From what has been said above, the reader will readily divine its complexion! Suddenly she stopped and clenched her jewelled fingers together and wrung them with a look of pitiable and painful despair.

“Oh, God! lame for life! A cripple! Miserable! miserable that I am! How can I love him now? How can I marry a cripple? Walk Chesnut Street leaning on a lame husband’s arm—or, no—worse still, perhaps, he leaning on mine! Think of this morning as he walked the room! I never saw any body go lamer! It is absolutely shocking! Then how can I dance as he cannot! He will never give nor go to parties! A lame husband! The idea is absolutely horrid!”

With this praiseworthy and very sensible utterance of her peculiar feelings on the subject, Miss Clara Clayton threw her bonnet upon the bed, her shawl upon the floor and herself into a chair. For a few seconds she remained silent; at length her thoughts found their proper language.

“Yes, it must be! I will address him a note this very morning, stating plainly my reasons why I wish to withdraw from my engagement with him! He is too generous to refuse me! He will see at once how it would break a high-spirited woman full of youth and beauty to be tied down for life to a sofa and arm-chair—a mere machine to hand him his crutches and night-cap! He is too generous to wish it! I do wish he had not met with this awkward accident. I don’t think I could have found a better husband than poor Leslie! But then it is no use to dwell on this now. I cannot think of marrying him after what has happened, and he can’t expect—no one can expect it. I am decided. I will write to him frankly and request him to release me from my engagement.”

With this determination, this sweet young lady sat herself down to her escritoire to write poor Leslie’s sentence of death—death to confidence in woman! She bent her graceful head over the gilt-edged note paper, and nibbled her pen several seconds. At length she began to write:—

         “Thursday morning, 11 o’clock.

            “No. 2— Chesnut Street.


“To Major Leslie Pierpoint:—


Here she paused and blushed with something like shame.

“No, this is too cold. I will not offend him.” And she then took a fair sheet and wrote as follows:

“To Leslie Pierpoint, Esq.:—

   “Dear Sir:——”

This address did not suit her. After a few moments’ deliberation she laid a fresh sheet before her and thus commenced, in a free, decided way, as if she had fully determined on the mode in which she should communicate her resolutions to him:—

Dear Leslie:

“You must have been surprised, doubtless, at my sudden departure this morning without seeing you. To speak frankly and deal truly with you, Dr. M——’s shocking communication, being so wholly unexpected and unprepared for, nearly deprived me of my senses. You are a witness how I was overwhelmed at the horrid announcement! Unable to endure the shock, I hastened home without again seeing you. Since I have been in my own chamber I have been reflecting upon this fearful destiny in store for you. Believe me, Leslie, that I would willingly share it with you if you wished it; but I feel that you are too generous, too noble to desire to involve in your own misery the happiness of any one over whose fate previous circumstances may have given you the right to exercise a certain kind of control! Your own knowledge of the world, of society, will teach you that your recent unhappy misfortune has placed our relation to each other in a new light. My happiness now hangs upon your decision. If you are really desirous of urging the ultimate issue of our betrothal, and are willing for your own selfish ends to wreck the happiness of one so young as I am, I must submit; but if, as I feel you will be, you are, on the other hand, influenced by those high and generous feelings that distinguish you above all men, and will freely release me from a union which it will henceforward be a species of bondage for me to endure, you will relieve my mind from a painful weight of anxiety and suspense and forever secure the friendship of

Yours, sincerely,

Clara Clayton.”

The young lady read the letter over carefully once, sealed, directed, and despatched it without giving herself time for thought. The street door closed upon the footman who bore it.

“It is gone! Leslie! alas, poor Leslie! alas, that Fortune should have driven me to this step! But there was no alternative. No time for delay. If I had still visited him I should have been a hypocrite, and my prolonged absence would have required an explanation. It was necessary that I should write as I have. How will Leslie receive it?”

While she is fancying how the invalid received it, let us, dear reader, really know how he received it.

He had slept not quite an hour when his sleep was disturbed by the ringing of the street-door bell. Opening his eyes he looked round the chamber and called in a faint gentle voice—


There was no reply and after waiting an instant he roused himself: “Ah, yes, I had forgotten! She has returned home. Poor girl! I sympathise with her in her overwhelming sympathy for me. So I am to be lame for life! ’Tis a sad, a heavy misfortune! Ah, mother, I am glad you have come in. Please draw aside the curtains and let in the light. It is so gloomy. I have slept well and feel refreshed. Have you heard from Clara?”

“Her footman has just left this note for you, Leslie,” said Mrs. Pierpoint, putting aside the curtains.

“Give it me, mother.”

Leslie hastily broke the seal, opened it, and ere he began to read pressed his lips to her name at the close. Have the kindness to turn back and re-read the letter, dear reader, with him, that you may enter into Leslie’s feelings as he perused it. He read to its close without betraying the least emotion in his expressive face. But when he had come to the end he slowly crushed the letter up in his left hand till the nails of the fingers met through it into the flesh. His teeth became set and his whole face stern and as rigid as marble. His alarmed mother caught the fearful expression of his fixed eyes and flew to him. He waived her away with a quiet movement of the hand.

“No, no, do not touch me, mother! I am well, very well;” he said hoarsely.

“No, dearest child, you are very ill. I will ring for assistance.”

“No—give me a pen—ink—paper too! I would write.”

“The Doctors have forbidden it.”

“But one—one line, dear mother!”

Mrs. Pierpoint looked at him a moment with hesitation and then silently obeyed. Not a muscle of Leslie’s face moved, but it was pale, very pale, as he took the pen in his fingers. His hand was steady while he wrote the following brief reply:—

Mr. Leslie Pierpoint’s compliments to Miss Clayton—he assures her it is far, far from his wish, to place an obstacle in the way of her happiness.

Thursday morning,

No. 27— South Sixth St.

He directed and despatched it without a word or look of emotion; and when the servant had left the room he calmly turned to his surprised mother, whose looks were fixed upon him full of anxious inquiry, smiled faintly upon her and said, at the same time offering her Clara’s crushed letter,

“Dearest mother, you would ask me what this means? Read this—it will explain—it is eloquent! Read it and be so good as never to mention the subject of it to me again.”

Mrs. Pierpoint perused it in silence and with tears of sorrow and sympathy for him whose manly heart Clara Clayton had crushed as he had crushed the letter. The mother and the son exchanged glances and the letter was folded up and laid aside. From that hour Leslie Pierpoint never breathed the name of Clara, never looked upon a woman but with secret dislike and contempt.

From that day also he began to mend. On a temper such as his, treachery, like Clara Clayton’s, must either be fatally effectual or perfectly harmless. His haughty and contemptuous spirit did the service of coat armor in the protection of his heart. It broke not! It remained whole and manly as ever—but it strengthened itself in its strength against all future approaches of love.

Whether the soundness of Leslie’s heart extended itself to his limb or the energy of his proud spirit exerted a commanding influence over the physical body cannot be ascertained; but the fact is clear that he began rapidly to convalesce from the day he so cavalierly gave Clara her freedom. At the end of three months thereafter, after having gone through the regular course of, first, two crutches, then a crutch and a cane, and then a single crutch alone, he made his appearance with Dr. M—— on one side and his only support on the other an ordinary walking stick! Every where he received the congratulations of his friends and rejoiced in them; for he had all along felt a triumphant pride in getting well—a sort of cherished spirit of revenge, though he confessed it not to himself, upon Clara—false, heartless Clara. It is true he walked lame with his cane and the doctor, but every day he grew better, and at length his physicians, contrary to their previous decision, pronounced that the bones of the leg were properly reunited and that strength in the limb was only necessary to restore it to its original sound condition. Tenderly and most gingerly did Leslie nurse his leg and humor its kindly temper towards health. Time at length rewarded his care, and at the end of fourteen months from the time he received Clara’s letter he walked Chesnut street sound in limb and with “the lofty carriage, distinguished air and noble step” that had captivated the fancy and won the shallow heart of Clara Clayton.

Leslie, however, never again looked kindly upon woman. He believed the sex to be instinctively false-hearted and selfish; he acknowledged no love in her but love of herself, and religiously believed that she married only for self-interest and that she looked upon men only as instruments for the gratification of her vanity. No, he never trusted woman from that time up to the period we have introduced him to the reader seated in his arm-chair in his library with the gentle snows of forty-one winters upon his head.

But time aided by circumstances achieves apparent impossibilities. Leslie Pierpoint possessed a heart that would be a treasure to any woman; and because one had proved traitorous to its noble confidence, Love had resolved that it should not always be locked in the ice of winter—that its summer should come to it again, its seed time and harvest should return, and fruits and flowers once more bear witness to the moisture and richness of the long barren soil.

But this change, its progress and extraordinary results, will form the theme of a Second Tale.



When I first knew the family of the Wentworths, it was composed of a husband in the prime of life, a beautiful being his bride, and a sweet little babe whom they doted on, not only for its beauty, but as the heir of his father’s large estates. The family was noble, or rather its ancestors had been so in England, and the estates, now in its possession, had come down from father to son for several generations, increasing in value with the prosperity of the country, until they now afforded almost the revenue of a prince. With the pride of birth, something of its injustice had attached to the family, for, to maintain the importance of the name, it had been the custom, ever since the abolition of primogeniture, to keep the estate entailed on the eldest son, providing, however, respectable portions for the other children. The Wentworth lands had thus descended from the present proprietor’s father, and were intended to go down in the same manner to his eldest son. I knew little of Mr. Wentworth himself, for he was a proud, reserved man—but his meek wife had early won on my heart, and from the hour when I was first called on, as a professional adviser, to give my opinion respecting some property which she held to her sole and separate use, under her marriage settlements, up to the latest moment of her life, my feelings for this singularly amiable woman, were like those of a parent to a daughter.

Wentworth Hall, where the family resided, was a large, antique, imposing structure, situated in the centre of an extensive park, and approached by a long avenue, terminating at one end in the hall door, and at the other, at the distance of almost a mile, in a massy gateway, guarded by a porter’s lodge. The house, when I first knew it, was as lordly a mansion as one would wish to see. I passed it the other day, and it was in ruins. No human being has slept within its walls since the development of the dreadful tragedy I am about to relate. God knows I shudder at the task!

I never saw a sweeter child than the young heir of Wentworth: I think now I see his little hands, his silken hair, or his soft blue eyes, so like those of his mother. All loved him. How could they help it? for in everything he resembled her who gave him birth, and she was one who insensibly won every heart, and deserved to win them too. But in nothing was this similarity so striking as in the dispositions of the mother and child. I do not believe either would knowingly have hurt a fly. Certainly no traces of the proud irascible temper of the father could be discovered in the son.

Well has it been said that the good die young. They are exhaled, as it were, like dew, back to their native sky, just at the very time when we begin fully to appreciate their worth. The young heir was scarcely three years old when his mother died. There was grief, and, I believe, heart-felt grief, up at the old hall for a while,—and then came the intelligence that Mr. Wentworth had determined to travel, and that, meanwhile, the young heir was to be left at home with a nurse, and suitable attendants.

Two years passed away. At length rumors reached the servants that their master would soon return, accompanied by a new bride. Before long these reports were confirmed, and then, after a few days’ delay, the newly wedded pair dashed up to the hall door behind a chariot and four, decorated with bride favors.

The new comer was certainly a magnificent woman, but oh! what a contrast to the sweet angel who had formerly filled her place. The first wife was rather petite, with soft blue eyes, and an expression of countenance almost seraphic; her successor was a tall, splendid looking woman, with dark flashing orbs, and a face whose haughty beauty was the very impersonation of a Juno. I know not why, but with all her majesty, I never liked the second Mrs. Wentworth.

In due time a son was the fruit of this marriage. The babe, like the mother, was beautiful, and it seemed to me—it may have been only fancy—that, in the rejoicings at its birth, the elder son, and undoubted heir, was totally forgotten.

It soon became evident that the new wife was paramount in her influence over her husband; but, in one thing she was foiled; she could not alienate his affections from his elder son. She dared not openly speak against the young heir, but it was evident that she hated him, because he would exclude her own child from the estate; and though the fortune of a younger son of the Wentworths would have been an independence to any one else, yet this grasping woman coveted all for her own darling. On this point, however, she knew that her husband would prove inflexible, and that his family pride would be too strong even for his wife’s persuasions. She did not, therefore, make the attempt. But in every possible way, especially when her husband was absent, she contrived to make the life of her step-son irksome and intolerable. A thousand petty vexations, such as are easier felt than described, and which no one knows so well how to inflict as a second wife, soured the early life of the young heir, and, despite his amiable disposition, made him the most unhappy of beings. The sum of his misery was filled up, when, his father having been chosen a member of Congress, left the family at Wentworth Hall, while he proceeded to Washington. From that hour, whether at his estate or at the capitol of the nation, Mr. Wentworth was so occupied by ambition that he found no time to unravel the domestic transactions of his household; so that, deprived of the check heretofore existing on her conduct in the presence of her husband, the new wife commenced a more open and oppressive series of petty persecutions on the young heir, which effectually broke the spirits of one so delicately constituted. I never saw a greater change in any one than took place in Herbert Wentworth between his fifth and eleventh years. From being used to constant exercise in the open air, he was restricted to the school-room, the library, and the garden. In a short time his health gave way, and he became pale, weakly, and melancholy. And this was the once gay and happy boy, with a heart as light as the carol of a bird! Oh! could his sainted mother have foreseen, on her death-bed, the destiny that was to overtake her child, how bitter would have been her parting hour.

Meanwhile the younger son—the darling of the mother—was indulged in every thing. His slightest wish was anticipated. He was taught every manly accomplishment of the day, and, at twelve, was already nearly as large as his delicate brother. He was a skilful horseman, and the best sportsman on the estates. But he was wilful, passionate and imperious.

So matters went on, until the young heir was nearly eighteen years of age, when his father took him to Washington with him during the session of Congress. For the first time emancipated from the thraldom of his step-mother, Herbert began to be aware of the importance of his situation, and to become more than ever averse to the tyranny of his home. He returned to Wentworth Hall an altered being. When his father, about this time, received an appointment to an embassy to one of the South American States, he solicited to accompany his parent, but the request could not be granted, and the young heir was left at home with Mrs. Wentworth and her son.

The change in the character of Herbert soon became evident to the step-mother. But, in nothing was it more perceptible than in the resistance the young heir made to the restraints attempted to be imposed on him, but from which his brother was exempt. Privileges which Herbert felt were his, equally with his brother, or to which he, if either, had the better right, were no longer surrendered without expostulation, or in some cases without a struggle. One of the great causes of difference arose from the determination, expressed by the young heir, to shoot on the estate—a privilege no rational being would have dreamed he was not entitled to—but which, his pampered brother, habituated to seeing himself indulged, and Herbert restrained, in everything, took on himself one day, in a fit of passion, to dispute. Had Mrs. Wentworth been present, even she would have seen the folly of her son and would have checked him; but, unaccustomed to be opposed, the wilful boy, when he saw his brother with a resolution as unusual as it was irritating, determined to insist on the right, flew into a rage, and, in a moment of phrenzy, presented his gun at Herbert. A scuffle ensued, in which the piece went off, whether accidentally or not was never known, and the young heir fell to the ground weltering in his blood. His life, for some time, was despaired of, during which time the brother maintained a sullen silence—but at length Herbert was declared out of danger, and, in a few weeks more, was completely restored. During this time the mother did not hesitate to give that version of the story which would, by throwing all the blame on Herbert, exculpate her darling, so that, when the young heir left his sick chamber, he found that, except among a few who knew his disposition better, he was received as an arrogant, and quarrelsome young man.

This incident, however, had exercised a powerful influence on Mrs. Wentworth. The very fact that Herbert, whom she and her son had so long ruled with a rod of iron, should attempt to break loose from the thraldom, inflamed her almost to madness. From envying, she began to hate the young heir, and that too with a deadliness of which one would have thought her incapable. And every day, as Herbert broke some new mesh of the net in which she had involved him, she learned to hate him more passionately than before. Indeed, to a woman of her disposition, nothing could be more galling than to see one, over whom she had been used to tyrannize at her pleasure, asserting his rights, even, in some cases, in direct contradiction to her commands, as, for instance, when Herbert refused, as heir to the estate, to allow some wood to be cut down which she had ordered to be felled and sold. I solemnly believe that the haughty step-mother never forgave this act—that the remembrance of it haunted her night and day—and that it filled up the cup of hatred, which before was well nigh full, and led to the dreadful catastrophe which ensued.

I have said the young heir recovered from his wound, but he remained in an exceedingly delicate state of health, so that the least exposure of his person was sure to bring on a cold, attended with pains in his side, at the seat of the wound. However, by clothing carefully according to the weather, he succeeded, in the course of some six months, in firmly, as he thought, re-establishing his health, though, it is my firm conviction, that, from the hour of his wound, his constitution was effectually undermined. Certain it is, that when Herbert, thinking himself perfectly restored, ventured one day on a little more exposure than usual, he was seized with a violent cold, which soon resulted in a fever of the most desperate character. So fatal were the ravages of the disease that his life was soon despaired of, and for several days we hourly expected to hear of his death.

During this crisis, what were the feelings of the haughty step-mother? She could not be expected to wish for the recovery of the being whom she hated with such intensity, and, although she was forced to appear concerned for him, and the best medical attendance was, by her orders, procured, yet I have not the least doubt that the one burning wish of her heart, during all that terrible time, was that the young heir might never recover. His death, indeed, would be the consummation of all her hopes. It would, at once, place her darling son in possession of the vast estates of his father—a position at which she could not look without a momentary bewilderment. As day after day elapsed, and the young heir grew weaker and weaker, her hopes rose in proportion, and the prize on which, at first, she had scarcely ventured to look, she now regarded as almost in the possession of her child. How her heart leaped—we will not attempt to disguise it—at the prospect before her. She would be removed from all fear of the interference of Herbert—she would be saved from the shame of being thwarted as she had been—she would no longer have a right to remain at the Hall only as long as her husband lived; and though, under other circumstances, she felt she might have continued in it to her dying day, yet she knew that Herbert, after what had passed, would, on his father’s death, cut off all communication with her. Besides her pride revolted from accepting a favor at the hands of the young heir. Her own child too! brought up as he had been, with habits of such lavish expenditure, how would he ever be able to live on the fortune, handsome though it was, reserved for the younger son of the house of Wentworth. He had been used to every indulgence; he had been taught to regard everybody and everything as subservient to his wishes; in short, he had been educated as the heir rather than as the younger son of the family—and now, when the vast estates of his father were almost within his grasp, when only the life of a sickly boy was in his way, could his mother be expected to look on the death of the real heir with any thing but complacency? But she dissembled her feelings: the world gave her credit for the most poignant anguish of mind during the vacillations of the disease.

“And how is the patient to-night, doctor,” said she, following the physician out of the sick chamber, and affecting to place her handkerchief to her eyes; “do you not think he is a little, a very little improved?”

“I do not wish, unnecessarily, to alarm you,” was the answer; “indeed, you must have seen the ravages of the disease; but so far from thinking your son”—oh! how the word grated on her feelings—“any better, I fear he cannot survive until morning. He is not naturally of a strong constitution, and this fever would have brought the stoutest man to the grave. I wonder how young Mr. Wentworth has withstood it so long.”

“Then you cannot give us any hope. Oh! cannot you let us have some, even the slightest, expectation of his recovery? Do, dear Doctor, only say a word like it.”

The physician shook his head sadly, for he had become attached to his patient, and knew nothing of the secret of his companion’s heart—and departed. The unnatural woman turned to her chamber, and, with a joy we will not attempt to picture, paced up and down the room. At length, she thought her wishes were about to be fulfilled; her boy, her darling boy, would inherit the broad lands she saw from her casement; and she!—she paused, and muttered—“ah! there will be a vast difference betwixt the mere widow of the proprietor of Wentworth Hall, and the mother of that personage.”

In a short time she calmed her transports, and, returning to the bed-side of the now insensible sufferer, watched there until late at night, when she retired, with apparent reluctance, leaving orders, however, to be called should any change be perceptible in the patient.

She had fallen into an uneasy sleep, in which a thousand wild dreams flitted through her mind, and the clock had just struck the second hour after her retirement, when a maid-servant knocked at her chamber door, and saying, that her young master had suddenly awoke sane, and had conversed rationally with the nurse, departed.

“He is going, then,” muttered the unnatural woman, in a delirium of joy; “they always are so just before death;” and hastily throwing on a loose dress, she hurried to the room of the sufferer.

The curtains were closed when she entered, and the nurse held up her finger, whispering—

“He has just fallen asleep. Praise to God, the crisis is past, and the dear youth will recover! His fever has left him—his skin is no longer hot—he is free from delirium.”

The words of the faithful old creature almost took away Mrs. Wentworth’s breath; she felt herself turning pale, and her brain swam around. Happily, the room was imperfectly lighted, so that the nurse could not detect the changes in the countenance of her mistress.

And is there any fear of a relapse?” said Mrs. Wentworth, forcing herself to assume feelings, outwardly, far different from those really raging in her bosom. “Is the dear boy safe?”

“The chances are infinitely in his favor; yet there is a possibility of a relapse. I pray God no such evil may overtake Master Herbert.”

Her mistress nodded, and feeling that she could not much longer maintain her composure, she said that she would return to her room for a moment to procure her slippers, when she would aid her in watching by the sick bed, as she was too overjoyed to sleep.

What pen can paint her feelings when she reached her chamber? Here were all her bright visions dissipated. The prospect before her was darker than ever. What would become of herself after her husband’s death?—what, indeed, would that husband say when he returned and heard Herbert’s version of his brother’s and her conduct? What would become of her darling son, subject, perhaps, to his father’s displeasure, and, at most, left with nothing but a younger son’s fortune, with which to support his expensive habits? She paused in the centre of her room. A thousand furies seemed agitating her countenance. Pride, fear, hate, all chased each other, by turns, through her bosom. Suddenly her face assumed a look of comparative calmness. She walked to a neighboring closet, took from its wall a small phial, and then, gazing a moment at her face in the glass, she placed her slippers on her feet, and sought the room of the invalid. Motioning to the nurse to keep her seat, this fearful woman crossed to the other side of the bed, and sat down by the little table on which stood the medicine for the sufferer. The cup already contained the dose which was to be given him at the expiration of the hour. She looked at the watch—but a few minutes remained to the time. She looked around the room—no one was in it but the nurse, who was concealed by the curtains of the bed. She hastily uncorked the phial, and, with a trembling hand, let fall a few drops of the liquid it contained into the cup. The phial was then secreted, and, with a face as ashy as the dead, she heard, the next instant, the clock strike the hour. The patient awoke at the noise, and, almost on the instant, the nurse came around and took the cup in her hand. My pen trembles so I can scarcely proceed—but I must. Suffice it to say the cup was drained, and the invalid, as if exhausted, sank back on his pillow. When next the attendant drew aside the curtain, she gazed on the face of the dead.

Let me escape from this terrible tragedy. The young heir was buried in lordly state, and no suspicion ever arose that he died otherwise than by a sudden relapse. But was Mrs. Wentworth happy? She saw her son the acknowledged heir of the estate, and for this she had labored her whole life—but was she happy? I will answer, in the words of Scripture, when speaking of the wicked—“Terrors take hold on him as waters; the tempest swalloweth him up in the night. . . . For God shall cast upon him and not spare.

Time passed. Even Mrs. Wentworth began to find, in the lapse of years, and in gazing on her son, now near eighteen, some alleviation for her tortured mind. But God, whose inscrutable Providence had hitherto seemed to forget the unholy deed we have just narrated, was now preparing for its author a fearful retribution.

It was just five years from the day of Herbert’s death, when the doating mother was standing in the door of her house, surrounded by a party of visitors of her own age, waiting for the approach of a gay cavalcade of young people, coming up the avenue. The sky was gloomy and threatened a storm, and the riders were evidently returning in haste. But the tempest was quicker than even their fleet steeds, and the group, with young Wentworth at its head, was yet some distance from the door, when the storm burst on the riders. Each put spurs to his horse, and the young heir, as wilful as ever, instead of awaiting his companions, dashed forward as fast as his steed—the fleetest of them all—could carry him. He was already several rods in advance of his companions, when the wind, suddenly bursting out into a hurricane, swept across the avenue, taking in its course a huge, but somewhat decayed tree, whose trunk, after swaying forwards a moment, was seen to yield to the gale just as young Wentworth came underneath it.

“Look out!” shouted those who saw the danger.

“Save him!—oh! save him!” shrieked the mother.

It was too late. Down, with a crash like thunder, came the gigantic tree, the trunk striking the unhappy youth right on the head, and bearing him to the earth as if he was a mere twig. There was a wild cry, and all that remained of the victim was one quivering hand, extended, as if in supplication, beyond the trunk of the tree.

The spectators stood aghast, transfixed with speechless horror, at the fearful sight. A deathlike stillness of a moment, and only of a moment, followed. It was broken by a long, wild, harrowing shriek of anguish, at the remembrance of which, even now, my blood runs cold. They all turned instinctively in the same direction—towards the mother of the victim—for that shriek could have come from no one else. They saw her fall like marble to the earth. They sprang to her side. Her eyes were wide open, glaring fearfully on vacancy—the foam had gathered, thick and white, on her bloodless lips—her whole frame was quivering in an agony such as—thank God!—mortal man has rarely seen. There she lay, struck by the hand of God, writhing in convulsions. Tell me not there is no retribution! Oh! fearfully was that murdered boy avenged.

They took her up, bore her into her stately chamber, and despatched messengers on every hand for medical aid. All that the skill of the profession could do to restore her was exerted, but for a long time unsuccessfully. At length, however, Mrs. Wentworth showed signs of recovery. Slowly, consciousness appeared to return to her; but just when her attendants were beginning to hope that the danger had passed, she sprang up in her bed, and, placing her hands before her eyes, shrieked, “save him—save him—oh, God! have mercy—I am the murderer—he is innocent,” and with other ejaculations, equally as terrific, she sank down on the couch, in a paroxysm of madness. She was a maniac. It was not many days before nature gave way beneath the struggle, but, during the ravings of her phrenzy, she recapitulated the whole of the dreadful tragedy, and in words too that made her listeners tremble to hear. It has often occurred to me, that, if the death-bed revelations of but one year could be made public, they would make us avoid our fellow-men as beings of a darker world.

One word and this melancholy leaf is ended. Mr. Wentworth never returned from his mission, but fell a victim to the climate of South America. His estate having been entailed to the issue of his own body, of course, failing such issue, passed in the regular course of succession; and descending to nearly a score of collateral heirs, who divided the property betwixt them, was soon broken into fragments. The old Hall was shunned with superstitious fear, and is now in ruins. So pass away the things of this world.







Philadelphia: John F. Nunns, 184 Chesnut Street.


I sing the bonnie E’e of her,

My bonnie, bonnie Lassie O!


sing the praise of ane I luve,

My bonnie, bonnie Lassie, O!

I sing of monie a time and aft,

We’ve gane thegither cheerly, O!

And bless the E’e that welcomes me,

My bonnie blue-eyed Lassie, O!


Her face sae fair, her winning air,

  Sure nane is like my lassie, O!

When e’r we meet, she smiles so sweet,

  My bonnie blue-eyed lassie, O!

And monie a time at fair or green,

  We’ve prattled aft and dearly, O!

I press’d my suit, she pleaded youth,

  My bonnie blue-eyed lassie, O!


Yes, woo I still, yes, woo I will,

  My bonnie, bonnie lassie, O!

The world can ne’er ha’e charms for me,

  Without my blue-eyed lassie, O!

When last we met, I saw her e’e

  Half turn’d aside so winning, O!

I named the kirk, she gied consent,

  My ain dear blue-eyed lassie, O!





            “Early had they learned

To reverence the volume that displays

The mystery, the life which cannot die.”


There is no piety like that in our cottages. Go through the land from one end to the other,—enter, if you will, at every door you pass,—seek out the dying in lordly hall, and lowly dwelling,—and you will find that the humble tenants of the humblest roof, are often the most acceptable in the eyes of their Maker, and that in the words of Holy Writ, “not many wise, not many noble are called,” but “God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the mighty.” And there is a philosophy in this. The rich have wherewithal to enjoy themselves in this life, and what care they for the one to come? but the poor find no peace from toil on earth, and gladly hail the message which bids them to a better and a brighter world, where “the weary are at rest.” Then, too, the Sabbath of the cottager! They who live in cities, or dwell in stately palaces in the country, have no idea of the soothing calm, of this day, to the poor man. All through the weary week, in summer or in winter, amid cold and rain and heat, he is compelled to toil for the scanty pittance which barely keeps his wife and little ones alive—and when the Sabbath morning comes, and he sees all so tidy about him, while the sun smiles pleasantly through the casement, and there is an eloquent stillness on all without, a feeling of freedom and of untold peace, comes stealing over his soul, such as those who have never shared his toils cannot imagine. If he has a heart it is melted into gratitude. If he is a godly man—and do not these very things purify his heart insensibly?—he will call his little ones around him, and, together, they will lift up their thanksgivings for the blessings of another week. Oh! how often—in some old country house, far, far away from the crimes and cares of the town—have we listened to the morning hymn, sweetly rising on the air, and seeming to go up to heaven all the sweeter for the songs of birds and the murmurs of the stream, with which it mingled. Yes! we love

                    “The sound of hymns

On some bright Sabbath morning, on the moor

Where all is still save praise; and where hard by

The ripe grain shakes its bright beard in the sun;

The fresh green grass, the sun, and sunny brook—

All look as if they knew the day, the hour,

And felt with man the need of joy and thanks.”

Yonder is a cottage, down in the glen. If you will come and stand with us beside the casement, you can just see the white walls of that humble home, smiling through the embowering foliage. There live a daughter and her parents, and if you would see piety, go into that cottage. Shall I tell you how their Sunday is spent? It will be a lesson to us all.

When breakfast is over, the little family, attired in their best, set forth to church, the daughter walking betwixt her aged parents, and kindly supporting their steps, while every thing around them soothes their hearts for the duties of the day. It is a September morning, and all Nature is filled with harmony. Not a leaf that rustles on the air, nor a brook that babbles by, nor a bird that whistles in the wood, nor the voice of a child singing from the overflowing gladness of its heart, but is sweeter to their ear, and more soothing to their souls, than the music of a Garcia. And when they reach the old church how every one will make room for them! And so, after service, will they return home.

And in the afternoon, they will gather around the little table, beneath the open casement, through which float gently the hum of bees and the fragrance of flowers, and there they will sit, listening to the word of God, as their daughter reads it aloud. There is such a quiet, a soft dreamy quiet around, that it soothes them insensibly to a holy calm. The very clock seems to tick less audibly; the cat sits purring in her lowest tone; the bird, from his cage, looks silently down; the sunbeams fall hushed on the clean, bright floor; and the rose-leaves by the window, that now and then float to the ground, strike with a faint low sound on the earth, like the foot-fall of a fairy at moonlight.

Every word of that sacred volume the listeners drink in eagerly, for are they not “athirst for the waters of life?” Aye! they drink it in the more eagerly because read by her, whose voice, to them, is softer than that of a cherub.

And such is Cottage Piety. The proud may sneer at it—the rich may regard it as a fiction—the dwellers in town may look on it as an enthusiast’s picture; but the great God who made us all, and who notes every deed, beholds thousands of such scenes, every Sabbath of the year.

Sports and Pastimes.—THE FOWLING-PIECE.

Before making choice of a gun, the sportsman should determine what weight he can conveniently carry. The heaviest gun, as regards shooting, will be most effective; but he should recollect, that unless he be a very robust person, a light gun will on the whole bring him more game, as a few pounds in the weight makes a deal of difference in the distance the person can carry it with ease, and few persons can shoot well when fatigued.

The most approved guns under the system which prescribes a heavy charge of powder and a light one of shot, are double-barrels, bearing the following relative proportions of length to calibre:[1]—fourteen gauge, thirty-four inches long; seventeen gauge, thirty-two inches long; twenty gauge, thirty inches long. For the shooter who never uses shot larger than No. 6 or 7, these are proper proportions; and did the guns weigh nine or ten pounds each, they would shoot No. 6 or 7 shot well. But when under seven pounds and a half, which is the heaviest gun we should think of using in hot weather, or for a long day’s woodcock shooting, they do not throw small shot as effectively as a short gun throws large shot.

Barrels twenty-eight inches long, and fourteen, sixteen, or eighteen gauge, are of convenient size for a gun not exceeding seven pounds and a half. Those of eighteen gauge shoot shot well; but those of fourteen throw a cartridge more satisfactorily. Sixteen is a desirable medium. These barrels are as efficient as long ones for short distances, viz. under thirty yards; and nine tenths of game brought to the bag is killed within that distance. And for making long shots, the wire cartridge has obviated the necessity of using long guns. A short gun, of the same weight as a long one, is much less tiresome to carry. A pound additional weight at the breech is not so fatiguing to the arm as half that weight added to the end of the barrel; it is the top-heavy gun that distresses the shooter.

Taking the season throughout, we are convinced that the most effective gun is a short light one, for which our standard charge is 1-5/8 drachm, or the tenth part of an ounce of powder, and 2 oz. of No. 2 shot, containing 220 pellets.[2] But when game is wild, we would charge the reserve barrel, and on some occasions both barrels, with nearly double the above quantity of powder, and a No. 5 cartridge for winter partridge shooting in an open country, or with a No. 4 or 5 cartridge for grouse shooting. No. 7 is best for snipe shooting. Small shot may be used for partridge shooting in September, though we do not see any reason for not adhering to No. 2, except that birds very near the gun are liable to be more disfigured by it.

All guns of the same weight require nearly the same weight and proportions of powder and shot. Unless they are bored with an unusual degree of relief or friction, a difference in size of the bore, or in the length of the barrel, renders less variation in charging necessary than is generally supposed.

The different proportions of powder and shot must be regulated chiefly by the weight of the gun and the size of the shot used. The following may be about the proper proportions for the generality of guns not exceeding seven pounds and a half.[3]


These proportions cannot be materially deviated from without destroying the effect. If the powder is decreased, the discharge is weakened; if the powder is increased, the shot spreads; if the weight of the charge of shot is decreased, there will not be a sufficient number of pellets for effective shooting; if the weight of the charge of shot is increased, the discharge is weakened.

The usual objection to large shot is, that after it has travelled thirty yards it becomes dispersed; but let the powder be reduced to 1½ drachm, and that objection fails. If it is not overcharged with powder, a light gun will shoot No. 2 shot close enough to bring down game with more certainty, at thirty or forty yards’ distance, than if charged with small shot and two or three drachms of powder.

As few sportsmen ever tried so small a charge of powder as 1½ drachm with so heavy a charge of shot as 2 oz., or as large size as No. 2, we invite a trial of the experiment we are about to suggest, with any gun that may happen to be in their possession, not weighing more than 7½ lb. With the above proportions of powder and shot—the shot being oiled—let the shooter fire at forty yards, with good elevation, because large shot droops more than small, at an unbound book nailed to a wall, with an open newspaper (double sheet) spread in front of it. And afterwards let him charge the same gun with No. 6 or 7 shot, and any variation of the relative proportions of powder and shot that his fancy may suggest, and fire at a similar target. The newspaper will prove that the large shot is carried with sufficient closeness; and the book will show which broadside would have told the best on a grouse. On opening the book, the large shot will be found to have penetrated farther, and the leaves will be bulged in beyond it.

The size of the bore, gauge, or calibre of a gun—by which is meant the diameter of the barrel—is distinguished by the number of leaden balls fitting it which make a pound;—thus, eighteen leaden bullets, each fitting an 18 gauge barrel, make a pound; sixteen fitting a 16 gauge, or fourteen fitting a 14 gauge barrel, are also equal to a pound. The different gauges are also known by the number of thirty-seconds of an inch the diameter consists of;—thus, the diameter of an 18 gauge barrel is 20½-32’s of an inch; a 16 gauge 21½-32’s; and a 14 gauge 22-32’s.

The powder and shot chargers may be regulated by weighing the powder with a sixpence, and the shot with four half-crowns. The shooter must not adopt these proportions if smaller shot is used, as they would not only cause the gun to recoil, but would be dangerous.

If the gun shoots too close, and does not recoil, the quantity of powder may be increased.

If it shoots too close and recoils, the quantity of shot must be reduced.

If it spreads shot too much and does not recoil, the quantity of shot may be increased.

If it spreads shot too much and recoils, the powder must be reduced.

When these proportions are used, the gun recoils least with the No. 2 and most with the No. 7 charge.


Joseph Rushbrook, or the Poacher. By Captain Marryatt, Author of Peter Simple, Jacob Faithful, etc. etc. Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.

It has been well said that “the success of certain works may be traced to sympathy between the author’s mediocrity of ideas, and mediocrity of ideas on the part of the public.” In commenting on this passage, Mrs. Gore, herself a shrewd philosopher, observes that, whether as regards men or books, there exists an excellence too excellent for general favor. To “make a hit”—to captivate the public eye, ear, or understanding without a certain degree of merit—is impossible; but the “hardest hit” is seldom made, indeed we may say never made, by the highest merit. When we wrote the word seldom we were thinking of Dickens and the “Curiosity Shop,” a work unquestionably of “the highest merit,” and which at a first glance appears to have made the most unequivocal of “hits”—but we suddenly remembered that the compositions called “Harry Lorrequer” and “Charles O’Malley” had borne the palm from “The Curiosity Shop” in point of what is properly termed popularity.

There can be no question, we think, that the philosophy of all this is to be found in the apothegm with which we began. Marryatt is a singular instance of its truth. He has always been a very popular writer in the most rigorous sense of the word. His books are essentially “mediocre.” His ideas are the common property of the mob, and have been their common property time out of mind. We look throughout his writings in vain for the slightest indication of originality—for the faintest incentive to thought. His plots, his language, his opinions are neither adapted nor intended for scrutiny. We must be contented with them as sentiments, rather than as ideas; and properly to estimate them, even in this view, we must bring ourselves into a sort of identification with the sentiment of the mass. Works composed in this spirit are sometimes purposely so composed by men of superior intelligence, and here we call to mind the Chansons of Béranger. But usually they are the natural exponent of the vulgar thought in the person of a vulgar thinker. In either case they claim for themselves that which, for want of a more definite expression, has been called by critics nationality. Whether this nationality in letters is a fit object for high-minded ambition, we cannot here pause to inquire. If it is, then Captain Marryatt occupies a more desirable position than, in our heart, we are willing to award him.

“Joseph Rushbrook” is not a book with which the critic should occupy many paragraphs. It is not very dissimilar to “Poor Jack,” which latter is, perhaps, the best specimen of its author’s cast of thought, and national manner, although inferior in interest to “Peter Simple.”

The plot can only please those who swallow the probabilities of “Sinbad the Sailor,” or “Jack and the Bean-Stalk”—or we should have said, more strictly, the incidents; for of plot, properly speaking, there is none at all.

Joseph Rushbrook is an English soldier who, having long served his country and received a wound in the head, is pensioned and discharged. He becomes a poacher, and educates his son (the hero of the tale and also named Joseph) to the same profession. A pedler, called Byres, is about to betray the father, who avenges himself by shooting him. The son takes the burden of the crime upon himself, and flees the country. A reward is offered for his apprehension—a reward which one Furness, a schoolmaster, is very anxious to obtain. This Furness dogs the footsteps of our hero, much as Fagin, the Jew, dogs those of Oliver Twist, forcing him to quit place after place, just as he begins to get comfortably settled. In thus roaming about, little Joseph meets with all kinds of outrageously improbable adventures; and not only this, but the reader is bored to death with the outrageously improbable adventures of every one with whom little Joseph comes in contact. Good fortune absolutely besets him. Money falls at his feet wherever he goes, and he has only to stoop and pick it up. At length he arrives at the height of prosperity, and thinks he is entirely rid of Furness, when Furness re-appears. That Joseph should, in the end, be brought to trial for the pedler’s murder is so clearly the author’s design, that he who runs may read it, and we naturally suppose that his persecutor, Furness, is to be the instrument of this evil. We suppose also, of course, that in bringing this misfortune upon our hero, the schoolmaster will involve himself in ruin, in accordance with the common ideas of poetical justice. But no;—Furness, being found in the way, is killed off, accidentally, having lived and plotted to no ostensible purpose, through the better half of the book. Circumstances that have nothing to do with the story involve Joseph in his trial. He refuses to divulge the real secret of the murder, and is sentenced to transportation. The elder Rushbrook, in the meantime, has avoided suspicion and fallen heir to a great property. Just as his son is about to be sent across the water, some of Joe’s friends discover the true state of affairs, and obtain from the father, who is now conveniently upon his death-bed, a confession of his guilt. Thus all ends well—if the word well can be applied in any sense to trash so ineffable—the father dies, the son is released, inherits the estate, marries his lady-love, and prospers in every possible and impossible way.

We have mentioned the imitation of Fagin. A second plagiarism is feebly attempted in the character of one Nancy, a trull, who is based upon the Nancy of Oliver Twist—for Marryatt is not often at the trouble of diversifying his thefts. This Nancy changes her name three or four times, and so in fact do each and all of the dramatis personæ. This changing of name is one of the bright ideas with which the author of “Peter Simple” is most pertinaciously afflicted. We would not be bound to say how many aliases are borne by the hero in this instance—some dozen perhaps.

The novels of Marryatt—his later ones at least—are evidently written to order, for certain considerations, and have to be delivered within certain periods. He thus finds it his interest to push on. Now, for this mode of progress, incident is the sole thing which answers. One incident begets another, and so on ad infinitum. There is never the slightest necessity for pausing; especially where no plot is to be cared for. Comment, in the author’s own person, upon what is transacting, is left entirely out of question. There is thus none of that binding power perceptible, which often gives a species of unity (the unity of the writer’s individual thought) to the most random narrations. All works composed as we have stated Marryatt’s to be composed, will be run on, incidentally, in the manner described; and, notwithstanding that it would seem at first sight to be otherwise, yet it is true that no works are so insufferably tedious. These are the novels which we read with a hurry exactly consonant and proportionate with that in which they were indited. We seldom leave them unfinished, yet we labor through to the end, and reach it with unalloyed pleasure.

The commenting force can never be safely disregarded. It is far better to have a dearth of incident, with skilful observations upon it, than the utmost variety of event, without. In some previous review we have observed (and our observation is borne out by analysis), that it was the deep sense of the want of this binding and commenting power, in the old Greek drama, which gave rise to the chorus. The chorus came at length to supply, in some measure, a deficiency which is inseparable from dramatic action, and represented the expression of the public interest or sympathy in the matters transacted. The successful novelist must, in the same manner, be careful to bring into view his private interest, sympathy, and opinion, in regard to his own creations.

We have spoken of “The Poacher” at greater length than we intended; for it deserves little more than an announcement. It has the merit of a homely and not unnatural simplicity of style, and is not destitute of pathos: but this is all. Its English is excessively slovenly. Its events are monstrously improbable. There is no adaptation of parts about it. The truth is, it is a pitiable production. There are twenty young men of our acquaintance who make no pretension to literary ability, yet who could produce a better book in a week.

Life of Petrarch. By Thomas Campbell, Esq., Author of The Pleasures of Hope, etc. etc. Complete in one volume. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.

We are not among those who regard the genius of Petrarch as a subject for enthusiastic admiration. The characteristics of his poetry are not traits of the highest, or even of a high order; and in accounting for his fame, the discriminating critic will look rather to the circumstances which surrounded the man, than to the literary merits of the pertinacious sonnetteer. Grace and tenderness we grant him—but these qualities are surely insufficient to establish his poetical apotheosis.

In other respects he is entitled to high consideration. As a patriot, notwithstanding some accusations which have been rather urged than established, we can only regard him with approval. In his republican principles; in his support of Rienzi at the risk of the displeasure of the Colonna family; in his whole political conduct, in short, he seems to have been nobly and disinterestedly zealous for the welfare of his country. But Petrarch is most important when we look upon him as the bridge by which, over the dark gulf of the middle ages, the knowledge of the old world made its passage into the new. His influence on what is termed the revival of letters was, perhaps, greater than that of any man who ever lived; certainly far greater than that of any of his immediate contemporaries. His ardent zeal in recovering and transcribing the lost treasures of antique lore cannot be too highly appreciated. But for him, many of our most valued classics might have been numbered with Pindar’s hymns and dithyrambics. He devoted days and nights to this labor of love; snatching numerous precious books from the very brink of oblivion. His judgment in these things was strikingly correct, while his erudition, for the age in which he lived, and for the opportunities he enjoyed, has always been a subject of surprise.

Upon the whole, therefore, it is not so very wonderful that Petrarch has had many biographers. Much, to be sure, of the excessive comment upon his character may be traced to the generating influence of biography in itself. One life as surely begets another as a sum at compound interest doubles itself in a certain space of time. Each personal friend of the hero is anxious to prove a stricter intimacy with him than that enjoyed by the personal friend who wrote before. Contemporary contradictions thus arise, which it is left for posterity to reconcile. In the private library of the French King, at the Louvre, there exists a Petrarchian Library, consisting of nine hundred volumes illustrative of the life of the poet. It was collected by Professor Marsand of Padua, and a quarto catalogue of it was, not many years ago, published at Milan. The best biography of Petrarch, after the one which now lies before us, is no doubt that of the Abbé de Sade. This prelate, proud of a descent from Laura, consumed the greater part of his life in toilsome journeys, seeking material for a life of her lover. He was unquestionably the most accomplished foreigner who wrote on the affairs of Italy in the fourteenth century. His account of Petrarch has been made the chief basis of Mr. Campbell’s present work. We are sorry to see, moreover, that the author of “The Pleasures of Hope” has followed his authority even in the matter of wholesale vituperation of all previous writers upon the subject. De Sade abuses the whole Italian nation, accusing it, en masse, of gross ignorance in respect to our poet. Mr. Campbell abuses the whole Italian nation and De Sade. Not only this, but he is at great pains to be bitter upon Archdeacon Coxe, who had bequeathed to the Library of the British Museum a MS. Life of Petrarch. Of this MS. Mr. Colburn, it seems, caused a copy to be taken, and, intending it for publication, requested Mr. Campbell to act as editor. Mr. C. consented, “surrounded himself with as many books connected with the subject as he could obtain, and applied assiduously to the study of Italian literature, which he had neglected for many years.”

Having done all this, our editor sat down to his task of arrangement and revision. But the Coxe-Petrarchan MSS. appear to have defied his powers. “If any one” says he, “suspects me of dealing unfairly with the Archdeacon, let him go to the Library of the British Museum and peruse the work in question—his skepticism will find its reward. He will agree with me that the Coxeian MS. is placed in a wrong part of the Museum. It should not be in the library, but among the bottled abortions of anatomy, or the wooden visages of the South Sea idols.” Mr. Campbell’s kind offer of permitting any skeptic to satisfy himself by going to the Museum and “perusing” a huge book which he has just declared to be unfit for perusal, puts us much in mind of the candor of the Munchausens and Ferdinand Mendez Pintos, who, telling incredible tales of lands at the South Pole or mountains in the moon, confound all doubters with a request to proceed and satisfy themselves by personal inspection.

One thing is certainly very strange:—that Mr. Campbell did not think of looking at “the Coxe-Petrarchan MS.” in the first place—in the beginning of things—before “surrounding himself with as many books as he could obtain,” and especially before “applying himself assiduously to the study of Italian literature, which he had neglected for many years.” He would have saved himself much trouble, and the Archdeacon might have been spared some abuse.

What particularly surprises us in this volume—a large and handsomely printed octavo—is its slovenliness of style. Such a charge as this has never before been urged against the author of “Hohenlinden.” In general he is scrupulously correct. The Archdeacon seems to have bewildered his brains in unsettling his temper. What are we to make of such phraseology as this, occurring in the very second sentence of the work?—“It was known that the Rev. Archdeacon Coxe had bequeathed to the Library of the British Museum a MS. Life of the Poet which he had written.” Here “he” implies the Poet, but is intended to imply the Archdeacon. Such misconstructions are abundant. We observe, also, far more serious defects—defects of tone. These sentences, for instance, are in shockingly bad taste—“The most skilful physicians stood aghast at this disease, (the plague.) The charlatan rejoiced at it, unless it attacked himself, because it put quackery on a par with skill; and compassionate women assisted both physicians and quacks in doing no good to their patients ... This was a dance of the king of terrors over the earth, and a very rapid one.” Attempts at humor on such subjects are always exceedingly low.

Nor can the general handling of the theme of the book be said to be well done. The biographer has swallowed the philosopher. While we are sometimes interested in personal details, we more frequently regret the want of a comprehensive analysis of the poet’s character, and of the age in which he lived. The book has no doubt filled, in a certain unsatisfactory manner, a blank in our biographical literature—since the authorities referred to can scarcely be termed accessible—but, upon the whole, it is unworthy Thomas Campbell—still less is it worthy Petrarch. We cannot say with Crébillon—

  —————un dessein si funeste,

S’il n’est digne d’Atrée, est digne de Thyeste.

The Idler in France. By the Countess of Blessington. Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.

The Countess of Blessington has never risen in any of her literary attempts above the merit of an amusing gossiper; and “The Idler in France” is an excellent gossiping book, and no more. Still, this is saying a good deal for it as times go.

The work is made up of adventures, reminiscences, trumpery philosophy, criticism in a small way, scandal, and heterogeneous chit-chat—the whole interwoven, in the most random manner conceivable, into an account of a tour in France made many years ago by her ladyship. “Patch Work” is a title which would have exactly suited the volumes, and it is a pity that Captain Hall has anticipated it.

The anecdotes, et cetera, are by no means confined to France, but often relate to things in general, happening in no particular place. Throughout, there is much vivacity and no little amusement. Some of the scandal, if not nice, is exceedingly piquant, and many of the humorous points are really good.

The Countess tells an old story of the Princesse de Talleyrand, which will better bear repetition than some of the novelties of the work. Denon was to dine at Talleyrand’s at a time when the Baron’s work on Egypt was the common topic in Paris. The Prince wished the Princess to read a few pages of the book, that she might be able to say some words of compliment to the author. He consequently ordered his librarian to send the work to her apartment on the morning of the day of the dinner; but unfortunately also commanded that a copy of Robinson Crusoe should be sent to a young protégée of hers who resided in the hotel. Denon’s work, by mistake, was given to Mademoiselle, and Crusoe to the Princess, who, at dinner, expressed graciously to the Baron the delight she had received from his publication, and propounded many anxious inquiries after the fate of his poor man, Friday!

Upon such subjects as are embraced in the following passages, the Countess is particularly at home:—

“I observe a difference in the usages de mœurs at Paris, and in those of London, of which an ignorance might lead to give offence. In England, a lady is expected to bow to a gentleman before he presumes to do so to her, thus leaving her the choice of acknowledging his acquaintance, or not; but in France it is otherwise, for a man takes off his hat to every woman whom he has ever met in society, although he does not address her, unless she encourages him to do so.

“In Paris, if two men are walking or riding together, and one of them bows to a lady of his acquaintance, the other also takes off his hat, as a mark of respect to the lady known to his friend, although he is not acquainted with her. The mode of salutation is also much more deferential towards women in France than in England. The hat is held a second longer off the head, the bow is lower, and the smile of recognition is more aimable, by which I mean, that it is meant to display the pleasure experienced by the meeting.

“It is true that the really well bred Englishmen are not to be surpassed in good manners by those of any other country; but all are not such; and I have seen instances of men in London acknowledging the presence of ladies, by merely touching, instead of taking off, their hats when bowing to them; and though I accounted for this solecism in good breeding by the belief that it proceeded from the persons practising it wearing wigs, I discovered that there was not even so good an excuse as the fear of deranging them, and that their incivility proceeded from ignorance or nonchalance, while the glum countenance of him who bowed betrayed rather a regret for the necessity of touching his beaver, than a pleasure at meeting her for whom the salute was intended.”

The French phrases with which the book is interspersed have not been read, in proof, with sufficient care, and many awkward blunders occur. At page 100, vol. I, for example, we have “Le jeu né vaut pas la chandelle,” and at page 234, of the same volume, “Que voulezvous, sire-chacun a son vingt Mars?

The World in a Pocket-Book, or Universal Popular Statistics, Embracing the Commerce, Agriculture, Revenue, Government, Manufactures, Population, Army, Navy, Religions, Press, Geography, History, Remarkable Features and Events, Navigation, Inventions, Discoveries and Genius of every Nation on the Globe, etc. etc. By W. H. Crump. J. Dobson: Philadelphia.

Mr. Crump, the author of this little work, is sufficiently well known to the reading public; and we need scarcely say that the “World in a Pocket-Book” is all that it professes to be. Several years have been occupied in its compilation. It will be found an exceedingly convenient manual—embracing a wonderful variety of useful and entertaining matter—the utile, nevertheless, prevailing very much, as is right, over the dulce. The title well explains the character of the book. We have never seen so much really useful information compressed into the same limits. The public is indebted to Mr. Crump for this little volume, and we hope he may be repaid for the patient research and labor bestowed upon it.

Lives of Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy. By Mrs. Shelley, Sir D. Brewster, James Montgomery, and others. Two volumes: Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.

The lives embraced in these volumes are those of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Lorenzo de Medici, Bojardo, Berni, Ariosto, Machiavelli, Galileo, Guicciardini, Vittoria Colonna, Guarini, Tasso, Chiabrera, Tassoni, Marini, Filicaja, Metastasio, Goldoni, Alfieri, Monti, and Ugo Foscolo. We have no clue to the names of the respective writers—but the biographies are, without exception, well written—although at times their brevity is annoying. As a whole, the work is not only interesting, but of value.


Transcriber’s Notes:

Table of Contents has been added for reader convenience. Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Obvious punctuation and typesetting errors have been corrected without note.


[The end of Graham's Magazine Vol XIX No. 3 September 1841 edited by George Rex Graham]