« ElőzőTovább »
This is in itself no slight recommendation of The scene of Kavanagh is a New England vilworks of fiction. The Spanish character of the lage in the process of becoming a railway town. writings of Cervantes, the English of De Foe's, The principal characters are the schoolmaster, with constitute not the least of their charms. Mr. Long- his wife and children ; an old clergyman, uncerfellow's are also imbued with higher than merely emoniously cashiered by his parishioners ; his suclocal qualities. To a quick perception of the beau- cessor, Kavanagh himself; the district judge and tiful, graceful, and tender, he unites a true imagi- his daughter; the butcher, the mercer, the birdnation, a familiarity with the literature of many fancier, and other notables of the village. Individlanguages, and a soundness of judgment which cor- ual peculiarities are happily hit off. The old rects and applies these qualities with admirable clergyman, whose delight it is to expatiate on the taste. He has patiently and sedulously cultivated Zumzummims, and go at large into the bloodiest all his talents. He is a ripe scholar and a careful campaigns of the ancient Hebrews; and the butcher, observer of nature. Like
many of his countrymen whose office it is to supply the village with fresh he has studied with profit in the school of Germany, provisions, and weigh all the babies, who rejoices yet without impairing his nationality. His turn of in a fresh, rosy complexion and an exceedingly mind is original, while yet we can trace in it the white frock every Monday morning, and who has suggestive influence of the great intellects of Ger- lately married a milliner in the “ Dunstable and many. In Kavanagh Mr. Longfellow observes and eleven-braid” line, and made his marriage jaunt delineates the every day life of New England in a to a neighboring town to see a man hanged for spirit akin to that of Jean Paul Richter. In Evan- murdering his wife; are placed very visibly before geline we have a purely American idyl not unde- us. Nor less distinct is the truculent son of the serving to take its place beside the Dorothea of latter worthy dismissed from school for playing Göthe.
truant, who, when his mother would frighten him Kavanagh is essentially Richterish, yet with a into good behavior by telling him that the boys difference. The sharpness of touch, the incessant who know the dead languages will throw stones at revelations of stoical character which break through him in the street, imperturbably replies, “ he the fantastic waywardness of Richter, are not here. should like to see them try it.” Equally vivid is On the other hand, it has nothing of the conscious our vision of Miss Sally Manchester, excellent effort which sometimes characterizes Richter’s wit; chambermaid and bad cook, with a temper like “ nothing of the indulgence in sheer dirt which he pleasant saw," and her large pink bow on the mingles so harshly with passages of dreaming, congregation side” of her Sunday bonnet. The ethereal purity.
monotonous progress of this well-regulated society Perhaps the marking features of a generally edu- jis skilfully indicated, while its somewhat dull cated society cannot be adequately portrayed but by ground is pleasantly relieved by the reveries and that constant antithesis of poetical imagination and aspirations of the educated and refined characters, grotesque commonplace in which Richter and Long- and by the beauty of the physical nature which tellow so delight to revel. The imaginative and surrounds them, seen through their animated perthe practical parts of our nature, so inextricably in- ceptions of it. Mr. Churchill, whom nature meant tertwined in the men of former generations, have for a poet, but destiny made a schoolmaster, with been disentangled in the men of the present. Every his projected romance, which at the end as at the educated man (or woman) lives now-a-days alter- beginning of the book has still to be begun, is as nately in two entirely dissimilar worlds. There full of fancies, edifying and delectable, as the melis the monotonous, uneventful real world, in which ancholy Jacques. The more energetic will of Kavhe discharges family and social duties, and pursues anagh imparts a more substantial character to the an industrial calling, under the ægis of the police ; | imaginative portion of his life. and there is the ideal world of books and art, in Let us add that Mr. Longfellow, while followwhich his higher faculties find the nutriment denied ing out pretty closely the objects of his fiction, has them in actual life. This temporary divorce of the not confined himself to tracing the characters of real and the imaginative marks a stage in human men whose sober judgment teaches them instincprogress ; but they are severed only to be reünited tively to acquiesce in the present separation of when a greater advance has been made. The pres- man's life into two imperfect lives. In the brief ent stage is an unsatisfactory one, both in the com- glimpse afforded us of the Millerites and their camp fort of the individual and the capabilities of society, meetings, we have a powerful picture of the fatal as a subject for artistical treatment. Actual life, precipitateness with which fiery and uninstructed with the element of romance expelled, is dull and spirits seek to hasten that reünion of the imaginadepressing ; imagination, harshly separated from tive and actual which must be left to come in the the real world, is apt to become feeble and fantastic. good time of Providence. We are also forcibly But since it is so, we must be content; and the reminded by the beautiful picture of Alice Archer, poet, whom, as it has been said of the poor, we that the throes of passion are as tumultuous and shall have always with us,” must make the most death-fraught beneath the imperturbable surface of the materials offered to him in the best way he of orderly society, as when they were freely given can. In these facts we trace the origin, and find to view in times of less self-constraint. The most the vindication, of that class of prose fictions of terrible of tragedies, after all, is when men, aware which Richter's and Longfellow's are examples. of their impending fate, are hurried helplessly to
BENEDICT BELLEFONTAINE AND HIS DAUGHTER.
destruction in a ship over which they have no gov- | if not in England, assuredly on the north of the ernance, and where there is nothing for them but Tweed, we could find kindred spirits to Hester to await death in resignation or despair.
Green's minister, who asked her, the day after the The theme of Evangeline neither calls for nor ball, “ if she did not feel the fire of a certain place admits the play of fancy which the contrast between growing hot under her feet while she was dancing?" the meditative and active existence of men in actual The reader will thank us for the extracts we subsociety forces upon Mr. Longfellow in Kavanagh. join. It is a tale of simple earnestness, very graceful, and amid its unexaggerated truthfulness animated by a tranquil and lofty spirit of endurance. The Stalworth and stately in form was the man of sev
enty winters; story is of a betrothed and her bridegroom, sepa- Hearty and hale was he, an oak that is covered rated on the eve of their marriage, only to be with snow-flakes ; reünited in extreme old age at the death-bed of the White as the snow were his locks, and his cheeks bridegroom. The story was suggested by the ex- as brown as the oak leaves. pulsion of the neutral French from the province of Fair was she to behold, that maiden of seventeen Acadia by the British government at the close of
Black were her eyes as the berry that grows on the war of succession. The transference of the
the thorn by the way-side, exiles to other regions was effected with such reck- Black, yet how softly they gleamed beneath the less precipitance that many families were scattered, brown shade of her tresses ! never to meet again. On this hint. Mr. Longfel- Sweet was her breath as the breath of kine that low's imagination has bodied forth the bride and feed in the meadows. bridegroom wasting their lives in mutual searches When in the harvest heat she bore to the reapers after each other. The story is told in unrhymed Flagons of home-brewed ale, ah ! fair in sooth was
at noontide hexameters, a style of versification happily adapted
the maiden. to a narrative in which suspense and expectation Fairer was she when, on Sunday morn, while the are the predominant emotions. The opening sketch bell from its turret of the tranquil and happy lives of the French Aca- Sprinkled with holy sounds the air, as the priest dians on the gulf of Minas is truly idyllic. The
with his hyssop death of the stout old farmer in the arms of his Sprinkles the congregation, and scatters blessings bereaved daughter, on the eve of embarkation,
Down the long street she passed, with her chaplet in the presence of the burning village, is strikingly
of beads and her missal, tragic. The interest in Evangeline, throughout Wearing her Norman cap, and her kirtle of blue, her devious, life-prolonged search, is kept up with- and the ear-rings, out intermission ; and what is painful in the theme Brought in the olden time from France, and since, is relieved by beautiful sketches of the scenery of as an heirloom, the south-western waters, and the busy lives of Handed down from mother to child, through long their inhabitants. But still more is it relieved by
generations. the atmosphere of patient resignation, and religious Shone on her face and encircled her form, when,
But a celestial brightness—a more ethereal beautyreliance, which pervades all places through which after confession, the tender vision of Evangeline passes. And the Homeward serenely she walked with God's beneend of the much-enduring woman, as of her more diction upon her. tempest-tossed lover, is peace. The happy and When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing varied imagery of the poem is throughout instinct of exquisite music. with that higher spirit which can impart a sad pleasure even to the deepest tragedy.
One reflection we must add, upon the strong re- They, too, swerved from their course; and, entersemblances in New England life and society, to Soon were lost in a maze of sluggish and devious
ing the Bayou of Plaquemine, that which is found in Old England. The dif
waters, ferences are many, but they are accidental and Which, like a network of steel, extended in every superficial. At bottom the men of New England direction. are Englishmen still. In every English village Over their heads the 'towering and tenebrous (as Miss Mitford could tell) we might find counter
boughs of the
cypress parts to the prominent characters of Fairfield. Met in a dusky arch, and trailing mosses in mid
air Their daily avocations, their occasional pleasures, Waved like banners that hang on the walls of are in the main the same. Their morals, their
ancient cathedrals. weaknesses, are akin. English parishioners cannot Deathlike the silence seemed, and unbroken, save so unceremoniously rid themselves of a dull clergy- by the herons man; but with this difference, they have their Home to their roosts in the cedar-trees returning at ecclesiastical bickerings all the same as at Fair
sunset, field. The pleasant picnic party at “Roaring Or by the owl, as he greeted the moon with demo Brook” is not without as pleasant counterparts Lovely the moonlight was
niac laughter. here. Both in New and Old England the divided
as it glanced and
gleamed on the water, lives of the same men, in an ideal and real world, Gleamed on the columns of cypress and cedar sus form one of the characteristics of the age. And taining the arches,
EXILES ON THE WATERS OF THE WEST.
Down through whose broken vaults it fell as Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; through chinks in a ruin.
as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, Dreamlike and indistinct, and strange were all is only a stone. things around them ;
The natural alone is permanent. Fantastic idols And o'er their spirits there came a feeling of won- may be worshipped for a while; but at length they der and sadness
are overturned by the continual and silent progress Strange forebodings of ill, unseen and that cannot of truth, as the grim statues of Copan have been be compassed.
pushed from their pedestals by the growth of As, at the tramp of a horse's hoof on the turf of the forest-trees, whose seeds were sown by the wind in prairies,
the ruined walls. Far in advance are closed the leaves of the shrink- The every-day cares and duties, which men call ing mimosa,
drudgery, are the weights and counterpoises of the So, at the hoof-beats of fate, with sad forebodings clock of time, giving its pendulum a true vibration,
and its hands a regular motion ; and when they Shrinks and closes the heart, ere the stroke of cease to hang upon the wheels, the pendulum no doom has attained it.
longer swings, the hands no longer move, the clock stands still.
THE SCHOOLMASTER LET LOOSE.
Great men stand like solitary towers in the city
IRISH TEMPERANCE HYMN. of God, and secret passages running deep beneath external nature give their thoughts intercourse The following verses, under the title of Curwith higher intelligences, which strengthens and tain the Lamp," appeared in the last number of consoles them, and of which the laborers on the the Nation. surface do not even dream!
Some such thought as this was floating vaguely Curtain the lamp, and bury the bowl, through the brain of Mr. Churchill, as he closed
The ban is on drinking ; his school-house door behind him; and if in any Reason shall reign the Queen of the Soul degree he applied it to himself, it may perhaps be
When the spirits are sinking. pardoned in a dreamy, poetic man like him ; for Chained lies the demon that smote with blight, we judge ourselves by what we feel capable of
Men's morals and barrels; doing, while others judge us by what we have Then hail to health, and a long good night already done. And moreover, his wife considered
To old wine and new quarrels ! him equal to great things. To the people in the village he was the schoolmaster, and nothing more.
Nights shall descend, and no taverns ring They beheld in his form and countenance no out
To the roar of our revels; ward sign of the divinity within. They saw him Mornings shall dawn, but none of them bring daily moiling and delving in the common path, like White lips and blue devils. a beetle, and little thought that underneath that Riot and frenzy sleep with remorse hard and cold exterior, lay folded delicate golden
In the obsolete potion, wings, wherewith, when the heat of day was over, And mind grows calm as a ship on her course he soared and revelled in the pleasant evening air.
O'er the level of ocean. To-day he was soaring and revelling before the sun had set; for it was Saturday. With a feeling So should it be! for man's world of romance of infinite relief he left behind him the empty
Is fast disappearing, school-house, into which the hot sun of a Septent- And shadows of changes are seen in advance, ber afternoon was pouring. All the bright young
Whose epochs are nearing. faces were gone; all the impatient little hearts And the days are at hand when the best shall rewere gone; all the fresh voices, shrill, but musical quire with the melody of childhood, were gone; and the
All means of salvation ; lately busy realm was given up to silence, and the And the souls of men shall be tried in the fire dusty sunshine, and the old gray flies that buzzed
Of the final probation ! and bumped their heads against the window-panes. The sound of the outer door, creaking on his heb- And the witling no longer or sneers or smiles domadal hinges, was like a sentinel's challenge, to
And the worldling dissembles, which the key growled responsive in the lock; and And the blank-hearted sceptic feels anxious at whiles the master, casting a furtive glance at the last car
And marvels and trembles ; icature of himself in red chalk on the wooden fence And fear and defiance are blent in the jest close by, entered with a light step the solemn
Of the blind self-deceiver; avenue of pines that led to the margin of the river. But hope bounds high in the joyous breast
Of the childlike believer!
Morality, without religion, is only a kind of Darken the lamp, then, and shatter the bowl, dead-reckoning—an endeavor to find our place on a
Ye faithfullest-hearted; cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, And as your swift years travel on to the goal, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.
Whither worlds have departed, Many readers judge of the power of a book by Spend labor, life, soul, in your zeal to atone the shock it gives their feelings—as some savage
For the past and its errors. tribes determine the power of muskets by their So best shall you bear to encounter alone, recoil; that being considered best which fairly
The EVENT! and its terrors. prostrates the purchaser.
CHAPTER 1. -THE DEPARTURE.
From Tail's Magazine. Geneva and Chamberi, and Madame de Warrens THERE AND BACK AGAIN.
and Claude Anet, became engraven ineffaceably BY JAMES AUGUSTUS ST. JOHN,
on my mind; and with the whole, the dust, sunAuthor of “History of the Manners and Customs of Ancient
shine, green meadows, shady groves, sparkling Margarei Ravenscroft,” “ Egypt and
streams, and melting heat of July, were inextriMohammed Ali," &c. &c.
From that time to the present, Rousseau and I THERE AND BACK AGAIN ! Will you accom- have been on good terms. The objections company me, reader ? If you do, we shall converse by monly made to bim by others have little weight the way on many subjects besides the picturesque. with me. Perhaps, indeed, the facts which proThe journey altogether was a strange one for me, voke their anathemas constitute the principal because, not having been a great traveller, I had reason of my preference, namely, that he was the not, and, indeed, have not yet, learned to view great apostle and father of the revolution, that he men and countries as commonplace because many wrote the “Contrat Sociale," and disturbed the other persons before me had beheld them. In mov- political creed of all noble and imaginative minds ing about the world, it is not always what we see, throughout Europe. Let those persons who are but what we feel, that is productive of most delight really wise take all due credit for it. I make no both to ourselves and others. Nature supplies the pretensions of that sort. I came to Switzerland, canvas, but we must bring along with us the col- as I have said, out of partiality for Jean Jacques ors, if we would call into being an original or Rousseau, fully expecting to find at Vevay and even a true picture-true, I mean, for all those Clarens the representatives, in feature and figure who have the same organization and sympathies at least, of Julie and Claire. with us.
We used—my wife and 1-0 discuss these Every man has his own peculiar motives for matters seriously, because it was a rule with us travelling, and, therefore, of course, I had mine ; never to remain long in any place where the though you will probably become incredulous women were other than handsome, or at least when I endeavor to explain what they were. It tolerably pretty. This may be set down to our was not to behold lakes, glaciers, and mountains love for the picturesque ; for, after all, there is no whose heads touch heaven, that I had come into combination of eart wood, and water, which can Switzerland ; it was not in search of poetical or claim to be regarded as half so beautiful as a other inspiration ; neither, being perfectly well, beautiful woman. Lakes are very magnificent, was it with any view of improving my health, or and so are forests and mountains ; but if, with acquiring animal spirits, with which, at the time, Milton, we were deprived of the power of beholdI was literally overflowing. I had come purely ing external things, it is the human face divine out of love for the memory of Jean Jacques Rous- that we should most earnestly desire to look upon seau, and that I might stroll about at my ease again. Neither sun, nor moon, nor day, nor night, over the scene of the Nouvelle Heloise. But would awaken within us regrets so poignant as the why was the memory of Rousseau dear to me? faces of dear friends now for us blotted out forever Probably some one had breathed it into my ears from the aspect of nature. before the dawn of memory, and rendered it Ever since our passage of the Jura, I had been familiar to me in that period of life when to be visited by the suspicion that we had got among an familiar is always to be loved. The day on which inferior race of human beings. France, heaven I first became acquainted with his writings I re- knows, is not remarkable for female beauty, and member most distinctly. It was in the midst of yet one does occasionally in that country see lovely summer, when July had covered all the roads, and faces and bright eyes flitting by one, especially in sprinkled all the bushes in their vicinity, with Normandy, and certain provinces of the south. dust. A cousin, who lived some five or six miles But in Switzerland, the imagination immedioff, had just written to me, to say that he had got ately begins to flag for lack of excitement. a copy of the “Confessions,” which, if I would Rocks, and snow, and forests you have, no doubt, fetch them, would lend to me. I started early, in abundance ; and, if you can be satisfied with with one of my sisters as a companion, all the these, you may fancy yourself in Paradise. way amusing myself with imagining what man- Nothing is wanting but a finely and delicately ner of things those “ Confessions” could be. We organized humanity. It seems, however, to be walked through shady Janes, over meadows a general law, that, wherever nature puts on strewed with wild flowers, crossing many a brook gigantic dimensions, man is intellectually dwarfed, by the aid of a plank or small rustic bridge, and for mountainous regions have seldom or never at length reached the house in which the treasure given birth to great minds, or stamped a poetical lay. All else connected with this circumstance character on their inhabitants. A seaport town, has faded from my memory but the book and my embosomed in low hills, and a flat wool-combing sister, and the way in which I read as we returned place, on a sluggish river, have produced the two home. I sat on stiles, I reclined on green banks, greatest poets that ever lived ; and if we traverse beneath the chequered shade of oaks and elms; the whole earth in search of beauty, we shall I devoured the 6s Confessions." The names of find it chiefly on plains, or in modest hills and valleys, like those of Great Britain, Italy, and Seine. But an invisible link of brotherhood binds Greece.
them together still; and, doubtless, there are It was night when we arrived at Vevay, and, moments when, from the most distant parts of the therefore, we were compelled to defer till morn- world, the minds of all revert to that beautiful ing our search for the Julies and the Claires. spot where, in days of unmingled happiness, they Then, however, it being market-day, on which laughed and sported before me in the shadow, as economical habits ring out nearly the whole it were, of Mont Blanc. female population, we went forth early, in the It is an exclamation of Byron, “O that I could hope of realizing Rousseau's delightful vision. wreak my thoughts upon expression !” But let me not dwell upon the sequel. Goitres I have a thousand times uttered a similar wish ; and cretins, swollen necks and hideous idiotic not that my ideas are too big for language, but faces—some from Savoy, who had crossed the that I have never yet had the courage to turn lake in boats, others from the surrounding villages them out of the spiritual into the visible world. of the Pays de Vaud—met our eyes on all sides, Many and many are the thoughts that crowd and with here and there a woman of passable aspect, nestle about our hearts, and exist only for ourbut nothing like beauty, delicacy, or grace. We selves. Perhaps we love them the more, because were disgusted with Vevay at once; nevertheless, they are exclusively ours, and would seem to lose in consideration of the exquisite scenery, the walks their maiden purity and beauty, if exposed in up the slopes of Mount Chardonn, the views from indifferent drapery to the public. I wish, howthe chalet at the summit, the meadows along the ever, to be somewhat frank in this place, and to banks of the Veveyse, the stroll to the Chateau reveal a little of what passed in my mind when de Blonay, the rocks of Meillerie, the Dent de about to quit Europe for Africa. Nothing can be Jaman, and the vast amphitheatrical sweep of further from me than the desire to impart undue grandeur from Clarens to St. Gingoulph, we pro- importance to a journey which many had perlonged our visit to a month, after which we re- formed before, and some without encountering turned to Lausanne, where the Swiss seemed more any very formidable obstacles or dangers. But tolerable in appearance.
the question was one of prudence or imprudence. This place we for some time made our home, All my fortunes were mysteriously bound up in and I selected it to be the home of my family my gray goose quill, which, to the seven urchins during my absence in the east. If you have been before me, stood altogether in the place of Aladat Lausanne, you will remember, a little way out din's lamp. Heaven, for aught they knew, rained of the town, on the road to Berne, a fine house on cakes and bread and butter upon them from the the right hand, called Johinont, standing in the sky, and would continue to do so, whether I hapmidst of a beautiful shrubbery and gardens. pened to be on the shores of the Leman lake, or There it was we lived; and there, in the evening, in the Mountains of the Moon. But my faith was as I watched my children playing upon the ter- not quite so boundless, and therefore my almost race, or appearing and disappearing among the irrepressible buoyancy of spirit sometimes flagged trees and plantations below, I used to enjoy the a little when I reflected that the poke of an Arab prospect of the Alps, terminating with the sum- spear, or Moggrebin dagger, might turn the mit of Mont Blanc, relieved like a pale spectral world into a wilderness for those joyous little cloud against the blue sky.
ones, and leave my bones bleaching among those Poets talk freely, and without offence, of their of camels in the Libyan or Arabian Desert. children, wives, and mistresses ; and why may However, in the sphere of parentship there not prose writers take the same liberty? Mothers are two human providences; and, therefore, it at least will forgive me if I become a little more was not without great confidence that I deterfamiliar and communicative than is usual in a mined on my expedition. Most persons endowed formal tête-à-tête with the public. But I am with fancy have, probably, from childhood, nourfond of children, of my own especially; and hav- ished a longing to visit some distant spot, haling just then seven of them, all full of health and lowed, if I may so express myself, by early assoanimal spirits, big and little, it will readily be ciations of history, poetry, or
My believed that they formed the most pleasant part imagination's land of promise, divided into two of the landscape, notwithstanding that Mont Blanc, parts, lay on the banks of the Ilissus and the and the other Alps of Savoy, constituted the back- Nile, where great nations had flourished and ground. What added greatly to the interest faded—where great men had speculated on life was the consciousness that I was about to leave and death, and toiled unceasingly to unveil the them-perhaps forever. They were of all ages, mystery of this vast universe. I by no means from nine or ten years to six months ; and when resembled that honest man who hoped to become their mother, with the baby on her lap, formed possessed of Epictetus' wisdom, after his death, the centre of the group, they used to circulate by purchasing his lamp. I hoped for no philoaround her in wild and never-ending gyrations of sophical or religious inspiration by visiting the delight. In my mind's eye, I see them now, birthplaces of philosophy and theology. But I though time and circumstances have distributed knew, at all events, that I could not fail to and located them far apart, from the extremities increase my experience and knowledge of manof Insular Asia to the banks of the Nile and the kind, by taking a view, however cursory, of Italy,