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apartments, are presented to the eye in a long perspective which seems almost irreconcileable with the fact that we are looking upon a mere surface of paper. “Mrs. Stanhope,' and 'Do you remember it?' are a pair of beautiful portraits. The 'Repentance of Nineveh, designed in his Miltonic style, by Martin, is another of the distinguished ornaments of this volume: but, indeed, wherever we turn, we find nothing in the way of embellishment, that can be justly called mediocre.
The same observation may be applied, with equal propriety, to Mr. Heath's Picturesque Annual, embracing what are very truly described in the title page as 'twenty-six beautifully-finished engravings, from sketches taken in the north of Italy, the Tyrol, and on the Rhine. What an admirable production is that 'Swiss Cottage, near Brieg '—the town in the half distance, near it abrupt rocks, and, in the distance, snow-crowned mountains—in front, the careful cottager, driving his well-fed kine, with their rich udders, under the shed which is to protect them from the weather, his wife going in through the open door of the cottage, to which she has ascended by some steps, and on the left a brace of chubby children feeding a goat ! The Gallery of Gondo’ is another fine specimen of the superiority of the arts in this country. Those who have seen Mount St. Gothard, at the diorama, will be able to form some idea of the effect of this beautiful picture. What shall we say of the ‘Lago Maggiore,' the ‘Sesto Calende,' the two views of · Verona,' the · Dogana,' St. Pietro de Castello,' • Murano,' Trent,' 'Innspruck, and, in short, all the numerous and splendid plates, which may be justly said to decorate this volume ? The reader should see them in order to judge for himself, and we may assure him that he will be exceedingly gratified by adopting our recommendation, for we venture to say, that twenty-six such plates as these never were collected together in one volume.
The letter-press consists of a real or imaginary tour, we do not well understand which, calculated to make the reader acquainted with the different scenes which form the subjects of the embellishments. It is written in a lively, and, occasionally, a piquant style, of which a sketch from the Tyrol will afford a fair sample.
Our own excursions were limited to rambles on foot among the mountains and valleys in the neighbourhood of the river; and of these we can give but a very indifferent account-for, to say the truth, we forgot, in our individual gratification, the demands of an expectant, or at least expected, reader. We can conceive no higher pleasure in this world, than a summer's stroll through the Tyrol, with a knapsack on our back, and a staff in our hand. If to these we had the good fortune to add a few silver coins in our pouch (and a very few would suffice), and—not so much for companionship as just by way of an excuse for letting out our voice now and then, when the chest rose, and the muscles swelled, and the heart
grew full-a bit of a dog by our side, a rough touzy tyke of a terrier--we would not change places with an emperor.
« On the right bank of the Inn, as it approaches Innspruck, the country
is very picturesque, the avenues to the mountains leading between sloping hills, and through defiles covered with wood. On the opposite side, the huge black cliffs ascend abruptly from the valley, and present an unbroken mass of shadow, till the eye reaches the region of snow and ice. The plains between are laid out in rich pastures, groves, and orchards, with here and there a cottage or a hamlet peeping through the trees. The Ion rolls in the midst, a broad and abundant stream, and gives an appearance of freshness and animation to the whole picture.
"Sometimes a raft is seen, floating down, from the recesses of the Tyrol, some family or tribe of mountaineers, with their whole worldly possessions. The raft is adapted, in point of size, to the number of the colony it is meant to transport; and is constructed of nothing more than rough trunks of trees floored over, and navigated by two persons, fore and aft, each provided with a broad oar to direct their course. The current answers for wind and stream together; and onward glides, through solitudes where the scream of the eagle is heard above their heads, and where the wild goat looks down upon them in surprise from the cliffs.
• As they draw nearer to the mountain-city, a stir may be seen in the floating village. The adventurers make haste to array themselves in all the bravery of their native valleys; and instructions seem to be given, from one to the other, to comport themselves with the propriety which the importance of the occasion demands. The young women are anxiously assisted by their mothers to arrange their head-gear and plait their hair; while their duddy cheeks grow yet more ruddy, flushed with dreams of conquest, with anticipations of novelty and delight, with the thousand dazzling but indefinite hopes of innocence and youth.
• On arrival, the raft, which, though it descended, cannot ascend the current, is hewn to pieces, and sold for timber or firewood; and the passengers are dispersed, like its materials, over the country. Few find their way back to the valleys from which their descent was so easy and so pleasant. Alas! what a string of stale moralities might be appended to this history !
• It seems extraordinary to us, that a country and a people so interesting--and, what is of more consequence to the fashionable literature of our day, so melo-dramatic-should be so little known in England. With the honourable exception of one part of the “Passes of the Alps,” we do not know an English book that even professes to give an account of the Tyrol. In French, we have met with nothing that could satisfy any reasonable curiosity: in Italian, we find a pamphlet dedicated to the description of a southern portion of the country; and in German alone is there any thing approaching to detail. For our own part, we have, at present, no opportunity, and no room, to attempt filling up the hiatus-although we shall hope, at some future period, to be able to tell at least all that we know: and, in the mean time, we devote the few pages we can now spare to a sketch, in our hasty way, of the country and its inhabitants.
On the north, the Tyrol is bounded by Bavaria, on the east, by Austria, Carinthia, and the eastern portion of the Lombard - Venetian kingdom; on the south, by western Lombardy; and, on the west, by Switzerland. The Swiss frontiers are merely imaginary lines of geography; for, in reality, the two countries form one territory of nature. The 'Tyrolese appear to be continuations of the Swiss mountains, presenting the same physical cha
racter, and the same classes of vegetation ; while the animal productions, including man himself, bear distinct traces of their common identity. The lakes and valleys, however, dwindle as the borders of Helvetia are left behind; and the Tyrol seems to be a debateable land of the Alps, where they thrust their white heads in from all quarters, and in the wildest confusion. The loftiest of these mountains in the Tyrol, and in all Germany, is the Ostler. Towards the east, there is the same indistinctness in the borders; but the Bavarian and Italian frontiers are intelligibly drawn.
• From the height of the mountains, every variety of temperature may be experienced in a walk of a few hours; but, in general, towards the north, the climate is still more severe than might be expected from the geographical situation of the country, while in the south it is in the same degree mild and warm. Cattle is the staple commodity in the north, where there is little room for agriculture, and where the soil is unproductive; in the south, wine, silk, and fruits, are rich and abundant.
• The country is divided politically into seven circles : those of the Upper and Lower Ion, Botzen, Puster, Roveredo, Trent, and Bregenz. In these circles there are twenty-one principal towns, thirty-two smaller towns, and 1558 villages. The population of the whole country does not exceed seven hundred and sixty-two thousand.
• Brave, honest, and faithful, but superstitious and bigotted, the TyroJese of the present day seems to owe both his good and bad qualities to the physical peculiarities of his situation. Shut in by his mountains, by the poverty of his country, and by his own fierce and warlike character, from admixture from the rest of the world, he retains the same faith and prejudices that hung like a nightmare upon Europe in the iron ages. These, however, are counteracted in their moral influence by their circumstances. The narrowness of the valleys rendering them insufficient for his support, he is compelled to wrest a hard subsistence from the mountains. He scatters his grain, or plants his vines, wherever they will grow, and is only stopped in his hardy agriculture by the influence of climate. The same cause makes him a "mighty hunter.” If the valley is insufficient, or the mountain churlishi, he has recourse to the exercise, forbidden or not, of his rifle, and preys upon his fellow-commoners of nature--the roe, the stag, the wolf, the bear, and the chamois. Danger becomes habitual, and is therefore unattended with fear. A spirit of martial honour stands in place of the rules that dominate the plains; and on the peaceable habits of the agriculturist are engrafted the wild virtues of the outlaw.
• The skill in firing, for which the Tyrolese are famous, was acquired in the chase. Before it became a matter of honour and rivalship, it was an affair of business—a part of their every-day calling. It is now a point of national pique; and the man who never shot a chamois can put a bullet through a target, at a distance from which an English marksman could hardly see the bull's eye. The traveller is perpetually reminded of this peculiarity in the people. Every where there are rifle-shots ringing through the valleys,, and knots of peasants contending for the prize. Even the troops of the line convert their drill into a manly pastime; and are seen and heard returning from the field, with their well-riddled target borne home on their shoulders, to the music of the drum and fife.
* At meetings where the professed business is rivalry, it could hardly be
that the parties should separate without a fight. This, indeed, is a very common consummation of a ball-firing match; but in the Tyrol, as in England, there are certain laws of honour enforced by the bystanders, which invest the turn-up with an extrinsic dignity, and, from a dog-like grapple, convert it into an exhibition of strength and skill. One of the spectators is elected, before commencement, the judge of the battle ; and this honour is usually awarded to acknowledged strength, as it sometimes falls to the lot of the judge to enforce the laws by means of a drubbing The conqueror has the right to pluck the feather from his enemy's hat and stick it in his own. The appearance of three feathers at once in any hat is a general challenge, and shows that the wearer considers himself--and is ready to refer the fact to the arbitrament of sticks or fisticuffs—the best man in the valley.
Among the amusements of the people, the most singular are the dramatic representations, performed, not by professional actors, but by the peasants themselves. These, we believe, are now almost peculiar to the Tyrolese; but they were formerly practised in Bavaria, Swabia, and Switzerland. The drama is planned, and the parts studied, during the long nights of winter; and the author is generally either the schoolmaster or the shoemaker-for there is an affinity in the Tyrol, as well as in England, between poetry and leather. When the fine summer days begin, the audience assemble, from far and near, either in the court of a farm-house, or on the banks of the river. At the expense of a few kreutzers, they take their places in the sun, and remain from mid-day until evening.
· The performance commonly consists of three distinct pieces: the first, a religious mystery; the second, a sort of national melo-drama; and the third, a drollery or farce. The mystery sometimes represents the life of Christ in a dramatic form ; sometimes it is a saintly legend; and sometimes a story from the old Testament, such as the judgment of Solomon, or Joseph in Egypt. In the melo-drama, there is always a person whose influence on the action of the piece is derived from the elevation of his religious character. In his hands, the cross is used like the magic sword of Harlequin; and the rosary is a chain strong enough to controul the laws of nature themselves. There is also a comic personage, who answers to the clown of England—abundance of tyrants, who are always Pagans and last, not least, the devil himself, in the shape of a huntsman. This last character plays a thousand tricks, till he is at length discovered, and vanishes with a most unamiable smell, and in the midst of thunder and lightning.
• When the piece of The Passion is performed, it is garnished, between each act, with texts from Scripture which bear reference to the part of the action that is to follow. These interludes, however, are sometimes pantomimic representations of what the next act is to display at length; and, during their performance, an angel reads the programme, exhorting the spectators, and pointing out the passages which should come most home to their business and bosoms.
• The farce is accompanied with instrumental music, and contains the secret history of the village, plentifully sprinkled with scandal and railleries. If any thing ridiculous takes place before the curtain, since the commencement of this long entertainment, it is straightway lugged into the piece, and the audience are made to laugh at their own follies and absurdities.
The Tyrolese are passionately attached to the memory of their great
patriot, Hofer. At the head of our bed there is a printed memorandum, framed and glazed, which purports that Hofer once lodged in this house, where he arrived on the 15th of August, 1809. Our bed, be it known, since we have mentioned such a thing, is stuffed with the husks of Indian corn, according to a custom that is also prevalent in Italy. If Mr. Cobbett's speculation succeeds, and the plant becomes general in England, the people will find it much more comfortable, cleanly, and easily arranged,
when used in this way, than either Aock or wool. :
« The Goldene Adler, independently of being the house where Hofer lodged, is a primitive inn, at once cheap and comfortable. Having paid our very moderate bill, leaving a gratuity for the servants, the chambermaid came into our room, and, seizing our hand, kissed it! We did not
recollect at the moment that this was a customary way of expressing gra: titude in such cases. We were hurried, indeed, and taken at a loss : and,
in short, without an idea of gallantry, or any thing else, but simply from not knowing how to act on the occasion, we returned the salute on the damsel's lips. She appeared to be grateful for the new compliment, and courtseying low, thanked us again, and withdrew.'— Picturesque Annual, pp. 236-244.
The' Continental Annual' has no more than half the number of embellishments contained in the work which we have just noticed, and so far it must necessarily yield the palm in Mr. Heath's favour. But in point of design and execution, we think that Mr. Prout's volume would bear comparison with the · Picturesque Annual,' or with any other production of the same class that has yet been presented to the public. The editor, for the purpose of introducing the plates, which consist principally of views from different cities in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, has selected from various sources, a series of romantic tales, adding to them one or two original stories from the pen of a foreigner. Considering the difficulty that exists, among so many Annuals, of lighting upon any thing that wears an appearance of novelty, we should suppose that Mr. Kennedy's plan has a very fair chance of success. Some of the tales are abundantly garnished with horrors of the olden time; others embrace modern adventures, thus affording a variety of entertainment for every taste. Perhaps it might be objected to this work, that it contains two or three papers which have no reference whatever to any of the embellishments, and that so far it is nothing more than a mere compilation of tales. The fault, if it really be one, may be easily avoided in the next year's volume.
The Russian Spy' is not, however, one of the compositions which are placed in this predicament: and as it seems to be one of the original contributions to the work, and at the same time one of the most interesting, we shall transcribe a portion of it.
The author describes himself as a surgeon and a native of Dresden, in which city he passed the memorable year 1813, and beheld the calamities that were brought upon it by the arrival of the French armies under Davoust and St. Cyr. Among the persons who resided in the same house with him, occupying one of the attics,