passage into another world; for we found that this magnificence of mummery had been instituted, and was from time to time repeated, for the benefit of those who had died without children, and whose spirits, for want of affectionate relatives to feed them with offerings of the kind which we had seen, were suffering all the misery of starvation. These ample supplies of provisions were, therefore, collected for them, and it was understood that, while the priests were praying, and the victuals were exposed, the spirits of these famished creatures were hovering in the air, and feasting deliciously on the quintessence of every thing eatable that had been set before them. When the priests concluded their necromantic spells of reading and praying, then, it was supposed, the invisible spirit of the meats, fruits, and delicacies had been consumed by the invisible spirits of the deceased; and after that the people were allowed to devour the gross substance. All parties seemed to be highly delighted--the priests with what they had done, and the people with what they had got; though it is said that flesh or any other kind of food thus sacrificed, when afterwards eaten, is found to have lost all its nourishing qualities, and become tasteless and insipid. Those, however, who carry off the good things on these occasions, so far as we can hear, are always well satisfied with the spirits' leavings. After this preposterous ceremony the priests retired into the temple, which they illuminated with numerous candles, and fumigated with sandal-wood within ; while, on the outside, they placed two monstrous caricatures of lions, carrying on their backs two warriors more frightful than themselves. These appeared to be engaged in mortal conflict together; but what was intended by the symbols we could not learn, On many poles, that were elevated round the building, were hoisted transparent lanterns, which, by means of strings beneath, were kept in perpetual rotation. These were to light the spirits on their way back from the feast to their homes beyond the grave. Though nothing could be more puerile than the whole spectacle, yet it was affecting to see multitudes of rational beings so duped and given up to idolatry.'-vol. ii. pp. 224–227.

Near Patna in India, the deputies met with a Hindoo saint, and this is the account they give of his exhibition.

* July 12. Within a few yards of the river, on our left, stood one of those horrid figures called a yogee--an Indian saint—a gentleman-beggar, who had placed himself in a certain attitude, from which he had vowed never to swerve during the remainder of his life, but spend his existence in mental abstraction. He appeared on a platform of earth, raised about eighteen inches from the ground. At one end of this mound (which might be seven feet long by five broad) were evected two bamboos, seven or eight feet high, and sufficiently apart for him to stand between them. At elbow-height a broad board was placed across from the one bamboo to the other; and upon the middle of this another piece of plank, two feet long by five inches wide, was fixed, sloping upwards from him. He, therefore, standing on the platform, and resting his arms upon the cross-bar, held with his hands on each side of the upright sloping board. He seemed to press equally on either foot, leaning a little forward, with his face turned rather aside, and raised towards the sun. His personal appearance was squalid and miserable. His body was daubed all over with blue mud; his hair-long, matted, discoloured to a yellowish brown with exposure-dangled in all direc

tions. His beard was bushy and black, and the rest of his face so disfigured with hair that it might be said to be all beard. Not the slightest motion in one of his limbs, nor in a muscle of his countenance, was perceptible. He was altogether withoạt clothing, except a slip of brown stuff about the loins. He wore the coita, or sacred thread, indicating that he was a Brahmin. Night and day, it is understood, the wretched sufferer (if, indeed, his state can be called one of suffering) maintains, without any variation, this paralyzing position. However, at the contrary end of the platform are four upright bamboos, with a mat suspended upon them, forming such a rude canopy as the Hindoos often sleep under; and at a short distance there is another shelter of the same kind; so that it is not improbable the crafty mendicant (like many of that fraternity in all countries, who live by their miseries, but know how to relax from them at due seasons), occasionally at least, takes the liberty to slip out of his pillory, and enjoy a restorative nap, under the darkness of night.'-vol. ii. pp. 321, 322.

We shall conclude with another specimen of the extraordinary policy of the Hindoo religion.

. While here, we had an opportunity of attending a great Hindoo festival, called Gangamma Tirnal, or the great goddess Gangamma, held in the village called Cocottapetta, distant from Cuddapah about five miles. This was a most novel and affecting sight. About 50,000 people were assembled in a sort of grove, around the filthy pagoda, in which was the object of attraction and adoration. Before the door of this swamy-house the people were sacrificing sheep and goats to the idol all the day, and streams of blood flowed in all directions. Around this place is a wide road, on which multitudes of bullock-basket-carts were driven, from which grain, of various kinds, was thrown to all such as chose to receive it, in fulfilment of vows.

Between twelve o'clock at noon and six in the evening, we thirty men and two women undergo the ceremony of swinging upon hooks put through the skin of their backs. The machine which was used for this purpose was a bullock-cart. Over the axle-tree a post was erected, over the top of which a beam, about thirty-five feet in length, passed, and moved upon a pin. The longer end of this beam extended over the bullocks; at the end of it was a square frame attached, adorned with young plantain-trees, in which two persons could stand. When the books were inserted into the skin, the ropes attached to the hooks were lashed firmly to the top bar of the frame, so as to allow the people to stand upon the lower bar. This being done, and we saw the operation performed in several instances, the beam was raised upon its fulcrum, and the persons on the frame were elevated about twenty-five or thirty feet above the ground. Each person was furnished with a dagger in one hand and a pocket-handkerchief in the other. The machines, to some of which were yoked six, eight, ten, or twelve bullocks, were now driven at full speed round the pagoda three times, while the deluded wretches were brandishing the dagger, and waving the handkerchief, occasionally resting their weight on the lower bar of the frame, but often suspending their entire weight on the hooks. Sometimes six or eight of these machines were driven round at the same time.

On enquiring why the deluded beings submitted to this punishment, some told us it was in fulfilment of vows made to the goddess ; others, that they were hired by persons standing by, and received one or


two rupees for their trouble. Among the trees were stalls and booths, in which were sold sweetmeats, victuals, trinkets, &c. Here were jugglers, beggars, and parties of pleasure; but very few took any notice of those horrid scenes which most attracted our attention.'—vol. ii. pp. 423, 424.

We hope that the freedom of observation which we have maintained, not only on this, but on any occasion when the subject has come legitimately before us, will not be mistaken for a disposition to discourage the missionary principle. Profoundly and uninterruptedly convinced of the truth of the Christian gospel, it seems to us to be a necessary consequence of our belief, that we should labour to propagate its blessings amongst those who might otherwise be deprived of them. It is our sense of the vast importance of this duty, which drives us to a severe and perhaps uncourteous exposure of the improper means that are resorted to, for the discharge of this sacred obligation. We would only ask, is not the scanty fruit of our unheard of labours and of our expenditure in missions, -amounting to the purchase money almost of a European royalty, -a sufficient reason why a change of system should be introduced? To this end all our remonstrances have been directed, and shall continue to be addressed.

ART. VII.-1. Jacqueline of Holland. A Historical Tale. By Thomas

Colley Grattan, Author of “ The Heiress of Bruges,” &c. In three

volumes, 8vo. London: Colburn & Co. 1831. 2. The Dutchman's Fireside. A Tale. By the Author of " Letters

from the South,” &c. In two volumes, 8vo. London: Colburn &

Co. 1831. 3. The Staff Officer ; or The Soldier of Fortune. A Tale of Real Life.

By Oliver Moore. In three volumes, 8vo. London : Cochrane &

Pickersgill. 1831. 4. The Club-Book : being Original Tales, &c. By various Authors. Edited by the Author of "The Dominie's Legacy.” In three volumes,

London : Cochrane and Pickersgill. 1831. MR. GRATTAN has been so long before the public, and his perfections and imperfections, as an inditer of novels, are so well known, that it is unnecessary for us to enter at any length into a critical analysis of his genius, or of the new work from his pen, which now spreads itself in three volumes before us. It must have been already observed, we apprehend, by most of his readers, that the more he has written the more he has improved in the fluency of his style, and the less in the attractions of his matter. Authorship has with him become so much an affair of trade, an occupation whereby he obtains a certain annual income, that he was not long in falling, as all such writers must of necessity fall, into a routine of ideas as well as of language, assuming that threadbare form, that secondhand appearance, which are so painfully significant of the hacknied tribe. A small groundwork detached from some old chronicle, upon which is raised a slender pile of story,

modo rem.

buttressed upon every side with innumerable props, in almost every possible shape; in other words, an episode from history spun out into a picture, and interwoven with incidents and characters sufficiently abundant to fill up the frame-work, which the author has contracted to furnish to the publisher, would seem to be all that may now be required, for the composition of what is called a historical tale, In the art of manufacturing such articles, Mr. Grattan has frequently proved himself an adept. Literary fame is nowa-days but a very secondary object; even Lord Byron has said, that the main point to be aimed at by a poet, was the rem, quocunque

The reader who expects that in the story of Jacqueline of Holland he may see the curtain of past centuries removed, and the people and costume and manners of a remote age, revived and passed in a panoramic view before him, will be grievously disappointed. We should suppose that the author had some such object in his contemplation, when he set about his work; but finding it much easier to write on, without troubling his brains too much, and trusting rather to his iuventive than his reading faculty, he has produced little beyond a mere novel, and that of a very ordinary ; description. The scene opens in the early part of the fifteenth century, upon the verge of the seven forests, near those wild plains of the ancient county of Drent, which are washed by the Zuyder Zee; here we are at once introduced to the heroine, disguised in a hunting dress, and attended by the Bishop of Utrecht, Zweder Van Culemberg. She was the cousin of Philip, Duke of Burgundy, Flanders, and Artois, dominions to which he was, at this period, ambitious of adding not only Brabant and Hainault, but also Holland, Zealand, and all the tributary provinces which stretched up to the northern sea. Jacqueline, who was Princess of Bavaria, and hereditary Countess of the territories which Philip marked as his prey, was already married to an imbecile youth, John of Brabant, from whom Philip obtained authority to take possession of the provinces in question. Jacqueline fled to England, where, determined to annul her marriage, she became the affianced wife of Humphrey, Duke of Glocester, who ardently espoused her cause. But having in the course of his correspondence dropped some expressions, for which Philip claimed personal satisfaction, he felt himself restrained by the laws of honour from giving her public assistance, until his private quarrel should have been disposed of, and hence we find him at the opening paying a secret visit to Jacqueline, in the seven forests, where she had just arrived, for the purpose of organizing the defence of her territory, against the avowed designs of Philip. One of her most zealous allies was the Bishop of Utrecht, against whom Philip had sworn vengeance; among the people her cause was sustained by the faction of the Hoeks, the then liberal party in Holland, as contrasted with the Kabbleshaws, who derived their appellation from a ridiculous dispute which happened to occur upon the question, whether the hook

(hoek) took the cod-fish, (kabblejaw), or the cod-fish the hook quite as rational an origin for a name, as that which gave rise to. our own distinctions of Whig and Tory. The leader of the Hoeks was Ludwick Van Monfoort, who accompanied Glocester to the appointed rendezvouz, Hainault being at this period irrecoverably lost, and Holland very nearly so, in aid of which, an English expedition, under the command of Lord Fitz-Walter, was already at sea. Plans of war having been agreed upon, the contest was maintained for some time against Philip, in the course of which; Glocester having abandoned Jacqueline for a “newer lover,” in his own country, she became enamoured of Vrank Borselen, a youth who was a distinguished member of the Kabbleshaws, the faction opposed to her sovereignty. The close of this strife is tragical in the extreme. A terrible catastrophe occurring to the forces of Philip, while marching in triumph with Jacqueline as his prisoner, he, thunder-struck, at once gave up his ambitious views upon her dominions, while she resolved to seek the shade of private life, in. which, with the husband of her choice, she spent the remainder of

her days.

This outline will sufficiently introduce one of the most effective scenes which Mr. Grattan has embodied in his work. It will be necessary only to add, that after the English auxiliaries had reached Holland, their presence gave an impulse to the cause of Jacqueline, which induced many even of the Kabbleshaws to join her standard, and that her affairs wore a most favourable aspect when the following scene occurred, which gives a striking view of the notions of the age as to the sacredness of human life. She held her court in the town of Amersfort, where her mother constantly attended, who relied more for success upon secret intrigue and assassination, than upon the results of open warfare.

• It was now night. The external rejoicings had ceased; and the strong castle of Amersfort was undisturbed and silent. The household had all retired. Her women were dismissed ; and no one remained with her but her mother, the Countess Marguerite, who sat by the side of the little platform on which stood the copper brazier with burning charcoal, the means then used to warm all rooms but dining halls; and even in these the fire was generally made against a reredosse, the “ multitude of chimneys,” so marvelled at by a later English chronicler, not having become common in Europe.

• The conversation of the countess, prolonged far beyond the usual hour of retiring, turned upon the recent events. The dowager took the lead in the discourse, asking many questions of her daughter as to the progress of her arms, the particulars of the battles, and the state of matters with Glocester, to all which enquiries Jacqueline gave respectful answers, but in some instances with reserve, and in most with a lassitude bordering on apathy. Her mother went on nevertheless, and with an air almost as absorbed as her own, but shewing a mixture of restlessness with thought, as though some unformed purpose struggled in her mind. She ran on at times with a fluent string of questions, without waiting for the answers to those first put; and she sometimes started, muttered a few imperfect

« ElőzőTovább »