Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Bill Walker and the Online Distributed
THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XIX, NO. 535.] SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1832. [PRICE 2d.
* * * * *
ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS, REGENT'S PARK.
[Illustration: THE POLAR BEAR.]
[Illustration: THE TUNNEL.]
[Illustration: MONKEY CAGE.]
* * * * *
GARDENS OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
A visit to these Gardens is one of the most delightful of the rational
recreations of the metropolis. The walk out is pleasant enough: though
there is little rural beauty on the road, the creations of art assume
a more agreeable appearance than in the city itself; and, with
cottages, park-like grounds, and flourishing wood, the eye may enjoy a
few picturesque groupings.
The _Garden_ of the Society is one of the prettiest in the vicinity of
the metropolis; the _Menagerie_ is certainly the most important ever
collected in this country. It is a charming sight to behold myriads of
tiny flowers fringing our very paths, and little groves of shrubs and
young trees around us; yet it is a gratification of the highest order,
to witness the animals of almost every country on the earth assembled
within a few acres; and it is indeed a sublime study to observe how
beautifully the links in the great chain of nature are wrought, and
how admirably are the habits and structure of some of these animals
adapted to the wants of man, while all are subservient to some great
purpose in the scale of creation. How clearly are these truths taught
by the science of Zoology; and how attractively are they illustrated
in the Menagerie of the Zoological Gardens. Consider but for a moment
that the cat which crouches by our fireside is of the same tribe with
"the lordly lion," whose roar is terrific as an earthquake, and the
tiger who often stays but to suck the blood of his victims: that the
faithful dog, "who knows us personally, watches for us, and warns us
of danger," is but a descendant from the wolf, who prowls through the
wintry waste with almost untameable ferocity. Yet how do we arrive at
the knowledge of these interesting facts--but by zoological study.
Two of the Cuts in the annexed page will furnish our country friends
with the improved plan of keeping the animals in large open cages. The
first represents that of the _Polar Bear_, of strong iron-work, with a
dormitory adjoining. The enclosed area is flagged with stone, and
in the centre is a tank, or pool, of water, in which the bear makes
occasional plungings. The present occupant is but small in comparison
with the usual size of the species. "Its favourite postures," observes
Mr. Bennett, "are lying flat at its whole length; sitting upon its
haunches with its fore legs perfectly upright, and its head in a
dependent position; or standing upon all fours with its fore-paws
widely extended and its head and neck swinging alternately from
side to side, or upwards and downwards in one continued and equable
 The Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society
delineated. Vol. I.
The second Cut represents the tunnelled communication between the two
Gardens, beneath the carriage-road of the Park. Above, the archway is
a pediment, supported by two neat columns, and a terraced walk, with
balustrades. The whole is handsomely executed in cement or imitative
stone. The decorative vases are by Austin, of the New Road. A lion's
head, in bold relief, forms an appropriate key-stone embellishment to
the arch. The sloping banks are formed of mimic rock-work profusely
intermingled with plants and flowers.
The third Cut is the Monkey House, of substantial iron-work, with
dormitories and winter apartments in the rear. In fine sunny weather
the monkeys may be here seen disporting their recreant limbs to the
delight of crowds of visiters. Their species are too numerous but for
a catalogue. Among them are the Negro and Sooty Monkeys,--the Mone
Monkey: "the name of _Monkey_ is supposed to be derived from
the African appellation of this species, _Mone_ corrupted into
_Monachus_." Bonneted, pig-tailed, and Capuchin Monkeys; the last
named from their dark crowns, like the capuch or hood of a Capuchin
friar; and black and white-fronted Spider Monkeys, named from their
great resemblance to large spiders.
By the way, there is an abundance of still life in the Gardens at this
ungenial season. We find the Elephant, the Antelopes, and the Zebra,
in their winter quarters, and their mightinesses, the large cats, as
the lions, tiger, and leopards, accommodated with a snug fire. The
tropical birds, as the parrots, maccaws, &c., have been removed from
the extremity of the north garden to warmer quarters; and the hyaenas,
leopards, and a host of smaller carnivorous quadrupeds have taken
their places. The upper end is occupied by four roomy dens, with a
lordly black-maned lion and a lioness, from Northern Africa; above
them are a fine lioness and a leopard from Ceylon: these we take to
have been among the recent arrivals from the Tower Menagerie.
* * * * *
FRAGMENTS ON HUMAN LIFE.
(_For the Mirror._)
"Call not earth a barren spot,
Pass it not ungrateful by,
'Tis to man a lovely lot."
There is no subject on which such a variety of opinions exist, as on
the question "Whether man is happy;" and that it is not easy to be
settled, is certain. Many persons have been so far contented with
their lot as to wish to have their life over again, and yet as many
have expressed themselves to the contrary.
Dr. Johnson, who always spoke of human life in the most desponding
terms, and considered earth a vale of tears,
"Yet hope, not life from pain or sorrow free,
Or think the doom of man reversed for thee--"
declared that he would not live over again a single week of his life,
had it been allowed him. Such was his opinion on the past; but so
great is the cheering influence with which Hope irradiates the mind,
that in looking forward to the future, he always talked with pleasure
on the prospect of a long life.
 Chamfort observes, that the writers on physics, natural
history, physiology, and chemistry, have been generally men of a
mild, even, and happy temperament, while the writers on politics,
legislation, and even morals, commonly exhibited a melancholy and
fretful spirit. It is to be expected that an inspection of the
beauty and order of nature should affect the mind with peculiar
pleasure.--_Gaieties and Gravities_.
When he was in Scotland, Boswell told him that after his death, he
intended to erect a memorial to him. Johnson, to whom the very
mention of death was unpleasant, replied, "Sir, I hope to see your
grand-children." On his death-bed he observed to the surgeon who was
attending him, "_I want life_, you are afraid of giving me pain."
It has been supposed that this question had been settled by the
authority of Scripture. "Man is born to trouble," says Job, "as
the sparks fly upward." In turning over a few pages more, we find
ourselves in doubt again. "_The latter end of Job was more blessed
than his beginning_; for he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and
1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 she-asses. He had also seven sons and
three daughters. So Job died being old and full of days."
It may not be unpleasant to place before the reader the opinions of
several celebrated men, on Life, that he may choose his side, and
either like the bee or the spider, extract the poison or gather the
honey. We will begin with Sterne, one who well knew the human heart.
"What is the life of man? is it not to shift from side to side!
from sorrow to sorrow!"
"When I consider how oft we eat the bread of affliction, when one
runs over the catalogue of all the cross reckonings and sorrowful
items with which the heart of man is overcharged, 'tis wonderful
by what hidden resources the mind is enabled to stand it out, and
bear itself up, as it does, against the impositions laid upon our
"A man has but a bad bargain of it at the best."--_Chesterfield_.
"No scene of human life but teems with mortal woe."--_Sir Walter
In opposition to these sentiments, Franklin, in writing on the death
of a friend, gives us his opinion, "_It is a party of pleasure_, some
take their seats first."
And Lord Byron, describing Sunrise, in the second canto of _Lara_,
"But mighty nature bounds as from her birth,
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam.
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal Man! Behold her glories shine,
And cry exultingly, 'They are thine'
Gaze on, while yet thy gladdened eyes may see,
A morrow comes when they are not for thee."
In the same spirit Cowper begins his poem on Hope:
"See Nature gay as when she first began,
With smiles alluring her admirer, man,
She spreads the morning over eastern hills.
Earth glitters with the drops the night distils.
The sun obedient at her call appears
To fling his glories o'er the robe she wears,
... to proclaim
His happiness, her dear, her only aim."
"The Thracians," says Cicero, "wept when a child was born, and feasted
and made merry when a man went out of the world, and with reason. Show
me the man who knows what life is, and dreads death, and I'll show
thee a prisoner who dreads his liberty."
Of the misery of human life, Gray speaks in similar terms:
"To all their sufferings all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan,
The feeling for another's pain,
The unfeeling for his own."
Audi alteram partem:
"It's a happy world after all."--_Paley_.
And Gray himself:
"For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This careful, anxious being e'er resigned,
E'er left the precincts of the _cheerful day_
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind."
And another popular author:
"A world of pleasure is continually streaming in on every side. It
only depends on man to be a demi-god, and to convert this world
into Elysium."--_Gaieties and Gravities_.
It is doubtless wise to incline to the latter sentiment.
Of the instability of human happiness and glory, a fine picture is
drawn by Appian, who represents Scipio weeping over the destruction of
Carthage. "When he saw this famous city, which had flourished seven
hundred years, and might have been compared to the greatest empires,
on account of the extent of its dominions, both by sea and land,
its mighty armies, its fleets, elephants and riches; and that the
Carthaginians were even superior to other nations, by their courage
and greatness of soul, as, notwithstanding their being deprived of
arms and ships, they had sustained for three whole years, all the
hardships and calamities of a long siege; seeing, I say, this city
entirely ruined, historians relate that he could not refuse his tears
to the unhappy fate of Carthage. He reflected that cities, nations,
and empires are liable to revolutions, no less than particular men;
that the like sad fate had befallen Troy, once so powerful; and in
later times, the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians, whose dominions were
once of so great an extent; and lastly, the Macedonians, whose empire
had been so glorious throughout the world." Full of these mournful
ideas, he repeated the following verse of Homer:
"The day shall come, that great avenging day,
Which Troy's proud glories in the dust shall lay,
When Priam's powers, and Priam's self shall fall,
And one prodigious ruin swallow all--"
thereby denouncing the future destiny of Rome, as he himself confessed
to Polybius, who desired Scipio to explain himself on that occasion.
* * * * *
* * * * *
A COASTING SCRAP.
(_For the Mirror_.)
It was a bright summer afternoon: the estuary of Poole Harbour lay
extended before me; its broad expanse studded with inlands of sand and
furze bushes, of which Brownsea is the most considerable. A slight
ripple marked the deeper channels which were of a blue colour, and the
shallow mud banks being but barely covered by the tide, appeared like
sheets of molten silver. The blue hills of Purbeck bounded the distant
heath-lands to the westward, and the harbour extended itself inland
towards the town of Wareham, becoming more and more intricate in its
navigation, although it receives the contributions of two rivers, the
Piddle and the Froome, arising probably from the soil carried down by
the streams, and the faint action of the tide at a distance of eight
or ten miles from the mouth of the harbour. The Wareham clay boats
added life to the scene. Some were wending their way through the
intricate channels close hauled upon a wind; others were going right
away with a flowing sheet. On the eastern side was the bold sweep of
the shore, extending to the mouth of the harbour, and terminating in a
narrow point of bright sand hills, separating the quiet waters of the
harbour from the boisterous turmoilings of the English Channel.
Sauntering along the Quay of Poole, indulging in a kind of reverie,
thinking, or in fact, thinking of nothing at all, (a kind of waking
dream, when hundreds of ideas, recollections, and feelings float with
wonderful rapidity through the brain,) my attention was attracted by
a stout, hardy-faced pilot, with water boots on his legs, and a red,
woollen night-cap on his head, who was driving a very earnest bargain
for a "small, but elegant assortment," of dabs and flounders. "Dree
and zixpence if you like," said he. "I could a bought vour times as
much vor one and zixpence coast-ways, if I'd a mind, and I'll give
thee no more, and not a word of a lie." His oratory conquered the
coyness of the fishy damsel; and he invited the lady to take a glass
of "zomat avore he topped his boom for Swanwidge."
Having before me the certainty of a dull, monotonous afternoon, and
cheerless evening, without any visible means of amusement, I instantly
closed a bargain with Dick Hart (for such was the pilot's name) to
give me a cast to Swanwidge. In a short time I found myself on board
a trim, little pilot boat, gliding along the waters as the sun was
sliding his downward course, and shedding a mellow radiance over the
distant scenery towards Lytchett. The white steeple of Poole church
was lighted by the rays, while the town presented a neat and
picturesque appearance with the masts of the shipping cutting against
the blue sky.
Dick Hart formed no small feature in the scene as he stood at the helm
with his red cap and black, curly hair, smoking a short, clay pipe,
which like his own face, had become rather brown in service. He looked
around him with an air of independence and unconcern, as the "monarch
of all he surveyed," casting his eye up now and then at the trim of
his canvass, but more frequently keeping it on me. Dick began to open
his budget of chat, and I found him as full of fun as his mainsail was
full of nettles.
A voice from the forecastle called out to Dick, who was so intent on
his story that the helm slipped from his hand, and the ship flew up
in the wind, "Mind, skipper, or you will run down Old Betty." I was
astonished at the insinuation against my noble captain that he was
likely to behave rude to a lady, but my suspicions were soon removed,
when I saw Old Betty was a buoy, floating on the waters, adorned with
a furze bush. Old Betty danced merrily on the rippling wave with her
furze bush by way of a feather, with shreds of dried sea weed hanging
to it forming ribbons to complete the head dress of the lady buoy.
The nearer we approached, the more rapid did Betty dance, and when
we passed close alongside of her, she curtsied up and down as if to
welcome our visit. Dick narrated why a buoy placed at the head of a
mud bank obtained the name of a _lady fair_, and I briefly noted it
Many years ago a single lady resided at Poole, of plain manners,
unaffected simplicity, affable, yet retiring, and--
"Passing rich with forty pounds a-year."
The gentry courted her, but she still adhered to her secluded habits.
Year after year rolled on, and though some may have admired her,
she was never led to the altar, and consequently her condition was
_unaltered_. Kind and friendly neighbours kept a vigilant eye upon her
proceedings, but her character was unimpeachable; and they all agreed
that she was a very suspicious person, because they could not slander
her. She lived a blameless single lady.
Her attentions were directed to an orphan boy. He was her constant
companion, and the object of her tenderest solicitude. As he grew up
he excelled the youth of his own age in manly exercises; could thrash
all of his own size, when insulted, but never played the tyrant, or
the bully. He could make the longest innings at cricket, and as for
swimming in all its various branches, none could compare with William.
It was finally arranged by a merchant to send William a voyage to
Newfoundland, and the news soon spread round the town that William
(for he was a general favourite) was to _see_ the world by taking to
The time arrived when the ship was to be warped out from the Quay, and
to sail for her destination. The crew and the passengers were all on
board, and William was, by his absence, rather trespassing on the
indulgence of the captain; but who could be angry with the boy whom
every body loved?
The town gossips, and many a fair maiden, were on the Quay to see
young William embark. The tide had already turned, and the captain
was about to give the word "to cast off and let all go;" to send the
vessel, as it were, adrift, loose and unfettered upon the waters, to
struggle as a thing of life with the billows of the Atlantic, but
animated and controled by the energies of men. Just at this moment
William appeared at the end of the Quay, walking slowly to the scene
of embarkation with his kind and benevolent benefactress leaning, and
leaning heavily, for her heart was heavy, upon the arm of her dutiful
and beloved William. As they approached, the crowd made way with
profound respect, not the cringing respect paid to superior wealth,
but with that respect which worth of character and innate virtue can
and will command, though poverty may smite and desolate.
They walked unconscious of the notice they attracted. Their hearts
were too full to heed the sympathies of others. The youth kept his
eye fixed upon the loosening topsails of his ship; his benefactress
grasped his arm almost convulsively, and looked, or rather stared,
upon the ground. She dreaded the last, the hurried "fare well," the
last look, the last word from her William, and she tottered as she
approached the side of the ship. They stood locked hand in hand at the
edge of the Quay; not a word was uttered by either; but they gazed
at each other with a fondness which showed that their souls were in
"Now, William, jump on board--cast off there forward," exclaimed the
captain; "swing her head round--heave away my boys--come, William,
come my boy."
The youth awoke as from a startled sleep. He imprinted a kiss, the
last kiss, upon the cold cheeks of his benefactress, and dashing away
with the sleeve of his jacket a tear, of which he felt ashamed, in a
moment he was on the quarter deck of his commander. He durst not look
again upon the Quay; but had he looked he would have seen many a
weeping maiden who had never told her love, and he would have seen his
affectionate benefactress borne away in a fainting fit. All this he
saw not, for he braced his courage up before his future messmates, and
he looked forward to his duties, considering the past as but a dream.
Months elapsed and tidings were frequently received of William. He had
distinguished himself by his activity and docility. His townsmen
heard with pleasure of his good conduct, and looked forward with
satisfaction to welcome his return; when at length a pilot boat
brought intelligence that the ship was lying at anchor at the mouth of
the harbour, waiting the next tide with loss of foremast in a heavy
gale the preceding night off the Bill of Portland. His benefactress,
impatient of delay, immediately hired a boat, and preceded to the ship
before the tide had turned; but she no sooner reached the deck than
she was informed by the captain that William was aloft when the
foremast went by the board on the preceding night, and that he fell
into the raging waves without the possibility of relief being afforded
"God's will be done," murmured the unhappy woman as she clasped her
hands, and taking her station at the gangway, she continued gazing on
the water as it rippled by, in a state of unconsciousness to every
passing object. In the meantime the vessel was under weigh, and was
coming once more in sight of Brownsea, when a plunge was heard--"she's
overboard," exclaimed a sailor--"cut away some spars--lower the
boats--over with the hen coops--down with the helm, and back the
topsails"--roared out many voices; but she had sunk to rise no more!
Her corpse was found a few days after when the tide receded, lying on
a mud bank, close to the buoy which has ever since been known by every
sailor and every pilot of Poole under the name of Old Betty. But to
complete the sad narrative, it appeared that William, as he excelled
in swimming, succeeded in gaining the shore of Portland, and arrived
in time at Poole to attend the remains of his benefactress to the
grave in character of chief mourner.
On opening her papers it was discovered that in losing his
benefactress he had lost his mother! That she had been privately
married to a widower of considerable fortune, who had one son by
his first wife, and that on his demise the estate would devolve
on William, provided his half brother had no children. A few days
afterwards the death of Henry ----, Esq. of ---- Hall, Worcestershire,
was formally announced in the daily Journals, and the unexpected
claims of William being acknowledged, he succeeded to a very fine
property and estate, and died as much respected in a good old age as
he was beloved in his buoyant childhood, when the gossips and the
maidens of Poole agreed that the orphan boy promised to be a "nice
young man."--"And not word of a lie in it," said Dick Hart, as he
finished his story, his pipe, and his grog.
We were now steering across Studland Bay. Banks of dark clouds were
gathering majestically on the eastern horizon, and the sun was
rapidly sinking in a flood of golden light. Behind us was the Isle
of Brownsea, with its dark fir plantations and lofty, cold-looking,
awkward castle. On the left was the line of low sand hills, stretching
away towards Christchurch, and seeming to join the Needles' Rocks,
situated at the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, the high chalk
cliffs of which reflected the sun's last rays, giving a rich and
placid feeling to the cold and distant grey. On the right, and closer
to us, was the brown and purple heath-land of Studland Bay. Here
barren, there patches of verdure, and the thin smoke threading its
way from a cluster of trees, denoted where the village hamlet lay
embosomed from the storms of the southwest gales, close at the foot
and under the shelter of a lofty chalk range which abuts abruptly on
the sea, and before which stands a high, detached pyramidical rock,
rising out of the waters like a sheeted spectre, and known to mariners
under the suspicious name of _Old Harry_.
This coast was once notorious for smuggling, but those days of
nautical chivalry have ceased, if Dick Hart is to be credited, who
shook his head very mournfully as he alluded to "the _Block-head_
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.
* * * * *
SCENE FROM A FRENCH DRAMA.
No. XVII. of the _Foreign Quarterly Review_, contains a paper of
much interest to the playgoer as well as to the lover of dramatic
literature--on two French dramas of great celebrity--_La Marechale
d'Ancre_, by de Vigny; and _Marion Delorme_, by Victor Hugo. We quote
a scene from the former. Concini, the principal character, is a
favourite of Louis XIII.; the Marechale, his wife, has a first love,
Borgia, a Corsican, who, disappointed in his early suit by the
stratagems of Concini, has married the beautiful but uncultivated
Isabella Monti. On the conflicting feelings of this strange personage,
his hatred to the husband, and his relenting towards the wife; and the
licentious plans of Concini for the seduction of Isabella, whom he
has seen without knowing her to be the wife of his deadly enemy, the
interest of the piece is made to turn. The jealous Isabella is at last
persuaded that the Marechale has robbed her of the attachment of her
husband, and appears as a witness against her on the pretended charge
of witchcraft and sorcery.
While the Marechal, even in the dungeon of the Bastile, is awing
her oppressors into silence, bands of murderers are seeking Concini
through the streets of Paris. As he issues from the house of the
Jew which contains Isabella, he hears through the obscurity of the
tempestuous night the cries of the populace, but he thinks they are
but the indications of some passing tumult. He rests for a moment
against a pillar on the pavement, but recoils again, as from a
serpent, for he perceives it is the stone on which Ravaillac had
planted his foot when he assassinated Henry, and in that murder it is
darkly insinuated he had a share. Through the darkness of the Rue de
la Ferronnerie, Michael Borgia is seen advancing, conducting the two
children of his rival. He has promised to the Marechale to save them
from the dangers of the night, and has brought them in safety to his
own threshold. But his promise of safety extended not to Concini. The
wild ferocity of the following scene has many parallels in the actual
duels of the time, as delineated in Froissart and Brantome.
_Borgia (with the children.)_--Poor children! come in; you will be
safer here than in the houses to which they have pursued us.
_The Boy_.--Ah! there is a man standing up.
_Borgia (turning the lantern which the child holds towards
_Concini_.--Borgia! (_Each raises his dagger, and seizes with the left
arm the right of his enemy. They remain motionless, and gazing at each
other. The children escape into the street and disappear_.)
_Concini_.--Let go my arm, and I will liberate yours.
_Borgia_.--What shall be my security?
_Concini_.--Those children whom you have with you.
_Borgia_.--I am labouring to save them. Your palace is on fire--your
wife is arrested--your fortune is wrecked--base, senseless adventurer!
_Concini_.--Have done--let go--let us fight!
_Borgia_ (_pushing him from him_.)--Back, then, and draw your sword.
_Borgia_.--Remove those children--they would be in our way.
_Concini_.--They are gone.
_Borgia_.--Take these letters, assassin! I had promised to restore
them to you. (_He hands to Concini a black portfolio_.)
_Concini_.--I would have taken them from your body.
_Borgia_.--I have performed my promise--and now, ravisher! look to
_Concini_.--Base seducer, defend _thyself_.
_Borgia_.--The night is dark, but I shall feel you by my hate: Plant
your foot against the wall, that you may not retreat.
_Concini_.--Would I could chain yours to the pavement, that I might be
sure of my mark!
_Borgia_.--Agree that the first who is wounded shall inform the other.
_Concini_.--Yes, for we should not see the blood. I swear it by the
thirst I feel for yours.--But not that the affair should end there.
_Borgia_.--No, only to begin again with more spirit.
_Concini_--To continue till we can lift the sword no longer.
_Borgia_.--Till the death of one or other of us.
_Concini_--I see you not. Are you in front of me?
_Borgia_.--Yes, wretch! Parry that thrust. Has it sped?
_Concini_.--No; take that in return.
_Borgia_.--I am untouched.
_Concini_.--What, still? Oh! would I could but see thy hateful visage.
(_They continue to fight desperately, but without touching each other.
Both rest for a little_.)
_Borgia_.--Have you a cuirass on, Concini?
_Concini_.--I had, but I left it with your wife in her chamber.
_Borgia_.--Liar! (_He rushes on him with his sword. Their blades are
locked for a moment, and both are wounded_.)
_Concini_.--I feel no sword opposed to mine. Have I wounded you?
_Borgia_, (_leaning on his sword, and staunching the wound in his
breast with, his handkerchief_.) No, let us begin again. There!
_Concini_ (_binding his scarf round his thigh_.)--One moment and I am
with you. (_He staggers against the pillar_.)
_Borgia_, (_sinking on his knees_.)--Are you not wounded yourself?
_Concini_.--No, no! I am resting. Advance, and you shall see.
_Borgia_ (_endeavouring to rise, but unable_.)--I have struck my foot
against a stone--wait an instant.
_Concini_ (_with delight_.)--Ah! you are wounded!
_Borgia_.--No, I tell you--'tis you who are so. Your voice is changed.
_Concini_, (_feeling his sword_.)--My blade smells of blood.
_Borgia_.--Mine is dabbled in it.
_Concini_.--Come then, if you are not--come and finish me.
_Borgia_, (_with triumph_.)--Finish! then you are wounded.
_Concini_, (_with a voice of despair_.)--Were I not, would I not
have already stabbed you twenty times over? But you are at least as
_Borgia_--It maybe so, or I should not be grovelling here.
_Concini_.--Shall we now have done?
_Borgia_, (_enraged_.)--Both wounded--yet both living!
_Concini_.--What avails the blood I have drawn, while a drop remains.
_Borgia_.--O! were I but beside thee! _Enter_ Vitry, _followed by the
Guards walking slowly. He holds the young_ Count de la Pene _by the
hand; the boy leads his sister_.
_Vitry_, (_a pistol in his hand_.)--Well, my child, which is your
_Count de la Pene_.--Oh! protect him, sir,--that is he leaning against
_Vitry_, (_aloud_.)--Draw tip--remain at that gate--Guards! (_The
Guards advance with lanterns and flambeaux_.) Sir, I arrest you--your
_Concini_, (_thrusting at him_.)--Take it. (Vitry _fires his
pistol_--Du Hallier, D'Ornano, _and_ Person _fire at the same
time_--Concini _falls dead_.)
The malice of Du Luynes, the inveterate enemy of the D'Ancres, and
afterwards the minion of Louis, contrives that the Marechale, in her
way to execution, shall be conducted to this scene, where her husband
lies dead, on the spot which had been stained with the blood of Henry,
like Caesar at the foot of Pompey's statue; and the play concludes
with her indignant and animated denunciation of this wretch, who
stands calm and triumphant, while the Marechale exacts from her son,
over the body of Concini, an oath of vengeance against the destroyer
of her house."
* * * * *
I am sick of the bird,
And its carol of glee;
It brings the voices heard
In boyhood back to me:
Our old village hall,
Our church upon the hill,
And the mossy gates--all
My darken'd eyes fill.
No more gladly leaping
With the choir I go,
My spirit is weeping
O'er her silver bow:
From the golden quiver
The arrows are gone,
The wind from Death's river
Sounds in it alone!
I sit alone and think
In the silent room.
I look up, and I shrink
From the glimmering gloom.
O, that the little one
Were here with her shout!--
O, that my sister's arm
My neck were roundabout!
I cannot read a book,
My eyes are dim and weak;
To every chair I look--
There is not one to speak!
Could I but sit once more
Upon that well-known chair,
By my mother, as of yore,
Her hand upon my hair!
My father's eyes seeking,
In trembling hope to trace
If the south wind had been breaking
The shadows from my face;--
How sweet to die away
Beside our mother's hearth,
Amid the balmy light
That shone upon our birth!
A wild and burning boy,
I climb the mountain's crest,
The garland of my joy
Did leap upon my breast;
A spirit walk'd before me
Along the stormy night,
The clouds melted o'er me,
The shadows turn'd to light.
Among my matted locks
The death-wind is blowing;
I hear, like a mighty rush of plumes,
The Sea of Darkness flowing!
Upon the summer air
Two wings are spreading wide;
A shadow, like a pyramid,
Is sitting by my side!
My mind was like a page
Of gold-wrought story,
Where the rapt eye might gaze
On the tale of glory;
But the rich painted words
Are waxing faint and old,
The leaves have lost their light,
The letters their gold!
And memory glimmers
On the pages I unrol,
Like the dim light creeping
Into an antique scroll.
When the scribe is searching
The writing pale and damp,
At midnight, and the flame
Is dying in the lamp.
* * * * *
THE SELECTOR; AND LITERARY NOTICES OF NEW WORKS
* * * * *
THE ITALIAN REPUBLICS.
M.J.C.L. De Sismondi, has, to suit the plan of the _Cabinet
Cyclopaedia_, endeavoured to include in one of its volumes--a summary
of Italian history from the fall of the Roman empire to the end of
the Middle Age--a period of about six and a half centuries. What a
succession of stirring scenes does this volume present; what fields
of bloody action; what revelry of carnage; what schemes of petty
ambition; what trampling on necks, what uncrowning of heads; what
orgies of fire, sword, famine, and slaughter; what overtoppling of
thrones, and unseating of rulers; what pantings after freedom; what
slavery of passion; what sunny scenes of fortune to be shaded with
melancholy pictures of desolation and decay--are comprised in these
few pages of the history of a comparatively small portion of the
world for a short period--a narrow segment of the cycle of time.
What Sismondi so ably accomplished in sixteen volumes, he has here
comprised in one. He tells us that he could sacrifice episodes and
details without regret. The present is not, however, an abridgment of
his great work, "but an entirely new history, in which, with my eyes
fixed solely on the free people of the several Italian states, I have
studied to portray their first deliverance, their heroism, and their
We quote a few sketchy extracts.
_Last Struggle of Rome for Liberty_.
"1453. Stefano Porcari, a Roman noble, willing to profit by the
interregnum which preceded the nomination of Nicholas V., to make the
Roman citizens demand the renewal and confirmation of their ancient
rights and privileges, was denounced to the new pope as a dangerous
person; and, so far from obtaining what he had hoped, he had the
grief to see the citizens always more strictly excluded from any
participation in public affairs. Those were entrusted only to
prelates, who, being prepared for it neither by their studies nor
sentiments, suffered the administration to fall into the most shameful
"In an insurrection of the people in the Piazza Navona, arising from a
quarrel, which began at a bull-fight, Stefano Porcari endeavoured to
direct their attention to a more noble object, and turn this tumult to
the advantage of liberty. The pope hastily indulged all the fancies
of the people, with respect to their games or amusements; but firmly
rejected all their serious demands, and exiled Porcari to Bologna. The
latter hoped to obtain by conspiracy what he had failed to accomplish
by insurrection. There were not less than 400 exiled Roman citizens:
he persuaded them all to join him, and appointed them a rendezvous
at Rome, for the 5th of January, 1453, in the house of his
brother-in-law. Having escaped the vigilance of the legate of Bologna,
he proceeded there himself, accompanied by 300 soldiers, whom he had
enlisted in his service. The whole band was assembled on the night of
the appointed 5th of January; and Stefano Porcari was haranguing them,
to prepare them for the attack of the capitol,--in which he reckoned
on re-establishing the senate of the Roman republic,--when, his secret
having been betrayed, the house was surrounded with troops, the doors
suddenly forced, and the conspirators overcome by numbers before their
arms had been distributed. Next morning, the body of Stefano Porcari,
with those of nine of his associates, were seen hanging from the
battlements of the castle of St. Angelo. In spite of their ardent
entreaties, they had been denied confession and the sacrament. Eight
days later, the executions, after a mockery of law proceedings, were
renewed, and continued in great numbers. The pope succeeded in causing
those who had taken refuge in neighbouring states to be delivered up
to him; and thus the last spark of Roman liberty was extinguished in
_General Mildness of Italian Warfare_.
"1492. The horses and armour of the Italian men at arms were reckoned
superior to those of the transalpine nations against which they had
measured themselves in France, during "the war of the public weal."
The Italian captains had made war a science, every branch of which
they thoroughly knew. It was never suspected for a moment that the
soldier should be wanting in courage: but the general mildness of
manners, and the progress of civilization, had accustomed the Italians
to make war with sentiments of honour and humanity towards the
vanquished. Ever ready to give quarter, they did not strike a fallen
enemy. Often, after having taken from him his horse and armour, they
set him free; at least, they never demanded a ransom so enormous as
to ruin him. Horsemen who went to battle clad in steel, were rarely
killed or wounded, so long as they kept their saddles. Once unhorsed,
they surrendered. The battle, therefore, never became murderous. The
courage of the Italian soldiers, which had accommodated itself to this
milder warfare, suddenly gave way before the new dangers and ferocity
of barbarian enemies. They became terror-struck when they perceived
that the French caused dismounted horsemen to be put to death by their
valets, or made prisoners only to extort from them, under the name of
ransom, all they possessed. The Italian cavalry, equal in courage, and
superior in military science, to the French, was for some time
unable to make head against an enemy whose ferocity disturbed their
_Battle of Marignano_.
"1515.--Francis I. succeeded Louis XII. on the 1st of January; on the
27th of June he renewed his predecessor's treaty of alliance with
Venice; and on the 15th of August, entered the plains of Lombardy, by
the marquisate of Saluzzo, with a powerful army. He met but little
resistance in the provinces south of the Po, but the Swiss meanwhile
arrived in great force to defend Maximilian Sforza, whom, since they
had reseated him on the throne, they regarded as their vassal. Francis
in vain endeavoured to negotiate with them; they would not listen
to the voice of their commanders; democracy had passed from their
_landsgemeinde_ into their armies, popular orators roused their
passions; and on the 13th of September they impetuously left Milan
to attack Francis I. at Marignano. Deep ditches lined with soldiers
bordered the causeway by which they advanced; their commanders wished
by some manoeuvre to get clear of them, or make the enemy change his
position; but the Swiss, despising all the arts of war, expected to
command success by mere intrepidity and bodily strength. They marched
to the battery in full front; they repulsed the charge of the knights
with their halberds, and threw themselves with fury into the ditches
which barred their road. Some rushed on to the very mouths of the
cannon, which guarded the king, and there fell. Night closed on the
combatants; and the two armies mingled together fought on for four
hours longer by moonlight. Complete darkness at length forced them to
rest on their arms; but the king's trumpet continually sounded, to
indicate to the bivouac where he was to be found; while the two famous
horns of Uri and Unterwalden called the Swiss together. The battle was
renewed on the 14th at daybreak: the unrelenting obstinacy was the
same; but the French had taken advantage of the night to collect
and fortify themselves. Marshal Trivulzio, who had been present at
eighteen pitched battles, declared that every other seemed to him
children's play in comparison with this "battle of giants," as he
called it: 20,000 dead already covered the ground; of these two-thirds
were Swiss. When the Swiss despaired of victory they retreated
slowly,--but menacing and terrible. The French did not dare to pursue
The concluding paragraph of the volume is beautifully enthusiastic: it
may almost be regarded as prophetic in connexion with events that are
at this moment shaking Italy to her very base:
"Italy is crushed; but her heart still beats with the love of liberty,
virtue, and glory: she is chained and covered with blood; but she
still knows her strength and her future destiny: she is insulted by
those for whom she has opened the way to every improvement; but she
feels that she is formed to take the lead again: and Europe will know
no repose till the nation which, in the dark ages, lighted the torch
of civilization with that of liberty, shall be enabled herself to
enjoy the light which she created."
* * * * *
CHILD'S ARITHMETICAL TABLES.
The Seventh Edition, besides being well adapted for Schools, will be
found useful in the business of life. It includes the monies, weights,
and measures, mentioned in Scripture, the length of miles in different
countries, astronomical signs, and other matters computed with great
* * * * *
THE GEORGIAN ERA.
This work is intended to comprise Memoirs of the most eminent
characters who have flourished in Great Britain during the reigns
of the four Georges: the present volume being only a fourth of its
extent, and containing the Royal Family, the Pretenders and their
adherents, churchmen, dissenters, and statesmen. The importance of the
chosen period is prefatorily urged by the editor: "In comparison with
the Elizabethan or the Modern Augustan, (as the reign of Anne has been
designated) that which may be appropriately termed the Georgian Era,
possesses a paramount claim to notice; for not only has it been
equally fertile in conspicuous characters, and more prolific of great
events, but its influence is actually felt by the existing community
of Great Britain."
The several memoirs, so far as a cursory glance enables us to judge,
are edited with great care. Their uniformity of plan is very superior
to hastily compiled biographies. Each memoir contains the life
and labours of its subject, in the smallest space consistent with
perspicuity; the dryness of names, dates, and plain facts being
admirably relieved by characteristic anecdotes of the party, and a
brief but judicious summary of character by the editor. In the latter
consists the original value of the work. The reader need not, however,
take this summary "for granted:" he is in possession of the main facts
from which the editor has drawn his estimate, and he may, in like
manner, "weigh and consider," and draw his own inference. The
anecdotes, to borrow a phrase from Addison, are the "sweetmeats" of
the book, but the caution with which they are admitted, adds to their
worth. The running reader may say that much of this portion is not
entirely new to him: granted; but it would be unwise to reject an
anecdote for its popularity; as Addison thought of "Chevy Chase," its
commonness is its worth. But, it should be added, that such anecdotes
are not told in the circumlocutory style of gossip, nor nipt in the
bud by undeveloped brevity. We have Selden's pennyworth of spirit
without the glass of water: the quintessence of condensation, which,
we are told, is the result of time and experience, which rejects what
is no longer essential. Here circumspection was necessary, and it has
been well exercised. The anecdotes are not merely amusing but useful,
since only when placed in juxtaposition with a man's whole life, can
such records be of service in appreciating his character.
Let us turn to the volume for a few examples, and take George the
Fourth and Sheridan, for their contemporary interest; though the
earlier characters are equally attractive. In the former the reader
may better compare the editor's inference with his own impression.
_GEORGE THE FOURTH_.
"Endowed by nature with remarkably handsome features, and a form so
finely proportioned, that at one period of his life it was deemed
almost the best model of manly beauty in existence, George the Fourth,
during the early part of his manhood, eclipsed the whole of his gay
associates in fashion and gallantry, as much by personal attractions,
as pre-eminence in birth. Byron describes him as having possessed
"fascination in his very bow;" and it is said, that a young peeress,
on hearing of the prince's attentions to one of her fair friends,
exclaimed, "I sincerely hope that it may not be my turn next, for to
repel him is impossible." Towards the middle period of his life, he
became so enormously fat, that four life-guardsmen could not, without
difficulty, lift him on horseback; but, as he advanced in years,
although still corpulent, his inconvenient obesity gradually
"He scarcely ever forgot an injury, an affront, or a marked opposition
to his personal wishes. The cordiality which had previously subsisted
between his majesty and Prince Leopold, entirely ceased, when the
latter volunteered a visit to Queen Caroline on her return to this
country, in 1820: Brougham and Dentrum, for the zeal with which they
had advocated the cause of their royal client, were, during a long
period, deemed unworthy of those legal honours to which their high
talents and long standing at the bar, justly entitled them: and Sir
Robert Wilson was arbitrarily dismissed from the service, for his
interference at her majesty's funeral. On account of his unpopular
reception, by the mob, when he accompanied the allied sovereigns to
Guildhall, in 1814, he never afterwards honoured the city with his
presence; and when Rossini rudely declined the repetition of a piece
of music, in which the king had taken a conspicuous part, at a court
concert, his majesty turned his back on the composer, to whose works,
from that moment, he displayed the most unequivocal dislike. But, on
the other hand, some cases have been recorded, in which his conduct
was unquestionably tolerant and forgiving. He allowed Canning, an
avowed supporter of the queen, to retain office, without taking any
part in the ministerial proceedings against her majesty; and at the
last stage of his earthly career, sent the Duke of Sussex, with whom
he had long been at variance, his own ribbon of the order of St.
Patrick, with an assurance of his most sincere affection. Erskine,
while attorney-general to the prince, had so offended his royal
highness, by accepting a retainer from Paine, on a prosecution being
instituted against the latter for publishing the Rights of Man, that
his immediate resignation was required. But, sometime afterwards,
Erskine was desired to attend at Carlton house, where the prince
received him with great cordiality, and, after avowing his conviction
that, 'in the instance that had separated them, his learned and
eloquent friend had acted from the purest motives, he wished to give
publicity to his present opinion on the subject, by appointing Mr.
Erskine his chancellor.' On one occasion, at the opening of a session
of parliament by George the Third in person, his royal highness, who
was then very much in debt, having gone down to the house of lords
in a superb military uniform with diamond epaulettes, Major Doyle
subsequently remarked to him, that his equipage had been much noticed
by the mob. 'One fellow,' added the major, 'prodigiously admired, what
he termed 'the fine things which the prince had upon his shoulders.'
'Mighty fine, indeed,' replied another; 'but, mind me, they'll soon be
_upon our shoulders_, for all that.' 'Ah, you rogue!' exclaimed the
prince, laughing, 'that's a hit of your own, I am convinced:--but,
come, take some wine.'
"He had some inclination for scientific pursuits, and highly respected
those who were eminent for mechanical inventions. He contributed
largely towards the erection of a monument to the memory of Watt. Of
his medical information, slight as it undoubtedly was, he is said
to have been particularly proud. Carpue had demonstrated to him the
general anatomy of the human body, in his younger days; and for a
number of years, the ingenious Weiss submitted to his inspection all
the new surgical instruments, in one of which the king suggested some
"His talents were, undoubtedly, above the level of mediocrity: they
have, however, been greatly overrated, on the supposition that several
powerfully written documents, put forth under his name, but composed
by some of his more highly-gifted friends, were his own productions.
His style was, in fact, much beneath his station: it was inelegant,
destitute of force, and even occasionally incorrect. He read his
speeches well, but not excellently: he possessed no eloquence,
although, as a convivial orator, he is said to have been rather
"At one time, while an associate of Sheridan, Erskine, Fox, &c., he
affected, in conversation, to be brilliant, and so far succeeded,
as to colloquial liveliness, that during their festive intercourse,
according to the witty barrister's own admission, 'he fairly kept up
at saddle-skirts' even with Curran. Notwithstanding this compliment,
his pretensions to wit appear to have been but slender; the best
sayings attributed to him being a set of middling puns, of which the
following is a favourable selection:--When Langdale's distillery was
plundered, during the riots of 1780, he asked why the proprietor had
not defended his property. 'He did not possess the means to do so,'
was the reply. 'Not the means of defence!' exclaimed the prince,
'and he a brewer--a man who has been all his life at _cart_ and
_tierce_!--Sheridan having told him that Fox had _cooed_ in vain to
Miss Pulteney, the prince replied, 'that his friend's attempt on the
lady's heart was a _coup maoque_.'--He once quoted from Suetonius, the
words, '_Jure_ caesus videtur,' to prove, jestingly, that trial
by jury was as old as the time of the first Caesar.--A newspaper
panegyric on Fox, apparently from the pen of Dr. Parr, having been
presented to his royal highness, he said that it reminded him of
Machiavel's epitaph, 'Tanto nomini nullum _Par_ eulogium.'--A cavalry
officer, at a court ball, hammered the floor with his heels so loudly,
that the prince observed, 'If the war between the mother country and
her colonies had not terminated, he might have been sent to America as
a republication of the _stamp_ act.'--While his regiment was in daily
expectation of receiving orders for Ireland, some one told him, that
country quarters in the sister kingdom were so filthy, that the rich
uniforms of his corps would soon be lamentably soiled: 'Let the men
act as dragoons, then,' said his royal highness, 'and _scour the
country_.' When Horne Tooke, on being committed to prison for treason,
proposed, while in jail, to give a series of dinners to his friends,
the prince remarked, that 'as an inmate of Newgate, he would act more
consistently by establishing a _Ketch_-club.'--Michael Kelly having
turned wine-merchant, the prince rather facetiously said, 'that Mick
_imported_ his music, and _composed_ his wine!'"
We reluctantly break off here till next week.
* * * * *
* * * * *
BRIGHTON AS IT WAS.
(_Concluded from page 90_.)
This immunity, however, deprived them of the privileges which the
people of the adjacent towns enjoyed; and was probably the true
reason, why this town did not obtain a place among those called Cinque
ports. It lies in their neighbourhood, is more ancient, and was always
more considerable than most included in that number.
To reduce its consequence still more, the tithes were in this period
taken from the incumbent, appropriated to the use of the Priory at
Lewes, and have never since been restored; and a Convent of mendicant
friars, more burthensome than ten endowed ones of monks, was founded
and dedicated to St. Bartholomew.
Struggling under these difficulties, nothing but the Reformation
could enable the inhabitants of this place to emerge from their
wretchedness. And accordingly we find, that, in the happier days of
Queen Elizabeth, their affairs put on a new face. They then applied
themselves with vigour to their old employments of fishing, and
fitting out vessels for trade; seeking subsistence from their darling
element the sea.
Persecution prevailing at this juncture in many parts of Europe,
numbers fled to this island as to an asylum, and many settled in this
town, bringing with them industry, and an attachment to maritime
affairs; or soon learning them here. The number of its inhabitants
being thus increased, its trade became proportionably greater: so that
in 1579, a record now subsisting says, "There are in the said town
of Brighthelmston of fishing-boats four-score in number, and of able
mariners four hundred in number, with ten thousand fishing-nets,
besides many other necessaries belonging to their mystery." And the
descendants of many of these French, Dutch, and Spanish families still
 It is a melancholy reflection to compare the present state
of the fishery with its prosperity in 1579, or in more modern
periods. Within the recollection of the editor, there were 60
boats employed in catching mackerel, and in a propitious season,
that species of fish has produced in Billingsgate market a sum of
L10,000, with which the town was enriched. In the autumn, 20 of
these boats were fitted out for the herring voyage, and one boat
has been known to land during the season from 20 to 30 lasts of
herrings, each last containing 10,000 fish, computing 132 to the
 The families of Mighell and Wichelo are all that appear to
remain as of Spanish origin.
From this record we likewise learn, that the town was fortified to the
sea by a flint wall, and that the fort, called the Block-house, had
been then lately erected. The east-gate of this wall, in a line with
the Block-house was actually standing last year, and has been since
taken down to open a more convenient entrance to a battery lately
 The kindness of a friend has enabled me to supply this work,
with a view of the town taken from the sea in 1743, when the
wall, Block house, and East gate were partly standing.
The town at present consists of six principal streets, many lanes, and
some spaces surrounded with houses, called by the inhabitants squares.
The great plenty of flint stones on the shore, and in the corn-fields
near the town, enabled them to build the walls of their houses with
that material, when in their most impoverished state; and their
present method of ornamenting the windows and doors with the admirable
brick which they burn for their own use, has a very pleasing effect.
The town improves daily, as the inhabitants, encouraged by the late
great resort of company, seem disposed to expend the whole of what
they acquire in the erecting of new buildings, or making the old ones
convenient. And should the increase of these, in the next seven years,
be equal to what it has been in the last, it is probable there will
be but few towns in England, that will excel this in commodious
 The recent publications on the present state of the town, will
amply establish the prophecy of our historian.
Here are two public rooms, the one convenient, the other not only so,
but elegant; not excelled perhaps by any public room in England, that
of York excepted: and the attention of the proprietor in preparing
every thing that may answer for the conveniency and amusement of the
company, is extremely meritorious.
For divine service there is a large Church, pleasantly situated on a
rising ground above the town; but at a distance that is inconvenient
to the old and infirm. The Dissenters, who, of all denominations,
amount to but forty families, have a Presbyterian, a Quaker's, and an
The men of this town are busied almost the whole year in a succeeding
variety of fishing; and the women industriously dedicate part of their
time, disengaged from domestic cares, to the providing of nets adapted
to the various employments of their husbands.
The spring season is spent in dredging for oysters, which are mostly
bedded in the Thames and Medway, and afterwards carried to the London
market; the mackerel fishery employs them during the months of May,
June, and July; and the fruits of their labour are always sent to
London; as Brighthelmston has the advantage of being its nearest
fishing sea-coast, and as the consumption of the place, and its
environs, is very inconsiderable. In the early part of this fishery
they frequently take the red mullet; and near the close of it,
abundance of lobsters and prawns. August is engaged in the
trawl-fishery, when all sorts of flat fish are taken in a net called
by that name. In September they fish for whiting with lines; and
in November the herring fishery takes place, which is the most
considerable and growing fishery of the whole. Those employed in
this pursuit show an activity and boldness almost incredible, often
venturing out to sea in their little boats in such weather as the
largest ships can scarce live in. Part of their acquisition in this
way is sent to London, but the greatest share of it is either pickled,
or dried and made red. These are mostly sent to foreign markets,
making this fishery a national concern.
 There are 300 fishermen, 11 vessels, and 57 fishing boats
belonging to this place.
In examining the ancient and modern descriptions of the Baiae in
Campania, where the Romans of wealth and quality, during the greatness
of that empire, retired for the sake of health and pleasure, when
public exigencies did not require their attendance at Rome, and
comparing them with those of Brighthelmston, I can perceive a striking
resemblance; and I am persuaded, that every literary person who will
impartially consider this matter on the spot, will concur with me in
opinion, giving, in some measure, the preference to our own Baiae, as
exempt from the inconvenient steams of hot sulphureous baths, and the
dangerous vicinity of Mount Vesuvius. And I have no doubt but it will
be equally frequented, when the healthful advantages of its situation
shall be sufficiently made known.
* * * * *
SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY.
* * * * *
A NIGHT ON THE NIGER.
(_From the Landers' Travels; Unpublished_.)
We made no stop whatever on the river, not even at meal-times, our
men suffering the canoe to glide down with the stream while they were
eating their food. At five in the afternoon they all complained of
fatigue, and we looked around us for a landing-place, where we might
rest awhile, but we could find none, for every village which we saw
after that hour was unfortunately situated behind large thick morasses
and sloughy bogs, through which, after various provoking and tedious
trials, we found it impossible to penetrate. We were employed three
hours in the afternoon in endeavouring to find a landing at some
village, and though we saw them distinctly enough from the water, we
could not find a passage through the morasses, behind which they lay.
Therefore we were compelled to relinquish the attempt, and continue
our course on the Niger. We passed several beautiful islands in the
course of the day, all cultivated and inhabited, but low and flat. The
width of the river appeared to vary considerably, sometimes it seemed
to be two or three miles across, and at others double that width. The
current drifted us along very rapidly, and we guessed it to be running
at the rate of three or four miles an hour. The direction of the
stream continued nearly east. The day had been excessively warm, and
the sun set in beauty and grandeur, shooting forth rays tinged with
the most heavenly hues, which extended to the zenith. Nevertheless,
the appearance of the firmament, all glorious as it was, betokened a
coming storm; the wind whistled through the tall rushes, and darkness
soon covered the earth like a veil. This rendered us more anxious
than ever to land somewhere, we cared not where, and to endeavour to
procure shelter for the night, if not in a village, at least under
a tree. Accordingly, rallying the drooping spirits of our men, we
encouraged them to renew their exertions by setting them the example,
and our canoe darted silently and swiftly down the current. We were
enabled to steer her rightly by the vividness of the lightning, which
flashed across the water continually, and by this means also we could
distinguish any danger before us, and avoid the numerous small islands
with which the river is interspersed, and which otherwise might have
embarrassed us very seriously. But though we could perceive almost
close to us several lamps burning in comfortable-looking huts, and
could plainly distinguish the voices of their occupants, and though
we exerted all our strength to get at them, we were foiled in every
attempt, by reason of the sloughs and fens, and we were at last
obliged to abandon them in despair. Some of these lights, after
leading us a long way, eluded our search, and vanished from our sight
like an _ignis fatuus_, and others danced about we knew not how. But
what was more vexatious than all, after we had got into an inlet, and
toiled and tugged for a full half hour against the current, which in
this little channel was uncommonly rapid, to approach a village from
which we thought it flowed, both village and lights seemed to sink
into the earth, the sound of the people's voices ceased of a sudden,
and when we fancied we were actually close to the spot, we strained
our eyes in vain to see a single hut,--all was gloomy, dismal,
cheerless, and solitary. It seemed the work of enchantment; every
thing was as visionary as "sceptres grasped in sleep." We had paddled
along the banks a distance of not less than thirty miles, every inch
of which we had attentively examined, but not a bit of dry land could
any where be discovered which was firm enough to bear our weight.
Therefore, we resigned ourselves to circumstances, and all of us
having been refreshed with a little cold rice and honey, and water
from the stream, we permitted the canoe to drift down with the
current, for our men were too much fatigued with the labours of the
day to work any longer. But here a fresh evil arose which we were
unprepared to meet. An incredible number of hippopotami arose very
near us, and came plashing, snorting, and plunging all round the
canoe, and placed us in imminent danger. Thinking to frighten them
off, we fired a shot or two at them, but the noise only called up from
the water and out of the fens, about as many more of their unwieldy
companions, and we were more closely beset than before. Our people,
who had never in all their lives been exposed in a canoe to such
huge and formidable beasts, trembled with fear and apprehension, and
absolutely wept aloud; and their terror was not a little increased by
the dreadful peals of thunder which rattled over their heads, and by
the awful darkness which prevailed, broken at intervals by flashes of
lightning, whose powerful glare was truly awful. Our people told us,
that these formidable animals frequently upset canoes in the river,
when every one in them was sure to perish. These came so close to us,
that we could reach them with the butt-end of a gun. When I fired
at the first, which I must have hit, every one of them came to the
surface of the water, and pursued us so fast over to the north bank,
that it was with the greatest difficulty imaginable we could keep
before them. Having fired a second time, the report of my gun was
followed by a loud roaring noise, and we seemed to increase our
distance from them. There were two Bornou men among our crew who were
not so frightened as the rest, having seen some of these creatures
before on Lake Tchad, where, they say, there are plenty of them.
However, the terrible hippopotami did us no kind of mischief whatever;
they were only sporting and wallowing in the river for their own
amusement, no doubt, at first when we interrupted them; but had they
upset our canoe, we should have paid dearly for it. We observed a bank
on the north side of the river shortly after this, and I proposed
halting on it for the night, for I wished much to put my foot on firm
land again. This, however, not one of the crew would consent to,
saying, that if the Gewo Roua, or water elephant, did not kill them,
the crocodiles certainly would do so before the morning, and I thought
afterwards that we might have been carried off like the Cumbrie people
on the islands near Yaoorie, if we had tried the experiment. Our canoe
was only large enough to hold us all when sitting, so that we had no
chance of lying down. Had we been able to muster up thirty thousand
cowries at Rabba, we might have purchased one which would have carried
us all very comfortably. A canoe of this sort would have served us for
living in entirely, we should have had no occasion to land excepting
to obtain our provisions; and having performed our day's journey,
might have anchored fearlessly at night. Finding we could not induce
our people to land, we agreed to continue on all night. The eastern
horizon became very dark, and the lightning more and more vivid;
indeed, I never recollect having seen such strong fork lightning
before in my life. All this denoted the approach of a storm. At eleven
P.M. it blew somewhat stronger than a gale, and at midnight the storm
was at its height. The wind was so strong, that it washed over the
sides of the canoe several times, so that she was in danger of
filling. Driven about by the wind, our frail little bark became
unmanageable; but at length we got near a bank, which in some measure
protected us, and we were fortunate enough to lay hold of a thorny
tree against which we were driven, and which was growing nearly in the
centre of the stream. Presently we fastened the canoe to its branches,
and wrapping our cloaks round our persons, for we felt overpowered
with fatigue, and with our legs projecting half over the sides of the
little vessel, which, for want of room, we were compelled to do, we
lay down to sleep. There is something, I believe, in the nature of
a tempest which is favourable to slumber, at least so thought my
brother; for though the thunder continued to roar, and the wind to
blow,--though the rain beat in our faces, and our canoe lay rocking
like a cradle, still he slept soundly. The wind kept blowing hard
from the eastward till midnight, when it became calm. The rain then
descended in torrents, accompanied by thunder and lightning of the
most awful description. We lay in our canoe drenched with water, and
our little vessel was filling so fast, that two people were obliged
to be constantly baling out the water to keep her afloat. The
water-elephants, as the natives term the hippopotami, frequently came
snorting near us, but fortunately did not touch our canoe. The storm
continued until three in the morning of the 17th, when it became
clear, and we saw the stars sparkling like gems over our heads.
Therefore, we again proceeded on our journey down the river, there
being sufficient light for us to see our way, and two hours after, we
put into a small, insignificant, fishing village, called _Dacannie_,
where we landed very gladly. Before we arrived at this island, we had
passed a great many native towns and villages, but in consequence of
the early hour at which we were travelling, we considered it would be
imprudent to stop at any of them, as none of the natives were out of
their huts. Had we landed earlier, even near one of these towns, we
might have alarmed the inhabitants, and been taken for a party of
robbers; or, as they are called in the country, _jacallees_. They
would have taken up arms against us, and we might have lost our lives;
so that for our safety we continued down the river, although we had
great desire to go on shore. In the course of the day and night, we
travelled, according to _our_ estimation, a distance little short of a
hundred miles. Our course was nearly east. The Niger in many places,
and for a considerable way, presented a very magnificent appearance,
and, we believe, to be nearly eight miles in width.--_Lit. Gaz._
* * * * *
_Ancient Trade_.--Alexandria was formerly the chief commercial city
in the world. We may judge of its wealth and prosperity by the
circumstance, that, after the defeat of Queen Zenobia, a single
merchant of this city, undertook to raise and pay an army out of the
profits of his trade. Delos was the richest city in the Archipelago,
it was a free port, where nations warring with each other, resorted
with their goods, and traded. Strabo calls it one of the most
frequented emporiums in the world; and Pliny tells us, that all the
commodities of Europe and Asia were sold, purchased, or exchanged
there. Trade was much encouraged at Athens; and if any one ridiculed
it, he was liable to an action of slander. A fine of a thousand
drachmas (about L37. 10s.) was inflicted on him who accused a merchant
of any crime which he was unable to prove. Solon was engaged in
merchandize; the founder of the city of Messilia was a merchant;
Thales and Hippocrates, the mathematician, traded; Plato sold oil
in Egypt; Maximinus the Roman emperor, traded with the Goths in the
produce of his estate in Thracia; Vespasian farmed the privies at
Rome; and the Emperor Pertinax, originally dealt in charcoal.
_Unnecessary fears about the Cholera._--Nothing is more calculated to
allay unnecessay and groundless fear, in the case of the cholera, than
the undeniable fact of the smallness of the mortality in proportion
to the whole population, where it has raged with most violence. In
addition to which, if it be borne in mind, that the disease invariably
attacks those who are most predisposed to engender any malady, it is
not unreasonable to infer, that of those to whom it has proved mortal,
many would have died within the same period, had cholera not attacked
King Regner died singing the pleasure of falling in battle: his
words are, "The hours of my life are passed away, I shall die
laughing."--_Britain's Historical Drama._
_On a very Fat Man._
All flesh is grass, so do the Scriptures say,
And grass, when mown, is shortly turn'd to hay.
When Time, to mow you down, his scythe doth take,
Good Man! how large a stack you then will make.
* * * * *
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* * * * *
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