« ElőzőTovább »
Bram was amazed, for he had left home too early to have seen much sport in the fields of New Jersey; and as, successively, I brought down bird after bird, he was disposed to admit that, upon such small game, he might possibly be beaten; but at ducks he could take the rag of any man. We had finished the quail, and reached the place of my deposit, when, uncovering my hoard, I exhibited to Bram treble the number of birds that he
"I give it up," said he: you can beat me with a smooth bore; but with a rifle I'll bang all creation."
And many times afterwards he was desirous of trying my skill with that weapon.
"Why any fool can shoot a rifle that has an eye in his head," was my answer; and it was for a long time available. At length I met him one day, rifle in hand, on the shore of the lake; when, after pressing me hard to try a shot with him, he swore I did not know how, and was afraid to expose my ignorance. He had hit the true reason, for I was totally inexperienced; but he cornered me so closely I had no escape. The lake was as smooth as a mirror. A grebe, of the smallest size, was sailing along, a hundred and fifty yards off, and snatching his rifle from his hand,-" Where shall I hit that bird?" said I.
"Hit him in the head," was the reply.
I drew up, and levelling at arm's length an instant, gave fire; and, to my astonishment and delight, the bird was killed.
hecren!" exclaimed Bram, and jumping into a canoe, he paddled after the game. A new burst of astonishment came from him as he picked up the grebe: "I wish I may be -," said he, "if you have not hit him in the eye!" "To be sure I have," said I; "where else should I hit him ?"
I had established my reputation, and very prudently rested my fame on that exploit. And it was the first and last rifle shot that I fired during my stay in that country.
Some weeks afterwards, there was a shooting match for geese and turkeys. The birds were placed behind a log, at a hundred yards distance, and their heads alone exposed. I walked down to witness the sport; and Bram, whose back was towards me, was challenging the whole posse to shoot for a wager.
"I can beat any man in the three counties, either at rest or at arm's length. So come on, all of you if you dare!" At this moment he caught sight of me. "All but him," said he: "I won't shoot with him, for he beats the devil!" And upon this assurance, I was admitted cock of the walk.
days afterwards, having missed some young lambs, I ascribed the felony to the foxes; but, in strolling through the woods, I discovered a monstrous nest in the top of a small, insulated pine, large enough for the roc of Sinbad the Sailor; and instantly after an eagle took flight from it, with a cry very unlike the scream pcetically ascribed to it. She was soon joined by her mate, sweeping around the tree, rising higher at each circle, and both uttering the most plaintive and feeble wailings.
The bones of lambs, ducks, and geese, lying in profusion at the root of the tree, detected the plunderers of my sheepfold; and it was evident from that circumstance, that there were nestlings in the tenement above. I therefore visited it the next day, with gun well charged with buck shot, which I directed through the nest, expecting to destroy the tenants. But three days afterwards some of the neighbours cut down the tree, and found the eaglets untouched. They brought them to me, and had I not been about to leave the country, I should have been tempted to rear one of them.
Although I did not succeed in my first attempt upon the bird of Jove, many years afterwards I brought one to the ground, and was obliged to give him the coup-degrace, to put him out of pain. I will not say anything about my feelings on the occasion, for they so nearly resembled those of Byron on a like event, that it will be thought that I have stolen my ideas from him; though I never saw the passage in his book until a long time afterwards. Like him, however, I resolved never to shoot another.
I had read accounts of the game supper at Niblo's, and of an eagle being dished up at the head of the table, and my curiosity was excited to know something of the flavour of such game. The bird I had killed was a young one, and in good condition, and I resolved to have him cooked, notwithstanding the earnest remonstrances of my kitchen cabinet, which were never as omnipotent as that conclave at Washington. A "very ancient and a fish-like smell," invaded the parlour at every opening of the kitchen door, and in due time the eagle was put upon the table. If it were to have been tried by olfactory evidence, it would have been forthwith condemned, and would have remained untouched; but such partial condemnation would not have solved the enquiry in my mind. I cut a slice from the breast, and well saturated with the gravy, I put a piece into my mouth, and after due mastication, not without some puckering of the upper lip, it was swallowed. If the smell of this newfangled gibier was like that of "not of the newest, poor John," its taste was not more attractive; and the eagle and its accessories were dismissed.
I have intimated that "I rule the roast" in my own kitchen; but it behoves me to acknowledge, that once, on a similar occasion, I was fairly beaten. I had brought a hawk to the ground, that had been poaching for some time about the snipe ground, and finding it loaded with fat, I resolved to make experiment upon the taste of it, and ordered it picked and prepared for the table. I was busy with a book in a room over the kitchen, when I heard a cry, and immediately after, a report was brought, that the bird had disgorged a frog. 'What of that?" said I, go on with your work." In a few minutes, another "O, lord!" and a fresh bulletin "No mat
Bram was a capital fellow in his way, and was of excellent service on the marsh; and as he was always on hand, he was very frequently my companion on a duck hunt. One day, upon our return from one of these, an eagle came soaring over us. I drew up my gun. Bram, who saw the motion, exclaimed
"Don't shoot! don't shoot! you'll strain your gun!" I gave him both barrels, however; but, though much hurt, he carried off the lead. You've done the job,' said Bram, "and spoiled your gun. You'll never kill anything more with her."
I was amazed at his absurdity; but I afterwards announced that a mouse had been ejected.
found more intelligent men than he imbued with theter, what's a mouse? go on without farther delay," was same superstition. As that was the last shot I fired at my message. At length a loud scream, and a most emgame in the country, I had no opportunity to test the phatic, "I won't, if I die for't;" issued from below. truth of Bram's prognostics; but my mind was recalled Upon inquiry into the cause of the uproar, my wife into it many months afterwards, when beating the coverts formed me that the cook had found a snake in the stoof Vyfd Kill, and missing everything I fired at. But I mach of the bird, and had thrown the whole out of the laid no blame upon my gun; for I had just gotten rid of window. a tertian ague, which had deranged my nervous system, from which I never thoroughly recovered.
Thus my curiosity was defeated, and I know not to this day, how a good fat specimen of the genus Falco, would relish with currant jelly.
I do not think that I killed the eagle that was pronounced so portentous to my fowling-piece. For, a few
THE WORLD'S REWARD.
ONE sultry noon-day a poor country lad was returning to his village, wearied and exhausted by the load of vegetables which he had carried to the neighbouring town. Although he well knew that his cross old father awaited his return with impatience, and that by each delay he should only increase the old man's anger, still the heat was so oppressive, that it was impossible for him to pursue his way without some rest; he therefore seated himself for a few minutes near a landmark.
Beneath this stone, however, which, apparently through rain and wind, had been moved from its original position, there lay a huge snake. As soon as this creature became aware of the lad, it stretched forth its head and in a hiss of anguish thus addressed him,—
"Welcome, good stranger! take pity on me, and release me from the weight of this monstrous stone, which threatens every moment to crush me. See! it presses ever more painfully upon me, and if thou dost not relieve me immediately, I shall certainly be crushed to
The country lad was no little surprised by the confidential manner in which the creature, usually so savage towards men, addressed him; he was touched with compassion, nevertheless he did not over and above relish its near neighbourhood. But now when the snake besought him in a still more piteous manner, saying,
"I beseech thee, in the name of mercy, save me! save me! I will indeed reward thee, as people always reward their benefactors." The good-natured lad no longer hesitated, but with all his strength, rolled away the stone from the body of the half-crushed serpent.
But how great indeed was his horror, when the released monster rushed upon him with the utmost fury, and breathing forth venom threatened to devour him. Scarcely conscious he stammered forth pale and trembling,
"Is this the reward thou makest thy benefactor?" The serpent answered coldly,
"This is the manner in which the world rewards benefits, and I promised thee no other reward.".
These words only increased his astonishment still There seemed to him no means by which he could escape his cruel foe, no third party to come to his rescue. Feeling himself doomed to be devoured by the horrible creature, he still sought with tears and violent beatings of his heart, to address it in the following words,
"I acknowledge myself to be thy victim, for I have neither strength nor courage to struggle with thee; but still I have not wit enough to comprehend the meaning of thy words. I am a poor, simple country lad, and am too unacquainted with the world to comprehend what thou sayest about its mode of rewarding services. Grant me a moment's reflection, or let us choose another judge in this affair."
"Well!" cried the serpent, "then let it be so.
Upon yon bare heath there grazes an old horse, in thy eyes perhaps, a more noble creature than I am; let us hasten to him, we will hear his decision."
This was no sooner said than done. The lad strode fearfully on towards the moor, and his venomous companion moved along slowly behind him. They soon reached the dry, grassless heath, and perceived before them a grey horse which was scarcely more than a skeleton; the miserable beast was cropping with difficulty the few bents which grew upon the barren ground. The serpent immediately commenced,
"What is it that detains thee here, when at home thou mightest enjoy rich and excellent food? What has changed thy noble form into such a skeleton, that thy skin can barely cover it?" With a melancholy gasp, the horse replied,—
"Dost thou not know that this is the world's reward, and the recompense for every good service? Thirty hard years I bore a bold warrior, understanding his every desire, obeying every movement of his bridle; six times in the tumult of battle have I saved him from captivity and death. Now that I am grown weak through age and toil, and can no longer serve him, he has given me over to the flayer, who will soon loosen my skin from my bones."
'Ha!" cried the serpent to the lad with a triumphant laugh, "hast thou heard this? Prepare for death, all is over with thee!" And saying this, the snake drew himself up re to spring upon him with renewed fury. The despairing lad sank humbly upon his knees between the serpent and the horse, and once more besought in a plaintive voice,—
"Oh, spare my life yet a little while, I have a poor old father at home; who will take care of him if thou devourest me? Let us take another judge; a human life is surely worth this trouble! Should he pronounce the same decision, I will then prepare myself for
"Be it so," said the crafty foe, "I will be so merciful as to grant thee this request also." And with this she drove him along a moor towards a coppice, where she had already perceived the form of an animal. When they arrived they perceived an old hound fastened to a willow-stump, and endeavouring in vain to defend himself against the swarm of flies which attacked him.
"How is it that thou art here, Sir Harecatcher, fastened to this pillar of honour, thou who but so short a time since I saw chasing the hares in full glory across the fields?" enquired the serpent. But the old hound only whined bitterly, and thus replied :
"Such is the world's reward and the universal recompense of good! After having for six happy years served my master zealously and faithfully at home and abroad, after having rendered my name terrific to the whole host of hares, he has me fastened to this stump, where I am awaiting the reward for my good services, which in a few minutes the huntsman will send me from his gun!
The poor lad shuddered both body and soul, for the serpent perceptibly expanded her frightful curling form, ready to swallow the miserable victim of her rage. No means of deliverance now remaining to him, the poor lad prepared himself in God's name to receive the deathbite. But lo! before he was aware there sprang forth a fox, who secretly had watched all from the neighbouring coppice. With a very friendly manner he stepped between the two, enquired what was the subject of their dispute, and, unperceived by the serpent, promised the unhappy lad by a sign his safety, in consideration of a certain quantity of poultry which he should receive. With equal caution, but most joyfully did the lad promise the reward, and now the fox besought for a minute relation of the whole affair.
The serpent, greatly to the lad's astonishment, appeared satisfied with this arrangement, and accompa
nied the judge and victim to the stone in the field, in order to show the former the origin of the dispute.
When they had reached the spot, the fox stood silently and thoughtfully before the stone, measured its height and breadth, and shaking his head and tail, commenced with an oratorical air :- -"Beloved, beautiful, and wise serpent! although I question thy right in this matter, as little as I can disapprove of the charms of thy royal form, and the justice of thy claims lies as heavily upon my heart as the stone did upon thy shining back; still I cannot conceive how thy stately form could ever find space sufficient in this narrow cavity. If I am to be a right judge I must see the whole affair clearly before my eyes.'
He now confessed the promise he had made to the fox, and declared that it was alone by this means he had been able to save both his own and his father's life. But at this the old man became still more wrathful, and swore to Heaven, that he would rather have lost him than one of the hens; and before the morning star grew pale, the old man stood ready armed with a heavy, sharp axe behind the garden-gate, and as the unsuspicious guest stretched forth his head into the garden to fetch his promised breakfast, he struck the weapon with all his might into the poor creature's neck.
The son, aroused by the cry of the poor fox, rushed forth from his room, but too late either to warn or to save him. He beheld the unhappy fox weltering in his blood, and with the last cry of agony, "This is the reward of kindness!” his life passed away.
Hours of Recreation. Poems. By CHARLES S. MIDDLETON. London: Smith, Old Compton-street, Soho
If we wanted a proof of the folly of young poets, this volume, or rather the preface to it, would furnish a fine example. The author tells us that "all its contents" have been written in his boyhood. Now boyhood is
the age of cleverness in tops and marbles, but is not considered a great recommendation for poetry. Boys are fond of plunging into profound depths of rivers in hot weather, but it is rare that they plunge into very profound poetry. So thinks our author, and he puts this fact forth in the very opening of his volume. He then adds naively enough. "I have now arrived at an age when I can begin to distinguish between right and wrong, and my mind is becoming expanded to the discovery of my utter ignorance of all around and above me." The question that every one naturally asks on reading this, is" Why then have you given us your crudities and your ignorance? If you are only beginning to distinguish between right and wrong-why not wait a little? This is a reason why you may do something clever some day-but is none why you should publish what you did in your days of utter ignorance, and before your eyes were opened.
THE INFLUENCE OF SARACENIC ARCHITECTURE UPON JEWELLERY.
We quote this, however, not to condemn the book, but the preface. In the volume itself we find more than the usual indications of the true poetic instinct, and every where a fine and genuine tone of feeling. In the poem on Night, with a good deal of grave commonplace, there are many fine thoughts, and a spirit of contempla- The Mahomedans, banded together on the truth of God's tion pitched to a lofty key. Warm and generous sym-unity, overthrew polytheism and offered their adorations in pathies, and deep piety, amongst the noblest qualities mosques adorned with a bewildering complication of geometrie of the poet, distinguish this volume, and give good pro- figures and foliage; the vegetable kingdom supplied them with mise for the future. These are well demonstrated in their decorations. The Saracens extended their conquests into the two following sonnets:Spain, where their caliphs became the principal patrons of art and learning for some centuries. The colleges of Cordova and Madrid were the schools of Europe, and the gorgeous palace of the Alhambra became the model of a new style of architecture in Christendom and has remained to this day the treasury of that class of ornaments named Arabesque. In the elaborate tracery to be seen sculptured over the doorway of the cathedral at Rouen and other such buildings on the continent, the climax of this style seems to be reached. The entanglement of intermingling lines baffles the attempt to grasp the principle of the composition, yet both in detail and as a whole, a pleasing impression is produced. The tombs of Cairo exhibit every form of combination of which right-lined figures are capable. The Saracens converted the right lines into curves. The principle of Saracenic architecture was the construction in durable materials of an edifice similar to the Arab tent; a pole supported the centre, and richly worked shawls formed the curtains around it. Every line in its structure therefore was graceful as drapery; occasionally the Persian lattice-work-appears in the ground-work of the walls giving variety to the composition. There is a constant agreement between architectural and personal ornament. The knowledge of the idea embodied in the former assists to determine the meaning of the latter;and no style of ornament abounds more in modern jewellery than some form or other of the Arabesque.
Dear sons of genius! how I weep to trace
The sombre page which marks your rough career:
Great God! I long to celebrate thy name
Wilt point for ever thy eternal way:
The History and Object of Jewellery. By JOHN JONES.
Mr. Jones also, whilst studying his business of a jeweller, struck by the poetical and artistic beauty of gems, enquires into their history, and perceives that through all ages-more especially in the early ages of the worldcertain minds, and those generally the purest and most poetical of their day, have recognised a high and spiritual significance in gems, far beyond their mere material value. This little volume is the result of Mr. Jones's enquiries, and contains, beside much that the general reader may consider mere mysticism, much that is curious and picturesque, and is altogether calculated to inspire a poetical and unsordid reverence for jewellery. But we will let Mr. Jones speak for himself.
In the midst of this prosaic, money-getting age, we are ever and anon reminded of a certain secret stream of spiritualism which is silently pursuing its course, and promises one day to overflow the world as a second deluge. Swedenborgianism is rapidly gaining ground among the enlightened minds of the age; Emerson is regarded as a great teacher. Poets and Painters are more than ever impressed with a beautiful presentiment of an inward life, which is to be the true life, pervading all creation, from man down to the flower and the butterfly.
AUTHENTIC PORTRAIT OF CHRIST ON A GEM.
"It is through an engraving on an emerald that we have a
likeness of the founder of our religion; it was taken by command of Tiberius Cæsar, and became deposited in the Treasury of Constantinople, whence it was given by the Emperor of the Turks to Pope Innocent viii., as a ransom for his brother, then a prisoner to the Christians. Steel-plate copies of the gem are numerous."
Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave.
Now slaves begin to write their own history, we may calculate on the ultimate downfall of the accursed system of slavery. The United States will, no doubt, one day remove this flagrant violation of Christianity and of the principles of their own constitution, and become a Christian country. Williain Brown's narrative as far as it goes, is most interesting. As Frederick Douglass is the son of his master, he is the son of one of his master's relatives, and, therefore, half-caste. That one damning fact, that Americans sell their own children, renders all argument regarding slavery superfluous-and excludes the nation, so long as it exists in it, from the catalogue of Christian states.
ADDRESS TO THE READERS OF HOWITT'S JOURNAL.
So much has already been written and said of our connection with the "People's Journal," that the subject is not more distasteful to the public than it is to myself, yet still at the present moment which is most important to myself, and to that which is dearest to me, my reputation, a few words must be permitted, and to these few I earnestly call the attention of the public.
I will not go into the particulars of my unfortunate connection with the "People's Journal," but merely refer the reader to the 35th, 37th, and 38th Nos., Vol. II of this Journal, for that purpose.
And now I have shortly and sorrowfully to say, that, entangled in a web of embarrassments and debts, by the desperate artifices and reckless conduct of John Saunders, swindled out of our hard-earned little capital by him, and by means of enormous exertions made by him, and the issue of hundreds of thousands of printed papers, and lithographic circulars and letters, both in this country and America with the avowed intention of injuring our reputation, the consequence has been, that our exertions have been most completely crippled, and the long-cherished plan of our Journal has been blighted. Not only our plans and our money, but the names of our literary friends usurped by him, and this Journal, which began with a weekly circulation of twenty-five thousand, being also plunged into the most disastrous times imaginable, has been reduced to about one-half that circulation. In the meantime, our resources were exhausted, and though, since the exposure of the audacious frauds of Mr. Saunders, the most favourable re-action of feeling has taken place towards ourselves and the Journal, the difficulties into which his proceedings have plunged us, have become overwhelming.
In making these remarks, however, I must be permitted a momentary digression, though one painful to myself, more especially as I have to refer to the conduct of a third party, without whose aid and countenance John Saunders would have been powerless. I refer to Miss Martineau. Up to the date of the unfortunate discovery which I made of the frauds of Mr. Saunders, I always considered Miss Martineau as one who reciprocated our feelings towards herself-those of cordial friendship. When she was ill at Teignmouth I visited her; when she was attacked for her mesmeric faith I encouraged her; when myself and my wife laid down plans for the People's Journal," and furnished a list of contributors to aid in it, Miss Martineau's was among the first names. To her we wrote requesting her assistance, and I myself, in the 11th No. of that Journal, wrote an article to accompany her portrait, in which nothing but the most cordial spirit was evinced, nothing said but what I then believed to be deservedly true. When, however, I became justly suspicious of Mr. Saunders, he immediately gained possession of her ear-she was then in London on her way to Egypt-and stranger as he was to her, so completely possessed her mind as to make her refuse to see us, or even to hear what we had to say on the other side, nor has she done so to this moment, never once having seen the documents on which the case rests. By her means he and his partner were enabled to introduce into the arbitration two of her friends against my one. They two appointing a third friend of hers and theirs as umpire-thus making a monstrous tribunal of five against two, and before this tribunal even the proofs of my cause never were examined. The umpire to whom the case was referred before the second article even was gone into, fortunately, however, was an upright, noble-minded man, and after the arbitration had been delayed by all kinds of quibbles for four months,† and it was referred to him, he dismissed it as a barbarous piece of injustice, even censuring his own friends for the part they had taken in it; and himself, there and then, drew up a deed of dissolution of partnership, which, however, Mr. Saunders would not sign, although agreeing to do so, for four months, and until he had removed out of the deed every advantage which the umpire had conceded to me. During all this time Miss Martineau supported and countenanced his Journal, and the public, willing to look up to her as authority, believed Saunders to be right, because she supported him. How different might it have been had she at first heard both sides, and judged impartially, rather than have made herself a blind partizan, and aided in ruining those who had never thought an unkind thought towards her, much less done her an unkind action.
But to return to the present state of our own Journal. It has taken firm root in the public mind, and from all parts of the country we receive assurances of its having met the wants of the time, and of its becoming one of the permanent voices of the people. Thus it stands. The slightest return of good times or the employment of a comparatively insignificant capital by any one freed from the trammels by which we are surrounded would render this Journal a splendid property.
For ourselves this is hopeless; pressed by the creditors of the "People's Journal," while they suffer John Saunders to go unmolested, there is no way out of the difficulties into which a desperate and most artful adventurer has plunged me, but to seek the protection of the Court of Bankruptcy. After a long and painful struggle with myself, and my not unjustifiable pride, and by the advice of wise and sincere friends, I have taken that step, and now, at the age of fifty-four, I have to begin life anew.
Both myself and my wife have sacrificed very large literary profits, and made gigantic exertions to establish HOWITT'S JOURNAL as an organ of sound and decided popular progress, and at the same time as a resource for our family and our old age. As to the first object, the Journal will speak for itself; as regards the second, undaunted as ever, we shall proceed to new exertions, with the sacred determination to discharge every shilling of our own just debts, and to labour, as long as life and ability shall be spared us in the cause of truth, liberty, and
The experience of the last two years has given us some awful revelations of human nature-yet that nature has justified itself, and out of the night of gloom and disappointed hopes that has surrounded us, there have arisen a few bright stars of truth and steadfast generosity, the knowledge of which in some measure compensates for all that we have witnessed with surprise, and suffered, as we hope, with some degree of patience.
WILLIAM HOWITT. *See No. 35, Vol. II., of this Journal. The whole expenditure of these attacks left in the liabilities for which we are now pressed. See the correspondence of the arbitrators proving this amongst the MS. documents.
From circumstances lately disclosed to me, it appears pretty certain that not a penny of the £800 entered as advanced to the concern by Mr. Turrell ever was advanced, but had been lent to Mr. Saunders at various times previously, and was credited to Mr. Turrell as capital paid in, and that it was this fact which made the two brothers-in-law so united in their opposition to a ledger, which would at once have brought to light the whole affair as a hoax of the most complete description. This explains also the balance sheet of the official accountant, which showed, in opposition to Mr. Saunders's statement to me in his letter of March 10th, that the concern owed nothing (see documents), a balance against it, on May 2nd, only four months after the Journal commenced, of £1,221, and if the £800 was paid in, of liability incurred in that short period of upwards of £2,000.