Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

nature will not endure that sort of proxim- | The powers that then were, thought fit to ity. An irritable vain poet, who always fan- send Mr. Wortley as ambassador to Concies that people are trying to hurt him, whom stantinople, and his wife accompanied him. no argument could convince that every one During that visit she kept a journal, and is not perpetually thinking about him, can- wrote sundry real letters, out of which, after not long be friendly with a witty woman of her return, she composed a series of unreal unscrupulous tongue, who spares no one, letters as to all she saw and did in Turkey, who could sacrifice a good friend for a bad and on the journey there and back, which bon-mot, who thinks of the person whom she were published, and which are still amusing, is addressing, not of those about whom she if not always select, reading. The Sultan is speaking. The natural relation of the two was not then the “ dying man; ” he was the is that of victim and torturer, and no other “Grand Turk.” He was not simply a powill long continue. There appear also to tentate to be counted with, but a power to have been some money matters (of all things be feared. The appearance of a Turkish in the world) between the two. Lady Mary army on the Danube had in that age much was intrusted by Pope with some money to the same effect as the appearance of a Rususe in speculation during the highly fashion- sian army now. It was an object of terror able panic which derives its name from the and dread. A mission at Constantinople South-Sea Bubble,--and as of course it was was not then a bureau for interference in lost, Pope was very angry. Another story, Turkey; but a serious office for transacting goes, that Pope made serious love to Lady business with a great European power. A Mary, and that she laughed at him; upon European ambassador at Constantinople now which a very personal, and not always very presses on the Government there impracticorrect, controversy has arisen as to the cable reforms; he then asked for useful aid. probability or improbability of Pope's ex- Lady Mary was evidently impressed by the citing a lady's feelings. Lord Byron took power of the country in which she sojourned ; part in it with his usual acuteness and in- and we observe in her letters evident traces cisiveness, and did not leave the discussion of the notion, that the Turk was the dread more decent than he found it. Pope doubt- of Christendom,“which is singular now, less was deformed, and had not the large when the Turk is its protégé. red health that uncivilized women admire; Lady Mary had another advantage too. yet a clever lady might have taken a fancy Many sorts of books make steady progress ; to him, for the little creature knew what he a scientific treatise published now is sure to was saying. There is, however, no evidence be fuller and better than one on the same that Lady Mary did so. We only know that subject written long ago. But with books there was a sudden coolness or quarrel be- of travels in a stationary country the pretween them, and that it was the beginning sumption is the contrary. In that case the of a long and bitter hatred.

old book is probably the better book. The In their own times Pope's sensitive dis- first traveller writes out a plain straightforposition probably gave Lady Mary a great ward description of the most striking objects advantage. Her tongue perhaps gave him with which he meets; he believes that his more pain than his pen gave her. But in readers know nothing of the country of which later times she has fared the worse. What he is writing, for till he visited it he probbetween Pope's sarcasms and Horace Wal- ably knew nothing himself; and, if he is pole's anecdotes, Lady Mary's reputation sensible, he describes simply and clearly all has suffered very considerably. As we have which most impresses him. He has no mosaid, her offences are non proven ; there is tive for not dwelling upon the principle no evidence to convict her ; but she is likely things, and most likely will do so, as they to be condemned upon the general doctrine are probably the most conspicuous. The that a person who is accused of much is second traveller is not so fortunate. He probably guilty of something.

is always in terror of the traveller who went During many years, Lady Mary continued before. He fears the criticism," this is to live a distinguished fashionable and social all very well, but we knew the whole of it life, with a single remarkable break. This before. No. 1 said that at page 103." In interval was her journey to Constantinople. I consequence, he is timid. He picks and

a

[ocr errors]

skips. He fancies that you are acquainted Montagu was both obstinate and flighty. with all which is great and important, and The only pleasure he can ever have given he dwells, for your good and to your pain, his parents was the pleasure of feeling their upon that which is small and unimportant. own wisdom. He showed that they were For ordinary readers no result can be more right before marriage in not settling the fatal. They perhaps never read,—they cer- paternal property upon him, for he ran tainly do not remember anything upon the through every shilling he possessed. He subject. The curious minutiæ, so elabo- was not sensible enough to keep his proprately set forth, are quite useless, for they erty, and just not fool enough for the law to have not the general framework in which to take it from him. store them. Not knowing much of the first After her return from Constantinople, traveller's work, that of the second is a sup- Lady Mary continued to lead the same halfplement to a treatise with which they are gay and half-literary life as before ; but at unacquainted. In consequence they do not last she did not like it. Various ingenious read it. Lady Mary made good use of her inquirers into antiquated minutiæ have enposition in the front of the herd of tourists. deavored, without success, to discover reaShe told us what she saw in Turkey,_all the sons of detail which might explain her dissatbest of what she saw, and all the most re- isfaction. They have suggested that some markable thingsand told it very well. irregular love-affair was unprosperous, and

Nor was this work the only fruit of her hinted that she and her husband were not Turkish travels ; she brought home the no- on good terms. The love-affair, however, tion of inoculation. Like most improvers, when looked for, cannot be found; and she was roughly spoken to. Medical men though she and her husband would appear to were angry because the practice was not in have been but distantly related, they never their books, and conservative men were cross had any great quarrel which we know of. at the agony of a new idea. Religious peo- Neither seems to have been fitted to give ple considered it wicked to have a disease the other much pleasure, and each had the which Providence did not think fit to send fault of which the other was most impatient. you; and simple people “ did not like to Before marriage Lady Mary had charmed make themselves ill of their own accord.” Mr. Montagu, but she had also frightened She triumphed, however, over all obstacles; him; after marriage she frightened, but did inoculation, being really found to lengthen not charm him. He was formal and comlife and save complexions, before long be- posed; she was flighty and outrée.

“ What came general.

will she do next?” was doubtless the poor One of the first patients upon whom Lady man's daily feeling; and “ will he ever do Mary tried the novelty was her own son, and anything?” was probably also hers. Tormany considerate people thought it “worthy pid business, which is always going on, but of observation” that he turned out a scamp. which never seems to come to anything, is When he ran away from school, the mark of simply aggravating to a clever woman. Even inoculation, then rare, was used to describe the least impatient lady can hardly endure a him, and after he was recovered, he never perpetual process for which there is little did anything which was good. His case visible and nothing theatrical to show; and seems to have been the common one in which Lady Mary was by no means the least impanature (as we speak) requites herself for the tient. But there was no abrupt quarrel strongheadedness of several generations by between the two; and a husband and wife the weakness of one. His father's and his who have lived together more than twenty mother's family had been rather able for years can generally manage to continue to some generations ; the latter remarkably so. live together during a second twenty years. But this boy had always a sort of practical These reasons of detail are scarcely the reaimbecility. He was not stupid, but he never sons for Lady Mary's wishing to break away did anything right. He exemplified another from the life to which she had so long been curious trait of nature's practice. Mr. used. Yet there was clearly some reason, Montagu was obstinate, though sensible ; for Lady Mary went abroad, and stayed Lady Mary was flighty, though clever. Nat- there during many years. ure combined the defects. Young Edward We believe that the cause was not special

THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 832

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and peculiar to the case, but general, and | Lady Mary felt this, as we believe. She had due to the invariable principles of human seen all the world of England, and it did not nature, at all times and everywhere. If satisfy. She turned abroad, not in pursuit historical experience proves anything, it of definite good, nor from fear of particular proves that the earth is not adapted for a evil, but from a vague wish of some great life of mere intellectual pleasure. The life change—from a wish to escape from a life of a brute on earth, though bad, is possible. which harassed the soul, but did not calm It is not even difficult to many persons to it; which awakened the intellect without destroy the higher part of their nature by a answering its questions. continual excess in sensual pleasure. It is

She lived abroad for more than twenty even more easy and possible to dull all the years, at Avignon and Venice and elsewhere; soul and most of the mind by a vapid accu- and, during that absence, she wrote the letmulation of torpid comfort. Many of the ters which compose the greater part of her middle classes spend their whole lives in a works. And there is no denying that they constant series of petty pleasures, and an are good letters. The art of note-writing undeviating pursuit of small material objects. may become classical,—it is for the present The gross pursuit of pleasure, and the tire- age to provide models of that sort of comsome pursuit of petty comfort, are quite suit-position,—but letters have perished. Noable to such “a being as man in such a body but a bore now takes pains enough to world as the present one." What is not pos- make them pleasant; and the only result of sible is, to combine the pursuit of pleasure a bore's pains is to make them unpleasant. and the enjoyment of comfort with the char- The correspondence of the present day is a acteristic pleasures of a strong mind. If you continual labor without any visible achievewish for luxury, you must not nourish the ment. The dying penny-a-liner said with inquisitive instinct. The great problems of emphasis, “ That which I have written has human life are in the air ; they are without perished.” We might all say so of the mass us in the life we see, within us in the life we of petty letters we write. They are a heap feel. A quick intellect feels them in a mo- of small atoms, each with some interest inment. It says, “Why am I here? What dividually, but with no interest as a whole ; is pleasure, that I desire it? What is com- all the items concern us, but they all add up fort, that I seek it? What are carpets and to nothing. In the last century, cultivated tables ? What is the lust of the eye? What people who sat down to write a letter took is the pride of life, that they should satisfy pains to have something to say, and took me? I was not made for such things. I pains to say it. The postage was perhaps hate them, because I have liked them ; I ninepence; and it would be impudent to loathe them, because it seems that there is make a correspondent pay ninepence for nothing else for me.” An impatient woman's nothing. Still more impudent was it after intellect comes to this point in a moment; it having made him, pay ninepence, to give him says, “ Society is good, but I have seen so- the additional pain of making out what was ciety. What is the use of talking, or hear- half expressed. People, too, wrote to one ing bon-mots ? I have done with both till another then, not unfrequently, who had I am tired of doing either. I have laughed long been separated, and who required till I have no wish to laugh again, and made much explanation and many details to make others laugh till I have hated them for being the life of each intelligible to the other. such fools. As for instruction, I have seen The correspondence of the nineteenth centhe men of genius of my time; and they tell tury is like a series of telegrams with amme nothing,—nothing of what I want to plified headings. There is not more than know. They are choked with intellectual one idea ; and that idea comes soon, and is frivolities. They cannot say whence I soon over. The best correspondence of the came, and whither I go.' What do they last age is rather like a good light article, know of themselves ? It is not from literary in which the points are studiously made,– people that we can learn anything; more in which the effort to make them is studiously likely they will copy, or try to copy, the concealed, -in which a series of selected cirmanners of lords, and make ugly love, in cumstances is set forth,-in which you feel, bad imitation of those who despise them.” but are not told, that the principle of the

[ocr errors]

a

writer's selection was to make his composi- | her avarice, her art, and her vivacity are all tion pleasant.

increased. Her dress, like her language, In letter-writing of this kind Lady Mary is a galimatias of several countries; the was very skilful. She has the highest merit groundwork rags, and the embroidery nasof letter-writing,—she is concise without tiness. She needs no cap, no handkerchief, being affected. Fluency, which a great ora- no gown, no petticoat, and no shoes. An tor pronounced to be the curse of orators, is old black laced hood represents the first ; at least equally the curse of writers. There the fur of a horseman's coat, which replaces are many people, many ladies especially, the third, serves for the second; a dimity who can write letters at any length, in any petticoat is deputy and officiates for the number, and at any time. We may be quite fourth ; and slippers act the part of the last. sure that the letters so written are not good When I was at Florence, and she was exletters. Composition of any sort implies pected there, we were drawing sortes Virgilconsideration ; you must see where you are ianas for her ; we literally drew going before you can go straight, or can

“Insanam vatem aspicies.” pick your steps as you go. On the other hand, too much consideration is unfavorable It would have been a stranger prophecy now to the ease of letter-writing, and perhaps of even than it was then." There is a descripall writing. A letter too much studied wants tion of what the favorite of society becomes flow; it is a museum of hoarded sentences. after leaving it for years, and after indulging Each sentence sounds effective; but the eccentricities for years! There is a comwhole composition wants vitality. It was mentary on the blunder of exposing yourself written with the memory instead of the in your old age to young people, to whom mind; and every reader feels the effect, you have always been a tradition and a though only the critical reader can detect name! Horace Walpole doubtless painted the cause. Lady Mary understood all this. up a few trivialities a little. But one of the She said what she had to say in words that traits is true. Lady Mary lived before the were always graphic and always sufficiently age in which people waste half their lives in good, but she avoided curious felicity. Her washing the whole of their persons. expressions seem choice, but not chosen. Lady Mary did not live long after her re

At the end of her life Lady Mary pointed turn to England. Horace Walpole's letter a subordinate but not a useless moral. The is written on the 2d February, 1809, and she masters of mundane ethics “ observe, that died on the 21st August in the same year. you should stay in the world, or stay out of Her husband had died just before her rethe world.” Lady Mary did neither. She turn, and perhaps, after so many years she went out, and tried to return. Horace Wal-would not have returned unless he had done pole thus describes the result: “ Lady Mary so. Requiescat in pace, for she quarrelled Wortley is arrived; I have seen her; I think I all her life.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

POISON FOR THE WHOLE ANIMAL KING- FROM Paris we hear that the second volume DOM.-However innocuous, and even occasion- of “the Family of Orleans,” by M. Crétincau ally beneficial, tobacco may be when smoked at Joly, is shortly to appear, and is said to contain suitable times and in moderate quantities, yet the quantity of poison which is produced for this a curious document relative to the present Empurpose in the course of the year is incredible. peror of France. It is a letter from Queen Hor. Thus, the annual crop of tobacco grown in the tense, written soon after the Strasburg advenvarious regions of the world which produce it is ture. The mother of Louis Napoleon writes : estimated at 550,000,000 lbs., and of this the “ The failure of the undertaking is not to be chemist has shown that about five per cent on an much regretted.” And later : “If unfortunately average consists of an alcaloid named nicotine, which is so poisonous that a few drops produce my Louis ever should become Emperor, he would death. In the crop of tobacco above specified, ruin crerything, and France entirely.” It is there must bo 27,500,000 lbs. of nicotine; and supposed that this volume will appear in two this would nearly fill 100,000 wine barrels, gir- cditions, as no French publisher will venture on ing an allowance of four or five hundred drops printing this letter; the French edition will to every man, woman, and child in the world - inerely make mention of the letter, while the enongli in all probability to poison every living Belgian is to reprint it completely.—London Recreature on the face of the earth!

view.

BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.

TO ENGLISHMEN.

THE NATION'S PRAYER

LORD God, on bended knee You flung your taunt across the wave:

Three Kingdoms cry to thee, We bore it as became us,

God save the Queen ! Well knowing that the fettered slave Left friendly lips no option save

God of all tenderness, To pity or to blame us.

Lighten her load, and bless,

Deep in her first distress, You scoffed our plea. “ Mere lack of will

God save the Queen! Not lack of power," you told us : We showed our free-state records ; still

Hold thou our Lady's hand, You mocked, confounding good and ill,

Bid her arise and standSlave-haters and slaveholders.

God save the Queen ! We struck at Slavery; to the verge

Grant her thy comfort, Lord ; Of power and means we checked it :

Husband ! thy arm afford; Lo!-presto, change ! its claims you urge,

Father ! fulfil thy wordSend greetings to it o'er the surge

God save the Queen! And comfort and protect it.

Thou hast given gladness long, But yesterday you scarce could shake,

Make her in sorrow strongIn slave-abhorring rigor,

God save the Queen ! Our Northern palms, for conscience' sake; To-day you clasp the hands that ache

Dry our dear Lady's tears, With“ walloping the nigger!”*

Succor her lonely years O Englishmen !-in hope and creed,

Safe through all woes and fearsIn blood and tongue our brothers !

God keep the Queen ! We too are heirs of Runnymede;

Sweet from this sudden gloom And Shakspeare's fame, and Cromwell's deed,

Bring thou life's perfect bloomAre not alone our mother's.

God save the Queen ! “ Thicker than water” in one rill

Thou who hast sent the blow, Through centuries of story

Wisdom and grace bestow Our Saxon blood has flowed, and still

Out of this cloud of woeWe share with you its good and ill,

God save the Queen ! The shadow and the glory.

- Blackwood's Magazine. Joint heirs and kinfolk, leagues of wave

Nor length of years can part us : Your right is ours to shrine and grave, The common freehold of the brave, The gift of saints and martyrs.

THE SAILOR BOY. Our very sins and follies teach

He rose at dawn and flushed with hope Our kindred frail and human :

Shot o'er the seething harbor-bar, We carp at faults with bitter speech

And reached the ship and caught the rope, The while for one unshared by each

And whistled to the morning star, We have a score in common.

And while on deck he whistled loud

He heard a fierce mermaiden cry, We bowed the heart if not the knee

"Boy, though thou art young and proud, To England's Queen, God bless her!

I see the place where thou wilt lie. We praised you when your slaves went free : The sands and yeasty surges mix We seek to unchain ours.

In caves about the dreary bay ; Join hands with the oppressor ?

And on thy ribs the limpet sticks, And is it Christian England cheers

And in thy heart the scrawl shall play!”

“Fool!” he answered, “Death is sure The bruiser, not the bruised?

To those that stay and those that roam : And must she run, despite the tears

But I will never more endure And prayers of eighteen hundred years,

To sit with empty hands at home. A muck in Slavery's crusade ?

My mother clings about my neck, O black disgrace! O shame and loss

My sisters clamor, ‘Stay, for shame!' Too deep for tongue to phrase on!

My father raves of death and wreck, Tear from your flag its holy cross,

They are all to blame, they are all to blame. And in your van of battle toss

God help me! save I take my part The pirate's skull-bone blazon !

Of danger on the roaring sea, - Independent.

A devil rises in my heart,

Far worse than any death to me." * See English caricatures of America: Slaveholder and cowhide, with the motto, “ Haven't I a

-Contributed by Tennyson to The Victoria Re right to wallop my nigger?"

gia,a new Annual.

Will ye

« ElőzőTovább »